Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blessing Our Children... Hebrews 11:20

Pics of our little blessings at the Pumpkin Patch...

Can you tell they are siblings?

I was reading Hebrews 11 today and was so very encouraged and strengthened after a crazy start. We had a rough little day before 2pm in the Howard household. Sonny had to be at church early which is not usually a problem but things got a little hectic when we were getting ready... it was just one of those normal days that can happen when you have a toddler (who is pre-potty training if that is possible) and almost-toddler running around. Asher wanted to sit on the potty for a while so I let him but when I came to check on him, he had been WAY too generous with how much toilet paper he needed (thankfully the toilet did not get stopped up!!). Then, Asher decided that he wanted to get Zoee up from her nap without telling me (she was still asleep) so when I am about to start getting ready, I hear him talking with her in her room. I knew that he woke her up because I went in and she still her "I've been woken up" look on her face. Anyways, I know this all sounds little but when you are trying to get things done ON TIME, all these little stressers can add up...

Back to Hebrews 11... I was reading it this afternoon to just get my spirit right and rest in the Lord and I was very encouraged by Hebrews 11:20. Sandwiched in between all of these great acts o faith like Moses leading the people across the Red Sea and Abraham moving to a new country, we see that Isaac and Jacob were both commended for blessing their children regarding things to come. I don't know why this really stuck out to me but it encouraged me to ask more for God's blessing on my children and have faith that He will do great things in their lives. Just to clarify... by blessings- I do not mean that I desire for my children to be great in this life/ world- but I pray that they will know and love Jesus with their whole hearts. I pray that their lives will be totally consumed with honoring Jesus and that like so many of these Hebrews 11 people, that they will not count this life as the one worth living for but that they will live for eternal life with Christ the Lord. I hope that we can always pray blessings over people and have faith in the Lord...

Hebrews 11:20:
"By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come."

Learning from the Fall...

Here are some pics of our little adventurous girl at the pumpkin patch this weekend...

Her playful side is coming out more and more these days =)

We just love her joyful spirit!!

And her intense/ passionate spirit!!

Last weekend was one of those events that I replayed OVER and OVER in my head this week when I would try to go to sleep. God's sweet grace is so abundant. I knew that He would probably teach me a few things through the event and He sure did. Let me back up and explain...

Last weekend we were hanging out with our friends who happen to have a trampoline. I am not crazy about trampolines because when I was younger I accidentally double bounced my little cousin and he ended up breaking his leg. Needless to say, they make me a little weary. Well, as you know- Zoee is our little adventure-driven "SCOUT" and she is always keeping me on my toes. Asher and Aeva were playing on the trampoline and Zoee really wanted to get on it. I thought it would be okay since there was netting all around it. Wrong. She started literally RUNNING to the opposite side that I was on. I did not really trust the netting so I started to run to that side to just be there in case the netting gave out. Mommy was too slow and there just happened to be a Zoee sized hole in the netting that she was running towards. She fell off. My heart leapt out of my chest. By God's sweet grace she landed perfectly on a soft dirt patch BETWEEN 2 metal objects (one a metal fence and one the metal poles from the trampolines). She cried for less than 2 minutes and within 10 minutes was playing again with the other kids. Thank you sweet Jesus!

What I learned....
1. Don't trust Zoee on anything that is slightly or potentially dangerous. She is TOO adventurous!
2. This is the one that the Lord showed me in the spiritual realm.... Sometimes the Lord softens our falls. There are times where I believe that He allows us to fall so that we can learn from our mistakes but instead of letting us fall on the "metal poles" so to speak, He gives us a "soft dirt patch" to fall on. I have seen this so many times in my life. I know that the Lord is letting me experience a little bit of hardship to grow me but I still know that His hand is with me, protecting me and leading me. He wants to always be growing us to be more like Him and that can often involve us stumbling at times to learn form our mistakes. I hope this makes sense. I just know that as the Perfect Father, God wants us to learn to walk with Him and trust Him. At times, if we are trying to live life without Him, He will give us a little room to fall so that we can come back to Him. I am so thankful though, that He never leaves us or forsakes us. He is so faithful and worthy of our trust, affection and adoration. If you feel that life has been tough lately, I encourage you to spend time in prayer- meditate on His goodness. Thank Him for Jesus- our perfect Sacrifice... our Sin-taker... our sweet Redeemer. Even if everything else seems crazy- Jesus is our constant Help and He wants us to rest in Him.

Matthew 10:28

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ash and Zoee singing in the bath!

