Nathan @ 3 Months

Here we are at 3 months already! Or a quarter of the way till one! I’m not rushing these days away because so much is happening for Nathan right now. Here’s what we’ve been up to this month.

Nathan started the month by taking his first (of many) long road trips. We drove out to Nebraska for a second-cousin’s wedding, stopping to see Andy’s brother on the way. Nathan was a great traveller, until we reached hour 9 or so, when he decided he was ready to be out of his car seat. We did a lot of nursing at rest stops and diaper changes in the car, still making pretty good time considering. Every time we unstrapped him, Nathan stretched like this.

Ready for a road trip

We were glad we made the drive as my entire family was (almost) together. We were missing my brother Joel who was home in St. Louis, getting ready to travel to Brasil for the World Cup. It was nice to all be together, even if it was only for 24 hours. It was nice to see some of our second-cousins, too.

Barz Family Minus Joel

Nathan has found a favorite book this month. This simple, three page, bright colored shape book will keep him entertained for 15 minutes or more at a time. I don’t know what it is that is so fascinating but it was a life-saver on our drive out to Nebraska! I look forward to many more months of favorite books with Nathan.

Nathan traveling in the car

After we returned from Nebraska, my sister, Liesl, visited with her family. We are so glad to have them back from Okinawa! Nathan enjoyed the time with his cousins. Addison loved to hold him, Davenie told him how handsome he was, and Jose covered him with kisses, multiple times a day. These are the four Barz cousins…for now! Both my sisters are expecting, one in July and one in September, so the number of grandchildren for my parents doubled this year.

Tummy time with cousins

We celebrated Andy’s first Father’s Day. Of course, I had to dress Nathan for the occasion in his preppy golfer hand-me-down outfit. The hat was the perfect touch! I am SO thankful for all the hand-me-downs and gifts of clothes we have received. Nathan’s closet is full of adorable clothes, although we did move up into the 3 to 6 month sizes this month, right on schedule.

Father's Day 2014

After spending time with my family, Andy’s family had their annual get together in Fort Wayne at the end of the month. We tried to get a picture with 5 of the little ones with their Great-Grandma Schiffli. It’s easier said than done! Nathan is currently the youngest so just took everything in this summer. He was happy to be held by anyone and everyone who wanted to hold him.

Schiffli Reunion

Nathan continues to be very curious. His big eyes are constantly trying to take it all in. When he has a full tummy and a clean diaper, he’s content to lay on his tummy or back and look around the room. There are so many times I wish I could see inside his brain to see what he is thinking!

Looking around

Nathan also discovered his hands this month. He loves to watch them and he loves to eat them! He’s drooling a lot so I try to keep him in bibs. The doctor said that’s normal, not a sign that teeth are around the corner, but we shall see! Nathan’s grip has improved so he can hold onto his Discovery links and shake them, which he likes to do.

Discovering hands

Never you fear, Nathan does have his fussy moments! We’ve had a couple of car ride moments where Nathan screams at me, wanting to be out of his seat. It makes for some long car rides home because his pacifier doesn’t help when he’s like that. We also went through his 3 month growth spurt right at the end of the month where he was quite cranky until I started feeding him every 2 hours again. We spent a lot of time on the couch that weekend. He’s still nursing great but is good at taking a bottle I’ve pumped when I’m away. I’m thankful that he does both well!

Fussy Baby

At 3 months, Nathan weighed 12 lbs and 2 ounces. He is a growing baby! I can see the rolls in his legs developing but he is nowhere near as chubby as I anticipated he would be. Andy and I were both very chubby babies!  The biggest development of the month would have to be that Nathan discovered his voice while we were at the Lehenbauer family reunion. All of the sudden, he just started screeching and “talking”. He hasn’t stopped since! He has long conversations of babbles and coos and has great inflection!

Happy Baby - 3 Months Old!

It’s nice to be on a relaxed summer schedule with Andy home, especially since Nathan has taken to waking up during the night again. Sometimes, Nathan sleeps from 9:30pm till 4:30am before waking up to eat. Other times, he wakes around 1:30am, wanting to eat again. He’s still a good napper, though. Plus, Nathan is getting better at napping in his pack n play, now that we discovered he prefers to sleep on his tummy. Since we’re always near when he’s napping, we let Nathan nap this way, but we still swaddle him on his back for nighttime. We’re looking forward to seeing what changes the next month will bring!

