nella: 16 months

Clothing size: 18-month everything is fitting perfectly right now.
Eye color: Blue!
Hair: Blonde, and it’s really filling in. She also has some of the wildest bedhead I’ve ever seen, and her post-bath hair is so curly and adorable that I don’t brush it, but once it dries, it’s all over the place.

Teeth: 9!!! One more came in on the bottom!

Eating: Goodness… sometimes this girl eats more than I do (especially when it comes to homemade chili)! She gets so excited over food, and her favorites are still pretty much the same, although I did discover that she doesn’t like lemon-flavored Greek yogurt. Other than that, she’ll try anything. She’s getting way too smart, too, and somehow figured out what the ice cream carton looks like (although I definitely only remember giving her a taste once), and she’ll whimper for some as soon as she sees it!

Every morning, I pour her a glass of whole milk, always into her blue turtle cup. As soon as she sees that cup on the counter, she kicks her feet and squeals with excitement. This little lady loves her milk!

As far as nursing goes, on the day she turned 16 months, I cut out her pre-nap feeding, so now we’re down to just two (morning and bedtime). She looked a little hurt on that first day when I put her in her crib without nursing, and sometimes it seems like she still would want to, but I’m sticking to this really slow weaning process. Instead of nursing, either Kaya or I will read her a book before tucking her in.

Sleep: Sleep has been really good lately, with only a couple of random middle-of-the-night wake-ups. She goes down for bed around 7:30 or 8 pm, and wakes up about 12 hours later. She still naps for about 3 hours in the afternoon, so basically, she’s a dream baby.

She falls asleep so much faster when she has her Beagle, who is still her absolute favorite. I always get the cutest smile and squeal when she first sees me when she wakes up!

Words: Her language has really started to take off. Some new words this month: “Puppa” (puppy, which is what she calls Scout), “booooon” (balloon), bear, “num” (yum), “ishie” (goldfish crackers), “whoa” (hello). I’m sure there are some that I’m forgetting.

Favorite things: She’s still obsessed with cars and trucks, and if she’s found one to play with, she can be heard saying “brooooom brooooom” as she pushes it around all throughout the house. Her newest favorite activity is riding the rocking horse, which Kaya usually helps her do. She is also in love with balloons of all sizes and colors! She was whipping this one all around like crazy.

She LOVES Scout and tries to pet her and bring her her dog toys constantly. She does sometimes try to grab onto Scout and use her to try and pull herself up, which we obviously discourage. And when Scout isn’t in her kennel, Nella crawls into it and thinks it’s the funniest thing ever.

Of course, her family is always her favorite! Kaya and Kaelyn have started making it a kind of game to put her in Kaelyn’s bed and watch her toddle around. They love all being together.

Dislikes: Getting her face wiped, seeing us eat something she doesn’t have, wearing a bib (she takes it off constantly), being buckled into the car seat, being told no, and lately, her bath. I think she just doesn’t like that I keep telling her she needs to sit down in the tub.

Nicknames: Nellbells, Nels, Nella Bella, Nellie, Nella Sunshine.

Milestones, etc.: -In the past week, she’s started really getting interested in walking!!! We still have to help her balance, but she is ready to go, and I think it really won’t be long now before she’s going on her own. If there’s no one to help her, she’ll go push the cozy coupe car around, which helps her stay upright.

-She’s also free standing now, without holding onto anything. She probably only does it for less than a minute at a time, but still, I’m so excited for progress.

-She’s still a pro at climbing the stairs (in under a minute)! By the time we say, “Where’s Nels?”, she’s already upstairs in the big girls’ room, playing quietly with all their toys. She’s so independent in that way.-Actually, she’s just getting good at climbing anything in general. At Kangaroo Kids, she pulls herself up on some of the larger mats that I wouldn’t have thought she could reach.

-She’s a dancer. As soon as we start any kind of music, a huge smile comes across her face and she starts swaying crazily back and forth.

