Friday, October 31, 2014

October in Pictures

October is by far my most favorite month of the year!  Christmastime is my favorite holiday (so basically the day after Thanksgiving till December 26 is my absolute favorite time of the year), but I LOVE the month of October.  For some reason, it has become the quintessential time of year when I love the weather, the clothes, the warm drinks, the fun activities, and it really does have some of the best running weather.

family picture from the pumpkin patch

I've never been super excited about Halloween- I mean it was fun as a kid, but as an adult I really just enjoy the candy part.  But ever since Noelle was born, it has become so much more fun for me!  I love putting adorable costumes on my littles, and it's been fun carrying on traditions from my own childhood.

This month, we tried to do a lot as a family on the weekends to enjoy the weather and the fall activities.

We went to Lillian's Elmo-themed 2nd birthday.

Noelle and I worked on some fall crafts.

Boot weather came out to play, and Noelle and I got to match.

I took the kids to Larriland Farm more than once.

We enjoyed some beautiful fall weather and took the kids on walks around the neighborhood.

We started to convince Jonah that taking a bottle was okay after we found out about him not gaining any weight.

The littles and I went apple picking with Nana at Larriland.

We went to Gaver Farm with friends from our MOPS group.

And of course the kids got dressed up and we went to the pumpkin patch.

And lots of other fun Halloween things!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Generosity of Friends

In my 6 month update on Jonah, I mentioned that we didn't have proper winter attire for him yet.  We have this adorable white snuggly from when Noelle was a baby, but it is size 3 months and definitely does not fit Jonah.

Noelle at 3 months old

Well, my super sweet friend, Jen, emailed me and offered to let me use one of hers!  She has 3 adorable little boys, and I am all for borrowing baby clothes and toys when I can.  She had it with her at church this past Sunday and I've already bundled Jonah up in it when we take our neighbor's kids to go wait at the bus stop. After being outside for about 15 minutes, his hands were still toasty warm.

Then on Tuesday, a shipped Target bag showed up in our mailbox addressed to me.  When Luke brought in the mail I asked him what he had ordered from Target and he said he hadn't ordered anything.  So then I sat there trying so hard to remember what I had ordered recently.  I've been trying to be better about not spending too much money, but there have been other times where something shows up that I forgot I ordered.  (oops!)

I opened the bag, and lo and behold, there was a blue snowsuit inside!  We were so confused- I couldn't figure out how someone knew we needed it for Jonah.  And then I remembered I had mentioned something in Jonah's six month update and someone must have bought it for him.  The gift receipt revealed that it was from one of my best friends (and roommate) from college!

you're the best, Kristen!

She added a little note that said she had read about it on Jonah's update and that she has a "slight addiction" to buying baby clothes.  Love it! And obviously, Jonah loves it.

in the mouth, per the usual

Speaking of weather, Maryland had a beautiful 75* day on Tuesday!  One last warm hurrah before the cold really hits.  I had an appointment with the podiatrist (who said it's ok for me to run!) and my friend Sarah watched Noelle while I was there.  Her two little girls were dressed as princesses and Sarah brought another princess dress for Noelle to wear, which she wore for the rest of that day, and the entire next day.

Noelle as a princess  // Jonah and mommy on the swing

Luke got home early from work so we headed to one of the local playgrounds so that Noelle could play and we could all enjoy the beautiful day. Winter is going to be sad when we can't go outside anymore!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Patch Fun

This past weekend we finally got a chance to visit the pumpkin patch as a family!  It's been a busy month and the weather hasn't always cooperated, but we ended up with a beautiful day to go to Baugher's Farm and wander around the pumpkin patch.

our little dalmatian

A tradition my family had growing up, was dressing up in our Halloween costumes when we went to pick pumpkins.  It's always been fun looking back at those pictures and remembering all the various things we dressed up as, while of course being surrounded by pumpkins.  Quintessential Halloween. I knew I wanted to continue that tradition with our kids, and Luke was completely on board with it.

