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.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Out & About in JJ Cole Style (Product Reviews)

The weather in Northern California has been warm and mild all year.  We've are in a serious drought and we need rain more then anything!  The one benefit of the drought has been the sunshine we have had for so many months in a row... especially because Andie loves to be outside, especially at the park!

Recently, we received some new items from JJ Cole Collections.  I had heard of their stuff before, but hadn't tried it.  It's sold pretty much anywhere baby things are sold (BuyBuyBaby for the diaper bag and blanket, and Babies R Us, Target & Amazon for the carrier).  We have gone through about 10 diaper bags in the last two years and I have never tried a backpack style diaper bag before, so I was excited for this one.  We also got a foldable outdoor blanket and an agility carrier.

I loved the patterns of the diaper bag and the blanket - perfect for boys and girls and not too over the top girlie, so TL doesn't mind using them.

The diaper bag works really great - it's a good size... I say that because some diaper bags are so big that we end up stuffing them full and can't carry them because they're so heavy!  It has a good amount of pockets inside and outside to keep everything organized.  I am really picky about diaper bags, so it's surprising that I actually like this one.  TL mentioned that he liked that the diaper bag could stand on it's own with nothing in it, it has shape.  My favorite thing is that I can wear it as a backpack, which I have already done.  Or, you can use it over the shoulder, or attach it to your stroller.  The only thing I would change if I were to design it myself is I would make the front pockets a little larger, so I could put more items in.  I am often throwing things in last minute to the front part and because they don't have a lot of space I can't fit pacifiers or snack packs in them.

The blanket was TL's favorite, and I really liked it too.  It is really easy to fold after use and washable.  We have already gotten a couple of uses out of it at the park because I use it to lay Nolan on while Andie is playing.  Our park visits are usually at least an hour, so he loves to get out an lounge.  It's soft and really comfortable.  If you spend anytime outside at all, I suggest this one.  

The agility carrier works really great... Nolan loves it because he fits snugly in it and he likes to be held.  I have tried out about 5 or 6 different carriers, but this is the only one I have kept that isn't a bjorn or ergo style carrier.  It is really comfortable for wearing around the house, but I don't know that I wear it for an all day thing just because it doesn't have a lot of back support (Nolan is a whopping 16 pounds and gets heavy fast!)  But I do like how natural it is to hold him in this and eventually when he can face forward in it at 6 months, I think he will really like it.

Overall, I really like everything from #JJColeStyle - the print is perfect and the blanket was way nicer than I expected.  Can't wait for our next trip to the park ;)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dear Andie... You're 2!!

My busy, animated, sweet, confident Andie . . .

2 years old.  I can't believe it's been 24 months since I saw your little tiny body for the first time and you made me a mommy.  Your cheeks are still chubby.  Your lips still are luscious, your hair is still platinum blond and your eyes are still sparkly blue just like the first day I saw you.  You are not tiny anymore, in fact, you're taller than average and your weight is right where it's supposed to be.  You have the sweetest little voice and my goodness, you are talking so well.  Communicating with you has gotten more and more fun because you can tell us what you need and want and you are speaking in full sentences.  You even starting using your manners "please, thank you & you're welcome" on your own at about 22 months.

It's been a big 3 months for you.  You are so full of life and a very happy kid.  You come across as serious because you don't just smile all the time, but you are bouncy, fast, and busy and love interacting with other people.  We transitioned you into your toddler bed on March 2nd because you started consistently climbing out on February 21st.  After a lot of consistency (it wasn't easy) we were able to get you sleeping through the night again in your own little bed after about 2 weeks.  We just had to keep telling you to stay in bed... sometimes it would take 7 or 8 times of putting you back in your bed... but you did it!  Daddy had the hardest time and ended up sleeping next to your bed on the floor because he wanted you to feel safe a couple nights - you have him wrapped around your finger.  You also learned how to trick him, you would cry "dada" and when he would go down to get you, you told him you had pooh-pooh so he brought you upstairs to change you, and you didn't!  You little trickster!  He also found a wonderful "Anna & Elsa" nightlight for your room that you love, it projects their picture on to your ceiling.

By about 22 months old, you knew most of the words to the Frozen movie songs and sing them and dance to them all the time.  You still love Minnie & Mickey, but Elsa & Anna are also your favorites! You love going to the little zoo by our house, mostly to see the other kids, but the animals are a nice bonus.  You know all of your animal sounds, can point out animals, characters, and items in books, and can count pretty well.  Just a couple weeks ago you saw two bottles sitting on the counter and you said "two babas".  You love other kids so much and will run up to strangers, hug them, kiss them, and hold their hands to dance with them.

You started swim lessons on March 3rd and absolutely loved them.  Your teacher told me that the majority of the kids who come through for private lessons cry when left alone in the pool for the first time... but not you.  My fearless little girl, you went right in and cried when I came to take you out.  You love the water and are thriving in your lessons.  It is so much fun to watch you in there and I am so proud of you.  I hope you know you are capable of anything you set your mind to!

