Age Changes Things

There are some common phrases we say to/about our children that are intended compliments.

“You are SUCH a big girl!”

“Look at those chubby cheeks!”

“You are getting SO BIG!”

“I am loving those giant thighs!”

“Where’s your big belly?”

“I love all his rolls!!”

Now go ahead and read those again, but imagine someone’s saying it to you.  DO IT.

You sure don’t compliment adults the same way you do children. hahaha  This is the kind of stuff that keeps me awake at night, people.  I may need help, but I mean… this is great!

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Eliana is Three Months Old!!!

Our youngest little sweet pea is three months old today!  She weighs 12 lb 4 oz and her growth percentages at her last doctor appointment were 61% for weight and 50% for height.

Cuddle Bugger

I can’t get over what an incredibly tiny baby her big sister, Evelyn was.  Elly is fitting in clothes that Evie didn’t wear until 7 or even 8 months old!!  She also weighs a solid 2 pounds more than Evie did at this age.  No wonder Evelyn was always in the 2% for weight!  She was REALLY small.  I remember people would ask me if she was about 3 months old when she was actually 8 months.  So funny.

Cuddle Bug

Eliana is mostly fitting 3 – 6 month clothes and some 6 month clothes now.

Cutie 2

Cutie

I love my snuggle times with this precious cuddle bug!

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This little one is such a sweetheart.  She has such a fun little personality and is so full of smiles!

Smiles

Happy

These chubby little cheeks just kill me!

Chubby Cheeks

Although you can’t tell from the expression I got here, Elly is enjoying our Bumbo seat quite a bit lately.  She’s getting so big and holding her head up so well!  Tummy time is much more exciting now too.

Bumbo

Evie Grace

Head ups

Oh, I am loving these next photos!  I have been trying to catch this baby’s CUTE pouty face for so long and finally got it done.  I mean, I could probably look at this saying, “Awwwwww!!” all day if I didn’t have 4 little tots to keep track of.

Cheeky

Cheeky 2

Cheeky 3

Cheeky 4

Sweltering outside in this heat wave while the big girls are swimming.

Selfie 2

Elly started giggling a few weeks ago and it’s obviously adorable as can be.  She cracked up for the first time over her bout of hiccups.  She still thinks they are pretty funny.  She also laughs when I tickle her feet or sides.

Happy Girl

Eliana’s big sisters are always around to keep her company and smother her with their affection.  It can be pretty fun to fight over your baby sis.  She puts up with it pretty well.

sisters

Abby JoyEvie

This baby makes the best faces ever.  She is always cracking me up with her great expressions.

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I am still having Elly sleep in her rock ‘n’ play at bed time, which is going stellar by the way.  This baby sleeps like a champ.  She still crashes around 8 p.m. and would probably sleep 11 hours until the morning noise wakes her up at 7 a.m., but I usually rouse her up for one more feeding at 10:30 p.m. before I go to bed – just in case.  Elly takes a morning nap around 9 a.m. (in the K’tan if we’re walking, otherwise I hold her or have her sleep in the boppy pillow) for about an hour.  Then she takes a longer snooze in the afternoon.  This varies in length/time, but is usually something like 12:30 – 3 p.m.  She takes a third early evening nap while I’m preparing dinner.  That one is usually pretty short, but gets her through till bed time.

Tuckered Out

Sweet Sleepy Baby

Naked babies are just so squeezy!!

Oh baby

Naky 1

Naky 3

Naky

I love pictures with all three of our girls!  We are so blessed to be their parents.  What wonderful gifts we’ve been given. ❤

Sisters 2

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Eliana Hope, we love watching you grow and learn! ❤

Sweets

Baby Girl loves to talk to me with her super tiny, cute voice.  She will gurgle and squeak, trying to be all helpless and adorable. haha  I love it.

So tiny

Tiny 2

Chatting away!

Gabbing

Bouncer

Somebody loves chewing on their hands.

Sweets 1

Nummy hands

Nummy 2

Elly has also been really loving our play mat and enjoys holding toys now too!

Playmat

I have so much overwhelming love for my babies!  Being a mom is my favorite always.

