nella: 10 months

Double digits! I can’t believe we’re so close to her birthday. Seeing how fast this year went almost makes me want to cry. How did my squishy little baby get so big?

Clothing size: All 9-12 month things! I am still squeezing her into 6-9 month jammies though, since I don’t have many in her size and haven’t been able to find a good sale on some new ones.
Eye color: Blue blue blue.

Hair: Suddenly it seems like she’s had a ton of hair grow in, and it’s making her look more like a kid than a baby.

Teeth: On the day she turned 10 months, she still had just two, but her top right tooth was visible under the gum. Since I’m 11 days late on this post, that tooth has now (just barely) popped through! I can see the top left ready to come in as well. Any day now!

Eating: I have never had a kid so ready to eat solid food. I gave her a little shredded chicken one night, and there was no going back- this girl loves finger foods, so we’ve dropped the baby food altogether and are basically doing baby-led weaning. She’s tried so many things, including Greek yogurt, shredded chicken, cheerios, cucumbers, shredded cheese, chicken and dumplings, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Goldfish crackers, vegetarian chili, chicken nuggets, french fries, spaghetti, and the tiniest bit of Chinese rice when we went out. She’s so willing to try almost anything, and I love it. Cheerios were her first real finger food, and she loved them until we let her try Goldfish. Now they just don’t seem as appealing, I guess. I even got her her own snack container, because if she sees her sisters eating crackers, she screams for some.

She’s still nursing every 2.5-3 hours, too.

Sleep: Bedtime is around 7:30 or 8 pm, and then she nurses around 6 am, and falls back asleep until 7:30 or 8 am. I don’t let her nap in the morning because I want all the girls to rest in the afternoon, so she has a little bit of a hard time staying awake, but she easily goes down for nap around 1 pm. She is silent for about 3 solid hours, which feels like such a long time without her.

Words: She says, “Ma-ma-ma” all the time when she wants her mommy! I’m counting it as her first word!

Favorite things: Her family (her sisters especially, since they’re so good at making her laugh), puppies (Scout or any stuffed animal), water and splashing in the bathtub, going “upside down” while we’re holding her, and dancing. She plays peekaboo with anything she can hide behind (even the Kroger sale flyer when she’s in the cart at the grocery store)!

Dislikes: She’s now the queen of finding any little piece of fuzz on the floor and trying to eat it, and she gets pretty upset when I have to fish it out of those cheeks of hers. Other than that, she’s still super easygoing.

Nicknames: Nellbells, Baby Sunshine, Nella Sunshine, Nell, Nell-Nell, Nells, Angel, Cheeks, Newwie (by Kaelyn), and “Baby Nella Sunshine Sprinkle Pop” and “Pushy Cheeks” (by Kaya).

Milestones, etc.: -She’s still not crawling! I know she has the muscle power to do it, and she’ll get on her hands and one knee, ready to go… it’s just that her other knee is usually folded under her, and she can’t figure out how to move it over yet!

-She LOVES seeing other babies (or herself in the mirror)! Instant smiles 🙂

-She’s so friendly and smiles at pretty much anyone. She also makes this crazy face when she’s so excited and happy:

-She’s still the ultimate thumb-sucker… and as soon as you ask her, “Do you want some milk?”, her thumb flies into her mouth.

-She claps and waves at people, but only when she feels like it. She also gives kisses, but sparingly now, so they’re a very special gift.

-She loves to “dance” by throwing her whole body into some odd vertical motion. It’s really pretty cute, but if you didn’t know she was dancing, you might be confused by it.

-She’s started to jump a little in her exersaucer, but other than that, she’s still not thrilled about standing. What’s the point when mommy carries you all over the place?

Dear Nella,

Sweet girl, how are you so big already? You have so much energy and zest for every single day, and I truly admire that about you. You are also one of the most patient babies I’ve ever seen, which I appreciate so much these days.You still love to snuggle, and you get the most excited whenever you see me. I love when your Daddy brings you to me in the morning and you have the biggest grin on your face.

You are silly and fun. It’s so easy to make you laugh these days, and I love it.

