Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A slice of life

I know I missed Friday's Letters this week, but I still have a bunch of little things to share, so here we go!

Anna Kate participated in our children's choir concert at church last weekend! They performed four songs all related to the promise of heaven and the joy of eternity in Christ's presence. Anna Kate loved singing all of the songs up on stage, but she did get a little bored halfway through and decided it would be a good time to pretend to be a frog. Ha!

We had a couple of rainy days last week. So what does a mom with two little girls do when they can't go outside to play? Paint their toenails, of course! This was Caroline's first time getting her nails painted and she thought it was super fun.

Saturday our good friends Will and Caitlin came to visit and brought 5-month-old baby Henry! We hadn't seen Henry since he was 6 weeks old, so it was SO fun to see them! Henry is just precious. Anna Kate loved reading him stories and Caroline couldn't keep her hands off him. She LOVES babies.

Saturday night Caroline ran a low-grade fever for a couple hours, so she and I stayed home from church Sunday morning. After lots of snuggling and Bible and picture book reading, we decided to get dressed (in our patriotic clothes for Memorial Day) and go for a walk.

Remind you of anyone else who wore this same outfit almost two years ago?

On Monday (Memorial Day), Luke worked for the first half of the day, so the girls and I had a normal morning at home. We went on a LONG walk around the neighborhood (as in, well over an hour). Anna Kate wanted to push her baby in her doll stroller all the way to the lake while Caroline rode in her stroller, and then she and Caroline switched on the way back. Now, when Caroline goes for a walk, we stop and look and everything - and I mean everything. Every squirrel, every flower, every kitty cat, every pinecone. But we had nowhere else to be, and it was such a good reminder to me to slow down and enjoy the beauty of God's creation through the eyes of a child.

And, last but not least, I just have to share one more picture that Luke texted me while I was making dinner. He had a couple things he needed to grab at the grocery store, and offered to take not one, but BOTH girls with him. He knows that sometimes a little peace while I make dinner blesses my soul. I turned on some worship music and I don't think I've ever enjoyed making sweet potato pancakes and bacon as much as I did this evening!

Grocery shopping was never this fun when I was a kid!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Friday's (or...Saturday's) Letters

Dear Summertime,
I feel like it was just last week that springtime arrived, but here you are! Temperatures have been hitting the mid-80's every afternoon, which means lots of park time and picnics and outside play (and sandy and sweaty little girls!). 


Dear Rebekah,
Thank you so much for taking Anna Kate to see the ballet version of Cinderella with Nora last weekend. She absolutely loved it, as evidenced by her question to you when you gave her a program to take home: "Ms. Rebekah, is this my membership so that I can come back?" She has been showing us her newly-acquired ballet "moves" all week. Here are a couple pictures that I took when she returned home. Your mom put a couple of cute ones up here, too!

Dear Christa,
Thank you for inviting me to run the 5K last weekend to benefit Restoration Ranch (an orphanage in the Dominican Republic). I haven't run a race in 10 years (since high school track!), but sometimes all you need is a little motivation! And I'm pretty impressed that we both completed it in under 30 minutes! Here are a couple of extremely flattering pictures of the two of us...


(Pictures used with permission by the official race photographer)

Dear Alpha-Phonics,
Thank you for teaching me to read 25 years ago, and for now teaching my daughter to read! Your pages are getting a little worn, your binding is now taped up with masking tape, and you have quite a few stickers gracing your pages, but you have opened up to Anna Kate a whole new realm of opportunity and wonder and imagination.

Dear Anna Kate,
Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you for finishing all 128 lessons in Alpha-Phonics. I wasn't really planning on doing much formal "pre-schooling" this school year, but you were more than ready and literally begging to learn to read, so we jumped right in. Because you worked so hard each and every day, Daddy took you on a picnic and to get a cupcake to celebrate!  You thought that was just about the coolest thing ever!

Dear Giraffes,
You are always a highlight of our zoo trips. I love that we can get right up close to see you. We don't always pay the extra $1 or 2 for lettuce to feed you (mostly because Anna Kate hasn't been brave enough in the past), but yesterday she said she wanted to try. I absolutely LOVE her facial expressions in these pictures (it's a mixture between excitement, surprise, and complete terror that you might eat her whole hand!).

Dear Grizzly Bears,
Out of all the animals we saw yesterday, we spent the longest amount of time at your exhibit. Caroline could not get enough of you. She loved that you were splashing around and swimming in your watering hole. She kept saying, "Bear, Wa-Wa, Bear, Wa-Wa, Bear, Wa-Wa!"

