Dressed in our Sunday's best.

Thursday, March 29, 2012
Current favorite pictures. Although, I guess my favorite constantly changes as I get the chance (i.e. Henry cooperates) to take more and more pictures as of late. I can't wait till it greens up a little bit more, Claire is sitting 100% and we can take some fun outdoor ones. I am in love with these, however, and I've already ordered a bunch to update the walls. If you can believe it, the oldest print of Claire right now is from about 2 months. Yikes. For those that have been in our house, I'm trying to decide how to update the 3 square picture frames we have in our front room. Right now it's a wedding picture, an engagement picture and a baby picture of Mocha. I plan to replace it with one of Henry, one of Claire, and keeping the wedding one up. I'm pretty much sold on using the one of Henry from a month or so ago when he first wore this hat, but I can't decide on Claire's. I'm stuck between one of these or one from her 4 or 5 month session. Or, waiting until I get something great outside. Too many decisions, and that's why the prints lack in our house.

ANYWAY. Check these out. They're adorable. Or as Henry says, "a-dorb-bable."
Many thanks to Henry for flashing the smiles and holding Claire. It, of course, didn't come without a bribe. Funny thing is it wasn't a movie, chocolate, cookie, emma yum, or anything like that. You'll see at the end.

Four_Rectangles Four_Rectangles_One_Square

Cutest things ever, right? The bribe turned out to be quite ridiculous, but cute nonetheless. See, Henry and I had been looking at old blog posts and we went way back 2 years ago to his first easter. I think he was about 7-8 months old and I sat him in a bucket with a bunch of Easter Eggs. Henry thought it was hilarious, and wanted to do it again. "Mommy, can we take cheese pictures with Easter Eggs again?" So that we did. But the deal was we took pictures in our "fancy" clothes first, and then we'd open the eggs.


So there you have it. One giant kid in a tiny baby bucket surrounded by eggs. With a great big cheesy smile. Easiest. bribe. ever. It's funny to me that the very thing I have to bribe him to do (take pictures) was bribed with taking more pictures. I just LOL'd. at myself. I'm cool like that.

Claire got in on the action too.


I'd link you up to the etsy shop where I got the hat, but my mom doesn't have one ;)

What nobody tells you.

Saturday, March 24, 2012
People are full of advice. Especially when it comes to expecting/new mothers. You hear how painful labor is, how you won't sleep, how you won't be able to clean your house, how difficult it will be to do anything with a newborn, infant, child, etc. And then when you add a second child into the mix you hear all about how difficult that will be. How long it will take to adjust into a routine, how will the older sibling deal with their assumed jealousy of a new sibling, etc. etc. etc. You also hear lots of "just you waits" (i.e., this is nothing, it will, amazingly, always get more difficult, it seems), and "enjoy this" (as, obviously, none of this lasts forever).

What nobody tells you, however, is most of the good stuff. Nobody really articulates into words how bringing children into this world completes pieces of your heart and soul that you didn't even know were missing. Nobody tells you how no matter how insanely difficult the day was, and how desperate you were for the clock to tick faster to bedtime, 5 minutes after saying goodnight, you already miss those little faces. Nobody tells you how your heart can swell 5 times over with a little voice simply saying "Hi Mommy!" or with a sweet toothless grin you receive just by making eye contact with your daughter. Nobody tells you that these simple little things will bring happy tears to your eyes time and time again. Being a mother is hard work, that is for sure. Yes, some days are hard, but it's the hard times that challenge us to reflect, learn, and grow to be better.

Looking at your children and seeing reflections of yourself and your very best friend in them (both the good and the bad, and everything in between) and watching them grow into the people you hope to shape them to be is more rewarding than can even be put into words. Nobody tells you that either.

I really love this mother stuff.



Friday, March 23, 2012
I haven't been taking enough of these. Claire is really pushing herself up these days. And Henry seems to enjoy the camera again :)


I speak for the trees!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012
We love books around here. (Did you see the videos in the previous post?!--if not, stop reading this one and take a look at that post first!).
Anyway, The Lorax has been a favorite since this past summer. Henry's t-shirt I found at Old Navy, and Claire's was found at Target by Henry. We were walking around with Kelly and Henry spotted the "Truffula Tree shirt" for Claire bear. I made him promise me that he'd take "cheese pictures" with Claire bear if I bought her the shirt. It apparently worked. Unlike the last photo I have of the two of them together (the all you need is love one), this session lasted 15 solid minutes, and I love every one of these, outtakes and all.

We also saw the movie this past Sunday. Henry got his own special date with mommy and daddy while Grandma and Bumpa walked around the mall with Claire. He was attentive for the entire movie and ate more than his fair share of popcorn!

