Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Holland | 1 Year

Happy Birthday, Holland!  We just spent the entire weekend celebrating the birthday girl and it was the sweetest time spent with family.  I'll have a separate celebration post to share all the pictures but it was absolutely memorable and so much fun.

Holland had her one year check-up today and the doctor said she looked great and had hit all of the necessary milestones!  She got to hear Holland's fake laugh and received a high five once the check-up was complete so I think Holland was quite pleased with herself as well.  After being off the charts in height at nine months, Holland slowed her roll and is now... still really tall.  And speaking of rolls, girlfriend has quite a few.  Ha! Her newest nickname is Squish. 

Weight: 23 lbs 1.5 oz (89%)
Height: 30.5" (90%)
Head: 18.25" (86%)
Shoe size: 3.5 (had her officially measured this past weekend!)

We are working hard on three meals a day.  Some days these meals are a veggie pouch on the go but we're getting there.  The only food she has flat-out refused is wheat cereal (her very first food).  She hates it, which is hilarious because it was a regular for the twins until they were close to two.  She is a huge fan of carbs and sweets - no clue where she gets it - and her biggest issue is not swallowing before sticking more food in her mouth.  She definitely gets some chipmunk cheeks if we aren't paying close enough attention.  I've been proud of her willingness to try anything, regardless of texture or flavor.

We reached a year of breastfeeding and it is still my favorite time spent with my girl.  I will probably start (slooooowly) weaning her over the next few months and we'll see how it goes.  My next (and last) goal is to make it until we go to Sanibel in July because we'll be flying and that is the greatest defense for a busy toddler.

Toddler...  :(

Holland is such a little firecracker and wants to be around her siblings at all times.  Her favorite toy right now is Sloane's doll house or anything she can fit in her mouth.  Her Mimi & Papa gave her the cutest wooden bird walker and she has been scooting around the house with the proudest smile on her face.  She also received a scooter from Uncle B & Aunt Chelle!  Once she realized she now has a scooter just like J&S, she squealed, clapped, and it was quite possibly THE cutest thing she's ever done.  She's still in no rush to take any steps and gets really nervous when she realizes she doesn't have anything to hold onto.  I'm guessing we still have another month or two before she even attempts walking.   

Holland is SO strong.  I'm shocked at some of the things she picks up and moves as well as how tough it is to wrangle her at times.  And yes, I realize she is 12 months old and I should be embarrassed that she gives me a run for my money.  I am.

She's also interacting more and more with us.  She absolutely loves to give high fives and will mimic any sound or word as best she can.  She's definitely speaking her own language right now but is great at matching pitch (ha!) and loves to "answer" anything you ask.  We haven't added any new words (currently says dada, ba bye, and heeeeey) but she's at least trying to say mama now.  Still comes out as baba but I'll take it.

Not much has changed here!  She's mostly sleeping through the night (7:30p - 7:30a) with an occasional interruption around midnight.  I was thinking we'd drop one of her naps when she turned one but there are some days she can't even make it to 10a before crashing so even though the two naps are oftentimes short, I think we're better to keep both for now.

She is a bit like her dad in that she loves her sleep but once she's awake she has no interest in staying in bed (which is quite ridiculous to me, I could lounge in bed all morning).  She wakes up and is immediately standing up and calling out to us.  Again, the FOMO.  She can't stand to be away from any of us for long!

Michael wrote her one-year letter below (read his letter to the twins HERE) and I love that she'll have these to read one day.

She is adored by us all and the perfect addition to our family.  She is such a ham and has given us a chance to slow down and remember just how much fun it is to hear tiny squeals inside these walls.  I cherish this time so much!

Holland, you have a huge smile waiting for whomever rescues you from the crib each morning.  As soon as you've had your diaper changed, you crawl out of your room as fast as you can and peek around the corner.  You know your brother and sister will be eating breakfast at the counter, and you talk to them as soon as you can see them.  They immediately respond with smiles and giggles and that just makes you smile even more, maybe clap your hands for good measure.  

