Friday, June 26, 2015

Swim Suit Season

Time to be real.

I've been struggling a lot lately with my body. Can I really blame the gut and love handles on pregnancy when it's been over a year since I gave birth? I think not.

I'm about a pound over what I weighed prior to getting pregnant with Jonah, and three pounds LESS than what I weighed prior to getting pregnant with Noelle- but the tummy remains and my body in general is different (thank you, breastfeeding!)

beach trip 2013

I don't remember struggling with this as much after Noelle was born, but I was younger and I think that helped me bounce back a bit better. Plus, I think I was distracted by how much I loved my baby, I didn't nurse her (I think my body held on to fat when I was nursing Jonah), and I was busy balancing a baby and working part time.

I love sweets, and I noticed a definite change in metabolism as I got closer to 30. Those things combined do not make it easy to lose weight. And I have diastasis recti (split abs) about two finger tips wide, and after reading that some ab work-outs make it worse, I'm afraid to do ANY ab work.

But, even as I write this, I'm reminded that my soft tummy is still in part a reminder that I carried two babies. It's a reminder that I enjoy getting ice cream with Luke, and baking cookies with our littles. Some women can get a flat stomach after pregnancy, but that may not be me.

And with a beach vacation coming up, I've been stressing about wearing a bathing suit.

But as my friend Natalie reminded me with this blog post- my kids will not notice or remember what I looked like in a bathing suit. They will remember mom splashing and playing with them, running into the waves and laughing.

I want to make memories with them, and I want them to remember having fun with ME, not remember mom sitting on the sidelines.

The idea of getting into a swim suit is still not an easy one, but I'll be praying that God reminds me that I am His, made in His image, and that HE chose me to be the mom of Noelle and Jonah.

So, here's to a summer of fun in the sun!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Dear Luke,

Thank you for being such a great dad. For loving our kids and for working so hard for us. Thank you for letting me pursue my dream of being a stay at home mom.

Thank you for loving the Lord and for loving me more than our kids. For keeping me grounded when I'm frustrated or feeling discouraged. For wanting me even though my body has changed after having two kids and getting older.

I love how excited Noelle and Jonah are when you get home from work. How they both run to you while Jonah yell-screeches "DADA". (Of course, Jonah also yells "DADA" when he sees the cat, but I'm going to go ahead and claim this as his first word!) It makes my heart so happy watching them grab your legs in a giant hug. And how you happily comply when Noelle immediately asks to get on your shoulders or for you to lift her up high.

I always knew that you would be a fun dad, but since we've had kids, it's been neat to see just how much fun you have with them. Hearing the giggles and screams of two toddlers being thrown onto our bed over and over again, getting Noelle to laugh as you towel her off after a bath, singing to Jonah before bed. All of these things are so precious and I want to ingrain them in my heart for the days when they are grown and we'll look back and say "remember when..."

Parenting with you is certainly an adventure, and will probably be harder on our marriage than what we've experienced so far. But I don't ever doubt your love for me, and I pray that God gives us wisdom as we navigate what comes down the road. I love that we can look at each other and laugh when our child throws a fit because she wants me to make a grilled cheese sandwich with the bread and cheese that she's already (mostly) eaten. Or when we both say "Oh, Jonah" when he falls over for the 100th time.

Thank you for praying for our kids and for wanting them to know the Lord. And while we certainly aren't perfect in our walks with Him, He is perfectly holding on to each of our lives and is sovereign over all.

(thank you Mom W for the card idea!)

Thank you, Luke, for all that you do as a Daddy and husband! We love you!

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Crazies I Live With

I told her once that the top of a pepper was the pepper's hat, and ever since then, all peppers have a hat. And sometimes she borrows the pepper's hat.

Sometimes she also likes to stumble upon her winter gear and bundle up on 90 degree days, because why not?

And Jonah LOVES to climb anything and everything that he can.

Even if it's just a teeny step up.

They both prefer to sit on the counter when I'm doing something in the kitchen. I trust Noelle, but definitely NOT Jonah!

Unless I'm standing right there and he is fully occupied.

And Noelle made sure she had multiple straws to drink her cup of milk with- because, again, why not?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Seven Years

In six days Luke and I will have been married for seven years. It always amazes me how much time has passed, and it feels surreal to say seven years ago we moved into our apartment, seven years ago we had all our friends and family come together to watch us make our vows to each other, seven years ago we went on our honeymoon. And yet so much has happened in the meantime- job changes, buying a house, vacations, and babies!

