Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring is Here

We are so happy that Spring seems to be here to stay now. Of course, this is Kansas so we could still have a snow storm! I sure hope not.

 Sometimes Aaron has to take the "big van" to Wichita to pick up handwriting. He always goes after he gets off work, so he tries to rotate taking one of the kids with him each time he goes. This last time was Isaac's turn. He was one cool dude! :)


 Baby Grace with Big Dave :) Sadly, we only got to see him (he lives in China right now) because Uncle Windell suddenly passed away. All the guys were in Texas for his funeral. 


 Aaron has been trying so hard to spend extra time with the kids every evening, now that the weather is nicer. Anna loves playing catch with her Daddy!


 Grandpa & Grandma W came to visit over Easter weekend. Which was also the NCAA Championship weekend. We don't have cable, but had been watching the games online on the computer, hooked up to the TV. 3/4 of the way through the championship game, a message pops up and says we've used all our time online. ?? So, I pulled up the March Madness app on my phone and we watched the last 5 min of the game on a tiny little screen!!! Haha!


 The boys got into the dress up bin in Grace's closet the other day. Isaac decided to be Captain America. If the mask was pulled down, we had to call him Captain America. If it was pulled up onto his forehead, we could call him Isaac. Life is never, ever dull with this kid around!


 We were in Iowa at the beginning of March to celebrate Papa's birthday. Isaac finally gave up the training wheels for good!




 Aaron took a day off a couple weeks ago and we took the kids to the zoo. It was a bit chilly yet, so not many animals were out and about, but the kids still had a lot of fun. Any time Daddy unexpectedly gets to spend a day with us is a great day!!


 Always with the crooked hat, just like Grandpa Elmer! :)



 Just a day or two before we went to the zoo, Anna really hurt her big toe. She was trying to open the back door, which was a little stuck, and it came open and went right over her toe. Ripped some skin off and got her toenail good. Let's just say she doesn't have the highest pain tolerance. Her toe was still too tender to walk around the zoo, but I came up with a solution. She could ride in the stroller and I could wear Grace in the Boba. Grace usually loves to be carried, but for whatever reason, she was not having it that day! Luckily Daddy can carry her around all day. :)




 Family Easter pictures! I have yet to figure out when the best time to take a family picture is for Easter Sunday?! We don't have time before church, and by the time we get home the kids are all "starving". I've just accepted the fact that we won't ever have the "perfect" family picture on Easter! :) We bribed Isaac with a tortilla chip for this one! Haha



 Anna was "so cold" in this one. It was a pretty windy day, but it wasn't that cold!


 Hunting eggs in the front yard, using the Easter baskets Grandma W made for the kids. Jacob's used to be Aaron's and she made new ones for Anna and Isaac.







 Instead of putting candy in their eggs (trust me, they get enough of that every Wednesday night!), I saw an idea online to put certificates-10 min extra before bed, trip to the library, ice cream with Dad/Mom, movie night, go to the park, etc-in them instead! They all loved it! 


 I am loving the thunderstorms we've been getting! Not so much the damaging hail, but they make for some good photo ops!

 He waited ALL DAY LONG for it to rain (it never did). He got so mad at me because it wasn't raining. Exasperated, I finally said, "Take it up with God!" He promptly went outside, but was back in a few minutes. "Mom! I prayed and asked God to make it rain, but it's still not raining!!!!!" He might have a lack of patience.........







I love seeing the beauty and power of God through His creation!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Reflections

The night is quiet. All the big things--cleaning up the kitchen, picking up the house, lessons ready for tomorrow--are actually done before midnight. All the children are sleeping...oh wait, there's Grace stirring...
Yet I can't sleep. I close my eyes and the last year flashes before me in my mind's eye. I see God's hand of grace and mercy at every memory. I didn't see it much during that time, in the midst of just trying to survive. Struggling to function, feeling like I failed at every turn with the other kids because I was too depleted physically to do much of anything. Looking forward to the day that precious baby was delivered so I could get back to normal, whatever that meant. And then to have a colicky baby who couldn't nurse for 2 months. Four kids to take care of with a husband working a very demanding job. I feel like now, 5 months after Grace was born...now I'm starting to feel normal. A new normal, but at least normal. She's rarely colicky, is happy for the most part during the day (even though she doesn't nap very well), sleeps all night (except for tonight, evidently), and is utterly adored.
So during all those dark days and nights, those moments when I had no idea how I was going to take one more step, let alone care for three precious children already in front of me...God was there. YOU were His hands and feet. YOU who brought me meals because I didn't have the energy to stand up and cook myself. YOU who came and stayed with me and helped me take care of my family. YOU who prayed for me, for us. YOU who invited my kids to come and play at your house. YOU who had us over for meals. YOU who took care of my kids so I could spend every moment by Grace's little isolet for that week that felt like an eternity. YOU showed me, and my family, God's love...God's grace...God's mercy. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for that. And for this...Grace...unmerited blessing from God. It is, and she is.





