Nora Speaks

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So now that Nora is past the one year stage, and I am not longer doing monthly posts about her, I find that I am missing things! I did a 15 month update and plan to do the next one at 18 months.

The problem is, in the last month she has learned so many new things! Especially vocabulary-wise! I’ve said it before, but one of my favorite things about blogging is having a written account of so many great memories. I love to look back and read my own posts and reminisce!

So, since I can only imagine how much will change in the two months before Nora hits 18 months (wahhhhhh). I want to document some of her new words and skills now!


At 15 months Nora could consistently say the following words: dada, momma, please (da), thank you, love you and bye-bye.

Not too shabby. Now get a load of this.

At 16 months (+ 2 weeks) Nora can consistently say: hot, go, no-no, ball, all done, KiKi (Kira), Rigby, Papa, hi, CoCo (Courtney), eat, eyes, shoes, dip-dip (ketchup), cracker, flower, off, outside, yes, and night-night. Plus all the words she could already say!

That’s 20 new words in a little over a month! These aren’t just words she has said once or twice. These are things she says regularly! I literally cannot believe how much she is learning right before my eyes! And this is just her vocabulary!

She can also make the sounds (after seeing or hearing the name of) these animals: puppy,  duck, owl, elephant, monkey, snake, lion, bird, and kitty.

She can also point out the following body parts on herself or others: mouth, hair, ears, toes, nose, belly, and eyes!

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This is not me bragging on how smart my kid is (even though she is clearly a genius). I simply am just in awe of how fast she is learning new things! It feels like she picks up new words and skills daily! And once she has it, she keeps it!

Nora’s Family Book

Nora is talking more and more each day. It’s crazy how quickly she started to pick up on repeating what we say and remembering words we teach her. Since we live far away from most all of our family, I decided to make a book to teach Nora all of her family’s names.

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I used Shutterfly to create an 8×8 photo book full of pictures of family. This will begin teaching Nora the names of those who love her most! I was able to design each page how I wanted, choosing pictures, backgrounds, and adding embellishments. I’m so happy with how cute it turned out! Here’s a small peek inside!

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As you can see the book is already well-loved! We read it each night before bed – and a few times in between! Slowly but surely she is learning each name!

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Coffee Conversations

 

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If I had you over for coffee (again), first I would be elated to be having some adult interaction. Lately, my days are filled with a tiny gal who demands my attention.

I would let you know how much I am enjoying this new season as a stay at home momma! I truly am soaking in what a blessing this new life is. It is such a joy to be there for each and every moment of my gal’s day. I don’t miss a thing, and I love that.

I would tell you how I spend my days playing with my girl, cleaning, writing, and being as domestic as possible. I would want to take you on a tour of my first-ever garden. I’m so proud of the seeds I’ve sewn. I would show you my latest projects around the house. But, I would mostly fill your ears with tales of my baby girl, who is growing and changing much too fast.

I’d pour our coffee, and serve up those warm cinnamon rolls I carefully constructed this morning.

Once the coffee is poured, things get real.

I would have to tell you that there is a space in my life that feels empty. Something is lacking. I would explain how I’m missing the days when I faithfully saw my friends. We’d go out for dinner, meet up for the weekend, talk and laugh until the sun went down. Those moments spent with friends would recharge me, fill me up, and send me on to boldly face another week.

But, college ended. Friends moved away. We moved away. My favorite people, met and married their  favorite people, and began their new lives together.

Just like me.

I would reveal that this season is hard.

I would clarify that I am utterly happy at home. My marriage is loving, he’s my best friend. My daughter is precious, I cherish our days at home together. But, I feel an aching for community. Making new friends is hard. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one feeling this way.

I would tell you that these are my struggles, but I am putting them in God’s hands. I am learning to step out and take some risks. I am praying for opportunities to arise. I am putting my heart out there. I’m open to change!

So, if we were sitting together finishing our coffee, I’d thank you for coming, send you with some cinnamon rolls, and I’d ask you to come back because I am craving friend time… and I’m always craving coffee.

Pinterest Five | Toddler Activities

The teacher in me loves to plan activities for Nora. I love when she free-plays and uses her still-developing imagination, but I also love to show her new things and design activities for her! Since she is getting to the age where she can do so much more and actually mimic and follow directions, I am in heaven!

I have come up with a few fun activities we do together. We have “painted” with water outside. Done ping-pong balls in a muffin tin. One of my favorites was making alphabet soup with letter magnets and a bowl. I recently took to Pinterest to find some more activities. If you are in need of some fun ideas or activities to get your toddler’s brain working. Here are my five favorite finds!

*Click the image to go to the link.

