June 5, 2016

thea - ten months

Clearly slacking in the blogging department.  Seeing as my last update was also a monthly post.  But hey, at least I'm not totally failing with those!  And for the love my blog design is what, 4.5 years old?  Sad story.  Oh well.  Thea is ten freaking months old and I think I'm going to feel all the feelings and cry big fat tears when she turns one.

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I've had to resort to all methods of bribery and distraction to take pictures of this kid.  Puffs, lights, songs, siblings, etc.  You name it, I tried it.  Photographing babies is hard freaking work!

I made zero attempts to measure the little miss.  At Thea's last check-up their computer system was down, so I didn't have her percentages.  They were mailed to me a few days later and she had dropped to the 28th percentile in weight.  For a girl who was once in the 90th I was pretty surprised.  We also were persuaded to get labs drawn because the pediatrician doesn't think too highly of me not giving Thea baby cereals (therefore not getting a lot of extra iron).  I was hesitant because I didn't do cereals with the other two and they seemed to have turned out just fine, but I complied. Her numbers fell just below the normal range (normal is 10.5-13 I believe, her levels were 10.2), so they prescribed an iron supplement.  However they wrote a script for 300% of an infants daily iron needs.  Sounds a bit nuts to me for a child who barely missed the mark, not to mention she wasn't eating a ton a table foods yet, so we're doing our own thing.  We're supposed to have her levels rechecked in a couple of weeks so we'll see.

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Clothes are still 6-12 month or 12 months.  There are some 9 month items that still fit, but for the most part they are too small.  She can wear size three shoes, and the ones I just bought at Old Navy are 12-18 month.  Still fitting in the size three diapers.  The teeth count is still holding strong at six.  I swore I could see some more coming in on top, but nothing has popped through yet.

Thea has started eating fair amount more of table foods.  Ham, cheese, black beans and avocado seem to be the favorites.  Actually yogurt melts are her jam, she goes nuts for those things, along with puffs.  She will also eat sweet potato, corn, peas, banana, bread, occasionally asparagus and green beans.  Honestly she might eat a wider variety if we offered, but we haven't been cooking a ton lately.  I fed her some grilled chicken legs we had the other night and she was loving it.  Blueberries still seem to the absolute most hated food in the universe.  Why she hates them so much I have no idea, but she HATES them.  She is still nursing the same amount, about 5-6 times a day.  And she has figured out, for the most part, how to use the playtex straw cups.

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I'm happy to report that Thea has occasionally started sleeping through the night.  Granted through the night is 7:45am-5:45am and that is totally killing my morning run and shower routine, but I am more consistently getting long stretches of sleep and it is glorious.  I've tried feeding her and putting her back in her crib, but everyone in our house is getting up around then (6:15 or so, early birds) and the sun is coming up and it just hasn't worked.  Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night, but if I feed her she'll go back to sleep.  She generally takes two naps a day, each about two hours long.  I more or less nurse her to sleep all the time.  She CAN fall asleep on her own, but she is still just so pathetic about it, and that kid has me wrapped around her finger sooo...

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Thea is starting to cruise more effectively, and girlfriend loves to use anything and everything she can as a walker.  If she pulls up on something and it slides a bit she immediately has to test it to see if she can push it across the room.  Stools, end tables, the pouf ottoman in her room, laundry baskets, they all regularly go cruising throughout the house.  Thea has also taken a big interest in holding our hands and walking.  For a bit there she would just plop down if we tried, preferring to just crawl to her desired location, but now she'll seek out your hands and try to steer you where she wants to go.  She can walk holding on with just one hand, but the second she starts to stumble a bit, she reaches out with her other hand.

