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Motherhood

Fall + Halloween Books

MotherhoodCatharine KlepacComment
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It’s fall ya’ll!! Which obviously means it’s time to swap out Olivia’s summer books for some more seasonally appropriate titles. We’re talking changing leaves, giving back, sneaky tricks, black cats, nighttime stories, ghosts, owls, magic, nature, pumpkins, foxes, and more! If there was a book on Pumpkin Spice Lattes, you bet your buttons it’d be on these shelves.

— from left to right top to bottom —

One Thousand Things - This is such a beautiful book to start introducing everyday words and concepts. I love how it’s divided into categories and the illustrations have sort of a mid-century vibe and aren’t too overwhelming. This whole series is so great.

A Tale of Two Beasts - This is such a funny story about a chance encounter of a girl and an animal. It’s told first from the perspective of the girl and then from the perspective of the animal, and it’s a great example that there are two sides to every story. The animal’s perspective is my favorite, and sometimes I feel like that’s what Geoffrey thinks about us haha

That’s Not My Owl - This is such a great touchy-feely book for sensory exploration. There is also a cute little mouse to find on each page (Olivia’s favorite part). There are also lots of other fun fall + halloween animals like a fox, hedgehog, bat, witch, and monster.

I Wish.. - This was a fun random find at a local children’s boutique. We have another Jellycat book that Olivia just loves, and this is a really sweet story about being true to yourself.

Bear Has a Story to Tell - This story is all about hibernation and how Bear wants to tell his story to anyone who will listen, but all of the other animals are too busy getting ready for the changing season.

This is Owl - This is such a fun and interactive book where your little one gets to be a part of the story. Sort of like Press Here. You get to blow on the pages, shake the book, and make silly noises to help push the story along. So fun!

Boo! - This is a great little board book for babies and toddlers with lots of peek throughs as we try to figure out who said “boo!” (spoiler alert: it was a ghost)

The Curious Case of the Missing Mammoth - I am obsessed with this book. Olivia will literally squeal as I turn each page because the illustrations are just incredible. So many fun flaps to lift for a picture book, all of which reveal interesting facts about animals and dinosaurs. The museum comes to life at night and Oscar must help the mammoth find his little brother before the clock strikes midnight and the magic of the museum wears off.

How to Make Friends With a Ghost - This is such a whimsical story about how to first of all spot a ghost, and then how to make friends with one. It’s so well done with all of it’s charts and figures as your reader gets schooled on the ins and outs of ghosts. Hint: if you’re kind, ghosts will want to be friends with you.

Ava and the Spectacular Spectacles - This is a great book for anyone who hates wearing their glasses (definitely not me as a kid, I begged for glasses lol). But it talks about how if each character in our favorite fairy tales had worn their glasses, things would have turned out much differently. I see you little red riding hood. Bet you’d realize that grandma was a wolf if you would have worn your glasses ;)

Little Owl Lost - This is a fan favorite in our home. No surprises there since it’s by the same author has Olivia’s favorite book Oh No George! The little owl falls out of it’s tree and is trying to find his mommy by describing her features to other animals. It is so cute and Derek laughs so hard at my voices. Books are SO much better with voices amiright?

Triangle - Oh my gosh this book. I don’t know about the others (Circle and Square — which are on mega sale right now btw), but this one is SO funny. Bonus for it’s gorgeous and moody watercolor illustrations. You learn shapes, you learn about sneaky tricks, you get to see stunning illustrations. It’s everything I could ask for in a book.

Last Stop on Market Street - This is such a beautiful book if you’re looking to introduce social justice issues. It’s about a boy and his grandmother who ride the bus every week to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, and the importance of acceptance and giving back to your community.

