Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lyla Girl at 8 months!

So, it's been 2 1/2 months since I last posted.... But let's just pretend it never happened.  Deal?  Deal.  Where to begin... I'll just begin with a Lyla update!

Baby Dedication- 7 mos

Baby Dedication photo with Nana and Papa

Lyla is now 8 months old and as cute as ever.  Her seventh month was a big month for her as she started crawling, pulling up, clapping her hands, self-feeding, turning pages in books, and got two teeth!  The girl is active, y'all.  She now follows me around the house, wants to taste the toilet, and pulls up on anything and everything (for example: her brother or the dog).  She already tries to let go and stand alone.  I think I have my hands full.

However, I do love the age where they begin to learn at such a fast pace.  I feel like she is understanding certain words and I can communicate with her a little more.  The girl STILL does not like to sleep through the night.  I joke about it on here, but I have a breakdown about every week and a half because she still wants to eat 2-3 times a night.  I had no idea what sleep deprivation was like until this child.  We have been really trying to push the solids during the day to help her get more calories (petite thing) in hopes that she will sleep longer, because momma isn't gonna make it much longer.  This sleep deprivation and weakness is really forcing me to try to trust God.  This morning I was encouraged by this verse and prayed it for myself

"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."  1 Peter 5:10

You might be thinking, "Oh please, Amber, sleep deprivation is not suffering."  But I won't listen to a word you say unless you have experienced this before, for 8 months straight.  And the enemy, who prowls around looking for someone to devour, likes to attack those who are weak, like me for instance.  I won't keep complaining to you, because who wants to read a blog post of complaints!

I know I am very blessed.  I have two healthy children and I love them with all I am, even if they keep me up at night!  I also have to say that I am blessed by my church family who has encouraged and served me during this time of trials.  And I am thankful for my dear mother who kept Lyla in her room over our Thanksgiving visit and only woke me if necessary.  My mom is just that kind of lady, always trying to give and serve.  I am taking notes and plan to do that for my daughter one day!!

So, where was I...?  Lyla is SO happy during the day.  So smiley and giggly and cuddly.  Even though she is so active, she is very content to just sit in your lap too and I love that.  She will lay her head on your chest sometimes and I soak that up.  Sometimes she gives very slobbery kisses, and other times she thinks it's really funny to withhold kisses from you if you try to get one.  I think this girl might have a sense of humor.  She truly is a joy and a beauty.  I am loving having a little girl.  She has my heart and I hope and pray that we have a lifelong bond that God intended mothers and daughters to have.  I thought it would be fun to post her monthly picture to see how she has grown and changed :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

His Promises

I was at the park last week feeding the ducks with some friends.  I noticed along the bank of the pond there were some giant trees whose roots stretched down right into the water.  It was actually a really neat sight and I wish I had taken a picture, but it reminded me of Psalm 1.  "[Blessed is the man who] delights in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers."  How wonderful for that tree to be planted right beside a source of water.  I think when doing a job like being a mom of littles, it is so easy to become weary , bone tired and exhausted, desperate to just survive each day!  I ask God to help me be like that tree planted by a water source.  Help me to dig my roots down into the Word so I can have that vital water that I need to survive, or produce fruit even!  What an encouraging verse to a mom of littles.

Another verse that I think is wonderful for moms of littles is Isaiah 40:11:

"He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young."

Yes, Lord.  Claim this verse for yourself, moms.  Lord, gather us in your arms, carry us in your bosom.  Gently lead me while I'm with young.  Yes, gently, because I feel so fragile some days.  I need you to carry me.  This is a promise from our God.  Claim it for yourself.  Pray it all day.  God knows this is a hard job.  That's why he even acknowledges that we need to be led, and gently at that!  He knows when I am up all hours of the night, and still expected to get up at dawn and care for my children all the way until their bedtime!  He knows I'm bone tired and emotionally unstable some days.  He knows about every meltdown I have to tame.  Lord, lead me.

Finally, God has another promise for us.  Matthew 11:28:  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  I am claiming this, you guys.  Give me rest, Lord.  Help me carry my burdens.  Give me the strength and love I need to be the mother and wife you want me to be today.  Give me rest in your arms.  Moms, this is probably one of the most physically demanding times of our lives.  God knows it.  He promises to carry us in his arms, to gently lead us moms, and to give us rest.  And he will use this difficult time to sanctify us and teach us and form us into the women he wants us to become.  Thank you, Lord, for continuing the work you've begun in us.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Half a Year

Is this little joy already 6 months old?  Wow.  I have to admit that the first few months were pretty hard.  I'm pretty glad we are past them!  But I do love this stage she is at now.  A few things about her:

1.  She knows what she wants and goes for it.  She will dive for objects or try to get anything mommy is holding by flailing her arms all about when I'm holding her.  She is a determined little lady.
2.  She still can't handle dairy.  I took half a bite of ice cream a few weeks ago and that resulted in blood in her stool the next morning!
3. She still wants to eat 2-3 times a night.  Usually I feel fine, but some days I am just bone tired and weary.
4.  She started sitting shortly after turning 5 months.
5.  She wants learn to crawl in order to get objects, but she doesn't like being on her belly for very long.  We'll see how that goes.
6.  She is fun-loving and a generally content baby.  She is usually pretty good at entertaining herself.
7.   At her 6 month appointment, she was 15 lb 12 oz (50%), and I don't know the exact measurements, but the doctor said 60% for length, and 40% for head.

