Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Gaver Farm Trip

Luke took the day off from work today, and Noelle played hooky from school so that we could go have some family fun at Gaver farm. Third year in a row that I've taken at least one child, and Luke's first time. It's a bit pricey to get into the area with all the activities, but there is SO much to do! We spent two hours climbing, sliding, pumping water, playing in corn kernels, going through mazes, and more! And I'm pretty sure Jonah would have gladly kept going if we hadn't needed to get home for lunch and nap time.

It was a bit chilly, and since Noelle has decided she has a thing against long sleeves, only had a short sleeve shirt on underneath her coat. She kept saying "I'm chilly" and wanting to be held. Jonah had a blast running around from thing to thing, touching the goats, and spent a good 20 minutes pumping water.

Per our tradition, we brought their Halloween costumes so that we could take their pictures in the pumpkin patch. Neither one was super cooperative, but they did look super adorable as Nemo and a giraffe! Every time Jonah bent over to scoop up gravel, his little fish tail stuck straight up into the air. I have a feeling the hat won't stay on for Halloween either, but at least we can still tell it's Nemo!

We all loved having daddy there with us, and I think he'll just have to start joining us every year. There's just something so sweet about making memories with my little family!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall Family Pictures

This past weekend my sister took our family pictures, and I love them! We just went to her backyard and used her rock wall, chairs, and the fall foliage. While Noelle and Jonah weren't the most cooperative, she managed to capture some great pictures!

Oh how I love our little family!

And this boy. I know I'm biased, but I think he's just so cute!

And my first baby- how has she grown SO much!

Love, love, love!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Jonah at 18 Months

I don't even know how to grasp that Jonah is a year and a half- which saying it that way just sounds so much older than 18 months. But he's running and talking and eating so much, so he is most definitely not a baby anymore.

At his 18 month well-check today he came in at 32.3 inches (50%) and 24 pounds, 4 ounces (28%). I wonder if he'll be "tall" for our family since Noelle has never come close to being in the 50th percentile. He did have some big brain/head growth going from the 19th percentile to 56th percentile.

He repeats so many things! When we give him something, he will usually say "dank oo". He'll say "e too" for me too when he wants something we gave to Noelle. And in true boy fashion, he likes to say "poop" whenever I'm changing his diaper. He mostly likes to say "yeah" when we ask him a question, but certain things, it's a definite "no!"

We've thankfully dropped down to one nap a day, usually soon after lunch. It makes it so much easier to do something in the morning, come home and eat lunch, and then put him down. Most times he naps for around two hours, and while Noelle watches some t.v., I get stuff done. (Or not, sometimes I'm lay on the couch with Noelle.) At nighttime, he usually goes down around 8:00 and wakes up around 7:30. Looking back to a year ago, I have no idea how I functioned when he was waking up 3-4 times a night! So thankful that has changed!

Three molars have come in, so he now has 11 teeth! Though our pediatrician recommended that you start seeing the dentist at a year old now, we'll probably wait till he's two. When we took Noelle to the dentist a few weeks ago, Jonah was more willing to sit (or stand) in the chair than she was, so hopefully that's a good sign he'll cooperate! And he loves to brush his teeth. Almost every time we go into the bathroom, he says "too" and points to his toothbrush.

One of the big things we need to work on is weaning him off his bottle (I know, we're like six months late on this!), but I worry that he doesn't drink enough from a cup because he'll take one sip and walk away. But he loves his bottles and guzzling them down. He can drink out of a sippy cup or straw cup, so we just have to keep pushing those!

He loves most foods and eats almost anything that we're eating. Hopefully we can avoid him being as picky as Noelle (especially when it comes to veggies!) He eats meats, rice, quinoa, most veggies, crackers, berries, egg, and more. And he loves to feed himself yogurt and applesauce. He is quite the growing boy!

