Monday, January 27, 2014

Baby Gear I’m Loving Lately

I’ve written a couple posts in the past about my favorite baby gear, but since I’ve had Luke, I’ve gotten to try a few new items out.

  1. Rock n’ Play Sleeper. I love this thing! It is easy to move around the house and it is also easy to use while traveling (and takes up less packing room than a pack and play!). I also like the relined position, particularly since Luke has reflux. I like how easy it is to grab him out of this for the middle of the night feedings as well (I don’t have to get out of bed). I also liked that I could sleep/lay in bed and rock him back to sleep when he was smaller (now that he is bigger the rocking isn’t as effective).
  2. Boon Grass Drying Rack. This thing may look crazy, but it is great! Many different baby items from medicine droppers, pump parts, bottle parts, and pacifiers stick on this drying rack without being easily knocked over.
  3. My Baby Sound Spa On The Go. Luke loves white noise, and this conveniently hangs from his car seat. The only downside is that I didn’t get this until AFTER he was already used to the white noise on my phone which I can turn up louder than this. It also plays music and other sounds.
  4. Vera Bradley Diaper Bag. I’ve gone through a few different diaper bags, and this one has been my favorite so far. It is a good size (not too big, not too small). I actually found the pockets (particularly on the outside) to be functional for my use. Bonus: I got a great deal on it at a Vera Bradley outlet!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I Heart Faces: Best Face Photo from 2013

Though I have many photos I could choose, I knew immediately which photo I wanted to use this year. I love Troy’s personality showing through in this photo!


Here’s my photos from 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009.

Photo Challenge Submission

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Goals

For the past couple of years, I’ve made a point to write out specific goals at the start of the year. Though I fell short in many of my goals last year (for lots of reasons, some legitimate, some not so much), I find that writing these goals out really helps me to focus and reflect. Many goals are the same as in the past years; some because I didn’t complete them and others because they ought to continually be on the list.

Spiritual Goals:

  • Daily Bible Reading
  • Focused/Planned Bible Study
  • Write Bible study lessons (and execute them) for the kids.
  • Continue using the Scripture Memory System with the kids (and me!). We started this system last year, and I really loved it! However, I started slacking off though in completing this with the kids, and I want to get back on track with it. 
  • Develop a deeper and more specific prayer life.
  • Make an effort to be aware of others’ needs.
  • Make an effort to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Always be ready and eager to share the gospel.

House Goals:

  • Get the house organized, and purged of excess junk at the beginning of the year.  I feel like this is a never-ending project. I cleaned things out fairly well before having Luke, but I still need to clean out more!
  • Clear out and organize the kids' rooms and playroom. 
  • Teach (and enforce) good habits to the kids for keeping their areas picked up. This will be particularly important once Luke becomes mobile.
  • Have a garage sale.
  • Keep up with Flylady’s daily assignments to help keep the house in a manageable state.
  • Handle papers (mail, or otherwise) when they come into the home, rather than just piling them up to handle later.
  • Get one “house” project done each month (paint the front door, repair the floor, etc.)
  • This isn’t technically a “house” goal, but it fits here best: Keep our cars clear of junk and trash.

Health Goals:

  • Get back into a regular cardio routine even if it just means pushing the stroller around the block.
  • Gain strength and endurance.
  • Refocus on healthy eating. Between severe extended morning sickness and gestational diabetes, pregnancy always does a number on my eating habits, and last year’s pregnancy with Luke was no exception.

Family goals:

  • Eat at home more often.
  • Cook dinner with the kids 1-2 times a month. I really want to involve them more in cooking, but I get stuck in this bad habit of not involving them because it is quicker/easier for me to do things myself (and dinner time always seems to be hectic around our house).
  • Try out a new meal at least once a month.
  • Cook a hot breakfast for the family at least once a week.
  • Stick to our budget, and look for ways to save more.
  • Emphasize the concept of respect with Ella and Troy.
  • Foster a good relationship between the kids (teaching them about sharing, patience, kindness, etc.)
  • Give Ella and Troy more responsibilities around the house (chores, etc.) 
  • Get outside more with the kids.
  • Get down on the floor and play with the kids more.


  • Learn more about off-camera flash.
  • Learn more about Adobe Photoshop.
  • Work on posing. I’ve come a long way in my posing over the past couple of years, but I feel like it will be something where I can always learn more. 
  • Learn more about graphic design.


  • Exhibit more patience towards everyone, but especially my husband and children.
  • Work on time management, including getting up at a more consistent time in the morning, and going to bed earlier in the evening.
  • Spend less time on the computer.
  • Finish reading Bringing Up Girls and Bringing Up Boys.
  • Re-read Your Mama Don’t Dance.
  • Read A Well-Trained Mind and Home Education.
  • Continue researching schooling choices for Ella, and make a decision with my husband about Ella’s schooling in the fall.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy 4 Months Luke!

This past month has been filled with lots of firsts for you. First long drive back to visit families, first extended overnight stays away from home, first Christmas,  and first New Year’s. Considering the craziness of our life over the past month, you’ve handled it well. 20131207-IMG_2834.jpg

When we are in the car, I have a hard time believing that you are one of our children. You actually like riding in the car (particularly once we get going fast) and often fall asleep on car rides. Ella and Troy (especially Troy) screamed and screamed in the car and rarely fell asleep. I’m very thankful you like the car, especially since we drove a ton during the past month. 20131214-IMG_3131.jpg20131214-IMG_3147.jpg

You are a very, very active baby. You have been since you were in the womb. You LOVE kicking. You had a great time kicking and playing on the mat at Gigi and Pop-pa’s house. Reeses even caught your eye when you were down playing on the floor one day. You are also a strong baby. You are often doing what we term “baby situps,” lifting yourself up without using your hands. Your pediatrician has also commented about your strength.20131221-IMG_3184.jpg

You haven’t been sleeping as well this past month, but I think there are probably a lot of things affecting your sleep, including our travels and a need to have your acid reflux medicine dose increased because you’ve grown so much.  You weighed 14 lbs 4 oz at your 4 month appointment – 2 lbs more than Troy did at 4 months old.  At your 4 month appointment, we also determined that you are highly likely allergic to soy protein. You had some bad reactions to soy formula (which we gave you in the first place because Ella was allergic to milk and Troy didn’t handle milk well either). You seem to tolerate cow’s milk fine though. Most kids outgrow this type of allergy though by the time they are 3-4. 20131223-IMG_3213.jpg

You are a very ticklish baby, and I love to tickle you! You started laughing at things this month as well. I got the first laugh out of you. I’m pretty sure your dad got the first laughs from Ella and Troy, so I’m pretty excited to get the first laugh from you. When you grin big, you have a little dimple on one side.20131225-IMG_3407.jpg20131225-IMG_3415.jpg

Ella (and Troy) helped open your Christmas presents for you. They loved getting to help you out and showing the presents to you. I love watching their interaction with you. They both interact with you in their own precious ways. They especially love coming to talk to you in the morning when you wake up. 


Luke @ 3 Months

Troy @ 4 Months

(I didn’t start writing these monthly posts for Ella until she was 17 months old)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Top 13 of 2013

I always love this time of year because it reminds me to reflect on the past. Here are my top 13 photos of the kids from 2013 (in no particular order because it is too hard to put them in order!).

Top `12 of 2012

Top 11 of 2011

Top 10 of 2010