Category Archives: Hannah

Hannah is 16-Months Old

Hannah is 16-months old going on four. She is growing up so fast and figuring out all the things and doing all the things. Hannah’s personality is huge. She is a ball of fun and a barrel of energy. She brings the party with her wherever she goes. She’s loud and boisterous and so cuddly and loving – she is just plain fun to be around.

  • Weight:24 pounds 5 ounces {85th percentile – this is 2 weeks out of date}
  • Length: 31″ {75th percentile – this is two weeks out of date}
  • Clothing size: 18-24 months
  • Shoe size: toddler size 4
  • Number of teeth: eight! two new bottom teeth this month, and her first two molars just cut through.
  • Eye color: I’m calling them “alpine lake” – the most gorgeous greeny blue
  • Favorite foods: tangerines, pomegranate, smoothies, bananas, mangoes!!, crackers, cheese
  • Least favorite foods: beef, chicken
  • 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: waiting, not getting what she wants

This month Hannah learned to run as well as how to open the front door at the mountain house in the same day. She mastered the art of opening all of the kitchen cabinets and pulling out as many things as she can possibly grab all before I can stop her. Hannah has earned the nickname “sticky fingers” this month. She just grabs hold of whatever she can get and holds on for dear life.

She’ll reach into Alex’s pocket and pull out his phone or wallet, she heaves herself forward in her high chair and grabs something off the dining room table, or when we’re at the library or store she’ll grab as many things off the shelf as she can. She used to be satisfied splashing in Jackson’s water bowl, but now she has graduated to getting a fistful of Jackson’s kibble and throwing it as far as she can, all while cackling and looking riiiiight at me. Her favorite, though, is amidst a diaper change she’ll fling herself to a seated position, grab a handful of clean diapers and throw them behind the dresser.

Hannah is a great communicator. She’ll shake her head for “no” or say “yeah” for yes. She knows where everything she wants is and she’ll help point it out. That said, her speech is very difficult to understand. She has a few words that are very clear, but everything else sounds like “dada” at this point. In the last few days she’s been working on repeating some new words and we’ve heard a few new consonants come out of her mouth recently.

Comprehension is something Hannah has really mastered already. She understands everything we say. At this point she’s really a terrific listener and follows directions with tremendous eagerness. She’s quite helpful, actually, and loves to pick up and put things where they belong.

On her own she will put her laundry in her hamper and throw away her yogurt after she’s done with it. She has had a couple of colds this last month and she can go and get a tissue, wipe her nose and throw the tissue away all on her own.

Being involved is very important to Hannah. She wants to be a helper when getting her shoes or socks on and she shows me which foot to take care of first, then second. She imitates diaper changes – she’ll reach over and grab a wipe and try to wipe herself amidst a diaper change {not always super helpful!!}, and if I’m holding her while putting on my makeup she has to have a makeup brush to use on her own face.

These days Hannah is the queen of mimicking. Anything Ben is doing Hannah wants to do. If he raises his arms, she raises her arms. If Ben wants to ride his bike, Hannah wants to ride his bike too.

Hannah is working very hard at figuring out how to be a kid and do all of the things. She is getting darn good at it, too! We’ve had a lot more success this last month with things like play dough, coloring and painting. Hannah has been very interested in exploring art and creativity. For the first time, not everything has gone in her mouth!

Sleep has been awesome the last month for Hannah. She is typically asleep by 7:15 or 7:30 and wakes for the day anywhere between 6:15-6:45 in the morning. She takes one long nap in the afternoon, anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours. If provided the opportunity, she will fall asleep in the morning if we’re in the car or on a run. Hannah falls asleep happily on her own, with us in the room for the most part, these days.

We adore our first-thing-in-the-morning Hannah. She’s so so so so so cuddly and loves to curl up in our laps and read books while she has her yogurt.

Recently Hannah has been very fearful of new people and in various settings. She has had a lot of separation anxiety when I’ve left her with babysitters. She is very clingy and really enjoys her time with mama and dada and has always been more reluctant to go to someone else.

This month Hannah started dancing. She LOVES to dance. I think her favorite song right now is “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel. She has the sweetest little dance bounce and it is precious!

Mealtimes in our house are often a challenge, especially at dinner. Hannah is very reluctant to eat most meat, aside from some pork products, and would happily survive only on fruit if given the chance. She does enjoy vegetables most nights quite a bit, too. She really is a terrific eater, though her preferences differ significantly from the rest of the family.

