Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dear Nolan... You're 10 Months Old!

My sweet Mr. Squishy,

10 months old.  Lovable, sweet, smiley, and the cuddliest baby ever!  Nolan, you have a smile that makes me melt, and every month I fall more and more in love with you.  I still look at your squishy little body and am amazed that you're my son.  Goodness, you make me so proud.

This month, you have really gotten comfortable on your feet.  You're getting more and more stable with standing.  You can hoist yourself up into the standing position from a toy or any piece of furniture and stay standing unassisted for long periods of time.  You are crawling, quite fast, everywhere you want to go.  You like to follow your sister around and watch what she is doing.  You also started standing in your crib when you're ready to get out.  I was quite surprised when I saw you standing up when I opened the door at the beginning of the month. :)  You're not quite ready to walk, but you have taken a step - and immediately fell over.  You are walking easily when pushing toys or chairs around.

You started taking baths in the tub with out the duck this month.  You love bath time, especially when the water is very warm, and you and your sister are sometimes in there for 20 or more minutes playing.  You seem to like playing with toys and splashing!

Much to my happiness, you are doing much better in the car.  You have been doing better for about the last 6 weeks.  You still have an occasional freak out when you get strapped in, but overall, it has been a huge switch from how it used to be with you in the car.  You also started sleeping much better this month.  On October 16th, you slept a solid 10 hours in your crib, which was your longest stretch ever!  Lately, you're going all night.  You still are up occasionally at midnight, or very early in the morning to have a snack.  Your dad and I can't believe how suddenly it happened that you started sleeping through the night.  You went from waking up 2 or 3 times, to just sleeping through.

You love to eat and are a very good eater these days.  You still eat lots of pureed baby food...but this month you made a huge jump into more and more solid foods.  You eat pretty much everything we eat, and you aren't picky yet.  You eat a lot of pasta, bread, veggies, fruit, beans, and some meat.  You like yogurt... and sweet potatoes are still a favorite of yours.  You really love feeding yourself the baby teething biscuits.  Usually, you require a bath immediately after eating because you manage to get it everywhere... your face, arms, belly, legs and hair!  You are still exclusively breastfeeding and eat about 4 times through out the day and if you are up at night.

You are wearing size 12 month & 18 month clothes and size 4 diapers.  You have 4 teeth and are working on getting 4 more (we think) on the top right now.  You are babbling like crazy and started saying "dada" this month.  I think you know I am "mama" and "dada" is dada.  When he facetimed us from work the other day, I showed you his face and you babbled out "dada".  It could be a fluke, but I think you know who we are.

We've taken a few trips to the pumpkin patch this month with your cousins and friends and are getting ready to celebrate your first halloween.  Even though you don't understand everything that is going on, I am enjoying dressing you up in your halloween themed stuff.

I can't believe it's already time to start thinking about your 1st Birthday party.  It's hard to believe how much you've changed and grown in the last few months.  You are truly one of the sweetest, most mellow babies.  I love and adore you so much.  You have such a precious demeanor.  You love being around your family, snuggling, and exploring.  I am so lucky to be your mama.  I love you through and through... yesterday, today, forever.

Your mama

Sunday, October 18, 2015

We're leaving our nest

I remember the first time we saw this house... we walked in and immediately fell in love with the feeling it gave us.  It was clean, bright, had beautiful views and seemed to be a perfect fit.  I remember picturing a line of tiny shoes in the laundry room, knowing which room would someday be a nursery, and imagined having family and friends fill the kitchen and living room.  We were so excited to move in.  I vividly remember seeing it empty on the day we got the keys and being amazed that we got to live here.  We only got this house because 2 other offers had fallen through and we were the back up.

A little more than 5 years later, and this home has been a blessing.  We brought two babies home from the hospital.  We've spent countless hours on the big shaggy rug in our living room with our kids - crawling, snuggling and playing.

One of my favorite things about this home is watching the rain fall.  I can see the drops in contrast to our neighbors house.  It is so quiet here.  The big windows have always given us a beautiful show of the dark clouds, lightening, and sunsets.  They've also provided us with beautiful natural light to take pictures of these babies... thousands and thousands of them!

