Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy First Birthday, Jonah!

To my Jonah, my J man, my baby J,

To my sweet, wild, and crazy boy,

Oh how I love you! And oh how this past year has flown by. It was probably one of the hardest years of my life, but often those end up being the best because of what comes after the hard times. You were not an easy baby- lots of crying, lots of waking up in the middle of the night, and lots of not being able to leave the house because you would only sleep at home. But you are so worth it.

And when you got past that really tough stage, you became so much fun! I think you just wanted to be a part of everything going on around you. Once you could sit up on your own, you looked around at everything, and once you figured out the whole crawling thing, you were into whatever you could reach. Now you're a steady walker, and we had to do some serious baby proofing that we never had to do with your sister!

Your daddy and I have loved watching you grow from a tiny 6 lb 12 oz baby to a 20 pound toddler, who is into absolutely everything. You love to go, go, go, and you absolutely love to be outside. When you were in your rough stage of life (aka the first six months), you could be wailing away, but as soon as we took you outside, you were fine. You would just look around, taking it all in.


You've always had the best smile, and even when you were driving us crazy, you could flash that smile at all the strangers tricking them into thinking you must be such an easy-going, happy baby. And you've certainly won your mommy's heart with that smile over and over again.

Oh Jonah, I pray that you grow up to love Jesus. That everyone around you will want to love Him because of how you live your life. I want your life to be filled with so much love (and believe me, it already is!), but I want you to know Jesus and His love. His love is the only one that fills every hurt and hole in your heart. Because He is it- the only One who can love like that.

Your first year of life is such a celebration of your growth and change, and the fact that YOU make us a family of four.

We love you so much! Happy First Birthday!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Day Before My Baby Turns One

This was me exactly one year ago. 

Oh. My. Word. I was big, and I was so ready to have this baby boy. It was a day past my due date, and I was headed in for my 40 week (1 day) doctor's appointment.

My mom came along with me so that she could keep an eye on Noelle while I got checked and talked to the doctor. Since I was already 4 cm dilated, my OB asked if I wanted to go ahead and schedule an induction for sometime that week.

My response: heck yes!

We stopped by the receptionist's desk on the way out to schedule and were set up to have the induction at 6:00 a.m. two days later. I texted Luke and we joked about how it was going to be an early morning (especially because I planned on getting up super early to workout one last time before we left for the hospital.)

It was my mom's birthday, so after the appointment I treated her to some lunch and then we walked around the mall for awhile. Noelle and I headed home and I hoped she would nap so I could nap. But she gave in to the car nap, and I knew there was no hope of her napping at home. I decided to go pick up a few last minute things I wanted to have on hand, as well as a Big Sister shirt for Noelle.

Heather Boockholdt Photography

Ever since the appointment, I'd been feeling a bit crampy, but my appointment the previous week had left me feeling the same way. But as we were walking into Kohls, I began to think that the cramping was a little more painful. By the time we got home after successfully finding a shirt, I thought maybe the cramps were coming maybe they were contractions. But only maybe- I was focused on making it to my induction two days later!

After Luke got home and we ate dinner, we decided to take a family walk around the block, and by then I was noticing the pain was more intense in regular intervals. As we walked, I started to time how far apart they were, and it ranged anywhere from 7 to 11 minutes apart. By the time we got home and had sat down to watch some t.v., I was in a lot more pain and decided to go lay down.

Not too much later, my contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart, and by the time we were on the phone with my OB, some were 3 minutes apart. He thought that the doctor I had seen that day at my appointment probably swept my membranes, and that in turn had probably helped get my labor going. He told us to go ahead and meet him at the hospital. My mom had already arrived to take Noelle, and was trying to coach me through breathing while the contractions were hitting.

That drive to the hospital felt like the longest in my life! I remember just laying back between each contraction to rest before the next one hit. And then when we parked at the emergency room and walked into the entrance, all I could think was that I was going to puke. Thankfully there was a trash can right through the door and I made it just in time. In time to puke in front of a very packed emergency room. But I didn't care- I stood there gripping the trash can until someone came out to help me sit in a wheelchair and take me up to labor and delivery. If nothing else, giving birth has made me reevaluate what is embarrassing!

me after my epidural

Once we were up and checked in, the nurse checked me and said I was 9 plus centimeters dilated! She asked if I wanted an epidural, and I said yes please! I could tell the nurse was a little nervous about whether or not I would get one because I was so far along, but since my water was still intact, I could still get one. Praise the Lord! I am so thankful for the invention of the epidural.

