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We had a wonderful month, reflecting on all that we are thankful for, celebrating Thanksgiving with good friends and ushering in the Christmas season!

“I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself to hold on to these moments as they pass.”

Welcome to “Moments” here on JoyFoodSunshine. At the end of every month I share a recap of our family’s favorite moments!  Here’s a snapshot of our life from November 2021!

Life lately

We had a wonderful month, reflecting on all that we are thankful for, celebrating Thanksgiving with good friends and ushering in the Christmas season!

Baby Zach (10 months)

Zach now has a total of SIX teeth! He started crawling like a little inchworm all over the house and pulls himself up on tables, toys, etc. We had to lower the crib mattress this month because of all the new skills he learned.

We’re trying to get him to eat finger foods. He has mastered puffs but chokes on most other foods we give him. He did successfully eat some soft scrambled eggs cut into very small pieces, so I considered that a huge win! Gagging makes me very nervous, so I am taking it slow and leaning into the purees this time around.

He is still very snuggly and is happiest when I am holding him, but he has a taste of independence now with his newfound crawling skills and I know he’s going to just keep moving in that direction.

I am really struggling with the reality of this being my very last baby. I cry tears of joy and sadness almost daily. I’m so thankful for my six healthy, beautiful kids – but I can’t imagine my life without a baby in my arms or in my belly since that has been my reality for the last 11 years.

10 month reflections.

Z is 10 months old. I can feel these moments slipping away. I try to hold on but I’ve been here before, and I know – they don’t last forever.

Where I end and where he begins has a beautiful, undefined fluidity. But the lines are becoming less blurred and my heart aches to stay here, in the gray, a whole lot longer. For so long I have been his home. We have needed each other in a soul-fulfilling way, and I’m not ready for it to end.

And this time is different. When it ends, it ends forever. No more fluttering baby kicks, no more anticipation of bringing a new life into this world, no more newborn snuggles, no more nursing, no more rocking & snuggling my baby to sleep, no more being wholly needed. None of the most cherished moments that have filled my life with joy these past 11 years. Most days I feel ready for this change, but on the days that I don’t I feel gutted to my core.

Will I remember these years? I tell myself there’s no way I could possibly forget – they’ve been my greatest joy. But memory is a funny, unpredictable force that can be a thief or a gift. I pray I never forget.

I know there is joy ahead, as I watch him become his own person. And there are beauties in the next season I will discover along the way. But for now Zach turning 10 months old makes me grieve a little. I just love him & wish he could stay my baby forever.

I am still nursing Z. I was waking him up to feed him every morning at 5 AM because I couldn’t let that slot go. I love starting my day with cozy nursing baby snuggles so much that I just couldn’t stop.

But he was always half asleep and I knew he didn’t need that feeding anymore. So towards the end of this month I dropped the feeding and I can’t say that I love it. I know most would find the freedom to sleep in past 5 AM a welcome accomplishment, but I don’t care about sleep. I just love those snuggles.

It was the right choice though, because intellectually I know he can’t actually stay my baby forever, no matter how much I may wish it could be true.

But now he nurses at 8 AM, 12 PM, 5 PM and 8 PM. I can feel my supply dwindling and I see the end of this season on the horizon, but I can see myself nursing him if my supply is even remotely present for a while still. My motivation for weaning my other kids was so that my cycle would return and we could have another baby. But since that won’t be happening this time around I will likely nurse him a lot longer than the others.

Date with Mara

We talk all the time about how important it is to have on-on-one time with the kids. We love our dates. This month it was my turn to take Mara out. She wanted to go to Alpha Coffee and then to Target.

If I’m being honest, this date wasn’t very much fun (for mom haha). Apparently she had been scheming in her mind that I would buy her an expensive toy if I took her to target – I’m not sure where or how she got that idea, but lo and behold it was in her little brain. So she rushed through our coffee date (she kept shaking my cup and asking me if I was done hahaha) and then pulled me quickly to the toy aisle.

I had to explain to her that dates aren’t for buying toys, they’re for spending time together. But she’s 4 and who knows how much sunk in. I told her I was hoping to buy her some things she needed during our special time together like new shoes for winter. I did let her get a lip gloss and a cheap locket as special little mommy-daughter mementos of the date – but not the $60 Frozen barbie set she had apparently seen before and wanted haha.

While I’m glad we went it was more of a “learning” date than anything. From now on I’ll be sure to take her to experiences rather than stores! LOL!


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. We always start the day running a 5K (a tradition I’ve been doing for 17 years now). This year the kids did ok – but it was cold and while they run cross country, running in 19 degree weather is different than 50!

We get coffee on the way home and then drink it while the kids watch the Macy’s parade on TV (we literally have an antenna that we bought to set up only on Thanksgiving for the sole purpose of watching the parade) and Ritch and I get the turkey in the oven.

This year we had some of our closest friends over to celebrate. I feel so blessed to have a tribe of people here that we get to do life with. We enjoyed spending time with our friends while our kids ran off and played all day long.

I prayed for years after we moved here for God to give us friends that felt like family – and I am so incredibly grateful for the way he has abundantly answered that prayer.

Here are all my little turkeys after a day of celebrating. I’m not sure what was fuller that night, my heart or my belly! 🙂

Family Photos

Our favorite photographer Brooke Steinicke knocked it out of the park this time with our family photos. She has been photographing our family for 8 years and every time she does I am blown away.

I cherish the photos Brooke takes and the way she captures everyone’s unique personality is truly magical. Here are some of my favorites of the kids:

Now that I have a second boy she took brother/sister photos! Look at these sweet sisters…

…and my handsome boys!

Decorating for Christmas

We always decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. We keep it pretty simple so it’s not an overwhelming amount of work or clutter (not my style). This is Zach’s first Christmas so I had to document his first Christmas tree sighting!

Gabe building!

Gabe has said he wants to be a ” builder” since he first learned to talk. I’ve been trying to fan that passion into a flame in small ways. One of which is letting him assemble furniture without any help!

He likes to do it without me in the room and then surprise me with the end result. He did an amazing job on this high chair, don’t you think?!

Things I’m Loving

  • This high chair. I’ve been eyeing it since Keilah was born but am very sentimental about my other high chair since all 6 of my kids have used it. Well, we bought a house in the mountains this month (gasp, just sneaking that in here for those who read my posts thoroughly hehe) and I was able to take my other chair up there and get this new one for our home. I love that it can pull up to the table and he can sit in it for years to come as part of the family.
  • Silicone baking mats. These are a must-have for holiday baking this year! I love them so much more than parchment paper!
  • Toast tongs. I had no idea these were a thing until I visited my sister in August. She got me a pair for my birthday and we use them every day. She is the best giver – she also gave me pizza scissors years ago that we still use for everything.


Here are some of our favorite recipes that we’ve made in November. I made many from this Best Thanksgiving Recipes list!


One of our November Sunday Selfies! 😉

Little miss thang on our date wearing daddy’s sunglasses.

My little goofy girl. Coral might be her color!

Matchy matchy after church one Sunday.

Baby in a basket!

Keilah in the stroller during the Thanksgiving Day 5k – it was 20 degrees outside!

And Z wearing K’s old snowsuit – white is gender neutral right? haha little winter prince.

14 years with a lifetime left to go.

Now onto individual shots of the kids.

And ending it all with one of my favorite photos of all time. Keilah snuggling with Ritch as he prays for the kids before bedtime.

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  1. That last picture is absolutely precious! It is encouraging to see you and your husband raising up children to know and serve Jesus. Blessings to your sweet family!