Some recent things...

I just realized this poor little website was down. Sad, neglected thing. I've recently had a hankering to write again, so hi! Hello & welcome back Today, Mandie Rae. 

And here are some snaps from my trusty phone. Because my kids are the cutest. 

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Watch this space for more!

Recent conversations with Levi.

M: What town do we live in? 
L: ....hmmmm... Socks Town!
(We live near a town called Wysox.)

L: Mama... the pool is melting! 
(Driving passed the YMCA pool that has been half emptied for the year.)

L: Who's that Daddie? *watching a YouTube video of someone playing piano*
E: This song is called Danny Boy. Da used to play this on the piano.
L: So that's Da!!!

L: How about we watch a little show? Would that be a good idea??

Upon picking him up from school on his first day:
M: How was school today?
L: *very serious, on the verge of tears* I fell down. I was crying! And no one was there to (fading off to a whisper) help me.... 
M: Oooh. I'm sorry to hear that. Are you ok?
L: *completely recovered* We had cupcakes!

Seneca Rocks 2013!

We went camping in West Virginia last weekend. It was our inaugural family camping trip and a learning experience for sure. For example, extra tables are not necessary to pack. Pack'n'play? Necessary. (I lost that battle during the packing of the van.) Don't scrimp on bedding! Always bring rain gear. Eat more marshmallows. A fully loaded van has very low clearance and will scrape the hitch on the slightest bump and make the worst noise known to man.


The first night sleeping all together in the tent was horrific. Piper was restless and would wake up Arlo. Then Arlo was a baby energizer bunny and whenever he'd wake up he would crawl manically around the tent exploring. It would take at least 45min to bounce him back to sleep. Repeat times 3. Ugggh. Levi actually did great that night. However, he didn't nap at all the next day and transformed into psycho illogical toddler terrorist boy that would melt down because he didn't want milk. Or water. Or juice. But he was thirsty. O_o


Meltdowns aside, Levi had some great moments during our trip. Levi did really well on our hike up to Seneca Rocks and he was loving the freedom of running back and forth between the two campsites. He also zoomed around on his strider bike and is getting really good with his balance. He was very charming and friendly to all of the new faces, yelling "hiiii guys!!!" to all his new friends.

The second night was much better. Piper slept in the van and Arlo went right back to sleep after a drink and a bit of rocking. We were all in much better moods the rest of the trip. Meme even took the boys for an afternoon and Eric and I were able to do a nice long hike unimpeded by an extra 40 lb or 25 lb bundle of joy.

Regardless of the craziness that comes along with raising young humans, we had a really good time living outdoors for an extended weekend. We definitely have to do it again soon. And every time will get easier, right? ....Right??

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Arlo: 12 months...

Dear Arlo,

Happy Birthday!!!!!

You are a year old and I can't even believe it. It's all such a blur! A lovely, happy blur full of snuggly kisses, big smiles, and giggling... but a blur none the less!

You are a big boy crawler now. You are a free-range baby and crawl around the whole house with wild abandon. We hear a slap-slap-slap and we know you are about to turn the corner and tackle us for a snuggle. I have a suspicion that you are going to be a climber. I have found you on top of boxes, the hearth, chairs, Levi's bed... anything you can get your knee up onto... you are on top of it. Yikes!

Lately you have been sleeping through most nights. Sometimes for naps I don't have to rock you to sleep. You have a lovie now! It's a little terry cloth hippo with knotted hands and feet. You love to chew on the knots and flip him around in the air. Your favorite place in the house right now is Levi's bed! Levi says "Come on Arlo! Crawl to my room..." and you guys go back and play on his bed. Levi piles up the stuffed animals, pillows, and blankets and you both dive into the piles shrieking and giggling. It's so awesome to watch... I love it!

You have a captivating smile, Arlo. You suck people in with your bright blue eyes and toothy, impish grin. Yu are a delightful little fellow and we are so lucky to have you as a member of our little tribe. I am so happy that you aren't rushing the growing up thing, but it's still going too fast. I love that you are still my squishy little baby... lets stay that way for another year or so, ok?

We love you Arlo!!! Happiest birthday my sweet son. 
Love,
Mama

 

Arlo: 11 months!

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Hello little boy! 