After the good stuff took affect, it was time to push. And after about 20 minutes of pushing, our baby boy was born and in my arms! He was born at 12:28 a.m., and if he had been born just 29 minutes earlier, he would share a birthday with his Nana. We marveled at his hair and watched him get a bath. He latched right on when we attempted nursing.

He was a perfect little baby and just the addition God had planned for our little family!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


I love love, and I love celebrating love! And I especially love it when it's for someone I love. (That's a lot of love!)

This past weekend I got to be a part of the proposal for one of my best friends, and it was so fun celebrating with her! Kristen was my roommate for three years in college, and she was there for every part of my relationship with Luke. Now I'm excited that she will get to experience the joy (and hard work!) of being a wife.

she's getting married next!

The trip to Dallas was a bit of a last minute decision. Kristen called me about two weeks ago to let me know that our other best friend Amy (one of my freshman year roomies) was flying down to see her for the weekend. Kristen thought I was still nursing Jonah and wouldn't be able to get away, but when she said she thought a proposal was possibly coming, I knew I wanted to be there. After a three-way call with Amy and Kristen, I texted Amy and she confirmed that the proposal was definitely happening that weekend.

I wanted so badly to be there, but Luke was already planning on being away at our church's men's retreat for the weekend, and I wasn't sure what we would do with the kids. BUT our amazing moms stepped in and watched them for us. I left Friday night and came up back Sunday morning, so it was a whirlwind of a trip. (And I think I got a total of six hours of sleep!)

David, Kristen's fiance, had called me to hash out some details of the plan before I flew down, so I knew that most of Saturday would be leisurely spent with Kristen and Amy, but that the proposal would happen that evening. David had set it up with some friends of his to do it at their house because David and Kristen go to their house regularly for game nights. David's friend sent Kristen an email inviting her over for a game night, which Kristen declined because she was having friends in town.

the three of us 7 1/2 years ago

I felt kind of bad about messing up David's plan, but Kristen had decided she was going to give us the true Texas experience and take us to the rodeo. David figured he could still make it work- we just couldn't let Kristen take us out to eat before the rodeo and we would have to figure out a way to get Kristen to go inside his friend's house, even though we were supposedly just swinging by to pick his friend up on our way to the rodeo.

When Kristen said she wanted to take us out for Mexican and margaritas, Amy played the part of not feeling well and suggested we stay in for dinner. It worked perfectly and I don't think Kristen suspected too much. Once we were in the car driving to David's friend's house, Amy and I were in the backseat texting each other because we were so excited and we thought that maybe Kristen knew what was coming when David sprung on her at the last minute that we were picking up her friend. We tried to distract her so that she wouldn't ask too many questions!

As David and I had discussed, when we pulled into his friend's driveway, I announced that I had to pee and asked if his friend wouldn't mind if used her restroom quickly. Kristen of course said it was fine, and then booked it out of the car and up to the front door where David's friend had left a note telling us to come on in and that she was in the back yard.

Kristen opened the back door and stepped out onto the little patio where there was a table set up with wine, candles, and the game of Life (because one of their favorite things to do with each other is play games). David quickly followed behind her and then shut the door behind him.

Amy and I were standing inside the house looking out on the patio taking pictures and a video, while the girl who lives at the house was hiding in her daughter's playhouse in the backyard snapping pictures. We couldn't hear anything, but it was so incredibly sweet and so exciting to be a part of!

they're getting married!

After the proposal and hearing what David had said, we headed back to Kristen's friend's house for an engagement party. Her entire family was there and lots of their friends. It was definitely a wonderful celebration, and everyone is looking forward to the wedding!

