Monday, June 30, 2014

Those girls

Oh!  Those 2 girls of mine!  They are so precious AND so different from each other.

Ava: My independent, silly, laid back, fearless, social, go getter, smiley,  expressive, spunky, spit-fire, stubborn, wiggle worm, strong-willed, hard-headed, funny, goofy, picky eater,  good sleeper, wild, and huggy girl.


Sally Jean: My sweet, cuddly, short-tempered, high maintenance, fussy, either happy or mad and no in between, alert, smiley, short, compact, lover of bottles, expressive, loving, dainty peanut. 


It is funny how they are already so different.  But they are both so loved.  I can't imagine mothering any other two children than the ones God blessed me with. 

The laughs are endless, the smiles are everywhere, and good times are all around AND so are the temper tantrums, screaming, and crying over silly things. 

But I WOULDN'T trade it for the world. 

My life has certainly changed since having children.  My time is no longer my own., but there aren't any other individuals I would rather spend all my time with.  We have NO money but we have all we need.  We don't eat out hardly ever and when we do we are on pins and needles waiting on the ticking time bombs to explode, so we enjoy our family dinners at home. Sleep? What is that? But if I am losing my sleep because of them, then it is worth it.  I don't have my own identity anymore, but its because I have the cutest little sidekicks ever and I would never change that. 

Sure we are limited to what we can do and where we can go.  Honestly, I would rather spend all my time with them if I could.  I am blessed beyond measure. 

Thank you God for these little treasures.  Please put Your fingerprints on them and write Your name all over their hearts!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Ulitmate Sacrifice

Abraham was asked to sacrifice his pride and joy, his son, Isaac.  My husband and I were talking about this and we cannot even imagine being asked to do this.  To be honest, I cannot sit here and say that I would trust God and kill my daughters as a sacrifice.  I would have been willfully disobedient in this situation.  I would have been angry with God for even asking me to sacrifice my child.  Even though, as scary as this sounds, I know both of my little girls belong to God, and He could take them from me at any time.  I know I couldn't do it.  I would be completely lying to myself if I even said I would hope I would follow God's instruction.  But, in this situation, I KNOW I would not.  I would not be faithful to my Father. 

What is so amazing about this story, though, is I don't think God will ever ask me to do this.  You know why?

Because God and His Son made the ultimate sacrifice so we wouldn't have to anymore.   He sent His Son to be judged, ridiculed, cursed, beaten, scorned.  Jesus was tempted in every way possible but stayed faithful to His Father.  And ultimately, His love for His Father and His love for us, led Him to the cross to make the ultimate sacrifice. 

I am so grateful for Jesus' sacrifice and His great love for us.  I am thankful that I have a heavenly Father who bore my sin on a cross.  He bore the sin of us all.  And while there will be pain and suffering in this life, I know that God is the great redeemer.

Ashleigh's Band Concert

May 26th, 2014

Ashleigh had her 6th grade band concert.  She plays the French Horn.  I decided that Ava should go to this because she likes music.  She really enjoyed the music and amused all those sitting near her as she cheered at the end of each song.  There was one sweet little girl who played a Harry Potter solo.  It seemed as though she was taking a breath, so there was a break in music.  Ava instantly cheered and clapped.  I am still wondering if Ava ended that song earlier than it was suppose to.  Oh, I hope not.  Thankfully the production was short.  Ava is like a ticking time bomb.  You never know how long she is going to last, but you know her patience is growing very thin and her getting irritable is inevitable!  She made it through the performance well and was only growing tired of it at the end when we were trying to snap pictures of Ava and Sally with her 2 cousins.  I don't have a picture of them, but will try to get one. 

I almost can't remember a time when they behaved worse

Oh. My. Goodness!  May 25th was a shopping disaster....D.I.S.A.S.T.E.R!  Call me hopeful, family-oriented, naïve, or maybe stupid is the only word that describes it. 

