Sunday, December 27, 2015

29 Weeks


Baby is the size of an acorn squash this week!

How Far Along? 29 weeks
Total Weight Gain: Miraculously didn't gain anything this week!  +14 total. 
Maternity Clothes? Almost everything. I noticed that my pajama shirts (big t-shirts) are struggling to cover my belly all the way.
Sleep: The restless legs have gotten a lot better, but I'm still really struggling to fall asleep at night. I just lie there wide awake for hours. So annoying. 
Best Moment This Week: Baby brother got a whole bunch of adorable little clothes for Christmas!
Movement: Yes. He goes crazy in there. I think he really likes to push out against my stomach. I can't even describe it. But there's always something sticking out - an elbow or knee or foot or something. It's kind of disgusting. Haha.  
Food Cravings: Cranberry Sierra Mist. I ate so much this weekend that nothing even sounds good anymore. Haha.
Food Aversions: Nothing. 
Gender: It's a boy!!!!  
Name: Pretty sure we've decided. Going to keep it a secret though. :-)
Labor Signs: So many Braxton Hicks. I can't do anything without them starting up. 
What I Miss: Not being in pain.
What I'm Looking Forward To: Seeing what he looks like. I just can't picture a boy. Haha.
Milestones: Baby's first in-utero Christmas. Haha.

I'm starting to panic about how big I'm getting and how much longer I have to go. I'm in so much pain all the time, the BH are out of control, I'm ungainly and awkward. Part of me just wants to be done, but part of me is terrified of having 3 kids and just wants him to stay in there and let me prepare a little more. Haha. And somehow, despite everything, I get sad about the idea of never being pregnant again. I don't understand myself. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Saturday 7

Christmas week! My favorite week of the year!!!

1. We failed on our Advent Activities. We made cookies from a store-bought mix for the mail lady on Monday, but that was it for the week.

On Tuesday, we made play-doh with the intent of putting it in cute Mason jars and delivering it to some of our friends. This was my inspiration:
But I couldn't find any little Mason jars and the girls were having so much fun playing with the play-doh that we decided to forget the snowmen and just keep the play-doh for ourselves. Lol. #momfail

2. I've mentioned before that Lucy is obsessed with YouTube. She has a couple daily "vloggers" that she follows faithfully, and while I've watched lots of the episodes with her and have the safe search on, I'm still a little bit uneasy about her watching these adult-made videos. They're family-friendly, have little kids, and are usually just boring or dumb, but I still feel like she doesn't need to be watching such "mature content" all the time. So I was delighted when she discovered a new youtube channel about this girl (probably 10ish) who has 7 Baby Alive dolls. She does different episodes about feeding them, giving them baths, having tea parties with them, etc. Much more age appropriate for Lucy! And I love how it jump starts her imagination. She and Lena have a gazillion dolls and accessories just sitting on shelves. But recently, they've started doing all kinds of stuff with them. Lots of bath time, feeding time, and parties. This week, Lucy decided to do a "Secret Santa" exchange with all her babies. I wrote down each of their names, then Lucy helped them each draw a name. Lena wanted in on it too, but with some minor tweaks. She only wanted me to write her name on each paper. Haha. Making sure she doesn't get left out of the gift exchange!

3. At VanderKodde Christmas last week, the girls got a Christmas movie about this dumb bear named Boz. It's essentially the animated, Christian version of Barney. Haha. But the girls love it and watched it like 10 times this week. They do a "Secret Santa" exchange on the video (although it's not called that in a Christian movie!), so Lucy decided we were going to do one with our family. Justin, Lucy, Lena, and I each drew a name and were instructed (by Lucy) to make a gift for the person we drew. Lucy and I ended up drawing each other, while Justin and Lena drew each other. Lucy made me a picture with her Spirograph set, Lena drew Justin a picture, Justin gave Lena a bunch of peel and stick stickers (that were leftover from the Jesus Birthday Party last year, ha), and I made Lucy 3 coupons for things like "free piece of candy, free snuggles with Mom and bedtime, and an extra episode of a TV show." It amazed me how much she loved those coupons. I'm going to have to tuck that idea away for the future . . .

