Tag Archives: baby

Life lately…

24 Apr

This poor little blog has been dominated too long by other urgent matters. I have so much to write about! So here’s what we’ve been up to (and what I hope to elaborate on in coming weeks):

  • I got a job! At the beginning of January, I started working at our church as the Children Ministry’s Assistant two days a week. Emma and Annabelle both go to the same daycare those days, and I think it has been a good change for all of us. I really enjoy my job, and getting out of the house to do adult things. Most of my days as a parent are spent feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing, and I’m not very good at this parenting thing, so having time to do something that I am good at, is very rewarding! I’ve also been doing some freelance graphic design for the company Travis works for.
  • We went to Europe! Travis and I spent a week in Paris, Florence, and Rome in the middle of February just the two of us (an early celebration of our 10-year wedding anniversary in May) while all three grandparents wrangled the girls at our house. It was an amazing trip, but not without its stressful moments. I want to write detailed posts about each day of our trip (because this blog is also my online scrapbook 😉 ) so for now, I’ll just list a few of the things we got to see: the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Catacombs in Paris; the Duomo in Florence and nearby Tuscany; and the St. Peter’s Basilica, Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Pantheon in Rome. IMG_3010IMG_3311
  • We are soon to be licensed for foster care! We finished up all of the paperwork and training last week, and we should be licensed by the end of this week. After we’re licensed, we just wait to get a call about a child needing a home. It’s both exciting and daunting at the same time! To start out with, we’re only going to accept one child, under 24 months old. We are praying and trusting God to provide us with emotional strength, physical ability, and wisdom/discernment.
  • On a related note, we bought a minivan. With two medium-sized dogs, our SUV was already too small for our family–when we went on road trips, we had to pack our bags in totes and strap them onto a hitch carrier! We muscled through, but now that we are anticipating needing to transport three children, we finally took the plunge and traded the SUV in for a minivan. So far, I LOVE it.IMG_3953
  • I stumbled across a book at the library called “Better than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits” by Gretchen Rubin. I grabbed it because building better habits has been a desire of mine for a while, and the book delivered! One lasting habit I’ve created since reading that book is our morning routine: we eat breakfast right when we get up, then the girls get dressed, and while they watch iPad or mommy’s phone, I do the breakfast dishes and clean for 5 minutes. It is a great start to our day, and has enabled me to keep our house cleaner, in an easier way, without getting overwhelmed. It has changed my cleaning life!! I’ll do a whole post about this soon.
  • The girls turned 2 and 4! We had a joint party on April 8, the day after Emma’s birthday. It was a mermaid theme, and we had a day with nice weather so could spend some time playing outside after cake and presents. So fun to celebrate with friends!
  • Emma is going to preschool next year at the public school in our district on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and every other Friday. We still don’t know what our plan is for kindergarten, but for now, we have peace about this decision. The preschool is in the same school as their daycare right now, so I think the transition will go really easily.
  • I signed up for the Northwoods Triathlon in Nevis, Minnesota, on August 12. I did this race two years ago, and since it’s in Travis’ hometown, it’s a fun one to do. I need to start training for that in about a month! Travis was training for a half-marathon on May 20, but a couple weeks ago (about halfway through the plan), he injured his Achilles, and has only run once since. He’s pretty bummed. 😦
  • We threw my mother-in-law a surprise party for her 60th birthday this past Saturday. She was totally surprised! All of her kids and grandkids, and some family and friends came to celebrate. It was a great time.
  • Our big summer vacation is going to be a trip to South Haven, Michigan, with my whole family. We are renting an Airbnb right on the beach for a week at the end of June. I can’t wait! I think the girls are going to have a blast. We are also going to go up to Travis’ parents’ cabin in Voyageurs National Park for the 4th of July.

And that’s life lately!

Thoughts on Grief: Miscarriage

3 Mar

It was a surprise–both the pregnancy and the loss. We had decided to forego any additional biological children in order to focus on foster care. But then on Dec 4, I took a pregnancy test (my period was late) and it came back positive. At first, we were disappointed because the pregnancy upset our plans–foster care, Europe, my new job. But over the course of December, we grew excited, talking about names, gender reveal methods, pregnancy announcements, etc.

But then the bleeding started. At first, it was just spotting. An ultrasound revealed that the baby was smaller than expected, with a heartbeat of 92 (slower than it should have been, I found out later). I also had a corpus luteum cyst on my left ovary, a subchorionic hemorrhage, and “debris” in the gestational sac. They said they expected these things to resolve on their own.