That's a great summary of what you've added to our life.  You can always inject a bit of sunshine or a moment of excitement to the mundane parts of our day.  

You're also very particular about what you like and what you want to do.  You love to cruise along the ottoman, shift over to the couch, then work all the way around to the other side.  At that point you're stuck and it's all our fault.  The cabinets are a newfound treasure for you as well.  In the kitchen, it's either the cabinet next to the fridge with all of the cups, or the pantry, where you can find bags and cans to spread out all over the floor.  You've also found your mother's underwear drawer and it's hilarious.  You're like a magician pulling scarves.  

You've grown so much, so quickly, but the little things are still the most fun.  You obviously recognize everyone's name, and you'll look at them and point when we address one of your siblings.  When you discover new foods that you enjoy, you want as much of it in your mouth at one time as possible.  And sometimes more.  Your bedtime is a joy to watch because everyone says good night to you and you can't get enough of the attention.  Smiles all the way to the crib.  

We're so grateful for you and look forward to what year two will bring!  

Love - Dad

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Holland | 11 Months

We're about 10 days away from Holland's first birthday but she is STILL 11 months so I'm going to consider this delayed blog post a win.  I'm that marathon runner who limps across the finish line as they're removing all of the street cones because everyone else finished the race seven hours ago.  Not even sure I get a medal.  Participation ribbon is pushing it.

ANYWHO.  Our darling girl is closing in on one and I'm feeling all the feelings.  It's been a quick year and so incredibly sweet.

Holland is still amazing us with her willingness to try anything and everything.  That being said, she is not a FAN of everything, but I love that she takes "no thank you" bites just like her siblings.  At this point I am supposed to be feeding her three meals a day.  Most days that does not happen.  In fact, most days at least one of her meals is what is left over from Jude, Sloane's or my plate.  We have dinner as a family every night so that's really the only time she gets a complete meal.  We're working on it.

She hasn't added any new teeth but her front eight are fully in and are great for helping her eat.  I keep looking for a few more to pop through because her hands are in the back of her mouth constantly.

As far as nursing, that's still going really well!  She still nurses 4-6 times a day.  I was far more scheduled with the twins so when I start weaning it's going to be tricky.  It's not like I can "drop the noon feeding" because I usually watch her cues for eating times instead of watching the clock.  It's a bit hilarious how type A I was with J&S and how type B (is there a type C?!) I am with Holland.  It's worked well for us and so far everyone is happy and thriving so I'm not too worried.  Ask me how I'm feeling at 18 months if she's still nursing 4-6 times a day.

Holland is such a ham.  She is quite the social butterfly and absolutely loves being around her siblings.  If anyone around her starts laughing, she throws her head back and laughs as well.  It is my favorite thing about her right now.  She MUST be a part of the conversation!  She "talks" all the time but still doesn't use many appropriate words.  She says "dada" regularly and when I beg her to say "mama" she says "Baba."  She either says "Hey" or something very close to it when she waves to people.  Her favorite word at the moment is "Osh" and we've yet to figure out what she's talking about.

She's mastered several gestures: waving, shaking her head "no," clapping, pointing, and giving high fives.  She also dances on command, which is the cutest.  If you tell her "no," her face crumbles and she cries her eyes out, which is both sad and hilarious.  She is so dramatic.

Still no signs of walking.  Not even close.  She cruises around the house with grace and speed but has no confidence in letting go.  In fact, if I hold her hands to help her walk she'll take about six steps before she sits down.  Just not interested.  That being said, she's worn holes into several of her pajamas from all of the crawling - she is everywhere and into everything.  She's also started climbing the stairs, much to our chagrin.

Holland is getting more interested in books and really likes the ones that have texture on the pages.  We introduced a few puzzles this month and she could take them or leave them but she's very interested in stealing pieces from her older brother and sister's board games.  So sneaky.