Happy eleven months, my Arlo! I'm seriously questioning the space-time continuum when I think that you will be a year old in just a short month. o_O How? Wha? Just the other day the children's librarian, Miss Katie, said that you are starting to look more like a toddler than a baby and it's true. You are looking very grown up these days and you just need to stop it. On the other hand, you are still my snuggly smoosh that loves his mama, so thank you for that. You are JUST starting to hands&knees crawl today. You seem to be very excited at the prospect of this new mode of transport and I'm sure you'll be zooming around the house, terrorizing Piper in no time at all. You looooove Piper's bowls. They are a little Arlo-magnet, just as I remember them being a Levi-magnet when he was starting to crawl.  Something about bowls of fun stuff being left right at your eye-level...

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 :p

Bros.

Bros.

Dada & Arlo.

Dada & Arlo.

We are enjoying our busy summer. Sprinklers and popsicles outside on the deck in the shade. Walks in the morning to beat heat. Soon we will be taking swimming lessons in the evenings at the local pool! We went strawberry picking and you hung out on my back as I tried to convince Levi that it was super fun to find the red berries, but really he just wanted to go pet the barn cat & the lowing cow. That was the fastest 6 pounds of strawberries ever picked, I think. 

Mama & Arlo.

Mama & Arlo.

You continue your love of food. I can't wait to start giving you dairy things, which I think will be soon, because I've been eating dairy with no ill-effect on you. I also gave you a mini-shortcake with milk & butter in it the other day and you scarfed it without any after effects on your skin. Yay for growing out of sensitivities!!!  You go wild when you see avocado, your fav food. You also love to drink water out of sippy cups. Oh! Your top molars are coming in!!! That totally shocked me. The top right one has broken through and your left one will be in soon. That brings you to 10 teeth! Your teeth are definitely lending to that "toddler" look and I LOVE your little gap-toothed grin.

Your personality is a little mischievous and lot of fun. You love to explore new toys & places by worming your way around the room and touching everything. You can often be found with a baby spoon in hand, gnawing away with great relish.

We love you little Arlo man!  Keep on being awesome!

<3 Mama

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Arlo: 10 months.

Look! It's a rosy cheeked Arlo in his natural environment...

Look! It's a rosy cheeked Arlo in his natural environment...

Dear Arlo,

Hello my fabulous little one! Here I go chronicling another month in your life. Except I have missed the last two months, so I might have to fill in some gaps, but here is what you are up to these days.

You. Are. MOBILE!!! Woooo! You are scooching on your belly like a pro, inchworming your way around the floor. You are still a satisfied sitter, but if you get the inkling to go get something, you rock yourself forward until you flop onto your belly and go get it! It's really fun to watch and it's been an interesting adjustment to leave you in one spot in the room only to come back and find you under a table all the way across the house... We may have to install some gates pretty soon. :D

Hereeeee comes Arlo!!!

Hereeeee comes Arlo!!!

A funny little quirk lately: you have become kind of possessive about certain objects. Maybe it's because Levi is always taking toys from you, but last night you were extremely attached to the blue bath cup and I didn't have the heart to take it away because you would sob so sadly. I made Daddie take it while we distracted you with bedtime stories, but it was quite cute how you were clutching that big blue cup with no intentions of letting anyone take it! 

Targeting his next toy.

Targeting his next toy.

You have 4 teeth: bottom incisors and top incisors. Your top teeth broke through while visiting Grampa in Memphis around the beginning of the month. You are a very accomplished eater with those 4 teeth. You love bananas, pears, peaches, graham cracker sticks, avocado, blueberries, strawberries, turkey, beef, applesauce, & water. You are completely over Cheerios & puffs. And you don't much care for peas, one of the only foods you will leave on your tray after a meal. The baby led feeding thing is going so well! You are a great eater and you love to feed yourself! Your pincer grasp is well developed and your hand to mouth coordination is spot on. We are often surprised that you hardly dropped anything down in your lap after a meal because you have such good aim.

