Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall Therapy

Things have been a little "off"in my life lately. I think my lack of blogging has been a pretty good indication that I just don't have a good grip on anything right now. Another post, another day, but I needed to get that down so I would remember one day when I look back on this season and see only four posts in September of 2011. 

Yesterday was a beautiful FALL day!!! I knew I wanted to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather and sunshine with my kiddos. Missouri has this nasty way about going straight from H.O.T. to freezing cold and I don't want to miss the few cool-ish days in between.

I called up Kelly and we decided to meet at a park close to her house (and my old one....I still miss it) and let the kids play and have a picnic lunch. The park is seriously beautiful with big old trees and lots of shade and grassy space for the kids to run around like hooligans in.

Easton was SO happy to be out in the fresh air and I thought this picture was ADORABLE until I noticed the spit up (yuck!!!) on his sleeve. I guess that is real life though. :) A couple of things to note...those cheeks! That tummy! That sweet hair that is really starting to come in! Those eyes! That smile! Those. Eyes.

I'm not sure if Lauren was happy to be there. What do you think? A few things to note about this picture: that kick! That long beautiful hair! That smile! Those eyes!

Kelly's little man, Ryan showed Lauren how to be brave and climb the BIG slide all alone! Isn't he adorable?

I like this picture for a lot of reasons, but the main one is because of those pants on Easton. Ha! They are so super cute in real life, but this picture makes them look like old man pants.

Easton really enjoyed his first slide ride. Right after this picture was taken I just let him go down on his own. Just kidding. But that would have been crazy. Maybe in a couple more months.

Our Baby K'Tan was perfect for our park date. 

What a cute little couple!

Yesterday was such a refreshing day for me as a mama. It's been a rough patch here lately and just being out in the sunshine with my two loves (and a super good friend) helped me gain a little more perspective on my life right now.

SO thankful for my friend, Kelly! I love doing life with her. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Right Now

"Trust me and refuse to worry, for I am your Strength and Song. You are feeling wobbly this morning, looking at difficult time looming ahead, measuring them against your own strength. However, they are not today's tasks - or even tomorrow's. So leave them in the future and come home to the present, where you will find Me waiting for you. Since I am your Strength, I can empower you to handle each task as it comes. Because I am your Song, I can give you Joy as you work alongside Me."

excerpt from Jesus Speaks 
by Sarah Young

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Five Months, Easton! (A little late!)

Dear Easton,

You are five months old! Actually today you are five months and nine days old. Every month I say the same thing, but oh my you are growing too fast! It is hard to even imagine you as a tiny newborn. You are so solid and adorably chubby.

You are a really big boy! You weigh 17 pounds and are in the 98th percentile for height! You are going to be tall like your daddy. :) You are no longer able to wear 3 to 6 month's all 6 and 9 month stuff for you now. I just can't believe how fast you go through clothes. We haven't tried shoes on you very often, but you have loooong feet so I bet you would outgrow those fast too.

You are still a really good eater. You eat pretty much every three hours around the clock...that part isn't so great. I wish you would give me longer stretches of sleep at night, but the most I can actually ever count on is three hours. Some nights you will go as long as four or five hours between eating, but those nights are few and far between. :( We are getting ready to start you on solids (this week!!!) so I am hoping that by adding that to your diet you will be able to sleep longer periods or even through the night! You are napping through the day alright. You usually take one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and then a cat-nap in the late evening. You have slept for as long as an hour and a half during a nap time but most of the time your naps are more like 30 to 45 minutes. 

You are a super happy baby. You smile and laugh and talk to us all of the time. You are a mama's boy big time. If you are upset or tired I am usually the only one who can get you calmed down. Although it is sweet and endearing, it is also a little bit tiring on me. I know this is only a stage, though so I am trying to just embrace every single moment of it!

You have outgrown your swing, but still like to sit in the bouncy seat. We got your excersaucer down and you really love it. You have just figured out how to bounce in it and that makes you really happy. You also really like your high chair. I can put you in it with a few toys and you stay happy while I clean the kitchen or get dinner going.

You have TWO teeth! You got them right before your five month birthday. It seems really early to me, but you are a big boy so I guess it was time! You want to put everything in your mouth and you love to chew/suck on my shoulders when I carry you around.

Son, you are a joy to our family. I love how it feels like we have never been without you. I love everything about you...even your lack of sleeping skills. ;) It is so hard to believe that you are almost half a year old.

I love you to the moon and back fourteen million times!


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Well...Here We Go!

A while back I alluded to the fact that I had a decision to make regarding a special project a friend of mine had asked me to come on board with. Well, after much thought and prayer and too many changes of my mind, I decided to face my fears (and there are many!) and say YES!

If you feel like it, hope over to When You Rise and look around a little bit. We are super excited about the project and are praying like crazy that the site can become a blessing! I'd love to know your thoughts!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Queen Esther Day(s)!

