Seems as though fall was short-lived this year as we had a snowy end to October! This month saw our family moving into a new home and getting settled, having loads of family in town to help out with repairs, and Naomi making huge strides as she nears her first birthday.
She continues to enjoy kindergarten and impresses us regularly with all she’s learning. She still has some growing to do in the social skills department, but we know that will come with time and practice. She got nominated to participate in the nurtured kid program (kindergarten version of AIG), and we couldn’t be more proud. That girl loves to read and is getting really into math. She enjoys helping around the new house—especially opening and closing the baby gate—and is getting into drawing and dancing. Maybe we have a liberal arts gal on our hands?
This girl’s personality just won’t quit. She keeps a smile on her face and ours and is constantly seeking out ways to keep folks laughing. She’s learning an awful lot by emulating her big sister and is really eager to get started reading. We’re working through letter sounds right now informally and might start trying toward reading after she turns 4 in February. Madilyn’s got such a servant’s heart, and one of the most frequent phrases she says in any given day is, “Can I help you?” or “Do you need help?”
Our baby has a birthday in just a couple of weeks. Wait, what? It’s been a whole year since her speedy birth? Unreal!
Naomi is now walking around with push toys, cruising while holding on to any surface (wall, table, Daddy’s leg, etc), and letting go and standing for a couple of seconds. Maybe next month’s blog will have a blurb about her first steps!
She is transitioning from formula to goat’s milk, and that transition will be complete this week. Next up, a gradual transition to cow’s milk if she tolerates it. Madilyn had a really difficult time, so we’re going to be extra cautious. Our family doesn’t consume much dairy in a given day anyway, so we aren’t too worried about how much cow’s milk she ultimately drinks so long as she’s getting calcium somewhere!
She’s saying mama, dada, nana (banana) and signing for more, all done, water, eat, and milk. She loves to dance and sure knows how to get our attention is she is displeased with something. She’s got a spunky personality and can be all kinds of serious if she wants to. You’ve got to earn a smile from her!
-YMCA. David started working part time at the Fletcher YMCA and is really enjoying it. The hours have been a little tricky with my work schedule, but we’re figuring it out. Plus, the YMCA offers free childcare to employees, so if our days overlap, David can take the girls with him until I can come pick them up. Only had to do this one time so far, and it’s a nice option to have in a bind!
-David’s parents came to town. Karon and Leo drove down from Ohio to help us with touch up paint (hired painters for the bulk of the painting but needed help with one of our bathrooms) and a few woodworking projects prior to moving in. What a blessing those two folks are! Karon mowed the lawn and painted while David and Leo worked on building new stairs for the front porch and power washing the decks, among other tasks. I kept an eye on the girls during most of the weekend but was itching to get in on the action.
-We moved! Yes, we finally moved into our new house the second weekend of October. My mom took the girls to Greenville so that we could be more productive. We started loading up my Dad’s trailer Friday morning, and all of our possessions were moved to the new place by Friday night. Wow! By the time the girls got back Saturday evening, most everything was in its place aside from pictures on the walls and a couple of stray boxes.
-Kevin and Brittany surprised us. On Sunday after we moved in, David’s brother, Kevin and his wife, Brittany stopped by on their way home to Raleigh from TN. They came to help us unpack, but we’d already finished. That meant we got to hang out a bit, and they helped me sort through the girls’ clothes bins in the garage.
-Pumpkin Lighting. Abigail’s elementary school’s PTO hosts a fall festival of sorts each year as a fundraising campaign. The girls got to wear their costumes, participate in carnival games, roast marshmallows for s’mores over small fires, eat barbeque, and have an all-around fabulous time.
-Loads of family in town. My parents and Leo came to town on a Thursday for the pumpkin lighting and to aid with projects. Late Friday night, Kevin and Brittany came to help as well. This was our first time hosting folks at our house overnight almost ever. We now have a list of additional items we need for our guests. Never had to think about that before! While everyone was in town, we got the swing set installed (Thank you, Bill and Dawn!)—I’m sure our Dads’ backs are still aching from hauling that behemoth, the front and back decks stained, the desk assembled, and the back stair support built. Productivity, anyone?
