Archive | July, 2015

Annabelle Lyn: 4 Months

29 Jul

Annabelle was 4 months old on Monday!
She doesn’t have her 4-month well-baby checkup until August 11 so I won’t know her measurements until then. But I can say that she has adorable, chunky thighs!
Annabelle is such a good sport. She is so easygoing and happy just to take it all in.

This past month, she has gone swimming at the beach 4 times and in the pool once. I had almost returned a little swimsuit we got for her as a gift, thinking we would never use it before she’d outgrow it, but I was wrong! Annabelle has gone swimming more in her first 4 months than Emma did her first 2 years. But we are living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes now — swimming is just what you do in the summer!
Each time Annabelle went swimming at the beach, I changed her from her swimsuit back into warm, dry clothes and set her down in her carseat — and she just drifted off to sleep on her own! That should tell you what an easy baby she is. The complete opposite of Emma.

I had no intention of putting Annabelle on a schedule, but she kind of did it herself! Here’s her general schedule/routine:

6:30 — Wake up and nurse

7:00 — Back to sleep

7:45 — Wake up, hang out in the Rock n Play while Big Sis and Mommy eat breakfast

8:00 — Nurse

8:30 — Play on playmat while Mommy gets herself and Big Sis ready for the day

9:30 — Naptime, either in the swing or carseat if we’re going somewhere

11:00 — Wake up and nurse

11:30 — Hang out, Mommy and Sis eat lunch around 12/12:30

1:30 — Nurse in Emma’s room while Mommy tries to get her down for a nap

2:00 — Down for afternoon nap

5:00 — Wake up and nurse

5:30 — Play in bouncy seat or on playmat while Mommy makes dinner; Hang out in Rock n Play while family eats dinner

7:00 — Down for a short nap, sometimes just in the Baby Bjorn while we play outside

7:30 — Wake up; Play a little before getting ready for bed (which usually just consists of changing her diaper, putting on pajamas and wrapping her in the same swaddle she uses for naps)

8:00 — Nurse

8:30 — Bedtime!

This is a very general schedule, and since Annabelle is so agreeable, we push her naptimes and feedings around a little depending on what we’re doing. I often nurse her until she’s sleepy, then quickly swaddle her and put her down. She still loves the Baby Bjorn, so if we’re out and about during her naptime, I can just put her in there and she looks around for a while before falling asleep. We’re planning to buy an Ergobaby or Boba carrier soon, since the Bjorn is killing my shoulders now that Annabelle is heavier! I know we’ll get a ton of use out of it — just hesitant to spend the $150.
Besides swimming, this past month Annabelle has:

* Gone on a hike with Mommy and Daddy in Crow Wing State Park (no Emma)

* Gone garage sale-ing for her second time

* Watched Mommy and Daddy eat dinner outside on the patio at Jake’s

* Started grabbing for toys with her hands a lot more

Confidence from God

23 Jul


We were sitting at a table eating lunch in the Rainforest Café of the Mall of America when my high-school boyfriend suggested we go try rock climbing. Even though it sounded sort of fun, I vehemently refused. What if I was horrible at it? What if I made a fool of myself?

Fast forward 5 years. My college boyfriend (and future husband) asked me what year the Declaration of Independence was signed. I timidly suggested “1774”. Then he asked what temperature water freezes at. I asked “30 degrees?” He scoffed in disbelief that I didn’t know these basic facts, and I felt dumber than dumb (and madder than heck). One fight and apology later, I vowed to never venture a conjecture on facts again.

Fast forward another 5 years. I was riding in the car with some girlfriends from small group at church and laughed LOUD at something that was said. All of a sudden, I was hyper-aware of myself and wondered if the other girls thought I was completely obnoxious. I didn’t talk (or laugh) for the rest of the night.

Then there was the time I was in Salt Lake City to time a triathlon with a co-worker. Unbeknownst to me, I got my directions completely mixed up so that I thought east was west. When I realized that I was discombobulated, my head spun and I felt a slice of my identity as “the girl good with directions” die.

Even though I believe that our relationships with people are what matter most in life, they are also the source of much angst, heartache and self-doubt. I’ve heard many a Christian lament their “fear of man” or struggle with people-pleasing. We know that we shouldn’t put so much stock in what other people think of us, but somehow, we just can’t get ourselves to stop caring.

