Thursday, November 7, 2013

Where the baby sleeps

I love Caroline's room! Our whole house feels like a work in progress--moving when your nine months pregnant will do that. My mom and Ben's family helped us get settled in but we still have a closet of boxes to go through. Caroline's room is really simple but here are some things that I love about it.

 At first we were going to have a "very hungry caterpillar theme but I decided it was too narrow. Then we found these Eric Carl prints and I fell in love with them! I love how colorful and fun they are.

 Right before we packed up in Provo we found this print of the Salt Lake Temple that Ben and I both loved. We hadn't seen anything like it. I think we justified it as an anniversary present when we bought it. Well worth it.

Last is probably my most favorite. My mom made this huge rug for Miss C's room. That's right made it. I think she did a fabulous job and it turned out even better than I envisioned it. I just wanted a huge colorful rug. My mom picked out all the fabric and spent a lot of time doing this. Sometimes C does tummy time on her rug and it has also been the location of a few dance parties (she really loves those).

I'll show pictures of her crib some other time--we are still working on a skirt for it. But its special because Ben and my mom surprised me with it before we had Caroline. We were planning on her just sleeping in a pack n' play but Ben came home with the perfect crib one day. It's a really sweet memory.

It was fun to fill her room with a few of my favorite things that hopefully she loves as well!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Three Months

Miss C seems like a totally different baby. My mom flew in and stayed with us for a week and she was totally surprised to see how much she had changed. She has personality and spunk. Also, she is very opinionated and determined...and I mean that in a nice way.

Yesterday marked three months since Miss Caroline's debut! It's hard to believe that she is three months old. Time is really flying. We are so in love with this little girl. We don't know what we did before her--its so hard to imagine what life was like without her...well, we did way less laundry! Here is what is going on with Miss Caroline:

Hair: Miss C still has lots of hair and luckily it has lightened and is really close to my color of hair. She has a band of hair that is thinner because thats where she sleeps and twists. Her hair is getting longer and longer. She is adjusting to wearing bows in her head but mostly she prefers no bow...and to be honest no clothes either.

Sleep: We were doing great and then we think she hit a growth spurt so she was waking up every three hours at night. Also, she had been sleeping in her pack n' play and we moved her to her crib and that probably contributed to her waking up more at night. Oh, and daylight savings was thrown in there too. Poor baby didn't stand a chance of sleeping. Ben and I are totally missing our sleep. However, last night so only woke up twice and slept in until 9 so things are progressing.

Talking: Caroline loooooves to talk. Loooooves is probably an understatement. There are times where I have babble conversations for so long I call my mom so I can speak real English. She loves to sing songs too. I love that more and more of her personality is coming out. Also, this is another outlet for her to tell us exactly what she is thinking. Last week Ben had a test that he was studying for and came home really late one night. I could tell she was really missing her dad--he's the fun one afterall. C and I went to go pick him up at the train station. The entire car ride she moaned--not cried--just moaned, and moaned, and moaned. As soon as we got there and she saw Ben she BEAMED and cooed and aguuuhed and smiled the whole way home.

Swimming: She still could swim in the bath tub all day. We got a thick plastic mat for our tub so she can swim on her own and she loves being independent. Ben was having a hard time holding on to her because of how strong she is so we tried letting her lie down and sit up in the water. it was a success. C also likes watching the shadows that move in the bathroom--she is totally enchanted by those. We haven't been able to take her swimming that often because the weather is cooling down--making the swimming pool a little too frigid for her.

Hands: She loves them and put them in her mouth all of the time. She gets frustrated when they both don't fit at the same time!

Strength: The girl is so strong. She rocks at tummy time and can sit up all on her own. She has started sitting in her bumbo. She really hates it when we set her down at dinner time. Sometimes Ben holds her but this week she planted her hands is his food a few too many times. We put her in her bumbo on the table (in the middle and we are watching her so it's safe) and she loves it. She is trying to figure out what we are doing and wants to touch everything that we are using. I have a hard time walking with her up and down the stairs because she can sit up but she can also throw her weight around. So she hates it, but I literally wrap my arms around her.