-HooplA! and Halloween. The girls and I attended Biltmore Baptist Church’s Halloween alternative (HooplA!) the Thursday before Halloween but didn’t stay to long due to the cold. While we were there, though, we got to watch a cowboy show, play some carnival games, play on inflatables, and see a few friends. We nearly froze, though, and ran back to the van after not even an hour. On Halloween, it was raining, but we all headed out for about 45 minutes of trick or treating fun. The girls were really bold this year which enabled me and David to just stand with the stroller in the road while the kids ran house to house with us following behind a ways. The girls got their 10-15 minutes at home to gorge themselves on candy before bagging it up to donate to the dentist (who sends it to troops).
Completing this blog far later than intended, but that happens when you’re closing on a house, working full time, and have a husband starting to work part time all while 3 kiddos continue to grow bigger and more amazing, but demand more and more of you each day. Whew. Incredibly blessed, but thanks for your patience!
School is in full gear for Abigail, and she’s really enjoying it. She’s got 4 specials that rotate at school (PE, music, library, computer) which she always has stories about, and the puppet center in class is her favorite. She’s still shy around new folks but seems to be making friends with the kids at her table. I volunteered one Wednesday in her computer lab, and the smile that lit up her face when she saw me and the way she showed me off to her friends was just awesome. It’s been really hard not to be the class mom and the super volunteer mom, etc…I pray I’ll get that chance in the near future. I picked Abigail up from school most every day in September, and I loved that one-on-one time in the car on the way home. She was often bursting to tell me about something new that happened to her that day.
Abigail is reading really well and picks up new words every week. She’s getting the hang of math too. Like her mom and dad, academics come easy, but the social piece of school is a little more difficult to navigate. We’ve all got our strengths and challenges!
Of note, Abigail definitely had a growth spurt—especially in her feet. I bought size 10 shoes for her at Wee Trade in August because her size 8’s were just beginning to fit well. Now that fall is on it’s way, I pulled out the size 10’s. They fit just about perfectly. Oops. Looks like I’ll be buying new shoes before the end of winter!
This gal wants to be a kindergartener. Anything that Abigail does at home, Madilyn has to attempt to copy. Madilyn is still our super sweet, zany, middle kiddo and has a huge heart for her friends and family. She offers to help with anything David and I are doing and prides herself on being able to do things by herself.
She loves preschool and comes home with the full run down of her day (“First, Daddy dropped me off, then I put my lunch box on the shelf. Then we had circle time, and I got to help with…”). She’s gotten better and better with gross motor skills and is running now, jumping 2-footed off of the bottom step, and climbing with much more confidence.
It’s been so fun watching her build a relationship with Naomi. Madilyn will get down on the floor and crawl to follow Naomi, bring her toys, “read” her books, and ask her questions about how she’s feeling. Such a sweetheart.
Midway through the month and after 4 months of trying to pump nearly full time, I was only pumping ~1-1.5oz after 25 minutes of pumping. This dwindled to below 1oz, and Naomi was a fussy mess. She was eating a TON of solid food making up for the lack of breast milk. After prayer and research, we opted to switch to an organic formula for the 1.5 months or so before she’d be on cow’s milk. It was a really hard decision, but we saw instant changes in her mood and energy levels, of course.
This girl loves to dance, blow raspberries, swing, and squeal at the top of her lungs—sometimes full-out screaming. She is now doing the signs for more, all done, and waving hi and bye. She says “dada,” for David; “mama,” for me, milk, and more; and some derivative of “ahnana” for banana. She is pulling up to standing and standing against things for long stints of time. Cruising is just beginning.