I left the doctor’s office with a bad feeling about the pregnancy, even though no one else, including the nurses, seemed to be overly concerned about things. I tried to put it out of my mind. We told my family about our exciting news over New Years weekend, and prayed for good news at the next ultrasound.

But that next ultrasound on Thursday showed the embryo had no growth from before, and no heartbeat, and the spotting I’d had had turned to blood. I had gone to the doctor’s office for the ultrasound alone. It wasn’t until the reality that we were losing the baby set in that I realized how fully pinned my hopes had been on hearing that things were fine.

I kept it together until I got out into the hallway and called Travis. The minute he answered the phone, I started sobbing. “The b-b-baby…d-d-doesn’t…h-h-have a…h-h-heartbeat,” I stammered. Travis quickly arranged for our neighbor to take the girls, even though it meant waking them up from their naps, and came to the hospital, while I sat in the nurse’s office and learned about our options. Travis arrived, we discussed what the nurse had said, and decided to wait and see if things would happen naturally. We scheduled an appointment with the OB for the following Monday, just in case things hadn’t progressed on their own by then.

After we left the hospital, we went to Caribou Coffee to digest what was happening before jumping back into the craziness of parenting. I confessed to Travis that I was mad at God. The thoughts running through my head were, “This is so like God. He gives us a surprise pregnancy and enough time to get excited about that change in our plans, and then the baby dies.” It felt like God was the ultimate manipulator, toying with our emotions just to prove to us how little control we have over our lives. “What was the point of this?!?” I screamed in my soul. I felt like we were just pawns in God’s schemes, and that He didn’t really care about us after all.

The next morning, Friday, I got up at 6 am to cramping and lots of blood. A surreal experience if there ever was one, knowing that it wasn’t just blood–it was my baby too. Thankfully, it wasn’t very painful, lasted only a few hours, and another ultrasound that following Monday showed that I did not need a D&C.

God enabled me to see His grace to us in the midst of our loss. I’m so incredibly thankful that my body miscarried on its own, and that it happened the day after we found out our baby had no heartbeat. I’m also grateful that we have the money to pay for the costly ultrasounds.

God also reminded me how I had prayed a few months earlier for Him to enable me to hold the options of having another biological child or pursuing foster care with open hands, willing to follow wherever He led. I discovered that I wasn’t as willing to follow as I had imagined myself to be. The Sunday following the miscarriage, I had a vision in church of Jesus standing on the other side of the waterfall, beckoning me to join Him with an outstretched hand. Am I willing to follow through the veil down the road of fully acknowledging and feeling my pain and sadness?

Faced with the sorrow of losing a baby less than a year after the death of my beloved mom, I felt the familiar feeling of not wanting to follow Jesus into hurt and pain. As if there were a choice; the hurt and pain are there regardless. For some reason, though, accepting the hurt and pain as God’s perfect plan makes the pain hurt more, makes the loss seem more final. It seems easier to kick against the goads and reject the reality of loss. With the death of my mom, I clung to God’s goodness and perfect ways like a buoy in a white-capped sea. With this miscarriage, though, I floundered in unbelief and anger.

It wasn’t until I humbled myself and read the Bible that God broke through my anger, bitterness, and accusations, and my heart softened. The truth was that Satan causes harm and destruction; God redeems and heals.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

This experience revealed how close sin and unbelief are to me. They’re crouching at the door, waiting to devour me. And the only weapon I have is the sword of the Spirit–the Word. Truth. And the Truth is that “This God–his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 18:30)

One unexpected grace that has come from this loss is that I appreciate and cherish my two daughters and husband more. I feel so blessed to have them–and I actually feel it in my heart, instead of just acknowledging it in my head. You would think that a loss like this would make you feel less content, not more. But losing an unborn baby has reinforced how much I truly love kids in general, and specifically my own kids–even when they’re driving me crazy, I’m so blessed that they’re mine.

This sadness has also made me aware that we are entering into a world of potential heartache with foster care. A world of unrealized hopes and dreams, of uncertain outcomes and tenuous relationships. But Travis and I continue to feel called in that direction.

Lord, whatever lies ahead, give us the faith and strength to follow You.

