Wednesday, March 18, 2015

{beauty in the ordinary}

"...there is no such thing as a charmed life, not for any of us, no matter 
where we live or how mindfully we attend to the tasks at hand. But there 
are charmed moments, all the time, in every life and in every day, if we are 
only awake enough to experience them when they come and 
wise enough to appreciate them."

-Katrina Kenison, The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir

{sharing her new sleeping bag with baby brother} 

{broccoli!} 

 {so much love already between these two}

 {he truly just might be the happiest baby ever}

 {Flip the penguin will always hold a special place in her heart}

 {I spy a sweet little sleepy babe}

 {another picture mom??!}

{he loves being in the baby carrier and I love having his cheeks in kissing range!} 

 {the last two placenta pills - or "happy pills" as I call them}

 {her first trip to the circus - so much fun}

 {chocolate-peanut butter three layer pretzel cake - made with love from scratch}

 {how long we have waited for this glorious spring weather - hello sunshine}

 {she is my happily ever after}

{these kids have the best pop pop in the whole world}

{I love catching my beautiful niece, Caley, tinkering away at the piano - can't believe she is turning 22 soon}

{oh, how I just adore these two. my heart can hardly contain the joy I feel when I watch them together}

Thursday, March 12, 2015

{Dear Elijah | 7 months}

Dear Elijah,

Oh my goodness, my sweet boy. It truly is so hard to find the right words to adequately express how I feel about you. I am so completely head over heels in love with you and I just feel SO honored that I get to be your mama. I simply can't say it enough. I love the way you look at me with beautiful eyes that stare deep into my soul. I love the way your face lights up when I come to scoop you up from your bed in the morning. I love your sweet little giggles, especially when they turn into deep belly laughs after the dog or your sister does something funny. I love watching you try different foods and the mess you make while doing it. I love the way your body writhes in uncontrollable happiness when you realize it is bath time. I love the way you play with my hair when I am rocking you just before bedtime. I love kissing your sweet little cheeks a hundred million times a day.
Your beautiful personality continues to shine through more and more each day. People are constantly asking if you are "always this laid back"...and the answer is yes! The only times you really get worked up are when you're really hungry or really tired. Other than that, you truly are just the most easy going and happy little babe. Your smile could melt ice on the coldest day and your laugh is like pure music to my heart. I know that sounds so cheesy, but it is just so true! You are super vocal and "chatty" lately and I can only imagine the stories you are trying to tell us. You really are quite content to just roll around and play on your own for long stretches of time, but you are sure to let us know when you are ready to picked up or for someone else to get it on the action :) You are still super great in the car. You don't love being put into your carseat, but once we get in the car and get moving, you are good to go. If you're not sleeping, you are fine to just hang out and stare out the window or watch whatever your sister is doing. Lucy was not an easy car baby, so this has been quite a treat!
You weighed 16lbs 4oz at your last checkup a few weeks ago and you are now officially in a mix of 6 month and 6-9 month sized clothes. I was looking at your sisters baby book a couple of weeks ago and was reminded that she didn't weigh as much as you do now until she was 10 months old. You're definitely chunking up and filling out much quicker than she did. I love your chubby cheeks and little arm and thigh rolls so very much. I'm still a little worried that I'm just going to eat you up someday.
You sprouted your bottom two middle teeth right at about 4 months and now a 3rd tooth has just cut through on the top. It is your left lateral incisor (or fang as I like to call it). Typically the middle teeth on the top pop through first (I can see that they are on their way but have no cut through yet) but I guess you just like to do things differently :) I can tell that teething definitely bothers you at times (you LOVE your ice cold teething rings and your sophie giraffe like woah) but overall, you are handling it like a champ!
You have just recently started being able to sit up on your on (for short periods of time) and you also started crawling this week!! You have been working SO hard at it for about the past month and then this week you started putting the motions all together a bit more. For awhile you'd rock back and forth on your knees and then maybe just do one or two crawls before flopping onto your belly again. But just this morning you really started going places. You're not super fast or anything yet (thank goodness!) but I imagine it won't be long before you are really taking off! I keep saying that I am NOT ready for this (my baby is growing up too quickly!!! and um...we still need to baby proof a bit more), but I am still just so proud of you!!
You are still taking a 5-6oz bottle every 3-4 hours throughout the day and a 7oz bottle at bedtime. We started solids just before you turned 6 months and it was a slow start, but you really started taking to food a few weeks ago. We are kind of doing a mix of purees and baby led weaning which seems to work well for you. You love feeding yourself and you definitely prefer more texture in your food than just super smooth purees. You have tried quite a few different foods at this point and I've yet to find something you just won't eat. You love Mum-Mum's, bananas, apple sauce, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, avocado, peas, potatoes, bread...just about anything we give you!
Your sleep has been back to normal (for the most part) for the last couple of weeks - hooray!! You are going to bed around 8ish and waking up to eat around 6 or 6:30 and then you will go back to bed for another hour or two. Then you are ready for your first nap about an hour and a half after that. In total, you are usually taking 3 naps (about an hour long) each day. Sometimes you just end up taking 2 longer naps. It's pretty much the only reason I get any work done during the day :)
Happy 7 months, Bubba! You continue to bring us endless amounts of joy each and every day. We love you so very much!

