Thursday, December 29, 2011

at 3 and 3/4...

It's been awhile since we've posted a run-down of what I'm (Caroline) doing at my age. Since this blog is like a HUGE baby book, it's posts like these that our family will look back upon to remember what I was like at 3 & 3/4 years. (and maybe a look ahead for those of you with younger kids...)

At 3 & 3/4 years....

  • I've got my first pair of roller skates and I'm eager to learn.
  • I absolutely LOVE my Daddy. (can we say Daddy's girl?) I call him "Daggy" in my playful voice as a nickname as I pinch his cheeks. Each time after he gives me a bath, I sing a repetitive "song" to him: "Boing me on my bed! Boing me on my bed!" which encourages him to carry me to my room & bounce me on my bed. :)
  • I can count to 100.

  • Whatever Mommy does, I want to do. Mommy wears a scarf, so naturally I want to wear one, too. :)

  • THIS is the common sight around our household. I am OBSESSED with wearing high heels. Seriously. It's a fettish. We have no idea where it came from.

  • In addition to high heels, I am almost always wearing some form of dress up clothes around the house. This day, (pictured above) I told Mommy I wanted to be a bride and let Patsy, my new Build-a-Bear Christmas present from Mamie, be MY flower girl. (so sweet!)
  • I have discovered 2 phrases that I can't seem to get out of my head right now: "I hate....." referring to whatever-- green beans, a toy, etc. I now know better than to use that word with a person's name, ahem... And my most repeated phrase that I probably say a thousand times a day(!) is "oh my word."
  • I am reading, you guys! Most kids my age are learning their letters and I am reading! Every day I expand my repertoire of words that I recognize. Mommy isn't too sure she likes the fact that now she has to be a little more careful about what she says as she's got little eyes watching her type emails, blog posts, etc. :)
  • Words to describe me now would be: smart, a leader, take charge, highly observant, affectionate, musical!, strong and strong-willed, playful, eager, verbal, attentive, and fun-loving. And for honesty's sake, we should also throw in the word disobedient in there, too.
  • In my world, anything is a toy. I am at an age where I'm really playing well by myself. I have "roomtime" every afternoon for 75 minutes, (it gives both Mommy & me some alone time & space) and I just play and imagine away! In my playing, I'm usually in the mode of a teacher or a boss of some kind... hmmm... wonder if that has something to do with the fact that Mommy & Daddy are always trying to teach me that I'm not the boss....
  • I am praying that God will bring a baby to our house that we can adopt and "buy." (ha ha!!) The other night in my prayer before bed, I said, "God, would you bring us a baby? Like right now." :) (and who's the Boss here?)
  • Each day I love to help Mommy cook dinner. My favorite parts are heating things up in the microwave and stirring in the pots. I set the table and help get drinks made, too.
  • I've been talking quite a bit about death lately, but it's out of curiosity with little understanding of the sadness that accompanies it yet. (because I know when we die, we get to go be with Jesus!) I asked Mommy when she's gonna die, and she told me hopefully she'd be 100 when she died. At the dinner table the other night, I brought up the possibility of me dying. I didn't notice both Mommy and Daddy fighting back the tears that flooded their eyes at that thought.
  • I'm also more aware of my alopecia, too. Not ashamed of it. (thankfully!) But aware that I'm different. I don't think about it too much, but one time when I was, I told Mommy "I hate it." :) (new favorite phrase, remember?)
3 and 3/4 has its highs and lows, it's advantages and drawbacks.

For Mommy & Daddy, it's lots of practice in restraining anger, taking deep breaths, and calmly saying things like "let's say that again in a kind voice" and "it sounds like you're trying to be the boss!" and "God gave you a job, and do you know what that job is?" and "go to timeout" and "it sounds like your heart is being ugly" and "you need to SIT STILL when we eat together" and "you need to say you're sorry" and "no, you may not do that." (We've noted the calmer we are, the more effective it is...)

At the same time, 3 and 3/4 is filled with "You're the most beautiful girl in the world" and "I love you"s and "you know who I'm thankful for?" and "I love our family" and "You're so sweet" and "what a good helper!" and "yes!!!" and "good job!" and "I'm so glad we adopted you into our family!" and "Let's tell God thank you" and tickles and laughs and smiles far beyond counting.

We wouldn't trade this for anything.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

a christmas at home...

We alluded to it in our last post, and what made our Christmas, Part 2, so special was that this was the first year we have ever woken up at our house as a family on Christmas Day! (even for Marc & I in our 12 years of marriage!)

And it was a beautiful, quiet morning to just be our own little family.

Since our big Christmas celebration was already at Nanny's, we decided to go for a modest Christmas together. Just a few presents, much of it second-hand. I don't know, call me crazy, but I think there's just something to be said for being more content when you have less, you know? When I think about the most grateful and happiest people I've ever met in my life, they're always those who appear to have the least. Plus I think about all the kids across the world who have NOTHING (not even food to eat!) and comparatively, we live like KINGS.

And then I think about Jesus, who deserved ALL the riches in the WORLD, stooped down and entered our world in the most humbling way possible. The very point of Christmas is that though He was the King of the universe, He condescended to live with less. Much less. Because he loved us.

