Tuesday, December 31, 2013

5 months

Here we are again! Lucas is another month older. It seems like he changed so much this month! He has become so interested in the things around him.

He is playing with toys for real now, and not just holding them because I try to make him. He is also doing better at being able to entertain himself.

He went on his first flight to Texas over Thanksgiving. He did pretty well, thankfully. He stayed awake the whole way there, but he was happy. Then he slept the whole way back. We flew Southwest and had a great experience with them. They let us bring Lucas's carseat and stroller all the way to the gate and check them there which didn't count against our baggage count. They also let families with young children board early.

on the plane

He experienced his first Thanksgiving which I meant to post about, but ran out of time. Here are a few pics...

with the Shelby fam

cousin time

And first Iron Bowl (War Eagle!)

with Aunt Liz

He started trying to roll from his back to his stomach a few weeks ago, but kept getting his arm stuck underneath him. Apparently he figured it out while I wasn't looking. While I was painting at the house one night, I laid him down on his back on his playmat. I turned around a minute later and he was on his stomach.

He has discovered his toes.

He has started pulling my hair. All. The. Time.

He is starting to work on sitting up but we're not quite there yet.

Each stage I find myself thinking, "I don't want him to get any bigger." But so far, every stage he's gone through gets more and more fun.

It's fun to see his little personality emerge and I can't wait to see what comes next! He'll get to start trying food next month. Can't believe it!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:10-20

If you have a minute, listen to this song, written and performed by Mandi Mapes.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Til we meet again...

Last week Andy and I lost someone very dear to us. A mentor, teacher, and friend. Jim Brinkerhoff was the campus minister at the ministry we were a part of during college, the Auburn Christian Student Center. After leaving home and heading to a university where I only knew 2 people out of the thousands, the ACSC became my home where I made my best friends, found my roommates, and met my husband. It was also the place where my faith was challenged and strengthened. In a world where a frightening number of students walk away from God during college, it was a place to help students find their faith and learn to better walk with Jesus. It's hard to describe a place that was so instrumental in shaping Andy and me into the people we are today, but if you were a part of that ministry, you definitely understand.

At the center of that ministry were Jim and his wife Mary. They welcomed searching college students in and helped point them to Jesus by teaching the Word and living it out in the most genuine fashion.

Jim signing our marriage certificate

This year marks ten years that I have known Jim and Mary. Jim was a humble and quirky man. Not necessarily the type of person you would think thousands of college students would be drawn to and think of as "cool". He wore socks with his sandals. He was particular about funny things like how to position the chairs for devotionals. He was hard of hearing. He would tilt the rear view mirror when riding in the front of the car so he could read the lips of those talking in the backseat. He was a surprisingly crazy driver. I once witnessed him go in reverse down the interstate to back up to an exit he had missed.

Jim with Andy (Santa) at the ACSC Christmas Party '06

With all of his quirks, Jim did draw people in. Really it was the Spirit inside of him that shined so brightly that drew people to him. You see, Jim was head over heels in love with Jesus. He genuinely believed the Gospel and truly believed it was good, good news for all. He believed that no one was beyond God's grace and redemption. I think this was vital to why he was so relevant to college students. He saw them for who they were and spoke truth into their lives about God's desires for them. I remember a number of difficult times I went through in college where I found myself sitting across from Jim at his desk seeking his counsel. That is one of the things I think Andy and I will miss most about him: his wise and godly counsel. This verse was shared at his funeral service and I think it describes him so well:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom...But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. - James 3:13, 17-18

Before we were married, Andy and I went through premarital counseling with Jim. When we chose someone to marry us, we didn't give a second though to choosing Jim. He and Mary had been such a huge influence on us throughout our relationship and had modeled godly marriage so faithfully.

Jim labored long and hard in ministry to the college students of Auburn. He fought the good fight. And while our hearts ache wishing to see him again, we cannot begrudge him his reward. Yes we weep that we can no longer see his lively face and sit at his feet to share in his wisdom. We shed tears with Mary, Amy, Ben, and Anna knowing how dearly they miss him.

But we rejoice that he is with the One he loves. That after years of telling others about Jesus...he is with Jesus. Is that not the joy of Christianity? That one day we will see the face of God, bask in his presence and enjoy eternity with him in a place where there are no tears, sorrow, separation, or death? Praise the Lord! One day we will see you again, dear friend.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Crawling towards the finish line

I feel like I've been saying "we're so close to being done" on the house for the past 3 months! But when we've come as far as we have, we really do feel like we're so close! All we have left to do are the small touch up things: paint, installing carpet in 2 closets, painting the front door, putting in the washer & dryer, etc.

It was about this time last year that we first decided to start this crazy journey. So it is good to look back and see how far we've come.

Here are the latest updates in pictures:

Countertops were installed



Faucets installed



When we first bought the house, I really wanted to get rid of the old (as in 90 years), nasty cast iron tub in the upstairs bathroom. Thankfully, Andy convinced me that we should keep it (partially because it would have been next to impossible to get it out of the house).


We had it refinished, and I think it looks great now!


