Thursday, December 24, 2009

10 Years!

Happy Anniversary, Honey!



Yes,we got married on Christmas Eve. I wouldn't recommend it. Not if you're a celebrate-on-the-exact- date-kind of person (like I used to be before kids). :-)
And yes, I forgot to get my bouquet back from my wonderful Maid of Honor before exiting as Mrs. William K*...but look at my face-did I seem to care? I was actually glad to be relieved of that 10 pound bundle!
Ah, and so happy to be done with the ceremony-too much stress-mostly caused by my lack of delegating. :-)
But mostly, I'd like to think that radiant smile came from within-because "I found him whom my soul loves" (Song of Solomon 3:4).

And 10 years later, honey, you're still the only one who truly gets me. The one I most need a hug from at the end of a long day. The one I love to laugh with. And the most wonderful father to our two beautiful children.

I Love You!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Caleb's One!



My Dearest Little Man,

How has the time passed so quickly? I can still remember first holding you in my arms and telling your Daddy, "You have a son!" You have been a true delight to us every single day. Your smile is so nourishing for my soul as are your precious giggles. You have been such a happy and laid-back baby from the start.

You're still getting lots of Mommy's milk but you're also enjoying table food. Your favorite? Taco salad made with venison. And of course your favorite snack is still Cheerios. And...you're walking now! It's still more like a waddle but we're so proud of you! You're so funny; if you're trying to make a super quick getaway, you'll just drop down on all fours and take off. You can still get anywhere faster by crawling. You've also recently tried out your push car and love it. With your long legs, you have no problem getting it wherever you want to go.

And you know so many words; you're constantly amazing us. Moon, night-night, ball, dark, doll, deer, dog, many animal sounds, and lots more. And you can sign "please." Your favorite toy remains the beloved green tractor and your favorite thing to play with in Ella's room is her dollhouse. You grab the tiny wagon or horse rocker first. However, you've also recently taken a liking to the little brunette doll...or should I say her hair. Another favorite pastime is coloring with Sissy. Right now a cardboard box is working just great for that.

You have 8 teeth and weigh 25 pounds. You're quite the load to carry, especially as you'd rather be down exploring new territory now.

Happy 1st Year, Little Guy. Can't believe we've already celebrated 12 months with you. We look forward to many, many more. We love you so much dearest! We're so thankful God chose us to be your parents. We couldn't be more thrilled.

All my love,
Mommy


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Busy Summer!

So many events in the last 3 months! Let's see if I can get them in the correct order. First, Laurance and Kimberly had their 2nd baby boy, Joshua, at home while Jonathan slept. The midwife barely made it in time. Then I met my college roommate in Columbia for a day at Riverbank Zoo. Oh, it was so hot, but it was great to catch up with Sarah and meet her newest addition (she now has 3 girls!). And Ella really enjoyed the lorikeets eating out of her hand. Next, it was off to RI for Charles and Sarah's beautiful wedding. The most touching part was when Charles sang "Yours Forever" to Sarah after she walked down the aisle.  We all enjoyed our rented 2009 Chrysler Town & Country-I could so get used to that-and getting to stop to visit with friends on the way there and back. Ella, of course, loved being a flower girl!



Soon after we got back, Jeff and Emily finally had their little baby girl, Lydia Aven.  She was able to be delivered at the birthing center on the last day possible before Emily would have had to be induced! Next, came Ella's 4th b-day and then Charles and Sarah came here to visit w/the family after their honeymoon. There was the 4th picnic, having lots of playdates w/Karanena and Gracie (yay, I have a friend in town who is not a relative!) and then my b-day. The summer won't be officially over for us until we go on our annual beach trip (3 nights to Surfside) in a few weeks. When we get back, it'll probably be time to close up the pool (sigh) and then I suppose it will be back to the treadmill for exercise. However,  I have located a Pilates instructor in the area who gives lessons at her home. I really want to try that out-we'll see. 

