Luke’s 2nd Birthday Party

In my two short years of having children, I’ve already developed a love/hate relationship with birthday parties. On the one hand, I wouldn’t trade celebrating the milestone of another year: taking pictures, making memories, eating good food and cake amidst precious themed decor, blah, blah, blah. On the other hand, though, I would trade the extra expense, time, and stress that go into pulling together a child’s birthday party at my own house. I do it to myself though, y’all. I mean I should have done what any sane mother of two under two would do: buy a pack of Lightning McQueen plates, cups, & hats, and call it a day. That would have certainly made the Mr. Boy happy. BUT NOOO! I have to go all pinterest crazy and fly into a complete creative-juices-flowing-crafting- frenzy that I truly do not have the time or energy for. It’s the over-achiever in me, I tell ya. That cursed over-achiever that insisted I make all A’s and now insists that I keep my house spotless. I keep saying, “Next year I’m going simple. Family party and cake only.” Christy told me she’ll believe it when she sees it.
SONY DSCThat said, I am so pleased with how Luke’s “HONK, HONK! BEEP, BEEP!” vehicles party turned out. We had the party a little over a week before his actual day, and the sweetest group of “little friends” and family came for an evening cookout to celebrate the birthday boy. Most importantly, Luke had an absolute ball. Last year he was kind of clueless, but this year, he knew it was his party. And he ate. it. up. Just watching him enjoy it made my effort worth it.

{He was so excited that he even posed for a little pre-party photo shoot in his very own red car on his very own road. Shocker. He is never this cooperative.}

{Note the paparazzi in the reflection!}
SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCHe looks like such a big boy in this picture below. I can hardly stand it.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCThere aren’t enough words to thank “Aunt Chritty” for all her help in pulling this party off. {No, I didn’t misspell her name. . . we actually call her “Chritty.” }. She came a day early and helped me deliberate over how to arrange the table, duct tape trash bags to the front porch, make cars out of fruit, clean the house, and a million other things. She even made the most ADORABLE cookies you have ever seen to give as favors. A truer friend is hard to find, and I’m so thankful that we still live close enough to see each other fairly often.


All the paper items for the party were orderd off Etsy. As much as I would like to take credit, no, I did not design them.SONY DSC SONY DSC Pretzel sticks also made by Christy. SONY DSC The fruit cars were a big hit with the kids. Of course, the idea came from Pinterest. Is anything original anymore? I guess I can take credit for my trashbag road. All me. 🙂SONY DSC SONY DSCAdam smoked a Boston butt, and he outdid himself.  I must say, it was fine. Ask anyone.


The cookie favors. CT should start a business. Seriously.SONY DSCSONY DSC Not bad for a $19 Kroger cake. I was a tad worried, but they came through!SONY DSCL was a little shy when everyone started singing to him. . .

photo (5)but he warmed up quickly and by the end of song said, “YAY!!!” while clapping his little hands.
photo (6)

SONY DSC SONY DSCThe weather was unbelievably cool for an August evening, and the kids had a blast playing outside on all their riding vehicles.

IMG_6544 (1) {Luke was immediately enthralled with his new Richard Scarry book: Cars and Trucks and Things that Go.}IMG_0052

Our sweet neighbors even brought over this awesome little roller coaster. It was a hit. So much so that the youngest ones {including Luke} had a few meltdowns about having to wait their turn.
SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCAll in all, it was a great night. Everyone stayed and visited for a while, and we just savored that two-year-old birthday sugar high happiness that resonated through our house. Our little Luke is so full of life and enthusiasm, and I still find it hard to believe that it was two whole years ago when he joined our family. He has changed so much and brought us so much joy. But that sappiness is for another post, maybe on his actual day. I’m thrilled we had such a fun, successful party. And now this tired mama is even more thrilled that it’s over! 🙂

2 Months of JW


Dear John Wicks, 

You are two months old and the sweetest little pumpkin. I’m not just being a biased mom when I say you are such a good baby—so chill, so go-with-the-flow. Most of the time you have a serious, pensive look about you, but lately you’ve started smiling and cooing at us when we get close and talk to you. You know when someone is flirting with you, and you really love the attention. You’re not generally fussy, but if something IS wrong, you let us know loud and clear. You’ve got some pipes. You’ve found your hands and already love to put them in your mouth. 


