happy 5th birthday, kaelyn!

Dear Kaelyn,

My sweet, sweet girl… I can’t believe you are FIVE!!! Five whole years ago, you, the littlest of all my babies, were laid on my chest for the first time. As soon as they saw you, the nurses said, “What a little peanut!”, which was just perfect, because we had called you “Peanut” the entire time you grew in my belly. You are still so petite (or as I like to say, “fun size”), but every last ounce of you is filled with perfect sweetness.I always have a hard time writing these birthday posts, because sometimes, it feels so difficult capture the essence of who you really are at this age through just words. I’ll try my best, so here’s a little of what our days with you at 5 years old look like:

We still call you Kaecakes. Your old nickname of “Baba Grace” has officially been retired, but you are obsessed with your middle name so much that you have named many of your stuffed animals “Gracie”. Nella calls you “Yay yay” and sometimes I call you “KK“, so you actually have quite a few nicknames right now.

You are smart and silly. You say the funniest things all the time, and they usually seem to come out of nowhere. Your jokes are quiet, but well-thought out, and you always get us laughing. Now you’re starting to write funny things, too.

You have this kind of serenity about you. You are generally calm and gentle, although of course, you know how to be crazy, too. You just seem to have such a gentle spirit.

You are always the first one awake in the morning. You seem to need less sleep (just like your Daddy), although I do feel like you still need a short nap in the afternoons. That doesn’t always happen, though, mostly because you and Kaya love playing together so much that you forget to try to sleep.

You love doing puzzles and building with blocks. I think you could do that all day long and be perfectly happy.

You love all your stuffed animals and “teeny animals” (Hatchimals and Squinkies). You spend most of your time playing with them. Your very favorite stuffed animal this year has been your Dalmatian, but you also really love Penguin and Doggy (who I made you last year).

You have various pairs of shorts and pants, but your favorites are your flower leggings and pink stretchy pants. You’ll ask for them and look through the dryer for them before you’ll willingly wear anything from you dresser. Of course, your favorite pants are best paired with a Paw Patrol or Minnie Mouse shirt. You also really love to play dress-up!

You are turning into such a good artist, and I love seeing what creations you come up with. You love to draw butterflies, flowers, and all different pictures of you and me together on adventures. Those are my favorites.

Minnie Mouse is still your favorite character, and you talk about how you want to go to “Minnie’s Castle!” (Disney World) all the time. You’re also still obsessed with any kind of puppy, especially Dalmatians, and any of the pups from the Paw Patrol.

You are so diligent with your schoolwork. I can’t believe you’re going into Kindergarten! What’s even crazier is that you’re already through about half of your kindergarten curriculum. You love homeschool so much, and I am really enjoying being there to see you understand new concepts. You do math on your own for fun, and you keep going until you get tired. I really wouldn’t be surprised if you have some kind of science/programming/engineering job when you’re grown up.

You are possibly our pickiest eater so far, but you are obsessed with guacamole and pizza. You always ask me about what’s healthy, and you definitely try to eat what’s good for you.

Your favorite hairstyle right now is two braids, which you call “two side braids”. I feel like braids make you look so much older!

Your sisters are your world. Almost all day, every day, is spent playing with them.

You are also so proud of the fact that you have been a big sister twice! You remind me all the time about it. You love playing with and protecting Evie, and I know she loves you just as much.You always ask Daddy to sing you a song called “Goodnight Kaecakes” (a spinoff from the Daniel Tiger book) before you fall asleep each night.

One of the things you like to say (usually in a silly voice) is, “I LOVE MYSELF!” You have no idea how happy it makes me to see you embrace who you are and thrive. I hope that, as you grow, you will always see the good in who you are and recognize your divine potential.

We love you, sweet girl. Keep being yourself.


Love, Mommy


happy 4th birthday, kaelyn!

