welcome baby ainsleigh juniper / peace + joy / the meaning behind her name

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ainsleigh Juniper

May 3rd, 2017 / 8:56am
7lbs 4 oz / 20.5 inches long

(pronounced ains-lee)

It was last Spring sometime - months before I was pregnant - maybe months before we had even considered adding another little babe to our crew - that I found myself flipping through the Bible at church. Seems like an ordinary place to do that of course - but since we've been going through the book of John verse by verse, my mind sometimes leads me down a wandering path of another part of the Bible instead. This won't surprise the people who know me well - my brain is rather squirrelly by nature and won't stay put on one thing for too long. I often have to explain my "brain trains" to people and how I went from talking about one topic to another so seemingly out of the blue when to me it makes perfect sense why I'd be talking about all the benefits of bike trailers when we had just been talking about how much Aiden loves trains just seconds before. 

There are a few tried and true passages I flip to when my mind begins to wander - for me, flipping to them and reading them slowly and deliberately is like easing onto a comfy couch, covered in your favorite soft blanket with a cup of coffee, curled up nice and warm on a cold winter day. (I am currently writing this post now in the end of April, as I watch a snow storm rage and whip with the blustering wind - remind me why don't we live in Hawaii again?) I soak these familiar passages in - these favorites of mine - because they remind me of who I am - of Whose I am - when I feel uncertain about the world around me. But on this particular day I found myself flipping through the pages of the Bible, looking - for nothing in particular, but looking for something unfamiliar as well. One of my favorite places to land in is Isaiah (Aiden's life verses are in Isaiah 43), so maybe that's why I found myself in the book of Isaiah that day, but honestly I couldn't tell you - I don't remember. That's another thing - along with my squirrelly brain I have a terrible memory unless it has something to do with Aiden and what we were doing and what he was wearing on any particular day. But there I was, steeped into Isaiah 55 - and the words on the page kept jumping out and repeating themselves to me. 

Peace and joy. Peace and joy. 
Peace. and. Joy. 

For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace. 

I was completely lost in the presence of my own thoughts - it was like breathing out a deep sigh on that comfy couch on that cold winter day - but here I was, sitting in the green ivy patterned chairs at church - and these words just sat right there with me.

Peace and Joy.

I read through the rest of the passage and deep within my soul I knew it was the perfect set of verses for our next child - the one I wasn't even pregnant with at the time yet - but I also knew deep in my heart that the passage was only going to be meant for our next child if she was a girl. This seemed unlikely. I'll keep it simple and say that Jason comes from one of those families that a news outlet could almost start writing about because up until very recently no one in an entire generation of men on his dad's side of the family had had a daughter. And Jason's family is big - real big. Sixty-some-first-cousins big. So without going back to 7th grade biology, let's just say that while the passage was perfect, and while the feeling of it being for a daughter was nice - I let the idea pass with brevity - knowing that I had always felt like I would be a mom to mostly (if not all) boys. * (*which is fine because I LOVE being a boy mom, but I've always hoped for a girl too!)

But week after week, as the seasons changed from the cool, windy days of Spring to the heat of Summer - the passage kept calling me back its pages.

Peace and joy. Peace and joy. Peace and joy.

I don't know if you're a spiritual person and if you are, I don't know if you've ever had a banner spoken over you, but it's a beautiful thing. The banner over me is Adventure - and I know right now that the wonderful sister in Christ who spoke that banner over me is smiling away reading this, knowing that I'm living out my calling as a wife and a mother and adventuring one day at a time through life. Let it be known that for a long period of my life I had been so bound by fear that the word "adventure" being spoken over me caused me to laugh - out loud - the same way Sarah laughed when God told her she would have a baby in old age - (Genesis 18:9-15). But here I am - a living testament to God's strength coursing through me in the times that I am weak. And now these words - peace and joy - they echo through my soul like the calling out of someone's name in an empty school building. These beautiful words are the banner over my baby's life.

