Monday, August 31, 2015

Life Lately...

Hi there! We're still here...I can't believe it has been five months since our last update. It has been a beautifully busy summer around here, and we've been soaking up every minute. Last summer, we felt like we didn't get to enjoy much of the hot southern weather because of a little newborn who hated her car seat and kept us indoors. ;) This summer, that little newborn has grown into a big girl and between her and big brother, I am running at 100mph most days. I wouldn't have it any other way! They are my most favorite occupation. 

In an effort to catch you up to speed without spanning this out over 500 blog posts, or bombarding you with 7,000 photos, I'll just summarize some highlights that have happened in the few months I've been MIA. 

Lydia turned 1 at the end of May. We kept it really simple with both kids' birthdays this summer, and just invited immediate family. 

Right around the 13.5 month mark, she began walking. She's 15 months now, and practically running. She loves to climb, is quite an adventure seeker, but is also your typical snuggly, sensitive, tender-hearted little girl. She's got the sweetest demeanor, and is already such a little helper around the house. She has too many teeth to count anymore, and has handled teething like a champ! She has a small obsession with purses, shoes, hats, and toothbrushes and loves to groom herself :) She lights up our days with her contagious smile!

William turned 3 at the end of June. As an early birthday present for him, Nathan and I dug out an old tractor tire that we found in the woods behind our house and we upcycled it into a sandbox for the kids. We gave it to him at the beginning of summer so he could enjoy it before it got too hot. He (and his friends) have really enjoyed it! 

It's hard to believe that when we moved into this house, William was the size Lydia is right now. He has grown so much over the past two years. This fall, we've started him in AWANA at our church, and he starts "school" next week. When given the choice if he wanted to go to actual pre-school with other kids, or stay home and let Mommy be his teacher he surprisingly chose me. I was flattered and terrified all at once ;) 

He is turning into a really funny kid, and sometimes I'm awe that someone that funny came from me. He changes the words to some of our favorite tunes and creates really funny song lyrics. He dances like Elvis. Talks in accents (his favorite is southern, but he has also been known to do a really convincing Italian accent). Has a wild imagination, and is just plain fun to be around. Most days. He's three, after all. ;) 

As for Nathan and I...we managed to sneak away without the kids for a week to celebrate our anniversary in Amelia Island. It was heavenly. We're already planning a trip back there next year. 

House projects are still coming along (albeit slowly). We're currently working on reconstructing one of the barns to turn it into a workshop for Nathan, as well as remodeling the kitchen (not a total gut job like our last house - just a facelift), and we've also got plans to start in on William's Big Boy Room this fall. Outdoor projects have kept us consumed this summer - we've got one heck of a yard to maintain! But it happens to be one of the things I love most about our little spot here in the country.

Right after these two cuties, of course ;)

Here's hoping it's not another five months between posts! 


Friday, May 1, 2015

9/10/11 Months


I have an almost one year old. And an almost three year old. 

That might explain why I'm doing huge blog posts like this every....4 months....instead of moderately sized ones every few days like I used to. 

These kids keep me busy y'all. Life is keeping me busy lately. But a wonderful, happy, overflowing kind of busy that I just really love right now. There's just a lot of excitement buzzing around here as of opportunities, creative outlets, and really cool doors God is opening. It's actually very refreshing after a cold winter stuck indoors wiping poopy bottoms. Don't get me wrong...I love those cute bottoms. But momma was starting to get a bit stir crazy. I'm thankful for all the neat things God is doing and prayers He's answering for me/us lately. One day I hope to catch you up on all of it. But today, I'll switch the focus to our sweet girl. :) 

I hope Lydia doesn't stumble across this blog one day when she's older and ask why I have about 647 posts on her brother's first year of life, and only 8 posts about her. We're very diligent about taking photos and videos of her and capturing her life, but not so great about documenting on this here blog lately. That's my fault. And partly hers...she is the busiest little bee there ever was, and between her and her big brother, I am ON. THE. GO. all the time. 

