Welcome to the Hickstionary, a landing spot for all things H family.
I'm Heidi. He's Rusty. And together we have our beautiful babe, Beckett and a furry menace, Dakota.
I mostly use this space to brag about how awesome the kid is, whine about how naughty the dog is & share an occasional deep thought.
Thanks for hanging out with us as we figure out this [blessed] life!

If you are looking for my photography blog (where words don't tend to fall out of my mouth nearly as freely), visit {captured by} heidi.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

home again home again

We're back! (Did you even notice we were gone?) ;)

After ten days of life on the road, we made it home and can say the kids were (mostly) awesome little travelers. Arley is up to 5/50 states now (8 if you count last summer's trips). (B didn't add any new states this time around so he's still at 12/50.)

I did a horrible job of taking pictures. Mostly because our adventures weren't really conducive to packing around a big camera (plus a baby while chasing a three year old).

We attempted a group shot (but even failed at that as not everyone was ever ready for a shot at the same time). So here's most of the crew. (My sister got that sweet cabin. We're trying to talk mom into buying a similar one on a lake somewhere… You can rent this one here: vrbo)

The quick overview of the trip:
Leon. We had to head down early for a funeral so we stayed in town for the Fourth of July where B took in his first Leon Rodeo. We also watched the parade and then later headed to great-grandma's for the fireworks (her driveway may be the best seat in town for them). B loved the sparklers but may have been a little too excited about setting them on fire…
Table Rock lake. It rained most of the time we were there but the one day it was (mostly) nice my mom rented a boat and it was maybe the highlight of the trip for us. B chose not to tube and was worried about my safety when I was. ;) After witnessing his cousin take a turn (and finding her way underwater), it might be awhile before he hops on one. Related to the rain- the kids didn't get a chance to do s'mores in the fire pit so we found a campfire on youtube and they sat around the iPad campfire while eating microwave s'mores and telling stories with the flashlight. It's definitely an activity worth adding to your summer bucket list. :)
Branson. See above on the rain. We attempted some fun stuff but had a hard time finding things for B in the rain. (We had planned on bumper boats, mini golf and go karts so those all got crossed off the list pretty quick.) We did take a nice little walk down the boardwalk by the landing which was great until we walked straight into a cold front and couldn't see through the fog. We also did the fish hatchery (in the rain). And our best meal in town was Steak N Shake. Ripley's was a bust but B loved riding the Ducks (and even got to drive once the duck hit the water).
Arkansas. We literally drove across the state line to sit on the square of Blue Eye and feed the kids just so we could cross Arkansas off Arley's list. (Hey, it's one of 50 and at least now she won't have to go back and my brother in law pointed out she's too young to remember so double bonus. No offense to anyone from Arkansas...) ;) It felt a lot like being in Lineville. I'm sure there are nicer places in Arkansas to visit. Maybe someday…
Tulsa. We took a little detour on the way home to visit the Oklahoma cousins. It was a last minute, unplanned leg of the trip but was a fun one! We met up with them at the children's museum where B went down the packing tape slide no less than 1,452,872 times (or so). We had the best meal of the week with Hideaway Pizza and B had the highlight of his week at the Kiddie Park (a mini amusement park of sorts). The weather was iffy so we basically had the park to ourselves and it was a blast. The kids ran from ride to ride and B LOVED it. He talks about this more than anything else from vacation (even Legoland). I did manage to take the camera along this night.
Kansas City. Our plan was to head into town for Legoland and then spend the night and do some watermark time or shopping the next day. B loved Legoland but was ready to go to grandma's by the end so we passed on the $400/night water park room and drove to grandma's for the night before heading home.

Both kids had a pretty good week... though B really wanted to stay at a hotel with an elevator. :)

(A few kiddie park pics… Like I said.. B LOVED it. He was literally the last kid off the last ride of the night. These kiddos shut the place down! One of his favorite rides was the tiny cars and he always picked the cop car. When we had to leave the next day his cousin gave him The Sheriff (from Cars) for him to take home. He didn't let go of it the whole way to KC and really wanted to take it inside with him but we talked him out of it. His favorite (okay and only) souvenir from the trip.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

arley | three months old

Holy Moly the last three months have flown by!!