During the time before formula, Naomi was waking up at 5:15am or so in the morning, famished. By a few days after starting formula, she was back to sleeping until 6:15/6:30am. Whew! She is still taking two naps a day—one around 9:15am and one around 1:30pm. We’re anticipating she’ll drop that morning nap in the next month or so leading up to her birthday. Can’t believe she’s almost 1!
We all attended the WNC Mountain State Fair and had a blast! The girls especially enjoyed the tilt-a-whirl and watching the clogging competition. This underscored for us how much our girls love to dance—especially Madilyn. We went first thing on a Saturday morning, came home for naps, then went right back out for more fun. The girls have been asking since then when the next fair is. I just hope Madilyn will be tall enough to do whatever Abigail is doing next year. I will say, though, Abigail said she wouldn’t ride anything Madilyn couldn’t ride. Sister love.
I don’t remember what David was doing on this particular Saturday, but I loaded up the girls, and we drove down to Greenville for a spur-of-the-moment day trip with my parents. The girls got to play at the Children’s Museum for a hour or so and loved all the attention from grandparents. I loved having the time with my mom and dad when the girls were napping. They’re awesome people!
Healthy Kids races started in September, and our girls really enjoyed participating. Madilyn’s age group ran a 50-yard dash each Sunday, and Abigail’s age group ran a 1/4 mile. The whole point is to make kids excited about fitness and make it fun. Worked for our girls!
On September 25, we closed on our very first home! Move in date is set for the second weekend in October, and we cannot wait. We’re only moving about 5-7 minutes down the road into Fletcher, but we’ll be in a neighborhood and have a yard and more space. So excited!
Summer is officially over, and school started up for Abigail (kindergarten) and Madilyn (preschool) a couple of weeks back. Running way behind on the blog and don’t have a lot of time to commit this month. Keeping
We now have a 5 year old in the house! She loves to read, complete crafts (especially loom projects on the loom my parents got for her birthday), run, be goofy, and play with her sisters. She is constantly asking for David and I to “LOOK!” or “Watch me!!” She is really enjoying her kindergarten year so far and has seemed to integrate well into the new setting. It’s me and David having the trouble adjusting to not having much control over her setting and interactions. So proud of her, though. She walked in the first day without tears and by day 3, walked from the car to her class without accompaniment. Wow!
She started 3-year old preschool a couple of weeks ago and adores it. She really misses having Abigail around when Madilyn’s not in school, so it’s a good thing she’s occupied for 3+ hours of the day. In physical ability news, Madilyn is running, jumping down short distances two footed, and can go up the stairs one foot on one step, alternating feet, without holding on. For those who knew about her physical therapy a few months back, these advancements are HUGE!
Additionally, Madilyn has an incredible imagination and will weave narratives together while playing with dolls or just while sitting with me or with David. When dolls are involved, however, Madilyn doesn’t need a single other person. She can self entertain for 20+ minutes without requiring any input from us or Abigail or Naomi. Fun to watch and nice to be able to sit back.
She’s still our snuggler and loves to shower us with kisses and squeezes. When I leave for work, she assures me, “I put 65 Hershey kisses in your pocket, mommy!” She can count to 30 or more and recognizes numerals 0-10. She loves to learn!
Major strides this month. She’s crawling all over the place (as of 8/19/14), pulling up to her knees, beginning to cruise along furniture if we stand her up to it, dancing to music. She loves Snoopy (we have a Peanuts calendar) and Olaf and truthfully any mammal. She’s taking a bottle 3 times a day of pumped breast milk, then I nurse at night. She’s eating all kinds of solids and has added many to her repertoire. I honestly cannot recall all the different ones! Hates the sippy cup but will take sips from a large-mouth cup like we use. She’s been waking up around 5:30am (nooooo!) but takes two naps and goes to bed at 6:45ish. She enjoys being read to and absolutely adores her sisters and everything they do!
