Friday, June 23, 2017

Five Things

We've been keeping ourselves busy as we await the arrival of baby W! Some days I get through the day without thinking too much about it, but the closer we get, the more I dwell on how it really could be any moment. Like our due date is now 4 days away. Thankfully, this is the most physically comfortable I've been at the end of a pregnancy, which I think helps me a lot with not feeling as impatient. I've been able to walk in the mornings, and moving my body is so important to me and makes me feel so much better overall. With the other two I could hardly move at this point because of back pain (Noelle) or ankle pain (Jonah), so I'm thankful to be able to take one day at a time and move my body still!

This past Wednesday was our first one without Holden. Mostly it was because I had kindergarten testing for Noelle and didn't want to worry about having both boys with me. But it worked out well because Jonah was a disaster all day on Wednesday and even with God's grace, I was still pretty cranky about it. (#truth) BUT usually we love having Holden be a part of our days- even Noelle and Jonah get excited to see him in the mornings he's here. And of course he fits right into our day, running errands and hanging out together. 

Last Friday we met up with a few friends at a conservancy nearby to wander around saying hi to the goats, playing on the natural playground, visiting the little science center, and enjoying a picnic lunch together. It was fun for the kids, and I enjoyed being able to connect with some mama friends I hadn't really talked with in awhile. It's amazing how quickly over two hours can fly by when everyone is having fun!

My sister. She is an amazing photographer, and kept asking me when we were going to do a maternity shoot. I knew I really wanted to do one, so last Saturday when she texted me asking if we wanted to meet up with her that afternoon, I said let's do it! I know Luke hates doing pictures, but thankfully he also knows how important they are to me. We brought candy to bribe the children and met my sister at the entrance of an area in nature mostly reserved for hunters, which also just so happens to be right between where we live (which when you're 5 minutes away from each other to begin with makes it extra easy.) Jonah was not super cooperative, but that lead to one of the best pictures! I want to do a post with all of them just have them somewhere all together. I LOVE THEM! And I know I'll cherish them because pregnancy is such a unique and brief time that I love and enjoy overall! I will miss this baby belly!

And just to compare from the maternity pictures when I was pregnant with Jonah- clearly there is some hesitation about welcoming a new member. :)

Father's day 2017. I took 0 pictures that day. But it was busy and full, and I was hot, sweaty, and swollen, so I figure it's all good. We met up with our families and my sister's in-laws at the local park where we met up last year. Luke grilled us some delicious meat, and we had all sorts of yummy sides. Noelle and Jonah were covered in dirt by the end, and would have stayed longer if they could have. Luke and I were definitely thankful to come home to a cool house and put up our feet after the kids were bathed.

I love seeing Luke as a dad, and I so appreciate that he has way more patience than me! I'm looking forward to seeing him snuggle a newborn again. :)

We celebrated our NINTH anniversary this past Wednesday! Poor Luke worked from home on Tuesday and Wednesday because he wasn't feeling great and hadn't been sleeping well, but it was nice to have him there. After my rough day with Jonah that day, I was ready to get out of the house and away for a bit, so thankfully Aunt Lyd came to watch the littles. Since Luke wasn't feeling great, we decided to keep it super low-key and went to Panera for dinner, and then grabbed ice cream from Twin Kiss to eat as we walked around the path of a local park. We didn't make it far before it started raining, but it was so good to be together just the two of us!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Some Recent Happenings

We've been busy and I've been tired, so I haven't been keeping track of life as well. But I just ordered my 2016 blog book, and it was my reminder to keep at it so we can remember all the fun, little things we do!

Memorial Day weekend included a cookout on Sunday at my parent's house, where Luke and Jason shot little rockets out into the yard, and Noelle and Jonah would go chase them down. It was hilarious, and actually got Noelle to move! On Monday, we went to a local parade, and then to Luke's parent's house for a cookout. Weekends that are long and filled with family are the BEST!

