Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lilly Belle | 15 Months

(This post was written on November 4th when Lilly Belle turned 15 months. I never got around to the picture part...but now she is almost 16 months so I'm just posting this for my own memories of things she did and said. Sorry for no photos this time!)

15 months! Holy cow! Lilly Belle is such a joy to be around. We love her to pieces and I seriously just want to squeeze her all the time. I feel like I'm always saying this, but I love this stage. I always have, even when I nannied. It is even more fun to experience this age with my own child though. She is learning so many new things and able to do so much more now. I love it! 

Look Who's Talking!
I don't know that I can write down every word that Lilly Belle can say...there are seriously too many to remember. She just talks now. We hear a lot of, "I wanna see," "there you go," and "what is that?" She also says, "I don't wanna!" And she is great at saying, "No!"
She still says all her words from last month. This month she learned her hard "K" sound and now pronounces, "milk," and "book," perfectly clear pronouncing each letter of the word. She is also now starting to differentiate between Mick-ay and Minn-ay! Matt is pretty excited about that. Her favorite new Disney words to say are "Elsa," "Ariel," (which is pronounced so clearly and adorably), and "Olaf" which you wouldn't know is "Olaf" unless you see her pointing to it.

And for my vocabulary list I created while listening to her the past few are her NEW words:
*Food (Oof)*Phone (Ohph)*Walk(alK)*Shoes(Oosh)*Knock Knock*Book(booCK)*Milk*Nurse

The Magic Words
Lilly Belle continues to do well with her manners. She says, "Thank you," and has gotten a lot better at signing "Please." She signs "More Food" as well, putting the two signs together.

What's New?
This month we continued to spend so much time at Kids Club & she finished out her Busy Bees session. We have found that Lilly Belle has a very sensitive side and gets her feelings hurt quite easily. She gets very sad, not like screaming and crying sad, but like legit sad, when another child will push her, tell her "No!" or ignore her. It has been interesting to watch her grow emotionally that way. We are working on teaching her to stick up for herself but know it is something that she will learn as she continues to grow. She is just so ahead of the game when it comes to her social skills that she has a hard time understanding because she does understand so much. Does that make sense?

Lilly Belle is getting to be a lot more brave when we go to the park. Maybe a bit too brave? She is now going down slides by herself (after being reminded to sit on her bottom as she will just try to run down - terrifying!) She still gets nervous on the swings but loves to climb.

Lilly Belle really likes to "alk!" (walk)
She asks for it whenever we are anywhere. She just wants to be walking - so independent. Surprise, surprise.

Our Little Bookworm! And Play, Play, Play!
Girlfriend loves her books! She would sit and read her books for an hour if we let her. She will bring us book after book from her basket. If you read her a book, you are in. Lately, we find her just sitting by herself reading her books. She also likes to read to herself in the car, she even points at the words. Smarty pants.

On the topic of reading and her being able to look at her books for long periods of time, she will also sit and play with her Lego's forever and has gotten great at putting them together to build towers. She sat for 30 minutes the other day playing quietly with them.

She also loves to look at all of our Disney Blu-Rays. She takes them all off the shelf and studies them all. She is also all about the Disney Burbaum Guides. She asks for us to read them to her all day err day ;) 

Watch Me Grow!
Weight: 18.5 lbs (15%)
Height: 29 in (23%)

7/7:30amam - Up for the day / Nurse (for like 2 minutes) / Breakfast
9am - Get dressed & play or errands or kids club
10:30am - Snack
12/1pm - Nurse / Afternoon Nap (1-2 hours) with lunch before or after depending on the day
3:00/3:30pm - Snack
5:00pm - Nurse / Evening Nap
6:00pm - Dinner / Bath / PJs & Hair / Story / Nurse & Songs / Bedtime

Lilly Belle sleeps through the night now so we are nursing much less.
Just about 3-4 times/day now and always for a very short amount of time. In the morning I nurse her but don't think she needs it. Then she will nurse before each nap and before bed.
I have a feeling we will be done nursing in a few months. We'll see.

This month has been an exciting one. She is changing so much everyday!

We love you, Lilly Belle!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Right here, at home.

Um...just kidding?

In true Matt & Chelsea style - we've changed our minds. 
We are NOT moving.

We are staying put.
Right here at home.

I don't want to live without my husband. I want our family together. 
We will work our behinds off to make it work and per my usual, I've already got a plan.
An amazing, awesome, I'm so excited for this, plan. A plan that is already well into action. Duh. 

