Monday, September 30, 2013

Kid Time with Julia

Matt spent Monday -Thursday last week in Redding, California for work. Our friend Julia stayed with us to keep us company. On Wednesday we decided to head to Medford to check out Kid Time (check outtheir website here). The pictures are all a little blurry (I had to use my phone cuz I forgot my camera) but you get the idea. The kids (and us grown-ups) had a BLAST! We were there for 2 1/2 hours and time flew by!
Xander in a tent

Awesome water/rocks/dinosaur play area. 

The kids could turn on/off the water and move the rocks around. It was great fun!

Julia "driving" the scooper!

Ready for a haircut!

Gabriella was fascinated by the scales. You can see that Xander was trying to join in, lol!

Julia writing a very important letter!

Little boat captain!

Xander LOVED the little balls that were blown around by the wind. He sat up on this table for a long time playing with them and laughing. 

Julia's creation in the toolbox area. 

Xander in the scooping bucket. 

Construction worker Gabriella

Sharing some lunch!

Baking in the oven

After Kid Time we found out that Julia had never been to Chipotle so we headed there for lunch. 

Gabriella was super excited for a quesadilla! 

We also made a quick coupon trip through Target and got a little chocolate. I'm not sure how much of his Xander actually ate. 

Xander's favorite thing to do all week was sit with Julia and read books with her. So precious!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Princess, A Rainbow and A Pressure Cooker

Fall has officially begun! We had a beautiful double rainbow a few days ago at our house. I love the fall!

On Saturday my mom and I went to the annual women's retreat that our church has. It was really fun! (minus breaking my toe, ouch!). We made crowns and I gave mine to Gabriella when I got home. 

A friend's bridal shower was on Sunday. We got to make a toilet paper wedding dress. Here is my friend Joy modeling our beautiful creation!

Sweet little princess in her princess dress Gramma gave her. 

Monday night I caught Xander out of his diaper and sitting in my pressure cooker! 

Of course Gabriella decided that she needed to do the same and stripped down before I could stop her. Immediately after the pictures both kids were reclothed and the pressure cooker was washed! Never a dull moment here, lol!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Struggle

Every married couple has faced it at some point: How many kids do we want? Sometimes the decision is easy and both agree on the same number, boom, its done. Others go back and forth for years, one trying to convince the other. Then once the decision is made there is the waiting game to see how long it takes to get to the desired number of children.

For us it is a little different, not so cut and dry. After years of infertility, a miscarriage, two surgeries, and thousands of dollars in medical bills we were blessed with two miracle babies. Our second was born (after a traumatic birth) with a minor birth defect and his first year is still a blur of doctor appointments, trips to the hospital, sleepless nights, tears and prayers. He is finally outgrowing it and it made me start thinking about another. Then a devastating miscarriage at 9 weeks with twins (see my post here if you missed it). That made me decide that I was done.

Four months later, a friend shared a little pearl of wisdom with me. She was telling me about a book she had read that said not to plan your family size based on infancy, plan it on how many people you want around your Thanksgiving table.

Immediately the number 5 popped into my head (coincidence? I think not. Pretty sure Holy Spirit prompted that one). That was settled, five kids.

Of course Matt was all for it. He says, "the more the merrier!"

Seems like we are good to go, right? Nothing left to discuss, problem solved. Wrong!

Now comes my internal struggle as a mom. I had a dream over 5 years ago of us having three kids. Matt and I have always wanted to adopt and since we wanted a large family we decided that it would be great to adopt siblings. So it seems logical that we would want to have one more biological kid and then adopt a set of two siblings. My mind seems to have everything figured out, but my heart is struggling.

Here are the things that I "know" with my mind:
             With PCOS, 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage
             There are over 4,000 possible birth defects
             1 in 160 pregnancies results in a stillbirth
             12% of babies are born prematurely

The thought of another miscarriage or having a baby born too early, a terminal baby, etc makes my heart ache. I find myself washed in tears when I think about another miscarriage.

Then there are the things that I "know" with my heart:
             God is ALWAYS good
             God works ALL things together for good for those who trust Him
             Everything that happens WILL be redeemed for God's glory
             There are a million reasons that something bad can happen, but ONE reason why it will be okay

So here is the struggle; somewhere between my aching heart and my vision of 7 around a Thanksgiving table. I feel like I am stuck between the altar and the door, between Golgatha and Bethany, between now and forever, between heaven and hell. Seems like that is exactly where we are supposed to be.

