Monday, October 16, 2017

October. Already.

  Seriously, this summer passed so quickly.  Doesn't help that for the first several months I wasn't feeling the best.  All my great plans for getting out and doing things just didn't come to pass the way I had hoped.  

Oh well. 

I'm going to do a little recap of the end of summer...because there are some fun pictures and updates to share.  First, I'll start with pregnancy updates:

I am almost 21 weeks along.  Can't believe we are over the hump of halfway!  Again with the flying time.  I am feeling pretty good for the most part.  Over the weekend I picked up Asher and used my back, not my legs.  Still recovering from that one.  He is just too heavy for me to pick up any more and so I am working on being patient with all the sloooooowwww walking and stair climbing.  

My belly is now undeniably pregnant.  I forget it's there sometimes and end up ramming into things or realizing I can't slip between things the way I used to.  Lots of squatting, no more bending.  And no sucking in this bad boy.  

Now see, I said "bad boy" there, but don't get too excited.  Gender has not yet been confirmed.  Although we do find out THURSDAY!  Well, technically on Sunday, because our dear friend is throwing us a gender reveal party.  We opted to be surprised at the party along with our guests...which has me both parts excited and sooooo impatient!  We were supposed to find out a week ago, but the doctor had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict.  

There are noticeable kicks and last night Ben and I could actually see the little bumps appear on the surface of my belly!  Feeling and watching a baby move in my belly is quite possibly one of my most favorite things about this process.  I am once again in awe of the creation of life.  

Asher turned the grand ol' two last week.  And my goodness are we experiencing both the terrific and terrible sides of this glorious age!  I love this kid to death, but the delightful combination of molar-teething, expanding independence and fierce determination are quite the combination.  I am trying to live in the balance of realistically sharing the facts of this stage while not complaining.  He is a challenge at times.  He has perfected the toddler whine.  He says my name countless times in the most pathetic voice until I feel like telling him I don't know who this "Mommy" is he speaks of.  I let the kid watch a few minutes of a YouTube video about trucks and he pesters me to "watch a show on my phone, Mommy!"  All. The. Time.  That stuff about the addictive nature of screens is no joke.  

And yet...he is incredible.  He is funny. Oh so funny.  He is saying things like, "Actually I don't want it, but probably I will."  He adores any and all babies.  He loves physical touch and is learning how to give it  and ask for it appropriately and gently.  He asks, "Mommy, sing 'Talk to Jesus' and snuggle on 'da bench [the couch]."  This melts my heart because I used to request this same song from my dad while snuggling with him.  I love that he loves it.  

He will get a sweet grin and say (unprompted at times), "Thank you so much!" I hear him talk to himself and say, "No, no, dump the water" or "Good job Buddy, thank you for listen to Mommy!"  It makes me smile and cry because he is so darn sweet.  

On a personal note, I have been feeling a little defeated when it comes to this vivacious kid.  It is hard to parent a toddler who's brain is still just figuring out language and doesn't have a grasp on reasoning.  I feel like I repeat myself a million times and there are no results.  It is easy to wonder what the point is.  There are these little moments of triumph when he responds to discipline (consequences and teaching moments) with obedience.  When he says, "So sorry Mommy."  
And oh the grace that is poured on me in the moments when I lose my cool, raise my voice and speak crossly with him.  I feel like a horrible mom and yet all he wants to do is have me hold him and snuggle him.  These moments break my heart and fill me with hope.  Despite all the brokenness I bring to this parenting thing, he still loves me and wants to be close to me.  Really gives me a glimpse of how persistent God is...I mess up and He still just wants to hold me close and tell me he loves me, and have me say I love Him.  

This weekend I reconnected with a long-lost pen-pal I had when I was 11!  I was in her wedding at that age too (she was a bit older than me), but life has happened and we haven't kept in touch.  Anyway, through the course of talking, she said this to me:  "I realized that feeling overwhelmed has less to do with what is actually going on than how much grace I'm asking for in the moment" (or something to that effect).  It really reminded me that I quite often marinate in my overwhelmed feelings and circumstances and don't readily reach for the lifeline of grace offered in abundance, if only I would ask.  

Here are some snapshots of our wondrous summer/fall!  
We went to California in September to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday!  It was such a lovely time.  We rented a house in Santa Barbara where we could all stay.  

Attempt at a grandchild picture.  Tommy took off and most of the littles weren't too happy...



