Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Friday, July 29, 2011

EdVenture Children's Museum!

We have been going a little stir crazy around here with summer temperatures hovering right around 100 degrees! We have had heat advisories saying don't spend any time outside if at all possible. So, we can't go for walks, we can't go to the park, we can't play in the backyard...we really have to just do indoor activities all day long. So when one of our friends invited us to go to the children's museum in downtown Columbia (about 45 min away) with her and her little girl who is exactly Anna Kate's age, we jumped at the opportunity!

We had never been to this children's museum before, but we had a GREAT time! We spent about two hours there (about all an 18-month old can handle!) and we didn't even cover it all. There were lots of different exhibits ranging from a full-size fire truck, to milking a (fake) cow, to a whole room full of blocks, to a child-sized grocery store, and the list goes on! Anna Kate was a little overwhelmed at first with a little sensory overload, but she got the hang of it pretty quickly and got so excited about all the different things to do. Unfortunately, Daddy has had our camera with him at youth camp all week, so all I could take pictures with was my phone. So, I only got a few and they're not great quality, but at least I documented our day!

One of AK's new favorite things to do is sit in the driver's seat of a car...any car...not sure why she has this fascination, but she does. So when there was a little red VW bug she could climb in, she was super excited! Here she is with her camera cheese face:

And again, hamming it up for the camera while driving the John Deere tractor

One of Anna Kate's favorite exhibits was the child-sized grocery store. Kids can grab a cart and walk through all the sections you would find in a real grocery store. And then they go to check out and the scanners actually beep! Anna Kate thought that was pretty cool. Here she is doing some shopping.

Well, that's all the pictures I got, but I have one more story...on the way to the museum my friend and I noticed that the girls were being really quiet in the backseat. Now mind you, they are both still in rear-facing carseats, so we can't really tell what's going on all the time, but I turned around and they were reaching across the middle seat holding precious!

What a fun day!

P.S. Kelly, I saw you took your boys to EdVenture a few weeks back...we'll have to go together sometime!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Big Picture Story Bible

I don't normally do book/product reviews on this blog, but I just couldn't help but throw this one out there for any parents of young children. Our church gives this Bible to any new children in our children's ministry (as well as all babies born in our county hospital!) and we have absolutely loved it. I think we've already read through it once or twice with Anna Kate, but today we got to the last story in the book and I have to admit that it had me in tears. Just the simple way it explains God's final redemption and restoration in childlike terms is absolutely beautiful. Now granted, I am pregnant right now and therefore might possibly be brought to tears a little more easily than usual, but it really is a great children's Bible. We love the way that it tells the "Big Picture" story of scripture and not just a bunch of disjointed passages. From the very beginning you read that God will one day restore His creation by sending a Messiah who will come first as a baby and then again as our Warrior-King. So moms and dads, go out and get this Bible for your will be blessed when you read it as well!

I've also heard that the Jesus Storybook Bible is another great one, but we haven't read it yet...any of you out there recommend it? If so, why?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A crazy couple of weeks!

So much has gone on around here in the two weeks since I last posted that I hardly know where to begin! So I am sorry if this post is a little rambling, but oh well!

Last Monday we closed on our first home! We (well, along with our bank!) now own a 1940's mill house in the historic mill village district of our little town. We absolutely love it and are so grateful for God's blessings in providing a more permanent place for us to live (as this is our fifth home in four years!). As it turned out though, we didn't get to move in right away because we literally headed straight to Charleston from closing on the house! Each year our church takes a family mission trip to another city for a week. This year we had about 35 of us head to Charleston to help a couple of new church plants get their presence known in their communities. We spent our days fixing up a YMCA where the people from the church are doing a lot of mentoring of kids. Another day we went and helped with various projects at the neighborhood schools. On our last night we helped to throw a "Movies in the Park" night complete with cotton candy, popcorn, and inflatables! Anna Kate was pretty much in charge of the smallest bouncy house for kids two and under. This was her first experience in anything like that and she had a BLAST...even staying up past her bedtime! She really was quite a trooper all week long and while I tried to make sure she got her usual naps and went to bed and a decent hour, she did have to be flexible and she did great. She even tried to help with some of our service projects (e.g. sweeping the hallway at the YMCA!). Unfortunately I was a TERRIBLE photographer and didn't even take out my camera until the last all we have are pictures of the Movies in the Park...but I got some cute ones!

Setting up for the big event

Helping Miss Courtney at the popcorn station!

Anna Kate doing what she does best...eating!

Testing out the bouncy house with two of her best church buddies before the event...
they had to make sure it was safe for all the kids in the neighborhood!

