Evangeline Grace: 3 Months Update

26 Jan
Evangeline is such a happy baby.

Evangeline is such a happy baby.

Our sweet Evangeline Grace has been growing like crazy this past month.  15.5 pounds!  Before I know it she will be outgrowing her 6 month clothing.  Evangeline has started to really squirm and kick her legs.  (By the way I am in love with her adorable, fat, chubby legs!)  We now have to buckle her into her swing and bouncy seat for fear that she will fall out.  :)  Eva has yet to roll over yet but I think that day is dawning near.  Every time I put her on a blanket I find myself watching her like a hawk just so I don’t miss her first time rolling over!  This past month she took her first road trip to Arkansas to visit her grandparents.  We left right after church on a Sunday and made it in 12 hours!  (It usually takes 10 hours so this was really fast.)  I”m hoping Evangeline will continue to be a great little traveler.

 

I can't get enough of her crooked smile.

I can’t get enough of her crooked smile.

The past few weeks have been really difficult with Evangeline.  She ended up with RSV which was just plain bad.  I am so thankful that we didn’t have to be admitted to the hospital.  We were monitored closely by Evangeline’s pediatrician and were able to rent a nebulizer to use at home which helped so much.  I cleared my calendar for about 2 weeks and just held my sweet girl all day long.  Now that she is feeling better she is sleeping well again.  Hooray!  Evangeline usually sleeps from about 11pm to 9am or so with one early morning feed.  She sleeps great at night but is horrible at taking a nap!  She is the cat nap queen and such a little social butterfly.  It doesn’t seem to matter if we keep the house super quiet Evangeline just will not sleep longer than 15-20 minutes.  Any tips or ideas?

It is an absolute delight to watch Elijah and Evangeline play together.

It is an absolute delight to watch Elijah and Evangeline play together.

Eli continues to thoroughly enjoy being a big brother.  Most of the time he is so sweet to her and honestly such a help to me keeping her entertained.  Last week I did find him dragging her around the living room floor on a blanket at break neck speeds last week!

December Reads

13 Jan

 

December Reads

December Reads

With a long extended trip to visit family in December I was able to squeeze in a couple of great books along the way.  

The Son of David: Seeing Jesus in the Historical Books by Nancy Guthrie:  I have been absolutely amazed with this Bible Study.  This 10 week study covers the historical books of the Bible which include Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.  I have been blown away by Guthrie’s ability to help me see Jesus in the Old Testament.  Each chapter covers one of the historical books and includes a personal bible study, teaching section, and teaching chapter.  The book is written to be used within a group or alone.  I have been using this book by myself but I do think that it would be a great Bible Study for women who are serious about learning God’s Word.  Guthrie does a nice job of using charts to compare an Old Testament figure and Jesus.  For example she compares Boaz as our Redeemer and then Jesus as our Redeemer side by side.  I have been familiar with the concept of Jesus in the Old Testament for a couple of years but this book has really helped solidify seeing Jesus throughout the pages of the Old Testament.  The only thing that I wish the author had done differently was to divide up the Personal Bible Study section into days.  I did find that I spent over a week on each chapter which might make this a little challenging if I were to study it in a group setting.  I understand that there is also an accompanying DVD which can be used with this study but I did not have access to it.  Please note that I did receive a complimentary copy from Crossway in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own.  This book does not come bound but I spent the extra money to have mine bound.  :)

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp: This Christmas devotional book was wonderful.  It includes 25 devotions for the Advent season to help you prepare your heart for Christmas.  It was a delight to work through this book this past Advent.  At the end of each devotion the author asks three questions and also provides space for the reader to answer the questions.  I think this added so much to the book!  Voskamp also includes a practical idea each day of applying the truths that are studied.  She also includes a link on her website to make an ornament for your Jesse Tree.  I had a newborn this past Christmas so I wasn’t able to have a Jesse Tree and honestly I did not do many of the suggested application ideas.  I am looking forward to working through this book again next year.  If you are looking for a gift next Christmas I think this book would make a wonderful gift but you would probably want to give it to the receiver at Thanksgiving.

Building Her House by Nancy Wilson: I was thrilled to receive this book as a Christmas gift.  Each section includes a short 3 page essay on a given topic that relates to Christian service, relationships, marriage, mothering, and attitudes.  I really appreciated Wilson’s down to earth attitude and the wisdom that is contained within the pages of this book.  I found myself challenged on a few different areas including my opinions on children playing sports.  This is a great book for any woman but I think women who believe they are too busy to read would really benefit since each section is only a few pages.

