Author Archives: Alison Allen

Fall Family Photos 2019

We’re so grateful to our family photographer, Kim Hildebrand, for her talent and impressive abilities behind a camera. Kim shoots with film and we continue to be amazed by her knack for documenting our family perfectly, especially with a limited number of shots. Here are some of our favorites from our recent photo session:


 

Halloween 2019

Halloween has come and gone now, but I still wanted to share some pictures from the day. Both kids had a great time dressing up and going trick-or-treating.

Ben enjoyed a Halloween party at his school that day and got to dress up in his costume with his friends.

We had several last-minute costume changes this year from our three-year old. First, Ben wanted to be a dinosaur. Then he wanted to be a doggie, just like Hannah. Then, on Monday of Halloween week he changed his mind and wanted to be a “super alien” {an alien super hero} so we actually put a lot of time and thought into this costume and I ended up making the embelishments {thanks to Primary.com for the solid color clothing!}. Come Halloween morning Ben had no interest in wearing the adorable cape or the alien eyes I made, so he would have just gone to school in a green sweatshirt and green pants. Back to the doggie costume {I had a hunch I shouldn’t return it!}….

Both kids hated the dog head/ears but I managed to get Hannah to tolerate it for trick-or-treating. Ben’s came off after our picture. Maybe next year I’ll opt for a costume without a head piece…

Our area does a big neighborhood trick-or-treat in the downtown corridor of the business districts, as well as door-to-door in residential areas. We opted to do the Madison Park neighborhood trick-or-treat. Next year I’d like to do our block, too. I had some neighbors tell us they missed seeing us come around!

The candy experience this year was different now that Ben is three. I had seen a nutritionist mom on Instagram share how she deals with Halloween and her approach resonated with me. Halloween has become a holiday centered around candy, so why not let the kids indulge for a day? Candy is absolutely not a part of our normal life so it really was a special treat.

We let Ben go nuts on Halloween night – he got to try whatever he wanted {after I removed anything unsafe – i.e. choking hazard}, and that he did! I was very surprised to not see a sugar rush or the candy crazies come out. He was totally calm about everything. Prior to trick-or-treating I did my best to fill up both kids’ bellies with as protein-heavy snack as I could think – maybe that did the trick!?

Since Halloween, he’s completely forgotten about the candy!

A Few Home Improvements

When Alex and I bought our adorable little house in Seattle we never in a million years expected to still be living in it, two kids and nine years later. We love our home’s charm and character and the location is perfect for us. Now that we do have a family, though, we’re bursting at the seams and ready to take a sledgehammer to the walls that compartmentalize the space.

While a major home renovation is off the table for us at this point, we’re thinking creatively about how to make the house work for us for at least another couple years.

Our little house doesn’t have a front entry way. When you walk in the front door you’re in between the dining room and the living room. It only bothers me when I have a coat and things to set down. For nine years we didn’t have anything more than the back of a chair to drape a coat over.

I’m not sure how the idea even surfaced, but we decided to add a little bench and some hooks to a wall in our dining room and fill out the space a bit with added functionality. We also took the leaf out of our dining room table and it gave us so much extra space in there.

We absolutely love how it turned out and it has been so handy with the kids. Getting out the door is rather challenging these days and to have all of their coats, winter accessories, backpacks and boots stored right there by the front door has been a game changer.

In other teeny tiny home improvement news – we got a new kitchen faucet! Only because our last one broke and then started leaking all over the place. I do actually really like the new one – it’s a bit more of an industrial feel and it works really well.

Keeping up with two houses is nuts. Our house in Seattle regularly gets neglected, so on those rare weekends we’re home in Seattle we do try to give it a bit of TLC to keep her happy. We’ve been feeling like there’s been a giant spotlight on all of the things that are wrong with our Seattle house or that need touching up now that we have a brand new house. There’s always something!

