Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kid Stories!

Mommy was super slow with dinner tonight so the boys went ahead and got in their pj's and did a puzzle with Daddy:)

And Missy did a little shopping with Baby Anna:) I've been thinking for awhile that it would be fun to do a post on some of the best things we have ever bought or received b/c there are just things that last and last or are a huge hit and there are others that you think you have to have and you don't use them or they break in 5 minutes!

This shopping cart, a gift from the wonderful Grandma, is one of the best toys ever! It has lasted through all 3 munchkins and is still going strong.

Baby Anna is like a new member of our family:) Grandma-Great picked a winner!!

Want to know why dinner took so long? This is why:

We had subs tonight and I didn't buy any sub buns at the store so I decided to make my own! Boy was that a great idea! We probably won't buy sub buns again!

They were truly delicious and not very hard to make. Yum!

A few funny and great stories from or about my kiddos!

First up is Zakkai, who struggles mightily with patience. It is not his virtue yet but hopefully it will be someday! We constantly are reminding him to wait and be still and patient and quoting our favorite family verse that resides on our refrigerator, "Love is patient, Love is kind....etc"

The other morning, he was bugging for something and I said, "Zakkai, remember to be patient please." He gave a huge exasperated sigh and said, "I know! Love is patient. I wish I could cross that part out!" Haha! Me thinks he will be having some trials of patience in his life until he figures out how to have some!!

Miss Bossy Thang has been giving lots of orders lately. Samuel was bugging her yesterday morning and she kept telling him to stop. Finally, she said very authoritatively, "Go downstairs, Samuel!" Ha!

We've been working hard on reminding her to say her "pleases" since she thinks we all need some bossing. She makes me laugh with her commands sometimes. Tonight, just after dinner, she said in a sing-songy voice, "Mama..." I was putting away some dishes and sang back somewhat distractedly, "Wha-at?"

She said, "Answer now, Mama!" Ha! Someone's a bit big for her britches!

Eliana is also Dora-obsessed lately. As in, Dora the Explorer. We get Dora books from the library and a couple times a week she gets to watch a Dora cartoon. Dora uses some Spanish words in her books/shows so I shouldn't have been surprised on the drive home from the eye dr yesterday when Eliana suddenly blurted out, "Excellente!" Although, hers sounded more like, "Excellentenennae." :)

And last but certainly not least! I checked my email after getting back from the rush of dropping the boys off at school and found an email from Samuel's teacher. When I saw his name in the subject line, I was a little nervous, worrying that there might have been some incident in school or something. But what I read brought such a happy thrill to my heart and tears to my eyes.

Apparently yesterday at recess, a group of kids were playing Kick and Catch, as they usually do. A classmate of Samuel's kicked the ball but since it was drizzly and wet, he slipped and fell. The other boys started laughing at him, even though he was hurt and crying. Samuel's teacher was watching the whole thing and she noticed Samuel lagging behind the other kids and he brought his classmate over to his teacher, had his hand on his back and told her that he had gotten hurt and the other kids had laughed at him.

She was so impressed by his compassion that she used the moment to be a teachable one. She said Samuel then offered to take the boy to the health office so he could get cleaned up/patched up. She told me that if she could have a whole class of kids like Samuel, she would be the happiest teacher and that we should be proud of him!

It still makes me so very happy and teary to even write about it. We talk and teach and try so hard to model (although not very successfully) to be kind and compassionate and loving. Remember our family verses?? And it's harder for siblings to act that way towards each other, I think. We've talked to the boys so many times about treating others how they would like to be treated and not falling in with the crowd and laughing or not helping someone.

I guess he's been listening! I pray this compassion in his heart will only grow and that he will lead by example and always want to do what is right!! So very proud of my Samuel!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Face and Charts!

Winter came back! Gone are the 50-60 degree days and instead, we have icy snow blowing and we're back to winter coats and accessories. I wish the weather would make up it's mind!

Miss E and I braved the morning rain and went to her first eye check-up since getting her cool new glasses. She did great! First time with no tears, although she did sport her new grumpy face half the time (see below). As soon as we pulled up in the parking lot, she put on grumpy face and said, "Wan' it eye dotter." "Wan' it' means DON'T want it in Fissy language!

She got a good report, lowered eyebrows and all, and doesn't have to go back for 4 months!

