Sunday, August 31, 2014

Date Night and Milking a Cow

Last Friday, a few days before Luke's birthday, Luke's mom offered to watch the kids so that we could go out on a date.  We have not been on a date in a long time.  We also haven't been to see a movie together since before Noelle was born...guess we'll have to work on that one.We did have a quick 30 minutes just the two of us when we were in Tennessee when we ran out to pick up Jonah's prescription.  And other than that, I can't remember when we've been together without kids!

We knew we couldn't be long since Jonah wouldn't eat anything for his mom, but I tanked him up right before we left, and then we headed to Olive Garden to load up on delicious carbs.  We got the buzzer, but we were told it would be close to an hour wait.  It was already 7:00, which meant we probably wouldn't even get food until after 8:30, aka bedtime for the littles.  So we nixed that idea and headed to the super fancy Chipotle- food we both know and love.  And we even splurged and got the chips and guacamole.

obviously an old pic- from a Christmas date in 2010

We ended the evening together sitting on the bumper of our van, enjoying some of our favorite ice cream from Hoffman's, chatting away about life.  One thing that worried me about becoming a full-time stay at home mom was that I wouldn't have anything interesting to talk about with Luke.  I mean, what all can you say about changing diapers and doing laundry?  But I've actually found the opposite to be true- the conversation seems to flow even more so than when I was working part time.  Between stories about the kids (and yes, telling him about an extra spectacular blowout from Jonah), telling him the things I'm pursuing outside of the house, and who even knows what else, we have plenty to talk about.  Life is certainly full and abundant when raising children!

Last Sunday, we headed to the Maryland State Fair to check out the animals and fun!

Noelle checking out the mini horse

It had been a rough day the day before with the littles (they both have colds), and I figured out for sure that my pinky toe is broken.  Which means no running for a good long while to let it heal.  Which means no running the two races I had signed up for the day before I broke it.  Believe me, for a runner, it's pretty devastating to not be able to run.  But in the meantime, I'll focus on other things, enjoy my family, and pursue other passions.

cheesy girl enjoying her hot dog

But back to the fair.  The kids did pretty well- Noelle was in the stroller or walking, and Jonah was in the ergo with one stop to nurse him.  We checked out the animals, and looked at some of the displays, and got some lunch.  We decided that the kids lasting for three hours was a win!

Strollers were not allowed in the barn/horse arena, and as we were loading the kids back up, the older gentleman guarding the stroller holding area said "you certainly have your hands full!"  And then he suggested, oh so kindly, that maybe next time we should just get cable.  Awkward much?

this picture was all Luke's idea, but hilarious

Friday, August 29, 2014

Just For Fun

At this point we are undecided about whether or not to send Noelle to preschool.  Luke didn't attend preschool, but I did for both 2 and 3 years old.  I know that most of what kids learn in preschool can be taught at home, and either way, I would work with her on that knowledge.

From what I know and have researched, preschool exposes kids to numbers, letters, colors, etc, but it also teaches them how to be students.  Doing things like raising their hands and taking turns.  With Noelle, a big factor will be if her speech improves over the next year.  If she is still delayed, I think there could be a big benefit to being in a school setting, especially if there is a specific program to work with speech.

In the meantime, I love seeing all of the pictures of kids for back-to-school at this time of year and decided to snap a few of Noelle with her pink kitty-cat backpack.  It was fun to do, but I am so thankful I have her home with me for awhile longer- she's already grown up way too fast!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jonah: 4 Month Update

One-third of a year old as of this past Saturday!  And I found out a year ago on August 25 that I was pregnant with him. Definitely amazing how much can change in a year!

don't let his smiles fool you!

Height and Weight: At his 4 month appointment he weighed 13 lbs 4 oz and was 24 inches long.  Both of his percentiles went down from his 2 month appointment, but the pediatrician figures we could have caught him at the tail end of a growth spurt at that point.  We can start giving him baby cereal, and then veggies and fruits now so hopefully that will help pack on some more weight!