Annabelle Lyn: 20-22 Months

26 Jan

This little girl is growing up so fast, I can’t keep up on the updates! Annabelle was 20 months on November 27, 21 months on December 27, and 22 months tomorrow, on January 27.img_1725img_1813Size

Annabelle is still wearing 2T clothes, size 5 shoes, and size 4 diapers.img_1787img_1736Eating

Annabelle is still a picky eater, and still lactose intolerant. Over the holidays, she apparently ate too many Hershey’s kisses because her diarrhea returned for a bit. Her favorite foods lately have been yogurt (non-dairy), applesauce, mandarin oranges, peaches, toast, and bacon. She eats like a bird—she won’t eat many foods, and the ones she will eat, she doesn’t eat much of. But she doesn’t have any problem eating her weight in candy, suckers, or gum (not that we let her…).img_2494img_2233Sleeping

Annabelle is still waking up 1-3 times at night. The past month or so, she will often not even let us put her down in her crib at night. Those nights, the only way she will settle down and go to sleep is if we lay down on the floor with her—on the mattress that has been on the floor in her room since last summer. I read in my last update on Annabelle that I thought she was getting her 2-year molars, but she still hasn’t! Uffda, teething seems to take forever. Once she does get her 2-year molars, though, we’ll get serious about getting Annabelle to sleep all night in her crib.

Annabelle takes one nap a day for about two hours, from about 1:30 to 3:30.img_2267img_1816Development

Annabelle is an active, daring, little monkey! She loves to climb, dive, slide, jump, run, and spin.

She has also started talking a bunch, and can say about 15 words, including Dada, Mama, Emma, Abell (Annabelle), cracker, bubble, purple, yellow, honey, ball, doggy, all done, oh no, and dough know (I don’t know). So cute!img_2235img_2070img_2523Annabelle LOVES her big sister Emma and they play together most of the time—though sometimes the age difference makes getting along a little difficult.img_2280img_1757img_1785I started working two days a week at the beginning of January, and Annabelle started going to daycare at the same center Emma has been going to. She has handled the transition well, and the workers say that she only cries for a few minutes a couple times a day, and the rest of the time she is pretty happy. A couple times during the day, Emma and Annabelle get to play together in the gym, and the workers say that they play together the whole time. One day when I came to pick them up, they were both riding a trike—Emma was sitting in front, pedaling, and Annabelle was riding on the back.

Annabelle’s favorite things lately have been:

  • Blocks—she loves building towers
  • Books—she will sit for 4-5 books, and often grabs a book, finds me or Travis, and motions that she wants to sit on our lap and have us read a book to her
  • Rough-housing—she still loves to be “thrown” onto the bed, held upside down, spun in circles, etc.
  • Mommy’s phone or iPad—she loves playing games and watching short YouTube videos… I just have to be careful to keep her from calling anyone (which she has done more than a handful of times!)
  • Painting—Annabelle really enjoys painting with either finger paints or with brushes on an easel… we just don’t do it often because it’s an ordeal 😉
  • Cuddling–Annabelle is a cuddle bug, which I love–unless she’s sleeping, then she wants to be left alone.

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And that’s Annabelle at 22 months!

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: 18-19 Months

1 Nov

Annabelle is already over 19 months old! She was 18 months on September 27 and 19 months on October 27. It’s hard to believe that when Emma was Annabelle’s age, I was already pregnant with Annabelle. She’s growing up so fast!img_1998Size

At Annabelle’s 18-month well-child check, she weighed 23 lbs 1 oz (54%), was 32.5 inches tall (68%), and had a head circumference of 19.78 inches (99.8%). This girl is setting the curve for head size. 😉

Annabelle is still wearing size 4 diapers and mostly 18-24 months/2T clothes. She has gone up in shoe size from size 4 to size 5—tiny little feet just like Emma had (which is nice because she can wear all of Emma’s old shoes…at least, the ones she didn’t destroy).img_1481Eating

Annabelle is still a pretty picky eater. The foods she likes to eat consistently are dairy and fruit, which is unfortunate because we discovered that she is most likely lactose intolerant. She had been having trouble with diarrhea and pooping 5-6 times a day, so I asked her doctor about it and she suggested limited her dairy to see if that would help. We stopped giving her any dairy except some hard/sharp cheese, and her poop has changed to be what we would expect. She was never a big fan of cow’s milk, so that won’t be a hard switch, but she loves yogurt and cheese. I’ve started buying Silk yogurt (which is actually pretty tasty) and Ripple milk for her, and being selective about which cheese we give her (apparently the harder and sharper ones have less lactose). Not a huge deal compared to other kids’ allergies, just something to get used to.20160914_141849Annabelle’s other favorite foods are bacon, banana, blueberries, applesauce, peanut butter on a spoon, honey, cereal, apple slices, edamame, suckers, and chocolate. There are other foods she will eat too, but they’re more hit and miss.

