September 2016

Ember started off the month with her 3 month growth spurt. She ate,slept and pooped at a prodigious rate and by the time it was over, I’m pretty sure she had at least one more roll on her thighs than she started with. Thankfully, her feasting was limited to the day time hours. Actually, for about 2 weeks, she was sleeping through the night, which I’m quite thankful for because shortly after that…

We went through the 4 month sleep regression, which both my children have gone through at 3 months. They’re advanced sleep regressers πŸ˜‰ Basically, it’s the time babies develop more adult like sleep cycles, and where we would roll over and go back to sleep, the poor things have no clue what to do as they wake every 45 minutes day and night. Thankfully, some very very gentle sleep training seemed to help Ember a lot (or we just got really lucky and she would have started sleeping better again anyway) and she’s back to 1-2 night wakings for food. Naps are still a challenge, but I expect those to improve as she gets older and more mobile.


We continue to be amazed at how many opinions our tiny girl has and how adept she is at communicating them. If you hold her while she wants to play, sit with her when she wants you to stand (or vise versa) or try to feed her on the couch when she wants to be rocked in the rocker…she will let you know about it! She doesn’t always get her way, but she always lets us know when she isn’t haha.

Caleb has fallen in love with the Boxcar Children this month and even built an entire scene from the book with his legos. I absolutely love his creativity and imagination.


Lego Boxcar Children!

He also started playing soccer with the local school we’re zoned for. He absolutely loved it and can’t wait to play again in the spring!


September was also a busy month because we took our first trip as a family of 4. The first part of our long weekend was a joyous occasion- the baptism of our friend’s 3 children.


The second half was an emotional visit with other dear friends, as Drew dealt with the final stages of terminal cancer. It ended up being our last visit with him and David and I will hold the conversations we were able to have that weekend in our hearts for the rest of our lives.


Early morning story time


A picture from a visit a few years earlier.

At the end of the month, we were blessed to receive a wonderful visit from more of our amazing family. God sent them at just the right time because I also came down with a wicked case of mastitis at the same time and we really needed the help. They brought us food, took Caleb to soccer games and drove me to the walk in clinic until we figured out the medicine I needed to get better. We were able to have a little fun before then- a family field trip to the Udvar Hazy center! Caleb absolutely loved it and kept our guide busy with questions!

August 2016

After the recovery that wouldn’t end, this was the month that I feel like I really really started getting to enjoy Ember. Not that I didn’t before, of course, but you can imagine that feeding every 2-3 hours around the clock while having an infection and trying to still be somewhat functional for your 6 year old is not the easiest time to savor the moment.

A photo from one of my roughest days. Pasty skin, dark circles and a smile that's not quite making it to my eyes. So thankful for healing <3

A photo from one of my roughest days. Pasty skin, dark circles and a smile that’s not quite making it to my eyes. So thankful for healing ❀


August brought healing for me, longer stretches of sleep for her and the ability to just rock her, snuggle her, smell her hair, admire her toes and feel grateful. I started feeling more confident going out and about with them both, although I still choose to do errands in the evening or on weekends until she can sit up on her own in the grocery cart or until David’s first work trip when I don’t have a choice, whichever comes first, haha.

Speaking of work trips…David was supposed to have a 2 week trip this month, which was thankfully shortened to 3 days! On top of that, my parents were able to come up during that time!!! We were all over the moon to finally be together. Seeing them meet Ember for the first time was so precious and my Dad and Caleb seemed to have an extra strong bond this time.

img_7057 img_7059 img_7145

After my parents went home it was time for school to begin! It really snuck up on me, but thankfully I’d done most of my curriculum prep this past spring in anticipation of the crazy newborn days. We’re using My Father’s World curriculum for the first time this year and I am loving it. It has simplified my prep time, has a good scope and sequence and incorporates learning about the Bible and memorizing scripture without being cheesy.


First day of school ❀

We also had a special visit from Josh and Brianna this month. I loved getting to see them meet Ember for the first time. The visit got even more exciting when they told us our kiddos will have another cousin in March! So excited for them and for Ember to have a cousin almost her age like Caleb has been blessed to have!


