Friday, March 24, 2017

M is for Mealtime with Nuby {a&n Product Review}

Sitting down for dinner at home as family every night is something we have done since before we had kids, and definitely a habit we pride ourselves on practicing with our kids, too.  Both Jason and I grew up with families that enforced the same rule, and we have every intention of carrying this through our kids' childhood, knowing that instilling this now will make it just that much easier for them to continue through their adult lives.  I love having the time of dinner for my family to sit down and interact together.  With Jason working during the week, and two small babies constantly on the move and with differing needs, plus keeping up with the housework, it's tough to find a time each day to call for our family to be together, enjoying each other fully.  That's why I love a good routine in our lifestyle... and dinnertime is one of those routines that we rely on every day to allow us that special time together.  

I typically start dinner shortly after Jason gets home from work, where he plays with the kids or we allow screen time, where Nolan is allowed his designated iPad time of the day and Acelyn usually tunes into Sesame Street while playing.  As dinner gets closer to finishing, Nolan will help set the table with silverware and napkins, and also loves to get out the croutons for our salads. As he's setting the table, I'm dividing and serving plates, cutting and prepping the kids' dinners, that way we aren't up and down the whole meal.  Everyone typically eats the same meal, which makes life easier than cooking all separate dinners, and even Acelyn eats most of what we are eating, as well as a puree in addition.

During dinnertime, our Nuby Sure Grip Miracle Mat Section Feeding Placemats are the best plates for both toddlers and babies alike.  I love that it's a plate and placemat in one for Acelyn to be introduced to eating off of something other than her tray, and the integrated section plate gives new dimension for her to navigate.  For Nolan, I really love the super suction feature that doesn't quit... he's super clumsy and the non-slip base that sticks to flat surfaces allows for no tipping of bowls or elbows hitting corners of plates, saving us extra mess to clean up... plus allows us to continue our own meal while he's content on his own!

While we eat, we share each of our days and I love getting to hear Nolan's stories and imagination spark as we talk.  Listening to Acelyn mimic sounds and new words is always a favorite during dinner, and she's the most vocal and in the goofiest mood at this time, which makes for even better memorable moments.  She's always willing to share her newest tricks at dinnertime, and recently, she absolutely loves to throw things off of her tray, whether it's food or cups, and the Nuby Keepeez Adjustable Cup Strap prevents her sippys from hitting the floor.  In colorful and fun patterns, the strap keeps cups tightly fastened with the adjustable, spring powered push button locking mechanism, and attaches to her high chair, or stroller, car seat or shopping carts if we are out on the go.  

In between Acelyn feeding herself bits of finger food and taking spoonfuls of purees as I feed her, if I want a little break to catch myself up with my own dinner, I hand her over her Nuby Designer Series Flip N' Sip Cup, where she drinks (but mostly plays) with her sippy and practices her straw drinking skills.  The twin handles make it an easy hold and the soft silicone straw is gentle for her teething gums and emerging teeth.  My favorite is the No Spill weighted straw that allows her to drink from any angle since she's still getting the hang of using her cup like a pro.  

Although we enjoy talking and sharing about our day, we do go against the norm of a "family dinner" by having the television on while we eat.  Every dinner, we watch Jeopardy, another tradition we've carried on from before kiddos, and both of our kids at an early age loved the intro theme song and signature flashing squares float across the screen.  We continue to interact with the T.V. on, as we engage with the trivia and it allows Nolan to ask questions and lights interest in certain subjects, which we love to discuss as a family as we watch.   

Cleaning up is always the thing I least look forward to, but I try to make it easier on myself by cleaning as I cook, before dinner is even on the table, that way most of it is picked up and put in the dishwasher when we're cleaning up our plates from meal time.  Another plus point on our Nuby items is that all are dishwasher safe, allowing for a quick rinse and a toss into the dishwasher with no hassle and no extra scrubbing.  I'm also a fan of the Nuby Easy Clean Soap Dispensing Bottle Brush, which I'll highlight in a separate post soon.  And, as always with most Nuby products, they are all BPA Free, which gives me even more peace of mind with our constant use.

