Olivia Is Growing!

Today was Olivia’s 4-month checkup.  She is doing well other than getting over a nasty head cold.  She grew 2 inches since her 2-month checkup and almost 3 pounds.  She is definitely not growing at the same rate as the boys but remains in the 70th percentile for most measurements.  Her head circumference also grew by more than an inch.

Here’s how she compares with the rest of us:

Olivia:  weight: 15 pounds 6.5 ozs.; height: 25 inches; head circumference: 16 3/4 inches

Luke: weight: 16 pounds; height: 25 inches; head circumference: 17 inches

Drew: weight: 16 pounds,12 ozs.; height: 25 1/2 inches; head circumference: 17.25 inches

Will: weight: 16 pounds 14 ozs.; height: 25 inches: head circumference: (no record)

Mommy: no record ’til a weight of 15 pounds at 5 months old

Daddy: weight: 13 pounds, 10 ozs.; height: 24 1/2 inches; head circumference: 17 inches

A Party In Heaven!

I was so excited tonight to hear Will giving a very good Bible lecture to Luke. Will has a really big heart for people to hear about Jesus. So very precious!

As the conversation went, Luke mentioned that one of his friends is a Christian. I asked Luke why he said that. I also asked him what it means to be a Christian. Luke didn’t know so Will then gave a good and thorough explanation. Luke appeared to understand as much as a three-year-old can. He then indicated that he wanted to ask Jesus to forgive him for his sins and that he wanted to become a Christian. So with a little help, Luke prayed to accept Jesus as His Savior!

I shared with Luke how that the angels rejoice over anyone who believes in Jesus. Luke was very excited to hear that Heaven was having a party for him.

This summer, following a good chalk art presentation on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, Drew had also prayed to accept Jesus as His Savior! It is such a joy to hear our children understand spiritual matters!

Our prayer for them is for spiritual growth and hearts to not just be saved but to obey the Lord and to have a relationship with Him.

A Letter To Olivia

Dearest daughter of mine,

How I have prayed for you!  I have always wanted to have a daughter(s) with whom I could talk and share those “girlie” times like shopping, fixing hair, decorating with pretty things, having tea parties, cooking and cleaning together, and talking about guys with you.  I can’t wait for it all — okay maybe I will change my tune once I hit some of the difficult stages — but I really am looking forward to sharing that special closeness that only mothers and daughters share.  I feel so blessed to have you as my daughter!

I still remember when the ultrasound technician told us you were a girl.  I remember how I couldn’t sleep that night because I was so excited!  Don’t misunderstand me, I love having sons, but I was ready to have the mother-daughter experience too.  Besides, I was ready for a more feminine change to our home.  I felt a little outnumbered, and there was already enough testosterone flying around.  Sometimes, there is only so much that I can relate to a house full of males, where the fists fly, weapons are formed from literally anything and everything, and the favorite activity is running around screaming while being chased by the Daddy “Dragon”.  I guess you are already learning what I mean.  Anyway, there are times I enjoy more “girlie” activities, and I hope to enjoy those with you, daughter of my heart.

Precious girl, as I hold you in my arms, admiring your beauty, I still find myself amazed and thrilled that you are mine!  You are now four months old.  You are amazingly alert — have been for some time now — and have an incredible attention span.  You love people and will contentedly go to anyone, smiling and charming everyone.  I can’t tell you how many strangers stop me to tell me how beautiful you are.  They are right; you are beautiful!  Though my dear daughter, I want you to know that your worth is not based on your outward appearance.  Our world seems to often judge a person’s worth by the outward package rather than the inward contents.  Whether you continue to outwardly be judged as beautiful, my daughter, may it be the inner you that shines forth with true beauty.  I have met some people that at first appear beautiful, but after awhile, you begin to see the selfishness, meanness, and pettiness.  No longer does that person seem as beautiful.  I have also met people that might not be considered so outwardly attractive, but their inner character shines forth with such radiance that the outward also begins to appear beautiful.

