Sunday, January 22, 2012

1/2 a year for my baby!

I think back to the morning when I had decided that I just HAD to take a pregnancy test. I couldn't bear to wait any longer. The thoughts/questions/wonder had swirled in my head for 2 long weeks and I needed to know. I made myself leave the bathroom for the two minutes it would take for the test to figure out positive or negative. What was it going to say? Were my suspicions correct? Would we really have a baby 16 months after our first little girl?

I waited.

My hands felt clammy. Cold. 

Matt kept sleeping. Probably with one eye open.

The 2 minutes were up. 

I went back into the bathroom and stared at the counter. What reflected back at me was this simple sign.  + My heart raced, then it soared, and maybe even leaped out of my chest {at least it felt like it could have}. There was a baby growing inside me. Talk about Mother's intuition. Matt kept telling me I was wrong, mistaken and couldn't possibly be pregnant. But I just had that feeling. Little Allie Joelle was on her way long before we knew she was a girl or even what we'd name her.

But God knew! He knew we wouldn't be complete without her. What felt like craziness, insanity or a *surprise* to us had been sovereignly predetermined by God Himself and every day I thank Him for giving us what I never would have chosen on my own...having my second so close to my first.

Allie is pure joy! She lights up our home all.the.time. Sometimes I look over at her just to see what she's up to and catch her smiling or laughing to herself. No one is around playing or talking to her. It's just her. But she coos and kicks her legs as if everyone's attention is on her. 

She thinks her big sister is the coolest thing ever. Even if Reese is having a bad day (...which seem to be more and more lately) Allie is thrilled just to have sis walk by her chair or bumbo. 

We have transitioned to solids. In every way Allie is opposite her sister. She's a great eater and so far loves her cereal and chicken. Over the next few days/weeks I intend to introduce vegetables and then fruit. A good friend of mine told me back when I had Reese that her Peds doctor recommends introducing meat first because it's the least likely to cause an allergic reaction plus it being protein holds much longer in their tummies. I'm glad I listened.

Allie was an incredible sleeper as a newborn/early on baby. It wasn't unusual for her to go 9-10 hour nights without waking up. I don't know what snapped but around 3 months she started waking up 2 sometimes 3 times a night. Such a sad realization that gone was my good sleeper. Enter pureed chicken. We just may be seeing light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. Last night was the first time since 3 months old that she slept 10.5 hrs straight. I'm really praying and hoping this continues!

I still need to schedule her 6 mo check up so I don't quite know her stats. I'm assuming high percentages! She's graduated to 9 mo clothes and at 6 mo is wearing what Reese wore at 12-14 mo. Just craziness at how different these girlies are. 

Allie's nicknames at present: Aggie, Aggs, Ju (taken from Ju Ju Be), Allie Ju, Aggie Ju and Shuggy Doo...those last few are from Matt and I as we tend to be nickname fanatics. Poor girl!

Allie, you are our precious gift from God. We can't imagine our family without you and praise the Lord for your sweet 6 months of life. We pray, just as we do for your sister, that one day you would know Jesus Christ personally and repent of your sin, loving Him all the days of your life. God's ways are greater than ours and His thoughts MUCH higher than our thoughts. We are so thankful you were part of His plan for us!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Missy!

To the best Mother-in-Love there is...

Happy Birthday!

God has given us an incredible gift in having you as our Mom, Marmee and Missy! YOU bless us continually with our weekly "Marmee Days", all your prayers for us as you take your daily walks, the phone calls, meals and babysitting times to let mom (and sometimes mom and dad together) get out to enjoy time by ourselves and of COURSE all the love and hugs!!

We hope you have a very Happy Birthday and look forward to celebrating with you soon! Enjoy just a few pictures of the many memories we have with you! We love you so very very much!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Newest Jewel... the Mehringer family crown has arrived! World meet Hayden Brielle Mehringer!

She weighed 7lbs 3oz and is 21 inches long. She has long, slender fingers, lots of dark hair and already has many expressions. Monika and Hayden are doing really well...especially now that their LONG 5 day hospital stay is over and they are home. Hayden decided to come exactly one week early on Matt and I's 5th Anniversary, December 29th! Moni told me no one worked as hard on our anniversary gift as she did. I couldn't agree more. :) Hayden is our first niece on both sides of the family (she's the first to make us Aunt and Uncle) and also the first cousin for our girls. We feel so blessed to live close by, see her grow up and hopefully have many babysitting opportunities.

Since we were still in Hawaii when she arrived, we had to delay meeting her until today. Here are a few pictures of our first glimpses.

Back when Monika and Tad surprised us with the news that they were expecting, Moni had made shirts for both our girls to wear with the word "cousin" on it! What fun to get those out today for our first visit.

Sweet baby Hayden we are so thankful to have you join our family! We pray for you daily right along with our girls that you would come to know Jesus Christ as your Savior and love Him all the days of your life. Uncle Matt, Aunt Ashley, Reese and Allie love you so much already! Welcome to the world little girl!