Holland has been sleeping fairly well.  She still takes two naps a day, one around 10a and the other around 2:30p.  One is typically two hours and the other is one hour but I never know which will be the "long nap" that day.  She goes to bed around 7:30p and most days sleeps until 7:30a.  I would say three or four days a week she sleeps through the night and the other days she wakes up for a quick snack around midnight.

We still put her in a sleep sack for both nighttime and naps.  She never took to a pacifier and she's also not a thumb sucker so she doesn't have anything to soothe her when she wakes up.  When she wakes up she stands up in her crib and then cries because she doesn't want to fall back down.  If this happens in the middle of the night one of us has to go in and lay her back down.  Michael is nice enough to take that job because if I go in there she thinks it's time for another meal.

Dear Holland,
Precious girl, you are so much fun.  You are not the laidback third child I expected - you prefer the attention of everyone in the room and aren't truly satisfied unless you are being held.  Fortunately, it's still a fight as to who gets to hold you and everyone - including your brother and sister - just love to spend time with you.  You are charismatic and I have a feeling your strong personality will continue to grow right along with you.

Holland, you are so very tall!  We aren't quite sure where the height is coming from but when I see your dad holding you it makes me so sad because you no longer look tiny in his arms!  You have gorgeous blue eyes and the prettiest lips.  Your skin is quite fair and your hair is thickening up - it looks to be a dark blonde.  You're comfortably wearing 12-18 mo clothes and size 4 diapers.  I love that warmer weather is heading our way because seeing your cute arms and legs is my favorite!  Rolls for days, my dear.

I've always been a little nervous about you being so much younger than J&S but so far you've just fit in so well with everyone.  Sloane is the best little mama and can make you laugh harder than anyone.  Jude brings out your mischievous side and I have a feeling you two will be partners in crime forever.  I'm also so grateful for the bond you and I have shared this year - you are constantly on my hip and I think we both feel a bit safer when we're together.  There's a good chance I will have to walk across the stage at your kindergarten graduation because I'm not sure either of us wants to put you down.

I've been searching for the perfect nickname for you but nothing has fit.  I tried calling you certain names and it just sounded forced so I stopped.  For whatever reason I've started calling you Chicken Little, which makes no sense whatsoever but for right now it's the best we have.

Your daddy is going to write your one year letter so this will be my last letter of your first year.  I hope when you read these notes you understand how happy you've made all of us.  I feel so incredibly lucky to call you mine and even though the thought of you growing older makes my heart hurt, I know you are going to be a gift to so many others.  I can't wait to learn more about you, my precious baby girl.

Love you forever,

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Holland | 9 & 10 Months

Well it happened.  Holland turned 10 months and there was never a nine month post.  January was CRAZY.  Lots of sickness with several trips to the doctor, an amazing trip to Disney World, multiple days off of school due to aforementioned sickness or school programming... and I just missed it.  Sigh.  Another day would slip by and I'd think, "I really need to write her nine month post."

I'm so sorry, Holland.

While I didn't write, I did take a ton of pictures and videos, including this montage I started on January 1.  So I'll let this tell a bit of our story...

Here's Holland's 9-month stats..
Weight: 21 lbs (88%)
Height: 30 in (99%)
Head: 17 3/4" (83%)

For two average-sized parents, we make very tall kiddos.  Holland had a great check-up and was meeting almost all of her marks.  The doctor asked if Holland waved and I replied, "Well.  Occasionally? Not regularly. Not on command."  She asked if she clapped.  Hmm... nope.  She would bang two objects together, which the doctor counted as clapping, but of course I came home that day and told Michael, "We need to work on her waving and clapping."  Ha. In Holland's defense, we still look at her as an infant.  When Jude & Sloane were her age I was reading them multiple books a day, working on sounds, waving, clapping, singing, etc.  I didn't even realize Holland had reached the age where those things should be happening.  Days are very chill over here and apparently I'm not a natural waver or clapper.

