Harper is 2 months old! (September 25th, 2019)

Time has flown by, the honeymoon of having help from visitors is over, and we are settled into our “new normal” as a family of five.

August 4th

After my mom was here for Harper’s birth, we had four more rounds of visitors:

My stepmom visited from August 7th-11th. Unfortunately, my dad was swamped with a work project and could not come along. Harper had her two-week checkup while Marilyn was here, and she weighed-in at 7lb .9oz.

Grandma and Granddad visited us the first weekend in August. They came again for a short visit on September 21st along with their friends from California who were visiting Texas.

Aunt Michelle flew out for a visit from August 22nd-26th. While living in Virginia, we were less than 2.5 hours away from her and visited often, but now we are so far away. She feels like a sister to me and it was hard to say goodbye when she left!

Uncle Jeff drove down over Labor Day weekend.  We will see him and the rest of his family next month when we travel to Abilene for his daughter Katie’s wedding!

Gram’s visit (August 7th-11th)

Grandma & Granddad’s visit (August 2nd-5th)

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Uncle Jeff’s visit (August 30th – September 1st)

Grandma & Granddad’s second visit (September 21st)

 What’s new with Harper?

At Harper’s 2-month checkup on September 25th, she weighed 11 lb (41st percentile) and measured 22 in (25th percentile).

September 21st

We are trying to soak up every moment with our sweet baby. She is growing before our eyes, and we have started seeing smiles! Connor and Morgan love her so much and always want to hold her or soothe her if she’s crying. Morgan is still learning proper ways to touch and interact with Harper, but I try to look at the bright side that she is eager to spend time with her sister. Harper loves to hold her head up while she’s being held on our chest. I have to admit that she hardly gets laid down for tummy time!!

Harper has fallen into a pretty consistent nighttime routine. After having some fussy time between dinner and the big kids’ bedtime, Harper is asleep in her bed around 8:30pm. She starts off with her longest sleep stretch, which is between 4-5 hours. She generally wakes up 2-3 times total, and wakes up for the day between 7:00-7:30am. (Well, she wakes up for an hour before she’s ready for her first nap!)  I swaddled Harper for the first two weeks or so, but she was constantly fighting to get her hands out. After about two weeks, I started using a zip-up swaddle sack that lets her hands stay up near her face yet still covered up. She has slept well in it!

Most of Harper’s daytime naps are in the sling with me. Sometimes I get a chance to sit down on the couch and snuggle her while Morgan reads books with me or plays nearby, but usually Harper gets carried around for naps while we are out at Morgan’s activities, or home doing chores. On the weekends, Charlie loves to hold a sleeping Harper while watching his football games. Bath and bedtime for Connor and Morgan is the toughest time of day for me. Harper is fussy at that time of day, but doesn’t really want to nurse and isn’t ready to fully go to sleep for the night.  I know it’s just a phase, but it’s a tough one!

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September 14th

What’s new with Morgan?

Our sweet Morgan has definitely entered a new phase after turning three. She has quite the mind of her own, doesn’t like to listen, and can be pretty stubborn. (Wonder where she gets that?) She is also loving, eager to help, and likes to tell “tall tales” and jokes. She likes to be independent when it suits her, like getting dressed and buckling herself, but gets super clingy and whiny for Mommy when she’s tired. She is capable of going to sleep by herself and has done it many times throughout the last month, but still likes for me to be in there with her. Morgan spends most of her time playing with and taking care of her “amimals” and dolls. Lately she enjoys dressing them in Harper’s clothes, nursing them, and burping them. She also likes playing with LEGOs, although Connor isn’t always happy about her playing with his sets.

Morgan’s biggest news is that she has been wearing underwear since September 14th!!!! It was an easy transition once I finally bit the bullet and decided that she was going to wear underwear. She was really interested in using the potty last fall and even started wearing underwear for a couple days, but then she decided she wanted to wear pull-ups again and I didn’t want to rush her. Then came moving to Texas and having a new baby sister, so we just didn’t worry about it. I finally got fed up with the trash cans full of wet pull-ups and truly felt like she was capable of using the potty all the time, and thankfully my hunch was correct. She has no problems at home and is very independent with it, but she is currently terrified of public restrooms because of the automatic flushing toilets…

Morgan (and Harper) and I have been keeping busy since Connor started school. We go to the library for storytime two days each week, and she has gymnastics on Tuesday mornings. She really likes gymnastics and her class is adorable to watch! We also go to MOPS twice a month, which gives her the opportunity to play in a preschool-like setting while I have a meeting and activities with other moms.

