McKenzie | 18 Months |

Again, a little late, but better late than never!

So little McKenzie…You’re a 1 and a half!  How in the world did that happen?!  Weren’t we just planning your first birthday party?!  This past month has been so much fun with you!

What’s Happening:

The Start of Potty Training
You’ve shown interest and I’m cautiously optimistic! I know it is probably still a little way off, but you’ve told Jen at daycare and us when you need to go!

potty

Preschool
I can’t even believe that I just typed that.  How did we get here!?  I’ve been researching local preschools for the past month or two.  First, most are way more expensive than I realized that they would be.  Second, most are charging a lot of money for only 2 hours, 2 days a week.  I was shocked!  After researching a little more, we found a local preschool that we love!  I can’t even wait for you to start there in September!  You are going to learn so much and have so much fun!

Vocabulary
I’m not even sure how many words you know now.  You talk all day long!  What I love about your learning words is that you are finally able to communicate with us!  A few nights ago, you were so exhausted.  We gave you your bath and I sat down with you, just as I do each night, to hold you for a few minutes before you climb in to bed.  You lost your mind.   I wasn’t even sure why!  I assumed it was because you were overly tired.  As I listened closer,  I finally caught on to what you were saying as you were crying! Book! You were upset that we didn’t read!  My little creature of habit! I let you pick out a book, we read it, you curled right up in my arms and went to sleep without a fight.  I love that you can tell us things now!

Your newest phrase that you say each night as we end a story, is “The End!”  You are listening and learning and I love it!

Leading up to Halloween, we taught you Boo, since you were going to be a ghost.  Anytime we asked you what a ghost said, you would yell, “Boo!”

We’ve moved on and skipped over Thanksgiving, since “Gobble Gobble” is a little harder to say.  We’ve started working on Christmas.  If we ask you what Santa says, you reply, “Ho ho!” and if we ask whose birthday it is on Christmas you say, “Baby Cheezus”.  It makes me giggle every time.  There is some slight confusion though because any time you want a Cheez It cracker, you will say Cheezus.  We’ve got some clarification to do!

Favorite Thing
Singing the ABC’s.  It’s your favorite song.  As we sing it, you join in with a random E, G, I, or Z.  You bob your head as we say each letter.  After we’re done singing, you will sing it on your own.  You have the rhythm of the song down, but mumble through most of the letters until you hit your favorites – E, G, I and Z.

Eating
You eat a lot, but are still kind of picky.  You hate any form of meat.  Veggies and fruits…you’ve got it.  Put a chicken, ham, turkey, or meat loaf in front of you and you remove them from your plate.  It’s so bizarre.  We’ve been working on finding new forms of protein that you will actually eat, but haven’t been too successful.

table

You have also become finicky with how your food is presented.  Some days you want things cut, so we cut them up.  Then the next meal, you refuse to eat because you wanted it whole.  Then the next meal you want things cut up.  We can’t keep up!

Sleep Habits
Your sleep habits have been less than stellar ever since daylight savings time.  I think we also had a touch of sleep regression going on at the same time, which means we haven’t been getting the greatest sleep!  For about 2 weeks, you would wake up at 2 in the morning, open your door and stand at the gate.  You would call for me and I would come get you.  As soon as you saw me, you would run back to your bed, grab your blanket, and motion to be picked up.  We’d sit in your chair and rock and you’d fall back to sleep quickly.  You would sleep until about 5:15.  Then you were up again for good!    We’ve been a little tired, but it has gotten better.  The past few nights, you’ve slept through the night again and have only been getting up a little earlier than normal!

Outings
We’ve been busy this past month!

You had you’re second Halloween.  Such a cute little ghost!

ghost

You went to your first show – Disney on Ice. We went with your friend Ella and you loved it!

Disney

You thought you were home, because you insisted on taking your shoes off!

Date Day with Dad – Daycare was closed, so Dad stayed home with you.  You went to a bounce house with inflatable moon bounces with your friend, Adelyn, and then out to lunch!  You had so much fun!

bounce

This month has been one of the best!  You are for sure your own little person, with an ever emerging personality.  It’s so fun watching you grow and I’m so thankful that I’m your Mom!