When Hannah is one-on-one with me {or Alex} she’s a different kid than when she’s around Ben. She’s much more calm and quiet and reasonable. I think she really appreciates her mama time and her dada time. She absolutely adores her big brother but he sure brings out her crazy!

Hannah is doing allllll the things right now. This is one of my absolute favorite ages and it’s a blast watching Hannah make the leap from baby to little kid.

Ben is 16 months old

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!

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

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

Ben & Hannah

Now that Hannah is one I thought it would be fun to do a little comparison of Ben and Hannah. In my month-by-month or quarterly update posts I try to keep it focused on each kiddo and avoid comparing the two kids. They have a ton of similarities in their personalities but there are some really big differences in how they have developed.

One of the biggest similarities in Ben and Hannah is that they are both extremely loud. They crave being the center of attention. Neither one is afraid to make their presence known or request additional attention if they’re not getting enough.

If you spend much time with Ben you’ll notice how naturally athletic he is. As a baby and early toddler he really excelled in gross motor development. When he was learning a new skill he would really challenge himself and try things maybe a little before he was ready, then he’d practice his new skill over and over again.

{Ben – 13 months old – days away from walking}

Hannah, on the other hand, has really excelled in her fine motor skills. She’s been slower to hit her gross motor skills milestones, but when she does hit them she’s mastered them. She waits until she knows she’s nailed it.

{Hannah – 12 months old and standing up unsupported.}

As a baby, Ben was a sympathy crier. If there was another baby crying he would start crying too. Hannah did not get that gene. If Ben is doing something inappropriate she thinks it’s hilarious. If someone gets hurt and is crying she is the first to laugh.

Both of our sweet kids absolutely love music. They both enjoy playing musical instruments and they love listening to music.

When Ben was a baby it took him a while to really get into solid foods, especially feeding himself finger foods. He was fine with purees – still loves them in fact – but when it came to finger foods it took until about 10 months for him to get comfortable and show an interest. We started Hannah on solid foods when she was 5 months old and she couldn’t get enough! She took to solid foods immediately and hasn’t looked back. She’s been known to scoop up a handful of fruit and shovel it into her mouth.

{Ben – almost 11 months}

{Hannah – 11 months}

Ben and Hannah are both pretty easy-going kids. They’re able to go with the flow and adjust well in new surroundings. Ben in particular is so happy to spend time and connect with anyone who he feels comfortable with and who shows him love and care. Hannah is a little slower to warm up to new people and is more connected to me as a baby than Ben was.

In terms of energy and activity levels, we’ll have to see how this goes as Hannah gets a little older. I think Ben will have her beat a bit here. She’s super wiggly but in a different way than Ben was, I think. He just seems like he needs to burn off excess energy by running and climbing and jumping. Hannah just doesn’t like to be confined it seems.

{Ben – 22 months – ever the athlete}

{Hannah – 11 months}

A big physical difference is their size. Ben has always been very thin and Hannah has been on the opposite end of the spectrum. Currently both of them can fit into the same size shorts – 18-month! Ben is hard to buy pants for because they won’t stay up on his waist, whereas I have to pay attention to pants for Hannah to make sure the legs aren’t too tight!

{Legs for days!}

Both kiddos are very independent and prefer to do things themselves without help. Some of Ben’s latest phrases include “No mama! I can do it myself!” Once Hannah has the vocabulary I’m sure I’ll hear that from her too. From an early age with both of them, though, they are content playing on their own and don’t always need to be entertained.

As an itty bitty infant Ben was not into cuddling but now is an all-star cuddle bug. Hannah has always been into snuggles. I can’t wait to see the two of them curled up on the couch sharing a blanket, snuggling up with their stuffies one day in the not-too-distant future.

Lately the consensus seems to be that Hannah looks just like her brother. I definitely agree they have some significant similarities in their appearances, especially their mouths. It’s tough because Ben was so bald at the age Hannah is now, so it makes it harder to compare.

{Hannah – 6 months}

{Ben – 6 months}

I’m not sure how Alex and I turned out two blonde hair, blue eyed cuties, but we managed! Ben and Hannah both have blue eyes but the color of their eyes are completely different and SO beautiful. Ben’s eyes are stunning – they are so captivating. Strangers will occasionally stop to comment on his eyes. They are a deep blue/gray with an incredible luster to them. Almost like broken glass. And Hannah’s eyes look like an alpine lake – a beautiful, rich tealy blue that pulls out the colors of whatever is surrounding her.