I think part of our problem is the way that Christian leaders sometimes motivate us. They exhort us to live in such a way that “people can’t help but notice something different about you.” Even if they don’t say that outright, they often tell a story of an unbeliever walking up to a believer and saying, “I notice something different about you. What do you have that I don’t?” Those believers listening who have never had such an experience start wondering why they haven’t. What should they be doing differently?

I have listened numerous times to an excellent sermon called Blessed Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller on 1 Corinthians 4:3-4: “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.” Tim Keller’s sermon gave me the confidence and biblical footing to stop over-analyzing my life. I live my life on the basis of my relationship with God and by the Spirit’s leading. Whoever notices or doesn’t notice is inconsequential – believers and unbelievers alike. Like Paul, I live for the approval of one person: God Himself.

Obviously, I haven’t always had this confidence. And if I’m being honest, I don’t always have it now. But I have it most days. So what changed?

I realized that God loves who I am. In fact, God created me to be EXACTLY who I am. Something I like to remind myself of to kill Satan’s weapons of self-doubt is “The only wrong with me is sin.” No, I am not perfect. Yes, I have a long way to go to be the Christian, wife, mother and friend I want to be. But my love for endurance sports? My sarcastic sense of humor? My love of reading, writing and romantic comedies? My complete ineptitude at trivia and basic facts of life? Those are the me that God created.

When we embrace the fact that God created us to be who we are, and that who we are is a good thing (aside from sin), we can see our strengths and weaknesses in the light of truth. One of the most freeing realizations I’ve ever had was “I don’t have to be everything. I can just be me.” It’s ok that I have horrible hand-eye coordination. It’s ok that I can’t throw a Frisbee to save my life. I can’t remember dates or names, but I remember faces. I remember where I was when I was thinking about x, or what I was doing when I heard about y. I remember where on the page something I read in a book is located, and can memorize entire passages when they’re something that really resonates with me.

So no one is going to mistake me for a professional baseball player or ask me to join their team at trivia night. And that’s ok. It’s also ok if I play Big Buck Hunter and don’t kill a single deer. Or if I’m asked to retrieve a Frisbee only to launch it at a right angle into the bushes. Or if I laugh too loud at something that wasn’t necessarily funny. Or if it took me 25 years to learn the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 and water freezes at 32 degrees (and that I googled both before publishing this just to verify).

This confidence is from something much deeper than just saying, “This is the way I am.” Rather, my confidence comes from a deep soul-belief that this is who God created me to be and that in Christ, I already have God’s approval. Actually… not just His approval, but also His lavish and abundant love!

So whenever I am tempted to worry about what other people think about me, or wonder about the impression they got from something I did, I go back to these truths: The only thing wrong with me is sin. The God of the universe loves who I am. I am who God created me to be. Who I am is a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still called to be loving to others. Embracing who I am is not a license to mow down anyone who gets in my way. “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:13). Rather, just as Tim Keller says in his sermon that I linked to above (seriously, listen to it!), the more confident I am about who I am in Christ, the less time I spend thinking about myself. And the less I think about myself, the more time I have to spend thinking for and about others.

{This idea is what people often refer as “finding your identity in God” but as I almost always find pithy sayings like that quite unhelpful, I felt the need to expound on the idea.}

Emma Grace: 27 Months

22 Jul

I don’t do monthly updates on Emma anymore but because I want to remember what she was like at this age, I think it’s time I do another update. Emma was 27 months on July 7.



Emma’s obsessions lately have been:

* Moons — She points them out whenever she sees them — in books, on towels, in the sky during the day. She also has a projector that projects stars, teddy bears and a moon while playing music and we ‘watch moons’ together before she falls asleep at naptime and bedtime.

* Bikes — She points them out all the time and loves trying to ride the bike we bought her at a garage sale for $10 (she’s still a little too small for it and we have to hold her upright on it). One of our friends biked with his 4.5-year-old son to the beach using one of those pull-behind bikes. Emma saw that and now will randomly say “Andrew. Bike. Daddy.” It’s hilarious… but annoying if she gets stuck on repeat.