William really spoiled us to a certain degree. He was a very cautious, observant, quiet, laid-back baby for the longest time. Lydia is miss independent, daredevil, always on the go, wants to be in the middle of the action, squealy little ham. ;) 

It is so neat to sit back and watch their differences. And it's hard to believe I can love two kids equally who are so polar opposite of each other. 

The past three months, Lydia has learned to crawl, pull up to standing, sprouted several new teeth, dropped a few nursing sessions, and started trialing some new foods she was previously allergic to. She has been sticking to her normal sleeping pattern...12 hours at night and 2 long naps per day. She loves to be outdoors, listen to music, be everywhere William is, eat, sleep, smile, and play dress up :) She doesn't like to sit still for books (or sit still at all really), when William has to potty (she's often crouched down peeking underneath the door...just waiting for him to hurry up and get done so she can play with him again), or anything on her feet. 

She has places to go and things to explore, and obstacles are something she has no concept of. She'll scale and climb and maneuver herself into all sorts of positions to get to where she wants to be. If we're outside, she'll crawl in mulch, dirt, gravel and any other surface to reach what she wants. She has no fear of getting dirty, or eating dirt, or crawling in dirt. I'm afraid prim and proper will need to be taught, because she has so far embraced living in the country and shows no signs of being a girly girl. ;) We are in for quite an adventure when she learns to walk (which I'm sure will be sooner rather than later). 

And lucky me, it just so happens that her mobility has taken off just as soon as William has decided to have a wild courageous streak. Most days I feel like I've conquered a lot if Lydia hasn't swallowed a rock and William hasn't destroyed something valuable. It really is a mad house around here most days. But would you call me crazy if I said I love it this way?? The past few months have shaped up to quite possibly be one of my favorite chapters in life. They are just plain fun. There are seasons where being a stay-at-home-mom is not glamorous and I really have to beg God to give me a renewed desire for this calling of motherhood. But this season my cup is running over. 

I love these silly kids, and my man who works so hard for me to stay home with them. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

7/8 Months

I've been pretty bad at keeping the blog updated lately. Life with two small kiddos is busy, fun, tiring, rewarding, and speeds by at a very fast pace. I feel like I blinked and my toddler is almost 3, and Lydia is mobile. 

The past two months with Lydia have been so fun. She has gotten so "vocal", and her personality is really starting to shine. It's so cute to watch her interact (somewhat) with William. They are definitely not playing together yet, but they do enjoy each other's company quite a bit during the day. I remember when William was a baby, I would do all of these things that I found online to entertain him...I printed off black/white contrast photos, made sensory bins, took him on baby "play dates" etc. I felt like a cruise ship director most days as I constantly entertained him. It has been nice adding a second child to the mix and not being so worried about her lack of entertainment...William is an endless source of entertainment for her! ;) 

7-8 months brought a lot of new development milestones for Miss Lydia. She started sitting unassisted, army crawling, and this week is up on all fours rocking back and forth and starting to figure out how to crawl that way. She also babbles a lot more...says "Da Da" and "Ma Ma" (mostly Da Da), smiles 98% of the day, and has dropped one of her naps. 

Over the past month, Lydia has decided to drop her cat nap before bed. Now she is officially on two naps/day - a morning nap around 9:30 and an afternoon nap around 2:00. Unfortunately, this means less "down time" for me as William's nap ends about an hour after I put Lydia down, but it's what works for her right now so we're rolling with it. She goes to bed around 7:00/7:30 and sleeps until 7:00/7:30 in the morning. 

The biggest change with sleep since our last update was dropping the swaddle. Lydia loved being swaddle (total opposite of her big brother), so we kept the swaddle until close to 8 months. Then she started rolling in it, so we were forced to move her out of it. We heard rave reviews about the Zipadee Zip so a friend let us borrow one to try and Lydia hated it :( Finally I broke out William's old fleece sleep sack and we just decided to go with it. It took her a good 2 weeks for her to get used to it, but now she's sleeping in it full-time and prefers to sleep on her belly. I love sneaking in and seeing her curled up on her belly snoozing :) 

Lydia's still nursing 4-5 times/day (every four hours mostly), and eating solids 3 times/day. We haven't started a lot of finger foods with her yet because she has a bad gag reflex so we're slowly working our way towards that by thickening some of her purees. 

