Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Napa Getaway

TL and I are not afraid of going places with the kids... the adventure is always a little more hectic, but the memories are always worth it.  Every once in a while (and when we can make it work) it is so nice to do a getaway for just the two of us.  I am so unbelievably grateful that my parents are so amazing and want to watch our babies for us to go - and trust me, the kids don't miss us when they're with Gramz and Pops.

We just went for one night, but it was very nice.  It was my first time leaving the kids overnight - and it was much harder for me than them.  TL and I took the 1.5 hour drive to Napa and left late morning.  We arrived to our hotel The Westin Verasa Napa before lunch, checked in, and then took the short walk over to Oxbow Market.  Oxbow market is really neat - lots of different places to eat and shop.  The Westin is a great place to stay - walking distance to the downtown area!

While we were there, we also spent some time with a cocktail by the pool, and went to a few different restaurants and bars.  We ate dinner at Tra Vigne in Saint Helena (one of the first places we ever ate together in Napa - try the mozzarella if you go... ahhh-mazing!)  The next day, we woke up late after sleeping through the night (a huge treat for me!), went to breakfast and visited a winery in the Carneros region of Napa.  We have never visited this area of Napa, and we have been there several times.  After a tasting at Saintsbury (an adorable winery) we had lunch at the Fremont Diner before hitting the road and heading back to our babes.

We had so much fun just catching up, talking, and spending some quality time together.  Sometimes life feels like its moving so fast it can all be a blur, and this time was definitely needed to slow down with my love.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Dear Nolan... You're 6 Months Old

My squishy, dreamy-eyed little boy...

I was holding you on my chest tonight as I rocked you to sleep.  Your long, almost 20 pound little body snug against me, I must have kissed you 100 times.  You are such a mellow, sweet, smiley little guy - already your little zest for life is starting to show.  You laugh and giggle so easily, love to fly in the air, love watching your big sister, and you are really watching and soaking in all of your surroundings.

Watching you grow this last month has been amazing.  You are getting strong!  On June 18th you started rolling back to front with a little more ease.  I was a concerned a couple weeks ago because you weren't rolling much.  Well, in the last week, you have really started rolling - in all directions, front to back, back to front!  You see toys and reach for them, or roll to them - and you have great control over your little fingers.  You have a strong head and neck and you are very close to being able to sit on your own.  You love to sit in the bumbo because it keeps you upright.  You will sit in it for long stretches of time reaching around for toys and blankets.  It's really cute because your sister always wants to be near you and she will pull her chair up next to yours.  You also love to lay on your back and stick your toes in your mouth!

You went into the jump-a-roo for the first time on May 31st and immediately liked it.  You are crazy in that thing... jumping up and down like a wild man.  You also love the water - you kick and splash and chew on toys in the bath.  You and Andie take them together and it is so much fun to see you interact with each other.  I am so happy you love the water - it always makes you content.

You are a very good eater.  On June 3rd (just over 5 months old) I gave you your first taste of sweet potatoes... you ate so well and now you are eating apples, bananas, carrots, prunes, and avocado.  You open your mouth up really wide and let me just shovel it in... it is really adorable, and I am relieved that you like solid foods.  We are still breastfeeding, and I am so grateful that we have already made it 6 months.  You are quite the little pooper as well - sometimes you manage to have 3 or 4 big, outfit changing bow outs in one day!

Daddy and I took our first overnight trip away from you and your sister last week and Gramz and Pops came to stay with you while we were gone.  It was much harder on me than it was for you, but I knew you were in good hands.  You did very well for them.  You love to snuggle and sleep - we call pops your "popsupedic" mattress because you sleep very well on his chest.  It is so cute how happy and comfortable you are with them!  We also left you with our sitter, Julia, for the first time this month and you did very well for her.  She liked getting to cuddle with you, too!

You are wearing size 3 diapers, 6-12 month & 9 month clothes, and you're getting close to bumping up to 12 month sleepers.  You are long and heavy, and although I am devastated at how big you're getting, I am also relieved that you are growing and thriving.  You aren't the best sleeper - sometimes you will be up every hour, and sometimes you will go for a 5-7 hour stretch.  We still haven't hit our stride with sleeping, but we will eventually.  In the mean time, I will just continue to soak in my time with my little baby boy needing me so much.  I can't tell you how much I love snuggling with you!  You have quite a few nicknames - "No-yin, buttercup, butter, night-owl Nolan, squishy, bubba" - to name a few.

