Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jeremiah: 7 months old

                                            Guess who turned 7 months old...18 days ago ?
Jeremiah is past the half-way point of his first year!

This sweet boy has gained the affectionate nickname of "Thumper."
He thumps. He rolls. He scoots. He rocks. He does the worm. 
Crawling is in his near future, I am sure. 

At 7 months,
Jeremiah can say mama, dada and blah blah. 
I think he said dada first, but mama came very soon after. 
Jeremiah has three meals a day which consist of a variety of pureed fruits, veggies, meats and grains. 
He still drinks 4 bottles a day. 
We have introduced the sippy cup with water and juice and he was not impressed. 
He still has no teeth yet.
We have not tried finger foods because of the lack of teeth. 
He takes 2 naps a day and sleeps 10 hours at night. 
He has outgrown the baby tub and has been upgraded to the big tub. 
He LOVES to splash. After bath time, we are all soaking wet and he is normally out of breath.
He loves to watch big brother. 
He loves to squeal and laugh. 
He loves to suck his thumb. He really likes to hold something in his hand near his face.
He plays hard and then he crashes. 

I love this baby stage. He shows excitement with his whole body. His smile melts my heart. 
I am enjoying all the cuddles I can with this one, because soon and very soon he will be crawling away from me! 



Monday, December 3, 2012

Tis the Season

Christmas time is here, bringing hope and cheer...
and shopping, baking, giving, reading, wrapping, watching, traveling, stressing...and maybe guilt.

I was talking to a friend last night and shared that even though it is only the first few days of December, I feel like I am already behind on Christmas. My shopping is nearly done. My house is already decorated. Still, the month of December is filled with opportunity to make everyday a special tribute to the season. I LOVE tradition and all things seasonal. If there was a 25 Days of Christmas Meal Plan, I would probably do it. There is something about the Advent structure that draws me in. Although I would love to do all the Christmas things that start with "25 days" or "12 days,"  I do not want to drive my husband crazy or deny my children the joy of keeping it simple. Therefore, this is my plan for our family for Christmas.

David and I have a desire to have a large family. If the Lord leads us to adopt or participate in Foster Care, we will be excited to do that, however that doesn't change our desire to have a large family if the Lord so blesses us. With that in mind, we decided that we didn't want to start giving our kids "big" Christmas in regards to gifts if we don't plan to continue that as the Lord grows our family. We plan to give our children three gifts each symbolic of the three gifts mentioned in the Bible for Baby Jesus. I plan to use the idea that I heard from a friend. One gift will be a toy, another gift educational and the third clothes. Our kids receive gifts from grandparents, aunts and uncles and other family members, so they will still have lots of things at Christmas. I have to admit that I have struggled with guilt over this issue. I had wonderful Christmas mornings as a child and David also had "big" Christmas mornings at his house. I want to give my kids things I know they will enjoy. However, I also want them to know the importance of good stewardship and put the focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
We also plan to give the boys a fourth gift. This gift will be very special. It may be something that they share. This gift will be from Santa. I know, I know Santa Claus takes away from the real meaning of Christmas. I don't think it has to. I didn't believe in Santa as a child. I was too smart for that :)
David believed in Santa. He REALLY believed in Santa. He SAW Santa. When we got married, we had this discussion and it is very important to him that our kids believe in Santa. I agreed that this would be something fun for our kids. However, I struggled with guilt over this issue. Should I lie to my kids? How can they believe in Santa and give due respect to Baby Jesus? Then, the Lord used Veggie Tales to give me some peace about this issue. I will teach my kids the true history of Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was raised by two devout Christian parents who were very wealthy. They died when Nicholas was young, but their generosity impacted his life. He followed in their footsteps and gave to the less fortunate in secret. The story is told how he threw money in window and it landed in a stocking. There are many stories told of how Saint Nicholas helped others and children would leave snacks for him and carrots for his horse. Saint Nick's Day is actually early in the month of December so that families could remember him by giving gifts and then focus on the birth of Christ and Christmas day. Santa Claus was a Christian, people. Even if you can change his name to spell something evil. I did my research on this issue. I didn't take Bob and Larry's word on this. I don't feel guilty about this anymore. Benjamin believes that trains can talk, vegetables sing and dance and his teddy bear is his best friend.  Imagination is part of childhood and I don't think he will be scarred when he learns that we played along with him even though we knew the truth.

I do plan to be intentional about teaching my kids the true meaning, of Christmas. This year I will do things that are appropriate for Benjamin. What about little brother?
Jeremiah's thoughts on Christmas are "Ooh, Bright lights to stare at." and "I could do some major teething on that nativity set. Give me those angel wings."
Benjamin loves to sing. I am trying to teach him Away in a Manger and Silent Night. He hasn't caught on yet, but he will sing Noel and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. We have a Charlie Brown Christmas book with buttons to push. He pushes the button to hear the children sing at the end over and over and over ... I plan to do 12-days of Christmas coloring pages that teach about the Nativity Scene. He has a nativity set that he plays with at Christmas time. We will make a birthday cake for Jesus to eat on Christmas day.

We are also doing 24 Christmas books. I wrapped all of my Christmas books in one type of wrapping paper and wrapped the library books in another so I could tell the difference. He is allowed to open one book each night before bed. This is our favorite thing to do. He tries to open one every morning but I make him wait until bedtime so we have something to anticipate. We are also doing elf on the shelf. David really enjoys putting out the elf and helping Benjamin to find it.

Personally, I am doing a special 25 days of Christmas Bible reading plan. There are many different things to do to prepare your heart for Christmas, but I will have to spread them out over the years. In this season of my life, I don't have time to read several devotionals a day. I am hoping to be faithful to one.
I plan to do a little holiday baking. I will make peanut butter fudge for David, and some Christmas cookies for Benjamin. If I get ambitious I may try reindeer-shaped treats.

We are still praying about our giving this year. It is only the 3rd of December and so far we have been asked to give to 5 really worthy causes. I really struggle with guilt over this issue. We save a little bit of money to give at Christmas but I feel guilty because we aren't able to give to all. Sometimes I feel like we are alone in this. Maybe everyone else gets an extra check the first of December, but we missed out. In fact, we are able to give more after Christmas than before. Anyway, God is working on my heart on this issue. I hope to give through Samaritan's purse because my heart is drawn to those who are fighting hunger and disease. We also plan to give to a needy family through our Lifegroup. As we are blessed, we will give where God leads.

So this is my plan for Christmas. Looking forward to a great Christmas season with many special memories.