Friday, October 31, 2014

Pumpkin Carving 2014

Every year the Gent carves pumpkins for us. My role in this consists of helping scoop out the pumpkins and making sure no one falls off the front porch. It is fun to watch the kiddos grow in this activity each year. Annie and JJ were very excited this year (and are super-excited for trick or treating tonight). The looks on their faces while scooping out the seeds are always a laugh, and they love to draw their pumpkin faces and then watch Daddy bring them to life!

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sophie: 17 Months

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It just doesn't seem like it's time yet, but my little Peanut is turning into a toddler. A walking, talking, occasionally tantrum-throwing toddler. :) Sophie is getting particular about what she eats and objects if she gets something different from the big kids. She loves books with flaps to lift and playing with balls. She is enjoying being big enough to play at the park and be interested in our outings. She travels well. Sophie has started choosing a baby doll to cuddle with at night. She also likes to sneak off and play with Annie's dolls. Happy 17 months, sweet Sophie!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

There's Enough Love

I haven't written much about foster parenting lately because we are in a difficult place with JJ's case. I have lots of thoughts percolating and will try to sort them out into written form over the next several weeks. In the meantime, please pray for our sweet boy. And read this thought-provoking article on adopting out of foster care: There's Enough Love "Foster children are not damaged goods. If adopted into permanent homes that provide loving and appropriate support, they turn out quite well--and infinitely better than their peers who age out of care."

Monday, October 27, 2014

One Thousand Gifts, 72-80

72. Continuous reminders of God’s faithfulness
73. For the call to foster parenting
74. That our Lord keeps His promises
75. The blessing of financial peace
76. Sophie's sweet but independent spirit
77. Annie's love for words
78. JJ's hugs
79. "I wanna snuggle, Mama!"
80. My husband's constancy

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fun Fall Weekend!

Last weekend, while the Gent was out of town, the munchkins and I headed out for a visit with Bebe and Papa Rick. I appreciated the back-up and the kids had a blast enjoying the fall weather. We found a great park, had lunch at Chik fil a, and played in the leaves. We had two yummy dinners with friends and family and the kids got to have playtime with Granny during church. All went well till the drive home. The big kids were horrible during the first two hours. Then bliss...they finally all three fell asleep. Here's celebrating Daddy being home this weekend. :)

P.S. Sophie won the photo lottery this trip--she was just too cute!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pap Paw

My Pap Paw died suddenly two weeks and two days ago. He had a stroke one evening and was in heaven the next. My Nana, his children, and his grandchildren all had time to gather and say goodbye. ICU stroke units see lots of tears. But our family waiting room saw lots of laughter, too, as we remembered the funny (and foolish!) things he did and the man he was. He was many things to us and we all treasure different parts of his character. I remember the man who could make or fix or grow anything, always won at games, wrote wonderful stories, and brought lots of laughter to our family. Thankful for the small mercy that was given for me to see him one more time and tell him I loved him. I asked him to take care of my babies in heaven, to hug them for me and tell them I love them.

Explaining death to Annie and JJ was hard. I told them Pap Paw had something called a stroke and that he had died and was in heaven with God. JJ wanted to know when Pap Paw would be better so he could see him again, and I explained that he was better in heaven and not hurting anymore, but that JJ wouldn't see him again until he goes to heaven, too. Now when JJ sees pictures of Jesus in his Bible he points and says excitedly "Pap Paw is there, in heaven with Jesus." I told Annie and JJ that mama has two little babies in heaven who weren't able to be born, and that now Pap Paw can be with them. They repeat back some of this to me from time to time, but I know it will be a while before the reality of death makes sense to them. So thankful that as Christians we don't mourn as those who have no hope! Annie and JJ miss their Pap Paw--JJ asks about his hat, and whenever they eat watermelon or strawberries or blueberries they tell me about Pap Paw growing them in his garden and the fun they had berry-picking. I wish Sophie and Munchkin would have had time for a few memories of their own.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Pap Paw and Annie (I have several with all the kids, but can't show JJ's face here, so he and Sophie are getting short-changed).

Meeting Annie at the hospital
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Reading books together
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Her first time picking strawberries
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Celebrating Annie's third birthday
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Thank you, Lord, that this is not the end of the story.

Monday, October 20, 2014

One Thousand Gifts, 64-71

64. family to help with the munchkins when Daddy is out of town (followed by: . . .)
65. Daddy arriving home!
66. Annie and JJ's love for learning
67. the refreshment of crisp, fall days
68. a slower week ahead
69. growth in Sophie's walking and communication skills
70. crazy puppies who desperately need a walk
71. sleepy puppies curled up in their beds at night

Friday, October 17, 2014

School: First Three Themes

We've completed our first three themes: weather, patriotism, and fall. Here are a few of our favorite library finds from each.

The Cloud Book, by Tomie dePaola
Weather Words and What They Mean, by Gail Gibbons
Oh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today, by Tish Rabe

America: A Patriotic Primer, by Lynne Cheney
The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner, by Patricia Pingry
The Story of America's Birthday, by Patricia Pingry

Patty's Pumpkin Patch, Teri Sloat
Leaf Man, Lois Ehlert
When Autumn Falls, Kelli Nidey

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 15

It's miscarriage and infant loss remembrance day. I don't need a special day to remember my babies...I think about them often and their due dates and miscarriage dates are fixed in my mental calendar. As each year passes I realize how little I understand about the circumstances of their lives, but I trust God more. If not even a sparrow falls to the ground without His notice, how much more precious the lives of our children. And this year, my Papaw is in heaven with Noel and Zion. He loved his great-grandbabies on earth. Now he's the first one to meet my two little ones in heaven.

