Tidbits from Tahoe

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terrific trips

The kids had never been to the snow so we decided to wait and take them when there were small batches of the iciest goodness possible. Luckily, they had nothing to compare it to so they were thrilled :)

They slid down this small mound with such glee…

They found a snowman that couldn’t even be knocked over cause it had turned into one small snowmanish shaped block of ice…

They were so happy! I was getting such a kick out of their little giggles and wonder of this crunchy slippery white stuff.

And then Luke fell into a tree hole..

…and it finally set in that it was cold…

I’m always so amused by what they decide to bring in their backpacks… Luke brought change, some baby toys, a dinosaur, a bouncy ball, a car, some magnatiles, a random bus, and my personal favorite, a paw.

Oh and somehow he fit his cape and Abbie’s in there too, which they wore a total of zero times.

My favorite was walking down to the lake. Just put me by water and allofasudden I’m a delight to be around ;)

Well aint he a cutie <3

Clearly we are on a mission to find the most beautiful playgrounds in America :)

We are still learning how to use slides.

When he throws a tantrum in the sand. These are Greg’s nightmares colliding…

Asked her to sit like a princess. This is it, guys.

Mom picture.

Dad picture…

If you keep the expectations low…. they loved this “mountain” for sledding. Ohhhh the joys :):)

I just think he’s really pretty. Even if he did refuse to sleep this entire trip.

We’ll try for more snow next time, kids :) but Tahoe, you make mine eyeballs happy, no matter the snow coverage. Till next time!

Happy FIVE! + Disneyland

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Abigail Elizabeth / terrific trips

Last week my baby girl turned FIVE! I cannot believe we have a five year old. She is the sweetest big sister, absolutely brilliant – seriously I wish I had her memory, passionate about all the things, feisty, oh so feisty… and yet, has the sweetest most compassionate little heart. I love her so much. How often do you turn five, right?? So, Disneyland. Obviously. Because I went when I was five and was absolutely terrified so why not have my daughter experience the same on her birthday? Seriously… what is with Disney? Almost every ride had a dark, scary element! Ha… anyways, we had such a fun time and mostly just loved celebrating this little lady. I’m shamelessly stealing everyone else’s pictures because again, this lil blog is my visual memory and I forgot all about cameras and such ;)

^^I gave the better looking Mickey pancakes to the kids, OK? In retrospect, definitely would have headed down the night before and gone on her birthday… apparently, “it’s your birthday, let’s travel today and go tomorrow!” isn’t as exciting to peoples of this age ;)

^^sort of adore she tucked her sweater in <3

^^side note: cannot wait to not have to travel with three car seats :D And now some pics from the happiest place on earth!

All my Disney dreams came true – got to take her to the Blue Bayou last minute, which I thought was the COOLEST thing when I was a kid… pretty sure it was what got me interested in hospitality design :] got to see my husband nerd out over all the Star Wars things, got to see her face light up just like I hoped it would when she got to meet the princesses! and I even got to ride most of the rides with that lil beebee of ours! It was just lovely. And ya, the princesses. I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS ABOUT THEM BUT THEY TURNED US ALL INTO BLUBBERING MESSES. Had the hugest lump in my throat every time, dang them.

Such a treat to get to go with my whole family. Happy heart, over here :)

And let’s just throw this in here cause those boys in the bath bring me an equally ridiculous amount of joy … despite the tremendous amount of water exiting the tub..

And then it was off to see the Klein’s and their new baby girl! So glad that we have our kids all married off. Abbie and Luke were arguing over who got to marry Jacob and Luke was so sad Abbie snatched him up first because they are BEST FRIENDS… until he realized Olivia was still available ;) this kid. I’m sure he’s terrifying to new mothers cause he is just a trembling blur of excitement most of the time EXCEPT around babies… he’s so tender! He kept sneaking over to her and reading her stories and giving her the sweetest kisses on her head. Goodness I love him <3

Anyways, such a fun time. So thankful for such wonderful family and friends that made it all possible. And so SO thankful for that precious little girl I get to call mine :) happy five, Abigail Elizabeth! We love you more than you’ll ever know <3

Happy Birthday Noah!!!