You are our BIG, strong boy. From day one, you’ve been a good, efficient eater and have had no problems nursing. I’m anxious to see what you weigh at your 2 month appointment. You were a little smaller than your brother at birth but are definitely bigger than he was at this age. You’ve almost outgrown size 3 month clothes, and you’ve already moved to size 2 diapers. You’re holding your head up well and pushing up on your arms during tummy time. 

DSC05926You’re eating 7 times a day, and you’ve settled into a nice eat-wake-sleep routine. You are a GREAT sleeper, praise the Lord. I typically feed you around 10:30 or 11 p.m. before I go to bed, and you’ve been sleeping until 6 a.m. After your 6 a.m. feeding, I put you back to sleep and you usually wake up between 8 and 9 for the start of your day. Most days, you go down for your naps without a fuss, which is surprisingly wonderful. {Big brother didn’t nap well until about 6 months.} Usually you are awake and swaddled when I put you down. You seem to be doing a good job learning to fall asleep on your own {well, most days at least}. I’m thankful that you are an easy baby because big brother is starting to give me a run for my money as he approaches two years old! 🙂


Speaking of Luke, he adores you. He loves to tell you good morning and give you love. He loves to get right in your face and yell “BUBBA!!!!!!” at the top of his lungs. He always wants to be as close to you as possible, and I often have to be your bodyguard because he doesn’t realize that pressing as hard as he can on your chest or stomach could be detrimental. He always seems genuinely excited to see you, though, and it makes my heart thankful and glad. When his loud presence is near, you usually have a wide-eyed look that seems to say “HELP ME, MOM!” 🙂 Soon enough, y’all will have lots of fun adventures together. 

DSC05928You already have a plethora of nicknames: Wicks, John Wicksie, Wixel Pixel, Wix Stix, J-dub, the Dub, Chub-a-dub, Bubba. One night while you were nursing, Adam leaned over in bed, looked down and your cute little chunky legs, and said, “I think this is gonna be our little short-stack!” And I died laughing. Because for some reason, I found this absolutely hysterical. Your dad says the funniest things sometimes.

We are so thankful for you, our precious little second blessing. You mean the world to us. Happy 2 months! 

1 Month of John Wicks

It took us less than a month to fall in love with those sweet duck lips.

{Well, really the baby boy with the sweet duck lips}. DSC05821They say the days are long and the years are short, but right now the days feel short to me too. I guess it’s because I’m busy. You might think that at some point I would stop being surprised at the swift passing of time, but it always seems to get me. I’ll blink and be writing in his 12 month post, “Where did this year go?” Life is a vapor.
DSC05828 So, I’m trying to savor every part of this beginning. Yes, even the up-in-the-night, crazy postpartum emotions, and the inability to button my white skinny jeans yet. Because I’m not promised the opportunity to do this season again. And the moments of nursing my sweet newborn in the wee hours of a still and dark morning are truly precious and fleeting {even when my head is nodding}. He won’t need me in this way for very long. With each new day he creeps closer to independence. DSC05834John Wicks is a sweet little man. Bless it. He has to just go with the flow, and he’s doing pretty well. He gets fussy when he’s tired, gassy, or has a poopy diaper, but other than that, he is content. We’re starting to move into a {laid back} routine of feed-time, wake-time, sleep-time. I like routine…it helps us organize our days and helps me know what his needs are when he cries. Also, I’m a believer in {less rigid} Baby Wise methods because Mr. Boy is my sleeping champion. Hoping JW follows in his footsteps. He’s doing some 5 to 6 hour stretches between feedings at night, so maybe he’s on the right track! 🙂
DSC05838We had to force Luke to have “tummy time,” but Wicks LOVES being on his tummy. It calms him when he’s fussy, and I’ve been letting him nap on his side and tummy during the day (with the monitor on). At night we swaddle him, and he sleeps on his back. The little man is already strong and pushes up with his arms (when on tummy), trying to hold his head up. His diaper rash has finally gotten a little better. We had to give him a lot of open air time to make sure his little bottom was very dry. After many diaper changes, I put him on his tummy and used my blow dryer on a low setting to get him dry (ped’s recommendation). He loves the warm air! DSC05839JW has grown and filled out so much. I feel like he may be chunkier than his brother was at this age, and I just adore those little thigh rolls! He has done really well with nursing. I haven’t introduced a bottle yet, but I want to soon so that I can pump and leave him for longer periods, during church, etc.

