Why Not Walk on Memorial Day?

It's official! Noah took his first steps on Memorial Day!!! Ryan and I agreed that it was pretty thoughtful of him to walk for the first time when we were both home to see it. Isn't he so good to us?

Here's how it all went down. :) Noah had woken up from his nap, and while Ryan was feeding him his lunch, I fell asleep. I ended up taking a nap for about two hours, and it was WONDERFUL! I don't get to take naps like that very often because I am always trying to start this or finish that. Anyway, when I woke up, I realized that Ryan had taken Noah upstairs to our room so that I could get some sleep without Noah waking me up. I went into our room, and Noah was standing with Ryan, holding onto his hands. I sat down close to them, and Noah was so excited to see me that he just took these itty bitty steps - probably 6 or 8 - right over to me. We started yelling, "Yay, Noah! You did it!" and he had this look of pride on his face. It was just so sweet.

He is starting to get a little more comfortable with it, walking more often throughout the day. If he's really motivated for a certain toy or other object, he will walk to those now, too, rather than just to people. Another milestone - so bittersweet...

Weaning - What a Weird Word

After 12 months of breastfeeding, the time finally came to starting weaning Noah to whole milk! For most of this past year, it was really easy, but of course there were times that I thought, this is seriously hard work. It took Noah 5 weeks to learn how to latch on independently without a shield. Then when I went back to work, we dealt with a two day nursing strike. This winter when Noah's teeth came in, guess who had to suffer the consequences? Now that REALLY hurt! I tried lots of different things to get him to stop, but after about two weeks, the only thing that worked was flipping Noah in the mouth when he bit me. That seemed to take care of that! The last four months have been really easy. Rather than feeding him 8 times a day for 45 minutes each like I did during his first two months, we were down to 4-5 feedings for about 15-20 minutes each. Now that is more like it!

The day after Noah's birthday party, I went ahead and dropped his lunch feeding and gave him a sippy cup of whole organic milk instead. This worked perfectly because I worked a half day every day last week, so I didn't have to pump at work. That was GLORIOUS! Then last weekend I dropped his dinner feeding and gave him another sippy cup of milk. He has not drank the entire cup yet, but he's getting better at it. I am really trying not to warm up his milk because I don't want him to get in the habit of having to do that all the time. Noah was SO picky about his bottle being just the right temperature, and I really want him to get used to cold milk.

Now we're just down to his nighttime and morning feedings. I'm going to drop his nighttime feeding probably this weekend, and I'm hoping that just a sippy cup of milk will suffice for bedtime. Thoughts anyone? Then, by the end of next week, I am hoping to be completely done. So far it hasn't been hard to make the transition because the middle of the day is so busy. I do think I'll have a harder time with the first feeding for two reasons. One, I am usually the 'fullest' in the morning, and two, Noah is the most focused, cuddly little person in the morning. While I know I'll be a little sad to drop it, I am REALLY excited to have more independence. To not be on the clock to get home to feed Noah will be amazing! I'm looking forward to a nice glass of wine, more flexibility to be away with friends, and a nice cold Mountain Dew or Cherry Pepsi. That's right, I haven't had caffienated soda for almost two full years! I feel really lucky to have made it breastfeeding this long. The benefits for Noah's health and development long term are awesome. Now it's time to accomplish bigger and better things!

Is this the cutest picture or what?


Bourbon Chase

It's time for our next adventure! Ryan and I were invited to run in the Bourbon Chase on October 9-10th. It is a 200 mile relay race that winds through Kentucky, going from one bourbon distillery to another. We're running with our friends Tim & Beckie, Lisa & Andy, and Danny (our pastor) & Jackie, as well as 2-4 more yet-to-be-determined people. I've been elected Team Captain since I don't have to work this summer, and for those of you who really know me, I LOVE organizing things! We don't yet have a team name, but everyone is coming up with individual nicknames. Although they are not 100% decided upon, here are the names so far:

Amy "The Bullet" Abell

Ryan "Out of Retirement" Abell

Jackie "Jazz Hands" or "Sweet Tooth" Anderson

Danny "One Bad Knee" or "Runs with a Limp" Anderson

Beckie "Freebie" Farrant

Tim "Sub 9" Farrant

Lisa "Short Stuff" Bauermeister

Andy "Hat Trick" Bauermeister

I think we definitely need to get some sweet 80's t-shirts or something. Maybe a sweat band and tube socks to match...who knows! :)

Each of us will run anywhere from 3-4 legs of the race, with each leg consisting of 3.5 to 8.1 miles. That means each person will run a total of 14-25 miles over the course of two days, depending on whether we have 10 or 12 people run. I'm hoping for 12 so that the legs of the race will be more even; plus, it gives us some room for injuries.

