Monday, June 19, 2017

Nine ways to fit reading into your schedule -- and enjoy it



I have read 21 books this year, and it’s only June. I say that not to brag but because I am so proud that I’ve been able to make time to read this year — and I want to make sure you know you can make time, too.

When I was growing up, I was always reading. I was one of those kids who stayed inside to look at books while everyone else went out to play during recess. As an adult, though, I found it much harder to make time to read. I was burned out during college (when I had to read 30 young adult fiction books during a 13-week semester), and I couldn’t seem to find books that appealed to me. I was “too old” for young adult novels (or so I thought) and didn’t seem to like most of the adult fiction either.

Now, 12 years after high school, I feel like I’ve finally found my groove again and discovered
  • How to find books I will actually like
  • How to make time to read
  • How to challenge myself to read more
If you’re like me and you want to read more but don’t know how to fit it into your life — or what to read — these tips can help.

Sign up for Goodreads

The best thing I did when I was trying to get back into the habit of reading was signing up for a Goodreads account. I wish I would have done this a LONG time ago, back when the company first started (2006!).

If you don’t already have an account (and I’ve been surprised lately to learn that many of my friends don't), here are some of the benefits:
  • Connecting with real-life friends and seeing what they’re currently reading or have read
  • Keeping track of what you’ve read and want to read
  • Writing and reading book reviews
  • Getting notifications about new books from your favorite authors
  • Finding recommendations on books you might like
One of the biggest game changers for me with Goodreads, though, is the annual reading challenge. It’s really simple. You just set a goal for the number of books you want to read that year (my 2017 goal is 36) and then watch as you get closer to achieving the goal with every book you read. If you’re really competitive (I’m not), you can see what your friends have listed in their reading challenges and try to match them. This is the first year I’ve had such an aggressive goal, but I feel confident I can make it.

Oh, and if you’re already a Goodreads member, make sure you download the app for your phone. I love logging in and recording books as I finish them and watching my progress. It also helps me keep track of my huge running list of “to-reads” so I can pick the next book I want to start on.

Embrace the ebook

I have to admit that I was skeptical when the Kindle and Nook first came out. I wanted to have physical books in my hands to read, and I felt like ebooks were the beginning of the end of books as we know it. I am happy to admit I was very wrong.

Most of the books I read now are ebooks, and I have grown to love them — in some ways more than their paper counterparts. I’ve discovered that if you want to read more, ebooks are the key. Here’s why I love ebooks:
  • You can download them to a phone or tablet and read them anywhere — which prevents you from wasting time on Facebook while you’re at the doctor’s office.
  • You don’t have to make a trip to the library to check out and return them (which is a big win when you have little kids)
  • They’re environmentally friendly
I used to download books to my iPad and read them, but now I just read them on my phone. It takes a little bit to adjust to reading a book on such a small screen, but I don’t like packing my tablet on the train to work, so I’ve learned to make it work. And since you take your phone everywhere, it means you always have a book you can pull up and read when you have down time.

Download the Overdrive app

While I know some people have Kindle subscriptions or simply buy ebooks they want to read and download them to their tablet, I am a) cheap and b) very picky about the books I buy. If it’s not a book I know I want to read again, I don’t buy it. I actually have very few physical books in my home, and the ones I do have are those I’ve read at least twice (the Anne of Green Gables series, the Harry Potter series, The Lovely Bones and Pride and Prejudice).

If you’re like me and you don’t want to buy books or spend money on a subscription, the Overdrive app is for you. You connect to your favorite libraries, search for ebooks or audiobooks, and download them right to your phone or tablet. When you’ve finished the book, you can either tap and return them to the library or let the app return it automatically when it’s due.

Since the Overdrive app is basically an electronic version of your public library, you can also put holds on books that aren’t available. They are then automatically checked out to you once they become available. Another kind of weird thing I like about ebooks is that you know exactly how many pages you have left in each chapter. It helps you keep going when you realize “Oh, I only have five pages left before I reach a stopping point.”

Take advantage of audiobooks

Audiobooks are a fantastic way to plow through a ton of books without physically sitting down with a novel. They also let you squeeze reading in during small increments of time, like driving to pick up your kids from school, heading to the grocery store or even running on a treadmill.

An Audible subscription is a great investment if you love audiobooks and spend a lot of time on the road. As I mentioned before, though, I am cheap and don’t want to pay for a subscription -- so I check out audiobooks from the library through the Overdrive app instead.

