What a great October we have had...busy doing harvest things like walking through a corn maze (a little hard with little ones, but great idea for later!), visiting Stanheli Farm (perfect family outing...lots of fun things for the kids to do), taking our 1st our family only vacation (very last minute and very short, but very fun), and last but not least dressed up my little boys as firefighters for Halloween (visited daddy at the firestation and spent time with friends in the evening). Lots of fun times with way too many pictures...sorry!
"Mommy, do you want to play a game with me?" Noah asked me today. "What game do you want to play" I asked..."Rolling Polka Dots" was his answer. You might be wondering what this could possibly mean. And I did too at first when Noah asked me to play this game with him. And then I was reminded of when we had rolled the dice and counted the dots for each roll. I guess he liked the game good enough to want to play it again and now it has a permanent name in our family...rolling polka dots.
Oh how I love summertime. Well, for us I would have to say that I enjoy Spring and Fall much better as those are our tolerable months. Summer is way too hot, but if you throw a little water in your time outside, then it is all good! I just wanted to show a few pictures of our summertime. Oh, and I added a few pictures of myself and Brooke at music practice at the request of Sandhya. I think that she needed some evidence to back up my claim that I am involved in such an up front ministry...although how do you really know with a picture? One could easily pretend for a picture! No, I truly do love music and have learned that it is not about me when I am up there. That is the only way that I can actually stand up there...that it is about leading the congregation in worship to the Lord...it is not about me. There are actually 5 of us on the music team, but most were gone that night, so it is just me and Brooke with Nick taking the picture. Sorry for the very rambly (if that is such a word) post. Enjoy the pictures!
Ahhh…My laundry is still piled high, but somehow that doesn’t matter as I reflect on the past month’s events and delight in the fact that we get to be home for the most part, for the next little while. This past month included a visit from Jo Jo and AA (a short but sweet meeting in Vegas…oh how I wish we lived closer), co-leading the Teen camp cooking for 70ish people…still not sure of the final count, but hey, why be specific when the number gets that high!, a quick last-minute shared birthday party for the boys (I swore I would never do this to them, but I figured they are too young to care at this point and with gramie, grampie, Aunt Carisa, & Uncle In visiting…I just had to do it), and with that a visit from my sister and family…Dave, Noah and Austin got to meet the baby twin cousins (so sad it was only a day and another night of visiting), went to a homeschooling convention (thank you mom & dad for babysitting and loving on our children…I am so excited to teach our children…oh and of course the highlight was seeing Jodi Severance…hope I spelled that right! I don’t think the conference would have been the same if it had not been for running into her and Yetta too!), and lastly we just returned from Family Camp (lots of time in the sandbox with the little ones…loved doing our baby dedication up at camp...the highlight for me was seeing my brother and family…he was the speaker and God is definitely speaking to me through the 1 message that I was able to sit through…his trip to Uganda was amazing…if you see him, you will have to have him share some stories). Well, that is probably enough detail for you…the only pictures that I have are of camp, so enjoy!
It came and went so quickly for me. I would have to say that this year Easter was a mixture of relaxation & joy amidst a little chaos for me. How can the 2 possibly be go together? Well, they can and did for me this year.
It all began on Easter morning as I awoke at 5:30am to begin my day where I had to get myself and kids ready and at church by 8:00am for music practice. Thankfully Dave would be getting off work that morning, so help was on the way very soon! I was a little late as I didn't detect a potty issue until packing the kids in the car. This is all very normal really. Church was such a blessing. From the weird napping schedule that Austin seemed to get himself into that day which fell right during music practice and the main church service, to the special music that Brooke sang and played (A little chaos was thrown when my page turning skills didn't do so well on one of the pages...sorry Brooke who is so gracious...but the song that she sang was great..."Why" by Nicole Nordeman...If you haven't heard it...find it...you will cry), to the crowded seats in church filled with many that we don't normally see, to the message which as a believer in Christ I never want to tire of...the amazing reality that Christ had power over death. Such a shame when I actually get used to this idea and treat it lightly. He proved Himself to be God while at the same time saving me from myself and my sin...amazing. To the fun fellowship that we had planned for after church with a few family friends at our house. It truly was a wonderful day.
The chaos really only comes into play because of my perfectionist...schedule loving self that gets a little frazzled and sick stomached when things don't go exactly as I have planned. I was already a little frazzled at how much I had to do to get things ready for company that would be arriving at 4pm, but my husband who is very opposite of me in being a spontaneous sort of personality decided to change our party from 8 adults 8 kids to 18 adults and 10 kids at church that day. He did ask my permission by the way, so it is completely of my own doing. The amazing ending to this all is that though it was chaotic in getting everything ready for so many more guests, I actually ended up being able to relax and enjoy my time with guests once they arrived. All of the preparation just happened to get done at the perfect timing. What was chaos ended up actually being a wonderful change to our day. It's all in our attitude isn't it? I just wish I would remember this at all times. It seems to be one of my constant battles. It was a wonderful Easter.
