Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Friday, October 21, 2016

Little Levi is Six Months Old!

Having such a big gap between children has made me extremely aware of the fact that time keeps moving forward, kids gets older in a heartbeat, and the days all pass so very quickly (even the ones that seem like they won't ever end!). I try not to take any of it for granted, to savor every single detail and moment because, before I know it, they'll be off in high school.

Levi turned six months old last week, and I had intended to write a little Day in Our Life post about it. Famous last words, I guess. :)

At around five months, baby boy, who still doesn't sleep very well, had a few weeks of sleeping from about 3 or 4 in the morning until 8:45. It made our earlier-morning school routine a little easier, that's for sure. But now his stretches are from bedtime at around 7:30 until 10 or 11, a quick nurse, then sometimes until 2 or 3, other times, even 4 or 5. I know most babies are sleeping through the night at his age, but he isn't, so what can you do, really? You deal with it and enjoy the extra snuggles because it doesn't last forever. On his half-birthday day, Levi slept until around 8, so he missed seeing Isabelle before school, but the big guys were home sick (mostly better by this point...), so he got spoiled with attention as usual. Watching them with their baby brother is just about the sweetest thing I have ever seen.

The sun was shining brightly and it was such a gorgeous fall day. The leaves had a late start this year and were just beginning to turn. I had big plans to do a little photo shoot in our backyard after running some errands, but... on the way to the store, my stomach started rumbling. And not the hungry kind of rumble. Before I knew it, everything was flipping inside out and I needed to get HOME. So much for balloons and cute photo shoots.  :/  So we all hung out and binge-watched Brooklyn 99, which I had never heard of before two weeks ago and now we're hooked. So, so funny. We have had to skip a few scenes, and one episode entirely, but otherwise it's just really, really hilarious.

Well. Now it's another week later. #notwinning

Yes, big brother is now blonde. It's a Varsity soccer thing, ha.

And the day ends the same way it begins, in Mama's arms. How we love this baby boy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fall 2016 Family Portraits

I think all Moms agree: getting pictures done is one of the most nerve-wracking, stress-inducing things of all time. Yesterday was humid and sticky hot (so much for fall, ha!), and sometimes it's kind of annoying to be a girl, if you catch my drift. But we got some good ones, and though I am my own worst critic, finding every.single.flaw in every.single.shot, I know I'll treasure these. I already do. I can't believe they are all mine. Well, ours. You know what I mean. ;)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

First Day of School 2016

We haven't had a traditional "first day" back to school for several years now, so this felt really bittersweet. But good. =) I love this school system. That helps a lot.

Biggest and littlest. Does it get any sweeter than this? I doubt it. (Ignore the dead plants, please and thank you, ha!)

Off to 10th and 11th grade. I'm so proud of them! Of course they're both playing soccer at the new school. Ethan plays for Varsity and Jonah for JV. They are really terrific young men, so friendly, thoughtful, and kind. Most of the time, ha. And super smart. They are So. So. Smart.

This girl is off to the fourth grade! It seems like just yesterday I was sending her off to preschool for just a couple hours a week. She is continuing with piano this year and wants to try basketball this winter. Hooray! Gymnastics has been fun, but I think our time with it has come to an end. Though little miss doesn't know that yet. Oops.  :/


I always give her the option of wearing something that I haven't made, and I can only think of one time when she chose a store-bought outfit. We both love this skirt! And I really love that smile!

I can hardly believe that my "baby" is entering the eighth grade. He is such a kind-hearted, helpful, and friendly kid, I just love him to pieces. He continues to move up in the ranks at Civil Air Patrol, and each step brings him closer to getting his pilot's license. Couldn't be prouder!

He just reached out to her and told her to have the best day. I'm savoring this moment because many of the other moments are not nearly so cute between these two lately. Argh.

We're now in our third week and things are going well. Levi has no real schedule - and still doesn't sleep at night - so we just do what we want. I know first hand how incredibly quick these years fly by, so I keep that in mind with my little guy, especially when we may not be having the best day. But there is always something good in it all, isn't there?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Our First Summer as a Family of Seven

Yes, I'm still among the living. Barely. Just kidding....kinda. ;) Baby boy has not yet learned the precious, precious value of sleep in any form, be it nap or nighttime, and we are exhausted. But. We are so in love!!! We had a big scare earlier this summer when Levi began to cough uncontrollably and really just struggled breathing; it wasn't whooping cough but pneumonia. Poor baby. I felt even worse because he got it from us when we all had pneumonia weeks before- it was a highly contagious strain, which doctors assured us babies rarely get. Famous last words. So after Levi's x-rays were read, the doctor called us and told us to get checked into the hospital right away. As in, skip dinner and just get there. That was a difficult night to say the least, but he responded well to the meds and we were allowed home the next afternoon.

Overall, our summer has been a good one. I was just going to say, "not great," but it HAS been great, just not exactly what we're used to. It has been a while since we've had a baby around here after all, ha. We've enjoyed hanging out with family and friends at home (hello pool! such a blessing!) and a few trips to the lake, but only one trip to the beach and zero trips to any of our favorite tourist-y type places. In time. =)

Here is a smattering of our summer photos. I definitely keep my IG account much better updated. I'm bethanylivs_life over there if you want to say hi and see what we're up to.