If you're new to audiobooks, try listening to a memoir or a shorter book narrated by the author first. I loved Lauren Graham's Talking as Fast as I Can, which she narrated, and several friends have recommended Jim Gaffigan's books on audio (though I've only read them, not listened to them). Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie is amazing on audio as well.

One trick you might not know about is speeding up the audio to listen to the book faster. It sounds ridiculous at first, but once you try it, the normal speed on audio books will seem SO SLOW.

Don't waste time on books you don't love

We've all seen those lists of the top 50 books you must read before you die and felt guilty about not having read those classics everyone swears by. But life is too short to read books you don't like. Once you're out of high school and college and not forced to read a book for a class, you aren't obligated to read things that bore you.

There are some classics I love, like most of Jane Austen's books, Les Miserables, and The Count of Monte Cristo. And then there are other books I suffered through that I really didn't enjoy -- but I kept reading them because I felt like I had to read them. I despised Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. I spent way too long reading Kurt Vonnegut because people raved about Slaughterhouse-Five, and I hated that book. I did not enjoy The Old Man and the Sea (though I loved Hemingway's short stories).

The point is, YOU get to decide what you want to read. I try to push myself and read different things, but I also give myself the freedom to return a book if it doesn't capture my attention. Which brings me to my next point...

Stick to what you enjoy

I have always been firmly rooted in reality and never liked fantasy. While my siblings were voraciously reading the Wheel of Time series and Lord of the Rings, I was enjoying historical fiction and nonfiction. In fact, I think the Harry Potter series is the furthest I've delved into fantasy -- and I can only handle those books because they're set in a real world.

Do I limit myself by not reading fantasy? Of course. And I understand the appeal of fantasy, of escaping into a different world. But I discovered long ago that I didn't like fantasy (or sci-fi or dramatic romance), so I avoid those books. I have skipped book club meetings when I had no interest in the book, and I think everyone should do the same. If you're not passionate about something, don't read it! Your time is important.

I'm not saying you shouldn't try new things. I have read a few books I didn't expect to like that really surprised me. But if you're trying to get back into reading after a long hiatus, it's important to start out with books you're interested in so you don't lose momentum.

Follow book bloggers or become friends with a book lover

Some people love to browse the library or bookstore for a book that strikes their fancy. While there is something relaxing about walls of books, it's also overwhelming for me -- and it's probably going to be really overwhelming if you haven't read books consistently for a while.

Rather than wandering with a few ideas about what you like, I recommend following a book blogger with similar interests. I've followed Janssen at Everyday Reading for years now, and I've never read a book she's recommended that I didn't like. She has little kids, too, so she often recommends picture books that I check out for Henry and Norah.

I like Janssen because she is completely honest about the books she reads. She'll give you a description of the plot, talk about what she liked, and even warn you if a story (or part of it) may be off-putting. She also puts summer reading guides together, which I find immensely helpful. I follow Janssen on Goodreads as well and often add books to my "to-read" list when she recommends them.

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy is also a great book blogger, and I've gotten many suggestions for new books to read from her. And Amy at Sunlit Pages reviews mainly children's books, and I love seeing what she's reading or checking out for her five boys.

If you don't want to follow a book blogger or can't find one you identify with, find a friend who loves to read and has similar tastes. I like to ask friends for recommendations, and I really like to ask people I've just met what their favorite book is. It tells you a lot about that person.

Put books on hold immediately

If you get stressed out and aren't ready to commit a ton of time to reading yet, I don't recommend this one. However, one of the ways I challenge myself to read more is by putting several books on hold at the library when they're not available. If the waiting list is huge (I had to wait about three months to get my hands on Talking as Fast as I Can), this isn't usually a problem. It's just a way of ensuring you get to read the book when it's back in the library.

If the book unexpectedly comes back early, though, you may suddenly end up with three or four books at a time that you have to read quickly because the demand is high and you can't renew them. During the past month, I had four ebooks to work through on my phone and then two more hard copies that I actually picked up from the library. Luckily I was able to renew one of them, but I had to plow through the others pretty fast.

It's fun to have a stack of books you know you get to read, because you immediately have something else to start on once you finish one book. It also helps you push yourself and carve out time during the day to read when you know your books are due.

