christmas letter 2019


Oh, hey there! Yea, it’s been a while. #momlife.

Anyhow….. Merry Christmas! I love this time of the year because it allows us to reflect on all that has transpired during the course of just 365 days. The great and the terrible. The super fun and the…. “Oh please, I really don’t want anyone to be sick anymore, please God.” It also is a time of year that I think about YOU. So much time passes before our eyes and as busy as the holiday season can be, it is a time where I actually pause to remember. I take a deep breath, an even greater exhale, and thank God for your life. You are the good stuff, my friend. And I’m so glad we get to be a part, whether big or small, of sharing this life with you.

A lot has happened in the lives of the Butterfri in 2019. If you’d like to catch up with us, we’d love to share a bit of it with you!

Since I didn’t even bother to write a 2018 letter (because we had a newborn and were not sleeping, and were focusing on keeping our kids and ourselves afloat), guess what? We had a baby! Yea, September of last year. Which means this past September we celebrated Jake’s first birthday, which seems a little like a cruel time joke, but mostly delightful. This little guy of ours has had an eventful life, and he is a trooper through and through. He’s got a pretty mean poker face. If you get a smile out of him you’re basically the most hilarious person in the world; congratulations. We hit the ground running with him. Jude was sick majority of last winter, and when he wasn’t, Jake was. We fought ear infections, sleepless nights (how come the second child never sleeps, huh?), and viruses nearly every other week. In February, we were supposed to visit Houston, but the day before we should have flown out, I slipped on our stairs while holding Jake and we ended up in the ER that entire night. He fractured his femur from his knee absorbing the impact and it ricocheting through his leg (thankfully my reflexes kicked in a little and I shifted enough to protect his head). I was fine… physically. Had a huge bruise on my elbow but didn’t even feel it til the adrenaline slowed the next day. It was kind of terrible. Fought some major mom guilt, but God is good. We had friends texting and Marco Poloing me reminders of God’s goodness and protection. Reminding me that I’m a good mom and my kids are safe with me (when you’re interviewed by a psychiatrist and police officer at 2a in the ER you start to wonder if you are a completely terrible person; if you’re fit for raising kids). God used these people in my life to keep me from falling into deep shame. Jake had to wear a brace for about 3 weeks. God’s grace is that the fracture occurred right above the growth plate, so it healed incredibly fast, like nothing had even happened. The days following that event we all came down with bronchitis, including Jake, and we were basically begging God to make it all stop. It sucked, but we got to witness incredible generosity with Ryan’s coworkers immediately organizing a meal train to help us out while we were pathetically surviving. Sweet souls. In March, Jake had to have surgery for a preexisting complication. The surgery was minor and we were home by noon, but the idea of your 6 month old being under anesthesia is not my favorite life experience. It gave me a big heart for the mamas who have lived through many surgeries of their littles, and I often pray for them now. Such strong parents; such strong babes. Since then, Jake has not let us down with more excitement. We’ve had some eating issues, and texture is a really big hurdle for us. We went to a food therapist, and we’re working through touching foods without being totally repulsed, tasting foods, and even swallowing without gagging. I never would have thought this would be a struggle (didn’t even know food therapy existed until now), but we are making progress, and Jake is staying healthy as we navigate through it all.

I share these things to proclaim the incredible grace that God bestows on us to sustain us. There have been moments of this year that I have complained to God, “Why can’t SOMETHING be easy with this kid? Why is everything a fight?” He softly reminds me that 1) I’m being a tad dramatic, and 2) it’s a good and beautiful thing to need Him, and to need the people around us. There is no way we could have pulled through this year without the support of our families and friends. I say this a lot, but if you don’t have community around you, build it. Life is really hard. If it’s not for you, it will be at some point. It’s gonna happen. Don’t wait til it happens to find your people. If you don’t know where to find people, join a church (even if you aren’t a Christian). Find a church that invites you into their lives (if they don’t, I’m sorry…. find another one. Christians can be bad at this, too). It also kept me desperate enough to be constantly aware of my need for God’s grace. I have zero control over Jake’s (or anyone’s) life. I’ve never been more aware of that than in the moments when I was being interviewed for the doctors and officer to agree whether I was a safe place for my child, or when my baby was under anesthesia and I had to wait in a room on the other side of the ward. Realizing that my children’s lives are in the hands of their creator on a real life level has changed the way I pray for them, think about them, and treat them. They belong to him. And what a gift it is that I am entrusted with caring for their souls. If you’re in a scary place, throw your worries on the one who made life out of dust. He can handle it.


Ok, out of the sad/scary/sobering stuff. We really did have a lot of fun this year, too.

