Thursday, January 26, 2017

Acelyn: 8 Months

This little nugget is 8 months, already!  Acelyn has been a busy bee this month, growing both physically and mentally, learning new tricks and even has a whole new world of independence...she's officially mobile and crawling!  Little lady was right on cue when I said she would start crawling any day after our last post.  Just a few days before her 8 month birthday mark, it all clicked and she just crawled out of nowhere!  Once she started, it's like she had the wheels in motion and she wasn't stopping any time soon.  From that point on, girlfriend has gotten faster and steadier with every hand and knee movement.  She's mobile!

She is still a happy baby with a great sense of humor.  She loves to play and really, really loves to laugh.  She continues to be a talker and has a ton of screeches, screams and words to say.  She's always saying Mama, and has recently started saying Dada but not nearly as often.  She can also say Baba.  Acelyn can shake her head, "No, no, no!", claps nonstop, and is perfecting her wave.  She is starting to understand things around her, and will look around to find what we ask- "Where's Daddy? Where's Nolan? Where's Harley?"  Speaking of Harley, Acelyn has really taken a love to him lately, especially since she can crawl after him, now.  She always reaches out to pet him and will just sit and stare at him in wonder.  When he gives her kisses (when we ask him to), she crinkles her nose and giggles and it is the cutest!

Her crawling has really made her a whole new baby, as she's constantly on the move and into everything!  She is extremely active and very curious, and keeps Mommy on her toes, especially since Nolan never crawled, so this is my first time with a quick little crawler!  She's beginning to develop her stubbornness and temper- when taken away from somewhere she wants to go, she immediately goes right back, and if taken away again, will sometimes grunt or scream in frustration.  When girlfriend is mad, watch out!  She has an angry scream/cry like no other, and she will for sure let you know.  Although she doesn't get mad or cry very often, when she does... you'll know!

Here's what else Acelyn has been up to:

Height, Weight and Sizes:
Again, no official weigh in this month, and we actually haven't even weighed her ourselves at home, so I'm roughly estimating that little lady has only put on a little bit a weight since last month, maybe weighing a little over 16.5 to 17 lbs. and right around the same length at 27" inches, maybe a bit over.  Her thighs still remain chunky monkey and are one of my favorite things ever about her.  She remains in 6-9 month clothing and still continues to grow into more and more 12 month items.  All of her bottoms are 9 or 12 month, and even 9 month is getting a bit too tight for her.  She is finishing up her last giant box of size 3 diapers before we move on to size 4s.  We've been living in our June and January tights this winter, and her bow and moccasin collection continue to grow and grow.  Having a girl is (and dangerous)!

As Acelyn continues her journey into solids, she continues eating all of her purees for both breakfast and dinner, and has graduated into eating a ton of finger foods during lunch time.  She likes most food, and has gotten better with puffs and cheerios and eats these regularly.  Her absolute favorite foods to eat are cheese and pasta, and gobbles these up in record time.  She definitely prefers the independent route, and loves feeding herself over being fed purees.  Foods that she dislikes are rare, but she's not a big fan of peaches or apricots.  Most recently, she has been introduced to the sippy cup and drinking water, and she absolutely loves it.  She picked it up instantly and loves to drink on her own and bang and toss her cup around. Acelyn still nurses every 3-4 hours, but has a hard time not getting distracted and is often on and off in a session, especially during the day.  Still, she's a quick eater like she's always been, and gets what she needs and is on her way.  She's on the move, so too many things to see and do now that she can crawl!

