Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Holidays & life happenings

Much needed/overdue family update:

Brooklyn is 1.5 years old! She is silly, loving, snuggly, wiggly, stubborn, and ambitious. She is shy whenever she enters a new place or meets new people but warms up after a bit.
She LOVES her sister, and they play so well together most of the time. She hugs KJ 1,500 times a day and when she wakes up from her nap around 12:30 she is so anxious to go pick up sister from school.

Kennedy climbs into her crib in the mornings and they snuggle and giggle. I am SO grateful to see their love for each other. Brooklyn is talking more and more. At times I hear her say a full sentence as clear as day, and other times I understand 1-2 words of her babbling, but really it gets better each day. it is so much fun to hear her thoughts and opinions. She understands WAY more than I give her credit for and I am amazed at her ability to follow directions. She has occasional meltdowns when I try to take away her paci, lovey, or her food. She hates when I try and wipe her face or her nose and is usually too squirmy to sit and read more than 2 pages of a book with me. Before nap time or bed time, though, she will sit and rock with me as I sing to her. I LOVE that time together.
She takes one 2-hour nap around 10:30/11 and sleeps 7pm-7am. She is obviously a great eater! We are planning to move her upstairs to share a room with her sister in a few months, considering we will be needing her crib for the baby come June! It's funny because we put KJ in her own room in a twin bed with a railing at 18 months.
Brooklyn is 19 months and I just can't imagine putting her in her own bed right now.  She is still my baby! But KJ is dying to share a room with her.

Speaking of KJ, she is 3.5 years old right now and still SUCH a sweetie. She never stops talking, always wants to be around people, and NEVER wants to sleep! She literally cries when we leave her room at night saying, "I'm LONELY! Please sleep in here with me." Such a drama queen.
I'm a little afraid that when I put Brooklyn in her room that she will just keep her awake at night or wake up early and just start talking. She HAS been having a hard time sleeping lately and it I have no idea what's going on. But she wakes up multiple times a night, and gets up every morning around 5:45 and starts playing in her room. She hasn't napped since turning 3 (maybe 4 times) and I don't know how she keeps going with that much energy.

 She loves going to school 3 days a week and is learning her letters and numbers. She loves to come home and 'play school'. She calls everyone her best friend after playing with them for like, 5 minutes, but I love that she loves so easily.
She adores her older girl cousins who she gets to see at holidays, and loved getting to spend fall break in Kansas with my sister's 3 boys, who are joined us for Thanksgiving. She was SO EXCITED that they were staying the night at our house!
 I love her enthusiasm for life. She is a very grateful kid, and makes it really fun to buy things for her or surprise her. I can't wait for Christmas with my two sweeties! I WILL say the past 2 months I have seen a side of her that has sent me over the edge. Flat out rude, sassy, and disobedient, which she really wasn't before. She drew on her bedroom wall yesterday, and on her new bed. She will tear out pages of books and make a complete mess when she should be going to bed. I have lost my temper more than ever and daily need God's help with patience and self control! I love my girls so much and want to be firm, calm and consistent In discipline yet full of grace!

Kent and I are doing well. I have been super sick the past 3 months and definitely did the bare minimum to survive. I think I'm on the upswing being through the first trimester, but we have also all had continual colds and sickness that have worn us out. Kent has been super busy with work and training sports teams, lots of meetings and church things. How he handles the stress of all the things on his plate is beyond me, but he does such a great job and it's neat to see how God is using all his gifts and passions. We just bought a mini-van to prepare for baby #3 and although I cringe looking at it and miss my beautiful black ford edge, it is a great car that we are so grateful to have for our growing family.
We are all looking forward to two weeks off work for Christmas break! (Best perk of teaching!) Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sister love




It has definitely been awhile since I've taken the time to write. I feel like I have been in a weird fog the past couple months where any down time I get (when both girls are actually sleeping or preoccupied) I am trying to rest and recover to make it through the day. The days have been LOOONG this summer and yet I cannot believe it's August and time for another school year!


Kent has been renovating our master bathroom (he has never done anything like this before and is figuring it out as he goes. It looks AMAZING. I had no idea he could do something like this! I'll post pics in a couple weeks!), so whenever he is not training kids at school, he is working on that. I've been trying to keep the girls busy, but this Memphis heat just seems to suck the life out of me! We have been to the zoo a lot, hanging with friends, going to the pool at Lifetime or our backyard, or just running errands to get out of the house.

