Connor is 5 years old!

April 16, 2017


I can remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. We were so thrilled to welcome you into our lives, and you were so excited to join us that you came 3 weeks early to surprise us. I thank God each and every day that he trusts ME to be your mommy. You and your sister are the greatest gifts in our lives!

This has been quite a year for you. Everyone talks about “The Terrible Twos,” which we never experienced with you; it was “The Fearsome Fours” instead! Your stubbornness really came through shortly after you turned 4. If you don’t get what you want when you want it, watch out!! We still have moments when emotions run high and your temper flares, but as time has gone on, you began to learn patience, compassion, restraint, and flexibility. I feel as though you have grown up so much over the past 12 months and you truly are our “little man.”

You welcomed your baby sister with so much love, and that has not changed! Yes, things are getting more challenging as Morgan wants to get into everything you are doing, but you still love to play with, snuggle, hug, and kiss her…all the time!

School has been a wonderful experience for you. You enjoy going each day, and we have seen so much growth and development in your coloring and drawing skills, handwriting, number sense, and much more!  You have made many good friends this year and love to play outside together after school.

LEGOs continue to be one of your favorite “toys.” Once Morgan arrived, we moved all the LEGOs upstairs so that you can have your own space. We try to make sure we squeeze in special “together” LEGO time when we can, but you do enjoy playing and building independently. You also love vehicles, imaginary role-playing, coloring, making crafts, playing outside, reading, and playing with Paw Patrol toys.

You are…
Curious
Clever
Funny
Stubborn
Sweet
Loving
Helpful
Wild
Rambunctious
Impatient
Creative
Persistent
Thoughtful

All of your qualities are what make you YOU and we love you for who you are! I tell you every single night at bedtime, and I mean it with my entire mind, body, and soul: I am so lucky to be your Mommy!

Connor, we love you all the way to the moon…and back. Happy 5th Birthday!

We had a party the day before your birthday with friends. We met at the playground down the street to play, then came to our house for a cookout. You spent many months planning the perfect cake. For some reason, your mind was stuck on a mint cake with gum!  Since you also wanted a piñata, I convinced you that we could put the gum in there instead of on the cake. We agreed on a white cake with a middle layer of mint cookie ice cream, topped with chocolate whipped cream. You had a number 5 candle to blow out, as well as 5 ladybug candles that Inge (our landlord from Germany) sent in your birthday box!



Morgan is 8 months old!

March 30, 2017

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Growth and Development
Morgan has been “on-the-move” all month long. At the beginning of March she was getting into the crawling position and also able to get herself from laying down to sitting and back into a crawling position. By the mid-month she had figured out a true crawl! It was slow and laborious at first, but now she is quick to make a beeline for whatever Connor is playing with or any object we didn’t intend for her to play with. Her new favorite place to play is the kitchen, and she also loves to “help” with the laundry!

Teething seems to be hitting Morgan pretty hard these last couple of weeks. She just has the two bottom teeth that came through last month, but she has been drooling like a faucet, pulling on her ear, and having some trouble getting settled at bedtime.

Practicing her Downward Dog and discovering new toys in the kitchen!

I had to document her new crawling skills!

As if crawling wasn’t enough excitement for us, she has also pulled herself up to standing several times. Just the other day she stood up with Connor’s stool in the kitchen and “walked” it across the floor!  Please slow down, little girl!

Sleeping
Morgan’s sleep has improved a bit since last month. She is waking up fewer times during the night, but lately she often wakes up once or twice shortly after bedtime. Thankfully she just nurses back to sleep and lets me lay her in her crib, and generally has a long stretch after that. Even when her sleep seems rough, I remind myself that she’s still lightyears ahead of where her big brother was at this stage! She still takes 3-4 naps each day, and generally only likes to be awake for about two hours in between.

Eating
Morgan has added a few new foods to her exploration. So far we have offered her big, soft chunks of soft fruits and cooked vegetables. She also enjoys chewing on fruit in her mesh bags. While Morgan still doesn’t seem to have a real hunger for solids yet, she is definitely getting better at mushing things around in her mouth and swallowing. She enjoys watching her big brother’s antics at dinnertime!