You continue to be sensitive to dairy and soy, although I believe you might be starting to grow out of it. I have been introducing dairy back into my diet without seeing any adverse reaction in you. Your eczema is slowly diminishing; the flare up spots are dwindling away. You have a spots behind your knee and behind your ears that will flare and your cheeks can get pretty red, of course. I'm confident that you will grow out of your sensitive skin, which is a relief. I'm very glad it's getting better and not worse! We are still going strong with the nursing, having good sessions about 5-6 times a day. You sleep very well, napping at 9am and 1pm for a couple hours each. Then it's bedtime at 7pm and you wake occasionally once in the night to drink and then back to bed until 6:30ish. 

Hey cutie-face.

Hey cutie-face.

Your personality is really shining these days. You are very happy and content to watch everything around you. You definitely don't hesitate to put in your two cents in the vocal department. You are a significant contributor to the noise level in this house, for sure! Humming, babbling, moaning, shrieking, yelling, screaming... you do it all. You have your mamamamadadadanananabababas down pat. You whisper sometimes and we have a little yelling game where we take turns say "AH!" with great zeal. When you are excited you buck and flail and kick as I'm holding you. When someone new engages you you smile super big, get really excited, and then hug my arm and play shy into my shoulder. Your smile is a sight to behold and your whole face lights up with it's energy. Your cheeks are a definite crowd pleaser and your impressive thigh girth seals the deal.

Goofy brothers.

Goofy brothers.

You are such a joyful little part of our family, Arlo. We love you and can't wait to see what the next month holds! On to summer adventures we go!

Love,
Mama

My handsome sons.

My handsome sons.

Making things!

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This weekend I hauled out the sewing machine and completed two projects that I have wanted to do for ages. While the boys napped or were entertained by their daddy, I ironed and sewed and pinned and ironed some more to make window treatments for the newly remodeled guest bath and the recently updated kitchen. I made a faux roman shade with some cute seashell canvas for the bathroom. It was relatively easy, just a big hemmed rectangle, but it involved some hand sewing to tack the pleats in place. The simple roman shade was a nice warm-up for making gathered valences for the kitchen windows. 

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So much ironing! I actually burnt my thumb with the steam from the iron... Ouch. But it was completely worth it. It's funny how little things like personalized window treatments make a house really feel like home. They are really just the icing on the cake for the wonderful job Eric did in remodeling these two rooms over the last few months. I should pull together a before & after of all the rehauls we've done in this house. At this point all the rooms on the west side of the house have been redone, while the east side is almost completely untouched. Our work is never done... Yay DIY! On to the next sewing project!

Arlo: 7 months!

Dearest Arlo,

Another month! You are seven whole months old! That means another letter to capture a glimpse at what's happening in your little world. This month has been about eating new foods, exploring more toys, and making new sounds (shrieks?). Oh and giving mama the biggest smiles ever!

Sitting like such a big boy!

Sitting like such a big boy!

You are loving solid foods: bananas, applesauce, carrots, potatoes, mangos, pears, Ezekiel bread, baby mum mums, even a few strawberries. We give you a bit of food with every meal and you lunge or grab at food in my hands while I'm holding you. You are sitting up very well but I think you might be getting a little bored of being stationary. While sitting, your little feets twirl in tiny circles. You are constantly reaching and bending to pick up toys or chew on your toes. You rolled over (by accident) exactly once on March 2nd from belly to back. Since then, nothing. Although you get really close sometimes. If you are on your tummy, you can rotate around and inch forward. Especially when daddy puts his hands behind your feet. You push!push!push! your way to the object of your desire. 

Arlo and Uncle Paul in matching outfits!

Arlo and Uncle Paul in matching outfits!

The pensive Arlo.

The pensive Arlo.

Nom nom nom... chewing on a ring.

Nom nom nom... chewing on a ring.

Your skin is doing much better. I have cut the majority of dairy from my diet and I can somewhat correlate dietary indulgences with a eczema flare-ups. I have a hunch that your skin doesn't like soy either... I'm hopeful that you are growing out of whatever allergy this is, but until then, I'll continue to avoid dairy (and soy) and make use of hydrocortisone cream for your poor itchies.

Mr Blue Eyes.

Mr Blue Eyes.

