Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Natalie - 18 Months

December 9, 2015

Natalie girl! You are finally walking! You waited until literally a week before your 18 month mark to start trying it out. You stressed me out as per usual! But now you walk every where! Everywhere!

I think we'll have to say bye to the baby gate soon as you love exploring your home on your two feet now. You have a mind of your own, and you're on a mission. Dare I say we may have another strong willed child on our hands…

You can say 'uh-oh!' in the correct context, and "Hiiiiii!" with a big cheese face grin. But so far that's it in the world of words. You can sign 'milk', 'all done', 'more', and 'please', but you'd rather not if you're not required to.

You have done great with your glasses. You keep them on almost all the time and only pull them off if you're tired or bored…or trying to make mom mad. The eye doctor said your eye is still turning in a little more than she'd like with the glasses, and they may strengthen the prescription next visit or think about patching! Mommy totally didn't want to hear that! But, it would only be for a couple hours each day, so that's doable. Anything to keep you out of surgery!

Dad is still worried that you'll never grow any hair, but it's coming in. It's very light, and will probably be pretty fine like mommy's. Sorry for that baby girl! It will be a long while before we are able to do any pony tails.

You are enjoying playing with Cooper more and more each day, and I think he's enjoying it too! He's been experimenting with your balance as you've started to walk and he's done some typical big brother things like trip you and 'accidentally' knock you over. You usually say 'uh oh!' and get right back up! You will be one tough little girl thanks to him!

We started going to the Kids Club at the gym, and you've done so great with that transition! At first you were pretty hesitant about the guys that worked there, but every time I pick you up, you're happy and they always tell me what a great baby you are. They say you play the whole time you're there and just laugh and smile. I love that you're learning to play with other kids your age - I think next year we will enroll you in jr preschool at Cooper's school and you will do fabulous!

Daddy and I love to watch you grow, learn, and explore! You are so sweet and tender, and love to observe others. You have a fearless streak, as you have already flipped out of the bath tub, and will climb the stairs with no hesitation. You poop in the tub weekly, as well.

We love getting to know your spunky personality! I can't wait to see who you become!

Monday, June 22, 2015


Sweet Cooper,

My how you have challenged us this year! And are continuing to challenge us. Your daddy and I remind ourselves daily that we are the best parents for you. Some days it is much harder than others. We are learning more and more about you every day. We used to think you were very flexible, but are starting to learn that you thrive on routine. Something your mom mom has said from day one, but we are starting to really see the effects of any changes. You are officially potty trained now, and that came with a lot of resistance, but in the end, only took a couple of months. You love to be the center of attention, and if there are too many people around, you tend to act out in order to ensure the attention is all on you. We are scratching our heads every day, trying new techniques to help you understand the importance of being respectful and making the right choices. Teaching character traits has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do so far. Mommy is learning a lot of patience and deep breathing techniques through it all. With a strong will comes a lot of manipulation, and I am struggling with balancing and picking my battles. Some days it feels as though I am fighting a never ending battle. And sometimes it feels that way for weeks on end. Nonstop. All day. Every day. And then there is a reprieve. And it's almost as if you are just as tired of the arguing as I am. You become my sweet, eager to please, helpful little boy. "Would you like some lunch?" "Sure, Mommy!" It is so refreshing to hear that sweet voice. When I want to say "You are driving me insane! I don't want to do this any more!" I try to remind myself to say "Cooper, come here, hug me, I love you very much" Maybe I think the answer to all of this is just smothering him with love. Maybe I just do it because I don't know what else to do, and I am terrified of him growing up remembering all the times I lost my patience or got insanely frustrated with him. But literally, when he is in the midst of his many refusals, I am at a loss. Especially when we are in public. What do I do? He is getting too big for me to just carry him out kicking and screaming. Any kind of bargaining makes it way worse. It just fuels the fire. It is embarrassing sometimes, I feel judged and completely out of control. But, at the end of the day, he always comes at me with his tiny little voice "mommy, i want you to snuggle with me" and then he'll run his hands up and down my arm and stroke my face. And I think about the days events and wonder what I could have done differently. I blame myself sometimes for the way he reacts in situations. I feel like a psych nurse sometimes because I am constantly running through my head potential outcomes of any given situation and what I should do to prevent certain things from happening. But the whole point of this post was to say - you are difficult, Cooper. But I know you were given to us for a reason. Your dad and I have nothing but wonderful intentions for you. We know you will be SO successful because of your drive and intelligence. And I want you to know that even when I am at my breaking point with you, I will always love you so, so much. You are my special boy. I love the smell of you sweaty head after a long day, when you're rubbing your earlobe against my arms. 'I wuv you mommy'.
I love you too, sweet boy. Always and forever.

