Tag Archives: baby

Emma Grace: 4.75 Years

18 Jan

Emma will be turning 5 in three short months! It is crazy to think that we’ve been parents for that long. And I apparently haven’t done an update on Emma since she was 4.25 years old, so there’s that.IMG_5413IMG_5433IMG_5774Size

Emma weighs 40 lbs and is about 43 inches tall. She now wears size 11 shoes and 5T or girl’s size 5 (XS) clothes. She is a still a beanstalk though, so she regularly squeezes into Annabelle’s clothes when playing dress-up at home.

Eating

Emma has a major sweet tooth and is always vying for candy. One of her favorite treats (though I have no idea why) is a little toilet that comes filled with loose sugar that you eat using two plungers (suckers). It is the grossest idea but she loves it! She also loves donuts, cookies, ice cream, birthday cake pops from Starbucks, pretty much anything with lots of sugar in it.

She’s still not a huge fan of meat, and absolutely refuses to eat anything that even hints at being spicy (you’d be surprised at how many things don’t say they’re spicy but are a little bit), but overall, Emma is still a pretty good eater. Her favorite foods are most kinds of fruit (and specifically apples, applesauce, and strawberries), PB&J sandwiches, chips, chocolate milk, broccoli, and raw carrots and dip. She also loves eating at McDonald’s and China Garden (“china fay” for china buffet).

IMG_5008Sleeping

After my last update, Emma pretty much stopped taking naps. It was painful for me at first to not get that break but I’ve adapted. And now that I’m pregnant, I hate to admit that most days when Annabelle is napping, I also take a nap and Emma watches iPad. But it works out well because Emma now goes to bed at the sensible hour of 7:30 or 8, instead of 9 or 10 like she was when she was still napping.

Emma sleeps through the night, getting up to go potty once or twice. We still usually get up to help her because she’s often so out of it that she can’t remember how to leave her room, or which way to go, or how to get back to bed. It’s actually pretty hilarious. She’s definitely more out of it if she wakes up to go potty just a few hours after going to bed, versus waking up at 2 or 3 am. Though I will sometimes just lay in bed and listen to see if she’s doing fine or having trouble (her room and bathroom are just down the hall from ours).

IMG_4937Development

Emma started going to preschool for 2-3 full days a week this past fall, and has been doing great. She says that she loves going, and really likes her teachers, Ms. Kayla and Ms. Laurie. It has been fun to watch her learn her letters better, enjoy practicing writing them, and start learning words that start with each letter. Her favorite parts of preschool are the arts and crafts, and the different stories and themes they do. Her best friend is Henry Martin.IMG_5193IMG_5192Her teacher Ms. Kayla says that Emma is the only student who writes her name with her last initial: Emma K. When she was still going to daycare, there was another Emma and so they learned their names with their last initial: Emma K and Emma V.

Emma is still quite the budding artist and has started drawing actual things, instead of just scribbles. Most often, she is drawing people and letters. IMG_5545IMG_5419A few “firsts” for the girls that I haven’t mentioned here on the blog yet are that we took them camping this summer for the first time. We stayed at the Army Corps campground in Crosslake, which is about 30-45 minutes from us. The girls had a lot of fun, and we definitely plan to go camping again. Both Travis and I grew up camping, and think it’s important for the girls to have those experiences too.56543DB0-D6E5-47E5-BB76-0C04C12C50EFA weird thing that happened when we were heading home after camping, though, was that Emma’s face got really red and swollen. We took her to the doctor several times to determine the cause and the best answer they could give us was an allergic reaction to the sun. We don’t really buy it, but it hasn’t happened before or since, so…???