Sleep: Let's not even talk about how horrible it is.  He's so sporadic with his waking up, but usually he's up around 4 times.  In the early morning hours, he'll often wake up every 2 hours, and sometimes wants to stay up and cry if I don't nurse him to sleep.  It's definitely been rough.  I was talking to some other moms at church who have new babies, and it sounds like all their babies (younger than Jonah) are sleeping better.

On Friday night we put him in his crib for the first time, and he actually only woke up twice.  We're not sure if it's just because he cried his little heart out while grandma watched the kids Friday evening, and his bedtime got pushed back. But it would be great if it could be become more permanent.

Naps are still iffy, but he usually takes one about 2 hours after he wakes up for the morning, and then potentially one in the afternoon.  But if we do anything in the morning, he'll take shorter naps, and then it's hit or miss the rest of the day.

Eating: I still just feed him on demand, with no consistent schedule that he follows.  Probably at least half of the middle of the night wake-ups, he just sucks a little until he falls back asleep, but doesn't really eat.  The pediatrician says we can start to let him fuss for a little because he is capable of sleeping through the night! But at least he's definitely gaining weight and filling out more and more!

Diapers/Clothing: Still fits his 3 month onsies pretty easily, but rompers and footie pajamas are too small. He's definitely moved up to the 3-6 month sized pajamas.  He's in size 1 diapers, but I'm hoping to just finish up the box we have and then move him into size 2s!

Social/Milestones:  When he's in a good mood (still rare, but seems to be happening more over the last week), he gives plenty of smiles.  He loves interacting and having people smile at him.  He also watches Noelle when she's doing a lot of moving around, which seems to keep him happy for longer.  He's starting grasping things and bringing them to his mouth, as well as just sticking his fingers in his mouth all the time! He also rolled over from back to front on the 19th.  He was in a mood, where nothing we did was comforting him, so we put him on his playmat and let him scream, and he rolled himself right over.  And then did it again after we put him back on his back.  Then on the 22nd, I was giving him some tummy time on our bed while I ran around doing crazy things to keep him distracted and he rolled to his back.  He did it a couple of times and I was able to catch it on video.

Likes: Some days it seems like he doesn't like anything, when nothing will console him.  But in general, he's still doing great in the bath, could probably be nursed all day long, and likes observing his sister moving around.

Dislikes: A bottle.  We tried with my milk while on vacation, and then at home with hypo-allergenic formula the pediatrician wanted us to try, and no good.  We even bought a bottle where you can change out four different types of nipples and he refused all of them.  Even when I was gone for five hours and he was clearly hungry, he wouldn't take one.

Fun things we did: We went on vacation to Tennessee- Jonah got to experience his first long roadtrip at just over 3 months old.  I was dreading the trip so much, convinced that he would be in meltdown mode the whole time.  But thankfully he did well overall!  Definitely very proud of him!  The rest of the month was fairly quiet.  Two of my college best friends visited and got to meet Jonah for the first time, which was really fun.  We also celebrated August birthdays with my family for Luke, Heather, and Becky.

Some pictures from the last month:

 Jonah in his sister's rash guard

 eating breakfast with mommy

 playing on his playmat

 jammie time with Noelle

a smile and whales for days

Monday, August 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Luke!

Happy 29th Birthday to Luke!

self timer family picture

I am so thankful for a husband who loves us so well, and works hard to take care of us.  I've been on a trip down memory lane thinking about the first summer I met Luke, and how we celebrated his 15th birthday after spending the summer on a missions trip.  That's 14 years of friendship and love, and watching each other grow up.  It's fun to look back at our friendship in high school and freshman year of college, and then remembering how we made our more-than-friends relationship official in the middle of the quad at Grove City.  I love that we've been able to spend these years together and see each other through ups and downs. 

at my sorority's spring party in 2006

And now it's fun watching Luke as a dad.  We both certainly have our flaws, but not only is he incredibly patient with me, he is patient with the kids (for the most part!).  So many times he has taken Jonah down to the basement in the middle of the night when he won't stop crying just so that I can get some sleep.  He gets excited when Noelle learns something new, and laughs at her silly antics.  He takes on dad duty very willingly when he knows that I need some time to myself.  Parenthood is definitely not easy, but I'm thankful I get to take that journey with Luke and that it has strengthened our relationship even more!