It was a quick trip, but so well worth the effort to meet my new twin nephew and niece, Maxwell & Piper. Thanks to my husband (the loving accomodating babysitter), I was able to fulfill my dream of going to visit my sister without my own little ones to be the help that I desired to be to her in this time. As you can imagine, those of you that have had even 1, the first time around is a bit of a shocker to the system and 2 really does add more complexity to the newborn issues. While it is more complex in many ways, I still like to say that 3 hours sleep in 1 hour increments (which is what I had in the beginning with my own babies) versus 2 hours sleep in 1/2 hour increments (which is what I experienced with the twins) all feels about the same...very very very sleepy. It was such a quick trip, but I had a great time meeting my new nephew & niece, seeing both grandmas, and Auntie Jennie. The twins are truly a blessing...requiring much sacrifice, but so well worth it.
There truly is so much that I miss when I do my usual "long time no update my blog" scenario that I have to come up with creative ways to put a lot into one entry. As I was looking over my recent pictures, I realized that #1...I have missed many great moments for pictures and blogging. I have nothing to show for the girl version of our recent NASCAR weekend. I could have actually entered a picture for it to go with my "first" theme as it was our first year to have some "fun girl time" during the weekend. I always love spending time with some of my close girlfriends here, but it was especially great to get to spend some time with my sister-in-law, June. I have always loved our "real" talks.
My 2nd realization was that there have been many 1sts that have just passed by so quickly. So, here is a quick look into a few of our firsts: 1. Noah's 1st fracture and cast - A fall from a master bed is quite far for a little toddler and after about 4 days of questioning whether Noah was seriously hurt or not, we decided to finally take him in. Actually, if I want to be technical about the picture, that is actually not a picture of his 1st cast as he managed to pull off his 1st cast, so we had to get his 2nd one put on right away...such drama! 2. Austin's 1st teeth - He popped these 2 out at 5 months old and hasn't added anymore at this point in his 8 month life. 3. 1st Moments of Sitting Up - I couldn't wait for this moment. I love having him sit up and play! 4. 1st Brother Bathtime - They both loved it. There is the whole toy sharing issue as rubber duckies are toys that both toddlers and infants enjoy, but that's okay...it is only the beginning! 5. 1st Tradition While Daddy Is Working - So, that is such a long title, but I wanted to come up with a tradition for us while Dave goes away for a couple of days each week to make that time special for us. I came up with the perfect solution...movie night with popcorn. Dave very strongly dislikes microwave popcorn even to the point of disliking the smell that it makes in the house...so I thought this was perfect in that Dave would not feel like he was missing out on anything and we could start a fun tradition together. 6. 1st Twin PhotoShoot - My sister and her husband's babies had their 1st photoshoot and the pictures are amazing. Their website, "twobabiesandapig" has more.
And my list of "1sts" is going to continue. My sister's babies were born on February 10th and are 1 month old already! I will be leaving to meet my twin niece and nephew for the 1st time and will have to update with some of my own pictures when I return. So, off to babyland I go!
Well it's over. Each year the family gathers in Mesquite so the men can head off to Vegas on Sunday and watch the race. This year was the best and worst yet. The worst part was that not everyone made it. Mark and Barb were not here because Mark was not feeling well, and Ian and Carrisa just had the twins and were not about to travel with them (I don't blame them). So it just was not the same missing some of the family. But the weekend went on and we had a good time. The weekend started on Thursday Night were some of us made it to the Chris Tomlin concert in Las Vegas. Great time of worship. Friday night everyone gathered for dinner and fellowship. Saturday morning and afternoon was for the girls. They left the kids with the dads and headed off to St George. It was nice for them to have some time to themselves. Derrick took his boys down to the Saturday Nationwide race. Then everyone gathered at our house for dinner. After dinner we had a campfire in the backyard, made smores, and sang some worship songs around the fire. Then camp 7am Sunday morning. The men headed off to the big race. We spent arrived at the ISB tent where we were hoping for a pit road tour and lunch. Instead they handed us tickets to the NEON Garage. This is a State of the Art Garage when it comes to NASCAR. You get to walk around and watch the crews get there cars ready for the race and if you're lucky see a driver and get an autograph. We were not so lucky. We headed back to the tent where we had lunch, Kyle Busch talked with us, and then Joe Gibbs sat down for a talk and signed autographs. This time we got one. The race was great, you know, cars driving around in a circle at 190mph for several hours. Who wouldn't love that??? We came home to dinner and a little swimming in the hot tube. And finally we went home for some sleep. It is always a crazy weekend and we are glad to sit and relax when it is over, but I am already looking forward to next year.
