Thursday, October 10, 2013

Our Littlest Love, Carrington Wren

Pin It Looking over my blog, I just realized (now that she's almost 15 months old) I have NEVER posted about our darling baby girl, Carrington Wren! I'm not sure if I've ever even mention her here (though my FB page is flooded with updates about how she blesses our family each day). In a few short words and pictures, here's a wrap up of her first year. This one's for you, our little Wren!

The nursery:
Bookcase/reading nook

Changing table

couch/lounging area for Mommy's late nights

Crib details

Mommy the day before our littlest love was born:

Our third precious gift from God arrived in our lives 
on July 31st, 2012 at 1:13 pm weighing in at 7 pounds 10 ounces:

Her Announcement video:

A little run down on how her first year went:

First Birthday Celebration:

We love you, baby girl, and thank God for blessing our family with your sweet little life!

Monday, August 19, 2013

We have a Kindergartner!

Pin It Having been in education for seven years before the girls came along, I have seen many first days come and go. I watched as the Kindergarten parents walked their little dears down to the classrooms: tissues in hand with red noses and bleeding mascara. Most of the time I thought to myself that will NEVER be me! Even up until last week, I still felt that way...then it happened. My husband offered to go with us to take Elena on the first day. I lost it...I mean, ugly cry lost it...then never really got it back. I have been an emotional wreck since then, crying "happy tears" as we call them around here, each time I thought of letting her go.

I'm a planner...not because I feel like it always has to be just so, but more so I can be mentally prepared for what may happen. God is teaching me some things about that and today was one of those days where He showed me just how much I need to work on letting go and trusting Him instead.

I began my day in Romans 12:9-16. This is my prayer for Elena and her class this year. Then I poured out my heart to God (pretty sure I stained that page in Romans with some spilled coffee and tears as I prayed). I confessed my lack of faith and pleaded with Him to lift me up today. Before I was ready, it was time to wake the girls and get the morning under way.

Per Elena's request, we had home-made blueberry pancakes for breakfast. I started working on them then went into the girls' room to wake them. She bounced out of bed, made her bed without complaining and got herself dressed (I'm not snowed into thinking this is how it will be every day, but I'm glad today was that way). She insisted I put her hair up and she wear a bib so she didn't get syrup in her hair or on her new "music" shirt. (Then she asked that I not comb her hair because it looked BEAUTIFUL just the way it was). It was unintentional, but that's just what happened! I completely ran out of time to brush her hair and put it up again so she went with a funky pony-tail of un-combed hair this morning. She was happy as a lark, and I am learning that happiness is sometimes more important than having a perfect appearance.

I know that every good parent's goal is to have their child grow up to be a responsible adult who is able to think and do for themselves. That begins with allowing kids responsibilities and choices, sometimes earlier than we would like. Elena picked out her outfit, dressed herself, designed her book bag, and packed her own lunch for this morning...and I have NEVER seen this girl more proud! Tough for me to let go (and none of the choices I would have made myself), but totally worth it to see the satisfaction on her face.

I'm STILL not used to getting three kiddos ready and out the door to go ANYWHERE (much less trying to do it about an hour earlier than we ever have before, without Daddy in the house to urge everyone on). We got to school later than I would have liked, in the rain, without a rain coat. We arrived at her classroom door where I was hoping to snap a couple of pictures of her with her teacher, maybe get a shot of her with Patrick and me, and be able to have a minute of hugs and well wishes for the day.

Instead, there was a MASS of kids, teachers, and parents in the hallway, all trying to go different places and of course we couldn't get anywhere with a baby stroller and 3 year old in tow. Elena walked into the classroom on her own (after a few questioning glances to me about what she should do while I returned her looks with uncertainty myself), the teacher's assistant helped her put her things away and a clump of parents huddled together near the door snapping last minute photos as their little ones gathered on the carpet and the teacher waved to us.

And that was it! In that flurry of activity, my little girl officially started her job as a student. It wasn't until I got to the car that I realized I never even said goodbye to her. I worried about whether I caused her to be nervous, if my insecurities affected her, if she knew how very much I loved her. Then I got home and loaded this picture onto my computer:

And again the tears began to flow. But this time, it was because of what the Lord revealed to me through this image. In SO many ways, this picture tells the entire story. She wasn't looking at me. She didn't need to look at me. She was intent on her teacher. She had a smile on her face and was excited about what lay ahead for her, never once looking back.

Though our job is FAR from done as Mommy and Daddy, today has taught me that we've done pretty good this far. She is a happy, confident, responsible little girl who knows she is loved and knows she has a job to do. That was evident in the way she walked into the classroom this morning, and evident in her prayer last night, "God help me to show love to my friends and teachers in my class and help me to put others first." I think I am truly learning what it is to have your heart outside your body today. But as much as I love this girl, I know that God loves her more. She isn't mine, she is His, and He has just entrusted her to us for a short time.