We're also trying to find a sippy cup she will drink water from, but so far all she does is chew on the spouts/straws. Any recommendations for a sippy cup for a baby who has never taken a bottle/pacifier? 

Sitting, crawling, scooting, rolling, and getting into everything. I never really baby proofed the house when William started crawling...he just wasn't that curious about opening cabinets or getting into drawers until much later. But Lydia is Miss Adventurous - I have a feeling she's going to be our little dare devil ;) She loves taking all of the diapers out of the box, pulling all of the books off of the shelves, playing with the plastic bottles in the recycling, and has a radar up any time William leaves his snack bowl/sippy cup within her reach. 

Favorite Features
We absolutely love how happy our girl is. We lovingly call her our "joy baby" because she is always so content, so happy, and gives out 1,000 watt smiles all day long. She is quite an easy baby to mother and I'm so so thankful for her pleasant demeanor. 

Sweet girl - my prayer for you is that you never ever lose that magnetic smile and joyful spirit. And that one day, you learn that Jesus is the source of a joy that never ends. We are so proud to be your parents. (And your daddy is just plain crazy about you!). 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

6 Months

Our sweet girl just turned six months old this week! That's 1/2 year. She has suddenly, right before our very eyes, turned into an interactive, giggly, wiggly little lady and I find it really hard to believe. It seems like it was just yesterday I was pregnant with her and wondering what position she was in, wondering what color eyes she'd have and hoping beyond hope that she'd get her daddy's red hair gene (we're so happy she did!). And now she's already six months old

I remember with William around six weeks old, I wanted so desperately for him to be six months old already. When you're a first time mom, so many people give you lame advice like "it goes by so fast! cherish these days!" And I also remembered many of my mom friends saying that it would get better around the six month mark. Looking back, I really wished his newborn days was very hard, I found myself in a new role as a stay-at-home mom which was rather lonely, I also had a harder time recovering from his birth and we had a lot of feeding issues. 

But now I'm here. With my second babe. And I can say with assurance that it really does go by fast. And you really should cherish the days. If you're a first time mom, it's hard to see that through the foggy new lenses of motherhood - you're not used to getting so little sleep, so little time for yourself, having someone else depend on you so much, and you feel insecure most of the time; wondering if the method you're using (or not using) is going to totally screw your kid up.

Sure, I still fight feelings of insecurity in my mothering, but the one important thing I learned the second time around was to slow down and embrace the baby phase. For all that it is. The sleepless nights, the difficult napping days, the clinginess, every first milestone, and every single moment my baby needs me to do something for her. Because one day (not too far from now), she'll be 2.5 years old and she'll be telling me what her big brother tells me right now - "me do it" - and it will be the start of her needing me less and less. 

Enough of the sap. ;) Here's some more updates from Lydia's sixth month.

Still sleeping through the night from 7:30p-7:30a. She was off a few days when we were to NY on vacation to visit my family, but she bounced right back once home. 

Naps have also been getting more consistent. She has been pretty regularly taking a good long morning nap starting around 9:15a and then she takes another longer nap in the afternoon starting around 1:30p. She still need a little cat nap in the early evening before bed, but it's getting shorter and shorter. Right now, it's about 30 mins. 

We started solids with Lydia this month. Since she has some known food allergies we're going slowly. We introduced squash and had mixed results, so we stopped that and started sweet potato. It has been a success so far, and she really likes it! Next week we'll try avocado. She is such a pro at didn't take her any time at all to realize how to swallow the food off of the spoon, and she has even wanted to take charge and grab the spoon from us! :) 

She's still nursing 4-5 times per day, and has also started wanting a little snack nursing before her naps. I'm expecting these to taper off once she's well established on solids, so right now the extra feeds don't bother me. 