My little man has 4 full teeth and 3 half ones. Confused? So are we. His first 4 came in fine by 6 months, but the next 3 started coming in around 7.5  months and are still only halfway in. In fact since 8 months, they've been at the same spot and now Caleb is fast approaching 11 months old. Not sure if something's wrong. Usually it only takes teeth 2-3 weeks to come in once they break through. I'm actually taking him to the dentist this week just so he can get a quick peek and see what he thinks. Not that there's anything that they could really do about it right now, but if it puts my mind at ease, then it's worth the trip. 

Our Ella Belle has started taking dance! She actually did gymnastics this summer and is now taking ballet and tap and loves it! Just last night she put on a show in the kitchen for us. "And a tap, and a tap, and a tap, tap, tap!" She's just too cute. She said she likes tap better than ballet because "I can be loud in tap!" And of course, our sweetie is now 4! She had a princess pool party complete w/a princess castle cake. It was a homemade cake and worth saying the $40 I would've paid to buy a similar one, but let's just say you could tell it was homemade. :-) Ella was still so proud of it and that made everything okay. The kids enjoyed swimming, decorating their crowns, and waving their paper towel holders wands.







It was a great b-day party, but Will and I decided that for Ella's next one, we're taking the year off! It was just too much planning and stress, and I didn't get to really enjoy the day, so we're having her 5th b-day party at the lake at my parent's house. Pressure off me, yay!

Caleb is standing and cruising now. Actually he's been pulling up on things and cruising for several months now, but just in the last couple of weeks he can get to a standing position all on his own and push his walker around. I'm sure by his first birthday (how can that be coming up already?), he'll be walking. And Caleb loves to clap, for himself or others. When we were swimming the other day, Ella jumped off the diving board and I yelled, "Good job, Ella!" Immediately, Icee began clapping for her in his float. He's such a sweetheart! I was just telling my dear friend Sarah (who is due in Feb!) how I used to wonder how I'd be as a mom to a boy-I didn't even have brothers growing up to help me adjust to having a boy in the house. I even thought nursing a son might be weird. I know that's a crazy thing to think, but I did wonder about it. And then just as soon as I met him, it was as natural as could be. Not just nursing him, but loving him, getting to know him and providing for his needs. He is really my little man now. I love him to pieces and could not imagine my life without him. 



Caleb likes watching deer videos w/his daddy. He says "Duh, Duh, Duh!" when he sees the deer. However, that is also now his word for any creature-such as our dogs and cats, or Ella's Raggedy Ann doll. He gets so excited and pumps his arms up and down, "Duh! Duh!"  This morning, he said it while he was on our bed.  I couldn't figure out why he was saying it. Then I realized he was looking at Will's deer picture; as soon as I put him on the floor, he crawled over to the chest of drawers so he could see it better. He then wanted me to lift him up to give him a closer look.  Aww, just like his Daddy. I'm sure he'll be out in the woods by the time he's 2!



Ella's already asked Will about going out this year but it's just too hot to take her. He did get a hunting blind though and now that he has permission to hunt in the woods behind our house (yay!!!), she'll be accompanying him when the weather turns a little colder.  Just last night when we were coming home from Ma-ma's, a big buck ran across the dirt road in front of our car. "Did you see that, Ella?" "No, Daddy." Later she said, "Daddy, what I was thinking was (she loves saying that phrase), you should have had your bow so you could get him!" 


And I've been teaching Ella how to read using the How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. We're on Lesson 11 now and she is already reading "me, am, see, sat, mat," etc. She can write the words too. I'm so proud of her! 



