Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving

Each night before bed, Nolan says a prayer. As he is only 3, he doesn't really understand much about praying for someone - even himself. So usually we just ask him some of the things he is thankful for. I figured, since it is Thanksgiving, it would be a good time to recount some of the things he says:

  1. Ms. Lisa
  2. bath tub
  3. Mickey Mouse
  4. James and Luke and Solomon
  5. Grocery Store
  6. Daddy, Mommy, Abby
  7. Boomer
  8. Food (especially cake)
  9. Family
  10. Jesus

Now, it seems like a pretty simple list. But honestly, this kid has hit the nail on the head with his list. Here's why:

1. Ms. Lisa is our babysitter, and she. is. Awesome! We truly are thankful to have someone who provides such wonderful care for our children. She not only loves them and cares for them, but teaches them so much - both academically and socially. It is such a blessing as a working mom to have a place where your kids are excited to go and where you know they'll be well cared for! 

2. I bet you never thought to be thankful for your bath tub. But having hot water and a place to get clean really is nice! (especially when you live with a dirty 3 year old boy - or a boy period ;)

3. This is in reference to one of Nolan's favorite t.v. shows. Again, not something you probably think to be thankful for. But sometimes it really is nice to escape the stressful realities of life with some mindless television! 

4. These are some of Nolan's closest friends. This one's a no-brainer. We all need friends - ones to laugh and joke with, and ones to be serious with. I too am thankful for all my friends that I get to do life with!

5. For whatever reason Nolan really likes the grocery store. And if I really think about it, I guess I am really thankful for that too. To have pretty much any food that I need right at my fingertips is something I take for granted. While we aren't rolling in the dough, my family has never had to go hungry. I know there are many people that aren't so lucky.

6. Is there anything better than your immediate family? We truly are blessed to have one another. I love my family! 

7. Growing up our dogs were kind of annoying, but Boomer is one of the best things that has happened to our family. He is always excited to see us and is a great cuddler and vaccuum. He is great with the kids and they love him in return. If you don't own a dog you should! 

8. I guess this is similar to #5 - we are all thankful for food. Nolan apparently is especially thankful for cake. And if you think about it, isn't it nice to indulge yourself and eat something totally bad for you every once in a while? Totally worth it. Good call on the cake Nolan. 

9. I'm assuming Nolan is referring to his extended family here. We really are blessed to have such a wonderful family - and many of them close by. I grew up with lots of family close and big family gatherings, and I'm glad Nolan and Abby get to have the same! So many uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, and great grandparents to love!

10. I'm not sure that Nolan really understands why Jesus is important, but I pray that someday he will. For now I am blessed that he is able to learn about him and worship Him freely! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Update: Jack and Katie



I can’t believe I am about to say this, but this summer Jack and I celebrated 5 years of marriage! Seriously, 5 years already? Where did the time go? Time flies when you’re having fun right? A lot has happened in the past 5 years. We've been through our fair share of struggles, but when I look back over the last 5 years, I mostly remember all the ways we have been incredibly blessed… full time jobs that we love, new (and awesome) friends, 2 kids, a house (however big or small) to live in, family close by, etc. And most importantly, I think I speak for both of us when I say that we are more in love than ever! (sorry for the cheese, but it’s true). If all of this can happen in the first 5 years, I can’t wait to see what will happen in the next 10, 20, 30+ years together!

The other big development is that we moved (again)! We have been blessed over the past year or so to have sold our house (which was draining our finances) and moved into a small apartment on my parent’s farm.  While we all LOVED being there, it finally got to the point where a 1 bedroom apartment just wasn’t big enough for all 4 of us. So, we moved! We are only about 10 minutes away from the farm, much closer to work and such, and have lots more space. We are renting a basement apartment from an awesome family from our church. The phrase “basement apartment” makes it sound lame. But I assure you, it’s not. And easily more space than a lot of small houses. And the best part is that we all have our own rooms! Woo hoo! It was definitely hard to leave the farm, but the space is a godsend. And who knows what the future will bring. Maybe we will be back out there again someday?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Update: Nolan

So... what has Nolan been up to, you ask? What HASN'T he been up to is the better question...