Friday night we went to The Running Company and had a great experience! They put you on a treadmill and videotape you running in order to see what type of shoe you need. Ryan learned the hard way just how important the right kind of running shoes are to preventing injuries, so we are making sure to get the shoes that we need for our style of running. We learned that both of us are very neutral, meaning we do not pronate or supinate. Ryan is a heel-striker, meaning that when his foot hits the ground, his heel hits first. I, on the other hand, am a mid-foot striker, so the middle of my foot hits the ground first.

Ryan decided to stick with his Adidas Boston Classic, which is the same shoe he has used for previous mini-marathons and the Chicago Marathon. I ended up loving the Mizuno Wave Rider 12. They have the perfect amount of cushion in the middle of my foot, which felt especially nice since I'm a mid-foot striker. :) Neat, huh? It really was the first time that I picked a shoe for comfort rather than looks. I tried on several different pairs, ran on the treadmill for a bit, etc., and the Mizunos were just PERFECT.

Mizuno Wave Rider 12

You're probably wondering what my training schedule will look like over the next 20 weeks. Well, I'm running every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday (my long runs). I'll start out running 6 miles a week and will eventually run 22 miles in a week. Two of my later long runs will include a 5 mile run in the morning and a 5 mile run in the evening. Because this race stretches over the course of 2 days, we will be running through the middle of the night. I will need to be ready to run during the day and at night. :)

I'm definitely looking forward to getting my body back in shape now that I'm almost done with breastfeeding. I am also really excited to challenge my body and mind through the ups and downs of this training and the final race. Most of all, though, I think I'm looking forward to the time with our friends, to grow closer to one another, and to grow closer to God. It is going to be one heck of an adventure! My training officially starts tomorrow, though Ryan and I went on a run Friday night while my mom kept Noah overnight so that we could have a date night for Ryan's birthday. Wish me luck!!!

What an Opportunity

Two weeks ago, Ryan and I were presented with a really awesome (and terrifying) opportunity at church. Our pastor wanted to talk with the congregation about the church's vision/plan and update everyone on the church's progress with the vision. Someone from the church touched base with Ryan and asked him if we could meet with Pastor Danny to talk about giving our testimonies in front of the church. That's when the butterflies kicked in! I thought to myself, "There is no way I'm talking in front of everyone on Sunday. I'll stand up there with Ryan, and he can do all of the talking."

So we met with Pastor Danny on Tuesday afternoon and shared with him our story...our spiritual background, how we met, what our lives looked like before we started attending Emmanuel, and the impression that the church has had on our lives these past two years. Throughout that meeting, I realized that God was answering one of our prayers. We've really been praying for Him to show us opportunities where we can be the hands and feet of Jesus, and I started to see that this was part of His plan, for Him to use us to hopefully encourage other people at our church. I knew that both Ryan's and my voices needed to be heard, so I agreed to share my part of the story, as well.

I really didn't feel nervous as the week went on, but I think it was probably because I was working so hard to prepare for Noah's birthday party. As soon as the party was over, my stomach just starting flipping and flipping and flipping some more. Just writing about it and remembering it makes my stomach get butterflies. I started to think about the different things we would possibly be talking about and sharing. I have always believed that God helped shape me and my character through the experiences - good and bad - that I've had throughout my life. It kind of hit me Saturday night that it is very possible that He also was going to use my experiences to help touch the lives of others. I started getting really excited about the opportunity we had to share how Emmanuel has impacted our lives in from of nearly 1,700 people.

