Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Family Time

Christmas break is finally here! Though we do not get to take the whole time off, we are trying to scale things down a bit so that we can spend good time with the kids! For me, with my slight OCD and obsession with cleanliness, this particular "castle" adventure was a little hard to swallow, but I knew the kids were having a blast. Daddy used couch pillows to make Ash and Zoee a castle. They LOVED it! It was so nice to get in our jammies early and just hang at home =).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dear Asher...

Ash and his car at Mimi and Papa's house... He loves to take the keys in and out and pretend to go to the store to get me cookies and coffee =)

Ash and Mimi playing the "monkey game" on her i-phone

Dear Asher,
Wow- you are becoming quite a little man. I never thought that hearing you talk in complete sentences would make me sad and happy at the same time. I love that you are growing to be such a kind little man but I hate that you are growing up so fast. I remember when we brought you home from the hospital. I thought I knew a little about parenting since I had babysat so much but bringing you home made me realize how much I needed Jesus to help me. I was so scared that I wasn't going to be a good Mommy. Thankfully, the Lord has provided so much help and I no longer feel that overwhelming sense of inadequacy (only by His sweet grace). You are a delight, son. Though you struggle at times with sharing, you are overall a very kind and thoughtful person. You have been more willing to share with your Sissy these past few days and have even wanted to comfort her after she gets in trouble for taking your toys. I love to see your compassion for others. Here are some other things going on with you lately...

1. You are doing very well in potty training. You have been going potty at least once a day on the actual potty and that has been encouraging. We are not stressing about it- just trying to take it one day at a time and I think it is going well. You get very excited when you "go" on the potty and get your potty treat (which is either a Hersey's hug or kiss =) ).

2. You seem to like school. We have been learning the letter "A" lately and you seem to enjoy the challenge of finding the "A's" in the words I print out for you.

3. I think you are going to own your own business someday and be more of a delegator than anything else. Today when we were coloring, you did not want to color but you preferred to hand me the next color you wanted me to use and then you liked to tell me when I was all done. Too funny!

4. You still love sweets. You like to have hot chocolate all the time. I have to limit it because I think you would drink it all day long (I guess you like your hot drinks like your Mommy =) )

5. You have tons of energy and even after playing all day you will still talk to yourself in bed for HOURS!! Sometimes we will put you to bed at 8 and still hear you talking to yourself at 10pm. Crazy boy!!

6. You don't really like large crowds. At Thanksgiving and when we had a retreat with our youth students, you seemed to get very overwhelmed with so many people. You prefer a small crowd of people that you know very well and you prefer to be in an environment that you are used to. It's funny because Zoee seems to be oblivious to any crowd or environment.

I think that's all right now. You are a joy, Asher. I love spending time reading with you. I love cuddling with you while you drink your hot chocolate and I drink my coffee. I love seeing you love on your Sissy and Daddy. I love your sweet smile and joyful spirit. I love that you are sensitive- even though at times it can still be tough to know how to encourage and teach you. I look forward to seeing the man that you will become. I continue to pray that you will love Jesus with all the strength that you possess and that you will come to love Him at an early age. We love you Ash.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dear Zoee...

Dear Zoee,
Oh my how you are growing up!! I have had to start working more diligently with you on sharing. You have been very eager to take any toy that your brother has and that has not been sitting well with our family. I am praying continually for the Lord to give your Daddy and me wisdom as we try to teach and train you and Asher in the Lord. I pray that we will be a peaceful and kind family that loves one another more than we love ourselves. I pray that the love and selflessness of Jesus will resonate in our home. I pray that that will happen as we continue to teach you and Asher to put each other before yourselves. I know it will not be easy but I believe that it will be worth it and that its what the Lord wants for us. Anyways, besides the share-training that we have been going through- you continue to be so much fun. Here are some things about you at 13 months old...

1. You have such a vivacious and spunky personality. Sometimes I just sit back and let you entertain us with your dancing and silliness!

2. You do not sit still very often (just like your Daddy) and you LOVE making other people smile.

3. You have not met a stranger yet- you will talk to anyone!

4. You are so adventurous and brave- I have not seen you scared or timid yet- you are always up for a challenge!

5. You are a climber (Daddy enjoys climbing too so maybe you get that from him).

6. I am pretty sure that you are allergic to dairy and that you get carsick easily. The only times that you spit up anymore is when you have eaten something with milk or cheese or if we are in the car. Preparing meals for you has required more thought now because you LOVE cheese and yogurt but simply cannot handle it.

7. You love to play with your new baby- who we have named "Baby Sue-Sue" and you love to give hugs to all of your stuffed animals. It is so sweet to see you so tender and loving... you have even started to be more cuddly with Daddy and me and that has been such a treat!!

I think that's all right now. Zoee- you are a little bundle of sugar and spice! We are continually thankful for you and daily asking the Lord to protect and lead you. We pray that you will walk in purity and that you will come to love Jesus at a young age. We pray that you will love the Lord with all of your heart, mind, strength and soul. We are honored to be your parents, baby girl. We love you!


Isaiah 30

Sonny and I are reading through Isaiah both separately and together. Sometimes I get so confused as to what the Lord is trying to teach me in that book but I keep going. The main thing that He has taught me so far is that He hates pride. Any nation or people that exalts themselves will be humbled by the Lord. He wants us to walk in humility and seek Him above everything else.

Today I read through Isaiah 30 and I was so encouraged. There are so many wonderful truths to take from this chapter. The first verse that really hit me was...

