Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Card Photos & Outtakes 2016

Attempting our own Christmas cards this year was no easy task, but I managed to pull it off somehow with our cards that I love.  I wanted the kiddos in their coordinating Christmas jammies and am super happy with how they came out.  Of course, with the few good pictures we capture, comes tons and tons of really funny and not-so-pretty ones, too.  We may have even had a few meltdowns, and at the time, all you can do is snap away and laugh later!  

I wanted to share some pictures from our photoshoot since we couldn't possibly put all of them on the card (and some of which weren't card worthy but just funny and ones I'd want to remember!)  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Feeding Stages Begin, with Nuby Feeding Accessories! {a&n Product Review}

Acelyn has been introduced to the world of solids these past couple of months, and it's no secret that she is  alllllllll about her puree food!  We are on a nice schedule of having fruits for breakfast and veggies for dinner, so she gets her fair share of eat time in between playing, nursing and sleeping!  We love that we have had our Nuby products to help introduce solids to Acelyn, and can't help but feel they've made the transition that much easier!  Especially during this current holiday season, as we are in and out for dinners with busy schedules and visiting family, traveling with our feeding accessories has never been simpler!

For Nolan and as well as Acelyn's very first interaction, we used the same temperature-sensing (color changing) spoons to feed purees to our babies.  When Nuby sent us the All Silicone Feeding Spoons, I won't lie- I was a little resistant to switch up my beloved "baby spoons" because, well, memories!!  They worked just fine and the same classic spoons that fed Nolan were doing the trick for Acelyn, too.

Regardless, I washed up the All Silicone Feeding Spoons and gave them a chance.  I am so glad we did!  These spoons are seriously magical.  These 100% Silicone, BPA Free spoons are so flexible and soft, and fit perfectly into Acelyn's mouth, almost folding into her mouth to make sure it doesn't really even spill out.  The Soft Flex spoon makes it easy to clean excess food from around her mouth, and the deep bowl of the spoon allows to scoop the desired amount of food for her (which is a huge spoonful for this little piggy).  The soft silicone is perfect for Acelyn during her teething time, too, making it perfect on her tender gums, and she also loves to grab her own spoon and gnaw away at it to teethe.  The easy grip handle makes for a comfortable fit in both my hand while feeding her, as well as her own when she decides to take matters into her own hands (literally) and feed herself.  They are super lightweight and easy to pack up, so perfect for on the go dinners during the holiday busyness or a quick stash in the diaper bag to Grandma's house for holiday festivities.  I love the more square design of the spoons, and although I was a little intimidated that they would be too large for her, they proved me wrong and are my absolute favorite now. 

The All Silicone Feeding Spoons are perfect for babies age 4 months+ for babies first introduction to foods, and can be found at the following retailer: 

We've used the Nuby Sure Grip Suction Bowl almost every day in our home, whether it's to serve Acelyn her purees or to let her practice some baby led weaning herself.  The bowl has a one piece, super non-slip suction base that sticks to most flat, smooth surfaces, which means no more dropped bowls when Acelyn tries her newest tricks of tossing things overboard from the highchair!  Because of this great feature, the suction bowl base serves as a great addition to holiday dinners out at restaurants or families' homes- less mess and one less thing to pick up from the floor!  

The all-in-one durable silicone Sure Grip Suction Bowl is a great feeding accessory for babies aged 6+ months, is BPA and PVC Phthalate Free and can be found at the following retailer: 

The cleaning on both the Silicone Spoons and Suction Bowl is the most magical part!  Literally, one rinse under running water and all the food and mess come clean off.  Because they are made of 100% silicone, they wipe clean and they are dishwasher and microwave (Suction Bowl) safe... no better thing for a busy Mama to have!  I love that when we are on the go, I can just wipe both of them down with a baby wipe and throw it back in my diaper bag to clean later, and not have to worry about food dripping or smearing onto other things in my bag!  

