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Pregnancy #3: First 4 Months

12 Oct

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen our announcement about expecting Baby #3 (whom we’re calling Jellybean) around March 26 of 2018. If you don’t, surprise! We’re having another baby! My due date is the day before Annabelle turns 3 and two weeks before Emma turns 5, so Jellybean will also be enjoying shared birthday parties with the girls until they are old enough to plan their own.

IMG_2705

IMG_2708Finding Out

I found out I was pregnant on July 23. Travis requested to be the one to check the pee stick this time, so he could know for 5 seconds before me. I had a hunch I was pregnant before I even took the test because I was just feeling off. I had been taking birth control, but not consistently (I frequently forgot to take it on the days I worked). We knew getting pregnant was a possibility (but seriously, what are the odds?). I think deep down, we both wanted another biological child, even though we are now officially licensed for foster care and are just waiting for a call.

Spilling the Beans

The experience of our miscarriage back in January made me very cautious about telling people this time around—not because a miscarriage (if it were to happen again) is something to be hidden, but because I didn’t want to get really excited and talk with others about a pregnancy if it wasn’t going to work out (obviously nothing is a given, even after a good ultrasound, but the odds are better).

So after we had been able to hear the heartbeat at my first OB appointment around 10 weeks, we told my immediate family when we saw them for my oldest brother’s 40th birthday. I told the ladies in my Bible study around 11 weeks, when I was going to have family (and announcement) pictures taken by one of them. We also told Emma and Annabelle then (more on their reactions below).

At 12 weeks, I had an ultrasound for dating purposes (my cycles on BC were wonky because I had been so inconsistent with taking it, but I was pretty sure about the date we had conceived). The baby’s measurements were within a day of what we had thought, so my original estimated due date of March 26 was kept. We called Travis’ parents and told them the good news around 13 weeks—we wanted to tell them in person, but just couldn’t find a time when we were all together. We texted Travis’ siblings that same night. And then announced it on IG and FB the next day.

Emma & Annabelle’s Reaction

The girls are very excited about getting a new brother or sister, and regularly ask me if the baby is still in my belly (since I’m just starting to show). They also pretend that they have a baby in their bellies, especially if they just ate a lot. Both of them love little babies, and showered the foster child we had briefly with loads of affection and attention, so I know they’re going to be awesome big sisters. We’re going to bring them to my 20-week ultrasound. Annabelle might not get it, but I think Emma will be fascinated!

Pregnancy Symptoms

I’m now 16.5 weeks and so far, this pregnancy has been pretty much on par with my pregnancies with Emma and Annabelle. I didn’t have morning sickness—just more of a general icky, nauseous feeling all day. Coffee and most food sounded disgusting, and I was super tired (Every day I was like, “Can’t we just stay inside and watch a movie instead of playing outside all the time?!?!”).

The thing that has been the worst with this pregnancy is bloating and constipation. I tried prunes, fiber bars and cereal, Metamucil (yuck), stool softener, prenatal vitamins with no iron, salads, drinking more water, you name it. The only thing that worked consistently was choking down a cup of coffee right away in the morning on an empty stomach. And the bloating—at night, I look like I’m 5 months pregnant. In the morning, I’m back to “normal”. Thankfully, this isn’t so bad now that I’m farther along.

I’ve gained about 10 pounds so far. Baby is measuring at the expected size and has a strong heartbeat. We find out the gender on November 8! But Travis is convinced that we need to have the technician write it down and figure out a creative way to be surprised along with our family. So we’ll see. My initial idea is shooting either pink or blue paint balls at a target (he says we should have something that explodes). Men. 😉

Food & Cravings

Even though most food sounded gross for the first 6-8 weeks, I did have a few cravings things I was willing to eat:

  • Frozen pizza
  • Cucumbers dipped in French dressing
  • Cheesy eggs
  • Chai tea lattes
  • Bagels with cream cheese
  • French fries
  • Potato chips
  • Chicken nuggets

More recently, my cravings have been:

  • Caesar salad or salad with ranch dressing
  • Asian food
  • Soup with salty broth

Similar to my other pregnancies, I have barely any sweet tooth. Instead, all I want is salt, salt, salt. For a bedtime snack, I would much rather have a bowl of pretzels or chips over ice cream. Unfortunately, most salty things are not the healthiest. I’m trying to maintain my regular eating habits as much as I can during this pregnancy, because I know from my previous pregnancies that getting out of the habit of eating healthy and practicing moderation is REALLY hard to break later. It’s just so hard when you’re craving fast food, you’re tired, and your husband is out of town!

Exercise

I’ve been running here and there, not for any distance or speed, but just to get out and enjoy it while I can. I have noticed a few aches and pains already, so I plan to start doing Pilates or yoga more consistently. We bought a treadmill last winter, so I am planning on putting that to good use for walking when it gets too cold or icky outside.

Sleep

Sleep has been pretty normal so far. I have been sleeping on my belly still quite a bit, soaking it up before it’s over for far too long. I’ve also been enjoying near-daily naps (on the days I don’t work) and usually fall asleep in the girls’ room around 9 PM while Annabelle is rolling around, fighting sleep. I have managed to get up around 6 or 6:30 quite a few mornings, which is nice. I’m a much happier person when I get some quiet time to drink coffee and read the Bible before having to interact with anyone (besides God).

Maternity Clothes

I put off wearing maternity clothes as long as I possibly could this pregnancy, and I’m still not wearing maternity shirts (though I do have a few tanks that are technically maternity, but I love them so much that I wear them regularly even when not pregnant). I just know that by the end, I get so sick of the limited wardrobe I have to wear that I’m really trying to not dip into them until I absolutely have to. And over the past couple of years, I have accumulated quite a few shirts that are longer and looser, so they actually work fairly well in these early days of “Is she pregnant or just gaining weight?”.

I have a couple pairs of non-maternity pants that still fit, but most of my pants give me major muffin top action (and are frankly no longer comfy) so I have mostly switched over to maternity pants, just in the past week or so. I bought a couple new pairs of skinny maternity pants (dark denim and black) from Old Navy, and plan to buy 3 plain t-shirts (black, gray and olive green) that I can pair with cardigan sweaters and scarves. Even though I still have my previous maternity clothes and the seasons are the same this time as before, my style has changed over the past 5 years.