On the walk from our room to theirs for the middle of the night feedings, I would peek out the windows at the lights.  It's always been a comfort for me.  I have felt safe here.  It's home to our little family.  So much life has happened in these big 4 walls.

About 4 months ago, TL and I found another house, a single story, that we really liked in a different area.  We put an offer on it, but didn't get it because we weren't competitive with a contingency of our house not being sold.  I hadn't even imagined moving... but something about this other house made me start thinking about something different.  It was a single story, smaller, and all of the rooms were near each other.  As fabulous as our house is, it's multi-level with big balconies with a long drop to the bottom.  Andie is now sleeping on a different level than us, and we don't have an accessible back yard.  Before babies, I never thought I would be nervous about a child falling over the railing, or needing a place to run outside with out worrying about cars.  Things change, life changes... and our needs are very different then they were 5 years ago.

So... we decided to list the house and see what happened.  And now, another young couple is purchasing it.  We've had so many second thoughts... how do you leave something you love so much?  It's been a roller coaster of decisions, but we've finally decided this is for the best.

Home is where my family is.  We are going to be renting for the foreseeable future and looking into the possibility of building a home.  It's crazy how life works out... how people come into our lives.  We bought this house from the builder who happened to be living here... we established a relationship with him because he has a reputable business and does a lot of things for people in our neighborhood.  And now, he may be building our next home as well.

I am not always a huge fan of big change.  I think this will be an interesting year for us.  Life is an adventure, and why not just say 'yes' and see what different things may be waiting around the corner.

We have found a potential lot we like... but lots of things will have to fall into place for us to build. It's so hard to imagine a home on the big pile of dirt and weeds.  Who knows where to road will take us.  Just as long as we are together, that's all that matters.  I want to start writing about our journey, as honestly as I can, to building our own home if things work out.

Now... who wants to come over and help me organize, pack, and box up our stuff?  I will provide the wine. ;)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dear Nolan... You're 9 months old!

My baby boy...

It's been a month of "mama", meaning you have become quite the mama's boy and I love it!  Currently, you will also go to your daddy and a few close family members, but the stage of stranger danger has set in.  I talked to your doctor today at your 9 month well check and she said it is totally normal.  I love seeing you reach for me and I have gotten pretty good at doing things with you attached to my hip.  You also started saying "ma ma" - and I will take that as your first word!!  I absolutely love this stage with you.  You are such a little love bug.

It has also been a huge month for you with crawling.  You started out the month lunging yourself forward and doing little army scoots - and now, within the last two weeks you are a full blown (and fast!) crawler.  Especially in the last 4-5 days you have gotten really fast.  I will set you somewhere to play and a minute later you will be across the room pulled up on anything you can find to stand.  You pulled yourself up to the standing position on your toy box on September 2nd for the first time.  You love standing and I can tell you are very eager to walk!  Andie has loved that you're getting a little bigger and more interactive with her.  You love to 'talk' to her and she makes you giggle!

Daddy and I left you and your sister with Gramz and Pops for our first over night trip at the beginning of September.  We stayed away for 2 nights and missed you like crazy.  When we came back, pops had taught you how to give high fives.  You changed so much in 48 hours... it was crazy!  You still love to snuggle with your pops.  He can always get you to sleep and sometimes you will just want to lay on his chest and "chill".  It is so adorable!

You love food, especially foods you can feed yourself.  I have started giving you little bits of everything we eat, on top of baby food.  You are eating less baby food now and more finger foods.  You still love vegetables, especially sweet potatoes.  You are still breastfeeding on demand through out the day and night.  You are not a fan of having your diaper or clothes changed.  You wiggle around and roll every time we try, which definitely keeps things interesting.  You are not the best sleeper - you're still usually up 2, sometimes 3 times a night.  But it's almost always a quick snack and you're back to sleep.  Occasionally I find myself hanging out in there with you in my arms rocking while you sleep because I love to feel you there.  It's crazy how quickly our bond has grown.

