Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gymnastics Girl

 McKenna has been waiting for this moment for her "entire life!" ha!
 This was her first night of gymnastics.

 She loves it.
 She does a great job listening to her teacher, but is very distracted by the older girls who are doing some much more exciting tricks. I'm going to have to take her early one week so she can just sit and watch the older team.
 She hasn't really made friends yet. She never talks to the other girls, but her teacher is nice.

 I'm glad we were able to make her dream come true :)

The balance beam is her favorite!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I just checked the last thing off McKenna's Kindergarten Readiness checklist. She's ready to roll. She asked me if she could go tomorrow. Thankfully we get to wait a few more months.

Will is also learning so much lately. Just today he got all his train track out and built a train track all over the floor all by himself. Then he came and got me and kept saying "look" while he was pulling my hand. It's the first time he's ever come to me so show me something. He got the funniest grin on his face when I cheered and hugged him because his track was so amazing.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

*Top Verses to Memorize as a Family*

You know I'm big on memorizing scripture in our house.
Here's what Chuck Swindoll wrote, “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified” (Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994], p. 61). 

The main reason I want my kids to know God's word and have it hidden in their hearts, is because there is going to come a day when they aren't going to listen to me like they do now (Wait a minute...did I just say they listen to me??? Hmmm...I guess it depends on the day). I know that I won't always be right there to give them advice and guidance. But when God's word is hidden in their hearts, whether they like it or not, He's always going to be with them.

We start memorizing scripture in our house as soon as you can talk. That means before the age of two we're working on it.

We always start with Genesis 1:1, because it's easy and foundational to everything we believe. We do motions with it because I think it's easier to learn something when you're really little if there are motions to it.

Verses to Memorize with Young Kids:

Genesis 1:1
"In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth."

Psalm 56:3
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." 

Ephesians 6:1
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."

John 14:6
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Galatians 5:22-23
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 2gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

Romans 10:9
"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

 Ephesians 6:7
"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people."

John 3:16
" For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

James 1:19
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."

Verses for Older Kids to Memorize:

Joshua 1:9  "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Ephesians 2: 8-9
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast."

Ephesians 4:29
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Titus 2:11-12
"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age."

Proverbs 14:7
"Leave the presence of a fool,
  for there you do not meet words of knowledge."

1 Peter 3:3-4
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Psalm 96:3
"Declare his glory among the nations,
  his marvelous deeds among all peoples."

Here's my number one tip for memorizing scripture with your kids:

Make it part of the routine.

Say a scripture every time you sit down to eat. It's a simple and quick way to make it part of the routine.

Write scriptures on index cards and have them by the bathtub so you can practice with you're kids while they're getting baths.
Keep index cards in the car so that when you're driving somewhere you can practice.
Give kids ownership of their verses by letting them have their own scripture card box (recipe card box) full of the scriptures they know.
Use music to help you remember verses. You can pretty much sing any scripture to the tune of "row, row, row your boat."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Third Child

 My sweet little boy. Number three.
 He hit his head tonight on the corner of one of our end tables.
You know how heads can bleed.
It's a little unnerving.

But he's the third. So there was no panic.
I knew a his blankie, a sippy cup and a snuggle with mom would make it all better.

I remember this same exact scenario playing out with Christian five years ago. 
I called Ryan and made him come home from work to look at the cut and help me decide if we should go to the ER. There was blood everywhere and I could hardly breathe. Funny how things change. Tonight it was really no big deal.

A Quick Run Down of What We're Up To

 Will is 22 months old now.
He is talking A LOT!
He is finally using words on his own instead of just repeating after us.
Boy oh boy, can he tell you what he wants.
He's had croup for the past 2 nights. He sounds terrible but acts totally fine, so I'm not worried about it. Other than that he's been healthy which is a huge relief compared to where we were last year at this time!
Will is a rough and tumble boy.
He runs, jumps, hops, crawls, climbs, tackles, hits, pushes and giggles all day long.
My favorite thing about him right now is his singing. He has this soft little voice that is pretty much the most precious thing on the face of the earth when he sings.
He loves "Twinkle, Twinkle" and our night-night song but his favorite song that he requests is "PopPop & Nanny." That means he wants me to sing Jesus Loves Me, with PopPop and Nanny's (that's what he's calling Grandmom these days) names in it.
Yes, Jesus loves William
Yes, Jesus loves Christian
Yes, Jesus loves McKenna
and PopPop and Nanny too!

Will has started telling his mommy and daddy "no." Actually he usually says NO!NO!NO! just to make sure that we get the point.
We're not big fans of that in this house, so we've had to get tough with the discipline so we don't end up with bigger problems later down the road.
McKenna can hardly stand it when Will gets in trouble. She runs and hides and cries.
Last night Will stood up in the bathtub and slipped and his head went under the water which scared him. McKenna was taking a bath with him and she had to get out because she was so upset about how Will "almost got hurt." She couldn't stop crying. She loves her "little buddy" so much. He calls her "sissy" and is always calling for!
 This is what happens when Ryan tries to watch football on a Sunday afternoon.
Yes, that's our Christmas tree. I had it down before New Years, I'm just extremely behind with blogging.
Ryan got a new boss. Our feelings about that are still up in the air. 
On a super foggy night this week someone stole an entire truckload of product from his distribution center. That has created a ridiculous amount of stress for him. What is wrong with people??