Hiking by the beach! 


He was a bit apprehensive about the waves, but loved playing in the "Big Sandbox."  Ben told him we were going to the "Big Sandbox" one day and that is what he now refers to the beach as.



Action shot. 


Ben and Asher sleeping in after the worst night ever.  Ash was up for around three hours straight.  Even when we brought him in bed with us, he would just sit and poke our eyes to make sure we weren't sleeping.  Good thing he is so cute. (They both are).



After the beach we did naked toddler swimming in the pool to get off all the sand.  However, Asher insisted on wearing this life jacket, so it turned out really akwardly adorable with his bare bum under his bulky life jacket. 


My dad caught this *fantastic* snap of me looking fly.  



Ladies (just missing Krissa).  Love them mucho!



J&K had left a few days earlier and we had forgotten to take an adult group shot with them.  



This stud checking out the Pacific off the Ventura Pier


Uncle Joey is just the best.  They love him. 


Asher back home on a nature walk with his friend Cecily.  Notice him trying to touch her.  She wasn't super excited to have him in her personal bubble.  



The glee of hose play on an 80 degree September day.  


My lil' family.  I love them.  Can't wait to see what the picture will look like when baby #2 is added! 

Au Revoir! 


 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Life according to Summer of 2017

I feel like the last four months have flown by.  We have been doing a lot of traveling, home improvement projects and then there's the whole pregnancy thing.  Oh yeah, for those of you who may not follow me on any social media, we are expecting baby #2 in February!  Contained in this blog post will be some miscellaneous pictures, some updates on pregnancy and some thoughts about life right now.  

Lets start with baby stuff in the form of FAQs: 

How far along are you? I am 12 weeks exactly right now

How have you been feeling? Honestly, not so great.  Lots of nausea and fatigue.  Not to mention the emotional/hormonal roller coaster.  Everyone (read: Ben) has been so patient with me as I haven't always been my most cheerful self.  Having an active toddler always adds an exciting twist as well.  But now its starting to level out and I feel much better overall.

Are you finding out boy/girl?  Yes we are.  Because I don't do that kind of surprise well.  We found out with Asher and were really grateful we did.  

Do you have any names picked out?  This is a tough one.  We had some we were pretty set on, but then did some re-evaluating and now are kind of back to the drawing board....suggestions are welcome! 

Do you look pregnant? I'm including this...not because its frequently asked, but because when I tell people I'm pregnant, they immediately look at my midsection.  sometimes its a long glance, but mostly its just the quickest of eye twitches as they try to get that nano-second view of my enlarging girth.  And then they make comments on how they never even noticed and I don't look pregnant at all, and they look more pregnant than I do.  *sigh*   In my opinion, yes, I'm starting to look pregnant.  At least I feel like I do.  So I wear it proudly and don't even attempt to hide it.  This is part of why we told at 10.5 weeks.  I was tired of hiding the pooch.  

Are you guys so totally excited!?  Yes we are!  I'll admit, we (mainly me) were a little apprehensive in the beginning.  Not because we didn't want a baby, but I had a miscarriage before this pregnancy and was hesitant to be overly excited.     My friend let me borrow her personal doppler for hearing the heart beat and it has been a comfort to be able to hear that little swish-swish whenever I want to.  

Are you ready?  Can one ever be fully ready for such a major transition as bringing another life into the world?  We are excited and confident in God's blessing us with a growing family.  We acknowledge that there are many things we won't be entirely prepared for but we are excited to take it on!  I can hardly picture our family with another baby.  Another personality.  Another human who will forever be a part of us.  

Okay...Next topics!  

Life as of late:  
Ben and I decided earlier this spring to turn our garage into a three-season living space.  We hadn't really used it for our cars and really wanted a place to entertain and spend time outdoors.  We didn't anticipate how much work/time would go into it.  We should have...we've seen enough Fixer Upper to know that uncovering walls and looking at foundations rarely goes without a hitch.  Since our garage is ancient, we had to do some major work to solidify the walls. One corner had zero support and was sinking like 6 inches into the ground.  Most of that is Ben-esque work and therefore I have kind of been out of that.  It has exposed in us things that haven't yet been exposed in our four years of marriage.  I am glad we are learning how to navigate the bumps with a fairly small project like a garage remodel and not an entire house remodel where our whole lives are turned upside down.   It has been a growing process with both of us being stretched, and while it isn't always pretty, we are grateful for the sanctification. 

