Sunday, August 20, 2017

Busy Week

We've now had eight weeks with Luke home on paternity leave, and I know me and the kids are still loving it. He is an amazing daddy, and takes such good care of all four of us. Less than a month till he goes back to work now, and I know I won't be ready (even though he so is!)

On Monday we headed to library time with our favorite Mr. Chris. Quick story about him and his wife, Jenna- she is best friends with a girl I went to college with and worked with for a few years, and they also are friends with one of my good friends from church/MOPS. (They also sang/played for my post-college roommate's wedding recently- small world!) Chris and his wife, Jenna, are singers/songwriters and when they did the Piggie and Gerald event at the library last year, I finally made the connection that he was Chris of THE Chris and Jenna. Anyhow, we've chatted a little bit, and I read in their music blog recently that they are pursuing their music and headed to Nashville for a month to do some recording. Thankfully he'll be back to the library eventually, and while I'm excited for them, we will miss him at library time!

All that to say, when we went to library time this past week, I lamented to Luke about how this was Noelle's last library time with Mr. Chris before she starts school. Never again will she be a regular at Mr. Chris' storytime (except for next summer when she's home, of course.) Luke just looked at me like I was crazy and told me I am going to be sobbing when we drop her off for her first day of school. (We'll see- I'm hoping I'm more excited for her than anything else!) Noelle and Jonah did their usual with Mr. Chris, singing songs, reading books, and of course ending with a craft. (Which lately always ends with Jonah having a meltdown- #threenager!)

A local dance studio was offering free classes this past week for all ages, and I took Noelle to a class on Monday evening. She had an absolute blast, and it was so convenient that the studio is less than five minutes from our house. I will definitely be looking into lessons for her!

On Tuesday we headed to the $1 movie to see Happy Feet 2. Luke and I weren't super impressed, and Noelle was begging to leave about 20 minutes in. Since Jonah still seemed interested, and Clara was napping/nursing, Luke took Noelle out of the theater telling her she'd be bored waiting for us. They ended up deciding to check on the other $1 movie, which was Cats and Dogs, and she of course loved that. Fun times all around, and proving that I would NOT have been able to handle something like that with all three kids by myself.

Wednesday was a quiet day, mostly spent at home, and on Thursday, I took the kids to Noelle's school to drop off her school supplies. Noelle was so excited to see her teacher again (although her shyness stops her from saying much), and Jonah was of course his verbal let-me-tell-you-my-life-story self. We love her teacher, and I know once Noelle has spent time with her consistently, will get past some of her shyness. We are so excited for her for this year (and I'm also a lot bit nervous!)

After chatting with her teacher for a bit, we met Nana and Holden at Larriland for a picnic lunch and raspberry picking. It was a hot, humid day, and after about 10 minutes of picking, Noelle was complaining of the heat, and Jonah, of course, copied her. Between the two of them though (with some help), we ended up with about a pound of raspberries, and they were delicious!

On Friday, we met up with both my parents and Holden at a local conservancy for another picnic and to wander around for a bit. After not much time in the heat (oh Noelle!) we grabbed snowballs, and then Noelle headed off with my parents for a sleepover, and we went home to give Clara a good nap.

Saturday we headed up to meet Grandma and Aunt Lyd for the Tomato Festival at a local Farmer's Market. They had different types of tomatoes to try, as well as sweet and savory tomato recipes to sample. We ran a few errands, and then headed back to pick up Noelle from my parent's house. A busy week, but full of lots of fun and trying to do ALL THE THINGS before Noelle is not spending her days at home. (Eek!)

Friday, August 18, 2017

This Morning

It's 9:00 on a Friday morning and all 5 of us are still in our pajamas. The baby didn't wake up for her first feeding until 4:45 a.m. and then slept until almost 8:00. The big kids got out of bed around 7:30, and other than a few meltdowns from Jonah, they've been happy eating breakfast and playing on the back deck. Overall, a pretty great night and morning so far!

As I'm standing in the kitchen making some breakfast, Luke is playing hide-n-seek with Noelle and Jonah. Our downstairs is small, so there aren't many places to hide, and it's usually pretty obvious where everyone is hiding. I hear Luke saying things like "are they behind the curtain? no! Clara, do you know where they are?" And after each thing Luke says, lots of squealing and giggling from the big kids.

I love it! This right here is even better than what I imagined my life would be like as a wife and mom. I'm one of those people who went to college more for an MRS degree than anything else (though I did enjoy most of my classes and think a degree is beneficial!) And I always knew I wanted kids. So basically, I'm living my dream.

