Tuesday, January 31, 2012

15 Months

Micah is 15 months old today. I can hardly believe it! He is not a little baby anymore. He's a toddler! He has changed and grown up so much in the past couple of months, it's hard to believe. He has a lot of words now, and even more signs. He says several different slight variations of "ba" which can mean ball, button, or book depending on the context. He says "mama" and "dada," but mama also has a few different meanings, including "up." We're working on saying up so that I can get all the mama love. :) He says "wa" for water, "more," "truck," (he loves looking out the window when the garbage trucks go by!) "no," and "down." Those are all the words I can think of right now. He can sign more, eat, water, hat, fish, dog, bird, shoes, toothbrush, ball, and book. He's becoming quite communicative! And he wants to make sure you know it! He voices his opinion on everything from what he wants to play with to whether mommy and daddy can hug right now.

He is still a very active little boy. He keeps us very busy. His favorite thing to do right now, though, is read. He loves grabbing a book, bringing it over to us and backing up to sit in our lap so we can read to him. He's pretty good about sitting through the whole book, but sometimes he gets impatient and tries to turn the page before it's done. He also loves playing with his cars. He drives them around and makes noises for them. He's even started driving them on us, it's so cute. He loves it when Daddy chases him around the house, too. If Brad gets down on all fours, Micah will drop whatever he was doing and run, squealing with laughter. It's one of the best sounds. With the nice weather, we've been trying to get outside at least once a day. Micah still loves going on walks. As soon as I say we have to get his shoes on he runs to the windows and starts clamoring to get outside. He just sits in his stroller and looks around. He waves at people and always points out whatever creatures he finds (or hears) along the way.

We've been keeping a pretty busy schedule lately--I can't stand being cooped up in the house all winter long. On Mondays I go to Bible study. If Brad is working Micah comes with and plays in the nursery. He loves playing in the nursery and walks right there whenever we go to church. Tuesdays we go to the library to check out books and go to story time. He's so funny at story time because it's usually only one other kid but he acts so timid when we're there. Thursdays we go to a play class. We do some songs, play with bikes and cars, do an art project, and play games. Micah is always wiped out at the end of class and I have to try to keep him awake on the ride home. Every other Friday we go to MOPS. Again, if Brad's not working, Micah comes with and goes to nursery. He seriously loves being with all the other kids.

I still can't believe how big my little boy is! But he's as loving and cuddly as ever. I love snuggling with him at the end of the day before bed. And every time he looks at me and says "Mama" and then hugs me, it just melts my heart.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Time Stealers

We all have them. Those things that steal our time. We whine and complain about how we don't have enough time to get everything done, but we still manage to find time to do that one thing. Maybe it's read a book. Or go on the computer. Or watch TV. Whatever it is, sometimes it's hard to face the truth.

I don't remember what it was that first got me thinking about this, but it's something I've really been thinking about. A huge time stealer for me is the computer. As soon as Micah goes down for his nap I run to the computer. I have to see who has updated their facebook (and who looked at my pictures!) or catch up on my many blogs. Some days I would spend his entire nap on the computer. Then, when Brad got home for work I would ask for "10 minutes" on the computer. Ask Brad, it's never 10 minutes. And in honesty, very few people updated their facebook since I last checked. And the bloggers usually write new posts at night so there's nothing new there, either. But somehow I find something to steal my time. I was starting to feel like the computer was taking me away from things that are more important. So, as part of my new year's resolution I decided to limit my time on the computer. Micah's nap is typically two to three hours. On days that Brad works during the day, as long as I didn't go on the computer while Micah was awake (which is nearly impossible because Micah wants to share the computer with me) I gave myself one hour to be on the computer. Then, I have to focus on things that need to be done. If I didn't have time to do my quiet time in the morning, I have to do that. Most of my daily household chores take me an hour or less so I can usually get them done while Micah is napping. If everything that I need to do is done (that includes any phone calls, prepping for dinner, baking, etc.)and Micah is still sleeping I can go back on the computer until he wakes up. But I've been finding that I'd rather read my book at this point (something I was saying I never had time to do anymore). It has been working out fabulously. For the most part, I've been able to keep up with my housecleaning, and my quiet time is getting down every day. Plus, it gives me that "me" time. Because the truth is I need that time to just unwind. If I don't get that time to just do nothing on the computer I start to get wound up and everything gets to me. So, I'm not willing to give that time up completely. Also, on days that Brad works at night it's typically the same except the computer comes last because I spend the first 45 minutes or so of Micah's nap with Brad before he leaves for work. But I don't limit my time on the computer once Micah's in bed for the night. By then everything that I need to get done is done (especially because I've had Brad's help) and I can choose to spend my time however I want.