On a personal note, I am not one who is easily overcome by anxiety or depression.  However, given the combination of current events and social media, I find myself being more effected by these things than ever before.  I used to engage with one particular person on facebook, feeling like the conversations were productive and intelligent and though provoking (for both of us).  Then there were two instances where I was completely misunderstood by her friends who were witnessing the dialogue.  They were kind of harsh and unfeeling in their commentary.  I'll admit I took it personal and it crushed me.  I was attempting to have a truly constructive conversation and was seeking to learn more and ask good questions and I was somewhat obliterated by two complete strangers.  I backed off after that.  My friend is always good about maintaining respectful conversation even if it is clear we don't agree.  I will always appreciate that about her.  But I just couldn't do it publicly anymore.  Combine that experience with the comments section on just about any article or news blurb and it can be really discouraging.  I was sucked into reading these things but left feeling gross, confused, frustrated, and honestly a little anxious and depressed.  It wasn't good for me.  I took a break from facebook for a little while.  It was a good reset.  I am now able to click away from comments or articles that aren't edifying and uplifting.  I have been seeking out worship music, sermon blurbs and scripture that help refuel and refill my soul with truth.  I found myself crying the other day listening to a Rich Mullins song.  I've known the song forever, but the truths he was singing about just refreshed my soul in ways that it hadn't been in a while.  

So I guess I encourage you (and me) to take a break.  Look away from the computer or phone.  Resist the urge to read the comments.  And soak your soul in some truth.  Bask in some Scripture or a favorite worship song.  I find that I think more clearly, respond more reasonably and am far less shaken when I have a good fortification of truth.  


On to some pictures! 

A picture of Asher and his Grandma D and Grandma-Great Z.  


Asher and Reese enjoying "driving" with Papa on vacation!



All the heart eyes!  



Little fish loved being in the water with Daddy! 





Reading books with Asher's buddy Noelle



The phase of Asher getting out of his toddler bed dozens of times at bedtime and sneaking the door open and peeking out. Thankfully that phase has passed. 



Being a stinker and teasing cousin David by poking him with his feet 



It's so fun to have cousins around his age! 



Forgot jammies one night so Grandma found us a soccer shirt that was a wee bit too big.  Asher kept saying, "It's so cool!"




Baby announcement!  


Auntie Claire and all her nieces and nephews! 



More heart eyes.  Love these boys! 



When the cousins came to visit (for a week!) we tie-dyed shirts.  Aren't they cute on the bench in the woods!?



I just love this picture for so many reasons. 





He loves getting shoes out of our closet and clomping around in them.  he is always so proud of himself!


Well there you have it.  The whopper post.  I'll give more updates of baby stuff and other happenings as they...happen!

au revoir! 



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Eighteen Months

Due to exciting and fun times in California, this milestone post is about a week late.  Not too much has changed in that time so it is still accurate =)  
Asher is a year and a half old.  So much has changed in the past six months that the halfway mark definitely needs celebrating!  

Being Asher's mama has been such a joy.  When I think about the things I want to write down here for my own memory's sake, it is hard to sort through it all.  So I guess I'll just dive in, list style.  

*I don't have many stats on him, as I haven't taken him to the doctor too recently.  He is still running a little shorter than most kids his age, and is a solid 25.6 lbs.  

*He is sleeping about 11-12 hours a night.  He was waking up at 7-7:30, but this week it has been a solid 8:15.  Maybe he still isn't adjusted from CA time. 

*One nap a day for about 2-2.5 hours.   

Favorites
*Food: any and all.  Especially cookies, meat, cheese, pickles and blueberries.  

*Book:  Little Blue Truck books, Cars and Trucks and Things that Go.  Ben gets home at night, Ash gives him a big smile and says, "Hi!  Books! Read books!"  He LOVES when Ben reads to him.  Probably because he does fun voices and noises. 

*Music: Donut Man, Mary Rice Hopkins, Slugs and Bugs (Album 2), and a worship mix I made up.  Also he likes me to sing and play the piano (ok, he likes to "play" the piano too...)

*Toys:  crawl-through tunnel, cars, wooden puzzles of trucks and animals, pots and pans.  

*Activities: Zoo, Mall-walking, sliding at the park, and above all, WALK!  He wants to walk everywhere, and getting him to hold my hand is the newest challenge.  

