Thursday, January 11, 2018

Morning Routine, Baby Pictures, and a Snow Day!

That face <3
I had some people curious as to how I established a daily morning routine for myself everyday, so I wanted to put up a quick blog post about it, and I hope some of you may find it helpful.  As a mom with a little munchkin, finding the time to you get yourself together in the morning and get done the things you need to accomplish before your baby gets up can be challenging.  Honestly, a morning routine can be challenging at any stage of life - whether single, married, a mom, or wherever you are in your life.  But I know that I found it even more difficult with the ever changing needs of a baby. 

Back in the summer right after we bought our house and moved in, Joanna went through a major sleep regression.  I mean MAJOR!  She went from sleeping through the night, to being up every 20 minutes allllll niiiiight looooong.  And to make matters worse, she would only nap for 20 minutes at a time during the day when she had been napping for 1.5-2 hours at each naptime.  Insert a very tired mama.  Lol!  I was surviving on coffee, coffee, and more coffee.  And I was wondering if there was going to be any light at the end of this "sleep for only 20 minutes" tunnel.  I was over a friends' house one day (Hi, Jenna!) and she was telling me how she had her toddler on a schedule and how it was so nice to have the same set routine every day, always knowing when he would get up and when he would take a nap and stuff like that.  So I shared with her how I was struggling with getting Joanna to sleep more than 20 minutes at a time, when she had been sleeping through the night just a few weeks prior.  My morning Bible time was becoming non existent because she wasn't sleeping long enough for me to get anything done, and she was usually getting up when I did between 5:30-6.  I would try to do my devotions while she was playing on the floor, but that usually didn't work out too well.  And forget exercising.  That was practically impossible with only 20 minute naps.  Jenna encouraged me to put her on a schedule and helped me through some tips on how to adjust her to being on a schedule.  I got home that evening and immediately sat down and wrote out a schedule to start the next day.  And it changed my life!

Fascinated with the diffuser lol
The first thing I did was to decide how much time  I actually needed in the mornings.  I knew that I wanted to run, shower and put myself together, and have my Bible time before Joanna got up.  So I gave myself 30 minutes for each of those three things.  Which meant I had to get up 1.5 hours before I got her up in order to get it done.  So I set her get up time as 7:30, and my get up time as 6.  And no matter what, she was not getting up before 7:30, even if she was awake when I got up at 6 because I needed that time to start my day off on the right track.  That meant that there was some crying during that 1.5 hour time slot for a few days (I know it's hard, mamas, but it's ok to let them cry!  They will be fine!), but in less than a week of being on a schedule, she trained herself to go back to sleep after she woke up when she realized I wasn't coming to get her.  After a few more days she started just sleeping clear through until 7:30 without even waking up before then.  Oh yeah, and naptime?  Her 2-hour naps returned, and now she takes two of them every day!  It's amazing!  And she is even sleeping till 8:00 most mornings now.  I'm starting to back up my get up time another half hour to 5:30 since I am running longer and following it up with extra workouts, which helps me feel not quite so rushed.  And it has been amazing.  She still has a few days where she wakes up before I'm ready to get her up, but instead of sitting down there and screaming, she now talks and babbles away until I come and get her.  It is so sweet to listen to!

So, mama's that are struggling to get their day off on the right foot, I would encourage you to put your kiddos on a schedule.  It doesn't even have to be a full day schedule.  I honestly don't follow a set schedule throughout the day now.  I just make sure to get her up at the same time each day, and then I put her down for naps when I notice she is tired, because each day can be different with that.  But at least set a routine wake up time for your little ones, and then decide what you need to do before they get up and how much time you need to do it.  That will determine when you need to get yourself out of bed :)  There will still be some days where you need the extra rest and so the schedule goes by the wayside, but that's ok.  Use it as a guide.  Don't live in bondage to it.  But it should at least help you to have a more productive morning, start your day on the right foot, and be a happier, more prepared mama with happier, more contented children.  Knowing that I can get those three things done before Joanna gets up has helped me be able to focus on her so much better and just enjoy the rest of the day with her so much more!  I'm thankful!  I hope these little tidbits help <3



On a different note, the temperatures on Monday were in the 30's (say what?!?!?!) and we were finally able to take Joanna out in the snow for the first time since it was so warm and such a beautiful day!  My parents bought us the sweetest little sled for her and we enjoyed a nice family walk.  Joanna giggled and smiled the entire time <3 I would say she is a fan of the sled and the snow!  But then she is also my little outdoor bug, who could stay outside forever and never come in.  She gets that from her mama, who loves being outside and is way too excited to have a garden this year so that she can spend the majority of her days outdoors working in it :)  But anyways,  I'm now typing this while listening to the blizzard conditions outside...so I'll post some sweet baby pictures from Monday and pretend it's still that nice out while I go make myself a cup of tea :)  Lol!





Happy Thursday, friends!!  I hope to be posting more soon :)

Love,
Heather

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Anniversary Reflections ~

As I sit and write this today, I can't believe that 2 years have already gone by.  It might not sound like a long time to some of you, but it still feels like just yesterday that we got married.



