Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Travels

What a blessing it was to have our first Christmas with our baby.  It was so fun to see Christmas through his eyes.  I think he mostly loved getting to go to his grandparents' houses and having all the people and excitement each day.  We spent the first several days (including Christmas day) at my in-law's house and then a few days at my parents' house after Christmas.  Here are some pics.

Emerson loved this little red rocking chair.  He figured out how to rock himself right away!

Emerson with his great grandparents


I will never get tired of his big grin..
 In Joplin we went to drive through the neighborhood where the Extreme Makeover Home Edition we done.  Such cute homes!  Though it is sad because if they look out their back windows, all they see is destruction from the tornado.  While the town is cleaned up, there is still a lot of rebuilding to do.  We went and played at a new park that was rebuilt.



The next day we went to an old farm that belongs to some friends. It was so fun for Emerson to see the animals that we read about all the time. The barn is over 100 years old!  I have to admit, it made me think that living on a farm would be kind of nice... only I would grow coffee beans :)

 
Emerson and Papa



We had a blessed time with family celebrating Christ's birth.  I intend to write a few more posts this week, so come back soon!  Happy New Year, friends!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life

Every once in awhile I have one of those days where I feel a little like a single mother because Caleb has to work late.  Today was one of those days.  Sometimes at the end of one of those days I am exhausted and drained.  But today was different.  Emerson was just such a joy, y'all.  I am loving the stage he is at right now.  He is SO fun.  You know... he loves to play.  We play ball.  We play chase.  We play tickle.  We play 'touch what mom says not to and see what she does'.  You get the point.  He is just a ham.  Except when he's in public.  He may be getting a little stranger anxiety, because twice at the library today he cried when someone talked to him.  But that's beside the point.

He is also a sponge.  He continues to amaze me by showing me that he knows more than I think he does.  He is totally getting the receptive language thing down.  I had no idea he could do this, but yesterday, when I asked him, he pointed to my hair and my teeth.  When did he even learn those words?  I mean, I know why he knows the term "hair".. it's because he pulls mine all the time, even though I tell him not to, but where did he learn teeth?  He will also follow some commands these days: turn the page, come here, where's mommy's hair, etc.  And today, he imitated me when I said "ho, ho, ho".  The only other word I think he has tried to say is "book", but he didn't quite get it right.  He must've gotten his daddy's smarts.  It just blows my mind that this little boy was a little, helpless newborn less than 9 months ago.  They change so much in the first year.

On a sad note, Emerson has had a cold for over a week, is cutting two bottom teeth, and has an ear infection all at once.  But the poor guy has been a great sport about it. 

Here are some pictures from life lately:

 I've mentioned our two wonderful international students before, Bowon and Kyowon.  We had a little Christmas celebration with them this past week.  Bowon left after the first semester so we were soo sad to see her go.  She is the sweetest girl and a big blessing to get to know.  Kyowon will stay another semester, so we are excited about that.  Being a friendship family has been a great experience for us.  E-mail me if you are interested in becoming one.  I can get you the details.  They are always needing more families!  You won't regret it!!

  

We also had a family Christmas this past weekend.  Emerson got to open his present we got him.  He was pretty exited about the wrapping.  Since then, he thinks all the presents are here for him to touch and explore. 
 

He got right to playing with his new table as soon as he opened it.  It has definitely been his favorite toy the past few days.  


I hope you all have a blessed Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Party Animals

I have been a part of a playgroup for the last several months, which you've probably heard me talk about.  Let me tell you, this playgroup is a blessing for us all.  It is just a great little community to talk about highlights and struggles of motherhood to the most understanding group.  It is so fun because when we first started, our babies all just laid there and didn't move.  But now they are all over the place and stealing each others' toys and stuff.  Such big kids now :) 

So we decided to have a Christmas party and we wanted to actually invite our husbands, because many of us didn't even know each others husbands, and our husbands didn't know each other!  We would always talk to our spouses about our playgroup and to our playgroup about our spouses, so it was fun for our little two worlds to meet!  So, the party was at our house and we had some yummy food, good toys, and a Christmas craft.  We attempted to get a group baby shot..

fail
baby down!

good enough
We were missing a few babies and mommies, but we still had a good time!  From left to right: Emerson, Natalie, Isaac, Evalie, Graham, Ruby.  Here is the craft we made.


Now we can pull this frame out every year along with all our other Christmas decorations and remember how tiny Emerson's feet used to be!  I am very blessed by our playgroup and I hope it continues for years :)  How fun it will be to watch our babies grow up together! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mobility

Emerson gets around the house pretty well these days.  My mom requested that I post some of these videos so she could see :)  Hi mom!  Enjoy!






PS- I will post soon about our playgroup Christmas party! Got some pretty cute pics :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Emerson's Eighth

So, Emerson has almost been living outside my womb as long as he lived inside my womb.  Crazy, huh?  This post is just my regular monthly post about little E, to chronicle his development and growth.  Because I am never on time posting these monthly posts, these "stats" are based on his behavior now, while he is 8.5 months old :)  Just clarifying.