Finally, the Nuby Insulated Stainless Steel Food Jar with Folding Spoon is the perfect travel and on-the-go accessory to carry cold/warm foods and keeps to the temperatures for such a long time!  We initially used this for Acelyn when she started with rice cereal and oatmeal in her introduction to solids.  With the dry oatmeal on the top bowl portion and breastmilk stored in the insulated jar, we were able to keep her food in tow with us while out and about until she was ready to eat, all while keeping it in regulated, safe temperature.  Temperatures are regulated by keeping warm up to 6 hours and keeping cool up to 7 hours, all while staying cool to the touch.  Now, we use as a great divider between her puree foods in the insulated jar and snacks like puffs in the top bowl portion.  Nolan also gets great use out of this for cereal, snacks and other temperature regulated foods such as yogurts and soups.  It serves as a great way for the kiddos to snack while playing, a perfect holiday travel accessory and a convenient way to store and spoon up food on the go.

With a folding spoon that stores inside the cap, the BPA Free Insulated Stainless Steel Food Jar comes in one size, at 15 oz./450 ml.  It is perfect for babies ages 4+ months and is available at the following retailer: 

We are loving all of our new uses for the above feeding accessories, especially paired with the holiday bustle and on-the-go convenience to make life just a little bit less stressful during such a busy yet fun time of the year.  Wishing all of you the happiest of holidays and an amazing start to a New Year!  

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Acelyn: 7 Months

How in the world is this little lady officially closer to one than a new baby!?  It's amazing how fast time is flying by, especially the second time around.  I want to swaddle her up and snuggle the heck out of her to keep her tiny, but this girl has too much growing to do and exploring on her mind.  Month seven has brought a whole new independence to Acelyn, and she's not slowing down anytime soon!  

Acelyn has become mobile (mostly), and although she can't officially crawl, she's rolling, scooting and wobbling her way to get to every square inch of our house.  She is so close to crawling, and can get on all fours and rock back and forth, but just hasn't quite figured out how to hold her weight and move her legs at the same time.  To get around, she's perfectly content with scooting on her booty while sitting, rolling all over the place, crawling backwards and hopping around between her knees and booty, which is quite the sight to see!  She's quick, too, because I'll turn around and she'll be in a completely different place than the two seconds she was before.  She wants so badly to move herself up into sitting position from laying, and she's only done it on her own once (she'll master this in a week or two, I bet!).  You can tell she struggles and tries so hard to do it, but once we help her, the look of satisfaction on her face is priceless.  She's started walking in the walker and absolutely loves to chase after Nolan and has picked up how to move around in it very quickly.  As you can tell from the pictures, she is seriously all over the place without being officially "mobile", and taking these pictures on the ottoman was dealing with a daredevil- she may have fallen off once but don't worry... I caught her!   (Seriously- the series of photos below is how active this girl is and how hard it is to get a photo of her sitting, smiling, aaaand not trying to repel off the ottoman!)

She's growing her vocabulary just as much as she's growing in her ability to get around- Acelyn can say Mama now, officially, and tends to say it when she is looking for me or is tired/hungry/needs something.  She loves to babble and has different sounds that she uses over and over, like Bababa, Yayayaya, Ahhhhs and Ooooos, and lots of blowing of raspberries.  She knows how to laugh in response to something funny and will actually let out a "Heh, heh!" to make her humor known.  She is a goofy little girl and gets louder and louder as each month goes by (life of a second child, maybe?!).  She's most often in a good mood and when we're around the house, always has lots of screeches and happy screams to share, especially when she's in her high chair or her jumper.  Her brother is still her absolute favorite thing and will give him the biggest smile the second she spots him.

