Life is always moving forward. It’s Sunday afternoon and everyone is either napping or having “quiet time.” I thought about taking a nap myself, but I want to take a moment and record a snapshot of our family’s life at this time. I know there are a lot of little memories that will slip away over time as life moves on.
Drew (7 months)
Drew is so lovable. We recently learned he loves the water. We bought him a baby float he can sit in when we go to the lake near our house, and he loves it so much. He likes to kick his legs in the water. For the most part, Drew is a very go-with-the-flow baby. The two times a day he can get a bit cranky are before lunch (if I’ve made him wait too long to eat) and when he’s ready to go to bed. He loves to smile, laugh, and screech. He also has started spitting, and he thinks it’s very funny.
Brooke (2 and a 1/2)
Brooke is so fun. She loves to be independent. She likes to pick out and put on her own clothes. After she does something on her own, like get dressed, she’ll raise both hands in the air and in the cutest voice exclaim, “I did it!” If I’m trying to do something for her that she wants to do on her own, she says, “No. Brooke’s turn.” She always has to have a bow in her hair, even when it’s time to put on pajamas. She is always so excited to see Drew. If Drew isn’t in the same room as her and she can’t see him, she’ll come up to me and say “Shhh. Drew sleeping.” She loves to sing “I Am A Child of God” and “Do As I’m Doing,” which she simply calls “Do As.” Her favorite show is Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. She likes to wander when she eats (if she’s eating at her kids table and can easily get off her chair.) This is a habit we’re trying to change ha. She is potty trained (yay!). That experience was so much easier than it was with David, and I think part of that is because I learned from potty training David techniques that were helpful and techniques that were not. I also just accepted the fact that accidents are just apart of the process and that’s okay. That mindset made potty training not feel so heavy. Right now, Brooke doesn’t like going to nursery at church on Sunday. She likes people and likes playing with toys, so we’re not sure why nursery is so hard for her. She loves going to the playground and is quite adventurous and willing to climb and try almost any slide. When we go to the lake, she likes to wear her puddle jumpers (floats), walk out to where she can’t touch, lift up her legs and float. Then she loves to have someone pull her back to where she can touch the bottom. Brooke loves McDonald’s chicken “muggets” (as she calls them). She can spot a McDonald’s from a mile away it seems like. Randomly in the car, she’ll yell “Donald’s!” in the happiest voice, and sure enough, I’ll look around and see the gold arches somewhere on the horizon.
David (Almost 4)
David is a great oldest child and big brother. He’s patient with me as I work through different parenting strategies. He is currently in a phase where he loves to use his imagination. His “quiet time” toys were taken away one day this week because he wouldn’t clean them up. I thought he’d really miss the toys the next day during “quiet time” but instead he happily told me that he used his imagination to play. His favorite show is probably Curious George. His favorite thing to watch though is the Muppets movie, the one with the song “Life’s a Happy Song.” That is his FAVORITE song. He also loves the song “Peace in Christ.” We alternate between those two soundtracks when we’re in the car. A few months ago, he went through a phase of watching the Peanuts movie every time he was allowed to use my iPad after quiet time. One day, he came up close to my face and said, “Are you trying to hold my hand? You sly dog.” This is a line from the Peanuts movie that I think Peppermint Patty says to Charlie Brown. The funniest thing is instead of saying the word “dog,” David said “dar.” After months of trying to convince him Peppermint Patty was saying “dog” not “dar,” he finally has relented. David loves people and calls everyone his “friends.” He has an amazing memory. He loves building with quatros (legos that are 4x the size) and mega blocks. He loves wooden trains and wants to look at them each time we go to Target. He likes taking pictures on my phone and then looking at all the picture he took. I love hearing him pray. The way he slowly says “Heavenly Father” and emphasizes each syllable is so cute. He is also pretty independent and can do so much on his own. His favorite restaurant is Spelunkers – he LOVES their grilled cheese and ice cream. For the longest time, he simply called Spelunkers “restaurant” (as if no other restaurants existed haha).
