Monday, June 17, 2013

In Case You Were Wondering...

My blog was neglected last week because we were here...

Hellooooo, summer vacation!!

I am currently in mourning as we adjust back to real life after an incredibly fantastic week. I'm sure there are PLENTY of posts and pictures to come once my brain starts working again, but until then, I'm going to hang onto this mindset for as long as I can!  Only 358 days until we're back here again...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Our Marriage Is...

Today we celebrate only four years of marriage. I say only four because when Josh and I discussed this the other day, we both gasped in disbelief that it's only been four years... not because it's been a long, unbearable four years, but because not only has it been incredibly happy and full of abundant blessings, but it has also been so non-stop! In four years of marriage we have lived in three states, given birth to two babies, and planted two churches! We have seen our church plant thrive and grow, we have experienced the loss of my job, and have met more incredible people that we call friends than I could ever ask for. We've lost a few loved ones, traveled to see family all over the place, and spoken into the lives of many future church planters through teaching opportunities with the ARC. If this is what we can accomplish in four years together, there is no telling what more there is to come. We are definitely better together, and I think these past four years shows us that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

When looking back on all of this, I think about that woman who stood at the altar four years ago and I'm amazed at how much she has changed. Granted, Josh married me for many reasons, so I am obviously the same woman he chose in hundreds of ways, but in so many BIG ways I am so much different. There are things that I never thought I'd do (marry a pastor for one, and move back to Kentucky for another!), challenges I would have never thought I'd tackle, and risks that I would never imagine taking. The biggest rewards in my life has been through these big, unexpected risks, and I thank God for bringing this man into my life, knowing that he was the man I needed to take me on this adventure. With him at my side I have come to understand who I am in Christ more than ever before, feel the overwhelming awesomeness of God's love for me, but most importantly, my eyes have been opened to the fact that I was created on purpose and for a purpose, and my purpose in life is unique to only me. I am useful not because I have a college degree and a career I could pursue, but I am useful to God to grow His kingdom, show kindness, love people, and serve others. I'm not saying that I would've never learned those things if I hadn't met Josh, but I certainly was not on a path in that was taking me that direction before our paths collided. There are so many wonderful things that this marriage has given me, so four years in, here are just a few things that make me smile about it. 