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12 months of Noah / Noah Phillip

The sweetest – and I mean the SWEETEST boy turned one yesterday! Just thinking back to how depressed I was his whole pregnancy… and I mean, we are talking a verrrry dark place – to be gifted with the cheeriest little soul…. he’s just the biggest hug God could have ever given me and I’m so thankful for him. So anyways, a few pictures from this celebratory day! I know I’m probably projecting entirely but he really did seem to know all this was for him :) just loookit!

Special banana breakfast for my banana loving boy…

The celebratory hands started a goin…

Wouldn’t be a birthday without a meltdown or twelve :)

^^I love these pictures cause it looks like Luke’s holding him hostage with his water gun…. I don’t know why that would make me so happy :/ guess it’s just cause he’s real cute RIGHT!? RIGHT!?

AND THE PEEK-A-BOO!!! This kid.

Greg and his beautiful mommy :)

The progression of opening a present as the third child… the struggle to get it out…

Excessive excitement from all who surround…

An attempt to play…

Aaaaand brother ;)


Always trying to keep up, bless him

I feel like Ray must only be shown in black and white, right? the steam! the expert soup pouring precision! ;)

He did seem to enjoy wearing his little crown ;)

^^You know he’s Greg’s son cause he’s the only baby I know that prefers to eat with a fork. Clean children are alarming..

How cute is my sister :):) she should always have a hooray sign behind her, in my opinion

Most mellow kitty in the world :)

Thanks to everyone for coming to celebrate our little man! We love you!!! And thanks to Uncle Dot for taking pictures :):) Hooray! IT’S THE WEEKEND!!!

A few from Thanksgiving

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family days / home / the daily life

Because it’s one of my most favorite days of the year! Just lookit these babes all snuggly in the morning watching the parade from on top of their brother

And because I clearly can’t get enough of these faces..

Or these little heads..

They are my favorite. Also, Fall flowers are my favorite so let’s take a quick pause to look at 292 pictures of these beauties!

I felt like making a cornucopia this year… my crafty self keeps emerging and taking me by surprise :/

GOSH DANGGIT I LOVE FLOWERS! Now if only they’d actually grow in my yard, my pocketbook would be much more happy :) pocketbook…

God bless people who don’t mind being smashed in our lil dining room :):) I can’t tell you how much I love holidays with everyone together

His first Thanksgiving and all alone! ;)

And the sweetest little kids table ;)

Now if this doesn’t look like the most correct picture in the whole world :):) someone please tell them to start making these STAT. They are tired of hearing my nagging.

And then the next day we obviously went tree hunting!

And decorated!

I like the way he rolls. Gimme some food, a chair and a pinecone and you can decorate all the things yourself ;)

^^he kept his backpack on the whole time, dear boy

She took her job very seriously, bless her.

OHHHHH if life was exactly how it looked in the pictures… but I’ll just put these here cause sometimes my momma heart needs to pretend they are always like this ;)

^^I told you I was feeling crafty..

Noah figured out there was free food on the tree.

^^When you try to flee the scene but the evidence is stuck to your foot

Judging from Josh’s feet, I’m thinking he took this but it was just the sweetest thing to find on my phone. They just love their auntie cinny pinny <3

Not to mention their Gummy! THE FACES THE FACES I JUST CAN’T TAKE IT!!!

It’s the CHRISTMAS SEASON!!! Merry Christmas!!!

Once upon a time there was a baby who liked baths – 11 months!

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12 months of Noah / Noah Phillip

That baby is no more. Poor buddy! Despite the pictures, he really is still the sweetest thing! My little man turned 11 months yesterday! I can’t even either believe it! WHERE DID THE TIME GO!?!? He is such a joy MY GOODNESS I can’t stop staring! The cheeks! The little chin! The curls that are coming in at the nape of his neck! THOSE EYELASHES! Not to mention the most edible tummy and foots and waving hi and bye hands. He’s such a dream baby and I love him so much. He’s a little monkey and would live on a diet of solid bananas if you let him. Actually I could be wrong but I do think nana was his first word. Followed by DAH! for dog… and cat.. and dadada for dad and mamama for the melting mother over here. Sometimes he’ll carry on full conversations with you with loud inflections and concerned looks included. It’s the best. He’s stood a total of two times on his own and loves when you walk him around the room. Hands down my favorite thing he’s done recently is, I laid him down in his bed, he got all snuggled in and I see his little hand pop out and the fingers start to flap in a waving motion… so tired but still managed to wave goodnight. I didn’t describe that very well but it was really cute ok?? He still lights up around all music, loves to reach up and play the piano, loves to watch his siblings running round and round him and is drawn to the stairs faster than you notice he’s gone. I’m just not ready for the baby stage to be over :( but then again… :) Noah, you are one loved little man. So so SO glad God put you in our family! Happy 11 months sweet pea!

