Josephine at 1 Month Old

08/24/2016

1month_jo

August 13, 2016. 1 Month: Josephine is generally a very sweet, easy going baby. She spent most of her first three weeks asleep and has recently started keeping her eyes open for longer stretches. More than once she slept for 7 hour stretches during the night at 2 weeks old, but I can’t say that’s her normal. She usually is up once during the night for 1-1.5 hour and then it takes me another half hour or so to fall back asleep depending on what I get into while I’m feeding her (online shopping, Pinterest, doing market research for our real estate development project…) So she gets a couple 3-4 hr blocks of sleep at night and I get less than that. I’m calling this season of life #chuggingcoffee. I’m back to 2 cups a day, morning and afternoon, but this time around I’ve learned to drink it fast before it gets cold or I get wrapped up in doing something else and forget about it. Back to JoJo… She is adored by her big siblings and gets showered, rubbed and smothered with their affections throughout the day. Zay loves to rub her head and say “baby!” I can’t blame him. She’s got the softest peach fuzz. He sometimes gives her kisses, too. He brings her Wubbanub and blanket to her, and gets concerned if she’s crying. Ali loves to hold her, lie next to her, give her kisses and match outfits with her. She’s helped with baths and diaper changes. She calls her her little coconut, little noodle or little Joey. Our little Joey has started grabbing things, usually my or Ali’s hair, or my or Jason’s shirts while we’re attempting to put her down. She prefers to be held, and upright, which makes it hard to get anything else done that requires arms. I may start wearing her around the house in the Ergo. She’s a delightful addition to our family and we’re so glad she’s here.

signature


Birth Story: Josephine

08/22/2016

On Tuesday July 12, I headed to my OB’s office for my 39 week check up. My body showed no signs of progress from the previous week; still just 1 cm dilated and 40% effaced. I was thankful for a healthy baby and me and everything going well. Jason was scheduled to go out of town for a few days, leaving Wednesday night. He wouldn’t be more than a few hours away so we figured it would be fine for him to go. After all, I was in labor for 24 hours with Isaiah.

After my appointment I went to my parents house for lunch and to meet back up with Ali and Zay since my mom had been babysitting during my appointment. My friend Lisa who visiting from California joined us for an early afternoon swim. While in the pool I noticed I was having quite a few contractions. I had been having contractions around every 20-30 minutes since the beginning of June so it wasn’t too alarming but they did seem more frequent. After the kids’ afternoon naps, my mom, Ali and I went to the hospital for a tour of the labor and delivery area. I had just been there a year before, of course, but my mom had not so I wanted her to see where to go when she would come with Ali and Zay to meet JoJo. My mom drove and I timed my contractions. They were hovering around 10 minutes apart. All throughout the hour-long tour I continued timing contractions. Afterward we met Jason, Zay and our friend Matt for dinner at Calypso as I continued recording my contractions. I thoroughly enjoyed my black bean nachos, aware that it might be my last meal for a while.

As soon as we got home I finished packing Ali and Zay’s overnight bags and then we put them to bed as usual, still not confident that the contractions wouldn’t slow down and taper off when I went to bed like they had many other days prior. I took a shower and then meandered around the house packing the last things in my hospital bag. I started using an app to time my contractions. I bounced around on my exercise ball, doing my PT exercises, while I looked through the beautiful new baby book that had arrived in the mail that day from my sister. At 11:00 I decided we better let my parents know that we’d be going to the hospital at some point that night. My dad came over and got comfortable on our couch for the night. We left for the hospital around midnight, shortly after my app said this:

IMG_4028

We arrived somewhere around 12:15 am and were back in triage around 1:00 am for me to be evaluated. I was 3 cm dilated at that point. I let the nurse know that I was planning on getting an epidural…soon. She left to call my doctor. Half an hour passed and my contractions were getting more intense. I needed to use the bathroom so Jason went out to the hall to find a nurse. My doctor had asked the nurse to check me again in an hour. For some reason she hadn’t come back to tell us that. When she checked me again at 2:00 am I was 4 cm. My contractions were getting painful. I was mentally prepared for an epidural and I was not enjoying the contractions at all. I focused on a cross on the wall above the doorway with a little metal Jesus with His arms raised up to Heaven, whispering for Jesus to help me and give me strength as I breathed through the contractions.

