Life Lately

It’s been a couple months since I’ve checked in. Life with a toddler is BUSY! I won’t give you an exhaustive list of everything that has happened since Quinn turned the big O-N-E, but I’ll give you a snapshot of life as of late.

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Quinn is definitely a little sponge. It amazes me what she understands! The other night Scott and I were talking at dinner and I made the comment that I was glad Quinn wasn’t screaming at the dinner table (we went through a phase), and as soon as I said “screaming”, she let out a big ole scream … then smiled. Stinker! We’re realizing that although she can’t say everything, she understands nearly everything we say.

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As far as speech goes, I’d say she knows about 20-30 words not including people’s names. Some of her favorites are:

  • Hello (heh-woah)
  • Hi
  • Bye Bye (followed with a “muuuuah” blowing a kiss)
  • Up please (up peeese)
  • Burp
  • Baby (any time she sees a small child, she’s all “BABY!!”)
  • No no (usually when she knows she’s doing something she’s not supposed to!)
  • Bottle
  • Book
  • Eat (at)
  • All done
  • Ball
  • Bubbles
  • Outside (ahh-sigh)
  • More (mo)
  • Puppy (Puh-Pee!!!!!! … always said with exclamation!)
  • Daniel Tiger (Dan-yo … her favorite TV show)
  • Video (Bid-yo … she LOVES watching videos of herself on our phone)
  • What’s this? (Dis? and holds something up she’s unsure about)
  • Weeeee! (sliding in the tub or going down the slide)
  • Pizza (I think this one comes from the pretend pizza at Mimi & Papa’s that she loves)

As for names, she mainly refers to Scott and I as “Mommy” and “Daddy”. She will sometimes use Mama or Dada, but lately she’s been trending towards Mommy/Daddy. She loves saying Murr-Murr which is my parent’s kitty Murray. She can say Mimi, Papa, La La (Wa Wa – for Aunt Lanie), Abbie and Cara. We’re trying LOTS of other names, but they have yet to stick. She tries, but it’s not always consistent. I’ve actually made a family ABC’s book for her that has a photo with the person’s name on each page. Hopefully this will help!

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We also have found that Quinn is definitely a strong-willed child. Never would guess where THAT gene comes from! Whew. She’s pretty defiant and if you make her do something she doesn’t want to we get a super high-pitched scream followed with a full-on laying on the floor meltdown. Usually we ignore this, and we’re hoping as communication improves, these melt-downs improve too. Fingers crossed!

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Overall she is a sweetheart. Within the last week or so she’ll walk over to me and give me a big hug and go “Awww momma”. Melt. My. Heart! She also loves it when we rub noses and then she puckers up and gives me a big kiss. I love it!! You can’t have a bad day when that happens! She’s definitely a hugger right now. It’s so sweet to see her hug her toys and go “Awwww” or when I’m cooking dinner in the kitchen and she hugs my legs. 🙂 [all the heart eye emojis]

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She is very curious and always has to know what’s going on. Whether it’s our neighbor mowing, the neighbor boys playing outside, when we cook dinner, make coffee, do laundry, etc., I’ll hear her little diaper butt padding across the wood floors followed by “up peeeese!”

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Eating is going pretty well. Cheerios are her spirit animal. She would definitely eat them ALL day if we let her. She loves grilled chicken and ground beef, sweet potato fries, broccoli and cauliflower, green beans, grapes, chips (she is the descendant of the Chip King, so no surprise here!) yogurt, applesauce and roasted potatoes. She’s warming up to pasta … finally!

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We still give her a bottle right after dinner. Until the end of October, this still had breast milk in it since I needed to use up my stash. Mainly we’ve kept it up since I know she doesn’t drink a ton of milk during the day, so I’m trying to make sure she gets enough fluids, fat and nutrients since she will chug anything in a bottle. We also give her a liquid vitamin with iron that tastes heinous, so this helps smooth that over! At her last doctor appointment they told us she was low on iron, so we’re trying to get her hemoglobin levels back up.

