Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Anne Elizabeth is 8 months old!

Okay, she can slow down now :( All of a sudden time is flying by. Annie is the happiest baby, always smiling and very easy to amuse. I could stare at her all day and all night, she's such a little beauty!

She cut her 2 bottom teeth within a week of each other. The aftermath of that has been awful! A rash on her face, very short naps, several nighttime wakes. wants to be held A LOT. My poor, sweet baby :(

She puts herself into a sitting position. It's insanely cute to see her sitting up when I get her from her crib. The big sisters love getting her up. Abby likes to turn on the lamp and turn off the sound machine. We sing the Good Morning Song to her..."Good morning, good morning, good morning to YOU! We love you, we love you, we love you, we DO!" I have to get it on video one of these days. She smiles as she looks at each of us and she wiggles like crazy and my heart EXPLODES!

She started crawling the night before she turned 8 months old. Now I have to be extra careful with the toys that get left behind by her big sisters. She's also pulling herself up on her knees....OY!

She really is a happy baby, and while she's over her social anxiety, she is just not ready to be away from mom and dad yet. I feel like we've graduated from social to separation anxiety, lol. Chris and I went on a canoe trip for a few hours and she cried A LOT at Grandma's house. She's happy so long as one of us is nearby/holding her.

I am DONE with pumping! Ideally I would have done it until August, then weaned completely before the teacher workweek at the the end of the month. Then we planned our vacation for the end of July, so I figured I'd just wean before that. It just kind of naturally happened...I'd been doing 3 sessions a day, then I cut the midday out (which made for some uncomfortable evenings!) After a few weeks I shortened my morning and evening sessions until I eventually dropped the evening pump all together (which made for some uncomfortable mornings, lol!) After a few days I stopped completely. I was so ecstatic to pack it away. I have a ton of frozen milk, plus we use formula at night (in hopes of getting longer sleep stretches.) Pumping while staying at home was much harder than it was than when I went back to work. When I went back to work, I pumped in the car (both ways) and during one of my breaks. At home there are so many more distractions and interruptions with 3 kiddos! So, what I really love is the time I get back.

Audrey at 8 months:


A few days ago I got to hold our newest cousin. He is so small and sleepy and cuddly...I barely remember Annie being that way, it's crazy how quickly they grow this first year. I'm so happy I got to spend all that time with her and part of me is a little sad to be going back to work in a few months. We are going to have the best summer! She's at a great age where she'll be able to enjoy the pool and family outings. Hoping time slows for a just a bit ;)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I love SUMMER (more than Olaf!)

Summer is such a special time for me. A lot of that has to do with being off from school. It feels like I go from 1,000 miles per hour from September through June...then all of a sudden the chaos stops. It's SO nice.

I wanted to stop and take a few minutes to write down all the things I'm loving about this time of year.

Audrey is getting ready to graduate from preschool. She's had an incredible year. Not only has she learned a lot, but she made some great friends and her teachers are were fantastic- there's no question that they adored her and enjoyed having her this year. We were definitely blessed that she was able to go to school at all this year, bonus that it was so close to home!

Now we're down to the last week of school. I get her all to myself this summer, but I'm a little sad that it's her last summer before Kindergarten. I'm going to miss her so much when she's in a classroom 5 days a week, 6 hours a day. I thought I'd be overjoyed when she started school because she'd be coming to work with me every day...but now I'm starting to feel a bit depressed, lol. I remember my first summer with her- she turned 6 months old and did so many cool things in those 3 months (sitting, eating, teething, crawling, pulling up.) This summer is going to be so bittersweet...

Abigail just turned 3, so she'll get to go to preschool in the Fall! I can't wait, lol. I am not so much concerned with the academic aspect. I love preschool for the social opportunities. I simply am excited for her to have experiences outside of our home, and for her to tell us ALLLLL about them :) I know she's going to do extremely well. This summer will be full of excitement for her! She's so smart and inquisitive...I love this age and I'm so impressed by her every day- the connections she makes, her ways of thinking and the questions she asks and the observations she makes. She's really maturing from those "Terrible Twos" and she's such a blast!

