Friday, April 21, 2017

Alder Jacob {Two Months}

It's been two plus months with Alder as part of our family and we are loving all the joy he has brought us so far. He is such a happy guy even though he shares his brothers love of furrowing his brow. He loves to smile and coo at people. I swear it's like he is already trying to talk to us. I think he might be an early talker like his brother. 

This month Alder took his first big road trip to Nashville to meet his new baby cousin, Archer. (Apparently we like the "A" names in our family) He was a great little traveler and we only stopped once both ways of our 4 and a half hour drive! Woo!
This month I've been working hard to get Alder on a Feed, Wake, Sleep schedule (Baby Wise) like I did with Aiden. He wasn't as easy as his brother to convince to get on this schedule as he would rather his schedule went something like this, Feed, Wake, Feed, Sleep and repeat. Baby boy loves to eat as evidenced in his 2 month stats. And the face below is the one he gives me when I try to deny him more milk. Haha. 
We also celebrated our first Easter as a family of four. It was a sweet day on my Aunt and Uncle's farm and he was so good. He really only cries when he is hungry or tired...or when his brother accidentally head butts him. Oh the joys of being the younger sibling.

A few stats about Alder at two months: (Appt. 4/12)

Weight: 13.5 pounds (71st %)

Height: 24 inches (72nd%)

Size clothes: 3 month clothes and some 6 month clothes (He wore the same bunny pjs Easter morning that Aiden wore at 6 months!)

Sleeping: He is sleeping 5-6 hours at night then he wakes up to eat and goes back to sleep for another few hours. He is also a great napper!

Random stuff only parents want to know:

Nicknames: Bubba, Buster, Sweet honey, Sunshine

Likes: Milk (duh), Listening to Daddy's voice, kicking his feet in the bath, Smiling, collecting things in his neck rolls, sleeping in his swing, staring at the curtains, ceiling fans, having his toes tickled, his Mama.

Dislikes: Being interrupted when he's eating, waiting to be fed, getting head butted by his brother

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Alder from this month...

We love our little sunshine boy and look forward to all the spring things with him this month!

See Aiden at TWO MONTHS here

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter on the Farm 2017

Easter is one of my favorite holidays for many reasons. I love the reason why we celebrate it, the weather is almost always beautiful, the flowers are blooming, the grass is green, there is always chocolate involved and we get to act like kids on my Aunt and Uncle's farm.
This year was especially memorable because Aiden actually understood the concept of hunting for eggs and loved it. It was also Alder's first Easter with us meaning we had to take lots of family pictures to document. Duh.
We had such a good day with family. I hope your Easter was memorable too!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Toddler Friendly Easter Activities (using household items)

As a former teacher, I love a good themed activity, especially when it promotes learning. With a new baby in the house, I've been slacking. I haven't been out much and when I am out, I really don't want to spend time scouring shelves for educational supplies. Let's be honest, I only leave the house for Starbucks and Groceries these days. So I've been scouring Pinterest for a few easy and fun Easter themed activities that I can do with my toddler that involve items I already have around the house. (I'm counting plastic eggs as something you might have around the house if you are a parent since Easter is right around the corner, if not, you can find them everywhere this time of year.)

Here are a few activities I have tried or plan on trying soon with my toddler...

Materials: Plastic Eggs, Clear container, Spoons/Ladle, Strainer

Count the Cottontails (This one I made up myself, pretty self-explanatory, right?)
Materials: Plastic Eggs, Mini Marshmallows, Optional: Bunny book

Materials: Potatoes, Paint, Paper, Knife

Materials: Plastic Eggs, Paint, Paper plates

Materials: Pretzels, Craisins, Round cracker, Goldfish, marshmallow, M&M's (or other small treat) 
This activity is adorable and I love the idea behind it as it puts the focus of Easter on Jesus and not eggs and bunnies, but you might have to buy a few of these snack items if you don't have them.

Friday, March 31, 2017

How to Prepare Your Toddler for a New Baby

One of the hardest things for me during my second pregnancy was the guilt and nerves I felt about how our new baby would affect my toddler and our relationship. I cried many tears about it and prayed many prayers about it, but knew it was out of my control. All I could do was help prepare his little mind and heart in the only ways I knew how.

Here are some things I found helpful as I was preparing my toddler to meet his little brother... 

Read Books about Babies and Big Brother/Sister: Here are the ones we read on repeat.
Take your Toddler to your Doctor's Appointments: You may think I'm crazy, but I highly recommend taking your toddler with you to your OB appointments. It may be a hassle, but I truly feel it helped Aiden prepare for a baby. He got to hear the baby's heartbeat at all my third trimester appointments and he saw me with doctors....
Share Pictures of your Toddler as a baby: This was a huge help in preparing Aiden for his hospital visit. He had seen pictures of me in a hospital gown from when he was born and was able to make the connection when he came to meet Alder. We read it together in the hospital room as well.
Introduce a baby doll: My sister in law gave Aiden a baby doll a few months prior to Aiden meeting his baby brother. It cried and laughed and came with a bottle. From time to time we would ask Aiden to feed the baby or hug the baby. When it cried we asked him to "pat, pat" the baby. I truly think this helped prepare our little guy for some responsibilities he would have as a big brother.

Other helpful tips:

  • When it's time for your toddler to actually meet the baby, give your toddler lots of attention: I made sure I was the one to greet and hold Aiden when he came in to our hospital room. He sat in my lap and my husband held the baby so I could reassure him that I was okay and that he was still important and loved.

  • Have a present from the new baby for your toddler to open. Our gift from Alder to Aiden just happened to be something that also kept him entertained in our small hospital room. That was extremely helpful!

