Morning cuddle session.

This morning Kam woke up a little earlier than normal. Looks like we’re going to have to cut her drinking off earlier in the night because she keeps waking up in a puddle. In the middle of my hardcore (ha) “abs & waistline” pilates workout this morning, I heard little footsteps pouncing down the hall and Ryan starting the shower. I knew right away what happened. I’ll be washing sheets again today. And I foresee a replacement mattress in the very near future.

After Daddy finished showering her, he had to take off to work. With a kiss and hug, he was off and Kam and I were left in a quiet, dark house. Addi still sleeping – thankfully I have at least one girl who likes to sleep in! I snuck into their room to get Kam’s robe. I lotioned her up, wrapped her robe around her, snuggled her up into my arms and we went out to the living room to watch some cartoons.

I could have gotten another cup of coffee. I could have grabbed my computer to check Facebook. I could have continued reading where I left off in my book. I could have finished my pilates workout. I could have done the dishes. But instead I chose to just sit. Sit and cuddle with a fresh, clean, sweet three year old girl. And it was wonderful.

It’s times like these that remind me of what a precious gift I have in my children. Little blessings that God has entrusted us with. When we aren’t rushing around trying to get somewhere on time. When we aren’t having to get on to them for not sharing. When we aren’t having to bribe them to eat their veggies. When I’m not on a work call and they are screaming in the other room. No. It’s these sweet, quiet moments in between all the chaos that warm my heart and remind me how awesome it is to be a mommy. All the craziness pales in comparison to this. Every bit of the chaos is worth it for a morning of cuddling.

My little shadow.

Lately, whenever I’m working on my computer, I have a shadow. It’s the strangest thing. A tiny adorable shadow, normally wearing a princess costume. Does this ever happen to you?

Here’s what the shadow looks like…

If I sit down to work on my computer, Kamryn will say, “let me go get my computer.” Then, she will proceed to come sit next to me and “work too.” In fact, as I type this very blog post, she is right next to me with her computer punching away at the buttons. It’s quite adorable I must say. Sometimes distracting, especially since her computer is extremely loud shouting things like, “Push a letter button!” to which Kamryn always responds (loudly), “OK!” Or, “What’s your favorite game?” to which she responds, “Chutes & Ladders!” It’s a bossy & nosey little computer if you ask me. But, it’s totally worth the distraction because it is SOOOOO cute. I love it. I love her. I love how she wants to be close to me.

Ryan took this pic and sent it to me this past weekend. When I saw it, I was reminded of something we’ve been talking about in our community group. We’ve been doing a parenting study called Effective Parenting in a Defective World. Chip Ingram, the author, has been giving us principles for positive parenting. In the first week, he said, “Positive parenting demands we practice what we preach.” In other words…BE WHO YOU WANT YOUR KIDS TO BE. Wow, that is scary, humbling, and challenging all in one. He also says that the best thing you can give your kids is who you are. Awesome, really good stuff.

Kamryn, at three, is imitating me in small ways – like working on a computer. She will also start imitating me in other ways, especially as she continues to grow and learn. Makes me really take things into consideration more, like: the words I say, the way I respond, how I act toward others, how I treat Ryan, etc. If I truly want to be who I want my kids to be, it shakes up my whole day.

Do I want them to read the Word daily? Then I need to.

Do I want them to respond with love and kindness to others? Then I need to.

Do I want them to be involved in a local church? Then I need to.

Do I want them to love and date their spouse? Then I need to.

Do I want them to care for their body by eating healthy & working out? Then I need to.

Do I want them to be good citizens in the community? Then I need to.

Do I want them to love their neighbors? Then I need to.

Do I want them to worship God with all that they are? Then I need to.

Do I want them to be real? Then I need to.

You get the picture. This principle helps keep you in check and whips you into shape as a parent! Parenting is such a huge role. It’s quite the responsibility caring for and raising these little creatures that look like us. It’s also an amazing opportunity to grow and press into Christ as well. Obviously, Ryan & I will mess up and clearly we can never be perfect. But, the good news is – we don’t have to be. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being real. God has given us Addi and Kamryn. So, He will also give us what we need to accomplish this parenting adventure. And our prayer is that we can truly be who we want them to be.

