Friday, December 23, 2011


I was so excited when I found this advent calendar, I'd been looking for one for years that didn't have Santa and candy canes as the main theme, that was wooden. Isn't it cute? It even came with little chocolates inside.

I also did an advent calendar craft this year every day (well, ideally every day) with our kids that went through the Bible telling the story leading up to Christ's birth. I was going to make my own but it just took too much time so I went with the online one....

Each day we would read through the Bible and make an ornament that related to the story, and then sing Christmas songs. I'd like to say it went perfect every day and that the kids learned SO much...but there were days where we had to do like 3 ornaments to catch up, and the amount of crayons everywhere and cut paper etc was a little overwhelming for me sometimes, and with a newborn it didn't go perfectly cause I'd have to sometimes feed/burp in the middle of it all. BUT the kids were learning about the true meaning of Christmas, and that's what mattered to me.

My prayer is that each year we go through the advent calendar my kiddos would see the beauty of the Messiah coming. How the people LONGED for a rescuer from their sin, and how amazing and exciting it must have been for Him to be announced, and born. And THAT'S what we are celebrating. The long awaited rescuer. The only one who can forgive us.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Card

This year I didn't mail out any Christmas cards...I had planned to do it, even from South Africa but found it wouldn't arrive to anyone before Christmas, so here it is! Merry Christmas from all of us!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"It's just a season"

I was so thankful that Clint looked after the kiddos so I could go to our church's women's conference a couple of weeks ago. The lady who taught at the conference really encouraged us to LOVE Christ more, even in the little moments; those mommy-frustrated moments, those moments where the juice spills on your freshly mopped floor and you can't find the pink sandals that were there just a minute ago so you can leave for church on time. Or when you find out that your daughter took off her underwear to use the loo, and didn't put them back on, and you find this out AT church when she's wearing JUST A DRESS! Yikes. Oh yes, this did happen to me, TWICE.

But that it's more important to LOVE Christ in that moment than to give into the sigh, even the inward sigh when your situation tests your limits. The joy of loving Christ should outshine your desire to sin by complaining in your heart, or externally to your kids.

It was really awesome.

But there was one thing she said that I couldn't get over.

She said that the phrase "It's just a season" should never be used by mommies. This hit me like a brick out of nowhere. Really? I thought. I use that all the time! She mentioned that a husband she knew once told his wife to never use that phrase because it was like she was complaining that she really didn't like where she was, and she just wasn't happy with what the Lord had given her, and wanted another season life. A different season to come, and she was just enduring this one.
It made me think hard about how and why I use the phrase "It's just a season." And I discovered that I think it's not always wrong to use it. I use it to help myself gain perspective. It's not complaining, it's just me trying to see the place that I'm in, with three small children, and know that "this is the season" for me to be fully devoted to child-rearing. I have 3 children who are not in school, who need me the whole day. Thinking about the season I'm in helps me to not be discontent at all the other things I could be doing. That because my children are small this is the season that I must choose to say no to alot of things that pull me away from my home, to say yes to raising our kiddos the way we think God would call us to.
My husband is a pastor, so I often feel like I'm not the typical "pastor's wife" who plays piano, serves tea, teaches all the ladies, hosts elegant dinners, does door-to-door missions, sews quilts, visits widows. etc. etc. Sometimes I feel like I'm not doing enough for the Kingdom because I'm "just" changing diapers, doing laundry etc. My husband has to often remind me that my ministry is right in front of my nose. If I'm so focused on "ministry" but forget my real ministry...(my home and family) that this is the SEASON (yes, I said season!) that I must be fully devoted to raising these little guys in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Lately I've run into alot of women in their 40s where their kids are grown, at school, or out of the house. They are in the season with more time on their hands to do ministry or go to gym or to the mall or have a cup of hot coffee, or go out with their husband more than twice a year for a date. But they look at my small children and say, "They grow up so fast, enjoy every moment." And a few have told me how they wished that they had had more babies, and now it's too late.
It is the season where I don't fit into my skinny jeans, and my coffee is normally luke warm by the time I get to it, and I can't do a lot of ministry alongside my husband... but that's OK! It's GOOD for me to remind myself it's just a season, a short while where my priorities aren't jeans and a cup of joe. But rather my priority is the three little faces that look at me everyday, knowing that I'm the one showing them what it looks like to walk with my Savior, whether by good or bad example. So the convenience and coffee pale in comparison.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


When I asked alot of moms with 3 children how it is with three when I was pregnant, I heard most often "oh they just slot in to the family" and "you don't have three hands, that's the hardest part!" Both are very true.

