Hasley Christmas

After a relaxing weekend with the Forristalls, we headed to Ottumwa early Monday morning.  This was Luke's first road trip and he did great!  We finally got to add another place he's been on his map in his room.
We left for Ottumwa around 5 a.m., right after he ate, and he slept the entire way!  Christmas Eve was sooooo nice.  We hung out at my parent's house all day in our pjs.  We played Apples to Apples, ate some good food, and watched parts of Christmas movies.  On Tuesday, we had our family Christmas in the morning, followed by the extended family Hasley Christmas in the afternoon.  Luke saw lots of new faces and met many new people and did pretty well through it all.  We are thankful to have so many wonderful people in our lives!

the kiddos opening presents

mom thought it was funny to get me an isu shirt from luke

posing for the camera

butt flair

love this little guy

landon loving on luke

cousin laci meeting luke

4 generations

i love this picture...luke with great-grandpa hasley

paige and luke

cooper was so excited about this picture!


Forristall Christmas

This Christmas season was different than any other year.  It was a wonderful time with little Luke.  Most everyone at the Forristall Christmas has met Luke, but they were so amazed by how big he has gotten!  Luke is much more alert these days and he showed off how he can smile and how strong he is. Luke loved seeing his Aunt Hillary and Uncle John!
It was so great to spend time with the Forristalls!

uncle john and aunt hillary...one of many pictures taken

grandpa gary and grandma diane

gifts from aunt hillary

luke in his formal attire

i love this one!



One of the many, many things I love about Christmas time is the mail.  I look forward to walking down the driveway in order to check the mailbox for....beautiful, wonderful Christmas cards!  I love seeing pictures of families and reading year end letters, but I never know what to do with them after I have them out of the envelope.  This year I saw a cute little Christmas card tree on Pinterest and I attempted to recreate it with vines from the vineyard.  I love that I can see all the pictures of friends and family from my living room.  If I were going to do it again, I would have more vines and some taller, longer vines.  I would go get some, but currently we're in the middle of a snowstorm (which is another thing I love).


One of the many, many things I love about Christmas time is the mail.  I look forward to walking down the driveway in order to check the mailbox for....beautiful, wonderful Christmas cards!  I love seeing pictures of families and reading year end letters, but I never know what to do with them after I have them out of the envelope.  This year I saw a cute little Christmas card tree on Pinterest and I attempted to recreate it with vines from the vineyard.  I love that I can see all the pictures of friends and family from my living room.  If I were going to do it again, I would have more vines and some taller, longer vines.  I would go get some, but currently we're in the middle of a snowstorm (which is another thing I love).



I love Christmas for many reasons...Christmas lights, Christmas movies, Christmas traditions, Christmas music, the birth of our Savior, and Christmas cookies!  On Sunday, we worked on the cookie piece of the Christmas puzzle.  My friend, Annie, held a Cookie Party at her home and everyone invited brought cookies to make cookie plates for our friends and neighbors.  I brought almond sugar cookies (which are amazing), funfetti cookies, and pretzel candies.  I was planning on making multiple batches of pretzel candies because I had all the fixings and they seemed so simple.  Put pretzels on a cookie tray and top with a Hershey kiss.  Put in the oven at 350 degrees for 3 minutes and then press an M & M into the chocolate.  Sounds simple enough.  Well, after one batch, I realized my simple recipe was a little more tedious than expected.  It wasn't hard to do, but I just didn't like putting those M & Ms on top of those Hershey kisses.  So, instead of multiple batches, I made just one weeny one.  I ate most of the leftover M & Ms and stuffed the Hershey kisses in the cupboard for emergencies.  
Well, it just so happened that my friend, Diane, brought all the fixings to make multiple batches of these little pretzel candies and I had nothing else to do at the party...so I ended up making more pretzel candies.  I might have complained a little and made a bigger deal about it than necessary...just maybe.  Pretzel candies aside, it was a wonderful afternoon and the weather even cooperated with a little snow to put us 'in the mood'.  Thanks Annie for being such an amazing host and friend!


