Monday, January 23, 2017

Claire - 4 Years

Claire, you are four years old! I can hardly believe it! You are growing into such a kind, smart, beautiful little lady, and you make your family so very proud.

Here are your stats:

Height: 42 inches (90th percentile)
Weight: 44 lbs (94th percentile)
You are tall! Your legs are long and you have tiny kitten hips! You're consistently one of the tallest kids in your class. Ms. Wanda, your PE teacher, tells me you are such a good runner! You wear mostly size 4T clothes, with some 5T and 3T. You're potty trained and (spoiler alert since I'm writing this late) will go on to be completely night trained during your fourth year...that second part was a breeze.
Here's what else you're up to:

-You're a bit ahead of the game when it comes to teeth. You have some loose teeth already, and will go on to lose your two lower bottom teeth this year. The tooth fairy came to visit for the first time and it was all very exciting!
-You're an excellent eater. You clean your plate at many meals and you're fairly adventurous...for example, you love edamame! It's funny: when you were younger, I worried so much about what/how much you'd eat, and it all just worked out. Your favorite food is Mexican, especially refried beans. It's almost always your first choice for a meal out. You don't care for the beans at Torchy' has to be a good ol' Tex Mex restaurant. You're a Texas girl for sure! You also love water and don't really like milk. I'm not sure why, but at some point you pretty much just quit drinking it. You do eat lots of yogurt and cheese though!
-You go to Mother's Day Out/Preschool two days a week, and you really love it. Your three year class teacher is Ms. Zari and your four year teacher is Ms. Kelly. You love your friends...Ellys is your bestie. The two of you have such a sweet bond and hug multiple times at the end of the school day. I can't bear to think about y'all not being in school together when you go to kindergarten, but we will definitely work to keep your friendship going!
-You're the most expressive four year old I've ever met! When you talk, your eyes and hands help tell the story. The inflection and excitement in your voice is infectious! You crack us up regularly with the very cute and intelligent things you say. You're very verbal and articulate, which makes me happy and proud. I know you're going to soar in life!

-You inherited your daddy's artistic abilities. You love to draw, paint, and craft...and you are very good at it! You freehand draw stuff that absolutely blows us away. It's fun watching your natural abilities come out. I see art lessons and honing your talent in our future!
-We celebrated your birthday with a unicorn party at the Cedar Rock Railroad train near our house. We had pizza and unicorn cupcakes! All of your family came to celebrate, and for the first time we invited all of your classmates too. It was a lot of fun!

-You are a sweet, bubbly, fun little pixie of a girl. You get excited about everything and your enthusiasm and joy for life are so cute and infectious! You're truly a little angel on earth. You're good-natured, positive, agreeable, and fun to be with. You're also very nostalgic for a child your age. You get upset sometimes about not wanting to get older, not be a baby anymore, etc and have a full on crying fit about it. You're just like me in that way. I don't really want you to not be a baby anymore either, but I also know you are so much fun at this age and will grow up to do great things!
-You're a good sleeper overall! You no longer nap, but do rest time most afternoons. You sleep with your beloved "sheet" every night - the blanket you've had since you were born. Sometimes bedtime can be quite an ordeal with all sorts of typical kid requests (I'm hungry, I want water "It feels like I haven't had any water in 5100 years!", I need to go potty, I need to ask you a bunch of questions, etc.), but other times it's easy.

-You love your family! You and James adore each other. He is your constant companion and y'all spend lots of time playing together, with some fighting thrown into the mix. You also adore your cousins Grace and Abigail. You talk about them a bunch and the relationship you have with them is so precious. It's like you have a built-in sisters and best friends for life, and I just love that!
Favorite toys/characters/things to do: Shopkins, My Little Pony, DC Superhero Girls (Batgirl in particular), Disney Princesses, PJ Masks, baby dolls, Madeleine books, Pidgeon books, watching your favorite vloggers on Youtube Kids (Cookie Swirl C and Daily Bumps), Playdoh, and painting

Nicknames: Clairebear, Tootie, NerNer
Claire, we love you very much and are so blessed to have a daughter like you. You made me a mommy, and my greatest joy is watching you and your brother grow and explore the world.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

James - 2 Years

James, you're two years old! It's hard to believe it, and yet at the same time I can't imagine life without you. Here are your stats:

Height: 37.5 inches (99th percentile)
Weight: 37 lbs, 14 ozs (99th percentile)
Head: 20 inches (96th percentile)

You are a very big boy...certainly the biggest two year old I've ever seen. I have friends with five year old who are smaller/the same size! You can still fit in some 2T clothes, but you mostly wear 3T and some 4T. You're in size 6 diapers.