Bath time is usually a time where we do A LOT of singing. Honestly, I am the worst singer I know but my kids love to sing and dance so I give it my all. Zoee just started joining in when we sing "If you're happy and you know it..." and it makes me smile so much! Ash and I did make this song a little more dramatic by adding extra excitement to the "hoo-ray" part. Hope it makes yall smile!! =)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

Asher and his best friend Aeva. They have been friends since they were born and they get along very well for 2 toddlers learning to "share" and "be kind."

Zoee and her best friend Kinley. They are already learning to "play together" and it is so adorable!

All of our babies... Zoee, Aeva, Asher, Ian, and Kinley

For some crazy reason, my two friends and I decided to take our kiddos to the pumpkin patch to take pictures. When we got to our local farmers market, we realized it was CLOSED!! The weather was beautiful and I still have NO idea why it was closed. So if you can picture the scenario in your head, you will know why I think we were crazy in trying to proceed with the picture taking...

1. The place was closed! (Asher and Aeva did find a wagon to sit in so we could get a few pics of them)
2. The place that did have pumpkins available for picture taking was right next to a parking lot and busy street!
3. All 3 of us Mommies were trying to take pictures of 5 kids under the age of 3 (and 3 of those kids are walking!!)
4. It was windy and loud with all of the cars driving by.

Needless to say, I am thankful for even one picture that turned out nice. We left with some bumps and bruises from small climbing accidents but I guess the pictures we got made the craziness worth it. Maybe =).

Needless to say it

Little Zo-Bear

Pumpkin Patch pics of Zoee...

More of little Zoee. I was so glad that I was able to get at least one picture of her with her headband on- she is not much of a fan of headbands!!

My mom has her own monogramming business and recently started making these adorable dresses to add to their line of merchandise. In my opinion, she has the cutest "walking advertisement" with our little baby girl!! Thank you Mom for always spoiling your grandkids! They love it and I am so thankful that they have great relationships with all their grandparents. Our kids are so incredibly loved!

For more information on my mom's company, message her here. She is incredible!

I can't believe that Zoee is getting so close to being ONE! It's weird because I feel like I can't remember much of our life before her but it also is hard to believe that she has been alive for almost a year. At this time last year I was HUGE and hoping that any day our little surprise baby girl would join us. I had hoped that she would be born in November because my mom's birthday is November 2nd and little Zoee graced us with her presence just 2 days after mom's birthday. Zoee's name means "life" and she embraces her name so well. She is smiling almost all of the time. She loves dancing, laughing, eating and being silly. I am so blessed by her little personality and I look forward to seeing what kind of toddler she will be!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Asher and Daddy...

Dear Asher,
I only have a few seconds to write this post but I want to write it while I am thinking about it. Ash- you and Daddy are best friends. When he is home, you want to be near him. When he is getting the grill ready or putting things in the attic or trimming trees, you are right by his side. Here are a few things that you do just with Daddy...
1. Go get doughnuts
2. Build towers just to knock them down (must be a guy thing)
3. Wrestle
4. Play cars
5. "Shave"
6. Play the matching game
7. Play the race car game on Daddy's computer
8. Watch any show with monster trucks
9. Get ready. I know that sounds weird but when Daddy is getting ready for work, you like to "get ready" too. You put on his cologne and fix your hair right alongside your Daddy. So cute!

You just love being Daddy's boy! And it melts my heart everyday!!

Asher and Mommy...

Dear Asher,
I know this whole year has been such an adjustment for you. You went from being our only son to having to share Mommy and Daddy with your baby sister. For the most part, you have adjusted VERY well. You seem to enjoy being an older brother and Daddy and I work very hard to make sure that you get time alone with us so that you know how special you are. Here are some things that you enjoy doing with just Mommy...

1. Playing the "matching game"- it is a Bob the Builder game where we try to find matches in the cards- you really enjoy it even though I am not sure that you totally "get it."
2. Going on bike rides. Sometimes Daddy will stay home with Sissy so you and I can go on bike rides. You and I both love this!!
3. Making cookies. Who doesn't love that? Your favorite seem to be chocolate chip (just like Mommy).
4. Doing school. You love to read books and look at vocab words. I love that you love school.
5. Watching Fireman Sam. We usually cannot do this with Zoee around because we watch it on the computer and she always finds a way to trip over the cord!
6. Play on the top bunk of your bed. Obviously it would be nuts to try to do this with Zoee so it is something special that we sometimes do when she is resting.

Ash, I love you very much. You bless Daddy and me so much. It is a delight to be your Mommy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ash and Zoee firsts...

