Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Nine Months

Leah is NINE months old!
Nine month stats
Height: 30 inches (>99%)
Weight: 20 pounds, 7.6 ounces (83%)
Head: 45.5 centimeters (89%)

So let's celebrate nine months with ANOTHER rocking chair picture.
Oh, you are too cute!
Well, little girl, you literally are quite the mover and shaker these days.  It's been a month filled with watching you figure out how to move and experiment with what your body is able to do.  You are an inchworm crawler.  It seems awfully inefficient, but it's terribly cute.  And you are still able to hold a high plank with ease.
You transition from crawling to sitting with ease and seem to like that your body is able to do so many things.  
All of this moving around has brought on some precarious events that involve getting stuck and being frustrated, but you're figuring it all out.
In just the past week you started pulling yourself up onto your knees. When I walked in one afternoon after your nap and found you proudly kneeling, we knew it was time for that crib to move down.
You love to play, but mostly you love to be wherever your brothers are.  
Baby toys are becoming less interesting each day, and your favorite place in the house seems to be in Noah and Luke's room. 
You are a talker and a screamer.  When Daddy walks in the room you want ALL of his attention.  Your eyes get big, your legs kick with excitement and your hands open and close as soon as you lay eyes on Dad.  We have been surprised to hear you say "I Da da," more than a few times.  Are you really saying hi to Dad already? 
You are also saying a lot of "Ma ma ma ma," which is great payback for some rough nights we've had together.  This month also brought on your first cold.  We were celebrating you sleeping all the way through the night, but then that nasty cold changed everything.  You are just about back on track, but wow, there were some wicked nights that involved very little sleep for your mama.

We love to hear you laugh!  You are ticklish, love to swing, and have just figured out clapping.  It's fun to roll a ball and crawl after it or just chew on it instead.   

We're all loving the routine of walking Noah to school. 
Sometimes you love it so much that before we're home you've gone to sleep.   
You are a noisy eater!  We hear grunting through almost all of your mealtime.  But you like to eat and don't seem to be too picky.  Right now you're particularly loving strawberries, eggs, avocado, cheese, pesto, and chicken.  The grilled nuggets from Chick-Fil-A are a favorite for both of us! 
You went the whole month without getting any new teeth, so there's still just three little ones on the bottom.

Having you as our sunshine girl has got to be one of the best things ever.  Your brothers are smitten.  They tell you every day how cute you are.  And they often run into your room right at nap time to give you one last hug and kiss.  You are their 'little girl' and they love it.  We love you and love the brightness that you've brought to our family!

Luke's First Day

Luke finally had his own first day! 

After periodically sitting in on Noah's Joy School group for the past two years and seeing what a big deal we made when his big brother started kindergarten, Luke was aching for today to come. 

He was thrilled to start out the day with his requested breakfast: pancakes and bacon.  And that excitement continued when it came time to walk Noah to school.  Since it was HIS school day too Luke insisted that he wear his backpack the whole way there.
 I got a little preview of what it's going to be like in two years when I really am walking these two boys to school.  Oh, I already feel like it's coming too fast!

When I asked him what he was most excited for about Joy School he responded with, "I just can't wait to be teached!"  I love that.  He's so ready to learn and go to 'school.'

Luke reported that he had three favorites from his first day: being 'teached,' free play time, and playing castle.  It was first day success.  He's going to have a great year with the other five sweet kids in his group.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

July Bits

When it's 8 a.m. and the store is almost completely empty, the boys loved that I said yes and paused for a few seconds to allow a little sword fighting. 
 I caught Noah trying out a new hairstyle.
 Luke had a 'sleepover' in his garage, without even leaving his own room.
 The boys LOVE playing games.  Noah created his own one day so we all sat down and played.

We've got another bike rider in the family!  This three and a half year old is so happy to be on a bike with peddles.  On a whim we lowered the seat on Noah's bike and just a few minutes later Luke was happily riding.  He earned an already needed new helmet that day, which he picked out himself.

The boys definitely earned their free food at Chick-Fil-A.  They were the cutest, happy cows.

 It was fun to see other friends trickle into the restaurant that night as well.
 Can you guess what flavor of frozen yogurt Luke ordered at Menchie's?  It was blue raspberry for the win!

I finally fulfilled the request that we visit the Aquatic Center before the summer ended. 
Leah looks almost as big as Noah in that picture!

 Sometimes when I can't find Luke, I find him here: 
This boy loves being the rascal of the family, but it's especially cute when I find them in there with his sister after she's woken up from a nap.  He really is the best babysitter when I need just a few extra minutes to finish up something.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bodega Bay Camping

As we looked at the calendar and saw that the start of school was rapidly approaching Nate announced, "I've got to take the boys camping!"  So he hustled to find an available campsite, found some friends to join in the fun, and just a few days later was heading for the coast.

I wish I had a picture of the Nartker's van.  It was filled to the brim with six excited children and all of the necessities required for an overnight adventure at Bodega Bay.  No one seemed to mind that sleeping bags and everything else were being shoved in every available space to get it all in. 

