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!

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Breathe, just breathe

Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

This is the chorus to "Breathe" by Jonny Diaz, and every time I hear it, I cry! I have been SO bad at resting in Jesus in what is probably the busiest, most stressful season of my life. The verses in the song are what my life look like ("it's off to the races everybody out the door"), and instead of looking to Jesus, I let the stress take over and just go go go. The to-do list, the not being able to do anything on the to-do list because kids, the constant running around for school, errands, life! But God is there, ready for me to come to Him. To soak in the living water of His Word. I need Him more than anything else, and even though I know that, I still put other things ahead of spending time with Him. Jesus, help me to love YOU first!

Whenever we've gone back to our house to work on things, we pretty much make the older two watch t.v./play on the tablet. Otherwise they just undo all the work that's been done- aka they dumped out a trash bag full of shredded paper all over the basement and jumped on the bed that I'd already made three times! Basically we tell them, don't touch anything, take your shoes off, no food or drink near the carpet! It's a season, and maybe we'll continue the rules at our new house so that we keep it cleaner. ;)

This past Wednesday, Noelle had her first day of cheer practice! She is so excited about being a cheerleader for her school, and I'm loving seeing her be a part of a team and to see her excited about doing something. She won't be there for the entire season, but she'll get to cheer for some basketball games, and potentially do a special homecoming performance if we're still here in early January. The coach is incredibly sweet, and is coaching 36 girls kindergarten through 12th graders! I'm sure we'll be able to find a dance or cheer program for her to do down in Tennessee. 

I had Holden all day on Wednesday and while Noelle was at practice, I took the rest of the gang to get donut holes. Which basically turned into Holden and Jonah running around a mostly empty Dunkin Donuts, and Holden flirting with the one employee and anyone else who came in.

On Thursday my friend Jess called me while she was out walking with her newborn baby girl. She and her hubby moved down to Nashville just over a year ago, and getting to talk to her was a sweet surprise. She has been so excited for us to move down there, and so encouraging. I know I'll be reaching out to her a lot once we're down there, and I love that she's already been such an encouragement in my walk with Jesus in the 5+ years we've been friends. I also can't wait for her little girl and Clara to be Nashville besties!

Jess in the middle. After she pushed Jonah in the stroller on our run- already prepping for her future baby over three years ago. :)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


We are getting ourselves ready to move to Tennessee, and it has been absolute craziness!! Luke and our parents have done a TON of work on our house including painting, filling holes, staging/decorating, cleaning, and more. Luke has been at the house for our carpet to be completely replaced, and for some window panes to be replaced. My parents invited us to come live with them (I'm pretty sure my mom is regretting this now!) and we took them up on it because I had NO IDEA how I was going to get the house ready/keep it clean in order to sell it. I literally have been no help on the house except for the few frantic packing/cleaning sessions I've had while Clara naps. The rest of my time is spent handing out snacks, wiping butts, making food, driving to and from school, handing out more snacks, putting the baby down for naps, nursing, making more snacks, etc. I am the busiest I've ever been, and most of that time is spent on three of my favorite people. (Which I love doing- for the most part- I just feel bad that I've been no help getting our house ready.)

Luke painting away in the kitchen

We've been living with my parents for almost two weeks now, and it has been super helpful. Luke basically has gone to work and then straight to our house to work on stuff. We have quite a bit packed and stored in my parent's basement, and as of Monday, the house has officially been photographed for our realtors to do what they need to do. Now I just need to pack up a few more things and clean the fridge/shelves in the kitchen, and that will be more of the nit-picky things. Once the house sells, we'll really only have to focus on moving out our big furniture and taking out the things we used to "stage" our house.

Luke accepted the job in September, and he officially starts on December 4th. He'll be down in TN for that week, and then work from home in MD until January 8th. After that, he agreed to be down there full time, so we're praying that our house has sold and that we have a house down there. In the next few weeks, we're hoping to go down to look at houses, and put in an offer with a contingency if we see anything we love. It's been a bit of a whirlwind, and it feels VERY overwhelming at times, but we have had SO much help.

Holden with the "Coming Soon" sign in the background!

If we don't have a house figured out yet by January, I'll stay here at my parent's so that Noelle can continue school here. But it would be sad to be away from Luke without any definite time frame of being all together again. Luke went around with a realtor when he was down there for the interview, and got an idea of some of the different areas. There is a little Christian school that we want to tour and so we've mostly been looking at houses online close to that school. We'll see where we actually end up! Luke's brother and his family are down there, and we have a few friends in the Nashville area, so hopefully we won't be too far from any of them!

