Monday, November 30, 2015

Taking a Break...

Hello! We just got home from a nice Thanksgiving trip in Nebraska. Now we are back and the Christmas decorations are up and we are attempting to observe Advent. (Even though yesterday it was 75 degrees, JM went out today without pants, and there are still mosquitoes out biting.. it's so weird!) Within in the next six weeks we will travel to New Orleans, Minneapolis, Nebraska, Kansas City, and Dallas. AHH! Sometimes I think we are crazy... but somehow we manage and it normally goes very smoothly. We are really getting the hang of traveling and packing well.

That being said... I have decided to take a little blogging break. We have two weeks left of the semester and so much ahead. This year I really want to work on slowing down and using Advent for what it's for. I am also trying to find the balance for our family. Our tree is up and we are listening to Christmas music, but I want to use this time to pray more and prepare for the season. I have loved having this blog as a little hobby and something fun to do with Megan, but within these six weeks I will be with probably 90% of my blog readers. So instead of spending time posting, I will spend time with my family.

I did have lots of things I wanted to write about.... so here are a few pictures of what has been going on.

Thanksgiving!!!

Visiting Drew's parents home is always interesting! (I had never been on a farm until meeting Drew.)

M's hair was sticking up all day. 


Cousin time

He LOVED this bean bag/chair


This is a whole other story..... but to make it short, last year we found out we had mold under our carpet. It wasn't that surprising because there were HUGE dark stains from the previous tenants. They brought in an ozone machine to kill everything and cleaned the carpet. However, this year the thought of JM spending most of his time on the floor was a bit unsettling. After about 10 phone calls to our property manager, a mold test (that came back clear), and another carpet cleaning, I FINALLY convinced the owner of our apartment to get us new flooring. It has made a HUGE difference! (but also such a transition with JM pulling himself up on everything and then falling over on the hard floor.) I wish I had pictures of the stains before... I am pretty proud that my persistence paid off.



I also finally convinced Drew to put the rocking chair in JM's room. It had become Drew's favorite seat. 

JM has really been changing so much! He loves eating baby food, crawling much faster, pulling himself up on everything, can sit up on his own, and loves to walk with our help. He also has been expressing himself a lot more.... as in screaming and crying when he isn't happy. I hope I don't jinx anything, but he has been sleeping through the night again (like for 12-13 hours.... crazy!) And we have realized the hard way, we really cannot walk away from him. He beelines towards anything dangerous and falls A LOT. How do people manage this stage??? I feel like I will never get anything done again until he is sturdier. Help!!


(don't worry we have lowered his mattress now)



I cleaned out half of my closet. I doubt I will get around to doing a post on it like I planned, but I honestly gave away/sold half of my clothes. I have sent in 101 items to ThredUp. It feels great! Now I know what's in my closet, it all fits, and I like everything. It's surprising how freeing that is.

It's embarrassing I had this many clothes to get rid of and still have a full closet... yikes!


Last night I made my Grandma's spaghetti and meatballs for the first time!



Also, this is me and six months. I totally see JM!


Alright that's it for now. Enjoy Advent and Christmas and the New Year. I'll be back soon!

Emily


Ps. Any suggestions for pretty nativity scenes that don't cost $$$$$??

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ramblings..

-JM turned 6 months old a few days ago. It seemed like he changed so much just over the weekend. His bottom two teeth are really coming in and all of a sudden he is CLIMBING everywhere. He babbles so much and finally moved on from his inch worm crawl to the real thing. He likes "walking" around with our help and pulls himself up on anything sorta low. He favorite things to play/put in his mouth: corner of any rug, Drew's boots, a cardboard box, napkins, one frayed piece of carpet, paper, any cords, and my phone. Why do we have toys?? Things he does not like in his mouth: baby oatmeal, mashed bananas, blueberries in those mesh holder things, or green beans. It's a constant challenge keeping things out of his mouth, I don't understand why he doesn't want real food??



-One day it cooled down enough for him to wear this.... I was dying!!



-It still has been pretty warm here (70s). We are about to go back to Nebraska and I have no idea how to dress a baby for cold weather. Any tips, Nebraska people? I am hoping we will get to see some snow when we are back for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It's crazy that the students here can count all the times they have seen snow on one hand.

-The semester is wrapping up pretty quickly with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up. We have time for about two more bible studies and a Christmas Party. In college everyone said the years just go by faster and faster. It's strange being an adult with a family, and still somewhat going off a college schedule. It goes even faster with a baby!

-Lastly, Drew and I have started playing Scrabble..... (now I feel really lame). We are trying to find things to do after JM goes to bed that are a break from TV. Any other ideas? We are definitely rookies at Scrabble. Also, any board game suggestions? I think we are going to get a new one for Christmas.


