January 31, 2011

So Amazed!

Wow! The kids, both of them, seem to be doing so many new things lately!

Ethan Update:
He is saying even more new words now: dark, thank you (sort of...but he signs it really well, so that's a help!), stop it (one guess who that is direct to most of the time!), drink, cup, Betty and Sue (his SS teachers), Shea (the little girl our music minister adopted), apple, cupcake (cu cake---he has a bit of a sweet tooth!), duck, sheep, cow, puppy, pig, dog, movie and I am sure there are some I am forgetting! He likes to do the sounds for cow, dog, duck, sheep, pig (that one's a little garbled!) and horse. He is all over the place, all the time, and into everything! He has the sweetest little smile that just lights up any room (which I am sure you saw in several of the pics!) Of course, he also has a bit of a temper and has gotten more than one spanking for making some bad choices about his attitude!!! But, he is just 20 months old, so we try to remember that when he's driving us crazy with the whining noise!

Sophie Update:
Sophie also seems to be doing tons of new things, which, for some reason, seems surprising to me! Seems like she should be at an age where she's done doing new things for a year or two, you know, once she's in school! Guess not! Kevin has really been working with her on reading the clock, both a digital and a regular clock. She has no problem reading the digital clock, and she's just a day or two away from being able to do the other! That's crazy! Some days I can't read either clock and I'm 32! She did her first crossword puzzle today. Now, granted, it was in a kindergarten readiness book and each word was only three letters and there was a picture as the clue for each word, but I only had to help her with the first 2 before she caught on to how they work! She is really doing well with reading! She reads the signs and banners and labels and what not everywhere we go! It's fun listening to her try and sound out all those words...just a reminder every time about how crazy complicated and weird this English language is! She has now learned all 66 books of the Bible, Psalm 23 and The Beatitudes. Still working to help her understand the last two, but hey, even I don't fully understand, so I guess she's doing pretty well! Can't believe that she goes to school this fall. I think we will be pretty lost around here without her for the first few weeks!

Kevin and I:
Kevin and I are doing well, too. Kevin has been terribly busy with the business these last 3 or 4 months, which is a total blessing from God! It sure is hard to feel like we never see him, but we know that the work could end at any time and that every job is from the Lord, so we continue to praise and thank Him for all He has done and will do. I still find myself struggling a bit to get up earlier than the kids each morning to have a good, solid Bible study, but the baby steps are going well. I am really enjoying the studies we've done in SS and small group and am looking forward to our newest studies in each. Hannibal is supposed to get like 12-18 inches of snow in the next day or so, so we may be getting lots of quality family time this week! I am just hoping that the power stays on. It could be a long few days if there's no electricity in this house!!!! But, at least it's cold enough outside to put all the food out there and hopefully not lose any of it! That wouldn't be the case in the summer. Just another way God is in control and blessing us in the tiny things!

January 28, 2011

25 Years Goes By Soooooooo Fast

25 years.  25 years.  Is it really possible that it's been 25 years?  This week marks 25 years since the shuttle Challenger blew up.  But, for me, it's a week that marks something entirely different. 25 years ago life as I knew it changed forever.  25 years ago I lost my first best friend.  25 years ago fire ravaged the house behind ours in the tiny little town of Nebo, IL.  That fire also took the life of my two best friends and their mother.  As a 7 year-old, my world came crashing down on my head.  I have no idea how my mom and dad kept us going.  My older sister and I were beside ourselves.  I don't even think there are words to describe the loss that we were feeling.  We did everything with Georgie and Chantel.  Everything!  Every time the door bell rang, I just knew it was them coming to tell us it was all some big mistake.  But, it was never them at the door.  I spent most of my days after that sitting in my room or swinging on the swing in the back yard talking to them through holes in the clouds. 

Of course, when I look back on that day 25 years ago, even through the tears, I can see God's miraculous hand and rejoice that He was with me every step.  I can rejoice that He used that day, that horrible tragedy to draw me to Him in a way that nothing else could.  You see, we weren't home the day of the fire.  Though we rarely got vacations, because my dad was a pastor, he just happened to be at a conference so we were at our grandparent's house.  We didn't have to see the fire, feel helpless to just watch, see the rescue efforts, none of that.  We didn't have to see their lifeless bodies carried out on stretchers or watch the firemen as they frantically tried to save our best friends.  God is good.  And it was this experience that showed me I have no guarantee of tomorrow.  My life could end just as quickly as Chantel's had and I knew that if it did, I was going to Hell because I had no relationship with Christ.  So, that cold day in January led to a bright day in April (April 26) when I asked Christ to be my Lord and Savior.  Of course, there have been days when I've paid God no attention and done what I wanted, and there have been times I have forgotten He was there to carry me through, but He has never left.  The best reminder of that?  When they allowed us to walk through the house after the fire (why we would even want to do that, I have no idea, but God used that, too) we saw a small picture hanging on the wall.  It was strange that it was even still hanging, but that was not all.  This was a picture of Christ and the two thieves on the cross at Calvary.  It was a chalk drawing and the frame had no glass in it, yet, not one drop of water or even on tiny flame had touched this picture.  There on the wall, hanging perfectly untouched and for all the town to see, was Christ dying on the cross for our sins.  Thank you, Lord, for working in ways we cannot comprehend, good or bad, to draw us to You!

January 26, 2011

The Laziness and Selfishness has slowly taken over!