The Arley update: She prefers sitting(!) to tummy time, has discovered (and loves) her toes, is big into blowing bubbles, has started drooling (B started around this time too but was still a ways off from that first tooth), is a total twinsie to her big brother (like, identical!), loves chewing on her hands these days, sleeps 9-11 hours at night, wears 3-6 tops 0-3 bottoms & size 1 diapers,  babbles and coos and laughs (mostly at big bro), nurses 6-9 times a day, sleeps in her crib, loves laying on the changing pad, and is the sweetest little girl I ever did know.

Big brother is doing much better these days and we've really gotten into a good groove with the two kid thing. :) (He even asked me tonight if we could have another baby at our house- a baby brother this time!) He loves, loves, loves his sister and when they first see each other in the morning is my most favorite time of day. She eagerly watches the monitor for signs of movement, waves her arms and coos when she sees him waking up, he snuggles and smooches and reminds her of how cute she is when she comes to get him out of bed. They are about the cutest pair ever. Not that I'm biased or anything.

And mom and dad are still surviving. Going back to work (way too early) was maybe the hardest part of the adjustment for me and our house has taken a hit from it for sure (honestly I have no idea the last time I cleaned or our laundry was all caught up). I built myself in a little 'catch my breath break' so I'll be off work the next two weeks and am SO looking forward to that! I plan on getting in some one on one time with each of my loves and I'm not going back to work until it happens. :)

And speaking of work… I actually shot, edited and blogged a certain little someone's three month pics (just a few days late). You can go check more of her (and big bro) out over on the cbh blog! I'm biased but I think they're super sweet. :)


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

party of five

The transition to a family of four (um… five counting Dakota), has been a ride to say the least…..

First impressions of the family of four bit were awesome. The honeymoon period was great. A was seriously (and still is) such an awesome baby. Great at nursing, great at sleeping, just awesome (until she gets a burp stuck but thankfully that's not too often).

B was awesome. He was (and still is) smitten with his sister and super loved getting presents and attention from all the visitors we had.

And then the presents stopped coming in and visitors stopped coming over and he realized mom was spending a lot of time feeding sis and dad was spending a lot of time doing everything else. He was crazing some mom time and attention and needed some outside of the house action. Things got hairy for awhile… And by hairy I mean we were in all out survival mode for a few weeks. He started struggling with sleep and behavior and pretty much everything else. It. was. rough.

And if I'm being completely honest. I was struggling too. The visitors stopped. (And the meals, ha.) The check ins stopped (because who wants to keep checking in on you if you're too crazy trying to survive to even reply?). I was feeling lonely and the hormones were crazy (as in a million times worse than after B). Not helping those hormones… I had to start back at work when A was just four weeks old.

And we were left in our little bubble to figure things out.

Did I mention it got rough? :|

Turning the corner took a combination of things but there were a couple key points that made the biggest difference….

 -When B and I snuck out of the house for a mommy/B date. We went for a haircut (his), a dinner stop, and a pirate show at our church. He soaked up the mommy time and couldn't stop telling me how much fun he was having and how much he loved me. In the few short weeks since A had been born, I really had forgotten how much fun he is. Also, while we were there, I ran into a friend I hadn't talked to for awhile. I cried with her about all the things running wild in my head and she prayed over me. She helped me figure out a couple little (HUGE) things that have made a big difference. (Did I mention she has six kids?)

-When my mom came to stay. I had a super busy week at work and really just needed help keeping my sanity more than anything. We didn't have a super productive week but we felt supported and that was huge.

-When I started running again. I realized there would never be a good time to do it so on Mother's Day I decided that was all I wanted and I hit the pavement. And of course once you start, you don't stop. I hate running but it's so good for me because 1. It keeps me in touch with one of my besties. and 2. It gives me uninterrupted time to think/pray/admire God's beauty/or sing at the top of my lungs to the headphones if I want to (on the country roads only of course). The other night I was out running and starting the downward spiral of thoughts again when I saw an interesting chalk drawing….

By the time I realized it was there and slowed down enough to read it, I realized it said "Devil is not awesome." It appeared to be the drawing of a youngish kid and it really struck me as profound… that this kid artist (whomever it was) could blame the devil for the 'not awesome' but my downward spiraling thoughts were blaming everyone and everyone else for the 'not awesome.'