And that’s the first 4 months! Like my pregnancy with Annabelle, I plan to only do monthly updates instead of weekly ones. We’ll see if I can even get that done. 😉

Emma’s 4th and Annabelle’s 2nd Birthday Party

17 May

We celebrated Emma’s 4th birthday and Annabelle’s 2nd birthday with friends on the Saturday after Emma’s birthday. (The girls’ birthdays are only a week and a half apart on the calendar so we are doing joint parties for now!)

This year, we did a mermaid/beach theme because those are currently a couple of Emma’s favorite things, and Annabelle likes whatever big sister likes. Emma wore her mermaid costume from Halloween (for about the first 30 minutes) and I found a dress for Annabelle that looked mermaid-ish but could still be worn for other things.I tried to keep the decorations inexpensive, or use things I already had (like all the shells, I had collected on beach vacations). After spending oodles on Gerber daisies last year (unknowingly), I went with regular ones this time. 

I had taken a lot more pictures of the decorations with Travis’ phone, but he updated his iPhone soon afterward and couldn’t remember his iCloud password, so they were all lost. 😞

For an activity this year, the kids made “I Spy” bottles. I emptied bottles of ICE sparkling water, added sand from the decor section at Walmart, and found small trinkets at the dollar store and Big Lots, which I put in a muffin tin for easy assembly. The kids put one of each thing in their bottle and the adults helped superglue the bottles shut. I printed out a list with pictures of all the things they had added so they knew what to look for when playing with their bottles later. The girls have really enjoyed theirs! After the activity, it was time to eat! We had turkey and cheese croissants (with googly eyes to look like crabs), fruit salad, trail mix, goldfish crackers, and spinach & artichoke dip with chips. All Pinterest ideas but I ran out of time to make tent cards with creative names so the food choices probably seemed pretty random. 😂Then it was time for cake! I took the easy route this year and bought a tuxedo mousse cake from Costco. After cake, we opened gifts quickly and then went outside to play because we finally had a nice warm day! That doesn’t happen often at the beginning of April.  After most people had left, we tried to get a family photo. The girls were not very cooperative. Oh well. That night, we took advantage of the warm weather and the girls took a pool bath on the deck. So fun!!

Emma Grace: 3.75 Years

9 Mar

Emma is quickly approaching her 4th birthday on April 7, so I better get this update in before it’s too late!15672976_1332807490082903_846264537335391369_nSize

Emma is in 4T and 5T clothing, and size 9 shoes. I’m excited to find out her weight and height at her next well-child checkup!

Eating

Emma is still a really good eater. Usually, we let her choose what she eats for breakfast, lunch, and snacks (by giving her a few different options), and we make her eat at least a few bites of whatever we made for dinner—which usually requires that she sit on our lap and we help her eat, though she is fully capable of feeding herself. She reverts to baby-like behaviors often, but I’m guessing that is fairly common with this age.

Her favorite foods are yogurt, clementines, mandarin oranges, peaches, baby carrots, cereal, baby cereal, waffles, peanut butter on a spoon, PB&Js, mac & cheese, cheese & crackers, strawberries, blueberries, and applesauce. She will also consistently eat broccoli, sweet bell peppers, black beans, and sweet potato fries. She still is not a fan of meat of really any kind, but she will occasionally eat a chicken sausage. Her favorite treats are candy, ice cream, cheesy dibbles (Cheetos), and caffeine-free pop (soda to all you non-Minnesotans).

15697791_1332807883416197_1671014031762530795_n15726473_1332807670082885_2760584912961896007_n15780738_1332807703416215_2116758220268045907_nSleeping

Emma is still napping during the day (because I need her to!) but she is able to skip her nap and not completely lose it before bedtime—so some days, we let her skip her nap, and apparently, she no longer naps at daycare (which isn’t that surprising). She can’t skip her naps too many days in a row, though, or she is a zombie. Because she is between needing a nap and not needing one, she won’t settle down unless I rock her to sleep in a chair. It usually takes 15-20 minutes, which isn’t so bad, but I end up stumbling out of her room wanting to just take a nap myself instead of getting stuff done. I rock myself to sleep sometimes! Emma usually naps from about 2:00 to 4:00.

At night, Emma usually goes to bed between 9:00 and 9:30. The days she skips her naps, she goes down at more like 7:00 or 8:00. She usually wakes up around 7:30 in the morning.

IMG_2506 (Large)IMG_2684 (Large)IMG_2584 (Large)Development

Potty training is still a battle with this one. She is completely in undies during the day and at night, and has only had a few accidents in the past 3-4 months, but she still wants to poop in a diaper about half the time. Little by little, she is more responsive to our encouragement to poop on the potty. She gets ice cream as her reward!

IMG_2749 (Large)IMG_2667 (Large)IMG_2561 (Large)Things Emma has been loving lately:

