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So, our first house is officially sold. As happy as we are that this has finally happened, I am also flooded with emotions.

We are outgrowing this little house, but it was always so much more than just a house.

It has been our home.

Our first home we had ever owned. We were no longer renters. We took a big step into adulthood the day we signed those papers. So much excitement, fear, and uncertainty.

This little starter home came into our lives at the perfect time. Just three months after losing our first baby, this house was such a happy blessing, and a great distraction from so much pain.

We brought our sweet girl home to this house. We are fortunate to know the only two previous owners of the home. With that knowledge, we also know that Nora is the first and only baby to have been brought home here. That is just so special.

So many happy memories in this house. Nora took her first steps on the hardwood floors. Many nights of dance parties, laughter, love, and big smiles happened here.

We made some of our first big purchases; refrigerator, carpet, gutters. We learned so much along the way.

This home has heard us cry many tears. All of us!

Collin learned so many new skills. He didn’t have much of choice when we had just bought a house, were poor, and things were breaking!

Many mornings were spent sipping coffee on the porch while Nora played. We would watch the big trucks and tractors drive by.

So much growth as parents, spouses, and people has happened behind these walls.

Yes, this home has been a blessing, a gift from above, but we take with us so many fond memories.

I know we will make new memories in our next house, and I can hardly wait!

 

 

Using Nap Time Wisely

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If you follow along with me on Instagram, then you have heard me talk about Nora’s recent nap struggles. For almost five months now we are dealing with short naps (1 hour-1 hour and 15 minutes), and screaming when she wakes up.

I have tried EVERY. THING.

EVERY. SINGLE. THING.

In the last few weeks I decided to just accept it. When she wakes up, I usually let her cry for a little then go and get her. Nothing I have tried has extended her naps, so I guess in a way I gave up. Every once in a while she will give me a surprise and sleep longer, but most days she sleeps an hour and fifteen minutes on the dot.

I still have hopes that it is just a loooooong phase and she will snap out of it eventually, but until then I am just asking God for extra patience and extra grace.

With this new development, I really have to use my free time wisely. I have very little of it now. All momma’s know how sacred nap time is. If you are a SAHM like me, it is sometimes your only time away from your child except bedtime. I love Nora with all my heart, but I also need a little time to myself!

I made the decision a while ago that nap times for me will be for “me time,” or “self care.” If I have dishes, laundry or other household things to get done, I do them while Nora is awake. She is great at entertaining herself so I can get those things done mostly undistracted. So, while Nora naps I do things I maybe couldn’t do while she was awake.

I always begin by reading my Bible and praying. I used to do this in the mornings, but Nora is up and ready to go by 6:30 everyday. So, I shut my door, get cozy in bed with the pups and read the Bible.

Then, after I have completed that, I use whatever time I may have left for anything I want! My idea is to basically do something for me, that I wouldn’t prefer to have Nora around for. Some of these things include:

Napping

Watching a show

Painting my nails

Reading a book

Scrolling through social media

Eating without interruption and without having to share 😉

I simply realized that since my time is short, I need to be filling it with things I want to do for me and alone. It feels like a waste on days that I use those precious moments to clean.

I know all momma’s use their child’s nap times differently, but what I think is important is that whatever you are doing it is exactly what you want to be doing!

For more on this topic, Risen Motherhood (my favorite podcast) has a great episode on the topic! Click here to listen!

 

Five on Friday | Lately

Normally these posts are meant to be highlights from the week. I wouldn’t say today’s are all highlights, but rather the things that are going on lately in our little family!

|One|

We began this week with a fun little outing with friends and their little boy! We headed over to “the city” to watch The Parade of Lights. Nora was mesmerized the whole time! Luckily, the weather has been in the mid fifties, so it was only in the forties by parade time. Totally manageable! We don’t get out with friends often enough, but when we do it’s so good for the soul!

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|Two|

My parents have been staying in “the city” as research for my mom’s new book. They rented out an airbnb, and got to explore my stomping grounds! We were all able to see them a few times which was a nice change from only seeing them a few times a year. One morning we all met them for coffee, since we had a photographer we snapped a family picture!

