Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lyla's Quiet Book

I wanted to share this present I made for Lyla for Christmas because well, it took a lot of work, and I'm happy with the way it turned out! Plus, I'm sure some mamas out there on facebook have tons of time on their hands and are just looking for a new project ;)

I wanted to make a Quiet book for Lyla after seeing my cousin's. His grandma (great-grandma?) made it for him when he was a baby, and I thought, "How cool would it be to make one for Lyla?" It was full of fun baby/toddler activities like braiding, zipping, making felt faces, etc. Lyla loved it!

The problem... I don't know how to sew (I know, shame on me). I figured I could learn, no big deal. As I started browsing for ideas though, I realized that these books might be a little complex and time consuming for someone who doesn't even know how to sew. So I found some ideas for velcro quiet books that seemed more up my alley (there are also some for magnetic books and dry erase books, also very cool!).

Pinterest has a lot of ideas (I browsed Here), and for some personalization, I started thinking about Lyla's favorite things. She loves letters and spelling her name. She loves shapes and matching. She loves counting. And more than anything, she loves Dora.

What I did:
I cut card stock paper in half for the pages and decorated the pages with scrapbook paper.
I drew and cut out the pieces.. probably the most time consuming part.
I laminated everything to protect it from toddler hands and time. Maybe someday Miss Kallan can play, and I also hope to add pages as Lyla gets older. Erik helped cut out all the laminated pieces!
I hole-punched the pages and put the book together with the binder rings.
Finally, it was time to cut and attach the velcro!

Here's the inside of the book:

Name Page

Map Page.. "First we go to the castle, then Benny's Barn, and that's how we get to the Animal Rescue Center!"

Counting page.. mmm apples!

Match The Shapes! Lyla was quick to point out that my circle is in fact NOT a circle, but an oval. 

Pattern Page

And some close-ups

I'm probably most proud of my drawing of Map!

Now I'm sure you are all wondering.. "Well, how did she like it?" She loves it and plays for it as long as her 2-year-old attention span will allow! I'm a happy mommy!

What Did She Say?

Lyla took a 2 hour car nap on our way home yesterday and woke up in a great mood!

She had a lot of funny quotes over our Christmas trip, but I can't remember them all. This was pretty funny.

(Lyla uses "your" instead of "my" most of the time)

Lyla: Is your shirt look beautiful?
Mommy: Your shirt looks beautiful!
Lyla: Thanks mommy! Is your.... pants look good?
Mommy: Your pants look great!
Lyla: Thanks mommy! Is your... boots look good?
Mommy: Your pants look great, Lyla!
Lyla: Thanks mommy! Is your.... armpits look good?!
Mommy: Your armpits look amazing!
Lyla: Thanks mommy!

We had so much fun visiting family for Christmas. Lyla seems to be getting more comfortable around other family members, so everyone has been able to see more of that bubbly, funny personality that we love so much! Both girls were such troopers. Christmas festivities can be tiring on kids!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Kallan: 3 Months

Our sweet Kallan turned 3 months on the 21st (which was, by the way, the day the world did NOT end). I would describe her as studious, squirmy, smily and extremely talkative!

I'm not sure when, but she started turning towards our voices this month. She had just been turning towards really loud sounds before that. She had her first laugh on 12/12/12. It was such a beautiful little sound! She had been chuckling in her sleep since she was born, so I was always trying to get her to laugh while awake. This time, I wasn't trying at all. I was just holding her, and I looked down at her and she laughed! We've gotten lots of laughs since then, usually at random times when no one is trying to make her laugh.

We had a bit of a 3-month growth spurt where she was getting up every 3 hours again at night. But before that she was sleeping about 7 hours and even slept 9.5 hours straight one night! That was the night before the growth spurt, so it was a bit of  rude awakening to be getting up every 3 hours. Now she sleeps 5 hours, eats, sleeps 3 more hours, eats, and sleeps 4 more hours after that. She is a little night owl. She stays up late and sleeps in! It works out okay because then I get some quality time with Lyla in the morning.