The mountains and hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

On August 29th, 2016, I took an at home pregnancy test and quickly discovered our family would be growing. I took Aiden shopping later that day, and started getting stocked up on little diapers (there was a really good sale going you guys) which is also how Aiden and I surprised Jason with the baby news when he got home from work that evening. (Enter Aiden stage left with pack of newborn diapers and pregnancy test.) The idea returned to me - this baby could be a girl - and I knew the pull to that passage that had left its imprint on my heart for months already could have more meaning than just my mind wandering on Sundays. But still, there was no way to know yet if the baby was a boy or a girl - so I didn't add too much weight to the thought.

In September, shortly after learning about this new pregnancy, Jason went on a hunting trip in Oregon where his brother's family lives. I stayed at home with Aiden for the first week he was gone, and then Aiden and I flew out to be with them in Oregon for a three day weekend before returning back home. Sadly, shortly into our drive back home, I learned that my Grandma wasn't doing so well and she only had a matter of time left. I've written some about this in previous posts, and thankfully we had been able to say our goodbyes to her during our visit to California earlier that Summer. She ended up going home to be with Jesus the following morning. Let me tell you, being 100 miles into a 1,600 mile drive home and dealing with grief is quite something. You can't even distract yourself with much else other than your memories and thinking. Thinking about everything and nothing in particular at all, all at once. 

By the time we got home, I was almost physically aching with the need to see pictures of my grandma from my childhood - to read letters from her. To be surrounded by anything that was of her, to be draped under a cocoon of quilts that she had lovingly put every stitch into. After what felt like hours of frantic searching, I finally found the small box, tucked away high up on a shelf in our closet filled with cards, photos, and memories. At the bottom of the box was a long sheet of paper - typed on a typewriter - dated from Christmas 1982. No, I wasn't even alive at the time, but here it was - a letter sent to all of my grandma's loved ones summing up her year. She talked about her children, her new life as a grandma, of entering new life stages and having the free time to do more of what she enjoys.  At the end of the letter she closed with,

"The most important thing that I have learned is that when one of life's doors is closed to you, there is always another waiting to be opened with even more joy than I had dreamed possible. May your New Year be filled with this peace and joy. Love Marieta" 

There it was. Those two words stared up at me from her letter written over thirty years ago - peace and joy. A hot chill shot through my whole body. The tears began to fall down my cheeks steady and hard. One stray drop landed on the letter - which I quickly but carefully wiped away as I let it bring me back to the present.  On that emotional September day that we walked through our front door - after countless tears had been shed as we traveled across the country - I knew without a doubt in my mind that this baby I had just learned I was having was a girl. I can't explain this incredible sense of just knowing other than to say it was a God thing. It was Gods simple yet profound and comforting message to me that everything was going to be okay - even amidst this new and heavy loss I was experiencing.


In early December we went in for the routine 20 week anatomy ultrasound. On Christmas Day as a sort of a "Christmas gift" for Jason and I, we opened the envelope with the gender results inside:

"Congratulations! It's a girl."


The name Ainsleigh has been one that I have adored for years - before Jason and I were even more than "just friends" I had my heart set on it. Yes, we went through the entire baby name book anyway, but just like I had been set on Aiden's name, her name was a done deal before we started looking. For her middle name I wanted to honor that passage which had repeated itself to me time and time again in a deep and meaningful way - the same way we did with Aiden's middle name and his life verses. I know God has placed these particular passages on my heart for for a reason - both Aiden's and Ainsleigh's. In this way, I believe Ainsleigh's life verses also honors my grandma and her life - the peace beyond comprehending that God gave me throughout my grieving process, and the joy my grandma always carried with her in her heart - and the small part my grandma played in it all, as He moved me like a gentle rocking ocean wave from mourning to rejoicing.

Instead of the thornbush will come up the Juniper.

 - A I N S L E I G H   J U N I P E R -

For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    shall break forth into singing before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will come up the juniper,
    and instead of the briers the myrtle shall grow.
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
    an everlasting sign,
    that will endure forever.
For as the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth,
making it bud and flourish,
so is My word that goes out from My mouth:
    It will not return to Me empty,
but it shall accomplish what I please
    and it shall prosper in the purpose for which I sent it. 

