What a Perfect Week

Really - it was the perfect week. I know I've said it a million times, but I am so fortunate to be able to work part time and stay at home with Noah part time. It's helped to create a lot of balance in my life, and I count my blessings everyday that I get to enjoy this precious time with Noah before he grows up and goes to kindergarten. It did hit me a couple weeks ago that he is 2 1/2 years old now, which means my time with him at home is half over already. It just blows my mind how fast he is growing up!

When I build my schedule, I don't work Thanksgiving week because the kids are so hyper and excited, which makes testing for special education a little more difficult and a little less valid. I enjoyed every single minute of every single day I was home. On Monday we went to visit my mom at the hospital before she had surgery (she's doing great!), and then we went to the mall for a bit. As soon as we got in the door, we ran into my good friend, Leah, her mom, her two boys, and her two nieces. We got to visit with them for a bit, and then Noah got to see Santa for the first time. We didn't do the whole sit-on-Santa's-lap bit because Ryan wasn't with us, but he at least got to see who he was in person. The night before we had bought Noah a Mickey Mouse Saves Santa movie, and that has really helped him make the connection about who this Santa Claus guy really is.

After saying goodbye to our friends, we walked down to Auntie Anne's and bought a soft pretzel and cheese dip to share. We walked down to the play area to burn some energy but ended up not staying very long. I have a pet peeve when parents are too busy chatting with each other to make sure their kids are being nice to other kids. So rather than stew over it, we left and found a little Simon Foundation donation spot where you put in a coin, and it spins round and around until it finally drops into the container. Noah loved that! Then, we went over to the fountain and made some wishes with some more coins. I was truly just enjoying each simple minute we had together. Next we walked over to Build-A-Bear and made a teddy bear for a friend's daughter's birthday. Noah picked it out and enjoyed filling it up with fuzz. On our way out, we say a bright and colorful train that was driving around the mall. I promised Noah we would come back with Ryan and go for a ride on that train!

On Tuesday I took Noah to a play group at Chick-Fil-A for about an hour and hung out with some friends. After a quick trip to Meijer to pick up a few things, we drove back to the hospital to visit my mom, who was doing very well! Noah kept the atmosphere light saying things like, "We must get there before the moon is full!" and "That's the biggest tower I ever saw!" He must get this stuff from cartoons or something. After our visit, we drove down to our church for Noah's Thanksgiving party. He got dressed up like a little indian with the rest of his classmates, and they all had a feast with more pilgrims and indians - classic! I was so glad to have shared that time with him.

After Ryan got home from work, we turned on Tim Allen's The Santa Clause (our traditional let's-decorate-for-Christmas movie 5 years running) and got the decorations out of the attic. Noah was amazed by the tree and all of its lights. We have told Noah that after we turn on the magic, all he has to do is yell "Magic" at the tree, and the lights will turn on. You should've seen his face the first time he did it! PRICELESS. He still enjoys doing it each time we need to turn the tree back on.

Noah watching The Santa Clause in our papasan.
On Wednesday, I decided to start making Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls with Noah. He LOVES cooking and is a great helper, so it was a fun project to work on together. We had to make the dough and let it rise for a few hours that morning. We also survived a trip to Kroger together (thanks to a Mickey Mouse movie on Ryan's video iPod) including dozens of coupons. I spent $44 and saved $72...success!

When Ryan got home from work, we went back to the mall. Ryan was carrying Noah around on his shoulders when Noah spotted the train across the mall. He started squealing and pointing and yelling, "Choo choo, Daddy! Choo choo!" We caught up with the train, bought out tokens, and hopped aboard. As we toured around a couple of the malls' wings, Noah smiled ear-to-ear nonstop. We had so much fun! After a quick stop at the food court for pizza, we drove back home. It was time to finish our cinnamon rolls! I rolled out half of the dough and melted TWO CUPS of butter (yes, that is FOUR sticks!). I poured one cup of butter all over the dough, and Noah helped me spread it out everywhere. Then he poured on the sugar and cinnamon. I rolled up the dough and sliced it into 1 1/2 inch pieces. After repeating those , steps a second time for the other half of the dough, we had over 50 cinnamon rolls!