Kallan talks so, so much. I love having little conversations with her, and you can tell she really enjoys being talked to and talking back. She has some nice conversations with her playmat and bouncy toys, too.  She is a very happy baby and we get lots and lots of smiles from her every day. It is so great to see her interacting more and more. It's clear that she loves her big sister so much. I love watching her study what big sister is up to!

Growth spurts are no fun. I feel like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Getting up a lot at night again is not fun either.

Talking, getting dressed and undressed (it's funny!), staring at her feet, eating her hands, facing out while being carried, bath time, her playmat, snuggles, watching big sister, lights, studying new faces, Giraffe-y the pacifier (sort of), and I think she likes her vitamin D drops!

Bottles... waaah! And tummy time.

Favorite Memories:
-Kallan always talks the most to Erik when he gets home from work. I think she's telling him about her day!
-My parents took Lyla and Kallan to the pool. Kallan sat on my lap for awhile, and she was really interested! Then she started talking to me a bunch. She did get splashed on accident by some big kids, and she definitely didn't like that! She also got called a "he" a lot, and mommy didn't like that ;)
-Lyla includes Kallan in her night time hug routine now, and she always says "Love you Kallan!" before bed. Kallan gets lots and lots of sister hugs now!
-Lyla likes it when I set Kallan's bouncy next to her chair and read stories to both of them. Love story time with my babies!
-I was carrying Kallan, and she was staring intently at something on the fridge. She turns to me and goes,"goo?" I said, "Yep, that's the fridge, Kallan!" And then she gave me the biggest smile! I love our little conversations more than anything!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Prayers for Sandy Hook

There is no end to the things that I want for my girls. I want them to be happy, I want them to travel, I want them to have friends, to play sports, to find their passions, to find love... I could go on and on.

But when it comes down to it, I just want them to be safe. I just want them to be able to live their lives.

There is nothing, nothing scarier than being a parent. Any time I read the news, I don't think, "What if that were me?" I think, "What if that were my baby?" Every time I have to ask myself that question, I start crying. I don't read the news that much anymore.

The love that we feel for our babies is unparalleled by any other feeling in this world.  I can tell my heart is constantly expanding to make room for more and more love for our beautiful family. I am always telling Erik, "How can anyone ever let their children out of their sight?!" It's so hard to imagine your little babies, always your babies, running off without you, into a world of dangers, known and unknown. How do parents let their babies drive a car with all the drunk drivers on the road? How do parents let their babies travel abroad... alone!? How did my parents do these things?!? I know that eventually I will understand, and that the love that wants to say "no" will be the same love that knows the answer is "yes." But right now, I'm content at the thought of forever living in a bubble with my girls.

I can't imagine the heartbreak, the pain, that would come from losing my babies. In this way, in any way. 

You have to be brave to be a parent, and I am so very heartbroken for these families. A parent's worst nightmare.

My heart and prayers go out to all the families in Connecticut affected by this tragedy, all the parents who lost a baby, whether that baby is 5 or 35. 

Monday, December 10, 2012


I was so ecstatic when I found out that Kallan was a baby girl. I just kept picturing our two little girls, growing up together, the best of friends! 

Although having a new sister isn't always what it's cut out to be for a toddler, Lyla is adjusting great and loves her sister so much (even though she would never admit it). And Kallan just lights up when she sees Lyla or hears her voice. 

Tummy time for both my babies! Lyla likes to help out :)

Playmat playtime!

Lyla holding her little sister. Kallan is pretty happy about it.

I imagine them growing up together, sharing secrets, giggling together, fighting and making up, crying together, playing together, having sleepovers in each other's rooms, riding the bus together, painting each other's nails, playing dress up, talking about boys together (way later in life, of course). We are so happy to have two beautiful girls in our lives but even happier that they have each other! 