Easter pic right before Jonah was born

God has blessed us abundantly by you, and we love you so much and look forward to celebrating so many more birthdays with you!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Ever since we brought Jonah home from the hospital, Noelle's desire for us to read to her has increased quite a bit. I'm pretty sure part of it at least is because reading was something I could do pretty easily during his marathon nursing sessions, and I could give her lots of attention this way.  I'm just thankful it kept her happily occupied and close by so I could see what she was doing.

Now throughout the day, whether I'm nursing or not, she'll come over with a book and say "read!"  If I'm taking too long, she repeats until I get started.  Also, sometimes she insists upon me reading the same book again as soon as I'm finished reading it a first time.  Let's just say there are some books that I'm ready to hide away for awhile. :)

reading a book she got from great-grandma for her birthday

At naptime, we read a book or two (or three or four), and recently, I've suggested she take a book with her to bed so she can read to her care bear and Curious George.  So far it's worked like a charm- she agrees, opens the book as I'm leaving the room, and no fussing ensues.

Once daddy is home in the evenings, we have a system going where I nurse Jonah in the semi-darkness and daddy reads to her until I lay Jonah in the bassinet.

reading with daddy

I remember the days when she was younger, and would just flip quickly through a book, or skip pages, and did not have much interest in the story itself.  I love that she loves for us to read to her now!  Reading is definitely one of my passions, and I'm excited to share that with her.  I remember my mom reading the Little House on the Prairie books out loud to my sister and me when we were younger, and I look forward to doing that with my kids someday.

Some of Noelle's current favorites are The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown, My First Read and Learn Bible by Scholastic, and the two Little Critter books we have by Mercer Mayer.  I love reading any of the Sandra Boynton books to her, Me with You by Kristy Dempsey (who we worked alongside in Brazil when our church sent a team down), and Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson.

falling asleep with her books

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lately // 2 (Happy Birthday, Aunt Becky!)

Happy 23rd Birthday, Aunt Becky!!  We love you and hope that you have a great day!

I took probably 15 pictures and this is as good as it gets!

Jonah is so close to rolling over, at least from his back to his front.  He just has to move that arm out of the way!  Since he's such a fussy baby, I haven't really put him on his tummy too often (since that tends to make him more angry), so he hasn't had much of a chance to flip from tummy to front.

so close!

Noelle has been such a goof lately and wants to sit in Jonah's carseat and in the bassinet.  I can't believe she used to be tiny enough to fit in there!

Noelle 2 years vs. 1 month

My little cutie in his teddy bear hoodie.  It's size 3 months, so I'm not sure he'll get much use out of it since we'll still have warm weather for awhile longer.  At least we got one picture with it on!

as close to happy as it gets sometimes

Noelle often likes to make her own wardrobe choices, and insisted upon wearing the shirt to bed.  Luke told her she needed to wear pajamas, so they compromised by putting on PJs and the shirt.

making her own decisions already

Saturday, August 16, 2014

River Valley Ranch 5K

One of my greatest joys in life is being a mom.  I've always wanted to be one, and God has certainly blessed me with that desire of my heart.  The love I have for my kids is even stronger and more amazing than I thought it could be.

I have found that I can often get too wrapped up in being a mom, and focused on all things motherhood.  It is my occupation, and I do spend all day doing it, but I know it is so important to still have things that are mine. That make me me.

A passion of mine is running.  I crave that run first thing in the morning, and end up feeling awake and refreshed, and also, I have more energy throughout the day.  I enjoy connecting with other runners and doing races.  And I love competing with myself and seeing improvement over time.