Can we all just laugh at this whole changing of our minds? 

I'm looking forward to not having to miss our friends, my favorite walks and parks with Lilly Belle, our zoo, Seattle, our mall, our grocery store, my favorite Starbucks, our pediatrician, and so much more.

Lilly Belle will start soccer in a few months here, at home. She is registered for her first dance class that begins in January here, at home. We will love on our sweet friends Chris & Katie's new baby here, at home. We have made some new friends that we are excited about growing with here, at home. 

And most importantly of all...we will be together. 
We need and love each other. That is why we are married and that is why we have our sweet, 
Lilly Belle. 

Life will be perfect; right here in our cozy 1 bedroom with a den apartment. 
I've decorated more for Christmas today knowing that we aren't going to be moving and tearing down decorations the second Christmas is over. 

We will finish our lease here through May and then see where life leads us. 

Matt and his Dad joked that I need PR help just for my social media/blog. 
They're probably right. But, it is my social media/blog and I've always been open with all my friends and family. I always try to keep it real. No ones life is perfect and everyone goes through things. I'm not embarrassed that we told everyone we were leaving. Now that I have told my friends and dance families we are staying, it actually opened my eyes to realize how much love we have here. 

I think we've made a great decision and I think it took us planning to leave to realize where we belong. 

Right here, at home.

Friday, November 7, 2014

OUR Adventure Is Out There (Part II)

We got married...

Went on our short but sweet honeymoon to Sunriver...

Got home and acted all grown up by chaperoning middle school dances on Friday nights ;) 

Went to our first Cal game together...

Had a Fall Feast Family Fun Day at our apartment...

And I started a little team with my kids at the Community Center.

They were National Champions ;)

Matt supported me through it all. He stopped working when Emerald City Dance started growing...and growing...and growing! 

Summer of 2012, Mel & Clint got married. I threw her Bridal Shower at our apartments clubhouse. 

Emerald City Dance grew to 7 locations. I had 11 instructors. So...we opened a studio. 
I was 24 years old. 

I worked my butt off on that place. At this point, we were also trying to have a baby. 

It was so exciting. But, I was at war already. War with wanting to be a mom and wanting to own Emerald City Dance. Wanting so badly for the moms to be okay with me just "running and owning" the studio and not teaching anymore, but knowing that would never happen. The parents were never happy with who I had come in. I could never get the right instructors... It was just the wrong timing.

Here we are at Mel & Clint's wedding :) 

We went on an Alaskan Disney Cruise :)

11 days later, we spent 10 days in Whistler with Matt's family. Purposely took this picture in front of the railroad sign hoping we were pregnant and that it might be a girl...Lilly Belle ;) (We weren't yet) This was September 2012. 

We went on a vacation to Disneyland with my team kids in November. 

We got home and I had a team sleepover on December 1st. 

That night, before I left for the sleepover at the studio, where the kids stayed up until 4am and I was EXHAUSTED, we found out...we were pregnant! 

I didn't spend that night with my husband...I spent it with these goofballs cleaning up little girl puke from eating too much candy lol and listening to them be silly girls until the sun came up  ;) 

Next morning.

Matt was nervous/excited. I was...excited/excited. 

Me and the bump worked through dance conventions, rehearsals, meetings and I continued teaching 20+ hours/week plus running all the locations. Here is me and Lilly Belle at a convention. 

We got her nursery all ready...

I remember wishing I could do more of this. I was tired and at 27 weeks, I started to hurt. My hips twisted from dancing and were an inch off. I started having weekly chiropractor and physical therapy appointments because of all the dancing I was having to do. 

Subs were a no go. I wasn't finding any teachers who would a. show up and b. make the parents happy. So...I chugged through. Matt helped me at home by always making sure I had food and he was always there to listen to me when I needed him. Always. 

We went to Sunriver for a long vacation with Matt's family but I wasn't able to do anything since I was 27/28 weeks and unable to walk at this point. Yet...I still taught dance 20+ hours/week. Ouch. 

We had some beautiful maternity photos :) 

I made it to 38 weeks and a few days, and then...

We met our sweet daughter, Lilly Belle. After a 3 hour and 42 minute labor - Thank you, Lilly Belle!

Here is where our story, Our Adventure, begins and where this post picks up a bit in speed.