Acelyn's schedule is pretty similar to last month, with no big changes.  She continues to nap in the morning around 9:30am, and another afternoon nap that coordinates with Nolan around 1:30pm.  She has completely dropped her catnap in the early evening, which makes it important that she sleeps until at least 3:15-3:30pm, otherwise we have a cranky, overtired baby on our hands come dinnertime!  She still adores her bath time during her bedtime routine, and splashes up a storm.  She creates more of a mess than Nolan does, and sometimes makes it tricky getting both of them bathed together, but is hilarious and too cute to watch as she enjoys it so much!  At nighttime, Acelyn gets nursed and rocked to sleep, where she is put in her crib until we go to bed, where I dreamfeed her again and place her in her Dock a Tot in the Pack N' Play next to our bed, still.  Most nights she wakes up around 3-4am for a quick snack and then immediately falls back asleep until we are all up at 7am.  I'm still waiting for my sleep-through-the-night consistency... but I think we still have a few more months of early morning wake up calls!

Doing the hokey pokey
Crawling... all day, everyday, everywhere.
Fridge magnets, her new favorite thing to play
Shopping, sitting in the cart seat like a big girl
Counting out loud, she always smiles when we get to "Threeee!"
Playing Hide and Seek with Nolan
Harley and chasing after him, getting kisses from him 

Getting taken out of the bath and dried off
Diaper changes, now that she crawls, it's quite impossible changing her!
Still dislikes the car seat, especially getting in 
Wiping her face
Toys taken away by Nolan
Being removed from somewhere she shouldn't be crawling
Changing her clothes
Exersaucer and jumper... She's mobile... ain't nobody got time for stationary toys!

Here's to another month down and just a few more to go until her first birthday!  Ahhhhh!  Stay little, my love!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Grow With Me: Nuby 6 Stage Comfort 360 PLUS+ Bottle to Cup Kit {a&n Product Review}

In our home, we're big fans of doing our research and picking the products that will stick with us longest.  Finding a product that can convert and essentially "grow" with our kids is something we find a ton of value in!  From changing tables to dressers, cribs to toddler beds to full size beds, exersaucers to standing toys; you name it, we own it and love it!  When Nuby sent us the 6-Stage Comfort 360 PLUS+ Bottle to Cup Kit, I was super excited because one, we had been searching for a new sippy for Acelyn to debut, and two, it would last us  And by forever, I mean it.  From bottle to Wonder Cup, this thing promises use in every stage of drinking!  

The 6-stage kit literally does it all, and is perfect for starting right at newborn stage (ages 0+ months).  The new 360 PLUS+ feature helps reduce reflux, GERD, and combat colic symptoms, and although we didn't get to use the bottle during Acelyn's early days, this would have been an amazing feature to have in her reflux stage.  In Stage 1, the bottle uses the Soft Flex Slow Nipple and weighted straw for a comfortable latch and easy no-tip suck.  Because of the unique weighted straw allowing for upright feeding, baby can latch, feed and drink with maximum comfort in any position.  

When baby grows big enough to start using their hands to hold and feed themselves, the bottle can transition to Stage 2, by adding the Easy Grip handles, sized to fit perfect to a baby's grasp.  Acelyn doesn't take a bottle often, but when we do feed her with one, I love that she can easily transition from breast to bottle with no problems and I really like the way the bottle feels when I feed her.  Recently, she also loves to be able to feed herself, so using the Easy Grip handles is such a great feature to be able to add or remove based on our preference for the day!

Currently, we've adjusted our cup to Stage 3, by trading out the nipple for the Touch-Flo No-Spill Silicone Spout, and Acelyn has been loving the freedom and excitement of learning to use a sippy cup on her own.  Unlike most sippy cup transitions that are tricky for baby to learn to tip the cup to drink, the Nuby 360 PLUS+ weighted straw allows her to drink by simply sucking through the spout.  She can easily grasp the Easy Grip handles, and has quickly learned to swing, fling and throw this thing around like a boss!  Her chubby baby knuckles and wrists gripping her sippy with puppy dog eyes and chipmunk cheeks might be one of my favorite things to see her do at this stage, and I couldn't be happier to see her use it with ease.