I love you through and through.  Yesterday, today and tomorrow too.

Love,
Mom

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McKenzie | 17 Months |

Although a little late…I’m still posting!  Enjoy!

17 months old!  Where has the time gone?  It’s hard for this Mama to even imagine. You change each day!  There’s always something new you’re doing to keep us on our toes. Here’s a little re-cap for us to look back on and remember!

What’s Happening:

Cousin
You officially have a cousin!  Aunt Erin and Uncle Brian delivered a healthy baby boy and we are over the moon excited for them!  You got to meet Nathan last Saturday and loved him. You gave lots of kisses and kept saying. “Baby!”.  You will be a great big sister one day!

So Sweet. P.S. You were playing dress up, so you had a tutu on! Nice outfit choice!

Vocabulary Explosion!
Your vocabulary has taken off!  I can’t even keep up with all of the words that you say because you mimic everything we say.  Words that you use on your own on a regular basis and that are clear now include: baby, apple, juice, apple juice, Ouch, more, ball, book, Ellie (for your favorite stuffed elephant), shoes, truck, cat, Stop!, Yeah, and No…along with all of the originals – like Mama, Dada, and dog.  It’s so much fun to see what word you come up with next!

Mimicking
Speaking of mimicking, you copy everything we do.  In the past month, Dad and I have become even more aware of not only what we say, but what we do around you!  You are watching us and learning, even when we don’t realize it!   The video below is just one of the moments that Dad and I caught of you copying us.  You were being grumpy in the back seat on a drive home, so we gave you the I-Pod with you favorite Fisher Price learning games on it.  Dad and I continued with our conversation, but could hear you talking in the back seat.  When we stopped talking and turned around to look at you, this is what we saw… My favorite part is where you hold the I-pod out in front of you as if you are wondering why no one is talking back!


Favorite Thing
This month marked your first time on a moon bounce.  It was at a birthday party we were attending.  You weren’t sure of what to make of it at first, but soon learned how fun they can be!  We went inside for cake and gifts and you were not happy about it!  You were determined to lead us by our hands back out to the moon bounce.  so cute!

Eating
You are still a picky eater.  We normally get one great meal out of you each day.  Other than that, you just snack and nibble throughout.  You seem to always be eating something though, just not always at the specified meal times.  I’m hoping this will get better with age!

Climbing
You are a climbing machine!  You will use anything and anyone to climb up on the sofa! You’ve pulled toys over, your Pottery Barn Chair, used Dad’s legs quite a few times and even the dogs (although we stop you from that!)  A few times, you’ve even gotten up there by yourself…I think you are hooking your foot in the cushion.  Hilarious!

Bed Time Routine
You’re bedtime routine has changed a bit.  You no longer let me hold you while we say our good night prayers.  You happily climb into bed on your own, point to the blanket and request to be covered up.  Then we hold hands and say prayers while I kneel next to your bed.  It’s our favorite time of the day!  I’m sure Dad’s excited too!  You would only ever let me be in the room when we put you to bed, but you’ve started allowing him to join in as well.  It’s one of my favorite times of the day now.  Thanking God for everything we have, for our families and friends, and asking him to watch over all of us. Love it!

Movies
Last Friday night was a cold and rainy night.  Dad was working, so it was just you and me. I decided that we would watch Cinderella!  I put the DVD in and you instantly squealed when you saw the Disney castle on the opening credits.  You sat in your Pottery Barn chair, covered up with your blanket and stuffed animal, Ellie!  You watched the movie for a little, but then moved on to playing, while watching.  The whole time, you loved it though!  You would point out Lucifer, the cat, and laughed from your toes when I called you Gus Gus!  I look forward to more cuddly evenings with you!

McKenzie, life just keeps getting better.  There are still days that are far from fun, but even on those days – I am thankful for a healthy little girl who is able to throw such fits!  From working in a hospital, I know that not everyone is as lucky!

Continue to grow, but not so fast!

I love you through and through.  Yesterday, today and tomorrow too.