And of course we can’t forget Caleb’s big news…


Last, but not least, my favorite story from this month:

While trying to explain a line from Farmer Boy about being “old enough to know better” I told Caleb,
“It’s like how little sister sometimes kicks you right now. She can’t control where her feet or legs move, so is she old enough to know better?”
C: “No.”
Me: “Right, but if she kicked you while she was a big 6 year old, would I punish her?”
C: “Well…I would take her punishment! Just like God took ours.”

He said it so sincerely my eyes filled with tears. He loves his little sister something fierce and apparently, he really is listening during Bible time ❀


Reflecting on Kindergarten

For me, preparing to begin our 2nd year of homeschool means thinking back on the previous year- what worked well, what didn’t and how I’d like to move forward from here.

First, things that worked really well:

Β Routine. This one is so so critical for our family. Caleb does a great job of being internally driven if he knows what’s coming next and is put in charge of it. He gets frustrated when he doesn’t know the plan and is “interrupted”. Making a written schedule was one of the best things I did for our school year. It told Caleb what time homeschool would start, when he would get free play, when he had chores, when meals would be and when special time with mommy would be. Sounds great, right? Well, I don’t know about you, but we also needed…

Flexibility. Things don’t always happen by the clock. We had several long talks about how sometimes things need to start a little sooner or a little later than we planned. But I tried to keep to the schedule as much as possible. I also had to give myself flexibility. I was pregnant with Ember all 9 months of the school year, which meant I spent the first 3 months getting sick multiple times a day and feeling awful in between and the last 3 months feeling big, sore and tired. How did I complete an entire school year? Spoiler alert- we didn’t. We in no way schooled 180 days last year. Kindergarten isn’t mandatory in our state for any child (homeschooled or not), so this is not an issue. Not only that, but Caleb was a young kindergartner so if we needed to spend all or part of the next school year working on more K skills, I was totally fine with that. Realistic expectations for both of us made the school year a happy, rather than stressed, one. Amazingly, Caleb completed all his K milestones and has had no trouble moving into first grade this year. Which leads me to…


38 weeks and helping lay out his science fair poster. I felt so much bigger than this picture would suggest, haha.

Unschooling. We are not unschoolers by any means. For those who follow educational philosophies- I’m pretty firmly on the classical/Charlotte Mason end of the spectrum when it comes to “school time”. Which means a big focus on mastering fundamentals and building good habits. However, the time that Caleb isn’t at the homeschool table, he naturally “unschools” himself- takes the building blocks he’s learned in “class” and applies them to high interest activities.

At the end of Kindergarten he was reading 3-5 letter words fairly fluently, doing copy work (but not spontaneously writing with invented spelling), and adding and subtracting numbers 0-20 when carrying/borrowing was not involved. After a summer of reading his lego phonics books to himself 100 times he can now tackle most level 1-2 readers with little help and is advancing quickly. After a summer of labeling his drawings with one-sentence descriptions, I can see him applying phonics rules to his own creative writing. After a summer of solving math problems from his dad periodically, he’s adding and subtracting 3 and 4 digit numbers as long as no borrowing/carrying is required. Speaking of the specifics of what Caleb is/isn’t able to do…


After he turned a cardboard box into an AT-AT Walker, he wrote “This machine is not to be bothered with.” πŸ˜€

Patience/avoiding comparison. We all know every kid masters skills on their own time table. This can get hard when homeschooling though because whether or not your child can do xyz that most other kids his age are doing feels like a direct reflection on you and on homeschool being a right/wrong choice for your child. Which is funny, because if a child is a little behind in an area in public school we don’t usually assume it’s a flaw in the teacher or the choice to public school (at least, as a former teacher, I hope not!). We assume they need more time and more practice. And that is something I had to keep reminding myself of.

In the fall, we took a 2 month break from learning to read. Try as he might, Caleb could just not fluently blend many words. He was frustrated, I was concerned about killing his love of reading by making it a chore (not to mention nauseated- thanks first trimester!) so we just took a break. We kept going in other areas, I read aloud to him and we worked on blending sounds orally as we drove in the car or I folded laundry and when we came back to it…he flew through the rest of the curriculum and absolutely loves to read now.

Community. We were blessed to be part of a once/month co-op that met to do extracurriculars like art, music, PE and science experiments together. While it was wonderful to be able to do those things in community, for me, the co-op was worth it’s weight in gold because of the time I got to talk with other mom-teachers, get ideas, hear stories and share difficulties. If you’re considering homeschooling, I can not recommend finding a co-op enough.


