Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Enna: 14 months


My girl, you are the life of the party around here. We enjoy you so much. Every single day just gets better with you.

You started walking this month and haven't stopped going since. Once you decided that you wanted to walk, you were determined to see it happen and did not give up until you were cruising around like it was second nature.

You are a ball of energy. You can go for hours on end without stopping. Napping is take or leave it with you sometimes, but when we are home you definitely love your bed.

You point and shake your little finger at everything you want. You have also started throwing fits when you don't get your way. You dramatically cry and wail until you realize that no one is coming to your rescue and you forget about it.

You love music, babies, your sibling's toys, eating snacks ("na"), walking around with a bottle, screaming at the top of your lungs, giving hugs, and sucking your thumb.

You are super affectionate. You love to give hugs to your brother and sister on your terms, but do not want to be squeezed too much by them. You always reach out to the other kids in the church nursery and say a sweet little "ahhh" as you put your arms around them. It is very sweet!

You love your Daddy and get so excited to see him. You ask for him when you wake in the middle of the night and you first thing in the morning. When you see your Daddy play during worship at church you do this laugh/cry. It is like you are nervous about him being on stage and it upsets you, but at the same time you really want to hear the music. It is precious!

I am so glad that you joined our lives and grateful for all the fun you bring.



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Nora's Birthday Tea

For Nora's 4th birthday we had a small little tea party with just a few friends (2 from church and 2 from our neighborhood).

It was by far the easiest birthday party I have planned to date. Girl parties are so much easier for me than boy ones! However, I was still running around last minute trying to get things together.

First off, I found an easy template on Pinterest for a teapot and cut some invitations out from some scrapbooking paper I had on hand. It was simple and easy even though I was late getting them mailed out.

I decided we would do some crafts and then have our cake and "tea" next. Enna was a great model for the crown craft as we were throwing together the party details early that morning.

The first thing we did was have coloring pages for the girls to work on while we waited for everyone to arrive. The girls were all dressed up-either in dress up clothes or fancy dresses. It was fun to see each unique girl's style in what she picked out to wear.

Then, we made some necklaces with some fun beads I found.

I snapped a couple quick photos of the table set up for the tea.

I had both plastic and china tea cups as options. And the cake was either vanilla or chocolate with raspberry or dark chocolate icing. Every bit of it was delicious!

Our second craft was making crowns out of felt. This was such a super easy project. I cut the crowns out the night before and glued them in double thickness, then we also glued all the ribbon to tie it with. I let the girls decorate them with jewels of their choice.

The finished product!

Nora wore hers for a split second and then wanted it off, but I got a  quick picture of her even though she was rather unwilling.

Four candles!

She was really into turning four and was quite disappointed when she realized her status had not changed to: Grown-Up and Now in Charge of Everybody. She still asks quite regularly who she is in charge of now that she is 4. :)

We finished up the party with some manicures and gift opening. The girls were all so sweet and quiet and everybody had a good time. I was so shocked at how calm it was having a party with girls after only having had boy parties for Aidan where there was constant activity and entertainment needed. I am grateful to celebrate Nora and her 4 years of life and hope to have many more wonderful birthday parties with her. 

Nora: 4 years old

My sweet Nora-girl,

You are a shining beauty with a smile that lights up a room. I love watching the joy that overflows in you.

You are such a creative soul. I never stop being amazed at your imagination and play. You love to play in your own little world and do not like us to watch you when you play and will get mad if we are looking at you or listening to you. You often sing when you are coloring or building things. You make up songs with tunes you know and will keep at it for a long time. I love to hear you sing and hope to continue hearing your sweet voice develop and grow as you mature. 

You love to dance, which thrills my heart in so many ways. You would wear your ballet leotard, tights, and shoes every day if I let you. You are picking up on ballet terms and practice around the house. You just started taking lessons (something you had been talking about for the last year) and it has been the most looked forward to event of each week. You are always asking if every day is Monday or how many days it is until the next Monday.  

You can be shy and quiet in a large group and often don't sing or join in with other kids during church programs. But, at home, you sing at the top of your lungs or do the motions with vigor. You do love to hug other girls though and you often request to hug strangers that are close to your age (especially if they are wearing princess dresses). You always hug all the girls from your ballet class each week and even hugged another girl when she had to leave the library today. You love having friends, but you are always a little apprehensive in new settings. 

