Thursday, October 24, 2013

This Week: October 19th - October 24th

I took a bunch of random videos and pictures this week, but I will try to document them in a somewhat organized fashion!  Let's start with some pictures and videos of Summer:

Helping Daddy make pizza on Sunday night

First time painting her nails by herself

  Summer is getting better and better at writing her name...except for me placing 4 dots (in blue) to help her with her "s" she can do it all by herself now....

Here is a video of her writing it...she is getting faster!

Summer has been making huge strides in swimming this fall.  Her favorite parts are "walking on the moon" (when they walk with their hands along the side of the pool), the "rocket" (where they push off the side of the pool with their feet and float on their backs), and the back float (which she did all by herself this morning).  However, the "getting her head wet" thing has really been hard for her.  The first few weeks she was scared to put her "eyes" in the water.  In the past few weeks, she has allowed Ms. Sarah (her instructor) to put her head under on a count of 3.  Today, for the first time, she put her own head in!  Summer's biggest fear in swimming lessons is jumping in the pool.  She doesn't like the feel of the water going over her head.  Up until today, Ms. Sarah had to pick her up off the side of the pool and put her in the water.  Today, Summer decided she was going to jump in all by herself.  I love this video because it shows how nervous she can see her shaking..and yet she does it...for the first time.  I am VERY proud of her, overcoming so many fears these past two months!

Summer finished up her Fall 1 swim lessons (We start Fall 2 lessons next week).  At Swim Wise Swim School, the instructor writes a little message to each student at the end of the sesson.  Such a sweet touch!  Here is Summer's:


 I enjoyed some fun one-on-one time with Colton this week, when Summer slept in and also when Daddy took Summer with him on a Menard's run.  I don't get very much one-on-one with my little boy, so I eat up the moments I do have to completely focus on him.  One thing I have been noticing lately is that Colton's vocabulary has now expanded to include words that are not nouns.  He now uses often and correctly these types of words: "heavy", "bumpy", "upside-down", "hot", "under", "tall", etc.  He is also loving learning how to help mommy put away laundry, just like Summer did at his age.  It is also funny to see his little personality developing.  He likes things put "back" when he is done with them!  When I tell him we need to go, he will always put "back" whatever he was playing with and then come.  He also is very exact in placing his blankie in a spot before we leave it somewhere.  No corner can be sticking has to be in a nice, small, ball-like pile.  Too funny!  Here are a few pictures and videos of him from this week...
Red wagon

love this profile

this face melts my heart :)

he loves his pumpkin!

loves to "open close open close" the cabinets

my favorite boys in plaid

playing with "letters"  (i love this cheek profile)

 I smile inside when I think about the adorable differences between having a boy and a girl.  Colton definitely is more interested in action than in learning colors, etc!  I have to laugh at my attempts to teach him things...because often they turn out like these next two videos!  I want to share them because I want to remember his cute little personality of how he says "no" to himself when he thinks he is choosing the "wrong" color!  I also want to remember snippets of how he says things and acts.  Videos do a great job of that.  So while there is nothing inherently special about these next two videos, they accomplish the above purpose for me.  Anyway, we were attempting to practice our colors in these next two videos....:)

Spiritual Growth
More important to me than teaching Summer how to write her name, or Colton his colors, is teaching them to love God and about his word.  We continue to read their Bible stories each morning and pray together, but this week we started something new for each kid.

For Summer (and the family as well) we started Scripture memory. Since we started BSF, I have been looking at different ways to make a chalkboard for our kitchen for the purpose of writing down a weekly memory verse (BSF gives us a memory verse each week).   I found this little door at Goodwill a few weeks ago and immediately thought of the verse Deuteronomy 11:18-20:

 18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the DOORFRAMES of your houses and on your gates,

 and decided to make it into a scripture memory verse of the week chalkboard for Summer's BSF verses.  After a bit of paint, attaching a mini chalkboard, playing with computer fonts, and some mod-podge to put Deuteronomy 11:18-20 on the bottom, I now have this chalkboard.  I hung it right by our back door next to our kitchen table so we see it each time we leave, as well as each time we sit down to eat, to remind us to talk about it during meal time.

Our BSF verse of the week this week is Matthew 5:44.  Summer and I spent a while discussing what it means and memorizing it on Wednesday at lunch after BSF, and she had it memorized almost right away!  Now when she sees the chalkbaord, she will go over and "pretend" to read it (from memory).  I love it!  Here is a video of her first "verse of the week".  I hope to post one each week-- we will see out it goes! 

For Colton, we started teaching him how to pray this week.  About this age we did the same thing with Summer, and she now does an awesome job of talking to God about everything (Paul and often have to hide our giggles when Summer prays for our meals!!)  We start by having the kids repeat basic words of a prayer, with the hopes that eventually they will take it, and make it their own.  Here is a little video of Colton learning how to pray.