Luke's Birth Story

Some of the 'mom' blogs I follow share birth stories.  Now that Luke is 5 weeks old, I feel like I finally have some time to sit down, think about, and share Luke's birth story.  As he cuddles beside me, sleeping like the baby he is, I just can't believe he's 5 weeks old already, but then again, I can't believe he's been in our lives for only 5 weeks.  It seems like he has been a part of our family forever.  Okay...on to Luke's birth story.

As I reflect back on Kevin and I's pregnancy with Luke, we were so very blessed.  I felt great almost the entire 9 months and there were no major problems.  I didn't really feel any 'pregnancy symptoms' until the last trimester, when I started to get slight back pains and had trouble sleeping.  The last two weeks of my pregnancy my blood pressure was slightly elevated, so our doctor monitored Luke.  I was also ordered to count kicks three times a day after each meal.  If the amount of kicks was under 10 in a half an hour, I needed to call our doctor.  Luke tended to be sleepy in the morning and then move like crazy at night.  He would kick anywhere from 15-20 times in the morning and upwards of 150 times in the afternoon and at night.
After setting an induction date for Sunday, November 4 at 7 a.m. at our Friday appointment (which was our due date), we went into the weekend excited to have a baby in just a few short days.  That night we went out to our 'last supper' at our favorite restaurant, M's Pub in Omaha.  At 40 weeks pregnant, it was amazing to have someone else cook dinner and enjoy some of my favorite dishes...the shrimp baked dish and lavosh.  Our waitress even gave us both an extra roll, I don't know how she knew that bread and butter was a favorite during my pregnancy.
After enjoying a night out, we woke up Saturday morning with the plan of watching college football after Kevin finished helping his dad with the grain bins.  While Kevin was cleaning grain bins, I was counting kicks.  I only counted 8 little kicks, so I made a call into the the doctor's office.  Our doctor promptly called me back and stated she wanted me to come in so they could monitor Luke.  Kevin quickly showered to wash all the dirt off and we gathered our bags that had been packed for months and headed to west Omaha.  On our drive in, Kevin and I discussed if we would want to be induced or not that day instead of Sunday.  Kevin was extremely excited and I was very anxious.  I was so ready to meet Luke, but nervous about going through something I had never experienced before.
As we pulled up to the hospital we knew exactly where to go, thanks to our childbirth class we took just four weeks prior.  We got checked in and our nurse monitored Luke for a short time and realized he was doing just fine.  Our doctor came in and decided that despite Luke's steady movement, we should go ahead and be induced that afternoon instead of waiting until the following day; after all, they were picking up minor contractions which likely meant escalating labor symptoms would not be too far away.  Kevin and I were ecstatic, we were going to meet Luke in less than 24 hours!
Shortly after I was all checked in and in my beautiful hospital gown they started me on Pitocin and broke my water.  I had very mild contractions at first and wanted to stay mobile as long as possible.  Kevin and I walked the halls as I carted my bags of liquids beside me.  I became tired of walking so Kevin and I started playing Phase 10 in our room while I sat on the birthing ball.  At this point I was feeling my contractions in my back and lower abdomen.  Kevin and I came up with a signal for when I was having a contraction because I was unable to verbalize anything during them.  I would tap the table and Kevin would massage my lower back.  This ensued for awhile and finally I wanted something to take the edge off.  The contractions were intense at this point and I opted for an IV drug.  I was able to sleep on and off for about 45 minutes in bed, or so I'm told.  As I felt some relief with the IV drug, the nurse was upping my Pitocin about every 60-90 minutes and my contractions worsened again.  I was dilated to 4 centimeters at this point and it seemed like I was going to be waiting days to meet Luke.  I was also having the 'shakes'.  My teeth were chattering and I couldn't control my body from shaking.  My original plan was to wait until I was dilated to 5 or 6 centimeters before getting the epidural, but at 4 centimeters I felt like I needed to change that plan and go with a new plan.  I asked Kevin to ask the nurse for the epidural.  It was all downhill from there.  The epidural was administered, which I didn't really feel, and I was a happy camper almost instantly.  
Everything happened so fast the next few hours.  I slept on and off while Kevin watched college football. I was dilated 8 centimeters from 4 in just a short hour.  My family arrived and I was able to see my mom, dad, brother, and his girlfriend for a little bit.  The nurse had me on oxygen, which is pretty common with an epidural.  I was feeling the best I had felt in a few hours, but I didn't look it.  I could tell by looking at my family's faces that they were a little concerned about how I was doing.  We told them to go grab some dinner, it was still going to be a few hours until Luke made his arrival.  I was ready to push an hour later and Kevin and my nurse talked me through it.  I was worried with the epidural I wouldn't be able to feel to push, but happily I was able to push just fine.  The nurse and Kevin made me feel great about how I was doing and although I was a bit tired, I knew the end was just around the corner...and that meant meeting Luke.  Luke's heart rate was dropping while I was pushing, so they moved me onto my side and he seemed to do better.  At 10:39 p.m. we greeted Luke and unfortunately I can't put into words how I felt at that moment when I saw him for the first time.  I remember I kept saying 'baby, my baby'.  Our doctor put him on my chest and we did skin to skin for about 30 minutes and they cleaned Luke up right on me.  I don't remember him crying at all, but Kevin said he was wailing. The skin to skin was one of my most favorite memories from Luke's birth. After reading to him every night for the last 14 weeks of the pregnancy, Luke recognized Kevin's voice and looked his way to see Daddy when Kevin would talk to him. It was an amazing experience to witness how the beginning of our lives together was truly a continuation of the bonds that were created when he was in the womb. That sacred, special time when Kevin, Luke, and I were a family for the first time...it brings tears to my eyes as I write this.  After the 30 minutes, which seemed like 5, they took Luke to give him his first round of shots, and weigh and measure him. It was hard on Kevin seeing his baby boy get poked and prodded, he wanted to bring Luke back to Mom! While it seemed like forever for Kevin, before I knew it, he was back in my arms and Kevin went to tell my family and call his family.  They made their way in to meet Luke, but had to wait to hold him until we moved rooms;  I didn't want to let him go just yet.  I still couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that I was now a Mommy and Kevin was a Daddy, we had a son, we were a family.  Luke's birth was a defining moment in my life and one that I will forever remember and cherish.


