Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beautiful kids.

 Preschool has started and my precious 4 year-old is now occupied twice a week for 2.5 hours apart from me. She has finally learned to pee and wipe without help (mostly) and is happy to announce to strangers that she is "grown up". She also started ballet once a week. My beautiful girl is also a ballerina and can't wait to make it on stage in December for her recital.

Meanwhile, Toby and I prepare for baby #3....3 more weeks and she is full term. We are praying she decides to come the weekend of October 12th. :) I am getting tired....and very large in the front. And I fell down the outside stairs to our basement suite while holding Toby....he split his lip, I hurt my hip and Promise skinned a knee....God was so good at protecting us, though! It could have been so much worse or even induced premature labor!

 So here is my constant companion....he is a bit of a "cling-on"....can't bear to be without me....a real booger of a toddler, spitting for fun, making messes and breaking toys in sheer joy....ALL BOY. But he's cuddly and cute, always willing to say "sorry" (then repeat the offense again) and happy to give mommy a 3 am. He's destroyed the couch, broken most of the toys (which is why we keep super glue in the top drawer at all times), put several holes in the wall, and now has returned to his "pack n play" for sleeping instead of his "big boy bed" because his escape attempts are disrupting the whole house....sly little monkey. His energy and zeal for life is evident and cannot be contained....even in the pack 'n play. Too bad his mommy is pregnant and needs more than 2 hours of sleep per night....
He and baby #3 can party together in the wee hours soon.
And the classic Promise pout is a daily event....we wait with bating breath for it and dance around it with such skilled avoidance....we're learning that every tantrum has a reason....and only few deserve intense discipline....the others melt with slow speech/calm voice/holding and comforting, understanding and grace (which is not always easy when you want to hang her up by her toenails!).

I love my precious kids and I am daily reminded of the miraculous gift they are....being told we'd never have our own kids and now....3 precious miracles...I am so humbled to have the privilege of being with them every day....every one different....unique....beautiful....challenging and every one called of I pray for Toby every night..."May you grow to be a man of integrity, honor, wisdom and valor...a man that loves Jesus with ALL of his heart in Jesus' Name, Amen!" And for Promise, "May you develop into a compassionate, joyful warrior who fights in love for justice and peace wherever you go and may you walk in obedience to Jesus no matter the cost, in Jesus' Name, Amen."

We are blessed.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

As promised.....

 A Saturday family hike through a nearby park. :) Toby and Promise were determined to "crush, smash, and pulverize" any insect or crawly thing...Toby's favorite: the spread of guts from the large Northwest slug.

 Careful steps for the Bird and me.
 Then into the car for Toby's favorite new snack...a WHOLE apple (he won't eat them if they are cut up)

While Mommy was gone in California, Daddy took Promise and Toby to the local zoo.....

 The best part was being able to chase the peacock across the park!
 Then Mommy came home and took Promise and Toby to our dear friend's house on Promise's birthday! Angela runs a daycare with TONS of toys, so we came for a visit with cupcakes for all the morning of Promise's special day. Angela made it even more special!
 Then it was time for Promise's partay!
 She invited 3 special friends mini-golfing and Toby got to tag along, too! Mini-golfing with toddlers is a very entertaining event. Only one golf-ball sized bump on Toby's head and a small golf-ball sized bruise on Elijah's face.....the girls stayed intact.
 Then it was back to our house for gluten-free, dairy-free cake!

 And I forgot to mention that our dear friend, Bea, from Switzerland sent Promise a beautiful ballerina leotard and skirt that Promise got to wear to a Pinkalicious Birthday Party for her friend, Sloan. :)
 Toby's favorite snack: Dairy-free raspberry smoothie with a straw to blow bubbles with!
 Promise, too, was a BIG fan.
 And then, to separate all the fun and excitement of August: Promise's 2x-a-week-nap-on-the-couch....She's so cute....My precious 4 year old!
 And last, but certainly not least.....our anniversary weekend up at Mt. Baker......Tim took this shot of the lake on the drive towards the was such a peaceful can anyone doubt the Presence of God!? Wow.
We only got two pics of us and neither of them really turned out, so that's about it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A whirlwind adventure and then preschool.

Greetings. Sorry for the very long delay in posting. I am just now catching my breath from the busiest August I could have ever dreamt.

After a few hikes with the kiddos around our area, we thought that would be enough adventure for the rest of the month.

Then my mom called.

My Grandma, living in California, was not doing well and while I knew she had been struggling with blood clots, I was told that she would be making a slow recovery. However, many trips in and out of the ICU took a toll on her and she finally requested that my mother come down and see her.

My desire to see my Grandma had been quite strong for a while. She is my last living grandparent and my closest relative beside my parents. Her faith in Christ and her fervent prayer for her grandchildren have always been a source of great comfort and strength in my life. We would talk on the phone for as long as she could about raising kids in faith, making Godly choices and what we were thankful for....she was precious to me and I desperately wanted to see her again....knowing this, my mom asked me to accompany her to see Grandma in  California.

