Freezing Cold Weather + Crying Kids = Memorable Photos!

A few weeks ago the kids and I headed up to Indiana to spend the week with my family. While we were up there my mom wanted to get some pictures of all her grandkids together since this was the first time in a loooong time they had all been together at once! My brother and sister-in-law live in Wyoming with their kids, my sister and brother-in-law live in Michigan with their son and Drew and I live in Florida so we’re not all in one place very often (my other siblings do not have kids yet)! We coordinated the kids outfits and arranged a date with our favorite photographer in Michigan – Kim (seriously you should check her out!).

There was one little detail that we didn’t plan for though…. the weather! The day of the pictures turned out to be a bitter cold spring day. Seriously, the weeks before (when we were planning their outfits) had been perfectly warm but this day turned out to be freezing. And of course we were taking the photos outside. We scrambled to try and add layers to the kids’ outfits to make them warmer but they were cold no matter what. This made for some lovely pictures….of crying children. Lol. In their defense it seriously was miserably cold – there was a bitter wind that day! Kim was so flexible and we ended up moving our session indoors to a nearby coffee shop after several failed attempts at pictures outdoors. We ended up getting hot cocoa and taking candid photos and having so much fun!

I learned a while ago that you can’t stress about family pictures. Some years they turn out and some years they don’t…. but that’s ok because it’s a reflection of real life! You just gotta roll with the punches… and when it was all said and done we ended up gaining a few good pictures and a whole lot of great memories. ❤

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L-R: Novalee – 4, Weldon – 6 months, Eloise – 5, Olive – 3, Isaiah – 6, Lincoln – 1.5

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Babies trying to escape!
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Olive’s face! Lol. She was so cold!

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My parents and two of my little sisters.

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Weldon is the sweetest, happiest little guy!

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My favorite!!

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My sweet parents.

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The kids had a great time (once we got indoors!) =)

Birthdays, Disney World, Graduations, Oh My!

Hey guys! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and for a while now I have been wanting to post a follow up blog post with my thoughts on surrogacy now that I’m 10 weeks post-partum and have had more time to process everything. But March and April have been busy months for us and I haven’t had the time to sit down and write. I’m finally making the time, but before I do that I’ll fill you in a little on what we’ve been up to the last few months.

We made two trips to Disney World! It was the kids’ first time to Disney World and everyone had a blast. Since we live so close we’ve just been making weekend trips and visiting one park at a time. We’ve been to Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom so far and are going to Hollywood Studios in June. We’re skipping Epcot this go around but maybe next year! We went with Drew’s parents and the kids’ cousin, Gavin. It was SO much fun and we can’t wait to go back!

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Olive turned 3 and Eloise turned 5 in April. Olive didn’t have a big party this year since she’s too little to have many friends to invite yet (but as a family we did have the Barbie cake that she wanted!). But Eloise, now that she’s in VPK, had a big party with lots of friends invited. She wanted a mermaid party so we did our best and everyone had a blast!

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Isaiah got his Kindergarten graduation pictures taken in preparation for his graduation later this month. I can’t believe that my baby boy is already almost done with Kindergarten. The years fly by so fast. He had a Mother’s Day Tea at his school last week and made some sweet things for me to cherish. ❤ This boy has a sweet and tender heart!

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The card says: “Happy Mother’s Day! You look prettier than a rose. I love you. You are as pretty as sun. Love, Isaiah” ❤

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Both the girls got their first hair cuts last month! Yes, I waited until they were 3 and 5 to get their hair cut for the first time….that’s ok, right!? Eloise also got her first blow out and is in love with how long her hair became once it was straightened. It will stay straight as long as we don’t get it wet….which is hard to do when you have a fish for a daughter but we’ll see how it goes!

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The kids and I took a trip to Indiana to visit my family. I was nervous about flying with all three kids by myself but they honestly did GREAT and I was so proud of them! It was so easy I’m actually crazy enough to be thinking about when we can do it again! This visit was extra special because my sister-in-law and her kids were also visiting from Wyoming so we got to spend time with them as well. The kids haven’t been able to spend much time with their cousins on my side of the family since we live so far away so it was a great time for them to catch up. We were able to get some cousin photos taken as well and even though the weather was freezing and the kids were crying – we managed to get a few good ones. 😉

