Thursday, December 5, 2013

Eight Years Ago...

That's right ... eight years ago, I became a mother and first met my little boy. I can hardly believe Joshua is turning eight years old today.

Sweet Joshua! He was so little for so long ... at that point I could never imagine him as a little boy, let alone as an eight-year-old. Now he is so grown up.

What a year this has been for Joshua! We started the year in Scotland, moving back to the States just after he turned 7.

After homeschooling for the second half of first grade, Joshua started second grade in the local public school in September. And loves it! He has a great teacher, who is really working to stretch him and inspire him.

I have seen significant growth in his math skills and problem solving. But I am really most excited about the corner he has turned in his reading and writing. He writes the best little essays and stories... they remind me of the type of things Darren use to write as a kid. His essay on pizza was fantastic, claiming at one point that "...eating pizza is like having a party in my mouth."

Joshua has always been a strong reader for his age, since he first learned how to sound out words and memorize sight words. Now he devours anything he gets his hands on. He is currently rereading his Magic Tree House books, often reading the entire book in one sitting. He has also started reading the boxcar children mysteries.

For the month of November Joshua's school had a read-a-thon. He was determined to read at least 1800 minutes in the month, and finished strong at 1959 minutes total in 29 days. Crazy! I think his reading style comes directly from me. Now we are just waiting to hear if he won one of the Kindles they are giving as a prizes!

Joshua has found a new fascination with the idea of 'States' that make up the entire country. He had so little exposure to U.S. geography and it has really captured his interest. He checks out books about the states, pours over maps of the states and, most recently, has started keeping track of all the states' license plates he sees. Since he started tracking these at the end of September, he has seen all the states except 3 (Vermont, Delaware and Mississippi)... it helps that we live in a military town, where many people frequently move from other states.

This year has also marked a change in Joshua's interest in spiritual growth. We gave him his own Bible as a back-to-school gift. He has begun to look up stories and read passages of scripture for himself. He also checked out a large comic-style storybook Bible from our church library that he has read cover to cover. That has created some interesting conversations (like "why did Cain kill his brother? How old was he when he did this?" etc), but I love that he is interested enough to talk about these things.

And as a big brother ... I am so proud and pleased by the way he takes care of his little brother and his little sister (though the latter sometimes requires more reminders from mom). Joshua has a special love for little Micah, and they both enjoy each other so much. Joshua likes to teach Micah new things and LOVES to make Micah laugh! Micah especially loves Joshua's expressive physical humor.

Joshua still enjoys puzzles and games. He makes lists about anything and everything (I think it is the way he processes information and enthusiasm). He still loves trains and firefighters.

He has also spent the last year learning everything you could possibly imagine about 300+ species of dinosaurs; he even read the paleontologist's dinosaur encyclopedia almost cover to cover (it doesn't even have pictures, except for a few sketches).

I love Joshua's enthusiasm and passion when he puts his mind to something. He is a studious, focused, persistent little guy. He is still shy and quiet, plays alone most of the time. I am continuing to pray for a heart of compassion and love, so that his attention to learning does not overpower his ministry to people around him.

I am so thankful for these last 8 years with Joshua. In the coming year, I pray he will grow in grace and in his knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the love of Christ rule in his heart, and fill him to overflowing.

Happy Birthday, Joshua!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Soup

I am finally publishing one of my favorite soup recipes. 
This is fast and easy. I often just throw it in the crock pot when I need a quick dinner.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
3 cups chicken broth
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can diced tomatoes (including juice)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (1 cup dry beans, softened and cooked)
1 cup chicken, cooked and cut into bite size pieces
2 cups corn, frozen
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Suggested toppings:
  • Tortilla chips
  • Grated cheese 
  • Sour Cream
  • Chopped green onions 
  • Sliced avocado

Crock Pot Instructions:
  1. Saute onions until almost tender. Add garlic; saute until tender. 
  2. Combine all ingredients (except fresh cilantro) in Crock Pot on low for 4 hours.
  3. Add cilantro.
  4. Serve with toppings.

Stove Top Instructions:
  1. Saute onions in stock pot until almost tender. Add garlic; saute until tender.
  2. Add broth, enchilada sauce and tomatoes; bring to a boil.
  3. Add beans, chicken, corn and spices; heat through.
  4. Serve with toppings.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Happy First Birthday, Micah!

