Monday, October 21, 2013

Stella's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

We recently celebrated Travis' birthday by taking a trip as a family to the pumpkin patch. His birthday also included more exciting festivities like a hunting trip as well as a date with his awesome wife in case you were concerned.

Stella loves pumpkins, and she can even enunciate the word, "pumpkin," when she feels like doing her tricks. We had a great time, and I must admit it felt pretty dreamy. Going on a family trip to the pumpkin patch was something I always looked forward to in the past. What an amazing gift to be able to enjoy it with my little family!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Family Photos

While we were vacationing in Charleston, we had some professional photos taken. Our main objective was to get good shots of Stella, which was no easy feat. We met up with a wonderful photographer, and she got some great pictures of our sweetheart. We attempted to get some family shots as well, but Travis was covered in sweat, and Stella was in dire need of a nap. Below are a few of my favorite shots!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Stella's First Birthday Party

When I originally imagined Stella's first birthday, I was thinking small and simple. Boy, did that change. My line of thinking was that there are very few occasions these days, or so it seems, to throw a nice, big party at my house. We have fairly small families, and none of our family lives locally. And, so many of our friends here feel like family and have gone above and beyond to care for Stella on so many occasions. Additionally, we asked for donations to the crisis pregnancy center where I volunteer in lieu of gifts. So, I felt my "Shrine to Stella" was quite justified. :) Not to mention, planning and prepping for the party was way more fun than I expected! I can totally relate to all those "over-the-top" parents now. It really can be fun!

Below are some pictures from the party. I selected a shabby-chic theme and was able to borrow so many goodies from friends to help with the decor. My mom was a huge help with the crafting and decorating, and a dear friend of ours made almost all of the desserts. The day of the party was absolutely perfect weather-wise, and we had such a fun time celebrating our special girl!

We had such a nice turnout for the party, and Stella was a happy girl pretty much the entire time. I was shocked how cool she was when dozens of people were staring at her and singing to her. She took it in stride and relished in the attention, which was somewhat concerning to me. ;)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Twelve Months!

As per usual, I'm behind on posting our monthly updates on Stella. The good news is, now that she's a year old, I am no longer going to feel pressured to post updates about her in a timely, monthly fashion. What a relief because she is changing so rapidly and doing so much more and more each day that there is no way I could keep up with it!

Stella turned 12 months on September 22nd. We had a pretty amazing party for her, and I'll share pictures of it in a future post and tell you all about how my thoughts on her first birthday party went from small and simple to rather large and extravagant. :)

For now, let's talk about our sweet baby girl at a year old already. I took Stella in for her one-year appointment, and she is doing great. We are so blessed to have a healthy and very active daughter.

Weight: 24.6 lbs.

Height: 31 inches

Stella's weight is evening out a bit as we knew it would. She is walking like a pro now, and I'm sure that must be burning extra calories.

Stella is kind of hit or miss on what she prefers to eat, and we have had a fairly hard time getting her to eat at regular mealtimes. I'm really not worried about it, though, because I know she's growing well, and she does eat. Just not always when we feel it's necessary. She's also still nursing, which I'm sure has something to do with it.

She's wearing 18 and 24 month clothing now. Size 18 month tops and 24 month bottoms seem to fit her the best. And, it looks like we're going to have to pretty much replenish her entire wardrobe when fall and winter hits. I'm starting to attempt that now by shopping at my favorite consignment shop.

I love that Stella is communicating with us so much more now. She has added a few more words to her repertoire and is starting to try and repeat words after us. That is both scary and fun! Her favorite thing to do lately is to wave and say, "hi!" to everyone we see. She has now added, "bye!" as well. It is pretty dang adorable if I say so myself. Now I'm just trying to encourage her to reserve one "hi!" and one "bye!" for each person rather than repeating them incessantly. She's saying a few others, like "puppy," "duck," "bee," "button (for belly button)", "ball," but her favorite is "Stickle," which means Skittle. It is so cute!

One of my favorite new developments is her newfound love for books. She's always enjoyed chewing on them, but she is now so excited to read them! Stella has started gathering books and bringing them to our laps for us to read to her. Finally! I've been trying to get her to let me read to her for months now. So fun!

Stella has also started loving on some of her baby dolls and will hold them and kiss them as we ask her to. It is just too precious.

She also cut even more teeth, and I think she's up to 12 now. I should count them! We're trying to introduce teeth brushing to her, but it's not going too great. She loves the idea of brushing her teeth but it's been difficult to actually get them cleaned.

Shortly after her one-year birthday, we also experienced our first-ever trip to the ER with Stella. She was running a pretty high fever, and we were nervous. Fortunately, she was diagnosed with a virus known as the "common cold." Classic first-time parents, I suppose. :) It was kind of a yucky virus, and I am thankful it's behind us now!

Her sleep is still not great. Stella hasn't slept through the night since the end of March (and that was a one-time deal), but we are so used to it now that it isn't really even much of an issue. She is down to one nap on most days, and it's still not super scheduled. I try to keep it within the same general timeframe, but sometimes life gets in the way. We have been doing better with a consistent initial bedtime on most nights, though. So, for now, we're doing ok in the sleep department.

Enjoy the last of the Stella monthly pictures! I am pretty amazed I actually kept up with them, and I'm pretty happy to let them go. Don't worry. I'll still attempt to keep blogging and posting pictures, but I'm glad I won't have that pressure anymore.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

First Family Vacation - Charleston and Savannah

A couple weeks ago, Travis, Stella and I took our first big vacation as a family. We had traveled to Tennessee and Colorado to visit friends, but this was our first official vacation. Like where we had to stay in hotels, eat out, etc. Overall, we had an amazing time. We flew to Charleston, spent a few days, drove to Savannah and then back to Charleston for another night.  But, it was tough. We knew this vacation would be very different than others we had taken, but it took a few days to fully grasp that fact. We spent way more time in the hotel than we were used to, and fine dining pretty much flew out the window by the second day!