“A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” – Luke 6:40

Speaking their language.

I’ve always heard about “love languages” when it comes to your spouse…how to love him the way he desires to be loved. You’ve probably heard of the book by Gary Chapman, The 5 Love Languages. Such a great book and very eye opening! If you’ve never read it or looked into this concept, you should. In fact, there is a quick quiz that you can take to discover what your love language is, if you aren’t really sure. Knowing these things about yourself and your spouse is so incredibly helpful and will really benefit your marriage! Anyways, it wasn’t until recently that Ryan & I thought about the fact that our children each have their own love language already too! We are all wired differently and different things make us tick. Our kids are no exception! In fact, tonight I just noticed online that Gary Chapman also wrote a book called The Five Love Languages of Children.

Ryan and I have talked about this a lot recently…it really is so interesting to me. Once you realize the language that speaks directly to the heart of someone you love, so many things make more sense! Communicating and expressing your love becomes easier.

Here’s what we have figured out about each of our kids…

Addi’s top love language is words of affirmation, followed closely with quality time. No doubt in our minds. When you praise her about something, she just lights up. Telling her how great the picture is that she just colored, talking about how good she’s doing in school, how proud you are of her, and the nice way she treated her friends, etc. These things make her smile bigger than any other time. She also tells us how much she loves us all the time. “Mommy, I love you.” Words, of course, that always melt my heart. It’s very apparent that she also enjoys quality time. One on one time. Tonight, before I put them to bed I was thinking about all of this and so I asked her, “Addi would you rather me tell you I love you or give you a hug to show you my love?” And she responded knowingly without any hesitation, “I’d rather you take me to the park!” Hahaha…she’s a smart one. But she’s right, she does like for you to spend time with her doing activities, puzzles, games, coloring, cooking, playing, etc. You can tell it makes her feel special when you schedule time for just her. Although she may not want to sit in your lap or even close to you, she wants you to be in the same room. She likes the closeness and security of that.

Kam’s main love language is most definitely physical touch. She is our cuddle bug and has been since birth. Always wants to sit in one of our laps, be held, give big bear hugs, kisses (or smackers as we call them), dance, hold hands, etc. When we put her to bed at night, she will gently rub my face with her hand. She loves to comb Daddy’s hair or massage his back, which he loves and never turns down the offer. She still likes to be rocked. When we drop her off at school or in her class at church, she always has to kiss the top of our hands before we can leave. She also has used the same blanket since she was an infant…it’s actually her crib bedding! She carries it around everywhere and can’t go to sleep without holding it close. Every morning, she walks up the hall carrying her blanky and comes to climb in my lap for a while before we do breakfast. So stinkin sweet. Whenever I’m feeling down or having a tough day, I can always count on these sweet tender moments with her as we cuddle. I adore this about her!

I love our precious daughters and their sweet little hearts. I love how different they are. I love how they love. Our prayer as parents is that we can always speak their language so they understand, and never doubt, that Mommy & Daddy love them unconditionally!

I will follow you.

The girls love listening to music when we ride in the car. They mostly prefer Mickey Mouse, but we’ve been trying (for our own sanity) to introduce them to some other artists other than animated ones, no offense Mickey. Over the Christmas holidays, we got the new Chris Tomlin CD and have been listening to that a lot this past week. I think its very good by the way, if you haven’t bought it – you should! Addi picks up words to songs so quickly and after several times of listening to the songs on this CD, she knows most of the lyrics. Its pretty incredible really. Of course, I think the child is a genius, but I am a little bias. There is just something so sweet about hearing your children sing worship songs. Especially when they have thrown many fits, aggravated their sister a lot, and refused to eat their dinner that day. When their sweet voices lift up words to the Lord, it melts your heart & makes all of the frustration fade away. It reminds me that these children really belong to God. I just am blessed enough to care for them, teach them, lead them, love them and be called “Mommy.”

