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Friday, January 29, 2010

ahhh, motherhood.

So I decided something on the way to the doctor's office this afternoon.

I have officially reached a new stage of parenthood when a trip to the doctor's office with just one baby feels as exciting and as good a time away as if someone offered me a day trip to chicago.

Ok.

That may be a slight exaggeration.

But only slight.



(picture borrowed from Jami - although our counter looks pretty similar)

Combine:

3 children with RSV (thankfully over)

+

(now) 3 girls with double ear infections (a goodbye present from RSV)

+

Daddy's Busy Season

+

Winter (enough said)?

And a trip to the doctor's office where I get to snuggle just one baby suddenly feels like quite the fun outing.

It's the little things - right?!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

We're getting close!

I have a feeling my babies are going to be walking sooner versus later!

Kate took a step tonight (emphasis on A step though)
and we see an awful lot of both girls practicing their stance.
Olivia demonstrates.
And until then?
They have Ava to accommodate any necessary transportation.


And with that? We start the week with 2/3 girls sick. Got to love winter! : )

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mommy help? encouraging a perfectionist.

Meet Ava.
She's a 2 1/2 yr old bundle of fun.

Killer sense of humor.

Pretty cute (if I do say so myself)

Smarter than I'd like at times.

And a huge heart.

It excites me so much to watch her grow up as I already see so many character strengths in her that I know God can use to do great things.

Yet lately, I've been encountering something in her I would love some mommy advice in how to best help her.

You see?

Ava (like her mommy) is what I describe as a "lazy perfectionist."

It isn't about how life has to look (anyone who walks into my house knows that is true : ) ).

But it means that when it comes to ourselves, we can be "all or nothing."

We like to do things well, QUICKLY, and have a hard time dealing with life when it feels hard or seems we aren't doing something as well as we want to RIGHT NOW.

I'm probably more aware of it knowing how it's affected me in my own life.

Looking at life in such black and white (when it came to myself) for quite a while definately took my down some paths I would prefer to help Ava avoid.

I've learned so much in this aspect and much has changed - although I still have to fight it and it probably still is a huge weakness of mine.

Be aware -I'm not trying to create problems for Ava that don't exist.

But because I'm aware of it in myself, I see it happen easily for her.

We'll be making a card for someone and when she can't do a circle like she wants, she begins to throw a fit, quits and says, "mommy do it."

Putting shoes on by herself? If it takes much more than the first try, full-out drama ensues.

You can pretty much apply that to anything that involves her learning a new skill or doing something that takes some extra effort.

It isn't all the time, but a good chunk of them.

And what is hard for me is that it only from her end.

It doesn't bother me if she colors outside the line, makes a silly looking circle, takes 5 minutes to put on her shoe or makes a mistake.

That's all a part of the learning process and I expect it.

So the painful part is that it's entirely self-inflicted..

The child is only 2.

So when we find ourselves in the situation when she just starts breaking down, I don't push it or pick a battle.

I just calmly tell her we'll put it away and try more later.

Or I calmly tell her there's no need to throw a fit and if she uses her kind words and asks for help, Mommy would be glad to help her.

But I see it happening more and more with tasks that don't come easily to her.

And I'd love to help her learn to give herself grace much earlier than I learned to.

So if any of you other mommies have encountered this in your kids, I'd love to know how you've helped teach your own kids what grace looks like in their lives.

I want Ava to know that who she is goes far beyond what she can do and how quickly/well she does it.

And if as a side effect - the tantrums happen to ease some over these encountered obstacles?

Well, let's just call that an added bonus. : )

Friday, January 15, 2010

choosing to help one . . .

It's almost more than I can absorb, really, to watch the grief and destruction ocurring in Haiti right now.

I see the babies without mommies, mommies without children, and just the utter need and I am overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of it all.

Money seems so "trite" to give - almost a handwashing of it all. I wanted our money to feel like it was more than just a one time gift.

It was then my heart was reminded of a ministry with lots of connections to my family and church called Loving Shepherd Ministries. Knowing they have established connections with Haiti already, I went to see how I could help them and was encouraged by this video:



So here's what I want to share. Among it many points of outreach and support to orphans, Loving Shepherd has established Homes of Hope.

As the website shares,

"Within each Home of Hope a local christian couple cares for orphans or children whose parents can no longer take care of them. . .the children receive 3 healthy meals a day. Instead of sleeping on the streets, they sleep on comfortable beds, and they spend the day at school instead of scrounging and begging to survive. More importantly, however, is the fact that the Christian house parents lead the children in daily prayers and devotions, and they take the children to church each sunday."

You can see one video of these homes they currently have IN HAITI here (although this one is long):



Ryan and I chose to give the bulk of our support to Loving Shepherd. If you go to their website, you'll see detailed instructions how to ensure the money you give, goes towards helping those specifically in need in Haiti.

What I love, is knowing that the money we gave, not only helps needs now, but will help in the days to come to ensure that maybe even just one child orphaned through this crisis, will intimately see the love of Jesus amidst so much heartache.

