Miss Brooke is Two!

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.”

She didn’t want her picture taken on her birthday haha.

Baby Drew: Two Months

Drew is two months old. He is still as sweet and cuddly as ever! Below are facts about two-month-old Drew.

– He’s begun to smile at us. He has such a happy and gentle light about him.

– He sleeps amazingly well. He’s already slept through the night a number of times. When he does wake at night, it’s generally only once during the night. He’s also been a great napper.

– He’s a hungry little guy and eats more than my other kids did at this age.

– He loves being swaddled, but if he falls asleep without being swaddled, his hands always end up by his ears.

– He’s just starting to coo at us and it’s so cute.

Baby Drew: One Month

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.

– His siblings adore him! (as do his parents)

Welcome Baby Drew!

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.

Halloween and Thanksgiving 2020

I’m playing catch-up here, so I’m doing a Halloween and Thanksgiving combo post.

Halloween 2020

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!

Thanksgiving 2020

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.”

Our Thanksgiving spread is above. John is a masterful turkey carver thanks to a YouTube video a colleague shared with him. It’s fun to watch him carve the turkey.

Quick Kid Update

I try to post at least once a month, but I realized I never posted in the month of November. I’m hoping to post pictures from Halloween and Thanksgiving shortly. Our new house has MUCH slower internet, and since John is working from home full-time during the pandemic, I try not to use up bandwidth during the day. In the evening, I like to spend time with him. So, my blogging has taken a back seat. We may have a new internet option come January. If it pans out, I’ll hopefully post a little more frequently.

It’s Sunday morning. John is already at church for a meeting he has before our church service begins. I need to get the kids up. I can hear Brooke making noises in her room. But I wanted to write a quick kid update first.

Here’s a picture of our family from earlier this year up in the Shenandoah Mountains.

David – I love his 3-year-old logic. For example, my brother Blake, who lives in Utah, drives a motorcycle. David has seen videos of Blake’s motorcycle on our family messaging app. The other day, someone drove a motorcycle into our neighborhood, and David looked out the window and said “Hi, Uncle Blake.” He thinks anyone on a motorcycle is his uncle. David also thought Thanksgiving was the turkey’s birthday. I’m not sure where he got that idea. I think maybe because his birthday was in October and we had a small party with family for that, and he knows Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and we’ll also have a party with family for that, he then extrapolated that our small family party on Thanksgiving must be because it’s the Turkey’s birthday ha!

Brooke – Brooke’s vocabulary is constantly increasing. Her first official phrase was “What happened?” Whenever she drops something, she says “Uh oh. What happened?” She is very good at saying thank you and please (which often sounds like “nease”). A couple days ago, she said “no thanks” for the first time, instead of just “no.” Side note: I think she hears David say “no thanks” a lot whenever I ask him if he needs to go to the restroom haha. For a couple weeks, she started waking up at night again and screaming. Thankfully she’s slept peacefully the last three nights. I’m hoping this continues.

Baby #3 – I’m getting more and more excited to welcome this baby boy! This pregnancy seems to have been physically more draining for me than my previous two. I’ve struggled with low iron (something that I didn’t have previously), which has caused fatigue, and I’ve had contractions every day for the last couple of months. With Brooke, I didn’t have any contractions until my labor actually started. With David, I didn’t have any contractions until after my water had broken and I was in the hospital. My hands are also super swollen. I can’t take my wedding ring off haha.

We’re so excited for this Christmas season, and it’s been especially fun to look at Christmas through our kids’ eyes. It’s brings back the magic!

David at Age Three

David is officially three years old. Since birth, he has had a happy, sweet demeanor. He gives the best hugs and kisses each night before bedtime. He’s quick to apologize when he realizes he’s made a poor choice (like taking a toy from Brooke). He’s generally a great listener. Below are fun facts about David at three.

  • He loves trains, firetrucks, tractors, and cars.
  • His favorite song to sing at bedtime is “Reverently, Quietly.”
  • His favorite shows are “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and “Sesame Street.”
  • He likes to eat cereal, nuts, and raisins for breakfast. Up until recently, the way he said raisins sounded like the word “citizens.”
  • He loves to listen to the “Mary Poppins Returns” soundtrack and the song “Peace in Christ.” A couple months ago, he always asked to listen to the “Newsies” soundtrack.
  • His favorite food is “Annie’s” white cheddar shells mac n’ cheese.
  • He currently does not like bath time…not sure why? He has always loved it.
  • He is fun to talk with. I can understand most everything he says.
  • He’s a pretty smart negotiator (or at least he thinks so haha). Sometimes when he doesn’t want to do something, he says, “David little” because we’ve told him in the past that Brooke is too little to do something (like kneel for prayer or clean up her dishes). He thinks if he tells us he’s “little” then he can get out of whatever we’ve asked him to do.
  • He officially stopped taking an afternoon nap. He now has “quiet time” every afternoon and plays with toys in his room for a couple of hours. He’s really good about staying in his room. We keep his “special” toys up there that he only plays with during “quiet time.” I am SO thankful he’s been such a good napper and now will play quietly by himself.