We had so many friends and family visit us in Colorado in 2019! During this time, I climbed the Incline for the first time, and have now scaled it 4 times (I’m one ahead of Ryan, nbd). We have loved getting to host friends and family, show them around our beautiful city, and maybe torture them a little with physical challenges (how can you visit CO and not see some gorgeous sites, though?). Hey, if you want to visit, just let us know. We’re all about it.


We also were able to visit some friends and family in Houston, my family in AR, and Jake and I took our first duo trip to Chicago in May. We met up with a few family members for my older brother’s diaconate ordination into the Eastern Orthodox church. It was such a rich couple of days celebrating with him and reconnecting with my family. We also celebrated my second oldest niece’s 13th birthday the same weekend, which was super fun!


I turned 30 in August, which is awesome because now real grown ups finally take me seriously (I know, I look 12, I get it). For my birthday, my dad came up to watch the boys, and Ryan and I did a 4 day road trip around our gorgeous state. One thing about having small children is that you can only drive so far before your kids melt down, so this was an amazing gift away. We hiked in Rocky Mtn National Park and in Black Canyon of the Gunnison, camped in the freezing cold in Estes Park and Grand Lake, visited some amazing spots in Boulder, stopped in the adorable town of Ouray to check out the hot springs (and a hot springs cave), went white water rafting for the first time, and topped it off with glamping. Guys, glamping lives up to the hype and is super worth it. Just do it; you won’t have any regrets. We made a big circle around Colorado and made the most of every single day. It is definitely one of the best vacations I’ve ever experienced.


sky pond – rocky mtn national park


black canyon of the gunnison

Jude started preschool in September. He came home the first day and spelled his name for me, which I hadn’t even thought to try with him, so it was pretty evident from the beginning that we made the right move. The kid thrives on structure, loves music, and most of all, PEOPLE. We call him a walking soundtrack because he makes noise from the moment he wakes til the moment he falls asleep, which you can imagine is real special for his introverted mother and father. His teacher is very musical and makes up songs for everything. He’s learning at an unbelievable speed, and navigating how to interact with other kids his age. The social and emotional skills we’re trying to teach at home are being reinforced at school (by someone who isn’t his mom and dad), so that’s incredible, too. We’ve been so happy with his school and it’s all pretty adorable (he has a Christmas production next week which may put me over the edge, y’all). Jude is all about dinosaurs and we both have more knowledge about dinosaurs than I ever cared to know. He is pretty obsessed with Frozen and tells me I look so beautiful like Elsa anytime I braid my hair. He’s the perfect combination of silly and sweet; we love watching him grow.


Ryan is still at Compassion International. His work has had some changes this year, but he’s still loving it. Mostly the people he works with. He’s made some of the best of friends in his workplace, which is a huge gift. We are very aware that is not the case for a lot of people, and we’re thankful for amazing work friends. Ryan turned 35 in September, and my younger brother flew in to surprise him. I also planned a surprise Hot Ones birthday party, which was a blast. I watched Ryan eat stupidly hot wings and try to answer questions about himself. It was fantastic. We really lived up our birthdays this year.


I’m still teaching fitness classes at VillaSport, and couldn’t have asked for a better place to teach. This year I’ve worked through three new certifications, and two CECs (re-upping existing certs). It’s been so busy and I may be a little bit out of my mind, but I just love it so much, I can’t stop myself. #someonehelp. #actuallydont. Shout out to Ryan who cheers me on and takes on extra load on the weekends I’m in training and the hours spent studying this year!

Wanna see me do 100 burpees? Watch below.

Oh, almost forgot about our house. Since our life is totally boring and we have nothing to do, we have continued to renovate our home. To our utter delight (sarcasm) our downstairs bathroom flooded with gray water over the summer. We had to move out because we just couldn’t handle the smell. We stayed at a generous friend’s house for 2 weeks, and then a hotel for another week while our bathroom was demoed and the gray water was neutralized. At least we got a remodel out of it? I got to design the bathroom from scratch, and it’s weirdly now my favorite space in the house aesthetically.

I think that’s enough excitement for one year. We’re already looking forward to 2020 with open eyes (pun) and arms, just hoping it holds a few less surprises for our family. But, like I said at the top, everything this year, the good and the bad, has kept us at the feet of our God. So, I would call that a successful year. ;)

As you walk, sprint, or stumble into 2020, shall we all take a moment to stop and savor His goodness? Pause, take in a big, refreshing breath, an even more healing exhale, and whisper a word of thanks; an acknowledgement of the power and peace that holds you so delicately whole. You are such a gift to our family. For many of you, we wish we were closer. For many, we wish we had more minutes in the day to spend with you. For all, we cherish the gift of your life and friendship, and we wish you the very best as you look expectantly forward to the new year. May you be blessed with keen awareness of God’s presence in your life and be filled with overflowing joy.

