Saturday, July 25, 2015

Paseando with my little girl

I got to go pasear (stroll around) with my little girl this morning.  She got a hair cut (and a balloon for a reward) and then do some errands with me.  For some reason she insisted on taking her doll around town with us.  She was (and always is!) a delight to be with. 


A few Emma milestones -- 

*  I have started teaching her some sight words while we read.  She can now read and recognize the words:  the, and, to, he, she, I, and a.  She is really taking an interest in learning to read.  I wonder how all of this will develop through time before she starts school next year.

*  She is also learning to spell a little.  She can write her name and the sight words from above (^), but that's abut the extent of anything legitimate that she can write.  She likes to just string a whole lot of letters together that never make sense.  But I feel like the beginning stages of writing are underway. 

*  I am trying to see if I can begin teaching her the concept of addition and subtraction.  She likes to take her grapes (or goldfish, or whatever), line them up, count them, and then begin eating one, two, or three, or four at a time.  Then count them again.  I am starting to use math words with her such as "plus" and "minus" (in Spanish, btw).  Hoping this basic math can develop naturally with her.

*  I've been trying to be more intentional with her at bedtime.  We are half way through reading Charlotte's Web, though now that she can "read" her sight words, the reading is much, much, much slower now.

*  Another thing that I've been trying to be more intentional with at bedtime is to debrief our day together.  We'll ask each other the favorite part of our day, and then talk about one kind thing we did that day, and one unkind thing we did that day.  My intention here is to always be vulnerable of my sin with her, letting her know that mama is far from perfect.  But also my desire is for her to begin examining her own brokeness and need of Jesus.

Playing

I was in the kitchen the other day while the kids were in the next room playing by themselves.  I all of the sudden heard Byron say:  "Uuuuffff, wet wet wet" (the words his daddy uses when he changes his diaper).  

I peek around the corner, and find this --


Little Byron "changing" Emma's doll's diaper, and then Emma tinkering with Little Byron's truck.  I was so tickled by this sight, I couldn't help by laugh and take a picture. 

Making cookies

I am often reminding myself that mundane things are highly educational for little children.  Things like pretend-playing, flipping through books, reading, cleaning, playing, exploring, etc. But all of these things seem incredibly useless, and (I must confess) slightly inconvenient.  I mean, who wants to stop every two feet to explore the dead bug on the ground?????

And well... baking is at the top of the "inconvenient, yet highly educational" list.  With all the texture-feeling and flavor-tasting, never mind letting the children observe raw materials become yummy cookies -- I mean, it doesn't get more "preparatory" than that!!!!

But it is fun, and the kids love it, and they are learning, and we are making sweet memories, and the little one ends up looking like this at the end of it --


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Chores

Whether it be for laziness, or just because I don't want to, I've never really been all that interested making my kids do chores around the house... not yet, at least.

But slowly but surely there have been a few things we've been expecting Emma to do around the house.  Like put the clean silverware away in the drawer, or help put the table and clean it up afterwards.  Learn to make her bed, put on her clothes and PJs, brush her teeth, etc.  I'd be lying if I said that this went flawlessly every day.  Just today, between complaining and being in time out, silverware duty took about 30 minutes to complete.

What's been fun in the meantime is watching Byron begin to imitate (and thus also help) big sister.  

The other day we found him doing this --



Of course, silverware was not stored all in the right compartment, and there may or may not have been a dirty spoon with peanut butter in it, but whatever... the intention was there :)

Home is under contract

We accepted an offer for our home last week, which means we are officially under contract.  Our home will be sold in just a few weeks!

Of course, this all means chaos in the meantime.

Some packing.  Good thing I have a little helper who gives me things to put in boxes and labels them :)



Some fixing things up for the buyers.  Which of course means lots of dust and messiness for us.



Our home was on the market for two months.  Lots of work, but it wasn't as bad as we had anticipated it would be.  Excited to be moving into our new home soon.

Birthday party numbero dos

Didn't do too good a job recording this party, but it was a Spider Man-themed affair.  Here the kids were spraying string-y things at each other, and some even wore masks for it.  Fun!



Birthday party number uno

Last Saturday we had two kids' birthday parties.  We had a great time!

Our first little party was Little Byron's good little friend Giedon.  They had a little kiddie pool where the kiddos could swim and play and parents could enjoy themselves supervising while still remaining dry.

Cheeeeeese!

Kids parties are just as much for the kids as they are for the adults :)




Saturday morning waffle breakfast with friends

Why don't we do this more often?  
So fun!


To the lake with friends

So this is the post where everyone is supposed to be impressed by how awesome of a mom I am.  Of how adventuresome and exciting and unique life is for us.  Truth is, our everyday life is pretty monotonous, but every once in a while (as in once every two years), we'll do something out of the ordinary.

Last week a friend and I took our kiddos to the lake only 30 minutes away from where we live.  The kids had a blast, played with each other, in the sand, in the water, and ate a fun picnic lunch.

On our way.  Happy crew... except the little ones.

Lunch time with friends.