-She’s already at that age where she doesn’t want to sit still for photos. Ugh! No number of marshmallows is enough bribery.

-Daddy lowered the crib this month, which was very necessary, given her interest in trying to climb on/over everything. I’m just hoping she doesn’t learn to climb all the way out like Kaya did right around this age!

-Everything is a “phone”. She holds any small object up to her ear and says, “Whooooa? (hello?)” So adorable!

-She vigorously nods yes when we ask her if she wants something in particular.

Dear Nella,

Three words sum you up pretty well these days: YOU ARE CRAZY!!!!

You are everywhere now that you’re so mobile, but it’s easy to tell where you’ve been because you pull everything out of bins, baskets, or drawers as you go. You make the biggest messes, but somehow that little smile and the sweet way you crawl up to sit in my lap more than make up for it.Lately, you think it’s so funny when we ask you, “Are you my dimple baby?” You laugh and smile even bigger, which is just my favorite. Daddy also likes to ask you if you’re crazy, and in response, you always shake your head wildly. We sure love your crazy, dimpled self.

Love, Mommy

nella: 15 months

(written January 17th… it just took me 5 days to put all the photos together!)Height: 30.5 inches (49%)
Weight: 17 pounds 10 ounces (7%)
Head Circumference: 17.75 inches (34%)

Clothing size: All 18-month things! We packed up all the 12-month stuff. Although, some of the new footie pajamas are still a little too long, and she gets her foot all jammed up into the leg part while she’s trying to stand; and, some sleeves still need to be rolled up. Let’s be honest though, it’s winter and absolutely freezing here, so this girl wears her jammies 90% of the time. Hopefully we’ll get to use some more of her cute outfits in the spring!

Eye color: Blue!
Hair: Blonde, and she wore her very first pigtails on our Christmas at home! I love how she has so much length on top of her head- high ponytails for life!Teeth: 8!!! Her two upper one-year molars broke through this month.

Eating: The real question is, what doesn’t she eat? She wants whatever it is she sees you having (consequently, her new favorite flavor of Goldfish crackers is the same as mine- cheddar and pretzel)! She is a total copycat and gets really grumpy if you won’t give her whatever it is she wants. However, she is such a good eater, and I definitely am not complaining (just thinking how useful teaching her some sign language might have been, instead of her yelling and grunting from her high chair). She’s obsessed with pumpkin bread, cheese, cucumbers, Greek yogurt, and homemade chili. I think she’s already bored with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but heads up Nella, they’re just going to keep on coming.

As far as nursing, I got her down to three times a day this month! Woohoo! I also gave her her very first cup of whole milk last week, and as I expected, she practically chugged it down. I’m happy to see her enjoying milk from a cup.

Sleep: We’ve still been having a little bit of a hard time with keeping her asleep all night long, but I think a lot of it has had to do with those new molars, having a cold, and then getting her vaccinations. It’s been one thing right after another for her, poor baby. I’ve been trying really hard not to nurse her in the middle of the night, but sometimes, it’s the fastest way to get everyone back to bed.

Words: Her language skills have really taken off- she truly tries to imitate almost any word we say to her. So, she says a lot, although her most coherent words would be: Mama, Dada, hi, hey, yeah, yum (which sounds like mmmuuummm muuumm), nigh-nigh (night night).

Favorite things: Her sisters still get her to light up like nothing else can! She loves her Daddy and Mommy too, of course. Her new favorite obsession, though: cars! She is absolutely in love with any type of four-wheeled vehicle. She’ll climb into the Cozy Coupe and just sit there, playing by herself, or peeking out the back, even if no one is willing to push her around for a ride. She also loves to push little toy cars around the floor now. It’s just so funny to see what she’s getting interested in!

She also loves standing at the play kitchen and ripping as many items out of it as possible. She has sort of started pretending to “eat” some of the softer toy food, though (while saying “mmmuuuummm”). She is completely obsessed with baby dolls, and will steal her sisters’ dolls any chance she gets (even though she got her own for Christmas). Whenever she sees real babies at church (even if they’re only 6 or so months younger than her), she falls in love and can’t stop watching them. Of course, she also loves her reflection.

