Thursday, March 31, 2011

To each their own....



Kinda funny to see a 3.5 year old with a binkie and a 4 month old without one, but that is the way it goes at our house!

Reese had a binkie within the first couple of hours after birth. You see when they are tube feeding a baby they want them to suck so that they associate sucking with their tummy getting full. Well, Reese was hooked from day one. She had her binkie in her mouth 24/7 and still would I think if we let her.

Maleah is different. I had to encourage her to use the binkie. And now she puts herself to sleep and naps without it. She likes her fingers. She doesn't use them all that much but she does use them much more when she is tired. Often I watch her falling asleep making that sucking motion with her mouth but not even using her fingers.

So Maleah quit the binkie before Reese. And that is okay with me. (Not with Matt however.) I am going to play the preemie card here cause we just don't totally know. Being born at 34 weeks, Reese lacked some important development....maybe part of that was sucking, I don't know.

I do know she won't use a binkie for ever. She talks about giving it up to earn a doll named "Annabell" but she has yet to do that. She will, when she is ready or when we see that the binkie is harming her. But for now, we just encourage both girls to love each other as they are. Turns out they are pretty good at that!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Baby bed

Sadly and gladly I think this is coming to an end soon:



Maleah is now just about the length of this bed! She does stay swaddled pretty well....most nights I re-swaddle her once when I nurse her in the am (around 3 or 4). That is the other thing....I don't think she needs this early morning nursing as she only eats a little. Maybe she is waking to my sounds or I am waking to hers and then nursing her, not sure. But I am also not sure if she can make it 10 - 12 hours yet and I don't want to start my day at 5 or 6....I like 7-7:30! So some more changes are coming....

I was wanting Maleah to get napping down before we made a change at night because she sleeps so well at night I knew that could get her through the days of learning to nap in her bed. Currently she naps in her bed pretty well, waking once or twice for anywhere from 1 mintue to 45 mintues and then goes back to sleep.

But she can't stay in this little bed forever....so soon, very soon, she will only sleep in her room and in her bed....such a big girl!! ;) (Side note: she IS a big girl, now weighing 14lbs 12oz, which is double her birth weight!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Love a good book....



We have so many books at our house! To encourage the love of reading right? Well not when you can find them!



Last Christmas my parents got us a book shelf...a gift for Reese that was really for me...so sneaky!



But now we need more book storage. I found this idea and I love it! I think I want eight of them!! Above the potty, for all the potty training books, along the living room wall so Maleah can reach her board books, along the wall in Reese's bed for when I start letting her read books in bed and I might need a nineth one just for the library books so that I don't keep decortating like this:



I also think these would make great gifts! Put a few books in the spice rack and then you are giving the gift of reading and organization! Does it get any better?!

I am looking forward to the day Matt makes the trip to Ikea to get these for me! I would go myself, but that would mess up nap time!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Making paint!





Got this GREAT IDEA from reading my friend Susan's blog. Use equal parts flour, salt and water then add food coloring. Maybe many people already knew this but I didn't! (Guess I should have remembered making salt maps in fourth grade but oh well!) Thanks for the great idea! We had a fun morning making paint, mixing colors and painting!

video

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Preschool wise

Yep, another post about my new favorite series. Preschool wise is such a helpful book! I have been working on creating a routine for Reese now that we are staying home more to let Maleah nap. I have been feeling so bad about staying home, like I am depriving Reese. But now I see how God has given us this time, this season for specific training. I get to teach again and I get to teach my own daughter! We are loving this time together, learning together, ordering our days. I have been keeping a sleep journal for Maleah to help in her sleep training and now I am keeping a learning journal for Reese so I can see her progress as well. It also helps Matt. When he comes home he can look over what we have done together and it helps him choose activities with purpose to do with Reese.

Reese "sewing" working on skills for math:



Dog crates double as art drying racks! Here are the chore cards we made together:



First time she really used glue all by herself! We got those capsules that you dissolve in hot water and I always find them around the house afterwards. Turns out they are great for working with glue as they absorb all the extra!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sadly it is over.....

We have been a part of a home group this year that came to an end last Sunday night. We were taking the class "Growing Kids God's Way" at our church with a group of other parents. The kids came to group with us and some of the wonderful youth group kids fed them dinner and entertained them while we learned how to parent. This study was unlike any that I have ever done. It was so practical! Each week we talked about a biblical principal that was a simple, yet profound truth and then we were given a way to put that truth to practice in our parenting. For example, God calls us to a standard of excellence, and that is something we want our kids to strive for, to always do there best. So how do we get the kids to do this? By teaching them the concepts of good, better, best. Saying hello to someone who says hello to you is good, but asking how they are is better and looking them in the eye and shaking their hand is best. Anyways, just one example of the good stuff we were learning.