4. I am an extreme planner and find great delight in making lists of the gifts I buy/amounts I spend. I've been working on this year's Christmas lists for months and scoping out the best deals in order to get the most bang for my buck while staying on budget. I also really try to spend about the same amount on each of my girls and make sure they have close to the same amount of gifts. When all was said and done, after a few impulse buys and a couple returns, I ended up spending 45 cents more on Lena than Lucy and wrapping exactly the same number of gifts for each of them. Bam! Winner!!

5. Christmas was wonderful as usual. We spent Christmas Eve getting ready, making food, packing everything up, and wrapping last minute gifts, before dressing up and heading off to the candlelight service at church. I was nervous about Lena sitting through the service (no nursery), but she did amazingly well. She was happy to bounce from my lap to Justin's lap to Grandma's lap. And she actually "sang along" with some of the songs. We've been listening to Christmas music since October, so she knows the songs well. :-) We let Lucy have a candle for the first time. She took it very seriously and was adorable:

6. After the service, we shook up our tradition and went to Niki's house instead of back to my parents'. For years, we've all spent the night at my parents' on Christmas Eve, but as everyone starts getting married and having kids, the house is getting too small. Niki just bought a mansion this fall (she hates it when we call it a mansion, haha), so it only made sense to have it at her house instead. It really worked out well and will likely be our new tradition. We had great fun stuffing our faces Christmas Eve night, then sent the kids to bed to put out the presents and hide the stockings. I put my girls to bed at 10:00. At 11:00, I separated them and put Lena in the bedroom my parents were sleeping in, because they were keeping each other awake! At midnight, Justin and I went to bed, and Lucy was still awake!!

7. We woke up Christmas morning, found the pickle in the tree (another new tradition), unwrapped presents for hours, and Skyped Luke and Esther in 84* Florida. It was very sad not having them with us, but Lena thought Skype was the greatest thing ever. She was hilarious about showing them every single gift she opened.

The girls were very spoiled with gifts, and Justin and I got some great stuff too. We spent the rest of the day playing with our new toys, playing games, eating way too much, and laughing together. It is the best. I want to have Christmas once every month.

8. Bonus point for some of my favorite pictures (that were already on facebook, but need to be immortalized here as well):
I forgot to get Christmas pajamas until Wednesday, so had my mom pick up whatever was left at Once Upon a Child. All she could find was this full-length flannel nightgown. Lucy adored it and wore it all day. Anytime someone asked her if she was going to get dressed, she said, "This is my Christmas outfit!" She is so photogenic and beautiful. 


By numbers alone, it looks like I bought the girls a ton of presents and spent a ton of money on them. But they got lots of little things like these Color Wonder books, puzzles, play-doh, etc. Thank goodness for cheap gifts! I'm enjoying it while it lasts!

How beautiful are these two?? I've always been jealous of Libby's blue eyes . . .

This is one of the presents I was most excited to give Lucy. It's a huge kit of real make-up that I got a super-steal on. She spent almost an hour playing with it yesterday, and has already given herself and me stellar make-overs with it today. (She also got a vanity from my sister, and she loooves sitting at the vanity doing her make-up like the diva she is.)


Lena got a new Daniel Tiger game that she loves. I think this is one of the only pictures of me from Christmas day. I'm starting to freak out about how big I'm getting.

My dad and Lena are BFFs.
The picture we sent to Luke and Esther using Tristan's new selfie stick. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The "Saturday" 7

Sorry for the delay. It's that busy time of year! (And I love it!)

1. Advent recap: On Sunday, the girls got to open their special ornament from us. I ended up getting them both the same one this year:
I try to do something that characterizes what they were into that year. They both love helping me in the kitchen, and they always wear their aprons, so I thought this was perfect.