Today, on the way home after spending some time at Grandma’s, this song came on & Add sang right along with Chris…

As she sang, all I could think about was the fact that she would be starting Kindergarden this Fall and how THIS was my prayer for her. That she would choose to follow Him. I’m not gonna lie, I get so nervous when I drive by the big, huge building they call “elementary school” – its overwhelming to this momma to think that my baby girl will be there in a few short months! I’ve talked to several friends lately about this very subject. I have some friends that choose private school, some that are considering home schooling, and others that choose public. Its interesting to hear people’s stories and reasons for making the choice they made. I honestly believe that God presses upon parents’ hearts what is best for their particular child – He gives us the knowledge we need to do what’s right for them. We just have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit guiding us in our decisions.

Even though it scares me to death to think of my child entering into this new phase of life come this Fall, I have to trust and have faith. Knowing that God will be there with Addi and that He loves her even more than I do, helps ease my fears and nervousness tremendously. Our prayer for both of our little girls is that they will always choose to follow Him in every area of their life! Not only that, but that Ryan & I can be that kind of example for them.

The Last 2 Weeks.

My 2 week Christmas break is officially over and man has it been great. Not due to any fabulous vacation or life changing events but just because. The time I’ve had to just chill and read and tickle and love have been fantastic. I look forward to this time of year and huge benefit to working in education since last years break. It always seems to go so fast. Fortunately I still have the weekend before Monday’s return to the workforce.

The first week flew by with mostly loafing. I really can’t remember anything significant about the week other than some great loafing. Then a trip to Georgetown for Christmas with my bro-in-law and his kind family last Thursday thru Sunday. The girls had a blast spending time with their cousin Kendrick and are still enjoying the fruits of giving friends and family. Christmas was great as usual minus the giant vacant spot at this years festivities. Makes me feel more mortal and family like.

This week has been different than the previous. My miles have picked back up and soreness has returned to my legs. Reading has taken a huge emphasis this week. I am about to finish a book that I started last Friday. More on this in future posts. We have cleaned house and rearranged. Early Spring cleaning? I have had a list of self declared projects that I have been wanting to accomplish during this year’s break. On the list were: leaves, oil change, replace bathroom cabinet door hinges and replace garage security light. Of these, all of them were accomplished. I’ve been working on the vast and overwhelming leaf removal project for about 2 months now. My West Texas friends have no idea what this even means. Man it feels great scratching even the littlest tasks off a to-do list. Makes me feel more handy and man like.

Most of all though, the time with my little family has been priceless. It really is amazing how the consecutive days with this much interaction with them makes me want to be around them even more. I am so blessed with this gift. Sure there are days when bed time cannot come any quicker but for the most part it was a great as my mom-in-law’s chocolate cake. The hugs and giggles are golden as I try to pause the moments in hope of somehow slowing down time. Time that’s quickly escaping like an opening handful of dry sand. A few nights this week at the close of our night time routine, Addi has asked with her eyebrows slightly raised in her face’s expression of excitement, “Daddy, is tomorrow another family day?” With much joy my answer has been a pause-less “YES!”. Questions of, “Can you tickle me?”, “Can we dance?” have been answered likewise. Moments like this make the whole break of great value. Makes me feel more fulfilled and daddy like.

It’s neat to see how they are developing physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. Traci and I are really working on leading our precious girls by example. Teaching as we go and acting how we are wanting our kids to act. Fortunately we are about to start a parenting series in our Grace Community group as we could use so much help on aisle 10. We have began implementing a small “for girls” devotional with a story, verses, application and some questions. Still yet to see if it’s doing much at this age but really it’s about establishing a good habit/routine. One thing I want to impress on my family this upcoming year is to be more philanthropic. More giving of time and resources. More on this in future posts. Really when life comes down to final weight of worth, that’s what it’s all about. Adding value to others. Extending the grace that’s been so freely given to me. Fulfilling purpose. Makes me feel more humble and servant like.

Addi & Kam Updates

Our two precious punkins are just developing, learning, and growing up so fast…it feels like if I blink too fast, they will be teenagers way  too soon!