You took your second flight this month on our trip to Maui.  You did pretty well, except for a small stint on the flight home where you were really uncomfortable because of your teeth.  We were able to calm you down and you loved to play peek a boo with other people on the flight who were loving on you.  You seemed to like Maui - you enjoyed being in the water, taking naps on me by the pool and ocean, and going into the ocean.  Even though you won't remember this trip, I will always have fond memories of you there.  I danced with you on the lanai our first night there.  I closed my eyes and tried to just soak you in... I know this time is passing so fast.  And now I can always say I have your first Hawaiian dance.  We went with lots of friends and it was a fabulous trip!

Today you weighted 19 pounds 5 ounces.  You're only in the 45% for weight, but you are long, 2 feet 5 inches, which is the 68% for height.  You have started to lean out a little bit with all of the crawling and movement.  You are wearing mostly 12 month clothes and some 12-18 months.  You bumped up to a size 4 diaper this month.  You smile so easily and will giggle at almost anything.  You are going to need a hair cut soon - it's a whispy blonde color, I love it!  You have the most beautiful blue eyes.  And all I have to do is close my eyes and I can picture that stunning smile of yours.  You are truly an adorable little baby.  Your daddy and I both love how much you like to cuddle with us.  So often when we are holding you, you snuggle your head into our chest.  It makes us both melt.  There is just something about the way you feel in my arms right now - it's like you fit perfectly.  I really am loving this age with you.  You are so much fun.

9 months old.  My baby boy, you make me so proud.  I know I am not always the best mommy when I am splitting my time between you and your sister, but I hope you feel this intense love I have for you.  I go to sleep every night thinking of you guys... you truly fill me up with so much joy and love.

I love you to the moon and back times infinity.  And I will forever and ever.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Dear Nolan... You're 8 Months Old.


Last night, along with several nights in the last 4 weeks, I rocked you to sleep and kept rocking for a while after you were dreaming.  Holding your little body, smelling you, kissing your soft hair, and just closing my eyes and trying to take you all in... it's heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time - you're growing so fast and this time is passing too quickly.

You're getting so strong, rolling and scooting in all directions and getting exactly where you want to go.  You've managed to figure out how to scoot while sitting and propel yourself forward.  You're just starting to pull yourself up on things, and you love to stand!  I think you would like to skip crawling all together and just run and chase us, but you are starting to get in position to crawl and rock back and forth.  You love being held and watching the world around you.  It is so cute how you stare and take everything in.  You're curious and nosy, traits I am sure you got from your mama.  You smile so easily and are one of the happiest babies I have ever known.

This month was a big one for you.  You got TWO teeth, 4 days apart and you did not like them growing in!  You were in so much pain and to top it off, you have had a bit of a runny nose.  Both teeth are on the bottom in the middle and they sprouted up starting on August 14th.  You haven't been sleeping well this month, sometimes you're up every hour or two.  We are still trying to get you into a little bit of a routine, but I know eventually you will start to sleep through the night and I will miss these quiet times holding you.

You are eating so well.  You love fruits and vegetables.  Bananas are still something you're unsure of, but you'll eat them.  I think your favorite is sweet potato, because you gobble it down so fast!  You're eating about 6-7 ounces of baby food 3 times a day.  I have just recently started giving you solid chunks of food to feed yourself.  So far you have tried watermelon, banana, and teething biscuits.  You are still exclusively breastfeeding and I feel fortunate for that.

You are wearing size 3 diapers, 6-12 month, 12 month, and 18 month clothes.  You haven't picked any favorite toys, you love them all, but you eat stickers your sister gives you and anything else you can get into your mouth.  You like to sleep with your blankie from Gramz.  You love your paci and you are doing a little better in the car these days.  You like seeing Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the tv or iPad and you go absolutely nuts bouncing around in your jump-a-roo.

This month, your daddy was gone for more than two weeks fighting fires on a strike team in Trinity County.  We missed him so much and he missed you and your sister like crazy!  He says you grew so much while he was gone.  All he wanted to do when he got back was hold and snuggle you guys!

While he was away, your sister, you and I did several playdates with some of the other firefighters wives, ran lots of errands (I called them adventures), and spent time with gramz, pops, your cousins, and aunties.  The bond you have with your pops is one of the cutest things I have ever seen.  You go absolutely nuts when you see him, screaming, kicking your legs until he comes and picks you up.  You love to snuggle with him and will just lay on his chest for hours, even when you're awake "chillaxin'" (as pops calls it).  He calls himself your "popsurpedic mattress" and you love falling asleep on him.  It is so precious and I am so grateful that you and he already have a special relationship with him and your Gramz.

