Hunter James:How can it be that you are THREE?

Doesn’t this seem like it was just yesterday?

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How is this the same little squishy faced baby?

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Love this big boy so much! We had a great time celebrating Hunter’s third birthday with friends and family. Ever since Christmas when we watched the Polar Express Hunter has been obsessed with trains! We even took him to the model train sale that came to town and he loved it! So of course his party was train themed!

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There were lots of presents including a toy train set that use to be Brian’s!

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He also got some classic board games and we have been having a fun time playing them in the afternoon after “rest time” (he doesn’t nap any more!).

And everyone loves cake and ice cream!

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I think this was the first birthday that Hunter really got excited for. We talked about it for weeks before hand and he was super pumped to celebrate turning three!

Most notably, developmentally these past three months, is that Hunter is potty trained! He barely ever has an accident any more, and even tells us when he has to use the potty (rather than us prompting or making him “try”). He also is almost always dry in the morning but I still haven’t been brave enough to not have him wear diapers at night.

Other than that he is still my very verbal, imaginative, bright little boy! We are looking forward to going to our first independent swim lessons this month AND going to a pre-school open house. Can’t believe how much these little people change in such a short amount of time.  Sometimes I think that time moves too fast and that my kids are growing up to fast but it is so much fun to watch them become there own little person, to discover new things and learn new skills. I try so hard to soak it all in and enjoy it! Here’s to three and another year of fun!

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Everly Laura: 15 Month Update

Seriously, I can’t believe it has been so long since I updated this blog! When Everly turned 13 months I meant to update, then she turned 14 months again I meant to update and now here we are! Honestly before the New Year I thought about giving up my blog completely. I really don’t have time to update. But at the same time I like having a record of what my kids are up to, even if I don’t do it very often.

So, my sweet little Everly! The first quarter of her second year of life has been fun. She is really coming into her own as a little human being. Most notably she started walking when she was about 14 and a half months old. She was excellent at cruising and would even take a few steps when we encouraged her. One weekend we had some friends over who had three young boys (all older than Hunter.) I don’t know if she thought she needed to show off or just wanted to keep up with the boys but she just decided to let go and walk. After that there has been no stopping her. She still crawls but I think she probably is at the point where she walks more than crawls. She is so cute when she walks. She always has this look on her face like she is so proud of herself. She also doesn’t walk smoothly and toddles which I think is so darling. If you recall Hunter didn’t walk until he was 21 months so to have this tiny little person toddling around is just so fun and adorable!

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She isn’t quite as verbal as Hunter was at this age. She does say a few things of course, Mama and Dada are favorites. She also has Night Night (nye nye), hat, bye bye, teddy, and something that kind of sounds like Hunter (Ah-ta).

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Before her first birthday you could pretty much put any food in front of her and she would gobble it right up. Once she got a taste of that cake she has been SUPER picky. She loves sweets and anything snackey like crackers and she loves cottage cheese but everything else is give or take. She is very independent and likes to try and feed herself which can result in very messy meal times. We are still nursing some times as much as 4 times a day. Not sure where out nursing relationship is going or when it will end. At this point Hunter had pretty much stopped but I was also pregnant with Everly and I’ve read that this affect things. If we are at home she often times signs the word for milk and beats on my chest crying until I nurse her. Otherwise our regular nursing schedule is in the morning when she wakes, at night before bed and after nap time or when I get home from work. We went down to one nap a day shortly after her first birthday and she usually takes a good 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. Still sleeps like a champ at night usually between 11 and 12 hours.

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You can almost see it in the picture above but she is sporting 8 teeth now. 4 on the top and 4 on the bottom. I keep thinking she will be getting a molar or two soon but I don’t see any yet!

Of course she still likes to play with anything her big brother plays with. They seem to be interacting a little more and almost playing together. I look forward to seeing their friendship grow!

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She is still such a sweetie pie and I love it when she exuberantly comes rushing over to see me when I come home chattering a mile a minute as if to tell me all about my say. So lucky to have this little girl in my life!

Reflection on 2014

In years past (before Hunter was born) I use to write up a nice long newsy Christmas letter telling all our family and friends all the exciting adventures we had over the past year. These adventures included travels, work accomplishments, race reports from half marathons and triathlons, grad school achievements, and for Brian of course hunting and fishing successes. Since becoming a mom I just didn’t feel I had time to write a year end recap let alone print it out on fancy paper (why does my printer always seem to run out of ink in December?) and fold and mail the letter along with the perfect holiday photo card. Plus I didn’t think that there was anything too newsworthy to write about. But, as I sit back and reflect on the past 365 days there are so many little things I am thankful for, I don’t think I could possibly capture them all in a one page letter, nor do I think that everyone would care to read about them!