More cuteness from yesterday:) She looked so cute in her dress and her brother's shoes:)

Here is an example of "the face." Sometimes she does it with no apparent reason at all! It's a pretty darn cute grumpy face, if I don't say so myself:)

And she's back! She can turn on and off those emotions with the pro of a 2 year old:) In other Missy news, she peed on the potty for the first time tonight! I got her a little cheap potty from Ikea last week and I ask her before bath if she wants to sit on it. Sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn't and there's no pressure! Tonight she wanted to sit on the "big potty" and so I held her on there for a few minutes while she looked at a book and she went! Big girl!

Two of my main guys:) Both have new charts up with incentives to earn prizes. Samuel, who was jealous of Z's chart, has a "Good Attitude-Be Nice" chart since he struggles with the attitude part and being nice to little bro. Zakkai has a "Potty Chart" because he's working to stay dry all night. He even has a sign with a big toilet on it hanging right above his head on the bottom of Samuel's bed that says, "Go Potty, Zakkai!" on it:) He's such a deep, deep sleeper that he struggles in this area and often doesn't want to leave his warm, cozy bed in the morning. With our new plan of Rays being gone and some other things we put in place, including the chart, he is ready to go! In the potty that is:)

Both were thrilled to earn stickers today and begin working for their rewards. Go boys, go! We can't believe how easy it's been to get Eliana off the paci and Zakkai away from finger-sucking. I guess they were ready! After all the battles we've fought over the years over many things, it's nice to have a couple of them go easy on us!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hoola Hoopin' and Rain Dances.

What a rainy, warm day! Eliana and I took a few walks today because Daddy had the car. We went to and from school and took a trip to the library for some Dora books. Eliana is very big into Dora these days!! She brought her Dora umbrella to catch any stray drizzle, too:)

I'm trying to keep this Little Lady active to wear her out so she will nap! It's been nice to have the warmer weather so we can get out. Unfortunately, that's about to end! We signed up for storytime again so hopefully she'll meet some new friends.

Eliana found the boys' hoola hoops today and wanted to try them. She begged me all day to help her, which was not easy, considering how small she is and how big they are! She loved it when I showed my excellent hoola hooping skills. Don't expect a video of that anytime soon though!

I like to call this "Rain Dance." Keeping silly boys busy!!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 28, 2013


Some highlights from our day:

* Eliana's nap time strike is officially over!! We went on a nice long walk before lunch (without the stroller so she'd get tired!) and she went right to sleep and took a good, normal nap. She knew I was happy with her and made sure to tell brothers, "Good nap!"

*She is talking so much and in great sentences now. She loves to say, "I did it!" or "I do it." She was very bossy with me today, saying, "Mama, pway! (play) Mama wead (read) book? Mama lookit dis. Mama eat!"  Bossy little thing:)

*Zakkai did great for his second night without his Rays but tonight started to get sad about it. Growing up is hard!! Hopefully he can stay strong and know that we are proud of him.

* It was ridiculously warm today for the end of January (47 and tomorrow 60!) so we were able to walk to/from school all day, which was nice. I guess we should take advantage of these strange breaks from the bitter cold!

*Samuel keeps getting good reports from school about how well-behaved he is, despite a lot of his classmates not being. We are proud of him!

I can't think of anything else that anybody, other than us, could possibly want to know so that's it! Short and sweet tonight. I'm off to sew now:)

Sunday, January 27, 2013


The Blueberry Gang:)

It took a bit of convincing for the boys to pose for this picture. And boy, look at Eliana's face! Pretty much what she's been like the past 2 days. She doesn't handle colds well:(

Zakkai did GREAT last night being Ray-less and fingerless! He's pretty darn proud of himself. And I totally forgot to take a picture of Mr Z and his new bedtime companion, Ice Bird. Oops!

Eliana didn't do great but not quite terribly either. I feel bad taking pacis while she's sick but yet, at the same time, it seems like the right time. She was up about 4 times crying for me last night but settled back down easily until the last time, which was quite a bit early than her usual wake-up time. I felt really anxious about naptime since she's been fighting it so much. I tried to rock her and get her sleepy but gave up after about 30 min. She asked for her pacifier only once and got a little teary but it was over very quickly. I put her in bed and after lots of squawking and calling me for things for about 20 min, I went in and laid her down and tucked her in without saying a word and left.