Monday was snow paint (shaving cream and glue). We got out some googly eyes and raisins to decorate our snowmen. Here's Lucy's:

Here's Lena's:
Lol.
On Tuesday, we made "snowman soup" for the librarians:


And of course, we had to have our own when we got home:
Lucy took a couple sips. Lena guzzled all of hers!
We skipped Wednesday, made Grandma gifts on Thursday, then hit up the gardens on Friday:

2. You know the saying, "It's no use crying over spilled milk?" Well there was some crying this week. Lucy loves to watch YouTube videos on my Mom's Chromebook, and like an idiot - I let her. Well I've gotten really lax and wasn't paying attention and one morning this week, Lucy was sitting on the floor with her breakfast, the Chromebook, and a cup of milk. Sure enough, the milk spilled all over the Chromebook. I cleaned it off as fast as I could, but it was already fried. Long story short, Mom's getting a new Chromebook! Lucy learned a lesson about being careful with technology. And I learned a lesson about letting her use technology while eating/drinking. I will say that I did a good job of not yelling at Lucy. It was an accident and she was as horrified as I was. We had a rational talk about it after the fact, but the rage inside me was boiling!! More at myself than her!

3. Well the next few points are going to be dedicated to VanderKodde Christmas. We did double duty yesterday and had the extended family party in the afternoon, followed by our immediate family gathering that evening. It was a long day, but so much fun. Grandpa and Grandma rented a college cafeteria/gym to cram the whole family into. We ate so much good food, played Bunco, played with cousins, and were showered with gifts. Here's my girls and a bunch of the cousins checking out someone's gift:



4. Then we went back to Justin's parents' for Korean food. I was a little nervous that I wouldn't like anything, but I liked it all and continued to stuff myself! (I brought a box of macaroni for the girls. They won't even eat potatoes. I wasn't about to attempt Korean. Ha.) Justin's parents spoiled us all with gifts.

And Aunt Kaley was in town from Chicago!
It was a long, napless day . . .
Learning the fine art of spirography.
5. I asked for, and got, these 3 books from Justin's mom:



Stay tuned for some riveting book reviews!

6. So here's a depressing one . . . I am so frustrated with my kids' ungratefulness. They opened gift after gift yesterday and every time, I'd say, "What do you say?" They ignored me. So I'd say, "Tell Grandma thank you" and they'd hide their face and act shy. It drives me crazy that they don't say thank you. How can I force it, though? Not let them have another present until they say thank you for the first one? We might sit there all day . . . I prep them before every event. I tell them that they're going to get gifts and they have to say thank you. I explain that even if they don't love the gift, they need to smile and be grateful. Yesterday, they were genuinely thrilled with their gifts and still refused to verbalize their gratitude. Grrrrrr. In serious need of advice.

7. I made a huge list today, left the girls with my parents, and made Justin take me grocery shopping tonight. I'm really hoping I remembered everything and won't have to go back to Meijer this week. All my presents are bought. I took a 2 hour nap from 3:30-5:30 this afternoon, so even though it's 10:30 right now, I'm off to wrap presents, because I won't sleep anyway! It's the most wonderful time of the year and I can't wait for all of this week's festivities!! I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas!

28 Weeks

Lena had her mouth full. Lucy has taken some liberties with the sign making. 
I'm not the only one with a belly . . .
I feel like these pictures don't adequately portray my size. Here's a mirror selfie that shows it off a little better:
Wowza. Can you tell that's not a maternity shirt? Haha.
Baby is the size of an eggplant this week!

How Far Along? 28 weeks
Total Weight Gain: +2 this week, +14 total. I'm gaining more slowly than I did with Lena, but about on track with what I did for Lucy - and I gained 42 lbs with each of them. So I'm not getting my hopes up.
Maternity Clothes? Almost everything. And my fleece is getting very hard to zip.
Sleep: Really struggling to fall asleep every night. I suddenly have restless leg syndrome. It is horrendous. And my back starts hurting around 4:00 every morning. I just can't find a comfortable position. 
Best Moment This Week: Lucy finally got to feel the baby move. She loved it. 
Movement: Yep. It's starting to get more constant and a tiny bit annoying. Haha. He's especially active when I'm trying to sleep. And some of his movements are getting a little painful. 
Food Cravings: Cheese, pop, ice cream, cookies.
Food Aversions: Nothing. 
Gender: It's a boy!!!!  
Name: I told Justin last night that I think I've made up my mind. I still reserve the right to change it, though. :-)
Labor Signs: Lots and lots of Braxton Hicks. 
What I Miss: Bending over and breathing at the same time. 
What I'm Looking Forward To: Christmas!
Milestones: Got my first twin comment today! A guy at church asked how much longer I have to go. When I told him "12 weeks," his eyes bugged out of his head, and he said "Are you sure there's only one in there?"