This month, Lydia learned how to roll from belly to back. She has only done it three times so is definitely more of a challenge for her than going from back to belly...but if she works really hard she can do it! Oftentimes, when she rolls to her belly and stays there for a while she'll start fussing and William will run over and flip her back over. She's at a disadvantage for learning the skill on her own since big brother is so helpful ;) 

Favorite Features
This month we've noticed Lydia is getting more vocal. When we were visiting my parents in NY, we went to their church and Lydia stayed with us during the singing. When the congregation started to sing "Amazing Grace" Lydia cooed and "aaahhh'd" through the entire song. She also makes lots of noise in the car now, and we love to hear her sweet voice!

Life with Big Brother
This month I've noticed William is really more aware of Lydia and starting to become quite the little protector. He still very much needs to be reminded to be gentle around her, but many times a day he asks "Where's baby?" or if it's time for Lydia to take a nap, he will say "No! Baby not take a nap!" because he wants her to stay up with him. ;) He's also very sweet to give her some of his smaller toys to play with, and he shares with ease (I'm hoping this continues as she gets older and more mobile!)

Our annual trip to the Christmas tree farm - so thankful for our growing family! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

5 Months

Another month has flown by, and our girl just keeps getting squishier, happier, and more fun with each passing week! 

Here are some fun facts from her fifth month:

Lydia's doing great sleeping lately. Most nights I put her to bed around 7:30 PM and she's up around 7:30 AM. She's still hit or miss on naps - some days line up perfectly and she takes two really long naps and a cat nap, some days she takes short little cat naps all day long, and some days she takes one long and two's totally unpredictable and I'm OK with that. Honestly, a lot of the unpredictability probably falls on me - if I were to lock us inside and be consistent with her day time schedule she might sleep better. But that's just not possible when she has a busy big bro and a mom who is an extrovert ;) 

She takes three naps per day, and is still swaddled for naps and nights. We stopped swaddling with William when he was around 4 months old so I recently thought I'd try leaving Lydia out of the swaddle for bedtime one night. Not a good idea! I had to go back in and swaddle her back up. Girlfriend likes her tight swaddle! We'll try again in a few more weeks...

Last week we had a doctor's appointment and Lydia weighed in at a whopping 17 lbs 11 oz. She has more than doubled her birth weight, and is starting to eye our food. She got especially drooly this week when she saw my banana at breakfast, so we plan to start introducing some solid foods at the end of this month. I definitely think she's ready, but we've been instructed to take things slow since she does have some food allergies. Because of this, I'll be making everything from scratch for her. I'm really excited to see how she takes to eating solid food.

This month, Lydia has gotten very vocal! She squeals, coos, "talks", and has learned how to laugh...and y'all...her's the sweetest, purest sound I have ever heard. It's very subtle and quiet, almost music-like, and it bubbles up from her sweet tummy, spreads throughout her entire face, until her mouth bursts completely open with a huge grin and the sweet laughter comes oozing out. I could listen to her laugh all. day. long. 

Just tonight, I had both kids in William's crib and William discovered that if he jumped on his bed it made Lydia laugh so of course he wanted to do it over and over again. It is so sweet to see her smile up at him and think he's just the funniest thing ever. 

Favorite Features:
We love Lydia's beautiful red hair. And it's getting longer and prettier each week! She also has the sweetest little red eyelashes that are a mile long and curl on the ends. I can't wait until we can do ponytails, pigtails, braids, and all sorts of fun hairstyles. :) 

Life with Big Brother:
Now that Lydia is becoming a lot more interactive, William seems really interested in her. He likes to say "Baby roll over, Mommy!!" every time she rolls to her tummy. And he loves getting her toys to play with (he'll quickly stop me if I'm trying to give her a toy and say "she not like dat one, she like dis one!" while he hands me something HE likes). He loves throwing her dirty diapers in the trash can, and covering her up with blankets. And! He even let her hold his beloved Bear for about 10 seconds one day until he noticed she was chewing on it, and he promptly took him back. ;) It's so fun to watch him with her lately. He definitely still gets a little territorial and jealous at times, but for the most part he's gotten adjusted to the idea that she's around for good. 

