Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dear Baby Boy {A letter written to you on the night before your first birthday}

My sweet boy,
Tonight I put you in the same pajamas your brother wore the night before he turned one, we read all your favorite books and you laughed on cue at all of your favorite parts. I nursed you and then rocked you in my arms. Usually you fall asleep in my arms, but tonight you didn't. I looked down at you curled up on my chest and thought how big you looked in my arms and wondered where my little tiny newborn went. I was just starting to shed a few tears thinking about how quickly you were growing up and then out of nowhere, you started patting my shoulder. It's like you knew I needed that. So I prayed over you, put you in your bed with your puppy and pat your bottom a few times. Then I slipped out of your room.

I have felt very connected with you since the moment I first felt you kick. When you were laid on my chest, you knew just what to do. You found my finger and wrapped your tiny hand around it..then of course you wanted to eat, but first you wanted to simply hold my hand and get as close to me as possible.

You have such a sweet and thoughtful side of you. You are always "pat, pat, patting" things and laughing. And the way you put your head on my shoulder and snuggle with me makes me melt. The other day your brother had a sleepover with your Grandma and we got some time just the two of us. We took a bath together and then went for a walk around the neighborhood and it was so peaceful. You were so content just looking around and I just started thinking about how you have always simply gone with the flow of our lives, whether it's at our house with your brother running around (and not ever napping) or out to eat at a restaurant during your nap time. You simply go with the flow. You enjoy routines and know exactly what you want, but you are also laid back and content. Basically you are the perfect mix.

I love how much you continue to love your Mama and I hope you know how incredibly loved and treasured you are. You are strong and mighty and oh so determined. I pray often that God uses your strength and determination for His glory and that we find the best possible ways to help you learn to use your gifts.

I am definitely your safe place and like one of your books says, you are my wild.

You always seem to get in to the things you shouldn't like cords and outlets and the cat food dish. You love living on the edge (literally) and are always wanting to be held up so you can stand on the window ledge and see outside. You study things and watch us intently like you are soaking everything in. You grab all the remotes and knock down all the things on every single shelf.
You have the most infectious smile, the most fun laugh and we are all just so crazy about you. A year with you has gone by so fast, but I have loved every single second. I know God has big plans for you sweet boy and I can't wait to see them unfold.

I love you more than I can ever say in words. Happy birthday little love.
Love, Your Mama

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Moon Dough Recipe + Space Sensory Box for Kids

For Aiden's Valentine gift this year, we gave him an astronaut costume because he loves pretending to blast off in to space and is always turning things into rocket ships. So this sensory box was inspired by his Valentine's day know because I love him to the moon.

This sensory box was so much fun to put together and my toddler helped me with every step so he was very involved with the whole process. We started by making Moon dough.
This only requires two ingredients, 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of baby oil. Mix them in a bowl and then stir and mix with your hands until it starts clumping together like sand.

Once we had our moon dough made we added it to our plastic box. This one is from Target, but any plastic box with a lid will do (so you can save the moon dough to play again another day).
We added glow in the dark stars around the sides of our plastic box to make it more space-like and then added our space figurines. This activity kept Aiden busy for at least an hour and if you are looking for some fun books to read that have to do with the moon and space, our favorites are pictured below.

Suggested items for Moon Sensory Box:
Plastic box with lid
Moon dough
Glow in the dark stars
Space figurines

Also, I post a lot of random activities for littles on Instagram (#nestfulofactivities) and in my Insta stories if you want to follow me, click on over here.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Alder's Lumberjack First Birthday

When I was trying to think of a party theme for Alder's first birthday, I wanted it to be something appropriate for the weather (COLD), something that made me think of him (he is strong and tough) and something that I wouldn't break the bank on. I have a lot of woodsy items and I love buffalo check, so the lumberjack theme was an easy choice. I also knew we could wear matching flannel so that was a big time plus as this Mama  L-O-V-E-S matching. So here's a look at our day...
Alder's flannel shirt is from Fayfaire
For food, I kept it simple (or as simple as you can when cooking for 30 people) and had BBQ chicken (that I pre-made and then froze), macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, chips and fruit and veggie trays. I had to play up the flannel so I made a very punny sign to put on the food table. I just couldn't help myself.

Free water bottle label printables found here
I decided to make as much of the food as possible myself (or with the help of sweet family members) so the cupcakes were homemade (recipe on the Hershey's cocoa box) and so was the icing. We went with a marshmallow icing to make the cupcakes SMORE themed and added a piece of chocolate and a piece of Graham cracker so that people could use their graham cracker to scoop some of the extra icing up. And my husband did the torching job on the icing to make them look like toasted marshmallows. I love how they turned out and they tasted delicious too. I made Alder's smash cake myself using the same Healthy Smash cake recipe I used for Aiden. 

I didn't go crazy with decorations and tried to spend as little as possible, but still incorporate some fun elements. I bought a paper pack from Hobby Lobby of all flannel papers and used the paper to make Alder's monthly banner. I also added some of the flannel paper to the top of a few mason jars that I filled with rounds of wood and then I used a paper punch to punch out circles for another banner, which I used on the tables. Add a few tree stumps, pictures and pinecones and that about did it. I'll link a few of the other buffalo check items at the bottom if you are interested.

It was a busy day, filled with lots of loading and unloading the car, but seeing so many people who love us and love this boy and who have been a huge support during his first year of life made it all worth it.

