Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4 Month Letter to Logan



Hey there Little Man,

It dawned on me today that I'd better call you that as long as I can...it's barely true any more!  You have gone through a huge growth spurt, from 7lbs9oz at the hospital, to over 17lbs four months later.  You are currently more than half of Kayleigh's weight and more than half her height--and she has a 26 month head start on you!  I wonder how long it will be before things even out?

You're already in 6 month clothing, and the little Carter's jeans you wore today were a little long, but they were size 9 months.  Eek!  I'm sure it'll feel like 2 weeks from now that we're going through the shoe store trying to find dress shoes in size 14 for your first dance.  Slow down, baby.



You still would rather be held over anything else, but you're starting to be ok if we put you down for a little while.  Mostly in the mornings, but hey, we'll take it!  You rolled over for the first time on March 19th, and boy were you proud of yourself!  Since that day, you've seemed much more content to be on your own.  You are getting so strong.  You're able to support your upper body all by yourself, so we set up your jumper last week.  It's cute to watch you bounce up and down as you kick your little legs off the ground and try to grab at the toys around the jumper.  I have a feeling that thing is going to be a favorite for a long time!

About 3 weeks ago, you finally started sleeping in your cradle for more than 15 minutes at a time.  We've always teased that you're a heartbeat baby--if what you're sleeping on doesn't have a heartbeat, you'll wake up right away (this is still 100% true during the day).  We're at the point where we can put you in your cradle when we go to bed, and you'll sleep through til about 4am, usually.  When I hear you stir and cry, I go into your room and bring you back to our bed.  I'm much more rested when you're only with me for a few hours instead of wiggling and kicking me all night long!  And oh, I love your sleepy smiles and sweet little snores.  I don't want to jinx myself, but you have slept straight through the night (9 hours each time!) three of the last four nights.  Here's hoping!!!



People tell me all the time that I need to start letting you get used to not being held all the time.  I used to secretly think the same about other moms I saw who never put their babies down.  What I didn't realize back then is how big of a factor the baby's personality is.  I've long since stopped comparing you to your sister and just love you for who you are--and right now, you need to be held.  Truthfully, at first, it exasperated me.  I didn't know how to parent two children when my arms were always filled with one.  But you know what, Logan?  Your eyes are so full of love.  I've never seen a baby express that much emotion with tiny little eyes that are still learning to focus.  When you look at me, I can just feel the love pouring out of you.  I know God has big plans for that beautiful heart of yours.  I've started praying for it daily.  I think, as mothers, we see our children's strengths early.  I pray that your heart will always be full of love for those around you, that you'll have a big servant's heart like your daddy's, that God will use your heart to bring others to Him.



Your giggles are in full swing these days.  I love to hear you laugh!  It doesn't take much at all--just a happy glance your way, and you're giggling and squealing for more.  Something that can always make you laugh right now is when we take your little arms and raise them above your head, then bring them back down to your lap.  I have no idea why.  You just think it's hilarious, though, so we do it all the time.  I hope you're always this easy to entertain!

It is so much fun to watch you and Kayleigh together.  The conversations you two hold together!  My heart just bursts with joy and treasures these times where, in each others' eyes, you can do no wrong.  I know the days will come when I'll wish we were right back here, where there is no fighting, no name-calling, and no tattling.  These are precious days.  I try my best to treasure them in my heart.

Hobbes was bigger than YOU when you were born!


Four months old, already, Logan Mark.  The days are just flying by and I feel like I'm already grasping at them to come back.

We love our boy so much!

Love, Mom


Nicknames: Smiley Boy, Mr. Logan, Little Man, Logan Mark
Temperament: Momma's boy :)  
Things I Could Do Without:  Your frantic cries from the other room while I try to tuck Kayleigh in for bed.  Nap/bedtime is the hardest part of my day, having to leave you out there while I spend a few moments of one-on-one time with your sister.  But you get it all day long, and she deserves some Mommy time, too.
Things You Could Do Without:  Ever being out of my sight :)
Item/Toy We Love The Most:  The jumper is our new favorite thing!  It's so much fun to watch you.  You're getting stronger every day!
Item/Toy You Love The Most:  You haven't really attached to any toy.  You love your fingers.  You're still not a thumbsucker, but you will suck on any part of your hand that goes into your mouth.  Sometimes, both hands at once!
Things I'm Loving Most Right Now:  Your belly-laugh.  My goodness, no one can listen to that and resist smiling.  I hope you can always spread joy this easily!
Things You're Loving Most Right Now: Blowing raspberries, laughing at Kayleigh, being held.
Sounds/Words: Kayleigh tries to translate your sentences for us.  It's pretty humorous.
Foods You Like: Momma's milk, but NEVER from a bottle.  On the few occasions I've left you behind, you've cried and made it very clear that you'd rather starve than try a bottle.  Oh boy.
Milestones: Rolling over! You're also very close to being able to tripod.  Sometimes you can sit up by yourself for about 30 seconds without even using your hands.  Your strength amazes me!  What will this upcoming month bring?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why My Family Loves Essential Oils

