Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Wrap Up

It is hard to put into words all the JOY that 2014 brought. We look back on 2014 with full hearts, and look forward in excitement to what the new year will hold.

"Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which you have done, and your thoughts towards us. There is none to compare with you. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count."
-Psalm 40:5

The first four months of the year revolved around preparing to become parents. We enjoyed celebrating with friends and family. 
And we squeezed in a few weekend trips to Helen and Orange Beach. 
We begun to wonder if our little peanut was ever going to come out, and at 41 weeks I was induced. May 7th we welcomed our precious 6 lb, 8 oz baby girl into the world. 
 We spent the summer figuring out our newest addition, and enjoying the adjustment to parenthood. Our lives were forever changed for the better!
In August, I went back to work part-time, and Peanut started Mother's Day out. August's biggest event was Peanut's Baptism. 
In September, we took her first trip to the beach!
October was the month of travel! We went to Nashville to celebrate Kree's marriage and Leah's baby boy on the way. 
We also visited the Loveliest Village on the Plains!
And went to visit Susu and Pops and trick or treat with the cousins. 
November's biggest event was moving. It was bittersweet leaving our first home. But when someone asks to buy your house and it isn't for sale...you sell it!
December we welcomed my sister's twins into the world. 
And celebrated Peanut's first Christmas!
When I look back on 2014, the one word I think of is CHANGE. From becoming parents, to moving... lots has changed this year. Throughout all the change, we have been loved SO WELL by friends and family. We are so thankful for all those who have come along side us this year and loved us through all the transitions. 2014, you've been the best year yet!

Looking back...2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Hope is Alive

"Sing with the angels that fill up the sky
Heaven broke through and now hope is alive
He is right here among us 
Our God is with us tonight,
Hope is alive.
Into our aching, into our breaking
Into our longing to be made whole
Your arms are reaching
Your love is holding us close.
Into our suffering, into our weeping
Into this need we have to be known.
Your arms are reaching, your love is holding us close."
Hope is Alive, Ellie Holcomb

This Christmas season I am thankful that Christ saw us in our weakness and came to give us hope. Far too often, I have tunnel vision. I find myself going around and around but can't look up to consider anything but my present circumstances. Sometimes I fear I will miss Christmas completely, because I can't shift the focus off of myself. I am thankful for the flood of music and teaching that accompanies the Christmas season, and the way it helps me to continually shift my focus away from myself, and back to what Christ did for us by coming to earth as a baby.

Monday, December 15, 2014

7 months

  • The biggest change I have noticed this past month is that she is into everything. She can't crawl yet, but she is constantly grabbing things I didn't think she could reach, or rolling to where she wants to go. Necklaces, glasses, earrings...nothing is safe when you are holding her!
  • Right around 6 months we transitioned to a 4 hour schedule and it has been awesome! Why didn't I do this sooner? It was such an easy transition and I have loved this schedule.
  • We finally started baby food! She has three meals a day. She has liked everything except for sweet potatoes and peas. Looking back, I think it was the texture of the sweet potatoes. I am going to reintroduce them soon. In the beginning I made my own baby food. Then we moved and things got a little too chaotic. I hope to get back to homemade baby food in the next couple of weeks. 
  • She eats 4 times a day. We also transitioned to formula this month, and she has formula for 3/4 feedings of the day. This was a bumpy transition, and her stomach was sensitive to formula at first. We finally landed on soy formula, and that has worked well. 
  • Sleeps 12 hours at night and takes 2 naps a day - morning and afternoon. Sometimes if she wakes up early from her afternoon nap then she has to take a short dinner time "snooze" but I don't let her sleep for more than 30 minutes. 
  • Wears size 2 diapers, averages 5 a day. 
  • She loves to talk. Her chatter mostly consists of "duh, duh, duh" and "guh, guh, guh." Fletcher is trying to help her convert the "duh duh" to "dada." 
  • She LOVES her paci so much. Thankfully, her paci clip keeps her paci close by and she takes it out and puts it in as she pleases. 
  • She does not like getting in her car seat. She gets over it pretty quickly, but she lets you know how she feels about it when you put her in. Lots of arching of the back and fussing. 
  • She loves people. She makes friends everywhere we go. 