Thinking about my time on the computer also got me thinking about other time stealers in my life. Namely the TV. I've shared before that we don't really watch a lot of TV in our house. We only have DVDs and NetFlix so our shows are pretty limited. But when I started to think about it, I realized that I watched anywhere from 2-4 hours of TV a day on average. That's a huge chunk of the day--especially for someone who doesn't have "TV!" Whenever Brad is home at night we end the night together sitting on the couch watching NetFlix. We typically watch 2 hours, but if we get an early start to the night--or are really caught up in what we're watching--it can be as much as 4 hours. Don't get me wrong, it's a great way to just unwind together at the end of the day. There's nothing like just sitting side by side and relaxing (I have to be honest Brad almost always gives me a foot rub while we're watching TV). But couldn't our time be better spent? I'm not suggesting that we sit on the couch and talk all night long (though there are some nights where that's exactly what we need), but aren't there better ways to spend our time together? Is watching TV together really quality time? Before we had NetFlix streaming we used to play a lot of games. That was fun. We both love playing games and it allows for conversation more naturally than watching TV. Or we could read a book. Like each read our own book. I know, I know, what's the difference between that and watching TV? At least reading a book is better for you! And when we are both reading separate books we tend to tell each other about the book that we're reading--good conversation, again. I just think that when we talk about doing meaningful things together and keeping our relationship strong watching TV is not really high on the list of things that aide that. It's a time stealer. It takes away from our quality time together. I know it's going to be a hard habit to give up. And I'm not suggesting that we never watch TV together, but I want to try adding more to what we do together.

Personally, I think I'm lucky that we don't have TV because it doesn't steal my time during the day when I should be interacting with Micah or cleaning the house or making dinner, etc. I know TV has its place, and I'm thankful that we have it as a distraction sometimes, but I want to see if for what it really is: a time stealer. And I don't want it to have control anymore.

What about you? What steals your time? Any plans to take back the control?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Preparing for Overnights

This past week Brad had to work 5 overnights in a row. This is the first time he's had to do this and neither of us was very happy about it. I was especially dreading it because Micah had not been sleeping well lately. Plus, I tend to get anxious when I'm home by myself at night. As always, the time leading up to it was worse than the actual time, but I always manage to get myself worked up. Because Brad knew how much I was dreading it, he put together a really sweet package for me.

Each night Brad would "tuck me in" to bed and we would read together before he left. The first night we walked upstairs there was an overnight bag sitting on the bed. Inside was everything Brad thought I would need to get through the nights. He included:
*a hot water bottle to keep the bed warm
*Micah's play hammer to use as stress relief if Micah gave me trouble
*one of Brad's hoodies so that I could smell him in the bed
*a real hammer for protection
*a box of candy to open each night in case I get hungry in the middle of the night
*some smelly stuff (candles and pillow mist)
*People magazine for mindless reading for distraction
*a notepad because I just love notepads
*a card to open each night.