-Emily

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mission Monday {3}: 5 min/day to change your life

I lead a bible study for girls in Gamma Phi Beta here at Auburn. I was (or do I say I am?) a Gamma Phi at UNL so it is fun to connect with these "sisters" in another way.

The study started last September with four girls. These girls have become such a highlight of our time here. They are so sweet and come to study so consistently. A few, jokingly, call Drew and I their parents.

A few weeks ago we started reading Men, Women and the Mystery of Love by Dr. Sri. This might be my 4th time reading this book for various studies, but every time I get more out of it. Dr. Sri takes St. John Paul II's Love and Responsibility and presents it in a compelling, yet simple and easy way to understand.

We were made to love and to be loved, first by God and then others. By design, these women crave true, authentic love. They have been hurt in their relationships with friends and men. Truth, beauty, and goodness are dimmed by the "hook up" culture they are living among, and it is clear they desire more.

This is apparent to me because they keep bringing more and more girls. The numbers are growing now more than they have in the last year and a half.

We've been having great, honest conversations about friendship, sex and even pornography. And we are only three chapters in!

Anyways, this study has been great, but ultimately, my goal for these girls is for them to each encounter Jesus and have a personal relationship with him.

Two weeks ago one of my dear dear friends from my pledge class texted sharing one of Father Mike Schmitz' homilies about how we are all created to be saints and be holy. Holiness isn't for someone else, it's for EVERYONE.

He challenged his listeners to take 5 minutes a day to meditate on the daily mass readings and then focus on one thing you can apply to your life. He has so much more to say about the whole topic, I highly suggest you listen! (He has another suggestion to "ask, offer and accept", but we are taking things one at a time.)

I challenged my study to take on the task for three weeks. We formed a GroupMe, I send a link everyday to the readings, and girls share their take away with the whole group. So far, it's been very cool to see how scripture inspires each one of us in a different way. And it's great accountability. I'll keep you updated at the end of three weeks. Anyone else want to join in on the challenge? Father Mike promises it will change your life!

In the meantime, please pray for these girls! Specifically, that they realize they were created in the image and likeness of their Father and are worth so much more than our secular culture has to offer.

----

Check out other Mission Monday posts at Meghan's blog!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

JohnMark's Christmas *wish* List

Are you sick of me talking about JM yet? I apologize.... but I'm not going to stop. I've been writing down Christmas gift ideas. I can't wait to buy him a few presents. Since he was born we have bought him a handful of outfits and one little toy. That's it! We have so much love and support from others, the gifts just keep pouring in. (Thanks Nana, Mimi, and Aunt Megan!!)

Here are some things I've eyeing for the little man's first Christmas. We really want to try to keep the toys and STUFF minimal around our place. However, we both agree we can never have too many books and I am a softy when it comes to religious toys.... I mean we are missionaries and isn't that what Christmas is all about?




Jellycat Stuffed Animal, Shining Light Saint Doll, Oshkosh Coveralls, Tomie dePaola books, Pewi Ybike, Chews Life Rosary, Shape Sorting Cube, Freshly Picked Moccasins

Monday, November 9, 2015

Mission Monday {2}: Auburn Tailgate



Linking up with Meghan today! Check out the other Mission Monday posts over at her place.

--

Auburn missionaries have a tradition of hosting a tailgate for all FOCUS people every year. I'm not exactly sure how long it's been going on, but I am pretty sure it has been growing each year. (This was only our second year.)

"FOCUS people" pretty much includes anyone with a connection to FOCUS: students, alumni, missionaries from surrounding campuses, parents, priests, mission partners (people who financially support us), and families from the parish.

It's an awesome weekend for so many reasons. Auburn students get to meet so many more missionaries because most only know our small team. Students who are interested in applying to become missionaries get to see a little bit of a bigger picture of FOCUS. The missionaries have a chance to take a break from their campus and recharge with other missionaries. Missionaries who were former Auburn students get to visit their friends. Parents get to meet the missionaries. And it's FUN! Our team works hard to host a few events surrounding the tailgate, but it was all worth the work.



There were about 30 missionaries who came from the region. They were dispersed among student's apartments so they all had a couch or floor to crash on. My sweet friend, Brooke and her family stayed with us! It was such a treat to spend time with them. We have only been able to hang out a handful of times so it was definitely treasured time. They have a son who is only 5 weeks younger than JohnMark.

Here is what the weekend looked like-

Friday night:

-Halloween Party!

The party was definitely a success and included awards for best costumes. The babies snuggled up and slept in their carriers for most of it.

JM's first Halloween!

Nolan and Brooke's team dressed up like 90s toys and easily won the contest

Drew's real feelings about his costume
Saturday:

-Morning Holy Hour. The missionaries met at the church to pray their daily holy hour as a group.