Itsy Bitsy Spider - I’m personally not a huge nursery rhyme fan, but this book has a modern twist with poppy illustrations and textured finger trails on each page. Olivia loves to flip the pages faster than I can recite the nursery rhyme and get’s so mad if I don’t immediately switch to singing the next one after she turns the page lol

I’m Not (very) Afraid of the Dark - Ohhhh this book. Fair warning, this is not a great book for little ones who are still rough on their books. Each page has intricate laser cut details that are just so stunning, but very delicate. It’s all about a little boy who is only afraid of the dark at night (I feel you kid). But then learns that the night can be beautiful (like when he goes camping and gets to see all of the stars) and the bumps in the night and shadows in his room are just the wind outside and the moon shining on some of his toys. I can’t say enough about this one.

Yum Yummy Yuck - When I found out Amanda Jane Jones wrote a children’s book I had to have it. When I realized it was for kids who put literally anything in their mouth. Even better. This is such a fun book about what you should and shouldn’t eat, and the gorge modern illustrations are the cherry on top.

Wolfie the Bunny - I think it’s safe to say this is Derek’s favorite book. Again 95% sure it’s because of the voices. A bunny family is raising a baby wolf that was left on their doorstep, even though Dot (their daughter) is not convinced he isn’t going to “eat us all up!” Such a sweet story about family and protective little (but big) brothers.

ABC Color - I’m obsessed with this illustrator and have been slowly accumulating (hoarding) all of her books. I love how her ABC series always starts out talking about “you probably know these basic colors red, orange, yellow, etc. but do you know these?” and then goes into all kinds of colors, which makes my color loving heart so happy.

The Stinky Cheese Man - This is such a nostalgic book for me. It literally has nothing to do with fall, but the warm (and kind of creepy) illustrations begged to be on display for this season. I love all of the ridiculous stories and twists on old classics. I remember my cousins and I just obsessing over these stories growing up.

Gus Was a Friendly Ghost - This was a baby shower gift from a friend that grew up loving this book, and we quickly found out why. It’s such a sweet story about Gus the ghost who lives in the attic of the Scott’s summer home. He loves to make noises so that the Scotts talk about how they have a ghost, but when a mouse comes to ruin everything and starts to terrorize the Scott family, Gus is not having it and puts his foot down. So cute.

National Parks of the USA - Another stunning book. These illustrations are just SO beautiful. Derek grew up going to national parks so this is such an important book for our family, so that we can teach Olivia all about them. This book goes into all of the cool facts about each national park, the animals you can find, the stats, the sights, everything! It’s also on mega sale right now if you haven’t already snatched it up.

Peek Inside Nighttime - Olivia loves all of her Peek Inside books, and this one is so well done. The nighttime element is perfect for spooky Halloween nights with so many flaps to lift, cut outs, and finger trails. Girlfriend loves an interactive book.

Cat and Mouse - We picked up this fun board book at The Menil in Houston, and it has fun peek through elements as it introduces readers to prepositions. It’s a classic story of a cat and mouse chase, but the end is very surprising (don’t worry the cat doesn’t eat the mouse haha).

Peek-a-Flap Boo - Okay this book totally surprised me. My mom and I randomly found it on the Halloween book end cap at Target because Olivia has a couple others from this collection and just loves the super thick flaps. Well little did we know, this book is FULL of random Halloween facts. Like did you know that people used to carve radishes? Or that candy corn was originally called chicken feed? Who doesn’t love random facts!

Olivia and the Missing Toy - This book also has nothing to do with Halloween or fall, but the cover is very spooky! It’s also full of mystery as Olivia (the pig) tries to figure out who stole her missing toy.

Fairy Friends Seasons - This whole collection is so beautiful with the pressed flower illustrations, but Seasons in particular is just so perfect for this time of year.

Fall is my second favorite time of year (right behind Christmas + winter). I love the crips air, the pumpkin flavored everything, the changing leaves, and cozying up with my family and a big ol’ stack of books to read and explore. And * bonus points * when they relate to an activity we did that day that we can learn more about. If you’ve missed my other book round ups here they are:

Favorite Books

Christmas Book Advent Calendar

Valentines Books

Easter Books

Summer Books

Olivia West | Eighteen Months

MotherhoodCatharine KlepacComment
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After Olivia turned one, I was going to start doing these posts annually, but SO much has happened in the past 6 months that I felt like we were long over due for another update. I mean she’s grown so much we couldn’t use her coral headband for the photo anymore and had to switch to a big girl bow :(

| STATS |

Since her last update she has had a 15 month checkup where she weighed in at 22lb 7oz (60th), was 31” long (70th), and her head was 18.5” (80th). At her 18 month appointment she weighed in at 25lb 3oz (78th), 32.5" long (75th), and her head is 18.75” (85th). Which pretty much blew my mind. Overall her doctor is extremely proud of her growth, which I was so glad to hear assuming I was underfeeding her yet again. Looking back at her 12 month photo to her 18 month she looks so big!

| EATING |

Where do I begin? Olivia basically weened herself off breastfeeding at around 12.5 months. Which I was totally fine with honestly. It was sad to think we wouldn’t have this special time and connection anymore, but with her 4 little teeth coming in (at the time) I felt like I was playing with fire because she has always had a very shallow latch. She was also way more into her new love of solid foods, and just nursed out of ritual (before sleeping) everyday. So as I started dropping a feeding a day she never looked back. I was relieved to be able to finally pack up my pumping gear and put it away for another time. Moms who EP, I salute you! Because of her incredible weight gain we were able to take her off of her supplement smoothies at 13m and just focus on three square meals with alllllll the snacks in between. Girlfriend loves to snack. So much so that Geoffrey has gained a few lbs himself. She constantly has her cheerio cup in one hand and a cracker or tortilla in the other. Funny story. Olivia starts off every morning with a big heaping bowl of oatmeal. Super easy. I just pour some oats, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, and some milk into a mason jar overnight and in the morning I mix some fruit in! So I was using either unsweeted applesauce or organic fruit preserves (just a small spoonful) to give it a little flavor and vitamins. I started noticing toward the afternoon she’d start coming unglued. Like climbing me like a tree, clenching her fits and vibrating, like she was just really jazzed up. We thought it was so funny and that she was just really excited about life. No. Those fancy preserves had a boat load of sugar in a single tablespoon and I was unknowingly loading her up with sugar. SO now we just mix in the applesauce and she’s totally chill. Oops. So anyway, breakfast = oatmeal, lunch = yogurt, banana, or broccoli tots, and dinner = a version of what we’re having or leftover quesadillas (which are leftovers + cheese in a tortilla), veggie burger, mac & peas, etc. She isn’t eating meat yet so we make sure to provide her with plant based proteins like peas, chick peas, etc. Anytime we make pasta we use chickpea or pea pasta like Banza, Modern Table, whoever is on sale that week. She loves to feed herself with her fork and gets really frustrated if we do it for her. She has also mastered the straw and drinking out of a normal cup. She just hasn’t mastered the setting it down gently every time part. We’ve also started brushing her teeth (no toothpaste yet just water) which she mostly enjoys and loves to do it herself. If we forget before bath time, she is sure to let us know.

| SLEEPING |

Olivia dropped her second nap around 13 months or so. She now naps from 12-2:30 everyday, and on a really good day she’ll nap from 12-3:30. She still goes to bed around 6pm and wakes around 9am. She is definitely her father’s daughter when it comes to sleep. I wish I could sleep that much! When we made the switch to Hello Bello diapers, she no longer leaks through them at night, so that’s nice. She is so conditioned with her sleep though that it’s next to impossible to get her to sleep in the carseat or stroller if we’re on the go. Instead she just turns into a baby alligator. So being a good sleeper has it’s own dilemmas. So nervous about our first flight in October. Also, we’ve been trying to get her to sleep with a stuffie just to have a little company, and every single night we will put a bunch of buddies in her crib and we will watch her toss them out one by one on the baby monitor, and then lay down and go to sleep. This girl. She FINALLY (as of this past week) glommed onto the first stuffie I ever bought her (back when I was still very pregnant) a Jellycat giraffe so now she has a buddy in bed. He made the cut. Oh and if you don’t come get her as soon as she wakes up from a nap she will bang on the wall, which was so startling the first few times and is now just the funniest thing.