Thank you, Lord for this precious, crazy gift of parenthood and for teaching me so many things through my children. Thank you for being faithful and answering my prayer today. You were there with me the entire way. You reminded me of her sweet and simple prayer last night that so perfectly mirrored my own prayer for her this morning and even when the master deceiver tried to trick me into thinking I had it all wrong, you blessed me with this beautiful image of this strong 5-year old little girl that belongs to you.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Scissors and Stuff-VBS 2013

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In prepping preschool crafts for Colossal Coaster World VBS this year, I decided to take a few pictures and share what we are planning. I started with our packet of info from Lifeway and then moved on to Pinterest (you can view my board here). Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to see tutorials for anything in particular (though most of the activities are self-explanatory). Click on the links below for specifics for each day.

Day 1- Dare to Change
Day 2- Dare to Speak Up
Day 3 - Dare to Believe
Day 4 - Dare to Stand Strong
Day 5 - Dare to Trust

I plan to post pics of the room decor in a couple of weeks once we are finished but I also wanted to share what the workers in our room will be wearing:

Scissors and Stuff-Day 5

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DAY 5-Dare to Trust

Ship in a Bottle

(complete unfinished crafts)

Bible verse:
God helps me. I will not be afraid.
~Hebrews 13:6

Life application:
I can believe God has a plan for me.

Bible Story:
Kids will hear how Paul's boat was shipwrecked when a huge storm came. God took care of Paul and the people, and they swam to an island.

What Kids Need to Know:
I can believe God because His words are true.
God has a plan for me.
God will help me know what to do.

water bottles
blue food coloring
baby oil
duct tape
ship beads
glitter (optional)
verse tags

Scissors and Stuff-Day 4

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DAY 4-Dare to Stand Strong


"I am This Tall" Measurement chart

Tell Others Megaphone

Bible verse:
God helps me. I will not be afraid.
~Hebrews 13:6

Life application:
I can tell what I know about Jesus.

Bible Story:
Acts 21:37-23:11
Children will hear how Paul stood up for Jesus when he spoke to the people. Paul was not afraid to tell others about Jesus.

What Kids Need to Know:
God helps me tell what I know about Jesus.
God will help me not be afraid.

8.5" x 11" cardstock megaphones w/verses
Height sign print outs

cut out megaphones
print out "I am This Tall" sheets on red paper
Cut out 66" of calculator tape for each child
cut straws in half
tape strip to straws ahead of time

Scissors and Stuff-Day 3

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DAY 3-Dare to believe


Coaster Creations

Paul and Silas's Handcuffs

"I Love You" hand

Bible verse:
God helps me. I will not be afraid.
~Hebrews 13:6

Life application:
I can show love to others

Bible Story:
Acts 16:22-34
Children will hear about an earthquake that happened while Paul and Silas were in prison. Paul and Silas showed love and told thee jailer and his family about Jesus.

What Kids Need to Know:
I don't have to be afraid.
God will always take care of me.
I can show love to people who aren't my friends.

black construction paper
colored strips of paper
glue or glue sticks
toilet paper rolls
brown twine
hole punch

cut out hand prints from previous day
cut out stripes of colored paper
cut out verse stripes to glue on coaster paper
cut out verse stripes to go on "I Love You" craft
cut toilet paper rolls to make hand cuffs
cut stripes of twine for cuffs
punch holes

Scissors and Stuff...Day 2

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DAY 2-Dare to Speak Up

Friendship Salvation Bracelets

VBS Photo Frames

trace hands on Construction Paper for next day craft prep

Bible verse:
God helps me. I will not be afraid.
~Hebrews 13:6

Life application:
I can know that God gives me friends who help me.

Bible Story:
Acts 9:20-31
Children will hear how Paul's friends helped him escape in a basket. Later, Barnabas spoke up for Paul by telling the disciples about the change in Paul's life.

What Kids Need to Know:
God takes care of me.
God gives me friends who help me.
God helps me tell others about His Son, Jesus.

 photos of each child
ticket frames
thick card stock for back of picture
glue sticks
magnet tape
yellow, green, blue, white, red, black, clear beads
twine for bracelets (2-12" pieces per child)
ziplock baggies
verse sheets to go in bracelet bags

print and cut out ticket frames
cut stripes of magnet tape
cut photo backs
print out photos
verses for friendship bracelets
cut bracelet twine

Scissors and Stuff-Day 1

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Day 1: Dare to Change

"Blinded" Artist Crayon Resist

Color Colossal Coaster T-Shirt

Take Picture for Photo Frame

Label "Souvenir Bags" with Names

Bible verse:
God helps me. I will not be afraid.
~Hebrews 13:6

Life application:
I can know that God loves me and helps me

Bible Story:
Acts 9:1-21
Kids will learn how Paul was blinded by a bright light on a dusty road. Paul later did the right thing when he told people everywhere that Jesus is God's Son.

What Kids Need to Know:
God Loves Me.
God helps me do the right thing.
I can obey God.

verse stickers
1/2 sheet white tag board
black construction paper
glue sticks
white crayons
yellow and orange tempera paint
T-shirts (with iron on design)
Fabric Markers
Camera for pics
photo booth backdrop

iron on T-shirt design
have photo booth backdrop ready
have backpack bags ready to label

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kate is THREE!!!

