9 months

Claire,

When I think about the fact that you are now 9 months-my breath catches a little. I feel like we were JUST there with your sister; and yet now Leah is somehow 3 and you, my sweet little baby, are 9 months already. 9 months in, 9 months out! Yet, somehow, the 9 months in went by at a snails pace, while the 9 months out have sped by in a blink of an eye.

You have the sweetest little soul. Everyone who meets you comments on your shy smile and gentle disposition. You are just the happiest little girl. However! You have had a bit of a personality shift this month and it’s one that makes me and your dad laugh. You used to let your big sister do just about anything to you and daddy and I would joke that you were going to do whatever Leah told you to do when you got older. Well, that may have changed a bit. Although you still idolize your big sis, you seemed to have developed a bit of a spit fire personality this month and I love seeing you hold your own. You now have no problem swatting Leah’s hand away when she annoys you and you will let out a loud shout when you want her to STOP whatever she is doing. You are going to need a solid backbone when it comes to your bossy (however well intentioned) sister, so I like seeing this bit of fire in you. You also may have inherited a BIT of a temper (now who did that come from…? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Daddy and I always joke that “Claire is just so happy…until she’s not.” You can go from content to screaming in 1.5 seconds and you never know just what will put you over the edge. Usually it’s when someone tries to touch or take your food….

Speaking of food….you are a tank. Your biggest love right now is definitely eating. You are amazingly good at hand to mouth feeding and we have all but given up trying to spoon feed you because little miss independent would rather do it yourself, thank you very much. It’s very hard to find a food that you do not like, but I would say your absolute favorites include: watermelon, bananas, cooked peppers, cheese, yogurt (the only food you will let us spoon feed you), strawberries and hummus on pieces of tortilla. You can put away a whole (cut up) piece of pizza or a full helping of mac and cheese larger than what Leah is eating. If anyone is eating anything and they have the audacity not to share with you, you will frantically wave your arms and YELL until they give you a bite. You happily open your mouth wide and will accept whatever food we put in your mouth. You are as different as could be from your sister, who has always (and still does) eat like a very picky little bird. Along with your eating you are still happily nursing 4 times a day and you know what it means when I ask you if you “want some milk.”

You are a great sleeper…finally! You seemed to turn the corner once you turned 8 months and you now regularly sleep 12 hours a night without a peep-from 7-7:30 pm to 7-7:30 am. You also take 2 naps a day for about 2 hours each. You don’t (and never have) take a pacifier but you have a favorite knit blanket that has been in your crib since you were tiny and you are very attached. You suck on the corners while you fall asleep and if, heaven forbid, the blanket is in the wash during nap time you are NOT tricked by a different blanket that I try and put in your crib!

This month you are starting to scoot on your belly around the room. You will get up onto your knees into the crawl position and rock for a second, but your little jello arms aren’t strong enough yet to hold your chubby little body so down you fall to scootch along on your belly. You have also started noticing yourself in the mirror and you love to wave “hi” to the baby in the mirror. Lots of babbling, and definitely some “dada” here and there, but no “real” talking yet.

I can’t express how much happiness and joy you bring into our lives, our little Claire Bear. We love you and your sweet, happy spirit and I can’t wait to see what the next month brings.

Love,
Mommy and Daddy

We have a house!

So…whoops…life’s been a bit busy these past few months and this poor blog has been sadly neglected. But things are finally starting to settle down thanks in big part to the fact that we (finally) found a house!!! We had NO idea how stressful it would be to find a rental here in Asheville. When we first moved (at the beginning of April) we figured that we would stay with my parents for a few weeks while we searched; imaging that we would be in our new home (easily) by May 1st. My parents warned us about the “hot rental market” but we kind of just nodded along thinking “yeah, yeah, how hard could it really be, I mean this is a big city!”

And then we got here. And oh boy, saying that Asheville has a “hot rental market” is an understatement. We quickly learned that there is something crazy like a 1% vacancy rate here in town for rentals (why are all these darn people moving here?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and that we would be competing with a million other people to get a house. (Okay so a million may be a bit exaggerated, but it sure felt like it at times!!) Stalking Zillow and other rental websites became my full time job and I would call/email/text a property as soon as it hit the market. And then Brett and I would go see it and there would be like 10 other people viewing it at the same time; everyone eyeing each other up to see who their biggest competition would be to snatch the house up first. Let’s just say it was EXHAUSTING. Thank God we had my parents (who have been enjoying their time with the grandkids and were not pushing us out in the least) but with 2 kids and a big dog let’s just say that we have seriously taken over their house these past 2 months. Long story short (and seriously, it is a long story) we finally found a house!!

Leah sitting on the front steps on move in day!

We are still settling in (We just moved in Sunday) but we are so, so excited to finally start growing some roots here in our new city.

