Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kelsey's Three Month Update



Dear Kelsey Jane,

Sweet sweet girl you are growing way to quickly.  Our days seem to pass by in a whirlwind and in a snap you are a month older!

You are THE best baby.  You wake up happy and go to bed happy.  You rarely fuss and when you do you are easy to calm.  You LOVE to talk.  (Clearly you take after you Father..you'll get that joke when you're older).  You will just talk and talk to me or your Daddy.  We love just getting you started and listening to you.  You are most talkative in the mornings and evenings.  But you will often talk or smile at others when they talk to you as well.

I finally moved you into size 1 diapers and into all your 0-3 clothes.  You are so tall!!  I think you will grown out of your 0-3 size much faster than the newborn clothes.  I'm anxious to see how tall you are at your 4 month appointment!


You went with us on our first little family vacation this month.  We went to Portland and then to the Olympic National Park.  You were a great hiker and car rider.  We took along your Rock N Play and you slept in the hotels just like home!  It was a great time.

You are still a great sleeper.  We tend to have such a random schedule that you aren't really on much of one during the day.  I think as you start to sleep longer at night that will happen.  You go to bed now anywhere between 8 and 10 and then get up between 6-8.  I am so thankful for that!


I am so thankful for you sweet girl.  I already pray that the Lord will give us a strong bond with one another.  That you will smile and talk to me always just as you do now.  You are precious to us dear one!  We love you so very much!

Love,
Mama & Daddy
(and the boys too....because they are crazy about you!!)

The Perfect Day


Well it's here.  That time when all my posts start to revolve around the fact that we are moving and that I'm literally DEVASTATED about it!!  Let me start by staying I am thrilled to be moving closer to my parents, in-laws and other family.  I absolutely love my own family and adore Peter's family as well.  I am incredibly blessed to have two fabulous families who love us so much.

But...

I.  LOVE.  TACOMA.

If you've been a blog reader for long (first of all thank you since I've practically fallen off the face of the internet world) you know I hate that weird "put a period after every word in a sentence" punctuation.  But this time it's necessary.  Because seriously,

I.  LOVE.  TACOMA.

This place has become home.  And it is so bittersweet to leave.

I'm already at the "I get teary" point.  Everyday.  Every.  Single.  Day.

I think about our start here (planning to detail that in another post).  Our two sweet sweet babies born here.  The friendships made.  The losses we've experienced while living here.  The growth. The beauty.  All a sweet sweet gift from our heavenly Father.

As each day passes I try to etch the people...the smells...the water...all of it on my mind.  To share with my kids when they want to know what Tacoma was like.  And to savor myself...when my heart feels like it's going to break from the pain of leaving.  Of starting over again.  That fresh start, so full of possibilities, but so empty of familiarity.  Of people.  Of home.

We had a perfect day today...perfect days aren't really perfect.  But they are made up of lot's of perfect moments.  Sweet glimpses of heaven.  Sweet blessings.  Sweet memories....etched away in my heart.

We camped.....


We read...


We cooed....


We looked cool....


We swung as high and as fast as Daddy's underdog would take us.  And giggled, saying "Again, Daddy, again!!" over and over.


We played tag with strangers.  Calling ourselves the fast blue whale....and running until we could no longer.


We practiced our selfies....


Chased harbor seals.....


Awed at mountains....


And sunsets....


Climbed rocks....


And "camped" for the night.


Thank you Lord for this perfect day.  For sweet children's laughter.  For hugs and kisses.  For coos and cries.  For mountains of majesty.  For the murky smell of the water.  For sweaty boys.  And sweet girls.  For sweet friends.  For a supportive spouse.  For going before us as we move.  For Jesus.  For love.  For freedom from ourselves.  For hope in You.  

When It's Just Too Much

We just spent four packed days on vacation.  We learned some lessons (take at least 3 outfits a day when hiking)....won some "parenting of the year awards" (hello dinner at 9pm) and made some wonderful memories (see this post).

