Archive | June, 2016

Annabelle Lyn: 15 Months

27 Jun

Annabelle was 15 months back on June 27.20160607_112132 (Large)Size

Annabelle had her 15-month appointment last Friday and is now 22 lbs 7 oz (67%), 31 inches tall (62%) with a head circumference of 19 inches (98.8%). She’s still wearing 12-18 month clothing and size 4 diapers.20160613_162601 (Large)Eating

Not much has changed here from last month. She’s still nursing 3-5 times a day, eating 3 meals and a few snacks, and drinking water and occasionally peach tea from a sippy cup.

Annabelle does have all of her teeth now (minus her 2-year molars) and can feed herself with a spoon and fork (an ability she was more than eager to learn– she’d whine at meals until we gave her a utensil of her own).IMG_20160615_085131 (Large)IMG_20160621_123217 (Large)Sleeping

Annabelle’s sleeping has changed over the past month… and not for the better, unfortunately. She has developed what we think is separation anxiety, which means she wakes up whenever we try to put her in her crib and screams at the top of her lungs. Putting her down awake is just as bad. Since her crying is so intense and crying-it-out isn’t my thing to begin with, I usually only wait 10-15 minutes before going in to comfort her (and sometimes not even that).

One reason we think it’s separation anxiety is because she calms down the second we enter her room. But she doesn’t stay calm if we don’t also immediately pick her up. After a week or so of rocking her or holding her for 30-60 minutes (long enough for her to be sleeping deeply when we put her down) and feeling frustrated and exhausted, I moved a mattress into her room and have been sleeping with her on the floor for the past couple of weeks.IMG_20160625_111323 (Large)Another reason we think it’s separation anxiety is that she cries immediately if I try to put her in the crib, but goes right to sleep if I put her down on the mattress on the floor–I think because she associates it with me being in there with her. (She’ll also look to see if I’m still there when I put her down on the mattress.)

Anyway, I’m hoping this is a phase that runs its course quickly so that I can get back to my own bed. Though I will admit it’s kind of fun snuggling with Annabelle. In the morning, she’ll crawl over (she’s usually sleeping on a separate blanket on the floor by then with all the rolling around she does) and snuggle with me. She loves rolling around, burrowing, snuggling, cuddling, even when she’s awake. She often lays her head on her shoulders when we’re holding her. She’s just such a sweetie.

IMG_20160623_160722 (Large)Development

Annabelle is so. close. to walking but just doesn’t have the confidence or boldness quite yet to really try it. She is starting to let go of her support while playing with things, can walk if we hold her around the waist or hold one hand, but is just extremely cautious. She’s had a few minor tumbles while trying to walk that have impeded her progress even more. The gross motor expert we’re working with, though, says another reason for her delay could be because Annabelle’s feet naturally fall inside onto her arches, causing her to work extra hard to maintain her balance, and that she would benefit from wearing supportive shoes almost all the time. We haven’t been very good about having her wear shoes since she’s not walking and it’s summer (hello sweaty feet!), but I’m trying to be better about it since it’s the best thing for her.

She still loves pushing her alligator clacker around, and she can finally turn it on her own too! She loves funny noises and ripping paper, and is in full-blown mess-making mode. Her favorite thing by far, though, is climbing. We move a small stool in front of the couch (it’s just a little too high for her without it) and she amuses herself for 15-20 minutes going up and down. She also loves climbing stairs and slides.

Annabelle also does a lot of talking and babbling, and her favorite word(s) by far right now are Dada (used for almost everything) and Dawdee (Doggy). She also says “Oh” with her little mouth in the shape of an O (especially when seeing something new or interesting), “ah da” (all done), and “uh oh” regularly. She now associates the sign for “more” with the idea of eating. Her receptive language has increased a lot too–we can ask her to come over to her chair to eat and she will (when she wants to eat). We can talk about going outside and she’ll go to the door, or at least look in that direction. She’ll be upset about not getting food right. now. and I can explain that I’m just going to get her tray, or cut the food up, and she’ll settle down momentarily. She can also point to doggies in books. It’s so fun watching kids learn new things!

Memorial Day 2016: Ohio Trip

23 Jun

This year, one of my cousins got married the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend in Zanesville, Ohio. Zanesville happens to be only 1.5 hours from my aunt and uncle who live in Green, Ohio (outskirts of Akron). Even though I have seen them fairly often in the past 2-3 years, I hadn’t been to visit them in something like 20 years, so we decided to make a week-long trip out of it!