Dear Kaelyn,

I’m writing this on your birthday eve, filled with so many powerful emotions as I remember all the details of the hours leading up to your birth. I can’t even believe that you have been here in our family for FOUR whole years, and I can honestly say that we’ve enjoyed each moment with you.
In a way, you still seem so little to me, until I look back at pictures from last year. You’ve always been a cute kid, but you recently seem to have this more grown-up, elegant sense of beauty about you. I still don’t know who you resemble most in the family, but I love your shining eyes, scrunchy-nosed grin, ever-growing pigtails, and quiet little laugh so much.

You are such a comedian, but you generally make quiet jokes without doing anything too wild or outlandish. Your silly little antics make us laugh every day.

You’re generally very content to “do your own thing” and keep yourself entertained with books, puzzles, or little stories or games you make up yourself. You are still an ultimate puzzle-doer and amaze me with how many small pieces you can put together without any guidance.

You completed another year of homeschool preschool, which was extremely laid back and based off your interests. You’ve learned your letters, can write your name, and even spell some other words, like “yes” and “no”. You love any project that involves paint, scissors, or glue. I’ve slowly started teaching you to read, and you’re getting good at sounding out short letter combinations. You also love BOB books and try to “read” them to us all the time, although you get a little grumpy if we help you too much. You watch everything Kaya does, which is a big reason you’ve picked up on so much so quickly.

You completely surprised me one day when you just started writing letters and asking me how to spell things.

You are also such a great little artist, and you most often draw pictures of you and me together. I love when you leave notes under my pillow for me to find.

Every once in a while, we sometimes still call you “Baba Grace”, but a lot less often than we used to. Your main nickname nowadays is “Kaecakes”, which you also love. You do sometimes think that your full name is “Kaelyn Baba Grace Irwin”, though.

You are all about dogs, and although you rotate who your favorite stuffed animal is, it’s almost always been a canine. “Doggy” (who I made for you) is still your current favorite, and she goes everywhere. You also really love Dalmatians and Paw Patrol, of course.

You are an amazing big sister. You watch out for Nella, and you truly always do whatever is in your power to make her happy. Sometimes that means sharing your baby doll with her, letting her have something that you’re playing with, trying to make her laugh, or giving her some of your snacks. You are our little peacemaker.

You love babies and have been looking forward to meeting your newest sister for the longest time. You always tell us, “It’s almost my birthday… and then we get to see the baby!!!” (There are not enough exclamation points for how excitedly you squeal when you say that sentence!) You cannot wait to be a big sister again, and I know you’re going to help take care of the baby as much as you can.

You love going to Primary at church, and your teachers always tell me what an angel you are in class and how reverent you are.

People often comment on your “adorable little voice”. The way you talk is so sweet, and I almost wish it’d never change, but I know one day your voice will grow with you. There’s no way to really describe it except to just listen to you talk.

You love to tell me, “We are buddies!” when we have anything at all in common (oftentimes, it’s when we’re both having the same food for lunch). I love being buddies with you.

You want to be a pediatric nurse when you grow up. You’ve told me a few times that you’ll need to get a new outfit, though, because you don’t think this one will fit when you’re bigger. You also said, “I want to give them their flu shot because that’s how people be healthy!” You also really want to be a mommy, and be my neighbor when you’re old enough to have your own house.You still really need an afternoon nap of about 1.5 to 2 hours, but you usually would rather read, play in your room, or climb up into Kaya’s bunk and goof off with her. If you don’t sleep, you are usually incredibly tired by dinnertime.Just like last year, you’re still obsessed with blueberry everything, the song “Dirt On My Boots”, and Paw Patrol. You planned on having a Paw Patrol birthday for at least a year and counted down for months leading up to it.Other favorite things include pizza, Minnie Mouse, playing outside, wearing your mint jeans, and the colors pink, purple, and blue.Your Daddy, sisters, and I love you so much, sweet girl. We feel so blessed to have you as our second precious daughter, and we know you’re going to grow up to do amazing things. Happy 4th Birthday Kaelyn!!!

happy 3rd birthday, kaelyn!

