Thursday, February 28, 2013

2 1/2 years in heaven and 49 weeks in our arms

Holden has now spent exactly 2 1/2 years in Glory.  I always think of his life in "human terms".  I think of him as a toddler, making messes, talking up a storm, learning to throw and kick balls and probably being potty trained.  Obviously all of those are likely not a real part of his life (except the talking), but it is just how I think of him.  What peace we have knowing his life is perfect right now.  We love and miss you always, our sweet son!

What a gift we don't take for granted to have Holden's little 49 week sister in our arms today!  

I didn't take a lot of photos today, and we were VERY comfy (not even a bow).  She wanted to dance and play instead of read during story time, which is very typical Grey behavior!

Our family suffered the worst stomach flu we've ever experienced this past week, but we are finally okay and Grey is back to her inquisitive, happy self.  Praise God!  Stomach Flu 2013 is truly a nightmare.  It was the sickest Grey has ever been, absolutely scary and awful. 

Your milestones are particularly fun this week, our darling Grey:
  • You are giving us "high fives" and "low fives"!  This is adorable.  We crack up.  You crack up.  ;)
  • You are pointing the symbol for "1" (index finger) most of the time when we ask you to (of course, sometimes things have to be your idea).  We are trying to get you to do "1" for everyone by your birthday. 
  • You are running up to us and giving us kisses!  This is so sweet and I cannot get enough of your precious loving kisses!  I don't ever want this stage to end.
  • You wore tennis shoes and took a walk with us outside for the first time.  You just looked so grown up holding our hands around the neighborhood.  
  • You are still dancing to any music, and even create your own music to dance to.  
  • You are squealing at Henri.  We think it is your version of a "meow", but Henri is unconvinced.  ;)
  • My sweet girl, you are in SUCH a "Momma hold me" all the time stage.  I try to not be weary through this, recognizing how precious each minute holding you is.  Still though, it's certainly one of your most exhausting stages for me yet.  
  • If I can't hold you when you want to be held, or take away an off-limits item, you throw fits...very dramatic ones.  Daddy and I know you are testing your will and independence, so we give you reasonable boundaries, attempt to calm you with soft words, and continue with what we are doing.  I love how smart you are, though a fit or two is thrown in there with that. ;)  Can we say toddler?  No, I am not ready for that word yet,  my little BABY. 
Thank you Jesus for humbling Yourself to come to earth as a human and die the worst of deaths to atone our wretched sins, so that we have the promise of eternal that Holden has that eternal life right now.  Thank you Jesus for the gift of a daughter to raise on this earth.  We have two children who give us so much joy in such different ways.  We are so very blessed.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.  James 4:10

Saturday, February 23, 2013

11 MONTHS! (& 48 weeks)

I could have been okay with skipping this blog entirely.  I don't like that it is my second to last monthly blog before my sweetie has a BIRTHDAY!  Today is one month exactly from her party!

Chet and I said the other night how crazy this year has been, and even more crazy that it's been a year since we were praying over our daughter in my womb each day.

Thursday at 48 weeks

I don't normally post EVERY outtake attempt, but I thought today we should get a little glimpse into what our 11 month photo shoot was like.  Daddy helped to make us can see how that went:

Well. At least she's happy.