Another first was taking the girls to their first football game at USBank Stadium in Minneapolis. Travis’ hometown football team went to the state championship, and even though they got slaughtered, it was still fun! IMG_5766Emma also tried ice skating this fall. We enrolled her in the Learn to Skate program, which met every Sunday evening for a couple of months. Unfortunately, after a few classes of falling down a lot, Emma decided that learning to skate wasn’t very fun, and started to refuse to get on the ice. It was a parenting conundrum for us, but we decided that we would still take her to the class and have her sit on the bleachers, and she could choose whether or not to skate. There were plenty of classes that she didn’t skate at all, but a few she did get out there, and the last class she did really well! So even though we didn’t sign her up for the second session of classes, there’s still hope for her learning to skate sometime in the future.IMG_5173We took the girls to an Operation Christmas Child packing party at our church again this year, and Emma was super into it. She probably packed 20 boxes on her own! Each time she finished one, she raced back to the start of the line and packed another one.IMG_5701Emma and Annabelle still get along really well, and often play together in the morning for almost an hour in one of their rooms. Their favorite games as of late are House (often overheard: “I’m the mom.” “No, I’m the mom!” “Two moms!”) and Doctor. They do fight fairly often over the same toys, but overall, they really love playing with one another.IMG_6514IMG_5678IMG_5260Emma still does mischievous things, like covering her face in an entire tube of chapstick…IMG_5141Or drawing on her and her sister’s face with marker…IMG_5258But overall, her naughty antics have slowed down quite a bit. Which is good, because Annabelle has taken over that role.

When Emma first found out that Jellybean was a boy, she sobbed because she had wanted another sister. She’s since come around and decided that a baby brother will be fun too.IMG_5674This girl adds a lot of spice to life and keeps us on our toes, that’s for sure!IMG_6221IMG_5809IMG_5572IMG_5598IMG_5430IMG_5337IMG_5160And that’s Emma at 4.75 years!

Pregnancy #3: 6-7 Months

2 Jan

I was 28 weeks yesterday, which means I’m officially in the third trimester!

OB Appointments

I had my gestational diabetes and hemoglobin tests two weeks ago, and passed both of them. My hemoglobin is slightly low, but it has been in my other pregnancies too. (I could probably do a better job of taking my prenatal vitamins…)

As I was looking my test results up online, I happened to glance at the “results” of my 20-week ultrasound and it noted that as of then, Jellybean was in the frank breech presentation (meaning head up, butt down)–and I’m guessing he still is because I don’t feel much movement in my upper belly, mostly on the sides and lower toward my hips and pelvis. For grins, I looked up what Annabelle’s position was at my ultrasound with her, and she was in the transverse lie presentation, which is more ideal. None of the doctors or nurses have mentioned Jellybean being breech to me, I’m guessing because the vast majority of babies end up turning on their own before 36 weeks. I do plan to ask about it at my next appointment, though.

Symptoms

I’m having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions, both during the day and at night. Getting up from sitting down and standing for a long time are getting harder. I slept on the floor in Annabelle’s room for a few hours one night and it didn’t seem too bad at the time but I had shooting lower back pain for the next couple of days, so I won’t be making that mistake again. And the tiredness! So. tired.

Name

We have decided to go with the name we had picked out for a boy before Annabelle was born. But we’re going to keep it a secret from social media for now. 😉

Babymoon

We went on a babymoon to Las Vegas the weekend before Christmas! We flew out early Saturday morning and got back late Tuesday night. All the grandparents watched the girls at our house while we were gone. On Saturday, we ate Chipotle for lunch, did some outlet mall shopping, and then went to a free Corb Lund concert at the Tropicana (the National Rodeo Finals were in town). Sunday, we drove 4 hours to the Grand Canyon and saw the sights there until sunset, then ate dinner and watched cheesy Christmas movies in our hotel room. Monday, we saw sunrise at the Grand Canyon (and froze! It was only 32 degrees outside), did a little more walking and sightseeing there, and then drove back to Vegas, with a short-ish stop at the Hoover Dam. Tuesday was beautiful–60s and sunny–so we went on a short hike and read outside before heading to the airport. It was a very nice trip, with a good mixture of activity and relaxation.

Clothes

While we were in Vegas, I went to Motherhood Maternity and bought two pairs of amazingly comfy leggings, and another t-shirt. I also ordered a nursing bra and tank from Kindred Bravely, which I’m super excited about. They are also super comfy and surprisingly supportive, but the jury’s out on how well they hold up after a lot of washing and wearing–the bra and tank are hand wash only, which could be annoying, but I have high hopes!