That night, as my nerves and anxiety started to go haywire, I began praying that everytime I felt nervous that God would fill me up and push away any fear that I had. I really believe that Satan creeps up on us, fills us with doubt of ourselves and fear of situations like this, because he does not want us sharing how God has bettered our lives with people. I kept telling myself that I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

Sunday morning when I woke up, I felt that fear again and continued to pray to God to fill me up. Noah and I met my friend, Laurie, at church because she, too, was going to share what God has been doing in her life since she began attending Emmanuel at Christmas time. Pastor Danny first had a guy named Andrew speak about how he has been attending Emmanuel for about a year. The incredible thing about Andrew is that he considers himself an agnostic, but he has felt this emptiness in his life, and coming to services every Sunday at Emmanuel has really been answering many of his questions and filling up his life. Andrew's testimony was awesome!

Then Pastor Danny introduced Ryan and me and interviewed us about different things in front of the church. As soon as I sat down and started to speak, I felt so calm and at ease about sharing our testimonies with everyone. God had answered my prayer! I wasn't shaking like a leaf and stuttering...my words came easy, and I truly felt like it was exactly where Ryan and I were supposed to be that day. Then, my friend Laurie got on stage and shared that I had been inviting her to Emmanuel for some time and that eventually she, her sister, and her mom all came to our Christmas service. That day, Laurie prayed the prayer to accept Christ as her savior. I felt so proud of her as she shared her story in front of everyone because her journey is just beginning. She is excited to grow closer to the Lord, and it has been wonderful seeing Him work through her.

After the service ended, several people thanked us for sharing our testimonies and said that they felt encouraged by what we said. They seemed excited to take their next steps in their walks as Christians. It was awesome to see how God used us to help others. It was an incredible opportunity, and I am so thankful that I was able to share it with Ryan. I am proud of the leaders in our church because they share a message of the complete love that God has for each one of us. I used to believe that the benefit of being a Christian was to go to Heaven, but I'm quickly realizing that that is just the tip of the iceberg. Being a Christian and choosing to make God a priority in my life has allowed me to walk with God every single day. I really feel overflowing with His grace, His love, and His plan for my life. I want more than anything for others to feel what I feel because it is the most fulfilled I have ever felt in my life.

If you are interested in watching Pastor Danny's sermon, as well as Andrew's, Laurie's, and our testimonies, you can follow these steps:

1. Download/Open iTunes

2. Search (upper right corner) Pastor Dan Anderson

3. You will see two Emmanuel Church of Greenwood items pop up

4. The first one has a little TV icon...double click the arrow next to the icon

5. Here you will see all of his sermons. If you click on "The Plan Update", you will be able to watch the sermon I wrote about today

There are so many great sermons that he gives that are posted online. A couple favorites include:

A. Image Problem - Week 3 by Pastor Tim Farrant (one of our great friends)

B. Image Problem - Week 4 by Pastor Dan Anderson (it's an awesome sermon about homosexuality)

Feel free to leave comments anytime on this blog, especially if you have any thoughts about The Plan Update. I would be interested to hear what you think. :) Until then, God bless!

Pastor Danny sent us a card this week, and this is what he wrote:

Ryan and Amy,

I just wanted to express my appreciation to you for sharing your story with the church! It was powerful! God used it to encourage people to consider their next step in the growth process. Thank you both for being willing and obedient to the Lord. He is doing great things through you! May the Lord continue to grow and stretch your faith.

Love you guys and thanks again.


Phil 1:21

The race is going to be awesome! (more about this in a future post)


What More Do I Need To Do To Convince You?

Ok, you can take your $13 and buy this...

...or you can shop my way, spend $13 and buy this...

What more do I need to do to convince you?

New Toys

Here are some videos of Noah playing with some of his new toys.


He played with that Little People Farm for at least 20 minutes straight. That is a M-I-R-A-C-L-E when you're talking about a one year old child. :) Ryan's parents got Noah a really fun play set for our back yard. Noah LOVES the slide right now. I never knew that a child who can't even walk independently would be able to crawl and climb so well. He is just too cute on this thing!


Noah's First Birthday Party

I still cannot believe we had Noah's first birthday party last weekend! You know how when you are graduating from school, getting married, or experiencing one of those big life events, and you feel like, "Oh my gosh...I've always talked about doing this, but I can't believe I finally am doing it?" Well, Noah's birthday celebration was very much like one of those experiences for me. We spent the entire week preparing for the big day. You know me, I had a list of things that we needed to accomplish each night of the week prior to the party in order to have everything ready for Saturday. We cleaned this and bought that and organized this and created that. It was one busy week! I think we were up until a little after midnight Friday night trying to get our list of things to accomplish completed. We hit the sack, and before I knew it, the alarm was going off at 6 a.m. for me to get back to work.

