Montessori-Inspired Family Book for Baby

Baby Family Book

Montessori is all about educating the body and mind to be valuable, functional citizens of the world.  It goes far beyond the traditional subjects of education and can start at the very beginning of life. Lila has begun her Montessori journey with treasure baskets, discovering her surroundings, playing with the baby in the mirror, observing her mobile and developing her coordination while eating finger foods.

She will turn one on August 28th and will be entering a whole different stage of Montessori.  My mom and I have already picked out some wonderful baby Montessori materials, Robert and I have put together a special low shelf just for her and I’ve created this Family Book to give her on her birthday (which will help her learn the names of her family members).  This book includes all her Uncles, Aunts, Cousins and Grandparents.  It will also be a nice way for her to familiarize herself with family members who live far.  I’ll sit it on her shelf and I can also bring it along with us to office visits or church.  She will be able to pull it off her shelf and flip through it whenever she wants.

I got this idea from my sister.  She ordered my nephew the most adorable board book with photos of his family members in it.  My version isn’t quite as fancy, but I do like the price tag.  Mine cost around $2.50.  The album was 97 cents at Target and the prints were $1.50 at Costco.  I added the text to the photos using Photoshop, but you could easily use sticker letters instead.

I can’t hardly believe she’ll be one in 2 weeks.  Can you!?

Top Baby Books

I like to think of Lila as a baby literature connoisseur.  She has a bucket of board books on the floor of her bedroom which she cherishes more than her toys.  She absolutely loves it when I read to her.  She giggles, points with her tiny little pointer finger, mimics my sounds and calls every animal (and sometimes human) a “dog.”  All of my children speak at a very early age and I accredit it to reading to them from the very beginning.  I also constantly point out things around the house and say its name, which has helped build their vocabulary very early.  I know most of you feel the same way as I do when it comes to reading to your children, so I thought I would share a few of Lila’s favorite books.

Top Baby Books

 1 | I Can Do It Myself! 2 | Counting Kisses: A Kiss & Read Book 3 | Montessori: Number Work
4 | I Am a Bunny (A Golden Sturdy Book) 5 | The Very Hungry Caterpillar [Board book]
6 | Baby Touch and Feel Quack! Quack!

I’m trying to find ways to make my blog a little more profitable, so I’m able to dedicate more time to it.  All of these links go to my new Amazon Associates Account.  I will receive a small commission for any book purchased directly through these links.  I highly recommend all of these books (and so does Lila) and I would never share any books I don’t 100% approve.  I hope you’ll like these books too.

This picture of Lila is one of my favorites from my Instagram account.

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I feel like she’s saying, “Just one more, momma?”

Letters to Lila

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Here’s Lila in her adorable Cherry Blossom shoes from Sweet Seasons Designs. I purchased these shoes back before Lila was even born, so it’s so fun to see them on her chubby little feet now. Having two boys and now a little girl has made my heart so content. It seems as though this was God’s plan for me all along. Shortly after Lila was born, I decided to create a little blog just for her. It really wasn’t meant to be anything more than letters from me to her, but somehow it’s already become larger than that. I had no intention of sharing it with anyone since it seemed slightly personal and private. Even so, people have found it on their own and people I don’t even know are following the blog. I guess there’s something in my letters that these readers need to hear right now. For now, I’m going to leave it public and I can always turn it private later if I feel the need to.  I hope one day when Lila’s a teenager and I can do nothing right (we all know that day will come), she will read my Letters to Lila and be reminded of how much I love her.

On Lila:  Vintage Portuguese Dress | Sweet Seasons Designs Shoes | Stella Arbor Boutique Headband

Baby Montessori – Treasure Basket

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I introduced Lila to her first treasure basket this week. At 7 months, she’s sitting up really well and she’s really curious about her surroundings so it seemed like a perfect time to let her explore a few different textures. I placed a silk fabric (silky & soft), metal measuring cup (cool & smooth), plastic toy chain (light & airy), plastic spoon (bumps & waves) and wooden dog teether (matte & slightly rough) in her basket (scratchy).

I wasn’t aware of Montessori Baby activities when the boys were babies so I completely underestimated the power of the Treasure Basket.  Lila was enthralled with this basket.  She took her time examining each item.  She investigated, swung, weighed, transferred them from hand to hand and chewed on each of them.  Most of the time, she placed them back in the basket before getting out another one.  The metal measuring cup was by far her favorite.  The cool metal probably felt wonderful on her teething gums and it made a great sound when banged.

If you have a baby, you HAVE to make him a Treasure Basket.  You won’t be disappointed.  Just see for yourself…these are only half of the fun pictures I took of her exploring her basket.  I can’t wait to make another one.

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say it isn’t so!

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On this last day of February 2013, this little lady is celebrating her half birthday.  She’s been super smiley and hamming it up today.  It’s like she knows she’s 1/2 today.  A girlie strawberry cake complete with gold glitter sugar held her complete attention as I was trying to take photos of her.  I’m actually surprised I was able to get even one shot of her looking at the camera.  You can see her little hand on the cake stand as she tried to grab the cake over and over again.  Either she has a sweet tooth like her father or loves sparkly things like her mother.  Either way, we’re in trouble!