Caleb and one of his special friends from Co-Op building a marshmallow catapult together.

What I’d like to do better this year:

Fun: If you know us well, “fun” is neither David or I’s middle name, but we’ve become convinced adding silliness and fun into the family life is essential for helping our kids feel connected and cared for. It can be easy for this to get brushed aside when you feel like you’ve already spent all morning together doing school. I try to make sure to set aside at least 15-20 minutes each day to just play a game, build legos or get outdoors with Caleb. This year, I’d like to add in a family ritual like Friday family fun night where we do something a little extra special together like staying up late to watch a movie or ordering pizza and playing a game. Especially as Caleb gets older, I want our home to be a place he *wants* to be and I know part of that is starting these things while it’s still cool to hang out with mom and dad.
Life Skills: Again, this is something critical that’s easy to lose sight of teaching as we strive to nurture Caleb academically and spiritually, yet having time to teach Caleb life skills is one of the reasons we chose to homeschool. Whether it’s talking about body safety rules, how to prepare a simple meal, how be responsible with money or how to do specific home maintenance skills we want to make sure we’re covering more than just academics each year.


Helping Mama make dinner ❀

Deeper Community: Last year, in addition to the once a month Co-Op, we attended library story time, went to the roller rink and gymnastics open play times and met up for play dates at the park. We’re fortunate to have kids his age in the neighborhood and at church, but I still didn’t feel like he was getting enough time with other kids his age. This year, we’re adding in a once/week Co-op and he’ll be playing soccer with classmates from the local school we’re zoned for. I’m trying to find that line between connected and over-commited. I’ll let you know how it goes!



July 2016

July was full of ups and downs as I continued to struggle to recover from Ember’s birth. I won’t go into the medical details, but there were lots of little things that let me know something just wasn’t right. They (correctly) suspected I had a lingering infection, so had a small procedure and some more antibiotics and have felt much better since, but it definitely felt like the recovery that would never end for a while there…

I am so humbled and grateful by all the ways God provided for us during those hard weeks. Friends brought meals- not just for the first two weeks when our official meal-train was scheduled, but for the next 3 weeks after, calls kept coming in offering to bring us a dish. Then David was scheduled to go on a work trip (which was thankfully canceled) and a friend heard he was going and contacted me to say she’d like to stay half the week with me. Then on my first week back to having the kids all on my own, another good friend called out of the blue to ask if Caleb would like to come over and play for a few hours one afternoon.

As I wrote in my journal:

My little faithless heart was so worried how I would cope without my mom here, and while I still want her well and able to come with all my heart, I am teary when I see how God provided for us through our church family, friends and neighbors- not just sufficiently, but abundantly.

Part of that provision was a wonderful visit from David’s next youngest brother, his wife and their son. Not only did we have a great time visiting and making memories, by the end of it, I was ready to ask Amy to move in! She was a total baby whisperer during Ember’s fussy times. They were all such a blessing to us and Caleb and Zachary had so much fun together, Caleb told me afterward, “But Mommy, I don’t know how to play alone anymore!” ❀


Baby whisperer!


Cousins and best friends ❀


Family ❀

July 11th was our first day doing a mini-homeschool time post baby. We updated the calendar, Caleb read a book to me (Runaway Bunny, his current favorite, paired with lots of mommy snuggles), then I read him one about the history of the White House, then I taught a math lesson and he practiced some problems, then practiced writing numbers after mommy noticed some were facing backwards after 6 weeks off. I don’t know who was happier to have our routine back- me or him πŸ˜€

July was also the first time I took both kids out by myself. Most adorable moment from our first outing:

I let Caleb run ahead to the playground while I got Ember out of the car. By the time I caught up to him, he’d already made 2 little friends, to whom he declared, “There’s my new baby sister!” in the most proud voice I’ve ever heard. They came rushing over and asked, “Can we see the new sister?” Adorable!


Ember is happy to sleep anywhere πŸ˜€


Caleb was happy to be out of the house!