Yes, Lyla is sittin' pretty in that picture up there, but I had to work hard to steal that one!  Here are the others I ended up with:

Brother is going to toughen this girl up!


Lol, you would think all her different poses were intentional!  Clearly, we can't get the girl to sit still.  And we have the hardest time keeping brother out of the pictures!  He can't stand it when I take her picture each month.  Cracks me up.  So far, Emerson and Lyla are pretty good buddies.  I pray they always are.

Happy 1/2 year sweet girl!  I love you forever!

Monday, September 16, 2013

What Makes a Daughter Beautiful?

One thing I have noticed since having a baby girl is how often people call her pretty.  As a little girl I remember being told the same thing.  Growing up with sisters, I think looks were probably mentioned a lot around us.  It's just funny to me, because when I had Emerson, I don't remember people commenting on his looks so much (usually he was called smart).  For some reason, people feel that when you are complimenting a girl, it should be about how she looks (I'm guilty of it too!).

A few years ago, I remember wondering if I would have struggled so much with insecurity about my image if external beauty wasn't emphasized so much growing up (not necessarily by my parents, but people in general, plus media).  What if I was complimented more on my abilities, or intelligence, or joy, or heart, or leadership, or good works, etc.  But I guess even these type compliments are all focused on me and my ability to do something.  Which would ultimately put pressure on me to succeed in some form or another.  This would eventually result in failure and disappointment in myself, because no one can be perfect at something their whole life. And one might be willing to go to extreme measures to maintain that characteristic.  My identity and self-worth should not be found in any of these, but in the fact that I am a child of God, chosen by Him, and covered in His grace. This fact is unchanging and does not depend on my works or ability to do anything. 

So, now that I have a daughter, how does this affect the way I speak to her or build her up?  It's not like I will refuse to call her beautiful!  She is beautiful.  God does make beautiful creations and it is good to praise Him for that.  But I certainly don't want to make that the only or most frequent thing I say about her.  That would teach her that her beauty is what is most valuable about her, which it isn't.  It is not wrong to tell her that she is smart, or coordinated, or sweet, or a good artist either.  God designed us to be able to do and be these types of things... to be creative and active and capable of learning lots of things.  After all, we are made in His image and He is those things.

So, how, as parents, do we help our children view themselves rightly, as God sees them, and not according to the world's standard?  Maybe we should start by helping them to see God rightly.  As He has revealed Himself in Scripture.  It seems impossible to view ourselves rightly when we don't view God rightly.  The better we know Christ, the more we see our sinfulness and need of a Savior.  And the better we know Scripture and the good news in it, the better we understand God's great and unwavering love for us.  And we will know that we did nothing to deserve it, but it was a free gift and God chose to give it to us. 

Would understanding the Gospel not help our children to develop humble, grateful attitudes and self perceptions?  However, I also know that a parent can only do so much to lead their child to Christ.  It is out of our hands at some point, which is why our children's souls should constantly be in our prayers.

I have not reached a conclusion about this.  These comments are just where my thoughts take me when I think about it.  I have seen opposing views on blogs from other Christians... some go so far as to say you shouldn't tell them they are pretty and others believe it is what girls need to hear!  What do you think?  How can we teach our children to see God rightly and to see themselves as God sees them?  How can we teach our daughters to find their self-worth in the fact that they are a child of God?

Please know I am not writing this to create a debate or anything.  I just think it is good to think about parenting and parent on purpose, not just fly by the seat of our pants or make things up as we go (all the time at least!).  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Gone Campin'

Over Labor Day Weekend, Miss Lyla had her first camping trip!  It was a great, relaxing weekend.  The kids did great too.  It was in the mid 90's for the weekend, but we actually kept pretty cool!  I tried to document the whole weekend with my camera, since it was Lyla's first campin' trip and all :)

The first Razorback Game of the Season called for Lyla to wear her Hog Call Onesie :)

Do you think that is a dimple on her cheek or just how her cheeks are?

Lyla (5 mos) and Callie (10 mos) keeping cool

The boys playing on the top bunk
Boys bein' boys... making forts!

Going on a hike!

E's first time fishing!

He caught a fish on his first cast!  Beginner's luck.

Nana and 2 of her 3 girls :)

Devil's Den has a great kiddie pool!

Ashley and Callie

Nana and Papa!

We had a sudden thunderstorm, which forced everyone into the camper... always exciting!

