Goodnight Blessing

img_4263“May God Bless You and Keep You Safe, Elijah”

I know every day is a gift, and there is something scary about putting my child in his crib at night and just praying God grants us another day together.

Since nothing I do will change God’s path for any of us, I just do my best to turn my worries to God. My faith got me through the worst time of my life in March/April, and I know it will guide me if it’s a part of my daily routine.

This is why I make the sign of the cross over Elijah’s forehead and say “May God Bless You and Keep You Safe, Elijah” as my final words each night at bedtime. It’s my way to telling God that I trust Him and His plan.

Elijah already holds his hands together in prayer a majority of the time, so it won’t be long before he’s offering his own prayers of thanks.

Lately I’ve Been…

Feeling so thankful for an extended maternity leave and extra time with my baby. Not a day goes by where I don’t give prayers of thanks for our miracle.

Cooking some new Pinterest casserole recipes to test out and add to our rotation, if they pass the test. If you like chicken noodle soup, we enjoyed this chicken noddle casserole. It will be great on a fall night.

Drinking sparking water in every flavor and brand under the sun. Staying hydrated is a daily challenge.

Enjoying my time with Elijah. Mornings are my favorite. He is rested and even more happy than normal. I also enjoy watching Elijah develop new skills. I love watching his determination as he rolls over and reaches for a ball or colorful rings. Again, I’m so thankful for this extra time at home to see these skills progress.

Watching The Bachelorette. Yep, it sucked me back in again this season. I also finished Orange Is The New Black on Netflix, and it was my favorite season. While some scenes are too graphic (seriously unnecessary), the theme this season was timely- Black Lives Matter.

Searching for new ideas to incorporate into my classroom. I’ve been doing my best to use the time I spend pumping as devoted time to reading articles, connecting with other educators on twitter, and trying out new apps. (Another journalism professor shared Prisma this week. If you’re into photo editing filters, check it out. I can see us using this filter for a comic book design in the newspaper.)

Reading a typical beach read, If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison. If you liked the movie 13 Going on 30, the plot is very similar. It’s mainly dialogue, which makes it a fast read that’s simply a good story.

Running faster. I ran my 5-mile loop to and from the local trail last week, and it felt great. My heart and lungs and thankful I ran for a majority of my pregnancy, and I feel ready to start increasing the speed on these workouts. I plan to run the 8k Turkey Trot in early November.

Worrying about time. I have so many ideas I want to incorporate into my classroom in the fall and worry about spreading myself too thin. Add this to my first time balancing a child at home, and I’m anxious about burning myself out. I worry my husband, too, who admittedly loves summer Kellie more than teacher Kellie.

Buying lots of things on Zulily. I love this app, but the shipping takes forever. I received a package this week that I didn’t even remembered I ordered. Whoops. They were pajamas for Elijah, and they seriously took over a month to arrive. However, if it’s not a time sensitive item, the deals are often too good to pass up.

What are you feeling, cooking, drinking, enjoying, watching, searching, reading, running, worrying, and/or buying?

Matching Maternity Leaves

img_4231When I found out my sister-in-law was expecting just three months after me, I was excited for another niece or nephew but also pumped for Elijah to have a cousin so close in age. After I thought beyond Elijah, I realized Ashley and I would have maternity leave at the same time. We immediately started sharing sunny thoughts about coffee dates with our babes.

I’m determined to fit another coffee date in with Ashley and Mollie before school starts, and the good news continues. Ashley recently took a job as a school nurse, so bring on sharing our summer breaks every year. I’ve already mentioned a future summer trip to Disney with our kids, we just haven’t told our husbands yet…

Summer Celebrations

img_4208Our trip to Des Moines was on our calendar for months so that we could join in the baby shower festivities for Paige and Tony. Their little girl is scheduled to arrive in September, and we couldn’t wait to celebrate this family of three! The shower was co-ed and kid friendly, so we all made the trip. Guys were asked to bring a case of diapers in exchange for their keg cup, and the ladies had a traditional baby shower inside. It was a clever way to combine a baby shower and a great party. Not to mention, the weather was absolutely perfect for yard games img_4207and a kiddie pool out back.

Following the baby shower, we headed to one of my college housemates for a BBQ with her family. Every time I see Kathleen, I am reminded why we are friends. I think the two of us could sit for hours discussing education, family, and/or faith. She has always been the motherly housemate (who drove the rest of us home from the bars downtown and traded the beer for water during beer pong), and I love seeing her with her son. She immediately scooped up Elijah when we arrived, and it made me wish we lived closer for another reason. She is a role model for me in many ways, and her motherly love is on the long list. I continue to pray for her and her growing family as they will welcome another baby just in time for Thanksgiving. Thanks for the BBQ, Kat. I’m still enjoying the Oreo cake balls you packed in the diaper bag for our trip home.