Food & Cravings

Overall, I don’t have any cravings other than for chocolate (which is similar to my pregnancy with Annabelle at this stage) and the forbidden (deli meat and wine). Nothing ever really sounds good; it’s just a matter of, what am I willing to eat? Or, what doesn’t sound gross? Countless nights, whatever I had planned for dinner sounds MEH (and I just can’t bring myself to expend energy on making a dinner I won’t personally eat) so we hodge podge something together, Travis makes dinner, or Travis eats leftovers while the girls and I have breakfast for dinner.

Exercise

Travis and I have gotten better about our exercise schedule again, and I’ve mostly been walking on our treadmill (since it’s frigid outside and/or I’m exercising after it gets dark) but I have done Pilates and strength training a couple times. There’s still room to improve here, but it’s better than nothing.

Sleep

I am so. over. sleeping on my sides. Between the difficulty of getting comfortable, needing to roll over every hour or so, having weird dreams, getting up to go potty, getting up to help Emma go potty (she’s a zombie), and Annabelle waking up at odd times, I am not sleeping the greatest at night. On the days I don’t work, I almost always take a 1-2 hour nap while Annabelle naps and Emma watches iPad. On the days I do work, I hit an afternoon slump like it’s nothing funny. But still, if this is my biggest problem in pregnancy, I am pretty blessed.

Nesting

I am excited to start getting the nursery and stuff ready for Jellybean! I pulled out all the 0-6 month gender-neutral clothes I have last week and have been looking at nursery ideas on Pinterest. We’re leaving Annabelle’s room pretty much how it is (since it’s decorated gender-neutral) but I want to hang up some antlers and a couple of canvases with a woodsy/deer theme and Jellybean’s (real) name.

Annabelle Lyn: 2.75 Years

5 Dec

I’m long overdue for an update on the girls here on the ole blog, so here’s an update on Annabelle at 32 months (almost 2.75 years old). Hopefully Emma’s 4.75-year update will be up in the next few weeks as well.IMG_4800IMG_4701Size

Annabelle is wearing some 2T clothes still, but is mostly in 3T. Annabelle is about the same height that Emma was at this age, but is thinner because she eats like a bird. She wears size 7 shoes, and we are moving her up to size 5 diapers (no, she isn’t potty trained yet). We’ll find out her weight and height at her 3-year visit.AB735C72-B05D-4F4E-8228-AC031EB1A182IMG_4798Eating

Like I said, Annabelle eats like a bird. She is a much pickier eater than Emma, but she does have some favorite foods. Right now, she loves yogurt, grapes, mandarin oranges, cheese, tortillas, and bagels. She will also usually eat any kind of fruit, baby carrots with dip, bacon, eggs, fish, chicken sausage, and spoonfuls of peanut butter. But with both girls, if anything even hints at being spicy, they won’t eat it.IMG_5047IMG_5144IMG_5520IMG_5776IMG_4957Sleeping

About a month ago, we moved Annabelle back into her own room so that we could put both girls down to bed at the same time without it being a disaster. Our plan as of right now is to buy Emma a twin “big girl” bed and move Annabelle from her mattress on the floor to the toddler bed Emma has been using. Then we won’t be able to lay by Annabelle while she falls asleep (because we literally won’t fit in the bed), so hopefully that’ll help us help Annabelle fall asleep on her own. We’re probably going to keep Annabelle in her own room until Jellybean comes along and needs a room of his own.

Annabelle mostly sleeps through the night, though has an uncanny habit of waking up at 6:15 (instead of her usual 7:15). I usually lay down with her to get her back to sleep, but since Annabelle is still napping too late in the day (usually from 2-4, my own fault), I think I’m going to start letting her stay up when she wakes up that early, and move her nap to coincide with the time she naps at daycare, which is 12-2. That seems more reasonable, and will hopefully help Annabelle fall asleep faster and earlier at night (right now it takes her around 30 minutes to fall asleep around 9:30).

We do occasionally have Annabelle skip her nap, and then she zonks out immediately around 6 pm, which is nice. But overall, she still needs that nap. And she is a beast if we wake her up before she’s ready, so we really try not to do that (though if she’s still napping at 4:30, we don’t really have a choice).IMG_4766IMG_5129IMG_5596Development

Annabelle is a little chatterbox and has reached the age where to us, she still seems like a baby but then she says stuff that makes her seem like such a big girl! The amount that she comprehends, and the number of words she knows, surprises us a lot. She can count to 13. She can sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Jingle Bells on her own. She can use a scissors now (and one day, decided to practice her skills on the dress Emma was wearing. Uff da!).