  • Hide and Seek – We play this as a family after dinner and it is so fun. Emma loves it! Sometimes she yells to let us know where she is before we can find her, and she often hides where she had just found either me or Travis, but overall, Emma does really well at this game. Annabelle is too young to hide, but she is a good seeker! We complain that she always gives us away before Emma can find us.
  • Hiding from “the Bear” – Where Emma learned this, I have no idea, but she is frequently in a closet or under a blanket hiding from the Bear.
  • YouTube Kids – We put the YouTube kids app on their iPad and Emma discovered these videos of people playing with playdoh. It seriously is the weirdest thing—I’m surprised there are people out there making these videos, let alone people watching them. These people make faces, princess dresses, or cover plastic eggs in playdoh, then open them to reveal the prize toy inside. The other videos on YouTube Kids that Emma has been obsessed with lately are of the song “Daddy Finger,” PJ Masks, Peppa the Pig, and videos of nursery songs like Humpty Dumpty.
  • Playing in the snow—Though Emma doesn’t like wearing winter clothes, she does like playing outside in the snow. She often walks through the snow with just her shoes on (even though I tell her not to). She has enjoyed sledding, snowmobiling, and climbing on big snow piles this year. She also likes to help Daddy shovel the driveway.IMG_2566 (Large)15844768_10103166677744622_7747851522964179194_o
  • Baths—Emma’s love of water is going strong, and lately has manifested itself in the form of 2-3 baths a day. I have a love/hate relationship with baths. I like that the girls are contained in one spot and are usually pretty good at entertaining themselves in the bathtub, but I don’t like that I have to constantly remind them to not pour water outside the tub, or on each other’s heads (let’s be honest, Emma is the culprit of this most of the time). Annabelle usually ends up crying and wanting to get out early.
  • Painting and writing her name—Emma can write her first name (nice that it’s short!) and is learning the rest of the alphabet, though she gets easily discouraged when she tries a certain letter a few times and it doesn’t turn out. She also loves painting, and has recently gotten into puffy paints (covered in glitter of course) and watercolors. I like them too, because less mess!IMG_2568 (Large)15747611_1332807103416275_4427022023995455069_n
  • Doing makeup with Mommy—Anytime the girls catch me doing my makeup, they want to do some too. So I usually give them my powder compact and/or blush and that occupies them long enough for me to finish. Emma also enjoys putting sparkles on her face, and getting her nails painted.
  • Making messes—Emma frequently makes big piles of blankets, sheets, sleep sacks, toys, books, towels (pretty much whatever she can get her hands on) and when I lament that she made a giant mess, she says “I’m making a party.”IMG_2748 (Large)IMG_2561 (Large)img_2280

Funny things Emma says:

  • When asked how she slept at night, Emma will usually say something like, “I slept for 6 minutes.”
  • Emma has started asking how things work. She has been particularly interested in the smoke alarms on the ceiling in her bedroom.
  • Emma likes to tell stories, both about things that really happened and things that she makes up. We can’t always understand what she’s talking about, but she is very animated, so it must be a pretty good story.
  • Emma has started to say the phrases Travis and I use, like “Coming in hot,” “Let’s do this,” “Fine,” and “Deal” with a thumbs up. It’s pretty much hilarious. The other day, she also presented me with two options for playing with the water table outside in the cold: “Mom, we have two options. We can either wash the water table or we can play with it.”
  • At Christmas this year, she called candy canes “candilions” (like dandelions). Last year, she called them candy pops.

Things Emma doesn’t like:

  • Wearing anything in her hair—Whenever I put her hair up in a ponytail, even at her request, she pulls it out after about 10 minutes.
  • Wearing winter clothes—She doesn’t like wearing dresses with long sleeves, pants, socks, etc. If she could, she’d wear summer dresses, tank tops, and skirts all year long. She should’ve been born in a tropical climate. This was her at Christmas:IMG_2410 (Large)IMG_2395 (Large)

And that’s Emma at 3.75 years!

Emma Grace: 3.5 Years

17 Nov

Emma was 3 ½ years old on October 7, so I’m a liiiiitttttle behind on this update. How is Thanksgiving only a week away?!?!

img_1821img_1811Since my last update on Emma, she has not slowed down one bit. In fact, now that Annabelle is cruising around and causing trouble, the two feed off of each other and create even more and bigger messes and disasters than either one would do on their own. Or Emma will do things that she knows she shouldn’t, just because Annabelle is doing them (and is too young to know better). Thankfully their shenanigans have not yet destroyed anything valuable or ended in serious injury.

We like to say that Emma is 3 going on 13 because she has taken to growling when she gets frustrated (gee… I wonder where she learned that, mom?), frequently stomping off to her room while yelling “Leave me alone!”, and slamming her bedroom door. {insert Facebook Wow emoji here}

img_20160824_104737-largeThis girl seriously gives me a run for my money, and pushes my buttons. Oh man, I could tell you stories… and maybe I will one day. I’ve been working on a post about dealing with anger—MY OWN—in motherhood for almost a whole year now, but I haven’t published it because there’s no conclusion. I’m STILL struggling with it, yo!

Emma is just an extremely strong-willed, particular, won’t-back-down-for-nothing child, who will defy me while looking me straight in the eye. I’ve come to understand, though, that she does this for the exact same reason I am often strong-willed and defiant: she thinks her ideas are better than mine, and that she’s right. A chip off the old block, right there. It’s extremely humbling (and scary) when you see that your child inherited your personality, and is also learning your bad habits of dealing with that personality.

img_20160801_125539-largeThank God for His grace and the truth that “Love covers a multitude of sins.” I’ve started praying that even if I don’t stop messing up and doing things I later regret in regards to relating to and disciplining Emma, that at least God will continue to give me a soft enough heart to repent and apologize to her. It’s a daily occurrence in this household. Man, parenting is haaaarrrddd.

But I do love this girl. She has a big heart, and just the other day, when we went and played with friends at the new mall play area, Emma asked for a snack, but then shared most of it with her friends. She’s also hilarious, and thinks of the craziest things to do and say. She has a great imagination, and has started to play by herself in her room quite often, because she knows that if she is anywhere Annabelle can reach her, it’s game over for playing with anything in a particular way (Annabelle is the new Destructobaby). I do often remind her that it’s more fun to play with other kids than by herself, even if they don’t play how she wants them to.

img_1757-largeOverall though, Emma and Annabelle get along really well, and most days they are like two peas in a pod. They both seem to have very similar personalities (in that they’re both CRAZY!) and can often be found running circles around our couches, giggling in the pitch-dark bathroom doing God-knows-what, and making disasters out of books, water, toilet paper, markers, you name it whenever Mommy has been distracted for too long.img_1811-largeimg_1785-largeimg_1835-large

img_1754-largeSpeaking of destruction, Emma has recently gone through a book/paper ripping phase. We were at a loss for how to handle this type of destruction (since I refuse to put all books away or out of her reach). But after several instances of surprisingly intentional destruction (meaning she ripped A LOT of pages), we explained to her that she was no longer allowed to rip anything, under any circumstances, ever again. And if she did rip something, she would get a spanking.