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No words yet, but Thea is by no means a quiet baby.  Right now she seems to say 'yay yay yay' or 'day day day' and occaionally 'da da da' on repeat.  Yay yay yay is my favorite.  She'll say ma ma ma and throw a few other sounds in there as well, but for the most part she sticks with the previously mentioned ones.  You can tell that she is understanding more and more.  She'll shake something if we say shake, or smack stuff together if we say bam bam.  She claps when we say yay, and will sometimes wave when we say hi.  If I ask her where her baby doll's eyes are, she looks to it's face.  And she is starting to follow along when I sing 'If You're Happy And You Know It.'  I can't wait until we hear some words.  The girls are so curious to know what her first real word will be.  Ryann of course is pulling for 'Ry Ry.'  I can't remember what Elsie picked, but it is something absurd that will never happen.

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Thea really is just such a happy baby.  She is pretty quick to smile, and while she prefers Mommy, Daddy or Grammy to hold her, she is happy to flirt with anyone and everyone.  She is adorable out in public.  Only recently have I started taking her places more often, before I tried to run errands or do things when someone else could watch her, because she got tired quickly and doesn't like being confined when she is tired.  Now she can stay awake for longer stretches without turning into a maniac.  And she is so interested and curious about everything going on around her.  My mom and I took her down the toy aisle at Target and I think her head about damn near exploded.  So many things to see and touch and oh my gosh!  It is the cutest.

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Thea, watching you grow is so much fun, but some days I wish I could keep you my baby forever!  Love you so much.

May 5, 2016

thea - nine months

OMG NINE MONTHS.  I feel like nine months is really getting up there.  We're now just under three months until she is one and if we don't have any more babies that means I won't ever have another little baby and for the love I'm going to go in a corner and cry now, mmmkay?
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Anyway!  Miss Thea continues to grow and grow in so many ways.  Today she weighed in at 17lbs 12 oz and measure 28 inches long.  I was definitely expecting her to be a little bigger!  She is starting to wear the 12 month size from Carters, though 9 month stuff still works too.  She's in 6-12 from Gap and Old Navy.  She still seems just fine in a size 3 diaper and also wears a size 3 shoe.

We continue to be treading the teething hell waters.  She cut another two teeth up top this month, bringing her total to six.  More than both Ryann and Elsie had at this age.  And the way she chews the heck out of anything she can get her hands on, I think there are still more coming close behind.  The thing that Thea seems to have less of than the other two did, is hair!  None of the girls have had a ton of hair before they were one or anything, but Thea definitely has the least.  I can't wait to find out what kind of hair she is going to have!

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Eating is still going pretty well across the board (not that anyone would ever look at her and think she is underfed!).  I'd say Thea nurses 5-6 times in a 24 hour period.  We relatively consitently offer her 'lunch' and 'dinner', and depending on when she is awake or when we're eating, breakfast too.  Bascially if she is crabby or it is convienent to have her strapped in we give her some food.  She loves purees and she LOVES puffs.  She is getting better at picking up small pieces of food and putting them in her mouth, she just isn't the greatest at mashing everything up yet.  She'll just keep it in her cheeks like a squirrel for a while.  So far the only thing I'd venture to say she doesn't like is blueberries.  I don't know why.  The first time I fed her an actual piece of a blueberry, she cried.  A lot.  It was comical.  She likes cheese, sweet potatoes, little pieces of ham, and anything else she manages to shove in her mouth.  She also loves when we put fruit in the mesh feeder.  She has done great with avocado in there as well.

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As far as a sippy cup goes, Thea is pretty meh with it.  However, one day last week she boycotted nursing for like 12 hours.  I have no idea why.  It isn't as if a let down happened and the taste was different or she just snacked.  She plain old turned up her nose at my chest and wouldn't latch.  No interest whatsoever.  At the same time, she was SO fussy, I knew she was hungry.  We fed her purees and stuff.  She wasn't constipated.  Definitely hungry.  Finally around 5pm I pumped and put some milk in her sippy.  She managed to drink down maybe 3 ounces?  I was surprised.  Thankfully before bedtime she nursed as usual.  The middle of the night was also fine.  The next day I had one instance where she didn't want to, but other than that she has been fine.  I don't have a clue what her deal was.

