Monday, May 29, 2017

Bennett Clay- Our Little Miracle

Bennett Clay Zollinger joined us on Friday, May 12th at 4:23 p.m. A whole 7 lb 1 oz of pure sweetness. It did not take him long to steal our hearts.

I am still getting my act together, and may be for quite some time. Each new day brings me a little more confidence and leaves me a bit more refreshed. 

I eventually hope to share some details of how Bennett made his entrance into this world, but let me rewind a bit first.

Our Bluffton shower was on a Friday night in April. It was a very nice evening. The committee went above and beyond to make it special and the food delicious.

Nate and I had a contest on who could diaper and dress the baby dolls in the least amount of time. Let me just note that the a baby doll is much easier to dress than a squirming human baby.

Here are some of the other girls due around the same time as myself. Three of us have either had/are having boys and two are having girls. Bennett will have lots of friends when he goes to visit Bluffton.

My cousin Brooke is also expecting a baby boy in June.

Here I am at 38 weeks, looking prime and ready to pop.

Bennett was born at 39 weeks and 2 days. Some have asked how we came about choosing his name. Nothing super significant, but it seems that I have been drawn to boy names that begin with the letter "B" for the last couple of years.

The "B" name that I initially liked came about from a little boy who goes to our church, but I was hesitant to use it. Nate had a "B" name that he was in favor of, but I was not convinced.

When I asked Nate about the name Bennett, he seemed pretty neutral and fine with it. The last two months of my pregnancy, we were fairly certain that the name would be Bennett. Any other name that would come about, I would compare to the name Bennett, and I never liked any other name as much.

The name Bennett means "blessed" and his middle name of Clay means "in stiff ground." We pray that Bennett will be firmly planted and blessed in the solid foundation of God and that we may raise him to know and understand the truth of God's Word.

Bennett has gradually been meeting some of his cousins as our siblings find the time to come out, along with others who have stopped by.

Don't be fooled by the picture above. I am holding Brenda's, much larger baby, and she is holding Bennett. A few months in age can make quite the weight difference,

We are enjoying our little guy, while trying to navigate ourselves to a whole new state of normalcy. We feel under qualified to be parents, but privileged at the same time. Our hearts are filled with thankfulness that God would grant us the gift of a child. It is bound to be an adventure when raising our little Benny Boy.

Thank you for the love, well wishes, and prayers that we have received from so many of you. I find it hard to believe that we are already past our second week into parenthood. We will cherish each moment as we know time passes quickly.

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

My Better Half

I find that I do not brag about my husband often enough. He deserves daily praise and admiration, maybe even hourly. What better day to give him a shout out than on today, our third anniversary.

When I first met Nate, not quite four years ago, I instantly developed a respect for him. I can be a little bit judgmental of others, so I am thankful that God allowed me to see his true character so quickly. God knew what was around the corner. I was clueless that he would be my future spouse. The way Nate handled himself and treated others in such a kind way, really spoke to me. I could tell that Nate had one of those easy-going and likable personalities. 

When I was praying about marriage and the proposal that was looming in front of me, I knew that I could get really excited if Nate was the guy that was asking to marry me. I was amazed that God could put such excitement and peace in my heart, especially after only meeting this guy a total of three times.

I have told Nate that if I could do parts of our engagement over, I most definitely would. I do not think that I was a very good fiance, but he was a saint, always sending me flowers at the most appropriate times and praying for me, a little extra, on my rough days. What a trooper!

Each year of marriage has kept getting sweeter and sweeter (I think he would agree), and to think that we are only to year three! We have dealt with our differences and they no longer seem like such a big deal now, compared to the first year of marriage, when I thought everything was a major ordeal. 

We have no parents or siblings living closer than an hour to us, which has made us depend and rely solely upon each other. While there are days when we long for family to be closer to us, we know that it has been good on our relationship to be our own little island of sorts. We are truly best friends and love each others company.

I admire Nate's compassion and sensitivity to others, his desire to grow continually with the Lord, his willingness to provide for me on a daily basis, and the list goes on. Another attribute of his, that I wish I possessed more of, is that he does not care what others think about him (in a good way, of course). He is constantly himself, and he never finds the need to put on a show or act fake in any way.

I realize that this may be more of a woman issue, caring about what others think of ones self, but it is so inspiring to see Nate be genuine all the time. It makes me want to be more like that.

I love Nate's contagious smile and will not be offended if our little baby looks completely like his father. I am so excited to see my husband become a daddy. I have been told that you see a different side of your spouse when they become a parent. I am already seeing the love that Nate has for our little miracle. Life will become more chaotic as we become a family of three, but I know that God will provide and will open our hearts with more room to love. I am excited to figure out this new adventure, together with my man.