Isaiah 55:12-13, 10-11

Aiden's Winter 2016/2017 Update!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Winter 2016/2017

Now that Aiden is over a year old, I switched the format of his update posts from being monthly to seasonally. At the end of each season, I posted an update with some of the fun things we've been up to and how he's been growing! Aiden is currently 23 months old. (He actually turns 2 tomorrow! Am I allowed to cry forever?)

With the completion of this post, I've done a Spring, Summer, Fall, and now Winter update. With Aiden's 2nd birthdaytomorrow (!!!) and with baby girl due in May (as in, May 1st) things have been feeling pretty busy. I am all about simplifying my life these days so I can focus on Aiden and the arrival of our baby because after all - these years are short and I have only waited my whole life to experience them as a mom. So as much as I love updating and writing, I know I won't be able to keep up as much anymore. And that's ok. So I'm not sure when the next "update" post will be - yes, there will likely be a 2nd birthday post for Aiden and a few posts about baby once she arrives - but after that I'm not sure when the next will be, aside from maybe a post here and there with a compilation of photos. However, I do post fairly regularly on instagram. (Usually a few times a week at least.) So if you want to keep up with how we're doing, you can follow me there! (@marlyssa).

Without further ado,

Here's how our Winter was!


Exercise/Weight loss:
Haha, still with the weight loss thing - not really losing weight these days (or for the past eight months for that matter haha). I'm already really close to where I was with weight gain when I was pregnant with Aiden which can feel pretty discouraging since I still have about 5 weeks to go. But I am still trying - although my appetite gets the best of me most of the time :( However, lately I have been drinking much more water than I had been throughout my entire pregnancy! Yay! I finally figured out that it helps so much for me to add flavored stuff to my water - if I drink even a sip of plain water I get such bad acid reflux I'd have to start popping Tums like a kid with several rolls of Smarties on Valentine's Day. I'm still nursing Aiden a few times a day which adds even more of a need for hydration. I try to weigh myself once every 1-2 weeks and for a while I was doing pretty good, but then all of a sudden it was like bam! Some weeks I was gaining close to 5lbs...in one week! I've gained 34.8 pounds so far...(this was at 34 weeks). With Aiden I gained 36 pounds total at 40 weeks. But like I said in the last update, I started this pregnancy 10 pounds lighter than I was with Aiden, so even though I've gained "more" so far, I weigh less than I did at this point with Aiden. On warmer days (which there have been a couple of) we try to go for walks which sometimes end up being about three miles. I know that's not much at all but when your pelvis hurts this much, trust me, it's like you just ran a marathon. Or I imagine it's what your pelvis feels like after running a marathon. (How would I know? I run a 17 minute mile paaaaaaathetic. haha) For about a week or two I did a few at home workout videos a week, and Aiden loved being part of it! I called them our "dance parties" and if you ask me I totally think Aiden has a crush on Denise Austin with the way he would look at her. (: But soon after that, we sort of did a cold turkey on screen time (nothing to do with me working out and everything to do with knowing we had let Aiden spend way too much time watching tv every day and it was affecting his behavior) and ever since we as an entire family stopped watching tv, things have been so much better and more peaceful. We still try to sneak in an episode of something on the rare occasion Aiden goes to bed early (emphasis on rare haha) so we've watched maybe two episodes of anything since the beginning of February. I don't miss tv much though. But I also haven't figured out how to incorporate more exercise into my schedule without a YouTube video to go along to, so it's a good thing warmer weather is coming so we can get outside more! *the "bump" picture in this paragraph is two months old - I am currently 8 months and 1 day along*

For the most part things have been going well! There have been a few bumps along the road and there have been times where I felt down and miserable, but thankfully those times have passed (for now at least). It can also be super emotional for me knowing this season of life is coming to a close (or maybe not a close so much as a change?) where it won't be just Aiden and I at home when Jason is working. I am excited for the baby and all that's to come, but I also so treasure all one on one time with my first baby! I'm sure all moms of more than one child can relate to this feeling of this season coming to an end. It's hard for me at this point to picture life on the other side of having one baby! It's bittersweet for sure <3


