nella: 8 months

Clothing size: 6-9 months for almost everything. Her smallest cloth diapers are starting to get a little snug around all those tummy rolls!
Eye color: The brightest blue.
Hair: Looking back at pictures from a few months ago, I’m really missing the voluminous mohawk she used to have! It’s thinned out and lightened up so much! She’s our little blondie.
Teeth: We have two right down in front! Her right front popped through first, and in the last few days, I’ve been able to feel the ridges of her left front tooth as well, it just isn’t very visible yet.

Nursing: Pretty much every three hours during the day. Still no solids (besides peanut butter) because I’m not in any hurry for her to wean… and have you seen those cheeks? She’s definitely getting enough with just breastmilk (which I’m so thankful for)! She sure does love to sit up in the high chair though and just watch everyone.

Sleep: She was waking up once at night to eat when her first tooth was trying to break through, but after it came in, she’s back to sleeping from about 8 pm until 6 am (when I wake her up to eat). She’ll nurse and then usually stay awake for a little while, but she eventually falls back asleep until around 8 am. She naps for about 3 hours in the afternoon (although sometimes it’s hard trying to stay awake until the older girls are ready to go down for a nap).

Her transition to the crib has been seamless. Now that she has the room, she rolls between sleeping on her back, side, and stomach. She sucks her thumb most of the time she’s sleeping, too.

Favorite things: Her sisters, of course!She also loves stuffed animals now, and she still enjoys her baths. She kicks her legs in the water constantly and doesn’t mind getting all rinsed off. Most of her baths seem to happen due to her having a blowout diaper, though! She loves being tickled and when I kiss her irresistible little feet.

Dislikes: I can’t really think of anything. Sometimes she makes a pouty face like she’s going to cry, but then she usually doesn’t.

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

Milestones, etc.: -She gave Daddy a big, slobbery kiss a few days ago! I’m still waiting for mine!

-She’s rolling all over the place, but we are nowhere near crawling or pulling up. She isn’t even interested in standing/putting weight on her legs, despite my efforts to help her when I’m holding her and all the time I make her “work out” in the exersaucer. Hopefully soon!

-She loooves to pull hair and hold on to it. She especially does this with Grandma Gina when they’re snuggling and she’s about to fall asleep.

-She wraps her little arm around my shoulder and holds on when I’m carrying her on my hip. It’s the best!

-She doesn’t babble much, but her “talking” consists mostly of the “ahhhhh!” sound.

-She hardly ever cries (and takes us all by surprise if she actually does), and it’s so easy to get her to laugh. She’s still our happy sunshine baby.

-She sticks out her tongue when she’s super happy and excited about something!-She loves it when I dance around like crazy and then walk over to give her a kiss or hug. She really seems to like music, too.

Dear Nella,

Sweet baby girl… how are you 8 months old already? The time is flying by. I’m not ready for you to grow so fast, and yet, I’m so excited to see you meeting your milestones and enjoying the world around you.

I often catch you staring at me from across the room, with a big smile on your face all the while. It’s really flattering that you just sit there and beam at me, even when I’m completely wrapped up in something else and not directly interacting with you. You really love your sisters and your Daddy, but I think you’re truly a mama’s girl at this point. No one can calm you as quickly as I can.

I always take you to Young Women’s with me on Sundays, and many of the girls wait their turn just to hold you. Sometimes, you’ll fall asleep and nap on them. They sure do love you (even girls who say they don’t typically like babies).

You are my light, Nella. You brighten up any moment of any day. No matter how I’m feeling or what I’ve got on my mind, your quick-to-smile demeanor can turn it around and help me feel joy in an instant. I love you.

Love, Mommy

nella: 7 months

Clothing size: 6-9 month-sized everything, except I did find a pair of 12 month leggings that fits her perfectly now. I think we can blame it on her huge diaper!
Eye color: Baby blue.Hair: She’s lost pretty much all the hair she was born with at this point, and some of the new growth on the sides is coming in super light blonde. It still curls up on its own after her bath and will randomly stick up at times.