I’m enjoying this stage of life with three little kids at home. Our schedule is our own because we don’t have commitments outside of the house, like school, since my kids are so young. It’s nice to have this time with my kids without feeling like we’re rushing from one thing to the next. I like being able to do fun things like go to the lake or park with my kids any day we want. I also like that every afternoon they have nap time/quiet time, which enables me to have time to focus on other household items or projects. While I LOVE this stage of life, it can be exhausting. I don’t have a lot of down time. I’m trying to be more proactive at carving out time to sit, relax, and reflect. About six weeks after Drew was born, I started a gratitude journal. Each day, I set a timer for two minutes and write down whatever comes to mind that I’m grateful for. I feel like this really helps me to have a strong mental mindset. I’ve also found some YouTube workout videos that I enjoy doing. Each day, I either do a workout video or I go on a morning walk before it’s too hot and before my kids wake up. My calling (service role) at church is so fun. I’m the primary music leader, so I get to sing songs with the kids (under 12) during Sunday school. It’s awesome.
John is a great husband and father. He stays very busy with work. He does a good job of making sure to carve out time for me and the kids in the evenings. He recently got a kayak. He loves being outside, and since we live near the “canoeing capital of Virginia,” we thought kayaking might be the perfect hobby to help him decompress when he needs to. He’s also starting to camp more. Sometimes he takes David and other times he goes with guys from our church congregation. We live by so many great camping spots, that it’s an easy hobby to pick up and enjoy out here. He still enjoys cycling, but we don’t live close to any good cycling paths anymore. So a few months ago he bought a mountain bike, since we do live really close to some mountain biking trails. However, right after he got it, he injured his knee pretty badly so he hasn’t been able to use it a lot.
Well, that’s a quick glimpse at our lives right now. We’re happy, healthy, and grateful.
I know it’s JULY but I never posted about Christmas, and it was a great one, so I want to make sure I capture the memories.
December brought snow, which was awesome. It really made the Christmas season magical.
My parents and brother Blake came from Utah. We were concerned about COVID and thankfully my parents were able to get tested as often as they wanted through their jobs to ensure they were negative. My mom planned to stay for a month so she could be here to take care of Brooke and David when Drew was born. My sister Melissa lives in the area and she stayed over at our house for a couple days during the Christmas holiday as well.
Christmas Eve is one of my most favorite days of the year. John’s family has a tradition of dressing up on Christmas Eve and so we asked my family if they’d be up for that. My favorite tradition is reading scriptures about the birth of Christ and singing carols together. It’s fun to read a few verses and then sing. Then read some more, and then sing some more. Music can be so powerful. I love the feeling of singing about the birth of our Savior with my family.
David is really into birthdays and specifically birthday cake. So we had a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Day.
Christmas magic was definitely alive in our house with a 3-year-old and almost 2-year-old. They made it so fun.
We had fun playing games while we were all together. It felt so good to have our house full of people I love and to laugh together. We learned my sister is a master a trivia!
While we were all together we took advantage of the Shenandoah mountains. We all hiked together one afternoon. The next day John and I went on a hiking date and did the same hike as the day prior. On a different day, my parents, John, the kids and I also traveled to a section of the mountains further from our house and did another hike. The kids were troopers. We pushed/pulled them in our Burley stroller.
We also took a trip into the city and walked from the World War II Memorial to the Capitol. It was fun to take in the sights downtown and the weather was great. The only hard part of all the walking is I constantly felt like I needed to use the restroom since I was just about 9 months pregnant at the time haha.
I didn’t take a ton of pictures while we all together for two reasons: (1) I just wanted to focus on being present (2) My face was really swollen this pregnancy and to be honest I felt very self-conscious.
It was a wonderful Christmas! Of course we had other “fun” moments – Brooke throwing up, someone falling down the stairs – but that’s life.
