Tuesday, January 14, 2014

15 months

Our precious Stella is 15 months! She has turned into quite a little character these past few months. Her personality is really starting to come out.....and we think she's kinda....well.....she's MEAN.

What? That sweet face? Don't let her fool you. The girl knows how to get her way.

Yes, she is a very sweet baby. She gives kisses and she loves to cuddle. But if she wants something, she has a little bit of an edge. And she gets it. Usually by force.

Ok she's not really mean. But it is funny to see how early and how young she has picked up on the dynamic of our family. She knows she's the baby. She knows how to work her big sisters. And she definitely knows how to work her mama and daddy.

Honestly, we all love her so much and most of the time she is still very laid back and easy going. It will be interesting as she gets older to see her spunk continue to come out.

I've just decided to accept the fact that none of my children will have mild personalities. They all have a little bit of drive, independence, and toughness. Each in their own way. Let's just say that the teenage years in our house will be anything but dull.

riding her hippo she got for Christmas from Big Daddy and Grandma 

I've really noticed Stella's little toddler-isms start to come out this month. She seems less like a baby and more like a little mischievous munchkin. She will follow commands (for the most part), she has become very playful and active, and she's even walking! 

She loves to give big, wet, slobbery kisses. She still LOVES to eat and starts dancing when she sees food coming. She loves music and loves to dance. She loves emptying the kitchen cabinets. She loves taking anything out of a container and then putting it back in (what child/toddler/baby doesn't??)

She still has brown fuzz for hair and her eyes are dark brown, a lot like Lucy's. 

She isn't very fond of milk anymore. Which is fine with me. I still give it to her in the morning when she first gets up but she only drinks it about half the time.

I think she is on target for weight/height....but she certainly feels a little on the chunky side to me. She's much thicker and feels heavier than Annie. But she's wearing 12 month clothes and is pretty short.

I told her to kiss the hippo

She walks across the room independently, but still crawls most of the time. Especially when she wants to get somewhere fast. She is walking more and more though and starting to stand up and choose to walk even if she starts in a sitting position.

I was looking at pictures and videos of Annie around 15 months the other day, and Annie was SO much more advanced as far as gross motor skills. She was running around and climbing already. I forget how things change so quickly around this age and I imagine Stella will be taking off very soon.

walking across her room 

I can't even remember what it was like before Stella joined our family. She just adds so much personality and dynamic that it's difficult to remember what we did without her.

I just love this age and watching how much they grow. She has changed so much just in the past few months and I know will continue to change in the next few. Soon babyhood will be behind her and she'll be blasting straight into toddlerhood.

Sweet girl! You are so loved Stella!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Family Christmas

We had a wonderful, but very busy Christmas this year. We are blessed enough to live close to all of our family....all three sets of grandparents and one set of great-grandparents. This makes for a lot of house hopping and gift giving. Every year I say I'm not going to do it anymore, I turn into the Grinch and say we aren't driving around all Christmas and that everyone can just come to our house. But somehow we end up driving around to everyone and spending most of our Christmas in the car. 

The girls had a blast and love driving around to see everyone. It was exhausting for me, especially since I'm anti-social and a hermit, AND I do all the majority of the work as far as packing/unpacking and preparing for all of our short term trips.

We spent Christmas Eve with Mark's family. The big hit at their house was princess dresses for the girls.

Two years ago, when Annie was a baby, we decided to start spending Christmas morning at our own house, and opening gifts from just us. I'm so glad we started this tradition then, because as the girls get older, I want them to remember Christmas morning waking up in their own beds and running down the stairs in our house and spending the morning just the five of us. I always make a big breakfast and we just love spending time together in our pjs on Christmas morning.

 Stella had matching pjs too but of course she peed all the way through them. I seriously contemplated leaving her in pee pjs for christmas morning pictures and then realized that would be stupid and only for appearance and not for her comfort. So unmatching pjs it is.

We usually set out one big gift for the girls....something they can all share and enjoy. One year it was a wagon, one year it was doll accessories, this year we bought them an art easel. Stella won't be able to use it for a few years (other than chewing on chalk and art supplies) but the older girls loved it.

We keep things fairly simple as far as gift giving goes. Everyone gets three gifts, Something you Want, Something you Need, and Something to Read. My friend Claire mentioned they do the same thing. Usually for the girls, this translates into a toy, an outfit or a pair of shoes, and of course a book. We also do little stocking stuffers.

Annie asked for a baby doll this year. Although we have collected quite a few over the years she doesn't have one that is just hers, so she got what she wanted.

Next year I'm hoping to hang around our house for longer on Christmas day. As soon as we finished breakfast we hit the ground running and went to my dad's, back home for quick naps, back to my dad's for a big family late lunch, then to my mom's for Christmas evening. Not really sure how any of this can be changed....of course we want to see everyone on Christmas but it's getting harder and harder to drag three little ones around and make sure everyone gets equal time. I try to make everyone happy and usually I end up making myself miserable.

Ahh the Holidays.

We are very blessed. I know many people who don't have any family to go see on Christmas. We are so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in our lives who want to see us and shower us with gifts on Christmas. I get whiny about it but really it's such a good problem to have.....to have too many places to go on Christmas. We are so loved.