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.”
Drew is almost two months old, so this blog post is a bit overdue. Also, the pictures of him with the one-month sticker on were taken when he was six weeks. So he’s a bit bigger in those pictures than he actually was at the one-month mark.
Fun facts about Drew as a one-month-old:
– He is SO cuddly. He is by far my cuddliest baby yet!
– Almost every evening he falls asleep in John’s arms. John has a special way to hold Drew that he loves.
– He pretty much only cries when he’s hungry.
– He is a very chill baby and sleeps very well for a newborn.
Earlier this month, we welcomed our third child into our family. Drew Louis Longenecker made a very speedy entrance into this world. His first name is a derivative of the name Andrew, which runs in my family line. His middle name is the first name of one of his paternal great-grandfathers.
He was born early in the morning on a Tuesday. The Saturday prior to his arrival, I woke up in the night feeling contractions that were about 3 minutes apart. So I woke up John, and we headed to the hospital, which is about 45 minutes from our home. The contractions weren’t super strong, but my contractions generally don’t get too intense until right before it’s time to push. When I went into labor with Brooke, I was already 7 centimeters when we arrived at the hospital, and the nurses were quite surprised since my contractions weren’t registering very strongly.
Well, as we drove to the hospital on Saturday night, the contractions didn’t seem to progress. If anything, they seemed to feel less strong the closer we got to the hospital. Once we arrived, I told John that I wanted to wait in the car to see if the contractions picked up. The contractions started getting further apart, so we headed home without ever stepping foot in the hospital.
Fast forward to Monday night – or really very, very early Tuesday morning. I woke up to Brooke singing in her room. When I woke up, my stomach hurt a little bit, and I figured my stomach was just upset. After a few minutes, I began to think that maybe my stomach pains were actually labor pains. I started timing the pains, and they were a minute and a half apart. Once again, I woke up John, and we headed to the hospital. There is a hospital only 15 minutes from our house, but it doesn’t have a maternity ward. Because of how close together my contractions were and because they were intensifying quickly, I told John I thought we should go to the emergency room at the closer hospital.
We arrived at the hospital by our house and my contractions quickly intensified. However, we could tell the ER doctor really did not want to deliver a baby. So he called for an ambulance to take us to the hospital with the labor and delivery facilities. It took the ambulance 20 minutes to arrive (not sure what took them so long). When we left in the ambulance, I felt like I could have the baby any minute, but I knew we were still a 20+ minute drive away from the second hospital. As we left, John overheard the ER doctor say to the hospital we were being sent to that they needed to be prepared to deliver our baby as soon as we arrived. And sure enough, within 10 minutes of us entering the doors at the second hospital, Drew was born.
It was a bit of a traumatic experience because I had zero pain medicine, and I could tell my body was ready to deliver our little guy while in the ambulance. Only an hour and half lapsed between when I woke up to Brooke’s singing and Drew’s birth, and it was probably the most intense hour and a half of my life.
When Drew was born and the nurse laid him on me, I didn’t even have the energy to look down at him. I couldn’t believe the pain was done and he was born. While his entrance into this world felt dramatic, he has proved to be a very low drama baby. He’s a great eater and a great sleeper. He cries only when he needs something (which is generally to eat).
I was nervous about entering the newborn world again. The sleep deprivation aspect of newborn life is hard for me. I feel like it affects all aspects of my life in not the most positive way. A few weeks before Drew was born, I had the thought that God is the one who made babies to need to eat every few hours in the beginning of their lives. I know God is a loving God, and he didn’t make babies this way just to play a joke on new moms. It occurred to me that there must be something of value for me to learn or gain from the experience of having a newborn. There must be a God-given gift that comes from having a newborn and needing to wake every few hours to feed the baby. So when things have felt tough, I’ve reminded myself to look for the gift and to cherish this experience. I make sure I find time each day to do what I call “conscious cuddling,” meaning I take the time to cuddle Drew “just because” and soak in these moments that I know are fleeting. My heart is so full. I love Drew, and David, and Brooke, and John so much. I’m grateful for my family. They are my world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m playing catch-up here, so I’m doing a Halloween and Thanksgiving combo post.
David has been alive for four Halloweens but has yet to go real trick-or-treating. His first Halloween, he was only two weeks old. His second Halloween, he had just turned one and couldn’t walk. His third Halloween, there was a terrible thunderstorm. And this year there was a pandemic.
We still tried to make it a fun Halloween. The kids wore their costumes all day long. Brooke was a ghost and David was a train conductor. My brother/his fiancé (now wife), sister, and friend Keri brought candy to our house. David and Brooke rang our doorbell over and over. Each time, a different person opened the door and gave them candy.
After we put Brooke down to bed, we lit up our fire pit and roasted hot dogs and made s’mores. We let David stay up late and hang out with us. He made it to about 9 p.m. and then fell asleep sitting in John’s lap. It was a fun Halloween!
We had a small but lovely Thanksgiving. Normally we like to head to Reston Town Center the night prior to Thanksgiving for dinner and to see all the Christmas decorations. Because of the pandemic, we decided to skip that tradition. Instead we drove to a rural Virginia gas station, where they sell Godfather’s Pizza (one of John’s favorite chains), and picked up a couple of pizza’s to go.
On Thanksgiving day, the weather was warmer than I expected. We spent the morning outside in the backyard with the kids. After we came back inside, John and I spent a good part of the day cooking. John ended up cooking more than I did, and I didn’t mind that one bit! After dinner, we made fleece tie blankets for children in need and then played virtual games with my family in Utah before indulging in pies.
One funny Thanksgiving note I mentioned in my last post… David thinks Thanksgiving is the turkey’s birthday. It was fun to ask him all day, “What’s today?” and he’d respond by saying, “Turkey’s birthday.”