What a beautiful and amazing moment it was when I first held you in my arms!  Only a few hours before your arrival, I remember pulling up to the park for “Family Fun Fridays”, as we called them.  We had taken your brothers to a local park for them to play.  Just as we pulled in to park, my water broke.  It was a crazy experience as I had never experienced that before.  The nurses had to brake my water with your brothers when I was in active labor and sometimes transition.  With you, I had the crazy and amusing experience of literally sitting in a puddle of water.  Your brothers thought I had wet my pants.  Will said that he was glad he was not a lady.  The next day, Luke announced to the church that I had wet my pants. 🙂  It’s a good thing my water did break as I knew to head to the hospital we had chosen an hour away.  Once again, I had the same midwife deliver you that delivered Drew and Luke.  She was amazing again and came in special just to deliver you.  Okay, I know, you are bored by these details, but I never want to forget them because I remember how amazing it was to have such a fast labor — three hours from the first timeable contraction to when you made your appearance.  Only about half an hour of it was painful.  God was so good!  I still remember how healthy and pink you were immediately!  The nurses from each shift kept exclaiming over how unusually beautiful and pink you were.  I remember holding your sweet, warm body in my arms for the first time.  It was wonder, awe, and love all at once.  Later I asked your daddy if he checked to make sure you were a girl.  He said he did (he caught you as you were born).

So, here were are four months later.  Now you wear 6-9 months clothes, hold yourself up well, try to sit up, push yourself back a bit, grab at toys, smile, laugh, and talk baby prattle a lot.  We all love you!

Little girl, you will always be loved, but I don’t know how many opportunities I will have to write a letter to you like this so I want to share a few thoughts with you.

First of all, I want you to know that as much as I love you, God loves you more.  He created you for a specific purpose in mind, and it is all good because He only designs for good.  My prayer is that you might know personally how much He loves you and that you would accept Him as your Lord and Savior at a young age.  I want you to know the same desire to love and obey God as I had as a little girl.  In fact, I want you to have an even greater desire and love for Him.

Secondly, I want you to have some guidelines in mind when it comes to relationships.  Okay, I am tackling a huge task and will need to write more.  So let’s start with some basics, keep yourself for your husband in purity of mind and body.  That is no small task, and I know it.  With a proper view though of what value you are and have, you can do it with God’s grace.  Submit to your father’s advice and seek a man as good as your dad.  Don’t just go by outward attraction or yield to a man’s flattery.  Guys are often well-versed in this and know just what to say and do to make you feel like there’s nothing beyond the moment.  That’s not true.  I enjoyed my first kiss with your dad on our wedding day.  By God’s grace, I was able to present your father with a gift that he treasured because he also had his values in the right place.  He had kept himself for me as well.  We both had an amazing start to our marriage that neither of us will forget.  There are no regrets or shame or bondage to past relationships.  Rather, your father and I have a depth of love and trust and security in each other because we know that we are both committed to the marriage vows we made.  Darling, don’t let anyone’s wrong values or the world’s perspectives cloud your goals.  Aim high, and you will be amazed…!

Prepare yourself to be a godly wife by learning how to serve your family and others now.  Your single years are your “training ground.”  No matter what God has in mind for you, seek excellence in everything you do — whether it be education, physical health, your relationship with God, purity of heart and body, service to others, etc…  You are a prize — a jewel.  Your value is beyond any price we can try to affix to it!  You are a radiant, priceless gift from God to us and someday to the world — whether it be through talents you share with the world or whether it be through the children you raise to impact a world.  You’ll leave a stamp on this world.  May it be one that changes and transforms for good because you are a vessel that God is able to use.  I love you, daughter of mine!  Time to share a few more hugs and kisses…

Manning It Without The Man

So this is the second time within the past three weeks that my Man has been gone for a good part of the week.  In a three-week period, he will have been gone 9 of those days.  So here I sit taking a few more minutes to finally blog since I am not spending those minutes with my dear husband.

Yes, that does mean all four of my kids are sleeping sweetly in their beds.  Boy, do they ever look sweet when their faces are relaxed in restful pose, their eyelashes are curling on their cheeks, and all is calm.

Here we are half-way through the month of October, and I am finally blogging again.  Life just doesn’t slow down.  It reminds me of a movie I love called Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. In that movie, the heroine tries to jump on a galloping horse time and time again and keeps falling repeatedly.  I feel like that’s me, trying to jump on to the runaway horse of time.  Phew!  Well, I caught it for a few minutes.  So, let me give you the “run-down” of what these past three weeks have been like.