Here's what else you're up to:

-You're a very active little boy! You love to climb and throw yourself around on the floor like a stuntman. You play with balls a lot and have a good arm already, but you'll also pick up a baby doll and take care of it like your sister does. It's very sweet.

-You can be very picky about food. You love chicken (really all meats), fruit, tomatoes, and snacks of all kinds. You love milk ("mulk") and lemonade ("lalalade"). You're not crazy about veggies, but sometimes you'll eat carrots. Happy Meals are your love language and you adore sweets. You're the reason we've had to childproof our pantry door! You'll usually eat breakfast and lunch, but dinner is a crapshoot and there are times that you eat almost no supper. If I prepare a delicious, homecooked usually won't touch it or eat very little, but if I microwave a hot dog you devour it! It can be frustrating, but we just try to keep going and offering you things again.

-You love your family. Claire is your buddy and y'all play more and more. It's wonderful to see! You call her "Babydoll" (currently pronounced "Beedoll"). It's pretty much the sweetest thing I've ever heard! You two can be playing together one minute and fighting like cats and dogs the next!

-You have a head full of curly hair! It's crazy to look back at pictures from when you were under 1, because you didn't have much hair at all. Now you have a ton! It's a light brown color with gorgeous golden curls. You've had it cut, but we're not in any rush to chop those curls off or give you a "big boy haircut". You handle haircuts really well so far and almost look like you're about to go to sleep during them!

-You have big feelings! You can be a total sweetheart or a big grump. You're very passionate...and it's not just a "2 year old" thing, it's your personality. If you're not happy, you let us know! You've put on some epic fits in parking lots about not wanting to hold hands while we cross the street. Factor in your size and strength, and it makes for some very interesting trips to pick Claire up from Mother's Day Out! I'm not trying to make you sound bad, you're super sweet! You love to laugh and have a smile that lights up the room! You're just moody!
-You love to read books, play outside (especially swing), play with your little characters, do playdoh, and snuggle up on the couch and watch a show or the iPad. You love to be part of things, and want to do whatever your sister is doing!

-You take a good, long nap in the afternoons and go down easily for that. Bedtime is a bit trickier: it can take you a long time to go to sleep at night..with lots of screaming and crying. Daddy and I go through a huge rigamarole to get you to calm down for the night! Once you're out, you sleep well. We still rock before every nap and bedtime. You're still sleeping in your crib, and we hope that continues for a long time! When we leave your room and you are content, you give us the sweetest sendoffs, full of "I love you's"'s the best!

-We'll start Mother's Day Out next Fall. I know it will be great for you! We could have started you already, but we didn't feel like you were quite ready yet. You still struggle with separation anxiety, but it has gotten better! We may attempt potty training in the spring, but I'm not in any rush. I think you're showing some signs of readiness, but your pediatrician says boys usually are ready later (around age 3). I have a feeling you will take to it more easily after watching Claire go through the whole process.

-You're talking up a storm! You can say so many things and have really gone through an explosion of verbal development recently. It's just amazing watching you grow and change! You can communicate pretty much anything you want now. You have a really funny and unique way of pronouncing some say the words diaper and orange like you're French. 

- You're obsessed with Halloween! You got really into it this year. What we thought was a phase has become your favorite holiday! You love to talk about ghosts and skeletons, and you've been known to ask us to play "Monster Mash" on repeat the car! Perfect child for a couple who met at a Halloween party! One of your favorite things to say right now is:

James: Guess what Beedoll?

Claire: What Jamesie?
James: Ghosts and skeletons!
-You love to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Caillou, Storybots, Octonauts, Tangled (you LOVE Flynn Rider), Beauty and the Beast, and Blippi (guy who hosts a show on Youtube kids).