The pain wasn't as terrible this week. Mostly because I took it easy. The couple of days that I was busy, I really felt it. 

Just for fun:



Sunday, December 13, 2015

27 Weeks

Every picture we took today was blurry.
Baby is the size of a rutabaga this week!

How Far Along? 27 weeks
Total Weight Gain: +1 this week. +12 total.
Maternity Clothes? Almost everything. Still forcing my fleece sweatshirt to zip. I wear it every day, and told Justin that once it can't zip anymore, that's a sign I shouldn't leave the house and just get to stay home until the baby's born. ;-)
Sleep: I have a hard time falling asleep, but once I'm out, I'm good. Back to sweating up a storm again.
Best Moment This Week: Making it to the 3rd trimester!
Movement: Oh yeah. And he's finally moved up into the middle of my belly. His feet are on my left side and are always moving. It's amazing that he's less than 3 lbs and 15 inches (according to the Internet), but seems to move in every part of my belly at once. Haha. Right now, he's kicking on the left, punching down low, and doing some kind of wiggle on the upper right. He also gets the hiccups all the time lately.
Food Cravings: Cheese, pop, Cinnamon Life Cereal - I had a crazy obsession this week and ate 3 bowls a day until I ran out. 
Food Aversions: Nothing. 
Gender: It's a boy!!!!  
Name: Nameless One. I'm starting to lean toward one over the other. But I'm still not convinced. 
Labor Signs: Lots and lots of Braxton Hicks. 
What I Miss: Being able to clean, move, stand, etc, without being in pain.
What I'm Looking Forward To: Being so big that people start asking if it's twins. Lol. It cracks me up.
Milestones: 3rd trimester!! And the onset of SPD. (That's a self-diagnosis.) I definitely had it with Lena, and know this is the beginning of it. I've been in pain for weeks, but it's getting really bad now. With Lena, I tried too hard to power through it. This time, I'm admitting my failure and forcing myself to rest. I'm learning my limitations and listening to them. And I really really intend to call the chiropractor this week and start going in for adjustments. I hate making phone calls, and it's something I know I'll put off, but it's going on my "to-do" list and I'm going to force myself to do it!

I do think the pain is a little different this time. When I overdid it this week, I definitely had the pelvic pain, but I also had major hip pain, and this weird pain in the two bones between my back and butt. I don't even know what those bones are, but they were killing me! 

Despite the pain, I'm trying to enjoy being pregnant. I generally do love it. I've struggled a lot with depression throughout this pregnancy and am not sure I can handle doing it again emotionally - not to mention how I'd emotionally handle 4 kids! So I'm trying to savor these last few months instead of wishing them away. Remind me of this in February . . .

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Saturday 7

1. We did better on our advent activities this week. On Sunday, we got our Christmas tree. It's our best tree ever and I love it. The girls love it too. This is their new breakfast spot:

On Monday, I took them each to Family Dollar separately so they could choose a gift for each other. Lena spent $6 on Lucy. Lucy spent $12.50 on Lena. Haha. Fortunately, they're too young to understand or care.

Tuesday was supposed to be cinnamon ornament day, but we didn't have any applesauce and I did not want to drive all the way to Meijer to get some, so we skipped it.

On Wednesday, we went back to Family Dollar and I let the girls pick out a couple toys for Toys for Tots. And on Thursday, we made these adorable minion ornaments:
I found a picture on Pinterest, but it didn't give any instructions, so we winged it. I got some clear glass ornaments and we filled them liberally with yellow paint, then swirled it all around until they were well coated. Originally, I taped off a line for the girls to paint the outside of the ornament black. But when we peeled off the tape the next day, most of the paint peeled off with it. So we went over the line with black Sharpie. That worked much better, and we should've just done that to begin with. Then we hot glued on eyes and drew smiles/hair/beards with Sharpie. The girls loved it.