I've mostly been focused on the house, and so have mostly been feeling stressed and overwhelmed. But the more I think about actually leaving, the more sad I feel. I've lived in MD most of my life, my parents and one sister are here, and many of my closest friends. I'm already gearing up for a somewhat lonely first year in TN since I know it will take me awhile to build friendships (super introverted over here!) Luke has been warned that his role as my BFF will be even more important since I won't have the adult interaction I'm able to have with MOPS and school and play dates that I enjoy here. But God has been leading us in this decision over the last few years, and we know He will provide what we need!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

An Anniversary and the Time Change

1. Dating Anniversary- Today marks 13 (!!!) years since Luke and I first started dating! Luke called me up in my dorm room and asked if I would meet him at "our spot", aka the middle of the quad. I knew what was coming because our friends Kate and Joe had already talked to let the other know that we were indeed interested in being more than friends with each other. So then we had the whole "I like you" talk, and then walked around campus for awhile in the FREEZING COLD! While being spied on by Kate and Joe. We were 19 and cool, and totally knew what we were doing when it came to being in a relationship. :)

Just a picture of a picture from the instax picture we took at my friend Kristen's wedding. I love this picture of us. It's blurry, and I'm not looking, but it marked a super fun weekend, and reminded me of how good it is to get away from our kids and just be us. This was two years ago, but was the longest we'd been away together since having kids. Ah, someday we'll get to do it again!

2. The Time Change- Daylight savings has not been my best friend. My dad kept telling me- you get an extra hour of sleep over the weekend. And I kept telling him, but we have small children! And of course Jonah was in our room in the (new) 6:30 timeframe asking why I was sleeping still because it was indeed morning. And Clara was awake from 3:30 A.M. to 4:15ish A.M. yesterday morning, and today at 5:15 a.m. because who doesn't want to party in the wee hours of the morning when you've already woken up twice before during the night to nurse. Hopefully soon we find our new sleeping normal that I'm hoping involves more sleep. 

good thing she's so cute!

3. Library Time- We haven't been to library time since the summer, but that's mostly because our favorite library time is Monday mornings, and both Noelle and Jonah are in school during that time-frame. Yesterday I knew I had some time to kill before getting Holden from my sister, so I decided to take Clara to library time with our favorite Mr. Chris. And she was actually really into it! She had her eyes glued on him playing his ukelele, and she watched all the bigger kids dancing around her. We were only there for about 15 minutes before Heather called me, but it was Clara's first library time experience just for her!

4. Holden- And speaking of Holden, this kid is just the best. When we have him in the mornings, he's relegated all the way to the back seat of the van by his little lonesome, and he's still so happy. I have to get to him by opening the trunk, and he always greets me with the biggest smile! Also, he loves Jonah, and whenever Jonah sees him, or hears that Holden is coming, Jonah freaks out and wants to hide. Holden loves to tackle him, and Jonah just squeals. We will miss our little Holdy!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Halloween 2017

Tuesday morning started with the usual early hustle to get us out the door to get Noelle and Jonah to school. My brother-in-law's work schedule changed and they now need someone to watch Holden Monday through Thursday in the mornings to early afternoon. My mom is already committed to a Bible study on Tuesday mornings that does not provide child care, so I volunteered to take Holden on Tuesdays. And Halloween was our first Tuesday  with him! Heather dropped him off, I threw the four kids in the car, and we headed out to drop off Noelle (thank goodness for the drop off line so I don't have to get every one out!), and then we went to drop off Jonah. Since there is time to kill between dropoff times, I've been going through the Starbucks drive-thru more than I should! Which I did on Halloween morning (still loving the vanilla sweet cream cold brew!) 

Jonah was super excited to have his fall harvest party that morning, and wore his one and only Halloween shirt that most definitely needed a wash. 

When we dropped Jonah off, I didn't have shoes for Holden, so I wore Clara and carried Holden.

Clara was dressed in a little pumpkin outfit that Holden wore last year for Halloween. Such a cutie with that little green stem on top!

We went back to our house and thankfully, Clara napped away in the car seat, and Holden ate a snack and wandered around while I furiously cleaned the kitchen. After she woke up, I took some pictures of these sweet cousins together in their Halloween garb.

Holden got picked up after lunch and after we got Noelle from school, I did some more cleaning at our house while Clara napped and the older two played and had some tablet time. Then we ate a quick dinner and got ourselves dressed in costumes!

Noelle had originally wanted to be a cheerleader, which she dressed as when we went to Main Street trick-or-treating the Thursday before Halloween.

But on Halloween, I could not for the life of me find her cheerleader costume. (Turns out it was hanging in her closet- I'm losing my mind!) But thankfully that morning she had mentioned wanting to dress as Elsa instead. So, Elsa she was! And Jonah decided to repeat last year's costume- Marshall from Paw Patrol.

This year was the first year that they really seemed to get it and were SO excited to go out and get candy. We went further than we have in previous years, and Jonah had no problem talking to people as they handed him candy. He told a couple of people that his mom said he wasn't allowed to have hard candy, so he should get chocolate. After about an hour we headed back to our house where Clara was still sound asleep. She had worn her skeleton pajamas on Halloween Eve and all day on Halloween underneath her pumpkin. Cutie!

