February 22, 2015

Project Noelle Dresses Mommy

I was super intrigued as I was reading an article on an amazing mom named Summer who let her 3 year old son pick out her outfits for a week. Some of the outfits were dead cute, some were interesting, but she totally rocked it like only a mom can.

First, how fun! Second, how courageous! I mean, we see how 3 year olds dress themselves, and those outfits are crazy. They make it work though, because they are 3, and most anything a 3 year puts together looks adorable. That probably doesn't hold true for adults. Hah!

How many days do moms go out in the same yoga pants, or covered in their baby's vomit? I figure letting your 3 year old dress you can't be as bad as that. LOL

Anyways...I thought it was super cute and fun, and I've decided to let Noelle dress me as well! What a fun experiment. (Will I regret my words?!) Tomorrow marks day 1! Can't wait to post after this week. ;)

February 20, 2015

Love Day


This is a bit belated, but better late than never right? ;) We had a great Valentine's Day with our girls this year. Noelle loved Valentine's Day, since it was filled with red, pink, purple, and hearts! I made sure to make lots of heart shaped sandwiches, cookies, and we made pink cupcakes, twice!


Noelle and Oliver had a little Valentine's Date...complete with a treat from Starbucks, some toy playing, and book store browsing, before ending it with some coin rides in the mall. :)


This was not staged! They held hands all on their own, and actually walked through the bookstore like this! The best part was later on during the night when Oliver and Noelle were in their strollers and Oliver requested to get out of his to hold Noelle's hand again! Awww.



Joey and I also treated the girls to a Frozen Yogurt date to celebrate LOVE! Noelle and Halle both love strawberry frozen yogurt. (Noelle's preferably with gummy bears.)


Of course, no Valentine's Day would be complete without sweets! We indulged with cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries! YUM!

Noelle before her Valentine's Day party at school. Look at Halle there peeking out from behind the counter, lol! Cutie.

Fashionista! Pink, pink, pink!





Here are the Valentine's Noelle gave her teachers! They are yards of chocolate with "I've grown so much with you! Thank you for all you do!" notes.

I choo-choo choose you! ;) My Valentine's! 

I hope everyone had a wonderful and loving Valentine's Day, we did. (Actually Joey and I are STILL celebrating. We didn't want to go out on actual V-day because so many other people do, so we are going out tonight to our favorite steak restaurant! Yummy!)

A Wagner Superbowl

To show you just how behind I am on posting, here's an entry about the Superbowl...(LOL, wasn't that weeks ago!? I'm not even sure when it was.) Last minute, (literally the night before) we decided to have some friends over for the Superbowl. We are not big football people (hockey and dance are our sports), so we didn't care too much about the actual game watching but we wanted a reason to "party" with some friends. So we had our friends the Bennetts, the Pounds, and Dawn and Willow, over for some Superbowl grub (chicken chili, buffalo chicken dip, other treats, etc.) and drinks! I can honestly say I didn't look at the TV screen once, but it was a great time! Our kids played while we got to have adult conversation and some laughs! Here are some moments from the night...

Noelle's superbowl outfit, even though we don't watch football, hah!


 Noelle, Gavin, Willow!

 Just hanging out on the top bunk!

Gavin and Noelle playing nicely before the kids tore the room apart.

Naughty naughty!! This is what happens when you leave 3 toddlers by themselves!

The girls snacking!

So good to have such wonderful friends!

February 16, 2015

The Preschool Roundup; The Reviews


Back in January I had posted an entry about how taxing, but important it was to narrow down which preschool Noelle would attend next year! Although it may seem silly to some people (it's preschool after all, not college), we were taking it pretty seriously because we want Noelle to have a great start to her educational career, and we value and acknowledge how important early childhood education is. (Might as well be college!) Also, we started considering the fact that I would not be staying home this upcoming fall, so she would need some type of all day care. We knew that we wanted her to attend something more similar to a structured school day, than to daycare. With this in mind, we broadened our horizons and checked out even more schools than we had originally planned!