Besides having Jonathan gone and missing him like crazy, I have done all those normal activities that you all do too and would find boring to read about so I will spare my readers the whole list.  Suffice it to say, I’ve had my frustrating moments, my times when I have had to quickly apologize to the boys because Mommy was being quite “cross”.  I’ve had to be reminded by the Lord a few times that my kids are more important than messy floors — floors that I had finally just mopped a short time prior to their return to messiness.  Some days, I really do wish I could work my way out of a job.  Okay, not really.  There are just days I wish I could enjoy the fruits of my labors for just a wee bit longer.  I mean it would be nice to sit back for a few more hours and just enjoy the clean floors, vacuumed rugs, sparkling bathroom.  Uhm…, but then that would mean I wouldn’t have little people running around…  So, yeah, I really would take the messiness with the running feet of children over the cleanliness of an empty home.  Some day, I will have a clean house for Jonathan and I to enjoy for days at a time.  In those days, I am sure that there will be times when I will long for the happy sound of dirty/messy children.  Lord, why do I need to be reminded of your blessings repeatedly?  Why do I get my priorities so wrong so many times and hear that desperate quality creeping into my tone of voice and feel myself beginning to “unravel” in trying to keep a clean house?

Trying to fill the role of Mommy and Daddy is a bit overwhelming at times because well Daddy does his role so well, and well, I am just not Daddy.  I have tried to make these past few days special.  On Tuesday after the boys’ soccer practice, I took the boys to the park , after loading their bikes and helmets into the van.  The boys had a blast, and my time was quite rewarded by their heart-felt thanks.  Wednesday was Bible study so that day went quickly, but the boys spent about two hours with their aunt while I went to my optometrist appointment.  Tonight, I used a free movie rental code and was able to get a fun kid’s movie, which I allowed the boys to watch while eating popcorn.  Oh, we also spent a few hours playing games and reading aloud.  I’ve also made lots of cheap and kid-friendly meals.  The great thing is that their favorites are also easy to fix and clean up afterwards.

Since Daddy is supposed to be back tomorrow evening, the boys helped me get some cleaning done today as well.  I was thrilled to get the van cleaned, the fish tank cleaned, laundry caught up, dusting and vacuuming done, and to clean bathrooms.  Oh, that’s right, I promised no boring details.  Let’s just say, I accomplished some of my big goals so that is always satisfying.  Of course, I know our van will be dirty again the next trip we take, but it will take a few more months of food scraps and garbage accumulation before we reach what we had prior to my cleaning.  I confess, I am fairly good at keeping up with the house but lacking when it comes to the vehicles.  Anyone else have that problem?  I should add that Will was a great help with cleaning the van.  He helped gather garbage, wipe down the dash-board, and vacuum too.

School’s been going well with the boys this year.  I am very thrilled with how they are all taking off with reading.  Even Luke is starting to read simple words.  I really need to work more with that boy.  He is one smart kid!

Olivia wants to keep up with her brothers.  She thinks at four-months that she only needs two very short naps.  When I say short, I really do mean short.  They are often half an hour to an hour.  Once in awhile, she’ll go longer.  The rest of the time, she wants to be right in the middle of everything.  She loves it when I hold her and read to everyone.  I think though my favorite part of my day with her is when I get her in the morning, and her entire face almost splits in half as she attempts to charm the socks right off me.  Yup, she sure knows how to charm us all!  The boys keep asking if we are going to have more girls.  I keep telling them to just enjoy their sister as much as possible.  I am following my advice — enjoying her as much as possible.  I love to just hold her and look into her beautiful face and to see how much she adores me.

Talking about adoration though, I know we aren’t to make a god out of anyone, but I think it’s okay to say that I adore my husband!  I have always known how much I love and appreciate him, but having him gone just reminds me all the more.  The first day he was gone, I received a card in the mail from him that he had ordered and sent a personalized message in it.  I was so delighted!  He is always doing thoughtful things like that, showing me in so many ways how much he loves me.  I love the fact that marriage to him just keeps getting better and better!  When you are married to someone who loves the Lord, loves you, loves your kids, what more could you ask for?  I love the fact that we can still have a sparkle just looking at each other, that we can tease each other over ridiculous things but still find them hilarious, that we can pray together, that we can cry together, that we can share looks and know each others thoughts, that we can simply enjoy being together, that we have fun working together, that we share kids together, and that we are forever committed to each other.  There is so much security in that — so much for which to be thankful when I know that we are both committed to each other no matter what.  That doesn’t mean there haven’t and won’t be tough times ahead, but I want it to always be said that Amy adored her husband … always.

God’s been reminding me of how much He adores me.  It’s so humbling and so convicting!  I recognize how much my love for Him needs to grow!  My prayer lately has been, “Lord, bring revival to my heart and to my home.”  I want people to meet us and immediately sense the love of the Lord, His presence.  So, if you think of me, pray for that.

It’s getting late so I think I will turn off the lights and thank the Lord for His help while I have been “manning” the home-front without my man.  Thankful that God is always with me — forever and always!