IMG_4030

By the time we got back to the labor and delivery room it was close to 3:00 am. Jason went to get the rest of our bags from the van while the nurse connected my IV and got some things set up. The anesthesia team came around 3:45 and by 4:00 I finally had some relief! I thoroughly enjoyed watching my contractions on the monitor without having the intense pain with each one. They were 1-2 minutes apart, compared to my labor with Isaiah where they were never less than 5 minutes apart. When the nurse checked me again at 4:45, I was 8 cm dilated. She left to call my doctor who was on call but still at home. Less than 10 minutes later I heard a “Pop! Pop!” over Josephine’s heart rate monitor and felt a warm gush of water. I paged the nurse to let her know my water had broken. She came back quickly and check me again. “You’re complete!” she said. Complete? What?! 10 cm already. I couldn’t believe how much faster it was going this time. And my doctor was still at home…

“Try not to push,” the nurse told me when I confirmed that I was feeling a lot of pressure. “Let me know if you feel even more pressure and feel like you need to push.” As the nurse rushed to get the delivery equipment set up I started wondering if Josephine was going to slide right out onto the hospital bed. It felt like her feet were pushing against my ribs as her head was getting ready to emerge. My doctor came rushing in at 5:30 am. As she was putting on her gloves she told me to scoot down to the end of the bed. I told her I wasn’t scooting until her hands were ready to catch the baby! After a couple of test pushes, with the first contraction and one push her head came out. A second push and she was out! Josephine came out crying. (Isaiah never cried when he was born but I cried as soon as I held him.) I laughed! I could not believe how quickly and easily labor had gone this time. The cord had been around her neck twice and the doctor needed to clamp it off and cut it in order to get her loose. Jason still had an opportunity to cut the cord as well. The nurse put Josephine right on my chest as she wiped her off. Immediately Jo was trying to nurse. She was so ready to come out and get this party started. I let the nurse take her aside for a few minutes to finish cleaning her up and get her height and weight while my doctor finished stitching me up.

IMG_4033 IMG_4038

We ended up missing an entire night of sleep, just like with Isaiah’s birth, but thankfully the labor was so much faster. By late morning we were in our postpartum room ready to receive our first visitors: Grandma, Ali and Zay.

IMG_4045 IMG_4046 IMG_4050 IMG_4058

Jason’s parents, Nana and Papa, came next

IMG_4079

My sister and her kids had planned a trip to visit during the week of my due date and ended up flying in from Philadelphia late the day Jo was born. It was so special to have her here! Aunt Jessica and cousin Iris came to visit on Thursday.

IMG_4094

Uncle Dan (Jason’s brother), Aunt Ginger and cousin Eliza came to visit too.

IMG_4103

We also had a handful of friends come by to meet her at the hospital. I love hospital visitors! Early Friday morning July 15 (on Josephine’s due date) we headed home.

signature


Introducing: Josephine Louise

08/04/2016

Josephine Louise was born July 13, 2016 at 5:46 am, weighing 6 lb. 9 oz. and measuring 18.5″ long

IMG_4072

Yesterday she turned 3 weeks old which seemed like a fine time to update my blog. However, I fell asleep halfway through putting this post together. That happens when you have a newborn. I’ll keep my words short for now (so I don’t put myself to sleep…) and share mostly photos. I will write out her whole birth story soon.

