Author Archives: Jenna

Beach Vacation – July 2015

Beach Vacation – July 2015

Our annual beach vacation was another success!  It was a bit different (for me, at least) having a 4 month old, but it was still a great week.  The house we rented was better this year and everyone had lots of fun!  I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time on the beach and pretty much zero time in the sun, but it was still fun to spend the week relaxing and hanging out with everyone.  The weather wasn’t as good as last year, storms pretty much once or twice a day and very windy…we lost 3 canopies over the course of the week as they got picked up & blown away when the storms would pop up.  Parker loved the sand, water, and playing frisbee with his cousins.  Molly enjoyed the beach (under the shade, of course) and I couldn’t help but think ahead to next year and imagine how much fun it will be to watch both of my kiddos enjoying the same beach I enjoyed as a kid.

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Molly’s 4.5 Month Update

Molly’s 4.5 Month Update

4.5 months old – unbelievable how quickly time is passing! (& yes…we’re closer to 5 months now that I’m actually getting this written)

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Stats at 4 months:

Weight – 13.5 lbs

Length – 23.75 inches

Head – 16 inches

We got a great report from Dr. Scott at her 4 month checkup, got her Zantac for reflux increased (again!), and had to get 2 shots (yuck!). She seemed very pleased with her development and her strength, and based on her small size, is assuming she’ll probably just be rather petite. I wonder where she got that from?!

Other than the official stuff from the doctor, I’d say everything is going very well. At 4.5 months, she:

  • is nursing every 2.5-3 hours throughout the day; sometimes going closer to 4 hours.
  • will take a 4 oz botttle of pumped milk if I need her to.
  • is taking 2-3 naps a day, 2 that are usually close to 2 hours & the other is just a little catnap.
  • goes to bed about 8:45-9 pm, but nighttime sleep is still somewhat unpredictable. Some nights she’ll sleep a 7-8 hour stretch after going to bed and other nights she’s up multiple times.  I’m trying to just go with it and am definitely thankful for coffee on those mornings after she’s been up multiple times the night before.
  • has graduated from the swaddle to a sleep sack.
  • took her first official family vacation to the beach and rocked it and has also been to Abilene three times and done great there, too!
  • has rolled over a few times, but I wouldn’t say that its a skill she’s mastered.
  • is still dealing with reflux and doesn’t seem to be improving yet.  She’s still taking medicine to control the spit-up and keep her comfortable during and after feedings.
  • is still dealing with a dairy allergy.  I’ve learned the amount of dairy that will cause her problems, so while I avoid most all dairy, there are a few things that don’t bother her.  Thankfully my coffee creamer is one of those!

We haven’t (and probably won’t, unless something changes) done official sleep training, but she’s really easy to put down for naps and bedtime.  For most naps, I can rock or sway for just a few minutes and sing or hum and she begins to drift off to sleep before I lay her down.  Occasionally, I need to replace her nu-nu (pacifier) during a nap, but she’ll normally resettle very quickly.  Bedtime is pretty much the same, but I typically nurse her and rock her for a while to let her milk settle (thanks to the reflux, we can’t feed & lay down immediately).

Molly-girl, we love you more than words can describe!  You have added a level of joy to this family we didn’t know was missing!  We love you baby girl!

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those eyes & that smile…all for her goofy brother

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clearly unimpressed with the summer concert in the neighborhood

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just adorable in her denim romper!

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locked in on Curious George :)

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tummy time is hard work!

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loves to sit in the bumbo!

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practicing our sitting skills!

Molly Update

Molly Update

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Where has the time gone?  8 weeks old, already?

We don’t go to the doctor for our 2 month check-up & shots until next week, but here’s the run down on our favorite little girl.