| DOING |

SO much has happened in these past 6 months. First of all Olivia is finally walking! She took her first steps on Mother’s Day (about 15 months) so a little later than most, but after a few timid steps she just took off. She immediately could stand up from a seated position (without having to hold onto something first) so basically she wanted to perfect the walk before she actually did it. Respect. She also loves to climb up and down stairs and ramps and walk over thresholds over and over and over. She went from walking to side stepping to walking on her tippy toes to running over the coarse of two weeks. She is now the star of Little Gym and has absolutely no fear. Forward rolls, back whoop-de-doos, wheelbarrows, all things that used to make her cry. She is here for it and the first to volunteer. She’s also the first to let everyone know that it’s time to put the bells away. She also loves climbing all the things. Which I dislike so very much because it gives me heart palpitations, and I blame Gymboree. I wanted to keep her busy this summer so we took a break from Little Gym and switched to Gymboree for a month because they had “open gym” everyday of the week where she could play to her heart’s content in the A/C. Well Gymboree is more playground based so she immediately learned to climb (but also loved the slides!) We ended up switching back for several different reasons, but mainly because we just loved Little Gym more and I felt like she got more out of it skill-wise. She also doesn’t get trampled by big kids who’s parents are just there to be on their phones but that’s neither here nor there. Plus TLG is a block away from where we live. For the longest time everything was Dada (thank you Jimmy Fallon) but now she’s throwing some “mamas” around too. Every time we pass a puppy (or say the word puppy) she waves and says “hiiii”. She loves to open and close all the doors and turn on and off all the lights and fans. She has become super helpful lately too. She likes to help unload the dishwasher regardless of if it’s clean or not, hand me laundry to fold, throw things away (sometimes not trash), she’s even started trying to dress herself. She repeats everything we do! Since it’s been so hot out we’ve gone to the pool and splash pad which she loves. The pool freaked her out at first, but now she’s fine as long as she’s in her inner-tube. Which isn’t allowed at most public pools, did you know that? She still loves dancing (her hula dance) and singing. Lately she gets excited when her favorite songs from her playlist come on, and she anticipates certain parts and sings and dances along with them. Don’t even get me started on Little Bunny Foo Foo. Which isn’t on her playlist I just randomly sang it to her once and now she’s obsessed.

| MILESTONES |

Olivia has 12 teeth now! The four center ones on top, four on the bottom, and the same 4 molars. Which honestly everyone freaked me out about molars and she’s been pretty okay. They bothered her at first but I kept giving her cold applesauce and cold washcloths, and I’d brush her teeth just to help massage her gums and encourage them to cut through which really helped. They also all came in the same week so I feel like that was a little better rather than prolonging it. Walking was obviously a huge milestone and it feels like she’s been doing it forever. She can say: mama, dada, hi, night night, Geoffrey (“ghee” - and points at him), ball, yo-yo, nose, no, apple, uh-oh (when she drops something) and kitty (“key”). She understands SO much that it kind of blows my mind. Even though she' doesn’t talk much yet, she knows what we’re saying, what we’re asking, what we’re telling her to do, etc. She can point to the following body parts on queue: nose, ears, mouth, teeth, tongue, head, hair, cheeks, belly, and toes. She can also point to our noses, and loves to poke herself in the eyes. So fun. I can ask her to put her toys away and she will, I can ask her to bring me a specific item and she will. Crazy. If it’s past 5pm I can’t ask her to do anything, she has now become a different person. Recently she’s been singing gibberish but to the actual tune of the song. I thought Derek’s head was going to explode. She is now wearing size 4 diapers and has moved up to 18-24m clothing, she is FINALLY actually wearing her size, which makes shopping for her so much easier. I mean she has grown 4.5” and 9lbs in 6 months. Some of our friends who hadn’t seen her in a couple weeks were blown away by how big she is now!

| FAVORITE MOMENTS |

I just love that I feel like I can communicate with her now and she understands me, when before it’s like you’re just talking to yourself lol. She gives us hugs now which is the sweetest thing, and allllll the kisses. She loves to kiss any animal in her books and all of her stuffies. I’ll be trying to turn the page and she’s not done kissing everyone yet. I love when she sings songs and gets excited when her jam comes on. Chasing her and pretending you’re going to tickle her gets the best giggles and belly laughs. Lately when we read stories before bed she gets SO excited when you turn the page and squeals at the illustrations when before she would just sit quietly and listen. Now that she can stand on her own her hula dance has become quite the show. Oh and I love how OCD she is, when she wakes up if the correct doors aren’t shut, or the fan isn’t on she’s the first to tell you what needs to happen, in what order, before she can start her day.

