Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Year In Review

I'm just going to jump right in.  This is always my favorite post of the year.

Here's a look back at some of the highlights of 2013 (not to negate the fact that there were indeed low moments, but at the end of it all, it's these pictures emphasizing some of the brightest spots of this past year that I want to remember the most).

JANUARY:  E mastered self-feeding with a spoon! (was that really JUST this past year!?)
FEBRUARY:  We had our last photos taken as a family of three before we welcomed our N!
MARCH:  Got to spend some much-welcomed quality time with grandparents as we awaited N's arrival.
APRIL:  We welcomed Nora Rose into our lives and went from a family of three to a family of four! (so thankful and humbled)
MAY:  Enjoyed time with Memommy shortly after N made her debut :)
JUNE:  Family vacay to Croatia (not to mention sun-kissed baby cheeks, yum).
JULY:  Trip to the mountains with some sweet Slovak friends and Daddy Boy celebrated Father's Day holding our newest addition.
AUGUST:  An accidental too-short hair cut (but still oh so very cute) and some outdoor time with a good buddy!
SEPTEMBER:  How was it possible that this girl turned TWO years old!?  Nonetheless, she did.
OCTOBER:  And just like that turning two meant she became a big girl.  No more paci for this little one.  Tear, sniffle, sniffle.
NOVEMBER:  Then as if turning two and giving up a paci wasn't enough for a mama to handle, the tiny one up and decided to crawl her way out of babyhood! 2014 will surely bring walking as a major milestone for sweet N.
DECEMBER:  Finally, though we have assuredly missed time with our families, we've also learned a lot about trusting the Lord and growing closer to each other...which means navigating our own family traditions, trying hard to "be in the moment" when we're together, and learning what it means to love and do life together.

2014, we're more than ready to welcome you :)  Here we go!

Friday, December 27, 2013

5 Years Ago Today

Five years ago today I stood at the alter and said "Yes" before God, family, and friends to always love God and my best friend. I am so thankful for that "Yes" and more importantly, her "Yes." I love you best friend and am glad to share this life with you. You are an amazing wife and mother. I LOVE YOU!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nora Rose: Eight Months!

Our "little" girl isn't so very little anymore!

Nora Rose turns eight months old today.  Let it be said, time is seriously flying by.
Weight:  Around about 17 pounds these days.

Eating:  After having quite a few cranky days lately, we've decided to up her solids intake.  She's now getting three solid meals a day (fruit and veggies mostly) and still nurses 4 to 5 times a day.  I'm thinking the girl has hit a major growth spurt (plus is perhaps experiencing some separation anxiety!?).  It should also be noted that this girl LOVES peas and carrots (which I hope will last forever…we need at least one pea-loving person in this family!)

Sleeping:  She's (mostly) on a sleeping schedule that includes two smaller naps and one longer midday nap.  At night she's still waking to eat once, but she does seem quite hungry for that one, so we're going with it.  

Fun things:  We've got a clapper!  Cutest little clap it is, too.  She's also crawling faster now and pulling up on lots of things.  She's quite agile (as proven by the picture above) and will sit in some funny positions (Jason calls one of them her football stance because she sits like she's holding the football about to be kicked, or something like that, ha!).  She also WILL NOT sit down in the bathtub which makes bathing her quite challenging.  Lastly, the girl does not like to be away from us.  If we're in one room and move to another, so does our Nor.  Sweetie baby.

(putting the star on the tree with Daddy Boy)
(hahaha, Nor is a bit skeptical, but scenes like this can be seen daily around here)
(out of focus a bit, but I still love this picture)
(Thanksgiving 2013…love these three!)

(Disclaimer:  I promise Nor does smile, but they're obviously harder to catch on this girl!)

Nor Nor, we love love you and sure do love watching you grow :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Just a Little Boat Ride...

…down the hall and back again!  That's the name of the game around here lately.

They love laying on this blanket (on loan from the Holloway clan…thanks!) and being pulled all around, typically while singing "row, row, row your boat…"

And when I say THEY, it really means Elise drags Nora along with her.  Nora generally complies (because she doesn't have much of an option when her sis is dragging her along by her clothes haha!).