I was about to make a joke and say that hopefully I’ll write about next Christmas before July, and then it occurred to me that I never wrote about our 2019 Christmas in Iowa. So, even though it’s July, I’m proud I got something written up haha.
John’s parents came in town for Baby Drew’s blessing. We had the blessing at our home on a Sunday afternoon. My sister, brother Trevor, John’s uncle David, and our church congregation’s Bishop came over that afternoon for the blessing. My parents and my brother Blake were able to join via Zoom.
As I’ve said before, Drew is such a peaceful baby. He makes my heart swell with love. It’s amazing how each child adds to the love in my heart.
We enjoyed having John’s parents with us for the weekend. I think Brooke and David had the most fun playing at two different parks with grandma and grandpa while they were here.
We tried to snap a family picture but the stars didn’t align to get us all smiling and looking at the camera. But hey, that’s the stage of life we’re in right now haha.
Drew is four months. Four months is one of my favorite times in a baby’s first year of life. It’s about this time that their personality begins to really shine through. Below are facts about Drew at four months.
– Drew is a champion sleeper. He naps great and sleeps through the night. I do get up about 4:30 each morning to put in his pacifier when he starts crying. He goes to bed at 7 p.m. and wakes up about 8/9 a.m. (We wake him up around 9 p.m. to feed him).
– A few days after he hit the four-month mark, he rolled over from his stomach to his back.
– He is so smiley!
– When he gets tired, he starts babbling and makes screeching noises. It’s so cute and funny.
– He doesn’t cry often. He is very calm and patient.
– He loves most people but I definitely think he’s a momma’s boy (at least at the moment ha).
At the beginning of each year, I like to write a review of the prior year for my and my family’s memory. Well, it’s the end of May, so I wouldn’t say it’s the beginning of the year (ha), but I didn’t want to miss capturing an overall snapshot of 2020.
The year began for us with lots of packing and preparing to move. January was filled with Chick-Fil-A trips during home showings, visits to our new house to see the construction progress, filling what felt like hundreds of Home Depot moving boxes with our belongings, and praying that our West Virginia home would sell.
We closed on our new home on February 12. Our “romantic” Valentine’s Day included renting a moving truck and lots of heavy lifting for John and a few teenage boys from our church congregation who offered to help us move. The move was A LOT of effort, and we’re so grateful to friends and family who helped out. My sister, aunt, and cousins came over after we moved our belongings and were a big help getting the house organized. I ordered pizza for them, and David helped himself to as much pizza as he wanted. That night, in the middle of the night, his stomach decided he had eaten WAY too much pizza. This was the first time David ever had thrown up and of course it happened BEFORE we had a chance to hook up our washer and dryer ha!
We celebrated Brooke’s first birthday at the end of February. My mom and my aunt Diana were both in town for the celebration. We had a joint birthday party for Brooke and my sister Melissa.
Our West Virginia home officially sold in March. The selling process was a bit bumpy due to a very demanding buyer, whom we chose not to sell to in the end. But thankfully other buyers came along right after we terminated the first contract. I made a number of trips back to West Virginia during March to ensure the house was ready for the new owners. The pandemic and shutdown orders began in March, and at times I was worried that would affect our home sale. I had to remind myself that we’d seen God’s hand all throughout the moving process and that He would see us through, even if the home sale fell through.
April was spent at home as the pandemic really became a matter of great concern. We were so fortunate to move right before the pandemic hit. Our house sits on two acres of land (when we bought it, it came with one acre, and we bought an additional adjoining acre in September), and there is plenty of room for our kids to run around and have fun.
May was very similar to April. We spent lots of time at home. Since salons were closed, I cut David’s hair and John’s hair for the first time, a skill I’m grateful to have and am still working to improve upon. In the middle of May we learned that we were expecting baby #3.
