EMK | Five Months

Our baby E is five months…almost half a year old! Time is flying as it normally does. I want to slow it down and savor these precious moments with E, but I am also excited to continue to watch him develop and grow.

Five month photo shoot, take one:


E is working on sitting.


E really likes his feet.


MK ends photo session by capturing my favorite photo of all time.

This isn’t a doctor visit month, so no weight or height stats. But a few days past five months, and we discovered E’s first tooth at 4:00 AM. He’s been extremely drooly, trying to shove anything and everything into his mouth, and not sleeping well, so we knew a tooth probably wasn’t too far off.

Ellis is also smoothly rolling from his belly to his back. We are starting to work on sitting. As with previous posts, he continues to be such a happy baby. His smiles warm every single part of my cold and hardened heart. We love this little man and are thankful for our family of four.

Five month photo session, take two:





Such a noticeable difference in just one month!

We love you, E!

NRK | First Grade

Dear Norah,

I hope to read this note to you tomorrow, but I hope you are able to read this note many years from now on your own. I am so very proud of you.

You started first grade in August. I’ll have to admit, I was apprehensive for you to start first grade. Maybe even more nervous than when you started kindergarten! I loved your kindergarten teacher, Mrs. S. She was kind, communicative, and would give you extra assignments or more challenging books based on that smart brain of yours – she went above and beyond and I’m thankful she was your first elementary teacher.

I didn’t think another teacher could live up to such a high standard set by Mrs. S. But you started 1st grade anyway. Other than a happy note home, we hadn’t really heard anything from your teacher, Mrs. C. Papa said, “No news is probably good news”. I agreed but was still curious to hear how things were going from your teacher’s perspective.

Last night we had our first parent/teacher conference of the school year. Your music teacher saw us walk into the building. She greeted us warmly and walked us to your classroom. Once in the classroom she proceeded to tell us how creative you are and a joy to have in class. She took delight in telling us about the songs you have thought out and put together on your own with full verses and choruses and the way you enjoy dancing. The word diva may have come up, and a comment that theatre might just be for you. I was not anticipating that feedback, and here is a note to self to research musical/theatrical outlets for you!

We then met with Mrs. C. She went over all the subjects you are currently studying: math (sequencing objects, number line, counting by 5’s, counting by 2’s, and tallying), social studies (following rules), language arts (creative writing, spelling, and reading). Nor, you are aceing all of these!

Mrs. C informed us you’re in one of the highest reading groups, you’ve hit the sight words for this quarter (if we want to do things at home, she encouraged us to move on to the next set), you understand and excel at math, and it’s clear you enjoy writing as noted by the stories that fill both the front AND back of your worksheets.


Papa almost cried happy tears reading your fishing story.

I’m so proud Norah – proud you enjoy learning, proud you are learning the knowledge and skills that will be with you the rest of your life, proud that this is the first step in your education…Oh, the places I know you will go! While all of this makes me proud, there is something else, if you can imagine it, that makes me even more proud. And no, I’m not done using the word proud.

Papa has a question he likes to ask your teachers – “What role or part does Norah hold in the classroom or among her peers?”

Mrs. C was quick to respond. She called you a leader; someone who is inclusive and makes sure no one is left out. She also called you a peacemaker. Nor! Do you know how amazing that is? In a world often full of hate you are choosing love and inclusion. Now THAT, that makes me more proud than any A or 100% percent on an assignment ever could!

I love you, Nor. I’m not always the best mom. I can be quick to anger when stressed or tired, and I often demand a lot from you. But I hope that never makes you doubt how blessed I feel to be in this life with you as your mama. You are a joy and are making this world better even at the age of six! I can’t wait to see all the other beautiful changes you will bring to this world as you grow.



P.S. In other news, your Papa yanked out your top right tooth tonight making the total count — three missing teeth! You’ve lost all three in the last month! You’re ready for UNO Hockey season! GO MAVS!


EMK | Four Months

E hit four months yesterday! That’s 1/3 of a year, but I’m not keeping track.

Ellis rode his first plane this past month to visit Grandma & Grandpa Kole in Colorado. He did great! We also had a five hour drive from Denver to Grand Junction. While there were certain points that were stressful, I counted my blessings many times during that trip. We have two kids that adapt well and are extremely flexible. 

Today we took him to our family doctor for his four month appointment. If I had a dollar for every time the nurse said “he’s a big boy” I would have made the same amount of money I made working today. Ridiculous.

While he is a good and healthy sized boy, he remains calm, happy, and just an enjoyable babe to be around. Now his stats!

Weight: 16 lbs (75th % – so he’s actually starting to even out. Take that nurse!)