Here were the initial three schools that we visited: (I've highlighted the things that I thought really stood out about each preschool.)


  • 2 days/week + has add on day options + extended day options.
  • 2.5 hours per day.
  • Roughly $193/month.
  • Includes physical education, swim lessons, and indoor/outdoor playgrounds.
  • Includes snack.
  • 1:8 ratio.
  • 2 family social events per year.
  • Holiday program.
  • Assessments/1-2 conferences per year.
  • Lots of community events within the center; workshops, family events, holiday parties, etc.

  • 2 days/week.
  • 2.5 hours per day.
  • Roughly $125/month.
  • Includes gym for large motor skills + outdoor playground.
  • 1 on-site field trip and 1 off-site field trip per year.
  • Includes snack.
  • 1:8 ratio.
  • 2 family social events per year.
  • Christmas program.
  • Monthly library time.
  • Assessments/1-2 conferences per year.
  • Lots of community service.
  • Accredited by the NAYEC.

  • 3 days/week + extended day options + all day option.
  • 3 hours per day. (Or all day.)
  • Roughly $160/month.
  • All day option is $900/month.
  • All day option includes breakfast, lunch, and a snack as part of tuition.
  • 1:10 ratio.
  • Includes older school buddies that assist and become friends with preschooler throughout the year.
  • Includes physical education and music class, each weekly.
  • Weekly library time.
  • On-site/off-site field trips.
  • Christmas program.
  • Assessments/conferences.
  • Accredited by the NAYEC.

Then we expanded our search to find more schools with an all day program. Here are the additional schools in the area we looked into:

  • Offers 3-5 days + all day options.
  • 3 hours per day. (Or all day.)
  • Roughly $650/month for 5 days. 
  • 1:8 ratio.
  • Field trips planned.
  • Daily music lessons.
  • Montessori methods are used, but there is still structured circle time.

  • Offers 2-5 days + all day options.
  • 3 hours per day. (Or all day.)
  • Roughly $693/month for 5 days. (Tuition fees are calculated by how many days and hours your child is enrolled for instead of a flat rate.)
  • All day option includes lunch, two snacks, and milk.
  • 1:8 ratio + classroom aide.
  • Around 4 family functions per year.
  • Christmas program.
  • 1 off-site field trip per year.
  • Accredited by the NAYEC.

  • Offers anywhere from 2-5 days (all day).
  • 6 hours per day + before/after school care option.
  • Roughly $700/month for 5 days.
  • Tuition includes lunch and a snack.
  • 1:10 ratio + 2 paraprofessionals per classroom.
  • Offers busing, pick up/drop off directly from home.
  • Curriculum lined up with Mounds View district's kindergarten program.
  • Assessments/conferences.
  • Offers a resource center with parenting books, children's books, and toys to check out. 

Joey and I seriously did our research. We visited each school, spoke to the directors, and toured the classrooms. Whenever we could, we also would bring Noelle so she could see it too. We wanted to see her reaction. There was something that we loved about each one.