Two days later, I managed to run like a chicken with my head cut off to plan 5 days worth of gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free meals for the kids, childcare for when Tim was at work for 5 days from Grandma Christina and our friend Teagan plus a playdate with their cousins, book a flight from Bellingham to Portland to pick up my mom and then fly to Long Beach, California with mom. Our budget was under $400 and all we could afford was the flight to Portland. Sensing the urgency of our visit and the desire to have me along, my parents graciously covered the flight from Portland to Long Beach so that I could go....I cried.

We arrived Wednesday at lunch time only for my dear Aunt Anita to tell us that Grandma had slipped into a coma that morning and was unresponsive. We felt though we had lost our only chance to see her alive one last came as a shock and a surprise. We raced to the hospital and cried over my Grandma's lifeless body....being kept only physically alive by machines.

My mom and I sensed immediately that she had already gone to be with Jesus and that her body was just an empty, unrecognizable shell. We sang my Grandma's favorite hymns, songs and recited all the memorable things she used to say. We laughed and cried with her husband, Phil, who had become "Grandpa" to me over the last 10 years. We all knew that her recovery from this point would certainly have to be a miracle left to the will of God....but we all knew she wanted to be home now.

The doctors tried to keep her alive until the whole family could say goodbye to her, but she died the following afternoon.
That afternoon, I had the privilege of visiting with a friend that I had met in the Philippines who I had emailed telling her I would be in town. She was only in the Philippines for 3 months, but the two of us became deeply close and Sherry became a forever friend. She raced into Long Beach to pick me and my mom up for lunch and we had an amazing, encouraging time of fellowship. She's the same age as my mom, so the two of them got along so well. It was a very precious break from the grieving and put things into perspective as we celebrated my Grandma's life with someone who had never met her.

The rest of the week was filled with planning services with family while I got to spend a very special time with my Aunt Anita. She is one gracious and generous lady! I had no idea what a precious woman my Aunt was having only seen her once in the last 15 years! I was stunned at her strong faith, constant positive attitude and gracious hospitality....being in her home and being with her was a kiss on the forehead from the Lord.

She even offered to drive us to my dear friend's wedding in San Diego....a 90-minute drive that took us 4 long hours! Arnica was getting married near the beach down south and there was no way I could go, as we just could not afford the airfare or time away from the kids, but the fact that my Grandma was not well the very same week made the wedding so much more feasible to attend! AND, my cousin, Christa, lives in San Diego and I got to see her, too, after 15 years! What a blessing to cram all that into a very stressful, difficult 5 days!

Sunday arrived, and after much fellowship with my mom (which was priceless), I was dropped off at the airport to fly home....with a wonderful stopover in Portland where my Dad, my brother, Andy and his wife, Ruth and their kids, Ben, Grace, and Levi came for dinner! What a treat.

Tim and the kids picked me up at 10 pm that night in Bellingham and I arrived to hugs and a very clean house. What a trooper they all were!

Then Monday started Tim's work week and my mad dash to make Promise's and Tim's birthdays special.....what a zoo!
Promise's was friday the 24th and we had a small party with 3 of her friends and Toby. We went mini-golfing and had a GAS! Then for Tim's birthday, we had a relaxed day doing all kinds of odd things, but mainly relaxing....

The next week yielded clean up from the previous, birthday parties and BBQs, and finally ended with our 10 year wedding anniversary. We needed a break just the two of had been well over 2 years since we had a night just the two of us without kids or alarm clocks!

Tim took me to a little cabin near Mt. Baker in Washington for Sunday night. We hiked a bit and had forgotten to get gas before heading up the we coasted all the way down the mountain on empty praying that God would multiply the gas until we could find a gas station...which were quite rare in this mountain region! We headed into the little town for gas and dinner where the only two restaurants were so full even after 8 pm, that we contemplated going hungry....the first place we tried (a pasta place) we wanted to get an order to go and they just rudely said, "We're too busy". Surrounded by families waiting hours for tables, we headed across the street....we were in the mood for pasta, but thought, at this point, we would take anything...but we had been craving fish and chips for days and days and quickly noticed it on the menu! After snagging the first table we found just after a couple paid their bill, we fell into our chairs and waited...and waited for someone to take our order...with only two waitresses and a full place, we knew it would be a 9 pm and STARVING, this pregnant lady chugged water and started to get a little light-headed.....finally the waitress came and we and chips..."Sorry...we're out." "Poutine?"...."Sorry, we're out."

We ordered what we could. :)
We went home full. :) And "fish and chips" became code for any inconvenience we experienced the next few days. :)
We slept a TON and were never woken up by angry toddlers....then we slowly made our way home to the kids after a cheap, yummy lunch at a Mexican restaurant on the other side of the border. Gotta love cheap US food. Grandma Christina graciously watched our kids for the 24 hours and said there were only a few minor beatings needed. :) Just kidding. The kids were certainly better with Grandma than they were with us when we arrived home!

Tuesday, Promise started her first day of preschool. I was so proud of her. And tomorrow will be day two.

I am eager to get this little one outta me...I am tired and feel as though my center of gravity will soon have me sprawled on the floor...she's a big one. Eight more weeks....we can do it! However, I am hoping she comes in 6 weeks. :) I am not sure my varicosity-ridden legs can handle any more! :)

That's our life in a nutshell....whew. I will post pictures as soon as Blogger will let's being poopy right now and won't let me load them.
Be blessed.