Sex and the Single Christian Girl by Marian Ellis: I really enjoyed reading this book although I am no longer a single Christian girl.  I am blessed with a number of friends who are in this season of life which is why I wanted to read this book.  Throughout this book Ellis shares the pitfalls of giving in to temptation and the blessings of God’s best by waiting.  I loved the practical advice that was shared throughout this book and wish that Ellis had written it sooner!  The book also includes a discussion guide in the back to be used by a group studying the book.  I think this book would be great to use in an older young women’s bible study.  My only complaint with the book is that I don’t believe Ellis spoke enough about same-sex attraction or masturbation.  From my counseling studies I realize that both of these issues are becoming even more rampant throughout the church today.  Overall I believe this book is an excellent resource for single Christian women and also for those who work with women in this season of life.  Please note that I did receive a complimentary copy from Bethany House in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own.

The Secret Keeper by Beverly Lewis: When I am looking for a nice, light, fiction read I often turn to Beverly Lewis.  Despite having written numerous Christian Amish Fiction books I always enjoy each one of her books.  This book did not disappoint and I look forward to reading the next book that she writes.

The Nursing Mother’s Herbal by Sheila Humphrey: I find myself very interested in the art of breastfeeding and natural health so this was a great book to read.  While nursing I do want to be cautious that I am not ingesting anything that has the potential to have a negative impact on my baby or my milk supply.  (I am also a breast milk donor for premature babies so I have to be very cautious.)  This book was great!  It is very thorough and even includes various recipes for different herbal concoctions.

Zakka Style by Rashida Coleman-Hale: This was a delightful sewing book filled with various projects that are all “zakka style”.  Although I do like the Zakka Style I do not find myself often sewing with linen.  It just seems difficult (since it wrinkles) and expensive.  Thankfully many of these projects could be adapted to using regular cotton fabric.  Honestly I am too busy to sew any of these items at this time but I would love to sew the house zippered pouch for Eva when she gets older.

 

Evangeline Grace: 2 Months Update

31 Dec
My favorite milestone this past month is definitely her smiling.

My favorite milestone this past month is definitely her smiling.

Our sweet girl has learned to smile and happily shares a grin often.  She absolutely loves to cuddle, nurse, take baths, and smile at Daddy.  It is especially sweet when big brother Eli comes over to play with her and makes her grin from ear to ear.  I have been surprised at how much Eva and Elijah are enjoying one another.  I thought they would be older before they really “played” together.  At this point I feel like I have adjusted to having two children although I do still worry that I am going to leave one of them somewhere!

We ended up canceling her checkup two weeks ago because I had a nasty cold.  Last week we were traveling so Evangeline finally made it to her checkup today and weighed in at 14lbs 4 oz and 22 inches long.  She is actually 2 months and 2 weeks at this point.  No wonder all of her 3 month clothes were so tight!  ;)  I am so thankful that Eva is healthy.  I was a little surprised at her weight gain but I guess she is just going to be a chubby little baby until she starts to crawl.  She has the most adorable chunky little legs I have ever seen!  Evangeline continues to be a curious little girl always wanting to look around.  She has also started to squirm and kick with her legs.  Sometimes we catch her putting her little hands in her mouth.  Already she seems to be quite dramatic and acts as though she is going to die if we don’t pick her up fast enough when she is hungry.  :)

6 Weeks Old

6 Weeks Old

Thankfully Eva continues to be a great sleeper and usually sleeps a good 8 hours (except when we are traveling).  She still sleeps in our room at this point.  Evangeline recently decided that she hates bottles.  :(  We had to supplement the first few weeks with expressed breast milk and she had no problem taking a bottle.  Selfishly I would love to go out on a date with my husband longer than 3 hours so I am hoping that we can convince her to take one again.  Breastfeeding is great at this point and I believe I have made it over the two month hurdle.   I think that as a mother one of the sweetest milestones is when you are nursing your baby and they look up at you and smile and a pool of milk dribbles out of their mouth.  So precious!  If you haven’t had this happen then it probably just sounds weird but it melts my heart like butter every time!

Dec. 1 2013 225

 

How Mommy is Recovering: My incision is healed at this point and I took my doctor’s advice about walking for 2 weeks before resuming any other type of exercise.  I have worked up to about 45 minute walks and would like to reach the hour mark before I join any of the aerobics classes at our gym.  Two weeks ago I was feeling a little tender on my right side after too much activity so I am trying to be careful not to push myself too hard.  I am noticeably less tired than I was a month ago and feel like I have a good handle on things.  Now I am just trying to enjoy each and every moment.  They grow so fast!  :)

Happy Birthday Elijah & 20 Questions with Eli

15 Dec
Happy Birthday Eli.  We love you so much.

Happy Birthday Eli. We love you so much.