Brooklyn is now 15 mo and Kennedy just turned 3! And I am more tired now then I have ever been! (And no, I am not pregnant!)

So let's talk about having a 3 year old. WHAT just happened? At 2 years old, I still felt like I had 2 babies. KJ was still mispronouncing all kinds of words, asking to be held, needing mom for security in new situations and was pretty obedient, if not repentant after being naughty. She wanted to be held. She was a great sleeper, she didn't question my instructions, and she let me choose her clothes! Suddenly, my little drama queen is miss independent, using vocabulary I didn't know she had, questioning everything, understand way too much, pushing the limits and testing my patience at all times! Nothing is simple or easy. It's a production and a process. She asks 'why' 1,9856 times a day. She suddenly refuses to nap. She wants to stay up late (will NOT stay in bed) and then still gets up at 6:30 every morning. And for this really impatient, efficient, sleep loving mama who needs alone time to recharge, I have been tested every waking moment. Most days I completely fail at patiently correcting, encouraging, and showing her Christ.


And yet, my now-3-year old is also a real friend. She is so attentive to people's feelings and emotions. She is quick to say sorry and ask for forgiveness. She is quick to forgive me when I overreact. She wants to be a helper and wants to learn to do things for herself. She gives Brooklyn 'sister love', snuggling with her and making her laugh constantly.  She tries to share (almost) everything she has with someone else (unless it's her sister). She loves to pretend and use her imagination (we are in an obsessive princess stage and she won't stop talking about going to the Disney castle to see them even though I have never mentioned this actually happening. She daily asks "Should I wear this to the castle? Will Elsa like this sticker when I give it to her at the castle?  I will show Belle this picture I colored when we go to the castle. Will the beast be at the castle, because he's scary..."  This is sporadic conversation throughout every single day these days!). She makes up her own words for things, 'If you do that, I will CLOAK you!' ?? She loves to be silly and goofy, loves to dress up, and is becoming much more brave (she took swim lessons for a week this summer and is finally ok with going underwater!)  KJ remembers to pray for people she heard were sick or sad and asks how they are doing repeatedly. She compliments every person who walks in our door about...something. "I like your....socks. They are very white!".  She is a lover of people, and I LOVE this about her.
My 94 year old grandmother lives here in memphis now every other month staying with my parents! What a blessing!
Not only that, but she actually understands the gospel (as much as a 3 year old can!)- that Jesus is God's son sent to earth to save us; that he lived and died on the cross to take away our sins, paying the punishment we deserved; and that only those who confess their sins and trust in him can go heaven.
For the last few months there have been lots of questions about our sins, about getting to heaven, about who will be in heaven and what happens after we die. She was literally giddy when it clicked in her mind that our sins can be taken away if we ask Jesus, that He took our punishment and now God won't punish us for our sins. I mean, her excitement about that was SO precious, I will NEVER forget it. "He took away my sins!?? So I can go to heaven?!"  I know she could care less about God, reading the Bible and praying at times. Our nightly family devotions have been a flop this summer and I have failed at being consistent with our nightly routine. But seeds are being planted and I pray that she will grow up experiencing the realness of God for herself, and knowing the JOY of her salvation!

Kennedy wanted a mermaid party this year, so we did an 'under the sea' theme and had a Saturday mid-morning party at our house with little swimming pools, slides, sprinklers, and bubbles out in our backyard. She had a blast of course with all her friends at our house and it was really a fun party.

She will start up school again August 18th in a pre-K class at BCS 3 days a week. I think she will absolutely love the social aspect and am so thankful for a great place for her to go to learn new things and interact with others! SO thankful.

