Friday, October 16, 2015

Digging In

It's been awhile since I've written a blog... but the last time I did, I shared with you all that I was learning to seek after Christ with my WHOLE heart. I often felt like I was so unfocused and our everyday was a bit crazy. Thankfully I can tell you today that I feel like the Lord has really worked on me in this way. Nothing major has changed, yet the Lord has given me a calmness that I've been praying for.

One of the biggest changes I've made is that I now set my alarm for 5 a.m. Yikes! But, now that Cora is sleeping through the night (YAY!) I've decided that I need to make a valiant effort to spend some time with Christ before my day begins. The first couple of weeks it took a major effort to get up and moving, but now it is getting easier and I really look forward to it. I used to try to set aside time during naps, but it was so hard to tune out the dishes, laundry, toys, work.... you get it. So, getting up in the morning seems to be the best time to dig into the word.

Which leads me to the next thing... DIGGING into the word. I love to deeply study the bible, and yet I fail to do so often. I seem to go in spurts where I just simply read the word, and then in spurts where I want to really dive in deep and fully understand the background. And, I am praying that the Lord helps me to consistently yearn the deep study of His word. Awhile back my dad said in one of his sermons that we can only know God's will as well as we know His word. So that is what I am praying for.

SIDENOTE: Jensen's Survey of the New Testament is a great resource for studying the bible (There is an Old Testament one as well). I'm also doing a precepts study through church on Philippians and LOVING it. That study is also teaching me how to better study the bible. 

And, does anybody do a Bible Art Journal?! Search it on Pinterest and be amazed. I'm thinking about starting one!

Anyways, let me update you all on my kids...because if I don't write it down, I'm bound to forget it!

Rhett is amazing me with his kind heart. The Lord continues to teach me SO MUCH through this little guy. He loves memorizing verses (no, really, he LOVES it!), doing crafts, going to Kids 4 Truth and making up songs about combines... see below to hear his latest hit. (yikes...)

Case is finally getting teeth. Case got his first tooth in at 14 months, and by 20 months he only had 3. We nicknamed him snaggle tooth for quite awhile as he sported one tooth on top. Now he seems to be getting a couple teeth in each week. Makes night time and diapers not so fun... but YAY for teeth. He loves to watch the most boring show on Netflix called Mighty Machines, which pretty much just videotapes large machines and has random voice overs for them. But he dances and laughs and ooo's and aaaah's over it. He can make some great car sounds, cow sounds, and his personal favorite is the monkey sound.

Cora is sleeping through the night (YAY!). And, I feel like she is sooo close to giggling... its right around the corner. She has been pretty content and is always full of smiles. The little stinker doesn't take bottles well, though. We are working on that because I want to know I can leave for a couple hours without her starving!  Something strange about her... she has a birth mark on her right eyelid, and there is a fairly prominent vain above her left eye that tends to look like a bruise. I get asked all the time if she has a black eye... Guess she's gonna have to rely on eyeshadow when she grows up! And, she is 4 months old as of yesterday, so please enjoy these pictures of my precious little peanut.

Heard around the house:
After a seemingly long day with the kids, when I couldn't wait for Grant to get home from work so that I could get a break, and felt a little bit like I was at the end of my rope of patience... Grant walked in the door and Rhett ran up to him and said "Dad, thanks for working so hard for us."  Heart melted, frustrations gone. Lord, help me to think that way.

Rhett's favorite (made-up) song... "Nudey Combine, driving in the dark" in his best rock and roll voice. No, I do not have any idea where nudey came from... but he is very fond of that word.

In his best mom's voice "Cora, not right now, please!" .... I don't know where he gets that from...

Siren sounds... all day long, siren sounds....

A conversation after a huge meltdown outside of Hobby Lobby (sorry Mollie!)
"Rhett, how come I couldn't buy you glitter?"
"Because I made Jesus sad"
"What does Jesus want you to do?"
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor my mother and my father..."
One of the first times that he has quoted scripture without any prompting. He loves to work on verses so I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was! So much to learn through this little man.

And, last but not least (sorry about this one. Grant wanted me to add it..) As Grant pulled out these big gloves that go up to your armpit Rhett asked "Dad, are you going to stick your arm up a deer's bottom today?"... Happy hunting, Grant.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Undivided Heart... And Cora's Room!

I am really looking forward to sharing Cora's baby room pictures with you all! But first, this is something I shared with the Moms and Tots ladies today, and is on my heart...

