Saturday, September 28, 2013

Asher {5 months!!!}

Tator Tate will be 5 whole months tomorrow.
I love all of his new tricks,
but can time go a little bit slower?
*He is eating rice cereal! I feel like he is American Ninja Warrior while he eats.  He gets his hands and legs moving as fast as possible.  Maybe he thinks the faster he moves, the faster I can shovel the food into his mouth.  Let's just say when he kicked the bowl out of my hands, the dog thought rice cereal was tasty.
*Speaking of the dog, she doesn't mind licking poop off his clothes, either.  gross.  so gross.
*Asher is starting to laugh more consecutively...he gets tickled and starts laughing, so cute!
*He is a people person for sure.  He doesn't want to sleep when we have company over. (Reminds us of Eli!) He also screams in the backseat of the car during the pick up line.  As soon as Sam gets in, he is fine. 
*He smiles and laughs until I hold the camera in his face.  Then it stops completely.  Rats, he hates the camera already.
*He wears size 3 diapers already and still manages to pee through them during the night.
*He is a roller!  We definitely have to be careful where we lay him.
*He loves to take walks...especially at night when he is fussy.
*He wore his first pair of jeans today.
*He likes the bumbo (not to be confused with a bimbo) he is borrowing.
*He has chameleon hair.  It can look dark brown, light brown, blonde, and even strawberry blonde depending on the light!
*He wears mostly 9 month clothing.
*I can sometimes count four chins on mr. squishy!  I have to really work hard at getting his neckline clean!
*Sometimes he favors me and Eli in the eyes and other times, he looks identical to the Stuart side.
*I am pretty sure all of us would say we wouldn't know what to do without the little fella.  So glad God gave him to our family!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Favorite Things

It's time for a few of my favorite things!!!

1.  Home grown tomatoes from my Grandad...blanching them and freezing for fall soups!
2.  Semi homemade bread that makes the house smell so yummy! I used yeast you all!  Big time accomplishment round these parts.

3.  Baker's Joy. I used to think Pam would do the trick for baked goods til I tried this stuff. 

4.  Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss.  Feels amazing.  No sticky!  No bad smell!

5. Beautiful Day lotion.  Happiness in a bottle.

6. Febreeze Sleep Serenity Spray.  I use it when I am overwhelmed and nervous, lol.  Or on my bed before I go to sleep.  ahhhh

7.  Quaker Real Medleys granola bars. They put all other granola bars to shame.  So tasty!

8.  Beans...or in this case, Pinto Bean Soup.  mmmm.  Here's looking at you, fall!

9.  This cutie and his cheeks.

What are some of your favorite things right now?

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Meal Scene: feeding little souls

Don't you just love a good rainy day?  Sigh.  It always makes me want to tear open my bible, light a candle, drink mass amounts of coffee, wash my sheets, and blog.  So, hi there! Hope you are enjoying this weather as well!

I wanted to share something that has been on my heart for awhile.  We transitioned our boys out of private schools and into public this year.  I can't tell you how much we prayed about it and how often we questioned if it was the right thing.  In the end, we all had peace and moved forward.  The boys have transitioned well. 

What I miss the most about private education is the bible curriculum.  They were constantly learning and memorizing God's word.  Eric and I have always believed that it is our responsibility as parents to be the ones responsible for teaching them who God is and what the Word says.  But, boy, it was nice to have reinforcements at school, as well.

Now that they no longer have that at school, we have tossed around offering some sort of bible curriculum at home.  We still don't have answers.  With mass amounts of homework, school projects, sports, and well, life, there isn't a lot of time for more "work."  We believe the bible should be top priority but we need wisdom on how to integrate that into our new "normal." Of course we go to church and the boys sit in "big church" and hear deep teaching, but again, we know we are the ones to answer to God in the end.

One thing we know that works in feeding little souls is the table setting.  For us, this can take place in the mornings or the evenings.  I was encouraged by a commentary that was talking about the book of Luke.  It said, "Many key discourses happen in meal scenes which recall Greek symposia where 'wisdom' is presented." (ESV study bible)

Feed their souls while you feed their bodies.

I want you to know that here at moop and saba, I never want you to feel inadequate, judged, belittled, or condemned.  I want you to know that I don't have it all together.  I mess up.  I yell.  I cry.  I scream at God.  I fall on my knees and beg for fresh mercy.

It is a daily drowning in this thing called grace.

That said, these are things that have worked for us in the past.  Sometimes we do a couple at a time.  Sometimes, we do just one.  Sometimes, when in a funk, we neglect everything.  Why can't we see that they need spiritual bread even more than physical bread?

One thing we try to do every morning while eating is read the Proverbs to the boys.  How perfect that there are 31 proverbs!  If Solomon wrote them to teach the people how to live--how to act in every circumstance, then it makes sense that our boys should hear these everyday.  Often, something I am praying about will make itself clear when a verse provides insight into my situation.  Pass the bread, thanks!

Something else that works well around the table is the book "Operation World" by Jason Mandryk.  There are many different ways to use this book, but we mostly read about a country and take turns praying for that country (prayer ideas are included.)  Nothing makes you as proud as when your little boy is pleading for people in Eritrea to have religious freedom.  This book is great at opening the hearts of boys and girls to a world beyond Entitled America.

Another thing we strive to do at the table is our "thankful book."  We started this before Cade could even write well.  More than anything, we want to cultivate gratitude in our boys when our culture screams materialism and greed.  Sometimes I want to bang the thankful book on the boys' heads when they "can't think of anything to be thankful for."  How sad that we have to purpose to praise God for all things...I wish so much that it would flow freely.  Our hope is that the more we purpose to praise, the more it will flow!

