Sunday, February 5, 2017

Charlotte: three years old!

I know every parent feels the same, but I cannot believe how fast time is flying. I can look at photos from Charlotte's birth, or her first few days of life, and feel like they were taken just yesterday. My baby girl just turned three, and I can't believe it!!

Charlotte is a growing girl. Her shoe size is between and 8.5 and a 9. Her old sneakers (size 8) are too tight but the next size I have (9.5) are definitely too big. We're still needing boots pretty regularly, so hopefully she fits into her sneakers come spring. She weighs 30.5 pounds and is 40.5 inches tall. She's very thin; her pants are either 3T or 4T, but they are often too big on her waist. Big pants don't pose a problem, though, because she needs to be able to take them off to use the bathroom. She potty trained very easily back in August. Her independent personality and three days of hardcore training made for a quick and easy adjustment to no more diapers. She sometimes wakes up at night to use the bathroom, but usually goes right back to sleep. She's very capable of doing the whole process herself, but recently started wanting one of us to "help" her with the wiping and pants and the like. 

We love to chat with Charlotte, and to listen to the things she says. Her brain is always working, making connections and wanting more information. She's begun asking "why?" many, many times each day. Though it can be exhausting, her curiousity is wonderful. She often repeats things (or variations of things) she hears us say. For example, today she told us Bear couldn't go to church because she had sick germs. And later, I offered a used cup of Asher's, to let Bear have a drink. She refused, saying, "No, Mom. That's old. Bear needs a new drink." 

Last night in bed, she asked me: "What do policemen have?"
When I didn't respond immediately, she said, "Do they drive cars? Or ambulances?" 

The cutest.

One not-so-cute thing, is the sleep difficulties Charlotte's been having this month. She's in the middle of a transition to drop her nap, but some days she's too exhausted to go without it. The days she doesn't nap, she goes to bed pretty easily around 7 and falls asleep by 8. If she naps, her bedtime is much. Lster (closer to 8:30) and she stays in bed awake, often for 45+ minutes. Unfortunately, most nights Charlotte wakes up at least once, and many nights this month she has woken up 2-4 times. It's as if she forgot all her self-soothing techniques she used as a baby, and can't get herself back to sleep without Joel or I coming to lay in her bed for a while. Needless to say, we're exhausted! 

Charlotte has so much energy and loves to play. She creates towns and buildings and homes, then lets her cars and animals live their life. She talks to her stuffed friends, and has started to say hello to strangers. She sometimes tells people that she's three now, and will go to school next year. She's growing in her ability to play nicely with Asher, and there have been some really sweet interactions lately. Sharing is still very difficult, as is accepting someone else's idea of how something should be played. She's very independent and very opinionated, but also very nurturing and encouraging. 

We've been getting new books from the library lately, to add to our personal rotation of favorites. Charlotte often gravitates toward 1-2 books we've chosen and wants to read them before every nap and at every bedtime. She really seems to grasp complex concepts in the books, but sometimes makes us giggle with the conclusions she draws from looking at the pictures and putting together things in her mind. 

Charlotte loves to play with stuffed animals and is very careful when she plays with small things such as rice and beads and Pom poms. She's creative and cautious and so much fun. 

Charlotte girl, you are a delight. I'm so proud to be your momma! 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Asher: sixteen months

Growth/ development: Asher's fifteen month checkup was in the middle of last month. That day, he weighed 26 pounds, 6 ounces. He was 30 1/4 inches tall. He's at the very top of the growth chart for height, and average for weight. Since he started walking this month, he's slimmed down some :) If he's wearing a cloth diaper, 18 month onesies are too tight. He can still wear pants in the 18 month size, as well as 24 month. He wears size 5 shoes and has 8 teeth. Still seems to be working on molars, as he is drooling like crazy and constantly putting his fingers in his mouth. He seems extra fussy this month, as well.

Asher is finally walking! I'd say he walks 85% of the time, and crawls the last 15%... mostly on unstable ground like playground mulch and garden soil. Or when he's very upset or exhausted. He is pretty steady on his feet these days, and can carry things while walking and turn around to walk another way. He gets this proud look on his face. It's the cutest!

Communication: Asher has a lot to say. He babbles a lot, and when he talks to his grandparents on FaceTime, he goes on and on as if he's been wanting to chat with them! He will point and gesture with his hands, and raise his voice to make a point, though we rarely know what that point might be!

He still has the same signs, but the number of words he says seems to be multiplying rapidly. I can't even keep track of how many words he knows. The ones he says most frequently are: Noooooo, Daddy, ba-ba (ball, bottle), car-car, baby, Hiiiii, Bye-bye, choo choo, and Mama.