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|Three|

This gal has truly been amazing me this week. After a week of traveling all over the place, we finally got back to our normal schedule at home. One of my favorite parts of being at home with her is that I get to really see how much she is growing and changing… right before me! She is talking up a storm, and is seriously the sweetest kid I know! Always ready to give an unsolicited kiss, and saying “I love you” randomly! So sweet!

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|Four|

Our house sold! Praise the Lord! However, this is the state of our house right now. Closing is scheduled for December 27th, and I don’t want to be packing last minute if possible. I am attempting to pack two boxes a day to hopefully make some progress. We will be living temporarily in our church’s parsonage (a home owned by the church), which is such a blessing. There are very few options in the town we want to live in, so this will allow us to wait on the perfect home, and be ready to jump on it when it comes available! We are moving in the bare minimum and storing the rest. So packing this time around is much different. Lots of organization and labeling needed!

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|Five|

On the same note, this is what packing pregnant and with a toddler is like. I’m more tired, my pregnancy brain causes me to be all over the place, and Nora unpacks a box as fast as I pack it! We will make it through, but sheesh it’s a lot different then moving to our current house! Pray for us… or send help!

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Hope your December is off to a great start! This really is the best time of year, but it is about to get crazy!

Nora Kate | Months 19-21

A little update on Miss Nora, and how she has grown and changed in the last three months! I cannot believe she will be two in less than three months! I am loving these days at home with my gal!

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| What Nora Can Do |

| She is a growing gal who now wears size 6 diapers and 2T clothes.

| Nora was very slow to get teeth in the beginning of her life, but finally has so many we lost count!

| Climbing, running, and jumping are some of her favorite things! She is an active kid with very little fear! She will try anything, but is good about getting help when she needs it too.

| Nora’s vocabulary is so big now we can’t even keep track. She basically picks up multiple new words each day, and retains them. She also just started adding ending consonants onto words, so what she says is much more clear. She puts 3-4 word sentences together as well. Basically, she can communicate about anything she wants to with us now!

| Nora likes to let us know when she is unhappy with something. Around month 21 she started throwing fits and telling us “no.” We are quick to ignore the fits and discipline any disobedience, but gosh it’s hard not to laugh sometimes!

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| What Nora Eats |

| Around month 18 Nora began to exercise her right to say no at the table. She isn’t a picky eater by any means, but sometimes she just decides she doesn’t want to eat much at all. We can always get her to eat fruit, but we save it for last. She goes back and forth between eating amazing and eating like a bird.

| Breakfast she usually eats great. She often inhales her lunch, but dinner is the tricky one. We never know how she will eat at dinnertime.

| Favorite foods include; strawberries, clementines, spaghetti, chicken, peas, sweet peppers, yogurt, and blueberries.

| She loves fruit snacks and cheese crackers.

| Nora drinks milk well with her meals and is also a big fan of cold water. She prefers to drink mommy or daddy’s water, but her sippy cup will do too! I still haven’t given her juice and maybe won’t until she’s older.

| She is now a champ at using a spoon and a fork. We try to make sure that she gets plenty of chances to use them.

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| What Nora Loves |

| Nora has really begun to play pretend lately. She likes to copy things she sees me do throughout the day. She likes to wear sunglasses, put a purse over her shoulder, and pretend to talk on the phone… just like momma!

| Books are still one of her ultimate favorite toys. She will look at books forever!

| She loves to be outside. Luckily we have had high temperatures for October and November and we get out as much as we can!

| Girl is obsessed with anything puppy. She can spot a puppy anywhere, and gets excited anytime she sees one.

| Some of Nora’s favorite toys include; baby dolls, play kitchen, Duplo blocks, stuffed animals, and coloring.

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| What Has Nora Been Up To|

| Maybe the biggest thing for Nora is that she learned she will become a big sister in April! She has no idea what’s coming, but I think she will be the best sister ever!

| Nora got to dress up as a pink poodle, and enjoy a fun night at our church trunk or treat.

| Nora celebrated Thanksgiving. She was a big fan of the turkey and corn casserole.

| We decorated the house for Christmas, and went to our local Parade of Lights.

| Lots of trips to the park, Target, and eating out with family.

|In November we made a big trip to Kentucky with my family. We stayed in a hotel and went to The Creation Museum and The Ark Encounter. My gal was amazing the entire time, including the six hour drive home!

