Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Letter: 4 Years

Dear Harry,

Well it's already time to write you another letter. Tomorrow is your birthday!

I honestly cannot believe that my squishy, chunky baby is already a four-year-old. You really are a boy now, there's no denying it! And, surprisingly I'm more than okay with it. A couple of months ago I had a good cry about how fast you're growing up, and how I just want to freeze time and keep you at this stage forever. 

But the feelings were short-lived (and probably pregnancy-hormone-induced), and now that your birthday is actually here I am so excited.

Three was a fun year. So many wonderful memories were made!

Your vocabulary grew immensely, as did your personality. There were some hard moments for sure, but who doesn't have hard moments? I'm 30 and I have moments where I throw a grown-up version of your tantrums. In all honesty, you don't throw a ton of tantrums. You get moody sometimes. And there have been some moments this past year that you said/did some unkind things. But that's to be expected because you're human, and sinful, just like everyone else who has ever lived (myself and Daddy included). I think what I've enjoyed the most about this stage, and what I look forward to as you move into your "fours" is that I can talk to you about this hard moments through the lens of grace. When you sin against me, or I sin against you...we can acknowledge our brokenness, say we are sorry, and thank Jesus that through the blood He shed on the cross we are able to forgive and be forgiven - for every sin, no matter how big or how small.

You have a tender heart my boy. I thank God for the work He is doing to help you to repent quickly. Usually when scolded or put into time out, you say you are sorry quickly (and are very genuine about it). I pray that God will keep softening your heart in this way, so that you never lose this quality. It's such a good and healthy way to live life.

And you're still such a goof ball, maybe even more so the older you get! Your imagination runs wild with fast car races, airplane stunts, superhero missions, wild animal adventures, and more sound effects than I could have ever dreamed of!

After the bath one night you were pretty impressed with your "spike hair" and you were cracking yourself up being silly in front of the mirror. You had us all rolling, it was pretty funny!

You still love to lay on the ground to play. Whether it's cars, toy story toys, legos, you name's your favorite way to play!

Your love for Buzz Lightyear, and Toy Story in general remains strong! A friend of mine was at Disneyland and brought you back these personalized ears. Can't wait to get you back there so you can wear them...but for now they look pretty awesome with your Buzz Halloween costume! :)

If we'd let you, you would literally spend hours in the bathtub every day. My "mommy" tub has turned into toy central, but I love all the cars, planes, and action figures that clutter up my bathroom. I'll miss them someday when you're too grown up for playing in the bath!

You  L O V E  to be in your pajamas, or better yet just running around the house in your underwear. You can't tell from the picture, but it was snowing outside (just barely) and you stood for quite some time just watching in wonder. "It's going to snow forever and ever!" you kept saying. "Does this mean it's Christmas, TODAY?!" (it was still November at the time). 

One of your latest favorites is watching "space videos" with your Daddy. He wanted to be an astronaut when he was a little boy, and you may be following in his footsteps. I've caught you both deeply engrossed in youtube videos the planets. Sometimes, when Dad puts you to bed without me (usually on my Bible study nights) opt for space videos instead of stories.

I love how your mind is so curious to learn, and you soak up just about everything that you hear and see!

Apparently you weren't very into your rehearsals for the Christmas program at school, but your sure sang loud and proud on stage. We could hear your voice above all of your classmates. It was so cute to see you up there singing about the true meaning of Christmas!

You continue to be a little more on the cautious side than your peers. You warm up once you're comfortable with a situation and/or the people involved...but in some ways I'd even call you shy. You just like to hold back a bit when we first arrive somewhere, or try something new. As a baby I remember you being very observant - paying attention to everything going on around you, and I still see glimpses of that in you today. But once you're ready, you're all in!