Nursing: Just about every three hours now. We haven’t started solids yet, besides just giving her a little peanut butter to help prevent future allergies.

Sleep: This has been her roughest month of sleep so far. She had her first cold, which completely threw her off (she didn’t want to sleep at all), and then we had random wake-ups for about the following week. She’s also sporadically woken up for an extra feeding around 4 am some nights, too. I think we’re pretty much back on track now though!

She likes to go to bed around 7 or 7:30 pm, and she sleeps until I feed her at 5:45 am. Usually, she falls back to sleep after that until 8 am or so. She naps for three hours in the afternoon, too! Sometimes, she has a hard time waiting for her sisters to finish their lunch before I get everyone ready for a nap, so she just catnaps wherever she is for a little while until we’re ready to head upstairs.

She’s still sleeping in our room, although she is almost too tall for her bassinet. Daddy is ready for her to move to her own room, but I know I’m going to miss her so much when she does.

Favorite things: Her sisters are still her number one favorite thing! They act silly and she laughs like crazy. She’s also really started to like stuffed animals in general, and she actually plays with the toys on her exersaucer and bouncer seat now. It’s so easy to get her laughing that sometimes all I have to do is look at her and she starts giggling. She also loves going outside and watching us all play, especially when we blow bubbles and she can visually track their movement through the sky.

Dislikes: She really didn’t like having her very first cold (but who would?)- she couldn’t eat well or sleep much, and I think that just left her feeling tired and confused! Sometimes if she starts to feel sad, she makes the cutest, tiny-lipped pouty face. It usually only lasts for a second though, because overall, she’s still our happy little sunshine baby.

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

Milestones, etc.: -I know we’re kind of late to the game, but she rolled over (from her back to her tummy) all on her own for the very first time a few nights ago! And then, after a few minutes, just to impress us, she rolled to her back. She’s getting stronger; it’s probably only taking longer because I don’t give her as much time on the floor with her big sisters running all around.

-She’s always grabbing (and eating!) her toes!

-She’s still so close to sitting up… We’re just working on balance!

-She loves to look around and take in everything around her, even in the car. Most times when I peek back at her during a drive, she’s holding her head up high, not resting it up against the back of her seat. I love seeing that fuzzy hair of hers turning in all different directions as she makes her observations.

-She sticks her tongue out when she’s extremely happy or excited about something!

-I’ve heard her make some new sounds, like “mum” (she’s obviously just trying to say “mommy!”). She also likes to make this low, growl-like sound sometimes to try and talk to us. Usually though, she communicates with the sweetest, happiest little squeals.

-Just as a puppy wags her tail when she’s happy, Nella repeatedly kicks her legs when she’s excited about something. I love that just a smile isn’t enough- she has to get her whole body moving!

-Anytime she’s near a blanket (or clean laundry on my bed, let’s be real here), she purposely pulls it over her face and will “hide” until we come take it off of her and say, “peekaboo!”

-She still doesn’t really have any “stranger danger”, and will willingly snuggle with nearly anyone who wants to hold her.

Dear Nella,

I love that I can look over at you at any time of the day, and you always give me a giant grin. You are my sweet, happy little girl, and you are always bringing joy to everyone around you. No one can resist your gummy smile, chunky thighs, and tiny little toes.

Your sisters are excited for you to start crawling and ask me several times a week if you’re going to do it soon. We’ll see how excited they are once you can get into all their toys! I think they’re just ready for you to play with them like a “big kid”. I’m so excited for all your newest and upcoming milestones, but a big part of me just wants time to slow down a little so I can enjoy you just as you are now.We love you so much, Nellbells!

Love, Mommy

nella: 6 months

She only just had her doctor visit (and received her measurements) this week, so this post is late… but still super cute!Height: 25.25 inches (17%)
Weight: 14 pounds 14 ounces (21%)
Head circumference: 16.25 inches
Clothing size: I just moved her up to 6-9 month clothing, and we moved her cloth diapers up to the next snap setting as far as height goes. Even with larger-sized pants, it still seems like everything is tight over that big puffy diaper!
Eye color: Baby blue.