Anywho, long story short, we started working on clapping and waving and she picked both up in no time.  She's also standing up on her own and crawling on all fours!

On her 10-month birthday she started cruising, cautiously at first, but as each day goes by she gets more and more confident. She will keep one hand on a chair and lean down to pick something up off the floor but hasn't stood by herself yet.  I don't see that happening for awhile.

We also had her tested for all food/environmental allergies.  Her eczema was getting worse and worse and the only thing that seemed to offer any relief was coconut oil.  The doctor said we could start going through different foods one at a time or they could take a few vials of blood and test everything.  We decided to go that route.  I was preparing myself for the worst: peanuts, eggs, shellfish... but her test results came back negative across the board.  We were all a bit shocked (and thrilled).  Strangely enough, her eczema completely cleared up while we were in Florida.  The only thing we can guess is she was in a stroller for almost a week straight and not crawling/rolling/etc. on the floor, which can irritate her skin.  Since we've been back from Disney I've noticed her eczema has returned, though not nearly to the extent it was before.

I originally thought we were going to have another picky eater as she refused almost all pureed foods.  It was frustrating and so very messy.  There were tears.  They were not always Holland's.  :/  What I finally realized is the girl just wasn't interested in purees.  Real food?  Loves it.  LOVES it.

This week I had breakfast with girlfriends and Holland shared my entire meal with me.  Scrambled eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and pancakes.  That's more than my 5-year-olds eat.  I texted Michael with the fun news and he immediately replied, "Favorite child."  Obviously he was kidding but it's nice to know we may actually have a kid who will eat everything (or most everything) we eat.  Whoop!

One of the reasons she's doing so great with food is she has EIGHT teeth.  They started popping up two at a time in the last few months - she's keeping right up with Jude in this category!  She never really experienced any teething problems but she does put absolutely everything in her mouth so we have to pick up constantly.

She's still nursing 4-17 times a day (I don't even count) and is working on drinking water from a sippy cup.  I was on the receiving end of those eight teeth a few times (OUCH) but she's our sensitive child so all I have to say is, "NO!" and she stops (and cries).  Her face crumples up and I immediately feel terrible for telling her no, which is ridiculous.

She's getting several solid meals each day but they're typically just food from our plates - I don't prepare a lot specifically for her.  This morning she shared my bagel + cream cheese and for a snack this afternoon had some of my chicken and Jude's yogurt.  Pretty laidback over here!

Holland is the best fifth wheel to our family.  For dinner we sit at our spots around the table and just scoot her high chair right next to us.  She watches whoever is talking and will offer her own squawk or wave/clap.

One of the best things is how nice Jude & Sloane are to her.  They are crazy about her and genuinely love spending time with her.  I wondered if we would have some jealousy issues or frustrations about her holding them back but so far they've just welcomed her to their club.  I know this won't always be the case but I'm enjoying it now!

Holland doesn't need many toys but she does require your complete attention.  She doesn't have an independent bone in her body and still has severe FOMO.  Most of the time it's not a problem as there is always a lot going on around here but days when it's just the two of us (and I need to work) can be quite challenging.

This is pretty hit or miss lately.  She was doing really well with sleeping through the night before Disney but while we were there she woke up several times and I always fed her so she wouldn't cry & wake the rest of the family up.  Once we got back home she was still expecting several middle of the night feedings (NOPE) so we're having to retrain a bit.  Naps are... ok.  The morning nap is pretty short (typically less than an hour) but the afternoon nap still lasts 1.5 - 2 hrs.  I'm not ready to drop her morning nap yet but it won't be too much longer.

Dear Holland,
Baby girl, HOW are you two months shy of one?  Your little personality is really shining lately and you make us laugh all of the time.  You and Sloane crack each other up more than anyone and it's really sweet to sit back and watch.

You've changed so much in the last few months.  Along with your eight shiny teeth, your hair is really starting to come in - it's straight on top and curly in the back so we're not sure which one will stay!  Your skin has lightened quite a bit and your eyes are a gorgeous blue.  You still have so many rolls and, as always, I can't get enough. Both Jude & Sloane started slimming down after they turned one so I'm enjoying the chunk while it lasts.