Sweet sisters!

Nursing and burping her baby doll

Playing with her “amimals” and carrying them in the sling

First day of gymnastics!

For a girl who doesn’t nap anymore, she sure catches a lot of snoozes when we pickup Connor from school!

September 21st

What’s new with Connor?

Connor is in second grade at Longs Creek Elementary. He really likes his teacher and classmates, and we have been happy with the school overall. I think his favorite part is probably that he has recess TWICE each day! It’s not the school we are zoned for, but our district has a “school choice” application and we decided to go for it. Longs Creek is only 2.5 miles away, but the only downside is that we have to drive him to and from. I didn’t think it would be a big deal since I have always driven him to school each year, but I was surprised how difficult it was to get all three kids out the door in the morning! We have to leave earlier than we did in Virginia, and I couldn’t believe when I had to wake up a sleeping child on a few occasions! At least the baby can nap whenever she wants, but I feel awful having to wake up Connor or Morgan. We have settled into the routine pretty well and now they are getting to bed early enough to wake up on their own. Lately, Charlie has been able to drive Connor most mornings, which is a huge help. Afternoon pickup takes about 30 minutes total from leaving the house until we get home, but thankfully Harper usually doesn’t scream the whole time anymore! Morgan is perfectly happy with a toy, snack, and/or a snooze.

Connor is doing very well in school and enjoys learning in all the subjects. At the end of first grade in Virginia, he was accepted into the gifted program, and his new school looked at his testing info and put him into the gifted program here as well. He loves reading and has turned into quite the bookworm. The backseat of the car and his bedroom are always scattered with books that he is currently reading.

Connor still loves LEGOs, and we are so fortunate to have room for a ”LEGO zone” downstairs. Who needs a formal living room/dining room when you can have a LEGO zone?? (And room to setup trains and ride Morgan’s tricycle!) He has started a karate class one evening per week and seems to enjoy it. Charlie and I are not as impressed with the class as we were with Connor’s Hapkido program in Virginia, but we are giving it a fair chance.

We have been shocked at how much Connor has grown up this summer. He finally goes to sleep on his own after reading with Charlie and getting tucked in, and he happily stays in his own bed all night. When he wakes up in the morning, he usually reads in bed (by choice!) until it’s time for breakfast. Connor helps with many chores around the house, and does a lot to help me with his sisters as well.

Connor truly loves playing with Morgan, although there are certainly times when things go downhill. He wants to hold Harper whenever he can, and gets really disappointed if she’s sleeping and he can’t hold her. These girls are so lucky to have Connor as a big brother!

Proud big brother!

“Meet the Teacher” night at school

First day of second grade! 

He lost one front tooth, and the other a few days later

Life in San Antonio

Although our plan had been to live on base, we are so happy with the house we rented instead! The only downside is Charlie’s commute, but he has sadly been getting used to it. Instead of being five minutes away like we were in Virginia, he now has a 20” drive with no traffic, but it’s usually more like 30-35” at the times he is commuting. The house is much more spacious than we would have had on base. The kids have lots of room to spread out and play downstairs, plus we have a loft upstairs for playing. I am thrilled to have room to spare in the kitchen, pantry, and closets. Another perk of this house are the neighbor kids across the street that Connor and Morgan like to play with!

Temperatures have consistently been in the 90s since we arrived, with a stretch in August in the 100s. Before school started, we went out every morning for a bike ride or a trip to the playground. The afternoons are just too hot! We are ready for some relief so that we can explore the sights of San Antonio.

Here are  few more favorite pictures:

August 3rd

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August 10th

Snoozing at the park while the big kids play

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Bike ride around the neighborhood

August 16th

August 23rd

August 25th

September 2nd

September 4th

 

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Happy 3rd Birthday, Morgan! (July 30th, 2019)

Morgan’s 3rd birthday came amidst big transitions for our family. We were in the middle of unpacking and getting settled into our new home in San Antonio, and she had just become a big sister five days earlier. Regardless of the circumstances, we wanted to celebrate our little girl! She had a few specific requests that we were able to honor: balloons, a “noisy card,” muffins for breakfast (we ended up having cinnamon rolls and she had no complaints!), and cupcakes for dessert that night. We also had Grandma Penny still visiting us! Morgan enjoyed opening her gifts and cards throughout the day. Unfortunately, she kept saying that it was her birthday for the next several days!