Sleep/ schedule: While he's doing a solid job on his one nap (2-3 hours daily), Asher's night sleep wasn't great this month. He rarely sleeps all the way through the night, often waking in the 2-5 am range, fully awake and fussing. If we give him a warm bottle and put him back to bed, he will usually sleep until 7 or 7:15am. It's a bad habit, but I'm using the excuse that our whole morning is better if he sleeps until 7, as opposed to waking for the day at 6am. His nap is almost always at noon, but we adjust it slightly based on his morning wake time.

Food: Asher's kind of unreliable about his eating, still. He LOVES to drink whole milk from a bottle, which kind of drives me crazy, though I'm not willing to go cold turkey on the bottles because I know the comfort helps him settle for sleep and I'm too exhausted to mess with his sleep.

Some of his favorite foods are black beans, cheese, steamed baby carrots, bread (and pizza!!!), yogurt, smoothies, meat sauce, and all kinds of fruit.

Activity: As always, this little man stays busy! He adores being outside, and just started liking to swing again. He will whine at the door, saying "Wheeee" and pointing at the swing until we take him out to play. He likes to be pushed fast. He also loves to explore the yard and open the doors and windows on our play house. If Charlotte is nearby playing, Asher will be happy to hang out and do his own thing. He also loves to wrestle and snuggle and read books. He's such a sweet, communicative guy. We adore him! 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Asher: fifteen months

Asher's fifteen month birthday is also the start of a new year: 2017! What a big year this has been for our little guy. We can't imagine life without him. 

Growth/ development
After his fifteen month well check in January, I will add his height and weight. He wears the same size 5 shoes that he's been wearing, 18 month clothing (And sometimes 24 month clothing, especially if he has a cloth diaper on!), and has seven teeth. He's been drooling hardcore for the last month. It makes me wonder if he's working on molars, but none have appeared yet. 

He went from a few tentative steps at the beginning of the month to full on toddling just before the New Year. It seems that if he's playing a game, or holding onto something (like a ball, or Christmas wrapping paper), he's more confident to walk longer distances, such as across the room. 

Asher regularly uses the signs for more, please, and all done. When he signs "please," he also says the word. 

We can't believe how much this guy talks!! His words include: please, cheese, cracker, keys, hot, hat, more, hi, buh bye, bath, bottle (baba), no no no, garbage truck, tractor, choo choo, and juice. 

He knows the sounds for lion, duck, horse, sheep, cow, pig, and dog. Sometimes he meows like a cat. Ha. 

Sleep/ schedule
Despite two cross country (and cross time zones) trips this month, Asher was a champion sleeper. Most nights he slept 12-13 hours straight. A few nights he woke up once for a bottle, then quickly put himself back to sleep. 

He also transitioned to one nap this month. He handles the day best if his nap is around 12pm, and he usually sleeps 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on the day and circumstances. He took a lot of naps in different places this month, but handled them all very well. We are grateful for this good little sleeper, especially considering how poorly he slept for his first nine months AND that his big sister is now sleeping far worse than she has in her whole life. Oy! 

Asher's appetite varies greatly from day to day and from meal to meal. It's hard to get an accurate understanding of how much / when he wants to eat, since we've been traveling and out of our routine so much this month. Some of his favorite things to eat are mashed potatoes, clementines, berries, ham/ pork, and bread of any kind. He loves to snack, and he loves to drink milk from bottles. 

Asher is such an active, rough and tumble guy. He is so busy, always on the move!! He loves to explore, especially outside. He is a social butterfly, and enjoys playing with Charlotte and hanging out with friends and his family. He loves to wrestle with Joel and plays sort of rough with Charlotte (sometimes it's well received, sometimes... Not so much ;) )

Fifteen months is such a fun age! So much to learn, so much to do, and so many words to babble! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Asher: fourteen months

Growth/ Development 
Asher seems to be thinning out a little. He has a checkup in January, so no height and weight measurements this month. He wears size 5 shoes, size 18-24 month clothing, and he finally got his sixth tooth!! 

Asher's pretty close to walking. He has taken one or two steps, and spends a lot of the day standing while he plays. He's gaining confidence and becoming more interested in walking, but still crawls rapidly around the house and yard to get himself where he wants to go. 

Our boy is growing in his understanding of spoken words, and in his use of words and signs. He can communicate a lot more now than he could one month ago. 

Sleep/ schedule
This was a sad month, with Asher getting his first serious cold which turned into a double ear infection. He was on antibiotics for the first time, and got a really bad diaper rash from some digestive adjustments to the antibiotic. Poor little guy was miserable for Thanksgiving dinner, crying and needing to be held. 

Needless to say, his sleep and daily routines have been all out of whack. Many nights he woke up fussing, many mornings he had a bottle at 4am and slept until 7:30. Some mornings he was wide awake at 6, just like "normal." Some days he took two naps, other days just one. He went to bed at all different times, mostly in the 6:45- 7:15 range. 