June brought more time at home as the pandemic continued. Brooke learned to walk (finally!). I stayed busy playing with the kids and using their daily naptime to plan a virtual audiology research conference that would take place in August. I had spent many months planning and preparing for an in-person research conference that was supposed to take place in April but was cancelled because of the pandemic. While preparing for the virtual conference, I decided that once the conference was over, the time had come for me to quit my job. Since David was born, I worked a few hours a week from home for my previous employer. It was a great outlet for me. Over the last few years, I’ve asked God to help me know when/if I needed to give up my job. During the month of June, I felt strongly that that time had come for me to focus fully on my family and grow myself through other avenues.
July was much like June. My life was full of time at home with the kids and preparing for the virtual audiology conference. John and I did sneak away for a date to DC for his birthday. There was a restaurant we both wanted to try, and we were excited to get a reservation. However, when we arrived, they sat us at a table outside the restaurant in an adjacent business complex atrium. The food was still delicious but the ambiance definitely wasn’t what we anticipated haha.
John’s parents came for three weeks in August. John’s uncle had been in a cycling accident and John’s dad stayed with him as he recovered. John’s mom stayed with us. We hadn’t seen them since Christmas, so it was nice to be able to connect. I also appreciated that John’s mom was here and able to watch the kids on the day of the virtual conference I had been planning. At the very end of the month, we learned that baby #3 was a boy!
September brought our first and only 2020 getaway as a family. We headed down to Myrtle Beach to visit my aunt and uncle. They live in a private beach community. So, we were able to go to the beach without worrying about being near other people. David was super scared of the ocean. He didn’t want anyone to even put their feet in the water. This made our time at the beach a bit adventurous haha. Brooke on the other hand, loved it. I love the beach too and this trip was a welcomed respite. At the end of the month, we switched Brooke to a normal bed and out of her crib. I decided to paint and decorate her room to match the new quilt we bought her. It was a fun project, and I love the finished product.
October brought B1G Ten college football (a very exciting thing for John!), David’s 3rd birthday, and our five-year wedding anniversary. The traditional five-year anniversary gift is wood. John decided he would add decorative molding/wainscotting to our dining room. He knows how much I love details in home design, so this was a VERY thoughtful gift. Since I had painted Brooke’s room in September, I decided to paint David’s room in October. Once again, I loved the finish product.
In November, John made good on his anniversary gift to me. I painted the dining room and he did the hard work of installing the detailed molding. We celebrated Thanksgiving and welcomed the Christmas season at the end of the month.
John’s family has a generational tradition of making lots of cookies in preparation for Christmas. There are about 12 different kinds his mom and grandma bake each year. John and I decided to continue this tradition in our family. His mom sent us the recipes and beginning in November, we dedicated our date nights to cookie baking. It was one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. It was fun to embark on this project with him. We often put on a Christmas movie to watch while we baked.
My brother Trevor got married in November. He and his fiancé, Morgan, were supposed to get married in the Philadelphia LDS Temple on December 26 but that plan had to change because of COVID. They learned on a Monday that their wedding couldn’t take place in Philadelphia because of COVID restrictions, and that Thursday, they ended up getting married in a courthouse with just the two of them present.
We started the month off with an emergency trip to the doctor after Brooke fell and smacked her head on the door molding in David’s room and severely cut her head. Thankfully they were able to glue the cut shut. She was a trooper!
December brought snow (yay!) more Christmas cookie baking and lots of Christmas movie watching. The kids favorite movie was “Frosty the Snowman.” We celebrated Christmas with my family this year (aside from Trevor and Morgan, who were in Connecticut). We had fun playing games and hanging out at home together. We also did a few hikes in the Shenandoah Mountains. John took a week off from work, which was his first week-long vacation this year. I loved spending time with him. We were able to sneak away a few times without kids (a luxury), which was awesome.
Our little Drew hit the three-month mark recently. He continues to be such a peaceful baby. Below are fun facts about Drew at three months.