The big project for Saturday was Noah's birthday cake. Months ago I bought a book called Hello Cupcake, and Ryan thought it would be a really cute idea to make Noah the crocodile cake made from cupcakes. It was just so adorable, and I couldn't resist making it for him! I had no idea how long it would take me, so I made sure to have everything organized for the party so that I could concentrate on decorating the cake Saturday before the party began. I spent part of Friday night making two boxes of cupcakes and making the icing just the right shade of green. Thank goodness for my KitchenAid mixer because it took me at least 30 minutes. Anyway, Saturday morning, the decorating went much faster than expected. Check out some fun pictures!

In the early stages of decorating...

My inspiration...

The teeth & eyes are marshmallows, and the nose is made from jelly beans

The spikes are made from Newman's Own Alphabet Cookies, and the claws are banana flavored Runts

Didn't it turn out great? Just as I was getting ready to start decorating, Ryan said, "Amy, this is your big 'Ace of Cakes' debute!" I LOVE that show! I honestly tried to get a summer job a couple years ago at this cake shop nearby, but they said they only wanted experienced people. I have this secret desire to decorate cakes for people. I think I may have a knack for it afterall! :)

Anyway, we had a great time celebrating with everyone. We really wanted to keep it fairly under control with the number of guests...I mean, he is only one year old. So, we invited immediate family and just a few close friends who live nearby. We made quite an array of food: hamburgers, hot dogs, homemade mac-n-cheese, potato salad, baked beans, corn-on-the-cob, chips, and veggie pizza. Ryan's mom made her famous deviled eggs, and his sister brought a delicious fruit salad. We all pigged out, and then it was time for Noah to dig into his cake.

I really wasn't sure how Noah would do with his cake. We had about 25 people at our house, and I really thought he might clam up, be shy, and not do anything but maybe cry. I had been running around like crazy making sure the food was finished, people were having fun, etc. Then I remember that when we started to sing Happy Birthday, I thought to myself, "Oh my goodness, this is it. I need to slow down and just really savor this moment." At one of my baby showers, everyone made a wish for Noah to have on each of his birthdays, and these wishes were wrapped around a birthday candle. So, we used picked out a candle for his cupcake, and his wish was from his 6-year-old cousin Mikayla. It said, "I hope you are happy." I would definitely say that Noah is one happy boy, and I hope that Mikayla's wish for this next year of his life comes true. After we blew out the candle, Noah dove into his cupcake like a champion!

Loving that GREEN icing

Starting to dig into the cake...

Love this smile!

Time for a bath. Noah had green icing in his diaper!

We gave Noah a quick bath and then headed back downstairs to open gifts. He was starting to get pretty tired, but he really was a champ. Everyone got him such sweet and generous gifts: books, Little People playsets, the toy popcorn popper that you push, photo books and picture frames, clothes, an outdoor playset, a bubble machine, Target gift cards, big cars, and savings bonds. He is definitely one very loved little boy!

All in all, it was a perfect day. After all of our guests left, we all took a much-needed nap for a couple hours. We took a family walk later that evening with Kya and just relaxed. Thank you to everyone who made Noah's birthday so special!


Happy Birthday Noah!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NOAH!!! Oh my goodness, can you believe our baby boy is the big O-N-E? We both woke up so excited to wish Noah happy birthday. Ryan got the video camera so we could capture his special morning on film. We walked into his room and "Happy Birthday" in quiet, little voices, and he just looked so darn cute! While I fed him that morning, I really tried to savor the time with him, knowing that I would start weaning him in just a couple days.

For Noah's birthday, we decided to start the day off with an exciting new breakfast for him! That's right, a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs (because babies can't have egg whites until 12 months) and toast was just the ticket for beginning his day. He ate every bite like a champion!! When we picked him up after work, Alissa (our good friend and Noah's babysitter) said that when she changed his first diaper that morning, he even had toast crumbs in his diaper! Now that's a good breakfast!