We had a teeny tiny birthday party for Noelle on June 3rd. I really wanted to give her a birthday party for turning 5, but I also wanted to make sure it happened with no chance of baby disrupting plans. She chose 5 girlfriends to invite, we sent out My Little Pony invites, did Pin the Tail on the horse, a My Little Pony pinata, and had cake and ice cream. And of course opening presents was a big highlight. She told me it was the best day ever, so I think that means it was a success!

We finally got the crib put together and the nursery set up. We've collected most of our dispersed baby items, including the bassinet, which Noelle and Jonah turned into a little bunk bed. I've washed a few baby clothes, packed a bag for the baby and the big kids, and even though there are probably a million more things I should do (like pack my own hospital bag), I'm feeling pretty relaxed about it all (that could completely change in 12 hours!)

Luke and I were able to attend the wedding of my best friend from high school this past weekend. It was fun to have some time just the two of us, watch Lauren get married, and catch up with a few people I haven't seen since high school. And I also met the girl who would have been one of my roommates if I had gone to Messiah College with Lauren as planned. It was a fun celebration, and I do really love being able to witness my friends begin married life! It's the best! Plus we're a little over a week away from our 9th anniversary, which makes June weddings all the more special. :)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Preschool Graduation

We officially have a preschool graduate! I know, not really a big deal, but still a big milestone when watching your babies grow up. For me, it's one of those moments of thinking "how has time passed so quickly?!?" She loved both years at the school, and it's been so fun watching her grow and change and learn. I enjoyed the few times I volunteered in her classroom, seeing her interact with her teachers and friends.

Yesterday we headed to the school one last time (for her at least- Jonah will be starting 3's next year!), and after grabbing seats in the chapel, I walked her down to her classroom. Nana and Grandpa joined the fun and brought Holden. And of course, as soon as they asked the parents to sing "Jesus Loves Me" as the kids walked in, the tears started. (I partially blame pregnancy, and partially the very little sleep I've been getting for all the emotions!)

The three classes of four year olds filed in, and then sang a bunch of songs for all the parents. Noelle had a part in the Alphabet Rock song (aka she held up the letter A as they were singing.) It was adorable and hilarious, and Noelle really seemed to be into the being onstage in front of an audience. Whenever the piano music started for a song, she would start dancing around, and then when the parents clapped after each song, she would do a little curtsy (even while sitting.)

After all the songs were sung, the teacher for each class called the children individually to hand them their diplomas. Noelle's class was the last class to go, and with her W last name, was the last child to walk down the aisle with her diploma. My friend was sitting in an aisle seat and got a good shot of her.

We all headed down to her classroom, where she ate ice cream with her friends, and then we headed out to Twin Kiss for ice cream with my parents (lucky girl!) I love watching her grow, but I truly can't believe I'll have a child in elementary school next year!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

35 Weeks and Nesting

Only five-ish weeks to go until our little one arrives! I keep seeing a meme going around Instagram about how every month has about 30 days, except the last month of pregnancy, which has 1,465 days. I'm so torn between feeling ready to meet our newest babe and holding him or her in my arms, but also wanting to cherish being pregnant. All three pregnancies I've loved being pregnant (not every moment, of course), and this is the last time I'll get to experience the kicks and rolls, seeing our baby on a sonogram, growing a nice round belly, and learning to trust God in the day to day of growing a tiny human.

We had our second growth ultrasound at the perinatologist last Friday, and baby had jumped up to the 18th percentile! This is such an answer to prayer, and I think even the doctor was surprised by the growth. She suggested I get another growth sono before baby comes, which she said I could do there, or at my OB's office. I'm hoping to talk about it with my OB at my appointment next week to see what they say. And I'm hoping to not have to go back to the perinatologist because those sonos we have to pay for (like $400 a pop!) And weekly appointments will start next week!

I'm definitely getting into nesting mode, although we've done pretty much nothing in the baby's room. The crib is still in pieces, we don't have any of the baby items we've lent out to people (bassinet, stroller attachment for carseat, our swing), and I haven't washed a single thing. But I did start texting those who have borrowed stuff, I bought the baby detergent yesterday and had Luke pull out our boxes of newborn boy and girl clothing (which I gushed over all the tiny pieces I started pulling out!), we got a new infant carseat, and we bought a "new" loft bed to put in Noelle and Jonah's room.