In short, she’s a wonderful baby and a sweet addition to our family. We’ve been calling her Jo, JoJo, Joey… trying out lots of nicknames. I also call her Peachie Pie because she has the softest peach fuzz on her warm little head. JoJo is one of those (rare?) babies that sleeps 20 hours a day, making life as easy as it could be with a newborn and two other small children. She’s doing great with breastfeeding and all around a pleasant, easy-going baby. Her big siblings love her. Ali wants to hold her many times a day, wants to match her outfit or at least pick out her clothes, and generally be near her all the time. Isaiah pats and rubs her soft head, brings her blankets and toys, and responds with a concerned “Baby!” anytime he hears her fussing. (He also sometimes calls her DoDo… hehe) Jason and I are smitten, tired, happy and most definitely outnumbered. Full hands, full hearts.

IMG_4113

Heading home from the hospital

IMG_4115

Josephine with her big brother, Daddy and Grandpa

IMG_4132

First morning at home, Ali and Zay couldn’t wait to come see her

IMG_4173 IMG_4188

We’re a family of five! (3 day old JoJo here)

IMG_4251 IMG_4274 IMG_4291 IMG_4321 IMG_4326

First bath at home with big sister eager to help

IMG_4426 IMG_4429 IMG_4434 IMG_4601 IMG_4653

signature


Josephine Louise – 39 Week Update

07/12/2016

I’m just a couple days away from my due date (July 15) and so far Baby JoJo is still hanging on. My last day of work was Wednesday and I’ve felt so much more patient and relaxed since my leave started. I think that feeling of trying to tie up loose ends everyday “just in case” and also that disappointment of “I guess I’ve got to go to work tomorrow after all…” was causing more stress than I realized. I’m using this potential week or two before she’s born to visit with friends who came in from out of town (check out #sistermomsonthefarm on Instagram if you’re curious!), hanging out with my sister and her kids who are coming to visit this week, and spending as much time as I can hanging out and playing with Ali and Zay: swimming, going to the park, walking at the mall (it’s too hot to walk outside!), swimming some more… And also making sure the nest is ready for our new little chickie to be welcomed home.

It seemed like my last update was some grumbling about things going wrong… particularly breaking my toe which led to waddling/limping and then some crazy back pain. I’m happy to report that my toe is 95% better. It’s still a little tender, especially if bumped, but I can walk pretty normally. I did 4-5 weeks of physical therapy for my back pain and I’m feeling significantly better than I was a few weeks ago. I’ve got a lot of stretches and exercises to work on, now and after the baby is born. Overall things are going really well. I’m very ready for labor to start and to meet our littlest lady face-to-face, but I’m also feeling patient most of the time. Isaiah was 5 days past his due date so I’m preparing myself for that possibility. Five days past Jo’s due date would fall on Ali’s 5th birthday, July 20. She goes back and forth between wishing for that and wanting to keep her birthday her own. She’s been hoping and praying for a baby sister for a long time so either way Josephine’s arrival will be a gift to Ali, as well as to the rest of us.

39 weeks:

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.34.12 PM

38 weeks:

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.33.06 PM

37 weeks:

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.34.43 PM

36 weeks:

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.35.10 PM

35 weeks:

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.35.23 PM

Here’s how Jason nests: He’s working his butt off with two careers (realtor and touring musician), and he then does gigantic landscaping projects (like building a retaining wall) as a way to decompress after a stressful day. Not to mention he’s also picking up a lot of my slack inside the house with cleaning and helping with the kids and groceries and things like that. He’s a rockstar! I am so thankful for him and all he does.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.31.25 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.31.36 PM

Father’s Day 2016:

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.32.21 PM

This little guy takes after his daddy in a lot of ways! He’s currently a big fan of vacuuming and a sweet friend sent him a special one of his own in the mail.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.32.55 PM

Ali is so excited about her baby sister! She hugs and kisses my belly several times a day and tells me how much she loves Josephine already.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.32.41 PM

Practicing with a baby doll…

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.33.54 PM

Lots of hanging around together.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.30.10 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.30.54 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.31.16 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.31.52 PM  Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.33.42 PM

Popcorn movie nights (when Mommy is too tired to do anything else!)