Acelyn can wave when asked, and although it's not an exact hand wave, her arm still goes up and down a mile a minute when waved to or if you ask her to wave to someone.  She can also give kisses when asked and I'm obsessed with her open mouth smacks.  She will mimic laughs and banging on the highchair or table just as you show her.  She loves to snuggle and will wrap her arms around your neck when you pick her up as soon as she wakes up, and digs her head into your neck or even rubs her face on yours if she's still a little sleepy.  She has started with "stranger danger" and gives the lip when she's faced with a new person.  She will definitely cling to Mama and snuggles her face in my neck to play shy, but mostly, warms up quickly. 

Everything goes directly into her mouth and she's totally aware of every.little.thing around her (which means Nolan also has to be more aware of what he leaves lying around!).  She loves to discover new things, hence why she's constantly on the move, literally rolling to every square inch of any room we are in. I've found her half way under the ottoman and under Nolan's bed, and her favorite spots are rolling into corners or against furniture and getting stuck, where she'll then just hang out and grab at whatever is next to her until she gets frustrated.  

I just can't get over how quickly Acelyn is growing and learning new things, and I'm loving her progress into these new ages and stages.  The next few months were my favorite with Nolan (6-12 months), so I am excited to experience all of Acelyn's milestones coming, too.

Here's what else Acelyn is up to at 7 months:

Height, Weight and Sizes:
With no official weigh-in for this month, Acelyn is probably a solid 16.5 pounds and roughly 27" long (measuring a wiggly baby is not easy).  I can tell her height growth has slowed because she's becoming rounder and feels chunkier, and I'm totally okay with baby rolls (I'm seriously obsessed with her thighs).  She remains in most 6-9 month sizes, 9 months fitting best on her.  She continues to grow into more 12 month items like pajamas and bottoms, and her diapers are still size 3s.  

Acelyn has continued to sample most Stage 2 purees and hasn't been too picky about them!  The only one she didn't love was peaches, but everything else she's gobbled up.  She definitely prefers veggies over fruit, but we have a pretty decent schedule of eating both every day- fruit for breakfast and veggies for dinner.  At breakfast, she doesn't eat nearly as much, only finishing half of a container, but for dinner, girlfriend can eat a whole container and more.

I plan to introduce finger foods during lunch, just like we did with Nolan, but find it so hard to let her have at it when she still has no teeth!  I know she'll be fine gumming it, so I'm just being overly paranoid, but I think this is just one of the first ways she'll suffer from my babying her (for being the youngest and, well, my baby!)  She has tried avocado chunks and did just fine and liked it!  She still spits out Mum Mums and puffs, and does the same with Cheerios, too.  She'll need some practice with this real food situation, I think!

She also still breastfeeds every 3-4 hours and sticks to the same schedule as last month with her feedings, mostly!

We're on a pretty flexible schedule the last month, since we've been so busy being in and out of the house, running errands, getting ready for the holidays, etc.  Luckily, Acelyn is a flexible baby and tends to go with the flow and the schedule I put her on for the day.  We have two different types of schedules- one for when we stay home and in the whole day, and one for when we run errands.  If we stay in, Acelyn gets a much more routine schedule with good, long naps (one at 9AM and another around 1PM), whereas if we are on the go, she takes shorter naps in the AM with one long afternoon nap the same time as Nolan, around 1:30-2PM (which is great for me)!  I almost want to start putting her on that type of schedule just so I'm able to get more things done around the house with both of them napping at the same time- so it's something we may work on in the coming months!  When she has the long afternoon nap, she doesn't have a catnap in the early evening, but seems to manage well from staying up from 3:30ish to bedtime at 8PM.  If we're home and she's on the earlier schedule, she still needs to get at least a 30 minute snooze around 4:30PM.  

She continues to dreamfeed at 10:30PM and 2-3AM, although some nights she has started going until about 5AM... so I'm hoping she's learning to stretch her sleep a little longer and we may get some longer hours of sleep in the near future!