I am in love with our new bathroom. Also, this is the first time in our married life that Brett and I have a double sink in the master bath, which is thrilling. I’m sure more pics of the house will soon follow, once it isn’t a mess of boxes and furniture…

So, while we searched and waited for a house, I decided to just jump in and potty train Leah. We had put it off for a LONG time, but with so many recent changes (a new baby, and then a big move) I felt weird throwing too much at her at once so we waited and waited some more. But with her 3rd birthday around the corner, I knew she was more than ready! I will write a whole post about it (promise!) hopefully soon, but it’s been an exciting time for her!

I will just say that she has done SO well and we are extremely proud of how she has handled the big change! But more details about our “potty plan” will follow. (I know, I know, you’re all just on the edge of your seats!)

Besides that, Claire turned the big 6 monthsย  (how has it already been half a year?!) And I haven’t done her monthly letter since 4 months. #secondchild. This girl is sweet and chubby and delicious and basically just the world’s cutest baby. A full 6 month update will come soon…

So there you have it. A bit of a life update (have we done more these past 2 months than house hunt and potty train?? I’m not really sure) and a promise to (hopefully) get back in the blogging game soon.

Cousin love

Back at the beginning of the month my sister and her family came to visit for a week and we had so much fun. Even now, weeks after they left, Leah is still asking “Hey, can we go to the pool (or beach, or playground..) withย  Millie!?” And when I tell her (yet again) “Honey, Millie went back to her house!” She gets sad all over again and grumpily responds, “But I don’t WANT Millie to go bye-bye!!” Me neither kid. Me neither. We fit a lot into their 5 day stay and we had a blast. Since they were escaping the cold, snowy, Vermont weather, we made sure to fit in plenty of beach and pool trips and just spent a lot of time outside in the sunshine. It’s crazy to think that last March when they were here, Millie was Claire’s age and Claire was just a thought and a hope and now, one year later, we had 2 toddlers and 1 little babe playing on the beach. ๐Ÿ™‚ Leah absolutely LOVED playing with her cousin Millie and it made me excited (yet again) for when Claire is old enough to play because I just know they are going to be the sweetest little friends!! Some pictures from our visit with cousin Millie and family…

^There was lots of cute hand holding between Leah and Millie (although some of it may have been just a bit forced on Leah’s end…) and it melted my heart!

 


We had so much fun with Aunt Lauren, Uncle Evan, and cousin Millie!! One of the most exciting aspects of our move north is that, because we will live right by my parents, we will get to see all my siblings and the cousins every time they come into town to visit grandma and grandpa. See that guys, we are saving you money so you don’t have to make two separate trips to see us and the grandparents, so now you can do even MORE trips to see us both!! Although I think they may be a bit bummed to lose their Florida spring break trip every year….
One thing’s for sure, we sure can’t wait to see them all again soon!!

2 months

Dear Claire Diana,

2 months…time is flying by! I look at you and my heart can’t seem to hold all the love I have for you. It spills over and makes me feel like my heart will burst from holding so much love. When I was pregnant with you I kept wondering how I could ever love another child as much as I loved your big sister Leah. It seemed as though my whole heart was full of love for Leah so I worried that I wouldn’t have any room left for another baby. But then you were born. And the minute you were put on my chest, I felt my heart grow. All that love I had for Leah was still there, but somehow, in that very moment, my heart grew and it was filled with even more love, this time all for you.

You are such a happy, content baby, and yet, most of the time you have this sweet little look of worry and concern on your face. That furrowed brow that I am constantly kissing away, like you are looking around trying to figure out this big world you’ve found yourself in. It makes me laugh because you seem to have inherited your mommy’s anxiety, or what your grandparents call mommy’s “Will there be a bathroom on this trip??” look. You’re welcome.

You have one deep dimple in your right cheek, identical to your daddy’s. It’s pretty much the one facial feature you inherited from him (along with your full lips) otherwise you seem to be (so far) mommy’s little clone. Grandma sent some pictures of mommy as a baby and we had a good laugh, seeing how alike you looked to mommy, especially the furrowed brow worried look and the squinty eye smiles.

You are a wonderful nurser and you are chubbing up quite nicely. You have your 2 month appointment later this week, so we will find out your “official” weight, but last night when daddy stepped on the scale while holding you, it looks like you weigh around 13 pounds! That’s pretty impressive. You are sleeping better and better, usually from about 10:30 pm-5:30 am. You then nurse quickly and fall back to sleep until 7:30 or 8 am. Last night, however, on your 2 month birth day, you decided to gift mommy and daddy with an impressive sleep from 10 pm-7 am! Was this a one time gift or can we expect this awesome sleep schedule to continue? I guess only time will tell.