You slept through the night a few times this past month and usually you only wake up once for a bit of a snack and then right back to sleep. You are still taking 2 and sometimes 3 naps, depending on the duration of the second nap. You continue to be VERY vocal. You hum and squeal and shriek and babble. You've started to say dadadada. You looooove to stick out your tongue and blow raspberries and bubbles. It might be your favorite thing. You play shy when I'm holding you and someone smiles at you... You get the biggest, whole-body-shaking-with-excitement, smile and then you give my arm hug and bury your head into my shoulder. It's pretty much the most adorable thing ever. You adore your big brother. You look at him with the most pure look of admiration I've ever seen. I'm positive you're teething again. You will bite anything that comes within chewing distance of your mouth and there are rivers of drool. The other day you bit my knuckle so hard, you drew blood. You love to try to eat paper, including books, so we have to be careful when reading to you.

Showing Levi what's what.

Showing Levi what's what.

All in all you are a delightful little fellow. If all babies were like you, I'd be tempted to have 10 more... er, maybe not. Two rambunctious boys are more than enough for this mama at this point in time. Y'all keep me on my toes, that's for sure. I love you little bubber boy. Keep on growing and smiling, Arlo-Barlo.

xoxoxo
♥ Mama

Sibling Similarities!

Here are the boys being cute at 7 months. I'm really seeing differences in their facial features now. Also, the chub factor is definitely higher for Arlo, although Levi is starting to hold his own at this point in his life. Love me some baby thigh chub!!! Anywho, they are both adorable and I love them. The end........ for now. 

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Fate: sealed!

Hello! And welcome to our new little space on the 'Nets. I bit the bullet and went for it; I'm now a domain owner!

TODAYMANDIERAE.COM is mines!

WooooooOoooo! I'm still tweaking things here and there, but that's all semantics. What matters is the words & the pictures & the memories, now have a place to go!

Here's to 'more to come'!
♥ Mandie

The fate of this blog...

Hey there friendly readers!

I just realized yesterday that Posterous, the service that I use for this blog, is shutting down on April 30. Completely shutting down... no more websites... no more photos, links, or videos... nada. Therefore, I'm in a bit of a scramble to find a new home for our little corner of the Internets. I'm weighing the options for our path forward, so bear with me as I figure stuff out.

Fear not! This blog will continue with it's stops and starts and cute photos of the boys we all love, just in a different place.

Until then, I'm going to hold off on posting anything further just to make the move a bit smoother. Look for a moving sign soon!

Love,
xoxox
Mandie Rae & da boys 

Arlo: 6 months!

Hello Arlo!

And then you were six and a half months old... WOW! Time is relentless, man! It just keeps marching forward... The other day, your daddie and I were talking and he reminded me that this is my favorite age and he's right. I love this age. You are so dang adorable and such a little pleasure to hang out with. You are growing and thriving and happy. Your lovely little personality is starting to shine through. You aren't mobile yet, but you situp really well, so I can set you down with a bunch of toys and you play & chew on your toys happily for a little while. It's pretty great.

I just switched out your clothes last night. I broke out Levi's last-winter wardrobe (aka when he was 1.5 years old) and I'm pretty sure most of it is going to fit you just fine. You are now in 12 mo to 18 mo clothes, big boy. I still sqeeze you into 6/9 mo onsies sometimes. You are in the last of your size 3 diapers... movin' on up to size 4 when the 3s run out. It's crazy that you are catching up to your big bro at a much more rapid pace than I imagined. At your 6 month check up you were 28" tall (93%), 21 lb 7 oz (96%), and your head was 17.5" around (80%). You are LARGE, child. And mama's back knows it.

We just started introducing you to some solids this month. You've tried pears, peaches, grapes (in a mesh teether baggy), mum-mums, broccoli, sweet potato, white potato, avacado, and bananas. I must admit that I'm being rather lazy about feeding you solid foods. You are obviously getting enough nutrition from your mama milks so right now it's just about giving you experience with new textures and tastes. From what I can tell, you really like it! You are just about the messiest little grubber that I know, but you eagerly try to shove food in your mouth and when I give you a little bit of assistance, you open your mouth like a little bird and lunge at my offering. You chewchewchew with your gummy gums and sometimes it comes right back out, patooey. But you do swallow some of it! And you do gag a bit which is sometimes scary. However, I think this baby-led-feeding thing will work out for you... We'll just see how it all goes. 

