What I Thought About it Thursday - The Couple Next Door

  If you have ever seen any of my other WITAIT posts- you know I read mostly all 'chick-lit'. But I have branched out a bit into some other genres and have found a good one in this next book. It is a book I probably never would have even picked up off a shelf a year ago, but came across it on Book of the Month club. (I do not currently have BOTM but I signed up for one month because this book intrigued me... I am so picky that being in a BOTM club isn't really my thing because I would hate to have to pick a book just because it was there and not because I wanted to read it... but I digress-)

 So this week's WITAIT is this book:

The book starts out with new parents, Anne and Marco Conti being out a babysitter and having plans to go to a party next door... a party that was adamantly child free. The parents decide to go, with the baby sleeping at home, and baby monitor in hand. They decided to check on the baby every 30 minutes- knowing nothing could go wrong in 30 minutes and having the monitor would help them know if any unusual sounds were being made. When they arrive home from the party that evening, they find out that they were wrong, and things CAN go wrong in a 30 minute time span. As the cops come in to help figure out what happened, Marco and Anne's united front starts crumbling before them. Some of the characters were digging their holes so deep, it was almost as if they would never come out.

This book was a quick read... and I am not sure if that is because I just needed to keep going to find out what happened or what, but I typically don't read suspenseful books as fast as I read this one. As you read through this book, pieces of the story start to unfold and I felt like I was more shocked with each one. You find out people aren't quite who you thought they were- a new mom suffering from depression, a new dad in financial trouble, the neighbor who is hitting on said new dad (but the reason why...), Anne's parents and their feelings about Marco... etc.  Some of the pieces I started putting together earlier than I usually do. (Let's face it- I can NEVER predict how a book, tv show, or movie is going to end.) Even though I started piecing it together, it did NOT stop me from wanting to keep going. 

I can't honestly say how I felt about the ending of the book. The book was good. I would recommend it to others. But the ending I felt was kind of left open... like maybe there COULD be a sequel but if not, then it wouldn't be the end of the world (though I would still be sitting here with questions). I kind of hope there is another book coming so we can see what happens, but I can't say I am too shocked with how it ended. Overall I would probably give this 4.5/5 stars... only because I want to know if there will be more to the story. 

Ariana's One Year Pictures

 Our baby girl is one. No- I don't have a one year update post... I haven't done those monthly posts in so long I wouldn't even know where to start. What I do have are some pictures from her 1 year photo session that was planned on a whim. My brother and sister in law got pics done by her coworker and she was telling me about it. I asked what she would charge to do some smash cake pics. We scheduled a session, in my brother's kitchen, and my sister in law made the backdrop for us. She is a blessing! So without further ado- Ariana's smash cake photos... (note that I watermarked them with my blog logo however they were NOT taken by me)...

We took some pictures of Ariana before bringing out the cake. We knew Ariana would enjoy the cake... she hasn't met a food she didn't like, and I wanted some nice, clean, pictures for her 1 year pictures before she became a mess. (Outfit made by me, bow from Ali Blossoms Boutique)

Cake by Sweet Beginnings (LOVE them)

And as I expected, she loved the cake (cake is the ONE food we didn't give either girl until their first birthday... this way the cake smash fun was actually a first for them). At first she started slowly, with her fingers... 

And then we convinced her to just go for it (it took a while actually)- but just LOOK at her facial expressions in these ones...

There were TONS of pictures... it was hard to narrow it down to just these ones to show you... but these are some of my favorites. I can't believe this little girl is already 1. That first year FLEW by... 

And for a quick stats update- at her one year appointment which was actually 3 weeks late- Ariana weighed 19lbs4oz (16th percentile) and was 28.75inches (30th percentile)... 

A change in direction...

  If you follow this blog (which probably isn't many people, if any with the way I have been slacking) you noticed that I haven't posted regularly in a long time. It is just not possible to catch up and I was adamant that I didn't want to post new things until we were all caught up. But it isn't going to happen. So I have decided to change directions (slightly) with this blog. I was getting ready for bed last night and started thinking about how much I missed blogging. I may not be the best writer (nevermind that I teach writing...) but it is something that I enjoy. So while getting ready I had all these ideas of things I would like to blog about... and I contemplated starting a whole new blog because they aren't all Payton and Ariana related. But then decided that no, I wouldn't do that because THIS is my blog. THIS is what I have put work into years ago. And quite frankly, I love the design that I got done for it and don't want to just abandon it. Yes there will still be posts about the girls. But there will be other things as well... 