Nicknames: Jamesie, Jambo, buddy, little man

Favorite toys: any little figure you can hold in your hand, balls, Legos, toy cars, books

Jamesie, we love you so much and are very happy to have you in our family! Watching you and your sister grow and flourish is my life's great privilege! I love you, buddy!


Monday, May 9, 2016

James - 18 Months

James, you are 18 months old! I can't believe you've been here a year and a half. You have such a special place in my heart and it's hard to imagine life before you. You're getting to be such a big(ger) boy!

Here are your stats:
Height: 35.5 inches-99th percentile
Weight: 33 lbs, 5 ounces-99th percentile
Head: 19.75 inches-98th percentile

You wear mostly 3T clothes, some 2T and a few other smaller things, but not much! You're a very big boy for your age. Sometimes I get a little sad because you don't fit in some of the more baby-like things other kids your age fit into. But then again, you're so darn cute in whatever you wear it doesn't matter. You wear size 6 diapers.
-You're a very picky eater. I'm not sure if this is regular ol' toddler pickyness, or just how you are. You often turn your head away when we offer you food at dinner, and usually eat very little in the evenings. Breakfast is not much better, lunch you eat somewhat more. A great deal of your food ends up on the floor, much to my frustration and Teddy's joy. There is an inverse correlation to your eating: if I spend lots of time preparing a homecooked meal, you turn your nose up at it. But if I offer you a microwaved hotdog, you devour it. You don't like vegetables. You're starting to eat tomato, which is small progress. On the other hand, you love most fruit, sweets, and never turn those down!!! One thing is're a mess, a very loveable one though!
-You drink 2% milk and love it! You're still using took to them after you stopped nursing. You don't use a pacifier, so I think it's a bit of a comfort thing, as you'll sometimes walk around with the bottle in your mouth even if you're not drinking. At a certain point soon we need to break the habit, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

- You're talking and babbling constantly! You can identify lots of people and things, and you're starting to say new words faster and with less prompting. Teddy and Aurora fascinate you, and you love to chase them around! Most new animals that look anything like a dog are called "Teddy." We're working on identifying body parts and colors are next!
- You remain a very passionate little person. You're usually either happy and sweet or upset and not afraid to show it. You don't like to be alone or with people you don't know. You still dislike the church nursery. But you love your family very much and give us lots of affection and snuggles. Lately your nickname for Claire is "baby doll." It's the cutest thing ever!!! Claire does not like it though! She doesn't understand why you think she's a baby...haha! You're the perfect little love your sissy, but you also love to mess with her and her toys! She will have an elaborate toy set-up going, and you will rush in, steal the most important thing, and run away like a football player headed to the endzone! Y'all fight over toys a lot, but you love each other and it makes me and Daddy so happy to see. One of the sweetest moments ever was when we picked you up after a weekend away at a family wedding for which Claire was a flower girl...on our way home Claire said, "We sure missed you buddy!"
- You have a head full of gorgeous hair that curls at the end. It's getting long in the back, but it's not in your eyes yet. I don't know how I'll ever bring myself to cut it! The color is a light brown with a red tint in the sun. It's very close to Claire's hair color now. Your eyes are brown and very soulful, just like your Daddy. They melt me! You have lots of teeth! You're working on your canines...after that, the only ones left will be your two year molars.

- You have such a sweet personality. You say your own version of thank you (pronounced "di doo") almost every time someone gives you something. Sometimes you even say it when you don't really need to! Recently you took a Claire away from toy. She got upset and I told you to give it back to her...when she got it back, you proudly told her "di doo." Such an adorable and polite young man! You are very loving and have the best snuggles ever. 
- You're a good sleeper, for the most part. At bedtime you take a partial bottle while we rock you and read stories. Then it's lights out with some songs. We put you in your bed, turn on your music monkey, and you usually go to sleep on your own. Occasionally you cry, but you've come so far in going to sleep on your own. Once you're asleep, you almost always sleep through the night. You take a nice, long afternoon nap!
- You love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Paw Patrol, Minions (aka "BaBa"), Puffin Rock, etc. You like watching movies and actually have a pretty long attention span for your age. You love watching the Despicable Me/Minion movies, Tangled, and Frozen. You're really getting into superhero stuff, too. 