On our fourth anniversary, our marriage is:
  • One that doesn't take much work, but it does take scheduling. Our lives are busy and full with two small children and a growing church, so carving out "us-time" is something we've committed to and become really good about. I know it makes a difference.
  • Full of laughter... whether it's at each other or at the kids (and it's usually the kid), there are giggles and squeals all the time. There is nobody on the planet that knows how to make me laugh like Josh can, even when I'm trying to be mad about something and don't want to! It drives me nuts!
  • Strong. Before we said "I Do," we promised each other that we would never allow ourselves to be in conversations that dishonor one another or publicly cut down each other. Even harmless, sarcastic jokes can sometimes hurt, and so we try to keep that at a minimum. At times it is appropriate to rib on each other in certain circles, but we can now both gauge when those times are appropriate and when they are not. We are a team and present ourselves as a united front and it's always nice to know that we've got each other's backs.
  • Based on being best friends. I seriously love waking up to this man every day and cannot imagine my life without him. We often find ourselves bored with no plans, but it's honestly because just hanging out at home with each other is enough for us. 
  • Full of challenge- not in an "our marriage is challenging" kind of way, but in a "you could do more" kind of way. If I say, "I should write a book," Josh's response is, "well what are you waiting for?" If he says, "I could probably finish and IronMan," I tell him, "then go do it!" You have to be careful what you suggest around here because big dreams that need to be followed are strongly encouraged. That's why I said "yes" to his dream of planting our church (which was huge for me!) and why we continue to come up with new dreams to see the world become a better place. I hope that is something that carries down into our parenting, too.
  • Not without our differences. Especially in parenting, we disagree on things just as everyone does. Finding the right discipline for our children is tough, and sometimes we disagree on their future schooling or activities, even though we're not making those decisions quite yet. People disagree- that's a fact, so no marriage is immune to that. We have house rules for how we handle conflict and I think we do great at solving things without fighting, raising our voices, cutting each other down, or making a small conflict into a bigger fight about something different. Conflict is actually healthy and for us it produces a lot of great conversations where we consider different things that we may not have considered before. And whatever we agree on, we stick to that, again being a united front and keeping our "team" strong.
  • Fun! Our family still has impromptu dance parties, pizza and movie night on the living room carpet, and will randomly pack up and go on some sort of local adventure to keep things interesting. We're about to leave for the beach, and I know that will be filled with fun!
  • More than I ever thought it would be. Sure, I played "house" growing up and always wanted to be a wife and a mom, but marriage is more than just having dinner on the table at night (which is good since I'm horrible at that!) and making sure his clothes are washed and put away. In my husband I have a friend, a fan, an encourager, a tear-wiper, a really good hugger, a comic relief, an incredible advice-giver, a great father for our children, a handyman, a cheerleader, a risk taker, a teacher, a listener, a dream-sharer, and the list goes on and on. I am not the woman I am today without that man beside me, and I am really proud of the things that we have already accomplished together. When I made my "wish list" of what my husband and my marriage should be, God laughed at it and responded with I have something better. So if you're out there wondering where your Mr. Right is, just know that he's not "the one" if he doesn't blow your expectations out of the water! I had to wait 27 years to meet him, but it wasn't a moment too soon. And I look forward to spending the next 27 plus years with him by my side. Together I think we really can do anything we set our minds to!
Happy anniversary, Josh. I can't believe it's only been four years! 

Our marriage is... my favorite love story.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bed Head

It never fails... whenever I see Jake's bed-head of hair:

It reminds me of this:

Does that mean there is something wrong with me???  But mmmm, a bloomin' onion sure sounds good about now!

I'm always a little sad to see that mop go, but as soon as we give Jake his "summer cut," it sure is nice to see more of that face everyday!

*Sidenote: the long-haired photo is an older picture of Jake. He has been paci-free since April and we're so very proud!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

At The Old Ball Game

Between the University of Kentucky, our minor-league team (the Legends), and my two nephews who play several times a week, we have many opportunities to go spend a day or an evening at the ball park. Although I am not the biggest fan of the sport (mainly because I have a very short attention span and get distracted easily... and I wonder where my daughter gets it from!), I do enjoy it from a social aspect. I feel like I can sit and chat with friends or chase my kids and really not miss too much, which is hard to say for any other sport. Well, except maybe golf, but my kids most certainly would not be able to run around there like they can at the ball park! Regardless of whether we watch it or not, Jake and Lilly really seem to enjoy that environment every time we go. Jake usually plays in the dirt or runs up and down the hills, but will watch his two big cousins when they're up at bat. Recently, at a UK game, he spent 3/4 of the game talking to a girl who looked to be about a freshman in college. She told me that she didn't mind, and I truly think she might have been Jake's first little crush. He brought over some popcorn, tried to read the program to her, and mostly just chatted her ear off even though I doubt she made sense of most of it. If you're not around Jake a lot, you don't always catch what he's saying in his little language mixed with English. It was too cute for words. Lilly, on the other hand, is totally content sitting in the fresh air and eating stadium food- yes, she is definitely my child!