You love to dress up like Snow White pretty much every day (I figured out that this was because it is the longest dress you own and you like a dress that comes down to your feet which is why you always want to try on my clothes). You are entirely beyond girly and will only check out books from the library that have some sort of pink or purple color and are about princesses or ballerinas (although you will read your brother's books when you at home). You want to be "fancy" and dress yourself pretty much every day. It is VERY had to convince you to wear other clothing items once you have your mind made up. You have a pretty good sense of style for a 4 year old though and you absolutely refuse to wear pants of any kind, but wear leggings with all your dresses in the winter. 

You are Miss Independent. Unlike your brother, who loves for us to do most things for him, you absolutely can't stand it if we help you with things you were planning to do all by yourself. You have learned quickly to button things and don't give up easily if a task is difficult, but keep at it until you have figured it out. You are highly opinionated about most things, which can be a challenge, but you are also learning at a fast rate (but also at a rate completely determined by you). You will definitely not be taught anything you don't want to learn (such as the letters of the alphabet). :)

You are flexible and go with the flow (as much as can be said for a preschool-aged girl). We can tell that you are going to be the peacemaker in our home. You are an excellent big sister and you love to play with Enna. I can really tell that you are going to be great at including her in your games as she gets older and I can't wait to watch the two of you together!

Nora, you are truly a delight and joy and I am so blessed to be your mom!



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wretched Like Me

Growing up in a family that was heavily involved in Christian ministry, I was pretty much constantly surrounded by Gospel living. I went to a private Christian school within that community and most of my friends were from families also heavily involved in ministry. It was a living, breathing,, disciple building atmosphere. I loved it.

As a child, serving God was easy. I had everything I needed. I had Godly parents to train me, a church to attend, friends who uplifted me, and a great school. It was a pleasure to be a Christ follower. And, I knew that it wasn't the case for everyone. I was naive in a lot of ways, but I had heard my fair share of "sinner" stories. I was always grateful that "I didn't have to be saved from something major" that "I had just always been a Christian." I continued to think this way for many years of my life. Always thanking God that I was never having to be freed from some addiction, rescued from a bad relationship, or in such a low place that God was my last hope. I was something of an "elite" Christian. I had never known an ultimate low. I just always "had God."

It's almost funny to me now, although a little sad. I don't really think I was wrong in my thoughts and behavior. I was truly grateful for God having kept me from spiraling into sin. The only problem was that I just did not have a good sense of how great the Gospel really is. I accepted, believed, and confessed it. I knew that it was the greatest gift, that it was the "good news" that made life worth living. I just did not realize how much I actually needed it until I matured more.

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me

I sang that hymn time and again, believing that I had been saved, but not recognizing my own wretchedness. I had never done anything entirely bad. I sinned for sure, but it was mostly small offenses. It was easy for me to feel forgiven because I didn't see the weight of my sin to be just as horrible and ugly as anyone else's.

I don't know if this is a typical response to sin for kids growing up the way I did. I think it is easy to sometimes fool yourself into thinking that somehow you don't need saving as much as the next guy.

Oh, but how wrong I have been.

Realizing my absolute wretchedness, sinfulness, and separation from God makes me that much more desiring of the Gospel and grace that is offered to me. I have come to see it more and more as I grow older. The person I used to think was "pretty good" is still so needy for God. I am just as needy as the rapist, as the murderer, as the addicted soul. I am no better in my sin. He came to save us all and even if our offenses seem "less" they still are.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

 There is nothing more glorious or glamorous about my "lack of sin." Sinner. That is all. We are all wretched and in need of a Savior.

But this news does not make me feel a sense of foreboding or despair because it is the greatest news of all! A Savior came for ALL and I am just as in need of Him as anybody else. His robes of righteousness cover my sin and make what was once crimson as white as snow. He doesn't hold back or play favorites, He gives this gift freely.

And as if in response to my own thoughts, these same words and ideas jumped out at me again during Day 2 of the She Reads Truth study of Hosea.

The blog post accompanying today's reading was really spot on with my thought processes the last few days.

Here's just a little snippet:

"Being found isn’t as beautiful if you don’t admit you were once lost. Receiving sight isn’t so miraculous if you weren’t once blind. Being a people of His own possession, adopted by a Heavenly and righteous Father, named as daughters of the King Almighty—those things aren’t as incredible if we don’t look full-on at the bad news first. To embrace the gospel-richness of Hosea, we must first embrace that this book is about you and me.
Once we were not His people.
Just like Hosea willingly chose Gomer—even more so—the Lord looked upon us and saw fit to make us His people. This should cause us to marvel at His goodness and give Him praise! Never once did our Father flinch at the plan (after all, it was His to begin with!) to reach out and retrieve us from a life of isolation and rebellion and make us His people."
The first sentence sums it up well for me...."Being found isn't as beautiful if you don't admit you were once lost." I have found that the older I get, the more I see my "lost" ways, my wretched heart, and need for a Savior. And all the more then I can marvel at the beauty of what He has done!