Luke really adores his little brother. He constantly wants to be in his face (or on top of him) loving him. When he hears JW start fussing in another part of the house, he’ll say, “UH OH!” I’ll say, “What is it?” and he’ll respond, “Bubba!” as if to let me know he’s crying. Sometimes he’ll try to stick the paci in JW’s mouth. There is not much sweeter than watching your first love on your second.

We’re all thankful for a sweet first month with our little baby Wicks, and we pray for many more!

Life with 2

Several people have asked me how life is with twoRight now, life with two is busy. There aren’t enough hours in the day or enough hands to change diapers and pick up clothes and read stories. Sometimes they both need something at the same time, and what do I do? But I’ve almost made it a week without help (mom), so there is hope that I can really do this.

Now is that small window of time when both boys are sleeping, and I should be sleeping myself or at least folding the growing mountain of clean laundry on the guest bed. But it’s my only time to write, and if I don’t write I’ll forget. It amazes me how quickly I forget. I’ve been thankful that I recorded what was happening with Luke at this age so that I can go back and read for reference.

IMG_5206 Our little John Wicks is a sweet fella. He’s content a lot of the time. He endures his older brother rocking him violently in his swing, getting all up in his space to give “love,” and hitting “patting” him on the head. He loves his bath. If I make an effort to keep him awake for some periods during the day, he’ll sleep well at night between feedings and changes. He loves to be held and loves to be on his tummy (unlike big brother). IMG_5207 The biggest challenge right now is constant pooping and horrible diaper rash. We’re talking {approximately} 15 dirty diapers in a 24 hour period. It’s like it never stops, so the rash won’t heal. Bless him.  I know this is just part of it when nursing a newborn, but I don’t remember it being this constant with L, and he never had a diaper rash as a newborn. I spend a large portion of my day changing diapers and trying to treat this rash (cleaning it, drying it, applying special mixtures of diaper cream, etc) all while trying to keep JW from peeing all over everything during the long process that is a diaper change. Not gonna lie, the poop is about to wear me down. But my mantra remains, “this too shall pass.” And it will. IMG_5248Children bring about a constant swing of different feelings and emotions in a mama. There is excitement and thanksgiving over physical growth and development, yet sorrow over the swiftly moving seasons of infancy and childhood. There is joy because of an expanding vocabulary and increasing independence, yet sorrow over an obviously sinful defiance and selfish will (that we all have apart from Jesus). There is seemingly endless energy to press on, yet never ending exhaustion. There is a desire to meet everyone else’s needs, and a desire to sit down and be taken care of, even if just for a day. There are moments of feeling surrounded and moments of feeling so alone. IMG_5255 I recently read an article in which the author articulated this constant juxtaposition of emotions so beautifully: I am out of my mind and in my calling and desperate for five minutes alone and a lifetime together. 
IMG_5258This resonated with me. There are days (moments) when it’s hard, and I just want to crawl under the covers and go to sleep. But there is nothing I’d rather do.

IMG_20130608_182214Mr. Boy keeps us laughing. He is talking and clearly communicating with us more each day. I’m amazed at all the words he is saying all of a sudden. He tries to say his brother’s name. Sometimes he says “Don Wi” (John Wicks) and other times “Wiiiitz” (Wicks). He is country as they come. After we say the blessing he shouts, “AMAIN” He is active and into everything, but he’s a sweet thing too. He still lets me rock and snuggle with him some nights, and he loves to rock and read. He loves his baby brother.

IMG_20130608_181857So, life with two is busy and exhausting, and sometimes I feel like I’m losing my sanity along with my sleep. At the same time, though, I’m overwhelmed with joy and thanksgiving. I thank God for these little lives and feel so privileged to get to be with them day in and day out, caring for their needs and shepherding their little hearts. May God sustain me and give me grace to be faithful in this calling.

First Week Snapshots

Our first week home with little Wicks has been busy, busy! I haven’t been good about pulling out the “real” camera, but of course I’ve taken quite a few pictures on my phone to document our first days as a family of four.