Just for fun

Here are a few "just for fun" pictures from this week. Several of them are from one cloudy, cold day when we all needed a little "pick-me-up" and we decided to make waffles for lunch.  Fun how little things like that can turn a crabby hour into an exciting hour :-).

Summer had whip cream and chocolate chips on her waffle :-)

Colton likes to dip his waffles in syrup

My favorite way to eat a waffle??  Peanut butter and syrup :)

Silly girl!

We had fun making up a birthday package to send to Grandma T....

...putting a hat on Tucker....
...and taking birthday pictures for Grandma T :)
Love Colton's legs in this picture!!!!

We loved celebrating Brandon's third birthday!

Cute CARS theme

The party was at "Good Times Park"-- and indoor park

The kids loved playing in the room with massive blocks!

We also loved going to Eli's house to decorate cookies.  Summer frosted and sprinkled 17 cookies all by herself!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

3 year and 18 month pictures...

We took the kids for their 3 year and 18 month pictures last week....Summer did AWESOME!  Colton was a bit stoic...but we managed to get a few smiles/smirks out of him ;)...Here are my favorites...

Summer (3)

Colton (18 months)


Summer's Decision

I could not be any more excited to share with you the news of this past weekend!  It is an answer to an almost daily prayer for the past 4ish years, ever since we knew there was a "Summer" inside of me...

On Saturday afternoon, October 19th, Summer became a Christian!

I walked into Summer's room when her quiet time was over (about 3:45pm) and she was doing the same thing she has been doing for the past 2 weeks during her quiet time....listening to her Bible on CD.  After chatting about what she had read about/learned that afternoon, I started fixing her hair (we were heading to a birthday party that afternoon).  As I was combing her hair, she matter of factly said,

"Mommy, while I was reading my Bible, I prayed to ask Jesus to forgive my sins, so now I can go to heaven."

My heart leaped for joy! 

"That is WONDERFUL!", I said!  "What did you pray?"

She said, "I said, 'Dear God, Please forgive my sins.  Thank you for dying on the cross.  Please give me an obedient heart.' "

I enveloped her in a massive hug, and we talked about how Mommy, and Daddy would be in heaven too and we would all be there together!  I also told her that now she had the Holy Spirit living inside of her and he would help her to make good choices.  After lots more excitement we went down to tell Daddy the good news!  Several times since then she has said, "Mommy, I am going to heaven!"  I exclaim, "YES, you are!!"  And we talk about all the other people that are going too!  We also talk about how some people haven't yet heard the good news that God can take away their sin, so we need to share that good news so lots of people can be in heaven with us!!!  Have you heard the good news?!?!  Here is a snapshot of Summer's journey to faith...

Summer's Journey...

Summer and I have been having MANY conversations about God, the Bible, Heaven, "the bad place", etc.  It all started maybe 6 months ago when she asked where Goliath was.   I told her that he was in a "bad" place because he didn't ask Jesus to forgive his sins.  From there the conversations spawned...we talked about how after we die, there are two places we can go.  We talked about how there is lots of crying and boo-boo's in the bad place and people hurt all the time.   We also talked about how heaven is where God is, and people who believe in Jesus and ask him to take away their sins get to go to heaven.

One night, about a month or two ago, Summer woke up crying.  She told me she was "looking at pictures on my cell phone of Goliath, Pharaoh, and King Herod "and they were in the bad place....and then she looked confused...I told her she was dreaming.  She asked me if there was a door on the bad place.  I told her it was very far away.  I told her that if she believed in Jesus and asked him to take away her sins she would never go there but would go to heaven.  She at that point didn't want to go to heaven because she wanted to stay at home with us, with her blankie, and with Tucker :-).   Paul and I prayed with her and tucked her back in. :)

Meanwhile, we continued our daily prayers, both with and without her, asking God to help her to come to know him at an early age.  I also know that Grandparents, friends from church, and my BSF leader were praying for her too.  What a blessing!!

Our spiritual conversations continued quite often throughout our days as we read her Bible in the morning, as she listened to her Big Picture Story Bible on CD at quiet time, and as various other questions of hers came up.  She continued to ask questions and grow in her understanding.

When she shared with me her "news" on Saturday afternoon, because of all the conversations we had previously had, I knew she understood that she is sinful (does bad things), that Jesus died on the cross and rose again to take the punishment for her sins, and that she had to accept that fact and ask Jesus to take away her sins, and then she would get to go live with God in heaven.

The Bible talks about how we are "born again" when we believe on Jesus' name.  We are no longer seen as sinful creatures, but rather as righteous because Christ took all our sin/shame/guilt away when he died on the cross.....