Big Brother
“Uh-oh, Morgan’s on the move!” is a phrase I hear daily now. Connor loves to alert me about where Morgan has found herself or what she has grabbed. He loves to play with her toys, so hopefully the novelty will soon wear off for him. Connor enjoys coming in and singing our “Good Morning” song to Morgan when she wakes up in the morning. She always gets a kick out of his silliness and he can really get her laughing as he performs his “wipeouts,” etc.

Connor had fun at school this month with a field trip to the library, trying to “catch a leprechaun” in his classroom, and playing outside with friends almost every day after school (except for the rare days it actually felt like winter).

While Charlie was gone on a 12-day trip, I kept Connor busy!  Last Saturday we went to the Nauticus museum with Aunt Michelle, Uncle Brock, Garrett, and Eric. Connor, Morgan, and I were thrilled that they drove down from Richmond to spend the day with us!  On Sunday I took Connor (and Morgan!) to the Children’s Museum in Portsmouth. We have been there a couple times and Connor always loves it. Connor doesn’t have school on Mondays, so we kept busy at an indoor trampoline park for the first time. It was a blast! After Connor’s week of school, we spent the weekend outside each day enjoying the beautiful weather, friends, and picnic lunches.

Keeping busy while Daddy is out of town:  Nauticus, Cloud9 Trampoline Park, the Children’s Museum, and the playground

Charlie had a blast on his trip. He filled in with the Fort Benning band during their spring concert tour in Florida. Charlie enjoyed the opportunity to perform in concert band and a woodwind quintet, as well as coach master classes with high school and college students. He also managed to squeeze in a day at Epcot and another at Universal Studios when the band didn’t need him for the day. After 12 days, we were more than ready to have him back home with us!  It was amazing how much Morgan had changed in just that short time. She was just starting to truly crawl when he left and she had only pulled to standing once. By the time he came home, she crawls everywhere like she owns the place and gets into everything!

Charlie clearly enjoyed his trip!

Connor couldn’t seem to sleep until a decent time while Charlie was gone, so we endured many early mornings…but I’m grateful every single day for these beautiful munchkins!

Morgan is 7 months old!

February 28, 2017

Growth and Development
-Morgan cut her first two bottom teeth the first week of this month!

-She is now sitting up on her own, and I can’t get over how cute she looks sitting there all by herself!

-Morgan can pretty much get anywhere she wants by a combination of rolling, scooting, and stretching. I had no idea she would be on the move this soon! A few days ago she lifted her torso into an almost-crawling position, and now she lifts up on hands and knees and rocks back and forth…ready to crawl!  Yikes!!

-Another fun development this month is sticking out her tongue and blowing raspberries. So cute, but so messy!

-Morgan is getting chatty and especially loves to say “ah-da-da” over and over.

Holding herself up, and finally sitting with no hands!

Going on her first adventure to the kitchen.  It’s amazing to me how much ground she can cover without actually crawling!

Poised and ready to try crawling.  She likes to rock back and forth in this position as she contemplates which limb she might be able to lift up…

Sleeping
This has been Morgan’s worst month of sleep, but she has been going through so many developmental stages that I’m hoping that is what has disrupted her.  She has been waking more often during the night, but still nurses easily back to sleep and then I lay her back in her crib. Nighttime has definitely improved over the last few days so I hope we have crossed over one of those developmental hurdles! She now sleeps in her crib in her own room, and often likes to roll onto her belly to sleep. Her naps have spread out a bit, so she is usually napping 3 times a day, sometimes 4 if she was up earlier than usual. She usually naps only 30-45″ at a time, but sometimes surprises me with an hour and a half, or a random 3-hour hibernation!

Sleeping so well before being disturbed to pickup Connor from school

Eating
Morgan has been “exploring” solid foods for a few weeks. She doesn’t seem to have any real hunger for food yet and isn’t very good at mushing things up in her mouth and swallowing. I am certainly in no hurry! We have given her chunks of sweet potato, avocado, banana, cucumber, and broccoli. In her little mesh pouch she looooves to chew/suck on blueberries, pear, apple, grapes, and orange.

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Big Brother
Connor still can’t get enough of Morgan, but I have a feeling the month ahead might change their sibling dynamic as she continues to develop her crawling skills!