I hadn't run a race since November 2013 when I was about 3 months pregnant with Jonah.  This past week week I looked online to see when the River Valley Ranch (a local Christian camp) run was going to be, and it just so happened to be going on today.  They have a well known 10K trail race that I've wanted to do, but for the past few years I've always had something stopping me from doing it (injury, new baby, bridal shower).  At first I planned to run the 10K, but after looking online and seeing how hilly it was, I knew that I did not have the training under my belt that I would need for it.

race bib 

So I decided to run the 5K road race.  I was really hesitant to do it because it meant I would be away for 3+ hours, and I was stressed about Jonah being able to eat.  I left the house at 6 a.m. so it would have been a lot to get Luke and the kids up and ready.  Plus that would have been a lot for Luke to handle while we were there, and he is so not a morning person.  Luke encouraged me to go, knowing that I needed to do something for me and feel like I could be away from Jonah without the world ending.

I gave Jonah a dream feed around 5:20 and then got myself ready to go and drove up to Manchester, MD. It was an absolutely beautiful day and perfect for running. I registered for the race when I got there, and then hung out for about an hour while the 15K and 10K got started.

The 5K started at 8:30 and was an out and back on basically two roads. The first mile I completed in 8:10, which was right about what I was aiming for. I felt strong. So I decided to start pushing it a little more, and set my sights on different people with an aim to pass them.  The second mile I did in 7:20, and by then I had passed the turn around point. During the third mile I stuck mainly with one guy, matching his pace and letting the slight decline carry me down. With a final kick in the end, I completed the third mile in 6:50 for a total of 22:48 (according to my garmin).

got this picture in a text from Luke

It was a lot of fun, well organized, and I enjoyed the Christian atmosphere.  They have a lot of stuff for families to do so hopefully we can bring the littles some day.  By the time I got home, Jonah had gone about 5 hours without eating. Luke tried to give him a bottle, but that was a no go. At least they all survived!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Honest Thoughts

These days are really hard.

I feel drained, discouraged, and stuck.  Jonah has been super fussy and there are times where nothing we do seems to help him.  He gets to a point where he's screaming and won't nurse, won't calm down if we hold him, and going outside doesn't calm him down.  And normally the going outside will help him, at least for a little while.

I'm afraid to go anywhere because I know sometimes he's just tired and needs a nap.  And the kid won't nap when we're out and about, except in the car. I don't want to plan play dates because I know I'll be spending most of the time trying to calm him down.  Even trips to the grocery store I try to make quick because by the time we're checking out, he's losing it.

I love Jonah so much.  He's my son and I will always love him.  But when he's screaming constantly, it's sometimes hard to enjoy him.  I just don't know what to do with him.  It breaks my heart to hear him and I feel so helpless.

We've tried two different reflux medications.  I've tried going dairy free. I've tried to wear him more in the ergo.  Nothing seems to help.  The next step the pediatrician gave us, is to try him on a formula for hypoallergenic babies for two to three days.  If that seems to help, she'll run a blood test to try to pinpoint possible allergies.

One problem is that Jonah won't take a bottle.  The pediatrician suggested having someone other than me give him the bottle because he knows he can get food his preferred way from me.  She also suggested trying a different bottle nipple.  Another obstacle, is that every time he takes a bottle (and maybe even more often), I need to be pumping to keep up my supply.  That is going to be a lot of work between force feeding him a bottle, and then spending 20-30 minutes pumping.

And I'm scared that my supply will go down and I'll fail at breastfeeding.  I feel like Jonah and I have worked so hard to get to this point and I don't want to put it in jeopardy.  My goal has been to make it till he is a year old.