Make reading an important part of your day

I believe there are seasons of life, and you will have more time to yourself during certain seasons than you will in others. When Henry and Norah were newborns, I didn't make time for reading. I ended up falling asleep when I would try to focus on words, and I had to learn how to reorganize my time. I now have more time to read because they're older and because I spend about an hour total on the train commuting to and from work.

Even if you think you don't have time to read, though, I promise that you can carve out chunks of time if you're really committed to it. If you spend 10 minutes scrolling through Facebook or Instagram each morning when you first wake up, download an ebook that you can read instead and hide the social media apps if you have to. Listen to an audiobook while you're getting ready in the morning or while you're working out. Limit your Netflix time to an hour a day (or less) and read when you'd otherwise be watching TV.

If reading is important to you, you'll make time for it -- but hopefully these tips are helpful! And if you have a fantastic book you've read lately, I'm all ears.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

22 months


Henry and Norah are becoming more and more fun every day. I am loving this age so much and seeing what they'll learn to do next. Here's what they were up to at 22 months.

Henry:

  • Weighs 28 pounds and continues to get taller (now tall enough to look out our front window without tiptoeing)
  • Loves to say "EIEIO" (the chorus of "Old McDonald") over and over
  • Has been talking and listening so much better since getting his ear tubes and says "chee" (for cheese), "sna" (for snack), "bobble" (bottle), hi and bye, "Jay" (for Jake and the Neverland Pirates) and "Ba-dah" (for grandpa)
  • Is very snuggly currently and cries when I leave the daycare after visiting him and Norah
  • Absolutely loves cutie oranges and snarfed down three by himself the other day
  • Has begun to fold his arms, close his eyes and bow his head during prayers
  • Loves to carry his blanket around and wrap it around his shoulders after he wakes up
  • Hates to wear socks and pulls them off every chance he gets
  • Got his first haircut the Sunday before Easter and now looks much older
  • Wears 24-month and 2T shirts and pajamas but still drowns in 18-month pants
  • Loves to go outside and wander around the neighborhood with us
  • Is still terrified of dogs and, we discovered at their Easter pictures, now bunnies
  • Has to push the button on the stereo to turn on music before he goes to sleep
  • Is still obsessed with shutting doors but now likes to play in the pantry and try to shut himself in there
  • Says "bye" along with Norah whenever I'm talking on the phone and about to hang up
  • Likes to unzip things, especially his jacket when we're going outside
  • Has learned to climb up the changing table and will soon be climbing out of his crib
  • Loves watching Little Baby Bum singalong videos with Norah and dancing to them
  • Holds his toy cell phone up to his ear all the time so he can hear the music and dance to it
  • Likes to play with our old keyboard and mouse and gets mad whenever Norah has it
Norah:
  • Weighs 23 pounds and is nearly as tall as Henry
  • Wears 18- and 24-month clothes, but some 24-month clothes are way too big
  • Loves to stomp around the house in her shoes when we're getting ready to go in the morning
  • Anxiously waits for Andrew to get home so she can run in and say "Hi!" when he opens the door (and "It's dada!")
  • Loves stuffed animals, dolls and her gloworm, all of which she calls "babies"
  • Has learned to say "no" to everything, including wearing headbands or bows, eating more food, having her diaper changed and putting on pajamas
  • Comes to us and says "poop" when she poops in her diaper (and also likes to say it when she isn't poopy)
  • Puts her sunglasses on immediately when we get in the car and then pulls them down on her nose when we talk to her
  • Loves bananas and asks for a "nana" whenever she sees one on the counter
  • Has very fine, straight hair and unfortunately pulls her little pigtails out because she doesn't like them (which means it's usually messy)
  • Loves to shut doors like Henry does and play with the closet doors
  • Is completely obsessed with buckles and has to snap the buckle together on her booster seat and Henry's multiple times whenever they're done eating (and then says "Mama!" until I unbuckle it for her to do it again)
  • Has been chatting nonstop, saying "guy" (referring to her favorite Little People figures), "ball," "chee" (for cheese), "peas" (for please) and "cow" in addition to telling everyone hi and bye
  • Likes to call Andrew "daddo" and has gotten Henry to say it, too
  • Is a daredevil and loves climbing up steps and going down the slide
  • Picks up hairs, threads and crumbs all the time from the floor and hands them to me
  • Also likes to take her socks off and stuff them in the phone holder of their little play kitchen
  • Still loves necklaces and puts them on whenever she finds them
  • Really likes going swimming and even went down the water slide all by herself, then twice with me holding her
  • Says "wa?" every time we open the car door so she can get down and walk into a store or into daycare
We're already planning a party for Henry and Norah next month. It's hard to believe they've been ours for nearly two years now -- and at the same time, it's hard to believe they weren't always with us.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