Love,
Mom

McKenzie | 16 Months |

Dear McKenzie,

Happy 16 Months!!  This month has been so much fun!  You are growing up and becoming more of a toddler each day.  You are inquisitive about the world you live in and work hard to figure everything out!  You laugh from your toes, which makes me laugh even harder! You are sweet and caring! If someone is upset, you know it and come hug them! You give kisses freely and are the sweetest!

Each month gets better and better!  We are so blessed to have you as our daughter.

Here are your stats for the month:

Weight: 23 lbs – 75th percentile
Height: 32 inches – 90th percentile!  Where did that come from!?

Both Dad and I were shocked at your stats!  Everyone always tells us how small you are, but according to the charts, you actually aren’t!  Keep growing strong!

Clothing Size:
You are officially in 18 month clothing.  I have a feeling that you will be in this size for some time!

In clothing news, you have so many cute Fall clothes!  I loved your summer clothes, but feel like I’ve seen you in all of them…multiple times!  I am ready to throw new outfits in the mix!  And Fall clothing is just so cute!

What’s Happening:

Toddler Bed
We’ve transitioned you to a toddler bed!   You can read all about it here! You are doing incredible with it!  You still haven’t realized that you can get out of it on your own and we are okay with that!  You have however, figured out how to get in a out of it.  The other night, Dad and I were talking, when we looked back into your room, you had climbed into your bed with a book and were reading.  It made us both stop and realize just how big you are getting!

You love when other people try to fit in your bed with you!  You don’t require anyone to sleep with you…thank goodness…but love when people will lay there with you during the day!   A- Ra (your Aunt Jessica), jumped in to bed with you and pretended like she was sleeping.  You giggled and then snuggled right up with her!

First Circus
You went to the Circus and loved every minute of it!  There were circus dogs as part of the show.  Those were, by far, your favorite part!  You saw them backstage when the curtain opened and kept pointing and yelling “dog-dog!”.  There were 3 acts before their segment and you kept calling for them!  It was so cute and you were so excited!

Favorite Thing
Your favorite thing this month is being outside!  You’d spend all day outside if we’d let you!  At daycare, you get to ride in a wagon with Ms. Jen each day.  You walk with her to drop off and pick up the boys from school.  You love the wagon and want to spend all of your time in it! Most days, there is a slight melt down when we have to leave, because you would rather stay and climb in and out of the wagon.

Playing like a Toddler
I know that you are becoming more independent each day, but you are truly playing like a toddler these days.   I stopped and just stared at you one day when I came to pick you up from daycare.  Instead of wandering around the yard, playing on a blanket, or climbing in and out of the wagon, you were in the playhouse with the other kids.  My heart actually sank for a minute!  My little baby is now actually  playing and interacting the way the older kids at daycare do!  It was such a happy and sad moment!    So fun though to see you getting so big!

Words
You have a few new words this month!  Dad calls our German Shepherd (Kemo), Bubba.  I’m not sure why.  He just started referring to him that way one day.  Well, you now call him Bubba too!  It’s kind of embarrassing that one of your first words is Bubba, but so cute that you call for him!   When we make you do something that you don’t want to do (like change your diaper), you call for him!  It’s adorable.   He always comes running to your rescue!

You also say Bye as you wave goodbye to people!  You say Up as well, when you want us to pick you up! You say other words here are there, but these are new ones that you use consistently!

When you aren’t using your words, you have finally started using sign language!    You will show me the sign for More, when you want more food!  It’s so nice that you can communicate with us, even without words!

Songs
We have always sang songs to you, but this month you have become more interactive! You love The Wheels on the Bus and If You’re Happy and You Know It!  You will swish the wiper blades, clap your hands and stomp your feet.   On our card rides home, if you want me to sing the songs to you, you clap your hands for me.  I start singing, you follow along with your charades and we laugh and laugh!  Love it!

Eating
You have become a picky eater recently, but still eat fairly well.  You are eating more than most toddlers your age, but your appetite on previous months would always include second helpings and shoveling the food in your mouth as quickly as possible.  Some days now you don’t eat as much and other’s you do.  We may have to try a few different items, but you definitely still eat!  Your favorite food is avocado and guacamole!  See the picture below!