Love, Mommy

nella: 5 months

Clothing size: Still 3-6 month items, although to be honest, with that big cloth diaper, it’s getting difficult to zip up her jammies or pull her jeggings over her bum. We’re ready to move up!

Eye color: The bluest blue I ever did see.

Nursing: Every 2-3 hours during the day. She’s actually pretty fast at eating now… when she’s paying attention. Her free arm is usually flailing, scratching my face, or trying to grab my mouth, so I’ve resorted to holding her hand to try and keep her focused.

Sleep: There’s supposed to be a 4-month sleep regression, right? I fully expected her to start waking up for an extra feeding at night, but she still keeps sleeping right on through (about 8 pm to 5:30 am). I nurse her in the morning, and then she goes back to sleep until around 7:30 or 8 am.As if this wasn’t good enough, she’s started taking a real nap (by herself!) every afternoon. She’ll catnap for about 20 minutes in the morning around 10 am or so, and at about 1:30 pm, she naps for 2.5-3 hours. It seems like a ton of sleep, but that’s what she needs at this age. She’s still sleeping in our room, partly because the updated AAP recommendation is for babies to sleep in their parents’ room for the first 6 months, and partly because it is going to completely break my heart to move her to her own room (down the hall just seems so far away, right?)! She’s so quiet at night that she doesn’t disturb our sleep, anyway.

Favorite things: I keep joking to Michael that when our oldest two girls were babies, we only had each other as competition for being their “favorite”… well, now I’m pretty certain we play third and fourth fiddle to Nella’s big sisters. They are her absolute favorite people in the whole world. They get the biggest smiles and the loudest laughs out of her. I love it.

Nella also loves music (she’ll kick her legs wildly when she hears a tune that she’s excited about), especially church primary songs. She loves when I squeeze her chubby little legs or pretend to eat her up with kisses. She also thinks it’s hilarious if you pretend to sneeze, and it’s probably the easiest way to get her laughing.

Dislikes: She still almost never cries, so there’s really nothing I can say she particularly dislikes. She’s trying hard to hold onto toys, but she accidentally dropped one on her face a few days ago and cried so hard. Really, though, who likes hitting themselves in the head? She is an angel baby.

Nicknames: I think we’ve finally found her main nickname: Nellbells! She just beams when Daddy gets home from work and greets her by that name. She’s still also known as Baby Sunshine, Nella Sunshine, Nell, Nell-Nell, Nels, Angel, Cheeks, and Cheeky. Kaelyn calls her “Newwa” and “Newwie”, and Kaya still refers to her as “Baby Nella Sunshine Sprinkle Pop” and “Pushy Cheeks” (“squishy cheeks”).

Milestones, etc.: -She’s so close to being able to sit up on her own! She’s trying so hard and I know she wants to be just like her big sisters. I think she’ll definitely be doing it within the next month.

-She’s so incredibly chatty! She will gurgle and coo (loudly!) until you look at her and talk back.

-She’s grabbing everything, from her toys to her toes. If she’s awake in her seat upstairs, I can hear the little bell inside her snail jingling nearly incessantly as she plays with it.

-She had her first (albeit slow) ride in a swing this month!-Her cradle cap is gone and her hair is still as wild as ever. Even if I comb it down flat after her bath, it still finds a way to start sticking up as a mohawk.-She has a special little birthmark in the shape of a heart on her arm. I guess it’s been there for a few months, but I wasn’t sure it was going to stick around. For some reason, seeing that little heart on her arm is just another reminder of how special and loved she is, both by us and our family in heaven.

-She’s so great at visually tracking objects now. There’s a bubble machine at the Kangaroo Kids program we’ve been going to, and she loves just sitting there and watching the bubbles float by.

-All the Young Women at church love her. She gets passed all around during our lesson, and honestly, I love seeing how they so utterly adore her.

-She’s a pro at undoing the velcro on her cloth diapers… Don’t leave her without a onesie on for any length of time, because I guarantee she’ll be nearly naked in minutes!

Dear Nella,

My sweet, beautiful baby girl. Suddenly, you seem to have become your own person. You’re so alert and spend plenty of time taking in the world around you.