Nursing: Every 2-3 hours during the day. We haven’t started solid food yet, although we probably will sometime in the next month or so.

Sleep: She’s still a perfect sleeper. We did have one week where she was waking up around 4 am for an extra feeding, but I figured she might have just been hitting a growth spurt. She goes to bed around 7:30 pm, and then typically sleeps until 5:30 am when I nurse her. Usually, she’ll go back to sleep until 7:30 am, but sometimes, she stays awake for a while before falling back to sleep. She naps for about 3 hours every afternoon, and takes a mini catnap for about 30 minutes each morning, too.

And yes, she’s still sleeping in our room. I just don’t have the heart to move her! I love my little roommate, and she’s so quiet at night that we aren’t bothered by her being there. We’ll probably move her to the crib soon, but I’m putting it off for as long as I can because I love having her close.

Favorite things: Her sisters are her number one favorite! They can make her smile or burst out into laughter with just a word or a look. Seeing them all having fun together is the best. She also likes her yellow stuffed giraffe that plays music, and really any toy that she can hold and put in her mouth. She likes to ride in the stroller and swing at the playground.

Dislikes: She’s pretty happy about almost anything. She has started to get a little bit of “stranger danger”, so sometimes she’ll cry when she doesn’t know the person who is holding her very well.

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

Milestones, etc.: -She’s so close to sitting up! She can do it for a few seconds before toppling over. We’ve started putting her in the exersaucer so she can practice being upright, and she absolutely loves being able to look all around and watch everything going on. I don’t think she really likes it much when I make her practice, though!

-She’s started doing this low, growl-like noise to talk to us. She’ll try to have “conversations” with us just by using that noise alone. It’s pretty funny and adorable.

-When she’s happy, she kicks her legs! She’ll smile at someone, all while those feet are moving. During walks with the stroller, I look down and see her little feet bobbing up and down as she excitedly observes the outdoors.

-She’s always chewing on her hands, and she’s a devoted thumb-sucker. I keep thinking she’s going to get some teeth, but all we’ve seen so far is a whole lot of drool!

-If I don’t do anything to her hair, it curls as soon as she gets out of the bath. She’s also lost so much of the hair she was born with, and a lot of the new growth is very light blonde. Her eyebrows are still platinum, so I’m really curious to see what she looks like in a few months.

-She is a pro at rolling from side to side, so she can move and grab things that are within rolling distance now. In the exam room at her doctor’s office, she grabbed and completely crumpled all the paper on the exam table!

Dear Nella,

You personify your middle name, Joy, every single day! You smile at anyone who looks at you, whether you know them well or not. Everyone who meets you absolutely loves you, and it’s not hard to see why.

You are blossoming into your own little personality, but you’re still the calmest baby I’ve ever met, and everyone likes to comment on how easygoing you are. I sure hope you can keep your bright demeanor and positive attitude as you grow up- those are the things I love most about you! Your chubby little cheeks and chunky legs are a close second, though. 😉Nellbells, we love you so very much.

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

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

nella: 3 months

Clothing size: She’s still in 0-3 month items, but some shirts are already starting to get short, so I might be moving her up to the next size soon. Seriously, she’s growing so very fast, and I feel like I can’t keep up with how quickly time is going by.

We also started using her small cloth diapers full-time this month. This girl could set a record for making the messiest diapers, so for a little while, it seemed like we were constantly having leaks and explosions. If we double-pad her and change her exactly every two hours, we’re mostly leak-free. I think her legs are chunking up a bit and the diapers are starting to fit better, anyway.

Eye color: They’re a bright, gorgeous blue!

Nursing: About every 2.5-3 hours during the day.