Dear Kaelyn,

I cannot believe you are three years old! I can remember the moment we met so clearly, that in a way, it feels like yesterday. I still get choked up thinking about when I saw the tiny features of your face for the first time, and remembering how I was overcome with the distinct feeling that you were meant to be ours.

Now, I look at those steel blue eyes of yours, usually accompanied by a sly grin, and I can’t help but laugh. You are so completely silly, but in a generally calm, quiet way. You love to say things that don’t make sense just to make us all giggle.

You have blossomed from being the baby of the family into the astounding big sister you are now. You look at Nella and say “my baby”, or “my sit-sta (sister)” as you embrace her and talk to her in the sweetest little voice that you only use with babies.

Your toddlerhood has been very calm. You very rarely throw a tantrum or have mood swings. If I had to pick just two words to describe you, they’d be sweet and spunky.

Your favorite stuffed animals are your pink Piggy, your dog Cinnamon, and your beanie baby bear, Candy (who was named by you because he reminds you of those Valentine’s sweetheart candies).You take care of all of them as if they are your babies, and I love how gentle and loving you are as you tend to them.

You are still completely obsessed with “bluey” (blue).

Your sentences have improved dramatically over the last two months or so. You say most everything very clearly, with accurate pronunciation, so I think even people who don’t know you well would be able to understand you. You still use “me” instead of “I” as a subject, but it’s so cute that I almost wish you’d never realize it’s wrong.

You love art. You color inside the lines in your coloring books and use paint very carefully. You’ve even started drawing people, which are mostly round circles with little specks inside them.

You are so sensitive when it comes to friends and family. If we read you a book (like Little Cub by Olivier Dunrea) where the main character is alone, you actually start to cry for him. You also cried for the horse, Spirit, from the movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, when he was separated from his family and couldn’t get back. I love how family is already so important to you at this young age.

Your very favorite book is BooBoo (Gossie & Friends) by Olivier Dunrea. You giggle when Daddy reads it “wrong” on purpose. He’ll say, “BooBoo is a small yellow gosling…”, and you’ll laugh while correcting him, “No… BooBoo is a small BLUE gosling!”

You are a problem solver, like your daddy. You love to do puzzles and figure things out, but you’re also great at solving real-life problems. If you and Kaya are arguing over the same item, and you see it’s creating a difficult situation, you will often just let Kaya have whatever the item is and then move on, even if it’s something you really want. It’s not that you’re giving up the fight; I think you are really good at assessing situations and seeing the bigger picture.

You have an incredible attention span for your age, as well as excellent fine motor skills. You nearly completed an entire perler-bead puppy in one afternoon, which takes a lot of focus and precision for someone so little. You finished it as soon as you had the chance the next morning. I was so proud of you for doing it all on your own!

If we ask you what your name is, you always say, “Baba Grace!” Daddy has also brought back one of the nicknames we used to call you when you were a baby, “Kaecakes”, and you seem to like that one, too.

You have done preschool with Kaya for the past couple of years, just on your own terms. I’ve never required you to work on writing, reading, or math, but you’re already starting to try by yourself. You can spell your nickname (“B-A-B-A, Baba!”), and you’ve started trying to memorize the letter sounds. Anytime you see an “m” you say, “mmmm mmmm!” You can count correctly to eleven all on your own. You’re so excited to “officially” start “preschool… at home!” here soon.

Anytime you and I are eating the same thing or doing the same activity, you say we’re “buddies!” If we both have a cucumber, we’re “cucumber buddies!” Haha.

I still put you down for a nap every day, but you often would rather sit up in your bed, looking at books, doing a small puzzle, or drawing. You stay awake as long as you can, even though you really are tired and in need of some rest.

Blueberry is your favorite flavor of everything. You’d eat a blueberry yogurt for lunch every day if we had an endless stockpile. You’re so excited to go blueberry picking this summer, and I’m sure you’re going to have a hard time not eating all of them as we go.