While in the hospital, I had a team mom asking me about costumes. ...while in the hospital after giving birth to my first baby. 

Then, after only a few weeks at home with Lilly Belle, I felt pressured to come back to teach - to be present. 

That was the hardest time in my whole life.

I struggled every-single-day.

I loved my dance kids more than anything. But now, I had Lilly Belle who was my whole world, and I wasn't getting to be home and be present with her. Tons of phone calls and text messages daily. 

I never got a maternity leave. 

Thankfully, Matt was a stay at home dad, so at least he got lots of time with her and her with him.

I have a hard time writing about this, but this is our family blog and I want it to always be true and real. 

I couldn't stop teaching because if I wasn't the one there...people got mad. Things didn't go right. It never worked out right unless I was there. Even when I was there, it wasn't right because I was never ALL there. My whole heart was at home. I would try to bring Lilly Belle with me. She would cry. I would cry. I had to cancel a practice because it was just TOO soon. I freaked out. 

All I wanted was a little time just with her. I got a couple weeks, but even those were filled with text messages and phone calls about subs, practices, etc. I was always working because the studio was still going and I was the everything to the studio, to the classes, to the team, to everything. 

I couldn't just stop. Matt wasn't working. Too many people ...KIDS...were counting on me. 

I slowed down as much as I could. 

I took a step back and realized how fast Lilly Belle was growing. 

We took the team kids to Disneyland again when Lilly Belle was 3 months old. 
I was backstage almost a full weekend with little breaks to go see her. I was still nursing. Pumping in the locker rooms backstage as she wasn't allowed ;) My in-laws came to help Matt and I was bitter at all them. Jealous. Of Matt too. I wanted to be with Lilly Belle. I was just so, so depressed and sad. It was really hard. 

Christmas time came and we spent a LONG time at the beach house. We loved being there and I loved being with my family. I loved just being Mommy, SO much! 

Lilly Belle spent time with her cousins and they got to love on her chubby little self:)

At this point, we were having a hard time financially. With me not teaching classes, people stopped signing up. The studio started to lose a lot of kids. But, I couldn't always be there and couldn't do it alone. We didn't have enough to hire help, we were such a small program. I was stretched too thin. 

We made the decision over this vacation to move in with Matt's parents in their condo. 

Lilly Belle didn't mind sleeping in our room a bit longer ;)

In February, 2014, we closed down the studio. The team's season was over, we didn't have enough enrollment and I was stretched super thin. We decided that it was the best thing to do at the time. And although I did and do miss my team kids a lot, I still see a few of them still and there are parents who still stay in touch. One mom, Jodee, even watches Lilly Belle every Tuesday for us. Lilly Belle loves Jodee so SO so much. She gets so excited to see her! We are so thankful. There were a few families who really helped us when we needed it and who were there for me as more than a dance mom, but as a friend. That is what made it so hard. It wasn't everyone pressuring me. Many understood I wanted and needed to be with Lilly Belle. It was a rough time. 

Cogsy couldn't stay with us at the condo, so our friends Haley & Liam who I used to nanny for watched him for FOUR months!! We are eternally grateful for them as well. This is what I'm saying, we have met some incredible people while living here...

So the studio closed and we still had our community center program and a preschool. 

We moved into a new apartment, the one we are in now. And our babies were reunited ;) 

I took the summer off to be with Lilly and Autumn & Jessica did all the summer camps. I just taught on Tuesday afternoons at the preschool.

It was Heaven.

I soaked up every single second with Lilly Belle. 

We did go to visit a few times...

And then it happened. The community center called me in for a meeting, just weeks after getting our apartment and back on our feet, to tell us they were shutting our program down. 

No real valid reasons given. 

My heart was broken again. 

In 4 years, I taught over 2,000 children here in Issaquah/Sammamish. ...2,000! 
I grew up with them. In those 4 years of starting Emerald City Dance I was married and became a mommy. But more...I became me. I learned so much. 

Once that ended, it was time for us to re-evaluate.
Matt had been working for a while at this point and is now at Microsoft again. 

We went on a vacation to the beach house and while we were there this summer, in July actually, is when we decided. 

In January, we will be moving to Olympia.

We have had an amazing time here meeting some amazing friends and learning so much and growing so much, is time for Lilly Belle to be closer to family and for us to have our home. 

Here is what we have learned.

At the end of the's family. And, with my family living in Wisconsin, we want to be close to Matt's side if we are living here. 