  • Kids Corner is where she currently attends for her First Friends Preschool class, and although I love her teachers, and think the community center offers so much to families, it sadly does not have an all day option for us. It was a great stepping stone for her, and we'll always have good words to say about it. 
  • Incarnation was our very first choice (it just has that warm feeling, a few of her friends are attending there, and is so close to home), before we decided that we wanted her to attend more than twice a week. 
  • St. Odilia's was the next school at the top of our list. We were impressed with their curriculum, and loved the large classrooms. Joey also had attended Catholic school when he was in grade school, so he enjoyed the nostalgia that St. O's gave him. Ultimately, the cost was a bit of a factor for us. We also know in our hearts that she will be a Mounds View Mustang and will attend the district's public schools, so we didn't want her to get attached to a school that she would end up having to leave.
  • Musical Montessori had a lot of appeals to it as well. First off the director/owner/teacher is sweet and is very passionate about her work and the children. Joey and I sensed that right away upon meeting her. We loved how close the school was to our house as well as the super affordable price. The only drawback for me was that there was no meal or snack included in the tuition (therefore makes sense that the fee is less). They don't have access to a kitchen or to a place to keep lunches cool, so lunches cannot contain anything perishable.  Because I'm horrible at packing lunches, especially if limited to only non-perishable foods,  am not sure I would fair well doing it every single day. 
  • Noah's Ark was a very close contender for us towards the end. The reminded me a lot of Incarnation, but offered an all day option, as well as 5 days a week. I was really impressed with their reputation, how long their teachers had been working there, and how accommodating they were to varied family schedules (ex. they offer their fees by days/hours instead of flat rates). Although the school itself is a bit older (they have been around for decades), I loved the warm and friendly feelings I got from visiting and observing their classrooms. I was a skip and a hop away from signing Noelle up.
  • In the end, we went with Mounds View's Adventures in Learning (AIL) preschool program. Joey and I attended the parent information night and were blown away. We were so impressed with the curriculum, how clean, spacious, and modern (there is a Smart Board in each class) the school building was. Being connected to the rest of Mounds View district, they have paraprofessionals in the classroom, the same curriculum that will be studied deeper in kindergarten, and have access to so many resources. We were not only impressed, but after some discussion decided it was in both our daughter's best interests to begin their education there since we have plans for them to attend Mounds View for K-12. Not to mention I currently substitute there, and would love to become a teacher there myself. 
We are so excited about our decision, and know that it was right for us. Apparently the AIL program became so popular this year that they had to add an additional class for it for the 2015-2016 school year, and even then there is an extensive waiting list. I'm so excited for Noelle to start this new adventure, and am so excited that because Noelle was admitted, Halle will have no trouble enrolling in the future. Starting next September Noelle will be attending school 5 days a week! My baby is not such a baby anymore!

Preschool here we come!!
Go Mustangs!!

February 13, 2015

Let's Go Wild!!

Joey and Noelle had an awesome pre-Valentine's Day daddy/daughter date last night at the Minnesota Wild hockey game! Joey has always been a hardcore hockey fan, and our girls have been watching hockey since birth. Last minute, Joey had tickets and while we were thinking about going, we decided why not let Miss Noelle go?! She was so excited, and quickly changed into her Wild jeresy. 



She was SO excited to go with daddy!

First selfie Joey has EVER taken lol!! I had demanded lots and lots of pictures!


They got pretty lucky with these tickets...club level! It was perfect for Noelle because she got to sit in a chair with a table, instead of down below next to other people. 


Joey tried to teach her the ins and outs of hockey. He said she was pretty into it, and easily followed the game. However, there were some interruptions, like going potty, getting food, and walking around, lol.



She got a claw!!

Sure, daddy would get you cotton candy and M & M's for dinner!!! OMG! Lol.


Seriously it was so cute, and I'm so glad Noelle and Joey got to have some bonding time together. It makes my heart melt. Noelle had a great time, and I think she will probably be going to more games in her future!!

A Wagner Update!

As many of you may have noticed, I haven't been around! I have missed TWO "Week In Reviews" in a row...It has been so busy around here!

First off, we had some really big decisions to make about Noelle going to full or half time preschool next year. We decided that for the best interest of our family, I need to complete my student teaching this upcoming fall! Because of that, we are having Noelle go to FULL day preschool 5x a week!! This is a huge difference from initially putting her into a 2 or 3 day half day preschool. I'll be talking more about the preschool decision later!

Secondly, because we are planning on me student teaching in the fall, I've been having a lot of meetings and communication with Saint Mary's to determine my placement and licensing plans! Currently, I will be doing my practicum this Spring (in as soon as a month from now). In order to do that, is A LOT of paperwork! Then I have one last class to complete before May, and 8 MTLE (Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams) tests to take before August! Oh my!! To say I'm a bit overwhelmed is an understatement!