-Emerson is crawling all over and pulling up on everything... even walls.  How the heck do you pull up on walls?  Ask Emerson.
-He learned to clap a few days after he turned 8 mos.  It was while riding a carousel.
-He blows a lot.  It's like his new skill that he likes to do all the time.  The other day he actually whistled.  It was an accident though, but he clapped for himself and tried it again, but blew harder and harder, so it wouldn't work.  It was funny.
-He loves to eat.  Oatmeal, rice cereal, applesauce, banana, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, pasta, egg yolk, crackers, etc.  He has been drawn to my food lately.  I think he is realizing that my food tastes better than some of his.
-He now sleeps through the night.  Thank the Lord.
-He can climb stairs.  Hello, baby gate.
-He has learned object permanence and looks for objects if we cover them up. 
-He babbles a lot.  He says dadada, a lot.  We aren't sure if he says it in reference to Caleb or not.  He knows what certain objects are... like if we ask him where daddy, mommy, ball, dog, tree, book, etc. are, he will look at the named object.
-He is attracted to everything that he is not supposed to play with.  The TV buttons, cell phones, cords, the toilet, our books, the computer, etc.  And he knows what "no" means.  Sometimes he obeys.  Sometimes he doesn't.  I think disciplining might be a little draining... and I'm just at the tip of the iceberg!  Oh dear.
-He loves to play outside.  If the temps are in the upper 40's and the sun is out, sometimes we bundle up and go play outside.  It puts him in the best mood. 


Well, that's all I can think of for now.  He will have his 9 month appointment after the new year so we can learn his height/weight stats.  These type posts are probably boring for you.  But I will enjoy looking back on them in the future, I think :)  Have a happy weekend! 

Got in a bit of a tussle with the tree skirt


The boys' favorite pastime.  They are becoming pretty good buddies.

Merry Christmas, folks!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Winter Wonderland

This morning I awoke to a winter wonderland!  Well, kind of.  If you know me very well, you know that I LOVE snow.  It's in my genes.  I come from a long lineage of snow lovers.  It makes me feel giddy inside.  I was so excited to show Emerson the snow.  Yes, I am the crazy lady who took my baby outside in freezing weather to let him see, even touch, the snow.  We were only out there a few minutes and he survived :)  I will raise my kids to be snow lovers too.  I have to start young.

Anyway, I didn't even know it was supposed to snow, so this was such a great surprise!  I think it's the best that way.  These days you know if it is going to snow a week out (especially if you check the 10-day forecast every time you check your e-mail and facebook, like me).  So, we don't get surprised that often anymore.  Some of my favorite memories as a child are being woken up much later than normal on a school day to see a stark white blanket of snow covering the world outside my window and to find out school has been cancelled.  What could be more magical than that?  My mom was always giddy and squealing like a child and we all were too.  Not long after we would be bundled and outside in the freezing weather, ruining the perfect, smooth snow with footprints and probably mud building lumpy snowmen. 

Anyway, I found it humorous on my drive home from taking Caleb to work, because I was listening to the radio and they were listing traffic reports.  Of course there was a long list of accidents all over Northwest Arkansas, because Arkansans have no idea how to handle or drive in snow.  Even if it is only a quarter inch deep.  I heard some people say this winter is supposed to be as "bad" as last winter.  I'm looking forward to it.  Guess I better go buy a shovel.  I hope you enjoy our first snow, today!  Stay safe and warm!  And drink some hot cocoa while you're at it. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Giving Book

I've got to tell you about an opportunity Caleb and I were given this Christmas season.  I'm pretty excited about it.  We received a package in the mail from my in-laws the week before December.  When we opened it, we found two Giving Books.  They were basically little notebooks with a letter written in the front.  The letter explained the concept to us.  Basically, Mike and DeeDee gave us each a ten dollar bill for each weekday of December leading up to Christmas.  I'm talking a total of $170 each.  Every few pages was dated and directed us how we were to give the $10 designated for that day.  Some examples are: treat a stranger, give to a child, treat a friend, give to an organization you are passionate about, etc.  Then we are to write a short summary on that page telling what we did and how it went.  When we join together for Christmas, we are going to share some of our experiences with one another.  You can give anonymously.  You can also buy an object/gift card with the money and then give that away. 

We definitely have to be intentional about making it happen.  It is more of a challenge since we only have one car.  If Caleb has the car, I might not leave the house that day!  Or if I have the car, Caleb basically goes to and from work, and it's dark by the time he gets off!  But I think it is a good for us.  I hope it trains us to look for the needs around us and to be generous.  I hope it gets us in the habit of giving regularly.  I am excited about this opportunity and I've never heard of something like this before. 