6 months >>> 7 months
Each month keeps getting better than the one before. We are so thankful for these precious days with our sweet baby girl. It really is crazy how fast time flies and how quickly she is changing!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving

"Our circumstances are big, but our God is bigger. As we learn to trust the bigness of our God and the sureness of His sovereignty, we find His will is not as much a path as it is a way of walking. 'Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances. THIS is God's will for us in Christ Jesus.(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)' No hoops to jump through. No tests to pass. No situational tidiness required. Only actively resting in the goodness of our God."
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The excerpt above is from the She Reads Truth devotional "In Everything Give Thanks." This devotional was such a blessing to me these past few weeks, as I felt particularly out of sorts this Thanksgiving. "Situational Tidiness" is my jam, and the last few weeks have been quite the opposite. I am learning (slowly) to rest in God's goodness and be thankful for our many many blessings. The biggest blessing of course being this little turkey...
We stayed in town and celebrated with Fletcher's family on Thanksgiving. It was nice to be in town this year, because Peanut was battling the stomach bug AND a cold. So she wasn't quite herself for Thanksgiving, but I did manage to get one smile in the turkey dress. 
Thanksgiving night we headed to the lake for a little R&R. We had the best time doing absolutely nothing. The last few weeks have been busy and exhausting and we just needed to rest, and that is exactly what we did. We spent the majority of the time sitting under the heated blanket reading or watching movies. It was good for all of our souls. 
We came back rested and recharged and ready to celebrate this little Peanut's first Christmas season! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tomato Tortellini Soup

The cold snaps seemed to start early this season. All this cold weather calls for warm sleep sacks and soup for dinner. I particularly love this tomato soup because it has Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream. I was skeptical at first, but you can't even tell the difference! This soup is already a favorite at our house and I know it will be in our regular dinner rotation through these cold winter months! 
Tomato Tortellini Soup
Recipe adapted from Closet Cooking
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup of onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
red pepper flakes to taste
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 (28 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
8 ounces of cheese tortellini
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of basil, chopped

  • Puree the diced tomatoes in a blender or food processor
  • Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add onion and cook 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about a minute
  • Add the flour and cook for another minute 
  • Add the broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, and tortellini. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the tortellini is tender, about 10 minutes. 
  • Add the parmesan, let it melt. Add the yogurt, season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add the basil. Top with Parmesan cheese. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

6 months

Dear B,
It is so hard for me to believe you have been in our lives for half of a year! Even though the days and weeks have flown by, it is hard to remember our lives before you. Being your mom has been the greatest joy of my life. Your dad and I can't believe how fast you are growing up, and we are doing our very best to soak up every minute with you. You have such a bright personality. You love people! You don't mind being passed around, and you love watching those around you. The church nursery and Mother's Day Out teachers adore you...but then again, how could they not? You only fuss when you get bored...your dad says that is because you are so smart. Your favorite toy is your jumperoo. Sometimes you stay in there 30-45 minutes and jump nonstop. You love dogs, especially LuLu.
We are trying to teach you not to pull her hair, but she is patient with you when you do.

You like to wake up slow and snuggle, and this is one of my favorite times of the day with you. You like to read books. You are always trying to turn the page, but for the most part you sit still and listen.You still love the bath, and these days after you eat your rice cereal you always need a bath. You are quite the wiggle worm, and love to roll. I know you will be on the move before we know it! Your favorite song right now is "Shake it Off." I should probably apologize that I don't have more sophisticated music taste....but you love Taylor Swift just like I do.