-Abigail turned 5
-Madilyn picked “date night with mommy” out of the reward jar–Cracker Barrell, Charming Charlie’s, OP Taylor’s
-Naomi is 9 months old
-Family apple picking at Sky Top orchard
-Meet the teacher for both girls
From Granny Camp to Hahn’s Gymnastics Camp, our girls were away from home quite a bit this month. They made some pretty incredible memories, though! Now the countdown to kindergarten begins…
We cannot believe this girl is going to be 5 so soon. She’s really picking up on reading (up to lesson 70 out of 100 in her reading book) and loves memorizing sight words. She’s gotten more confident with her bike (training wheels on) and will ride it most of the way down the big hill by our townhome. She’s expressed a little nervousness regarding kindergarten, but mostly just thinks she’s going to miss her family a ton. I’m so thankful my job is flexible; it looks like I’ll either be able to pick her up or drop her off at kindergarten most days, and that should help ease some of the angst of separation. She’s beginning to get in to making up her own stories instead of just reading books, and Madilyn has picked up on the fun too. Madilyn’s stories always seem to end up with a snow monster. Haha!
This girl is getting stronger and stronger every day and can climb much faster and more confident than Abigail at the same age. She still has a ways to go in terms of leg strength, but she’s begun to jump two-footed and is doing much better going up and down stairs. She’s a speed racer on her bike and doesn’t complain of fatigue near as early. We aren’t sure if we’ll be sending her to preschool this fall as we’re trying to buy a house and aren’t sure how $$ will look, but she will do well in either setting. She’s pretty adaptive! Funny/Sweet Madilyn quote of the month: “Do you know why I’m sitting close to you, Abigail? Cause you’re my girl!”
Number 3 is now 8 months old and is full of energy and laughter. She’s been babbling up a storm (mostly /m/, /d/, and /b/ reduplicated, for my SLP pals out there), is mimicking some sounds (e.g. /ba/, blowing raspberries), is waving, clapping, rolling around to get from place to place, planking, and lunging from sitting into a crawling position. She tries to grab anything within her reach and has begun finding any and all tiny pieces of whatever on the floor to eat. Vacuum to the rescue!
She drinks breastmilk four times a day still, but only straight from me two times; the other two are from bottles. Can’t wait to tell my pump “Au revoir!” It seems like my supply is back to normal, thankfully, and Naomi hardly takes 7-10 minutes (at the most) to fully nurse. She’s also added beans to her menu (black, lima, kidney, garbanzo) in addition to more fruit, and a few other veggies. She loves to eat—just like her sisters. Not too keen on a sippy cup, but that’s alright with us.
We started her on cloth diapers in May, and love it! Thank you, Kacie, for the stash.
As far as sleep goes, she’s going to bed most nights between 6:30-7pm, but for a while, was waking up at 5:30am! Over the past few days, she’s gotten back to sleeping until 6:15/6:30am, thank goodness. Hoping that sticks! She’s still napping twice a day with the first nap around 1.5 hours, and the second closer to 2 hours.
Oh, and her hair is starting to curl!
As it seems like is my trend, here’s a list of what we’ve been up to—more for us to remember than anything else: catching fireflies at the Biltmore House with friends and watching fireworks—big kids up til 10:30, Granny camp, Grandma Mertens down from Ohio, Hahn’s camp, house search (update: put an offer on a house 8/2/14), David’s father’s day rafting trip, new chore charts and reward bucket, my solo nights with Abigail (Tuesdays) and Madilyn (Thursdays).
June was an exciting month as preschool ended for the girls (Abigail graduated!) and my full-time job started. It has been so nice to have a relatively predictable schedule without having to do any work at night or on the weekends. Hello, family and friend time! We’ve also started looking at houses and are praying that we find one soon. The idea of having a small yard and 3 bedrooms instead of 2 is so exciting to think about! Can’t wait to make it a reality.
Abigail is pushing 5 years old (just over a month away) and is really working to establish her independence. Listening and respecting has been difficult for her, but with recent changes to the structure of our days and reinforcement, she seems to be improving. The end of preschool was a difficult transition for her (read: lots and lots of tears), but we are pretty sure she’s recovered from that change and is now eagerly anticipating kindergarten.
