And How

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Happy birthday, Wild One!

When our baby Jude was just born, he was the perfect quiet little "easy" baby.  We used to talk about how laid-back he was.  How he would just "go with the flow."  It didn't take long before we realized that there had been a bait-and-switch.  Once our little Jude was mobile, he was ALL OVER the place.  Into everything.  Whatever we had prepared ourselves for with Penn was no good.

Jude. Lives. Big.

To celebrate Jude's birthday, here is a list of some of the things we have learned these past four years.

  • A bone can still be broken even if a child is not crying or screaming and there is no swelling or discoloration.
    Literally less than 20 minutes after the arm-breaking incident.
  • Nothing is out of reach in our home unless it is LOCKED away.
  • "Child-safe" lids are only safe for children who are not stubborn enough to figure them out.
  • Superheroes crash hard.
    Don't get me started on how unfair I think those eyelashes are.
  • Puppets can get kids to do things that people cannot.
    "Hey worm, I'm Jude!"
  • Chairs can give you eye injuries.
    It's all fun and games until a chair fights back.
  • Those hazel eyes with gigantic eyelashes will make you forget everything.  EVERYTHING.
    Those eyes....THOSE EYES!
  • The sound of the fridge opening means that one entire bag of food will be completely gone within five minutes.
  • When a preschooler has a tantrum, it is almost always the adult's fault.
    Hot sun, itchy strawberry plants, no nap.  Go figure.
  • Just because "the baby" has been around for over a year doesn't mean that the kids will stop torturing her forget about her.
    She's still smiling...this time.
  • There is no thrill if there is no danger.
  • There's not much that hot chocolate won't fix.
  • The shoes make the man.
    He did NOT get his style from his mother!
  • If monkey sees, monkey WILL do.
    This time it was just wearing a hat backwards like his big brother.

    Jude, we're learning new things every day with you.  God has given you many special gifts and it's up to us to show you how to harness them.  Our prayer for you this year is that God will start showing you how to use your "special superpowers."  We are so thankful to be your parents.  Happy birthday, Baby Jude!  
    We've always said it and we still mean it:  Jude, you make it (life) better:)

Monday, March 11, 2013

We made it out alive!

I'm sure our family, like most other families we know have just made it through one of the most brutal winters for sickness.  We have dealt with sinus junk (Anna), the flu (Jude), strep (Penn), and a stomach virus here and there for what seems like every other week of this winter.  I can't complain though...SO FAR, I have made it out pretty unscathed, minus a sinus headache at least once a week and it appears that we are keeping these illnesses from spreading to each other (miracle of all miracles).  Hopefully, once Penn gets over this case of strep (his third case this school year), we'll all be well at the same time.  For now, here are a couple of cute videos we've taken lately.  Enjoy!

Penn and Jude have been fascinated with doing science "spearamints" lately from a book that is probably older than I am.  Fun, fun!

Here's Anna getting in some "Daddy time."  You can tell she doesn't handle the word, "No," very well.  The first pout is totally fake.  The end is very real.  As a matter of fact, she still cries if we even let her watch this video (we only did it two or three times...maybe's just hilarious and precious and you can get some really sweet hugs!)

This last one is a much happier Anna playing peak-a-boo this morning at the back doors.  Notice "sick Penn" looks pretty happy thanks to regular rounds of Ibuprofen.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Last First-Birthday Post.