Morgan has grown up so much over these last few months. She talks so well, likes to help us and do things herself, and has so much personality. Morgan loves to climb, play with her brother, color, and play with Paw Patrol toys and “amimals.” She always wants a turn to hold Harper, and when I change Harper’s diaper, Morgan is right there next to me handing me a clean diaper and wipes, and throwing away the dirty diaper. Speaking of diapers, Morgan is still wearing pull-ups, but that just hasn’t been a priority for us with the move and the new baby.

Morgan likes to eat most foods, but I’d say her favorite is fruit. She will eat any and every fruit and will keep asking for more! Cooked broccoli, Babybel cheese, and pistachios are some of her other favorites. This crazy girl even asks for my cooked kale from my plate, or just stands at the counter eating it out of the Tupperware while I get dinner ready. Unfortunately, she inherited the family sweet tooth, and now asks for dessert after dinner every night.

Morgan still took solid naps until we moved to Texas. At that point I stopped because naps pushed her bedtime until around 9:30pm and that just wasn’t practical for us. I feel bad because she definitely has a tough time in the late afternoon, but now she goes to bed easily and MUCH earlier, and usually sleeps later as well. Also when we moved to Texas, Morgan got a “grown-up girl bed” and she loves it!

We weren’t sure if Morgan would be our only baby girl or if she would be a big sister someday. Now we know that she was meant to be a little sister AND a big sister, and it has been a joy watching her grow into her new role.

We love you to the moon and back, Morgan Louise! We are so lucky to be your Mommy and Daddy!

Harper’s birth story and first week

The kids and I arrived in San Antonio on July 3rd after Charlie had been here for about two weeks already. (We stayed in Georgia with my family after moving out of our house in Virginia while Charlie went ahead to Texas.) He found us a beautiful and spacious home to rent and started to get us settled as best as he could, although our household goods couldn’t be scheduled for delivery until July 23rd because the moving company was so busy. My mom also arrived on July 23rd so that she could help us unpack and be here to help with the kids when I went into labor. She and Charlie got so much of our home settled during those first two days after our household goods arrived!

On Thursday, July 25th, I was exactly 38 weeks along. My mom and I took the kids to the park that morning and they enjoyed some much-needed outside playtime after being inside unpacking all day the day before. Once we were back home, I kept busy with last-minute baby preparations such as washing blankets and bedding, setting up the pack and play downstairs, getting the swing and bouncer ready, etc. My mom kept asking when I was going to sit down and put my feet up! Finally, before dinnertime, I sat in our comfy new recliner and worked on a grocery list while Charlie cooked dinner.

By the time dinner was ready, I was having some contractions. I ate a little dinner, then told Charlie and my mom that we might be going to the hospital tonight. The contractions weren’t very regular yet, so I gave the kids a bath, and I put Morgan to bed while Charlie put Connor to bed. Ironically, it was Morgan’s first night in her new “grown-up girl bed” and she did great. She didn’t even want me to lay with her at bedtime, which was certainly bittersweet. I just laid on the floor timing my contractions until she fell asleep, which didn’t take her long. The contractions were about ten minutes apart. Once the kids were asleep, Charlie and I each took a quick shower, gathered my bag, and left the sleeping kiddos home with my mom. We arrived at the hospital around 9:00pm, and my contractions were still 8 minutes apart. We were brought to a Labor & Delivery room, and a triage nurse hooked me up to the monitor to keep an eye on the baby’s heart rate and my contractions. She said I would be monitored for twenty minutes, then she would check my cervix. I gave her the heads up that things moved very quickly with my first two.

(You can read about Connor’s birth story here and Morgan’s birth story here.)