-Football game! The game unfortunately started at 11, which isn't the most ideal time to start a tailgate. But we started watching it at a restaurant and then walked over to the tailgate around half time. We caught a lot of students on their way out of the game so it was perfect!

We had the game playing on a TV, food, drinks, games and music.




Sunday:

-Mass
-Breakfast

It was also Drew's birthday. Our girl teammates were so sweet and decorated their living room with Drew's favorite color, black. (Yeah, he's weird.)


singing happy birthday




Happy 25th Birthday Drew!!


Friday, November 6, 2015

7QT: Favorite Posts

Do you ever come across a blog post you just know you will never forget? You know those ones you're dying for everyone else to read? There are ones that put my thoughts into much more eloquent words and articulate ideas better than I ever could. Or there are ones that present totally new ideas with much more wisdom and experience than I have... That is mostly the case.

I read these awhile back, but I continue to think about them. Here are a few that I think about often and would like to share.

1. Mary's Story
Mary's story of  her beautiful Courtney is amazing. I don't think I can do any justice by even explaining it. Just go read it yourself when you have time and some tissues.

2. My Child, I Love You- Evidence of Life
Every. Single. Post. Lindsay is such a beautiful example of a mother. I hope one day I can look at laundry like she does. She really is a great role model for myself as a young mother. (Drew arranged for me to get a chance to hang out with her a few years ago on my birthday! She is the sweetest and even gave me a birthday present. It's always a treat bumping into her family.)

3. And this one- I Haven't Been Busy
Especially how she handles everything she can't get done in one day. I've been thinking about that a lot lately. (And I only have one baby!)

4. This Ain't the Lyceum- The Elimination of Charity and the Marginalized
"However, today a common way proposed to help your fellow man is to eliminate his sufferings through death. We are quickly becoming a society that does not want to eliminate suffering through charity and service but through the elimination of the person. We are sacrificing people, rather than our time." 
So so good.

5. All of Mama Needs Coffee.. but in particular this one- Maybe it's Just Love
I love how Jenny writes with so much love and compassion about controversial topics. Her series: Understanding the church's teaching on sex and marriage is definitely worth checking out.

6. Catholic All Year- Dear Newlywed, You're Probably Worried About the Wrong Thing.
I love Kendra's parenting posts and this one in particular.

7. Three Dogs North Podcast- What Do You Want
Rob shares a story about some POWERFUL prayers that really got me thinking about how I pray.

I could really go on and on. What are some of your favorites?

Check out more quicktakes here!

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Patch Without Pumpkins

We went to a pumpkin patch on Saturday, but they were out of pumpkins. Isn't that the most ridiculous thing ever?? At least we got some cute pictures.

(Notice the very empty patch)



Sorry this one is blurry- but I had to keep it!


The best Mimi and Papa!


JM just wanting to eat the camera- Look at those teeth!

Staring at the tractor



We ended up snagging pumpkins from Kroger. I wanted a picture of JM standing next to the pumpkins.... At least we got this one.




Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2015

7QT: Treats, Crawling, and Too Much Stuff

Here's another 7QT with Kelly:

1. Last Sunday, we went on a walk to one of our favorite parks in town. The sun was setting, JM was snoozing in the stroller, and it was the perfect temperature out. It was one of those picture perfect moments when you really realize how great life is. I tried to capture a photo of it.



2. I made these treats for our bible studies this last week. It seems like anything with Almond bark is good and I really love Ree's recipes. I used Oreos, pistachios, Reese's Pieces, mini chocolate chips, and halloween sprinkles. For bible study, we talked about perseverance in prayer and we watched this. I think the girls liked the concrete points of how to go about praying about a decision, specifically our vocation.



3. My parents are in town!! They came Wednesday night and we are having a blast. The only other time they have been to Auburn was when JM was born. I was a bit busy at the time and didn't feel like I got to show them around much. It's been great to have them here. They were able to go to a FOCUS event Thursday night along with the student mass and dinner. They are getting a mini glimpse into missionary life.


4. JM is army crawling!!!!!! It is amazing how quickly he can figure things out. He has been kind of inch worming around and just today he really started to figure it out. I also bought him this adorable hat, if it ever actually cools down here.


5. We have officially put away the baby swing, bouncer, and boppy (I never really used that thing anyways) and have switched it for a jumper and high chair. I am crying a little bit on the inside (and maybe the outside) about it, but also I don't know what to do with all of this STUFF. I told my mom today, I feel like I spend so much time daily just moving STUFF around- laundry, dishes, making the bed, getting toys out for JM, putting them away, trying to straighten up the kitchen, living room, and dining room table again and again. (and I only have a baby!! What is going to happen when I have a toddler???)  I just keep rearranging everything to seem like it's not as cluttered. I think our apartment really needs to be KonMaried. (can that be a verb?) I started reading the book last time I was at Barnes and Noble and I can't stop thinking about what she said about how much energy we spend cleaning, taking care of, and picking up our stuff. I just want it all gone and not just organized or hidden!!!