2. Our Friday activity was Lucy's school Christmas program. The Pre-K and Kindergarten classes sang 5ish songs together before the elementary program. It was sheer chaos in the gym with a million and a half grandparents, aunts and uncles, long-lost cousins, and friends. We ended up sitting in the very back row because it was so packed. But we could see her pretty well. She was adorable as usual. I couldn't get any pictures from the nosebleed section, but she and Lena looked pretty cute before the performance:
This was after I attempted to curl her hair. I'm not sure if her hair doesn't hold curl well or if I'm just that bad of a stylist . . .
3. And today's activity, was our annual "Happy Birthday Jesus" party! I think this was our 5th one! I love this tradition, and even though it was hard on me physically this year to clean and decorate the house and make the food, I wouldn't dream of skipping it! And don't let me fool you into thinking I do anything elaborate. I hung like 4 streamers and 10 balloons, made overnight French toast, egg casserole, and set out a bowl of grapes. Haha. The older kids played "Happy Birthday Jesus" BINGO while I read the Christmas story. And I got a couple crafts from Oriental Trading that ended up being way too complicated. (This one - which the moms did, and this one - which a few of the kids attempted with a lot of assistance.) But the kids had a blast stuffing their faces with cupcakes and running around playing together. And we moms always enjoy the excuse to get together and drink coffee and chat. I didn't take a single picture, though. #slacker

4. As mentioned above, my pregnancy pain really hit full force this week. It's gotten to the point that I've started planning my days based on "sitting projects" and "standing projects" - making sure to alternate them so I don't end up in agony. I've determined that I can bear to stand for about 15 minute increments before it starts to get unbearable. It's going to be a loooooong 13 weeks . . .

5. I'm almost totally done with my Christmas shopping. But the problem with getting done early is that I keep finding more deals and thinking, "Oh, Lucy would love that!" or "That would be perfect for Lena!" even though I've already gone over-budget for both of them. I've been working on telling myself, "no." Haha. The one thing that was on both of their lists that I haven't been able to find, though, is fake make-up. I thought that'd be something easy I could pick up from any dollar store, but I haven't found it anywhere - Target, Kohl's, dollar stores, Wal-Mart, 5 Below. I've seen lots of kids' make-up, but nothing that is fake. Keep your eyes open for me. (And as much as I love Pinterest, I really don't want to pour nail polish into empty eye shadow compacts. I just want to buy it. #notDutchenough)

6. I saw this picture on Pinterest this week and had to laugh:
I've had a few people ask me recently if we're decorating a nursery for this baby. The answer is a big fat no. We live with my parents and are fortunate to have 3 bedrooms for our use. Right now, we're downstairs and the girls each have their own room upstairs. When the baby is born, he will sleep in our room until he's consistently sleeping through the night (which, if he's anything like his sisters won't be until I force him to cry it out around a year). Then we will see which one of his sisters his sleep schedule most aligns with. Lucy is a night owl. She would gladly stay up until 10:00 every night, and sometimes is awake in her room until then. Lena falls asleep seconds after I put her in bed, but is awake between 6:30 and 7 am every day. (Whereas Lucy would sleep until 9 every day if she could.) So we'll see how this baby is. (I'm rooting for night owl . . . and praying Lena grows out of the ridiculous early bird phase. Haha.)

7. And now, for our week in pictures:
Lucy wanted to pose with the minions. I'm not sure what that face is about, but it sure highlights her unibrow!
What I've resorted to in order to do housework.
What happens when I put wet hair in a top knot and don't take it out for two days . . .
And one video of my precious Lena . . .



(Her Christmas outfit is a touch too small. [Ahem - 18 months] That's what happens when matching outfits come in at Once Upon a Child. We snatch them up even if they're not quite the right size. Haha.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Nativity Devotions

I posted in my Advent entry that we're doing something new this year: Nativity Devotions. Every few days, my girls put a new piece of the manger scene into the stable. We read the corresponding Bible story and talk about them as we go. Because I think better through writing than by winging it, I wrote myself up an outline for each day. And because I'm awesome (and humble), I'm sharing it with all of you. ;-)

We're doing most of our reading passages from the Jesus Storybook Bible* because it's so much more kid friendly. JSB doesn't have a section on Joseph, so I read it out of the Bible (with a tiny bit of censoring. I'm not sure how appropriate that is, but my kids are 5 and 2. I wasn't prepared to discuss "public disgrace," divorce, and "consummation" with them.)