-Rolling, scooting, exploring... everywhere!
-Playing Peek-a-Boo
-Asking her to say, Mama!  She'll always give a big smile
-Flying in the air
-Playing "Chase" with Nolan
-Finding her paci and putting it in herself 
-Remotes, phones, baby monitor
-Playing with clean diapers
-Walking in the walker
-Baths and splashing
-"Wresting" (rolling on the ground) with Nolan
-Eating solids
-Playing with big brother's toys

-Still doesn't love the carseat
-Outfit changes
-Puffs/Mum Mums/finger foods, peaches
-Stranger danger
-Not being able to move from laying to sitting
-Taking something away (like a remote or the phone) or if Nolan takes a toy she's playing with 

Here's to another month down and just a few more to go until her first birthday!  (Ahhhhhhh, ugly tears!!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

November Happenings

Nolan woke up on November 1st, which meant he obviously needed to inventory all of his Halloween candy from the night's hard work Trick or Treating.

He also rocked some sweet glasses Grandma gave him.

We took a walk early that morning, still in our Halloween jammies, to go see the remainder of the decorations over at Spooky Lane, since we missed it the night before (we didn't have enough time this year!)  To my surprise, the neighbors really get to work early to take everything down, because by the time we walked over, nothing was up!  Nolan still enjoyed seeing all the decorations on our way there, even if it wasn't dark enough to enjoy the lights.

Acelyn took some sweet pictures in her room.

We did some early voting, which Nolan thought was the coolest because we all got stickers, and then headed to play at the park to enjoy the nice weather.  Acelyn swung on the park swings for the first time and loved it!

I caught Nolan being super sweet with his sister and was reading her a book about fruit, apparently. 

We had another park day, and this time brought a picnic along for lunch.  The weather was perfect and I think this was our last day able to wear shorts for the remainder of the year (for Acelyn, anyway)!  We ate lunch and Acelyn tried some Mum Mum.  Every time we have her try one of these, she has the weirdest face and can't quite grasp the concept to eat it.  It probably tastes like cardboard so I guess I can't blame her!  Later that night, we took a trip to Costco and Acelyn sat in the cart for the very first time with her bro.

That weekend, we had another soccer game, where Nolan finally was able to play by himself with no tears and actually enjoyed himself!  By playing, I mean he stepped on the field and ran around and didn't touch the ball once... but hey, he was out there and we were SO proud!!

We ate out at The District with the Luks fam, spent some time walking around and shopping afterwards, and had fun watching these crazies run their energy out.

We spent a Sunday at Yardhouse at the Linq with our friends Aaron and Althea to watch the Ravens vs. Steelers game.  Because there's no way Nolan would sit for the entire game at the restaurant, I took him and Acelyn over to the Flamingo to check out their habitat.  We saw lots of fish and birds, and Acelyn got in a relaxing nap falling asleep to the waterfalls.  Nolan was absolutely obsessed with the parrots and couldn't stop laughing at their squawking!  

Acelyn turned 1/2 a year old (insert ugly sobbing here)! 

The next day, the kiddos got their flu shots while we had Acelyn's 6 month check up.  We celebrated her 6 month birthday with Sprinkles cupcakes and her favorite, green beans!

Acelyn fell asleep in the car and I found her like this when I went to get her out.  Oops. 

She took the longest nap since she wasn't feeling great from her vaccinations, but looked so adorable and pretty.

I introduced her to my old Cabbage Patch dolls and it was love at first sight.

We played in the backyard and had some fun with the Boomerang app. 

We took some pictures for Nuby and Nolan wanted to crash our shoot, so of course I let him and got some silly and sweet shots of the two of them.

I scored some amazing June and January finds from another Mama on IG, so of course we had to try on our goodies as soon as we got them.  She totally approved!

The next morning, Jason had the day off, so we headed out to breakfast at Skinny Fats and then took a trip to Home Goods and Ikea.  It didn't last long, though, because Nolan threw up all over the Ikea cafe while I was nursing Acelyn.  It was horrible, and I felt so bad for him.  We booked it out of there after we cleaned up and spent the rest of our weekend resting.  This was the beginning of our sick cycle for the month, where Nolan, Acelyn and myself continued to pass our colds and stomach issues back and forth to each other.  Needless to say, we spent a lot of time inside for the remainder of the month!

