Category Archives: Hannah

Hannah is 18 Months Old!

Our baby girl is growing up so fast! Her personality continues to grow bigger and bigger each month. Hannah Maxine has really turned into a toddler lately.

  • Weight: 26 pounds, 6 oz {88th percentile}
  • Length: 32 inches {60th percentile}
  • Clothing size: 18-24 months and growing! Anything new I buy for her I’m sizing up to 2T.
  • Shoe size: toddler size 5 – growing, growing, growing!
  • Number of teeth: twelve
  • Eye color: I’m calling them “alpine lake” – the most gorgeous greeny blue
  • Favorite foods: pomegranate, smoothies!!!, Grammy’s party mix, mangoes, blueberries, cookies
  • Least favorite foods: beef, chicken
  • Favorite things/activities: doing anything Ben does, brushing her teeth, reading interactive books, playing with cars, taking things out of drawers or cupboards, waving at a dogs/people passing by, going to the park, climbing!
  • Least favorite things/activities: waiting, not getting what she wants, going in the car seat, getting her diaper changed

Hannah wants to do everything Ben does. “Monkey see monkey do” is on repeat inside my head all day long. Ben bangs his fork on the table, Hannah bangs hers harder. If Ben is putting on his backpack, she wants hers on too. Thank goodness she can now fit into Ben’s old red Hunter rain boots so she can have a pair that matches his. When Ben comes home and immediately wants to get his jammies on, Hannah goes to her PJ drawer and picks out a pair for me to help her into.

She is becoming so independent in wanting to do everything by herself too. Hannah loves to refill Jackson’s water bowl {so much so that she dumps it out on the floor just so she can fill it back up again}, wash her hands, pretend to vacuum or sweep the floor and pick out her own boots to wear.

Hannah is so helpful around the house! I am amazed that she’ll just walk around picking things up and putting them away. Just the other day we were playing in the living room and she noticed Ben’s mittens were on the vent drying from the day before and she went over and put them away in his basket. She is a really terrific listener and she follows directions promptly and with enthusiasm. Boy do I hope this keeps up! It’s so endearing watching her help out.

In the last month or two Hannah has become more interested in playing by herself, away from me. I’ve always felt she’s pretty independent in that she likes to do things for herself; however, she generally wants me to be with her. Recently that has begun to change and she’ll spend longer periods of time playing with a toy off in the distance at the mountain house or around the corner in another room in Seattle.

It seems like Hannah has been working on repeating more words this last month. She definitely has a few new ones. Most of Hannah’s words sound like a variation of the word “dada” so it’s rather hard to understand what she is saying at this point. For several months now it’s been clear Hannah can understand everything we say – we’re just working very hard to understand what she has to say.

While Hannah isn’t pronouncing many words properly she sure can convey her point. It makes me wonder if she’s satisfied with her method of communication and has chosen not to talk more. She uses sign language a lot, does a lot of pointing, a lot of shouting and demanding, she’ll bring me something she wants me to put on her or she’ll take my hand and pull me to where she wants to go. She surely has figured out how to make the most of her abilities.

Hannah’s personality continues to mountainous. She is SO much fun. When she’s supremely happy, generally after filling her belly, she puts her arms up near her shoulders, stiffens her body and just shouts jubilantly. Over and over again. We all know when she’s happy because she starts to get really loud!

Hannah is incredibly slow to warm up to people who want to get in her personal space and rarely leaves my side in a new setting or when other adults are at our house. I think she’s afraid I’m going to leave. Hannah is my little koala bear.

Within the last week or two I’ve started to notice Hannah and Ben actually beginning to play together. They sort of wrestle and goof around with Hannah climbing on Ben’s back. Hannah is always the instigator and her ever patient big brother is typically a willing participant.

Lately I’ve been noticing that Hannah is extremely jealous when I pay Ben attention, especially during an afternoon when Ben has been at school. Those are the days Hannah and I have special one-on-one time while Ben is away. She is known to push him out of my lap, come up and whack him on the head with a toy or her hand or just start shouting at him.

She’s also figured out just exactly what she needs to do to get my attention when I’m trying to get something done. Generally it’s by dumping Jackson’s water or food bowl out on the ground. Other times it’s wiping her high chair tray clean of food if I am multitasking while she’s having a snack. At 18-months old she’s got it all figured out!

Gosh this girl is a blast. She is just so much fun. We’re looking forward to the next few months as we continue to enjoy winter in the mountains!

Ben is 18 months old

 

First Holiday Season at The Lodge

This holiday season was extra special for us. We’re hoping to spend every Thanksgiving and Christmas at The Lodge from here until eternity and our inaugural year didn’t disappoint. Our first Christmas season was a white one and it was filled with more joy and smiles on my kids’ faces than I’ve ever seen before.

We were able to spend just over two weeks holed up in the mountains together and it was magical and so, so very special. It seems like our quality family time happens mostly at The Lodge and to have such an abundance was the best gift of the season.

Our Christmas traditions seemed extra special this year. Alex perfected his cinnamon roll baking skills and whipped up the best batch yet! I knocked out a few more dozen of my new favorite Christmas cookie – M&M cookies. Ben decorated a gingerbread house and we cozied up on the couch in front of the fire for The Night Before Christmas.