The questions are largely geared toward Lucy. And some parts of the outline are pretty specific to our family, but hopefully you'll still find it helpful. :-)

Day One: Mary
Passage: Matthew 1:26-38 or pp 178-179 in the Jesus Storybook Bible

Questions:
  1. Would you be scared if an angel showed up in your bedroom?
  2. What did the angel tell Mary?
  3. How did Mary respond to God’s news? (“Whatever God says, I will do.”)

Day Two: Joseph
Passage: Matthew 1:18-24

Explain:
Joseph and Mary were engaged, but they weren’t married yet when Mary found out she was pregnant with Jesus. Joseph wasn’t sure if he should still marry her, but then he had a dream where an angel told him to marry Mary and to raise baby Jesus as his son. Joseph obeyed God’s command and married Mary.

Questions:
  1. God told Joseph what to do in a dream. God doesn’t do that anymore. Our dreams don’t mean anything. So how do we know what God wants us to do now? [the Bible]
  2. Did Joseph obey God?
  3. What are some of the things God tells us to do in the Bible?
    1. Do unto others (Matthew 7:12)
    2. Love God. Love others. (Matt. 22:37)
    3. Share with God’s people who are in need. (Romans 12:13)
    4. Serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13)
    5. Do good to all people. (Galatians 6:10)
    6. Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. (Eph. 4:29 Good News Translation)
    7. Be kind, compassionate. Forgive. (Eph. 4:32)
    8. Obey your parents. (Eph. 6:1)
    9. Do everything without complaining or arguing. (Phil. 2:14)
    10. Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. (1 Thess. 5:15)
    11. Be content with what you have. (Hebrews 13:5)
  4. How can we obey God today?

Day Three: No Room in The Inn
Nativity Piece: the animals
Passage: Luke 2:1-7 or pp 180-182 in the Jesus Storybook Bible

Explain:
The man in charge of their country said everyone had to go to their hometown to be counted. You know how Luke and Esther just moved to Florida? Well, they’d have to come back here to be counted if we lived back then. So Mary and Joseph had to go on a long journey to get to their hometown.

They didn’t have cars back then, so Mary rode on a donkey and Jospeh walked. Can you imagine walking that far? (70-80 miles according to my Internet research. See if I can find a location the girls know that’s roughly that far away?)  It probably took them around 4 days to travel that far.

Mary and Joseph planned on staying in a hotel when they got to Bethlehem. The problem was everyone else in the country was traveling too, so all the rooms were taken by the time they got there! But Mary was about have her baby and she needed a place to stay. They went to all the hotels and begged for someplace to stay until finally someone told them they could stay in the barn.

While they were staying in the barn, Jesus was born!

Questions:
  1. Why did Mary and Joseph have to stay in a barn?
  2. Who helped them when they couldn’t find a place to stay? (The innkeeper)
  3. How can we help other people who need help like the innkeeper helped Joseph and Mary?
  4. What kind of animals do you think lived in that barn?
  5. How do you think the barn smelled?
  6. What do you think it sounded like? Was it a quiet place for Jesus to sleep?
  7. Where did Jesus sleep? [Look up pictures of a manger/feeding trough.]
  8. Was it clean?
  9. When our baby is born, where will he sleep? Will it stink? Will it be noisy?
Bonus:

Day Four: Jesus
Passage: Luke 2:6-7 or pg. 182 in the Jesus Storybook Bible

Explain:
The world was full of sin and needed a rescuer – someone to come take away sin and make a way to Heaven. Jesus was that rescuer. Remember how the angel told Joseph to name the baby Jesus? God wanted that to be his name, because Jesus means “the Lord saves.” Matthew 1:21 says, “you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Jesus came down from heaven – the most wonderful place you can imagine – to a dirty, stinky stable so that he could grow up and die on the cross for our sins. That’s how much he loves us!

Questions:
  1. Why did the world need a rescuer?
  2. What does the name “Jesus” mean?
  3. Why did Jesus come down from Heaven? (to die, but also because he loves us)
    1. Do we know a verse about how God showed us he loved us by sending Jesus to die? (John 3:16)
    2. How can we be rescued from our sins?

