Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lucy is 18 Months Old! November and December Recap

Every time I do one of these posts I'm just so surprised at how much Lucy has grown and changed in two months! November and December are some of the most fun months of the year. We enjoyed lots of time off of work and made lots of memories with Lucy and our extended family. Here are some things I want to remember about the last two months (Note to self: I really need to blog more often and Christmas needs a post of its own!)


Lucy Grows and Grows! Lucy is little miss personality. She is a very persistent, determined little thing. She is also very loving and LOVES it when Jason and I play with her and her toys. She really enjoyed all the time with family over the holidays. She is starting to really understand how to play with some of the toys she has had for a long time. She can do many of her puzzles by herself and has started to learn how to play with her baby doll. She feeds the baby its bottle, puts her in the stroller, rocks her, etc. She loves to turn her electronic toys on and off and get them to play music. She also loves playing with my iPhone. She has really gotten into coloring recently and has stopped chewing the crayons all the time - yay! We got her a Dora the Explorer sticker book and some lift the flap books recently and she loves playing with both. Her vocabulary has increased and she can now say: Hi, Bye-Bye, Mama, Dada, No, Mine, More, Bubbles, Ball, and can make dog (panting and ruff! ruff!) and cow (moo!) sounds. I've also heard her mimic me as I said, Boy, Girl, and Knee. We have struggled a little recently with her hitting other kids when they take toys from her or get in her personal space. We have tried to do everything we can we were are with her, but unfortunately I think she has learned this behavior at daycare where we can't correct her every time. She also has started with tantrums and other typical toddler behavior. As a result, I've started reading some great books, among them: Dare to Discipline and Toddlerwise. Next up is the Growing Kids God's Way DVD Series. I also figured out over Christmas that she may need more sleep than she's been getting (hence the tantrums), so we have been putting her to bed earlier and she's been napping longer and she does seem to be in better spirits! It is crazy that she is just this little person who is a member of our family. She has her own unique thoughts and opinions and always makes them clearly know to us. It is so much fun having her as a part of our family.


Baby Wyatt is Born! Lucy's first cousin Wyatt was born on the very cool date of 11-12-13 to my sister Kristen. I made it to the hospital just in time to watch him be born - this was a first for me and was an amazing experience! The birth of a child is such a miracle of God's grace! I obviously didn't take Lucy with me for that day trip. We went back to visit the weekend after he was born and Lucy and Jason went with me. It was so crazy to see how much difference a year and half makes. Wyatt was sleeping pretty much all the time and it was so hard to even keep him awake. Lucy meanwhile was VERY awake and energetic pretty much the whole time we were visiting. There were countless comparisons that I made between Lucy and Wyatt and it made me realize how big she is and how much she has grown up. Kristen had a pretty amazing delivery and made childbirth and early motherhood look quite easy...I know better... haha

Babies Babies Babies! November and December were the months of babies in our small group being born! The Plunketts had a baby girl, the Maddens had a baby boy, and the Pharrs also had a baby boy. We had lots of fun participating in baby showers for them and taking them meals.

Trying to be young again (aka really awesome concert during a work week)! A few years ago Jason and I bought tickets to go see our favorite band - Hillsong when they came to Atlanta. Well, when the long awaited day finally came, Jason had a major Physical Therapy school test the next day so I gave his ticket to my sister and went with her instead. A few years passed, a lot of life change occurred, and we vowed that the next time they came we would be there. Well I think in September we bought tickets for a Thursday night concert in Atlanta in November. I drove into Atlanta on Wednesday night, worked at my parent's house on Thursday, then met up with Jason Thursday night while my parents watched Lucy. Poor Jason had to drive to the concert straight after work and back to Augusta after the concert. However, it was totally worth it! It was an amazing concert and crazy enough we ended up randomly sitting by some people that go to our church in Augusta! Small world!


Learning how to save money/We need a new car. After paying off our debt in June of last year, we spent some time replenishing our emergency fund - (thanks Dave Ramsey ;)). We had purchased a desperately needed (in my opinion) HVAC system for no small amount ($5500.....) and a new work/personal laptop for me (splurged on a Macbook Pro). Anyways, with those expenses along with the not anticipated cost of Lucy's hospital stay, it was the fall until we were able to do something that we have NEVER DONE in our entire marriage- save money. This is a very foreign thing to me given that I have never really saved money in my entire life. It's not like we had consumer debt or anything, I have just always had the mentality to spend everything we made. For most of our marriage, I was the only one working, so really it was a miracle to only spend what I made, but even so, the concept of making money and NOT spending it takes some getting used to. We have now been saving money to replace Jason's Honda Civic. This is a little manual two door car that Jason has been driving since he was 16! This choice of car didn't really bother us until we had to use it a few times while my car was in the shop. This meant getting Lucy's GIGANTIC car seat in the back of that car. Somehow we managed, with my passenger seat scooted all the way forward...not the most comfortable ride. I also regret my nonchalance about learning to drive it when we were first married (and had TONS of free time). Needless to say, with the upcoming arrival of Baby #2 we decided that the item most worthy of our savings is a car. I'm getting very excited about the prospect of 4 doors and automatic transmission... :)


