December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Well, it's New Years Eve, and I can't believe 2012 is already coming to an end. It's been an amazing year for our family in so many ways. Here's a little recap of our past 12 months:

January: I was 8 months pregnant and soaking up our last few months as a family of three:

February: Our sweet family and friends helped us celebrate Claire with an
 adorable baby shower.

March: We got ready for Claire's upcoming arrival, and welcomed our gorgeous daughter on March 19th at 11:44 a.m.

April: I overcame the "baby blues" and managed to survive a week of Chad being out of town. I also turned 26 and two days later, Claire turned one month!

May: Celebrated Mother's Day as a family of four


June: Graham turned TWO and we made Claire's first road trip to Austin to celebrate my niece Charlotte's 3rd birthday

July: Had a great 4th of July

August: Visited Kirby and Jerry in New York

September: Graham started Mother's Day Out

October: We did lots of fun fall stuff as a family, and Claire had a great first Halloween

November: Celebrated our 4th anniversary and spent Thanksgiving in Tyler

December: Took the kids to Disney World and had a wonderful Christmas!!

What an amazing year!! :)
Here were my goals for 2012, so here's how they turned out:

Strikethrough = Completed Italics = In Progress Red = Uncompleted

**These aren't necessarily in order of importance/ order in which they will be completed**
  1. Go the the Zoo with Chad and Graham
  2. Read the Bible everyday/ have quiet time every morning
  3. Take Graham to Sea World/ San Antonio before Claire's birth
  4. Complete Claire's Nursery
  5. Paint and spruce up the dining room
  6. Update the kids/guest Bathroom
  7. Organize junk drawers/hall closets
  8. Blow up maternity pictures/ wedding pictures/ family pictures for our bedroom
  9. Get a TV for our bedroom
  10. Read Graham and Claire a Bible Story everynight before bed
  11. Figure out a workout routine and stick to it
  12. Get a cute haircut/highlights/nails done before I give birth
  13. Get Claire's birth on video
  14. Get to 5cm before I get an epidural (Assuming labor is going normally)
  15. Take pictures of Claire every month like I did with Graham
  16. Landscape our backyard (at least plant something!!)
  17. Get new outdoor furniture
  18. Stay in touch with friends better
  19. Visit Kirby and Jerry in NYC
  20. Be more flexible
  21. Breastfeed Claire exclusively for as long as possible
  22. Learn how to sew
  23. Buy a new camera
  24. Buy new everday dishes
  25. Read Beth Moore's "So Long, Insecurity"
  26. Go to a Beth Moore talk
  27. Paint more rooms in our house (We're thinking the master bathroom, kitchen, dining room, entry hall, laundry room, maybe even kitchen cabinets)
  28. Put money into a "Christmas Fund" every month
  29. Gain around 25 pounds with my pregnancy and lose all my baby weight from Claire before she is 9 months old
  30. Pray everyday!!!
So, I think I did fairly well. We accomplished a little over half, so in my book that is an overall success. Too bad most of the "big" things are highlighted in red...oh, well. There's always next year :)

We are laying low this evening. Since I'm sick (for I swear like the 4th new years eve in a row!) we are just snuggling in bed with a movie (and a certain 2 year old between us). Next year I WILL be going to a fun party or at least having a glass of champagne!! ;) Happy New Year!!!

December 30, 2012

From Our Family to Yours

I have a lot of posts to catch up on (Claire's 9 month post, Disney World Trip, and Christmas!) but Graham came down with the flu on Friday, and now I've caught it :/ I'll be resting up the rest of the day. Not fun!!! Just praying Chad and Claire can stay well!!
Hope y'all had a Merry Christmas!!!!
Wishing everyone a fun and blessed New Year!!!

December 19, 2012

Claire: 9 Months

Nine months is  a sentimental month for me. It's the month where my baby has been out of my belly as long as she was in it. Amazing how so much can change in that amount of time!

Claire, you have really taken off!! I was just thinking this morning, how busy I am getting trying to keep you out of trouble! You are now full-blown crawling. You really mastered it in the last week. Your favorite thing to do now though, is pull up! You are pulling up on anything and everything that will stand still. You even sometimes hold on with just one hand, and you are starting to "cruise" around the couch and coffee table ottoman. We are wondering how long it will be before you are actually walking.... eek!!