There were so many firsts that will be on the “traditions” list from here on out.

We loved ice skating in town, finding the best sledding hill around and going cross country skiing still holds high on our list. Ben got three days of skiing in and Alex and I managed to get one, too, although it was separate.

A few days after Christmas my dad made his way out to The Lodge. We were also joined for a few visits by my cousin Jonathan, his wife, Kelly, and their almost 2-year old son, Miles, who were staying nearby. The weather was really mixed during this part of our trip and was fraught with torrential rain for a few days.

Despite the unseasonable weather we managed to get out for a few adventures around town and hosted Jon, Kelly and Miles for a few play dates to escape the rain. After taking Ben skiing, my dad and I were able to stay at Stevens Pass for a few hours and take some runs together. It was such a treat and the conditions were amazing.

This first holiday season at The Lodge was an absolute dream. Time moved so slowly and it really felt like we were able to unwind, relax, play and enjoy each other’s company. It actually did feel like a vacation.

The snowy weather made the experience that much more special. Snow is one of my absolute favorite things and I found myself rushing to the windows in the morning to see if new snow had fallen in the night. We read “Snow” as many times as possible because every time we recited it, it snowed!

My heart is extra full after this holiday season and it’s overflowing with gratitude and excitement that we are able to spend so much time out in the mountains this winter. Happy ski season!

Hannah is 17 Months Old!

Hannah continues to be our little party girl. We’ve started joking that she’s going to be first in line for rush at the Arizona State University sororities. Look out class of 2040 {2040?!!} – here comes Hannah Maxine!

  • Weight: not sure – was 24 pounds 5 ounces at her last checkup
  • Length: not sure – was 31″ at her last checkup
  • Clothing size: 18-24 months
  • Shoe size: toddler size 4
  • Number of teeth: twelve! Four new teeth this month – she has all four of her first molars
  • Eye color: I’m calling them “alpine lake” – the most gorgeous greeny blue
  • Favorite foods: tangerines, pomegranate, smoothies, bananas, mangoes!!, crackers, cheese, applesauce
  • Least favorite foods: beef, chicken
  • Favorite things/activities: doing anything Ben does, reading interactive books, playing with cars, taking things out of drawers or cupboards, waving at a dogs/people passing by, going to the park, climbing, bath time, pushing her toy vacuum around
  • Least favorite things/activities: waiting, not getting what she wants, going in the car seat

New this month Hannah can: stand up in her high chair, ring the doorbell, flush the toilet, open the refrigerator, climb on top of the coffee table, roll her eyes and say “love you.” She has begun to answer “yeah” or shake her head no and say “uh uh” when asked a question.

Hannah is really beginning to become a bit more independent and able and willing to play on her own while I’m occupied elsewhere. Now, in all honesty, this is usually when she chooses to cause mischief.

We sure are entertained by Hannah’s mountain-size personality. Dang, she is a force. She is rough and tumble, she can hold her own and she will absolutely not stand to be pushed around by anyone else. Boy you better believe she’ll push back harder. Hannah has started to laugh when she hears laughter around her – it’s really sweet and rather amusing that she’s picked up on social laughter and wants to join in, too.

While she is quite rough, she does have a few sweet spots. It melts my heart to see when we’re out and about how friendly she is. She loves waving at a person or a dog passing by. It makes her day when the person actually stops and waves back. She loves to dance and sing and is very affectionate.

Hannah love, love, loves fruit and smoothies and cheese, but that’s about where she draws the line most days. Occasionally she’ll eat bread, pork, eggs, pasta and vegetables, but mostly she just wants fruit. If you put something she doesn’t like on her plate the whole meal will soon become food for the dog. It also seems like this month her appetite has decreased significantly and either she doesn’t need quite as much food anymore or the emergence of her new molars were playing a role.

Lately Hannah has been repeating all of the words. It’s been so fun. I have no idea what her comprehension is in terms of vocabulary, but she is extremely quick to follow directions and always seems to know what is being asked of her. Her spoken vocabulary is tough to decipher at this point.

Alex and I have really been working with her on pronunciation but it is extremely difficult to understand what Hannah is saying. Contextually you can guess, and she has the syllables down, but, it just sounds like most of her words are a slight variation of “dada.” She has been saying “mama” a lot more lately and some of her consonants are becoming more clear. I’ve noticed a big leap in her communication skills in the last week or so.

Climbing things has been very exciting to Hannah. I think she just grew a little taller and that has opened up a few new possibilities for her. She loves climbing the stairs and thankfully she’s starting to get pretty good at going down backwards. Hannah can climb up into the furniture in the living room and is getting more confident in her abilities at the park.

Hannah is generally a terrific sleeper. She is sleeping soundly for around 11.5 hours overnight and typically naps for 1.5-3 hours during the day. The catch is if she has a morning cat nap, she’s not going to have an afternoon nap.

{Faceplant 🙁 }

Recently Hannah has been imitating actions quite regularly. She’s figuring things out much earlier than we had expected based on our prior experiences. Hannah wants to do anything her brother does. She has been quite vocal about her preferences with things and is starting to show favoritism to the colors red and pink.

Gosh this girl is a blast. She keeps us on our toes like none other, but boy is she fun. It’s fun to imagine her as she carries on through toddlerhood.

Ben at 17 months

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.