Excited

Sweet Face

Smiles 2

Tiny

We are loving every quick minute with this precious baby girl! ❤

Daddy

Mama Time

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The Rustic Run!

I officially completed my first race since making the decision to take up (short distance) running.  The sad thing is, the last time I ran this one mile race (pre babies), I hadn’t trained at all and had a much better time.  The good thing is, I ran the entire mile and got my best postpartum time yet!  I finally broke 8 minutes (barely!!) with a time of 7:58.  That may not sound too amazing, but it was exciting for me!  I was the 2nd female in my age group (19-39) which means there wasn’t a whole lot of competition. haha!

Shout out to my 9 year old sister who ran the whole mile in 7 minutes 52 seconds!!  Future track star in the making!!  We ran some of our mile together which was pretty fun.  She was verbally encouraging me while I could barely manage to give her a thumbs up.  ha!

I was also pretty proud of our three year old, who steadily jogged the entire mile with Daddy.  Her time was 13:35.  She only stopped once for a quick water break.  She wasn’t tired a bit at the end, while I was ready to pass out.  Age…… haha!

Rustic Run!

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Q Week

Q Week!  Inevitably one of the trickiest letters to find activities for. haha  It wasn’t nearly as exciting as some previous letters, but I did manage to scrounge up a few ideas.

Abby made her block letter ‘Q’ into a quail.

Q is for Quail

Q is for quarters!  I dumped out our piggy bank (ISU paraphernalia, courtesy of my mother who thinks anything with ISU on it will make a great gift for us since Cabz is obsessed with them.  We’ve got candy cane tree hangers, wrapping paper, hats, and more!  Love you, Mom!  We think they’re stellar!  Keep it coming!)  and gave Abby four containers to sort the different coins.  She was loving it.

Qq is for Quarters

After she had a bowl full of quarters, we discussed how four quarters = 1 dollar.  Then, I gave her little paper cups and had her count four quarters into each one.  Then we figured out how many dollars we had.

4 Quarters Make a Dollar!

Quarter Sorting

Evie joined us after her nap and the girls enjoyed dropping every single coin back through the slot on the piggy bank.

Fun with Coins

Handwriting and tracer pages.

Qq Handwriting

Qq Tracer Page

We made “queen hats” (aka crowns) out of paper plates.  I found this idea from Pinterest off of Meaningful Mama.  The girls each colored a plate.  Then I folded them in half and made three cuts, stopping before the ruffled edge, and opened it up into a hat!

Queen Craft PreschoolQueen Hat

Queen

What begins with Q?

What begins with Qq

The girls both made paper quilts by weaving some paper.  Evie needed a little more assistance with this than Abby did, but they both thought it was fun.

Quilt Weaving

Quilt Craft

I made a math quiz for Abby.  She was very excited to show Daddy when he came home that she was doing math just like he was!!

Quiz

I knew I wanted to have the girls do some q-tip painting and was really happy with the way my dandelion idea turned out!  Evie’s was a little rough since she was more into smearing than dotting, but Abby’s was so cool!  I loved them both!

Qq Painting

Q-tip Painting DandelionsQ-tip Dandelions

Q-tip Painting

Evelyn’s 21 Month Update

Belly

Okay, I debated whether or not I should do a 21 month blog for Evelyn and finally decided to go with it.  I know you might think this is overkill, but I can’t help it. haha  The deciding factor was when I scrolled through her 18 month blog – just 3 short months ago.  Evie looked so much younger I couldn’t believe it!!  If she is changing that much that fast right now, I have to jot down a few of my favorite memories, so bear with me. 🙂  Plus, I mean…. she is adorable, so who doesn’t want to see a bazillion pictures of her, right?!

Sweet Girl 1

Sweet Girl

This girl is something else.  She is definitely our little spitfire child.  We often call her our “wild child.”  She weighs 24 pounds now and mostly wears 2T and a few 18 month items.  Evelyn is at a stage where she gets very frustrated when her plans are foiled.  She wanted to hold Baby Boy and I told her not right now = meltdown.  She wanted to walk over to look at the construction trucks again, but it was lunch time = meltdown.  She wanted to stay outside longer, but it was time to come in = meltdown.  She had her bib all ready to put on, and no one was putting it on her! = meltdown.