Charlie and I relaxed for twenty minutes while I was being monitored. The nurse came back at one point and commented that the contractions were getting a little closer together. At the end of the twenty minutes, the triage nurse was about to take me off the monitors when a doctor called in to keep me on the monitor for a few more minutes. The nurse adjusted the monitor and then left again. Suddenly the contractions were getting a lot stronger and coming one right after another. I thought my water would break any moment, but it didn’t. I felt another contraction and knew our baby was on her way. I hit the call button and said, “My baby is coming now!” Several doctors and nurses came right in and you could tell they were getting ready to check my cervix and see how things were progressing, but then they realized the baby really was on her way! They were there just in time to catch her after the next contraction and lay her on my chest!

Harper Florence was born at 9:46pm weighing 5lb 12oz and measuring 19.75” long. Her weight was exactly the same as Connor’s! We were blessed with another healthy baby. Although there was nothing “wrong” with Harper, the doctors were concerned because they thought she was small for 38 weeks. The only extra monitoring they decided to do was check her blood sugar every few hours. Her first reading was good, then the second was just one below the minimum, but after that her numbers were always high enough.

I was hoping to go home after 24 hours, but the pediatricians wanted to monitor Harper a bit longer due to her size, so we stayed until 5:00pm on Saturday. I was disappointed not to go home sooner, but I enjoyed the extra quiet snuggle time with Harper. Charlie brought my mom and the kids to see us on Saturday morning. Connor and Morgan were so excited to meet Harper! Thank goodness they like her name, since we hadn’t even told it to them until she was born!

Harper has been an easygoing baby so far. We went to the park on Sunday morning, and she slept in Grandma Penny’s arms the whole time, then slept in the recliner with her all afternoon! Harper’s first week has been the usual newborn rotation of nursing and sleeping (and diaper changes). At her 4-day checkup she was already 2oz above her birth weight! When she isn’t swaddled, she loves to suck on her hands or make big movements with her arms. Sometimes I lay her down in the bassinet or swing for a nap, and sometimes she gets snuggled the whole time by either Charlie, my mom, or me.

Meanwhile, my mom and Charlie have continued to get the house settled bit by bit. Connor and Morgan have been enjoying seeing all their toys again, and Connor has been in heaven with his LEGO area that Charlie setup for him. The kids have also had fun riding their bikes in our neighborhood.

The kids have all been doing well at nighttime, too. Connor and Morgan are getting more independent and able to fall asleep on their own after being read to and tucked in, although they both sometimes want one of us with them until they fall asleep. Connor has been a reading machine lately, so now he will read on his own for a while in the morning before coming to wake one of us. We have stopped putting Morgan down for a nap since we moved to Texas because it was pushing bedtime way too late. On top of the other transitions like a new house and new baby sister, now the poor thing is completely exhausted in the late afternoon and evening. It certainly makes for an easier bedtime and longer night, though.

The older two absolutely love their new baby sister. They are constantly saying how cute she is, giving her kisses, and asking to hold her. Morgan loves to help with diaper changes. Connor also loves to help…sometimes a little too much. The other morning we were downstairs and heard Harper waking up on the monitor. I didn’t worry about Connor running upstairs to her because I knew Charlie was up there. Next thing I knew, Connor was standing in the kitchen holding Harper. Turns out Charlie was in the bathroom, and Connor took it upon himself to get her out of bed and carry her downstairs. Yikes!!! I’m pretty sure my heart stopped beating for a solid minute! Thank goodness he didn’t drop her, and now we have discussed how he should never pick her up on his own!

It’s hard to believe that Harper could still have been in my belly as I write this on August 1st. Overall, we have had a wonderful first week as a family of five. Charlie was able to take leave starting as soon as Harper was born, and he has been doing anything and everything to help keep our home and family running smoothly. Grocery shopping, cooking, unpacking boxes, putting furniture together, taking empty boxes to the recycling center, and endless trips to Home Depot…you name it, he’s been doing it. We have also been so blessed to have my mom here this entire time. She’s the other half of the machine that has kept this household afloat! Everything worked out so perfectly for her to arrive the same day as our household goods, help Charlie get things unpacked and setup in the house, and be here with Connor and Morgan while we went to the hospital. On top of that, she has been doing laundry, dishes, refilling my water cup, reading with Connor at bedtime, and anything else we ask her to do. I am so lucky! My mom flew home today, but we have less than 24 hours “alone” before Charlie’s parents arrive for the weekend, and then my stepmom comes for a visit later next week.

August – September 2018

I’m working backwards to start with the most exciting update…Connor’s First Day of First Grade!!  (September 4, 2018 – Shelton Park Elementary School)

R: Morgan was so excited to finally pickup Connor after school!!

