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!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dear Nolan... You're 7 Months Old!

Mr. Squishy...

You have the most beautiful 7 month old baby blue eyes I have ever seen.  They are the color of the ocean and when you flash your sweet, squishy eyed smile at me, I feel all sorts of flutters in my heart.  You have won us over, each month you are gaining more personality, and you are so much fun!  This month has been so much fun to see you change and grow - you're developing quite a sense of humor and hearing you giggle (which you do often) makes me so unbelievably happy.

You are very mellow, happy, and easy to please.  You smile so easily, even at strangers, and everyone loves talking to you when we take you out in public.  You're just a content little guy, and unless you are hungry or tired, you do very well at going with the flow.  You love to play peek-a-boo and even when you are startled you start laughing.  I also love letting you see yourself in the mirror because you always start smiling at yourself. :)  You must know how cute you are, too!  You smile and giggle when daddy holds you high in the air, we think you may be a thrill baby.

You celebrated your very first 4th of July.  We spent the afternoon and evening at your cousin's house (Danelle & Joel) and you watched the fireworks with us.  Most of the day you were asleep on your pops or striking up conversation with your great grandma Nancy - it was really fun to see.

You are rolling everywhere and even starting to propel yourself forward.  I wouldn't say you are quite scooting or army crawling, but you're getting very close and when you see something you want, you always figure out a way to get to it.  You also are starting to master the ability to sit up all by yourself.  In the last couple weeks I have been able to sit you up and leave you there for minutes at a time and when you're all done, you're getting much more graceful at leaning forward and moving onto your belly.

You love watching your sister.  You will glue your eyes to her and take in everything she is doing.  You really seem to love other kids and it's easy to see that you are anxious to get up and start moving with them.  I know you'll be on the move faster then id like you to be, so I am relishing in this time of being able to hold you and snuggle you anytime I want to.  You are SO snuggly, by the way... you love to lay on us, cuddle with us, and sleep on us.  And we love it so much!

Anything you touch goes right into your mouth.  You are really good at being able to put your paci back in when it falls out.  You are very strong and you go absolutely nuts when we put you into a jump-a-roo.  You will sit in there bouncing up and down for 30 minutes before you get tired.  You love your blankets, and you seem to love any toys that you can get your hands on.  You also really are soothed by your paci, especially in the car and we found a type that stays in better - which has been a little bit of a relief!

You are eating very well.  You like pretty much anything, except peas, but you will eat them if they are mixed in with something else.  You are eating about 4 ounces of baby food 2-3 times a day, and still nursing like a champ.  You love your milk and still wake up once or twice a night to get your fill. You have started sleeping for a little bit of longer stretches this month, sometimes you will go 5-6 hours, other times you are up every 3.

We took our very first road trip this month to Sunriver, Oregon with Gramz, Pops, and the family and had the best time.  You did very well in the car (much better than we expected) for the 7.5 hour drive.  You had so much fun watching all of the commotion and going for rides in the bike burley and even putting your toes in the pool (it was a little cold to put you all the way in).  You spent a lot of time bonding with everyone and were such a trooper!  We had so much fun and I know it's the first of many trips our family will be taking together in the future.  We are so blessed!

You are wearing 12 month pajamas now!!  It made me so sad to clear out all of the 9 month sizes, but you are growing so well.  You still fit into the 6-12 month clothes and some of your 9 month onesies, but you are getting very long.  You are wearing size 3 diapers still.  You are talking, screaming, and babbling to us - and you love to study the world around you and take it all in.  You are very curious and will stare at something for a while if you are learning about it!

You have such an adorable personality.  We have so many nicknames for you - Mr. Squishy, No-yin, Nolly-bear, tubs, pumpkin... we are always calling you something!  It is so much fun to see your bond growing with your sister, daddy, and me.  You are so unbelievably loved... I am still in awe that you are my son.  You are so special to me, Nolan, I love you so much.  I am proud of you and wish time would slow down a little bit so I could relish in your sweet baby phase for as long as possible.  I see your tiny hands and feet and think about all of the amazing things ahead of us, I just hope it doesn't come too fast!  Most importantly, my hope for you is that you are always happy, healthy, strong, and kind.  You mean the world to me.

I love you very much, son.  And I will forever and ever!

Your mama

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.