In other news, here's a preview of the project I'm working on!

Friday, December 7, 2012

One of Those Days...

So I just put Lyla down for a nap... an hour earlier than usual. I am just wiped out today. Something about Friday is always rough. Maybe the lack of a full night's sleep during the week catches up to me at the end.

Some days, Lyla goes through typical "terrible twos" behavior. Everything ends in crying and whining and occasional screaming. She might ask for help, and then as soon as you try to help, she will scream, "Not like that!!!!" and the crying begins. These days are filled with "Mommy not do that!" "Mommy not pick up Kallan!" After awhile, every scream or cry feels more like a pounding to the brain.

As you can imagine, it's hard to stay patient on days like today. Usually I just flip on the TV and go in the other room and regroup for half an hour. Otherwise I think I would lose my mind.

But these days make me thankful for all the other days of the week that aren't like this. I'm sure some toddlers are like this a lot of the time. This age doesn't get its name for nothing!

Lately I've been really happy because Lyla has started to include Kallan more and more. She likes to help me show Kallan toys to play with. One of her favorite things is to show Kallan how to clap. She will go in front of her and clap and say, "Look, Kallan, this is how you clap!" When Kallan cries, she "cheers her up" by actually cheering for her. She will run over and go "kal-LAN! kal-LAN!" This doesn't stop any crying but it's still pretty darn cute!

In the car yesterday, Kallan started fussing a bit, and Lyla said, "It's okay, Kallan, we're here, we're here." One of those family moments that fill you up in a way nothing else can. I love my little family so much! Even on days like today.

Nap time for everyone, including this mama!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hair Clip Holder

Okay, I still don't really consider myself a "crafty" person. Mostly, I just don't really enjoy them all that much. But this was actually pretty fun, and I even have another craft in the works (WHO AM I?!). So this was pretty easy. Just got a plain wooden frame, and some string. First came a couple layers of pink. Then, I traced letter stickers and painted them in. Added a couple of flourishes. And then hot glued a butt load of string on the back of it! Voila! Hair clip holder!

The next craft I have in mind is supposed to be a Christmas present for Lyla. I'm hoping I can get it done in time, but free time is hard to come by these days. It's kind of a time consuming one! But I'm excited about it.. better get to work on it now, since both my girlies are asleep!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Potty Training Update

Awhile back, we started a sticker sheet for Lyla's potty success. It is filling up fast! Yesterday Lyla went on the potty three times.. and two of the times, she even had a diaper and pants on. She came over and let us know she had to pee! We're moving to underwear only at home now, hopefully we can get her out and about sometimes, too!

She's so proud of her potty paper! This morning, the first thing she said to me when she woke up was, "It's fun to go potty on the big girl potty!"

#2 might be a struggle. She used to go on the potty, but now she holds it all day until nap, and then she poops in her crib almost every time I put her down for nap. Even if she doesn't have to, she will try for a LONG time until I finally say, "Lyla lay down and go to sleep or we won't watch TV later!" haha

So proud of my biggest little girl. So excited at the thought of having to only buy one box of diapers at the store!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Tree

Yesterday was a beautiful 50-some degree day. We took the opportunity to get outside and go pick out our Christmas tree! We listened to Christmas music on the drive. My husband is a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas music, but he was a good sport about it.. and about my awful singing along! The farm we were at didn't have the type we wanted, except for precut ones.. and we wanted to cut our own tree. So we went to another place that was pretty much fresh out of trees, except for giant ones. In the end, we took the precut. But we still got the experience of going out and picking out a tree. 

Growing up, we always had a fake tree due to family allergies, so I'm really enjoying this new tradition. I love going out in the cold and browsing for a tree, and there's always hot chocolate at the end. A big plus! 