It is incredibly hard to believe that my sweet little boy is 4!  Everyone says children grow up so fast but it is so true.  He is such a delight and I am so thankful that God has given him to us.  For his birthday this year we decided to use the money we would usually spend on toys on an activity since he has so many toys.  We spent a wonderful morning at the Newport Aquarium.  Elijah was even able to touch a horseshoe crab and a star fish.  He was too scared to touch a baby shark though!

Touching a horseshoe crab and starfish.

Touching a horseshoe crab and starfish.

We really ejjoyed the Scuba Santa show at the Newport Aquarium.

We really enjoyed the Scuba Santa show at the Newport Aquarium.

They even had a show with Scuba Santa and a group of sharks.  If you look closely in the picture you can also see Santa’s elf who is holding a great big stick that he uses to smack the sharks when they get too close to Santa!

Evangeline turned 2 months old on Eli's birthday.

Evangeline turned 2 months old on Eli’s birthday.

This year I decided to interview Eli.  Hopefully I will remember to do this every year.  :)

  1. Who is your favorite person in the whole world?   Baby Sister
  2. What is your favorite color?  Red
  3. What’s your favorite television show?  Leapfrog’s Numberland
  4. What’s your favorite outfit?  He had no answer for this one.  That is probably because we are always telling him to put pants on!  ;)
  5. What sport do you like best?  Basketball
  6. What song do you love?  Jesus Loves Me
  7. What’s your favorite cereal?  Life
  8. Who is your best friend?  Baby Sister-note he usually refers to Eva as baby sister instead of Eva or Evangeline.
  9. What do you want to be when you grow up?  Eli said he wants to be a person!  He also said he wants to be a preacher.
  10. What is your favorite book?  I’ll Pray Anyway-a book about Daniel that he has partially memorized
  11. What are you really good at?  Playing
  12. Where do you wish you could go on vacation?  A bounce party
  13. What is your best memory?  When I kissed baby sister
  14. What would you buy if you had $1000?  Oreos & a baby doll
  15. What vegetable do you love the most?  Green Beans
  16. If you could have a wish, what would it be?  He had no idea.
  17. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?  Chocolate
  18. Who is your biggest hero?  Mommy
  19. What do you like to do best with your friends?  Play
  20. What do you hope you’ll get to do before your next birthday?  Play with baby sister a lot.

He is such a sweetheart and we love him so much!  I am so glad he was blessed with such a great birthday this year!

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

5 Dec
She is so happy with her frugal family!

She is so happy with her frugal family!

My sweet girl is 7 weeks old already!  I can hardly believe it.  My body feels like it has healed and I am no longer experiencing pain.  Hooray!  We are slowly adjusting to our new normal around here.  Our frugal ways have not kicked back in completely but we are making a little progress so I thought I would share what we were up to last week.  

Frugal Things I Did Last Week:

We hosted a birthday lunch for my Dad at our house on Sunday after church.  I made a simple BBQ from a pork loin and served it along with: Pasta Salad, Cole Slaw, Vegetarian Baked Beans, Pumpkin Cake/Cobbler, and Chocolate Cake.

Despite hosting Thanksgiving for 26 people I did not go to the grocery at all last week.  I knew the stores would be absolutely crazy and I wanted to avoid taking two young children out in the craziness.  This allowed me to avoid lots of extra impulse purchases that are much harder for me to resist around the holidays.

I baked a ham (along with the turkey) that I had to cook myself and saved about a dollar per pound.  This was actually my first time baking a full ham. I mixed up a glaze of honey, apple juice, and honey mustard.  I basted the ham about every 15 minutes and it tasted great!  It was so easy that I will probably try to bake one a couple of times a year.

I made Eva Grace's Thanksgiving peasant dress & Eli's matching tie shirt.

I made Eva Grace’s Thanksgiving peasant dress & Eli’s matching tie shirt.

I sewed curtains for one of the windows in the kitchen.  The week before I sewed curtains for the bathroom.  Now I am just trying to decide what style curtains to sew for the Family Room and Kitchen.

I made a Christmas canvas as a thank you to a couple in our church who allowed our family to stay at their cabin while they were visiting.

I made a Christmas canvas as a thank you to a couple in our church who allowed our family to stay at their cabin while they were visiting.

I went Black Friday shopping at Hancock Fabrics and Michaels.  I didn’t go crazy and compared to most years bought a small amount of fabric and notions.  Hancock Fabrics matched JoAnn’s 25% off your total purchase saving me extra money.  