Chronicles of a Stay at Home Mom: Two Toddlers

We are in the thick of it over here. That’s what everyone keeps saying and it sure feels like it. Life is nuts. There’s the occasional quiet moment when both kids are engaged in play, there are oodles of sweet moments I want to remember forever, and then there are usually around five tantrums and 20 fits per day. That’s life these days with my two toddlers!

These really are the days, though. Many of them are rough and leave me feeling like I got knocked down by a snow plow by the end of it. I live for the sweet, special moments with my two energetic, spirited toddlers. I just don’t know how long they’re going to want me around or be open to a hug. I am pushing the crazy aside and embracing these two sweet little ones while I can.

{Hannah is getting so heavy I now carry her on my back. It’s WAY too much for me to walk up the hill in our neighborhood with her on my front. The kids are also getting too heavy for me to push them up the hill in the double stroller, but Ben isn’t at the point where he’s regularly interested in walking when we go to the park or school.}

There is so much love pouring out from Ben and Hannah and so, so many cuddles and hugs and requests to be carried throughout the day. Even though they are both getting so heavy, I rarely deny their request to be picked up. How much longer are they going to want me to pick them up for a mama hug?

We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs with toddler mood swings over the last four months or so. Some days leave me defeated and wondering how I could have handled the situation better when Ben crawled into the drivers seat instead of his car seat for the millionth time in a row. Or when he just won’t get freaking dressed in the morning. Or when he completely ignores me and I have my hands full and am ready to walk out the door and we’re already running late. I don’t have the energy or the patience to always be lighthearted and funny.

Most of the time, though, I am patient. My patience often astounds me. Until I became a parent I had no idea how patient I can be. And dang, these kids test that every. single. day.

Our outings right now are vital to the success of most days. We’ve got to get out of the house at some point, especially if it’s a full day home with no school for Ben. My kids are at their best when they’re outside. Something about fresh air and open skies, perhaps.

Most days we wind up at our neighborhood park, 4 blocks up the street. On full days home with no school I like to plan a bigger outing to the zoo, the children’s museum, a park that’s farther away or the beach during the summer. There is so much to do in Seattle with kids.

It’s a lot to take two toddlers on big outings on my own but I’m getting pretty good at it. And I’m not afraid to pack up and head home if the eldest decides to run off on me or not listen. That’s the most overwhelming part of any outing is it’s a roll of the dice if Ben will be a listener or if he’ll be off in his own world.

You never know what’s going to come up. The need for a bathroom to appear out of thin air for my 3-year old, Ben refusing to walk and only wanting to be carried when I’m already carrying Hannah and our backpack, Hannah getting upset that I had to quickly pick her up and leave what she was doing because Ben decided he was done with that and ran off, the inevitable fit or tantrum in public, and the list goes on and on and on.

When they go well, which they usually do, our outings end up being a highlight for all of us for days and days. I love to expose my kids to new things, especially when it provides an opportunity for them to experience different people and cultures or to see parts of town we don’t frequent.

I have to throw this in there – I’ve been complemented in public by strangers for how patient I was or how I handled a tantrum and if you’re reading this and you see a parent in public with a toddler throwing a tantrum – tell her she did a good job. Tell her what a great parent she is. Tell her you admire her patience. I can’t tell you how much it will mean to her. I want to do a good job for myself and for my kids and for a complete and total stranger to notice and have the courage to comment on that is so empowering and uplifting. It will give her the strength to handle the next one.

It feels like things are going to start to get a little easier and a little less crazy, of course only for new challenges to arise. Now that Hannah is walking she’s been a lot more independent and more willing to go off and play by herself when I need to get something done.

Ben is super independent and can do most things on his own. The most challenging aspect of where he is developmentally is the 3-year old defiance. He’s in the midst of figuring out the concept of free will. Taking a step back, it really is so wonderful and so important that he challenges the boundaries and stands up for himself but dang it’s exhausting!