Nolan, I can't believe that you are 6 months old today.  I can't believe that so much time has already passed since I met you for the first time.  You are such an amazing baby, so happy, loving, and snuggly.  You are absolutely beautiful and my goodness, I am so unbelievably grateful for you every day.  Your smile lights up our whole world - and all I have to do is close my eyes and I can see it and it immediately makes me feel happy.  My favorite thing you have started doing this month is giving kisses.  You lean in, open those big luscious lips and push your face into mine.  It is ridiculously adorable.

I am so blessed to be your mommy.  I love watching you change and grow everyday.  It's amazing how quickly you're learning, and how much you are observing the world around you.  I am very proud of you, son.  You are giving me a whole different perspective on the world and seeing you laugh and smile is the highlight of my day.  You and your sister have made being a mom the most treasured journey of my life.

Someday, when you read these letters, I hope you know that I look forward to writing them every month and I love you more then you will ever be able to comprehend.

6 months... one half of a year... I am such a lucky mommy.

Love you forever and ever,

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Merino Kids Sleep Sack Review

Nolan isn't the best sleeper in the world, but he isn't the worst either.  We've been trying every trick to see if we can get him to go longer than a 2-3 hour stretch... some nights we are successful, and other nights... not so much.

When we was first born, we tried several different swaddle blankets - some with velcro and other sleep sacks that just zipped.  I was really excited to try the Merino Kids Sleep Sack because they get really good reviews and you can use them from newborn all the way through the toddler years.

I don't know if it makes him sleep any better, but it sure is a great quality sleep sack.  They are made from organic cotton and it should last him until he is close to two years old.  Now that he is getting hot, sometimes I only put him in a short sleeve onesie with the sack, but when it was colder out, it worked really well at keeping him warm (almost a little too warm... look out for sweaty backs - that happened to him and I had to remember to keep him out of the long sleeved onesies).  The sleep sacks also make it nice for when kids are a little older because it makes it tougher for them to climb out of the crib.

The sleep sack is really good quality and washes up nice.  It's a little expensive, but I think you may only need one of them, usually I will go a few nights between washes because he always has something on under it when he wears it.  I also love the feel of it... it's really soft and the zipper is nice because it is completely out of the way.

Merino Kids also has some other adorable sleepwear and accessories - it's a New Zealand based company.  These pictures were taken before bed - didn't want to risk waking him up after he fell asleep :)

Merino Kids sent me this sleep sack to use and review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Our visit to "The Happiest Place on Earth"

Andie is quite a Disney girl... she loves it all, whether or not she has actually seen it on tv.  Her favorite characters are Minnie Mouse & Elsa, but she was lucky enough to meet all of her idols during our 5 day stay in Disneyland!

To celebrate her turning 2, my parents took us on this little adventure and we were so lucky to stay at The Grand Californian Hotel - right in the center of Downtown Disney.  We had park hopper passes and spent a lot of time meeting characters, riding rides, and watching the parades.  Andie really loved it all - it was incredibly magical to see her light up and get so excited about all of the details.  When she met the characters, it was so cute because she was in total disbelief about meeting them - and she would hug them, high-five them, and hold their hands.

She loved all of the rides... Pirates of the Caribbean, The Little Mermaid, Monsters Inc, The Teacups, It's A Small World, Toy Story Mania, The Carousel, the 'It's a Bug Life' rides, Fantasyland rides and her favorite, The Golden Zephr.   She played the carnival games with her pops & daddy and we almost had to buy an extra suit case because of all of the stuffed animals they won! We ate lots of good food and my mom and I were able to sneak away and do some shopping.

Nolan seemed to enjoy it as well, although he spent most of his time snuggled up with his pops in the front pack, or zooming around in his stroller.  My parents were so sweet and offered to watch the babies for us during nap times and in the evenings after their bed times so we could cruise around the park, ride rides and have dinner with friends from Southern California.

Meeting Mickey on our first day at the Park.
 Snuggled up with pops in the front pack.
 Riding the carousel with her Gramz
Pops and Nolan hung out in a quiet spot while Gramz, TL, and I explored Toon Town with Andie.
 She and Donald took a little walk because he was going on his lunch break.

 Toddler Tantrums: Disneyland Edition
 Getting ready to watch the parade in California Adventure
 Fishin' with Pops
She couldn't decide which one of her new stuffed animals she wanted to sleep with...
Meeting Anna & Elsa!