Since the uncle we were visiting is my dad’s only brother and we’d be flying out of the same airport, we asked my dad if he wanted to join us. He did, so we met up at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport (Travis, the girls, and I flew in from Brainerd) and rented a minivan together once we got to Cleveland.20160525_112648 (Large)The Wednesday we flew in, we stopped by the Cleveland Aquarium right after leaving the airport, mostly to minimize the amount of driving we’d be doing (it was about an hour drive between Cleveland and Green). Annabelle was mostly interested in climbing on things, but did enjoy seeing the big fish and sharks. Emma enjoyed running around on her own (too much), trying to touch the sting rays in the interactive area, drawing on the chalkboard areas, and using lots of hand sanitizer–looking at fish is not quite exciting enough for her, though I do think she liked the glass tunnel (that’s always my favorite part).

After the aquarium, we hit the road and spent the rest of the evening hanging out with Noel and Pat at their house, and grilling burgers for dinner. We stayed at Noel and Pat’s house the whole time we were up in the Cleveland/Akron area. Travis, the girls, and I slept in their really nice fifth wheel camper (which gave us a bunch of room to spread out), and my dad slept in their guest room. I usually dread nighttime on vacation because the girls have a track record of sleeping horribly, but they actually did REALLY well. Almost better than they do at home!

Thursday, my dad helped Noel work on one of the camper’s slide-outs that was broken, and Travis, the girls, and I headed to the Akron Zoo. It was a really fun time! Annabelle is old enough to enjoy looking at animals, and Emma had a blast running around.IMG_20160526_180420 Emma asked to ride the carousel, so we all went on it. Annabelle did not like how the animal she was riding moved up and down. She started crying the minute the carousel started moving, but was fine if I just held her. Emma loved it though.

Emma also asked to ride a little train they had in the kids’ area. It was $2 a person, and looked completely lame for an adult, so we convinced Emma to ride on it by herself if she really wanted to go. And she did! Another mom befriended her in line and offered that Emma could sit with them, but when they opened the gate to let them get on the train, Emma wandered down to the caboose at the end and sat all by herself! Her expression was priceless.

When she got off, I told her that I was proud of her for being so brave and riding the train all by herself, and she told me, “I was scared.” Cutie.

At the river otter habitat, the zoo had a clear plastic slide that went through the river otter tank. There were a bunch of kids there going down the slide over and over. Emma went down the slide a bunch of times too, but the last couple of times she went down, she stopped herself halfway done and tried to climb back up. The last time, I had to reach/climb up into the slide from the bottom and pull Emma out because she refused to move. And that was that.

Friday morning, Travis and Noel headed to the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton while my dad, Pat, the girls, and I headed to an outdoor pool in nearby Hartsville. The one thing I had forgotten to pack (there’s always something!) was a swimsuit for myself. I thought I could get by without one, but once we got to the pool, it became apparent that it would really be nice if I had a suit. So my dad and I went to Target as quickly as we could (still took us about 45 minutes roundtrip with traffic, even though the store was only 6 miles away) and I bought a suit. Once we got back, we stayed at the pool for about another hour. There was a big (lazy) waterslide that I tried to convince Emma to go on with me, but she refused. She wouldn’t even go down the kiddie one after sliding off the end into the water a little too fast. Annabelle had a blast climbing on the kiddie waterslide. I took both girls through the water falling from the mushroom/tree thing, but neither of them liked it.

After the pool, we packed up our stuff and headed down to Columbus to see my oldest brother Jeremy, his wife Jen, and their two boys, Jensen and Jackson. We went out for pizza at a place called Bexley Pizza Plus. It was delicious! We sat out on the patio, and Emma and Jensen had a great time running around chasing each other. After we got back to the hotel, Travis took Emma to the pool for a bit while I put Annabelle down for bed.

20160530_162109 (Large)Saturday was the day of my cousin’s wedding. We ate the hotel’s continental breakfast, and then swam in the pool for a bit before getting ready for the wedding and driving the hour from Columbus to Zanesville. Once we got to Zanesville, we quickly ate soup and salad at Olive Garden before heading to the church.

