Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Andrew's Verbal Skills

Now that Andrew is 17 months old, I am finally noticing some big strides in his language development. I'm gonna be honest, having a daughter who was speaking in full sentences by the age of 1 may have given me unrealistic expectations. I thought he'd follow big sister's example and be jabbering up a storm by now. And it's not that he can't communicate to us, but his words were just not there.

Sarah was 16 months old when Andrew was born and thankfully VERY verbal. This made dealing with a newborn and a toddler so much easier. And while there were many "I'm going to pull my hair out" crazy moments, most of them were not because of Sarah's lack of conversational skills.

But like I said, until the last week or so, I was pretty sure Andrew would speak in grunts, unitelligible sounds and one word phrases for the rest of his life. He was content to "talk" to us in the system he had developed. And why not, he had big sister there to interpret for him or he could just get loud and mad until we frantically found the thing he wanted.

Now in no way do I think he is developmentally behind, but Sarah just seemed to absorb words. No one had to point things out and teach her what they were. I mean we never deliberately sat her down and taught her words. She just started talking and never stopped.

There was a point a couple months back, when I realized that unless we started fostering more language development in him, he wasn't going to make much progess. So instead of giving into his grunts and whines, we would ask him to say "please" "apple" "milk" whatever it was that he wanted. It took a while for him to see things our way but I'm happy to say he's learning new words every day!

Here's a list of the things he says now:

Bup - cup
Meelk - milk
Side - outside
Bwush - brush
Snack- fruit snacks
Wappah - waffle
Eat/Bite - let's us know he's hungry
Thissy - Sissy/Sarah
Dodo - Codie
Mimi - Grammy
Mow - mouth or meow depending on the context
Ea-yo- ear
Hai-yo - hair
Two - Whenever he hears "one" he says two
Buh Bye
Nigh Night
Bwish - fish
Dat - cat
Dah- dog
Peeg - pig
Efint- elephant
Ruroh - hello
Elp- help
Dar - car
Wowk - fork
Nan- Peter Pan doll
Bwock- block
Chayo - chair
Stayo- stair

I'm sure I have forgotten a few things here and there. And of course he still has strings of jibberish and we all end up frustrated in the process of trying to figure out what he wants. But so goes life with a toddler. One minute you can't understand them, the next they pretend not to understand you. Anyone else having fun listening to your kiddos vocabulary expand?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sibling Bond

When I first found out I was pregnant with Andrew I'll admit it made me a bit nervous. I was worried about how Sarah would react to having a new baby around, especially since she was practically still a baby herself when Andrew was born. Then I found out Andrew was a he, and I was hit with an all new anxiety.

I worried about how two kids of different genders with such a close age gap would get along. Plus I already knew how to be a girl mom, and I had no idea what being a boy mom meant. I was pretty convinced that I wouldn't be able to balance the pink/glitter/princesses with the blue/noisy/cars. But my kids led the way and totally showed me how completely AMAZING it is to have one of each.

Hospital pictures
Their bond as siblings is truly remarkable. Sarah took an interest in Andrew right away. She loved on him, hugging and kissing him all the time. She wanted to help us with everything, from changing his diapers to feeding him to pushing his stroller. Even now, it's clear how much she loves him. She shares her beloved My Little Pony toys with him (granted it's her least favorite ponies that he gets to play with), she always makes sure that he gets a snack whenever she does, whenever we are at the store and she sees something he would like she wants me to buy it, and she still hugs and kisses him like crazy!

 And once Andrew really became aware of his surroundings, his adoration of his big sister became so evident. He smiles for her, looks all over for her saying "Thissy" if he gets up from nap before her, follows her around to the point of driving her a little crazy, shares his food with her, brings her cups of water, and sweetly tells her "nigh-nigh" with hugs before bed.

Now that's not to tell you that we don't have knock down, drag out fights around here. There's plenty of yelling, screaming, kicking, pushing, shoving, and tears. Some toys cause way more issues than others and some snacks can cause meltdowns. Heck, even just getting up in the morning can cause a fight if Andrew (my morning baby) says "hi" too early and happy for Sarah (my not so morning kiddo).

I'm totally in awe of their relationship and it completely melts my heart to see them loving one another. I know they will always have someone in their corner as long as they have each other. And I pray for them and their bond. I hope so much it continues on for the rest of their lives.

Siblings at their best.

My FAVORITE picture of them together!

September 2011

Halloween 2011
November 2011

Feeding brother baby food.

