Wednesday, October 30, 2013

{6} Months Old

This is a milestone in and of itself – I am posting on the twinsies’ actual “birthday”!  Today the twins are six months old!  Yesterday they were wearing their “Little Brother” and “Little Sister” shirts so I set them on the bed for a couple of pictures!

Six Months Old!

Six Months Old!
Is it okay if I hold his toes, Mommy?

Six Months Old!
Nehemiah was looking at Elaine – she wanted to help make them smile!

Six Months Old!
THis is the we-are-both-teething-and-chewing-on-our-lips pose. 

Six Months Old!

Six Months Old!

Both kiddos are really teething – hard!  Nehemiah can easily drench several bibs a day.  They are cranky, and not napping much at all.  This makes Mommy cranky, too.

Nehemiah is crawling.  Sometimes it’s a real crawl, but much of the times it’s a combination of army crawl, determination, and a giant lunge forward to get what he wants.  He is all over the floor, getting into bags, and annoying his sister.  He wakes up singing in the mornings and is still a generally happy baby.  See his crawl here.

Liberty tries to crawl.  She can get up on all four, but she has no motion.  She also moves her arms and legs, but looks likes she’s swimming since she doesn’t have her tummy off the floor.

Both kiddos can put their pacifiers in their mouths without help.  Nehemiah is always grabbing Liberty’s pacifier and chewing on it.  He usually has a sneaky grin, like this…

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We had several big “firsts” this month.  We took our first big road trip on October 11th.  We were approved as missionary church planters on October 15th.  The kiddos met a couple of new family members – My Great Uncle Harold and Aunt Lucy, and Ben’s Aunt Paul and Uncle Gary.  They started their first solid food on October 20th.  Most of it has been wiped off the bibs until today, when they actually seemed to enjoy the apples & rice cereal!  (Watch their first feeding session here).  They both had their first little cold this month too.  We’ve started back on elderberry syrup since then!  And on October 15th Nehemiah reached his hands up for me when I came to get him in the nursery!

I packed up the swing last week.  Liberty is trying to sit up, and Nehemiah has held himself up a few times.  Life is about to get really busy with two mobile babies!

Wordless Wednesday

Tea Parties:

Tea Party

Tea Party

Another Tea Party
It didn’t take long to discover that Nolan does tea parties about like the beast in “Beauty & the Beast.”  Gotta work on table manner!

Another Tea Party

Another Tea Party

The Stoic…

The Stoic does Smile!

…found her smile!

The Stoic does Smile!

The Stoic does Smile!

Big Sister Storytime

Elaine reading to Nehemiah

Elaine reading to Nehemiah

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Baptist World Mission Missionaries

As I mentioned, we traveled last week to Alabama to interview with Baptist World Mission as church planters to the Bronx.  I wanted to share a little bit about that process.

Trip to BWM Huntsville AL
The Baptist World Mission Board of Trustees

We actually had to submit our information by August 15th.  Ben and I completed separate applications, including some doctrinal questions, our testimony, our call to the mission field, and six references.  Ben had to complete a more in-depth doctrinal statement.  We both had to have medical exams and submit some other information.  The in person interview was just the last step in the process of getting approved by the board.

The conference started Monday morning with a doctrinal review.  There were four applying missionaries that had to be reviewed – two couples (one of them was us!) and two individual ladies.  We appeared before 3 board members and answered doctrinal questions to be sure that we are in agreement with BWM.  The questions were directed mostly to Ben, but I did get asked one.  Mine was the easy one. Smile  Although I knew it was a “no pressure” situation with nice men over Bible passages that we knew thoroughly, I was still nervous!  Ben kept telling me to relax, so I guess it must have showed!

After lunch we had a Candidate Committee review with two other board members.  Here we each shared our testimonies, call to vocational service, and our particular mission field.  Ben was asked questions about the Bronx, we discussed our finances, marriage, spiritual walks, etc.  I don’t do very well speaking in front of people – I usually get teary eyed and choke up.  This was no exception.  I was so frustrated that I couldn’t share my testimony without getting emotional, but probably I was more frustrated that I had forgotten my tissue!

These committees both made recommendations to the Board of Trustees, but it was still not a “done deal.”  On Tuesday afternoon we had to appear before the entire Board of Trustees (32 men).  We were again asked to share our testimonies.  I cried – again.  It didn’t help that my pastor, Jeff Musgrave, was sitting right across from me.  So many of these life-changing decisions happened while I was under his leadership at Highlands Baptist Church.  He played a big part in my surrender to the mission field. 