Jeremiah 29:13
 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I don't know about you guys, but for me, this summer was a whirlwind. I don't think I was able to focus on anything clearly. A baby in June and not getting much sleep, the days were filled to the brim and left me exhausted. Don't get me wrong, this summer has been so fun, filled with lots of laughs and play dates and family time. But, do you ever feel like you can't think straight because you've got so many different things you want to be able to devote all of your attention to? I feel like my thoughts end up resembling that of the "If you give a mouse a cookie" book. One thing leads to the next, and to the next, and to the next, until you realize you're back at the beginning again. 

The Lord has been teaching me lots over the summer, and for that I am so thankful. The amount of grace extended to me has been amazing, and I'm so glad it never ceases. Today, He's trying to teach me to seek Him with an undivided heart. It's not bad to have a to-do list and busy days... but when our heart focuses on the list instead of on Christ, then He only has a piece of our heart - and before we know it, our friendship is suffering. 

A verse that I think lays out very simply how we can apply seeking the Lord with all of our heart is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.  "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."  Rejoice, pray, give thanks. That's where I'm starting. If I have a rough day, I will be looking for that part I can rejoice in. I will be praying for Christ's will, and I will be giving thanks for all that He has done for me.

Now, onto Cora's room.

Grant and I have been on a tight budget...maybe I'll post about that in the future :) But, because of the budget, I had to get a bit creative with Cora's room. I just finished putting items up in it this past week, and I love how it turned out! Before you see the giraffes in every corner, maybe I should tell you that when I was little I had a pretend HERD of giraffes. My mom reminds all the time of how she would have to wait in the check-out line for me to gather up my giraffes before we could head home. She also tells the sad tale of how I lost the whole herd of giraffes in the moving van on the way to Pennsylvania. Truth be told, I only remember the slumber parties I would have with Cortney where I would get her to play giraffes with me. Anyways, because of this herd of mine, I have grown up always loving giraffes. And I completely intend to bestow this love of giraffes upon my daughter...  And so... Here is her room :)

The giraffe lamp was on clearance for $10 at Gordmans. It was pink, but I have a slight aversion to pink (not to be confused with coral, which I LOVE, so I painted it blue. The jar was from Michaels for about $5 using coupons. I keep her headbands in it. I made the quilt. And I painted the giraffe painting... I actually painted a set, you will see in the next pictures. I am in love with how they turned out. The picture frames were a 50 cent garage sale purchase that I painted. The C was a couple dollars at Michaels. And the curtains were sheet set from Walmart for $10. I made curtains out of the straight sheet, and I still have a fitted sheet and pillowcase for the twin bed that will eventually make its way into this room!

The diaper changing table could still use some work with nicer baskets down below... but for now this will do. I painted the changing table that I had for the boys white. The yellow table that you can only see a part of was a purchase off of Facebook swap from Jen Subra that I spray painted. The giraffe on the table was yet another clearance giraffe from Gordmans that was brown and orange but I repainted to match her room. The mirror was 50 cents from a 141 garage sale. And the picture with Cora's birth date/height/weight is something that I designed, and used scrap fabric as a mat around it.

Here are the other two giraffe paintings that I did. Also, the rolling blue cart was $30 from ikea that I bought on our trip last February and I LOVE it. Right now it just has some books in the bottom of it, and some burp clothes in the metal basket up top. (But Grant wants one for his tools in the garage, and I wouldn't mind one for cleaning supplies that I can wheel around the house... so we may need to get another one...or two) The glider was a hand-me-down from Grant's mom - and it is so comfy for rocking my babes in the night.

The giraffes in the blue frame are just pieces of scrap fabric that I cut out and taped onto white paper. I love how it turned out. The giraffe coat rack was a purchase from our church garage sale that we did back in 2011 to raise money for our Africa trip, and I believe I paid $15 for it! I've been holding onto it these past four years in hopes of decorating a room with giraffes one day... and now I finally have!

So, that's her room - and I'm pretty excited about how it turned out :)

Heard Around the House
Mom and dad came over for a fire, and brought along some popcorn to snack on. Mom asked Rhett if he would like some popcorn and he promptly replied "I am a dinosaur. Dinosaurs don't eat popcorn." I guess that leaves more for me!

Whenever Rhett sees a sliver of the moon he calls in a "taco moon"

Case has started to sing quite a bit, but he doesn't say many words yet, so when he sings it sounds like he's saying "taco, taco, taco" on repeat. Not sure what it is with my boys and tacos :)

When loading the kids up into the van I looked around and didn't see Rhett so I called his name and and found him laying on the ground looking under the van. He popped right up, put a hand on his hip, gave me a proud smile and said "It's okay. I checked the engine. We are good to go."

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Smiles of Grace

The past couple of weeks Cora has started showing off her smile. I love seeing those precious baby smiles!