Much love to you and yours,
The Butterfrases
(Ryan, Tiffany, Jude, Jake)



christmas letter 2017


Dear family and friends,

Merry Christmas!

Quite some time has passed since we’ve had the joy of connecting with so many of you, and even more time has passed since I blogged regularly. *face palm* I’d love to pretend like I’m on top of things and promise that I’ll be more consistent, but the reality is that I have trouble being consistent with anything that isn’t life-pressing, so I apologize. I will say that since we bought a house, we’ve been taking lots of progress photos, so maybe some of the DIY action will make it up here over time.

We’ve had lots of changes and growth in 2017, and we’d love to share these joys with you as we reflect on this year!

Last January we celebrated #judebug’s first birthday! It’s funny how time works when you look back and feel like something was ages ago, and at the same time, just last week. I am so glad I did document Jude’s first year month by month, because it feels so hard to remember the in-the-moment details now. His second year of life has been so much fun and filled with so many milestones. He’s such a joy and hilarious (and sometimes a little stinker) and we are so blessed to be his parents! The day we moved to Colorado Jude decided he was finally ready to walk. What can we say, he has a pretty laid back personality and isn’t very internally motivated, haha. It was a sweet moment though, as we were starting a brand new season for our family, that Jude would take his first steps on his own in our new rent house. Since then we’ve watched him grow in every aspect, and his preferences and personality develop. He is SO very much into monster trucks, and could play with them, read books, and watch videos on trucks all day long. Which is mostly what our days consist of. We try to do lots of things throughout the day, like toddler time at our local library where we sing songs and read books, BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) which has an incredible children’s program and is where Jude officially stopped crying when I dropped him off anywhere, and our amazing gym where I teach classes, and also happens to have fantastic child care. Of course, we also make sure to squeeze in trips to our favorite store, Target, and look at all the new trucks they have.

DSC_0996Jude’s First Birthday

At the time of Jude’s birthday we knew Colorado was a possibility, but hadn’t made a concrete decision yet.  You may have read our letter about our move back in April. God made it evidently clear to us at that time, and so many times since then that this is where He wants us to be.
Ryan is working IT with Compassion International, and though challenging at times, has been one of the best work environments we’ve ever experienced. Everything is done excellently, and Ryan loves his boss and coworkers. It’s a gift to work in a place where you respect your people and they respect you, and that is exactly what CI is like.
Ryan has been completely immersed in house work since we bought our first home in October(!), and I feel kind of bad that all of our hobbies have gone out the window. But it’s a season, right? He’s done a stellar job researching and taking on majority of our home renovations himself. He single handedly removed a wall, ripped up all of the flooring in our house, and is now laying our new flooring room by room. We were sleeping in our living room for the first month of living here (hahahaaaa), but are now officially in our bedroom and no longer living out of a suitcase. Hallelujah!


I’ve been the primary painter of the house, and am pretty over it. I could win the slowest painter in the world award due to my perfectionism, but I just keep telling myself it will be over one day. Right?

In July I applied and auditioned for a Group Exercise Instructor position at an amazing gym here in the Springs. I’m now teaching primarily cycling classes with a little yoga and Athletic Conditioning (bootcamp/agility style) sprinkled in there. Just a few weekends ago I participated in my first LesMills training for a new program they’re launching in January. I’m super pumped to keep expanding my fitness knowledge and abilities while still maintaining a fantastic very-part-time-mostly-stay-at-home-mom schedule. This has been my favorite season of life maybe ever, and I am so thankful for God’s grace and gifts in our lives.

I didn’t officially start teaching until September, because Jude and I spent the entire month of August in Houston! Our best friends had a baby in July, and Ryan’s sister gave birth to hers in August… on my birthday! That’s two nieces now that have been born on my birthday. Shout out to the sisters. Thanks, y’all.
We had such an amazing time getting to know these new cutie faces and spending time with all our Houston friends. We unfortunately were there when Harvey hit (thankfully Ryan flew in a day before and was with us), and got stranded for a bit as our flight back was delayed a few times. However, we had the opportunity to volunteer and help the city we love so much. It’s such a sad thing to see the destruction and morn with those who lost so much of what they had. But it is also a joy to watch people come together and serve each other. Most families impacted are still trying to piece their lives back together. If you have a desire to give, I encourage you to reach out to a local organization and do so. I’ve even seen families “adopt” other families impacted by Harvey for Christmas. Let me know if you need any help with finding out what you can do, and I’d love to get you connected.