Thursday brought on another day of baking. We first made our cinnamon rolls with some eggs and bacon, and they were seriously, honest-to-goodness, the best cinnamon rolls I have ever eaten in my entire life! It was the perfect balance of bread and sugary goodness. We took some down to our neighbors and drove some over to our friends, Kevin and Dalia, too. Then we started making Paula Deen's pumpkin pie, which Ryan later said (unprompted) that it was by far the best pumpkin pie he had ever had (Note: I've made different pumpkin pies every year since we've been married). Then, after Noah's nap, we drove up to Ryan's parents' house to celebrate Thanksgiving. He was so well behaved, though wasn't a big fan of turkey unfortunately, and had a great time with his cousins!

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday each brought on more great memories with Noah and Ryan. We really enjoyed every minute we had together. I had to finish some reports for work this evening, so I turned on Nopey-Nope (Pinoccio), and he snuggled in right beside me on the couch. Then tonight, when I was putting himto bed, I got really teary. I am so sad that our week together is over. I had SO much fun! I know our days of having time for just the two of us are numbered, and I think that is partly why I am getting so emotional about it. He is becoming such a neat kid with such a fun personality, and I am going to miss him so much tomorrow when I go to work. Hopefully the day will go quickly, and with three case conferences, it should. I already can't wait to pick him up and play with him tomorrow night. I think we're going to make some Auntie Anne's pretzels together - the dough has risen, and now they just need to be rolled out and baked. I am already looking forward to the 3 weeks of time off that I have over Christmas. It is going to be a really special Christmas this year!


Happy Halloween!

We had so much fun for Halloween this year! After much deliberation and sleepless nights, we decided to buy him a Mickey Mouse costume because that still is his most favorite thing in the world. Noah started the 4 day celebration with his classmates at church. They held a Fall party, and I didn't think much of it as the date got closer and closer, but when I went to drop him off, I felt really sad that I couldn't be part of it. Ryan - being the best dad in the world - skipped lunch and spent time with Noah and his friends for awhile. They played basketball, walked around collecting candy from various people, and played some other games. I'm so glad he was able to make it!

The second day consisted of a Halloween party at my friend/coworker's house. Marinda provided plenty of food for everyone, and when it got dark, she and her husband projected a kid-friendly movie onto a big screen outside. When we first arrived, Noah wanted to go up into the treehouse. He kept calling it his clubhouse, which was fitting in his Mickey Mouse costume. We weren't up there for more than 3 minutes when he grabbed himself and had a deer-in-headlights look on his face. I swooped him out of the treehouse as quickly as possible, but we were too late. We had to change him out of his black pants that matched his costume and put him in brown ones. At least it got dark pretty quickly! :) We ate some delicious hot dogs, baked beans, chips, and chocolate dipped pretzels. Noah thoroughly enjoyed his first popcorn ball, which was all over his face, costume, and hands. I got to visit with a bunch of friends from work for awhile, and then Noah hit a wall. Even the popcorn ball and backyard fun couldn't keep him going. We said goodnight and counted the night as a success overall!

Saturday brought Day 3 of our Halloween festivities. Ryan's sister, my nieces, my nephew, and my in-laws all came over so the kids could go to our Trunk-n-Treat event at church. Dozens of cars line up in the parking lot, and the kids walk around and go trick-or-treating. It's really cute! They had several games and some live entertainment; plus, I think I noticed about 40 kids enjoying the playground area. It was a zoo over there! The kids all seemed to have a great time, and I loved seeing them altogether. My mom and her husband even came by the church for a bit to see Noah all dressed up. Later our friends Leah, Joe, Little Joey, and Baby Ray came by for some Trunk-n-Treat fun! We had a great time!

Afterward, everyone came back to the house for some delicious chicken and dumplings, salad, breadsticks, and Halloween cake. It was so fun to have everyone over, and our entire house smelled like Thanksgiving! It made me so excited for the upcoming holidays.

On Sunday, our friend Dalia and her daughter, Ava, came over to help pass out candy for Halloween. Noah got dressed up yet again and went to a few houses around ours. We have one neighbor in particular who gets really into holidays, and he dressed up like Michael from the Halloween movies. It was super creepy, but if you were brave enough to approach him (and his axe), you got a full-sized candy bar. Reese Cups - get in my belly! Halloween was a lot of fun this year, and it's hard to believe we'll have two little boys to dress up. I can hardly wait!