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We finally got a new roof put on our house! There is no official record of how old our roof is but our best guess is that this house still had the original roof from when the house was build – over 30 years ago! It has served us well and actually wasn’t leaking or having any issues but it was becoming a bit of an eye sore so we decided to replace it. =) I asked the kids what color roof we should pick and Olive picked pink. She was quite upset to come home and find out we had chosen charcoal…She’s disappointed but Drew and I are pretty happy with our choice. 😉

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Drew took a trip to Omaha, Nebraska to go to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting. He has been wanting to go to a meeting for years and it was an amazing trip for him. He wants me to go with him next year but I’m not sure how interesting it would be to me. 😉

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So that’s what we’ve been up to these days. This turned into a much longer post than I anticipated so I’ll write my post on my thoughts on surrogacy later this week. Stay tuned! 🙂

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Two and Four?! How Can It Be?

We officially have a 2 year old and a 4 year old in our house! A what and a what? It doesn’t seem possible that Eloise and Olive are already that old! How can it be?

Their birthdays are just 12 days apart so this year we had a combined party for them on the weekend right in between their birthdays. We celebrated them individually on their actual birthdays and that’s the day they got their presents from us but we decided to do their party together this year. They didn’t mind and it made it alot easier on everyone. =)

The most favorite gift of all was a family gift that we bought for Eloise because she has been begging us for weeks on end…. We booked a local hotel for the weekend and had a little “staycation”! The kids love staying in hotels and Drew and I decided we could use a break too so we disconnected from reality for a bit and spent the weekend by the pool and in the room watching TV. It was so nice to have no agenda and nothing planned to do. The kids are already asking us when we are going to do it again. It might have to become a regular tradition in our house!

Eloise (4 years old):

Favorite Color: Purple

Favorite Toy: Her new Boov (“Oh”)

Favorite Outfit: Her “I’ve Got Nothing to Wear” shirt and a jean skirt

What She is Best At: Hula Hooping!

Favorite Place to Go: McDonalds and Chuck E Cheese

Olive (2 years old):

Favorite Color: Pink

Favorite Toy: Her baby doll

Favorite Outfit: Her Elsa and Anna shirt with a tutu

What She is Best At: Fully abusing the power she has as the baby of the family to charm her way out of every situation and make everything think she is cute!

Favorite Place to Go: Anywhere….as long as it is with mommy

Happy Birthday Sweet Eloise and Sweet Livy. We LOVE you!!

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Olive’s Birthday!

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Flowers and a chocolate milkshake caused this girl to pretty much have the best birthday ever!

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The girls’ birthday party. They made out like bandits.
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The girls got matching dresses and new clothes for their baby dolls as gifts. =)

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Eloise’s Birthday! She had ballet that day so she was in her leotard. =)
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She wanted “Oh” from the movie “Home”. She has literally taken him everywhere since this day. It’s safe to say she loves him. =)

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Oh my heart. I am so in love with this Super Awesome Birthday Girl! ❤

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We had so much fun at the hotel. It was a little cold but the kids still had a blast swimming in the pool.
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Love these three so much. ❤

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Superman ice cream!

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Movies in bed!

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Snacks in bed! Breaking all the rules… but who cares? It’s vacation!

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And this, folks, is how a good vacation always ends. With exhausted kids fast asleep, dreaming about the memories we made as a family this weekend. ❤

"If it’s not a HELL YES, then it’s a no"

So I just realized that I didn’t post any blog posts in December. Nadda. Zero. Zilch. Oh well!

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December was a great month for us. Just busy! The kids are at such fun ages and it made Christmas such a magical time this year! But since they’re getting older now we’ve also added more activities to our plate during the holiday season. Isaiah had parties at school and a basketball performance at the half time show of a local basketball game. Eloise had her first ballet recital. We saw Santa at several events. We took one last trip to SeaWorld before our season passes expired (WOW!! SeaWorld at Christmas time was AMAZING! Even though we’re not buying season passes again for 2016 we’re still planning to try and make it there at Christmas time again. Truly magical!). We stayed up late looking at Christmas lights in different neighborhoods. We spent one evening at Adventure Landing for WinterFest. We crammed in as many Christmas movies as we could. We moved our Elf on the Shelf (“Elfis”) around the house every night while the kids were asleep and tried to come up with something creative for him to be doing the next day (man that’s stressful!!).