Saturday, February 7, 2015

Growing Fast

I cannot believe that Grace is already 4 months old! She is starting to outgrow her colic, praise the Lord (thanks to oils and some adjustments by our favorite chiropractor). She still has a very sensitive stomach, but the screaming for hours on end has stopped for the most part. She still doesn't do much in the way of naps-if she sleeps for an hour at a time, I consider that a good nap! But she's generally happy during the day, so that's okay. She's a GREAT sleeper at night. She's been sleeping all night for quite a couple of months.


Isaac is still in love with baby Grace :) He doesn't hold her very often anymore because she doesn't just lay back in your arms. She wants to sit up and see what's going on!


 Isaac plays hard and crashes even harder!


 Jacob is such a goofball!!


 Anna loves to read to anyone who will listen...she usually has a pretty willing audience!


 Sweet cheeks :)

 This is what happens when you're the baby of the family! ;)


 Isaac loves to sit with Grace and talk to her or read to her. So precious.


 We've had a bit of cabin fever this winter. One day I made the kids go outside for their math and spelling lessons. Ha!! It was a bit chilly, but that cold air is good for their brains. It was challenging to write letters and numbers backward!! We're loving the big picture window for math these days.


 In the last month, Grace has really figured out how to make her hands work...most of the time. The boys, especially Isaac, will learn quickly that they can't use her highchair tray as a resting spot for their toys if they don't want them to end up in Grace's mouth! This picture was about a month ago and she was trying SO hard to make that hand reach out and grab the Transformer!


 I was working on some graphics the other day and Grace wanted to "help". ;) Such a big girl!


 Grocery shopping is quite the adventure anymore. I still try to arrange it so that I can either leave most of the kids home with Aaron or he can come with me and keep the kids entertained while I shop. Most of the time, it's me with the kids. This time, Anna & Jacob were pretending that Jacob was a dog named Pizza (thus the string Anna attached to his coat). I would tell Anna an item on the list, she would say, "Pizza, go fetch ____!" and let go of his "leash" and off he went down the isle to find it and bring it back. I'm sure people thought we were crazy, but it kept them happy and not fighting!!


 See...such a goofball!!


 This was after her 4 month checkup and shots. :( You can see how long she is! She wears 9 month clothes and some of them she's already outgrowing!


 Anna has decided to learn the ukulele instead of piano lessons. Grandpa brought her his very special ukulele that he got in Hawaii over 30 years ago. She's had fun working on learning the chords he showed her. We try to FaceTime or Skype and Grandpa will coach her on how to position her fingers, etc. She's enjoying it! Jacob is still taking piano lessons and he is doing a great job! He seems to be very musically inclined and is quickly learning and flying through his books. He loves to play and it's often during the day that you'll find him sitting at the piano, playing any number of songs! I love having my house filled with music. :)


 Grace loves sitting in her highchair and watching everything that's going on. If she's tired, but I'm in the middle of fixing a meal, Anna will push her around the kitchen in it and Grace will fall asleep. :)


 Some days, he needs a nap before he even has the chance to get dressed. Oy.


And if this kid (whose shirt is on backward!) doesn't stop pulling barely-loose teeth, he's not going to have any teeth to eat his food!

Time is flying by, yet some days seems to stand still. This year, I'm trying to focus on JOY-finding joy in the everyday things and the big things. Last year was a pretty tough year for me and I kind of lost my joy and was just simply trying to make it through the days. This year, I want to be purposeful in finding joy every day. Some days I really have to search for it, but it's always there!

The joy of the LORD is my strength.