Summer Trip Wrap-up 2014.

We have had a really spectacular summer weather and trip wise – it has been great!  I do wish that our weather was generally nicer all year around so that we didn’t have to cram everything into the three months of summer weather that we have here in the pacific northwest.  Maybe things will eventually change with global warming, but for now we will relish in our summer months.  I sure am glad our trips have come to an end and we can enjoy bumming around the house and be home for football season ~ Go Huskies & Seahawks!

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I only classify our trips this summer as “trips” and not “vacations” since they have not been in the least bit relaxing with the kids and our only trip without the kids was a marathon of driving and events.  We need a “vacation” that includes laying by the pool/beach, dozing off in the sun whenever we feel like it, not constantly cleaning up after others, maid service and sipping fruity drinks…we are trying to plan for one of those next year and I truly cannot wait.

WHISTLER, BC {Lauren & Bryon’s Wedding}

The start of summer trips for us started in June with the kick-off of a trip up to Whistler, BC for a best friend’s wedding ~ Lauren & Bryon!  This was the first official time away from Leigh so it made it a bit bittersweet being away from my little babe overnight.  Leigh got to have her first overnight at Grandparent Petersen’s house with big sister Olivia too.

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They had a really fun weekend with the grandparents – we really appreciated their help with the girls while we were away.  We had a nice time away, but it was pretty quick with driving five hours and waiting in line at the border for an hour plus on the way home, no bueno!

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The wedding was so beautiful, food and music were phenomenal and the details were perfect; loved seeing my gorgeous friend get married to a great guy and it was nice to have an adult conversation too!  My parents attended the wedding along with some of our very best friends and family friends – we had such a nice time catching up with everyone.

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Love Whistler and so glad we were able to make the trip to celebrate an amazing couple!  I am excited to head back to Whistler and take the girls in the next few years.  Such a special place that I grew up going to and want to share it with them too.

LAKE CHELAN – WAPATO POINT {4th of July with Family}

The next week we were getting packed up and ready to head over to Lake Chelan for four nights to celebrate the 4th of July with Jeff’s parents and sister’s family.  This was the first trip all together with the babies!  Jeff’s sister had a baby girl in late March and we couldn’t wait to get all three girls together for our inaugural trip together.  All of the kids did great – we did have our hands full!

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Livie enjoyed her third trip over to Lake Chelan and this was Leigh’s first trip which made it special, well technically it was her first trip – I went over there pregnant with her twice last summer :) .  This year I got to enjoy the wine and “pump and dump”!  Jeff and I took the girls and made a quick stop at Nefarious, our favorite winery over there and enjoyed a glass together (chasing the girls around :) ).

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Liv had a blast swimming, running around with other kids, playing on the play-sets, walks with mom and dad and building sand castles.  She was in her element and loved it.  Leigh also enjoyed a dip in the pool for her first time.  The trip was a lot of fun.  Our first road trip with both kids – we had our first official trip down to Palm Desert when Leigh was just four weeks old.

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We always look forward to our Chelan trips and this one didn’t disappoint.  We are already looking forward to next year’s trip and long walks in the sun with our girls.

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LAKE ROOSEVELT – WILBUR {Petersen Family Reunion}

After Chelan we had a week break and then it was time to re-pack the beach bags and load up the suit cases for another road trip over to Lake Roosevelt, Wilbur!  The annual Petersen family party on the lake is something special we look forward to every year; catching up with family, eating delicious food, water fun and enjoying the lake views.

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We went over Friday morning this year and stayed through Sunday.  We were able to visit with family Friday evening, enjoy the party Saturday and a nice breakfast on Sunday with everyone.  It is such a nice time to see everyone and spend a lot of time outside.  We love our walks up the canyon and around the harbor.

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Both girls got lots of time visiting with family.  Leigh was passed around and Livie had a blast running around with her older cousins!  It made it so nice for us to have the help so we could enjoy visiting with everyone.  Always such a nice visit!