This trip also happened to be the first time I was spending a night away from Jonah. And really, I was a little more concerned about how Noelle would do since she falls asleep with me every night, and then somehow makes her way back to our bed even after Luke moves her when he comes to bed. But it sounds like they did well, and it makes me feel better about being able to go away for our anniversary, and then of course for Kristen's wedding!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Recent Fun

On my birthday Monday last week, we adventured to Dunkin' Donuts for my last free iced coffee. Our little muffin date was fun, although based on the picture, I clearly wasn't the most entertaining thing there. And I'm pretty sure Jonah got more muffin in the high chair and on the floor than in his mouth, as usual. Love my little birthday dates!

We also had a mall date with friends, and got to play on the indoor play area, eat Chick Fil A, and go for a carousel ride! Noelle was one happy little girl, and Jonah was having so much fun, he didn't get cranky until two hours after his normal morning nap time. Win win!

Noelle and I ventured out to go see Cinderella while my mom stayed home with the boy. I really wasn't sure how Noelle would do, but it pretty much went like I thought it would. She was glued to the screen for the previews and the little Frozen movie at the beginning, and then got antsy once the actual movie started. She did enjoy the scene with the fairy godmother, but spent the rest of the time asking for more popcorn, walking up and down the steps, poking at lights along the stairs, and a quick trip to the potty. But we made it through the whole thing, and I don't think we annoyed anyone! (And I really enjoyed the movie!)

We also went to play with some friends who live nearby and Noelle wanted to bring her animals with her. I was getting ready to walk out the door and then turned around to see her like this. Girlfriend really does love her animals! One night, when she had wandered back into our bed in the wee hours of the morning, she woke up crying saying she wanted her horsey. Luke told her she could go downstairs and get it herself if she really wanted it. And she did.

Noelle has also started to love on her baby brother. Sometimes there's a little too much love and Jonah ends up crying. And a lot of times I end up laughing because it's hilarious seeing Jonah's facial expressions as he's being lovingly choked.  Luke and I figure she gets her turn to annoy baby brother before he gets old enough to return the favor. And Luke was an expert at it, so we know it's coming.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

So Worth It

Sunday was a rough day for Jonah. Lots of fussing, seemed to only want me, but still wasn't entirely happy when I was holding him. At one point, Luke took him downstairs while I was showering and got him to be happy playing with toys. But as soon as Jonah heard my voice when I asked Luke a question, he lost it again.

But! But I think the culprit might be some tummy issues with milk. Starting at the end of last week, I gave him a bottle with milk in it, and then more and more milk bottles as our supply of formula dwindled. He's been fussier than usual the last few days, and in the past two days especially, has had some pretty bad diaper rash. I'm going to call the pediatrician, and go back to just formula for now to see if that helps. Poor baby!

His fussiness on Sunday was reminiscent of his first six months of life when we had no idea what was wrong. He continued to be fussy when we got home from church, and then only took a short nap. He was fussy when he woke up, but the fussies stopped as soon as I took him outside in the sunshine. I pushed him around in the little car for awhile, but once I took him back inside, he lost it again. I took him to Bible study, and he was fine the entire time we were there, even when it meant pushing back his bedtime. I think sometimes he just needs to be out of the house.

As fussy as he was, and as frustrated as both Luke and I were, it's amazing how all of it can be wiped away in one quiet, sweet moment with him. I stood swaying with my baby boy in his room before bed, humming "Jesus Loves Me". He rested his head on my shoulder for a little while, and then lifted his head up to look at me. I smiled at him, and he opened his mouth, leaned in, and put his mouth on my chin. I'll call it a baby kiss! I laughed softly, and he giggled right back at me.

I continued to give him little kisses on his nose and around his mouth, and he kept laughing. For that moment, in the darkness of his room, I got to make a precious memory with my almost one year old. Those really good moments make all the hard ones more than okay. Those moments make my heart swell and love grow even bigger. And I am so thankful for the sweet times that come with the hard ones that add up to make motherhood such a gift.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter 2015

Easter last year was also marked by the fact that my due date was the next day for baby Jonah. I was big and SO ready to have him. And since Noelle came 10 days early I had secretly been hoping he would as well, but no, he decided to hold out and came two days after his due date (well, one day and 29 minutes after.)

