Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thankful Thursday

The Lord gave us a unique opportunity this week.  My dad secured a job for him and Ben to do a roof on a church in Eugene, Oregon.  Now, going from New York City to Oregon is a long way.  And this roof is the biggest that my dad has ever done (and he has done quite a few).  And Ben hasn’t really ever roofed before.  And they were going to do it in just a week.

That’s all great – but what was I going to do by myself, with four kids, for a week?!?  Have a nervous breakdown, probably!  But the roofing job was paying enough that we could afford to fly the whole family to Denver.  The kids and I would stay with my mom while Dad and Ben continued on to Oregon. 

This is a double blessing – a good job, and a trip “back home.”  I have been wanting to see my grandparents again, and to introduce the twins to them, but I didn’t know when it would ever be possible.  How could we afford four plane tickets?  And two or three days in the car to drive from NYC to Denver?  Not really in my plans!  So I’m grateful for this trip, and the opportunities it has brought.

However, when we arrived in Denver, we discovered that the forecast for Oregon was rain.  The.entire.week.  With a limited amount of time to finish the job, and the plane tickets already booked, rain wasn’t fitting into the picture.  At least not from our perspective!  Dad and Ben headed to Oregon, bought some rain gear, and prepared for a very long, wet week roofing in the rain.

I brought this to my kids’ attention, and we began to pray.  Elaine faithfully prayed for it not to rain on Daddy.  At the end of several prayers she stated emphatically that “Jesus can change the weather.”

I began praying the Lord would answer Elaine’s prayers, to show her a specific answer to one of her prayers. She is starting to understand things more, and I want her to know that our God hears and answers prayer. 

Every time we talked to Ben, I asked if it was raining.  The first day it rained.  The second day it started out raining, but there were several breaks in the rain.  One day was a very nice day and they got so much accomplished.  Yesterday there was intermittent rain again.  Ben talked to Elaine a couple of times and told her thank you for praying, because God had answered her prayer.

In fact, the guys finished two days early, even with some rain!  We even had to re-book the plane tickets so they could come home early.

I am thankful for an opportunity to teach my daughter that God hears and answers our prayer.  I am thankful that God is indeed able to change the weather, and that He chose to do so this week and make it a little easier on the guys who were working so hard.  And I’m thankful for this job, because it will pay for our trip to Alabama next week for the Baptist World Mission conference, where we hope to be appointed as church planting missionaries.

#13 & 14

Liberty & Nehemiah may be numbers three and four in our little family, but to my grandparents, they are numbers 13 and 14.  Of great-grandchildren, that is.  How blessed I am to be in their family, and it was such a special treat to introduce the newest members of that family to Grandma & Grandpa. 

I’ve done a little reading on twins (now that I have my own).  If twins run on the mother’s side of the family, you are more likely to have twins, and they will be fraternal.  My Grandpa is a twin.  He had a twin sister.  He is Donald J. and his sister was Dorothy Jean.  Grandpa is 87 now, and his twin sister died when she was 66 (I think?!).  They are numbers 4 and 5 in the Paul family.  There were 11 kids in the family.  Numbers 10 and 11 are also twins – Wayne and Weldon.  I am NOT trying to keep up with my great-grandmother!

Grandma is the youngest of six kids.  Her older siblings (#2 & #3) are twins also.  So I guess it really runs in the family – on my mother’s side!

Grandma isn’t walking too good right now – she has a lot of pain in her leg and back.  But they got into the car and drove over to meet the twins on our first day here, Friday September 20th.  We spent a couple of hours in the Polo Club office just talking and holding the babies.  It was a lovely time!

IMG_3745Liberty, Grandma (still can’t get used to her white hair – she always colored it until recently!), and Elaine

IMG_3748Grandma and Nehemiah.  The guy twins in the family!

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I love this picture!  And the one below.  Grandpa had such a good time just chatting with Nehemiah, and Nehemiah just laid there, smiled, took it all in, and smiled some more!