We got back Sunday evening and spent all of yesterday catching up.  Neither Peter nor I are great planners.  We have slowly learned to set ourselves up for success when we return from a trip (now if we could do the same when leaving!).  He took yesterday off and we spent the day "leisurely" doing laundry, yard work and grocery shopping.  Even though it was a busy day it definitely gave us a smooth start to the work week.

I woke up today stressed.  A. It's sad when your big kids wake BEFORE your baby.  Happy that little K is such a good sleeper.  But seriously boys.  This not-a-morning-person-at-all Mama needs you to at least stay in your room until 7.

We are officially moving in 2 months.  I have said anything in this little space about it because A. let's be honest I have said a lot here lately.  B. I'm pretending it isn't happening.  Regardless we have a lot to do to get ready.

I stress about weird things.  We've been through some trying times in the past few years...cancer...crohns...a long deployment.  But those things don't really get me down.  I tend to let the little things get to me and when that happens I've learned it's time to sit down and regroup.

Sometimes though the little things aren't so easy to forget.  And although they aren't diseases that start with C or major life events they are still important.

Here's the thing.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.(Ephesians 5:15-17)

My time right now is best spent with my babies.  I have been called to and chosen to be a stay at home Mom.  And while that has it's ups and downs, it's what I'm supposed to do.  Forever?  Who knows.  But for right now I'm right where God wants me to be.  My job is to be the best Mama to Stafford, Reed and Kelsey as I can be.  To love Jesus in front of them.  To be Jesus to them.  To respond to them in love.  To model patience.  To teach them to boldly proclaim His name.  

Sometimes doing the above just has to win over the things I want to do.  I'm not saying I shouldn't get time to myself.  I do think that is important.  But my JOB right now is these three little people.  Yes changing diapers is yuckly.  And reading the same old book gets old (why do they want to read the same one 10 times in a row??)

Probably the thing I hear from older parents most often is "It goes by so fast, enjoy it."  And they are right.  I want to enjoy every bit of it.  The easy and the hard.  The tears and laughter.  The whining and the grinning.  It doesn't mean there won't be hard days.  But I don't want to look back and wish my time with them away!

I think this is magnified by being a military family.  One month you move in and then before you can even blink it seems like three years has passed!!  If I'm this sad about leaving a city, I can't imagine how I will feel when that first baby leaves to go to college.

So when you come to my house you might notice that I've chosen love over laundry.  Babies and blocks over books.  My cuties over coffee.  I'm making the most of this time...regardless of what that looks like.  And I'm praying to love every minute of it!


This girl....she makes my hear about burst!


And this one....he gives messy a new meaning.


And my sweet sweet Stafford....

It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.

—L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Friday, June 13, 2014

If I've Learned Anything



Have you ever taken one of those spiritual gifts tests?.  After Peter and I were married for a couple of years I re-took one of those tests.  I was fascinated to see that one of the gifts that was previously towards the bottom had migrated to my top 5.

Giving

I'm such a first born, type A person.  A lot of things I do because you are "supposed" to do it or not supposed to do something else!  I've been a giver but more out of obligation than from my heart.  I wasn't bitter or angry to give.  But I didn't necessarily get joy out of it.

One of Peter's greatest qualities is his heart for giving.  It is really unlike anyone I've ever known and by watching him I have truly learned to be a giver.  I watched him seek opportunities to give.  To hurt because he couldn't give more.  It was attractive, in a magnetic sort of way.  I wanted to do it too!

I've never thought of myself as a giver.  In fact sometimes I kind of embarrassed because I don't think I volunteer enough or help people out when they need it.  But as I've been reflecting on people over the last few days I've realized something.

I am passionate about giving to people.

I hope anyone who knows me would agree with that.  I love people.  I had a difficult time giving up my advising job at the College of Charleston because I LOVED my students.  I loved getting to talk to them.  Helping them.  Watching how they developed over their four years.

I love my friends.  Near and far.  I make an effort to keep up with them.  Whether by phone or email or social media.

I love my family.  Obviously.