Encouragement for Moms from Lisa-Jo

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Lisa-Jo Baker is a talented writer and as she would say, an ordinary mother. Yet, I would like to add that she is an ordinary mother whom God has given an extra-ordinary way with words. She recently published a beautiful book called Surprised by Motherhood. It was just what I needed to read in my own early days of motherhood. Since then, I have found myself encouraged over and over by her blog. Lisa-Jo speaks to my heart with just the encouragement I didn’t know I needed. Read this. Be encouraged today!

A prayer for all the weary Thursday Mothers reminded me not to “rush through today or wish it over.” I need to remember this. Always.

The false advertising about Motherhood lists 10 things many of us have believed. Remember, “It’s ok to feel overwhelmed and it’s ok to feel like there are some days you just want to quit. That’s normal. You’re phenomenal. I’ve never understood why there aren’t more parades in your honor.”

Not to be left out, share this with the Dad in your life. For all the “ordinary, boring” Dads from your grateful daughters, you need to know that “you might be surprised by what we remember.” Because “the memories of what we did together will always trump the lost ones of what we didn’t.”

The growing pains of Motherhood reminds us that we are not alone. Other mothers are experiencing the same moments we are. As Lisa-Jo says, “I see you measuring your day in inches as the years stretch ahead in long miles.”

Her perspective on what the gang wars and Mommy wars have in common was shockingly accurate. “The thing is, the woman we’re so offended by – she bears your name. She bears my name. She is also Mother.”

Finally, I leave you with this for when you’re tired of the “how-to” books of parenting as another reason you should read Lisa-Jo’s beautiful book. “Motherhood isn’t a competition. It’s a calling.”

Happy 4th of July!

Nathan wanted to make sure we wished you a Happy 4th of July! I hope his cute patriotism brings a smile to your face!

Happy 4th of July

And if that doesn’t bring a smile to your face, I’ll leave you with these outtakes. Our little baby is becoming quite expressive!

4th of July Outtakes

Nathan @ 2 Months

It’s hard to believe it’s the middle of June already. Nathan continues to grow like a weed! He’s 11 weeks old but I haven’t had a chance to post his two month update. I’m doing it now – for you and for me! Here we go.

The month started off when Andy took his eighth grade class to Washington DC for 4 days. It was a challenge to solo parent, but the days went more smoothly – and quicker – than expected. Nathan did try to sneak into Andy’s suitcase but there wasn’t room for him! This was the month where I felt we started to settle into a routine.

Nathan Packing for Daddy

Nathan was almost 6 weeks before I took him to visit my students at Ascension. We had some nasty cases of strep making the rounds that I wanted us both to avoid. Of course, the children were all thrilled to meet him at last! The next week, I took Nathan to visit Andy’s school and classroom. Nathan was a hit at both schools!

Nathan at Ascension

Of course, we celebrated Mother’s Day. There were many years when I didn’t think this day would ever come. What a joyous day it was to celebrate with our baby who made my dreams come true!

Mother's Day 2014

Nathan grew so much during his second month. He settled into a good routine of being awake for 1.5 hours and asleep for the same. He started sleeping longer stretches at night, too, almost 6 hours at 6 weeks and a momentous 8 hours at 8 weeks! That was truly wonderful that Nathan did it without much help from us. I will say that swaddling at night has been very helpful – for him and for us!

As for other firsts, Nathan discovered his hands and will now occasionally suck on his hand – or thumb. He still likes his pacifier. Nathan continues to roll himself over regularly from his tummy to his back. I’d say that over half the time I put him on his tummy, he flips himself to his back. Nathan continues to lift his head quite high, as he wants to see what is going on. He is a curious and alert little guy.

Nathan discovered his hand

Nathan also got to meet his Grandpa Barz who arrived at the end of the month from Texas. My Dad arrived with my Mom (who was amazed at how Nathan has already grown since she left last month) to stay for a week. Nathan enjoyed some time with his grandparents, who graciously watched him as I returned to school for my final four days of teaching, after my maternity leave. It was so much easier to leave knowing that my parents were watching him. Plus, I didn’t have to take him anywhere which made the mornings much easier!

Nathan and His Grandpa Barz

Nathan still loves to eat, and regularly eats every 3ish hours. He decided that he liked baths his month so bathtime finds him kicking away in the water. The biggest event of the month? Nathan learned to smile. Really smile. It happened first when Andy was away at DC. Now, it happens all the time! Nathan loves to smile.

Smiles from Nathan

At his two month appointment, Nathan weighed 10 pounds, 12 ounces, which put him in the 25%. His length had increased to 22 inches, which put him in the 50% percentile. He’s a content and happy baby, whom we love watching grow and change – almost daily.

