Our Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving Plans and Menu - Joyfully Thriving

It’s Thanksgiving week! Already? Yes, already, and we are indeed thankful! This is going to my last post for the week because it will be a wonderfully busy week at our house. Andy and I have been busy getting our house ready for our company. Here are our plans for Thanksgiving this year.

Early Tuesday morning, my sister, Liesl, arrives with her husband and 4 children from North Carolina. They are driving through the night to get here. I’ll still take Nathan to his Grandma’s for the afternoon while I teach music, so they can rest from the travel. Late Tuesday evening (probably around midnight or so), my brother, Joel, arrives from St. Louis. He will drive with our sister, Mikaela, and her husband and their new baby.

Wednesday, we have plans for the children to visit Science Central with the guys while the girls (and babies) go shopping for bargains! We’ll enjoy being together. I don’t think there will be much sleeping late with 6 children in the house – especially since 3 of those are babies under the age of 7 months!

On Thursday, we’ll go to Thanksgiving worship at Ascension. Afterwards, all of us will go to my in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. All 3 of Andy’s siblings will be home for Thanksgiving as well. It will be a full house! On Thanksgiving evening, my parents fly into Fort Wayne from San Antonio. Then, the entire Barz family will be together!

Friday, we’re going to have another Thanksgiving meal for lunch at our house. Turkey, stuffing and all the traditional sides! We’ll have the Whirretts over for an evening meal of chili…and leftovers.

Saturday is our last day together, so we’re going to try and get a professional picture taken of my parents with their now 6 grandchildren. We’ll see how it goes! After lunch, we’ll all start heading our separate ways. I say all, because Nathan and I will be driving with my parents to Saginaw, Michigan, for the weekend. This was what started the whole Thanksgiving get-together plans. The church where my Dad first served invited their former Pastors to come back and preach this year for their 100th anniversary. Dad picked Thanksgiving weekend so we can see the Boar’s Head Festival which he helped to start at Bethlehem Lutheran. I was not quite 5 when we moved from Saginaw but I do have clear memories from my first years there. I am excited to visit again!

It will be a busy week. My menu is planned with main dishes that include poppy seed chicken, chili, the Pioneer Woman’s lasagna and, of course, a turkey. I have homemade crescent rolls in the freezer as well as frosted butter cookies and mini chocolate chip pumpkin muffins. I am going to be trying several new pumpkin recipes out, too. The food is important because we all like to eat, but more important is the fact that we will all be together.

I am looking forward to this week. We are all looking forward to it. We are indeed, truly, thankful! I pray that your Thanksgiving – no matter what you eat or whom you eat it with – is filled with joy. May all our hearts be filled with thanksgiving to God for the countless blessings He bestows upon us!

Nathan in the Gerber Baby Contest

Nathan at 6 Months

After hearing quite a few times how much Nathan looks like the Gerber baby, we decided to enter him in this year’s Gerber Baby contest! There are quite a few babies entered with a college scholarship at stake, but we think he’s pretty cute! Here’s where I come in with a personal plea because we need your help if we have a chance to win.

Would you be willing to vote for Nathan? You can vote daily for him from now until December 14th. It’s simple to do so. Go to the Gerber Photo Search website and enter your birth date and email to register. They do this to verify that all the votes are unique and all the voters over the age of 13. Then, the easiest way is to search for Nathan by his id number – 47414. When Nathan’s picture pops up, click on vote! That’s it. Of course, if you’re willing to do this daily, that increases our chances all the more. And if you’re willing to vote and share it with others? We’d be greatly appreciative! Thanks, everyone!

Nathan @ 7 Months

Nathan is 7 months old already! I’ve realized when writing these monthly updates, it is a challenge to keep details straight. Even though he’s 7 months now, I’m recording things he did last month. Here’s our sweet little boy with his 7 month picture that I took.

Nathan @ 7 Months

This month, we planned for a surprise 40th anniversary for my in-laws. My husband and all his siblings worked together to make this happen, but since I was the one at home, Nathan and I did a lot of the little details. Nathan liked the new drink bins we bought! I decided they could make a nice summer wading pool for him.

Nathan Getting Ready for our Surprise Party

In addition to spending his weekly time with his Whirrett grandparents, Nathan also spent time with his Grandpa Barz. My Dad flew to Indiana for a long weekend to serve as chaplain at a Doxology weekend. He tacked an extra day onto his travels so he could stay with us before and after. We read books, had a cook-out and even went for a brisk morning walk together with the stroller. It’s always good to see my parents!

