David’s First Primary Talk

David gave his first talk in primary (Sunday school for children ages 4-11). He did a great job. His talk was on the Sabbath Day. My favorite part was how he began by joyfully saying, “Good morning, everyone!”

David is learning and growing at a rapid pace. I’m consistently surprised by the things he remembers. We’ve been studying the Old Testament this year and for the first time, it seems like his beginning to remember scripture stories. I’m grateful I get to be his mom.

A Date with Drew

John decided to take the older two kids camping, so it was just me and Drew home tonight. I decided to take him to run a few errands because going into stores with one kid is way easier than going in with three kids. We had fun shopping together. He just sat in the cart and smiled and giggled at me. Drew is at such a cute, cute stage. He loves to put blankets over his head and play peek-a-boo, clap his hands, wave high, and bounce to music. It’s crazy to think that in a matter of weeks he won’t be the baby of our family. He still isn’t walking fully yet. He can walk, but he definitely prefers crawling. I’ve loved watching him learn to walk. At first, he would only take a few steps when no one was watching, but now he proudly walks and loves the attention he gets from all of us when he takes a few steps.

Three-Year-Old Brooke

Brooke has been looking forward to her birthday ever since we celebrated Drew’s birthday in January.

She is a girl with a lot of personality. She loves to laugh and make others laugh. She has the best smile, although it’s almost impossible to get her to smile when I’m trying to take a picture. Below are facts about 3-year-old Brooke.

– She is full of energy. She rarely naps in the afternoon anymore, and even though her bedtime is 7 p.m., she often stays awake in her room until 8:30 p.m. or so.

– She loves all things baby shark.

– Her favorite book series is “Little Blue Truck.”

– Her favorite food is chicken nuggets. She loves pretty much all fruit, especially grapes and berries. She recently discovered she also loves sliced bell peppers.

– She is quick to apologize.

– Purple is her favorite color.

– Adventurous and curious are both accurate descriptions of her.

– She often wants to “help” in the kitchen. When she sees me preparing lunch or dinner, she’ll run and grab a stool to stand on and say “I help you?”

Brooke’s birthday began with donuts and presents. The kids played with her new toys in the morning. I took Brooke and David to get McDonalds for lunch. Then Brooke and I went to get our nails done. When we came home, we popped popcorn and watched Encanto. We then headed to Cracker Barrel for a celebratory dinner and came home to have birthday cake. It was a fun-filled day! On Sunday, we had a birthday dinner party for Brooke and my sister, who’s birthday is three days prior to Brooke’s.

Christmas 2021

Last year, I think I wrote about Christmas in July, so I’m ahead of the game this year, even though Christmas was nearly two months ago ha.

We were able to see both sides of our extended family this Christmas season. My parents came out to Virginia (my brother living in Virginia had his first child, whom my parents were eager to meet). We were able to spend time with them before and after our trip to Iowa for Christmas (we spend every other Christmas in Iowa with John’s family).

Spending time with both sides of our family meant our kids had many present opening opportunities, which they loved. We did our immediate family Christmas gift exchange the day before my parents arrived. (On the years we go to Iowa, we open our immediate family presents before we head out of town. Only Santa presents make the trek to Iowa.) Having three kids ages four and under at Christmas makes it magical! One of the presents we got David I wasn’t sure if he would like (they were tinker toys) but they ended up being his favorite toy. He has such an engineering focused mind. I had fun taking Brooke and David individually to pick out presents for each other. It was adorable to see what they picked and fun to watch them open those specific presents. Both Brooke and David are so appreciative of their gifts. Brooke says “thank you so much” in the sweetest and most sincere tone. Drew is still a little too young to really understand what’s going on.

Highlights of the time we spent with my side of the family include: Shopping on Main Street in Luray (they have such cute shops!), hiking in Shenandoah State Park, visiting DC to see the National Christmas Tree, meeting baby Will (the first cousin for our kids!), and a pre-Christmas dinner and white elephant gift exchange with my aunt, uncles, and cousins, who also live in Virginia.

Highlights of our time in Iowa include: Going for walks, playing at parks, Christmas Eve gift exchange and Christmas Day dinner with John’s extended family, and playing games.

Below are photos from the Christmas season.

One aspect of the Christmas season I loved was being able to read my scriptures each morning with the Christmas lights glowing inside our house. I took this photo one morning to remember how meaningful that was for me. I made a concerted effort to read my scriptures each morning (versus reading them at the end of the day when I’m exhausted). It has made such a difference in centering me and enabling me to feel closer to God.

Washington D.C. LDS Temple Opens to the Public

For the last few years, the LDS Temple in Kensington, Maryland near Washington D.C. has been closed for renovations. In August 2022, the Temple will be rededicated, and we will once again be able to worship there. But before the rededication, this temple will be open to ALL people (regardless of religious affiliation) to come and tour and learn more about what happens in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tours will begin on April 28. You don’t need a ticket, you can just show up any day (except Sunday) between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Parking is limited and you can register for a free parking pass at dctemple.org. You could also park nearby and uber if you can’t get a pass on the day you’d like to go.