But all of this has taught me even more how much I need God and His grace and patience throughout the day.  I say a lot of "Lord help me" and "Lord help Jonah" prayers all day long.  This is just a season, and it will pass.  God will carry me through, and give me the strength that I need.  And I am oh so thankful for that.

love this little boy!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tennessee Fun and a Pickin' Party

On Thursday morning, the rest of the family headed out to Loveless Cafe for brunch while I stayed home with a sleeping Jonah.  It was nice to have some time to myself while Jonah slept, and I got to try all of their delicious leftovers when they got home!  Later on that afternoon, I got to go out with some of the family to McKay's, a used bookstore, and it was so nice being able to leisurely browse through everything.  I ended up buying the Laura Ingalls Wilder series for less than $20!  My mom read these books out loud to my sister and me when we were growing up, and I definitely plan to read them to Noelle and Jonah.

pushing care bear

Caleb and Debbie have a fun little swing set in their backyard that Noelle loved!  She spent a lot of time being pushed in the swings, and going down the slide.  And of course Care Bear needed a turn!  Caleb and Debbie also have a sweet dog, Nola, who Noelle loved to follow around and torture with food.

Nola and Noelle

On Friday, Luke stayed home with Jonah while Noelle and I headed out with Debbie, Ruth, and Max to get coffee at a fun place called Dos.  Then we drove over to the Parthenon, which is an exact replica of the one in Athens.  We walked around the outside of it and took some pictures before heading back to the house.

Noelle in front of the Parthenon

That afternoon, Luke went to an arcade place with  Caleb, Ruth, and Max, while Debbie and I headed out to a Full Moon Pickin' Party!  It was so much fun!  It's set up on a beautiful farm, with a main stage for the three main groups performing.  Anyone attending can bring in their own instruments (though there is a list of which ones are acceptable), and people just hang out in groups playing bluegrass music.  Noelle had a blast dancing, and Jonah behaved pretty well and then fell asleep in the ergo.  I felt like I got a true Nashville experience.

me with the littles and a park police horse at the Pickin' Party

After not much sleep for either of us, we left at 4 a.m. on Saturday to head back to Maryland.  Praise the Lord, both kids were good and we managed to make it home with only three stops!

Noelle and Jonah during one of our stops

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Formula Feeding vs. Breastfeeding

For World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I would share my experience.

I've done both.

Or rather I'm in the process of having experienced both.  Jonah is three and a half months old, and so far, has been exclusively breastfed, along with the occasional bottle of pumped breast-milk when I've had the chance to get away.

With Noelle, my plan was always to breastfeed her, but that did not end up happening.  She was jaundiced when she was born, so the hospital had me supplementing with formula from day one.  The lactation consultant provided a way so that it could still be done through a nipple shield over the breast and using a syringe and tube, with the intent of her sucking still bringing in the milk.  It was a two person job, it didn't seem like her suck was strong enough to bring in any kind of milk supply, and she was mostly getting formula anyhow, so after about three weeks, we made the decision to not breastfeed.

 how Noelle would fall asleep in my lap after her bottle

It was such a hard decision, and I was an emotional wreck.  I knew that breastfeeding was best, and I felt like in Noelle's first weeks of life, that I was already failing her as a mother.  I cried many tears, and spent a lot of time feeling down, but as my pediatrician reminded me, Noelle would still go to college someday (if she wants to!).

Noelle chilling with her bottle and the remote

I decided that the next time we got pregnant, I would be more determined to make it work and I would take a breastfeeding class to boost my confidence. By the time Jonah was born, the hospital had become very pro-breastfeeding, changing certain policies like rooming-in every night and no nursery, and not handing out formula to everyone "just in case".

That being said, I've had some time to see the benefits of both types of nourishment.

Formula Feeding Positives
* Other people can feed the baby.  Luke could take a middle of the night feeding (though I usually only requested his help on weekends since I was only working part-time during the week).  Whenever we went to visit family, others could feed her.  This allowed me to interact with everyone and not worry about being covered up or going into another room, and it gave them time to bond with her.  I could go out for some me-time.  I remember the day Noelle turned 1 month old, I went out for a girls night with some friends and Luke got to take care of her.  It felt amazing to be out of the house and being able to catch up with friends.