You're wearing 12-18 month clothes and size 3 shoes.  You do not care for shoes or socks, which would be quite fine by me if it weren't so dang cold outside.  I always bring a little sweater or blanket because I know even if it's below freezing you're going to kick off your socks and they're going to get lost in the infinite abyss that is my car.

You "talk" all of the time but aren't saying many words yet.  Dada is still your favorite and baba is really common, too (we started playing "Barbara Ann" for you and you sing right along)!  Still no mama, I whisper it to you throughout the day but no luck yet.  You also make several other sounds that I'm sure will become words sooner than later!

You really don't care for sleep, sweet girl.  Putting you down for naps is tough and almost always met with tears.  I wish I could convince you how amazing naps are.  One day you'll realize and it'll be too late! :)

You are such a bright spot to our days.  When Michael gets home from work you light up and clap - it makes him so happy.  I get the same response when I pick you up from a nap and your whole body just melts into mine.  Your little cheek against mine is my favorite.

I have to go now because you're insisting I hold you.  I must also mention you have a bit of a jealous streak - if you see me holding Jude or Sloane you crawl right up to us so I'll hold you as well. It's been a bit tricky when I'm holding a sick big kid and you have to wait your turn.

I love you, sweet girl.


T E N  M O N T H S


Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Love Letter to 2017

Tomorrow begins a new year so I thought it would be nice to write one blog post in 2017 that was not a monthly update on Holland.

Typically I'm excited to start a new year.  There is nothing I love more than a clean slate, which is why taking down Christmas decorations makes me giddy... perhaps a smidge giddier than putting them up (don't tell).

But this year.  THIS YEAR, you guys.  It was not always perfect, of course, but it was good.  It was so good.  It brought us the biggest surprise of our lives, our sweet Holland Claire.  She was the gift I didn't even know I needed.

I wish I could say my faith is rock solid.  It's not.  I'm not sure it's ever been.  I'm a Christian, but when my mind starts turning and I think about heaven... it's all so bizarre and strange.  Simply put, it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.  I read something once, "Doubt your doubts."  I find myself having to do that often.


Holland Claire.  Holland is who I turn to now when I start to have doubts.  She is my tangible miracle.  We've always been able to get pregnant but were not able to sustain a pregnancy without help.  Except Holland.  We were done having kids.  We'd sold everything and moved forward.  Then 2016 happened and we were dealt some unfortunate cards.  I prayed for God to show his face.  One of those prayers was simply, "I need to see YOU.  I need to see your hand in this."

He gave me Holland.

I didn't pray for a baby.  I didn't even know I wanted a baby.  But the second I took that pregnancy test, I knew.  She was His answer to my prayer.

There were 100 other possibilities but instead he gave me her.... a literal and metaphorical second chance.

The reason I share this is simply because... I'm not quite ready for 2018.  I look at this past year and see redemption and restoration.  I can't help but think, "It can't get better," which unfortunately means... it must get worse.  Ha.  (It took me 35 years to realize I'm not a realist, I'm a pessimist. Whomp whomp.)  Starting a new year is hard for me because I want to hold on tightly to the incredible year I've been given.  I want to cling to our health, our happiness, and our kiddos at this very moment when their biggest fears are make-believe monsters and hurricanes hitting McKinney.

I remember a similar feeling when we were flying home from our honeymoon and I was curled up in a ball - I wasn't ready to be back in the real world.  Meanwhile, Michael was so excited about our future.  10 years later I'm looking back at 2017 with hands grasping anything I can hold onto while he's looking toward 2018 with wide eyes and big dreams.  Thankfully, he's kind of scooting me along with him and encouraging me to do the same.