Day Five: Shepherds and Angels
Nativity Piece: Angel (our nativity set doesn’t have shepherds, so we’re including their story with the Angels’)
Passage: Luke 2:8-20 or pp 184-190 in the Jesus Storybook Bible

Questions:
  1. Who did the angels appear to?
  2. Why did they come? (to share the good news)
  3. Why were the angels and the shepherds so excited? Why was what they said such good news?
  4. What did the angels do after they shared the good news? (Sang praises)
  5. What is a praise song? Do we know any? Can we sing some right now?

Day Six: Wise Men
Passage: Matthew 2:1-12 or pp 192-198 in the Jesus Storybook Bible

Questions:
  1. Who were the wise men looking for?
  2. Why did they call Jesus a king? (They knew that even though he started out as a baby, he was going to be King of the whole world some day. And even though he died on earth, he rose again and is the King in Heaven now.)
  3. What did they follow to find Jesus?
  4. What did they do when they found him? (worshiped, gave gifts)
    1. How can we worship Jesus? (singing praises, obeying his commands)
    2. Can we give Jesus gifts? (Not like we give each other gifts. He’s in heaven and the post office doesn’t deliver there. But Matthew 25 says that when we help others in need, it’s like giving Jesus a gift. [Sheep and Goats parable])
      1. What are some ways we can help others in need? (Food, blankets, etc. to the poor. Toys for Tots. Operation Christmas Child.)

 *affiliate links*

Sunday, December 6, 2015

26 Weeks

It was a crazy day. Just got around to taking this after the girls were in bed. 

Baby is the size of a head of lettuce this week!

How Far Along? 26 weeks
Total Weight Gain: +1 this week. +11 total.
Maternity Clothes? Almost everything.
Sleep: Pretty good. Not sweating as much. 
Best Moment This Week: A lady at Justin's work party yesterday telling me that I'm so tiny and adorable. People rarely use the word "tiny" to describe my pregnant state. Lol.
Movement: Yep. He's turbo.
Food Cravings: Cheese, pop - Cranberry Sierra Mist is finally on the shelves for the Christmas season and I'm drinking it like it's going out of style. It's caffeine free so practically guiltless!
Food Aversions: Nothing. 
Gender: It's a boy!!!!  
Name: Not getting any closer to deciding. Probably just going to be Lars. ;-)
Labor Signs: Lots and lots of Braxton Hicks.
What I Miss: Sleeping on my stomach.
What I'm Looking Forward To: Picking a name, meeting this baby
Milestones: My belly is starting to take on that shiny glow. Does anyone else get that when pregnant? I seriously think it's my stretch marks glimmering. That lovely layer of skin that has broken through and has never seen the sun. 

Also, only 98 days until my due date! Double digits!!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Saturday 7

1. I've already kind of failed on the Advent Activities. Every year, I try hard to make the activities simple and arrange them on our calendar based on what else we have going that day. I knew Wednesday was going to be crazy busy, so I had that night be "Christmas pizzas" since I knew we were going to have to eat dinner despite the craziness. I underestimated the amount of busyness though and ended up picking up pizza instead of making it ourselves. Still pizza night, right? Haha. And then last night was supposed to be Family Game Night, but I was feeling terrible, the girls were playing so nicely together, Lucy forgot to check the day's activity and I purposely didn't remind her. Oops. We did do our two day's of Nativity Devotions, though. They've been going well and the girls are excited to see who we're going to add to the Nativity Set each time. I've only written out the first three days, though, so I need to get to work on the rest. I have a procrastination problem.

2. The terrible 2s get a lot of hype, but everyone I've talked to say 3 is worse. (I think I blocked that out with Lucy. I don't remember.) Lena will be 3 in January and I think what they say about 3 is going to be true for her. Oy. My dad says she likes to be contrary. Everything is a battle. When I say "put on your socks" she says, "I don't wanna wear socks!" When I say "brush your teeth" she says "I don't wanna brush my teeth!" When I try to do her hair, she rips it out. When I try to put her coat on, she melts into a puddle on the floor. It is exhausting. I know all I can do is be consistent and choose my battles, but I'm really getting sick of it.