We had some awesome entertainment for a full hour, while a crane removed and replaced a A/C unit of our neighbors.  Nolan was in crane/truck heaven and sat and watched intently.

The kiddos watched a movie while resting up from our colds. 

Acelyn practiced her stretching/crawling moves.... this girl is so eager to get up and go but hasn't quite figured it out yet!  She's a trooper though, because she face plants often and is never phased by it!

I got some snuggle time in while rocking her to sleep.

Acelyn had a giggle fest with me during Nolan's nap one afternoon.

We ate out at Cafe Zupas and while Acelyn had some of her own dinner, she kept sticking out and playing with her tongue.  New fascination! 

Nolan was finally feeling better and just in time for his last soccer game and end of the season party!  He had another brave and successful game of playing by himself with no tears!  We are so proud of how far he came this season.  He started by refusing to step onto the field without me by his side, tantrums and tears and all.... to half way through the season, finally getting brave enough to play a little at a time with me on the side, to being able to finally sit on the sidelines and enjoy watching him voluntarily ask to play and enjoying himself!  It was quite the experience and we loved watching all of these little ones play, SO funny.  And, to top it off, playing with all of our friends was icing on the cake!  I loved that us girls that grew up playing soccer together got to watch our own kiddos play together, and that we were able to play with Nolan's best friends, too!  Team Green Beans had an amazing season, and we're happy to have been a part of a great, fun team!

We celebrated Hudson's 4th birthday at his Star Wars themed Jedi party, complete with a Jedi-trainer that Nolan talked about for days!  We had a blast and Acelyn partied so hard that she passed out.  We love you Hudson, and can't believe you're 4 already!

We went grocery shopping for all of our Thanksgiving goodies, and the kids rode in the car cart together.  They were loving it until Nolan shoved Acelyn's face into the steering wheel... so that ended quickly.

Every morning, we typically watch Daniel Tiger to chill before we start our day.  Acelyn has grown super fond of it and absolutely loves when the theme song comes on.  This is usually how she reacts when she hears it- big smiles and lots of talking!  If she's not in the same room as the TV, she will look around everywhere to find it because she knows it's on somewhere!

We made handprint turkeys for Turkey Day. 

We celebrated Thanksgiving Day with family and lots and lots of food!

It didn't take long for us to break down the Thanksgiving decorations and get the Christmas ones up!  The kids were pretty excited about it, especially over these reindeer antlers.

Acelyn had a giggle fit over a snowball fight.

We decorated the kids' tree and Nolan is seriously obsessed with it this year.  Acelyn thought it was pretty cool, too.

Acelyn's talking has really taken off this month, and she's expanded to Maaas and Baaas, as well as blowing raspberries all the time and babbling up a storm! 

I attempted my own photoshoot for our Christmas cards, and it was a struggle, to say the least.  Luckily, we got what we needed.... and a few laughs, too!

Acelyn's stepping up her selfie game and getting pretty good at cheesin' it.

She refused to sleep in the middle of the night, and instead wanted to just give lots and lots of smiles and love.  

We got the tree up finally, and Nolan was a super big help by separating out all of the pieces (yes, we have an old ass tree that is a pain to set up... but you can't find big, fluffy trees anymore so I just can't part with our full one!)  This was the first year that I didn't curse putting it up, and I think it's because Nolan helped so much!  He was so excited to organize out the branches, help me "fluff" them out, and of course, place ornaments on after I strung the lights.  Daddy helped lift him up to place the star on the tippy top!

Acelyn looked so pretty when I rocked her to sleep.

These two played SO nicely together and I'm loving seeing their sweet bonding moments as Acelyn gets older and Nolan can relate more to her!  

...Until next month!