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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Life Lessons Learned from the Baby: Triumphs

   Lately I've been learning about life from watching the babies.  Here are a few things I think all parents learn:

Sleep is so underrated before you have kids.  You will NEVER sleep as well as you did before you had a baby. If you have no kids, be thankful for the sound sleep you get now.  

Poo stinks no matter whose bum it comes from.

You will say and do the weirdest/silliest/most embarrassing things to get your kids to laugh, because their laughter is worth your very best crazy dance.

Life goes by so quickly! -Except in the wee hours of the morning when you wish they would sleep so you could too. - (Jonah's got a head cold and it's making him kind of miserable, which is making us kind of miserable).

If a baby refuses to eat and you force them to, you may just get puked on.

Then there are some things that I feel the Lord is teaching me lately:

Sometimes when we do things as parents, we are doing them with a little pair of eyes not far away watching every move.  We frequently take showers with Jonah sitting in the bumbo on the bathroom floor, playing with a baby einstein standing thing singing in front of him or his toys.  Recently, he has begun to stare at the shower curtain in anticipation of me poking my head out to talk to him.  It's really cute.  He'll play for a little while and then get fussy, and I'll pop my head out and say "Here I am!" or "You're not alone!" or simply (and possibly his favorite), "BOO!"  He lights up and smiles, and rocks back, and sometimes even giggles.  He then will either then continue to stare at the shower curtain waiting for me to keep on playing peek-a-boo or will happily go back to playing with his toys a minute or two more.  However, he doesn't like to be or feel alone, and so he wants me to talk to him.  Sometimes talking is enough, some days I have to wash my hair and play peek-a-boo at the same time or he'll be very upset.  I'm not sure if he knows yet what it means to be alone, but I know that he doesn't really like it.  It occurred to me that this is how God is ever-present with us.  We just have to look for Him, and all around He can be in our midst saying, "Here I Am!" If only we would stop and look for Him.  He wants to be our ever present help in times of trouble, but we must let him. Psalm 21 - I look to hills, where does my help come from?

     On the same track of thought, I find myself often staring at Jonah as he plays or sleeps, and he has no idea I'm there.  I adore this little baby.  I love him more than I ever thought possible.  I think God looks at us like that.  It's so humbling. I am so thankful I have that Heavenly Father who watches me every second of the day. Psalm 139

     The other day I was running while pushing Jonah and the other baby in a great donated double jogger stroller, enjoying the beautiful countryside (we found a little ROAD!!! No longer running down the driveway to the mailbox and back!).  I generally begin my runs in the Lord's Prayer and let it go from there, adding on to each piece and personalizing it as I have heard several different sermons explain.  I was at the "Forgive me for my sins and I forgive those who sin against me, God reveal my sins to me, show me what I need to fix, reveal who I need to forgive." When I felt the Lord saying, "You sinned by being so frustrated feeding the babies and speaking harshly to them."  Now, John had to take one of the older kids to a doctor's appointment, so I was home alone trying to feed both babies in their high chairs lunch at the same time.  This isn't normally that bad, but that day neither baby seemed to want to eat their food.  I'd offer one baby their spoon full of mush, get the closed lip refusal, face turning, little hand reaching and knocking off food and making a huge mess, only to wipe that hand, wipe that tray, put down that bowl of food, and pick up another bowl of food and offer different food to a different baby but get the same rude refusal. I was angrily trying to force feed them and then wiping their little faces and hands off grouchily saying, "You're going to be hungry later because you didn't eat your lunch!" while frowning and clenching my jaw as if they understood.  I knew I needed to get out of the house, so I layered them both in fleece pajamas under snow-suit type full-body cover ups and fleece hats. It was in the upper 50s outside and very sunny.  They silently took in the scenery from the stroller.  I felt God telling me I needed to ask forgiveness for my anger toward the babies being difficult to feed.  My flesh quickly argued, "But I made them that good food and I knew they were hungry and needed to eat it and they were just being bratty and wouldn't eat!" Then it hit me, clear as the blue sky above, "That's how I feel when you don't read the Bible.  I gave you that good word, and I know you are hungry for it, and need to read it, but you don't." I. Was. Speechless.  I was really convicted to read the Bible more. Jesus' words echoed through my mind: Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

     Another thing that has crossed my mind is the way I love Jonah so much, no matter what kind of messes he makes.  We're talking disgusting messes on his face from homemade carrot baby food to the nastiness in his diaper a month after adding solids twice a day to his previously breast-milk-only diet to the way he sneezes with a cold and blows out huge snot rockets that don't quite comprehend take-off and instead just are stuck to his upper lip.  I don't love the messes, but the messes don't make me love the kid. I love the kid despite the messes.  I just love him for the little person he is under that mess.  God loves us for the people we are under our mess.  I have much bigger life "messes" than Jonah's at this point, but I know that Jesus' blood covered all my sin, all my mess, so God just sees me and loves me, despite my mess.  That's so awesome!