We found a Kura loft bed on craigslist and just need to get a twin sized mattress for Jonah to put on the bottom  portion of the bed. The littles both love it, and so far Noelle hasn't had any issues with climbing up and down, even in the middle of the night. It saves us some space in their already tiny room, and someday the baby and older sister or brother can share it.

Last night when we were putting the kids to bed, Noelle looked at me and said "I just can't stop thinking about the baby and if it's a girl. And I'll miss you mommy! I can't sleep!" The missing me thing is something she says pretty much every night, which is adorable, but also completely a delay tactic. And I'm really hoping she's not disappointed if she gets another brother!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mother's Day 2017 and Last Week

Mother's Day 2017 was a good one! Despite that fact that I'm cranky about not being able to run (and my guess is that I won't be able to until I'm recovered from birth!) from the leg pain, I started my Mother's Day morning by crawling into bed with each of my littles. Jonah was already awake when I walked in, so I cuddled up next to him for a few minutes. And then of course, he got loud, and Noelle woke up, so I crawled into bed with her for a bit.

I love these little people who made me a mommy SO MUCH! My patience has been lacking lately, but all the emotions are hitting as I think about Jonah being three and potty-trained, Noelle graduating pre-k and starting kindergarten, and adding this baby to our family in just over a month. So much preciousness in three tiny humans!

After church on Mother's Day, we prepped some food for having our parents and my sister over later on that evening. Then, I headed out for the pre-natal massage Luke got me for Christmas. And it was amazing. They had a pillow for the massage table with a hole for the belly, and just laying "on" my stomach felt amazing. It's been years since I've had any kind of massage, but being pregnant and having one was just about perfect. Then I came home to our families and Luke grilling delicious food- definitely a good day!

Last week was busy with our last MOPS meeting, watching James and Holden, taking a meal to a friend, meeting friends for lunch and play time at the mall, two doctors appointments, and of course school. But MOPS is over now, this is the last week of school, and then most of our obligations will be gone. I am definitely looking forward to some slower mornings, spending time with the biggest littles before baby comes, and soaking in our last summer before Noelle is gone for school 5 days a week!

The weather was really warm last week (upper 80s, low 90s), so we took our first trip to the Snowball Stand, where they both got the strawberry flavored ice. And spilled about 50 percent of it on the ground, themselves, and on me.

And of course we had to grab an after church picture!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Beach Scenes

We're back from the Outer Banks and settling in to every day life again. It's always a little bit sad to have a vacation come to an end, but it's also good to be home in our own beds again!

1. These two littles LOVED the beach! Jonah brought his new Paw Patrol wagon and shovel, and the beach house also had buckets and shovels for the kids to play with. Many buckets of sand were filled up and dumped out into piles. And Noelle used her bucket to collect seashells- SO MANY shells! We came home with a plastic bag full that is too heavy for her to pick up. Our first day at the beach, Jonah was wearing regular clothes since it was a bit chilly with the wind, and he ended up COVERED in sand and had to be stripped down to his underwear for the drive back to the house.

2. On Sunday after church, we headed to Jockey's Ridge State Park to play in the sand dunes. Noelle and Jonah loved walking in the sand, scrambling up the dunes, rolling down the hills, racing Daddy and each other, and sitting in the holes that Uncle Max dug for them. I was blown away by how much walking they both did (especially Noelle who can barely handle walking to the end of our driveway!) Every time we drove by the dunes after that, they would always say "Look Mommy, the dunes!"

3. On our last full day there, we of course headed to the ocean for some more beach time. Jonah was dressed in his suit since we knew he would end up covered in sand, and didn't seem to mind getting hit by the 60ish degree water. The littles loved running back and forth to the water, getting their feet (and more) covered by little waves, helping daddy dig a giant hole, and attempting to put water in the hole with the beach buckets. Again, Noelle surprised me with how much she was actually enjoying running around and being outside. Maybe we need to move to the beach to get this girl active. :)

4. We also visited Jennette's Pier to check out the tank of fish. We didn't actually pay to walk out onto the pier, but the kids enjoyed watching the fish and playing with the interactive screens.