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.33.24 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.29.42 PM

Jason and I celebrated our 13th anniversary on June 14 by going to Josephine the restaurant for dinner. It was really lovely!

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 3.32.07 PM

signature


Josephine Louise – 34 Week Update

06/06/2016

IMG_3130

It’s been 10 weeks since my last update on my pregnancy with little Josie Lou or Baby JoJo or whatever nickname I’m trying out at any given time. We’ve both grown a lot. I hope she’s not hurting the way I am. I was reading the other day about what happens to your abdominal muscles when you’re pregnant, which is pretty fascinating. But also that it takes time (duh) and certain exercises (oops…) to regain your core strength after having a baby. After Isaiah was born my lower back was still hurting for much longer than I expected and I certainly hadn’t regained my ab strength. Then I got pregnant again. No wonder 1. my baby bump popped out so quickly, 2. I look like I’m 4 weeks further ahead than my last pregnancy despite my fundal height measuring right on track, and 3. my lower back is very unhappy with me. Project regain core strength is set to begin 6-8 weeks after Jo is born. In the meantime, I’ve been waddling around trying to make the best of it and enjoy my pregnancy.

When barefoot and pregnant goes wrong…

Last week while I was bringing in the outdoor cushions in our courtyard before a storm—yes, barefoot and pregnant—when I accidentally stubbed my middle toe on my right foot really hard on the corner of the concrete step. Ouch! I’ve never had a stubbed toe hurt so bad. In fact, I’ve broken toes once or twice and it didn’t hurt that bad. Two days later my foot look like this and I still couldn’t walk on it.

IMG_3182

Time for an X-ray. The NP confirmed it is broken (the third bone in, the proximal phalanx) and set me up with buddy taping and a splint (lovingly known as “the boot” around here). She says it’ll be healed up in about 6 weeks…which comes out to a week before my due date. I went from waddling to hobbling. It’s been…ROUGH. I’m really trying hard to keep a positive attitude but some nights I just sit in the shower and cry from the pain and exhaustion. And the pregnancy hormones, obviously…

A little recap of my weekly #martinababybump updates on Instagram, weeks 8-32:

8-32weeks

Last week at 33 weeks:

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 9.53.39 PM

I’m now 34 weeks.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 3.05.26 PM copy

I’ve been doing a lot of this lately…attempting to rest while also giving my kids supervision and opportunity to play. I had been going for walks every day but now swimming and hobbling are my only forms of exercise. The latter is surprisingly exhausting.

IMG_3252

My fingers have been swelling, especially out in the summer heat and humidity, so I’ve removed my rings from now until whenever I can get them back on. After Isaiah’s birth, I couldn’t get all my rings back on for at least 8 weeks.

IMG_3225

I’ve been nesting as much as I can manage. I took advantage of some sales and a coupon and got a big delivery of diapers the other day, two boxes for Zay and four for JoJo.

IMG_3248

With the $15 in gift cards I got with my order, I got a new changing pad cover from the Oh Joy for Target collection. I love the colors.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 9.58.39 PM

An outtake of my weekly picture from 30 weeks. Ali wanted to be in it with me.

IMG_2901

Other than the aches and pains I’ve already grumbled about, my pregnancy is really going well. I have much to be thankful for: Every check up Josephine is measuring on track, strong heartbeat, moving around lots. My blood pressure and pulse are always fine. My blood tests and urine tests have been good. My weight gain is good for where I started (technically underweight). I’ve gained almost 30 lbs. so far. I’ve been having lots of Braxton Hicks contractions. The other night I had so many I was inspired to start getting some things together to pack my hospital bags. I’ll also need to pack bags for the kids to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a few nights so I don’t want to leave too much running around for the last minute, in case things go quickly. My labor with Isaiah was 24 hours so I’m praying for much faster this time. Also, how about 5 days early instead of 5 days late. Is that too much to ask?

signature


Hair Accessory Hanger for Nursery

05/30/2016

I saw this idea on Pinterest a while ago and thought it looked pretty simple. Like most Pinterest projects, it took a lot more effort than I expected. I’m happy with the outcome though.