as good as it got with both of them

We already have a pumpkin that my mom gave us, so we didn't really plan on buying any while we were there.  Really, it was more for the experience and to take some fun pictures!  At Baugher's, you buy a $1 ticket to get on a hayride that takes you out to the actual pumpkin patch.  We hopped on, and Noelle loved it!

  kisses from Jonah on the ride

We wandered around the patch for a bit, took some pictures, and then Luke and Jonah waited in line for the ride back to the farm.  They had a fun tube slide stacked up on some hay bales, which Noelle went down twice before deciding it would be more fun to watch the other kids.

daddy and his puppies

We went to find daddy and Jonah in line and switched kids so that I could take Jonah somewhere sort of out of the way to nurse him.  Overall he did really well, but after awhile he was ready to be done. Once we got back to the parking lot, I nursed Jonah a little longer in the van while Luke and Noelle went to check out the petting zoo.  Since we were up near his parents, we took the kids to visit them, and his mom loved seeing them in their costumes!

Noelle's first Halloween as an elephant // Jonah's first Halloween as a puppy

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What Life Looks Like

My Sunday morning today looked like this:

- alarm went off at 5:45 because I knew I wanted to get in a run, and if I didn't do it before kids woke up, it wouldn't happen.  This is also after waking up around 2 a.m. to feed Jonah, and letting him cry it out for awhile around 10:30 p.m. (went to bed at 9:00).

- ran 5 miles (longest I've run in awhile, and still possibly running with a broken toe, but it feels good to be out there!)

she fought me on the dress and shoes for today

- came home to an awake Noelle.  Gave her a hug and told her she could go play while I showered, and thankfully she happily played in her room.  After I showered, I put pjs back on, changed Noelle, and blow-dried my hair.  By then, Jonah was waking up, so I changed his diaper and then took the kids downstairs.

- I got Noelle some breakfast, and then nursed Jonah while reading Noelle a few books and feeding myself an apple with almond butter (can't stop!).  Once he had nursed for a little while, I took him to the kitchen where he played in the bumbo while I cleaned up the kitchen and put a sweet potato in the microwave for both my breakfast and to make some for Jonah.

- I fried two eggs, and put them over half the sweet potato, and then held Jonah while I ate and put the rest of the sweet potato in the baby bullet.  As I was feeding Jonah some of the sweet potatoes, I heard Luke get up and shower.

- when Luke came downstairs, he took Jonah and tried to feed him some formula while I got dressed and finished my hair.  Jonah was starting to get fussy because by then he had been awake for almost two hours, which means nap time for Jonah!  We decided that Luke would stay home from church with Jonah, while Noelle and I went.

- Noelle and I made it to church a little bit late (how am I always late when I've been up for hours?!?) and I got to sit through an entire sermon for the first time in months!  I did feel like a little part of me was missing since Jonah has been such a permanent extension of myself.  But as much as I missed him, it felt so refreshing to hear the entire sermon and learn from God's Word!

Speaking of the sermon, it was a convicting one!  The passage was from Acts 11:19-30 about the beginning of the church in Antioch.  Pastor Randy talked about how "the hand of the Lord was on them", even though where Barnabas was preaching was not where he had planned to be.  While it is important for us to plan, none of our plans will work if God's hand is not in them.  We must be seeking His direction.

Also, as Christians we are commanded to "go and make disciples".  The Greek interpretation of "go" is actually "as you go".  We should be sharing Christ as we go- to our next door neighbor, at work, as we raise our children.  I guess I hadn't really thought about the fact that I am raising little disciples-to-be!  But it is so true, and that is exactly where God has me and I am so thankful for the opportunity!

These early Christians were the first to be called "christian", which means "little christs".  Randy reminded us that as much as we've given to the meaning of the word Christian (how we vote, how we educate our children, etc), all that matters is that we are in relationship with Christ and becoming more Christlike.

There are many more nuggets of truth from this passage, but these were a few that stuck out to me.