This summer was full of traveling for the bug and me. Before we went to Houston, we had the opportunity to go to AR in June and stay with my sister’s four youngest kids while she, our brother-in-law, and their oldest daughter went to Haiti with their church. They had an amazing, life-changing time, and I had a blast with the kids. We called it Camp Tia, and made the most of every single day. Laser tag, ropes course, water balloon fights, library events, trampoline park, roller skating, ice cream and more. A BLAST. My younger brother was able to join us for a few days too, which was even more fun!


This fall we had some visitors! Ryan’s parents flew in for a long weekend and treated us to a ride on the cog-rail up Pike’s Peak. It was freezing cold, but such a cool experience. (Yes, we did get the donuts.) Such a fun time having them in!


Seeing how this year was one for traveling, we road-tripped over Thanksgiving back to AR and enjoyed the holiday with the whole family together. This only happens once a year now, so we truly cherish these times when we all get to be there. My older brother and sister-in-law had their baby in April of this year, which made this trip especially sweet. The amount of joy when the cousins are all together and playing is almost more than I can handle. So sweet and so much fun!

Version 2

The day of and day after we rolled back into Colorado Springs, we moved into our new house. Yes, insane. We couldn’t have done it without our new friends who helped us move, and friends who watched Jude so many times so we could get things done. Community is such a gift. We found a church we can call home and dig roots into, and being here even in this at times overwhelming season just reminds us of God’s faithfulness to us, and His grace in providing rest in the midst of it all.

So, as we walk (read: sprint) toward Christmas, we pray that over you, our loved ones. That you would find rest in Christ regardless of what may surround you currently, and that peace would fill your hearts. That you would be flooded with memories of God’s goodness to you in 2017, and that you might be a reflection of that source of goodness to your immediate circle today and this coming year. And that you would reflect on the gift that is Christ, God with us, Immanuel. May the anticipation of this day make your heart burst with the anticipation of our King and Savior. He is good!

With love always,
The Butterfrases


making friends in our own image

During this process of trying to buy a house (by the way, we’re trying to buy a house) in this insane, super demanding market, I’ve been faced with and enlightened to a whole new sense of racism and socioeconomic biases.

Since before we moved to Colorado Springs, we had been warned of certain areas to stay away from, and ideal areas to live. Which kind of made me laugh because, 1) we’re from H-town, y’all, and 2) we’ve lived in our share of not so nice places both individually and together over the course of our lives. Now that we’re working toward a place to call long-term home, I’ve felt this strong internal pressure to buy the right house in the right neighborhood. Let me be clear, no one has explicitly judged us or anyone else… most of this has been a hard truth I’ve been dealing with inside of me. A “keeping up with the Joneses” syndrome we pretend is not there because we’re embarrassed by it, but also care a whole lot about whether our friends will want to visit us if we live in a neighborhood they don’t rank among top tier.

The reality is this: we live in fear of a lot of things, and we let that fear make way too many life-altering decisions. Surely, it is not a bad thing to desire to protect your family or put your kids in the best schools in town. It’s not a bad thing to not want to live in a home that has a 99% chance of being broken into within a week of living there. But I think we are hiding behind those worries and good, acceptable reasons to avoid the more difficult realities of our own prejudices. Because more than protecting our safety, it’s a protection of this sense of normalcy we’ve created for ourselves. More than a fear of harm, it’s a fear of losing our comfortable, predictable routines and being interrupted by someone else’s inconvenient needs, preferences, culture, way of living, and beliefs. More than giving our kids a decent education, it’s shielding them from other social statuses and potential friends that just don’t fit neatly into the circle we’re wanting to claim as our own. Furthermore, being safe in itself is not bad, but making decisions based solely on keeping ourselves safe is not Christianity. Jesus willingly placed himself in a position that made him extremely vulnerable, ultimately ended in his death, and even put his loved ones at risk of the same.

For about 2 years now God has been digging so much of my own prejudices out and showing them to me. It enrages me to witness Christians getting more upset about our national anthem than the injustice they’re kneeling for, yet I’m not enraged by my own conscious choice to look away while walking by a homeless person instead of making eye contact and engaging. In this house-buying process, I’ve been convicted and called out to surrender my living preferences and have been asking God to put us in a home that would better reflect his kingdom than Whole Foods. I want Jude to grow up around people who maybe look and speak and live differently than him, and grow up loving those things about them. I want to be excited about potentially having neighbors that aren’t just like me and maybe take effort on my part to get to know (I am naturally really bad at initiating friendship). I want our home to be a place people find rest and comfort and feel like it’s their home too.