IMG_2773

Steps: I bought a frame from Goodwill for about $1 and threw away the glass. I sanded it a bit to take off the coating over the wood stain, and then painted it with three coats of craft paint. I cut some strips of ribbon and hot-glued them inside the back of the frame where the glass had been sitting. I pre-drilled all the holes for the tiny cup hooks along the bottom and hammered a sawtooth picture hanger onto the back.

Full tour of our Double Nursery for Almost Irish Twins.

signature


Double Nursery for Almost Irish Twins

04/20/2016

Isaiah and Josephine will be almost irish twins—more than a year apart but only by 2-3 months. Since they’ll both be using the changing station and be rocked in the rocking chair, it made the most sense to put them in the same room for this stage. (Though JoJo will sleep in a Moses basket in our room for the first few weeks or months while she’s feeding frequently through the night.) The other reason I opted for the double nursery was space; two cribs and two dressers fit more easily into this room than adding a crib and dresser into big sister Alianna’s already-quite-full bedroom. Much to her dismay because she desperately wants to share her room with her sister. That day will come, Ali, I promise.

IMG_2482

Zay is now in the full size blue crib, the same one Ali used for her first two years. It’s from IKEA, called Somnat. The little green bookshelf was a thrift store makeover I did a couple years ago. The French Paper monkey poster was a gift from a friend. I made Isaiah’s name sign while I was pregnant with him last year. The album cover is from my favorite band Needtobreathe’s recent Steams in the Wasteland, based on a passage of scripture from Isaiah that I love. The canvas was a gift from my friend Steph and says, “Take a deep breath, you’re home now.” I see it every day while I’m rocking and feeding Zay and it reminds me to pause and be thankful.

IMG_2492

The green fleece (cut up strips from a blanket) are to protect the crib rails from my little beaver who likes to teeth on wood. I saw the cheap, no-sew idea on Pinterest.

IMG_2484

The black acoustic guitar is mine from high school. The tall dresser currently has Jo’s clothes in it but I’m going to swap them right before or after she’s born so her clothes are easier to access during diaper changes. Isaiah is big and wiggly enough that it’s easier to dress him on the floor most of the time. The walrus painting was a gift from my sister-in-law for Zay. The bike riding deer poster is from IKEA. The rocking chair is from Amazon. The rugs are both from IKEA. Green black-out curtains from Target.

IMG_2485 IMG_2489

Josephine will get the portable mini crib to start out. I use the storage boxes from IKEA under each crib to store sheets and blankets. I made the name sign for Josephine. I bought the rubies print from Etsy and painted the frame from a thrift store. I took the glass out so it wouldn’t be heavy or easily breakable since it’s right above the crib.

IMG_2491   IMG_2497 IMG_2498

The walls are Sherwin Williams Ellie Gray, same as our first nursery at our last house. I use a sound machine and a CD player with Jason’s Acoustic Lullabies album to muffle the household noises and help Isaiah sleep. I’m hoping it will help to cover the sounds of two babies in the same room and keep them from waking each other up very often, too.

Nesting is in full swing over here, thanks to Spring cleaning and 2nd trimester energy. I know it’s going to get harder to get around and be motivated to do home projects in the next 2-3 months so I’m doing all that I can do now. Twelve more weeks to go!

signature


Josephine Louise – 24 Week Update

03/25/2016

I’m long overdue for a blog update on my second pregnancy. Back at my 20-week ultrasound we found out we’re expecting another little lady in July. She’s growing along perfectly, praise the Lord!

IMG_1753

We let big sister Ali be the first to find out the news by opening up a gift bag with new t-shirts for her and Isaiah and a little baby girl dress. She was/is so excited! She kept saying all along that she hoped and thought it was a girl. She happily exclaimed, “I win!” since the girls now outnumber the boys in our family.