* Airplanes — We have a teeny tiny airport near our house so we see small airplanes flying fairly often. If she hears any noise that even resembles a plane, Emma says “a-pa” and looks in the sky for an airplane.

* Choo-choos — There’s a railroad track about a mile from our house but over the river, the sound carries a ways, so we can hear the train really well. Whenever she hears one, her mouth gets wide, “Ooohhh… choo choo.”

* Yogurt — This girl still loves yogurt… A LOT. Just like her cousin Jensen. Those two must’ve eaten about 15 things of yogurt in the few days he was visiting.
* Pointing out colors — Emma is doing really well with recognizing colors! Now we’re getting her started on counting.

* Hearts and all things pink — She’s totally a girly girl! At the library one day, she ran around collecting pink books. She will also pick out or point out everything pink, like purses, the record from the Fisher Price record player, and the pink squid on Finding Nemo (which we just watched for the first time this past week!).
* “If You’re Happy & You Know It” — This is by far Emma’s favorite song. My parents bought her a little bunny that plays the song, wiggles it ears up and down, and claps. It’s really cute.

* Her Baby Sister — Emma loves helping with Annabelle. She unbuttons her onesie and pulls her diaper off, throws the dirty diaper away, brings burp cloths and blankets, entertains Annabelle when she’s unhappy, holds Annabelle on her lap (for about 30 seconds at a time with our help), and goes “Shhhh” if we mention Baby is sleeping. She also loves giving Baby hugs and kisses.
* Being outside — Emma’s favorite things to do outside are: Draw with sidewalk chalk, roll down the hill in her wagon or truck, jump in puddles, play at the beach, and play at the playground or on our swingset (specifically swinging). Emma also loves to watch older kids play. I joke that that’s the only thing that can get her to stand still.
* Towels — I have no idea why, but Emma loves playing with towels, specifically the pink ones she used as a newborn (she loves the hood and “wears” them around). One of her favorite things to say is “Pink towel.”
Even though Emma is a challenge and a very stubborn, determined little girl who will knowingly defy me while looking me straight in the eyes and saying “Naughty,” she is a sweetheart most of the time. She’s also at a very fun age. I love that she’s talking so much (except for when she repeats the same thing over and over hundreds of times in a row) — it’s just fun to learn her personality and hear the crazy things that toddlers think about and say.

On a more developmental side, Emma has officially transitioned to a toddler bed AND is done drinking bottles! Both things went much better than I had thought they would.

For the toddler bed, we had talked about bringing it up to Emma’s room several times and just never got around to it. Then we went to Rochester to visit my parents for a week and discovered that Emma could crawl out of her pack ‘n’ play. So she slept in the big bed with me and after seeing that she did really well with not rolling off and could get out of bed and come upstairs when she was done sleeping, we decided to just go with it. When we returned home, we brought her toddler bed up and the rest is history. Emma loves sleeping in a big girl bed. We still stay in her room until she falls asleep and there have been several nights when Emma comes into our bed, but I’d say 80% of the time, the toddler bed has been good.
For weaning Emma off her bottles, we first started giving her the bottle separated from naptime and bedtime. I’d give her a bottle after lunch and after dinner, but not as part of her bedtime routine. We did that for a few weeks. Then when we went to my parents’ cabin over the Fourth, we forgot to bring bottles along and decided it was time to pull off the Band-Aid. It was hard those first few nights — Emma really wanted a bottle. But she survived without it and it got easier the longer she went without one. We did end up telling her that “bottles went bye-bye” and she seemed content with that explanation… I have no idea why. Once we got home from the cabin, we moved the bottles to a higher cabinet so Emma couldn’t see them. Now Emma drinks milk from a sippy cup before bed (if she drinks any at all). Yay!

Next up… potty training. Oy. Momma’s not ready.

Fourth of July 2015

16 Jul

I’m a little late with this post but right after we returned from the cabin over the 4th, it was a sprint to get stuff ready for our family reunion that we hosted at our house this past weekend. And now we’re up at Travis’ parents’ house because our power is out for 4 days. So. I think I have an excuse for the tardiness.