No worries...I am not talking about our family! It is hard to believe, but my sister, Carisa, and her husband, Ian, will be parents to a twin girl and boy as of tomorrow. It was so surreal for me with bringing home my 1st, Noah, and I can only imagine how strange it would be to suddenly be parents of 2. They are extremely excited as any 1st parent would be, but I think there is a certain excitement that I cannot even relate to as they have had such a journey to get to this point. They are currently in Charleston, North Carolina right now waiting for tomorrow to happen where their surrogate will deliver their babies. As their website explains, these babies are completely made up of them. They just needed a safe home for their babies to grow which is where Kathy comes in, the babies' surrogate. I am so excited for Maxwell & Piper to come! Above is a slide show of the baby shower that we threw for the babies back in December. My pictures are hardly worthy of the ones that I have seen by others, but I still wanted to show what I captured. So, the saga will continue tomorrow. Until then!
As I heard Noah's well versed instructions to me when I went in to get him from his nap today, I thought I would note it in our blog as a memory. It has become one of my favorite parts of my day when I hear these words from him. It all has to do with his blankies. He started out with 3 different blankies of which I would trade out as I would wash another. I was always so happy to have 3 so that in the tragic event that we lost one, I would have 2 "ready to go" replacements. I don't know how it happened, but somehow he became attached to 2 particular blankies and he now has to have them both each time he lays down for a sleep. I can only imagine what life will be like if we happen to lose one. The saying above has to do with how very particular he is in how he uses both of them. His green one must lay on his back and his cream one must lay on his belly. This is tradition for both when he lays down to sleep and when I come in to hold him for a moment after his sleepy times. I must hold him with his blankies just so on him. And it doesn't matter that this has been tradition for months now, he always feels the need to remind me how he wants his blankies. So, thank you AA if you are reading as the blankie you made him has become his "back" blankie. He loves it so.
My, have I missed many blogging opportunities! Instead of overwhelming the 2 people that still have an interest in checking our blog (HeeHee! Don't laugh too hard...you might just be one of the 2!), I thought I would just simply update you on our latest with Dave's parents visiting. We have been so fortunate to have had them visit 3 times within a year which is not too bad considering that they live in Canada. I wish ultimately that my children could know their grandparents like I did...living in the same town, but I am truly grateful for the many times that my children have been able to see both grandparents considering the distance. Noah and Austin had many fun times with their Nama & Papa this visit. Nama & Papa are probably worn out with how many times they heard these statements from Noah..."You should chase me" and "You should go to my room" to play with him. They became like best friends to Noah...and Noah was kind of the bossy "friend"...making them play by his terms. Lucky for him, it can go his way with the grandparents, but he is going to find very soon that it doesn't work so much in the real world with the kids his own age. Oh well, that is the fun of grandparents! We had a great visit. They will be very much missed.
There are so many recent moments that I could share. Here are just a few:
Well, this year Dave worked again on Halloween which always makes me appreciate the times when he is around to help me out with the little ones. We were invited to the Thorn's house for the evening and so I decided to dress the boys up for the event. Austin was a chili pepper and Noah was a Lion. The chili pepper turned out to be a bit small as it ripped the moment I first put Austin in it. It said that it was for 0-9 months, so I figured a 3 month old would be safe, but I guess my 3 month old is just that big...I am not too sure. That is why you will see that Austin cried in one of the photos. And as for Noah, we were so excited to put him in his lion outfit as he has all of the sudden taken to bursting out in a roar. Of course being a 2 year old, he didn't really like it when it first was put on, was only happy when I offered to draw on his face, and never roared once the entire time that he wore the outfit. I just had to laugh...sometimes I wonder why we as parents do this to our children when they are so young...I think that it is mainly for the parents...they certainly don't seem to be very happy at the whole dress up idea at this age. Oh well...makes for fun pictures.
"Where Go God?"
Yesterday I had my first encounter of my son asking me about God. It all began when I was talking with him about lying. His greatest temptation to lie is when I ask him if he has a big potty in his diaper and he almost always says "no" no matter what. And then I ask him if he is telling the truth or lying and explain to him that lying is a sin. He then decided to ask if daddy and myself lie and if we sin which was very humbling in and of itself to have to answer him the truth that yes we do sin against God as well. He then got curious as to where God was and asked "Where go God?" As I began to think about it, it would be a natural question to him. He is always hearing about God, but where is He? It was such a little conversation, but a great reminder to me of the great responsibility that we have as parents to lead our children to a true knowledge of who God is. They have questions and they are watching.