She loves jumping–on beds, trampolines, couches. She can be kind of a stinker and get into things that she shouldn’t, and has been known to destroy things for fun (she entertained herself ripping up styrofoam while we decorated the Christmas tree this year). Add in Emma, and the two of them together are Trouble.IMG_5255IMG_5108 She loves baby dolls, especially her Little Baby. While at my dad’s house for Thanksgiving, she found a little basket for Little Baby, and carried her around in that with Baby’s little blanket. So. Cute. She also loves pushing strollers around, and being pushed in them.IMG_4921IMG_4814Annabelle also LOVES shopping and running errands, both the real thing and pretending. She often asks to go shopping, and if she hears that I’m going shopping without her, has a total meltdown. Luckily, she’s a pretty good shopping buddy and is fine with riding in the cart 80% of the time (especially when Emma isn’t there). Get the two of them together, though, and it’s game over. IMG_4984Annabelle doesn’t really have the attention span or muse for coloring, though she does like painting and doodling. Her new thing (that she picked up from Emma a while ago) is playing restaurant–sitting down with a pencil and paper, and asking us “What would you like today?” (though it comes out more like “Wha ya like day?”) And she gets very upset if we don’t answer her immediately. And she LOVES Playdoh.IMG_3931I feel like we still don’t quite have a grasp on the things that Annabelle is truly interested in beyond baby dolls, shopping, and music (she loves singing!), because her most favorite thing to do is whatever Emma is doing. She goes along with Emma’s ideas 80% of the time, though there is still plenty of fighting over toys and “Annabelle isn’t doing x or y like I’m telling her to!” Overall, though, these sisters really love each other, and find some very creative things to do together.IMG_5261IMG_5312IMG_5320IMG_5617IMG_5797IMG_5813Annabelle has started to be a good helper with picking up toys and putting things where they go, especially when there’s an incentive to do so (like helping mommy bake something). Often when we ask her to do something like pick up or to stop doing something like throwing pencils on the floor, she’ll say, “Oooo-kaaaay.” It’s so stinkin’ cute!

She is still a cuddlebug, which I love (but could be problematic when baby brother comes along), and a sweetie. She loves cuddling when she wakes up, especially with her favorite blanket draped over your shoulder, and if you don’t go pick her up the minute she emerges from her room, she assumes the fetal position right in the middle of the floor, waiting for you to come pick her up. IMG_5719IMG_5549In general, she just likes climbing on people, and at night while she’s “falling asleep,” she’ll balance on her head and bounce her butt in the air, which inevitably leads to her falling over sideways into either the wall or your face.

But she has a fierce side too, which comes out when Daddy is rough-housing with her or Emma makes her mad. She bites, scratches, kicks, and jumps on you. Emma likes rough-housing too, though, and my sister-in-law remarked that they wrestled like two boys when we saw them at Thanksgiving. 😉

Annabelle has started to prefer to pick out her clothes on her own and put them on without help. She has a couple of different sweatshirts that she loves and wants to wear whenever she can, and loves to bundle up in the winter by wearing a hat and gloves (pretty much the opposite of Emma in that regard).IMG_5414Annabelle still loves being carried, and often says, “Carry me.” When I put her down after a while and say “I can’t carry you anymore; you’re too heavy!”, she responds, “No, I’m little! I’m little!”

Annabelle loves watching movies and YouTube–her favorite movie right now is Curious George’s Christmas and favorite show is Peppa Pig.IMG_3955 We’ve unfortunately fallen back into the habit of watching technology right when we wake up, but it gives me a chance to drink my coffee and wake up before they demand too much from me. Annabelle often says when she wakes up and I’m still sleeping, “Mom, it’s wake up time!”IMG_4836IMG_5177IMG_5566IMG_5579IMG_5622 cropIMG_5638And that’s Annabelle at 32 months!

Pregnancy #3: 22 Weeks

21 Nov

This pregnancy is flying by! I can’t believe that I’m over halfway already.