And God has placed people on my heart.  People that need Him.  People that need someone to give.

***

Today is my one year anniversary as a consultant for Rodan + Fields.  When I first started this business we started setting aside my extra income each month to contribute.  I hadn't felt called to do anything specific but I knew the Lord had a special place for that money.

This past Sunday our worship leader shared about a school in Kenya that he has been working with.  Bungoma Rectory Academy is operated by the members of the Bukusu tribe in Bungoma, Kenya.  Initially (like most schools) they charged their students to come to school.  In 2010 they had 12 students.  Enrollment quickly increased to over 100 students and many of them are orphans.  They can not afford to pay for school OR food.

The school started feeding all of the students two meals a day.  They also operate on Saturday because they know these children won't be fed on days they aren't in school.

Todd reported that these schools are in dire need of money.  They operate without paying the teachers, with few textbooks and in buildings that are literally falling apart.  In spite of that they recently placed 7th out of 100 schools in their county in testing.

The Lord just spoke to me as I was listening and clearly said...."This is where your money should go."

So, if you have purchased any Rodan + Fields products from me during my first year of business you are helping out these dear children.  You are helping to feed them and show them the love of Jesus.

Thank you!  Thank you for supporting me and in turn supporting them!!  We have been so blessed by giving.  The world teaches that you can't get enough stuff.  We want the latest technology, the biggest house and name brand everything.  We eat out.  We vacation.  We splurge.

We could feed one of these children for a year on what we spend at Starbucks in a couple of months!  I'm speaking both in general and specific terms here because my goal certainly isn't to judge anyone for how the spend their money. It's a personal issue.  But the fact remains that there are millions of hungry children in the world and I'm not.  I'm never hungry.  I'm never uncomfortable.  I'm never desperate (well sometimes around 5pm on a weekday and a little bit today when I realized Reed had poured an entire cup of coffee in Kelsey's face.  Thankfully it was cold!!).

***

This business allows me to serve people in two ways.  I get to work with a wonderful team of supportive women.  We pray for one another, lift each other up and encourage one another.  This business has made a huge difference in many lives.  People are able to stay at home with their children instead of working.  People are funding adoptions or schools overseas.  People are changing their financial future just by working a few hours a week.  It's AWESOME to be a part of.  It's an amazing opportunity and I can not share it fast enough.  I want to conference call every single one of my friends and family and get them on board because I truly believe in the business that much.

But most importantly this business is giving me an additional income to use for God's glory!  I pray He will always keep me focused on WHY I started.  I pray He will open incredible doors to serve others.  I can't always serve in person at this stage of life. But I can give!

***

I'm still looking for people who want to do adoption fundraisers over the next year.  Email me and we will set up a month where 50% of my proceeds will go to fund your adoption!!!

And thank you again all my sweet friends and family and customers who have supported this amazing journey!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kelsey's Two Month Update

Well I still can't get the official pictures off of my camera so these iphone beauties will have to do!

Dear Kelsey Jane,

It's hard to believe you are already two months old.  The days just seem to fly by and I try to take time each day to just sit and enjoy you.  You love to smile and coo and cuddle so you make it easy to want to spend time with you!

At your two month appointment you weighed 11 pounds and were 23 inches.  You are about 1/2 a pound smaller than your brothers at this point (they both weighed 11'7 at theirs!).  The doctor was pleased with your growth especially given our troubles with nursing and weight gain the first month.

You are doing such a great job with nursing now.  One day it just seemed to click with you.  After your first months appointment the doctor said it was ok to let you sleep at long as you could during the night so we cut out the last bottle which was the first time you woke up at night.  You tend to go to bed anywhere between 930 and 10:30 and will sleep anywhere between 3 and 5:30.  It's usually a 6 to 7 hour stretch which is great!  You still sleep a lot during the day but it's never consistent.  Sometimes you have awake time in the mornings and sometimes in the evenings.  It just varies day to day.