Here are some ideas I have floating around- 
Miscellaneous Mondays- if I post on a Monday it will be something that doesn't fit in with another day's theme. I also considered Motivational Monday... if I have a motivating quote or story that I want to share, it might be here. 

Tell it Like it is Tuesday- if I have a random story, one of those "you can't make this stuff up" stories, I am sharing it here. I have quite a few of them, often times from work (names will be changed) and I want to type them all out to look back on in a few years and laugh. sometimes these stories might be about our own kids too... you just never know what will happen on Tuesdays.  

Working on Me Wednesdays- I have decided in 2017 I am working on me. Yes I want to lose weight (who doesn't in the new year) but that isn't ALL this will be about. I might talk about weight loss, fitness things, things I am doing to be healthier. I might talk about something I have done for myself recently (because I need to take time to care for myself and not just everyone else), hobbies, etc. I may also do a Wordless Wednesday if I have some pictures that I want to share that have no words needed.

What I thought about it Thursdays- this is going to be a favorite for me. I have done these before and I want to do them again. It will be reviews- mainly of books I am reading. I LOVE to read (and I really wish I got paid to do it... does that job exist?!) I love to hear about new books and figure others might find some new books that they may not have read otherwise. 

Family Fridays- This will be when I post updates on the girls and things that we do as a family. 

Does this mean I am posting every day of the week? Heavens no. It just means that I am giving myself a kinda schedule/format so that I know what kinds of things I want to blog about.  And now that you have made to the end of my "brain dump" post just so that I could get all my thoughts out... here are some recent pics for you (phone pictures so not the best quality, but I am currently on my laptop and my good pictures go on the desktop). 

First up- a couple pictures of shirts that I made the girls to wear. 

And then there's this--- how Ari felt about being woken up Christmas morning. This is the first year that Payton woke up early to see if Santa came and we told her she had to wait until Ariana woke up but after her waiting almost 2 hours, we finally let her go wake Ari up. 

And after all the present opening was done, the girls got all dressed to go next door to my parents' house and do it again...

And yesterday, while running errands, Payton asked if the girls could sit in the big cart at Target. I hate these carts and was always able to say no because we would need to save them for someone that needed two seats... since Ariana is big enough to sit there, I let her ride it in. They were both in their glory... Payton because she finally got to sit in the seat with her own sister, and Ariana because, well, who knows why, but look at her!

And then today, while cleaning, Ariana got ahold of Tim's cup that I made him (no worries- there was only water in the cup)... even she is sick about this 17 year playoff drought we have going on here in Buffalo...

And as if on cue- Ariana has woken from her nap... 

We officially have a Kindergartener

I can't believe I just typed those words in the title. We have a KINDERGARTENER. And, thanks to facebook's "on this day" we found out that she started her first day of kindergarten exactly 5 years from the day she started her first day at Mother's Day Out (I still miss those teachers). 

Since I am a teacher I was REALLY upset that I wouldn't be at school with her for her first day. Luckily her school has half days the first week and the very first day was an hour and a half, with parents, either morning or afternoon. I requested afternoon because I have a half day at my school in the morning. My principal let me run out after the kids and I made it home in time to take a few pics, get in the car, and take my baby to school. Real school. Not in the same building as mommy (she did go to pre-k but I feel like that was different because it was in my school). 

So here are some pictures from her first day at school... 
breakfast (and yes the girl CAN drink from a normal cup, but I hate cleaning spilled milk and this prevents that)

so excited!

me and my girl
walking down the hall to her classroom
taking a practice bus ride
Payton absolutely LOVES school and LOVES her teacher. She had half days all last week and came home every day raving about what they did, telling me the FULL plot of books they read, writing her own stories to mimic the books they read... it is AMAZING. I can't wait to see how much she learns and grows this year... even if it means our baby is growing up. 