Experiencing a full day of first grade at the “big school” was definitely an adjustment! Connor loved it from the first day, and we are all pleased with his teacher and the school overall. Morgan and I are getting used to our newfound time together, although she still spends a good chunk of it napping. It’s bittersweet for me to lose so much time with Connor, but he is learning and thriving and comes home happy each day.  A big highlight for him was losing his second tooth while at school.  His “new friend” walked him to the clinic and he came home with a plastic tooth necklace containing his tooth.

On Monday of the second week of school, Hurricane Florence was threatening to hit our area hard enough that the schools decided to go ahead and close for the rest of the week. We decided not to take our chances and drove to Michelle’s on Tuesday night. She and her family were so gracious to take us in after we had just been there a week prior! The hurricane took a turn and didn’t bring any damaging wind or rain to our area after all, so we enjoyed our impromptu “vacation” and then drove home on Saturday.

What’s new with Morgan?

-She says EVERYTHING, even full sentences, although most people wouldn’t understand most of what she says!! Her words are not very discernible to the “naked ear,” but through context, signs, and being with her all the time, we are able to understand the majority of what she says.

-Morgan loves to sing, especially Baa Baa Black Sheep, the ABC’s, and Let it Go. (She starts singing the ABC’s anytime she sees letters or words!)

-We call the kids “Pete and Repeat.” I’m sure you can guess who is who!

Moving backwards to August:

Towards the end of summer, we enjoyed a visit from my dad and stepmom, and a family trip to Washington, DC followed by a few days with Aunt Michelle and her family.  In addition, Connor attended two short camps at his previous school, and lost two teeth!

Connor attended Vacation Bible School in July and a “Bug Camp” the week after Gram and Grandpa left. Both camps were at Bayside Presbyterian Church. He had fun, brought home lots of crafts, and enjoyed being with a few friends he knew from Kindergarten. Luckily for me, friends were able to drive him home each day while Morgan was at home napping!

Gram and Grandpa came for a visit in early August! We enjoyed a magic show at the library, celebrating Morgan’s birthday (again!), and Connor loved going to a Home Depot Kids workshop with them. Charlie and I had tickets to see Pentatonix while they were here, so we got to relax and enjoy an evening out while knowing the kids were safe and happy at home with their grandparents.

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The middle of August was spent soaking up as much time as possible at the pool and playground. Morgan had a few days of swim class, and although she “swims” like crazy when we go to the pool with Connor, she wasn’t too thrilled about getting in the water during her class! Thankfully the instructors let Connor get in the water as well, so the time and effort to get there were made worth it by him being able to swim!

Connor lost his first tooth on August 21st! The adult tooth was already coming in behind the baby tooth before it was even loose, but the dentist said that’s fairly common.

Family trip to Washington, DC

Charlie took three weeks of leave, and during that time we took a trip to Washington, DC and also stopped at Aunt Michelle’s for a few days. He grew up in Northern Virginia, but I think we decided it had been 14 years since he had been back??

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I had a little help packing!

Saturday, 8/25

We drove to DC through LOTS of traffic. Thankfully, the kids did really well in the car. Once we got close, we drove past Charlie’s old houses and elementary school. After a quick Chick-fil-A lunch, we drove the remaining half hour to our hotel in Alexandria. It was a nice 2-room suite, and Connor would have been happy staying there for the next four days!! We headed across the street to the metro station and made our way to Arlington National Cemetery. The weather was beautiful – sunny and in the 80s. We visited the grave of Charlie’s grandmother and grandfather, walked past the Vietnam helicopter pilot memorial, caught part of the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and saw the Eternal Flame at the Kennedys’ graves. Morgan was completely happy hanging out in the stroller, and poor Connor was tired of walking! We left the cemetery around 6:00pm and made it back to the hotel. After eating dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, we finally made it through baths and got everyone to sleep by 9:30pm.

Sunday, 8/26

Our two-room suite was a blessing so that Morgan and I could get up and play while the boys slept. Connor slept until 8:15, which is completely unheard of! After breakfast at the hotel (which is always a highlight of any trip for Connor!), we took the metro and then walked to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall. It was already hotter than yesterday and everyone was a sweaty mess all day! We managed to see the wall, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial, and Washington Monument without TOO much complaining from Connor. In his defense, it was a LOT of walking! Finally I carried Morgan in the Tula so that Connor could ride in the stroller. We walked across the street to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, which neither of us had seen before. While walking back and taking in views of the Jefferson Memorial across the water, Morgan fell a sleep for a sweaty nap.