That Hike

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little stories

Sometimes there are little things that happen that I want to pause to remember. Like today! I love my kids an absurd amount but there is one thing about them that drives me up the wall. They appear to hate being outside. We live in California – the land of notoriously perfect, 72 degree days. If it’s 73 it’s nooooooo it’s too hot!!! if it’s 71 IT’S FREEZING!!!. Each time they utter such absurdities a little part of myself dies inside. I hate it. My friend asked Abbie if she plays any sports and she said, “What are sports?” I get that we aren’t the most active family in the universe but MY GOSH peel your limp body off the couch and go build a fort, child! Anyways, I will do my darnedest to make them see how magical nature can be. Today we peered outside and I thought, enough with these backyard shenanigans… let’s go on an adventure! There are SO many gorgeous hikes and trails around us and yes, they terrify me because every. single. time. we venture out on one, there are an insane amount of tears and protests to the beauty that surrounds. Today, however, there was something in the air. It was crisp! The birds were singing! The light was dancing through the fall leaves and Abbie actually exclaimed “THIS IS SO FUN!” We moseyed by a stream, making our way through the beautiful woods… I could even hear Abbie practicing her memory verse… “He leads me by peaceful streams…” MY HEART ABOUT BURST. There were so many exclamations on the beauty and fun they were having! And then. Abbie tripped over a root and landed in a patch of poison oak. We climbed over a fallen limb and almost stepped on a mouse that appeared to be convulsing and struggling for his little life. The horrified screams began. The trail got smaller and the hills got steeper… we decided to head back in search of a better trail that did not include injured animals and poison leaves. I knew if we could just get across the creek, I could see what looked like such a better trail! There was convincing. There was wetting of pants. There was more crying. But then, my scared little girl became so brave! She took off her shoes and headed across the shallow rocks! There were more exclamations of the fun she was having! My heart soared! And then plummeted as the shallow bit ended and in we both went, mid calf into the very cold stream. The pants were wet. The tone had changed. This was now a horrible idea that led only to talk of “NEVER HIKING AGAIN!” We made it up the steep bank, wet and now covered in mud, we learned that in nature, it’s okay to get a little dirty! And that a bath awaited at home. Hey, I might have even thrown in promise of cake! We tried another trail that was littered with belongings… thoughts of the red capped killer danced across my mind but instead of ending this sad adventure with, sorry we crossed the river to hang out with the homeless, I tried one last attempt to make the memories happy. There was a tree. There were leaves. We made a pile and jumped. There were some balancing acts on logs and once again the mention of fun was murmured. So we called it a day, headed back down the steep steep hill, came to the icy stream, the wailing began again, and in we all went, all three kids somehow placed on my giant birthing hips, shoes and all… you know? Something happens in adulthood where the magic leaves. Nature is dirty. Things are impractical. Christmas is expensive. Part of the joy of having kids is getting to experience a little bit of that all over again. Christmas is all sorts of magical getting to see it through your kids eyes. The impracticalities of life often lead to opportunities of such tremendous wonder – slowing down enough to see things you surely miss every single day. And nature… oh yes it’s dirty but taking the plunge and treading through that water, shoes and all? I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun! So even if my kids have sworn off voluntary nature excursions for the rest of their lives and changed their tune from never hiking again to never WALKING again… one might call it an utter failure… but this momma literally just got her feet wet again and can’t wait to do all the nature things! Buckle up Nettles Three! You’re about to get all sorts of dirty!

