Friday, May 31, 2013

May Letters

It's time for a monthly wrap up! Is it really the last day of May?? Doing it a little differently this time. Here are our favorite pictures and memories from this month with some of my favorite people. :)




Evelyn,

I love you so much. What a great kid you are, smart and funny! I am amazed at the conversations we have and how old you seem, but that also means that sometimes I have to remind myself that you're not even four years old yet. You need my patience, too. If you were my one and only I know I would still be calling you my baby; instead, you're the "big girl" of the family. Thank you for being an awesome big sister...showing patience, kindness, and lots of love to your little brother and sister.

When I look at you I see those round, butterball cheeks and that grin...and there isn't a day that I don't try to close my eyes and remember you as a baby. When it was just you and me hanging out at home together. I miss it. I really really miss those days. You were my first born. I just want to hold you like I hold Reagan now - tucked neatly in my arms, close to my chest, your head under my chin. Now I can barely lift you into your carseat. :)



I used to think that I was more of a big kid, school-aged person. I've always said that I will be in my element when I have slightly older kids. Now I'm not so sure. I know I'm going to miss these days so much it will make my heart ache. So I'm trying to bottle up as much essence of Evie as I can while you're still my little girl. (Yes, yes, I know. You're a big girl now.) I will hang onto the sounds of you "cookin recipes" in the kitchen sink, clomping around in my high heels, and that cute voice of yours when you tell a story. I will try to be more patient when you need help with "disney junior dot com!" and when I find your latest creations scattered all over the house. You have a big imagination - just like your mama did. I may get flustered and squawk like a crazy person sometimes, but I love you for it. Keep being funny, friendly, and imaginative. You will go far!



Grace,

I love you so much. At just two and a half years old, I feel like I have a life-long friend in you. But you know, one of those on-again off-again relationships, where one minute we are hugging and laughing and the next minute we are having the war to end all wars. :) You are spunky, you are strong-willed, and you are fearless. You are a lot of things that I am not. You will, undoubtedly, conquer anything you set your mind to.

When I think of you I see those squinty eyes and that great big smile. I hear the sound of your feet pitter-pattering around the house, always busy. I get the impression that my favorite memories with you are beginning right now. When you turn on music, grab my hand, and make me dance with you and twirl you around. When you "read" books. When you crawl onto my lap for a cuddle. It drives me nuts when you grab my face and turn it to make me look at you whenever you please (haha), but someday I will miss my cheeks cupped in those little hands. You are not far behind your sister, and that line between toddler and big girl is growing thinner every day.



How is that you can love climbing and love dresses at the same time? You're a princess and a pirate. You're sweet and you are rowdy. You're happy and you are fiery. You are always keeping us on our toes. :)



Reagan,

I love you so much. One little look from you melts my heart, and I am putty in your pudgy hands. We have a special relationship that transcends words. You are eight months old now, and I can't believe how big you are. Sitting up, practically crawling, babbling in that boyish voice. I can't wait to hear the thoughts that are going on in your head!

I will never forget the love you have for your fingers. :) You always have one, two, or all five of them in your mouth at any given time. Your eyes light up when we buckle you into your carseat. You enjoy going places, and you are the best traveling baby! I have no fears taking you anywhere. You are a great sleeper, always smiley, and easy going - what more could a mama ask for?



Reagan, we have big dreams for you. Parents always dream for their babies, and I hope that we can expose you to enough things, encourage you the way you deserve, teach and guide you in such a way that you find your niche and aim high. From fixing your own cars, to understanding the worlds of finance and politics, to practicing a good, firm handshake and how to give a great speech - your daddy has you covered. And I will help you to open up your imagination. I will encourage you to write, to dream, to play. I will teach you how to treat a young lady. With two big sisters, you'll get lots of practice. :) Most importantly, your dad and I can't wait to teach you and share the love of God with you.



To all of my children,

I pray for your futures already. I pray for future friends, future paths that you take, and yes - even a future spouse. It's never too early! We have three very different, individual, little people running around our house. I love it.