We walked to the old Post Office Pavilion, which is now a Trump International Hotel. Charlie remembered a food court in the building and we were all hungry for lunch, but we quickly realized once we arrived that the food court no longer exists. We took the elevator to the top of the tower and enjoyed the beautiful views of DC. Our plan was to head to the Zoo next, but we still needed to find lunch. Meanwhile, several city blocks and metro stations near us had been blocked off because of a bomb threat, so we hopped on a bus to anther metro station. After stopping for Jimmy John’s sandwiches, we took the metro to the Zoo. In spite of the heat, we all enjoyed seeing elephants, otters, seals, pandas, and more.

After a long walk back to the metro (improved for Connor by slurping a frozen lemonade on the way) and a long metro ride to the hotel (during which we kept busy with activity books), we all took turns in the shower/bath and then had dinner. Charlie picked up dinner from a restaurant next door, and the kids thought it was pretty awesome to eat in the hotel room while watching Monsters University on TV. It’s the little things in life!

Monday, 8/27

Morgan must have wanted another adventure with me, so after she woke up at her usual 6:00am, we got dressed and went outside while the boys slept. We enjoyed watching buses, trains, people, and playing with empty coffee cups. After the boys woke up and we all had breakfast, we took the metro and then walked to the National Museum of Natural History. Morgan was already asleep in the stroller by the time we arrived! Connor was so excited to see the dinosaur exhibit, then was a little disappointed that there were only two large dinosaur skeletons. Charlie and I were impressed with all the animal exhibits.

After walking to the National Air and Space Museum, we had a quick lunch in the cafe before perusing the museum. Connor enjoyed it, and Morgan found enough to keep her content.

Connor had been asking nonstop about swimming at the hotel, and we finally had the chance. After arriving at our hotel and changing into swimsuits, we all went down to the pool only to hear the lifeguard say she was on lunch break for another fifteen minutes. After a snack in the hotel room, we headed down again to find many other people magically waiting there as well. We finally got to swim, and Connor had a blast, especially since he had Daddy to play with him the whole time! Next came baths, a delicious dinner that Charlie picked up from a nearby Mexican restaurant, and bedtime.

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View of the Capitol

Tuesday, 8/28

Connor decided to join the early morning crew, so the three of us played outside the hotel while Charlie slept. After our usual breakfast and metro ride, we made our way to the International Spy Museum. Morgan enjoyed a cool, air-conditioned nap in the Tula while we all made our way through the museum. It was really neat, and Connor especially liked seeing James Bond’s Aston Martin with all of its spy features.

Morgan woke up as we left the museum and walked to the National Museum of American History. The kids enjoyed seeing lots of vehicles, and Morgan was in the mood to run around more than the last few days. Connor wanted to be her tour guide and show her everything. The highlight of the museum for me was seeing the original “Star Spangled Banner” flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write his famous lyrics.

We headed back to the hotel early to relax. I think everyone had finally hit the sightseeing wall!  After relaxing for a while, we took a walk and stopped at a few places, including a restaurant to have calzones for an early dinner.  Then we walked back for our last night at the hotel!

Early morning adventures outside the hotel while Daddy was sleeping

The original Batmobile at the Museum of American History and James Bond’s Aston Martin at the International Spy Museum

Wednesday, 8/29

Finally, everyone slept until 7:00am! After packing, eating breakfast, and checking out of the hotel, we hit the road for Aunt Michelle’s house. We stopped near Dulles Airport to visit the Udvar-Hazy Center, which is part of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Morgan napped while we wandered around and looked at the space shuttle and countless airplanes. It was a great museum! We had a quick lunch before finishing the drive to Michelle’s, which took longer than it should have due to detours and windy back roads. We arrived mid-afternoon and had time to play and relax before dinner, bath, and bed.