As I finish up dishes and a quick wipe down of the kitchen, it's a pretty common occurrence to blast some music and have a dance party to end our dinnertime routine and transition into bath and bedtime.  We let the kids get our their last bits of energy for the evening, and I love being able to get one last wiggle and giggle fest out before our last routine of the day begins.  I think the most important part of our schedules and routines is the consistency, so by routinely practicing the same habits, the babes are more likely to respond positively because they know what's coming next and what to expect, which they thrive on.  

Now, of course our dinnertime routine is not always happy smiles and cleaned off plates, but the more important part is that it happens every night.  There's spills and scream wars and bribing with "three more bites for a cookie!" and flinging baby food... but there's always the four of us, sitting together, experiencing the craziness together!  

Thanks to Nuby for all of our extremely helpful and awesome products.  They currently are partnering with Babies R' Us for the M is For Mealtime Campaign, featuring a Buy More, Save More Sale! Great savings on Nuby infant & toddler feeding products at Babies R’ Us stores & online.
Buy 1 Get 10% off 
Buy 2 get 20% off 
Buy 3 or more get 30% off 
Sale includes bottles, cups, mealtime, bottle accessories, & bottle dish soap 
Sale dates: 3/2-3/26.  Promotion details:

And, because Nuby is so generous to us, as always, we partnered with them to give you a chance to win your own Sure Grip Miracle Mat!  To enter, keep an eye out on our Instagram @jenkelton for details on how to Enter! 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Acelyn: 10 Months

Double digits!  WHY!?  Acelyn must know she's creeping up onto her first birthday because she's gone through a huge leap these last two weeks of learning new things and acting less baby-like and more toddler like... which is always bittersweet!

Acelyn has a newfound love for pointing, and will show you anything she sees interesting by "Oooooh"ing and pointing in the direction she wants you to look.  Sometimes she uses her finger, but most times she uses a bent hand, which is the funniest looking thing!  She is really into picture frames and wall art, and she loves to look at them all around the house, her favorites being the wall collage in her and Nolan's room.  She also adores the tassel garland hanging above her closet, and we make it a point to touch it at least 4343729432 times a day.  She will point to the TV if it is off and she wants it on, or even more, if a show has ended from the DVR and it's paused and she wants another on (i.e.: Sesame Street).  She is definitely much more a T.V. kid than Nolan ever was, and although I feel a little guilty, I also feel a little sigh of relief knowing she may be a kiddo who will actually sit back, relax and watch a movie  (whereas Nolan still can't sit and watch a full movie to this day!) and give a little break to our day!

Her "talking" is constant and this girl always is babbling away, but she favors and keeps to the 'B' sounds lately.  She once was able to say Dada, but instead, she calls Daddy a weird variation of "Beb, beb".  She uses these different variations for different words, and I am probably the only one who even notices a difference, but she can distinctly say "Ba-ba" for milk,  and she identifies Harley or any other dog as "Bup-bup".  Since day one, we've always referred to Nolan as "Bro bro" as his nickname, and I can also hear a variation in her sounds when she identifies him as "Bra-bra". She can also say "Uh!" for "Uh Oh!" when she throws something or something falls, as well as says "Up" and knows how to raise her hands above her head to signify this, and we're working on "All done" in sign language since it's similar- she's done it a couple times but nothing repetitive to show that she's mastered it yet.

She is all over the place with her activity, and most recently has started cruising furniture and even scaling the walls to get where she wants to go.  She can push her walker around everywhere, but also knows that she's faster at crawling.  She can pull herself up onto most things well and has also learned to climb the stairs with us close behind.  She absolutely loves to hold your hands to walk and thinks it's the funniest thing if you face her while doing so.  When she falls, she usually giggles, and signals to get right back up and try again.  She can handle walking and has the movement down, but the second you let go she tumbles.  This girl has zero balance on her own and can stand by herself but only on select occasions and just for a second or two, so she needs to practice that before she's even close to begin taking independent steps.

