Catch Up

Well, it’s been awhile. So much has happened since we made strawberry jam last summer.

Ethan

We had a baby! Ethan was born on February 19. His delivery was terrible, to be honest- emergency c-section and 5 days in the special care nursery, but he his healthy and happy and we are so thankful! He is such an easy baby. He is content to just sit and watch Sophie play or watch us do whatever it is we are doing. He’s so laid-back! He’s been sleeping pretty well too, can’t complain! He has brought a lot of joy to our family.

Sophie is finally adjusting to having Ethan here. We had done our best to prepare her for big sisterhood before he came, but of course having him really here has taken some getting used to for her. The first few weeks were rough with many tantrums and sassy behavior, but it’s getting better. She has warmed up to him and is a bit more affectionate toward him these days. The other day she declared “Ethan is my best friend!” So, that’s nice to hear ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s a recent one of Ethan in his bumbo seat.

New Job

Still working for SAU, but now I’m on main campus in the Admissions office. I love it! I’m a part time secretary/receptionist. The schedule is absolutely perfect for me & for the family. A great balance of being a working mom & a stay-at-home. The people in this office are so fun, energetic, and kind. I’m so happy to be here!

What’s New With Sophie

Oh Sophie-lou. You big 3 year old, you. Our baby girl is 3. When did that happen?! In March we celebrated the birthdays of Sophie and Steph with a fun joint party.

 

 

The highlight gift was a Bitty Baby from Mimi & Nana.

Age 3 looks good on Sophie. She’s so articulate & has an amazing memory. She’s a smart cookie and is becoming more and more independent. She’s fully potty trained during the day and we’re working on getting rid of her overnight diaper. She does have tantrums and can pour on the whine when she wants to, but overall she’s happy & silly.

Balancing

If I’m honest, I’ve had a pretty hard time adjusting to being a mom of two kids. Ethan is a very easy baby, but Sophie’s rough transition was draining to me. I wish it had been easier for her, but I know that she loves him and when Ethan can do more they will be good buds. I’m feeling so much better with the improvement in the weather & Sophie’s adjustment. It just took a few months to get there.

Kevin and I haven’t had much quality time together though. It’s hard to get away when we don’t have a babysitter in town! Last weekend Steph stayed with the kids for an hour to allow Kevin and I to go on a walk at the trail. It was great to spend some time togetherย  and not have to focus on meeting the needs of our kids. As much as we love spending time together as a family (and we do LOVE that!) it’s nice to talk about anything but the kids sometimes. We’re going to need to be more intentional about having little dates. I can see how married couples can become disconnected from each other in the process of raising children, and we definitely don’t want that! So, we’re learning how to balance parenting and being a couple.

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Strawberry Jam

On Friday, Steph, Kara, Sophie, and I headed to Kohler’s in Jerome to pick strawberries.

It was the perfect day for picking- cloudy & breezy, and not hot at all.

Sophie was scouting out all the reddest berries for us!

Behold, she found the reddest in the patch!

Then on Saturday, we made these fine berries into jam. Here’s Sophie proudly displaying our jam!

 

Marching on

It’s been a little hectic lately. We’ve been go-go-going every weekend for months now. It’s all good stuff; visiting grandparents, weekly get-togethers with friends, and long & fun days at mom & dad’s. I’m sure more of that is to come with pool season upon us! Coming up we’ve got another marathon of a weekend. Bible Study in Brighton on Friday night, spending the night for strawberry jam making on Saturday, leaving Sophie there to spend Sat. night while Kev & I come home, only to jet off on Sun. afternoon to Lansing for the U2 concert with Peyton & Bethany. Steph will be bringin Sophie back home on Sunday night and spending the night with her at our house, since we won’t be back until the wee hours. Mimi of course is overjoyed that Sophie gets 2 nights of sleepovers ๐Ÿ˜€

A few weeks ago we went out to visit Mom’s parents. Grandpa had found (of course) a scooter perfect for Sophie-with 2 small wheels on the back so she can balance better. She also got Grandpa to climb into the boat on two separate visits. I love these pictures of Grandpa, and they will be treasured forever!