 

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I cannot wait to try some of these out! I already have a shopping list made!

Copycat, Copycat

nonomakeupWe are at the beginning of the copycat stage.

I can truly say though, that it is so much fun! Nora will repeat just about anything we ask her too, and it’s way cuter than when we say it! She will reproduce sounds we make, words we say, and sometimes even laugh with us when we are laughing with each other.

She isn’t just copying our words, but our actions. With no prompting, she will observe, and then mimic our actions on her own. She “puts on makeup” with me in the mornings. Puts the clean dishes away from the dishwasher. Mows the lawn out back like her daddy. She even sings songs with our same intonation. She is picking up on things faster than we can snap our fingers. It is so fun to see her learn and grow in that way.

But, oh how scary it is as well. What a responsibility it is as her parents.

Nora can (and most likely will), repeat anything we say or do. I do not take this lightly, because I know what an influence my husband and I will have over her little life. We want to intentionally model behaviors and actions that we want to see from her.

I don’t want her to hear me always complaining about my body or appearance. I want her to know that she is fearfully and wonderfully made in Christ’s image.

I want Nora to see my face in the Bible, not my phone.

I don’t want her to hear me nag her daddy about insignificant things. I want her to hear me respect and appreciate him.

I want Nora to hear us pray before dinner, thanking God for our food. Not whining about how there’s nothing to eat in our full cupboards.

I want our words to be life-giving and kind. Instead of the dismal, negative words we too often speak.

I want Nora to see us choose to love one another each day. To work through our difficulties with grace.

I pray we thank God daily, and she hears us give all glory to Him for our abundant blessings.

Sometimes I get annoyed because she wants to copycat me too much! No, I don’t need help doing this task, you’re just making it harder. Is what I want to say. But, she is learning to help, and simply doing what she sees her mommy do. I pray she will see me serve our family with a joyful and willing heart.

In a recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts (Risen Motherhood) the women made a statement that really shook me up and shifted my perspective. When referencing bringing a new baby into your family they said, “There will likely be no other unbeliever in your life over whom you have so much influence.”

Those words stopped me in my tracks.

I have no greater influence than on the precious life in my home. What a calling and an amazing opportunity.  I pray I will daily remember this truth.

For while Nora is copying me, I will be copying Jesus.

Nora Eats | Two

*Vol. Two of the Nora Eats series! I had so many of you say how much you loved this and how helpful it was! Here are some more meal ideas for your toddler!*

I really struggled when Nora transitioned from eating baby purees to eating table foods. I could not come up with ideas of what to feed her. I especially had trouble with lunches when I wasn’t cooking a big meal for the family. When we ate dinner I just gave her some of what we were eating. But for lunches I just didn’t know what to give her, I had little to no ideas at all! I even googled and looked up on Pinterest multiple times “toddler meal ideas.” This did actually prove to be very helpful, but mostly I just started thinking outside the box!

I am by no means a health nut. I don’t think you will ever see me doing Whole 30 or going Paleo (sorry, that’s just not me). I do however want Nora to have a well balanced diet and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and protein since I know those are great for her little growing body!

I have decided to share some of the lunches I feed Nora in hopes that it can give others ideas of good combinations and convenient ideas for toddlers to eat. It will also be a great way for me to look back when I am needing some lunch inspiration in the future!

I should preface this with the fact that we have been blessed with the absolute best eater ever! This gal will eat anything you put in front of her and almost always eats it all! Since I have been home, she eats her lunch around 11:45-12:00, then Collin comes home for lunch at 12:15. She normally eats all her food, then parks it on daddy’s lap to eat half of his lunch too! My little piggy!

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Once again, just frozen peas steamed in the microwave! Little salt, pepper and garlic salt and she devours them. Peas are one of Nora’s favorite veggies!

Shredded some deli ham and turkey. Like I suspected she ate the ham best and left a few pieces of turkey.

I recently bought some Halos for Nora and she absolutely loves them. Now I can’t eat one without her moochin’. Mixed ’em up with some strawberries and girlfriend chowed down!

Ritz crackers are another favorite around here. I usually use them as my way to appease here while I finish making lunch.

 

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Mandarin oranges are another one of those no-prep fruits. Just open the can, drain and serve. I think Nora could eat a whole can in one setting.

Easy. Cook your chicken. Bake, grill, instant pot etc. Shred and mix with BBQ sauce. Nora will eat chicken better if it has some kind of sauce on it and this is one of her favorites!

These are a staple! I steam and season more than I need and use them throughout the week. Just pop ’em the serving for the day in the microwave for about 10 secs and they are ready to go. So. Simple.