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Sleep is going good too. About once every 5-7 nights she’ll wake up, and we’ll need to go in and butt pat or change a diaper, but other than that, she goes to bed at 7 p.m. and wakes up around 6:30 a.m.

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And here’s a bunch of other random things from the past three months with a complete deluge of photos. 🙂

OUTSIDE

Quinn loves being outside. Even if it’s 30 degrees! We just bundle and go. During the weekends she’ll stand by the door and tug on the handle saying “Ahh-sigh, ahh-sigh. Bye bye. Muuuah!” Or she’ll fuss and cry while holding onto the jogging stroller saying “Up! Up!” Homegirl loves it.

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We’ll usually venture to the park that’s only a couple blocks from the house, but she also LOVES the “big kid park” and going down the big slides.

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We’ll also stick her in the Ergo and go on some hikes. She’s a wiggle worm, so we usually have to keep moving. 🙂

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She also loves her little house that my cousin and his family gave to us. It’s bedecked for the holidays and she loves going in and out of the door and playing peek-a-boo.

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CHRISTMAS

Speaking of decking the halls, we had a lot of fun this year festooning the house with all our Christmas decorations. At first the plan was to do all of this while Grizwold Jr. and her busy hands were fast asleep. However, we figured, might as well see how she does. And you guys!! It was the sweetest thing! She was such a good little helper.

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She also loved helping outside. I think she could have played out there all day. 🙂

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We call her Little Ralphie when she wears her pink sherpa winter suit.

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I finally got with the program and ordered Quinn a stocking! I totally dropped the ball on it last year, so when Pottery Barn was having a sale along with free monogramming and shipping, I couldn’t pass it up!

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I made our stockings about 4 years ago when we first bought our house. If craft mom wasn’t dead, I may have attempted it with Quinn’s, but the PB option was MUCH easier!

OCTOBER

October will always be one of my favorite months. Pumpkin and apple everything with riding boots and scarves and fire pits and cooler weather. Not to mention, our anniversary! In the middle of October we ventured over to the local pumpkin patch. We got there pretty early that morning, so we actually had the entire place to ourselves and Quinn could slap all the pumpkins she wanted.

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We usually try to do some sort of getaway for our anniversary. Last year we just had a night out since Quinn was still pretty small. This year she stayed with my parents while Scott and I hung around STL for a couple days. It was a much needed break!

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We also managed our annual “photo with our photo”.

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That weekend also kicked off the Halloween festivities. Quinn participated in my hometown’s trick-or-treating since they held it the weekend before Halloween. She was Hoth Base Princess Leia complete with blaster gun. 🙂

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We had lots of fun visiting my grandparents and all my aunts and uncles. On actual Halloween Quinn turned into a flamingo!

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We let her go naked under her costume since it was 80 degrees outside! We also found out that she had a 102 fever. Four days of fever later we finally found out that she had Coxsackievirus. This is the virus that can manifest into Hand Foot and Mouth disease, but since she just had a couple spots in her mouth and on her bum, she really didn’t get full-blown HFM. Thankfully!

A week later she ended up with strep throat. Ugh! She hadn’t been to the doctor in almost 5 months for an illness, so twice in two weeks was enough. We also ended up switching pediatricians in the process and it was the best decision we’ve ever made!

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So, almost 1,400 words and 30 photos later … that’s what’s been going on!

We can’t wait for Christmas this year. She’s at SUCH a fun age. We’re excited for her to open gifts, but also participate in some traditions that we want to start as a family. Hopefully it isn’t February before I share those with you.

Until then, Merry Christmas! And I’ll leave you with one final photo.

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Homegirl loves her some kitty cats. 🙂

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Mom Musings

I did some closet cleaning a few weekends ago and organized all of Quinn’s clothes she’s outgrown into corresponding tubs. We also packed up a bunch of stuff Quinn no longer uses (baby bath tub, baby toys, Boppy, etc.).

Cleaning/organizing always puts me in a MUCH better mood. I’m definitely one of those people that like to see all the dirt in the vacuum (even though it’s disgusting that that dirt was once on the floor!).

