Sunday, September 17, 2017

Recent Tidbits

We've been keeping busy this month! I'm still trying to get into some kind of routine with school starting to give Clara a chance to have at least one decent nap, but it's definitely a work in progress as we're also trying to meet up with friends, go to MOPS meetings, and get the older two to and from school.

Jonah, Clara, and I met up with some friends at our favorite crepe place and then headed over to the playground to let Jonah and his little girl friend play.

Noelle had her first day doing the drop-off line in the morning instead of me walking her in. Oh man was that harder on me than her- she's wanted to do it every day since, and I cried more that day than I did on the first day of school. Why do babies not keep??

And speaking of babies not keeping, Jonah had his first independent day of 3's preschool. He walked into his class without looking back and had an absolute blast. 

I got the girls their first set of matching clothes from Boden. Noelle could not get her school uniform off quickly enough when she got home so that she could be twinsies with her sister.

Jonah has been wanting uppie a lot, which will be a lot of fun when Luke goes back to work on TOMORROW! Eek!

Last weekend we headed to Gaver Farm for a wagon ride and

Touch a Tractor day with Aunt Heather and Holden. Jonah disappeared on me a few times in his excitement to see all the things, but thankfully we all made it home. And with some delicious apple cider donut holes to share with Daddy.

We also made it to church as a family where the girls were twinsies and Clara and I spent our usual time in the nursing room.

The Ravens won their first game of the season last Sunday so on Monday morning after dropping off Noelle at school, we met Heather and Holdy for some free Dunkin Donuts coffee.

On Tuesday we took an early bath, put on pajamas, and checked out one of the new ice cream places on Main Street for a pre-bedtime treat. Delicious!

And cuddles for baby Clara are always on repeat, but especially important right before bed.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Labor Day Weekend 2017

Labor Day weekend this year was busy, but full of things we love- family, friends, and sunshine!

My brother and his girlfriend flew in from Colorado to see us for a bit, and also to drive up to NY for a wedding. On Friday we picked up some coffee and donuts and headed over to my parent's house to hang out for a little bit before they left for NY. Nathan got to meet his newest niece, and I dressed her in her Colorado onsie just for him!

Luke's older sister also came in to town from Charlottesville, and two of my college roommates came in from TX and PA to meet Clara and hang out. On Saturday, while Luke and his sister took Noelle and Jonah up to his parent's house, I hung out with Kristen and Amy and we pretty much talked all things baby, motherhood, and questioning how on earth we got this old. We even made a run out to Babies'R'Us and got a picture with the Expectant/New mom sign.

I have no pictures from Sunday, but after church we grabbed some lunch at the local Farmer's Market (well, I nursed Clara in the van while everyone else grabbed some food and looked around), and then we headed up to Luke's parent's house for a belated birthday meal for Luke. It is so fun being able to see family, and Noelle and Jonah had an absolute blast playing Nate the Great with Aunt Hannah.

Monday we all slept in, and when my sister texted to see what we were doing, I suggested we all grab Chick Fil A to go and meet at a local farm for a picnic and to play with the goats. It was gorgeous out- sunny, low humidity, 70*.

The kids loved feeding the goats, and at one point a guy with a dog came over and Jonah felt the need to tell him that we in fact do not have a dog at home, just a mean cat. So very true Jonah, and definitely something a complete stranger needs to know. :)

The farm also had a sunflower field, so we agreed that Noelle and Jonah could each choose one flower to pick and buy. Jonah chose one bigger than his face, of course.

And it was also necessary that they put their flowers in the kid shopping carts in order to take them to the register to pay.

Monday afternoon, after Clara woke up from her nap, we headed to my parent's house for some more time with Nathan.


 And just a favorite picture from the sunflower field that Luke snapped of me and the kids! Love having these little adventures with our family!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Seattle Trip

Operation Meet Great Grandma was a success! We flew into Seattle in the evening on August 23rd, and our return flight was Sunday morning, the 27th. It was a whirlwind trip, but packed full of lots of fun and family. My dad's brother and sister live there with their spouses, as well as my grandmother (who is the only living great-grandma for our kids.) My aunt and uncle very graciously bought our plane tickets to help us get the baby out to Seattle to meet my grandma. She had flown to the East Coast last November for my dad's 60th birthday and decided that she didn't want to do flights that long any more. She's in her early 90's, so it's completely understandable. Luke and I were super grateful to have a chance to be there so she could meet her fourth great-grandchild!