The end of the month brought my 30th birthday. I knew it would be a wonderful one, despite the health challenges and sleep deprivation, just having my little girl in my arms when last July I was in the process of being tested for a host of fertility related disorders. David made sure it was made even more wonderful though by planning a special girls night at home for me with 3 close friends. We ate brownie sundaes and Married Mr. Darcy (in a card game) while he walked and rocked Ember since it was during her fussy time of day. I could not be more in love with that man…


Β And of course, July 4th, Ember turned one month old!
IMG_6895There aren’t words to describe how much I love this precious girl…

Stitch Fix #4

But wait you say…what happened to fixes 2 & 3? Well…Fix #2 came a few days after we found out we were expecting our precious girl. Not only did buying new clothes not seem like a great idea, I was also feeling extremely sick by that point and not much up to writing. For the record though, Stitch Fix gave me a new stylist and I probably wouldn’t have kept any pieces regardless. The clothes were adorable, but not my personal style.


I’m so beyond excited to have a poppy seed in the oven ❀

Fix #3 was a maternity fix. I kept one maternity shirt as a treat to myself, but overall, I’m definitely not a fan of paying Stitch Fix prices for something I’ll only wear a few months.


37 Weeks in my Fix shirt ❀

Which brings me back to Fix #4. This postpartum mama is very thankful flowing tunic tops and leggings are in style because that is going to be my fall uniform. For my Fix, I asked for 2 tunic length cardigans to try and 3 shirts that could pair with either skinny jeans or leggings. The results:

First the shirts (excuse the messy hair. I’d just spent the last 3 hours trying to help a wee one get to sleep)-

41 Hawthorn Queensland Dolman Jersey Top: $48


Pretty cute from this angle…


But not super flattering to my post partum pooch and just kind of a weird fit overall.

Verdict: Returned

Skies Are Blue Dillard One Pocket Top: $58

While I loved the colors in this top, the fit did nothing for me and the price @_@ There is nothing special about this top. It’s a standard light flannel you could easily find similar to at Target for less than half the price. Verdict: Returned.

IMG_7164 IMG_7166Market and Spruce Gunvalson Lattice Detail Tunic: $68

IMG_7171 IMG_7172 IMG_7173I wanted to love this top. I’ve been on the quest for the perfect non-see-through white shirt, with some cute detailing, to pair with jeans. This one didn’t pass the non-see-through test, wrinkled easily and was a little more formal than I’m looking for. Verdict: Returned.

Gentle Fawn Boris French Terry Jacket: $84

Another one I wanted to love. The color and style of this cozy cardigan really speaks to me and would have been my top pick except…


Really cute, right?


But when I move around and let the seams fall naturally…


This happens. Instant bag lady.

Verdict: Returned. With a few tears πŸ˜›

Pixley Potina Draped Cardigan: $68

IMG_7178 IMG_7185 IMG_7186 IMG_7187

While a more basic piece than I expect to add from Stitch Fix, this ended up being the winner. I have a similar sweater in black that I wear constantly so I know this will get a lot of use. It’s a different color, has more detailing and is a heavier weight, so I don’t feel like I’m just replicating a piece I already own. Verdict: Kept.

Four fixes in, my over all thoughts on Stitch Fix are:

Pros: I love the fun/social aspect to getting a Fix. Opening the box and being surprised, modeling for David, sending pictures to my close friends for discussion, looking through the box with my mom, experimenting with clothes I might not have tried on in the store, trying on clothes after the kids are in bed from the comfort of my home with pieces I already own…to me, that is totally worth the $20 styling fee a couple times a year.

Cons: It really stinks when none of the 5 pieces are a home run. The clothes are pricey and while I’m ok with that for the occasional high quality, beloved piece, it’s hard to swallow when none of them hit that mark. Which is why I’ll likely only get 2-3 fixes a year.

If this review has inspired you to try your own Fix, please consider signing up by following my referral link:Β


Ember: 1 Month Old

It’s been a whole month, but I still can’t believe this precious girl is part of our family. Despite the 31 days of middle of the night feedings, burping, changing, soothing, rocking…there’s still a part of me that expects one of my friends to walk in and say, “Thanks for babysitting!” and whisk her away. I’m so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be her mother. A few of my favorite things, in no particular order:

-Her faces. I love, love, love all her expressions. The super concerned look she got during her first bath. Her smiles, gassy and otherwise. Her big wide, surprised face. Her grumpy grunt face. Her gurgly bubble blowing face. I really have to restrain myself on the photo posting ya’ll.


