Saturday, January 17, 2015

9 months old!

Is this for real?  Have we really been a family of 4 for 9 months?  This is crazy.  Before I know it these babies are going to be little boys!  Month 8 has been full of growth.  I feel like I say that every month, but really.  Both are extremely mobile and verbal and are expressing their unique and fun personalities more with each passing day.  Andy and I say that they are our best friends.  We are so in love with these little guys!


  • 75th%ile for weight, weighing in at 22 lbs, 2 oz
  • 90th%ile for height, measuring in at 29 ins
  • He has 2 bottom teeth and has a third coming in on the top.
  • In the past week and a half, Benji has advanced by leaps and bounds in many ways--especially in mobility.  He can get where he needs to go pretty quickly by crawling in his fish-flop kind of way.  He LOVES to stand at their new play table, and he has master pulling up to stand almost anywhere.  His pincer grasp is pretty good, too.  
  • He is also quite verbal and loves to babble, especially during mealtime.  Sometimes he's mid-sentence when eating and the spoonful come right back out!  
  • We think he will be detail-oriented because he notices the smallest little things and picks them up, or plays with them, or stares at them.  He notices if you're wearing earrings or a necklace or rings or a zipper or drawstrings... and he will most definitely zero in on it until it's into his mouth!
  • He has grown to take in more textured purees, too, when he used to completely reject them.  He still gags and spits out things that are too lumpy, but he's gotten better and will continue to.  He loves teething biscuits and can get quite messy.
  • He is generally an extremely happy, contented, social baby.  He is happy to be held by pretty much anyone, which is wonderful.  We love his personality.  Such a lovie.  When he is cranky, it's because he's tired.
  • He is a daddy's boy.
  • 50th%ile for weight and height:  20 lbs 2 oz and 28 ins long
  • He has FOUR teeth!  The 2 top teeth fully came in a few weeks ago, and they are really cute.  I'm sure all babies' top teeth have a big space in between them, but it just looks so funny and cute.
  • He is so fast when he crawls.  We put up a baby gate to separate the playroom from the kitchen (kitchen is tiled), but I will open the gate up sometimes because he can't stand to be locked in.  I can turn around for 5 seconds, and there he is, right at my heels!  He can crawl up the one step easily.  I am so impressed!
  • He started pulling up before Benji and continues to do so all over the place.  He is a very busy bear... toys don't entertain him for very long... he is so active.  
  • He talks a lot, too!  He says "mama" and "dada" at times, and it is too cute.  He has reached for me several times.  It is heartwarming!!!  
  • He can clap!  When he claps, we make sure to say, "Yayyy!" so he can associate clapping with exclamation and happiness.  Very fun.  
  • He's a good eater, but he still doesn't eat a ton.  It's a good day if I can get him to eat 20 oz of formula in the day.  But his pincer grasp is great and eats puffs like a champ, as well as textured solids.
  • He is very funny, and we can tell he might be a class clown or something like that.  He's also a bruiser!  He got his first fat lip last night :( so sad. Blood on my shoulder and everything.  Also, when he crawls over to the back door, he head butts it one or two times.  Crazy man.  
  • He's a mama's boy!
So, sleep has been tough, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!  But let me say that for the past month, we have been extremely sleep deprived. The boys hit a rough spell, as I said in my 8 month post, and had been waking up 2-4 times per night EACH!  What the heck.  We got into a bad habit of resorting to a bottle to getting them back to sleep, which was not helping.  We finally got some amazing help from and the boys are sleeping way better.  The sleep plan is personalized and easy to follow.  They are now only waking up to eat 1-2 times at night and are learning to fall back to sleep on their own when they wake other times.  The plan helped me to implement cry it out, and it is working.  

They typically nap very well.  They take a 90 minute nap in the morning and a 1-2 hr nap in the afternoon.  Here's their schedule:

7 am :  wake up (we're training them, too, on not waking up for the day before 7...)
7:15 : bottles
7:45: breakfast (yogurt, oats, and pureed fruit)
8-9:15:  playtime til Naptime
9:15 : Nap #1
10:30/11:  Wake up
11:30:  Bottles
12:00 : solids lunch (fruits and veggies)
1:45 : Nap # 2
3:30 : Wake up and Bottles
5/5:30:  Solids Dinner (protein and veggies)
6:30: get ready for bed and Bottles
7pm:  lights out!
3-5 am: Wake for a feeding

What We Eat!
yogurt, baby oatmeal, lots of fruits, lots of veggies, chicken/turkey/beef baby food, puffs, bite-sized pieces of banana and cheese stick and mandarin oranges... we still have lots of foods to explore, and hopefully they'll start taking to finger foods more

We love our table!  
We especially love the part of the table that our brother is playing at :)

Getting up from naps is so fun!

Being crazy and somehow got a line of dirt on his face?

 Being babysat by our friend Amy!

 Get us out of here!

Benji being a daredevil and taking one hand off of the table!

At Emmy's Birthday party

 Benji can be held by anyone and not complain!  This is our friend Hannah.  A mom of three.

Getting them up in the morning is even more fun than after a nap!  
They are so funny and happy.

Wrestling over a binky.

Best buds.

Having a teething biscuit and a chat with the windows open.

Zachary doing typical Zachary things!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Christmas Reflections

I wanted to share a thought God downloaded to me the week of Christmas.
I intentionally tried to meditate on Jesus coming to earth as a baby this year, now that I have my own babies and know more about what that truly means.