 

Toddler meal prep tip | Kitchen scissors are the best way to cut up foods for your little one. Much faster than using a knife. I have 5 pairs!

Hope this gave you some ideas for your toddlers! Look for more Nora Eats posts in the future!

 

To read more Nora Eats! Click the links below!

Screen No More

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We no longer have a TV in our home.

Gasp!

Okay, that’s slightly false. We still have the TV, ’cause that thing was expensive! But, for close to two months now it has been boxed up and stored in the garage.

Most of you reading this probably already know my slight distain for television when it comes to young children. I won’t even go into that. It’s not the point of this post. I, like most of the world really admire Chip and Joanna Gaines. I love me some “Fixer Upper,” and just about everything Joanna touches is gold in my opinion. But, more than that, I admire their faith and how they are raising their family.

Upon reading their book,  The Magnolia Story, I was intrigued by the fact that they have not owned a TV in their 13 years of marriage. They were challenged to go without one during their premarital counseling. They accepted the challenge excitedly! Originally, they committed to one year T.V. free, but when the year was up they didn’t miss it. Joanna spoke in her book about how it caused their family to focus more on each other. As I was reading that section, I found myself loving what she was saying! So, I presented it to The Hubs, and he agreed without hesitation!

Now, don’t hear me wrong. We’re not trying to become Chip and Jo. My husband will probably never be handy and drink boot-juice, and I will never be an adorable, half-Asian woman (darn-it). But, we do greatly admire how they focus on their family in intentional ways.

Collin and I have never been huge T.V. watchers, mainly because we didn’t have the time. But, shortly before making this change we were in a place where we found ourselves binging in front of the screen every night after we put Nora down. We even got to a point where we were watching a show we didn’t even like that much, simply to have something to watch. We didn’t like that about ourselves so we made the change.

Now we’re not monsters. We kept our Amazon Prime subscription so we still occasionally watch a movie in bed on our computer. Other than that, we have been T.V. free for two months now! Honestly, we both say that we do not miss it one bit! We feel like our house is cleaner than ever. We go outside more in the evenings. We have both been reading more. We’ve always loved to play games together, but now we do so more often. For us, it has been a really good thing.

The T.V. is still in our garage, and can easily be put back up if we decide we really want it. But, for now, it’s something we want to do without!

Toddler Discipline

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I can’t even believe I am far enough along in my motherhood journey to be writing the words in that title. I seriously feel like just yesterday she was a squishy newborn who only ate, pooped, and slept. But alas, at 12 months of age Nora seemed to transform into a toddler, and with it came fits. It’s crazy to me that no one ever taught her to cry if something was taken away, or to say “no” when she didn’t like a rule. She is simply a little human who is learning to express herself!

I truly thought I had more time before I had to begin with real discipline. I thought that all began around age two, but here I am writing a blog post on the things we already do to teach Nora right from wrong. Discipline is so incredibly important for a child. The Bible says to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not part from it.” Proverbs 22:6. I know that when I am scolding Nora, or even causing her to cry, that I am doing it because it’s what is best for her. I am training her up to learn what is right, and ultimately to keep her safe and happy.

Now, I know I am very new to this motherhood thing, and I am not siting here claiming to be a toddler discipline guru. But, I have worked with kids a lot, I’ve learned from other moms, and trial-and-errored the crud out of things with Miss Nora Kate. So, the following are things that work for us at this stage in Nora’s life.

No-No | Yes, just your basic “no-no” is important, and the main form of discipline at this age. I think it’s all in the tone of your voice when you say it. I want Nora to know the difference in tone. She needs to be able to sense when we are serious, and become attune to our voice. She is a toddler, so she tests us. Sometimes it takes multiple times of us saying “no” for her to stop. If she does not stop on her own, we remove her from the situation. This usually elicits a fit. (See next bullet.)

Ignore | When a fit ensues, we gotta pull out our best poker face and ignore it. If she is throwing a fit for any reason other than being hungry, tired, hurt, and so on, then the fit is ignored. I walk to the other room if need be, but I do not hold her or give her positive attention for a fit. I do not want her to learn that throwing a fit is okay. She’s gonna do it, she’s one. But I will not reward it! Once she stops then I will go back, and either fix the situation or act like it never happened and move on. Most times, after I ignore her for a few minutes, she gets over it on her own.

