Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pat-a-cake with my four month old!

Four months old today!!
We're so in love with her!
Four months is such a fun stage. Baby begins really interacting with you, becoming more expressive, more vocal, and more playful.
It's about this age that we begin playing with toys, enjoying peek-a-boo, and rewarding mommy's silly nursery rhymes with big, gummy smiles.
All of my kiddos have enjoyed their very own version of Pat-A-Cake around this age.

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man,
Bake me a cake as fast as you can!
Pat it, and prick it, and mark it with an A,
Put it in the oven for Asher, hooray!
[Asher James, 4.5 months]

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man,
Bake me a cake as fast as you can!
Pat it, and prick it, and mark it with a G,
Put it in the oven for Grayson and me!
[Grayson Wayne, 4 months]

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man,
Bake me a cake as fast as you can!
Pat it, and prick it, and mark it with an L,
Put it in the oven for Lois Idelle!
[Lois Idelle, 4 months]
Here are my three little sweeties at four months each, side by side.
I'd say they're related!

At four months old, Lois Idelle...
-smiles all the time!
-sleeps all the time.
-has delightfully long eyelashes. (They're trying to make up for the growing bald spot on the back side of her head!)
-Puts up with her mother's inability to resist dressing her up (and often dressing to match her).
-survives her rambunctious brothers' affection for her with alert eyes and smiling lips.
-hates tummy time.
-occasionally sucks her thumb (even though it's generally discouraged!)
-seems to believe that her chubby baby figure still requires a meal in the middle of the night to maintain.
-coos, squawks, and shrieks with her adorable little baby girl voice... constantly. (I think she's going to rival her talkative brothers one day!)
-has already developed a myriad of nicknames, including Lolie [low-lee], Lolie Bug, Apple Car, Lo, Lady, and Lois Dois. But don't worry, Lois Idelle is still our favorite. ;)

Oh, and her eyes. They tend to photograph dark, but in person...
Gray, with flecks of hazel brown, blue, and green all mixed in. 
We'll see how they end up!

We love you, little darling! 
So thankful for this sweetheart of ours!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Super Gray and Lois

One of the fun coincidences of my delivery with Lois was the fact that one of the techs attending was a young woman named Lois. She was delighted to hear we were naming our daughter Lois (since it's rare these days), and then warned us that we should be prepared for LOTS of Lois Lane & Superman jokes. (People think they're so original!)
We haven't gotten any yet, but here's Super Gray donning his cape, and obsessing over his own darling Lois!
The only problem is that Super Gray often doesn't protect Lois. In fact, she's truly not safe left unattended on the floor, because her hero in a red cape will literally squash her with his loving affection. He sits on her, squishes her cheeks in his hands, wiggles and shouts endearments at her with his face only an inch away from hers, and even likes to jump over her to show off his awesome skills. (Note: they're not very awesome.)
Today I found him like this:
"Mommy, look! I'm making a 'T' with Lois!"
At least he wasn't trying to make an 'X'!
Super Gray and Lois. Their love will last a lifetime! 
(And she'll be all the tougher for it!)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Oh so spontaneous!

I'm not the spontaneous sort.
However, I'm trying to be a little more free spirited and fun. ;)
So: cue the last minute overnight trip to Richmond with Daddy!
(I didn't know we would be joining him until almost noon the day we left!)
It was his LAST interview for internships, and we thought it'd be fun to jump in on the free overnight stay in a hotel, since it was so close to home!
I manned the troops while the hubs went to dinner with some of the residents at the program.
The next morning, he left early for his interview and I was left at the hotel with the littles. To entertain ourselves we watched cartoons, jumped on the beds, the boys played in the walk-in shower (forever), and ate snacks.
Then came time to pack up, check out, and load the car on my own.

Mommy vs. Three Kids, Two Pieces of Luggage, Three Bags, Two Hanging Garments, a Car Seat, and the Hotel Keys.
I totally won.
The trip was photographically documented about as well as it was planned for, but it was a good time!
So long, interview season!
Now we just wait for Match Day... It's not easy to wait!
(Have I mentioned I'm a planner? Yeah...)
Please pray with us as we wait to hear where the next chapter of our lives will take place. 
We find out where we will be moving on March 20th!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

So many special dresses!

I feel like every other week I'm posting another special dress Lois gets to wear.
This Sunday it was a smocked dress her darling Auntie wore as a babe.
Auntie's initials are marked on the tag in the back so I will remember to return it to her when she is one day blessed with her own baby doll to dress up.

So sweet!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Fourth Generation Dress

This dress was my grandmother's. 
She wore it as a babe, as did my own mother, as did I.
Now it's Lois' turn. It looks simply lovely!
The antique lace is so fragile that I think this will be the only time Lois gets to wear it. I'm not even sure it would hold up through an entire church service, the way Lois like to grab her outfits and suck on them. :)
But we have a picture, and back into safe keeping it will go. Waiting for my own granddaughter to take her turn.
What a special keepsake!

"G.G." has yet to meet Lois (outside of the womb) but hopefully we'll get a picture of the four generations of women sometime this Summer!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Morning Musings: I Just Can't!