21 months

Late to the game, since Henry and Norah turned 22 months old on March 6, but I'm trying to squeeze in what they were up to last month. Here's a look back at 21 months:

Henry:

  • Weighs 28 pounds and has gotten quite a bit taller since his 18-month checkup, judging by how his pants fit
  • Is back to his happy old self since getting his ear tubes on February 16 and smiles and giggles much more now
  • Loves to be chased around the house by Norah, Andrew or me
  • Hates to wear socks now and constantly pulls them off and carries them around the house (or hides them downstairs)
  • Has learned to climb up his changing table to grab things, which means climbing out of the crib will be next
  • Is obsessed with bananas and says NANA! whenever he sees one
  • Loves to open and close doors and gets mad if he doesn't get to close the basement door when we go upstairs
  • Is babbling up a storm now and saying "bobble" (bottle), "chee" (cheese), "please," "bye-bye, dada," "gaga" (cracker) and "sna" (snack)
  • Likes dancing to music in his crib and listening to the songs on Jake and the Never Land Pirates
  • Still loves books and has crumpled several Dr. Seuss books he's flipped through
  • Likes to play outside on his new slide or with the Cozy Coupe and becomes furious when he has to come back inside
  • Wears mainly 24-month clothes but still fits into 18-month pants and some 18-month shirts
  • Has strawberry-blonde curly hair that needs a trim (but I can't bring myself to cut it yet)
Norah:
  • Weighs 23 pounds and is almost as tall as Henry
  • Wears mostly 18-month clothes but still wears some 12-month hoodies and pants
  • Loves to grab shoes and jackets when she knows we're going to go outside
  • Has unfortunately started to hit and shove us and Henry, so we're working on that
  • Loves all things girly, especially my necklaces, and really likes to play dress-up
  • Has become a really picky eater and is basically existing on PB&J sandwiches, bananas and cheese
  • Gets excited to go to nursery at church and play with the slide and doll strollers
  • Has really bad eczema on her face now, but we're working on it with a steroid cream
  • Loves to be chased around the house with Henry and sit on the ledge of the shower with him
  • Is talking a lot and trying to say "sorry," "amen," "cow" and "book" (among other words like "mama" and "dada")
  • Likes watching Jake with Henry and dancing to the music and says "Uh-oh!" immediately when the show ends and she doesn't hear music anymore
  • Is finally starting to get thick enough hair to wear a barrette in it but loves wearing headbands, too
  • Loves to "read" books to herself and flip through the pages and babble about what's happening
I just adore these two and feel so blessed to be their mom and watch them grow up together. Life is good.

Monday, February 8, 2016

20 months


Henry and Norah actually just turned 21 months on Saturday, but I'm trying to squeeze in a blog post about what they're up to currently. They are so fun, and we are blessed to have them in our family.

Henry:

  • Weighs 28 pounds and has grown a bit taller (judging by the pants he's outgrown)
  • Wears 24-month onesies and some 18-month shirts but still wears 12-18 month pants
  • Has thick, pretty blonde hair that gets really curly when he's out of the bath
  • Loves toys that make noise (though we don't have many, since I don't like them much), especially his Little People airplane and Sesame Street tablet
  • Still shoves all of his food in his mouth at one time, much to our chagrin
  • Carries stacks of yellow lock blocks around with him everywhere, sometimes even to bed, and doesn't seem to touch the other colors
  • Loves to be chased around the house by us or Norah and starts giggling uncontrollably
  • Is terrified of dogs and starts crying and has to be picked up whenever one comes near him
  • Has begun to talk more and say "uh oh" whenever he drops something, "bubble" and "mine" in addition to "bye-bye," "mama" and "dada"
  • Is much more cuddly lately and wants to be held, probably because his ears are hurting and he doesn't feel well
  • Has temporary hearing loss as a result of fluid behind his ears (like Norah had) and has to get tubes next week, which should help a lot
  • Loves bananas, macaroni and cheese, rotini noodles, hot dogs, PB&J sandwiches, applesauce and raisins and still eats pretty well (but has slowed down because of his ear problems)
  • Still loves books and carries them around everywhere (a current favorite being a textured heart book from Grandma)
  • Likes to dance to music from Jake and the Never Land Pirates and other songs he hears on TV
  • Squints his eyes and looks the other way when someone he doesn't know very well is trying to talk to him
  • Loves "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" and other fun songs where we move and get to clap at the end (like "If You're Happy and You Know It" and "My Hands")