All my heart,

Love, Mama

Monday, February 23, 2015

{snow day}

Ohio got hit with a decent snow storm over this past weekend and the temperature also went up into the mid 30's at the time. Hooray! Snow that we could actually play in and not completely freeze our faces off! We went to sleep on Friday with nothing happening outside and then woke up on Saturday morning with several inches of the white fluffy stuff, and it continued to fall steadily all day long. We spent the morning just hanging out watching movies and then decided to go to our favorite little diner close by for lunch. The roads were pretty bad so we didn't want to venture out too far.
Then we came home, put Elijah down for a much needed nap and then bundled ourselves up to go play outside for a bit. Lucy and Zach built an awesome snowman (named Olaf, of course) complete with a scarf, a carrot nose, apricot eyes and a raisin mouth. Lucy sure was proud of their creation.
 "I love you so much, Olaf. You are my beautiful friend."
An epic snowball fight came next and then daddy shoveled the driveway while Lucy kept playing and I came inside to check on the baby. Lucy just keeps talking about how much she doesn't want the snow to ever go away, although she has been asking me each morning this week if it is summer yet. I can't wait until I can finally say "yes!!" :)
Only 24 days until Spring!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

{love day}

This winter is killing me. Seriously. I'm really not sure I can stand even ONE MORE MINUTE of these subzero temperatures and snow that we can't even play in (because of said subzero temperatures). I guess I have no choice but to deal with it, so I am just going to try and hibernate as much as possible and try to make it through the rest of this horrendous winter without going completely insane.

One thing that definitely helps beat the winter blues is when there is something fun to look forward to. Valentines day is definitely one of my favorite holidays. Yes, I totally get that it is pretty much a hallmark holiday and we should let the people we love know how much we love them every single day...but I still enjoy the fact that there is a special day on the calendar meant to celebrate love in all it's glory. Lucy and I spent weeks doing special Valentine related crafts and spent extra time talking about the special people in our lives and the things we love about them. She was looking forward to the holiday with the same fervor that she looked forward to Christmas and that kind of attitude from a 3 year old is totally infectious!

I had totally planned on doing a whole Valentine photo session with both of the kiddos, but it just never happened. I was disappointed that I never got it together, but it's just one of those things that I had to give myself a pass on. (Why is that so hard to do sometimes?!) To make up for it...here's a cute (but bad quality iPhone pic) of my little lovebugs....
(her cheesy little smile just kills me)

I am going to go ahead and pat myself on the back, though, for actually getting it together enough to get Lucy's pinterest-inspired Valentines made in time for the holiday. I had pinned these darling homemade heart crayons awhile back and decided to give them a try. They were actually surprisingly easy to make and we certainly had a good time doing it! I collected all of the millions of broken crayon pieces from Lucy's easel as well as a large amount of in tact crayons since she had MORE than enough in her stash and put them in a bowl. We then proceeded to peel off the wrappers (which took a while) and then broke them up into pieces. As we did that, we sorted them into groups of complimentary colors. All that was left to do then was to fill the silicone heart molds (found at Michael's craft store) and pop them in the oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Then you let them cool for a bit before popping them out and placing on a rack to cool the rest of the way. A week or two later, I used foam squares to stick them on pieces of cardstock, stamped on the words, and tied them up with some twine. I just love how they turned out, and Lucy was SO excited to give them out to her friends! 
To top it all off, the hubby and I got to actually go out on a Valentines date! His parents babysat for us and we went to a concert with a couple of friends. It was an absolute blast and was so nice to let loose for a night and let off some steam. Unfortunately, the kids didn't get the memo about sleeping in the next morning! :)