Our Summer Plans 2014

I finished my tenth year of teaching last Friday. I had mixed emotions because as glad as I always am to wrap up another incredible year, this year will be my last of full-time teaching (for now). I have been blessed to teach at two amazing Lutheran schools over my teaching ministry and it truly has been a blessing. There are so many memories of so many students. Still, like any student you ask, teachers are just as excited (if not more!) for summer to arrive. We have a busy summer ahead of us and it has already started!

My parents arrived from San Antonio, Texas, last Monday evening. Thankfully, they watched Nathan while I returned to school for my four days post maternity leave. Dad left on Sunday to go serve as Chaplain for a Doxology Retreat. Mom is still here for a couple more days until she picks Dad up on Wednesday. Dad went to a TinCaps game with Andy and his students. Nathan and I drove Dad and Mom over to Bowling Green to see Grandpa and Grandma Lehenbauer again. We went for walks and had lots of good conversations. Of course, most importantly, Nathan showed off his smiles and new babbling to his Texas grandparents who love to hold him. It’s been lovely to have them here!

Thursday morning, Andy and I are taking Nathan on his first long road trip. We are driving out to Lincoln, Nebraska, for my second-cousin’s wedding. It’s unique because both of my sisters and my parents will be there as well. We plan to stop in Omaha to see Andy’s brother Chris on the way. It will be a quick trip – driving out on Thursday, wedding on Friday and driving back on Saturday. It’s just what we do – so Nathan will get used to it. Thankfully, he likes car rides! I hope that remains true for this trip.

We’ll have a day to regroup and clean sheets before my sister arrives with her family on Monday. Liesl and Jose are back from Okinawa and heading to their new military assignment in North Carolina. We are so excited to see them – along with our two nieces and nephew. Nathan gets to meet his cousins for the first time! We’ll stay around Fort Wayne for a couple days with plans for visits to the park and new splash pad in the neighboring small town.

On Friday, we’ll all load up and drive to Camp Lakeview in Seymour, Indiana, for the Lehenbauer family reunion. It’s held every three years for my Grandpa’s siblings, children and grandchildren. It’s a good time to catch up with cousins and second cousins at a nice Lutheran camp.

After the reunion, it’s back home to Grabill. By then, our house will be quiet again and we’ll wrap up things in our classrooms. I have to pack mine up and Andy has the typical end of the year responsibilities. I have early childhood meetings to attend for the Indiana district and Andy has basketball camps to coach. Other than that, we’re staying around Fort Wayne. The Schiffli family has their annual reunion at the end of June in Fort Wayne.

At the end of July, we’ll travel to Cleveland for a couple days to get together with college friends. There will be a 1 year old and 3 little babies among the 5 couples this year. It will be a different sort of reunion now that the guys all travel with pack ‘n plays for their babies!

Finally, although school will have resumed by then, at the end of August, we will travel to Omaha, Nebraska for my brother-in-law’s wedding. We’re very excited to welcome Jessica into the Whirrett family! The rest of Andy’s siblings and his parents are driving out with us in the Tahoe so that will be quite the road trip!

Even though it doesn’t seem like a lot of long trips, since we’re coming home to Grabill in between each one, I went ahead and looked at a map. We’re still going to be driving 3400 miles this summer for these various trips. Did you know you can embed maps now? So, take a look.

Those are our summer plans. If I’m absent some days online, now you’ll know why! What are your plans for the summer? And do you drive everywhere like we do in our family?

An Unexpected Online Break

Ugh. Do you ever have those days – and weeks – when things don’t go according to plan? Well, last Thursday, I was checking my email when I noticed that my reply wouldn’t send. I looked further and it said the internet was down. I did all the tricks that I knew. I waited a bit. I refreshed the page. I turned off the modem and restarted it. Still, no internet. I waited until the next morning, just to make sure, but I still wasn’t able to get online. Andy called them and I called them three times before the tech guy determined it was our modem and sent us a replacement one. He said it would be there in 1 to 2 days. It wasn’t. It was Tuesday before it arrived. When I plugged in the new modem, our internet still didn’t work. I called our service provider again who quickly diagnosed it as a line problem. Why didn’t they say this before? Sigh. He said someone would come out as quickly as they could – in the next two days! Even bigger sigh. So, I continued to wait. It took until today when someone finally came out and got us back online! Unfortunately, my laptop still isn’t picking up the wireless signal but Andy’s laptop works.