23722368_1675810179115964_8792944856374028945_nThere’s not a whole ton more to talk about in the past 4 weeks that I didn’t address in my first bump update but we did have our anatomy ultrasound at 20 weeks and found out that…

WE’RE HAVING A BOY!

We actually had the ultrasound technician write the gender down on a piece of paper without telling us what it was, then we gave it to our neighbor, Andrea, along with a black balloon and both blue and pink paint, and she filled the balloon for us. Then we pinned the filled balloon to a blank canvas and shot it with a shotgun (a little overkill?). The paint was blue! I posted the video on Instagram if you’re interested in watching (@specialkkluthe).

Travis is very excited about having a boy, and I am too, though ever the practical/responsible one, I’m also thinking through all the clothes, blankets, etc. that we’ll have to get for a boy, since all of our stuff after having two girls is pink and ruffles. But I’m trying to look at it as being exciting and not a chore. 😉

Annabelle had no reaction to the news that Jellybean is a boy, but Emma started sobbing over how she had wanted a sister (even though whenever we asked her before finding out, she said she wanted a brother). She’s not that sad anymore (though she still refers to the baby as a “she”), and I’m sure she’s going to have a blast with a little brother. I did remind her that I grew up with a younger brother, and I dressed him in dresses, put makeup on him, played Barbies with him–just because he’s a boy, doesn’t mean he won’t do stuff like that. But he’ll also think of fun games to play with Emma that she wouldn’t have thought of. And she likes rough-housing and getting dirty, so I’m guessing they’ll get along just fine.

Name

We had a boy’s name picked out for Annabelle (since we didn’t know what gender she was until she was born) so both Travis and I had assumed that we would just use that name, since we both still like it. But we apparently can’t agree on whether the full name would be what Jellybean goes by, or if he would go by a nickname. Travis says nickname, I say full name. I feel very strongly that we should name him what we want him to be called (that was the same case with Annabelle…she is not Anna or Belle, her name is Annabelle). So the jury is still out on the name.

Movement

I started feeling Jellybean kick around in my belly around 18 weeks. At first, it was just when I was lying down or being still, but now it’s pretty much all day long. It’ll be fun when his kicks are strong and consistent enough for the girls to feel them from the outside! (We took both of them to my 20-week ultrasound, thinking they’d find it interesting, but their attention span lasted about 5 minutes. Live and learn.)

Clothes

I’m pretty much fully in maternity clothes now. I still have some pre-pregnancy shirts that fit, but most mornings, it’s just easier to put on a maternity shirt, since I know it will fit. I bought a few more maternity shirts from Target, but they’re the kind without ruching on the sides, so I can wear them even after baby comes. 😉

I’m definitely needing more maternity pants, though. I lamented this when pregnant with Emma, and it’s still an issue–you would think that finding maternity pants that fit would be easier than finding regular pants because of the whole stretchy waistband thing, but nope, it’s just as hard. I looked at the limited stores around here with no luck, which is not surprising. I do love the jeans I bought from Old Navy a few months ago, and am probably going to just buy another pair since I know they fit well.

I also really want some maternity leggings and ordered some from Blanqi, but I tried them on and even though they were super comfy, they attracted dog hair like no tomorrow. So back they go. They’re not something I would wear to work, and if I can’t wear them around the house without being covered in dog hair, they are pretty much useless.

Food & Cravings

I don’t really have that many cravings these days, though I have been loving raw veggies and dip, and spinach artichoke dip. My main challenge these days is that I’m so tired, and have been so busy (way, way too busy), and Travis has been traveling for work, so I haven’t been meal planning like usual. But after Thanksgiving, my schedule is a lot more open, and Travis is done traveling for a while, so I’m hoping to get back into the habit of actual dinners.

Exercise

This is also something that has suffered with Travis’ travel schedule. I just do not have the energy to work out and watch the kids at the same time, or get up early/stay up late to work out when they’re sleeping. And since I usually end up falling asleep with Annabelle for her nap, that time doesn’t work either. So I haven’t been working out really at all. With Travis back now, I’m hoping to start doing at least 1-2 days of Pilates, and walking on the treadmill or outside. The girls and I haven’t played outside in weeks! (yikes) We’re due.