Your favorite song is “Dirt on My Boots”, by Jon Pardi. Any time it comes on the radio, you start rocking back and forth if we’re in the car, and galloping across the floor if we’re at home. You call it “my boots song!” You say you like it because it “has cowboys” (and it does, in the lyric music video).

You love chapstick and lipgloss and will never turn me down when I offer to put some on you. I save my nearly-empty chapstick tubes for you to finish off so that you won’t play with my real ones, because you love to roll them up until they break!

Sometimes, when Daddy is tucking Kaya in at night, I sneak into your bed and snuggle with you. You like to throw your little arms around my neck and say “Stay with me forever!”, and sometimes I wish I could.

You are really becoming a sweet little friend of mine. You love to hear stories about when you were a baby, and I love to tell you all about how excited we were to know you were joining our family.I love you so much, Kaelyn Grace. Happy 3rd birthday, baby girl!

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

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: 20 months

(I’m so late on this… partly because we were all sick, and partly just because I’ve been slow about finishing this post, even though I started it a while ago. Oops.)
Clothing size: Mostly 18-month clothing, but she is definitely growing into her 24-month things. Size 4/5 shoes.
Eyecolor: Blue.
Teeth: Ten.
Eating: She loves cucumbers, Greek yogurt, pasta, chicken, muffins, Cheerios, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and goldfish crackers. Her ultimate favorite though… PIZZA!!! She can eat a whole slice almost as fast as an adult might._MG_1032

She’s really started to drink whole milk (finally), but we’re still nursing 3 times a day. I’m honestly surprised that we’re still going and that she still wants to nurse so much. At this point, I think we’ll just try to make it to her second birthday and then attempt to wean.
New words: I feel like this has been a big month for language. She’ll at least try to say most of the things I ask her to. New words include eat, cat, blue, pink, Peeky, “baaa” (like a sheep), and the sound of a dolphin (however you write that)…
Favorite things: Blue Kitty, Piggy, the stuffed turtle Grandma Debbie brought for her, her Fisher Price laptop, our slide, and any kind of ducks! She gets so excited any time she sees a duck in a book and immediately starts saying “quack! quack!”_MG_0996 Dislikes: Diaper changes (these are getting so difficult because she fights me… hard), getting her face wiped, being told no, sharing, and the car seat.
Sleep: She’s down for bed around 8-8:30, 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’s started singing! One day at mealtime she just started saying “pop pop” and making little hand motions that could only go with the primary song “Popcorn Popping”. She must have learned it in nursery, and now we sing it to her often just to see the gestures she makes along with it.

-She likes nursery now! The leaders tell me that she cries for about one minute, but then she has a great time. She is always so proud to show me whatever project she made or paper she colored!

-She loves being outside and will cry anytime we pass by a slide without actually playing on it.

-She “brushes” her own teeth and would do it for an hour if I let her…

-To go along with brushing teeth, she can now spit in the sink on request.

-She insists on going up stairs herself, but will usually crawl instead of walk.

-She’s really good at helping me clean up and loves to help with anything I ask of her.

-She can accurately identify/point to a picture that goes with most words I ask her.

-She is SO good at coloring and is entertained by it for probably an hour at a time. She draws lines and fills up a whole blank piece of paper with color before she’s done._MG_0987

-She’s great at stacking several wooden blocks on top of each other without immediately knocking them down.

Dear Kaelyn,

You are so spunky these days! I love your wry little smile and how hard you work to make us laugh. You idolize your big sister and want to do everything she does. Oftentimes, at bedtime, Kaya will call out “Daddy!” and we’ll hear your little voice echo hers. I can’t wait to see what you have to say as your language skills increase here in the next few months._MG_1170

You are so sweet and funny about everything- you have certain stuffed animals that you have to have in order to go to sleep, and you’re always very upset if we forget to take your ponytail out before bedtime. You love to be “tucked in” and always plop right down onto your belly for us to cover you up. I love your happy little smile and the way you say “mommmmy!” after I come home from youth activities every week. You make me so happy, little girl.

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