Tim and Mary’s wedding was held at a beautiful Catholic church and I’m sure the 1.5-hour service was wonderful–we just didn’t hear almost a single word between the low volume on the priest’s microphone, the echo of the wooden pews and stone walls, and the screeching/crying/whispering/banging/general chaos of the 40 kids in back. Seriously, there were a lot of kids at the wedding. One of the only things I did hear the priest say at the end of his homily was, “It sounds like a rainforest in here.”

Even though Emma colored on her own and Annabelle’s face in washable marker and threw one of the hymnals at Annabelle during the service (causing me to remove and discipline her), I think our kids actually did pretty well, all things considered. (But as we continually discovered during this vacation, there is a huge difference between things “going well” in terms of no major meltdowns and things “going well” in terms of getting to actually pay attention to and enjoy what you’re there for. By that latter definition, things definitely did not go well. But let’s be honest, they never do when you’re at a wedding with young kids.)

After the service, we checked into our hotel and got situated, and then headed to the reception, which was about 40 minutes away on Mary’s family’s farm. It was such a lovely evening–the weather was perfect, the reception was such a great mix of rustic farm charm and wedding formal, they had rented a bouncy house for the kids. Emma had a blast playing in the bouncy house, with various other toys, and running around the farm. Annabelle, on the other hand, had a hard time. She’s just at a hard age where she isn’t content to just sit or be held, but is also very limited in what she can do, especially outside on a farm where there is either cement or hay fields to crawl on. We made do, enjoyed as much of the reception as we could, and headed home a little before 10 pm.

IMG_20160529_114622Sunday morning, we snuck in a quick swim before meeting my whole family in the hotel lobby for the continental breakfast. We chatted for a little over an hour before we all needed to pack up and go our respective ways. Travis, the girls, my dad, my aunt and uncle, and I all headed back up to Cleveland to go to an Indians game at 1:10 pm.

Emma was very hesitant about going into the ballpark at first (she’s never been anywhere like that before) but once we got in, she relaxed. I, however, was extremely frustrated for the first few innings because the girls were thirsty but we had read online that you couldn’t bring sippy cups or water bottles into the ballpark, and there were no cups or straws to be found (neither Emma nor Annabelle can drink out of a water bottle without a straw). I did, however, see many people who had brought their own sippy cups in! Grrrr….  Luckily, as I was complaining, a lady in front of me overheard and offered me one of her straws that she had brought along for her toddler. I was so grateful! That helped settle me down.

I seriously didn’t watch really any of the game, but Travis said that he saw enough of it to feel like it had been worth it. And it was really for him that we went, so that’s good enough for me. Besides sitting in our seats for about 20 minutes total, we raced a ghost runner to first base (one of the kid activities they had), ate $6 hot dogs (Emma and Annabelle both almost ate an entire one by themselves!), and checked out the Kids Club area, which had a bunch of Step2 toys and its own private viewing deck (where Travis caught almost an entire 2 innings while “watching” Emma!).IMG_20160530_090701There was a big tunnel slide in the Kids Area, and just like at the zoo, Emma stopped herself halfway down and wouldn’t come out. So Travis had to go in after her, but by the time he had gotten to where she had been in the slide, she had decided to go down and was already out. So he popped out the bottom looking like he had just gone down the slide by himself, ha.

Sunday evening, we were feeling burned out and wishing that we had gone home that day instead of staying until Tuesday. But Monday (Memorial Day) ended up being really fun and redeemed our longer stay. We stopped by a car show on a whim and ended up staying a couple of hours. While my dad and Noel looked at cars (they were loving it!), Travis and I played at the playground with the girls. Then we ate a free picnic lunch, complete with ice cream bars. We also stopped to look at the two pink cars we saw (Emma’s favorite color) and take pictures. IMG_20160530_160012After naptime, we drove to the Erie Canal and checked that out. Beautiful, but hot.

For dinner, we ate ribs and corn on the cob at Noel and Pat’s, and then went out for ice cream at Pav’s Creamery.

Tuesday morning, we were up bright and early to catch our flight from the Cleveland airport back to Minneapolis/St. Paul. We had a 3-hour layover there before our flight back up to Brainerd, so my dad ate lunch with us at Rock Bottom before taking off. The rest of the layover we spent walking on the moving sidewalks, playing at the airport playground, getting coffee, eating snacks, changing diapers, and checking out the nursing moms room (very nice, I might add!). It actually was a very enjoyable time. The girls were having a blast. The thing about kids is, they don’t care that they’re playing on a playground at the airport. A playground is fun anywhere! The play area also had coin-operated rides, and the girls rode those probably a half a dozen times.