We've also been SO preoccupied with Halle's compression sleep training! She's doing decent right now and we have a follow up appointment on Tuesday. More about that in a later post as well. Speaking of Halle, I'm putting all the finishing touches on her upcoming FIRST birthday! (Can you say BUSY.)

Lastly, in order to save enough money to supplement my income loss this upcoming fall, I've been working quite a bit! More than this mama would like...I miss my babies. I know in the end it will be worth it.

Any who, this is why I've been MIA!! I have so many upcoming posts coming up though to fill in all the gaps, so no worries about that! Until further notice, my "Weeks In Review" are taking a hiatus!

Hope everyone is doing well!



February 3, 2015

The BEST Thing I've Ever Done to Help My Baby Sleep - Behavioral Insomnia & Sleep Compression


Halle's an angel. Really. But there's something wrong with her at night. Terribly wrong. For the past 5 months she has waken up anywhere from 3-8 times a night, screaming, and we have no idea what's up. We chalked it up to EVERYTHING - teething, earache, tummy ache, gas, hunger, too much food, sleep regression, growth spurt, etc. We tried EVERYTHING - feeding her more, feeding her less, ibuprofen, co-sleeping, letting her Cry It Out (Ferber Method), rocking her to sleep, even driving her around in the car at 3am and letting her sleep in her car seat. We had no idea what was going on. We average 3-5 good hours of sleep a night, are exhausted, and frustrated. We also had different views on what to do about it. I wanted to comfort her, convinced something was wrong. Joey wanted to let her cry, convinced nothing was wrong. After trying the Ferber Method over 3 times, with no success, I just knew that something was up.

Enter this morning. Finally, with a referral from our normal pediatrician, Halle had an appointment with a sleep specialist at the Children's Sleep Center. Let me tell you. That was the single best thing I've ever done to help Halle.

We were told to keep a sleep log last week, and also had to fill out an intensive packet full of questions on everything and anything you can imagine about Halle's life, sleep, and family. After an hour long interview with the specialist, a review of the packet, and a study of the sleep log it was confirmed that Baby Halle has behavioral insomnia. This means she wakes up a the end of each 60 minute cycle of sleep and doesn't know how to go back to sleep on her own. She associates sleep with a bottle/boob because that's how I put her down for naps and bedtime, plus I used to nurse her back to sleep when she was younger - pretty much as much as she needed. So now she needs this every single time (yes every single hour) she wakes up.

I finally understood why the Ferber method didn't work on her, because it doesn't work on kids who have behavioral insomnia. The explanation is that she's crying because she is so exhausted and cannot settle herself down. Babies with this issue cry harder and more with time, not less. They simply cannot soothe themselves. This explains so much for me and makes me feel better since everyone around me kept insisting that Halle needed to cry it out, and I just knew it wasn't going to work with her. (The longest she cried was 2 hours before I got her, because I simply could not let her scream longer.)


This morning at the Sleep Center.


You're going, behavioral insomnia? Seriously? Is this a real thing? Yes! Not only is it real, but it is so common that it has a name! It's normally know as BIC, which stands for Behavior Insomnia in Childhood. It usually occurs in young children (less than 5 years old) and left untreated, will not resolve itself, and even results in behavior problems and affects academic performance!

Here are the symptoms of BIC:
  • Child has difficulty sleeping - very restless throughout the night.
  • Bedtime is an extended process that is only resolved with certain demands (in Halle's case, to be nursed or fed a bottle, in an older child it can be a favorite book, or needs mom to lay with her).
  • The child wakes up frequently throughout the night. Anywhere up to 6x a night.
  • When the child wakes up, parent intervention is needed to get back to sleep.
  • In babies, Crying it Out/Ferber Method does not work. Crying becomes longer, harder, and does not lessen over time. Parent intervention is needed.
  • Sleep difficulty in getting to sleep, staying asleep with each awakening.
  • There are no other issues going on. Examples are pain, reflux, GI problems, apnea, etc.
There are two types of BIC, either Sleep Onset Association (SOA) or Limit-Setting (in older children). Halle has the SOA type, so that will be the one I'll be talking about.