*Words: His vocabulary has exploded the last few months!  He has about 60+ words that he uses consistently.  But some of his favorites are- "Tchucks" (Trucks).  Cars. "Tchain" (train). "Seeyah" (Sierra).  Joe. Rose.  Papa.  Mimi.  "Gahma" (Grandma).  "-sic" (music). "Sahchat" (Snapchat).  "Peas" (Please).  "Cooookies"  And if you ask him, "Asher, who loves you most of all?"  He will give the toothiest grin and say, "Jeeeesussss!"  

*Off-limits, but oh-so-tempting:  Dog water.  Computer power button.  Toilet paper.  Mommy's night stand drawer.  Coffee mugs.  Phone.  

Challenges (for him and I!)
*Asher is a strong-willed child.  He doesn't like being told no.  And he will throw tantrums until he forgets why he is mad...but will stay mad on principle.  Seriously.  It gets to the point where being pouty must be really satisfying to him.  Any and all who previously doubted this due to Asher's normally charming nature...well...they doubt no more.  

*As previously mentioned, walking and holding an adult's hand.  He hates it.  And will go limp and fall to the ground, making it difficult to walk or to hold his hand.  He doesn't want to be carried either.  Finally today we made some progress and he held my hand without going limp or twisting his arm and walked for about 3 minutes.  

*Slowly weaning off the Paci.  It is another of his favorite words.  We have resorted to spelling it.  He still gets it for night/nap time, but we are pretty consistently taking it away for awake time.  Exceptions include airplane, church sometimes, my one child-care job 2.5 hours a week where the other 5 kids all have them and he would steal theirs otherwise.  He isn't always happy about it.  He asks for it probably an average of once or twice an hour.  But he has been accepting our no more and more without complaining.  Especially if his favorite music is offered as a distraction.   




Despite these (rather few, and pretty normal) challenges, Asher is still charming, happy and delightful.  Anyone who has seen him knows his smile lights up the room, and he offers them with abandon. He has got the cutest sense of humor, is quite ticklish and offers a fist bump and a high five to anyone who will humor him. Although he is easily distracted by any number of moving machines.

  He loves babies and can hardly contain his excitement when he actually gets within 2 feet of one.  Being outside, surrounded by trucks, cars or trains will keep this kid happy for a long time. 

You ask him where something is and he puts his finger to his mouth and says, "hmmm....eh-it-eees" (there it is) in the cutest voice.  Half the time he hasn't even found it...he just knows that the phrase generally follows, "where is it?" 

He finally will choose me over other people or notice if I'm not in the same room as him.  It took over a year of his life for me to be a preferred person.  He was always so busy socializing with everyone that he wouldn't notice if I left.  And I'll admit, it does make my heart melt to here him say, "Mama!  Mama go?"  And the way he grins and exclaims exuberantly, "Hi!" when we get him up in the morning or from naps...seriously adorable.  


Right now he has one of my shirts around his neck and he is carrying a little bowl saying, "fe-fish" (goldfish) and making little pathetic whiny noises.  He is adorable, and he tries my patience, and he delights my heart.  

A book my sister-in-law Meg just gave me talks about how the sanctification of parenting is like being put in a rock tumbler.  It is no longer the gentle process of junior high sanctification, where we got to sit in a quiet spot like a stone in a gentle brook...water gliding over us and slowly smoothing out rough edges.   Oh no.  This is like a rock tumbler.  Being bounced and shaken together, all the rough edges felt and acknowledged quite clearly...but hopefully with some serious smoothing happening.  Parenting reminds me daily of my need for grace.  And how the grace I receive from Jesus is sufficient for parenting Asher today.  

It is a process.  And I'll just say that I'm forever grateful that one of the little rocks in my tumbler is Asher Warren.  

Here are some pictures from the past week or so! 

At the observatory.  He likes the grates in the floor.  


Sometimes I look down and see the goofiest things.  
One sock off, fingers in his ears and his paci in his mouth all crooked.  

He is so observant.  He hears and sees airplanes all the time (takes after his Uncle Johnny that way!) 



Oh look there's another one! 



Don't know what this squinty-eyed smirk was about but it makes me smile.  



Throwing rocks in Eaton Canyon.  He LOVED it. 