10 Months!

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12 months of Noah / Noah Phillip

Does he look happy? Does he? Cause he wasn’t… why with these pictures WHYYYYY!?! I say it with every child. Anyways! dear sweet sad boy, this month we are up to FOUR TEETH! And he’ll crawl (properly on his knees, mind you) across the room just to bite you. I’m so excited about the crawling. Life just got very busy but it’s so much fun to see his curiosity blossom. That is when he’s not sad. Did I mention he’s sad?? ;) He loves to be held. He wouldn’t mind if you never put him down. He loves to dance to Ed Sheeran’s take me back to london. He gets his big diaper booty going and it’s the most glorious thing. Also the little hands. Dancing baby hands might be my favorite thing ever. If everyone’s drumming on the table, he wants to drum on the table. He has a newfound desire to be one of the big kids. He has opinions. All of a sudden so many opinions. He’s pulling himself up on all the things… he’s getting back down… it’s all sorts of amazing. He’s been spitting his binky out so I took it away… until I needed it for his Halloween costume and tried to get him interested in it again… he was not… hence only one picture with the complete ensemble… actually, let me put these right here cause the chances of me getting around to doing an actual Halloween post are very very slim. I still have Easter pictures…

Ughhh Halloween…. when will I learn? Anyways, Abbie just loved finally getting to be royalty, Luke could not care less and begged to trick or treat in his underwear and Noah I just know resented me for making him wear his brothers jacket and not splurging on his own appropriately fitting one. But back to the boy of cries and smiles… been trying to phase out the binky… only had a couple moments of public panic when it would have worked swimmingly to stifle the screams. His appetite is insatiable, he loves when Greg gets home, and is drawn to all the outlets. Lil Noah, you sure bring so much joy to our lives! Happy 10 months lil man!

New York we love you!!!!

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terrific trips

^^hiiiii Noah
Oh New York…I am not a city girl but NY was one of those places I was certain, just CERTAIN, I’d love. I’ve daydreamed many a time of selling everything and moving there when our house of endless projects and fixes and problems gets too overwhelming. Greg thinks I can’t handle the winters …or the summers …or the people …or anything really, BUT I THINK HE’S WRONG. Naturally we visited at the most GLORIOUS time of year, the people were the kindest – always offering up their seats for our family and asking to help carry our giant bags or stroller up the stairs! and all the dreaminess that is that beautiful city was just amplified in my mind! I knew I’d love New York and I did and this girl who always longs to get back home at the end of a trip actually didn’t want to leave… but it’s nice to be home too :) Some pics from our adventures!

She must be my daughter… after a long long l o n g day of traveling, stepping into a cozy room with champagne and live jazz drifting in from the lobby, she twirled around and sighed about how perfect it all was. We get used to luxury so very quickly, we two ;) this hotel was so fun! Came with a record player and COOKIES, not to mention you could order the most delicious cocktails up to your room so these two weary parents were oh so happy!

Pretty little view of the one world trade center and the cutest of the little mens. He’s lucky he’s cute cause he brought new meaning to the city that never sleeps… there was some sort of strange phenomenon going on at night… one, the kids that were melting all. day. long. suddenly were filled with so much energy! two, they each contributed a special noise throughout the night. This one cried. endlessly. Luke had a cough that wouldn’t quit. every two minutes. and then… AND THEN he’d grind his teeth. and Abbie started to moan. all night. ALL NIGHT! Greg and I thought we were going to lose our minds. Nights were a doozy.

We got to meet up with my old roommate who is all chic and grownup and lives in the city all fancy and such.

She gave us a lil city tour on the rainiest day. Definitely packed for a *sprinkling* of rain and spent much of that day waffling between immense guilt for my deeply drenched children and searching for a place to completely replace their current packed wardrobe.

These two were so cute… they saw us taking pictures in the lobby and naturally assumed this position and pose and waited for their turn <3 <3

We tried to do a museum but heyyy weekend + rainy day! …the line was down the street so naturally FAO Schwarz was our next best option. MY GOSH. WHAT IS WITH THE GIANT CANDY!?!

Is normal sized candy out now?? Is this why there is an obesity problem in America?? Apparently it’s a thing. Also, crickets.

Oh hey there’s my kid. Meltdown #128. I gotta say, we pushed these kids hard the entire trip. They didn’t get any naps except what they could snag on the subway or stroller, they didn’t get great sleep on account of the aforementioned noises, they were wayyy off their schedule that they had just gotten back on from previously getting back from South Carolina the week before, not to mention all the new stimulus around them and the nonstop walking, but they truly did amazing. Not gunna lie, there were many many meltdowns but gosh I was proud of them for hangin in there! Lil city kids in the making ;)

Hey thanks, Vanessa for doing the picture neither of my kids would help me out on ;) THOSE CHILDREN!