SOA is frequent and/or prolonged night wakings and is a condition that needs an association like parent intervention to return to sleep. These associations include patting a baby to sleep, rocking, nursing, bottles, TV, etc. Whatever is required for that child to get to sleep, is needed every single time the child wakes up. (That explains why Halle woke up every hour wanting to nurse!) The child is unable to self soothe and cannot fall asleep on their own, which prevents them from remaining asleep through the night.

Consequences of untreated BIC:
  • Shortened sleep times.
  • Irritability.
  • Increased temper tantrums.
  • Behavioral problems.
  • Poor academic performance.
  • Hyperactivity when overtired.

Treatment of BIC:
The treatment is set by the Standards of Practice Committee of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and it is divided into 3 parts.
  1. Setting a consistent sleep schedule.
  2. Implementing a consistent bedtime routine.
  3. Teaching the child to fall asleep independently.

For us personally (treatment as chosen by our sleep specialist), we are setting a strict sleep plan that deprives her of sleep initially during the day so that she falls asleep easier at night on her own. No matter how fussy she is or tired, we have been advised to keep her up until 10pm. Then she is to be waken up each morning no later than 6:30am. She is allowed to take naps between 8:30-10, and from 1:30-4. This way she is deprived of rest after 4, and her sleep is condensed at night. This plan is called The Sleep Deprivation Plan or Sleep Compression, and our sleep specialist said that all her patients who had this issue had it resolved by using this plan for 2 weeks! (Using the "sleep compression" increases the child's homeostatic need for sleep so that by the 3rd or 4th night the struggle to fall asleep and to remain asleep is decreased.)

Currently she has been nursing before bed, which has created the SOA that she has. So to eliminate this we have been told that she is no longer allowed any type of bottle/boob in the bedroom at all. The bedroom is strictly for sleep. She is allowed to only have milk outside of the bedroom, and in light.

During this process it is to be expected that she will be waking up very often, and very mad for the first week. However we cannot wander from this plan. We have been told to adhere to it 100%. We are not to let her cry it out, in any way. She is to comforted by a simple hug and "it's bedtime" every single time she wakes up, then put back down. We need to do this repeatedly all night until she gives up. No lights, no walking/pacing, no rocking, no lullabies, no patting, nothing - because she cannot develop a new SOA. (So, looks like no sleeping for anyone!)

After the first week, it is expected that things will click, and we will return the following week for a follow up. By that time it is expected that she will be following this schedule on her own without needing us at night. From that point on we will gradually move her bedtime earlier, and her wake up time later.

Of course, this plan sounds exhausting for us, but it also sounds like a miracle. I am just so happy to know what is going on FINALLY!!! I'm so excited to have an action plan. I'm also so glad to have found the Sleep Center - finally I have a wonderful place to go where the people specialize in children and sleep and have ANSWERS!! For the longest time we were on our own, and at 10 months of age, enough was enough. We couldn't have her do this past age 1.

I pray this works and am excited to start the plan tonight. We will be very, very tied and busy doing this sleep training for the next 14 days so I apologize now if we are MIA. We need this to work for our sanity, sleep, health, and even our moods!

Here's the link to the Sleep Center if your story sounds like mine and you need help! Children's Sleep Center - St. Paul

All of the above information has been collected from sleepswfl.com

February 1, 2015

The Mom Funk

In a moment of just honesty, and perhaps maybe a little vulnerability, I'm sharing that I'm in a funk...

This morning as I was working at the family store, I had the opportunity to listen to some of my own music while I was working. Quickly, I was reminded of how much I used to enjoy my own music. I had such an eclectic taste in music, and used to find myself really musical. I don't realize it but now I only seem to listen to music that is appropriate to play around the girls, or music to dance around the living room with Noelle. There's a lot of Kids Bop, and Taylor Swift, lol. And this is fine. I enjoy this. I enjoy motherhood, but I forgot how much music used to mean to me personally.