And still, we continue to pray.

Also?

You can help the efforts to provide aid further by sharing one way you've chosen to help here. Money Saving Mom, a blog I use to help stretch our grocery budget further (and encourage myself along the way), has generously agreed to donate $10 for every blog that shares how their home is contributing: financially or not.

Friday, January 8, 2010

10 months old!

My munchkins were 10 months old this past sunday. Can it be my babies will be ONE in TWO MONTHS?! So unreal.

They are a bundle of energy and constant motion but so much fun. Their smiles are quick and snuggles many. I love how fast they are to plant a kiss on my cheek in reward for picking them up.

They wave, clap, do "patty cake," are starting to sign "more," love to remind us they are "sooo big" and love to get into anything deemed Ava's. There is nothing more exciting than discovering one of her sippy cups laying around that is FULL! I'm trying to remember I need to fill up sippy cups for them, too now!

We find them standing on their own more and more although they still think crawling is plenty proficient. Anytime I try to get them to take a step or two, it's instantly back on their knees (although they love to walk around holding your hands).

They're doing so much better since being sick (although down in weight and still with runny noses). So I had to quick capture a few shots at least before they got even bigger!

Olivia (left) and Kate (right)

Miss Kate
She's my content child - just about with everything I do. She'll stay in a spot and play with toy, explore on her own and just sit with life. Pick her up to snuggle? She loves to affirm and connect with several love pats on your back. She's my solid sleeper and faithful eater. She continues to take life in stride (for the most part). Her favorite activity? Finding a trash can or wipe container she can gleefully empty. Lovely - huh?!Miss Olivia
My Olivia continues to keep life exciting! She's such an interesting mix of the biggest mommy's girl I've had . . .and the most adventurous. She needs to know mommy is close by in case a snuggle is needed, but loves to explore, move, and get into anything she can. I have to watch our pantry like a hawk. It's the first place she always checks when left to roam. She's the first to kiss and the first to scream. It's almost as if she knows she's the smallest and has to make up for it somewhere. She loves to communicate and gets quite proud of herself to correctly telling me "more."

The other day one of the girls kept fussing towards the end of their naptime. By the anger in her cries, I had pretty much assumed it was Olivia (she goes 0 - 100 pretty quickly) and thought she must be messy. So I went in and sure enough, I smelled quite the dirty diaper. So I picked my bawling Olivia up (Kate was still laying down contently in her crib) and took her downstairs to change as she happily bounced, kissed and snuggled me in thanks for getting her out. What did I find? She wasn't messy. It had been Kate with the messy pants. Yet it was Kate that was laying contently and Olivia adamantly protesting being awake without me - she would like out the moment she's awake. I can't tell you the number of times that has happened and pretty much sums my two girls up.
Together it makes for quite the fun pair. I think they'll be so good for each other as they grow up.


YES. Double the trouble. : )
(told you I have to watch the pantry).

I almost forgot! To see Ava at 10 months old click HERE. : )

Thursday, January 7, 2010

christmas in michigan

We got to spend almost an entire week in michigan for christmas this year- that hasn't happened in a long time! Although I had visions of seeing lots of old friends and catching up, the days still went by in a whirlwind. It still was a really neat time home.

We celebrated Christmas with my immediate family the day before christmas eve. My camera died about 20 minutes in so you just get lots of family shots. : )

Our family.


My Grandpa came and spent the evening with us and watched us open presents. Thanks for all your prayers for him and our family. There continues to be adjustments, for sure, but God has clearly been in the details every step of the way.

Ava and Papa Ben.
Grandpa and some of his great grandkids.


Mom and Dad and the grandkids (we missed you Ken and Amy!)


How I love this girl.

Kate Amber.

Olivia having fun doing what? Playing with Ava's things of course!

One of the gifts Ava got from my parents was a "jumpolene." It's an inflatable trampoline with sides and Ava was SO excited. I think from the time it was set up, Ava spent close to half (no exaggeration) of every single day jumping in here. I kept thinking for sure I'd have a crying kid complaining of sore legs! Even though it totally deflates, we let my parents keep it to bring it down when they come this weekend, so I have a feeling it'll be another jumping party all over again.

Kate LOVED to stand inside and hold on to the edges and bounce. Olivia would bawl if you placed her inside. She liked to stand OUTSIDE and hold on to the edges and bounce. Go figure?!


One Happy Kid.

I grew up going to Christmas Eve Services in Michigan (I've never been able to get used to that change). There's just something extra special and relaxed about getting dressed up in the evening, going outside in the dark with christmas lights and pulling into the brightly lit church (even better if snow is falling!). It's one of my favorite things about when we get to be in michigan over Christmas.
Kate and Olivia all freshly bathed and ready to go.
Who is who? Any guesses?! ; )
(yes, I do know).
Olivia (sitting) and Kate (crawling)

Olivia and Addy snuggling.


My Grandma Bahr spent Christmas Eve with us. It's always special to be with her. We're thankful for God's provision for her in this first christmas without Grandpa. There are always so many memories that comes alive over the holiday season. Both my Grandpa Bahr and Grandma Maibach were missed
Grandma and Kate playing.