We told the kids they could each pick out one small toy… naturally Luke heard ask for all the giant things. So happy he settled for the transformer that doesn’t even transform. Abbie got a princess Jasmine lego kit! She wasn’t aware she had to build it. So many tears over I WILL NEVER GET LEGOS AGAIN!!! and WHY DOES HER HAIR KEEP FALLING OFF!!! Is it possible we may just bypass the entire lego phase?? Will my midnight feet be so fortunate!?! We’ll see.

When you finally make it to pizza and can’t keep your eyes open to enjoy one bite. Dear, dear girl.

Vanessa said New Yorkers brag about how long they’ve avoided Times Square. Obviously we picked this special night to go and cancel out her track record. It’s smaller than I was expecting! And it’s not really a square… these were my observations.

She had some sweet magical powers that could make this building change colors.

She won all the points in my kids’ book. And Greg’s.

And then I turned 32. And this scene happened where all my family was happily reading their New York book IN New York and LOOK AT NOAH’S FACE and I couldn’t be happier. It was a good day.

We walked to a yummy breakfast and Greg saw the Ghostbusters firehouse.. sorta love when he turns into an excited teenager right in front of my eyes ;) it’s awfully endearing :):)

Walked down to the water cause let’s remember I will forever be drawn to all the oceans/lakes/streams.

new york-33

Found a playground!

Saw the Statue of Liberty from wayyyy far away… do you see that lil blur?? Abbie asked if that was the Statue of Liberty. I asked her, “you know the Statue of Liberty!?” She said “yes”, and did this pose :):)

Luke took these pictures. We were cracking up cause he just held that shutter down and fired away. Sorta adore them though :):)

Every day Abbie asked if we were going to ride the subway. They loved it! But MY GOSH. The amount of times we said GET UP OFF THE FLOOR! And, STOP PUTTING YOUR HANDS IN YOUR MOUTH! And, KEEP YOUR TONGUE INNNNNNN YOUR MOUTH!!!!! was appalling. They’ve never done this before but it seemed like they were licking everything. How we didn’t come back with every single communicable disease, I have no idea. I definitely washed their hands more on this trip than probably their entire life combined.

All I really wanted this trip was to hang out in Central Park. People kept asking us what our plans were and we had some ideas but honestly all I wanted to do was roam around the neighborhoods and mostly this here place. IT’S SO PRETTY! We found a playground and a carousel and the most beautiful trees you’ve ever seen! And there was a man playing the accordion by the fountain and the sun was shining and the world was saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY HILLARY. Because everything and I mean everything revolves around me ;) I’m not narcissistic at all.

^^this is Abbie’s world and we are all just living in it

And then there was the famous boathouse that my friend took us the first day when it was gloomy and drippy, but we ate in the pub side which was fine but I longed to go to the fancy side with the white table cloths and the pretty people. So on this here my birthday, we booked it over there right before they closed and begged them to give us paupers with the dirty shoes and the caravan of children just one cocktail even though they have a bar BUT STILL NO WHITE TABLE CLOTHS. I’m not high maintenance at all. You know, I never noticed how dirty my shoes were till I looked around and everyone elses were immaculate. I’m convinced that is the sign of wealth. Clean shoes. I do not have them.

And then we dashed back down Manhattan to go to my birthday dinner in this lovely tiny little Italian restaurant where my children forgot how to behave entirely and glasses were tipping, babies were crying, pasta was flinging, Abbie decided to eat hers like a dog… and it was delicious and lovely. You know why? because they always put families in the back and for good reason. I think we sat in the back empty room at almost every if not every place we went. And we had a marvelous time … my pants will never be the same again though, thanks Noah.

The next day was grey and there was talk of more rain so we decided it was time to take Luke to see the bone dinosaurs.

There was a 3D movie. Abbie kept trying to reach out and touch things, bless her.

And then there were a whole lot of dinosaurs and other large and equally terrifying creatures.

Except this fellow. He’s probably part of the welcoming committee.

