Christmas

I think this Christmas was my favorite Christmas ever. Not only was it Amelia's first Christmas, but Olivia really seemed to get it. She was very much into Christmas trees, and lights, and Santa. It was so much fun to watch. { Side note: we have the Fisher Price Nativity Set, one afternoon we sat down and I tried explaining it to her. A few hours later, I was in the kitchen and asked Olivia was she was doing. She was playing with the Nativity Set and she answered "Playing God", HAHAHA!! I guess she kind of got the idea? } We tried to enjoy as much of the season as we could and I think we did a good job, especially with a baby {cough:: Mila ::cough} that doesn't like to leave the house, like ever.

We spend Christmas as just the four of us. It's hard with our families so far away, but I really want the girls to wake up in their own beds on Christmas morning. We stayed in our pajamas all day and just played with new toys and watched movies and ate good food. It was perfect for us, though I'm really praying that this year will land us back in California for good. 2013 was a rough year for us (besides our beautiful Mila), and it has definitely shown us where we truly want to be.




















blogging

I recently read this post from Stephanie Howell and it really spoke to me. It does sometimes feel like personal blogs are dying and I think that's part of the reason I've let mine die. We aren't making any changes to our house, I'm not a huge DIY girl, I don't have recipes to share, or parties I've thrown. There is nothing wrong with blogs that do all these things. I LOVE those blogs and I read countless blogs that are all about that, but that's not me. That's not what I blog about. In reading Stephanie's post, I realized that I'm writing this blog so that I can look back on my thoughts, on my girls, on our life down the road. There may be times where I have lots to post and maybe months that I don't. That's okay. I know that one day, I want to look back and read about the vacation we took, the funny thing Olivia said, or just what I was thinking. This is basically my online diary and I'm completely okay with that.

Amelia- 5 Months

Dear Mila,

I'm a late getting this written to you because we were at the beach when you turned 5 months old. I think I'm in denial. I think of you as this tiny newborn and here you are, a month away from being a half a year old. That's just too crazy to comprehend. You are such a little homebody and I was worried about how you would do with a week away from home. You were such a trooper during the day, but at night you just couldn't get to sleep, poor girl. It's a good thing you are cute because I was exhausted!

You have started to try and get up on your knees during tummy time. Olivia didn't crawl until 9 months and she went from sitting to crawling. I'm not sure what that means in terms of timing for you, but it definitely is exciting and scary to watch you try. You and your sister are starting to interact more and more. You are able to hold her attention and she likes to see the "bay-bee". In fact today she told you she loves you. Your mama was so happy to hear that. I love watching the sisterly bond develop between the two of you.

You have ended your ergo strike, thank goodness. Just in time for the beach too! You are starting to tri-pod and as always, like to be sitting up to watch the action. You are still a horrible napper, but we are working on it. I moved Olivia to her crib at 3 months and you are still in our room. I think because I know you are my last baby, I've been avoiding the transition. Unfortunately, you are becoming so easily distracted and you don't want to miss anything so I think it's time to make that jump. It's on the agenda for this weekend and I'm so nervous. I know you will be just fine, but I think I also want to keep you tiny forever. You've slept completely through the night a handful of times which have been amazing. Hopefully that will be a constant thing soon.

Amelia, you are my sweet little baby. I'm so thankful that God has given you to us. You have completed our family in a way that I didn't know we needed completing. I think back to finding out I was pregnant with you and how terrified I was to be having two babies so close together, but I wouldn't change it for the world. You are such an amazing blessing.

Love, Mama

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Munchkin Meals: In A Hurry and On The Go

I can't be the only one that finds the week leading up to vacation stressful, right? On Saturday, we leave for the Outer Banks and I've been in full packing/planning mode. It's the first time that we are vacationing with our kids and since there are two of them, I've been busy checking and re-checking to make sure I don't leave anything behind.

Needless to say, it's been a busy week of packing and running errands. Not only that, I finally feel like I'm coming out of that "newborn fog". Amelia is almost 5 months old and I feel like we are moving from the newness and feedings and diaper changes to getting back out into the world. And since it's Munchkin Meals time, I thought I would show you what Olivia eats when we are busy and on the go. And quite honestly, what Olivia ate when her Mama was stuck in newborn land.

In a hurry breakfast: 

For the most part, I do quick and easy breakfasts. Olivia has never liked eggs, so I usually don't make any. There are times when I'm in a hurry to get to a play date or an appointment and I'll just throw these waffles in the toaster. She loves them and is so excited when I bring them out. I also threw in some bananas with almond butter.

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On the go lunch:

Last week, our Mom's Group had an "Art Party in the Park" play date. It's a great time and the kids love it. They get to paint or play with sensory activities. They always leave tired and dirty, which is a good combination, I think. It's also supposed to be a picnic lunch, but my girl doesn't like to take time to eat if there are other toddlers around and fun to be had. For that reason, I pack things that are easy to carry around as she visits and plays. I had picked up these Jammy Sammys for her to try because I was thinking they would be a good beach snack. She loved them. She's also quite recently became a fan of crunch carrots, so these baby carrot packages were another thing I picked up to have on hand for our picnics.

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On the go snacks:

When I know that we are going to be out, I tend to put a little more effort into Olivia's snacks, but these are two things I like to keep in my diaper bags for those unexpected trips or errands that take longer than you plan. The toddler bars are always a hit. Her favorite are the apple and kale bars, though these are the mixed berry crunch that I picked up for a change of pace. She also likes these bunny fruit snacks. Not only are we very big into bunnies right now, they are a special treat that she doesn't see often and she gets so excited when she sees me pull them out (and Mama loves that they are GMO-free).