It makes you feel pretty good when you see people's reactions when they receive unexpected gifts.  But I imagine, if it were my money to begin with (not the in-laws'), it would feel like more of a sacrifice, yet more rewarding at the same time.  I am blessed with godly, amazing in-laws and it is neat to see how their money is blessing lives in Fayetteville and Chicago (bc Caleb's sister and her husband are doing this as well) without them even stepping foot out of KC.  I am excited to see how this shapes us and trains us to be more giving... year round.  Anyway, maybe this post will inspire you to do something similar.  Spread Christ's love, people.  Do it in His Name.  Have a blessed Saturday! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christ Centered Christmas

Happy December, everyone!  Now that Caleb and I have a baby, we have begun to think about what we would like holidays to look like in our household.  How can we instill in our kids the real importance of Christmas in a fun, kid-friendly way?  While I am not anti-Santa, presents, or Christmas lights (at all!), I would still like to strive to make Christ's incarnation the biggest focus of Christmas-time.

So I did some research and found some fun activities that families can do with their children to keep this focus.  First, here is a kid-friendly advent calendar with Scripture readings that you can do with your kids.  It is especially fun because it has daily object lessons/activities you can do with your children to help them grasp what you read together.  It would probably take a little planning ahead.  I want to save this calendar, because it is definitely above Emerson's level.  Caleb and I will do our own Scripture readings for this advent season.

Second, I love the advent chain idea found on this page.  Each link has something you can do as a family to serve others or to celebrate Christmas as a family.  You tear off a link each day and do what that link says.  Examples include, shop for toys and donate them, share Christmas memories, make ornaments, take a mini Christmas tree to someone in a nursing home, etc.  What a great way to teach kids that Christmas is not all about themselves!

The final idea I loved is this book idea.  Once you get a good collection of Christmas books, you wrap them in wrapping paper and each day, your child gets to open one book and read it!  You don't get new books every year, you just re-wrap them every year.  You can make this Christ centered by buying children's books that tell the Christmas story.  I think I will probably throw in other fun holiday books as well.  But I definitely want to include many Baby Jesus books!

I hope you find some of these ideas helpful!  While Emerson is still pretty young for these activities, they are definitely fun ideas for the future!  I hope you are enjoying the beginning of your Christmas season!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Highlight Reel

We were able to spend 4 days in Joplin with my family for Thanksgiving break.  I can already tell that Emerson loves going to Nana and Papa's house.  Which makes me happy because I have such fond memories of holidays at my grandparents' house growing up.  It is always craziness at my family's house.. a good kind of crazy.  Like kids running/wrestling, dogs barking, and adults talking loudly type of crazy.  That's just my family. 

Anyway, while I could probably share tons about our break, I will just share the highlights. 

Thursday consisted of eating a lot, spending quality time with the family, and playing our first annual family football game.  I feel like actually playing football taught me a lot about the game.  For instance, I learned what a line of scrimmage is.  I also learned what it means to rush.  It was so fun to try different plays and it was the best when the little kids got to do plays.  You know.. the famous run the wrong way plays.  I think us girls spent more time on the ground than anyone.  Just sayin'... my sister and cousin are aggressive.  I don't think they were really following the flag football guidelines.  We only ended up with a few bruises and lots of laughs.  Of course, with my little brother Asher present, we ended up singing the national anthem during half time (while saluting the windmill), and doing the "good game" five line afterwards.  I look forward to the many games to come.

Friday... oh, Black Friday.  I sat out on Black Friday this year.  Having a baby makes my sleep much more sacred.

Saturday we headed to Bass Pro in Springfield for our annual picture with Santa.  We have been going to this Bass Pro since 1996... that's 15 years.  Which makes me feel really old.  That is where the real Santa works, duh. 


My family is getting so big!  If we keep multiplying at this rate, we won't fit in the picture!  We are like a bunch of rabbits, I tell ya.

  

Now let me tell ya.  I have been trying to teach Emerson to clap his hands lately.  But he would never really partake voluntarily.  So, Emerson was riding this carousel after visiting Santa and all of a sudden, out of the blue, he claps his hands!  Since then he has done it several times.  It's pretty cute.  Apparently it takes something really exciting for Emerson to clap his hands for the first time ever :)

Sunday we went to church and drove back home to get settled for the start of a new week.  It was a great first Thanksgiving for Emerson and we have very much to be thankful for.  Have a blessed week, friends!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Full Heart

This year, I feel that I have more to be thankful for than ever before.  God has been so good to me and by His grace He has blessed me with an amazing family that raised me in His ways.  He has blessed me with an incredible, godly husband who always encourages me and points me towards Christ.  And He has given me wonderful, genuine friendships that I know will last for years to come. 

The thing that's different about this  year is obviously that I have a child.  This is a new love that I am experiencing and it makes my heart feel so full.  Sometimes it feels like it might burst because it is so full!  I am so thankful for the ability to love.  And I am so thankful that God has placed so many people in my life that I can love so deeply. 

Sometimes I wonder if it is even possible for me to love more than I do now.  Will my heart get fuller and fuller with each child God gives us? 

I am so blessed with all that I have and sometimes I fear that God will take away what he has blessed me with.  But I was recently reminded that whatever God gives us (even salvation) or takes away from us (the loss of a loved one, a job, etc.) is ultimately given or taken away for His glory.  That is the reason for our existence. 

This Thanksgiving, keep in mind Second Corinthians 4:15,

"For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011