After we explained that, she did rip a few more things (and received a detailed explanation of her disobedience and resulting discipline), but she hasn’t ripped anything since then—and that was about 3 weeks ago. She has mentioned a few times, and I have seen her do so, that she exercised restraint in not ripping something, and I have praised her for going so long without ripping anything. Maybe after a month of no ripping, we’ll take her out to China Buffet (her favorite restaurant) to celebrate.

img_20160922_131613-largeSince the beginning of September, we have tried to do some preschool activities at home (testing out the waters of homeschooling) but so far, it’s been kind of a flop. Emma was excited the first couple weeks, and still asks to “do school” on a semi-regular basis, but never wants to do what I suggest. She mostly just wants to color and maybe trace some letters. I tried telling her about Christopher Columbus while she was coloring a picture on Columbus Day, but she just kept interrupting me and saying “Mommy, stop talking. Mommy, stop talking.” So, we’re leaning toward NO on the homeschooling.

img_20160907_091425-largeAnd I shouldn’t forget an update on potty training… Ugh, potty training. Emma is mostly potty trained during the day, though she has been having a few accidents lately because she just waits too long to head to the toilet. She’s still pooping in a diaper. She pooped on the toilet a handful of times a few months ago but then got constipated and it was downhill from there. And she still wears a diaper to bed. I was feeling pretty discouraged about the whole situation but recently we decided to have her wear undies during her nap, even if there was a chance she’d wet the bed. But she’s only wet the bed once in a couple of weeks. So that encourages me that she’ll get there. I just don’t want this to turn into a daily battle. She really dislikes me wiping her after a poopy diaper though, so hopefully that will convince her to start pooping on the potty again.

20160921_104042-largeSome of Emma’s other favorite things at 3.5 years are:

  • iPad and movies—Of course!
  • Candy and ice cream – This may be her nightly bedtime snack…20160911_115349-large
  • Rock-a-baby in the chair—I rock her to sleep in the glider in her room fairly often, mostly for naps, but we rock a little before bedtime too when I’m the one doing her bedtime routine.
  • Jesus on the cross—Emma has really started to understand stories about Jesus, and loves to point out when she sees something making the shape of the cross. She also loves to hear songs about Jesus, and has started to really enjoy being in the church service with us (and behaves pretty well now too).
  • Dresses and flip-flops—This poor girl is in denial that winter is coming (and frankly, should already be here by Minnesota standards). She frequently doesn’t want to wear pants or a jacket, and almost always doesn’t want to wear shoes. Then she complains about being cold.img_20160801_115416-large
  • Getting dirty and wet—Emma still has a thing for dirt and water. She has loved playing in the leaves this fall (and we had TONS of them!) and on a few of these above-average-temperature days, we’ve had the water table out because both Emma and Annabelle just can’t get enough. One time at the beach this summer, Emma literally army crawled through the sand to the water. She was covered head to toe in sand.img_1599-largeimg_1269-large20160803_113747-largeimg_20160731_194850-large
  • Baths—When we say it’s bath time, both girls make a beeline to the bathroom. Emma usually starts the water and plugs the drain before we even get in there—and she even gets it the right temperature and everything now! *sniff* She’s getting so old.
  • Dance class—We put Emma in a 30-minute ballet class this fall, and so far she really enjoys it. She’s not always the best listener, and sometimes is pouty and refuses to do the moves the teacher’s doing, but overall, she’s doing well. Funny story: her very first class, Emma showed up straight from the daycare playground wearing pants and a t-shirt, with dirty feet, woodchips stuck to her pants and a band-aid on her head, while all the other girls were wearing cute ballet outfits. The teacher said Emma could wear whatever she wanted and didn’t need shoes, but after that first class, we bought her a leotard and ballet shoes.
  • Popcorn—Since both Emma and Annabelle go to bed around 9 pm, one of our near-nightly rituals is making popcorn after bath time and watching a show together. The girls really love popcorn, and Emma loves to help with measuring out the kernels, pouring them in, and plugging the popper in (with supervision).img_1656-large
  • The Striped Dress—Emma’s favorite dress of all time, only to be rivaled by her white Christmas dress from 2014 that she wore for a whole year until it literally didn’t fit her anymore, is a striped maxi dress we bought from Target this summer. She almost always wants to wear that dress, and I think I’m going to have to hide it when it does get cold outside so that’s she forced to wear all her winter clothes, instead of the same old threadbare, faded summer dress. Kids, I tell ya!20160803_132448-large
  • Elsa—Emma got a 16” Elsa doll from her aunt and cousin last Christmas, and LOVES that thing. We ended up buying Annabelle the Anna doll because they had started fighting over Elsa. Emma had been completely attached to a baby doll but Elsa usurped the #1 spot. Emma still likes her baby doll, though, and also likes a small 6” doll we bought Annabelle for her 1st Annabelle doesn’t play with dolls much yet, so she doesn’t care that Emma plays with “her stuff” but there will come a day…img_1774-large
  • Coloring—For the past month or two, Emma has been on a coloring/writing kick. She has learned how to write her name and loves to practice writing other letters too, though she gets discouraged quickly by the ones she finds difficult. She also enjoys “coloring pictures” (usually she means drawing freehand) for other people, and we often color pictures together. Annabelle likes to be near the action, but mostly likes to throw the colored pencils on the floor and uncap the markers.20160820_121429-large
  • Sleeping in her closet—We bought Emma a bed canopy and have it hung up in her closet so she likes to sleep in there quite a bit. And not just that, but she closes the door! This girl is not afraid of the dark at all.img_20160824_164232-large

And that’s Emma at 3.5 years!img_20160829_121553-large20160913_111857-large20160911_112258-large

Annabelle Lyn: 16-17 Months

29 Aug

I am SO overdue on a post for Miss Annabelle! Annabelle was 16 months on July 27 and 17 months on August 27. I can’t believe my baby is almost a year and a half!IMG_20160725_20393420160824_104922 The big news this update is that ANNABELLE IS FINALLY WALKING!