We made a lot of great memories during our week in Ohio, and it’s always great spending time with family (seriously, it’s one of my favorite things in life), but we were SO GLAD to get home. Traveling with young kids is no joke. I may have been a homebody before having kids, but I really am one now. Like they say, with young kids, you don’t go on vacations… you go on family trips. Now I need a real vacation!

Make Time for Yourself by Trusting in God

21 Jun

IMG_20160621_105344An idea that seems rather ubiquitous right now in the online and book world for women, moms in particular, is “Prioritize yourself.” What they mean by that is to intentionally carve out time for yourself to pursue your own interests, to do things because you want to and not because you have to, and to get sufficient rest instead of running yourself ragged.

That this common theme is being touted by many sources in a variety of contexts shows that this is a message moms need to hear. If my experience proves anything, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you always need to “be on”—that if you don’t do something, it won’t get done; and if it doesn’t get done, all hell will break loose.

Just the other weekend, Travis and I took the girls to a nearby waterpark. Usually I’m the one who packs the suits, towels, change of clothes, sunscreen, etc. But that day, Travis remarked that he was packing a bag with our clothes. So despite the weird feeling of not being in control, I let go and let Travis pack. When we arrived at the waterpark, however, I discovered that he had meant he was packing our changes of clothes, and we had brought nothing for the girls—no clothes, no regular or swim diapers, and no swimsuit bottom for Annabelle (we had put sunscreen on before leaving the house). My initial reaction was anger and “See! If I don’t do things, they don’t get done!” After 5 minutes and with diapers loaned from our friends, I settled down and could admit that it really was just a breakdown in communication—Travis had thought I was packing the stuff for the girls.

It’s incidences like that that make us moms feel justified in our “Woe is me, I never get a break” attitude. I often feel bitter at Travis for his asking to do stuff on his own or for himself (like running errands alone, going fishing alone, etc.) but the truth is, I could ask to do things for myself too, but I don’t. Why is that? It’s because of this idea that I need to continually manage things, or they won’t get done.

The bigger and more truthful truth is that they most likely will get done… they just won’t get done the way I do them, or when I would do them. There are those times they really don’t get done, but you know what? The world keeps spinning. All hell doesn’t break loose. And I hate to admit it, but there are even times when I realize that… certain things aren’t even necessary. (Shocker, right?)

That means it’s ok for me to use a naptime for writing, even if it means the dirty dishes and Mount Laundry remain untouched. It’s ok for me to leave the girls with daddy on a Saturday to go on a run instead of run to the store, even if it means we scrounge through the fridge for a hodge podge dinner that night. It’s ok for me to head to Bible study even if Annabelle isn’t down for the night, and it means Travis will have to handle putting both girls to bed on his own (like I have done many times).

The more I’ve analyzed my reluctance to take a break from being the mom and adult, the more I realize that that reluctance comes from pride. It comes from me thinking that I’m indispensable. That no one can do what I do, or more accurately, no one can do what I do exactly the way I do it. And My Way is the Right Way.

Last week, Travis and I had a dinner date to talk through some challenges and communication issues in our marriage, and we realized that all this time, we’ve been thinking that to be on the same team as parents, we needed to handle situations exactly the same way. What a ludicrous thought! We don’t need to be the same parent to be on the same team—we just need to agree on overarching principles and have one another’s back on in-the-moment decisions.

This is why it’s good to remind moms—especially Type A, OCD, control freaks like me—that it’s ok to take a break, and that the world won’t fall apart in their absence.

BUT…

We are humans, which means we are sinners. And there is an aspect to this idea of “Prioritize yourself” that could prove to be unhelpful. Satan knows that we are, by nature, selfish. In his sermon “Splitness” using Romans 7:1-9 and 18-25, and the classic book “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, Pastor Tim Keller agrees with Stevenson that all the evil in the world is caused by self-centeredness: “Every thought centering on the self.”

What I’m trying to say is: our sinful, selfish selves could take this bait of prioritizing ourselves and use it to our detriment. We can fall into the mindset that we “deserve” to have time to ourselves, that we “need” to pursue hobbies for our own mental sanity, and that we’re “losing our true identities” in the throes of motherhood. Some of the most dangerous, discontentment-breeding words for a mother are “All I want is…” “All I want is some peace and quiet.” “All I want is to drink my cup of coffee before it gets cold.” “All I want is to read a single paragraph without being interrupted.” “All I want is for the kids to go the eff to sleep already!” Let’s be honest, we really don’t need anything tempting us to be more selfish. Because we do a fine job on our own, thankyouverymuch.

