Friday, January 25, 2019

Lucy and Ellory- Twenty-Three Months.

Only one more month until TWO! Wow. What a wild and wonderful almost two years it's been. It's hard to remember our life before Lucy and Ellory. Sometimes it's funny to go out in public, because I'm so used to having twins now, so I forget that it's a shock to some. Sometimes strangers just seem floored that we have twins, and our frequently heard comment is still, “Wow, you have your hands full!” I just smile back and say, “Yes, we do, but it's great!” I remember being so scared to have twins when I was pregnant, so it's really neat to look back and see His hand over us in the last two years. He certainly knows what He's doing! Twins are great- challenging and stretching sometimes, yes, but their new thing is to give each other hugs and kisses before bed, and moments like that outshine every hard time and having three girls is the most beautiful blessing.

Stats/Doctor visits: We have had an amazingly healthy winter so far and so thankful for that!

Teeth: Still waiting for two year molars for both.

Feeding: Nothing new. They do really well with three meals and a bedtime snack. They eat their meals better without snacking. Occasionally if they act like they're starving before dinner, I'll give them two animal crackers (they think they need two since they have two hands), and thankfully that seems to tide them over. Favorite foods include milk (love that milk!), hummus, pizza, noodles, chicken, and almost all fruits.

Diapers/Clothes: Wearing 24 month/2T clothes and 4 diapers during the day/5 at night. We had our first twin difference this month, as Ellory switched to a size 6 shoe, and Lucy is still in a 5.

Sleeping: Big girl beds happened! They had to switch bedrooms around, as two full beds (what their cribs convert into), didn't fit in their old room because of the door placement. Overall it's gone very well. There was crying, especially from Ellory, for a few days and we had to lay with them longer, but now they love them. Occasionally they talk to/goof off with each other more before falling asleep during nap, but the transition was pretty smooth overall. A few times Lucy has gotten out of bed (what a monkey!), and she's also fallen out of bed a couple times (even with a rail), but thankfully she mostly stays in. They sleep from about 8:30-8:30, and nap from about 1-3:30 (though they don't always fall asleep right away, for nap or bed).

Words: Ellory is trying so hard to say full sentences, but you still can't really make them out. She says many two word sentences. (She gets a little jumbled when she talks fast or tries to say something longer.) Lucy has started saying a few two word sentences also. Sometimes she says the initial sound for a word, like “huh” for hummus or “la” for light. We can usually always figure out what both are saying. It's so fun to hear them throw out words suddenly that they've never said before.

Developments: Lucy and Ellory are better at independent play than Norah ever was, but it also helps to have two built in playmates always around to play with. They are both doing more pretend play, especially in the kitchen and with babies. We are practicing color names, but they don't get any correctly yet. They love to say people's names and point to them in pictures. Both are really good at knowing where things are/go and the routine of the day. Both love to jump. Ellory likes to sing and it's so sweet. Her favorites are Jesus Loves Me, ABCs, You are my Sunshine, and some songs from Babygarten at the library. They are learning basic puzzles and love to stack/put things together. Lucy is more physically active and Ellory is more emotionally active, if that makes sense. Both are still thumb suckers, but Lucy likes to stroke her right eyebrow with her third finger and Ellory likes to put her pointer finger in the corner of her eye while they suck them. They all three suck their right thumbs, but each have a different quirk to it! We regressed a bit in the potty training department, but they still sometimes go, more pooping than peeing. They eat the same things, but Lucy struggles with diarrhea and Ellory with constipation, which has made going on the toilet harder. The doctor suggested giving Ellory milk of magnesia, which has helped a little.

Favorites: Everyone's favorite is when daddy comes home from work! Both have really enjoyed magna-tiles this month. They both have given tons of hugs and kisses recently and it's adorable. Ellory loves Frozen, Minnie Mouse, Bob and Larry (Veggie Tales), wearing play jewelry, and reading books. Lucy is so caring and loves to pat people's backs, play with hair, point out when people are crying, say hi to people, etc. (On the flip side, she also instigates a bit more and makes Ellory upset more than Ellory makes her upset!) Lucy and Ellory, we love you both so much!

Norah took these two pictures! (Amongst the 30+ that I deleted that were very off center :)

Getting smiling pictures is a challenge these days, but they sure are cute no matter what!

Norah requested these two. :)

Monday, January 21, 2019

Recent reads.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman- I had heard this book recommended by several different people, which always makes me excited to read it, because I feel like it's going to be good if I've heard about it from several different sources. It was a captivating read, but it wasn't at all that I thought it would be. My memory could be wrong, but I remember someone saying it was funny, and I wouldn't say this book was funny, but it was an enjoyable read. Eleanor struggles socially and doesn't have any friends, but when she becomes friends with Raymond from her office, parts of her past come out and she begins a journey of healing. A good reminder that we are made for community!

Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss- My Bible study finished this book recently. It was a good read! A great reminder and challenger to practice and incorporate gratitude in our daily lives. She shared some stories of people who displayed gratitude despite very difficult situations, and I always love hearing stories. At times it felt a bit stretched, like a little too long, but overall I thought it was good.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris- I also heard this book recommended, but is different than my usual reads. It was definitely interesting, but it's a psychological thriller about a marriage that appears to be perfect but really isn't. Jack is a high powered attorney who does domestic abuse cases, but in reality he's really abusing his wife, and it's a story about their relationship and how she overcomes. I thought the ending was too abrupt- I wished for another chapter- but it wasn't dissatisfying. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Quick mommy/daughter Minneapolis trip.

