Wednesday, December 16, 2009

two more chompers

Abigail's top two chompers poked through a couple of days ago. I was expecting her other bottom tooth to pop through, so the top two caught me by surprise:) The drool is still rolling out of her mouth, so she'll probably have 4 teeth before long!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Memories of Christmas times long past

My husband came home from Bible Study Monday night and made me an amaretto latte in my favorite Christmas cup, bought at a china shop in London many years ago. It's quite amazing how the simplest things can bring back floods of memories. I'm looking forward to time spent with family sitting around the fire reminiscing, enjoying new memories unfold of first Christmases and looking forward to many Christmases to come. Here are some of my most favorite Christmas memories off the top of my head:

1. My mom's cinnamon rolls and tea ring, enjoyed before we open gifts on Christmas morning.

2. Singing Christmas carols at a train station in Japan with our church, proclaiming our joy to the world.

3. Snow on Christmas Eve in Belgium. It was truly a gift from heaven, since we were often homesick and were more used to rain in the winter than snow flurries. And of course, the joy of watching our new puppy enjoy his first snowfall.

4. Enjoying the fondue tradition with my new family on Christmas Eve. My first fondue Christmas I ate the most I've ever eaten in my life! I felt terrible and yet so happy to be with my new husband and his family. I resolved to use more moderation for future Christmases, and I'm happy to announce that whilst pregnant last year, I exercised much restraint and was able to actually enjoy the Christmas Eve service:)

5. Driving to see Christmas lights with my Grandma and Grandpa Higgins and listening to the Bing Crosby Christmas classics on the radio. Grandpa always knew where to find the best lights in town.

6. And most of all -- reading the Christmas story with both families on Christmas Eve. What a blessing to hear tidings of great joy!

These are only a few of my favorite memories. I could blog for hours on memories of Christmases past, but my baby is asleep and there are things to do! Nevertheless, I am looking forward to seeing my Iowa grandparents in less than a week and my family shortly after.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

overdue Abigail update

It is 9am on Saturday morning, and Abigail and I are having some girl time before daddy wakes up this morning. We have had a busy 9 weeks, and we're all looking forward to some R&R over the holidays.

Abigail is now 10 1/2 months old, which is hard for me to believe, and has hit several new milestones in the last couple of weeks. I should come to expect that she usually hits her milestones a couple of weeks after her pediatrician tells me she should. This leaves me biting my nails for a couple of weeks, leaving me to trust the Lord.

Abigail is finally pushing herself up to a sitting position all by herself. She's been sitting well for a long time, and all the books said that babies learn to crawl when they fall forward on to their hands and knees. Not Abigail! She would go directly to her tummy and roll. She still isn't crawling, and I expect that she'll go right to walking. She has excellent balance and cruises all over the house, as long as she has something to lean against. She has perfected her roll, sit up and pull up technique, though she's still not pulling herself up on every piece of furniture.

Where does that leave me? Busy! She now needs constant vigilance and some extra consoling when she takes a tumble. She has had a few bumps and bruises in the last couple of weeks, but she's a resilient little girl.

Daddy is awake, so I'll leave you to go make breakfast. Happy Saturday to you all! Hopefully we'll get to see you soon:)

I got here all by myself!
If you look closely, you can see her bottom tooth!

Abigail is eating cheerios, puffs, potatoes, carrots and bananas (sometimes...these are a bit slimy and hard to pick up...). Thankfully, she also still lets me feed her pureed baby food to supplement her newfound feeding skills that still need some polishing.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

the sunrise from on high

"And you, child, will be called the
prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to
prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our
whereby the sunrise shall visit us
from on high
to give light to those who sit in
darkness and in the shadow of
to guide our feet into the way of
Luke 1:76-79
I have been living through a period of numbness the last couple of months, opening up my Bible day in and day out for a fresh word from the Lord. I trust that the Word is living and active and will pierce through this numbness, but sometimes the wait is long and my heart feels chilled in this waiting. And yet in this waiting, I am encouraged. At Bible Study this morning I sat and listened to Christ's second "I Am" statement from John 8 -- I am the light of the world, whoever comes to me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. So I will keep going to the Lord. I love the Luke and Matthew portions that speak of Christ's birth, and with new joy I read of "a sunrise from high." I am thankful for the wonder of this picture of Christ. My prayer for this season is that the sunrise will continue to guide my feet into a way of peace, that I may be a blessing to those around me. I am thankful that I am warmed in this waiting.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sharing, Thanksgiving and New Things...