I can't decide if he's (I'm) ready for just one nap. In some ways, it'd make our days easier because the kids could have similar schedules and we'd have two big windows of time to do things, but I've also gotten used to the rhythm of staying home until he wakes up from the morning nap. Charlotte and I often do messy or fragile activities/ toys during that time, and I also catch up on chores and household tasks then. Plus, I'm afraid if he's overtired he will start waking up in the night. Also-- he wakes up soooooo early sometimes that it seems impossible to keep him happily awake until afternoon nap time. We'll see. 

Asher does signs for more, all done, food, please, and (sometimes) thank you. He also does a motion for washing his hands (adorable!!!!) and sometimes makes a clicking noise when he's hungry. 

New words this month include WaWa (water), Peppa (when he wants to watch Peppa Pig, or talk to his Grandpa, haha), baba (bottle / baby), and he finally says Momma consistently! :) He snorts like a pig and woofs like a dog. 

He nods yes and shakes his head no. He waves hello and goodbye, blows kisses, and gives real open mouth incredibly sweet real kisses. He points at a million things a day, and makes all sorts of babbling noises- his voice is the sweetest sound.

Since he was so sick this month, Asher regressed a bit on his bottle drinking. I've been offering food as consistent as always, and especially try to give healthy things I know he likes. But it's difficult to fill up his belly at exactly the right times. It's easier to give a bottle of milk, and I know bottles are comforting to him. This is an ongoing challenge for me. 

He loves baked oatmeal, sweet potatoes, pomegranate seeds, raisins, cucumbers, bell peppers, and all kinds of breads/ muffins (mostly we've been eating banana muffins lately). 

Asher's favorite thing to do these days is climb. If nothing else is available, he likes to climb my body. It's not the most comfortable thing in the world, to say the least, so I try to give him opportunities to climb something else (playground equipment, stairs, beds/ couches, etc.) as much as possible. He likes to stand up while playing, and he lives for the great outdoors. We've had a lot of fun lately, pushing him around in the stroller or wearing him outside in the hiking backpack. 

This month Asher played in snow for the first time. He liked it! 

He also loves to watch the Christmas lights on our tree, and on our neighbors' houses. 

14 months is such a fun age. We love our big boy! 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Asher: thirteen months

Growth/ development
Asher is big! He's like a tank, and his chubby thighs are just irresistibly sweet! No official height or weight this month, but his shoe size is 5 and he wears 12-18 month clothing. He STILL only has five teeth! I can't believe how long it's been since he last got a tooth! 

He can stand on his own, and walk while pushing a toy. He isn't too interested in walking, though, because crawling is soooooo much faster. Our boy is really growing in the communication realm lately, babbling to himself and making all sorts of sounds and noises and gestures to get his point across. He's also started to use some baby sign language, which is awesome. 

This month Asher cut down on his bottles a lot! He drinks 2-3 bottles of milk a day; it's mostly whole cow's milk with some pumped breastmilk mixed in. I would say his total milk intake is between 15-18 ounces (with only 4-8 ounces being breastmilk) -- personally, I wish he didn't drink so much cow's milk because our diet has a fair amount of dairy in it and I don't want to overload his system with dairy. It's something I will continue to work on-- giving him lots of healthy meals to fill his belly with a well-rounded diet enough that he doesn't ask for milk bottles as often. He doesn't seem bothered by the milk at all, his system is handling it just fine. We'll see what the next month is like. 

Sleep/ schedule
Though he consistently wakes up too early for our liking, Asher has settled into life as a pretty good sleeper. He almost always sleeps from 7ish till 6ish. His naps are regular and almost always 1.5 hours each (morning roughly 8-9:30, adjusted based on his wake up time that day and afternoon roughly 1:15-2:45pm). 

Every once in a while Asher stirs or cries in the night but he usually puts himself back to sleep quickly. If he's woken up in the 4-5am range, though, he doesn't settle back easily even though he's exhausted. We often give him a small bottle of milk to help him relax and he will go back to sleep for a few more hours- this usually happens once or twice a month. 

Says: Dada, hiii, hot, dog 
Signs: more, all done, thank you 
Also points (and grunts!! Loudly! Until we understand him!), waves hello/ goodbye, gives high fives, and blows kisses (the most adorable thing on the planet!). Hilariously, his motion for signing "thank you" is the same as his motion for blowing kisses. Makes me giggle :) 

Eats three meals and at least two snacks a day. Just started using a loaded fork and spoon this month! He loves eating this way, must feel proud to be such a big boy. 

Likes black and kidney beans, smoothies, quiche, frozen peas, corn on the cob, anything sweet (banana or zucchini muffins), pasta, pizza, shredded pork, and whole fruit (don't even think about cutting up that pear, banana, or apple! He wants the whole dang thing to gnaw on!). 

Doesn't like cut up fruit, whole pieces of chicken or beef, and chickpeas. 

