Friday, October 30, 2015

Baby's first Halloween

My first Halloween!
Mid laugh 
He did pretty well with these pictures. 
He did a good job with these too!
Can't get enough of these smiles.
More laughs and smiles. 

On Friday night, we went to trick or trunk at the school I used to work at. I thought it started at 5 so we got there at 4:45. Whoops apparently set up started at 5 and the event started at 6. Fortunately Nolan was his usual patient self and went along with meeting lots of new people all while wearing a donkey costume. Not a single complaint from him. The Eeyore outfit was a bit hit. 
Too much! 
Missing baby 
Before the event. Love this festive family photo. 
And this one too.
Hanging out with Dad.
Amanda, Caitlin, and I 
Kara and me 
Jo and me 
Pretty fancy trunk decor.
Another colorful one. 

It was nice seeing some of my former co workers. I also saw about ten of my previous students. They are all in third and fourth grade now, and I had them for first. I saw Mariel, Jonathan, Anderson, Bryant, Cynthia M, Cynthia C, Steven R, Asael, Raul, and maybe one or two others. It's crazy how I remember each of them so well even two to three years later. 

Their reactions were funny. A few of the girls came running over saying "Hi Mrs. Ciak" with smiles on their faces. When a student remembers you and says they miss you it means a lot. I think they enjoyed meeting Nolan too. Most of the boys were interested in saying hello but a little shy and confused as to where I have been the past year and half. Regardless, it was wonderful to see these sweet kids growing up. I hope they still remember me as their first grade teacher and that I left a lasting impact. While being at school made me miss those sweet smiling faces and the wonderful people
I taught with, but it also reminded me that being home with Nolan was the best choice for us and our family. Lake Forest was the third and final school I worked at for year 5 and 6 of my teaching career. I've made many lasting friendships with awesome teachers there, and I feel thankful they've continued to include me after a couple years. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Life lately

Life lately has been busy! I'm sure you're probably thinking how can a stay at home mom be THAT busy but it has been. Whether a stay at home mom or a working mom, being a Mom means constantly going and being on someone else's schedule besides your own. It's really great, and I love being a Mom. It just takes some time to adjust to your new normal.

I'm still learning to manage life as a new mom and my previous, childless life. I've realized I need to tone back the social schedule a little bit. I have a hard time saying no and also not making plans because I've always enjoyed being on the go but I've decided it's time I take a little more of a break and just enjoy being at home with Nolan. I'm still working on finding that balance of how many social things I can do without exhausting myself too much. 

I've been finding lately that one outing a day is nice but also having some days without somewhere to be is good too. I've always tried to be flexible with Nolan and bringing him out even if it might be nap time. As he gets older though, I know how important those naps in his crib are as opposed to the naps on the go. We are very fortunate he is an easy going baby who typically does well during outings. I'm sure as he starts to get more mobile that's all going to change so I'm enjoying my last few weeks of him staying in one place.

Lately I've been getting in a lot of doctors appointments before the end of the year. We've met our out of pocket max for this year after a couple hospital visits and now the health plan is paying 100%.
Hurray. Over the past few weeks/months, I've done my yearly physical, my 6 month dental cleaning, my yearly OB/gyn appointment, Nolan's 6 month and his vaccines, our flu shots, my post op appointment and my yearly skin check at the dermatologist. Gosh that's a lot of doctor visits but I've learned from past experience preventative appointments are very important in keeping up with your health. Many of us wait until we are sick to see a doctor, however, I really believe those preventative check ups are just as important. Many times issues can be spotted and treated before things escalate. I always used to be one of those people who stayed away from the doctor unless completely necessary but now I like the peace of mind that things are good with my health and my family's health. 

Anyway, besides doctors appointments and taking care of Nolan, there are a lot of other responsibilities that I take care of during the day. Laundry (which seems endless), cooking, cleaning, making sure bills are paid, and the list goes on. I always thought I would have a lot of free time as a stay at home mom but I keep very busy and never feel bored. There is always something I could be doing. In fact, I need to be better about taking some time to just relax even if that means the to do list is on hold. I rarely nap while Nolan is napping like people always suggest because that is my time to shower, eat, clean, prep dinner, fold laundry, make phone calls, or anything else that is easier to do without the distraction of a baby. I'm sure all of you that are Mom's can relate to that! Even as exhausting and stressful as some days can be, there's no other point in my life I would rather be than right here, right now. Being a new Mom is still my favorite life event yet, and I feel thankful to be sharing this experience with my sweet husband and our family and friends! 

I know I can complain and feel overwhelmed sometimes but I'm very aware of how lucky I am and how great my life is even when there are some annoying things happening. (There have been a lot those things lately). When things get tough though, I look at this little (or not so little) baby, and I realize what is important. Love, laughs, smiles, and our health is all you can really ask for. Here are some of my favorite pictures of Nolan lately and those moments that make me appreciate him so much!
Now that he rolls both ways, he loves sleeping on his belly! Too much sweetness! 
He can sit up, smile, and laugh really well now!
Always happy in his jumper!
Sometimes I just hold him for hours at a time. I know these days will be over soon, and there will be a time I won't be able to hold him anymore. I'm soaking in all the baby snuggles I can get! More soon!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Nolan's first solids

On Nolan's six month birthday, we tried rice cereal for the first time. I've heard many different strategies for starting solids. Our pediatrician recommended starting with rice cereal then moving to oatmeal cereal and then on to one fruit and veggie every 3-5 days to check for allergic reactions. From what I've read, the cereal is a good transition from breastmilk to solids since we are mixing the cereal with breastmilk and making it the right consistency. We started out pretty liquidy and over the past few days gradually made it a little thicker. He did pretty well and seemed interested. 