Oh, can't be so.  The plan was for you to stay a baby forever.  No teeth, no crawling, no naughty stuff...just you, me, and that sweet baby smell all wrapped up in footie pajamas forever.
That baby smell is no joke.  
Well, you have deviated from the plan.  Yesterday, you turned one year old.  I thought about wearing black all day to mourn the passage of the "infant" season of my life (I could seriously have babies around me forever), but truly I'm looking forward to all the fun memories ahead.  Here is a little bit of what you are like at one year old.
Stop that growing, right NOW!
One of my first observations about you when you were first born were your "crazy set of lungs."  That much hasn't changed.  When you are unhappy, you let the whole world know it.  You WILL NOT be ignored!  When your brothers start in to even give you a little squeeze, you sound the alarm at maximum volume.  Baby girl, you mean business!
Being the baby is not always fun.
Luckily, you aren't unhappy very often, and when you are, a snuggle from Mommy (or better yet, a nursing session) makes all well in the world again.  And speaking of nursing, you still like that...A LOT!  Considering that you've never taken to pacifiers or bottles (after steady attempts), I don't anticipate weaning in our future for quite some time.  Right now, you nurse between five and eight times a day, usually for no more than five minutes or so at a time.  Sometimes I get a little teary thinking about nursing not being a part of my life in the near future.  It really is such a joy with you.
Bottle, shmottle...the good stuff comes straight from the tap!
Something else that is a joy with you?  Getting you dressed, brushing your hair, and (as of yesterday) painting your toenails.  I love having boys, but dressing them and shopping for them isn't NEARLY as fun as it is for you.  I have a feeling, this will be short lived, as one day, YOU will be the one picking out the clothes instead of me, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.
Sugar and spice and everything nice:)
Photo credit:  Shannon  Lawhon Rauh Photography
In the womb, you were my biggest mover.  I seriously felt you move constantly from 14 weeks on, but now that you're here, I've noticed that you are a lot more content to be still.  You love me to hold you all the time (which probably explains why you are my first child who's first birthday came and went without taking steps or even standing), and you seem to be happy to crawl everywhere else.  Somehow, I'm content for you to take your sweet time.
Your favorite place--in Mommy's arms.
Even though you aren't walking yet, there is ton of stuff you ARE doing.  You have the cutest little wave.  You click your tongue (although you can never do it without smiling).  You say Da-da (all. the. time.).  You climb all of our steps.  You can brush you hair.  You try to put shoes and socks on your feet.  You put your hands together to say prayers.  You say "thank you" (actually, you say, "ang-hoo").  You know how to get attention.  You definitely are a quick learner--copying every silly thing your brothers do.  You feed yourself everything.  You are well versed in the art of "making eyes" at people.  You go to bed without crying every night (and you are definitely our best sleeper!).
Tucked in with your favorite blankie and SeaSea the Seahorse.
My favorite moments with you are the quiet times that I rock you and nurse you before bed each night.  Sometimes we read a book and sometimes I just sing to you, but I always pray for you and your future (and your brothers)...praying that God will capture your hearts at an early age and protect you from all the things that I'm afraid to even think about.  You, Penn, and Jude are our treasures.

So, happy birthday, precious one.  Always remember...YOU ARE SUCH A GIFT!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Seeing weaknesses as strengths

Three-and-a-half is a tough age to negotiate with.  Jude spends a good amount of time, it seems, having tantrums, being sneaky, or holding his ground on whatever issue.  The other day, I figured out a way to prevent any future tantrums  and get full cooperation from out little Jude.  The secret?  Give him his way all the time.

Yeah...not gonna happen.

Luckily, that was not my only thoughtful insight.  I have also been convicted lately that I should be embracing what I see as my children's (spouse's, friends', or my own) weakness and try to see them the way that God sees them.  It's hard to realize that the things about my children that I find the most frustrating are things that God has designed in them to bring glory to Him in some way.  They may not be old enough to know exactly how to use these tools yet, but I'm starting to understand that it's my job to help them see.

Where I see stubbornness ("Your shoes are on the wrong feet, let me do it...please!"),
God sees perseverance.

Where I see messiness ("Why are there a million little pieces of paper cut up all over the floor???!!!"),
God sees creativity.

Where I see shyness ("They never do anything on command..."),
God sees humbleness.

Where I hear a million annoying questions ("For the hundredth time, I DON'T KNOW!"),
God hears curiosity.

Where I see danger ("Do not run away from could get lost/taken/hurt!"),
God sees fearlessness.

Where I see weakness, God sees strength.

My prayer is now, not to give me patience or insight on how to deal with the character traits that I find frustrating, but to help me embrace those things and show my children how they can use those traits to bring glory to the Lord.  I don't want to punish those things about my children that God intended/created in them for His purpose.
Photo credit:  Jamie Fleeman Photography

2 Corinthians 12:9-The Message

7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

 My grace is enough; it’s all you need.