After breakfast, we let him open one of his presents, a new baby pool. It is so much fun! The pool has a little whale slide (see above), a palm tree, a shady spot, and a ring toss. I think we're going to have a lot of fun this summer! I think this last picture really captures Noah little stinker personality. He is really starting to shine even more, and it's just the beginning of so much fun!! One year behind us, and an entire lifetime to go. :)

First Haircut

Over the past couple months, I knew we were getting closer and closer to the time when we would need to cut Noah's hair. Despite Ryan's teasing me that he was going to take him to the barber himself, I kept holding out on them. I just didn't want to see those baby blond locks get cut! When you have a baby, you get so excited when his or her hair comes in because they are no longer these bald little creatures. With his one year pictures around the corner, I knew I couldn't put it off anymore!

Jill and I have been friends since first grade, and we went to Hanover together, too. She married a wonderful guy, who was also one of Ryan's fraternity brothers, and they live close by. She opened her own salon in Plainfield called Elements of Style, so I thought it would be perfect to go visit her for Noah's first haircut. Coincidentally, my good friend Abigail had an appointment just before Noah's, so she stuck around for the big event and took some great pictures for us. Here is Jill making some of the first snips.

How cute is that little cape?? He sat on my lap...well, 'sat' is probably a stretch. He did some sitting, climbing, pushing away, etc. throughout his appointment. Noah was such a good boy in the beginning...
He sat fairly still and let Jill do her craft. Then he got a little fussier and needed his pacifier in order to sit still.

A little fussing turned to full on screaming! Jill was trying to cut some itty bitty hairs at the back of his neck, but he just didn't want to look down. So, I had to hold his poor little head down, and he screamed bloody murder for a couple seconds. We had to give up because he was just done...and if you have a little one at home...or if you have nieces or nephews, you know exactly what "done" looks like. This is Noah afterwards, recovering from his mean ol' mommy making him get his haircut.

Even at his most pitiful moments, he is still so darn cute! His hair looks much better now, so he's ready for his one year pictures on Memorial Day with Dawn.


On the Eve of Your Birthday

My Dear Sweet Noah,

Today, on the eve of your birthday, I have been spending much of the day thinking about you and how much you have changed my life. You have honestly made this past year my favorite year of my life thus far. You are beautiful. You don't even know it yet, but you are beautiful. You have the most precious blue eyes I have ever seen, and I love the way you look at me. It is so perfect.

It's so hard to believe that one year ago, you were still inside my belly. I loved feeling you move and talking to you each day. I remember that this time last year, I was telling you that you could come on out, that we were ready for you, and that we couldn't wait to meet you. When you were born, it was perfect. Feeling you lying on my belly and listening to you cry, it was incredible. I remember the night in the hospital when I fell in love with you. You woke up and started crying. I picked you up while your daddy slept, and I just rocked you. I sang to you and watched you and absolutely fell in love with you. I will never forget that perfect night.

Do you know how much your daddy loves you? Noah, it is unbelievable to see how proud he is of you. He loves playing with you, snuggling with you, and kissing you. There is something important for you to know about your daddy. He is living his life for God, and because of that, he is going to take good care of you. Your daddy makes choices everyday so that he can be the person that you and I deserve in our lives. You are a really lucky boy to have such a great daddy.

I never understood why moms cried when their babies turned one year old. I didn't realize the real meaning behind a "birthday" and just how special that day really is. After experiencing the day you were born, I get it now. When mothers gave me cards before you were born, they always wrote, "Cherish every single moment." I really tried to keep that in mind throughout the past year with some days passing faster than I would have liked. I do cherish every moment that I have with you, and I hope that by writing down my memories this past year and even during my pregnancy, these special moments will always stay alive.

I think the thought that has come to me more than any other today is this: you and your daddy are the two most precious gifts that God has ever given me. I am so blessed, Noah. I am so thankful that God chose you to be our son. As much as I want to stop time and hold you forever, I'm going to just savor these last few hours before your birthday and then celebrate all that we've accomplished together as a family these past 12 months. I cannot even begin to imagine all of the adventures we will take together, but I'm excited to see how our lives unfold.

