Thursday, February 25, 2016

2016 Reads: February

If you missed January's reads, you can find that book list over yonder.  Here's a compilation of what I've been up to this month....
.... and Daniel and I are currently reading "You and Me Forever" by Francis and Lisa Chan together.  Fun fact about this book is that they self published and 100% of the profits go toward ministries around the world.  You can also watch the videos that go along with each chapter over here on the you and me forever website.  We are really enjoying the study together so far!

What's everyone else reading??  My Amazon Wish List is gradually growing, but I'd love to add more good reads to it!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Joel is 6 months!

Happy half birthday to Joel!!!
We have a 6 month old!  Oh wow!  .... And confession, my birthday crazy self is already online pinning away ideas for that big first birthday. What can I say!?  Leeland and Hayden talk about his birthday already too-- we've discussed an array of themes from, "Where the Wild Things Are," to "milk and cookies" and/or "cookie monster".... to Batman.  All in good fun!  Time is definitely flying by way too fast, so while I'm excited for the little munchkin's growth, I am a little anxious that it's all happening so quickly.
The Lord is teaching me about comparisons lately, and I know when most of us think about comparisons, we think about comparing ourselves to other Moms or other people in our lives and feeling like we have to live up to a standard.  It is most certainly true that comparison is the thief of joy and that we shouldn't compare ourselves to others, but I'm learning about comparing my kiddos.  It's funny, going into being a mother of 3, I felt seasoned and like I knew it all.... after all, it is not only our 3rd kid, but also our 3rd boy.  It's supposed to feel like we're just doing the same thing all over again, right?  Wrong!  

Each of our precious ones was uniquely created by God.  They each have their own looks, their own personality, their own likes and dislikes, and their own little quirks that make them special.  While this is my 3rd rodeo, it's a new adventure and a new child.  So while I found myself falling back into step with how I did things "this way" for Leeland as a baby, or "that way" for Hayden as a baby, Joel is his own unique individual!  So here I am, 3rd time through and doing it a little bit differently.
Mr Joel tried his first foods a couple weeks ago.  Of course the planner that I am had planned to wait until he was exactly 6 months old (to the day) and skip the pureed food just like we did with Hayden.... and that hasn't happened at all.  He had his first taste of food (other than breastmilk) on February 4th, and ((gasp)) it was PUREED!  Well, mashed really.  Mashed up banana with some breastmilk.  And then next night, mashed up avocado with breastmilk.  We can't compare our children, right?  

Anyway, the kiddo has LOVED all the foods he's tried so far and the list is getting pretty long.  Some items mashed up homemade at home, and some store bough purees.  He's still mostly breastfed and is just exploring different tastes once a day at dinner time.  
The little man doesn't go for his 6 month check-up until early next month so unofficially on our home scale he weighs 21.8 pounds.  He's in cloth diapers the majority of the time, but when we use disposables, he's rocking a size 4.  Wearing mostly size 12 month clothes but will probably be bumping up to 18 months before we know it.  

Another big change this month is that we've been transitioning him into his crib.  Again, each kid is so different!  Leeland never slept with us and was a very independent sleeper from early on, Hayden slept in our bed with us for around 18-20 months before just going straight to a toddler bed skipping the crib altogether, and now Joel is transitioning decently to his crib at 6 months.  He has slept through the night off and on and we're trying to find our groove.  He is SUCH a wiggle worm, even in his sleep, so while I get better sleep when he is not in our bed because I have space and I'm not being kicked in the face, it's certainly harder on me when he wakes in the night to nurse and I'm up and down and up and down to get to him.  

Kiddo is beginning to sit up on his own, he barrel rolls and spins, and he army crawls... but he goes backward so far.  Ha!  I'm telling you, wiggle worm!  It is such a joy to watch him want to keep up with his 2 big brothers SO bad.  And he will be soon enough!  Let the childproofing begin!

Sweet Joel, happy 6 months little guy! 
6 months that have gone WAY too fast.
We love you so much, and are enjoying each and every moment. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Good grief, Hayden's 4

The middle child turned 4 yesterday!  FOUR!  It seems like just yesterday we rushed over to the hospital for his very speedy delivery.  And he and Leeland play together as if they always had each other.

Hayden is such a ham!  He's the kiddo out of the 3 that I always have a hard time penning down.  He marches to the beat of his own drum. He's wild and yet gentle and loving at the same time. He's our family comedian.  His smile radiates an entire room.  He's cute, and KNOWS it.  And he's so stubborn, but so lovable!  

This kiddo decided on on a Charlie Brown birthday party this year.  In reality, that translates to, he changed his mind about what kind of birthday he wanted about 100 times.... and then once he blurted out Charlie Brown, I was sold and immediately ordered the supplies online. HA!  What can I say, I'm a Peanuts nerd!?  And in reality, he loves Charlie Brown too.  He has a stuffed Snoopy that frequently tags along with us on errands and to school group.  

I ran to Etsy for the invites and settled on this one from 4MustardSeeds.  Getting him to take a semi-decent photo for the invite only took a *little* bit of bribing.  
And then because I'm a Charlie Brown nerd, as mentioned previously, I settled on the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving menu for our party menu.  WITH some modification of course....