I do not like to be separated from my children.  It's probably a very unhealthy attachment I have to them.  I long for their presence and worry about them every single moment I am away from them (even when they are with family) and I hate asking people to watch them.  Not to mention, people are probably on pins and needles when it comes to watching my children because I am such a worry wart.

Back to the story, Curtis needed to get some clothing for his trip in a couple of weeks.  He had a day off and I like to spend as much time as I can with him because we don't get to do that too often.  I wanted the shopping experience to be a family affair because of the above mentioned things.  Anyway, we started off decent at JC Penney.  Ava was allowed to walk around for a little while by herself, but when she turned disobedient to stopping and holding my hand, she quickly found herself back in the stroller.  Sally only got fussy for a bit while daddy was trying on clothes...nothing a little cuddling with mommy can't fix.  After only finding a sports jacket, we decided to head to the mall.  We went and ate first at the food court.  Then, we went to Macy's.  Ava had a nasty diaper and I tried changing her in the stroller....I had no idea just how disgusting she was and we looked like hillbillys as she was pantsless and shoeless, not strapped in her stroller, standing with her hair all a mess. To make matters worse, we were out of wipes (how could I let that happen!) and she peed on the changing mat which I still have yet to clean (gross, I know, I know.)  After getting her dressed and as put together as we could, we decided Macy's had nothing and headed to Belk.

Things quickly turned from bad to worse.  Ava would not cooperate.  Even if daddy was holding her she was not a happy camper,  She wanted down, wanted to explore.  She navigated her way away from daddy and was found under a thing of clothing.  Meanwhile, Miss Sally Jean was screaming because she was hungry so I found a place to sit and feed her.  She was content only when the bottle was plugging her up.  In between burps she was screaming like a banshee.  After she was fed, I traded girls with Curtis.  He took Sally who had seemed to calm down and I took Ava and held her hand while we walked around.  Ava, however, was on a mission of her own--to unhook hands and take off, touching everything in sight.  After a few walks around the top floor of Belk , trying so hard to avoid the home décor section of the store,   several falling to the ground screaming episodes, and becoming a rag doll when I tried to pick her up, we headed back to Curtis.  I hear Sally screaming, and Ava is screaming, everyone is staring and probably inwardly shaking their heads in disbelief, thinking how young and irresponsible we are, we looked at each other and said at the same time, "Let's go home!"

It was horrific, to say the least.  A shopping experience that would probably be best forgotten, but some things you just can't forget.


Thorns.  Those prickly little pointy things that really hurt.  Whenever Ava goes to reach out for a rose from a rosebush, I quickly grab her hand so she won’t be punished with ones of those thorns.  But in reality, we cannot get away from those thorns.  We all have them.  We all have one, or two, or three or….(I could go on and on) thorns that cripple us. 

One of my thorns would be my endless list of fears and anxieties.  I would list them all out for you, but we would be here all day and that is quite embarrassing.  Some of you have no idea the thoughts that creep into my mind and linger and linger and linger… (and some of you know the feeling all too well).  I neglect living in the moment, being joyful and content, being grateful for what is set before me because I am too busy worrying about the maybe’s, what if’s, if only’s, the would haves-could haves-should haves. I miss out on so many opportunities because I am scared of what could happen. 

Every day I get up I struggle with this…no lie. It doesn’t go away.  The saddest part of this is, I know my fearfulness and anxiousness is a representation of the lack of faith I have in Jesus.  This is me and my total irreverence to God.  This is me truly not trusting Him and His promises.  This is me being an unbelieving believer.  I pray that God will take this away.  I pray He will help me to conquer these fears and put Satan in his place.  But, I wake up the next morning and the thoughts start whirling around in my head all over again.  Thankfully, I have a Father whose love for me is so great that these worries and fear cannot overtake me.  His compassions are never failing, but come new to me every.single.morning! He is so faithful.  (Lamentations 3:22-23)

But, even with our thorns, God can make something good out of it.  For me, this thorn has kept me coming to Jesus to ask for His help.  This thorn has me looking up scripture that can bring peace.  This thorn has helped me be there for others who struggle with the same problem.  This thorn has reminded me of God’s goodness. 

