Saturday, February 17, 2018

Valentine's Day 2018

Our Valentine's Day was sweet and simple, and done just right for our first one in TN. Noelle woke up excited for her Valentine's Day party at school, and I gave her a heart shaped pancake and toast with a heart cut out in the middle. This girl loves her holidays and was excited to celebrate the day!

Jonah, Clara, and I headed to my MOPS Bible study where Jonah played while Clara and I got to sit and talk about discerning the voice of God with other mamas. It was good, and this study by Priscilla Shirer has been good for me in the short amount of time I've been involved. When we got home, the doorbell rang and a bouquet of tulips was delivered to me. I texted the below picture to Luke! I love holidays, and the day to celebrate love is one of my favorites. Doesn't have to be romantic love, but I'm thankful that I have my forever Valentine. :) 

When Noelle was home from school, I told her that we would be doing a scavenger hunt later on for their Valentine's Day gifts. She begged and begged to do it then, but I wanted her to wait for Daddy to get home to join the fun! Of course it ended up being the one day he was stuck at work for a little bit longer, and by the time he got home with our pizza dinner, it was an hour later than our normal dinner time. But we got the kids focused on the pizza, and then started the scavenger hunt. It's such a simple thing to do with them, but they love it! They kept saying "oh thank you mommy!" Oh my little loves! We got them little toys from Target, which they of course were super excited about (and have probably lost by now.)

Noelle looking at their first clue

We also stopped at Walmart on our way home from school to get a few more things, including two heart balloons to add to our Valentine's Day decorations. They are still going strong three days later, and it will be a sad day once they are no longer floating.

I'm so thankful for Luke! We were trying to remember if our first Valentine's Day together was in 2005, which means 13 Valentine's Days with each other. And I think all involved pizza. :)

And my littlest Valentines. I'm more sleep deprived and frazzled than ever before (aside from maybe October-December of last year with all the moving stuff going on), but these three are SO worth all the crazy. And sleep is a non-essential, right?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Our First Visitors!

Last week we hosted our first visitors- my mom and Holden!! When my mom first talked about coming down to visit us after we moved, she figured she'd need to bring Holden since she watches him four days a week. I of course had no problem with this, and my sister, while sad to be without her sweet boy, was okay with a week to not be woken by a baby and to have some down time.

We headed to the airport after church almost two weeks ago to pick them up. Luke had rearranged the van so that Holden would be rear facing in Noelle's car seat, and we put her in the booster seat for the week. I was so excited to see them, and sat between Holden and Jonah in the backseat for the drive to our house. Holden held my finger, and I fed the boys raisins and M&Ms. :) That evening we ordered pizza, made a bunch of appetizers, and "watched" the Superbowl!

The week was fun being able to show my mom around Spring Hill, and see some of our "usual places". Aka Target, the library, our favorite playground, and the mall. Target we've been to a million times and the mall maybe three times, but still, they are our go-tos! We also tried a local restaurant that multiple people have mentioned called The Mockingbird. It was delicious, but the menu is pretty limited and kind of pricey. But still fun to try with my mom and 4 kids (ha!) I also took her to try a new coffee shop in town called The Fainting Goat. The drinks were yummy, and the kids enjoyed the cookies that were bigger than their heads.

Most days we kind of played things by ear and gave the babies naps as we could. Clara even napped for about two hours one morning. A complete miracle! Holden was on East Coast time the whole trip and was almost always up in the 5:00 hour. Thankfully my mom is an early riser, and I was usually up around then to workout.

Holden, Noelle, and Jonah jumped right back in to their love/hate relationships. Holden tackled Jonah as often as he could and Jonah showed Holden the joys of jumping off the nursing chair onto the cushion. The two of them would run circles around the kitchen island, and Jonah was well-aware that he was the "winner." If Clara was sitting on the floor, Holden would come over and lean on her in a giant hug. And one time he sat in her lap. Oh Holdy! When Noelle was sitting in the chair at the table, Holden would go over to her and lay his head on her and squeeze her as tight as he could. That boy is one big lover!

adventuring to Pet Smart after Bed Bath and Beyond for new towels!

Noelle's school also ended up closing for two of the days because the flu was so bad. When she went back to school on Friday of that week, only four kindergartners were there out of 13. (Thankfully this week it seems like things are back to normal!) It was nice having her along for some of our mundane adventures, giving her more time with my mom and Holden. Friday was calling for some amazing weather- 60s and sunny. We headed to the Nashville Zoo to use our membership for the first time!