Length: 27.5 inches (over 99th %)

Head circumference: 18.5 inches (over 99%, obviously to house his big and smart brain)

Likes: Being outside, mornings, standing (supported, obviously), smiling, cooing, mimicking sounds, sister NRK, parents speaking in British accents

Dislikes: Papa sneezing, mama talking while nursing, shots, mama/papa picking out boogies, itchy head eczema (doctor is happy with our at-home aquaphor treatmeant and it seems to be clearing up a bit)

Current activities: Sleeping 3-4 hour chunks at night, smiling, cooing, laughing, looking out the car windows while driving, holding head up like even more of a champ, riding in the carrier facing out, drooling, discovering his feet, hanging on to toys and putting them in his mouth, watching the cats, and new this past month – rolling onto stomach (all the time).  

Three Months & One Less Tooth

Marshall went back to work Monday, EMK started daycare, and Nor went back to her before and after school program. I had work events both Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The week seemed to pass slowly, but we all had a good week adjusting to a new routine. The center E is at is truly wonderful. They utilize an app to keep in touch with parents and to track E’s activities throughout the day. They take pictures at least once a day. I love getting the photo notifications on my phone; it helps to break up the time away from him while I’m at work. The staff have been receptive to how we want E to be cared for, and it seems they are really enjoying having him there in the infant room. I feel blessed (and privileged) to have E at such a great place with loving people.

In the last month, Ellis continues to be a calm and chill babe.  He is “talking” more and is really developing the muscles in his neck and legs.  Yesterday he rolled over for the first time! One of the biggest changes (or most appreciated changes) – longer stretches of sleep!  The last few nights he has only woken up once or twice to nurse. I’ve been very grateful for the sleep, and we are all feeling rested during a period of change. Another blessing to be thankful for!

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Happy three months to Baby E.


Weight: 16 lbs
Length: 25.5 inches
New skill: rolling over!
Likes: Being outside, mornings, standing, smiling/talking, walking (reminder to take a video as it makes me laugh every time), sucking on thumb/hands, raspberries
Dislikes: wet diapers, hunger, and sleepiness
Current activities: rolling side to side, finding feet/toes with hands, smiling, “talking”

In other news, our family has one less tooth.  Yes, NRK lost her FIRST tooth! It had been hanging there for a while, and one night, she finally decided she had enough (with the encouragement of her papa). A few tugs with some string, and it was out. We don’t practice the imaginary tooth fairy, but we did leave five dollars under her pillow with a coupon to her favorite restaurant Raising Cane’s. NRK was pretty excited about that. Coincidentally, she had a dentist appointment yesterday and all looks great. The dentist believes the next three teeth or so in front are loose and will probably fall out all around the same time.  That’ll make for some great photo sessions, I’m sure!  We love you, Norah.


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?

This very sweet gift was sent to us in the mail by one of our good friends. We loved the bear and obviously had to take a couple photos of E with it.  Thank you, Lauren!



For the Grandparents | First Grade


When asked what NRK did on her first day of school, she responded, “We just talked about rules.” But hey, they had Pizza Hut pizza for lunch, so it couldn’t have been too bad of a day.

EMK | Two Months

Happy two months, EMK!

We had one bout of extreme fussiness this past month. It lasted for about six days, and honestly, could have been so much worse. It could have been related to traveling, diet, or just a phase. Whatever it is, it has seemed to pass, and we are very thankful for that! Ellis is still a chill and content little babe. We all are enjoying his new skill of smiling!

Weight: 14 lbs 10oz (~2 lbs 10 oz increase in the last month)
Length: 25 inches (~2″ increase in the last month)
Head circumference: 16.75 inches (~1″ increase in the last month)
All stats put him in the 95 percentile or higher.
Likes: Being outside, mornings, standing (supported, obviously), smiling/talking
Dislikes: Pooping, the right side of his head (hello, flat head), loud/surprising noises
Current activities: Eating, peeing, (working on) pooping (more often), sleeping, smiling, cooing, and we think laughing isn’t too far off.







A Special One

I have the habit of checking my phone when Ellis wakes up to nurse in the night. I hit the home button this morning to light the screen and all I saw at first glance was that I had gotten a text from my dad. It was 3:30 in the morning. My heart sank. My dad never texts that late (or early, depending on how you look at it). Just on Saturday, I had received a text from him letting me know my grandma, his mom, was not doing well. She was hallucinating, seeing letters, and unable to converse. I knew this text wasn’t a good one.

My grandma passed away this morning. While my grandma was approaching 99 years old this fall, I’m still a little numb. This post is for me to begin moving beyond the initial shock of her death.

I know her faith in God was strong. I don’t remember ever really talking in depth about God or our beliefs, but His love was in her words and presence.