You LOVE you sister (and she loves you!) Whenever she leans in to talk to you (pretty much in your face, I’ll admit) you smile and coo and lock eyes with her, staring up at your big sister. You watch her play, watch her dance, watch her talk…you are completely fascinated with her. She, in return, loves to kiss your head and squeeze your cheeks and she affectionately calls you “bug-a-boo.” I have a feeling that you two will be the best of friends before long.

We love you, our sweet Claire Bear!
Love,
Mommy and Daddy

Life

Sorry it’s been so quiet lately here on the blog. Turns out, 2 kids is a lot more work than 1. Who knew?! ๐Ÿ˜›

So, after almost an entire month of having family visiting on and off, I’m officially on my own with both kids. As intimidating as it was the first few days, we’ve seemed to have seamlessly slipped into a routine that works well. Since Leah was used to going to school every day when I worked, the girl craves structure. She likes to have planned activities and she likes to know what’s coming next. At bedtime, as I say goodnight, we talk about what we are going to do the next day. We talk about reading books, going for a walk, the playground, the store, etc and, when she wakes up the next morning, she will repeat the day’s schedule back to me. And, as a planner myself, it has made the days much more enjoyable! We have time for reading books, time for playing outside, time for snack, and time for (mommy’s new favorite!) a nap. I told Brett the other day that I have been shocked to find that the days are flying by! Running around with two kids makes my days go way faster than they used to when I was working! And, even though there have been fits here and there, it really has been a blast. Leah is such a joy to hang out with and I am LOVING watching her grow and change every single day. (As well as hearing all the new, funny expressions that come out of her mouth; my current favorites being “Okie dokie artichokie” and “Oh, sorry about that!”) Being a mom to these two sweet little girls makes me feel like the luckiest person alive. Here’s a little of what we have been up to ever day:

1. Splash park playing. I have to say, we’ve had a fabulous winter so far this year in Florida. And by “winter” I mean that it hasn’t been 90 degrees with 100% humidity every single day. We’ve had some “cold” days in the 50’s and 60’s and a lot of perfect sunny days in the mid-70’s. Leah LOVES the splash park (which is funny since, just a few months ago, the girl would barely touch the splash pad with one toe) and will happily play in there for hours. And mommy likes it because she is able to just sit and relax while Leah has a blast.

^^I call this look Leah’s “J-Lo booty” AKA a diaper full of water….

2. Ice cream eating. Because, obviously this is needed when the weather is nice.

3. Walks, walks and more walks. I haven’t been doing a ton of exercising yet, but I have been trying to do daily walks. As much as I LOVE my new double stroller, it definitely took me awhile to get used to pushing this heavy, “stretch limo” as I affectionately call it, around. I am so used to the BOB, which is super smooth and easy to push, but a double stroller is a different story. I swear my arms are getting quite the workout on our long walks. I’ve also finally mastered the double stroller PLUS puppy walk, which I’m quite impressed with. (It’s the little achievements, right!?)

4. Playground playing. Almost every night, if I ask Leah what she wants to do tomorrow, she will answer with “Go to the playground!” (That or, “Watch Frozen!” but, you know, the playground request gets approved a lot more than the Frozen watching, much to Leah’s chagrin). We have a lot of playgrounds around our neighborhood so we walk or drive to new ones daily. We are just getting to the stage where playground playing is more relaxing for me, now that Leah is more independent and I don’t feel the need to follow her up and down and all around the playground. Which comes in handy when you have an infant strapped to your chest.

5. Outside playing. Again, with the awesome weather, we are full on taking advantage of playing outside as much as possible. Leah’s current favorite outdoor activities include drawing with chalk on the driveway (in her Elsa nightgown, obviously) and pushing her baby (usually her Elsa baby) around the block in her new double stroller.

6. Reading. Leah LOVES books and she will read for hours (or, really, have me read for hours) if I let her. She gets into a rut where she wants to read the same book over and over again for weeks on end. So much fun. Brett and I will keep trying to introduce a new book, “Hey, how about this one!?” but she will inevitably shoot down our suggestion and instead go with her current fave. Luckily, she always tends to move on to a new one after a few weeks. Her most recent fave was a book “A Fly Went By” about a bunch of animals chasing each other for no apparent reason and, let me tell you, it goes on just a bit too long if you ask me. Not one of mommy’s favorites. And, sadly, once you read it correctly once you can’t change up the story or skip a little because our kid has a memory like a vault and she remembers every single word and will totally call you out if you try and skip a page or two.

7. Entertaining myself, which, inevitably, ticks Leah off. Maybe I’m a mean mom, but I get a kick out of putting Claire in Leah’s toy stroller and toy pack and play…unfortunately Leah does NOT share my sense of humor…..