Happy Half Birthday to the sweetest little girl I will ever know…

no longer a one trick pony

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Look who thinks she’s a big girl, sitting all straight and tall.  Time keeps passing and all I can think about is how much I love this girl in every stage.  For the longest time, all she could do is roll from back to front and then cry when she couldn’t get back over.  I joked to Robert that she was a one trick pony and I couldn’t wait for her to learn her second trick.  Now, we’re on her third and I’m thinking, “Woah, slow down sweet girl!”

celebrating lila’s first month

Lila is one month old today.  It’s crazy to think about how fast the time has gone and how quickly she is growing.  No matter how many babies I have, I’m never prepared for how fast they change.  She’s starting to stretch out her arms and legs a little bit more, but her favorite place to sleep is still curled up on my chest.  I love it when she’s half asleep and her eyes flutter half closed.  She makes the funniest faces while she’s in between wakefulness and sleep and gives me the most incredible smiles.  She’s a noisy sleeper with her breathing, sighs, whines, grunts and soft baby noises.  I love them all…even when they keep me up at night.

We had a little “girls only” conversation the other day where we looked into each other’s eyes and I told her she is my best friend.  I already feel this undeniable bond with her.  One I can’t really explain other than to say that I feel like I’ve known her forever.  She studies my face now and I’d love to know what she’s thinking.  She follows me with her eyes and quiets down when I call her name if she’s fussing.

I probably hold her a little too much, but the boys don’t seem to mind that I devote so much time to holding her.  They drop by and give her a kiss every once in a while and then rush off to play.  I can tell she’s getting heavier when I hold her.  This girl loves to eat and has gained 3 pounds since we left the hospital.  She now weighs 9 pounds, 3 ounces.  I can really tell how much bigger she is when I put her in her car seat or when I nurse her.

I made the mistake of telling Asher it’s her one month birthday today.  He immediately started running through the house screaming, “It’s baby’s birthday today!!!! Woo hooooo!  We get cake!”  So…I guess we’re getting cake, not that I’m complaining.  You can never go wrong with cake.

These newborn portraits were taken by a very close friend of mine and photographer extraordinaire.  The images are so meaningful to me; how she captured Lila’s beauty and peaceful temperament.  Thank you Lanay for sharing your beautiful gift with our family.

Lanay Swanson Photography: site | blogfacebook

Homeschooling with a Newborn

I’ll be honest…I was so worried about how this would all work out.  I knew I had prayed about it and this was our path.  I simply had to have faith and I’m so glad that I did.  This is soooo do-able.  The first week of Lila’s life, I only focused on doing one reading lesson a day with John Robert.  Other than that, Lila was the lesson.

I’ve discovered that there is great worth in teaching our children about how special it is to welcome a child of God into our homes.  They’ve been learning about sacrifice and how much tender care it takes to nurture a newborn.  They’ve seen how her umbilical cord was attached and how it falls off to leave a cute belly button.  They’ve seen the old skin flaking off when her body is regenerating skin cells.  They’ve seen how perfectly God has made all of us.  But most important of all, they’ve loved her, kissed her, touched her gently and sung her to sleep.  I’m raising incredible future fathers over here.

This past week, we introduced more and more school work gradually and I’ve found that I can do a lesson while holding or nursing Lila. Breastfeeding is so worth it, but it takes up most of my day.  Thankfully, educating is such a flexible concept that it’s been easy to combine the two.

So, if you are wondering…can I homeschool with a newborn?  My answer is yes.

p.s. The beautiful nursing pillow gifted to me by Balboa Baby (pictured above) has helped tremendously with allowing me to teach and nurse at the same time.  A review and giveaway sponsored by Balboa Baby is coming up soon.

meeting lila

Here’s a little sneak peek of our little bundle of joy…

lila aven was born august 28th at 7:51 am.  she was 6 pounds 10 ounces, 18″ long with dark eyes, a head full of dark hair, long eyelashes and the sweetest disposition.

{Both Lila and I are doing well.  My mother is staying with us, spoiling us with her acts of kindness.  Lila and I have been taking advantage of this time to rest and spend as much time together as possible.  I know my time will be spread out between all three of them soon, so it’s nice to have a week to hold her and get to know her sweet spirit.  Thank you for your prayers and kind words.  We are happy and doing well.  xo, Lori and Lila}

How to Display Your Child’s Art in Your Home

Some people shy away from hanging and displaying their children’s art in their home, but I think it makes a home feel warmer, more personable and meaningful.  Children also love seeing their work on display and it shows them that you value their art.  The trick is integrating it into groupings with other accessories and art.

I commissioned my boys to create a few pieces of art for Lila’s nursery.  One is a abstract piece where they experimented painting a canvas with yarn and brushes.  The second piece is a linear, abstract background I painted on a piece of wood and JR drew a family portrait in the foreground.  The last one is a tree that I drew and we each used our fingerprints to make the leaves.  I hope Lila enjoys them as much as we did making them for her.

Tomorrow is the big day!  I hope you’ll keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we welcome Lila into the world.