At 23 months, Aiden is 34.5 inches tall and weighs 24.4 pounds! This puts him in the 50th percentile for height and the 21st percentile for weight. He had quite a growth spurt in height since the last update, jumping from the 18th to the 50th percentile! (: And his cranial circumference is in the 91st percentile! (: 

Refresher course:
+ At 21 months, he was 32.75 inches tall and 23 pounds
+ At 18 months, he was 32.5 inches tall and 22 pounds 10 ounces
+ At 14 months, he was 31 inches tall and 20 pounds 13 ounces
+ At 12 months he was 30 1/4 inches long and 20 pounds 10 ounces
+ At 6 months he was 27 1/4 inches long and 17 pounds 6 ounces
+ At birth he was 20 1/2 inches long and 6 pounds 14 ounces

Aiden takes one nap a day, usually in the late morning or early afternoon. His naps are usually about an hour long but every now and then he'll put in two hours (and once in a blue moon he'll do a three hour nap! But that usually only happens if he skipped his nap the day before) Sometimes he'll skip his nap or try to skip his nap and won't end up falling asleep until around 5 or so which can always make things interesting haha. He's been getting tired enough to go to bed earlier, so now he falls asleep between 9:30-10pm. This is improvement from 11pm and later for anyone just joining us (: Haha. I think my eyes still bug out every time I hear someone say their kids go to bed at 7:30 or earlier (Like how? How? No really. How.) But I don't mind it. Honestly I don't even know what I would do with so many hours left over in the evenings haha. We usually just go to bed as soon as he's asleep! We had Aiden start sleeping in his own room toward the end of January. Which for me as a mom (and a pregnant mom no less) was super emotional at first, but I'm glad we did it when we did so that he would be well accustomed to it by the time the baby arrives.
*taking apart his crib - emotional (duh) even though he mostly only slept in it for naps since we co-slept for most of his life*
The first couple nights Jason and I slept in his room with him, and then after that my little bird was flying solo! I have a baby monitor in his room so I can hear him when he wakes up, and for the first month or so I was going up to his room 2-3 times a night (and often fell asleep in his bed with him, oops! Talk about being sore in the morning) but in the last few weeks his wake ups have been becoming fewer and fewer so much so that he sleeps through the nights most nights! (: Maybe once or twice a week he will wake up once and I'll talk to him through the monitor and he falls right back asleep - it's like he just needs to know we're still nearby - and I think only once in the past two weeks or so has he needed someone to actually come up and lay with him in bed. (This last time Jason went up which was nice because the closer I get to my due date, the more sore and difficult it becomes to get out of bed!) I'm so proud of how well he's doing with sleep - of course, it's kind of ironic that we would get so spoiled with him starting to sleep through the night NOW, because in a few weeks once the baby is here it won't be that way at all, haha. Hopefully the transition back to waking up ~4 times a night won't be too rough haha. Along with his twin mattress now he also has a bed frame (which makes it so much easier for me to get in and out of his bed when we put him to bed! 

Aiden's new favorite drink is "appo dju?!" (Apple juice - and he always says it like he's asking a question haha). And actually he pretty much calls anything that isn't milk or water "apple juice" haha. He is getting a bit better at eating throughout the day and not just in the mornings or when Jason makes food. It can still be a struggle at times (as I'm sure it is with most toddlers!) and he also goes through phases (like he used to love yogurt now he rarely wants anything to do with it) but I'm glad it doesn't take quite as much convincing for him to eat these days! *He has replaced his love of yogurt with a love for bananas (:

Clothing sizes:
The other day Jason was dressing Aiden and it wasn't going so well - Jason questioned if the shirt he was trying to put on him was too small - it wasn't. I asked him "did you stretch out the neck before you tried to put it on him?" "No." Ah, the plight of having a large noggin like my sweetie-smu. All of his t-shirts have to be stretched out at the neck before you even attempt putting them on. The shirt fits him fine in the body (often they're actually kind of big), but there's no way his head would fit through unless you stretch the shirt way out. Haha. He still has a sure tiny waist and short legs - but now he's grown out of 18 month pants (they're getting short - but the waist fits perfect) and meanwhile he totally swims in 2T jeans (they fall right off of him).  Soooo since we're home most days, he isn't always 100% dressed. And I mean what a time to be alive right? At what other time of life is it perfectly acceptable to go the whole day without wearing pants? He may as well soak it up while he can. The picture below is from when I was sorting through all his baby clothes that he's grown out of (: He likes to help!