Our journey with essential oils began with this little guy


Last year while I was pregnant with Logan, I was horrifically sick with hyperemesis gravidarum. The medication I was on so that I could just keep down sips of water was giving me awful migraines.  The pain from the migraines made me so miserable, and Tylenol just wasn't cutting it.  I started searching for something else.  There must be something else!  I was desperate.  I bought a raw baltic amber necklace.  I told my husband that I was ready to pay for a rain dance if someone told me it would help my headaches go away.  And then a friend told me that someone was coming over to talk with her about using Essential Oils for her daughter's growing pains...and maybe there would be something for my headaches, too.

I was familiar with Essential Oils.  My mom had sworn by Tea Tree oil for every cut, scrape, and bug bite we ever got as kids.  I had a bottle of Lavender oil that I had bought at (gasp) Target and used to make my Natural Postpartum Gift Set that has brought a lot of traffic to my blog.  But mostly, essential oils were just used in my home as a natural alternative to chemical-filled household cleaners.  I had rid my house of all of those when Kayleigh was born, only using vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils for the past two years.

Jesse and I went to that first Essential Oils class ready for the lady to tell us exactly what we needed for my headaches.  We expected to plunk down $20-$40 for whatever she said would work, and then walk away without ever looking back.  I laugh now to think of it :)

Instead of finding one simple quick fix at the class that night, Jesse and I were completely amazed to learn how many different ailments in our family could be taken care of using Essential Oils.  We walked out that night with a whole new outlook on our healthcare.  We boxed up our OTC meds (and eventually our prescriptions!) and have never looked back.

Essential Oils are now our way of life.  I'm so thankful that I can care for my little ones at home instead of having to run to the doctor for every little thing.  What a difference that makes!  Instead of feeling helpless as parents when our children are sick, Jesse and I are empowered.

We have spent the last year researching articles, learning from others who use Essential Oils, listening to experts in the field, and using our oils every day.  We use them for everything from allergies to headaches, colds, cuts, insomnia, muscle pain, toddler fevers, tummy bugs, teething, and tantrums.

When it comes down to it, here is why I'm so passionate about using Essential Oils for my family:
  • I've always been cautious about medication.  Several beloved family members have dealt with addictions to "properly prescribed" medications--something I never want to encounter!  I avoided medication as much as I could (even though I was a frequent migraine sufferer), and I cringed every time I gave Kayleigh Tylenol for a fever or for teething pain (read this! it's scary!!)
  • Also, healthcare is expensive!  I don't know about you, but it costs us a $40 copay every time we go to the doctor.  Two years ago, between our three family members, we went to the doctor about 10 times for colds, fevers, ear infections, and allergies.  That adds up to a lot of money spent on copays, and I'd much rather invest that money into preventative healthcare in the first place so that we can avoid making that many trips in the future.  We made that switch last year--and guess how many sick trips we made to the doctor?  Zero!


This isn't to say that I'm anti-doctor.  I love the pediatrician, OB, and GP who care for us.  I'm also not saying I'm anti-medication.  I believe that both have a time and a place, and I'm thankful that they're available when needed.  In the meantime, though, I'm so, soooooo thankful that God led us to Essential Oils.  Along with our little Logan, Essential Oils were one of the biggest blessings that came to our family last year.


Essential Oils are just too wonderful to keep to myself.  I'll be writing several posts about our experiences using Essential Oils, and if you'd like to learn more, I'd love to talk with you!

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Two Month Letter to Logan



Dear Logan,

I'm writing this letter to you while you're curled up on my chest, sound asleep.  That's the way we do life these days--you and me, always together.  What a little cuddle bug you are!  When my arms are crying for a break, but you're crying that you don't want to be put down, I just snuggle you in harder and remember to cherish these moments because I know you won't always want to be this close to me.  It's a funny thing to have to remember to cherish something.  Maybe you won't understand this because you'll never be a mom, but I hope someday you'll be a dad.  And when you are, I hope you'll be as good at coming home and rescuing your tired wife like your daddy is so good at rescuing me.  You were born into a home full of so much love, baby boy.