Your smile lifts my spirits like nothing else can. I look forward to that first moment in the morning when you wake up and our eyes meet- you always grin contentedly at me while you stretch your arms.You are the best little snuggler. Sometimes, you’ll rest your head on my shoulder when I’m carrying you around, and it’s little things like that that melt my heart completely.I love you so much, Nella Joy. Keep on being so sweet.

Love, Mommy

dear kaelyn (2.5 years)

Dear Kaelyn,

I’ve been writing this letter to you in my mind for a couple of months now, but it always seems to take me so long to get it all written out. I want you to be able to look back on this someday, and know just what a wonderful little 2.5-year-old girl you were, and realize exactly how much your family loves you.

You are my sweet, calm little lady. Believe me, you know how to yell and make a ruckus when you’re being extra silly, but you truly seem to have a tranquil spirit. This age can be a rough one, but for the most part, you are good at following rules and not throwing tantrums.

You are independent. You want to do nearly everything on your own. I’m so proud of you for acting so grown-up and taking responsibility for what needs to get done.

You are loving, and you give the snuggest hugs your tiny arms are capable of. You wrap them around my neck and hold on until I pull away. Sometimes, you put your head against mine to cuddle (you do this to “hug” Nella, too). Every once in a while, you run over to me, give me a kiss (sometimes it’s in a random place, like on my arm), and then you return to whatever fun you were having. You never go to bed without finding me and your baby sister for goodnight kisses.

Kaya is your very best friend. No exaggeration, you two play together all day long. You both really love each other.You are an incredibly sweet big sister. You assumed your new role seamlessly, and you absolutely adore “baby Newwa”. You kiss her, hug her, and talk to her all day long. You’re also very defensive if you see someone touching anything of Nella’s (like her car seat, bouncer, or any toys), so you always say “uh-oh, Newwa’s!”

Your favorite colors are blue, purple, and pink (in that order). For months, you insisted that I use one blue and one pink hair band each time I made your pigtails. Now, you sometimes switch one of those colors out for purple. You always want to wear your hair in pigtails because you think they look like “puppy ears”, and you love pretending to be a dog.

You name your stuffed toys based on what they are or what sound they make. Your horses are all “Neigh-Neigh” and your baby doll is “Doll”, simple as that. I tried to get creative and ask you if she was named “Dolly Parton”, but you insisted on just “Doll”. I love how you know exactly what you want.

You love all animals, but your very favorites are dogs! I think you have more puppy items than Kaya has cats, which is saying something! Your tan dog named Cinnamon is your main best friend, and he has gone everywhere with you for the past few months. I’ve gotten you several Paw Patrol coloring books, stickers, and even sneakers, and they are some of your favorite things, even though you have no idea that those characters are actually from a television show.

You have a sweet, quiet sense of humor. You are always doing silly things to make us laugh! Lately, our running joke is after mealtime, when you dab your face just the tiniest bit with a washcloth and then ask me “clean?”, even though you know it’s definitely not. You wait for me to say “nooooo!”, and then you burst into a thousand giggles.

You pick out your own clothes each day, and your favorite outfits include anything with a pattern on them. Your favorites are your heart jeans, star pants, and polka dot purple jammies.Your language skills have exploded in the past couple of months. You’ve started speaking in sentences, and nearly every time you say something, your Daddy and I glance at each other as if to silently ask each other “did you hear how cute she just sounded?” A couple of my favorite things that you say are “peepeeboo” (instead of peekaboo) and “miss you guys” (which is what you say every Sunday after nursery or whenever you’re talking about how you missed us when we went to the hospital to have Nella).

You love to help me fold towels, put silverware in the drawer, and sweep the floor (although we’re still working on your technique on that last one).

You could do puzzles for hours (and I think sometimes you do in nursery), and you also love to sit and look at books or color. Whenever you see written letters, you’re always asking me what they are. You are very interested in learning. You also still seem to use your right and left hands equally when you’re coloring or trying to write.

You told us that when you grow up, you want to be a “blue nurse who takes care of babies”. I think you’d be perfect at that job.

You adore anything to do with Minnie Mouse (even though, once again, you don’t watch her show). You also have a somewhat strange affinity for this blue spatula Grandma Debbie gave you this past Christmas- you’ve even taken it to bed and nap time.

