Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dear Asher...

Dear Asher,
Oh my- where to start with you, Big Guy?!! You are now 3 years old and I seriously cannot believe it. I say this a lot but you are growing up WAY too fast. I love this season of your life and I am trying very hard to make the most of every day and not take it for granted. Daddy and I love listening to you talk because the things that come out of your mouth make us laugh throughout the day. You love telling me that you are big like Daddy and Mufasa (from the Lion King) and at times I am pretty sure that you think you are one of Zoee's parents (you are very quick to tell her when things are dangerous and when she is going to get into trouble). You are a very kind and adventurous little man. You love giving people hugs and kisses (when YOU want to... not necessarily when THEY want you to). Here are some things going on with you at 3 years old...

1. You always want to be like Daddy. You love to show me your muscles and tell me that they are big like Daddy's. You love to tell me about your times with Daddy and your future plans with him. You told me today that Daddy was going to take you on an airplane to Africa! Maybe you're a prophet too and you are going to go on some future mission trip that I don't know about!!

2. You really enjoy me reading to you. The other day I decided to set a new rule that before we watch any TV we have to read a book. I had ordered you some Disney books to read and you LOVE me reading the Lion King to you (over and over and over). I am glad that you like reading, though...

3. You really enjoy puzzles. I bought you 4 puzzles (firetruck, racecar, school bus, and train) that each have 12 pieces in them and you really enjoy putting them together. The other day you did about 85 % of one of them all by yourself! Hope your little brain is growing and growing!

4. You require reverse psychology ALOT. If I want to get you to go to the pool I cannot just ask you or you will say no. I just have to tell you that Sissy and I are going to the pool and are about to leave- then you will join us. For you, things have to be taken slowly and on your own timing.

5. You love these foods: anything SWEET, yogurt, cheese, avocado, Annie's bunnies, prunes, crackers, peanut butter, bananas, and chicken with lots of ketchup and ranch and honey mustard =).

6. You like to be my big helper. When I am moping the floor you always help me move the stools and I make a point to mention how big your muscles are and what a big helper you are =).

7. Your favorite movie and book are The Lion King!

8. You like going to the pool and are very good at going down the slides.

9. You love to ride in your big green jeep that Mimi and Papa got you for your birthday.

10. You take very long naps and HATE being woken up!

11. You love animals and you are actually great at being gentle with them. Mimi and Papa just got a new little dog and Aeva just got 2 new kittens so you have been around little animals a lot lately. You love holding them.

12. You also seem to like babies and get really excited when they like you! Hoping you stay this way and can help me if the Lord decides to give us more kiddos! 

13. You still like reading your bible. Your favorite stories are still Noah and the prodigal son (mainly because they both have pictures with animals in them).

14. You LOVE to climb. You climb on the counters, the treadmill, your fort, your bed- anything that you can possibly climb, you DO!

15. You talk a lot and sometimes mess up your sentences. You were trying to tell Mimi and Papa that you had not seen them in a while and this is exactly what you said (we wrote it down right away so we wouldn't forget)... "Next day you haven't seen me for a long time ago!" Love it!

I think that's about all. You are a delight, son. We love you very much and are thankful everyday that the Lord allows us to parent you. We pray that you will grow to be a man who loves the Lord and walks intimately with him. We love you, son!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Encouraged by Faithful Martyrs...

In America it is easy for us to find "reasons" not to be grateful, though we honestly have very little to complain about. We live in a wonderful country but because it is so great, we often think that luxury and comfort and just an "easy life" are things that are owed to us. I know at times I have caught myself thinking that I was being "persecuted" because someone didn't think highly of me and even might have said something negative about me or my family. Yes, it can be difficult to go through a painful relationship that seems unable to be restored or to feel like you are being talked poorly about, but when I think about the early martyrs for the faith, it is difficult for me to think that I have ever really experienced persecution. I try to read Foxe's Book of Martyrs at least a few times a week (even if I can only read a page or two). It has been so convicting and encouraging lately. Seeing the incredible faith of these early Christians just makes me stand in awe. Here is a small section that I read today. I pray that it encourages you as it did me this morning...

"Blandina, a Christian lady of a weak constitution who was thought not to be able to resist torture, but whose fortitude was so great that her tormentors became exhausted with their devilish work, was afterward taken into an amphitheater with three others, suspended on a piece of wood stuck in the ground and exposed for food for wild lions. While awaiting her suffering, she prayed earnestly for her companions and encouraged them. But none of the lions would touch her, so she was put back into prison- this happened twice. The last time she was brought out, she was accompanied by 15-year old Ponticus. The steadfastness of their faith so enraged the multitude that neither her sex not his youth were respected, and they were subjected to the severest punishments and tortures. Blandina was torn by the lions, scourged, put into a net and tossed by a wild bull, and placed naked into a red-hot metal chair. When she could speak, she exhorted all near her to hold fast to their faith. Ponticus persevered unto death. When Blandina's tortures were unable to make her recant her faith, they killed her with a sword."
(Foxe's Book of Martyrs page 15,16)


“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God."
Acts 20:24

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dear Zoee...