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Sleep remains about the same.  For the most part, lately, she has been going to bed between 7:30 & 8pm, waking up to nurse around 4am, then sleep until 7-7:30am.  Not perfect but I don't hate it.  Naps happen more or less at 9:30am & 2:30pm.  She sleeps for 1.5-2 hours.  It works.  I pretty much just nurse her to sleep during the day.  I haven't ever tried just setting her in the crib and walking away.  I spent a good six weeks making sure she wasn't falling asleep nursing before I set her down, just letting her get drowsy, and she cried for almost every nap in those six weeks.  I just felt so bad.  So whatever.  She gets a decent amount of sleep now and I don't mind too much.  It's working well enough, despite the pediatrician basically telling me I need to quit nursing her to sleep and stop feeding her at night cold turkey.  Psh, woman, I do what I want.  Yes I'd love for her to sleep through the night, but no, I don't really want to listen to her scream right now.  Elsie eventually grew out of it, I'm sure she will too.

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Thea's mobility seems to increase daily.  Still trying to climb everything, getting pretty good at cruising, I've caught her transfer furniture pieces a couple times.  And on maybe three occasions she has stood unassisted for a few seconds.  She has also gained a lot of control getting down from objects after she pulls up on them.  I can't say the same for getting down from something she has climbed up on to, such as a Pottery Barn anywhere chair.  When she decides she is done up there she just dives out head first.  Real smart kiddo, real smart.

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This little girl is LOUD.  Maybe this is some kind of third child syndrome?  Ha.  She is constantly just yelling and making noise, surely just to hear herself or get some attention.  Still a lot of da and ma noises.  'Na na na na' has also been pretty popular this month.  Sometimes I think she is starting to associate da da with Christopher, or di da.  But for the most part I think she just likes to make noise.  Almost any time I ask her to say mama she gets a huge smirk on her face and responds with 'da da da da'.  Punk.

Thea definitely waves now.  I love it so much.  So do the girls.  It is just so fun to wave at her or tell her hi and have her actually respond.  Last week she waved at the school bus after Ryann got on and I yelled bye.  I about died of the cuteness right then.  No clapping, no pointing, but waving for sure.  She doesn't give as many kisses as she used to, but she will still do that as well.

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Baby dolls are still very much a favorite.  I did go ahead and get Thea one much like the purple one we already have that her and Elsie fight over.  They still fight over it.  Naturally.  But she puts up with the other baby dolls, we've given Elsie full claim to the purple doll.  Thea also seems to really enjoy playing with books, but has little interest in letting us read them.  She is much too excited about trying to rip it out of your hands.  She has started understanding the touch and feel books, and it is so cute to watch her carefully use a finger to feel the little section.  I love it.  She also enjoys knocking over anything I try to build, and has discovered the joys of flipping the light switch.  :o)  She giggles as she pulls my hair every chance she gets, and will 'attack' with a giant smile on her face if she catches me laying on the floor.

As most babies do, Thea HATES getting her diaper changed, or having her clothes changed, having her finger nails clipped, laying still for pictures... Basically anything that requires her to be the slightest bit still or contained.  Yet she does pretty darn good when we are out and about and I have to hold her for an extended period of time.  I get lots of comments about what a good baby she is, and really she is.  She is my little side kick, she goes every where with me, and while it isn't always puppies and rainbows she manages to win over all the strangers with her shy smile and those big blue eyes.

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Miss Thea, I love you to pieces.  Don't grow up so fast.

April 28, 2016

ryann is six!

My list of things I wanted to write about but haven't gotten to is ever growing.  Baby products, Valentine's Day, Easter... But it has been a month since Ryann turned six and I'll be damned if I completely miss an 'age update' for one of my children.  Some day I'll stop doing this and it won't be an issue, right?  Right.  Anyway...

