Friday, July 31, 2015

Pool Time and Birthday Celebrating

Last week with T and S we adventured to the Cryptologic Museum to "learn" more about codes and machines that have been used by our government. Needless to say, keeping track of four children, especially Jonah, meant I didn't do reading of any sort. I was a little worried about how T and S would do- the word museum might automatically make it boring. But as we walked in, they were offered to do the challenge of decoding 10 clues throughout the museum. They were given a cipher, which changed at each clue, and they decoded words and phrases. It mostly meant that I would read off which letters lined up together, but it was fun! They each got a little prize at the end (which was the main motivator for completing it!)

Later on that afternoon we headed to a local pool, where I inadvertently got Noelle in for free. They couldn't see her over the counter and they thought I was including Jonah (who was free) when I said I had four people, and then of course it took me awhile to realize I didn't pay for four people. Oh well! I was nervous about having four kids to look after, especially since Jonah and Noelle do not know how to swim and have only been around water a little bit. (Maybe Jonah's first time in the pool??) But the kiddie pool worked out really well for my two while T and S played in the big pool, and checked in with me every so often.

Jonah working on his de-coding

Later on in the week, I met my friend and her little guy at her gym for some playtime in the pool. They had a really nice kiddie pool, and Noelle and Jonah spent pretty much the whole time playing in the shallowest part with all my friend's pool toys. All this time in the pool makes me want to get a membership somewhere next summer! Luke wants to teach them how to swim, but we just need consistent access to a pool.

clearly excited about her birthday cake

We also decided to have a last minute birthday celebration for Noelle on Sunday evening with our families. Nothing like calling and texting our families on Sunday afternoon to come join us for pizza and cake that evening. But we had all the grandparents and two aunts, and once Noelle recovered from her nap on the couch, she loved being the center of attention.

We've been enjoying a lot of our summer evenings by taking walks around the neighborhood and then eating popsicles. We've gotta soak up our time outside while we can!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jonah at 15 Months

Jonah baby (I will call him that forever!) was officially 15 months old as of last Thursday, and on Monday we had his well-check appointment. It's hard to believe we're coming up on two years since finding out I was pregnant!

The nurse practitioner we saw was very pleased with his growth- he almost doubled his percentile in both height and weight! He was 31 inches (47%) and 22 pounds 8 ounces (22%). She said that he'd probably just gone through a growth spurt and would start to slow down some, especially as he gets more focused on other things and not on eating. I can already tell he's getting pickier about what he eats, and just wants to constantly move.

The words he says consistently are Dada, Mama, Zooo (when he's following the cat around), and yuh or dah (for yes). He answers almost every question with "yuh"- which I think is more based on our intonation than understanding the question. He also tries to repeat words, like when he's standing in his high chair or on the counter, and I'm firmly saying sit. He just continues to stand, emphatically saying "Sih" and smiling at me. We were out for a family walk the other day and Noelle and I were pretending to race, saying "ready, set, go" every few feet and "running" to Daddy. Jonah caught on, and when he heard us saying "ready, set", he would say "go"! Sometimes he'll attempt other words that he hears us say, like bye or hi.

Jonah is thankfully continuing to sleep solidly through the night for about 11 hours, going to bed around 8 and waking around 7. He still seems to be holding on to the morning nap, but if I keep us busy in the morning, he's usually good until about lunchtime and then starts to lose it. I'm hoping we can drop the morning nap so that I don't feel as stuck at home in the morning and afternoon to make sure he gets his sleep!

He still only has 8 teeth, but the nurse practitioner said she could see that his gums were really swollen. Hopefully those teeth pop through soon, and it would explain why he's been a little bit crankier than usual lately. He's in size 3 diapers and 12 month clothing, though the ones that have been passed down to us and been lovingly worn are getting a tad small. But we have continued to be so blessed by people giving us hand-me-downs that he will be well dressed for awhile!

Overall, I'm having a lot of fun with him at this age. He's into everything, climbing things that Noelle never even thought about climbing, falling when he runs down the sidewalk, going down slides by himself on his belly. climbing on and off our bed (just waiting until the day he tries to climb out of his crib!), and in general just being a busy, busy boy! He still prefers me most of all (which I not so secretly love), but also, once I'm out of sight, he's a busy baby wherever he is. Until he hears my voice or sees me, then he's all like, I need my mom. Right. Now!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Baby Cows and Dressing as Cows

My abilities at finding free or cheap things to do with kids are not so great, but last Monday we managed to find something fun to do with T and S. Jonah woke up earlier than usual, so I declared that we needed to stay at the house until he was able to take a morning nap. T and S found friends in the neighborhood to play with for a little while, and then once Jonah was up and we had eaten our lunches, we headed out to South Mountain Creamery. T and S had been before with their parents and had told me all about how they let you feed baby cows!