Nathan and his Grandpa Barz

Nathan continues to be a good eater. He eats everything I put in front of him! The orange foods (carrots, squash and sweet potatoes) are favorites, as are the pears and apples. Nathan tried egg yolk from a hard boiled egg this month and really liked his first protein! We also just started Cheerios. He can’t pick them up himself quite yet but eagerly eats the ones we put in his mouth.

Nathan loves to eat!

We’ve had a gorgeous Fall here in Indiana with relatively warm days. Nathan and I were able to take our daily walks until just recently when the rain and cold temperatures arrived in full force. We finally got a picture of him in the leaves at his Great-Grandma’s house. Nathan wasn’t really sure what to think of these crunchy things that we put him in – but it makes for a nice picture!

Nathan in the Leaves

It was a cold and rainy day for Nathan’s first Halloween. His friend, Kate, loaned him her pumpkin costume that she wore last yesterday. Nathan dressed up and we went to visit Daddy at school. He skyped with his cousins in North Carolina so they could see his costume, too. Isn’t he a cute little pumpkin?

Mommy & Nathan Pumpkin

Nathan is so close to crawling! He moves backwards regularly, but just can’t quite figure out what to do with his arms just yet. He now weighs 18 pounds, 9 ounces – up almost 2 pounds in 1 month! Also, Nathan has two teeth now! He got his first tooth days before he turned 7 months, and his second one popped through four days later. Of course, he caught a cold as a result so we’ve had another rough week of sleep. It’s so hard when he just can’t breathe clear enough to sleep soundly! Thankfully, he’s still been a happy baby, regardless of lack of sleep. 7 months, here we are!

The Start of November

Well, I did it! I made it through another 31 days of writing on one single topic. Whew! It was a good month and a good challenge, but now I’m taking a breather. Well, not really because life continues on. Here’s a bit about what’s going on in my life.

Nathan cut his first two teeth this past week – one on Wednesday and the other one on Sunday. He then caught a cold. I don’t know if they are related. Some say yes, but ’tis the season for colds. As a result, we’ve had a couple sleepless nights for him – and his parents. He’s still a smiley little guy even with his nose running and eyes watering. Poor baby. Daytime has brought more cuddles as Nathan wants to be held a bit more while teething, and who am I to refuse this adorable little boy?

Nathan's 1st Halloween

I am keeping busy with music at school. I have choirs singing 3 of the 5 Sundays in November. Plus, it’s time to start working on the Christmas service. Piano lessons continue and we are choosing songs for our Christmas piano recital. That means I probably need to do some more piano music shopping as well.

Basketball season has started for my husband. Practices and games are quickly filling his calendar. We’re going to head to Indy with Andy and the team next weekend for one of their first tournaments. It’s another perk to not teaching full-time. We can go away with Daddy as he coaches!

Most importantly, we are getting ready for Thanksgiving. My entire family – all my siblings, their spouses and children, plus my parents – are coming to our house for Thanksgiving! I am already planning menus and the logistics for having a house full of 15 people – including 3 babies. I am very excited because I have not celebrated Thanksgiving with my entire family since 2001. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s been 13 years since I’ve celebrated with all of them. I am looking forward to it, even as I begin all the preparations. The whole Whirrett family will be together as well so we have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

That’s a bit about our life at the beginning of November. Look for deals and bargains and encouragement to continue as normal! With the busy-ness of November and December upon us, I might post every day but I will be here regularly. What’s happening in your life right now? Are you looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations?

Nathan @ 6 Months

Before we begin October (and my Simple Savings series), I want to share this month’s update on Nathan Reagan. Look at this! I’m actually posting his update on the very day that he turns 6 months! Yay for that. Now, if I can just keep his Shutterfly baby book up to date…

We started out the month with a visit to Illinois for Nathan to meet this Barz Great-Grandparents. Nathan is blessed to have 7 of his 8 Great Grandparents still living. We know this is a blessing, especially since Andy & I married later and didn’t have Nathan right away. My Grandpa and Grandma Barz were the last ones of the 7 to meet Nathan. They were all excited to meet one another! We were glad we could spend the day with them before they returned home to Cheney, Kansas.

Meeting Great Grandparents

Nathan and I have really settled into our at home routines. One of which is a daily walk around town – or at least to the post office. The weather cooled off enough for us to zip up into jackets. Nathan does love riding in his stroller to see what he can see.

