Thursday, July 7, 2016

One Year Noelle!

Sweet Noelle,

You are such a sweet, easy, pleasurable baby. You have grown so much and you are starting to get such a sweet little personality. Here are some fun things you are doing right now:

Stats at 9 months- 20lb 1oz (80%) and 29.25 inches tall (95%)

Stats at 12 months- 22lb (80%) and 30 inches tall (75%)

Crawling and Cruising - Yay! You finally started crawling around 9.5 months. Your mobility changed everything! I know I'll miss the days of putting you down knowing you'd stay, but I love that you can be an adventurer now. We borrowed a "baby cage" from the Wears, so for about two months we had a monstrosity in our living room. BUT, it made Mama's life so much easier! I could put you in there (sometimes with Q) and you would play safely while I got breakfast or dinner made or packed lunches or anything really. :) Sadly, the "cage" didn't last long. You figured out how to move it and escape. Now that you are over the "cage", we had to put up the baby gate at the stairs because you LOVE the stairs. You get so excited when we open the gate because you love going up all by yourself. You get such a kick out of Daddy telling you "I'm gonna get you!" You laugh and you are REALLY fast! We definitely have to watch out.

Eating - You love solids and you have figured out the whole "pick it up and eat it" thing. You picked up the sippy cup really fast and you even figured out how to drink out of sister's Camel Back with the straw! Smart girl! I made all Quinn's food, but for you, I've done a mix of pouches and homemade. I am so blessed by all the moms in our neighborhood who gave me their unused baby food too! You still have a thing about texture so some stuff makes you gag, but you are getting the hang of it. At 9 months I was  I was still nursing about 4-5 times a day so that was your main source of nutrition. Let's be honest, it was just easier. :) Toward the end of your ninth month, you decided you were too big for baby food so now you only want food you can feed yourself. AND, you are a bottomless pit! I think you eat as much as sister sometimes! Now that you are almost a year, I nurse in the morning, at night and usually once during the day. I am starting to wean you but I am a little sad...I love nursing (despite the PAINFUL start) but I know you are ready to be a big girl and drink whole milk.

Laughing - You smile easier than any kid I've ever seen. Everything makes you smile and you tend to always smile for photos. This makes me so happy!! :) Sister makes you laugh the hardest (still) and you tend to laugh at the most random things (i.e. when Q drops something, makes a silly noise, Ella barks, etc.). You also have the best "sympathy" laugh...if you hear us laughing you sort of fake laugh because you see us doing it. I can always get a smile when I brush my teeth (you love the Sonicare sound), when Q is running in front of us for school drop off, when I "fly" you into the bathroom for bath time. You think it's funny when I say "naked baby coming through". At dinner time, you love sitting next to sister and she makes you laugh a lot with silly noises and blowing bubbles. Your favorite game is going back and forth with sister blowing bubbles and getting spit everywhere!

Talking - Your first word was MAMA around 8-9 months. Woohoo! I mean, you probably don't know you are saying my name, but I was excited that you figured that sound out first. You quickly moved to DADA and you stuck on that one for a while. Lately, when you are frustrated, you sound like you are venting and saying "dada" over and over like you are telling us what's on your mind. It's pretty funny! You have also started copying us more. The funniest thing you say is "good girl" when we do anything with Ella like put her outside or in her crate. You just love that silly dog! You can sort of mimick our sounds now, so we can get you to say "I love you" and your new favorite thing to say is "hi". You also know how to say "uh-oh" and you've picked up on the game at the dinner table where you throw something down, say "uh-oh" and we pick it up. When I rock you at night I whisper I love you a lot so you've started whispering "I" over and over. It is just about the sweetest thing.

