Monday, June 30, 2008

Can I Tell You A Secret?

With the exception of hearts and rosettes, I love all things girly. I unashamedly painted Adriana's room pink trying to make it as feminine and pretty as possible. And I'm relishing the fact that, so far, she seems to love girly stuff as much as I do.
Anyway, when I was still pregnant with Adriana and knew I was having a girl, I wandered into Pottery Barn Kids. I saw a toy retro kitchen set that almost made my heart stop. It was gorgeous, heirloom quality, and pink! I reached down to check the price tag and then tried not to choke as my eyes took in the numbers. I realized that buying such a thing was a pipe dream.
Still, I couldn't get that set out of my mind. When Adriana was an infant, I mention the kitchen set to a couple of my girlfriends who informed me that another company made one of comparable looks and quality at much lower price. I researched it and found that it was still out of our price range.
As Adriana second birthday has been approaching, I watched her almost daily pull out all our play food and a pot to feed her babies.
"Wouldn't a kitchen set be nice?" I thought, "And wouldn't it be even nicer if it was retro and maybe pink?"
I went online and again checked prices which, of course, hadn't gone down a bit. I started scheming. Since the refrigerator that came with the set was not actually attached, maybe we could make that her Christmas gift which might help justify the cost. My husband still wasn't buying my idea. Then, to my delight, my parents agreed to go in with us on the gift. I could hear the angels with pink wings singing the "Hallelujah Chorus".
So shhhh, here is the secret. Yesterday, Steven and I set up a beautiful, pink kitchen set that we will be giving Adriana at the end of this week on her birthday. I felt like a little girl myself as I put my hand over the metal faucet and the smooth wooden cabinets. I have hardly ever been so excited about a birthday gift...and it's not even mine!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Bit Too Much Animal Love

Last weekend Steven and I spent a few nights in D.C. celebrating our anniversary. We are firm believers in loving your kids and regularly leaving your kids. Date nights and get aways help keep our marriage a priority and lets us revel in that novelty we forgot existed: sleeping in! Anyway, my family watched our kids (thanks guys!) and during that weekend took them to a farm. Adriana is a huge animal lover and got up close and personal. These photos my dad took made me laugh.

"I really love you, Mr. Sheep." :

"And you too, Mr. Goat" :

"Little girl, you can hug me if I can eat your shorts." :

"Do you mind if I sit on your head?"

"I can't leave him; he needs me!"

Thursday, June 26, 2008


There was something extra special about watching Hannah graduate. Not only is she around our family so much that Steven and I sometimes refer to her as our oldest child, but also all Hannah has been through in the past couple of months came to mind. Watching her walk across the stage without a cane to receive her diploma was such a tangible experience of watching God's grace.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Nature Smash

Being a mom in the summer is extra fun. There's so much more to get out and do; and as an added bonus, I have wonderfully tired children at nap time. We've been enjoying our fair share of picnics, pools, and parks.
The other day before we went on a walk, I gave the kids each a pail. I told them to fill it up with anything from nature that they thought was interesting. When we got home we sat on the sidewalk, talking about what each piece was and what purpose God had given to it. Then came the fun part...especially if you're a boy. I gave them a hammer; and with sissy at a safe distance, let them smash apart the nature items. I thought it was educational to see the insides of seed pods, and they were thrilled to be allowed to destroy something.
I've been purposely leaving the camera at home on our "adventures", but here's another tutu pic of Adriana on the railroad tracks in the late afternoon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Often on Mother's or Father's Day, our pastors will ask someone to honor a spouse or parent during the Sunday morning service.
A few weeks ago, I got a call asking if I would be willing to honor Steven for this Father's Day. I jumped at the opportunity to share the grace I see in his life in the area of fathering. Here's my written version of what I said:

Steven has been wonderfully proactive as a father. He leads the way in parenting not making me feel like he is helping me parent our kids but that I am helping him. A verse that reminds me how Steven is seeking to act is Deut. 6:6-7 which says, "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." There are a number of ways he does this.
-He spends a portion of dinner times each night reading the kids a Bible story and then discussing the gospel with them.
-Steven is alert to the spiritual condition of our children's souls. He's often asking me about what sin patterns I see in our kids lives and dialoguing about how we can be training them.
-He does a weekly "guys night" with the boys which is a highlight of the week for them. Not only does he make fun, but he often has a new kid-sized memory verse that they learn together. A recent one was the end of 1 Cor. 16:13 which says, "act like men, be strong." My favorite part of that verse was later hearing him explain what "act like men" looked like. His explanation was so different that what the world's explanation would be. He was enforcing biblical principles and servant-hearted leadership.
-Another practice of his is building a love for the church in the kids. Steven makes a big deal about Sunday, and has made it a habit to pray for and then lead the boys in praying for church and our pastors on the drive to church. I also love hearing him point out to our boys evidences of humble leadership in our church.

