Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Adventures in a Mini Van

We've done a lot of driving during the past 5 months.  It truly has been a sweet time between Marvin and me.  It's given us lots of opportunities to just talk as we've driven a lot while the boys have been sleeping.  

We've also soaked in much of the Kansas landscape that we miss.  I know so many people who go on and on about how boring our home state is, but it holds a special place in our hearts and nothing can beat a Kansas Sunset and we've seen plenty of them.  We love that Big Sky.

On our way back from the respite retreat.  We stopped in Metropolis and found the biggest Superman statue I've ever seen.

We also had a little fun.  We knew the boys would have loved it.

We stopped in to see the St. Louis arch.  It was my first time seeing it.

We've made some good memories through the miles we've driven this year.

oh my sweetness

So thankful for this sweet gift this Christmas season.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Continuing to Heal

I’ve wanted to write a little about what the Lord has been doing in healing my heart recently, but I’ve struggled to put to words with what has been taking place.  

I remember last fall about this time of year.  I was walking home after taking Calvin to preschool.  It was a very foggy morning.  (Where we live in Central Asia fall is pretty foggy, cold and often dreary the closer to winter you get.).

I remember thinking that maybe this grief thing was a lot like the weather that was currently surrounding me.  That there are seasons in life where the fog is so thick you can barely see in front of you, but it always lifts.  

As my mind went deeper into this analogy, I thought of the beautiful hoar frost that comes with the fog and what a stunning sight it is to see once the fog has lifted and the sun comes out and all those branches and plants glisten.  I am always amazed at how of something so dreary comes something so beautiful, much like grief.  That day I was hopeful that the fog would lift and the dark and dreary days of winter would pass one day.  I had hope for spring time and summer it was a little comfort to my heart to know that things wouldn’t stay that hard forever. 

It’s crazy how another little life can bring healing and also stir up grief simultaneously.  There is something so sweet about new life and we’ve been drinking it up.  The fussy moments, late nights are not as bad, losing a child sort of puts things into perspective.

Yet sometimes when I’m experiencing such joy, tears well up in my eyes as I grieve never being able to drink in these type of moments with Seth.  They catch me off guard most times.  Mid diaper change, in the rocking chair, observing a squinting face that was just blasted with winter wind.  It reminds me of what we never experienced with Seth, yet at the same time I’m inexplictbly thankful that I am able to experience them with Judah.

I’m sure that over the years there will be more of these moments and I’ll continue to grieve the lost moments, yet I’m looking forward to eternity, it will far out shadow these momentary afflictions.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Trunk or Treat

Last minute (like the day before) I volunteered us to decorate our van for trunk or treat.  Marvin was less than thrilled.  (He thinks Halloween is completely weird.  And after we saw a grown man walking around with a napkin taped on his face with eye holes cut out, I can see his point.)

Anyway, our boys love dressing up.  Their current obession is Power Rangers, and I scored some power ranger costumes at a garage sale this fall that they have been living in, so the choice was a no brainer for them of what they wanted to dress up as this year.  Calvin’s the blue power ranger and Micah’s the green power ranger anytime they play.  This has translated into anything that is blue must be Calvin's and anything that is green is Micah’s, so green toys=Micah’s……blue toys=Calvin’s.

So in an effort to “dress up” our van we went with a camping theme.  We made ourselves a little fake fire and roasted some marshmallows while the trick-or-treater came by to get their candy out of our cooler.  It was truly the easiest and simplest set up and no dressing up involved, which thrilled Marvin.

The boys had a blast.  My parents came up and took them around and helped them play all the games, while we handed out candy.  Fun times for all, even Marvin enjoyed himself mainly because he had the opportunity to snuggle with the world's cutest bear all evening.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Brotherly Love

We were pleasantly surprised how interested Micah was in Judah after he was born.  He was quite smitten with his brother and took on the big brother role with seriousness.

He suddenly became his brother’s body guard.  Any time any child came close to him, he would quickly tell them that it was HIS baby brother.