Melody and I opted to keep the little ones home with us.  But we had a much needed dinner together and her twins loved on Leah while she and I chatted the night away. 

First stop on their roadtrip was In N Out for lunch.

 The afternoon and morning of the next day were spent enjoying the beach: playing in the waves, building sandcastles, and collecting shells.

 It was chilly, just like Bodega Bay seems to ALWAYS been in August, but that didn't slow them down much.

The evening brought on dinner and, of course, s'more making.
 And the darkness didn't slow things down a bit.  The kids loved playing Uno by the light of the lantern.

 These boys are always happy for an adventure, especially one that involves time with Dad. I'm so glad it's a priority to that Dad of theirs and that they could share it with dear friends.  These simple memories are some of the ones both Nate and I remember the most from our childhood.  I can't wait for next year (maybe!) when Leah and I join in the fun too!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The First Day of Kindergarten

For years, probably since Noah could articulate a sentence, he has impatiently asked, "When am I old enough to go to that school?!"  That day has seemed far off  for so long that it's hard to believe that day was TODAY.

But here we are, on the first day of kindergarten for our big boy.  The day started off with Noah's breakfast request: poached eggs, toast and strawberries.   He excitedly declared, "It's a beautiful day to start kindergarten!"

I think the best part before leaving for Noah was finally getting to wear his first pair of Nikes.  He's sure those new shoes are going to make him extra fast on the playground.

We snapped the traditional before school picture.
 Oh, someone please start giving this kid a double dose of stay little pills!  The past five and a half years have seemed to go at an appropriate pace, but I have a feeling that school is going to make things start to move at a faster speed than I'm ready for.

We noticed that our sweet neighbor Tia was doing the same thing so she came over and joined Noah. 
 Then things got extra cute when Luke joined us outside.   These boys, they're just bursting with personality!
Nate went into work late, and we all drove over to Gallardo together.  Noah met his teacher, Mrs. Chan, and visited his classroom the day before at story time so he was all confidence when it came to being on campus. 
 A few minutes after we got there Everett arrived too.  These two boys have completed two years of Joy School together and are now venturing into kindergarten.  They're in different classes, but on the playground at the same time.
 The school bell rang too soon for my liking, and just like that Mrs. Chan was opening the door and welcoming her sweet class.  I was so happy that she welcomed in the parents for a few minutes too!
 She read the Kissing Hand to the kids which was a perfect way to enter kindergarten for them and their parents. 
 At the beginning of the summer when we got Noah's class assignment he was placed in a K/1 combination class. But we just found out a few days ago that it changed to a straight kindergarten.  Oh, was this mama/teacher happy about that.  I think the dust is still settling a bit in that kindergarten class, but when we left this morning there were ten kids in the class and only two boys.


So tiny, but I love it, even if it is like that for only a few days.  And thankfully that other boy is Bentley, a sweet boy in our ward who was also Noah's t-ball buddy last spring.  I have a feeling that things will change, but hurray for a smallish class size!

Finally 12:06 rolled around and it was time to pick up our big boy.  He was all smiles and is ready to go back tomorrow.
We welcomed him home with his favorite sprinkle cookies and I soaked in everything he could tell me about this special first day.
 He loved recess the most, learned the school song, and did some coloring.  He reported that Mrs. Chan is a good teacher because she has good lessons.  Works for me!  I'm excited for all of us as we experience kindergarten as a family this year!

Our First Back to School Feast

We started a new tradition by having a Back to School Feast on Sunday. 
 I wanted to keep it simple, but special, and by the end of it all I just loved the way it all went.

I blocked off the kitchen and dining area so that the boys could only watch the preparations from a distance.  They were curious kids as they saw the table being set, food prepared and that cake decorating the table.
When everything was ready Noah and Luke rushed to their seats and excitedly put on their golden crowns. 
During dinner we talked about the upcoming school year: their fears, what seemed most exciting and what they hoped to learn.  Having such a detailed, articulate conversation with these boys reminded me that their littleness is quickly disappearing.  Even though Luke is two years younger, his seems to be going even faster as he tries to keep up with whatever Noah is doing.  But I loved just focusing on them during that time.
After a cleaning up and a game of Uno, Nate and I introduced our family's theme for the school year.  Taken from Philippians 4:13, we felt like this scripture was simple but proclaimed a clear testimony to our boys where their greatest help can come from.  We'll continue to revisit it during family home evening as a tool to strengthen our family.
Right before bedtime Nate gave each of the boys a Father's blessing.  The feeling in the room was tender and sweet.  It really was a moment to be reminded of how special these sweethearts are and what their potential is.  Not a half second after Noah's blessing finished he bounced off of the chair and proclaimed, "I feel good!  I feel so good!"  We all did.  It was a blessed, sweet evening all the way around.  This is a tradition that will be sticking around for years to come for sure!