Natalie: Months 10, 11, and 12!

April 9th, 2015 - 10 Months

In this month you got your first pair of glasses! They are lavender and I think they are so cute! I promise not to ever put you in ugly ones :) Mommy was worried about your eyes from day one - because I had to have surgery when I was 18 months old, so I didn't want you to have to have the same things. Around month 8 we took you to the eye doctor because one of your eyes still wanted to turn in a little.  They dilated your eyes and discovered that you are very farsighted and because you were straining so much to see close up, it was causing the one eye to turn inwards a bit. The shape of your eye is also shorter than most, so the light is refracting different than it should. Hopefully by wearing the glasses, the straining will stop, and you will be able to avoid surgery. You will probably have to wear glasses or contacts for the rest of your life, but maybe in your lifetime the technology will improve and there will be a risk free fix! Some people think they're fake...which is pretty dumb, because I don't know any one who enjoys trying to keep anything on a 10 month old's face for fun.

We moved in to a new house in this month and you finally got your own room! You transitioned really well! Once we got you some curtains, you started sleeping much better, too. When we moved in, your room was a dark purple, and we lightened it up to a color called 'splash of lilac'. It's much softer now, and we love it.

You weren't so sure of the new house at first, but you have quickly fallen in to a new routine here. You love looking outside while you eat, and chasing Cooper around in the basement playroom. You're crawling like a champ now, but not quite pulling up yet. We switched to your big girl car seat and you love that too, although you get antsy after being in the car for longer than 30 minutes usually.

You are very serious, and it takes a lot to get any sort of smile out of you, but when we do, it is the sweetest face we've ever seen. We love you Natty girl, you are such a blessing to our family. xoxo

May 9th, 2015 - 11 Months

In your eleventh month, we took your one year pictures which turned out so cute! We continued to figure out our new routine in our new house. We have taken many walks in the evenings to the playgrounds. There are two by our house! You love swinging! And people watching. You have started to pull yourself up to standing, but are still very cautious. You make different sounds like 'mamamama' and 'dadadada' but haven't associated it with a person yet. We are introducing sign language but you haven't quite got the hang of that yet. We'll keep trying, Cooper didn't pick it up until much later. You love Chick-fil-a nuggets, and watching your brother play on the equipment there. It became our Tuesday routine while daddy was in night classes to take Cooper to soccer and then go eat dinner at Chick-fil-a.

You continue to be my easy going girl...as long as you're being held by me...or completely distracted with what you're doing. You are so serious, and very observant. We love you so much, and are still in awe that we have a sweet daughter to call ours. Can't wait to watch you continue to grow - and your dad can't wait to watch your hair grow more! xoxo sweet girl

June 9th, 2015 - ONE YEAR!

Sweet Natalie! You're one! I just can't believe it! This past year went so. fast. That's not even a joke. I remember clear as day when you were a tiny little newborn and I was wishing for my full nights sleep back. I remember thinking I would never be able to sleep again. Ever. Like, I had written it off. It would never happen in our house again.

But! Just when I accepted that fact, you settled in to your routine, and how glorious that was! You have become such a sweet little girl over these past 12 months. You absolutely love being around your mom, and usually cry in her presence unless she is holding you while standing. You love your daddy just as much, and have had lots of quality time with him while mom is at work. You only laugh your hardest at your brother. You share a very special bond with him, and it warms my heart to watch that evolve.

You love music and lights, reading books, and pulling them all off the shelf, taking things out of the basket and then putting them back in, lima beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, cheerios, moms milk, and popsicles. You do not love cows milk, green beans, carrots, prune juice, or the sippy cup.

You have a very nice routine of a long morning nap, and sometimes an afternoon one as well. You are pulling up to stand and starting to cruise while holding on to furniture. You are still real good about keeping your glasses on, and look so sweet in them.