We hung Christmas lights on the outside of our house for the first time ever (and then (after hanging up 5 strands) realized we didn’t’ have enough to go all the way around the house so we tried to buy more… and then found out that they were out of stock at all the stores and were being discontinued (thanks Target!)… so, since we didn’t want to buy 10 completely new sets (because just 5 new ones wouldn’t match the 5 we already had) and since by this time it was just a week before Christmas, we just decided to get back up on the roof and take them all down. And…the story gets better. When we took them down we put them in a garbage bag and set them in the garage (why did we do that?!?)….and then a week later accidentally threw away the garbage bag full of 5 strands of perfectly good icicle lights (bangs head on table). Yea, that was one of our Christmas adventures I’d rather not remember!). We read the Christmas story several times and and sang to lots of Christmas music. Drew and his dad spent Christmas Eve (after our Christmas Eve service) setting up the new trampoline we bought the kids so they would be surprised on Christmas day. We made a gingerbread house, Christmas cookies, crafts, and decorated the house. Not to mention buying all the gifts for friends and family which rests pretty much solely on my shoulders. We had alot of late nights and early mornings. It was a busy month for sure!

And now I’m just focusing on rest. I usually don’t add too much to my plate but this holiday season I feel like I did. I’m usually good about putting up boundaries. About saying no when I need to. About declining a play date or forgoing an event if it’s just too much. But as 2016 is beginning I want to refocus on this. I want to make sure that I go all in on what GOD is calling me passionately to and weed out everything else that just creates busyness. If it’s not an emphatic YES, then I want to say no. Of course ministry and serving sometimes need to be done whether we feel like it or not and, if God is calling me to it, it needs to go under the emphatic YES category. I’m talking about saying no to things that I add to my plate that are simply things I want to do or even feel compelled to do. I want to say no to those things so that I can have room to say yes to more important things.

Have you ever heard of Jen Hatmaker? Oh my gosh. If you haven’t you totally need to look her up. Here is her blog. She is an amazing woman of God and an amazing speaker. I could really listen to her for hours. She is actually speaking at the IF Gathering (if you haven’t heard of that it’s so awesome too. Click the link!) in February and my mom and I are going to a broadcast of it at her church while we’re in Indiana visiting them later this month. I’m so excited!

Anyways, Jen posted this on her Facebook a few days ago and it exactly put into words what I want my year 2016 to be. I’ll just let you read this and I’ll slip out the door because, really, what more could I say?

 
“As you move into 2016 hoping for a saner schedule that prioritizes your actual life and keeps you focused on the things that matter the most, let me share the decision-making filter my agent Curtis always gives me:
“If it’s not a HELL YES, then it’s a no.”
So that medium yes, that I-feel-like-should yes, that guilty yes, that coerced yes, that I-actually-hate-this-thing yes, that I-guess-so yes, that who-else-will-do-it yes, that careless yes, that default yes, that resentful yes, that I-probably-shouldn’t-but-struggle-with-boundaries yes?
NO. Nope.
No thank you. I am unable to commit to that this year. Thank you so much for asking, but any new yes I give right now means a no to my family and sanity. I am so flattered you asked and count on my prayers, but I am at my maximum bandwidth right now. I appreciate your work so much, but I’ve already committed my time and energy this year. I’ve loved being a part of this, but I am no longer able to continue. We are aggressively focused on x, y, and z this year, so as a family we’ve agreed on no new commitments. This is what I can give but won’t be able to do more right now.
Now, the things that make your heart race, your blood pump, the fire in your belly burn, your gifts to leap to life, and keep your family and home healthy and strong…the hell yeses? ALL IN, BABY.”

What To Do With Leftover Stuffing (An Easy Recipe You’ll Love)

Thanksgiving is almost here! I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to a wonderful day with family, a day that revolves around tons of food. I love all the Thanksgiving staples – turkey, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, and one of my personal favs: STUFFING!

There always seems to be leftovers, doesn’t there?!? Growing up we used to eat Thanksgiving dinner around 1 or 2 but the family would stick around all day until supper time. That meant that for supper we’d have leftover turkey on bread with butter which was a good way to use up some leftovers. But what to do with all the leftover stuffing? There’s only so many days in a row you can eat it plain…

But never fear! I have a recipe for you. A recipe that can turn your leftover stuffing into a completely new dinner! My family loves this recipe so much that I actually buy stuffing all year long just for the purpose of making this recipe. (BTW it’s like super duper easy too. Just dirties ONE dish!)