Solids introduction is another one of those parenting choices you have to make, and I've already found there are a lot of opinions out there of what is best. I honestly don't think there is a right or a wrong way and instead it's more so a matter of what way works for your family. Homemade baby food versus jars or pouches and organic or non organic just to name a few. The choices seem endless. I've thought about doing baby lean weaning where you skip purées and just give small pieces of soft foods like avocado, banana, steamed carrots, etc. I still think that idea seems really neat since he has teeth and was 6 months when we started solids. 

To start, we decided to stick with the rice and oatmeal cereal as he learns to swallow and adjusts to something other than breastmilk. I'll post more when we add fruits and veggies in a couple weeks. Here's a few pictures!
We were so excited to get started we forgot the bib.
He was very interested and grabbing the bowl. It's amazing how babies know to open their mouth when something is coming towards it.
After a few seconds without a bib, we added one. There was some going in his mouth but some wasn't!
He started out pretty interested and opened his mouth for the spoon.
Not so bad!
More please!
Hm not sure about this whole spoon and cereal thing! 

I love watching his facial expressions and reactions each spoonful. It brings a smile to my face watching him acquire new skills. He's still doing his normal nursing. The past few days he hasn't been sleeping as well and it makes me wonder if there is a transition period once you start solids. I was thinking he would feel full longer thus sleeping longer but so far that hasn't been the case. We will see what the next few days bring. Everyday is new and exciting for both of us!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Wedding weekend

This weekend our friends Brian and Ashley got married. They actually met through us. Ashley is a friend from Penn State and Brian is a friend of Jeremy's since first grade. The weather was perfect all weekend. On Friday, we went to the rehearsal and rehearsal lunch. It was at Cafe Intermezzo. I've always loved that place! Great food, desserts, and endless drink options. 
At the rehearsal. Nolan came too and was very well behaved. 
It was a great room for the group of us. 
Almond tiramisu. Delicious!
Coconut cream pie! This place is known for their desserts and has a very European feel. Yum!

After lunch we came home for a few before we picked up my college friend Emily and her husband Steph who were flying in all the way from Canada. Then we went to the hotel where the wedding party was staying for a low key night hanging out and eating pizza for dinner. 
I didn't get any pictures there but Nolan was dressed for the occasion. 
On Saturday morning, we all went to brunch before Jeremy headed off for his groomsmen duties. Emily and Steph got to spend some time with Nolan before it was time to get ready for the wedding. My neighbor, Liz and her husband Craig were so sweet and watched Nolan for us. We feel very fortunate to have such wonderful neighbors that are always willing to help out. There was a neighborhood Halloween party and chili contest that we unfortunately missed out on. I was pretty bummed about that but they brought Nolan and they all had a great time! 
Liz and Nolan. He doesn't like selfies apparently!
Craig with his son and Nolan. Double Dad duty! 
Nolan loved his beard! Thank you again for taking such good care of our little guy. 

Meanwhile, Emily, Steph, and I headed to the wedding. I was already tired. After a busy Friday with wedding events and then preparing everything to be away from Nolan for the night, it was tiring. It's amazing how just being away for a few hours how you need to prepare. Bottles, diapers, wipes, extra clothes, bibs, burp clothes, pacis, and some toys. You never know how many outfits he might go through. Anyway we got there around 5. The weather couldn't have been nicer for a fall, late October wedding. Here are some pictures from the ceremony and reception. It was a mix of college friends and Jeremy's friends and significant others which made for a neat group of people. 
Notice the mistake? Ciark is a new one! We often get Clark and Clak. I guess people assume Ciak must be a typo? It actually happens quite frequently.
The new Mr. and Mrs.
My friend Melissa and Jeremy were paired together. 
Emily and me
Wedding date for life :) 
Loving how clear the pictures are with my new iPhone 6s.
At the reception 
With Melissa another college friend!
Love him! We missed our little guy though! 
Jeremy's friends significant others plus Dania.
More group shots with the bride 
With the bride and groom 
Soon to be sister in laws
Jeremy's brother, Jonathan, his fiancé, Riley and us. They get married next April the same weekend as our anniversary!
With the Canadians! Well Emily isn't really but she moved there to be with Steph! We have such an awesome time with them, and were so glad they stayed with us this weekend!
Group penn state shot!

I left early because it had been 6 hours since I had nursed. I still struggle a bit with an oversupply and clogged ducts so I wanted to be back around that time frame. I left at 9, and I'm glad I did because traffic was terrible when Jeremy left because of the Tech game and Taylor swift concert getting out. When I got home, I snuggled Nolan and got him to bed. Even just being away for a few hours, I am so happy to see him. As I was about to get to sleep, I got the excited news that one of my close childhood friends, Laurel, had her baby! 
Welcome to the world Nora Adrianne! 6lbs 10oz of perfection born at 11:28pm on October 24th! I couldn't be happier for Laurel and Rob. From sleepovers as young girls, to college, to married life, and now as new parents, I am so glad we've been there for each other through it all. We've been friends for about twenty years, and I can't wait to share their parenting journey with her. We already have our trip booked to introduce the babies! Congrats to the whole family! Lots to celebrate this weekend! 

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