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IMG_8151I am so very glad that we were able to make this trip – just for this moment!

The Polo Club

The kids needed to run off some energy, so upon arrival at the Polo Club we took a walk through the community.  We enjoyed the warm Colorado weather, the beautiful landscape, and searching for the ducks. 

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The babies laid in the grass.  Nolan got as close to the pond as possible without getting wet.  But then he did get wet – he dipped his feet in the water.  At least he didn’t fall in completely!

IMG_8112No…they are not feeding the ducks.  It just looks that way.

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My always happy, never-ending-smile baby.  Think he looks like Grandpa?  Several of the residents here have met the twins, and the first comment is, “Oh, he looks just like Wally!”  It’s gotta be the bald head…

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Elaine and Nolan – climbing a rock.  So happy to be off the plane!

Wordless Wednesday

Highlights from our week in Colorado thus far…

IMG_3764Digging in Grandma’s Dress-Up Basket

IMG_3770Chick-fil-A!

IMG_8142Swimming in Grandpa’s pool…took me a while to peel both of my kids off of my neck, but then Elaine slightly enjoyed her independence!

IMG_8255Elaine made the alfredo sauce for our supper (with a little supervision!)

More details to come – stay tuned!

Ready for Take-Off

Last Thursday we embarked on an adventure.  I told you a little bit about it here.  We made it to the airport in good time.  There was no line to check our bags at the curb, so we gave the guy a little tip and avoided the long line inside.  It made it so much more smooth and easy – no juggling baby, stroller, toddler, and 4 suitcases.  Totally worth the tip, and so glad I had some cash on me!

We found ourselves sitting in a very hot, crowded waiting room because another flight was delayed.  It was only 10:30 a.m., but we were starved so we broke out the PBJ sandwiches I had packed. 

I was in a row with Elaine and Nolan, and I started out with Liberty in my lap.  Ben thought Nehemiah was smelly, so he traded babies with me.  He then took my iPhone and enjoyed the free TV – featuring MLB!  He had a nice quiet ride.  My side of the plane…not so much!

Right off the bat, Nolan took his snack bag of Cheez-Its.  He crunched them up, unzipped the bag, and dumped them all over his lap.  After the stewardess delivered the Oreo cookie crisp snacks a little while later, he did the same thing.  I was like that mom who can’t control her kid.

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We started off watching Cinderella.  That didn’t last long.  We got out the coloring stuff.  Nolan made his artwork on the tray table instead of the paper, so we put the coloring away.  We had snack time.  Elaine decided to shut the window shade.  She got her finger stuck.  I tried to help, but discovered I was still buckled.  I got my seat belt off, but then had to avoid squishing the baby and Nolan while getting her finger un-stuck with one hand.  I was so proud of her for not screaming – she really showed self-restraint!  {And wouldn’t you know it…Nolan did the same thing a few minutes later.  But he screamed. A lot.}

Elaine had to use the potty.  Of course, the baby had just fallen asleep and when I passed him off to Ben, he woke up.  And he woke up his sister.  So much for Daddy’s quiet ride.  When we finally made it back to our seats, Nolan  had to “go” too.  His favorite line is “Me too, Mommy.”  He doesn’t like to be left out of anything.  And by the way…potty training in an airplane?  Not such a great idea.

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Nolan did not like the turbulence.  IT meant the seatbelt light illuminated, and Mommy told him to sit down with his buckle on.  Nope – he didn’t like that one bit.  I felt like the kid on a long road trip.  I was constantly asking Ben what time it was.  Three and a half hours never seemed so long!

Elaine and Nolan did enjoy the view from the airplane.  At first Elaine said that we were in the water because all she could see was blue sky.  She enjoyed flying through the cloud, and the turning for our descent.  My tummy never likes those turns!

We finally made it to Denver and were greeted by Grandma who got permission to meet us at the gate.  So glad to let the kids run to baggage claim!