Easy Stuffing Chicken Bake

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 40 min
Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients
1 pkg Stove Top stuffing (or about 3-4 cups of leftover Thanksgiving stuffing)
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of chicken OR cream of mushroom soup (I’ve tried both, both are good!)
1/3 cup sour cream
1 bag (16 oz) frozen mixed vegetables thawed and drained

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If using stuffing from a box prepare stuffing as directed on the package.
2. Mix chicken, soup, sour cream and vegetables in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with the stuffing.
3. Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

That’s it! Enjoy! =)

The first rule of cooking is always have an adorable helper in the kitchen with you. =) 
All mixed up and ready for the stuffing on top. 
Stuffing is on. Ready for the oven. 
Fresh out of the oven!
Ready for my adorable little helper to gobble down. =)  Yummy!

2015 Family Pictures

Well it’s that time of year again. Time for our annual family pictures! This year the lighting was excellent, the photographer was great, our outfits came together perfectly, the setting was gorgeous…..everything was perfect. Except the kids!!

Each year I have to remind myself why I take family pictures. It’s to remember how my children look and act in the current year, which is usually wild and crazy. We’re not a perfect family so why should I expect my family pictures to be perfect, right!?

This year I got family pictures done to document how Olive still needs either two naps or one super long afternoon nap each day – neither of which she got that day. How this made her cranky and whiny. How her cautious personality means she doesn’t often smile for strangers. And how she’s at the age where she just. can’t. sit. still.

I got pictures taken this year to document Eloise’s cheesy smile. This girl has a beautiful smile with a mouth full of tiny, perfectly straight teeth and yet she smiled like she was an old woman trying to prevent her dentures from falling out. Are you kidding me?!?

I got these pictures taken to document that Isaiah is finally at the age where he understands how to sit still and smile a great smile for the camera. He can comprehend the reward at the end of the photo shoot (I promised mini marshmallows!) and is very motivated by the promise of rewards. He understands that when we tell him to smile he needs to smile AND look at the camera (something the other two have a hard time with). He is a sweet boy and loves to grab his sister’s hand even during a photo shoot.

So, guys, this is my family as it is now. A perfectly beautiful mess. As the years go by I’m hoping (praying) that family photo shoots get easier and the kids look better but for now I’m going to treasure these photos (and maybe even laugh someday).

 

 

 

 

Of my heart. If this was the only photo I got from the shoot I think I’d be happy! ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think this one is probably the one that I’ll blow up and hang above the fireplace…… Haha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We may not have it all together. But together we have it all! 

Miss Olive: ONE Year!

Our little Livy Kay turned one year old on April 2nd. Wow!! That year went fast!!

Olive is a bundle of joy and delight in our home. She is mostly always happy, has a sweet and cuddly personality, and thinks everyone should bow down to her every need (trying to nix that ASAP!) =).

On Saturday, April 4th we had a birthday party for her and had a great time with the friends and family that came out to celebrate her life with us! We did a cupcake theme for her and ordered a bunch of fun and delicious mini cupcakes from this amazing bakery: Sweet by Holly. Everything turned out so cute!

At the party Livy was not feeling the best and was getting over a week of having a cold. She didn’t have much interest in smashing her cake and didn’t want to get around and socialize and be her sweet self much. But it was still fun!

The best part about her birthday week was that my totally amazing and thoughtful husband {completely} surprised me and arranged to have my mom fly down from Indiana and my little sister fly down from Michigan last Monday! I wasn’t even suspecting a thing and had even gone to bed on Monday night when Drew showed up with them in our living room that evening. It was a totally amazing surprise and I am so glad they could be here for Olive’s birthday and her birthday party. It was so special!

These kids LOVE their Meema!!!!!

Height & Weight: Olive weighs 21 pounds 10 oz (75th percentile) and is 31 inches long (95th percentile). 

Eating: She has had a cold this past week and has hardly been eating anything or even nursing but on a normal day she eats pretty much anything and everything. Her favorites are chicken nuggets, bananas, and veggies in teriyaki sauce. She still nurses several times a day and I plan to keep up nursing for as long as she is interested and I want to keep with it. Right now I am no where near wanting to end our sweet nursing relationship (and neither is she!)!!

 


Sleep: Two naps a day, morning and afternoon. Bed between 7 and 8, up around 11/12 to nurse then sleeps straight through to 7:30/8 am.
 

