Saturday, December 30, 2017

House Love Letter

Yesterday we closed on our house in TN! We actually signed the papers on Thursday with a notary at our church and over-nighted the papers down. On the downside, we found out that due to some tragic circumstances, the buyers for our MD house were unable to close on Thursday. The plan right now is to close on January 12th, but for now, we own two homes, which is a tad scary. (So much money!)

In honor of closing on our TN house, I wanted to post the love letter we wrote to the sellers of the TN house. As we were writing it back when we put in the offer, I was falling more in love with the house! Cheers to new adventures!


Dear Seller,

2017 has been a big and blessed year for our family! In June we added our third baby (our second girl!) to our family of five, and our oldest (the big sister) started kindergarten. Our middle child (our one and only boy) started preschool, and has become quite the adventurous three year old. We have embraced a season of new routines, fun activities, and so much more!

At the end of my husband's paternity leave, he was offered a position with a small tech company in Franklin, TN with the opportunity to start up the department doing the type of work he's enjoyed doing over the past two years. His current company is in Washington, DC, and has provided many good opportunities for him. While he has grown in his line of work and relished his time there, the hour and a half commute each way has been hard on us as a whole family. Getting home just in time to eat a quick dinner and put the kids to bed has meant time missed out on playing, reading, and watching them grow. Babies certainly don't keep!

We have visited the Nashville area many times over the last three years to visit my husband's brother and his sweet family. They have a precious girl, and we are so excited for our kids to be able to get to know their Tennessee cousin and build a relationship with their aunt and uncle here. Whenever we have visited the south, we have felt the southern hospitality both in suburbia and in the city. Being able to raise our kids in an environment that is as charming and sweet as middle Tennessee is something we have talked about often.

When we looked at the house yesterday, we fell in love with the open floor plan, talked about who would get what room, and laughed at all the crazy shenanigans our son would get into playing in the backyard and running around the neighborhood. Our cat would most definitely enjoy scampering around from room to room, and have a good place to hideaway in the laundry room. We pictured the bonus room upstairs as a playroom for our children, and the second floor bedroom to be the hideaway spot for any out of town guests we have coming to visit. I am one of four kids and my husband is one of five, and we have already invited them (and our friends) to come visit us anytime. I can imagine hosting birthday parties with our kids seated around the sunny kitchen table blowing out candles, getting cozy by the fireplace (my personal favorite!) and watching Christmas movies, taking pictures out front as they get ready to head to prom. We talked about riding our bikes to the pool, or even out to McDonald's to get ice cream in the summer. And we hope to build strong community with our neighbors and watch as our kids find their new best friends.

We will take wonderful care of the home you have created and will be so grateful if our offer is chosen.

Megan and Luke

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Eve 2017

Christmas Eve 2017 was full of fun! We started our morning at church, which of course for me meant the cry room for a nursing session/nap for Clara. After the service, we took a few pictures in front of the Christmas tree in the lobby. It was also Luke's last week at our church since he'll be in TN unpacking next week!

After church we headed back to my parents for an easy lunch and opening gifts! Noelle and Jonah could not wait until lunch was over and kept asking when it was time to open presents!

It also happened to be Clara's half birthday on Christmas Eve. How is she already so big? She's been getting lots of love from her grandparents and aunts and uncles with all the family in town!

It's also been surreal to think that this is our last Christmas while we live in MD. Next time we're here for Christmas, we'll be visiting!

And I'm going to miss being near my sister, Jason, and Holden!

We all wore our pajamas! (Perfect for eating all the food!)

And the cousins had matching jammies!

And we had all the usuals- my whole side of the family plus my mom's best friend and her family. 

Plus the group just keeps growing with all the babies!

It was definitely a joy filled first Christmas Eve for Clara!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas Program Day

"You must keep busy with those two little boys!" - the man picking up our moving pods.

And this is why we wear bows!

Jonah had his LAST day of 3's preschool today! We didn't end up finding a school in TN for him to finish out the school year, so he'll just get more time with mama and Clara. Maybe some day after all the unpacking is done, we'll spend some time working on letters and numbers. Or maybe not. :)

He had his Christmas program today and I was there to watch with Clara and Holden. It was adorable, and I loved hearing their little voices singing about Jesus. Jonah was most excited about the ice cream afterwards, which at 9:30 in the morning is pretty special. We said our goodbyes to his teacher, who also had Noelle for 3's and 4's. My friend Carrie and I saw our oldest kids go through preschool together, and now had our second-borns in the same class. So weird that we won't be a part of each other's weekly routines!