It was such a thoughtful gift and really gave me something to look forward to each night before I went to sleep. That Brad, he sure is a thoughtful guy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Babies Don't Keep

I can't believe it's been 11 days since I posted last. I've been wanting to post. There are so many ideas jumping around in my head. But I feel like every time I sit down to blog something gets in the way. It's been a challenging past couple of weeks. Really, ever since the holidays Micah's sleeping schedule has just been so off. Before all of the Christmas excitement he was sleeping through the night probably 3-4 nights a week. And when he did wake up it was briefly, took less than 5 minutes to get him back down. Now, we've been dealing with frequent wake ups and they have lasted as long as 3 hours. Even as an infant he didn't wake up that frequently or stay awake for that long. We often end up bringing him in bed with us, but then he wakes up too early and starts beating us up (he thinks it's all fun and games, but Mommy doesn't like a quick hand to the face when she's still sleeping!). So, we've been walking zombies in the Kolar household for a couple of weeks now. But we're trying to figure out the best way to get him back on track. We know we're dealing with a couple of issues, not just being "off." He's getting his two top teeth and he was on antibiotics around Christmas. Plus, he's been a little gassy when he wakes up so we think he might be hungry or have a little upset stomach. Anyway, we've got a plan and hopefully that will help get things back to normal. Momma needs some sleep before the new baby comes and we start this all over!

Two nights ago I was up walking around with Micah just thinking about how tired I was and I wasn't sure how much more of it I could take. Then, I was reminded of a poem I'd read online. The last line says, "So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep! I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep." It made me stop and think about this time I have with Micah. He has always allowed us to rock him to sleep, but during the day he's not much for cuddling. He'd rather be running around. Sure, he's affectionate and gives lots of hugs and kisses, but he won't let us just cuddle him for more than a minute. And I was just thinking about how when I thought about being a mother that's what I thought about: holding a baby close to me and just cuddling. Now that I am a mom I know there are so many more wonderful parts of motherhood, but I would be lying if I said I didn't miss the newborn cuddles. So, I stopped myself for a minute and just thanked God for the opportunity I had that night to hold Micah close to me. He wasn't wiggling around and trying to get out of my arms. He wasn't reaching up and putting his fingers in my mouth or throwing his pacifier on the floor. He wasn't crying. He was snuggled up close to me with his eyes close, falling asleep. It was obvious from the moment that I picked him up that he just wanted his momma to hold him. The way he snuggled in close to my body and closed his eyes. As tired and as frustrated as I was I know that I will never look back on that time with Micah and wish that I had just put him in his crib and let him cry. I will be thankful for those snuggles and that time with just him. So, I calmed down and just enjoyed the moment. Yeah, at 3 o'clock in the morning it seemed to last a lifetime, but in reality it was about 30 minutes. Thirty minutes that I got to spend holding my baby. What a joy. And I asked God to help me remember that feeling, especially the next night when I would start all over again. It's so easy to get frustrated and feel defeated because of the exhaustion, but I wanted to just enjoy the moment because I knew that it wouldn't last long.

No, Micah is still not back on a good sleep schedule, but when I hear him crying in the middle of the night now I try to remind myself that this, too, will pass. And it doesn't make it any easier, but it does make me appreciate my time with Micah more, even if it is in the middle of the night.

For those of you that want to read the poem, here it is:

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

- Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 in Review

I love going back and looking at the past year. It's so much fun to remember what we did and just talk about what happened. It's also very helpful in making goals for the coming year. So, here is our year in review.


*We had Micah's baptism. It was really neat to have him baptized next to our friend's son, too.


*Micah started sleeping in his own crib. This was actually a harder transition for Mom and Dad than it was for Micah!

*Micah watched his first SuperBowl. He did great sitting in Daddy's lap and watching the football game.

*Micah experienced his first blizzard. We got a lot of snow in the beginning of February and Micah went outside to experience it for the first time.

*Micah went to Grand Rapids for the first time to meet his friends Jackson and Noah. He had a lot of fun playing and Mommy had a good time catching up with her girlfriends. Micah has since been to Grand Rapids several times and each time he enjoys it more and more.


*Micah went to his first parade. The Manhattan Irish Fest Parade lines up right in front of our house so we walked down a block to watch it. It was pretty cold, but he did great.

*Micah went to the park for the first time. He loved swinging on the swings!

*Micah learned to sit up all by himself.


*We participated in The Great Diaper Change. A national attempt at getting in the Guiness Book of World Records for most cloth diapers changed at one time. It was a lot of fun. And afterwards we got to see the Easter Bunny and sit in a real fire engine!

*Micah's first Easter. He had a lot of fun going through his basket and later playing with his new toys!