Norah and I took a quick one night trip to Minneapolis last weekend, and we had a lot of fun! We met Karlie and Zack (my sister and BIL), at MOA and ate together, visited the American Girl store, and rode a few rides. Norah had the greatest time. I've said this before but will never tire of it- watching your kids have fun is the greatest. 

Norah had so much fun playing with all the baby stuff in the AG store, we had to remind her several times that rides were waiting and we had to get moving to have time for it all. Norah really loves any and all things doll!

Very tentatively saying hello to Sponge Bob. I was surprised she willingly went up at all!

We didn't get any roller coaster pictures because I didn't want to take my camera up near the ride, but Norah loved it and was laughing the whole time! It was, by far, the biggest/fastest roller coaster she'd been on yet. That's my girl! (I love rides, but Kley does not.)

We rode the ferris wheel and the carousel, and she jumped in a giant bounce house too. So fun!

Our main reason for the last minute trip was to go visit/help my college roommate, Jackie, who had been very sick in the hospital. She was at home and doing a lot better than she was, but we brought them some food and helped clean their house. They had moved and had another baby since we last saw them, so it was fun to catch up! I'm really glad we got to go. Kley did a great job holding down the fort at home with Lucy and Ellory (and my MIL helped too, which was so nice!), but I was grateful for the stage we are in where I could pack up and go rather last minute. The girls are a lot of work, yes, but I'm not nursing or anything like that and they are getting older, so it was nice to feel more "free" to go and serve! Not that serving your family isn't valuable, because it definitely is and is your most important service, but there's something about the newborn/younger season that makes it tougher to do some service opportunities outside the house.

Norah had fun playing with their older kids, Daniel (who is 11 days older than Norah), and Noelle (who is only a couple weeks younger than Lucy and Ellory). Fun that they can get together a couple times a year too!

Joe and Jackie's newest cutie, Thomas!

On the way home, we stopped at DQ for supper, and Norah leaned back in the booth and said, "This was the best mommy daughter day ever. A+ A+." Such a sweet moment that I want to remember forever. I love spending time with you, my girl. Love my family!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Schut Christmas 2018.

We got to spend five nights in Des Moines with all my siblings together for Christmas, and it was awesome. We didn't do that many activities, but it was so nice to just all be together and hang out at home and talk/play games. It was a truly wonderful Christmas!

This was when Norah was the music teacher and made everyone sit on the stairs and sing Christmas songs together. It was really cute.

She even handed sheet music out to everyone.

And then there was dancing.

My good friend Stephanie was home for Christmas too! I got to see her in November when Norah and I went to visit her in DC, in December for Christmas, and I'll see her again in January for her sister's baby shower. Love seeing her three months in a row!

Matching pajamas! Everyone joked that I had no Christmas spirit because I kept the tags on mine and returned them because they were too big, so I only wore them about ten minutes. But we got the cute photo!

Norah's excited for her Bitty Baby outfit! All three of my girls love playing with dolls. I love that they love it.

Merry Christmas from the five of us!

Love my family!

So fun to have a niece/cousin and to watch my brother be a dad. Norah loved holding her and I think Lucy and Ellory gave her about 100 hugs while we were there. It was the sweetest. They were so gentle with her.

Gift time!

My parents are awesome grandparents! (So are Kley's!)

Four girls!

This picture is the best.

Christmas blessings to you all!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

De Jong Christmas 2018 (and Ellory's first hair cut!).

Christmas with kids and family is just the best! Not that everything goes perfectly, but just being together and celebrating His birth is such a special time. The whole month of December was just so fun. We spent most of our Christmas break in Des Moines with my side, but we were able to do our big celebration with the De Jongs before we left, and even throw in a couple smaller celebrations when we got back. 

Christmas dinner with everyone! For those who don't know, Kley has one sister, Elizabeth, who is married to Brett and they are expecting a little boy in February!

Gift opening! We are so grateful for gracious grandparents, aunts, and uncles on both sides who are so generous to our our girls. Kley and I seriously contemplated not getting our girls anything because they really don't need anything else and get plenty of gifts from others, but then we said we have to at least get them a small something. If they found out when they were older that we didn't get them anything for Christmas, we'd never live it down!

Love spending time with Brett and Elizabeth! And this ice cream parlor was a big hit!

This is one of my new favorite pictures, totally unplanned. I love Kley being a great dad and building toys in the background, Norah watching and helping, and the girls sharing ice cream. It's not often that candid photos are taken of me with the girls (it's almost always me taking them of them), but I just love the look on my face as I'm looking at Ellory. Motherhood is exhausting, but it truly is a great joy.

I also really love this picture because of the look on Kley's face as he opens a gift. Kley definitely has a childlike, entertaining spirit, which makes him a pretty fun husband and dad!

Ellory also got her first haircut in the midst of the celebrations. She did great, mostly because she was entranced by an animal sounds video. Ellory sure loves animals! Lucy got a hair cut too, but this was her third one. They both look so grown up now!

(She has a bruise on her cheek from a toy fight between her and Norah. Oops.)

And, to end with a favorite whole family shot. Hope everyone had a great Christmas!