You’re not a picky eater. You are willing to try almost anything once, and you even like spicier things like pepperoni. You refuse to eat crust on anything though, like sandwiches and pizza. You love Greek yogurt, cheese, and cucumbers. Baking (and licking the beaters) is one of your favorite things to do.

I honestly feel like I don’t have as many photos of you as I should, but you usually don’t like to have your picture taken. You still need to learn to look at the camera and smile at the same time!

You still take a nap for about 2-2.5 hours every afternoon. Sometimes, you and Kaya goof off a little too much when you’re supposed to be resting, but I love hearing you giggle and play together.

We love you so much, Kaelyn Grace. Thank you for adding so much joy to our home.

Love, Mommy

nella: 4 months

Height: 24.25 inches (48%)
Weight: 12 pounds 14 ounces (31%)
Head circumference: 15.75 inches (30%)

Clothing size: All 3-6 month items, and we’re still using the small-size cloth diapers. I use two inserts in her diapers, which makes her clothes fit a little more snugly and gives the illusion that she’s bigger than she actually is. I do feel like she’s growing super fast, and I think we’ll be ready to move up to the next size here in a month and a half or so.

Eye color: Bright, beautiful blue.

Nursing: Every 2-3 hours during the day.

Sleep: I almost get nervous to tell other parents, because I don’t want it to seem like I’m bragging, but she sleeps through the entire night. She goes down around 8 pm, and I wake her up at 5:30 am to nurse. She usually falls back asleep until 7:30 or 8 am. Seriously, what did I do to deserve this royal treatment?

She’s still sleeping in her little bassinet in our room. I like her close by, and she hardly makes a sound at night, so I’m not at all eager to move her out. She takes little catnaps in her bouncer during the day, but will take a longer one of 1-1.5 hours in the afternoon if I hold her for it. I love those snuggles.

Favorite things: Being tickled, Mommy “eating” her tummy or toes, Daddy trying to get her to smile, and her big sisters talking to her.

Dislikes: She doesn’t really cry over anything except getting her vaccines. It broke my heart to see her scream when she was at the pediatrician because she only cries when she truly means it.

Nicknames: Baby Sunshine, Nella Sunshine, Nell, Nell-Nell, Nels, Angel, Cheeks, Cheeky. Kaelyn calls her “Newwa”, and Kaya still refers to her as “Baby Nella Sunshine Sprinkle Pop” and “Pushy Cheeks” (I think she really means “squishy cheeks”, though.)

Milestones, etc.: -She’s so good at grabbing and holding onto things. I’m partly tempted to chop off my hair for this reason! I put her on the bed with my clean, unfolded laundry, and she grabs it and sucks on it until it’s nice and saturated with drool! She also really likes her little exercise gym.

-She’s a serious wiggle worm now. I can tell she wants to move and go places (for this reason, she’s constantly falling over when I take her weekly photo in the arm chair), but she’s still lacking serious muscle control.

-Tummy time has turned into straight-up planking. Haha. She’s not rolling yet, but honestly she hasn’t had a whole lot of practice.

-She chats with us all day long! If you aren’t looking at her, she’ll just keep loudly cooing until you look at her- and then she smiles!

-I keep checking for teeth because she has been chomping on everything…

-If I comb her hair into a mohawk after her bath, it curls perfectly and stays that way until the next day, when it just looks like bedhead.

-She still has some pretty terrible cradle cap. I did the coconut oil trick and it helped a little, at least. Even with oil all over her head, she’s still completely content and adorable.

Dear Nella,

You are happy every morning when you wake up and see us for the first time. I love your calm demeanor and easy-going attitude. You make having three kids nice and easy on your mama.

Your mom and dad and sisters love you more than anything in this whole world. I look forward to every day with you, and I truly couldn’t have imagined a more perfect addition to our family. Everywhere we go, people tell me how beautiful and wonderful you are. You smile easily for anyone who talks to you, and I’m so glad to call you mine.