There were no set plan for the morning that day giving us a chance to sleep and get settled in. Once we were all up and dressed, my uncle took us down to Pike's Market to check everything out. We got to see the fish throwing, the original Starbucks (the line was way too long to buy anything), and he took us to a restaurant called The Pink Door, which did not have a sign, but was just a pink door in an alleyway. The food was delicious! We stopped at a chocolate store to get some fudge, and my uncle treated me to a mocha. So good!

My aunt (my dad and uncle's sister) met up with us at lunch, and after we were finished up around the market, we headed down to the pier to wander around. We bought some t-shirts for the kids and rode on the Wings Over Washington ride, which was a fun way to "see" many of the major things Washington state has to offer. Clara was starting to get fussy after that so we headed back to my Aunt and Uncle's house and got to see my grandma.

It was SO special watching her hold Clara (her 4th great-grandchild), and she asked me if Clara's middle name was after her- of course, Grandma! Clara was getting a little fussy so I put her down for what we thought would be an evening nap, and she ended up sleeping until 2 a.m., nursed, and then went right back to sleep until about 6. Worn out!

Friday was also Luke's birthday, and we got to spend the day exploring Mt. Rainier. We drove to my Aunt's house in Tacoma, and then caravanned to Mt. Rainier National Park. Clara was HATING the car seat, and we were driving for most of the day which was a bit rough. But we did stop and walk around at different points to take in the amazing views, and stopped so I could nurse her. After dinner at my Aunt's in Tacoma, we headed back to Seattle to sleep!

On Saturday we took the ferry and got to explore Poulsbo where both my Grandma and Grandpa lived at various times in their lives. My great-grandparents continued to live there when my dad and his siblings were born, so it was fun hearing my uncle and aunt share some memories from when they would come stay with them.

We only were able to stay in Poulsbo for a few hours, and it was a charming little town- on the water, a cute historic main street, fun little shops. We even visited what used to be the newspaper building where my great-grandparent's ran the town newspaper for years. I really enjoyed the family history lesson, and Luke and I both wished that we could have had more time to explore the town. Next time for sure!

We took the ferry back, and then went out to dinner at Anthony's to celebrate Luke's birthday. We sat at a table with a view of the water, ate delicious seafood, and witnessed a beautiful sunset. It was the perfect ending to our trip and time with family. Since we were flying out the next morning, I hugged my grandma goodbye and she teared up, which of course made me tear up!

I so hope we can go out to Seattle again soon with all the kids and spend more time with family! Thankfully, Clara slept in the wrap for the first half of the flight home, nursed for a bit, and then went back to sleep.

Clara for the first 10 minutes of sitting on the plane on the flight to Seattle

Aunt Karen getting baby snuggles

Mt. Rainier

the church in Poulsbo where my grandparents got married

Poulsbo was first inhabited by Vikings

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Noelle had her first week of kindergarten last week! She is such a little girl already (no more preschooler!), and seems even more grown up in the few days that she's been in school full time. Thankfully she absolutely loves it, and at this point, still looks forward to going to school. We had back to school night last week, and Luke and I were even more blown away by the school and how much they have to offer for being so small. We love her teacher, and are super excited to see Noelle learn all the things this year!

That first morning I was extra grateful that Luke was with us because I was a bundle of nerves and kept tearing up as we drove to school. I kept asking him what if this or that happens, and he kept reassuring me that everything would be fine. We were able to walk her to her classroom and stay for  a few minutes as she got settled. When it was time for us to go, she gave us a quick hug and got right back to the task at hand (gluing colored scraps of paper to her name.) Seeing her happy to be there helped settle this mama's heart quite a bit!

Her teacher sent home a packet for the parents to fill out to give her a better idea of what each kid is like. She asked things like what our goals for our child are, what we're most worried about, personality questions, bedtime routines, and more. One thing she included was for us to give her any and all information we wanted her to know "in a million words or less." As a mom, I wanted to convey as much as I could about our girl and wrote out some thoughts, and wanted to keep a record for ourselves.


Where to begin about our girl, Noelle? As most any parent would say, it has been an absolute joy watching her grow into a big girl. While I'm sad about how quickly each stage is passing, it's been fun watching her become the girl God is creating her to be.

Noelle is sweet and loving, reserved and silly, smart and inquisitive. She loves her family, all things crafting, singing, dresses, being read to, eating pizza and Chick Fil A, playing dress-up, princesses, ballet, and so much more.