7-9 months

I don't even know where to begin with how bad I am at this blogging thing. School is was out so I should have time to catch up, but I have been busy crafting. Eh well... someday... but until then I will at the very least try to keep up with this girl's monthly updates. ( I have since decided to just start new and not try to play catch up.. so here we are in Sept starting new... we have done a lot in the past couple years. The end lol) I was doing good keeping track of her 7 month stats... but I never took the pics. Then, 8 months came and went and I never even updated the post... so I give you the thrown together, everything that has happened in the past 3 months post... (and with turning 9mos at the start of football season, you get football themed 9 month photos)

Sleep-  Ariana has become such a good sleeper. I am so glad because it is summer and I need some sleep. Ariana usually goes to bed between 8:30 and 9:30 (depending on what time she eats). She also (usually) takes a solid 2-3 hour nap in the morning after eating and usually takes an evening/afternoon nap for an hour or two. 
Daily Routine-  Now that I am home for summer, we have a very good routine going on. We wake up somewhere between 8 and 9am (yes both of my kids are finally sleeping in!). Ariana has breakfast pretty much as soon as she wakes up. After eating her cereal and formula, she plays for about an hour until she gets fussy. Once she is fussy, she goes down for her nap. At that time, Payton and I work on sight words and then she plays while I craft/do things around the house/prep for next year/etc. After she wakes up, we all have lunch and then head outside for the rest of the day (if it is a nice day). Around 4pm she gets tired again and takes her second nap. She will wake up and sometimes eats right away, sometimes waits a little bit. Lately she has been eating just that third time then not making it to her bedtime bottle and cereal, but we still PLAN for four meals a day. If it is bath night, she gets a bath and then plays until bed time. 
Feeding- 7 months is pretty much like 6 months. She eats (usually) 4 times a day, 6 ounces of formula each time, with cereal with the first and last bottle and a fruit/vegetable with the second and third bottle. She LOVES puffs for snacks and mum mums. We have also given her yogurt which she likes. She pretty much likes everything. She has had tastes of everything we eat because we have decided to make her try everything at a young age so she isn't picky like Payton. So far, she hasn't spit a thing out!
At 9 months Ariana eats 3x a day with a couple snacks in between. She eats 8 ounces and half a container (3 tbs) of baby food or 3tbs of cereal. We also let her try pretty much everything that we eat and she has loved it all. If we are eating and it isn't time for her to eat yet, we have to either give her some of ours or give her some puffs because she will yell that we aren't sharing. Her snacks are usually puffs but sometimes she gets mum mums still. 

birth- 8lbs 3oz... left the hospital at 7lbs 12oz... weight check at 5 days old was 7lbs 14oz
2 weeks- (which ended up being 2 weeks 6 days)... 8lbs 12oz!  (56th percentile)
1 month- She didn't have a one month appointment so my at home estimate is... 9lbs 3oz
2 months-10lbs 8oz (50th percentile)
3 months- No appointment so my at home estimate is 11lbs 5oz
4 months- 13lbs 9oz
5 months- Our at home estimate is 14lbs 9oz
6 months-  15lbs 1oz (30th percentile)
7 months- at home estimate is 17lbs
8 months- at home estimate is 18lbs
9 months- coming soon (dr appt on the 16th)
birth- 20 inches just like her sister
2 weeks- 20.25 inches (40th percentile)
1 month- My guess would be 21 inches
2 months- 22.25 inches (50th percentile)
3 months- I am estimating 23.5 inches
4 months- 24 inches
5 months- I forgot to measure
6 months- 25.25 inches (30th percentile)
7 months- at home estimate 26inches
8 months- at home estimate 26.5 inches
9 months- coming soon (dr appt on the 16th)
Diaper size- still in a size 2 (thankfully because we have a TON of those boxes left). I feel like soon enough we will be in 3s... which means I will exchanging a LOT of size 2s for size 3s. 
Clothing size- Well... she can fit in pretty much anything from 3mos (yes at 7 mos some of her 3 mos stuff still fits, but I packed most of it up since it was winter attire) to 6 mos. I have a few things out that are 6-9mos or 9mos but haven't tried them on her. The other day she wore nb size bloomers. Shes a tiny one like her sister.  (This is still true at 9 months... I don't even know if I have even pulled ANY of her 9 mos clothes out of the box and into the closet yet!)
Hair color-
birth- brown 