– He sleeps through the night without needing to eat (hip hip hooray!). He wakes up a few times at night, and I’ll stick his pacifier back in, and he goes right back to sleep. There have been a couple nights I haven’t had to stick his pacifier in. Hopefully those nights will become more frequent.
– He is so chill and calm. He pretty much only cries when he wants to eat or sleep.
– He takes two naps a day. One in the morning for about an hour and one in the afternoon for about three hours. He sleeps at night from 7 p.m. to between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m.
– He becomes really chatty when I look at him in the eyes and it’s just me and him. I told John I’ll be interested to see if he’s a kid who opens up and becomes talkative when he’s one-on-one but is otherwise more quiet.
Brooke has started waking up again during the night. In fact, it’s 4 a.m. and I just went into her room to put her back in bed. Surprisingly, she is more disruptive to my sleep than Drew, who is only three months old. Drew is an angel baby when it comes to sleep.
Brooke’s situation is challenging for me, and I don’t know what to do about it. I’m not sure if she’s hungry, she often asks for milk, or if it’s a developmental phase. She is often wide awake when I go in her room. I know children may not sleep well when their brains go through specific developmental leaps. I’ve tried giving her milk with dinner to help her stay more full but she’ll still wake up sometimes. So, that’s one of the reasons I’m not sure it’s a hunger thing.
One night last week after giving her some milk in the wee hours of the morning, she started crying again. She hadn’t eaten a lot at dinner, so I did think that on this particular night, she had woken up hungry. I was laying in my bed exhausted and offered a silent prayer that her tummy would feel full and she’d be able to fall asleep.
After ending the prayer, this thought came to mind, “Meghan, there are mothers out there offering that same prayer tonight but they can’t simply walk downstairs to get food or milk for their children.” I knew this thought was not my own but from the Holy Spirit. It profoundly impacted me.
Since this experience, I’ve been thinking more about how I can help relieve suffering. I am grateful for this perspective shift and pray for those mothers and their children. I believe I was given this thought for a reason. I don’t know if it was given to me to help me be more compassionate or if there is action I should take to more actively help relieve suffering. I’m keeping my mind and heart open to what God would have me do. I am so grateful for this new found perspective that helps me feel gratitude instead of frustration when Brooke wakes up at night (even if I’m still exhausted haha).
Brooke is officially two years old! She is our comic relief in life, and she keeps us on our toes. She makes the funniest faces (scowls) when she gets told no. She has lots of energy and loves being silly. Below are fun facts about Brooke at age two.
– She loves anything Baby Shark and Elmo.
– Her favorite foods are berries, clementines, macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets (which she calls “chicken muggets”). Anytime we drive past McDonalds, she says “chicken muggets!”
– She is very active and loves to climb. The playground is a great place for her because she can explore freely.
– A few months ago, she hit and seriously cut her head. She was spinning in David’s room and fell and smacked her head on the molding around David’s door. She still has a red line above her eyebrow from the incident.
– She is very polite. She almost always says “thank you” when I help her with something or give her something.
– After I do her hair in the morning, she stands up and says “cute!”
– She adores her siblings. When she gets up in the morning, she’ll always ask for “Baby Dew.” She likes to stick Drew’s pacifier in his mouth. David is her best friend. She loves playing and laughing with him. She just recently started saying David’s name. She pronounces the “v” like it’s a “w.”
– When she’s done with dinner, she wants to go take a bath immediately and will drop her plate in the floor if we don’t get it from her fast enough (we’re trying to stop that habit haha).
– She doesn’t like going to bed and will lay on the floor by her door and call out to us until she’s tired enough she climbs into bed to go to sleep. She’s only fallen asleep by the door twice.
– She thinks it’s funny to run away from me when it’s time to change her diaper. She giggles as she runs.
– Her vocabulary is growing everyday. I’m constantly impressed by how many words she knows.
– When she really wants something she says “please” in an exaggerated tone. Although she pronounces it “nease.”