A final thing we are starting to do is read whatever passage of scripture to the boys that we know our Pastor will be teaching on the upcoming Sunday. 

Like I said, sometimes we are more disciplined than others at getting these things done, but we can testify that the meal scene is a great place to feed souls as well as bodies.

Another way we are trying to be more intentional about the Word is to talk about it in everyday life.  One of the best talks/sermons Eric and I ever heard was from a Canadian named John Patrick.  It was even before we had kids, but has remained with us!  He spoke on Deuteronomy 6:4-9 "You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

Patrick stresses the demand:  a heart that totally loves the Lord.  One way to cultivate that love in our children is to be talking about Jesus all the time.  When you are eating, when you are driving them to soccer practice, when you are shopping and see someone in need, when you are welcoming guests in your home, when you getting ready to go to in constant communication about the Savior and His Word to us.

Our hearts are to be so bent towards Him that He consumes every single thing we do.

I would love to hear things that have worked for your family...this journey of knowing the One True God.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dying to Self

I told you sweet friends awhile back that God dealt with me in themes.  Currently, it is dying to self.

And I don't like it.

Call me selfish, but sometimes I like my agenda better than God's.  Sometimes I want to curl up with a Starbucks and a book instead of offering help with homework and projects.  Sometimes I want to go shopping instead of tithing. Sometimes I want to save photography money for a vacation instead of for Operation Christmas Child.  Sometimes I want to hire a maid and a cook and an errand-runner instead of caring for my family.

I can be selfish.

And God wants it crucified.

A beautiful picture of dying to self is nursing a baby.  Bless all of you if you have even done it just once!  Your whole life becomes dependent on the schedule of a sweet little thing that can't even utter mama.  You fight through the plugged ducts, the engorgement, the sleepless nights, the speeding back home cause little one is screaming, the anxiety of wondering if they are getting adequate nourishment, the hassle of trying to nurse in public, the constant hiding from older siblings, the horrible and ugly non-supportive nursing bras, and the extra weight that won't go away cause your body is terrified to lose its fat reserves for fear of not being able to feed the little one in case of a famine.  Cause your body is so accustomed to famine.  Right.

But, oh the joys. Little bit looking into your eyes, flirting so hard that he can't even eat.  Skin to skin contact.  The amazement and wonder when you see a little fat on their legs and say, "WOW!  I did that!"  The ease of not having to fix a bottle in the early morning.  The bonding time.  The comfort of knowing there is something in the milk that is not just nourishing but healing as well. The pure satisfaction of it all.

Perhaps dying to self really does bring joy after all.

We just started the book of Luke in church.  I read ahead this week.  I can be a sneaky geek like that.  What struck me was Mary.  Mary didn't ask to carry the Son of the Most High.  She was a simple, normal girl.  Her highest aspirations were to marry Joseph and raise a family.  But, for whatever reason, God drowned her in grace and called her to something else.  He granted her kindness..."the absolute freeness of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and free heartedness of the Giver...the antithesis of works." 

Mary was blessed because she believed what the angel told her. But what stuck out to me the most was her willingness to accept it.  I can't imagine for a moment that this would have been an easy calling.  If I put myself in her shoes, I would fear what others would say.  Most would think I had been sleeping around.  I would fear my ability to parent the God-child.  She had zero experience in being a mother and all the sudden, God was expecting her to raise up his own Son. I would fear I would mess up the Messiah...even though that wasn't possible! I would be so scared that I would have no other human being to turn to for help because no one else had ever walked this path!

Her response was humble and simple.  "Behold, I am a servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."

She died to herself in that moment.

All of her dreams came crashing down as she traded them for something much higher.

The joy of carrying and raising the long awaited Messiah.

Lord, I die to myself in this moment.  My stomach is queasy with the possibilities.  I ask you to drown me in your grace.  I am your servant.  Let it be to me according to your word.

"Set your affection on things above.  For you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God."  Colossians 3:2-3

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Day in the Life...

It's good to know that sweet sugar is growing just fine!  He measures at 65% in both height and weight.  We knew he was a little above average because he wears mostly 9 month clothing.  Man, he had to get shots this morning and that never gets easier on a momma's matter how many kids you have!

Things I want to remember during this sweet phase!
*His head nestled under my chin after his early morning feeding
*sucking his thumb
*starting to curl up with a blanket
*starting to sleep in more than one position...comforting himself
*arching his back and screaming when I put him in his carseat...he hates it
*eating rice cereal...Sam telling him it would go down easier if he pretended it was chocolate
*the ability to blow out a diaper like no other
*"Swimming" in the sink during bathtime by throwing his head strong!
*putting him on his playmat, he doing 360's or coming off of it altogether...a mover!
*wearing 9 mo clothes
*new hair growth that sometimes looks blond and sometimes dark
*the de ja vu feeling that I am holding Eli
*double chin
*wrapping him in his fluffy white towel after bath and rocking and singing
*listening to hymns and lullabies together
*laughing out loud...for longer periods of time
*sitting in high chair watching brothers eat
*fussy time from 7-8 pm, only wants to be held while you stand up
*how much the boys adore him and never tire of him
*Sam opening his diapers to see what is inside, then jumping back!
*still sleeping next to me in bassinet at night...I can't help it
*hates to burp or take a break while eating
*huge blue eyes
*crooked grin that can break into a full grin
*fat legs and bootie
*his smell....after bath smell...mmmm
*his grin when I get him up after naps
*how he has blessed our souls in so many ways