Enjoying the Process

We have a basket of outdoor items for kids that sits on our front porch. It includes things like sidewalk chalk, bouncy balls, and bubbles. We go through bubbles pretty fast in our household, because inevitably they get spilled.

Yesterday afternoon, Brooke and I were out on the porch. David was still napping, so it was just me and her. She picked up one of the empty canisters of bubbles from the basket, pulled out the wand, and started shaking the wand, just as one would do to create bubbles if the canister were full. However, the canister was empty, so no bubbles formed. But the lack of bubbles didn’t deter Brooke from having fun. She repeatedly would dip the bubble wand into the canister, pull it out, shake it, and exclaim “bubbles!” with glee.

I learned a lesson watching Brooke do this for nearly 15 minutes. Brooke’s enjoyment in playing with bubbles wasn’t only found in the finished product (the appearance of actual bubbles). She found enjoyment in the whole process. And even though the finished product maybe wasn’t what she expected, she didn’t give up on the process. Because she was having fun in the process.

This experience was a good reminderL to find joy in the process of life, rather than only in the results of our efforts.

This photo is from earlier in the summer. As you can see, Brooke also enjoys eating the bubble wand haha.

Brooke at 18 Months

Last month, Brooke hit her 18-month mark. She is a happy and fun girl! The first year of her life, she was a fairly sad/upset baby. But in the last few months she has totally changed. She is SO happy. She had tummy troubles when she was born, and I wonder if those challenges continued with her longer than I realized, and that’s why she was upset a lot.

Fun facts about Brooke:

  • She has become a very sweet cuddler.
  • She is obsessed with Elmo. She has a little rubber Elmo that she calls “La La.” She carries him all over the house with her.
  • She says “Oh no!” in the most dramatic (and cute) fashion.
  • She loves wearing her winter hat (no matter the weather). She thinks it’s funny to pull it over her eyes and walk around and bump into things.
  • She has the cutest curls in the back of her hair.
  • When she’s looking for John, she’ll say “Daddy, are you?” That was her first phrase.
  • She also says the phrase “I see you.”
  • She has the best belly laugh when tickled.
  • She is sneaky and fast. A couple weeks ago she climbed into David’s bathtub fully clothed (while also wearing her favorite winter hat).
  • She’s a great eater.
  • She loves to have her hair brushed. She still loves to pull out any bow or clip I put in her hair.
  • I recently started putting her hair in pigtails and ponytails. Her hair has grown so fast over the past few months.
  • She loves to explore and climb.
  • She’s adventurous. We were at the beach last month, and she walked right into the ocean with no fear.
  • She only drinks with a straw. She hasn’t seemed to figure out she needs to tilt her sippy cups.
  • She loves to sit on John’s lap while he mows the lawn.

We love Miss Brooke (Brookie, as David calls her), and we’re so happy she’s in our family!

Myrtle Beach 2020

We recently returned from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Because of COVID-19, we haven’t traveled at all in 2020. We are fortunate to have an aunt and uncle who live in a private beach community in Myrtle Beach. This made us feel comfortable (and excited) to head down there and soak in the sun, sand, and ocean.

Brooke loved the ocean. I spent a lot of time with her sitting on my lap letting the waves wash over our legs. She was so cute to watch. She thoroughly enjoyed getting in the water. David on the other hand did not like the ocean at all. The first day down at the beach, he got very upset any time any one of us got in the water. I could tell he was scared that something bad would happen to us. John ultimately took him back to the house for a nap that first day.

Each day David got a little more comfortable. It was a SLOW process. He never got super excited about the ocean, but he did like playing in the tide pools that would form as the tide went out. I finally figured out that he was much more comfortable if we told him we were going to “clean our feet” or “wash our hair” (depending on how far out we went in the ocean) before we went into the water.

One thing David did love was the golf cart my aunt and uncle have that we drove down to the beach each day. He loved riding the golf cart. We also took a couple golf cart drives through the neighborhood while we were there, and he was in heaven. Brooke liked “driving” the golf cart while sitting on John’s lap.

My aunt and uncle are great cooks and have lots of fun snacks for kids. We ate very well, and our kids LOVED eating frosted animal crackers, fruit snacks, and Oreos. They had never eaten frosted animal crackers, and I believe they may think those are the greatest cookies ever.

One of my favorite times at the beach was our last night there. After we put the kids down, John and I picked up dinner and drove the golf cart to the beach. We ate a delicious meal and then walked along the beach and talked as the sun went down. It was so fun to have time with just John (without a child around wanting attention haha). 

Another experience I enjoyed was on the first day when John took David back to the house for a nap. Brooke ended up taking a nap in my arms. Since we were in a private beach community, there were very few people around (my siblings also came down for the weekend, but they hadn’t arrived yet). As I held her and looked out over the ocean, my heart felt so much gratitude for God and for my family. I offered a silent prayer as I looked out over the ocean and the beautiful scenery that surrounded me that my heart would always be willing to do and accept His will in all things. Seeing the magnificence of the ocean, I was reminded that God is all powerful. He has a plan, and He is in the details of our lives.

I think everyone in our family had a great time. Even though David didn’t love the ocean, he spent a good part of the drive home letting us know that we needed to go back to Diana’s house. Even this past Friday, he asked if we could go to Diana’s house.