A Weekend on the Farm

One of my very best friends came to visit this weekend.  I love her and have known her almost my entire life.  Anne and her boyfriend, Pete, came to visit us (and mostly Luke) on the Trail all the way from Chicago.  We visit one another about twice a year; they come to Omaha (now to Macedonia) once and we travel to Chicago once.  I always look forward to these visits, but this visit was quite different than past visits.  There were no nice dinners out, no quadricycle, no coffeehouses, no late nights, and the biggest difference...no city lights or noises.  We were on the Trail...the entire weekend.  It was so relaxing, refreshing, and fun!  We did all things 'farm'.  
The first night we visited Kevin's parents and later had a steak dinner with meat from down the road.  On Sunday, the boys brewed beer (weird) and did some target practice in the field.  Anne even joined in the fun and I believe she was the only one who knocked over a can...yea!  And if, on queue for Anne and Pete's visit, our furnace went out.  We were left to 'rough it' and use the wood burning stove to keep warm.  Our wood burning stove did the job and I believe our house was quite a bit warmer than it usually is with the fire roaring.  We made some homemade pretzels to go with some of Kevin's beer and the boys had a contest for the best pretzel.  I think it was a tie?  Their visit wrapped up with a visit to Macedonia.  Anne and I stayed home to cuddle with Luke while Kevin took Pete to the famous Quarry and 'Donia Bar.  The weekend went by so fast, but I enjoyed the time chatting and catching up with Anne.  Even though we are living in different places with different things going on in our lives, we can still talk like we haven't been apart...and I treasure that and our friendship so much.

pjs and cuddle time

target practice

anne and pete meeting luke

i don't know if the boys figured out the perfect technique to making pretzels...

