Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ten Years of Something Wonderful

Today is the tenth anniversary of our first date. Who would have guessed then that this is the life we'd be living now?! Hope you enjoy these picture from the early years.

dating 2

dating 3

dating 1

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sophie Pictures

Found these cute pictures of Sophie and thought I'd share. Happy Monday!




Friday, October 25, 2013

Pumpkin Patch!

Earlier this week we went to the pumpkin patch with some sweet friends and Honey! JJ and Annie enjoyed picking out their own pumpkin and we're going to carve them next week. It was a beautiful fall day to be outside. And so thankful Honey came along and gave us an extra set of hands!









Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I'm always on the lookout for great books my children and I enjoy, so I thought I'd share a few illustrators that we love. Beautiful pictures are part of what makes a great story book!

Kate Greenaway
Marguerite de Angeli (check out the old version of Mother Goose)
Tasha Tudor (especially And It Was So)
Nancy Tafuri
Eloise Wilkin
Paul Galdone
Eric Blegved (especially I Like to be Little by Charlotte Zolotow)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Memphis Zoo!

Last weekend we went with Bebe and Papa Rick to the Memphis Zoo. Annie and JJ thought it was lots of fun. The polar bear, penguins, and komodo dragons were a big hit, but Annie did not like the sea lions at all.

Checking out the tigers.

The orangutan carried his blanket around with him. JJ likes this idea.

"Annie no like sea lions!!"

Loved the polar bear.

Sophie toured the zoo from her favorite spot.

Attempt at a family photo. They liked the panda bear, too.

Yay for happy times with family!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

That's what today is. October 15. I haven't written a lot about miscarriage lately, but it will always be part of my life story. I have two little babies in heaven, babies I never got to hold. Though the pain lessens somewhat as time passes, the remembrance does not fade. I think of Noel and Zion often, and on four dates in particular: my due dates and my miscarriage dates. I don't understand why my babies had to die, but I still know that no matter what, God is good and He is faithful. If you or someone you know has lost a baby, remind them that all life is precious in God's sight, and that He is working His plans for our good through our grief. Our world is broken by sin and death, but one day all will be made right. Revelation 21:4 promises, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." Thank you, Lord, for the gift of all my babies, living on earth and in heaven with you. Help me to be a Mama who glorifies You in all things. Amen.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Zeke is Nine

Happy birthday to Zeke! You've been our Sheltie for six years now and we've fought over pack leadership at least every other day. We admire your perseverance in the face of adversity, Zeke. ;) We love you very much, adorable little rascal!

Zeke 1

Zeke 2

Zeke 3

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

JJ's foot

JJ had his foot x-rayed today and his toe has healed nicely, so no more boot to wear. Yay! He is running around full speed again. Watch out, world! Please continue to pray for his future, there's a lot being decided at his next court date in December.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Some things I’ve learned about being a mom. So far.

I’m still pretty new at this parenting thing and God is teaching me more each day, but a friend who is expecting her first baby asked me for any advice I wanted to share and that got me thinking. What have I learned so far? I thought it would be a helpful personal growth tool to write it out, and maybe someone else could glean a few insights from my ramblings. So without further ado…here you go.

1. Make the Lord the center of your family life. When you do this, everything else falls into its proper place. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” I’m striving to do that now with my children—to make day in, day out life a life that we live connected to Jesus. In all we say and do, we strive to glorify Him and find pleasure in Him. Of course that is easier said than done, and some days go better than others. But, practically, each morning I spend time in His Word and in prayer before the kids get up. After breakfast, I read to them from a children’s Bible and a devotional book that is helping us all memorize Scripture. The Gent does another devotion and prayer time with them at night. Throughout the day as we play and work, we talk about God, His love, His truth, His holiness, His justice, God as Father, God as Son, God as Spirit. When we listen to Christian music on the radio, I talk to them about what the song means. When they fight or disobey as all children do, I try to guide and discipline by God’s Word. When I see godly qualities or actions, I give them verbal encouragement. Day in, day out, I breathe God’s nature over their little lives and pray to the Lord that He would write His name over their hearts.