That worked her up and she cried for almost 40 minutes:( Then, all of the sudden, blessed silence for the first time in four days! She only slept an hour and woke up crying and crying but bedtime went much smoother tonight and we are hopeful that once she gets past this sickness, she'll be content without her beloved pacis and sleeping much better!

I hope I make it til then. A cranky 2 year old is exhausting!!
This morning I made a new recipe for breakfast that was a smash hit with all so I thought I'd share!

Amish Baked Oatmeal
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
fresh/frozen fruit

1. Combine first 8 ingredients; mix well. Spread evenly in a greased 8x8 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

2. Serve with fresh or frozen fruit! 

I doubled the recipe and cooked it in a 9x13 pan. I am not at all an oatmeal fan but I loved this! Would be good with fruit baked in it, too!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

3 Cheers!

Tonight is a big night for 2 of my munchkins! We have been talking to Zakkai for awhile about some changes he is going to have to make by the time or when he turns 6. One of the big ones is to stop sucking his finger. We tried that last year and it was successful for a very short period of time before we realized he was doing sneaky things like ripping the tape off his finger in the middle of the night or just choosing a new finger to suck. Kids are smart!

The finger sucking/Ray (his special blankets) obsession has led to some other issues so we decided to quit cold turkey tonight. Ben and I mapped out the plans for the things we are asking him to change and we told him all about it today. We told him that Rays were going to get all cleaned up, folded nicely and tucked safely away with me on "vacation" for awhile. We said it would be hard for him but we would get him a new stuffed animal to hold on to at night while he was working on the no finger sucking thing. Or kicking his addiction, whichever:)

He was sad for like 2 seconds and then totally on board with our plan! We went to the store this afternoon where he picked out an Angry Birds Space bird (picture tomorrow) and tonight he gave Rays a big squeeze, handed them off and got tucked into bed! He really wants to be a big boy and loves when we're so proud of him. I hope this works!!

And as for the other munchkin, that would be Miss E. She still uses a pacifier at night and nap time and none of us were ready to break that adorable relationship. Until she came down with a cold this week and has refused naps and has slept badly due to not being able to suck her pacifier because she's so darn congested! So, I was pretty frustrated today after round 3 of nap failure. We brought our little red-nosed, dark-circled eyed, stuffy little girl downstairs and I told Ben that maybe it was time to go cold turkey with her, too.

It makes sense. She can't use the pacifier anyways right now because she can't breathe! So we decided to do it, even though it's a little sad. Letting go and all that:) I gave her her bath tonight and told her in a nice 2 year old way that pacifiers went "bye-bye" but she would still have all her other special things: elephants, pillow, blankets, etc. She said, "in woom" (room). I told her, "No, pacifiers aren't in your room anymore. They are gone!" 

She didn't even blink an eye, didn't ask for them while going to bed and fell asleep! Now, to be fair, she was SUPER tired, can't breathe anyways and we have no idea what the night ahead looks like, but still! At least it was a good start. 

3 cheers for my big boy and girl!!

Friday, January 25, 2013


 TGIF!!! It may have been a short week but it felt like a long one. Boy. It was just a run, run, run week with little to no down time each day that has left me feeling wiped out. Last night I was in bed, asleep by 9pm!

Eliana finally got a good night's rest last night, after being up multiple times the night before with her cold. But she refused to nap today, mostly because she couldn't breathe. So instead she drove her mama nuts by spending the entire 2+ hours yelling, crying, talking, singing and throwing everything she could get her hands on out of the crib.

This is what I came into.

What a stinker!

And here's the little angel enjoying her snack. She got this cute outfit from one of Ben's aunts and she just loves being all purple! I put the headband on her and she kept saying, "Missy's 'band!"

She didn't get to enjoy her brothers' presence too long because she got sent to bed early. Yes, m'am! This was one tired little cookie, who fought with every last drop in her little being until she dropped off to sleep out of pure exhaustion.

