Monday, March 30, 2015

Kate: 9 months old

Nine months is a fun milestone because a baby has spent as much time growing inside of you as they have outside of you. Contemplating the amazing changes that happened from conception until this point is astounding. It bears witness to me that we have a loving Heavenly Father who has prepared a way for us to come to Earth and have physical bodies. I am eternally grateful to enjoy the responsibility of raising these children.

The best part of this month has been my decision to drop Kate's dream feed. It was becoming too exhausting and the disturbance was doing more harm than good at this point. Instead of ensuring a good nights sleep, it was waking her up for 1-2 hours. It took a few days for her to make it til morning, but now she sleeps from 8pm to 8:30-9am all by herself. The next step will be unswaddling her left arm. We've decreased from 6 to 4 pacifiers for her to wrestle with at night. Progress, right?

Her naps have improved as we've increased her awake time during the day (abt 3 hours, almost 4 hours at night). We're guaranteed one 1.5 hour nap and one 45 minute nap. Sometimes she graces us with two 2 hour naps and it's the best gift she could offer. At church, she has taken to sleeping in Daddy's arms. I think she loves how tight he holds her... and I think Paul secretly loves getting that special time with his daughter (even though he feels like his arms are going to fall off afterward).

This month was rough in the health department. Kate clocked a total of 3 weeks of sickness. She would work her way through a cold, be healthy for one day, and then acquire a cough, recover, and repeat. I would definitely say this made for an increase in fussiness. No doubt, she is still an extroverted, happy baby, but she isn't all smiles anymore. She's beginning to understand the correlation between fussiness and attention from parents. Obviously, she's smart. It even sounds like she's crying "ma ma" when she's most upset. Break my heart, okay?

Kate is serious about eating. She nurses lightening fast, enjoys oatmeal or eggs for breakfast, a banana and cheerios for lunch and occasionally tries bits of noodles and other finger food for dinner along with a puree. She has made leaps and bounds with self-feeding. It wasn't until the last week or so that we allowed her to try more finger foods. Whenever the family is eating and she isn't, she yells. It's this high pitched scream that continues until you let her eat too. Kate still hasn't cut any teeth, but she's proving to us that those gums can mash just about anything.

Kate's happy exhales have turned into little giggles. You make eye contact, say her name, anything, and tiny baby giggles escape her mouth. When she is in the car she laughs at Vince or tries to turn her head to see the driver. Red lights are becoming a favorite of mine so I can turn and chat with my sweet babe for a few precious moments. This social girl still smiles at strangers and loves attention from just about anyone who will give it to her. She's also taken to splashing in the bath. Paul has to hold one leg down the entire time to keep from getting completely saturated during bath time.

I'm trying to step up my parenting by doing something about Kate's locks. Her hair is odd. It's long in the front but short and rough in the back. Slowly, the back is coming in and will (hopefully) catch up with the front. It has made for some good pigtails and ponies, though! I had to start coiffing her hair, otherwise Nana threatened to cut it off!

This nine month old's biggest accomplishment is pulling up to stand. She gets this extreme look of accomplishment followed by smiles and a laugh. Her hips rock back and forward as she tries to steady herself. Although she just learned to stand, she is fearless. Twice, she has gotten steady enough that she has let go of my hands and stood by herself for a moment before plopping to the ground. She immediately reaches forward to pull up and try again.

Her current mode of transportation is tummy to sitting, tummy to sitting. She doesn't crawl, but her up and down movements take her in all sorts of directions. Nothing is safe anymore. All if fair game in this girl's eyes! Speaking of her eyes, they are still stunning in their blue clarity. Vincent also had blue eyes at this age. His have slowly turned green/gray with time. Paul and I both have green eyes, but have enjoyed the blue eyed stage of both our children. Who knows,  maybe hers will stick?


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

(Almost) Home Owners.

I have been house hunting for years now. Any time Paul mentioned a potential job location I would hop on the internets and start my search. Now we're in here, in Michigan, doing the real thing. Looking at every house available and picking up and driving 20+ minutes, one way, to look at a house.

It is not fun.

If I didn't have children, it would be a completely different story. But I do have kids. Two of them. And working around naps, meal times and the terrible twos has been a headache. In the process of house hunting we have missed out on three serious potential homes. Two were sold in under 12 hours. The third home was taken from us by someone who put in a cash offer. Who even has that much cash?? 

I was becoming desperate. Our realtor wasn't aggressive enough and I felt myself going through quite the emotional ride as I saw the perfect homes slip through my fingers. As tough as it was, we did what was best for us and dropped our realtor. Can I just tell you how difficult that was? She was extremely nice but we needed more than a great personality. We were connected with Cindy Witke-- our answer to prayers!

Within 24 hours she had a huge list of potential homes for me to pick from. I was still discouraged as I looked through the list because many of them weren't the right fit. Then, I saw it. At 2-story house with an unfinished basement and a quarter acre lot. It had only been listed for a few hours. Cindy scheduled our showing and we had an offer in that very night.

We offered 15k OVER asking price. The market is insane in Grand Rapids. We're thankful we went so high because the next highest offer was 13k over asking price. Obviously the home is worth what we asked because we weren't the only ones bidding in that range.

The home was off the market in under 24 hours, and they accepted our offer!! We had an inspection that night and felt comfortable with the minimal findings.

So let me recap. We found the house online, toured it, made an offer, had the offer accepted and performed the inspection in under 48 hours. You guys, I am exhausted! The whirlwind isn't stopping though. The loan officer was shocked by how quickly she verified our finances and said we could close in 2 weeks. TWO WEEKS. If the sellers agree we can close on April 6.

Although we're practically homeowners, I won't feel it's settled until the keys are in my hand after closing. At that point, I will show you pictures of the biggest piece of debt I've ever 20% owned. I'm sure you'll also be updated with the many renovations/updates we'll being doing.

Come on, home ownership. I'm ready for you!