Every night before bed, I pray specifically for Abigail's salvation and her character. I pray that she will be a godly woman, selfless and meek. Though she is young and a while yet away from exhibiting a godly heart, she is already learning to share. Unfortunately, Abigail shared her cold with her cousin Ellie, and both girls weren't their happy selves all week. Note, on Wednesday night Rodney and I took her for a drive to get her to fall asleep, something we had never done before...But it was a blessing to share the holidays with the Harms and Day families. I am truly thankful to have such a great family!

On Wednesday night, I discovered that Abigail's first tooth popped through. Finally! I think she's still working on some more teeth. It was special to share a first with more of her family. She turned 10 months over the holday weekend, and she continutes to enjoy cruising around the house.

Here are just a couple of my favorite pictures from the weekend. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

oh the weather outside is...

Well it's not quite "frightful", but the weather here in Houston has certainly not been warm the last couple of days! We even dropped into the mid forties (at night of course) several times this week. I was sitting with the other women in a church small group, and I was surprised to hear that everyone has turned on their heat for the year here in Houston. For the record, we're still keeping our master bedroom windows open, and the house drops to a chilly 71 at night. It is a chilly 71, though, and to keep Abigail from waking up in the middle of the night from a chill, we got out the fleece pajamas this week. Here are a few pictures of Abigail sporting her fleece pjs.

I celebrated Christmas in November a couple of days ago when I went through my winter clothes. I pulled out sweaters that I forgot I even had, since I didn't get to wear them last year (due to my baby bump). I've been back in my pre-pregnancy clothes now for a while, so it was fun to discover a whole "new" wardrobe. But my doctor was right, though I didn't believe him at the time. Even though the scale says one thing, my post-Abigail body isn't quite the same:) C'est la vie.

The Lord has been doing a lot in my heart over the past couple of months, and it's never a pain-free process. I'm learning that I have a lot to learn about grace, but more to come on that in the weeks to come...

Happy Thanksgiving!!! (Abigail's awake...gotta run)

Friday, November 13, 2009

So Big!

(a special Abigail update for the Grandmas and Grandpas)...

Abigail is starting to make some big leaps forward in her development, which is reassuring for me. She's never been ahead of the curve developmentally, so I get to wait patiently for these milestones. In the past few days, she just started pulling herself up to a stand, cruising in her crib, and taking baby steps while holding on to my hands. She is also scooting more on her butt, and still has her favored roll and twist technique to locomote around her crib and the house. She's still not crawling and still doesn't have any teeth:) We're also still working on getting from her tummy to a sitting position. Since she's not crawling and doesn't stay on her tummy for long periods, this will be a bit of a challenge:) She's not proficient at any of these milestones yet, and I still hear plenty of whining when I don't immediately jump up to help her. But she's making good progress.

Abigail also just started eating finger foods. As of today, she's still not a fun of anything squishy, and makes funny faces when I put bananas, fresh pears, bread and cheese on her tray. But she is a big fun of Gerber sweet potato puffs and cheerios. We'll just have to keep working on all of those new textures.

My hubby has now been home about 20 minutes, and is in bed for a morning nap, hoping to get rid of his sore throat. I pray that some extra rest will rejuvenate his travel weary body. Abigail isn't quite ready for her morning nap, but when she lays down, I think the whole Harms family will enjoy some shut eye.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Daddy's Girl

Wake up, Dad. We have the whole day to spend together!

the Jeep wave...(who knew there was such a thing?)