Dear Camden Music Association,
I'm looking forward to playing in your members' showcase tomorrow afternoon. I haven't done much solo performing as of late, so we'll see how it goes!  I'm playing one of my favorite pieces - Appalachia Waltz by Mark O'Connor. In fact, I love it so much that it was the song playing when I walked down the aisle at our wedding.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I woke to Luke making homemade, Caroline-safe (allergen-free) cinnamon rolls.  Actually, he started them the night before after he told me I could have anything in the world for breakfast. Here he is slaving away on his Saturday night!

Sunday morning he let Anna Kate help him bake them and put on the final touches.

We went to church as a family and worshiped the One who gave us these blessings that call me Mommy, but more than that, who gave his life so that I could be called his daughter.

My girls' sweet Sunday School teacher (Luke would correct me here and say that as of last month we now call them "LifeGroups" and not Sunday School classes, but I still can't call it the "Toddler LifeGroup" with a straight face...) helped the girls make these precious gifts for me.  Here they are pictured with flowers that Luke gave me and cards/pictures he helped the girls with.

We came home and ate leftovers (nothing glamorous, but we were saving room for a feast later!) and put the girls down for naps.  Our girls are GREAT nappers.  Especially Caroline.  But for some reason, she picked Mother's Day as the first day in months that she has refused to fall asleep for a nap.  After an hour and a half of playing in her crib (which included taking pictures off the wall, grabbing her piggy bank from the dresser that I didn't know she could reach, and repeatedly running from one side of the crib to the other), I finally gave in and decided we could nap together. I'll admit, I was a little frustrated by this point, but then this happened.

Sometimes Plan B is better. She just decided that she needed her mommy on Mother's Day. Kind of appropriate, really.

After naps we headed to Sandhills where Luke pulled the girls around in the wagon and let me do some shopping! Such a treat!  And then we had a great dinner at the Red Bowl - and the girls actually behaved themselves! Taking two toddlers into a restaurant is kind of like playing Russian Roulette. But we had a great time. As evidenced by the following pictures. I couldn't decide on just one, so here's the whole series. Anna Kate actually started it by putting her arm around Luke and saying, "Here, Mom, take our picture!" That never happens.

And then Luke took a few of the other side of the table.

Yesterday was a wonderful day and I am so blessed.

Today was back to the craziness of real life.  Mountains of laundry (that still haven't been folded or put away)...

two little girls who literally follow behind me making a mess of everything I clean up...

and the everyday tasks of motherhood - cooking, disciplining, diaper changing, violin teaching, grocery shopping, and caring for my babies. Some days aren't always picture perfect, but His mercies are new every morning. His grace is sufficient. As I write those words, sometimes I struggle to believe them myself, but I know that my God's faithfulness is bigger than my faith.  

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention how grateful I am for my own mother who taught (and continues to teach) me those lessons, and for a fantastic mother-in-law who is such a blessing to our lives.

October 2011 (two weeks before Caroline's birth!)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear MHBC Youth,
You all did a fantastic job with Youth Sunday.  The greeters, the ushers, the praise team, the choir, the speakers, the all truly led us in worship, so thank you!

Dear Chestnut sisters,
Your violin duet for the offertory was beautiful!  It reminded me of the many offertory duets that I did with my sister growing up.  Thank you for letting me teach you and for sharing your talents with so many!

Dear Buster and Charlotte,
Thank you so much for all of the fresh spring vegetables you have brought us this week!  We have been finding all kinds of new ways to use all the spinach that you gave us.  Our favorite is in breakfast smoothies.  The girls LOVE them...of course we put bananas or mangoes, or some other fruit to sweeten it up!

 (What, you don't all wear bunny ears at the breakfast table?)

Dear girly-girls,
You two are too much.  I took you on a wagon ride downtown on Wednesday and you insisted on wearing your sunglasses.  But then you didn't want your pictures taken, so this was the best I got. 

Dear Anna Kate,
I love how excited you are about my Mother's Day surprises. Even if you ran in the door after shopping with Daddy this morning and proceeded to tell me all about them! The funniest part was that you started to look a little sad when Daddy and I told you that you weren't supposed to tell me.  So I tried to tell you that there were still some surprises - like I didn't know what color the balloon was, or what it had on it. And you immediately said, "It's pink! And it says "I love you!"  Oh well, I tried.  And just because you're cute, here is a picture of you with silly hair in the bath the other night!

Dear Caroline,
You are learning new things every day! You have started to become very interested in learning your letters (or at least repeating them after me) lately.  Here's a video I took the other day:

Dear Nora,
Anna Kate is SO excited to go to the ballet with you tonight.  She has been talking all day about getting to go see the REAL "barrelinas". I hope you two little girls don't give your mommy too much trouble! 

Have a great weekend, everyone!