Overall, it was such a good trip, and SO different from our last trip to the beach when we went to Rehoboth with my family in 2015. Jonah was 14 months old at the time and miserable the entire week, and Noelle turned 3 while we were there and could only handle being out in the heat for so long. Maybe the secret for her is going before it gets too hot! Overall, they both did pretty well on the drive down and back, and thanks to Aunt Lyd who was able to help them with their toys and tablets!

the three year old covered in sand, and too busy to join the family picture

Saturday, May 6, 2017

First Week of May!

The first week of May was a busy one with prepping for a special MOPS lunch, our Eldersburg MOPS meeting, MOPS leadership team meeting, CPC MOPS meeting, the usual Pre-K, watching Holden and James, a few doctor's appointments, all with vacation prep thrown in for good measure. I've had a couple of nights with little sleep thanks to a congested nose and some lovely insomnia.

But it's the weekend now, and we're in the Outer Banks for a few days with Luke's family. Hopefully we can get some rest and relaxation!

After Holden woke up from his nap, he got some snuggle time with Noelle and Jonah. All three thought it was so fun laying together on Noelle's bed, and Holden almost always seems to wake up happy from his naps (at least once he's rescued from the pack'n'play.)

On Tuesday, I was able to sleep in for a little, workout, and then take the littles straight to Dunkin for a breakfast treat. All while they were dressed in their PJs. They have both started to eat just the frosting covered portion of their donuts, so I gladly eat the rest. :)

As one of the MOPPETS leaders for CPC MOPS this past year, my co-leader and I were in charge of the thank you lunch for our MOPPETS workers (aka the people who love on all the kids during our meetings.) My mom and I got most of the food at BJs earlier in the week, and there were about 50 people (including kids) at the lunch, which we had directly after our Thursday morning MOPS meeting this week. I think it went well, and I hope our MOPPETS workers felt loved and appreciated. We definitely could not have MOPS without them!

After the lunch, I took the kids to my mom's so I could go for an OB appointment and ultrasound. The ultrasound was first, and baby was measuring about two weeks behind. The nurse practitioner I saw for my appointment afterwards wanted me to go see a perinatal doctor that afternoon, but the places she was trying to get me into didn't have any availability. Instead she got me an 8 a.m. appointment for Friday morning, and she had me do a non-stress test (NST) before I left. Baby and I were hooked up for about 20 minutes, and everything was good.

Friday morning, I drove through pouring rain to get to my appointment, where the sonographer looked at baby for about 40 minutes, taking measurements of baby, measuring fluids, and looking at blood flow. Fluids and blood flow looked good, but baby was measuring small (just like the day before) so the doctor there is having me come in for a biophysical profile next week, and then another growth sono the week after. We went through this with Noelle, so I'm trying not to worry, but it was later on in the pregnancy with her. Baby is measuring in the 6th percentile, and if he/she gets down to the 5th percentile, there's a chance we could be looking at delivering baby at 37 weeks to see if we can get baby growing better on the outside.

I'm praying baby has a nice little growth spurt and we won't have to worry about this anymore. But in the meantime, I'm paying a lot of attention to all the rolls, pokes, and movement this babe is making! And enjoying a break from our usual while we hang out at the beach!

The three year old was too busy for pictures!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Some Randomness from April

First, I can officially say my due date is NEXT MONTH! I was talking to my sister this morning, and told her I could say I was having a baby next month, but since I'm not due till the 27th, I figure there's a good chance this baby could come in July. (Noelle was 10 days early and Jonah was 2 days late, so only God really knows what's going to happen!)