 The winter months get long for Christian.
He doesn't like school right now.
He's in a funk most of the time when he's home.
He the best big brother ever to Will and leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to McKenna.
Yet, despite the attitude junk we have going on, I see a boy who makes me so proud. He is an excellent student (even though he doesn't like it). 
The thing that makes me the most proud is the character he displays through his friendships at school. There is this kid who is a bully on the playground. All the kids know he's mean and Christian usually just ignores him because the bully doesn't ever bother him. But one day this kid took it too far and Christian told me "He was about to push over my friend (who is this sweet little innocent Mennonite boy who is definitely a fish out of water in public school) so I stepped in front of him and he ended up pushing me on the ground. That made him mad and I told him he was acting like a bully and I wasn't going to put up with it anymore." I was a little shocked and a tad bit worried that Christian was so aggressive with this kid, but I think he made the right decision. I'm glad he's willing to stick up for the underdog.
We sign up for spring baseball on Friday! It can't come soon enough.
This crazy lady is finally signed up for gymnastics.
I have pictures. You'll see them one day.
In the meantime, just believe when when I tell you she loves it!
She is about to be five. Let's not talk about it, it makes me sad.
I've told her that she's not having a party this year and yet she has one all planned out and has been inviting her friends at preschool to it.
I spelled something in the car last night so that only Christian would know what I was trying to say and McKenna knew exactly what I spelled. I guess that won't work anymore.
Quite often McKenna will ask me to please go upstairs to my room and shut my door so that she can baby sit. She always wants me to go take a shower and a nap or do some work with my door shut. She loves to be in charge of her little buddy, Will.
She talks about Kindergarten all the time.
She bosses Will around all the time (in a very nice mothering sort of way).
She has bad dreams that have been disrupting our nights a lot lately. Her daddy mainly deals with it. I'm not very patient in the middle of the night.
She is going through this phase where she is terrified of our house or her school or our church, catching on fire. (This is pretty much Christian's fault since he got a ball stuck up in our light in our 2 story foyer. He didn't tell us about it because he didn't want to get in trouble and then the ball melted and our whole house smelled like burnt rubber. And I was not thinking and told him that it was wrong for him not to tell us because he could have burned our house down. Totally regretting those words now!!! So actually it's really my fault.) We have discussed it and prayed about it and discussed it some more. It's still an issue. She's a complicated little cookie.

So that's the latest!
Everyone is doing great and everyone has their issues! I'm just feeling tired these days! How many more days until spring?? If it's not coming soon, we at least need a big snow so we can be stuck at home for awhile with no school! I would love that!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Snow Much Fun

 We have practically no snow on the ground right now...these pictures were from a few weeks ago.
 Ryan was a good sport and headed outside with the kids to build a fort while it was still snowing.
 Christian was loving the fact that the fort was taller than him.
We actually didn't have that much snow. Only about 4 inches, so Ryan had to work really hard to make this happen.
Looking out the window.
 The next day the fort got even taller.
 The kids made "chairs" and "rooms" inside.
 Ryan actually loves a good snow and he was having just as much fun as the kids were.
 So happy!
 They were die hard and stayed out there in the freezing cold for hours.
 Christian has really become an outside boy. He's been outside almost every day this winter. It's the first thing he wants to do when he gets home from school. He doesn't care how cold it is, he goes out anyway and builds a fort or throws a ball around.
 Will went outside for the first time in the snow. He loved it, but didn't last long.
A view of our neighborhood. I love this picture. You can see our house off in the distance on the left.
I hope we get at least one more good snow this winter. Since it snowed on Christmas we were too busy with Christmas to do all of the "first snow of the year" activities I had planned. So we need at least one more snow!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Stinkin' Hilarious

I came across this picture and I CAN NOT STOP LAUGHING!!!!
We were at the doctor's office.
I was pregnant with McKenna.
Abby was in the room somewhere.
They both got shots.
It was a miserable experience for everyone.
It's hilarious now.
See...I lived through it.
Whatever madness your kids are creating'll live through it.
Believe it or not, I wish I could go back to that moment right now and love on those fussy boys.
I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Blast from the Past

 One of Ryan's college buddies stopped by for a visit after Christmas. 
The last time was saw Sam was at our wedding 10 years ago.
We were so happy to meet Sam's sweet wife, Mary Beth and McKenna was thrilled that they brought along a little friend for her to play with. Reagan walked in the door holding her new American Girl doll that she had gotten for Christmas and from that moment on these two girls were inseparable!
We were so blessed to be able to visit with the Price family!