Love, Mommy

kaelyn: 24 months

I can’t believe this is her last monthly update… my baby is all grown up!_MG_3618

Height: 32.5 inches (18%)
19 pounds 13 ounces (0.11%)
Head Circumference:
18.25 inches
Clothing size: 
24-month and 2T items. Size 5 shoes.
Eyecolor: Blue.
Teeth: 19 (as far as I can tell- I wasn’t about to get my fingers chomped on/make her upset)! It looks like she’s just missing her top left canine tooth! 🙂
Eating: She is an excellent eater, and because of that, her doctor is not worried that she’s so petite. She eats more breakfast than any of the rest of us on a regular basis. She loves PB&J (but not the crust), pizza, yogurt, and salad.

We’ve cut out her morning nursing session, but we still do it for nap and bedtime. I am hopefully going to cut out those two feedings very soon and get a break before her baby sister arrives. Nursing has turned into a bit of a hair-grabbing, sticking-her-foot-up-my-shirt-sleeve, not-so-gentle circus… and all that craziness makes me feel ready to just be done.
New words: She’s saying a few new words every day, but no sentences yet. My favorite recent word is “oops!”
Favorite things:
Stuffed animals are her main squeeze… literally! Favorites include Piggy, Blue Kitty, Baby Margaret (from Daniel Tiger), and her lab, Sandy. She loves playing with blocks and pretending to go on “walks” or shopping with Kaya. Being outside and taking off her shoes is pretty awesome to her, too.
Diaper changes, the doctor’s office, and being helped with any task she thinks she can do herself.
 Bedtime is around 8:30 pm, and she sleeps until about 6:30 or 7 am most days. Nap is at 1 or 1:30 pm and lasts about 3 hours.
Baba, Baba Grace.
Milestones, etc.:
-She is great at imaginative play. She loves to cook in her kitchen and bring me “food” to eat. She also pretends to nurse her stuffed animals in the rocking chair, and will even say “switch” when she wants them to nurse on the opposite side. Haha.

-She has excellent fine motor skills- she holds and controls a marker well, and can even use kid-safe scissors to cut paper.

-It seems like she’s finally understanding “if/then” statements, which makes it so much easier to reason with her!

-She’s already interested in letters and numbers and loves to point them out to me, and although she can’t accurately pronounce them yet, she sure tries to.

-Anytime she’s upset, she almost instantly calms down when we hold her and rub her back in a circular motion. She loves to snuggle, especially when she’s tired.

This month’s letter to Kaelyn can be found here.

kaelyn: 23 months

_MG_2755Clothing size: 24-month and 2T items. Size 5 shoes.
Eyecolor: Blue.
Teeth: Sixteen!? Let me tell you, it was not easy to count them. She had several come in this month, and more that are poking through the gum or are just about to. Crazy!
Eating: Overall, she is a GREAT eater these days! She loves strawberries, salad, cucumbers, spaghetti, and shredded chicken. She eats a lot of snacks in nursery at church and will always have seconds on cereal for breakfast if you offer it to her.

Still nursing three times a day, but I’m about ready to start the weaning process here soon. She does love whole milk and will chug it from a cup.

New words: She says “no” to most things we ask her lately. She also started to truly say “thanks” instead of just making the “ssss” sound. “Yummy” is a new, frequently-heard, favorite too.
Favorite things:
She got a new stuffed puppy this month (a Lab who we called “Sandy”), and that’s her current favorite plush friend. _MG_2760She still loves her Piggy, Blue Kitty, purple bunny, and any other stuffed puppies especially. She also loves to color, read books, and do “school” with Kaya when we have a lesson.

Being outside is her happy place. If we pass by a slide and don’t stop to play on it, she gets upset. She’s been a little hesitant to try out the new slides in our new neighborhood, especially this metal one.
_MG_2369Dislikes: Getting her face and hands wiped, the carseat, and getting her diaper changed. Now she tries to yell “nooooooo!!!” when she doesn’t want to do something… it really makes these tasks feel 10 times harder and way more dramatic than they need to be.
Bedtime is around 8:30 or 9 pm, and she is usually up around 7:15 or 7:30 am. Naptime is around 1:30 pm, and she will usually sleep for about 3 hours.