Life at “The Lodge”

img_4169The holiday weekend ended, and I was packing my bags for another getaway.

One of my teacher friends hosted us at her relative’s “lodge” while they were away. We made ourselves at home and spent hours enjoying the private pool. When the storm rolled in that evening, we moved our party inside next to the fireplace and Newman, the moose.

Although I tried to sleep in, I didn’t img_4174mind enjoying a cup of coffee and a good book (The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman) the next morning with this view.

How great are those windows?

I’m so thankful for work and play with these ladies!


Fourth of July Weekend

img_4111Our Fourth of July weekend included all of the holiday’s staples: Friends, Food, and Fireworks.

We enjoyed a visit from one of my college housemates and her husband, Andy, on Saturday. These two Duhawks live in Texas, so I was thankful they were up for including us in their trip to the Midwest. Lindsay has visited me twice now, so I know a Texas trip is in my future.

Duhawk reunion, anyone?!


Elijah was a champ for our long drive to the Mason City area to enjoy the holiday with some of my favorite people. Katie and Bob were generous enough to host us, and reuniting with Tom assured me (in a positive way) some things never change. There is never enough time with this group!

Mollie Margaret


Miss Mollie Maragret Monaghan arrived late Wednesday evening.

I love Mollie and her name. The “ie” with the alliteration makes me want to order her many personalized items. It’s a name to be celebrated!

It brings a huge smile to my face to know Mollie and Elijah will grow up so close in age with Colin to lead their squad.

We were lucky enough to visit this new family of four two days in a row, and Elijah suddenly looks like a giant next to Mollie Dolly. As for Colin, he’s going to be a great big brother.

IMG_4063 img_4083

Elijah: Three Months

IMG_3928Elijah is three months!

*I took these photos on time, but I haven’t had time to upload and document.

We crossed a lot of milestones this month including NO doctor’s visits! Elijah will have follow-up appointments in July and August, but June was a month off. He no longer has an in-home nurse coming each week because the pediatrician felt comfortable with his growth and weight gain. We estimate he is about 14 lbs now. Two stitches are still causing some irritation, but the overall healing looks incredible.

IMG_3946Elijah is the happiest little guy who loves playing on the floor and is getting stronger and stronger on his tummy. We’ve been warned that most kids with stomach issues, especially surgeries, have some delays when it comes to crawling. We’re working every day with Elijah to strengthen his neck muscles to hopefully offset a delay. It’s amazing what even a week can do because he smiled during tummy time yesterday.

We’re lucky to have Elijah awake a majority of the day because he sleeps great (knock on wood) at night. We had almost a week straight of him sleeping through the night! He broke the streak last night, but who can be mad getting up to see his sweet face?!

He has been a great traveler this month with many trips to Manchester and one to Dubuque. Next week we’ll get farther from home with trips to Mason City and Des Moines. Let’s keep exploring the world together, buddy. Little by little!

What Does Your Story Say?

1999475A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Thanks to Megan, one of my past students, for recommending this thought-provoking book. It started off slow, but I quickly found myself with many dog-eared pages. These are the quotes that stood out to me, and I want to continue to reflect over them as I write the story of my own life.

“The stories we tell ourselves are very different from the stories we tell the world.”

“I started feeling like a better character, and when you are a better character, your story gets better too.”

“If you want to know what a person’s story is about, just ask them what they want.” I’ve also heard people say, “If you want to know what someone values, ask them where they spend their money.”

“The story made us different characters than we would have been if we had skipped the story and showed up at the ending an easier way.” Wow! Yes. I thought about Elijah and about marathon training while reading this section. Both of my examples are so different, but they remind me of the extra appreciation you feel when the journey is anything but smooth.

“You become like the people you interact with. And if your friends are living boring stories, you probably will too.” Reminded me of one of my previous posts.

“The whole point of the story is the character arc. You didn’t think joy could change a person, did you? Joy is what you feel when the conflict is over. But it’s conflict that changes a person.” “Put your characters through hell. You put them through hell. That’s the only way we change.”

The story of Job and stories about suffering. “Before we get started, there is this one thing I have to tell you. Things are going to get bad.”

Friday Night Lights: “It wasn’t necessary to win for the story to be great, it was only necessary to sacrifice everything.”

“A good storyteller doesn’t just tell a better story, though. He invites other people into the story with him, giving them a better story too.” “When you ask for help, you are asking other people into the story with you, so it’s no longer yours, it belongs to the community that believed in it with you.”