Although we haven't moved on with Acelyn's use of the bottle, the remaining features are ones I'm looking forward to introducing to her soon.  In Stage 4, baby can practice holding and tilting the cup by removing the handles and the weighted straw to simulate more mature drinking habits.  Stage 5 moves on by introducing the Flip-It top with silicone straw, allowing for more independence and advancement in drinking skills.  Acelyn could actually attempt drinking from this stage, just with the addition of handles, so I appreciate the ability to add and subtract features as you please, fit to your baby's needs as they grow.

Finally, Stage 6 converts the cup to a 360 Wonder Cup, when your child can begin the transition to open cup drinking, completing the system that takes them from bottle to learning to drink like a big kid all in one!  

Cleaning off all of these products is easy and quick, and the plastic and silicone are soft yet durable.  Because Acelyn has found complete joy in tossing this thing around, we've had our fair share of battle wounds to the cup, with no actual wounds in tact- it holds up well and doesn't spill, either!  Even though we haven't graduated to the further stages, I played around with them myself and gave them a good shaking in both Flip-It straw and Wonder Cup mode- and no spillage, either!  

Another simple yet appreciated feature are the two included covers, one for the bottle (nipple top) and one for the cup (sippy top).  As often as we are out and about, it's nice to have the added sanitary coverage over what Acelyn drinks from!  

The Comfort 360 PLUS+ Bottle Range from Nuby is exclusively available at Babies R' Us stores and online, by following the link below, and is being offered at an amazing deal of Buy 1, Get 1, 40% OFF (through sale dates 1/20-2/16): 

As a recap, the set specifically includes: 
* 1x 9 oz / 270ml Bottle with Slow Flow Nipple and 360 Straw
* 1x 9 oz / 270ml Bottle with Silicone Spout, Handles and Adaptor
* 1x Flip It Top with Silicone Straw Assembly
* 1x 360 Wonder Cup Sipper Top

Although we've only been using it for roughly a month, I know this system will last us a long, long time of use!  I'm happy to not have to buy a billion different cups for trial and error of what Acelyn will drink from and what she won't.  With the Nuby 360+ PLUS Bottle to Cup Kit, all of our needs are met in a simple set, ready to grow with us and let us enjoy the ride!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Nolan's 3rd Birthday Trash Bash!

If you know him, you know Nolan is obsessed with any kind of truck- construction trucks, garbage trucks, pick up trucks, bucket trucks... anything.  We went back and forth on what type of party theme to have, and I would ask him week after week which he preferred.  Of course it differed every day, but the one that took majority was garbage trucks.  Every Thursday, we watch eagerly for our trash guys to drive by and pick up our garbage, and Nolan has been fascinated with them for the longest time.  It was only the right thing to do by throwing him a 3rd Birthday Trash Bash, and it was the best time!

Nolan was stoked to get to wear his own garbage truck shirt, and was so excited all week to be turning "Freee!"  

We welcomed our guests to the "Trash Bash" with, of course, some fitting decor at the front door.  When the kiddos came in, each one got to grab a claw grabber (for a later game) and a orange worker vest.  It was adorable seeing all these little orange vests running around all afternoon!  Their favors also consisted of some cute trash cans they filled with candy and toys from a game they played (later), and a chocolate garbage truck lollipop!  

We had "road" tables, and some of Nolan's garbage trucks for decor.  The food table was full of all kinds of trash to fit the theme, and Pinterest helped come up with some creative food labels for all of our treats and snacks.  There were Sanitation Sandwiches (Capriottis), Veggie Compost, Filthy Fruit, some garbage truck cut out PB&Js for the kids, placed in bags to serve as Sack Lunches, and even some P-U Pasta Salad!  

We did some simple cupcakes for everyone and Nolan had his own little tiny cake with his own garbage truck on it.  This was one of the things he asked for and seemed very excited about- to blow out his candles on his birthday cake!  He was super excited for a few days leading up to his party that everyone was going to sing "Happy Birthday" to him, and kept asking throughout his party day when it was time to sing!  Everyone chowed down on their cupcakes, double fisted candy and cake, and smeared green and orange frosting all over for the win!

