October 2019 Trip to Iowa

I never posted about our last two trips to Iowa. We first went back in October and attended the Iowa vs. Penn State football game. Then we traveled to Iowa again for Christmas.

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We drove both times and our kids did great! In October, we strategically picked some parks off the interstate where we could stop to let the kids have some car-free time. And in December, we left a little later in the day, and they slept during a lot of the drive. We honestly could not have asked for better drives. The one challenge of our December trip was I got really sick a couple days before we were supposed to leave. I was the sickest I ever remember being. John commented that he’d never seen me knocked down so hard by sickness. Consequently, we delayed our trip a couple of days.

Highlights of the October trip, aside from attending an Iowa football game, included visiting a pumpkin patch and visiting the John Deere Museum. John and I also went to the Nauvoo Temple and a special dinner to celebrate our anniversary.

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We also tried to take some family pictures in my in-laws backyard (they back up to a golf course and it’s beautiful!), but David just wanted to run ha. Here are some of my favorite pictures. John/his dad took these pictures.

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I’ll update soon with a post about our Christmas trip!

Labor Day Weekend at Myrtle Beach

I can’t believe it’s November! I meant to write a post about our trip to Myrtle Beach a while back, but I’m just now getting it up. We headed down south for Labor Day Weekend and visited my Aunt Diana and Uncle Kevin. My sister Melissa and brother Trevor also headed down to Myrtle for the weekend. We had such a fun time!

One of my favorite memories was swimming in the ocean with John and my siblings. It was so fun to swim in the waves and talk about life. I also loved playing card games with my aunt, uncle, siblings and John after our kids went to bed. Watching David explore the beach was so fun too. He is at a very cute and fun exploratory stage.

My aunt and uncle are such gracious hosts and live in a private beach community, which means the beach is never crowded. We had fun relaxing at the beach, eating delicious food (my aunt is a great cook), and playing games. We always have a fun time down in Myrtle!

During the drive down, the kiddos were pretty good. Although when we got there (at nearly midnight), David woke up and decided he didn’t want to go to sleep and stayed up until 3 a.m. On the drive back home, David and Brooke took turns whining haha. It was our first time road tripping with two kids, and we definitely learned some things.

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Brooke’s Blessing Weekend

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In our faith, a baby is given a blessing shortly after they are born. Brooke was given a blessing by her dad on Father’s Day. It was extra special because both my dad and John’s dad came to town for this special day.  The blessing took place during our congregation’s Sunday worship service. Afterwards, friends and family gathered at our home for a brunch. I’m disappointed that I didn’t think to get a picture of the whole group who came for this special event. Below is a picture of our family on this day.

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Brooke was blessed in the very same dress that I was blessed in as a baby. I hope to continue to pass this dress down through the generations.

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We were so grateful that my dad and John’s parents were able to come to town for this event. We had a fun weekend that included going to the Air and Space Museum for the annual “Innovations in Flight” day with our parents and my brother and sister. We got to explore lots of different types of planes.

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My sister, my dad, Brooke, David, and I also went on a hike. The weather was amazingly beautiful. My sister carried Brooke in a baby carrier, and Brooke cried for over half the hike haha. The next two pictures I grabbed from my sister’s Instagram.

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It was a great weekend and we’re so grateful! While everyone was in town, Brooke officially began sleeping through the night. Previously, she would wake up between 3 and 5 a.m. for a “snack.” Below are pictures of the grandparents who came to visit. We missed Grandma Kathy but we’re grateful we got to see her for a whole month earlier this year.

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Family of Four

It’s about 5:40 a.m. I’m laying on the floor of our baby girl’s nursery as I type this on my phone. John made a make-shift bed on the floor here in the nursery and stayed in here from midnight to 5:30 a.m. so I could get some rest. I just came in, woke him, and sent him to our room so he could get some real rest.

I’ll write more about the birth of our sweet baby girl later but wanted to record just a few things here.

I’m so grateful for John’s support and my mom’s support. My mom came into town a week ago today and will be with us for three more weeks.

Last night, as we were putting David to bed, he could hear the baby crying. He wanted to get out of his crib and go to her. So my mom brought her in the room and he instantly cheered up. Right after we put him down, I gave the baby a bath and then brought her into the nursery to lotion her and put on her pjs. David could hear her crying through the wall (her changing table is right on the other side of the wall where David’s crib is in his bedroom). He started “singing” almost like he was trying to soothe her. It was adorable! When we brought her home, he was busy playing with cars (his favorite thing). At one point, he brought a car over to the baby and placed it in her car seat where she was sitting. It was so cute.

I am so thankful for this sweet family of mine. It’s crazy and exciting to think that we’re a family of four!

A Visit from the Iowa Grandparents

Near the end of August, John’s parents came to visit. While they were here, we headed into DC and visited the Newseum and the U.S. Botanic Garden and ate a delicious dinner at Carmines. We also visited Gettysburg. Unfortunately, David did not really tolerate the Gettysburg museum well (he’s normally super low key). So, he and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out ways to be happy, and bonus, I dropped my phone and cracked my screen haha.

Of course, the main attraction John’s parents wanted to see while they were here was their grandson 🙂 They were here for a week, and we enjoyed spending time with them. I especially appreciated them watching David for me while I went to a hair appointment that ended up being four hours (that’s a story for another day, but I loved how my hair turned out in the end, so it’s a win!).

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David touching a piece of history at the Newseum.

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At the top of the Newseum.

