Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Nora: Three Months

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Sweet baby girl is so smiley and happy! Nora's schedule is still about the same as last month--short morning cat naps as we are out and about and then a long afternoon nap in her crib. She and Sophie are sharing the nursery and doing wonderfully together. Nora does not approve of bottles at all. She took her first trip to Nana's house this month. She rides well in the car, yay! She is interested in toys now and loves watching her siblings play! She is long and lean and we have just moved up to 3-6 month clothes. Still in size 1 diapers. She slept from 10:30-6:40 one night last week--hurray! Wonder how long it will be till she does that again? :)

Monday, April 27, 2015

One Thousand Gifts, 226-235

226. Energy to get up early.
227. Dedication to staying on Body-for-Life plan.
228. Finishing up a wonderful year of studying God's Word through BSF.
229. Drinking coffee while it is still hot.
230. Seeing my flower seeds begin to come up.
231. A weekend at Nana's house.
232. Caramel cake.
233. Family photos scattered about the house.
234. Two May birthday parties to plan.
235. Watching my big kids entertain themselves with sticks and dirt.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Preschool Recap

We finish up preschool next week. Here are our favorite books from our final themes! Of all the themes we studied this year, Geography was by far my kids' favorite. Who would have guessed? They were fascinated by the maps and learning about the different kinds of places people live. They have also gotten very into their art projects lately. Annie has learned to write her name and knows all the answers to our catechism. Jacob knows them but is usually too busy to be bothered with answering.

Me on the Map, Joan Sweeney
If You Lived Here, Giles Laroche
Our World: A Child's First Picture Atlas, National Geographic Society

Planting a Rainbow, Lois Ehlert
In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb, Marion Bauer
It's Spring, Linda Glaser

What is Easter, Michelle Adams
The Story of Easter, Patricia Pingry
A Tale for Easter, Tasha Tudor

Annie's choice: Seashells
Seashells, Crabs, and Seastars, Christiane Tibbitts
What Lives in a Shell, Kathleen Zoehfeld
Seashells of the World, R. Tucker Abbott

Jacob's choice: Dinosaurs
The Big Book of Dinosaurs, Angela Wilkes
Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs, Byron Barton
Dinosaur Dig, Penny Dale

Beach Day, Karen Roosa
Summer: An Alphabet Acrostic, Steven Schnur
Summer Days and Nights, Wong Yee

This summer we will continue reading lots and lots of books, working on writing our name, learning our phonics flashcards, and having morning Bible time, but we won't be quite as structured. In the fall we will pick up with 4K and be a little more formal than we were this year, but not too much. There are plenty of years of learning ahead and for the most part we are just having fun right now!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Body for Life

I'm on day 24 of my 84 day Body for Life challenge. It is going great! I have two pounds of baby weight left to lose (and then I'll start working on getting back to my pre-all-babies weight!) and I fit back into my skinniest pair of jeans with no muffin top--yay! I also have more energy and just feel better overall.

I have been either trying to get pregnant, pregnant, or nursing since December 2009 and so I've pretty much been able to eat whatever I want for the past several years. After Nora was born, though, I really wanted to reclaim my body and re-develop the healthy habits I used to have. I had kept up with exercise in various forms, but needed something more structured to keep me on track. I did Body for Life in high school and remembered it being a pretty common-sense eating and exercise program that I could still manage while nursing, because it doesn't restrict calories or any food groups besides white flour and sugar.

I checked out the book from the library for a quick review and then dove in to the 12 week challenge. Basically, you work out six days a week--three cardio sessions and three weight training sessions. You eat 5-6 smaller meals a day of lean protein and healthy carbohydrates, and all the vegetables you want. Then one day a week is your free day; you take the day off from exercise and eat whatever you like. This is what makes this program work for me. If I'm craving ice cream or we have a special event planned, I use the free day to keep me on track.

60 days to go!