 

Nora Kate,

I know I say this every month, but you are just so much fun! Not only are you sweet, but you are so funny and entertaining! I love watching your imagination develop, and your personality blossom. You are your own little person, and I am so proud of who you are becoming! I feel so blessed to be able to spend my days at home with you. I know you may not always think of me as your best friend (oh teenagers), but I know you do now and it’s my favorite!

 

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Random Thoughts on Baby #2

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Welcoming a second baby into the family feels very different than expecting Nora did. For so many reasons it just feels different. I am sure a third, fourth, or however many more each feel different in some ways too.

I’ve said it before, but this blog is a huge way for me to document our little life. Just the other night I went back a year, and reread almost all of those past posts. It brought back so many memories, and just made me so happy to reminisce. A couple days ago I had some heartburn. I thought it was a little early for that to start, so I went back to my bumpdate posts and found when it began with Nora to compare. So helpful to have this space to look to. I know our kiddos will love being able to see it someday as well!

So, because of those reasons. Many times my posts are not specifically meant for other readers. Anytime a post is helpful or entertaining to others I love to hear that. But, most of the time I am writing for me and my family! I just invite others to come along on the journey!

Today, I am jotting down all the random thoughts I have on welcoming baby Smith #2 into our little family. I don’t ever want to forget these feelings, and emotions!

|I thought my fears of miscarriage would be minimal since I have now welcomed a healthy baby. Sadly, that’s not been the case. In some ways I was almost more scared because now I know how much love my heart can hold for a child. I am thankful each day for this baby, and for a God who knows my fears and will carry me through them.

|Even though it wasn’t that long ago that I was pregnant with Nora, I still have trouble remembering the details. Multiple times I will bring something up about this pregnancy and mention to Collin how I don’t remember it with Nora. He kindly reminds me that I complained about the same things!

|It’s true what they say, every pregnancy is different. I was in great shape before I got pregnant with Nora, this time… not so much. I am having worse back pain and more aching and can just tell I’m a little “worse for the wear.” Some things have seemed almost identical, others are different, plus my body has changed. Pregnancy really is pretty miraculous!

|There is so much less fear and uncertainty this time around. With Nora we were so nervous and unsure about bringing home an infant. We were also mainly hopefully expectant about everything. This time around it’s a big mix of both emotions. We remember those first few months, and how utterly exhausted we were. We know about all the rough patches, regressions, and other tough stuff. But, we also know how much love our hearts can hold, all of the amazing parts of parenthood, and just how plain awesome raising a kiddo is. So, we are looking forward to this baby in a whole new way.

|Bringing home a new little one is so incredibly exciting no matter when, but it’s so different to also have Nora to think about. I feel like I go back and forth about being sad for Nora, and also incredibly excited for her. I know her world will be rocked. She will have to learn to deal with no longer being the only babe. Part of me is “mourning” my days with just the two of us. At the same time, I know how fun it was to grow up with siblings. I feel like we are giving her one of the best gifts ever, she just might take a while to realize it! It simply introduces a whole new set of emotions.

I may add to this post as new thoughts enter my mind, but for now these are the things I have been feeling. I know I’ll be glad I wrote these down!

Give Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy a small list of the things I am thankful for!

 

my savior

Collin

Nora

Baby Cashew

family

friends

the pups

shelter

freedom

love

 

*bonus*

coffee

donuts

sweatpants

cheesy Hallmark movies

facetime

good books

baby kicks

 

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High. Psalm 7:17

 

My House is Tidy… and Yours Can Be Too

kitchennewIf you were to walk into my house at any given moment, I’d say eight times out of ten the house would be pretty stinkin’ neat and tidy. I like it that way, and I have the time to keep it picked up right now. I do have a toddler, and she is an impressive mess maker. Don’t think that I walk around cleaning up after her constantly, because I don’t. I do however do some things around my house to try and keep it as tidy as possible.