{I came up with a few “quiet stations” for Ben to do while Hannah naps. He’s no longer napping but definitely needs some quiet time after school/mid-afternoon.}

I’ve given Ben permission to argue with me if he disagrees with what I say. If he is really passionate about something I told him he can make a case for himself and his request, but he has to do it nicely and with no whining. Sometimes this is an effective way for him to take a deep breath and find his big kid voice and other times it’s a 25 minute whine fest until I can find a way to get through to him.

{Turning a box into a car turned out to be a perfect rainy day activity for my car loving tots.}

When it’s just Hannah and me and Ben is away at school, things are so calm and quiet. It’s really interesting to see how different Hannah is when it’s the two of us. She’s the chaos causer and she’s the loudest of the loud when Ben is around, but when it’s just us, she’s so cuddly and calm. She doesn’t have to compete for my attention then.

Life with two toddlers at different developmental stages is absolutely insane {I’m sure two tots at the same developmental stage is insane too! I can not imagine having TWO three-year olds!} but gosh, it is such a blessing to be the one to endure the noisy chaos all day long. My children are happy and it brings me so much joy to experience these wonderful moments and navigate the challenging ones. These stages and these years we’re in now are so precious to me and before we know it, we’ll be sending Ben off to Kindergarten.

Hannah is 15 Months Old!

Hannah is acting like such a little girl right now. She has done some major growing up in the last couple of weeks. Our girl is 15 months old! This age is one of my favorites of toddlerhood. It’s soooooooooo busy but so much fun!

  • 24 pounds 5 ounces {85th percentile}
  • Length: 31″ {75th percentile}
  • Clothing size: outgrowing 12-18m so anything I buy now is 18-24m
  • Shoe size: toddler size 4 – new shoes for this girl!
  • Number of teeth: six, though she just cut at least one bottom tooth
  • Eye color: I’m calling them “alpine lake” – the most gorgeous greeny blue
  • New words this month: lots! I really can’t remember them all, but some include: doggie, Jackson, daddy
  • Favorite foods: fruit, pasta, crackers, cheese, pumpkin muffins!
  • Least favorite foods: meat
  • Favorite things/activities: playing with Ben, reading interactive books, playing with cars, taking things out of drawers or cupboards, waving at a dog passing by, going to the park, climbing, bath time, watching the garbage trucks, pushing her toy vacuum around
  • Least favorite things/activities: being in her high chair, waiting

Walking has been a major theme this last month. It has been so much fun watching her turn into a true walker. She is getting very sturdy on her feet and now rarely crawls to get where she wants to go. While she still falls quite a bit every day I notice an advance in her walking strength. I can tell she is so proud of herself too.

One of my favorite moments from the month is walking down our very, very long gravel driveway at The Lodge. Ben was up ahead on his pedal bike, Jackson was alongside us and Hannah was on foot, walking, the whole length of the driveway {about the length of a city block}. I stepped back to enjoy the moment and take in this huge leap for our family. Hannah walked down the driveway while Ben was riding his bike. It was such a small and ordinary thing but it was so special to me.

There was one day right in the middle of her 15th month where something clicked with Hannah’s communication and she started signing repeating all of the things and figuring out how to sign a bit more. She now signs “please” and that’s usually her request to get something. She’ll point to something {or whine!} and then rub her belly or her chest {her sign for “please”} to ask for what she wants.

Sometimes her spoken words are clear as day, other times she repeats the syllables and the words sound a lot like “dada” – that’s by far her most commonly used word and it must be the most comfortable combination of phonemes. I’m starting to pick up on when she is saying the word “water” but it can be pretty hard at this point to understand what she’s saying. Either way, she’s working hard on getting the hang of speaking and has been repeating things so much more recently.

Following directions is something Hannah is excelling at right now. It is so endearing to ask her to go do something and have her get up and go and do it. She loves being a little helper when it’s time to clean up.

Additionally, we’ve discovered that she will start putting things away all on her own without being asked to do so. We have two step stools that live in the bathroom and Ben likes to bring the taller one into the kitchen to help cook. Hannah will frequently carry it back to the bathroom and put it away all on her own.