And random answer to prayer: on Thursday I was taking my rings off to put lotion on my hands and realized my engagement ring was missing!  I was so sad and kept thinking about it, but had no idea where it could be.  Today I decided to search in the van, and as soon as I opened up the trunk, I saw it just sitting there on the floor.  Praise the Lord for allowing me to find it!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Jonah: 6 Month Update

Half a year old already! These past six months have flown by, but at the same time, have been the longest six months of my life.  Never have I gotten so little sleep or had to do so much one-handed while holding a fussy baby in the other hand.  But Jonah has the cutest smile I've ever seen, and it's so much fun seeing him become his own little person.

Height and Weight: Jonah weighed 13 lbs 2 oz and was 26 inches tall.  Unfortunately his weight went down 2 ounces from his 4 month check.  Which means my milk supply has gone down.  I confessed to the pediatrician about how I had done Whole 30 last month and was worried that doing so was going to affect my supply.  I told him I had made sure to eat a lot of calories and I didn't lose weight.  He said that sometimes for some reason, some women's milk supply will go down between 4 and 6 months, and he also thinks that since I run, I'm just probably not actually getting as many calories as I need to maintain that supply.

He was so nice to me about it, and wanted to make it perfectly clear that it was not my fault, and that Jonah actually looks really good.  He gained height and grew in head size, which means he's getting enough calories to grow, just not enough to gain weight.  He also talked about how we are all made in God's image and that I'm being a great mother, which is one of the most important jobs I'll ever have. It's only the second time I've seen this particular doctor in the two-ish years we've been going to this pediatrician, and it just reaffirms that God lead us right to him!

He wrote a prescription for me that should help to increase my supply, and also wants us to supplement with formula.  The doctor thinks it's likely that Jonah will eventually take a bottle or a sippy cup, which I hope is true!  We'll go back in three weeks for a weight check, and I'm praying we can get Jonah beefed up!

the sticker did not last long

Sleep: Nighttime has still been pretty awful- we've even had a few nights recently where, during one of his 3-4 wake-ups, he'll stay up for over an hour.  Sleep deprivation can also cause milk supply issues, so that could also be a part of the problem.  Multiple women on the retreat this past weekend told me that once they did sleep training, their child slept so well.  I'm completely on board with crying it out, but Jonah works himself up into a screaming fit, and I wasn't sure if that was safe for him to do.  I asked the pediatrician about it, and he said, it's completely fine, and that sleep training is the way to go.  Self-soothing is an important part of development.  If he cries/screams for 2-3 hours the first night, it's still okay.  I needed to hear that, and we will definitely be sleep training right away!

Naps are kind of hit or miss.  Usually he does a nice two-ish hour nap in the morning, but afternoons kind of vary.  Hopefully sleep training at night will also help with nap times!

love that smile!

Eating: He's been getting about two solid meals a day, and nursing probably 6-7 times.  This doesn't include the 3-4 times in the middle of the night, but those are mostly for soothing.  So far the solids he's tried are carrots, avocado, peas, sweet potato, and green beans.  The only one he really seemed to dislike was the avocado.  Hopefully he continues to like veggies, unlike his sister!

Diapers/Clothing:  Wearing size 2 diapers, and is mostly in 6 month or 6 to 9 month clothing.  The clothes are a little big, but they are what I have and they do the job.  Plus this means he'll get a lot of use out of them!  I just need to figure out what I'm going to put him in for the colder months when we're leaving the house.  We had a full body outfit for Noelle, but it's not the right size for him.

Social/Milestones:  He's always rolling, to the extent that it's often hard to change his diaper or clothing because he keeps rolling onto his stomach.  He isn't quite sitting by himself, but will hold himself upright for a few seconds.  When he's on his stomach he can scootch himself forward, but hasn't put himself in the crawling position yet.