What can I say about Annie? Having so much time with her has been an incredible blessing and it's coming to an end. I'm just going to continue cherishing every moment with her. Soon enough she'll have a few more people to love and dote on her, but for now she's all mine. I'll let Dad borrow her every once in awhile ;)

Mother's Day dinner (a few days late!)

There's a lot to look forward to this summer...and I'm going to soak up every minute!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Anne Elizabeth is 7 months old!

She was watching Audrey in the doorway :)

This was a couple days before she got into the crawling position for the first time. I took this picture and immedicately said, "WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?" LOL

Her blue eyes are amazing!

I wish I could give birth to a 7 month old. Seriously. This is definitely my "happy" age! I wish I could freeze her at this very moment in time.

Christopher calls her our "Bonus Baby." Annie is just so sweet...a precious, beautiful, lovely little angel. Her smile is so incredible, it lights up the room. Her laugh is the best! Chris thinks she is our happiest baby. He swears that she shows more excitement for him than the older girls did at this age, lol. She definitely loves her Dad SO much!

She has a very good routine:

wakes for the day between 6-7 am
bottle of milk, playtime for about 2 hours
nap (45 mins- 2hrs)
solid meal for breakfast, play, bottle
mid-day nap
bottle, play, bottle
final nap
solid meal for dinner, bath, play, bedtime bottle
bed between 7-8

*still wakes twice at some point during the night to eat.

It's so nice with Annie being on a schedule. Having 3 kids is not as scary as I thought. We definitely have our rough times, but mostly it's just controlled chaos (which years of teaching have helped me to embrace and manage!!) I really only get stressed when the older girls are arguing. Every once in awhile Chris brings one of them to Grandma's house for the day. And there have been a couple of times where both Audrey and Abigail have gone together, and it's just me and Annie...oh my goodness! I feel guilty with how much I LOVE that time. Having one kid is so easy! SO EASY.

That face! It gets ALLTHEKISSES!!

She's eating a few different foods: bananas, avocado, mango, oatmeal, yogurt, Mums, toast. I've been giving her stage 2 & 3 baby food. I want her to enjoy different flavors, but for the most part I give her real food so that she doesn't have a hard time transitioning like Audrey did. Audrey still has the worst time with new foods and texture :( Live and learn. We're definitely taking the middle road with Anne. I don't think I bought a single jar of baby food with Abigail! Miss Anne is getting a nice variety.

I love all the fun things she can do now! Regular bath, play with more toys, sit in a big girl high chair and enjoy the swing at the playground! She's sooo squirmy though! Changing her diaper is nearly impossible; she doesn't like to be on her back, so she'll flip over in nanosecond!

She's sitting up on her own! She went from being super wobbly to sitting perfectly within two days! I adore the look on her face as she sits and wiggles, trying to keep her balance. She has such an amused look of wonder, lol. Again, I love this stage because sitting independently is just awesome! She turned 7 months exactly one week ago...since that time she has gotten up on all fours and rocks back and forth. I am so shocked! I thought I had a good two months before that happened :(

Sleep has been really inconsistent this month! Sometimes she'll wake between 10-12, then 2-4. Other times she'll go until 1-2, then up for the day at 6:00. A couple if times she slept until 3-4, then was up for the day at normal time. It's so weird. She falls asleep perfectly on her own for bedtime, naps, and after her night feedings. When she does a really long stretch, she's more awake and vocal so it takes a lot longer for her to fall back to sleep, maybe 20 minutes max. I wish she'd start sleeping straight through, but in a way I'm cherishing the alone time with her (must be a benefit of being the last baby!) When I walk her back to bed, she lets me cradle her. I bring her super close and just breathe her in and kiss her. She gives me the sweetest, most content smiles. God I will miss that.

I wanted her to either smile really big or cry, lol. She was just kind of bewildered!