Dislikes: Getting her face wiped, seeing us eat something she doesn’t have on her tray, wearing a bib (she takes it off constantly), being buckled into the car seat, being told no, and snow (along with wearing her snowsuit)! She was just not sure what to make of the cold white stuff. Teething has also been really hard on all of us.

Nicknames: Nellbells, Nels, Nella Bella, Nellie, Nella Sunshine. I’ve also started jokingly calling her “the Destroyer” because she rips everything apart in a matter of seconds. I’m putting laundry away, she’s trying to pull it out of the drawer. I take a minute to brush my hair, and she has half the bathroom cabinet emptied. This is the age where I always feel like it’s a losing battle to keep things in their places.

Milestones, etc.: -She’s still just cruising, not walking independently yet. I think she is close, though!

-She is starting to climb… and if we’re not quick enough to catch her, she can make it to the 6th or 7th step on the staircase. She also climbs into her little Cozy Coupe all on her own now, too, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until she tries other things. We definitely need to lower the crib!

-She’s pointing to body parts (and usually poking me in the eyes), so I’m trying to teach her all those words now. She sometimes gets enthralled by my eyelashes and won’t stop stroking them with her finger. So funny.

-She’s also started trying to color! Although usually, the marker cap is still on, which is maybe a good thing, since her accuracy for hitting the paper isn’t so high right now. Still, she wants to create art like her sisters!

-Now when she nurses, she wants to hold everything she can see. That usually means that we’re sitting in a pile of stuffed animals, and then she also steals my phone or Kindle so that I have nothing to read while she eats. Real life you guys… Michael snuck this picture of me passed out nursing her after my run one morning.

-She is a dancer! She’ll bop around to almost any song, especially 80s stuff, I guess because the beat is so good. She gets such a big goofy grin on her face when the music starts up. She’s also obsessed with the piano and will crawl over to it and start playing any chance she gets. She especially loves when Daddy helps her!

-She loves books, and she’ll flip through the pages and “read” (babble). So so sweet.

-Kaya has become such a big helper with Nella lately. She loves to get her dressed, feed her her yogurt, and just play with her as much as possible. Both Kaya and Kaelyn love to choose which diaper Nella will wear next- Kaya’s favorite is the zoo print, and Kaelyn’s is the fishy one.

Dear Nella,

This feels like a big month for you! I had so many new things to write in this post because you’re growing and changing so quickly that sometimes it feels like I can’t keep up. To be honest, I still think of you as my teeny little baby, until I see pictures of you pop up from this time last year, and I realize that you aren’t anywhere near that small anymore. When did you get so big? I almost feel like I blinked and missed it.

Anyway, you might be getting bigger, but you’re still just as sweet as ever. You love your family so much (even the puppy). Last Sunday at church, you kept cruising between me and your Dad, holding onto the pew, until you’d get close enough to give one of us a bug hug (which you do by resting your head on our shoulders and cuddling into us). You just kept switching between the both of us for the longest time, and it completely melted my heart.

We love you baby girl! Your smile will always be one of our very favorite things.

Love, Mommy


nella: 14 months

(written December 11th… and apparently, the accessory of the month is her hairbrush, since it made it into almost all these pictures…)Clothing size: All 18-month things!
Eye color: Blue!
Hair: Blonde, and that little ponytail is getting thicker! I think we almost have enough for teeny pigtails soon.

Teeth: Still six, and that one I could see under her gum line last month is still HIDING! With how much she’s been acting like she’s teething, I’m honestly shocked it hasn’t popped through yet. Come on, tooth!

Eating: She eats almost anything, although, unlike her sisters, I think she is getting tired of peanut butter sandwiches. She now recognizes if you are eating something different than she is, and she has started throwing tantrums about it, screaming and crying with the hopes that we will give her whatever it is she wants. She does this especially with my homemade pumpkin bread, mostly because I don’t usually give her any (the end result looks like the bread exploded into one million minuscule crumbs all over the floor). She really loves cucumbers, pickles, olives, apples, beans, and cheese.