Happy belated Valentine's Day, loves! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

{Dear Elijah | 6 months}

Dear Elijah,

We are halfway to your first birthday. HOW ON EARTH did this happen already?? Wahhhh!! I am just clinging to these baby days so tightly because I know from experience how quickly it all goes. There is just something about the 6 month mark that makes my heart soar and break all at the same time. You are simply the most adorable, happy and playful little babe and I can't help but thank my lucky stars each and every day that I get to be your mama.
At your 5 month checkup a few weeks ago you weighed a healthy 15lbs 4oz. I can't wait to see what you weigh at your 6 month appointment next week. I don't think you've had as big of a growth spurt as last month, but you're definitely still growing like a weed. You are pretty much wearing 6 month sized clothes, but there are actually still a few 3-6 month sized items that you fit in. Some brands just run larger than others - so weird. I was just thinking the other day how much you don't seem to mind getting clothes put on you. Your sister really hated it! Too funny.
Your nighttime sleep has continued to be wacky lately. Right at about the 5 month mark, you stopped sleeping through the night. It started with a 4am wakeup and then turned into 2-4 wakeups throughout the night which has continued for about 4-5 weeks now. I thought it was getting better last week because you had a few nights in a row where you slept all the way through (what a nice treat that was!), but alas...it hasn't lasted. There is just no consistency at all. I already have a really hard time sleeping (total insomniac here), so now I just feel like I'm constantly just waiting for your next wakeup. Sleep training is coming very soon, my dear. I know you can do it because you were doing it for almost 3 months straight! We'll get there. For now, I am just one tired mama :)
You still only have 2 teeth (which came right at 4 months) and I don't see any signs of anymore coming in quite yet, but you are still a drooling machine. You will chew on absolutely anything you can get into your mouth, but your Sophie giraffe is still your favorite. 
You usually take 3 naps each day and the length of each one can vary greatly. They still tend to only last about 45 minutes, but there have actually been some longer ones mixed in there lately. You also love to sleep in the car. You are just a great car baby in general (which is the exact opposite of how your sister was a baby). If you're not sleeping, you're pretty much just hanging out back there looking out the window or playing with a toy. It's so nice!
You are still taking a 5oz bottle about every 3-4 hours throughout the day and then a 7oz bottle at bedtime to help get you through a longer stretch (which obviously hasn't been working well lately). We also started trying some solids last week! You have been staring at and trying to grab our food for months now, so we figured you'd be more than ready to try some of your own at 6 months. We first tried pureed peas but I'm pretty sure you didn't swallow even the littlest bit as you kept just pushing it out with your tongue. A few days later, we tried rice cereal. Same thing. A few days later, I mushed up some banana and mixed it with a bit of formula to make it really smooth and you couldn't get enough of it. I think it's just taking you some time to get used to swallowing something that is coming from a spoon and not a bottle. We tried the peas again last night and you ate a good bit of it. You'll get the hang of it soon enough :) I've actually been reading a lot lately about baby led weaning, so who knows...maybe we'll end up going that direction!
You are still rolling around like crazy and working hard at trying to get up on your knees. You're not quite sitting up on your own yet because you are far too interested in your toes and you just fold in half trying to get them into your mouth. haha. You do love being on your belly and you are constantly pushing yourself backwards. You just can't quite figure out why you keep getting further and further away from your toys :)
Your big sister is still pretty much your favorite person in the world...besides your mama, of course ;) but you have also become quite obsessed with the dog lately. Absolutely anything that Aurora does just cracks you up. She literally could just be lying on the couch asleep and you will just be watching her and giggling like crazy! Too funny.
Well, my love...you are just as sweet, happy, playful, charming and delightful as ever and we love you to pieces.  Happy 6 months!

All my heart,

Love, Mama

Thursday, January 15, 2015

{Cinderella}

My mom and I took Lucy to her first musical last weekend and it was amazing. My mom had told me weeks ago that Cinderella was coming to Cincinnati and asked if I thought Lucy would want to go. Of course I knew she would want to go, but I was a little nervous about taking my 3 1/2 year old to the theater. We decided to go for it and I am so happy we did. My little lady had an awesome time and was completely engaged for just about every moment of the show. She was a little confused at why the play was different from the movie, but she went with it. She was just enamored with Cinderella and Prince Charming and loved looking through her little binoculars from the 2nd balcony. There were tons of other little girls there (many dressed in Cinderella costumes - adorable) and they even had booster cushions for the kids to sit on which was super nice.
I played the part of Cinderella (in the same version of the musical) when I was in the 7th grade (or maybe 8th? I can't remember exactly). Then I played the part of Cinderella again when I was in high school at the awesome summer theater I used to do. That time was in the show "Into the Woods". I had told Lucy all about both of my Cinderella experiences and she just about thought it was the most amazing thing ever. So, on the way home from seeing it, she held my hand in the backseat and told me she wanted to be Cinderella on stage someday just like her mama was. My sweet girl.