January 2012

Last spring
Before Andrew learned how to walk, mowing the grass together.
Playing together at church in October
This is from making cookies a couple of nights ago.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Adventures in Cooking

Cooking has never been a strength for me. I stress out if I don't have an EXACT recipe to follow, I can't tell if meat is cooked all the way through, and I usually feel like the meal turns out badly after hours of effort. But I decided that since the kids are getting older they should  need to eat more than hot dogs, mac and cheese, pasta with parmesan cheese, scrambled eggs, and fruit snacks.

My aversion to cooking really has nothing to do with a lack of good foods available, it's mostly the fact that I've always been surrounded by good cooks. I mean when your husband can make an amazing meal out of random odds and ends in the pantry and fridge, why go to the trouble of finding recipes and stressing over cooking?

But when I realized just how much I worried over Sarah's picky eating, I got to thinking. Maybe it was less Sarah being finicky and more that she usually gets fairly limited choices. Sure she loves all those foods above but I think that's because when she was littler -and refusing to eat table foods or anything other than crackers and puffs- whenever I found something she'd eat I would immediately stop searching for other things to feed her. I'd found the "it" food of the week or month or whatever. She was eating and that was all that mattered.

I want her and Andrew to develop good eating habits though, so I decided to make a desperate plea for recipes on Facebook and I browsed Pinterest forever. Lucky for me, my friends came through and really so has Pinterest. Here's a few things I've learned on this endeavor.

  1. I love my crockpot. Something that does all the cooking for me? You bet I am more than okay with that.
  2. If I let Sarah "help" me cook, she's way more likely to eat whatever said food is. It's not always easy to find a task that a 2 year old can help with, but even if it's stirring up something or adding potatoes wedges into the crockpot, she'll feel like a useful part of dinner prep. And then most likely will brag to Daddy about how she made such a yummy dinner.
  3. Letting all the organic, natural, anti-GMO talks get into your head is a bad idea. At least for me. Yes I realize that all of those things are good. However, I am friends with a few people on Facebook that only post about how you are slowly killing your kids if you don't follow an organic, real food diet. Personally, I really don't think the occassional fast food meal makes me a bad mom, just a hurried one.
  4. If we as parents set good examples the kids will follow. I realize it's easier said than done. I love some good junk food, but when all the kids see me eating is junk, guess what they want. JUNK. So if I switch it up and make better food choices, they are more inclined to do the same.
  5. There's bound to be some flops. A bad recipe, an overcooked piece of chicken, burned bread, bland rice, etc. It's okay to have failures or recipes that you won't go back to.
  6. Meal planning make a world of difference. Honestly if you have a list of meals for the week, you are far LESS likely to go out and impulse buy at the grocery store every other day.
  7. Timing is key. You may have a quick and easy taco salad planned, but if the corn bread takes 25 minutes, you should start that first...
  8. I enjoy baking much more than actual real food cooking. If only we could live off of cupcakes and brownies. Well, without suffering from numerous health problems.
As I learn more or have a funny/embarassing/horrible experience story to tell, I'll have some more blog posts about our meals!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

2012 or "The Year of Change"

Here it is: my review of the past year and how it treated us. 2012 was an interesting year for our family. And instead of doing a huge giant picture dump, going month by month, reviewing our ups and downs; I thought I would just do a questionaire type thing about what 2012 was like for us.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Well for starters, I went an entire calendar year with two kids. What a total game changer for me, it wasn't always easy but it was rewarding. Also we moved in with my parents (which I have done before, but this time I brought the husband, two kids, and two dogs). Oh and then we bought a house! And lastly we moved twice within 12 months.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any last year, instead I focused on one word "APPRECIATE" and I'd like to think that I was able to appreciate life a bit more in 2012. Slow down and soak up the good things and realize how blessed I am. But I know there were days when I chose to wallow in self-pity (living with my parents, life stinks, blah blah) instead of trying to find what I could appreciate. (For the record, while living with my parents wasn't always the most fun thing in the world, it had its up sides.Lots of people to help with the kids, social interaction throughout the day, and the kids relationship with their grandparents getting even better being a few. I am incredibly grateful that we lived with them and were able to get enough money to get our own house.)