This month, you have started using your booster seat at the table, instead of your high chair!  It’s nice to officially have you at the table with us!  You think you are so big now!

WM Guac

Temper Tantrums
The temper tantrums have been getting better this month, but that doesn’t mean that they are completely gone!  Most of your tantrums revolve around not being able to go outside or having to come in from outside.    Life just isn’t fair, is it!?

Please take note of what is in her hand in the picture below!  Still loving her little sandals!  We have since hidden them from her because she would truly wear them every day if she could!

McKenzie, you are so much fun!  You make us laugh so hard!  Our family is now complete with you and we love how exciting you make our days!

I can’t wait to head into the Fall and the holidays with you!  They will be even more special this year!

We love you more than there are stars in the sky!

Love,
Mom and Dad

10 Survival Tips to the Expecting Mom | 52 Weeks of Blogging With A Purpose

I’m a little late in joining this, but since I just started blogging, I figured I would pick up with Week 10 and make up the additional posts on the back-end.  Becky, from From Mrs. to Mama, started this amazing project.  Each Monday, Becky posts a different writing prompt with various themes, from motherhood and parenting to marriage and childhood !  I have enjoyed following Becky for quite some time now and am excited to join in on the fun!

This week’s topic is fitting since we just celebrated my sister-in-laws this past weekend.  Erin is due in October and I can’t wait to be an Aunt for the first time!   Many of these topics came up this weekend, but here they are in a concise list…10 Survival Tip to the Expecting Mom

1.  Write down everything about your pregnancy – I was really great about this in the beginning.  I wrote down everything I felt, experienced, worried about, and ate.  Then the fatigue kicked in and I stopped.  I swore I would remember it, because at that time, it was so important to me.  I still have some of the major dates – the first time I felt McKenzie kick, the first time Brian felt her kick, all the dates of our doctor appointments, etc., but I am missing out on the day-to-day details.  Write them down.  You will want to remember them when you are pregnant again or at the very least when your daughter asks you what it was like when you were pregnant.

2. Take pictures – I was awful with this.  I felt beautiful pregnant, but refused to get my picture taken.   I never wanted maternity pictures thanks to my very swollen ankles.  I regret all of that now.  I honestly probably have about 4 pictures of me throughout my entire pregnancy.  Many of them are from my Baby Shower.  I just did not want to be photographed.  At the very least, I wish I would have taken weekly belly pictures.  Even if no one ever saw them, I could have them and look back on them to see the changes in me, as my baby grew and changed.

3. Stop reading – Although it’s great to be informed, stop reading!  Seriously…stop Googling things.  It only makes thing worse.  You can Google something as simple as heartburn during pregnancy.  Even researching a pregnancy concern that is completely normal and most women experience, you will inevitably stumble upon the site that shares some woman’s tragic story about how her heartburn was a serious medical condition in which the baby and the mother’s life was in jeopardy.  Honestly, it will create more anxiety and stress.  Listen to your gut instinct as to whether something is wrong, ask your family and friends, or better yet your doctor!    The reading part goes for once the baby is here as well.  Children all reach milestones at different points.  Reading about this milestones and timelines will have you convinced that there is an issue with your child.  Know the milestones but don’t worry if your child isn’t at the milestone exactly on time.

4. Stop worrying about how your relationship with your significant other will change – I don’t know if it was hormones or me being insecure, but I worried a lot about what our marriage would be like after the baby arrived.  I worried that we wouldn’t have time for each other or that somehow things would be different.  It was one of those worries that I never voiced to anyone, because I was worried that I was the only one feeling this way.  At that time, I had started following Melissa at Honey Do’s and I Love Yous.  She was expecting her first child and was due right around the time I was.   She posted this and I cried.  Someone else was feeling that same way I was!  I could have written this post myself.