Tonight as I was running by, I purposefully slowed down enough to take a pic. I did get the 'devil is not awesome' part…

But what I had stepped over before realizing what it said (and snapping a pic) might have been even better……

"God is."

Kid, whomever you are- you're killin' it. Thanks for the inspo.

(Yep. Randomly ending this unedited post right here. Cause that's how I roll these days.) ;)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

my people

I'm so used to saying 'my boys' when talking about B and R I catch myself saying 'my…' then switch it up to people instead.

These are my people.

Monday, May 11, 2015

the ones who call me mama

Well one of them anyway (I'm sure A would too if she could talk). 

I'm so blessed. I mess up this mama gig all the time but my littles still love me the most. I pray they always know how much I love them too. 

For mother's day, R was going to take some pics of me and my littlest loves. We ended up conning some cousins into doing it for us and got some family pictures too. More of those pics (including a Dakota appearance) coming soon.

For today, me and the ones who call me mama. I'm so blessed.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

middle name buddies

Four Week #arleyupdate

Four weeks young. 8lbs 11oz. Too long of a torso for nearly anything newborn. Too skinny for nearly anything 0-3 months. Requires a little more attention these days. Naps a little less. Sleeps 6-7 and sometimes nearly 8 hour stretches at night. Loves big brother. Hates ice cream (for mama, of course). Nurses 10ish times a day and takes one 3ish oz bottle of pumped milk at night. (Has a freezer full of milk waiting on her.) Likes to be held (a lot). Best little sister ever. Growing way too fast.

So I was completely on the ball and had her dressed and ready for a 3 week crib picture last week only to realize the cards start skipping weeks so she was a week early for her picture. Of course once week four rolled around (and there was a picture card waiting), I forgot to do the picture until it was dark in her room and the light stinks. I may just start setting a Wednesday morning alarm as a reminder from here on out. (We all know I'm kidding. Right?)

She's been a busy girl the last two weeks. Most notably for big brother, they received a double stroller and B loves getting to ride with her now. It's been a lifesaver and already has several miles on it. Not sure how I thought we could survive without it.

Other fun things- we've had 100% attendance at story time the last two weeks (although not quite on time…) and baby sister has met more family and friends. We've spent longer stretches away from home (though it's still easier to be at the house). And brother is still really good with her (though on other fronts the last two weeks have been TOUGH).

I've been loving going back through old blog posts and reading B's weekly updates. So fun to see how similar they are as babies. And truly we've gotta start sticking more headbands on her so we can tell their baby pictures apart. Total twins.

I think we've figured out the milk (over)supply issue and things there are going well. I feel like I need to dedicate an entire post to this sometime because there were some nursing and pumping things I had forgotten about since B and wish I would have blogged more about that for my own reference.

Also, we've learned Honest diapers aren't honestly all the good. I wanted to love them, really (cause they're so cute!) but they just don't do the job as well as the Pampers Swaddlers we've been brand loyal to the last three+ years in this house. (Simple explanation- the back is too low and the leg holes aren't snug enough… you can imagine how fun those are to change…)

And I feel like I should remember this from B but what brands are the best for long, skinny babes? We just pulled out B's Gap jammies for her to wear. (She's even more of his twin in those blue car jammies! Agh! Total flashbacks!) We have lots of hand me downs to go through, just need to find some of them that fit her skinny little self!

Okay, I'm off to sleep. Did I mention I'm back to work this week?!?! I'm not sure what I was thinking (she's only four weeks old) but so far it hasn't been too bad. Thinking about the work schedule gets me overwhelmed though. It gets easier, right?!

Happy four weeks, sweet girl!

Friday, April 10, 2015

#arleyupdate week two

Two weeks! Holy Moly that flew by. But at the same time, just today we were saying how it feels like she's always been here. Funny how that works.

Big week for Arley girl.