Two weeks ago I changed my prayer from, “Prepare our future neighbors and give us a home that you know is best for us” to, “Put us in a home that would reflect your kingdom best, and give us open hearts to love the people we live next to. Give us hospitality, and transform our lives to value your people over our preferences. Give us strength to work hard at friendships when it’s not easy or convenient, and is taxing.” God may very well end up placing us in a neighborhood filled with people that are just like us and we click with, but I had to lay down that expectation and filter I was using to locate a house I thought we should have.

Where in your life do you have hidden prejudices that you disguise as good causes? I challenge you to dig into that and don’t simply write it off as reasonable. We all migrate toward what is most like us, cuz we all like ourselves the best. Let’s admit that and surrender it, and move toward something better and more beautiful.

take me to the mountains


Dear family and friends,

We have some exciting and really big news: we’re moving to Colorado! We are still processing everything and working through all the emotions of being completely ecstatic to live in such a beautiful place, while definitely tasting the bittersweet feelings of saying goodbye to our home in Houston and everyone we have had the gift of walking through life with thus far.

Here’s a little background of how everything unfolded:

Last November, Ryan decided to put some feelers out and apply to some positions at organizations we could stand behind and would be honored to work for. It’s always been a strong desire to work for companies we really believe in. He decided to send an application to Compassion International ( in Colorado Springs, because why not? We didn’t put much thought into it, and a few weeks went by over the Thanksgiving holiday. Mid-December, Ryan received a call from the HR department at CI, and he was pleasantly surprised at how well the conversation went! He felt like they really hit it off, and little did he know at the time this would be the first of many interviews.

Ryan walked through the interviews with Compassion International, including an in-person interview day where they flew him out so he could meet the team that he would potentially be working with. Overall it was an amazing experience and he really felt like he connected with everyone. At that time (beginning of January) Ryan could definitely see himself being a part of their IT team. They flew him back home and we had the week to process. We didn’t hear anything more for a couple of weeks until Ryan received a call from the HR rep that they wanted to send him an offer letter for the job!

Extreme excitement, as well as fear came over us. If Ryan accepted this position it would mean BIG changes for our family, but if he didn’t accept would we be missing out on a new adventure God has prepared for us? Much prayer went into the decision making, asking for clear vision from God. We believe that through His Word, Spirit, and circumstances he has spoken clearly to us and has told us to GO!

Ryan has officially accepted a Senior Level IT position at Compassion International. His start date is March 13th and he will be able to work from Houston until we move to Colorado Springs at the end of March.

Although we are so sad to leave our loved ones, we are confident that the Lord has paved the way for us in this opportunity, and are thrilled about that. Please join us in prayer as we enter this new adventure! We love and cherish each of you and are so thankful for the relationships we have built over time.

We plan to have a casual gathering to say, “see ya later!” before we leave. Stay on the lookout for a Facebook event; we’d love to see you!

Here’s to great adventures and new beginnings!

The Butterfrases


jude | month 9, 10, 11

It would be an understatement to say that I fell behind in Jude’s monthly posts. A bit reflective of what happened toward the end of my pregnancy posts… I’m seeing a trend. Around month 9 of pretty much anything I start to trail. Which is actually quite unfortunate because I feel like so much has happened over the past few months! I did manage to take photos and measurements from each month, so at least I didn’t drop the ball entirely. There is some hope for me.

Quick recap below:




The last 3 months have been so much fun and so busy! The holidays are no joke. I’m going to have to start prepping in August from here on out. Props to those of you with lots of kiddos.
Jude has been a blast, and it is so much fun to be his parents! He’s a definite mama’s boy, and has been extra clingy to me lately. I think most of it is teething because he has super fussy spouts, but I’m loving it nonetheless. He is moving constantly and always getting into everything. He’s also super independent (no idea where he gets that from) and wants to “walk” everywhere, holding onto our fingers or furniture or whatever else is around. He’ll also stand for a second on his own, until he realizes that he’s not holding onto anything and has a mini freak out for a split second and promptly sits down. His favorite snack is turkey and cheese, and peanut butter. The kid eats so much, and will literally keep eating until you stop handing him food. The other day he ate an entire grilled nuggets kids meal from Chick-Fil-A with an apple sauce pouch. Four nuggets and apple sauce, y’all. How?

Jude now also gives kisses by request, and they are super slobbery. It’s so adorable that I don’t even care.