She’s been a little extra worn-out lately, so this keeps happening…_MG_2385Nicknames: Baba, Baba Grace.
Milestones, etc.:
-She loves to help out with brushing her teeth! We’ve started using the tiniest smear of toothpaste, and she loves feeling like a “big kid” and spitting in the sink.

-She is always playing peekaboo with us… usually she’ll lift her bib up over her face at mealtime and wait until we ask, “Where’s Baba?”

-She’s a great helper. She loves helping to straighten up, put laundry in the hamper, and really do any task I request of her.

-She looks up to Kaya and wants to do everything she does, like climbing the biggest ladder at the playground, using markers, and blowing her own bubbles. (She also gets angry when I won’t let her hold the bubble container, because she spills it everywhere…)_MG_2382-She insists on getting herself dressed, and can actually get her leggings on on her own! She’s also a pro at undressing.

-She’s really great at holding a crayon, and will sit and create “art” for probably about an hour at a time.

Dear Kaelyn,

I cannot believe you will be TWO in just a few weeks! You are sweet, funny, and adorable- you keep us grinning and laughing! You are looking less like a cute baby these days, and more like a beautiful little girl. It almost seems like you sneakily changed into a big girl without us noticing.
Lately, you’ve started yelling “CHEESE” and rushing at the camera when I try to take your picture… so this is the kind of photo I often end up with!_MG_2328 You’re sweet and snuggly, and have fallen even more in love with your Daddy this month. I’m so happy to see you bonding and having fun, but I am already missing the days when you were just a “mommy’s girl”._MG_2331

Love, Mommy

kaelyn: 22 months

(Most of this was written April 29th… and then life got crazy with packing and moving, and without internet, I couldn’t post it anyway!)_MG_1725 Clothing size: I finally got her new clothes out of the closet! She’s now wearing 24-month and 2T items. Size 5 shoes, but we’re still squeezing those size 4 sneakers on for playing outside.
Eyecolor: Blue.
Teeth: Eleven.
Eating: She tried and fell in love with strawberries this month! She can never have enough of them. She also loves grapes, cucumbers, Greek yogurt, wheat thins, chocolate-chip muffins, shredded chicken, and a tall glass of whole milk.
New words:
She will try to say almost any word you ask her to now. She’s efficient at using: hi, bye, help, and no. 
Favorite things:
Piggy (although this is the month that her original piggy was lost, so now she has a replacement. I think she might like the new one even more, though!), Blue Kitty, ducks, her baby doll, being swung up and down by Mommy or Daddy, swinging at the playground, and playing any pretend game with Kaya.
Getting her face wiped, being told no, sharing, and the car seat. The worst of all is getting her diaper changed.
She’s down for bed around 8:30 or 9, and wakes up around 7 am. She naps for three hours in the afternoon, starting around 1:30 pm._MG_1644 Nicknames: Baba, Baba Grace.
Milestones, etc.:
-She falls asleep in her high chair at lunch time several times a week now… and sometimes in the stroller, too!

-She is a big helper and is great at following instructions. I can always count on her to do what I ask.

-She has started throwing some serious tantrums… foot-stomping, screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs, banging-on-the-door fits. Time-outs are happening much more frequently lately.

-She has started SINGING! She has the most adorable little voice, and will often mimic whatever tune we’re humming.

-Her independent streak has continued… I feel like she doesn’t want my help for anything these days! I sometimes miss her babyhood days when she relied on me so much…

-She’s really an excellent climber now, and has also mastered the stairs.

Dear Kaelyn,

Your little smile just lights up our world.  You often crinkle up your nose and squint your eyes at me when you want to make me laugh… and that funny face always does it! You love when we chase and tickle you, or when we make a goofy face back at you. Getting you to laugh is so, so easy these days!_MG_1735You are our little sunshine girl!_MG_1624

