Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One of my favorite things

  One of my favorite things about our city is that they make Creekmore park beautiful with Christmas lights just after Thanksgiving.  I really only took a few pictures.  It is a large park and they really go all out.  The boys loved the lights and we enjoyed walking around and looking at them all and then ended our time by playing on the playground.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Only by the grace of God

There are some days when I get to the end of the day and I'm thankful that our boys have been kept from obvious danger.  I'm sure most mothers think that way, but my boys are just rowdy and do things that scare me sometimes.  With Micah, it goes with the territory.  He just doesn't understand boundaries of any kind, whether that's walking out in the street or toward a car, etc.  We don't let him out of our sight for that very reason, but on occasion there are moments when it's hard to avoid if even for a few seconds. He is very strong and even if I am holding onto him, he will sometimes try and maneuver out of my grasp. He loves climbing these days, and that may be on the table, on the couch, or any high surface.  He is also in to sticking things in his ear.  One day I absent mindedly left a pair of scissors on the counter and turned around just in time to snatch them out of his hands as he was about to put them in his ear!  We are careful to put knives and anything sharp up in high places.

Gabriel has become mister independent, wanting to do almost everything by himself (except for the things we want him to do by himself!).  This includes walking out in a parking lot.  He does not want us to hold his hand and sometimes will act like he is being tortured if we try and hold his hand. He also loves to climb and jump from high places. 

As I think about these boys, I'm reminded that I'm not alone and that the Father is watching out for them and Wayne and myself as we parent them.  Psalm 121 talks about the LORD being our keeper and there are many references in Scripture to being protected.  Sometimes children aren't protected from harm and I don't understand why; that's a whole other theological discussion.  For now, I have to submit my fears and worries and believe that He is a good Father.  He is my Help and my Shield.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Simple Christmas tree

 Micah found some beads to play with

 We had fun decorating our tree; Gabriel loved decorating it and you can probably tell which ornaments he hung. We've had our tree up for a little over a week now, and amazingly, it has only been taken down once.  And by taken down, I mean knocked over by Micah.  We've had this pre-lit tree for a couple of years, and while I miss the smell of a real tree, this is the best thing for us.  We always start with as many ornaments as we have, which is not many, because we know they won't stay on the tree for long. 

As I mentioned in the previous post, Micah loves anything in the plant, flower, or tree families, artificial or not.  So, he loves to spin our tree around and if we aren't fast enough to stop him, results in it being knocked to the floor.  The ornaments that survive the fall which may be breakable just don't go back on the tree.  I can't imagine having a real tree now; there would be pine needles covering the floor.  After the tree was knocked over I debated whether it was worth fighting with Micah to try and keep him from spinning it and I eventually decided it is.  We usually only have it for a couple of weeks before it's time to pack up and go visit our families.  Then we have to keep him from their trees!  I love Christmas trees, even if ours is void of anything but lights.  In fact, last Sunday I noticed a couple of small Christmas trees in our church sanctuary.  I said to Wayne "Hey, those look like our tree, they only have lights."  He replied "See, we know how to decorate for Christmas after all.  Simple, but elegant."

Friday, December 09, 2011

Yard helpers

Last Saturday we spent a couple of hours raking leaves in our backyard.  Gabriel was so excited to help rake leaves for the first time.  He actually did help some.  Micah loved picking the leaves up and dumping them all over himself as you can see.  He is really into this phase of picking anything outside, whether it's leaves, weeds, grass, dirt, etc. and either dumping it/them on his head or taking a handfull and raking it over the side of his head like he is brushing his hair with whatever it is.  It's strange, but just one of those phases he is in which will pass in weeks or months, hopefully. 

Micah actually helped put leaves in the bags some, but then at other times would take leaves out that we had just put in.  He and Gabriel both loved to come tromping through once I had a big pile gathered.  Though it could have been frustrating, we actually had fun and enjoyed seeing the boys have so much fun.  At some point Micah carried off 2 right handed gloves and we think may have put them in one of the leaf bags which we didn't notice.  We realized there were two missing and they were nowhere to be found, so that was the only explanation.  We ended up with 14 bags of leaves and probably could have filled up as many more.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Early 40th celebration


Last weekend we went to Fort Worth for the weekend to celebrate Wayne's 40th birthday a little early.  He has always wanted go to an NFL game, particularly the Cowboys so I planned it a little in advanced, worked it out with his boss so that he could be off part of the day on Friday and all day on Monday so that we would have plenty of time.  I got the tickets early (a gift from his parents, sisters, and me) and had them sent to Janel's house. It was supposed to be a surprise, but he figured it out as soon as I told him we were going somewhere. He's too smart.  Of course, it helped that I forgot to clear out my search history on the computer!