1 Peter 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

So, I am excited to now make October 19th Summer's "spiritual" birthday!  Next year at this time we will definitely have to find some fun way to celebrate :)
My biggest prayer for my kids has always been (and will continue to be for Colton) that they would come to know their Savior at an early age and live for him.  I want to see my babies in heaven forever!!  Now, my prayer for Summer has changed.  Now each time I pray for her, I thank the Lord that Summer is saved, and I ask that she would continue to grow in his ways and live for him all her life.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Come Here, Beautiful

I really believe that parenting allows me a whole new way to see God.  So many days I catch glimpses of how God must feel when we obey/disobey, etc.  And this morning was one of those times when I clearly understood a piece of him better....

I have nicknames for each of my kiddos. Colty, Colton-Buddy, buddy, Colty-Colt, and any other variation I come up with ;).  Summer is Summy, Sum-Sum, Summaroo, and Beautiful.  Yes, I often just address her, "hello, Beautiful!" 

Well, Summer's tummy started not feeling well last night, which resulted in several "#2 accidents".  This morning she woke up covered in poop, all over her bed and all over her.  As she stood there, cold, shivering, and dirty, I methodically stripped off the poopy pj's and started the clean-up process.   I found myself saying to a poop-covered little trembling girl, "Come here, beautiful."  As soon as I said it, my head started thinking about how interesting it was that those particular words came off my tongue in such a moment...and I loved it. 

And that is when I caught a glimpse of how God must see us before Christ cleans us up... covered in poopy sin, trembling in our own nakedness, he calls us, "Come here, beautiful", and he cleans us up, washes us in the warm soapy water of forgiveness, and puts clean clothes on us.  All we have to do is come, confessing our sin, when he calls us-- he does the rest. 

Blessed are those who mourn (repent) for they will be comforted.  Matthew 5:4

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our Week: October 11th - October 17th

Here are a few snapshots from our week:

My Birthday:
We celebrated my birthday last Sunday because we had our couples Bible Study on Tuesday night (my actual birthday).  However, Summer was SO excited that it was my birthday on Tuesday that we decided to play it up ;).  (She gets REALLY excited about birthdays)  So, I let her decide what special treat we should have to celebrate my birthday and we went to Target and she got to "pick out" cupcakes for my birthday.  She even stuck a candle in and sang to me--too cute!

Going to get a treat for Mommy

This one!

Since it was Tuesday, we went to library story time.  We also picked out new books to bring home.  While Summer and I were picking out books, Colton and his buddy Ian were doing the "motor vehicle" puzzle together.

We went out to lunch with some friends after story time, and it went quite smoothly having all the 3 year old sisters and 1 year old brothers sit at the same table!

Paul's family always sings their "traditional" birthday song each birthday, and they sent me this fun multimedia presentation video of them singing "The monkey birthday song".  Definitely talented!

I had a lot of fun getting to celebrate with my mom on Thursday -- we went out for lunch and had a great time catching up :).

I felt so special and loved by family and friends!  I think my favorite part was watching Summer get SO excited about it being my birthday!

Sibling Stuff

One of my favorite parts of the week is watching Summer and Colton enjoy playing together so much!  They are really doing a great job sharing, taking turns, and enjoying each others' company.  Summer is so good about helping Colton do things he can't do by himself, teaching him things, and comforting him if he is sad/frustrated.  Colton loves watching his big sister and tries to do everything she does, say everything she says, and act how she acts.  Here are a few snapshots of the two of them together from the past two weeks....

Squirting glass cleaner onto paper towels to help mommy clean

Definitely more finger prints after cleaning the mirror than before, but pretty cute helpers :-)

Dressing up in mommy and daddy's clothes

Playing in the sandbox
Here is a video Grandma captured of them playing Ring-Around-the-Rosy


It is amazing how everything the kids do, they are learning, and how the smallest games and activities create fun learning tools!

We are continuing to work with Colton on colors (right now everything is "boo" (Blue)) and trying to coming up with learning activities that are full of action!  So we pulled out a Twister mat I got at a consignment sale last year and used it as a tool to practice colors for Colton and the directions "left and right" with Summer.  Here is a little video of them playing Twister with some dancing thrown in for fun :-).  This will definitely be an activity we will repeat in the coming cold winter passed a good 45 minutes on a rainy afternoon in no time!

 One of the books Summer got from the library this week was called The Great Graph Contest , and after reading it spawned our math lesson for the week.  Together we created a fruit loop graph. I created the graph paper, but Summer did the rest--and LOVED it.  Here are a few pictures of our project as well as a little video of her learning how to "read" the graph.

First Summer looked to see what colors of fruit loops were in her bowl, and found matching crayons to make a key at the bottom of the graph.

Then she glued fruit loops onto the paper according to color, one in each box.

Her final graph looked like this.
 Here is a video of her learning how to "read" her graph.

We also practiced her "S" a bit more in the salt tray.