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Ryann turned six on March 29th.  SIX!  If I've got a six-year-old I think I should feel more like an adult.  Does that ever happen?  When do you truly feel like an adult?  Not the point.  Back to my big (but still very much little right?) six-year-old.  Describing Ryann at this age is so incredibly difficult.  She is of course absolutely amazing.  Learning things at an unbelievable rate, becoming more and more and more independent.  Gravitating more towards the tween end of things than the toddler side.  She is strong willed 100%, and she also feels every emotion 100%.  When she is happy she can't contain herself, the energy coursing through every last inch of her body.  But when she is mad, my word, you better watch your back.  She is also quite sensitive, she gets embarrassed easily and that feeling is rather suffocating for her.  It is hard for her to take criticism or make mistakes.

But I think her kindergarten teacher described her best at our first parent-teacher conference.  Ryann is just downright kooky.  She is silly, bubbly, and says the most ridiculous things.  She absolutely loves to make people laugh and enjoys being crazy.  She loves unicorns and glitter as much as she loves bugs and getting dirty.

Speaking of school, Ryann is killing it in the reading department.  I can't believe how far she has come since the beginning of the year.  As far as I can tell, she is reading at a third grade level, and with little trouble.  I think she could maybe possibly read harder books, but her interest and attention span just isn't there yet.  She tells me chapter books are too long with not enough pictures.  She seems to be grasping all of her math concepts well, and loves to tell me about different artists she has learned about through art class.

Miss Ryann is still an incredibly picky eater.  We are trying so hard to get her at least willing to try other foods, but dinner is a battle almost every night.  Her favorite things to eat remain chicken nuggets, pizza, mac & cheese and peanut butter & jelly.  She also loves summer sausage and pepperonis.  Her favorite fruits are pears, strawberries, cantaloupe and plums.  She won't eat blueberries, bananas or mango.  The only vegetables she'll willingly eat are raw baby carrots and raw bell pepper.  Every other vegetable pretty much has to be forced on her.  She'll choose salty and sour over sweet 90% of the time.  She doesn't really like cake or cupcakes, but brownies and ice cream get two thumbs up.

Her favorite activity is gymnastics.  She looks forward to it every week.  She is killing my dreams and doesn't like dance, and can't wait for the recital to be over so she can quit.  Looks like I'm going to have to persuade Elsie and Thea to keep that dream alive.  Ryann also enjoys Girl Scouts, but I think mostly for the crafts and snacks, naturally.  However I think she has had some really great experiences with Girl Scouts and if there is a troop for her next year I think she'd like to continue.  This summer we're going to give soccer a try, though I can't imagine her enjoying running too much.  We shall see!  At home Ryann's favorite thing to do, besides torment her sisters, is draw.  And color.  With the right guidance that girl is going to be an outstanding artist.  I could definitely see her illustrating children's books one day.  Or who knows what else, but she is WAY better than I am at drawing things.

And let's throw in a little recap of her actual birthday... Ryann requested pancake muffins for breakfast like Elsie had.  With a candle.  I think she would have enjoyed regular pancakes or donuts or something, but she seems to prefer that things are the same with her and Elsie, so I just went with it.  We had also blown up a bunch of balloons and put them in the hallway to her room.  We let her open one gift before she left for school, some Littlest Pet Shop toys.

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Ryann has pretty much been asking me to bring her McDonalds for lunch since the beginning of the year, but I haven't ever done it.  So Christopher took the day off work so we could surprise her.  We put her lunch box in her back pack as usual, but it was empty.  When we got to the school we waited out in the hallway while they were finishing up some activities, then her teacher had them go line up and grab their lunch if they had one.  The sweet girl, I wish I had recorded her desperate little voice as she exclaimed "My daddy forgot to pack my lunch!"  Her teacher asked her to check the hallway and she found us.  And immediately proclaimed "BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!"  I'm so glad we were both able to go have lunch with her.  She was giddy and you could tell she felt so special to get to sit with us at a separate table with her McDonalds.

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Since Chris was home for the day, he picked Ryann up after school instead of having her ride the bus.  Then we let her open the rest of her presents.  A journal, some craft kits, a couple of board games and a scooter.  My parents also gave her a gift, a couple of gymnastics mats and a floor beam.  Elsie has probably gotten more use out of them than Ry has, but they are being well loved nonetheless!  Then Ryann was off to dance.