Udvar-Hazy Center

We enjoyed the next few days relaxing at Michelle’s house. Connor always loves spending time with his aunt, uncle, and cousins. Unfortunately, his cousin Garrett is away at Virginia Tech, but he had a great time with Eric as usual! Morgan spent most of her time climbing up and down the stairs and trying to get into everything she isn’t supposed to instead of playing with toys. As much as I love spending time with family, it’s always nice to come back home to our babyproofed house!

We went to the Children’s Museum of Richmond while visiting Michelle

L:  Morgan couldn’t get enough of Blaze the cat while at Michelle’s house!                      R:  I tried to teach Morgan how to lay back and relax

On Sunday we drove home and mostly unpacked, then Connor and I went to a birthday party on Labor Day Monday while Charlie stayed home with Morgan. And just like that…it was time for school!

Here are a few extra pictures from these last two months:

On September 21st, we visited the Arc Gloria from Colombia while it was docked in Norfolk

Happy 2nd birthday, Morgan Louise!

Wasn’t it just yesterday that you were swaddled in our arms? Our lives were forever changed the moment we brought you home, and we can’t even imagine life without you. Your sweet, caring, and inquisitive personality is tempered with a bit of stubbornness and independence, and we wouldn’t change a single thing about you.

Connor is your best buddy and my heart swells when you greet each other in the morning or after an absence!  You two truly love playing together, and I certainly pray that continues as you both get older.  I can’t deny that there are tough moments when you wreck something he built, grab his toy or book, or when Connor plays a bit too wildly with you, but you two have a deep love for each other that shines above the fray.

Daddy is your other best buddy, and I can’t help but smile when I think about the sweet and tender bond you two have. There’s no excitement quite like Daddy coming home from work each evening, and I just love watching you run into his arms to hug and kiss him. I look forward to watching Daddy be your guiding light as you mature.

Between your countless signs and your attempt to “say” everything, we are usually able to understand what you are communicating to us. Your favorites toys are Paw Patrol, Duplo, LEGO minifigures, and animals. You love to eat, and I can’t think of anything off the top of my head that you won’t eat. Just last night you scarfed down Daddy’s homemade cabbage rolls, and kept asking for more sauerkraut.

After reminiscing about your brother’s sleep habits at this age, I am still surprised by how well you sleep…knock on wood! Most nights you sleep all the way through, and if you do wake up, we just snuggle in the glider and you go right back to sleep. Naptime is a consistent 2-ish hours. After weaning two months ago, Mommy is still the one you want to put you to sleep for bedtime and naptime, but I can’t complain!

On your actual birthday, our family of four had cupcakes and sang to you. We will celebrate your birthday again and open gifts later this week because Gram and Grandpa are coming to visit!

If you are interested, you can read about Morgan’s 1st birthday here or her birth story here.

Here are a few recent pictures and a video:

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img_7227She wanted to wear knee pads to the playground!
img_7226 I don’t have a mini-me, but at least there is finally some resemblance!


Morgan is practicing “Baa Baa Black Sheep”…with a little help from Connor!

Summer update

Summer is upon us! Connor has been out of school since May 25, and we have been enjoying our summertime so far.

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Our last day playing on the school playground after school. We spent practically every afternoon here!

First and last days of Kindergarten

Connor “graduated” from Kindergarten and will start first grade at the public school this Fall. He is currently NOT excited about that, and anytime I bring up the subject, he says he wants to “do homeschool.” I think he’s nervous about being in a new place with new people. There are only two friends that he knows from Kindergarten who will attend his new school. On the bright side, when someone at the pool last week asked Connor what school he goes to, he sounded proud and confident when he answered, “Shelton Park!” I suppose it’s a step in the right direction!

In other Connor news, he now wears glasses. We had no idea he had any vision problems until his annual checkup this year. Connor was really excited to wear glasses, but the novelty has worn off and he usually forgets to wear them if we don’t remind him!

Connor completed his spring soccer season a few weeks ago. He liked his coached and teammates and had a lot of fun.

We have been getting into the swing of our summer routine, which includes morning swim lessons, one-on-one time for Connor and me while Morgan naps, afternoon pool or playground time, then two worn out kiddos watching a show while I get dinner ready. It’s rare during the school year for Connor and me to have time with just the two of us, so we have been trying to enjoy our opportunities this summer while Morgan naps. We spent the first week playing Monopoly every day, and lately we have been building Legos in his room.