My little loves on Valentine’s Day

We moved our LEGO collection upstairs to its own room, so now Connor loves to start building first thing in the morning. Connor enjoyed a family outing to the LEGO Shipbuilding event in downtown Norfolk this month. He got to build a ship with directions, look at amazing LEGO ships, and freestyle his own LEGO ship to enter into a contest.

The weather has been strange this winter and we have enjoyed lots of outside time on warm February days! Connor loves to stay after school to play outside with his friends while Morgan enjoys watching the action. 

We spent the long Presidents’ Day weekend at Michelle’s house (Charlie’s sister), and Connor had such a blast. The weather was perfect, and he spent hours outside with his cousins and uncle: fishing, riding the tractor, practicing archery, walking around their land, and building a “teepee” in the woods. Meanwhile, Aunt Michelle had lots of time with Morgan while Charlie and I enjoyed a much-needed nap! We all had fun playing a few family card games and board games as well.

Trying a bow and arrow for the first time with his cousin Eric

Here are a few more favorite pictures from this month:

Captivated by Connor’s train

Morgan is 6 months old!

January 30, 2017


Morgan loves to…
-smile and laugh, especially at her big brother
-jump like crazy in her doorway jumper
-be carried around in the Ergo

 

Growth and Development
-16lb 14oz; 26.5″
-Morgan continues to roll onto her tummy, and finally has been rolling more easily from tummy to back these last few days.
-She still scoots all over the place while on her back, and grabs anything within reach.
-Her eyelashes are soooo long and her hair is finally filling out! We felt like she was born with a lot of hair, but her head grew and her hair didn’t. Now her hair seems to be catching up!

Morgan loves to scoot underneath her swing to check things out!

Sleeping
Shortly after returning home from our Christmas trip, Morgan tried to rollover in her Rock n Play Sleeper, which is where she has slept literally every single night since coming home from the hospital. It was a sad day, realizing we had to make a sudden transition to her crib since it was no longer safe for her to sleep in the Rock n Play. Connor helped me setup the co-sleeper next to my bed, which is basically a playpen mattress up against the side of the bed and at the same height as our mattress. The first night and following day of naps were rough because Morgan’s arms were startling her each time I would lay her down. I had just stopped swaddling her at the beginning of January, so I decided to try swaddling her again. It definitely helped, and now I can lay her down without any problems.

Morgan usually wakes up three times each night, which seems to be another digression compared to last month’s sleeping habits, but she nurses and goes back to sleep easily. During the day she naps 4-5 times, depending on how early she woke up that day. She tends to stay awake for about an hour and a half and then nap for 45 minutes. Repeat all day long :). I’m ready for her naps to consolidate, but I know these things can’t be rushed! Just these last few days of January she has had a couple days of fewer and longer naps. We’ll see if it sticks!

Big Brother
Connor enjoyed our big snowstorm in early January! After returning from Texas and having one day of school, we were hit with at least 8″ of snow over the weekend. Schools and work were all closed on Monday and delayed on Tuesday, and Connor was off Wednesday as well, even though Charlie had to go to work. Connor loved digging in the snow and would have braved the cold for a lot more outdoor playtime if we had let him. The temperature stayed in the 20s and 30s for the first two days after the snow, then suddenly warmed up to the 50s.

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After three days in the 20s and 30s, it finally warmed up enough to venture all the way to the playground.

The other big excitement this month was a family outing to see Paw Patrol Live at Chrysler Hall in downtown Norfolk. I must say, it was worth every penny to see Connor’s face light up as he saw the characters (and their vehicles!) come out on stage! Morgan sat on my lap watching intently almost the whole time, and finally dozed off towards the end.

This month we have been impressed by Connor’s ability to color neatly inside the lines, and his attention span for working on coloring projects!

A few more pictures from this month:

We returned home after our trip to Texas and discovered that Santa had stopped in Virginia, too!


Morgan is 5 months old!

December 30, 2016

It has been a busy month for Morgan! From watching her learn new skills to celebrating her first Christmas, we have enjoyed every moment with our precious family of four.

Charlie’s Holiday Party at work

Growth and Development
Morgan has been rolling from back to front for a month, but did not roll from front to back until yesterday!  She can really scoot around by arching her back and pushing with her feet while laying on her back. I can hardly leave her alone on the floor anymore! Sometimes while on her belly, Morgan tries to lift her hips up while moving her legs. She seems so eager to move, and I don’t remember Connor being like this. We might be in for it!