Calvin’s so sweet to him and sings him all sorts of songs he makes up.  He’s pretty proud of him.

One unexpected things were the comments Calvin made after we brought him home.  One of the first things he said was, “I can’t believe it!  God let us keep him, that he didn’t make him die.”  Or while praying, “Thank you God for not letting this baby die.”  He was trying to make since of why Judah lived and Seth did not.  One day we said, “Oh Mom now I understand why Judah didn’t die, it’s because he didn’t have any of those things (pointed at the tubes in Seth’s picture) in him.”

Sometimes I hate that happy moments like a birth of a new baby, seem to get overshadowed with heavy topics, but I’m thankful that Calvin’s open and willing to talk about them freely.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Being Three {Micah}

Well Micah man turned three a while ago and I’m finally getting around to letting my fingers capture him with words.

He’s such a hoot.  Completely squeezable, and loves any sort of wrestling and bear hugs.  I figured out early last year that if we just had our morning wrestling time before we headed out the door our day went a thousand times better.

Micah finally started talking more once we landed in the states.  He’s working with a speech pathologist on his articulation, and she’s been such a gift and Micah loves his time with Miss. Kara.

He’s a pro at all things active. No boulder stops him and if he’s determined enough he’ll find a way to get it.  The last time we were at Marvin’s parents’ house his mom was looking for the step stool everywhere.  Finally I peeked into the living room and it was laying on the floor.  Apparently Micah drug to the living room to reach some toys on a shelf that he was wanting.

His curiosity often runs the best of him and he’s not shy at getting what he wants before he asks.  There have been many mornings when he’s helped himself to lots of sweets, which is why we either keep them out of the house or out of sight and reach.

We’re working on letters and numbers with him, but so far he just jumbles them all up but he's not shy to spell things for you.  He’s got his colors and shapes down for the most part.  His favorite is green and the boy loves triangles.

He’s still has the best pout in the world and makes it clear when he’s happy about something and when he is not.

He’s really been loving animals while we’ve been back and loves, loves, loves cats and dogs.  I’m slightly afraid of his newfound passion once we return to Central Asia.

Favorite shows: Jake and the Neverland Pirates or Rescue Bots.

Favorite foods:  Cheese, peanut butter, raisin bran, noodles, mac and cheese, fruit, and tortillas

Favorite thing to play:  Power rangers

Favorite Color:  Green

Favorite book:  any Richard Scary book and Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb!

Favorite animal:  According to him a goose, but monkeys are also dear to his heart.

What he wants to be when he grows up:  Firefighter (like Heatwave, on Rescue Bots)

I can't wait to see what this next year of his life will entail.  We're praying that the Lord continues to mold him into a leader who seeks God's heart.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

EMAW {teaching them early}

My brother treated Marvin and Calvin to a K-State game this fall.

It was something that we had been talking about since we were overseas and Calvin was excited.  Honestly he was most excited about the purple popcorn, but we were happy that he’d get to experience a real football game in a stadium we love.

The highlight of the day was meeting Willy the Wildcat and getting his autograph and of course the purple popcorn made the day extra special.

Thank you Aaron for the fun memories and thank you Judah for delaying your birth so these boys could build these memories.

Monday, December 09, 2013

the Pumpkin Patch

Every year I see all these fun fall pictures on facebook and blogs, and I’ll be honest I’m a little sad that I can’t take my kids to the pumpkin patch and do all those fun things with them.  So this year was the year.  There is a little pumpkin patch near my parents’ house, so my parents and I took the boys. It was perfect amount of entertainment for our boys ages and they had so much fun.

These bales were a big hit.  

I didn’t think we would ever lure them off of them.  

Especially since Calvin made a couple of friends.  But hungry tummies needed snacks, so we seized our opportunity, bought some pumpkin bread and took a hay rack ride.

We shot some pumpkins.

Then we picked out our pumpkin in a real field.  