As you can see from this picture he has LOVED this summer and everything that came with it. He loved playing on the farm and going out with Meemaw and Pops to do chores - especially feeding the cows. (This is a picture after he came in from said chores sweaty and dirty). He also loved jumping on the trampoline he got as an early birthday present, practicing his baseball tee (he's getting pretty good!), riding his bike, swimming, and riding on his first roller coasters at Busch Gardens. Notice that these are all outside things? I think he could live outside and be perfectly happy.

He has also been busy potty training. Yes... every mother's nightmare. Well, maybe not every mother's. But definitely mine. This whole potty training thing has been a long process. And it was my goal to make it happen this summer. I'm happy to say that school starts tomorrow, and I will be sending Nolan back to the babysitter 95% potty trained! I left an extra 5% off just in case of the occasional accident. But he really has been doing a great job! I'll probably post more about that later - I want to write down my thoughts on the process so I remember for next time. I just don't want to jinx him right now! (because without a doubt, anytime I mention how great he does at potty training I jinx him and he has an accident).

The other big thing with Nolan is his vocabulary. His vocabulary is growing at an exponential rate. It is really fun to see him putting sentences together and figuring out words like "him/her", and "mine/yours" etc.  Some of my favorite phrases that he says now are:
  • "Ah HA!! I found it!" Which he exclaims loudly EVERY time he finds something
  • "That's right!" After he asks you a question (whether you're right or not)
  • "I almost forgot!..."
  • "Hey, what a second!"
  • "What the heck!" (which he definitely got from me. oops!)
  • "Yeah that's how you do it! I'm so proud of you mommy!!" (which he tells me every time I go potty now... guess that's what happens when you are potty training. Every potty break is a time to celebrate! This is especially funny when you are in a public restroom ;)
I love this stage Nolan is in. He's so excited about life and learning and well, he's just awesome!

Side note: Nolan's current favorite t.v. show is "Wipeout" - If you haven't watched that with your toddler yet you need to! Who doesn't love watching people fall down? Good clean fun if you ask me :)

Here are a few pics of Nolan from the summer:

Nolan enjoying an ice cream cone:

"Helping" with some farm chores:



Slip n' slide!


Riding in the wagon with Abby:

Checking on the horses:

There are more pics I could post but my computer is being slow so you'll just have to make due with those for now!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Update: Abigail

Since I have been such a slacker about blogging lately, I figured I would take some time to update what everyone in the family has been up to lately. First up is Abigail Marie! Our sweet, cheerful, almost-one-year-old little girl. Here is what she has been up to:

It is August, which means it is her birthday month! I can't believe she is getting so old! And so big! She has really been moving around a lot this summer. Her signature move is the army crawl - or, as we affectionately call it, the "dead leg" - because she uses only one of her legs to push and scoots along on her belly. She has been doing a much better job of crawling normally recently though. I have noticed that she mostly gets up on all fours when she is outside. I wonder why she thinks crawling on her knees is necessary when she's outside but not inside? Anyway, I am kind of looking forward to her walking (which is isn't doing yet) just so that her clothes might be cleaner. When she drags herself across the floor, no matter how clean I keep it, she collects quite a bit of dirt. Maybe I should just strap a swiffer pad on her and call it a day? :)

In addition to crawling, she has now started climbing a lot more...
Thankfully we don't have stairs in our place, because she now knows how to climb them! Yesterday I caught her climbing onto the table that was behind the couch. She was up on all fours before I even knew she was up there! Definitely need to keep our eyes on this one!

Besides crawling, climbing, and just sheer exploring, she also loves EATing. I capitalized it to show just how much she loves it. She now has 7 teeth - going on 8 this week. So she is able to eat pretty much anything we are eating. And boy does she love it! Who needs boring formula when you can eat the good stuff? Here she is enjoying some farm fresh fruit. Yummy!