You are still such a joy, always happy, smiling, and playful. You are a momma's girl, but you light up when you're daddy walks in the room. You absolutely ADORE your big brother. You are just as content in your grandparents arms as your parents, and you love to be in on the action.
You are eating 3 solid meals a day, and are starting to get the hang of the pincer grasp. You kind of gag on cheerios, but you're working on those, too. You are still nursing a couple of times a day, but it's mostly bottles, now. I am going to be sad when you're completely weaned, and I know it's in the near future. You love bottles and nursing; you are happy as long as your getting something in that belly of yours! :)
You are sleeping from 8-7 AM most nights. You are napping twice a day, and you sleep with a few stuffed animals. Mostly I snuggle you up with lamby (your brown lamb), because I think it's so cute and soft. I'm pretty sure your Aunt Mer got that for you :)
You still have only 2 teeth (bottom front) but the way you've been drooling (and fighting your nap today) I think you may be getting in some more, soon! We love you, sweet girl!!! Happy 9 Months!!! (Now stop growing so fast, young lady!!!!) 

December 17, 2012

2 and a Half

On December 3rd our sweet boy turned 2 and a half. It's hard to believe in less than 6 months we will have a 3 year old! This age has it's challenges for sure, but mostly we get the biggest kick out of this kid. He has the sweetest heart in the world, and he is the funniest kid ever!

He is talking full fledged sentences now. He is also referring to himself in the 1st person, using "my, me, and I" almost all the time, but will still occasionally say "hold Bubba" or refer to himself as Bubba, haha.

 He is very active, but he is also a good listener (at least when we are not at home). If we are at the park, or in a parking lot, and I tell him to stay close, or stand by me, he will obey us. He usually turns around, nods and does what we say. He LOVES to go the park, to the McDonald's play place, play outside or just go "bye bye" in general.

He is napping pretty good, 2 hours a day. But (as you know from my last post) night time is still a challenge. He still cries every night before falling asleep. But the last several nights has made it all the way through the night in his room.

He eats really well, still, too! His favorite is peanut butter and jelly, fruit, crackers, edamame, fruit snacks. For breakfast he has a nutri-grain bar, part of a banana, and chobani kids Greek yogurt (he likes me to top it with sprinkles, too) He still drinks about 4 sippy cups a day of milk. Of course he loves juice, too but we limit that to no more than 1 or 2 servings a day, and give him as much water as possible.

He is wearing size 2T and 3T (2T pants mainly, and 3T shirts), size 6 diapers and size 7 shoe. He loves shoes  in general, and will walk around the house in me and Chad's shoes, it so hilarious.

He still wants his paci, and his bear as his security objects. In January, we are going to start working on taking the paci away!! This spring, we will start working hard on potty training. He has gone #2 in his potty a few times, but we are not working on it consistently yet.

He is still SUCH a character!! He loves to sing, too!! It amazes me how many words of songs he has memorized already. He can count to 14 by himself, and sing most of the alphabet song. He knows most colors, too. We are working on listening and minding. For punishments, we usually do time-outs or spankings if he is really being ornery.

He is still a momma's boy. He has sooo much fun with daddy, though. They are pretty adorable together. He is SUCH a sweet brother, too. He loves to hold baby's hand, he plays really well with her, and is gentle most of the time. He does sometimes take a toy away from her, but we are working on that. They really do love eachother, and seeing the genuine affection betweeen the two of them is precious. He loves to show her how to crawl, and will just come up and kiss her head, and say "I love you, Baby." Melt. My. Heart. He also tells mommy and daddy he loves them a lot, too.

He loves to pray at the dinner table, and prays with us everynight before bed. He surprised us the other day, by pointing to a snow globe we have, with Jesus in the manger and saying "Mama! That Baby God!"  We have no idea how he learned that, but we were so proud and amazed!

He loves to read books, his favorites are "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "Good Night Moon"  He has them both memorized. :) He loves to hold Mommy's hand and sleep in our bed. He doesn't like to be alone. He loves to take baths, and he loves his grandparents! He loves to go to school, and his best friend is Tripp. He is starting to play pretend play, and likes to serve us tea, haha! He is the light of our lives!! Love you, Bubba!!! Wish you could stay this age forever.

December 14, 2012

My Thoughts

I don't usually voice my opinion about matters like this here, but this time I thought it was important to do so. I want my children, who I imagine might one day read these posts, to know my heart when something like this happens.

I wanted to write this while the emotions were still fresh and raw. I heard about the shooting an hour or two ago, at most. I saw the tweets popping up on my twitter feed, then scrolled down to see the Fox News tweet. As more information was recieved, I began to digest the horrific details. Kindergarteners. It's just so unfathamonable. HOW could this possibly happen, and WHY are probably the first two reactions. Then comes the sickening, sinking feeling. The ache for the parents, siblings, families. The sheer anger. If you want to take yourself out of the world, fine!!! Why do you have to bring innocent people, STRANGERS, CHILDREN with you?!?! It's so completely unfair.