Playing at the beach.

My novio.

My princess.


Doing errands with these kiddos...

... is lots of fun!


We are going to miss this boy

Snuggling with each other while watching a cartoon together.


Monday, July 06, 2015

4th of July church celebration

We had so much fun yesterday eve after church for our 4th of July celebration.  We had homemade ice cream and cookies, along with games and live music. 


The best part was when the kids got up to sing along with the musicians.  Byron just seemed to be puzzled by the whole ordeal the entire time.


So he did a little climbing on the stair handles instead.  Emma on the other hand was repeatedly complimented on her good hip moves.


4th of July silly hat


Emma made a 4h of July hat at the Kroc one day last week.  It was such a fun hat.  I was sorry it broke before we could use it on the real day.  But glad I got a picture of it.

Emma takes swim lessons

Emma took her first swim lessons this summer.  It was a week-long swim camp every afternoon for eight days.  It's amazing how quickly she learned to go hold her breath, go under water, and walk around without floaties. 





She also learned to jump off the diving board and swim a little.  We have continued to work on her swimming, and still a little fearful in this department.  Currently trying to teach her to lift her head up and then back down so that she can breathe while she is moving in the water.

Bugs

I love how these two are so fascinated with insects and bugs.  They can normally spot a bug or two at the house entrance steps and visit with him for a while. 


I also love how baby brother helps Emma overcome her fears.  He is so bold and unafraid of bugs, and is slowly beginning to rub on big sister.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

WHY-Wednesday: Why I'm really not all that awesome.

One Saturday afternoon last summer, a friend and I were reflecting on a well-concluded year in the ministry of MOPS.  I was on a high.  I had led ten young moms through discussion, playdates, nights outs, friendships for an entire year, and results were there.  I had perfect attendance for most of the weeks of the second semester.  Great relationships had been built.  We had completed a parenting book together outside of our meetings.  I was the go-to person many of these mamas went to when they had questions.  Three of them were joining the leadership team the following year.  I would be lying if I didn't say I was patting myself on the back quite nicely.  I had been pretty awesome that year.

During that Saturday afternoon, I asked my friend:  "If the Lord has given me such talents [the gift of being plain ol' awesome], where does God fit in after the gift has already been given?  After all, it was I who led these women.  It was I the one brought them together and encouraged them and helped them thrive."  I was basically saying -- how lucky of the Lord to have me.

The question was left in the air.  My friend may have said something wise or true.  Something to correct me, maybe.  But I was too wrapped up in my own self-centerness and awesomeness to pay any attention.

This moment was the beginning of a (so far) year-long story, during which the Lord began to tear me down.  

"If you think I [the Lord] am a small god that you can keep at safe distance, I will pounce upon you like a roaring lion, tear you to pieces, rip you to shreds, and break every bone in your body.  Then I will mend you, cradle you in my arms, and kiss you tenderly" -- Brennan Manning.

And such is my story.

Depression.

Tears.

Attacks by man.

Doubting.

And a whole lot of man-fearing.  

Irony would have it that my following year serving as a table leader in MOPS was not as awesome as my previous year.  So I began panicking and asking myself:  "What am I doing wrong, what do I need to improve, who can I blame for this?"  I'm ashamed to admit that this line of thinking lasted for the majority of the year, before the Lord in his kindness spoke to my heart:  "It's not you, it's never been you doing any of this."  Then Deuteronomy 8:17,18 comes knocking on my door:  

"You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.'  But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today."

Aaaahhhh...  "it is he who gives you the ability..."

You mean to say, Lord, that everything good that I do does not come from within me, but from within you?

I've known this truth in my mind for years...  

But could it be that I now understand it in my heart as well?

Could it be that my self-centerness and arrogance and pride are the very things the Lord continues to allow me to struggle with, so that I would be reminded of my inability to meet God's standard of perfection, and thus falling on my knees time and time again, asking the Lord to forgive me and to hurry back?

Could it be that the Lord does not accomplish his work because of me, but in spite of me?

Could it be that I'm really not all that awesome?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Eight years married

WOW!  Married for eight years.

I like to joke about how I am on my "third husband" and Byron is on his "fifth wife."  It's amazing how much we have grown and changed over the course of these last eight years.  I look back to that 22-year old girl on June 16, 2007 and cannot believe we're the same person.  

And that 28-year old young man.  That young man who showed up late to our "Welcome Party" two nights before our wedding because he was busy taking care of our guests.  As I cried in the hallway of my mother's house that evening, one of his aunts pulled me aside and looked at me with stern eyes and said:  "you are marrying a servant."

So over the course of these past eight years, it's been my privilege to see that side of my husband grow and mature.  

And so I wonder, how many more "husbands" will I have during the next eight years?


***

How did we celebrate eight years together?

With a full week with every single evening with a commitment, we decided "eat out" at home.

We got Carabba's take-out and ate it on our wedding china.  And some special cake slices from a local restaurant for dessert.


Asleep on the couch

Trying to sell our house while still living in it has not been as hard on us as I thought it might be.  With an average of one showing per week, it's certainly something I can pull off without driving myself nuts.  