Roastin' Dogs
I think Miss Lyla already approves of the great outdoors!  She's outside about every day watching brother play, so she better like it!  I absolutely love how my kids have cousins their age to play with.  They are already becoming such buddies and it is such a joy to watch!  What a rich blessing family is :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Off to School

Today, I dropped my little boy off for his first day of school ever!  It was only mother's day out and it was only from 8-12, but I still missed him.  Our house is SO MUCH quieter without him in it.  It makes me think how empty our house will feel one day when all the kids go off to college.  I won't worry about that now.

Here are some pics of Emerson before school.

How adorable are his doggie backback and lunchbox?!

His teacher is Miss Jennifer!  She is super sweet.

When I picked Emerson up, she went on about how great he did and how he was a good helper and how he was a good eater (we already knew that part! lol).  I think he had fun.  This afternoon he said, "I wanna go to school!"  So, I think that means it was a success!  Here's to many more first days of school!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Before and After #2

Remember this table I wrote about? 

I wanted to paint it some bright colors to add color to the front of our house.  This was a super easy, fast project.  Here is the finished product!  Later I painted the watering can red too :)

See that crazy man in the reflection?  That's my husband.  When I was about to take the picture I told him I could see him in the reflection (meaning he should move) and he just started waving.  What a dork.  Anyway, I am pleased with the table!  Fun, cheerful colors.

Next up, this treasure:

It is going to be a big project since it is such weathered wood.  I'm second guessing my original color choices (red and yellow), so I need to think on it some more... But I'm excited to see what we come up with!  It might be awhile before you see a "Before and After #3" post.  Have a good week!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Before and After #1

Our kitchen is the room in our house that we have the most changes planned for.  It is just pretty dark.  Not much lighting, dark wood cabinets, black countertops, black appliances.  There is talk of painting cabinets, adding lighting, and lately I've been entertaining the idea of adding windows, which would require eliminating some cabinet space, however.

But when we first moved in, we had this awkward space in the kitchen.  We had our table in a dining area, which left a big, empty space in our kitchen.  So, we decided it would be perfect for a breakfast nook.  In April, Caleb, his dad, and grandpa came and built a bench into the corner.


We stained and painted it.  And then we added beadboard for the back.  


Finally, after painting the beadboard, we have completed our project!

I love it!  It is just how I pictured it.  We do plan to make a table that matches it perfectly.  That will be a whole 'nother project.  So, even though we have finished one long project for our kitchen, it is still a work in progress.  But I enjoy doing projects like this with my husband :)  It's a good way to spend our evenings together.  I love being married to a handyman!

Stay tuned for Before and After #2 :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

5 months

Little Miss Lyla,

You are 5 months old and I can't believe how fast time is flying by.  You are such a happy baby and we are always getting comments on what a smiley baby you are.  You are just bursting with life and joy, always squealing (at ear drum bursting levels) and you LOVE to laugh.  You are so very ticklish.  You love to be tickled on your neck and ribs and belly.  I am starting to think you are going to have quite the personality.  One that likes to laugh and squeal and have fun.  You still love your brother and he was making you belly laugh quite a bit the other day.  He loves making you smile and is very sweet to you.

E is always determined to get in the picture too...
We started you on solids a few weeks ago.  We planned to hold you off til you were 6 months, but you were acting so interested in our food and expressed much frustration that we weren't giving you any.  So we went for it.  You have had oatmeal, avocado, and sweet potato.  You like them all so far.  We've started to introduce a sippy cup since you won't take a bottle.  You've been going to the church nursery for about a month now and do pretty well at it.  You are pretty good at sleeping around activity, so that helps.

Even though you are very smiley at strangers, you don't like when they hold you.  When I drop you off at the nursery you do fine, but if someone holds you while I am standing right there, you are not ok with that.  You will put your lip out and fight back tears.  You definitely love mommy and daddy.  You are getting close to sitting by yourself, so I imagine that will happen during this next month.  You are very grabby.  I feel like you are much more grabby than Emerson was at this age.  We have to keep things out of your reach, because you are quick. You are still not the best night time sleeper.  You will want to eat at least twice a night, usually waking even more than that.  God gives me strength to get through each day!

You are in size 2 diapers and you can wear some 3 month clothes, 3-6 month, and 6 month clothes.  You still have very tiny hands and feet.  You still don't have much hair and your eyes are looking brown with some green in them too.  They are much lighter than mommy and Emerson's.

There are a few things that I love that you are doing right now.  One is kisses.  I'm serious when I say that you already act like you are giving kisses!  You will grab our faces with your hands and come towards us with an open mouth to kiss us.  You love being kissed on too :)  And the other thing that I love is that when daddy holds you, you always have a hand up on his cheek.  It's because it feels scratchy.  You've learned that daddy has a scratchy face and every single time he holds you, your hand always goes up to feel his face.  It's the most precious thing.

Ok, sweet girl, that's all for now.  We are loving spending this first year with you.  Like I've said all along, you bring so much beauty and joy to our lives.

I love you,