 I think of all the parents, who dressed their kids for school that morning. Much like I dressed my own children. Their thoughts possibly focused on the coming weekend, on Christmas break. All the things they needed and wanted to do. Not a single thought or glimpse into what the day would ultimately hold. How could they know? The children who possibly had doctor's appointments that morning, or stayed home sick from school. Or those in the classroom down the hall. How they were mercifully spared. The guilt, thankfulness and sheer relief those parents of the survivors must be feeling. It's all a jumbled, mixed-up array of emotions and worldless thoughts. None of it makes sense.

I held my children close. I kissed their precious faces. I did it for all the parents who will not have another chance to smell the sweet scent of their children's hair, wipe away another tear, tuck them into their warm bed at night, ever ever again. At least not in this life. What a nightmarish reality. How is it that we live in such a cruel, senseless world?

I had called my mom when I heard the news. Something my sister and I do frequently throughout the day anyway, but especially when something like this happens. I was asking her if the world has always been this horrible; was there a time when innocent kindergartners were off limits?? Is there anything sacred in this world?? We both were in shock, in near tears. She asked if I was alright, and I honestly wasn't sure.

Later, I stood at the kitchen sink, trying to process everything. Hoping for some comfort, an answer as to why these innocent children and teachers were murdered. A thought came to me, and I was comforted. It's not a new revelation, but I was reminded of it. This world is fallen. We (people) caused this fallen world by disobeying and not trusting in God, our Creator. Innocent people, and even children being murdered is nothing new in this world. God does not "allow" it, but being the Sovereign, loving God that He is, He will use it to ultimately bring everlasting peace on Earth. Yes, there is evil in this world. The world is so evil, that it murdered the only person to ever exist without sin in his heart. Jesus Christ. If the people of this world could murder the Son of God, it is no surprise that it could be capable of this kind of evil.

I take comfort in the fact, that despite our wickedness, Jesus died for us. He lives for us, too. This world is fallen, but Jesus has conquered the world. I wonder if Jesus grieves for those 20 children, even as he holds them in his arms?

The news calls shootings like this a "tragedy"  and I disagree. To me, a tragedy is an accident. An untimely event that in no way could be prevented. This was a well-strategized attack on defenseless, innocent children and teachers. It was a massacre. These teachers had no way to defend themselves or their students. Many people will say gun control is the answer, and I whole-heartedly disagree. We need to make future victims better able to defend themselves and other innocent people. If more people were armed, maybe these psychopaths would think twice before trying to take out dozens of people. These victims wouldn't be waiting helplessly for police to arrive before they could be stopped. These disturbed individuals are going to get their hands on a weapon if they want to, and gun laws won't be stopping them. It's already illegal to mass murder people. These people are not law-abiding citizens.

Something has been tugging at my heart for the past several months. Home schooling. I have really been feeling called to it. After this, it pretty much solidified it for us. Logically, I know that I can't bubble wrap my children, and stay couped up in our house forever. Mass school shootings are not the only thing that could take the lives of my kids. I know this. In fact, events of this nature is not what was really motivating me to go the home school  route, anyway. It's this world in general.

 Children should be sheltered to an extent, they deserve to have a childhood. School used to be a place where that could be possible. Not anymore. The values, beliefs, morals I want instilled in my children are not easily fostered in school. God is not allowed in those doors. It's a scary, scary world. I want my children armed with our morals and values etched in their sweet little hearts. I don't know if that is possible in our school system.

All I do know, is that I will be praying for the families of those 20 children, and the 6 adults that were so cruelly ripped away from their loved ones. I know God will send his comfort in many different ways. I pray that we will never have to see a headline like this again.

December 13, 2012

Christmas Playdate

This morning, Traci had us over for a fun Christmas playdate! We try to do this every year, and she offered to host again! We do a book exchange for the kiddos ($5 and under) and this year we did a Christmas mug exchange for the mommies. Traci baked us all up a ton of delicous treats, and the kids played and played while the mom's got to visit (as much as you can with 8 crazy kids running around).  So nuts that between the 3 of us, we have 8 kids!!!

Traci and Tripp... Tucker was a little tired so he went down for a nap!

Graham snacking on a cookie. This kid is ridiculous!!!

Miss Claire trying to mess with Traci's stereo

Sweet Lily

Mr. Judd (one of Lily's big brothers)

Claire and Amelia playing

2 precious girls!!

Claire thinks she is a hot tamale standing up these days

Ha! Love this girl!!

Tripp and Graham are the cutest

Silly Joshua being shy

Traci wanted to get a picture of all the girls with their mommies

and then she wanted a picture with each of our girls, since she doesn't have a girl of her own!

Getting close to naptime

Jessica and Lily, Jessica is the sweetest mommy.

Miracle of miracles, we actually got the boys to sit on the couch together and take a picture!!
(We may or may not have bribed them with a cookie ;)

Such a fun playdate! We always have a blast getting these kids together!