Playing - You are a busy girl! You crawl so fast and you are into everything. I haven't put locks on the cabinets so you love pulling everything out. You also don't like things to be in order. You immediately knock down the blocks when we stack them and take toys or clothes out of bins and baskets. It's funny how you and Q are different that way. She used to want things in order and you are the opposite! You played in your exersaucer until about 10 months while I showered and/or got dressed, but now I just have to depend on sister to "babysit" while I quickly get dressed. I have about 15 minutes but that is HUGE for a mama! Going to the park or being outside after we pick sister up from school is a little hard right now. You want to be down on the ground but you want to eat everything. So, Mama will be glad when you can walk and get around a little to explore without wanting to eat leaves, dirt, grass, etc. Another thing you love is reading books, but you are very particular about them. You LOVE the ones that have flaps you can open and you know exactly where the flaps are and how to open them. It's so cute to see your sweet little finger open them up and then close them. Our new favorite thing you do is peekaboo behind the ottoman. You squat down and pop up when we say "where's Noelle?". You are so proud of yourself and it's hilarious. Now that it's summer, you have been loving the pool. You like to stay in your float kicking and kicking but you also love to just play on the steps or outside the pool. You like to climb in and out, in and out, in and out. You are just so busy! Of course your favorite thing to do is ANYTHING sister is doing. Poor Q can't do anything without little nosy sister checking it out...but Q is so patient and she's learning to play with you more and more. It's so sweet! You have become a dancing queen. You love when sister turns on the music in the playroom and you immediately go over to the table to be close to the speaker. You just dance and dance! Finally, our favorite thing of all is your recent discovery of open-mouth kisses. You can put off bedtime like a champ by giving us open mouth kisses and laughing while we try to rock you. Tricky, sweet girl!

Sleeping - Praise Jesus, you started to sleep better during the day at around 6 months! At 9 months you took about an hour long nap in the morning and afternoon. That probably doesn't sound like much to most people, but for me, it was amazing! Now that you are closer to a year old, you take a good 2.5 hour nap once a day and a little cat nap if you need it. You also still sleep 12-13 hours at night! My little rockstar night sleeper! We still have you in a sleep sack because I just think it's nice to sort of have a blanket on you and we recently put a "lovie" in bed with you (the lion that Nannie Mae got for you before you were born). You aren't super interested in cuddling with it, but you play with it when you wake up. The only issue with sleeping right now is that you don't want to go to sleep. You throw a little bit of a fit and arch your back when we sit in the rocker. When I stand up you know I'm going to put you down so you lay your head down and cuddle. Tricky girl! Lately I have been telling you that I will put you down if you don't lie down, and I think you get it because you eventually give up and lay your little head down. I love rocking you and I'm not ready for that to be over...I will rock you until you are 16 if I can!! :)

Mama loves our days together! I love seeing you grow and learn new things. I love being able to hug and kiss you all day and we have a fun little routine. Every other Monday we go to MOPS and you love the teachers and friends there. Tuesdays and Wednesdays we stay home and get stuff done while we play. Thursdays, you go to work with me at the church where they have childcare. You are usually the only kid, so you get lots of love from two teachers. Thursdays are also "nap in the car" days because I have to drive right when it's time for your naps. But, we make it work. Fridays, we take sister to dance and then have lunch with Nannie Mae. Sometimes you sleep on the way there and sometimes you don't. You are so busy during dance and you LOVE watching sister and her friends. It makes you smile so big. When summer got here, we threw the schedule out the window and just did what we had to do to get sister to all her fun camps. But, you got to do VBS this year (the childcare version) and you did great! I think as a second child you know you just have to go with the flow.

What a blessing you are sweet girl! I hope you always have a silly sense of humor, I hope you always smile easily and I hope you always love being around your sister! Of course, I also hope you will always want to be around Mama and cuddle with me too. :)

Love you so much!


Monday, January 18, 2016

Happy 1/2 Birthday Noelle

Dear Sweet Noelle,

How are you already six months old!?! I'm sitting at the kitchen table writing this while you bounce and chat it up in a bouncy toy. Aaaaannnnd I think you just pooped. Probably a blowout.

Yup, it was a blowout. I may or may not have just wiped the poop off your pjs and put them back on you. It wasn't a lot. (Mom of the year.)

Anyway, the last six months have flown by and I'm sorry I haven't been able to blog more about your life. Daddy and I have started a "Noelleisms" note in our phones, so we have that, but I did want to sit down and capture what the first part of your life was like.