1 month- Still brown but, like her sister, Ariana is losing the patch of hair in the back of her head. She also has a lot less hair than Payton did and it is much thinner. She is also losing hair off the top... she is just a cute hot mess.
2 months- the little bit she has is brown... but there is not much there at all.
3 months- same as last month... brown but not much of it. 
4 months- brown and more is coming in on the top. She has the infamous bald spot in the back of her head that is showing no signs of growing in any time soon. 
5 months- It is finally starting to come back in and it's 'peach fuzzy'... still brown. 
6 months- Her bald spot is filling in in the back and she has some brown hair all over. 
7 months- pretty dark but still not a lot of it... thin and still a bald spot in the back. 
8 months- that bald spot is getting smaller and her hair is coming in... it will be a while before she has enough to do anything with but it is growing!
9 months- brown and that bald spot is ALMOST all gone!! 
Eye color-
birth- blue/gray 
1 month- Still a very pretty blue/gray color. I love it. 
2 months- still the same... still holding out hope that they stay this way
3 months- still blue/gray. Still holding out hope. 
4 months- mostly still blue/gray but the other day they looked green so we aren't sure what they are going to be!
5 months- still blue/gray and some days they look a little green. I really love her big eyes!
6 months- gray? green?  honestly I have no idea but I know they aren't brown. And she has lashes for days!
7 months- terrible- I have no clue. I am going with gray or hazel depending on the day. 
8 months- green? hazel? honestly I have no idea and it seems no one else does either because people compliment her eyes ALL the time but NO ONE knows the color. 
9 months- hazel I think. 
Favorite toy/entertainment- Oh she has SO MANY favorite toys now. She LOVES her Sophie. We also have a learning cube thing that she loves to play with. And her cow is still a favorite. She also loves to be in her walker. At 8 mos her favorite toy is anything she can't have. She also really likes the ball popper dinosaur and the ball popper toy that we had from when Payton was a baby.

Nicknames- stinker pants and ari are the top 2

Funniest/Favorite moments- I think my favorite moment this month was watching her learn to crawl. She is getting there and has mastered the army crawl. She can fly but can't quite figure out how to crawl. (this was 7 months) My current personal favorite is watching the girl chew. She chews like she has a mouth full of teeth and it really is just adorable. Oh another favorite is when someone chants "ARI ARI ARI" and she shakes her hands up and down. 
Milestones-  Wow I never filled this out for 7 months so I am going to try to combine 7 and 8 month milestones... (and 9 months)
shortly after turning 7 mos (like days after I wrote that last sentence above) she figured out how to crawl. 
She also figured out how to get from the living room to the kitchen (we have a step up)
She can now climb the stairs (unfortunately) and we have gates everywhere because of it. 
She can wave bye bye and gets really proud of herself when she does it
She has popped her 3rd tooth (and it is NOT her center top teeth, it is next to the front 2)
She can stand for a good 15 seconds unsupported. 

Firsts- and I never filled this out either so I have to combine the 7 and 8 mos and 9 mos

first TWO teeth came by 7 mos-- literally within a day of each other
first time crawling
first time eating dinner with us (our food)
first time standing
first time tasting dog food (and she has tried many many times since- we are constantly chasing her away and scooping it out of her mouth. She gets into it so sneakily.)
first trip to the fair
first 'vacation' to Toronto (the child HATES the car)
first time at the beach 
time standing in the crib- which led to lowering the mattress. 
bath without the baby tub- thanks to an explosion that led to dumping her right in the tub- she now bathes without the baby tub 

Ariana- everyone you meet is just enamored with you and you have the best personality. You are growing so much so fast. I wish I could slow down time and keep you this small forever. I love watching you learn and discover new things and I will miss spending all day with you now that I have go to back to work. Don't grow too much during the day! (and save your first steps for when mommy and daddy are home please!)