Monday, February 25, 2013

Sweet Siblings

Can I just say that I love how much they love each other?

Blessed indeed. 

Life With A Little Girl

Raising a little girl is....wonderful, precious, sweet, and well, just different from raising boys!  There are unique things about raising girls that seem so complex.  There are little intricacies of being a godly woman that seem so impossible to describe or even begin to teach.  Perhaps a great deal of the difficulty comes in at the fact that I do not see myself as a strong, godly woman.  I have not "arrived."  I am still learning.  God is still sanctifying me!  How can I somehow pass along what needs to be known to my daughter?  How do I teach her what she needs to know and protect her from making mistakes I've made (and make)?  Our culture screams against teaching girls to be what the Bible calls them to be.  Submission is almost a dirty word in the world.  There are so many things little Grace has yet to learn.  How to be meek and submissive, yet strong and have an independent mind.  How to be feminine and live a life of servanthood, yet not be a doormat.  How to live a life without fear, yet hunger for and cling to the love and protection a godly man will offer her.  How to know how to provide for and take care of a home, yet trust peacefully in the ability of her husband to do the providing.  It is a tall order and one I can only fathom facing with God at my side and long moments of prayer.  God teach me, that I might teach her!

On a funnier note, one thing I have learned about raising little girls is that things can be....well....a bit MESSY in the morning.

Wow!  That is some serious bed head!  Beautification in the morning is not a ritual reserved only for big girls.  No, it starts just as soon as the little girl grows enough hair to create a rather monstrous bird's nest during sleeping!  I think curly hair (which Gracie has) just compounds the whole bed head issue.  Taming something like this takes time!  A little girl's ability to be still and have an attention span starts at a tender age as they are put through the rigors of hair styling (and if their mommy lacks skills and is still learning, as I am, takes even longer!).  I can say, it is a wonderful blessing God graces GIRLS with hair that requires styling and NOT little boys.  No way my boys could 1.) stand still that long or 2.) tolerate the tugging, pulling, pinching sensations of having your hair styled by someone who does not know what they are doing and is using itty bitty teeny weeny elastics that are about the size of my toddler's finger tip!  I should also note that sadly, the little girl's beautification process is not a once and done occurrence either.  No, hair is re-styled morning and post nap at minimum with a good chance of additional styling throughout the day, depending on the stability of the style and how well mommy successfully wrapped those minuscule elastics around the hair.  I have no idea how people survived without Pinterest or Google (that may explain a lot about why my hair looked rather similar to the picture above on a daily basis, even after styling, when I was a little girl).  My poor mother had a time trying to pin down my massively curly fly away hair when I was this age.  Holy frizz!  However, enter Pinterest and Google, and I am saved by the help of others...who, get this, actually KNOW what they are doing!  We've experimented some and found some styles that seem to survive even the nastiest of naps or wallow on the floor kind of days.  They do, however, produce even cooler bed head in the morning, if that is even possible!  We are learning, albeit slowly, but we are learning to tame the locks of Gracie!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy Day, Gracie!

Dear Gracie Beth,
It is with great excitement I write this letter to you on your 2nd birthday!  I am so excited to see your little life unfold and discover all God has planned for you.  What a gift it is to be your mommy!  On your birthday I'd like to tell you a few things that I adore about you right now:

1.) I love that life is a song for you.  You are always singing...either praises to God or the ABC's.  I love your little voice lifting up to God, "holy, holy, holy!"

2.) I love your eagerness to learn to pray and the innocence of your prayers, asking God to help you obey and have a happy heart.

3.) I love the little homemaker you desire to be!  You are so helpful!  Always finding a rag and rubbing this or that (or me...I guess sometimes I need a little cleaning, too!), helping with the laundry, keeping me company while I cook, and just showing a deep interest and desire to learn about all things home related.

4.) I love your PASSION for books and reading!  I think you know some of the stories better than I do!

5.) I love that you can keep up with the boys, yet you are very careful to discern between girl toys and boy toys (and are quick to tell the boys about it!).

6.) I love to watch you with your sweet little doll and stroller.  What a precious mommy you will be one day.

7.) I love your tenderness.  You are always the first to come hug or "rub up" a boo boo if anyone sheds a tear.  You sweetly pat and tell them it will be okay.

8.) I adore your curly hair!  I have no clue what to do with it, but it is sure CUTE!

9.) I love how you already care about clothes and show a strong interest in what is in your closet and what you will wear for the day.  You certainly did NOT get that from me!

10.) I love YOU and all the neat, precious, sweet ways God designed you!

You are my itty bitty, enthusiastic, picky eater, tender, reader, singer, snuggler, dee dee lovin' , thumb suckin' little Grace and boy am I glad God saw fit to place you in our family!  All that time I spent hoping for boys (because frankly, I wasn't sure I'd know what to do with a girl), and God had you in store for us.  I am so glad HIS plans are mightier than mine because I don't know what I'd do without your sweet feminine joy you bring to us!

I wish you the happiest of birthdays from the bottom of my mommy heart,

Remembering you with joy...

Happy Day, Joshua!

Dear Courageous Joshua,
Happy 2nd Birthday, Joshua!  I am so thankful for you and all that you add to our little family of five!  I thought I'd tell you some things I love about you, just like we enjoy reading in the Pookie books by Sandra Boyton!