Summer Books

MotherhoodCatharine KlepacComment
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Another season, another excuse to swap out Olivia’s bookshelves. This time I wanted to include all things summer! For our family summer means traveling, museums, endless bowls of fruit on the patio, ice cream, trips to the Arboretum, the zoo, crazy weather (I see you north Texas), library visits, and bugs. And surprise surprise, we have books on all of those topics!

— from left to right top to bottom —

This is Texas - I stumbled on this book at a local shop in downtown Denton and I was just blown away by the illustrations and fun facts all about Texas. Disclaimer: this book was written in the late 60s so the facts are a little off, but there are footnotes with the updated info! There are tons of other places to choose from too like: Paris, New York, London, Rome, Greece, Ireland, Washington DC, San Francisco, Venice, Israel, Edinburgh, Britain, Munich, Hong Kong, America, Australia, The World, and The Way to the Moon.

Before & After - This was a fun museum gift shop find, that is full of vibrant illustrations showing how many everyday things appear before, during, and after like hair cuts, rollercoaster riders, pasta, chicken vs. the egg haha it’s great!

New York - We have a few of these beginner city books, but Olivia’s Aunt Jessica (who lives in Brooklyn) got her the New York one which is all about the fun colors found in the city.

Why Do We Need Bees? - I’m obsessed with these lift-the-flap non-fiction books, and we have a bunch of them but I picked my favorites for summer! I actually learned quite a bit from this fun and interactive book. Like did you know bees fly in a figure eight to show other bees where the best flowers are? I just thought they were a little erratic. Also, did you know honey is made to feed baby bees?

Dear Zoo - While we haven’t taken Olivia to the Dallas Zoo yet, it’s definitely on our list this summer! I love how simple and timeless (and silly) this book is, and Olivia loves lifting all of the flaps to find the animals.

Pandamonia - This is SUCH a beautiful book with sort of a chicka chicka boom boom rhythmic quality when you read it. It’s all about not waking the panda and what will happen if you do. It’s so great and full of lots of animal names that I hadn’t even heard of!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom - speaking of the classic, this is just such a fun alphabet book to read. I’m pretty sure we all had this growing up!

I Do it Like This! - This is such a cute book showing the ways animals do the same everyday things we do like sleeping, bathing, eating, dancing, etc.

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses - when I first saw this book I was like ugh princesses. But knowing Olivia (the pig) there had to be a twist. This book is so funny and so anti your typical pink fluffy princess, and I just love the message of being an independent person rather than someone’s princess.

Above and Below - another beautiful book all about the different habitats and the animals that live there. Each page has a split page that reveals even more animals under the water, through the trees, etc. and then gives little facts about each one.

How Do Flowers Grow? - another fun lift-the-flap non-fiction book! This one takes me back to my horticulture lab days in college. With tons of flaps to lift, we love learning all about flowers, seeds, and why they are important.

Pink Lion - this is such a sweet book about a lion who was raised by flamingos, and thinks he’s a flamingo until he meets more lions. A great story of courage and being yourself no matter what!

What Makes it Rain? - this is another great lift-the-flap book all about weather! Living in north Texas we are getting all kinds of weather (in the same day!) so its really fun to teach Olivia all about where rain or thunder or clouds come from.

Bloom - this is the beautiful story of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli who didn’t even fit into her own family. She defies society’s narrow view of who she should be and blossoms into the incredible and quirky designer we know today.

My Very First Book of Things To Spot Out and About - this is such a fun and interactive book that I’ve been using to teach Olivia the names of objects. As she get’s older we can follow the prompts on each page, but for now I’m just using it to expand her vocabulary.