Acelyn loves playing with her brothers toys, especially pushing cars and trucks around.  If it's a baby toy she's usually not interested, knowing her brother's toys are way more fun because they are for older kids!  She is newly into opening and closing things, whether they are doors, drawers, or books, and has learned to play catch and throw back and forth.  Throwing is a definite favorite and she loves to see the result of what different toys sound like on the tile when she throws them.  She continues to love to dance and can always be found waving her hands, clapping or shaking her head when music is on, and has a new love for the Trolls soundtrack.

She is still a happy go lucky babe with just the right amount of spice to her sassiness.  As each month goes on, I keep telling myself she's going to be a handful when she's two!  She has the best personality and really hits on all levels of it, but my favorite is her sweetness when she loves to cuddle and give kisses.

Here's what else Acelyn has been up to:

Height, Weight and Sizes:
No official weigh in until her first birthday, so we'll be winging it on these measurements until then!  I would say she's probably under 18.5 pounds, because she doesn't feel much heavier than before, plus being sick at the end of last month didn't help, either!  She still only has two teeth and her hair is growing little by little each month, getting thicker in the back and starting to sport a little rat tail in the back, which when wet, is the cutest little curl.  She's quickly growing into all 12 month clothing and I recently just packed away all of her 9 month pajamas, so she must have had a growth spurt in length because we had to buy all new 12 months in those!  Warmer weather on the way means spring shopping, and we've been doing our fair share lately in tees and gearing up for bathing suit season!  Can't wait!

Acelyn continues to eat solids in both puree form and finger foods, and not much in schedule or variety has changed since last month!  She has tried a few new foods, such as scrambled eggs (which she loved and is probably one of her favorite things to eat now) and we even let her taste ice cream already!  She tried Freddy's chocolate custard and at first, was a bit shocked at the coldness and consistency, but once she realized what it was, she definitely wanted more and more!

She continues to nurse on her regular schedule just like last month.  Since being sick, especially when I was sick, I was worried she wasn't taking in enough milk because I had noticed a decline in my production, so I tried giving her multiple bottles, but she refused on every occasion to no avail.  Sooo, it looks like girlfriend doesn't like those anymore so we'll be trying to reintroduce them if we really feel the desire, or just let it be until she weans after her birthday, anyway.

Acelyn continues the same schedule as last month, napping twice a day for at least an hour each (on a good day), and typically an hour and a half in the afternoon.  She wakes up in the morning and now climbs to stand in the Pack N' Play to say Good Morning right next to me, usually by letting out a screech or grunt if I'm not already awake.  She has favored going down before 8PM rather than after like we usually do, so we're striving to aim for an earlier bedtime routine as the months go on.

Pulling things off shelves
T.V. and movies, will point and ask for it to be turned on if it's paused
Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger and Trolls are favorites
Opening and closing doors
Pulling herself up onto things
Chase crawling with Nolan
Animals, specifically dogs and birds when she sees them in person
Pointing at pictures around the house to look up close at them
Wooden wind chimes and tassel garland in her bedroom
"Sesame Street" theme song and the Trolls soundtrack
Pointing, in general
Scambled eggs and pasta are favorites
Walking with assistance all over

Being put in the carseat
Getting wiped up after dinner
Being taken out of the bath tub
Diaper changes and getting dressed
Being away from Mama

Happy 10 Months, baby girl!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

February Happenings

Acelyn started the month off by hanging in her carseat, peeking through her Covered Goods cover while out shopping. 

She went crazy dancing and shaking it up while holding on to the baby gate on afternoon... We go a little stir crazy sometimes... can you tell!? 

She's been obsessed with blowing raspberries lately, and makes the absolute cutest face while doing so.  (This might be one of my favorite pictures ever of her!)