I am so incredibly thankful for God putting Luke in my life 15 years ago, and for how He orchestrated our story to be just so. I love Luke so much, and love that I get to grow old with him. I love that the base of our relationship is a friendship that has only gotten deeper as time has passed.

This past weekend Luke and I had the opportunity to go away to celebrate our anniversary. This was the first time we've been able to get away to celebrate for a few years, and it was perfect! We slept in (which looks like the super late hour of 7 a.m. for me), ate lots of delicious food, laid in our hotel room watching way more t.v. than we've probably watched in the last year, and hung out with his sister, Hannah, and her husband, Josh.

My mom had offered to take the kids for a weekend so that we could get away, and with Father's Day being next weekend (also our actual anniversary date) and Luke's younger sister, Ruth coming into town, we decided to go away this past weekend. We headed down to Charlottesville, VA to visit with Hannah and Josh, explore the little town, and not be too far away from the kids in case things were not going well (though I'm pretty sure my mom wouldn't have told us even if it was).

We ended up staying on the campus of UVA at the business school- it seems like the hotel (Inn at Darden) was probably run by students. We had a nice hotel room for a decent price, and only a short drive to the attractions downtown. I could easily walk out the door to run, and we were super close to The Park, which was basically a football field with two smaller fields on either side and a path surrounding it. I ran both mornings, and then walked around some knowing that Luke would still be sleeping.

Hannah took us to lunch on Saturday down at The Mall, where we ate delicious dumplings at Marco & Luca. It was fun catching up with Hannah, and then later on that evening, Josh and Hannah took us to a fancy (for us) Italian restaurant called Travinia. It was delicious, and we capped it off with fresh donuts from Duck Donuts, which was right next door.

After another great night of sleep and a leisurely morning, we met Hannah and Josh back at The Mall to each brunch at The Nook. I had a scrumptious egg and veggie wrap with fresh berries on the side, and of course Luke made sure his meal included bacon. And then we just had to finish off with dessert so we headed to Sweethaus for cupcakes- so good and I love that they have a play area for kids. I'm pretty sure I would be going there on a regular basis if we lived there!

I think they did just fine without us!

It was such a great weekend, and the perfect mix of downtime, being able to do what we wanted without worrying about kids, visiting with family, delicious food, and celebrating us. The 'us' that we had before kids. The 'us' that has grown and changed, but are still so happy to be with one another (sappy much?) and continue in life's adventures TOGETHER!

Happy SEVEN years!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Strawberry Picking

Yesterday we had our first play date outing with our CPC MOPS group to go strawberry picking! Aside from the fact that Noelle thought it was fun for about the first three minutes, and Jonah was cranky before we even left the house, it ended up being a lot of fun! I did not think things through and dressed Jonah in a mostly white onsie, which was covered in red before we were done. And I'm not quite sure how many strawberry stems he ended up eating.

These are the types of adventures I want our summer to be full of. I remember going strawberry picking when I was a kid, and then coming home and making home made ice cream to eat with our strawberries. Even though they are both still little, I want to make sure we're doing these things so that they just become a part of all our summers.

After we were done picking our three pounds of berries, we headed over to the main part of the farm to find the animals. They weren't in their usual spot, but one of the employees directed us to the field near the lake to find them. The kids loved seeing the goats and alpacas, and of course Noelle kept sticking her hands through the fence trying to feed them leaves. We attempted a few group pictures of all the kids, but of course no one was looking, and some munchkins just did not want to be in the picture.

Outings like this remind me that my kids are small for only so long. One day they'll be old enough to complain about doing things with mom, or being bored, but for now I'll embrace the excitement and fun that they see in these adventures.  It also reminded me that building these relationships with other moms is just so good for my heart. I love how much the mom friends I have build one another up, and I'm so encouraged by how they each love on their children.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sweet Summertime

It's beginning to feel a lot like summer, and we are loving it! The kids in our county have their last day of school this Friday, so we only have a few more mornings left of having my friend's kids come over. Maybe I'll let myself sleep in a little later since Jonah is older, and can maybe keep himself occupied while I shower after I run (and by keep himself occupied, he usually stands next to the shower pulling the curtain back and pushing things into the tub while I get clean as quickly as I can.)

After we walk back from the bus stop, I usually grab my reheated coffee and sit outside on the front step while Noelle and Jonah play for a little while. Jonah, as always, loves being outside and loves going over to our neighbors house and walking up and down their three front steps. Noelle, meanwhile, is busy making sure that Jonah comes no where near her toys. ( And that cup of coffee I reheated- almost never gets finished because Jonah often comes and grabs my hand to pull me to wherever he is going.)