When she's in a new environment, she often takes some time to stand back and take it all in. Once this girl is warmed up though, she will jump right in, ask people their names, and play with complete strangers. While she is shy, she doesn't seem to have stage fright, as displayed by her pre-k graduation where she (and she alone!) curtsied after every song.

Her daddy is a goofball, and Noelle loves to be silly right along with him. They make up songs about everything and anything. Her giggle can't help but make me smile, and she'll repeat anything that made her laugh- and then the laughter begins again.

Noelle loves her family. She's always been a mama's girl, and daddy is the best at turning her sour attitude around. She and her brother Jonah (21 months apart) have spent hours playing together, and he adores her. She was so excited to get a baby sister this past summer, and as a little fashionista, loves picking out baby Clara's daily outfit. We also live less than a half hour from both sets of grandparents, and it's been beautiful seeing those relationships grow.

This past summer her love for crafting exploded. All of a sudden she seemed to be taking her time coloring pictures and staying in the lines. We had daily painting sessions, drew pictures on the easel, colored with chalk, and more. We know starting her first day of kindergarten with decorating her name was one of the best possible ways to begin her year.

We knew she would be excited about kindergarten, but we were still blown away by how well she did in her first week. Seeing my baby walk down the hallway full of confidence, and hearing her talk and laugh about each day has been such a blessing. We are excited for the year ahead!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Clara: Two Month Update

While Clara sleeps better than the other two did at this point, I'm still feeling a bit sleep deprived, and now that we're getting into the swing of things with school starting (!!), this whole balancing three kids thing is going to be ca-razy! But Luke is still home for 2.5 more weeks. And then I'll really be going crazy getting us out the door on time! :)

Height and Weight: We had her two month well check today, and she came in at 8 lbs 9.5 oz (1%) and 22.5 inches (43%). The doctor wasn't really concerned, but suggested that when Luke gives her a bottle in the evening to add an extra ounce or so just to give her some more calories. I thought for sure she'd weigh at least nine pounds, but not quite!

Sleep: Nighttime sleep is still great! For the most part, she's continued her pattern of waking up some time around 2:00, and then again in the 5-6 o'clock hour. She nurses and goes right back to sleep. Luke still takes her down to the basement for a few hours around 8:30 and sometimes gives her a bottle if she's acting hungry.

On our first full day in Seattle, we put her down for what we thought would be a nap around 5:30 p.m., and she didn't wake up until almost 2:30 a.m. Almost 9 hours!! Thankfully she nursed and went right back to sleep and woke up again around 6:00 a.m. I think the jet lag and being out of her somewhat normal routine threw her off. Thankfully she slept well the whole time we were there, and seems to be adjusting for the most part since we've been home.

Noelle also started school this week, so now we have to navigate drop-off and pick-up around naps. The first two days have been a little crazy, and she's ended up taking decent morning naps, but can't seem to settle for a solid afternoon nap. Hopefully we can get that all figured out once we all get used to our new routine!

Eating: She mostly seems to want to nurse on and off while she's awake, and I'm a bit worried my supply is not sufficient. But I'll keep feeding her on demand and give her a bottle now and then to hopefully help with that and get her growing more. I didn't pump at all in Seattle, and haven't since I've been home, but need to figure out how to fit that into our new routine as well.

Diapers/Clothing: Newborn onsies are pretty much filled out to the max, and I tried to put some newborn sized footie pajamas on her today, but that was not going to work. Before we left for Seattle I washed a bunch of 0-3 month clothes so we have those ready to go for her. Most are for warm weather, so hopefully it's warm for a bit longer. We also ran out of newborn diapers so we moved her up to size 1. 

Social/Milestones: I have gotten a few smiles out of her, but I have to work really hard for them. She's usually pretty content when she's getting changed on her changing pad, so I try to use that time to talk to her and smile at her. We've done tummy time a few times, and sometimes she's quiet for a little while, and sometimes she screams as soon as we lay her down. But her neck control is definitely getting stronger!

Likes: She continues to do well when I wear her in the wrap. That was our saving grace in Seattle- I wore her whenever I could, including through a bunch of our meals. She tends to fall asleep in it, and does really well while snuggled. She also loves the bath! Noelle and Jonah help by pouring water over her lower half, while I pour it over her head. Even when water runs down her face, she doesn't cry. She also seems to like watching Noelle and Jonah move around, at least for a little while. Sometimes their love can be a little over-bearing, but she does well overall!