She’s still nursing about 5 times a day, which seems like kind of a lot to me. I might get her some whole milk to try here soon.

We also gave her her first donut this month, and clearly, she loved it.

Sleep: Sleep… oh, sleep. It is not going so well, considering she is 14 months old. She is waking up multiple times each night to nurse. We are trying to encourage her to go back to sleep without milk, which means that Michael is the one who has to go in and rub her back to try to get her to calm down. I usually end up feeding her between 4 and 5 am, anyway. I was blaming teething for this inconsistent schedule, but now I think maybe she just got out of her routine and is struggling to get back sleep without help. She usually wakes up around 7-7:30 am, but after being up several times at night, she will sometimes sleep until 8:30.

Naps are still generally really good, usually happening for around 3 hours after lunchtime.

Words: Mama, Dada, and then sometimes, it’ll sound like she’ll say “hi” or “yeah”, but I’m not really sure if she knows those yet. She is really amazing at imitating sounds now though! I even had her imitating a horse a few days ago.

Favorite things: Her favorite game is peekaboo, and she’ll initiate it on her own if she has a blanket to cover up with. She’s obsessed with stealing her sisters’ baby dolls (guess what she’s getting from Grandma for Christmas?), and her favorite animal is the dog (real and plush). She is infatuated with her “Beagle”, and tries to take him with her anytime I get her out of her crib. She even likes to hold him while nursing now. I love that she loves that Beagle, because it was actually mine when I was younger.

She loves trying to drink the bathtub water (ew), laughing at her sisters, and crawling to the door as soon as she hears Daddy’s voice when he comes home from work.

Dislikes: Getting her face wiped, seeing us eat something she doesn’t have on her tray, wearing a bib (she takes it off constantly), and being buckled into the car seat.

Nicknames: Nellbells, Nels, Nella Bella, Nellie, Nella Sunshine.

Milestones, etc.: -She’s cruising along furniture while standing now! It’s only a matter of time until she lets go and just starts walking! I tried propping her up with the toy shopping cart, which helped baby Kaelyn take some of her first steps, but she had no idea what I was trying to do and just sat down.

-She is interested in coloring, whether on paper or the easel! Her sisters were actually helping her erase the whiteboard one day, over and over. She’s so content to just stand there and grab all the markers.-Her sisters love to play “fetch” with her… yes, like a puppy. They toss a toy, and she will crawl to retrieve it. Whatever keeps them all happy, and hey, she’s getting some exercise in the process.

-She imitates everything, and loves to try and brush her teeth or hair.-I kind of can’t believe this, but my little sunshine girl has started throwing some pretty epic tantrums. When she doesn’t get what she wants, she will screech and kick and cry. She’s already had a couple of (very short) timeouts, which she hated. I kind of miss when she didn’t have an opinion about everything!

-She’s not really into watching shows or anything on screen yet, which is truly a good thing, since we try to use media very sparingly with our kids anyway. I’ve actually just been surprised by how disinterested she’s been when I let the older girls watch something. There was one day that Kaya and I were sick, so we just wanted to rest and watch some movies, but Nella would hardly sit still. That’s really the only time I wished she’d want to watch!

-Seriously, she is all over the place. She won’t lay on the changing pad for a new diaper for more than a few seconds, so I’ve had to start buckling her down. All these shenanigans!Dear Nella,

These days, you seem so big and so little all at the same time. You love to play with your sisters, be held by Daddy while he runs around the house to help you “find” me, and snuggle and nurse. You are so energetic and wild these days, and I know that soon, you will be running after your sisters.You light up every day for us. I can always count on a big smile when I go to get you out of your crib after bed or nap time. It’s been so much fun to watch you experience this holiday season, with all the food and festivities that you now get to participate in. I love your wonder and joy.Love, Mommy

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