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SAN JUAN ISLANDS {Island Trip}

After Wilbur we were able to come home, enjoy some time to re-group, a visit to Olympia for a wedding, afternoon at Lake St. Clair and some visits with friends before the next trip, my ultimate favorite place on earth – the San Juan Islands.  We started a great tradition with our good friends to make the trip every early August.  Last year we stayed on San Juan Island with a day trip to Orcas and this year we stayed on Orcas with a day trip to San Juan.  Next year we are going to do San Juan Island with no day trips, just enjoy the island and relax.

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We took the kids this year; three babies under 6 months and we survived and had a great time!  It was a lot of work for everyone, but such fun memories made.  Loved having four nights up there to enjoy.  Leigh and Natalie experienced their very first ferry ride too – it was Xander’s second and Liv’s 5th ferry ride.

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Olivia had a great time with some of her most favorite people and had three babies to hang out with, a great pool to swim in, a play-set outside of our townhouse and a breach to explore – pretty happy little girl.

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All of the babies did really well – Xander had his first dip in the pool ever, Leigh enjoyed crawling all around and Natalie had a great time playing.  They enjoyed their stroller walks, ferry rides and visits to Eastsound.  We were pooped when we got home and enjoyed sleeping in our own beds.  I am already anticipating the trip for next summer and getting our stay booked!

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Babies make everything that much more fun and that much more work ~ great adventure we all had together.  Love these babes and people so much.  Looking forward to SJI trip 2015!

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OLYMPIA {Golf Tournament & Grandparent Visit}

Jeff played in an annual golf tournament with a good family friend and I always venture down every year to make a summer visit to my parent’s house and relax on their deck.  This was Leigh’s second weekend overnight at my parent’s house in Olympia – she visited with me in late May for an overnight and came down for a day at the lake with us in early August.

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The girls and I stayed Thursday evening through Saturday morning and had a nice visit with Grammy and Papa.  It was nice to be with Jeff when he was at the house in the evenings.  Liv had her first real haircut by my mom on the deck after I had mine :)!  Her hair was so uneven and long in the back, she was working a real nice mullet which is now all nice and even.

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Leigh was everywhere, crawling from room to room and standing up on everything.  She had a blast in her new surrounding exploring.

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Well, the summer marathon was pretty awesome and the memories we made were priceless with family and great friends.  Now we are looking forward to settling in and enjoying fall.  We are having a big week at our house; Jeff had his first day at Starbuck’s corporate today, Leigh turns 7 months tomorrow, along with a nice long weekend ahead to spend together.  Happy Fall everyone!

Leigh Stella {Six Months}

Leigh is 6 months old!  It has been such an amazing half a year and one that went by so fast.  I can’t believe my baby is getting so big and is doing so much.  We have already made so many awesome memories with our sweet girl since she has been with us and I really can’t imagine life without her.

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Leigh Stella continues to be such a good, happy baby who is always smiling, moving and playing.  She is mobile which began when she turned five month or so.  She looks like she is so close to crawling and does the back and forth rocking on all fours; however she makes her way to what she needs by scooting herself around and makes tracks!  We are excited to see if she is content with the scooting or if she will decide to pick up and start crawling.  Her big sister started crawling at 8 months and began walking at 11 months, we’ll see what Leigh decides to do.  All we know is she is one busy little lady!  We just moved our family room furniture to be able to rope her in when she tries to escape :)…It is so nice that the house is already baby-proofed this time around – we just need to put up some of the gates downstairs again.

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She sits up so good (she has been sitting up since 4 months) and can last for a long time.  She did a good 3o minutes this morning with no problem, her core is so strong now which makes it really nice to just be able to put her down and she can play with her toys contently for a period of time and see what is going on around her so well and be on big sis’s level too.

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PLAYING

Leigh girl loves to play and can last a long, long time now.  It makes life so much more fun and frankly way easier, especially with two.  I love to watch both girls play together – they love each other so much.  They are the sweetest of sisters and Livie is so good with her.

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Leigh does the best just sitting up playing with toys on the floor, then in her seat sitting up playing with toys and lastly in the jumparoo.  That is the circuit.  Less jumparoo lately for sure and more floor time playing and scooting everywhere.  The play mat is pretty much non-existent now and she just rolls over and scoots around.  She is so much fun!