Love, Mommy

kaelyn: 21 months

_MG_1505Clothing size: She’s mostly still wearing 18-month clothing, just because everything still fits fine, and I haven’t pulled the next size out of the closet. 2T dresses. Size 4 shoes are starting to get tight, but she’s still got some room to grow in size 5.
Eyecolor: Blue.
Teeth: Eleven! Finally, another tooth came through!
Eating: Her appetite seems to have significantly increased! She puts down pretty large portions at mealtime, and if she’s hungry at any other time of day, she helps herself to the snacks I keep in the diaper bag. Talk about being self-sufficient! Her favorite foods are cucumbers, Greek yogurt, pancakes, and pizza!_MG_1225

We’re still nursing three times a day… but she’s drinking about 8 ounces of whole milk per day now, and I feel like my milk supply might be starting to drop, so we’ll see how much longer we go.
New words: I can’t think of any new words, but the words she does use seem to be getting a lot clearer/more articulate lately.
Favorite things: Blue Kitty, Piggy, and basically any stuffed animal that we give her and tell her is “hers”. She just loves having something of her very own. She likes ducks (real, rubber, or in books), reading, “driving” little cars, and has recently started to love Daniel Tiger._MG_1212Dislikes: Getting her face wiped, being told no, sharing, and the car seat. The worst of all is getting her diaper changed. Seriously… it has become a battle between her and I to take off the dirty diaper and get her cleaned up without a huge mess and/or fit happening. Michael says she doesn’t fight him, so apparently, she only does this with me. Why?
Sleep: She’s down for bed around 8:30 or 9, and wakes up around 7 am. She naps for three hours in the afternoon, starting around 1:30 pm.
Nicknames: Baba, Baba Grace, KaeCakes, Monkey.
Milestones, etc.: -She has officially earned the nickname “Miss Independent”, because you better not dare to try and help her to do anything, or she immediately screams and throws a fit.

-She is pretty good at doing a lot of things on her own, like buckling (and recently, unbuckling!) her high chair straps and putting on her shoes.

-She’s mastered actually walking up the stairs now, as long as there is a railing to hold onto.

-She’s great at throwing a ball overhand.

-She’s getting so good at building block towers! She can stack several wooden blocks without them toppling over.

-Tantrums. Whew. She’s had a lot of time-outs… and this week we started “hug it out”, and it seems like it works. She’s strong-willed.

Dear Kaelyn,

You are definitely finding (and showing us) your personality these days. You are wild and crazy half the time, and along with that, you’ve got a bit of a stubborn streak. You are determined to learn how to do things on your own, and while I admire that, I do wish you’d be more willing to let us help you more often. I hope that your determination sticks with you as you grow older and take on school projects and church assignments.

You’re half-naked in half your photos, mostly because you still make a giant mess whenever you eat anything, so we have to strip you down to your diaper. I’m constantly sweeping and scrubbing the floor underneath your chair these days.

_MG_1199You are now the same age that your big sister was when you were born! It’s crazy to me, because in so many ways, you still seem like such a baby, but I’m starting to see you grow and mature in small ways. It also just feels like you reached this age so much faster than Kaya did! The same amount of time just passes faster when you have two kids, I think.

I’m also excited for you to really start talking so we’ll finally know what you’re thinking._MG_1533I love you, Baba Grace.

Love, Mommy

kaelyn: 19 months

_MG_0902Clothing size: Mostly 18-month things, but I have gotten out a few 24-month items and they fit with a little room to grow. Size 4 shoes.
Eyecolor: Blue.
Teeth: Ten still.
Eating: She is getting a lot better about finishing her meals! She loves cucumbers, Greek yogurt, chicken, muffins, Cheerios, and goldfish crackers. Still nursing 3 times a day.
New words: Piggy, switch, baby, boo. I’ve heard her use two-word “sentences” a couple of times, but it isn’t really common.
Favorite things: Blue Kitty, Piggy, her baby doll, driving toy cars, playing peekaboo, going down the slide, and reading books. She’s also obsessed with buckling herself into her high chair and will try for a long time to get it right. She LOVES going down the little slide we have here at home and sometimes spends most of her playtime doing that._MG_0741 Dislikes: Diaper changes, getting her face wiped, being told no, sharing, and the car seat. She realized after her first week of church nursery that she doesn’t like it. I try to have her go for an hour, but she spends most of it crying on and off, so it turns out that she gets picked up early.
Sleep: We put her down for bed around 8:30… but then both girls end up goofing off and laughing themselves silly for an hour to an hour and a half sometimes. She wakes up around 7 am or so and naps for three hours in the afternoon. Random powernaps still happen in the car or stroller, but never at home anymore.