Hannah wants to do anything her brother is doing, including play with the same toy he’s playing with. She loves to take his cars that he precisely lined up in a special order. Naturally, Ben isn’t keen on this game. He knows that if he holds out his hand and asks for the toy back that almost always she’ll hand it right over.

More and more lately Hannah has been getting herself into all sorts of mischief. Another favorite pastime is opening drawers and cupboards and trying to pull as many things out as she can. When I open the refrigerator door she’ll pull all the condiments out of the shelf in the door – usually she puts them back, though! Now she’s starting to climb up into the refrigerator, though, so this will be interesting. It is amazing how quickly a young toddler can wreak havoc on the house!!

Long ago we nicknamed Hannah the “wrecking ball” and that is only becoming a more perfect name for her as time marches on. She destroys everything in her path. A few more of her favorites are pulling cheerios or crackers out of her snack cup and throwing them all over the floor, or pulling out the baskets of hats and boots and mittens and throwing the contents around – usually dipping something into the dog’s water bowl. If Ben is building a tower it doesn’t stand a chance of staying put for long before his sister comes and knocks it down.

To say Hannah is rough and tumble is an understatement. We’re working on helping her be more gentle. Hannah loves to walk around with a toy in her hand and unfortunately that toy becomes a weapon most of the time. Usually Ben and Jackson are on the receiving end of that and get bonked in the head.

Aside from frequent hitting Hannah is as sweet as they come, just like her big brother. She is such a cuddle bug. She has always been a super snuggly girl. I adore my morning cuddles with her. We sit together on the floor – her in my lap – snuggling while I read her favorite books and she has her morning yogurt.

Lately Hannah has been walking up to us – Ben especially – and giving the biggest bear hug. It is the sweetest thing! She adores her big brother SO much.

I’ve also recently noticed that she is very different when it’s just the two of us and Ben is away at school. She is much softer around the edges. I’m sure she enjoys not having to compete for my attention. I just love our time together.

I’m so SO happy to report that sleep is going so, so well this month! Alex took over bedtime with Hannah and it’s made all the difference. Alex is gently helping Hannah learn how to put herself to sleep, still with his support.

Very recently Hannah dropped her morning nap. We are still very much in the “figuring it out” phase because if given the opportunity she’ll either fall asleep in the car or stroller still, or at lunch. It seems like she needs anywhere from 2-3 hours of an afternoon nap and has been sleeping about 10.5-11 hours overnight. Everything combined with a little more consistency in our location {i.e. not going back and forth every 3-4 nights between Seattle and Leavenworth} seems to have resulted in Hannah’s “ah ha” moment with sleep.

Hannah has always excelled at fine motor skills and it has been really fun watching her master the use of her fork and spoon lately. It’s pretty impressive that she can feed herself with her utensils. She is so proud of herself, too.

Climbing is something Hannah has gotten into recently. Whether it’s up into a chair, up a ladder or to the top of the step stool, Hannah wants to climb it. She takes tremendous pride from getting to taller heights. She’s already figuring out if she slides her brother’s puzzle box over to the water dispenser on the outside of the freezer that she can reach the button to push to release the water.

Hannah and I have been loving our mid-week mornings together. We go for a girls coffee date most weeks and my girl is really starting to get into the steamed milk.

I could go on and on and on about Hannah and all of the things she’s into these days. She is such a happy girl and she’s not afraid to let everyone around her know it. We’re having so much fun with our girl and love how perfectly she fits into our family.

Ben is 15 months old

Preschool Update

We’re about six weeks into the school year here and Ben couldn’t be happier in his new Montessori school. He is so calm and comfortable there and he absolutely loves it. I’m blown away by some of the things he is doing and learning about there. He is picking up so many life skills and I’ve been so pleased with his enhanced “I can do it” attitude.