Our lives are not perfect. I will never be a perfect mom, and as my kids, you already know that more than anyone else. Some days I can put up with a lot. Some days I just need SLEEP. Please know that even when I look like Frankenstein's bride around here, I still love you. People keep telling me that one day I will miss the messes. I will miss the noise. I will miss the juggle of having several small kids at once. Haha. I'm not sure that I will ever miss dividing my time between constant cleaning up after little people and NEVER getting a full nights sleep. But I know I will miss the feelings I get when life is just too darn good. Because tight hugs, frequent kisses, and hearing "I love you..." really does make it all worth it. Let's just never stop doing that stuff, okay? I promise I'll contain myself around your friends. :)



I am really looking forward to a great summer with all three of you. The smell of sunscreen, the squeak of park swings, splashing in the water, lemon shake ups and funnel cakes, hearing your laughter. We will have up days and down days. I am just thankful for ANY day that we have together. Love you!

Mom


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Squeaky Clean

Well, there's not much of a point to today's post, except to share some pictures of my kid in a duck tub. He's getting so big!

Reagan has been way too big for his baby bath for quite a while, but I've been trying to squeeze him in it, anyway. Praise the Lord that this blow up guy was delivered to our doorstep yesterday afternoon. Now my baby can bathe in luxury. Haha.


The girls were equally excited about Reagan's new bath. Notice Evelyn running into the room with his old tub.


I literally turned around to grab something on the couch for a few seconds, and when I turned back around Gracie had made herself comfortable. Cracked me up!


We did actually let Reagan use his bath. With water and everything. :)




That was the big excitement at our house yesterday. :) Well, that, and another trip to the park with John and my sister. That place has become our second home. We're trying to squeeze in as many days as we can before it's so hot that all we want to do is stay inside with movies and lemonade. The Farmer's Almanac says July and August may be down right oppressive. Oh boy!

On a completely unrelated note, I saw something on TV this morning that I can't stop thinking about, and this verse has been weighing on my heart. I have no idea who needs this today, but someone does. So here ya go. 

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions
Wash away my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

It's in the past. Let it go. Ask for forgiveness and it will be forgotten. :)





Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! Micah 7:19

Huh. Maybe I needed this today. Funny how that works, isn't it?

It's a new day. Make it a great one!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Colossal Coaster World

Hey all! It's that time of the year again - we're in full swing for planning Vacation Bible School, and once again I am helping our VBS director with the details. I am SO EXCITED about our theme and the materials being used this summer. I cannot think of a more appropriate theme and lessons for our current time.

This year our children will be learning lessons focused on the verse 2 Timothy 1:7 which says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." Our kiddos will be learning about and reassured that though we live in a world where scary things can happen, they have no need to fear if they place their trust in God. LOVE THAT.

And to make it even more exciting the "theme" is:


An amusement park! Woohoo! So fun for summer and totally appropriate for kids in terms of taking risks and facing fears. 

If you have children in preschool through sixth grade, please send them our way. Vacation Bible School is July 7-12 this summer. Mark your calendars! :)

My kids are already addicted to the theme song for this year.

And now...we need your help! Are you any good at figuring out clues? Haha. Even though we haven't begun this year's week of VBS, NEXT year's materials are already being worked on, and the big theme is going to be revealed soon. Like, in a week. But Lifeway (the company we use) is releasing "impossible" clues all this week to give hints as to what that theme might be. Those that make guesses will be entered into a drawing to win their church $3,000 in VBS materials for next year. 

They are releasing both picture and video clues, and here is what they have put out so far:

Video Clue #1


Video Clue #2


And here is the first picture clue:


I know one thing, they have said to look for subtle things and not the obvious. So I don't think it has anything to do with beaches or shipwrecks, haha. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine! Please help us brain storm so that we can make guesses on Lifeway's blog. We would love your help! And to stay up to date with the newest video clues and pictures they are releasing, you can follow them on Facebook here

Hope you all have a good day, and please, give us your best guesses! Or your worst ones, they're all the same with these crazy clues! :D


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

This is one of those times that I'm seriously sad to be blogging, because it only means one thing: a really good weekend is over. And what a LONG weekend it was! Aside from his Saturday shift at the radio station, Eric hasn't been at work since Thursday morning. We loved the little mini-cation we've had over the past few days. Where do I even begin?

Thursday:

Thursday was Grace's speech therapy evaluation. We had no idea what to expect, but we knew it would feel better getting advice from a professional and not just judging Grace's abilities based on our own assessment.

Wow. Can I just say...Eric and I are both looking at our Gracie girl a little differently today. She's like a new kid. I am so thankful for that speech evaluation. This is what we learned: Gracie has a HUGE vocabulary. She is stellar in speech comprehension. And she scores super high for speaking in 5-6 word sentences with proper grammar - all way above average on the chart for a 2.5 year old. The only issue she has is with articulation...and that we already knew.