Unfortunately we didn't get there at the right time to feed the babies, but we did get to play on the little playground, ate some yummy fresh ice cream, and looked in on the baby cows. They were so precious, and at least two of them were just two days old! The stall doors were low enough that Jonah could stick his little hand in to say hi to the baby cow. I definitely want to go back sometime to feed one a bottle!

On Tuesday, we headed to Chick Fil A for Cow Appreciation Day. Jonah was dressed in the dalmatian costume Noelle wore for Halloween last year, but he passed for a little cow. I cut out black spots to tape on to a white dress for Noelle, and bobby-pinned cow ears on her head. We met Kristina and Lillian (who had the perfect cow costume from Halloween!), and enjoyed our free breakfasts and some play time in the play place. As always, the customer service was excellent, and the girl who took our order was so excited about all the kids coming in dressed as cows. 

Thanks for the picture, Kristina!

Later on in the week we had a play date with a friend of mine who I was in a play group with as a kid. It's crazy to think we were 3 and 4 years old playing with one another, and now our 5 kids are playing with one another! That makes being 30 feel old!

We celebrated our friend Owen's 2nd birthday on Saturday morning, and then Luke and I dropped the littles off at Grandma and Grandpa's house so we could have a day date! (Thanks, Mom W!) We did some shopping, saw Inside Out, ate out for dinner, and grabbed some Cold Stone before heading back. I have to say having uninterrupted time with Luke is one of the best things ever! I know it's so important for us to have fun with one another outside of being with our kids, and Saturday was just what we needed! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

God's Timing

We've been asked many a time if we are going to go on for baby #3. And I've always answered with a very certain yes! I love pregnancy, I love babies, and I especially love my babies! Motherhood was my dream growing up, and now I'm living it- why wouldn't I want to add more love to the mix?

But lately God has brought me to the question of what He wants for us. I've never really prayed about what He wants in terms of number of children, but maybe He wants us to be complete as a family of four. And so I've been praying that He would take away my desire for another baby if that is indeed what He wants for us.

After a few weeks I began to think of Jonah as our last little baby. The last one that I got to carry in my womb, the last one of mine I will get to buy tiny clothes for, the last one I will send off to kindergarten and college. And I began to be okay with that- he could be my last little baby and I wouldn't be sad.

But then another pregnancy announcement came out, and it hit me right in the heart.

It wasn't even someone I know personally, but it brought back all the feelings of "why not me?" I want to find out about that little bean and see it grow, I want to hear that tiny heartbeat, I want the anticipation of finding out if the baby will be a baby brother or baby sister. I want to hold that slimy newborn in my arms and cry the tears over the amazing miracle of a new life.

All of this also makes me feel bad because I have been blessed with two amazing littles, whom I love SO much! There are so many people who struggle with infertility or miscarriages, including family members and close friends. I almost feel guilty for wanting another!

Pregnancy has not come "easy" for us. About nine months and 11 months for each of our kids. We're now at 13 months and God says it's still not time. Jonah will be 15 months next week, and when Noelle was 15 months, I was two months pregnant. I seem to really struggle with learning to trust God's timing- I know His timing is best, but that's so much easier said than believed for me!

For now I'll focus on being a wife and mama to Noelle and Jonah, and pray that God is the satisfaction of my heart.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Last Week

Since I watch T and S on Mondays, I usually try to find something fun to do that will interest an 8 and 10 year old, while also making sure it won't be too crazy with having my two as well. Last Sunday as we were driving home from the beach, Luke came up with the great idea of going to the UTZ potato chip factory up in PA. It's not a super far drive, and it's something he and I both did as kids. When T and S came over last Monday morning, I was a little nervous about how they would feel about going on a tour, but I talked up the free potato chips that you get at the end (which I hoped was still the case!), and they were super excited about it!

Unfortunately my phone's navigation app was acting up and my printed directions got me a little confused (super directionally challenged here!), but after a few turn-arounds, we finally found the factory. The tour itself is a self-guided one down a long hallway with windows looking down into the factory and packaging warehouse. It was really cool to see how it went from whole potatoes to sliced up chips covered in flavor. T and S took turns pushing the buttons to hear the audio on what we could see, but we moved too fast to really hear any of it. Then we grabbed our free bags at the end, and headed over to the outlet store to pick up some more chips to take home.

On Saturday morning, Noelle and I headed to a birthday party for some of our MOPs friends who are turning 3 and 5. It was held at our local fire department, and it was so much fun! Noelle seemed a little hesitant at first, but after the ride on the fire truck and checking out the sleeping quarters for the fire fighters, she got more into it. And then of course she loved eating pizza and cake and running around with all the kids and the balloons. Definitely a party idea I'm keeping in mind for the future!