Ben is going to school three mornings a week. This schedule is perfect for us right now. It allows me some extra time with him during the week while still providing a bit of structure.

{I love making Ben’s school lunches. It’s so fun to come up with creative ideas on how to make a cold lunch more fun.}

The Montessori mantra is “teach me to do it myself” and I have seen that ringing loudly through Ben’s attitude these days. He wants to do everything himself and he is starting to take on more responsibility at home. He has been enjoying feeding Jackson, clearing his plate after meals, serving himself snack, getting Jackson water and helping make dinner most nights. While I think some of that is his age and personality, I do attribute an increase in independence to the start of his new school.

Every day when I put Ben to bed I always ask him two questions: what the best part of his day was and what he was most proud of himself for doing. On school days his answer to the former question is “school” or something he did at school. Recently he started taking piano lessons once a week at school and that is now at the top of the “best” list.

Since I don’t attend school with Ben I can’t really comment on all of the things that he does while he’s there, but I can say I know he’s well-cared for and happy. It is so reassuring to me to see how confident and comfortable he is there.

Walking to school in the mornings is such a pleasure. I love strapping Hannah to my back and either walking with Ben or pushing him in the stroller, walking through the neighborhood on our way to school. Urban life at its finest! We are so grateful to have this fantastic school so closeby.

Lodge Life: Fall!

Fall came quickly to the mountains this year and brought abundant sunshine, the most glorious brightly colored leaves, the smell of campfires all around us and perfect crisp and frosty mornings. Our little family spent so many weekends in Leavenworth this fall and it was so fun watching the season evolve.

We planned four long, consecutive weekends at The Lodge this fall, beginning in mid-September. With the exception of one weekend the weather was perfect! Chilly and sunny – just the way we like it. We loved pulling out our cozy layers and switching from iced lattes to hot ones. We found the perfect pumpkin latte in town {and no, it’s not Starbucks!} and I made pumpkin muffins with the kids.

Driving through the Tumwater Canyon on highway 2 was a highlight of the fall for me. The colors and scenery through the canyon are spectacular. As the road winds its way along the Wenatchee River into Leavenworth proper the trees and mountainside become more and more glorious. The rapids in the river seem to always catch the sunlight perfectly and my goodness, the autumn leaves shimmering in the sun were stunning.

I was able to indulge in two long runs around town and next to the river this fall. It was heavenly being out in nature and enjoying such beauty.

As a family we enjoyed our walks along the riverfront, cheering Ben on while he lived his best life on the pump track and watching our kids play outside in the yard. It has been extra special to watch Hannah become more and more sturdy and be able to hold her own. She has been having a blast on the swing set and loves to climb up the ladder all by herself.

Two weekends we spent entertaining some friends of ours. One weekend my friend from Minnesota, Sarah, and her family came to visit. Madeline, their 3-year old, and Ben got to pal around and catch up. We loved seeing them and meeting their new daughter, Emily.

Another weekend our local friends and Octoberfest regulars, Dave and Trish and their two boys, came to stay with us. We always have such a nice time with them and we were blown away by how well Ben and Liam, their 3-year old, played together.

We also have loved that friends and family who have been in Leavenworth on their own trips have come over to our house for a visit. My cousin and his family, along with our old neighbors and my aunt and uncle stopped by our house while they were already in the mountains. Our neighbors, Ross and Erin, brought their drone and took some fun pictures of our house and the surrounding area.

One of the reasons we built The Lodge was to spend more time with friends and family. It brings us so much joy to share our home and our piece of mountain paradise with family and friends. We so loved our time and the opportunity to see our friends and family for a longer stretch.

We are really getting in our groove out there. Now we’re in the midst of a much needed focus on our life and home in Seattle so we’ll be a bit more settled and in one place this month. That said, we are getting set to prepare for winter in the mountains, though, and have a long list of things that need to get done. Alex and I can’t wait to experience our first full winter at The Lodge and we’re already getting excited about the holiday season ahead of us. It’s going to come quickly!