Charleston was lovely, and our favorite parts were definitely the beaches. There are so many, and they are just beautiful! Stella loved the beach so much. It was such a joy to see her get so excited and love the water and sand. She was just too cute!

Savannah was easy. We stayed in the historic downtown and could walk everywhere. Savannah would be a bit more fun with an older child or without children at all, but we made the most of it. We enjoyed some takeout, and an Ink Master marathon. That show is now my new fave! The architecture and city was so beautiful, and we really enjoyed the live music at The City Market.

Though Travis and I seriously considered flying back early during the first couple of days, we are so glad we didn't. Stella was really great but adjusting to vacationing with a baby took some getting used to. We are usually always on the go on trips, fairly scheduled, and we love to eat out! We gave pretty much all of that up on this trip, but we still had a wonderful time. I'm so proud of us for going for it and am so grateful for amazing memories with my little fam!

Here are some of my favorite pictures from our trip. I am a very blessed woman.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

11 months!

Wow, kudos to moms of littles who can keep up a blog. I certainly do not fall in that group. And, to make myself feel better, I am going to be judgey and say they must be ignoring their children. Ha! Either that, or they have babies who sleep regularly. Or mad time-management skills. Whatever it is, it is not something I've figured out. That's for sure!

Stella is turning one on September 22. I can't believe it! So, I'm a little behind on this post.

I weighed her closer to the 11-month mark, and she weighed in at 24.5 lbs. That's a little less than last month so I think she is starting to even out a bit. I didn't get a chance to measure her for height.

The biggest change is that she is full-on walking like a champ now. She's been walking for a couple of weeks now, and it is just crazy around here. I am a pretty big fan of it, though, because it's so nice to be able to put her down and just let her go. She's still kind of zombie-ish, but she is quick already!

That also means shoes are now a necessity instead of an accessory. We got her feet measured, and she wears a 5W. Good baby shoes are expensive by the way! I am a tad bit excited to be shoe shopping for her, though.

Stella is also adding a few more words to her vocabulary. She sort of says "Skittle" now. It's more like "Diddle" with a cute little inflection, but I think it counts. And, in addition to "mama" and "dada" and "babee" she says "dog" (well, in her own tongue, of course), and "bath."

It's so fun to watch her grow and develop. Just amazing really. She now has nine full teeth with a few more poking through. Baby molars are ginormous by the way! I always think she's chewing a wad of gum or something before I realize it's just one of her mondo molars.

Stella still does not sleep through the night, but we are unwilling to let her "cry it out." And, as a tradeoff, she doesn't sleep through the night. It won't be like this forever, though. I am so used to interrupted sleep at this point that I don't even feel all that bad. It's just part of my life now.

We took Stella on our first family vacation this past week so I look forward to sharing about that. It was definitely the least vacation-y trip to date, but it was a great experience. I can say that now that it's over. haha! It was rough at times, but introducing her to the beach made it all so worth it! Poor little lady should not be landlocked!

Here are a few pictures from 11 months. Hopefully I'll have a chance to share some vacation photos soon.

These pics are a little older but still fun to share. The smile she's making in the one with me is one of her famous faces. Cracks us up!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ten Months!

Here we are again. Another month has come and gone, and as usual, Stella is actually more like 10.5 months by the time I'm writing this.

So fortunate our little lady is healthy and strong. She's still as crazy as ever. The biggest news here is that she is now standing on her own for several seconds, and she has taken a couple of steps. I'm still not sure we can call them her "first steps" because the most she has taken is two. Still crazy to watch her begin these new skills, and I am honestly terrified. She can already crawl faster than I can run, and I just can't even imagine what she'll be getting into when she really catches on to walking. There is part of me, though, that is looking forward to not having to carry her as much. She is heavy!

She's wearing 18 month clothes now and a size 4 diaper. Her size 4 shoes seem to be getting a bit tight, too. She is a whopper!

 Current Height: I think it's still 29.5 inches

Weight: 25 lbs.!

Stella waves and claps a lot and can sort of "blow kisses" thanks to a friend who is a better mom than me. ;) She also has started laughing a lot more. She seems to be saying "mama" and "dada" in context now and can also say "baby" thanks to us serving in the nursery at church.

She has gotten much more into eating, and her favorite is chicken. Sorry Dad! Hopefully she'll learn to like real meat in the future. ;) She's also a big fan of blueberries and sugar snap peas these days. And, drinking water out of a water bottle or cup is a highlight to her day. I must say, the baby led weaning approach has worked wonderfully for us. We've never pureed anything for her or purchased any sort of baby food. I was a little nervous at first, but it seems to have worked well for Stella!

I really enjoy running errands with Stella because she has really started hamming it up for folks. It's so cute! She waves and grins so big at passersby so I get a kick out of their reactions. One major problem, though, is that she only wants to stand up in the cart so I spend the majority of my time turning her around and sitting her back down. It gets pretty exhausting so I'm hoping it's just a phase.

Her sleeping is still pretty terrible, but we have come to accept it and roll with it. She wakes multiple times a night but is fortunately very easy to get back to sleep. I'm okay with her just wanting reassurance that we are nearby, and if she wants a snack, so be it! Her naps are pretty hit or miss, but the last few days have gone pretty smoothly! I'll take what I can get.

Our life is so much different now than it was a year ago, but what a wonderful gift God has given us in Stella Breann. The giggles. The chubby thighs. The baby rattail. The sharp, little teeth. The cries at 1:30 a.m. The sore back. The poop stain on my Anthro rug. All wonderful gifts we don't deserve.

Enjoy some pics of our crazy lady!