His little personality is starting to come through, and Luke keeps saying we're in trouble because Jonah is like how Luke was when he was a kid. Luke is pretty sure that Jonah will be the one who is class clown, and will be goofy just to get others to laugh. He is also so sweet and loves to give Noelle a hug before he goes to bed! Makes my heart melt every time. Love, love, love him!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Cup Runneth Over

So many thoughts today- but mostly I can't help but think my cup runneth over! It is a beautiful October day, we had a great MOPS meeting this morning, got in a good workout with Luke before the kids woke up, and have been blessed by my time with the Lord!

After MOPS today, we were driving home with the windows down, singing along to the "Itsy Bitsy Spider", and it was just one of those moments that hit me how blessed I am to be living this life. To have two beautiful children, being able to afford our minivan, living my dream of being a stay-at-home-mom, and so much more!

During our MOPS meeting, we had a speaker from Operation Christmas Child come talk to us about the whole program. And while we've made boxes for the last few years, I've never really thought beyond handing them in and imagining a child opening it up in a foreign country. The lady who shared with us told us about all the logistics of checking each and every box to make sure no inappropriate items were added, adding to boxes that don't have quite as much (but so thankful for people giving whatever they can!), the logistics of working with the distribution churches in each country to get things through customs and out to the church. She told us that 8 million boxes were sent from America last year, and that each box is averaged out to affect 7 people (family members and neighbors of those kids who get a box.) Also, the churches that distribute the boxes in other countries have to agree to follow up with the recipients and their families- it's not just a one time thing. It makes me excited to be a part of it again this year!

On Tuesday, Noelle took her very first field trip ever! Each child got to bring a parent or grandparent, and thankfully my mom was able to watch Jonah so I could go along. We went to a local farm to pick pumpkins and go on a hayride. Noelle loved it, but I think her favorite part was riding the school bus, just like her big friends, to get to the farm! She leaned over to me while we were sitting on the bus, and said "I'm so glad you're here, Mommy!" Heart melted!

This past weekend I was able to attend our church's women's retreat. It was in beautiful rural Pennsylvania, and our topic was being authentic. It was really cool to get to know other women in the church and hear their stories, and to see how God has worked in their lives. No matter how much we seem to have it together- we do not! Thankfully God is the One holding it all together! My favorite social part was the drive up and back- I drove four other adults and one baby in the van, and we had some great girl talk and lots of laughs. I am so thankful for each friendship!

Monday, October 12, 2015

First Larriland Trip

October is well under way, and we finally had our first trip to Larriland last week! It was completely impromptu, but necessary. Necessary in the sense that Jonah was being a cranky babe and needed to be outside of the house! On Friday last week, after our busy week of pre-school and meetings with both MOPS groups, I headed up to a tot-swap about 40 minutes away. I got myself some Starbucks, Noelle was content listening and singing along to her music, and Jonah was flipping through a book he had brought along. All was peaceful until we arrived at the fairgrounds.

yummy fall snack of apple and peanut butter

We went inside and it was packed with so many moms, kids, and stuff- which is usually how it is! There wasn't much that I needed, but wanted to look for sneakers for Noelle and snow boots for Jonah. We found the shoe area, and while I looked through the bins, Noelle and Jonah played with the toys nearby. Noelle was hilarious (probably only hilarious to me!) as she gave a little concert singing into a toy with a microphone. We're pretty sure this girl will never be able to do more than make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

There wasn't much in the boot department for the boys, but I found sneakers for Noelle, and couldn't resist a cute pair of fake Ugg boots for her as well. (Boots for her are just so easy because she can usually get them on and off all by herself!) I figured we should head over to the line that was snaking around the building so that we could make sure to still hit the road before Jonah got too sleepy and took a car nap on the way home instead of a real nap (#theworst).

Unfortunately that's when things went bad and Jonah became a writhing, screaming goober who was unhappy about not getting his way. I tried to wait in line, but when I picked him up to move further up the line, he started his shenanigans all over again. I'm still figuring out this whole disciplining thing, especially since Jonah seems to be much more dramatic than Noelle was at that age! I threw the shoes back in the appropriate bins and headed out the door.

Noelle was sad about not getting her sneakers, but she had been talking about going to the farm, and I decided to do something fun for her. Plus Larriland was right on the way home! There were a lot of people, with probably at least two school groups out for the farm experience, but both kids were happy to run around, visit the animals, and stick their faces in the face hole walls. It turned our not so great morning around, and gave us something fun to do before heading home for lunch and Jonah's nap. And we already have another trip to the farm planned with friends!