Current nicknames: Jambo, Jamesie, buddy

Favorite toys: small figurines that you carry around constantly (Flynn Rider in your favorite), books, Cookie Monster toy, toy cars and trucks
Jambo, you are such a ray of sunshine with a smile that can make the cloudiest day bright. We're so blessed to have you! It breaks my heart a little bit that you're getting so big, but I'm also thankful to watch you grow. 

I love you,

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Claire - 3 Years

Claire, you are three years old! Baby girl, you are growing up! It's been a fun year watching you grow into a little girl. You're a walking ray of sunshine, and you bring so much joy to everyone you know!

Your measurements:
Height: 38.5 in-83rd percentile
Weight: 37 lbs-92nd percentile

You wear mostly size 4T clothes these days, though some 3T still fit. You have beautiful blue eyes and blonde hair that naturally curls at the ends. You're a gorgeous little girl!
Here's what you've been up to:

- You are a real character and you crack us up on a daily basis. You're a're funny, and you know when you're being funny. You've recently started using your eyes to communicate a lot of your humor...when you say something silly, you open them up big and it always makes us laugh.

- You're a pretty good eater overall! There's typical toddler pickyness and you're very sensitive to things being spicy. You love donuts and will ask for them for dinner! You're also pretty good about eating vegetables, but of course your prefer sweets and snacks!

- We took you to your first dentist appointment last month and it went well! You were a real pro about the whole thing and didn't freak out at all. No cavities! The dentist did say you'll probably lose your baby teeth early because your front teeth have very small roots. It's called root reabsorption and while they say it's related to some kind of trauma to the mouth, (like a fall, but it can often be something minor that parents don't notice) I wonder if it might be genetic. I lost my first tooth at 4 and was always a little early with dental stuff, and it sounds like you will be too. You're still faithfully devoted to your paci. I try to only fight one battle at a time, and between James being born and potty training, we just haven't taken it away. It's hard for me to take away something that comforts you so much, but we're going to work on it. You're also very attached to your pink blanket aka your "sheet."
- You started Mother's Day Out two days a week this fall and you love it! I was nervous to send my first baby off to "school" but it's been so good for you! You adore your teachers Miss Kelly and Miss Irma, and your classmates. Your best buddy is Ellys. It's been so good for you to have this socialization and time to learn with others.

- Your favorite shows & characters: Rapunzel, Mickey Mouse ("Nickey Nouse"), Despicable Me/Minions, all the Disney Princesses, PJ Masks, Doc McStuffins, Paw Patrol, Baby Chelsea (A real life toddler whose parents video blog their daily life. You watch it on Youtube kids and love it! The internet is weird!).

- You're a pretty good sleeper. Naps happen about 50% of the time on non-school days, and you sleep well at night. Getting you to sleep is the hard part, and often involves hours of you coming out of your room for various things...needing to use the bathroom, needing water, etc. You've also started coming into our room in the early morning hours and sleeping with us.
- We're on the long slow march to being potty trained. It's been a lengthy process that started sometime around November. You've mostly got the hang of it, but you don't really tell us you need to go (unless it's nap or bedtime, in which case all of your potty training suddenly becomes priority # 1 ;) ) and you're also not usually interested when we try to get you to go.  I think it's just a matter of every kid being different and the fact that your parents have no clue what they're doing. Having a wild little brother in the mix makes things more complicated too! You've made lots of progress though and I know we'll get there soon!

- You're a very sweet child with a lot of spirit. You enjoy having everyone together, and you love to sing, dance, and play with babydolls. You've definitely had some "threenager" moments that literally started the day your turned 3, but you mostly reserve that behavior for mom and dad (okay, mostly mom). You're a first-class big sister to James, who you call Jambo, Jamesie, or buddy. Y'all really play together now and it's so fun to see!

- You're a very talented artist. You definitely got your daddy's art gene. You love to draw and color, and you often blow us away with what you can draw without any help. You're also a great communicator with a strong grasp of language. You compare things using similes all day long..."this is like this...this is like that."