Upon arriving at my parent’s house, Elaine and Nolan got a special surprise.  I should say The Lone Ranger and Tonto got a special present.  Grandpa bought them holsters and toy guns – complete with “red smoke” (as Elaine calls the red rings of caps that the guns fire).

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Painting pictures to mail to our college students…Painting pictures for the college students

Painting pictures for the college students

This is “normal” playtime for the twins right now…
The Twins sharing germs
Yes – that is Liberty’s hand in Nehemiah’s mouth!

The Twins sharing germs

The Twins sharing germs
Yes – Nehemiah rolled over onto Liberty!  Glad they like each other!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

An Adventure

Sunset over the mountains & Solar Eclipse

This week we are about to do something that may not happen again for a very.long.time.  We are going to fly…with four kiddos…and be gone for nearly two weeks.  I don’t know what the Lord has in store for us regarding deputation, so being away from home for long stretches at a time may become a normal occurrence.  But this will definitely be our longest trip yet.

A unique opportunity has been presented to our family.  We are all flying to Denver where my parents live.  From there, Ben and my dad will fly to Portland, Oregon to do a roof on a church.  Ben hasn’t really done much roofing before, and it is a big job that will be pressed into a short time frame.  They need to finish before the rainy season.

While the men are roofing, the kids and I will stay with my mom, and hold down the fort at the Polo Club {my parents are the resident managers of the property – a gated community}. 

I am nervous.  It was hard flying with one baby, then difficult with two toddlers.  Now Ben and I will each have an infant on our laps and a toddler to keep happy for three and a half hours.  I am afraid I will forget something important.

I am excited.  I don’t get to see my grandparents very often anymore, but they have been a very important part of my childhood.  I used to wonder if I would get to introduce my first child to them.  Now I am bringing four great grandkiddos back to Denver for a visit!  I am excited also to introduce my twins to my grandpa – he is the twin that makes this run in the family!  And I can’t wait to see those Rocky Mountains again!

But mostly right now I am tired, and I don’t know how I will possibly be ready for this trip on Thursday morning.  I’m thankful for Ben and all of the help he offers, and that he has tomorrow off!

Stay tuned with me and I will post pictures as I can from Denver.  Follow me on Instagram @acitylifeforme.  Pray for us if you think about it.  This is just the first trip of a very busy fall as we prepare for deputation and the next step in our NYC ministry!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mom’s Fellowship

Last year I won a copy of Erin Davis’ book Beyond Bath Time.  I was hungry for mom-fellowship and the book encouraged us to start a mom’s group/Bible study to share the motherhood journey {both ups and downs}.  I desperately wanted to be a part of a group like the book described, but I was nervous and a little shy about starting a group myself.  I talked to Ben, I prayed, I waited, but I didn’t take action. 

I tried to partake in the ladies prayer breakfast at our church, but it was difficult to make it out of the house, without children, on a Saturday morning.  My attendance was sporadic.  I tried to find a MOPS group, but there wasn’t one close by. 

Finally, I felt like the Lord was leading me to start a Mom’s Fellowship in my home.  I wanted to have a fellowship and sharing time with other moms, but not have to worry about child care.  So last fall I invited a couple of friends over.  My apartment was small, but we just worked with what we had.  Our group has grown since then, and now it goes something like this…

The group is for moms who have at least one child who is five or under.  I wanted to focus on moms who are in this hard stage of raising lots of littles, and I also just don’t have room for everyone in my house, so we had to limit it somehow.  Everyone brings their own sack lunch, and the hostess provides the coffee and dessert.  We let the kids play in the kids’ room while we chat, have a short devotional time, and then pray. 

I was initially very nervous about what I would share at these gatherings.  But I usually just share what the Lord has been teaching me through my devotions – it almost always relates to my mothering.  It prompts a discussion, and we all share. 

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This month everyone was able to attend – we had 12 kids and 7 moms!

I have been so blessed by this time – just once a month – but so nice to get together with other moms and share our hearts and struggles.  I have learned that I’m not really the one struggling with certain issues, and I have been encouraged by the victories of others.  Our group is also a little unique in that almost all of us are involved in vocational ministry. 