"Woooowwww!  SPLASSSHH"  (direct quote)



Ben took me out for a birthday lunch in CA at a favorite place called Marston's.  It was a sweet date, with delicious food and of course good company!  


Asher not quite sure how to do piggy back rides with Papa.  His motto was basically: hang on for dear life! 


Auntie Krissa with Emery and Asher!  Em is almost four months younger than Asher, but a bit taller...



Asher reading books in Papa's nice big chair.  
(Both of his Papas have nice big chairs...we'll have to get a picture on Papa D's next!)



   






 

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Spring-ish

Spring.  It is here.  Officially.  Hopefully for good.  One never knows in this wild land of Minnesota.  

The other day I was thinking about how grateful I am for my time at Biola.  A lot of my former classmates talk about how they hated the "Biola Bubble" and that it wasn't helpful for them to transition into the "real world" where not everyone thinks like you.
I disagree.  Biola wasn't the exposure to the real world.  It was the preparation.  (although a lot of things I faced at Biola definitely qualified as exposure for this sheltered home schooled girl ;))

What my time at Biola did for me was give me words and tools and confidence in what I believe.  I felt that after leaving there, I was able to articulate my beliefs with more depth and evidence.  I left knowing my Bible, my God and my faith better than when I arrived.

All that to say...

 Lately I've been fighting the lie (and subsequent feelings) that I am foolish.  Not sure if that is the right word.  I'll expound and maybe you'll follow.

Since I don't work, I have to find other ways to exercise my brain cells.  Not to say that parenting doesn't take brain cells.  It definitely does.  But I feel like this season of life is relatively predictable and we are in a pretty easy routine.  That is bound to change at some point...but in the meantime I have to do something.  One way I've done that is to engage in conversations on potentially touchy topics with a person that believes things differently than I do.  On the medium of Facebook.  *cringe*

In the past, I have tried to avoid these kinds of conversations, as they haven't always led to productive conversation.  But after a few threads that actually remained civil, thought provoking and mature, I was bolstered and ultimately continued.  A lot of these conversations have centered around God/Christianity...and have occasionally dipped into social/political issues.  For one of my friends, I am one the more conservaite Christian friends she has on facebook that she will actually listen to.  That is partly due to the way I have engaged her in conversation.

I owe a lot of that ability to things I learned at Biola.  Some of it is practical...like I just plain know the Bible better.  Some of it is inspirational.  My theology professor was this guy who just loved sharing about Jesus.  He would tell stories about hanging out in his gym's hottub and end up having these conversations with people where he shared about Jesus.   I think the thing that inspired me most was his confidence.  to just dive in there and do it.

So I've been convicted to engage.  To not be ashamed of what I believe.  And to give it my best shot.  There are often times I don't articulate what I'm thinking very well.  Or I leave the conversation feeling like she must think I'm an idiot.  But honestly, that's okay.  Or it should be.  The Enemy likes to tell me I'm foolish, and I totally messed up any chance I had.

Sometimes I say stuff that is so clear and I just want to be like, "BAM!  YES!  That.  So much that.  GO SUZY!"  And a few seconds later I read it again and I'm like, wow, I'm  not sure I actually wrote that.  That is when I'm convinced that the Spirit gave me words.  Because I typed things that surprised even me.  Things that I believe and I know I've heard...but with an eloquence that I didn't just pull out of thin air.  I am humbled again that He uses me to speak such solid truth.  

That continues to confirm that opening my mouth and speaking is actually being used and is productive.  I don't know the results...meaning, I don't know if my words will ever impact or change anyone's life.  But what I do know is I am called to be faithful and proclaim the glory of God here on earth, no matter who listens or changes.  And as long as I'm speaking his word, it doesn't ever return void, but will accomplish what it is supposed to. 

I might be planting.  

I might be watering. 

But God definitely gives the increase, whether I get the privilege of witnessing it or not.  

And maybe being foolish in the world's eyes isn't so bad.  After all, Scripture does say that God's wisdom is foolish to man.  

A song I've been mulling over lately goes like this: 

Seems I've imagined Him all of my life as the wisest of all of mankind
But if God's Holy wisdom is foolish to man, he must have seemed out of his mind
For even his family said he was mad, and the priests said a demon's to blame
But God in the form of this angry young man could not have seemed perfectly sane. 