We played a few fun, simple games that the kids really looked forward to and enjoyed! (I wish I had more pictures of game time- we really didn't get too many action shots through the day because we were so busy and having so much fun!)  The first game was Pin the Garbage on the Truck, where each person literally got a piece of paper with their name on it to pin onto the truck, blindfolded.  It always amazes me how absolutely simple and silly us adults think this game may be, but how much the kids love it!  Most of them asked to do it more than once, so we played a few rounds.  We also had a Build a Trash Tower game that was left out for the kids to build their own tower, which a few did on their own throughout the party. 

The next game we played was Dumpster Diving Trash Grab.  Each kid grabbed their claw grabber that they were given when they came in.  There were prizes hidden throughout the box of trash, and they were able to grab each item out of the box.  Nolan had a hard time using his claw to get the prizes because he was too excited, and kept diving in with his hands, so we had to remind them every now and then to use their claws, but otherwise, it was a super simple and fun game they really enjoyed!  Once they all pulled the prizes out, they were able to gather them into their garbage cans to take home.  Easy peasy!

We opened gifts last, and Nolan was spoiled with the best gifts from his family and friends.  Thank you everyone for sharing your day with us (and for those sending love from far away!) and giving him the best party he could imagine, he really did have a blast!  

Later that night, we celebrated with a few small gifts from us and his main gift- a Big Dig Excavator for the backyard!  He was thrilled and has been using it with his blocks in the house since it's still a little chilly out.  We ate some more birthday cake and he requested we sing to him another time... so of course, we did.  You only turn three once! 

A few days after his party, since Monday was MLK Jr. Day and Jason had the day off, we decided to take Nolan to The Learning Center at Republic Services- a recycling facility!  Nolan loves watching videos on YouTube Kids of garbage trucks dumping their trash at recycling facilities and watching the sorting process... so when I learned about The Learning Center, I was SO excited to take him.  We set up a "tour" and headed down, where Nolan was a little nervous in the beginning, but after showing him what he was going to see, eventually calmed down and watched the trucks drive down the huge ramp at the processing center across the street while we waited for our tour time.  

When we entered for our tour, we first got to see and play in an actual garbage truck!  This. was. heaven. for Nolan.  He was a little timid for a second stepping up to it (it's huge, so I'd be intimidated too if I were small!) but once Daddy went in with him, he was thrilled!  The setup in The Learning Center was so cute and perfect.  The clouds above the garbage truck were made out of recycled milk jugs, the plants made out of recycled newspaper, and the chairs were wood logs and aluminum, from recycled Coke bottles!  SO. COOL!

Because it was just us and another little garbage truck lover, the same age as Nolan, we weren't given the "full" tour, but still was an awesome experience to get to go out on the deck and see the full operation of the recycling center.  We saw the trucks drop off the bulk trash, the belts sort, the quality control workers pick, and the end product get baled.  Nolan was amazed and loved watching each part, and Jason and I really enjoyed seeing and hearing about the process from the guide, also.  We spent a good amount of time watching each part, and before we left, Nolan was gifted with a few goodies from the Center and we took some more pictures to remember our fun day!

I know Nolan will probably look back at all of this when he's a teenager and think we were crazy for having a "Trash Bash" and visiting the recycling center, but this is what represents his three year old self, so we are totally embracing it!  He couldn't have had a better weekend and has been talking about it all nonstop, so to put a smile on his face and give him fun memories is all we could ask for! 

 I can't believe my first baby is already three!  Time really does fly way too fast, so taking moments like this to celebrate and live in the moment of what makes our kids truly happy is the best feeling.  Happy Birthday, Nolan!  We love you so much and are loving seeing your personality grow and all the new things you are going to do and accomplish as a big three year old!