It was in the midst of all this cleaning that I got super nostalgic about our little girl. Putting away teensy outfits that we loved dressing her in. Clothes that I know I’ve cleaned more than one poop stain out of. Even outfits that I thought she’d never grow into wouldn’t even begin to slide over her head, now!

It’s hard to imagine that we have a one-year-old. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again … the days are long and the years are short. It seems like just yesterday Quinn was sleeping in her Rock n’ Play in our room, swaddled, and could barely hold her head up (and now we swing her upside down!). Even the first time she sat up, or smiled feels like ages ago.

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This is why I try so incredibly hard to live in the moment. I heard a great podcast (God-Centered Mom Podcast) last month that was talking about creating a good, God-centered culture in our homes. Heather points out how little time we have with our kids and to make the most of it.

This is SO hard. Am I always the greatest at it? Definitely not. Not even close. But I’m constantly trying. I try to check my phone at the door once I get home from work. I try to read her as many books as she can stand … even if we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar eight times in a row (“In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf.“). I try to remember to pray before dinner and before she goes to bed.

Ultimately, I know for every parent, we just want our kids to feel loved. To feel safe and protected. I want Quinn to know that I’m present and in the moment with her. Not glued to my phone screen, zoning out.

Granted, she’s still a baby and I know we have it easy right now. Quinn adores us. We’re all she knows. But my heart already aches for the first time she gets bullied, or something (or someone!) breaks her heart. I ultimately want her to feel like she can always come to us and trust us with whatever is going on in her life. I want our house to be the place where she and her friends hang out.

But to get to that point, Scott and I have to start intentionally placing the bricks in place. We have to be present now. We can’t just expect Quinn to automatically come to us with her problems, fears and questions when she’s older. We have to develop that relationship now.

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I’m still working out how to do this! There is no recipe that is perfect for every family. But for us I believe it starts with meals together, talking about feelings and emotions and not judging. In my head it sounds all ponies and rainbows, but I know it won’t be! I know it will be messy and things won’t go right, harsh words will be said and doors will be slammed.

The overarching theme we want to convey to Quinn and any future kid(s) is that we love you no matter who you are. God loves you and created you to be YOU! We were all created to be different and weird and quirky. Rather than comparing, we need to celebrate the differences.

I know this won’t always be easy for me! I’m a “researcher”. I read and read and read to gather all the information I can before I make a decision … even for something as mundane as shampoo or lotion. So, naturally I have a timeline of milestones in my head for Quinn to accomplish. I’m the one comparing. But I constantly catch myself and have to say, “Who really cares? And does it even matter?” No. No it doesn’t.

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So, here’s to daily vowing to celebrate the people in my life. Being present and enjoying the moments, even if they’re hard. Everything has a season, and before I know it, we will be on to the next.

Love, Allie

Photos are from Quinn’s 1 Year photo shoot by Studio Llotus. I’m a proud mama over here and had to share … even though they have nothing to do with this post! HA!

{1 YEAR}

A lot has been happening around the house since the last Quinn update. A couple months ago she hadn’t started to crawl yet, was hit or miss on eating table food and barely had two bottom teeth.

It’s amazing how quickly babies change. Just the other morning once Scott had gotten Quinn up, I looked at her and she looked different. I’m like, “what did you do last night?” Ever so slowly she’s turning more and more into a toddler and it breaks my heart! I love her squishy little face and her squeals. I’m not 100% ready for temper tantrums and running around the house.

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It’s also amazing how much love we have for this little girl. I miss her so much when I’m at work. We always want to pick her up early from daycare. She’s at such a fun age too. We are her favorite people, not to mention the coolest and funniest. 🙂  I’m totally soaking this time up because I know too soon she’ll think we are lame and will just want to hang with her friends.

I will say a good amount of mom-guilt goes hand-in-hand with all the “feels”. Although I love my job, there are days I wish I could stay home with her all day. I feel like I’m missing out when I send her to daycare all day. I also love her so fiercely that I worry that something will happen to her. It’s utter craziness and I’m working through being at peace with everything. I can only imagine what will happen when she starts school … or goes to college … all aboard the Hot Mess Express!