Thursday I was doing dishes and thought I heard B giggling from our bedroom…. only I knew he wasn't in our room…. I went in to check and sister was giggling out loud. I didn't believe it was possible but she kept doing it several more times. I googled it to make sure I wasn't crazy and finally R got to see it in real life too. We've yet to capture it on video because we are usually too busy laughing about it when it happens but it's about the cutest thing ever. She really is the smiliest baby and she literally LOLs. :)

Friday we had some awesome friends come hang out and she got her first scratch cupcake (via mommy of course). ;)

Saturday she 'participated' in her first egg hunt… actually she sat in the car while mommy and B hunted for eggs. It was good for B to get some mommy time in and A got some daddy time in. Win win! Some cousins came up to hunt eggs with us and she got some cousin time in before they left. Later her uncle Todd's fam came up and we celebrated his birthday. Big bro cried when they had to leave.

Sunday she went to church for the first time. There was a lovely grandparent set behind us that commented on how fresh from Heaven she was. :) It was Easter too! We ate lunch with some grandparents and had a mini egg hunt in the front yard which ended in B finding baskets for him and sister. He was excited to give hers to her. It was filled with gifts other people had given her… that Easter bunny sure is clever. ;)

Monday is a blur. I have no idea what we did and instagram pics aren't giving me many clues.

Tuesday the talented Destri Andorf came to capture some real life shots. This pretty much sums it up….. ;)

Of course after she left B decided he was in the mood to pose for pictures so I ended up taking several more that day. One of these days I'll get around to uploading and editing them.

Wednesday we headed out to the library and 3Cs so big bro could run off some energy. He loved playing with every single toy there but missed his friends that are there during story time. Thursday night we went out to eat at Chic-fil-A for the first time ever (we had only been through the drive thru before) and B got to play in the play place for the first time ever. He loved it. Sis slept, ate and slept through it. Afterwards B headed to Target to spend a big brother gift card someone had given him. He bought Optimus Prime (and Bumble Bee and two other Transformers I have no idea the names of). We've discovered becoming a big brother is a bit like Christmas and he is going to be sorely disappointed when the gifts stop coming in. Kid is getting spoiled.

Thursday B ran a fever and felt mopey all day so we bummed on the couch nearly all day long. (Is this a common side effect of the play place or just a coincidence?)

Friday sister had her official two week check (just a couple days late) and weighed in at 7 lbs 6 oz!! That's way past her goal of getting back to birth weight (6 lbs 8 oz). Way to pack on those pounds girl! :) That jumped her up from 10-22% in weight. And her height is now 21.5" putting her at 90%. Not bad for such a little peanut.

That said, we've definitely noticed she looks so much older these days and it's a little sad how fast these newborn days fly by. The plan for week three is more snuggling and less running.

Happy two weeks, little girl. You are loved!

Oh and then there's this. It doesn't have much to do with this post but it is the first mommy/daughter pic we have (on a real camera) and I don't even look like a zombie. I remember hating every picture of myself during B's newborn days so I know I'll love having this shot. That said… for more real life pics, feel free to visit my instagram. ;) 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

#arleyupdate week one

I have no idea how one week has already passed us by but Miss Arley is officially one week old (I'm typing this up 4/2… she turned one week last night at 11:45pm… I'll likely post it tomorrow since I've posted a billion blog posts today)…

Week one was amazing.

Well mostly.

Two things that sucked-

Saturday she had a little fussy period where we couldn't figure out what she needed and I was tired and stressed and mad at the nurse that kept us up all night Thursday night. She wasn't too interested in nursing and by the end of the day was a little yellow. We had a house full of people all day and as soon as everyone left all she wanted to do was nurse and by the next morning her color was pretty good again.

And Monday night (I think? I've kind of lost track of days), poor B got sick. He NEVER gets sick and he got so sick. Temp of 103 and vomiting all over. Including all over me. I was covered in his vomit and R was at the store as A started crying for milk. My mama heart ripped in two as I knew there was nothing I could do in that moment to help her. I totally felt like I was choosing between the two but R talked me off of that cliff. I'm sure that's the first of many times they'll both need their mama but boy it was a tough one.

Okay. Back to the awesome:

Her birth. Obviously.

Meeting big brother (and coming home).

First Dr checkup.  She passed with flying colors. (Weight was 6lbs 4oz- she had gotten down to 6lbs 3oz before coming home so this was good.) B was adorable at the Dr. As we got her out of her carseat he said 'OH look at her beautiful dress.' and 'You're a beautiful princess.' All day long he kept telling her what a beautiful princess she was.