Lot's of people think he's a happy baby because he's always smiling and content when they are around.  I think it's the smile- it really is the cutest thing and people probably think there is no way a baby that smiley could be a mess.  Also, this past Monday I noticed that his two bottom teeth are popping through!  Something to help explain some of the fussiness.  Everything is going into his mouth, and he tends to do a little better in the carseat or stroller if he has something to chomp on.

photo shoot got old quickly

Likes: He still seems to enjoy bathtime, unless I've pushed him too long between a nap and getting ready for bed.  He loves having all the attention and people smiling at him.  He loves mommy and will sometimes be a little quieter for me if he's been screaming with someone else.  He still loves being outdoors, which is going to get harder as it's been getting colder and colder.  All the more reason I need to get him something warm to bundle him up in!

Dislikes:  He really dislikes not having attention.  Sometimes he'll last a few minutes with a toy, but then is fussing for someone to come pick him up.  Sleep training is going to be a blast! (yikes!)

Fun things we did:  We went to a birthday party for our friend Lillian, had a bunch of play dates with friends, and went on the women's retreat with church.  He got to meet his Aunt Hannah for the first time when she came up to visit Luke's parents, and we got to see Uncle Caleb and Aunt Debbie when they visited from Tennessee.  We also had our town's fall festival and some fun trips to Larriland Farm for some fall fun.

Some pictures from last month:

trying to steal Noelle's food

a visit to Larriland Farm

some light reading

an attempt at a family selfie

being a cutie

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Being Made Into Gems

This past weekend I attended the women's retreat with my church, and it was just what I needed.  I got very little sleep, ate more than I should have, and the car ride on the way to the retreat took twice as long as it should have.  But I got to hang out with some of my best friends, cried more than I have in awhile, and learned some great truths about God from the speaker.

me and my wonderful roomies! (thanks for the picture, Kristina!)

First, the speaker.  Her name is Arlita Winston and she shared from her 75 years worth of life stories. Growing up, she and her family were missionaries in Asia, and had to flee twice during war time and Communist take over.  She shared about her relationships with various people in her life and what God has taught her through those.  The overall theme of the retreat was how each of us is being formed into heavenly treasures through the various hardships we face in life.

I missed out on probably about half of each session because Jonah would act up, or I was putting him down for bed.  But God uses whatever time we're given to teach us what He wants us to hear.  There are a few lessons that I want to remember in particular:

 Jonah keeping himself somewhat entertained during a session

* We need to relinquish our plans to God.  I know I've heard this probably hundreds of times in my life, but it always seems to be applicable.  Arlita talked about I Chronicles 16 when the Ark of the Covenant is being brought back to the temple, and one of the people carrying it is struck dead because he reached out to prevent it from falling.  David questions God as to why He would do that, and God makes it clear that David did not seek Him for His plan- which was for the priests to carry the Ark.  How often do I go about my life making plans without ever seeking Him?

* God forms who we are by the various pressures, heat, and irritations in our lives.  It could be an aggravating relationship with someone close to us, sickness, or day-to-day frustrations.  We can respond with fear, anger, and bitterness.  But we must remember that God wants us to complete the work He has given us (Colossians 4:17), even in that time of hardship.  Knowing God's character is our inoculation to fear, and the irritations in our lives are being used to make us more Christlike, just as Paul dealt with the "thorn in his flesh" (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Jonah happy in the stroller

Through all of these things, God is making us into diamonds, silver and gold, and pearls.  We learn that God is bigger than our circumstances, and that He chose us just as we are.  And that He is shaping us to be more like Jesus.  There were many more lessons and scripture that Arlita covered, but these were some of the ones that stuck out to me.

Aside from the speaker, I got some much needed girl time.  I roomed with 3 of my best friends (and Jonah of course!), and we laughed over ridiculous things, talked about life, went on a hike, and 3 of us went for a run/walk through the Pennsylvania country roads.  On the drive down Kristina and I got off the highway (maybe??), and got a little turned around, but we finally made it!  Thankfully we were able to laugh through it, even with a fussing Jonah in the backseat.

post run/walk picture.  Jess pushed Jonah the whole way!