I can imagine that as you turn four and move through this next year that you will only continue to grow into the little boy you're becoming. This time next year I wouldn't be surprised if you were reading - you're infatuated with letters, letter sounds, and trying to spell out words based on the sounds you hear. All of this makes this teacher's heart sing. I am just amazed at how smart your little brain is. You try to talk us into as many bedtime stories as possible - somehow we got into the habit of reading four (maybe because you've been loving the number four the closer we get to your birthday). We have to talk you down on the story count, otherwise bedtime stories last for an hour (or more). But we really love reading with you. I think it's a huge reason why you're so into letters and words. 

Well my sweet boy, when I write your next letter you will have a baby brother. You already love him so well (always talking to him and rubbing/smooching my belly), but I'm sure it'll be a whole different thing once he's born. You've been a little clingy lately, wanting me more than anyone, and even calling us "mama" and "dada" in kind of a baby-talk voice (which you've never really done). I think that you're a little nervous about the big change of us having another baby, even though you're so excited at the same time.

I can't promise there won't be hard moments. Adjusting to change is always a challenge...and one that you can't fully anticipate/understand until you're in it. But I can promise that your daddy and I will never stop loving you. Just because things will change and our attention will be shared between you and your little brother...doesn't mean we'll love you any less. All of our hearts will just have to stretch a little and make room for Ellis. I'm not sure exactly how that happens, but everyone I know with more than one child says that it does. So we'll just keep moving forward and figure this whole thing out as we go. Needless to say, four is going to be an epic year for you Harry. You're going to become a brother (!), go on an amazing trip to Hawaii, and start your final year of preschool before Kindergarten.

Love you more than I have words to say!

Love always,

Your Mama 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

c o m e + l i s t e n + L I V E

I love words!

I'm a verbal processor, so I love to share them with friends and family.

I love to read books and blogs. I appreciate words written in cards and spoken by friends and loved ones.

As 2015 was coming to a close, I felt an urging to get back into God's Word in 2016. Not that I haven't been reading it throughout the past year...I have. But I often read it as a box to check off my to-do list.  Or as an aside - a few verses that add onto the words of another.

What I mean is that I'll get into a Bible Study and hang on to every word of the author. I'll read a really inspiring book that challenges me to look at my faith in a completely new way. This is great and all...but I have been asking God to increase my desire for His Word. I've been filling up so much on the words of others, that His Word has lost its appeal.

I am so thankful that He heard my prayers and has answered.

God's response came in the form of a study called "Open Your Bible". Yes, it's another Bible study, but this one is very different from other studies I've done. It was written by the founders of She Reads Truth (which I've talked about multiple times here on the blog...back when I was blogging more regularly). And while it is another Bible study, the whole premise is that:

God's Word is for me (and you)

...and it is for now

It is for today, 

...and every day of my life (and yours).

It's simple, and at the same time so profound.

Since turning the corner into 2016, I can honestly say that I've opened my Bible more. Not because I need to read God's Word for Him to love me more. Instead, I'm re-discovering that Scripture is where I find life, and rest, and peace. It's truly the place where I can meet God daily, and see Him more clearly. His Word has been inspiring me more than what others' words ever could (no matter how true or how beautifully they are articulated). I am retraining my mind to go to Him first. To approach His Word with a new attitude and anticipation of the life that will come from that time well-spent.

.    .    .

Here's a passage that struck me from my last week's reading (especially the part bolded below from verse 3).

I S A I A H  5 5 : 1 - 3

Come, all you who are thirsty, 

come to the waters; 

and you who have no money, 

come, buy and eat! 

Come, buy wine and milk 

without money and without cost! 

Why spend money on what is not bread, 

and your labor on what does not satisfy? 

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, 

and you will delight in the richest of fare. 

Give ear and come to me;

listen, that you may live.

I will make an everlasting covenant with you,

my faithful love promised to David.

(emphasis added)

.    .    .

The Lord wants us to come to him, and to listen; this, He promises will bring us LIFE!

This is what my heart has been longing for. I look to so many others (who are talented, truth-telling, inspired, creative people) and all the while I've been feeling like something was missing. For me, I discovered that it was because I wasn't going straight to the source. I think the the words and creativity of others will bring my life, but in reality - my life comes from the Word of God.

