Monday, December 29, 2014

Halloween 2014

Nora was just a tiny thing on her first Halloween in 2013, and we were in Madrid where it’s not as widely celebrated as it is here in the US so we didn’t wear orange and black or even take a picture. (In fact, like many of those early days, I don’t remember it at all.) So while it is technically her 2nd Halloween, it was her first to dress up and have lots of fun! In fact, we had a couple of different outfits to wear during the week of Halloween. Not sure why since I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween, but she sure looked cute and festive!



On Halloween evening, we went out to our cul-de-sac where our neighbors host their annual Halloween cook-out. When Nora woke up for her nap that day and saw all the people outside our front window, she got so excited. We hurried to get her costume on so that we could go out to join in on the fun as soon as Dad got home!




Nora was a flamenco dancer for her first second Halloween. Somehow amidst the chaos of an international move, Luke and I managed to remember to buy her costume (dress, shoes, bow, fan – the whole package!) before leaving Madrid. She was the cutest little dancer I’ve ever seen and managed to walk in her heels like she’d been doing it her whole life! (I think she really liked the tapping sound when she walked across hard surfaces!)




We stayed outside for a couple of hours where Nora got to play with the big girls and see all the crazy costumes. (She was not fond of a big guy in a bear mask!) We didn’t go trick or treating this year since she’s still so young but still managed to have plenty of fun!



Once the sun went down and the fire pit got going, the baby got sleepy and the mama got tired of making sure she didn’t get too close to the fire. I took Nora in and got her to bed, and then joined Luke and the neighbors back in the circle (baby monitor in hand!) for some more fun. Seriously, our sweet girl makes every holiday more fun!


Nora definitely perfected her “ho, ho, ho” after this video was taken, but I think this is the only one I ever caught on video and better than nothing! If you were around her at all this holiday season, I’m sure you heard it in person. This will help us remember all the Christmas joy she brought for years to come. Merry Christmas to all!

Nora’s First Birthday Fiesta

We celebrated Nora’s first birthday on Saturday, October 11 and paid homage to her homeland with a Spanish fiesta!

We decorated with red and yellow, the colors of Spain’s national flag. Everything was home crafted, and while we didn’t go all out, the things we did have made it seem more festive than a normal family get together. I wanted to make it a special for the little birthday girl (even though she didn’t know it was all for her!), and I enjoyed the crafting!

DSC_4087Olive oil favors that said “Thanks to olive you, turning one was lots of fun!”

DSC_4088Polka dot letters and fabric garland! The garland was so simple to make and could be done for all kinds of occasions!

DSC_4090(1)Fabric garland around the highchair. It’s cuter with that sweet girl sitting in it!

In true Millie (and Luke) fashion, we had way too much food! (I think know that we still have paella frozen in our freezer.) In addition to a huge paella full of chicken, seafood and veggies, we also had: bocadillos de calamari, homemade tortilla Espanola, cheese, membrillo, jamon, bread, olives, arroz con leche, flourless chocolate cake, and of course, homemade cake with yellow frosting for the birthday girl. Beverages were flowing as well with vino, cerveza and of course, sangria, to choose from. (Don’t worry! There was lemonade and water for the young ones Winking smile)



Luke welcomed everybody two times – once in English and then, upon request, in Spanish. (We just wanted to be sure everyone had an authentic experience!) We ate and ate and ate. We watched Nora open gifts and eat cake. (She was a bit timid and didn’t get too messy.) We played outside with new toys and enjoyed wonderful time together.

DSC_4092“Come on! I’m ready to get started!”

DSC_4094Helping Dad make a toast!

DSC_4095Nonnie’s girl

PA117027Getting little help from Shelb

PA117028Reading birthday cards with Coleman

PA117030Birthday girl

PA117033“What’d you get?”


DSC_4099“I’m not so sure about this…”

DSC_4103“You really want me to eat this?”

DSC_4104“Are you sure, Mom?”

DSC_4109“Okay. Here I go.”

DSC_4110“What is this stuff?!?”

DSC_4112 “I’m going all in!”

DSC_4119“Que rico!! Me gusta!”

DSC_4123What? Your children don’t play with knives?

DSC_4126And a little help from Nonnie to finish it up!

DSC_4121Our family of 3

It was a perfect day celebrating our baby’s first year, and our first year as parents with the ones we love. Thank you to all who have supported us, encouraged us, and most importantly, loved our sweet girl! It wouldn’t be the same without you all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


This Christmas has already been so much more fun now that we have little Nora to share things with! Even though she surely doesn’t understand it all, she loves all the lights, trees, decorations, and most of all, Santa!

Nora’s obsession with Santa began a couple of weeks ago after we started reading a book called Baby’s First Christmas. It’s a really cute book that just has simple pictures of common Christmas things: a Christmas tree, presents, candy canes, etc. We look at the book, point to each picture and say what it is. Nora really took a liking to Santa, and she learned how to say it really well, really fast! Now she points him out all over the place. (He really is everywhere!) And now she’s even started saying, “Ho, ho, ho” after she says “Santa” most times (though I’m yet to catch that on video!) It’s the first thing she says when she wakes up (literally), and the last thing she says before she goes to bed.  While she won’t sit still for any type of cartoon or kid’s show, she’ll stand and dance and watch YouTube videos of animated Christmas songs (as long as the iPad is out of her reach!) The girl really, really loves Santa!

