Sunday, March 27, 2011

This Little Chicken is 3

The other day in science we were reading about chicks and eggs. Did you know that mama chickens can hear their baby chicks when they are still in the eggs? I didn't know that...or didn't remember it anyway. So we were talking about how that's different than humans...mamas can't hear their babies when they are in their bellies.

But, then...wait.

Suddenly I thought about Cass. And how I heard her in my womb.

Around 25 weeks or so I started hearing this 'pop' in my belly. I had never heard that before and after a few weeks of hearing it several times a day, I finally remembered to google it. I thought the answer I saw was ludicrous personally...the baby is sucking his/her thumb and popping off and that's what I'm hearing? Absurd, I thought. Besides, I'd had three kids already and none had sucked their thumb...what were the chances?

About 5 minutes after she was born, she found that thumb. The next day we were both laying in the bed, and I heard that same 'pop'...this time it was outside my belly and coming from the sweet little bundle of baby laying nearby.

So...I heard little Cass in my womb.

"She's like a little chick," I told the kids. And then I thought of something else.

I call Cass 'Chicken.' It started out as just 'Chic' I call other girls sometimes...nothing specifically for Cass. But, then quickly it turned into 'Chicken' for Cass. "Good morning, my little Chicken," "Aww, fell down?" for example.

How funny that my little nickname for Cass is 'Chicken' and I heard her in the womb just as happens with real chickens. ;) Ha.


Happy Birthday my cute little Chicken!!

Her birthday was actually Friday, but our internet hasn't been working. Still isn't...back to using the neighbor's every now and then.

But, we just love this little fun 3 year old! She is crazy and fun and opinionated. She is my first one who has very strong feelings about what she wears for example. Haha. She is very cuddly and loves her blankets...she doesn't just have one special blanket...she has a special type of blanket, so that's kind of handy (for washing purposes, etc.). She is very coordinated and graceful...has always been able to balance very well (and scare others around her half to death). She is 3, but honestly totally fits in with her 7, 6, and 4 1/2 year old siblings. She thinks that she is just their age...and acts accordingly.

We are so glad that God blessed us with this little girl 3 years ago!

Joel was traveling this past week and we weren't sure when he'd return, so a party this weekend didn't happen. We plan to do it next weekend. Little Miss Chicken has requested a Whale party. ;) I'll let you know how it goes.

And now for some pictures of the little birthday girl from the last few months...

One of my favorites.
"Like this, Daddy?"
"What about this?" ;)
Telling a big story to Daddy.
I just...
...her bedhead. There really is nothing that can compare. ;) (these all taken on Christmas morning)
This was also taken on Christmas morning...notice Cass and where her thumb is. (she had just woken up...she really only does it when tired or not quite sure of a new situation)
And this was just minutes after birth. She has a long history with that left thumb (only the left).
A little dancing.
My little swingster in her flapper. Yes, swing dancing is a part of our homeschooling. ;)
Dressing up with the sisters.
Helping big brother construct.

There was a little girl...
...who had a little curl...
...right in the middle of her forehead. (and no, I did not position that curl...just happened naturally like that)
Cass is the neighborhood doll.
At some nearby waterfalls when Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Priscilla were visiting...she had to pose a little bit.

We were hiking up a steep hill and this was right after Cass had said, "Oh lawwwdie, help me Jeeesus." (I have no idea where she gets this, by the way) :)
And just because I love this progression of shots.


She's had that chocolate mole on her back since birth. Does that count as a birthmark or are people born with moles? ;)
Some dancing and twirling.

We love this girl!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

40 Days

First of all, a tiny logistical update. Joel left yesterday to go to of our bases in the Amazon (the southern part of the Amazon). Really excited for him. We've lived here for 3 3/4 years and he's only been able to visit one base just briefly. There is a plane there that is needing some maintenance so he caught a ride with a plane on its way to Boa Vista and will be catching a ride back with a different plane coming down from Boa Vista (at the northern part of the Amazon region). Not sure when that will be, but hopefully within the week. The kids and I are fine...can I just shout from the rooftops how much easier something like this is now than when I had four 4 and under?!? :) Whew. So, we are doing well, but just pray for us all as we are separated...for safety and health and nothing major to go wrong with the house or car or anything like that know what to pray for. ;)