Trip to BWM Huntsville AL
It was so nice to see Pastor Musgrave again!

We were asked to step out while the Board voted on our acceptance.  Then we were called back in, and informed that the Board had voted unanimously to accept us as church planting missionaries to the Bronx. Dr. Steadman asked Pastor Musgrave to pray for us.  He got choked up too, so I was in good company!

On Tuesday night during the missions conference service, there was a “Parade of Nations”.  All of the missionaries marched in a parade to the front of the church.  We carried flags representing our countries, and we were asked to dress in fashion according to our country of service.  I was nervous about this…the kids marched with us.  Nolan isn’t exactly cooperative when it comes to holding hands or standing still.  And he has been picking his nose a lot lately.  But BWM was smart – most of the kids marched in at the end.  Our family wore “I heart NY” shirts.  We had to stay up front while missionary awards were presented.  The kids weren’t perfect, but they did pretty good!  I definitely breathed a sigh of relief when the parade was over!

We met so many wonderful people on this trip – other candidates, missionaries on deputation, missionaries on furlough.  Some were old friends, many became new friends.  Throughout the week the Lord confirmed to us that this was the mission board He wanted us to serve under.

We are very excited (and nervous) as this deputation process begins.  We have a lot of work to do contacting church, scheduling meetings, and traveling to present our ministry.  But we know the Lord is faithful – He has proved that to us over and over again – and we know that He will take us to the Bronx in His perfect timing.

Trip to BWM Huntsville AL
The Hamilton's – APPROVED! Church planters to the Bronx

The average deputation time for BWM missionaries is about 3.5 years.  My missions professor at Ambassador Baptist College said that the average for ABC grads is closer to 17-24 months.  We hope to raise our support in two years or less.  Please pray for us as we move forward to the Bronx!

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Preliminary prayer card – we {obviously} need a family picture!

We have started a ministry blog/website.  There are still several things that need to be finished, but if you want to see what we have so far, click here!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Elaine had a good time entertaining the babies while I vacuumed…she was trying to read a book to them, but they are just a little too grabby right now!

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

An Epic Journey

Trip to BWM Huntsville ALLast week we embarked on what will surely be the first of many – a long road trip!  Our destination was Huntsville, Alabama for the annual meeting of Baptist World Mission.  We had applied to the mission board to be church planters to the Bronx in New York City.  After a two month application process, this trip was the final step in our appointment with BWM – a doctrinal review and in-person interview with the Board Members.  This post will be primarily about our trip, and perhaps I will share more about BWM in a later post.

This journey of over 900 miles one way was supposed to be about 14 hours.  Add in a pre-schooler (who really did pretty well), a two year old (who did not quite attain to “pretty well” – actually, it was really rough), and infant twins, and you have the story of our journey.

We started off mid-morning on Friday, October 11th.  We had been contacted by our hostess in Alabama that we could use her washer if we wanted to pack light.  “Light” is relative when you have four kids (one of whom is potty training, and two who are very much in diapers and need a stroller to go anywhere).  We borrowed a car top bag from some friends and we were off.  And the adventure was only just beginning.

Nolan was getting over a cold.  Every time he sneezed his face was covered in snot, and he cried for a tissue.  Nolan’s idea of wiping his own nose includes blowing air out his mouth, and smearing everything else all over his face and hair.  So, every time he cried, I walked to the back of the van and wiped his nose.  This did not really help my motion sick tendencies.

I learned a lot on this trip about what to bring for kids.  Elaine and Nolan each had a box.  They had been allowed to fill it with favorite toys.  My plan was that the box would also double as a lap table for coloring or other activities.  Bad idea.  Nolan’s idea for the box was to dump it and then cry for Mommy to pick it up.  Or to pull off the lid and then whine that it was broken.  Elaine’s idea of the box was to hoard everything in her corner of the car, but not actually play with any of it.

I also learned that crayons are a bad idea.  We now have yellow and black crayon on the brand new car seat, purple crayon all over every opening in the magnetic puzzle, and Nolan ate at least part of one blue crayon.  Next time – no crayons!

Our grandiose plans to stop at rest areas to nurse the babies and run the toddlers into exhaustion was thwarted by rain – nearly all the way to Alabama and quite a bit on the way home.  Even McDonalds didn’t have a play place, so the kids were pretty restless.

Elaine was easily distracted by the countryside.  My Lone Ranger buff was excited to see all of the horses.  Then she burst out with, “If I look really carefully I can see horses, AND cows, AND ELEPHANTS!”  Um, not sure where she got that idea!