3. At the same time, she is totally adorable. Today, she and Lucy were reading to their stuffed animals. Every time Lucy stumbled over a word, Lena said patiently, "Sound it out." And she has suddenly latched onto the verse Ephesians 6:1. Lucy had to learn it at school a couple weeks ago, and I admittedly use it often in my parenting. So anytime Lucy is being disobedient, Lena pipes up, "Lucy! Obey your parents in the Lord!" Or even if she herself is being naughty, she'll mutter, "I need say my verse." Lol. It is precious. (And probably totally reinforcing legalistic tendencies instead of grace, but I'm trying my best here, people!)

4. Lucy has also been melting my heart lately. One day this week, I was putting on my make-up, bemoaning (in my head) the bags under my eyes, and Lucy randomly said, "Mommy, you're pretty even without make-up." That means a lot coming from her, because she looooooves make-up. Then on Thursday night, we did our Nativity Devotion about Joseph. I focused on the fact that he obeyed God and married Mary. We also talked about how God spoke to Mary and Joseph through angels/dreams, but he speaks to us through the Bible. So I looked up a bunch of kid-friendly commands in the Bible like, "Obey your parents," "Be kind and compassionate to one another" and "Serve one another in love." The rest of the night, Lucy followed me around asking, "How can I help serve you, Mommy?" That girl. She can be a major whiner and throw epic fits, but she sure does have a sweet side.

5. I've needed that sweetness lately, because I really struggled this week. I think I'm nesting a little bit, because I'm totally grossed out by the disgusting state of this house. But anytime I try to do anything about it, I get knocked down with intense Braxton Hicks. I feel like it's all I can do just to keep up with the laundry and cleaning up after the girls. Not to mention keeping them fed, and constantly refilling their drinks. I hate it, and feel like such a baby. I feel like people are rolling their eyes at me, saying, "how hard is it to do laundry?" But I seriously get Braxton Hicks from moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer. And, yes, they're not a big deal. I can power through them. But it makes me nervous when I start to get so many of them. On Tuesday, I made homemade play-doh with the girls. The first batch was a fail, so we made a second. I was trying to be a nice, fun mom, so I let them help a lot which resulted in a huge mess. I spent a good 30 minutes cleaning the kitchen after the 30 minutes or so we already spent making the stuff. By the time I was done with that, it was lunch time. I made them lunch, picked up the house, cleaned up the play-doh mess they made from playing with the play-doh in the dining room, and started a load of laundry. I thought I was going to die. The Braxton Hicks didn't let up the rest of the night. After Justin got home, I locked myself in the bedroom so I could lay on my left side for a while.

It's not like I'm doing any vigorous activity or scrubbing my floors on my hands and knees (even though that's what they desperately need). I'm picking up toys and making dinner and sweeping play-doh off the floor. How am I going to make it through the next 14 weeks??

6. This morning, I finished the devotional I've been talking a lot about. (Walking With God in the Season of Motherhood by Melissa Kruger - that's an affiliate link.) It was just an 11 week study, but I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've actually done a devotional book all the way through. Ha. Go me. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it. I loved that the basis was falling in love with Jesus. Kruger posits that having a vital, living relationship with Him will naturally affect our parenting (in a positive way). She gives a lot of practical parenting advice, but repeatedly reminds readers that we can't do it by our own effort. We have to be infused by the Spirit in order to effectively parent and share God's love with our kids.

7. And now, for this week in pictures:
I had to go to the dentist on Monday, so Niki watched Lena. Lena insisted on bringing her backpack just like Lucy does when she goes to school. How cute is she??

The snapchat Lucy sent Esther a few days ago. Lol.
And then there's snapchats from Lena . . .

One of my bad days this week ended like this. That is a jar of peanut butter with an Oreo in it resting on my belly.  Last night, it was a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream (that I ate most of in one sitting). Stay tuned for the weight gain update tomorrow . . 
My $30 Black Friday dresser! It wasn't a lot of tedious work or anything . . .
But look how nice the finished product is!

And look at it all stuffed with little baby boy clothes!
I'm not used to such a lack of pink!!
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