Probably the biggest blessing that has come of this is that I have gained friends.  I never had a lot of friends or very close friends as I was growing up.  It was probably my fault – I tended to be independent and I didn’t always follow the crowd.  When I went to Ambassador Baptist College the Lord answered a long-time prayer and gave me a “best” friend.  Danielle is like the sister I never had.  The problem is that she lives in Florida, and I live in New York City, and travel is expensive.  But the Lord has used these ladies in my mom’s fellowship group to fill that gap.  As we share in each other’s burdens we grow closer together and we are strengthened in our walks with the Lord.

So…if you have ever wanted to be a part of something like this, but you don’t know of a group to join up with, let me encourage you to step out and start a group up on your own.  It does take a little bit of work, but the blessings are so worth it!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Some Scrap Projects

We use cloth napkins in our home.  It was something my mom did for a while when I was growing up.  When I was trying to save money as a newly married wife, I switched to cloth napkins.  What’s a few napkins in a load of towels that needs washed anyway?  The ones we used the most were purchased at a yard sale before I got married.  Then my “nice” ones became “everyday” use napkins.  Then my mother-in-law made me some new ones for my birthday a couple of years ago.  They were much smaller, but 2-ply and just perfect.

Recently I was given a bag of fabric scraps by a friend at church.  She suggested napkins or cloth wipes.  I really did need some napkins.  Most of ours are terribly grease-stained, and a couple even have big holes in them.  But I wasn’t really up for a sewing project. 

Yet I accepted the fabric, and I got excited when I started pairing the prints together for some new napkins.  I was tempted to leave the project for later, but I didn’t want that bag of scraps sitting in my bedroom while I procrastinated, so I just broke out the serger and started.  It helped that my husband and kids went to bed by 9 p.m., and I stayed up and worked in the lonely silence.  It was wonderful!

New Napkins

New Napkins

Grams had given me her serger, but I had never done a rolled hem.  I watched some YouTube videos, read my owners manual, changed the tension settings, and started stitiching.  It was so easy, and they are so nice.  My napkins are all different sizes, and some are 1-ply and others are double thick.  I made some long to cover Nolan’s lap {what is with boys being messy eaters?!?}.  There was even a “scrap” big enough for a play skirt for Elaine.  I love sewing for Elaine – it’s so quick and easy to add a hem and elastic, and voila! a skirt!

New skirt

Thanks, Christine, for the fabric!

Wordless Wednesday

Nolan Finally Took a Nap!
After about three weeks of struggling to get Nolan to nap he finally conked right out one afternoon – with his head hanging out the ladder!

Twins Getting some Sun
Ben was working outside at our apartment, so all of the kids went out for a little fresh air and sunshine.  The twins seemed to enjoy it!

Twins Getting some Sun

(And yes… I know it’s Friday.  Better late than never, right?!?)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Twins ~ Four Months

So…I’m only 8 days late…but the twins are four months now!  Time really seems to be flying by.  I guess that’s because I’m busy, and as everyone {friends and strangers alike} keeps reminding me – I have my hands full!

Liberty jumped from the 3rd percentile to the 25th percentile in both weight and height, now measuring at 23.75 inches and 12 pounds 4 ounces.  Nehemiah also experienced a growth jump, now in the 75th percentile for height and the 50th percentile for weight.  He is a whopping 26 inches tall and 14 pounds 8 ounces!  (That puts him close to 2.5 pounds bigger than his older sis!)

Liberty & Nehemiah 4 month Portraits

Both of my babies are very happy and easy going.  Liberty is dishing out a lot more morning smiles, and Nehemiah continues to be the smiliest baby I ever knew.  Liberty has a dimple when she smiles, and her blue eyes are more of a grey and sometimes hazel-y color. 

Liberty & Nehemiah 4 month Portraits
Liberty is still trying to figure out what’s going on!