Cute Toes

My major Evie highlight has been her potty training success.  I potty trained Abby at 18 months and she did really well with it.  I briefly attempted Evie at 18 months, but she wasn’t quite ready (“I scared!” she would tell me) and being extremely pregnant, I didn’t have the energy to really work at it.  I do think that little attempt, and a lot of talking about it since, really helped when I made my second, more successful attempt.  I decided to try again when Evelyn was about 19 1/2 months old and this time around it went great!  I think she only had 2 accidents the first day and then we were good to go!  I even braved an errand the third day and she did just fine.  She was definitely ready for it, and it has been AMAZING to be down to just two babies in diapers again.

Baby Girl 1

Baby Girl

I didn’t want Evie to wet (or worse… haha) during nap time, so I switched her to taking her nap out on the living room floor where she could use her potty as needed.  The first couple of days it took her awhile to fall asleep, but then she got over the change and has been doing very well with it.  She still really needs that nap to make it through the day.

Nap

Along with potty training, we decided to make the crib to toddler bed switch with our little Evie.  Abby’s room is pretty small and tight with just the toddler bed, one dresser and a bookshelf, so we came up with the following arrangement:  Evelyn sleeps in Abby’s old toddler bed and Abby is on a fold out cushion “bed” next to her.  It’s kind of funny, but it works.  I would just put them in the toddler bed together, but I’m afraid they would have a really hard time falling asleep.  Abby needs more sleep than Evie does right now (especially because Evie can make it up with her nap when she doesn’t get enough at night) and it’s hard enough to get Evelyn out of the room before she wakes Abby up in the morning.  For a while there she was giving a nice, loud morning scream to announce that she was awake.  I loved it when she woke up every other child in the house with that one.  NOT.

The first couple weeks of potty training, Evie would do pretty well over night, but would have an accident about once every few days.  After the first couple, I opted for a pull-up at night so I didn’t have to deal with the whole wet bed fiasco.  She definitely can’t hold it like Abby can.  When Abby was little, she would routinely wake up dry after naps and bedtime.  Evelyn NEVER would wake up dry with her diapers.  She was always majorly sopped.  She drinks a TON of liquid all day though – way more than Abby ever did.  I’m just glad naps aren’t an issue with wetting.

Bedtime 1

Because I am up all the time in the night anyway, I started taking Evie to the bathroom when I’d hear her stirring around.  I quickly noticed she was kind of light screaming/whining every time she had to go and if I got in there quickly enough I could get her on the pot.  This seemed to help her get the hang of things and with our new system she has been dry all night for the last couple weeks.  We usually take her before bedtime, again around 10:30/11 p.m. before we go to bed, and then once in the night if I hear her (this is happening less frequently).

Bedtime

I love Evelyn’s quick, contagious smile!  She can be such a lil’ cheezer.

Daddy and Evie

Evie Grace absolutely loves to run and jump.  She will spend close to an hour on my parent’s trampoline just jumping away.  She loves to practice running and it’s her favorite when I decide to have a slow enough walk that she can run along beside vs. riding in the stroller.  She’s getting faster and has a crazy amount of endurance.  We took the kids to a bike trail the other day so Abby could really fly on her Strider and Evie ran the entire time we were there.  Caleb and I finally decided we had to leave because Evie looked like she was about to pass out.  She was dripping in sweat and looked so exhausted, but every time we asked her if she wanted to take a break she would cry, “I run!  I run!”  She was so tired and then she kept tripping and scraping her knees on the pavement and it was so pathetically cute because she would hop up as fast as she could crying, “I brave!  I brave!  I run!” and take off again.  I could hardly take watching her. haha

Evie Grace

I signed Caleb, myself, and Abs up for a one mile run this coming weekend and I wasn’t thinking when I started telling Abby about it to prep her for the different schedule.  I was telling her how she was going to run just like her buds, Eli and Johnny when Evie began jumping around excitedly saying, “I run!  I run!”  Oops.  I tried to explain things, but it didn’t help.  “Oh, honey!  It’s a long ways!  When you get a little bigger….”  “I run!!  I BIG!”  Ya…  I told Cabz about it later and we decided we would try to have Evie run her own little “race” that day too while we all cheered for her.  Hopefully that will help. 🙂

Cutie

Evelyn is very excited about colors lately.  She knows most of them, and enjoys telling me what color every single thing she picks up is.  She also enjoys counting to two.  She has this number down pat.  If there are two of something, she will let us know.