A couple of posts ago I wrote about how I was entering into a time of separation. I knew that I was desperately needing that...desperately. So I began to pray about what that should look like and then I realized that it was Carnaval time here in Brazil (same as Mardi Gras). Which meant that Lent was arriving.
Growing up we never observed Lent. I didn't know anyone who did...that was 'for the Catholics' and there were really none of those in my small town, so I didn't rub shoulders with Lent-observers. Later as I moved around to several different places and met all kinds of people, I met many Protestants who definitely observed Lent. And why not? We observe Advent, why not Lent?

So, every now and then I would do a little something for Lent...nothing major, but something.

Of course it is my desire to always focus my kids on Jesus, no matter what season it is. But, certain seasons lend itself to even deeper focus, so I've always wanted to really commemorate Advent and Lent more at some point with them. This was the year to start...they are really at the age to understand and it was just a perfect time to introduce this family tradition.

And, I was desperate to meet with God in a really concentrated way.

So, quickly...what we are doing with the kids is this. It's fun, it's simple, and they really learn a lot. The enemy is not liking this. Literally the week Lent started, Joel started having to stay at work until the kids' bedtime practically every night. He's been swamped...and now he's not here at all. Not that that's the enemy's doing, but he's getting a kick out of it not working out the way we'd planned. We wanted to do it as a family, but I've determined to do it no matter what...even if Joel's not here. So, we are working through that and they love it.

As for me...I'm just in awe of how incredible this time has been. And I'm only on Day 11!!

What does this time look like for me? Well, I wake early and am going through two Bible studies.

1) A Call to Die by David Nasser (which I see is now in its 11th printing and has a new cover...I have this 'old' black copy). I got this book and actually started doing it the first time on March 23, 2000 (it's written in the front of the book). I wasn't even married yet...Joel and I weren't even together. Funny to think about. I met Nasser when my friend was working as his manager. They came through the D/FW area and he spoke at a conference and I met them over there (ironically, I hitched a ride with Joel and his friends who were all going camping over there). He gave me a copy of this book (which was brand new at the time) and let me just is really, really good. And is hitting me in the gut once again, 11 years later, albeit in different areas.

2) Every Thursday morning we have an English-speaking ladies' Bible study here at my house. Right now we are doing One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer. Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously, again...God is just speaking straight to me each and every day. That link is for the book...and then you can purchase the video sessions for just 4.99 each. Or, honestly...when googling for this link I saw one site (a google site) that had the whole book online. Not sure how that works legally or ethically, but I'm sure if you just can't afford it and are needing some freedom in your life, Priscilla might not mind. You might want to ask her first though. ;)

Along with those two things, a sweet friend of mine pointed me to their Kairos ministry at their church...who has made available online teachings. Kairos is a freedom ministry and they have them all over...another friend of mine goes to a Kairos in Nashville. But I had no idea that I could access them online. So, I was thrilled to hear that and these teachings are SOOOOO INCREDIBLE. Really, you should listen.

I'm also fasting. 1) in the regular thing that we think of as sugar. But then also the things that really turn to sugar as soon as they enter your body anyway...grains/breads and fruits...all of them. I am using honey sweeten my hot tea when I have it. 2) Internet. More specifically, I do not check Facebook or my email until after the kids' bedtime every day. I am occasionally still on the internet during the day, but only when I need a recipe or am using the computer for homeschool. It's been a significant difference. And just be aware...if you have a question for me or need to get in touch with me, I will not 'see you' until after 8pm (my time) every night. Fasting just brings a whole wonderful level of discipline, focus, and sound mind...and frees up more time to spend that concentrated time with God.

So, doing those things and spending lots of time with God. So refreshing and just what I needed. I'm already walking in a new level of freedom and peace and sound mind. And that is being made evident in my life daily.

This post has gotten really long, so I will save more for later. There are so many exciting things to tell.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2011 So Far

I will post soon about what's going on with me (as a follow-up to the last post), but I wanted to quickly just take note of some of the big things that have already happened this year.