IMG_1761 IMG_1869

Shortly after finding out the news I started searching through my storage tubs of baby clothes to see what little girl things I kept from Ali. Not a lot. Plus she was a pretty big 2-month-old when she joined our family so I never really had any newborn girl clothes. But I did find these adorable shoes that were given to us by my sister-in-law but Ali’s feet were already too big at the time. I’ve been holding onto them for 4 years hoping someday I’d have another little girl who could wear them.

IMG_1876

I also got a big bag of hand-me-down clothes from my nieces. A few items here were originally Ali’s, then passed to two of my nieces and now they’re back for our youngest daughter to wear. Fun!

IMG_2101

A little recap of my weekly #martinababybump updates on Instagram:

12-23weeks

I’m now 24 weeks.

24weeks

We’ve decided on a name! Josephine Louise.

IMG_2186

I sent Jason a list of 6 names I liked, what they meant and why I liked him. This is the only one that he loved from my list. Joseph is my favorite character in the Bible (the old Testament one). It means “Jehovah increases” which is perfectly fitting for her and for this season in our family. It’s not just a physical reality as our family has quickly grown, it’s a promise for the future. Louise is my middle name and it means “renown in battle.” Josephine is a not-too-common, sophisticated, old-fashioned name with tons of cute nickname potential. Jo, JoJo, Josie, Joey, Josie Lou, JoJo Louise. We’ve been calling her Baby JoJo so far. I pulled out this pretty fabric that I bought back when I was expecting Isaiah, before I knew he was a he, and I’m excited to make something for Josephine out of it.

signature


Nutter Butter – 1st Trimester

01/08/2016

I haven’t blogged much about my second pregnancy (or anything else lately for that matter…) so I thought I’d do a recap of my first trimester as I’m now 13 weeks along. I found out I was pregnant with our little Nutter Butter baby on November 6. It was a Friday afternoon and Jason was out of town. I texted him a picture of a positive pregnancy test and he called me right away. Surprise! Later I went to the store and bought another 2-pack of tests. Just to be sure…

IMG_0107

My first ultrasound was at about 6.5 weeks. We could see the baby’s heart beating but he or she was a little too small to measure accurately so they had us come back 2 weeks later. Also, at this point the ultrasound tech saw “a flicker of something else” that our doctor said could be an identical twin. Or could be just an ultrasound blip. Because it was so small it was hard to tell for sure.

IMG_0417

After a really long 2 weeks while we tried not to think too much about the possibility of identical twins, we saw a healthy 8.5 week old singleton on the ultrasound. Phew! Twins would have been fun but…we are already looking at having two little ones pretty close in age.

8wultrasound

This is how I announced our new addition to social media:

IMG_0497

8 weeks. My belly popped out really quickly, probably because my abdominal muscles were still stretched out from having a baby in April.

8weeks

9 weeks.

9weeks

10 weeks.

10weeks

11 weeks.

11weeks

12 weeks.

12weeks

13 weeks.

13weeks

I was super tired early on in my pregnancy, which I think had a lot to do with breastfeeding and sleep regression from Isaiah as my milk supply waned, combined with normal early pregnancy tireness. I’m now completely done nursing Zay and he’s been sleeping much better the past several weeks as we transitioned him to formula. I had some nausea earlier on too, just in the evenings and when I was hungry. Now that all of that has passed, I’m feeling quite good. This pregnancy has seemed easier than the first one and I think there are several factors: I’m more distracted with my other two so I’m not thinking about my body and my baby quite as much, my body has done this before so it’s not all new (my journal from 13w last pregnancy was complaining about my belly skin stretching and feeling so tight…not at all this time!), and in general I just know what to expect so I’m not obsessed with learning new information or tempted to worry about every little symptom this time. Life is moving forward quickly and I’m thankful that all is going well. At my 12w OB check up this week they did a full work-up of tests and everything came back normal, thank God. I also got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. In just a few more weeks (March 1 to be exact) we have the 20w anatomy ultrasound, which is when we’ll find out whether we’re expecting another girl or another boy. I’m so excited for that!