Jonah was a fuss-bucket for much of the trip, but there were so many women who asked to hold him and gladly took him when he was screaming so that I could listen for awhile and eat my meals.  Just thinking about it makes me tear up- what a blessing to have that kind of fellowship with other women!

I was happy to get home to these two 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mornings With Ellie

For some reason Noelle has not yet said "Noelle" when we ask her what her name is.  She can say "no" and she can say "el" but won't combine the two sounds.  I don't know if it's just a harder combination for her to make, but for some reason she just hasn't put the two together.  

I've always given her the nickname Ellie and call her both that and Noelle, and she does answer to both names. Recently she has been saying that her name is Ellie when I ask her what her name is, and she will say things in the third person when I ask possession questions.  (When I say, "whose book is that?", she responds with "Ellie's book".)

Jonah sleeping in his crib

One of the more consistent parts of Jonah's routine is that he will take a longer nap in the mid-morning.  About an hour-and-a-half to two hours after he wakes up in the morning, he will be ready to go down for a nap.  That nap usually lasts somewhere around two hours, and very rarely is shorter than an hour.  I often use this time to get something done- throw in laundry, prep for dinner, make phone calls. etc.  

"helping" me sweep, aka spread everything around

But I also try to make sure that I spend a good amount of the time doing one on one things with Ellie. She has really become great at playing independently, but she also loves being read to and playing with her kitchen.  I worry sometimes that I've jilted her of quality time with me because Jonah has been so high maintenance.

During our time together, we'll make breakfast and sing songs.  If I am putting in laundry, she'll come down to the basement with me and make a mess of pulling books off the bookshelf.  If I'm working on the computer, she'll sit next to me and color.  Which of course turns into "help please", meaning I should color in the Hello Kitty picture for her or trace her hand 10 times in a row.

eating some breakfast while I make mine

When the weather is nice, we'll sit out front and race back and forth across our super short yard, or play with bubbles.  I'll paint her nails and do "Ring Around the Rosie".  I'll push her in her little car back and forth in front of the house, or we'll follow the cat around until the cat gets tired of us (which is usually pretty quickly!)

Looking back at pictures from around the time Jonah was born, I can see how much she has changed physically.  She seems like so much more of a little girl than a toddler now!  It definitely makes me appreciate being home with my kids more so that I don't miss out on this short time of littleness.

from a few weeks before Jonah was born

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Wee Little Man

A few of Noelle's favorite books are the ones with lots of short Bible stories.  We have at least two books that get read on repeat, often one right after the other.  Both contain the story of Zacchaeus, and ever since we sang her the song about the "wee little man", she insists that we sing the song rather than read the story when we get to that page.

I've personally been reading through Beth Moore's book Jesus, the One and Only during my time with God.  The book is taking me through the book of Luke, focusing on the life of Jesus and His encounters with people during His ministry.  I love that even though I've read and heard these parables and stories many times throughout my life, I am always able to learn something new.  God's Word is certainly living and active!

[Sidenote: it is a constant struggle for me to find time to spend with the Lord- I definitely don't do it well.  Sometimes I just have to come to Him as I am throughout my days of crazy and say a quick prayer about what's on my heart, or ask Him to give me more patience.  But, I know that being in His Word is so important!]

Noelle reading one of her books

The most recent anecdote Beth Moore has taken me through is the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. He was a powerful man in Jerusalem, and being a tax collector, was able to extort the people.  There are so many great lessons in the story that have encouraged me and shown me ways that I can grow in my relationship with the Lord.

Luke 19:4 talks about how Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a tree so that he could better see Jesus through the crowd because he was too short to see above them.  Zacchaeus was a powerful public figure in the community, but was willing to humiliate himself in order to get a glimpse of Jesus. Do I seek Jesus like that?  Do I overcome whatever obstacles are in my way just so I can spend time with Him?  I love that someone who had never met Jesus before was so eager to see Him!

[Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."] 