video

Oh, and re: extreme couponing which I referenced in my last post; I'll just say, if you're at all interested in saving some money off your groceries/dipes, etc., go to www.southernsavers.com. All the info you need is there. In a nutshell, CVS is great because of their Extra Care Bucks. A few weeks ago, they had a deal where if you bought Pampers for $9.99 you got $5.00 in ECB. There was also a $1.50 off manufacturer coupon. So basically you paid $3.49 for a jumbo bag of diapers, which is much cheaper than even the Parent's Choice diapers at Wal-Mart. Just last week, I went to CVS and spent $1 (after the ECB) for 3 Aveeno sunscreen products.  Rite-Aid does single check rebates, instead of ECB. A couple weeks ago, I got Will two 45-count Zyrtec bottles for free at Rite-Aid. Grocery-wise, I save much more by shopping at Bi-lo than I ever did at Wal-mart. The key is to buy the buy one get one free products (you can just buy one-it rings up half off) and then use a coupon on top of that (coupons double up to .60 at Bi-lo). I got Will a 4-pack of Yoplait yogurts for 5 cents!  It does take some time to get it all organized, and I'm still trying to simplify things, but I think I've found a new hobby! I just don't want it to get all consuming!

Well, that's all I have time for now. Who knows when I'll post again. This seems to be turning into a quarterly blog. And Facebook is not much better. Oh well, I guess occasional updates are better than never blogging/updating at all. 

 Here's a video of Caleb making some cute sounds.
video

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Playing Catch Up

Well, this update is long overdue! Between online grading, getting way too involved in extreme couponing (more on that in another post), and life in general, I've been too busy to sit down and post. But it's been bugging me every week that my blog is getting so outdated, so I'm finally up early and am determined to do it!

Ella has grown over 2 inches since Caleb's been born! She now looks as tall as a 3-year-old girl should. But then again, perhaps not, as she is about to turn 4! Some humorous incidents that have happened since February.... She stayed w/ Will's parents last month while I did some errands. Mom said nothing when I picked her up but several days later when she was keeping her for me to go to a homeschooling informational meeting, she said, "I need to tell you something when Ella's not listening." When we could finally talk, she said, "The other day when Ella was here she said something that really surprised me." "Oh no," I thought. Then Mom told me how Ella said proudly and loudly, "I'm a little pis*-as*." Mom was of course so shocked-where could she have learned that word and why would she be so delighted about calling herself that? Delores (the nurse who watches Ma-Ma sometimes) said, "Ms. Emily, kids just pick up things from places. My grandkids do all the time." But Mom said what she really couldn't understand is that Ella kept smiling so when she would point to herself and say it. Finally, that day that I was gone to the homeschooling meeting, Ella had pointed to something they were watching on TV and said it again and finally Mom understood. Ella was not a pis*-as*, she was a little PRINCESS. Oh, we got such a good laugh out of that one.



Another time, Will and I were explaining to Ella that nothing in this world was free, including water. She was listening intently, but suddenly spoke up. "Uh-huh, Mommy, kisses and hugs are free."

On another note, not too long ago, I was cleaning up and told Ella we needed to hurry and that I needed her help. She questioned innocently, "Who's coming over?" That's pretty bad when even my 3-year-old knows that Mama doesn't really clean unless she's expecting company.

And just this past weekend, when we were driving home from visiting at Ma-Ma's, we were talking about "why all churches have crosses on them," and she said, "Is Jesus the same as God?" I told Will he could feel free to tackle that one. But amazingly the Trinity didn't seem to faze her little mind at all. :-)

And our Ella's been drawing lots of pictures lately. Here's one she drew of Icee.

And here's what he had on when she drew it.



Now, on to Caleb. Wow-my boy is a big one. I swear, he's going to get bigger than I am before he's one! He's almost 22 lbs. and is 29.5 inches long. He's been sitting up by himself since 4.5 months and is trying his best to crawl now. He'll get up in a full push-up position, then get down and bring his legs all the way up to his bottom, push his bottom in the air, but then he just gets confused and settles back down on his tummy. Not a problem though-he can swivel anywhere he wants to go on his tummy and can inch himself forward to get fascinating objects like Ella's Thomas the Train Engine. His two bottom teeth are in (he got those by 6 months) and he's almost finished getting his top 2. Insert lots of grinding noises here! :-) I think he's trying to keep up w/Ella; she had 8 teeth by the time she was one.