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In a hurry dinner:

This past Sunday we spent the day exploring a new park and picking up things for the beach. By the time we got home, it was Olivia's dinner time. Whenever I see these bistro bowls on sale, I pick a few up for times like this. Tonight she tried chicken, corn & quinoa for the first time. It wasn't her favorite, but she ate a good bit of it.

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So those are some of the things we do when we are in a hurry or on the go. I'm linking up with Brittany at A Healthy Slice of Life. I would love to see what you are feeding your kids, I always love new ideas.

The One With The Big Girl Bed

I think one of the things I dreaded the most was the transition from the crib to a bed. When do you make the switch? How do you know if they are ready? I struggled with it, especially when I found out we were expecting baby #2. Ultimately, we decided to buy another crib. We didn't think Olivia was ready to transition before Amelia got here and we didn't want too many changes going on for her.

Well, wouldn't you know it? We only used two cribs for a month (very inconsistently on Amelia's part) before Olivia made the switch. About 2 months ago, Olivia made her first break out of the crib. At first, we didn't worry about it too much. It was very infrequent and after some research, we moved the crib mattress to the floor with the crib still around it. This made it impossible for her to climb out of her crib for another month. Once she figured out how to climb out this second time, she kept climbing out. We knew that it was time to make the switch.

We tried to make it an exciting thing for Olivia. We talked about her big girl bed and the fact that we were going shopping for her big girl bed. We made the trip to Ikea and headed to the the bed section. After some debate over a toddler bed or a twin size bed, we went with a toddler bed. Olivia seemed most comfortable with the smaller beds and we wanted to make the transition as painless as possible. We tried out a few beds and went with this cute little iron bed.

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Beyond that, we didn't do anything. It took a few nights (with Tom laying with her off and on), but now Olivia sleeps in her big girl bed. She has only fallen out once and I think she loves the independence that it has brought her. There is no cute bedding or anything like that. I had read that you should let them pick out the bedding and maybe if she had been older that would have been important. She honestly didn't care, so we just used bedding we already had. I stressed about the whole thing more than I should have. Olivia has always been a go with the flow kid. New things and changes are no big deal to her and it was the same with her big girl bed, It's Mila that will freak when the time comes. Maybe she will stay in her crib longer than 21 months.

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I wish I had more advice. I asked for advice from everyone and everywhere before I made the decision, but I think you know your child best. What worked for us might not work for you (or your second child, ha!), but I love knowing how other people make transitions in their lives.

And because I haven't shared the girls' rooms, here's a quick look at Olivia's. We recently made some decisions that will hopefully be having us selling this house soon, so the decorating has stopped. This is her room partly decorated and now, it will stay that way. :)

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Munchkin Meals: What Olivia eats at 21 Months

One of our parenting decisions that I've been the happiest with is Baby Led Weaning (BLW). We started when Olivia was about 7 months old after a month of attempting pureed food. I found the entire process incredibly stressful and decided to order the BLW book. It was a light bulb moment for me and from then on the entire process was enjoyable and fun for all of us.

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{strawberry banana yogurt topped with chia seeds, toast with almond butter, and a banana}

I loved letting Olivia try the things we were eating. It was fun to watch her explore different flavors and textures through every day foods. We could go out to eat and not worry about packing up baby food. She loved grabbing things from our plate and chomping on them. And I'm excited that it's almost time to start again. Amelia just turned 4 months, which means in a couple months, we will start BLW with her. I can't wait to watch Amelia experience all the same things that Liv did. And I can't wait to watch her do it.

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{Whole wheat quesadilla with spinach, sauteed broccoli, strawberries and pineapple}

One of my favorite blogs, A Healthy Slice of Life, was actually discovered because of BLW. About a year ago, I did a google search for different ideas for BLW meals. Brittany's blog was one of the first  links I clicked and I was hooked. I've gotten so many great ideas not only for Olivia's meals, but for my own as well. We've tried so many things we would have never tried just because I started following her blog.

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{Quinoa pasta, cherry tomato, grass fed ground beef, grapes, and vegetable medley}

If you are thinking about BLW, do it. If you are doing BLW and need some meal ideas, head over to A Healthy Slice of Life for the monthly Munchkin Meals link up.

Random Tidbits

1. I was bored tonight and looked back through my blog archives. Complete comedy right there folks. The things I would blog about! Does anyone remember those blogger awards? Ha! Blogging has changed a lot in the last five years. That's one of the reasons I love blogging though, I can look back and see what I thought was important enough to blog about.

2. This deserves a longer post, but Olivia just finished her first couple weeks in a big girl bed. You guys, how has this happened? She's only 3 months away from turning 2 and just the thought makes me want to cry. My first born is so grown up.

3. Having kids makes me wish it was summer all year round. I love the carelessness of it, all the fun. It's been a blast hanging out with Olivia this summer. We just tried out a "splash park" in front of the local movie theater and she loved it. I think we are going to attempt a water park this week.

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4. And going along with Olivia growing up, she ASKED for a potty at Target today. Honestly, I didn't even know she even knew the word "potty". She picked out a princess one and we brought it home. Right now, I'm not 100% convinced that she's ready. My plan is to let her play with it and feel it out and then go from there.

5. Is it mean that I don't want Amelia to do any growing up? With Olivia, I looked forward to every milestone. Sometimes, we would practice them all day. With Amelia being my last baby, I just want her to stay little and tiny forever... ::sigh:: I know it's not going to happen, but I can wish, right?

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