Saturday, August 30, 2014

It's BA-ACK!

I am SOOO excited!!!


Thus begins one of my FAVORITE seasons of the year!!!
And this year, I get to share it with this Little Miss, the cutest Wolverine on the planet!

image signature

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Warms My Heart...

Sights like this absolutely warms my heart...

Lexie and Lloyd, side-by-side resting at the foot of our bed.  They're not cuddling yet... but three years after becoming siblings, this warms my heart.

image signature

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Treasuring the Present: Stars and Rain

Hubby and I took Lloyd and Tracey Ann camping for the first time this past weekend.  Lloyd had been before, but it was Tracey Ann's first time... and the first time we had gone as a family of four (Lexie got to stay home).

There were several wonderful memories, but specifically, I want to remember the Stars and Rain.

After Tracey Ann had fallen asleep in the tent with Lloyd (adorable!), Hubby and I had campfire dinner, and then we just laid on the grass, near the fire, under a blanket out under the stars.  The stars were innumerable.  We just talked and looked at God's glorious heavens above us.  It was so romantic, and such a wonderful time for us as husband and wife.

Cozy in the two-man tent (Tracey Ann and me sharing a sleeping bag), the night was 45* and 4:00am brought a big rain storm.  When I awoke with the rain at 4:00am, life was so perfect.  The rain was pelting our tent, but my wonderful Hubby had set it up so well that we stayed completely dry and warm in the little tent.  I got to lay in the dark, listening to the rain on the tent, with Lloyd by my feet, Tracey Ann right next to me -- taking up most of the sleeping bag with her arms outstretched, with my Hubby on the other side of Tracey Ann.  We were all safe and warm and dry out in nature together.

It was so special.

image signature

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tracey Ann -- 7 Months

Our baby girl is growing SO fast and changing, literally, everyday.

  Approximately 16.5 pounds -- the perfect size

I'm not entirely sure... she's still wearing her six month sleepers, so her length/height might have stayed constant this month.

Clothing size:
She wears mostly six-month clothes, but I've pulled out a few nine-month clothes.  Most of the nine-month clothes I put her in are more because they are summer clothes and I want her to wear them while the weather is nice.
Breast milk and lots of fruits and veggies.  She likes a variety of food tastes and textures -- the food that is her favorite one day, she won't like the next day.  So far she has tasted avocado, banana, tomatoes, butternut squash, pickles, applesauce, carrots, blueberries, corn, tuna, chicken, peaches, watermelon, melon, pineapple and pears... maybe more, but that's what I can remember.  She is gaining such hand-eye coordination, and grip-strength by our encouraging her to feed herself.  We are LOVING the baby-led weaning we're doing.

She's officially been in her nursery for about three weeks, and she is doing really well.  It has been a great month for us sleep-wise -- she is sleeping about nine-hours at night, then, after a feeding, she will sleep for another two hours.  We nave a really nice night time routine, and we're feeling good about sleeping this month.  During the day, she takes about three naps, each about an hour a piece.  We are all more rested this month.  Praise God!
New Accomplishments: 
  • Reaching and leaning for whatever she wants
  • Rolling over and over and over -- stomach to back, back to stomach
  • Spinning around on her stomach like a bottle
  • Basically, she moves anyway she needs to to get what she wants
  • She has started shrieking this month to get our attention -- we don't love it
  • She's starting to begin to pull herself up, with help
  • Staying home with our nanny a few days each week
  • She's getting better and better at sitting up -- she still falls over occasionally, but she's getting steadier and steadier

  •  Bath time -- bath time is a great time for us each evening and we have a blast
  • Trying new food
  • Blowing raspberries with her mouth
  • Mama and Daddy
  • Lloyd and Lexie
  • Helping Mama and Daddy -- basically being wherever we are and included in whatever we are doing
  • Not much this month... she is such a happy easy-going baby girl
    Places She Went:
    •  Mount Rushmore
    •  Camping for the first time

    Special Memories:
    • Camping for the first time -- Lloyd, Tracey Ann, Hubby and me all in a little two-man tent.  It was awesome!