I hope you always know how much I love you. I pray that you grow to love the Lord with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your might because His impact on your life is incredible when you let Him into your heart. That is my greatest wish for you on your first birthday. Sweet dreams and sleep well. I already can't wait to see you in the morning, to wish you happy birthday, and to begin another year of being your mommy.

I love you,


Mother's Day

I celebrated my first official Mother's Day on Sunday! Last year, Ryan surprised me with videos that my friends and family created for me to watch while I was in labor, along with a video iPod on which to watch them. His hope was that their words would encourage me to endure having a baby without the use of any medical interventions. It was an amazing and thoughtful gift!

This year, I woke up to my wonderful husband, our perfect pup, and my sweet baby boy. What more could a girl as for??? Ryan gave me a really sweet card and two movies: Australia (I highly recommend it!) and the second Harry Potter movie (we're doing an HP marathon). Then, Noah gave me his card...so sweet...and then sent me on a mission to find my gift. I was told it wasn't hidden very high because Noah isn't tall enough to reach very high yet. :) I quickly found a perfect little box wrapped in pretty gold paper with a cute bow to match. Noah is quite the gift wrapper! :) I opened the box and saw a beautiful ring with emeralds (Noah's birthstone) and diamonds. It was perfect! I don't like very flashy jewelry, and this is just a small white gold band with the gemstones perfectly lined up across the top of the ring.

I never imagined wearing any rings except for my engagement ring and wedding band. I wasn't even sure where I would wear another ring. So I slipped it onto my right ring finger and decided to see how it felt through the day. As the day went on, it just felt more and more perfect. I could look at my left hand and remember the promise that I made to Ryan on our wedding day. Then, I could look at my right hand and remember the promise I made to God when He gave me the gift of my son. Now, I am always aware of the two most precious gifts I have every moment when I wear these rings.

Ryan said he really wanted me to have something special for my first Mother's Day...something that I could put on years and years from now and remember the very first Mother's Day I celebrated after Noah was born. He is always so thoughtful with his gifts! I know I will treasure it for the rest of my life.

Deals Too Great Not to Share

Have I ever mentioned how much I love this blog? I find out about so many great deals, so I check it a few times a day. For example, I found out today that Arby's is giving away free food with a small purchase every Wednesday until the end of August. Gotta love that! Anyway, she posted some of the best deals at Target recently, and the list looked too good not to go there. So, after I got off work today, I spent about an hour and a half preparing for this trip. Noah was taking a nap for most of that time, so it worked out well! I got many items for free, many for under 20 cents, and nothing that cost more than $1.00 (except a box of diapers for Noah b/c I got them for less than 18 cents a diaper...my price point for Pampers Size 3).

Usually in my blogs, I will show you pictures of what I bought along with my total savings and total spent. This time, I think I'm going to take a different approach. If you still aren't convinced that coupons are like free money in your pocket, maybe this will.

Because I used coupons at Target today, I paid for these items:

...and it was like I got ALL of these items for FREE!!!!!!!

That's right...three boxes of Ritz Crackers and that box of Pampers diapers would cost $40 without sales and coupons, which is the total amount that I spent today. That means that the following items were like free:

2 containers of mayonnaise (50 cents each)

4 Hershey's Bliss candy bars (free after coupons)

4 lbs. of apples (free after coupons)

4 cleaning brushes (15 cents each)

2 trial size sun tan lotion (free after coupons)

4 packages of Easy Mac (50 cents each - actually not a great deal but I wanted it)

2 boxes of Kashi waffles (50 cents each)

1 bottle of Joint Juice (free after coupons)

2 boxes of 100 calorie packs (free after coupons)

1 Kashi frozen entree (free after coupon)

1 container of icing (75 cents - not a great deal, but I needed it)

1 bottle of A1 Sauce (9 cents after coupon)

4 boxes of Quaker granola bars ($1.00 per box)

2 boxes of Velveeta Shells and Cheese (50 cents per box)

1 trial size Shout Wipes (free after coupons)

I think my favorite deal of all was with the Ritz Crackers. I got them for 50 cents a box! For those of you who are in love with Ritz Crackers, you know they cost around $2.50 to $3.50 a box. The best I can ever find is $2.00, and that is rare! So, I stocked up and got 3 boxes because Lord knows we will eat them.

So the real question is this...

Are you ready to get serious with saving money?