Being a parent causes you to be busy in such a different way than before children. In 2014 Hunter turned 2 and Everly turned 1. People with young children, or those who have had children close together can probably relate and know exactly what my 2014 entailed. Honestly, many days seemed to blur together and I often feel like I am in the movie “Groundhog Day” where I keep doing the same things over and over again. The seemingly endless loads of laundry, constantly saying, “Be kind, use your manners, wash your hands, be gentle with your sister.” Diapers! Oh the diapers! Mealtime battles and trying to get out the door in a timely manner are just some of my daily doings.

But then there are the victories that seem so momentous! Like the 2 year old staying dry, wearing undies for a whole week! Or the baby who finally sleeps through the night. Of course their are the daily occurrences that simply melt my heart and make me wish I had cameras recording my kids all the time. Like Everly’s smile when she wakes up in the morning or from a nap. Hunter’s excitement over the first snow fall. Hunter giving Everly a sweet kiss on the head. Everly standing up on her own and looking so proud of herself! The things Hunter says and remembers are so entertaining to me. I often wonder, “where does he come up with these things?” And watching Everly evolve from a tiny newborn to this independant little mover and shaker has been so much fun.

I could not reflect upon 2014 without mentioning the huge loss of my father who past away in February. I continue to grieve the lack of his presence in my life and lives of my children. He was, and would have been such a great grandpa! I take comfort in believing that we will one day be united again in heaven and try to keep his memory alive for Hunter and Everly.

Gone are the days of 10 mile runs as a I train for my 2nd half marathon of the year, or hours spent in front of the computer writing a master’s thesis, or experimenting in the kitchen with the latest recipe I found on a blog. The farthest we traveled this year was Washburn, WI (which was pretty far with two kids!), I am happy to tell you that I finally started exercising again even if it is only a couple of times a week for 30 minutes, and my favorite things to cook lately are whatever I can get my kids to eat. Sometimes I look back think about how vastly different my life is now but I love it, I truly do. I may not love every single moment but this is really a wonderful life, sleepless nights and all. I am truly blessed to have those two little rays of sunshine that greet me each morning with smiles on their faces and let me snuggle and kiss them good night. I have a husband who supports me and loves our children to the core of his being. Truly God has given me so much and I am so thankful! I can only imagine what 2015 will bring for our family. I am looking forward to what new adventures God has in store for us. Peace and blessings to you as you celebrate the holiday season!

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What we do when we’re two! Part 3

I don’t know if I would use the term “terrible twos” to describe life with a two year old but I would definitely call them the “tumultuous twos!” Oh the ups and downs! The excitement over the simplest things the melt downs over the little things.  Yet each day I see my baby boy moving closer and closer to being a “big boy.”

This age is especially fun because Hunter understands more about what is going on.  One day we told Hunter what Halloween was and we asked him what he wanted to be. Hey replied, “Mickey!”

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Of course Everly had to be Minnie!

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We did lots of Fall/Halloween events this past year. We went on the Pumpkin Walk at Norskedalen which is a non-scary version of a haunted hike Brian and I use to go on B.C. (before children).  Hunter loved all the “smiley faces” carved into the pumpkins as well as all the shapes.

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It was pretty cold that night but I think they kept each other warm!

We also went to the Enchanted Forest, a hike through Hixon Forest with everybody’s favorite characters who handed out candy!

Look who we found!

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We also went to an event called Scarecrow Fest at local community center. They had lots of fall themed games and activities.

He takes his pumpkin painting very seriously!

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Of course we picked out and carved pumpkins.

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He picked out 5, one fore everyone in our family, including Izzy!

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Then there was Halloween itself! We only went around our block as it was pretty cold but Hunter got a good amount of candy and had a blast!

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With the fun of the Fall season I knew the Christmas season was going to be just as fun! We’ve already seen Santa at the Viterbo Alumni Christmas party and Hunter loved picking out our Christmas tree.

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Developmentally my boy is SOOOO smart! I know every mom thinks this but it really is true! He knows the sounds that most of the letters make and can usually tell you what letter a word starts with. He has also been learning how to spell a few simple words. He still loves to read and his memory is incredible. He can “recite” several of his favorite books. He is also very imaginative and makes up games by himself and with his friend Lily.