So I try to restrain myself from wanting to give my kid the entire WORLD (which I so, SO want to do!!). Hence, (in the picture above) finding a thank you card from your preschool teacher in your stocking is like MAGIC!

Oooh, what else is in here? Some nail polish, a sparkly baton (aka "princess wand")...

And yep! My kid was thrilled to get an orange in her stocking! ha ha! (oh the things you can get away with when they're young!)

Our neighbors were so sweet to leave a huge bag of goodies for Caroline on our porch.

And perhaps the biggest hit this year....
Oh yes....sparkly "Twinkle Toe" shoes that make an almost-4-year-old-gasp-with-delight-because-they-are-so-incredibly-colorful-you-need-sunglasses-just-to-look-at-them, PLUS they light up when you walk! Everybody say "ooooooooooh." (and do you think Caroline cares that they're gently used off ebay? ha!)

Another big hit? Hungry Hippos!! (Remember that game?) Our family must have played it twenty times the first day!

It was a very merry Christmas, indeed. Hope it was the same for you!

"For unto us is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord." -Luke 2:11
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

a christmas away...

I (Caroline) have been SUPER excited about Christmas. You'd think it was because I had a list of things in mind that I wanted for presents. Nope. (at least not this year!) I was the MOST excited because Christmas means I get to go to Nanny & Papa's house in South Carolina and be with all my FAMILY!!!

Oh, and we must document this for our own records so we don't forget! People have kept asking me if Santa is coming to my house, and my reaction is to look at them like they're stupid, shake my head, and say "no." And then I'll either say "I don't like Santa" or one time I said "Santa doesn't know where I live." ha ha! Since we're not a family that really gets into the whole Santa Claus thing, (we haven't even talked about it much at all!) it's been funny to Mommy & Daddy to watch my honest reactions to people's questions about good ol' Saint Nick.

Anyways, back to the fun in South Carolina...

(let's face it, what gal my size wouldn't be excited about coming to ride THIS??)

For our family's "Christmas Eve," everyone comes over to spend the night at Nanny's before we celebrate Christmas together in the morning! With over 20 people in the house, it is loud and boisterous and always SO much fun.

This year, Uncle Johnny (Daddy's brother) decided to paint all the girls nails. (so sweet!)

And here we are on our "Christmas" morning with the cousins! We are ready to open some PRESENTS!

Now this year we didn't take any pictures of the mayhem that quickly ensues upon present opening, but just imagine that many kids, PLUS about 12 or so adults!! It's quite the scene of flying tissue paper, and we love it!

Check out this present that was as big as me! Nanny got me a red wagon for Christmas! I was so excited. Of course I racked up on gifts-- dress up shoes, a play cell phone, a tea set, drawing pad & crayons, and tons more. This year was the best for opening presents because now I'm finally at an age where I'm more interested what's underneath the paper than the paper and box itself! :)

It was a great Christmas, Part 1.

And we'll tell you why Christmas, Part 2 was even more special tomorrow...
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

all i want for christmas is my bottom tooth...

Yeah. Not kidding. Sooooo.... we were packing up and getting ready to head to South Carolina for Christmas yesterday. I (Amy) was busy throwing things in the suitcase while Caroline was sitting on the floor in her room across the hall getting her shoes on. I heard her usual squeals of frustration (as in typical toddler fashion...because it's easier to scream than to ask nicely for help, you understand), and as I walked in the room to kneel down by her side, she looked up at me with HUGE tears in her eyes.

And the next thing I noticed was a mouth full of blood. (!!!) What in the world? I start thinking. What just happ---

And before I could finish that thought, an entire baby tooth came falling out of her mouth to the floor!

Hysterical crying now ensues at this point. (not from me, thankfully.) "Um, Marc???" I managed to get out of my mouth as I'm assessing the situation, no idea of what just happened! I didn't hear a fall or a bump-- she was sitting on the floor putting on her shoes! Why is blood pouring out of her mouth and a TOOTH on the floor? She's not even 4 yet! Not wanting to leave her side, Marc brought a wet washcloth to help stop the bleeding.

"Tell me what happened, baby." I ask.

And here's what happened. Apparently when you get really frustrated with something, it somehow helps (in the mind of a toddler) to show your frustration at that thing by putting it into your mouth and pulling reaaaaallly hard.

Including the velcro strap on your shoes. (groan......)

SO, we are now going to be missing a bottom baby tooth for a few years until the permanent one decides to come in.

Since we were on our way out the door & our dentist reassured us over the phone there was nothing we needed to do, we stuck with our plans to leave, but later thought it best to have her looked at anyways.

So Nanny scheduled an appointment for us and a certain somebody got her FIRST dentist trip out of this! She was pretty excited to be a "big girl." (can't you tell?) :)

So here's the new smile. :)

It's a little sensitive subject right now, both with Mommy & Caroline. I can tell Caroline gets embarrassed as we talk about it, and she definitely "got" the lesson of how NOT to handle her frustration in the future. She says she wishes she had her tooth back and wishes she didn't put her shoe in her mouth.