There are days where I wish I could just put my other two children on hold so I could just ENJOY Jude, love him, watch him breath while he sleeps. See every smile. But I snatch small times. Some kisses here, a bath with just the two of us there.

My special time (3-5 stolen minutes) is when I put him to sleep. My new rule is when I put Jude down for a sleep N&A aren't allowed to talk to me. I found myself yelling down the hall to my other two kids who are saying "MOM! I'm thirsty" or "MOM! (fill in the blank!)" and I'd call back "JUST a minute I'm changing Jude's diaper" or "Wait, Jude is trying to fall asleep" and I'd feel all anxious, and torn between grown kid needs and baby needs. And then Jude would start crying more than normal to sleep. I realized he thought I was yelling at HIM, or maybe he was feeling me be all tense. Then I'd remember that I'm not glorifying the Lord by being all tense with my kids...who wants a frazzled "anxious for everything" mommy?

So now I tell my kiddos "ok, Jude needs me now, I'll be 5 minutes, remember no calling me unless it's an emergency, God wants me to take care of Jude too!"
And whew, 5 minutes of just us. Quiet. Change diaper, a few cozies, and bed! That's when I get to sing a little, play with the new little soft toes, and just WATCH him. Then back to the tornado of legos, dollies, crumbs, juice, and funny conversations.
I remember with Noah AND Autumn having all this time to just fall in love...quiet moments. Noah still slept twice a day when Autumn was born, so I had some Autumn wakey time when Noah was sleeping. Now I feel like I have to fight for that time, but it's so sweet when I get it!
But I'm learning to tell my kids that I just want a few minutes to ENJOY Jude while he's so small, and THEN I'll make them lunch, get their toy, or juice. And then we enjoy him together, usually it's trying to instigate a smile.
2 months have soared by at rocket speed, and I wish as if I could just slow down the clock. But with my floor most of the time looking like the crumb monster had a party, and endless juice cups to be filled, laundry folded, and sweet teaching moments (sometimes discipline ones) it makes it fly by even faster.
So I'll slow down the clock right now and write about Jude....

I love how you smile in the middle of a feed, looking up at me like we have some secret. I love how you lift your head up in your cot when you sleep to stare at your favorite car when you doze, and when I go in to check on you your head is still a little cocked up from staring at it. I love how you manage to get very icky stuff between your fingers and refuse to let me pry them open in the bath to get them clean. I love how you smell after a bath. I love how patient you are when I can't feed you right away. I love the soft coo sounds you make when your happy, and the times when I CAN just watch you sleep.

Ok, back to rocket speed!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

It's a bird, it's a plane....

It's SUPERNOAH! Noah got a shirt from the Niednagels that had a Superman symbol on it, he's worn it forever, but one day he asked....what does this mean on my shirt? So I told him about Clark Kent and how he changes into a superhero by taking off his glasses that is his disguise etc...well...the fact that Noah has glasses made this just way too easy. With a red shirt from daddy as a cape....this was HOURS of fun.
He'd say..."I'm just Clark Kent....I'm not Superman!"