Despite the discomfort he has to be feeling while teething, he continues to always have a smile. The only time he gets fussy is when he's overtired. He loves going outside and visiting w/the doggies-he giggles w/delight when they lick his hands. And we FINALLY got our pool cleared up and in swim condition-and to my total delight-Caleb loved his first time in the water. It was a little too cold for swimming, but he got in up to his waist and smiled and laughed. Other things he loves to do-bounce like crazy in his exersaucer, lick strawberries, and grab Mommy's and Ella's hair. Ella fell asleep in the car the other day and her head had fallen to the side-right w/in Caleb's reach-and he grabbed a handful out! She woke up but didn't cry; she just looked at him with a confused expression on her face!

Back to the strawberries he loves to lick and gnaw on. We recently went to a strawberry patch and Ella had fun feeding him one when we got home.









I didn't start Ella on any solids this early-she was pretty much 1 when she ate anything other than Mama's milk-save for some cheerios. That was convenient b/c she could go right to eating whatever we had-just mashed up slightly. However, Caleb has shown an interest in eating our food since 5 months! He tries to grab whatever I have in my hand. I held him off until almost 7 months and since then have let him have little tastes of things we're eating. Mainly it's at supper time when I'm trying to eat and he wants to nurse. (No, I can't do both at the same time-he's a crazy nurser and I'm a hungry Mama!) I'll give him some pieces of bread or mashed up sweet potato, etc. He still nurses every 2.5-3.5 hours and sometimes more at night. When Caleb was first born, I told Will that attachment parenting sounded so good, right, natural, to try this time around and that I wished I'd done it more w/Ella. But now that I'm still feeding Caleb 4 times at night and he won't sleep in his crib at all-even for naps-I'm wondering if he'll be sleeping w/us for the rest of his life! :-) Seriously though, I know he needs me right now, and all too soon, we'll wish he was still this little and snuggled up right beside us.

Now...other updates. Will had to take up the decking that leads to the pool b/c we had so many problems w/wasps last year. When he removed it all, he found over 40 wasp nests! We're planning on building the spot up w/more dirt and then planting grass there. Eventually we want to do a flagstone patio big enough to hold a table and chairs. We also planted a wildflower meadow in our front yard. The flowers coming up don't quite look like the seed packet picture (do they ever?) but it's still pretty. And we refinanced our house. So now we definitely can't move for at least 2 years. (Don't you love closing costs?) But I couldn't pass up the 4.375% rate for a 15-year mortgage.

(Ella took this pic-pretty good, huh?)

And several months ago, I decided to read The Shack after seeing it at Ma-Ma's house. I had heard about it but was skeptical. Mom had read it and said it was a little strange but that Dad had enjoyed a passage on forgiveness in the book. It is a work of fiction but has some awesome insights about God and how He is viewed and should be viewed. Too often, we see God as the Judge and not the Lover of our Souls. I've been feeling pretty inadequate lately about a lot of things-mainly about how do to this thing called parenting-and it was comforting to be reminded that God's plan is not for me to beat myself up w/guilt and condemnation (Romans 8:1). I sometimes forget how much our Father-our Papa-loves us. I could go on and on about the novel and take aways from it but I'd never actually publish this post. I'd just recommend pushing past any prejudgements you have about the book and reading it anyhow. I think it will provide some good discussion b/w you and your spouse, friends, etc. And hopefully some fresh dialog between you and the Lover of your soul.

Now to make you *smile*
A mini hoe down session at Laurance and Kimberly's.
(You'll need to pause my music on the sidebar first.)


video

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Day Treat

Will came home from work Saturday to tell me Jim had called him on his cell. Since Jim and Abbie were in Sumter visiting family, they were going to stop by on their way back to Florence to visit us. My first reaction, "Are you crazy?" "This house is a wreck!" But thankfully we had an hour to prepare, and Will cleaned while I nursed the baby, took a shower (I had gone 2 days without one!), and dressed in something other than sweats.

