Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Quiet Book Page Exchange

A few months ago I really wanted to make a fun quiet book for Leilani. Our incredibly talented friend, Melanie, created this GORGEOUS quiet book for my daughter and she plays with it all of the time! SHE LOVES IT! It is so beautiful and well done. Clearly, it's way beyond my crafting abilities. 
However, I thought that it would be fun to make one for my daughter so I emailed many ladies from my old and new wards in the Virginia area in the hope that a few people would like to participate in a quiet book page swap with me. I was blown away that there was actually a massive interest in the idea. In the end, 16 women committed to participating in our quiet book page exchange.  

If you haven't heard of a quiet book page swap it's basically where each participant creates one type of quiet book page for the entire group. So if you are creating a ribbon page in a group of ten people then you create ten ribbon pages. (Make sure to always include yourself.) Every person creates a different page and then you all meet together to exchange your pages. It's so awesome because it's cheaper and easier to make one type of page and you also benefit from all of the work of the other participants. In addition, it is so fun to see what other people have created. 

This photo wasn't from our particular exchange but I just wanted to further illustrate the concept. 
Our group met this last Friday morning to exchange our pages and I was really blown away by everyone's sewing talent. Each page was so adorable. It was so much fun to visit with everyone and see their cute creations. I know that people placed a great deal of time, energy and love into these pages. I appreciated it with all of my heart! 

Behold our quiet book page creations...(Why am I being so dramatic?!? Haha.)

Pictured above: Angela made the drying machine and matching socks pages. 
Pictured below: Mandy made the Mr./Mrs. Potato Head pages.  
Top Left: Britni's number flap page. (Leilani LOVES this one already.)
Top Right: Emma's fossil page. 
Bottom Left: Bonnie's texture page.
Bottom Right: Jill's butterfly page. 
Top Left: Tricia's build a bear page. 
Top Right: Emily P.'s lion ribbon page. 
Bottom: Emily D.'s ice cream cone page. 
Top Left: JoAnna's shape page.
Top Right: My zipper page. (I picked zippers because I know that Leilani is obsessed with them.) 
Bottom Left: Natalie's bead page.
Bottom Right: Bethany's buckle page. 
And last but definitely not least!

Top Left: Megan's color flip page.
Top Right: Katie's caterpillar page.
Bottom Left: Ali's tic tac toe page. 
Bottom Right: JoAnna's bug in a jar page. (JoAnna made this for us as a thank you and it was so well done and totally cute.) 
Not pictured: Tricia's name page. Didn't want to put Leilani's information on our blog for privacy reasons.

Ultimately, I had such a blast organizing this and consequently learned many lessons. Each lady had to create 17 pages since Tricia needed an extra as a present for a relative. That is no small feat! Thank you to all of the amazing women who participated! I know that our little ones are going to love their new quiet books! In fact, we have so many pages that I'm planning on creating two quiet books. So awesome!

Thank you ladies!!! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Parenting: Phase Two

Lately, mommy life has turned into quite the acrobatic feat. Sometimes I don't understand why I originally thought that the first three months of Leilani's life were so difficult since she could lie in one spot and wasn't getting into mischief all day. Honestly, I do feel like parenting at nine months is much more difficult than in the beginning, despite the sleep deprivation and new parent anxieties. However, we all have to grow into motherhood and each new phase so perhaps in a few years I will look back at this particular age and view it as "easy" or less complicated. I'm sure that I will. 

My days with Leilani flash by so quickly and sometimes I feel like I want to get pregnant and have another baby just so I can relive the first year all over again. I never thought that I would be one of those ladies who adores the infant age so much but Leilani has been so much more interactive and engaging than I could have ever imagined. I have absolutely loved watching her grow, learn and develop her personality. I am truly in love with my new role as a mother. Sometimes I feel like I want six children just so I can experience the baby stage over and over again. Time will tell.  

Currently, we're experiencing a muuuch needed break from the terrible teething and it has been pure bliss to enjoy a happy baby once again. I love this little spitfire more than anything and life really is so much more joyful with her by my side.

On Monday we visited our Daddy for lunch and had a blast. Leilani is always so good in restaurants. Her Dad gave her a little bit of lime which she immediately and angrily spit out. Of course, she wouldn't let Mike feed her for the rest of the day. He broke the sacred trust haha. 

Mike and his little twin. See how she looks more like a toddler than a baby?
 Dear Leilani feels that she must be physically attached to me during every waking moment of the day so I'm usually brushing my teeth, cooking, cleaning, showering, etc. with a 25 pound baby clinging to my legs or crying because I'm not holding her. (She's hanging on to me right now as I write.) Her separation anxiety hasn't lifted in the slightest. Mike and I often joke that Leilani would be the happiest babe if I strapped her to my chest and just wore her throughout the day. Of course, we have several baby wearing devices that I have used but my back and arms can only take so much. 