Jonah observing a kangaroo

Thanks to me not being very organized, it took us a little while to get in to the zoo, but once we were in, we wandered around showing the kids the animals and pushing our two strollers around. We stopped for a picnic lunch, and then explored for a little bit longer before the two babies were starting to get super fussy. We headed back home, and picked up Noelle on our way.

The sadness crept in after we dropped them off at the airport on Saturday. The reality of not watching Holden grow up and seeing my mom whenever I want is tough. Thankfully everyone is coming down in June and I'm holding on to that!

More pictures of our fun!

show me your teeth

show me your funny face!

always cranky jonah

figured out we have matching onsies!

Friday, February 2, 2018

A Morning Snippet

This morning my alarm went off at 5:15 after being awake for about 45 minutes as the baby fussed, and eventually ate around 2 a.m. I hopped on the treadmill for my 35ish minute cardio workout of walk/running. My foot/ankle is thankfully feeling SO much better, and I've been easing in to running again. I've worked up to 1 minute walking/4 minutes running (no faster than a 10:00 minute mile.) It's slow, but I am SO thankful to just be moving my body again! After that Luke came upstairs, and we did the leg workout for 21 day fix. I'm definitely going to be feeling that tomorrow!

Miraculously, by the time we got back downstairs around 6:50, none of the children were awake yet. As Luke hopped into the shower, I sat down at the kitchen table with my coffee and Bible to grab whatever amount of time I could get reading the She Reads Truth devotional of the day. It's been focused on 1 Thessalonians, and today was about living in holiness. Not long after I'd been reading, I heard the patter of feet coming to find me. A sleepy "mommy" coming from my not quite 4 year old as he found me at the table and came over for a hug. He held a little matchbox car in his hand, and told me he'd found it in his bed. Matchbox cars have been his thing lately, and he has quite a few that accompany us many places.

As he went on the search for more of his cars, I finished up reading and whispered a quick prayer. Then Noelle came in wearing the mermaid tail blanket she got for Christmas. Always, every night, that blanket is her one and only blanket, and she stuffs a whole bunch of her stuffed animals down into the tail. We talked for a few minutes, and then Luke came out, and I quickly grabbed a shower while he was still home.

Super daddy wrangled all three kids, and got them all dressed for the day while I was in the shower and getting myself ready. After I did Noelle's hair, hugs all around, and a kiss, they were out the door headed off to school and work. Noelle excited about her Chick Fil A lunch; Luke off to work hard for our little family. Mornings are a lot calmer and less stressful with Luke home and able to help!

Our life has been quieter and slower since we've moved. We don't know all the things to do yet, and we don't have the friends to plan play dates with yet. Back to 1 Thessalonians, Paul talks about the importance of community- and I cannot wait to have that again here in TN. I know it will come, I know it will take time, but I know that God will provide.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Nap Hater and Target Runs

Clara is the worst napper I've ever had- no consistency, and when she does nap, she wakes up after 20 minutes. I'm trying to let her fuss for a bit when she wakes up (which is happening as I type this), and sometimes she'll fall back asleep for a little bit. Most days she only has one nap, and it's anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour long. How does she function?? (I can't function- because when she's awake, she wants to be held. So all vacuuming is done with her in my arms, laundry and dinner prep are either done with her crying or her on the counter so she's eye-level with me.) I know it's a season, and even if she never naps, there will be a day when she can entertain herself. But the one thing that I do get frustrated about is not being able to invest very well in Noelle and Jonah. Clara requires so much attention that it's hard to sit down and read with them, or help Noelle with her homework. By bedtime, after I put Clara down, I'm in my pajamas reading in bed to wind down. It's a season, and it will pass. And I'll grab moments with the other two as I can.

a rare moment of sitting and reading with Jonah

Ah, Target. It's SO nice having a Target closer than 25 minutes away. It's tough on the bank account, but it's also a super target, so we can get everything there. We go at least twice a week, for a grocery run at the beginning of the week, and then to pick up more items that we may need later in the week. It's also dangerous because of the Starbucks inside (good thing I got giftcards for Christmas!) At least I've been good and haven't bought any clothes since we've moved here!

Attached at the hip. Literally. She is so cute though, and usually happy as long as she's being held. I had my MOPS Bible study this past Wednesday for the first time, and decided to keep Clara with me, hoping she would nurse and fall asleep. But after a quick catnap in the car, she was awake for the entire time and either cooing, wiggling around, or nursing/drinking her bottle. I think for the sake of really being able to participate, I'll put her in the nursery next time (but so much sickness! eek!) They don't have room for her in the nursery during actual MOPS meetings, so a break from her on Bible study days, would be kind of nice!