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Chris wrapped one of her presents in an oatmeal box :)

When she got back home we had her favorite, cheese pizza, waiting for her.  My parents joined us for the little pizza party.  We had intended to take her out for ice cream after we put the other two to bed, but lets just say all of my little friends were making the evening a touch difficult, and it just didn't seem like a good idea.  We had some leftover chocolate cake from Easter, combined it with some ice cream and toppings, and we had a happy girl on our hands.

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Miss Ryann, I can't believe you're six.  Love you lots, more than you'll ever know.

April 14, 2016

elsie says

I love three-year-old's interpretation of a joke...
Elsie: "Why did the chicken cross the road?"
Me:  "I don't know, why?"
Elsie:  "To get away from cookie Valentine's Day!"
uh, what?

Me:  "You're full of bologna."
Elsie:  "No I not!"
Me:  "Then what are you full of?"
Elsie:  "Bones!" touche

after giving her a push on the swing
Me:  "Ok now pump your legs! Back and front and..."
Elsie:  "I know how to do it by myself.  You don't need to remind me."

Elsie:  "I stracted Thea.  I was keeping her stracted so she don't touch your fings."
Translation: I was keeping Thea distracted so she wouldn't touch your things.

Elsie:  "I love dose (those) wittle bugs.  Them are so cute and friendfull."  I about died when she said friendfull.  Such a cute attempt at friendly!

Miss Elsie has also started, well, not exactly telling the truth, when she thinks she is going to get in trouble.  The other day we were in my bedroom and I told her I was going to use the restroom.  She jumped up first and said she needed to potty too, and that she could do it all by herself.  Which she can.  She came out and went to the other bathroom (where there is a stool) to wash her hands.  I then went to the bathroom.  When I went to grab the toilet paper it was, wet.  And yellow.  We have yet to install a toilet paper holder in our bathroom, we just keep a roll on the back of the toilet.  So apparently she dropped the roll in the toilet, fished it out, and put it back like nothing had ever happened.  I asked her if she had dropped it in there, "No mama, you did."  PUNK.  We're going to have to work on telling the truth!

And a couple of other little things I'm not sure I've ever written down but now she isn't saying them as much and I don't want to forget.  Elsie used to say Old McDonald's instead of McDonald's.  She calls bananas bee-nanas.  And gymnastics is also bee-nastics.  Honestly I hope that she always says bee-nana.  I know she won't, but I really think it is the cutest thing.

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April 8, 2016

thea - eight months

Sorry Thea, I'm failing on getting these written on time.  But I still haven't missed one, so that counts for something, right?  My biggest issue is I get all confused as to if something is a new development in the last week or so, or if it happened during your eighth month.  Bottom line though?  I love you and you refuse to stop getting bigger.

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Another month where I didn't really make an attempt to weigh or measure her, but when we went to a consult with a pediatric plastic surgeon, they weighed her at 17lbs 10oz or something like that.  Granted she was fully dressed including an absolutely full diaper, so I'm going to guess she wasn't quite that big.  She still looks pretty long, but I don't think she has grown a huge amount in the last month.  She fits pretty comfortably in 6-12 month clothing, as well as the 9 month and 12 month size.  Still wearing size 3 diapers, and sitting between a 2 or a 3 shoe.  2's are too small, 3's tend to fall off, so we just don't wear shoes.

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Sleep is still incredibly unpredictable.  Thea's naps range from 1.5 - 2 hours long.  Occasionally she'll still sleep for 3 hours, but it is pretty rare.  In the morning she is up for about 2 hours before her first nap, then 2.5-3 hours before her second nap, and generally 3-4 hours before bed.  Really 3 hours is her limit, she really struggles past that, but sometimes life happens.  She is usually asleep for the night between 7:15-7:45pm, and up for the day between 6:15-6:45am.  She is still waking once a night, but again, it is never the same.  Somewhere between 11pm and 4:30am.  If she is up super early in the night, before midnight, she might wake up twice, but that is pretty rare.  The other night I fed her around 12:45am, and she slept until almost 7am.  I look forward to the day that I get a full night's sleep, but this is pretty manageable.  I get tired, but I rarely feel like a zombie anymore.  I forgot to note that last month Thea was sleeping in a zipadee zip.  We've just recently transitioned to a sleep sack.  The change went much better than I anticipated.