Micah turns one year old today! Can it really have been a year since we welcomed Micah into our family?

I remember so vividly that night we rushed to the hospital, and about 1.5 hours later I was snuggling my new baby. He continues to be my snuggliest baby and I'm loving every minute of it!

Now to some facts and stats about Micah as he turns one-year-old.

Weight: 20 pounds / ~15th percentile
Height: 31 inches / 90th percentile

At one year old, Micah still eats anything. He has really been enjoying roasted chicken lately.  But I am having to add healthy oils and fats to his diet, just like his siblings.

Micah has finally decided that crawling is faster than  his military-type crawl on his stomach. And everyone is surprised at how fast he gets into things. This new activity level has also impacted his weight gain (or lack of, actually).

He is also so excited about standing up whenever he can find someone or something to help him up. But he is not making any moves to start walking.

Micah now has 8 teeth in his little mouth, and he loves to chew on everything.

Last month Micah started saying a 4 or 5 words regularly. I have so enjoyed his new expressions. This month, he really has focused more on his standing and crawling; not much has changed in his communication. But he did finally stop screaming just for the reaction! Whew!

The biggest change this month has really been in Micah's sleep. FINALLY, he is sleeping through the night more often than not. And he goes down with only about 15 minutes of snuggles and walking. After more than a year of sleep deprivation, I am so thankful that we are finally getting some sleep again.

We all love this little boy so much! He makes us laugh, even at stressful times, and add so much joy and depth to our lives. We are so thankful!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Eleven months...

Yes, my little baby Micah is 11 months old today! Where has the time gone?

This has been a huge month of development and growth. Here are some of the highlights

Micah added another tooth this month. He now has 7 teeth to his bite.

He is finally crawling more regularly. However, if he is really in a hurry (like when chasing his siblings) he will still drop to his tummy for a very fast military-type crawl.

Micah is so excited about his new ability to stand up. He grabs anything he can use to pull up to a stand. He is finally able to stand up at the couch and grab his sister's or brother's games, books, or whatever they are doing! Fun new interactions for everyone!

While he is standing with support, he is not really cruising on the furniture yet. I don't think he is planning on being an early walker.

One of my favorite developments is Micah's expanding ability to communicate. He has not only said his first words, he also added several words and some sign language to his vocabulary. Here is what Micah loves to say:
  • Mama / Dada (first words) - He was saying these words for weeks before I finally acknowledged that he was using them as words and not just making sounds, so I have no idea which one he learned first.
  • A-da (all done) - I was teaching him the sign language for "more" and "all done" during meal times, but he really just wanted to say "all done" instead.
  • Ni-ni (night-night) - Before heading to bed, we would always wave to everyone and I would say "night-night." A few nights ago, Micah started copying me. He now says it when going down for the night or naps ... and sometimes when he wants to go down for a nap.
  • Uh-oh - My mom taught him this one when he kept dropping his cup. Now it is one of his favorites ... especially when he can get everyone laughing, or when someone will pick up his item repeatedly.
  • 'More' in sign language - Most of the time this just looks like clapping, so I only understand it in context when we are eating and I ask if he wants more.
Other ways he enjoys interacting include: waving, hi-fives, smiling (at everyone), singing, screaming, pulling hair....

Micah still loves to eat anything and everything. Tonight he enjoyed his first beets straight from our garden and kept asking for more. We are so thankful for a good eater.

His favorite toys right now are his three little, shaky eggs - blue, red and yellow. They are just the right size, and make a great sound. He also enjoys any new texture that he can put in his mouth.

Sleep continues to get better. We have had several nights with no interruptions (yes, sleeping through the nights). However, we just had a terrible week because Micah had a cold and was so frustrated at his stuffy nose. So, things are still up and down, but overall we are all sleeping better. He is also getting better at naps and some regular type of schedule.
 
Yay, Micah! Happy 11-month birthday! We are so thankful you are in our family!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Happy 10 Months Old!

Micah turns 10-months-old today!

I am amazed at how quickly the last month has passed.


This month, Micah has perfected his military crawl and can move so quickly. He loves to surprise mommy by peeking around corners, or hurrying off to get plant or other items that are off limits.


We have been casually using sign language with Micah and he really loves it. He doesn't have the coordination to actually sign yet, but he loves anything that allows him to communicate and get a response. He seems to understand concepts of communication so much more than I expect.