Your sleeping is pretty good. You are a good napper, taking 2 or 3 naps per day depending on their length. You go to bed at 7pm and usually wake up 1 or 2 times. You have a restless night ocassionally and you still haven't slept through, but it's not too bad. You haven't taken a bottle happily... we have to work on that. You have two sharp little teeth! The second tooth didn't appear until 3 weeks after the first! You are still a big chewer; your silicon teething ring and shark bath toy are favorites. No bop for you! You'll play with it and chew on it, but it doesn't soothe you at all when it comes to bedtime. I'm a little bit relieved by this because I'm coming to realize that it's going to be VERY hard to get your big bro to give up his bop... I'd rather not go through that again if I don't have to...

Well, let me wrap up this (late again) letter by saying, you are pure love, little Arlo boy. When you look at your brother or your daddie or me or even Piper... your whole face lights up an you radiate such adoration and love. It's a beautiful thing to behold and I'm so priviledged to be your mama.

xoxo
Mama 

Levi Says...

Levi is going through a phase of hating dinner. No matter what we have, he fights eating "din din" tooth and nail; a power struggle at its finest. "I can't like dinner..." he explains. One night we sat down and Levi was whining because he wanted yogurt for a snack. No no, Levi, it's dinner-time. Let's sit down and eat. It was then that Levi quipped "it's not dinner-time, it's YOGURT-time!" Cheeky bugger.
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We went down to visit aunt Lynn, uncle Paul, & cousin Leah last weekend. The Mecks came for dinner and little Charlie was there to play too. After Levi got used to the idea of sharing and taking turns, they got on playing pretty well. After dinner, Levi stood at the edge of the living room and said "...with my friends. Go downstairs with my friends. Come on guys! Go watch a movie guys!" He was so earnest and enthusiastic. So flippin' cute.
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Levi was watching his favorite show, Curious George, lounging on the couch all comfy. I got him some juice and handed it to him. He took it gladly, smiled up at me, and said "Danks, mama!" Heart, melted.

Sibling Similarities.

I couldn't choose between the 3 photo pairs for this Sibling Similarities, so you get 3 for the price of one today! I definitely see Levi in some of Arlo's expressions at this age, but he's got at least 3 pounds on Levi at this point and I think a pound is in his cheeks. The other 2 pounds is definitely in his thighs... haha.

This is also a sneak peek of Arlo's 6 month photo shoot for his monthly letter. His wellness appointment is this evening, so we have some shots and lots of fun in store for us tonight. Be back very soon with Arlo's 6 month letter... AND Levi is going to be 2.5 years old tomorrow! So I think a little celebration and letter update is in order for that as well. Weeee!!! How do babies manage to grow so stinkin' fast?!

Arlo: 4 months!

Hello Arlo!

Since this letter is so incredibly late and cobbled together from notes I made during the month, I'm going to keep it in bullet form. This months highlights include:

  • Sleeping in pack n play in our room instead of rock n play. However, you caught a cold and I put you back in your rock n play to help you breath during the night. 
  • Trying to sit up if reclined. You love to sit up and will strain to get yourself up if slightly reclined.
  • Daylight savings time sucks. There was a bit of an rough adjustment when daylight savings went into affect.
  • Sucking on forefinger & thumb. Favorite!
  • Bedtime song (Arlo sings). As I walk and bounce you to sleep for naps or bedtime, you sing a little moaning song, which slowly trails off. When you stop, I know I can put you down because you are asleep.
  • Baby sloth (clings on). You are very monkey-like and will cling to our arm when we hold you and walk around the house. It's quite helpful!
  • Giggling. You started belly giggling for real! It's the best!
  • Reaching for mirror & twisting hips up 11/18.
  • Rolling to the side 11/26.
  • Always talking, sophisticated noises... not just vowel sounds. You make a wide variety of sounds and love to hear yourself!
  • We visited Nana & Da's for Thanksgiving and had a very nice time. You met Santa Claus at the tree farm.

And now for some cute photos!

We love you little man! 

xoxoxo

Mama

Glimpses.

Here are some photos from the last week or so. Arlo got his first tooth on Friday, January 17th! (His bottom right incisor.) It's a sharp little bugger too! His second tooth is going to break though any day. :'( My baby... with teeth already?? How does it all happen so fast?