Sick or Teething???

When you have a young baby, it is so difficult to tell if they are sick or teething! So many of the symptoms associated with a cold also can happen when babies are teething. Two Mondays ago, Ryan was out of town for business. I put Noah to bed around 8 p.m. and settled in for some nice R&R. Less than an hour later, the screaming began. I rushed upstairs because this was the "I'm in pain" cry, and Noah NEVER wakes up once he's down for bed at night. I was up with him for about 40 minutes or so and got him to fall back to sleep. I was just getting back to relaxing when he started screaming again...ahhh! I went upstairs about 11 p.m. to comfort him again, to check for a fever, etc. He fell asleep again around 11:45 p.m. I decided to go ahead and go to bed at that point. Noah got me up again at 1:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. Needless to say, I was exhausted the next day! Even in his worst sicknesses this year, he has not cried like that in the middle of the night.

I know this sounds silly, but I was starting to worry that he had the Swine Flu or something! I know, laugh all you want, but there was this creepy lady at Panera who walked by us while we were eating and planted her entire hand on the side of his face and kind of wiped it along his face...NASTY! She didn't even say "Hello" or "What a cute baby" or anything like people typically do when they touch him. Nope, she just assaulted him instead! I'm trying to be funny, but seriously, it was strange and gross all at the same time. It was later that night that he started screaming. Noah ran a fever Tuesday and Wednesday but seemed to be doing much better Wednesday night. He went to the sitter Thursday and Friday and seemed to do pretty well, though Candace said that Noah and her son were having a crying contest on Thursday.

Saturday we celebrated Mother's Day with Ryan's family in Westfield. Noah was perfectly happy and content still. HOWEVER...that night he did the same thing. Ryan and I were so tired that we decided to go to bed around 9:30 p.m. I know we are huge dorks, but we do NOT go to bed that early, especially on Saturdays. Well, we weren't asleep for more than 20 minutes when the screaming began. AHHH!! It honestly felt like we had a newborn baby all over again...the crying...the being inconsolable...the tagging each other in because we had reached our limits. Wow! That was a trip down memory lane. By 1 a.m. I finally had Noah back to bed, and he slept until 7:30 a.m. Thank the Lord! We still don't know if it was a teething issue or if he was sick. All I know is either way, Infant Motrin and Infant Tylenol are a Godsend.
It really was a good reminder how lucky we are that Noah has been a really great sleeper since about 3 weeks old (5-6 hour stretches at night) and 7 weeks (sleeping 8 hours). I can't remember when he started sleeping 12 hour stretches, but it was fairly quickly. He still sleeps 11-12 hours each night! I love when we are watching TV in the evenings and check on him through our wireless video camera and see this:


Twenty Nine Days of Surprises

Almost a year ago, we had to say goodbye to our dog, Layla. Worst of all, it happened on Ryan's birthday. So this year, I was determined to find a fun way to celebrate his special day. Since Ryan is getting ready to turn 29 years old, I decided to do 29 days of surprises! Some days he has been given his snacks like Bugles, Mike & Ikes, or Reese peanut butter cups. Other days I've done something more sentimental like giving him a "I Love My Husband" book after writing things on each page. Sometimes we'll hang out with friends, which is especially fun when they surprise him while we're out! A couple weeks ago, he said, "I wish they made a cereal with just the marshmallows from Lucky Charms." I tucked that little idea away and surprised him with a bowl full of marshmallows only from our box of Lucky Charms. :) I have given him a couple hour long back rubs, which are his favorite. I've also given him two bigger gifts: an edger attachment for our yard and a new Nike golf shirt. It has been a very fun eighteen days! Tonight is Milkshake Monday, so whenever he is ready, I'll go whip up a fun milkshake for him. :)

On one particular day, his surprise was a trip to Guitar Center, which is probably his favorite store. I think it's because they don't sell clothes there! Anyway, we had lunch at Hulabean, a restaurant near our house and then made our way over to Guitar Center. Although I told him that Noah and I would just go walk around a store nearby, he wanted us to join him. So, we walked around inside, and I let him talk my ear off about the different kinds of guitars, amps, etc. I was really trying hard to pay attention because I am just not a musical person. It doesn't come naturally to me at all! There was even a quiz afterward that I passed with flying colors!