Here they are in action.
It's increasingly harder to capture decent pictures of the on-the-go two year old and her very mobile eight month old sis, but nonetheless, I like these action shots of the girls.  They completely testify to the stage of life we're in now.

(and apparently I have a thing for dressing those two in polka dots!)

(I also promise no eight month old was hurt during the taking of these photos, though her face may say otherwise ;)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Washi Tape Advent Calendar

For awhile now I've been conjuring up some kind of advent calendar to make/do for the girls this year.  Last year we had a fun sticker-a-day calendar and read Scripture along with that, but this year I wanted something a bit more DIY and creative/interactive.

So I decided to do a washi tape tree on the wall.  I then just took some scrap paper we had lying around (that had already been doodled on) and cut out "ornaments" to be taped on the wall.  On the front of the ornaments is a number, and on the back is the name of a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible which we will read each corresponding day.  I'm also working up some festive December activities to do on each day as well (simple things such as paint a manger scene, make a Christmas craft, bake cookies, read a special book, etc.).  Finally, I added some glow-in-the-dark stars just for fun!

Elise was mesmerized when she came home and saw the tree and kept saying "Ah, Mommy, it's so pretty!"  So, even though it's crooked on the wall (oops), the toddler approves and that's all that matters ;)

(It was also a bit hard to photograph in such poor hallway/nighttime lighting…)
So we're slowly getting geared up for Christmas over here, but let's not haste, we're ready to enjoy some delish Thanksgiving turkey this week…then we'll head into December :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Girl's Got Jokes

This two year old is a hoot.  Here are a few recent E quotes that may bring a smile to your face (at least they do to ours :)

- "Shishi, shishi, you think this is shishi" (when quoting from Monsters Inc., "Sushi, sushi, you think this is about sushi!?")

- "Nory nakey girl" (when changing Nora's diaper) 

- "My phone's ringin'" (then she pretends to pull her fake phone out of her pocket and talk to whoever she comes up with :)

- "Bla bla bla bla lala la bla bla" (when reading from the Bible)

- "What does the giraffe say, Elise?" "Neigh" (I think because the giraffe on our puzzle somewhat resembles a horse shape and we've never taught her a noise made by a giraffe…so she ad libbed :)

- And one of my all time favorite conversations she's had thus far was with her yogurt…
E: Good mornin, yogoat.
Yogurt: --------
E: How are you?
Yogurt: --------
E: I'm good. Bye.

Love that girl and love her toddler wittiness :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

With Da Babies...

I feel like it's not all the time that I'm in pictures with the babies.  I usually like (and thus end up) taking them.

But occasionally, Daddy Boy (E's token nickname for Jas) will grab the camera and we'll end up with a keeper or two.

Such as these.
I'm totally in love with E's smile right now.  You ask her to smile and you get mostly bottom teeth :) 
I also love that that one's smile is, well, just beginning.

…and while those smiley ones are "picture perfect"…you know we like to make sure and keep things real around here.  Let's try this one on for size, shall we!?
Ah, that's more like it (I think out of 20 or so pictures, 18 of them looked like the one above ;)

Thanks, Daddy Boy, for capturing the keepers AND the crazy.

And...I'm glad I get to be their mama.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Nora Rose: Seven Months!

Oh ya'll, this little seven month old girl…
She catches us off guard daily, I think.  She amazes us, as a matter of fact.

Three weeks ago she started crawling.  Then just yesterday she started pulling herself up.  And I'm afeared that she'll start walking next month!  It's crazy town, but crazy cool too.  She's, simply put, awesome (again, we're slightly biased ;)
She's also really developed an appetite for peas and carrots.  She'll pretty much eat anything, decently well, but she's tried plums, peaches, apples, bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes, green peas, rice, and puffs.  She's finally gotten the hang of those little puffs too! 
I wouldn't say at this point that she's got the whole nighttime sleeping thing down.  She still generally wakes a few times a night.  Instead of it resulting from hunger (she really only eats once a night), it's largely from her rolling over to her belly and/or loosing her paci, which then wakes her up.  Ah well, she'll get it eventually!
Still taking two to three naps a day and nursing between four and five (with an occasional six) times a day. 