Our sweet, beautiful girl - we pray you never lose that magnetic smile and content, happy, joyful spirit. We love you through and through!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Morning Busyness - Summer Edition

In an effort to slow down and notice more, I've been trying to be intentional and document some of the normal bits and pieces of my day as a SAHM. Taking more photos of the everyday-this-is-not-that-glamorous-but-it's-real-life moments that make up memories, laughs, cries, tantrums, play, and learning. 

These were some of those moments...

Get ready for a William overload! I realized it has been far too long since I sat down and documented some fun things me and my sweet boy have been doing lately. It's hard to believe William is almost 2.5 years old! This summer has flown by, his speech has exploded, and he surprises us more and more each day with this dynamic sense of humor (which I'm certain he gets from his dad!). 

We spent a lot of time swimming this summer! This boy is like a fish and loves being in the water. I had high hopes of taking advantage of our local wading pool this summer, but it isn't very shaded so we realized after the first visit it wasn't a realistic activity with a newborn baby. So, we invested in a plastic kiddie pool and it became the biggest outdoor hit! 

One of our friends bought us a bug catching kit, and it has also been a fun activity. Most of the time, I end up catching the bugs and putting them into the container (something I never dreamed I'd enjoy, but when you're a mom of a boy, bugs are kinda cool!). William likes to add in rocks, grass and sticks for the bugs to eat. Oh! And our favorite pal, Bear came on our bug catching adventure this day. Bear is still quite the companion and is really starting to show his age lately. ;) 

The weather cooled off for a hot minute one random day so we ran outside and started up the fire pit. William had his first taste of roasted marshmallows. He described the roasted ones as being "dirty" and the unroasted ones as being "dee-wish-us!" ;)

The county fair came to town and it's always a huge hit. We didn't go last year because everyone got sick the morning of the fair, so we were determined to take the kiddos this year. Of course we chose the hottest day to go, but we managed to keep cool and have fun anyway. 

The highlight for everyone was the train museum. So neat! 

And William also rode his very first "roller coaster" ride with Daddy! He had a blast. 

Neither Nathan or I are very big on structured does one even get a toddler to focus more than 5 minutes on an activity anyway?!?! But we do like to incorporate learning into our every day play. We've been having fun playing "Shape Hop" and other silly games using our sidewalk chalk. 

Basically, I just draw a bunch of shapes on the carport and William "hops" on the shape I call out. It has been a fun way to learn our shapes this summer!

Notice a theme with my photos? They're ALL outdoors! This boy would stay outside all day if I let him...we spend about 75% of our days outside, and sometimes even more if he insists on having a "picnic" for lunch. His all time favorite activity is probably scooping, shoveling, or "rolling" the rocks (he uses a paint roller) and dirt and putting them in buckets, dump trucks, piles, etc. It's an endless activity that can keep him busy for a long time!

We also went back to our favorite Apple Picking spot this year and picked lots of delicious winesap apples. 

Made plenty of messes getting creative with fingerpaints. 

Trying out our new fishing rod ;)

And when we're not busy playing, there's always work to do! William loves tinkering with Daddy's tools and fixing flat tires on his Cozy Coupe, or helping out with chores (his favorites include mowing the grass with Daddy, pulling weeds with Mommy, vacuuming, and unloading the dishwasher). 

Some of our favorite words/phrases he says right now include:

"I so excited!"
"Dee-wish-us" (Delicious)
"No Frank You" (No Thank You)
"I so proud of you!"
"Wittle" (little)
"I bought it at da Goodwill" (he thinks everything comes from the Goodwill, and usually thinks everything costs "twenty dowwers")

He's also quite the conversationalists and likes to insert himself into random conversations Nathan and I might be having. 

Parenting a two-year-old boy is one of the best workouts's lots of work, tons of fun, requires massive amounts of patience and braveness, but one of the most fun jobs I've ever had. There are very difficult days sometimes where it feels like all I do is discipline, correct, redirect, distract, etc. But there are also lots of days when I look out to see him doing something in the yard and have to stop and thank God for allowing me to be this boys Mommy. I am so blessed by him and definitely get a daily dose of laughter from parenting him!