Hebrews 9:14

New Living Translation (NLT)
14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds[a] so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.

     Most recently, we found one of Jonah's first real fears.  The only other fear we knew about up until yesterday was his fear of the dark.  If Jonah is in complete darkness he screams and cries.  Travelling in the car at night we have to give him glowing toys. We just got this little plastic bodied animal that glows and projects stars all around.  He also has a toy lantern and glowing musical flowers.  We also use our flashlight app on the phones if we don't have any of these available.  However, because it's in the dark, we've only heard him crying about it, we have never seen his reaction.  Yesterday John blew up our big blue weighted exercise ball.  Jonah was eating puffs in his high chair on the other end of our long living-room-attached-dining-room, and didn't see it.  Then we sat Jonah in the floor and rolled the ball toward him.  My little baby was PETRIFIED! He visibly trembled, shook, and screamed in fear at the sight of the ball rolling toward him. We were shocked, but also highly (and maybe a little insensitively) amused.  Because we were so amused, we decided to catch this on video.  We start by showing you his crazy reaction to the ball, then rolling it several feet away, calming him down some by pumping air at him (he really gets a kick out of a little rush of air for some reason), and then rolling the ball back so you can see his whole reaction and that he wasn't just throwing a random a fit the first time.

I assure you though, after the filming of the video we comforted him and hid the ball and have not scared him again with it.  When I got over the fact that I cruelly found this hilarious, I examined why he would fear such a funny thing.  I came to the conclusion that it is because it is so much bigger than him from his sitting down height. My guess is that he thinks it can just roll over him and squash him.  He doesn't know that the ball is full of air and some tiny beads and that it weighs less than a pound.  He doesn't know that he weighs over 20 pounds now and he is big enough to push that ball wherever he wants it to go.  He doesn't know that when standing he's much taller and it will look smaller.  He only knows what he sees: the visual size of the ball is gigantic from his perspective.  I think this is what many of our fears are like.  We see only one aspect of something that seems so big it's overwhelming.  However, God, our merciful Daddy, (hopefully doesn't laugh at us quite as much as we laughed at little Jonah's fear) knows the exact dimensions of what we fear, and it is so small in His eyes.  One of the biggest fears I've had to overcome was driving again after my car wreck.  I remember shaking and crying and praying hard every time I drove for almost a month before I gave that fear up to the Lord (and some key Bible verses helped).  I think God must have thought, "You have no idea how many more great years I've got planned for you.  These roads seem scary now, but you're going to drive in cars for years to come with no problem."  He had a different perspective.  What is it that you fear?  Try to see it in from God's perspective.  I think it will seem much smaller than you originally thought.

Isaiah 41:10

New Living Translation (NLT)
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

I am so blessed to be Jonah's mommy.  I am excited for the many more things I will learn through this amazing journey of parenthood.  You will see more posts like this, because I am constantly amazed by what God can teach me through babies. Being a lifelong learner has taken on a whole new meaning!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Holiday Wrap Up: House Parenting and Honea Travels

     We had a wonderful set of Winter Holidays with our kids.  In an effort to "stay in touch" with everyone but also provide a way for us to remember these times in our lives, I am trying to cover several things at once here, so please forgive me if it seems choppy.

     We still have the same sibling group we began with in October, and we are all getting to know each other quite well.  Some days feel like a struggle for us all.  As parents we feel ineffective and frustrated when confronted with the same attitudes and issues that we've been dealing with since the kids got here, some of which I think just comes along with parenting adolescents and teenagers, and some is specific to these individuals. I think as kids they sometimes feel isolated and alone without being close to home and their familiar friends, family, and lifestyle.  For many good reasons, primarily safety, kids who live here cannot have cell phones and free range on the computer or play on facebook.  Those are some of their biggest complaints, which we actually have no control over anyway, but we have to defend these issues frequently.  Most days we get along, talking and laughing amidst the daily routines and chores of cooking and cleaning.

