Saturday, January 28, 2017

Life These Days: Caleb Edition

            A couple weeks ago I had a facebook memory pop up that made me stop and think....and question it's accuracy!  It said something about Caleb enjoying his last few days as an only child....only four years ago......four years?  I feel as if I can hardly remember what it was like to just have one child....but as I spent the last week sitting beside this sweet, little, very sick, boy, I kept thinking about that post.  It seems like many more than four years, but the memories started to flood back to the times of our little trio.  We did a lot of movie/TV watching this week, but when even the TV wasn't helping to take his mind off the discomfort, he'd just talk to me.....about anything and everything.  We talked about some of our memories...I love the sweet smile that appears when I talk about him as a baby...that smile that says "I feel special"....and you can't help but smile at those precious memories.  But mostly we talked about now.  All of the things that are exciting and relevant in the life of a six year old boy.  Excuse me, I mean six and a HALF year old boy....that is currently very important to include.  And in some ways that number seems so big.....He seems so big....but there's something about being sick that brings out the "little-ness" in even big boys like him :)  The cuddling...the neediness.....not being able to leave his side, because a moms presence really can make him feel better!

          When the kids are babies...or in our case, when they're first home.....I tend to keep a log...of milestones, firsts, memorable moments.  But as they grow, or have been home a while....that tends to fade.  So, here's a little addendum, Caleb, to your's been a while :)

          Between homeschooling, and the library being right across the street, we tend to be at the library often.  So on a recent trip, Caleb applied for his very own library card.  He was SO excited. I could tell he felt so grown up.  Actually, I'm pretty sure he told me how "big" he felt!  He put it in his very own wallet (another grown up thing to have) and is so proud that he can borrow books without my help.  So very sweet.  I still have my first library's cracked, and says my old last name....but I refuse to trade it in.  I'm sure his will get as much use as mine has over the years!

         A while ago, Caleb started taking an interest in Karate.  He was doing soccer at the time, but as the season ended he was adamant that he wanted to try something different....maybe basketball, or karate.  We waited until after the holidays and when he hadn't wavered in his decision for a while, we signed him up for karate.  I'm not sure if this is "his thing" or not, it's still too early to tell, but it is a lot of fun to see him learning new things.  I love watching him in class......there were a few times where he made a face towards me while stretching as if to say "ahhhh this hurts, I want to stop!!!".....but he pushed through it.  I've been really impressed with his efforts so far, and I think it's sweet for him to have his own thing!  We'll see though....time with his little friends is pretty much on the top of his priority list these days, and he's not always thrilled about having to pause the play time in order to go to class.  Of course once he's there, he enjoys it, but I'm not sure what will win in the end :)

        On Christmas Day, Caleb received an extra surprise gift.  Something he's been waiting for....a loose tooth!  It didn't take long for it to fall out, and he was SO excited.  It's so much fun to see him enjoy these milestones.  We get frequent updates about his first grown up tooth coming in, and there are now quite a few moments where we all wait in great anticipation as he checks to see if another tooth may be lose :)

       I love to watch the growth in school as well.  Though we've had our challenges this year, it's amazing to watch your kids gain new understanding and even surprise themselves with their achievements.  I've noticed a lot of increased creativity with Caleb this year (taking after his daddy, thank goodness!)....I'm such a "make it like the example" person when it comes to projects...but Caleb has started adding his own touches, sometimes even changing things quite a bit.  When we do experiments, he has endless ideas of what else we could try...and "what if....."  "I wonder if we did this, what would happen...."


    Today we decided to check out some old home videos from when Caleb was Kyleigh's current age.  They both got such a kick out of it....(as I cried ha!)....I couldn't help but feel like I was watching someone else's life gone couldn't possibly be that I'm now the one looking back at what seems to be a lifetime ago.  How precious are those memories.....and these current days will soon be distant memories as well...but for now, I get to savor and enjoy them!

 You're definitely not a little baby anymore sweet Caleb....but...of course, you'll always be OUR baby!  Love you big boy! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Christmas 2016

         Well, this just shows how behind I am on just about everything.  It's a little while past Christmas at this point, but here in our home, the Christmas tree is still up!  I feel like we're in denial that it has already come and gone.  I always love this time of year....Thanksgiving and the advent season.....all of the preparation and being more purposeful about giving and remembering all that Christ did for us in coming to this earth.  This year wasn't quite the same, with so much going on in our family, but we tried to uphold some of our traditions.  And we truly did enjoy them, however different they were this time.

      We worked for quite a while on some homemade Christmas gifts for those at the nearby nursing home.  The first time we went, we had brought gifts for one person....a woman they said didn't really have any family.  But as we walked past all of the others, we knew that the next time would be different.  So each time we go, we try to bring a little something for everyone that we can.  As the kids made different crafts, we'd put them aside and wrap them.  We ended up having more than enough for those that we saw this year, and it was such a joy!

Shirley is our favorite....I love the way the kids so easily love on her.  She's never been too talkative, but they don't mind.  We learned so much more about her on this visit.  We had no idea, but she's actually from England!  And she has five daughters who live all over the country!  She was so sweet....we brought her gift to her first (the kids made sure she was given extra! :)  and when we went to say goodbye before leaving, she had candy canes for each of us.  Everyone is always so thankful and appreciative, but I am sure we are the ones reaping the blessing.  It's definitely been something that is out of my comfort zone, but I would strongly suggest it!

We also started an advent devotional with the kids.  Each year we try to do a new experience so we tried The Donkey In The Living Room.  We modified a little, but it was cute.  The kids had fun finding the hidden "presents" each night that went along with the story, and then adding them to the nativity scene.  It could really be done with your own nativity set (feel free to ask about it if you'd like to try it!)

On Christmas Eve my parents host a breakfast for all the kids and grandkids.  It's a special tradition that we all look forward to.  She uses the "What God Wants for Christmas" kit with the kids which is always so much fun.  I love how excited they get, even though they know what's to come!

For the first time we were soooo close to having all the cousins they are minus one!

            The kids chose their gifts for Jesus through the Gospel for Asia catalog online.  Each year, Levi and Caleb have selected was always a very quick and easy choice for them.  But this year they were more serious...taking their time and wanting to look through and weigh their options.  Caleb wanted to buy water filters and was so cool to see how important he felt this was.  We've been (slowly) going through a devotional that really shows them how others live...and we did an experiment with dirty water a while back.  I could tell it really impacted him, and when he saw that he could provide a family with clean water, he was all for it.  Levi selected tools this year!  Right up his alley for had caught his eye when I scrolled quickly through, and he had me go back until he found it.  He was adamant, he was choosing the that could change a family's life.  Such a blessing!

We enjoy sticking with the three gifts based on the gifts the wise men brought to experience, a need, and a want.   I love that it helps us be more thoughtful in selecting their gifts....and we have some special times together to look forward to in the coming months!

This was Levi's "gold gift" this year.....made by daddy from some scrap wood :)  

He was thrilled :)  And his big brother was so happy for him ( I love that!)

Kyleigh and her gold gift :)  She went right into mommy mode haha

And Caleb with his....serious business figuring this thing out!

On Christmas day we were able to be all together for a little while....a gift for all of us :)