I wrote a post a while back about how there is a big difference between clean and tidy. You can read about that here, and see the poll results!

I prefer a tidy house. I like things to be in their rightful place, surfaces to be showing, and floors to be visible. I don’t like it when the throw pillows and blankets are strewn about. I can’t stand little piles of papers, books, and random objects on the kitchen table or island. It drives me insane when there are clothes all over our bedroom floor.

I like tidy. Honestly, I would imagine most people do. They just may not Be sure how to keep their home in that state.

Today, I want to offer a few tips I have found over the past few years to help keep my home tidy. I want to add a disclaimer that I realize I only have one child. Adding baby Smith number two may completely change all of this. If it does, I will revisit! But, for now as a family of three, in a small home that is easily trashed, here are some things I do to keep things tidy.

Test my home for dust pile-up, spotless bathrooms, and shiny floors, and it’s another story! 😉

|Tidy Up Every Night Before Bed| Nora goes to bed around seven, and The Hubs and I are out by ten. So, we have about three hours for just the two of us before we go to bed. We might play a game, watch a show, or read in bed. Before we head off to our activity, we work together to tidy up the house. We make sure the kitchen, living room, and our room are pretty much spotless. First, this makes me rest so much easier at night. I like knowing there isn’t a big mess just waiting for me the next morning. My favorite part is that I wake up each morning to a spotless house. This way, all the inevitable messes that will be made are not piling on top of others. It’s a clean slate…or a tidy slate.

|Have a Place for Everything| I mean everything! Even those little piles of random junk. Get a basket to hide those things in. I am a huge fan of baskets, bins, and any other organizational tubs. Get a bunch of cute ones, assign the things that are always causing messes to one, and then stick with it!

|Have Clean Up Times Throughout the Day| This is easy for me since I stay home, but could be incorporated into a working parent’s weekend or even daily schedule. Most days Nora and I just stay home, but if we do go somewhere, any messes that were made so far are cleaned up before we leave. That way, when we get back home the house is fresh again, and ready to be destroyed once more! I simply account for a quick cleanup in my timing of when we need to leave. Nora and I work together to pick up toys before nap time. Then, after Nora is asleep I clean up any dishes made or any of my daily messes. This way, I can enjoy most of nap time, and the house is once again fresh and tidy when the mini tornado awakes! Nora also picks up toys before she goes to bed. We are working hard to teach her that her messes are her responsibility. She can’t quite clean up 100% of the messes she makes, so we help a little. She still needs lots of guidance, but by teaching her now she will be a great help when she is more capable.

|Limit Messes During Playtime| This is one I know I will have trouble staying on top of once Cashew (we call this baby Cashew) arrives. There are so many toys that Nora has that have numerous pieces. I’m not sure why, but for some reason she seems to believe that every piece must be dumped out in order to play with them. If I can catch her (which isn’t always possible), I make her clean up whatever toy she dumped before she moves on to something new. This eliminates messes, and teaches clean-up at the same time!

|Teach Your Toddler to Help| At around 18 months I learned that Nora was far more helpful than I was giving her credit for. Once I made this realization, I started puttin’ my gal to work! Luckily at this age she thinks that anytime I ask her to help me that it’s a blast! So, she throws her own diapers away, puts her dirty clothes in the hamper, and puts her dishes in the sink. This simply teaches her some great clean-up skills, and gives you a me a few less tasks in a day.

|Tackle the Laundry Monster| I think laundry is an issue for about every mom I know. It’s not particularly fun, it never goes away, and feels so unrewarding. This might sound crazy, but since I am home all day I get all of our laundry done in one day. As a family of three, with big front loading washer and dryer it takes about 4-5 loads to complete. I designate Tuesdays as laundry day, that way I just know I am gonna be dedicating most of my day to that task. I sort first thing in the morning, then get it started in the washer. I fold when the clothes are still warm (so I never have to re-dry), and get it all put away before we go to sleep that night. I know some working moms who do one load every night. So they are basically just washing that day’s clothes. Whatever you do, try and keep up with it as much as possible. It really makes your house seem so much more tidy when those hampers aren’t overflowing!

