Toddler Girl: 15 Months

3/31/2015 

My toddler is now 15 months old. 
Each day holds such fun and discovery at this stage!


This girl picks up on everything. She's watched me dry dishes once in a while. One day she found a towel and a bowl and started drying that bowl like a pro! 


She's started using a fork and a spoon while eating. She does well with them both now.


This girl is a fashionista. She loves to have "pretties" in her hair and to drape anything (cloth napkin, towel, scarf, daddy's socks, etc) around her shoulders or on her head. I didn't get a shot of her with this scarf on, but she was about to put it on her head and laugh. 
Such fun she has!


She enjoyed an enormous cucumber one day recently, walking all around the house with it. She finished the entire thing! She's a great eater in general.



Since this little miss started being mobile, we've kept doors closed throughout the house. This has kept her out of the bathroom and bedrooms, including her own bedroom. Recently, I've begun to let her explore her room more. She loves to check it out, but the best part is opening and closing the door. 


Brother enjoys looking at books with little sister. He is a beginner reader, so it's fun for me to watch him try to read a book to her. Unfortunately, her attention span is about 2 pages!

Thank you, Lord, for the joy and delight children bring into our lives! 

Pregnancy Update: Week 14

3/30/2015 

Pregnancy Update: 14 weeks along 

We have made it through the first trimester of pregnancy! This is especially encouraging, because the chances of miscarriage lower dramatically after the first trimester. Yeah!

Highlights of this week: 

1) I was able to hear baby's heartbeat for the first time. There's nothing as reassuring to this mama's ears as that beautiful swoosh-swoosh-swoosh sound!

2) The morning sickness is easing up! I feel less queasy. I'm also sleeping better at night and having a little more pep during the day. These are all good signs of getting through that first trimester and into the second trimester. 

How thankful I am for the privilege of carrying this little one! Thank you, God!

Pregnancy Update: Week 13

3/23/2015 


Pregnancy update: 13 weeks along 

My morning sickness remains. I have figured out, though, that if I never let my stomach get empty, I feel better. So I eat little bits more often and it helps. Yeah!

I really liked the above quote, especially during these weeks of morning sickness. I know how easily it would be to wish away these weeks... but instead I choose to cherish them. Being pregnant is a privilege - one I've been denied in the past. Because of that, my perspective is different and I cherish each day, week and month that I am able to house a miracle inside my body! 

I still feel more tired than normal. I am often awake for an hour or two in the middle of the night. One night this week there was a three-hour stretch, where I got up and did dishes, ate a snack and read a book for an hour. 

Next week is my second routine OB appointment. Hopefully we'll be able to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time. 

We've come up with the in-utero name Inkling for this little one. We love you tons already, Inkling!

Family Photo Friday

3/20/2015  

Here's a sneak peek into our week. 


My hubby and youngest daughter were wearing pretty pastel colors to church on Sunday. Bring on spring! 


My son lost his other front tooth this week so he has a new smile to show off.


Here's my oldest and my youngest, having fun together. Oh how the little one loves horsey rides these days.


My oldest daughter recently discovered string games like Cat's Cradle. Here she's showing Cat Whiskers.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Middle Child

3/16/2015 


My son. My middle child.

Ever since the birth of my now 15-month-old girl, I've struggled with the feeling that my son is slipping through the cracks. 

My oldest daughter knows how to speak up for what she wants/needs and does so easily. She's a preteen girl and words come easily to her. She knows how to get my attention pretty quickly.

And my baby girl knows how to speak up for what she wants/needs... not with words, but with cries and fits. She makes her needs known and she's not very patient about waiting for them to be fulfilled! She too knows how to get my attention. She's a squeaky wheel...


And that leaves my son. He's 7 now. He's a boy. He's physical, not social. He doesn't like to "do school" (at least not the "book work" part of it). He likes to play. He's ok by himself for long periods of time. He will gladly run off to his room and lose himself in Lego creations for hours. If I don't make it a point to call him back to where I am, to interact with him, to include him, he falls through the cracks. 