Abigail is gradually phasing out her nap and is starting to go 3-4 days without a nap before asking for one. She’s improving speedily with her reading, writing, and drawing. We are still reading chapter books with her which she really enjoys. She is also getting clearer on the Gospel and stories in the Bible. She enjoys discussing the different men and women in the Bible and absolutely adored VBS this year.
She’s been getting a lot of practice in on her bicycle (with training wheels) this summer and is building confidence. We aren’t sure if she’ll be ready to take off the training wheels this year, but maybe!
Madilyn graduated from physical therapy in June, and she couldn’t be prouder. It has been so exciting to see her progress and develop the skills of running and jumping and climbing. She is developing confidence on the balance bike as well and will sail down the lower half of the hill by our townhome with her feet in the air, balancing the whole way. Along with the progress in PT and with her bike, Madilyn’s overall endurance is much higher. She used to ask to be carried or ride in the stroller instead of walk when we spent the day out and about. Lately, she’s been able to tolerate much longer stints of walking/running outside.
On June 7, we had a pretty scary incident. I was buying groceries with Madilyn and Naomi. Naomi was strapped to me, and Madilyn was being incredibly helpful and attentive to my directions in the store. While checking out, I was focused on the cashier while Madilyn was standing beside me. Without me noticing until too late, Madilyn walked to the side of an empty shopping cart and proceeded to climb (showing off those newly acquired skills). She ultimately pulled the entire cart over and on top of her. God had his arms around her, though, because she made it through without a scratch or any apparent head injury. Praise God!
Madilyn also had her first play date (in forever!) with just her and one of her aged friends, Josephine. She also went to her first (ever) birthday party for one of her own friends (also Josephine). It was so sweet to see Madilyn light up in both situations! Madilyn has also been really getting into playing hairdresser. She’ll spray, comb, and style someone else’s hair. She loves it!
This girl is 7 months old and changing seemingly every day. She’s now got 6 teeth (4 top, 2 bottom), is waving to say “hi” and “bye,” throwing herself from sitting to her belly to reach something she wants, and rolling all over the place—including in her crib which has resulted in some early morning wake ups due to legs stuck in the crib slats. Ouch! She is still our thumbsucker, but we are hopeful that she will stop doing that soon. Fingers crossed!
She’s taken to solids really well and has added zucchini, yellow squash, peaches, nectarines, and plums to her repertoire and loves Happy Baby puffs. She’s even starting to develop the pincer grasp needed to effectively pick up a puff and get it to her mouth.
She’s getting more and more vocal—babbling, squealing, laughing. So many fun sounds! Her next appointment is in August, so we cannot wait to see how much she’s grown by that point!
-David went to Ohio for 4 days at the beginning of the month to see his parents. He had an incredible time, and I got to hang out with the girls solo. So nice!
-Preschool graduation for Abigail was on June 5, and she looked adorable in her white cap and gown. The service was really sweet, and Abigail had a great time reveling in the attention.
-Abigail went to a kids fishing day with David and thoroughly enjoyed the one-on-one time with daddy. One of her friends even caught a fish!
-Berry picking is one of our favorite things about summer. We went on two berry picking trip as a family—strawberry and blueberry. Mmm!
May marked the end of a significant chapter in our family’s life: graduate school and unemployment. I graduated on May 9th and was offered a job at a fabulous retirement community 10 minutes from our house (!) May 14! Praise God for his provision and faithfulness.
During the month of May, Abigail completed semi-private swim lessons with her buddy, Bennett. She learned more in those 4 lessons than she had in 8 group sessions previously. So she’s now going under water, jumping in more confidently, and is just all-around more confident. She finished up those lessons just before we left for the beach. Perfect timing!