The Rest of Christmas Day

I know, I know this is getting slightly ridiculous that I still haven't finished blogging about Christmas. This is officially the last post about Christmas 2012!!
I still can't believe we had a white Christmas!
Ryan drove around on the four wheeler and pulled Christian all over the yard.
Such a fun way to spend Christmas afternoon.
On Christmas night we headed over to my parent's house for dinner and more presents.
My mom gave each of the kids a recordable book.
Will really loves his and listens to it all the time.
At this point in the day Will was all about the presents. He would just pick up a present and open it. Christian & McKenna were a little distraught about this. We had to keep a close eye on that little boy.
See? Here he is opening my present for me :)
He loves books and especially loves having PopPop read to him.
Did you know that Kmart has a line of clothes for girls and their dolls?? Way cheaper than buying them from the American girl catalog!
Here's one of McKenna & McKenna's matching outfits!
PopPop got new boots for Christmas, so McKenna decided to try them out.

And that's all the pictures I took. I wish I had taken more, but I guess by that point I was getting a little sleepy. It was a lovely evening and a beautiful holiday in general. I was just so thankful that everyone was healthy. We've been on a good health streak around here. McKenna would tell you it's because "a banana a day keeps the dr away." She doesn't like apples. ha!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Through the years

2010                 -                 2011                -                2012
 McKenna has worn the same Christmas pjs for three years now. I wonder if she'll fit in them next year.
2010               -               2012
 Christian has worn the same pjs for two years too. You might notice that we're missing pictures from 2011. That's because everyone was throwing up that morning. I'm quite thankful we didn't repeat that this year.
2010                                                                                                2012
Coming downstairs on Christmas morning. McKenna has changed so much.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Highlights

It was a year of ...
answered prayer,
amazing miracles,
great heartache,
many changes,
sleepless nights,
family, friends,
and a faithful God who showed himself strong on our behalf.
1 Corinthians 13:13
 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

One Hour at McDonalds

Happy New Year!

This is my last morning with all my little people home with me, so in an effort to do something special I took them to McDonalds for breakfast. We actually went inside which is a very big deal for us. We only do that about twice a year, I hate going in fast food places (Chick-fil-a is always an exception).

We were in McDonalds for a little over an hour and I walked away feeling so entirely blessed.

McKenna was pushing Will around in the stroller while I was waiting for our food and an 84 year old lady walked up to her and gave her a dollar for being a good big sister. McKenna was so stunned. I had a hard time letting her take it because there is no doubt in my mind that this lady lived on a very limited income, but in that split second I decided that I needed to let this lady be a blessing.

A few minutes later when we were all sitting eating our food the same lady came over and gave each of my kids a dollar. I'm certain that she didn't remember that she had already given McKenna a dollar. Once again, it was an uncomfortable moment for me as I tried to give the money back to her. She wouldn't take it and I realized that she really was just trying to start a conversation. She was lonely and I guess passing out money gave her a reason to talk to people. So we talked. She lives alone, comes to McDonalds all the time I have a feeling just to be with people. Will smiled at her and talked to her and played peek-a-boo with her. I think it made her day.

When she left I told my kids that they weren't going to get to keep that money that we were going to come up with a plan to figure out how we could secretly pass on the blessing. In keeping it real...they had a fit. They wanted to buy something for themselves. It's an hour later and they're still trying to convince me that they should keep them money for themselves. I'm going to stick to my guns on this one and I'm going to think hard about how to make giving this money away a much better experience for them than keeping it.

Well, while I was talking to my kids about being a blessing to others two other older ladies were sitting across from us and one of them said to me "You know Jesus, don't you." I told her "yes" that we love the Lord and this one lady proceeded to tell me about her time on the mission field in Haiti and how she wishes she could still go, but now she just helps prepare teams to go. Oh. my. word... You all know I have such a burden for the country of Haiti. I sat right down next to her and talked for 45 minutes. She shared about how her husband (who is with the Lord now) was electrocuted when they were first married and he became a double amputee. And she said "I got to be his hands for the rest of his life." She said it in a way that showed me that she felt honored to serve her husband in that way. She didn't say "I HAD to be his hands." She said "I GOT to be his hands." We talked about missions and Sunday School and parenting and marriage.

While I was talking to these ladies, another mom with her two daughters walked up to us and said "I couldn't help but overhear what you were talking about. Where do you go to church?"

All of this just showed me that when you slow down and stop being in such a hurry God can bless you and use you to bless others in the most unexpected way. Three of the ladies I talked to this morning were over the age of 80 and I hope that's a lesson to all of us that God is never done using us to minister to other people even it's when we're retired and drinking coffee in McDonalds.

I still have one kid who is ticked off about the dollar. It's disappointing, but not really a surprise. I'm going to keep pursuing his heart for Jesus in 2013. Man is it hard work!

I'm not sure how you're feeling about 2013. Are you ready for a fresh start? Are things just tough for you right now? I heard this song this morning and it blessed me! It you need some encouragement, take a listen...