"Friends, this world is not your home..."
~1 Peter 2:11a (The Message)

We are in this world, but not of it. We live here but this is not our home. Our constant struggle is having our bodies living on the earth and our minds and hearts living in heaven. The world is full of turmoil, strife and chaos. But in heaven there is no fear, no sorrow and no hurting; there is only love and joy and freedom

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." ~1 Corinthians 13:7
       I have seen this love that Jesus has for our children. Ones that have lived a full life and ones that have only lived in the womb. This love is purer and truer than any love I could ever give my child, 

Joy would celebrate the life of a baby (which yes, begins at conception). 

And Freedom says that death on this earth is only the beginning! 

When we can separate our worldly thoughts from those of heaven, it seems there isn't really a struggle after all. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pretty Boring Week

We haven't been up to much this week. Mostly hanging out around the house and spending time together. 
Sunday all the kids wanted to sit with Ariella. 

My little bookworms. They LOVE to read!

Gabriella got to use scissors for the first time by herself. She thought that was pretty great. She is loving preschool! 

Reading booking sitting inside a laundry net bag. Such a silly girl!

Xander's favorite thing to do is read books. 

He also likes to eat them, lol!

Being silly like brother

Little snuggle-bug ready for nap!

Beautiful girly!

Very fascinated watching a fly in the window

Gabriella's crazy bed-head from Thursday morning. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day Trip to Brookings

On Saturday we decided to head out of town and have some relaxing family time. Xander had never been to the beach/ocean before so we checked the weather report and then headed to Brookings.

Xander loved being buried in the sand

Me and my love!

 Gabriella enjoyed getting Xander covered in sand

Such a happy girl

Time for a rest

Happy boy!

In the ocean for the first time

I love how well they play together!

Mid-ballerina spin

She thought this was great fun but didn't enjoy getting all the sand scrubbed out of her hair later

Xander vs the sand

Kids and I all covered together. 

We had such a wonderful day. The weather was perfect (77 degrees), not a cloud in the skin, real light breeze, no fog. I think it is the best weather I have ever seen in Brookings. We had a great family time, lots of laughs and made some memories enjoying God's beauty!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Worms, Parasites and Great Grampa

Friday night my mom and I took the kiddos to visit my grampa at his memory care facility. He was sort of in a crabby mood but perked up after we went outside. 

Xander found a worm on the ground and like a typical little boy he decided to pick it up. Gabriella immediately started screaming and running away yelling, "I dont want it on me!" It was hilarious!!

Grampa has a form of dementia that makes him think he has bugs on him. He went on for quite a long time about the parasite he has living in his thumb and how he feeds it, except that it doesn't like to eat worms. The story was so bizarre that it was comical, but at the same time it was really sad. It was so real to him, it's his reality. It is hard to watch people we love age. It's also hard to be around them when they say mean things or carry on about things that we think are nonsense. But next time someone around you is behaving that way, take a step back from your own offense or judgement and put yourself in their shoes. Can you imagine living and thinking ghat you always had bugs of some sort crawling all over you? That would be horrific for me!!

Okay, I'll get off my soapbox.  Just some reflection on our visit.

The kids had a blast playing with his walkerand running around outside in the yard.  Plus Grampa always shares cookies with them so that was fun too.

I sure love my grampa and are glad my kids get to enjoy his company too!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Day of School

Today was our first day of preschool for Gabriella. She is only 3 1/2 but is such a quick learner and loves to learn so I felt like I would be doing a disservice to her by not starting school with her. So we started homeschooling.

First Day of Preschool Picture
(The dress she is wearing is one that was mine when I was little!)

Xander wanted a picture too

All ready to start. She was SO excited to have her own pencil box and special crayons and markers!

Xander was sad that he only got crayons to use and not markers. 

Working on learning to hold her markers/pencils the right way. 

She was so proud of her "Letter A" paper that we did today. 

Up close pic of her paper. I am pretty impressed with how well she did writing by herself. 

Her first "math" paper. It was tracing and counting. 

All in all our first day of homeschooling went pretty good. I was super happy with how well both kids did and Gabriella loved it! She sat at the table for a long time by herself coloring a picture of Boots. So cute and fun! I hope that she continues to enjoy school this much!!

Her picture of Boots.