I’m so glad we had the opportunity to go to the Pumpkin patch this year.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Itty Bitty Goodness

This little man’s squeaks, snuggles, yawns, and squirms have been so sweet and are bringing healing our hearts in a way we didn’t know was possible.

This time around all those things are quite a bit more precious.  We’ve found ourselves holding our little Judah bug any chance we can.  Both Marvin and are soaking up this tender season of Judah being so tiny.

Here are a few of tiny Judah in the hospital.

It’s crazy how quickly these little ones grow.  He’s chunked up a bit and was 10# 11 oz. and 23 inches long at his one month appointment.  He’s grown 4 inches since birth!!!  Amazing.  He’s growing too fast, but we sure do love him to pieces.

So far he’s been our easiest baby.  He’s sleeping like a champ and is one of those babies I secretly hated when Calvin and Micah were small.  He loves being wrapped up snug as a bug, i.e. swaddled, and loves being bounced if he's fussy.  He doesn’t care to be held over your shoulder but rather loves to look around at the world before him.  His eyes are still a gorgeous blue, and we started to see more of them around one month and his awake periods have grown each week.

What a gift these days have been.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Spy Kids

Calvin loves all things spy and it’s what he plays 75% of the day.  He has quite the imagination so he comes up with some good story lines.  I should write some of it down someday.  I usually just smile at all the creativity he has.  Choosing a party idea was tough this year, he wouldn’t settle on anything and then the things he wanted he literally knew nothing about.  So when I saw some magnifying glasses and a compass in the party section of the store I suggested a spy party, and once I found a cake that looked like a bomb he was hooked.

Micah is very into planes.  He loves them and we live near the airport, so we see them every day and he’s very excited every plane he sees. So his cake was a bit easier to choose and was easy to tie together to the spy theme.  Plus it had to be something that didn't require food dyes.

We sent out invitations, and started getting things planned.  Judah delayed his arrival so I was able to plan it and get started before he arrived.

So when our agents arrived for spy training school, they were fingerprinted and choose a spy name.  My favorite of the day was Micah’s spy name “Green Power Ranger Dinosaur”.  He actually participated much more than I thought he would.

All the agents had to find their shoe and make a shoe rubbing, then we put them on the wall and played Whose Shoe?

All the kids created a bad guy and then we had target practice with the nerf guns.  Each of the bad guys had points assigned to them so we knew who our best shooter was.

We learned a few important spy skills.  How to create a cipher code and how to write secret messages and how to decode them.

We skipped a few planned games because of the excitement over the laser beam course.
Agent Red Fox was our fastest agent, but our littlest agents were hanging in there with the big kids.

After they finished the obstacle course they received an important message:
"There is an emergency that requires your help secret agents.  A bomb has been discovered, but we need your help to find it.  You first must travel to London by plane.  Make sure you get plenty to eat before you arrive."

And were given their plane tickets.

They boarded the plane, had some entertainment and were served an inflight meal.  We had a pancake bar.

When they were finished, they were given the following message:
"Welcome to London agents.  Thank you for coming.  The evil Doctor Freeze has placed a bomb and is threatening to end Calvin's birthday party.  It's up to you agents to find and defuse the bomb.  Doctor Freeze left a few clues for you.  Hopefully your training has helped prepare you for this mission."

They went hunting for clues to find the bomb.  Some they had to use their decoders, others required decoding using a cipher, etc.

They found it pretty quickly and were very excited about the bomb.

This little lady was responsible for destroying the bomb.  Great job Agent Sneaky Eagle.

Then we enjoyed some cake and ice cream.

Next it was time to give our spies their official spy gear for completing spy school.
I found the cutest stuff and took advantage of being in a zip code where Amazon will deliver!!
Passport notebook, disguise glasses, secret message pen, magnifying glass, compass, and finger flashlights.

We opened presents then unleashed the spy kids to play.

What a fun day.  So thankful to have our family and sweet friends at this year’s party.