    • Tracey Ann
    • Tracey
    • Baby Girl
    • Beautiful
    • Pumpkin (pronounced Punkin)
    • Punky
    • Fuss-o (when she's fussy)
    • Munchkers
    • Pretty Girl
    • Little Crawler
    image signature

    Sunday, August 24, 2014

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    A Part of the Club

    Whether I like it or not, I am now a part of a club.  I was inducted without even realizing it.

    I knew the club existed because I had heard of stories of the unselfish acts of its members over time... but I didn't understand it until I was a part of it.

    I am a mother.

    I knew that person after person has said that being a mother changes you, and it is a love like you have never felt -- but I did not understand until I felt it for myself.  In some ways, the love I feel for Tracey Ann did not surprise me -- I knew that, as a mother, I would love my baby in a different way than anyone else in the world... but the protection I feel for her did surprise me.

    She was about three weeks old when I told Chris that I finally understood all those stories I have heard all my life.  The heartbreaking stories of parents doing ANYTHING for their children. 

    These stories are as old as time --
    - Jews trying to hide their children from the Nazis, sending them to hide in the sewer system to avoid the concentration camps
    - Vietnamese trying to give their babies to American soldiers during the fall of Saigon
    - Moses' mother sending him down the Nile river in a basket in an effort to save his life from the Egyptian soldiers murdering baby boys

    I am sure there are more... these are the ones that immediately came to mind.

    When Tracey Ann was three weeks old, I watched a tv show that had a plot about a mother breaking protocol of her job to protect her child... and, for the first time, I understood the plot line in an entirely new way.  When Hubby arrived home I told him that I realized, there was now someone on earth for whom I would sacrifice my life in a heartbeat.

    Yes, I love my husband, and, in the situation, I might sacrifice my life for his... but I married a big, strong, protective husband -- I don't expect to have to die protecting him.  But my baby girl -- there is no contest there -- I will do anything to keep her safe.  I will do anything to protect her.

    This love is so fierce, it almost frightens me.

    At the same time, experiencing this love makes me in awe of Jesus' sacrifice all the more.  It was God's Will for His Son to pay the price so that ALL could be redeemed and enter the kingdom of God through the blood of Jesus.  Not only did Jesus have to bear the cross, but God had to let Him fulfill His purpose to save mankind.

    When Tracey Ann cries (and yes, we have occasionally let her cry, in moderation, in order for her to fall asleep) it BREAKS my heart.  I sit in another room wringing my hands staring at her monitor and the clock until I can go back in and rub her back and reassure her that I'm here.

    God had to watch as His Son -- His ONLY Son endured the agony and mockery of a trial, physical torture, brutal beatings, and finally a long and painful death on a cross.  No wonder the Earth turned black for three hours and an earthquake shook the land -- God had just watched his Son be tortured and killed voluntarily.

    I can't write any more about this topic, because I cannot let myself even remotely consider that something unpleasant could happen to Tracey Ann and how I would respond as her mother.

    Sufficed to say, I am a part of the club, now.  I am a full-blown Mama Grizzly and I will protect my cub fiercely, ferociously, and for all time.

    image signature

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

    Thankful In All Things

    Today's blog comes courtesy of, my favorite, Father Tim (from the Mitford books).

    I just finished listening to book seven in the Mitford series, "In This Mountain" and Father Tim preaches a great sermon in the book about giving "thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" from 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

    Father Tim said that Christians are often quick to be thankful in joyful times and give thanks for blessings, but how many times are Christians thankful for trials or challenges?

    Father Tim said that trials and challenges in our lives, no matter how difficult, are at the very least permitted by God, and He will ALWAYS bring good in the midst of the challenges.

    Father Tim encouraged his (fictional) congregation to not just tolerate challenges, but to sincerely give thanks in them and for them.  Father Tim talked about how much God, our Father loves us, and how He brings good out of EVERYTHING -- not just overt blessings.  Father Tim asked if you could imagine a child saying to their parent, "I really don't like this hard thing... but you, Mom, are allowing it to happen, and I trust you, so I am thankful for this hard thing in my life."  
    What a trusting child that would be to say that... I want to be that child.