And guys. Jude said his first word(s). And it’s not mama or dada. Nope, it’s the thing he loves maybe even more than us: night-night. Guess we could have seen that coming, haha. Now when we put him to bed and tell him goodnight, he says it back! Emphasis on the T.

We’re so looking forward to this Christmas… Jude’s first! We will be traveling to see my family and I can’t wait to celebrate with everyone.

Next up: ONE YEAR. I might cry a little. I want to freeze time, but I am also enjoying every second of this season. That’s why they call it bittersweet, I suppose.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hope you are able to enjoy some quality time with the people you love.

jude | 8 months


Well, I’m only 2 weeks behind, but here it is! We’re all in at 8 months old, and life seems to be moving faster every day!

Because we don’t have enough crazy in our lives, we decided to take a last minute road trip to Missouri over Labor Day weekend to see some family, and Jude got to meet his Uncle Gary and cousins for the first time! My sister and family were planning to come to Houston, but they are in the middle of moving, so plans got changed. We didn’t tell the kids we were coming, which was such a fun surprise! They were doing a yard sale the morning we arrived, and thought they had really early customers when we drove up. My 2 brothers and sister-in-law also drove from Kansas City, and surprised the kids about 10 mins before we got there. So much fun. The kids LOVE Jude, and I was pretty impressed the whole time with how helpful and attentive they were with him. I assumed they would be really interested for a few minutes and then go play, but they all (especially Belle) wanted to be right next to Jude at all times, playing, feeding, and helping change diapers. Pretty cute.




Though it was a short visit, we are glad we were able to make the trip. It will likely be the last time we’ll visit that house! It was also likely the last time we’ll get to eat ice cream from Spring Dipper, which is an ice cream shop a couple miles from their house. So, of course we had to go…. twice. Jude got a taste too, thanks to Uncle Gary.




Jude is still refusing to crawl, and we’re speculating that it comes with his laid back personality. He still sleeps like a champ with 3 naps a day and 11 hrs at night, and all my momma friends remind me of how lucky I am for that! I’m anticipating some lessons on laziness in the future, between his love for sleeping and how unmotivated he is to crawl to a toy out of reach. He will literally look at a toy, reach for it, think about it, and then turn to something closer so he doesn’t have to move. *oh boy* Nevertheless, I’m savoring these last few moments where he isn’t following me around everywhere and getting into everything.

Our bug has an ear for music, and is beginning to tap or kick to the beat. He also “sings” which is super cute because when he hears music he’ll make drawn out sounds in a high pitched voice. He’s also really into books, and has his favorites. Turning pages are of course, his fav. Oh, and he also catches and throws better than I do most days.

We are SO ready for the fall weather. It’s by far my favorite season, and I get so excited with the anticipation of all the holidays coming up. Bring on all things pumpkin and stroller jogs!

jude | 7 months

Jude - 7 Months (1)

We’ve had an exciting and increasingly active month! Such a fun age to be this kid’s parents, getting to raise him and watch him grow every day. He’s discovering new things daily, and it feels like we’re always seeing a new aspect of his personality come out as he reacts to his surroundings differently and more deliberately. He studies people and objects so intensely, and is starting to interact with humor (totally getting that some things are really funny!).

Jude is finally not hating tummy time now that he is figuring out that he can move himself around, as well as flip over to get out of tummy time whenever he wants. He isn’t crawling yet (still hasn’t realized that he can pull his knees under his body), but he moves himself in circles with his arms in order to grab whatever looks like it might be fun to stick in his mouth. He’ll stand for long periods of time with some balance support. He prefers using his hands to bring things to his mouth, so he doesn’t hold onto anything to help support himself, but we imagine that will be coming soon.

Whining doesn’t happen much, as Jude remembers after about 5 seconds that he can “talk” now, so he’ll stop complaining and spout out, “da da da da da da”. Everything is da da, except for when he makes smacking noises with his mouth and then puts sound to it, which comes out almost sounding like “ma ma”. He LOVES when “da da” comes home from work, and usually greets Ryan with squeals and screams, and lots of kicking. He also does this thing where he’ll try to not smile when you’re talking to him. Like he’s trying to keep a straight face and not let on to the fact that he’s enjoying your company, but his little smirk gives him away. Where in the world did he learn that from??


We are now doing solids (purees) twice a day after the two daytime feedings, and have tried several different foods. Jude absolutely hates greens unless I mix apples in with it. Who can blame him? His favorite is definitely apples, by themselves or with other foods. Probably the sweetest thing he’s ever tasted. I’m with you, Jude.