As I came home from church today, for some reason, the Lord brought to mind a lady from our church.  She is the sweetest, most selfless, most encouraging, most amazing woman (and she's under 35!!!!) I think I have ever met.  Seriously.  Anyway, when she came to mind, I was saddened as I realized that it had probably been a month since I had had more than a 2 minute or so conversation with her.  We weren't ever the best of friends, but I at least chatted with her and knew what was going on, but now, I have no idea.  It feels as though she's in another town or something.  Then I got to thinking about why this is the case.  Believe me, it has nothing to do with her.  I have just become lazy and selfish when it comes to dealing with other people.  Back in college and before Kevin and I got married, I was sooooooo good at encouraging and leaving notes and sending little gifts and really keeping up with people and knowing what was going on with other people.  I was a great listener and a great shoulder to lean/cry on.  What has happened?  When Kevin and I were dating/engaged, I could have owned stock in the construction paper/notebook paper/card/marker,etc. companies because I was leaving him notes almost daily.  I was always telling him how proud I was of him and how blessed I was to have him in my life.  Now, he gets notes on his birthday, Valentine's Day and our anniversary and that's pretty much it.  I tell him every now and then how blessed I am and how great he is, but not often enough.  When I was working at the college, I was so good at being encouraging to the students...always leaving the ones that worked for us little notes or gifts.  But now, I am so consumed with me, my day, my family, what's happening in my house, that I don't even look around me to see what's going on, who needs encouragement, who needs to have their spirits lifted, who I can be Jesus to that day.  I have no connection to the world outside my house because I choose to focus only on me.  And to be honest, I keep thinking that once the kids get in school I will have more time to help others, get to know more people, and do the things that Christ expects me to do to spread His love to others...but really...does He really want to me just sit around focused only on myself for the next three years, then start obeying?  I don't think so!  I need to act now!  I need to put the laziness and selfishness aside and run to Him for a heart change!  Lord, help me to seek You in all things.  Help me to put You first in every area of my life.  Help me to love You more and love others as You love them.  Help me to show my children Your love in the way I love them and love others, as well as in the Word that You have given us.

January 11, 2011

A little of this, a little of that!

I have been trying my new "schedule" of getting up early for exercise and Bible Study for about a week now.  I have done great at getting up early and the Bible study, not so much with the exercise.  In fact, I must admit I only did exercise one day.  But, baby steps, right?  And oddly, I don't feel like a failure for missing out on that part.  I get lots of exercise chasing around Sophie and Ethan and even more with all the trips I make up and down the stairs each day (not that any of that is substitute for strength training and much needed cardio exercise) so, for now, I am willing to count that!  I also have to admit that I am not getting up happily each morning, either.  It takes all I have each morning to drag myself out of bed!  But, I am doing it and I've had some great prayer times and some great study times!!  Thank you Lord, for getting me up, even if it's at the crack of dawn!  The time has been soooooo worth it!

Ethan is just amazing me lately with how much he is learning to say.  Just in the last week he has probably already picked up ten new words that he actually uses and he can now repeat pretty much anything  you say!  He has recently started saying milk, drink (gink), knee, monkey (money), hand, up, help, daddy work, Sis Sis, yucky, stinky (tinky), Bible, book, hammer (sort of), and I am sure there are more, but I can't think of them at this moment.  I mean seriously, a week ago, he wasn't saying any of these words and he couldn't repeat half of what you say!  How is he old enough to be able to do this?  Where has the time gone?  This is truly insane and I am not prepared for this!

Sophie has said so many funny things in the last 24 hours and I so wish that I had written them down because all of you would have enjoyed them.  The way her mind works is a complete mystery to me, but it always brings a smile, for sure!  Kevin had just a little to do to finish up a job today, so he let Sophie go with him.  She wanted to take a box of band aids with them just in case daddy got hurt so she could fix him up right there.  Is that sweet or what?  I pray everyday that she never loses that sweet, loving spirit!  May she grow into her name: Wisdom and Grace!

Well, I think that's about all the update that I have for now!  Hope you enjoyed the last few videos that I posted!

Tiny Dancer

Oh, this girl!  Dancing is in her blood, I guess.  I am going to have to offer Miss Megan some big bucks to give her some private dancing lessons so I know she's learning non-hoochy stuff!

Ethan's Turn!

Of course, Sis Sis was doing it, so he had to try, too!  Of course, he decided that stand still might be his best option!  ;)

She got brave!

She got brave and decided to hop all the way down.  I was very impressed that she made it the whole way (though she was not super happy I wouldn't let her try it on the highest beam!)

Second time on the beam

Here she is again on the beam.  She was so good at it that she spent a lot of time doing it...over...and over...and over!

First try at the balance beam

We recently attended a birthday party for a sweet little girl in our playgroup.  The party was at Gem City Gymnastics in Quncy.  The whole family had a blast!  Sophie blew me away with her ability on the balance beam!

January 01, 2011

Sledding Videos

Just thought I would put some sledding videos on here for the fam to see!  Some of you may have already seen these on Facebook, but for those who haven't, ENJOY!!!!!

This was Ethan's first time sledding.  Last year he hated the snow, but this year he really liked it.  He was not happy when I made him go inside for a nap!

This is Sophie on the "big hill".  She was also a huge fan of the sledding.  Perhaps one day we'll have to try and take them skiing or something.

I had to get in on the action, too!

And, of course, Daddy had to show us all how it was done!