I think Annabelle is starting to get her 2-year molars because she’s frequently chewing on her whole hand recently, or sticking her fingers into the back of her mouth.img_20160922_162100Sleeping

Annabelle has been doing about the same in the sleep department as a few months ago. She will sleep through the night about 40-50% of the time; the other nights, she wakes up between 1 and 3 am, and I go sleep in her room on the floor with her.img_1302She is nursing to sleep less often than before–which is good, considering I want to wean her any day now, but hard because it means she cries in her crib before falling asleep more often. I just hate that! I will try rocking and nursing to get her to sleep, but sometimes she just isn’t having it, so crying it out it is. I remember Emma getting to a point like that too around this age. I know it’s a good thing for them to learn, I just wish it didn’t involve so much crying.

Anyway… Annabelle is still taking one nap a day, usually from about 1 to 3:30.img_1070Development

Once Annabelle learned how to walk, she took off and she is now getting into anything and everything. Put Emma and Annabelle together, and they come with some real hairbrained schemes, which usually result in the destruction of something. Annabelle has also learned how to retaliate against Emma, and push her buttons. Emma will be playing with something, and Annabelle will run over to either quick grab one of Emma’s things or scratch her arm, and then quick dart away. Emma has met her match. 🙂img_1490Annabelle’s favorite things to do the past two months have been:

  • Sit like a big girl at the dining room table (no more highchair for this girl!), on the couch, in recliners, on the piano bench, and in the big part of the shopping cartimg_20160903_174259img_20160922_084959
  • Run around screaming with Emmaimg_1444
  • Play with Emma’s fishing rod outside (almost every time we go outside, she asks for it by pointing and whining)img_1313
  • Pushing strollers, carts, trucks, etc. – she’d rather push them than ride in themimg_20160906_135151
  • Destroying things – knocking blocks over, ripping paper, throwing bowls out of a drawer, taking all the caps off markers and abandoning them, throwing crayons around, etc.
  • Playing with water – mostly in the kitchen sink and outside – all she wants is several vessels for containing water that she can fill up and use to pour water from one thing to anotherimg_1211
  • Rough-housing – Annabelle actually likes to be thrown up into the air (only when Travis is sitting down though, not when he’s standing up), body-slammed on the bed, steamrolled on the floor, held upside down, flipped over, spun in a chair, etc. There’s really not much you can do to Annabelle that she doesn’t like. She might have a look of fear on her face while you’re doing it, but afterward she gets a big grin on her face and whines for more.20160912_123148
  • Copying Emma—It is truly amazing how many things Annabelle picks up and copies from Emma. Emma sometimes gets upset that Annabelle follows her around so much and always wants to be doing what she’s doing, which is understandable, but it really is so cute. We tell Emma that Annabelle just loves her and wants to be like her.
  • Sitting on the kitchen counter—Annabelle always wants to be where the action is. Obviously, we only let her do this when we’re able to sit right there and watch her.img_1330
  • iPad—Annabelle and Emma have started fighting over who gets to use/watch the iPad. I don’t think Annabelle really has that big of an interest in the iPad for what it is, just that she sees Emma using it quite a bit and wants to be like Big Sister.img_1296

As far as talking goes, Annabelle usually defaults to whining to get what she wants instead of talking. We’re trying to encourage her to use words like “water” when she wants a drink and “more” or “please” when she wants something to eat. She has learned the sign for “please” so she does use that a fair amount when prompted—it comes out as “eeees” with her arm moving back and forth. She also says “eese” (Cheese) often when we’re taking a picture of her. So cute! She has started saying Mama again (yay!), and can also say Emma, Dada, Doggy, Nana (banana), and Wawa (water). She uses several variations of Dah Dah to communicate a number of things. She has said other words, but they’re rare.20160921_110554

img_101120160913_11311620160911_11343920160913_11450420160911_11543720160912_09275320160912_115707And that’s Annabelle at 19 months!

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!

Annabelle Lyn: 15 Months

27 Jun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_20160623_160722 (Large)Development

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

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

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