Ready for church!


I'd gotten the girls all christmas pajamas. Aren't they deliciously snuggly?! All ready for bed christmas eve.
Have to get in ONE more jump before christmas


Poor Kate and Olivia. They figured out the basement VERY quickly. They would crawl as fast as they could towards the door anytime it would open and cry with a broken heart anytime it closed without them. If you were sweet enough to take them along? The second they hit the stairs they'd start kicking and squealing with excitement. So they'd hang out on the door just WAITING for someone to take pity on them and let them go play with the other kids.
It's a hard life as a baby I tell you.


Christmas day we celebrated with the Maibach Family at my Aunt's house.
My grandpa gave Ava this little tea set that she has loved. My cousin Ryan's little girl, Rebekah, and Ava played for quite a while together.


One of the traditions we have with the Maibach's is always a pinata for the kids (one year they filled it with vegetables as a joke. Ask how that went over?! ; ) Yes, they had a back up with actual candy in it). Here's Ava getting her reindeer antlers on for her turn.

All set to go!

Kate thought the whole process was great.


Olivia DID NOT.


Another try.

Some of her loot.

By the time we got home, all my girls had missed their naps and were exhausted. It made for some fun snuggling time though!

Ava and Brynne spent HOURS downstairs playing together. It's so fun to see them getting to an age where they're more peers and friends. Ava gets absolutely thrilled to play with any of her cousins.


At dinner that night I was casually eating my dinner when all of a sudden I glance over and Olivia is CASHED out. Poor girl was all tuckered out with Christmas.

The next thing I knew Ava asked to go lay down on the couch and she was out in minutes.


And Kate? I think she was enjoying all the attention to herself.
(Olivia was still recovering from her ear infection - poor girl)


Ava and Brynne playing house.

We decided to meet up with my Uncle Doug and his boys and go ice skating. Ryan and I weren't too sure what to expect from Ava (let's just say we weren't optomistic).
Ava was thrilled at the idea (she had no idea what it was) but she knew it involved her cousins and mommy and daddy and SOUNDED like a party.

Lacing up her skates (don't they make her look big?)
Mommy and Ava all ready to go (Daddy was the designated photographer . . .and rescuer. Did I mention we weren't optomistic?)

I held Ava the first few times around. She got instantly very quiet and cautious but seemed to think it was kind of cool.


However, the instant I went to put her feet on the ice, it all went down hill FAST. She started bawling and carrying out and begging to get off (even with the walkers they have with little kids). So I made her skate around with me carrying her until she stopped crying (I wanted her to end it on a somewhat calm note) and then she got on the bleachers with Daddy to watch.

THIS she LOVED. Ava would wave and yell "hi!" and cheer on everyone she could see that she knew.

Most of the skating crew

Ava and Addy warming up with Hot Chocolate and Snacks.
(Ava thought watching the Zamboni was pretty cool too)
The last night we were there we thought Ava was sleeping peacefully in her bed. We headed back to bed ourselves later that night and I walked in our room to find this insomniac hanging out in our bed.

Pretending to sleep for Daddy

It was a great time to be a home - thanks for everything mom and dad!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

and round number two

After our family christmas, we headed up to Ryan's parents for christmas with them.

Singing "Happy Birthday Jesus"
Our family.
Ryan's family has a tradition of the first present they open up being some form of a nerf gun and a mini-world war opens up for the next 10 minutes. They had taken a break with grandbabies coming along but I decided that this year, Ava needed to start toughening up. : ) So the tradition was brought back - I knew with Ava we would have a love or hate relationship. There would be no in between. But she thought it was absolutely the greatest . . .until the fun swiftly ended when she got hit straight in the face (I won't name names . . .Gpa). ; ) But it was lots of fun until then!

Getting ready to go.


World War Prevo

Still having fun.


Ava was VERY excited about the new dollhouse she got. LOTS of time has been spent playing with it. Mommy likes it too. : ) I couldn't get a picture of Ava with her eyes open. So here you go.



Pushing Kate on her new scooter from Uncle David and Aunt Tara.


Olivia liked the doll house too.


Awww. : )


Aunt Callie and Kate
I hadn't realized what a pair the two were all weekend until I went back and just about every picture I had of the two was often together!

Sometimes it's fun to sit back and watch others take care of my little munchkins. : ) They're in this awful habit of wanting to play before they get done eating. So it ends up feeling like you're feeding two baby lambs.

Eating dessert with Uncle David


The next day we went to Grandma Great's house to celebrate Christmas with the Gramm's.
Ava was thrilled with the rice krispie girl Aunt LuAnn made just for her.


Such fun people.


Playing with presents.


Helping Grandma Great open presents.


Trying on Mommy's shoes - "Ava-approved"


Snuggling girls after naps. Got to love the sweaty combovers and tired eyes. : )

Ava had lots of fun playing and snuggling her cousin Courtney. Thanks for playing so sweetly with her Courtney!