 We stayed with Janel and had a great time visiting with her.  We got to visit with Betty on Saturday, who is one of my dearest friends.  It's always good to see her and there is never enough time!  Sun. evening we visited with Amy (another of my dearest friends) and her family.  Gabriel had a great time playing with Audrey. I'm always amazed at how quickly he makes friends and wants to play with other kids.   It was the first time for us to see each other's kids!

Sunday Wayne and I went to the Cowboys game and really enjoyed it.  Janel graciously took care of the boys while we were there.  Our seats were up very high, but still not bad, especially with the massive Jumbo tron.  We bought some really pricey ultimate nachos and I was ultimately wishing later that I hadn't gotten them. : )  The Cowboys blew out the Bills, winning 44-7.  We picked a good game to go to.

On Monday as we were leaving, we went slightly out of our way so that we could go to In N Out Burger.  That was our favorite fast food burger place in CA and we had heard that there had been some built in D/FW area.  It did not disappoint!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

MOPS playdates

These are pictures from a couple of MOPS playdates we've had this fall.  We went to tour one of the firestations in Fort Smith.  There are 10 firestations in this city, which was surprising to me, but good to know.  Gabriel loves anything having to do with firetrucks, firemen, etc.  What's interesting about him is that sometimes he doesn't want to get too close when it comes to actually seeing something in person.  He was a little scared of the firemen and didn't want to get any closer to the firetruck than the one picture I have with him standing in front.  We were actually supposed to see it up close, but they got a call in the middle of our tour and about half the men had to leave.  We moms asked a lot of questions while the kids (mostly boys) wanted to look at the many toy firetrucks, rescue trucks, and other related toys in the glass cases.  Out of all the moms, I got to put on the firesuit and had my picture taken by a man from the Fort Smith newspaper.  He took many pictures and the one that ended up in the paper was not that great.  He even took one of me with all the kids and that wasn't the one that was selected, which was disappointing.

We went to the Wild Things Farm again and it was one of the coldest days we've had, but it did warm up.  Gabriel loves going to this place.  He was not interested in sliding down their homemade slide but was happy to stand at the top and watch the other kids go down.  Next week we are going to one of the local pizza places to learn how they make pizzas.  That should be fun!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

We've come a long way!

As November rolled in, I have been reminded of this season of Thanksgiving.  Not that we should only be thankful in November or on Thanksgiving day, but every day for lots of things.  I recently read a book called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp and it has impacted me greatly.  It's basically an incredibly, creatively written book about giving thanks in all things whether small or great.  The writer was challenged by a friend to began recording things she is grateful for, daily, at various moments as they came to her mind.  So, she in turn challenges her readers to do the same.  I have started this in a journal separate from my other journal (which I very sporadicly write in).  I may post more about this book in later blog entries, but this is one of the things she said that most impacted me.  She writes "In this counting gifts, one thousand, more, I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life.  A lifetime of sermons on 'thanks in all things' and the shelves sagging with books on these things and I testify:life-changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time."

The last picture is one of the things I am grateful for.  Of course, I am grateful for all three of those guys and love them more than I can say.  But, I am so thankful how far Micah has come in adjusting to Gabriel.  The first picture was in the hospital the day after Gabriel was born.  You can see the tears in Micah's eyes.  I cannot describe to you how hard the first several weeks and months of Gabriel's life were for Micah, for me, maybe even Wayne.  I think Micah did not know what Gabriel was or why he was suddenly in our home.  He cried so much and at times would even hit me while I was holding Gabriel.  I remember talking to my dear friend Stacey on the phone just days after he was born and questioning whether we had made the right decision to have another baby. I felt like it was almost too much.  She had lots of wisdom and encouragement to give and prayed for me as we talked.  The days and weeks were hard, especially after moving to a new place with no friends and Micah spent a lot of time alone in his room when Gabriel wasn't sleeping.  The middle picture shows Gabriel lying on his little blanket with toys hanging down.  He was purposely put in front of the Christmas tree because that's the only way we could keep Micah away from the tree.  We called Gabriel the Christmas tree guard; maybe it was cruel but it worked!

Now, Micah willing gives Gabriel bedtime hugs and will occasionally play with Gabriel.  Sometimes Gabriel will pull him by the shirt to take him in his room.  Sometimes Micah is okay with this and not at other times.  We are trying to teach Gabriel to be respectful of him and understand if Micah doesn't want to play. 

There are still some things with Micah that are stressful, but this is one area that has gotten so much better.  And I am thankful.