And then the metamorphosis began...
Check the "I'm taking off my glasses and changing into Superman face" it cracks me up.
And we are flying!
Super face
He'd make the "shhhh" sound of an airplane, cause Superman can fly, and things that fly make that sound right? :)
I love that all boys want (long) to be a hero. It's way cute! In our house we kind of limit things that are quite magical or fairy tale like (not that we don't expose our kids to this stuff, we just don't OVER expose them with lots of it) because I feel it takes away the special-ness of the Bible especially for Noah. He'd often say "but only Jesus can heal, or only Jesus can raise people from the dead, why is (the character) able to do that?" and get a bit confused between fiction and the Bible. We watched a magic show at a fair one time and he said "he's doing MIRACLES mommy!" Anyways, I love love love that he likes to pretend to be superman, don't get me wrong, it's super cute. :) He now is able to "get it" and say "only Jesus can heal, I know that mommy" or whatever, so it's fun for him to pretend. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jack Sparrow, number 1

Noah and Auts and I went to a pet shop to get a ball for our dog Spurgeon, and we came back with...Jack Sparrow the fish. Noah and Autumn came up with the name, cause they reckoned a Japanese fighting fish fights just like a pirate. My kids have never seen the movie, they just somehow know that Jack Sparrow is REALLY cool, and a pirate :)

They often climb up on the counter with some kind of string and pretend to "fish" off the edge of the counter, and then talk about Jack Sparrow
Autumn will lie down and look at him and get excited when he moves

It's bonded their little friendship

The day we took these photos Jack Sparrow was found outside his bowl, he jumped out! Clint says he commited hari kiri. So we had to bury him and get another Jack Sparrow. It didn't seem to bother the kids too much they were excited to go back to the pet shop. Whew.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


So for the last year or so every day/other day I'd try and do something school-like for the kids. Either long story times or counting or learning our letters or memorizing bible verses or whatever. We tried to do it every morning at 10am...and after going through a few bible books and exhausting, I started running out of ideas. So I ordered My Father's World Kindergarten curriculum to go through with Noah. He was totally ready for it, and the last few weeks we've been starting to go through it together!

Here's my little preschooler/kindergartener. I don't really know what to call it cause he's technically in preschool but we are going through K curriculum :) All of the preschool type curriculums I looked at were just a bunch of storybooks, which I can get at my local library anyway, so I thought we'd jump into a more fun/tactile one since he's reading first words already.

And I included this pic cause this is usually the perspective I see of him, looking up at me asking a question. His mind is quite inquisitive.
The first week was Ss is for Sun, and we learned all about the Sun and how it gives light and heat, and how the earth revolves around it, and how when it's light in SA it's dark in America, and tons mroe. He learned how to draw an S....
And we did experiments on how the sun gives heat. We put ice in the sun and in the shade to see whose would melt the fastest. The experiment had to be done over though cause they were both touching the ice when I went to settle Jude, so they both melted evenly at first :)
We are also trying to make grapes into raisins, but there haven't been enough sunny days for that yet! I also want to do a sundial, but we ran out of sunny days this week, we will do it next.

The curriculum is quite "tactile" which I love, so we made Snakes in the shape of an S.

Autumn got into this one too, she'd say "look at my baby snakes, ssssssss"
It comes with this cool puzzle thing too where you put these rods in the shape of an S or a Sun or a Snake or whatever starts with S. We are also learning how to count to 100, and go over a calendar every day. "Yesterday was, today is, tomorrow will be" etc. They also included this classical cd, and have ideas for kids to do to the music. (Dance with a beanbag on your head, etc etc). So one day we spent the whole morning "painting to Mozart"...although my kids called it "painting to milktart" (a South African dessert!) So I kinda go with the flow, if we don't get through that days curriculum, it's ok so long as the kids are learning and having fun.
Every week has a bible verse, and this one was "Jesus said I am the light of the world." That verse is on one of Noah's Seed's cd's so we just sing the song every day to review the concept that Jesus is the light of the world. We are also doing the children's catechism found in "Big truths for little kids." It's a great question and answer type way of learning great doctrines of the Bible, and I get quite a few interesting questions from him about it. It's fun!