Surprised face


Grumpy face


Smiles with big brother ❀


Concerned face

-Her snuggles. We call her our little kitten. From her 2nd week on, she has scooted herself to her favorite position when we lay her on our chests- bottom in the air, head tucked firmly under our chins. She will also wiggle herself to side-lying position if we have her upright in burp position and she decides she’s all done with that. When she finds just the right spot, she winds her arm around ours and pulls close. It’s the most precious feeling in the world.

-Her noises. She makes the biggest range of noises of any baby I’ve met- squeaks, purrs, grunts- we feel like she’s always talking to us.

-The way she’s waking up to the world. In the past two weeks she’s started leaning waaay back when we hold her so she can study our faces and, occasionally, give us one of those fleeting smiles we’re starting to see. Sure, there are challenges to the wakefulness- she’s no longer quite as easy and content as she used to be, but the rewards are so worth it.


-The way she’s reminded me what an incredible man I married. David is an incredibly involved husband and father all the time, but in the newborn period, he steps it up to a whole different level. Our current routine goes something like this- I give Ember one last feeding and crawl into bed, while David stays up and soothes her to sleep so I can get a nap before I start the night shift. I do night wakings/feedings (usually 2 of them) until around 6 when he gets up to get ready for work. If little girl wakes during that time, I feed her and hand her to David to be soothed to sleep so I can get a smidge more rest. He leaves for work and I start my day with the kids. He gets home, and almost immediately takes over with the kids so I can have a break and (on a good day) prep dinner, then we share kid duties until I go to bed and they cycle begins all over again. See where he’s working a full time job and then coming home and giving me a break from my full time job? So. incredibly. blessed.


-How much easier it is to be a second time mom. Night and Day. Sure, I’ve yet to take 2 kids *anywhere* by myself yet, but the day to day, at home part of mothering? So much easier. Night wakings are easier, loss of personal time is easier, soothing crying is easier, guessing what is causing the crying is easier, feeding is easier…really other than needing mental energy to answer the 5,000 questions the average 6 year old asks each day, I’m not sure there’s a part of this that isn’t easier. My advice- have your second child first πŸ˜‰


First Day Solo

Today was my first day trying out being a mom of 2 all by myself. I thought no matter how it went, it might be fun to record everything we did today for posterity. The day did not disappoint πŸ™‚ I love these two sooo much and things went even better than I could have expected.

My day began super early- around 3am to be exact. I got to snuggle my gassy girl until 6am when she fell asleep and I crawled back into bed. At 8:30, we were both up for the day and that’s when I started recording the fun:

Feed, change and dress Ember for the day
Personally inspect several dozen “really cool” lego pieces Caleb brought for my approval during the feeding πŸ™‚
Start a load of laundry
Feed myself a taco at 10am and call it brunch

Shower and dress myself
Print a simple back yard scavenger hunt for Caleb as part of my, “It’s ok to like things besides legos” mission.
Swap laundry, start another load
Load 98% of dishes into dishwasher
Feed Caleb lunch
Feed/Change Ember
Slip her into the ring sling and cross my fingers

Success! Baby asleep in sling!!!
Take diapers off the clothes line
Set Caleb loose with the scavenger hunt, which he loves. Explain there’s really no such thing as “winning” a scavenger hunt πŸ˜›
Play hot/cold with camouflage easter eggs
Chat with the neighbor while our boys play together
Come inside just before it rains


Happy sling baby


Happy Big Boy

Rest for Caleb
Lunch for me
Finally remember to dump ingredients into crock pot an hour later than intended- better late than never?
Feed/Change Ember
Walk her around due to fussies/gas
Put her to sleep on my chest
Pass her to David when he gets home and collapse in bed for a nap

Best of all, I managed to catch poo, as it arrived mid diaper change- not once, not twice, but thrice. Second time mom reflexes for the win! πŸ˜‰


Ember’s Birth Story

For those who’ve been following our family blog since it began, you may remember Caleb’s peaceful, unmedicated, hallmark-worthy birth story (and if you don’t, you can read it here: ). This is not that birthstory πŸ˜›

It started out very similarly. I went to my 40 week appointment with a few clues labor might be near, but still nothing definitive. I had contractions most of the afternoon after the visit, but around 10pm, they seemed to fizzle out. We decided to get some sleep and hope things would start up again tomorrow. At 11:06 my eyes shot open. That was definitely a real contraction…which meant I *really* needed to sleep as much as possible between them, which I did, eyes popping open every 20 minutes for the next 1.5 hours. After that, contractions were coming closer together, but still very irregular. 12 minutes, 8 minutes, 10 minutes, 14 minutes apart. I wasn’t sure what to think. I woke David up and asked him to time them for me so I could sleep between them more easily. I didn’t want to miss the window of when to go to the hospital since I needed 2 doses of antibiotics due to being Group B Strep positive (meaning a normal bacteria that lives on 1/3 people’s skin was found on mine, unfortunately it can give the baby problems in rare cases if not treated).