 

Eloise was a better driver than her big brother! And couldn’t go more than a few minutes without giving her little sister a kiss on the cheek!
 
She’s a Mama’s girl but she loves her Daddy too! =) 

 

 

Personality: A ball of energy and sweet cuteness, Olive doesn’t want to be left out of anything. She pretty much thinks she’s the life of the party. She has very strong opinions about what she does and doesn’t want and has a loud voice that she makes those opinions known with!!! She loves to give hugs and kisses, play chase with big sister Eloise, and cuddle on mommy. She has a cheesy smile that she flashes several times throughout the day and she brightens up every room.

 


Did I mention that she has curls!?! Seriously, I am so excited that she has some curls in her hair. I know it’s not alot but I had a dream before she was born that I would have a blue eyed, blonde curly haired little girl so I am excited to see these sweet curls and hope they stick around for a while. =) 

 

 

Milestones: Just a few days after turning 11 months old Livy girl took off running! Well… walking, but it sure turned into running quickly! It is so so fun to see her toddling around and doing her best to keep up with big bro and sis.

She loves to sign “please” and wave “hi” and now says “hi” while she waves. She knows what hot means and when I give her her food she touches it with her hand, then quickly draws it back and says, “ha”. When she got her smash cake at her party she ate a bit and then started signing “all done” and that was it – she was done with cake and wanted outa that chair! =)

 

 Sisters and friends!
The spare carseats are their favorite place to play in the garage these days!

 

Isaiah and Eloise: Well I’m happy to report that one year later, the novelty of having a little sister hasn’t worn off for Isaiah and Eloise, especially for Eloise. Seriously, Eloise still kisses her like 20 times a day. She plays “try to get me” with her and is so cute when she s.l.o.w.l.y runs around the room letting Olive catch up to her and get her. Isaiah pushes her around in his car that he made out of a cardboard box. Every morning I know where I will find Eloise- she will be in Baby Olive’s crib playing with her. Isaiah is so proud of all her new accomplishments and thinks it is so cool that now she can walk and talk. They are always on the lookout for her well being and honestly just love her! I am so so grateful for their sweet relationships!

And now for some pictures from the party! Can’t believe my baby is one!! I think I might cry!

 

The party spread!

My sister (Katelyn), my Mom, and me!!
Olive clearly didn’t like Eloise opening up her present for her!
She loves baby dolls! ❤
Good thing we had the boys to help us open presents. =)
We didn’t get too many smiles out of her that day as she didn’t feel too good. =(
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET GIRL!!!

A Year Ago I Didn’t Know

A year ago today, March 29, 2014, was a special day. It was my due date for Olive. Except it really wasn’t that special of a day because nothing happened that day. Or the next. Or the next. Or the next.

But March 29, 2015 is a special day. It’s a special day because now I know what I didn’t know then.

On March 29, 2014 I didn’t know if I was having a boy or a girl. I didn’t know if we’d be able to use the name Olive – the name the Lord had put on my heart months before as He constantly reminded me of His {peace}- for which the olive branch is a symbol of in the Bible. I didn’t know if I would be returning the baby boy clothes or the baby girl clothes I had bought for the new baby. I didn’t know what day my baby would be born. I didn’t know how long my labor would be or how traumatic the birth would be. I didn’t know how much my baby would weigh or if he/she would be healthy or not. I didn’t know what job Drew was going to get or where we were going to be living the next month. I didn’t know how Isaiah and Eloise would react to the new baby. I didn’t know how the baby would fit into our family or what personality they would bring with them. There were so many uncertainties.

But on March 29, 2015 now I know. Now I know that my baby was a girl. Now I know that we could use the name so dear to my heart – Olive. Now I know that she would be born almost a week late on April 2nd. Now I know that I would have to schedule an induction because Drew was leaving for a week of training for his work and we didn’t want him to miss the birth. Now I know that God answered with a resounding YES my prayer that I would not need any pitocin or any other drugs to speed up my induction. Now I know that all my doctor had to do was break my water at 8:30 a.m. and my baby would be born a little before noon – just 3 1/2 hours of labor! Now I know that she would weigh in at 8 pounds 11 ounces, exactly 2 pounds heavier than her big brother (and would stay in my belly 4 weeks longer than he did).