"See ya real soon!"


15 Weeks

Hooray! We are 15 weeks today! I go to the doctor tomorrow, and I can't wait to hear the baby's heartbeat again. Last week was really my first good week since before we hit the 6 week mark. I still sometimes get a little nauseous around 8 p.m., but it's inconsistent at this point. For the most part, I am feeling much more like myself again.

I always heard that you feel the baby move earlier in subsequent pregnancies, and that has definitely been the case for me! I felt Noah move for the first time around 18 weeks last time. I have probably been feeling this baby move since sometime in the middle of my 13th week. With Noah it felt more like bubbles popping, but this time, I am feeling more of a pushing feeling already. I will be excited to have our ultrasound (probably 4 weeks or so from tomorrow) in December. I look about 5 weeks further ahead than I am, though I have gained very little weight. I don't know how things just redistribute, but they do!

Thanks to my belly bands, I am still able to wear my regular pants and jeans. Plus, for whatever reason you are just smaller in the morning than in the evening, so I can squeeze into my regular clothes. I am so thankful that leggings are in this season because I am trying to wear them at least once a week to work. My work pants are definitely tighter than my jeans, so it's nice to be extra comfy one day at work. These pictures are from last Friday. We finally took some after so many people have asked for some belly shots!

As we speak, Noah is snuggled up next to my watching Pinocchio. I am cherishing this time with him right now, knowing it will never be just like it is again. He has one arm across my chest and his two feet propped up on my legs. He said he was a little "scared" and "afraid" when the movie first started, but I'm not sure why. I asked if he wanted to turn it off, and he said no. I just like that being close helps him feel better. So sweet!

The name game is a tough one. I think boys' names are the hardest to pick out. We had eight girls names, and we would've been happy with any of them. I have read every boys' name from two different books, and we have about five possibilities right now. People always ask about names, and it's so hard to want to share them because everyone has an opinion. If I hear a negative story about a name, then it's kind of tainted, and we won't want to use it. So, it'll probably be a big surprise come April/May! I still find myself smiling when I think of brothers...my two boys get to be brothers. Nothing has ever felt so sweet!


Fall Break Fun

Ryan decided to take off Thursday and Friday a few weeks ago while I was on Fall Break, and we had SO much fun! First thing on Thursday, we took Noah to Splash Island in Plainfield. I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (for the second time) while Ryan and Noah played in the water. Noah's favorite part is the zero-entry pool that has a waterslide. I bet he went up and down that slide at least 30 times!

We took a short break for lunch from the snack bar - hot dogs, corn chips, nachos, and some drinks - and then back in the pool they went. After more trips around the pool and down the slide, it was time to get dressed, play inside a locker, and head home. We had such a great day together!

On Friday we had lots of fun things planned for Noah! First, we started out with a trip to the mall to return a few things, and then he got to play on their indoor play equipment. For some reason, he loves playing there! I've got to remember that for an upcoming cold day. Then, we stopped by Toys R Us to look at toys and to see if anything got our attention for Christmas ideas. Because we were taking Noah to Toy Story 3 at the dollar theatre after his nap, Ryan wanted to buy him a little Buzz Lightyear action figure. We played with the more expensive, shiny, loud Buzz Lightyears first, so when we bought the $8 use-your-imagination-to-make-the-sounds Buzz, Noah quickly said, "The button's not working!" We tried to explain the idea of making your own sounds and even did some great impressions, but he wasn't impressed. :)

After his nap, we went to the movie theatre. We had taken him to Shrek 3 a few months ago, and he made it for about an hour. This time, though, he seemed much more interested in the movie! I bought a little bowl that he could hold and filled it with popcorn a few times. He had a sippy cup of juice in one cupholder and his Buzz Lightyear in the other one. It was really cute! Noah made it through the whole movie, too. We had so much fun!

On Saturday and Sunday, we did other fun activities, but for the life of me and my pregnant brain, I cannot remember! Whatever it was, we had a great time. I remember thinking at the end of the weekend that it was the perfect Fall Break with my family!
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