Luke doing double dad duty- holding a clingy baby and overseeing homework. Noelle gets quite a bit of homework, which is not at all like her school in MD. Based on the worksheets she brings home for math, Luke knows the curriculum is meant for first graders. She's doing alright with it (better than I would have thought!) but it still takes her awhile to get through it all. Thank goodness God gave me a very patient husband! ;)

Noelle had a math test on Wednesday, so after school we headed to Dairy Queen for a treat. Strawberry Sundae for Noelle, and chocolate for Jonah, of course! We also had closing for our MD house on Wednesday (Praise the Lord!), so Luke and I celebrated with some yummy BBQ take out.

And afternoons as usual find us driving the now familiar roads to go pick up Noelle from school. (All the familiar roads lead to her school, Target, and the library.) Her school here has a pick-up line, so we just drive up to the front of the school, and tell them who we're there for. It's such a small school that they pretty much know who goes with who, and it goes super fast.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Our "Snow" Week

So last week was like having a second Christmas break- no school ALL week! Monday was MLK Day, and then when we got two inches of snow on Tuesday, the schools were closed for the REST OF THE WEEK! By Wednesday evening, Luke and I just looked at each other like "what??" when we got the email that Noelle's school was closed. I will say, since snow happens so infrequently, they must only plow and salt the main roads (I didn't see a single plow), and no one shoveled their walkway or driveway. School cancellations meant no MOPS meeting, but the kids and I did escape to Target and to check out our new local library!

train table at the library
While out and about before the expected snow, we hung out at the Books A Million nearby, and then explored the super local zoo, aka Pet Smart. There was also a frozen yogurt place in the shopping center I planned on taking them to, but when we tried to go in, the door was locked. It's decorated with Valentine's Day decorations, so I don't think they're closed for the winter, but maybe they were just closed because of the snow?? So instead, we headed to Gigi's Cupcakes and ate some delicious tiny cupcakes!

On Thursday last week, I was able to visit with my sister-in-law, which was SO good and much needed. Luke is the only adult I've interacted with since we've moved (other than texting/social media/etc), and it was good to have a mama friend to hang out with for a little bit! Granted, Noelle and Jonah had reached a point of fighting with each other over almost everything, so I spent a lot of the time overseeing their arguments. #momlife

On Friday, we headed to our new mall! The kids were super excited to try out the play place, and I was happy when Noelle willingly wanted to explore the American Girl store. I loved my Kirsten doll as a kid, and while Noelle hasn't really gotten into dolls a whole lot (she has two dolls- not American Girl though), she did want to keep walking around the store looking at everything. Maybe she'll get more into it, and we can go to the cafe and have lunch with her doll someday.

And while we were going a little crazy with all the days off, it was a good reason to be able to go out exploring and finding our new "spots" around town.

On Sunday, we got ourselves together, and tried a nearby church for the first time. It's a HUGE church- five services, and the one we were at was packed. But it seems like they have a strong kids program, they're planning on planting a church a little bit further south, they have community groups, and the sermon was good. And on a random note, as we were picking up the kids afterwards to head home, I walked past a woman who looked familiar to me. I quickly figured out that she is someone I've followed on Instagram for a few years, and her family happened to also move down this way recently. Small world!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Clara Irene: 6 Months

How is our last little baby six months old!! (And quite closer to seven months at this point!) I know these baby months are flying by because of all the transition we've had going on. Plus, you know, when you're sleep deprived things can become quite blurred as well. :)

Clara's six month well check went smoothly, and she handled her shots well. She cried of course, but was easily comforted. I was glad to get one more appointment in with our MD pediatrician, and when I mentioned that we were moving, she got papers together for me of all three kids vaccines so that I would have them. In the midst of moving, I did manage to lose track of the papers, but I think they are floating around in the van somewhere. Maybe.

Height and Weight: Clara weighed in at 13 pounds 2 ounces (3rd percentile), and I cannot remember her length. She's growing right on track and just as she should!

Diapers/Clothing: Just last week, I moved her into size two diapers, mostly because we finished off a box and knew there was no point in opening an entirely new box. I do have a full box of size one diapers so I just need to find a mama friend with a teeny baby to pass them on to! Clara is mostly wearing size six month clothes, but when I pulled out a size three months outfit the other day, I decided to put it on her, and it fit just fine. I might as well get as much use as I can out of these clothes! And it was also one that Noelle wore, which I love seeing them out again. I'm starting to pack away the 3-6 month sleepers though, especially the ones that have been washed over and over again.