Clara had a super rough day yesterday, lots of crying (for her) and after not sleeping much the night before, slept so much better last night.

Today was grandparent's day at Noelle's school, and both my mom and Luke's mom were able to be there. Her school did their Christmas program, which we got to see tonight. I cried thinking about how this is the last event we'll get to do with her school. (And randomly enough we ended up sitting next to our realtors who have a gandkid in the preschool!)

Wearing her Christmas fancies

Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas Things

While I was grocery shopping after Thanksgiving, I got sucked in to the pre-made sugar cookie dough with Christmas trees. I knew the kids would be excited to "make" a Christmas treat, and for this season of life, these seemed like the best option! (aka the season of displacement and upheaval!)

We joined Heather, Jason, and Holden to go down and welcome Santa on Main Street. It was crowded, but we saw Santa arrive on the fire truck, walked through the model train display, got hot chocolate, and enjoyed all the Christmas decorations!

My mom and I took Jonah, Holden, and Clara to Home Depot to pick out a Christmas tree. My mom is usually pretty picky in choosing a tree, but decided the second one we looked at was the one! I was sad that Luke and Noelle missed the tree picking, but tis the season in our lives right now. But it was still fun picking out Clara's first Christmas tree!

My mom treated Noelle and me to see The Nutcracker performed by the Arabesque Dance Studio. I wasn't sure how Noelle would do since there's no dialogue, but she loved it! It was a mix of ages and very well done. The youngest age group (probably Noelle's age and younger) danced as the jesters and it was adorable! We might just have to make The Nutcracker a yearly tradition!

We went to the mall the other day to hang out with friends, and even though we didn't last long because Jonah was struggling with a man cold, we got to see the poinsettia Christmas tree and watched one of the local high school chorus groups sing some holiday songs. I can't believe we're only one week from Christmas!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Clara Irene: 5 Months

The last few months have been an absolute blur, but here we are with an almost six month old. I figured I better sit down and get somewhat of a five month update together before Clara is half a year old!

I have no idea how tall she is, but around when she hit the five month mark, Luke stood with her on a scale and she was just over 12 pounds. She is growing for sure, and my mom even commented the other day on how much bigger she seems since we moved in with them.

Clara's sleep habits leave a lot to be desired. As in I desire that she would sleep more. Naps during the day are when we're in the car or when I'm nursing her. Within minutes (or sometimes seconds) of me laying her down, she pops those eyes wide open. At night she's waking up three times, usually around 11, 2, and then sometime between 4 and 5. And sometimes she's restless and starts fussing minutes after I feed her. We haven't been swaddling her and those arms of hers just seem to have a mind of their own! So much flailing around.

Once we're in our own house again, we'll do cry it out. She needs to learn how to self soothe and I need sleep! But for now, I pretty much have a baby by my side 24/7. It means I'm not getting stuff done and I've been zero help with the move. But it's a season and one day she'll be all grown up. (Nooooo!!)

Whenever she's hungry, I nurse her for a few minutes and then give her a bottle of formula. I have no idea how much she's actually getting from me, but she seems satisfied and is growing with both. We'll keep up the little nursing sessions for as long as we can, and keep upping formula as needed. 

Clara sleeps on her back, which I think is part of the problem. She really just doesn't spend much time on her tummy so that's probably a milestone we should work on. Especially since she hasn't rolled from back to front yet. The day after Thanksgiving, I gave her solids for the first time! It was carrots and she sort of just gummed it around and spit it out. And because life is crazy, I haven't given her any solids since then. Poor third child!

She has spent more time in the Bumbo working on that back and neck strength, and she can do short amounts of time tripod sitting. She loves smiling and grabbing her feet. She likes to do a little growl when she's holding a toy, and she grabs on to napkins whenever she can. In general she does pretty well in the car seat, especially if Noelle is next to her and can talk to her.

She likes mommy, people in general, being held, smiling, holding toys, and chewing on things.

She dislikes being set down and sleep.

It seems like we did so much! The road trip to Nashville to house hunt, her first Halloween and Thanksgiving, the craziness of packing up our house and moving in with my parents. Driving in the car to drop off older siblings, hanging out with Holden, and lots of extra time with Nana and Grandpa.

Baby elephant

After church picture

Family pictures!

Staying warm with Daddy while at Loveless Cafe in Nashville

Family selfie

Thanksgiving day!