*Micah went to the zoo with our friends, the Lows. We had a great time looking at all the animals, and the dolphin show was a blast. We've since been to the zoo several more times.

*My parents and my sister Heather and her family all went on a vacation to the Outer Banks, NC. This is a family tradition and we all had a blast. Micah did great driving in the car on the way there and home. He loved being on vacation. His favorite was definitely all of the water: both the pool and the ocean. It was so neat to experience it with him. Brad and I had a great time, too. It was very relaxing and a lot of fun to spend time with family.

*Micah went on his first bike ride. We rented a bike seat while on vacation and went on several bike rides. We all loved it so much that we bought our own bike seat when we got home!


*Micah went from rolling all over the place to crawling. Being more mobile sure proved interesting for Mommy and Daddy!

*We went to the Cavalcade of Planes. It was really cool to see all of the planes and helicopters. I know this is a tradition we will continue and I'm really excited to see how Micah reacts to it as he gets older.

*We went to the zoo again, this time with Grammie.

*Micah went to a splash pad for the first time. It was no surprise that he loved it! His favorite was sitting in front of the ground sprayers and trying to catch the water--something he still loves to do!

*We spent Father's Day at Navy Pier. It was fun to walk around the pier and then along the lake shore for a while. It was a beautiful day.

*Our nephew, Joseph Richard, was born. It's so fun to see the two boys growing up together. Micah is just now stating to become a little more interested in Joey, but he's not always good at letting Joey play with "his" toys. It will be so fun to watch the two grow up together and see how they get along.


*We met my nieces at Oak Lawn Children's Museum and had a lot of fun playing.

*We went to the zoo again, this time with Oma.

*Micah celebrated his first 4th of July. We had our families over for a little BBQ. Then, we went to fireworks with some friends. Overall it was a great day spent with family and friends. Very relaxing and lots of good food.

*We took Micah to the beach. It was a beautiful day and we had so much fun playing in the sand and going in the water. Micah loved it and really wanted to crawl to the water every chance he got.

*Micah started signing words back to us. I love that he has this way of communicating with us, and it's so cool to see what signs he picks up on. Some of them we barely even practice with him!

*Micah got his first hair cut. We took him to a kid friendly place because we just weren't sure how he would do. He totally rocked the faux hawk!


*Micah finally got his first tooth! It felt like we were waiting for forever for this! I was seriously ready to throw him a party!

*We met some of my friends from Grand Rapids at the beach. It was nice to meet them halfway and just get to catch up. Plus, Micah loves the beach so anytime we could go there was a good day in his book!

*We found out Micah is going to be a big brother. Baby Kolar #2 is due May 4th. We couldn't be happier.


*We met our friends, the Lows, and Oma and Boompa and Micah's cousins at a barn dance. We went on a hayride and got to see the farm animals. Plus, lots of dancing in the barn! It was a lot of fun. Micah loved being with all the kids and the animals!

*We celebrated both my and Brad's birthdays. In celebration we left Micah overnight with Grammy and spent the night at a hotel. This is somewhat of a tradition for us. It's always nice to just get away from the house and be somewhere we don't have to worry about cleaning up or get up early. It was so relaxing, but we were definitely ready to come home to our little boy!

*We took Micah to the Museum of Science and Industry for the first time. He was still a bit too little to enjoy it, but he loved touching and playing with everything. It was fun for me and Brad, too, because we love going to that museum.


*We continued the tradition of apple picking with our friends, the Lows. This was our fifth year going, and one of our favorite traditions. The weather was a little warm, but we still enjoyed it. Afterwards we went back to their house and made some yummy apple crisp. I am so looking forward to continuing this tradition with them, especially as our children get older.

*We went to Manhattan Fall Fest with Grammy. It was a lot of fun to go on the tractor ride (which was a little crazy!) and Micah got to ride on a pony. It was very kid-friendly.

*We went to a pumpkin patch for the first time. Konows was a great place! We played in the corn pit (Micah wasn't too sure of it, but Mommy and Daddy thought it was a blast!) and climbed the hay bale stacks. We also went on another tractor ride and picked out some pumpkins to carve. Micah wasn't too keen on carving the pumpkins, but it was still a lot of fun.