We are so excited about our new adventure and all the new things we will see and do together as a family.

I will be teaching classes at the Tumwater Community Center beginning in January and will commute 2 days a week for a preschool and Saturday morning classes. I will be with Lilly Belle a ton and when I'm not with her, she will be with her Papa or maybe even her Auntie and cousins sometimes! 

We are thankful for the friends we have made and hope to visit often! We won't be THAT far away ;) 

OUR Adventure Is Out There (Part I)

We've lived here for almost 6 years, we've had some incredible times. But, it is time for a change. 

Before we get to that, let's take a walk down memory lane. I'll try to do this without crying. 
Ha, yeah right!!!! 


When we moved here in 2009, I was a nanny & Matt was working at Microsoft.
I had two incredible families I worked for in a nanny share. When I started, I was 20 years old and was watching 4 children ages 11 months, 1 1/2, 3 & 5. Full-Time. I learned new things every-single-day and I loved it. When I say "learned new things," I mean that so literally. I was a small-town Wisconsin girl, thrown into the middle of Seattle. I worked in Fremont. I had never tasted Avocado before, didn't even know what it was. Never heard of cloth diapering. Man...I was young!! I really loved my families and at the time, moving so far away from my family, they saved me. I had Matt's family of course, but these guys became MY family (Matt & I weren't engaged yet)... 

Sometimes, Matt would come help me. Boy, did we get some good practice! Here is 22 year old Matt spending the afternoon at the zoo with me and my 4 nanny kids ;) What a catch!

I did everything with these guys. I remember this day like it was yesterday. I did Charlie and Ave's hair while the boys were napping and then when they woke up, we baked cornbread muffins together. All the kids stirring the ingredients at the bench. 

Since the zoo was literally across the street, we practically lived there. Matt was with us often, too ;) 

I could totally have 4 kids and rock it, who am I kidding?? I was 21 in this picture and they all were happy, fed, changed, played with, read to, taught new things everyday and...survived ;) 

Sweet Charlie and I at Alki (this is going to be a long post...) Matt, let's take Lilly Belle here asap!

Matt and I got engaged after we had been dating for just 6 months. We were just 21 & 22 years old. Babies. But we were so, so happy.

Then 2010 came along...(trying to get this in order).
We graduated from our studio apartment to a one bedroom - it was a BIG deal. I mean so big that I had to throw some dinner parties. Isn't that what everyone does when they turn 22? 

See...dinner party :) For my 22nd birthday. I was so proud to make everyone dinner. Like SO proud. My daddy was even there :) 

We brought our first baby home!...Cogsworth! Cogsy Wogsy!

Our awesome apartments where we had our studio and one-bedroom

And then my nanny family had a sweet new addition to their family, sweet Suzy Lou! 
This also happened to be the same time I started struggling. I missed dancing so, SO much. 

 In August, not long (at all) after Suzy Lou arrived, I decided I needed to move on and I started a business... Emerald City Dance. 
I was 22 years old and in my first quarter, had 100 children in our program at the community center. 
These photos are blurry, but oh so special to me. Our first I wish I had known it was out last when it was. Matt would have been whole family would have been there. It kills me. I'm still so bitter that they made it end. Ok, moving on. 

So yeah, I started nannying for a family closer to home part-time and taught classes about 10 hours/week. That nanny job lasted a few months before we had 150 kids in our program and I that was my only job, Owner of Emerald City Dance. My 22-year-old, has no idea what I'm doing, but I love kids and dancing, self ;) 

We had our engagement pictures taken...

Visited some cool places with family...

Mel & Clint got engaged :) 

We moved into our most "important" 2-bedroom home we will probably ever have. The home where we would become both husband and wife AND a mommy & daddy! 

Our niece & nephew, Caitlin & Quenton were born :) 

I met my best friends... Here is me and Katie's first "date" at Snowflake Lane :) 

And this was me and Autumn's first summer together. We did summer camps together every year.  She was 16!! I was 22 :) Katie & Autumn are still two of my closest of close friends. Ok...this post is getting hard. Crying now. 

This was (at the time) the best summer of my life!! Here we are rocking it out during one of our shows for summer camp that first year :) 

Matt & I went on lots of fun mini golf dates together here :) 

And this was the summer we went to Mt. Rainier! Matt surprised me :)

(To Be Continued...Too Many Pictures...)