So there are some exercises we can do at home and some resources we were directed to which will help us to help her. There is no rush to actually start her in speech therapy. What a weight off of our shoulders!! Move over Einstein, I think our Gracie is some kind of misunderstood child genius. Ha. ;)

Friday:

On Friday Eric was caught in his birthday suit in the YMCA locker room by a bunch of day camp kids...ahaha. And after that, we went to the zoo.

Holy Friday before Memorial Day - was it packed! I've never been to the zoo when it was so busy. We had a great day (and seriously, the weather was to die for) but we sort of zoomed around from place to place and we skipped a bunch, because lines were loooong.



It was Reagan's first trip! One of the things I was most looking forward to about this year was introducing Reagan to all of the fun things we like to do as a family. So how did he like the zoo? Well, he was happy as a clam and slept half of the time, haha. Which was actually amazing, because it was totally easy. That little boy has just slipped right on in to our family seamlessly. 



We timed our trip to see the elephants perfectly, and ended up at the right place at the right time to view the newest zoo baby - Priya. Of course, everyone else was clamoring to see her, so we had to hold the kids up one at a time to take a look.



We had a lovely afternoon and then came back to Illinois for Friday night festivities - Shannon's graduation.



A perfect night for outdoor graduation. I was one of the oh so lucky classes that got to graduate in the gym. Woo. Hoo.  Haha. I know that several of you were there supporting some youngins, too - congratulations to all!

Am I really only up to Saturday? I've got to speed this thing along! Saturday was a fun family day - super low key. We hung out at home, something we rarely all do at the same time, and took a walk. The kids were out early that night, so Eric and I stayed up and actually got to spend some time alone in our own house. :) On Sunday we had church and a BBQ at my parent's house. We're still eating the leftovers, and I'm not complaining at all!

Yesterday was Memorial Day, and we give thanks for those who have served us in ways we could never repay. Freedom is something we take for granted until it's taken away. I'm thankful for days at the zoo, for trips to the park, to freely choose the church I worship in...all little things made possible by preservers of freedom. God Bless the USA!

I think I've already exhausted my use of the word "perfect" for today, so I'll just say yesterday was sublime! Superb! Supreme! (Thank you, thesaurus.) 

We spent the morning at the park. One of us swung a little too high on the swing set and scared himself. I won't say which of us that was. Bless his little heart. :D

We came home for a family lunch, then packed up the kiddos and shopped til we dropped. It's getting easier and easier to cart around three kids. Loving that. And then we came home and enjoyed a quick Spring storm while we made dinner. By the time we were ready for a walk the storms passed and we had a stroll in the cool night air to end one very long weekend!

I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say that sometimes staying home and enjoying what our own area has to offer is just as fun and refreshing as a far-away vacation. In some ways, even more so. The past few days were a chance to reconnect as a family after a busy couple of months.

Today marks a few summertime milestones - even though it's not officially summer yet! School is out  and Eric no longer has to wear a suit and tie to work - it's casual dress time. Yay for easy laundry. Haha - it's the little things, ya know?

Oh, and geez, I can't not give a shout out to our "Aunt" Heather is who has a tiny little life in her belly. EEEEE!! Oh, how we've been praying for you over the past few weeks, girl. Love that baby already! So many wonderful blessings lately, and we couldn't be happier. :D

Alright that's it. I've gotta stop. It's a nice day, and we've got stuff to do! Hope your weekend was awesome!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gracie the Jabberbox

A post and run today! We're taking Gracie to a speech therapist in a couple of hours for an evaluation. A "just in case" sort of thing, as recommended by our pediatrician. IF there is any kind of delay, we want to catch it asap so that she will be in an "early intervention" program. This will save her from taking any speech classes when she gets to school. :)

What we're really hoping to hear is, "Oh no, she's totally fine. Go about your business." But if we need to set up some more appointments for her, so be it. I'm honestly not that worried about it either way. The girl can TALK, and she does a lot. We just can't understand what the heck she's saying half of the time. Haha.

Gracie tends to pronounce parts of words, but not always the whole word. I can usually string together what she is saying and after asking her a few times to repeat it, I can figure out what she's trying to tell me. It's still a frustration, but we've come a long way in just a few months. So we'll see!