This little one looooves to be the center of attention and it makes me a little bit uneasy for when baby number two comes along. (Not a pregnancy announcement.) Whenever she sees Mike and I hug she naturally wants to join in the action. I don't blame her at all. She is very affectionate and loves to give mommy kisses but is more selective when it comes to her daddy. (I keep telling him that he needs to shave.) 

One morning she decided to feed herself breakfast. Great work kid! Now let's teach you how to scramble up some eggs. (Juuust kidding.) 
Honestly, I feel like my cutie is not nine months old but is more along the lines of 18 months or so. Even though she isn't walking or talking she acts and looks more like a toddler, or older baby at least, than an almost ten month old. She tends to be much more interactive and social than children her own age. At play groups most babies like to play by themselves or sit with their moms but Leilani is definitely happier plowing through the toys or trying to play with the other kids or adults. Yesterday, I caught her repeatedly struggling to grab (or protect) toys from children that were around 3 or 4 years old. (We're working on sharing.) I'm really grateful that she can hold her own with older children and isn't intimidated. That eases my mind about her transition to nursery. I love her confidence! 

Speaking of nursery, our daughter has already been! Three times or more. She is usually such a spitfire during church and we're always in the hallways anyways so Mike and I have taken her into the nursery room to participate in their singing time or play with the toys on a few occasions. (Really more for our own sanity.) Leilani LOVES being around the other kids and I'm hoping that we can sneak her in a few months early. 

Lately, she has started pointing and really loves watching moving cars and recognizing the lighting in our home. Today I asked, "where's the light?" and she pointed at our lamp. She can definitely understand more than I realize.

As we all know, teething has been a major challenge for Leilani. I've been thinking about buying her an amber necklace for a while and finally caved in. Her Dad thinks that it's a bunch of hocus pocus and I really agree but dang, I'm desperate, and will try pretty much anything for a little relief. We take it off when she naps.  
A few weeks ago, my friend, Lydia, and I attended the Cry Baby Matinee with our kiddos. We saw Divergent and it was such a blast! I wish that I had taken Leilani when she was younger. I really spent the entire movie chasing her around the theater but was still able to watch the film from the side. The movie was awesome and I really did enjoy it more than the book. The books are entertaining but not very well written. (Did you guys know that Theo James was a minor character in Downton Abbey? That's when I officially became a big fan of him.)

The Angelika Film Center was clean and nice so I would definitely go again! Plus the movies are only $6. You just can't beat it! 
Well there's a lot more that I would love to write but my little miss sassafrass is growing impatient so I better go. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dreaming of Spring...

Leilani is napping which means that it's time for her mama to blog! 

This past St. Patty's was another blasted snow day in the Washington D.C. region. Mother Nature has been especially cruel to us this last winter. It's crazy to think that two years ago the cherry blossoms were out in full force during this time of year, however, it's almost April and currently we still have snow on the ground.

We didn't really do much for our Irish holiday. I tried to take some cute photos of Leilani in a green outfit but she wasn't having it.   
The full pout.
A smile! 
Dear Spring,

Please come soon!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Leilani's 9 Month Letter

Oh My Sweetest,

I would sum up this last month in one succinct word. Challenging. Unfortunately, I think that too many of my posts have described my weary and worn out state of mind, however, this definitely has been a rough time for you and your mama. (Proven with your month sticker which is an upside down six. Ah man!) Teething, sleep regressions, separation anxiety, clinginess, etc. have taken their toll on us both. However, all is instantly forgotten when you cuddle with me or flash me one of your warm grins. (I'm such a sucker!)

Currently, you have eight teeth and I'm hoping and praying that your side ones cut through soon. You are constantly chewing on everything that you can get your hands on. I never thought that I would be brushing your teeth at this age! (Side note: you can't stand it and fight me every time.)

You are a fast and strong crawler and love to follow your mommy around the house. You are usually found hanging on to my legs and just cannot bear the thought of any sort of separation, no matter how brief. Recently, you have started crying your eyes out when I shower. We're working on that.

Everyone says that you have a big personality and it's soooo true. You are constantly cracking us up with your determined will and strong opinions. Lately, men have scared you and you scream and cry at the top of your lungs when a man walks into a play group. (This has happened twice.) I don't know why. It's pretty hilarious and a bit worrying. You also push people away with your strong arms if you don't want them to touch or hold you. Good for you! (This skill will come in handy when you're older.)

You love to feed yourself and really enjoy scrambled eggs, fruit smoothies and small bagel pieces. You pretty much eat whatever Mommy and Daddy are having for dinner and you love feeling so grown up! You have decided that you are too sophisticated for baby things and refuse your bottle unless you are sleepy.

We had your nine month appointment today and you are now 29.5 inches long and weigh 25.56 pounds! You are in the 95th percentile for height and weight which is no big surprise to me. You hated it when the nurse tried to measure your head and burst into tears. Poor thing! Ultimately, you did so well at your appointment!