As much as she loves exploring and eating, you know what I think she loves most? Her brother. Well, attention from him anyway. Whatever Nolan is doing, Abby wants to do too. If Nolan gives her any kind of attention she just laughs and laughs. I only wish she wouldn't laugh when he does things like hit her in the head. I guess she will take any attention from him - good or bad. Don't feel sorry for her though - she gets him back plenty. (More on that in another post).

Here is Abby trying to get into Nolan's bath... (in our last place we didn't have a bath tub, so I used a big plastic tub in the shower for Nolan). Like I said, whatever Nolan is doing, Abby wants to be a part of it!

This is just a small snippet of the shenanigans Abby has been getting into. She sure does keep our lives interesting! And I wouldn't have it any other way!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Twins?

I bet you didn't know we had twins... did you? Well, actually, you're right. We don't. But lately I just can't get over how much I think Nolan and Abby look alike (as in, Abby looks like Nolan did when he was the same age). I use to hate it when people would tell me that I looked like my older brother. Not because he wasn't good looking or anything. I just took that as people thought I looked like a boy. But Abby, if you read this someday, I assure you, it does not mean you look like a boy. It just means you are both so stinkin' adorable I can't hardly contain myself!

Recently we had a few pictures taken of the kids. We don't normally do formal photos but wanted something to go on the wall like we had for Nolan. This is what really got me thinking about how much they look alike. Just for fun, I created some side-by-side images of the two of them so you can see their similarities...



Am I the only one who thinks they could have been twins? (only 2 years apart) 


And here is one of Nolan, just so you can see how much he has grown up:
How did he get to be almost 3 years old already!? He wasn't really digging the photo lady too much, so this picture doesn't fully capture his awesome, fun, smilely personality. But still cute! 

Here is one more picture from that photo shoot...


I love this one because Abby is SO happy, and Nolan is just pure annoyed. Abby was having the best time hitting Nolan and pulling his hair. And like a good brother, he just sat there and took it, going simply "ow, ow, ow, ow." 

Here is the link to all of the pictures if you'd like to see more! 



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day

I have an awesome mom. I really do. And I'm not just saying that. My mom has done (and continues to do) so much for me - I can't even begin to describe the depth of my appreciation, no, my love, for her. She is my best friend.

But you know what is even cooler than having an awesome mom? Getting to BE a mom. Seriously. It is the best thing ever. For some reason this year on Mother's Day I just kept thinking, over and over and over again, how lucky I am that I get to be a mom. I kept staring at Nolan and Abby thinking "wow, I get to be their mom!"

I mean just look at these faces...

Am I not the luckiest girl alive?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Things Nolan Does That Scare Me

Recently Nolan has learned to do some things that are kind of scary. A lot of these things I have been dreading since the day I found out I was pregnant. I'm praying that with the right guidance none of these will become frequent acts on his part... here are a few examples of what I'm talking about:

  • Nolan now knows how to flush the toilet - a necessary step in potty training, but I'm just waiting for the day when something gets flushed that isn't suppose to. I feel like it is just bound to happen.
  • Nolan recently found my brother's old recorder (the flute-like instrument that you play in elementary school). Logan use to annoy me SO much with that growing up. Now Nolan knows how to play it, and he thinks it's awesome. Too bad for him it is going to have to get hidden REALLY soon. I don't think I can handle listening to it for a second longer!
  • Nolan loves to color. The only problem is that if you give him access to markers (whether intentionally or not) and turn your back for even a second, you can gaurantee that something will get colored on. Recently he found a permanent marker in the pen cup and proceeded to color on half of his toys. He also likes to color on himself (although thankfully, not with permanent marker):

We'll definitely be sticking to crayons from now on.