1.) I love you because of your total abandon to enjoy life.  There is joy in a dandelion, excitement in the breeze, and wonder over the clouds.

2.) I love you because of how you love others.  You must hug others.  I lose track in a day the number of times you randomly stop whatever you are doing to run to someone saying, "Hug!  Hug!  Hug!"  You LOVE to hug!  And I love hugging you!

3.) I love your expressive little face.  You can't get away with much because you face tells the story long before you could.

4.) I love the way you adore and cherish your big "Bubby" and follow him everywhere.  You do exactly as he does and say exactly as he says.

5.) I love the way you jump, jump, jump!  You are free and full of joy!

6.) I love that you want someone with you all the time and will holler for Grace to "c'mere" till she comes!

7.) I love to see your boundless energy as you boing, boing, boing in your bed before you go to sleep at night.

8.) I love your passion for books, trucks, trains, airplanes, and well....all things BOY.

9.) I love your hunger for FOOD.  All kinds of food!  This is a boy who is driven by his stomach!

10.) I love YOU and all God has made you to be.

Oh how I long as your Mommy to see you come to know the Lord at an early age and courageously and boldly proclaim Him to all those around you!  I adore you, my little affectionate, passionate, courageous, ambitious, crazy, wild, silly, happy, joyful, wonderful Joshua!  God knew we needed you in our lives and I'm so glad he gave you to us.  What a BLESSING you are.

Happiest of birthdays, my sweet middle son!

With all the love in Mommy's heart,

A little walk down memory lane...

Two Years

I've been feeling awfully nostalgic the last few days as I think about Joshua and Grace turning two; almost to the point of tears.  At the time they were born I knew they were a miracle, but I guess in the ebb and flow of life you kind of lose sight of just how great the magnitude is.  It seems the further away from their birth I get, the more I realize just how deeply blessed our family is to have them.  We overcame so much and looking back now, I see such a mighty presence of our Savior through all of it.  Again, I knew then that God was with us, He had to be, there was no way I could accomplish this on my own strength, but I see and feel to the very depth of my being how mighty His presence was during that time.

The odds were stacked against us and I think at the time (thankfully) I was really too naive to really understand.  The day we had our first ultrasound and saw two sweet little hearts beating away my doctor came in and made no joking matter over the fact that she felt a bit nauseous just trying to fathom how my little body would carry two babies to term.  She told me from day one I ought to be prepared to spend a good bit of time in the hospital, to prepare to experience the NICU, and to prepare for a lengthy bout of bedrest.  I heard her words, but I guess I just didn't let them settle deep down inside me, like I hear them now.  She was preparing me for things to go wrong.  Horribly wrong.

Yet through the prayers of so many amazing blessed prayer warriors, things didn't go horribly wrong.  Sure, we had a hiccup along the way, but what I experienced was a far cry from what so many go through when they give birth to twins.  We know so many people, some directly and some indirectly, who have had significant losses and pain in the process of bringing twins into this world.  One sweet family gave birth to their twins far too early and only one child survived.  Another family had their twins too soon and spent two months in the NICU.  A precious friend had one twin die in the womb, only to have to go on to carry both babies to term and give birth to one living and one stillborn.  Oh, our story could have been so different.  So very different.

God blessed us.  That is the only way this happened.  He blessed us with miracles!  Yes, I went into pre-term labor and spent 8 weeks on bedrest, but I did it from the comfort of my home with my family surrounding me to cheer me on.  I spent just one night in the hospital.  Just one.  The next time I entered the hospital after that was to give birth at 37 weeks, right on the dot for full term twin babies.  Yes, I suffered tremendous blood loss and tried to bleed to death on the operating table.  Yes, I had to have blood transfusions to recover.  Yes, I had massive muscle to regain after 8 weeks on bedrest.  Yes, I didn't get to be awake when my babies were born and missed out basically on their first 24 hours of life.  Yes, I had troubles, but God got me through.  God got us through.  Our babies never went to the fact, they were ready to leave the hospital sooner than I was! I am so thankful God blessed us in this way.  That He saw fit to trust us with sweet Joshua and Grace.  What a journey it has been, these last two years, but I would never change any of it.  I am so thankful and so blessed to count myself among the few blessed twin mommies.  What a sweet, precious, amazing gift the Lord gave us in them.  Thank you Lord, for your amazing and wonderful gift.

Cake Time!

It is that time of year!  The time of year to plan yummy cakes, delicious icing, and creative decorations!  I love this time of year.  There is just something so special about planning for your child's birthday.  What a gift they are to us and how wonderful it is to have a day to make special and celebrate the joy they bring to you!

This year I will admit I struggled a good bit with inspiration for the big birthday cakes.  Having an older child now, I so enjoy his input and ideas...he generally picks what he wants.  With two little ones, you are left to do all the choosing and I guess choosing two all at once can be a bit overwhelming (especially if you are the one who has to decorate them!).  Finally inspiration came late in the week last week and I was able to come up with an idea that seemed to suit my very limited (and lacking) cake decorating skills.  This simply involved tracing a picture with icing and I really thought I could do that if I put my mind to it!

It took a full weekend to accomplish it...doing the designs and freezing them one day and then baking the cakes and finishing them off on another, but overall I am happy with the results!  My kitchen is totally trashed....but the cakes sure are cute!