It's still early in the season, but I'd say my kids already fit right in. Because in true surprising Lilly fashion, she has already learned the delicate art of properly eating sunflower seeds, taught to her by her Aunt Angie:

We've taught them well. No matter where you go in life, at least look like you know what you're doing!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

MarioKart - Jake Style

Two weeks ago while watching Wreck It Ralph for the millionth time, we thought it might be fun for Jake to actually see a racing game, like the one in the movie. My mom has a Wii at her house, so we hooked it up for him, gave him a remote, and let him have at it. After a few pretty rough attempts, we gave him an inactive remote and sat behind him as we played, making him think that he was actually driving. He immediately loved it, which is pretty awesome for me since I now have an excuse to play MarioKart just about everyday! Although he still drives on occasion, he actually much prefers watching others play as long as he gets to pick the character, car, and course. And in true Jake fashion, you have to know his language for things in order to know what he's asking. For example, the red guy is Mario and the green guy is Luigi (obviously). When choosing a car, he frequently says, "no not that one" until you land on the one he wants. And you have to know the boards pretty well to know that "play snakes" means Koopa Cape, "leaves" means Maple Treeway, "moon" means Rainbow Road, "mud" means Waluigi's Stadium, and so on. It totally threw our sitter off the other night, but she managed to figure most of them out. On certain boards, he also loves to purposely drive off cliffs into the water or do the course backwards... apparently both activities are hilarious!

The other day I was making lunch in the kitchen when I looked up and realized that our little man had actually become quite good at driving on his own! I was oddly proud and had to take a video:

I sent it to my mom with a text that said, "Looks like you have some competition!" since she loves to play, too. Looks like my son just might turn out to be a gamer, but I hope it's always stuff that I can play with him! I probably should enjoy it while I can! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Kiddo Update: Lilly - 20 Months

I am two months behind on Lilly's update, but thanks to reoccurring stomach bugs, I'm pretty sure her stats have probably not changed too much since her last appointment. I have dealt with far too much vomit this year and have hopefully paid out dues for the rest of 2013. Lilly always seemed to be the one to get it the worst, but she's such a trooper and you'd never know she was sick aside from the endless cuddles, which I loved, and that pretty much sums her up anyway. But there is so much about her that I want to remember at this super-fun age so here goes. At 20 months Lil is...

29 inches tall and 30 pounds... both of which are above the 98th percentile. She's wearing size 5 diapers, size 5 1/2 - 6 shoes, and size 2T clothing, and sometimes 3T shirts if they are short. She still rocks that little Buddha belly, but it's getting smaller and smaller and I'm going to miss it when she's a little string bean someday... it's the cutest little thing ever. But enough about the boring stuff, here are all the fun things about our sweet Lil:
  • I know I've said this before, but Lilly's vocabulary is HUGE. She can repeat just about any word you want her to say, like "porcupine" and "Wreck-It Ralph"- what 20 month old can say that??- and almost always speaks in full sentences or phrases. Here are some that we hear often: Where's Jake?, Jakie's sleeping, I want it, I pooped (which is not always true, but usually is), More juice (or milk, cheese, music, etc.), Peek-a-boo I see you, I watch Mickey on the TV, I ride in the car, stinky diaper, I'm stuck, help me, and the list goes on and on. Here she is asking for more peanut butter:

  • On this same note, she talks ALL. THE. TIME. Josh and I stopped at gas station on the way to Atlanta (just six hours away) last month to get the girl a lolly-pop so she'd stay quiet for at least five minutes! And that's about how long the golden silence lasted!
  • We still call her our hot mess, but at least she's letting us brush her hair more often now without complaint. The trick is that you have to tell her how pretty she is while you do it or she won't let you get a brush near it! On occasion she'll find a rubber band and bring it to me saying, "pretty hair." She won't have any self-esteem issues at this rate.