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to worry about it a little less.  Yes, you and your significant others relationship will change, but in the best way possible.  There will be difficult days, but your marriage will become stronger.  Brian and I have always been close, but having McKenzie made us even closer.  We were now an official family.  We love each other more and have a new-found respect for one another for the parents that we are to McKenzie.  Although our parenting styles may be different, we each have our own strengths that we bring to the parenting table.   So worry a little less.  Your relationship will change, but it will be a change that you won’t mind.

5. Minimal Hospital Bags – Don’t over pack!  I was completely guilty of this!  I packed way more than I would have ever used in our few short days at the hospital.  Leave your pre-maternity clothes at home.  You still won’t fit in them when you leave the hospital.  Don’t even bring a ton of maternity clothes.  You will stay in your maternity pajamas until you are ready to be discharged.  The bare necessities will be more than enough.  Promise.

And if you’re like me, you may have a friend who had a perfect labor and delivery.  She posted pictures of her and her husband playing UNO throughout her labor.  I had hopes that I would have a delivery like her.  I ran out and bought a pack of UNO cards.  The only thing I thought about using those cards for was to throw them across the room at Brian as I was in labor and told that I had progressed too quickly and couldn’t have an epidural.    Thank goodness I only labored for three hours from the time of the first contraction until McKenzie was born.   There was never a moment that I wanted to play cards though!

6. Limited Birth Plan – Don’t take this so seriously.  Everything that you have planned and everything that you envisioned your labor to be, won’t be like that at all.  There is no way to control what’s happening and how your delivery will go.  The less firm you are on your birth plan, the better.  Roll with the punches and know that no birth plan is perfect.  Nothing will go exactly as planned.  Go in with the ideas that you are firm on – pain medication or not (and even this is open to change at any point), breastfeeding or formula, pacifier or no pacifier, skin to skin immediately, if you want the baby to stay in your room at night or go to the nursery, etc.   Be firm on the basics, but know that there may never be a moment to play your birthing playlist, to get into a birthing tub, to use a yoga ball, to walk the halls, or to even breathe the way you had envisioned.

7. #2 – Stop worrying about whether or not you will during delivery.  I know this may seem a little blunt, but honestly, it was one of my biggest fears leading up to delivery.  When you are in that moment, you won’t even care about it or know if it happens.  You will want your baby to born so badly that you don’t care what happens in order to make this goal possible.  Pooping and all.  And if it does happen…know you won’t be the first and you won’t be the last.  Not that big of a deal.  Promise.

8. Breastfeeding – If you are planning on breastfeeding, know that it’s hard.  I wish someone would have told me how hard it was and how much it would hurt.  Although it doesn’t always work out for everyone, know that it can be done.  There were many nights I cried and wanted to give up.  Keep trying.  Find a support system.  Use your hospital’s lactation consultant.  Just know that it’s harder than anyone will ever tell you.  Early on, it’s not the picture perfect moment of a mother cradling her young baby.  With work, you can get there, but it takes work while you and the baby get used to one another.  Even if it doesn’t work out, know that you gave it your all and did the best for your baby, even if you only breastfed for a day.

9.  Your After Baby Body –  It took 9 months to build that baby and it will take that long to get your body back.  Even then, it will never be the same.  There is always something that will remind you of the baby you once carried.   Wear it as a badge of honor.  That stretch mark on your stomach is beautiful.  Don’t expect to feel 100% right after the baby is born.  For me, it took months before I felt like myself again – body image, energy level, hormones and all.  Give it time.  It’s all normal!

10. Enjoy Every Second – Savor every moment of being pregnant.  Even the tough parts.  You will reach a moment in your pregnancy when you just want the baby here.  You are tired, swollen, and uncomfortable.  You will do everything in your power to jump-start labor.   It’s an uneasy time because you feel like a walking time bomb – not knowing when you will go into labor. Take that time to spend a few extra minutes with your husband.  Take that time to enjoy a quiet moment reading or getting a pedicure.  Enjoy the little kicks from the inside.  There are a few fleeting moments left with  just and your little person.   And before you know it, they go from this…

to this…

A walking, babbling beautiful toddler!

Because, once this baby is here…time goes so quickly!