I decided to interview you the other day. Here are your answers at 3 years old!

Favorite color: purple and pink...and yellow

Favorite food: broccoli
Favorite drink: milky (pronounced mulky)
Favorite book: my name book (a neat customized book Dizzie and Corey gave you for your birthday about all the letters of your name)
Favorite show: Mickey Mouse
Favorite movie: Punzel
How old are you? 3
How old is mommy? 2
How old is daddy? 4...I don't know
Favorite thing to do: play with microphone
Favorite thing to do with James: do babies
What do we do all day? play
Favorite place: school
Best friend: Ellys
Favorite song: Twinkle 
What do you want to be when you grow up: "Like for Halloween?" After some clarification, she said playing with babies
Favorite Animal: octopus
Claire, we love you to pieces! You bring so much sweetness to every day. Daddy and I often ask each other how we got lucky enough to have you and your brother. Being your mommy is the best thing ever!

I love you,


Monday, November 9, 2015

James - 12 Months

James, you are 1 year old! It's hard to believe it's been a year since you came into the world! We absolutely delight in you and we're so proud to have you as our son.

Here are your measurements:

Height: 32.5 inches-99th percentile
Weight: 29 lbs, 12 oz-99th percentile
Head: 19 inches-95th percentile

You're a giant kid. Most of your clothes are 18-24 months, with some 12-18 months. Anything new will need to be a 2T. You're wearing size 5 diapers...I'm worried you will grow out of size 6 dipers before you're potty trained! At 1 year, you weigh just under what Claire weighed when she turned 2...and Claire wasn't small by any means!
Here's what else you're doing these days:

-You're walking and running everywhere! You're a stable walker unless you're really tired. You are a tough parents always say they don't worry about you falling near as much as they did when the girls were first walking since you're so stout and stable.

- You are a very passionate little person. Whatever you feel, you feel it big! You're extremely sweet but also extremely attached to your people and ready to let us know if you're not happy. You're pretty shy around people outside of your inner circle, but you also really like to flirt and play peek-a-boo! You have a tendency to fuss a lot, but you balance it out with a lot of sweetness and enthusiasm. You are not a fan of being left in the church nursery at all! 
- You like to snuggle and also changes by the minute! Rocking you to sleep can be like wrestling a bull! You sleep through the night for the most part and usually take one nap per day. 

- Your eyes are brown and your hair is coming in more and more every day. It's a light brown color with hints of red in the sunlight. You're a little clone of your Daddy, and I find myself calling y'all by the wrong names already. You also favor both your grandpas, as well as your brown-eyed Aunt "Dizzie's" baby pictures.
- You love to eat and hit us up for food on the regular! Your favorite food is beans...a sure sign of a Strutton boy! Mexican food is another fave, along with snacks like graham crackers, goldfish, and cheese. You love fruit but don't seem to be too crazy about vegetables. You're a very messy is a decorative experience for you! Stuff ends up all over the floor, the blinds by your high chair, and all over you! You're a total mess...Claire finds it hilarious! I would find it more humorous if I didn't have to clean it up...haha! You have eight teeth, and you're on the verge of cutting your molars.
- You like to talk, babble, and you're making animal sounds. Your favorite words are still Dada and Ted-die (Teddy). You also fake sneeze, clap, and "hulk out" (flex your muscles, shake a bit, and growl!) crack us up!

- We made it to a year of nursing! I have to brag a little...I'm so proud of us!!! It hasn't always been an easy road but we did it, baby boy! Now on to whole milk!
- Daddy took your birthday off and we had a fun family day together! We got up, opened presents, and then went to eat at Kerbey Lane (this has become a bit of a birthday tradition). Next we went to the zoo and had a great time! Since it was a Monday, the place was empty and you and Claire had a great time running around and seeing everything. We finished off the day by picking up Mexican food and cupcakes. It was a special day spent celebrating you!
- We had your first birthday bash a few days later! The theme was a football fiesta, and we celebrated with fajitas, family, friends, and a football cake! It was a great success, and it meant so much to us that so many of the wonderful people in our lives joined us! You were spoiled with all manner of fun toys and cute clothes!
Current nicknames: Jambo, Jamesie, Jamesie-boy, J-bird, buddy, sweet boy

Favorite toys: Books (you LOVE to read!), Chica doll, play kitchen
Sweet baby James, we love you so very much and can't imagine our family without you! We needed a little boy just like you. The night you were born was absolutely perfect, and I love to think back on it. Your sweet heart and soulful brown eyes make my heart swoon, and I'm incredibly blessed to be your mommy. This first year has been such an adventure, and I can't wait to see what comes next!

