Saturday, November 4, 2017

October Days

October definitely has a way of showing off. The weather is just wonderful! Sure there are some warm days mixed in with very windy days but usually the weather is amazing. We have loved playing outside. We've taken lots of walks and visited the park quite a bit. 


There is always something interesting to discover outside. Mushrooms after a rain, piecing acorns back together, or finding a fun stick or leaf. We even took our toy rake to the park to rake some leaves! Kate has also officially graduated to the regular swing and it's been exciting to watch her grow stronger and more coordinated. 

There was lots to learn in our October books. We learned about bats as we read Setellaluna, and that owls stay awake during the night from Sam and the Firefly. We practiced expressing different emotions as we read It's Pumpkin Day Mouse! We learned about team work as we listened along to the audio to one of my childhood favorites, Big Pumpkin. Kate is memorizing a sweet rhyming book A Pumpkin Prayer. Of course my most favorite lesson comes from The Pumpkin Patch Parable. We learn not only how the pumpkin grows but also are reminded that Jesus fills us with joy to share with others. There are other stories, not pictured, but reading is always lots of fun around here and our favorite way to learn!

We got in a few fun crafts as well! A jack-o-lantern, a pretty fall tree, a pumpkin, a bat (that was made brown because we didn't have black paint- oops!), and a spider web, which is the water color picture. (The web didn't show up super great but we still had fun.) One thing I try to do is choose crafts that Kate can mostly do herself and that don't require off materials. I also try to mix it up so that sometimes she needs to follow instructions and other times she can use more of her own ideas. 

We had all kinds of fun in October! Kate worked on all kinds of important skills as she played and helped with chores. We even made a pumpkin pie! We took a trip to Orr Family Farm, which was an overpriced adventure, but still lots of fun. Kate got to feed baby animals, ride a train, jump on a huge bouncy pillow, and pick out a pumpkin that we took home to decorate. 

Of course, for Halloween we had to carve a jack-o-lantern! Even though Kate has seen the inside of a pumpkin before it all felt new to her. She was definitely not impressed with the smell or texture!! Thankfully we had daddy to help us out because it's not my favorite thing to do either! Oh how fun it was though to turn out the lights and see his smiling face and sing "This Little Light of Mine"! 

Such a fun month, fall is great! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Claire is 2 months!

Our precious Claire Lucille is two months old! Weighing in at a whopping 13 pounds she is definitely healthy and thriving. She is 22.25 inches long and just full of sweetness! 
We have been taking things pretty slowly the last couple of months and are savoring these days. Can we still call her a newborn? I'm not sure. In a strange way I wonder how it's already been two months yet at the same time feels like she's been with us forever. I suppose you can say we've adjusted! 

She is very alert during the moments she spends awake. She still sleeps quite a bit throughout the day but it's fun to catch her awake. She loves to gift us with her happy smiles and truly has many cute expressions. She gets very excited when she goes in her swing, her eyes light up as the the little mobile goes round and round. She is starting to hit the toys on her activity gym and bouncy chair and enjoys looking at the books we are reading. 

Bath time is still an enjoyable experience for her, it almost seems relaxing though I'm not sure how that's possible with her big sister splashing all about. She still has cradle cap and dry spots, I do believe that got worse this month. I began lathering her in coconut oil multiple times a day and it has cleared up quite a bit. 

We do occasional tummy time. I will admit, I'm not very diligent with this however her neck muscles are developing wonderfully- she is very strong! Her head has been shaped pretty roundly and there haven't been any flat spots so I'm not too worried about this! She's usually happy to play or nap on her tummy for 20 minutes (or longer if she falls asleep) when I remember! 

The weather is cooling up a bit so we've been enjoying lots of walks! She is usually quite content when we are out. I've started using my baby carrier in addition to the stroller and that works well too, and allows me to help Kate as needed. I love that my carrier has a little hood I can put over her head- that's especially helpful with all of the wind we are getting. 

Oh, this girl is so so snuggly! She loves to be held close. Thankfully she still sleeps well in her swing, rock and play, and where ever else we might put her. We are starting to introduce the crib during the day time, she will usually last 20 or 30 minutes. Hopefully within a month or so we'll have her in there at night. 

During the night she usually has a feeding around 10:00, 2:30, and 5:30. It could be any time within the hour of those times but usually I'm only waking up to feed her one time as I generally stay up after 5. Some days she gets a little fussy in the evenings and it can be really rough up until 10 or so and I wonder if we'll ever be able to sleep! Thankfully that's not every night! 

She went on her first trip to Bartlesville this month. We were able to not only spend time with Blake's parent's but also Pam's brother and sister-in-law from Kansas. It was truly a treat and very fun visit. On the way home we stopped in Ponca City to see our "Grandma" Genie. So Claire (and Kate!) had all kinds of loving that weekend. 

As I brought up at the beginning of this post, we have been taking things slowly. Truly, this has been the case for the last several months as I wanted time to rest and enjoy my time with Kate. This season of calm and still has been exactly what we needed. Blake has started his graduate classes again, and we are getting ready to soon bring Claire to church and I'm imagine I'll soon be getting involved with teaching and other things once again. Slowly things are headed to our new normal. In the rush of our culture it's truly an intentional act to take a time of rest, but oh, how we need it. It helps us appreciate our family more, our activities and responsibilities more, but mostly it gives us a chance to hear God. Mommas so desperately need that.  We all need that. To take a moment to be Mary, sitting upon the feet of Jesus, even though there is much work to be done. We all know the story... it was Mary who choose what was best. So friends, if you are a momma or not, take time to rest in his presence, soaking in his goodness, and listening for the quiet ways he is working in your heart. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

September Days

For our family, September has been about finding routine. Our actual schedule can change all the time with a little baby, but we are working to develop good habits that not only promote our well-being but also help provide structure. So though we are not in the official "schooling" years, we are definitely learning and growing! I've always had some sort of learning focus going on, but I decided to get more focused on it this year and so I'd like to keep track of what I'm doing on the blog. This first post is longer as I'm talking about some of our new habits. 