Playing

With all of our little ones, meal times are pretty early at our house.  We usually are eating breakfast around 7, lunch at 11/11:15, and supper by 5.  A “late” supper for us is 5:30. haha  Meal times have always been rough for Evelyn.  Although she gets 3 square meals a day and snacks in between, she always thinks she is about to pass away the second I start preparing food.  She gets SO EXCITED when it is “finally” time to eat.  She’ll run circles around the kitchen exclaiming, “Woo hoo!!!  Yay!  I ‘cited! (excited)  I ‘cited!!”  Makes me feel pretty special, I have to say….

Cheesin

Another outburst we usually hear at mealtime is, “Pray!  Pray!”  She is always reminding us of that one.  Often after Cabz or I are done, Evie will want a turn to pray as well.  We’ll get to hear her usual, “Uhh Jeeus, Bay Boooooy, Mama, Eh-yee Hope, Daddy, Bi Sis,” followed by a very emphatic, “Aaaa-MEN!”

Evie is definitely in the “repeat until you answer me” stage.  Will my girls ever get over that? haha  The worst is when she’s saying something I don’t understand because she not only wants me to respond, but she wants me to repeat the word back to her so she KNOWS I am understanding her.  Distraction is key! ha!

Piggyback Ride

The current most used Evie phrase is, “He nice!!” or, more accurately, “Ee nice!!”  This likely originated from her phase of bug fear.  For a while there, it seemed there was a fly in our house every day, buzzing around during quiet time.  Evelyn would have a little panic attack when she spotted it, “Bug!  Bug!!  BUUUUUUUG!!!!!!!!!!!”  I would calm her down by saying, “He’s a nice fly, Evie!  He won’t hurt you.  He’s nice!”  Now she uses that phrase to reassure herself whenever she’s a little nervous about something.  A really loud airplane goes by.  “Ee nice!”  A squirrel runs through our yard.  “Ee nice!!”

Outside Fun

Playing outside will always be our favorite.

Sandbox

Muddy Fun!

When we go new places or have people over, Evelyn has about a 20 second shy period vs. Abby’s longer one.  Then, she is running around, doing her thing.  I’ve been trying to make it to story time at the library again each week.  The first time we went it was an extremely crowded day for whatever reason.  Evelyn wasn’t sure how to react to such a full room of loud kids.  She decided to run around with her tongue out making some weird noise.  It was kind of strange, but has since become her go to thing when we’re in an unfamiliar setting.  I’m working on helping her move on because it’s a bit ridiculous. haha

Selfie

Evie loves to talk to Abby through our monitor when she wakes up.  We have a camera on one so I can watch Abby while she’s in her quiet time without having to get up and check her every ten seconds.  Evelyn loves watching Abby on it. haha  She looks so grown up here!  Where did my Baby Evie go?!

Monitor

Silly smug face! ha

Lil' Cupcake

During that beginning talking stage, it’s always crazy to see how much progress your kid makes in short periods of time.  From month to month even, it just blows my mind.  We’ll watch a video from a month or two ago and Evie is so much more of a baby!  It makes her look so old now – not good. haha  She’s been throwing around pretty big sentences lately.  Most people can generally understand Evie Grace – although they will tend to catch the gist and miss the cute little words in between.  Some of my favorite sentences lately……

Are you done?  I done too.

I not.

By you!  (when she wants to be next to me, or in an angry voice when Abby is scooting next to her, “Bi Sis BY YOU!”)

It is fun!

I think is nummy!  (it’s)

How ‘re you doin’?  (I answered, “I’m good!  How are you doing?” and she responded, “I busy!” ha!)