Noelle and I have also been working on painting some pumpkins while Jonah naps. My mom found a six pack of little pumpkins with paint and brought them to us for a fun fall activity. Noelle, of course, has painted all of hers blue, and I tried to make a cat face on mine. And definitely a good activity to do when Jonah is asleep!    

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pot Sticker Fun

Back in August Luke had decided he wanted pot stickers for his birthday dinner. We've always made the pot stickers Walmart has in their frozen food aisle, and they're always delicious. After going running with my friend the morning of his birthday, she suggested making them myself. She had a recipe at home she could send me, and I could easily pick up the wonton wrappers at the grocery store. I was a little hesitant, but decided to give it a try, and if it was a total flop, to have the frozen ones as back up.

Well, our trip to the grocery store was a bit of a fail since I couldn't find the wonton wrappers. It wasn't until I talked to my mom later on that I found out they are kept in the refrigerated section- I had no idea! Jonah was a cranky mess, so I wasn't going to risk trying a different store (not that it would have helped since I didn't know where they were!) We made the frozen ones for Luke's birthday, and they were delicious!

Noelle actually took a bite of a pot sticker!

A few weeks later, my friend asked if I wanted to make a play date out of it and we could make them together. I'm always up for a play date, and even more so when it involves food! She found a few recipes online and we each brought supplies (she found the wonton wrappers!) to make them at her house. Between the two of us, we have a three, two, and one year old, and overall, they did pretty well. There was some whining, some t.v. time, some not sharing, and some not so helpful "help", but we successfully made three types of pot stickers. We (and by we, I mean my friend) fried some of them so we could eat lunch together, and then split up the rest to share with our husbands. Luke was so excited, we made them that night. Pot stickers for lunch and dinner for the win!

This past weekend was a bit dreary because of the hurricane hitting the south, so we made our way to the mall to walk around and get out some energy. (I need some more indoor places to go with the littles as the weather gets colder!) After walking around we decided to go out to dinner before heading home for a haircut (for Jonah done by Luke), and bath time for both of them. Noelle wanted pizza, so we headed out to Pizza Hut and did the dinner box meal that includes breadsticks, pizza, and cinnamon sticks. The kids both did really well, and it was delicious! And Jonah's haircut came out mostly okay!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Thoughts of My Heart

Babies, babies, babies!

They're on my brain and on my heart.

And it seems like SO many friends are having one (or another one!) It's so exciting, and I've been making a little list in my quiet time journal as a reminder to pray for each mama and babe for health and a smooth pregnancy.

My devotions of late have served as a great reminder to rejoice with those who rejoice and to live a life worthy of the calling I have received-  which involves living a life of love. The Holy Spirit is working in the body of Christ to mature each of us and unify us. And being fully entrenched in mothering toddlers, I think it's important to stick together with my fellow mamas.

Which, back to the babies thing, it's been struggle-city over here to not feel jealous. To question why it's not my turn again. To see that timeline in my head that just isn't going to happen (Irish twins? I would have said bring it on!) To take a pregnancy test just because, knowing in my head that it will be negative, but still feeling crushed when I actually see it. It's hard being at church, seeing all my pregnant friends, then spending the entire service feeling sad and wondering why I can't be one of them.

God's plan for me, for our family, is just different than His plans for my friends. I know that I have so much to be thankful for, and am so incredibly blessed to be married and to have two babies to call my own. And I know that I'm not the only one that struggles with this. When you get the desire to have a baby, it's hard to shake. And there's really only so much you can do to "control" the situation.

God's timing is always right and will always win. He knows what I can handle. He is all that I need, and the only thing that can fill any kind of void. For now, I'll rely on Him to make it through each day, I'll rejoice with those that are celebrating a new blessing, and I'll pray that maybe someday it will be my turn again. My turn to feel little movements of new life, to snuggle a newborn, and watch Luke become a daddy all over again.

[the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. galatians 5:6b]