L loves to “give love” to his little brother. It’s the sweetest thing, although, we’re trying to work on loving gently. He doesn’t quite realize that throwing his whole body on top of  a 7lb newborn is not a good idea. 😉


First night home. IMG_5020

Aunt “Nee-Nee” love.

Chillin’. . .IMG_5032Interested. . .


Bright-eyed boy.

IMG_5062Milk drunk.

IMG_5057First bath.


Porch sittin’ in pjs. IMG_5066

Holding baby brother with the ever present thumb-in-mouth.

IMG_5063Trying to learn how to rock “gently.”

IMG_5069Sweet lips. . . looking so much like big brother.

IMG_5079“Hey, there!”


Sweet love. IMG_5099We’re all thankful for JJ!
IMG_5102 Size perspective {all these pictures make JW look bigger than he really is}.IMG_5105 IMG_5118The work load is heavier with two, but overall the first week home has been relatively smooth. Nursing has been so much easier this time than it was in the beginning with L. Maybe because I’m more comfortable and confident. Maybe because JW is better at latching. Maybe both. John Wicks is eating well and peeing and pooping A LOT {he likes to spray everyone and everything in the middle of diaper changes}. He detests having his diaper changed. He’s been pretty peaceful during his baths, and he’s sleeping a lot. Each day I give thanks for his little life and pray for the strength and wisdom to care for my family well.

John Wicks Rice

We are thrilled to announce the birth of our newest, precious addition.

John Wicks Rice  

“John Wicks”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

3:09 p.m. 

7lbs, 5 oz, 19 inches long

A miraculous little gift from God.


The whole birthing process amazed me just as much this time as it did the first time.

I thought it wasn’t possible to have an easier labor and delivery than I did with Luke, but I was wrong. This one was easier {recovery is the hardest part!}. In fact, this could probably be considered the most anti-climactic birth story ever, but that’s the way I would prefer it, and I am more than thankful. Really, though, how could any birth process leading to new life be considered boring?

DSC05581With Luke, labor started on its own, but this time I was induced one day after my due date because my doctor was leaving town for half a week and conditions were very favorable for baby boy to come. We went in at 10 p.m. Monday June 3rd, and I was given medicine to thin my cervix. My nurse gave me a sleeping aid, and I was o-u-t OUT until about 6 a.m. the next morning. Jenny and Adam both spent the night in the room with me, though I don’t know that they slept as soundly. 🙂SONY DSCAfter some very mild contractions on the morning of June 4th, they went ahead and gave me the epidural. Glory. Then, after a low dose of Pitocin, contractions picked up and I progressed fairly quickly {not that I knew it}. The doctor came in and broke my water, and things moved even more quickly after that.
DSC05615When I was fully dilated, the nurses instructed me to do a “practice” push so they could estimate how long this was going to take before they called the doctor. After one push, they both said, “Ok, STOP! NOW! He’s coming. We’re calling the doctor.”
SONY DSC And then it was time. My doc arrived pretty quickly. After three good pushes, our little Wicksie boy entered the world, looking purple and slimy with a dark head of hair. The doctor put him on my chest and said, “Here’s your prize.” And I was completely overcome with emotion. Because what a precious earthly prize, entrusted to me for a season. A prize I don’t deserve. My heart overflowed with thankfulness that God chose to bless us again. SONY DSCDSC05638DSC05730And just like that, we became a family of four. SONY DSCDSC05749{No worries, Mr. Boy really does love his new baby “bubba!”} 🙂


I realize that everyone has probably already seen the first birthday pics on Facebook, but for the sake of documentation, I’m doing a party post anyway. . .Because this birthday decor was a significant time investment on Mama’s part, and it needs to be remembered.

AND of course we want to remember Mr. Boy’s big day.

He woke up Saturday morning to the BEST birthday surprise ever—-his Doc-Doc and J-J downstairs in the living room. When he saw them, I could tell he remembered them.  We had a fun weekend together and spent most of Sunday getting things ready for the birthday boy’s party. I was so, so thankful to have mom and dad here. They helped me so much, and nothing makes my heart smile like watching them love on and enjoy my baby.
We had a small little party with close friends on Sunday evening.

Adam grilled his super delish wings, and we had Texas caviar, rotel, lemonade and tea.

Poor Mr. Boy has had a cold and wasn’t quite himself.