Toys: Caroline picked out her first toy. And it's a's cute but also not cute. There is a rattle in it and every time she sees her turkey she smiles. It's the only toy that she has had any reaction too. So turkey for our little turkey I guess.

Halloween: On Halloween we had a few trick-or-treaters stop by. One of the said, when she saw Caroline, "I like your baby." I told her "Well, we like her too!" and everyone was laughing. Caroline wore her giraffe outfit for two minutes before she fell asleep. Once she woke up she spit up allll over it so we weren't able to capture any more pictures. We also met some of our neighbors and our friends Kenzi, Matt, and their little boy Liam came buy and collected some goodies. It was a fun night.

This girl looooves her daddy

 Oh her fists! She loves them!

Oh those blue eyes!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ward Halloween Party

We had our ward Halloween Party last weekend! Ever since I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted my baby to have a cute Halloween costume. After she was born came the decision...what is she going to be??? Caroline totally helped us out with that. When she wakes up she stretches her neck looong and slow (remember...she's not a morning person) and we jokingly called her "Little Giraffe" and that decided it. She was a giraffe for her first Halloween. My mom made the darling outfit and bow. Ben was a zoo keeper and I threw on my peacock costume from two Halloween's ago. We had a great night visiting with Aly and Austin--a new couple in our ward and our neighbors--Matt, Kenzi, and their kiddo Liam. Even though we didn't trunk-or-treat or really participate in any of the activities (they were for kids) we had a great time! 

 I said it once and I'll say it again--I can't get enough of these two!


 Love this girl. She is always trying to figure out what the camera is--it's just some crazy contraption right now. But we promise she smiles all the time!

 Love this little giraffe!

 We are getting better at taking family pictures!

A giraffe with a balancing act! 

We really love our ward here in Miami! Now that I don't feel like a while (read as--I'm not pregnant) and Miss C is becoming more social it is easier to get out and do things. We had a successful Halloween celebration! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

We are finally getting lots of sleep around our house--well, at least me and Caroline. Baby girl sleeps for a long stretch each night and takes a morning and afternoon nap. All I can say is hallelujah! Now that she sleeps I can get things done around the house. When I was pregnant with Caroline the most common advice was to sleep when the baby sleeps. However, if I sleep when the baby sleeps then there are no clean clothes, or dishes, or meals made. But if I didn't sleep when she did then I was miserable! It was quite the predicament because I LOVE and NEED my sleep. Now that we have a routine...Ben has clothes to wear to school, our dishes aren't piled in the sink, and we have dinner every night. And we sleep! Didn't think we would ever get here!

 Daddy naps are her favorite! Ben hardly ever takes naps...but with this little girl around he is learning how to nap! Caroline and I are both long nappers--hopefully we are rubbing off on him.

 Can't get enough of these two together

 This was Caroline's first Sunday at church. Why isn't it acceptable for adults to fall asleep? We were yawning just looking at her. Ben and I were both jealous that she has permission to sleep in church. We came prepared with several burps and blankets...can you see them all?

She loves falling asleep in my arms or on my lap. This week she just sprawled out. So glad I caught this one on camera. 

Ah! Footie pajamas! She kills me with cuteness every time she wears these. Look at that little smile too! 

We love nap time and sleep time at our house.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Target, Target, Target!

Since having a baby Ben and I have easily spent a lot of money at Target...and the word "a lot" doesn't properly explain the amount of money (clothes, baby supplies, wipes and diapers when they are on sale, you name it). Even before Caroline was born, we would go on Target dates--which meant walking around Target and getting a Sonic happy hour drink afterwards. When I was pregnant I was so exhausted and miserable (only part of the time) and Ben was fabulous at making me get out of the house.