Isaiah 30:1
"'Woe to the rebellious children,' says the Lord, 'Who take counsel but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin..'"

How often do we seek wisdom and counsel and don't really spend time making sure that it is of the Lord. I know that I am so guilty of that. There are things that just seem right to me and thus I do them. I am really encouraged today to try to bring everything before the Lord and continually ask to be led by Him in all areas- even the ones that seem insignificant.

The next verse that stood out to me encouraged me to continue to find my rest in the Lord...

Isaiah 30:15
"For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, 'In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.'"

There are so many verses in the Word that encourage us to rest in the Lord. The world urges us to be busy and never stop but Jesus wants us to delight in Him and find peace and rest for our souls in His presence. We do not need to be loud, obnoxious, busy and continually anxious- that is not what the Lord offers us. I pray that we can all stop today and meditate on the Lord. Let's just sit with Him and let Him speak to us through His Word and through Worship. I know it will strengthen us so much!

The last verse that really hit a cord with me this morning was...

Isaiah 30:21
"Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left."

This verse kind of goes along with Isaiah 30:1 mentioned above. We see all over the Scripture that the Lord wants to lead His people. He wants us to be near to Him, to seek Him, to delight in Him and find all of our sustenance in Him. If we will continue to seek Him, He promises to reveal Himself to us and lead us in truth. I pray so often for wisdom from the Lord... wisdom in leading our kids... wisdom in leading our students.... wisdom in being a godly wife and woman... I just don't think we can ever ask for enough wisdom. I think the more we ask Him to lead us and teach us- the more we will be amazed at how near He is and how intimately He works in our lives. I pray that we will all continue to bring everything to Him and obey when He tells us 'the way we should walk.'

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My New Camera & Lens

My precious family... we are a crazy bunch but we love to laugh and we try to make the most of every day. So thankful for these 3 wonderful people that warm my heart everyday!

Sonny is just such a wonderful man... randomly he will just surprise me with something totally off the charts!! Such was this event.... I was able to purchase a new camera from the money that I made on a photoshoot earlier this year but there was a new lens that I had been eying that would help me do better headshots... I was going to ask for it for Christmas (or at least ask for money that could go towards purchasing it) and when I mentioned that to Sonny, he said "it's already on the way- I bought it for you." Wow!! We have had SO much fun learning how to use this lens. With it, we can change the depth of field a lot to make the background really blurry. I LOVE this lens... the only bad part is that we have so many pics that we are taking that I cannot find the time to upload and edit them all!! Looking forward to using this lens more and more.

Random November Happenings...

We visited Sonny's Grandma in Wharton over Thanksgiving break and it was quite and adventure! So many opportunities to get dirty and the kids took full advantage of that! Zoee was the first to try eating dirt and Ash just had to join in... Here is the result. Priceless! It was lots of fun to catch up with our Wharton family and visiting "Great-Grandma with the Chickens" (that's how we distinguish Sonny's Grandma from mine when talking with Asher =) )

Here is a picture of our little kiddos eating dirt! I can't get them to eat veggies but dirt, NO PROBLEM!!

I love the Christmas season! I would put our tree up in October if Sonny would let me! I used to manage a coffee shop in Richmond, Texas and we would start getting ready for Christmas on November 1st (mainly because we were selling merchandise but I just loved having such a long Christmas season). Sonny said he would let us put up the tree over Thanksgiving break. Perfect!! He and Ash got the tree out and put it together and I put on the lights and ornaments that evening. In the years to come, I look forward to the kids helping with the ornaments but they are still a little young this year. We did our family tradition of 2 years and watched Elf while we put up the tree. Its the small things like this that make me so thankful for our family. I love days where we can stay in our jammies and just spend time as a family =)

More from the Birthday Party...

The Burke/Beller family with little Zoee...

Ash and Aeva... (Ash was chowing down on some muffins so please excuse the full mouth!)

My sweet friends from long ago (Linds since I was in 8th grade and Kelly from when I was in about 3rd grade... Kelly brought her little girl Carly. It was so great to see them all!)

Zoee and her best friend Kinley... its never a dull moment with these 2 little princesses!!

Grandma and Grandad =)

Zoee with Mimi and Papa..

Zoee and Papa...

Revisiting Zoee's Birthday!!

Zoee eating some yummy snacks at her party...

I'm not sure if Asher likes the park?? =)

Me and my sweet little ONE year old!!

Our family of four at Zoee's party... the theme was Nala from the Lion King because Zoee reminds me of the adventurous spirit in Nala- there is no adventure that she will turn down!!

Oh my this season has been super busy! It seems like right after Zoee's birthday life went into 5th gear and has not stopped. I feel like I need to go back and document Zoee's 1st birthday party before she turns 5 and I realize I have not documented anything!!

Her birthday party was so much fun (though I did get stressed out a little when trying to make it PERFECT- thank you to my wonderful husband for reminding me that she is only turning ONE and I do not need to compare myself to all the other super-moms I see on pinterest!). We just met up with some friends and family at Mattheson park in Tomball (aka... the Tire Park). The kids played and had a blast. I think Asher might have enjoyed the party a little more since he understands that birthday parties mean cake and friends- but Zoee seemed to have fun too. I cannot believe that we do not have a little baby anymore. She is such a little girl now. I was so thankful to have all of our friends and family out to celebrate little Zo-bear with us! I wish I could slow the pace on how fast she and Asher seem to be growing up.