Alright, I'm going to have to try my photography skills again and capture "Scrambler" in the photo. But this was a first try...and Abigail was done taking pictures:)
Rodney is actually traveling again this week but will only be in OKC for a couple of days. He has had a very long four weeks, split between travel and late nights. We're all excited for some R&R over the holidays. We love and miss you and can't wait for you to come home to your girls!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

our little lady bug

Miss Abigail had a most excellent first Halloween. We all helped set up for our church's Fall Festival and then enjoyed a feast of coney dogs, cotton candy, and nachos:)Yum! Abigail was quite the cute little lady bug.
And then we got to enjoy a 4th quarter victory for the Hawkeyes, who are 9-0 this season. Rodney kept telling Abigail that they were dressing up in their scary costumes, but deep down, we really are excited for the Hawkeyes. So we'll root for your team this season, Grandpa Hekel! Go Hawks!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

9 months

When she was born, I blinked, and now she's nine months old. Today she had her well-baby check-up. She has consistently stayed in the 90% for her height and head circumference and in the 50-75% for her weight. She tends to grow long and then fill out. I guess she's in a long phase right now. These percentiles always reassure me that she's actually eating enough. Rodney always rolls his eyes, but I have a hard time gauging how much she's actually eating since we're still breastfeeding. She only takes between 5 and 10 minutes to nurse (crazy -- persevering through those first months totally pays off).

So for all of the grandparents and great grands who like to know...


Weight: 19 pounds, 12 oz.
Height: 28.5 inches
Head Circumference: 45.5 cm

I just took these pictures in the middle of an afternoon walk. It's seventy degrees and sunny here in Houston today:) My car said it was 59 degrees on my way to her doctor appointment. COLD! Well, not really, but I did see someone wearing a winter coat today. Ha! I do, however, know that I have acclimated to this warmer weather, and I'm not quite sure how I'll adjust to the cold up north over the holidays...perhaps it's good that we'll be in Tennessee for Thanksgiving. It will be a warm-up for an Illinois Christmas.

She's starting to pull herself up and likes playing the piano on her knees:)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall is Here to Stay (we hope)

Happy Fall to all of our family and friends! Yes, our air conditioning has now been turned off for three days. Granted, it was 80 degrees in the house yesterday, but all the rain slowly cooled things off and we're set to have a cool week of 70 degree weather (with lows in the 50s) for the next 10 days. I am ecstatic.

We've had several slow days in the past couple of weeks. Rodney was sick again on Friday through Sunday and has had an all-consuming week at work (and is set to travel to Louisiana for an oil show Monday through Thursday next week). So Abigail and I have had lots of time together:)

Abigail update --- Well, she will be 9 months old in a couple of days and has her well-baby visit on Tuesday. Since she hasn't been sick, our only visits to the doctors have been for her well-baby appointments, so I always look forward to seeing how much she weighs and formulate a long list of questions for her pediatrician. She started clapping two days ago, and as a consequence, has also developed a liking for banging things together to make noise. She is also standing much better and likes to be up on her feet. She's mastered pureed fruits, veggies, and cereals, so we'll start introducing chunkier versions and some finger foods in the next couple of weeks.

A friend who watches Abigail in the church nursery also tells me that she thinks Abigail will grow up to be quite musical. She bops her head whenever she hears a beat, music, or a rhythm of any kind, and loves to hear us sing and play her little Fisher Price piano. It's quite adorable.

Mommy update: Well, it's kinda been a lonely couple of weeks. With Rodney being gone in the evenings (he got home last night at 9:30) and with him being sick, I've felt more like a single mom these past couple of weeks. But...don't get me wrong...I do count my blessings. Gosh, I don't know how my mom did it growing up, with my dad being gone months at a time. And I sure am grateful for such a great hubby, who is a blessing from the Lord.

I'm also really thankful for BSF. Rodney makes copies of the lessons for me every week so I can keep up, so I'm doing two John Bible studies (BSF is much more mind and soul Bible study serves other purposes...building relationships, etc.)...

So this week I've been challenged by the passage in John, "He must increase and I must decrease." This by no means is an unfamiliar passage. John's disciples have come to him, concerned that everyone is going to Christ to be baptised (and not to John). And John responds that everything we have is a gift from heaven, his joy is full because Christ is here, and his purpose (to go before the Messiah, proclaiming his coming, preparing people with hearts of repentance) is complete.

I was struck again with new conviction that I am often concerned about being preeminent. Even my spirituality is too often from selfish motives, self-love. Oh to be like Andrew and John and joyfully be second place in this life! Being a wife, mother and friend means laying my life down in service, love and joy every day in all that I do, putting other peoples needs above me own. So my own personal challenge for this week is to lead people to love Christ, not to love me...

I can't do it alone, but as Paul who said, "Who can deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" How thankful I am that the grace of God is abundant for every need...