Second, I got my weekly email from Thrive Moms this morning with a little devotional about how Jesus came to give life and to give it abundantly (John 10:10.) As a mom with little people, it's so easy to think that the season I'm in is about survival. I certainly felt that way for the first year of Jonah's life- get through the sleepless nights, get through the breastfeeding, get through not being able to go out for girls nights because my child would not take a bottle! But Jesus still wants me to live abundantly in Him- and to become more like Him every day. Something I need to remember always!

We finished off the month of April with a trip to the circus, thanks to Nana and Grandpa! The circus is shutting down after this tour, so it was our chance to see it. In my memory, going to the circus involved going to a tent with three rings, and watching multiple acts going on throughout. We went to the climate controlled Royal Farms Arena with easily accessible bathrooms- definitely a win for this pregnant lady! Noelle says she loved the acrobats and horses, and Jonah seemed to like the acts with animals and things on wheels (aka little motorcycles, basket on unicycles, etc.)

so not cooperating for a picture

A week and a half ago, Noelle had her last pre-k field trip! At the beginning of the year, Luke and I had talked about him going on this trip with her, but once it came around, I decided there was no way I was going to miss out on her very last one! While Grandma and Grandpa treated Jonah to a day of fun, Noelle and I headed to her school to ride the bus to the zoo and see all the animals. Her favorite was the baby giraffe, and she always loves to pose as a flamingo!

checking out the mommy giraffe
Holden has been here every Wednesday, plus a few other days here and there. We always love having this little munchkin around! At the end of last week, he started army crawling around to get to the things (or people) he wanted. His determination is adorable and hilarious! And Noelle and Jonah are usually happy to see him (thank goodness Jonah seems to be getting better about sharing mommy!)

We also went to the Peep Show, a local event where people build various things out of Peeps. I had Holden and James the day we decided to go (we wanted to do it before the schools were out for their break) so my mom came along with me. The kids seemed to enjoy it, and were able to vote by sticking little tickets into the containers next to their favorite ones. Though their absolute favorite may have been the popcorn and lollipop they got at the end!

And of course, I love doing it all with this guy! 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Snapshots From Our Week

Chugging along at 31 weeks this past Tuesday! How are we down to single digit weeks till we meet this sweet babe?! I'm so excited to meet him or her, but I'm also not quite ready to be done being pregnant. And we've done nothing in terms of setting up a nursery, or collecting the baby items we have scattered among our friends (aka bassinet, carseat adapter for the stroller, swing, bumbo, etc.) But we'll get around to all that eventually, right? :)

Jonah got a Thomas the Train book for his birthday that we already happen to own, so on Tuesday this past week, we headed to Barnes and Noble to exchange books. Noelle also decided that the money she found hidden in the Easter eggs at Nana's house needed to be spent, and so she brought a few of her dollar coins with her so she could pick something out. Jonah spent most of the time playing with the train table, and Noelle browsed through lots of books before settling on a Shimmer and Shine book. Jonah eventually picked a different Thomas book as we were getting ready to walk out of the store. Since it was a rainy day and we had no other plans, we headed over to the mall for lunch, the carousel, and the play area!

My parents were away in Colorado this past week visiting my brother and sister, so we got to have Holden Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week. It's always fun having him around, and since he's so go with the flow, it's easy to do most of what we would normally do. On Wednesday, Jonah had his 3 year well check, and did great! He even exclaimed as we were walking down the hallway to the exam room that he was so excited to be there (thank goodness there were not shots this visit!) On Thursday, Noelle had lunch bunch so we were able to join some friends for a picnic, and on Friday we had a donut date in the morning, and then went to the train play ground for lunch and some play time after we picked up Noelle .

On Wednesday evening we made our way down to University of Maryland College Park to see our friend's art show. I missed all the explanations of his pieces as I chased our children around, but Luke was able to fill me in later, and it was so cool hearing how Zac was inspired, and able to share his love of Jesus through his work.

Also, I'm not gonna lie, when I'm out with all three kids (or sometimes 4 if I have my neighbor, James), I love the comments about having my hands full, or being busy. These little people are so much fun (for the most part), and I love them to pieces!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jonah!