And then there is my little 15 month old, who has definitely chunked up and grown up since her birthday a few months ago. Brooklyn is learning new words almost daily and we are starting to understand much more of her once-foreign language. She says, "hiiiiii!" "want food", "I hungry""I seeeee" (I want to see), "shooooes", sock, cheese, mama, da da, play, sleep, puppy, sissy, hi, bubbye, night night, excuse me, thank you, and up. She repeats words she hears KJ say and they will talk back and forth in their car seats when we are driving around. She still won't sit through reading a book with me but wants to join KJ and I whenever we are reading. She loves my phone and pretending to talk to people. Whenever I am on it, she tries to grab it and says, "I seeeeee". She loves her dolls, changing their diapers, laying them down to sleep and pushing them in the stroller. She loves to accessorize with her necklaces, hats, and purses. She tries to put on her own shoes or socks and brush her teeth. She loves to sit in her own little chair or climb on things. She is most excited when we go in to get her in the morning and then again when she greets her sister. She gives sweet kisses to her family and high fives to our friends.

Her personality is still a little shy and observant when we are in a new place or around new people. She will cling to mommy for the first 10 minutes, then start to explore and interact with others. (She is okay when I drop her at the gym nursery, especially when sister is with her, but sometimes gets really upset when I drop her at the church nursery.)  If she doesn't know you, she seems grumpy and withdrawn. She has an awesome stink face.

Once she is used to you, she loves to play with you and is very smiley. She loves music and is always bobbing along to whatever song she hears. She loves to sing the alphabet song and Jesus loves me. She loves to eat and the only time she will get really upset with me is if I take her food away or tell her she can't eat something. She eats almost everything but meat and certain vegetables and loves to experiment with a spoon, trying to feed herself. (Kent cannot handle watching her get super messy, he has to walk away haha!). She grabs her changing mat and a clean diaper when she has pooped and brings it to me to change her!

She takes 2 great naps a day, around 9am and 12:30/1pm and is ready for bed by 7pm every night. She still sleeps with a paci and sound machine and goes RIGHT down for naps and bed. (Thankful I have ONE great sleeper right now!) I'm thinking we will try making it one nap next month when KJ starts school, but I hate to cut short a good thing. She does have some stubbornness to her and I have already had to spank her for disobeying and be the referee between her and Kennedy over toys. But she is such a sweet heart, she's my little snuggler and is such an easy baby (now that we are past the year mark!).

Kent and I love our sweet girls and are so so thankful to be their parents. It is so fun to see these two sisters grow up and become friends!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Training sucks

So much is going through my head regarding the news in our nation lately. I am not going to talk about that at the moment but what God has been teaching me right now. Hope it encourages you and refocuses your heart and mind as well.

I started reading through the T books lately just for a change...I and II Thessalonians, I and II Timothy and Titus. I started noticing a theme stemming from a single verse. The theme is godliness.

I Timothy 4:7 says "Have nothing to do with godless myths...rather TRAIN YOURSELF TO BE GODLY."

Because training is a  serious thing that requires much thought, effort and devotion, I just sat in this verse and meditated on it a bit. After digging deeper, I wanted to share what I found (more for my own sake than for your yours).

It was encouraging to me in a new way that godliness isn't something we are just expected to have when we give our lives to Christ.  It isn't just naturally the new way we now live when we become Christians. The bible says we have to TRAIN ourselves to be godly; meaning that unless we do this, we will live in an ungodly way. Unless we are committed to it and diligent in it, it won't happen. When I was in Junior High,  I remember a big thing was the symbol of the Christian fish, the ichthys. I didn't understand all it meant but remember a T-shirt that showed a school of fish going the same direction, and the ichthys fish going the opposite way. It said, "Go against the Flow".
Swimming upstream is hard work. Being counter-cultural is really hard. It can feel lonely and exhausting. It is so much easier to give up, to just accept the standards of our culture, to stop trying to live according to God's word. But being godly isn't supposed to be easy (glad it's not just me!)

I don't like discipline. I don't like rules and being forced to do things or say no to things I like. But as I read this scripture, I was reminded the benefits of it. I remembered that all training is REALLY hard but produces something so great! To put it short, it sucks, but it's worth it!  Especially at the beginning, training is awful and painful. But after it becomes your daily habit, your body starts to crave it. We realize that we need discipline. We need training. We need self control.

Hebrews 12:11 says it best. "No discipline is pleasant at the time, but painful. But it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

Our society doesn't have much to say for godliness these days. People are much more concerned with not offending others than being a godly person. They are more concerned about being happy than being godly. It seems to be the end goal in life.  That's why I felt like I really needed to remind myself of the truth, of my purpose and 'end goal'. It's not happiness. It's not following my own passions and desires. It's godliness, Christ-likeness. Instead of me being all worked up over things I can't control going on around me, I needed to fill my mind with truth of what I should be pursuing.