*naturally the night after I typed this post, she slept 7:45pm-5:45am.  I mean, I prefer after 6am but you can't fault the girl for a 10 hour stretch!

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The reason we had to get her out of the zipadee zip is that girlfriend is majorly mobile.  I seriously can't believe that at 7 months she was just barely crawling and not sitting up on her own.  Now she can easily get herself into a seated position, is a pretty quick crawler, and tries to pull up on EVERYTHING.  One afternoon she manged to figure out how to pull up on my printer that is on the floor of our study, and it has been downhill since.  She tries to climb on top of everything too.  And not just with her knees, she is hiking her leg up as high as she can to get her foot situated on stuff.  Yesterday she attempted to climb the end table in our living room.  She is only a couple of inches from being able to get her foot on the second shelf.  It's absurd.  And has made accomplishing anything without holding her nearly impossible.  She no longer enjoys the jumper, and hates being stuck in the pack n play, because she does not want to be contained.

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Nursing is still going well.  Thea nurses when she wakes in the morning, after each nap, before bed, and a little bit before going down for a nap.  I try not to let her fall asleep nursing, but it still happens here and there.  It was easier to lay her down awake when she wasn't pulling up.  Now she just stands up and cries if I leave her in her crib.  And that generally leads to her falling over and smacking her head at some point.  She is definitely getting better at standing though, so hopefully soon it won't be as terrifying to leave her in there.

We've added in lunch to our meal routines, so she is getting purees in the middle of the day and at dinner time.  Though a lot of it is dependent on if her naps line up with our meal times.  Thea is also starting to really enjoy puffs as well as fruit in the mesh feeder, so I'm hoping to introduce more table foods this month.  We've given her bits of avocado, and while she doesn't spit it out, she doesn't seem to pleased with it either.  Another thing I forgot to mention in her 7 month post was that Thea was working on her two bottom teeth.  Shortly after that her top two started coming in.  So we've definitely got some chomping power!  She hasn't yet figured out how to really work the sippy cup.  She mostly just chews on it.  But I'm hoping that comes soon too, and then I'm hoping she'll drink breastmilk out of it which would lead to maybe possibly not needing me to be around all day long?  One can hope.  Really as long as she doesn't see me, Thea doesn't get too whiny even if she hasn't nursed for a few hours.  But the second she catches sight of me she is a hot mess until she gets to nurse.

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We haven't heard a ton of babbling out of Thea, but when she does it is oh so cute.  And she finally started saying 'ma ma ma ma'!  I'm very aware that it isn't directed at me at all, but we're one step closer.  I'll take it.  Occasinonally she'll 'talk' in this little whisper voice.  That's my favorite.  More often than not though, she just yells.  No distinct sounds.  Just yelling.  And she definitely yells in response to someone making loud noises at her.

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Thea loves to give me big giant nasty open mouth kisses.  It is pretty funny.  Granted she does it most often when she is really tired, so for all I know she is willing to latch on to any part of my body.  But she'll lean her head in, mouth open wide and just goober me up.  Elsie freaks out if she does it to her, but Ryann kind of enjoys it.  We've also maybe possibly started working on waving some more?  She stares at her hand and open and closes it, and occasionally will attempt the gesture in response to someone doing it to her, but really nothing definite there.  I'm also pulling for clapping, I think it is adorable when babies start clapping.  But so far I've seen nothing from her.

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Ryann has never really shown an interest in baby dolls.  Elsie didn't until Thea was born, and even still it can be hit or miss whether she actually wants to play with one.  But I'm thinking Thea is going to be my baby doll loving girl.  She seems to gravitate towards them.  She especially loves the one we have with the pacifier, because she enjoys pulling the paci out of the baby's mouth.  Of course that is Elsie's favorite doll as well, and has claimed it as her own, so we need to get Thea a similar one just for her.  Elsie is pretty terrible in the toy sharing department.  We're working on it.