A sweet friend let us borrow their jumperoo, so Jude’s been getting some good exercise in! Good thing, too. Those chunky legs are just ridiculous. Ridiculously cute. He LOVES this thing, and loves it about 100x more when you’re watching him jump and applauding him. He also now expects to be cheered for when he flips over, and will look around for you and smile, like, “tada!” Everyone likes to be appreciated, right?

So yea, we’re still having fun with our little bug. So blessed that we get to do this parenting thing.

jude | 6 months

Jude - 6 Months copy

Whaaaaa….?? How can this be? Strange how time passes. In one way, it seems ages ago that I was pregnant, and at the same time it feels as if I blinked and have a smiley, avocado eating, drooly, upright sitting, into everything 6 month old. I’m simultaneously loving every second of watching Jude grow, and wanting my chubby baby to stop growing and stay small enough to cradle in my arms forever. It’s bittersweet, raising your child. Ryan and I are so proud of every little thing Jude does, still cheering like crazy people when he rolls over (we are reminded we’re crazy when he stares at us confused), and listening to our voices get higher and higher and faces goofier just to bring on a smile. I am still reminded daily: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”


It’s his half birthday today, and I am so thankful for this little gift entrusted to us. So beyond what I could have dreamed.

Jude’s personality is really developing, and we love who he is becoming! He’s sweet and silly, gentle and audacious, and very opinionated. We’re teaching him that we’re gentle with girls (mommy), and play hard with daddy. He still gives me the sweetest snuggles, especially when he’s tired. I’m hanging onto all of those moments. He loves grabbing Ryan’s face and pushing him away when he’s being tickled. Jude also has a block that plays music when you press the buttons on all the sides, and he’ll play it and rock back and forth while he listens. The cutest.

We recently returned from our first vacation with Jude, and it’s true that we need another vacation to recover from it. The time we spent in Florida was packed with so much fun! I was worried about Jude adjusting to being off schedule over a long period of time, but he did amazing. Because we are again, crazy, we road-tripped to Orlando and got to spend almost 5 days with my parents. Since Jude has had some anxiety with people he doesn’t see on a regular basis, we were praying that he’d be ok on the trip. To our relief and my parents’ joy, he LOVED Poppy and Gammy.


We even got to go to Disney World, and again, because we are crazy, did the park hopper and were there for 14 hrs, visiting 3 different parks. I was pumped because last year when we went (my first time ever) I was 8 weeks pregnant and couldn’t do anything. Not even the kiddy rides. So this time around we made up for it all and rode all the big roller coasters, finishing with Space Mountain at 1a. Told you we are crazy. On July 4th we headed to Disney Springs and got to watch the most amazing sunset, and then fireworks coming from the Disney parks across the lake.


Jude also tried his first solid food in Orlando: a banana. Not a huge fan of it, but we’ll keep trying. Since then he’s had some avocado, and he liked that much better.


After saying goodbye to Poppy and Gammy, we drove to Destin to meet Ryan’s family where they vacation every July. Jude was ok with the sand, but definitely did not like the waves. I think they scared him a bit, as they were loud and splashed his face. We got some good time in the sun, with breaks every couple of hours to cool down in the a/c.


It was a great trip, but we all (especially Jude) were very glad to be home and back to a normal schedule. I’m so thankful for a slow weekend!

Now, by popular demand, I will leave you with this: the man bun.


It’s tiny, but seriously? Hahaha, ok, I’m gonna go die because of how adorably hilarious by kid is now.

jude | 5 months

Jude - 5 Months copy

Our happy boy is 5 months! This month has been extra fun, as Jude is now interacting with us a ton, and has become so expressive. He thinks Ryan is just the funniest person ever, and it is super cute to watch them play together. Jude’s favorite games are peek-a-boo and patty cake. He’ll watch Ryan hide behind something and look around for him until he pops back out, squealing with excitement! Music is definitely a love, and he is captivated if you sing to him. He’s still mostly happy, unless of course, he’s not, thanks to teething. Still no visible teeth cutting, but we imagine they’ll be making an appearance soon. Drool everywhere and so much chomping on anything he can get ahold of. Jude really enjoys being naked, and his favorite time of the day is just after his bath when daddy lets him lay on his towel naked (risky business). Such a boy… he loves to be free. He’s also discovered a much louder voice, and thinks it’s the best to squeal and scream. That’s especially fun in a quiet waiting room or in line at the store. At least he’s happy, right?

Jude had his first swimming experience over Memorial Day weekend! We weren’t sure how he would do since the pool is much cooler than a bath, but he had a blast! He looked very comfortable in the water, and was kicking his feet and splashing with his hands almost the whole time. It was pretty adorable.