For your first birthday we were actually on a plane to Virginia. But we had your party on the 14th, and we celebrated with family at your Grandpops house. Mommy, Daddy, Cooper, Grandpop, MiMi, Mom Mom, Poppy, your Great Grandmom and Grandpop from Pennsylvania, Aunt Maureen, Uncle Mike and Aunt Lisa, Melissa, Josh & Drew, Tammy, Phillip & Gabe, Aunt Brett and Uncle Craig, Cam and Max, Lisa, Brian, Breanna, Becca, and Michaela were all there to sing to you! You got lots of fun girl toys and pretty outfits. You loved your cupcake, though it took a little convincing to finish it up.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Natalie: Months 7, 8, and 9

January 9, 2015

You are 7 months old, Natalie girl! You are finally rolling over! You love to babble and talk to your mom mom on FaceTime. Everyone who sees you out, comments on how beautiful you are, and you always smile back at them.

You do NOT like eating food yet! Mommy and Daddy keep trying, but you still gag and try to chew it. You get maybe a few spoonfuls, before you completely turn away from it. We've tried sweet potatoes, squash, applesauce, pears, oatmeal, and bananas. So far, you've done the best with sweet potatoes, but you'd still just rather breastfeed.

You are still a great sleeper, thank goodness. Your nap schedule is always a little iffy, but as long as you sleep at night, mommy and daddy are happy!

You're starting to reach for things, especially our phones, and I think you're starting to get frustrated when you can't get to them.

You're almost up on all fours, trying to crawl, you rock back and forth, but usually end up pushing yourself backwards. That pushes you farther from your toys, and then you start getting angry.

You love watching your big brother run around. He loves to act silly which always makes you laugh. It's so great to watch you two interact.

February 9, 2015

In your eighth month, we discovered that you just didn't like pureed foods. But you'll finger feed yourself chunks of food no problem! So, your diet consists mostly of puffs :/, avocado, and bananas. I wasn't quite sure what to do with a baby eating real solids this early, so I'm more hesitant to give you foods that aren't really soft. We tried chunks of butternut squash and peas, but you always pick out the puffs or banana!

We took you to the eye specialist because your right eye still wants to wander inward when you're focusing on things. I'm really hypersensitive about that since I had to have surgery on my eyes when I was still so little, and have had glasses almost my entire life. So, while everyone kept telling me it was fine and that you'd grow out of it, I had a gut feeling you wouldn't. Sure enough, she said you have three times the normal far sightedness for your age, and that's causing you to strain to focus on things up close which is causing your eye to turn inwards. She gave you 8 more weeks to see if there would be any significant changes, although she wasn't hopeful, so we'll go back next month and maybe put you in glasses. I feel guilty about it because I certainly don't want people staring at you for the wrong reasons, but I know it will be good for you, and hopefully we can avoid surgery all together if we start this early enough.

March 9, 2015

Happy 9 months, my sweet girl!

You continue to be fairly mellow and laid back, as was your brother at this age. You are finally sitting up by yourself, but only if we put you in that position. I was worried that your development was a little behind, but then I realized I wasn't giving you much of a chance to practice your skills! So we play a lot more on the floor now, as opposed to in your bouncer. I liked having you in there to protect you from your wild brother, though! You have been getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth like you want to crawl for some time now. You are just starting to move your legs underneath you but haven't quite figured out that you need to move your arms too! But you get around just fine by rolling and a little bit of army crawling.

There are two more teeth peeking through. Just like your brother, the first top teeth you'll get are not the middle ones, but the outer ones right next to those.

Feeding yourself has been a fun adventure! It's so messy every time, because you insist on doing it yourself! The only thing you'll let me spoon feed you is yogurt! We can't get you to eat vegetables like you'll inhale avocado and banana though. We've tried squash, sweet potato, carrots, and peas. You'll eat them, but if there's a choice, you'll definitely choose something else. Cheerios are a new favorite too.

You seem to have a very special connection with your brother, you'll only laugh really hard for him. It's so sweet to watch the two of you together. You're starting to become interested in his toys though, so it could get interesting soon! He's usually very good about giving you something to hold, and if you start crying he'll rush to you and pat your head and say "It's ok Natalie girl, shhhhh!"

The jury is still out on who you look like the most. It's split down the middle as far as people thinking you look more like me or your dad. I see a lot more of me in you than I do in your brother at least. But we almost always get comments on how cute you are, or how well behaved you are. Today, you went the entire day with no nap because I had to take you to work with me for an event, and even I was shocked that you didn't have any sort of meltdown! You cat napped in the car for about 10 minutes, and that was it! I was so impressed! I am so glad you are so flexible with us!