While, I wish I could wake up one morning and not have a worry in the world, I am comforted in knowing that there is good that can come from bad.  If this thorn keeps me close to God and will bring Him glory, then the pain that comes along with it will be well worth it.  So I will praise Him for my thorns!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Parenting on my knees

I look around me and I see other moms doing it.  I see children doing it.  I see moms being consistent, loving and affirming to their children.  And I see their children responding appropriately.  I see them listening and being obedient.  Oh, how I wish I was that mom.  They have it ALL together.  They know what they are doing.  They make this thing we call parenting look so easy.  They make me so envious...

I never thought in a million years I would feel like such a failure at parenting.  I know I have a long road ahead of me when my oldest is only 18 months old, but geesh!  I really had no clue what I signed up for.  Parenting is SO hard.  The hardest thing I have ever done,  by far. 

My 18 month old, Ava, is giving me a run for my money.  She is a spit fire, strong willed, stubborn, and has a super strong personality.  I know these can be good things, if channeled right.  But how do you corral a strong willed, determined 18 month old correctly.  What do I let her get away with and what do I put a firm stop to?  How do you stop certain behaviors?  I don't know...I have been at a loss.  The only thing I have been able to do is get on my knees and pray to God that He will guide me on this journey. 

In this day in age and in this culture, we need women who are strong, independent, and determined.  We need women who are not going to be swayed by the wordly ways.  Who are not going to let someone else tell them who they are supposed to be.  I hope Ava is this.  I hope she is strong enough to be who God created her to be.  I hope she is determined to follow God's path for her life.  I hope her only goal in life is to please Him.  But how do I get her there? How do I show her that? 

I was researching what the Bible says about parenting and it listed all the verses.  You know the ones.  The verses in Proverbs, Deuteronomy 6, etc and I still felt confused.  Then I came across this website and it was AMAZING.  Exactly what I needed to hear.  It said that I cannot make my children holy, save them, make a Christian disciple out of them, or dictate their personality.  But I can give them direction, allow God's grace to function in my children and allow God's grace to function in my life as a parent. 

Then it went on to say that children are not an extension of me, not a project, possession (they belong to God), or trophies, but they are gifts from the Lord, my number one priority responsibility as a parent, and an opportunity for me to develop personally in love, unselfishness, and deference.  Ava does not need me to pretend that I am God.  She doesn't need me to be a police officer in her life.  She also doesn't need everything handed to her or freedom to do whatever she wants or to be in control of the household.  What Ava does need is for me to be her caregiver-to love her, nurture her, and give her direction.  She needs me to help her meet her personal development needs.  She needs me to relate to her personally and individually.  She needs a mother who respects her feelings, understands and is okay that she is her own individual and we are different, and gives her the freedom to think and feel. She needs a mother who is an excellent role model of whatever behavior and character traits I am wanting to develop in her.  She needs a mother who is consistent and honest. She needs a mother who rallies behind her and never tells her she can't accomplish something.  She needs a loving mother and a forgiving mother.  

The only way that I can accomplish this is-Jesus.  I need to fix my eyes on Him.  I need to allow Him to function in my family.  I need to let Him live out in me.   I don't have to be so rigid and scared I am not doing it right.  I need to relax, have fun, ENJOY MY GIRLS! 

I have spend many of my quiet times with God praying over Ava and Sally.  I have spent many prayers praying for Curtis and I as we parent these two girls.  I have noticed a difference in Ava since I have been more purposeful in praying about the things that worry and scare me about parenting.  I know it isn't going to be easy.  I know Ava, Sally, Curtis and I will make mistakes.  But I know with God by my side, He will empower me to be the parent He created and purposed me to be and  I know He will be gracious to me when I fail, which is inevitable. 