Half Marathon #2!

Running has been a *relatively* easy way for me to get back in shape, burn off steam and pump up my endorphins. I started running in college and have kept it up, albeit inconsistently, since then. I tend to be more of a fair weather runner and find it difficult to stay motivated to keep running during the dark and rainy months.

On a picture-perfect sunny day I long to go for a nice jog in my neighborhood, through the arboretum, just a mile north of our house, or down along Lake Washington. It seemed like running would be a natural way for me to keep exercising and practice self-care.

Not long after Hannah was born I signed up for two 5Ks, a 10K and a half marathon. I completed the shorter runs in the fall of 2018 and used that momentum to help me train for my October 2019 half marathon that I now just completed.

There were so many days and weeks when I almost gave up and stopped training. It is really hard to work in multiple runs each week and even harder when the runs start taking an hour or more to complete and find the time to do them either just with Hannah or when Alex can take both kids.

After many conversations with myself I reminded myself that this is really the only thing I’m doing for myself these days. Other than things associated with being a mom, this is the only goal I’m really working towards for myself.

Once I broke through and got into a good rhythm I ended up loving my half marathon training. Before I became pregnant with Ben I did a half marathon and swore I’d never do another one because the training just takes so much time! I’m so unbelievably more busy now than I was then and I ended up really enjoying the time I spent preparing for the race.

In any case, my second half marathon is now on the books and it was wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that I’d like to sign up for the same one next year and another one beforehand. I found it very motivating to have something to work towards. I don’t think I would have laced up my shoes and buckled Hannah into the jogging stroller in the pouring rain if I didn’t *have* to for my training.

The half marathon itself was a blast! I couldn’t believe how many other people were there running the half or the full marathon. The weather was absolutely perfect – it was chilly and so sunny. The course was gorgeous and the fall colors were at the peak of their perfection.

I found it to be extremely motivating running with the crowds and it helped me keep up my momentum and pushed me to run faster than I normally do. The race took us around Leavenworth and through a lot of residential areas. Most driveways had families or groups of friends gathered holding cups of coffee, ringing their cowbells. It was so uplifting and made the race that much more fun.

The first 8 miles went really smoothly and I felt terrific – full of energy and totally pumped up. Around mile 8 I got a little tired but after running by Alex and the kids I got a second wind that carried me through to mile 11. Miles 11 to 13 were a little slower and I was really ready to be done.

My legs kept going though and I finished my second half marathon in 2 hours 5 minutes 44 seconds. I was 390th out of 1,182 total runners and 197th out of 807 female runners. In my age group (30-34) I was 44th of 155th.

It was a huge moment of pride and accomplishment for me to finish the half marathon. I am overjoyed I was able to train for and complete the race and also enjoy the whole process. Now, on to the next one!

Wisconsin Family Trip

For our last family hurrah of the summer we packed our suitcases, headed to the airport and flew east to Wisconsin to spend time with Alex’s family and some long-time friends.

Our trip took us to Lake Delavan, located in the southern part of the state, where Alex’s parents have a condo. This visit was long overdue and we were thrilled to finally introduce Hannah to her extended family and meet our new nephew, Marco.

Taking two toddlers on a plane is no small feat. We expected chaos. We expected screaming. We expected a very frustrated Hannah, not being old enough to understand just why she was trapped in a metal tube flying in the air for more than 4 hours. We did not expect harmony or peace or frankly much enjoyment from her at all. But! Enjoyment and harmony is what we got!

We knew Ben would be just fine but we didn’t expect Hannah to be, too! Hannah is obsessed with airplanes flying in the sky – I honestly didn’t think that interest would carry over into actually flying in an airplane. She was giddy with excitement with all the people in the airport, standing in front of the big windows watching the planes and then once we boarded the plane she connected all of the dots and realized she’d get to fly, too!