Morgan somehow moved over to Connor’s Lego set and broke it in half with her foot!

We have experienced the joyful sounds of true belly laughs this month. Her first one was in the bathtub after the soap bottle made a squirting sound. As I should have expected, Connor is the most successful at making Morgan laugh! There is nothing sweeter than watching Connor “perform” for Morgan so that she will laugh at him. She loves to “talk” and can get quite noisy and animated about it. Over the last few days she has started blowing lots of bubbles/raspberries.

There is nothing sweeter than seeing your children laugh together!

Morgan likes to grab anything within reach, especially her feet. One of her current favorite activities is sucking on her big toe.

Sleeping
Morgan goes to bed around 7:30pm and sleeps until around 7:00am, usually waking twice to nurse. Even though last month she was only waking once, I still can’t complain at all!

Her daytime naps have really consolidated this month. Morgan usually has 3-4 naps daily, and most of them are swaddled in her bed. For her short pre-dinner snooze, I like to just hold her on the couch and snuggle/nurse. I have been lucky this month that Charlie has been home from work early enough for me to relax with Morgan while he plays with Connor and helps get dinner ready.

Big Brother
Some comments never change from the previous month: “Connor still can’t seem to give Morgan enough hugs and kisses. He gets so frustrated when I ask him to stop if he tries to kiss her or hold her hand while she is sleeping!”

Connor had a Christmas concert at school on December 8th. Despite his serious demeanor throughout the performance, he says he had fun. Morgan decided it was bedtime and enjoyed sleeping through the concert. Connor’s favorite song was “Go, Tell It on the Mountain.” Leading up to Christmas, he and I loved to turn up Pentatonix’s version in the car and sing along!

This month we have been impressed by Connor’s ability to spell “Brokovich” and to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. He loves his teachers and is eager to go to school each day.

Christmas in Texas
We flew to Abilene on December 19th to spend 2.5 weeks with Charlie’s family. It has been a relaxing visit so far, and although we arrived on the coldest day they had seen in 6 years, it soon warmed up. Connor and I (and usually Morgan) have enjoyed plenty of time at the playground down the street and at the pond in the neighborhood. Connor loves spending time with his cousins and has asked every day when they are coming over.

Climbing the rocks at the miniature golf course with cousins Andrew and Aaron

Christmas Day brought lots of Legos, and Connor enjoyed building 3 large sets and a small set. Hopefully everything will fit into our suitcase when it’s time to go home!

Ready to open gifts with his cousins!


Enjoying time with Grandma and Granddad


Connor was busy building Legos after opening Christmas gifts!

Uncle Bill (Barbara’s brother) drove down from Parsons, KS on the 29th to spend a few days with everyone in Abilene. It was wonderful to see him and finally introduce Connor and Morgan to him.

It’s hard to believe that Christmas Day last year was when we surprised our families with the news of my pregnancy, and here we are this Christmas with our sweet 5-month-old Morgan Louise!

Bundled up for a cold day in Virginia


Morgan loves using her feet on the bouncer at Grandma and Granddad’s house. She also likes to grab the bar with her hands and pull herself up to a sitting position. She is growing up too quickly!

Morgan is 4 months old!

November 30, 2016

Growth and Development
At her 4-month checkup, Morgan weighed 14 lb 13 oz (75th percentile) and measured 24 inches (39th percentile). She loves to smile and “talk,” and we have even heard a few laughs!

While we were in Georgia for Thanksgiving, my Dad was the only person to witness Morgan’s first roll from back to front. Thankfully she did it again two days later so that several of us could see it! She worked so hard to heave herself over! Morgan has discovered her feet and loves to grab them as often as she can. She is also getting better at grabbing toys with her hands and bringing them to her mouth.

Sleeping
Morgan goes to bed around 7:30pm and sleeps until around 7:00am, usually waking once to nurse. We are so relieved that Morgan has outgrown her evening “fussy time.” She still gets fussy when she’s tired (and who doesn’t?), but the daily hour of inconsolable crying has finally come to an end. She seems to prefer catnapping throughout the day instead of a few longer naps, but I can’t complain since she sleeps so well at night!