We had a wonderful time w/Jim, Abbie, Sam and Faith. It was the first time Abbie had seen Caleb; I hadn't seen her or the kids since Sam's party. Faith has grown so much-I think she looks just like her mama w/those big, brown eyes. And her hair is getting longer; it looks like it will be curly. It was so fun watching the kiddos play together. I wish I had a video of Abbie doing ring-around-the-rosie w/them or playing "We're going on a bear hunt." And Ella loved running around the den whenever Sam shouted "Ready, Set, Go!" and then coming to an abrupt halt when he yelled, "Stop!" Later that night I used this to teach her "Red Light, Green Light" and am planning on playing this often to tire her out!



Caleb is still congested; we all were sick but we're better. It'll be 3 weeks tomorrow for him. Poor guy-I know it would help if he could just blow it all out. As it is, I'm using the bulb syringe, and of course he hates that. Please pray he'll be able to breathe properly soon. Last time we went to the doctor it was $95 for them to say, "It's a viral infection (i.e. cold); there's nothing you can do for a baby but suction." Um, thanks. He's not running a fever and is still eating well though he continues to sleep a lot between feedings. And since I wrote last, Caleb had a first-he can now roll over! And our big boy is now over 18 pounds! We also have a new nickname for him; "Wide-mouthed Frog" because this is how you'll see him most of the day



And here's a couple more of my favorite pics!

Peek-a-boo!


My Little Tigers!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Unique


We were delighted to have some snow yesterday at our house! We got a dusting, about 1" but it was enough to make Ella squeal with delight! Right after breakfast we went out and helped her make a tiny snowman. The snow wouldn't pack very well because it was so powdery, but Ella was happy w/it.
She even threw her first snowballs! But after awhile, when I'd give her one to throw at me or Will, she'd say, "No, you throw it at me!" and hand it back to me. Funny girl!

As I enjoyed the snow falling down, some snowflakes landed on my gloves and jacket. Have you ever really studied one? Each one was so tiny, yet so intricate, detailed, and of course, unique. I could have stared at them all day-each one was so beautiful and different. I tried in vain to capture one with my camera.

Seeing the snowflakes reminded me of how each one of us is intricately designed by God for a unique purpose. Of course, ultimately all of us have the same purpose-to glorify God by loving Him and our neighbor. But He also has specific tasks for each of us based on our personalities and talents. I'm still asking Him to clarify mine. All I know right now is that I am to be a godly Mom to two wonderful children and a godly wife to my loving husband. And I'm still very much a work in progress.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Truth

Sometimes it's hard for me to like my toddler. It's easier to like and love a newborn because they don't disobey you yet. They still seem so perfect. And when you compare that to a willful 3-year-old, it's hard sometimes to not choose favorites. Of course, this is all a stage-soon, Caleb will begin showing his sinful nature and hopefully my dear Ella will become less willful as she learns more about the Savior who died for her. And hopefully her Mommy will spend more time in the Word so she too can become more like Jesus. I am so very much not like Him most of the time.

My Aunt Miriam, my dad's sister, passed away Tuesday. She battled with cancer for years. We attended her funeral yesterday. What was impressed upon my heart was the simple but sobering truth that she has finished impacting lives for Christ. Her time on earth is finished. And I believe she now has her reward. And this made me think. What about the lives I have before me every day-my two precious children. How am I impacting them for Christ? Will they be drawn to Christ by my actions and even more telling, by my reactions or will they be pushed away? I only have now. Life is short. And I want mine to count. The only way to do that is to invest in people-nothing else matters.

I want to be fully here. Embracing this stage of life. Thankful for this wonderful opportunity and yet awesome responsibility I have to train my children up in the ways of the Lord. To not be weary in well doing. God's pointed out some changes I need to make to this end and I ask for your prayers that I would be faithful to make them. That I would be diligent in this most serious task of child-rearing.

And we're desperate for a church family. We so need the fellowship, the ministry of the Word, and the service to others. We have visited so many different churches and are getting weary thinking we'll never find where we're supposed to be. Please pray that we will be open to His direction in this and will find a church home very soon.