This makes me think back to when Case first started smiling as well. It is one of the greatest moments with your baby, and the Lord knew I needed the reassurance of a smile the day that Case first showed his off.

When Case was 6 weeks old he had a little cold. The doctor told us to keep an eye on it and bring him in again if he got worse. A couple days later I hadn't seen any improvement so I scheduled a doctors appointment. As that day went on he got progressively worse. By the time we were sitting in the doctors office I could tell he was having trouble breathing. Before I knew it the doctor was calling an ambulance to transport Case to the hospital.

We spent the next week in the hospital battling RSV. While at the hospital we also learned that Case had a heart condition called SVT (which he has now outgrown!). We weren't able to hold him and I wasn't able to nurse him for a couple days. It was a long week that worries a mommies heart, but Grant and I felt the Lord's presence during it as well that was able to calm us.

On one of our last days in the hospital Case was becoming more alert and we were able to hold him again. While holding him he started showing off his smile. And it wasn't just one little grin here and there, which is how I think most babes start off when they smile. Not Case. He smiled nonstop. One of those huge, just can't contain it, smiles. It felt like a sure sign of God's grace. He knew that his smile was just the thing to calm my heart.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Transitioning to Three

A lot has changed in the one month since Cora has been born. I mean, we now have three kids and officially not enough hands. 

We had lots of friends tell us the jump to three was really hard, and some tell us that adjusting to the second child is harder than the third. We had a bit of a hard time, more emotionally than anything, after Case was born, so I had really been hoping that the transition to child number three would go easier. And, so far, it seems that adjusting to three has gone really smoothly for us. 

Grant has been working more, so we've been adjusting to him being gone in the evening. I told myself that I would get out of the house as much as possible while Cora was still little, because if I didn't adjust to toting around three children by myself while she sleeps most of the day, then I'd probably have a harder time trying to figure it out later on. So we do lots of playdates with friends and go to the park often. I've attempted a few Target runs and ran lots of errands. I've had a nerve-wrecking trip to the mall where I lost site of Rhett for a couple minutes. I found him chatting with an old lady about how he was hiding from his mom (Stinker). The poor lady seemed just as frantic as I did about him being lost! Thankfully, there have not been any other moments like that, and I have mastered (sort of, ha!) being out with all three. 

At home I have just learned to let her sleep in the back of the house so that the boys aren't poking at her constantly. Rhett really loves her and has been a big helper to me with all of the little tasks around the house, like throwing away diapers, closing doors so that Case can't destroy rooms, and helping empty the dishwasher (those are his favorite tasks, anyways). Case is a major busy body and is always pulling things out of cupboards and drawers and making a mess where you didn't think possible. I have decided that when we don't have company coming and Grant is working, I will just leave the house as is until they are in bed for the night. Gone are the days of picking up the house 15 times in a day. I would rather spend my time giggling with the boys than stressing about the house. So, I'm sorry if you stop over unannounced and our place is a wreck. That is just how its going to be until the boys are a little older and I'm getting a little more sleep, ha! 

Ultimately, adjusting to this little girl in our lives hasn't been nearly as hard as I thought it might be. We love her and couldn't imagine not having her around.

And now for some photo overload of our first month with Cora.

One of the best mommy feelings ever - holding your baby for the first time!
Melt my heart

one day old
Rhett is always snuggling her

Case is always laughing at her, kissing her, and giving her high-fives

What our family pictures will look like from now on - yikes!
Cora meeting her friend Katelyn :)
2 weeks
The boys like to "take care of" their sister

One Month - caught a half smile!

The intruder on our mini photo shoot

One Month

One Month

One Month

Rhett came running into the living room yelling "Case is a monster!" I replied, "Oh, yeah?" and Rhett yelled back "Yes, a COOKIE monster!" Then Case came running into the living room with a cookie in hand and chocolate all over his face...I'd say Rhett is right.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thank You to Our "Village"

Everyone knows the saying "it takes a village" when it comes to raising kids. It is so true, and we are so thankful for our 'village' filled with our family, church family and friends.

Today I tackled writing thank you letters. While this can be a time-consuming task, it is one that I have learned to enjoy so much! It is one of the greatest reminders of the love and support that we have around us. You all have clothed my children, fed my family and spoiled us all with great gifts - and for that I cannot say thank you enough! (Seriously, I can't even remember the last time I cooked dinner!) That is not even mentioning the encouragement, tips, reminders and shoulders to lean on throughout this enormous task of child-rearing. All of this has made our transition of two kids to three so much smoother. 

So THANK YOU to all of you that speak into our lives. 

My sister, Carrie always shares the best stories at the end of her letters that she calls "Tales from the Crib". I'm totally stealing that from her only being a little more boring and just calling it "Things heard around the house". I just want to write down all of these funny things that the kids do so that I can look back and remember them for years to come. And, this way, you can laugh along with me!