I have four people to bathe, get ready, and feed lunch before Eric shows up and we take off. So I've gotta get scootin! Hope you have a great day!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Shannon's Party

  I am very tired, and I am still under the weather, but I do love these kids. 


 When I ask the girls to smile at the camera, they smile and jump in the air. (?) It makes for some interesting picture taking. :)


I'm already looking forward to a nice long weekend with the family, and (hopefully) feeling like myself again!
 (I am definitely not pregnant...this time. Haha. It's allergy stuff!)

Two days from now my sister will be graduating from high school, and on Saturday we had a little party for her. Shannon and I are ten years apart, so this serves as a reminder that it's been a decade since I was in high school...and well...that's just wrong! :) 




Now that the girls are older, parties at the park are just a godsend. Built in entertainment. And no worries that my kids are breaking things and getting into someone's priceless stuff. Been there, done that! We enjoyed the outdoors and some delicious food with lots of friends and family.



We were blessed with really great weather, and my mom did a wonderful job putting everything together. I do NOT know how she does all that she does. One time I thought I caught a glimpse of a cloning device in my parent's basement, but I can't be certain if that is what I actually saw. Still trying to unlock that mystery.

Cousins!


Congratulations to Shannon! The world is your oyster. At no other time in your life will you have so much freedom. Enjoy it! Make good choices. Baha. Love you, girly. :)

I'm praying for an energy boost today. It's been a little boring around here, and moms don't get sick days. But I am still, somehow, thankful for all of the drink getting, bottom wiping, fight breaking, mess cleaning, craziness. There could be worse things. Plus, these baby blues have some miraculous momentary healing abilities:


Next time I'll try to remember to remove all of the tag parts before I take pictures of my kid in his hat. :)

Happy day!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Praying for Oklahoma

Hi, friends! Checking in today. I have been a sick chick, but I'm on the mend - thankfully! I was going to blog about what we've been up to lately, but it just doesn't feel right given recent events. My heart is so heavy for all of the folks in Oklahoma - especially the families who lost their babies in such a terrible tragedy. Honestly, I try not to let myself think about it for too long. It hurts too much.


Unfortunately, there are moms and dads today who don't have the luxury of just trying not to think about it. So we are praying for their broken hearts. We are praying for those still waiting for news. We pray for the safety of those working in search and rescue - for those who have lost their homes in neighborhoods that were completely flattened. We pray for communities who have to pick up the broken peices and start over again.

Times like these serve a reminder to us all that we are not promised tomorrow. Don't put off for tomorrow what you need to take care of today - especially your spiritual health and making sure you've told everyone you care about that you love them. You just can't say it enough.

I am still not feeling great today, but put into prospective, I have very little to complain about. For all of the sorrow and tragedy, there is also a thankfulnesses for all of the people who were spared in yesterday's storms. I am so thankful that everyone I know who was in the area yesterday is safe and sound today.

And now to follow my own advice...I don't tell most of you enough how much I appreciate and care for you. I think people come into our lives for a reason. I love the people who are in my life, and if I were never to live another day, I would want you all to know that.

With prayerful and hopeful hearts, we wish you all a good day today, and we'll be back tomorrow.

"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Conquering Fears - Park Style

Fears can be paralyzing, you know? They can suck the life and joy out of something, because fears spend a lot of time holding us back from what we truly have the potential to accomplish. How much do we miss out on in life because fear takes hold and we decide to take the safe route instead?

Well, it was a big day for some of us Roberts yesterday. It was a gorgeous and unassuming Spring day at the park. Little did I know that two of my kids would learn some important life lessons without even realizing it, and so would I. :) We overcame several small fears that lifted weights from our shoulders and most importantly, allowed us to have FUN.



Fear #1 - I feared that I would never get to take my kids to the park this summer, because I couldn't handle all three by myself.



Sometimes conquering a fear means first admitting that you might not be able to do something on your own, and having a support system makes a huge difference! I'm sure there are plenty of moms with a bazillion kids who truck off to the park all by their lonesome, but that ain't me. And it doesn't sound like fun. At all. I need to call in backup assistance. :)

Thanks to family and friends like Ashley, my fear of park-going is conquered. We actually WILL have a life this summer. Woot!

Fear #2 - Evelyn's fear of heights and trying new things.



Yesterday I kept hearing Evelyn say, "I did it! I did it!" as she played with a new friend that she met. After hearing this a few times I walked over to Evie, and she exclaimed gleefully that she climbed to the very top of the playground equipment using the climbing wall - quite the feat for my cautious baby!