Theater holds a very special place in my heart. I started at a very young age doing the summer children's shows at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (CCM) and continued all through grade school and high school. I played some amazing roles throughout the years, met amazing people and made amazing memories. I did a few musical theater auditions for college but ultimately ended up being a music major with emphasis on voice. I miss the stage so very much and I hope to do some community theater in a few years when the kids are a bit older. For now, I am so happy that I have music/performing in my life through the Elvis group.

I can't wait to see what Lucy takes interest in as she gets older. She loves the ballet/tap class she is in now and she loves singing....so who knows. Maybe...just maybe...someday she'll be a theater geek just like her mama :)

{Dear Elijah | 5 months}

Dear Elijah,

Oh dear...I just want to cry. Time is moving so quickly. How did we make it to 5 months already?!?

You are growing at warp speed. My suspicions about a growth spurt last month were confirmed at your 4 month checkup. You weighed 14 lbs which means you gained almost 3 pounds in one month (taking you from the 7th percentile to the 18th!) The doctor was very impressed ;) I can't wait to see what you weigh at your 5 month checkup tomorrow. I'm just obsessed with your new little thigh rolls and the most adorable chubby cheeks and fingers I've ever seen. 
Your nighttime sleep has gotten a little wacky for about the last week and a half. I had a feeling the rug might get ripped out from under us eventually, but we sure did enjoy those glorious months of you sleeping through the night with complete consistency. You seem to have adopted a 4am wakeup (sometimes even earlier), but I can usually just soothe you back to sleep. I try to wait to feed you until at least 5:30 or 6am but sometimes that's just what you need to go back to sleep. I still can't complain too much, though, because you still usually go back to sleep for another 2-3 hours after you eat. It certainly could be much worse! And then there are nights like last night when you slept straight through to 7:30am without a single wakeup. I actually got a full night's sleep and it was glorious- thank you, my love :) We have finally stopped swaddling you and I suppose that could be part of the reason that you are waking up more, but I really don't think that is it. Either way, you just do what you need to do and it will all work out. I'm happy to snuggle you at any hour of the day, sweet boy.
Your naps are still all over the place. You like to go back to sleep about an hour after you wake up in the morning, but you usually only sleep for about 30-45 minutes and that's pretty much what you do throughout the day. You are what I like to call a "snapper napper"! Sometimes your mid afternoon nap is a little longer, but not much usually. You are usually happy when you wake up, though, so that is what matters.
People are always commenting about what a delightful, calm, playful and happy baby you are and I just can't help but thank my lucky stars. You just have the most easy going demeanor and you are always more than happy to just go with the flow. Your giggles and belly laughs are just magic to my ears and your smile could light up the darkest room. You're still completely obsessed with your big sister and nobody can make you laugh like she does. I can't wait to see what your relationship with her grows into. I'm sure there will be years that you just drive each other crazy, but I have a feeling that your bond will be strong and amazing.
You are a drooling machine due to the 2 bottom teeth you sprouted a couple of weeks before Christmas. You were a bit fussy for a few days when they were first starting to come through, but you really handled it like a champ!
You are now rolling over and around in all directions which means you can really get places now. I'll put you down in one spot on the floor and within minutes you will be several feet away just from rolling! It cracks me up watching you get yourself wedged in the funniest places. You love being underneath chairs and wrapping your little body around the coffee table. So silly! You are already working on getting back on to your knees, so I feel like crawling might not be as far away as we think. Eek!
Other things you currently love: bath time, being naked in general, toys that make noise, your sophie giraffe, chewing on your fingers (and anything else you can get into your mouth), soft blankets, grabbing your toes, being sung/read to, making silly faces, sleeping in the car, your binkies, the exersaucer/bouncy seat and lots and lots of snuggles.

Happy 5 months, my dear! You are SO very loved!

All my heart,

Love, Mama