Addi is four going on thirty. She talks non-stop. I mean like all the time. Seriously. She is so curious and is going through the “why?” phase. She needs explanation on just about everything. You can tell her brain is going 90 to nothing and she is soaking up so much right now. Quite the little thinker that one. She’s also very sweet and tender-hearted. She plays well with her friends, it’s neat to watch how considerate she is. Playing with her sister? Well, that’s a different story. Her & Kam fight pretty much every day several times a day. But that’s normal, right? Addi got her first “report card” at school last week and is doing very well…”proficient” in almost every category. Smarty pants! She’s almost half way through her year of preschool. I tear up just thinking about her going to that big, ginormous building of a place called Kindergarden next year! Don’t know if this momma is ready for all that.

Kamryn is not even 3 yet, which we often forget. She is just a little bit shorter than Addi, but already has surpassed her in shoe size. No doubt, she will be tall like her Daddy. She has quite the personality. Very funny and independent. And brave! When we go play at playgrounds, she heads straight to the tallest, largest slide! She likes to wear the same purple dress-up dress every day and always asks to dance with Daddy. Her favorite word is “because” and she tries to use it in every sentence she says. She is fully potty trained now…well, sort of. She still wears a pull-up at night and we are working hard at trying to eliminate that altogether. She loves chewing gum – it has become a good form of bribery for us. She is still very shy when she meets someone new and it takes a while for her to warm up to them.

It has been such a joy to be home with them and having more time with them. I am LOVING it. I thank God everyday for the blessing of my new job. I’ll leave you with a few pics from the last several weeks.

Fun fact for you: there are a total of 11,351 pics in my iPhoto library. WHOA NELLY FURTADO (as Addi would say)!

Blowing bubbles is one of their favorite things to do outside. Look how serious they are about it.
Any opportunity they have to dance, they dance. And will put on a highly entertaining show!
I love it when they are sweet to each other. But don't let them fool you, they are usually fighting!
New pajamas & slippers from Grandma.
They made me stop and take their pic...just so they could make silly faces! Kam creepily resembles Jack Nicholson.
Think these 2 belong to him?
I am blessed to be their mommy.
With friends, Emma & Hannah at the library. We try & go every Wednesday to Storytime.
We spend a lot of time at the trails. The girls are becoming quite the little runners!
Happy Fall everyone!

The scary horse puppet.

Last night at bedtime, we had our first experience with one of our kids being scared to tears and not wanting to go to bed. We’ve been asked about monsters before, but usually they take our word for it that monsters don’t exist, so its a quick conversation and no tears are involved. Well, last night was a different story.

Addi tells us that she doesn’t want to go to bed because of the horse that comes in her room. What? She went on to explain that the night before last, a horse came in her room and gave her a kiss. A kiss? Not a kiss! And she did NOT want the horse to come in again. Of course we tried to tell her that horses don’t come in houses, our doors our locked, he’s not real but if he were Daddy wouldn’t let him in, maybe she dreamed it, etc. She was highly upset and it delayed her bedtime about fifteen minutes. Might have been part of the plan? But regardless, I felt bad for her…my poor baby was scared!

We asked Kamryn, “Did you see a horsey?” hoping she would say no, to ease her sister’s mind. Well, her response was, “Yes! And a bear came too and said ‘ROAR’ to me and I hit him.” Oh my, what imaginations! Kamryn did try to comfort Addi by saying things like, “I like horses and sheep too.” and “If a horse comes in the door, Daddy will spank it.”

Finally after asking a series of questions to get to the root of her fear, we found out that there is a scene in one of our Baby Einstein videos (which they really don’t ever watch anymore, since they are older), where a puppet horse scares his friends by peeking his head through a door. A boo! She doesn’t like that part, says its not nice and apparently has made her scared to go to bed. In case you haven’t seen this horse, here he is. Pretty scary looking huh?

He better leave my baby alone & stop trying to give her smooches at night! Or else, Daddy will spank him.


It’s not about how I feel.