First, some of my favorites.




My light was horrible for the ones on the blue blanket, but he was cooperating, so I dealt with it. Subject matter is spot on anyway.


Not likely that a cuter picture than this exists :)


Or this one either, really.


And the rest, including outtakes.




Slightly advanced? :)

Just watch the videos. :)

Obviously, he's not actually reading Green Eggs and Ham, but the fact that he's memorized all of those parts, is hands down, amazing. Unfortunately, the first time he did this, it was way better, as was the second, but by the third time when we finally got something ready to record video, he was sort of done with it. But it's still awesome :)

An afternoon at the park.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
The current weather is insane. Though Sunday was nothing like today is, we still took advantage of the "warm-enough-to-take-a-baby-outside" weather and went to a big new park. Henry had a great time! Claire tried swinging for the first time too! She wasn't too sure of it, pretty much just sat there and didn't give too many smiles, but I think it was more the wind that bothered her.

Henry's imagination is pretty great these days. In the picture where I am coming down the slide, Henry was at the bottom, arms open, ready to catch me and save me from the "crocodiles" that were swimming around on the ground. :)



5 months!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Our beautiful baby girl is 5 months already! This past month just flew by with all the stuff we had going on. I only spent about 10 minutes on this session because she wasn't really into sitting up and I didn't have any pretty headbands handy that matched anything that fit her, so I was at a loss for outfits. Not much variety for this month, but in the end, I just need one good image per month to use in the 1 year collage I will be making her in October.

I picked up some great stuff at Target today for a super cute spring/easter session, so expect those later this week, hopefully. Plus, I'm so ready to get outside and get pictures of her. 70's all this week, so hopefully we can make something happen!

The adorable shirt that she is wearing was made by Kelly :)

9 squares

At 5 months, here is where we are.

-She is tripod sitting mostly, still topples over pretty quickly, but has had a few instances where she sat for brief periods of time.

-She is rolling over back to tummy ALL.THE.TIME. She pretty much doesn't stay on her back, but yet rarely, will she roll from tummy to back (which is supposed to be the easier skill). She's also started pushing herself up off the floor and will pivot around in circles. Just recently she's become more motivated to try and reach for things I put around her, so I'm guessing army crawling isn't too far away.

-She is LOVING her solid food. Loves it. Twice has she left some in the bowl. Twice.  For breakfast she gets half a container of a fruit and 2 liquid oz of cereal (with however much cereal it takes to get a good consistency--I don't know, as I don't measure it anymore). At lunch she gets a whole container of fruit or vegetable (or half of one and half of another), and for dinner she gets the same amount of cereal with half a container of vegetables. So far she seems to enjoy everything, but especially likes bananas, squash, and when the cereal is made with fresh milk. However, she DOES eat the cereal when it's made with frozen milk (both scalded and not!--yay for very little wasted milk in the freezer). Sadly, the freezer stash will run out quickly, and I can't pump more than 2 ounces before I go to bed for some reason--but we will cross that bridge when we get there.

-She enjoys her exersaucer, but not for great lengths of time. After about 15-20 minutes she is pretty much done with it.

-Loves watching Henry still and laughs at him all the time.

-Nurses 4 times a day at 7, 11, 4 and 7.

-Naps in her crib, consistently, 2 times per day. Her morning nap is from 9:30-11:00, and her afternoon nap is from 1:30-3:30. She also has 4 times this week put herself to sleep right away with no crying (when there was crying it was typically for 5 minutes, tops).

-6:30 is still her cranky time, no matter what.

-Still sleeps through the night, and because of all this rolling from back to tummy, she now most often is sleeping on her belly. I still put her down on her back at night, but she rolls over to her side or tummy at some point during the night.

-Making more expressions and noises/babbles. It seriously looks like she's trying to tell you something sometimes, as she gets this very serious look on her face.

-Height and weight are unknown. She goes for her 6 month check on April 11th.

-Still drooling like crazy and chomping on her fingers, but there aren't any teeth in sight yet.

-She's getting big way too fast for this mommy.

Funny faces.

Friday, March 9, 2012
Mostly of Claire, but one of Henry thrown in as well. That's his fake pout face he gives you when he's scolded for something. :)

9 squares

iPhone photo dump!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Thank goodness for the iPhone. My big camera isn't ALWAYS ready to go at a moment's notice, but my phone always is!

Some pretty funny ones in here over the past few months.

Eating Cereal!