Each day is full of it's challenges, and there are different seasons of this life that have been hard. But mostly, all these wonderful moments of family are what make it so so good. God's blessings abound!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Our Week in Pictures

Summer is winding down (two weeks till Noelle starts kindergarten!!), and I'm trying to soak in all the activities we can do while Luke is home and I have extra hands to do things outside of the house. Seriously, this summer would have played out completely differently if Luke had gone back to work after a week or two. But we've been able to do a lot of fun things!

A rainy Monday morning called for a trip to Dunkin Donuts, especially since I had a free coffee about to expire. :) Noelle and Jonah got their usual (chocolate for J and strawberry for N), and after enjoying our donuts and coffee, we headed back home.

Noelle and Jonah decided they wanted to bust out their umbrellas and rain boots, which always makes for fun photos, so of course I said yes. And it gets them outside for a bit, and they are self-entertained. win-win!

Tuesday morning I took little miss Clara to an appointment to get her vaccines. We decided that since we'll be flying to Seattle before she turns two months to go ahead and get the shots early. That way she will have some immunity when we're on the plane and visiting the West coast relatives. She of course cried, which made me tear up, but thankfully I was able to nurse her and she was calm for the rest of the day.

Tuesday was also the $12 wrist band day at the fair, so Luke and the kids got bands and rode all the rides over and over again. We were there for over seven hours, most of which was spent with them on rides. Clara and I hung out with them for a little while, and then I found a shady area to nurse her and just sit for awhile. We had planned on going home for dinner and then come back, but the kids were having so much fun that we ended up buying food at the fair. And then they rode more rides. I forgot a hat for Clara, so Luke pulled out a pair of Jonah's underwear (clean!) and we put it over her head. And poor girl was in the same diaper the whole time since I hadn't planned on us being there for that long. But she survived, even with a blowout right before we left.

Right at the entrance of the fair was this little water pumping station with little rubber duckies that float back and forth as you pump the water. They have both done this before and would have stayed here for awhile if we hadn't moved them along.

Wednesday morning I had a follow up appointment with the podiatrist for my foot/ankle. Basically the result of that was keep wearing the boot if I feel pain. So I'm in the boot for longer- I was definitely in a bad mood about that, but I also know that it won't last forever! (Right?!?) Luke and the big kids went and hung out with Grandma and Grandpa while I was at the appointment, and afterwards we headed to Target to do back to school shopping. Despite Noelle's face in the picture, she was very excited to pick out all her supplies. (Also, how is it possible I'm school supply shopping for one of MY children?!?- seriously- can't get over this!)

Thursday morning the big kids did some crafting together while I nursed the babe and ate my breakfast. It was a beautiful day, so Luke and his dad worked together to replace our front storm door. They also hung up our house number that my mom got for us probably the Christmas we moved in (like 8 years ago), which was more of a pain to hang than replacing the door. Thanks Luke and Dad!

Thursday evening it was still nice out, so I took the kids out back to jump on the little trampoline and then take pictures in front of the Black-Eyed Susans.

Friday was a quiet day with a Starbucks run in the morning with all three kids by myself (Luke needed a break from Jonah), and then to Kohls to buy some more gifts for our Holdy who's birthday party is today. Jonah was a disaster most of the day crying about every little thing (like the fact that I "broke" his popsicle in order to push it up in the plastic so he could eat it), and when he came to lay down next to me after I crawled into bed last night, I just didn't even fight it. He fell asleep while I was reading, and I carried him to his bed later on. Little stinker! (But I also know that one day he won't do this, and he's going through a lot with not being the baby anymore. Or at least that's how I justify it. :))

Monday, August 7, 2017

Cows and Chips

Happy Breastfeeding Awareness Month! So far it is going so much better with Clara than it did with Jonah- with him at this point I was just getting past the pain I felt at every single feeding and constantly considering going to see a lactation consultant. This time it's been mostly pain-free, and baby girl is growing like a champ!

blurry picture by Noelle
Last Monday we had Holden back with us for an afternoon while my brother-in-law had to work overtime. It was so good to have him hanging out with us again- but I'm also pretty sure it was only "easy" because Luke is home! We filled up our little pink pool on the deck and Holden, Noelle, and Jonah played in the water for awhile and ate popsicles while Clara napped the afternoon away. While she was still sleeping Holden went down for his nap, and the big kids had some downtime, which made for a peaceful afternoon. 

On Tuesday, we continued our summer tradition of going to South Mountain Creamery. It was my third summer taking the kids, and Luke's first time joining us. We packed lunches, played on the little playground, visited the baby cows, ate some delicious ice cream, and watched the cows getting milked. It was a fun afternoon, and Clara slept in the wrap the whole time we were there. 

the baby cow in this picture was born that day!