I was informed last Monday at around 9:30 am if our house could be shown at 1:30 pm that afternoon.  At the time, I was keeping a friend's daughter, plus had a friend come with her two boys to hang out.  It was a beautiful and fun morning, but as soon as everyone left, the house needed some serious caring for.

I placed the kids in front of their "drug" (the TV) and put the movie Cars on (their favorite movie).

At around 12:15 pm, this is what I find --


Fell asleep while watching his favorite movie, eating his favorite snack (goldfish) and drinking his favorite drink (milk).  This boy also rarely sleeps in any other place other than his crib.

Needless to say, naps for that day were shot.  And I was quite the tired mama by the time evening rolled around.

So is life while selling a house... crazy!

Family yard work

We had a family outdoor workday last Saturday.


Our neighbor's dawgs paid us a visit.


The hot and worn out trio.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

To the aquarium with Tia Alison



While in Mexico last month, Emma learned to love sharks from reading countless of Aunt Alison's old books (Alison loved sharks when she was a little girl herself).  Aunt Alison and Emma developed a sweet friendship while in Mexico by bonding over shark books.

Emma picked up a lot during that time.  Alison was impressed by her memory, and how well not only she could remember all the different names of the sharks, but by how she could identify them elsewhere (seeing a different picture in a different book, she could still tell you the kind of shark that it was).

This led to Alison wanting to take her to the Atlanta Aquarium when we got back.  So last Thursday Alison drove into Augusta, spent the night with us, then early Friday morning (7:30 am), the shark-loving duo were on their way to the aquarium.

They had a great time, and got to see some whale sharks, among many, many other things.  Emma says that her favorite part was seeing the penguins.  They also saw the dolphin show.  

Emma was so sad when she learned that Tia Alison would not be returning with her home that afternoon (I picked her up half-way), and cried a good bit on the way back home about this.

The best of friends

These two are such a gift to each other.  Little Byron especially misses his sister when for whatever reason she is not around.  He pretty much imitates her and follows her around.

They like to read side by side --


And fix the "baby's" crib --


And play Princess Anna and Princess Elsa (I tried convincing Emma that Byron would do a better Prince Haans, but that didn't last too long.  "Princess Elsa, SPEAK!" were Emma's helpless words as she tried to do some pretend playing with her little brother).




Little Byron

Little Byron is all boy.  He loves balls, and trucks, and cars, and planes, and helicopters, and Lighting McQueen.  And he loves sharks, and dinosaurs, and birds, and monkeys, and bears, and dogs.

He is also a rough boy.  Tackling, hitting, wrestling, falling, bumping his head, and picking his nose.

But my little boy is also very much a "daddy""--


(^) Feeding one of Emma's bears some breakfast this morning (^)

He loves "babies," so much so that he enjoys playing with Emma's doll.  He also likes to "cook" in Emma's kitchen.  He is EXTREEEEMELYYYY polite, saying "please" and "thank you" over just about anything.  He is quick to say sorry after he's been in time out ("pat pat" he says).  He says "scuse me" when he needs to get by you.  He loves to kiss and be kissed.  Loves to point out everybody's tuch (belly button).  He is very emotional, and gets his feelings hurt easily.  He loves to read and be read to.  He feels absolutely lost without his big sister.

Thankful for this boy.  I pray he would always love and enjoy the Lord whole-heartedly.  A man who is all man, yet all nurture and kindness.  I wonder how this little (almost) two year-old personality will look like in 20 years.   

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mommy-Daughter trip to Mexico

Mommy and Emma took a one-week trip to Mexico this month.  It was such an enjoyable time with my little girl.  She was such a trooper, with late nights and no naps.  She played well with her Oma, tagged along Mommy while I visited with friends and family.  All in all, a sweet trip.

At Atlanta airport, ready to leave.

 I packed her bookbag with coloring books, work books and notebooks.  She enjoyed herself so much doing that.  But don't be too impressed.  She watched her fair share of movies on the iPad as well.

Oma greeted us at the Cancun airport with yummy watermelon.



It was mango season, which means Emma got to enjoy mangos for literally breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Emma enjoyed picking fruit with Oma most mornings. 


The heat was brutal.  High 90's every day.  My fair skinned girl got blushed so so easily.


Picking mameys with Oma.


Family pic.  Three generations of women.


Emma and her basket full of mameys. 


Mooooore mangos!


Pool time with Oma.


Playing Candy Land.  She is quite good at it.


Post Candy Land selfie.


Playing with play doh.


One morning I took Emma to the mall with me.  We rode the indoor train and had a sweet, great time together.



And of course, I had to get my weekly Costco fix :)


Got to see some family.  With my cousin Sihan.


And with about half of my cousins (some with their special somebodies).


This is the fish tank that wooed Emma into becoming the fish-loving girl she is.



Our last day in Mexico, waiting for our bus to drive us to Cancun to catch our plane.  Emma and Oma wasted no time and read lots and lots of books during the wait.