I read so much about godliness as I continued reading through I and II Timothy and I and II Thessalonians.  Even in Titus! You should start noticing the word godliness as you read through scripture, because although it isn't easy, it's of such great worth! Here are a few things I learned regarding the topic of godliness in these couple books.

1. (First I found that I Timothy 3:16 says that "Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great..." So if it's a bit of a mystery to you, you aren't alone.)

2. Next we see the incredible value of it! I Tim 4:8 "godliness has value for ALL things, holding promise for the present life and the life to come."

3. It is a fight to be godly. 2 Tim 6:12 "Fight the good fight of faith."

4. "Godliness with contentment is GREAT GAIN." (I Tim 6:6) Being content with what we have, not all caught up in pursuing what we don't have brings great gain.

5. We have to pursue godliness. It doesn't just happen. I Tim 6:11 "Flee from (the love of money) and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness."

6. Lastly, 2 Timothy 3:12 says that the godly will be persecuted. "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Awesome. At least we are in it together. It's coming!

So we should expect persecution, realize it will be a fight, know it will be unpleasant at times, but be encouraged in that it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace and is of great gain. It will be worth it!


Here is what a godly person looks like, in case you needed a reminder. (This is only from 1 Timothy...much more all throughout scripture obviously)
A godly person
1.4 has solid doctrine, doesn't quarrel
1.5 has a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith
2.1 intercedes for our kings and leaders
2.9 godly women dress modestly
2.11 does good deeds, submits to authority
3.3 is not a lover of money; has a good reputation with outsiders
4.12 sets an example in their speech, life, love, purity and faith
4.16 watches their life and doctrine closely and perseveres in them (no matter who around them compromises)
5.4 helps those in need
6.11 flees from the love of money
6.17 doesn't put their hope in wealth but in God's rich provision

I'll leave you with this. Though being godly is a bit of a mystery, we know that it's by God's grace that we can pursue it and grow in.
Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God has appeared to all men, teaching us to say NO to ungodliness and worldly passions, to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people of his own, eager to do good."

A godly person is one whose hope is NOT in this world, our government or president. Our hope is in Christ's return, his glorious appearing! Come Lord Jesus! Let us be strong and blameless and keep the faith til He comes!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ONE is FUN!

Happy birthday Brookie!
I can't think about it too long or I'll get really emotional; I don't have a baby anymore! I hate how fast time goes! Weren't you just this little?

Now I get this face looking at me all day!



Development:
You wear 12 month clothes, weigh 19 lbs (18th percentile!), and are 28.5 inches long. 
You have 4 top teeth and 3 bottom, the 4th is just popping up. 
You love to climb! I turn my back for one minute and you are halfway up the stairs. You'll climb onto the couch if KJ leaves her stool nearby and you LOVE climbing from the trundle to her twin bed. 
You will take a couple steps now on your own but prefer cruising or holding our fingers. You are so close to being off and running!

Talking:
You say "mama", "yeah", "hi", "dada". Tonight you said "hey dada"perfectly clear! You will try and repeat words I say but it usually sounds nothing like the word. You wave bubbye. 
You stopped signing. When I say, "do you want more?" You say "yeah."  But you basically say "yeah" to every question I ask you. "Do you love your mama?" "yeah". "Do you want to snuggle?" "Yeah." "Do you want to go to bed?" "Yeah".  Most of the time you really do mean "yeah". But you have yet to say no. (I kind of like that and will hold onto it for as long as possible!)

Food
You still love to eat! You will eat everything so far besides eggs. I hope this doesn't change (your sis is the pickiest eater!)! You make it so easy! You eat 3 meals a day plus a couple snacks and are nursing now just morning and night. (I'll be done nursing in a few weeks when dad and I leave on our vacation! So I'm enjoying these final feedings with you!). We did introduce you to whole milk and you like it ok, you aren't crazy about it. We have tried like 8 sippy cups and you finally started using a straw.

