Thursday, April 19, 2018

Claire is 8 months old!


Claire is 8 months old! So much has happened in these last few weeks that it truly is unbelievable to me that she's only one month older. 


Warmer weather means more time outside. There is something so special about watching a baby discover the outdoors. While the windy days of Spring have kept us inside a bit, we enjoy the times when we get to go out and play. Claire had her first swing ride at the park this month! She loved it! 


Claire's first Easter was a full affair! A church egg hunt, plus plenty of fun at home and with family. She was able to wear Kate's first Easter dress, which of course, was special! 




Another fun event this month was her Great Aunt Janine's 70th Birthday party. While, in my haste I didn't get a picture with our birthday Aunt, I did manage to get pictures of her with Great Aunt Ann (visiting from Nebraska), and Great Aunt Mary (visiting from Texas), both of whom are my dad's sisters. 



Aunt Mary brought her special baby dress with her for Claire to try on. There are pictures of many of the girls in the family wearing this little dress. Absolutely precious. 


 Claire is continuing to discover more around her, and grow stronger. She loves to chew on toys. She is usually interested in whatever you put in front of her, but she has an exceptional interest in phones and remote controls. ;) She sits well on her own and we are starting to put up a lot of our baby gear! 



She's sitting up well in the bathtub too! She loves her bath time. 


She is an active girl! She loves to be standing up and walking (with help). She has almost got crawling down. She tries to crawl forward, but usually just ends up going backwards. This of course, frustrates her. She wants to be moving ALL the time, so I know she will be quite pleased with herself when she can move about independently. I'm not rushing it though!!! 



Her active nature is evident in her sleep as well. She moves all over her crib. She sleeps pretty well at night, waking up a couple of times to eat. No big changes in her sleep habits. Usually one long nap in the afternoon, with occasional cat naps at other times in the day. 

I had envisioned introducing her to lots of new foods this month, but all we got around to was green beans. So we have green beans and butternut squash- usually 2 ice cubes worth per day. Still nursing it small bits many times each day. If she drinks a bottle, she usually just has about 3 ounces, or she doesn't drink anything and just waits for me! Ha!  


She LOVES the Busy Town cube! It's one of her favorite things right now. Kate still likes it too... we are really getting our money out of it!


Update on her skin issues. Her eczema has been such a huge battle for us. I generally prefer to use natural treatments, because conventional treatments seem to only be a band-aid for things like this- not a solution, but we were in desperate need of a band-aid. So I reached out to her doctor for some help. 



She went on an oral steroid and a topical one, and meanwhile we found some natural methods to help us out at well. I will say the medications did heal her up, but as soon as she stopped taking them it started to come back. I'm thankful we've found some natural ways to help with maintenance. She is doing much much better now! If you're interested in what we are doing, you can read... if not... scroll to the bottom! 


One of the best solutions I came across was Apple Cider Vinegar baths! I know that these are helping because I've started taking them and they are helping the eczema I was dealing with after not being able to use my old lotion recipe. We are giving both the girls 1 ACV bath a week- warm water, 1 cup of Braggs ACV and 20 minutes of splashing and fun. They love it. 

Another life saver has been this Olive Oil Liquid Castile Soap from Country Rose Soaps.
Most castile soaps contain coconut and other nut oils, this seems to be a truly one-of-a-kind product. I can use it as a base for hand soaps, house cleaners, even detergents. We bought a bar soap version to use at bath time. It seems to be very gentle on her precious skin, and it's the very first soap that's been easy on her!  SO thankful for this find because literally everything has coconut in it. 


We've also found a laundry detergent by Grab Green Natural that seems to be working well. Laundry soap is another product that tends to have coconut (of some form) in it no matter what brand you are looking at. We were using a laundry ball instead of soap, but it wasn't getting out breast milk stains so I needed something else. We still do a double rinse on her clothes, but I feel good about this product. 

Lastly, I've FINALLY found us a lotion. I have to make it, but it works! That is what matters. Olive oil, beeswax, and water. That's all that's in it. It's working on me and my girls, and it's affordable to make. You can find the recipe for it here: Olive Oil Lotion 

I'm so thankful we've found a way to manage our little Claire's skin. We've come a long way this month with that and I'm so thankful. We have a follow up appointment with a dermatologist next week so I'm interested to hear what she'll have to say. We'll see! 


We are ending out the month with a cold- of course! Motherhood keeps me on my toes, but I'm so very thankful for my girls, and especially that I get to stay at home with them. The opportunity to spend each day with my girls, getting to know them, discover with them, love on them- that is truly the greatest venture I could ever take on. I'm thankful for this ride! 












Monday, March 19, 2018

Claire is 7 months!


Here we are at 7 months! Oh, the joys! Babies learn so much each month, it's hard to keep up. 


Claire is playing on the floor much more these days! She's gotten so much stronger this month. A few weeks ago she was depending on her boppy to help her, but she is much more balanced these days. This month she started to really enjoy rolling around. Here in this picture below, she began where the doll was! She isn't rolling around as much anymore though- she is scooting!!! Backwards, but still! She really wants to crawl, but goes back not forwards when she tries. 
She'll be crawling soon, I'm sure of it! 


She is also able to sit up in the stroller! See what I mean? Lots of change this month! 