Ever have one of those days where you just aren’t in the best of moods and you let the whole day slip away being cranky? Um, I have. Guilty as charged. Maybe you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, your kids were extra whiney as you got them ready, your coffee got cold, your hair was frizzy, or whatever the case may be. I’ve been there many a day. Its hard to shake. Today was one of those days for me. I woke up and still felt tired. Life has been busy this week. I feel like I’ve only seen Ryan in passing and our calendar is filled to the brim. Something every single night and extremely busy days. So, I was just not really feeling up to…well, being happy today. So, I dropped the girls off at school and drove out to the lake, to check in on things at work. I’m driving along, content in my poutiness and I hear this song by Seven Places…

Um, hello? Wake up Traci!!! Stop having a pity party and get with the program. Duh. Its not about me. Why oh why do I continually have to remind myself of this? I thanked the Lord for this reminder and prayed for a better attitude the rest of the day. Got some work done and headed back to Tyler, threw on my running clothes and hit the trails for 5 miles before picking the girls back up. I needed the swift kick in the pants! Gosh, we humans can be so selfish at times. We are so blessed to have each and every day and to simply let it slip away because of silly things – what a waste! Each day is an opportunity, an adventure…God has something planned for today. Embrace it! After all, it’s not about how I feel – I exist for HIM.

Hugs.

As a mommy, there are certain things that tug your heart strings and make you smile from ear to ear. This is one of those things for me…when my girls hug each other out of the clear blue. Love, love, love this!

Fruity

Ryan has been working on painting the girls pictures for their room. I love them so much! A few weeks back, he added the fruits of the spirit – how neat is that? Here is a pic of what they are looking like thus far…I think he’s just about done.

Love

Joy

Peace

Patience

Kindness

Goodness

Faithfulness

Gentleness

Self-control

Fruits of the Spirit. I’ve been pondering on these words the last few days. Do I exhibit gentleness when someone cuts me off in traffic? Do I really have self-control? Do I show love to those around me? Even to those that don’t show it in return? Am I patient when my kids are throwing fits at Target?

Wow, I so want & desire to be/have all of these things. But alone, I just can’t. I’m a human, what can I say? But thankfully, because of the SPIRIT that resides within me, I can be kind when I want to yell. I can have joy, when my heart is breaking. I can have peace in times of turmoil. God is awesome like that. The older I get the more I realize how much I truly need the Lord. Daily. In every single area of my life. And the more I press into and focus on Him, the more fruit I will bear. More of Him, less of me.

I am thankful for the fruits of the Spirit and I want to be more fruity!

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters (Part 1)

So I’m reading a book. Like an actual book. You know, one of those paper thingys with tons of pages and 2 shiny covers and no pictures kind of books. It (“Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters” by Meg Meeker) is DISTURBINGLY FANTASTIC! Given to me as a suggested gift from my ma-in-law, I’ve taken the challenge to dive into the reality of my tiny tot girls growing up to become tweens, teens, college students and eventually wives and parents of their own tiny tots. Tons of useful insight. It has already changed my perspective on so many things that I haven’t even thought about previous to reading. Intake. Process. Implement. Proceed.

I am about half way through and just finished a chapter about the grueling reality of premarital sex and the associated physical and emotional consequences. I’m disturbed. Their humble sense of self worth is my responsibility and the reason I must continue. It’s never too early to: Intake. Process. Implement. Proceed.

my beautiful babies

Our trip to the zoo

This past Saturday, we went to the zoo w/my sweet cousins Christi & Staci & their families.  We had a great time, minus the heat!  Addi was a little timid at first & a little overwhelmed w/it all…but she did great.  She LOVED the petting zoo.  We walked up & there were goats…just goats.  She says, “moose!”  And I said, “No, baby those are goats.” So we go in and she pets them (gross by the way).  She has a blast and then we get ready to leave & she yells, “bye moose!”  She also enjoyed the bird room…she did try to grab a bird & it proceeded to fly into Christi’s face….which was hilarious.  Kam slept most of the time, but woke up towards the end.  She’s too young to care, but she seemed to have fun regardless.  After the zoo, we went out to eat at an old school mexican food place in the older part of Tyler…it was very tasty.  Fun day!  Here are some pics of our day….