Rhett woke up at 6 and I told him to go back to sleep. His response was "But my eyes are awake!"

Rhett loves Cora and thinks she can do no wrong. He tells her that she is pretty or beautiful about ten times a day. (He also tells this to the ladies at the doctors office and Fareway - I always love the smile that it brings those ladies!) Last week while changing Cora's diaper Rhett yelled out "Mom, even her poop is pretty!" It's bright yellow right now. Gross.

"I'm Aaron" Rhett tells us all the time (as in, every.single.time we call him by his name) after watching his cousin, Aaron, play baseball. He thinks Aaron is the coolest. Usually after he reminds us that 'he's Aaron' he pretends to swing a bat and runs around the house.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Where We're At

On days like today, when you hit every end of the spectrum you could imagine, sometimes you just need to write...even if its been over 2 years since you last wrote.

That's right, last time I wrote on this blog I don't believe Rhett had even turned one yet! My, how things have changed! All three kids are tucked safely away in bed now, and as I recount my day I am so thankful for the Lord and all that he has blessed me with, and taught me over these past couple years.

This morning was just a relaxing, peaceful morning with the kids. We walked to the park, stopped in to say hi to the grandparents, headed home and had lunch with Grant before he had to take off to work. Then, we took Case in for his first hair cut with Auntie Pam. The kids all did really well through all of this (although we did have to pull out a sucker and some toys for case while getting his hair cut). We came home and there started the chaos. I was planning on just feeding Cora quick, grabbing my husbands phone that he'd left behind when he went to work, and running out the door again. Instead, I dealt with three kids that all had major needs at the same time. One child was running outside screaming, mad and naked (seriously, butt naked), while another was crying as she was sitting with poop all over her and everything in her vicinity, all while the third child had climbed into the bath tub fully clothed, shoes and all.

45 minutes into this battle, when I was starting to give up hope, the tantrum suddenly stopped. We talked about how we can pray to Jesus when we are upset and need to calm down, that Jesus hears our worries and cares deeply about us, and how Jesus tells us that we need to obey our parents. I'm never quite sure what he takes away from these conversions, so my heart melted when I heard Rhett whispering a few minutes later, "Jesus, help me to be a good boy tonight." Thank you, Lord, for just the thing this mommy needed to hear.

We all recovered from that hour fairly quickly and headed in to say a quick but sweet hello to Grant during his break, and then head to a good friend's house where we were able to sit on the back deck, watch the kids play, and have some very cherished chat time together. It was like one long, giant sigh of relief that we can get through the chaos of the afternoon and still remember that it was an amazing day that the Lord had made. Ahh. That's when it hit me that I've come a lot closer to my Savior than I was just a couple years ago. Parenting through the tantrums used to leave me feeling helpless and so, so stressed. I've learned now to take a deep breath, deal with it one day at a time, and cast my burdens fully over to Christ.  Because as I told my little three year old earlier today, He cares deeply for me, and only He can calm my fears and worries.

This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

So now, a little catch up of the crew and what we are up to:

Grant is still working with Sweet Honey and loving it. He did also start a part-time job about a month ago at Duluth Trading Company, and he has really enjoyed that as well. The part-time job was a decision we made while going through the Financial Peace University class this summer. We decided we wanted to be debt free sooner rather than later - and the best way to do that was to generate some extra income. If you've talked to Grant in the past month, you know that he loves Duluth's products and that the job has been a great fit for him.

I am staying at home with the kids and figuring out how to be in three places at once, ha! Clearly by my testament of the day, I am a work in progress. Thank you, Lord, for the glimpses of grace that you send my way each day!  I also am still doing some freelance graphic design from home, which I have really enjoyed.

Rhett is our spunky, wild, loving little boy. He thinks his baby sister is the greatest thing ever, and tells her she is beautiful all the time. He talks about thunder and skateboarding constantly. I can't get enough of his goofiness, and I love that he and Case are starting to play together more every day. Rhett is 3 years old.

Case loves all things music and dancing. He is just learning how to test the waters. He is cute and he knows it. He loves food and books, and more food. Today he had his first hair cut - Pam did such a good job with him! Case is almost 18 months old.
the before


after with Aunt Pam!

Cora is our sweet little girl. Her brothers love her so much and give her lots of kisses. She has slept well for mommy at night, but during the day wants to be held in order to stay asleep for naps. We cannot wait to see more of her personality as she grows up - it has been a fun three weeks so far!

one week old
three weeks old

And that's where we're at! Hopefully I will do a much better job keeping you all updated in the future!