    This is such a word in season for me because I am feeling the trials of being a working mother.  I feel that I am struggling as a teacher and as a mother, I am exhausted, and I only see my baby girl awake for less than two hours a day.  This is a huge challenge for me, and it is only the second week of work (and the first week of school).

    I am trying to remind myself to be thankful for this challenge.  And I seriously have to REMIND myself.  My initial reaction, most of the time, is to complain about things that are challenging... it takes consciously reminding myself time after time to try to harvest gratitude for this situation that, my human side, wants to go away.

    Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

    image signature

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    Tracey Ann -- 6 Months

    ** I have had this post done for weeks, but I haven't spent the time to upload the pictures to go with them.  Now that we're about a week away from Tracey Ann turning seven months, I finally buckled down and finished this six month post. **

    Our world turned upside down six months ago, and it has been the most wonderful thing in the world.


      Approximately 16 pounds -- breast milk should be on the "super food" list

    REALLY LONG!  This baby is ALL leg!  Her little sleepers cover the palms of her hands, but her little feet stretch out the legs.  I think she might get her height from her daddy.  Her "unofficial height" will be determined next week at her doctor's appointment.

    Clothing size:
    She's in six month clothes and growing every day.  A few of her six-month outfits are getting tight, and we don't really have many nine-month outfits yet, so I either need to take up sewing or we need to do some nine-month shopping.  We do have larger sizes at home, but we've been traveling this whole month since she turned five months (wow, more than 1/6 of her life has been traveling) and the largest sizes we brought with us was six-month.
    Lots of breast milk.  We have introduced her to a few tastes of foods like peach, pear, avocado, and lemon but when we put them in front of her in her high chair, she just plays with them, so we haven't pushed the solid foods yet.

    Oh, we're in trouble with sleeping.  This month of travel has not done well for our sleeping routine.  She does well in the pack-n-play except when the air conditioner or open windows makes our bedroom too cold -- then she ends up in our bed sleeping with us for body heat.  Also, she is loving the breast to fall asleep -- its like her teddy bear and she hates to go to sleep without it.  We really have some work to do when we get home.

    New Accomplishments: 
    • Manipulating toys with both hands
    • Sitting up unassisted (she needs help getting to the sitting position, but then she can remain seated on her own... for a minute or two)
    • Blowing raspberries with her tongue
    • Sleeping in her pack n play -- when she wasn't sleeping in Mama and Daddy's bed

    • Surviving all the old-fashioned, illegal baby toys at Grammie and Papa's house

    • Rolling around on the floor or in her pack n play
    • Being worn in a moby or backpack

    • Swimming
    • Baths and showers
    • Lexie and Lloyd
    • Sleeping in bed with Mama and Daddy
    • "Let It Go" the song
    • Our cell phones
    • Her carseat... sometimes
    • Her vitamin D with iron supplement
    • Playing independently for too long
    Places She Went:
    •  Well... that would be Kansas, Missouri, Illionois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Indiana, Michigan
    • The Grand Ole Opry
    • Cardinals Baseball game -- well, other MLB games as well, but the Cardinals is the one that counts the most around here
    • The church where Mama and Daddy were married
    • The shores of Lake Michigan

    Special Memories:
    • First time in the ocean

    • First time in Papa's Price Is Right Boat

    • First time meeting Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Holifield

    • First time meeting Great Grandpappy Jacobs
    • First time meeting a BUNCH of friends and family far and wide
    • First time swimming in Grammie and Papa's pool
    • First horseback ride at Aunt Sharon's house

    • Tracey Ann
    • Tracey
    • Baby Girl
    • Beautiful
    • Pumpkin (pronounced Punkin)
    • Punky
    • Little Spitter
    • Fuss-o (when she's fussy)
    • Munchkin
    • Munchkers
    • Pretty Girl
    • Sunshine
    image signature