+ He still has 16 teeth (waiting on those 2 year molars!) He has been chewing on his fingers a lot and I have needed to resort to popsicle-giving from time to time to help soothe his gums. I bet by the time his two year molars come through though, the baby will be working on her first teeth. (For perspective, Aiden started teething at two months old - if baby girl teethes along the same timeline, that puts us at early July for baby #2 to start teething and Aiden will be 2 years, 3 months and will probably be getting/have just gotten his molars. help.) #foreverrrrrteething
+ He learned to take a selfie. And also pretty much do just about anything on my phone, including making random videos and almost sending the to everyone in my contact list. haha
+ He is still doing so well with his vocabulary and is talking more and more as each day passes. Also, he knows (can recognize and identify)almost every letter in the alphabet! He knows a couple of his numbers, but he sometimes gets them confused for letters (i.e. 3=E, an upside down 6 can look like a g, etc.). and he knows a handful of colors too! I just can't believe how it was only about a month ago that he pointed out and shouted "E!" to the letter E on an applesauce pouch, and now he knows just about every letter! (Some of them he knows both upper and lowercase!)
+ Speaking of talking (hm, there's a pun there) he just recently started saying "um um um" which Jason says he got from me. (Hi, Mrs. Indecisive over here, haha)
+ He finally started calling me mama! And sometimes he even calls me mommy. (: He still calls me "mon" most of the time, but it sure is sweet hearing all the names he finally has for me (: 
+ He is becoming so comfortable in the water - it's awesome to see! He now jumps into the pool from the edge into our arms. (: (more on swimming later!)
+ It seems obvious and self explanatory, but Aiden has had his second hair cut now! This one was much more thorough (the first haircut I gave him I only trimmed his bangs - this one I cut the hair all over his head) and now it's like he's going to be needing another one already. I guess being a girl and not having had a hair cut of any kind in years and years it blows my mind that a boy (even with longer/shaggy hair) can need a haircut like every month. haha. It just always feels like I just gave him one! And yes it always makes me nervous because I do the haircuts myself and because he has curly hair and because I don't want to ruin him and because I don't want to mess up and then have to have him get a super short hair cut to fix it. He's my little surfer dude, he will have longish hair for liiiiiiife ...unless he hates it when he gets older. haha
+ He is getting better at jumping (both feet leaving contact with the floor) which is a lot better than what his mom (I) can do. haha. He also did a somersault for the first time without any assistance!
+ He is getting better at walking up the stairs (using the railing for assistance). He usually only does it for the last few stairs, and he usually goes down the last few stairs standing too. This is a big improvement for him because for a long time he was afraid of going up and down the stairs.
+ He is still super silly, full of life (and energy), full of squeals that are so loud your ears ring, haha. I told Jason we need a bigger house - not to contain stuff or for the sake of "having a bigger house" (honestly I'd rather have a smaller house than anything haha!) - but simply to contain the sound waves that bounce off the walls. It really can be loud! I also asked Jason if he could imagine waking up in the morning on any given day and have enough energy to run laps around the family room, do jumps and somersaults, squeal at the top of your lungs, crawl vigorously on your hands and knees - Jason simply shook his head no. (For the record I can't imagine it either, haha). Aiden loves to be held and to cuddle and he's still a major softie at heart. I have to stop myself in the moment sometimes when I think about how these times of it being just him and I are coming to an end. :( I try to cherish these special one on one moments as much as I can. (As I'm typing this paragraph, he is sitting on my lap playing with a calculator. Forehead kisses abound.)