Because of that, we’re going to start with…

Development

Annabelle started walking around the third week of July. She had been cruising around on furniture for a while, pulling up on everything, and mastered crawling up and down stairs around 12 months, so I didn’t think that her walking would really change anything, except make it easier to be outside.

I was wrong.

She gets into everything, and she is fast! Annabelle’s favorite things to do are:

  • Whatever Emma is doing
  • Putting tiny scraps of toilet paper into the toilet while Emma goes potty
  • Being by people, which usually means playing in the exact cupboard I’m standing in front of while making dinner or doing dishes
  • Doing whatever Emma is doing
  • Putting stuff in the kitchen garbage can, like Travis’ Bluetooth headset, Emma’s waterbottle, undies, socks, etc.
  • Pulling clothes out of Emma’s dresser (her clothes are too high for her to reach)
  • Somersaults (she saw Emma doing them—she can only put her head down with her butt in the air, waiting for Travis or me to flip her over—it’s pretty much the cutest thing ever)

IMG_20160801_115438Annabelle is similar to how Emma was at this age in that she likes to move things from one place to another, and she likes emptying drawers and bookshelves, but she’s different in that she’ll actually play with the mess she makes, instead of immediately moving on to make another one. I remember being so frustrated with all the messes I had to pick up with Emma (and… she still makes them and I still am).

Annabelle loves being outside and frequently brings me her shoes to put on. Her favorite things to do outside are play with water in bowls and pails, “draw” with sidewalk chalk, push strollers and trikes around, ride in our Little Tikes truck or wagon, and do whatever Emma is doing. I told Travis the other day that the benefit of having an older sibling is that Emma is so much more interesting and fun than we parents are, but the drawback is that Emma also hogs toys, takes over, pushes Annabelle out of the way, etc. Poor girl has had a couple of bloody lips and noses already, and taken many a bonk to the head (at least half are self-inflicted though). So we try to balance sibling time with alone time, and to teach Emma how to share and be nice. (Easier said than done with a 3-year-old 🙂 )IMG_20160629_163613FB_IMG_1468349202805IMG_20160822_104539Annabelle also has an independent streak. She will refuse to do some things (like drink her chocolate milk) if we try to help her. She still loves climbing, snuggling, being held upside down, being “body slammed” onto the bed or “steamrolled” on the living room floor (rough housing), being pushed/pulled, and taking baths.

Annabelle is learning new words every day, which is so fun! She understands a TON of what we say to her and can now say: Doggy, Dada, Nana, Cracker, Quack, Moo, Night Night (Ni Ni), Bye Bye, All Done (Ah da), Emma (En na), Hot (Haw), Water (wa wa). I’m sure Annabelle is pretty average for her age in terms of speech, but Emma was such a late talker, that it’s fun hearing Annabelle learn words so much sooner! Emma is a chatterbox now though.20160818_115112IMG_20160824_16400420160810_100748Size

I’ve been in denial about Annabelle getting bigger. I thought most of the shirts she had been wearing this summer were 12 months, but they’re 18 months. She has short little legs, so she does still fit into a lot of 12-month pants, though they’re starting to get a little short (but in the summer, who cares?). I pulled out the clothes that Emma wore the fall that she was Annabelle’s age, and I just cannot believe that Annabelle is old enough or big enough to wear them! Where did my baby go? So, Annabelle is in mostly 18 month stuff, but starting to wear 24 months and 2T. ::sniff::

IMG_20160817_143624IMG_20160809_095900Eating

Annabelle is a pretty good eater, but has started getting pickier. Many dinners require several attempts at finding something she’ll finally eat, usually in the form of fruit. Her favorite foods are: bananas, blueberries (she likes most berries but these are her faves), mandarin oranges (from a can), peaches, applesauce, yogurt, baby cereal, bacon, chicken sausage, chicken, macaroni & cheese, pasta with sauce, bagels, and cooked broccoli. Her favorite treats are suckers, fruit snacks, and Starburst, and the only way she’ll drink milk is if I add chocolate syrup, so she usually gets a cup of that each day.

IMG_20160819_102952I’m still nursing Annabelle 3-4 times a day, usually in the morning, before naptime, before bedtime, and in the middle of the night. I have no real plans for weaning at this point. I’m hoping it will work itself out naturally. That’s usually my approach to most transitions: Wait and it’ll happen on its own. 😉

20160817_183838IMG_20160806_203029Sleeping

Annabelle has made some progress at night in the just the past couple of weeks. I had been sleeping on a mattress in her room pretty much every night, but now it’s down to about 50% of the time. I get her to sleep and put her down in her crib, and she usually wakes up crying between midnight and 3 am. I’ve started trying to get her back to sleep and putting her back in the crib, with some success and some failure. But progress is progress! I’m trying to keep this in perspective. I know she’ll outgrow this. She has slept through the night in her crib several times in the past couple of weeks, so I know she can do it. It’s not ideal for me to be sleeping in her room, because I don’t sleep well, and I don’t think she sleeps that well either when she’s on the floor, but it’s better than listening to her cry. Again, I know it’s just a phase. Emma was over 2 before she really figured the whole sleep thing out.IMG_20160819_110931IMG_20160804_092259And that’s Annabelle at 17 months!IMG_20160801_124209IMG_20160729_182348

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Emma Grace: 3.25 Years

2 Aug

Emma was 3 ¼ years (39 months) back on July 7.IMG_20160728_172253 (Large)20160526_130356The most notable update for this post is that Emma is about 70% potty trained!

After half-heartedly and unsuccessfully trying several times, we scheduled a weekend to focus on potty training, and built it up to Emma (Big girl undies!). We also bought candy as rewards for going on the potty (Starburst and suckers have been the most motivating). She was really excited at first, and since she’s had practice going on the potty at daycare, she totally knew when she had to go (she only had one accident the first couple of days).

But then the excitement wore off, and she started refusing to sit on the potty. We changed our rewards a few times, with some success. But if she threw a fit about going on the potty, we just put a Pull-Up on her and continued suggesting she sit on the potty. She finally did come back around on the whole thing, and has been wearing undies for almost all awake time for the past couple of months.