8. Enjoying this new little chub of a cherub that has joined our family. Leah LOVES holding baby Claire and, coincidentally, baby Claire LOVES being held (maybe not so much by Leah…) Having 2 kids makes me even more thankful for baby wraps/carriers because I don’t know what moms do without them. Claire seems to be under the impression that being put down is a form of torture, so she tends to be in my arms 24/7. And when I actually NEED my arms, she’s strapped to my chest.

And that’s life around here these days. That, and many, many trips to Trader Joe’s because I’m just a bit obsessed with their food (okay, let’s be honest, I’m mostly obsessed with their snacks). Now excuse me while I go snack on some Cowboy Bark and take advantage of nap time to catch up on some reading. ๐Ÿ™‚

Christmas 2014

We had such a fabulous Christmas this year. Christmas Eve was full of homemade pasta and cookie making, followed by a candlelit church service. Christmas Day was filled with coffee cake eating, present opening, Frozen watching, family time. Although this was Leah’s 3rd Christmas, it was really the first year that she truly GOT what Christmas was all about. Leading up to Christmas, we read her so many books about the birth of baby Jesus that, on Christmas morning, every time she opened a present and we asked her “What do you think it is!?” she would answer back with glee, “I think it’s baby Jesus!!” Unfortunately for her, none of the presents actually contained a wrapped up baby Jesus, but hey, at least she understood “the true gift of Christmas” in her own way, right?! She also understood that, thanks to VERY generous grandparents, plus gifts from Santa, 90% of the gifts under the tree were for her. Every time anyone else opened a gift she would get a very concerned look on her face and say, “Well, what about Leah?” Let’s just say that Leah received more than enough gifts this year. I would say her top presents were her beloved Elsa doll from my sister, Lego’s from Santa (aka mommy and daddy) and her new toy double stroller from my parents, which she stuffs full with at least 4 baby dolls on a daily basis. Brett and I soaked in the holidays, thankful for the new addition to our family, a sweet little chub, who I don’t think was put down for more than 10 minutes during the holidays, as she was passed from family member to family member and given tons of snuggles. Now, with the holidays over, Leah, coming out of a fun-filled month of visitors, is slightly depressed to find only mom here every single morning, instead of grandparents who spoil her rotten all day long. Sorry kid, welcome back to the real world. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And now we are ready to begin 2015 as a family of 4. Excited for all the adventures this year brings!!

One Month

Our sweet Claire,

How are you one month old already?! Between all our family visitors and the holidays, these last few weeks have flown by and, before we knew it, a whole month had passed since you came into our world. You are such a sweet, even tempered little girl. You have seamlessly fit into our little family and it feels like you have always been here with us. Your big sister Leah is so in love with you. She smothers your head and cheeks with endless kisses and will tell anyone in the room, “That’s MY baby sister!” and “I love Claire!” You love cuddles and sleeping on mommy more than anything in the world. You will be in the deepest sleep on my chest, but as soon as I attempt to set you in your swing or cradle, you will pop awake with a grunt and a disgruntled look, as though you are saying “Hey, I didn’t say you could put me down…” I’ll admit, you aren’t the worlds greatest sleeper. Because you love to snuggle so much (and because you pretty much refuse to use a pacifier) it can be tough to settle you down for the night. Daddy and I joke that you have some sort of internal alarm clock that makes you bolt awake as soon as we are ready to go to bed for the night. You are sleeping 3-5 hour stretches at night (although, every once and awhile you will throw in a 6 hour stretch, but those are very rare) but you are a quick night nurser before settling back down to sleep again. One thing that makes it hard for mommy and daddy to sleep at night is the fact that you are one LOUD sleeper! You make the funniest grunts and snorts all night long, which, although adorable, are awfully hard to sleep through. Daddy and I took your first movie the other day (Hunger Games!) and although you slept through the movie like a perfect angel, you did emit a few grunts and snorts that seemed to be perfectly timed to when the movie was in it’s most serious and quiet scenes. At one point, you emitted your token “goat noise” as daddy and I lovingly call it, which made the lady in front of us laugh and say to her friend, “It sounds like there’s a lamb in the theater!” You are a fabulous eater, and mommy still marvels at the fact that she has nursed you without any pain or difficulty from day one. You are starting to chub up quite nicely and you still have the furriest little shoulders (don’t worry, it won’t last forever!) You are definitely our little Italian baby and daddy and I laugh when we compare your olive complexion to your sister’s creamy one. You girls are the cutest of sisters, but you sure will look different growing up. Our two beautiful girls; one grey/green eyed with fluffy blonde hair, and the other dark eyed with the silkiest chestnut hair. We cannot WAIT to see what this next month brings, our little Claire Diana.

Love,
Mommy and Daddy