Contractions continued that way all night. I was able to sleep between them pretty well until around 4am, when they were so painful I definitely needed to be awake and moving to manage the pain. Still they were irregular and keeping us guessing- 6 minutes, 8 minutes, 4 minutes, 7 minutes. We were dancing close to the line where I had transitioned with Caleb and being a second time mom, I wasn’t sure how fast it was going to go once that happened. We decided we’d wait until Caleb woke up for the day, then head on in.

Our early riser did not disappoint. At 6am he joined the party. We had already packed the bags in the car and gathered some breakfast food for him. I called my friend he’d be staying with and the OB’s office and we were off.

Based on my pain level, I was pretty sure there was no way I was already at 8cm this time around, but I’ll admit, I was hoping for a 5 or 6. No such luck. “Stretchy 4cm, cervix still very posterior.” the nurse proclaimed. Would they even admit me that early? I explained how things had gone last time and that I needed the antibiotics. They went ahead and admitted me and started the IV.

Laboring in the hospital was definitely a totally different experience. I had to be in bed, on the monitor 20/60 minutes, and if baby was sleepy, even longer. Plus I had an uncomfortable IV in, which made getting into comfortable laboring positions more challenging. Even if all that hadn’t been the case though, this labor was just different.

Instead of the rolling hill contractions coming at predictable intervals I experienced with Caleb, these contractions continued to come at random times- 5 minutes, 30 seconds, 3 minutes, 1 minute and looked like mountain peaks, slamming into me, peaking quickly, sometimes pretending to let go, but then peaking again before backing down. With Caleb’s contractions I was able to (mostly) manage the pain because I knew when to expect pain and when to expect relief. So even once I was hep locked and able to use the birth ball, walk the halls, etc. it was still a whole different experience.

By 9am, I was pretty miserable. Surely, I must be almost ready to push. I asked to be checked. Actually what I said was, “I want to be checked, but do not tell me if I am less than 6cm.” “Hmmm.” said the nurse, “I’d say a stretchy 6cm, but still very posterior.” Seriously? Why isn’t this baby coming down the birth canal? I thought second labors were supposed to be shorter. Surely not much longer now.


This is the face of someone who does not want to hear there are still 4 more centimeters to go πŸ˜›

Back in bed and on the monitor the contractions got really intense. We were prepared this time and I asked for a washcloth to bite rather than David’s hand. As soon as I could get off the monitors, I got into the shower (after promising not have the baby in the shower). That helped a lot. It was still intense, but I felt more control than I had the last hour. Suddenly, I felt a ton of pressure. This had to be it! I came out, asked to be checked, sure I must be ready to push and….”Stretchy 8cm, still very posterior.” @_@

At this point, I was worried. What on earth was keeping baby girl so far back? I started crying. “I just need her to come out.” I said. My nurse (who was *amazing* despite the fact I’d been screaming and crying on and off for the last 2 hours- apologizing in between contractions) recommended I let the OB break my water. “I think you are ready to have this baby, and I think it’s going to happen really quickly once your water is broken.” I’d just had my 2nd round of the antibiotic so that was covered, but I was afraid of the pain intensifying once my water was broken as it had with Caleb’s labor. I was already out of control during the contractions…how could I take more? And even a stretchy 8 is a little late to consider medication.


My puffy/tear stained face when we decided to let the OB break my water. Clearly between contractions on this one πŸ™‚

I was feeling pretty desperate to be done though, so I agreed. The OB came in, broke my water and 7 minutes and 2 horrible contractions later, I yelled, “I NEED TO PUSH!!!” needless to say, no one had quite expected it to go that fast. A quick check showed my “highly posterior cervix” had morphed into “we can see the baby, don’t push until the doctor gets in here.” Yeah. Right.