In between daytime naps, Morgan has long stretches of awake time. She loves to sit in her bouncy seat while watching whatever we are doing, or lay on her play mat while we are nearby. Morgan is obviously not sitting up yet, but she can spend a few minutes in her exersaucer or jumper with some help!

Big Brother
Connor still can’t seem to give Morgan enough hugs and kisses. He gets so frustrated when I ask him to stop if he tries to kiss her or hold her hand while she is sleeping!

Veterans Day Weekend at Aunt Michelle’s
We spent a 4-day weekend with Charlie’s sister and her family at their home near Richmond. On Saturday, we drove a little over an hour to Staunton, VA to see the Frontier Culture Museum. Connor loved running along the outdoor path to see the farms from Africa, England, Ireland, Germany, and America. One of the highlights was watching the blacksmith. It was an absolutely gorgeous Fall day, and Morgan snoozed through the whole visit! We relaxed and enjoyed a slower pace the rest of the weekend. Connor can’t get enough of playing outside with his cousins and uncle, and of course, riding the tractor!

Morgan is ready for a chilly day at the outdoor museum; Connor is trying out the old-fashioned shingle maker

Enjoying the beautiful Fall weather with Aunt Michelle

Thanksgiving in Georgia
As usual, we spent Thanksgiving with my family in Norcross. It was a full house all week, and Connor loved all the excitement. He played all day long with his cousins, and thankfully we had enough nice weather that he spent hours outside most days. We all helped put up lights outside on Friday, and on Saturday we walked to see the city’s Christmas parade. The 6 cousins also exchanged their Christmas gifts. Another highlight of the week was the baptism of our sweet Morgan Louise on Sunday. Since we don’t have a church home in Virginia, we were thrilled to have her baptized at the church in Norcross where we got married and to have many of our family members there with us.

Enjoying time with Grandma Penny and Uncle Jason

All 6 cousins with Great-Grandma

Helping cousins Claire, Ceci, and Aunt Kelly decorate Gram and Grandpa’s house

Morgan is 3 months old!

October 30, 2016

Growth and Development

Morgan is now sporting a double chin and plenty of leg rolls, and is wearing 3-month clothes. She is starting to grab things, but so far can only grip soft things like a burp cloth or her Minnie Mouse blankie toy. She often pulls them up into her face and then can’t push them away!

Gathering her toys

“Oops…now what do I do?”

Morgan loves to scoot backwards while laying on her back. She always ends up with her head crammed on one end when she’s on her changing pad, or if I lay her on the floor she can scoot completely off the blanket.

Morgan scooted off her blanket and headed straight for Connor’s Legos!

We see lots of smiles from Morgan, especially when Daddy is around. Connor gets so excited when she responds to him with a sound or smile, and he repeats whatever he just did over and over in hopes that he will get the same response. I love how her tone of voice changes when she “starts a conversation” with us, and Morgan loves it when we mimic her sounds back to her. She has more and more alert time where she is content to hang out in her bouncer, swing, or just in our arms.

Having a conversation with Connor

Sleeping
Morgan is still a reliable and consistent nighttime sleeper. She goes to bed between 7:30-8:00pm and usually wakes twice to nurse during the night. (There have been a few nights when she only wakes once!)  Her first morning nap has become predictable and consistent, but the rest of the day she usually catnaps here and there, usually only getting a long nap if I have her in the sling for a while. She sleeps in the Rock & Play sleeper at night, and I have started putting her in the crib for one or two of her naps each day.

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The best way to nap!

Napping in the sling while helping Connor with his shower, and catching a quick snooze on the Boppy pillow

Big Brother
Connor is enjoying school! He has a couple friends from last year that he still loves to play with, and has made a few new friends this year. We stay after school to play outside with them each day as we take advantage of the nice weather.

Connor loves being a big brother. Morgan receives plenty of hugs and kisses, and we are still working on Connor understanding his size and strength compared to his baby sister!

Early in the month, Connor had a school field trip to Taylor Farms. Morgan and I went with him, and we enjoyed a hayride, seeing farm animals, choosing a pumpkin, and playing with friends.



Connor earned a medal for finishing a 6-week basketball program!   Charlie always went with him each week, but Morgan and I tagged along for the final night.


And finally, two more favorite photos of our beautiful little lady this month!

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