I know those moms I see who appear to have it all together...I know there are days when they are in tears because they feel so lost or scared and don't know what to do.  I know there are days when they are constantly on their knees asking God to intervene and that's ok because...

from my perspective, on my knees, inviting God in, is the best place to be. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sally Jean 4 months old

Dear Sally,
          You are such a sweetheart!  You have become such an amazing addition to our home and family.  I can't believe that only 4 short months ago, we didn't know anything about you or what you would be like.  We didn't know who you would look like, how you would act or sleep.  We didn't know how Ava would respond to you. We knew nothing, yet I can't imagine my life without you.  It just simply would not be the same. 
          You have the cutest smile.  It can brighten anyone's day.  There is just something very angelic about your smile and your spirit.  There is a sense of peace about you.  You giggled for the first time this month.  It is rare to get you to do it.  You still have to work  very hard at it, but I can't wait until you are giggling nonstop.  I think you are going to be a little giggle box. 

          You are still super cuddly.  I love to cuddle with you.  I love that you are still such a little peanut and fit perfectly in my arms!  I have been making more of a habit to hold you a little more than I have in the previous months, because I am watching you grow up before my eyes, and if you are anything like your sister, you may not be into the cuddling thing too much longer.  But, who knows?  Maybe you will always be my cuddler....I can wish, right? 
          You have such a cute little voice, but you can get rather loud.  Last night, I couldn't get you to ease back into sleep after your 4:00 am feeding, so I thought I would let you sleep with us for a few hours.  Well, you were miss chatty Kathy so I had to take you back to your room and soothe you back to sleep and put you in your crib.  Thankfully, the second time around you were able to sleep and you slept until 8 am.  Speaking of sleep, we are working very hard to establish a good sleep routine with your sister.  In a perfect world, I could get your naps to coincide with your sister's.  I am trying so hard to accomplish this.  You still get up once during the night and again at like 4 or 5 am. 
          You eat about 5 bottles with 5 ozs. per day.  We had you on some acid reflux medicine, but have noticed you are constipated again.  There were a couple of days I forgot to give you your medicine and you pooped just fine, so I think the medicine is causing the constipation.  We don't want to fix one medicine with another medicine, so I am not sure what we are going to do until I can talk to your doctor at your 4 month visit.  Typically, doctors will tell you at your 4 month appointment that you may be ready to eat some cereal and start some solid foods.  Using my mommy intuition,  I am not sure you are ready for that yet.  I cannot even imagine using a spoon with you yet and you still are pretty wobbly in the BUMBO.  I think we are going to hold off on solid foods for another month or 2, unless the doctor strongly suggests otherwise. 
           Speaking of  your BUMBO, you are doing quite nicely sitting in it for the most part, but can only handle about 5 to 10 minutes in it.  You are holding your head up quite nicely when you are lying on your tummy.  You look so proud of yourself when you are holding your head up. 

          You went on your first 8 hour road trip.  We went to visit grandma (your great grandma and name sake).  You did decent on the trip.  You were fussier than normal and not use to being passed around and stuff.  It was harder on you than Ava at that age. 
           We also had your baby dedication at church this month!

  At your 4 month appointment, Dr. Hight heard a murmur and we are going to a cardiologist to get it checked out tomorrow. Of course, this mommy is worried because your my baby girl and I want you to be healthy. But, I KNOW GOD HAS THIS IN THE PALM OF HIS HANDS!

You are my sweetheart and we all love you very much! May God place His fingerprints all over you and write His name all over your heart.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ava is a year and a half