     In October we went to a few different "Fall Festivals" the last week of October at some different local churches, and the kids had a great time.  I have to say, we did get some funny looks, and we did feel very awkward at times.  Most of the time though, at least one or two people came over and spoke with us the whole time and made us feel welcome.  The kids really enjoyed cake walks and bingo and free food and candy.  

     In November the kids got to go home for Thanksgiving and a few days after, but it wasn't a long enough break for us to do the big 5 hour drive back to Huntsville. John, Jonah and I stayed in Waynesboro and my parents and brother Kris came to visit and do Thanksgiving.  Our huge kitchen was so perfect for the big day of cooking.  Both ovens were constantly on and my mom and I had a good time talking and cooking.  It was a relief to not have to go to 4 different houses like we have before. One big meal and one set of yummy leftovers. 

     In early December John and I actually got several breaks!  We spent a little 3 day break down in Foley, AL and the outlets doing some Christmas shopping and then tried to get a few pictures of Jonah at the beach.  He was tired and it was a little chilly, so he wasn't really loving it.

It's so bright!

Yay Mommy!

This sand stuff is gross.

     Several local churches brought the kids here Christmas presents and gift cards.  Two churches came over and threw parties at our house.  The Harley motorcycle group threw a big party in Jackson for the whole organization and each kid got about $150 spent on them there alone.  A church a few hours north of us threw another party that John took the older kids to while I stayed home with the babies.  It just didn't make sense to make the little ones take a 3 hour car ride for a party they wouldn't understand and then probably make everyone else miserable on the 3 hour ride home and get totally off their schedules.  However, the older kids really enjoyed it.  Some businesses and individuals brought food items needed for us to have a nice Christmas Dinner plus many meats (we have 4 large hams, 3 turkeys, and several pounds of sausage in our meat freezer).  Friday the 21st of December, six different people brought over Christmas gifts and/or food items for the cottage.  One group even brought a little gift for Jonah.  I spent all day Saturday the 22nd cooking, and yet we had fewer items than it seemed like I had put in the time for.  We had a whole baked chicken, a spiral sliced brown sugar honey ham, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, baked carrots and celery, biscuits, gravy, strawberry pretzel salad, and cake.  I felt like I had accomplished a lot at the time, all by myself.  The kids seemed to like it.  They each got more than they asked for on all of their wish lists, plus several gift cards to go buy their choice of items. 

     John, Jonah, and I spent our next breaks in Huntsville visiting family and friends.  Our kids here got to go home for Christmas and a few days, and John and I didn't come back on duty until the 31st.  We were both a little sick the 22, (I wrote about that Sunday here: Christmas from Revelation sermon post)23, and 24th, so we were a little slower leaving the morning of the 24th than we had hoped, but we both desperately needed the rest.  We drove to Huntsville that day and spent Christmas Eve with my family.  My parents of course doted on and over-gifted little Jonah and got John and I several lovely gifts.  Christmas morning we got up and drove over to John's mom's house where we stayed the next few days.  They spoiled Jonah with several large fun toys and more attention than he's used to getting here.  Both of our parents blessed us beyond what we needed or deserved.  They are generous and we are blessed.

My sweet little elf

Mommy Baby Love

Caught red-handed - at being cute that is!

Little Rudolph

These were all taken just after Thanksgiving.
This is Christmas Day - in a month he got a little fatter! :) 

     The evening of the 26th we went over to our dear friends the Neely's for a Christmas dinner time with them and another couple.  It was fun to spend time with other Christian parents.  It was also good to see a couple who are pursuing adoption and to see their preparations and soon to be homecoming of their twin babies from Africa!  You can read all about (and donate if you so feel led, they can use any amount to help with adoption funds and travel expenses) the sweet family here at their blog: The Neelys They are very inspirational people. This is one of my favorite pictures of them:

    The evening of Thursday the 27th Jonah and I spent the night at my parents so we could get up fairly early Friday morning to go to Clarksville to see some friends and family.  My mom and family made it a little Baby Shower/Tea Party for Jonah and I.  Back when I was pregnant and living in Memphis, my feet began to swell pretty badly after coming home from my Huntsville baby shower on Spring break in March, so we did no more long trips after that.  Then, Jonah was born in May, and my wonderful Granny Em went to be with the Lord when he was 10 days old.  Some day soon I will write a post or two all about her.  Right now the pain is still very fresh and I just haven't felt like crying that much in one sitting.  So anyway, that side of my family didn't really have the opportunity to celebrate Jonah's birth.  Besides, he didn't even wear some of his 0-3 month clothes because he had so many, so a baby shower at 7 months was perfect timing!  It was so good to see some of my friends and family! A teacher friend I worked with has a sweet baby boy only 6 days younger than Jonah and we had a few hours to catch up and talk about baby stuff.  It was nice to see a friend.  Somehow, John and I haven't made any real friends down here, and it is beginning to get lonely.  Then I got to see my dear Granddaddy and some sweet aunts and cousins and an uncle.  My cousin had a little boy in February, and he and Jonah were checking each other out.  She got them cute little matching outfits! It's fun to see Jonah enjoy other babies so much.  Jonah was great, and stayed sweet for people to pass him around until we left that evening.  It rained all the way back to Huntsville, and Jonah woke up and cried loudly the last twenty minutes straight.
Granddaddy Jim and Jonah

Granddaddy's hands helping Jonah stand

      The morning of the 29th we met John and his dad in Huntsville and ate lunch out then spent the rest of the next few days at his mom's house hanging out and relaxing with family.  We left the morning of the 31st and drove back here to our new home in Mississippi.  Whew! So much driving! A sweet family here invited everyone over for a New Year's Eve party with fireworks, but we thought the babies should stay home and go to sleep on their schedule, so we stayed with them and our relief parents took the older kids to the party.  They had a bunch of fun, and actually came home around 11pm, so we let them stay up till midnight and drank Sparkling Welch's Grape Juice to toast. Haha! I wrote about my thoughts on New Year's here: New Year's Resolution and we stayed home with the kids for a few days doing projects around the house, which I am going to write about a little later as I actually complete the ones we started.

     Jonah and the other baby are in this great stage where they are beginning to sort of play together.  He is almost crawling.  He goes backward on his knees, and can pivot and turn in any direction, but can't figure out how to go forward.  It's rather comical because he's not trying to go backward at all, and his eyes are looking at something directly ahead that he cannot reach while he moves in the opposite direction.  The other baby is older and just began walking, but is smaller in stature and weight than Jonah. We can sit with them and let them explore each others' hands and give hugs and share toys.  Occasionally they still try to pluck each others' pretty little eyes out, but it is becoming much less common than it used to be.  They both babble constantly with lots of consonant sounds, 'ma, da, ga, la, ya,' are the most common, and most recently 'ba'.   Jonah does "Hey Da!" quite often and sounds like he is calling John, but then he just says it to everyone.  They both love music and singing and dancing, and if they are in a good mood they can be entertained by sitting in their high chairs with a teething ring, a sippy cup, and some puffs. This is great for us when we need to accomplish something and can't sit or play or chase them.  They also both have little walkers, and although Jonah hasn't figured out to walk in his yet, he seems to enjoy hanging out in it.  Like all babies, they'd both rather play with things like empty boxes, clean or dirty diapers, tissues, TV remotes, laundry baskets full of folded clothes, and cell phones than play with their own baby toys.  We constantly play the "Oh no, baby, you can't eat that (something crazy)" game.  

     School started back in full swing last week with our regular schedule, complete with older kids' science fair projects, and younger kids' spelling words. For now there is no break or relief in sight for us since one of the relief parents quit and the other was moved to a different campus (it was two friends, not a couple).  So please continue to pray for more house parents to be called to this job and get hired quickly!  We still feel called to this ministry, but it's definitely not what we expected when we were hired.  We feel confident that God will continue to equip us to do anything for His glory, and we know we are growing stronger in our faith from this experience.  Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement.  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Party of 2 becomes Family of 6