The twins enjoy being together, and they coo, jabber, and smile at each other, especially if they are facing each other.  Nehemiah likes to have his arms in motion, and often sets a hand down near Liberty's head.  Since he starting to grasp objects, he immediately clamps onto whatever is close by.  He often ends up with a fistful of hair or ear, causing Liberty to howl.

Liberty & Nehemiah 4 month Portraits
He usually has his mouth open like this!

Both of my babies LOVE bathtime.  I get nothing but smiles and laughs!  They are both teething.  Nehemiah is drooling all over everything and chewing on anything, while Liberty just prefers to chew on her arm.  Liberty eats with her eyes closed, enjoying the experience.  Nehemiah is always wide-eyed and looking {and often smiling} at everything around him.  Sometimes I wonder how he manages to eat enough to gain weight!

Liberty & Nehemiah 4 month Portraits
I thought this was my “one good shot” but Nehemiah ended up a little bit fuzzy!

Nehemiah rolled over for the first time at five weeks, but during the last month he has made it a consistent habit.  Liberty rolled over for the first time on July 29th.  Now she flips onto her belly almost as soon as I set her down.  She definitely makes it look easy.  Nehemiah has to kick and squirm a lot more in order to make it over… I guess he’s too fat!  They both love to stand up, too.

Liberty & Nehemiah 4 month Portraits

Liberty and Nehemiah both love to watch mobiles or moving objects, even if it is “just” Elaine and Nolan!  They love to have attention and just be able to see someone.  They kick and squirm and flail their arms when they get excited, which is usually when someone comes and talks to them.  Elaine often gets to “babysit” while I am cooking or working on something, and she loves this job!  Nolan is enjoying being a big brother more and more, too. 

Liberty & Nehemiah 4 month Portraits“Mom, can I hold her hand like this?”

Liberty & Nehemiah 4 month Portraits
“How about a little kiss?”

Liberty & Nehemiah 4 month Portraits
This was the “big sister is jealous and wants in on the action” pose!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nolan and the Twins

Nolan has been kinda indifferent to the twins since they joined our family.  He has wanted to hold one occasionally, or help out with bath time if Elaine is helping.  But mostly he just wants to play and do his own thing.  The other day I had some work to do in the kids’ bedroom so I brought the babies in on the rug.  I left for a moment to get something, and when I came back I found Nolan entertaining the babies.

Nolan Talking to the Twins

Nolan Talking to the Twins

Nolan Talking to the Twins

Nolan Talking to the Twins

Nolan Talking to the Twins

Nolan Talking to the Twins

Nolan Talking to the Twins

It’s a lot of pictures, but it was so funny to me.  He got right in their faces explaining something with his pointer finger.  Usually that finger gets in my face to ask, “Happy?” after a potty success.  It’s his communication style right now!  Most of what he said was just babble, but the twins listened intently.  I guess they speak the same language!

Since then he has wanted to hold them, hold their hands, and share his toys with the babies.  He says “Mah” for Nehemiah – sort of a slurred version of “Miah” and I have yet to figure out if he says Liberty’s name.  But it’s kind of nice to have him enjoying them!

Wordless Wednesday

Babies on their Bellies
The babies have been enjoying some tummy time more now that they are rolling over!

Babies on their Bellies

Nehemiah and Nolan's Car
Nolan shared his toy car (!) with Nehemiah!  So happy with this demonstration of kindness! {And from the looks of it, Nehemiah didn’t mind either!  His new name is “Mah” according to Nolan}

Red Sox Fans
New Boston Red Sox gear from Auntie Mere.  And almost a double smile picture…but not quite yet!

Red Sox Fans
Indifferent.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see where their true loyalty lies!

Skype with Grandma
This is what Skype with Grandma looks like when there are four kiddos!

Skype with Grandma
Yes…Nolan is wearing a princess dress.  Yes…it looks like he’s wearing a yellow yarmulke.  It’s a baby hat that he snagged from the drawer and then stretched to fit on his head.  And he always has it on when he wears the Belle dress!