General Preferences:
+ For some reason Aiden always likes to find this book that I'm reading (Siblings Without Rivalry) and "read" it himself. He'll even take it and lay in the baby's changing table (when I still had it out on the floor) and "read" it there. Obviously I try to look at it from a psychological perspective...but I haven't figured it out yet (: Haha
+ He loves to swim! We went swimming when we were in Minneapolis and we swam again in one of the local pools this Winter - seeing him having so much fun and remembering just how much he loves it makes me want to take him more often than we've been going! (At least until it's warm enough to swim in the lake!) I want to take him swimming again on his birthday since he loves it so much and since it's still fairly cold here and there's lots of snow around still. (: He's getting really confident and comfortable in the water and will jump into our arms from the edge of the pool! I can't wait to teach him more about how to swim so he can start swimming on his own! (: 
+ He loves having books read to him and pointing out all the objects he knows, including letters!
+ A new obsession of his is bugs! (: We don't have many bugs in Minnesota in the Winter time, but recently there will be an ant or two in our house here and there - and when he sees one he goes totally nuts! He gets so excited, haha. We've also been having more and more lady bugs around with Spring coming and he likes watching those too. The other day I was telling him how once all the snow is gone and we can play in the grass again, that he will get to see TONS and tons of bugs outside. (Tons...and tons.) I think he was pretty intrigued at the idea! Although I've always been amazed (in a pretty grossed out kind of way) how many bugs there are in Minnesota. But this little Aiden of mine is all boy...so he loves bugs and other little creatures (:

What we've been up to:
+ Christmas Day seemed to sneak up on us like crazy this year since we had such nice weather and hardly any snow leading up to it. But it was still a special day! I loved setting up Aiden's gifts, including the train track I had gotten him back in September. It was so hard keeping it hidden away since he has been obsessed with trains since we got back from our trip to Oregon. He got to play with his boy cousins (and their trains!) and he had been so completely obsessed ever since. So it was a big joy to see how excited he was when he saw the train track looping around the tree. (:
+ The day after Christmas, we did a day trip out of town to go see the Christmas lights at Bentleyville! It was super cold and windy that day, and we had also had some car troubles but we were still able to enjoy the lights (well, as much as we could for how cold and windy it was. haha)
+ For those that don't know yet, the other big change that was about to happen in my last update was that my sister is here! She's doing a semester of school up here in Minnesota and has been here since the end of January. Aiden absolutely loves having her around and always misses her when she's gone at school. She's already made a ton of friends which is mind blowing to me just because I'm the type that wouldn't be able to make friends until like the last day of school and then I'd be like "Well, I'm moving back to California now, nice knowing you for the past 12 hours."
+ Sadly, we haven't gone outside and done a whole lot of Winter activities this year, mostly because it's hard for me and my ever growing belly and my ever-aching bones to get a wiggly toddler and myself dressed for the elements. I mean you have your normal clothes and then snow pants and jacket and boots and gloves and hat and mittens and a toddler who isn't a fan of having to sit around and wait to get dressed. But we did get to go sledding at our favorite sledding spot once and it was a lot of fun (: I was able to go too because it wasn't super bumpy. It's was even my sister's first time sledding! And Aiden had a blast too, of course. (: 
+ We recently got a "new" car! We've been looking for once since before Aiden was born actually, but never found anything and/or we also went through times where we weren't looking very hard. I have a two-door Bug...so imagine that with a car seat in the back. (: Now imagine that with two car seats in the back! The Bug was like my childhood dream car, so I'm glad I got to have it for the few years that I did, but I knew for a long time since I wanted to be a mom that it wouldn't work for long. haha. So the "mom" car I've always wanted was a Tahoe, and that's what we got (: I love it and I love how roomy it is (and how I don't have to literally climb into the vehicle to get Aiden in his car seat. haha)
+ A few weeks after we got our new car, we were able to make a trip to Ikea, mostly for nursery furniture and for a few smaller things like birthday gifts for Aiden and other household essentials. Our nearest store is 5 hours away, so when we go I go with a plan and a list. haha. Here he is while we were there, waiting with a flower to give to a Valentine (: It's true, little boys with flowers sure can make their momma's hearts melt!
+ I recently decided after seeing the three humungous tubs of Aiden's baby clothes, that I need to go through them all and get rid of a bunch of them. We hardly have any storage space in our house and we don't have a garage really (it's more like a soggy cardboard box) and to think that all of the clothes in these humungous tubs are just from his first year of life (the rest are still in his dresser)...and soon there will be an equal amount of baby girl clothes in tubs, along with all of Aiden's 1-2 year clothes..and then they will keep on growing after that... So I just figure it doesn't make sense to hang on to all these boy clothes since we are having a girl next and who knows if the next will be a girl also, you get the idea! And plus, it's just fun shopping for baby clothes (I buy them all second hand on ebay unless I find a really good sale somewhere) so why take away the fun of shopping for baby clothes with the next boy/girl? (I am keeping a few of my favorites for sentimental purposes and also so that he can have them when he's older if he wants to hang on to some of them).
+ On warmer Winter days we went on walks down to the railroad crossing so that Aiden could see the trains. He loves when we go on walks to see the trains. (: I'm looking forward to getting to go on more walks as the weather gets nicer. (:
+ This hasn't happened yet, but I am hoping to go to Minneapolis for our family's celebration of Aiden's birthday (and my sister's too! Her birthday is just 2 days before his - hers was yesterday!). I want to take him to the zoo - I think he would LOVE it. And we're going to go to one of those trampoline/foam pit places for my sister's birthday - I of course will just be an observer since I am 8 months pregnant, haha.
+ I have been planning Aiden's birthday party which will be train themed because of his current obsession (: I've been having fun planning it, and as usual Aiden loves to help me! He got so excited when the box of party supplies came that were covered in railroad crossing signs and the like. (: I can't wait for him to enjoy his special day!
+ We are also almost finished with Aiden's birthday present project. Originally it was going to be a Christmas present...but procrastinating got the best of us and we didn't get it done in time. But I think it will be better since he's a little bit older now - it involves pretend play. (: And it was less stressful trying to finish the project this way! (: (I'm sure I will share pictures once he's received it - it was an awesome find!)
+ I also got Aiden a "big brother" present. Typically I'm not a fan of "everyone gets a prize" type of gift giving/trophy awarding, yada yada, but I figured that since my arms will be full at times with the baby that it would be nice for him to have something new he can enjoy and play with. It's an outdoor gym type of toy, so we have to wait until the snow melts to set it up, but I'm excited. I think he's going to love it and burn a lot of energy on it. (: We're also going to fix our swing set so that he can have his swing in working order again (:
+ Funny stories of my life: There comes a time in every parent's life that during a routine 10-second dash to the recycling bin outside, your tiny, teeny, precious, baby-child-toddler-ham will accidentally lock you out of your house. And when that happens, you'll be wearing nothing but bright, floral leggings for pants, and you will have left your phone inside. (Because after all, it was only meant to be a quick run to the backyard while he stood inside near the door, like he always does when you take the trash out.) Ah yes, visions of floral covered legs dangling out of a window while attempting to break into your own home will flash before your eyes - much like in the Wizard of Oz - as neighbors look on from shoveling their driveways at the crazy floral-legged-lady. But then you snap out of it when you remember there's a spare key around for a reason.

Pregnancy Update

I figured I'd throw something like this in there since there's a lot to talk about! (this picture was from the end of December - my belly is not nearly this small anymore haha)