Asher loves being outside. He will be completely miserable, clingy, and fussy, but then we take him out into the yard and he's a total peach. He also loves exploring, climbing, and taking things out/ putting them back in. He likes to read books, play with cars, ride in the stroller, climb onto Charlotte's kitchen stool, open cabinet doors, and feel various textures. 

Asher adores his big sister and is really starting to be quite a Daddy's boy. He is snuggly and silly and our family just can't get enough of his sweet little self. Happy 13 months, baby boy! We love you so much! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Life around here lately, 3

Charlotte is 32 months old (almost three years!) and Asher is one. I'm almost 32 ;) 

We're on day 7 of cloudy/ rainy and cool weather. Fortunately, we've had a pocket of sun here and there, and it's not constantly raining, which is a big relief. I'm in a much better place physically and emotionally than I was one year ago at this time (with a brand new baby, in a house that wasn't our own!), and the icky weather isn't getting me down as much as I was afraid it might. We've managed to have some play dates and swing on the swings and visit the library. All those fun bits help us manage the rain fairly well. 

Both children are in really fun stages right now. 

Charlotte is constantly creating... painting, coloring, making dinner parties for her stuffed animals, using play dough to create cookies for a snack, setting up a restaurant in our new play house, and just making things in general. She's also making really significant conversations lately. She's asking about Bible stories we read, and questioning song lyrics that we sing. She's noticing tiny details in books, and asking a million questions a day. I love chatting with her, and teaching her things. Sometimes the listening is exhausting, and I struggle to really truly pay attention and engage. Working on that. 

Asher is constantly exploring... He crawls all over the house, checking everything out. He loves to take things out of the recycling bin and touch every object. He likes to crawl into the bathroom, and if the lid isn't closed, he tries to explore the contents of the toilet! Ick. Using a push toy, he can walk down the hallway or across the living room. He's always cruising from one chair to the next, or from the  couch to someone's nearby arm/leg. If there's a door open, Asher immediately bolts to get outside. He's had a lot of clothing changes lately, and I'm doing a lot of laundry since his pants get completely covered in mud the second he's outside! It's worth it, though, because he is unbelievably happy playing in the yard and crawling along the driveway. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Asher is ONE / twelve months!

Happy first birthday to my sweet, fun, handsome boy! We love you and are so proud of you! 

Growth/ development: Asher weighs 24 pounds, is 31 inches tall (same as Charlotte at one!), and his head is 19 inches. He wears size four diapers and most of his clothing is 12-18 month range. His 12 months pants and onesies are wayyyyy too small, but we are temporarily squeezing him into 12 month PJs. :) He still only has five teeth-- we keep expecting the sixth one to appear, but it hasn't yet. 

Asher can cruise from one object to another and is constantly standing up to play. He crawls like a speeding bullet and can get wherever he wants to go, at any time. We borrowed a push toy from our friends and Asher can walk across the living room while pushing the toy. He gets so excited and his joy just breaks my heart! 

This month, Asher developed his waving and clapping skills. He also learned to give high fives-- so cute! He says, "Hiiiii," "Dada," and "Chock" (which sometimes means truck, and other times means who knows what?! :) )

Sleep/ schedule: Asher consistently sleeps through the night- usually from about 7pm to 6am!!! Sometimes he stirs and Joel goes in to talk and comfort him for a second, but that's very rare. He also wakes up before 6 at least once a week-- and sometimes wakes up closer to five... ugh! His naps are pretty consistent-- from about 7:45/8 until 9/10am. His second nap is usually from 1-2:30/3pm. 

Asher still drinks 5-6 bottles of breast milk each day. I've dropped down to three pumping sessions but that's still producing enough for his needs. His total breast milk intake has dropped, and he's definitely eating more solids than he did a few weeks ago. However, he really enjoys his bottles and seems to use the bottle drinking time to relax, particularly before naps and bedtime. I'm hoping to ease back from breas tmilk even more, by replacing a few ounces per day with whole cow's milk. I don't want to sub all his bottles with cow's milk, because I want him to be hungry for actual food. It's a bit of a dilemma for me. 

Asher likes: Being outside, playing near Charlotte, reading books, picking up/throwing dirt, taking things out of baskets/bowls, putting things back in (he JUST started this activity and it's adorable!), picking up small objects, playing wild games with his sister and dad, his monkey lovey, putting things in his mouth, and exploring machinery like the stroller, push toys, bike tire pump, and front controls in the van. 

Asher doesn't like: being overtired, waiting to eat, being away from Mom too long, and when Charlotte tells him "No" or pushes him away. 

Big things this month: It's been such fun watching Asher grow and learn. This month Asher had a visit from his maternal grandparents, tried some new foods, and enjoyed a LOT of time playing in the dirt. We love him so much, and thank God for the good gift of our sweet, toddler boy!