One of the sales' guys told us about these colorful maracas that he bought for his kids. He said they loved them and that they were virtually indestructible. We found them and handed two of them to Noah. HE LOVED THEM!!! In fact, he loved them so much, he wouldn't let us take them out of his hand to even take off the price tag. I'm pretty sure that was his first tantrum (with many to come, unfortunately) in a store ever. He would just SCREAM this piercing scream, and as soon as we let go of the maracas, he would get completely quiet. Noah seriously loves these maracas! He'll carry the green one around in his mouth (right, Mama?), and hold the yellow one in his hand.

It ended up being a perfect afternoon. I'm pretty sure it ended with both Ryan and Noah taking a nice long nap when we got home. Now that is a good day!

Summer Wardrobe

Ever since Noah was born, we have been SO blessed by friends and family giving us their son's clothes for Noah to wear. It has probably saved us hundreds of dollars just in this first year of his life. While it's really fun to go buy him things, I also am trying to be practical, knowing that he is still growing so quickly and that he won't be able to wear each size for very long. Along with these clothes, Ryan's old coworkers from Neace Lukens gave us a $100 gift card to Carters. SWEET! We have been saving it for a rainy day when Noah would need some new clothes. The time finally came a couple weekends ago when we realized that he didn't have many summer clothes in the 12 month size. So, one Saturday evening, we drove to the outlet mall nearby to check out the Carters store. OH MY GOODNESS! There were SOO many clothes...and SOO many people. In some ways, it was a dream come true (a free $100 shopping spree) but also my worst nightmare (dodging people and stollers, listening to screaming kids, and hearing the same darn song from some kid's teddy bear). Check out Noah's new wardrobe!

I love these cute little basketball shorts and cut off tees, and those shorts and polos are so darn cute, too.

The orange outfit in the lower left corner is Noah's swim suit for this summer. Isn't it great?? We got him quite a few one piece tank top outfits for when it's really warm this summer. The clothes in the middle are some new onesies and cotton pants. My absolute favorite, though, are the pajamas on the right side. They each are 3 piece sets. I seriously LOVE Noah in his pjs. I'm not sure he ever looks cuter than he does in those pajamas!

The grand total was around $130, so we really didn't have to pay for much out of our own pockets. If you've been reading this blog for even a short period of time, you know that I like good deals! We decided to pick up a couple more pairs of pajamas at Kohls, too, because I had $20 in Kohl's cash to spend...so, that made for even more free clothes.
Here is one of my favorite pictures of Noah and Ryan together in their basketball shorts. I'm sure this is the first of MANY, MANY times I'll see the two of them like this together. I love my boys!


One Proud Daddy

Have I ever mentioned how much Ryan loves Noah? I mean, in the eight years I have known Ryan, I have never ever seen him love anything or anyone like he loves Noah.

Today is the big day for the Indianapolis Mini Marathon, which hosted 39,000 participants this year. He has ran in it twice, as well as in the Chicago Marathon. After finishing the race last year, he decided to "retire" from running but still wanted to participate in some way. Several months ago, Ryan asked our church's band if they wanted to play at the Indianapolis Mini Marathon. They happily agreed! The were placed at the 11th mile, which as many of you know, is a really difficult part of the race. You're almost to the finish line yet are growing more and more tired and are losing steam. Ryan remembered this being one of the most difficult places in the race. I really wonder if God placed the band in just that exact spot knowing how difficult it is for people. So many people are praying to God, talking with God, and thinking about God during the race. Ryan was so excited to have the opportunity to play Christian music with other men from church in front of 39,000 participants and all of the spectators. Today he sent me an email...

Good morning Ames!

It's funny. I'm sitting in Greg's driveway at 4:50 in the morning, and I'm so excited about playing, but, I can't stop thinking about you and Noah and how much I'm going to miss you guys. I love you both so much! Please tell him what I'm up to today, and the significance of people hearing Christian music. I can't wait to see you this afternoon.


This man loves his baby boy! I did talk with Noah today about where his daddy was and what he was doing. It makes me so proud of the man I married...my son's father. I hope people at the Mini enjoyed hearing God's word of hope and love today. I can't wait until Ryan gets home so that we can hear all about his experience today.
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