And since Clara slept through trick-or-treating on actual Halloween, here's a picture of her in her elephant costume (what Noelle wore for her first Halloween!) when we trick-or-treating on Main Street.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Clara: 4 months

Oh sweet girl, how are you already four months old? One third of the way to turning one. In some ways, it seems like you've always been here, been a part of our family. And yet I also feel like you were just born. Don't grow so fast, little one!

Height and Weight: At her appointment last week, she was 10 pounds 14.5 ounces (2%) and 24.5 inches (53%). Growing growing!

Sleep: Clara's sleep hasn't been great lately. Between fighting a cold and trying to transition her from the rock'n'play to the pack'n'play, there have been mulitiple wakeups. But I know we'll get to the day when she's sleeping through the night and I'll miss those middle of the night snuggles.

Naps are pretty inconsistent. If we have the time she'll usually take at least one long one, but a lot of time those naps are broken by us needing to go somewhere or do something. Thankfully she handles it pretty well- I just feel bad that there's no consistency.

Eating: At this point she's probably getting most of her food via formula. After about 10 minutes of nursing (only on the right- she refuses the left!) she'll then drink 2-4 ounces of formula. At her well check on Tuesday the doctor noticed her spitting up and suggested trying a reflux formula. Thankfully the doctor's office had samples, so we'll give that a try to see if that lessens the spit-up.

She eats about every 2-3 hours throughout the day, which usually looks like nursing/bottle before we leave to go somewhere, and then again when we get home.

Diapers/Clothing: Clara is still in size 1 diapers, and just this week, I pulled out her 3-6 month clothes. After getting rid of all the boy clothes I've been holding on to, it's hard to think about giving away newborn baby girl clothes. I know friends will use some, and my sister is getting some in hopes that she has a girl someday. :)

Social/Milestones: This past month has been full of cooing, smiles, and the beginnings of a giggle. She'll clasp her hands together in front of herself, and grip on to things with those tiny fingers. She blows lots of bubbles, has really good head control, and tolerates brief periods of tummy time. When she sees herself in a mirror (like above her swing) she'll often smile and coo at herself. She also sat in the Bumbo for the first time!

Likes: She still really seems to enjoy bath time and does well with the water being poured over her head. She still likes to be swaddled for sleeping, but those days will be over once she can roll over. She of course loves being held and talked to, as well as being worn in the wrap.

Dislikes: We still have car rides where she screams about being in the car seat, but is doing SO much better. Other than that, she really only cries when she's tired or wants to be held. I'm praying her easy-going personality continues!

Fun things we've done: This has been a busy month, but Clara was mostly along for the ride or stayed at home for the farm field trips. I took all the kids to Sharp's Farm with friends, and we went up to Grove City for homecoming. We had fun with friends at MOPS and during play dates. We got to enjoy a dinner with all four grandparents, and do some work on the house before moving in with my parents. It was definitely busy, stressful, but full of fall fun!

A few pictures:

Friday, October 20, 2017

Every Day Happenings

We've been rolling through October doing so many things, and the fun just keeps coming! Last week my friend Megan threw a play date baby shower for our friend, Hannah, who was due at the end of October. Well we saw her again on Friday afternoon, and she had her baby girl later that day! Baby shower just in time to stock her up on diapers and baby girl clothes! Of the friends that were at the shower, five have now had babies this year. It was fun seeing the June/July babies doing tummy time together. :)

Last Thursday, Noelle's school had their Race for Education. Each grade ran (or walked) for an hour, and Noelle pledged to run 20 laps. She made it around the little loop 24 times! Jonah, Clara, and I went to watch for a bit, and Noelle excitedly waved to us every time she came by. She told me later that when she was doing it, she decided it wasn't really her thing. But she did it without complaining, and surpassed her goal. It was pretty funny watching the kindergartners start their first loop, and stop at the water station before even making it all the way around. 

Sweet Clara is growing so much! She continues to be a mostly happy baby, but we have had a few rough nights since she has a cold. For being sick, she's still doing really well. And it just means mama needs more coffee! Also, I dressed her in the Oregon Ducks outfit someone gave us, and cannot remember who it's from. Maybe a Seattle relative? Our only connection to Oregon is that I was born there, but we don't know anyone who lives there now. Mystery outfit that was originally given to either Noelle or Jonah.

Sunday was sunshiny and warm, and since we didn't have anything going on after dinner, we decided to check out the new ice cream place on Main Street. They sell ice cream from South Mountain Creamery, and it was of course delicious! We wandered around Main Street a little bit looking in the windows and checking out the Halloween decorations.

And I just love us, and the fact that he's willing to share a cup of ice cream with me, even if it's not the flavor he would have chosen. 

On Mondays, we pick up Jonah from preschool and do some tummy time. Life sure has been hectic lately, and some days all I feel like I'm doing is giving my kids snacks, wiping butts, and cleaning up toys and all the art supplies. But I know this phase is short, and that one day I'll miss it!