Thursday, December 29, 2016


It has been a busy couple of weeks at our house, and things are about to get busier with the baby coming soon! Steve graduated with his doctorate on the 17th, and we celebrated Christmas with both sides of our family a few days ago. It has been a wonderful December, and I can't believe that it's already time to start packing all of the decorations away and preparing for a brand new year.

This has been my favorite view every morning. Our big blue spruce is still alive and beautiful, so it won't be going anywhere soon :)

We hosted a little fika coffeetime and playdate a couple of weeks ago. I made this candy cane coffeecake with cherry cream cheese filling. It was delicious!

On graduation day, Steve had to be on campus at 8:30 am. We live about an hour away, and the weather was calling for a "wintry mix" of ice and snow and sleet all night. Steve and I made the last-minute decision to leave the night before and avoid the bad weather. We booked a hotel and got everything quickly packed into the car. The drive was perfect, and the four of us went out for pizza when we got there. It was a good thing we went early! When we woke up at the hotel, the town was covered in a thin layer of ice, and the winding roads would have been treacherous. Above is the view from our room - the building in the background is the hospital that Nolan was born, which he thought was pretty cool :)

My mom and Don also made the last-minute decision to drive down and stay at the hotel. Ephraim was happy to see them :)

Waiting for graduation to start. I love Ephraim's expression here :)

Getting hooded!

Officially Dr. Steve!

The boys were so proud of Daddy!

 Steve started his PhD program two weeks before Nolan was born, and he finished a little over five years later, two weeks before baby #3 was due!

After the graduation, we went out for a nice dinner with my mom and Don. Then we met up with my friend Briana and her kids, and we visited Santa at the town library. Nolan was a little starstruck! Later, he told me that he didn't think this particular Santa was the right one. I didn't think he looked very authentic either. Oh well!

Give me all the Cadbury Christmas candy!

The boys and I made our first gingerbread house. It turned out pretty cute! I had to put it up high to keep little hands from trying to eat the candy off of it ;)

We also made our annual Christmas mice with Hershey kisses and chocolate-covered maraschino cherries.  Mmm!

Sweet and simple Christmas mantel.

On Christmas Eve, we went to MorMor and Papa Don's house. Nolan received his first set of Legos, and he and Daddy immediately went to work building it.

The completed plane! The next day, he received the same Lego set from Grandma Z. Great minds think alike!

Ephraim intently coloring in his new Paw Patrol coloring book.

Our Christmas photo from this year :)

We finished our Christmas baking on Christmas Eve - a peppermint mocha bundt cake, toffee, and fudge! #chocolaholic

The boys spent Friday night through Monday night nearly inseparable from their girl cousins from Indiana. We all had the best time! Among the six kids, there were tons of new toys to open and play with!

Ephraim doing aerobics with K. He followed her every command!

Pool sharks :)

More Lego-building. One of the girls got a 700 piece set that took up many hours of their time and concentration.

 The six kids after church on Christmas Day. We miss the girls already!

Hope that your Christmas was magical and full of family time. May we continue to focus on our Messiah and all that He has done for us as we move into 2017 :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

39 Weeks!

I wanted to post one more baby update while I'm still pregnant! Today, I'm 39 weeks and 4 days, which means my due date is just three days away! Being due on New Year's Eve is a funny thing. I don't know which month or year that our sweet boy will arrive. I get plenty of comments about delivering him on or before 12-31 so we get a tax break for 2016. And I get the same amount of comments about how fun it would be to have the first baby of the New Year at the hospital :) Nolan was 9(!) days late, and Ephraim was born on his due date. So we will see what this baby decides he wants to do!

I had an ultrasound today, and he looked fine, though a little cramped. I always seem to measure a little small when they use the measuring tape to find the fundal height at the end of the pregnancy. I'm not really worried about it - it seems like an imperfect science anyway. In the ultrasound, baby was predicted right around 8 pounds, which sounds just right! Nolan was 8 lbs 2 oz, and Ephraim was 7 lbs 0 oz. Baby's head has been down for many weeks, and I'm 1-2 cm dilated, 50% effaced.

Being so pregnant during the Christmas holiday was an interesting thing. I felt a little overwhelmed trying to balance all of the baking, gift-wrapping, card-sending. . . on top of the nesting, baby laundry, and house-cleaning. I am glad that the baby didn't choose to arrive right on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, so we were able to spend time with family and attend the Christmas events at church. The Christmas story becomes extra special when you are pregnant, because you can relate to Mary's anticipation of baby Jesus' birth. 