Speaking of things to cherish, I will always treasure these sweet moments of watching you with your sister Kayleigh.  It amazes me what best little friends the two of you are already.  Getting to see you is the first thing she asks for every morning.  She covers you with kisses, and we often have to remind her to stop and let you breathe.  She loves you so much!  You love her, too (even though you usually cry like a typical boy whenever she smothers you with kisses) and I love the way you smile at her as she talks to you or sings to you.  Daddy and I pray every day that you will always have such a close relationship.  My brother is one of my favorite people in the world.  The spacing between you and Kayleigh is almost the same as between your Uncle Jon and me.  I praise God that you and Kayleigh have each other to go through life's adventures.



You are growing so fast.  You've nearly doubled your weight since birth--what a chunker!  Your rolls are filling out, and you've definitely added another chin or two this month.  You're solidly into size 3 month clothing already.  Even though you were smaller than Kayleigh was at birth, I think you're working hard to catch up to her now!




Your baptism was two weeks ago.  What a beautiful, special day!  Daddy got to baptize you, and you wore a beautiful little baptism outfit that was lovingly made by your Grammy.  It was a small gathering since so many of our loved ones have been dealing with illnesses, and your aunts and uncle are so far away right now, but it was a day covered in love.  Yiayia, Papa and Grammy, Tyler, Stacey, and Bine Stover, Matt and Emily Terhune, Greg Wilson, and Jim and Charlotte Friebus all came to the service to celebrate your special day.  Tyler and Stacey are your godparents.  They have been dear friends of ours ever since Daddy and I have been married, and they love you and your sister very much.


You make our days brighter, little guy.  Our days brighter, and our nights longer.  Much, much longer!  Work on sleeping at night and being awake during the day, ok?  Mommy and Daddy love your bright, smiley face!  (We'd also love to not see it at 3am).

We love you so much!

Love, Mom

Nicknames: Puppy, Smiley Boy, Mr. Logan, Floppy Puppy, Snuggle Puppy, Chubbers
Temperament: Happy when being held
Things I Could Do Without: The fact that you will only sleep at night if you're in bed next to me.  I've always been so cautious about SIDS, and the fact that I don't get to sleep unless you're in bed makes me so nervous.  It also means that even when I'm sleeping, I'm not really getting good sleep...
Things You Could Do Without: Being put down.  Ever.  You hate being put in the cradle, the bouncer, the rock 'n' play...even being set down on the changing table is enough separation to break your little heart.
Item/Toy We Love The Most:  Our Ergo and Moby.  They allow us to hold you while still accomplishing things we need to do (Public Service Announcement: Life with two kids doesn't go on pause when the baby needs to be held.  Boooooy are we learning that!)
Item/Toy You Love The Most:  You're trying hard to find your thumb, I think.  I've tried to help you, but it seems to be something you need to discover on your own.  Maybe you'll be able to self-soothe when you find it!  That's my hope...
Things I'm Loving Most Right Now: I love it when you chuckle  in your sleep.  It's the cutest thing!  I also love all the smiles and chuckles we get when you're awake now, too.
Things You're Loving Most Right Now:  You smile when we tickle you or give you kisses.  You also love to be sung to--whether it's Kayleigh singing to you or Dad or me.  But really, you're happy no matter what as long as you're in someone's arms.
Sounds/Words: You coo and interact with us and it makes my heart burst.  I'm looking forward to so many things to come!
Foods You Like: This answer is going to be the same for a while :)  Milk!  We haven't introduced you to a bottle yet.  You and I have never been separated long enough for you to need one!
Milestones: Baptism!  Welcome to the family of God, our sweet little one!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year from the Brubakers!


As Jesse and I watched the clock slowly creep toward midnight last night, we reflected on the past year.
What a year!
2013 was not what I expected.  At all.

A year ago last night, Jesse and I were toasting to the financial freedom we were looking forward to in 2013.  With two stable jobs, we thought we'd be set.  I was envisioning the amount of growth my blog would experience in 2013, looking forward to the new connections I would make and the friendships that would deepen through it.  Our daughter's second year of life was certainly one to look forward to, and Jesse and I were excited to see how much she would grow in the coming year.

And then the year settled in, and with it, a lot of surprises!  The week that I found out my ESL teaching position had been cut from the school budget was the week I found out we were expecting a new baby.  I was beyond sick for pretty much all but two months of my pregnancy.  We moved to be closer to Jesse's job, but the additional monthly expense of that move has added a great amount of stress.  I wrote 11 posts for my blog in 2013.  Eleven!  I've missed this so much, but at the same time, there was just no room in life for blogging this past year.

It's been a challenging year, for sure, but oh, such happy things have come from it!