Eating some carrots

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


1. So I finally went back to the podiatrist since I've still been having achiness in my ankle/foot and haven't run since July. The doctor ordered an MRI, which turned into a run-around. I showed up for the scheduled MRI appointment, and when I answered that I hadn't had my period in a few years, they told me I needed a blood  pregnancy test before I could get the MRI. So two weeks later, I finally got it done and went back to the doctor to talk about the results and what to do next. The MRI showed that my deltoid ligament has a tear, which he was surprised by because it's pretty rare and is almost always associated with a trauma like an ankle fracture. The plan is to try orthotics and go from there. And now of course finding a podiatrist down in TN!

Ready for the MRI!

2. Noelle cheered at her first basketball game this past Saturday. She LOVED it and she is so stinking cute in the video Luke took. They even did a stunt where they lifted her up. So adorable! I'm sad she won't get to finish out the season here, but we'll have to find her a squad in TN. We are planning on her being able to cheer for homecoming and then leave after that.

3. We've been having Tuesdays with Holden. I love that I get more time with him before we go and I pretty much just plan on no time to myself on those days. :) He is such a happy boy, and he still loves to tackle the big cousins with a big ol' grin on his face. And sticking his fingers in Clara's mouth is another favorite. (Oh the germs!)

4. I need to get my act together and write up a five month update for Clara now that we're already closer to six months. I don't want to forget the details but poor third child mixed with holidays mixed with a major move is kicking me in the butt. Plus, let's be real, this baby does not sleep anymore. She takes a handful of 20 minute naps throughout the day, often in the car, and night time usually involves three wakeups. If we were in our own home, we'd do cry it out. But in the meantime, we're officially co-sleeping.

5. Getting in the Word. I so fail at this, and I so don't want to. One of the instagramers I follow (@biblesandcoffee) put out an advent reading plan and invited anyone to join her. I started out being consistent, and then way fell off the wagon. I know resting in the peace of Jesus, and anticipation of His return is so much better than trying to do it all on my own. Let this be a reminder to myself to spend time with Him!

Monday, December 11, 2017

House Hunting

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Luke and I left the big kids with Nana and Grandpa and headed down to Nashville to look for a house! Our MD house was (finally) officially on the market, and we knew we needed to look at houses and get things moving on that end.

Luke was constantly looking on Redfin for homes in the Nashville/Franklin area that were in our price range, and sending me anything that looked like something that fit what we wanted. We had come up with a list of must-haves, and things that were preferences, and based on that found some houses to look at. We sent that list ahead of time to our realtor, who is a good friend of Luke's brother.

my backseat buddy

Since we were bringing Clara with us and knew we'd be in the car a lot, we left Friday afternoon and stopped about halfway down to spend the night in Wytheville, VA. Overall Clara did really well in the car, but I spent about 90% of our driving time sitting in the backseat with her. When we got into Nashville on Saturday, we quickly stopped at an open house, and then met up with the realtor to look at three houses. The next day we saw four more houses, and by the fourth one I was done. It's fun looking at houses and getting an idea of what you want, but the actual going around to look at everything, especially with a baby, felt overwhelming to me.

At the last house, I had just started to feed the baby a bottle so Luke went in with the realtor while I sat in the car. We were late for our showing time, so the couple that lived in the house was still home, but left once Luke went in. After awhile, Luke came out and asked me if I wanted to come in and look. I asked if it was worth it, and Luke said he thought so, so in we went. As we looked around, we talked about how this bedroom would go to the girls, this one to Jonah, this would be the kid's bathroom, imagined them running around in the backyard, and riding bikes up and down the street. The more we talked about it, the more we liked it!

We headed to a Mexican place for sustenance and to sit down and talk about everything we'd looked at. As we talked, we came to the decision to put an offer in on that last house! Crazy big decisions are always best decided while eating Mexican. :)

Our trip also included looking at two schools for Noelle (of course we loved the one that was too far from the house we put the offer on), visiting with our friends who just had their first baby in October, and some quality time with Luke's brother and his family. We ate at the Loveless Cafe, did a quick trip to what will be our local Target with a Starbucks, and drove on many roads that will become familiar to me eventually!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cookie Baking 2017

For at least the past five years my mom has gathered me and my sisters, my mom's best friend, the girlfriend/wife of her best friend's sons, and occasionally others for a day of baking and a cookie exchange. My mom and I spent the last week making our dough and then baking ours so that the oven would be available to the other five ladies coming. My mom made her delicious cranberry chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies and cut out sugar cookies. I went with monster cookie bars and snickerdoodles. The big kids "helped" by cutting out the sugar cookies and getting their fingers all over them, and spreading their germs by licking the beaters. ("It's so good I just can't stop eating it!" -Noelle)

Well in typical unpredictable Maryland weather the forecast called for snow starting at some point today. By 10:00 when the flurries had just started, all but my sister had called out, worried about the weather getting worse. But no worries, the three of us will still walk away with close to six dozen cookies. Heather baked her cookies while we chatted in the kitchen and listened to Christmas music. Luke took Noelle and Jonah to Noelle's school where she cheered at her first basketball game!