You have several nicknames... mr. squishy, no-yin, nolly holly bear, brother bear, love bug, no-no-Nolan (from pops), and baby.  I call you baby and squishy a lot.  You do very well sitting on the floor chewing on toys and watching your sister.  You are happy and mellow.  You do great in the stroller as long as you have a full belly.  You started taking baths in your big yellow duck this month!  You really seem to enjoy that - sometimes you even cry when bath time is over.

I have a tendency to "baby" you - and I know I am doing it and can't help it.  There is already such a bond I feel with you.  Right now, I get to love on you, protect you, cuddle you, make you feel safe. I love when you reach for me.  I love being your mom.

You and your sister have taught me in such a short time just how much I cherish and enjoy being a mother.  I never thought I would love it this intensely.  You are so incredibly sweet, when you smile at me I see something in your eyes... I am incapable of putting it adequately into words, but you just do something to my heart.  I love you so much, son.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Family Vacation in Sunriver, Oregon

Sunriver, Oregon is about 15 miles south of Bend.  My mom heard about the Resort area from a friend at her work who has gone there year after year for their family vacations.  She mentioned something to me about it and after some research, we decided we had to go and booked a big family vacation there.  Because of the popularity of the place (it doesn't feel crowded even when it is) it's best to book as far out as possible if you'd like to go.  We rented a house and had to reserve it last October.

I have always thought Oregon was a beautiful state, but oh my goodness... this area surpassed my expectations.  Big, beautiful trees, scenic landscape with mountains, rolling hills with golden tall grass and flowers, and beautiful rivers & lakes.  This part of Oregon is called the High Desert, but it had far more water then our drought stricken Northern California area.

Sunriver in particular is amazing.  They have 35 miles of paved, mostly flat bike trails that are well mapped out and take you everywhere, horse stables, rivers with rafting, paddle boarding, and canoeing.  You can fish, run, bike, swim, and relax all in one place.  The house we stayed in was spacious and livable.  It worked perfectly with the 5 kids and 8 adults in our group (my parents, sisters, brother-in-laws, and niece & nephews).  It backed up to the trails for easy access and was a quick 5 minute bike ride to the lodge and pool and an 8-10 minute bike ride to the Village, which is filled with things to do (coffee shops, grocery store, train rides for the kids, boutiques, and bike & outdoor rentals).  The house backed up to one of the 4 golf courses and had sweeping views of the mountains... it was beautiful.  You can't go wrong with any of the homes or rentals in this place... everywhere you look is beautiful!

We spent a lot of our time outside.  The kids were pooped at the end of everyday because they were going 100 miles an hour running, flying kites, swimming at The Cove (their brand new pool area, which also has a water slide), riding bikes, playing games, etc.  They also had so much fun in the Village riding the train.  Tim and I rode bikes and brought the Burley and the kids took turns riding in that.  My nephew, Ryan, and Andie had the best time riding around to play at the park then riding ponies at the stables on the last day.  The wonderful thing about Sunriver is that if you have a family... kids are welcome everywhere.  They even have a play area for kids in the Sunriver Brewing Company (which has good food).  There really is something for everyone to do - even if you just like to relax on the patio with a book and enjoy the scenery.

My parents are extremely generous and rented the home for all of us to stay in and made a huge costco trip.  We made priceless memories that I will never forget.  It was wonderful to watch everyone interact, especially the kids, and the last night I sat on the patio and watched our kids run, play and enjoy it all.  These are the times I dreamed of when I imagined having babies... and this trip was incredible.  I feel unbelievably blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to travel to a beautiful place with the people I love.  Thanks mom & dad!

((caution: picture overload ahead))

 The infinity edge pool at the Cove.

 We visited The High Desert Museum with the kids and they all enjoyed it!
 At Worthy Brewing Company in Bend - great place!
Nolan enjoying the grass in his toes from his jump-a-roo!

 Our backyard!

My family.  What a wonderful week!