You really are a happy baby.  You are very talkative in the morning when you wake up or right before bed.  You just smile and coo whenever you see me or your Daddy.  It's precious!  I love hearing your little noises.  Stafford will often comment, "Kelsey is talking to me!"  

You became an international traveler this month and met both sets of grandparents.  You did great on our trip to Canada, taking your first ferry ride and spending the night in a hotel.  Mama and Daddy also go to enjoy a couple of date nights thanks to the grandparents.


You are just starting to wear your 0-3 month clothes and I got a little sad putting the newborn ones away.  However, I will admit it is pretty fun each time I get to get out a new outfit.  I love shopping for you and dressing you!  There is a lot of pretty pink in this house!  You are still wearing newborn diapers but after we finish this box you'll be on to size 1!

We love you so much Kelsey Jane.  You fit right into our sweet little family.  Your brothers think you are so wonderful and your Daddy and I agree!

Love,
Mama & Daddy


Monday, June 9, 2014

When God Says.....Just Do It


Last year Peter, the boys and I (and unbeknownst to us, Kelsey) did a 5-mile hike at Mt. Rainier.  It was AWE-some.  Truly awe inspiring.  The views were breathtaking.  And something about the accomplishment of hiking through snow covered paths (we were totally unprepared) carrying Reed on my back has made that day really special for me. 

Peter took a zillion shots of this "swish" symbol in the snow.  I think it was more impressive in person but we kept joking about how Nike should use it for their Just Do It campaign.  

***

Last year at this time I took another huge leap of faith.  After months of debate and wondering why I kept feeling the Lord literally whispering to me "I have something for you to do" I started my own business as a consultant for Rodan + Fields.  It was scary.  We invested a decent amount of money and honestly I was SO afraid I was going to fail.  What if no one bought anything?  What if I've just wasted all this money on a business that falls through?  

And God just said....just do it.

So I did.

I don't often feel the Lord being super clear about his direction for our life.  But he was very clear.

Just do it.

One of the things I knew he was calling us to do was to give.  In fact, I really started because of this nudge.  Whether if was an extra 10 dollars or 1000 I knew He wanted giving to be a central focus of our business.  And He was clear that He wanted us to give 50% of our profits.  

***

You may remember reading my story initially.  I felt certain that the Lord was calling us to adopt.  In fact I almost expected a baby to just appear on our doorstep.  My heart for children and babies.  For orphans.  Man...I just KNEW he wanted us to adopt.

But He didn't.  And I was confused and a little sad about it.  

And then came this business.  And it was so clear!  This was the way He wanted our family to help at this time in our lives.

Just do it.

***

Sometime down the road I would love to start a non-profit to help those trying to afford adoption.  But right now we are choosing to give to various causes that support and share Jesus with orphans and children around the world.  It's important to us (because we believe it's important to God) that we not only give to an organization that helps with physical needs but with spiritual needs as well.  

***

Over the next year I plan to choose a different family or organization each month to contribute to.  There are so many wonderful ones out there.  If you have a group or person that you know works with orphans or plans to adopt will you please email me?  I would love to hear their story and help them with this amazingly important task!

***

If you have purchased from me in the last year I'm excited to share with you later this week how your money will be helping children and orphans around the world!

***

This business has been SUCH an amazing blessing for us.  Not only is it allowing me to contribute to our family by paying for preschool and other things but it is allowing us to give back.  I work very part-time hours and truly enjoy getting to help people find a skincare solution to the problems they are facing!

This business is for anyone.  Men and women.  Young and old.  Introvert (me!!) or extrovert.  Working professional or stay at home mom/dad.  Care about skincare or don't care of skincare.  It doesn't really matter.  If you are interested in finding out more about this amazing company or products please email me or send me a message today.  

Peter and I have prayed from the beginning that this business would bless our family and that we could bless others as well.  We pray for our team members and future team members.  We truly believe in the product, the unique business model and the potential this business has to be totally life changing.

So excited to share more with you later this week!!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

8 Weeks Comparison

Thought it would be fun to look at each kid at around 8 weeks.




Who do you think looks alike?  

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