A few more notes about the end of this pregnancy:

I don't have many cravings or aversions, but I have eaten my weight in cereal and chocolate. I am addicted to hot cocoa as well. I would love to eat more, but my acid reflux/heartburn has become really intense at night. I sleep very-propped-up on pillows, and I have to cut myself off from eating after 9 or so. For the past couple of months, we haven't had a working kitchen, so that has kept my eating rather simple. Steve installed the sink two days ago, so it's perfect timing to have a completely functional kitchen now! We are thrilled with it!

I'm nervous to make Ephraim the middle child. Even though he will be 3 in January, he's still my baby, and I know it will be a big adjustment for him. I hope he loves being a big brother!

Veins - my right leg is covered with blue veins, and it almost looks bruised all the way down. I've worn my Jobst compression stockings religiously for many months, so hopefully I've kept myself from further trouble.

I become tired and out of breath quite easily. I have a little bit of insomnia and discomfort when I sleep, so I haven't gotten a full night's sleep in quite a while. All preparation for having a newborn soon!

Weight gain - 30 pounds.

No new stretch marks (plenty from before though), and my belly button has never popped.

I'm definitely emotional and irritable. I try to be patient with the boys and the dog, but it's hard to stay calm sometimes.

The baby has been a really big mover. There is nothing quite like seeing the waves of movement across my stomach and seeing a tiny foot stick out of my right side!

We are so blessed to have had this pregnancy after our miscarriage in February. I am praying that his delivery will be smooth sailing, and we will be home with our sweet boy in no time at all.


Friday, December 16, 2016

The most wonderful time of the year.

Brrr!! Hope you all are staying warm on these very cold days! We have been snuggled up at our house. The boys don't mind staying home, as long as they can watch an extra episode of their beloved Veggie Tales. This morning, we have some friends coming over for a fika (coffee time) and playdate, so the house is clean and the oven smells amazing. . . just the way we like it :)

One day, Nolan and I went to Tractor Supply to buy dog food, and he was super excited to see Christmas trees!

A couple days later, we headed out to the mountain to chop down our own tree at Denny & Sue's house.

This is our second year of having a real tree, and it's a pretty blue spruce that Denny planted years ago. It looks like a reasonable size growing outside, and then in our living room, it is large and in charge! I love it!

Counting the rings, I figure it's around 12-15 years old.

It was a chilly day, and Ephraim wanted to be in Denny's garage on his tractor.

Such a fun experience to choose our own tree and carry it home on top of our car!

E is such a little artist! At this age for Nolan, when he went to Sunday School or MOPS, he would come home with one big red scribble on his papers. Ephraim takes his time and uses a lot of color!

We built little wooden ornaments at Lowe's Build & Grow workshop on a Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago.

And afterwards, we took a trip to the donut shoppe with MorMor and Papa Don. Always a highlight for us :)

I went back out to Denny & Sue's to make wreaths with the gals in my Bible study. We had such a nice time!

I covered my wreath with winter berries, and I love the pops of red.

I made a second little wreath with rhododendron leaves and a piece of driftwood.

Some of my favorite ladies!

Sue promised me that if I'm still pregnant on New Year's Eve, she'll take me for a bumpy Jeep ride to get the baby out. That way, he can be the first 2017 baby at the hospital :)

The boys and I took a day trip to Target and Trader Joe's for a little holiday shopping. They are so wild at stores that this is the only photo I got of that experience :)

My 36.5 week photo. I'll be 38 weeks tomorrow, and I can't believe it! Baby is really growing and moving around in there. I need to write a post to document the last few weeks of this pregnancy.

We found Nolan Road! It was actually a terrible experience involving my van almost getting stuck in the mud in the middle of nowhere. I will be staying on paved roads from now until forever!

A cute little Bed and Breakfast on the edge of town, all ready for Christmas!

My friend Heidi had a cookie-decorating party at her house last Friday. The kids got to wear their Christmas jammies and eat their weight in sprinkles. So fun!

We made some blueberry muffins from frozen blueberries we picked in August. Yum! We are baking up plenty of Christmas cookies and pastries in these next few days! Our kitchen countertop is supposed to arrive today, which is really exciting. Pretty soon, we'll have the sink installed and a full working kitchen again after two months!

Nolan was the cutest in our church's Christmas program on Sunday! He was both a Shepherd and a Wise Man, and he did such a great job! At one point, he lost his crown and couldn't quite get it to stay on for the rest of the show. It was adorable :)

 Christmas tree donuts, for the win!

I posted about the boys in their Christmas jammies yesterday, if you missed that.

And guess what??!? Steve GRADUATES tomorrow!! We are so very excited to see him walk across that stage and get that PhD!

Hope you have a great weekend! Stay cozy!


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