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Thea, I can tell you are going to keep me on my toes with your ornrey little antics, but you can sure put a smile on my face in an instant.  Love you lots.

April 5, 2016

elsie - three years

Seeing as it has been nearly two months since Elsie turned three, I figured it was about time to do a little update on my spunky little girl. And we finally have a break in the party throwing so I have a few moments to spare!  I'm tossing in some photos from her actual birthday, since we never really did a '3 year photo shoot.'  Whoops.

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I can't find the sheet, but I'm pretty sure when we went to the doctor in February, Elsie was somewhere in the 31 pound range, and maybe around 38 inches?  Really I don't have a clue.  I know that she had dropped in the percentiles, but she still seems a lot bigger than most of her friends.  She wears 3T clothes, though she can pull off some 4Ts as well.  She still tries to squeeze into some size 7 shoes, just because she likes them, but really she is an 8, occasionally a 9.  But her favorite shoes are all of my high heels, and I swear she can walk in them better than I can.

Her curls are still very much there.  We can't go anywhere without at least one person commenting on her hair.  When we were at Easter brunch a minimum of five people stopped to tell her how beautiful her hair is.  A man has told Christopher she is the most beautiful child he has ever seen.  It's ridiculous.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore her curls.  So very much.  I hope she keeps them forever.  But goodness, it is crazy how much attention they attract! 

Elsie goes to bed around 8pm, and is usually up for the day between 6:30 and 7am.  Naps don't happen anymore, but she still has 2 hours of quiet time in her room every day (unless we've got things to do, places to be).  Occasionally she'll crawl in her bed and fall asleep, but those nights she usually doesn't fall asleep until 10pm, so we just try to avoid naps.  During quiet time she looks at books, plays with toys, colors, does lots and lots of pretending (she is so good at it when she is by herself!) and regularly jumps off her bed over and over again.  Her room is always an absolute disaster when she comes out.  And it usually smells terrible...

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The last time I did an Elsie update she was still in diapers.  Thankfully she has been mostly potty trained since about October.  It went much smoother than I was anticipating, and we really only had maybe three potty accidents?  But we still use diapers at nap time and bed time because E will not poop on the potty.  And she'll wait until quiet time and just poop in her underwear.  No thanks.  Without miralax she quickly gets constipated so pooping is just a touchy issue with her.  I'm just not fighting it right now.  But hopefully we can say goodbye to diapers for her in the very near future.  It's gross.  I'm over it.

Miss Elsie still loves food.  All different kinds of food.  There are some things that she prefers not to eat, but she'll try almost anything.  She likes pulled barbecue chicken, quesadillas, cheeseburgers, mac n cheese, avocados, peanut butter and jelly, asparagus, fried rice, plus a bunch of other things.  And of course sweets.  Girlfriend loves sugar as much as I do.  Sorry Elsie.  She also really loves to help in the kitchen.  I need to be better about finding tasks for her to do in there, because she gets so much joy out of helping and being a part of dinner prep.

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Elsie can recognize all the letters of the alphabet, numbers 1-20, knows lots of shapes and colors, and is starting to write her letters and numbers as well.  She moved from scribbling to drawing actual things a while back, but watching her figure out how to write letters has been really fun.  It is just one of those developments that makes them seem so much more grown up.

Elsie's little personality is so funny.  She can be the absolute sweetest, and is very aware of other peoples' emotions.  But watch your back, if you cross her oh my word, the little devil child comes out.  And she does NOT take well to punishment and time out.  She'll hit me, pinch me, scratch me, you name it, if I try to remove her from something naughty she was doing.  Or she'll just laugh in my face.  Or both.  She is a beast.  And then snaps right back to being her sweet little self.  Oy.  She is amazing one on one, but her and Ryann have a knack for bringing out the worst in each other.