Sleep

The last couple weeks of sleep have been less than stellar. I’m already sick of sleeping on my sides, but my belly is not really comfy anymore, and my back is only comfy for so long. But if this is the worst of my pregnancy woes, I’m still lucky.

And that’s about it for 22 weeks!

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 Grace: 4.25 Years

30 Aug

Emma was 4.25 years old on July 7 (so now she’s just a little over a month shy of being 4.5 years). Like I did with Annabelle, I forgot about/didn’t make time for an update on her birthday (April 7). This year has been kind of crazy.IMG_4305IMG_4193Size

At her 4-year well-child checkup, Emma weighed 37 lb 12 oz (72%) and was 41.5” tall (85%). She is starting to outgrow her 4T pants, though she is so thin with no butt that she can wear Annabelle’s 2T shirts and shorts if we’re in a pinch (or if Daddy isn’t paying attention to whose clothes are whose).IMG_4447IMG_4383Eating

Emma’s eating habits are pretty much the same as they were in her last update at 3.75 Years. She has started recognizing the foods that she doesn’t like, however, like pepperoni on pizza (“too spicy”) and mustard on burgers (at McDonald’s, “Mommy, the adults put mustard on my burger again. Hmph.”)IMG_5053IMG_5020IMG_3707IMG_4226Sleeping

Emma is almost officially done with naps. Most days, she just has “quiet time” in Annabelle’s old room for 20-30 minutes (which is just her playing with toys in the room by herself), and then watches iPad for another 30-45 minutes. That way, I get at least a small break to read a book or lay down. She still does nap some days, though – if she’s particularly crabby that day or I’m particularly wiped, I’ll make her lay down in my bed with me for 20 minutes. That’s usually long enough that she ends up falling asleep (with minimal fight because she’s not “taking a nap,” she’s just “lying down for a bit.”)

During the summer, we have been staying outside after dinner to enjoy the extended daylight so the girls don’t usually get to bed until between 9:30 and 10:30. It’s so hard to not burn the candle at both ends in the summer when you live in Minnesota! During the school year, we try to get the girls to bed between 8:30 and 9. Emma usually wakes up around 7:30.IMG_3451IMG_4149IMG_5108Development

Emma is finally, officially, 100%, day and night, #1 and #2 potty trained (and has been pretty much since my last update in March). Only took us about a year. She still dislikes going potty before bedtime or trips (when she doesn’t think she has to go) but she has had hardly any daytime accidents (though there was a short period of time where she was waiting too long and did have a few accidents).

Her main challenge right now is that she is so out of it when she wakes up in the middle of the night to go potty that she doesn’t fully remember what to do. She’ll stumble to the bathroom, but then just stand there and pee on the floor. Or she’ll get out of bed but not open her bedroom door, so she ends up peeing on the carpet. My favorite was a morning when we were in Michigan on vacation, she stumbled out of bed, down the hall to the room she had been sleeping in the previous night, and into the closet. Luckily, I had followed her, realized that she wasn’t totally with it, and got her to the bathroom in time.IMG_4431IMG_4374IMG_4244As far as “academic learning,” Emma can recognize almost all the letters of the alphabet and loves to spell words as we read books; she can count to 20 and recognize numbers 1-9 (for the most part); she can memorize the words to her favorite songs and sing them all by herself; and she has gotten really good at coloring within the lines and cutting shapes out with scissors.

When Emma is interested in something and asks me how it works/why it happens, we often look up an educational YouTube video about it. I think Emma is a visual learner, and the videos usually have a better explanation than I would anyway.