Alright, enough with the mushy gushy stuff. What’s been happening?

She’s crawling like a maniac, loves to pull up on everything and as long as she has three points of contact she will walk anywhere. She is a big ole scaredy cat when it comes to walking. If she finds she’s standing on her own, she’ll plop down immediately and start crying.

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… This is her standing all by herself. She was watching TV and forgot that she wasn’t holding on. She stood like this for 30 seconds! Which is a LONG time in her book!

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She loves opening things. Be it the cabinet doors, doors, drawers, you name it, she’s there. Of course along with opening comes closing … which means smashed fingers. It hasn’t been anything a mom-cuddle and a kiss couldn’t fix (thankfully), but we are going down that road! She also loooooves to play peek-a-boo. She could probably do this all day if we had the patience.

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Other favorites are:

The yellow honeycomb tile in our bathroom.
I swear she could spend all day in here looking at “the baby in the mirror” and playing peek-a-boo with the door.

Other kids
Holy smokes is she a social butterfly. She LOVES these two other girls at daycare, Julie and Abby, and they clap and squeal when Quinn shows up for the day. Quinn is definitely the ringleader and has effectively taught them how to pull the pacis out of the other babies mouths, pull hair, and loads of other things. Abby cries when Quinn leaves for the day. It will be a sad sad day when Quinn gets moved up to the “wobblers” room.

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Swinging
If she had the choice, we’d be outside swinging an hour each day. Once we get home for the evening, she loves to walk barefoot in the grass and walks us right over to her swing in the back yard. She screams and laughs and kicks her feet in pure jubilation. She’s a daredevil and loves swinging high. She also loves to wave and be silly.

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Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
If we have her in her bouncy toy, she will start jumping with both hands raised in the air with the biggest open-mouth smile plastered on her face when DT comes on the TV. She LOVES him. She loves the music and the songs and it surprisingly isn’t annoying for mom & dad. Win-win there, folks.

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Her Gray, Chevron Minky Blanket

This soft blanket is her go-to for sleeping. We know she’s tired when she reaches her chunky little arm into her crib and pulls this blanket out between the slats and lays her head on it while sucking her thumb. It has an amazing calming effect on her and definitely helps settle her for sleep.

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Monkey

This BeanieBaby monkey was a hand-me-down toy from her cousin Cypress and it’s by far her favorite toy. Her little imagination sparks and she loves playing pretend with it. She’ll jabber and shake the monkey, give him hugs and loves to bite his hands.

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Other favorites that need no explanation:
– Pulling mom’s hair
– Hiding her food in her highchair
– Washing her hands
– Splashing in the bathtub
– Books – Touch & Feel, The Pout Pout Fish and Dear, Zoo
– Watching Scott mow the grass
– Bubbles
– Strumming on Scott’s guitar
– Waving “Hi” and “Bye” to everyone
– Clapping (especially when the coffee maker beeps it’s ready. Heck, I clap too!)
– 
Sharing her food with us

Dislikes
– Having her snot sucked and face wiped
– Taking ANY medicine
– Getting dressed and having her diaper changed
– Being held for too long
– When she can see her food, but it’s too hot to eat
– When we take her out of her swing and she wasn’t finished

Quinn (1)

For her first birthday we traveled to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere in TN. It was so stinkin hot. Quinn’s favorite parts were the flamingos and all the other kids … and the Carousel. Whenever it stopped she had a huge fit. Thankfully we were like the only ones at the zoo that day and we just kept giving the guy at the controls all our tokens to keep it running. 🙂 She also loved our water bottles of ice water and kept drenching herself.

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I told Scott that we’re going to the waterpark next year! Overall it was a super fun day celebrating our little girl. She probably heard us sing “Happy Birthday” at least 20 times and got more than your average amount of kisses. We just love her to pieces, and any time she’d snuggle up to me I’d snuggle her back and close my eyes and say, “I love you SO MUCH!”

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This past year has been the hardest, most sleep deprived year yet, but I’d do it all over again in two seconds just to give me this little face. Happy Birthday, Quinn Amelia!

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