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EATING

She continues to do doing really well with solids.  I haven’t really pushed a lot of new things and we are taking things really slow especially since we started when she was 4.5 months.  She typically has a little oatmeal, apple or banana at breakfast with breast milk and then sweet potato at lunch or dinner with breast milk.  I give her the solids first and then she sucks down 5 ounces of milk right after.  She loves her milk – going strong with breast milk.  I just hope she becomes as good of an eater as her sister has been through the years, that’s all I can really ask for.  We are doing the exact same thing we did with Liv for Leigh; purees when they are real young then move to feeding themselves.  I have started giving her puffs that she puts in her mouth and also have the mesh feeder that I am trying to get her into.

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SLEEPING

Sleep really hasn’t changed that much since the last month’s update.  She takes two good naps per day with a cat nap or two.  She goes down around 7:30 pm and wakes up for the day around 5:30 am or so.  Some nights it is a challenge to keep her up until 7:30 because she is so tired from playing and just wants to go to bed, sometimes as early at 6:30 so we really try to just keep her entertained and up a bit longer.

She has been sleeping in her crib now for some naps and went all night last night in her crib (until I pulled her into bed at 4 am…).  The easy answer for us though is the swing – she loves her swing, but is way too strong and can easily flip out in it.  I have walked in several times with her just about rolling out of it so I am always on pins and needles when she is in it.  The only time I am not is at night when she is really tightly swaddled and in a deep sleep – then she doesn’t move and really can’t because her swaddle is so tight thanks to dad.

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Another fun development is her sleeping on her side and on her tummy.  We think it is great and just want her to be comfy – she is past the age and development of worrying about her sleeping on her tummy.  Girl can get out of anything and does what she wants.

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OTHER STUFF

Leigh has been teething for a while now, for months actually, but no teeth yet.  She has been doing the puckering sound with her month for over a month and they say that is a true sign that they are near…I have no idea.  Liv had her two bottom center teeth come in just before six month.  We feel every day for those little pups.

She also got her first ear infection, poor babe.  We went to Wilbur this last weekend for a yearly family party and on the way home she was really whining and had a little green snot.  We decided to take action and take her in the next day, Monday, even though she had her six month appointment that Friday.  She had an ear infection in both ears, but the good news was that we did catch it really early on so she only had to be on amoxicillin for half the time and on her Friday appointment was checked and was just about back to normal.

Speaking of her six month appointment – she did awesome!  She was smiley and moving everywhere for the doctor and just did the normal hesitant cry once she realized that she just got poked and then once I grabbed her and put her over my shoulder she smiled at the nurse.  We have one tough little girl.  The rest of the day was no problem; she ate right when we got home, played for a long time and entertained herself and then took a nice long nap.  Pretty typical and it was a great day at home with both girls.

Leigh has always been a talker, babbling, but now she has really found her voice.  She has been doing the screeching and loud screams – just testing out those vocal cords.  It’s pretty funny to listen to.

FIRSTS & OUTINGS

Lots of fun first this last month for her too; first full weekend away from mom and dad (best friend’s wedding in Whistler) staying at Grandparent Petersen’s house for the first time, first trip to Lake Chelan / Wapato Point with family for the 4th of July, celebrated her first 4th of July, first time in the pool…

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…first time to Hanson Harbor / Wilbur on Lake Roosevelt with family, meeting the Petersen side of her family, fun play dates, dinners with good friends and lots of other fun stuff with her parents and sis.  Summer is just eventful in itself…we have lots to look forward to this next month too; birthday parties, meeting new baby buddies, Orcas Island / San Juan Island trip and get-togethers with family and friends.

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Welp, you are pretty awesome Leigh – love my baby girl so much.  You are truly amazing – can’t wait to watch you grow and see what the next six months has in store for us.

Leigh Stella – Random Facts at Six Month:

  • Stats:  18 lbs, 2 oz (91%), 26″ long (62%-I don’t think they stretched her out fully though). 43.2 cm (74%) at her 6 month check-up on 7/25
  • Diaper Size:  size 5 at night and cloth Bumgenius 4.0s
  • Clothing:  9 – 12 months and some 12-18 months
  • Likes:  being the center of attention, rolling around on the floor and scooting everywhere, sitting up, eating her solids and breast milk, talking, swaddled, held/snugged, eating, bubble (binky), play time, baths, watching big sister
  • Dislikes:  being hungry, tired, gas pains

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

I love comfort food, even in the summer time.  Everyone needs a little comfort in their lives – especially when we are all so busy running kids around these days.  Meals that are semi-easy to make, relatively healthy, create delicious leftovers and perfect for freezing and eating later are just what I need more of in my life!

