Monday, December 24, 2012

Library Story Time

Annie loves story time at the library. She smiles and giggles and has the best time singing songs, listening to the story, and eating her snack. So glad our library has great (and free!) programs for little ones.

beanbag dance

ooooh bells!

and bubbles!

lots of bubbles!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas in This Old House

I don't have a lot of decorations just to "set out." I focus on live decor when possible--this year I used fraser fir, cedar, boxwood, magnolia, and cypress. No plastic plants in our house this year. ;) I have a nativity and a tree (of some sort) for each room in the house. And I frame a photo of our family each Christmas--I love setting those out.

the tree. it was a bugger this year (didn't want to stay in the stand, lights kept going out) but we finally worked through all its issues and it is beautiful.

family Christmases past

the stockings were hung by the chimney with care

dining room table centerpiece

our newest tradition: the Jesse tree. this year we wanted to start teaching our kiddos--young as they are--about why we as Christians celebrate Christmas, and about the advent season. we've been using a great devotional book by Dean Lambert called The Advent Jesse Tree. looking forward to continuing this tradition next year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

JJ: Nineteen Months


JJ is having lots of Christmases this month. He definitely knows how to open presents--and rip the paper into little tiny pieces! He has enjoyed traveling to spend time with our family. He and Annie love to look at the Christmas tree and point to the different ornaments. He went to see Santa Claus and he wasn't scared at all; he held out his little arms to Santa and I got an adorable picture. JJ has really been having fun at library story time. He likes to go to the front of the room and get his name tag and he is so proud of himself for being "big." This month JJ has finally gotten used to drinking water. He has always loved milk and he has quite a sweet tooth for juice (which we don't drink very often), so this was a big accomplishment for him. The only downside is that I often find him standing at the fridge and asking for his cup. :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas with Bebe and Papa Rick

We did more Christmas celebrating this weekend. Annie and JJ are really getting the hang of opening presents. And on a side note, having several smaller Christmases instead of one big day is a much easier route with toddlers! We're enjoying spreading out our fun and family time.

Cuddle-time with my babies

The dogs went with us and they had a blast playing with their cousins Maggie, Rudy, and Emma

Getting a little help from Granny and Daddy

A new book!

Rip that paper

Uncle Andrew getting some practice opening toys

Helping Mama with her presents

Uncle Adam and Aunt Lindsay

Bebe and Papa Rick




All done

Friday, December 14, 2012

Animal Sounds

Meant to post this a couple of weeks ago and I forgot. Annie knows lots of other sounds, now. Her favorites are "baaa" like a sheep, "meow" like a cat, and "neigh" like a horse. And whenever she sees our dogs now she says "arf arf arf". Her humble parents think she is the cutest thing ever.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fostering Update

A brief recap and some thoughts . . .

We started the training and approval process in January and were licensed in July. JJ was placed in our home about 10 days after we were licensed. His next court date is the end of January so we will get an update then, but the social worker does not expect anything to change at that point. On Monday she told us to expect him to be here for "a while"--whatever that means.

There are lots and lots of unknowns in foster parenting. It really doesn't bother us. It drives some of our extended family crazy. They ask a lot of questions to which I just say "I don't know." ;)

When we first began fostering the Gent and I accepted that there would be a lot we would not know. We made a decision to trust in the Lord's plan for our life, the lives of the children we care for, and the lives of their families. He's got the whole world in His hands, remember? He doesn't need us fretting over all the possibilities, we trust that He is truly working all things for our good. And that we will not understand the big picture on this side of heaven.

Since July we have also cared for three babies. Such treasures!

Nikki, the newborn girl we got from the hospital, is with her aunt, uncle, and their young children. It seemed doubtful that she would return to her parents' custody and she will likely be with her extended family permanently. If kids can't go home to their birth parents, having an extended family member who is willing to raise them is the next best thing. We were very happy that Nikki had relatives willing to bring another child into their family. We loved caring for her during the first ten days of her life. She remains the easiest newborn we have ever been around.