"He must increase, but I must decrease."
Hope you enjoy the new pictures!
look at all that hair:)

holding on to momma...

hanging out in her diaper right before bath and bedtime...i love the expression on her face...

our baby girl is growing up...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fall in Houston

Two of three members were down sick this week in our house, marking the beginning of fall and cold/flu season. But colds and runny noses were about all that marks fall here in Houston. We had heat indexes in the 90s and 100s this week, and I decided to "ignore" the hot weather and make roast, homemade bread, baked squash and pumpkin bread in spite of it all:) Thankfully, Abigail and Rodney are both feeling better; though, Abigail as of the last 48 hours has been really crabby. But I think this time it might really be teething. She is, after all, almost 9 months old, so those teeth have to come in sooner than later.

Abigail still isn't crawling, but she does locomote quite well. She stretches from side to side from her sitting position and inches her way forward til she's back on her tummy. Then she proceeds to roll to the desired location. She is quite successful with her lunge and roll technique, so she might end up being one of those babies who skips crawling all together. She is starting to pull herself up, but still has a long way to go and can even hold herself in the standing position (but not for long).

I am enjoying the "Growth Groups" at our church. We meet every Wednesday night with a group from our church and leave Abigail with a sitter. Last week, Rodney and I took his Jeep, and I truly felt like I was on a date, even though we were only headed to a church discipleship event. It was the first time that I'd been in the Jeep since I was 8.5 months pregnant. I am also enjoying a Tuesday morning women's Bible study, and Abigail is adjusting to the nursery. I am thankful for these structured studies of God's word because since Abigail was born, I have grown quite lazy spiritually. And lazy spirituality tends to translate into the rest of my life. So maybe, just maybe, these disciplines unto Godliness will also help me be more disciplined in other areas as well (aka -- exercise). Speaking of which, I need to move on to those disciplines before my hubby gets home from work.

"helping" Momma stuff her diapers...she pulled them all from the neat pile to play with them:)

Like I said, the sippy cup has many uses...and makes a good teether too...

waking up...

I think she's starting to look so grown up in this picture. She was intently playing but is fascinated by the off limits toy:)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Catching Up (an epic post)

We have had a very busy two weeks! Julianne and Katie were here days before my family drove down from Illinois for a week. While my girlfriends were here, we drove up to Dallas to see Megan, and after I saw the girls off at the airport, I hurried home to get the house ready for my parents and brothers. We celebrated my dad's birthday on the 20th and headed out that evening for the beach, where we spent three nights.

Fall in Houston can be full of surprises. Last September, Rodney and I experienced our first hurricane. Hurricanes kept clear of Houston this September, but we had a mix of hot/humid and cool downpours while we were at the beach. We had the typical hot day at the beach on Monday, followed by walks through a wind tunnel of sand and cool rain on the following days. Both were beautiful and enjoyable in its own way:)

Thursday we all went to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and enjoyed everything from Monet to Remington and Jackson Pollock. Abigail was happy enough to be in her stroller as long as she was moving:)

We had a great visit, as I'm sure you'll be able to tell from the pictures below...

still in love after all these years :)

snuggling up to dad...

dan (an attempted frisbee action shot)

a typical david shot...

we all took turns cooking, even the boys...

Abigail has developed quite a personality over the last few weeks. Even while my parents were here, she became increasingly more vocal. She has also developed a preference for her mommy, and communicates when she is unhappy (aka - taking something away that she wants!). She also likes to display her (what we call) "Wallace and Grommet" face, which you can see below. With October around the corner, she is now 8 months old!

and she has become quite proficient at "da da" and "ba ba"...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the best birthday present ever...

Yes, I am now one year older and the ripe old age of 27. Okay, so it's not really all that old, but it sure does sound a lot older than 26. According to my dear hubby, I am officially in my early thirties now (his reasoning - because girls are way more mature than boys. I'd have to agree).


I had a great birthday, mostly because Julianne flew in from N. Carolina the day before and Katie flew in the day after. I hadn't seen either of my dear friends for a long time, so it was great to catch up. We certainly had lots of catching up to do! And my second favorite birthday gift: family pictures. Julianne brought her camera and we took some family pictures before the sun dipped below the horizon on Tuesday night.

Here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!