We stopped the first night at my Great Uncle Harold and Aunt Lucy’s house near Roanoke, VA.  They graciously opened their home to us and prepared a delicious supper.  I was just sorry my Grams couldn’t be there too!

Trip to BWM Huntsville AL
Nolan, Elaine, Liberty, Aunt Lucy, Nehemiah, and Uncle Harold

Saturday left us with 8.5 hours of travel according to Google.  But, we forgot about the time change.  Going to Alabama gave us an extra hour – but it was an hour we spent in the car.  Our arrival time of 6:45 pm was central time, not eastern time.  It took us 11 hours.  By this time Nehemiah and Liberty seemed to be catching Nolan’s cold.

We knew each day’s journey was over by the Nolan-ometer.  When we had traveled far enough he would lean hard into his buckles and shout “Let – me – OUT!”  over and over.  Then it was about time to stop, or risk the wrath of the Nolanator!

Saturday night we were about 30 minutes from our destination when the babies started fussing.  We had this grand idea to pull over on the side of the road and feed them so that when we arrived, everyone would be happy and presentable to our host family.  This totally backfired!  Even after nursing them, the twins screamed the rest of the trip, and they were joined by Nolan.  By the time we arrived, all four kids wanted to sit in Mommy’s lap and be fed by Mommy, and Mommy was just plain wore out!

Our hosts in Alabama were a kind and gracious family.  Pete & Carmen Coronado gave us their basement guest room with a full bathroom.  There was a gift for each of the kids waiting in our room.  They fixed us delicious meals – including the best hot sauce (ask Ben – I was too chicken to try it), and steak & eggs for breakfast!  They had stocked up on Lucky Charms and other favorites of the kids, making the visit seem almost like home.  And the coffee was always ready first thing in the morning!  They even had a corner of the basement set up with toys, much to the kids’ delight.  Their teens were so helpful with my kids, and we had a great visit.

As I praying with the kids before bedtime and prepping them for a different church the next morning, Elaine was confused.  We have been trying to explain this “deputation thing” to her, and that we have to go to other churches to ask for money to help us so that Daddy can start a new church.  Apparently she thought this was a one time trip, and that we were in Alabama to start the new church.  As I said we were going to a new church in the morning, she asked, “But when are we going to build it?”

When we arrived we discovered that one of our suitcases had gotten wet on top of the car.  Actually, every article of clothing I had packed for the kids was soaked.  I started a load of laundry and went to bed.  When I got up, Carmen had dried and folded everything for us.  Every afternoon I brought the kids back to the Coronado home to take a nap.  Carmen watched the kids while we returned to church for meetings.  Then, on the last night of our visit, we arrived back at their house to discover they had gotten Chick-fil-A because they heard I liked it.

The twins seemed to have a competition going to find out who could have the biggest blow-out.  There was at least one every day.  I thought it was the diapers – a different brand than we normally use.  But even after ditching them for our regular brand, the twins continued to make more messes than I could keep up with.  They did enjoy the exersaucers in the church nursery, though. 

Trip to BWM Huntsville AL    Trip to BWM Huntsville AL

Our conference schedule was packed full, but Calvary Baptist Church did a wonderful job of hosting the event.  Every detail seemed well thought out, and they were a blessing to us!  Every time we were scheduled to be in a meeting, there was a group of teen girls ready and willing to watch the kids.  They were capable and did a fantastic job caring for the babies.  The teens washed all of the missionaries’ cars one day.  They rented a bounce house for the missionary kids.  They provided delicious lunches and dinners, and then set out snack carts for us to access in between afternoon meetings.  It really was a wonderful experience.

On our way home we took a short detour to see Auntie Meredith at Bob Jones University.  We enjoyed supper in the new cafeteria and a visit until 8 p.m.  Then we journeyed on up the road an hour to spend the night at Ambassador Baptist College.  We attended Friday’s chapel before continuing home.

Trip to BWM Huntsville AL
They were sooooo glad to get out of the car!

Trip to BWM Huntsville AL

We also got to see some of the girls from our church who are students at BJU or live in the area.  And we visited with the Hartman family as well.  Rather than drive all night and arrive home around 2 am (and have the kids bouncing out of bed at 6 am), we stopped at Ben’s Aunt Paula’s house near Washington, DC.  She had never met any of the kids!  We enjoyed breakfast on Saturday morning before traveling the last four hours to Brooklyn.  What a journey!