On Friday, we headed up to the Utz Potato Chip Factory in PA to party at their summer bash event. There were lots of vendors giving away free things, games for the kids to play (and the prizes were bags of chips!), a blow up obstacle course, and more. I nursed Clara in the shade while they did the obstacle course twice (even Noelle!), and then we drove home while the littles munched on their chips.

On Friday night, Jonah went to Nana's house for a solo sleepover just for fun. He was spoiled with pizza, play time at the mall, and ice cream. Now Noelle is asking when it's her turn. :)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Our Hospital Stay

So the only reason I want to document our time at the hospital with Clara after she was born, is because it was SO different than how it was with the other two. Sure, there were some similarities- someone coming into our room every few hours to take my blood pressure or give me pain meds, a steady flow of family coming to see the newest family member, breastfeeding or pumping while all these people were coming in and out of the room. You know, the usual things you deal with after having a baby. :)

One of my favorite bloggers to follow (Camp Patton), noted something about her hospital stay after her fourth was born (same day as Jonah). With baby number four, it felt like her time in the hospital was like a little vacation- just soaking in baby snuggles and sleeping when she wasn't feeding her newborn. And I've heard other people talk about how they get the chance to read a book or catch up on some t.v. since they're away from the usual responsibilities of being at home. Which all makes sense!

BUT for both Noelle and Jonah's births, Luke and I could not wait to leave the hospital. I slept horribly being not in my own bed. Both of them cried for hours on one or both nights that we were there, and then of course as soon as we laid down, they would start crying again. With Noelle we had such a complicated system to feed her formula through the breast, which was a two person job, so every time she cried, both of us had to be up and involved. With Jonah, his latch wasn't amazing, and a few hours in to his little life, my nipples were on fire and every attempt at feeding left me in more pain and completely discouraged. Both times, we were SO ready to be back home in our own environment.

We figured things would go similarly this time around- and even contemplated opting out of the second night at the hospital. Since Clara was born in the evening, it worked out that we would end up being at the hospital for less than 48 hours, whereas with Noelle, I labored through a night, and then we spent two nights there, and then with Jonah, he was born just after midnight so we still had another two nights to go.

getting her hearing test done

For whatever reason, breastfeeding started off so much better with Clara than it did with Jonah. She did have to get her blood sugar tested before every feeding because she was small for gestational age, but she wasn't much of a crier, so every three hours or so, we'd call the nurse to come test her, and then I'd feed her. Her numbers never got below what they were looking for, but when it dipped a bit, they had us give her some formula. Thankfully, this worked out perfectly because while I was pregnant I was most stressed about breastfeeding, and we had planned on giving baby formula and a bottle early on. She took to the bottle perfectly, and even though she fought breastfeeding for a few days afterwards, we persisted, and now she's a pro at both. From then on while we were at the hospital, I would nurse her until she fell asleep, which is what usually happened, and then Luke would give her some formula while I pumped.

She fussed a little bit both nights, but she just wanted to be cuddled. The first night, I ended up holding her on my lap while I scrolled through Instagram and read a book, and then we watched the sun come up. The next night, Luke held her for a bit while I slept, and then while she was getting some tests done, we were both able to sleep. It really felt so different from the first nights of Noelle and Jonah  crying, cluster feeding, pain from breastfeeding, and just sheer exhaustion from the first night of laboring through the night. I actually felt like we had some down time that wasn't spent trying to comfort a crying baby.

And maybe part of it was knowing she's our last, and just thinking back to a year ago when we were in the midst of fertility testing and procedures. This baby we'd waited and longed for was here in our arms, and I couldn't help but marvel over that and thank Jesus for His good gifts!

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Picture an Hour (sort of)

I thought it might be fun to document a day around our house while we're in the throes of having a newborn and sort of settling into being a family of five. Things will change drastically when Noelle starts kindergarten in less than a month (!!) and Luke returns to work in September. But for now, we're embracing every day with Noelle and Luke at home with us all day!

8:00 a.m.
Little miss woke up around 7:40 and a little after 8:00 was swaddled and put back in the pack'n'play. I don't think the sleeping lasted much longer, but I hopped in the shower and all three littles were awake by the time I was done.

9:00 a.m.
Everyone was downstairs getting breakfast of some sort, or likely requesting a second breakfast. And Noelle as usual wanted some cuddle time with baby sister.