But, you might say, moms are being reminded to rest and pursue their own hobbies because they are pouring out every single drop of energy and focus on their families! That’s not selfish.

Or is it?

As I’ve already pointed out, my own reluctance to taking a break comes from pride, from a self-concerned need to control everything. In those instances, I’m refusing to do what I really need to do for my own mental health and energy levels because I’m more concerned about the laundry getting done, or Travis not feeling abandoned, or the girls not being a handful. I have a puffed-up estimation of my own importance.

Those are the two extremes. On one hand, there is the extreme of playing the martyr and running on fumes to serve your family. On the other hand, there is the extreme of thinking that we are entitled to our own time and need it at all costs.

But there is a third way. It is a delicate balance between the two, and only possible by depending on God’s guidance through the Holy Spirit.

We humbly come before God and relinquish our indispensable mother role. We admit that He’s got our family in His hands, and we can rest and sleep because He never does. We can see the reality that we have been doing too much, and trying too hard, because we were depending on ourselves to get it all done. We receive the gift of rest, and of pursuing hobbies, and of doing things that simply delight us, and we appreciate the people who enable it to happen.

But we also hold those gifts with open hands, so that on the days that naptimes don’t overlap, or daddy feels sick when he’s supposed to watch the kids, or kids don’t sleep well so our morning routines aren’t possible, we have grace. We don’t mumble or grow frustrated that we were robbed of the time that we needed for ourselves. We believe that God will provide for us exactly what we need. Some days His grace comes in the form of time to rest or pursue hobbies. Some days it comes in the form of sustained energy and patience in the face of kids throwing tantrums and babies who won’t sleep.

Yes, it is good for moms to rest. Yes, it is good for moms to pursue their hobbies, or simply get time away. But let us pursue these things in faith, trusting in the God who “richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17) and who “[supplies] every need of [ours] according to his riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).


“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24)

“‘Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’” (Matthew 6:34)

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:3-11)

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

Signs of Spring 2016

11 Jun

We are now officially (at least according to Minnesotans!) into summer. While I LOVE warm evenings, open windows, al fresco dining, and beach days, I think spring is quickly becoming my favorite season. Maybe I just didn’t pay attention to these things before, but this year, I was mesmerized by the beauty of God’s creation. There were flowers everywhere! The sunrises and sunsets seemed to be consistently stunning. But I even encountered beauty in lichens on tree bark, stacked piles of birch firewood, dandelions on the edge of the driveway, and a leaf fallen on the asphalt.

A line from one of my favorite running songs says “Heaven and all the universe proclaim Your power and Your worth” (Your Love Goes on Forever by Sonicflood). How true that is.

Celebrating 9 Years

10 Jun

Travis and I celebrated 9 years of marriage on May 19, which fell on a Thursday this year. The day of, we went out to eat at Culver’s for lunch and then stopped by Home Depot to buy some annuals they had on sale. (Pretty exciting, huh?)

The weekend following our anniversary, Travis’ parents came down to our house and watched the girls for us so we could spend the day being tourists in our own town. (We would’ve loved to get away somewhere overnight but because Annabelle is still nursing, teething, and won’t take a bottle, we decided against it. Baby steps. She’ll get there eventually.)

Both Travis and I love ourselves a good garage sale, so Saturday morning, we headed out garage sale-ing. We weren’t overly impressed with the selection at the sales we went to, but we found some stuff to buy — books, picture frames, a Nemo sprinkler and Spongebob fishing rod, a small basketball, a few clothes, etc. Nothing we were really hoping to find, but it was fun nonetheless.