* Going out and about.  To me it was easy just to make sure we had the formula powder, a bottle, and a bottle of water in the diaper bag.  And it was great not having to worry about covering up or going somewhere private to feed her.

* No dietary changes.  When she seemed to be having trouble with tummy issues, we switched to a formula that was meant to ease fussiness and gas.  I didn't have to play around with eliminating things from my diet, or figuring out what foods even contained whatever I was eliminating.

* Not being engorged or having to pump when away from the baby.  We went to a wedding and left the littles with my parents for about 8 hours.  I wasn't exactly sure how much Jonah would need to drink, but I left them with about 13 ounces of breast-milk.  I ended up sitting in the car pumping between the ceremony and reception, and then left the reception part way through to pump in the car again.  Then of course making sure our little cooler was cold enough for the stored milk.

* It's not painful.  The first month of breastfeeding Jonah was very rough for me.  I was in so much pain, and basically started to dread feeding my baby.  It felt like I was doing it ALL the time, and it meant I couldn't do other things, like play with my toddler.

*It's easier to exercise.  I'm a runner, and with nursing, I have to try to time my workout to be right after a feeding so that I'm not too full.  With formula, having that discomfort isn't a factor, and someone else can feed the baby so I could get that precious workout time in.

breastfeeding selfie

Breastfeeding Positives
* Food is always available.  If Jonah is hungry, I sit down wherever I am and feed him.  I've fed him while waiting for a doctor's appointment, and in the car while running errands. And I never have to worry about checking the diaper bag for formula.

* It's what everyone supports.  No one bats an eye when I talk about nursing the baby, whereas with formula, I felt like I was being judged (even if I really wasn't!)

* It's just right.  Breast-milk will always be just the right temperature, and will be just the amount baby needs, even increasing as baby demands more during a growth spurt.

*Bonding.  I think you can bond just as well while formula feeding, but with nursing, I truly am the sole provider for my baby in the first 6 months. I love my children, and I love that I can provide for Jonah in this way.

* It's free.  We spent quite a bit of money buying formula in Noelle's first year of life.  My mom always called it "liquid gold" because it is so pricey.  At this point, our only added expense with Jonah is buying him diapers, and even so, we've mostly been using ones that were gifted at his baby shower.

These probably aren't all the benefits of both, and I still haven't come to love breastfeeding, but I'm glad that we're doing it.  I always hear moms say they get sad about weaning their littles off, so maybe I'll get to that point someday as well.  And then be ready to breastfeed the next one!

passed out after eating

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tennessee Happenings

On Sunday morning, we headed out to Caleb and Debbie's church with the whole family.  We dropped Noelle off at their state of the art nursery- they log all your info into a database and then can text you if you need to come pick up your child.  I wasn't sure how Noelle would do because recently she has fussed about being handed over to nursery at our own church.  But I walked her up to the door and one of the workers took her hand and lead her over to the play dough and she paid no attention to me leaving.  It worked out great!  I ended up spending the service in the nursing mother's room/pacing the lobby with our oh so fussy Jonah.  But everyone was so friendly, and many other moms talked with me.  Even if I didn't get to fully listen to the sermon, I did get to do some fellowshipping.

family picture before church

On Monday, the guys went to their mecca- an arcade place.  My mother-in-law was great and took Noelle with them so that I could stay home with the fussy Jonah.  The poor kid has been a mess for about two months now, but we picked up a rx for a reflux med that we're praying will kick in and help.  It was nice to be able to be at the house with just him and put him down for naps as needed since he does not ever sleep when we're out and about unless he's nursing.

a rare happy moment

On Tuesday, Caleb and Debbie took us to downtown Nashville to check out an amazing farmer's market.  It's in a permanent structure where different vendors can set up throughout the week, and also has a food court with a wide variety of foods.  We picked up lunch in the foodcourt, and then bought some Georgia peaches on the way out.  They are so good- I've been devouring at least 3 a day!