Speaking of Lily, she has introduced Hunter to the wonderful world of Frozen. They “play” Frozen and Hunter repeats lines from the movie ( even though he has only seen it once). We went to an event at the Mall where he got to meet Anna and he was super excited to see Elsa at the Enchanted Forest.

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As evident by his Halloween costume he still loves Mickey and I was so excited to take him to Disney Live with his grandma and cousin over the Thanksgiving weekend.

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(Those Mickey ears came in handy!)

Just recently (as in just in the last week). We got serious about potty training. He was driving me crazy when he would ask me to change his diaper. I knew he was aware of what was going on so I finally convinced him to wear undies and he has been doing really well staying dry! This feels like a HUGE step!

We are working on discipline as Hunter has a hard time listening. “”Time Outs” weren’t really working as they just got him fired up. My mom told me about the “1-2-3 Magic” system which seems to be working. He is still having a hard time sharing with Everly and is often times pretty rough with her so we are still working on that.

Sleep, as always is an issue. He’s pretty much stopped taking naps and is usually completely unraveled by 7pm (or earlier). For awhile after Day Lights Savings time he was getting up at 5:30am and not napping. It was not fun! For the most part he sleep through the night but we’ve had a few wake ups now an then. Funny thing is he never gets out of bed which I guess is a good thing.

It is so much fun to experience things through the “new” eyes of a 2 year old. The best part about all these adventures is Hunter can anticipate them and remember them. He’ll talk about an event after it happens and tells you his favorite parts. I have so much love for this boy. Can’t believe in three months he’ll be three! Can’t wait to continue the adventure!

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Everly Laura: 1 Year Update

Oh my sweet precious girl! I don’t even know where to begin. I think for the past two weeks I’ve said, “How you really be 1!” about a dozen times. This past year went by in a blink of an eye and I can barely remember those snuggly newborn days.

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Everly you are such a bright light to my day. You just go with the flow and for the most part have a smile on your face.

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When something does upset you you aren’t afraid to let us know! You are becoming more and more independent every day and are very stubborn, you like to do things on your own terms!

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We celebrated your birthday for almost a whole week spending time with your Grandma Chi Chi, Uncle Johnny and Aunt Raina on your birthday and then had a party with family and friends on Thanksgiving weekend with a “Turkey” theme.

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You love “gadgets” play or real (like my phone or the baby monitor). Your favorite toys are the ones that light up and make noise and of course any toy your brother is playing with is also most fun!

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You aren’t walking yet but we know it won’t be long. You stand up an cruise and really like “swinging” on the baby gate. You have started to pull up on me and then let go free standing for awhile with a big smile on your face.

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You are sleeping soooooo much better. You sleep through the night 12 or more hours. Your naps are pretty good to but we are trying to figure out if you should go down to one nap a day. This would allow us to have more fun together in the morning! Eating is going well too. I feel comfortable feeding you almost everything I feed your brother just cut up smaller. You have two teeth on top and three on the bottom. Yet, you seem to be getting a little pickier!

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You are a very friendly and energetic little girl, almost always on the move and everyone just loves you!

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We can’t wait to continue to watch you grow into the loving little girl we know you will become. You are a blessing and a joy! I am so lucky to be your mom!

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Everly Laura: 10 and 11 month update

Hey there! Long time no blog! I guess it’s true what they say about 2nd children, they just don’t get as much brag time as first children. I don’t think I ever missed a monthly update for Hunter. I tried several times to write a 10 month update but big brother Hunter has decided to no longer nap. I do give him “quiet time” every day but it seems like most days that does not coincide with Everly’s naps. Not to mention there are just a million other things I should be doing instead of blogging when I do get a moment of free time. But enough about the busy life of a mom of two!

Oh my sweet Everly! You bring such joy to my life!

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When I found out I was pregnant with Everly I’ll admit I was surprised and a little scared. I felt like I had just gotten the hang of being a mom to one little person and I just didn’t know what adding another little one to the mix would be like. But from the moment she came into this world my heart grew so much. Now almost a year later I can’t imagine my life without her!

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She is such a little spitfire! She is ALWAYS on the move! She is an expert crawler! I remember when Hunter finally started crawling for the longest time he would only stay in one room. Not Everly she goes where ever her little heart desires. She pulls up on EVERYTHING, even on the wall and the side of the refrigerator. She cruises on what ever she can. But all of this has to be on her terms. You can’t make her stand up and walk holding her hands. It all has to be her idea!