At 11 Months & 48 Weeks:
  • You have hit a major growth spurt again!  You can reach anything on our dining table and counters.  I forget this fact too many times and realize you have pulled everything off.  You are growing out of your 9 month clothes and even jumped a SHOE SIZE - to size 3!  This all happened in the last week or two!  You weigh right at 18 pounds!  This 18 month Holden Uganda onesie always makes you look bigger to me.
  • You love to clap and try out new hand signs.
  • Your snuggles are cherished even more.  Because you are on the move most of your day, when you walk up to me with your nose wrinkled smile and wrap me in a huge bear hug, my heart skips a beat.  Or several.
  • You run the show.  Literally.  You are always on the go.  I may put a pedometer on you and see how many miles you walk each day. It's crazy.
  • You are trying to communicate through tons of baby words with us.  You babble all kinds of "sentences" and seem frustrated when we don't understand you.  We love your adorable voice.  When we can sit down as a family and enjoy dinner together, you talk the entire time.  We love it!
  • You dance every time you hear music.  This pretty much makes me laugh all day long.  We have literally close to 100 videos of you dancing.  Auntie Carrie babysat you last night while we went on a date, and she took QUITE a few videos of it too.  Your moves are hilarious.
  • You are eating almost everything.  We are still avoiding lots of meat and processed foods, though there's hardly anything you won't devour.
  • You have been able to hold your bottle by yourself since you were only a few months old, but you still prefer us to hold it.  I am a touch worried your transition to "big girl cups" may be a little upsetting to you when you realize I am not going to hold it.  
  • You prefer Momma (me) a lot, especially with strangers.  You are really going through a "stranger danger" stage.  
  • You have 5 teeth, with 3 more about to pop through!  
  • You are in a GREAT routine for our family.  You wake up very early for a bottle, but oftentimes go back to sleep if we let you sleep in our bed.  You eat breakfast around 7am.  You take a short morning nap around 10:00am.  You have lunch at 11:00-ish.  Your afternoon nap is a little longer, and you usually fall asleep around 2pm.  You have an early dinner around 5:00pm and bath around 7pm.  You are usually asleep by 8:00pm and sleep in your crib peacefully until 4am when you know we will pick you up and feed you in our bed.  4-6am is a sweet time for us, since we all snuggle as a family. :)  I don't mind if you do this at 12 years old. ;)  You still have about 4 bottles a day, in between meals, and often before you sleep (yes, we don't adhere to the Babywise "eat, play, sleep").  
I had no idea a year could be filled with so much fun, work and laughter.  I am extremely grateful I get to spend every day watching Grey grow, teaching her and learning about my Savior's love for me through her.

We bought more birthday party supplies on our date in Lubbock yesterday.  I am so thankful to plan a 1st birthday.  God is so good.

If you say, "The LORD is my refuge," and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  Psalm 91:10-12

Saturday, February 16, 2013

47 Weeks and Boppy's 1st Valentine's Day

For God so loved the world that he He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

I am embarrassed to say I did not take one single photo of Grey on Valentine's Day (Thursday), her 47 week birthday.  Good thing I snapped these photos of her earlier this week! :)  
But Grey got FAR more lucky than a photo shoot with me!  The Shuffields took photos for her birthday card invites on Valentine's Day (yes, we crashed their VDay ... and YES one year is knocking at the door- gulp).  They turned out DREAMY.  Oh my.  I  Tisha and Jimmy Jim (and Andrea) captured all of her spirit so well.

Out 47 Week Old Love Bug is up to:
  • Dancing!  She loves to dance to anything with a beat.  Her favorite is the Bob Dylan theme song to Parenthood.  :)
  • Making us laugh!  She understands what makes us laugh and she loves to repeat anything that gets a laugh.  
  • Rearranging rooms and furniture.  18 lbs. of busyness. ;)
  • Figuring out locks and anything "forbidden".  

Valentine's Day is the perfect day for us to tell you how much we love you.  You have taught us so much above Jesus' love towards us.  Our prayer is that you will know His love for you.  It's the only perfect and everlasting love there is.  Thanks for filling our home with joy.
Da & Momma

Thursday, February 7, 2013

46, Hope Mommies Retreat and life today

I am a really blessed woman to have a husband who blogs for me while I am away, eh? :)  I noticed it received more views than almost any post I have ever written.  Maybe he should take this whole thing over.   Thanks babe.  I love you and your heart for our family.


While Chet was writing blogs, managing the home front and on Daddy duty this past weekend, I was able to attend the third annual Hope Mommies Winter Retreat at the Haven River Inn in Comfort, Texas.  I feel as though there are too many facets about the retreat that I was challenged by to give it a sufficient write up.  Especially since I am rocking a baby while typing.  Erin describe it beautifully...check out what she had to say! 

 I am typically early to arrive anywhere by nature, and Friday was the same.  I was the first hope mommy to arrive on location, which gave me some quiet time soaking up the beauty.  A river flowed through the property (incidentally a river has been a part of every retreat), to me descriptive of God's living water renewing us each day.  The weather was dreamy for February in Texas.  It was the exact place God chose to be a part of the healing in 31 lives.

The weekend was full of tears, laughter, new relationships kindled, old relationships deepened, delicious food, powerful testimonies, new babies' refreshing smiles, late night talks and prayers, reaching out to others through pain, worship... and HOPE.  This year's "Marked" theme is the perfect description for Hope Mommies.  Chelsea, Mary Beth and Erin's words of wisdom, and all 31 journeys shared were each a testimony of how God is revealing Himself through our missed children.