This Christmas season has already been a lot of fun for us. Lyla can really understand and enjoy a lot more this year. Here she is decorating the tree! She woke up this morning and said, "Wow look at our tree. It is so beautiful!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kallan 2 Month Pics

A few of pictures of Kallan on her 2 month birthday!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

2 Months

Sorry for the lack of posts. Lyla did something to my computer that I can't figure out how to fix, and it makes doing anything on it a pain. But I thought I'd better post a 2-month update.

We're enjoying more awake time now. Kallan loves to talk, talk, talk!! She is cooing like crazy these days. She'll look right at you, give a big smile and then a big "goo." She's so happy, and she is letting us know, it's a great feeling! Another "up" would be that she no longer hates baths; in fact she kind of likes them! Spit-ups are less frequent, sleep is easier to come by.  If Kallan is fussing, I sometimes try to feed her, and she isn't hungry. When this happens, she looks at me out of the corners of her eyes and gives me a sly, little smirk. "Haha gotcha Mommy!" All in all, a good month.

The only down this month is that Lyla and Kallan seem to wake each other up at 6 am. Why so early?!? I'm not sure if Lyla wakes up to Kallan's crying or if Kallan wakes up to Lyla via the monitor. Either way, it's too early.

At night we get a 4.5-5 hr stretch, followed by a couple 3 hr stretches, with the occasional 3.5-4. Sleep is getting less and less interrupted, and I am definitely feeling the benefits of longer sleep during the day.

Kallan had her first social smile just after she turned 1 month. At 8 weeks, she started following objects with her eyes. The iPhone is a favorite for this. Kids and technology, am I right? And still strengthening those neck muscles!

milk, the red mushroom on the bouncy chair, the changing table, smiling, talking, staring at faces, Lyla, kicking like crazy, close snuggles with Daddy, being pat on the bottom

Wet diapers, long car rides, hats, being held too much, tummy time

We had her two month appointment yesterday. Kallan weighed in at 11 lb 5 oz and is 21.5 inches long, just a bit smaller than her big sister was at this age. She is on the short side, but kind of chunky hehe. Just the way a baby should be! The receptionist called her Kay-lin, and then the nurse kept calling her a 'he.' I did have her in a blue blanket and a blue hat... but I mean, girls like blue, too, right?! Kallan was awake and happy the whole time, giving lots of smiles and coos to the nurses. They just thought she was so beautiful. She barely even fussed when we weighed and measured her.  The doctor came in and checked her out. Everything looked great, and he commented on how active she was. She didn't want to be held, but was happily laying on the table, kicking her arms and legs. He said he thought she'd be an "on-the-go" kind of baby. So then the vaccination part. This was the first time I had gone to the vaccination appointment without Erik. He was always there to hold Lyla while I cried and covered my eyes in the corner. I am a wimp when it comes to shots for myself, but for a baby, it's about 10 times worse. I almost defected to the anti-vaccination camp for the day, but I decided to hold strong. First Kallan got an oral immunization, which she thought was gross and started crying. It was so sad because she had been so happy the whole time and then it was like... "Why are you doing this time?!" Then she had three shots, and she screamed and got extremely red in the face. I was crying and the nurses were chatting to me nonchalantly so I would feel better I think. Anyway, I don't know why people say it gets easier over time, because it really doesn't. I attempted to feed her afterwards, but that just made her more upset. I gave her "Giraffey" the pacifier, and she fell asleep. UGH. It was NOT fun, and hopefully I won't have to handle vaccinations alone anymore.

These 2 months have really flown by! So far I've noticed some differences between the two girls. Lyla never seemed to notice if she had a wet or even poopy diaper. Kallan gets very vocal and upset about wet diapers. Lyla would pout out her bottom lip when she was sad, and Kallan sucks hers in. Both faces are equally sad.  Kallan loves the changing table... when she fusses and we're not sure what's wrong, we set her on there and she is happy. Lyla was the same way. Interesting. Must be quite a view from up there.

