Saturday, December 31, 2011

Amazing Discovery

After many unsuccessful attempts to put Nola to sleep, we've finally discovered that (at times) she likes to sleep on her back.  This back-sleeping phenomenon is a new one to me since the other two always slept on their tummies as babies.  And it seems that back-sleeping is only required at night after her first wake-up.  Strange.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Worship time. (aka children's energy release)

Please excuse Nathan's whining at the beginning.  He wanted to "see" the music, and of course there was nothing to see.  Glad there was no full-blown meltdown caught on camera!

Playing with trains

It comes. And then it goes.

I really have no idea why I've felt so strangely about Christmas this year.  Apathetic would be a good way to describe my approach to it this year.  I think I might be in sort of a state of shock at how fast this year went by.  It's hard to believe that Nola is over 10 months old and closing fast on a year.  It seems like we just had Thanksgiving a week ago, and now Christmas is over and New Year's Eve is in 3 days.  I don't remember a year that went so by and held in it so many blessings. 

All that to say we had an enjoyable Christmas.  The kids had a blast with their presents.  Nobody was sick on Christmas.  We spent quality time with our wonderful family and friends.  The Christmas eve service at church was one of my most favorites ever.  There were many quiet nights of sitting and watching our beautiful tree twinkle in a darkened living room.  There were cookies in abundance.  There was Christmas music.  And there was a delicious Christmas dinner prepared by my talented parents.

Our twinkly tree after Santa visited

The children were nestled...

...all snug in their bed...

...while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

The three amigos on Christmas morning before the unwrapping craziness started

Nathan's favorite present...his front-end loader that makes NOISE

Natalie's necklace from Mommy

Nola is introduced to her baby doll

Unwrapping another truck..with a little assistance

Natalie's drumbeats toy

Nola's xylophone

Nathan and his race cars.  Big success!

Legos....another hit!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Proverbs 4:23

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.

I've read this verse frequently in the past couple weeks and just last week added it to my list of verses that I want to memorize in the coming year.  And it just hit me as I read it tonight that if I teach my children nothing else, I hope I effectively teach them this.

Guarding their hearts will be my job for a few more years yet, but I hope that by the time they begin school and start to make some bigger choices for themselves they will have this embedded in their hearts and minds.  

I pray that they will be filled with the Holy Spirit and all the good thoughts and attitudes that come along with it.  It is my hope that they learn that the contents of their hearts will spill out into everything they do.  I want them to learn to guard their hearts and be aware that not everything in this world is good for them even though they have no reason to walk in fear because of parts of life that aren't so good.  Father, just protect my kids and help me teach them to appropriately guard their hearts.  Help them to be filled with all the good things you have for them.  In Jesus name, amen.

Nola's 10 (and a half) months

Nola was 10 1/2 months on the 10th - her "golden" month birthday...haha.  The past month and a half have been amazing with Nola.  She's a full-time cruiser now and loves going back and forth while holding onto the couch.  I love this age - especially this time around because I can really appreciate its fleeting nature.

Size/clothes: She's over 19 lbs now.  Poor baby has been to the doctor a few times in the last couple weeks due to ear infections and a lingering upper respiratory infection.  Still in 18-24 months clothes.

Eating:  She still loves to nurse and will spend most of the night nursing as she sleeps along with enjoying 6-8 nursing sessions during the day.  I have finally begun to consistently offer meals along with the older kids.  She really loves to eat.  Some new favorite things are beans and rice, toast with jelly, and bagel chips.  She still loves her fruits and vegetables, and I went ahead and made some avocado/banana and raspberry/banana/baby oatmeal purees to freeze and give along with fingerfoods. I've offered cheese and yogurt, but so far she's not a huge fan.  We'll keep trying.  She has started to hold her own cup and drink instead of requiring help from me.  My girl LOVES to eat, and whether she's hungry or not, she's always willing to give food a try.

Teeth:  Two new teeth this month!  So she got the proverbial two front teeth for Christmas.

Sleeping:  Getting better.  But that's probably mostly due to the fact that I'm just waiting for her to be tired instead of putting her to bed at a predetermined time.  Just in the last week or so, she's begun taking a consistent 2-3 hour nap starting around 11am.  She still starts the night in her bed, but usually she only lasts until about 11:30 or midnight at the latest before joining us in bed where she will contentedly alternate sleeping and eating until about 7:30 or 8.

New skills:  Besides cruising, Nola is clapping, dancing, singing, talking, and showing signs of attitude.  She learned to clap right on the 10th, and that morning she was laying next to me in bed clapping as she nursed.  It was adorable.  She loves to dance and sing, so anything that makes music in this house is Nola's favorite.  She's talking - words include ba-ba (my boobs), nuh-nuh (no no), ah-duh (all done), buh (book), and of course dada and mama.  She cracks me up saying nuh-nuh since she usually tells herself that when she bites me.  We've started having serious issues with biting, both during nursing as well as any other time.  It's sort of become her way of getting my attention.  Fortunately, I think she's starting to get the idea that it's not appreciated but we're still working on it.  She's also showing signs of girly attitude by throwing a fit when I take away her washcloth so I can wash her during her bath - she growls at me too.  Frightening.  She knows what she wants and when she wants it.

Loves:  Baths, eating and nursing, her brother and sister, her daddy, sleeping in our bed, the Christmas tree, getting into things she's not supposed to have, books, sleeping in her carseat, and the humidifier.

Loathes: Homemade peach puree with baby cereal -- just found this out today.  Funny story.  She literally spit it out over the side of her high chair.  Hilarious.  She also is not a fan of diaper changes, having the washcloth taken away in the bathtub, being too cold or too hot, and having to sit still.