A full morning of garage sales worked up quite the appetite so we hit up Zorbaz on Gull Lake for lunch. It was very hot and bright out on the patio, but once we snagged a table under an umbrella, it was quite pleasant. Their BBQ chicken pizza is delicious.IMG_20160521_135145

After lunch, we headed over to Pirate’s Cove for some mini golf. It was HOT out there–I think it was probably 90 degrees and 70% humidity. We Minnesotans are kind of wusses when it comes to heat. But it was fun nonetheless. I got 2 or 3 holes-in-one (Travis got one too) but also had a few holes that took me 6+ strokes, so Travis ended up winning by about 10 strokes (he always does, so nothing new there). We decided that we hadn’t been mini-golfing since I was pregnant with Emma.IMG_20160521_211757

Travis had a craving for ice cream from Dairy Queen after that so we got mini blizzards and took them to a nearby park where we walked on a bike path through the woods. It was still pretty darn hot though, and I was getting tired (all those garage sales took it out of me!), so we cut our walk short, and decided that if we were going to take our boat out to do some fishing and still make it to a movie that night, we needed to do it.

So we went home, Travis talked to his parents while I nursed Annabelle (Emma was napping), we hooked up the boat, and launched it just a few miles from our house on the Crow Wing River. Travis fished while I read a book (Not Who I Imagined by Margot Starbuck) and we chatted. Right before we left, a couple of river otters poked their heads out of the water and growled at us. Then one of them swam closer and popped out of the water just about 10 feet from our boat. It was really cool! We see wildlife all the time where we live, but river otters were a first!

After we pulled our boat out of the water, we brought it back to the house and quickly snuck out undetected to go see The Jungle Book in the theater. It was good! We both enjoyed it, and liked the ending in that version better than the one in the Disney movie. We got home from the movie around 9 pm, put the girls to bed, and crashed. It was a very fun, busy, tiring day!

Sunday, we left the girls at home while we went to church for small group and the worship service. After eating lunch at Erbert’s and Gerbert’s, we stopped by Menards for a few things (where we actually ended up running into Travis’ parents with the girls–they were there buying seeds for their garden). Then we all headed home for naps and yardwork. That evening, we went to a potluck picnic with our small group from church. It was a great end to a wonderful weekend.13221091_10154541162696664_1927563454665897256_n

Annabelle Lyn: 13-14 Months

2 Jun

I keep falling behind on Annabelle’s monthly updates–each month goes by so fast! Annabelle was 13 months on April 27 and 14 months on May 27.20160414_150436 (Large)

Annabelle is at such a fun age. She’s learning new things everyday, getting into everything, and will be walking any day now. But first things first…IMG_20160416_093614 (Large)

Size

Annabelle is still wearing some 12-month clothes, but she’s mostly in 18-month clothes now (partly because they’re the warmer weather ones). She wears size 4 toddler shoes and size 4 diapers. The 12-month sunhat that we had for Emma at this age doesn’t fit her noggin though, so I had to buy her a 12-18 month size (and even that *just* fits).20160501_170207 (Large)

Eating

Annabelle is still a good eater and I think she went through a growth spurt a few weeks ago because she was packing away the food. Her favorite foods right now are: avocado, banana, blueberries, puffs, toast, crackers, noodles, tomatoes, mandarin oranges/clementines, pears, peaches, pineapple, kiwi, and cheese. She has several other foods that she will eat a small amount of as well. But banana, avocado, cheese, and oranges are the mainstays of her diet.IMG_20160415_183855 (Large)

Annabelle is still nursing, mostly because she has been getting teeth left and right! She now has all 4 molars (the 4th is halfway through the gum) and is getting the 4 canine teeth (between the incisors and molars) all at the same time. She’s been a little crabby, to say the least. She gets a dose of baby ibuprofen every night before bed, and that seems to keep the pain at bay during the night.

20160509_112048 (Large)If Annabelle wakes up during the night (which she still does once on average, though some nights she sleeps straight through and some wacky nights she’s up 3-4 times), I nurse her. I also nurse her right away in the morning, and before her naps and bedtime. Otherwise, she’s just eating food and drinking water. She doesn’t drink cow’s milk really at all… I haven’t tried very hard to get her to, but she doesn’t seem to like it much. I’m not too worried about it at this point.

IMG_20160512_152046 (Large)Sleeping

I really have no complaints about Annabelle’s sleeping habits. Would I like Annabelle to sleep through the night consistently? Of course. Will she eventually? I have no doubt. Am I going to try to sleep train while she’s cutting 5 teeth? Mmmm, no. Since she’s getting all of her teeth (minus the 2-year molars) right now, the end is in sight! And then I will work on weaning, which will hopefully mean her sleeping through the night too. Or maybe without teething pain, she’ll sleep through the night and kind of wean herself. **here’s hoping**

IMG_20160422_084041 (Large)Annabelle waffles between one and two naps a day. I try to get the girls to take their afternoon naps together as much as possible (giving me a much-needed break) but some days, it just doesn’t work. I’d say it’s about 60-40 (nap together-nap separately). If I can see that the naps aren’t going to overlap, I have Emma watch her iPad in her room for 20-30 minutes while Annabelle is napping, so I at least get a teeny break.