Greg was most impressed by this here blue whale. It was quite large.

And then baths. I feel like this picture captures them well. Abbie: concerned about everything, Luke: concerned about nothing, Noah: happy, always happy :)

And then the hotel brought them up these little robes and slippers and Greg sat them down and gave them the talk. You know, the do you know how lucky you are talk. ..as they sat in their robes and slippers in their cozy freshly made bed with a glittering view of New York just outside the window and I watched this beautiful, well meaning talk soar right on over their little heads. We’ll try that one again another day ;)

Can we just talk about this crib view though!?!?

And then the next day we went way on up to get some delicious bagels and go to the most beautiful park surrounded by the cutest little neighborhoods.

This stroller s a v e d us.

I really can never pick just one of him! BABIES!!!!

And then, of all the beautiful places to rest on this lil walk, Abbie decided this little patch of grass would do just fine. On an on-ramp.

We were walking back to the subway, the kids were starting to melt but my heart said turn back around! YOU KNOW MEG RYAN HAS BEEN HERE! So a quick google search said why yes, that sweet sweet apartment in you’ve got mail, is just a couple streets over! You don’t even know. This apartment changed my life. When I was a kid, I wanted lacy curtains cause she had lacy curtains. I wanted those boy pajamas cause she had those boy pajamas. I even tried to like daisies cause they are so obviously the friendliest flower! I probably got my love of old houses from this exact apartment. OF COURSE we had to retrace our steps despite the meltdowns to say hello to this building that inspired everything! It was underwhelming but we found it :)

This kid could chase pigeons all the live long day.

And then back to Central Park because THE BEAUTY!!!!

See now here is a prime example of how my brain works. I was walking along this beautiful fence here thinking… I could make that. And then when I got home, I was so bummed we didn’t save the limbs from our apple trees that we had to take out so that I could make that pretty fence I saw in Central Park. And perhaps the cute matching bench too. I ACTUALLY THINK I CAN MAKE THESE THINGS. Have I showed you my fence that has no supports?? I cannot make these things. Someone get me a woodworking class.

There they all are! Lil family up there!

And then we began the most beautiful walk back to our hotel, looking for shops but only seeing the most glorious trees. My eyes may have never been more happy.

Then we found the shops and noticed the clean shoes again. We went back to the trees.

And then we met Hoover! The horse that brought Abbie abundant amounts of joy as she finally got her wish of getting that carriage ride she had been begging for since day one.

We were those people.

Apparently we are in the fancy fried chicken stage of life. First with the champagne and fried chicken in South Carolina and now with the caviar. Goodness gracious was that delicious though. Favorite meal of the trip. Momofuku. So dang good. By the way, fanciest mall food ever… Per Se? Bouchon?? But no Hot Dog On A Stick so…

And then our last morning we headed over to Staten Island, waved to lady liberty and got our last slice of pizza.

Oh New York, you were good to us! Until we meet again!

9 months!

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12 months of Noah / Noah Phillip

^^cried through this whole shoot. Greg tried to help. Results pictured.

Lil man turned 9 months old while we were away hence the posting overload! I gotta do it whenever I have the time ;) He was such a sad boy this month! What with the teeth coming in, the high fever, vomiting, and roseola, he’s been properly clingy and oh so sad. Right now he has the softest little cry that just breaks my heart cause it sounds like his voice is gone or he just has no strength to let out a bellow :( but! he’s still the sweetest lil man that we love so much. We are up to two of the cutest teeth I ever did see, a hand that loves to be up and often dancing, and a boy that is standing whenever we go to get him out of his crib. He loves to be held and cries each time we put him down now. Loves swings, is very fond of his daddy and adores his siblings (although looks very very nervous when they want to carry him around) Still sticking to his army crawl, we’ve seen a couple practices on the knees and then a quick drop back to the belly. His outfits are filthy always. Thanks goodness he’s our third child. He and Sabrina have a special bond which is the dearest thing. Obviously. He loves to eat all the rocks, gags on everything and has started the good ol head butting/clawing/pinching all the skin but his cheeks make up for everything. NOAH PHILLIP you are the sweetest and we love you and your fussy month self so much! Happy nine months lil man! SOMEONE TELL ME HOW TO STOP TIME ALREADY!!!