+ I am currently 35 weeks pregnant which means there is less than 5 weeks until my due date! (: I have been super sore, tired, and generally just looking forward to the baby being here so I can keep up with Aiden again. Honestly, I feel like I can't parent him very well or be much of a mom when it hurts to even stand up or walk or do anything. :( One thing I know this time around is that even though the baby will be getting up 4+ times a night, I know the transition won't be bad because I've been doing that for 2 years already.  So I honestly can't see how I could be more tired after the baby is here - (versus now, with a big belly, with my bodily resources building a human, and being in so much pain all the time). I was thinking back at how I never felt this way when I was pregnant with Aiden, but back then I didn't have to keep up with a wild toddler and I certainly didn't have any responsibilities that needed me. (I mean I could take a nap every day at whatever time I felt like it, lay in bed all day if I wanted to, and I certainly never had to jump to action to stop a toddler from getting into mischief). First pregnancies really are so glamorous haha.  - Also, is it just me, or when you meet other parents and you know how old their oldest child is, you think to yourself, "So they've been running on poor/interrupted sleep for __ years now"? Haha. (In other words if "they" can run on poor sleep/parenthood for however many years, then so can I?) It's encouraging to me in a strange way anyway. haha
+ I am at the point where I will start seeing my doctor every week until the baby is born! I can't believe I'm at this point already. This pregnancy has gone by so fast in some ways - mostly because I haven't had too much time to think about being pregnant this time around - but it's also felt like it's going by slow in other ways - (mostly from being in pain and not having quite as much freedom to rest).
+ I had an ultrasound in the beginning of December, but I thought it would be a fun "Christmas present" for Jason and I to find out the baby's sex on Christmas Day! So we had the tech put the gender in an envelope and we opened it on Christmas. It's a girl! We did a gender announcement in January and are so excited to be adding a little girl to our crew. (:
+ I've been working a little bit here and there on the baby's nursery between planning Aiden's birthday party and nesting and trying to declutter the entire house, planning trips to Minneapolis, etc. We have all of baby's furniture aside from a glider, and Aiden has helped me with a few smaller projects for her room. (He loves to help with baby's room!) (: And thanks to Etsy I have most of her bedding done! Did you know you can SEND your fabric to people and they will make crib sheets out of it?! Mind: blown. I'm kind of a freak and super particular about baby bedding. So I bought fabric that I liked, and  I found someone who makes baby sheets from the fabric you send her! They came out beautifully and it was totally worth the money to send it out and have someone else make them for me. It saved me a ton of time! I've also added a few new + a few vintage pieces to her room and I am so in love with the way it's coming together. I can't wait to share more pictures once it's done!


And now, a poem in pictures to the falling of all the snow (and wishing I was in Hawaii) alongside my most favorite people.

-photo taken at 34 weeks-

As  always, you can check out more of our adventures (with frequent updates)
by following me on instagram - @marlyssa  

Happy Winter, Aiden! It was magical seeing you experience your second Christmas and this year having you be old enough to take a bigger part in our family traditions and seeing you enjoy the Christmas season. It's been so fun seeing you romp around in the snow, play on the trampoline and use your truck to push snow around, hearing you swoosh through the house in your snow pants, to see you flop down into big fluffy snow piles like they're a mattress to jump on - but I am also glad that Winter is coming to a close so we can (more easily) enjoy going outside again. As Spring begins to make its appearance, it's been exciting seeing you splash in the melted snow puddles and watch you get your shoes consistently wet/muddy (we need to get you some rain boots this weekend!) , seeing you find bugs and other critters as you squat down to get a better look at them - You were able to play in your sandbox again for the first time yesterday (with sand actually visible) since last Fall and play with your sand box toys. All that said, it's like a whole new world is opening back up to you and I love seeing it all as it's happening.  You seem to be excited about the baby coming and you love showing me where she's going to sleep and helping me with her clothes and other various projects as we get ready for her arrival. I think you are going to make an awesome big brother in just a handful of weeks! It's hard to believe that exactly two years ago today your daddy and I were realizing that you were on your way - as we scrambled to pack the last of our things that Pinterest told us we should have along with us in the hospital (half of it we didn't use) and then the following morning we met you for the very first time. This past season - the last two years of our lives - have been a whirlwind of excitement, adventure, joy - sometimes hardship and sometimes sadness as the way life goes - but it has been filled with so much love - I really don't know where we would be or what we would be doing without you. You keep us on our toes as you walk on yours, you make us smile with the way you laugh, we learn so much through you as you learn about the world that surrounds you - but most of all we love you for all that you are and all that you are becoming with each passing day. Here's to you, my baby boy, on that last day that you will ever be 1 - and hoping that these days ahead will slow down so you can just be little for a little while longer - 
all of my love from all of my mama heart,


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