Emma is a born leader, and when her and Annabelle play together, Emma is almost always calling the shots. Luckily Annabelle has a very easygoing personality, especially when it comes to playing with big sister, or they would butt heads a lot. Emma just needs to work on letting other kids (and her little sister) contribute their own ideas to playing, and not needing her ideas to be the only ones.IMG_3931IMG_3955IMG_3860Emma’s favorite things to do lately have been:

  • Coloring, crafts, painting – This girl loves creating. Puffy paint and glitter are definitely favorites.IMG_4147IMG_3910
  • Getting messy – Sand, mud, water, paint, soap, food, marker, shaving cream – you name it, Emma has probably made a mess with it.IMG_4443IMG_3561
  • Playdoh – Emma is obsessed with YouTube videos about playdoh creations, and also really enjoys playing with playdoh herself.
  • Picking flowers and raspberries in our backyardIMG_4701IMG_4245
  • Checking the mailbox for mail – Emma is now tall enough that she can check for mail by herself, so she loves doing it.
  • Parking all of her riding toys down by the lower garage – Somehow, they’re only good for the ride down there, and then she’s over it.
  • Finding treasures outside, imagining them to be the ingredients of a cake or something – We got a free kitchen playset from one of Travis’ uncles. Since we already have one inside, we leave that one outside on our porch, and the girls love playing with it using real water and their “ingredients” like grass clippings, pine cones, green berries from a tree, moss, leaves, etc.
  • Barbies – Emma has really started to enjoy imaginative play the past year, and then we went over to a friend’s house who had Barbies (!). Emma fell in love, so we bought her some from the thrift store. She has really enjoyed them! She even chose a Barbie backpack for preschool.
  • Water – always and forever, this girl loves water. When we were up at Travis’ parents’ cabin for the weekend of the Fourth, Emma would play in the water until she was shivering and her teeth were chattering (because the water temp was only about 68 degrees), then she’d get changed into dry clothes, and go back in the water…in her clothes.IMG_4727IMG_4830IMG_3810IMG_3582
  • Boat rides – Emma has waffled back and forth between loving and hating boat rides. At the beginning of this year, Emma was still slightly terrified at being on a boat and made Travis drive at trolling speed when we went out, but now, she’s warmed up to the idea and loves “going fast.”IMG_4023
  • Getting “beautiful” and “fancy” – “Mommy, I need fancy hair, a necklace, earrings, and lip gloss” is what she tells me when we’re getting ready to go somewhere. She also loves putting on my makeup, though sometimes she ends up looking strange instead of beautiful because she puts dark eyeshadow on her cheeks or eyebrows. Emma also still loves skirts and dresses, and thankfully we have found a new favorite dress to replace the horribly faded and stained Striped Dress.IMG_4857IMG_4800IMG_4074IMG_4060IMG_4084IMG_3850
  • Baking – Emma loves helping in the kitchen, and one day out of the blue, she asked to make “watermelon cookies.” Not knowing what in the world she was talking about, I googled it and turns out, they are a thing! So we bought the ingredients and made them (they’re just sugar cookies dyed green with pink frosting and chocolate chips).IMG_3815And that’s Emma at almost 4.5 years!

Our Trip to Michigan 2017

2 Aug

Back in June, Travis, Emma, Annabelle, and I vacationed in Holland, Michigan, with almost my whole family—my dad, 2 of 3 brothers, 2 of 3 sisters-in-law, and the 2 nephews on my side (to be joined by 2 nieces by the end of the year!). We were the first to arrive on Saturday. We flew from Brainerd to Grand Rapids (with a layover in MSP), rented a car, and drove an hour to Holland.IMG_4540IMG_0297 (Large)IMG_0298 (Large)IMG_4541The beach house we rented through Airbnb was in a small community of private owners, right next to the mouth of Lake Macatawa, and had its own private beach, which was super nice. Would definitely recommend this area!IMG_0435 (Large)IMG_0431 (Large)IMG_0317 (Large)We didn’t know it at the time, but the day we arrived was one of the nicest days we had there. The girls were so excited to be at the beach that we dropped our stuff in the house, got suits on, and headed out. It wasn’t extremely warm, especially for being at the beach, but it was warm enough to enjoy being out there, even in water that was only 68 degrees.

Later that day, my dad, and the 4 Js (Jeremy, Jen, Jensen and Jackson) arrived. Brian and Jill arrived the following night. Chris and Meg were unfortunately unable to come because of last-minute complications with selling their condo and building a new house.