*We took trips to both Grand Rapids (to visit Mommy's college friends) and Milwaukee (to visit Uncle Doug and Auntie Carrie). Micah did great both times and we had a lot of fun visiting with friends and family. We love it when Daddy's on vacation!

*Micah started walking on his own. Since he has discovered his independence he is into everything! He's really keeping us on our toes!

*Micah turned 1!! I can't believe my baby is 1 year old. We had an awesome western-themed party for him. He had a lot of fun there and has really enjoyed playing with his new toys (many of which are still in the closet because he got so many and we didn't want him to become bored with them all). The day before his birthday we went to Boo at the Zoo with Boompa, Auntie Brittany, Kylie, and Grammie. It was really neat. Next year we will definitely be there in costume! On Micah's birthday we went trick-or-treating on our street so that the neighbors could see him. Then, we took Micah out for his first try of pizza. It was a great day just spent together. We are so excited about what Micah's next year of life has in store for him and really just cannot wait to see all that God has planned for him.


*This was kind of a chill month for us. Not a lot going on, but we did celebrate Thanksgiving. We also brought my nieces to Imagination Station one day on break and had fun playing there with them.


*December more than made up for November! Of course, we had the typical Christmas celebrations: Christmas Eve with Nana and Papa, Christmas morning at home, Christmas afternoon/evening with Oma and Boompa, and (new this year!) New Year's Day with Grammie. It was a lot, but so nice not to have everything crammed into one day. We got to relax and really enjoy our holiday. Not to mention, enjoy Micah and see his wonder at everything going on. The best was hearing him from the back seat when we drove around at night. He would see the lights and just say, "Wow!" Isn't that what it's all about? I wish we could all stop and just enjoy the beauty of the season and think, "Wow! How amazing that Christ humbled himself to come live on this Earth so that I could spend eternity with him. Wow!"

*We took Micah to the Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier and had a blast! There was so much to do there. We will definitely be going back there (seriously--we bought a membership!).

*Brad and I took an early anniversary trip to Galena. We left Micah with my parents and stayed overnight. It was nice to get away and be able to spend time just the two of us. We stayed at a beautiful bed and breakfast and really just enjoyed walking around and relaxing without having any kind of agenda.

*On our anniversary we went to Holiday Magic for the second year in a row. This is a fun tradition that we're starting! At the last minute, my parents joined us. This year we walked around a lot more than in years past and got to see some of the animals in addition to the lights and activities they had going on special. It was a lot of fun and Micah really enjoyed it.

Well, that's pretty much it for our 2011. It was so awesome to see how Micah has changed in a year's time. We have a lot to look forward to in 2012, but mostly, we are just excited to see what God has in store for us.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Last Days of Advent

I'd love to say that we completed every activity on our advent calendar, but we didn't. All of us got sick and that really hindered our ability to do some of the activities. Mostly, I was just too tired from either being sick or taking care of Micah to do much of anything else (on top of shopping and wrapping Christmas presents). Despite not finishing we really did have a great Christmas. I loved doing all of the activities because it took the focus off of presents and helped us spend time together as a family. This is definitely a tradition that we will continue in years to come.

For those of you that are interested here's a list of all 24 activities that were in our calendar:

*go for a drive to see Christmas lights
*bake Christmas cookies
*read a new Christmas story
*make an ornament or decoration
*watch a special Christmas movie with treats
*have breakfast in bed
*write a letter to a family member
*hot chocolate made especially for you
*pick out a Christmas tree
new Christmas pajamas
*decorate the Christmas tree
*make a snowman
*go sledding or ice skating
*make Christmas tags
*decorate the windows in your room
*go to the library and find new Christmas stories
*listen to fun Christmas music
*a new pair of Christmas socks
*make a gingerbread (or graham cracker) house
*have a picnic in front of the Christmas tree
*go on a wagon ride through the lights in Orland
*bring cookies to the neighbors
*a special Christmas treat
*wrap presents

I'll post more this week with a review of 2011 and our goals for 2012. Hope everyone had a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year.