When my toddler was just born, my son dealt with some anger and aggression issues. Those have faded with time and he's adjusted well to having a little sister around. But, perhaps part of that adjustment has been him learning that he can slip away and be unseen and un-noticed. I fear that he may also then feel unwanted or un-needed. 

Since realizing this recently, I am making a greater effort to interact with my son. I'm saying "not now" less often and coming immediately when he wants to show me something. Instead of "maybe later," I drop what I'm doing and make him a priority whenever possible. I am making school with him a greater priority - not letting it slide as much as I have in the past. 

Each birth-order position has its advantages and disadvantages. Being a middle child seems to be the hardest spot, though. And I certainly don't want my boy to fall through the cracks or to feel unwanted in our family. So even though he's not a squeaky wheel, he has needs that must be met. I am thankful that for these insights and a chance to correct my course and spend a little more focused time on my middle child. He's precious to me! 

Pregnancy Update: Week 11

3/9/15


Pregnancy Update: 11 weeks along

I am feeling a lot of morning sickness (which, by the way, is misnamed as it can last ALL DAY LONG). No actual vomiting but just feeling queasy a lot. 

I am tired. Whenever I can make it happen, I take a nap in the afternoon while my toddler naps. 

I have had my first doctor appointment to confirm the pregnancy and do routine bloodwork. 

Toddler Girl: 14 Months

2/26/15 

My "baby" girl is already a toddler, 14 months old. Here are a few snapshots that give a peek into life these days. 


All smiles. And teeth. She's got plenty of teeth, with a new one popping up every two weeks for the last few months. Constant teething.



My son always loved to climb into laundry baskets. Now my toddler is following in his footsteps. But laundry baskets are much more fun to use as stools...


So she turns the basket upside-down and uses it to climb onto the couch, the piano bench, etc.  She seems to be more of a climber than I recall my other kids being. We'll see if this continues... and if she ends up being the first with a broken bone! 


More climbing - on a stool, then a kid-sized chair, to be able to reach snacks on the kitchen counter.


This girl loves to wear a "pretty" in her hair. I hope that continues. This picture is blurry, but you can see the pretty pink headband and button-bow in her hair.


Reading a book with big sister. She loves books. "Book" was one of her first words, right after Mama and Dada.

Never a dull moment in our house, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Days are full of activity but also full of blessing and joy. 

Book Review: How to Solve Your People Problems

2/24/2015 



How to Solve Your People Problems by Dr. Alan Godwin

My mother recommended this book to me. I read a lot of fiction, but not so many self-help type books. But she found this book to be helpful in dealing with some difficult relationships and thought I might learn from it as well. 

And learn from it I did. The book is divided into three main sections. First, there's a bit of practical information on conflict resolution. I didn't learn much new here, but the reminder was good and laid the groundwork for where the author was heading. The second section describes how to put those conflict resolution principles into practice with reasonable people. The author is making a distinction between reasonable and unreasonable people (whom he deals with in the third section). 

This differentiation was new to me. To examine the way that someone handles life and conflict and thus see their behavior as reasonable or unreasonable and then to be able to respond accordingly... what a concept! I learned a lot from these 2nd and 3rd sections of the book. I re-examined my own tendencies towards reasonable or unreasonable responses. But most significantly, the book gave practical tools for dealing with others in each camp.

I have always been one to want to talk things out. I have always believed that if we could just talk long enough, go deep enough, get to the heart of the matter, we could reach a compromise or an agreement. However, this book asserts that there are times when dealing with unreasonable people when talking will only make things worse. Less talking, more action is needed. That action may look like boundaries, like avoiding discussions on hot topics, or it may look like walking away from the situation when things start to escalate. 

I have already recommended this book to a few friends who have their own difficult relationships. 

I found it to be a quick read but very insightful and eye-opening, especially if you are in the midst of a relationship struggle and are completely unsure how to get out of it! 

Two thumbs up for How to Solve Your People Problems!