Because she still nurses and won’t take a bottle, I still haven’t spent a night away from Annabelle since she was born. But! The weekend of our wedding anniversary (May 19), Travis’ parents watched both Emma and Annabelle for an entire day. Annabelle took a 3-hour nap without nursing. I did end up nursing her that afternoon (so that I didn’t have to pump, and we were back at the house getting the boat anyway), and before bed. But it was encouraging that she went down easily and took a good nap without me. Next up is trying a whole day and night without me… but that might be after she’s weaned. Can you tell that my approach is Less is More?

20160524_151828 (Large)Development

Annabelle still isn’t walking but she’s oh.so.close. Similar to how long it took her to start crawling, I think she’s just being very conservative about things. She pulls herself up on everything and LOVES climbing (she’s gets very upset if she sees stairs and isn’t allowed to climb them right now). She has mastered the art of going down stairs too, and can turn around at the top to go down backward. That is also her strategy for going down the slide on our swing set. One of Annabelle’s very favorite things to do the past couple of months has been push her alligator clacker up and down the driveway. She can walk pretty fast doing it too!

IMG_20160515_133945 (Large)IMG_20160531_155019 (Large)IMG_20160516_161515 (Large)Unlike her sister, Annabelle does not like swinging very much. She seems to enjoy it for about 5 minutes and then wants out. (Emma could swing all the day long.) She hasn’t been a huge fan of grass or sand so far, but each day she gets a little more adventurous. Just today she was crawling around on our driveway and the grass in front of our house (which means filthy pants for mommy to wash!).

20160518_202307 (Large)Annabelle does love water like Emma does, though. She loves being in the pool and tub, and the one time we went to the beach so far this year, Annabelle walked in up to her diaper (I was not preparing for swimming). My parents bought Emma a water table for her birthday and Annabelle has really enjoyed that too.

IMG_20160422_083319 (Large)Annabelle has a handful of words now–dada (dad), dawdee (doggy), uh oh, ma (more), uh (up), ah daw (all done)–and we can tell that she’s comprehending more too. The other night, we were playing in the bathroom and I asked Annabelle if she wanted to take a bath. She looked toward the bathtub, said some gibberish, and crawled over to the tub. She’s also learned the sign for “more” and has used that a handful of times to request more food. She also loves blowing raspberries, just with her mouth and also on my arm. One night, I was trying to put her down for bed, and she just kept blowing on my arm for almost 10 minutes. I was laughing pretty hard.

20160518_203901 (Large)Annabelle still puts up with a lot of rough play from Emma. It is the most frustrating part of parenting right now. Seriously, the choices a toddler makes defy logic. The other night, we were playing with the big lego blocks while watching a movie. Emma took a stack of blocks and dropped it right on Annabelle’s head. WTH?!?! We’ve started using the 1-2-3 Magic discipline approach, but when Emma purposefully or even sometimes negligently hurts Annabelle, she immediately gets a timeout. Is it working? Who knows. Emma has a really hard time keeping her hands to herself. Poor Annabelle gets pushed, pulled, dragged, hit, bit, shoved, hair pulled, toys stolen, head covered with blankets–you name it. I think Emma views Annabelle as her life-size doll to play with. Annabelle also gets a decent amount of head bonks and bruises from her own exploring as well. Thankfully she hasn’t gotten seriously injured yet.

IMG_20160520_142721 (Large)IMG_20160413_135330 (Large)Right before Annabelle turned 14 months, she went on her third airplane ride, this time to Cleveland, Ohio. She did really well! I nursed her on the flight from MSP to Cleveland, and she slept most of the way. More details coming in a separate post about our trip…

And that’s Annabelle at 14 months!IMG_20160414_201231 (Large)IMG_20160406_115553 (Large)IMG_20160407_155607 (Large)20160510_092412 (Large)20160506_184527 (Large)20160503_094602 (Large)20160501_192127 (Large)20160429_130529 (Large)20160422_085150 (Large)20160422_085141 (Large)