My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Daddy-Daughter Date Night

So last night was the long-anticipated Daddy-Daughter Date Night at Chick-fil-a that Pack RSVP'd to a few weeks ago.  And I'll be honest...until last night, I swore he only did it to have a night eating a CFA sandwich in peace without having to keep an eye on two wild little boys in the play area.  Who could blame him?

But when he was on his way home from work, he called me to make sure his girl was "dressed pretty."  When he got home, he walked in the door and passed right by Penn, Jude, and Me to make sure Anna girl got the full effect of his greeting.  He was holding a flower which he placed right into her eager little arms (and went directly to her drooly little mouth, of course).  Side note:  I love that the first flower a boy ever gave her was from her Daddy.  

Anna isn't even one yet.  She's not going to remember tonight, but I have a feeling that one day her standards are going to be sky-high for picking a boy to date (and then marry).  For that, I am so thankful!
For me???

Monday, November 5, 2012

I'm voting for...

Tomorrow is Election Day (in case you haven't been counting down the days you would have to hear all the annoying ads, like I have).  It's a big day and only the second Presidential election I have ever voted in.  I've thought long and hard about my decision and I have decided that I will be casting my vote for...
Packard Kids for President...REAL change for America!
I'm only halfway kidding.

I'm NOT voting for or against a political party, a healthcare plan, the coolest or most down-to-earth candidate, the unemployment rate, gay marriage, the national debt, inequality, abortion, the environment, Middle East peace, nuclear arms, education, a do-nothing Congress, war, the death penalty, taxes, military, or our international reputation.

I'm voting for the future of those three sweet faces in the photo above.

Let's face it, the job of President is probably the absolute worst job in America and I'm actually surprised that they can even find two people who actually want the title.  Maybe there was a time when a lot of honor and glory went to the President, but those times are gone.  Now, whoever gets the job (or who has ever HAD the job) gets the blame for everything that's wrong with America and has to fear for their lives on a daily basis.  Not a job I would apply for and spend a year or more trying to get (especially as a parent of young children, which is a whole other blog post).

But regardless of what I think about the job of President, the fact is, we need one.  A good one.  One that will be the Commander in Chief make it a priority to STOP trying to divide the American people on issues that don't even affect the majority of us.  And preferably one that will admit a fault when it occurs (wouldn't that be a first???).

So, tomorrow, I'll be up early, in the cold, possibly with three small children (hopefully not), but confident that the candidates I select will be the best investment in America's future.  And while I won't be literally voting for one of my children, I'll definitely have their best interests at heart.

"Vote for the people who will require something OF you rather than promising something TO you."
-Andy Stanley

Friday, November 2, 2012

Making a List...OR NOT!

This year, Pack and I have decided to shift our focus from "shopping for Christmas" to "celebrating CHRISTmas."  This is why we have decided to limit our Christmas shopping this year to just our children and our siblings' children.  As much as we enjoy giving gifts to others (especially our awesome family), we end up spending quite a bit of time, stress, and money looking for the perfect gift for them that is within our budget, or making something, which is also time-consuming.  We want to spend more time thinking about the MOST perfect gift, which is Jesus. 

In honor of our amazing family and friends, our family is going to start a new tradition of blessing another family with a monetary for each person in our home.  We were blessed by another family last year at Christmas and the monetary value of the gift paled in comparison to the heart behind their generosity.  We are sure that our family would much rather have our money go to someone who really needs it than to buy them something else to put in their homes.  Our families are pretty amazing:)
I don't know about you, but I would much rather spend the holidays spending time with my family and enjoying this sweet season of life with them instead of with strangers at the mall.  So when you are doing your shopping this year, please think of my family, but cross us off your list.  Instead, try donating what you would normally spend on unnecessary gifts to a person or family who needs a bit of Christmas cheer.  Let Jesus give you a heart like His--a much better gift than I could buy you;)

2 Corinthians 9:7

 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.