Her second bottom tooth just started coming in today! 
Splashing with her sis in the tub has been a fun new activity this past month and it's provided for some times of endless baby girl giggles (love. it.). 

Speaking of her sis, N follows E around everywhere and wants to do exactly what Big Sis is doing.  It's super cute, though I think E doesn't quite understand it yet ;)
(Halloween 2013.  We'll call them "fairy princesses," aka, working with what we had :)

And a final seven month note, she's starting to mimic different things we do…such as raising and lowering our hands, clapping, and bouncing up and down.  Too cute.
These seven months with you, N, have been without full nights of sleep, but absolutely full of joy.  Love you bunches, lil bitty.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Imitation Art on the Cheap

…and by cheap I mean free.

I came upon this painting one day while perusing the interwebs and just really fell in love with its simplicity and quality quote (not to mention the quote's origin is Spanish).
So I sought to imitate it.  Granted, I'm all for and fully support creating your own art (though I've done a few other imitation pieces), but when it comes to a piece you fall in love with but don't have the dough to dish out, why not get your create on and make your own?

That's what I did.

And guess what?  The original just so happens to be $4,000...but not mine!  Mine was free, which means happy me :)

(it should be noted however, the original is a good bit bigger than mine)

(it should also be noted that this project took me about two art "sessions" with Elise, which means a total of about an hour…about all the time I have for painting these days :)
It's not as grand and fun as the original, but it was a simple little project to recreate and add to our art collection.  I'm a fan (and I guess that's all that matters, right? ;)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Matching Jams

I bought these matching jammies almost a year ago when we were in the states.  Obviously N wasn't born yet, but I was more than excited to see the two of them in them and to get a pic to document it.

A few nights ago this little dream photo op of mine came to fruition.

And I couldn't be happier with how cute they look in their matchin' duds.

It makes me giggle every time…E's hamming it up for the camera while N just doesn't quite get it yet.  Hilarity.

I always thought we'd have boys, but I'm sure glad God saw fit to give us these two baby girls.  They rock, especially in their birdie jams :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Crawling + Teething

Baby, baby, baby, ooohhh… (now you're singing it ;)

The baby in this house is full out crawling as of the last week and a half.  And then today we found a tooth coming in!!  (I have to admit the whole teething earlier thing has me nervous a bit in regards to nursing…particularly since E was a late teether and was weaning around the time her first tooth came in! yikes!)

So needless to say this little lady's world is changing.  However, teething + mobility = crankiness and frustration.

But that's ok, she's a doll baby and we'll take her crankiness (mainly because along with those cranky moments come plenty of smiling moments…which are just the best!).

So how about some action shots followed by a little video?! :)
As promised below is the video of her crawling.  We were being quiet because Elise was in desperate need of a nap this day and was still asleep.  Also, if you decide to watch all three minutes, towards the end N gives a quite cute smile for Daddy.

So here we give you Nora the Crawler (kinda has a Dora the Explorer ring to it, huh? ;)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Because We Needed Green...

...and by green, I mean nature.  We needed an afternoon in nature.

So that's just what we did on Saturday.  We headed to a local park and ventured off a well-worn path.  There we found a perfect spot and nestled in for some much needed fresh air and GREEN!
Elise and Daddy did a little exploring and then Mommy and E messed around with dirt, bark, leaves, etc.  E was so cute and kept pointing up at the trees saying, "Ah, so pretty."  Life in a big city will do that to ya, I guess.  So glad we got this girl out in the woods.
 But I think of all of us, our Daddy Boy enjoyed it the most.  He just soaked up every moment out there in those woods...and he may or may not have pretended to be hunting a time or two.
 These girlies are the coolest ones I know.  Glad they're mine ;)
 Lil Nor spent most of her time on the blanket being snuggled.  It won't be long before she'll be climbing trees too, though...she's crawling already and as active as ever!
It was refreshing spending some time away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city.  We love the green plot of land in front of our apartments, and it's actually a luxury to have what we do have, but nothing can beat the freshness of truly being outdoors.

Now if only the leaves would change all shades of lovely fall colors for my visual enjoyment, I'd be heaven!
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