I asked my six-year-old Isaiah his thoughts about his dad. I think quoting him will give you a good idea of what kind of example Steven is being for his boys. These are Isaiah's words: "Dad loves us and is kind to us. I like guys night! He's gentle with us and my mom. He cares for us and teaches us to repent and believe in the gospel." For me personally, I already see an excitement in them about the what their daddy is trying to teach them. To them, the gospel is exciting because that the way Steven presents it. I also see the boys imitating his character in their gratefulness. My husband is a very grateful person and he's passing that on to the kids.

Humor me as I finish this post off with a note to my husband...

SJ, I am in awe of what God has done in your life. I couldn't have imagine a better man to be the father of my children. You bring laughter and truth into our home. As we head into this weekend, celebrating seven years of marriage, I feel overwhelmed by God's kindness to me in His gift of you as my husband. You're everything I dreamed of...and more. I love you forever.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dos & Don'ts

If you haven't already seen this, here's a crash course on parenting.

And a Happy Father's Day to my safe, wonderful husband!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Red Tutu

I made a new tutu (surprisingly easy to do) in one of my favorite colors. I'd been envisioning using it and a recent find from an antique store as props for a special photo shoot. So here are Adriana's official "two years old" photos. Clicking on a photo will give you a larger view.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I have very distinct memories of my sixth birthday which is why it was so strange to watch my baby turn six. One of the special things about the day was that my grandma, who was also present on my sixth birthday, was in town to help us celebrate.

That afternoon, while his aunts and uncles were trying to explain something that he already knew, Isaiah indignantly replied, "I know; I'm not a spring chicken!"

Saturday, June 7, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours

We deemed this past week "Minor Medical Mishaps" week. It began last weekend as half of our family was a bit under the weather with a cold. We still had a full schedule including my dear Gram being in town and my sister's graduation. For Steven and I the colds turned into pink eye courtesy of our three sweet children who had come down with it the weekend before. We also began to notice that Elijah, who we had repeatedly suspected may have a slight hearing problem, wasn't hearing us much at all. This turned out to be from a minor ear infection, but it gave us the shove we needed to schedule a hearing screening just to be safe. To top off the weekend, Isaiah started pooping blood. Sorry for the gross mental picture you're having right now, but these are the facts. I woke up early Monday morning to get an appoint with our pediatrician as soon as possible, only to find that I had full blow laryngitis and absolutely no voice to make a phone call. I called my husband, whispering my instructions to him. We got an appointment and after some no-fun exams, the doctor told me that he suspected that constipation was the cause. He instructed me to keep an eye on him and that we would need to see a specialist if it didn't stop within a couple days. Thankfully it went away that afternoon.
Two days later as I was visiting with my Gram at my parents a huge thunderstorm with tornado warnings rolled through the area. While I was "stuck" there, I had my first asthma attack in two years. Keeping with the trend of the week, my inhaler was of course sitting 15 miles away at my own house.
We had a couple days break as I finally got my voice back, my lungs began to recover, everybody's toilet habits were normal, and the sniffling noses dried up. Then today was a day we had been looking forward to for a while. Steven's work paid for all of their employees to go to Six Flags America. My sister Christine watched Adriana while Steven and I took the boys for their first amusement park visit. Even though the heat index was 105 degrees, we had a great time and spent a lot of time at the water park section. But our "Minor Medical Mishaps" week wasn't over yet. Towards the end of our day we split up with Steven and Isaiah heading to the wave pool and Elijah and I going over to the tot slides. As Elijah went down the calmest, shortest slide of the day, a little boy walked in front of the landing knocking him against the side of the slide. Elijah had a gash above his eye and was bleeding profusely. After lots of drama and meeting half the staff of Six Flags, my son was bandaged up. I was able to butterfly the impressive cut, and Elijah was very happy not to be headed to hospital.
Steven and I have laughed at the near comedy of the whole week. Steven was also encouraging me with how these sorts of things remind us of how big God and the message of the gospel is and how minor our slight discomforts really are in the grand scheme of things. It's also been a wonderful week for realizing how ungrateful I been about the general health of my family. I see how in the past two years, I've never taken the time to thank God that even though I have asthma I don't experience regular attacks. I see that in my day to day life, I often spend my time wishing my kids were more behaved or life was more orderly than thanking God for three vibrant, healthy children. So all in all, I say this has been just the week I needed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pretty Toes

After having her aunts tell her about nail polish, Adriana came up to me and announced, "I want pretty toes!" So the other day while she was in her highchair for lunch, I granted her request.

She was very enthusiastic about having pink toenails and repeatedly showed them off to her brothers. This girl thing is just too much fun!

Over on the boy side of things, I have quotes from each:

As we took a walk Elijah pointed to a sign and asked me what it said.
"It says 'No Solicitors'," I answered.
Slightly concerned and wanting to proceed, he asked me, "Are we solicitors?"

While Adriana napped, Steven took the boys for a walk. When they returned, Isaiah excitedly told me, "Mom!! We saw a dead squirrel, and it didn't even have any bullet holes in it!"