2. Love their Daddy. A strong marriage is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children. I want my children to see how much I love their Daddy and am committed to him. I want my babies to know that their home is secure. And I want them to have a model of Christian marriage to follow in their own lives. Because someday they are going to grow up and leave me and I want them to have the joy and peace and love their Daddy and I share.

3. Create a rich home life. There are so many, many ways to do this, and it will look different for each family.  Decide what you value and pursue it. In our family, we read. A LOT. All kinds of books. Annie and JJ currently love the Angus books (about a little Scottie dog, written by Marjorie Flack) and poetry (if you have toddlers, check out Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young, edited by Jack Prelutsky). The book Honey for a Child’s Heart has tons of recommendations for all ages if you need a place to start. I find I don’t have time to search the library with three little ones in tow, so I reserve books online and then just pick them up at the desk when we go to story time. I started reading to Annie and Sophie before they were even born, and Annie and JJ will literally sit and listen to you read for thirty minutes or more. Two year olds, friends! Even a very active two year old boy! Sophie enjoys sitting in my lap or lying on her blanket nearby while I read to the big kids. We are also very jealous of our evenings and our time together as a family. Some things we decide are worth giving up our family time for, but most are not. Family dinners are the norm around here. We eat healthily (lean meats, whole grains, lots of fruit and some veggies—though I often have to sneak those in—and the occasional treat). I try to get the kids outside playtime every day, though some days are too hot or wet or cold or there are too many mosquitoes…I’m trying to be better about this. We plan an activity for most mornings, like story time at the library, Annie’s ballet class, play group or a play date with friends, a trip to the zoo or park or children’s museum. Every now and then we have a home day and just relax at home. I try to offer my little ones a variety of experiences and let them figure out what they like, but not over-stimulate them.

4. Establish a routine. You don’t have to have a strict schedule, but kids like predictability. They want to know what comes next. It helps them feel safe and secure. And it sounds contradictory, but it actually creates more flexible kids. Around here our days follow a pattern of getting up at 8am, making beds and straightening rooms, eating breakfast, Bible time, getting dressed. Then a morning outing or free play or helping Mama with chores. Lunch, then naps. A snack, outdoor play, reading, maybe a craft. Family dinner, play time with Daddy, baths, more books, prayers, and bedtime.

5. Decide on the family rules. Enforce them. Be fair. Say what you mean and mean what you say. There isn’t a whole lot more to say on this topic, but this might be the hardest one to do consistently, day in, day out. Get-off-your-butt parenting is exhausting at times!

6. Trust yourself as Mom. Everyone has an opinion on how you should do everything, but in your family, you are the Mom. You get to decide. So research, pray, go with your gut—do whatever works in your family. You are the authority in your home. You know your children like no one else. Trust yourself to make the decisions that are best for your home, your children, your family. And if you feel like a failure and constantly want to do better, you’re probably doing it right. :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Uncle Tyler

Last weekend we went to visit my brother and meet his girlfriend, Kayla. And we finally got to see the conversion of his attic space to an awesome media room/game room/kitchen/play room.

The kids have their own little nook, with bean bags and tv and cute artwork.

And there was a drum set. This is a great thing to play with at someone else's house.

Sophie got in lots of cuddles.

And we enjoyed a beautiful morning at the park.





Sophie's life.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

He is Good

"At the end of the day, it can only come to this.
Either He is good, or He is not.
And I will say this with no sense of questioning or doubt. He is good."
You really should read this post.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sophie: Four Months



Sweet Sophie. I just love this stage. It sounds so selfish when I write it out, but I love being her whole world. The smiles I get whenever she sees me...melts my heart. This month Sophie really fell in love with her hands and her mouth. Hands in mouth=awesome, toys in mouth are good, too. She reaches for toys and can hold the smaller ones. She is rolling over both ways and quickly--she's already learning to get where she wants to go by rolling! She sleeps on her tummy now, with her fingers in her mouth just like her big sister did at this age. Sophie had her four month check up last week and is 25 inches long (90th percentile) and 11 lbs, 13 oz (25th percentile). That's an inch taller than Annie was at four months and a pound lighter. Her pediatrician says she's healthy and perfect, of course. :) Still wearing 3-6 month clothes and size 1 diapers.