 Our upstairs is very poorly insulated so we bundle up with as many covers as we can each night. Samuel wrapped himself all up and begged me to take a picture:)

And so, of course, I had to get one of my Z-man, too:) After we banished the princess to her slumber, the rest of us played the game "Sorry" and ate our pizza. This weekend's homemade treat (we try to only eat dessert on Fridays and Saturdays) was upside down pineapple cake! It was a smash hit with all my men:)

It's nice to be appreciated!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We FINALLY got a teeny tiny bit of snow here in Chicago. It was a very slow, lazy snow that has just barely covered the ground and dusted our cars. It was pretty while it fell but BOY, is it cold out!!! I guess I shouldn't have complained about such a "mild" winter last week:)

Eliana, who was perfectly fine yesterday, woke up with a cold in the middle of the night. So strange! She was slightly crabby and congested today but not too bad. I am hoping it will be mild and pass quickly. We were doing so well, too. Darn.

We have started doing some new parenting techniques lately. I volunteer in the LRC (library) at Z's school on Wednesdays and the lady who works in there copied these CD's for me from this guy who founded the Love and Logic Institute. I have really been enjoying listening to them and picking up new tips. He talks a lot about how easy it is for your first reaction to be anger or yelling but how you will teach them so much better if you use "consequence and sorrow." He has great tips on avoiding power struggles, teaching responsibility and so much more. And he's really funny which makes it enjoyable to listen to. We are coupling these CD's with a book I borrowed from the library called, "The 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons." So far? Wow. A definite must read for anyone who has a son!

It's so scary, exciting, wonderful and overwhelming to raise a child. I constantly think, "What if I ruin them??" But I also pray that God will cover us in our mistakes and that He will give us the wisdom to raise them in this increasingly scary, horrible world.

We've had a lot of great changes in our household lately that make us feel hopeful and ready for this fresh new year. A year filled with possibilities!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Crafts, Mummies and Braids!

 The boys did not have school again today, thanks to an "Institution Day." (prob teacher workshops, etc.) The cold has finally struck our area so it's not too fun to go outside! We were getting a bit cagey yesterday but thankfully, Samuel's old kindergarten best buddy and his mom and brother came over in the afternoon and saved our sanity.

Today, Daddy was the Sanity Saver and took the boys with him for several hours down to the University. They went to the Oriental Institute, where B did the majority of his classes and also a museum filled with ancient artifacts like mummies and tablets, etc. They also had lunch, went to the library and a couple other small errands.

Missy Girl and I spent a quiet day at home!

  She got her very first braids today! Her hair is getting so long and has to be kept out of her face so I am getting more and more creative in pulling it back. She just looks so darn cute! ;)

I got an Amazon giftcard for Christmas and one of the things I got was this book, that has been waiting on my wishlist for a long time! It's filled with lots of simple patterns that could be easily embellished or enjoyed as is. I have a few projects I am tackling from it and finished 2 today!

One was a simple hanging bag for Samuel to keep on his bed. He is constantly losing his new booklight and books in his bed so I made this to hold his journal, booklights, pencil and current book. It's a nice sturdy little bag and he seemed to be happy with it.

I also made a sewing machine cover with a pocket on the front! I've been wanting to make one for a long time, as everything gets so dusty around here. This was super easy and it's pretty to look at:)

So that's how we filled a downright freezing day here in Chicago. The kiddos are tucked safely in their warm beds, gearing up for a short and sweet week ahead!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Little Sun

 I'm a little creeped out by the mild winters with no snow, to be honest, but it is nice to have some sunny, warmer days to take the kiddos to the park. Park means they get energy out!! Which is helpful when there's no school!

We took our neighbor buddy, Mikey, with us and the boys brought 3 balls to play with: a soccer ball, a kickball and a basketball. And they played with all three the whole time!

Eliana tried to join in on the ball playing with her special ball but that ended when she got knocked over by a flying kickball smacking her in the head:(

Playing kickball is Samuel absolute favorite thing to do at recess so he begged for a kickball of his own for Christmas:)

Zakkai took his basketball and went right over to practice all his moves he learned from basketball class:)

Eliana has the cutest little girly run:) She LOVES to go to the park and threw a good fit when we told her it was time to go!

Can't believe how big she looks these days!

Daddy giving Z some pointers...

Eliana and I gave up on the boys and went to play on the train, the slides and the swings!

Peek A Boo!

True to 2 year old nature, she lasted on each piece of equipment for only moments before moving on to the next:) It was fun to get out and soak up a little sun and play with our kiddos!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Friday Nights!