We recently got to hang out with my brother and sis-in-law, which was a fun surprise! The last time they saw Jude was back in February, so it was fun getting to catch up and for Jude to hang out with them again. We’ll probably be seeing Aunt Tina a lot this summer since she’s here for a while teaching at a summer camp!


In a few weeks, we’re headed to Orlando to visit my parents, and we’re all very excited! Vacation cannot come soon enough! Looking forward to all that the next month holds. We’ll probably have some photos of messy solid food adventures on the next update. And Sunday will be Ryan’s first Father’s Day! So looking forward to celebrating that day together.

jude | 4 months

Jude - 4 Months copy

Our boy is now 4 months old, and what an exciting month it has been for him! It’s amazing to look back at just last month and realize all of the ways Jude has grown. Even his personality has developed, which makes him seem even cuter if it were ever possible. Our little bug is definitely a mama’s boy. Ask me if I mind. He’s also a snuggler – if he’s in the mood – and will nuzzle himself in my arms and give me a look that amplifies how much trouble this headstrong mama is really in. Amazing how your own baby can melt even the most stubborn of us. It is such a gift from the Lord. If I were to ever question where I stand with God, all I have to do is remember how hardheaded and stiff I can be, and how quickly all of that can dissolve just by looking at Jude. If I, so flawed and in need of mercy can love like this, how much more does the perfect and infinitely pure God love us? His love truly has little to do with us, and much to do with His own character. So grateful for that.

Speaking of His love, let me tell you about how specific His love is for us. Sometimes I am just amazed that He cares about the little things that don’t even matter. It’s like He just enjoys whispering to us, “I see you” every once in a while. This winter, before Jude was born I did what every mom should not do and browsed online for baby clothes, just looking. I came across a cardigan from Old Navy that was just adorable (ps. best baby boy clothes, y’all… it’s hard to find boy clothes that don’t have cargo pockets these days!) but could not bring myself to spend $25 on an item of clothing that Jude would probably wear like 3 times. Cardigans for newborns are cute, but totally unpractical. They’re too puffy to put on before loading into a carseat, and babies really don’t need a heavy collar. They are so little! I passed up a ton of clothes, and literally only bought one thing for Jude, which was the outfit he went home in and I took photos of him wearing (I also used a coupon for it and got it 30% off… I’m cheap). God blessed us with friends who had babies a year before Jude was born, and were so generous to pass those clothes down. I recently went to Old Navy looking for shorts, which has been a lot harder than I feel like it should be. Lo and behold, there was the cardigan, in 12-18month size! In case you haven’t put it together, that’s the size Jude will be in this winter. I snatched it up and brought it to the cash register. 97 cents, y’all! Literally said, “Are you kidding me? Thank you, Jesus.” Call it good luck or good clearance digging, but I saw that moment as the Lord telling me, “I see you.” I chose to be responsible with what we have been given, and Jesus chose to gift me with His thoughtfulness. Had I bought the cardigan to begin with, I would not have died from spending $25 I didn’t need to spend, but I would have missed out on the intimacy of Christ speaking to me and showing me that He cares. Even about the little things.


Jude is sticking to that 50th percentile, and growing at a great pace! We’re still enjoying his chunky legs and squishy cheeks. He just recently decided to flip over. He really dislikes tummy time, and although we have been doing tummy time with him daily, it lasts about 3 minutes before he face plants in defeat and loses it. However, I think he’s holding out long enough now to realize that he can control his arms under him and flip himself over. Hooray!

Jude also is ticklish under his arms and on his feet, and that’s super cute. He’s gained good control of his arms and legs, and is starting the hair grabbing phase. He also grabs the curtains hanging on the window when we change his diaper. Yayyy. He’s a fan of books, and enjoys clawing at the pages. Above all, Jude loves sitting and “standing” up because he can see everything! His exersaucer is his absolute fav, and also mom & dad’s fav because we can cook or clean while he hangs out and watches! We still have a great sleeper, and Jude is definitely the best sleeper in this family! How amazing would it be to sleep almost 11hrs every night? Baby life is nice.

This Mother’s Day was my first, and it was really fun celebrating with Ryan and Jude. Last Mother’s Day we had just found out that we were pregnant with Jude, and this Mother’s Day we got to celebrate with him! So thankful for this baby who made me a mom, and so thankful for his daddy! Ryan did some incredible cooking and baking for this day. I am a lucky woman, being married to a man who loves to cook! It is so fun being a parent with him. Hashtag blessed.

Praying that you discover the intimacy of God this week, and that you cherish those sweet moments where He whispers to you. You are so loved!