She did so, so well – on both flights, even. It really was a dream scenario. I hardly had to pull out any of the toys and activities I brought for either kid. Our flight {to Wisconsin especially} actually ended up being a highlight of our trip.

Enough about our travel day!

While we were on the ground in Wisconsin we filled our days with family. We so enjoyed a big family gathering with Alex’s relatives. It was fun to meet some of his cousins I hadn’t met yet, see how many great grandchildren Nana has {a lot! and probably only half of them were there!} and catch up with his aunts and their family friends, The Baileys. I loved sneaking away to go for a run with Alex’s uncle, a marathoner, and I even got to spend time with one of my college roommates, Julie, and her family too.

One of the major highlights of the trip for us, and one of the biggest reasons for taking the trip, was spending time with Nico and Marco, Alex’s and my nephews. Nico is 2 1/2 and Marco was 3 weeks old when we were there.

Ben and Nico got along famously. It was the sweetest thing watching the two of them pal around. It fills my heart with forward-looking joy and anticipation of the cousin love that’s starting to form.

We absolutely loved the time with the kids.

Another big highlight of the trip was when Alex and Alina took the littlest ones {Marco and Hannah} to visit Nana one afternoon. It was so special for them to have that time together.

The weather wasn’t really working in our favor for much of the trip. We had a few nice days but it was so windy! I really couldn’t believe it. It was too windy and cool to comfortably boat or go to the pool most days. Thankfully Grammy and Papa were well-prepared for us and had stocked the condo full of toddler toys and they acquired quite the slew of toddler vehicles for the kids to roll around in.

Alex and I had planned to spend one night in Chicago while we were there. We took the train into the city and made it just in time to have lunch and see a Cubs baseball game with some of Alex’s long-time friends. I had never been to Wrigley Field before and he was eager to show me around.

We loved staying in the Wicker Park neighborhood and had a really nice, leisurely morning being tourists. We found a great brunch spot and just enjoyed adulting and taking a really long walk through a fun urban neighborhood.

One of the highlights for me was early morning cuddles with Hannah. We’re probably still paying for this a bit now, but when she’d wake up early in the morning I didn’t want her to rouse the whole house so I just brought her into bed with us. It’s not something we really ever do so I was happy to “break the rules” a bit. It was very special time with my girl.

Our trip quickly came to an end after we returned from Chicago. We were lucky that Grammy and Papa had planned a trip of their own to come to Seattle the following week, so that made saying goodbye a little easier. Until next time!

Hannah is 14 Months Old!

Our littlest love is quickly working her way through the early toddler years. Hannah Maxine remains a force to be reckon with. She is fierce, so cuddly and loving, extremely happy, loud, demanding, strong-willed and determined. She’s living up to her middle name more than we could have expected. This girl is not short on personality!

Hannah’s stats:

  • Weight: at her 12-month check up she was 23 pounds 3 ounces {90th percentile}
  • Length: around 29 inches give or take
  • Clothing size: outgrowing 12-18m so anything I buy now is 18-24m
  • Shoe size: baby size 3
  • Number of teeth: six
  • Eye color: bluish turquoise
  • New words this month: kitty, blueberry, water
  • Favorite foods: fruit, pasta, crackers
  • Least favorite foods: beef, chicken, avocado
  • Favorite things/activities: big brother Ben, dogs, really any animals, watching the airplanes, playing with cars, cuddling, reading books, eating, climbing
  • Least favorite things/activities: diaper changes, getting strapped into her car seat, abruptly stopping an activity when mom forgets to explain what’s going on, really loud noises

The biggest thing that’s going on with Hannah this month has been her transition to walking! Just three days ago we finally deemed her a walker. Over the last 6 weeks or so she had been taking a step here and there, then 2-5 steps here and there and then finally! She decided she was ready.

I made the call that she was officially a walker at Ben’s first soccer practice. She was standing next to me on the field and just started walking towards the bigger kids playing soccer. Ben noticed and ran over exclaiming “mama! Do you see Hannah walking??” She kept practicing her steps as Ben was playing soccer and he would frequently come over and clap for her, one time grabbing her hand and helping her walk. We are so proud of our little walker!