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Three years ago today, our second little angel came into our lives. This little one is our "live wire." She is a ball full of energy, has her own look and her own way. Quiet possibly the best way to describe our Kate is sincere: whether she is happy, sad, angry, excited, she can not hide her emotions and feels them to the max!

In the past year you have grown from a little toddler to a precious little girl and Mommy and Daddy couldn't be more proud!

I love the sound of your voice when you are playing pretend

I love those random hugs you give throughout the day

I love all of your silly faces

I love your pretty curls (especially as I learn to tame them)

I love when you stick your cheek out for me to kiss it (and how one kissed cheek is never enough)

I love to hear your sweet prayers at bed time

I love giving and receiving your "Ugga-Muggas" (nose kisses)

I love giving you piggy-back rides to bed

I love watching you play with your sisters

I love your passion for life!

In Kate's own words:

My favorite color is...purple
On TV, I like to watch...Monkey George
My favorite book is...BB Wolf
My favorite movie is...Tangled
I like to eat...carrots
I feel happy when...somebody plays with me
I feel sad when...someone takes my toys away
I like to...sprinkle (put sprinkles on a cake)
I don't like to...write
I think Daddy is...brown
I think Mommy
I think Elena is...a sister
I think Wren is...a baby sister
I think Georgia (our dog) is...dark
I think Gracie (our cat) is...hiding
I like to play with...balls
My favorite toy play food
I am really good at...throwing balls
I get excited...when I see Grammy
I like to go to...Grandpa's
My best friend is...Elena
I love...Elena

I am forever amazed that the Lord would allow me to be a mom to this little one! What a joy it is to have her in our lives. My prayer for you, sweet Kate is the same today as it always is:

What an awesome privilege God has given me to be your Mommy.

I pray that you forever grow in His Grace.

I pray that you will grow to Love Him more each day

I pray that you will grow to show His love to others

I pray that you will have all the joys your heart desires

I pray that I will always be able to guide you along the right path

I pray that you will always know how very much you are loved

I pray that no one ever quenches your zeal for life

I pray that your enthusiasm is always used for God's glory

I pray for His wisdom in raising you to be all that God designed you to be.

You are your Mommy's joy, precious Kate!
I love you with all of my heart. Happy Birthday to my sweet girl.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Five years ago...

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Five years ago today, our first little angel came into our lives.
Happy Birthday to our oldest, Elena Nicole! 

Fifth Birthday interview:

My favorite color
On TV, I like to watch...Word World
My favorite book is...Monkey George
My favorite movie is...Star Wars
I like to eat...bananas & bagels
I feel happy when...I make new friends
I feel sad when...Kate takes away my toys
I like to...paint
I don't like pea casserole
I think Daddy is...good to me
I think Mommy is...sweet to me
I think Kate is...beautiful
I think Wren is...sweet
I think Georgia (our dog) is...a dog
I think Gracie (our cat) is...soft
I like to play with...all my stuffed animals
My favorite toy train set
I am really good at...reading a little bit of books
I get excited...when Daddy comes home
I like to go to...The Mall
My best friend is...McKenna & Caleb
I love...Wren and my stuffed animals

her third birthday interview
her fourth birthday interview

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Galaxy in a Jar

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My two oldest girls have birthdays exactly one month apart. With that in mind, we decided to go for a joint party this year. After tossing around numerous themes, the girls both finally settled on Star Wars. Truthfully, I enjoy Star Wars, and we've watched the older ones with the girls a few times, but I never imagined that my soon to be 3 and soon to be 5 year old GIRLS would want to have a Star Wars party! With that being said, I am all about allowing their input and making it fun not only for them, but all that we invite.

To go along with the "Star" theme, we are having our local Science Center bring their Star Lab for the kids and parents to "explore their galaxy." I was looking for an easy craft project for the kids to do as they arrived that went along with the theme and this is what I came up with: Galaxy in a Jar.

You will need:

Photo paper (dollar tree) and printer
Push pins (dollar tree)
Cardboard or foam board (dollar tree)
Led push light (dollar tree)
3 AAA batteries (dollar tree)
LARGE MOUTH pint canning jar with lid

Start by printing the FREE constellation file here on your photo paper. The photo paper is thick enough to block most of the light, but thin enough to allow the constellations guides and terms to show.

Cut out one image.

Lay your cut out on your cardboard or foam board and use your push pin to puncture the white dots. Feel free to pick the constellations you like best (if you do them all, you will be there for a while and your hand might get tired). You can make smaller holes for the smaller stars and larger ones for the larger stars to make it appear more realistic.

Install the batteries in your LED push light.

Remove the sticky back and secure the light in the bottom of the canning jar.

Insert your punched constellation map so it lines the jar and the bottom is between the light and the jar.

Turn on the light and replace the lid.

View your "Galaxy" or constellations in a dark room.

For FREE monthly sky maps and what to look for in the sky, visit Skymaps
Another more kid-friendly site with free maps is Kids Astronomy