Sidenote: I’m mourning the tragic loss of those adorable fishy shorts. They were destroyed in a devastating crayon-in-dryer accident. Despite the valiant efforts of Mom & myself to save them with WD-40, dishsoap, and oxyclean, it was not meant to be. They lived a short, but beautiful life.

 

In the hustle & bustle we seized an opportunity to get some professional pictures taken of our family, and I’m so glad that we did. Check out our beauty.

I’ll have to post the rest when Kev gets our internet at home up & working. He installed an update a few weeks ago that messed up the internet connection on the Mac side, so we were using the internet on the Windows side. But in an attempt to fix the problem (but it didn’t work), he reinstalled the entire operating system but hasn’t put Windows back on, thus…no internet on the computer. Thank goodness we can still access through our iPhones ๐Ÿ™‚

Had a soccer game last night and I think I really messed up my achilles tendon on my left ankle. It’s not swollen, but it is so sore. By the end of the game, I was unable to sprint. I did score a pretty fantastic goal though, so the game wasn’t totally awash. Today I’m hobbling around and we have our regularly scheduled weekly game tonight. I’m in for a game of pain, methinks.

Well, time marches on and Sophie is changing. She’s talking in sentences now, and busting out some lines that throw me for a loop. Like this one. Here’s a replay of an interesting conversation I had with her the other day while in Meijer:

Sophie: Chocolate milk! Look, Mama! Chocolate milk!

Me: Yep, there it is. How do you know about chocolate milk? (we never buy it)

Sophie: I drank it while I was in Mommy’s belly.

What?! Where in the world did she come up with that? Truth be told, I did drink a lot of chocolate milk while I was pregnant.ย  I’m thinking they must have been talking about babies in Mommies’ bellies at daycare or something, but who knows. Kids say funny things and I’m sure this is only the beginning!

Ok…one more:

Potty Learning

It has now been a week since we shed the diapers and introduced Sophie to the ways of underwear. What a week! I have cleaned up many precious little puddles from the carpet than I care to count. We’ve also had a lot of success-many cheers and high fives and M&Ms (potty treats!).ย  It’s definitely a process, but I’m glad that the first week is over. She has been holding it until she about to burst, and only gives us about a 3 second warning before it’s coming down her leg. I almost think she’s testing us to see if the diapers are coming back. We’ll still use them for overnight & naps, but when we’re home and she’s awake-it’s undies only from here on out.

Yesterday was her first time in undies at daycare. It went about how I expected- a couple of accidents and no pee in the potty. That’s okay. The bathroom is further away at daycare, so she’s going to have to learn to give her teachers more of an advance warning.

I’m so proud of Sophie and how far she’s come in just a week. She’s such a smartie, I knew she’d catch on quickly!

Pink

It’s amazing how a pink ball and sunshine can make my girl as happy as can be.

Dandelions bring on the smiles too.

We were just happy to be together on a gorgeous spring evening.

We planted some trees this weekend too. Here’s Sophie next to the red maple. Silly kid wouldn’t take her fingers out of her mouth!

And here’s the sugar maple planted in the backyard:

It will be fun to see these trees and Sophie grow up together.

Learning new things

I love learning. Take college for example. Imagine the horror when I realized I’d have to pick only one major. Anxiety! I could have picked any subject,ย  I enjoyed them all so much.ย  Just because my formal schooling is done obviously doesn’t mean I’m done learning. There are just too many things I’m interested in! This week I’ve spent my free time at work doing some research. Because I’d like some new info for my brain. Here’s what’s been rattling around:

1. Photography stuff

I realize that I can’t take a “good” picture to save my life. I look at some blogs created by great photographers and I just feel so defeated. I want to take beautiful pics of my kid too, darnit! We’ve got 126389275483 pictures of Sophie, and about 4 of them are good. Putting together her photobook this past Christmas was a wake up call- because I realized I had a year’s worth of pictures and they were all bogus. The photobook ended up being a piece of work only a great-grandparent could love.

So, I spent tons of time on this site the other day. I learned a lot. About lighting, the rule of thirds, and photographing children. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the information on the site, not to mention I have a loooong ways to go in terms of application of this knowledge. Not to mention that if I were to take this very seriously, I’d probably need a new camera and to take a good old-fashioned photography class. Anyhow, it’s a step in the right direction. A baby step, but it’s a beginning.