Hannah is really sharp with her fine motor skills and seems to challenge herself in small body movements. When it comes to gross motor skills, like crawling and walking, she really waits until she is good and ready. Walking seems to be no different. She seems to have been physically ready for more than a month but was holding off until she was comfortable. Switching gears to fine motor skills, Hannah is working on mastering the art of using a fork. She loves to feed herself!

This last month Hannah took her first airplane ride! Hannah LOVES airplanes. Anytime she hears a plane flying overhead she will reach her little arm up and point to the sky, even if she can’t see it. That’s her sign for “airplane!”

I had very low expectations for taking a very loud and wiggly Hannah on a 4+ hour flight to Wisconsin. I was so prepared with everything I could think of to make the flight more bearable. Turns out, all I needed were a couple snacks and one or two toys and she’d take care of the rest. She was so into the airplane and the experience that she was just so excited the whole time. I was even able to get her to fall asleep in the baby carrier on both flights. She was a travel pro!

I will post more about our trip to Wisconsin shortly, but one highlight was spending time with and meeting her great grandma, Nana. Nana is Alex’s and my only surviving grandparent at this point. It was very special to introduce her to Hannah.

Lately, Hannah has been really getting into reading books. She’s obsessed with interactive books, especially “lift the flap” and ones that make noise when you push a button. Her favorite books right now are “Dear Zoo” and “Planes Go.”

Hannah has been working on communication a lot recently. She’s getting to be a little patient, too! She has been signing more – she mastered “all done” a while ago and the other day she randomly signed for “help” when she was frustrated. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her sign for “more” and she tells me “water” when she is thirsty. She has a tendency to be rather demanding so we’ve been encouraging her to sign “please” – she’s not too keen on this one yet! She hasn’t said many new words this last month, but the ones she did say came out of left field and were spoken so articulately. A lot of her babbling is really just babbles, but when she really says a word {which is rare} it is so clear.

Last month I mentioned that sleep had been a challenge. I can laugh at that this month because this last month has undeniably been the most difficult sleep month of Hannah’s life. I attribute her challenges with sleep to travel. Unfortunately in that regard it’s just something we’ll have to deal with.

Another big change for Hannah is that last month she stopped nursing. It was fairly anticlimactic – both of us were ready. Nursing was suuuuch a big part of our time together for so long and then right around when Hannah turned one we started turning her milk intake to a cup of cow’s milk. It took a bit for her to adjust but now she loves cow’s milk like her big brother. She’s even had a couple steamed milks when we’ve gone to the coffee shop.

I think this month our trip to Wisconsin and the end of our time nursing is the cause of the latest sleep regression for Hannah. For the two weeks following our Wisconsin trip Hannah rose for the day by 4:15 a.m. and that was usually preceded by a fitful sleep. Finally after we had been home about 3 weeks she started sleeping through the night and waking after 5. We have a lot of travel ahead of us in the coming weeks so we’ll see what happens, but we’re ending her 14th month on a good sleep note.

My sweet girl and I have gotten a lot of extra cuddle time in this month during the early morning hours. We cuddle together on the floor of her room, she has her yogurt pouch while I sip my coffee. We snuggle. Then we read for a while and snuggle some more while we wait for one of the boys to come in. This girl is a world class cuddle bug.

More and more each day Hannah becomes completely smitten with her brother. I’m positive the feeling is mutual. These two are so stinking cute together. Hannah loves doing anything Ben does. She tries so hard to play cars with him and she’ll be trailing right behind him saying “vroooooommmm” while he’s running full speed ahead pushing his car.

These days and weeks and months keep flying by. We have a lot on the docket for this next one. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one! It is going to be so fun to watch how Hannah’s world changes now that she’s mobile on her feet.

Ben at 14 months old