  • Favorite foods include yogurt, crackers, cookies, ice cream, grapes, apples, watermelon, hummus (seriously), and candy, which she never really gets, but asks for all the time! I think it's probably due to that lolly-pop mentioned above.
  • She loves to dance. If music comes on, she stops what she's doing and sways to the music. My dad bought her Flamenco dancer shoes when my parents were in Europe last month, and even though they are too big (and so ugly they're cute), we put them on her feet and she immediately started to dance around the room. She did the same thing with Jake's too-big soccer cleats, which gave us all a good laugh!
  • Her favorite movie is Finding Nemo, which is appropriate since we think she's a lot like Dory... her attention span is so quick that she moves onto the next thing in about ten seconds.
  • She LOVES babies. Whenever my nephew Sam is around, she wants to be so close that she's practically on top of him. The other day I had a girlfriend over with her 6-month-old and Lilly just kept saying "hold it, hold it," and was not satisfied until that baby was in her lap! She gets jealous whenever I hold another baby, however, so we will not be adding to the family any time soon! She also loves to hold her stuffed animals and sing, "Rock-a-Baby, Rock-a-Baby"
  • Her favorite person is definitely Jake. They play pretty well together for the most part, but she screams bloody murder if he takes her toy away and they'll fight over things now and then. We have noticed, however, that she does her part to provoke him, and of course he gets in trouble as we console her, but we're catching onto her little tricks. Our sweet baby is not so innocent!
  • To go along with that, we're definitely starting our "terrible two's" a bit. Although they are much less trying than Jake's were (so far), she has perfected the art of the meltdown when something does not go her way- limp body, rolling around on the floor screaming- yeah, it's awesome.
  • She used to say "gramma" perfectly and has recently started calling my mom "Mug-ah" and nobody knows where it came from. It does, however, crack us up!
  • I never expected it, but I think Lilly is going to be our funny one. She just does goofy things that make us laugh, which are quickly imitated by her spotlight-seeking brother.
  • Her answer to every question is usually "yesh," and I love the sweet way she says it.
  • Speaking of sweet, regardless of the tantrums, she is still one of the most easy-going, laid back, wonderful children around. She'll sit in my lap and cuddle as we watch a movie and still likes to ride in the Ergo carrier since it keeps her so close. I think personal touch is probably one of her love languages, and I'm happy to have a cuddler!
  • Recently she has decided that she doesn't want to go to bed ("no bed!") and tells us that she wants to lay on the couch. Once there, she'll demand a pillow, a blanket, her milk, and her paci. It does delay bedtime only because it's so stinkin' cute, but ultimately she ends up in her crib.
  • She still twirls here hair when she's tired, so most days she has a giant curl in the middle of her forehead... just like the nursery line. It cracks me up when people ask if I do that to her hair myself! Um, no, I do not put a giant, hot curling iron that close to my squirming toddler! 
  • She's still in her crib because so far she has shown no interest or even though of climbing out, even though she watches Jake climb in and out all the time. It amazes me how different my kids are!
  • Her favorite things to see are the "birdies" and "bunnies" in our backyard. She also still loves puppies.
  • We've graduated from walking and running to climbing. I am often pulling her down off of a table or counter or whatever she can find to get onto!
  • She can sing her entire alphabet and count to 13, but she sometimes skips a number here and there. She can also sing "twinkle, twinkle, little star," and a couple of other songs. I feel like she adds something new to her repertoire everyday and I cannot figure out where she learned it! It's amazing to see how fast they learn at this age.

  • I am seeing glimpses of her wanting to be a big girl. She definitely wants to potty train and goes and sits on the little potty all the time. She even says, "I go peepee on the potty," even though we haven't started yet. She also wants to sit in a chair rather than her high chair, which I try to avoid, and wants to go up and down the stairs. The baby gates are pretty much gone in our house... when did my baby get so big?
I cannot get over how much faster time seems to go by with the second one and I do wish it would slow down a bit! We've enrolled her for the same 2-year-old class that Jake was in last year (she made the cut-off by 4 days) and even though I think she'll be ready, I'm not sure that I will be! I'm just trying to enjoy every day and enjoy this last bit of the toddler phase before it's gone. My baby will be a little girl before I know it and I am definitely going to miss this age a lot! Thankfully, every age and phase is fun, but I think it's harder to see them pass by when it's the little one. I guess that's why people have more kids... but don't get any ideas! That is not in the cards unless we're surprised again!