IMG_20160729_083832 (Large)Sleeping time is a different story. She has stayed dry for some naps (she still naps from about 2-5 every day), but some naps she wets the bed, so we generally still put a Pull-Up on her for naps and a diaper for bedtime. Up until a few days ago, she was also pooping in a diaper. She’d grab a diaper, bring it to me, and say, “Mommy, I want to poop in a diaper.” HA! So she totally knew when she needed to go, but just didn’t want to go in the toilet. But a few days ago, we were shopping at Herberger’s when she had to go, and Travis convinced her to go on the toilet! She earned a freezy pop for that milestone, and has pooped on the toilet once since then. Hopefully she can keep that going, so we can keep moving away from diapers.

My experience with potty training has been both easier and harder than I expected it to be. I thought Emma would be all about it once we got going, but she wasn’t. I thought dealing with shopping and road trips would be really hard, but it hasn’t been. Sure, it’s slightly inconvenient, but I was psyching myself out on that. (And when they’re so young, even girls don’t mind popping a squat in a grass field on road trips—or at least, our girl doesn’t. J) One trick I’ve learned that has helped a ton is to cover up automatic sensors on toilets with Post-It notes so that they don’t flush unexpectedly.

IMG_20160506_105250 (Large)Matching mommy/daughter pedicures (colors chosen by Emma)

Anyway, moving on… here are some of Emma’s favorite things right now:

  • iPad—Emma still loves watching shows, mostly on her iPad (sometimes on the TV). Her latest obsessions have been the Floating Palace episodes of Sofia the First (which are about mermaids) and the mermaid scenes in Penguins of Madagascar. She has also been watching Alvin & the Chipmunks, LEGO friends, Strawberry Shortcake, Penguins of Madagascar, Minions, Brother Bear, and a few other random shows that she found by herself on Netflix.IMG_20160613_184644 (Large)

She fell asleep while watching Netflix… and pooping.

  • Books at night—After we say goodnight to Emma, she sometimes asks to read books while she “watches moons” (a toy that projects a rotating image on the ceiling and plays music) for 10 minutes. Every once in a while, she enjoys reading books during the day (which I savor when it happens!), but overall, she has too much energy for books. When we do read books together, she insists on holding them but can’t sit still enough for me to read the words.IMG_20160505_075159 (Large)
  • Helping—You name it, Emma likes helping with it. She asks to help with cooking (and won’t take no for an answer), putting dishes away, yardwork, doing things for baby, doing laundry, cleaning, putting things in the shopping cart, etc. I try to let her help as much as possible, but some things are just off-limits (like cutting up raw chicken and cooking on the stove).emma garage crop
  • Running—We’ve taken Emma on a few “family runs” around our neighborhood. She does so well! One night she ran almost a whole mile (with a few walking breaks). I think next summer we might see if there are any kid runs nearby. We’re talking about doing a local 5k as a family in September. I think Emma would have a blast! We got a bike trailer from my parents as a Christmas/birthday gift, thinking we could take Emma and Annabelle out in it. We haven’t tried biking with it yet, but a few short jogs have been a no-go—mostly because Emma’s excitement to ride in it wears off right about the time we reach the end of our driveway. She hasn’t ridden in or on something for longer than a few minutes since she was about 18 months old. She just has too much energy. Speaking of which…20160505_092501 (Large)
  • Bouncing—Emma jumps up and down in place a lot. When she’s excited, when she’s watching a movie on TV, when she’s waiting for me to go outside with her… She just has so much extra energy. She also still does this thing with her hands/arms (she has since she was about a year) when she gets really excited—it’s hard to describe but just imagine a little girl moving her hands like you do in the first part of the Chicken Dance song and waving her arms around in an excited frenzy. It’s hilarious, and so uniquely Emma. She also still does her “leg exercises” in her carseat (moving them in circles), presumably when she’s feeling antsy.IMG_20160716_001550 (Large)IMG_20160602_165216 (Large)
  • Jetskiing, fourwheeling and canoeing—This summer was the first real experience Emma had with any of these things, and she loved them! She hasn’t been a fan of riding loud things in the past, so this is a new development. And we thought she’d move around too much for being in a canoe, but she actually has done great both times she’s been out! Travis is very happy she is starting to like the outdoorsy things that he likes.IMG_20160729_182348 (Large)20160710_171838 (Large)20160618_202048 (Large)20160518_200621 (Large)20160725_093655
  • Being pulled around in a sleeping bag—This is pretty random, but one day, Emma wanted to get my sleeping bag out of the closet. One thing led to another, and pretty soon, I was pulling Emma around our basement completely zipped up in the sleeping bag (meaning she was in the dark). She can’t get enough of it! Her friend Noah likes it too. But it’s a decent workout, so mommy needs to take frequent breaks.
  • Picking raspberries—Emma has asked to pick raspberries every single day this summer (we have lots of wild ones growing on our property). But what usually ends up happening is that she picks a few and then plays with Annabelle or sticks or something while I end up picking by myself. This year, we’ve had an awesome crop of raspberries. We couldn’t pick them all, there were so many!IMG_20160629_170432 (Large)
  • Playing outside and in water—Emma still loves being outside and playing with/in water. The past three months have seen a lot of time at the beach, playground, water table, and cruising around our driveway on her trike (which she can now pedal!) and a new electric scooter we just got her. She also still loves to push/pull Annabelle around in the wagon/stroller/trike. In the past month, she has started to love floating on noodles in the water without her feet touching. She’s a pretty good little kicker too!20160720_201530 (Large)20160720_201517 (Large)
  • Sharing—Most of the time, Emma has a very generous spirit. She will share snacks and toys with Annabelle, me or Travis without being asked. (She still has plenty moments of sharing poorly, though.) One of my favorite things in the world is seeing Emma’s little arm stretched across to Annabelle’s little arm in the car, handing her a cracker or water bottle. It’s adorable!IMG_20160610_092617 (Large)
  • Being like mommy—Emma likes to imitate both me and Travis, but I think she imitates me more because I’m also a “dirl” (girl). She always says “Me have some” as she watches me get ready and put on makeup. She often emerges from our bathroom with some kind of beauty supply, the latest being a cotton pad wet down with micellar water. “I’m washing my face,” she says. Similarly…20160427_102735 (Large)20160601_211600 (Large)
  • “I want mom”—Emma is still a complete mommy’s girl. The only person that can sometimes come close is Nana Beth. Emma loves her daddy too, but for activities like fishing, roughhousing, and outdoor fun. When it comes to naps, bedtime, feeling sick, or getting hurt, she wants mommy only (unless she knows mommy’s mad at her for being disobedient, then she wants daddy!). It’s endearing, but also frustrating because I almost always end up putting both girls to bed. Travis at least does Emma’s bedtime routine though.20160506_183754 (Large)
  • Asking questions—It has begun. Emma asks “Mommy, what are you doing?” about 50 times every hour, even after I’ve repeatedly told her what I’m doing. I don’t always handle the constant questioning the best… more than once, I’ve said, “What does it look like I’m doing?”IMG_20160422_083319 (Large)