  • Probably weighs about 11 lbs at this point.
  • Wearing size 1 diapers & 3 month clothes, though some are still a little big.
  • Nursing is finally going really well.  I don’t know that its perfect (does that even exist?), but she’s eating and growing, so I’d say we’ve got it figured out.  Finally.  I was really skeptical for a while, but I’m so glad I’ve stuck with it.  She’s eating about every 2-3 hours during the day and about every 4-6 hours at night.
  • Takes a bottle like a champ.  For the most part, if we are going to be out of the house for a feeding, I prefer to give her a bottle.  I’m just not super comfortable nursing in public and when we’re at friend’s or family’s houses, I don’t like sequestered to the back bedroom if I can help it.
  • We seem to slowly be figuring out a little bit of a routine, but just as with Parker, I’m not really pushing anything.
  • Found out 2 weeks ago that she does in fact have reflux, but thankfully the Zantac the doctor prescribed has worked wonders.  The spit-up, feeding issues, and discomfort have decreased dramatically, so I’ll call that a win.  I don’t love giving such a little thing medicine, but it does work, so we’ll keep it up.
  • Now that we have the reflux under control, she’s finally sleeping in the cradle in our bedroom.  We made that transition at the beginning of the week and it was completely seamless.  I don’t really have plans to move her upstairs anytime soon.  For now, the cradle is the most convenient option. so we’re sticking with it.
  • I’ve also discovered that she is at least somewhat sensitive to dairy, just like Parker was, so I’ve now completely cut it out of my diet.  Up until now, I had just cut out the obvious sources of dairy, but wasn’t super strict about it.  She seems to be much happier now :).
  • She takes most of her naps in the bouncy seat or being held.  Since its just the 2 of us at home right now, I’m soaking up the time that I can just sit and hold her.
  • She gets a bath a few times each week and seems to enjoy them, as long as the water is really warm.  She does not enjoy things if the water is the slightest bit cool.  Can’t say that I blame her.
  • She’s very happy, very easy, and is usually pretty content.  Her “fussy time” is usually in the late afternoon/early evenings, but our house is crazy, busy, and loud during that time which is probably a little overwhelming.
  • We’re beginning to get some smiles and she’s also beginning to talk to us, which is so much fun!

Our days are (thankfully) pretty calm and relaxing and look something like this –

  • She wakes up between 6-7 AM, along with the rest of us.  That is a little bit of a crazy hour trying to get Matt & Parker packed up and out of the house, but it is so fun having our whole family together in the mornings.  For so long, I was gone to work long before Matt & Parker even got out bed and I’m so thankful to get to spend the mornings together as a family.
  • She gets her morning dose of medicine and nurses 20-30 minutes later.  After eating, she typically goes back to sleep and will sleep until she’s ready to eat again, anywhere from 2-3 hours later.  That 2-3 hour feeding schedule pretty much lasts throughout the day & evening until somewhere between 7-9 PM.  She usually nurses sometime around 8 or 9 and will sleep about 4 hours afterward.  Most nights, she sleeps in Matt’s arms during that time since he doesn’t get much time with her during the day.  I feed her again around midnight, wrap her up in the swaddle, and she sleeps through the night.  Occasionally she’ll wake during the night, but usually replacing her nu-nu settles her back to sleep.
  • She is starting to stay awake for longer periods throughout the day, but does still spend most of her day sleeping.

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all swaddled up & sleeping in her cradle!

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*trying* to enjoy some tummy time on her mat

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my sweet babies snuggled up in the big bed

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trying to let out a smile at mom!

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beautiful baby girl, we love you!

Our Life Lately

Our Life Lately

My, how life has changed in the last month.  These last 4 weeks have been some of the best of my life, but also some of the hardest.  My mom was here with us for the first two weeks, which was a total lifesaver.  She helped keep Parker entertained, cooked dinner, and took care of the house for us.  I’m so thankful for her!  The last couple of weeks have been a little more challenging.  There are times when it feels like I’ve totally got everything under control and times when I feel like everything is spinning out of control.  And sometimes, those feelings all occur within the same hour.  Adjusting to having a 4th member of our family has been just that…an adjustment.

Parker has been an awesome big brother from the moment he laid eyes on “his” baby girl.  He wants to help comfort and console her, kisses her every chance he gets, and doesn’t like to leave her in another room for any length of time.  What he’s still struggling with though, is the changes to his routine.  Prior to Molly’s arrival, everything pretty much centered around him.  Most nights, the 3 of us played after Matt got home from work, ate dinner together, Matt and I both did the bath and bed routine with him, etc…but now, I’m usually occupied with Molly, Matt and I are tag-teaming dinner prep, and Parker gets the leftover amount of attention we can muster while simultaneously doing the aforementioned tasks.  It has definitely been a huge adjustment for him and not an easy one.  The first couple of weeks were the hardest, and I feel like we’ve made some good progress in the last 2 weeks.  I’m just incredibly thankful that Parker’s adjustment issues and the fits/tantrums that have occurred are directed at Matt and me and not Molly.  He’s not taking it out on her, but I know his little 3 year old mind is struggling to understand this huge change.  Matt and I are just trying to figure out how to balance lovingly disciplining him for throwing fits or otherwise misbehaving, but also being sensitive to the adjustment he’s going through.  It doesn’t help that we’re doing all of this on way less sleep than we’re used to, with a screaming newborn in the background :).