It was a long time to do without internet – especially since I didn’t have any other place to get online. I don’t have a Smartphone and I still not back at school to use my school laptop either. I had big plans to work on some upcoming posts this week but it didn’t happen. I couldn’t email. I couldn’t check recipes. I couldn’t work on my photo books. I couldn’t update this website. It’s amazing how much we now depend on the internet!

Still, despite moments of frustration, I determined to make the best of it. Nathan and I took his first trip to the zoo with my preschoolers. We hosted a baby shower for the other preschool teacher. I read several books. Nathan practiced his smiles. We took naps and walks. I baked desserts for the upcoming Volunteer Dinner. I took more pictures of Nathan. Still, as productive as the time offline was, I decided it’s better when I chose to go offline. When it’s taken away without warning, I can’t plan for the break. That was the lesson I learned from my unexpected online break. I wanted to explain that I didn’t forget you all! I enjoyed my last week of maternity leave with Nathan – how can he be seven weeks old already? – and now I’m back online.

Nathan - 7 weeks

Nathan @ 1 Month

It’s hard to believe Nathan is already a month old! The time is going by as quickly as everyone said it would. I can’t believe how much Nathan has grown this month. It’s certainly been a month of adjustment, but I am doing my best to savor all these moments – whatever they bring. Here’s a look back at Nathan’s first month.

I was so thankful Nathan was born over our Spring Break. It was wonderful to have Andy with us at the hospital every day. All too soon, Dad had to go back to school but he hurries home as soon as he is able to cuddle with Nathan. This is the view I often see of my two favorite men, since Nathan likes best to sleep on top of us.


We were thankful to have my Mom come and stay with us, especially since that coincided with the first week Andy returned to school. Mom was great at keeping us caught up on laundry and cooking meals and cleaning the house so I could sit and feed Nathan – which is what still fills my time every day. Her great help certainly contributed to my smooth c-section recovery as well. It was also so good to have Mom’s help getting ready for our baptism company, as well as having an extra pair of hands to help with Nathan. What Grandma minds doing that?

Mom / Grandma & Uncle Joel

We celebrated Nathan’s baptism on Palm Sunday at Ascension and had a full house of family to rejoice with us. It was impressive that we had 6 of his 8 Aunts and Uncles with us for the day, too. Nathan is a content baby in church and has slept through every single church service he’s attended…so far.

Nathan's Baptism at Ascension

We also celebrated our first Easter as a family of three only a week later. It’s good to have a tripod at times like these, because we certainly don’t want to miss out on these family picture opportunities!

Easter 2014

Other than the big events of baptism and Easter, we’ve been staying home and away from the various illnesses that seem to be making the rounds lately. Nathan did get a bit of congestion already but handles the nose cleaning pretty well. He weighed in at 9 pounds at his three week check-up. Now, we don’t go back until 2 months in June but I am confident he has gained substantially since then.

Nathan is handling breastfeeding very well – after a bit of transition from our time in NICU. He takes a bottle without any fuss, too. This is a boy who loves to eat so if there is food, he’ll drink it! He does have some gas issues that have caused him discomfort so we are hoping he grows out of that soon. He also loves his pacifier, and that is very helpful at times!

Nathan and I take lots of naps together because he sleeps best on top of us. Thankfully, with rare exception, Nathan is sleeping 3 to 4 hour stretches at night – which is lovely! It’s even more lovely now that he’s sleeping at night in his bassinet. Now, if I can just get him to nap there during the day so I could get more things done! Oh well. We’re working on it, and I figure these newborn holding days will be over before I know it.


We take lots of pictures so Daddy won’t miss anything that happens during our day. Actually, it is my husband who is taking most of the pictures. With over 600 pictures taken in this past month, we are going to need several photo albums to capture all the cuteness like this.

Nathan - 2 weeks

Nathan likes riding in his carseat. This has been great for our drives to and from church, as well as the doctor. This bodes well for our travels this summer because we have two trips planned to Nebraska for weddings!

Nathan likes his carseat

I enjoy all the precious moments at home with my boy. He has such big eyes and is eager to take in all that is happening around him. I think we’re starting to see the beginnings of real smiles, too.

Baby Boy in Blue

Nathan likes his tummy time. I hear that some babies do not, but Nathan has enjoyed it from the very beginning. He also has very strong neck muscles as all his visitors and doctors have commented. This is a tummy time picture from 3 weeks and you can see how well he controls his neck muscles already! Nathan has even rolled over several times (from tummy to back) when he gets excited.