And for this year I think I'd like to do the same, but instead I want our word for the year to be "BUILD". I want to build our home, make it a place where we can build memories and build a life as a family. Building is work, and I am ready for it! I spent almost the entire month of January trying to figure out our word for this year so I'm hoping it fits us and helps remind me of my goals!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I had a couple of friends have babies, but no one in my immediate family or anything like that.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
None, I visited a few states around the US but I stayed in country the whole year.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Less changes. I felt like most of 2012 was a time of waiting and transistion for us and I would really like to feel more grounded and less stressed out this year.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
August 20th - our baby Andrew turned 1
Dec 14th - Sandy Hook really pulls at my heart still
Dec 27th - we closed on our house

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Besides buying a house, I'd say it was getting a part time job. I have a really hard time doing things for myself, but this job has given me time to be an adult and become something other than mom. It's nice to feel like I'm contributing in some way other than taking care of the kids all day and it's good for the kids to get to spend time with their dad as well.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't think I had one major failur that stands out in particular. There were plenty everyday failures: getting frustrated with the kids, losing my temper, not realizing how good things are, getting stuck in the "woe is me" attitude (of which I am kind of prone to when I get upset), and so on.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major, plenty of colds and random virus things over the winter though. One particularly nasty stomach bug that made me wish I was dead, but nothing too horrible.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our house!

12. Where did most of your money go?
House, bills, and kid clothes. What can I say? Those tiny clothes just scream "BUY ME RIGHT THIS SECOND!"

13. What did you get really excited about?
Purchasing and moving into our house.

14. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Nothing special comes to mind

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? I think overall, happier. We are in our own place and I'm working and being active in life. Last year I was feeling very closed in and stuck.
– thinner or fatter? Thinner, last year I think I may have still had some baby weight hanging around.
– richer or poorer? Poorer. We bought a house, remember?

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Being content with life. I spent a lot of time getting frustrated and worrying about how everything would play out in the end.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Getting frustrated, stressed, and angry.

18. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Eve was at the In-Laws and Christmas Day was with my family. It's been like that since we got married.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
Well I really like Once Upon a Time.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
Well I read a lot and always have a hard time picking a favorite.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Christmas music always ranks high in my list of favorites, I am a sucker for a good carol. But I also enjoyed listening to Taylor Swift's new album.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
Didn't see many.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I spent it with family, but a few days before I got a girls night out with a few close friends and it was absolutely the best treat my husband could have given me. I was 26 by the way.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being able to take off on vacation. I love to travel, but it's usually not in our budget and now with the kids...

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Shabby and sometimes chic mom. Haha mostly I wear yoga pants and a t-shirt. Or jeans and a sweater.

26. What kept you sane?
Praying, Ryan, friends, and seeing my kids smile and get along.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
That waiting and doing things the right way really does pay off.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Christmas Photo Dump

Yes I know Christmas was a month ago, but I swear you'll forgive the belated holiday photos when you see just how much cuteness is packed in these pictures.

 Even though we have a nice camera (non cell phone) we rarely get it out anymore, something I plan on changing fairly soon. But because of that, I have to depend on other people to capture some good and non-blurry photos of my kids. Lucky for me they usually deliver but then it's up to me to get them off of memory cards and upload them. 

Anyway I typed all that out, as a roundabout excuse/apology for being so late with these.

Christmas Eve (at the in-laws)

Love this photo so much!

Happy Santa baby!

Tasting the play food!

Shark boy!

Getting Ready for Christmas Eve Service
Forgive the background and barefeet, but look at those faces! I absolutely love Sarah's expression.
Beautiful kids.
This picture melts my heart. Doting big sis and loving little brother.

Christmas Day (my parents' house)

Those eyes, sleepy Christmas morning

Tinker Bell was in someone's stocking! 

One of my favorites, she loves this doll! 

Bear chair

Working on his tool bench


We were pumped about the Tangled Ever After short!

Again look at those eyes

STOMPEEZ, just what she wanted!

Trying them on.

Someone loves his ball pit.

Happy boy!


Friday, January 18, 2013


So I don't have much. I have a few half finished posts, you know the Christmas picture dump and the year in review being a couple. Yes I know it's already the second half of January, but we were getting moved and settled, and well I was feeling a little blog-lazy.

I'm waiting to get the rest of the Christmas pictures off of my mom's camera before I do a Christmas photo dump. And I just didn't feel like I could post the 2012 recap post without doing Christmas first. You know chronological order and all that. But what I do have is a few pictures from around here lately.

Here's a few from Instagram:

We love My Little Pony right now!

Adorable 2 1/2 year old right there
Playing is Sarah's PINK room

Ball pit fun!

Static electricty is out of control

Taking care of babies

Helping with the laundry

My husband totally set up and organized the play room, making him awesome!!

And a few cell phone pics:

 Sleeping in her big girl bed ... and on her nightstand
 Cleaning house
 Watching My Little Pony together. Little brothers don't get a say, but it works out.
 Temporary tattoo (Yes my kitchen is painted BRIGHT green)
 Riding around the house
This pretty much summarizes life right now, babies jumping all over the place and things thrown around everywhere!