Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas celebrations for us always start on Christmas Eve when we head to my parent's house for the Perrault family tradition of a spaghetti dinner and opening some presents. Growing up we always opened gifts from our west coast relatives on Christmas Eve, and now we open gifts from my parents and siblings since we don't see them on Christmas day.

The cousins in front of Nana's tree

As usual, my family was joined by some family friends of my mom's who have been doing holidays with us as far back as I can remember. One son is married, and the other son's girlfriend has started to join us so it's always a house full of people. This year we started what I hope is a  new tradition of wearing pajamas for the evening. Perfect for filling up on spaghetti and dessert!

We've also been doing a white elephant gift exchange for the past few years and I ended up with what I wanted (thanks to Luke stealing it for me twice): a big fleecy blanket and a cat wine glass (mostly I wanted the blanket!) Lots of fun, and we decided the gift "theme" for next year would be getting something from Goodwill- should be hilarious!

We ate dessert and then the kids tore through opening their gifts. I know they're only 2 and 4, but we really need to work on being thankful! All they wanted was the next gift. They got some good loot- lots of Paw Patrol stuff, clothing, fire trucks, books, and so much more. We left around 9 to get them to bed so we would be ready for church in the morning.

Even though Noelle wanted to start opening gifts the moment she came downstairs, we decided to wait till after church to do the opening. They were allowed to open their stockings, which Luke filled with little flashlights, coloring books, playdough, a My Little Pony for Noelle, cars for Jonah, and candy for both. Church was abbreviated, but it was so wonderful being able to worship with other believers on Christmas morning. I chatted with a friend who is also due in June, and we got to see everyone in my family, which was nice since we don't normally all see each other on Christmas.

After church we headed home and I put the cinnamon rolls (made from scratch for the first time!) in the oven, we ate lunch, and then the kids opened gifts from us. They were of course excited over everything (a doll for Noelle, Lego train for Jonah, a book for each, and something to wear), but disappointed when they ran out of presents. We let them watch a movie they got for Christmas, while Luke and I enjoyed the cinammon rolls, which Noelle refused to try and Jonah said he didn't want either. Goofballs- just means more for mom and dad!

After that we headed to the Wiedemans and opened more gifts, and then ate a delicious Chinese dinner of duck, pot stickers, cabbage, green beans, and more. Ruth and Max were in town so it was good to catch up with them, and it's always fun being at Grandma and Grandpa's house!

All in all a very fun filled Christmas with lots of family!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


We are praising the Lord for this sweet little babe estimated to arrive at the end of June!

The above picture does not include many other pill bottles from the various prescriptions taken over the last 16 months. So many hormones, so many disappointments and frustrations, feeling like it would never be my turn. BUT also moments of looking to God, and FULLY trusting that it was in His hands, in His timing. I know without a doubt that God was with me throughout it all. I didn't always feel that way in the moment, but looking back, I can see it.

The amount of needles in this picture is also nothing compared to what many others go through to get to their little blessings. It was hard for me, but I am counting my blessings that God answered our prayers and created life on our first IUI, and that we did not have to go through more meds for subsequent IUIs or make a decision about IVF.

One of the things that has weighed heaviest on my heart since getting pregnant, are the friends I have who are still waiting for their baby. I've been praying through a list of names that God would hear their prayers and answer with a resounding yes! The heartache of waiting is hard to understand unless you're in it, and I'm all too familiar with the sinking feeling of sadness when someone else announces their happy news. And especially around the holidays when it seems like a time filled with experiences and traditions that are often centered on children, it can be SO hard.

We are 14 weeks along as of yesterday, and the last four weeks or so have been a lot better. Weeks 6-10 were a bit rough- nausea, all day sickness, and exhaustion. I've puked probably close to 20 times with this baby, whereas with the other two, I only puked once or twice. The all day sickness was the worst in the morning and evening, and combined with how tired I felt, I crawled into bed by 7 most nights just to let my body rest. There's been some lovely nausea on and off in the last week, but not nearly as consistent as it was earlier on.

Baby at 8 weeks 3 days- also the day of my last visit to Shady Grove

I am so thankful to be in this place, growing a little human to add to the crazy and chaos of our family. I might also be a tad more paranoid about what's going on with baby and use our fetal doppler to listen to the heartbeat every other day or so. It will be wonderful when I can start feeling baby move around! We can't wait to meet you, sweet baby!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Recent Adventures

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we headed out to Cumberland, MD for a train ride on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. My mom bought us tickets as an early Christmas present, and Noelle and Jonah were excited about being able to ride on a train!

It was about a 2.5 hour drive out to the railroad, but the kids did really well, and were excited when we got parked and walked into the railroad station. There were Christmas decorations, and that combined with the historic waiting area, made everything seem kind of magical. We got there just in time to grab our tickets and board the train. We packed our lunch and ate our PB sandwiches while we watched the scenery change from city to country.

It was about an hour ride out, and on the way, Santa came through and brought candy canes for all the kids. When the train stopped, passengers were able to disembark and walk around for a bit. We took some pictures in front of the train and wandered around to get some energy out before getting back on and buying a snack from the snack bar.