More to Love

2/14/2015


A Special Valentine Message 


This is a day set aside to think about those we love.
We are excited to announce that we will have a new someone to love in our family coming this fall. 


We are expecting a baby in September. 
We are all super excited!


Thanks be to God, the Giver of Life. 

Taxes and Happiness

2/10/2015 



It's that time of year again - tax season! We have very simple taxes which I can prepare myself and file online. I was working on this a few days ago and wanted to share these few reflections. 

Our family had a rough year in 2014, financially. 
My husband was under-employed, working only a part-time job for 4 months last year. Then he was unemployed for another 6 weeks. Then he got a great job that he really enjoys and pays a good wage. Early in the year, I stepped down from my very part-time job at our church, as it was too much to handle with our new baby. So, as you can imagine, there was a large financial toll to all these job transitions, resulting in much less income in 2014 than in previous years.

HOWEVER... as I looked back over the year, my heart welled up in thankfulness. God completely provided for our needs. We never were late paying bills, even the large medical ones for our baby girl's birth/delivery. We didn't lose our house - didn't even come close to that! God took care of us. I praise Him for His faithfulness to us! 

Secondly, I was reminded that money doesn't buy happiness. While our year from a financial perspective was dismal, our family enjoyed a wonderful year. We all loved having a baby in our home again. What delight and joy and laughter a baby brings! While we may not have taken a family vacation in 2014 or made any big purchases, we were happy. We were together. We were loving life as we shared it together as a family. We enjoyed a simpler season of life together and it was beautiful. 

"There is a time for everything; a season for every activity under heaven." There is a time to spend and a time to save. Yet God is the Provider and Giver of Good Gifts no matter what season you find yourself in. This is the wonderful truth He has shown to me this week. Thank you, God!

Snow Fun

2/6/2015 
 


Winter has finally arrived!
 In fact we had about 18 inches of snow in 24 hours early last week. I love that... when we can stay inside the warm house and watch it fall. 




My kids have enjoyed playing in the snow almost daily. Even shoveling snow is fun, when you've been waiting for snow to finally come! Daddy helped the kids build a snow fort.

Here's my oldest daughter pulling baby girl on her sled. Oh, how she loved this and squealed in delight!



Hooray for snow fun!  

Serving the Lord with Gladness

1/21/2015 

Psalm 100 has always been a favorite of mine. 

This Psalm starts with a wonderful call to worship.

"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before Him with joyful singing." 

Notice the words joyfully, gladness and joyful. This is not a call to serve God begrudgingly or with bitterness. They have absolutely no place. Instead, we serve our God with joyful hearts, with gladness and with happy singing. I love that! 

For whatever reason, I almost always have a song in my heart. Usually it's an upbeat, joyful praise song. Sometimes I remember the words, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I make up songs and make up words to go with them. To me, a joyful heart equates to a happy, singing heart. 

The Psalm continues. "Know that the Lord Himself is God. It is He who made us and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture." 

This section is a great reminder of God's bigness, how He is wholly other than us. He is the Creator God. He is the Sustaining God. He alone is God. 

Then the Psalm concludes, back where it began - with praise! 

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to the Lord, bless His name. For the Lord is good. His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations."

What a beautiful Psalm. What a beautiful reminder of God's part in this world - faithfulness, lovingkindness, goodness- and our part - thankfulness to Him, serving Him with gladness. He is so worthy! 

Serve Him with gladness today in whatever you do! 

Girls Getaway Weekend

1/19/2015 


My 11-year-old daughter and I just enjoyed a great girls getaway weekend together! 

This was part Christmas gift and part educational opportunity. At Christmas, I gave her a paper that explained that in January, she and I would enjoy a girls getaway weekend. We would stay at a hotel with a pool. We would get manicures and pedicures. We would eat out. We would relax and just hang out together. 

And that is what we did. 