We celebrated Scarlett's birthday at Color Me Mine, where Nolan painted a fun puppy bank and we all got to hang out with lots of friends and have the best time!  The kiddos played musical chairs and Nolan had absolutely no clue how to follow, but he loved being included and just did what he thought everyone else was doing!  Once it came time for him to sit the round out, he wasn't a fan... but got over it quickly to move on to some games of freeze dance!  I can't believe Scarlett is already six!  She's growing into such an amazing little lady and we're so happy we've been able to watch her grow through the years.  Happy Birthday, Scar!  

The kids are obsessed with The Yeti in my Spaghetti game that they have, even when they play it like this half of the time:

Nolan and Harley had a picnic in the house with pretzels and dog treats.  Nolan is obsessed with Harley and always wants to play with him, whereas Harley typically keeps his distance... so this was a welcome surprise when he joined in on playtime and Nolan thought it was the best.thing.ever!

We finally finished up Nolan's big boy bed, transitioning his crib-to-toddler bed-to full-size bed.  We had been waiting for some bedding to come in and once we received it and washed it up, he was so excited to try it out and get all his stuffed animal friends in their spots!

We had dinner out at Freddy's, where Nolan chowed down on some ice cream for dessert and Acelyn had her first taste at it, too!  {She approved}

On Superbowl Sunday, the kids got in the spirit and showed their game faces for some cute pictures.  Later, we enjoyed the game over at the Luks', which really meant eating yummy food and hanging with our besties. Becks and Acelyn have been bonding more and it's the best thing watching them interact!  

I booked a much needed day at the spa while Jason watched the kids, and it was super relaxing and I enjoyed every minute of it.  I had an awesome massage, spent some time in the sauna and whirlpool and just zoned.out.  Afterwards, I stopped at the grocery store to shop alone, which was weird, and then enjoyed some bakery cookies all to myself on the drive home.  Pretty sweet day.

Acelyn learned how to toss back and forth and showed off her skills with Daddy. 

We had a picnic at the park with Grandpa one afternoon, where we ate lunch and fed the ducks and geese, which has always been one of Nolan's favorite things to do.  Acelyn didn't know what to think once they started flocking around her- she would scream in excitement but looked a little weary at the same time.  She definitely wanted to get down and chase them, which obviously wasn't an option, but she quickly sat back and just enjoyed watching their every move.  Afterwards, Nolan scootered around while sis chilled in her stroller, and both got super tuckered out for a great nap that afternoon.  

Acelyn turned 9 months old!

She's all over the place with toys, and her favorites are her big brothers trucks and this Sesame Street book.  She literally pulls it down from the bookshelf a million times a day and screams in excitement at it each time.  She flips the pages by herself and really loves it when we sing the songs inside together.

We had a park date arranged for the AM one weekend morning with our friends, but the weather was yuck so we rescheduled for a movie night instead!  We had pizza and snacks, and the kids played like crazy all night.  Acelyn got to finally hang with her friend Perry, who was born just two days before her.  They are adorable together and actually look like little twinnies, and I can't wait to see their sweet friendship grow!  The bigger kids had a blast dancing and singing to Trolls and we had another fun night with great friends!

Acelyn worked on pushing around her walker, gearing up for Valentine's Day in the upcoming days, and looked adorable doing so.  

Later that day, the kids crafted some Valentine's hearts with paint- Nolan did rock rolling in a box for his heart, while Acelyn fingerprinted in a ziplock bag (mess free, yay!)  She thought all that shaking was pretty cool, so she just shook herself the whole time while Nolan shook his box.  Silly girl!  The end products came out super cute, even though Acelyn got a little too excited and ripped hers.

We celebrated Valentine's Day with a fun photoshoot, cute outfits and later met up with our friends Jamie, Coen and Shaw at the library for a fun Valentine's craft followed by a trip to the park for a donut date!  The kids ate their heart shaped donuts and played for a bit and enjoyed the super nice weather we were having.  The boys played together while the babies hung out on the grass, but soon enough they wanted in on the action, so Nolan took sissy for a ride in the car, and then helped her down her first park slide (where I cut his head off being a helicopter mom worried she would roll down... but she did great and loved every second of it!)