We love our Friday nights around here! It signifies another (hopefully) successful week completed, the beginning of a relaxing (also hopefully:) weekend together and last but not least, it's our faithful pizza night! And we make a mean pizza, if we don't say so ourselves!

Last night we added some game playing to our pizza night! We pulled out my long-term childhood favorite game of Life, which the boys adore and played a rousing game while waiting for and devouring our yummy pizza. We all loved it so much that we're thinking of making game playing a weekly tradition, too!

We finished off our night with a delicious treat, which I am most definitely passing on! Snickerdoodle Blondies. (click on it for the link!) Served with vanilla ice cream. Yum and yum again! If you like snickerdoodle cookies, you will love these!! Enjoy.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

One Year

 As I was rocking and reading to Eliana tonight, I started thinking about how much things have changed in one year.

Last year, Samuel was a happy 6 1/2 year old, getting into playing with friends and thriving in first grade. Now, he's a moody, bright, active 7 1/2 year old, who reads constantly, loves to play kickball, is always needing and giving affection and who takes care of his little sister.

Last year, Zakkai was an almost 5 year old boy, still in preschool part of the day and talking my ear off the other part of the day. Now, he's a happy almost 6 year old kindergartner, who is learning to read better and better, loves to build his legos, fight with his little sister while simulaneously teaching her (!), and who gives the biggest hugs.

Last year, Missy Girl was still baby! She was almost 15 months old, still crawling, no glasses, just checking out her cool brothers and world. Now, she's the busiest 2 year old ever! She's funny, loves to make us all laugh, is developing an imagination, will read books all day and carries her special babies everywhere.

It's amazing what a year can do!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Do!

Enjoy the new look! I'm going to bed early tonight. I think falling asleep while reading your child a story before dinner is possibly an indication that you're not getting enough sleep....

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tea Parties N' Cave Art.

 Eliana got some fun girly stuff this Christmas that she is just crazy about! She has tea sets, purses, the Sweet Shop playdough set, dolls and strollers and more!

She has discovered that she just loves to have tea or coffee:)

The other day she and I got our tea party all set up. She takes it very seriously! All the colors match up and we have to mix things with our spoons. And then we drink it all up...

Like so:) Feel free to join us for coffe, tea (or hot chocolate!) anytime. Missy had such a rough morning today. She decided, for whatever reason, that she needed some Daddy time and when I pulled her away to take the boys to school, she was so mad! She cried allll the way to school and back again and didn't settle until she had lots of cuddles from her Daddy.

3 guesses for what this is!! Zakkai's class did a little segment on cave art before Christmas break and he brought this home last week. This, my friends, is a cave horse:) with a small head and a large tail! So cute.

Speaking of Zakkai. We've been working on his grammar lately because he's been saying funny things like "Shoulda did" (which has a certain ring to it..) or "Shoulda done." It's not always easy to teach kids grammar and rules for English! There are far too many "exceptions" that trip them up. It's a tough language.

Samuel came out of school this afternoon in tears because there are a group of "non-listeners" in his class that  have been so badly behaved lately that the whole class has lost recess tomorrow to have a class meeting. I took him over to talk to his teacher and see what the scoop was. Apparently there are a good 7 or 8 kids that have constant trouble listening in the class. Mrs W assured Samuel that he is such a good listener and she is so sorry that the whole class has to be penalized. He has often expressed frustration at these kids in the past couple of months and has complained so much recently that he asks not to go to school:(

It makes me so sad because he usually loves school! He had a truly amazing class last year; a great mix and I think he is just used to that and having a hard time getting used to having classmates that aren't respectful of rules or time. We try to praise him for his behavior and encourage him to pray for his class and keep trying hard but it makes us sad to see him struggling.

I hope his class shapes up soon! Of course, Zakkai heard him talking today and suddenly he started saying that there were kids who ruined "The whole day" today. But the story modified quickly and it was just a small section of the day:) He's been copying off of Samuel a lot lately, as little brothers will do.

Last night at dinner, Samuel said, "Hey, no copying!!!" And Miss E piped up and said, "No Coffee!" We never lack for smiles around here:)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Catching up!

Just look at the little guy. All tuckered out..... (Name that movie!)