We had a bunch of bananas that were going bad so I baked banana nut bread for our Thanksgiving Dessert Social at church.

I sewed a Christmas gift for one of my nieces.  No picture since her mama reads my blog! ;)

I gave my cousin her birthday gift.  I made her doll a Christmas Dress, headband, and two tiny school binders.  I used this tutorial for the headband and Simplicity 4786 for the doll dress.  I had the pattern on hand and have made it many times.  Everything I used to make her gift I had on hand.

Eli made jello jigglers.

Eli made jello jigglers.

I breastfed and cloth-diapered my daughter all week.  This is a substantial savings in our life every week!

What frugal things did you do last week?  

Evangeline Grace: 1 Month Update

13 Nov
Eva Grace at 1 month

Eva Grace at 1 month

I still can’t believe it!  My sweet girl is one month old.  In some ways this month has flown by and in other ways it has been a long month.  :)  Evangeline is starting to look less like a newborn and more like a baby.  I am really enjoying how much more alert she is throughout the day.  We have seen a couple smiles but have been unable to capture one on camera yet.  We all find ourselves acting ridiculous trying to coax one out of her!  At her checkup on Friday she weighed 10lbs 6oz (minus the 4 oz cloth diaper she was wearing) and measured 21 inches long.  I am really excited about her weight gain since she had a little trouble gaining weight in the beginning.  The day we left the hospital she weighed only 7 lbs 6 oz so she has gained 3 pounds this month!

nov 2013 109

I am so thankful she has gained enough weight that we can discontinue supplementation.  The pediatrician also said that I don’t have to wake her up every three hours to nurse if she is sleeping at night.  (I had to wake Eli up as a baby.)  Last night she slept 6.5 hours straight so I feel great today!  It’s nice that I don’t have to stress out about her weight gain now.  I don’t mind pumping but I did not like giving her a bottle since it made her gassy.  Breastfeeding is going much better than it was a few weeks ago.  Hooray!  Eva Grace & I have had our fair share of breastfeeding struggles the past couple of weeks and have really benefited from sheer determination and the help of a wonderful lactation consultant Bethany Hanser at Motherhood Express in Florence.  We’ve been to see her twice and she has been so helpful!  She is very reasonably priced but I would happily drop a large chunk of money on a good lactation consultant.  It makes a huge difference!

 

3 weeks old

3 weeks old

Eva Grace is such a sweet baby and is bringing much joy to our family.  It’s still weird to think that I have 2 children.  I’m planning on taking them both to the grocery store so I guess reality will really set in then!  ;)  My recovery is going well.  I am not fully recovered yet and still experience a little tenderness on my right side.  I’m still trying to limit myself on stairs for right now but other than that I feel pretty good.  Despite having a 3-year-old I have been able to rest a lot more this time.  I have realized that the best thing I can do for the first two months is to take it easy and allow my body to heal.

nov 2013 067

It has been fun to watch Brandon fall in love with his baby girl. I think she already has him wrapped around her little finger.  Eva Grace loves to fall asleep on Daddy’s chest in the evenings.

The proud big brother.

The proud big brother.

Elijah has turned into an excellent big brother!  He is always telling me Eva is hungry whenever she makes the tiniest bit of noise.  My favorite thing is when Eli comes to me and mimics the faces that Eva is making.  It is hilarious!  I will have to try to capture one on camera soon.  Eli loves to fetch things for me which has been a big help while I am recovering.  He also enjoys helping me change her diaper.  I always let him pick out which diaper she is going to wear next.  (Since we cloth diaper this is a little exciting.)  Eli and I continue to have alone time reading or working on an activity.  He had a wonderful time finding a caterpillar and making a habitat for it.

I must say that I have really enjoyed becoming a mommy of two this past month.  It has been such a sweet blessing from the Lord and we are so thankful.  Part of me is glad that Eva has reached the one month mark.  I was able to go to church on Sunday and it was WONDERFUL!  My soul was so refreshed listening to the word preached and worshiping with fellow believers.  I can also see how I have grown and changed as a mom from when Eli was first-born.  I actually find myself enjoying some of those late night wake up calls this time around (so long as I find time for a nap later in the day).  Overall I feel a lot more laid back about a lot of things.  :)

Evangeline Grace is here!

19 Oct
Evangeline Grace is Here!

Evangeline Grace is Here!

Evangeline Grace Emerson

“Bearer of the good news of Grace”

October 11, 2013

7:38 am

8lbs 5oz, 20 inches

“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him.”  1 Samuel 1:27

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