I want to be adventurous with the kids this summer- try new playgrounds, find kid friendly activities we've never done before, and just make lots of memories. All this while of course not spending a ton of money. There is a local county park with a lake, trails, playgrounds, and nature center that I'm thinking about getting a membership for. I took the kids two weeks ago and they loved the playgrounds and wandering down by the lake. I feel like if we got the pass, it would be a good place to head to at least once a week, and a fun place to go with daddy on the weekends to have picnics.

I foresee us spending lots of time with family and friends as well. I know everyone will be taking vacations and be summertime busy, but having time with one another is just so sweet. I am all about making memories and building (or starting new!) relationships. This past weekend we had some good hang out time with our one Bible study group, and as always it was fun to watch Noelle play with her friend Lillian. The two of them are going to be trouble!

And of course just time as our little family of four. Luke is hoping to one day be able to work from home on Fridays, and it would be awesome to start our weekends right at 5:00. Pool time in the backyard, cooking out, watching our kids grow, vacation- so many blessings already. All I can say is, God is good!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

We Can Try

One of the things I love about having a toddler who talks, is hearing the things that come out of her mouth. Sometimes they are completely random, sometimes she's just straight up repeating what one of us said, and sometimes it's still not completely clear what she is trying to say. (Example: The other day we saw some cats when we were out walking, and Noelle said "Zoe's a bish" - the B-word is not a word that we use, so we had no idea what she meant!)

She has a few things that she likes to say on repeat, and one of her favorites is "We can try!" If there is ever something she really wants to do, "we can try!" is what she says.

Me: We have to wait till Jonah wakes up from his nap before we go to the play ground because we can't leave him by himself.
Noelle: We can try!

Me: No more Strawberry Shortcake right now.
Noelle: We can try!

Me: Jonah can't do that yet because he's too little.
Noelle: We can try!

One of her other favorites is "We can buy some." Clearly there is no comprehension of money, but this is her response to anything we don't have, If we run out of a particular food- "We can buy some!" If someone else has a toy we don't have- "We can buy some!" And the best- when changing Jonah's diaper and explaining that we have different body parts, "We can buy some!" Um, no, definitely not!

She is definitely reaching the "threenager" stage as I've heard it called. It seems like there is a fight almost every day about what she wants to wear (always a princess dress!), and it scares me to think what ages 13 and up will look like! I'm definitely praying for a lot of wisdom on how to handle it all without going crazy myself.

But I do love seeing her grow and watching her gain more confidence. I love that she loves to jump in and play with others. She is definitely the big sister and we hear a lot of "No, Jonah, no!" And she is also a great little tattle-tale when Jonah is doing something she knows he shouldn't be doing. But it's adorable to watch her hug him, and see the two of them laugh together. Not much beats my littles' laughter!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

National Running Day 2015

Happy National Running Day!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love a good run. And really, a bad run works too, because even if the run is bad, those endorphins still kick in and I feel better after I'm done! Waking up at 5:00 to get my run in certainly has its drawbacks, but it's so worth it to me! Carving out that alone time is good for me. The run wakes me up and gives me the opportunity to zone out, to pray, to think about the day ahead and what needs to get done.

I've spent runs thinking back through the stories of each of my pregnancies and deliveries, through my relationship with Luke, talks with friends, memories from childhood. I love the various running partners I've had throughout my time as a runner! I would meet my friend Ellen after work at a local running store to run the evening run the store hosted. One of my college best friends, Kate, and I ran before classes for a semester, and then ran together again on occasion when she moved back to Maryland after we had graduated. Before we had kids, I could occasionally convince Luke to run with me, and even got him to run a half marathon when I was pregnant with Noelle. My friend Natalie and I started meeting up when we had just our girls, and now run with our double strollers- always an adventure!

thanks for the picture, Natalie!

One thing I would love to do with my running is use it for the Lord. I know that our passions and interests are from Him, and since running is such a blessing in my life, I would love to use it in some way to point others towards Him. I still don't necessarily know what that looks like, other than of course being thankful that I have the ability to do it. I would love to use running time as a way to connect with others and build relationships, but 5 a.m. is early, and evenings are hard with kids. But this is something I will definitely continue to pray about, and praise the Lord for what He's given!

I prefer to run without the stroller because I worry about how much the stroller affects my form when I do run with it. But the occasional stroller run is a great way to spend time with the littles, and they almost always end with some play ground fun when we're done!