Our first family mission picture! All four of us!

We came back from Charleston on Sunday which just so happened to mark the beginning of my third trimester! Sometimes it seems like this pregnancy is taking forever since we are so anxious to meet our sweet girl, but at other times it seems like she will be here before we know it and we better start getting ready! I really am feeling great these days except for fairly frequent heartburn and some stiff joints. This little one moves around a lot and I can tell she is getting bigger because sometimes I'll feel her stretch out all the way across from one side of me to the other! For those of you who are wondering, she still does not have a name. We have a couple that we are strongly considering, but nothing set in stone yet. We keep saying we need to decide already, but with everything going on we just haven't yet! Well, that and Luke knows/knew someone with every name that I suggest and rules them all out! We promise that by the time she is born she will have a name! Here I am at 28 weeks today:

So we got back from Charleston on Sunday and hit the ground running with packing and moving! Here is a picture of our new house. If you look closely (or click on it to make it bigger), you can see a cute little girl on the porch swing!

We are so grateful for all the help from Luke's family as well as our church family to get us moved in. We have a couple of really heavy pieces of furniture (e.g. a 700 lb piano) so we so appreciate everyone who came to help! We could not have done it without you all (especially since I'm not supposed to do much lifting right now!). While everything is moved in, we still have a bit of organizing to do, as well as a lot of babyproofing. We have some extremely steep hardwood stairs going up to the bedrooms, so Luke spent the afternoon installing a nice handrail for the wall opposite the banister and some very secure baby gates at the top and the bottom. I feel much better now that AK can't get to them!

Speaking of Anna Kate, I thought you all might enjoy a little list of what she has been up to these days:

~She LOVES to do her animal sounds. Her new favorite is the gorilla where she balls up her hands into fists and beats her chest while she makes a Tarzan noise!
~Speaking of animal sounds, my wonderful husband taught her to respond with a "ROAR" when asked "What does Mommy say?" Isn't that sweet?
~She is convinced that there is a baby in not only mommy's tummy, but her tummy as well as the tummies of everyone else that she knows/meets. So I truly apologize if she comes up to you and points to your midsection and says "baby!" She really doesn't think you need to lose a few pounds, she's just confused!
~She is getting very good at letting us know exactly what she wants when she wants it. Oftentimes she will point to it, or try to say the word and then say please, but at other times she is not so polite and will throw quite a little hissy fit. We are working on it, but suggestions would be appreciated!
~She has become extremely loving lately offering hugs regularly to everyone she knows as well as to any child she meets!
~Her hair is FINALLY long enough for me to put it in two little pigtails in the back! I still have to pull her bangs back with a bow since they won't fit in the pigtails, but this mommy thinks it's absolutely precious!

Well, I think that's about all there is to update on our little family for now!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A!

One of my friends mentioned to me yesterday that today was Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A and that anyone dressed like a cow would get a free meal! I will admit, my first reaction was, "I'm not sure I have enough energy or creativity right now to get cow costumes together," but then it started to sound like fun and we made it a whole family activity! Now before I share the pictures, I guess I have to do a little bit of explanation for all of my Oregon family since there is no Chick-fil-A in the Pacific Northwest...yet...

Chick-fil-A is the most wonderful fast food restaurant you will ever encounter. As its name suggests, its specialty is chicken - chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, chicken salads, chicken wraps, chicken biscuits, you name it. Their mascot, however, is a cow who tries to convince the general public to stop eating beef (himself) and start eating more chicken.

Ok, now to today. So I first had to convince Luke that getting a free meal would indeed be worth the public humiliation of dressing like a cow, and worth the 25 minute drive into Columbia to the nearest Chick-fil-A. But he loves Chick-fil-A as much if not more than I do, so this wasn't too difficult. Anna Kate was actually quite excited about helping me make the costumes (which just included black and white clothing and the printable cow ears/nose/spots that you can download from their website). She LOVED her hat with cow ears and actually kept it on the whole evening! She also practiced mooing like a cow the whole way there in the car. Well, actually she got confused at one point and thought she was a sheep and started saying "baaa" but we corrected that! In any case, we got there and we were NOT the only ones dressed like cows (much to Luke's relief) and we got $15 worth of free food! 2 adult value meals and a kids meal! Totally worth it! Alright, now to the pictures:

P.S. I have to admit that dressing up like a cow hit a little too close to home for this pregnant mama...but it was fun!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day 2011

Well, today wasn't exactly the 4th of July we had planned, but we still had a great day just our little family! We had planned to get together with some friends in the early afternoon, and then some other friends in the late afternoon/evening for a cookout and fireworks over the lake...but then Anna Kate got sick. She has still had a low-grade fever all day today and both of our friends have baby girls that we didn't want to get sick. So alas, it was just us.