Monday, March 5, 2012
We gave Claire cereal for the first time two weekends ago. The first time we made it SUPER runny like you are supposed to, and once finished, it was clear that much more cereal ended up on the bib than in her mouth, but each day as we thickened it up, she seemed to really enjoy it. I'm making it with my milk, both fresh and frozen depending on what I have available (the scalded stuff--which, by the way, Ms. Fussy Pants does NOT seem to be drinking the straight up defrosted/scaled milk out of a bottle any more). She ate cereal all week last week, about 2 times per day. I started with 2 ounces of milk and then thickened it up from there. We started fruit this weekend and she has tried apples and bananas so far. I'm doing a little less cereal and half a package of fruit for breakfast and dinner, and she gobbles it all up. At lunch we are doing half a package of fruit. Only one day has she not finished what I made her. It's so weird to have a kid that eats! I'm not entirely sure if I should give her more or not!

Here are some photos from the first time.

blog board

And, just for fun, a flash back to Henry's first cereal pictures.

Smoothie Love!

This boy lives helping in the kitchen as of late (helping with everything from muffins to sweet and sour pork!) He also loves smoothies, so after Mickey and friends made smoothies on today's episode, he was more than excited that I suggested smoothies for breakfast. Some iPhone captures for you. Oh, and as for a potty update, we are going four days strong with no accidents. :)

Potty Training, 101.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I'm not going to pretend we knew what we were doing going into this. And if you told me a week ago that this kid would be nearly potty trained right now after one week, I would have told you you were completely insane. Our method isn't going to win any awards, and no one is going to give us a publishing deal to make a book out of it, but it sure worked for us, even though one of the things we did is listed as one of the biggest "no-no's" on pretty much everything you'd ever read on potty training.

We forced it. Yep, we did. I'm not exactly proud of it, but every kid is different, and it worked for him. Henry is developing a pretty strong willed personality, so that, combined with his ridiculous intelligence made me ready to think that just a little push would put him over the edge and fall right into a routine with the potty.

Last Sunday, his diaper wasn't put on properly, so it was falling off. Apparently, this prompted me to think that then was as good as a time as any to try something new. I grabbed a pair of Mickey Mouse underwear (bought probably 2 months ago already and never worn), and after I took off the diaper, I put the underwear on him which sent him into a fit of pretty strong anger (you know, a screaming, kicking 2 year old tantrum). Ryan held him as he screamed for probably a good 15-20 minutes, and he eventually calmed down. We explained that he couldn't pee in his underwear, gave him lots of juice, an d set him in front of the TV on a changing pad, waiting for the juice to make its way through his body.

Flash forward about 45 minutes and he started whining. I knew he had to go, so I took him over to the potty and made him sit down. Insert more blood curdling screaming. However, I kept him there. I made him stay and I sang songs and read books until he finally calmed down after 15-20 minutes or so. After another 15 minutes, he finally peed, crying through it, however. By the end of the night, he was pulling his pants down himself and sitting himself on the potty. :)

As you can see in the picture below, I made him  a "Pirate Potty Chart". He gets a "gold dobloon" (from the Jake and the Neverland Pirate Show) every time he pees on the potty. He gets two for pooping. The first chart, he just needed 2 gold coins for a surprise, the second, he needed 5, and the third he needed 20. He quickly worked through all of those charts in 2.5 days. His current chart, he needs 30 gold coins before he gets his next surprise. (All the surprises were the plush versions of the pirate characters). Every day just got better and better. Here are the notes I took on each day this week.

Day 1
-2 accidents (neither of which were full accidents)
-2 successes

Day 2
-2 accidents (neither of which were full accidents)
-8 successes (only 3 were full pees) On day 2, he was a little afraid to let it go and would only pee a little bit every 30 minutes or so.

Day 3
2 dribble accidents
1 poop accident (for the kid that takes all day to finally poop, it's weird that he out of no where pooped while I was upstairs with Claire for 3 minutes)
5 full success
1-2 half pees

Day 4
7 success (5 full pees)
2 dribble accidents
1 poop on the potty (on the big potty, no less!)

Day 5
4 successes
dry after nap time

Day 6
5 sucesses
dry at nap time

Look at that progress!! Each day was better than the day before! By day 5, he was only going on the potty and peeing when he needed to (on the second morning, he didn't want to leave the potty, but he wouldn't go)

Last night, he woke us up at midnight, peed, and went back to bed and was dry in the morning!!! I can't even begin to say how happy I am with how well and quickly this is going. He's wearing pull-ups during sleep times, but we are calling them "night-night" underwear, and it seems to be working for him.

He wears underwear all day and is quite happy with his Mickey, Cars, Buzz and Nemo collection.

So yes, we took a bit of a different approach, but it totally worked for him. And we are quite happy to be done with the "number 4 diapers".

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