When we in our foolishness thought we were wise, he played the fool and he opened our eyes.
When we in our weakness believed we were strong, he became helpless to show we were wrong. 
So we follow God's own fool, where only the foolish can tell.  
Believe the unbelievable, come be a fool as well.

So come lose your life for a carpenter's son, for a madman who died for a dream
Then you'll have the faith his first followers had, and you'll feel the weight of the beam.  
So surrender the hunger to say you must know, have the courage to say, "I believe"
For the power of paradox opens your eyes, and blinds those who say they can see.

(God's Own Fool by Michael Card)

Anyway, this really hit me that if my goal is to not look foolish by the world's standards, I probably won't make that goal, as long as I'm representing Christ.  And I guess I'm okay with that.  

So, come be a fool with me, eh?  


 


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Bright Whites

Today I stumbled across an instagram account.  You know the kind.  One where all the pictures are clean and white and perfect.  The thought I've had a million times crossed my mind, "How do so many people have such identical bright white lives?!"  Then out of nowhere one post on this account said, "click the link in my profile to read my step-by-step process to clean white photo editing."  

This pretty immediately confirmed two things: 
1. It's all edited
2. I'm about to join the club of bright whites! 

So I read her post.  I downloaded two apps (yay for finally realizing what #vsco stands for...) 
And I started editing.  My goodness it was tedious.  I tweaked, and I zoomed, and I cropped... I have minimal artistic prowess, scant amounts of patience for the process and the results left a bit to be desired.  
It was just plain too much work.  Bright White can't be worth all this. 

But it is, my head keeps telling me.  You might get hundreds of followers that want to join the bright white club too!  Your life will look so mysteriously simple.  So clean and neat.  So unique yet so consistently predictable. 

But. The work. The time.  The tedious brush strokes!!!  Maybe their lives are just clean and bright and white and I'm just decorating my house wrong and dressing my kid in too many colors.  (She did say she edited though.)

The wise words of my mother echoed in my head, "Suzanne, you can't expect great results if you aren't willing to fuss with it a little."  Granted, we were talking about my hair. How I wanted curls but refused to spend the time with a curling iron.  How I wanted volume but didn't want to use combs and hairspray or any kind of product. How 2 minutes of pulling it into a semi-neat pony tail was too long already. 

So I sacrificed.  Sacrificed ideally awesome hair for an easy morning routine. 

And I'm seeing another sacrifice on the horizon.  I think I shall sacrifice a place in the Bright White club.  But I'm not sure what for. Laziness, at the very least.

 At most, it's because I don't want to get sucked into something that I'm sure will become a source of pride for me.  But that desire for pretty pictures and lots of white and superb lighting is really pulling at me.  Their bright white lives somehow look better than mine.  Their #realtalk somehow feels more fancy and less lame than my real talk because their pictures are perfect.  My pictures are blurry, shadowed, dark, with too many colors and edited right there on instagram *gasp*. 

And what had started out as innocent fun sharing of snippets of my life has turned into this mess of insecurity and confusion and bewilderment.  I wish I knew these moms better. The Bright Whites.  I wish I could see their houses with less touch up.  With the off white, the shadows, the conflicting colors, the messes quickly shoved out of the way in favor of a pristine photo shoot. That would be #realtalk to me.  It would make me feel less alone.  

But alas it won't end the Bright White epidemic (until the trendy tides shift).  So my next best option is to grow up, knock it off and be okay with my choice.  I'm not willing to fuss with my pictures.  I'm not artistic enough to pull it off anyway. So I'm gonna just document my life and my cute kid (who is bright white all on his own, thank you Germanic ancestry and Minnesota winters...).  I will enjoy my colors, shadows and messes. Admire their ability to be so darn consistent and artistic and patient. 


This isn't to say that anyone who chooses nicely framed pictures with lots of white and clean, crisp lighting and editing is bad or prideful.  I appreciate your ability to create such pieces of eye candy. But I have to bow out.  And keep telling myself it's okay.  Of all the problems facing all the moms, this surely can't be the worst.  

But it is indicative of a pretty common-to-mom thing...Insecurity.  And it shows up in different moms in different ways, am I right?  We are okay with our choices and life until it comes up next to someone elses that looks shinier than ours, in some way.  They've thought about things we didn't even know were things.  They've decided something is important to them and now we feel like we should take up the same causes.  We fret and worry and wonder and second guess. We miss out on the little joys of the choices we have made because of the ones we wonder if we should make.  