Newborn Stuff
I want to remember this stage because this time it was much more enjoyable than it was with Q. I think the first baby is such a shock, we didn't take time to enjoy it. We were in panic mode. This time, I loved every moment. Even getting up in the middle of the night wasn't so bad because you went right back to sleep. We kept you in our room for about six weeks and then moved you to your room...the transition was great! I was sad when we moved you because I really enjoyed the time we had together just Mama, Daddy and Noelle in the trenches of the newborn season. We had the glider in our room and the pack-and-play next to the bed. That will always be a special time in my mind. At night, Daddy normally got up and changed your diaper and then I nursed you. I had a lot of milk so for a while (before you slept through the night at about 8 weeks) I would only feed you on one side and pump the other side so I could keep up my supply and give myself a little relief.

 This was the day we got home from the hospital...we napped on the couch

 Daddy loved being home for 3 weeks with his girls.

 My view for a week...I loved being in bed with this sweet girl! 

I thought going into the second kid that I would be a pro! I nursed Q for 12 months and I just knew it would all go smoothly. I forgot that every baby is different and every baby has to learn how to breastfeed. I fed you for the first time in the recovery room and you did great. But, you were a very aggressive eater and you were still trying to figure out your little tongue. By about two weeks, I was hurting...pretty badly. I cried and sort of dreaded feedings because of the pain. I finally went to a lactation consultant who basically gave me permission to pump and give you a bottle sometimes to relieve my pain (you took the bottle the first time and never looked back...unlike your diva sister). The LC also helped me by giving me a nipple shield and providing moral support. Things started to get better about 6-7 weeks and now you are a pro. I love nursing and I'm so glad we get to have that special bonding time together. I am less modest than I was with Q so I take the cover everywhere and we have nursed at the park, in the car, at restaurants and on playdates. I am blessed with a really big supply (just like with Q) and you helped me donate 500oz. to the Mother's Milk Bank so far! Way to go sweet girl!

Magical Baby
You are seriously the sweetest baby ever. You are the kind of baby that will make me want a third (not so sure about that). You don't cry a lot, you sleep well, you let me put you down for more than five seconds, you are a good eater and you love to snuggle. The only time you make us crazy is in the car or when you won't nap...I'll touch on that later. You smile easily and you've started squealing and laughing more. Early on I could bounce you for a few minutes and lay you down and you would go to sleep. We put you in the Rock and Play Sleeper downstairs a lot and the vibration would send you into dreamland. I remember one day, I vacuumed while you slept in that thing and I literally vacuumed under and around you while you snoozed away. People tell us all the time what a wonderful baby you are. I wish I could say we did something and take the credit for it, but the Good Lord just blessed us with your sweet nature. I'm blessed to be able to take you to work with me one day each week. One of the volunteers told me one day "I will forever be in awe of how you put that baby in her car seat and she just went to sleep." Here's the thing...I'm a little worried you are tricking us. Please don't. Please stay sweet and don't turn into a crazy toddler, k, thanks.

Funny Quirks and Some Other Baby Stuff
There are some really cute things you do that make us smile.
-When you cry sometimes it sounds like you are saying "Gahhhh". Like you are trying to say "come on y'all...figure it out."
-Pretty early on you would be chatting and then a sneeze would come on suddenly. We called it the yell-sneeze because you would sneeze mid-chat and sort of yell before you sneezed. It would make Daddy, Q and me laugh so hard.
-Your sweet little cowlick on the top/back of your head is the sweetest thing. Q and I always sing to you "crazy hair, don't care".
-You are a kicker. Your little legs are constantly moving and I'm pretty sure your goal in life is to kick off your socks and shoes.
-You started sleeping about 11 hours at night around 8 weeks.
-You slept in a swaddle until about 4 months.
-When you are tired you dig your head into our shoulder and rub your eyes.

That sweet cow-lick...this was before you had rubbed your bald spot on the back of your head.