And what an amazing two years it has been!  God has blessed us in so many ways, and I am thankful for how our love for each other has grown in that time, and for our sweet little baby that He has blessed us with.  As I reflect on all the little details of our relationship and all the things that the Lord had to work out to bring us together, I still stand amazed at how good He has been to me.  I love doing life with Josh, and being by his side is my happy place!

Josh and I never really got to know each other until we went on the Asian Games Outreach to Incheon, South Korea in 2014.  Up until that point we had known who each other was and had occasionally served in the same church ministries together, but we hadn't ever really talked to one another.  It was just an "Oh yeah, I know who Josh/Heather is" kind of thing.  And though we both attended Master's Baptist College at the same time, we only ever took one class together.

Upon our return from Korea, we definitely knew each other better and were more like friends than acquaintances.

Flight home from Korea

We continued to faithfully serve in our own various ministries at church, and would occasionally give each other an "Olaf" gift here or there.  It was kind of an inside joke after watching Frozen for the first time on our way to South Korea.

We had a little too much fun with it sometimes :P

The first few months of 2015 were a challenge to me with a painful relationship experience that the Lord was faithful to bring me out of, following which I didn't really know what to think or where the Lord was going to lead me with my life.  And I didn't really know where to start.  I made plans for the summer to be a counselor at Junior Camp, to attend Family Camp, and to attend a Singles' Retreat that I had been blessed by in previous years.  But past that, I didn't know what my life held for the future.

The church that had organized the missions trip to South Korea was planning a missions trip to Mongolia, and I thought I would pursue the possibility of being a part of this trip as well, especially after how much of a blessing the first one had been in my life.  So on June 25, 2015, I put up a short blog post on my blog Unto the Uttermost (You can view all of my pictures from South Korea here as well).

This missions trip ended up taking place just two months ago :)
After putting up this post that night, I started going through all of my Korea pictures again, reliving all of those wonderful memories.  And then I came across one that I forgot I had...


Typical Josh :)  Always ready to make someone laugh lol.  When I saw the picture, I emailed it to him right away with a comment about how I had made a post on my blog that night and then got carried away enjoying my memories from Korea.  We emailed back and forth a little bit that night reliving some of those fun times, and then that was that.

If you had asked me that night if I thought I would be married to him - or anyone else for that matter - by the end of the year, I would have told you that you were crazy lol. We did start to email every few days as friends, but I put up a mental wall in my mind, telling myself that I didn't want to get married.  Thankfully, the Lord had other plans :)

Not knowing quite how to move on from where I was at that point in life, the Lord led me to pursue a lifelong goal I had always had to obtain my music degree.  I turned in my application and all necessary documents to Baptist College of Ministry, and things were rolling along quite well.  I went back to the place I used to work and got a job doing customer service so I could start to save for tuition.

On July 25, 2015, a group of people from our church drove to Devil's Lake, ND to help knock doors in town for a new church plant that was opening up.  After some passenger rearranging so one of the college girls didn't have to drive alone, Dad ended up riding there and back with Josh so Nicole could ride with us.

When we got home that evening, I could tell there was some sort of excitement in the air, but no one was saying anything.  So I figured it had nothing to do with me and proceeded to get ready for bed.  When I went out to wish my parents a good night, Dad mentioned that someone had expressed interest in me that day, and right away I knew it was Josh.  After meeting with my parents the following Monday night (July 27th), Josh asked me if I'd begin a courtship with him...



...and the rest is history!!  We got engaged on September 6th, and a few weeks later were married on November 28th, 2015...


We are so thankful for these two years, and we look forward to so many more together!!  We are excited to see what God has in store for us in the future! 💗

Love,
Heather

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Fun with Friends!


Last night Josh and I were blessed to be able to have some friends over for a fun game night filled with lots of yummy food and good laughs :)  Thank you, McDonough family, for joining us!!







We are thankful for the memories God allows us to make with the friends He has blessed us with <3

Love,
Heather

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Joanna's First Thanksgiving

Josh, Joanna, and I spent the day with my family, and it was a lot of fun to celebrate Joanna's first Thanksgiving :)  I was thankful for the time together and all the sweet pictures I was able to get! Mom cooked an amazing meal, and we all had our fill of  the scrumptious food :)

Typical Dad-style :)
Joanna had her first experience sitting in a "big girl's" chair because this momma forgot her booster seat...again... lol.  But she did great!!


She was pretty excited about the prospect of food...


...and need I say that she enjoyed every bite?! :)


Sweet time with Daddy :)


Her granddaddy was sure soaking up the smiles :)

This face though :D




My favorite picture of all!!

And her audience still at the table :P





Snuggles with Grandma :) 
We did get a good laugh out of her dislike for pumpkin pie though!  Whether taste or texture, I don't know, but her face was priceless :)  Oh well, that just means there's more for me :P  Lol!  Thankful for the sweet memories...  These moments with our precious girl go way too fast!  She is a treasure <3


Love,
Heather

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

9 Months!

Our precious lil peanut turned nine months old yesterday!  And taking a decent picture of an active, always on-the-go baby is not easy - lol!  But I had fun with these pictures and wanted to share them with you all :)











In your Father's arms
That's where you belong!
No safer place to be
Than in your Father's arms
In your Father's arms.
~Bruce Frye

Happy nine months, Joanna!!  Mommy and Daddy love you! <3

Love,
Heather