On the ride back, Noelle and Jonah got a bit antsy, but we walked down the line of train cars and explored for a bit. And even though they were a bit cranky on the way back, as soon as we got in the car to drive home, Noelle asked when we could go on a train again.

December started off with a weekend full of birthday parties (3!), as well as a trip to a local farm for our Christmas tree! We went with our friends Megan and Joe, who had also come with us when we went to a tree farm three years ago- basically it's a sometimes tradition (ha!). Noelle and Jonah ran from tree to tree asking if that one was going to be our tree, but we finally all settled on one and Luke cut it down. Thankfully the weather cooperated and it was just cold enough to feel like the Christmas season without feeling like we were freezing.

This past weekend, we did pizza with Santa at a local fire station. The kids were free, and we were able to take free pictures with Santa- win/win! My sister met us there with my nephew, and we had all three littles in their matching Christmas pajamas for the pictures. Jonah, of course, managed to hurt himself moments before it was our turn to visit Santa, and so he was quite unhappy and wanted nothing to do with Santa. But we made it work and got some pictures for posterity's sake!

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Jonah was officially 2.5 years old almost a month ago now! My baby! (Can I even call him that?!?)

He loves to do things with Noelle! When they play, he'll usually do just about anything she tells him to, unless of course he's trying to sit on her. And he copies her silly sounds and crazy antics. And there's also lots of fighting over toys.

He eats pretty much anything, though he also has this annoying habit of eating most of something, and then saying "no like it" when he doesn't feel like finishing the rest. I really hope he keeps up this willingness to try whatever I'm eating, especially since it makes it fairly easy to get vegetables into him.

At this age, I've been having a lot of fun with him one on one. He still enjoys being pushed in the stroller so we can go on walks together, and when we go to Starbucks or Panera I'll get him a little treat and we'll sit at a table and play with his trucks or read books. It seems like he thrives under the one-on-one attention, and I'm thankful that we get to have it!

Riding the bull at a fall fest

In the last two weeks he seems to have given up naps (Nooooo!), but he and Noelle do a pretty good job of playing together in the afternoons. He's made no attempt to climb out of the crib, so I'm going to try to keep him in his baby cage for as long as possible. Noelle had given up naps before now, mostly because she was no longer contained to the crib. He usually goes to bed between 7 and 8, and wakes up in the morning around 7:30.

He still loves trains and plays with his set at home, the one Nana has, and the one at the library. Luke will tell him he's being a rascal, and Jonah almost always says, "No I not! You're a rascal!" And they go back and forth while Jonah laughs. Two year old boy laughter is one of the best sounds ever!

He and Ellie have been into watching Octonauts or Blue's Clues. Thankfully he still enjoys being read to, and especially enjoyed the Pete the Cat and his buttons book we checked out from the library. Overall he's still very much a mama's boy, but once he's warmed up to people he loves playing with them.

It's hard to believe this mostly happy 2.5 year old was such a difficult baby. Maybe his infancy will be our hardest stage, or at least I can hope!

We love you, baby J!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fall, Farms, and Fun!

This past week was unseasonably warm for the month of October. Weather in the 70's and 80's and lots of sunshine. We made sure to take full advantage of it, and spent a lot of time outside- going to the park and visiting as many farms as we could!

On Monday, I packed us a picnic lunch, and we headed out to the local county park. We at our food, played on the playground, and threw rocks and leaves into the water. With the sunshine and leaves changing color all around the lake, it was gorgeous!

Later on that afternoon, I took Noelle, Jonah, and our next door neighbor Sophie to the local farm, Bupert's Farm. They keep a basket of corn husks in their store and kids can take them and go feed the goats. They ran back and forth to feed the goats, played in the teepees, and rolled around in the giant box of corn.

On Tuesday, we met a bunch of our friends at Sharp's Farm for a farm tour, which included feeding goats, a hayride, picking pumpkins, and a hay maze. We picnicked outside again, and the kids played while us moms talked, and I held my sweet nephew (who is growing entirely too quickly!)

Wednesday was another beautiful day, and after we picked Noelle up from school, we went on another picnic in the park. This trip to the park included a bunch of our stuffed animals and Jonah's trains.

Thursday morning we rushed out the door nice and early to get Jonah to my mom's house before she needed to leave for MOPS. While she took him there, Noelle and I headed back to her school for her fall field trip to Gaver Farm. It was another warm, sunny day filled with a wagon ride, picking pumpkins, playing in corn, jumping on the giant pillow, and eating our lunch outside. And of course buying apple cider donuts. One of her favorite parts of the day was riding the bus to and from the farm.

Even though the weather got windy and cold yesterday, we squeezed one more fall activity into the week and headed to the church our old neighbors used to attend for their fall fest. The kids jumped in the jump house, but both freaked out at the top of the slide and Luke had to climb up and rescue them. They both rode the bull, played games to win candy, and we went on a hayride.

We squeezed a lot of fall fun into one week, but that's what October should be about!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Zoo and a Farm

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to go to the Maryland Zoo with a few friends, one of whom holds a season pass (I think we need to do this!) That particular day, members (and friends!) were allowed to ride the rides for free for the first half hour that the zoo was open. We met our friends there a bit before 9:30, and then headed the carousel, then the train, and then back to the carousel. Noelle and Jonah loved it, and I enjoyed the fellowship with my mom friends!