You are still doing really well at napping.  Typically, we put you down around 2pm and we wake you up by 4pm.  Your bedtime at night is around 8pm and you will usually sleep until about 7am.  You are wearing size 2T and 3T clothes, size 4 diapers, and size 5 shoes.  Your favorite possession is your blanket(s) from Gramz.  They are your comfort and you need them to fall asleep.  Your favorite toys are your figurines, Frozen characters, books, stroller, and babies.  You eat pretty well, but go in phases.  You love fruit, broccoli, carrots, peas, cheese, and chicken nuggets.  Your favorite is Chick Fil A, but mostly because you love to go and see the cow.  We go almost every Tuesday and the cow in there knows you :)

Every time we take you for bedtime, you say goodbye to everyone in the room, including "No-yin" (Nolan), you love him so much.  You are such a wonderful big sister to him... it's truly amazing how sweet you are to him.  You always ask to kiss him, love holding him, and talking to him.  Sometimes you walk around singing "oh noo-yin, I looove you".  When he cries in the car, you tell him it's okay.  You share your toys and have had no issues with the transition of having a new sibling.  I am so impressed by you and cherish these sweet memories I have of you interacting with him.  It is really special to watch.  I know you two will always have a special bond.

We celebrated your 2nd Easter and you had a big weekend.  At an egg hunt on Saturday, you tripped and fell and hit your head on a concrete step and immediately had a golf ball sized black and blue bump on your head.  I cried and held you and felt so bad - but, like the tough girl you usually are, you were up and running around a few minutes later.  Easter Sunday, you had so much fun interacting with all of your extended family.  You love other kids and it is so much fun for you to be around your cousins.  You did so well with your Easter egg hunt and I was shocked at how many eggs you were able to collect in your little basket.  You looked adorable in your dress.  Holidays are so much fun watching you learn from the new experiences.

Along with you being one of the sweetest little girls I know, you also have a feisty side.  The most memorable of your tantrums in the last few months have been a particular trip to toys r us.  We went to get a little table for your playroom.  I had Nolan in the front pack and I decided to let you down to walk because you had been pretty good.  After about 15 minutes of letting you play on the doll aisle, I knew it was going to be trouble getting you out of the store.  You threw the biggest tantrum, kicking, screaming, crying... all while being over my shoulder.  I had to pin you against the check out counter with my leg and everyone was staring at me.  I was "that mom", and in the moment, I knew we were going to get through it and I just had to suck it up and do the best I could.  You didn't want to buy any toys, you just wanted to stay and play - but we were approaching your nap time and we needed to go.  You were fiery and determined and you did not want to leave.  When I finally got you buckled in and calmed down in the car, I told you I was disappointed in how you acted and you made eye contact with me and started to cry again.  I knew you understood and felt bad.  You have big tantrums, but for the most part - you are a good little girl.

You are smart, Andie.  It's amazing what you understand and can communicate to us.  You have such a loving heart.  Sometimes you will grab my cheeks and say "I love you, mama".  You randomly give us kisses and you love your cousins and family.  It is so much fun to see you interact with Gramz and Pops.  You call Gramz "Gamz" and light up when you see her.  And you and Pops have a very special relationship.  You will never deny him a kiss when he asks.  One of your favorite people in the world is your cousin, Ryan.  You hang all over him when you see him and love following him around, kissing him, and doing what he does.  You also love your Uncle Joe.  He loves you and plays with you and you two have a wonderful bond that I have loved getting to see grow!  You like pointing out all of our family in pictures in our house - it's amazing how you know who each person is and can say who they are.

One of my favorite relationships that I have loved watching blossom is with your daddy.  From day one, he has been smitten for you - but in the last few months as you've gotten old enough to really play and love on him, you two have become the best of friends.  He loves chasing you around, throwing you in the air, singing with you, playing with you, and snuggling with you.  Your love for each other radiates from both of you when you're around each other.  It is one of the most precious things I have ever witnessed... and I know it will only grow stronger.  You are a very lucky girl to have him, and you look so much like him!

Last week, to celebrate your 2nd Birthday, Gramz and Pops took us to Disneyland.  My goodness... it was so much fun to see you there for the first time, especially with your love of Disney. You were in awe of all of the characters, hugging and kissing them, giving them high fives, and in total disbelief that you were meeting them.  It was heart-warming to watch and I will cherish those memories forever.  You loved watching the parades, riding the rides, and running around like a wild woman - nothing scared you.  We all had so much fun being there.  It was a very special trip!

I am in awe of you.  I look at you at least once a day - I study your compact little body, your little hands (they look just like mine), your eyes & face... I can't get enough of you.  I have hated how fast the time has passed since you were born but it is so much fun to see this little person you are becoming.  You have so much personality, a love of life, people, animals, and your family.  You are a happy girl - full of hugs for everyone you meet.  You are confident, tough, determined, adventurous, and free spirited.  You are beautiful, inside and out.  I am so proud to be your mommy.  It makes me feel so special that when you are sad or scared or hurt, it is me that can make you feel better.  Your dad and I talk about you all the time... we feel so lucky that you are our baby girl.  You are building such a strong relationship with both of us and I know you will always be one of my best friends.  I have so many special memories from the last 2 years.  I feel beyond blessed - you are so unbelievably loved.  What a privilege and thrill to get to watch you continue on this adventure through your life.  You are such a gift.

I love you forever and ever, my daughter.  Happy 2nd Birthday!

Your Mama