Norah:

  • Weighs 23 pounds and is pretty close to Henry in height
  • Wears mostly 18-month clothes but still wears 12-18 month pants
  • Loves to dress up and put on hats and necklaces
  • Has begun imitating us more and really talking, saying "mine, "bottle," "bubble," "what's that" and "baby"
  • Gets really excited when Andrew comes home from work on days I work from home and says "Dada! Dada!" when she hears him walk in or drive up.
  • Loves her dolls and stuffed animals (which are all called her "babies") and immediately goes to find her doll when we ask where it is
  • Has very straight, fine brown hair that's finally starting to grow
  • Loves books just like Henry does and often brings them over to us so we can read them to her
  • Is picking up songs from nursery (and us singing them at bedtime) and now knows where her nose, eyes, mouth, toes and head are and will point to them when we ask her to
  • Doesn't eat as well as Henry but loves to stab things with a fork and feed herself, especially hot dogs, chicken nuggets, bread, noodles, macaroni and cheese and (occasionally) ice cream
  • Also loves to be chased around the house and have us jump out to scare her
  • Has started liking headbands again but only wants to wear them on her head for a short time and then wear them as necklaces or bracelets after that
  • Gets excited to come find me after nursery and runs into the primary room yelling "Mama!" (which makes my heart burst)
  • Also likes to carry around stacks of yellow lock blocks everywhere (not sure what it is about yellow)
  • Loves the sound of the TV but doesn't really watch it; however, she instantly notices when we turn it off or a Netflix episode ends and chimes in with "Uh oh!"
  • Has learned to take off shoes with Velcro straps, which I don't love

I am already planning a birthday party for Henry and Norah and can't believe that they're only three months away from turning two! Time is flying by, but I love watching them grow each day.

Friday, January 1, 2016

19 months



Happy New Year! Henry and Norah are 19 months for five more days, so it's time to squeeze in another blog post about what they've been up to over the past few weeks. We had a lot of fun with them at Christmas (yanking the ornaments off the tree and throwing them, turning the lights on and off, and putting jingle bells in their mouths), and it's so great to watch them grow and learn new words and new skills.

Here's what Henry and Norah are doing at 19 months.


Henry:

  • Weighs about 27.5 pounds and hasn't gotten much taller (he's in the 50th percentile for height)
  • Has quite a few teeth and got a couple molars over the past month
  • Loves the new alphabet magnets he and Norah got for Christmas and likes to hide them under the fridge or run off with them
  • Does not like showers with Dad but loves bubble baths and gets excited when he hears the faucet turn on
  • Still eats really well and especially loves bread, soup, pasta, green beans, pizza and cheese
  • Loves to open and shut all of the doors and tries to go into the laundry room and office (where he isn't supposed to go) whenever we're not looking
  • Has become quite the climber and recently learned to push a chair over to the light switch in the basement, stand on it and turn the lights on and off
  • Still loves to look at books and has ruined the binding on several of them this month by bending them backwards
  • Has started lining all his cars up on top of the cedar chest downstairs, even after I put them away
  • Loves playing with the pretend dishes and food, new "smartphones," shopping cart and Norah's new baby stroller
  • Mainly wears 18-24 month clothes but still fits into 12-month pants because his legs are kind of short
  • Likes to help me clean up and put toys in their bins
  • Is really sweet with Norah and brings her her new doll or sippy cup when she wants them
  • Loves playing with our cell phones, computers and remotes (when he can get a hold of them) 
  • Pulls all of the pillows off the couches whenever he can so he can climb on them and play
  • Likes to dance to Jake and the Never Land Pirates with Norah
  • Still loves music and got so excited to play the piano when we pulled it out of the office to practice
  • Says "buh-bye Joe" (we think he's trying to say "Dad"), "hi," "mama," "dada," "uh oh" and "ball"