We came home where Nolan was able to open his Valentine's mailbox (and help sissy with hers) to get some small goodies inside, and he was so surprised!  We had a fun Valentine's themed lunch and he got to enjoy one of his special V-Day chocolates for dessert. Yum!

That night, we all went out as a family to dinner for the holiday. Usually Jason and I go out for our own dinner sans kids, but this year we decided to switch it up, so we chose to try Borracha for the first time.  While it was a little more hip than kid-friendly, we still had a great night and the kids behaved so well, plus the food was reallllllly good.  Their wall decor is gorgeous and I couldn't help but take a million pictures of the kids in front of it. I'm so lucky to have these three loves in my life and couldn't think of a better way to end my Valentine's Day! 

The weather warmed up so we spent some time in the backyard playing, and Acelyn stayed in her exersaucer (which rarely happens now that she's mobile) contently, enjoying her surroundings. 

...To which the weather quickly changed and we had some rainy days ahead.  The kiddos watched out the window and Nolan even spent some time playing in the puddles outside (which really meant just the water running down the gutter), which he thought was the best thing ever!  

Acelyn hammed it up for the camera in the cutest outfit. 

We decided to check out the new Seaquest Aquarium with Grandma, and we spent the morning interacting with lots of animals and checking out all it had to offer.  We were greeted by some fish that Nolan instantly ran to and said, "Mom! Take my picture!" and it wasn't two seconds later before he darted over to the next tank to check out the swimming lizard (sorry, I didn't catch it's actual name).  The aquarium is super interactive and there are lots of animals to touch and feed, and the first one Nolan got to meet was a tiny lizard that he braved and touched with one finger. 

There was a giant eel that was pretty disgusting looking, and the stingray tank was actually pretty neat.  We were able to touch the stingrays as they swim right up to the top of the water, and after some convincing, Nolan finally was able to feel one as it swam by.

His favorite part was feeding the ducks, which was really cute, and also this water display where you build walls to form a dam which then creates a water feature to go off from the buildup of water.  Acelyn was not having it for a bit in this section because there were two squawking loud parrots that were terrifying her, but girlfriend hung in there and soon was laughing at the silly ducks we were feeding, and was able to take some pictures with Nolan. 

Before we left, we met some birds that Acelyn wasn't scared of, a tortoise, and said bye to some more fishes in their tanks.  It was an eventful morning and the kids took another great nap that afternoon from being tired out. 

Acelyn learned to put her hands "up" when we say it, and makes the funniest faces when she does! 

I took the kids to Ikea during the week where Acelyn matched the rugs and we ate some pizza, chicken and icees for lunch. 

Nolan read to his sissy where she intently listened (for a little bit, anyway).  Moments like this are rare so I melt every time they happen and try to let them last as long as possible before intervening! 

We had a playdate with our friends Jamie, Coen and Shaw at Bounce U, which was our first time.  Nolan was a little hesitant on some things, but overall he did really well!  I was really surprised at how much he loved the wall climb, and how good he was at it!  Acelyn spent most of her time hanging out in my arms, but took a break to play in the gymnastic mat area.

When we got home, she was so exhausted from watching her big brother bounce around, that she wouldn't wake up to eat her lunch.  Once  I finally got some food in her tummy, she was a happy camper and had the best giggle fit.  

The next day, she came down with a really high fever that lasted a couple days, so she got lots and lots of extra snuggles and love.  Unfortunately, this was just the start of the horrible flu bug we all came down with at some point within a months time.  Jason started with it and each one of us had it different weeks, and it.was.rough.  Needless to say, the remainder of our month and beginning of March was pretty uneventful and spent inside a ton!

...Here's to next month! (and warmer weather!)