Less work = More fun!  We are super thankful that we used the money I made while I was working a lot to pay off our debt. Once the debt was gone, my hours started to decrease pretty dramatically. So our little car fund has been growing slowly but surely. Less hours has meant a lot more freedom for me. These freedoms mean things like:
  • Less stress since I know me working is not required for survival or debt payoff anymore - yay!
  • More time to learn about web design - I think I have found my career passion and this is it! I love spending the day designing websites. I'm currently learning about Wordpress and have designed a few for some friends. I have also had the opportunity to volunteer my time for the Starkville Pregnancy Care Center - this one is still in the works. 
  • More time to be with Lucy. Until baby #2 comes, I'll still be spending a fair amount of time working and honing my skills in web design. Even so, less work has created more flexibility to spend time with my favorite little girl. We have gone to the library, the park, done crafts at home, etc. It is really fun. I do feel a little out of my element when I have her with me for long stretches of time but I think the more I do it, the better I'll get and this full-time mom thing. 
  • I joined Bible Study Fellowship in early November. We are currently studying Matthew and I have really enjoyed it so far - especially because I have to miss the sermons on Sundays since I volunteer in the church nursery. 

Hosted our First Thanksgiving! The Baaremans were gracious enough to drive out to Augusta to spend Thanksgiving with us since Jason had used up all of his vacation time during our two beach vacations this summer. We had lots of fun together cooking (I had a blast selectin my first Thanksgiving day menu and cooking my first turkey in a crockpot!), playing games, going shopping (Ruth and I ventured out on the evening of Thanksgiving and scored some major deals - I got winter coats for Jason and I for like 60% off each!), going out to eat (we chose the new Texas Roadhouse for its loud atmosphere), and warming up by the firepit outside. Overall it was a really nice, relaxing visit. I know Lucy had lots of fun with two extra playmates too! :)

Lake House with Childhood Friends Early in December we ventured out to the lake house to spend time with the Raesslers and the Kinneys. It is crazy how many things have changed since our previous visits. Our first visit, I was pregnant with Lucy and there were no babies around. So the girls pretty much got to chit chat the entire time while the guys did their thing. We even went to the outlet mall! Last year, we had Lucy who was about 6 months old and crawling. Jamin and Megan were expecting a baby in May. This year, we had Lucy who is a VERY mobile 1 1/2 year old, and Benjamin who at 6 months is about at the same crawling stage that Lucy was at. In addition, Drew and Lauren are expecting their first, a girl, and we are expecting our second! I think that our next visit is going to be very wild and crazy - in the best way possible! :) This year we had a great visit mainly visiting, playing some games (best one was Headbands), cooking, eating, and playing with our adorable babies.

Girls and Guys Bible Studies This fall, our small group started meeting separately in guys and girls groups. Each group meets every other Wednesday so the spouse can watch the kids (if they have any). The girls are studying Beth Moore's Esther Study and the guys are studying the book of Luke. Both studies are off to a great start!


Christmas Parties Galore! As always, December was filled with tons of parties. We hosted a care group dinner at our house with the amazing meal of Costco lasagna, Costco focaccia bread, Costco salad --- do you see a trend here? It is pretty cool because all the couples in our care group have little girls (at least for now) so they enjoy playing together. We also had Ben and Lindsey over for dinner and got to hear all about their adventures as missionaries to southeast Asia for 6 months. We asked them tons of questions and learned a lot about what it would be like to pursue short or long term missions. Our Sunday School class had a potluck dinner party at the church where childcare was provided. The food was delicious, we had fun chatting with friends, we had an epic White Elephant gift exchange (we brought some duplicate copies of C.S. Lewis books we had and came home with white chocolate pretzels and this weird caramel corn that had potato chips in it). Jon Kruse also hosted a Christmas party at his house that also had amazing food. We had a great time catching up with friends and were really thankful that we weren't the only ones that crashed the party with a 1 year old - thanks Brittany and Jordan ;) Fun times were had as our toddlers ran through a non-baby proof home, unwound his toilet paper, and threw food on the floor.... :) Finally, we got a teenage babysitter for the first time to stay at the house with Lucy while Jason and I went to his work Christmas party at Macaroni Grill. This was another time when Jason and I decided that we were "real adults" I mean - going to a work Christmas Party, and paying a high schooler to watch your toddler while you're there? Definitely "real adult" living right there... ;)


Visiting Cousins Since Lucy and Wyatt are each each other's first cousin, it is very important that they build a strong bond early - even if they both won't even remember these moments... Nevertheless, Kristen and I have taken it upon ourselves to build their bond. I took Lucy and spent a few days in Atlanta where I worked a little and played a lot with my new adorable nephew Wyatt. Kristen is seriously a pro at being a new mom - I must have taught her well lol! Even though all the trips have started to run together in my head, I'm glad for any additional hours that I get to spend with my family. They are seriously the best and I love them so much. Kristen also drove Wyatt out to visit us in Augusta! We had a fun time buying craft supplies at Hobby Lobby and making salt dough ornaments with both of them. We even tried to watch the Muppet Christmas Carol - I think that lasted about 5 min. You gotta start somewhere!

I promise to be back soon with a post about Christmas, our 5 year anniversary, and Baby #2's gender reveal! 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

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