It has been really fun when I’ve done my monthly Hannah updates to look back on my Ben posts from that same age. I always wait until I’ve written Hannah’s update to re-read Ben’s update from that time and it’s uncanny sometimes how similar the updates are. These two littles have so much in common but their personalities are definitely their own. It will be so fun to see their personas continue to come out as they get older.

Hannah is 13 Months Old!

So much has changed in the last month with our Hannah girl. She is TOTALLY a toddler in every way, shape and form. We are having a blast with her but daaang this girl knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to make demands to get it.

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: 12-18 month but she’s starting to outgrow pants & PJs already
  • Shoe size: baby size 2 or 3, depends on brand
  • Number of teeth: SIX!
  • Eye color: bluish turquoise – seems like her gorgeous eye color will be permanent!
  • Words: dada, Ben, mama, yeah, hello, banana, uh oh, no, water, cracker, hi, Jackson, all done
  • Favorite foods: strawberries, watermelon, pasta, smoothies, ham, bananas, bread, blueberries, crackers
  • Least favorite foods: this really depends on the moment these days

The most exciting thing that Hannah has worked on this last month has been standing up on her own. She did it a couple times before she turned one and then as the days and weeks went on she was standing up more and more on her own, working on balance and strength. There were so many times when we swore she’d take her first step. She is just waiting until she is good and ready…. any day now!

This last month it seems like some things clicked and she became a little more patient and a little less demanding, though she started the month being extremely loud and demanding, so much so I considered ear plugs at dinner a few times. We’ve been working more and more on sign language with her and it’s definitely helping her ask nicely when she wants something.

Hannah has been pointing to things and signing quite a bit to convey her requests. It’s been really helpful to have her be able to communicate more and more with us. Just the other day she was mimicking Alex say “cracker” and that was the first time I’ve heard her try to repeat a word in that way.

As a very new toddler, Hannah is extremely independent. At certain times of the day she wants to be held but she is also totally okay with playing solo on the ground with her toys.

Hannah is in a very exploratory phase right now. She loves checking out what’s behind or under things, she especially loves lifting the toilet seat up {and splashing in the toilet}, and her favorite toy-free activity is pulling the toilet paper off of the roll.

It has been really fun to see Hannah start to model what other people are doing. She loves to help rub sunscreen on her body, put on her own hat and use a wipe to wipe her arm or leg or the wall next to her changing table. She also likes to try to put sunglasses on her face all by herself. She has been practicing using a fork at mealtimes and has so much pride when she feeds herself.

We love watching Hannah model what her brother is doing, too. She loves to push around Ben’s toy cars and trucks, just like he does. We have a pretend kitchen at The Lodge and she’s been having SO much fun playing with that, particularly the pretend cookies. She loves to put them on the cookie sheet and pull them off and put them in the little cookie tube. Hannah has started throwing the ball for Jackson and gets so excited when he gets it after she throws it.

Undoubtedly, though, Hannah’s favorite toy right now is the water table. She points to it repeatedly throughout the day, suggesting we go out and play.

Hannah LOVES water and we’ve had such a blast playing in the pool and at the beach this summer. Pretty much every day is filled with water fun for Miss Hannah.

There are a few things that Hannah absolutely HATES right now. The biggest one is getting her diaper changed. We joke that it’s like wrestling an alligator trying to get her to lay down on her back without flipping over and flailing her arms and legs. Diaper changes typically take 5+ minutes these days and are filled with negotiations and concessions – usually on my part. Additionally, getting in the car seat is a major struggle, though we’ve found it to be rather successful if we give her a cracker before we put her in that she’ll sit nicely for us to buckle her. Otherwise it’s another 5+ minute struggle.

Sleep this last month has quite possibly been the most challenging of her life to date. We’ve had a lot of stretches where she’s slept through the night consistently but then we’d have these short periods where she’d be up for hourrrssss at night, or she’d wake up every hour, which she didn’t even do as a newborn. Hannah seems to be a lighter sleeper and often at this point if she wakes during the night it’s a 2-hour affair to get her back to sleep.

She is still showing that she needs two naps per day. They don’t have to be long and man she can rally if she doesn’t get any naps, but if it were up to her she’d have a 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. nap every day.

Nursing is something Hannah and I have really enjoyed during her 13 months. We’ve been working for a while to phase it out. She has really taken to whole milk, though at this point doesn’t show enough interest in it to get the recommended amount each day. Currently I’m still nursing Hannah before bed most nights, but not all. Alex is putting her to sleep now and that has been going really well.