Revolving around mealtimes:

I grubby!

I slopped!

I mess….

When Evie hurts me (happens constantly) and I say, “Ouch!”  She will quickly respond, “You okay?  You brave?”  Probably because I praise her for being brave when she gets a little hurt and doesn’t have a hissy fit about it.  She is generally very brave – she’ll even fall and bloody her knees on the cement and get up and keep going with no tears!

Legos

I also love how she expresses likes and dislikes.  If it’s something she likes, she’ll have a very happy expression while cheerfully exclaiming, “I like!!”  If it’s something she does not like, she’ll squish her nose and face up and say very unenthusiastically, “I liiike,” as she shakes her head.  She’ll do the same thing with, “I nummy” (It’s nummy!) in reference to the food I give her.  Yes, I will sometimes get the negative version from her.  She is still pretty far from picky and will usually eat most anything.  She can be hesitant towards some fruits, although she tends to like them if she gives it a try.

Is nummy!

Is nummy 1

Evs has been figuring out pretend play a lot more recently.  Her favorite is making her little toys cry.  They are always bawling it up about something.  (usually about food)

Everyone and everything right now gets the pronoun “he.”  I think I hear it most often in reference to the babies.  Whenever one of them is crying, Evie always has the answer.  “He hungwy!”  I guess it makes sense when you realize Evelyn’s own contentment usually revolves around food. haha

Silly Girl

Books!  Book!  Books!

Books with Bis Sis

Thomas Jammies

My girls love the water and love playing in their pool to keep cool!  Can you tell which picture I asked them to, “Say cheese!” for?  Oh boy…..

Pool 3

Pool 1

Pool 2 - Say Cheese

Pool

When you want to swim at Emmy & Papa’s but forgot your swimsuit…. borrow a pair of shorts from your uncle, Johnny and with the help of a big safety pin, this is what you’ll get.  Dying…. haha

Johnny's Shorts

Evs is still pretty fascinated by big trucks, sirens, and tractors.  We went to watch a 4th of July parade and it had some pretty great firetrucks complete with horns and sirens blasting.  Evelyn sat there in silent awe most of the time.  It was hard to tell by her expressionless face, but she was taking it all in and loving every minute!  It kind of reminded me of the time we gave her 4-wheeler rides and she wouldn’t crack a smile to save her life, but talked about it for days afterwards and loved it! ha

Baby Face

4-wheeling

Her truck shirts are her favorites.  The third one in the orange shirt reminds me so much of her Daddy when he was little!

Daddy's Girl 1Daddy's Girl 2

Daddy's GirlRumble

This girl is a very excited big sister.  Evie has all of the enthusiasm, but lacks a bit of carefulness.  She loves to take care of the babies.  She will cheer them up “chir up! chir up!” by setting books up for them to look at.  She likes giving Baby Boy toys to hold.  She will pry his fingers open and put a toy in them saying coaxingly, “Grahb it!  Grahb it!” (grab it).  He gets a kick out of her, although she is a whirlwind for the babies to keep track of.  One minute she’s handing them a toy, the next she is flying in for a hug.

She loves our babies, but doesn’t fully understand how gentle she needs to be with them.  A constant in our house, “Evie!  That was too rough, you need to be more gentle!”  “I sorry!”  as she runs over to “pat” their heads and make it all better.  This happens so often that now I start out, “Evie!” and she interrupts with, “I sorry!”

One of our favorites is how Evie will run up to one of the babies, get her face RIGHT in their face, wiggle her face back and forth saying, “Youuuuuu,” and then jump up screeching, “He ‘MILE me!!!” (He smiled at me!)  It’s the best when the baby “smiling” at her is actually bawling.  hahaha!

Baby Sis 1Baby Sis 2

Baby Sis

I think Evelyn’s favorite toys right now are her baby dolls.  She loves them and loves taking care of them.  It was funny because her and Abby were all about bottle feeding their babies when it was just Baby Boy at our house.  Then Elly arrived and I nurse her.  Now my girls are all about feeding their babies with their shirts up. haha  Gotta love it.