I have been meaning to document this for a while and yesterday just sealed the deal. "Firsts" are super sweet to me. When Ash and Zoee took their first steps, I almost cried!! When Asher said his first word- "car," I think I cried... it just lets you know that your little babies are growing up.

Well, this month Asher and Zoee both had a "first."

Zoee said her first word at 11 months old. While it is not completely clear to everyone, I know what she is saying. The other day when we were playing in the garage, she walked over to a ball and said it- "ball!" I was a little uncertain if she really knew what she was saying but she continued to walk around the garage and whenever she would pick one up, she would say "ball- ball." I'm thinking she is going to like sports??

Asher had a first this month too. I was wondering when we would start to see him using his imagination to give names to his stuffed animals other than "Lion or Bear." Well, he found this turtle that he really likes and I asked him what he wanted to name it. He said "Turtle" so I thought that we might not be to the stage yet where he would name things. I asked him if he thought "Timmy the Turtle" might be a good name and he said yes (I guess I was trying to encourage him to see that he could be more creative in the naming of his animals). Well, this morning he brought out another turtle (I guess its one of Timmy's friends) and I asked Asher what that turtle's name was. His answer made me laugh. "Sock," he said. So, the first animal that Asher gave a name to is "Sock" the turtle. Priceless!! I love the new stages that kids go through!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Girl Weekend...

Me and Anneke...

Sandra Bullocks restaurant...

Sonny and I do not spend a lot of time away from each other and I am so thankful for that. Whenever he has had to be gone overnight, I will usually go to my parents because I do not like being alone. Well, the guys in our small group decided that they wanted to go camping at Enchanted Rock- which I think is wonderful because it gives the guys a chance to "be guys" and get to know one another better outside of bible study- but that did mean that Sonny would be gone overnight. Since the guys were good about planning this way in advance, I made plans to go visit one of my best friends in Austin. Anneke and I have known each other since we were very little- she still claims we took tennis lessons together when we were in elementary school but I think she might be making it up =) (I do have a horrible memory though so maybe she is right??).

Anyways, originally I was going to let Asher stay with my parents for the night to get some alone time with Mimi and Papa and I was going to take Zoee with me to visit Anneke. A few days before leaving I thought I might just ask Sonny's mom to keep Zoee so Anneke and I could actually go out for dinner and not have to be back to put Zoee down. My parents and in-laws are so wonderful. They each took a little Howard overnight so I could go to Austin alone. Even the drive was nice. I listened to Ross King's Big Quiet Truth cd (brought back great memories of highschool) and just actually had time to think. It was nice!!

I surprised Anneke when she got home from work and we went out to dinner at Sandra Bullocks restaurant in Austin and then went for dessert at a place called Mozarts. We got to go shopping, eat great food (including fried green tomatoes and chocolate-peanut butter cake), and talk ALOT. It was such a blessing to me to hear how Anneke was doing. Her and Michael have wonderful opportunities to minister to people in Austin and they are making full use of them. I am very encouraged by their lives. They are very good about making the most of every opportunity that the Lord gives them. Anneke is very good about encouraging others and people just know that she is someone who cares. We went to a tea room on Saturday and the owner stopped to talk with us because Anneke is a regular there. It was just neat to see that in her daily life- whether she is drinking tea or teaching little elementary students, she is known for her faith in Jesus...

Needless to say, I came home encouraged and refreshed. I missed my husband and kiddos but got to have a wonderful time catching up with Anneke! Thank you Jesus for wonderful friends! Anneke posted some pics of us a LONG time ago that are crazy- wow- were we actually that little at one time?? Here is her blog.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sweet randomness...

Zo-bear and her one of her silly faces...

Our little walking girl!!

Happy Howards!!

Love seeing them so joyful!!

If you know anything about our past month- it has been NUTS!! About a month ago our whole family got a stomach bug and spent the weekend throwing up... 2 weeks ago I got the flu and has a 102.4 fever... this past weekend we all got strep throat and Zoee and Asher did not sleep or eat well for about 4 days. It was crazy!! I have really been struggling to joyfully serve my kiddos when they are so fussy and upset and when I have felt so bad. I know that the Lord uses these hard times to make us cling to Him and He reminds us that we cannot do life on our own strength. It was good to be reminded of my weakness and how much I need the Lord. It was also good to be reminded how much of a blessing my family is- even when things are not easy.