2018 will bring some exciting times:  Holland's first birthday, Jude & Sloane starting kindergarten,  and me possibly going back to work full time (jury is still out).  And since I haven't yet learned how to stop time - I feel like I'm getting close - I suppose I will embrace all of the exciting times ahead.

This post is all over the place.  I guess I just felt like a formal THANK YOU was in order for 2017.  It has been the sweetest year of my life and given me so much joy.

I hope your year was just as sweet.  And if it more resembled my 2016, just know it will get better...  especially in 2020 when we get a new president (oh come on, you know I had to...)

Friday, December 22, 2017

Holland | Eight Months

Aaaand here we are, two weeks late again.  Holland, please don't take my delay in writing your posts as anything other than me having poor time management skills.  Also, you are quite the needy babe and don't give me a lot of free time to do much of anything.  In conclusion, this is all your fault (ha).

It's been a fun month for our girl!  Not a ton of changes but steady growth!

This month has been a bit of a bummer in that I've now realized I'm not the queen of homemade food as I once believed.  Holland has tried quite a few new solids.  I pureed sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, pees, apples, blueberries, etc.  She didn't want anything to do with any of them.  It wasn't like she ate something and spit it out, she just closed her mouth and refused to take a bite.  I was determined to save us money by making her food but when your child doesn't eat anything you make, you aren't saving much.  I bought some vegetable/fruit pouches for her to try and she likes some but, to be completely honest, she just wants to nurse and eat finger foods.  She loves mum mums and tolerates yogurt melts, cheerios, etc.  In sheer desperation/frustration I gave her a slice of my pizza one day and she gnawed on that for a bit before looking at me with disdain.  So... I'm not quite sure what to make of it and plan to ask the doc at her nine month appointment.

Holland now has two teeth, which appeared mid-month and on the same day.  I took her to the pediatrician for what I thought was an ear infection (she was snotty and kept touching her ear) but the doc told me teething signs are very similar and, sure enough, two teeth popped up the next day.  She continues to put everything in her mouth so I imagine more teeth are on the horizon (spoiler alert: I'm writing this two weeks late and actually know this to be true).

Breastfeeding is still going well so she's as chunky as ever, but I do realize that will stop one day and the little lady needs to add more to her food repertoire.  She nurses about five times a day with her first feeding around 6a and her last at 7:30p.

That's right folks, if you read the last sentence above you see she is now SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!  It took eight months.  EIGHT.  MONTHS.  The day she turned eight months is the day we finally tried the cry it out method.  It was as awful as one can imagine and I told Michael the next morning, "There's no sadder baby than Holland."  I realize that statement is ridiculous as every baby who goes through CIO is the saddest baby ever.  However, our girl is a quick learner and has slept through the night consistently since. Whoop! I'd put it off as long as I could but instead of her waking up once or twice each night it was three or four (or five) times.  Both of us were total grouches in the morning (and throughout the day).   Now that we're both getting longer stretches of sleep, life is better than ever.

This typically goes after E A T but I was so dang excited about her sleeping through the night that I couldn't wait any longer to spill the beans.  Playing has been a lot of fun this month.  Her favorite toys are still all the things she doesn't need to touch (wires, small objects, dirty shoes, hot coffee mugs, etc.) but as long as you put an appropriate replacement object in her hands as you take the bad object away, she doesn't get too upset.  Sloane has learned she can pick Holland up and is constantly running after her to drag her away from something she shouldn't touch.  Holland LOVES being held by Sloane so she always gives me a big grin as she's being whisked away.

Holland adores Jude & Sloane and wants so badly to join in on what they're doing.  She's still army crawling but she does the first six or so steps as a regular crawl before she drops to her stomach so she can speed up the process.

We've noticed some pretty severe eczema this month and I wonder if it's extra irritated due to her crawling (the worst of it is on her stomach).  We've tried several lotions and they all hurt her terribly so we've resorted to coconut oil and aquaphor with a little bit of hydrocortisone cream, which has worked wonders.  She's a slippery mess after we put it all on her but it's offering relief so we've made it a part of her bedtime and morning routines.

