He’s Officially a Toddler!

Climbing the ladder

Climbing the ladder

No fear

No fear

Crying because he ate dirt and it didn't taste good.

Face he made after eating dirt.

Happy Baby!

Happy Baby!

James is officially a toddler, which makes me officially a mother of a toddler. Here are the signs I know that we are now in the next phase of parenting:

1. There is no such thing as downtime when James is awake. There is now lots of chasing and watching carefully to make sure he does not bump or fall too badly.

2. The sass has begun. I came home from work on Friday and James looked at me with grumpy eyes and hit me. HE HIT ME! My sweet little baby boy hit me. I am sure there is much more to come of this. We now have to learn how to discipline. It’s a whole other ball game.

3. My son is fearless. He can climb up our 8 foot slide on his own (I am right there don’t worry). He will walk into a big pool completely trusting that we will catch him. He can climb onto just about any chair. He will attempt to climb ladder rungs. We have to watch him like a hawk.

4. My car rides consist of the Raffi Pandora station. James enjoys it a lot clapping and dancing along, however I am not sure who enjoys it more me or him? There are some jams on that station! Who can help busting out to, “No More Monkey’s Jumping on the Bed,” or “The Wheels On the Bus.” (I am sure I could choose other stations he would enjoy, but seriously I like the station.)

5. Mini tantrums have begun. This is probably my least favorite. James will now scream and throw himself a bit when he does not want something. Mostly this is in regards to having his diaper changed. I always feel like I am in a movie scene when I am changing his diaper and he is the dramatic one screaming, “WHY MEEEE???” with tears streaming down the face and he’s cherry red from screaming. I will win this battle little one.

6. I plan many of the things I need to get done around nap time or after bed time. When he is awake it is crazy trying to get things done, although I do still get some things done, I happily stop my busy day to play with my Jamesy. I am truly learning the meaning of selflessness as my list of things to do quickly gets waylaid. It is so humbling.

7. He is becoming more picky. He has always been a pretty good eater and will try most things but lately he has figured out that if he points and grunts enough he can lead you right to the animal crackers or cheerios in the pantry. He very much chooses what he wants to eat and does not let you choose for him. However, it is difficult because one day he will eat something and love it the next day he will not. All I can do is keep trying things over and over.

8. We have fun!! He now loves to play with bubbles, push his car around and play in the pool. He likes to sit and read books and has lots of favorites already. He has lots of words and signs that make communication so much easier. He is so full of personality. Whenever we walk into a place with lots of people he throws his hands up starts to wave and says “HI” really loudly, announcing his presence and rousing smiles from everyone in the room. What a ham!

Although this phase maybe challenging I am excited to see what it brings and to soak up every minute of it. We are so very blessed to be parents!

Here are a few videos of his first steps for the grandmas. The first one is the first night he took steps(3/29). The second showing off his stability now. He is so proud of himself.

James First Steps

James Showing Off His Walking

40 Days Without Facebook

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So I have toyed with the idea of giving up Facebook for awhile as I have had issues with spending too much time on it and I finally gave it up for Lent this year. I feel as though I learned A LOT from my 40 days without Facebook. Here is the rundown of my take aways:

1. TIME: I spend too much time on Facebook. It is so time consuming! Having close to 1000 friends makes for a lot of time going through everyone’s status updates, shares, photos, and likes. Not to mention it is so easy to get side tracked and start looking at someone’s profile and pictures and then it takes you to someone else’s profile and pictures and before you know it an hour has passed and you are snooping on someone’s page you don’t even really know. I would find myself checking my status right before bed and first thing when I woke up, while at the same time not spending time in prayer or in the Word. What a loss of quality time I could be having with my Lord! (During my time away, I have learned that I can edit what I see from my friends which can save a lot of time, because I don’t have to see the games they¬† play or the comments they make to other friends or things that they like. However, you have to do this individually which takes time.)

2. DIDN’T MISS IT: Interestingly I did not miss Facebook much at all and it was quite freeing. The part that I missed the least was checking statuses. So much of the statuses I read are just not worth the the time it takes to read through them. No offense to anyone writing them it is just the truth of the matter, especially when it comes to pages they like, games that are played or comments they make to others.

3. CONNECTIONS: Facebook is truly a place to connect like no other. There are many people that I have no other form of contact with. Therefore, not having access to Facebook limits my connection to many people.

4. MISSING OUT: There were a few opportunities that I missed out on because I did not get the message because I was not on Facebook. One in particular that bummed me out. My cousins who live in Texas, and I rarely get to see were in town and wanted to get together. I missed the message from them because Facebook is the only form of contact we have with each other, and consequentially missed them being in town completely. I was super sad about missing them. (A remedy for this is only having the facebook messenger app on you phone. This way you only get messages, so it’s more like a text message.)

5. SOMETHING ELSE WILL REPLACE IT: Although I did not go on Facebook, I still did spend time on my phone/computer on social networks. I have been very reluctant to join other social networks including Twitter, Instagram, and Pintrest. I feel I already spend too much time looking at Facebook. I did take up Instagram while I was on my Facebook hiatus, which just reminded me how much technology is such an integral part of life and we cannot escape it. I still consciously try not to use any of these to excess. Everything in moderation.