Thankfully, my first pushes were not only involuntary, but also ineffective πŸ˜€ The OB made it in, reminded me what I needed to be doing and the next contraction we made big progress. After 3 pushes, the OB said, “Wait. Stop pushing. There’s a hand.” In my mind, I’m thinking, “If there’s a hand, my job is done. Pull her out!” Incorrectly assuming the hand must be preceded by a head and shoulders. Little miss had her hand up by her head. She was coming into the world super-man style. Once it was free, I was cleared to push again.


Bruise on baby girl’s arm from her super-man style entrance.

Did I mention I was so done with labor at this point? I decided she was coming out on the next contraction. I gave it all I had and on the 4th push of that contraction, 7th total, Ember came rocketing into the world at 12:17pm, the exact same minute her brother arrived, almost 6 years before. The moment they put her on my chest was one of the best of my life. Feeling her little warm body, hearing her cry, knowing she was really really here.



The OB looked up at me and said, “Your baby has a true knot in her umbilical cord. It’s very rare. Thankfully it didn’t cause any problems.” To which I replied, “I know. My son was born with one too.” I’ll spare you photos of that, though I have a picture of the knot for both babies, but I will say, it is a sobering sight. I know not all stories end this way, and to have it happen twice…I’m thankful to God for his mercies each day I have with my babies.

After that, I got a couple stitches for a tiny, 1st degree tear, while I tried to nurse Ember for the first time. She was much less interested initially than her big brother had been. Eventually I got curious to know how much she weighed and handed her over. 7lbs, 6oz- just half an ounce smaller than Caleb, but a full 1.5 inches shorter. It sure did make her look chunkier πŸ™‚



Many people have asked us how we chose her name. 3 years ago, right before we knew we were going to start trying to add to our family again, we took a camping trip for our 4th anniversary. While sitting around the fire, the name just came to me. I asked David what he thought of “Ember” for a girl’s name. David and I hardly ever like the same name, so I was surprised when he loved it. From then on, we thought if we had a girl, that would be her name. That said, when we actually found out we were really having a girl, I got cold feet about naming her something so non-traditional. However, no matter how many other names we tried on her, “Ember” was the one that always felt right.

IMG_5883Β  IMG_5947

I know “Ember” technically means the dying remains of a fire, but when I think of embers, I think of the heart of the fire, the heat you need to do anything useful with it like cook or get warmth. Strong, warm, useful, a light in dark places- this is what we want our little girl to be. Ember.

Her middle name was even harder. I always assumed it would be “Joy” after my grandmother, mom and myself, but we felt Ember needed a very traditional middle name to balance it out. We both loved Elizabeth- the way it sounded, the way it gives her a typical name to fall back on later in life if she so chooses. I also wanted it to connect to our family in some way. The one Grandparent I never got to meet had the first name “Betty”, which is a common nickname of Elizabeth and David’s mom goes by “Beth”. So I loved that it touched both sides of our family, while still being all her own. Also, Elizabeth means “God is satisfaction” or “Pledged to God” both of which we hope will describe our little girl.



May 2016

May couldn’t have been a more perfect month to precede my due date. So many fun milestones to look forward to that helped the month fly by. The first weekend was Mother’s Day. David encouraged our little perfectionist to try and spell the words for my card himself. This was the precious, I’m-keeping-it-forever, result:

Caleb and I holding hands. He even put little sister in my belly ❀

A larger version of little sister. Note that he deliberately drew her head down πŸ˜€

In general, Caleb has just been amazing me with his maturity and love this month:

  • One morning, he spilled a bunch of crumbs in the living room. Pushing down theΒ  annoyance I felt, I told him I’d help him vacuum in a few minutes. His response, “Actually Mommy, I’ll feel better if I vacuum now. I’ll let you know if I need help.” He then proceeded to get out the vacuum and do it all on his own ❀
  • Later the same day, I waddled my 37 week pregnant body through the grocery store, when Caleb asked, so sweetly, “Mom, could we please get these special star wars crackers?” They were on a good sale, so I told him we could get 2, one for him to eat today and one to eat when he comes to visit baby sister in the hospital. “Oh thank you mommy. I’m glad I’ll have one for the hospital. That way, if you’re in pain, I will have something to give you to make you feel better.” Clean up in aisle 9…mom’s heart is in a puddle on the floor…

The next weekend, David and I celebrated 7 years of marriage. SEVEN. It seems unbelievable to me that so much time has gone by. One thing I can say for sure is, it’s been a lot easier to deal with all the challenges pregnancy brings through year 6 than it was through year one! I’m thankful that overall this pregnancy has been easier on me than my first and I’ve been able to be more “myself” in so many ways, but a lot has still fallen on him and it’s reminded me all over again what a treasure I married.