Baby C, the newborn boy we got from the hospital, is with the foster family who is also caring for his big sister. His social worker gave his mom 50-50 odds of getting him back--Baby C's mom is on the right track now but she's slid off of it several times. We pray that this time she will remain stable and will be able to parent her children.

Baby A is a five month old girl we had the privilege of caring for last week. She was the happiest, giggliest little girl and a delight to have around. Annie and JJ adored her. She is now being cared for by her aunt while the judge sorts out some custody issues. Baby A has lots and lots of family who love her and the disagreement is over who should be raising her. We are confident this little one will end up just where God wants her to be.

Foster parenting has certainly stretched us. Having multiple children under age two has made us more efficient at everything we do. We've had great support from our family, especially Honey, who does lots of babysitting.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Peanut: Four Months



Look at that little baby growing! I am finally feeling better, over the nausea and the nasty cough/viral infection/bacterial infection. With Annie my pregnancy went very smoothly after the morning sickness passed so I am hoping for the same thing this time. I also think that the more you complain the worse your symptoms get so instead I choose to focus on the beauty of pregnancy and the joy that comes with that little life growing inside! I've returned to prenatal yoga this month. It keeps my back pain-free and helps so much with natural labor and delivery. I balance out my exercise routine with walking. There are enough hills in our neighborhood that I get plenty of cardio that way. This is a great time of year to be able to eat again and I've now gained a pound and a half. And that is probably the last weight update you will get from me, ha! I expect to gain right at 25 like I did with Annie. I am starting to transition into maternity pants. They are still a little big so I wear the bellyband to hold them up. By next month I'll probably be in full-out maternity wear combined with cute jackets, sweaters, scarves, and shoes from my regular wardrobe. And the most exciting news this month--at 15 1/2 weeks I started feeling the teeny tiniest of flutters. There is nothing like feeling baby move inside you! I thought that was too early to feel anything since I didn't feel Annie moving till 20 weeks, but I've felt it several times now so I'm pretty sure. I look forward to those kicks getting stronger and the Gent being able to feel them, too. Next update should include the big boy/girl reveal!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas at Aunt Tessie's

Last weekend Aunt Tessie and Uncle Dwight hosted a family Christmas gathering at their new house. Annie and JJ had a lot of fun playing with the elf hats and exploring their great big yard. There are some adorable pictures of JJ and the Gent but I can't post them here, sorry. But they were at the party and they had fun. :) Today you will be treated to lots of Annie photos.

the elf hat saga



game playing in progress

Honey and Poppa and "their" baby

sometimes you just need a cuddle

my Mama

her Mama

reading with Nana

reading with Poppa

happy early Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Nick-Puppy is Six!




Happy birthday, Nick! I can't believe you are six already. You still act like a puppy most of the time, but you are also very cuddly. Your muzzle is turning white so I guess we better start believing you are growing up. Happy birthday to the sweetest of our pups.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Begins

We spent the weekend at Nana and Papaw's house. Honey, Poppa, and Uncle Tyler were there, too. Papaw was Santa Claus for the Lion's Club breakfast with Santa, but JJ and Annie were not too impressed. They did enjoy the parade, exploring Nana and Papaw's house, eating their first poptart, and opening their first presents!

we don't want to sit in Santa's lap this year

but Nana and Papaw's house is fun

admiring the tree (this photo is my favorite of the season so far)

and what a pretty tree it is!

with Papaw, waiting to open presents

playing the piano with Uncle Tyler

helping Nana open her present

Annie really liked carrying in presents from under the tree

and she was really cute doing it

oooh new toys! thanks, Nana and Papaw!!

walking with Honey, waiting for the parade to start

Santa Claus!

parade-watching with Nana

Annie and JJ both liked the horses best

Nana and JJ exploring outside

Annie is exploring, too

hey, look, a picture with both of us in it!

and my favorite out-take from our Christmas card photo shoot