 
  • The other day I was touching up my nail polish and had my nail kit out. Nolan found the pair of scissors that was in there and marched right over to Abby and proceeded to try to cut her hair. Thankfully I stopped him before that could happen, but watch out poor girl!
  • Everytime someone lies down on their stomach, Nolan thinks its an open invitation to "ride horsey". There are 2 problems with this. 1 - just because I'm laying on my stomach doesn't mean I want to parade around like a horse, and 2 - he now does this to Abby as well. Anytime Abby is playing on the floor and is on her stomach Nolan tries to sit on her like a horse. It worries me - but Abby doesn't seem to mind. She pretty much laughs at ANYTHING Nolan does - so that doesn't help me convince him to stop.
I love Nolan at this age - he is leaning SO much. I just hope I can keep him from doing anything TOO crazy!

I'll have more random things to post soon. But in the meantime, enjoy this picture from two adorable Donohoe's. Hope you all had a wonderful St. Patrick's Day and no sneaky leprechauns played any mean tricks on you! :)

3-16-12

This past Friday (3-16) was my birthday. Most of the time on my birthday I don't physically feel any older at all. This was not one of those birthdays. For some reason when I woke up that morning I just stared at my self in the mirror going "how did I get to be 28!?" And then I proceeded to to inspect myself for wrinkles and grey hairs (no comment here on what i found - or didn't find ;) Lord help me when I turn 30! But in all of this thinking about getting older, I started thinking about all of the birthdays I've had over the years. I've had a lot of good ones. But my desires for my birthday now look a lot different than they use to. When you're little it's all about the presents. The more presents the better! Now I have a hard time even figuring out things that I want. That's not what's important to me now. What I find I desire most are non-material things. I told Jack that the best present I could get was a nap. How lame is that? But seriously, if I could ask for one thing, it would be time by myself. A day where I could go shopping all by myself, and then come home and take a nap afterwards. Or a day where I didn't have to do any laundry, or cleaning, or diaper changing, or anything of the sort. Doesn't that sound heavenly? Anyway, I didn't get that this year on my birthday (it was a Friday - so I had to work - so naturally, no shopping and no nap). But next year it's on a Saturday, so HINT HINT... ;)

Despite not getting my day off with a nap, I did have some fun surprises for my birthday this year. And at the end of the day, I was reminded once again how blessed I am. I have so much to be thankful for. And that is really the best present I could have gotten!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Half Birthday!

I just want to take this opportunity to wish our baby girl a Happy Half Birthday! I cannot believe she is 6 months old today! Where does the time go!? In just 6 short months she has transformed our family - definitely for the better. She is such a blessing and I cannot imagine my life without her. In her first 6 months she learned to sleep through the night, eat (a lot), roll over, smile, laugh, and kind of sit up. She taught Nolan how to be a big brother, and us how to be the parents of 2. I can't wait to see what she will do with the next 6 months and beyond!

Abigail, I hope you find this post someday when you can read, and you realize how much joy you bring to our lives. We love you! And hope you have a very special half birthday! I'll be sure to eat a piece of cake for you ;)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fun in the Snow!

With the way this weather has been this year, it's hard to believe that we actually got some SNOW last week. Of course, 24 hours later it had ALL melted and was back in the 60s again. But nevertheless we took advantage of what we got and had some fun. This was the first year that Nolan has really gotten to play in the snow - in previous years he was too young to really care. He LOVED sledding, and had fun building a snow man. Abby joined us for a few minutes outside, but she was not all that impressed. Here are a few pictures of our winter adventures (enjoy them, because I have a feeling this is all the snow pics you will get this year).


This is Nolan sledding the night it started snowing:

Nolan's first ever snow man:

Abby looking adorable as always:

Nolan sledding the next day before it all melted:


Still crossing my fingers for another storm this year... one can always hope right? 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

mmm... food...

Abby has been growing like a weed lately. It kind of makes me sad how fast she is growing up! This time next week she will be 6 months old! With growing up comes learning new things... This weekend Abby had her first taste of something besides milk. On the menu was the ever popular rice cereal...