Oh, my baby. Her sleeping has changed too this month. She no longer fits in her precious sleeping bags with sleeves. She is too long. We have some that are larger but they are sleeveless, I'm not sure why! She is also a committed stomach sleeper now. At the beginning of the month, when I took this picture, that was not the case! She is napping and sleeping in her crib to the sound of her white noise machine. We don't have a consistent nap schedule, but her bedtime is usually around 7-7, give or take. She wakes up a couple of times to eat and goes back to sleep. 



I pulled out more of the baby toys this month. She is loving the large chunky Melissa and Doug puzzles. Of course, she loves them because the puzzle pieces make a great chew toy. Her big sister loved to chew on those puzzle pieces too. 
She doesn't want her pacifier anymore, so we'll just go with it! Better than other things! 


I've introduced wheat, soy, and eggs back in my diet. I'm still trying to avoid soy and wheat I'm eating in limited amounts. Thats only for me though- she is fine! For Claire, I'm still off of anything containing milk, peanuts, tree nuts, or coconut. We went to the allergist again and he told me that when she is a year and a half we will test those again and see how she does. So that's our plan on that! Her GI issues seem fine, her skin is still in poor condition. I'm praying we will find a way to help her with that. The allergist said it is most likely due to something that comes directly in contact with her skin. We introduced her to her first food this month- homemade butternut squash! It was a hit! She knew what to do with it! 






This motherhood journey is so humbling. I constantly feel like I just don't deserve these girls. The truth is though, they aren't really mine. They have just been placed in my hands so that I might raise them to know God and to put His Word into practice in their lives. What a task. My shortcomings are great, and I know that in a few years Claire will start to notice them. I just pray that she will also see that even though I'm weak, I serve a God who is merciful. I pray she will see His grace lived out in the way I treat others and in the way I treat myself. This month, three different friends have lost a parent. It has caused me to really reflect on my role as a mother, and what sort of legacy I want to leave behind for my girls. It can all be summed up in one word: Grace







Friday, March 2, 2018

Winter Days with Kate

This winter we took things slow. Between lots of doctor's appointments, holiday gatherings, and occasional colds, we had to! We had fun doing some activities that I had prepared last summer, and of course reading and playing.

December was all about Christmas, naturally. We have more Christmas books than we can fully enjoy. They are not all pictured here! Our favorites to read this year were Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett, Christmas Parade by Sandra Boynton, as well as a couple of our books that tell about the birth of Christ.


 I took Kate to see a local production of The Nutcracker. She didn't have just a lot of interest in it but she did enjoy reading a story book we had. I hoping that when she's older she'll enjoy performances more.



Jingles bells with our magna tiles were a lot of fun! Probably won't happen next year since Claire will be on the move but it was fun to do it this year. 


We had some different math activities themed around the story of Christ's birth. She enjoyed doing them and it gave us something fun to do on days where it was hard to get out. 


Her favorite thing to do it play! We got out her Christmas cookie toys and she had a lot of fun with those this year! 


She got to make real cookies too. :) 


We didn't do a lot of crafts, but we did keep up with our advent pictures. Love doing those, and I think they will make an appearance for years to come. 


January brought routine again. We worked a little bit in our ABC book but we really haven't kept up with it. I haven't wanted to push it because she's still young, but when she's interested it's but to see how her skills are improving. 


January brought books about the months of the year and winter. Anno's Counting Book was a favorite as well as The Mitten, and our Alaska books. 


We had a lot of fun doing this sweet craft to go along with The Mitten. I found it on Jan Brett's website. 


We made some snowflakes with play dough. I was really hoping for a snow day in January, but no such luck. We did have some nice sunny days though. 



Melted snowman and snowflake name painting along with our mitten craft. 


Mid January I brought out transportation books. Go, Dog, Go! and Red Light, Green Light were the favorites. We also played Red Light Green Light quite a bit. 


We had some really wonderful weather in January. One Saturday we were able to go out to the nature park in Edmond. So fun! 


We've been having lots of family bible time. Here are the girls as we sing the "Peter James and John in a Sailboat" song. :) 


February! Love month! The Giving Tree and Mrs. Gigglebelly Is Coming for Tea were the favorites this month. Both books of my childhood so I enjoyed those! 


We made some Valentine's to send to family members. 


We also made a love bug. 


Candy Heart letters. 


We made some veggie pizzas on Valentine's Day. 


February also brought a trip to the Cowboy Museum. I'm trying to stop her more and have her look at the pictures. I'll ask her questions such as, 
What colors do you see?
What do you see in this picture?
How does this picture make you feel?

She's in a hurry to get to the kids stuff, but I really want to cultivate an appreciation for art so we will continue to stop and admire. :) 


And what do you know?! We got some snow! Just a bit, we pulled on the snow clothes from last year and she got to explore it a little bit. 


This has been a season of learning for me. Habit training is not easy and I often feel overwhelmed with all the good habits I wish we had but don't. One step at a time, though. Routine is difficult with a baby in the house, you know? Anyways, all of these fun activities and what our Kate likes most is reading, playing with her toys (with mom or dad), and family bible time. So as long as we do that, I'd say the day was pretty successful. After re-evaluating our priorities, I've got some new plans coming up for the spring, and I'm excited to see how things work out.