Of course, we have been reminded day in and day out that Nathan Reagan was indeed worth the wait. We are so thankful that he’s here! This month has brought so many changes to our lives and we look forward to the changes in the months (and years) ahead that Nathan will bring to our lives!

Worth the Wait - Color

I hope you all enjoyed the glimpse into our lives over this past month! I’ll try to keep you posted with monthly updates on Nathan as he grows. Now, to attempt to resume our regular posting schedule here at Joyfully Thriving!

Rejoicing in God’s Gift of Baptism

1 Peter 3:21

Today, our family rejoices as Nathan Reagan becomes God’s child in baptism. What a precious gift! God gave us this child and now we give him back to a Heavenly Father who loves Nathan even more than his earthly parents do.

Many of my school children are singing today, teaching our congregation at Ascension the beautiful truths found in the hymn, “God’s Own Child I Gladly Say It.” It is found in our Lutheran Service Book 594, for those of you wondering. This beautiful hymn shares the theology of baptism more eloquently than I ever could.

God’s own child I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ! He because I could not pay it, gave my full redemption price. Do I need earth’s treasures many? I have one worth more than any, that brought me salvation free – lasting to eternity.

Sin disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ! I have comfort even stronger, Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice. Should a guilty conscience seize me, since my baptism did realize me in a dear forgiving flood – sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood?

Satan, hear this proclamation: I am baptized into Christ! Drop your ugly accusation, I am not so soon enticed. Now that to the font I’ve traveled, all your might has come unraveled, and against your tyranny, God, my Lord unites with me. 

Again, it a special day for our family. We are thankful to have Nathan’s sponsors, Joel and Saydi Rempfer, here with us today. His other sponsors, Jose and Liesl Beaton, are represented by proxy today since they are still in Okinawa. We are thankful that Nathan has 3 of his 4 Grandparents here on this special day as well as 6 of his 8 Aunt and Uncles present. We are also thankful for many of our Whirrett, Schiffli, Barz and Lehenbauer family who are rejoicing with us in person – and from long distances – today.

Rejoice in your baptism! Remember the day God wrote His name on your heart!

At Home with Nathan

I know my last update was from the hospital so I wanted to stop by with the joyful news that we brought Nathan home from the hospital last Friday. My discharge and his actually were on the same day which was wonderful, because I didn’t want to leave him there alone. It is so good to have Nathan home with us!

Coming Home from the Hospital

As I mentioned before, Nathan’s stay in the NICU was necessary due to respiratory issues. The hospital ran lots of tests on Nathan and feel confident there will be no lasting effects from this rocky start. We are very thankful for the care Nathan received from Dr. Pebble and his nurses. It’s amazing to think that a week ago, this was our first view of Nathan.

Nathan in the NICU

Now, this is the how our sweet baby boy looks only one week later. God is indeed good!

One Week Old Nathan

We thank God for covering Nathan with his healing touch. There were so many other precious babies in the NICU that were smaller than Nathan, and will not be leaving nearly as quickly. My heart goes out to all mothers and fathers – but especially those who sit beside the hospital bed of their babies. Nathan’s story didn’t begin as we planned – in so many ways – but God’s way continues to teach us that He is with us through it all.

As I said before, we are thankful to be home together! Nathan and I were sad to see Andy return to school on Monday, but Nathan saved lots of cuddles for his Daddy when he returned. My mom is here to help us for the next week, and my mother-in-law is only a phone call away. It’s lovely to have their help! For now, we are adjusting to new sleeping and feeding schedules and planning for company this weekend as we celebrate Nathan’s baptism. I pray all is well with you and your families!

Introducing Nathan Reagan

Hello, everyone! I’m still at the hospital but am pleased to share with you the arrival of our son, Nathan Reagan Whirrett on Monday, March 31st at 11:25. He weighs 8 pounds, 2 ounces, with a head full of dark hair. Unfortunately, labor and delivery did not go as planned, resulting in a surprise c-section, and Nathan is currently in the NICU.

Nathan Reagan - In the NICU and Improving

Long story short, it turns out that he had swallowed quite a bit of meconium (probably over the last week or so) which caused him to have trouble breathing. We have a wonderful staff at the NICU who is taking good care of him. Andy and I were finally able to hold our son yesterday evening, and we are thanking God for the improvement we are already seeing!

I will be at the hospital another couple of days, as will Nathan. For now, we give thanks for Nathan’s arrival, and thank you for your prayers! I’ll leave you with our first family picture!

Our First Picture as a Family of 3

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