I’m sure the majority of people think they have the best grandparent(s). They’re wrong. My Grandma Wiley is in a category all her own. She made me feel like I was her favorite grandchild, always. Now that I’m older, I’m fairly convinced she made each of us grandkids feel that way, but I’ll always cherish how special she made me feel.

I never, ever felt judged or looked down upon by my grandmother. I’m not sure what she thought when she saw my first piercing, my first visible tattoo, or the years I struggled with depression/anxiety/disordered eating, but she didn’t let those thoughts (if negative or opposing) dictate her words or how she treated me. She always greeted me with love, affection, and acceptance. I knew she thought I was smart, and I never doubted her love for me.

I have many memories with her. My grandfather, her husband, and my grandparents on my mom’s side all died when I was still fairly young. I am thankful for all the years I was able to spend with her – all the opportunities to really know her. I’m thankful for the visits Norah had with her. I hope Norah always remembers how happy those electric wheelchair rides made both of them. I’m sad my grandma wasn’t able to meet Ellis. He’s such a bundle of joy; I’m sad she couldn’t share in that joy before passing.

Years ago (I’ve lost count), I gave her a metal token, about the size and shape of a quarter. Right now, no matter how hard I try, I can’t remember what it said. But every time I saw her after I gave it to her, she would pull it out of her pocket and say something to the extent of, “I keep it with me always.” I can’t help but wonder if it was with or near her this morning.

As time passes, I know memories with her will pop up here and there. There are many photos of her at my parent’s house; I wish I had them now. Some memories stand out in this moment, many having to do with the farm where her and my grandfather used to live:

  • Me, so very small, standing next to her at the kitchen counter. She used a roll of tape to clean all the cat hair off of my blanket. Her cat, Buffy, and I were best friends during that visit.
  • Her homemade applesauce! I don’t know what she did to it, but I’ve always thought it was de-lish.
  • Rides on the wooden swing under the big tree next to their house.
  • Walks down to the pond.
  • Christmas family gatherings.
  • The outdoor kittens she would let me chase and play with.
  • Her handing me a fly swatter so I could kill all the flies on the red deck.
  • Her hugs. They weren’t reserved or weak. You could feel her love. And always accompanied by a kiss on the cheek.
  • The blankets she would crochet for her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids.
  • Me avoiding at all costs to go down into the scary farmhouse basement with her. Turns out my fears were rational. If I remember correctly, it took three men to carry out a snake they had discovered while preparing the farm for auction. BLEH!
  • My wedding day. I prayed many times that she would be alive and present for my wedding day.
  • Meeting Norah Ruth. After my wedding day, my prayers shifted to her being alive and present for meeting my kid(s). Norah’s middle name comes from her and Marshall’s grandmother.
  • Her being strong, even through the tears, when they had to sell the farm and move to an assisted-living facility.
  • Her handwriting. Loved seeing it on an envelope in the mail.

Grandma Wiley, I love you. I hope you know I meant that every single time I said it to you. You brought more of God to this place and touched many people with your love and sincere kindness. I won’t pretend to know what Heaven is like, but I hope you are there now. I will miss you.


Mothers' Day Tribute

Christmas in Iowa


Officially Official

Great Grandma Kole makes the best quilts. Period. End of story. When we were married, she made us a quilt for our bed. She does this for all of her kids and grandchildren. When we realized we may never own a home, we asked for our “K” wall hanging, stockings, and tree skirt. She makes these for all the family members when they move into their first home. When Norah was born, she made a baby quilt for her in the same colors as our marriage quilt. She makes baby quilts for all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Today, Ellis received his quilt (and stocking!). He’s now, and only now, officially a part of the family.

We had a wonderful visit with Great Aunt Rochelle and Great Grandma Kole.


Great Aunt Rochelle enjoying every snuggle.


Great Grandma Kole holding E for the first time.



It’s so wonderful to live close to family again.

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NRK showing off her reading skills.


Ellis on his new quilt.

Thank you for coming to visit. We hope to see you both again very soon.

Brother and Sister

One of our friends had mentioned wanting to see a photo of Norah at the same age as Ellis to see how closely they resemble each other. I happened to find photos of them pursing their lips in the same way. As you can see, NRK was our bald ginger baby. Ellis is a little more me. He did have way more hair, but a large portion of it is falling out. But really, I just see two adorable Kole babies. The differences I see now are more so in their personalities. Norah is a feeler of feelings. While she was a good baby, Norah had such strong feelings even as an infant/baby. No idea where she gets that from (sarcasm). Ellis at this point appears to be more calm and even-keeled like his papa.

Love these kids and am thankful for our family of four.


NRK | One Month


EMK | One Month



Sister & Brother

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