Monday, August 25, 2014

13 months


You are already 13 months old and still are not walking. You are getting better at taking steps and really great at standing up in the middle of the room, but you still plunk down on your little behind after about 3 or 4 steps. You want to get into everything and love to climb stairs so I am just really really ready for you to get this walking thing down. My back is getting tired from bending over and "walking" you everywhere. :)

You are so fun and full of life. You are a loud screamer and full of excitement most of the time. You definitely have your opinions about things and want things just the way you like or else you fling yourself back and throw a monster fit. You are generally pretty laid back about life when you are around other people and do great at church, but when it comes to Mommy, you really let me know what you think.

You are still nursing-about 3-4 times a day and finally sleeping all the way through the night. I am feeling so much better and have even been waking early to get ready and spend time reading my Bible. It's really great! You are easy to leave and don't mind not nursing when I am gone, but you want to nurse whenever I am around.

You love to eat. You eat a lot of hummus (your absolute favorite right now) and sweet potatoes. You also like yogurt, cereal, raisins, cheese, tortillas, sweet potatoes, avocado, and black beans. You still love tea and you are so great at drinking out of a sippy cup.

You love baby dolls and like to sleep with one for naps and night. You also like your blankets a certain way and seem to like lying on your side with the bumper partially folded down like a pillow. You still suck your thumb for comfort and to go to sleep.

You are a little terrified of animals. It is actually quite funny. You are super excited to see them, but if they get too close you freak out and grab me frantically.

You say "mama" and "dada" all the time and are thrilled when Daddy gets home every day. You sure do love  your Daddy.

You are growing and learning new things every day which makes this stage with you really fun even though we have to watch you every second right now. You are super loving to your siblings and give hugs and pat their backs. It is so sweet to watch you develop relationships which each person in our family.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Recap

Our summer ended up being much busier than I had originally expected. We had a few weeks at the beginning where it felt like we were moving from one thing to another with not a lot of breathing room in between.

We attended (and volunteered) at our church's VBS,

during which our living room downstairs flooded,

we went to Lawrence to visit my parents,

we read a lot,

Enna had Roseola,

the kids had swimming lessons for 2 weeks straight,

we went to a skate party,

hung out at the park,

climbed some awesome trees,

played a lot of board games,

swam a lot (usually while Enna napped),

dressed up like cows,

practiced sharing our toys,

worked on self-feeding,

went to Deanna Rose,

celebrated Enna's first birthday,

and went to Silver Dollar City.

It was a fun summer, but I'm glad that we are getting back in the swing of things with school. I am craving a good routine and schedule for our family (still working on that one).

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Summer Family Vacation 2014

We decided to take a mini vacation to Branson with my parents and had a really great time. We spent 3 days in a row at Silver Dollar City which was a lot of fun, but also super tiring. Aidan and Nora were at such great ages for the park and while it was challenging with a baby, it was still very worth it.

We tried for a family pic, but getting five people to look at the camera at the same time is nearly impossible. This was day 3 at the park, and we were a little weary, but ready for some more fun.

Our first night there, we took a walk down to the lake near where we were staying. Enna was such a trooper during the whole trip. She spent a lot of time in the stroller, but was pretty happy even when she had to nap on the go. She is officially the fist baby I've had that actually napped in the stroller.

These two sillies waiting for a ride. The park was pretty crowded even though we went during the week, so there was a lot of waiting in lines. They did great and were pretty patient.

This girl wanted to ride with her Daddy. She was super brave though and she had a great time on most of the rides.

We love the Lost River ride and Nora was nervous about getting wet (which she didn't get wet at all this first time). 

Aidan was super excited about getting wet and ended up getting most of the water this time.

However, 2nd time we tried the ride, Nora ended up getting more soaked than I had ever seen. It was kinda like we threw her in the water. She was wet from head to toe! She thought it was funny thankfully and we changed her clothes right after.

Before we headed home, we spent the morning at a mini golf place that had a dinosaur theme. These pictures had me laughing. This was the first day it was legitimately hot. We had such nice weather for July and it was such a blessing.

On the drive home, everyone was tired, especially our littlest sweetheart. She slept for at least half the trip which was a blessing.