"I just can’t."

Those three words are so powerful in our minds, and when I hear them (whether uttered by myself or another person) it sets me on edge. Growing up we had a family motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. My Dad’s voice resonates so clearly in my head with that admonition that any time I find myself thinking that something is too difficult for me, my conscience instantly responds with, 
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” 

Life is full of hard work, no matter what your calling. I am presented with opportunities to throw in the towel on a daily basis, as motherhood is the sort of job where you often feel like you fail more than you succeed. Whether it’s a seeming inability to keep the house tidy, get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour, keep up on the laundry, or get a child to understand that no, we don’t throw toys when we get angry (even though we’ve been working on it for over a year now!), it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and say, “I just can’t do it!”
[Laundry procrastination]
But here’s the deal. Unless the “can’t” in your mind involves flying without wings or using a magic wand, you most likely can. Now, I am not saying that you can do everything perfectly all the time and all you need is a little self motivation. But if the only thing I worked on and cared about was the state of my kitchen, I guarantee you it’d be sparkling clean. I am capable. And if someone offered to give me $500 if I could manage to keep the house tidy for a week, you can bet it’d be company-ready for seven days in a row. It’s not a matter of whether I’m capable. It’s often a matter of priorities.

Now, occasionally a messy house is a sign of properly aligned priorities. If the kids have had a rough day which required extra time and energy from you, you’ve managed to make a meal for a friend in need without forsaking your homeschool lessons for the day, and you even squeezed in a trip to the grocery store when you dropped the meal off, then there’s no problem. But if your house is *always* unkept, and you say it’s just too hard to get around to cleaning the bathrooms because the kids are so crazy, it might be a sign that you’re simply letting your priorities slip. How many hours did you spend on the computer this week? In front of the TV? It’s not that you can’t, it’s that your “me-time” takes top priority.

The funny thing about excuses is that they so rarely excuse you. 
They simply reveal your priorities.

So when you find yourself saying you “can’t,” it’s prudent to investigate. Why can’t I? Am I physically incapable, or do I simply not want to? And is my reason for not wanting to do this God-honoring, or is it actually laziness? You probably won’t like the answer.

I just can’t tidy up after the kids go to bed, I’m too exhausted.
I just can’t spend an hour reading to my kids, I have too much to do.
I just can’t make it to church. (Or I can’t make it to church on time.)
I just can’t make up a budget, it’s too overwhelming.
I just can’t be content with my life right now, it’s not how I pictured it would be.

The excuses don’t hold up, but they bring light to what is more important to you:

Your sleep is more important than your home.
Your Facebook is more important than your children’s imaginations.
Your day off is more important than worship in the Lord’s house.
 Frivolous or careless spending is more important than honoring your husband (and your God) with your finances.
Your wants are more important than God’s plan for you.

Ouch. I don’t know about you, but I kind of squirm when I think about all the times I am tempted to give into the “I just can’t” mentality throughout the day. And no, I don’t read to my children for an hour every day, or tidy up every single night before I go to bed. To be honest, I am writing this because I desperately need to be reminded of these truths myself! I fall short in every category. But, I was given the gift of a father’s patient and persistent instruction throughout the years. I have a voice bouncing around in my head that I simply can’t silence when the temptation strikes. 

“You can’t? You mean you won’t. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. You just don’t want to.”

It’s time to want to.
Get up, and go to it!
When you rely on the grace of God, you can!
- - - - - - - - - -
*By the way, if anyone wanted to offer me $500 to keep my house clean for a week, that would sure help me get off to a good start… just let me know…


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Great Gain with Contentment

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 
[1 Tim 6:6-7] 
The apostle Paul makes it sound so easy! Good words with which to start my day. Simple contentment today, joy in food and shelter. All the rest is blessing in abundance.

Monday, January 5, 2015

How are you?

“Hi! How are you doing?”

[Lois' signature "I'm tired" move]
This past Summer a dear friend and I discussed this ever common question and how to respond in a godly manner. When life is sunshine and roses, it’s easy to cheerily smile and say, “I’m doing great!” 

But so often life is ridden with trials and trouble, and answering during those times requires wisdom. We were talking about the fine line between wanting to be open and honest without being a “Debbie Downer” when I cracked the joke, “Well, I guess the trick is to just always be genuinely happy!” We laughed and were promptly interrupted by our slew of little happy trials and their argument over a certain coveted toy, and that was it. But I’ve been pondering the truth in my joke ever since.

It’s so true. The key to being honest without being an emotional drain on your friends is genuine cheerfulness. Regardless of circumstance, contentment and joy can permeate your perspective and bless those around you. This is often true for trials that are large and earth shattering, but it is especially true with the small, mundane bothers in our lives.

[Smiley girl!]
When people ask me how Lois is doing at night, I try to smile and respond with something along the lines of, “Well, she’s such a cheery, smiley little thing, she’s worth the sleep deprivation!” And it’s true. There is sleep deprivation, but there is great, great joy. :)

(p.s... I tried to wait for her to fuss so I could use a crying picture with this post, but the sweet little darling hasn't fussed once all day and I was tired of waiting! What a happy little girlie!)