Look at that face as she was coming down. Evie was so darn proud of herself. Fear conquered!

Fear #3 - Going down the "big" slide.



Honestly, this slide isn't even very big compared to other slides I've seen my girls go down, but for whatever reason Evelyn and Grace never liked this one. Something about it just scared them, and they'd usually climb up the stairs and climb right back down. Not yesterday!

After a few goes, Gracie was putting her hands up in the air and screaming like she was on a roller coaster. It was hilarious, and I'm pretty sure she's going to be a thrill-seeker after watching that. ;) Neither girl is afraid of the slide anymore. They love it!

Fear #4 - What goes up, must come down. Both of my girls have problems with getting into situations that they can't get themselves out of - namely, climbing in and on things that they can't get down from again. (And this is true at home, too!)


The last time we were at this park (just a couple of weeks ago), Evelyn and Gracie were terrified to climb out of this truck jungle gym. I have no idea why. But then yesterday, they zipped right down like it wasn't a thing at all. Where all of this new confidence came from I have no idea, but they sure were smiling a lot as they accomplished new things!

And while we're speaking of accomplishments - Congrats to my hubby for winning the final round of the ACG cup this week! Woot!! I don't wanna brag or anything, but yes I do. This is a big deal, and we're very proud of Eric. :)


Just a little bit of self-confidence can go a very long way. While we were at the park it seemed like the rush of excitement and the sounds of praise just spurred the girls on to keep doing more, trying more, taking new risks. And really, this is so true in the rest of life, too. It's easy to get comfortable. But there is great reward in taking a risk. Is it possible to fall down and bust your face sometimes? Absolutely. But the thrill of accomplishment trumps the sting of a fall every time. Once you've gotten a taste of it, you want more. Sometimes the hardest part is getting started, but like a snowball rolling down a hill, you gain momentum, and you pick up more confidence along the way. And then...well...there's just no stopping you. :)

I love when my kids teach or remind ME of something. If an opportunity arrises, take the risk today. Face the fear. Whatever it is in your life. Fight for it. Believe in it. Conquer it!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cheep cheep!

We've been enjoying the weather so much this week! It's hard to even be in the house right now this morning, and as soon as I finish this blog and we pull our blueberry muffins out of the oven, we're outta here!

But I thought I would check in quickly and share a tiny part of our day yesterday.

We came in from a morning of soaking up some rays and splashing in the water for some "down time" which is mom's code for, "Kids, take a nap!" And as I settled into my position on the couch I started hearing a strange noise. Almost like a chirping sound. If you've ever lived in a house with little kids, you know strange sounds aren't that unusual. It could have been coming from a toy, the cartoons that were on tv, or even the game Evie was playing on my phone. So I ignored it.

But it was so consistent and close sounding, and it just wasn't stopping. I turned off the TV, told the girls to hush, and we made the inside of our house completely silent. "Cheep cheep cheep!" The girls gasped and laughed, and I said, "The garage!" We ran to see if there was indeed a little birdie trapped in our house.


We found him on top of Eric's toolbox, the poor thing! It had been pitch dark in that garage, and I'm fairly certain he had been in there all night long and half the day yesterday. (The day before I had the garage door open for several hours while our neighbor was using our lawn mower. He had to have snuck in then.)

I could tell he was a little thing and that he definitely wasn't a strong flyer. He would try to flap his wings, but he wasn't getting very far. ;) Not to mention he was probably very hungry!



So we opened up the garage door some more in hopes that he would get the hint. He tried, but he just couldn't get his little body to do what he wanted. I didn't want to touch him, so I grabbed a flyswatter and scooted him out of the door, haha.

As soon as he was outside chirping other birds starting landing in our yard and circling overhead. It was actually really incredible. Since our friend couldn't fly, he started hopping in our yard, and once he was far enough away from us, another bird landed, too, and you could almost hear her chirping, "follow me," which is precisely what he did.


Our birdie "hopping" to freedom. Haha.

The whole thing was really very sweet, and the girls learned a lot by asking questions through the experience. I'm glad we were able to rescue the baby bird and send him home to his peeps. :)

And now we are finishing our breakfast and are ready to slather on some sunscreen to head outside. We'll also be at the park at noon today if anyone wants to join us. Happy Wednesday!


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