Lauren has been fascinated by the story of Queen Esther for quite some time now and it is one of her most requested Bible stories. We have this book and she can almost "read" it (she has it memorized) word for word. I don't know if it is the little girl in her that is drawn to the story of a queen and her bravery, but I am thankful that God has planted the seed of desiring to read His Word in her heart at such a young age!

We spent lots of time reading the story of Esther from various children's Bibles that we own. Because she is still young, we mostly hit on the main points. I wanted her to know that Esther was a girl just like anyone else. Nothing made her more special or able to do what was right besides the fact that she loved God and she decided to be brave for Him. (One thing I LOVE about God's Word is that it really is accessible for all ages...I know that years from now mine and Lauren's conversation about Queen Esther will look different from this first lesson, but to me that is SO exciting!!!)

I made Lauren a special princess lunch one day. Before you think I am a ninja with my mad sandwich cutting skills, I used these awesome Lunch Punches to make the crown sandwich. I used sprinkles on Nutella for the bottom and yellow sprinkles for the tips of the crown. The Cheez-Its are the Scrabble version (way cool!!! and so yummy!!!) and then I just served her some buttered noodles. This was not necessary, but she loves when I make her fun lunches, so I thought I might as well make it somewhat applicable to what we were studying! Thankfully, this lunch was a hit with her!

I chose the verse, "Nothing is impossible with God." from Luke 1:37 to teach Lauren. I thought I wanted something from the actual book of Esther, but this verse kept coming to mind. The more I thought about it, the more perfect the verse seemed for the lesson and for her little heart.

We used our clothespin verse cards that DesirĂ© introduced us to to learn our verse this week. I found that even though Lauren can't read the words on the cards, she still really loved putting the cards on one by one and then pointing to them as we sang the verse. You can download the free printable here if you're interested.  (I purchased the adorable graphics from here!)

I totally made up the tune to the verse on the spot and you will mostly just hear my voice until the end (I. am. so. sorry.), but as shy as my little girl is I was just happy she actually agreed to be IN the video! (As a side note, this verse has been invaluable as we are in that toddler stage of, *insert whiney voice* "I caaaaaaaaaaan't!")

For a few little craft activities we made a queen crown out of yellow foam, glitter glue, and jewels! I can't find where I got the pattern, but I found this one HERE that would work.

And, we made a Q is for queen craft. I found the idea for this one HERE. As we talk about Bible stories I always try to incorporate some preschool appropriate learning skills as well. We have been working on letter recognition, so although this craft isn't exactly about Queen Esther, it gave us an opportunity to talk about the letter Q!

Lauren also had fun coloring this Queen Esther picture that I found HERE. It's been a goal of mine to try to have coloring pages that Lauren can work on while I am getting dinner ready. She doesn't like to do things on her own. She would prefer that I was right there with her and these pages make it easy for her to learn a little independence too. 

We also watched the VeggieTales version of Queen Esther's story. To be honest, Lauren wasn't too into the movie (and I wasn't that impressed either since it seemed to stray from the actual story line of Esther). I don't think that it really added anything to our learning, but it was nice to cuddle up together to watch the show and I don't ever discount the value of snuggle time with my little ones!

One of my favorite activities was when we acted out the story. It ended up being such a beautiful day out that we decided to pretend play outside! I had originally planned on using her little table and her play food, but with our spur of the moment change, I grabbed a blanket and one little box of her food and we went with it. Lauren pretended to be Esther and asked the King (yours truly) to attend a dinner and bring Haman (played by the handsome Easton Barry). Then, she served the food and told the King about Haman's plan. It wasn't perfect, I coached and encouraged her a lot, but I think acting it out helped solidify the order of events for her. 

Poor Easton had to play the role of Haman. He didn't seem too fazed being cast as the "mean man" and he sure enjoyed his dinner, so I think he should be just fine! :)

It also gave me lots of opportunities to ask her questions as we went along. I love to know what her little mind has absorbed from our little lessons. And, the teacher in me is always looking for areas of misconception that need to be corrected! 

(Even though Lauren is young, I wanted her to know that "God's people" (as most of her children's Bibles referred to) were the Jewish people. Most of the time when she talks about it she uses the term, "God's people" as it is easier for her to grasp and understand at this age.)

In all honesty, we took more than one day to complete all of the things shown here, and we didn't get to a few things I had planned for. As much as I wanted to do it all at once, I'm learning that life with a baby and a toddler is very unpredictable and it's way better to roll with it than get frustrated that it isn't "perfect". And, the most important thing, above all props and movies and activities, is that our little ones are learning what God's Word has to say to them!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Not So Fast, Mister!


Seriously man.

Rolling over, sitting up, and two teeth in a matter of a few short weeks?

This is just all too much for this mama.

Can you slow it down a little? I'm not ready for my baby to be getting so big.