The most important habit I wanted us to adapt this year is a daily devotional time. We have always spent time praying and reading the bible together but I wanted our mornings to begin in God's word. I truly believe one of the greatest things I can do for my girls is to instill this routine in their lives. We've started having morning "Shine Time" after breakfast, where we pick a couple of bible songs to sing from one of our children's song books, say our verse, read a bible story together, and pray. It's quite simple right now, but the thought is there: our day starts with seeking God. Our memory verse for this fall is Isaiah 40:8. 
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever. 

*By mistake I taught her "stands forever" and can't get it out of her mind, but it means the same thing so we are just going with it for now. 

Another habit we are working on is regular outdoor play. Obviously this time of the year makes it easier to embrace this sort of change. Walks to the park have sufficed for now. :) 

I've also been working with Kate on our household chores a bit more. Letting her help with dishes and laundry more often. She has learned how to fold burp cloths and wash cloths and helps me when I sweep the floors. She helps set the table and is also doing a lot better at picking up her toys! We are also working with her on independence skills, such as dressing herself, washing her hands, opening up doors, and of course.... using the potty. 
Still have so far to go on the that last one but we'll get there!  

Our other new habit is what we are calling "Together Time". I wanted this to be a time that is special, as it's just for me with one daughter but also a time focused on discovering and learning. It also a time for me to set my phone down! For Claire I might read her a book or rock her while listening to or singing songs or give her some tummy time. (Seems like a no brainer, but it's actually quite easy for me to not do these things!)

For Kate we are enjoying some of our regular seasonal activities with some new stuff worked in! Our theme for September was apples and farms. In years past we have done apples for August and farms for September so there was a lot that we didn't get to this time, but that's okay! We had a blast! Here is some of what we did:

Crafts! Okay... so I'm not a crafty person... but we managed 3 crafts this month! Apple print paining, a muddy pigs, and a fluffy sheep. Each activity gave us opportunity to discover more about our world.

We had lots of birthdays this month. Making birthday cards turned out to be a very "educational" activity. First, she picked a color of paper and the shape for me to cut out. She had fun using markers (which we only use on special occasion) and using her little finger skills on the stickers. 

We also used birthdays as a time to talk about how God made our bodies and how he gave us emotions. We had a fun emotions matching game that we did. 

We also started an alphabet book that we work on one day a week. I'll be honest, this is my least favorite thing we do and I'm not sure if we'll keep it up, at least as we are doing it now. Right now she colors pictures that start with the letter we are on and glues them in her book. Then she practices tracing the letter. I wasn't going to have her trace, but it sort of happened naturally and she has picked it up pretty quickly! We also watch letter videos on youtube after we work in our book. We'll keep doing this as long as it's fun. She knows her letters pretty well but she is learning new skills through this like gluing and how to hold a marker for writing, she might even get to scissor skills... we'll see! 

We learned that apples float, as opposed to carrots, which sink. 

We went to the store and picked out a bunch of apples that she got to play with for a few days before we started eating them up! Here she is using the apples to measure her toys. She also enjoyed counting them and sorting them. 

Together we made yummy applesauce, applesauce muffins, apple baked oatmeal, and even an apple pie. She enjoyed being a part of the process and is getting better at her "kitchen helper" skills. 

Kate loves sorting right now. So we've done lots of sorting activities. We would usually do them together the first time and then later I could pull it out while nursing or doing chores and she would do the activity on her own. We only do it if it's fun-- not forcing it! 

Apple "bobbing" is another repeat activity- third year to do it with her! This year was fun because she learned how to use the "pinchers" to move the apples! 

She is getting better at counting out objects. This was a fun little game we played, counting apple "seeds" but I'm sure you can imagine it was only fun for about 5 minutes at a time! 
(Just being honest!) 

We did some fun farm activities too such as acting out Mrs. Wishy-washy, learning the special names for baby animals, and of course, just playing with good ol' farm toys! She also got to visit the Clydesdales stables for her birthday, which was lots of fun! 

Our together time was sometimes only 10 minutes, and other times it was 45... and there were one or two days where our time together was spent watching a movie. I don't demand perfection of myself but I really am enjoying this time. It is good for Kate because she is learning to enjoy other people's ideas because she knows that together time is spent doing an activity that mommy picks out, which is a skill she needs to work on right now. In the future, we might be able to adjust that a bit. ;) 

We are encouraging her to use her building toys. Some days she'll use them on her own, but usually me or Blake will use them with her. She is learning more about balance and how things work together through these toys so they are great. 

She is starting to use play dough more so we made some yummy scented play-dough this month. We also made our apple pie sensory bin this month. I used different size and colors of apples this time which has made it fun for Kate as she noticed their different attributes and usually sorted them. I tried patterns with her, but we're not quite there yet. 

Lastly, books!!! We read all the time in our house! There is a shelf of books in both of the girls' rooms but this shelf in our living room gets a switch up every month or so. Here was our September line up... Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie was Kate's favorite.

Well, this is definitely an all-about-kate post, but before too long Claire will be joining in the fun with us. Most of our moments are not so pinterest worthy. In fact most days Kate eats her lunch in the living room while watching PBS so that I can nurse Claire. (This is my secret to getting them to sleep at the same time so I can have a few minutes to myself!) But the truth is we are making it... we are more than making it! 

Love for Jesus.
Love for others.  
Love for learning.
Good habits. 
Those are our goals!