Monday, October 17, 2011


For the last year every Wednesday I would take Noah to playball where they learn "ball skills." It's really been great for him, cause he's not really the sporty type (I usually have to encourage him to go outside and play rather than be read to etc). But over the course of the year he's really grown to like it.
The coach behind Noah is Nick, and he would say things that at first were confusing to Noah, but now make him laugh. Like he'd say "if you don't get the ball in the goal I'll throw you in the trash bin" and Noah would look at me and say "really?" but now he just knows to laugh.
He's one of the youngest kids there, so it's cute to watch him learn new skills, and fun for me to learn what to teach him at home. Now we do hopscotch and jumping and hockey and other things outside every week.
We are taking a break till the new year cause I can't drive him to practice after my Ceasar for 6 weeks, but we will probably pick it up again in January. He's my cute superstar.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2 weeks

At two weeks post Caesar I am still quite sore....I was fine with my other two at this point. Maybe it's cause I'm in my 30's now, or maybe its cause I have 2 older ones to take care of (and clean up after)...but I'm hoping I heal a bit faster than I am currently.

At two weeks Jude sleeps and eats really well. He wakes up usually just once in the night for a feed if I give him a "dream feed" at 10pm, he'll wake at 2am, and then sleep again till 6 or 7am. This is totally do-able. Especially if I can make up that hour of sleep in the day, that is if my kids all nap at the same time.
I just love his little handies
His eyes seem like they might go blue, which is always a shocker to Clint and I that we might have 3 blue eyed kids since Clint's eyes are SO SO dark brown.
So far Jude is a super content little guy unless he's naked. He really really doesn't like his diaper being changed. I also took him for some newborn photos with my friend Hayley (hopefully I'll get those back soon!) And I wanted those super cute "sleepy newborn" shots where they are like lying in a basket or in a wagon all curled up naked. NOT HAPPENING with Jude. As soon as the clothes come off he cries, and wees. So...I had to apologize for my son weeing all over my friends studio and crying the whole time. I caught some today of him just lying on our bed. With clothes on of course.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Morning and Evening....

In the morning when we eat breakfast I put Jude in his little doughnut, and afterwards Noah and Autumn curl up and get cozy cozy with him.

And at night, they each have to have him in bed with them to give him some little hugs and kisses.

They usually ask for just "a few more cozy minutes mommy." It's really so fun to see how much they both just love him :)
Noah is so so excited for the day when Jude outgrows his cot and he can have a big boy bed with Noah in the same room. Children really are a blessing from the Lord, and it's so fun to watch them interact every day.

Friday, October 07, 2011

1 week old

In just one little week he's totally got our hearts captured :)

And he likes to listen to his daddy...and figure him out

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

from 2 to 3

I was a little nervous about the transition from 2 to 3 kids, but the Lord has been SO SO good and its really gone super smooth, and even better than I could have imagined. Noah and Autumn REALLY LOVE Jude. Which is something I prayed the whole 9 months every night before they went to sleep, that they would love their brother....and the Lord has answered abundantly.

Autumn gets REALLY excited whenever Jude does anything (opens his eyes, moves his hands, makes a noise) she'll smile, clap her hands and say in her super excited voice "Look mom, he's opening his eyes" and then laugh really loud. She likes covering him in blankets when I feed him, and loves pushing him in his little swing. She keeps saying she wants to teach him how to clap his hands and wave goodbye.

Noah is quite protective and very gentle with him, he'll stroke him softly and say "it's ok" and gets very concerned when he cries. He often wants to get very cozy with him and will give him big hugs every time he sees him.
Granny came to visit and I moved the mattress she slept on in the living room for the kids to jump on, and then after I was done with a feed one day I put Jude down on the mattress so I could go make coffee...and when I came back this is what I saw.....
Jude FAST asleep, and Noah stroking him SO gently on his forehead and arms, and moving his little giraffe in and out of his hands. He looked up at me and said "Mommy I'm falling in love with him, I'm just MAD about him." And then he asked if he could shizzle him every day (our word for giving him little loves). It was one of my favorite mommy moments ever. He laid there for about an hour with Jude just LOVING him, so cute.
We were SO thankful to Granny Anne who came down to look after Noah and Autumn while I was in the hospital. I know how full time that job is :)
Jude's first wakey time play in his cot....
I just love newborn feet
He kept looking to the side at his little cars and helicopters on his bunting...I'm glad he likes it!