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She LOVES to eat! I don’t think there is anything I have put in front of her that she doesn’t like. She has begun to use the sign for “more” and pretty much continually signs it from the moment I put her in her high chair. I do think she has some favorites, avocado and cottage cheese! She also really likes hard-boiled egg yolks! We are still nursing about 4 times a day and sometimes at night.

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Sleep…well, sleep. For a long while I was getting up 2-3 times a night. I would usually nurse her and she would fall back asleep only to wake up a few hours later. One night I decided to just let her work it out for her self. Of course she cried. I went in at timed intervals and comforted her and I never let her cry more than 15 minutes. If this method didn’t work after an hour I gave up and nursed her back to sleep. The first couple of nights were rough but since then she has slept through the night a few times and other times only been up once. We are getting there! If I ever find time I may write a post on why I took so long to sleep train her at night. I didn’t even realize why I waited until after I actually started doing it! Our next goal is to consistently get her sleeping through the night so we can move her into the room with Hunter….God help us!

She has two teeth coming up top and still no hair! She is really developing quite a personality and still wants to do all the things her brother does. It is so cute. I call her my little Spunkin (spunky pumpkin) and my Busy Busy Girl. She is such a delight! Can’t believe she will be one soon! Time goes so fast and I am trying my best to enjoy all the smiles, cries, giggles, snuggles, and more!

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What we do when we’re 2! Part 2

Well it’s official I now have a 2 1/2 year old! Year 2 is so full of ups and downs! It takes A LOT of patience to deal with the downs but the ups are so plentiful that it makes it all worth it!

I really don’t want to do monthly updates on Hunter but it seems like SO MUCH has happened in the past three months!

A big milestone in Hunter’s world is that he moved out of the crib and into a big boy bed!

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One of Brian’s cousins actually made this bed. We have since added a bedrail as I was just too worried that he would fall out! We actually made this transition pretty quickly. One day I went to get Hunter out of his crib, which he was still happy to sleep in, he wasn’t even trying to get out, simply leaning over to see me and he flipped over the railing head first. He was fine but  it freaked me out so much, much more than the thought of him having the freedom of a big boy bed that I insisted that we get him in that big boy bed that night! It was a lot less painful transition than I thought it was and until recently he hasn’t even gotten out of bed unless we come in and tell him he can. He still doesn’t always nap and has had several night waking’s but over all it has been a good thing. Now if only we could get baby sister into that crib!

Hunter really enjoyed his first trip to  the zoo in June. I don’t have a single picture of him with the animals. But he sure loved the antique tractor in the farm exhibit.

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He also enjoyed being “the big boy” when we visited our friends John, Marianne Atticus and Baby Nolan. He loved exploring John and Marianne’s huge yard, visiting all the play grounds, and getting ice cream in Bayfield.

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He was very sad to say good bye to Miss Brook at the last Library Story Time of the summer. But we will be back in the Fall!

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For a couple of weeks at the end of June and the beginning of July Hunter battled a fever. It would last for a few days go away for a few days and return.  There were no other real symptoms except that he did get a two year molar. It was no fun! So hard to see my little man so sad and uncomfortable! We spent many days watching Mickey

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We’ve spent many days playing outside enjoying the beautiful summer weather. Hunter also enjoys taking a walk in the “buggy” which is what he calls a stroller. His newest favorite thing to do on our walks it to read the house numbers to me. We also like to look for different vehicles likes motorcycles, fire trucks, mail trucks, and  best of all is if we walk near the rail road crossing and a train comes by. He gets such joy from the simplest things.

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He is beginning to interact more with Everly. The majority of the time he doesn’t seem to care about her or is yelling at her for taking his toys but other times he sits and talks to her or shows her how to do something. He comforts her when she cries and has to make sure he gives her a kiss good night. She of course adores him!

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He always seems to have to be right and sometimes I think his favorite word is “NO!” but I love how imaginative he is. He will play by himself for  long periods of time and I can hear him reenacting things we’ve read in books or an episode of Mickey. His memory is AMAZING! He can “read” books to me that we’ve only read together a few times. And he has also started singing! My favorite song that he sings in “Amazing Grace.”

He gives the best hugs and the sweetest kisses. I love my big gooney bug more than he’ll ever know!

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He really is turning into a “big boy.” Can’t believe we are half way to 3!

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