This year we got to have our wiggly, mostly happy, almost one year old be a part of our day! We got to church semi-early (which for us means we got there a few minutes before worship got started instead of walking in while everyone is already singing) and dropped both kids off in the nursery. Noelle was upset again and I was worried that we would be called down for at least one of them, but they both survived! An Easter miracle!

finding a clue on our bed

The sermon was a good one and reminded us that the cross frees us from our guilt and Christ's resurrection frees us from death. God is the victor- and His victory means that everything we do has an eternal perspective. Jesus' resurrection isn't necessarily going to change our life circumstances as a Christian, but it changes us from the inside out and how we approach our circumstances. I have to say, as much as I LOVE Christmas, as I've gotten older, I've really come to love Easter. There is nothing more wonderful we can celebrate than what Christ did for us, and I love this time of year for reminding me of this.

On Saturday evening, we had Luke's parents and sister over for dinner to celebrate Easter with them. It was a great time, as usual, and we enjoyed a yummy crock pot roast with mashed potatoes and delicious bread! We got spoiled with a family Easter basket and Luke's mom made the kids a little stick pony, which Jonah immediately pulled the head off of. Oh Jonah!

Before church, I sent Noelle on a mini-scavenger hunt to find her and Jonah's Easter baskets. I had five easy clues taped around the house and once Noelle figured out how it worked, was excited to search for the next clue. We didn't go big on the baskets, but Noelle liked the little Frozen trinkets we bought and the Strawberry Shortcake DVD.

Easter egg hunting with Nana

After church, we took the kids home and got Jonah down for his nap. Once he woke up, we headed to my parents with our ham in tow. Never have I ever made a ham, but Luke was in charge and did a great job! My mom had Karina (their exchange student from Chile) hide eggs around the yard and sent Noelle on an egg hunt. She of course loved it, and then we played the hot/cold game for her to find her Easter basket.

Our littles sure are spoiled and oh so loved! It was a wonderful first Easter for Jonah, and Noelle definitely made good with all the Easter candy and loot!

Monday, April 6, 2015

On Turning 30

I've always hated getting older. Turning 20 and no longer being in my teens hit me pretty hard. And being in my mid-twenties was kind of sad. But I've matured, at least I like to think so, and age is just a number (right?!?). In my 30 years of life I have been SO incredibly blessed! And that is what I want to dwell on for this birthday.

First and foremost, I am so thankful for Christ saving me! With the Easter season I've been doing a Lent devotional through She Reads Truth, and it has consistently brought me back to what Christ did for me. He saved ME. He knows me personally. All my thoughts, sins, wishes, hurts- and He is ever so patient with me. I know in my day to day, I take it for granted that I have this relationship with Him, but I shouldn't. Because I know there are many who are lost, even people I love. And when I do dwell on that, I just ache at what they are missing out on. Because Jesus is truly everything, and the only thing that will fulfill you.

God was truly the author behind my love story with Luke. I love that I get to be married to my best friend (even if he is five months younger than me!) and do life with him. He is so patient with me and knows me so well. We met when I was 15, so I can now say I've known him for half my life! I can't even count how many times he says something and it ends up being exactly what I was thinking or about to say. He works hard to provide for our little family, and he loves on our kids. He makes me laugh and encourages me in pursuing what I'm passionate about.

What would my life be without my babies? They have my heart and have brought out a love that I never even knew existed until they were born. Motherhood is one of the greatest treasures I have been given, and this time with them being little is so priceless to me. I love watching them learn and grow, seeing them hit milestones, and each of them becoming their own little person. I love my little girl, love laughing at the funny things she says, and watching her figure out new things. I love my baby boy, love that he shares a birthday month with me and his Nana, and I love the laughter and craziness he has brought to our life in the past year.

I have a wonderful, loving family and I am so glad that most of them are close by! My parents have always encouraged and supported me. They've pushed me to grow and try new things (I wouldn't have gone on the missions trip where I met Luke if my mom hadn't encouraged me to go), and they've been there when I have had dark times in my life. They paid for all of my college so I could graduate debt free, and gave me a little nudge out of the nest so I could grow up. It's been so fun growing up with my sisters and seeing us all as adults now. Talking about relationships, getting healthy, babies, marriage, and of course our love for cats. And my brother is my adventure buddy. Okay, so maybe I'm not the most adventurous, but seeing all that he does makes me want to climb mountains and do new things. We miss him out in Colorado!