The last two months have seen incredible improvements in Micah's sleeping habits. And just last week he slept through the night for the first time ever (though he has not repeated it since). He has finally started going down a little easier, learning how to self-sooth when he wakes up.


Micah continues to be an great eater. He loves trying new things. My other two kids were relatively passive about the food on my plate until they were much older; Micah, however, wants to grab anything and everything he can. His new favorite is broccoli... loves it!


So my little baby continues to grow too quickly. He continues to bring all of us such joy and laughter! Happy 10 Months, Micah!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Nine Months!?!

Yes, Micah is now 9 months old!
How can time have passed so quickly?!

We just visited his new doctor for his nine month check up. Now he is all caught up on his immunizations, specifically those they do not give in the U.K.

Our little boy is growing more each day. 
  • Micah weighs 19 pounds 10 ounces and he is 29 inches tall.
  • He now has SIX wonderful teeth. 
  • He is a truly great eater and has not rejected anything yet, though new textures throw him off for the first few bites. I think he would eat anything if I let him.
  • Micah is so social; he loves to interact and make people smile.
  • He still using his military crawl, but is practicing getting up on his knees.
  • He has learned how to get into a sitting position from his tummy.
  • Seperation anxiety seems to have started...
  • Micah is still a sweet as ever.
Happy Nine Months, Micah!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Micah at Seven Months Old

Micah is seven months old now!

I know, I know... he turns eight months old next week, but this mama is in denial about how quickly time is passing, so we'll stick with seven months old as long as possible.

He is now 27 inches tall, having grown a whole inch in the last two months. And he weighs 18 pounds, jumping from the 35 to the 50 percentile since he started solid food.

This good-natured little boy has changed so much since we moved back to the States a little over two months ago. Here are some of his biggest accomplishments:
  • He is now sitting like a pro.
  • He loves baby food and is really putting on the pounds.
  • He does a great military crawl and can get most any where that interests him.
  • He responds so cheerfully to his big brother and sister.
  • He has found his tongue and loves to talk with it sticking out and feeling it between his FOUR teeth.
  • He discovered how to shake his head and loves to make everyone laugh by shaking it "no" in answer to any and all questions or statements. It is really so funny how he uses this form of communication!

He still gets up two to three times at night, but finally goes to sleep at a normal time and tends to go back to sleep easily. He is also getting better at sleeping without always being held. We are still working on consistent naps, but I am encouraged that I may actually get to sleep through the night again someday...

I love listening to him giggle at Joshua's physical comedy (today he was laughing just watching  Joshua laugh so hard he had tears), or listening to him coo when Abigail sweetly sings her little made-up songs to him. My heart melts at the way Micah's face lights up when he spots Daddy in the room. And I am blessed by the love and cuddles that Grandma and Grandpa give him each day.

We love our little Micah. He is so sweet and brings so much joy. We are so thankful God gave him to our family.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Abigail turns 5!

My little Abigail turned 5-years-old this month. She was such a sweet little baby...  I can hardly believe how grown up she is.
 
Abigail has always been my social butterfly. Even when she was little, any bad moods or hard times could be solved by getting out with friends. She is ready at any time to play with a new friend, though she is just shy enough to never introduce herself or ask her friend's name. 

 Because we were in Scotland this fall, Abigail started kindergarten (Primary 1) in September. She was the youngest in her class was struggling with the more structured requirements, but then something changed. Suddenly the letters and sounds, the numbers and counting made sense to her and she hasn't looked back since.

She is still lively and distractable, but also excited about the new learning prospects before her. Although she does not get to continue formal schooling until next year, she is joining Joshua in our little homeschooling endeavor.

Abigail adjust quickly to becoming a big sister. She loves her little brother Micah and plays with him so sweetly. He lights up with smiles whenever she appears and they chatter with each other so cheerfully. She is also best buds with her big brother; they play so well together and take care of each other.

Abigail is so loyal and generous in nature, a true peacemaker. It is so amazing to me to hear how she incorporates others desires into her play, so changes her game to make her friends feel more welcome. She creatively plays in a diverse group, connecting kids who would normally not play together.

So my little princess has turned five years old. We continue to pray for God to work through you to His glory.

Happy birthday, Abigail!


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