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We’re definitely still trying to figure out a routine that will work for all four of us, but for now…this is what our life looks like:  I get up around 5 AM to feed Molly and then stay up to help Matt and Parker get up and out of the house for work/school.  After the boys leave, I have coffee and breakfast, watch the Today Show, and pick up the house.  Molly is pretty much in a 2-3 hour eating routine, so my day basically revolves around that.  If we need to run errands, we usually do so after lunch.  We leave the house every afternoon by 2:30 to get Parker from school.  After we get home, Parker usually eats a snack and plays/watches tv/has ipad time until Matt gets home around 5:45.  This is all usually done right by my side as I feed/tend to Molly :).  Once Matt gets home, we begin the harried race to have play time, fix dinner, bathe Parker, and get him in bed at a reasonable hour.  After that, Matt gets to have some time with Molly and I usually fall asleep on the couch until she’s ready to eat again.  Its interesting when the 2nd child (or 3rd, 4th, etc…) is born, the family routine pretty much stays the same and its all about getting the baby to fit into the established routine…when Parker was born, we changed our routine for him.  Such is the life of younger siblings, right?

Overall, the last 4 weeks have been incredible.  Our house is a wreck, the laundry never ends, and there are always dirty dishes, but I count my blessings every single day for this precious family God has blessed me with.  I have an incredible husband and friend and two happy, healthy, ADORABLE kids.  Life isn’t always easy, some days are incredibly difficult, but I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.

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My babies :)  God’s timing is always so, so perfect.

Molly Marye Manges

Molly Marye Manges

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Molly Marye Manges
March 9, 2015 @ 1:50 pm
7 lbs, 9 oz, 20 in

After much anticipation, Molly made her debut just a few days shy of her due date.  As her due date approached, I was becoming nervous of having to be induced and I’m so thankful that she decided to come on her own!  We were sitting at home Sunday evening when I started having fairly regular contractions.  I timed them for a couple of hours and we finally decided to head to the hospital around 11 pm.  In hindsight, I probably could have stayed home and gotten a few hours of sleep (hah, who am I kidding?), but I was already dilated 3 cm & was nervous things would move quickly.  We got to the hospital, I was dilated to 5 cm, and they admitted me.  I got an epidural after a few hours and tried to get some sleep.  Thankfully, because I was progressing, I never had to have pitocin.  Just like with Parker though, the epidural made me extremely sick and I ended up having to get 2 doses of zofran.  Totally worth it though to not feel the contractions, because they were INTENSE.  How do I know this you ask?  The batteries in the epidural pump died just a couple hours before she was born and I was not a happy camper.  Thankfully, they figured it out quickly and the relief started flowing again!  My doctor showed up sometime around 1:00 and they got everything set up.  I started pushing at 1:30 and she was born 20 minutes later.  So, so thankful for an easy labor and delivery!

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Our first picture as a family of four!

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Headed home!

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He SERIOUSLY adores her!

Mixed Emotions

Mixed Emotions

Monday morning of this week brought with it a whole host of emotions I wasn’t expecting to have.  This week marks my last week of teaching.  With baby Molly’s arrival expected any day now, my days as a working mom are coming to an end.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited.  In fact, there doesn’t seem to be an adjective appropriate to adequately explain the sheer joy and excitement that I’m feeling about this new adventure.  I’ve wanted to be a stay at home mom since Parker was born and after lots of prayers and loads of patience, it is finally happening.

However, I’d also be lying if I said this didn’t feel weird.  I’ve been teaching almost 10 years.  I’ve been waking up at the crack of dawn, leaving my sleeping family at home, and driving almost an hour to this building for the last 8 years.  As I’ve hit snooze each morning, quietly sneaked around the house trying not to wake everybody up, and then spent an hour (or more, some mornings) in the car, it seems so unreal.  There are aspects I will miss.  I love teaching.  I love writing lessons and seeing kids “get it” and helping those kids who don’t get it quite as easily.  I don’t love all the junk that comes with teaching; all the paperwork, added responsibilities, dealing with adults who act like children, and kids who act inhumane at times.