5 on Friday

One.
I am so excited for my sister-in-law’s Baby Shower tomorrow.  I can’t even believe this little baby is almost here and I am over the moon excited about being an Aunt for the first time!  Can’t wait to meet this new little bundle!

Two.
I am thankful beyond words for past friendships, current friendships and new friendships.  At each phase of my life, I have met people who mean different things to me.  Although not all of my friends have children, it’s especially powerful to connect with other Mom’s.  It’s an indescribable bond.  We each understand why the other is drinking!

Three.
I am so in love  with my little family and thankful for the weekend.   It’s the time that I cherish the most.

Four.
Brian leaves me in a week for a work conference out of state.  I can handle anything, but it still makes me nervous.  We are such a team and are strong together in different ways.

Five.
I love what a great Dad Brian is to McKenzie.  He just told me tonight that he plans on keeping McKenzie home from daycare the day before he goes out of town, so he can spend time with her.  I love watching their relationship.  Makes my heart melt.

McKenzie | 15 Months |

Dear McKenzie,

Happy 15 months!  This month has been an incredible month of change for you!  You are growing by leaps and bounds and your personality is emerging more and more each day!  You now have your own opinions and although you may not have many words to communicate, you sure know how to tell us what you want!

Most days, you are happy and giggly and a joy to be around.  Even the worst days aren’t so bad because Dad and I are figuring out how to distract and re-direct.  Dad is really good at it!  He says it’s because he thinks like you do!  🙂

Here are your stats for the month:

Clothing Size:
You are wearing mostly 12 month clothing, although much of it is starting to get short.  I think you have really grown over the past couple of weeks.  You have started wearing 18 months in some outfits.  Definitely at an in between stage!

What’s Happening:

Walking!  That’s what’s happening.  It’s not even walking any more…you now run!   You run around the house and into each room.  It’s hard to even keep up with you!

Favorite Thing – Your “tappy” sandals.  See picture above.  See those shoes?  Those are your favorite.  These are the only shoes you allow us to put on without a fight.  As soon as we put them on you, you run out to the hardwood floor as fast as you can.  You run around, tapping your feet and laughing.    You would wear these sandals all day.  Just a few nights ago,  you were not happy with us until we put the sandals on you.  You were in your pajamas at the time.  Quite a sight!  You would not let us remove them.  It’s completely normal to sleep in your sandals, right!?  I had to sneak and take them off of you once you fell asleep!

Words  – The favorite is still “dog-dog”.  It’s the first word that you say as you wake up.  You point to the dogs as they come into your room and you smile and laugh at them.  You walk all around the house pointing to the dogs and shouting “dog-dog”!  You get super excited whenever you see a dog on the TV and will stop what you are doing to shout “dog-dog”!  You are mimicking the cadence and sounds of what we say more and more, so I’m thinking a few more words may be coming soon!

Stairs – You can now walk up the stairs.  There are 15 of them to be exact.  We always stand behind you and it still makes me nervous, but you are steady and fast.

Kicking a Ball – We went to the Harford County Farm Fair in July and you won a pink bouncy ball!  It has become one of your favorite toys.  You bounce it and kick it all through-out the house.  Many nights, you are entertained by it for 30+ minutes, which says a lot about someone who normally bounces from one toy to the next!   You giggle and smile and are getting great at throwing it.

Bike Riding – You received a bike for your first birthday and you love it!  We keep it in the garage and any time that you see it, you demand to ride it.  You love being pushed in it and will hang out in it while Dad and I get things done outside.   Your feet are almost long enough to touch the pedals, so the next lesson will begin soon!  Dad was riding a bike by 2  years old, so you have a lot to live up to!

Reading – You love books and reading!  On our long car rides home each day, you will read your book and point to the pictures .  Your favorite is the animal picture book.   Of course, the page with the dog is your favorite!  We read to you each night and your demands for the numbers of books we read grows as well!  Thank goodness your books are still short, because I believe we recently read 6 of them before you went to bed!

McKenzie, words can’t even describe how much we love you!  You are so much fun to be around and our favorite times are the times we get to spend with you!    Continue to grow into the little person that you are becoming!  It’s so much fun to be your parents!

Love,
Mom and Dad