Once they came home, and Holden had woken up from his nap, we bundled the kids up to play in the two or so inches of snow. Jonah wore hand me down purple snow pants and pink gloves, and Holden sported a light pink winter suit. I took Clara out for a short bit so she could experience her first snow. And as usual, she loved watching the big kids run around and throw snow.

After that we cozied up by the fire, "helped" Nana decorate her tree, got Ledo's pizza for dinner, and ate about 1000 cookies. After all the food, we braved the (not bad) snowy roads to enjoy the train garden at the local fire station. It was a pretty idyllic Christmasy day!

And of course what made today the best was because daddy got home last night from his first week working down in Tennessee!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Another "First" Holiday

Such a late post, but Clara celebrated her first Thanksgiving!! Another last "first" for our family. It's one of those things that makes me want to keep having babies!

Thanksgiving this year was perfect for being our last Thanksgiving while living in Maryland. My mom hosted and had her best friend who joins us for every holiday, Luke's parents and sister, my sister, Jason, and Holden, and Jason's mom and step-dad. All four grandkids had all their living grandparents from both sides of their families in one place for the holiday.

her first Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade

My sister Becky surprised my parents by showing up on Thanksgiving morning after having my mom convinced that she was spending the holiday with one of her friends in Colorado. She arrived the night before and slept at Heather's house, and then the two of them came over that morning to go for a walk. My dad was holding Clara watching the Thanksgiving Day parade when they arrived, and I could tell that as soon as my dad heard Becky's voice, he sort of cocked his head like "is that Becky?" So I grabbed Clara so he could get up and give her a hug. And of course, my mom being my mom, her first thought was how she was going to add Becky to the table for dinner. (Becky made 16 people at the table!)

Clara seems to do best when she can watch all the chaos and motion going on around her, and naps best when she's sleep-nursing attached to me. She did take a short nap on Thanksgiving, but spent most of it awake and with us. Dinner was a tad crazy as Jonah ended up falling asleep on Luke's lap for a short bit and woke up right as dinner was being served so he was quite cranky. Luke was trying to take care of him while I balanced the baby and trying to convince Noelle to eat more than just bread for dinner. #carbsforlife

The house was full, our bellies even more full, and I was definitely feeling thankful for the many blessings in our lives!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Reading and a Birthday

The five year old is getting better at taking pictures, so hopefully that means Luke and I can get more pictures of the two of us that aren't selfies. Even if there are 10 of the same picture from an awkward angle. 

These two are my little goobers! And driving my parents a little bonkers (especially since they have them for a long weekend while we're house hunting in Tennessee!) Jonah does a lot of whining and collapsing into a mess if something doesn't go his way, and when I asked my dad if any of us were as whiny when we were kids, he said no. But it's also been 23 years since any of us were 3 years old. :)

We've been kicking our holiday cheer off a smidge early this year. With all the time we spend in the car, I pulled out our Pentatonix Christmas CD to listen to, and I'll also play Christmas music to "help" the kids wake up in the morning. And of course the grocery store had these mini Christmas trees all set up for sale. With not being in our own house this year, I'll have to get creative with involving the kids in decorating!

This girl brought home reading homework this past week and READ to us!! I mean she couldn't read every word on each page of the books she brought home, but she could read some of the simple sentences that contained her service words and word family words. Luke and I just kept looking at each other like how do we have a child who can read?? And the best part was that she was so excited to pull out the little books and read with us. It is SO fun seeing her learn! Also, the other week when we were driving around Noelle was in the back seat going "vuck, vuck, vuck" since their newest word family was the "uck" family. I asked her to spell it for me because I wasn't quite sure I was hearing her correctly. "V-u-c-k!" :)

This past Wednesday was my dad's birthday, and we celebrated with tacos for dinner and cupcakes for dessert! Heather, Jason, and Holden joined the fun as well, which I am so thankful for any extra time we get with them! While the kids were watching the Lion King, we sat the four of them on the couch with Grandpa to take some pictures. Of course, in true little kid fashion, not everyone was looking!