 

 

Now I know that, as impossible as it seems, my heart can get as big as it needs to in order to be filled to the brim with love for each and every new child that enters our family. Now I know that Olive would be like the missing puzzle piece to our family – the child we didn’t even realize we were missing. Now I know that her brother and sister would be over the moon in love with her and would shower her with kisses every day. Now I know that her little mouth would open to give her own kisses on her own initiative multiple times a day. Now I know that she would be a content and calm baby, easy going and relaxed. Now I know that she would be a snuggle bug, a busy body, a smarty-pants, and a sweetheart. Now I know how God has constantly reminded us of His faithfulness this past year as He provided Drew with a job and the opportunity for us to move to Florida.

Now I know. Now I know what life is like with my sweet Olive Kay. Now I know what I didn’t know a year ago. And my world is that much sweeter.

 

“And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done all things well…'”

Mark 7:37

Miss Olive: 11 Months

Height & Weight: Olive is 20.6 pounds and not sure of her height but around the 90th-95th percentile for height!

Eating: Funny thing….Olive loves the plain baby oatmeal and whole grain cereal mixed with water but she hardly wants anything to do with the yummy baby fruits and other jars of baby food! My other two kids were the complete opposite. =) Livy nurses 5-6 times a day and eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner with us as well as a few snacks. She loves most anything and everything that’s “big people” food and has a good, hearty appetite. =)

Some days (who am I kidding, LOTS of days) go like this. You gotta laugh otherwise you’d cry! 
Dancing sisters! Well mostly just Eloise is dancing and Olive is just trying to stay upright! =)

Sleep: She was doing great with sleeping 11-12 hours straight through the night. Then she got sick and we took a mini vacation to Orlando and her sleep got a little disrupted. It’s hit or miss now, often she’ll sleep straight through but sometimes she will wake up once around 11 pm to nurse and then sleep through to 7 or 8 am. She never wakes more than once a night and it’s usually before I even go to bed, so I’m grateful! She takes two naps a day – morning and afternoon. She’s flexible and adaptable and can nap anywhere when we’re out and about. But when we’re home she goes down awake with two fans to block out the noise of her siblings and soothes herself to sleep. She’s a belly sleeper!

This is from when Olive was sick earlier in the month. She stayed in her pjs and bathrobe all day. Yes, she has the cutest little baby sized bathrobe! ❤ 

Personality: Livy is seriously a ball of fun! What a goofy girl she is already. It’s so fun to see more and more of her personality peeking through. She knows when she does something funny and she expects you to laugh! She is also so loving. She is currently obsessed with giving huge, slobbery, open-mouthed kisses to everyone. She gives them on her own without being asked. It like seriously melts my heart. She also loves cuddles and will give those without being asked too. She’s probably the sweetest baby ever (and I’m not biased or anything). Every time I pick her up from nursery at church or Bible study the teachers always tell me she was “perfect” and “the most content baby ever” but at home she’s become a little less content, mostly because she wants to be doing {everything} she sees big bro and big sis do and yet she’s too little to do most of it and needs help. =) She’s constantly calling out “Ma!” or “Mama!” because she wants me to help her reach or do something!

Kisses for Daddy!!

Milestones: Livy can walk when she wants to, but she still chooses crawling as her primary mode of transportation. I think it’s because she likes to get everywhere FAST and right now the fastest way for her to do that is to crawl. =)

This month Olive became really fluent in signing “please” and in shaking her head “no.” She says Mama, Dada, and waves hi and bye-bye. She knows everyone in the family by name now and will look at each person when we say, “Where is…….?” She converses by grunting and saying funny things like “eh?” “ya?” and other silly words. It’s so cute! She also went to SeaWorld and IKEA for the first time and had a blast!! She was a real trooper in the car and during two long, hot days in the park.

Looking at the fish at SeaWorld.
Watching big brother feed a sea lion. 

Isaiah and Eloise: I keep reminding Zai and Elle that they have to be good examples because Livy seriously does EVERYTHING that they do. Her big eyes take everything in and she tries as much as she can to imitate them. She also wants to be wherever they are. She will stand at the back door, crying and moaning, while she watches them play outside. She desperately wants to join them!

Sweet brother and sister!
Sweet sisters!

After almost a year the novelty of having a little sister still hasn’t worn off for Isaiah and Eloise. They are still so kind and patient and sweet with her. They give her tons of hugs and kisses and I can’t tell you how many times a day they tell me how cute she is! They are always wondering where she is and making sure she is ok. I’m so grateful for the love they show to her and hope it continues, atleast to some extent, as she gets older!