Luke 19:5 uses the phrase "the spot".  When Jesus reached "the spot".  Beth Moore points to this as divine appointment- Jesus knew exactly who He was going to meet and talk with while He was in Jerusalem well before He even got there.  God knows our lives inside and out before we even begin our journeys.  And even better, Jesus calls Zacchaeus by name!  Christ knows and loves us so intimately, and desires for us to know Him just as well.

Bible with a side of coffee, apple, and almond butter

In verse 6, it says that Zacchaeus "came down at once."  God honors a quick response of obedience to Him and His Son.  He loves when we obey and experience life fully in Him and in His plan for us.  I know I'm not always quick to obey because I want things my way and I lose sight of the fact that God has the best plan for me.

There are so many other lessons to be learned from Jesus' encounter with Zacchaeus, but these are just a few that stood out to me in Beth Moore's book and are things that I need to work on in my own life.  I'm so thankful for the Lord's mercy and love!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rainy Day Fun

The original plan for today was to head up to a local farm with my local MOPS group to enjoy some fall-time fun with all the little Moppets.  But the weather forecast predicted lots and lots of rain, so the trip got postponed to later on in the month.

On Friday I'll be heading out for the women's retreat with my church, so I figured today was as good a day as any to do the oh so exciting chore of laundry.  I usually try to space out our laundry so that I don't have too many loads all at once, but decided to tackle it all today.  It's definitely not all going to get folded though- but at least it will be clean!

Noelle and Jonah's laundry

We tried on Noelle's Halloween costume, which is a little small, but will definitely work for this year. She'll be the cutest little dalmatian out there (for all of the 3 or 4 houses we'll go to)! Now to teach her how to say "trick or treat."

so silly

Between downpours, we hit up the grocery store for a few things that I want to bring with me this weekend, including another jar of almond butter, which I seem to go through on a weekly basis. So yum!

my favorite kind of shopping cart

After Jonah went down for his second nap (hallelujah!), I set up a fort for Noelle to play in.  It kept her entertained for about 10 minutes, and she had too-easy access to the paper plates.  And the marker.  Which she used on the comforter from my college days.

lots of blue colored paper plates // and blue colored comforter

And then she bonked her head on the table and wouldn't go under the fort anymore.  But at least Jonah took two really good naps today and was in a much better mood than he has been!  He also got to practice some more sitting up, and is getting quite good at the tripod sitting.

We ended with a delicious salad for dinner and bathtime for the littles.  It was definitely a simple day at home, but I am so thankful I get to spend the day with Noelle and Jonah!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekend Fun/The Return of the Fussy

The typical progression of how pictures go when I try to get a good picture of both of them.  But I had to capture them wearing their matching pumpkin shirts!

 just one is looking- always!

so much movement

We had planned to go to a local farm on Saturday, but because of the overcast weather and rain the day before, we decided to hold off and try another weekend.  It worked out well because Luke's brother and his wife, Caleb and Debbie, are in town visiting Luke's parents and came down to see us for a little bit. I took Debbie and Luke's sister, Lydia, to a crepe place right in our little downtown, which we love!  Noelle tagged along with us girls, while Luke and Caleb stayed home with a sleeping Jonah.  

It was also our town's Fall Festival.  Once Jonah woke up from his nap, Luke and I took the kids down to Main Street to walk around and check out the vendors.  There weren't as many as usual, but it was fun to see what was there, and we got some yummy hot apple cider and some sugar covered almonds.

Care Bear of course tagged along // Jonah chomping on our new teething necklace

Jonah is back to his super fussy self, which we think may be because of me eating my normal diet again.  It was a rough weekend- I had him at a baby shower with me on Saturday afternoon and he lost it, so we did not last long.  And then we had dinner at my parent's, and thankfully, my mom was willing to hold him and give us a little bit of a break!

Sunday I had a meeting with some girls from my church who are planning on getting a MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) program going, which I am so excited about! Thankfully I was able to put Jonah down for a nap right before I left and he slept most of the time I was gone.  The rest of the day was spent dealing with a fussy, nap-refusing Jonah.  Oh the joys of parenthood and returning to at least a dairy-free diet.