The Secret Garden - I love these little BabyLit primers, and this one is all about flowers! Each page names a flower and then gives a line from The Secret Garden.

Find Spot at the Museum - summers are all about museums when you live in Texas and need to escape the heat! We also love spot books (I had so many growing up), so this was a fun museum gift shop find at the Witte Museum. Olivia looooove the flaps!

Kitty Kat Kitty Kat Where Have You Been? Rome! - We’re not going to Rome this summer, but we love to travel and share our favorite cities with Olivia. This is such a fun series (with lots of different cities) that share Kitty Kat’s adventures and all of the fun facts he learns in each city.

Fairy Friends Colors - I just love this whole collection with it’s beautiful pressed flowers. Seriously just get all of them.

Luna Loves Library Day - Libraries are another great way to beat the heat in the summer! This is such a sweet book about Luna and her dad spending quality time at the library and sharing their love of books.

Eating the Alphabet - I grew up eating giant bowls of fruit in the back yard after every meal during the long summer days in Michigan and certain fruits are so nostalgic for me. I love this beautiful watercolor book full of so many fruits and veggies I hadn’t even heard of!

We love spending those long summer days outside, but also reading great books that excite Olivia’s imagination. I think it’s so fun to go to the zoo or to the aquarium and then come home and read books on what we saw that day. I also love supporting our local museums and picking up some great books in the gift shop on our way out. If you’ve missed my other book round ups here they are:

Favorite Books

Christmas Book Advent Calendar

Valentines Books

Easter Books

An Easter Basket Without Treats

MotherhoodCatharine KlepacComment

With Easter just a few weeks away I wanted to share a little peek inside what we’re putting in Olivia’s Easter basket this year. I don’t love the idea of filling her basket with sweets and treats, so instead we filled it with things that she will enjoy for a long time. I also don’t love spending insane amounts during holidays so I’ve been collecting these items over the past several months.

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Jellycat Octopus | As most of you know, we practice minimalism and simplicity with all of our baby products. Therefore, rather than getting her a stuffed bunny every year, I want to keep her stuffies unique and meaningful and decided to give her a sweet little octopus instead. This way her stuffie collection is full of all different species rather than 100 bunnies. Unless you love bunnies. You do you.

Felt Play Food | Olivia loves her play food so when I found these fun little felt veggies in the dollar spot at Target I had to snatch them up (sorry I can’t link dollar spot items, but they are still tons of these at our Target).

Sensory Balls | Olivia is all about the sensory toys right now, and in her music class every week she always sprint crawls to the pokey balls. So I knew I had to include something similar for her easter basket, which I’ll hide in the eggs. I also threw in a koosh ball (throwback!) and a fun little sensory ball full of glitter.

Miracle Bubbles | Olivia LOVES bubbles. So now she won’t have to wait until Little Gym every week to get her bubble fix. If anyone knows an organic / natural alternative to these (that don’t pop immediately!) I’m all ears.

Spanish Flash Cards | We are also learning lots of new words so I threw in some flashcards I also picked up in the Target dollar spot. They had a ton of different themes to choose from.

Wood Clacker | Olivia is so drawn to music and loves all of her instruments, so when I saw this sweet little wood clacker, I had to get it. She is going to be obsessed with this thing. Also from the Target dollar spot (it was SO good this year!)

Books | Of course we had to fill her basket with books. Rather than just including Easter-y books, I specifically selected books all about spring and gardening. This way they will grow with her all year long (and years to come!) rather than being too seasonal.

That’s Not My Duck | Olivia is obsessed with this entire series and there are tons of different animals that are spring related: lamb, chick, bee, bunny, etc. They are full of touchy-feely elements on every page which she just loves these days. It’s so funny we’ll be flipping through one and I won’t know where the touchy-feely part is and she finds it right away. Like a moth to a flame.

Secrets of the Vegetable Garden | This is from the shine-a-light series where images are hidden on every page that you can reveal with a flashlight or holding the page up to the window, so fun! Plus the illustrations are so beautiful.