I don't think we had a particularly exciting weekend (unless you count washing/vaccuming the car, running small errands, going to church and playing exciting!), but whatever the reason, Zakkai didn't last through even one story last night:)

We are getting ready to start planning our big/little guy's SIXTH birthday at the end of next month! Wow. It was a little hard for me to believe that he was turning 5 last year but he grew into five so nicely and it seemed like he would be five forever so I just enjoyed it. But six??? He was always my little buddy, ornery, up to mischief, saying adorable things and driving his race cars all around the house. How in the world can my little guy be growing up? 

It's just so amazing to me how fast they grow. I don't think I'll ever stop being in awe. And a little sad, too.

The other night, I was showing the boys some old pictures and when Samuel saw some of Missy as a tiny baby, he got really upset and couldn't look anymore. Minutes later, he uncovered his face, threw himself into my lap and burst into tears. He was SO sad that she isn't a baby anymore and he misses those sweet days. What a tender heart!!

Eliana got some books today from a friend, who was cleaning out her kid's closets, and has thoroughly enjoyed reading them today! She's been carrying around one under each arm and hoisting them into our laps all day:) I was inspired to weed through our book collection, which is quiet large! Most of our books are in the boys' room on their dresser and Eliana has a couple of baskets in her room. I was able to weed out a small stack but it's hard to get rid of books! We love books around here!

One book we haven't read in awhile is called, "Children Around The World." It's a book featuring real children from all around the whole world (go figure:) and telling you what that child eats, how they dress, what they call their parents, what school is like, etc.

The boys LOVED it!! We used to love reading it and I was a little surprised at how enthusiastic they were tonight! They opted out of reading another story, just so we could read another couple pages of this book.
They started imagining what the book would say if our family was featured in it. I'm not sure that our life compares in any way to a Tembe Indian from Brazil or a girl from China!

One good thing that has happened since we came back from Christmas vacation is that we've settled on a church! This was due to some amazing things that happened over break and we are excited to just settle in somewhere for the remainder of whatever time we may be here. Now, if only Eliana would stop crying hysterically in her class so I could hear a complete service....

Now I am off to finish a movie with my wonderful husband!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Two Mini Chocoholics.

 I have a confession to make. I have inadvertently and yet, quite happily, passed on my chocolate-loving genes to two of my offspring. They have an undeniable love for the rich delights of chocolaty anything. I feel no shame in passing on this glorious inheritance!

Tonight, I had two eager volunteers to lick my chocolaty frosting beaters.

Exhibit A:

And stinkin' cute, I might add:)

And Exhibit B:

Who said, "Missy is so silly! She has chocolate all over her face!!"

Mirror, anyone?

Thursday, January 10, 2013


 Eliana and I were trapped at home most of the day today with no car so we had a nice girly day:) She's really been enjoying playing with us. She came up to me and said, "Pway Me, Mama?" (Play me, Mama?) How can you resist that?!

We played with some colorful counting bears she got for Christmas, read books, had tea with her new tea set, and best of all, skyped with my sister and niece! I really enjoy easy parenting moments like these:

The sun shining on my little angel:)

Missy kissing her new favorite Baby Anna.

And getting hugs and cuddles.

But parenting isn't always this easy I'm afraid. It can be tempting to want to make things look or sound easy on a blog. To crop out the mess, to avoid sharing the battles or tantrums, to only share the happy moments. But really, if I can be honest here (and I can because it's my own blog!), I can tell you that along with the cutest moments, we also have some pretty terrible ones!

Samuel really struggles with attitude and sometimes seems to us like a pre-teen already (yikes!). He did not have a particularly good afternoon and we are wondering if the tough week at school is catching up with him. He got teased earlier in the week about the rash on his face and we also had just come home from spending time with our families, which always takes awhile to come down from.

Samuel isn't always very good at expressing his emotions or putting words to them. He just feels them very deeply and sometimes doesn't know why. 

Zakkai usually struggles with listening. He cannot hear what we are saying to him. As a matter of fact, we're pretty much like the adults on Charlie Brown to him. "Wa wa wa wa wa wa." He's easily distracted by everything around him and most of the time can find something much more interesting than listening to us!