waiting for our lunch

I'm loving that I have been able to get in some great runs while we've been here.  Mornings are pretty relaxed, and between Luke, grandma, and the aunts, the kids have been in great hands.  I think Noelle especially is loving all the one-on-one attention she is getting.  The neighborhood has a nice trail that I've been able to run along, and I've done a few runs just around the neighborhood streets.  I enjoy seeing all of the houses and picking out what I like about each one.  But I am definitely going to miss all the extra hands when we're back home!

Aunt Debbie and Jonah

Wednesday night we headed to the Williamson County Fair.  I was especially excited about it because we're missing the Howard County Fair at home this week.  It was fun wandering around taking in all the fun lights and rides, and getting free samples.  Jonah was pretty fussy so I ended up spending most of the time trying to walk him around and feeding him.  But I did eat some yummy fair food- a delicious pita stuffed with veggies, chicken, and ceasar dressing, and some handmade ice cream.  So thankful I'm not dairy free anymore and get to enjoy the yummy goodness of ice cream!

grandma and her grandbabies

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Road Trip to Tennessee

Yesterday we completed our first road trip as a family of four!  Luke's family decided to do a family vacation down to Tennessee to visit his brother and sister-in-law, and all but his one sister and brother-in-law will be here at some point during the week.  And it's always a good time getting the whole family together!

how Jonah spent much of the trip

I had spent some time talking with my friends and on Google and Pinterest to get advice on traveling in the car with an infant and toddler.  The thought of traveling with our super fussy Jonah was stressing me out, and I wanted to do whatever I could to make the trip go as smoothly as possible.  I found a few fun activities I could put together for Noelle to do in the car, and we also invested in a DVD player and a season of Curious George.

One piece of advice we followed for the trip itself was to leave early in the morning so we could (in theory at least) get a large chunk of driving done while the kids were sleeping.  Door to door, the drive was going to take approximately 10 hours, and we figured if we could even get three hours done in the morning, that would be a good beginning.  We also estimated that with stopping for feedings, and giving the kids some time out of their carseats, it would take more like 14 hours.

reading with Noelle

So we left at 4 a.m., and me, being the crazy person I am, decided to go for a run before we left.  Jonah woke up for a feeding around 12:45, and I decided to just run after that, and then get myself ready to go. Once Luke and I were ready we made sure everything was packed in the car, and then got the kids ready and stuck them in their car seats.  Jonah gave us about 15 minutes of whimpering, but then fell asleep.  Noelle ended up being awake the ENTIRE day, aside from a 20ish minute nap in the early a.m. hours. (She ended up sleeping for over 11 hours last night.)

stopping to play
We met our goal of driving 3 hours, and then stopped to use the restrooms and I fed Jonah.  While I fed him, Luke and Noelle walked around the big parking lot we were parked in so that she could get some energy out.  Once we hit the road again, Jonah fussed for a little while, but then fell back asleep, and we were able to go close to another three hours before stopping again.  (I was starting to get worried that Jonah was going to sleep too much in the car and not give us any sleep last night, but he gave me a four hour stretch at one point, which is the best he's done in awhile!)

we made it!

That was pretty much the rest of our day- going for a few hours, pulling over to feed and play, and then hitting the road again.  I spent a lot of time sitting between the kids trying to keep Noelle occupied with the activities I brought.  We read lots of books, played with stickers, and had fun sticking pieces of pipe cleaner into the straw hole of a cup (Pinterest find!).

In the end, the trip ended up taking 13 hours, and went way more smoothly than we thought that it would.  I had spent a lot of time praying, asking the Lord to help us and give us a smooth trip, and those prayers were definitely answered!  We are thankful to be here, exploring Nashville and spending time with family, and of course, many extra hands to help with the littles!  

family selfie (and Jonah's true feelings)