Practicing tracing Mommy's "S"

That's all the pictures I have of this week!  Off to bed! :-)

Colton 18 months

On Tuesday we had Colton's 18 month check-up.  It was his first time on the big kid scale!!  No shots at this appointment made us all happy, and Colton was pretty excited about his "choo choo train" sticker :-).

Reading books while we wait

Big Sister

Look at me on the big kid scale!

I weigh 27 lbs (85% ) and am 33.5 inches tall (83%)
I'm not sure where he get's his height from ;) but it is good that he is a healthy boy!  It was Colton's first appointment with no tears and he giggled when the doctor was pressing on his tummy! 

Colton at 18 months
-super smiley, happy, giggly,
-obedient almost all the time (except right before naps)
 -cuddly after naps,
-always moving,
-loves cars, trucks, wheels, balls, books about cars, trucks
-loves his big sister like crazy and wants to be just like her
-is great at his "please and thank you" manners
-great independent player
-"beautiful eyelashes" is almost always the first comment I hear from strangers!
-loves his blue monkey blankie, Baby Deer, and carting around his "water" cup
-The most amazing little boy blessing in the world!

WE LOVE YOU, Colton Buddy!

Retreat and Daddy/Kiddo Weekend

Women's Retreat
This past weekend I went with our church on our women's retreat along with 60 other amazing women!  It was sooooooo good.  We stayed at Camp Victory about an hour south of our house  I carpooled down with the ladies from our couples' Bible study and it was super fun chatting with all of them.

1) We were totally pampered with lots of sweet touches....surprise handwritten notes from our husbands, verses and chocolate on our pillows, being prayed for by name as soon as we signed up for the retreat, amazing small group leaders, a basket of nail polish during free time, crafts, snacks and goodies galore, etc.

2) Outdoor fun: A few of my favorite "camp" things were getting to go on a gorgeous hike, rock climbing, and ziplining...

lookout from end of  hike

There were several ways to get to the top of the zip line, my favorite was rock climbing up the left side of the wall in this picture.

Ready to zipline!

3) Amazing speaker and worship: The TRUE highlight of the weekend was really being overwhelmed by how REAL God is and how he is working.  The theme for the weekend's speaker was "Knowing [God] and Being Known [by Him]" and Rachel, from our church, was the speaker.  She was fabulous at engaging us, teaching us, relating to us, encouraging us, and inspiring us, and she also arranged for quite a few of the women of the church to share their stories, struggles, and how God is faithful through it all.  I was absolutely blown away by the faith of these women and really privileged to be talking with them and learning from them.  So many amazing women! 

4) Time alone with God with no deadlines or responsibilities: So many times when I am reading my Bible or praying, I am half watching the clock to see when my tutoring student will come, when I should get Summer from her quiet time, or how much time I "can" spend before I need to do necessary chores, etc.  Here, there were NO deadlines, NO responsibilities, and NO reason to watch the clock.  I could spend uninterrupted time learning from God's word, journaling, and praying for God to mold me more into who he wants me to be.  I studied a lot in Matthew 5, the Beatitudes, and was really struck by how far I am from where I want to be.  I definitely came home with a renewed passion for God and truly wanting to live out my faith and it has totally continued into my week.  This week I have better understood the Beatitude: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."  (Matthew 5:6)

Meanwhile, Last Weekend on the Home-Front

Paul did an amazing job of holding down the fort while I was away.  He and the kiddos had a BLAST and it was so fun for me to hear him say how much fun he had with them!  He texted me a lot of pictures and videos of the fun they were up to back home....

On Friday night...
Colton and Daddy "fished"

Summer and Daddy played Candyland
 The kiddos sent mommy a goodnight video during bath time...

On Saturday...

Lucky kiddos got French Toast on Saturday morning

Both kids love "dipping" their french toast in the syrup

Heading to Target to Birthday shop for mommy :)

Highlight: Pet Store!  (Paul was a bit worried about his girl-hair-doing skills without me around, but he did a pretty good job with this ponytail....!)

Fall Dress-Up Party at a local business area
I love that Paul caught Summer's recent favorite thing to do during her quiet time on video...She loves to "read" her "Big Bible" (The Big Picture Story Bible) while listening to the audio recording CDs that came with it (it dings when you are supposed to turn the page).  There is one disc for the Old Testament and one for the New Testament, and she has literally listened to the whole Bible, cover to cover, multiple times in the last few weeks.  My favorite part is when she asks me questions about certain parts when I go to get her up from her quiet time.  Anyway, here is little video Paul took of her in her quiet time listening to her Bible without her knowing it.

It was a great weekend but I was SUPER excited to see my kiddos and amazing hubby again!  When I got home on Sunday, we went out to dinner at Olive Garden for an early celebration of my birthday, and the kids gave me the CUTEST card they homemade for me :) 

The Boys

The Girls