And Eliana, well, she's TWO. And in the beginning of her training up foundational years. Did I mention that she's two?? That should say enough:)

We are going to really make a point to pray for each of our children, for their struggles, for wisdom in how to handle them and to parent them each individually and mostly, how to train them up to love the Lord. We are always so thankful for the love, prayers and support we get in this area from our families!

These little ones may be adorable a lot of time, funny, entertaining, ornery, downright aggravating sometimes (sorry but it's true!) but we are crazy about them and thankful for every day with them.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Just For Laughs...

We received a picture just like the one below by text on Christmas Eve captions, "Winston all tucked in and waiting for Santa..."


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back to School!

 We are off to a good start to this year:) The kiddos went back to school yesterday and we're back to homework and starving boys after school and all that comes with it. Poor Samuel apparently was exposed to Fifths Disease, a.k.a. Slapped Cheek Disease, sometime in the past couple of weeks and broke out in a really bad rash on his cheeks and today his body. Out of respect for his sensitive heart and self-consciousness, I won't be posting any close-up pictures of him. Suffice it to say, it's been really bad! I really hope it clears up soon because I feel really bad for him. He doesn't want to go to school or anything. Reminds me so much of me!

When we were in OH for Christmas, we had a really sad flukey mishap and 2 of the boys' brand-new Lego sets got thrown away:( We've all been really sad about it. Yesterday I returned a couple of movies they got for Christmas and with the help of 2 little giftcards I've been carrying around for awhile, I was able to get one set to replace the 2 they lost. So after school and homework was finished, all 3 kiddos sat at the table and built SO nicely together!

Another really great gift the kiddos got for Christmas was a Cousins Photobook that my sister put together for each family. In it are pictures of all of our families, who are living in 4 different states. It's so that our little ones can look at pictures of each other and remember even if we don't all live close by. Eliana has REALLY enjoyed looking at it this week! I often find her on the couch or chair studying the pictures and saying all of her cousin's names:) 

Hope your week is off to a good start, too!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Jesus Loves Me.

The first night we were in OH, Eliana did NOT sleep well! I never sleep well my first night somewhere else, so I shouldn't have been surprised. She was coughing and crying out for a while and finally, at 1:30am, decided she was good to go. For THREE hours.

I would doze and then jerk awake everytime she talked, or scratched her fingernails along the side of the netted pack n' play. Then I'd look at the clock and realize only 6 minutes had passed since I'd last glanced at the glowing numbers.

I was starting to feel really frustrated at not being able to sleep when the most beautiful, sweetest, angelic sound came out of the darkness. It was our sweet girl singing her very favorite song, "Jesus Loves Me" to herself.

Instantly any frustration that either of us felt drained away. We clasped hands and listened to Eliana sing the simple words of truth, that I hope she strongly will believe someday.

I tried to capture her singing today, although she was being pretty silly while she was singing. But here's a glimpse anyways. She melts our hearts!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Big Brother.

Samuel fell in love with having a sister from the minute he found out he was going to have one! He thought my pregnancy with her lasted forever! (And I can see why he felt that way!) He couldn't wait to meet her, to help take care of her, to watch her grow.

He rarely gets frustrated with her. It's only her recent induction into the land of irrational 2 year old-isms that pushes his buttons but even still, he treats her with gentleness and love.

He takes the role of protective big brother seriously. He, along with our Z-man, is quick to tell us when she is doing something dangerous or unsafe. He teaches her words, how to do things, how to play with certain toys. And recently, we've found him several times reading books to her. Even today in the car, she was getting sleepy (and therefore, irritable!) and he found a book nearby and started reading it to her, curbing the inevitable tantrum.

I can foresee a close relationship between these two. I see him watching over her, protecting her, loving her every step of the way. And I see her looking up to him, watching to see what he does and how he acts, wanting to be just like him. She and Zakkai have a totally different relationship. Z is a little quicker to erupt and get frustrated at her constant, "MINE!" but also fantastic at getting her to giggle freely and play wild silly games.

How blessed is she to have such wonderful brothers and for them to have each other and a sweet little sister to watch over. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dear Samuel

 Zakkai made a Christmas card for Samuel and I forgot about it until I respotted it during clean-up today. Another special Zakkai moment brought to you:)

Dear Samuel,

"I love you but plees dont fit withe me. Love, Zakkai." (I love you but please don't fight with me!)


And the title of this picture is: "Caught Red Handed!"

Happy Friday!