{Mommy Journal} My 10-Week-Old Love Bug

Caleb turned 10 weeks old on Saturday! He weighed 14.5 pounds at his appointment last Wednesday. No wonder we both groan when we have to lug his carseat around! He’s a happy little chunk.

Caleb is my little buddy. We do almost everything together. Now that I’m feeling fully recovered from labor, I’m up for going out with him and having “adventures”. We like running errands, such as making returns, going to the post office, or getting odds and ends at Target or Costco. Sometimes I use his Ergo carrier, other times I put his carseat into the stroller and we go cruisin’.

IMG_0157It’s a lot of work loading and unloading Caleb, and we usually have to stop and nurse in the car somewhere before we are done with the trip, but it is a fun way to spend the morning or afternoon. I’m trying to switch gears from thinking about how quickly I accomplished these things “before”. There is no “before”, we are in “now” and slow trips are the new normal. Caleb is always happy in the Ergo and usually falls asleep after he’s spent some time taking everything in, wide-eyed. He’s not loving his carseat these days, but in the stroller we can look at each other and chat while we walk, and he stays content.IMG_0133

Caleb loves his gym activity mat from Uncle Jeff and Aunt Glee, especially if I play classical music while he uses it. And he enjoys the wonderful infant swing we are borrowing.

We’re just starting out with his jumper from Popsie and Nannie, which I can tell is going to be a big hit as he gets a little bigger. I’m awaiting a Bumbo-like floor seat (one with bigger thigh openings for my chunky monkey). I think he will really like sitting up in that and watching me work around the apartment.

IMG_0156Caleb still enjoys bath time (although it is usually quite a serious matter) and he loves to talk and interact with Andrew and me. Every time he breaks into his big grin it melts my heart, especially when he pushes his tongue in and out of his smiling little mouth while he coos and grunts.

Caleb has had a few 7-8 hour stretches at night so we are moving toward a full night of uninterrupted sleep for me. I am excited for this transition but also sad to be saying goodbye to the middle-of-the-night feedings. They were a special time to bond with Monkey and I will never have them back.

10393678_10153089505713109_8869462410456753733_nThanks to a Wunderlist reminder on my phone, I am endeavoring to pray for Caleb, specifically his salvation, at least once every day. It is humbling to know that his little soul rests in our Savior’s hands. I am excited to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with him as he gets a older and can begin to comprehend these precious truths.

Being a mom to Caleb Mark is an absolute joy that I am so grateful for!


{Homemaking Journal} Favorite New GF Dinner Recipes

I am loving this new season of life, with the bulk of my time and energy being devoted to home life! Andrew and I are still apartment managers, but because we currently have no vacancies, that job is only requiring a few hours a week on average. I am also back to reading books and writing reviews four hours a week, another fun job that I can cater to my schedule. With this new schedule, I have enjoyed getting to put more energy into cooking and trying new recipes! Here are a few recent favorites, all gluten free. My disclaimer is that I rarely follow a recipe and often toss instead of measure. Also, I add minced garlic or garlic powder to nearly everything I cook. =)

Honey Balsamic Meatballs – I love that these meatballs use cooked quinoa instead of bread crumbs. They were really easy to make and tasted great with brown rice.

image1Kale Caesar Salad With Crispy Garbanzo Bean Croutons – A friend made this at a recent baby shower and I couldn’t wait to try it myself. The homemade dressing is to die for! Making the “croutons” is a bit time intensive. I might opt to skip them next time, although they do add a lovely crunch.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken – Sadly, another delicious recipe that has sugar. But it can’t kill you once in awhile, can it? I’d actually like to try subbing honey and see what happens. This is in the oven right now…Andrew immediately requested a repeat when we enjoyed it last week.

IMG_4669Southwest Salad – I recently learned that this kind of salad is one of Andrew’s favorites. I cheated and started with store-bought Ranch dressing, then threw in chili powder, cayenne, etc. And I used corn chips from Trader Joe’s instead of making my own.

Chuck Roast With Balsamic and Dijon – Except I didn’t use dijon, I used regular mustard, as I always do. This was delicious.

Tasty Chicken Hot Pot – This came out a little bland, but was better after some Frank’s hot sauce. I’m still saving it because it’s fast, simple, and doesn’t require unusual ingredients. We ate it over brown rice.


{Mommy Journal} I Knew I Was a Mom When

pic2-001Life is so very different since November 15. I’ve found myself doing or thinking things that have made it hit me in afresh: I’m a mom now. It’s a strange and wonderful “new normal”.