These are just a few small things we do in our home to keep it tidy. Now, are there days/weeks where our house is the opposite of tidy? Absolutely!

I ain’t Wonder Woman!

However, I do care about our home being tidy, so I take steps to keep it that way! Hopefully some of these ideas will help you keep your home tidy too!

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Currently + Links

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cooking | made my Thai Chicken Wraps for lunches this week. Seriously, if you haven’t tried these you need to! They are not only incredibly healthy, but absolutely delicious as well!
reading | this bible study. I cannot say enough good about this study. I highly recommend it for any women out there. Even if you have never opened your Bible before, but want to start. This study is for every woman in every season! So, so good!
indulging | I am still chowing down on Nora’s leftover Halloween candy. I am also loving Great Value’s Mint Cookies ‘N Cream ice cream!
hoping | For a great report on baby #2 at our ultrasound tomorrow. We won’t be finding out the gender again (here’s why, in case you’re curious), and it’s only hard while we are in that room and could know. Other than that, it’s actually easy to wait, and so much stinkin’ fun!
wearing |All the sweatpants! I also just ordered a few shirts from this shop recently, and I am loving them!
loving | our house all decorated for Christmas! Check back later this week to see some photos, or go to this post to see some pictures of us decorating.
excited | for Thanksgiving with my in-laws, they have the best food! A trip with my parents after Thanksgiving. Then, it’s Christmas time!
wanting | still haven’t pulled the trigger on some good maternity jeans. I think I am gonna end up ordering online and just returning what doesn’t work. I’ve got my eye on this pair, hope I like them!
feeling | extra blessed. This time of year always brings our the warm-fuzzies in me, and getting to celebrate the holidays with Collin, Nora, and the sweet babe in my belly is just really special!

Baby Number Two | 20 Weeks

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Well, I have to begin this post by saying… poor baby number two! It really is true what they say about the second kid, they just don’t get the attention they deserve. I am halfway in this pregnancy, and this is only my second bumpdate. I planned on taking cute, posed photos each week, but… Yep, poor baby number two!

How far along:  20 weeks

Size of baby: Banana

Must haves : 

  • A pillow between my legs to sleep. I don’t normally sleep that way, but my back has been hurting and my joints are achey.
  • Sweatpants! I try to look nice most days and I make it until about three in the afternoon. Then on go my sweatpants!

Sleep: Sleep is hit or miss right now. Some nights are great, and I wake up feeling rested. Some nights I have insomnia around 3am and am up for a few hours wide awake!

Cravings: I have still been craving sugary things, especially sour candy. But, I have also been eating just about anything that I see in the past couple weeks. Basically, if it’s food, I crave it!

Gender: We won’t be finding out. Collin is still leaning towards boy and I have absolutely no idea!  We are calling this baby Cashew! Nora was Peanut, so we thought it was only fitting!

Challenges: Mainly my only challenge has been lower back pain. I have had a bad back for a while, and it is worse during pregnancy. I dealt with the same exact stuff when I was pregnant with Nora. I have been loving my heating pad and back rubs!

Best moments:

  • At 14 weeks I felt my first little flutters! I forgot how much I love feeling those!
  • At 14 weeks I got to hear the heartbeat for the first time! A strong 160bpm!
  • At 17 weeks those flutters were turning into clear kicks, and I even saw a few!
  • At 19 weeks daddy felt and saw those sweet little kicks!

Looking forward to: Our ultrasound! Even though we don’t find out the gender, I still love seeing that little profile. Prayers all is well with this sweet little one!

How’s dad doing: Daddy asks how baby Cashew is all the time! So sweet! He loved feeling the kicks!

How’s big sister: Nora has become obsessed with pointing at my belly and saying “baby shashew!” However, she also thinks her and daddy have baby shashews in their bellies too!

 

Baby Cashew,

Please accept this as my formal apology for the lack of bumpdates. I am so incredibly excited to meet you, and am so in love with you already. Promise! But, momma is also busy chasing after your wild sister and some things just slip my mind. I will try and do better from here on out. I hope you don’t take this as a sign for how you’ll be treated when you come out. We are gonna love you like crazy kid, and there won’t be a day you question if that’s true! Pinky promise!