“Time Out” | This is in quotes because it is not the traditional use of time out. Nora is not quite old enough for that yet. However, I do still use the basic concept of time out. In the evenings Nora has about an hour where she is clingy and needy. It’s usually the hour between waking up from her afternoon nap and dinner. This also happens to be the exact time in which I am cleaning the house up before Collin comes home and starting dinner. So, having a clingy toddler is not ideal. Nora hangs on my leg, and wants to be held the whole time I am trying to cook. She whines and cries when I do not oblige. Not only is this inconvenient, but it really is dangerous as I am often using the stove and oven. So, when this happens I give her a “time out.” I take her, and put her in her crib with a few books and leave the room. Her door stays open so I can hear her, and I peek in from time to time. When she is in her crib I know she is safe, she can read her books, and is contained. When I get to a stopping place with dinner I go and get her. Sometimes she cries in her crib, but mostly she pops a paci in (she is only allowed to have it when she is in her crib), and looks at her books quietly.

 

I know the more serious discipline is on the horizon, and I am fine with those days coming slowly. No matter what age Nora is I will always love and care for her enough to teach her right from wrong and lovingly disciple her.

Five on Friday

Been a little while since I’ve shared the top five from my week!

 

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We took a quick little trip to Springfield for Collin’s job. It’s a great halfway point for my parents who live in Kansas. So, while Collin was in meetings, Nora and I got to hang out with Mimi and Papa! Luckily my mom snapped this family photo on the rare occasion we actually saw The Hubs!

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My garden has now produced an actual vegetable! I was tying my snap peas to some garden rods, and accidentally discovered that I had REAL pea pods! They blend right in with the leaves. I was so excited! I was able to pick about ten, but had more that simply weren’t ready to pick yet. Is it too soon to declare my black thumb cured?

 

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The Southeast Missouri heat has already hit. Everyday this week has been in the nineties, but luckily the early mornings have been beautiful! Nora and I began a new routine of spending about an hour on the porch each morning. I sip my coffee, and Nora explores! It is becoming one of my favorite parts of our day together!

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My sister and her family only live 45 minutes away from us, and we were way overdue for a day together. She and two of her boys showed up in the morning and started cooking right away! My sister has been teaching her boys to cook! So, she had them cook for us! They prepared a delicious meal that everyone ate up. Nora loved the food, but I think she preferred the attention from her big cousins more. Such a blessing to see the little boys I love so much getting to know my little girl!

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Wednesday night both Collin and I had a few errands to run. We decided to make a little family date night of it. We got burgers and milkshakes, then Nora ran around Target and the mall while momma shopped! Collin and I kept remarking to each other what an absolute joy Nora is. She has really been hammin’ it up lately. She cracks us up daily!

 

This weekend my best friend is getting married and I cannot wait to celebrate her big day! I love weddings, but they are made even sweeter when they are for your bestie!

A Day in the Life | SAHM

I love that my blog documents what life looks like for my family in each and every season. I love to look back at past “day in the life” posts, and see how things have changed as life moves on and Nora grows.

Since I am entering a new phase of life as a stay at home momma, I wanted to show what our days look like together before daddy gets home. The following is what our typical at-home-all-day schedule looks like right now.

 

Sometime between 6:30-7:00 Nora wakes up for the day. I wake up then as well, and hop in the shower while Collin takes care of breakfast for Nora.

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Nora eats breakfast with her daddy, and I get ready for the day. I find that I feel much better, and am more productive if I get up, shower, and get ready like usual.

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Collin leaves for work around 7:45, and our little day begins! Nora is usually the happiest right after breakfast in the mornings. She will just play her little heart out for the two hours before her morning nap. Normally, I am doing a few things around the house like cleaning or laundry, and she just entertains herself.

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At around 9 o’clock Nora goes down for her morning nap. Nap time routine is simply one book, a quick snuggle, and then I lay her down. She puts herself to sleep, and sleeps about an hour and a half. While she sleeps, I do the breakfast dishes, and then read my Bible.

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Nora wakes up between 10:30 and 11:00, and plays for a bit while I make her lunch. Usually, we both eat around 11:30 or 12:00. At 12:15 Collin comes home for lunch, and Nora eats again 😉

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After lunch, we try to go outside for a little. That will probably change soon as the temps are rising. I try to make sure and do some type of structured activity (like coloring), or get down and really play with her during this time. These three hours usually go by super fast!

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Between 1:30-2:00 Nora goes down for her afternoon nap and sleeps about two hours. I do a few chores around the house. This is also when I write, or take pictures for the blog. #nointerruptions

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When Nora wakes up from her afternoon nap there’s about an hour before Collin comes home from work. Many days Nora is cranky during this time and just wants to be held. So, I hold her while I cook dinner. Or, on a good day, she will play by herself! Nora often waits for her daddy at the door as soon as she hears the dogs bark. When Collin walks in the door, Nora joyously runs to greet him!

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