Connor and Morgan are both turning into little fish! Last summer’s big accomplishment was for Connor to put his head all the way underwater, and this summer he really hit the ground running and has made a lot of progress. He is having a blast “swimming” on his own in the shallow end without floaties. Morgan wears a Puddle Jumper and was pretty hesitant the first time we went to the pool, but now she just jumps right in!

Morgan has grown up so much in the last few months. She is “talking” all the time! She says many, many words – in her own way – but between context clues and her signs we can usually understand what she is saying. She has been saying Mama and Dada for a while, but in April she added “Ah-nah!” for Connor, and finally last month started saying “Ah-nan!” for Morgan. She likes to do a “roll call” and calls out each of our names, waiting for us to say “here!” Morgan loves her brother and Daddy, books, LEGO minifigures, and Paw Patrol toys. (Oh, who am I kidding…she loves the Paw Patrol show, too.)

There were two big changes for Morgan last month. We converted her crib into a toddler bed because she was starting to climb, and I decided to bite the bullet and wean her at the same time. She has always nursed to sleep while rocking in the glider, so being able to actually lay with her in the toddler bed gave me an opportunity to create a new bedtime routine. Weaning her was bittersweet, but she actually transitioned really well. She has gone through phases of various bedtime shenanigans as I attempt to master a new routine, and every week seems to be a new adventure. First it was asking to go potty every five minutes and stuffing her stuffed animals behind the crib bumper. After we got over that hump, she spent several nights screaming for a Paw Patrol bandaid for her week-old boo-boo that had already healed. Her latest shenanigan is needing two pairs of socks – one for her feet and one for her hands. We are also running the gamut of ways to fall asleep: laying next to each other in her bed, laying on top of me in her bed, being held while I stand up, laying across my lap while rocking in the glider…or on Daddy’s lap in front of the TV because she wouldn’t go down for a nap. (Oh, and she sleeps through the night, while her brother still ends up in our bed most nights!)

Grandma Penny and Oma’s visit
My mom and grandma spent a week with us at the end of April/beginning of May. It was such a wonderful week, and we didn’t want to see them go! Many memories were made that will not be forgotten. Morgan was saying “Ah-ma” for Oma and signing “Penny” by the first day they were here, and she still “talks” about them. They got to see Connor’s spring program, and we also attended a performance of the Virginia International Military Tattoo.

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Oma brought the best activity books for Connor!

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Grandma Penny and Connor always read the Knuffle Bunny books when they are together

Reading and puzzles with Grandma Penny

Here are a few pictures before Connor’s spring program: 

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Here are a few more pictures from the last two months:

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Enjoying a lemon slice outside Dockside while we wait for our dinner with Grandma Penny and Oma

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Copying Fozzie Bear’s tongue

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Riding the train at the Zoo on Mother’s Day

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These two really love spending time together. I hope it lasts!

Visiting the farm animals at a library event

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Happy 6th Birthday, Connor!

We just can’t believe the ways you have grown this past year! You are such a clever little boy with so much enthusiasm and zest for life. There is never a dull moment in our house! You still love Legos like crazy, but you also love playing with your little sister. I think you have found your partner in crime!

Kindergarten has been lots of fun for you, and we absolutely love hearing you read. We hope that you will always continue to find as much joy in books as you do now! You have made many friends this year, and I know it will be difficult to start first grade in a new school next year with new faces. Your outgoing and friendly spirit will help you make new friends.

This year, we had a party at the playground near our house. Several friends from school came, as well as two friends from last year’s class, and a few Army friends as well. It was a sunny and hot day. Everyone had a great time!

Lego Ninjago cupcakes, and Lego head marshmallow pop favors

Your birthday was on a Monday this year.  Daddy came downstairs early before work so that you could open your last two gifts, which were Lego sets, of course.  I had to setup for a MOPS meeting before school, and you always help me.  Since it was your birthday, I offered for you to have a Chick-fil-a breakfast while I setup, and you gladly accepted.  (But you still helped me setup anyway!)  Pretty much all of your time outside of school today was spent building your new Lego sets.

We love you to the moon and back! We are so lucky to be your Mommy and Daddy!

Here is a look back at Connor’s previous birthday photos:

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2012 (Colorado Springs)

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2013 (Germany)

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2014 (Germany)

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2015 (Germany)

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2016 (Virginia Beach)

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2017 (Virginia Beach)

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