6. BEING PRESENT: One thing I wanted to be intentional about in giving up Facebook was being present wherever I was. So many times I catch myself checking my Facebook or on my phone for something where I could be interacting with the people around me. I really tried to be intentional to interact while I had this break and I loved it! Sitting in a restaurant and talking with your waitress, talking with those sitting with you in a waiting room, being truly present with your friends and family instead of thinking about or posting the play by play of what is happening in your day. It was freeing. That is the essence of who Jesus was, intentional, relational, present. I want to be on my phone less and be present more!

7. ADDICTIVE: I once read that there was a study done about Facebook about why it is so addictive for people.¬† Here is what it found in summary. “Through a series of experiments, the researchers at Harvard University learned through the study that the act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same part of the brain that is associated with the sensation of pleasure, the same pleasure that we get from eating food, getting money or having even having sex.” Check out an article about it here. This was scary to me, but at the same time it is apparent to me that it is true for me. There is something that triggers that sensation of pleasure when others like my status, read my blog, or comment on a picture I posted. However, something I realized is that is not why I want to post things in the first place. I post things because I want to share life with those around me, and what I like to see more is the other things that those around me post. Therefore, checking to see how many people have liked something or commented really is not what I want to be spending my time doing, although it is nice to know that others connect and want to be apart of my life. I would much rather be playing with my one year than looking at my phone to see how many people liked the picture I put up of him.

8. PURPOSEFUL TIME: My real goal in this, and what most Lenten goals are all about, is to give up an earthly pleasure to focus myself on the Lord and what He did for me, to renew my relationship with him and prioritize my time spent throughout my day. I did find that I was able to do this with all of the time that I gained back. I found time to read a devotional most days, read the bible most every day and even read some books that have been waiting for me on my nightstand for some time. He calls us to be in relationship with Him, and like any good relationship you must spend time pouring into it in order to gain and grow from it.

I was so very blessed by my 40 days without Facebook and I am so thankful for the new perspective the Lord has given my on my unhealthy addiction, and how I can still be on Facebook and use it for His glory without it taking over my life.

(I also just read another article from Relevant Magazine entitled STOP INSTAGRAMMING YOUR PERFECT LIFE that also gives nice perspective on social media. Check it out.)

Vapor Life

You know those people who inspire you and you wish you could be more like? Well I have been blessed to meet with girls who are just that every Thursday. I have been leading a small group for two and a half years now of wonderful college girls. We usually spend some time catching up and then we dive into whatever bible study the Lord has led us to that semester. It has truly been my honor to spend time with these girls each week.

What impresses me most about these girls is how on fire they are for their faith and how they are constantly seeking to live a life that is Christ centered and that is of service. Upon returning from Summer vacation last semester they decided that they wanted to call our group Vapor Life Club (Austin even made us a website check it out here.) Based off of the verse from James 4:13-14 “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” With the idea that we are only a vapor, we should not worry about tomorrow or be afraid and we should life a life that it is pleasing to God. The awesome part is that these girls live this way and it is beautiful. As a group we were wanting to serve somehow and we were having a hard time finding something. So the girls took it in their own hands and started ‘Wich Wednesdays.’ On Wednesday mornings, they make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and take them to parks and areas where homeless are and hand them out. They also take time to say hello and have a kind word with many of the people they hand them out to. Talk about love and servitude in action. It is easy simple and there are no strings attached. I am seriously in awe of these girls how they live a life that points to Jesus.

What are you doing to serve the community around you? I know that I could sure be doing more.

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Not Your Typical Easter

We had a wonderful and yet unexpected Easter. We began with a beautiful sunrise service. I really love Easter sunrise service. There is something about the beautiful sunrise and the New Life that Easter brings that just go together so nicely. James was a bit squirmy so I spent much of the service at the playground nearby. Ah the life of the mother of a toddler.

Afterwards we went straight to our old house as there was a water leak that needed to be fixed. Austin and his dad attempted to fix it yesterday which only ended up causing a break in the main line. Wa wa. I will note that Austin and his dad are very good at figuring out how to and successfully fixing pretty much anything. The issue here is that the pipes in the house are 70 years old and the rust is beyond repair. They tried their best but it was really just not possible to put a band aid on this serious problem that really just needs to be completely redone. While Austin and his dad did this James and I worked on pulling the weeds and trimming the trees. He is a great little helper and really enjoys being outside. We ended up spending a good four hours there. While many others were attending Easter services, hunting for eggs, all dolled up and getting ready to eat a ham brunch we were covered in dirt and mud working hard in the yard. This is not a pity party as we did love the service we went to this morning and it was beautiful out. It was just not exactly how I imagined the day to go. After some time it was apparent that we needed to hire someone to fix this massive issue. Thankfully we were able to get some to come and put in a temporary fix for today and finish the job this week, otherwise our poor renters would have to come shower at our place. *When having water/electricity outages/or car troubles I am always grateful! We are so lucky to have running water and electricity that works all (or at least 99%) of the time. After living in Tanzania, where this is not this case, it sure gives you perspective on this.* Anyways, it should be fixed for reals by the end of the week. Hooray.

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James helping his dad fix the leak.

 

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Playing with Auntie Amy at the pool.

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Our Family Easter photo.

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Love our sweet silly little family.

We spent the rest of the day at the pool. This weekend James also hit some major milestones as he took his first few real steps and has discovered climbing. Watch out! There is no more rest for anyone watching baby James now. : )

Regardless, this day is about Him and his Resurrection! He is Risen! Hallelujah! He is so good and faithful. Happy Easter Everyone!