Also, your chubby little legs and arms are clearly thinning out due to your very active lifestyle. Your Daddy is sad that your chubbs is disappearing and you look so much like a toddler already. Where did our baby go?

Our home is baby proofed but you are very smart, strong and inquisitive and have already outsmarted your mommy in several ways. You love to search through my purse and empty your bookcase.

I am so thankful that you are so very healthy and strong! You enjoy rolling balls to your Daddy and he can't wait to teach you how to dribble a basketball. All in good time!

You spread joy wherever you go and we love you to pieces!

All My Love,

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Marching Along

We have just returned from our weekly ward play group, Leilani zonked out, I ate a quick lunch, and now hopefully have a little bit of time to pop out a blog post. One of my New Year Resolutions is to blog more about our routine and the habitual activities that we do on a daily basis. Typically, I tend to write more about our big events and outings, since obviously they are fun memories, yet I want my children to know about the small details of our family's life too. 

A few weekends ago Mike had the opportunity of attending a Wizard's basketball game in Washington D.C. with some of the young men in our ward. I was incredibly jealous! (Why can't the young women ever do fun things like this?) They were able to present the colors before the game, go on the court and meet some of the players. I'm sure that Mike was in basketball heaven. It looked like it was a blast! 
This past winter has been bleak and rough with an abnormal amount of snow days. However, I'm always greatly amused when school is canceled because it's "too cold" outside. Seriously? There's no snow on the ground. I grew up in Alaska where we went to school in -15 degree weather. Side note: Virginians are pansies. 

Fortunately, this past week has been overcast but warm which gives me hope that spring is on the way. Oh please!!! Leilani and I love to get outside and stroll around the beautiful neighbors that encompass the Virginian suburbs. Spring is one of my favorite seasons and I just can't wait for all of the fun outdoor activities that are brewing around in my mind. Strawberry picking, bike rides on the Mt. Vernon trail, outdoor movies, camping, hiking, the gorgeous cherry blossoms, and oh so much more! 

So happy to be outside. My cheerful babe.
Last Thursday, my friend, Lydia, and I brought our babies to a soft gym in the Alexandria area. It was a blast! These polynesian babies are too cute together!  
Way to spread those germs babe! Leilani was content to sit in the balls and watch Manu. 
 Manu was plowing through the balls like it was no joke! A little athlete in the making. 
Thanks for playing with us Manu! 
The sweetest.
I assembled these little tubes from materials that I collected from the dollar store. Leilani LOVES them! It was a great idea from my friend JoAnna. Seriously, so affordable and provides hours of fun. We enjoy singing the "Shake" song as she rattles it around. 
On a particular snow day, I assembled this Ikea bookcase for Leilani. I wanted something in the Montessori fashion that could be assessable for her to touch and play with. She really loves pulling out her books and sensory bottles. Glad to see someone appreciates my work.  
Lately, our week nights and weekends have been filled with youth activities since Mike is a leader in Young Men's and I'm in Young Women's. Secretly, I've always wanted a calling in the Young Women program so this is a dream come true for us. We LOVE working with the youth and for the first time in four years we are finally in a ward that has a strong youth program. Our last ward only had one or two teenagers. 

This last Saturday we also hosted four missionaries in our home for dinner. One of them is from American Samoa so currently that makes for three Samoans in our ward. Yay! We made pork ribs, homemade mac and cheese, salad, etc. for the meal. When the Elders saw the huge stack of ribs they all started whooping and laughing. One of them said that it was the best dinner that he has had on his mission so far. (Really not due to my cooking.) Apparently, the Elders are generally not fed a great deal of meat so the pork ribs were a real treat for them. I just wanted to jot that down as a tip that missionaries want meals with a lot of meat. One of the Elders said that he would love a steak, which we all laughed at, but these guys deserve it. I was glad to hear that they enjoyed the meal and of course we loved having their spirit in our home. I want to make an effort to start hosting the missionaries in our home more and doing more for them on a monthly basis. They sacrifice so much and work so hard every day. Making a dinner is the least that we can do for them. I always hope and pray that my relatives that are currently serving missions are taken care of so that sentiment motivated me to start hosting the missionaries more. (I'll get off of my soapbox now.)   

Now that our little munchkin is mobile she's getting herself into a ton of baby scrapes! One day she stood up using a chair under the table and then couldn't sit down and get herself out. She started to cry and I just thought that it was too cute and funny. Poor thing!
 Her funny expressions are constantly cracking us up. She's ultra expressive. 
Meals are now a pretty entertaining experience for the entire family. (Par-tay!) Leilani loves scrambled eggs, water from her sippy cup and fruit smoothies. I just love this little girl to pieces! 
 Yum yum! 
Lately, we have been teaching her how to kiss. She loves to open her mouth and give us a slobbery smooch. Sometimes she will push us away with her hands too. Haha! A girl that knows her own mind. 
My days and nights are filled with this little darling and when I hold her my heart often just wants to burst at the seams. My love for her is tremendous. 
I have the best job in the world. 
By far.