First outing- we went to the local coffee shop.

First stroller rides (it's been such awesome weather for March!).

First trip to the park (though it was windy and the two of us stayed in the car while the boys played).

Other news:

She latched on right away after birth and has had a perfect latch since. I never dreamed breastfeeding could start out so easy (it sure wasn't this way with B!). The flip side of that… I may have an oversupply issue. I'm not sure yet and I've heard you really shouldn't do anything about oversupply until weeks 4-6 anyway so I'm waiting it out… and using lots of ice packs.

I hate to talk about sleep because it seems as soon as I mention it things change… but… she's been giving us 3 and 4 hour stretches at night which has been awesome. I nurse her to sleep then the two times she's up I pump and do a bottle just to make sure she's getting enough milk for another long stretch. I had wanted to avoid this because it caused some nipple confusion with B but I think my milk is coming out fast enough that it doesn't seem to bother her.

She came out smiling and she's been smiling pretty much ever since. Don't talk to me about reflex smiles. I don't need that kind of attitude. ;) But seriously. Gosh she's cute. ;) (And yes- I'll save that card for in a couple months when she really is smiling but geesh who can resist!?)

Newborn diapers and newborn clothes are big on her. B really didn't wear newborn clothes (he was too long) so I hadn't anticipated her needing many. I actually thought we probably had too many but as it turns out I think she'll have plenty of time to wear it all. :) Related: we love hand me downs. Gosh she's lucky!

So far B has been adjusting well. Better than well actually. He's been doing awesome. His big questions are about why she drinks milk from my 'breath' and why his 'breaths' don't have any milk. He's super observant. Her umbilical cord fell off on day six and the next day she was laying in her diaper and he wondered where her special belly button went to. He played at the neighbor's house this afternoon and was running errands with daddy tonight so I didn't get to see much of him today and he went to bed pretty fussy which means tomorrow could be interesting… but otherwise he's been doing great. He really is the best big brother!

And my sweet client turned friend gave us these awesome milestone cards. I had just been thinking about what we should do for her weekly update pictures and like a mind reader, Melinda sent these to us. They are perfect!

One week old:

And her 'first' smile…. Totally kidding. Like I said, she came out smiling. But seriously. How cute is she?! ;) And yes, yes, I'll get a new one of these when she starts officially laughing at all our jokes. :) 

behind the name

A teacher (by trade) married to another teacher make a pretty good team… except when it comes to naming babies. Teachers see and hear it all when it comes to names. The classic, the trendy, the misspelled (on purpose?), and the downright made up. Most teachers I know have a pretty strong stance on how they feel about such names. Us included.

For various reasons, a lot of names just get thrown out… Not because they are bad names but maybe you've hollered that name one too many times on the playground or written it down for detention more times than you can count.  i.e. Jonathan. A great name. But not one I could ever, ever, ever use.

When it was time to name Beckett Dane we each made a list and had complete veto power off the other's list. Beckett was the only name that remained. I had found it on a list of 'sports names' after all the names I suggested got kicked to the curb by R (Hudson, Swayer, Finn, etc were all first on the chopping block for him). B didn't end up having a middle name until he was about a day old. We had three left in the running when he was born before finally settling on Dane. (My middle name is Danielle after my great grandpa Daniel. R's grandpa and uncle's middle names are both Dale. My sister's is Kate after grandma Kathryn. So we added a curvy line to the Dale and said Dane was also short for Daniel. A stretch for a family name? Yes, definitely. Did we care? Not so much. Do we regret it? Not at all.)

Baby girl's name took a little more work.

We had a list of girl names that we've loved for nearly 10 years. (Yes, that's before we were even engaged… a teacher we worked with had a new granddaughter named Hadley and I wanted to steal the name for my list. That started the baby name conversation and we had all our future daughters named before we even talked about getting married. That's normal, right?) ;)

For various reasons over the years, each of those four girl names have gotten crossed off the list. (We still love all the names but just feel like some are off limits to us now… why is naming so hard?!) :)

So when we found out baby girl was in fact a girl… the name hunt began at square zero. As I started adding to the list, R started vetoing. Lindley, Avalyn, Murphy, Jentry & Arden were first on the chopping block. James (R's middle name) as a girl middle name was an absolute no for him (I'm still working on convincing him of it if we happen to have any other daughters down the line). So was Wren and Joy and any other cute name I could come up with. He agreed to Luciel (my grandma's middle name) but as soon as he did my niece got the middle name so we took it off the list too. He suggested some classic names which I loved but didn't feel fit well with Beckett.  We literally had zero names to work with.