Surely I'm not the only one who knows what the menu was in the Thanksgiving episode, right?  For those whose memories may be failing them as they read this post, Snoopy served up pretzels, jelly beans, popcorn, and buttered toast.  

Our popcorn was one of our favorite popcorn recipes.  (We have a few favorite versions of popcorn.) This is a healthier version of cracker jacks from 100 Days of Real Food, and our pretzels were dipped in chocolate and topped with yellow sprinkles. 
Jelly beans... well... jelly beans don't really require any modification.  Although, Leeland's curiosity was peaked by the Starburst "crazy beans" that are 2 flavors, so we rolled with it.  (Peanuts party supplies came from Target.  Thanks to the new movie, Peanuts things were fairly easy to come across!)
Lemonade, sweet tea and coffee were the beverages of choice... I didn't actually charge any of our party guests, but at the last minute decided to channel my inner Lucy and throw a 5 cent tag on there.  
And our version of buttered toast was flatbread pizza!  Same/same, right?  I can't take any credit for the flatbreads-- they were wonderfully and easily homemade made it home from Costco. 
Yet again this year, our Hayden decided for whatever reason that he didn't want to be the one to blow out the candle on his cake.  He smiled and laughed and enjoyed the singing of happy birthday and then at the end just sat there....
Did I mention that he's a little bit stubborn?  Maybe it's because the blowing out of the candle wasn't his idea.... so yet again, Mommy blew out the birthday candle on the cake this year.  Silly kid!
Everyone enjoyed a slice of chocolate Charlie Brown cake with buttercream frosting... 
.... And then all of the guests were sent home with Charlie Brown sugar cookies. 

Another birthday party success in the books!  There's not much I love more than hanging with our families, and seeing how much they love my boys.  We are so blessed to have family and friends nearby to love on and spoil each one of our little guys.  

Happy 4th Birthday Hayden!!
Daddy and Mommy love you SOOO much!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

We aren't crazy Valentine's people... I don't know why.  The only thing I can think of is that it tends to sneak up on us... or gets overlooked.  We have both Daniel and I's birthdays in January along with our wedding anniversary, and then we look forward to Hayden's birthday on February 19th and it's like BAM there's Valentine's day and we have nothing....  Like no presents.  No present ideas because we got everything we wanted for Christmas or for our birthday, and we really don't eat a lot of candy, and Daniel makes fun, but I'm just not a flower gal.  They take up my counter space for a few days only to wither and die.

Anyway, the boys were bit by the Valentine's bug this year!  They learned about Valentine's at our homeschool co-op when a few kids gave out Valentine's and candy to them and all of their classmates.  And then on Wednesday at Bible study, their craft in their classroom was making a Valentine.  In reality, our boys are big on ANY celebration though.  They just get SO excited about each holiday and every single birthday party we are invited to.... ANY reason to celebrate is fine by them.

So alas, Valentine's snuck up on me in typical February 14th fashion.  A couple of days before the only ideas I could come up with to celebrate revolved around food.  (Why do all holidays revolve around food?)  Either way, the boys were asking where their Valentine's were and all I could come up with was that we were going to have a special Valentine breakfast and that we'd get a yummy dessert after dinner.
Heart Shaped raspberry rolls drizzled with Nutella for breakfast.  They were delicious!  And clearly, our kiddos don't get sweets very often because they were ALL over the Nutella and it was ALL over them! HA!
And then we headed off to church.  Our message at church today was not specific to Valentine's... in fact, our church is in the middle of a study series going through the book of Mark.  But it was during worship that I was struck with an ache.   A pain for those who don't know Jesus.  We were singing a song, and in the chorus it says, "Christ is enough for me"  repeatedly.  (Christ is Enough by Hillsong)  It's a song that I've heard so many times, and I have memorized the words to, but today it just struck me so much harder.  

On this holiday that is so greatly marketed as a holiday of "love", there are folks out there who feel un-loved.  Who feel un-wanted.  Who have a void and an ache in their hearts that is not filled by their spouse, or their kids or their parents.... or maybe they literally have no one in their life.... I remember that ache!  I remember trying to fill that pain in my heart not too many years ago.  Trying to fill the void with friends and boyfriends, and what I thought was "love." I accepted Christ as my Savior in October of 2004... so not too long ago.  I still remember that feeling of pain.  The pain of looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places!  Dear friends, I'm not a preacher.  I don't normally head this direction in a simple blog post about my day, and there's still so much more that I  myself can learn from the Bible, but the Lord placed this message on my heart and it's been running through my mind ALL day long.... so if this message finds the recipient that it's for.  No man will fill that void in your heart.  It's Jesus!  

"Christ is Enough for me!" 
 ....And Christ is enough for YOU!

"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease." -Lamentations 3:22

With all of that said, my heart is extra full this Valentine's Day.  Leeland prayed to accept Christ as his Lord and Savior just last year, and then just last Tuesday, our sweet Hayden prayed to have God in his heart!  I am overwhelmed with joy for these boys that the Lord has blessed us with, and all that he is teaching them.  (And teaching me through them!)  I am one lucky lady to be able to watch them grow and mature.  God has been SO good to me.  
.... And in case anyone is curious about the boys' special Valentine dessert.  We had this yummy chocolate cream pie.  (Super easy to make too!) So while we didn't set out to make a big deal about this particular holiday, they were spoiled and their love tanks were on FULL.