Nathan Walks

Nathan went to his first birthday party as his friend Kate turned 1! Okay, Kate’s Mom is my teacher friend, Allison. We’ve decided that, of course, our babies will be friends! We try to get together for play dates, and we enjoyed celebrating Kate’s birthday with her.

Nathan's 1st Birthday Party

Nathan loves to stand. He always has. I went to a local baby resale and picked up this exosaucer for only $9.50. It was in great condition and at a great price! Nathan absolutely loves it. I love that he can stand and play to his heart’s content.

Nathan in Exosaucer

We celebrated Andy’s birthday this month and met him at the zoo. Andy took his class on a field trip so Nathan and I helped him check the answers for the scavenger hunt he gave the kiddos. It was a fun day! I love this picture of my two boys watching for the sea lions. Andy is such a great dad!

Zoo with Daddy

The big adventure is that Nathan started eating solids, just last week! So far, we’ve introduced rice cereal followed by oatmeal. He’s tried avocado (yum) and today, gets to eat peas. As you can see from the first time he ate cereal, he was ready and eager to eat! We’ll continue with the green vegetables before orange ones, followed by fruits. And yes, I am making my own baby food. I have some jars that I bought for when we’re out and about. But for now, I’m doing homemade – because it is so much cheaper and quite easy to do, too.

Nathan Helps Feed Himself

When I weighed Nathan at the end of the month, he weighed 15 pounds, 8 ounces. He can roll over from front to back and back to front. He can sit by himself, which is very exciting! He does push-ups as he attempts to crawl already. We finally got him on a sleep schedule this month. He eats at 7am and sleeps through the night until eating at 5am. He eats again before sleeping for another hour or two. Of course, he caught his first cold this weekend (boo!) so his sleeping has been out of sorts since he’s had trouble breathing. Eating, sleeping, rolling over, sitting up – what a busy month! Happy 6 months, Nathan Reagan!

End of the Summer Garden Produce

I think that’s the last of it. I think – I hope – I just picked my last tomatoes of the season. Our garden didn’t look that big when Andy planted it, but it provided us with plenty of produce over the past couple months. We planted 8 tomato plants, a row of bell peppers and a row of onions. We also planted 2 zucchini plants and 2 cucumber plants. From that, we ate a lot of zucchini bread. Seriously, I made over 18 loaves – many of which I gave away. I also taught my husband to like sauteed zucchini. I ate a lot of veggie wraps and cooked with our fresh produce. Much of it made it’s way to our freezer. Here is a list of what I currently have in our freezer and in the pantry, thanks to a summer of fresh produce.

I froze 10 cups of grated zucchini. I grated my zucchini and froze it in 2 cup bags because each recipe for zucchini bread calls for 2 cups. This way, I can easily thaw one bag each time I want to make fresh zucchini bread. We had lots of zucchini that grew to be very large very quickly – as you can see one next to Nathan.

One of our many zucchini

I froze 10 pints of blueberries. The blueberries I flash froze and put in large gallon bags. I didn’t grow the blueberries but bought them for $1 a pint at the grocery store. They are delicious! I wish I had bought more.

I froze 8 cups of blackberries. The blackberries were from a church member’s bushes that she gave me for free. Like the blueberries, I flash froze them and put them in a large bag in the freezer.

Fresh Garden Blackberries

I canned 13 jars of blackberry jam using this recipe. I gave several jars away but I still have plenty of jars to enjoy on my toast this year.

I froze 5 diced onion bundles. I like to dice the onions ahead of time into these onion bundles so I can quickly toss them into a pan of hamburger when I’m cooking dinner. It allows me to get my hands dirty once and saves me prep time.

I froze 8 cups of diced bell peppers. I diced the peppers and flash froze them before transferring them into several quart bags in the freezer. I really like sauteing peppers with onions (and sometimes corn and black beans) and eating them in veggie wraps. It’s my new favorite!

Peppers and Zucchini

I froze 18 cups of sweet corn. One of Andy’s students shared some sweet corn from their family farm with us. Growing up in Texas, I do love the good sweet corn that we get up North! I also had fond memories of my Mom freezing corn as I cut the long strips off the cob. I followed the directions in my handy Ball Blue Book.

Sweet Corn for the Freezer

Most of my time was spent working with tomatoes. I canned over 40 pints of salsa using my Aunt Renee’s recipe. We have already eating several jars and given several away. We have 30 pints of salsa remaining in our basement pantry.