Once we moved into our little home we discovered not only was there a Target just a ten minute drive from our house, but they were revamping an old Kmart into a brand spanking new Target. And the best news was that it was located right around the corner from our house. I think Ben panicked when he found out because he knows how much I love that store. Anyways after Caroline was born we would find ourselves saying "Hey, we need this, let's run to Target!". Since making all of those trips we've been looking forward to actually being able to run to Target.

It opened yesterday so Caroline and I went this morning. She was so excited she insisted on going in her pajamas (hey, at least she wasn't naked).

 Here she is! She had a hard time waking up this morning...but I can tell she was very excited to go!

Living in Miami has it's perks--it's still palm tree and flip flop weather here folks! 

There is a huge sign like this on the road as well--we've been counting down! 

 After scanning through the nice and shiny new store--and picking up some Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters--we decided to get out of there before we spent too much money!  

We are also excited because Trader Joe's is opening just around the corner too--and I've never been there! We are certainly enjoying where we live!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Water, Water, Water

I cannot tell you how much Caroline loves water. When we gave her a first full on bath, we were nervous. Would she scream the whole time? How long will it take? What if she hates it and we can never bathe her? Seriously it's got to be so scary sometimes to be a baby. And let's face it. Being a parent is sometimes a little scary too.

Anyways, bath time is probably her favorite time. Ben holds onto her and lets her "swim" in the water. It is funny to watch and listen to her breathing so fast because she is so excited. Also she is so adorable wrapped up in her towels after her bath. Also, she has started to talk more and more and she just coos and babbles while we are getting her ready for sleep time.

Two weeks ago we took her swimming for the first time. She was smiley the whole walk to the pool. Caroline was extremely curious and trying to figure out the pool. Needless to say, we will be taking many trips to the pool because she loves it so much. Thank goodness we live in Miami and it is summer time year round.

Miss C was all smiles on the way to the pool!

Proud Papa

Here she is trying to figure out just exactly what this blue water is all about.

All bundled up after swimming for her walk home

Ben had a big test that same week and so we went to the beach to celebrate being finished. It was so nice to walk out on the sand and be by the water. We didn't really swim that much but Caroline stuck her toes in. Some of Ben's classmates also came and grilled some burgers. It was so nice to get out and experience a Miami beach!

Buckled little beach baby

Her swimsuit is so adorable! Can't get over this girl's cuteness.

Auntie Danyelle--She and Caroline are best friends!

Also, the beach offered a zoo-like experience...peacocks everywhere! A group of six peacocks just walked by the pavillion area and followed us around for a few minutes. We learned that they do like hamburgers. Tim, one of Ben's classmates, threw a broken burger and the peacocks fought over it. We loved going to the beach!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Six Weeks

Caroline is six weeks new! As much as you can read about babies--there is nothing that can teach you more than the actual experience. I always thought they would sleep a ton. Well, Caroline does pretty well at night but she is so curious during the day.

Caroline was born weighing 7 pounds 13 ounces and she now weighs 10 whole pounds. What a chunk.

She loves eating. Just take a look at her adorable cheeks. However we have found that she is sensitive to dairy and onions--so I am eating pretty bland stuff.

She loves bath time. Love is probably an underestimation. It's probably one of her favorite things and starting this week she stopped screaming once we took her out of the tub. She now enjoys getting all lotioned up and new clothes on. We are looking forward to taking her to the pool since she has 4 bathing suits and loves to splash!

Going along with loving bath time...water is the trick to get her to run down. Listening to the washing machine, the dishwasher, or water coming out of the faucet calms her right down (or she takes it as a challenge to scream louder than the noise if she is really mad) and often with a little walking around, puts her right to sleep.

Everyday we go on lots of walks, whether it is around the living room  (I think we are wearing down a track), the kitchen, up and down the stairs, or outside. She loves being outside and is one thing that can instantly calm her down or make her super happy.

Caroline only wore newborn sizes for about three weeks. We were told to not buy any newborn outfits at all but honestly it was super nice to have clothes that actually fit her. We just washed the same little onesies over and over again. Now she is in 0-3 month clothes and hopefully she will be for a little bit longer.