Floors sanded for refinishing

Master bedroom

Choosing a stain

Having the original hardwoods refinished was another one of those things that really changed the look of the house all at once. It was also another reminder that, hey, we might actually be able to live here one day :)

Looking from the dining room through the entry into the living room

Living room, stain looks darker than it really is from this angle

We're still keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to move in before Christmas (but we also said we'd move in Sept, before I went back to work, in Oct, before Thanksgiving...you see a pattern here). We'll see!

Monday, December 2, 2013

4 months a few weeks late

Month #4 has been a good one. It has been a month of adjustment: adjusting to new routines, going back to work, and trying to start finding a new "normal". The first 3 months Lucas was here just kind of floated by. I enjoyed soaking up the minutes with him and didn't really worry much about trying to find a "routine" or "schedule". Now with going back to work and Lucas getting into a little more predictable daily routine, I feel like we're starting to somewhat settle into a rhythm.

Lucas continues to grow, grow, grow. He loves "talking" and interacting with others. He has started laughing (which is really more like squealing). He has also started rolling over. It really surprised me the first time he did it! He usually rolls so quickly that I really haven't gotten a decent video of it yet.

Cousin Play Time

He has done well with daycare so far. The ladies that keep him are wonderful and having him close by has been great. The only bad thing has been that he has decided that riding in the carseat to work is the perfect time to have a poop. At least half of the days I've gone to work, I had to change not only his diaper but his clothes too when we got there. I've contemplated just taking him to work naked and dressing him when we got there but it's been a little too cold for that :)

He experienced his first Halloween dressed as Superman. Andy and I had plans to be Clark Kent and Lois Lane, but after a long day at work we were too worn out and just went as ourselves.

His Nemo playmat is still his favorite toy. He has started sitting in his Bumbo and does pretty well with it.

4 Month Check Up

Overall, it has been a very fun month and we continue to be so thankful for the blessing of this sweet little guy in our lives.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Back to work and 3 months old

Today Little Man is 3 months old. It has been a fun month watching him become more and more alert and interested in the world around him.

The big accomplishments for this month have been...

Bottle feeding: We started trying him out on the bottle shortly after he turned 2 months old. It was a little harder for me to give up nursing exclusively than I thought it would be, but it was a good transition. Thankfully, he has had no trouble so far switching back and forth. Andy has enjoyed getting to feed him, as have his grandparents. I still mostly nurse, but he had to learn to take the bottle to be ready for me to go back to work.

First bottle!

Cooing: He's started "talking" and making sweet little noises now. It's so fun to hear his sweet little voice!

Sleeping: He has officially started sleeping through the night (cue the hallelujah chorus!). He usually does about an 8-9 hour stretch after his last feed, but he has gotten to where he's pretty sleepy in the evenings by around 8:00. Again, I do know how lucky we are that he's a good sleeper, and I am so very thankful!

He still loves his Nemo play gym. He will play in this thing forever!


He really seems to like going for walks in his carrier. He keeps his head up and looks around most of the time. Bear also appreciates getting out of the house and walking.

He's starting to do much better at tummy time and really likes laying propped up on the Boppy to look around.

He's started sucking on his hands and fingers a lot. I was a big time finger sucker...until I was 5 years old...so I'm hoping he doesn't do it that long!


Also a big thing this month was me going back to work. I just started back last week. There were some tears in the car on the way in my first day, but it has been an easier transition than I thought it would be. It has helped a lot that I am only doing 2 days a week. I ended up getting what we call a "0.1" position before I started back, which basically means I work anywhere from 8 to 30 hours every 2 weeks. That has been a huge blessing. I truly have some wonderful coworkers so I have enjoyed getting to see everyone again.

This week will be his first week going to daycare while I'm at work so hopefully that will go well. The hardest thing is just getting out of the door in the morning. It was good to have a "trial run" last week where I could get us ready but wasn't actually taking him with me. Definitely made me realize I had underestimated how much time it would take us to get ready! Wow, I will have to get up very early to get to work on time what with the feeding, pumping, getting us both clean & dressed, and packing up! You moms doing this every day with more than one kid--I am amazed by you!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Family Favorite Chinese Slaw

I just found this recipe in my drafts and for some reason have never posted it. Hope you enjoy!

For years, my mom has been making what we call Chinese Slaw for family dinners and holidays. It is always a big hit, even with people who aren't a big fan of slaw. It's pretty quick and easy to throw together.

Chinese Slaw

1 pkg Slaw Mix (regular or broccoli slaw)
1 pkg Ramen noodles, chicken flavored
3 Green Onions (can be subbed with red or white onion), chopped
1 pkg slivered almonds
2T sesame seeds
1/3 c vegetable oil
2T sugar

Toast almonds and sesame seeds. Break up ramen noodles into slaw. 

Add chopped onion. ***Add according to how much you like onion. IMO less is more when it comes to raw onion. You can always add a little more if the onion flavor isn't strong enough. 

Mix Ramen seasoning packet with oil and sugar. Pour over slaw and mix together.

Best when made 2 hours or less before serving.