We decided we would still do a cookout though, so Luke grilled some great hamburgers and corn on the cob and I made homemade buns for the burgers and salsa all from produce I bought at the farmers market on Saturday. It was quite a feast! After Anna Kate's nap, we did get out for a little while to go to a Fourth of July Festival at a nearby outdoor mall. There was live music and an artisan/craft fair, and a big fireworks show...which we didn't stay for. Anna Kate had had about enough and was about to fall asleep in her stroller. So here we are at home, listening to our neighbors shoot off fireworks and waiting to watch the Macy's fireworks show on NBC at 9pm. I guess that's what happens when you're parents and you have a sick baby! But we wouldn't trade it for the world. Here are some pictures from our day:

Sweet American Girl

These boots were made for walking!

Listening to the live band at the festival with Mommy

Giving Daddy kisses!

And Luke's favorite part of the festival...the police tank!

We hope you all have had a wonderful Independence Day celebrating the freedom that we enjoy as Americans!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday School at Home!

Yesterday evening Anna Kate was starting to act a little bit fussy and was in fact asking to go night-night by 5:30. Very odd since this was before we had even eaten dinner and she is normally quite concerned about when she will be getting her next meal (some might say she is like her mother in that respect)! In any case, we thought it was strange, but weren't really concerned until bedtime and she was feeling pretty warm. I took her temperature and it was 101.8! So we quickly sent our company home so that their children would not get sick (sorry Wyatt and Aubrey!) and gave Anna Kate tylenol and put her to bed. She slept great (except for wanting to be snuggled for a few minutes at 5am) and actually slept until 8:30...which is unheard of for her. She was fever free all morning long, but I just took her temp again before she went down for a nap and it was back up to 100.1 =( In any case, she and I definitely stayed home from church.

Although we were not going to be able to go worship with our church family this morning, I thought Anna Kate and I could do a little "Sunday School" on our own! Since Anna Kate needed a bath anyway, I thought that we could do something water-related for our lesson, so I decided on the story of Jesus walking on the water from Matthew 14. Here were the activities we did:

~Made blue finger paint (by cooking flour, water, and salt)
~Painted a picture of "water"
~Cut out a picture of Jesus and another of the disciples in a boat; colored them, and glued them to foam board to be played with on the water painting background
~Read the story from the Bible, and then paraphrased it in baby language
~Sang "My God is So Big" and "Peter, James and John in the Sailboat"
~Filled a pan with water and let Anna Kate walk in it to show her how her feet sink to the bottom, but Jesus' feet didn't!
~Took a bath and retold the story; she also got to bring her boat from her beach toys set into the bath with her!

She really seemed to enjoy all these activities despite a little bit of irritability because of her fever. And it gave us something to do to pass the time we normally spend at church! I should have taken pictures of her throughout the morning, but I didn't think about it, so these pictures of the finished project will have to suffice!

And some close-ups of her coloring job

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Our sweet girl

This picture was taken by one of our college students at church during VBS and then the colors were edited by another one of our church members. I LOVE how it turned out and may have to frame it!

Friday, July 1, 2011

24.5 week baby update!

We had our 24 week doctor appointment yesterday and all is well with baby girl #2! (Side note: we are close to finalizing a name, but aren't quite ready to publicize it yet.) According to the ultrasound measurements, she weighs approximately 2 lbs. and could come anytime after October 2, but we're keeping the due date at October 16. She lifted up one of her little hands on the ultrasound almost like she was waving at us, and Anna Kate promptly waved back...too cute!

As far as I'm concerned (although I know you're all more interested in the baby!), I passed my blood sugar test and my iron test. No extra iron supplements or special diets for me! I was a little nervous about the blood sugar since the day before the test Luke came home with a half dozen Krispy Kreme donuts (they just opened a store about 20 min. from us). But all was well!

I have been feeling really well lately except for the occasional heartburn in the evenings and sudden leg cramps in the middle of the night. But that sure beats the 1st trimester all-day sickness! I feel like I'm really starting to get bigger now and definitely have to wear maternity pants/shorts. Baby is moving all the time and maybe I'm making it up, but it seems to me that she responds most quickly to Anna Kate's voice. Sometimes Anna Kate will come and put her hand on my stomach and say "baby" and as soon as I try to tell her that the baby is sleeping and not moving right now, she'll give AK a big kick!

Speaking of getting bigger, I'll leave you with a 24.5 week picture taken today.