But on the flip side, one of the most fun things about Emma’s current age is that she has started saying the most hilarious things that just crack. me. up. Here are a few of my favorites:

Me: “Why do you want to put a ponytail in right before you go to bed?”

Emma: “Why not?”

Travis tackles me onto the bed, pinning me down.

Emma: “Daddy, no! Don’t! … She’s too dangerous!”

“His hands are red, he’s itching them, and he’s got a pumpkin head!” (talking about an episode of Sofia the First)

….

Emma: “I want to watch my iPad.”

Me: “Not right now.”

Emma: “I want to watch mommy’s phone.”

Me: “Emma, no, you’ve watched enough shows for right now.”

Emma: “iPad! I want to watch my iPaaaaaddddd!!”

Me: “The answer is no. Please stop asking.”

Emma: “Grrrrrrrr!!!”

A minute passes in silence, then Emma looks up with a smile and says in a sweet voice,

“Watch big TV downstairs?”

I point out stinging nettle to Emma as we’re picking raspberries, reminding her to not touch it.

Emma: “Mom, that’s what I was telling you about!”

Talking about the time she fell off the dock last summer into a few feet of water, Emma said,

“Nana Beth jumped in the wa-wa. Nana Beth saved me. … Nana Beth pushed me.”

(The full story is that Emma was standing on the dock waiting for Nana Beth to get off the pontoon. She backed up to give Nana more room, but backed up right off the dock. She didn’t get hurt and Beth jumped in right after her, so she was fine.)

IMG_20160801_124917 (Large)IMG_20160708_215902 (Large)With cousin Jensen on Papa’s pontoonIMG_20160629_121329 (Large)She loves cutting! The smaller the pieces, the better!IMG_20160503_105204 (Large)I LOVE this picture — from Emma’s birthday party.IMG_20160507_125750 (Large)She’s always trying to sleep in the doorway. I don’t know why?!?!IMG_20160523_133631 (Large)She took all the clothes out of her dresser in search of her pink princess phone.IMG_20160429_083725 (Large)20160526_140341 (Large)20160518_202213 (Large)Emma loves picking flowers. She was very disappointed when we mowed our grass and all her flowers (clover, not the ones pictured here) went bye-bye!

And that’s Emma at 3.25 years!

Emma Grace: 3 Years

23 Apr

Emma is THREE! Her birthday was back on April 7.20160407_074733 (Large)

At her 3-year well child check, she weighed 32 lbs (64%) and was 37.5 inches (65%) tall. Emma still takes one nap a day. For a while, she was consistently waking up at 8 am, taking a nap from 2 to 5 pm, and then going to bed around 9:30 pm. But for the past month or so, she has been getting up around 7 am, taking a nap from about 1/1:30 to 3:30 and going to bed at 9 pm. On the days she goes to daycare, she usually goes to bed around 8, since her nap there is shorter and the extra stimulation makes her more tired.

Emma’s general weekly schedule for the past year has been: MOPS on every other Monday, Daycare on Tuesdays, ECFE and Speech Therapy on Thursdays, with Wednesdays and Fridays open for playdates or outings.20160401_071757 (Large)

When she turned 3, Emma was re-evaluated by the Paul Bunyan Education Coop for her speech because she needed to re-qualify to continue receiving services (which was a weekly visit from a speech clinician). Like I expected, she is now in the average range for both expressive and receptive speech, so she no longer qualifies—which is great news! Her articulation is a little below average, but the speech clinician said she expected that to continue developing naturally as Emma gets older.

Here’s what Emma has been loving in January, February, and March:

  • Pink!–She is still obsessed with all things pink, so naturally we threw her and Annabelle a pink party for their birthdays. (Photos and details to come.)20160409_123042 (Large)
  • iPad—her favorite movies/shows right now are Tarzan, Tarzan II, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Mulan II, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Lilo & Stitch, Stitch the Movie, Sofia the First, Oscar’s Oasis, Secret of the Wings, Mickey’s Magical Christmas, The Pirate Fairy, and Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue. She has developed this annoying habit of fast forwarding or rewinding the movie every 30 seconds, instead of just watching it. Drives me crazy! She is also very adept at finding new shows on Netflix (90% of the movies above she discovered herself) so every once in a while, we find her watching something we end up turning off.20160420_083444 (Large)
  • Dresses – Emma still prefers wearing a dress over anything else. She’s starting to really enjoy picking out her own clothes to wear, and it’s often a t-shirt, pants and a dress—and sometimes a skirt too. (You didn’t know you could wear a skirt over a dress did you?) And she loves twirling in her dressed!20160407_092727 (Large)
  • Girly things—Necklaces, sparkles, ponytails, earrings… Emma loves them all. Though she will still only leave a ponytail in her hair for about 20 minutes. (So I put her hair in a ponytail most mornings, but she takes it out before we go anywhere.) She’ll frequently tell me in the morning “I need to get dressed” and pick out clothes to wear. Once dressed, she’ll say “I need a necklace” and then “I need a pony(tail).”20160401_153650 (Large)
  • Fishing—We (meaning Travis) got Emma a fishing rod for her birthday and she loves casting the rubber fish into the river off our dock. She’s still hit or miss but I’m impressed that she can do it at all!20160401_092955 (Large)20160415_163505 (Large)
  • Ice skating – though she only tried it once, she has requested to go again many times (unfortunately, the time of year for that is pretty much over)
  • Swimming Playing in the water—Emma cannot wait for beach season. We’ve taken her to the pool a few times this winter and she enjoys it, but doesn’t really want anything to do with being in the water if she can’t touch the bottom (she’s just like a leach). Funny story: we went to the waterpark at the Holiday Inn back in January and there’s this giant bucket that slowly fills up with water and then when it’s ready to tip, it starts dinging faster and faster, and pours a deluge of water onto the splash pad. I had never been there before, so I didn’t know that. Emma and I were standing on the splash pad waiting for Travis and Annabelle, and the dinging started. A group of people gathered on the splash pad next to us and the dinging was getting faster and faster. I could tell something was going on, but I didn’t know what (I couldn’t see the bucket from where I was). Before we knew it, we were getting dumped on with water. It freaked me out and my instinct was to run out of the water. I took a few steps before I remembered to turn around and grab Emma too. She seemed to handle it well in the moment, but it is an experience she has talked about a lot since, and she is now terrified of anything at a pool or waterpark that rains water. Travis was very amused by the whole thing and chuckles over how I started running away before I ran back to grab Emma. What can I say? My survival instinct is apparently stronger than my mommy instinct.20160401_104338 (Large)
  • Walking through the woods—This is probably Emma’s favorite thing to do outside right now. She can walk through the woods for hours, looking at all the different plants, trees, leaves, pine needles, acorns, pine cones, “pokeys” (bushes that have small thorns), and animal poop. But once everything greens up, the woods will most likely be too thick for us to walk through them, so we’re living it up right now.IMG_20160321_115402 (Large)IMG_20160321_121240 (Large)20160407_074744 (Large)
  • Bathtime—Emma never needs convincing to take a bath. Some days, she takes multiple baths. Her favorite things to do in the bath right now (much to my frustration) are pour water on Annabelle’s head, wash Annabelle’s hair, and blow bubbles in a cup of soap with a straw. We most often do bathtime after naptime, before Travis is done with work.20160206_181518 (Large)
  • Sugar—specifically pink (strawberry) ice cream, ice cream or fudge bars, suckers, gum, donuts and Starburst. She likes cupcakes too, but only for the frosting—she uses the cake for making a mess. Speaking of which…20160407_081231 (Large)20160415_160502 (Large)
  • Making messes—She has outgrown the whole “pull everything out of a cupboard or drawer and immediately move on to something else” phase for the most part, but now Annabelle is in that phase, so Emma frequently resorts back to that behavior—I guess because it looks fun? But Emma still loves making messes. Her most recent mess mediums have been applesauce, yogurt, chocolate milk, peach tea, paper, books, markers, toilet paper, and Q-tips. I have been trying to teach Emma that it’s ok to make a mess, but that part of making a mess is also cleaning it up. About half the time, she helps me clean the mess up without a fit or fight. The other half, I end up giving her a timeout in her room and cleaning it up myself. Ugh.20160405_171556 (Large)
  • Running away—This is hands-down The. Most. Frustrating. Thing. Emma does right now. It doesn’t matter where we are—at home, in a store, in a parking lot, at the library, at a park, at church, Emma takes off running. She doesn’t look back. She doesn’t listen. Most of the time, I’m holding Annabelle, my purse and a giant diaper bag, so running after her is hard! And the faster I run after her, the faster she runs away (because she thinks it’s a game). She does this with Travis too, so it’s not just me. I’ve tried not chasing her, and just waiting for her to come back. She doesn’t. I’ve tried telling her that it’s dangerous to run off and I want her to stay with me because I love her and don’t want her to get hurt or lost. Doesn’t faze her. I’ve tried bribing her with donuts and candy. I’ve tried spanking, arm twisting, anger, yelling, letting her walk on her own, forcing her to ride in the cart or hold my hand. Nothing has worked. (If you’re reading this and have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!) The most humbling thing is that I can totally see myself in her… she gets an idea in her head and refuses to be deterred by anything. I have been known to be like too… at times…20160415_110207 (Large)20160414_150150 (Large)20160414_151618 (Large)20160414_150535 (Large)
  • Being thoughtful—As a spirited child, Emma does everything big. She does anger and tantrums big, she does independence big, and she does love and thoughtfulness big. She is very observant and will bring Annabelle a toy, blanket or drink if she thinks Baby needs one. She loves feeding Annabelle with a spoon, or giving her bits of what she’s eating. Emma will also do thoughtful things for me and Travis, like bringing us our phone or sunglasses if she thinks we’ve misplaced them, getting us a tissue if we appear to need one, etc.20160421_100651 (Large)20160402_132348 (Large)
  • Hugs and kisses—At Emma’s Early Childhood (ECFE) class this year, the parents move to a separate room for the last 30 minutes while the kids eat a snack and have free play. The past 4-5 times, Emma has anticipated when snack time will start and tell me she needs a hug and kiss, and after she gets them, she says “Ok, bye!” It’s so cute. Also, on Tuesdays when I pick her up from daycare, she squeals with delight when she sees me, then runs and gives me a big hug. At the beginning of March, I spent 5 days, 4 nights down in Rochester with my dad and Annabelle, and ever since, Emma has said numerous times, “You came back! I missed you. I love you Mom.” It just melts my heart!
  • Arts & crafts–Emma loves painting, drawing, coloring, cutting, glueing, decorating, etc. Like her Nana Beth, she calls it her “business.” 20160123_134208 (Large)
  • Pulling/pushing Annabelle–Emma loves to help, especially when it comes to pushing Annabelle the stroller/trike or pulling the wagon/sled. But she also frequently pushes Annabelle over, and pulls her across the floor since she can’t walk yet.20160120_140233 (Large)20160401_163829 (Large)IMG_20160322_191514 (Large)

And that’s Emma at 3 years!