We have a lot to look forward to with our 13-month old as we round the corner to fall. This developmental period is rather busy but it is so much fun as life starts to look a little different when explored on foot.

Ben at 13 months – I can’t believe how darn similar Ben and Hannah are as 13-month olds!

Hannah’s First Birthday Celebration

Hannah’s first birthday was so special. We were out in the mountains, per our birthday tradition, and had a fun-filled day centered around our birthday girl.

{Well, this was Hannah’s big birthday gift from us – a ridiculous battery-operated musical activity table. It’s off-the-wall for us but she loves it and we knew she would!}

{We took a fun walk down by the Wenatchee River which runs next to downtown Leavenworth.}

{Hannah LOVES her time in the pool!}

{The birthday girl made it all the way until 3:30 without a nap! She was having too much birthday fun.}

{Time for cake! Hannah’s favorite food is strawberries and Ben thought she would love a strawberry cake. He is so thoughtful!}

{Hannah got her very own smash cake!}

{Unsurprisingly she loved the cake!}

{…..aaaaand crash!}

Hannah’s birthday was all about her. I think she had a blast! So far she is loving being one and is completely and totally a toddler! Happy birthday sweet girl!

Alex’s Belated Paternity Leave

After Hannah’s birth we were so fortunate that Alex was able to stay home for two weeks to bond with her and help out with the transition to having two kiddos. At that time he wasn’t eligible for his company’s paternity leave because he had only worked there for a few months. Thankfully, though, he was able to take the leave later on and we just wrapped up nearly 3 weeks of precious family time.

The time we had with Alex was about as good as it gets. We were able to spend so very much time together as a little family of four and make memories that will stay with me forever – I sure hope at least Ben remembers this time.

Alex’s vacation started on the 4th of July and ended the day after Hannah’s birthday and included a visit from Alex’s parents. We split our time between the mountains and Seattle.

At the start of Alex’s leave both of us were rattling off things we really wanted to do with the time and I’m so glad we had the foresight to come up with a plan for his leave. It would have been so disappointing to near the end and look back and think about all the things we hadn’t gotten to. Because of that, we were able to get to nearly everything we had hoped to.

Our time in the mountains felt like it lasted so, so long. Time passes so much slower out there and the pace of life is more manageable, it feels. We are able to fit so much into a single day, let alone the nearly two weeks we were there for.

Despite the unseasonably cool days in the Pacific Northwest earlier in the month we made it to the fabulous Leavenworth pool several times, took countless trips to Enchantment Park in town, walked the trail from the park into town, went to the beach at Lake Wenatchee State Park,fell in love with the Leavenworth Farmers Market, went hiking several times and relaxed at The Lodge. Alex even pulled both kiddos in the bike trailer. Our “vacation” ended with Hannah’s birthday celebration.

The time we spent in Seattle was just as special as it was in the mountains, though we were only there for five of the 18 days. Ben had bike camp every morning and I think Alex got a kick out of helping Ben ride his bike up there each day then coming back early to pick him up so he could watch Ben on his bike.

We had a really fun trip to the zoo, lots of park time, Alex took a nice bike ride and we enjoyed a few nice meals out and I was able to take some time to get a few things accomplished on my own.

Another highlight of our trip was Alex’s and my overnight in Seattle while the kids stayed at The Lodge with Grammy and Papa. The adult time was much needed. We were gone around 24 hours and enjoyed some patio time at Bottlehouse, a fabulous dinner at our favorite restaurant, Vendemmia, and a little more flexibility in our time.

{Side note: the following are the only two pictures we took during our time away. It’s funny how few pictures I take when the kids aren’t the focus!}

The best part for me, though, was seeing how much family bonding took place, in particular while we were in the mountains. Our time was so special. It was precious. It was perfect. We all knew that Alex’s increased presence was a treat and we indulged and just so enjoyed it. Hannah and Alex had some really, really special time, too, which is what it was all about.

We feel so grateful for this family time and have made so many memories and hopefully started a tradition that will last for years to come. We’re hoping to have a longer “staycation” every year where we can stay put in Seattle and/or Leavenworth and enjoy time together. I’m so, so glad that companies and our country are starting to offer paternity leave to new dads. There’s still a lot of work to do, in my opinion, to improve paid parental leave across the board, but I’m seeing progress and am so thankful for that.

{Waving bye bye to dada as he leaves for work….}