Well, we are FINALLY feeling good again. We are all almost through with anti-biotics and the kids are back to eating normally and sleeping through the night again. WHEW!! I didn't know if I would remain sane through all of this!! Yesterday was our first day to venture out to do errands. I took the kids to CVS, Target, the Post Office, and Coldstone Creamery (as a reward for being such troopers during our errand run). When we got home and I got the kids out of the car, they both ran to the side of the house and starting laughing and rolling in the grass!! It was SO SO SO sweet. I ran to grab the camera from the car and was able to get these great shots. I love how much our kids love each other. When Zoee gets up from her nap before Asher, she instantly goes to Asher's door because she wants to see him and he just loves making her laugh- it cracks him up. Seeing them laugh and play in the grass was such a joy. I am so glad to have my happy kids back. I pray that our month of sickness built up our immunities so that we can stay well through the holidays!!

Just like Daddy...

Ash in his Rosehill Jersey that Mimi made him...

Little hat man!!

Ash and Daddy...

Ash and Daddy again...

Our little Asher is quite a "mini-me" of Sonny. He just loves to do what Daddy does. He loves to go in the attic with Daddy, wrestle with Daddy, help Daddy get the grill ready, get doughnuts with Daddy- he even asked the other day if he could go to the cleaners with Daddy. I absolutely LOVE seeing how much Ash tries to imitate Sonny. Sometimes Asher calls me "babe" just like Daddy does. Sons are such a blessing! Anyways, lately Asher has been wanting to wear a hat when Daddy does. Sonny ordered Asher a "Ben Hogan" hat just like the one he has. I think Ben Hogan is a golf guy and though we are not really golfers, it is Sonny's favorite hat so he ordered his little man one just like his. I loved seeing them both wear their hats as we headed to the Rosehill game. It was so cute. I think I have the 2 most handsome men in the world living in my home!! I love them both so much! Thank you Jesus for a son that wants to be just like his Daddy!

Oh- that cute Rosehill jersey that Asher is wearing was made by my mom's company. They can monogram and personalize almost ANYTHING so just ask and I can give her contact info =)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dear Zoee...

Dear Zoee,
My how fast you are growing little girl!! I just wanted to share a little about your growing self... You are very very independent. Much more independent than Asher was at this age. You want to feed yourself (you do not really like eating anything with a spoon) and you are not really a "cuddly" baby unless you are sleepy or have an owie (mainly because you are too busy exploring the world and you do not have time to sit still). Asher was not a really cuddly baby but now he is a cuddly toddler, so maybe you will grow into it? I love snuggling with you before your bed time. You love to read. The only time that you will sit still is when you are reading a book. Some days when you get up early and I want to keep the house quiet so Ash can sleep, I will come fold laundry in your room and just give you some books to "read" in your crib while I do the laundry. You will seriously sit in your bed reading for about 20 minutes. Maybe you'll like school like I do? You are a climber through and through. Grandma said that Daddy was that way so I guess you get it from him. You climb on everything!! It amazes us to see some of the stuff you try to climb on. You are so daring and brave and always on the go. Sometimes it seems like you are already running and you are not even a year old!! We enjoy you very much little lady. I look forward to taking you on dates to get dessert or to get our nails done when you get a little older!!


Dear Asher...

Dear Asher,
I have to write this quick because you and your sister are due to get up from naps very soon. I just wanted to let you know a few updates on your little toddler life. You are growing up so fast!! Daddy just introduced you to movies with Monster Trucks and you were seriously addicted from the start. I think you sat with him for almost an hour watching those loud, huge trucks roll over other smaller cars. I have to say I do not understand what makes you guys like this kind of show!! You are a great little boy Ash. We have started teaching you to walk people to the door when they leave and I was just so proud last week when you walked your Monday babysitter "Miss Kate" to the door as you held her hand (and it was even more wonderful to hear you pray for her that night before bed). You love getting doughnuts with Daddy on Thursdays- you always come home smelling just like a doughnut with a huge smile on your face!! We love you little man! You and Sissy just woke up at the exact same time so I will have to write more later!!!!


Family Day

Zo-bear did not want to wear her pretty flower headband... I managed to take a few pics with it on her before she got it off...

Zoee and Daddy...

Ash has been a little camera shy and this was one of the best that I got of him... he is so full of adventure and energy!!

Little family picnic at the park...

Mommy and Zoee...

As you know, Thursdays are Sonny's day off and we spend this day resting and doing things we think the kids would enjoy. Usually our Thursdays start off with "Doughnuts with Daddy"- Asher getting alone time with Daddy and I spend time at home getting us ready for whatever adventure we have planned for the afternoon. We all really look forward to Thursdays- it's kind of a Sabbath for us- and the nice weather has been even more of a blessing as we head to the park. Here are some pics of a family day a few weeks ago...