Sleep: Nella has completely spoiled us in this category. She goes to bed around 8 pm, and will sleep for about 10 hours (and usually I’m the one waking her up so she can eat before I go running). After she eats, she goes back to bed for another 2 to 3 hours. She takes a catnap in her little bouncy seat in the morning, and in the afternoon, she takes full advantage of having me all to herself while her sisters nap. She’ll snuggle, nurse, and sleep on me for a couple of hours. I really cherish our afternoons together.

Favorite things: SMILING!She’s also fallen in love with her big sisters. They can make her smile even when she’s crying! Both Kaya and Kaelyn ask to hold her all the time and are so tender and gentle with her.

I always get a smile out of her when I kiss her bare skin or pretend to eat her up (and make obnoxiously loud noises while doing so)! She also enjoys bath time, listening to music, getting her diaper changed, and being close to mommy. She even gave me a slobbery “kiss” when I first put her in the wrap last week!Dislikes: Getting buckled into the car seat. I think that’s all- she really is a very contented baby!

Nicknames: Baby Sunshine, Nella Sunshine, Nell, Nell-Nell, Cheeks, and Kaya still calls her “Baby Nella Sunshine Sprinkle Pop”.

Milestones, etc.: -She’s LAUGHING! Grandma Gina got her to do it for the very first time! She has the sweetest, softest little laugh. I just love it.

-She started to notice her toys this month! She smiles at the little fox attached to her seat. I love that she is so much more aware of her surroundings.

-She reaches out and grabs things… usually my hair, haha.

-This month, she met her Great-Grandpa Teerlink, Aunts Lelia and Tori, Uncles Jeff and Kevin, cousin Jack, Grandpa Peter, and Great-Aunties Joyce and Carol. Her fan club just keeps growing bigger!

-She found her thumb this past week! Who needs a paci when you have one that’s built-in? I’m actually impressed that she’s coordinated to shove just her thumb (as opposed to her whole hand, most of the time) in her mouth.

-She coos and “talks” to us.

-Her neck is getting pretty strong, and she often tries to hold her own head up when I’m carrying her around.

-She kicks her legs and flails her arms when she gets excited about something (usually just seeing one of her family members)!

-She absolutely loves looking at herself in the mirror. She always gives her reflection a big smile!

Dear Nella,

Your personality is really starting to shine through, baby girl. You smile all the time! You absolutely love being with your family (we get the best and biggest grins out of you)! You add so much light and joy to our home. I’m so happy to have you here with us.In public, people love to comment on how adorable you are, how big your cheeks are, and how much hair you have. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on whether or not you look much like your sisters- some people say you fit the mold, and others say that all three of you look so very different. I see a little bit of both of your big sisters in that happy face of yours.

I love you so much, Nella Joy! (and clearly, I also love putting you in Halloween pajamas long after the holidays have passed, haha).

Happy 3 months, princess!

Love, Mommy

nella: 2 months

I’m late on this because her doctor appointment wasn’t until the end of last week, and of course, I needed her statistics and percentiles! 🙂nella_2months

Height: 22.25 inches (39%)
Weight: 10 pounds 5 ounces (31%)
Head circumference: 15 inches

Clothing size: I packed up the newborn clothes, and she’s in all 0-3 month things now. She’s definitely got some extra length to grow in the pants, but her onesies are a perfect fit. I just can’t believe that we are already done with those itty bitty newborn things! She’s still in size one disposable diapers, mostly because I still have a ton of them and she is the queen of blowouts, so I’m not sure we’re ready for cloth yet.

Eye color: They keep looking more like a deep, bright blue, which really surprises me since they started out so very dark.

Nursing: Just about every 2.5-3 hours during the day!