Moving on from that rant...

6. Baby food?? JM is quickly approaching 6 months. We have yet to decide or look much into starting baby food. I like the idea of Baby Led Weaning, but am a little nervous to fully commit. Any tips?? Where do I even start researching??

7. To answer the Link-toberfest question, my most popular quick takes was this one. It definitely has to do with the fact that Kendra gave me some credit for a Halloween costume idea. (Thanks, Kendra!) I am really eyeing some of these prizes and I have never ever ever won anything through blogs so I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Go Royals!

JM's 5 months old!

I hope ya'll are having a great weekend! We will hopefully be watching the Huskers win and carving some pumpkins!

Emily

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Baby in Savannah

As I mentioned before, we took our first family vacay to Savannah, Georgia! I figure I better write about it quick before it becomes another story untold like my partially written birth story. Oops.

We spent three days and two nights there. We got a later start than we planned on Thursday and we forgot about the time difference. Dang.

JM did really well in the car considering he started cutting his second tooth. We were just a bit outside of Savannah, stuck in traffic, and I was sitting in the back seat keeping him company when we heard the worst noise you can possibly hear when a baby is sitting in a carseat.... I instantly remembered Drew and I's last conversation at our pit stop.

*Me wrestling JM in the front seat trying to change his diaper as he was trying to roll over*
(Anyone else steer clear of gas station baby changing tables?? I just can't do it.)

Me: I can't get this diaper on. He keeps moving.

Drew: Yeah, that doesn't look right.

Me: It'll be fine.

....................

I've talked enough about poop on this blog, but let's just say it was another one of those times when zero poop ended up in the diaper and the rest pooled in the corner of his carseat.

ANYWAYS back to vacation:


Day One: After settling into our hotel, we took a walk around the Historic District, scouted out the area, and ate the best burgers and onion rings ever!!! The weather was perfect and we were able to sit outside which is so helpful since we have a pretty big stroller that gets in the way in tight restaurants.


After dinner we stumbled upon the City Market, a strip of restaurants, bars, and shops with live music outside. You can walk around with drinks too, which is perfect when you have a baby and can't go into bars. The candy shop was amazing.... After walking around for awhile we headed back to the hotel. We don't have cable at home, so watching HGTV was a pretty sweet treat.




Day Two: We walked down to the River Street and had brunch at Huey's, a New Orleans style restaurant. (kinda funny considering Auburn is way closer to New Orleans than Savannah) But it was SO good. I will be dreaming about the Bloody Mary and the beignets for a long long time.





We made a pit stop so I could change my clothes.. I am so ready for fall, I keep dressing like it and then end up sweating all day.

Everywhere in Savannah is beautiful. I can't get over the Spanish moss on the trees, the historical buildings, and all the parks. There are little squares that are scattered through the whole city that are basically little parks.


We walked to Forsyth Park and JM went swinging for the first time. He LOVED it.



We stopped at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist to pray. It is really beautiful and was filled with so many visitors. It is really neat to see the beautiful of churches that draw people in.



We walked around the rest of the afternoon, stopping in shops and places along the way. One of my favorites was this cute bookstore. They had a precious kids section and I was able to let JM out to squirm a bit. He was a champ being carried or in the stroller all day.




After a rest stop at the hotel and a nap for Drew while I attempted to keep JM from rolling off the bed, we went to dinner at Vinnie Van Go-Go's at the City Market.  The pizza was amazing. We ran into a few people from Savannah and they said this was their absolute favorite. We had some drinks, listened to the music, and may or may not have visited the candy store for a second time.

Day Three: We drove to Tybee Island and had a phenomenal breakfast at The Breakfast Club. The line was out the door and wrapped around the building, so you know it has to be good.



We walked on the chilly, windy beach so JM could see the ocean. He was thrilled.



And then we sadly headed back to Auburn.

***

We had a great time together as a family. It is definitely different with a baby. It's a weird in between where he is too young for kid stuff (museums, playgrounds, etc.) but we can't always what we would have done before having a babe. My thought process now is about whether or not there is room for the stroller, is there a diaper changing table in the bathroom, and will people stare at me if I nurse here.

JM has also lost the ability to sleep anytime anywhere. He is so distracted by anything that we had to head back to the hotel at a decent time both nights.

We also are sure learning how to wrangle a baby while eating. He wants everything. in. his. mouth. I'm looking forward to when he is sturdy enough for highchairs.


My sweet friend Brielle, gave us some awesome tips for the trip. I was so bummed we didn't make it to Leopold's Icecream... hopefully we will go back!


Hope your week is going well!

Emily