And Mommy? The honest truth is that it's shaken me up a little! I mean, I'm fine, but while most moms can probably chalk something off like this as a silly accident and think nothing more about it, I can't completely. After what we've been through, nothing is the same anymore. After alopecia, anything that mars our appearance is tough on me. It's one more thing for people to notice.

It's also times like this where all the devastation and heartbreak of watching my daughter go BALD before my eyes come washing back over me. I didn't know WHAT was happening then and it was so scary. I guess there's similarities between losing your hair and losing a tooth before it's time because those are both things you're SUPPOSED to keep in your body, right? And yet, in our family, we don't. We can't! Even though I had nothing to do with the hair OR the tooth falling out, as a mom I still sometimes feel like it's somehow my fault. I can't even keep hair on my kid's head or teeth in her mouth!!

Somehow I sometimes think that if I were a "better" mom, this (the alopecia) wouldn't have happened.

Silly and illogical, I know. But it's how I feel when I'm not preaching the truth of the Gospel to myself nonetheless.

And the truth is-- without the will of our Father, not a hair can fall from our heads. Indeed, everything must fit His purposes for our salvation.

So we'll keep trusting in Him, rest in His approval, and smile a little wider now for His glory. :)
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Monday, December 19, 2011

we love this girl...

2 years ago. (almost 2 yrs. old)

today. (almost 4 yrs. old!)

we love this girl.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

lessons and carols...

Can I just say I'm so proud of my little church??

Sure, we're just a church plant, only in our 3rd year of existence.
Sure, we're meeting in an elementary school cafeteria and don't have our own building yet.
But God has been so good to provide us with a sweet congregation of folks with lots of musical talent.

And today, at our 2nd annual "Lessons and Carols" service, we got to hear much of that talent!

So, for those of you who, like me (Amy), didn't grow up with Lessons & Carols, it's a traditional service where various readers read a passage of Scripture, which is then followed by a Christmas carol that corresponds to that reading. The idea is that it walks you through the ONE story of the entire Bible-- from the Old Testament to the New-- a Savior whose birth fulfilled the prophecy and "reversed the curse" from Genesis 3, and who ultimately "shall come to Thee, O Israel" yet again. It's a lot of participation from the congregation, so if you ever attend a service like this, get ready to SING! It's wonderful.

As the worship director for our church, Mercy Presbyterian, Lessons and Carols is the biggest thing I do all year. It takes countless hours to pull this much music and this many people together. (I'm totally exhausted after a week of long rehearsals and today's service!)

Thankfully this year, I have a worship intern! You have probably seen Lindsay on our blog before-- she is one of our original RUF students from when we first arrived in Lynchburg, and now as a senior music major, she is getting school credits to do an internship with me! (yay!) (what's funny is that our current RUF intern is also named Lindsey, so Marc & I joke about each of us having Lindsay interns! "Wait-- your Lindsey or my Lindsay?") :)

Anyways, I don't know what I would have done if it hadn't been for Lindsay's help in putting everything together!! She's been SO helpful and valuable to our worship program this semester, and I'm thrilled we get to do it all again for one more semester before she graduates! (thank you, Lindsay!! You are amazing!, as is our entire worship team!)

Thought you might like to see some photos from the rest of the morning. It was beautiful to see our entire body worship together.

The children's choir, and yes... you'll probably be seeing a video of a certain-little-someone singing very soon...

Praise God for how He has blessed Mercy! To Him be the glory.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

kids these days...

Ahh, yes. The last day of preschool. With a Christmas party to remember, folks. And that means 2 things...

1. A chance to show off for the parents.

(though not everyone was feeling the Christmas cheer as you can see.)

and lots of SUGAR!

I decided to bring my violin & liven the party up with some Christmas carols.

Mrs. Paige, our teacher.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE KIDS?!?!?! Not excited for Christmas???

Well, I've got one who IS!
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Monday, December 12, 2011

season change...

We are back home in Virginia after our extended trip to Texas for Thanksgiving and annual RUF staff training for Marc. It's good to be home, but kinda weird because when we left it was FALL, and when we drove back home, everything is now CHRISTMAS! I still had a pumpkin on my porch, for crying out loud.

So now around our house, we are just catching up with the season.

As we got out our Christmas stuff, I was quickly reminded that one of the best Christmas gifts Caroline ever got was a Little People Nativity Set. She got it when she was a baby, as I was thinking here was at least ONE Christmas decoration where she can have full reign-- in the mouth, throw across the floor, etc.-- and I'm not worried about it breaking. (unlike the glass ornaments already shattered...)

Well, it's so neat to pull it out each year and watch her enjoy it more and MORE, especially this year as she is now beginning to comprehend the actual story of Jesus' birth. Today she RAN into the house from preschool just to keep playing with it.

It's also interesting letting your 3 1/2 yr. old help decorate the Christmas tree for the first time, too, as is evidenced by the row of assorted violin ornaments bobbing along the bottom of the tree. :)

It was a team effort putting the angel on the top of the tree, but Daddy held his breath and got it done. :)

It's NOW beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
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