I'm not sure how much she is actually swallowing and how much just ends up on her face, but she sure is cute doing it...


She's getting better at it... I guess when you've never eaten anything solid before in your life it takes some getting use to.


Just can't get enough of that face!

Meanwhile Nolan found the stash of Valentine's candy I hid...

He unwrapped 5 or 6 pieces of chocolate before I found him, and then proceeded to put it ALL in his mouth at the same time. gross.

Mexico (#2)

Recently we had the good fortune of taking a trip to Cancun, Mexico...


Here’s what I loved about our trip:

-          Taking my time eating a meal. Normally I always rush through eating in preparation of one kid or the other needing something.

-          Being able to order anything I wanted off of the menu without having to worry about how much it cost (the place we stayed was all inclusive)

-          Taking naps. Is it sad that I had an all expense paid trip to Mexico and the thing that I looked forward to MOST was being able to take a nap whenever I wanted?

-          Being able to sit by the pool and read - love my new kindle by the way!

-          The perfect weather – highs in the low 80s, lows in the low 70s.

-          No dishes. No vacuuming. No doing laundry. 

-          Riding horses on the beach

-          Taking hot showers and not rushing because I’m in a hurry or because I’m worried about the hot water running out.

-          Not having to rush at all. For anything. (well, except for that time we almost missed our connecting flight and had to run through the Houston airport.

-          Lots of quality time with Jack. I really like him. With 2 kids and busy schedules it’s hard for us to get quality time together. Every night there was like date night – only we didn’t have to worry about finding a babysitter. It was great!

 Here’s what I didn’t like:

-          Leaving Nolan and Abby behind. I definitely cried a little (just a little) when we dropped Abby off. I knew they were both in good hands – they were with their grandparents who are awesome – but I missed them both sooooo much!

-          Taking time off of work – sounds dumb I know. But I have already taken so much time off this year with maternity leave that I hate to leave my kids with a sub now.


And that’s pretty much it. There wasn’t much not to like. Overall we had a fabulous time! And because I missed Nolan and Abby so much, it just gave me something to look forward to on the way home!
Here are a few pics:
This was our room:

Horseback riding:


On the first day we had to make a boat out of nothing but card board and duct tape that would hold 2 people. Here is our finished product. It was called the "Silver Bullet":

Jack on the "spinnaker" - basically it was a mix between a giant swing and a parachute, anchored to a boat:

The view from our room:


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Time

Time is a precious commodity. It’s something I really took for granted before I had kids. I feel like I have no time anymore. I know there are still 24 hours in the day, but there just never seems like enough time to do it all. I recently read an article though that helped put it in perspective, so I thought I’d share.

There are 2 kinds of time: Chronos time is what we live in - the minute to minute, sometimes painful, time. It’s 90 minutes of class time, or 20 minutes in the car on the way to work, or however many painful minutes it takes in the waiting room at the doctor trying to keep a sick 2 year old from terrorizing the entire office. Chronos time is the hard, slow passing time.

But then there’s Kairos time. Kairos is God’s time. It’s those magical moments in which time stands still. I’ve been noticing those moments more and more recently, and I cherish them. They’re the times when I pause, and close my eyes for just a second, and think “wow, life is good. It couldn’t possibly get ANY better than this.” Here are a few examples of Kairos time for me:

-          When I lay in bed at night, and both kids are sleeping peacefully… I hear Abby breathing over the baby monitor and can’t help but smile. Kairos time.

-          Saturday mornings when Nolan is watching cartoons, Abby is happily playing in her exersaucer, and I’m sitting drinking coffee out of a real mug (not out of a travel mug rushing to work). Kairos time.

-          On our trip to Mexico recently, when I got in the pool, and just layed on my back staring up at the beautiful sky, with the ocean crashing in the background. Kairos time.

-          Any time Nolan or Abby laughs. There is no better sound than a child laughing. Kairos time.