*sigh*  Definitely just preaching to myself at this point.  And hoping that there are other moms in this with me.  And I'm not just saying this so that we have something in common...but because I really do struggle.  Just as my poor husband.  He is so validating and works hard at keeping my mind on the right track.  But it comes down to believing the truth that I am a good mom, he is a good dad, we love our kid and we won't look the same as any other mom and dad in the whole wide world.  We bring a unique mix of our family histories, our personal preferences, our mutual goals, our fabulous personality flairs...and it is our story.  And for that I want to choose to be grateful.  


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fickle February

Ah Fickle February.  That is what we have dubbed you, since you have plunged us into shivering cold temperatures, and then surprised us all with a few gems that hovered in the high 50s-low 60s.  While I will always be grateful for warm days, it has felt a little defeating to then go back to relatively normal temperatures.  That tantalizing taste of spring weather really got my hopes up.

This post will be primarily summarizing pictures of our month or so.  I'll be doing an official 18-month post for Asher at another time.  He has done so much growing this month, and it has been quite fun to witness.

He truly loves animals, and meeting Paco the cat was no exception!  Not really sure how Paco feels about it...but I can probably guess.  



We like to walk around the mall on week days when it is empty.  It kills a lot of time, because Ash will spend 5-10 minutes at all the rides staring at them.  Especially this one, because...trucks.  



He is such a cuddly fellow.  One day, he was playing with his car and came up and laid his head on my knee like this for quite a while and just kept playing with his car. 



More of that animal love in practice.  Sierra is such a good sport and lets him get away with just about anything.  He is kind of in an aggressive-love stage, where he just wants to interact with her so much he ends up grabbing at her skin and her ears and poking her eyes...all while giggling and smiling so big.  Surprisingly, Sierra just sits there.  Unless he goes for the tail, then she moves quickly. 



Went ice skating.  Forgot gloves (silly Mama).  ended up using Daddy's.  They cinch at the wrists, so it actually worked out great...and looked hilarious. 



Okay, so I know I'm his mom...but I generally think Asher is a really cute kid.  However, he has got the ugly-cry perfected.  Seriously.  his face contorts really strangely and it is often all I can do not to laugh.  Especially if he is just throwing a tantrum, like he was here.  
He has lately been resorting to a good cry (complete with HUGE tears) and follows it with throwing himself dramatically on the floor or throwing whatever he has in his hand in defiance.  I can tell we will have our hands full in the next few years! 


Enjoying the conservatory on one of those frigid days! 



Asher got the adventure of his little lifetime when we went up to my friend Crystal's parents' cabin and did some ice fishing!  to say he loved this little "truck" is a huge understatement.  


Driving said "truck."  Ice is fun and challenging to drive on!  


Asher's love of animals extended to the bait tank.  He had a blast dipping out minnows and touching them.  


riding in the "truck" pretty much lulled him to sleep every time we drove between ice houses. 



After lots of hours, only one fish was caught...and it wasn't even in the house I was in!  Ben was with the spear-fishing group and they got this big guy! 


Grateful for these friends, and for Crystal's parents who were so generous and hospitable! 


The men taking a snooze.  They claimed they didn't want the other to feel bad for sleeping so they kept each other company.  



Celebrating Crystal's birthday!



My book-loving boy. 


So he recently decided that prayer is really important (one of the imitations I'm grateful he has picked up!)  Quite often he will say, "Pay" and fold his hands...and will repeat it until we offer a little prayer.  This generally happens between bites at dinner time, whenever he gets on his chair or generally thinks a prayer should be said.  He has been picking up cues at church and sees when people fold their hands, kneel or close their eyes, and prays along. 



On one of the warm days we went to our park that has a splash pad.  Of course it was off, but Asher ran right to it and kept trying to coax water from the fountains.  It has been shut down since September, but apparently he remembers what it does!  


Belly slides are the best!



Swinging doesn't last as long as I had expected...



Shadow discovery! 



And of course, with warmer weather comes lots of MUD.  And these are the days having a dog are not as fun.  You can see her at the top of the picture looking away in shame, because usually wipe off her paws by the back door before she traipses through the house.  


Overall, it has been a great month.  We are going to have a pretty busy spring...we have the goal of attending FOUR weddings between April and May.  So far, three are for sure happening and we are working on the fourth.  Lots of travel, family time and warm weather!