Now about how much my Caleb has grown! He'll be 14 weeks tomorrow and weighs over 17 pounds now and is 26 inches long! He's in the 90th percentile (according to the World Health Organization charts) while our Ella was always in the 5th. What a difference. We call him our "Chunky Monkey." And he's lost most of his hair and no longer has his Elvis sideburns. He does have a nice, big bald spot at the back of his head though! He gets it from turning his head from side to side at night when he wants to nurse. That and wiggling all around are how he wakes me. He nurses about every 2 hours but at night sometimes let's me sleep for 3 hours at a time. It's really not so bad since he's still sleeping with us. Though even rolling over to let him latch on seems to take so much energy when you're in a deep sleep. And speaking of nursing, I LOVE my bebe au lait nursing cover. Now I can feel totally comfortable nursing even with Dad K. in the room. :-)
Caleb loves to grab things now-the burp cloth, my shirt, my hair! I literally have to pry his fingers away one by one. And he's cooing so much; he'll carry on a conversation w/anyone who will listen. "Gu", "Ge", "Caaah", "Huu-aa" are just some of the sounds he enjoys making.



And Caleb lights up whenever Ella comes near-as long as she doesn't get too close to his face. :-) He loves to laugh at her while she's jumping on the bed singing the monkey song. You know, "5 little monkeys jumping on the bed; 1 fell off and bumped his head...." She is my little helper. And I don't seem to appreciate how much she helps until a day like today when she's gone duck hunting w/her daddy. Suddenly there's no one to bring me a cloth wipe when I'm done pottying the baby or a fresh diaper. And she has had to sacrifice a lot. She was the center of our world for 3 years-and now she has to compete for time with a newborn. That would be hard on anyone. One of the changes I realize I must make is carving out segments during the day that are just "Ella and Mommy time." Even if we only get 10 minutes together before the baby cries, it will be special for her. I also just bought this book and plan to begin it soon with her. Another important change is getting to bed earlier so I can wake up before she does in order to have some time with my husband before he goes to work and some time in the Word.

Ella ready to go hunting!


Ella and Caleb (6 weeks old)



And I am practicing infant potty training with Caleb though the ultimate goal is not to potty train my baby faster than someone else. It's more about communicating with him by learning and responding to his cues. I'm able to catch most of his poops (he latches off while nursing to let me know he's ready to go) and do catch some pees after his naps. But considering the child pees about 40 times a day, I don't get most of them. I probably could if I really went diaper free-it would make me pay attention to him more when he's in the bouncy seat or whatever. But honestly, then I feel like I'd really get nothing done around here. He's still on the potty about 10 times a day and seems to enjoy going on it. We got a toddler insert that fits on the toilet and though it was a little big for him at the beginning, now it fits him just fine. The only problem is it's too awkward taking that with me when we do errands and if I try to potty him without it, he makes a fuss. Even if I sit on the potty with him. But at least he gets to use the potty at home which is where we are most of the time. And at least I know when he is ready to go by himself, he won't be afraid to use it.

Caleb at 6 weeks.


At 12 weeks-now a little pro!

I'm also using cloth diapers though I do supplement sometimes w/disposables (White Cloud brand-why I ever thought I had to have Pampers, I'll never know. These are so much cheaper and work just as well. You were right, Cil!). Kimberly let me use her Fuzzi Bunz that she used for awhile on Jonathan and I love them. I have a couple Bum Genius as well and some prefolds but prefer the Fuzzi's. There's no toilet dunking-since he's just on breast milk now, they can just go straight into the wash-even with poop on them. When he starts on solids, I'll probably invest in a toilet sprayer. And I'm using cloth wipes-why not-I just throw them into the wash with the diapers. Since Kimberly is due with her 2nd in June, I'll have to look into getting some of my own Fuzzi's soon. Unless of course, Caleb decides to walk and take himself to the potty faithfully by the time he's 8 months old. Ha!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Happy New Year!