 How she really feels about Disneyland!
 Meeting her buddy "O-off"
 "Again, again" after the Little Mermaid ride with Pops
Her favorite ride... the Golden Zephr

I took about 500 pictures... so hard to pick just a few to share :)

It was so much fun to watch her experience the magic for the first time... truly a trip I will never forget.  Thanks mom & dad.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Dear Nolan... You're 5 Months Old!

My sweet, smiley, squishy little man . . .

You are 5 months old.  I simply can't believe it.  You are changing so much every day, giggling lots, always full of smiles and very laid back.  You love watching your surroundings, especially your sister, and being held & snuggled.  This month you have really discovered your little feet and it cracks me up when I look on the monitor and see you grabbing your toes.

You are starting to roll a lot more, although you weren't rolling much until about the last week.  You still haven't rolled from back to front, but you will go side to side and are working on going back to your tummy.  You haven't had as much time on the floor as I would like because I am careful to have you in reach of your sister when I can't keep a constant eye on you.  Your neck muscles have really strengthened and you like to be on your tummy, especially when you are sleeping.

You are putting everything in your mouth.  Toys, blankets, anything you can grab and especially your fingers.  It seems to soothe you when you can stick those tiny fingers in your mouth and suck on them.  You have gotten really good at purposely grabbing toys and items and it's fun to see you focus on a moving toy and grab it.  You like to bat at the toys on your bouncer and sometimes you go crazy sitting in that thing!

You are very mellow.  You talk and scream at us when you're hungry or tired.  You still do not like the car.  We have had a couple of quiet car rides this month, but I still have lots of anxiety overtime we are leaving the house, especially before long drives.  I hate to see you so sad in the car.  Occasionally the iPad will help.  We switched you back into your car seat carrier this month because you were falling asleep and I wanted to be able to keep you in your seat to transfer you to the stroller. You have been very good sitting in the carrier during your sisters swim lessons, trips to the store, and while we are out and about.

You tried rice cereal for the first time on May 1st.  You really liked it and over the past month you have gotten easier to feed.  Sometimes you will scream at me between bites if I am not feeding you enough.  You eat so well and have always finished every bite of what I make you!

Another big event this month was going into your crib in your own room.  It was a tough transition for me because I loved having you next to me to snuggle when we slept.  You weren't sleeping well in our room, however.  Many nights you were up 3 or 4 times and I started thinking that it may be better to put you in your own bed.  After a couple of nights in there, you started going 4-5 hours in the first stretch, which has been nice.  You are still waking up at least twice at night, usually between 1 and 2am and then again around 5am.  We are working on a routine and it will be lovely when you sleep for longer stretches, but I don't mind waking up with you.  It is our quiet time in the middle of the night.  You are so sweet and usually go right back down in your crib.  You love to snuggle and we are so happy that you love to cuddle as much as we do.

We had a busy month.  You took your first trip to Disneyland for Andie's 2nd Birthday and you did so well traveling there on your first plane ride!  You spent a lot of time with your Pops in Disneyland.  You two raced around in your stroller and you spent a lot of time snuggled up close to Pops in the front pack.  It was so special for me to see you two bond while we were there.

You are getting so big!  At your 4 month appointment you were almost 16 pounds, and I am pretty sure you are more than 17 pounds now.  You were a tough guy during your 4 month shots and barely cried.  You were getting too big for the bath tub in the sink, so I found the perfect little bouncer for the bath tub and you took a bath with Andie in the big tub on May 18th.  She loved having you in there and you absolutely love the bath.  You splash and kick and swing your hands around.  You like the water to be warm.

You have several nicknames... your daddy and I call you "No-Yin" a lot because that's how Andie says your name.  She also says "Nolly-Noyin".  I call you several nicknames, including "goose" (silly goose), butter, love bug, and anything else I can think of.  You are so squishy and adorable.

Nolan, there is just something about your smile. . . seriously, son, you have the most infectious, beautiful smile.  It warms my heart when you look at me and squish your beautiful blue eyes and grin.  You are so special to me and already our bond has grown tremendously.  I am so proud to be your mommy.  You are a good baby and I am thankful every single day that I get the extraordinary blessing of watching you grow up.  I hope no matter what happens to me, for the rest of your life you know how much I love you!  It's endless.

Love you so much my sweet baby boy.