Train time!
 Flamingos are a favorite.

But I'm pretty sure they (Jonah especially!) could have stood washing their hands all day at the giraffe house.

Later on in the week, when I had nothing planned for us to do, we headed to Larriland for the first time this fall. Normally we go there at least a couple of times because it's free, and it's close, and they both love it. After Jonah woke up from his nap, I told them we were going to head out on an adventure, but didn't tell them where. Once we got there, Noelle was like "Thank you, Mommy! This is so much fun! Thank you for this adventure!

We wandered around the farm poking our faces in the face hole boards, walked around the flowers, fed the goats, checked out the lake, and then bought some fresh apples and granola to take home. Definitely a fun fall tradition we'll continue for as long as we can!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

September in Pictures

September was a busy month- lots of doctors appointments, our vacation for the year, time at the playground, snuggling with baby Holden, and more!

After taking a meal to a friend who had just had a baby, we stopped at the playground at Piney Run park for some running around time before heading home. They love this little window on the play set to pretend it's a cafe and ice cream shop!

Heather and Jason brought Holden to church, and of course these two wanted to be right next to him.

And I got some baby time with Holden when we did a family cook-out over labor day weekend. I love that little face!

Nashville was the highlight of the month- being able to spend time with family and friends, and just be away from our normal routine was fun!

And we started meds for our next fertility cycle attempt. So much fun getting super expensive meds in the mail! (ha!)

After church photos- Noelle stopped cooperating, but I got some cute ones of Jonah. I love that even as a baby he knew to smile for the camera, and I hope he keeps that up!

When we had a day with nothing else to do, we headed to the mall to play and ride the carousel. It was on the tail end of being cleaned when I bought our tickets, and since we had to wait a few minutes, the lady told us we could ride it twice!

The weather started to feel fall- like, and one day when Ellie was at school, Jonah and I took a walk around the neighborhood and stopped at the swings. I love it!

Some Candyland playing and coffee while Jonah took a nap. Noelle likes to make up different versions of the game, that usually end up with her winning.

And we went to the Fall Festival where Jonah completed a little Olympics of weight lifting, javelin throwing, cycling, and more! He LOVED it, and Noelle insisted on being held and wanted nothing to do with it. I wonder who our athlete will be (wink, wink.)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wanting It Right Now

Yesterday morning, Noelle woke up and exclaimed "It's the first day of fall!"

Then she looked out the window, turned to me, and said "but where are the colors in the leaves?"

I chuckled to myself as I thought about her 4 year old perception of fall- she thought it was going to change overnight and the trees would be all decked out in their colorful glory when she woke up. She was disappointed that it didn't happen right away, and was not encouraged when I explained that the trees would change color over time.

And the more I think about it, the more I realize that her thoughts on Fall starting right now, are similar to how my desires for a baby have been all about having one right now! It's me saying, come on God, where is my next baby? How is it not time yet? What are we waiting for?

Oh boy, has it been a long season of learning and growing, and coming to realize that God is right here in my infertility teaching me SO much. Disappointment has crept into my heart over and over again in the last two plus years, sadness that makes me want to curl up in bed, to avoid going to church to see all my pregnant friends. When I feel like God is not answering me how I want Him to, I start to think that He is just cold and distant.

But He is so not- He is right here, holding me, calling me to Himself. He's teaching me that He alone should be the desire of my heart. He's humbling me as I realize that my body needs healing and to recover from the damage I've done to myself. He's putting friends in my life who ask the right questions and give me the words and encouragement that I need to hear.

And He's teaching me about life. He alone gives it. I struggle sometimes with our decision to pursue infertility treatment- are we doing the right thing? Spending all this money (our most recent meds involved a co-pay of $440!)? Rushing my kids around as I hurry off to early morning doctor's appointments? Should I just work on recovering and getting a cycle, and then try for a baby?

You know what, in the last few months I've been thankful for social media in a whole new way. After one too many pregnancy announcements on Facebook back in May, I swore off my personal Facebook and Instagram accounts. It just hurt too much to have it pop up when I scrolled through my feed. But I had started to find that there is a whole community of women who are in the trying to conceive world who have created accounts specifically for that- to share their journey, to encourage, to ask questions, and so many of them point people to Jesus.

So, I joined them. I don't share much on my account, but scrolling through and seeing people get their BFP (big fat positive) is so encouraging. And it reminds me over and over again, that God is the giver of life. Whether a pregnancy is through IUI, IVF, embryo adoption, or a surprise positive, it is God. There are too many little babies being born for it to not be God at work.

I read a blog post today about how infertility can and should be used for the glory of God- what a different perspective for me! But it's so true, and it's why I want to share our story. God is at work in my life, stretching and growing me, drawing me to Him in a way that would not be happening if I was not on this infertility journey. I have no idea what will happen, but He alone is God and deserves ALL the glory!

The struggle is still there to trust God, to believe that His timing is right. But today, today I'm trusting His timing and believing that He is enough.