One of the best parts....it put Matt and I on the same page! We now have the same principles all lined out for us that we are in agreement with and we have the knowledge of the same vehicles in how to implement those principles. Hooray for consistency! Hooray for confident parenting! Hooray for dad coming home from the work day and totally understanding how our day has gone at home!

I really have been changed by this class. I was a great teacher and made to be a mommy and I love Jesus, but I did not know how to put those all together to parent with confidence. This class has done that for me. PLUS, it has given my family community! A group of like minded people all raising kids with the same goal in mind.

This class just ended and I wish it was starting again! Seriously! I know there is so much more I could get out of it, and Matt feels the same way.

Look for a class in your area, you won't regret it!! Start a class in your area, you will be so glad you did!! :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Babywise

I have found the book "Baby Wise" so helpful in raising Maleah. We were able to be on a three hour schedule with her from day three! (Side note: Funny to think that Reese was on a three hour schedule coming home from the NICU and within 24 hours we were totally off of that, struggling to feed on demand and figuring out what a feed demand looked like.) I love the advice to spend the first 7-10 days just working on getting your baby to take a full feeding each time, and not worry about how to organize/do anything else! This really helped me to relax and enjoy my new baby and trust that everything would fall into place in due time. Maleah figured out her days and night pretty quickly and was sleeping 5-7 hours by week seven. True, I had trouble napping Maleah, but now, it is so much better, in part because we stuck with the eat, play, sleep routine so early on and trainned Maleah what to expect. Now she is "just" having to work on sleeping on her own....and doing really well at that. I have found the baby wise blog so helpful for getting tips on what to do in different situations, but mostly through reading that blog I have learned how to "trouble shoot" my own child in our situation and how to trust my gut and do what I think is best. I am so grateful to these to resources for helping me to parent with confidence, helping me to reduce the chaos and increase the time I get to enjoy my baby!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Favorite baby things

These are some of my favorite things for newborns (0-3 months)

1) I love this car seat cover by JJ Cole! It makes it so you can still carry the car seat by the handle, it keeps baby covered but not too hot, and it keeps people from peaking in and waking your sleeping baby! :)

2) This swaddle blanket goes in the car seat! I got it one size bigger than Maleah needed so we would have extra room to pull it across her. But it is so helpful for keeping those flailing arms from waking up the sleeping baby! (Are you seeing a trend?)

3) Okay a funny name, but I have found the wubbanub so helpful! Maleah was able to hold it in much better than just her binkie, and you can swaddle it under the swaddle blanket in the car seat so it stays near the baby and .... you guessed, keeps them asleep!

4) I don't know how I ever lived without a video monitor! This is making sleep training so much easier! I can judge Maleah's wake times much better when I know exactly what time she fell asleep and when she woke up and how long she laid awake in the middle. When she is crying hard, almost putting herself back to sleep, I can look and see, she is not stuck any where, she is not really moving and then I can listen and hear that she is rhythmically crying, finding sleep. Plus I can check on Reese and see when she falls asleep for her nap and also what she is doing when she is suppose to be sleeping at night. Okay these monitors can be a bit addicting, but I find them so helpful for.....watching your baby sleep! :)

Any new, favorite baby things you just couldn't live without? I would love to know!! :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What if......

I am really good at "What if-ing" just about anything. My mind can wander in this direction without any effort. In fact it takes effort to not "What if" in my mind. Recently, Matt pointed out that Reese was doing a lot of "What if-ing" as well. Gotta love that. So we talked about it, about how when we worry about the future, we are not trusting God, because He has not taken us there yet. She responded by saying "I need to find my bible because I don't know it that well yet." Me too kiddo!

Since that talk we have discovered there are some good "what ifs", ones that are curious about things and so Reese and I have to stop and think, is this a worry what if or an excited what if. Helps to be training my mind with my daughter, as she is so good at keeping me accountable! ;)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What counts as a roll?


Way back in the beginning of Februrary Maleah rolled from her tummy to her back. But sadly, no one saw it. It still counts though right? ;)
Currently she is working on rolling from her back to her tummy but can't quite get her arm above her head to make this work for her.