So that's what I'm working on this year. I don't have a "New Year's Resolution" or a "word" for the year. simple act of coming and listening and receiving the life that Jesus alone can give me.

It's so freeing! So inspiring! To know that the Creator wants me to come...He wants to share His words, with and every day!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

26 Weeks | Pregnancy Ramblings

Well I'm 26 weeks, but haven't taken my "official bump pic" yet because the past week Harry and I have endured the plague...okay, I exaggerate. It was just a cold. But when you're pregnant, sneezing/blowing your nose constantly, coughing, and taking care of your child (who has all the same symptoms plus a fever) feels like the plague, or at least something worse than a cold.

It could have been worse, but I'm just SO THANKFUL to have gotten a full night of sleep and to be feeling a little better this morning.

I actually put on mascara, so that's a good sign, right?!

Well here are some random pregnancy pics I've taken in the past few weeks:

I don't take many "bare bump" pics...but here's one for your entertainment ;)

Restaurant bathroom selfie. I am not sure why I was making this face...but if I'm remembering it correctly, I think I was feeling extra awkward hoping no one would come through the door and catch me taking this dorky pic. Probably a sign that I should refrain from these kinds of pictures in the future. 

This isn't even all of the tubs of boys clothes that we have. It felt really good to get them organized though so that we can start cycling through them once Ellis arrives in April! 

Here's my 24 week bump. Harry wanted to be in the pic (with his "collection" - which basically means random toys that he had re-discovered in some toy bin that afternoon). I have basically been living in this sweater (and those shoes) fact I'm wearing the sweater as we speak.

Harry was comforting me when I started coming down with is sickness. He was singing about how he loves his baby "b-wudda" and kissing my belly. I was so tired and run-down that I started crying a few minute before taking this pic...and his response was "I'll make you feel happy mommy!". Such a sweet little tender heart he has.

This is basically all I've eaten in the past few days. So comforting!

And the tissues. Oh the amount of tissues we used this week. This was all from me in the middle of the night (the one in which Harry slept in our bed with me, and Josh opted for the couch to avoid catching our germs). We hardly slept a wink due to the constant nose drainage (as evidenced here).

Did I mention how thankful I am to be feeling more like a human today?! SOOOOO Thankful!!!

.    .    .

Well I suppose that's about it for now. I'll post a pic of "26 weeks" once I get around to taking one.

Ellis continues to grow and move all around which is just the biggest blessing ever. I really can't believe this is all happening sometimes. Last year was so hard. So filled with loss and doubt/fear that we may never get to experience bringing another little life into the world. And here we are. Just a couple of months away from meeting our second son!

Thank you Jesus!

And on a "mushy" note...Josh left us this note the other night. He had to work in the evening so by the time Harry and I returned from school he was gone...but he left us with a clean house and this. We are thankful to have him as our husband and daddy. He works his tail off for our family and we are so  grateful (even if it means we miss him when he has to work long hours at times).

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

3/52 (2016)

All of Harry's dinosaurs were eagerly watching him eat his pizza.
According to him, they wanted bites of the meat (since they're meat-eaters).

Sunday, January 17, 2016

2/52 (2016)

We were heading somewhere in the car, and Harry was being super goofy in the driveway. He's blurry, but I love his silliness. I hope he never loses the freedom he feels to just be himself.

Oh to be almost four again! 

1/52 (2016)

Three years ago I took a photo of Harry every week of the year. I wish I'd been doing this every year, but I haven't done it since. This year however, I've decided to resurrect the project and document Harry's 4th year by taking his photo every week and documenting here.

Once Ellis arrives I'll be doing the same with him.

Can't wait to share little glimpses of our boys' year with you in this simple way.

It snowed on the first Sunday of the 2016.

Harry was so excited to bundle up and go "lick the snowflakes". His wonder and excitement at the little moments like this is one of my favorite parts of motherhood.