Sleep: This girl is our rockstar sleeper. She goes down for bed around 8 pm (although she usually gets cranky around 6 or 6:30 pm and would probably willingly go to bed right then and there if we weren’t in the middle of dinnertime). She sleeps for about 8 hours or so, nurses, and goes back to bed for a few more hours. By 7:30 am, she’s awake for the day along with the rest of the gang. She still just catnaps throughout the morning, and by afternoon, she always wants to be snuggled while she rests._mg_6803

Favorite things: She’s always happy when she’s getting a new diaper on! She’s so calm in her nice, warm bath and would happily stay in there for much longer than it takes to wash her. She really loves hearing her mommy’s voice and cuddling with anyone who will hold her. In the past couple weeks, she’s really started liking her pacifier, and it’s come in handy for calming her down quickly if I can’t sit down and nurse her that very second._mg_6976

Dislikes: Having hiccups, getting her vaccines, and being buckled into the car seat.

Nicknames: Baby Sunshine, Nella Sunshine, Nell, Nell-Nell, Angelpie, Cheeks (Daddy’s favorite), and “Baby Nella Sunshine Sprinkle Pop” according to Kaya.

Milestones, etc.: -She smiles and coos now! It’s seriously the cutest thing. I love how she tries to talk to us._mg_6971

-In general, I’d say she’s a very quiet baby. Her cry isn’t loud at all (she just fusses), and she doesn’t really “talk” all that much. Her hearing test came back normal, so I guess she’s just a calm, quiet kid.

-She tracks movement and can turn her head to look at us if we’ve moved across the room.

-She’s started kicking her legs when she’s lying down and gets excited about something.

-She had some pretty terrible baby acne for about a week, but it cleared up quickly and her skin is back to being smooth.

-Anytime Daddy sees her, he immediately says “Look at those chubby cheeks!” We’re pretty impressed that she’s already gained 4 pounds since birth.img_20161201_080605

-Her hair looks like it’s getting lighter, and she hasn’t lost any of it yet! People always comment on how much hair she has and ask if her sisters had as much- nope! She is winning for most luscious locks thus far! I love to spike it into a mohawk, and it stays that way all day long on its own, so I’m still thinking she might end up with curly hair._mg_6865

Dear Nella,

You are my little buddy. You love to snuggle, and I feel like the time I get to hold you is never enough. When you wake up to eat in the morning after sleeping for several consecutive hours, I scoop your warm little body into my arms and hold you close to me, breathing in your sweet scent. I miss you when you’re asleep._mg_6747

You are such a calm, happy baby. Everyone absolutely loves you, and you frequently get passed around at church. I love seeing other people enjoy being with you so very much. Your biggest fans are still your older sisters. They help keep you happy and constantly show you affection._mg_6955Your smile can turn any moment into a joyful one. I love you so much, Nella Joy, and I can’t wait to celebrate your first Christmas in just a couple of weeks.

Love, Mommy
nella_month2

nella: 1 month

(written November 7th)nella_1monthHeight: 21 inches (48%)
Weight: 8 pounds 5 ounces (24%)
Head circumference: 14.25 inches (29%)

Clothing size: Pretty much all newborn things this month, although I’m not sure how much longer they’ll fit! I also tried our smallest cloth diapers on her, but they still seem (just barely) too large. For now, we’ve still been using disposables. The Target-brand newborn size seems to run a little smaller than other brands, so I think we’re about ready to switch to size one until the cloth diapers fit better.

Eye color: Her eyes were so dark when she was first born, so I thought maybe we’d have a brown-eyed girl, but in just a few weeks, they’ve lighten up a lot. They’re a very deep, dark blue now, and I’m so curious to see how they change in the next few months.

Nursing: I’m still waking her up just about every two hours or so to nurse during the day. In the evening before bed, she wants to eat constantly- Michael jokes that she binge-eats so she can be nice and full when she falls asleep. That’s actually a pretty accurate statement!

Sleep: This baby girl is a dream. Of course, we still have random nights where she wakes up every couple of hours, but for the most part, she gives us a 5 or 6-hour stretch of sleep most nights. She’s also been acting ready for bed earlier, so I’ve been putting her down around 8 pm. We’re still tired, but we really are sleeping a whole lot more this time around._mg_6522

Favorite things: Eating, cuddling, looking at her big sisters, and being with Mommy._mg_6037Dislikes: She really didn’t like her first few baths, but she’s getting used to them now (she loves the warm water, but I’m always worried about making it too warm, so those first few baths might have been on the chillier side). She also doesn’t seem to like having the hiccups (which happens fairly frequently)!