Norah:
  • Weighs 22 pounds and is slightly shorter than Henry (in the 50th percentile for weight and height)
  • Still wears a lot of 12-18 month clothes but now has to wear 18-month shirts because she has a long torso (and her pants fall off because she has a skinny waist)
  • Loves her new baby doll and stroller and will call for her "bebe" until she finds it
  • Has decided she loves to wear headbands again (yay!) and will get mad at me if I take them off her head
  • Likes to carry her shoes around and grab my shoes out of the closet for me
  • Helps me clean up (like Henry) by putting toys into the bins
  • Has a really good arm and loves to throw balls, her sippy cup and other toys (and, to my chagrin, books)
  • Says "mama," "dada" "bye-bye," "no," "hi," "uh-oh" and "baby" and is learning to say "amen" when we finish our prayers
  • Has started to fold her arms when we say prayers, which melts my heart
  • Still loves necklaces and hats and likes to play dress-up
  • Likes playing with the alphabet magnets with Henry and packing them around
  • Is obsessed with my old doctor kit my mom brought them for Christmas and loves to suck on the play syringe
  • Likes to play with the dollhouse with Henry and chase him around but gets mad and says "no-no-no-no" when Henry takes something she wants
  • Is learning to like baths more and no longer screams when we wash her hair
  • Loves to carry her blanket around (as does Henry) and will grab it out of her crib and drag it downstairs
  • Has become a much better eater and loves cheese, bread, hot dogs, bananas, pizza. pasta and applesauce (but will not eat many vegetables or fruits)
  • Loves books like Henry does and especially loves the new ones my mom got them for Christmas
  • Claps her hands and loves to sing our bedtime songs (especially "My Hands" and "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam")

These two are such a blessing and bring us so much joy. We hope you and your family have a wonderful 2016!

Friday, December 4, 2015

18 months


I'm squeezing these posts in RIGHT before Henry and Norah get one month older, but at least I'm cranking them out. Eighteen months has been such a fun age. Here's what they're doing now:

Henry:
  • Weighed 27 pounds at his 18-month checkup (the 84th percentile) and was in the 48th percentile for height, which surprised me
  • Loves to play on the stairs and try to walk down them using the handrail, scaring his parents to death
  • Has started grabbing his blanket when he wakes up and dragging it all over the house
  • Says "bye-bye," "uh oh," "hi," "mama" and "dada" all the time now, but his favorite is "bye-bye" (said while waving wildly)
  • Wears 18-month clothes and some 24-month onesies and pants (though some 12-month jeans still fit)
  • Likes to pat Norah's back or rub her head and loves grabbing her a sippy cup when she isn't feeling well
  • Is obsessed with opening and closing doors and likes to shut himself into bedrooms by himself to play
  • Loves playing with his new kitchen with Norah and carrying around play food and utensils
  • Unfortunately still has really bad eczema that has taken a turn for the worse and turned into dyshidrosis
  • Picks up remotes, thermometers, play phones and our cell phones, holds them to his ear and says "Hi!" over and over
  • Loves bath time, except when Dad pours water over his head to wash out the shampoo
  • Sleeps through the night most of the time and has learned to sleep through Norah's cries most of the time
  • Still eats really well but no longer likes bananas and string cheese (probably because he's had them too often)
  • Loves pushing a plastic bin around the house and starts screaming if we take it away
  • Has thick, wavy strawberry blond hair that's starting to curl around his ears
  • Is getting more and more teeth and doesn't seem to be teething and chewing on things as much
  • Loves opening the door to the laundry/storage room (which unfortunately doesn't lock) and sneaking in before I can stop him

Norah:
  • Weighed 22 pounds at her 18-month check-up and was in the 48th percentile for weight and 52nd for height
  • Loves pizza, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and bread but eats most everything else sporadically
  • Wears mostly 18-month clothes, but 18-month pants are usually too big around the waist
  • Says "no, no no" all the time (especially when Henry has a toy she wants), "hi," "bye," "mama" and "dada" and is finally starting to open up and talk more
  • Loves to carry her shoes around the house but hates having them put on (especially her Sunday shoes)
  • Has crazy straight hair that sticks straight up no matter how much I try to flatten it
  • Does not like bedtime and has begun screaming in her crib again until she can snuggle with me or play with toys (so we're trying to break that habit)
  • Starts crying in the bathtub once she knows it's time for a scrub
  • Is obsessed with a green barrel of monkeys, which means I find little monkeys throughout the house
  • Has begun to be more attentive to Henry and hand him his sippy cup or toys
  • Loves playing with balls and throwing them or kicking them around the house -- and she's got a pretty good arm
  • Likes toy (and real) phones just like Henry does and says "Hi!" while holding them to her ear
  • Has quite a few teeth and likes to give us toothy grins
  • Carries play food and dishes throughout the house and loves playing with the toy kitchen with Henry
  • Loves to look at books and is loving the pile of Christmas books we're reading throughout December
  • Still likes to wear her necklaces everywhere and gets mad when she sees Henry wearing one
  • Likes to dance to music still but has stopped shaking her booty and just bobs her head instead
I can hardly wait until Christmas comes so I can see Henry and Norah's reaction to the gifts (since they're already enamored with the tree, lights and nativity). They make life much more fun.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