This is the temple where John and I were married. It’s a special and sacred place to me, and it’s literally one of my favorite places on earth where I can go and feel peace and feel God’s love.

To learn more about this opportunity, visit dctemple.org.

Drew Turns One!

Earlier this month, Drew hit the one-year mark. Even though Drew is my third, it’s still crazy to me how much a baby grows in their first year of life.

He went from this:

To this:

He’s been such a delightful, social, happy baby. My parents visited recently, and my dad commented that he didn’t hear Drew cry once. Drew’s typical demeanor is always happy. Teething has been the thing that’s caused him the most tears (generally in the middle of the night when he wakes up in pain).

We had two celebrations for Drew. The first was on his actual birthday with just our immediate family. His birthday fell on a week day and I was sick. So his actual birthday was pretty low key. I made him a lemon box cake because that was the only thing I had, and I didn’t want to run to the store because I wasn’t sure if I had COVID. Thankfully my COVID test came back negative the next day. The second celebration was this past Sunday with my sister, brother/sister-in-law (and their cute baby Will, Drew’s first cousin), our friend Keri, and John’s uncle David.

Below are facts about one-year-old Drew.

– He is the BEST eater. He is not picky at all. He eats anything I make. His food is generally loaded with vegetables and he eats them like a champ (while my others kids say “it’s yucky”).

– He loves being around people, especially his siblings. Sometimes he will cry at night when we put him down because he wants to keep hanging out.

– He is a speedy crawler.

– He likes to pull himself up and stand.

– He loves bath time. He likes to splash and chew on his bath toys.

– He has seven teeth. Four on top and three on the bottom.

– He likes to hear himself talk.

– He has a hearty laugh when he is tickled.

– He likes to tackle his siblings if they’re laying on the floor.

– He really likes his pacifier, which we’re in the process of weaning him from. He only uses it when he sleeps but the second we put him in his crib, he looks for his pacifier and plops it in his mouth.

We are so grateful for the joy and light he’s brought this past year into our lives!

January Snow

In the month of January, we’ve had two large snowfalls (6+ inches). The first was a very heavy, wet snow that created the most beautiful winter scene as the snow hung to the branches of the trees. The second snowfall was a light, fluffy snow but was covered by a layer of ice that made playing in the snow more like an ice skating adventure for our kids. They liked pretending the front steps were a slide.

Baby Drew: Eleven Months

Drew is officially a one-year-old, and in the coming days, I’ll write his one-year blog post. But for now, we’re going back in time to Drew at eleven months.

– He is a fast crawler.

– He can stand while holding onto something but can’t quite pull himself up yet (almost!).

– He is all smiles and rarely cries.

– His way of letting us know he needs something is by screeching.

– He loves to chew on things, especially his pacifier.

– He is a great babbler who likes to “talk.”

– His happiness is contagious and makes life fun!

Baby Drew: Ten Months

Drew is a happy, smiley baby. Right around the 10-month mark he went through a bit of a cranky phase as some of his teeth we’re coming in and he was learning to crawl. We had some rough nights of sleep during that time, but he is back to being his cheerful self. Below are facts about 10-month-old baby Drew.

– Before learning to crawl, he did an inch worm scoot for a couple of weeks that was very cute.

– He loves to chew on things. Neither of my older kids did a lot of chewing while they were teething. I had unopened chew toys that had been gifted to my older two kids that Drew has appreciated.

– He sits up on his own in the bathtub and loves to splash.

– He loves to eat. When he sees his food, he begins shaking and opens his mouth wide.

– He loves to jabber, which is very cute and challenging when we’re in quiet places like church haha.

Halloween and Thanksgiving 2021

Our neighborhood isn’t ideal for trick-or-treating. There are only seven houses, including ours, and they’re a bit spread out. So we opted to go to Luray and trick-or-treat on Main Street. Luray’s trick-or-treating was on Saturday, October 30, which was perfect for our family. David was a robot; Brooke a unicorn princess; Drew a skeleton. It was drizzling rain the entire time we trick-or-treated, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. Brooke fell asleep minutes after we got back to the car after trick-or-treating, which was surprising for Brooke. Clearly it tired her out haha.

We were home for Thanksgiving this year. On the years when we’re home, we like to go out to dinner on the eve of Thanksgiving. My brother Trevor, sister Melissa, and friend Keri joined us for dinner. Afterwards, we like to walk around and look at the Christmas decorations. Melissa and Keri also joined us for Thanksgiving. They made some delicious food for the meal. John did a great job with the Turkey and pecan pie. I was in charge of rolls, stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and chocolate banana cream pie. The kids and I also created the centerpieces. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of those.