She’s also made huge strides in terms of bike riding. She loves her Pinkalicious bike now—had virtually no interest at her 4th birthday last year. She’s pedaling quickly (with training wheels, of course), turning confidently, and is even starting to ride up hills a little easier. Definitely getting stronger!
She loves to sing and dance—especially if the dances or songs have anything to do with Frozen, and she loves being independent. So “Walk in by yourself week” at preschool was right up her alley—she skipped her way up the sidewalk and into her class. She’s growing into a beautiful, fun, smart, sensitive young girl, and it’s so exciting to watch her transition. She’s started asking far more spiritual questions lately, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations and witnessing where her mind goes. “Mommy, is there an actual real devil walking around on earth? Mommy, will I see my friends in Heaven? What about Milo (her fish)? Will he be there? Jesus is my friend!”
This girl has come so far! She’s a couple of months into PT and is doing so wonderfully. She’s able to get both feet off the ground in jumping and is starting to run. Her climbing skills are improving significantly, and overall, she’s just getting stronger and stronger. She just finished up her semester at Hahn’s gymnastics, and compared to the beginning of the year, she is a different girl!
Seeing Abigail ride a bike recently has gotten Madilyn super interested in the Strider balance bike that Abigail learned on first. She was hesitant with it at first, but she’s gained confidence really quickly. She’ll now run on the bike and pick up her feet to coast for a couple of seconds. Yay!
Madilyn is still our jokester, and we think she’d do great as an actress one day. She loves to imitate people and is constantly coming up with hilarious one-liners or witty commentary. She’s also super tough—fell hard onto the asphalt off of her balance bike, skinned up her knee; what did she do? Stood up and said, “Mommy, I think I hurt my knee a little.” Brushed it off, and on her way.
Nighttime sleep—6:30pm-6:00am (went through a couple weeks of 4:30-5:30am wake ups. AH!)
Naps—still 2 a day: 9-11am and 1:30-3:30pm
Nursing—still 4 a day, but she’s highly distractible! She nurses at 6:00am, 11am, 3:30pm, 6:15pm
Growth—she had her 6-month appointment and now weighs 18lbs, 10oz; is 26.25″ long, with a 17.5″ head.
Eating and Teeth—started solids on 5/15, and since then, she’s had sweet potatoes, green peas, bananas, applesauce, butternut squash, pears, and tofu. No real interest in a sippy cup at this point, but we’re trying. She is getting her top two teeth (just beneath the surface) which will give her a cute little toothy smile.
Wake time—she’s blowing raspberries and squealing constantly, knows me and David and prefers us, adores her sisters, has found her feet, and rolls over tummy to back (almost figured out back to tummy, but not yet) which interrupted her sleep for a bit.
Here’s what we’ve been up to, followed by a ton of pictures.
-Marriage conference at Biltmore Baptist Church
-Job interview and subsequent offer from Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community (!!)
-I turned 30, and David threw me a big party with my girlfriends. So much fun!
-I graduated from WCU—the big girls came with us, and I teared up seeing them sitting up in the stands cheering me on
-My parents threw a graduation/birthday party in Greenville which was an absolute blast!
-I celebrated Mother’s Day by having an ordinary day at home with the family (my request after days of birthday/graduation celebration…I was partied out!)
-David organized the 2nd annual Daddy/Kiddo camping trip, and this time, there were over 10 dads with a total of 17 kids! Naomi and I went to Greenville while the camping trip was going on. The big girls had a blast!
-Litchfield Beach 2014! My parents rented a house, and they, our family, and Greg and Chelsey all met up for a fun family week. The weather was perfect (only one slight drizzle, and temps in the low-mid 80’s)! We walked to the beach and/or pool each day, rode bikes, ate delicious dinners in, went out to eat, took awesome family pictures, and to our great surprise, saw Asheville friends there! Abigail’s buddy, Addisyn, and her family were there the same week. It was so fun to let the kids play, and we even got a night to hang out with Michael and Tiffany, kid-free. For the win!