January 3rd, Grady turned 7. SEVEN!! Oh my lordt, what on earth? ;) He wanted a small little celebration...just him and two of his friends to go to the movies (they saw Megamind) and then for them to come back afterward and have cake/ice cream/presents with me and the girls, spaceships theme. He knew that he wanted the movie to just be the boys, so earlier that week he asked me out for a date. ;) Melt my heart. He wanted to do something special with me too (I pray that trend continues for...forever). ;)

He's getting so big and is so handsome...loves to learn and figure out how things are done and work. He thinks a lot and I just love that about him. He's the best big brother there ever was and I just love who he is. We no longer have 'Bible time' every night, mostly because we are back to homeschooling here and have a lot of Bible time discussions during homeschool daily. But, occasionally I still put him to bed and have a little time of just me and him, reading about who he wants to read about in the Word. He's very tall (I need to measure him) and loves to ride his bike. And, I could just go on and on...but, the main point I wanted to make? He's 7 now. ;) And we love him! I love the fun things they all say and wish that I could write them all down, but it's just not feasible to do that...I'd spend so much time each day doing that. ;) But, one thing that Grady said the other day...we were playing War and I had won one of the battles and I said the old saying "I won, I won, I shot the BB gun; you lost, you lost, you ate the applesauce." Well, the next battle he won. He said, "I got the apple pie. You've got to go hunting for your food." Ha...nice.

February 17th, Joel and I celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss. ;) When we got back to the states at the end of 2009, we hadn't even been married quite 9 years yet, but we had a feeling that we'd make it to 10. ;) Plus, I'd never been and really wanted to go, so we took a little 3 or 4-day trip (I can't even remember now) to New York City. We kind of counted that as a little pre-celebration of the big 1-0 since we knew we'd probably not be able to get away on our actual 10-year. But, on the actual day of 10 years, Joel's parents were here. So, they stayed with the kids and we went to a favorite restaurant of ours here.

Sooo hilarious...over the course of conversation we actually came to the realization that the past 10 years have been really difficult. Hahaha. Not anything to do with our relationship/marriage. But, just all the other factors...lots of moves, lots of transition, several jobs, lots of lots of stuff (stressful stuff). Going through those things at the time we didn't really think about it...challenging things, yes, but we just put one foot in front of the other and went on with our daily lives. Only when looking back and 'summing up' our last 10 years did we realize it...and we just had to laugh. And toast our coke and juice glasses to a smoother, easier next 10 years. But, I have grown SOOO much the past 10 years with this incredible man I call my husband. It's been amazing and I'm so thankful for him and for the children that he helped to create. ;)

February 20th, Hadley turned 6. First, we took advantage of a movie that was showing a couple of weeks before her birthday. We all went to see Tangled, along with a couple of other friends that Hadley invited (she pointed out that her inviting Grady along was like putting hot things on him 'heaping lumps of coal on his head;' I promise that she wasn't mad at him for not inviting everyone when he went to the movies for his birthday, but she just thought it was funny and got a kick out of the fact that she was being soooo kind to him on her birthday by inviting him along; I guess you can tell which Bible verse they had learned that week...ha). She told me she wanted the bear that eats bamboo for her birthday. Not sure why I thought of koala first. Well, maybe because I have no idea what bears eat, good grief. But, a friend of ours was over and asked, "Panda?" And panda it was. We had a small little party with her friends here at the seminary and a couple of friends from Asas. We had it at the seminary park and they had lots of fun.

She continues to be such a spunky, fun little girl. I like her a lot. ;) She's really quick to learn things...picks them up fast, figures things out easily. And she's such a great big sister to Eissa and Cass and best friend to Grady. Hadley is forever saying cute little things, but today it was raining and she remarked that earlier she had thought it was only going to 'sparkle' (sprinkle). I'm going to have to try to just have my computer handy at all times to write down more cuteness that they say. I'll be glad I did later, even though they'll probably be like 'why are you always stopping our conversations to type on your computer?' Yeah, on second thought, it might not work. We'll see how much I get recorded.

Anyway, just wanted to take note of these things. Oh, Joel is also another year older as of February 6th (beginning of the year is a pretty busy time for us)...34 years old. :) And, that's it for the 2011 updates right now. Hope you are having a great weekend.