Holland talks constantly.  No meaningful words yet, but she's saying Dada, Baba, Hey (drawn out and sounds like "Heeeeeey"), and lots of baby babble.  Along with recognizing her own name, she seems to recognize all of our names and will typically look at the person I name.  ("Where's dada?)  She's ticklish and her laugh is amazing.

As long as you are holding her, she loves you...  Family, strangers, doesn't matter.  Just hold her close and she'll love you forever.

Dear Holland,
Sweet girl, it's been another great month with you by our side!  Speaking of side, you are the best little sidekick and are pretty much attached to my hip throughout the day.  You want to be a part of the action and sitting alone on the floor simply will not do.

You have a few teeth now and more are clearly on their way.  Your hair is slowly filling in and your blue eyes are getting a bit lighter!  You've had to deal with some pretty severe eczema this month, which breaks my heart but you are such a trooper.

We've had some cold days so I put socks on you whenever we leave the house and you are NOT a fan.  By the time we get where we're going you've already removed at least one if not both.  Bows don't seem to bother you but you don't love the cute hats I put on your sweet head.  I guess this means you are a true Texas girl and want nothing to do with cold weather accessories.

Your smile is the best part of my day.  I'll be honest, I've been so tired the last few months and there are some days I'm exhausted and DONE by 10:30a, but your smile... It's impossible not to smile back and fall in love with you all over again.

I love getting to spend my days with you.  I know how quickly the early years go by and it's been so much fun watching you learn and grow and play.  You're a sponge and as you soak in everything around you, I just stare in amazement.  What a gift it has been to get to do this all over again!  You are precocious and can be quite stoic at times.  And then our eyes meet and you give me the biggest grin.  I'm going to have to be careful with you because you're eight months old and already know how to get exactly what you want.

Watching Jude and Sloane with you is so much fun.  Sloane is your second mama and she takes her job very seriously.  Jude, meanwhile, is the fun big brother who just wants to make you laugh.  He hates to see you upset and will do a silly dance to distract you.  I think the growing bond between you and your siblings is what I'm excited about most.

Every time I put you to bed I hold you close and whisper, "I love you, Holland" because I want those words to be so ingrained in your sweet head that there is never any doubt.  You are so unbelievably loved.  Before we know it you'll be turning one and I'll be a sad sap crying in the corner (you'll get used to it, I'm a wreck when it comes to birthdays).  Until then, I will do my best to make every day count and remember how lucky I am that what you want most right now is to simply be by my side.

I love you, Holland.

Love - Mama

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Holland | Seven Months

Holland turned seven months almost two weeks ago and here I am finally writing her update.  I think this is proof of how crazy life has gotten now that she's on the move!  I barely have time to eat, let alone write an update.  But here we are for memory's sake!

This was a big month for Holland as we introduced solid food!  She was ecstatic - she's been anxiously watching us and wanting in on the excitement.  We started with wheat cereal and I'm pretty sure she only ate about 3% of it - the rest came right back out.  She's gotten much better with it - after milk for six months there was an adjustment period. I also made butternut squash this month and she liked it as well.

Aaaand that's it.  I'm so embarrassed to admit she's only had these two so far.  Sweet potatoes are next on the list and then I may give fruit a try.  A lot of it is just due to (lack of) timing and the ease of breastfeeding.  It's quick, easy, and there's zero clean-up.  I have to remind myself that regardless of ease for me, I need to step up my game and get this girl eating more solids.

That being said, breastfeeding is still going really well!  I went to Charleston for several days this month so I pumped two weeks beforehand and she did great with bottles while I was gone.  I was curious if she'd take thawed milk but Michael said she didn't have any issues!  Whew!

No teeth yet but it's obvious they're close.  So much drool and she chews on everything in site.

Holland is definitely the epitome of a third child.  She wants to be involved in all of the action and is quite the crawler these days!  It's still an army crawl but she is SO fast and I've lost her multiple times  in our home after leaving her in one room and coming back a minute later to no Holland.  Her arms are so strong and she seems to love the challenge of keeping up with her siblings.