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I finally got around to making this recipe last night and we all really enjoyed it!  Ended up bringing half of it to a couple who just had a baby – perfect prepared meal for new parents.  Just place the prepared shells in a foil disposable dish with marinara sauce and it is ready to bake.  Add a vegetable and a side of crusty bakery bread and you have a nice well-balanced meal.

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Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Adapted from A Healthy Slice of Life and Skinny Taste blogs

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Jumbo Shells (approx. 38 shells)
  • 1 garlic cloves, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
  • 10 oz reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 2, 10 oz packages of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed well
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 Tbsp chopped or leafs of fresh basil for garnish
  • 5-6 cups of prepared marinara sauce

Directions:

Boil water and cook shells according to the package directions.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl combine the spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, egg, salt, pepper and garlic – mix well to combine.

Prepare a large baking dish with marinara sauce, covering the bottom.  Once shells are cooked and cooled fill each shell with the spinach and cheese mixture (approx. 1.5 to 2 Tbsp) and place the prepared shells over the marinara sauce.

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Top the shells with the other half of the marinara sauce, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Uncover foil and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Serve with additional sauce as desired and garnish with fresh basil.

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Enjoy!

Leigh Stella {Five Months}

Okay, okay…this post is really late as Leigh will be six months on the 26th, oops (sorry Leigh)!  The summertime schedule is in full swing and we have been busy with trips, get-togethers and on the run with two little girls.  It has been so hard to find the time to sit down and write out this post or the five other posts in my head and several recipes.

I am going to try hard to stick with what happened last month and not skip ahead too much, lots more to come in the 6 month update.  Leigh turned five months old on June 26th!

photo 2photo 1The month of June was a really memorable month filled with so many special outings and events.  Leigh received the sacrament of baptism on June 8th, celebrated Father’s day weekend with both grandpas, daddy and uncle Troy, got a new play cottage from mom and dad, toured Husky Stadium, fun dinners out, BBQs, play-dates with friends, first overnight away from mom and dad and special time with grandparents and family.

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Leigh’s baptism was such a special morning.  Her godparents, grandparents, cousin Natalie, and sister Olivia were all there to watch.  We are so blessed and happy to have witnessed her  sacrament of baptism into the Catholic church and watch her journey begin.  I can hardly wait for more Sunday morning masses together, Sunday school with big sis and first communion to come.

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Such wonderful memories and thoughts back to my experiences – love that I can share this with my girls.  Leigh wore the dress that her great grandma Mary Ann, grandma Jean, momma and sister wore for their baptisms too.  The dress is in great condition that I really think it will last another generation if not more.

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Leigh’s first Father’s Day weekend was pretty great too!  We traveled down to Olympia to spend time with my dad and take him out to brunch.  Then on Father’s Day we enjoyed a BBQ with Jeff’s dad and family.

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Leigh Stella also tried solids for the first time, avocado on the 15th.  She had been showing all of the signs that she was ready so we thought what the heck and dove right in!  She did pretty good for her first tastes of real food and took down a few teeny bites.  We are slowly working on solids and doing really well – more to come at the 6 month update!  I can’t believe it has been a month strong with solids and breast milk.

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The girl’s gift to daddy for Father’s Day was a tour of Husky Stadium and dinner out to celebrate Father’s Day on the 20th – it was a great day and Leigh did so well!  Not a peep from her the entire time and she napped great in the Baby Bjorne.  She loved her first visit to Husky Stadium :) !  She can’t wait for her first football game.

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A few other fun things to note in Leigh’s fifth month:

Ruston Way for a walk and lunch with mom, dad & sis

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Play-time with friends and sister

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Leigh continues to eat really well, started solids as described above and eats 5 ounces every three hours still.  Sleep is the same at five months as it was at 4 months – working to transition her to her crib has been a challenge, more on that in the next update.