I'll try to post some pictures when my computer is fixed!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


We had a great Halloween this year! On Saturday, we went downtown where many of the stores were passing out candy. It was crazy busy though, but Lyla had a lot of fun. She loved looking at the other costumes, too. Here's our Lyla princess!

And Kallan in her Totoro hat made by Grandma! Totoro was one of my favorite movies growing up. Whenever we'd visit my Grandma up north, we would walk downtown, rent Totoro and get smiley face cookies! I kind of want this hat for myself...

Halloween day! Lyla was very excited about her "special Halloween shirt" from Mormor. She was especially excited that Kallan had one, too! While Kallan was still asleep, she carried around Kallan's onesie saying, "Bring it to her... when she wakes up!"

Trick or Treat!

Lyla had so much fun, I was glad we braved the nasty weather to go out for a little bit. Then we came home, had a treat and some hot chocolate! A great day!

Best Halloween costumes: Downtown we saw two girls in boxes, dressed as dice. They were about to go in a building and one girl said, "Let's roll in!" How are kids so witty?! Also, Erik showed me a picture of someone dressed us Dumble-Dora. Yep, that's Dora with a long, gray beard and glasses. I could not stop laughing! 

Worst Halloween costume: Okay someone dressed their 3 year old as Chucky, complete with a bloody toy dagger. He stabbed Erik in the leg, and tried to get in our stroller to get Kallan! A bit creepy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bucket List

My Bucket List. A work in progress! Obviously there are a million things I need/want to do before I die!

1. Travel. A lot. I have already traveled a lot, but unfortunately or fortunately, depending on who you are, that just means I want to travel more. I thought I'd just lump "travel" as one bullet point instead of boring you with all the places I wish I could be right now. I will say that this includes national travel, too. I've seen a lot of the world but embarrassingly little of my own country!

2. Travel with our kids. This obviously goes with #1. But I once read that travel is the only thing you pay for that makes you richer (or something along those lines), and I want to show that to my girls.

3. Get into grad school. Working on this one!

4. Go to the World Cup. This just seems like necessary life experience.

5. Leave my daughters cute, embarrassing notes in their lunch boxes. My mom sometimes left me little notes on or in my lunch and gave my cards in my lunch on special occasions. I literally can't wait to do this, and it's important enough to go on my bucket list.

6. Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Erik says we need to wait to go there to bring the kids. UMMMMM, no. By the time they are old enough to read and become obsessed with Harry Potter, it might be gone or something!! Does this go with travel?

7. Comfort my girls through a break up. Okay, I obviously don't want them to have their hearts broken, but it may happen, and I want to be there for them. We can eat ice cream and listen to T-Swift sing about our lives, if she's still around.

8. Get a letter from my birth mom and/or dad. This really isn't up to me. But I hope it happens. The process is in place right now, and I'm a lot more nervous about it than I expected to be. I was never really interested in contacting my birth parents until I became a mom. I kept thinking that I could never love my baby ENOUGH to give her to someone else. I can't imagine doing what she did for me. I can't imagine picturing my life with my little girl, and then willingly giving that up. This is the single greatest act of love that I've experienced in my life, and I want her to know that I'm ok, I'm happy, I have a life that I love. And it's all thanks to her.

9. Have a dog. Or several of them! Fur-babies are family, too.

10. Own a mini cooper. Lifelong dream. It will happen.

11. Help the girls with wedding planning. I'm not much of a planner, and I was a bit busy with baby Lyla to focus much on my own, but I can't wait to do the fun stuff with Lyla and Kallan someday! Although thinking of them growing up and getting married makes me tear up... moving on!

12. Be my girls' number 1 fan! Not that I'm not already. But I will be cheering them on at games, watching their dance recitals, going to concerts.. whatever it is that they love, we will be there supporting them.

13. Buy a house. We're not really sure where we're going to end up in the next couple of years, but I can't wait to have our own house when the time comes!