Fresh Canned Salsa

When I got tired of canning salsa, I decided to try my hand at fresh tomato sauce. I made 12 cups of tomato sauce in my slow cooker and froze it in quart bags – 2 cups of sauce in each bag. This was my first time making tomato sauce in the slow cooker and it was incredibly easy! I made it up as I went along but the results were all good!

It’s a varied assortment but I love having a stocked freezer with so many different – and fresh – vegetables and fruits. I’m not as well stocked as my Amish neighbors, I’m sure, but every year I do a bit more. It makes my happy to be preserving fresh food for my family! Did you have a garden this summer? What’s in your freezer?

Restocking My Wardrobe with Twice

Restocking My Wardrobe with Twice - a Great Bargain Shopping Trip

It was time. After having a baby, my wardrobe needed an update. I don’t buy new clothes very often and after losing the baby weight, I really wanted to update my closet. My life has dramatically changed with staying home, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look cute doing so. I’d been meaning to buy new clothes for some time, but shopping with a baby isn’t easy. Plus, I still wanted to find good bargains. It was Andrea who finally gave me the motivation to go and buy some new clothes.

I decided to shop online at Twice . Twice is an online, upscale thrift store. It has reasonable prices on name brand clothing – Gap, Limited, New York & Company, Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Express and Banana Republic, just to name a few. I thought their prices really reasonable, starting at $7.95 for a lot of the tops. Plus, the deciding factor was that just for signing up, I got a $10 credit to spend at Twice. Everyone who signs up gets a free $10 to spend right away! And for everyone who signs up through your link, you get an additional $10 to spend. Somehow my referral link got spread around online (thank you to whomever shared my link) so I already had some credit to spend, too.

I had read about Andrea’s new wardrobe and then later that week, happened to see that when you liked the Twice Facebook page, you got 50% off your first order. Here was my logic. I needed a new wardrobe. I had money to spend. There was a great coupon code. Plus, when you spent over $50, you got free shopping. So, shopping online at Twice I went!

Before I started, I thought about what I wore and what I wanted to wear. I knew I wanted comfortable tops that were plain and could be worn with my jeans or my black pants. I wanted tops that would look nice whether I’m at home with Nathan, running errands or out on a date night with Andy. I have plenty of teacher clothes but now I need SAHM clothes. What a nice “problem” to have! I decided I’d shop mainly for some new casual tops that were comfortable but with a little something unique about them. I also decided to check dresses, just because dresses are always hard to find!

What I love about Twice is how easily you can search. I started by searching under tops. Then, I selected both the small size and the small petite size. Next, I selected short sleeve or three-quarter length. I don’t like long sleeves because they are often too long and cover my hands. Finally, I selected blues and reds, because those are the colors I find myself wearing most because I’ve learned those are the colors I look best in. That narrowed down the search quite a bit. I added in grey later. Finally, because I like a bargain, I sorted my results from prices lowest to highest. Why pay more for a top if I like the cheaper ones just as much? From my results, I selected tops from the Gap, Ann Taylor Loft, Uniqlo, Style & Company, New York & Company, and the Limited. See what I mean? Everything is truly name brand.  Here are the items I selected.

My First Twice Purchases

Cute, aren’t they? I think so and was very excited to try everything on. Sorry I don’t have pictures of me wearing them all yet. Nathan admired my new clothes, but can’t work a camera yet! :-) I ordered 12 items from Twice, but 3 of the items (2 tops and 1 dress) didn’t fit me very well. I wasn’t worried. Twice has free return shipping and offers you full credit back for any items returned within 30 days. That made ordering even simpler because I didn’t have to worry that I would be stuck with any items that didn’t fit / look good.

Just so you can see how good of a deal I got – and because I love good deals, here are my totals. The original value of these name brand clothes (according to Twice) was $369.29. The price at Twice was $107.55. Most of the tops were priced at $7.95 or 8.95. Thanks to the 50% off my first order coupon, I spent $53.78 for these 9 new pieces of clothing! If I had shopped in one of those stores, I would have only been able to get 2 new tops for that same price!

My order arrived in 2 days and all the clothes were in excellent condition. None of them looked worn at all. Plus, I did all my shopping from the comfort of my home. I am amazed at how easy it was to shop at Twice and will definitely be shopping there more in the future!