This is one of the things I will miss. She was SO tired that she fell asleep during her bedtime bottle. I never get to hold her as she sleeps anymore :(

Abigail is an amazing big sister. Annie is so lucky!

I see such a resemblance to her older sisters. At this age she is bigger than Audrey was and has more hair (darker, too!) She is smaller than Abigail was with a lot less hair (obviously, lol.) But they all have the same sweet baby face!

Audrey at 7 months:

Abigail at 7 months:

This is such a fun time for our family. The older girls are so smitten with their baby sister. She lights up when they're around and I can tell that she loves watching them. I am excited to see their relationship develop..I LOVE having girls!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Abigail Mae is THREE!

What a year! From little to middle and handling it like a PRO :)

She is fiercely independent, focused, and so smart. The perfect mix of sweet and sassy.

More and more she's using her words to express her wants and feelings (instead of whining and crying!) I have to laugh when I hear her yell, "I'm SO MAD AT YOU, AUDREY!!" She'll say, "I'm frustrated!" or "You upset me!" and once we talk it out she's all better. I love seeing her progress! BUT, we REALLY need to work on listening. She will straight up ignore us if she's in the middle of something. If we want her to go anywhere, we have to race her or give her a horseback ride, lol. She loves competition and games.

Her imagination is incredible, and yet so different from Audrey. Audrey has always liked to build and then arrange her toy figurines. Abigail likes to pretend play. Her favorite roles are: Sheriff Cali (she uses my bathrobe tie as a lasso), a puppy dog, random Disney princesses, super hero, Doc McStuffins (Audrey built her a clinic out of several large boxes, lol!)

She likes to read and work on puzzles. She LOVES going to Grandma's house. Lately she's been acting like Anna and Elsa from Frozen. She'll run around and sing the songs and be overdramatic. I love watching her, and joining in, too :) She started soccer and plays with a small group of kids. We are so impressed with how good she is at listening and following directions! We think she's going to be a great student.

I seriously underestimated how amazing she'd be as a big sister. She is so kind and caring and sweet with Annie. She plays with her and talks to just warms my heart. Where Audrey was pretty indifferent towards Abigail, Abigail just loves to be around Annie. Audrey would shy away from being touched by baby Abby. Abigail actually lays on the floor next to Annie and lets her go to town, laughing the whole time! I let her hold Annie and she says, "Oh, Annie, you're getting so BIG!!"

On the flip side, she can be a rotten little sister, lol. She'll still sneak up on Audrey and take something and RUN, hahaha. When they do get along and play together, the mix of creativity and imagination is pretty incredible. I love how they talk to each other. Audrey is very helpful and matter-of-fact. Abigail pretty much goes along with whatever Audrey says. The other day I overheard her say, "FOCUS, AUDREY!" which is something we say to Audrey pretty often, lol. The dynamic between all of the sisters is so fun to watch.

She is pretty much fully potty trained. We can leave the house without fear of an accident :) However, if she gets too distracted at home, she'll have an accident.

It amazes me that after 3 years, I'm still trying to figure her out, to fully understand that she is her own person and she needs a different approach than Audrey. Perfect example: Lately we've been having a hard time at breakfast- she doesn't want any of the choices. I offer her a range of things- Cheerios, cereal bar, yogurt, pancakes, banana, oatmeal, eggs, toast...all to which she says, "No thank you!" She wants ravioli or mac and cheese...ummm, no Ma'am!! Then we both get frustrated. One morning I was venting to Chris about it. He said, "Watch this," and he peeled a banana and gave it to her. She ate it. Happily. Like it was the best thing ever. SERIOUSLY?!? Lesson learned. With Audrey I'm used to talking things out, offering choices and we're all good. With Abigail I need to be more direct. Too many choices is overwhelming.

Three years ago, I clearly remember looking at her sweet face (and being amazed at all her dark hair!) and feeling so relieved that I loved her just as much as I loved Audrey. To this day that is true, my heart has expanded so much since she came along. I've learned to be more patient and tolerant and open minded. I cherish her so much and the rle she plays in our family.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Abigail Mae!