Nicknames: Baba, Baba Grace, Monkey.
Milestones, etc.:  -She is really getting great at eating with utensils (and making less mess). She can successfully spoon-feed herself cereal and milk, so I’m impressed.

-She’s started pointing to her diaper when she needs a new one (or thinks she does). She seems to be becoming more aware of her bodily functions. I’m almost wondering if she’ll potty train earlier than Kaya did (at 28 months).

-She’s good at getting herself dressed! She can put her pants on and pull them almost all the way up, as well as her own socks and boots/shoes.

-Every day, she steals Q-tips from the bathroom cabinet, pretends to clean her ears, and then throws them away.

-She’s obsessed with bags and taking things in and out of them. Super-easy entertainment!

-I still give her baths in the sink, and she requires having her own cup to play with every time. She’ll fill it up with clean water from the tap, and then take big gulps from it while I wash her.

-After her bath, she is obsessed with walking around with her towel on her head for at least 30 minutes. If you put it in the hamper, she cries like her world is crashing down._MG_0866

-We have really started to see some attitude from her this month. She knows what she wants and when she wants it, and she’s not afraid to let you know all about it.

-She LOVES music and will bang on the piano or her toy instruments any chance she gets.

Dear Kaelyn,

Something you’ve gotten really good at this month is making all of us laugh. You are a true little joker, and love being silly. You spend almost all day smiling, and I think you just keep getting more beautiful with each passing day. You’re sweet and loving, always taking care of your animal babies or your baby doll. I caught you trying to “nurse” your Piggy recently.
_MG_0757You love playing with Kaya. She makes you laugh more than anyone does, but there are definitely times when you guys fight over the same toy or scream because you don’t want to be touched by your sister. Really, though, you have a great bond, and I’m so glad you get to walk through life together._MG_0746I love you, Kaelyn Grace. Keep smiling.

Love, Mommy

dear kaya (3.25 years)

Dear Kaya,
You are becoming such a little lady. You always say “please” and “thank you”, with almost no prompting from me, whenever it’s appropriate. You still love to help me with anything you can. Lately, you get very excited about helping to fold clean towels and washcloths. You also love to help unload the silverware from the dishwasher.

Because I’m a little late writing this, you have now “graduated” from nursery at church, and started the Sunbeam class. Your nursery leaders absolutely adored you, and told us that you had a sort of “calming influence” on the rest of the children in the class. I’m so proud of you for being a gentle, kind, attentive student.

Speaking of being studious, you enjoy our “homeschool preschool” so very much. You ask to do some kind of school activity every single morning, and I think you really cherish our time together. You tell me that you always want to stay home and do school with mommy instead of going to school with a teacher, but we still have a couple of years before we need to decide on that.

Singing is one of your very favorite things. You are excellent at memorizing songs and can pick up right where I leave off if I start singing one for you. You even “conduct” music and reenact church singing time at home with us.

You make up complex games and stories and are so good at independent play. When we’re together, I’m genuinely starting to feel like we’re just “hanging out” with each other. You’re so much fun, and I love hearing your ideas and what you have to say. You make me laugh every single day with your antics, whether you crack a joke or come into the living room wearing my pants and Kaelyn’s sweater over your pajamas._MG_0329Suddenly, you seem so very tall. You wear mostly 4T shirts and dresses these days, and I can’t believe we only have one more size until we’ll be shopping for you in the girl’s section.

You are so nurturing and loving toward all creatures, especially baby animals and human babies, too. You want a real puppy for your birthday, and you frequently talk about having another baby sister sometime in the future. You love to pretend that you have a baby in your tummy (really just under your shirt), and you’ll sing the “welcome baby” song from Daniel Tiger, and then your baby is “born”. Haha.

You take a 3-hour nap every afternoon. It amazes me that you still do, but I think we are both grateful for the rest.

I love you so much, Peeky. I’m so grateful you’re a part of our family!

Love, Mommy