14. Fill their journals. When I was pregnant with each of our girls, I started a journal filled with letters to them. I hope to fill them up and give them to them when they are older!

15. Have a "classic" movie marathon. I went through a long period in my life where I just didn't like watching movies. I simply could NOT sit still long enough and got bored. If I didn't see it in a theater, I probably hadn't seen it.  So whenever there is a "classic" movie on TV, Erik says, "You probably haven't seen that one, it's classic." I think a marathon is in order of these supposed classics!

That's all I got for the time being!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kallan: 1 Month

Of course, we love those sleepy smiles and the newborn snuggle fests. I think my favorite part of this past month is seeing her more alert and awake. She seems to stare, study and take everything in. A lot like big sister! She has a piercing gaze and such beautiful eyes, how could you not love it when she is just starting into yours. Her eyebrows are getting even more expressive. They are often furrowed making her look concerned, but sometimes she raises them and looks a bit skeptical. I don't really know what people mean by the term "good baby," but I would say we have one... lucky us! She makes a noise like a dolphin!! I love it. I'll try to get it on video before she quits doing it.

Lack of sleep! Now that Kallan will happily sleep in her bassinet, sleep is easier to come by, but I am really looking forward to some longer sleep stretches. It's also hard balancing time between Kallan and Lyla. Sometimes I feel like there are just not enough hours in a day for quiet snuggle time.

Muscles strengthening every day. She is already very talkative, lots of cute little "goo" noises!

Eating, sleeping, giraffe pacifier, when whoever is holding her walks around, lights, faces, laying on the ground

Pooping, wet diapers, gas

Happy 1 Month Kallan! We love you!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Book Reviews

"Sorry I haven't been writing much lately. We've been a little busy! Free time is usually spent napping or  getting other stuff done. But mostly napping or trying to nap. I am a horrible napper. It takes me forever to fall asleep, especially if I know I have to wake up soon. Then I'm just sitting there saying, "Now I'll only get this much sleep...." over and over.

But things are going really well! I'll try to update on the whole family again soon, but I thought I'd do some more book reviews of what we're reading lately. You'll notice a trend in Lyla's current faves. We don't have really ANY mommy books. What's up with that?!?!

I would recommend any of these for that special daddy in your life!

Lyla's Reviews:

"I really like this book because it shows pictures of daddy and me as animals. I like the daddy turtle the best because he is playing Peek-a-boo!"

"In this book, my daddy turns into lots of animals! It's funny when he becomes a turtle because turtles aren't fast, and the turtle says "Blub, blub." At the end, I like to say, "You're fast, Daddy!" And then Daddy and Lyla walk home together!"

(Mommy's Fave) "This book is about all the fun stuff Daddy and Lyla do together. There's only one picture with mommy in it! I really like the one where Daddy comes to my school, and it says, "You're daddy is so cool!" After I read this page, I like to run and tell my Daddy how cool he is. There are some pages where Daddy is wearing fancy clothes, and another page where Lyla needs to be rescued! Daddy rescues Lyla and then they ride on books together!"

"I like to read this book by myself. It's all about different kinds of dads. My favorite page is the one where it says, "Some dads like to cover you with sand!" There's also a page where the dad is wearing two different socks, just like I like to do!

"The Lorien Legacies" is definitely an entertaining series! This is the third book in the series. It was very fast-moving and action packed. Definitely entertaining, like the other books. However, I did have a couple of issues with it. The author writes the book in three voices, of Marina, John and Number 6. This is ok, but the voices aren't that different. And maybe three voices is too many. Will the next book include 4 different perspectives?? I also think there is too much romance. It seems like the author is always jumping to add a bit of romantic action for each person, and I think that's unnecessary. I talked to Erik about this, and he said, "They're teenagers." Well, that's true. And finally.. this book ended in such a weird spot. Overall, I enjoyed it though. A lot of cool battle scenes and stuff. I hear this series will have 6 books. UGH! Too many.