Levi, around 2.5 months

first night out all by myself in over three months- got a haircut :)

big discovery upon leaving the beach this day...

...a tooth! 3.5 months old...too early for teeth!  :(

Ethan's 17th birthday
we hid gift cards under all the balloons in his car! ;)
and yes, I stood out there in the pouring rain doing this!

such fun that day!

Now that the boys are older, I don't feel right about posting so many pictures of them on here, that's why they seem a bit...lacking. They are all as handsome and active as ever, let me assure you.

School starts this week, and I'm ready. I do have mixed emotions, but I'm looking forward to finding a new norm, some structured time. A new season to welcome in and get familiar with. If anyone reads this blog anymore, I hope your summer was a good one and wish you well if you're dealing with new routines and schedules as well. =)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Day in the Life

Okay, so it's Saturday morning after the last day of school yesterday, but I have been meaning to jot down what a typical day is like lately so I'll always remember. We'll just pretend that this is from earlier in the week.

Most mornings, Levi sleeps in bed with us from about midnight on. He wakes to eat around 3 or 4, and then falls back to sleep for a couple or a few hours. If I'm not exhausted, I get up and work on some sewing things or read, just get some things ready for the day; otherwise, I look at that cute baby, then close my eyes and hope for another hour or so before I really have to get up and be a grown-up.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I drive Ethan and Jonah to the high school, but the other days, Ethan usually drives them in my van since he's done with classes by 11 those days. If Levi is still asleep, then Caleb is in charge and he listens out for him until I get back home, usually a whole ten minutes later, ha. Isabelle leaves at 7:15, but Caleb gets to stay home until 8:10. It gives us some nice one-on-one time together.

Sometimes we start our day with a "mercy bath." Because sometimes wipes just won't take care of things, if you know what I mean.

Lots of mornings we just enjoy each other's company. I have learned by now how quickly these stages go by, and I try so hard not to take any of it for granted. I find myself savoring this time together.

Levi adores his little sheepies bouncy seat now. He has learned how to make them wiggle and he gets really tickled by that. He spends a few minutes in his seat while I clean up the kitchen, vacuum, or put in laundry. Then it's time to get dressed for the day. If he's in a good mood, then I can put him in his crib with a toy for five minutes while I hop in the shower; if not, then I skip the shower and hope to get one in later in the day. On those days, we go for a nice, long walk and I'm super sweaty and gross by the time we get back anyway, so it works.

I had been running errands and such in the mornings because he would fall asleep and stay asleep for hours afterwards, but not so much anymore. We're still trying to find our rhythm, I guess.

I've been trying to stay active, which can be a challenge when I'm sooo tired, but I think it helps. I'm relieved not to be going through this phase in the dead of winter. Some walks are quite lovely, others, maybe not quite as lovely. Levi isn't shy about letting me know that he would rather not be going for a walk, but that's okay. You do what you gotta do. I'm also lifting hand weights and adding in reps of jumping jacks, leg lifts, etc. in between folding laundry and things. At my 6-week appointment, I had lost nearly all the baby weight, which surprised me. I was pretty pleased with that! Last week I had to go to the doctor's again (bronchitis stuff, ugh), and I was down another eleven pounds. I feel like I may be finally getting over this plateau. Who knew all I had to do was have a baby?!?!? ha ha ha ha

I'm also trying to eat more mindfully and creatively- I need to learn more about veggies I'm not used to cooking with and eating. Most days I make a quick salad with chicken or turkey and have fruit. I used to love cottage cheese with fruit but I'm still off dairy for the time being.

Of course I make time for taking photos. Lots and lots of photos. My darling subject isn't always in the mood for it, ha ha.

Big sister gets home at 2:35 and Levi lights up at the sight of her. Then comes Jonah, and finally Caleb. They all seek him out to spend a few minutes with him, and it is the sweetest thing ever.

I can't say that Levi is happy all the time, but he does have a sweet disposition. And boy is he alert! We like to play a lot during the day, and he LOVES to hear me sing. So sweet. Sometimes it will stop him mid-cry and then he smiles up at me. Talk about making my heart explode!

We endure lots of screaming and fussing in the early evening, from about 6 to 8, but thankfully this trend seems to be changing a bit. Around 7, Daddy gives Levi a bath, which he really enjoys (most of the time). Then we change him into a onesie and long socks- he's in an in-between size, and footed pjs are either too small and his legs are cramped, or so big that his feet get lost and caught up inside the legs, and it's incredibly difficult to find non-footed things in his size. So we improvise and it works great. After I feed him and we cuddle and rock for a bit, I try to put him in his crib. More often than not, he fusses and Bill ends up rocking him for several more minutes and then doing the transfer. He's much better at that than I am. Some nights, he's up in an hour, and then again every two hours all night long; other nights he sleeps till midnight and then wants to eat around 3am. I keep my expectations low.  :)

We are so in love with this precious little miracle. I am thankful for him every minute of every day.