My cousin's sweet baby Reese arrived in heaven on her 1st birthday. As a mom, I can only imagine the struggle that my cousin Ashley & husband Todd have had this past year watching their baby struggle physically the entire year of her life, never to be brought home from the hospital. I find myself looking at my 3 month old imagining what it would be like to watch him struggle and it always brings tears to my eyes. I know that only the Lord can be the one behind their amazing reaction to this hard phase of their life. For those that did not attend the service, it was amazing and a great reminder to me that this life on earth is not where we belong. Those who believe in Christ will all be perfect just like Reese is right now. It is so easy to be content with where we are at, but heaven is so much better. And as it was pointed out in the service, being a baby, Reese was fortunate to never even deal with sin like we do...can you imagine never uttering a lie, never feeling the shame that comes with being guilty of sinning against a holy God...as we all have had plenty of chances to do. She was spared from such things which truly is far better. I can only imagine the sadness of having my child pass on before me, but there is comfort in knowing God and His promise of an infinitely better life with Him.
Yes, you read that correctly above. I still can't believe that it happened. I am still rubbing my lips. Oh the fun we have with a toddler. My bedtime routine with Noah started out normal. We always read a story, pray, and then I turn the lights out, try to kiss him, and he dodges out of the way. I can't wait until the dodge move changes, but that's besides the point. This time I was so excited because he did the predictable dodge move, I forcibly kissed him on the cheek anyway, and then he suddenly put his fingers out for what I thought was an indication to kiss his finger. I was so excited that he wanted me to kiss him that I of course went to kiss his finger right away. I remember immediately rubbing my lips because I couldn't figure out at first what that hard object could be on his finger. Remember it was dark, so I couldn't see what it was. So I asked Noah and was quite sickened when he told me that it was a booger. I now realize that he was simply putting his finger out for me to take care of his booger for him and it had nothing to do with him wanting me to kiss his finger. So sad and disgusting, but true. The life of a mother is not always glamorous, but it sure can be funny.
So one would probably assume that this title is going to describe my husband's answer to me at some point in our recent lives, but it actually has nothing to do with my husband. This was the reply that I received from Noah tonight when I asked him to come into his room to change into his pajamas. "No Honey, I'm still workin' ". It was one of those rare occasions when I actually thought his "no" reply to me was quite funny and I couldn't resist laughing to myself in the next room especially with the way he said it. It wasn't said in a defiant sounding voice...just matter of fact. I still can't believe how much my little 2 year old grasps at his age. For him to say a complete sentence like this is amazing enough to me and then he comes up with such funny things.
What a year it has been for my family. My grandpa Jack (my mom's father) passed away this past Thursday evening. My grandpa Jack has struggled with Alzheimer's for a long time and has recently struggled with other health issues as well. We knew that the time was nearing for him to pass away, but it is always so surreal when it does happen. He so struggled in the end that I am so happy for him as I know that he is in heaven with no pain or suffering. I love my grandpa Jack and will miss him as he was a great grandpa to me, but I think that seeing him change so much with the hard disease of Alzheimer's has made it easier for me to deal with as he was not the same person in the end. I am so glad for his sake that he is done struggling. My biggest concern is for my grandma Terr, his wife. If you ever want a good example of a loving wife, I believe that my grandma Terr is it. Anyone that saw her interaction with my grandpa could attest to her constant love and care toward him. She will miss him greatly. The date has not been set, but I will be going to the service in California in a week or so.
Again, life goes by so fast and before I know it, another month or 2 has passed since my last update. We are loving life as a family with more sleep and each day brings us closer to getting us out of the infant stage...yeah! I must admit both Dave and I are not fans of the newborn stage. Don't get me wrong, we are so grateful and blessed to be able to have children and that both at this point are healthy. We have so much to be grateful for, but the whole little sleep with not much of a response from your child stage besides crying for food or sleep is one that if we could so choose, we would skip over. We are so grateful to be even at the point that we are with Austin. He is 2 and 1/2 and is making lots of noises now as he tries to communicate, is so smiley, and is becoming a good napper and night sleeper. He truly is such a good baby. And Noah makes us laugh all of the time and continues to amaze us with his understanding of life. Above are some pictures to catch you up on our life. Below is a little commentary on each one to better explain:
1. Las Vegas Bible Church friends - So sad to be leaving LVBC. Through much thought and prayer, we have decided to stay in town on a regular basis for church. We will still be helping church planters as they begin their churches in Las Vegas, but it will be for shorter periods of time and more of a focus on the pastor and his wife versus the church. At our stage in life with infants, it was so hard to continue our commitment to commute such a ways to church.