Dolly

NursingNursing 1

Evie made the transition from high chair to “big kids’ table” a while back.  No one is using the high chair for now, but Baby Boy will be in it before too long!

High Chair

Big Table

Somebody loves playing at parks!!!!!  She also is obsessed with the swing we recently (finally) got hung up!

Park 2

Park

Park 1

New Swing!

We have our popcorn/movie (quick Thomas or other 15 – 20 minute show) night every Friday.  Evelyn follows Abby’s lead and gets really excited when it’s Friday.  I’ll ask them in the morning, what day it is and Evie will start leaping around squealing, “Is Fi-yay!  Pah-corn!!  Yay!  Woo hoo!  I ‘cited!  I ‘cited!”

Popcorn Movie Night

Earlier this spring, Evie was always pushing this trike around our driveway during outside time.  She didn’t want to ride on the baby trike, but hasn’t mastered the art of pedaling.  She had fun, so I guess it was a good idea!

Pushing Trikes

Pushing Trikes 1

I love when these two are having a good time together!  They always remind me of how much fun my sister and I had when we were little.

Sisters 3Sisters 2Sisters 1

Sisters 5Sisters 4

Sisters

Sisters 6

Our pretty little Evie Grace can always make us smile.  We’re so blessed to be her parents.  We love you, baby girl!

Daddy

Daddy 1

Mama 3Mama 1

Mama

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Progress!!

It’s been about a month and a half of (almost) nightly running for me now.  I have mostly worked through the ingrown toenail “fun.”  On the bummer side of things, I’ve been experiencing a lot of knee pain lately.  It can be pretty rough some times, but I have still been making myself get out there and run around a mile each night.

I’ve cut out ice cream and a lot of other sweets.  I still allow myself a little pile of M&M’s with almonds at quiet time, because I need something to get me through the day.  It’s kind of a good thing for me because if I eat my sweet snack in the afternoon, then I know I have to prioritize running that night to make up for it. haha

The good news is….  I have officially lost ten pounds since beginning to run!!  That feels like really slow progress, but it is still progress.  I have about 12 more pounds to shed to get to my goal weight.  I hope losing the pounds doesn’t become even harder at any point, but I guess I will find out!  My goal weight isn’t the very smallest I have ever been, but 3 babies later and in the middle of nursing, I tried to come up with something realistic that I would be happy with.

In addition to running, I’ve been doing a small amount of strengthening/toning exercises like push-ups (the knee kind haha) and some different weight work-outs for my arms.  I’ve also rekindled my daily dose of homegrown keifer.  I really did love drinking it every day in the past, but I had to take a break from it after being pregnant with Evelyn.  I drank it during my morning sickness with her (really bad idea) and I couldn’t even think about it for the next couple of years afterwards without getting sick to my stomach.  I hate that you can ruin things for yourself during pregnancy! haha  I don’t know if I will ever be able to love steak the way I once did or enjoy Hy-vee take out Chinese again. 😦  Sad.

Baked Tacos

This recipe is tweaked from Six Sister’s Stuff.  A taco night for us normally means your basic soft shell beef tacos.  This recipe is great because it’s still ultra simple, yet has a different enough taste that it makes an excellent switch up!  It also gives you the extra black beans filler which makes it healthier, more filling, and longer lasting! (all positives in this house haha)

Baked TacosBlack Bean Tacos

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans rinsed/drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • hard taco shells
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • lettuce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cook beef, onion, pepper, and garlic until meat is browned.  Stir in taco seasoning, black beans, corn, and salsa.  Cook and stir for a few minutes to allow flavors to blend.  You can add in more salsa if it gets too dry.  Scoop desired amount of meat mixture into taco shells and top with cheddar cheese.  Line tacos in a baking dish and pop in the oven for about 8 – 10 minutes or cheese is melted.  Top with some lettuce, or whatever else you like on there, and it’s chow time!

Oven Baked Tacos

I usually just make what we’re going to eat and save the rest of the meat in the fridge since these are better “fresh.”  I’ve found it’s best to microwave the meat a little the next day before assembling your tacos.  Otherwise the cheese and shells start getting too cooked before your meat is actually heated through.