Dislikes: She absolutely hates the car seat! We had a long day in the car seat in Seattle when we went to Mount Ranier, and we all endured a lot of crying. But I'm hoping that phase passes soon, because we'll be spending a decent amount of time in the car driving Noelle to and from school, and getting to various other activities. During the day, if she's awake and not nursing, she really wants to be held. The swing is not sufficient, and it makes it difficult to get much done. But I'll just have to start wearing her more around the house!

Fun things we've done: We celebrated Holden's birthday, went to Jackie's baby shower, gone to multiple library times, went peach and raspberry picking, first Howard County fair, first plane ride and more! It's been a busy month, and I feel like with school starting, things will only get busier!

some pictures:

We love you, Clara Irene!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Busy Week

We've now had eight weeks with Luke home on paternity leave, and I know me and the kids are still loving it. He is an amazing daddy, and takes such good care of all four of us. Less than a month till he goes back to work now, and I know I won't be ready (even though he so is!)

On Monday we headed to library time with our favorite Mr. Chris. Quick story about him and his wife, Jenna- she is best friends with a girl I went to college with and worked with for a few years, and they also are friends with one of my good friends from church/MOPS. (They also sang/played for my post-college roommate's wedding recently- small world!) Chris and his wife, Jenna, are singers/songwriters and when they did the Piggie and Gerald event at the library last year, I finally made the connection that he was Chris of THE Chris and Jenna. Anyhow, we've chatted a little bit, and I read in their music blog recently that they are pursuing their music and headed to Nashville for a month to do some recording. Thankfully he'll be back to the library eventually, and while I'm excited for them, we will miss him at library time!

All that to say, when we went to library time this past week, I lamented to Luke about how this was Noelle's last library time with Mr. Chris before she starts school. Never again will she be a regular at Mr. Chris' storytime (except for next summer when she's home, of course.) Luke just looked at me like I was crazy and told me I am going to be sobbing when we drop her off for her first day of school. (We'll see- I'm hoping I'm more excited for her than anything else!) Noelle and Jonah did their usual with Mr. Chris, singing songs, reading books, and of course ending with a craft. (Which lately always ends with Jonah having a meltdown- #threenager!)

A local dance studio was offering free classes this past week for all ages, and I took Noelle to a class on Monday evening. She had an absolute blast, and it was so convenient that the studio is less than five minutes from our house. I will definitely be looking into lessons for her!

On Tuesday we headed to the $1 movie to see Happy Feet 2. Luke and I weren't super impressed, and Noelle was begging to leave about 20 minutes in. Since Jonah still seemed interested, and Clara was napping/nursing, Luke took Noelle out of the theater telling her she'd be bored waiting for us. They ended up deciding to check on the other $1 movie, which was Cats and Dogs, and she of course loved that. Fun times all around, and proving that I would NOT have been able to handle something like that with all three kids by myself.

Wednesday was a quiet day, mostly spent at home, and on Thursday, I took the kids to Noelle's school to drop off her school supplies. Noelle was so excited to see her teacher again (although her shyness stops her from saying much), and Jonah was of course his verbal let-me-tell-you-my-life-story self. We love her teacher, and I know once Noelle has spent time with her consistently, will get past some of her shyness. We are so excited for her for this year (and I'm also a lot bit nervous!)

After chatting with her teacher for a bit, we met Nana and Holden at Larriland for a picnic lunch and raspberry picking. It was a hot, humid day, and after about 10 minutes of picking, Noelle was complaining of the heat, and Jonah, of course, copied her. Between the two of them though (with some help), we ended up with about a pound of raspberries, and they were delicious!

On Friday, we met up with both my parents and Holden at a local conservancy for another picnic and to wander around for a bit. After not much time in the heat (oh Noelle!) we grabbed snowballs, and then Noelle headed off with my parents for a sleepover, and we went home to give Clara a good nap.

Saturday we headed up to meet Grandma and Aunt Lyd for the Tomato Festival at a local Farmer's Market. They had different types of tomatoes to try, as well as sweet and savory tomato recipes to sample. We ran a few errands, and then headed back to pick up Noelle from my parent's house. A busy week, but full of lots of fun and trying to do ALL THE THINGS before Noelle is not spending her days at home. (Eek!)