Nicknames: Baby Sunshine, Nella Sunshine, Nell, and Nell-Nell. Kaya sometimes still calls her “Baby Nella Sunshine Sprinkle Pop”, and I love singing her the “name song” (you know- Nella Nella Bo Bella Fee Fi Fo Fella… or something like that). We haven’t been too creative thus far! 😉

Milestones, etc.: -She’s still pretty sleepy during the daytime, but she is starting to have a few more hours of awake time each day. She really loves looking around and trying to take in her surroundings.

-She’s been working on focusing on objects (mostly just the face of whoever is holding her) and really examining them with her eyes._mg_6274

-She’s had amazing control of her head from birth. Of course, there’s still strength to gain, but she can lift it quite high and turn very well.

-I think we’re starting to get some real smiles from her, although they still mostly just happen when she’s dreaming. I think I’ve seen a dimple, too!_mg_6510

-She most definitely knew her mommy’s voice at birth, and she still seems to really enjoy hearing me talk to her. Her eyes get wide and she studies every detail of my face as we chat.

-She loves being held upright, so that her head is on my shoulder. She usually tries to look around, but sometimes, she just rests her head on me. This is the easiest way to get her to burp, too!

-The most popular comment we get from other people (besides how adorable she is) is how calm and quiet she is! She hasn’t cried in a church meeting yet, and at home, she really only cries if she’s very tired or hungry.

Dear Nella,

This month has been nothing short of amazing. I felt like we waited so long to meet you, and sometimes, I still can’t believe you’re really here, and that you’re all ours.

You are a perfect little princess, and I just wish time would slow down so I could soak in all your sweet newborn goodness for as long as possible. I treasure those quiet afternoons when it’s just the two of us left to snuggle while your sisters nap. When you wake up in the middle of the night, I’m always happy to hold you again, because I miss you so quickly after you go to bed.
_mg_6541You have two amazing big sisters who are intensely infatuated with you. They kiss you good morning, goodnight, and everything in between. You are one very loved little girl.
_mg_6027

I’m so proud of how much you’ve already grown. Thank you for coming to our little family, Nella.

Love, Mommynella_month1

nella joy: 3 weeks

I’m already seeing so much growth and so much change in this little girl. I’m grateful she’s healthy and growing, but could we maybe just slow down a little?nella_3weeksShe seems to have really opened her eyes this week! She makes eye contact and is trying so hard to focus her vision and take everything in. It’s been so much fun to see her “waking up”, not to mention, she makes the funniest little expressions.
10242016collage1She isn’t actually smiling (although I feel like sometimes she wants to, and just can’t yet), but her sleepy little grins are still heart-melting.She’s still the sleepiest baby we’ve had so far. If I don’t wake her up to eat during the day, she typically keeps on sleeping for hours at a time. She is a fast nurser when she’s awake, but she gets drowsy so easily that I’m constantly rubbing her back, stroking her hair, and gently blowing air on her to keep her awake and eating. I’ve still been trying to make sure that she eats every two hours or so during the day, because it seems to make a difference in how well she sleeps at night later. She generally wants to nurse nearly all evening before bed, so we’ve just been spending a lot of nights relaxing and watching Netflix._mg_6237Nighttime sleep is still completely random. She goes to bed the same time we do (which has been between 11 pm and midnight lately), but how often she wakes up keeps changing. We had a few nights in a row where she woke up around 3 am, then 5 am, and then 7:30 am or so, and I thought maybe that was going to become a pattern. However, the next night, she was up every two hours or less, and then the next two nights, she slept about 6.5 hours straight. She is still really great about eating and then going right back to bed though, so I’m definitely not complaining!_mg_6259We had our first family shopping trip this week- to Target! Nella slept through the entire thing, so I’m not even sure she knows she went shopping.
img_20161022_190000She also had her first Sunday at church! She was an angel and didn’t cry once. I loved introducing her to everyone (and showing off her adorableness, of course)!
_mg_6184I also attempted to take some newborn photos this week. Turns out, it’s pretty hard to get this done with a 2-year-old and 4-year-old jumping around, and once they were napping, Nella was awake. Whoops. I might have to try for a few more shots here in the next couple of days._mg_6205We’ve been having fun watching all the silly faces she makes, partly because she reminds us so much of Kaya as a baby. She holds her arms the same way Kaya used to, and even makes what we used to call the “bird face” (on the right). Michael has affectionately nicknamed her “Bird 2.0” (Kaya was the original “Baby Bird”).10202016collage1Her sisters are still as infatuated with her as ever. If she’s crying, Kaya will run over to her and say, “Aw, I think she needs her big sister!” Kaelyn loves pointing out (quite literally) all the different parts of Nella’s face, and she gives kisses and “hugs” (which really means putting her head up against the baby’s) constantly._mg_6235_mg_6239We all love our little Pumpkin so very much (and I still am obsessed with these lips)!_mg_6174