Sleep: Oh sleep for this child! She turned six months old on Christmas Eve, so she was still sleeping in bed with me at my parent's house at that point. Clara pretty consistently was waking up around 11, 2, and then 4:30. I'd nurse her, and she'd usually fall back asleep. Every now and then she'd decide to be awake for awhile and wiggle herself around. Luke and I joke that her arms have a mind of their own- flailing around and keeping her awake! And naps have been in the car or in my arms mostly.

Eating: She's still nursing, but it seems that in all the craziness, my supply is probably dipping even more. Each feed, we nurse for a few minutes, and then give her a two ounce bottle of formula. Every now and then when she's upset, she won't take a bottle and just nurses for comfort. I'm kind of amazed that we're still doing any sort of nursing, but I figure we'll keep it up for as long as we can, especially with all the sickness that is going around!

Social/Milestones: At six months, we were attempting to spend more time with her sitting, and she was getting better and stronger at tripod sitting. At this point, she's pretty much past using her arms to hold herself up and only falls over on occasion. She can definitely roll back to front (and pretty much does so immediately if she's doing any sort of tummy time), and right before her six month well check, I finally happened to see her roll from back to front. I think she's repeated that once since then, but at least she can do it! She just hates being on her tummy! She doesn't have any teeth yet, but there has been so much drool, so I keep thinking it's going to happen. She loves to hold toys and put them in her mouth. And she can even take her wubbanub and put the pacifier in her mouth. She also ate her first solids- carrots and beets! I was completely inconsistent in feeding her, but she at least tried them!

Likes: She still seems to like bath time a lot. She kicks her legs around in the bath tub splashing water everywhere, and even got to sit with the big kids and cousin Holden in the big bathtub at Nana's house. Clara definitely prefers to be held, but every now and then will be content sitting on the floor with baby toys. She loves watching her big brother and sister, especially when they're being crazy and moving around a lot. She also likes the vacuum. I can set her down and vacuum the whole downstairs and she usually doesn't get upset.

Dislikes: She gets pretty cranky on the days that she absolutely refuses to naps. So she hates naps, and being tired. Oh silly girl, naps are the best! She's usually most unhappy when she's not being held. 

Fun things: Clara got to see her first snow on the same day as our annual cookie-baking day. She celebrated her first Thanksgiving, sat on Santa's lap, wore lots of Christmas outfits, got lots of love from her siblings and Holden, picked out her first Christmas tree, and attended her sibling's Christmas programs. Overall, a very fun sixth month!

Love these little one!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sick Days and a Snow Day

Our first week in TN included christening our new home with the stomach bug! It started with Jonah, got to me, and then poor Noelle threw up at the end of her school day on Wednesday. Clara possibly had it- she was fussier than usual and spitting up more, but other than that seemed fine. Thankfully Luke has not gotten it (and we're praying that continues!), and he was able to work from home on Wednesday so that I could get some rest. I am so thankful for a husband who has always stepped it up when me or the kids get sick!

how most of our sick days were spent- tv and sleeping

We've been pretty housebound, but after five consecutive hours of no puking yesterday and way too much tv, I told the kids we were getting in the car and driving up to visit daddy at work. There was no way we were getting out of the car because we must contain all the germs, but mama needed to leave the house! This was my first time attempting to drive anywhere other than to Noelle's school or the donut shop (priorities!), but thank goodness for GPS. We hopped on the highway and got to Luke's work in about 20 minutes. (In two years, we never once went to visit him at his job in DC- yet another advantage of this job!) We called him when we got there, and he came out with chocolate chip cookies for all of us. We looked a hot mess, but it was good to see him, see his office building, and drive around for a bit.

Yesterday it also happened to be close to 70*, which made me even more eager to escape the house. If children were well, I would have taken them to the play ground in our neighborhood or to a local park. The kids may have been in pajamas, and I might have had crazy eyes,but a drive in the car was good for all! 

We're also getting to experience our first TN snow day today! With the 70* weather yesterday we were also getting a winter weather advisory on our phones warning us of impending snow and ice. We got an email from Noelle's school by the end of the school day yesterday that based on the counties around where we live, her school was also calling a snow day.

I decided to brave the roads and take the kids out this morning for a quick drive to Target to pick up bread and some other necessities (like a Valentine's day garland). We walked in and the first thing Noelle said was "it's so quiet in here!" Luke went in to work, but planned on coming home around lunch time to get back before the roads got too bad. He said only about six of his co-workers were there, and most headed home when he did. We're getting busy with crafting, playing, pizza making, and tv watching, of course!