Monday, October 13, 2014

One Thousand Gifts, 59-63

59. A new week with a fresh start.
60. Evening thunderstorms while I'm reading a book next to the Gent.
61. Family and friends to remind me of God's Scripture promises.
62. Sweet family together time at the pumpkin festival.
63. A beautiful full moon, low in the sky and playing peek-a-boo with the clouds.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sweet Zeke Puppy is Ten!

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Happy birthday to our first fur baby! He was less than thrilled about posing for this picture; apparently he has more important things to do. :) The Zeke-ster is an adorable,, loyal furball and we love him very much!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Munchkin: Six Months

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Here we are. :) Growing and active! Most of the time I forget that I'm pregnant. But then I feel a kick or try to bend over and I remember! Thankful that all is well with Munchkin.

Monday, October 6, 2014

One Thousand Gifts, 55-58

55. That God knows exactly what Scriptures and songs we need to hear as we gather in church each week, to be reminded of His truths and His promises to us.
56. That He keeps His promises.
57. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
58. The lyrics to this song (Your Grace Finds Me) by Matt Redman.

It's there in the newborn cry
It's there in the light of every sunrise
It's there in the shadows of this life
Your great grace

It's there on the mountaintop
It's there in the everyday and the mundane
It's there in the sorrow and the dancing
Your great grace
Oh, such grace

From the creation to the cross
Then from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

It's there on a wedding day
There in the weeping by the graveside
There in the very breath we breathe
Your great grace

Same for the rich and poor
Same for the saint and for the sinner
Enough for this whole wide world
Your great grace
Oh, such grace

From the creation to the cross
Then from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

There in the darkest night of the soul
There in the sweetest songs of victory
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

Your great grace
Oh, such grace
Your great grace
Oh, such grace

So I'm breathing in Your grace
And I'm breathing out Your praise
I'm breathing in Your grace
Forever I'll be
Breathing in Your grace
And I'm breathing out Your praise
I'm breathing in Your grace
And I'm breathing out Your praise
Breathing in Your grace
For our God, for our God

Yes, Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

Friday, October 3, 2014

More details on preschool

Here are some more details about our introduction to preschool this year, if you really want to know. We are taking a break for the holidays, and then again when the new baby is born. We're almost through our fourth week and so far Annie and JJ still love it. This week we have been having lots of fun with a vowel sounds bingo game.

24 weeks of school
September 8 – September 19 Weather
September 22 – October 3 Patriotism
October 6 – October 17 Fall
October 20 – November 7 Safety
November 10 – November 21 Thanksgiving
December 1 – December 12 Christmas
January 5 – January 16 Winter
March 2 – March 13 Geography
March 16 – March 27 Spring
March 30 – April 3 Easter
April 6 – April 10 Annie’s choice
April 13 – April 17 JJ’s choice
April 20 – May 1 Summer

Daily Schedule
Monday Wednesday Friday
Bible, hymn, catechism, Scripture memorization
Calendar, weather, day of week
Phonics, upper and lower case recognition
Counting, numbers, and shapes
Themed lesson
Nature walk or Motor skills or Art

1. He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
2. It Is Well with My Soul
3. The Solid Rock
4. Be Thou My Vision
5. Come Thou Fount
6. Blessed Assurance
7. O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
8. Doxology
9. Great is Thy Faithfulness
10. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
11. Go Tell It on the Mountain
12. Just As I Am
13. Nothing But the Blood
14. How Great Thou Art
15. This is My Father’s World
16. Because He Lives
17. Jesus Paid It All
18. Old Rugged Cross
19. I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
20. Holy, Holy, Holy
21. Softly and Tenderly
22. To God be the Glory
23. Trust and Obey
24. What a Friend we have in Jesus

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sophie: 16 Months

Watch me go! (these are a little blurry 'cause she doesn't want to hold still anymore)

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Although she can walk, Sophie still does a good bit of crawling. When Annie started walking, she took off and left crawling behind immediately. Sophie adds a few more steps each day and is making a gradual transition her way. :) This girl has an independent streak, too. She wants to do everything the big kids do. She insists on climbing stairs herself. She throws quite the tantrum when she doesn't get her own way (such as wanting to hold my list in the grocery store or refusing to put her sippy cup in the diaper bag). I am getting ready to move her to a rear-facing convertible seat and out of the baby car seat. She still fits just fine in the baby seat but I figure it is probably time. Sophie weaned last week. I was a bit sad about it but she was ready and it was probably time, being that there will be a newborn in the house again in about 16 weeks. Sophie's new favorite word is "bow" and she has decided she isn't really dressed without her hairbow. Thank goodness I won that battle. :) Sophie has also picked up on shaking and nodding her head for yes and no, and is very into pointing. A favorite game is to point to people in our family when I say their name. So much fun with Sophie these days, watching to see what she will learn next!