Friday, January 18, 2013

Early morning gratitude

(written a week ago -- for some reason, it did not want to post on the Ipad!)

This morning, I am thankful for many things:

  • Early morning energy - this morning I asked my husband if I could make him breakfast. His reply: "You must have slept well last night." :) I have been particularly tired this week, so rising early is truly a miracle!
  • Extended quiet time in the Word this morning.
  • God's faithfulness to me, especially when I'm not faithful to Him.
  • Strong coffee and now a big thermos of rooibos tea.
  • Healthy and cheerful kids. 
  • Warm pajama snuggles from my girls.
(written today)

  • a late start to the morning (all three of us girls are fighting off colds, so the extra sleep is a blessing, as are children who sleep throught the night -- especially when sick!)
  • leftover blueberry baked oatmeal -- my current favorite breakfast
  • napping children and a quiet afternoon - another blessing for a mommy who isn't feeling 100%
  • a whole new group of friends who love our children abundantly every Thursday night. I am amazed at how God perfectly provides.
  • the joy of reading the Word to my girls and their excitement to learn about Him.
  • delicious pumpkin bread and homemade calzones (the pizza dough is currently rising!)

Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa

Before we opened gifts, we read the Christmas story again. You can never read this story too many times! But Hannah really wanted to read "Who is Coming to Our House" -- a much diluted version of the Christmas story -- with Grandpa. 

And on their second time through the book, Abigail joined them too.

Here they are enjoying one of their many gifts

Dr. Harms lives has quite the double standard. She has no troubles giving many shots to her patients, while she puts her mommy through lots of drama whenever she has to get a shot at the doctor!

The girls really liked Rodney's gift too and decided it was best used as a means of transportation.

I didn't take very many pictures. Sorry Grandma, I don't have any pictures of you. I guess that's what happens when you sit next to the photographer on the couch. I'm hoping this isn't telling of how 2013 is going to be. Poor Baby Harms #3, you probably won't have as many pictures taken of you this year either. And I have yet to start Hannah's 1st year album, but it is on my to-do list for next week!

Friday, January 4, 2013

being silly and a couple more random pictures

Here we are testing out the timer feature on my camera. I have a little of my dad and a little of my mom in me :)

And of course, feeding Camus is always a highlight for my children. He is such a patient dog, letting Hannah feed him one piece of his food at a time!

I think dog slobber is gross, so rest assured, her little hands were well washed shortly following this excitement. Hannah helped Camus with jail break several times by pulling hard enough on the gate to release Camus from his "happy  place" (the laundry room) -- so funny.

Christmas in Milwaukee

We drove up to Milwaukee the day after Christmas since the girls were feeling better. We only spent a couple of days with my parents, but the days were quiet and merry and the nights relaxing.  And I must say that the timer feature on my camera worked splendidly.

silly smiles

We also got to see a set of my grandparents. I'm so thankful that they made a long day of coming over from Madison for lunch and presents. The girls are well loved.


Opening presents with Daddy's help. Our little tree elf, Abigail, was able to sort all of the gifts, since everyone has a different initial for their first name! 

Home for Christmas

For the first time in our marriage, we celebrated Christmas at home. Hannah still had a fever and was rather miserable; it's always more comfortable to be sick at home.We ended up having a lovely, full day.

On Christmas Eve, Abigail helped me roll out homemade cinnamon rolls. She particularly liked eating the sugar mixture remnants on the table. There's nothing like a hot, gooey, homemade cinnamon roll to start the day!

Here is Daddy reading the Christmas story to his girls. They love listening to Bible stories, and I'm so thankful that Hannah's attention span is lengthening.

The girls were very excited to open their stockings. 

And presents.

Abigail helped everyone open their gifts :)

Abigail got to use her new watercolors and stickers to make some thank you cards and a Christmas card for her cousin. They got to play with several of their new gifts, and we also watched a Veggie Tales Christmas movie as a family - a perfect "sick" activity. Popcorn is a special treat, as is candy, and the girls got to enjoy both.

After long naps, Abigail and I made a cake and cupcakes. Abigail cracked the eggs and helped to hold the hand mixer. Here she is helping Rodney decorate the Birthday Cake for Jesus. 

Hannah was less than thrilled...particularly when she was done eating her cupcake...poor sick baby girl...

the cupcakes and cake (with lots of sprinkles dumped right in the middle!!! Singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and making him a cake will become a family tradition.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

princess dress up

Abigail loves dressing up and was thrilled to open a dress and crown that actually fits her well:) She wore the dress for days straight over the Christmas holiday and enjoys pretending and roll playing with her sister, who is a good sport. Thank you Great Grandpa Dean and Great Grandma Barbara!