I am thankful to Nate for being my #1 supporter throughout this pregnancy. I am thankful for his creative do-it-yourself mentality that has saved us money on different projects. I am thankful that he will eat any type of food that is set in front of him. I am thankful that he puts God first, before all else. I am thankful for the way in which he loves me. I am thankful for him.

Happy Anniversary my love!! I feel beyond blessed to be your wife. May God continue to bind our hearts together with each passing day. I love you.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Baby Shower & Sneak Peak of Nursery

  Last Saturday morning we enjoyed a sweet baby shower for baby Z. Everything was decorated so cute and much love and support was felt on our behalf.

I really cannot get over how cute everything was set up. Every single detail. I mentioned the color scheme that I was doing for the nursery, and they sure made the most of it. 

This table held stickers for guests to write their names and place on a picture, which they later put in a frame and gave to us. There were also Hershey kisses with little fox and raccoon stickers on the bottom of them.

This is the wonderful committee that went to much effort and hard work in order to make the shower possible. The food was delicious I must say.

It was a come-and-go shower, which made it convenient for guests to come and go at their leisure. For being a busy Saturday morning, it still seemed like a nice turnout.

Shelby helped document which gifts were from whom, by writing things down. I appreciated her willingness to sit up at the front with Nate and I.

I had quite the crew of gift carriers. They were very good at their job, we could barely keep up with them. I love seeing the nieces enjoy spending time with one another. I am thankful that a few from my family, and a few from Nate's side of the family were able to make it to our Latty shower.

So this is where the bows kept disappearing too.

We have no doubts that Baby Z will be very loved and cared for when he makes his arrival. He cannot show his appreciation at the moment, but maybe someday I can show him how excited we were for him to come into our lives. Nate and I are so incredibly thankful to our family, friends, and church family for helping us get a good start on this new phase of life.

As you can see, I am blossoming more and more. I have been done with work, for almost two weeks now, and am not getting bored in the least. 

Some of my time has been going into getting our nursery ready. It is a work in progress, but I like what we have thus far.

I hope to do a full post dedicated to the nursery in the future, but I will leave you with a little sneak peak. If you couldn't tell from the above pictures, the color scheme consists of mint, orange, navy, and gray.

I have really enjoyed working on the nursery. May as well add a cozy feeling, since I have a feeling that I may be spending much time rocking our little guy to sleep in this room.

That is all for now folks, have a terrific weekend!

Friday, March 3, 2017

It's Beginning To Look A Bit Like Baby

February was a month that I would not wish to repeat. Chaotic might be a good word for it. I am so thankful that March is upon us, giving us three more days than that of what February offered.

I did enjoy one of my few days off, during February, with Jenae and Breckin. I was delighted to have these sweet visitors. Jenae gave me some great tips when it comes to mommy-hood and raising a little boy. We enjoyed one of my favorite coffee shops together and Mr. B was such a well-behaved little guy.

The weekend before Valentine's Day was our Sunday to serve lunch.
Nate was in charge of picking up the doughnuts, from the beloved Rise n' Roll bakery. He took this job very seriously, I must say. He said he was not worried about getting pulled over, on the way from our house to the church, because not only did he have 18 dozen doughnuts in his car, he also had 12 gallons of milk.

I tried to make the trays look a little bit festive. You never know what men out there might need a subtle reminder, a couple days before Valentine's Day. A few of them stated their appreciation.

So apparently baby bumps are a bigger deal than I realized. I did not realize how much of a demand there was for photos to be shared. Unfortunately I have not done the best job at documenting my so-called "bump." Until recently, there was not much of a "bump" to document.

Here is my "27 week" shot. This was two weeks ago already.

Someone felt left out and needed to get in on the action. This is Nate's "after supper" shot.

Nate surprised me and planned for us to meet Brooke and Doug for supper one night. We were waiting to be seated at P.F. Changs and all of a sudden he turned me around, to face the door, and I saw some familiar faces. Doug had not told Brooke that they were meeting us either. I do not typically like surprises, but this I loved.

I am excited to meet their baby boy in June!! I am seeing some play dates together in the future.

While I still plan to work some days throughout the month of March, I will be cutting back quite a bit. Wednesday held a little celebration for baby Zollinger. My co-workers and the providers I work for were very generous to throw me a little baby shower.

Look at this darling cake! So so cute.

They asked me what I wanted for the meal, and I requested haystacks. It was delicious!

Baby Z now has a start on his wardrobe, thanks to those at my workplace. They were so sweet to shower me with gifts.

Quite the assortment of things. I feel very blessed that they took the time to spoil me in such a manner.

 So as you can see, it is beginning to look a bit like baby around these parts. I still need the 11 weeks to finish preparing, but we are getting more anxious with each passing day.

Baby Z should be set on diapers for a while. When they come at a discounted price, may as well buy in bulk.