Social Girl
We got you out of the house early...much earlier than Q. Here are some of the things you got to do before you were even six months old!
-We went to Jill's baby shower 10 days after you were born. You snuggled with Mama the whole time!
-You went to church pretty early too...I think it was about 6 weeks old.
-You went on your first family vacation to the beach at 7 weeks old.
-You got go to go a Baylor game at 2.5 months old. It was so fun and we were lucky that our seats were right in front of the mother's room so we could nurse mid-game.
-Q started playing soccer when you were about 8 weeks old so you got dragged to several soccer games...of course you were perfectly fine being outside.

So Alert and Observant
You are the most alert and observant baby I've ever seen, and a lot of other people say the same thing. From very early on (like 2 weeks) you were constantly moving your little neck around to see and hear things around you. Mama even had a crazy moment where I thought something was wrong with you because you wouldn't make eye contact with me. My mind was put at ease when the pediatrician that lives across the street said "She's just nosy...she's fine." Well, I have to say you come by it honestly (or at least Daddy would say that). I have so many memories of you almost falling asleep and then popping your little head up to see something. You also LOVED being outside (and still do). It was so funny how you would just whip your neck back and forth to look it just blew your mind to see so many things. One of the funniest things you notice is the theme song to Gilmore Girls. I started watching this when you were born and now any time the theme song comes on you stop nursing and even wake from a deep sleep to look at the tv. It's hilarious! This will always be one of my favorite memories of you as a newborn...little bright-eyed, nosy girl.

The Car
Oh. My. Goodness. You were worse than your sister. We DREADED even driving across town. I don't know what it was, but you hated getting in the car more than anything. Once you were out of that seat, you were perfectly fine. I decided at some point to just laugh rather than lose my sanity, so I have multiple voice recordings and videos on my phone of you screaming while Q is obliviously singing songs. Those recordings capture your early car days perfectly...and show why Daddy is getting gray hair and Mama is losing her mind. :)

No Naps, No Naps, La, La, La, La, La
You are just like your won't nap. I have no idea how you function or how your brain is developing but you won't nap more than about 20 min. Mama might go crazy. BUT, you aren't super fussy when you are awake AND you've slept at night since you were 8 weeks old. So, it's hard to complain too much. I've tried everything to try to get you to sleep and you just aren't having it. I don't get much done during the day and it's so exhausting having a baby that won't sleep, but I'll have the rest of my life to sleep, do laundry, clean, cook, etc. Right? But, I'm not gonna lie...I envy the moms whose kids sleep for two or three hours. I have no idea what I would even do with that time. But for now, no breaks for this mama.

Mama was so thankful to have so many helpful people around when you were a baby. Daddy got to be home for three weeks and he and sister took good care of us. They brought me breakfast and lunch in bed for a week (stairs after a c-section weren't easy), and Daddy did a great job entertaining your busy big sister. Then Auntie Em came and stayed with us for a week. What a fun week! Mama loved having her sister around and you got spoiled. I'm so glad you and Q will always have a special relationship just like I do with my sister. THEN, Nannie Mae took a week off to help. You got to cuddle some more, and one day Mama even got to take a nap with sister while Nannie Mae took care of you. Granny and Ahwo/Ahpo made it in town for a visit after that so you were just surrounded by people who love you. There's nothing more important than family and you are a lucky girl to have so many people who love you!

Your Fave
Your favorite person in the whole world is your sister. You smile and laugh at her the most. Many times, when you cry, I ask sister to come talk to you. It always calms you down and you even start laughing. I hope your sister is always your favorite person...what a special relationship!

This is one day when sister was making me crazy while I was nursing you. Haha!

Your first trip to the park with sister...many more to come!

Your Nursery
For's your nursery before we actually used it. These photos make it look white, but it's light gray. Now there are toys and baby stuff everywhere and we love that it's your safe place. The print that hangs above your changing table is in honor of your great-grandfather Clayton Sylestine who was the chief of your tribe. His middle name is your middle name.

Happy 1/2 Birthday sweet girl! We love you so much! I know it's cliche, but we really can't imagine our family without you. What a blessing you are!