At the four month mark she really got started rolling back and forth and scooting around.  So amazing to watch her learn new things every day.  Sitting up at this time also continues to get better and more stable.  We have a mobile baby girl!

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Leigh Stella – Random Facts at Five Month:

  • Stats:  we have a big baby girl, not sure on specifics…we go in for her 6 month check-up on the 25th – stay tuned!
  • Diaper Size:  we actually started using cloth diapers a month ago and it is going strong, we are using Bumgenius 4.0s with snaps and love them.  So easy and I have no idea why I did not do them with Livie too.  She does sleep in a disposable at night and we are just moving her to size 4 – she does fit into her sister’s size 5 diapers so we may just jump to that, not sure
  • Clothing:  9 – 12 months and some 12-18 months
  • Likes:  being the center of attention, rolling around on the floor and scooting everywhere, tummy time, sitting up, eating her solids and breast milk, talking, swaddled, held/snugged, eating, bubble (binky), play time, baths, watching big sister
  • Dislikes:  being hungry, gas pains, dirty diapers

My Leigh, you continue to amaze us every day and we cannot imagine life without you.  You are such a happy, smiley baby – your sis, momma and daddy love you very much!

Happy Father’s Day {2014}

Happy Father’s Day!  A special thank you to the father of my two precious girls – Jeff, you are the best daddy and we appreciate you so much and all that you do for us each and every day – you are amazing!

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To our two special grandpas and one very special great grandpa – thank you for all that you for always being there for us and to the best uncle ever, Uncle Troy – Happy First Father’s Day to you!  We love you.

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Happy Father’s Day!

XOXO

Sesame Noodle Salad

This dish we enjoyed last 4th of July on Whidbey Island at a BBQ with good friends.  I received the recipe right after, but it has taken me almost a year to finally make and post.  I was pregnant last 4th of July, not feeling well and then was busy with a toddler and had Leigh.  So glad I finally made time to make this dish – it is the perfect summer salad pasta dish to take to a BBQ, summer event or any type of pot-luck.  After tasting this dish almost a year later I quickly remembered why I had to get this receipt ASAP.  You could easily add shrimp or chicken as protein as well which we will do very soon!  It is amaze – thank you Lynda!!

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Sesame Noodle Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. angel hair pasta (prepared per box instructions)
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup dark or black soy sauce (this is important, regular soy sauce won’t taste right)
  • 2 tablespoons black vinegar (you can find this and the black soy at any Asian Market)
  • 2 tablespoon chili oil or Sriracha sauce
  • 2 tablespoon white sugar
  • 4-5 green onions, chopped
  • Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

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Directions:

Prepare the noodles per instructions, drain and rinse with cold water until noodles are completely cool.  Mix the “dressing” in a 9×13″ baking dish (or another dish with a lot of base surface area) until most of the sugar is dissolved.  Place the noodles in the dish, add onions and sesame seeds, toss to coat.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours until chilled.  When ready to serve toss the noodles to mix the dressing.

A candid shot of Miss Leigh lounging :)  Happy weekend everyone!

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Enjoy!

Leigh Stella {Four Months}

Leigh Stella turned four months old this past Monday, the 26th!  She is getting to be such a big girl now and I cannot believe that she is already four months old and we are in the month of June.  So excited to experience summer with Leigh and Livie!  We just ordered an awesome new play cottage for the girls and I can hardly wait to watch them enjoy it this summer!

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This last month has been a busy one – I went back to work on the 6th and things have slowly fallen into place with this new normal.  Leigh has been doing really well at “school” with Livie two days a week.  She is such a chill baby who enjoys watching the bigger kids and playing so she does very well in the daycare environment.  Leigh also has been having fun with Grammy on Wednesdays when they get their special time together and with mom the other two days at home.  The schedule is really perfect for us and I feel very fortunate.