Dear Zoee,
Oh my goodness! It's been so long since I have had time to sit down and write about your little life. You are the life of the party, little lady! You make us laugh every day and it has been such a joy to watch you grow so much these last couple of months. You are talking a LOT!! You talk all day and it just blows my mind when you start saying such big girl phrases! Here are some things that you have been saying recently...

1. "Hakuna Matata!" Followed very closely with... "No worries!!"
2. "lub you" (love you)
3. "I'm THREE!" followed shortly by "I'm ONE."
4. "Stop."
5. "Nokio cary! (Pinnochio is scary!)"
6. "What you doing!?" (you say this when I am occupied with something like cooking or working on the computer... anything that does not directly involve you =) )

Those are the main ones that come to mind. Here are some other things going on with you...

1. You are just a sweet and silly little girl.
2. You love to sing to the Lion King soundtrack and you love Tarzan (especially the part when there is a baby being carried by the Gorilla).
3. You love to hold your babies and let them be involved in all that you are doing. You will usually tell me "Baby crying!!" and then hold the baby close and give it kisses.
4. You are still our little spicy girl sometimes. You sometimes get it in your head that you must irritate your brother and friends and you will egg them on until everyone blows up and we are all crying!! We are working on that though!
5. You love things that are sparkly and you love different shoes.
6. You love animals. Our neighbors have a cat that comes to visit us and you love it.
7. You still love eating. You like your veggies and almost all fruits.

Zoee, we are so thankful for you. We pray almost daily for the wisdom from the Lord to shepherd your little soul. We pray that you will come to love Jesus with all of your being! You are a joy!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rainy Day= Tentmaking & Madagascar 2

I get a little stir crazy when we cannot even go outside to walk to the mailbox. It's hard sometimes to find fun things to do that don't involve making a huge mess. Now that the kids are getting older, they love to watch movies. They have loved Madagascar 2 and Lion King and Tarzan lately. Today it has been raining for about 7 hours and we are stuck inside. We cannot even go for a drive because the roads in our neighborhood are flooded. We have already done puzzles, played in the garage and watched the rain and I figured it was time to see if they would enjoy tent-making and popcorn! What started out as s fun and organized event has ended up as another excuse to use my new Oreck that Sonny bought for me... 

popcorn is everywhere (except the bowl that it was originally in) and I keep reminding the kids that if they jump ON the tent- it will break! E for effort though, right?? Despite being stir crazy, I am loving this rain! Hopefully the littles will take a good nap =)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Daddy!!

I am continually humbled by how much my kids adore their Daddy and how much he delights in them. It's just precious to see their faces light up when he walks in the door and even to have them ask for Daddy to rock them if they wake up in the middle of the night. Sonny's birthday was yesterday and while we did not do anything elaborate, we tried super hard to make him feel special. Zoee kept running around the house saying "happy birthday Daddy," even when he wasn't home! We gave him a stash of goodies including Reese's pieces, almonds, peanut M & M's, and cherry flavored prunes. We put some notes on the door to welcome him home yesterday and had his favorite cookies ready to eat when he got home. We made steaks for dinner with risotto and just had a relaxing evening. I am so thankful for this incredible man who has now joined me in being 28!! =) Thank you Jesus for Sonny Charles Howard!!

Random Howard Happenings...

Wow... the summer is rushing by! The kids are getting so big- it's crazy! I wish I could push the pause button and let them stay small but that's just not happening. Here are some pictures taken in the last month of our little ones...

 Ash and Zo love being outside. The sprinkler is a toss up, as to whether or not they want to play in it. Some days, they are super excited to run through the rushing water... some days they don't. It's weird but I try to just "go with the flow."

Asher is a super climber! I have heard that he gets this from his Daddy but I'm not sure. He just LOVES to climb. On ANYTHING that we will let him climb on. Here he is climbing on the swingset. Sonny was right under him the whole time but just stepped out so I could take this picture. What a little monkey we have!! He is always wanting to be either Tarzan, a gorilla, or Simba these days! I love it!!

Ash and Zo are growing to love each other more every day. He still often asks to "hold" Sissy and she almost always complies. I love to see them loving on each other. Here they are after bath time watching a "wind down" movie before bed. Love them!!

Ash just turned 3 last month and his gift from Mimi and Papa was a battery run jeep. He absolutely LOVES it. He rides down to our cul-de-sac or to the mail box smiling from ear to ear. He loves when a car comes and he has to pull over and wait for them to pass. He seriously smiles almost the whole time he is driving this jeep. 

Doughnuts with Daddy is still a regular occurrence around here. Ash loves his special time with Daddy and they often wear their matching LRG shirts.

Little Zo-bear is still quite the eater. She loves most food. She eats brocoli, yogurt, fruit, veggies, prunes, fruit snacks, applesauce, chicken... seriously- almost anything! Here she is chowing down on some Greek yogurt. Messy but cute!