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In the gross motor skills department Elsie appears to be turning into a little beast.  She has an impressive amount of muscle and control, and is slowly learning how to use it.  I haven't come across a piece of furniture that she can't climb.  She constantly is getting things from high shelves and I don't have a clue how she got there.  She LOVES dance class, she is so disappointed that she isn't in the recital this year.  And she is doing pretty darn good at gymnastics.  Skill wise she is ready to move on to the next class, but maturity wise she just isn't there.  Close though!

Some of Elsie's absolute favorite things include kitties (still! kitty everything!), playing dress up, putting on make-up, the colors red and pink, coloring, playing with her sisters' toys, terrorizing Ryann, but also idolizing Ryann, making Thea smile, bubble baths and being as ornery as can be.  She dislikes getting in trouble, being startled, bugs, loud noises, when Thea touches anything that she thinks was at one point in time hers, or if someone leaves our house without giving her a hug and a kiss.  Seriously.  You better hug that child if you're going somewhere.  She'll cry relentlessly if you don't.

Elsie girl, I love you so much.  Your giggle is infectious.  You manage to brighten my day even with your most mischievous grin.  And every time you turn to me and say, "Mama, I like you," I melt a little bit more.  I like you too.  A lot.

March 10, 2016

a pink and red ballet kitty birthday party

Yes.  Pink.  And red.  And kitties.  AND ballet!  That is what Elsie asked for to celebrate her third birthday.  Her favorite colors are pink and red.  My extremely allergic to cats little girl is OBSESSED with cats.  And she has been very much into dance lately.  Not to mention she loves the Mia ballet books.  So we did our best to make her little dreams come true.

I absolutely love throwing parties.  My mom and I have put together several.  But this might very well be my current favorite.  On Friday when I hung all ten pink little tutus, I pretty much squealed with joy.  They looked so cute hanging there, and I knew they would be even cuter adorning ten adorable little girls sporting sparkly cat ears.

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For decorations I pretty much purchased anything pink or red that I deemed cute and tossed it up.  We also made a tutu wreath for the mirror, a yarn pom garland for the mantle, and purchased small mylar balloons to spell out 'meow'.  My silhouette came in handy for making tags and place cards, and the scraps from those became some cat head confetti.

Per the usual, my mom absolutely did not disappoint with the food.  We had peanut butter & jelly, ham & cheese sliders, fruit kebabs, summer sausage and cheese, fresh veggies, summer salsa + chips, and chex mix.  The desserts included cake and sugar cookies made by Jenny (she is pretty freaking amazing), along with red velvet swirled brownies, chocolate dipped pretzel spoons and cups of strawberry shortcake goldfish grahams + m&ms.  I love love LOVED the sliders.  Really.  I ate way too many of them.  And they were good reheated.  My mom said she cut back on the amount of butter the recipe called for, and we all still thought there might be a little too much.  Especially my husband who is not a fan of butter.  But still.  Very very good.  Drinks consisted of water bottles, raspberry lemonade and strawberry milk for the kiddos.  My mom randomly found the ridiculous straws in her stash of party stuff.

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To entertain all the kiddos I printed out some coloring sheets featuring cats and ballerinas.  We also had a friend come over to draw whiskers on faces.  Beyond that, eating, opening presents and free reign of the playroom kept everyone occupied.  Oh I also read one of the Mia books to everyone before we opened presents.  I was worried that the kids would be bored without any really structured activities, but that just wasn't the case.  Eating took a while.  Presents took a while.  And then they were just happy to play with all our toys.

We sent everyone home with a homemade cat ear headband.  I ordered the glitter fabric for the ears from here.  The girls also got pink tutus that I ordered from here.  Elsie's leotard was purchased here, and I added her name after cutting the material with my silhouette.  I purchased the glitter heat transfer vinyl from here.  Elsie's cute little bracelets are from here.

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We definitely went over the top.  It absolutely wasn't necessary.  But man I love throwing parties.  And Elsie was so dang happy and just pleased all day, it just melted my heart.  Love you Elsie Belsie girl!