Aloha dear friends...

Today is the second day home from our 13 day trip to the Big Island in Hawaii! It feels surreal to be home again...just as it did to actually be there. I caught myself constantly thinking...I'm really here! We're in Hawaii!! I've wanted to go there my whole life and it seemed like everyone I knew had been there but me. Even my 6 year old sister had been 3 times before I made it over. :) We arrived on December 18th after a great and uneventful flight from LAX. Reese was antsy (what 21 month old isn't!?!) but overall did an amazing job on the 6 hour flight to Honolulu. After a quick 20 minute flight from Oahu to Kona we were met by my parents and 3 youngest siblings who had shell leis to put around our necks along with big hugs!!

Because 13 days is a lot to cram into one post, I'll just be putting up pictures and dialoging a little about each one. To put our trip in a little nutshell: It was wonderful to be with my family, incredible to experience the Island and two beaches we visited and there were some definite hard challenges too!

The first Challenge: These nasty HUGE roaches! And this is the smaller of the two we saw! :( :( Yuck! He also happened to be our first visitor the first morning we were in our condo and it took everything within me to stop gasping and get out words to tell Mat to kill it. I had to take a picture just so you all could share in my horror. You're welcome.

The second challenge...WAAAY cuter than that nasty bug is this little chunky love in the next picture! Kona is known for it's Kona Coffee and Hawaii is known for their macadamia nuts. Oh and it happened to be Christmas too so Costco had these great dark chocolate covered cookies. As soon as we got to my parent's condo I started chowing down...chocolate, coffee, chocolate covered nuts, coffee covered nuts, chocolate get the picture. LOTS and LOTS of caffeine! Well this poor little girl had EnOuGh from her mama and simply refused to sleep...or at least sleep for any length of time. So we were up: 11pm, 1am, 4am, 6am! Yes, I felt like I had a newborn all over again. A few nights like that and I was a walking zombie with a wired baby. I'm so grateful to the Lord for my dad who finally figured out what was going on. I simply stopped eating and within 24 hours she was back to sleeping and sleeping hard to make up for all she lost. Poor poor sweetheart! It's definitely humbling to be the reason your baby is struggling.

The next set of pictures is from our mini field trip to Kona Joe's coffee. We had a great time learning about how Kona coffee is made and specifically how this place has used the technique of trellising (the way vineyards grow their grapes on a trellis) to grow their coffee trees.

I never knew there were so many different kinds of coffee beans!

Our first beach we visited was the beautiful Mauna Kea beach really close to our condo (about 15 min away). Such a gorgeous day...I think probably the warmest (87 degrees) and least windy day we had! Reese loved the sand...she could have played in it forever!

Our second beach, through the recommendation of our friends Aaron and Jen Tresham who just happened to be in Kona at the same time we were, was Kukio beach which proved to be GREAT for little ones! Matt, Tom and Joe wish there could have been more waves to ride boogie boards but it turned out to be a good spot for Reese and Elise as the rocks broke the waves and created a big wading pool. Again, a wonderful day in the warm sunshine!

To celebrate 5 amazing years together we bought tickets back in October for a Lu'au in downtown Kona. This was our one big splurge and we did it without kiddos! My parents graciously (or maybe the word is more "happily") watched Reese and Allie and from what we were told had a great time together. Matt and I felt like kids ourselves with the opportunity to get away AND to be on a tropical island in paradise together. The Lu'au's show after dinner was a hit for both of us! The dancers were incredible...I never knew you could move your hips like they did. :) We were pleasantly surprised at how modest, wholesome and family-friendly the entire evening was. A highlight for sure!

The view from our condo! Incredible to wake up to this every morning!
Matt bought me a real lei for the evening. :)

Yum! Shaved ice with ice cream on the bottom! It was so good, it was even hard to share with my almost 2 year old.

Love this picture of Nana, Allie, Elise and Poppy!

Chrstimas Day we opened stockings, went to the pool, grilled steaks and had a great day together! Little did I know that challenge number 3 was about to hit. This was my last healthy day on the island.

Our Condo: I did a lame-o job of capturing how wonderful this place was! So spacious, two bedrooms, 3 toilets (the third one I discovered a day before we left...who does that!?! Haha!) an amazing kitchen I wanted to pack in my bags and bring home with me and a washer and dryer! I literally was in paradise just by getting to do our laundry 20 feet away from the bedroom. Another wonderful perk...the lanai we got to read, hang out on, take naps and let Reese play "outside" in! I pretty much wish I could bottle that whole place up and move it to Castaic.

Our view I took through the screen while the sun was setting...forgive the blurriness of these two pictures.

And that sums up Hawaii! Mom and Dad...there really aren't enough words nor ways to express how thankful we are for you in making this trip a reality for us! We never could have done it without you...thank you for an amazing 7 days spent with you and even coming to our aid when I got sick and had to stay 3 extra days. We feel so blessed to have been able to do this and we'll have memories to last a lifetime!