That quickly moved to thoughts about other things I feel like I've "lost." I reminisced about the days that I was only responsible for myself. I could enjoy my weekend mornings and sleep in. I could dress and eat at my leisure. I listened to my music, and had time to discover new music. I could go window shopping alone for however long I wanted to. I could go to the gym and work out. I could go for a run. I could lay lazily on the couch and read book after book of whatever series I was currently on. I could put the book down and take a nap. I could drink a glass of wine or a cup of coffee in peace and enjoy the quiet.

On the other end, I could also call up friends and we could have spur of the moment dates. We could get dressed up and feel beautiful and young, go dancing, enjoy the nightlife. I could be whisked away by Joey, and we could go out for a night on the town at a moment's notice. We could explore new restaurants, bands, movies. We could feel free. We could dine, wine, and talk about whatever we wanted. We used to discuss politics, religion, love, music, the arts.

I used to work to work, not to make money. I used to go to school, and wanted to learn. I could devote myself to a job, or to my studies. Life was mine. Only mine. I could do anything.

Life is so different now. I don't have the time to discover new music. I don't go out. I don't have time to browse the bookstore for new books. I don't have time to stop at happy hour with my co-workers after a long day. I can't call up Joey and tell him we have surprise reservations for that cool new restaurant down town. I don't even buy myself clothes anymore unless it's a new pair of much needed yoga pants because all the others are worn and torn. I can't drop everything I'm doing and go for a run when I feel stressed. I can't call up my childless friends and say "Hey! What are you up to tonight? Should we do something? I feel like getting out!"

Please don't think that I'm unappreciative of my life, or for a second don't love being a mom to pieces. All I've ever wanted was to a mom. It was #1 on my bucket list, and the only thing I ever wanted passionately and desperately. I love my girls more than anything in the world. 

I'm just tired. And sad. Sometimes, like today, I grieve my childless life. I miss my freedom. I miss myself. My old self, that could do anything I wanted. Now I feel like most of my days are centered around how to keep my girls happy, how to keep the household together, how to make enough money for the girls, how to pay those bills, how to finish my graduate program so I can finally contribute more to my family. It's stressful. And sometimes, like today, it's really sad.

I pray and pray that the funk I'm in will pass quickly. It happens off and on. I can go a long time without feeling like this because I do enjoy being a mother so much, but sometimes it catches up with me, and I just have to feel it.

I think about my own mom, who was such a wonderful, loving, caring mother who took care of us three kids while she was in college herself. She worked so hard. She cooked all our meals, kept us dressed, put up with our horrible demands, mood swings (mine), and childhood drama and nonsense. She drove me to school every morning because I just couldn't ride the bus when I was in middle school. She dealt with all this. She put her life on hold for me. She studied each night with a dictionary next to her because English wasn't her first language. She did it. And she came out of it. I look at her now and see that she has her life back. She's still a mother, and still wonderful, loving, and caring but she has time for herself now. She has her freedom back. She can do what she wants. She enjoys her time with my dad now. They go on walks each night together. They wander aimlessly and window shop again. They can spend whole days out together and date each other again. My mom has reconnected with her old friends from high school, and she's in charge of her class reunions and get togethers. She runs a website. My mom sings for shows and performs regularly. My parents travel. My mom has time for her passions and interests outside of her family. I see this, and I know, it will come back. It gives me hope on days like today.

I just had to unleash some of my thoughts today because my heart felt heavy. I just have to know that I will have time for myself again and I still, will, and will always have my own life outside of being someone's mother.

Until then I will hold my kids, love them, and remember they are only young children once. 

Toddler No More; I Have a Preschooler In My House

Although I do mention Noelle a lot and her every day shenanigans each week in my Week in Review, I thought I'd dedicate a whole post to her ever evolving personality! She is officially no longer a toddler, and such a preschooler. It's so strange how fast your kids grow up in such a short amount of time, and how much they learn, and the funny things they know and say! I'm amazed, and sometimes appalled
lol, each day!