Peek Inside the Garden | Olivia is all about the interactive books these days so I was sure to grab a couple of the lift-the-flap books. I chose this book because it has lots of fun little animals to find on each page under the flaps which she will just love.

Birdhouse | This book is just so beautiful. My mom’s entire family is obsessed with birds (is this a Michigan thing?) so I wanted to start her off on the right foot learning alllll about birds. This also has some great lift-the-flaps on each page so its nice and interactive for her. There was a bug one too but we’ll stick to birds for now ;)

How Things Grow | This is such a great book that will definitely grow with her over the years. It’s full of facts about nature, plants, fruits and veggies, types of seeds, everything!

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Why Do We Need Bees? and How Do Flowers Grow? | I am obsessed with this series, and I’m trying to slowly collect them all so that Olivia has a great reference book section in her library that we can go to when she has questions (about seriously anything you can think of). They are filled with flaps to lift with so much information hiding under each one. Also. You know I’m a sucker for good illustrations.

Questions and Answers About Nature | This is another series where I’m trying to collect every book subject. These are a little more in depth than the other lift-the-flap ones, so I’m hoping they will just propel her curiosity to learn even more as she gets older.

1,000 Things in Nature | I had similar books like this as a kid with each page filled with every single bird, bug, leaf, nut, tree, fish, etc. I can’t wait to use this as a tool to expand her vocabulary along with her knowledge of different species. It’s not just a leaf it’s an oak leaf, etc.

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So there you have it! Don’t worry Geoffrey’s easter basket will be filled with treats haha. What do you like to put in your kiddos’ easter baskets?

In case you’re looking for other seasonal books:

Favorite Books

Christmas Book Advent Calendar

Valentines Books

Summer Books

Olivia West | Twelve Months

MotherhoodCatharine KlepacComment

Welp. We made it a whole year! Everyone keeps asking me if time just flew by, or “can you believe you have a one year old?” And honestly, time felt exactly as long as it should have. I don’t know if that was because I was able to be home with her for this past year, or not. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments that felt like time stood still and moments where it felt like it was zipping by (especially her early months), but in the end this year felt full, and I am so grateful to have such an incredible baby girl who feels like a whole new person every single day.

| STATS |

Olivia had her official 12 month check up, and she still doesn’t like her pediatrician’s booming voice. But I was able to bribe her with puffs. He was very concerned about her weight loss (even though she looks like she’s gaining weight) as she currently weighs in at 16lb 8oz (4th percentile) which is down 5oz since her 9 month visit. At the year mark babies are supposed to have tripled their birth weight which would be closer to 22lb (more on that below), she is 28" long (14th), and her head is 17.75” (50th).

| EATING |

As I mentioned in last month’s update, I had been feeding Olivia 3 meals a day with an occasional snack in the afternoon if she seemed to still be hungry. I also nursed when she woke up, before every nap, and before bed. However, she has lost 5oz since her 9 month check up and isn’t walking yet (to burn those calories) so her pediatrician was very concerned. He asked if she was a picky eater (nope) or if she was super active (I mean not really, she crawls all over the place). So he has us on a strict “diet” of 3 meals + 2 snacks a day (no exceptions). He has us supplementing her meals with high calorie weight gaining formula, in addition to breastmilk AND whole milk. He gave us some samples of the supplement drinks (Pediasure), but after reading the zillions of ingredients in “strawberry banana” and not one of them being strawberries or bananas, I did my own research to find the most natural and nutrient rich alternative. This is a very niche market incase you were wondering. But I settled on PediaSmart (Dairy) and so far she really likes it, and it doesn’t smell like chemicals. A serving is 8oz, and he wants her to have one serving a day, so I split it between her two snacks in 4oz increments. I have also increased the amount of food I’ve been giving her in general filling all three sections on her plate with everything on the food pyramid. When before she would just have a small bowl of peas, now she’s having broccoli mac and cheese with a side of baked apples or zucchini with rice and a side of mixed berries. He has us coming back in 8 weeks for a weight check so fingers crossed that she improves and I can take her off the supplements and just focus on nutritious foods. Also, she went from one dirty diaper every couple of days to 4-5 a day sooo that means something right? She also just seems to be more satisfied in general and is a lot less fussy. So once again I was underfeeding my child, yay. Breastfeeding is hard people. I still need to do a whole post on our journey (saga).