These past few months you have taught us a lot. Right away, I learned as much as I could about taking care of your needs...eating, sleeping, soothing, etc. But beyond the daily needs, you have taught both of us so much. You have taught your dad and me new things about ourselves, new things about our marriage,  and most importantly you have taught us more about the gospel. We thank the Lord for you every day. You are the greatest blessing and we are so thankful that the Lord put you in our family 6 months ago. We love you more than you know!


5 months >>> 6 months
6 MONTH STATS...
  • Size 2 diapers
  • 15 lbs, 5 oz - 25%
  • 26.5 inches - 75%


Friday, November 7, 2014

5 months: A Day in the Life

This post is a little late, considering we are now at the 6 month mark. In the coming week we are going to work on transitioning to a 4 hour schedule, and I wanted to get this "Day in the Life" post in before we make that transition. These posts are more for my own record keeping. It is fun/encouraging for me to look back and see how things have changed and to see where we have made progress. We sure have made a lot of progress since my last post. One of the things that I am so glad I did was to pick a start time. Our start time is 7:30, give or take 30 minutes. If she wakes up at 7, we start the day, and if she sleeps until 7:45/8 I let her keep sleeping. But usually she wakes up really close to 7:30. I went back to work part-time, three mornings a week. Having a consistent "start time" was huge in that transition. I know I can get up at 6:30 and be ready for the day before she wakes up. Right now, she is starting to get restless between 5 and 6, but I do not get her up because I don't want to start the day that early. I have read that she needs 12 hours of sleep, and I would really rather not start our day at 5:30. I am hoping that soon she works through the restlessness and keeps sleeping until 7/7:30. Here is what our day looks like on the days that I am home and don't work...

5:10 am - Peanut starts to stir/fuss. I go in and make sure she has her paci, and that she is in a comfortable position. Since we took off her bumpers, she likes to throw her arms out of the bars. So I make sure is comfortable and in the middle of the crib.

5:15-6:00 am - She rolls around in the crib, quietly, but is restless for a little while before falling back to sleep.
7:30 am - She starts to "talk" in her crib. She doesn't cry when she wakes up in the morning, she just starts to talk and roll around. Fletcher and I take turns going to get her out of bed, because she is so happy in the mornings! After we get her up, we change her diaper and then it is time to eat.
7:35-7:50 - Eat
8:00-8:30 - She plays in her jumperoo while I eat breakfast, take care of LuLu, etc...8:30-9:15 - Walk
9:20 - Fresh diaper, put her in the sleep sack, and read a story. After the story we listen to Jesus Loves Me, and I lay her down awake (no rocking).

9:25-9:30 - Fusses on and off, but falls asleep quickly

9:30-10:15 - Morning nap. Her morning nap really varies in length. This day she woke up earlier than normal. On average, she sleeps about an hour. But it ranges anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours.

10:15-10:30 - playtime

10:30-10:45 - Eat
10:45-12:15 - Errands. Lunchtime is always when we get out and about. Our favorite errands are Target and the grocery store. We can now run 2-3 errands at a time before she starts getting sleepy and it is time to get back home.

12:20 - Sleepsack, Story, Jesus Loves Me, Lay down awake

12:30-2:15 Nap. I had to wake her up from this nap (probably because she took a short morning nap). I woke her up, so that she could still take another afternoon nap to get her to bedtime.

2:15-2:30 Eat

2:30-4  Play...jumperoo, play with toys, play with Lulu, etc...

4:00 - Fresh diaper and down for nap (sleep sack, story, Jesus Loves Me)

4:00-4:45 Nap...Because she took a long nap in the middle of the day, the afternoon nap was short. Typically we do the short nap at lunch and long afternoon nap, but today they flipped!

5:00-5:15 Eat
5:15-6:00 Playtime, usually with Daddy-o while I fix dinner, he recently introduced her to Baby Einstein

6:00-6:20 Rice Cereal

7-7:15 Bath time
7:30 - Bottle & straight to bed

Our days vary a little bit, but the main things are the same - she eats five times a day, and takes 3 naps. We had to go through "Cry It Out" to get to this point with sleeping, but now she is a good napper and I am thankful!