God chose a tender, meek and beautiful woman to be Gwendolyn's mom.  I am so glad she said "yes" to the Lord in such pain 2 1/2 years ago. 

Chelsea shared a video by Francis Chan you must watch!  I know I won't be able to form all my notes and thoughts into a good blog, but I think everyone needs to watch this 5 minute video.  I want the way I am Marked to be living for the eternal.

Additionally, I can add to Erin's words that we all didn't sleep much...if at all.  And that is how this week has started...

I arrived home Sunday night to a sickly Grey, who ended up at the doctor on Tuesday.  She is still under the weather and not her usual happy, busy self, fighting off this nasty virus.  I am selfishly enjoying the extra snuggles though, as she is usually far too busy to stop and lay in my arms.  Chet captured the moment I walked in the door Sunday evening, and she has nearly remained exactly like this for 5 days now.  Which is probably nice since her parents are sickly too:

Because I didn't do the blogging last week, I didn't get to mention the official stats from her "9 month" well check on the 29th (she was older than 10 months).  Grey weighed 17 lbs. 9 oz. (20%), was 27.5" long (40%) and had a 17.2" head (50%).  Dr. G. said she was physically and socially like a 12 month old, and that she was in excellent health.

This week has been TOUGH for me.  I am not okay with my baby being sick.  I am used to taking hundreds of photos of my smiley, happy, active princess, but that just hasn't been possible.  She has been sleeping and not feeling well enough for photo shoots (and bows), so I just have one blurry photo to share from this morning.
My beautiful little 46 week old, playing with an empty Kleenex box (we have plenty of them around here):
Although she's been sick, we still have mentionable milestones this week:
  • She had 3 top teeth pop through in one day.  That's not really fair considering she already didn't feel good. ;)  That adds up to 5 teeth, and she is grinding them all the time.  YIKES.  I hope this doesn't become a permanent habit.
  • She is waving bye-bye, clapping and communicating with baby signs.  Every time I say "YAY!" she claps and screams!  It's so stinkin cute. :) 
  • It is a rare thing to see her crawl, as she has discovered how much better walking is.  She is nearly running now!
  • She is so, so very strong willed.  Oh my.  She even decides to hold her breath and pass out when she doesn't appreciate something we have told her to do/not to do.  Whew. :)
What a joy and gift from our Lord it is to be parents to our son in heaven and daughter on earth.  Chet said last night, "Grey does everything the hard way, and is not a normal baby."  At first I was angry he said that, and asked him, "Do you wish she was more 'normal'?  Are you upset about that?!"  His reply, "No.  She is perfect.  She is definitely more active and stronger willed than our friends' babies, but I think those will make her a really strong person in the Lord one day!"
That is our prayer.

Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.  Psalm 70:4

Friday, February 1, 2013

Forty Five!

First Daddy blog post for our little forty five week old!

Sarah is running the 3rd annual Hope Mommies retreat this weekend in Comfort TX, so Grey is hanging out with Daddy this weekend and Sarah is entirely too busy to write a blog post.  So please bear with me as this is the first time I have ever written a blog post. 

At 45 weeks Grey is a walking crazy woman!  Getting into anything and everything she can and already starting to eat more than I do, trust me that's impressive.  We thought her favorite foods were broccoli and strawberries, but it turns out her favorite plate of food is "the next one".  In fact the Dr. said Tuesday that she's never seen a baby that just started walking NOT loose weight. But she is still a little small for her age, but very smart (must have her daddy's brain?).

The picture above is Grey laughing and loving the fish tank at our friends Erica and Hayden's house this week.  Looks like we might be investing in tank when she realizes we can buy one for our house. 

I just want to say a few things about my incredible wife and mother to our little princess. Today was only the 3rd or 4th day I have ever spent all day alone with Grey and can definitely say that I have a much easier job than she does.  Sarah gets stuck at home by herself on a weekly basis because my job requires me to travel and work long hours.  She does this without the help of any family or babysitters, while running our Holden Uganda Foundation and Hope Mommies.  I am so incredibly lucky to have Sarah, because I couldn't even think about doing what she does every day with a smile on her face.  Sweetheart, I'm not great at gratitude or acknowledging all the little things that you do everyday, but I know without you our lives would be in shambles.  I love you so much and can't wait for you to be home with us!