Jesse and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary this year.  Even though I was too sick to take a big trip, we stayed at a lovely hotel 20 minutes from our house and enjoyed two nights away where we could enjoy each other and reflect on God's goodness to us in the past 5 years.  I'm so, so thankful for this wonderful man God provided for me.  The way he loves me, serves me, leads me, and cares for his family is so humbling and exhilarating.  I am beyond blessed to be his wife!


Our sweet Kayleigh Grace turned two in September.  She has grown so much this year, and is such a wonderful big sister to "Bebe Logan."  She loves him so much.  Jesse and I are constantly smiling and shaking our heads in amazement over what a smart little girl she has grown into-- and with such a beautiful heart!  She is entering the stage now where she makes up her own songs, astonishes us with her observations, and memorizes and "reads" back to you all of her favorite books.  We are loving this stage with our sweet girl!


Little Logan Mark joined our family on December 6th.  He is such a blessing from God, and I can't wait to share his miraculous birth story with you.  Having a second child has definitely thrown Jesse and me into the world of being truly grown up.  All it takes is saying "the kids," and you instantly feel older!  In his nearly one month of existence, Logan has stolen our hearts.  He is a very easy baby, loves to be held, and makes the cutest sleepy grunts and sighs you've ever heard.  I'm seriously going to have to get it on video so that I never forget this sweet stage in his life.


 Many other wonderful blessings have come our way this past year, and I can't wait to tell you about them.  As life settles in for this new little family of four, I dearly hope that I'll have time to return to this beloved space and share in life with you again.  Thinking forward to 2014, I'm excited.  2013 taught me that God continues to bless you above and beyond even when nothing turns out the way you had expected it to.  I'm thankful for that, and I'm looking forward to seeing His plans for us in the coming year!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pregnancy

Jesse and I have each loved the name Logan since before we met each other.  It's been on our "boy list" for a long, long time.  We decided to give our son's middle name after my dad, Mark.  Our little Logan will be blessed to grow up with the two most wonderful men I know--his daddy and his papa.  I'm so thankful for this!

Exactly a week after we found out that I was pregnant, I was hit with Hyperemesis Gravidarum again.  If you've been following my blog since my days of pregnancy with Kayleigh, you might remember how completely incapacitated I was during  my first trimester.  I had hoped that it was just a complication with that pregnancy, and was really hoping that it wouldn't happen again.  However, apparently that's just how I do pregnancy.  Fun stuff.  This time, though, instead of being sick from weeks 8-14 like I was with Kayleigh, I was sick from weeks 6-20.  And I had a toddler.  Like I said, fun stuff :)


When I was 14 weeks along, I experienced bleeding and ended up in the ER.  It was the scariest day of my life.  Thankfully the baby was ok, but the doctors put me on strict bed rest until week 20.  I couldn't do anything more exerting than walking, and wasn't allowed to lift my little girl.  It broke my heart!  God was so good, though, and saw us through it.  We were blessed by family members, church family, and friends coming out of the woodwork to help us.  People brought us meals, came to clean our house, and gave me entire days to rest while they entertained Kayleigh for me.  We were humbled and exhilarated  by the love that we received during that very difficult time.

I'm 30 weeks along now, and finally feel like I'm rocking this pregnancy thing.  I can't believe we only have about 10 more weeks until we meet our little guy!  Jesse and I preregistered at our hospital yesterday.  We are so thankful that Logan will be delivered at the same hospital where Kayleigh was born.  We love the people there.

Jesse and I don't feel like it's really sunk in yet that we're having another baby.  Pregnancy is one thing, but bringing home another little person is such a crazy idea right now.  We're over the moon excited, but at the same time, it's hard to wrap our minds around.  A baby.  We've done that before.  But we've never added one when we already have another.  Sometimes we feel like we've just figured out how to do this whole parenting thing with one.  Other days, we still feel like we don't know what we're doing.  And yet here we are, adding another one to the mix?!?

All it takes though, is snuggling someone else's newborn, or looking at pictures on Facebook of friends with their fresh little squishes.  It takes me back to the days of milky tongues and feathery hair that smells so, so good.  I can't wait to bring our little Logan home, to cuddle in bed with both of our children in the mornings, to teach Kayleigh how to help take care of her little brother.  Watching her lovingly pat my tummy and give "Baby Logan" kisses is enough to make my heart burst.  

Before Kayleigh was born, I remember crying to Jesse that I didn't know how there would be enough room in my heart to love another as much as I love him.  Kayleigh's arrival showed me that hearts aren't confined to a certain amount of love--they keep growing and growing.  10 more weeks, and I know this heart will triple in size.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Catching Up

It's been a long time since I've posted anything.