luke wasn't too excited about this picture


1 month activities with Luke

It's hard to believe Luke is already a month old.  He has gotten so big this past month and can do so many things.  I always tell him to 'stay little', but he hasn't listened, yet.  I'm hoping he will listen to his Mommy better as he gets older....we'll see.  
I wanted to share some of the activities Luke and I do during his day.  I've compiled these from multiple sources and some just came up with on my own.  I'm hoping blogging about this will help me remember for my other children.  Some of you are thinking, he's only a month old, how much can he really do?  It's not so much as what he can do, but how I'm interacting with him during the day.  
The biggest thing I do with Luke is talk, sing, talk, talk, sing, and talk to him.  I fill his awake time with lots of language.  I try to tell him what I am doing all day long...i.e. 'Mommy's changing your clothes, out comes one leg, now the other' etc.  I don't use pronouns, instead 'Mommy', 'Daddy', 'Luke', so he gets to know who everyone is.  At this stage in his development he doesn't know who 'I' and 'you' are, so using our names will help him identify everyone.  During his awake time I will use an empty toilet paper roll to talk to him.  I put it up to his ear and say things like 'Mommy loves you.'  This is just a way to mix it up when it comes to language.  Kevin and I also read to him, even if he's not really 'tuned in' to the book.  We try and read the same books to him over and over again.  Kevin reads some of the same books he read to him when I was pregnant.  Kids love repetition and I think Luke finds some comfort in the words of some of our favorite books: Brown Bear  by Eric Carle, The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, etc.  He has heard these books dozens of times.  Brown Bear is a great book for babies because it has high contrast images.  I have been attempting to show Luke the pictures, but he isn't too interested, yet.
Luke is most alert in the morning and this is when I read to him and do some tracking and motor activities.  I use a rattle to work on his eye tracking.  I shake it on one side of his face and bring it across to the other side of his face.  This helps him learn how to track and focus on objects.  I have been doing this since he was a week old and he has gotten so much better at focusing these past few weeks. 
I also put Luke on his playmat and move his legs in a bicycle motion.  This will get him ready for crawling and walking, which hopefully he will not do anytime soon!  I want him to stay little!
The last thing I do is simply to hold and cuddle him.  Luke knowing he is safe and loved is the most important thing at this point in his development and it's pretty incredible for Mommy and Daddy, too!
Being at home with Luke is absolutely amazing and I am a blessed Mommy to be able to spend my day with him everyday!
our basket that stays in the living room

working on tracking


Photo(s) of the Day

Kevin and I debated newborn pictures the last few months of my pregnancy.  Should we get them taken?  Can we take them ourselves?  After much discussion, we decided to take them ourselves.  The great thing is we had plenty of opportunities to take them since he is ours. :)  We learned a lot about how to photograph Luke and I think our pictures got better as we had more practice.  The past two days I worked on taking his one month pictures and I love the ones I took yesterday.  I used a hat that I ordered from Etsy.  I originally wanted to use this hat for his newborn pictures, but it didn't get here until just two days ago (I ordered it before Luke was born).  Nonetheless, the hat finally made it to the Trail and I had fun taking some pictures with Luke sporting it.


1 Month

Our little Luke is 1 month old today.  It seems like he has been with us forever, and yet, it's only been one wee little month.  Luke has already amazed us by his little personality and all he can do.  Here is a list of Luke's memorable moments and amazing achievements during his first month of life.

Luke is already a foodie at his young age...he loves nothing more than to eat.  He might be a football player like his Daddy.
Luke has initiated both his Dad and I into parenthood by not getting everything into his diaper.  He seems to like surprising Dad more than me.
Luke has rolled over a few times during tummy time.  We know he isn't doing this on purpose, but it's still fun to watch how strong he is.
Luke loves to look at lights.  The Christmas lights we put up in the living room entertain him for hours minutes on end. 
Luke loves car rides just like every other one month old.  They put him right to sleep.
After much debate about a pacifier, we gave Luke one at 2 weeks.  He loves it, but finds it hard to keep in his mouth and needs Mom or Dad's hand to hold it in at times.
Luke loves to give Daddy kisses, especially when he's really hungry.
Luke is not a good burper.  It might take him 2 minutes or 20 minutes for him to get up a good burp.
Luke loves to listen to books.  It relaxes him so much, he usually is asleep within minutes.
Luke has grown to love his bath time after many not so fun baths the first few weeks.
Luke's favorite place to sleep is on Mom or Dad's chest.  He sleeps in his bassinet at night, but has a hard time sleeping anywhere but with Mom during the day.
Luke is a great snuggler and lover and Kevin and I couldn't ask for a more wonderful little baby.

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