IMG_2421(1)Milk and Santa videos…what more can a girl ask for!

Her obsession is simultaneously hilarious, and the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure what we’re going to do when Christmas is over! We may have to start celebrating year round!

Nora says Santa!

Hopefully I’ll be able to catch a “ho,ho,ho” on video soon to add to this post as well. This is one Christmas memory I don’t ever want to forget!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nora: 12 months

Weight/Length: 19.14 lbs (51%) and 28.75 in (31%)

PA096998This girl that never stops is impossible to photograph and usually ends up being a blur in each photo that I take. This is as good as I got during our 12 month photo shoot.

Medical Issues: Healthy girl! Our doctor visits are always quick, easy and painless (unless it’s time for a vaccine) because we have a smart, healthy, growing girl. For that and so many other things, we are truly thankful.

Sleep: Some days Nora still takes two naps and others, especially Mondays and Wednesdays when she goes to MDO, she’s okay with just having one. It usually depends on what time she wakes up in the morning. Occasionally, she’ll sleep in until 8:00-8:30. Those are usually one nap days. If she wakes by about 7 or before, she usually still needs the morning nap.

And speaking of waking up in the morning, sometime between 11 and 12 months, Nora started sleeping through the night like a champ. She is pretty consistently sleeping from when we put her down (7:30-8:00 if it’s just a normal night) until the morning. She usually wakes and will nurse around 6:45ish in the morning. Sometimes she goes back to sleep for another hour or so, and other times she’s ready to get up. Either way, I’ll take it.

Diet: She’s down to just nursing once or twice a day in the morning and evening. If you had asked me a month or two ago, I probably would have thought she would never be weaned, and I certainly had no idea how to go about it. She obviously just knew what to do and started cutting back. I’m fine with continuing with morning and night feedings for a bit longer until she’s ready to be done. I’m just going to follow her lead.

Along with cutting back on nursing, it seems like she’s started to eat a ton of real food. She eats 3 meals and usually 1-2 snacks per day. She usually eats whatever I put in front of her and has even been eating some meat lately. Breakfast seems to be a favorite, and she usually eats pretty soon after waking (like mother like daughter.) We rotate between eggs and toast, oatmeal and banana, or cereal and yogurt (or some combination of those things.) For lunch and dinner, I usually try to give her a protein (beans, turkey, etc), vegetable (carrots are a fav right now), fruit (grapes, apple, banana, etc) and a grain (crackers, brown rice, toast). Snacks are usually a fruit, dried fruit and cereal, cereal bar, apple sauce, etc. She drinks quite a bit of water every day, and occasionally will drink a few ounces of whole milk throughout the day. I think she’s getting all the calcium, fat, etc from the yogurt, avocado, etc that she eats, so I don’t push the milk too hard. If she wants it, great. If not, that’s fine too.

Milestones:  She’s making and imitating lots of sounds. She definitely says hi and dada. I think there’s a few other things that she tries to say too (like fish, duck, shoe), but I might be the only one who understands her. Winking smile

She makes a fish face when we start talking about our beta fish, Alvaro, and ask her where the fish is or what a fish does. She understands a lot of what I tell her or ask her to do, and she can express some of her wants and needs, whether through whining, grunting or even pointing.

Likes: going on walks, swinging, being outside, dancing, remotes,  iPhones, Violet the leap frog puppy, her loveys, keys and making our cars honk by pushing the buttons, any kind of button or knob in general, light switches, bath time, climbing, sitting on her own (especially in her new chair from Nonnie and Poppy!

Dislikes: Bibs, having her hands and face cleaned off,  diaper changes, PB sandwiches, having her hair rinsed or in general having anyone touch her face.

Nicknames: Chicky Girl, Neeny, Nori and Nor,


Mama’s Thoughts: What a year! People always say how fast time flies, but I don’t think you truly know how fast it can actually go until you have a baby. When I think back to the early days and being so sleep deprived and distraught over the fact that Nora refused to take a bottle, or whatever the current issue was, a year seemed like forever. I wasn’t sure I could make it. Now here I sit with a one year old. We survived, bottle refusal, night wakings and all, and looking back, a year seems like nothing, such a small sacrifice in the whole scheme of things.

It was certainly a year full of challenges and a year of learning – about love, about myself, about Luke, about family. I think we stood up to the challenges and are better, stronger and closer as a result. And we got the best reward, sweet, beautiful, absolutely perfect in every way, Nora.

First birthday recap and pictures to come sooner than later (I hope!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Nora: 11 Months

P9096943The monthly sticker didn’t last long this month!

Weight/Length: Still hanging out right around the 18 lb mark.