{I’m not sure what was going on with me and the goofy smile. And no, we didn’t intentionally dress like it was the 4th of July.}

But Tylenol kicked in, and he was a new child. He LOVED his push motorcycle from Doc and J.

Family shot…A tad blurry, but I love…

As always, we were so thankful to have sweet friends there. August is a big month in Rice land, and they’ve been celebratin’ it up with us.

Mr. Boy wasn’t so sure about his cake at first, and he also wasn’t a fan of the birthday hat…

But since I took the time to make it, I was determined to try to get him to wear it for a few pictures….until he FLIPPED OUT.

{just a little}

Then, somehow we distracted him and snuck it on his little head. And he decided his cake wasn’t half bad either.

Oh. my. gosh. that. cake. It was mighty fine. It came from our favorite bakery here in town, and they did not disappoint.  I have a little sugar problem, and having leftover cake in my fridge calling my name was almost too much. Which is why Adam and I had to polish it off really quickly. You know, get it out of there. 🙂After Mr. Boy had his cake, we took the party inside. Doc and J gave him his bath and then all the adults had cake and ice cream while the kids played.

{This boy has his Doc WRAPPED around his little finger.}

It was a really fun and special day celebrating our boy.

{And now I promise I’m done with the first birthday posts. Because I know we’re all birthday-ed out. And believe it or not, we do have other things going on! :)}


My man turned 28 today. I’m so grateful that God has given him 28 years and that I’ve gotten to share in 10 of those years. How blessed I am to call him mine!

We’ve had a fun day full of celebration, but the highlight was dinner at Rocky’s with friends. Rocky’s has really good pizza, but the main draw is the location. It’s positioned right on the edge of the Ohio River, and the view of the city skyline is gorgeous.

We lived on the wild side and stayed out until 9:30. Our friend Chris said, “You know all your friends have young kids when everyone is looking at their watches like Whoa, now, it’s 8:30!”

But you only live once.

It’s true that we don’t get together as much now that most of us have started families, but it always blesses my heart to be with these precious friends. They’ve been our core group through seminary. We probably would have chatted until the wee hours of the morning if the kids hadn’t been getting delirious.

Enjoy the abundant photo coverage of the evening.

{I’m warning you, there are an obnoxious amount of pictures.}

Princess Maeleigh is so beautiful. And so peaceful. . .unlike a certain Mr. Boy I know.  🙂

Pointing is his new thing. . .

A true friend. They go way back.

Can’t express to you how much I love. this. girl. We’ll be friends until the end of time.

Sweet pic of the Lovett fam + Ben {sorry, BT. Didn’t mean to blur you out!}

This pic is so them. . .Best girls.

Lovin’ Aunt D.

His smile is infectious. . .

See? Like I said, really into pointing. {It’s YOU with that camera again, Mom}.

Happy little family. We couldn’t be more blessed. {I realize we need to work on table manners. . . like elbows feet off the table}.

His favorite . . . plain ole’ birthday cake. I would love to take credit for the beautiful icing penmanship and excellent distribution of star-shaped sprinkles; however, that, my friends, is a $16 Kroger cake. A very good $16 Kroger cake, if you ask me.

By this point in the evening we had resorted to using a little modern technology to help us get through the meal. I think he did pretty good considering the fact that we confined him to the highchair for 2+ hours.
The view. . .

Admiring the view. . .

Chris + Adam

Had to get a best girls shot with SM.

The guy we asked to take a group shot just happened to be a real photographer. And the Belle of Louisville just happened to be floating along the river in the background. And all 3 children just happened to look in the direction of the camera at the same time. It’s a true miracle that we got such a successful group shot.

But I’m glad we did. Because who knows how many more opportunities we’ll have before everyone starts moving off and spreading out. Some of our dearest friends have already left, in fact. I really do cherish these times together.

So, happy birthday, Adam! We had a wonderful night celebrating you!


Showered Again

Goodness, we’ve been blessed! My sweet Louisville friends put together such a special baby shower for Luke and me. Everything was just perfect.

My friend Christy painted these precious canvases.
They are now hanging in the nursery (and, p.s., that cheese ball was fine).
 Many sweet prayers were written.
Very special.
and friends
I only regret that I neglected to get a picture with the hostesses, four of my dearest friends! They were so sweet to do this for me.

Lord, thank you for good food, sweet friends, and provision for our baby boy. You are so faithful and kind.