17 months


In just a week, Henry and Norah will be 18 months old. People always told me that time flew by when you had kids, but I'm beginning to understand. It's hard to believe they are running around and jabbering away now when they were once so tiny.

Here's what's new now that they're 17 months old:

Henry:
  • Probably weighs about 26 pounds and has gotten a little taller (we'll find out at his 18-month appointment)
  • Loves green beans, macaroni and cheese, string cheese and bread but has gotten tired of bananas and yogurt
  • Mainly wears 18-month clothes now but still fits into 12-month pants
  • Adores the red Cozy Coupe and loves being pushed down the driveway in it
  • Likes to try to hide in his closet or climb under the table
  • Loves pushing chairs around the kitchen or the rocking chair around the basement
  • Generally sleeps really well at night and doesn't usually wake up unless Norah screams
  • Likes Dad to lift him up so his head bumps the ceiling
  • Says "hi," "bye-bye" (to everyone when we're leaving) and "nana" for "banana" now
  • Waves wildly at his teachers and grandparents when we're going home
  • Has strawberry blonde (it looks slightly red in the sunlight) hair that's curling in little wings above his ears now, which I love
  • Loves climbing on the couch and playing with the remote, phone or computer
  • Is a very messy eater and has to put his hands in his mouth to feel foods while he chews them
  • Likes opening and closing doors and pounding on the toilet in the bathroom when he somehow gets in there
  • Hates getting water in his eyes in the bathtub but loves to splash as hard as he can and play with his sailboats
  • Likes to play with his pretend phone or the remote and say, "Hi! Hi!" into it
  • Has a few more teeth, including another one in the bottom front and a molar
  • Looks forward to pushing the button to close the garage door and watches it with wide eyes the whole way down the track
  • Is obsessed with the stairs and loves the climb up and down them
  • Loves holding water from his sippy cup in his mouth and letting it drip down him
  • Likes pulling books off the shelf with Norah and looking at them
Norah:
  • Weighs about 22 pounds and has definitely been getting taller (but I just wait until their checkups to see how they've grown)
  • Wears 12-18 month clothes and a few 18-month shirts, but she drowns in most pairs of jeans (even the 12-18 month ones)
  • Loves shoes, necklaces and hats and tries to grab my necklaces in the morning if she sees me putting them on
  • No longer likes bath time and will start screaming after a few minutes in the tub when she knows it's time to be scrubbed
  • Loves to dance and bob up and down or stomp her feet whenever she hears music
  • Has been getting more teeth, including another on the bottom
  • Likes stealing toys away from Henry, but we're working on learning to share
  • Says "hi" a lot,
  • Loves to pick up her play phone or the remote, hold it like a telephone and say, "Hi! Hi!"
  • Is very independent and insists on walking and eating by herself (unless she's being fed yogurt or applesauce)
  • Likes pulling all the books off the shelf in her room and pawing through them and babbling
  • Refuses to eat green beans and yogurt most of the time, but loves PB&J sandwiches, bananas, melons, pizza, string cheese and soup
  • Loves to play on the stairs with Henry
  • Learned how to blow bubbles with her sippy cup from Henry and likes to let water run down her chin
  • Has light brown hair that's finally starting to grow, but she likes to pull on it when she's nervous (and yanked out a few hairs last week)
  • Loves to carry both Henry and her sippy cups around and drink out of both of them
  • Usually sleeps pretty well but has been waking up in the middle of the night lately or screaming in her crib until we grab her and then playing with toys until 10 p.m.
  • Likes to run with her arms straight back behind her and cackle as we chase her
  • Loves to climb on my legs and have me lift her up or throw herself on my stomach when I lay on my back on the floor
  • Gets so excited when she sees Andrew walk in the door after work and comes running to him
  • Has become a little Linus and loves grabbing her blanket out of her crib and dragging it around the house

I love these babies so much and feel so blessed that they are ours.