A really long time.

Part of it's because of how crazy FULL life has been in the past few months, and the other part is that even in the slower moments, the thought of writing a catch up post was so daunting to me that I put it off some more.

Let me start with the most beautiful part.

The day we took this picture, we had no idea that we were no longer a family of three...


But my goodness, life has changed so much since then!  Our sweet little "Brubaby #2" will be joining our family in mid December, and we can't be more excited.
Meet Kayleigh's little brother, Logan Mark!
I have so much to share about my pregnancy, but I'm going to save it for another post :)  There is SO much to catch you up on!

So, just a few days before I found out that I was pregnant, I also found out that I was losing my job.  The online ESL program I was teaching through lost its funding, and just like that, my position was gone.  It was heartbreaking.  I truly loved teaching those classes and connecting with students from all over the world.  That job was such a blessing during my first [nearly] two years as a stay at home mom.  I miss it terribly, but I'm so thankful that God provided it in the first place.  It was a wonderful growing time for me, and I was definitely stretched.  As untimely as it was to lose nearly half of our monthly income the same month that we found out we were adding another little one to our family, Jesse and I truly see God's hand in it all.  My pregnancy with little Logan has been far more difficult than Kayleigh's, and I was so sick that I would have had to resign anyway.  (But I would have killed myself trying to do it all first.)  It's definitely been tight financially ever since, but we've been leaning on God fully, and He hasn't let us down :)

In mid-July, Jesse let me know that he felt that we really needed to move closer to our church.  It had been an idea that we had talked about throughout the year since he started working there, but I hadn't expected it to suddenly become so pressing--especially since mid-July was just about when I was starting to get back on my feet and join civilization again (pregnancy-wise).  But just like that, we were searching for a new place to live that was closer to church.  This was no small feat, since our church is in a very wealthy area (which is exactly why we had been commuting for the past year!) and moving closer to church also meant moving away from some of our dearest friends.  For the past two years, we have been so blessed to have our friends Tyler and Stacey (and Bine!) living just a few doors down.  They were the Mertzes to our Ricardos, or the other way around, however we wanted to look at it :)  Giving that up was one of the hardest things ever.
Just a few short months ago, this whole gang lived within walking distance of each other.  What a blessed two years it was to be just steps away from the Stovers and the Pratts!  I'll always look back on those years as some of the happiest of my life.  I loved, loved, loved being neighbors with some of our best friends.  (The Pratts moved to Northern California about 2 months before we moved, so don't think that I don't love them, too--they were just already gone!)

Living in our new town is quite an adventure.  Like I said, we can't afford to live in the actual city where our church is, so our new surroundings are quite different from where we just came from!  In our old town, we lived on a main street and were within walking distance of a Target, CVS, Starbucks, our bank, the library, tons of parks, recreational areas, the Post Office, and a ton of other things.  From the window of our new home, I can just see cows.  Cows, cows, cows...and dirt.  There is nothing within walking distance, and we haven't even found a good grocery store yet.  It's taken some adjustment, but I know that God will bless us by this move.  

One of the biggest differences, however, is that Jesse can come home between teaching classes and leading youth group and attending meetings.  The schedule of a youth pastor is a crazy one, and living so far from church often meant that I didn't see him from before 7am until after 10pm.  There were at least two days a week that Kayleigh would go the whole day without seeing her daddy.  Now that we only live 10 minutes from our church, Jesse can come home for dinner or swing by to change his clothes.  It's so wonderful!

This is such a big update already, and I feel like I haven't even caught you up on everything!  I'll have more to share in the days ahead.  I've missed all of you!  It feels like this is the very first time things have slowed down since my aquarium post back in April.  So many things have changed since then!  Lots of trials, but God has turned them all into good things.  Praise His name!!!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Lavender Lemonade

If you've been around my blog for long, you know how much I love lavender.
And if you've ever spent time with me in person, you know how I can't resist lemons.
And now my little girl does, too.  It makes me happy :)

So, in my world, there are few things more perfect than the blend of lavender and lemon.



To make the perfect lavender lemonade, you will need:

♥ 1 & 1/2  cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice
♥ 1 & 3/4 cups white sugar
♥ 1 tablespoon culinary lavender
♥ 8 cups of water


To prevent the sugar from settling at the bottom of the pitcher, create a simple syrup.  Slowly stir the sugar and 2 cups of water in a saucepan over low heat.  Add the culinary lavender to the pot, and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.


Once the simple syrup is cool, strain it to catch the lavender buds, and combine it with the lemon juice and water.


Add some ice and a few slices of lemon, and you have a lovely, refreshing summer drink!