Trip to BWM Huntsville AL
Uncle Gary, Aunt Paul, Libs, Elaine, Nolan, Ben, and Nehemiah

Stay tuned for more episodes in our deputation journeys – I’m sure it will only get more interesting from here!

Monday, October 7, 2013

{5} months old

Last Monday the twins turned five months old.  Oy!  Time is sure flying by fast!  While we were in Colorado with my parents we had a little photo shoot.  The weather was perfect and everything was still green and beautiful.  I took outdoor pictures, but Nehemiah was rather distracted with the grass!

Liberty & Nehemiah 5 Month Portraits b&w
I love this picture – my twins spilling out of a basket.  So many times it is overwhelming to have four little kids, but when I stop to think about it, my heart is overflowing just like this basket!

Liberty & Nehemiah 5 Month portraits

Liberty & Nehemiah 5 Month portraits

Liberty & Nehemiah 5 Month portraits

Liberty & Nehemiah 5 Month portraits
Had to include this one – to prove that there are some times when Nehemiah isn’t smiling.  They are quite rare, though!

Liberty & Nehemiah 5 Month portraits

Liberty & Nehemiah 5 Month portraits

As far as milestones go, we have had a lot this month!  Libs and Nehemiah are both constantly in motion.  They roll over both ways and are never happy to stay where I put them.  Liberty is scooting backwards now, and Nehemiah does a pretty good army crawl – always in pursuit of a toy or object.  Both twins are grabby and like to hold onto things – fingers, hair, earrings {ouch!}, toys, and each other.  If they are close enough, they often reach out and hold hands.

On October 12th the twins were separated for the first time. Nehemiah had to have an ultrasound on his hips to be sure they were not continuing to rotate (he was breech for much of the pregnancy).  The whole experience took us about three hours, and Liberty stayed at home.  Nehemiah is fine – we just wanted to be sure while he was still eligible for an ultrasound rather than an x-ray.

Liberty let out her first big belly laugh on September 9th.  Elaine was jumping and making spitting sounds.  Liberty would jump each time because she was caught off guard, and then she would laugh and giggle.  It’s hilarious!

September 19th found us in the air headed to Denver – first flight for the twins (and last flight with kiddos for this mommy for a long time!).  They met their great-grandparents on the 20th, and experienced the “wild west” on the 21st when we visited the horse stables.  Here’s one of my favorite “milestones” – the first visit to Chick-fil-A on the 23rd.

We took the family to Winter Park in the Colorado Rocky Mountains on September 26th.  Uncle Wesley came to visit on the 27th, and the twins watched their first Denver Broncos game on the 29th!  Grandpa made sure we got a picture of that!

Since we were with Grandma and Grandpa, we decided to include them in our photo shoot.

Liberty 5 Month Portraits b7w    Liberty 5 Month Portraits b7w
I love her chunky thighs!

Nehemiah 5 Month Portraits b&w     Nehemiah 5 Month Portraits b&w
Nehemiah was so ready to be done with pictures.  Uncharacteristically, I had a hard time getting him to smile!

Twin Grandparents!
With Grandma & Grandpa

Twin Grandparents!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

City Cowboys

One thing I was really hoping to do with the kiddos in Denver was let them ride a horse.  Mom has a friend with a horse, but it wasn’t really broken in yet so not too good for the kids.  I called several stables and found one with a half-way reasonable price for a pony ride.  No – I’m not going to tell you how much we {Grandma} paid for three circles around the stables!  But the kids loved it, so I guess that makes it worth every penny!?!?

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This wrangler wasn’t the friendliest, but my little “Lone Ranger” had a good time riding “Duby” – short for Double Stuffed Oreo!  She was a little disappointed that he wasn’t white like Silver.

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LOVE this picture!

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I had to walk next to the horse and hold on to the kids.  My arms were so tired after 6 laps!  Nolan’s wrangler was much nicer.  When she saw my twins, she told us that she was adopted from Korea with her twin sister.  Twins are everywhere…

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…even in the stables!  I actually don’t think these ponies were twins, but they looked alike!

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The kids were nervous about standing in front of the stable door because of the horses inside.  I said, “Don’t worry, the horse is tied up.  He won’t get you.”  Then, {of course!} while I was taking the picture, that horse just walked right out of the door!

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I had so much fun watching my city kids get dirty in the “country.”  Nolan was just so cute in his bandana and cowboy boots.  Sometimes I wish we weren’t city people!

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The kids enjoyed pulling some grass to feed to this Shetland Pony.