nella joy: 2 weeks

(written October 18th)

Dear Nella,nella_2weeksHappy Due Date, sweet baby. I can’t believe that you’ve been here with us for two whole weeks already! It feels like I’ve known you forever, and yet, the time is going by so quickly that your birth still feels like yesterday._mg_6118

For now, I’m listening to your sweet, soft breathing, and tiny, dream-induced whimpers. You’re asleep, but you won’t be for long, so I’m typing this and uploading photos as quickly as I can. These first few weeks with a new baby are a juggling act, and honestly, I’m always guiltily torn between soaking in all the sweet moments and taking time to record them. I’ve found that I need to write these things down, though, because one day, without these words and photos,  I’d never remember any of the small details. I hope that someday, you’ll cherish reading and knowing about your first few weeks of life, too._mg_6164

You are a dream baby. You are still a newborn, so I really don’t expect much as far as sleep goes, which is good, since your sleep patterns are still very random. Sometimes, we get a good 4-5 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep, and others, you are up every 2 hours (or less) wanting to nurse. You still nap for most of the day, although you do seem to have a few hours of awake time divided between morning, afternoon, and late evening._mg_6106

You have sisters who wholeheartedly adore you. Before you were born, they would kiss my belly every single night. I eagerly waited to see how sweet they would be with you once you arrived, and amazingly, seeing you in their arms warms my heart even more than I could have imagined. You were a much anticipated, greatly loved, member of our family long before we ever met you._mg_6150Kaya has nicknamed you “Baby Nella Sunshine”, and we even have a little song we sing to wake you up:

Good morning, Baby Sunshine!
Good morning, Baby Sunshine!
Do you want some milk?
Do you want some milk?

Good morning, Baby Sunshine!
Good morning, Baby Sunshine!
We love you,
yes we do!

It’s completely silly, but it does seem to get you to open your eyes, at least.

You’ve had a few milestones this week. Your umbilical stump fell off on day 9 (just when your sisters’ did). You had your very first blowout, which ended with you taking a bath because your diaper really failed that badly.

You get hiccups after almost every meal, and I think they actually agitate you a little. You’re also already a pro at busting out of your swaddle at night, so I’ve started leaving your arms unwrapped.

You also went on your first of several walks. We tried out the Moby wrap (you’re the first of our babies to use it), and you seem to really like it. I’m still working on learning to tie it a little better though.

img_20161011_182711-01You also had your first ride (and nap) in the stroller!img_20161017_124419

You “met” you Uncle Karl and Kaitlyn, but there aren’t any pictures because there wasn’t a chance for them to hold you. We had our first real outing as a family of five (besides taking walks) to the pumpkin patch!_mg_6168

We love you so much, littlest princess.

Love, Mommy