2015 – 5 Biggest Moments

12/31/2015

So much change has happened for our little family this year! Here is a recap of the top five most significant events of this year.

1. Isaiah’s birth. At the start of 2015, I was 23 weeks pregnant. We had just found out on Christmas that he was a he and were starting to prepare his place in our home. April 25 was a leisurely family Saturday, four days past my due date. Ali and I had a picnic lunch and went to the playground while Jason visited a friend. Then we all went window shopping and stopped by Chick Fil A to satisfy one of my cravings: frozen lemonade and waffle fries. We went back home, visited with some neighbors, and then went for a long, vigorous walk at Shelby Park. My labor started while we were there. We timed contractions while waiting to pick up a late dinner at Jet’s Pizza. After we ate and put Ali to bed we realized we needed to call the grandparents to come get her. After a sleepless night we were officially admitted to the hospital around 5:00 am on April 26. Isaiah was born at 8:07 pm. One of the most amazing moments of my life was when they placed him on my chest and I could finally look at the little face I had been imagining for many months. Jason and I cried as he stared back at my face like he had been wondering what I looked like, too. The next morning Ali met her baby brother and so maturely climbed up next to me in the bed and gently held him and touched his face. I’ve loved watching her blossom as a big sister. She is so kind and loving to him.

IMG_0633 IMG_0673

2. Jason became a realtor. At the start of the year Jason was looking for ways to increase his income. He auditioned for a new touring gig with country artist Easton Corbin. When he initially didn’t get the job, he started classes to get his real estate license. Then he got a call back to become the acoustic guitarist for Easton. He managed to finish his online classes, much of it from his bunk in the tour bus while his bandmates partied around him. When he passed his licensing exams it was a cause for celebration!

IMG_2712

3. & 4. Jason quitting EC / Ali’s 4th birthday. Jason’s new tour schedule was rigorous. His income indeed increased and he had many amazing opportunities. Lifelong dreams were fulfilled. Huge crowds. Free gear. National television shows. But the time apart was hard on all of us, especially after Isaiah’s birth. Jason felt like he was missing out on so many of those first little milestones. And our sweet little Ali was starting to have a really hard time saying goodbye so frequently to her daddy. Home for a day and gone for four…home for 12 hours and gone for 6 days… It wasn’t working for us. When Jason made the decision to quit, it was a sigh of relief for all of us. It was a growing season and it was provision for a period when we really needed it. He came home from his last gig the day before Ali’s birthday which was a special gift for her. We spent her birthday all together as a family of four. She had a mermaid-themed pool party at my parents’ house. Perfectly appropriate for our water-loving girl. Jason returned to his previous touring gig with Guy Penrod (and a much lighter schedule) and hit the real estate market running. He had three closings in his first several months of working as a realtor.

IMG_5420 IMG_5429

5. Pregnant again?! “Are you sure you’re not pregnant? Your belly looks…different,” Jason said. I think it’s just all those Nutter Butters I’ve been eating… Two days later, positive pregnancy test. We were surprised but not totally surprised because we weren’t preventing it and knew it was quite possible. It just happened a little faster than last time. But we’re all thrilled. Well, Isaiah has no clue what’s coming. But Ali is super excited and kisses my belly regularly. (She’s really hoping for a little sister this time.) I’m starting 2016 12 weeks pregnant with our third child. Foster parenting is currently on hold status, though we’re keeping our license open. We’re hoping to do some short term respite for other foster parents and we’re about to start mentoring new foster parents through a new program at DCS.

IMG_0712

Looking forward to in 2016: Family trip to Florida. Weekend getaway/”Babymoon” to San Francisco. Finding out Nutter Butter’s gender. Isaiah’s first birthday. Leaving my full time job after 9 years. Welcoming our new baby. Beginning homeschool kindergarten with Ali. Pursuing some big, exciting real estate ventures with Jason. It’s already fixin’ to be a great year!