1st Anniversary!




7th Anniversary!

We are definitely more stylish in our old age πŸ˜‰

Last, but definitely not least, we celebrated the end of our first year of homeschooling. I could (and probably will) write an entire post reflecting on our experience this year, but the short version is- it went better than I ever could have imagined and was such a great fit for our family. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be mommy/teacher to this little guy!

Reading to his Granny and Grandpa over skype <3

Reading to his Granny and Grandpa over skype ❀

End of school ice cream celebration!

End of school ice cream celebration!

This month went by so quickly, I can barely believe I’m 39 weeks tomorrow. I’m savoring this last bit of time with baby girl in my belly. Her little kicks, hiccups, and rolls are all so precious to me. I can’t wait to share her with her dad and big brother, but for now, I’m enjoying these special days. The hospital bags are packed, the car seat is installed, the nursery is ready- now we just pray for a safe delivery and wait for her to come.



April 2016

Knowing how busy March was going to be, my goal was to have our schedule gradually wind down during the month of April, with only the essentials going on in May. All in all, I’d say it worked out pretty well.

Caleb finished his last swim lessons early in the month. We were so proud of him conquering his fear of jumping in! David got to come to his final class and Caleb proudly demonstrated jumping into the 11ft. side over and over again. I didn’t take any pictures, just savored the moment.

We also used “extra” time this month to wrap up the final items left on our “before baby” to-do list. After the nausea cleared up, I wrote a list detailing what I’d like to get done month-by-month. I can’t believe how prepared we are for this baby. This month, I put away freezer meals, scrubbed up baby equipment, washed more baby laundry, cleaned out the upstairs and deep freezers, and packed our hospital bag.

A sweet friend gave me her pre-consignment-sale shopping pass and I was able to get a great deal on clothes we’ll need for little girl’s first year. Seeing all those little outfits made her seem so real! Another friend gave us her infant car seat since ours had expired. When Caleb saw it, he exclaimed, “Oh my! I’ve been hoping to see that soon! I know who that is for. Little sister!” Other than purchasing a few items we still need- we’re ready…and 100% more prepared than we were for Caleb’s arrival, haha.

After all that work, we decided to cancel dinner one night and go to Red Robin for kids night (one of Caleb’s favorite things). As we sat there, it hit me that this is probably one of our last outtings as a family of 3. That is still so surreal to me.

This was also the month the bump started growing at an impressive rate:


32 Weeks

33 Weeks

33 Weeks

34 Weeks

34 Weeks

36 Weeks

35 Weeks

By the end of the month, David looked over one night and said,

“Your side of the bed looks like one of Caleb’s pillow forts.”


Despite a few aches and pains though, I am feeling so good. It’s been such a blessing to be able to savor and enjoy this time. Even when I’m having trouble sleeping, I just feel so at peace, like I could lie there all night just feeling her little movements and being amazed that this is all happening. I’m sure it helps that the second time around, my expectations for sleep in the 3rd trimester and much more realistic πŸ™‚

Caleb has also been key to making the time fly for me. He’s always loved history, but this month he took a particular interest in the American Revolution/Early American History time periods:

C: “Do you know what a peace treaty is?”
Me: “Tell me about it.”
C: “It’s where both sides promise not to fight anymore. What do you think would happen if only one side signed it?”
Me: “It doesn’t seem like that would work.”
C: “Right, because if only one side signed, it would be like they retreated!”

C: “Do you know what peace treaty ended the 7 years war?”
Me: “No, tell me.”
C: “The Treaty of Paris!”

I had to google that to double check him. Keeping up with this kid, mentally and physically, is a full time job…and I love it so much ❀

Of course, he’s also devoting plenty of brain space to building lego starwars fighters and defending the galaxy πŸ˜€


Caleb loves making up Star Wars stories and telling them to his baby sister ❀

Flying a ship with his BFF. Behind the blanket is the "cargo hold". They built it all themselves <3

Flying a ship with his BFF. Behind the blanket is the “cargo hold”. They built it all themselves ❀