| SLEEPING |

Olivia is still our good little sleeper. She has officially dropped her morning nap and now naps around 10am and then again around 2pm. She is kind of like clockwork now, when before I would just let her tell me when she was tired, now I could set my watch to it. If we’re out and about she will gladly nap in her carseat or stroller for HOURS. To the point where we are like is she okay? haha Lately our only sleep issue is that her diaper is waking her up now that she is eating so much more, so we’re having to change it multiple times per night when she used to go 12-13 hours straight. She is even leaking through to her pajamas and sheets with pee, which she never did before. I was thinking maybe we should move to size 4 diapers, but she is still way under the weight range. Any thoughts?

| DOING |

For the longest time Olivia had no interest in pulling up on furniture, standing against it, or taking steps while we spotted her. She only wanted to crawl. I enrolled her in The Little Gym down the street from us and she is by far the smallest (not youngest) in her class. She is the only non-walker, and I think this got in her head. Ever since she started she is obsessed with cruising along the furniture at home back and forth all day long. I used to have to lure here from one end to the other with toys but now she just does it on her own. At first she could only pull up on our laps, but then she started pulling up on the coffee table, and now the sofa (which is about shoulder height). At her first day of Little Gym I had her on the parallel bars and she just stood there on her tippy toes clinging on for dear life. Now she walks flat footed all along them and loves to push and walk with the foam barrel across the room back and forth. She still has a ways to go before she’ll be taking those solo first steps, but she has come such a long way! We also enrolled her in music class which she absolutely loves. She immediately starts dancing and singing and quickly learns any instrument she’s given. Her teacher and the other parents/nannies are always blown away at how musical she already is and I’m just so so proud. I mean we have been playing music for her or singing to her non stop since the day she was born. I am the queen of improv songs about random things we’re doing. Derek is always very impressed. During her first music class she picked up two maracas (one in each hand) and started shaking them and hula dancing like a little Chiquita Banana haha. I also taught her to give me a kiss, where I’ll say “can I have a kiss?” and she will move her face to mine and kiss my mouth. Sometimes with an open mouth and tongue first haha. Lately when we’re out and about and I have her in my Solly wrap, she wants to cuddle up and go to sleep. Even if she just woke up from a nap. It’s like she’s nostalgic for the womb again. She will fuss until you tuck her head under the strap so that she doesn’t have to hold it up anymore. It melts my heart. She also no longer yells for food, and I think this is because we’re finally feeding her enough so she doesn’t feel as desperate for her next meal. Ugh.

| MILESTONES |

She has two top teeth now! And is working on her lateral incisors which has meant lots of runny noses these days. She celebrated her first birthday! We had a fun rainbow themed birthday party with our closest friends and family, and she had a blast. She got a drum from her Uncle Ari and immediately started showing off her drumming skills from music class. It is by far her favorite toy. She did he first forward roll at Little Gym and absolutely hated it lol. I don’t know if this counts as a milestone but Olivia’s hair has gotten so long and she has the sweetest little curls around her neck and ears. I felt like she has had the same hair length from day one and then all of a sudden she’s like a chia pet! She is still wearing size 3 diapers and has moved up to 9-12m clothing, but can still fit into most of her 6-9m clothing. Our little peanut. So many times at Little Gym or when we’re running errands other moms will say “watch out for the baby” to their 10m old haha and then are shocked to find out how old she actually is.

| FAVORITE MOMENTS |

Her birthday party was definitely my favorite moment of this month, and just celebrating how special she is to us and encouraging her with everything she does. Lately when I pat her back to burp her before her naps she pats my back too, and I try so hard not to laugh but its just the best. I also love her little slobbery kisses. She is just so sweet. Our little one year old.