I’m going to miss (some) of the people I work with, I might eventually miss getting “dressed” everyday, but what I’m gaining is so much more.  I won’t miss any more school events or class parties or parent-teacher conferences.  No more scrambling when school holidays don’t line up or when sick days arise.  No more tearful phone calls from Parker in the mornings because he didn’t get to tell me bye (let me tell you how much those rip your heart out).  I’m excited to have play dates and lunch dates and not have to spend our weekends running errands that can’t be done during the week.  I can’t wait to not be scrambling to cook dinner after working all day.  I know there will be days that I’m bored or even miss the classroom.  I know there will be days that I wish I had a “real job”.  But the opportunity to spend my days with my babies is a blessing I just can’t pass up.

Walking out of my building tomorrow afternoon will be incredibly surreal.  I’m nervous, scared, and a little sad.  But, way beyond that, I’m thankful, happy, and so incredibly excited.  So long teaching (maybe just for now, maybe forever)…its been a great 10 years!

House Projects

House Projects

I don’t know about you, but our house seems like its always a work in progress.  We constantly have ideas about things we’d like to change or new things we’d like to add.  We keep a running list on a chalkboard in the garage and its so fun to cross things off!  The list usually takes us longer to complete than we’d like to admit, but it sure is a lot of fun!  It never fails that we usually add a few “off the list” projects as we discover an immediate need or want for something throughout the house.

Project #1 – Laundry Room Shelf
For years, I have HATED our laundry room.  Its a great space and serves as our main entry to the house from the garage, but parts of it have just seemed like such wasted space.  At the same time, our kitchen counter, bar area, and kitchen table were always just completely covered with clutter.  If there’s one thing I hate, its clutter.  It just drives me nuts.  Bags, mail, keys, phones, Parker’s school papers, etc…just seemed to be taking over.  A couple of years ago, I found a picture of a shelf that was the perfect look for what I wanted in our laundry room.  I needed something that would hold laundry baskets, bags, and could also serve as a space for our mail, charge cords, keys, etc and this piece looked perfect.

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We were able to get our hands on some gorgeous oak planks from a friend of Matt’s and FINALLY construction started!  This was one of those projects that I had dreamed about, but never really thought it would become a reality and its just been better than I could have ever imagined!  It is the perfect place to “dump” all of our junk as we come in the house and the best part is that it keeps the kitchen clutter free!  The laundry room still isn’t perfect.  I’m planning to paint it this summer and would eventually like to add cabinets instead of the open shelf we have for storing the bottles of detergent & stain remover, but for now…its so much better!  There’s just something more soothing about doing laundry in a space you enjoy rather than a space that you hate.

Project #2 – Upstairs console table
We’ve always had this blank space in the game room that just needed some sort of skinny console table.  I found one I loved at Pottery Barn, but didn’t love the price tag, so Matt drew up the plans and we added it to the list.

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I had Matt make some modifications to the plans (like usual) to better fit the space and the purpose I wanted it to serve, but it turned out just perfectly.  Its going to be a great space for some more decorative pieces and some family pictures.

Project #3 – Parker’s Crate Shelf
Converting Parker’s room to a “big boy” room has been a very slow work in progress.  He transitioned out of his crib right after he turned 2, but there were lots of nights he still wanted to snuggle and rock in the rocking chair, so I didn’t feel comfortable moving that out just yet.  I also didn’t really have anywhere to put it, so it just stayed in his room.  Once we began getting ready for baby #2, we moved the chair and needed something to fill the space in his room.  I knew I wanted something that would serve as functional storage, but would also fit with the overall decor of his room.  We also knew with all the attention being given to and work being done in the baby’s room, it might be a good idea if we did some work in his room too and it totally helped.  He’s been so excited to work upstairs in the evenings and on the weekends.

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We found these great storage crates at Home Depot after Christmas and brought 9 of them home.  Matt attached them all together, added a bottom piece & some feet to help stabilize it and then we got it all painted and finished to match his room.  It was a SUPER simple project and we are so happy with how it turned out.  I’m not finished decorating it (still needs a lamp & some other things on the top), but it works great in his room and I love the added storage space for books, toys, frames, etc…

Project #4 – Rework Downstairs Closet
I don’t have any “before” pictures, but our storage closets downstairs have been a hot mess for years.  I was constantly trying to find ways to make it functional, but was never very successful.  When we cleaned out the bedroom upstairs for baby, we had lots of stuff that needed a new home, which meant that closet was going to have to work.