2 & 3. My boys - I am so outnumbered here! Number 2 picture is reality of how the picture taking process went. Noah was crabby and didn't want to be in the picture. Number 3 picture is a tolerant Noah to the whole picture taking process.
4. Noah spraying bugs - It is his new thing. No longer is he shooing bugs. He has found a better way to deal with them by spraying them until they drown. What a boy!
5. Swaddling my boys - Noah sometimes asks us to do some of the same things with him as we do with Austin. We don't always humor him with this of course or else I would be feeding him a bottle every 3 hours and cradling him in my arms all of the time which would be quite tiring, but we do have fun with it sometimes and humor him on some occasions.
Below is a slide show of a fire I was at this week in Mesquite. Me and my partner were on a medical call in a complex beside the one with the fire. We cleared the call and were the first on scene. The truck came in second, set up an attack line, and got ready to go in. My partner and I were outside as a RIT team with the first guys inside. They ran out of air before getting to the fire. My partner and I were second in and were able to go directly to the room on fire and extinguish most of the fire before having to exit the building. It may be the best fire that I have been on since I started in the fire service.
My day was made today when the words "Noah like baby Austin" came out of Noah's mouth without any prompting from me. I have really tried hard to still pay attention to Noah in addition to paying attention to our new little one. He has been such a helper like in the picture above where he is helping me make pizza dough. And I have also tried to make Austin a fun part of Noah's life. Austin claps for Noah as he does things and is already learning how to do things like crawling and running from his big brother who is such a great teacher. Okay, so Austin isn't really a super baby and doing such things at his early 5 week life, but Noah sure seems to like it when I make Austin a part of his life in this way. For all of you moms out there, I am not naive to the fact that my jewel of a son today who says he likes his big brother will one day not like him at times and will be great at fighting with his little brother. And things aren't exactly perfect even now with Noah and his dealing with having a big brother. He has started a couple of new approaches to getting attention. Why is it that many of the times that I am working with Austin to continue his nap time that Noah decides that it is a good time to play with his loud toys and bring them into Austin's room? He has tried to ride his motorized ATV into the room and his loud ringing ball most recently into the room during Austin's nap time. Yeah...the ATV has now graduated to the backyard. It belonged there anyway. Another new one is that Noah has decided that he should go potty during his diaper changes just like his baby brother. Really, I can't complain as Noah has reacted far better than I ever imagined to his new little brother. I am still so hopeful that they will be good buds as they grow up together...we shall see. For now, I am enjoying Noah's simple words of "like" toward his new brother. Above are some recent pictures of the boys along with their Nama & Papa and cousins.
Since I actually had a wonderful nights' sleep (6 hours total when you add all of the little doses of sleep together! Yeah!), I thought that I would write a little update.
Life With Austin
It is definitely a huge adjustment bringing a newborn home from the hospital. You are immediately thrown into the sacrificial role of a parent as you learn to function on little sleep. I think that this time around my attitude and reaction to this sacrifice is so much better. I now realize that this period of time actually does go by very quickly and is well worth the sleepless nights. I was hopeful that Austin would not take after his big brother in the area of taking a long time for each feeding, but it seems that he might be a spitting image (oh my exuse my pun which you will see in a moment). When each feeding is met with the challenges of major spit up, major sleepiness (which I still cannot figure out how to combat...I have tried everything that I know of), a hatred for burping and the changing of the diaper which results in lots of crying, a need to go potty in the middle of a diaper change, and I think that is it. It makes for a very interesting time in the middle of the night! But that's ok...again, it is all worth it.
Life With Noah
One area that has been such a pleasant surprise is Noah's reaction to his little brother. I was a little afraid that he would not take to him so well in the beginning as anytime he would see me holding a baby in the past, it would result in jealousy. Thankfully, he has taken to Austin so well. He loves to hold his little brother (only on his terms though...when he is done, you better be ready to take Austin away right away), he loves to be my little helper in a lot of ways including burping his little brother. Don't worry, he is very gentle. Noah continues to be such fun at his age and loves to help his daddy outside as he does yard work. I attached a few pictures to show you what a big helper he is. He loves to put on his "globes" and work with his "shobel" beside daddy "fixin" everything that he sees.
I should probably stop right here as I have already written way too much! Enjoy the pictures!