I love my updated wardrobe so much! If you’re looking for some new clothes, I highly encourage you to check out Twice . If you want to sign up through my referral link here, you and I will both get $10 to spend on clothes. Then, be sure to share your referral link to get more credit, too! I’d recommend liking the Twice Facebook page to get an additional 50% off your first order. For me, as soon as I liked the page, I had 12 hours to shop and get the 50% off so be sure you’re ready to shop!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Have fun shopping in a frugal and fun fashion!

Nathan @ 4 and 5 Months

In the wonderful whirlwind that was our summer, I fell behind on my monthly Nathan posts. I trust you all won’t mind if I share the highlights of our past two months now? Here we go, starting with his 4 month picture.

Nathan at 4 Months

At 4 months, Nathan weighed in at 13 pounds, 8 ounces and was 24.5 inches long. That put him in the 10% for weight and the 12% for height. He was also a trooper getting 3 more shots this month. The doctor told us to start solid foods, but we decided to wait until 6 months like the AAP currently recommends. Nathan still nurses well but the distraction stage hit us this month. He pauses many time mid-meal to gaze up at me or look around the room.

Nathan discovered his voice this month and has become quite the “talker.” He babbles on and on and loves to screech to hear his voice. It has made church a bit more interesting but he’s so excited that nobody minds much. Andy and I are more aware of the noise than anyone else, I’m sure.

We had a rough couple of weeks due to Nathan’s 4 month growth spurt with waking every two hours during the night. I have to say that this growth spurt was worse than the newborn stage. Now that we’re past that – and done with all our travels – I’m working very hard at getting us both settled into a good sleeping routine now.

Nathan saw his first fireworks in July. We weren’t sure how it was going to go because it was well past his bedtime. He started to get fussy right before they started but once he noticed them, Nathan was transfixed for the entire show. We watched from the parking lot of St. Paul’s (Andy’s school) so were far enough away that we didn’t have to worry about the noise. We could simply enjoy the show – and we certainly did!

Nathan watching his first fireworks

Nathan’s current favorite book is “Peek a Who?” We’ve read it countless times because there is something about the simple pictures and text that calm him instantly. I wish I had written this book because I could be making millions from it! We also discovered this month that the rhyme “5 Little Monkeys” can stop his crying in the middle of the tantrum. It’s the oddest thing and I don’t know why this works, but we are thankful it does!

We enjoyed a trip to Cleveland to see college friends. Among the 5 couples, we had 4 babies – 20 months, 8 months, 4 months (Nathan) and 2 months. We stayed around the house with the babies and enjoyed visiting. I love this picture of “big girl” Kylie helping hold Nathan. They were both so happy in this moment! This was also the first time I really saw myself (as a baby) in Nathan.

Kylie helping hold Nathan

We also made a trip to St. Louis to celebrate our nephew and Nathan’s cousin’s baptism. Ezekiel is a cutie and it was so fun to have all 5 of the cousins together. We did our best at taking a picture of the Barz cousins – the first of many – with the boys wearing matching outfits bought by my Mom.

The Barz Grandchildren - Summer 2014

At 5 months, Nathan has become more efficient (or quicker) at nursing. He still gets easily distracted by all that is going on around him. He definitely recognizes the voices of his Mommy and Daddy when we come in the room or door from somewhere else. It makes us smile every time.

Nathan rolls over occasionally but not regularly yet. He prefers to scoot around. He is excellent at turning himself 360 degrees on his tummy when playing. He tries to sneak glances at the tv but knows Dad and Mom don’t allow it so we are watching it less and less when he’s in the room…which isn’t a bad thing.

This month, we traveled to Nebraska to celebrate his Uncle Chris’s wedding (Andy’s brother) to his new Aunt Jessica. It was a small but lovely wedding in Omaha over Labor Day weekend. Nathan looked quite handsome in his little suit ($3.50 from Once Upon a Child) and new bowtie. He looks so grown up, too!

Nathan at 5 Months in His tux

Nathan loves to stand – with our help. He is very close to sitting on his own, too. He started spending two afternoons a week at his Grandpa and Grandma Whirrett’s while I go teach music. We are very thankful for their help and for the opportunity for Nathan to see at least one set of his grandparents regularly.

Nathan is still quite the charmer and loves to smile at everyone. He laughs occasionally but always has a smile ready! He is starting to recognize a camera and smile for it as well. We get comments everywhere we go over what a cute and happy baby Nathan is. And he truly is! Nathan really is a people person!

Nathan at 5 Months

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

Links I Love Button

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.”

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