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This closet is right in our entry way and is designed to serve as a coat closet.  Totally not practical for us.  We bought some shelves and an organizer system for the door and FINALLY have a storage closet that is both functional and organized!

Project #5 – Growth Chart
Three & half years after Parker was born, we finally have a growth chart.  Initially, the delay was my fault.  I couldn’t find anything I liked.  I wanted something that we could take with us when/if we move houses, but just didn’t like any of the “store bought” ones.  I needed something that could part of the decor in our house and not stick out like a sore thumb.  So, naturally, I started scouring Pinterest for ideas (seriously, what did we do before Pinterest?) and came across the idea of making a growth chart to look like a giant ruler.  My super talented carpenter came to the rescue again and its just perfect!

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Project #6 – Bathroom Stools
Being little is tough, especially when you’re independent and determined to do things on your own.  Parker is great about washing his hands, brushing his teeth, and helping in the kitchen, but doesn’t want to be held and is really too big to be held for long periods of time anyway.  With some of the leftover wood we had from the other projects, Matt decided to build some kid stools for the bathrooms and kitchen.  They have been awesome!  I love that they aren’t some bright colored plastic stool that sticks out in the bathrooms or kitchen, but something that really “fits” with the house.  Parker loves being able to reach the sink and we all love not having to hold him while he washes his hands or brushes his teeth.

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And…now that these projects are finished, its time for a new list!  Among other things, I think the top priorities right now are getting the TV frame finished, Parker’s headboard, a bigger workbench for Matt, and possibly a new side table for the living room.

Baby Showers

Baby Showers

We are so thankful for such sweet and generous friends and family who have helped us prepare for our sweet baby girl.

The girls from our small group at church threw a small luncheon shower for us at Lupe Tortillas one afternoon and it was so much fun to get together (without kids!) and just have some time to talk and laugh without interruptions.

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A few weeks later, my family did a shower for us at Alison’s house and it was such a great morning to spend with just the girls.  We had delicious food, great laughs, and some adorable things for baby Molly.

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The picture is super dark, but it was such a fun morning!  Jillie, Alison, and everybody else did such a great job with everything!

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Absolutely adorable diaper cake

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So thankful for such a generous family to love on our baby girl!

Baby Molly’s Room

Baby Molly’s Room

Baby Molly’s room is finally finished!  We started clearing out the room after New Year’s and it has slowly taken shape over the last couple of months.  I really struggled with decorating her room, I think I just had too many ideas and has spent WAY too much time on Pinterest.  But its done and is just absolutely perfect and so incredibly peaceful.

IMG_20150222_134633994_HDRHer wreath, made by Gigi, of course!

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The wall you see as you walk in her room.  I knew I wanted something girly, but nothing over the top.  The gray walls and heirloom style pieces were just the right touch.

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I bought the fabrics when I was pregnant with Parker (since we didn’t know what we were having) and was just thrilled to get to use it this time around.

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The dress in the frame was my grandfather’s, then I wore it and the bonnet as a baby.  Love these family heirloom pieces!

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Growing up as a little girl, I loved the American Girl series and always loved the story of Molly, who lived during World War II.  Once we settled on the name Molly for our baby girl, I knew I had to find her a Molly doll.  American Girl has retired the Molly series and I was just heartbroken, but I was able to find one on our neighborhood garage sale site and snatched it right up!

IMG_20150222_134504228I Samuel 1:27 – “For this child I have prayed and the Lord has granted the desires of my heart.”  Oh how true these words are.  Thank you God for the precious blessing of another baby!

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Buying, receiving, & washing all of these sweet little girl clothes has just been so much fun!

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Thanks to sweet Adley for all the hand-me-down bows!

Baby Molly, we are so excited to meet you!  Your big brother asks about you daily and is very ready to see your “sweet face”.  He tells me all the time how cute you’re going to be and how ready he is to rock you in his arms.  We love you already and just feel so incredibly blessed to be welcoming you into our family.  Anytime you’re ready, we’re ready to meet you!