Sleep
You wake up between 6-6:45. I'm so thankful you stopped waking up before 6! If it's close to 6am, I'll feed you and put you back down for another hour.  (Sometimes you don't fall back asleep but just play in your crib for 45 minutes. Fine with me!) You've been much more content playing in your crib! You like to take an early nap, maybe 9ish. And another nap around 12:30 or 1 (SOMETIMES it coordinates with your sisters!).  But lately you just play in your crib for over an hour before falling asleep or you just refuse to nap.

Play
You love to play with phones. You use anything as a pretend phone and put it up to your ear.
Your 'play' is making a mess of everything. You just empty containers, drawers, shelves, baskets...if only you liked putting things back together as much! 
You are just starting to pay attention to baby dolls and will give them a hug or kiss. 
You love to dance, bobbing along whenever music is on, sort of head banging. 

Personality
When I come to get you in the morning or after a nap, you giggle and squirm and are so happy to see me. It. is. the. best. You are such a snuggler, you will lay your head on our chest and just soak up our hugs and kisses.
When I ask you for a kiss, you lean in. After I kiss you, you lean in again, over and over for more kisses. You are so sweet.
You love being thrown high up in the air and spun around, playing rough with daddy and wrestling with KJ on the bed. Even though you are the sweetest little girl, you are also intense! You can YELL and scream and be demanding when I'm not getting you what you want fast enough.  
You are a little shy, and don't give your smiles away to strangers very easily. When someone talks to you, you bury your face in my arm and then look back shyly.  But after you get to know people, you will be silly and smiley.

We had such a fun birthday party for you on Sunday with our friends and family and you for sure enjoyed the cake and your presents! You are very blessed to have lots of little girl buddies to do life with and we are so thankful for our sweet friends that love on you well.

What a blessed year! It is such a huge deal to get through this 1st year because the first year with a baby is always hard. The parents don't always know what they are doing, the baby's needs change so quickly when it comes to eating and sleeping, and just when we think we have figured it out, there are interruptions to their normal schedule like growth spurts and teething that throw everything off. It's just a lot of trying to figure you little people out. But as you approach one year, things seem to really get easier and we are thankful! We continually pray that you grow up to know and love the Lord your God and desire to live for his glory! We pray you will be full of the grace He lavishes on you and quickly pour out grace on others. We are so grateful to be your parents and can't imagine life without you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

11 months old


Brooklyn-
 At 11 months, you are the most fun you have ever been!

-I have no clue how much you weigh, but you have definitely filled out over the last 2 months! You
still love to eat more than anything. Haven't found many foods you won't eat! You eat oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast, yogurt and applesauce for lunch, a banana for a snack and veggies/sweet potatoes for dinner along with whatever we are eating.
-You wear size 2 diapers, size 2 shoes, and 9 or 12 month clothes. We moved you up to a convertible car seat this month and you LOVE IT!
-You have four BIG teeth on top and two on the bottom. 
-You have been napping great lately, 9:00 and1:00 (if your morning nap is 3 hours, then your afternoon nap may not happen). You did sleep til almost 7am a few times this month instead of waking me at 5ish to eat-it was LIFE CHANGING!

-You are so active, into everything, making messes wherever you go.
-You only play on your own for a few minutes and then crawl over to where I am and want me to hold you or play with you. Sometimes your sister will entertain you for a bit! But when you are awake, I can rarely get anything done. You just love interacting with people!
-You learned how to 'walk' on your own, with a walker, like an old lady : ). You are so proud of yourself and cannot WAIT to be able to walk on your own.You LOVE holding onto our fingers and walking around the house. You are a quick mover!

-You are experiencing the outdoors for the first time since it's finally warm out, and you love it! We will be doing lots of parks this spring and you will get to swing and slide. It will be even more fun when you can run around!
-You've also enjoyed some pool time during your sister's swim lessons this month!
-You say mama, dada, daddy, and yeah. "Do you want more food Brooklyn?" "Yeah".  Every. Time. 
: ) You also do a fake laugh, and we do this back and forth over and over again.
-You pick up my phone and hold it to your ear and pretend to have a conversation. SO. FUNNY.
-You learned how to wave! We are working on blowing kisses.

You are so much fun, Brookie! We all adore you and eat up that smile! I will do my best to keep your sister from squishing you (aka hugging you), putting stickers all over your head, and trying to put diaper cream on your face but I can't promise anything. You are strong, funny, sweet, and adventurous. We love getting to know you more and are SO thankful you are a part of our family!





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