10:00 a.m.
We got to church and about two songs in, Clara started fussing. Noelle came with me to the cry room where Clara ate and slept for the rest of church. I caught up with a few mom friends who were in and out of the room to nurse their little ones as well.

11:00 a.m.
At the very end, baby girl slept on me for a bit, and Noelle and I joined daddy for the rest of the service- which was much needed for me because before the sermon even started Noelle kept asking when it would be over, and could we go home.

12:00 p.m.
After church we headed home with our friend Arthur coming along so he and Luke could go play soccer golf. We got home and Luke fed the kids lunch while I changed. Of course they also devoured their usual snacks  at church while we caught up with a few people.

1:00 p.m.
Noelle and Jonah colored on the easel, a recent re-discovery. Current favorite things to draw: tall buildings and snails.

2:00 p.m.
After quickly tidying up, we headed out to a local riding stable for a festival/fundraiser they were hosting. All of their horses are rescue horses and the kids had a blast saying hi to them. (And my horse loving heart was excited to be there- possibly more excited than they were!)

3:00 p.m.
We bought some tickets so Noelle and Jonah could do a craft, play a game, and go on a pony ride!

4:00 p.m.
We headed home to wait for daddy and our friends to get there. Clara continued her nap in the carseat for a bit, so we were all able to have a little downtime before everyone got there with pizza for dinner thanks to our friends!

5:00 p.m.
We all ate and hung out for a bit while the kids played. Clara spent the time nursing away and hanging out in Daddy's lap.

6:00 p.m.
After our friends left, we got the kids ready for bed and they had some down time while Luke and I headed to the basement to watch an episode of Leverage. Clara of course joined us. :)

7:00-9:00 p.m.
Clara and I got ready for bed and after she was swaddled and put to sleep, I climbed into bed as well. I read a chapter of my book and scrolled through Instagram for a bit, and then turned out the light. At one point when I got up, I peeked in on the big kids and thankfully they were in bed! Good night to all!

Saturday, July 29, 2017


J man has been giving us a run for our money! I love this boy of mine, but some days we're just so done with him before 10 a.m. The tears, the whining, the freaking out if he's "left all alone" in a room. Last night I was in bed with the lights off around 9:00 and kept hearing a thumping noise. Just Jonah jumping off the arm chair in our room (aka my nursing chair.) And then he came into our room/bed at least 4 times, waking us up more often then Clara did. 


The next morning continued with more of the same from Jonah, and Luke, who is one of the most patient human beings I know, was clearly very frustrated. So to give him some time away from children, I packed them up into the van and we headed out for donuts. Apparently in the last 5 weeks (aka since Clara has been born) our local Dunkin' Donuts had a bit of a facelift, which Noelle was very excited to tell Daddy about when we got home with his donut. And to extend our time away from the house we drove around for awhile looking for horses while Clara napped and I sipped my coffee.


Clara has been a bit fussier than her normal the last two days (though still slept her usual greatness last night) and has pretty much been nursing/pacifying herself on me She just falls asleep while she's nursing but won't stay asleep for long if I lay her down on her own. I'm trying to just focus on soaking it in, and praying that she'll go back to being ok sleeping in the swing or rock'n'play by herself!


When Noelle was born, my sister gifted us a knitted Yoda hat because of Luke's great love for Star Wars. We now have a picture of all 3 babies wearing the hat, and I love it! (Jonah on top, Noelle on the bottom left, and Clara on the bottom right.)


Last weekend when I did my "workout" (aka walk/jog) on Saturday I noticed a twinge in my left heel. The next morning I attempted to add a bit more running, and ended up limping home with something going on with my achilles. I of course googled everything, and had/have myself freaking out that I've ruptured my achilles tendon, which oftentimes (according to google) requires surgery, a long recovery time, and physical therapy. I went to my podiatrist on Thursday, and she seemed to think based on how I could move my foot around that it's most likely tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon), or possibly a small tear. I'm in a boot for two weeks, and after my follow up appointment, if I'm still in "pain" (it's really not so much that it's painful, but that I just feel something and can't walk around correctly), then we'll do an MRI which would help diagnose a tear. It's frustrating and am pretty down about it (that time of walking/running in the mornings was much needed time to myself), but I'm also thinking that it's God's way of telling me to just REST. So I'm sleeping in (to the lovely time of 9:30 this morning) and sitting and watching more t.v. 


Noelle has continued her love for crafting, and this morning she had each of us "pose" so she could draw a family portrait. Jonah threw a fit because she didn't draw him first, and I was nursing while she drew me, but I love how her picture turned out. "There are five people in our house now!" is what she keeps saying, and oh how we love it!