I knew I was a mom when…

  • I suddenly enjoyed being up almost every morning by 6 AM.
  • I nearly cried when my baby outgrew his newborn clothes.
  • I found myself brushing my hair for the first time that day while walking into a doctor appointment.
  • I got to board the airplane ahead of “normal” people.
  • My nice sweater got spit up on while in public and I didn’t even care.
  • When remembering the worst pain of my life, I knew I would do it all again in a heartbeat for my little man.
  • I had to start emptying my phone’s storage regularly due to photo overload.
  • I stopped using an alarm clock and started waking to my baby’s hunger cues instead.
  • Just making the bed made me feel proud.
  • I qualified for the carpool lane without having someone ride shotgun.
  • I found myself thinking, “the days are going by too fast” just a few days after Caleb’s birth.
  • I stared at a sleeping baby for hours without getting bored.
  • A humorous yet sentimental three-minute YouTube video about motherhood made me cry.
  • I lost my hairbrush and my mother-in-law found it in a Pampers diaper box.
  • I found myself watching movies of my baby while holding him.
  • A solo trip to the laundromat sounded like a relaxing little “outing”.
  • I went all day desperately needing and wanting a shower but never got one.

Likely to be continued…

{Mommy Journal} The Merriest of Early Christmas Mornings

IMG_4055Christmas morning, shortly before 5:00 AM. This festive tree was my view as I fed my precious 5-week-old baby boy. I was seated alone in my family’s (for once) quiet living room with no illumination but twinkling lights. It was in this very spot that I had experienced the joy and childlike excitement of Christmas morning with my brothers for most of our growing up years. Here my grandpa had promised me one of his new heifer calves. Here my parents had sat one year holding their stockings, eyes barely open, because I had decided to awaken the entire house before 6:00 AM to start the festivities. Here my brothers and I had read a letter containing the news that we would be getting our sixth (and last) sibling. Here we had opened a BB gun, a kite, and a football, all hand-shopped for by my dad. Here I had gone bonkers over the stockings my mom had filled with our Christmas morning breakfast of little yogurts, string cheese, satsuma oranges, and individual boxes of cold cereal.

Now I sat here with my own child, looking ahead to sharing many of the same joyful traditions and memories with him as he grew. My heart could have burst right then and there with the nostalgia and happiness of it all.

I am so excited for the future Christmases, Lord-willing, we get to spend with Caleb and any future children God gives us. Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child is amazing.

But most of all, I can’t wait to share with him the good news about the baby who spent his first hours in a lowly manger, and what He came to accomplish.

Christmas is merry, indeed.

{Reading Report} What I Read in 2014

My five favorite books I read in 2014 were:

The Hole in Our Holiness
The Gospel at Work
Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home
Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus 
Creative Counterpart

I didn’t exactly meet my goal of reading 48 books. I read 33, and that was only thanks to the book review job I started in the spring. Below is what I read. The books in bold are what I read independently, the others I was paid to read and review. For those I read on my own, you can find some of my reviews here.

Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem 
A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger than You 
I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy 
When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty 
Creative Counterpart : Becoming the Woman, Wife, and Mother You Have Longed To Be
Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home 

Unbroken (audiobook)
For Women Only 

First We Have Coffee
Reckless Abandon 

A Cup of Cold Water: The Compassion of Nurse Edith Cavell
Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow
Passion: How Christ’s final day changes your every day 

The Hole in Our Holiness
A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships 
The Intolerance of Tolerance
Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus Death and Resurrection

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full
Jesus or Nothing
What Every Woman Wishes Her Father Had Told Her
Everyone’s A Theologian
Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus 
The Doctrines of Grace: Student Edition
Suffering Well
The Witch of Blackbird Pond (audiobook)
The Gospel at Work
Now That I’m a Christian: What It Means to Follow Jesus
Stepping Heavenward: One Woman’s Journey to Godliness
Al Capone Does My Shirts 
Al Capone Shines My Shoes (audiobook) 
On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the GIFT of Nighttime Sleep


{Marriage Journal} Four Years

Four years ago today, I said “I do” to my best friend. I never could have imagined how wonderful marriage to Andrew would be. There’s no one I would rather do life with. God has been so gracious to us and I am beyond grateful to Him.

Happy anniversary, my love! Here’s to many more!

Photos courtesy of Ben Bender Photography.

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