Legs. Let's talk about her legs. When she eats they are straight out and when she sleeps...same again, straight out. It makes for some interesting wrapping and swaddling with blankets. 

There is a love/hate relationship with the car. Caroline loves it when we are moving, but when we are sitting in Miami traffic, forget it. At first she would take binkies and calm down but now she honestly spits them out so far there are probably one or two lost in our car. So far the only thing that calms her down in the car is Bruno Mars--so we have a Bruno playlist just in case. 

Little lady loves daddy time. I love when Ben comes home because for a little bit of time he is able to play and talk with her. They are so cute together and I love just watching them. He has a way of just being able to calm her down so quickly and get all the smiles out of her.

Sleeping. Sleeping. Sleeping. All in all she does fabulously and I am adjusting to getting less sleep as well as interrupted sleep. Usually she only wakes up twice during the night. Usually around 2 am and then 6 am. We try and stuff her before bed time so we can have some time together at night and with the hopes that she will just sleep soundly for a big chunk of time. 

We love our little Caroline!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Resurrection of our blog...hopefully!

I have been itching to blog--there has been so much going on that I have been wanting to document. I think we have had an epic amount of life changes this year. Anyways, I have dusted off my laptop--I haven't used it really at all since May and finally plugged in my iphone--a little nervous to plug in my camera because of the massive amount of pictures on it, I know I'll find some treasures once I do though. Well, here's the update for now (taken from family and friends newsletters): 

We have been really busy--moving, med school, and a brand new adorable baby girl!

At the beginning of June, Ben and I packed up our apartment to move to Miami, Florida! Ben and his dad drove a moving truck from Provo to Miami and I flew to Houston to spend time with my mom and visit family. I was so grateful to not spend 45 hours in a moving truck! Once Ben got to Miami he found us a fabulous place but we had to wait to move in. After about a week I flew out to Miami and Ben and I lived in a hotel for a month (it was definitely not as dreamy as it sounds--but the pool was nice:). We were awfully anxious to get out of the hotel and it was definitely worth the wait to get into our new place--we really ready to upgrade from our small and old apartment. Our cute new home is bigger, newer, and comes with a lovely Miami price tag. We definitely miss our cheap Provo rent and friendly neighbors!

So far we love Miami! Every one speaks Spanish here--except for me! So I am trying to learn as much as I can. Also, we have tried lots of new places to eat and discovered that Cuban food is delicious! It's not nearly as hot and humid as we expected and we live about 15 minutes from a beach. Also, we love our ward! Every meeting is done 1/2 in Spanish and 1/2 in English. So everyone wears the headphones and every meeting has different translators. Everyone hugs and side kisses and is so friendly. It's quite the experience and every Sunday since we have been here there have been baptisms and confirmations--crazy awesome! Also, we have been able to see the progress on the temple--it's stunning. 

So why in the world MIAMI?!? Ben started school at the University of Miami (and I am so glad to have a sunny winter:). He is going to med school but working on a masters in public health during the summers. There are 50 students in his program and it has been fun to get to know them. We have been surprised at how "family oriented" the school has been and flexible. Ben is super busy with lots of homework, group projects, and in general--studying--but he loves UM. I feel that it was such a good fit for him and for us. Ben has been learning how to do some real doctor things--blood pressure and fun stuff like that. However, starting after Labor Day, his time consuming classes are beginning.

I finished up teaching this year and sold my classroom to the teacher taking my place--definitely a win-win for both of us. I am so glad that I am not teaching this year because I get to stay home with our sweet baby girl. Caroline Joyce Van Leeuwen was born on 8/5/13 (cool birthday! 8+5=13). We are completely smitten with her. Everything she does is cute, breathe, poop, pee, burp, sneeze,'s all adorable! My mom was here two weeks after she was born and then Cathy and Neil and crew flew out to help take care of Miss Caroline and also help us unpack. Ben and I are really enjoying being parents (we miss our sleep, but it's worth it!) and taking care of Caroline.