It was a very sweet day, but to be honest I am looking forward to not planning another kid's birthday party any time soon. Haha. Are you a big party planner or would you rather save the money and just do something simple?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Alder Jacob {11 Months}

Month 11 with Alder was all about continuing to see his personality come out in big ways. This kid, you guys. He is strong and mighty and very opinionated. Good thing he can communicate with us so well. He is always pointing to things that he wants (this food, not this one, that book, this toy, etc.) and his vocabulary has exploded! He has also started giving his brother a piece of his mind. Haha. The words he is saying will definitely tell you somethings about him...Mama (duh), Pup Pup (his stuffed puppy), Pooh (he is obsessed with Pooh Bear), Bye Bye, BOOK (he requests books constantly), Uh-oh (he is always dropping things off his high chair tray) and then he of course can say most of his favorite foods-Apple, Nana, Puff (as in a cheese puff).
So, back to the "M word"...he has a very clear and focused Mama radar. When Drew takes the boys downstairs so I can cook dinner, he stands at the bottom of the steps and yells "Mama!" When I actually get to shower with the door closed aka the weekend when Drew is home, he stands outside the door and yells "Mama!" When he runs out of food and is still hungry, he yells "Mama!" I can't help but love how much he loves his Mama.
He is getting a lot more physical with Aiden. They love to roughhouse (typical boys) and chase each other around the house (Alder is a super quick crawler) but he is not just sitting back and smiling anymore when Aiden does something he doesn't like. He will now push Aiden or even grab a chunk of his hair and grunt. He gets this wild look in his eyes, grits his teeth and clenches his fists. When that happens, RUN. Haha. Regardless of his newly developed attitude, he continues to go with the flow of our busy lives, is great with change and is such a sweetheart. He still loves giving anything and everything "pat pats" including Mama and Dada, his brother, the cats and all his toys. And his little sweet, satisfied face right before I put him in his bed at night makes me tear up every single time. He blesses me in such big ways.
This month Alder went sledding for the first time (and second and third time), he also graduated out of the baby tub, started drinking out of a cup with a straw, had his first smoothie, celebrated his Dada turning 34, had his first taste of ice cream and had some fun playdates.

A few stats about Alder at eleven months: 

Weight: ?

Height: ?

Size clothes: He is in 12 month clothes and is wearing so many of my favorite old outfits of Aiden's!

Sleeping: He still loves to take naps in his swing. I really don't know what we will do when he outgrows it, which is very close to happening. He has had another good sleeping month, thank you Jesus, minus when he was sick at just wanted Mama.

Random stuff only parents want to know:

Nicknames: Alder J, Baby J, Big Baby, Sweet Baby J.

Likes: Vrooming cars with Aiden, the word NOODLES, Pooh bear, the Veggie Tales theme song, solo bath time, destroying things, throwing things he doesn't like to eat off of his tray, being read to, the song "If You're Happy and you know it", being held by the same volunteer at church every week (he loves Ms. Evelyn!)

Dislikes: The vacuum, not getting his favorite foods fed to him first, his brother being all up in his business (which is almost all day, everrrryday, haha.)

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Alder from this month...

Life with you is just so sweet baby boy. Time slow down.

Watch Alder Grow...
            One Month Update                        Two Month Update                       Three Month Update
 Four Month Update                        Five Month Update                    Six Month Update
 Seven Month Update                        Eight Month Update                    Nine Month Update

See Aiden at ELEVEN months here!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Brotherly Love {The ONE year mark}

In one week, Alder turns one. That means I have been able to watch my boys interact together for a full year now. I remember this exact week last year. I was extremely pregnant and hormonal and extremely nervous about Aiden no longer being our one and only baby.
I know it's normal for most parents to have worries about the transition to two, but now it all seems silly...even though it wasn't silly at all at the time. It seems silly now because we didn't just bring another child into our house, we added another little person who is now and forever a part of US. A little one to love and to make memories with that we will all share. When Aiden looks back on his childhood, I hope that in his very favorite memories, that his brother is there too.

I remember Aiden first meeting Alder at the hospital. He was so observant and quiet. Then Alder started to cry. And Aiden's bottom lip went out and he started crying too. I will never forget that moment.
When we brought Alder home, Aiden immediately wanted to help. I vividly remember tiny newborn Alder in the swing and Aiden sitting at the edge of it just staring at him and gently pushing the swing back and forth. After a few minutes of this, Aiden got up, ran in Alder's nursery and started pulling out every single burp cloth and pacifier we owned from the drawers. He ran them out and put them all in the swing for Alder.
Aiden has always looked out for his baby brother and makes sure to keep tabs on him. One of his most frequently asked questions is "Where's Alder?" or "What's baby Alder doing?" And on the flip side, Alder is always looking for Aiden too. He gets this gigantic smile on his face when we go in to Aiden's room to say good morning. Also, he thinks his brother is hilarious...which he is.
From the start, Aiden has loved being close to Alder. He would crawl up in my lap whenever I would be nursing Alder (which was not really ideal, haha) or he would sit next to Alder while he was in his swing or bouncer and Alder has never seemed to mind. But the thing that I think I love most that Aiden still does to this day, is to touch the top of Alder's head.
Currently Aiden is attempting to teach his brother words. He also gives him lots of instructions like, "Listen baby, no hands in the potty" or "listen baby, don't eat catfood, it's gross..." Even though Alder is still small, they are already rough housing and then laughing about it (mostly). Hearing them laugh together is my absolute favorite sound on this planet and is something I hope they do a lot of together.

I'm so thankful for their relationship and I pray it continues to grow. I pray that even when they disagree about things (which they will) that they love each other through it.