Medical Issues: Nora had her first ear infection this month. Luckily, it cleared up pretty quickly after starting the antibiotics and hasn’t returned. And it’s a good thing too because I don’t want to have to give her amoxicillin again any time soon; she detested it.

Sleep: Still taking 2 naps a day on most days, although she’s started resisting that first nap on occasion. When that happens, the evenings are fussy and short because she’s ready for bed earlier than usual.

On a good night, Nora goes to bed easily around 7:30 – 8:30 and sleeps until around 6ish. Then she eats and goes right back to sleep for another 1.5 – 2 hours. Unfortunately, that’s not every night, and the other nights are terrible worse with more night wake ups and early morning (like before 6) risings. I can’t complain about the good nights, though. Eventually she’ll be a consistent sleeper, right? Winking smile 


Diet: Breastfeeding 3ish times per day (sometimes 4, other times just 2) and eating lots of solids. She still hates meat but loves cheese, yogurt, avocado and raisins. Some days it seems like she’s starving and will eat anything I put in front of her; other days she wants nothing to do with any food (I wish I had days like that!) She seems to be growing and thriving, though, so I imagine it’s all normal, and she’s getting what she needs.

P9096945She also loves eating paper!

Milestones:  She’s walking like a pro, and most people can’t believe it when I tell them how old she is. She’s basically running at this point. And she looks like a little baby doing it!

She’s imitating lots of sounds and saying lots of words. She says mama, dada, fish, duck, and trash to name a few. She also waves and says “Hi” as we’re out and about and see people.


This month I am really starting to notice that she understands what I say to her. If I ask where a toy is, she’ll go look for it and point or bring it to me. She understands when I ask her if she wants milk or wants to go outside and whines until she gets it.

She also started Mother’s Day Out two days a week just before turning 11 months old. She goes to a little church near our house on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 –3 .  It’s been a little bit of a transition. We’ve had a few drop offs with lots of crying, and last week one of the teachers told me that she basically cried all day. This week, she seems to be doing better, though. I’ve been sending a few familiar toys and a lovey with her, so I think that’s helping. And I think it’s just going to take a little time to get used to the new surroundings and people. I think she’s a little bit sensitive to stuff like that, but she’ll adjust and be better (hopefully) for it.

Likes: going on walks, swinging in our tree swing out front (Thanks for hanging it, Luke!), watching big kids, yogurt, raisins, music, dancing, remotes, her lunchbox (she loves to carry it around the house), iPhones, books and reading, going outside, picking up sticks, rocks and acorns.


Dislikes: Bibs, having her hands and face cleaned off,  diaper changes, sun butter, having her hair rinsed.

Nicknames: Chicky Girl, Neeny, Nori and Nor,

Mama’s Thoughts: I wish I could bottle up so many moments and feelings from this stage so that I’ll be sure to never ever forget. She’s the sweetest little chick, and while she’s a mobile, wild woman that can’t be stopped and loves to dig through cabinets and drawers, unroll toilet paper, and carry around random household products, she still likes to be held and is a little bit of a cuddler, especially right after she wakes up. My absolute favorite thing that she does right now is when I crouch down and open my arms really wide and call for her to come to me, she’ll come barreling right into my arms, pause and lay her head on my shoulder for a quick hug before she’s off to play again. I hope she never stops loving hugs.

With just one month to go until One, I already find myself feeling pretty emotional about it at times. It’s truly amazing how quickly the months have passed. And while I look forward  to watching her grow, eventually weaning, and being able to do more and more with her, it’s a little bit sad that she’ll never be this little again, and a giant piece of me doesn’t want her to stop needing me. (Hopefully that won’t really happen anytime soon) We’ve been so thoroughly and continuously connected for the past year. The thought of that changing is a little bit liberating and exciting but mostly scary and anxiety inducing. Luckily, she’s all mine for at least 17 more years. Smile 

I’ll be back next month (because apparently the only time I blog these days is these monthly updates) with an update on our big ONE year old girl and a recap of our birthday celebrations.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Monday, August 18, 2014

Crystal Beach 2014

At the first of August, we packed our bags and headed to Crystal Beach, near Galveston, for a week of fun in the sun with my family. The weather forecast was a little dreary, but it ended up being perfect with plenty of sun and mild-ish temperatures. The water wasn’t all that nice (Anna dubbed it “Crystal Brown”), but the beach house was perfect for us, and, despite the seaweed and murky water, we got everything that you’re looking for out of a beach vacation.

We walked on the beach and played in the water!







We played in the sand and even tasted it. Yum.




We remembered to wear our hats and shades and take lots of breaks in the shade.



And of course, we had plenty of picture breaks.






We practiced sharing among cousins! Baths, books and breakfast, just to name a few!




And did lots of fishing!



Along with the fish, we also caught a few sunsets and a ferry across the bay to Galveston.





We went to a couple of dinners and even down a waterslide!





Sure, we had our moments.


But all in all, it was a pretty sweet trip.


(With a little bit of weird thrown in there too. )