     July of 2011, two social workers brought these kids because they had two kids in each car.  They followed each other and pulled in to our apartment within minutes of us walking in the door from camp.   (see Camp - the post that would come before this in order of time) We were greeted by a jabbering, curious, bouncing-off-the-walls little boy, who asked lots of questions and picked up anything he could reach to touch and examine it.  His three little sisters were only slightly less invasive, with high pitch little southern drawling voices we could barely understand.  The baby was the most surprising.  She was 14 months old, but so skinny and little with huge doe eyes, and seemed lazy because of her lack of movement.  We had not had much experience with babies except for Miss Adorable 2 weeks earlier, so we actually had no idea how little/malnourished she truly was.  Now that Jonah is 7 months old and weighs around 20 pounds, it is shocking to think she was twice his age and weighted far less.  14 months old and 14 pounds heavy is bad.  The kids walked in with the clothes on their backs and nothing else.  We fed them cereal around the coffee table and tried to figure out how to pronounce their names.  I have changed their names slightly here for some privacy.  Their names in order, were something a little like this, but more home-spun: Tomarious (called Tom), Tasha, Tessa, and Taysha. They did not ask about their parents, and happily explored our apartment and climbed all over us. This was that first night:
Left to Right : Tom, John and Tessa, Tasha
Taysha - 14 months and 14 pounds, clinically diagnosed as "Failure to Thrive"
     Going from 0 children to 4 is a little more difficult than I expected.  I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a curse that I have an eternally optimistic and positive attitude about huge life undertakings that most other people scoff, shake their heads, look disturbed, and say, "Bless Your Heart" about, but this was one of them.  Before the kids showed up I was like bouncing off the walls excited to meet them.  This "wildly thrilled about it-can-do attitude - where do I sign up!!!???" applies to all of the following events in my life thus far:

1. Becoming a Teacher
2. Getting Married during Student Teaching
3. Moving to Memphis for John to go to Seminary
3. Becoming Foster Parents
4. Deciding to continue to be a Foster Parent while Pregnant
5. Giving birth Naturally with No Epidural
6. Becoming House Parents

Each time I have been crazy excited about one of the above events, totally trusting God to get us through it, only to be met by serious negativity by a considerable amount of other people around me. This was no different.  Here's what many conversations sounded like,

Me: "We have 4 foster kids."
Other People: "Are you CRAZY!?"
Me: "No, there's a really big need for foster parents here, with over 1000 children in foster care every single day."
Other People: "But 4 kids! How old are they?"
Me: "1, 2, 3, and 5, and they're really good kids."
OP: "Wow! You have your hand's full!"
M: "All the time!"

-Really - telling someone - anyone - especially a parent of more than one child "You have your hands full," is a VERY ANNOYING UNDERSTATEMENT!!! Yes, our hands are full.  Yes, we are extremely busy.  Yes, we have almost no spare time.  Yes, our lives consist of cooking and cleaning for small humans constantly.  No, I don't need you to tell me. However, I was still surprised how strangers everywhere acted like they were paying us a complement by saying this little gem of a cliche phrase "You have your hands full," sometimes multiple times within a short amount of time/space. This happened so very often last year that I realized I was clenching my jaw when people said it. Please instead say something HELPFUL or ENCOURAGING, like, "You are doing a good job, they all have their shoes on today." or "I can tell you are a good mom because there's spit-up on your shirt." or "I like the way you dressed them all in matching colors." or even, "It will get better as they get older." - So many people say mean things like, "It only gets worse!" Just please don't say "You have your hands full." Okay, off that soap box.-

     SO, all 4 kids are crowding around us constantly, exploring the house, following us, trying to figure out what's happening, and we realize it's like 10pm and we have little kids who should obviously be in bed!  The rooms are all ready, and we announce, "OK it's bedtime!" Crying ensued.  All three older kids burst into tears.  John and I look at each other.  He may have said something like, "This was your idea." (lol!)  I remember we just kind of held them and said "Aww it's OK, it's just bedtime, you have to get good sleep! Here, we'll sing to you."  After we had changed them all into some PJs, the John-and-Kelly Bedtime Concert began.  I call it that because we had no idea how long it should last, and for some odd reason we felt that we should sing until they all fell asleep.  For about 3 weeks we put on this little throat-exhausting 20-40 minute show, before we decided there had to be a song limit and then we turned on a children's music CD. Ahhhhh, the sweet relief of walking out of their room at bedtime! Tom stopped crying at bedtime when he realized there was nothing to be upset about if we were making them all go to bed at the same time.  Tasha always hated bedtime, and often threw such a screaming tantrum that she had to spend some time in timeout alone while we got the other kids ready for bed.  Tessa didn't verbally resist bedtime, but would literally bang her head against her pillow for about half an hour before falling asleep.  Good thing those were some soft pillows!  We took turns rocking baby Taysha to sleep.  John adored rocking her to sleep on his shoulder.  They quickly developed a sweet bond.