To me, it is incredible that my Savior--the Creator of the earth and Savior to all mankind--would come to us in the form of a helpless, completely dependent, fragile, needy baby!  It blows my mind!  How did he nurse?  Did He have colic?  When did He start sleeping through the night?  Did He take His first solids ok?  I mean, seriously!  He was fully God, but also fully man... so He wasn't exempt from all of the milestones and developmental markers that babies  go through  and sometimes struggle through.  I pray that I don't let Christmases come and go any longer without taking time to meditate on this amazing yet often overlooked fact of the Christmas story because I came away from these times more in awe of and more thankful for Jesus than before.  
He subjected Himself to infancy!  
Infancy ain't easy!

Then that got me thinking about Mary.  Infancy ain't easy on mommas, either... more so, even.  
Wow.  Mary.  
Mary birthed the Savior.
Often times our recount of the Christmas story ends there in the stable, 
with Sweet Baby Jesus in His manger.

But Mary also raised Him.  
She nursed Him.  
Changed Him.  
Learned His cries.  
Fed Him.  
Cared for Him.   
Rocked Him to sleep.  
Kissed His sweet cheeks.  (I'm sure they were super sweet, too!)
Stroked His head.  
Patted His bottom.
Wiped away His tears.
Burped Him.
Got spit up on by Him.  

I mean, think about it! It's incredible to me.  A miracle.

To think... the Savior, the Messiah:
He had the whole world in His hands, 
all of our lives on His shoulders, 
His destiny was written about in the heavens...
yet, God saw it fitting for Him to need a mommy.

This was where I stayed for awhile a few mornings after Christmas.
God spoke to me about the significance of motherhood.
If Moms should ever question their importance or significance...
just remember that Jesus--the Lord of all the universe--
needed a mommy!
God saw it necessary for Jesus to be raised into Who He would become, essentially...
or at least being raised by a mom (and a dad, of course) was important to the Gospel.
He was already great,
already God;
yet He needed a mom!

So this led me to think on my own babies.
I believe that they already have a destiny spoken over them by God.
God knows their identities even before we fully know them.
He knows the good works He has already set aside for them.  
But even though they already have a destiny, 
my role as their mother is still, and maybe even more so, important. 
I already know this, but the impossibility and miracle of Christmas got me thinking more about the significance of my role as mommy to my sons.
I am thankful that God creates babies with purpose and identity, 
and then sees it necessary to place them in families, 
under the care and direction of a mom and dad.  

What an awesome privilege!
And still crazy to me to think that the God of all the earth 
was placed under the care of earthly parents.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Boys' 1st Christmas

This post is a couple of weeks late, but the boys have been going through a major sleep regression, so it's a win if I can have a few moments to myself before they wake up each morning!  

"Babies' First Christmas" was so nice.  Andy's mom and stepdad came into town for the whole week of Christmas, and it was great to spend that time with them.  The last time they saw the boys was back in August, and of course we all know how much babies change each month.  The boys were happy and playful (as usual), so it was a fun visit.  We all went to ZooLights with my brother, sister, and mom on Monday before Christmas, which is a big beautiful light display the Phoenix Zoo puts on each year.  Apparently zoos across the country do it, too!  It was fun.  Probably something we'll not revisit until the boys are older, but I've been dying to check it out, so I'm glad we went.
We all went up to Paradise Valley on Christmas Eve and stayed a couple nights at my parents' house so we could all be together on Christmas morning.  My grandparents are in town for an extended winter stay, and my older sister was able to come in town for a couple days.  She brought a friend who couldn't get home to NY for the holiday, so we had a full house!  

Of course, the boys are so little, it wasn't a big deal for them.  We got them a few (I thought few, but when all was said and done, they got a lot of toys) new toys, and they got a couple bigger toys from Grammy and Poppy (Andy's parents).  Other than that they got lots of pajamas (yay!), outfits, and books.  I love children's books, so even though they're not into stories yet, I'm all about stocking their library.  

I'm so glad we got to spend their first Christmas with so much family around.  It's just a sweet memory that I know we'll all have for years to come.  They did well and didn't seem too overwhelmed by all of the people or all of the gifts.  (Because there was definitely an explosion of packages under the 12-foot tree!)  I'm kind of hyper-vigilant about overstimulation with them... maybe it's because I don't like to be overstimulated myself!  Ha.  Or just that I like to prevent meltdowns if possible and if they are avoidable.  For the boys' sakes. 
Here are some pictures I got from the few days:

Grammy and Poppy's arrival!  

Then we quickly packed up the cars and headed to ZooLights!


Andy Claus driving up all of our gifts to my parents' house!

 Babies' first bites of orange--Zachary loved it!  Benji made lots of funny faces but overall enjoyed it.
And can we just talk about these sweater vests?

Getting our sillies out before bedtime!

Family Photo

B+Z and their great-grandparents, Nanny and Bo!

I snuck out to take this pic when all was quiet in the house.  There's just something "magical" about the Christmas tree and presents on Christmas Eve.

 Beautiful quilted stockings made by my talented mother!

Christmas morning!

Xmas morning selfie! 
 This is the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Puppy and Friends Learning Table that we got the boys, and it has been a hit with them... and I know even more so when they can pull themselves up and down by themselves.

Zachary is obsessed with opening and closing this laptop.  I realized yesterday that there are 2 knobs in the plastic that prevents the laptop from closing flush to itself, which then prevents little fingers from getting crushed.  So smart!

Benji and Auntie C!

Baby's First Christmas booty!