We love you sweet girl, I can't believe you're already 9 months old! The time has certainly flown, and before we know it your birthday will be here! Next month, you will finally have your own room!

love you, natty!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cooper: 3 Years

January 2015


Sincerely, Liz inc
You are three! I just can't believe it. It feels like yesterday that I was writing about how hard it was adjusting to being a new mommy, how hard breastfeeding was for us, and how stressed you were making me when you were a newborn!

Now you are a little boy! I'm not sure where the past three years went. You have grown SO much. You are incredibly smart, and I'm not just saying that because I'm your mom. You speak a language that sometimes I think only I understand - because it is so complex for your little body, that others don't understand what you're trying to say or why you're saying it. You correlate things so well - and have an awesome memory.

You can identify a few letters, mostly the ones in your name. You remember songs that I didn't even know you knew. We sing together every night before bed, a song I made up a long time ago, and now it's a must for you. Daddy or I sing it, and you hum along. You request songs in the car now, and you will sing to Natalie if she's crying.

I'm almost positive you will be left handed like your mommy.

Banana yogurt is your favorite these days. Along with raisins, cereal, PB&J, mac&cheese, chicken nuggets, peanuts, pretzels, milk, and grapes. Pretty standard diet for a three year old, I'd say.

We are struggling with potty training you because you are SO strong willed. You do NOT want to sit on the potty, ever.

You've moved up to the 'big kid' room at day care - 3 and 4 year olds. So you're having a hard time adjusting to all new kids, new teachers, and new routines, including potty training at school. You used to love going to school, and would wake up on the weekends wanting to go. But now, you usually say 'I don't want to go to my big room, mommy." And it breaks my heart every single day. I know it's one of those things I have to do as a mom, and it's the hardest thing I've had to do, to date. It will only get harder if I succumb and just pull you out of daycare because I feel so sad every day, because eventually you will have to go to Kindergarten and we really won't have a choice in that matter. Your new teachers say you're quiet, which we know isn't true of you, and that you keep to yourself. You came from a room where you were king of the castle, knew how everything worked, had a great group of friends, and LOVED your teachers! I know they are treating you well, but I think you're just well outside of your comfort zone and don't love going anymore. Mommy is trying her hardest to push through these tough transition weeks until you make some new friends and start loving going again.

Mommy and Daddy struggle with finding a balance for you - you are so strong willed, and sometimes very defiant. We have a hard time finding something that will motivate you to listen to your parents and follow directions. I know this personality trait will serve you well when you get older, as long as we can get a handle on it now, and direct you in the best way.

You can recite a few books, and will read them to Natalie on occasion. Books like Five Little Monkeys, Are You My Mother?, Go Dog Go, and Hand Hand Fingers Thumb. We read at least 2 every night, more if mommy is feeling generous.

In your short three years, you've become very set in your ways. You love routine, even though your daddy's parenting philosophy is "a routine of flexibility". We are in the thick of the toddler years - better known as the threenager. "But I wannnt that one. No I don't want that one." You change your mind like the weather, at least 10000 times a day. It does become exhausting. You are finding your voice, though, and forming your own opinions, so I can't get too mad at that. Your daddy took you to the zoo the other day, per your request from the day before. You said, "Daddy, I want to go to the zoo tomorrow and feed the giraffes lettuce." I mean, how can you ignore that?! So he took you, and you told him "Daddy, the tigers are my favorite because I like their stripes." I'm not lying, I don't know any other 3 year olds that speak as well as you do.

Mommy finally caved and turned your car seat forward facing. You're loving it so far, and so is daddy!

You continue to amaze me. Every single day. You are becoming your own person, and it's awesome to watch. You have shown great compassion for your sister, only recently starting to get a little jealous, but mostly very concerned about her wellbeing. Always running to comfort her when she's crying and sharing your toys with her. You dish out the unwarranted "I wuv you's" all day long. It's the greatest feeling in the world to hear you say that, and that you've missed me.

I pray every day for your safety, and that we will be the best parents for you. You are a challenge, to say the least, but my most rewarding challenge ever. I love you so much sweet boy. We can't wait to see what this year has in store for you!