So when do you count it as rolling over? Just one way or both? I know, a VERY important question!! :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy 3.5 Birthday Reese!

Today Reese is 3.5 years old and such a kid these days! Here is a quick summary of what her life is like these days:

Eating: We have been giving her smaller portions and this seems to help her eat better but she is a picky eater still! She trys a new food maybe once a week and usually doesn't like it. Good news, she is gagging less at smells and not complaining about the smell of our dinner anymore, or rarely. Bad news, she does not like the sight of spit up or Maleah moving rice cereal in and out of her mouth. Just looking at her sister during this time causes Reese to gag. Something to work on in the months to come!

Naps: Reese still naps 2-3 hours each day! Unless she is sick, then she doesn't nap at all or just an hour. She currently sleeps through Maleah's crys so that is wonderful!

Night time: Reese has trouble going to sleep at night. Not totally sure why. She does still seem to need that nap during the day, but maybe not that long? I don't know, I kinda like the days how they are! But we are working on the night time falling asleep, reading books downstairs instead of in bed in hopes of less negotiations once in bed. Once she falls asleep, she sleeps about 9-10 hours. We have gotten her a clock so she can get out of bed in the morning when it is an okay time so we will see how this works out and if it helps at night at all.

Learning: She is loving learning her letters, sounds and making words! The Leap Frog videos have helped with this and are great! We get them from the library. We also get the older kid version of signing time from the library and it is well done too. Reese also likes to watch Super Why on PBS another thing to make reading fun. She has just started to be able to write some letters too.

Play: I have not really directed her play until now. The goal is to help her focus on a task and see it through. Focus can be a struggle for her. We have just started this so it is done for 5 to 15 minutes (like you can play with Legos only until lunch is ready or color this picture for 5 minutes). So far not much resistance as we pair it with "This will help you be ready for school!" When Reese does free play, she is so imaginative and applies so many things during this time. I can usually see what kind of mommy I have been that week when I watch this play. ;)

Chores: We are just getting to be more consistent here and she also has more skill and interest now than at 3. Like last week "Hey mom, I should make my bed huh!" So now she is making her bed after night and after nap, because she thought it would be the right thing to do! She can fully dress herself socks and all. Going potty, washing hands and leaving the bathroom clean has gotten much better! I plan to make chore cards and keep it fun for me and for her.

Big sister: She is so loving to Maleah. Maleah just mostly watches Reese play, but any time Reese comes to talk to her and moves toys with her Maleah is extra attentive and smiles a ton. Reese loves to see that reaction.

Emotions: Reese is still very emotional but in a different way. At 3 her emotions could swing from happy to devastated in a seconded and she had a hard time when plans would change. Now it is through questions, like "Do you still love me?" many times throughout the day. She does need direct encouragement and celebration of accomplishments all throughout the day. But then again, who doesn't? :)

We have been staying home a lot for Maleah to work on her napping and Reese has been doing well with this when I give her times for doing things throughout the day. She still gets to go to BSF with my neighbor and her two girls and she looks forward to that each week.

Can't believe this is the same little tiny baby we brought home from the hospital! I love who this little girl is becoming!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Breakfast time

Reese now likes pedisure drinks, which are expensive, but luckily she likes the store brand version as well. We just had to explain to her that they changed the picture on the outside to make it cheaper. That is the truth right?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A new favorite....



She is loving mirrors more and more and becoming so expressive as she interacts with them....like any girl should! :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Make over

"Hey mommy, can you take a picture of me before I dress up and then one when I turn into a princess?"





"Oooo...I don't like the flash in that one. Can we take another one Mommy?"



"There that is perfect. Now let's put them on the computer and show people."

This blog post courtesy Reese Ryan.

Seriously what these kids expect with pictures! What ever happened to waiting a week for them to be developed? Ahhhh the good old days... ;)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green art

I did not really explain St. Patrick's Day today to Reese other than to have us all wear green, talk about how green is lucky and do some green art:



Just some cookie cutters and green paint!



I love her concentration! We have been working on focusing to help prepare her for preschool next fall!! :)



She had fun "making cookies" as she called it!

Hey good lookin'! Whatca got cookin'?



Reese is becoming quite the chef and Maleah loves to "eat" what ever it is that Reese makes for her. Reese is always making me some chai tea since she knows it is my favorite. Such a sweet girl!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More 4 month pictures

I wanted some cuter 4 month pictures.....





Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Resting

Sebbers is such a faithful old dog. Here he is doing tummy time with Maleah:



"Hey mommy! This will make a cute picture!"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Playtime


Reese inherited some fun new play dough toys.....Maleah wishes she could play too!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Early morning play time


My teammate from Westmont Rebecca moved to Gig Harbor this past summer. This is her son Nolan, who is almost two. Reese loves to be Nolan's big sister! Nolan is such a sweet little guy. He and Reese sure do have a good time together! This was the morning we were watching Nolan while Rebecca had an early morning doctor appointment. Nolan will be a big brother soon....to twin girls!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Related?


I still think Maleah looks so much like Matt! What do you think?
(Photo courtesy Reese Ryan Thomson)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Welcome back babies!


Reese had to give up her babies for 4 weeks (we had head lice, oh so fun!) and she got to welcome them back the day we returned from CA. Reese was amazing, never really whined much about having to give up her toys for a month. But as it got closer to the day she would be getting them back, she began to talk about them... "My babies are cold in the garage! They miss their mommy! They need me!" So sweet. When we returned home she loving took each one out of the bag, held it and rocked it and then placed it by our fireplace to warm it back up! I love seeing her take such care of her belongs!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

4 months old!



This last month Maleah flew to CA, got her first cold and ear infection, got her 2nd cold and ear infection, is trying to roll from her back to her stomach, has discovered her hands and her feet, smiles alot, starting to giggle a little more, holds her head up so well we were given the go to start solids:



Really we are just practicing using the spoon to see if she is ready. The first time she tried, she did much better than I thought! She was able to move the food around in her mouth.

We have had to break on and off from sleep training due to the colds. She will go down for her nap swaddled and with her binkie. If her binkie falls out she stays asleep. But she wakes up at 30 minutes no matter what! Yesterday she fell asleep on her own in her car seat as we ate lunch at Costco and still at 30 minutes she woke up! The only way she sleeps longer than that is if I hold her....funny Reese was the same way!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The frustration saucer!



Does anyone have this issue with this toy? Maleah likes to explore most of it....but then she will settle in on those keys and get so frustrated! Not sure what she wants to do with them but they always frustrate her! Reese was the same way with the same keys! But lucky for Maleah, she has one thing that will take the frustration away:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Parks of Redlands




My parents helped out BIG time while we were staying the week with them. They took Reese to a different park each morning so she could get out and get some exercise! She loved it and they were impressed with her climbing skills!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Aunt Kami


Aunt Kami drove 4 plus hours through a rain storm just to be with family! Reese was so happy to have her Aunt Kami to play with. I really enjoy seeing the special relationship these two have. See how comfortable Reese is in Kami's lap? Kami is a wonderful aunt. We miss you Aunt Kami!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Uncle David


Matt stayed down at his conference while the girls and I headed to my parents house for the rest of the week. Uncle David joined us for the weekend and Reese so enjoyed spending time with him, as she was really missing her daddy. Thanks for all the fun games you played with us Uncle David!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Kacy!


From being my first little sister, playmate, friend to being wives, and now mommies to little girls I am so very thankful God chose you to be my sister. We are so very different, and I learn a lot from you! I appreciate the way you stand back and watch what is going on then how you choose your actions and words wisely. I love watching you be Kylee's mommy and the pure joy you get from mothering her. And I am forever grateful that you are so willing to field an emotional phone call from your older sister. Thank you for loving Jesus so much that it spills over into my life and the lives of those around you. I love you very much! Happy Birthday to my sister, my friend!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Disneyland

Matt had his yearly real estate conference at Disneyland this year, so we decided to tag along. Reese was really looking forward to meeting the princesses, but it was a 90+ minute wait and she was not interested in standing in line. She did get to meet Minnie Mouse and go in her house:



And ride my favorite ride small world!


Aunt Kacy and cousin Kylee were our hostesses for the day:




Daddy and Reese had a fun adventure together shopping for Reese's souviner....They got a picture signed by all the princesses! And the shop owner brought out three free balloons to which Reese said "STOP! Take those back! Aunt Kacy is afraid of balloons!" Such a thoughtful niece! :)



Reese did her very first sleepover and slept in Grammie and Gramps's room without any trouble! Maleah did well sleeping in the bassinet that Kacy brought for us! Without the help of my family it would have been a much harder trip....so thankful that they were able to join us!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sister time


Looking forward to these two enjoying more and more time together!