And can I just say a little something about my in-laws? The best! I feel so loved and so a part of their family. My mother-in-law is always watching out for things that we might be interested in, she loves on our kids so much, and she is such a prayer warrior. My father-in-law works so hard and is such a servant in his church. Their marriage is something I aspire to have with Luke. I love that each of my sisters-in-law and brother-in-law are so different from each other, and for the shared interests and memories I have with each of them. Whenever we get everyone in Luke's family together, there is much fun being had!

Our friends. I love our friends. After graduating college and being first married, I struggled with finding the type of connections I had in college. Close girlfriends that I could share life with, get advice from, and laugh with. Well, God provided those friendships. Our two small groups from church have given us so much encouragement in life and in my faith. And the friendships I've been able to build with my girlfriends, whether it's bonding over talking about our babies or having a Mary Kay party together, are such a blessing. I also love that I am still close with my best girlfriends from college and love that we can always pick up right where we left off.

Turning 30 means I'm another year older, with another year full of blessings under my belt. I'm looking forward to seeing what God does in this next year, and pray that most of all, He draws me closer to Himself.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Daily Routine

I thought it might be fun to look at what our current daily routine is with two littles at home. I use routine very loosely- I don't really have either kid on a schedule of any sort and we have very few obligations. Plus, in general, we're a very laid back family and like to go with the flow.

My wake-up time Monday through Friday is almost always 5:00 a.m. It comes early, but I am a morning person and do enjoy the quiet. And it's the only way to guarantee time to get a run in without kids, and to get a shower before they wake up. Once I can trust Jonah to not impale himself, I might be willing to sleep a little later and take my shower after the kids wake up. Especially since a 5 o'clock wake-up means I'm usually in bed by 9:00.

Jonah and Noelle usually wake up anytime between 7:00 and 8:00. If I'm downstairs already, Noelle will make her way down and ask for food. When Jonah wakes up, I think he plays around in his crib for a few minutes before he starts crying for me to come rescue him. He gets his bottle and Noelle eats her breakfast (which lately is either a frozen waffle-still frozen, a piece of toast, or cereal). My friend's kids come over around 7:30 and we hang out with them for about an hour before taking them to the bus stop across the street. They will often help me with changing diapers and getting the littles dressed for the day.

We then play around the house for about two to three hours before Jonah is ready to go down for his morning nap. It's rare that I leave the house before his nap just because by the time we've eaten, gotten dressed, been to the bus stop, and played for a little while, it's about time for Jonah to go down again. If we make plans with someone for earlier in the day, then I end up just pushing Jonah's nap back, which doesn't always go well. But I'm hoping he eventually drops the morning nap and takes a long afternoon nap.

Noelle almost always watches a few episodes of Strawberry Shortcake while Jonah is napping, and this is when I have a few moments to myself. I like to use that time for a quiet time, to write a blog post, read other blogs, and send emails. I don't love that she watches so much, but I want a little bit of time to myself and it keeps her quiet so Jonah can nap.

After Jonah wakes up, we eat lunch and then play for awhile. Once Jonah has had the chance to move around for a bit, we go out to run an errand or go somewhere fun like Chick Fil A, a play date, or the mall. And now that it's starting to warm up, we can go on walks and go to the playground! I definitely need to get out of the house at some point in the day, and walks are usually a good way to keep everyone happy.

I try to get Jonah down for his afternoon nap by 4:00 at the latest, and he usually naps for an hour or less. During that time, I try to prep as much of dinner as I can (though that also happens during the morning nap if I'm doing something in the crockpot), and then we play until daddy gets home around 6:00. If it's a bath night, I try to get them in the bath by 5:30 so that we are finishing up about the time daddy gets home.

Then it's dinner and play time until bed around 7:00 for Jonah. Noelle usually watches more Strawberry Shortcake while Luke and I catch up, and then it's reading and bedtime for Noelle (and me!) at 8:30.

There are certainly days that feel really long, especially if anyone is especially fussy or whiny, but it's so much fun having this time with the littles and watching them grow and change!