Monday, April 20, 2015

One Thousand Gifts, 221-225

221. A basement that stayed mostly dry through the crazy amount of rain we have received over the past two weeks.
222. Planting seeds for my cutting garden.
223. A day spent at my happy place with family!
224. My mom coming to babysit today so I can run errands and grocery shop without little helpers.
225. Coffee. Even if it's decaf. ;)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday's Free Tips to a Happier You :)

Life with four kids four and under is actually going quite smoothly, aside from the mountains of laundry and the constant straightening up. But I'm always on a mission to make my life a little bit happier. Last week I walked through each room of our home and did one thing that made me happy. In some rooms I fixed something that had been bugging me--changed a burned out light bulb, washed the dog bowl. In others I added fresh flowers or a plant, swapped out a picture in a frame (mpix is my favorite cost-effective online printing site). I got rid of some stuff that was cluttering up my life. I simplified some storage. I like making my house neat and pretty. I'm always re-working till I find just the right thing. But remembering the stuff isn't all that important. Last week I made sure to make time to take the kids to the park, read lots of library books, and do some extra crafts. And I try to take at least 15 minutes a day to do something just for me--a power nap, a cup of tea, a chapter of a new book. I want our home to be a welcoming place for my husband, children, friends...and me!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Foster Parent Update

This foster parent update is long overdue. We’ve now been licensed foster parents since July 2012. Jacob was our first placement. For the first year we kept thinking he would be able to return to his first mama, but after about a year several things happened that changed our minds. We began hoping and praying that he would be able to stay forever. It was a long, long journey with many twists and turns and we wondered if it would ever end. Those of you who were on our prayer email list know all those details. We learned so much about God’s provision and His enduring faithfulness during that time.

We have had about eight or so other placements, all short-term, ranging from one night to four weeks. Most of those children were able to be placed with a family member, and a couple moved on to a long-term foster home. We are not taking placements now, but plan to resume short-term, emergency care at the end of the summer. We will do that for a while and see how it goes. Right now I don’t feel like I can manage more than four very young children. But we also don’t sense that this call God has placed on us has ended. We will see where He takes us as the road unfolds.
The need is great. There are so many hurting children and broken families who need someone to believe in them and love them. At a recent foster parent meeting, a young woman who had grown up in foster care spoke to us. She lived in more foster homes and group homes than she could remember to count, from the age of 3 until she aged out. No one ever adopted her. No one came to her graduation, or wrote her letters during boot camp, or gave her a place to come home to for Christmas.

Are foster children easy to parent? Oftentimes, no. And I wouldn’t recommend you jump in without a lot of prayer and study. But God equips the called and He will enable you to do the work.

Monday, April 13, 2015

One Thousand Gifts, 216-220

216. Learning about God's grace throughout the Old Testament in Bible Study Fellowship this year.
217. Time to work in the garden.
218. Pretty flowers I'm learning to grow and arrange.
219. Fun family day at the zoo.
220. First time back on the worship team since Nora was born.

Friday, April 10, 2015


I turned thirty a few weeks ago! I had a great day of celebrating. The Gent made us a pancake breakfast and I opened my cards. Then I met a friend and her little ones at the botanical gardens and we enjoyed time outside on a beautiful spring day. When we got home my sweet hubby, with help from Honey and Tessie, had arranged a surprise lunch complete with chocolate cake. Honey watched the munchkins during the afternoon and I went to get a facial and do a little shopping. The Gent and I went out for dinner and then--one more surprise--to the symphony! Thanks to all who helped make my day a special one!

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Monday, April 6, 2015

One Thousand Gifts, 211-215

211. our risen Savior who loves with an indescribable love
212. listening to my munchkins sing praises to God
213. Easter Sunday
214. successfully completing my first week of Body for Life
215. taking more time to read in the evenings

Friday, April 3, 2015

Sophie: 22 months

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Look who's getting so big! Sophie's will has continued to emerge this month. Annie and Jacob went through this phase at the same time and it was a bit overwhelming at times--with Sophie, it's more like "oh you're cute, but you still have to listen to Mommy." :) She says the names of everyone in our family except her own. She is putting together simple sentences and continues to love books and baby dolls. She and Nora have just started sharing the nursery and so far so good! Sophie is a great big sister. She tried to ride Annie's tricycle yesterday and thought it was so much fun--good thing she is getting one for her birthday!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Nora: Two Months

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I love love love watching her grow and learn new things, but, Nora, could you please slow down and be little for a while longer? Nora is past the newborn phase and is becoming much more alert and interested in her surroundings. She discovered her hands last week and spent an hour looking at them, turning them all around, and trying to figure out how they are connected to her body. She loves to smile and "talks" a little. Her siblings get so excited when they can get her to smile! Our schedule is about the same as last month. She sleeps well and naps well and eats well and is generally a happy baby--what more can you ask for in the fourth baby? ;) Nora is wearing size 0-3 month clothes and size 1 diapers. But she is getting so long, I think we will be transitioning to the next clothing size in another couple of weeks.

We are soaking in these sweet baby days and are so thankful for our dear baby girl!