Ava is 1 1/2 years old!!!!
Ava is growing at lickety split speed!  I take a breath and she grows some more.  I love her so much!  She just captivates every one's heart.  She sure is little miss independent!  And stubborn...boy is she stubborn!  Sometimes her curiosity gets the best of her and before you know it, it will lead to either tears from getting hurt or doing something she was told not to do and tears while sitting in time out. 
She is on a hitting spree, especially with me!  She hits me for no reason at all and sometimes because she is ticked off about something.  Sometimes I think if I just ignore the hitting instead of reacting it might calm down.  I am hoping so.  She ends up in time out for it and that doesn't seem to be working, so I am trying not to react to see what happens. 
She is picking up on so many things.  She tries to communicate with us, but she is still hard to understand.  She likes to say these words: moomee (movie and sometimes confused with music), Ilie (Eli from a book and one of her friends), sissy, Elsa (from Frozen), Olaf (from Frozen), see, sleep, ehhh (when she wants something...soooo annoying), baba (bottle), cheese, bu (bus), schoo (school), wawa (water), flowah (flower), me, Aya (Ava), mulk (milk), strawberry (strawberry), poon (spoon), fok (fork), thlide (slide), play, outside, cak (cake).
She is knocking on doors, loves to dance to Happy, touches her toes, rings around the rosey and falls down, knows the difference between the trash and hamper, twirls, stomps and marches, walks around the block, waters the flowers, plays with her water table, scribbles with sidewalk chalk (but mostly just carries the tub of chalk around), sings, plays peek a boo every chance she gets, counts 1-2-3 (one, two, thee!)
She knows where her belly, eyes, ears, nose, toes, teeth, hair, feet, and hands are.  Whenever I ask her if she has a poopy, she touches her diaper.  She runs when she sees me pull out a diaper to change her.  She hates getting the boogers out of her nose.  She will sometimes get the suction bulb and put it in her nose and blow...haha. 
She loves Sally.  She helps feed her and burp her.  She likes to put the pacy in her mouth and wipe her face.  She has a full days worth of hugs for Sally every day. 
This month she has gotten to play with her new water table, go to her cousins band concert, play at the park, go shopping, eat at Sweet Frog's, get a sore throat and upset tummy, and a trip to the zoo!

Ava is sick

At the doctor

Ava still does not know a stranger.  I LOVE this quality about her.  She will hug everyone and it is so sweet.  Whenever we are out somewhere, she looks at strangers and waves and says Hi!  I love this about her, but I know there is going to come a day when she is a little older that we are going to have to have the stranger danger talk. 

Ava basically still takes 2 naps for me.  Every once in a while, we skip the morning and we usually pay for it later.  Her afternoon nap is non negotiable!  She is also sleeping through the night.  I hear other moms talking about how their kids were great sleepers until 18 months and then everything changed!  Please NO!!!!

Ava has about 18 ounces of whole milk on most days.  For breakfast, she enjoys her yotoddler, multigrain cheerios, oatmeal, strawberries, bananas, and pancakes.  At lunch she will eat PB&J sandwiches, cheese quesadillas, chicken salad, meatballs, veggie/fruit pouches, applesauce, crackers, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and mangos.  At dinner, she will eat any meat we have and usually any fruit.  She has not been a fan of veggies lately.  I offer them to her every meal, but she will not partake of them, so I end of giving her a pouch so she has something. If only I could make the green beans like Texas Roadhouse does, then we would be good to go.  She hasn't been eating the peaches I put on her plate either.  I think she thinks they are something else and if she would just taste one she would  be a happy camper, but she won't try and I don't force her.  She will eat the peaches in my peach cobbler without any fussing, so I know it's just a matter of not realizing what they are.  She is getting better at using the spoon and fork, but we are still a work in progress. 

Ava loves to play outside. She loves to go on walks, help hold Winston's leash, and stop by the playground and slide.  She enjoys her water table and just getting wet.   It's a scream fest when we bring her in. Ava enjoys her magnetic letters. She doesn't really understand what they are but she likes to play with them.  She went through a spell where she was obsessed with taking the same letters down.  She would always take the l's in Sally, the j in Jesus, the I and t in Winston, and the I and u in Pumpkin.  It freaked me out for a while.   She loves her picnic basket and tea set, and as always, she loves books! She is a little bookworm.  Some of her favorite books to have read to her are: A Visitor for Bear, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon, The Nose Book, Miss Nelson is Missing, You are Special and recently, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. 
Here are some of the normal magnetic letters missing...