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David didn’t want to take a picture with mom…

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…but he was all smiles for dad!

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John’s parents in front of the U.S. Capitol Building.

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David’s preferred way to tour the botanic garden – napping with one foot up.

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Waiting for our dinner.

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David and Grandma Lori.

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David having fun with Grandpa Marty.

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One final picture the night before they headed back to Iowa.

Myrtle Beach 2018

During the first week in August, we went down to Myrtle Beach and visited my Aunt Diana and Uncle Kevin. This provided David with his first ever beach experience. I think he was a little concerned by the water at first, but ultimately learned to love it (as evidenced by the pictures below). We had fun playing games, eating delicious food, visiting the beach, and enjoying time with family. John and I even went on a date to play mini-golf where the world championship of mini-golf is played each year.

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Baby’s First Baseball Game

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On April 27, we headed to Nationals Stadium for a baseball game. The parents of my friend Keri were in town, and she organized a baseball evening. The game started at 7:05 p.m. (essentially David’s bedtime). I was a little apprehensive about what this might do to his sleep schedule, but decided it would be a fun experience nonetheless. John had to miss the game because of work travel, but my parents were able to go, and I knew they’d be able to help me with David if needed. I contemplated purchasing baby headphones for him to perhaps help him sleep during the game, but ultimately decided not to.

When we walked up to the stadium, David was enamored by all the crowds. He’s never been somewhere with so many people. When we got up to our seats, I realized we were right by a speaker and the noise was loud. David also realized this and shortly after sitting down began screaming. I think he was tired and experiencing sensory overload. Thankfully, there weren’t too many people in our section so no one was bothered by the screaming. Plus, the music was so loud that I’m not sure anyone could hear him scream. My dad held him for the majority of the game and patted David’s back. We sometimes call my dad “the baby whisperer” because he has a certain way of holding David and patting his back that lulls David to sleep. Sometimes when the crowd would cheer especially loudly, David would wake up and start screaming again, but my Dad was always able to calm him back down.

A little before 9 p.m. David woke up and we gave him a bottle. After that, he loved the game and was so pleasant and happy. He loved looking at the scoreboard and seeing all of the colorful lights. It was a fun night had by all…even David 🙂

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I stole the next two pictures from my sister’s Instagram…

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Baby Blessing

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In our faith, shortly after babies are born, they are given a blessing at church. On Sunday, January 21, David was blessed. Family and friends joined us for this event, and afterwards we hosted a luncheon at our house. We set up folding tables in our basement to accommodate the 20+ family members and friends who joined us. We even used the ping pong table as a dining table (that was John’s good idea!). We had a wonderful time celebrating this little boy, and we’re so thankful to those who came to celebrate with us.

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John’s parents were able to come for the weekend. We appreciate them making the long drive from Iowa. While they were here, we went on a beautiful walk through Murphy’s Farm in Harper’s Ferry. We walked to one of the viewpoints of the Shenandoah River. The sun was beginning to set and the view was stunning. Even though it was January, the weather was amazing. It was 60 degrees outside. John took the incredible picture below. It truly captures the beauty of West Virginia.

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2017 Holiday Recap

Since we went to Iowa this year for Christmas, John, David, and I had our own Christmas celebration on the Wednesday prior to Christmas. We had a “red and green” dinner with sparkling cider, exchanged Christmas gifts, and then watched a Christmas show.

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This is the only picture we took during our family celebration in West Virginia haha.

On December 23rd, we drove 17 hours to Iowa (a drive that normally only takes us 13 hours). We rented an SUV since John had some free rental car days that were going to expire. John’s Uncle David came with us. Baby David was a champ. He didn’t get fussy until about the 15-hour mark. It was a long day, and to make things more interesting, we received a call from our security system company saying our house alarm went off (thankfully, our home was fine).

On Christmas Eve, the extended Longenecker family came over to my in-laws for dinner and a gift exchange. On Christmas Day, we headed over to John’s aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas dinner and an afternoon of games. It was a white Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which is something I’ve rarely experienced as a Virginian. The beautiful white coating on the ground made it feel extra Christmasy. At the end of Christmas Day, John, baby David, and I drove around looking at Christmas lights.

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Annual Christmas Eve family photo (without shoes haha)

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A tired baby on Christmas morning.

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David’s first Christmas morning!

Opening presents.

On the 27th and 28th, we headed to Nauvoo, Illinois so John’s family could participate in services at the LDS Temple (it’s the closest LDS Temple to their house). While they were in the Temple, baby David and I explored Nauvoo. It was fun to be back where I served as an LDS missionary.

Historic Carthage Jail.

On the 30th, we headed home. The drive back home didn’t take us quite as long as the drive to Iowa, but we did run into some snowy weather. Thankfully we made it home safe and sound.

On New Year’s Eve, we went over to my parents’ house for some delicious food (we’re a foodie family) and we played Telestrations. John, David, and I left before midnight. John and I watched the ball drop in bed on my iPad right before we went to sleep. On New Year’s Day, my parents and brothers, as well as John’s Uncle David, came over. John grilled brats and I made homemade potato chips. My parents thought he was crazy for grilling since it was FREEZING. When I told them I asked him to grill, they thought I was crazy haha. We had fun watching football and playing Hoopla. Sadly, I didn’t really get any pictures of our New Year’s celebrations 😦 I stole this one from my brother’s Instagram…

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Here’s to a new year! I hope to do a 2017 year-in-review blog post soon 🙂