However, I also had a bit of a hidden agenda. I had purchased Passport to Purity - a boxed kit that contains CDs, a parent guide and a "travel guide" for your preteen, all published by Family Life Today / Dennis and Barbara Rainey. This is a wonderful resource to begin a discussion with your preteen about the birds and the bees, all the changes they can expect the next few years, and to set some standards about dating. 

I admit that 11 seems young, as my girl isn't even thinking anything about boys or dating or the like. And yet, that is kind of the point - to give her a heads up before the changes take place, before her emotions are out of control and before her sexual drive awakens.

So we stayed at a nearby hotel with a pool, while Dad played Mr. Mom with the other two kids at home. We ate at her favorite restaurants. We enjoys manis / pedis for the first time ever (for her). We relaxed and listened to the CD sessions, did the object lessons / projects that they suggest and had some good discussions on this topic. 

I think she is 100% more prepared for her teen years now. And we are able to have open dialog about a sensitive topic, which I hope can continue. 

Thank you, Passport to Purity, for providing the resources we needed to make this a success in every way. 

Antique Barbie Kitchen Set

1/6/2015 



My mom is in her early 60s. When she was young, she received a Barbie Kitchen Set as a gift. She has kept it through the years and brings it out on occasion.

It is so neat! There is nothing like it on the market even today, which makes it all that much more special as it was made 50+ years ago. There are four pieces - a refrigerator (that opens and has play food inside), an oven (with a door that opens, and a turkey on a turning spit), a dishwasher (with real water that runs through it), and a sink (also with real water that runs out the faucet).  


While we visited over Christmas, she showed this set to my children for the first time. So fun to play with toys that Grandma played with those many years ago. 

Baby Girl Fun

1/2/2015 


Here are a few random fun shots of baby girl. 


Oh, how she loved playing with a vacuum popper at Grandma's house. She's taking her first shaky steps now, going a little further and gaining confidence each day.


She eats everything offered her, which is wonderful. 
Peppers, onions, meats...she's not picky at all. 
Here she was greatly enjoying some mashed potatoes.


When packing for our trip to Wisconsin for Christmas, 
this little one fit right in the luggage. 


Babies always love to play in big empty boxes. 
She is no exception.



She was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the Christmas gifts at this celebration. 

We all are loving having this little lady in our family. She stole our hearts long ago, but we continue to delight her presence each day. Watching her giggle as she discovers new things, seeing her understanding develop as she learns more words, experiencing her first unsteady steps around the house, playing peek a boo... all bring us joy and remind us of that innocent wonderment of childhood. What a delight! 

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

12/25/2014 


Happy birthday, Jesus!

There is no other whose birth is celebrated worldwide 2000 years later. There is no other whose birth is celebrated by hundreds of songs written just for the occasion. 

This baby made the angels sing. 
This baby made a new star shine in the sky.
This baby is God's own Son. 
This baby is Jesus! 

Merry Christmas to one and all! 
And Happy Birthday, Jesus! 
How glad we are to celebrate YOU!

Merry Christmas!

12/24/2014 





Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Birthdays Galore

12/23/2014

With my son turning 7 in early December and then my daughter turning 1 in mid-December, we've been celebrating a lot this month! 



Here is my boy waiting as patiently as a 7-year-old can to open his gifts! His main gift was a plasma car, which has been a huge hit! 


Even my 11-year-old girl can ride on it. She will hold baby girl on her "lap" and ride it. They both love it!



He also received a GI JOE action figure from Grandma in Wisconsin. Here we were skyping with Grandma so she could watch him open it.




Here is baby girl on her birthday, receiving some gifts from Grandma in Wisconsin and opening them via Skype. A light-up push toy, a beautiful dress and lots of smiles. We love Skype... use it regularly to talk with Grandma so she can actually see the kids too. 


Happy birthday to these special kiddos! 

My hubby, my oldest daughter and I all have summer birthdays, which we celebrate in one big birthday bash. So I'm glad that these two kids have close birthdays too. We put up the birthday banner in early December and just leave it up for the whole month, as we prepare for Jesus' birthday at Christmastime as the ultimate birthday celebration!