Happy 3rd birthday (a few days late) to our favorite little boy!

Jonah, you are SO full of personality, and we love it. You talk up a storm to pretty much anyone, and you get so excited to tell people things. You've been telling everyone for the last few days that you are three!

The other week at one of my doctor's appointments, you and Ellie were squeezed next to each other on a chair while the doctor listened to the baby's heartbeat. You put your arm around Ellie and said "you're my best friend". My mommy heart melted right there! You really do love your sister so much, and I know you'll be sad when she's gone all day in kindergarten.

I love your smile, and your fierce love for your mama. You always want me, and even though it's totally a bedtime delay tactic, when you tell daddy you haven't given me a hug and a kiss yet, my heart just becomes a little puddle right there. In the last few weeks though, you've also been asserting your independence. You want to put your underwear on, you want to pull your boots on, you want to refill your own cup. You are becoming your own little self who can do things on your own!

You love rocks and sticks and mulch. Playing in water. Attempting to play Wii games with Daddy- even if you have no idea what you're doing. You follow your sister's lead and play pretend with your stuffed animals. Your favorite things to watch are Paw Patrol, Little Einsteins, Blue's Clues, and Dora. And a weekly donut date with mama is a must!

You know how to be a little goofball and make us laugh at your silly antics. We love you just the way you are, and we pray that you come to love Jesus most of all!

Love you always!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Easter Weekend 2017

Easter weekend was a whirlwind, but it was oh so good to remember and CELEBRATE the resurrection of Jesus! It is so easy for this "story" to just become a story a grew up hearing, but really, it's my everything- without Him and His mercy and grace, I would be a lost little sinner. We read the stories surrounding His death and resurrection from the Jesus storybook Bible, and I love these kid versions of the stories because they point to the simple truth: Jesus died on the cross because He loved us.

In the story when He's nailed to the cross, the people taunt Him, saying that if He really was the Son of God, He would be able to save Himself from death on the cross. And I love what Sally Lloyd Jones wrote: "And of course they were right. Jesus could have climbed down. Actually, he could have just said a word and made it all stop. Like when he healed that little girl. And stilled the storm. And fed 5,000 people.  But Jesus stayed. You see, they didn't understand. It wasn't the nails that kept Jesus there. It was love."

Oh the love of Jesus! I'm so thankful for it!

On Saturday we went to the church some old neighbors of ours used to pastor at, for an Easter egg hunt. We've been before, and as always, they did a wonderful job of sharing Jesus. They had a puppet show that pointed the kids (and adults!) to look at God's truth about ourselves, not what the world tells us. As in years past, I teared up, so thankful that my kids can continually hear the truth about who they are in Christ. And I prayed that my two, and all the kids in the room would come to believe it for themselves!

Then they dismissed for the Easter egg hunt, and with 10,000 eggs scattered on the church's property, Noelle and Jonah ended up with quite a bit of loot. We took our baskets inside to empty out all the eggs, and to collect prizes. It was quite the contrast to the day before, when I took them to a little egg hunt at a park in Sykesville, where there were not enough eggs, and we walked away with three total.

Saturday evening we got together with one of our small groups for an Easter dinner. Our friends hid a few eggs around their yard for the kids to find, and then we shared a meal as a group. Sunday morning, we woke up with enough time to send Noelle and Jonah on a scavenger hunt for their Easter baskets, and a little egg hunt around the house.

After church, we snapped a few pictures with Aunt Heather, Uncle Jason, and Holden, and then headed to my parents for a quick lunch, and yet another Easter egg hunt. The weather on Easter was beautiful, and it felt wonderful being outside without being cold! Then we swung by the house to pick up the food that Luke made for our Easter dinner with the Wiedemans, and we headed up to Westminster.

Grandma and Grandpa had an egg hunt set up for the two of them, and with all those hunts, we now have a giant ziplock bag full of candy. These two are clearly well loved! It was great spending time with family, eating delicious food, and resting in the truth that Jesus saved me from my sins!

This picture just cracks me up! They make my heart so full!