Her favorite toys are phone chargers and dirty shoes.  Awesome.  I can line up five baby appropriate toys and she heads straight for danger.  It's harder this time around because (with the twins) we were able to fully baby proof the house.  That's a wee bit impossible when you have two older kids also living at home.  Lots of redirection happening around here.

On her 7-month birthday she sat up from a crawl for the first time.  It was so cute to watch her figure it out - she was so surprised when she realized she'd sat up on her own.  She still loves to stand up on our legs, whether it's facing us or looking out at everyone else.

She's more consistent with waving back when you wave to her and her hand-eye coordination is impressive.  We were at Mimi & Papa's house and Jude was playing with battery-operated cars on a track.  They move incredibly fast and each time one would zoom by she'd scoop it up with her hand and then hang onto it.

She also celebrated Halloween this year by dressing up as Hei Hei from the movie Moana.  It consisted of us dressing her up, taking cute pictures with her siblings, and then leaving her home with Gaga & Poppy while the rest of us trick or treated (it was really cold that night)!  She'll come with us next year for sure!

Sleep is ridiculous.  There isn't much consistency - sometimes (rarely) she sleeps through the night but more often than not she wakes up once or twice.  I believe I've said, "We're going to try CIO this weekend" about six times and have yet to commit.  It's especially hard when she sleeps next door to Jude & Sloane.  CIO means she'll most likely wake up the twins who need to go to school in the morning (and get a good night's sleep).  We'll get there.

Holland typically takes two naps a day - one around 9:30a and the other around 1p.  She will occasionally take a third nap in the early evening - it all depends on the length of the previous two and her overall demeanor. She easily falls asleep in the car, which can be pretty miserable for the rest of us because that means her naps can be as short as 15 minutes.  Yuck.

Bedtime is 7:30p and I do Holland's bedtime routine while Michael is reading to the big kids.  My hope is to move her bedtime to 7p but with Michael getting home late most days I hate for him to miss out on time with her in the evenings.

Dear Holland,
What a fun month it has been with you!  You continue to meet all milestones with ease and are ahead of the game with most.  I'm equal parts proud and devastated because I realize how fast the baby days are flying.  Not to mention you are quite large for your age so you're already looking more like a toddler and less like a baby.  Stop it!  Stop it right now!

You are so sweet, Holland!  You are such a joy to be around and your huge grin is contagious.  You don't care to be left alone and now that you're on the move you really don't love sitting still.  Leisurely brunches are a thing of the past as you have no desire to sit still for a meal.

You're finishing up a box of size 3 diapers and then we'll move to 4.  You still fit into 6-12 month clothing but I'm now only buying 12-18 because you fit in those as well.  You wear size 70 or 75 in your Hanna pajamas and size 2 shoes!

Your hair hasn't grown much in the last month - it's still hard to tell if it's going to stay dark.  Your eyes are a gorgeous blue and your skin has lightened considerably.  I've also noticed a few eczema patches but nothing (yet) like Sloane.  We're watching it closely so we can make sure you stay comfortable!

Everyone says you look like your daddy, who just so happens to be your favorite person in the world. It's hard not to be jealous but it's so much fun to see your face light up when he walks into the room.  Apparently feeding you multiple times a day (and night)... basically keeping you alive... is not what wins you over - hurumph.

Holland Claire, I'm still searching for the perfect nickname for you.  Right now I call you the most ridiculous things (seriously - RIDICULOUS) and in the highest pitch voice because I can't even help myself.  I've even called you certain names and then stopped mid-sentence because it doesn't even make sense.  Your mom is very tired.

You have been the best addition to our little family.  Jude & Sloane adore you just as much as we do.  I have mixed feelings about you growing up so fast but I truly can't wait to see what you'll do next.  You are so loved, sweet girl!

Love - Mama


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