I love you,

Friday, October 9, 2015

James - 11 Months

James, you are 11 months old! Hard to believe you are almost 1, my sweet baby boy. Makes me happy and sad all at once.

You weigh almost 27 lb and remain very tall and strong. You have big feet that are like little loaves of bread, making them difficult to put in shoes! Your cheeks and thighs are so chubby and cute! Most of your clothes are 18-24 months, though you still wear some 12-18 months. We're about to move you to size 5 diapers. At that point you and Claire will be wearing diapers 1 size apart despite being 22 months apart in age. 
Here's what you're up to lately:

- You're a food lover! You love to eat and get very excited about food. You'll eat almost anything, but your current favorites are beans and graham crackers. You also love bread or any fruit. We're still nursing and that is going better lately. You like to nurse for frequent, short sessions. I'm excited to see how you like whole milk next month! 
- You love animals and get a big kick out of Teddy and Aurora. They make you giggle, which is a pretty hilarious sound, sort of like a joyfully happy machine gun! You've discovered feeding Teddy from your high chair and you're always trying to touch Aurora. Not surprisingly, Teddy loves it and Aurora does not - ha!
- You're walking a lot, and really seem to be taking off! You love to toddle around and explore your surroundings. You love to be with people, and will always gravitate to where they are! Seeing you walk is really precious. 
- Your sinus issues have been continuing. We're talking major snot...all the time! After dealing with this for awhile and trying a prescription antihistamine, I took you to the doctor and she diagnosed you with a sinus infection. Poor booboo! It's clearing up slowly but...just lots of drainage. Your doctor says we're in a holding pattern to see how snotty you are this winter. If it's a continuing problem, we might see about testing you for allergies or getting your adenoids checked out when you're a little older. We're hoping you feel much better soon!
- The only positive to being sick is that the antihistamine you were prescribed causes drowsiness. We give it to you before bed and you have started sleeping through the night!!! Your doctor wants  to continue the medicine through Halloween when the ragweed gets better...sure, anything you say, Doctor! ;) You're still not a great napper. For the most part, you take one nap a day that lasts for about an hour. Strangely enough, if I leave you with Daddy or Pinky while I go run errands, you'll take these really long naps! What's up with that, man?!?
- You're talking and babbling a lot. You say DaDa and Teddy (sounds like Ted-dye) regularly, and you'll repeat other things we say to you. You finally said Mama!!! You don't say it a lot, but when you do it's like music to my ears! You have lots to say and even though we don't always understand it, we love to hear you express yourself! You have a sweet little voice and I can't wait to hear the kind of things you say when you're Claire's age. 
- Speaking of Claire, you two crack me up! Y'all fight over toys quite a bit. Since she's older, a lot of times she's the culprit in these situations, but you're definitely staking a claim on things too. Your personality is coming out more and more, and you definitely know how to express yourself when you're upset! 
- We took you up to East Texas for the first time recently for the Strutton family reunion. It was a great trip, and very fun to show you off to my family! Everyone was totally charmed by you, especially when they saw your overalls and "Strut" hat, two old-school Strutton staples!
Current nicknames: Jambo, Jamesie, Jamesie Boy, Jaybird, Strut, Little Man, Buster, Buster Boy, BayBay Swatt
Favorite toys: car keys, books, mega blocks, talking Elmo doll. You're obsessed with shoes! You study them, try to chew on them, and love to carry one around in each hand.
Jamesie-boy, you are joy personified and we can't imagine our family without you! It's hard to believe that a year ago, we still hadn't laid eyes on your beautiful face. The day you were born is one of the happiest, most precious days of my life. We are so excited to celebrate you next month!