Eventually we prayed about it and asked that God would just tell us baby girl's name.

Not long after (the next day maybe?), I was scrolling through the inter webs and came across the name, Arley. Nope. Not loving it at all. But I had this feeling like the Holy Spirit was saying, "Hey, scroll back up, that's her name!" Ummm no. Then all of a sudden, this name I had never heard of before started showing up everywhere. Eventually, one of my favorite bloggers got a dog and named it Arley. That was all it took to convince me it was most definitely not a little girl's name. But the feeling persisted. Eventually I felt like I should just 'look it up.'

Before I tell you the meaning….. Let me tell you the short version of our summer. The Holy Spirit was working overtime in shaping me and the months leading up to this pregnancy, I was getting some major lessons on God's promises. Of course I've always heard people talk about God's promises and grew up singing (round style), "Standing on the Promises of God." It's a cute thought but I never claimed them as my own (or even really knew what those promises were for that matter). Eventually, God taught me what those promises were and urged me to claim them as my own. Namely, that ALL He has for me is good. Even when it hurts and is downright ugly, He is working behind the scenes to make it into something beautiful. It's ALL good.

Not long after, B started waking up every morning and finding rainbows in his room. The way the summer sun aligned with the front door glass, left a beautiful rainbow on his bedroom floor every morning. We started talking about rainbows and how they are a reminder that God keeps His promises. B was well versed in promises and those rainbows showed up every morning for several weeks straight.

….So when I typed in 'Arley baby name' you've probably guessed by now that the first search result said, "Hebrew name meaning: God's promise." Did you just get chills? I totally did. I prayed about it and knew it was her name. I loved it. Adorable and cute but strong and faith filled. I prayed R would feel the same way. I tossed and turned in bed but eventually fell asleep (did I mention this happened at 3 am?). I woke up early the next morning to a text from R (who was donating plasma already for the day) that said, "Her name is Arley."


...He actually said her name is Arley Grace but I couldn't come around to that one. Arley Wren. Arley Joy. Arley James. But not Arley Grace. (I kept thinking of the Griswolds around the Christmas table… GRACE?! She died 30 years ago!)

I liked Wren because it was a bird name. If we couldn't use Luciel after my grandma, I wanted to use a bird name as a nod to her. (She loved birds and for some reason, several of the quotes that keep coming to me about this little girl have to do with birds.)

I also wanted to use a family name but we couldn't agree on one we loved and felt bad using from one side of the family but not the other.

So back to the (middle) name game. I kind of planned that she would just get a middle name in the hospital like B did and that would be okay but we kept the conversation on the front burner anyway.

Fast forward to the Friday after Thanksgiving. We spent the day with his grandma. She was telling us stories about the old days and dropping all sorts of life lessons on us. Eventually the conversation rounded the corner into labor and delivery stories. She told us the reason behind why she was born at home… her older sister had died during birth in a hospital and her mom didn't want to go back. I wondered if her older sister hadn't died if she would even have ever been born. And then of course I would have never met R. And we would have never had Beckett. Or Avery. Or Arley. And if Avery hadn't gone to heaven so soon, we wouldn't likely have this little miracle growing here with us now.* And how much her mother must have longed for her during that time. God's hand was all over this story spanning the generations and His perfect plan was coming together.

*(Yep, that was the spiral of emotions I was on that day. We'll blame the pregnancy hormones.)

So here in God's perfect plan, she tells us her middle name. Evelyn.

Evelyn had been on the name list. It was my great-grandmother's middle name and I loved the way it sounded. But it wasn't getting much support from R.

We looked up the name meaning. "Evelyn means wished for child. beautiful bird. life."

It was everything I had been looking for in a middle name and then some… a bird meaning. A family name (on both sides). And the wished for child and life part? Seal the deal.

Arley Evelyn.

We hope you love your name beautiful girl. We think it fits you so.


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