Girl loves to eat, I'm telling you.

Nola and Mama at the Nutcracker

Pretty little toofers

Lookin' at the new love of her life -- Daddy
 *admittedly, I was horrible about taking pictures this month.  These shots resulted from only two separate attempts at photographically documenting my baby's life.  I promise to do better this month (especially since it's already half over).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

best moments ever

In the past couple weeks, we've had two amazing moments as a family.  Moments that make me proud to be a mother to MY children.  Moments that I've been dreaming of for years.  Moments that I want to breathe in, bottle up, wallow in, and bathe my soul in at the times (like today) when life with three kids under five is hard.

The first one happened at the end of dinner about a week and a half ago.  Kevin, Natalie, Nathan, and Nola were still at the table, and I was in the kitchen.  Nola had just learned how to clap her hands, and we were all saying, "YAY!!!!" And Nola would just giggle and clap and look around at each of us smiling at her.  It was one of the sweetest things I've ever experienced, and I remember as I was standing there watching that I was just reminding myself to totally soak up that moment.  Tears came to my eyes, and joy filled my heart.  All of us were blessed in that moment.

Then last night, Kevin and I were having a conversation as the kids were playing when I overheard Nathan say his foot hurt.  He didn't make much of a fuss about it, so I didn't either.  Just a minute later, I looked back over to where they were sitting and Natalie had his foot in her hands praying for him.  I sat in complete awe as she led him through the prayer.  She would say a line, and he repeated it back just like I do with each of them.   They finished, and I praised Natalie for taking the initiative to pray for her brother.  Then Kevin said his shoulders hurt and sort of hinted that they should pray for him.  So they went behind the couch where he was sitting and each of them put their hands on one of his shoulders.  Natalie led the prayer again.  Short, simple, to the point.  "Jesus, please make Daddy's shoulders feel better.  Pain, go in the name of Jesus. Amen!"  Kevin said it felt a little better, so I told the kids to pray again.  They happily obliged, of course.  After Kevin, they prayed for Nola's bronchitis to go away.  And then my little prayer warriors were back at it this morning praying for anything and everything.  I am sooooooo proud of them.  Can't even find the words to express what this means to me.  I am so in love with the fact that they do listen and follow my example, especially when I least expect it. 

So thank you, Jesus for my amazing children.  Bless them as they go about their daily lives and give them courage to pray for anyone and everyone who needs to be touched by You.  Help me to continue to live out your example for them so they will grow into the people they are in Your Kingdom.  Thank you for loving us, Jesus!  Amen!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's a *gasp* artificial tree

It looks good....for being an imposter.

If you know anything about me and Christmas, you know that having an artificial tree is the next thing to blasphemy.  That being said, I decided that this would be the year to go with an artificial one because we don't really have the layout in our living room that would make it easy to use a gate to keep Nola out of the needles that would inevitably fall from the tree.  So, with a heavy heart I went to Wal-Mart and picked out this beauty.  It was a lot easier to put up than I thought it would be since it's just in three sections with the branches folding out from the "trunk."  I added some of our flashing LED bulbs because the pretty colors flashing against the wall (or blinds in this year's case) are one of my favorite things to watch late in the evening during the holidays.

As I was putting it up this morning, I was already looking forward to a couple years from now when we can go back to a live tree and I can pass this one on to someone else to enjoy.  Probably when Nola is two or three, so this will be the tree for at least one or two more Christmases.


As we were driving home from a morning out with my mom this afternoon, the song "Oh You Can't Get to Heaven" came on on the CD we were listening too, and Natalie was quite amused by that song.  The conversation went as follows...

*song* Oh you can't get to Heaven (oh you can't get to Heaven) On roller skates (on roller skates)
Natalie:  You can't get to Heaven on ROLLER SKATES?!?
Me:  No, I don't think so...
*song* Oh you can't get to Heaven (oh you can't get to Heaven) In a rocking chair (in a rocking chair)
Natalie: You can't get to Heaven in a ROCKING CHAIR?!?!?
Me: (laughing)
*song* Oh you can't get to Heaven (oh you can't get to Heaven) In a limousine (in a limousine)
Natalie: What's a limousine?
Me:  It's a really long, pretty car with lots of seats in it.
Natalie: You can't get to Heaven in a limousine?!?!?!  (pauses to think)  I think you have to get a rocketship to get to Heaven.
Me (thinking to myself):  I guess I better do a better job of teaching her about the importance of Jesus in her life.
Natalie: No, Mommy, you need Jesus to get to Heaven.
Me:  *SMILES*  That's right, Natalie.

I just love it when she shows me that she listens to what I'm trying to teach her even when she doesn't always seem to be paying attention.

the new Biblical definition of me

Galatians 6:10 NLT
Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

This is my new favorite verse because it describes how I do life.  You know how people ask what your favorite verse is or to pick one that describes you?   This is it for me.  I love, and I mean LOVE helping people.  Giving things away that I don't need or don't use, sharing anything with anyone, just helping.  I love it.  I have things that I still am using now that I think about passing on to certain people that I know will either love it or really need it.  People and their needs are on my mind all the time.  

I say "new" Biblical definition of me because when people used to ask my favorite verse, I would always say Proverbs 20:11 because that is the verse that my parents chose for me when they gave me my first Bible when I was little.  Proverbs 20:11 is this, "Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right."  Pretty sure they were just telling me to behave by choosing that verse for me, but for the better part of my life that verse has lived in my mind as a reminder to consider how my actions might define who I am.  I'm going to teach Natalie this verse in the hopes that it will serve as the same reminder to her as she grows.

Nothing like passing on good words to grow by.