If I could choose one word to describe age 2, it would have been "No." If I could choose one word to describe age 3, it has to be the word "Why?" Noelle literally questions EVERYTHING now. I am thrilled that she is so curious now and wants to know the answers to everything, but it can get exhausting!


She also has a crazy imagination now! She makes up crazy stories with her toys and dolls and likes to make up her own stories when she reads her books. She also plays Doc McStuffins all the time, and gives everyone and every stuffed animal in the house check ups. It's funny, because she LOVES anything that has to do with doctors, the doctor's office, or Doc McStuffins, but she actually does not watch that show! She's seen maybe a handful of episodes, and always says no if someone asks if she wants to watch it. She LOVES to play it, and loves to say she is Doc, but is not intrigued one bit by the show! She's so interesting! Noelle also likes to talk to her friends on the phone. Which means she is talking to herself (she does both sides of the conversation) into a plastic play phone. She cracks me up with her weird conversations. She also cover the phone, as if putting someone on hold, and say things like, "Daddy is on the phone. He's at work. He said he's coming home soon and then we can go have fun." Talk about paying attention to adult talk! She's such an observer. (And talk about EARS! She hears everything. We have to watch everything we say!! The other day she asked me what a boob job was. Oops. Lol.)


Her current favorite things are (still) her Little People, her Magic Clip dolls, My Little Pony, Hello Kitty, Fancy Nancy, Minnie Mouse, Sofia the First, Wild Kratts, play-doh, Taylor Swift, and Sofia Grace and Rosie. She is BEYOND girly, and it's not all from me! Seriously, she is full on girl, and she is all on her own! She loves to play with "makeup," do her nails, brush her hair, do her dolls hair and dress them, wear dresses all the time, and says weird things like "That's not cute enough." !? This girl!


Noelle wants to pick out all her own clothes now, much to my dismay, so some of her outfit pickings are crazy. She also reaaally likes to shop, and will often want to shop for her own things too. I like to give her choices and some independence so sometimes I'll let her get what she wants, if it isn't TOO crazy or ugly (to me, lol) so now we have a collection of character clothes. I hate character clothes, but Noelle of course LOVES it, so I let it go. Life's too short and there are way too many battles to fight - clothes doesn't have to be one of them.


One of her new things is climbing up her bunk bed ladder. Once she slipped (towards the bottom thank goodness) and scared the hell out of Joey and I!! But she loves it. She thinks it's super cool now to go up on the top bunk with all her dolls or stuffed animals and play up there. She won't sleep up there (not that we would let her yet) but she plays up there probably every day.


Noelle is very aware of friends now. She used to not really care about friends or making friends, but now she asks about them all the time. Her favorite people to ask about and request play dates with are: Myla, Vivi,  Anya, Oliver, Hailey (a girl at school), and Xander (from school). She's aways telling me that "Xander is so funny." LOL. If I mention other friends, like Gavin, Willow, Amery, or Evan, she can recall a fact about them. She really remembers EVERYTHING. I still can't believe it but she for sure knows each one of her friends and can remember something either about their parents, their house, their toys, or something that happened between them when they played. It's truly remarkable how much kids change and absorb in just a year.


She's also been fully potty trained now for a couple of months and it's beyond exciting! It's so nice to not worry about accidents, checking her overnight, or dealing with pull-ups! We are officially done with all that and we can count on Noelle to let us know if she has to go no matter where we are.


One last thing that totally makes her no longer a toddler? She's going to preschool next year! Ah! Real preschool and ALL day! We are enrolling her 5 days a week and for 8 hours a day! My heart aches that she will be gone for so long, but next fall I'm planning on student teaching so we know that she needs all day care. We found an amazing preschool for us, and we think she will enjoy it.


The toddler years for Noelle are officially OVER! I have a preschooler in the house now! Crazy to think one little baby down! One more to go! Wow, so bittersweet!
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