For the Fourth of July this year, we headed down to my parents’ cabin near Pine City. Travis’ parents Al and Beth, brother Matthew, Matthew’s girlfriend Diana and my brother Chris joined us as well. But first, we stopped at a friend’s parent’s lake house in Aitkin to see our friends who we hadn’t seen in about 5 years! It was great catching up with them — they live down in Minneapolis so we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like. The kids played on the beach and in the water while the adults chatted and snacked. They had shelled peanuts that Emma was obsessed with — except that she would try to just eat the shell too. Silly girl.

Around 3:30 pm, we headed down to the cabin, arriving around 5 pm. Al, Beth and Matthew got there soon after and we ate dinner. We sat around and talked until it was time for bed. Since Emma is now able to climb out of her pack ‘n’ play, she slept in the bed with me and Travis slept on a twin air mattress on the floor. Annabelle slept in her swing. We were a little nervous about having all 4 of us in the same room, but it ended up working out ok. We put Annabelle down in my parents’ room until Emma got to sleep (with me) and then Travis moved Annabelle into our room when he went to bed. We had a loud fan going in our room so I was able to get up, change Annabelle’s diaper, nurse her and put her back down without waking up Emma. Always a dicey situation!

Saturday was the Fourth and for the morning and early afternoon, we took it easy. Chris had arrived the previous night after Emma and I went to bed, and Diana arrived mid-morning. Travis, Al and Matthew went fishing around 7 on Al’s fishing boat.

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The rest of drank coffee and tea, and ate French toast for breakfast (my fave!). When the fisherman got back, we filled up the kiddie pool and played Bocce ball.

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Emma ended up falling asleep in Grandma Beth’s arms mid-morning — she was definitely acting a little off all that day. I blame teething.

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After lunch, we got the pontoon out of the garage, charged and launched, and made it over to the sandbar beach area by 4 pm (my parents’ property has a rocky shoreline) after Travis and Matthew got a short tube ride behind Al’s boat. Better late than never! We enjoyed our time over there, though Emma is still NOT a fan of boat rides, at all.

Soon, it was time for dinner so we headed back to the cabin for dinner. I wasn’t feeling the greatest and we discovered that both Emma and I had a fever of 102! No wonder she wasn’t acting like herself. Since we have 2 young kiddos and a slew of adults who hate fighting traffic ;), we made a campfire and watched the amateur fireworks around the lake. The cabin just 3 properties down from us put on a great show — though they were so close and loud that the whole time, Emma kept saying “House! House!” because she wanted to go back inside. Annabelle slept through the whole thing.

On Sunday, we ate breakfast and hung out on the pontoon at the dock watching Emma throw rocks in the water off the dock.

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It was at this time that Emma fell off the dock. She had been getting off the pontoon with Grandma Beth and accidentally backed up off the dock. She wasn’t wearing a lifejacket, but it was really shallow (she could’ve stood up) and Beth jumped in to get her really quickly. Emma was ok, and only slightly terrified. She still loves the water! About an hour or so later, we got motivated to get to the sandbar beach. We got there around 11 I think, and spent a couple of hours there, floating, snacking, and playing in the sand.

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We headed back to the cabin for lunch and then the packing up began. Our time at the cabin is always too short! Al, Beth, Matthew and Diana all left during Emma’s naptime. My parents, Travis and I loaded up a trailer of stuff to take up to our house for the family reunion, got packed and headed out around 8 pm — later than we had planned on leaving but it’s amazing how long it takes to get going when you have 2 little kids, especially when one is nursing.

All afternoon on Sunday, it had been threatening rain but we didn’t get anything more than a shower here and there… until we got 5 minutes from home. Then the heavens opened up and we got caught in a such a downpour we could barely see the road. Needless to say, all the stuff we had in the trailer got drenched. It wasn’t anything that couldn’t get wet necessarily but still. Figures.

It was a great Fourth regardless! I’m glad I got to see some fireworks this year.

Intrigued by Plexus

11 Jul

One of my friends here in Brainerd lost 100 pounds using Plexus products in addition to exercising and eating right. But she also listed a bunch of other benefits as well, similar to the ones mentioned in this post from a blog I follow called Journey to the Finish Line:

Plexus Success.

Color me intrigued. I usually blow this kind of stuff off as hyped up and fad-ish. But this one… this one I think I might actually try.