     We got them, and it was 4th of July weekend.  I wanted to learn how to do their hair, and a sweet lady from our church volunteered to teach me a few things.  She showed me a lot about corn-rows though, and I struggled to teach my fingers to move between such thick hair so quickly.  A few weeks later one of the excellent teachers from my school actually came over to our apartment, bought all the supplies with her and taught me how to do sections and plaits.  I will forever be grateful to these two women for teaching me how to take care of the girls' hair.  I am still using those skills today! Here are a few pics from that first weekend:
Before Hair
After with Miss Princess 'Tasha'

     Becoming foster parents to a sibling group of four meant suddenly learning how to be parents.  We didn't get many breaks at all.  Thank goodness it was July and neither of us had to go to school (I taught first grade and John was in his second year of Seminary), so we had one month to figure out a lot of basics, and my mom was able to come and help (she's a school nurse so she was out of school too). Our house was quickly taken over by children's toys and furniture.  We were constantly cleaning up enormous amounts of bodily fluids.  Two kids in diapers and two kids having frequent potty accidents meant an enormous increase in:
1. Trash (as a couple we had about one bag every 5-7 days, now we had a full trash bag every single day which John had to carry to the dumpster),
2. Laundry (we managed to do our own laundry maybe once a week before - now we had to do at least one load every day to stay on top of it), and
3. Awful Odors (seriously bad smells that often made us gag).

     However, having four kids under age 5 teaches you
1. Kids really do say the funniest things (how the word "lasagna" got turned into "bagina" that rhymes with human anatomy, we will never know), but Tom sure did love it when I cooked bagina!),
2. Jesus loves children for a reason (when they told us some of the horrific things they had gone through, our hearts melted at their lack of innocence), and
3. You really do turn into your parents at some point (I realized as I shook my finger at the babies and said "NO NO!" then began to say nonsense words like "I swanee" because it's not something you would be embarrassed of your child repeating.)

     We learned so much more from them than that, but I'll have to tell you later as it comes to me. They stayed with us for a wild, hectic six months.

Picture Courtesy of Hannah - showing off my mad hair skills, lol
Late August, 2011

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

2012 - The year of Babies! (This was Summer - Jonah was 6 weeks,  Girls were 8 months and 18 months)
     It's a little strange to think that 2012 is over.  What a long and busy year it was!  We began the year half-way through the pregnancy, I was gloriously enjoying the second trimester and teaching first grade. Then we got the 2 foster baby girls at the end of January, and learned how to take care of little babies. This was March/30 Weeks Pregnant:
The girls were 4 and 14 months old here.

 We had 2 big life events on May 18th - Jonah was born at 2pm and John graduated seminary at 7pm.

May 17th - having small contractions :) 

May 18th - having a baby boy :) 

 With lots of tears, we lost the baby girls in late August when we found out they were not adoptable, moved to Mississippi in late September, and have been House Parents ever since.  Jonah is already 7 months old! He has grown so quickly! We took him to the doctor recently and he weighed in at 20.8 pounds, and measured 29 inches long, so he is in the 95%ile for height and 73%ile for weight. Haha tall baby! No wonder he's in his 9 month clothes now.

Around 5 months, being sweet

Being difficult to photograph with his age blocks now.

My only resolution for 2013 is this:

Spend More Time on the Most Important People/Things

 This should result in spending more time in specific prayer, Bible reading, laughing, exercise, healthy eating, playing with kids more, and generally spending my time more wisely.  I don't feel as though I often necessarily waste time because I certainly do not watch much TV at all, it really annoys me.  I only "play" on my computer when I'm on break or the kids are all in bed, or when I am looking up recipes to cook dinner.  I only "play" on my phone while nursing and pumping.  "Play" is in air quotes because I spend most of my internet time reading other interesting blogs, catching up with friends on facebook, learning new things on pinterest, or about babies on a variety of baby websites. Yet I struggle to fit in time for things I love like daily devotions, exercise, being creative, and clearing the clutter from our living spaces.  I am going to try to figure out where the time goes and how to organize it more efficiently because I know that it will help my whole family.  I was very conscientious of time spent in the classroom, but I have not carried that over into parenting.  I am excited about trying to be more mindfully purposeful of the way I spend my time.  What are your plans for 2013?

     I felt this was an appropriate passage to end on:

Ecclesiastes 3

New Living Translation (NLT)

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.