Most days were a combination of hanging out in the house doing puzzles or watching movies, kids playing on the beach or in the water, chilling, drinking, playing Kubb (which Brian introduced us to), and going on some kind of outing.IMG_0319 (Large)IMG_0335 (Large)IMG_4615IMG_4631IMG_4592IMG_4562IMG_0373 (Large)IMG_0375 (Large)IMG_0437 (Large)Sunday, we had planning to go on a hike in a state forest but turned out it was only a random trail through the woods. So instead we went to the Lake Macatawa State Park, which was where the public beach was located. We ate ice cream, watched kite flying, walked out on the break water, and played on the playground. The funny thing was, it was literally just on the opposite side of the red lighthouse and mouth of Lake Macatawa as our beach house–but it took us about 30 minutes to drive there. After seeing all the people on the public beach, we were grateful for our private one. IMG_4586IMG_4573IMG_4576Monday, Jen and I went to a used book sale at the local library while Brian and my dad bought groceries. Then we visited the Windmill Island Gardens, and learned a little about Dutch culture. We took a tour of the working windmill and learned how they grind flour and cornmeal, which was really interesting. The kids rode the carousel a couple of times, we listened to an antique Amsterdam street organ, and bought some yummy Dutch treats in the gift shop.IMG_4603IMG_4642IMG_4609IMG_4602Tuesday, Annabelle got sick. 😦 Poor little girl didn’t have much of a fever, but she got a ton of mucus buildup, so she had a hard time sleeping and just wanted to cuddle all day. That evening, the four of us did a little shopping downtown while others went grocery shopping and then we all went out to eat at New Holland Brewing, where the food was delicious (and I heard the beer was too, but I am not a beer drinker).IMG_4620Wednesday, we finally had a day that wasn’t super windy so we spent most of it on the beach. Annabelle still wasn’t feeling well, but she enjoyed snuggling on the beach and listening to the white noise of the waves.IMG_4630Thursday, Annabelle was starting to feel better, but still wanted to be carried most of the time. We debated about whether we should have her out and about, but after much hemming and hawing, we decided to go for it. We went on a Saugatuck Dune Ride and a hike at Sand Dunes State Park. The dune ride was awesome. Our girls loved it, putting their arms up in the air and squealing whenever we went around a fast turn or down a steep hill. Jensen and Jackson were a little apprehensive about the ride at times though. I don’t like rollercoasters whatsoever, but this ride was tame enough for me (while still being fun for others with stronger stomachs). Our guide, Joey, was very friendly and told us some of the history of the sand dunes.IMG_0405 (Large)IMG_0409 (Large)IMG_0390 (Large)IMG_0387 (Large)IMG_0383 (Large) Afterward, we ate ice cream, then went on a short, easy hike in the state park, which ended at the beach, where Emma and Jensen proceeded to go swimming fully clothed.IMG_0411 (Large)IMG_0415 (Large)Friday, we went to the Outdoor Discovery Center, which was a great find. There was a nature center with some impressive taxidermied animals, a kid-size zipline, a bunch of walking trails, and a birds of prey center, where we saw bald eagles, hawks, owls, and more who had all been rehabilitated from an injury and could no longer survive in the wild. Oh, and we also lost Emma on the never-ending maze of trails for a good 10 minutes.IMG_4664IMG_4647 We also stopped by the fishing pond, where Jensen and Travis both caught a few fish.IMG_0426 (Large)Saturday, it was time to pack up, tidy the beach house, and head south to South Haven to see Jeremy race in the National Auto Sport Association (the J’s had driven there the night before). We got there right as Jeremy was on the track for the Qualifier, and got to see him drive by a couple of times. Then there was a break for his class/division (whatever you call it), so we got to chat with him, see their car trailer/RV rig, and eat lunch. Right after lunch, Jeremy had his big race of the day so we all made our way up to the big spectator hill. Unfortunately, Jeremy only made it around the track a couple times before his car had a major malfunction and he was forced to exit the race, and also be done for the weekend. Such is the life of a race car driver.IMG_4666We left soon afterward for the airport in Grand Rapids. Because Travis has often flown Delta for work, and we made two separate itineraries for this trip in order to use mileage points, he and Emma were TSA Pre-check and got upgraded to first class seats on the way back, while Annabelle and I were all the way back in Row 24. Honestly, it wasn’t bad at all. I just love giving him crap about it. 😉

And that was our trip! We would definitely love to go back!