We are off to Florida this coming week. Excited to spend some quality time together, before our whole world changes. For the better, of course.

Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Quick Hello & Gender Reveal Video

So, last week I wrote my resignation letter to submit to my place of employment. It brought me back to the last time that I carefully scripted my last resignation letter, prior to getting married and moving to Ohio. Why is it that I only write these letters before a big life-change? I guess that is not a hard question to answer. Trust me, I am glad that I have not had to submit more than a couple over the course of my working career. The letters are just another reminder that life is passing by quickly, plus the changes they represent have been prayed for over and over again. 

I know I need to enjoy these last few weeks of working, but I have "baby" on my mind. I have projects that I would like to fully commit myself too, relationships that I would like to strengthen, a husband that I would like to meet for lunch more often, and so much more. I know the time is coming!

Here is our gender reveal video for any of you who may not have seen it elsewhere.

Nate and I had fun putting the video together. I wanted to do something special to send to our family, especially since the timing didn't allow for us to tell them in person. We found out a few days after Christmas, hence the lights.

We were pretty set on finding out the gender of our baby from the beginning.

It has definitely made it feel more real for us. The love we have for our little one keeps growing and growing. I cannot imagine what we will feel when he arrives in person.

I am 26 weeks along and baby boy is quite active with his little movements. At first I was not quite sure that I appreciated his kicking skills, but now that I am getting used to it.

I finally have a bit of a baby bump to sport around. I was beginning to wonder if it would ever come. My clothes are getting tighter and I know that will only continue.

So as you can tell, many of our thoughts are centered on our little one. We pray that God will have his way in the heart of our baby boy. It is amazing how your prayers begin to change once you find out you are expecting.

I thought I would just jot down a few notes down on this poor, neglected blog. Our life has been full lately, and for that we should be thankful, oh but we relish our quiet evenings at home.

Thanks for stopping by!

Love, Nate and Hannah

Saturday, December 10, 2016

This And That

Here are some pictures that I wanted to include on my blog before the end of the year is long gone.

Back in July, my nieces Lexie and Corinne came to spend the night with Aunt Han.

I set up a craft table for them, which was a hit.

They painted these cardboard letters, glued tissue paper polka dots all over, and then coated them with Modge Podge to add a nice finishing look. They turned out cute.

We also made these bracelets out of popsicle sticks. I boiled the popsicle sticks to allow them to bend and then drilled holes in the ends for the string to run through. The girls used washi tape to decorate them.

I bought some iron-on chalk paper for these pink tote bags. The paper allows you to use chalk to draw details onto the design of your choosing, after it is ironed on.

I did not get a picture of the finished products, after they added decorations, but you get the idea.

We also made lip balm out of Kool-aid, Vaseline, and coconut oil.

After crafting, we enjoyed a few hours at the community pool, and my sweet husband made an ice cream run to DQ for us.

At the end of September, Tim and Crystal's family came out to visit us for a weekend. We invited a few other families over that had kids around the same age as theirs. The girls made out to bring their dolls, which was a common interest for all of them.

Here Ashlie is serenading us with her impressive piano skills.

In October, we found ourselves flying out to Connecticut for a wedding of Nate's cousin. Nate was honored to be a groomsman.

We flew out of Detroit airport and got to CT on Friday night.

This is what happens when you settle for the cheapest rental car on the lot. It was not what we expected, but it was fun for a few days (except for the non-automatic lights, which killed our battery when we left them on all night).

Mitch (also a groomsman + cousin) and Nate agreeing to my photo-taking antics.

Richard and Audrey with their wedding party.

Wedding day!!

Needless to say, I was not feeling all the best during the entire weekend, but I pasted a smile on my face and endured.

Here we are on a Sunday morning walk.

We did not leave until the next Monday evening so we had time to visit the coast. So peaceful and serene!

The picture below is the photo that I took for my mom's Christmas card (minus the wording). I cannot believe that our baby will make #18, as far as grandchildren.

These two nieces were born after the above picture was taken, but they are too cute not to be included. The last three babies in the family, all born in 2016 have been girls. Now the question is, will I break the trend and have a boy? Oh, I wish I knew!

My siblings are brave enough to let me snap a few pictures of their kids every once in a while.

This girl was by far the easiest, I could photograph her all day.

This handsome little man has such a fun personality. His natural smile is so contagious, but it is a bit harder for him to smile on demand.

This sweet girl is hard not to love.

And then there is little B, oh how she tugs at your heart strings.

I have said this before, if our child comes out looking even mildly as cute as our nieces and nephews, we will be blessed. Nonetheless, we will love him/her no matter what.

I feel better now that I have gotten these photos out in the open. Hope you all are having a wonderful December! Excited to celebrate the Reason for the Season, Jesus Christ.