Christmas part one

Let's just call this year the Christmas of sickness because sickness seemed to change everyone's plans! My parents had been planning and looking forward to going out to Indiana to see my grandmother but then changed their plans last minute when my grandmother fell ill and wasn't up for company. So they ended up coming to see us instead, which ended up being a huge blessing.

Hannah had a cough, runny nose, and fever that lasted four days (most of the time while my parents were here). We joked that we knew she was sick because suddenly she became a quiet, passive little girl. She just didn't have the energy to be loud or the voice. Her squeaker was malfunctioning!

But grandparents and presents do help everyone feel better, as you can see from the pictures below:) My grandparents sent packages in the mail that seemed to have sat under the tree most of December. The girls were more than willing to open these gifts early.

  Most people say I look more like my mom, but I sure look a lot like my dad too :) I am so thankful for two great parents! It was a blessing to have them down for a couple of extra days, since we ended up cutting our time short in Milwaukee after Christmas, again due to the change in plans.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

To those of you few (read -- parents and grandparents!) who actually read and follow my blog: I'm posting my resolutions mostly so you can be praying for me this year. How can I be specifically praying for you?

The Holy Spirit has been working on my heart the last several months, so I've had no trouble coming up with many resolutions for the New Year. Tomorrow, I am 20 weeks pregnant with our third child, and the reality of this "change" is beginning to sink in. I'm hoping these resolutions will help 2013 be a year marked by a closer walk with the Lord, spiritually sensitive children, and marriage/ home that honors the Lord.

1.  Use more positive reinforcement and praise. Abigail is a very helpful soon to be four year old. She is sweet, kind and a blessing. I find that I am often too hard on her, dwelling on her flaws and sin problem areas and not praising her for her growth, maturity and helpfulness.

2.  Be more consistent :) I think this is most important for Hannah because she's just learning about actions and consequences. Practically for me, this means getting off of facebook and the Ipad!

3.   Do regular morning devotions with the girls. This is something I actually resolved to do in late 2012 and started in November. Over the holidays, I fell out of my routine so it will be good to start afresh.

4.  Work on pre-reading skills with Abigail consistently!!!

Keeping the Home:
1. Declutter! I have a serious problem with stashing, and I have more than one "junk drawer" in my home. My girls also have tubs and tubs of clothes, many that they don't wear or never will wear. I have my work cut out for me. Thankfully, we addressed some problem areas in our home over the Christmas holiday, so I'm off to a good start!

2. Eat more vegetables and beans! This was my resolution last year and will probably have to be a resolution for the rest of my life because I prefer fruit, grains, meat and dairy.

3.  Incorporate some new, healthy recipes into our monthly meal plan.

4.  Start and finish Hannah's baby book before the new baby arrives in May :)

5.  Get caught up (aka: start and finish) family photo albums that I am WAY behind on.

1. Spend "meaningful" time with the Lord each day. The legalistic aspect of reading my Bible has never been a problem, but I do tend to treat my relationship with the Lord as a checkmark on a long to-do list. This year, I want to spend more time in prayer and less time on the internet.
      What is prayer? Prayer is praising God! (I've had Abigail's catechism songs in my head!)

2. Exercise! We actually bought a treadmill this year as our Christmas gift to eachother. With each of my two previous pregnancies, I struggled with high blood pressure at the end, even though I kept my weight in check and exercised regular. So I REALLY need to make similar healthy choices with this pregnancy.

3.  Encourage my husband! We lead a very full life, which often leaves me tired.  My default personality when tired isn't often encouraging and positive.

4.  Spend more time reading. :)

That is not an exhaustive list, but it's a good start. I'm so thankful that the Lord promises that He will complete the good work that He has started in me.

Trimming the Tree

 The girls really enjoyed Christmas this year. We decorated for Christmas in late November, leaving a whole month of waiting for a three year old who doesn't have a concept of time. I'm fairly certain she asked: "Is Christmas tomorrow?" about a bazillion times. We did an advent calendar/devotion with her, which did help her have a concept of how long she needed to wait for Christmas Day. Everyday she looked forward to putting a new sticker on her calendar and settling in for a devotion. The "mostly" daily devotions also helped keep Christ's birthday at the center of our celebrations.

I only had a few decoration and nativity casualties this year (all due to Hannah), and I'm sure they won't be the last!