  • Give your toddler time and grace. They will learn to love your new little bundle in time, but expect some tears and a transition time. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

3 Simple Ways to Make Mealtime More Fun! {AND A NUBY GIVEAWAY}

I don't know about you, but I find myself giving my two year old the same food options on repeat because I know he likes them and because it's easy. But that gets old for both of us very quickly, so I have come up with 3 simple ways to make mealtime more fun for both you and your child.

1.) Play with the shapes of their food
Kids love to have fun, so why not play with their food? An easy way to do this is by changing the shape of their food. The common way to do this is by using a cookie cutter. You can easily make your child's boring PB&J into a heart or a dinosaur. Another way to play with the shapes of their food is by using an ice cube tray! My toddler loves mashed potatoes and he eats them often so instead of serving them mashed in the usual way I decided to change it up. I filled a cat shaped ice cube tray with the potatoes and then froze them. I then took them out of the freezer, brushed some melted butter on top, added a little salt and pepper then baked them at 180 degrees for 18 minutes and he loved them! The foods you could freeze in ice cube trays are endless (applesauce, yogurt, any puree, sweet potatoes, etc.!) IKEA has inexpensive ice cube trays in a variety of shapes if you are looking for some.
2.) Serve Fruits and Veggies with some kind of spread
Let's be honest, it can be hard to serve fruits and veggies to your picky eater. My toddler loves cream cheese and he loves crackers so I decided to just make my own version of a fruit pizza for him to eat. Choose a spread that your child likes (cream cheese, peanut butter, Nutella, hummus) and think of how to add fruits or veggies to it. I will be trying the cream cheese and cracker pizza idea with vegetables next time!
3.) Present food in a brand new way
Visual presentation is important to a child and to us too, right? My toddler doesn't love lunch meat so I have tried to present it in a few different ways. I tried wrapping it in a tortilla and then saw this idea on Pinterest of using a pretzel stick. I simple wrapped lunch meat around string cheese and then used a knife to make an X and stuck the pretzel stick through. Aiden had fun holding on to the lunch meat this way and while he still didn't proceed to actually eat the lunch meat, he at least tried it, which is progress.

The Sure Grip Miracle Mats pictured above make presentation at mealtime much easier because it is a divided plate. It also makes me think about how to incorporate more food groups into each of my child's meals. These mats stick to the table, my child's high chair tray, counters, etc. and are dishwasher safe. It is nice to have a plate you know is secure and won't be flipped over, or chucked across the room!
If you'd like to get one of these mats for FREE, 
hop over to my Instagram: @allie_renner for a chance to win one!
Throughout this month, Babies R'Us is having sales on many other Nuby mealtime items that could also help make mealtime more fun for you and your kids. Here are some details on the sale so head to your nearest Babies R' Us (or visit their website) to snatch up some mealtime items for yourself!

Sale includes bottles, cups, mealtime, bottle accessories and bottle dish soap
Buy 1 Get 10% off
Buy 2 Get 20% off
Buy 3 or more Get 30% off
Sale runs through March 26th!

What do you do or use to make mealtime fun?


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Alder Jacob {One Month}

My littlest buddy is now one month (plus 10 days) old and what a sweet month it has been. I have loved getting to know Alder these last few weeks. Here's what I know about him so far...

He has my BLUE eyes and I think they're here to stay! I can't begin to tell you how happy this makes me. I love my brown eyed boys, but knowing he gets these eyes from me just makes me happy.

He likes to hold on to my fingers or my hair while he eats. I think it's the sweetest thing ever.

He is in a word from our doctor, "vigorous." I prefer mighty or determined. The kid knows what he wants and fights for it. Even though I'd say his overall demeanor is very chill and sweet, when he wants to eat, he wants to eat now and he will put his whole body into telling you so. 
He loves being sung to. His favorite and the song that most effectively soothes him is "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." It has to be because he heard it so many times in the womb from Drew and I singing it to Aiden. I have now trained Aiden to sing this song to Alder when he cries to help all of our sanity and honestly, I think it helps.

He loves being close to me. His favorite position to be in is on my chest with his legs froggied out. He is also very content when I wear him in my Wildbird sling. That thing is a game changer.
He is alert and curious like his brother. At our newborn photo session the kid would not go to sleep for the longest time for our photographer. He followed her camera lens any time she moved it. He was too curious for sleep. Aiden did the same thing at his newborn session. #brothers

He loves the sound of his Daddy's voice. I'd say he is most smiley when Drew talks to him.

A few stats about Alder at one month: 

Weight: 10 pounds 12 ounces (85th percentile, WHATTTT?!)

Height: 23 inches

Size clothes: I have officially put away all of his newborn clothes and have bumped him up to size 1 diapers. I swear he just fit into his dinosaur footed jammies last week. Now he cant even bend his knees in this outfit. Believe me, I tried to squeeze him into them one last time. I'm in denial because he is changing way too quickly.

Sleeping: This kid cluster feeds like crazy every single evening from dinner to bedtime, which means he gives me a solid 5 hours of sleep before wanting to eat again.

Random stuff only parents want to know:

Nicknames: Alder J, Little Buddy, Little Pig-pig (due to his nightly feeding habits)

Likes: Smiling (it's his favorite), Being sung to (Twinkle, Twinkle), eating all day everyday...I swear he's a feeding machine. being carried in the ring sling, being snuggled close to Mama (and his feeding source, haha), the sound of Daddy's voice, "Pat-pats" from his big brother, staring at mobiles.

Dislikes: Having to wait for food especially in the evening hours, being sat on by his big brother (sharing Mama's lap is hard work)

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Alder from our first month together...
We love our little buddy so much and can't wait to see what month 2 brings!

See Aiden at ONE MONTH here.