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Leigh is an awesome baby – we really haven’t had much of any issues, not even much gas pains lately (knock on wood!).  She is really a happy, smiley baby most of the time.  She did get her vaccines on Friday at her four month ped appointment and she was a little off the last two days, but it was because she had a mild fever and didn’t feel well.  Those vaccines can do weird things to their little system, ugh.  It does make me feel a bit better because she is such a big baby since they don’t change to dosage of the vaccine for size.  Today she seems to be back to her old self.

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SLEEPING

Leigh is sleeping well, typically falling asleep in our arms at 7 pm, to bed at 7:30 pm and then will wake up once or twice a night to eat 5 ounces and then back to bed.  However, she is still sleeping in the swing, ugh!  Our goal is to transition her out this month since she is so big and will not fit in there much longer.  She just loves being swaddled and the coziness of the swing.  We have been trying the crib at the start of the night and she will go for several hours, but does not last as long and gets restless on her back.  She has also had a couple good naps in the pack n’ play lately.  We need to get better about it, but it is hard to want to try new things when we all sleep so good right now.  You do what you gotta do to get rest!  We know we need to get her out of the swing though.  Some people we have talked to their child slept the entire first year in the swing, but I think Leigh is just too big for that and we can’t go much longer.

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I also just ordered a musical crib mobile so that may help her get distracted and then fall asleep on her own since we always have to hold and rock her to sleep.  Napping is going well and she usually has a couple nice longs ones with several cat naps.  She typically naps in her infant seat, strapped in with her blanket surrounding her head.  She is so funny and our two girls could not be more different at this age – Livie was not a snuggler, did great in her crib and went to bed on her own with no swaddle or anything.

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EATING

Leigh continues to be an awesome eater – just like her big sis was at her age!  They are so similar in their stats at this age, Livie was a little heavier and over an inch longer.  Crazy to compare them.  Leigh is still going with 5 ounces every three hours and that seems to be perfect for her right now.  She tries to hold her bottle too – love when they do that.  She is still completely fed breast milk and that is going strong!  I am all stocked up with frozen milk for several summer time trips and events that we will be away from Leigh.  I hate leaving her, but you have to do it sometimes.

We are looking forward to starting solids with her soon.  We started Livie at 5 months old with solids, sweet potato puree and avocado puree.  If Leigh seems interested we may try at 5 months or wait until 6 – we’ll see and it just depends how she reacts to us eating.  Livie also got her first tooth at 5 months so we will see if Leigh follows those tendencies.  Leigh drools a ton and is always chewing on toys, but no sign of any teeth popping through yet.  I check often!

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PLAYING

She is a rock star at playing and keeping herself entertained for a long time.  She loves all of her toys, exersaucer and her play mat.  She is so strong and a tough little cookie!  I love watching her play and learn new things.

Leigh has been grabbing toys, pulling them to her mouth and is getting good at sitting up.  She has been rolling over since mid-April and does it every now and again from her tummy to back.  We have yet to do the back to tummy.  She has also found her feet and will grab them.  She has not pulled them to her mouth yet, but I am sure that will be in the next few months.

She loves to talk and has such a strong voice.  She loves to be talked to and sang to – she is such a sweet little girl.  Just love my little Leigh-Leigh.

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Leigh has had a great month with lots of exciting things going on – first weeks at “school”, play dates, lots of family time, Mother’s Day, Memorial day weekend BBQs, four month doctor appointment and lots more fun stuff!

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We are looking forward to the start of summer and watching Leigh grow!  We have her baptism to look forward to next Sunday, Father’s Day, special surprise family outing to celebrate Father’s Day on the 20th and her first overnight away from mom and dad the last weekend in June because we are headed to Whistler for a wedding.  Lots of exciting things!

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Leigh Stella – Random Facts at Four Month:

  • Stats:  16 pounds, 9.4 ounces (95%), 25.5″ long (89%), 42 cm (76%) as of Friday, 5/30/2014
  • Diaper Size:   size 3
  • Clothing:  some 3-6 month, 6 month, 6-12 month and some 12 month
  • Likes:  tummy time, sitting up (I assist her up and she can stay up for a while), talking, swaddled, held/snugged, eating, bubble (binky), play time, baths, watching big sister, morning hours, story time, get sang to, clean diapers
  • Dislikes:  being hungry, gas pains, dirty diapers

Have a great week everyone!