Saturday evening, Luke and I headed out to a wedding for my friend Emily. Emily and I went to church together from middle school through post-college, as well as both went to Grove City. I don't see her very often anymore, but she's definitely the type of friend that makes it feel like no time has passed when you see each other again. It was a fun mix of people I knew at the wedding including a friend from elementary school/church growing up, college friends, friends I met when running the American Odyssey Relay, and we got to sit with a couple who is in our small group and who is one of the MOPs leaders for CPC. It was a really fun wedding, and definitely brought the tears when Emily walked down the aisle, when the special music was sung, and when the mother-son dance was happening (my friend leaned over and whispered "You and Jonah some day!")

Also, after going to my church for 17 years, this is the first wedding I've ever attended there!

Sunday was pretty quiet. Church and then grocery shopping in the afternoon. Lately when we go shopping we check to see if there are any of the "mistake" cookies set out in the bakery for people to take. There were some this time and Jonah definitely enjoyed his!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday, Noelle!

Dear Ellie,

How are you three already? I still remember your newborn days when you would fall asleep on my chest after your bottle. I remember holding you for the first time and marveling over the fact that I was a mom. Just how did you get so big so fast?

I love how you know when you're being a goofball, and you especially know it when you're doing something with your brother that makes mama and daddy laugh. I want to ingrain it in my memory the way you walk around the house singing "skip to my lou, skip to my lou, darling" way off key and missing a few words.

We somehow have become co-sleepers, sharing my bed every night as we both drift off. Daddy moves you when he comes to bed, and thankfully you've been staying in your bed for the rest of the night. I know that we should probably start putting you to bed earlier in your own bed, but that will be the end of a chapter I'm not quite ready to close.

I love that you call your brother "my Jonah" and always want to "help" put him down for a nap. The noise you make when I'm singing to him may not be the easiest way to get Jonah to sleep as he's always whipping his head around trying to see you.

You get to excited to see your friends- Lillian, Reagan, and Kaylee especially- when we are headed to church. When you're playing on the playground or the at a play place, you have no problem going up to other kids saying "Hi, I Ellie." And you get so sad when it's time to stop playing- our little social one!

Sometimes it takes you a little while to warm up, but when we're with family you love spending time and playing with them. You get so excited when I tell you we're going to "Nanny's" or "Grammy's" house.

After a little over a year of speech therapy, you are right where you should be. Sometimes you even say things that seem to come out of nowhere, and sometimes the way you say things just makes Daddy and me laugh. You love your Care Bear, watching Strawberry Shortcake, and Angelina Ballerina.

We love you so much, and love watching you grow. As you head off to pre-school in the fall, I know it will make me so sad to see you go, but I know that you'll love it!

And you will always be my baby girl. Happy 3rd Birthday!

Love you so much,


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Rehoboth Beach 2015

Whew! As most vacations go, our time at the beach went by way too quickly!

My parents rented a house for the week and invited us to come down and stay with them. I decided to take advantage of my full time mommyhood and went for the whole week, while Luke joined us for the long weekend over the 4th of July at the end of the week. My sisters came and went during the week as well, so Noelle got some good time with her aunts and Nana and Grandpa.

Jonah, on the other hand, was not a happy dude. Poor kid had a fever the first two nights we were there, and a rash on his back, chest, and arms for most of the week. I'm still not sure what caused it, but it was completely gone by the time we got home on Sunday. He was fussy, only wanted me, and even me holding him did not make him happy. I hope we get our happy Jonah back soon!

saying bye to Karina

I followed my mom down to the beach on Sunday after church, and after saying goodbye to their exchange student. Traffic wasn't great, but Jonah and Noelle only lost it for about the last 10 minutes of the drive. We had beautiful weather most of the week, and even though I didn't end up spending as much time at the beach as I had hoped, it was nice having a change of scenery. I got to run every morning (despite forgetting my running shoes at home- thank goodness for my sister and the outlets), and even pushed a kid in the stroller for three of the runs.

Despite Jonah being unhappy, he did seem to enjoy the ocean. Whenever we were by the water, he wanted to go further and further out into the waves. I was holding onto his arms as tight as I could, but was so scared he was going to get pulled in. And Noelle loved jumping in the water (though did not enjoy it when I took her out past where the waves were breaking) and playing with water and sand on the beach.

amazing sand castle someone built!

While we were there, Noelle turned the big three! So hard for me to believe it's been three years, and I'm so thankful that I get to be her mama. (Randomly while we were on vacation she switched back to calling me mama instead of mommy.) We had a nice dinner sitting around the table outside the beach house, and sang Happy Birthday over an Oreo ice cream cake. Also! One of our closest friends had her baby girl that day- July 3rd twins!


The 4th of July was the day after Noelle's birthday, and she got to enjoy some fireworks (I think for the first time!) We walked out to the corner of the street we were staying on and could see the fireworks that were being shot over the bay. Noelle held her hands over her ears for the first half of it, but then really got into it when she realized how fun it was!

Overall, a fun vacation, but also nice to be home and jump back in to play dates and events with our MOPS groups!