-          At the end of the week when I get into my car to go home from school, exhausted, but with nothing but the bliss of a weekend ahead of me. Kairos time.

-          When I stop and really look at Jack. Or Nolan. Or Abby. And notice how absolutely perfect they each are. And how incredibly blessed I am to have them in my life. Kairos time.

-     When I go for a walk in the evening and look across the field as the sun is going down. It's a beautiful sight! Kairos time.

-          When I curl up on the couch at the end of a long day under a cozy blanket, with Boomer at my feet and a good book in my hand. Kairos time.
I could keep going. I could go all day. Because the reality is that I am truly blessed. I always wondered how I could ever love anyone else besides my family. Then Jack came along. And then I wondered how I could love anyone else besides him. And then Nolan came along. And then I wondered how I could ever love another child as much as I love him. And then Abby came along. It’s not that I love any of them  more than anyone else. My heart has just grown. With Valentine’s Day this week I’ve been thinking about love. My heart is so full of love. Sometimes I think it might burst because it’s so full of love. I am so blessed. I guess realizing that is really what Kairos time is all about for me. At the end of the day, it’s those moments, however brief they are, that keep me going.

Thank you Lord, for Kairos time.
"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations,  'The LORD has done great things for them.'" Psalm 126:1-3

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Year in Review

Wow I can't believe it's been so long since my last post! There are a few things you need to have to keep up a blog: desire to write about something, time to write, and access to internet. Over the past few months the last two of that list have been extremely limited (hence the blogging hiatus). But here I am, so let's see what's new...

2011: Year in Review (a little late)

2011 was a big year for us. Lots of big changes. To start with, we put our house on the market. That can be a stressful process for anyone, but throw in a toddler and you can forget about keeping your sanity. The stress of having to keep your house clean (as in, spotless, 24/7), never knowing when someone might want to come by to take a look is not something I care to revisit. Thankfully, we were able to get an offerfairly fast and eventually sold it. We are now free of the monthly burden of a mortgage payment!

Once we sold our house we moved out to my parents' farm where we live in a small garage apartment. Going from a 2000 sq ft home to a 1 bedroom apartment has been an adjustment to say the least. But overall we are happy. We have tons of family close by (which we LOVE), and plenty of space for everyone to run around outside. Nolan and Boomer are especially enjoying the perks of being on the farm! In the end we've learned that we don't need a big house or a lot of fancy material possessions. That's not where our joy comes from. Our joy comes from the Lord, and He is a God who provides for our every need. We are so very blessed!

2011 was also a big year for us as we welcomed a new addition to our family - Abigail! Her name means "Joy of the Father", and boy is she a JOY. She has a smile that will light up a room. She likes to talk (about nothing in particular) and can instantly turn any bad day into a great one with just one adorning look. She eats a lot, but she sleeps great. I try to remember that I am very blessed to have a baby that slept through the night a such a young age. I'm not sure how I could be a working mother of 2 if I didn't get some sleep at night! Adding Abby to our family has certainly kept us all on our toes, but we are loving every minute of it. I can't imagine our life any other way now!

Nolan has adjusted to being a big brother. In fact, he is doing an awesome job! He is very good at trying to be helpful. He can get diapers, throw diapers away, and loves to give Abby stuff - mostly stuff she doesn't need - blankets, toys, pacifiers, etc. it absolutely melts my heart to see him love her. He often will find her and give her a kiss for no apparent reason, or go over to her crib in the morning and say "Mornin' Princess!". And when he finds something interesting he always makes a point to show Abby - "Look, Abideh*! a red tractor!" *Abideh is what it sounds like when he says Abigail.

Anyway, I could ramble on all day, and most of this is stuff you probably already know if you talk to us regularly. The point I wanted to make was just that I'm sorry it's been so long since I've updated the blog. Life has been busy. But Life is Good.

Now for your viewing pleasure, here's a short video of Nolan and Abby playing together:

video

love them!