2. Coupon stuff

Kevin and I have been looking for ways to save on our grocery bills. Who isn’t? It seems like every month he says, “I just cannot believe we’ve spent this much on food in the past 30 days!” We don’t eat out often, most of our meals we make at home. Cheap, regular, go-to meals like tacos, pasta, soup & grilled sandwiches. It’s not like we’re making filet mignon every night, yet our grocery bills are always so much. Food isn’t getting any cheaper, but I know that there is a way I can start getting better deals. And now that we have our own house with a huge pantry and basement for storage space, we have room to really stock up on items while they are on sale. There is SO much info out there on couponing that it’s literally made my head swim, which is why I’ve never really tried it until now. But, this time I’m really going to start. Even saving just a little bit will help us out a lot, and that saved money can be put toward paying off debt or saving up for a new car.

3. Carseat stuff

I promise you my dorky-momness is about to shine through. For some reason, this has become a huge interest of mine. First, I’m SO happy that the AAP just put out new recommendations last week that toddlers should rear-face until 2.

For us personally, we’ve decided to rear-face Sophie for as long as possible. Her seat can rear-face to 40lbs. or about 40 inches (a carseat is outgrown by height in the rear-facing position when the top of the head comes within 1″ of the top of the shell-for more info on this click here ). I’m am confident that she will reach the height limit long before she reaches the weight limit, and that’s probably not going to happen until at least a year from now. Hopefully, she remains a happy passenger until then ๐Ÿ™‚

But won’t her legs be crunched? I’m sure they will be by then, but it doesn’t really matter. Kids are bendy-just look at them, how they watch tv, how they can fold themselves into balls. They’re very flexible. What looks uncomfortable to the adult eye is not uncomfortable for kids. Also, I care more about keeping her head & neck supported in the event of a crash than I do about the comfort of her legs. Broken legs can be fixed, broken necks cannot. That’s all I have to say about that. This is the choice we’ve made for Sophie, and we feel good about it.

Since I’m always looking toward the next thing I’ve been researching Sophie’s next seat…that she’ll need in a few years. Like I said…dorky-momness right here. I like the Graco Nautilus & the Britax Frontier. Both are forward facing only and convert to a highback, then a backless booster seat. If anyone has experience with these seats, I’d like to hear it.

4. Self discipline stuff

I’m learning more about myself in this area. I need goals in order to stick with something.

At the beginning of 2011 I started a “read through the Bible in a year” program on a phone app. I’ve stuck with it almost every day since, and on the days I’ve missed, I’ve gone back and made up the reading. I like that it counts the days. I’m a numbers girl.

I signed up for another Half. It’s on June 5th. So now I must train for it by running most days. If the weather would just get nicer, this would be a joy rather than a chore.

And of course blogging. Changing my look has really helped motivate me to write consistently. But comments would motivate me too…. ๐Ÿ˜€

Lazy Saturday morning

This weekend was nice. Saturday morning was just how I like ’em, lazy. Slow. No where to be. Big cup of coffee, and my girl playing happily.

There was more to the day. We went to a birthday party. We took back recyclables.ย  I ran with Courtney. We sprung for McD’s for dinner and Sophie enjoyed her first Happy Meal.

But my favorite part of the day was the morning ๐Ÿ™‚

New name

You may have noticed I changed the name of my blog. I got bored with the old one. And I didn’t feel as though I were having adventures everyday anymore.ย  “Everyday Adventures” was just felt outdated. It applied to a time in my life when I used to go running every day, enjoying the sunshine, reading in the park, long walks with friends. Back when I was unmarried and not a mom. Life is different now-it’s better and richer and fuller. It’s sunnier and brighter.

So, “Sunny Days” it is. I thought about it for awhile. I wanted a name that spoke of my outlook on life-at least, the outlook I want to have. I want to be the person that finds the silver lining. I want to tell good, encouraging stories, not because I want to brush over the bad, tough stuff, but because I want the sun to shine through.

I’m doing this new thing where I’m practicing thankfulness in everything. I’m looking for the bright side. Things are good now, and I’m so thankful. My family is good. My house is good. We have everything we need, and I am thankful.