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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Holden (4 1/2 +some)

I've felt for a while that the boys have changed, grown and matured so much in the past several months and they needed a little update. Holden will be 5 in May. That really sounds old.  Sometimes I think I'm too young to kids these ages. Ha. I know that is far from the truth. Here is a little update on our big boy.
He really is big. We started buying size 6 pants soon after he turned 4 because of his super long legs. He's long and lean so we always have to cinch up his pants to keep them on. He's still such a great sleeper. He naps each afternoon, on average about 3 hours. If we try to push through naps he often falls asleep on us. He just can't push through. And he is definitely a much happier boy when he gets his rest. He is an earlier riser than Pax. He probably wakes around 7am. But with our little sunshine light, he plays quietly in his room until the light changes colors at 7:30am. He wakes wide eyed and ready to tackle his day.
Holden has definitely challenged us in our parenting. He's kept us on our toes while also keeping us on our knees in prayer. It really has been something that was/is so good for us. Parenting has been another reminder of our complete dependence on God. Which we want to be mindful to continue, despite our situations. I've shed many tears over my mistakes in handling him at times and my worry for "when will these moments end? When can it just be easy again?"  Well folks, praise God, we've rounded a corner. We played with his diet over the past year, which I'll explain in another post. But I think we're on to something. Making good choices has become so much easier and daily my heart swells with pride as I see these changes in my little boy. Something we could have helped him with years ago, had we even known!
Holden is a sweet and cuddly boy. In his waking hours, he is normally bouncing with energy. He's like the Energizer Bunny. He loves to be tickled, to play rough, to play chase and tackle. He is ALL BOY, as I've often heard people say about certain little boys. And I always thought it was such a weird statement. But growing up in a house full of girls, and now having 2 little boys to compare...he is just our rough and tumble, dig in the dirt, splash in the puddles, rarely sitting still boy. And I do love it. It's not always easy to keep up with his pace. But he makes life fun. He is most definitely an extrovert, being energized when he is in a group of friends. The rest of our house is more introverted, so it'll be interesting to see how this part of his personality plays out with our family. I hope it will encourage us to have more fun. He's definitely adds to the fun-factor.
Holden LOVES daddy. Man, he's been nuts for his daddy since he was a tiny baby boy and that hasn't changed over the years. These 2 are so similar in the most random of ways. Determined, disorganized, the way they handle/react to conflict (yes, comparing J to a 4 year old here. Ha. Kidding!), a love for technology/gadgets, an eye for the details, and incredible coordination at first attempts of anything. These commonalities have given them an incredible bond. Jeremy really GETS Holden down to the core of who he is and what makes him tick. It's a special connection to see.
Even though I've decribed him as an extrovert, he shys from the spotlight big time! He loved having a mo-hawk until it brought about so much attention. Random strangers at church would rub his hair and comment on how cool it was, as he attempted to hide behind us. I keep asking if he wants a mo-hawk again (because personally I loved it!) and he quickly tells me NO. When we played Dance Central 4 with friends, Pax was all into it.Holden was doing it in the background until someone would look at him. Then he would get embarassed and immediately stop. He told me a few days later that he wanted to play at our house with our family, but not with all the friends. He so badly wanted to try it out that night, but didn't want everyone watching him. This is an area where I can most certainly identify with him. Though I don't really mind making a fool of myself anymore, when I'm with the right company.
Holden loves going for rides in the car. He would sit silently in the car for hours, watching out the window. He is so content with long drives and quietly observes what's going on around us. So he's definitely not always bouncing off the walls.
He is our pickier eater. But in the last year, he's learned that diet is not something we're going to budge on. So he eats. Sometimes with complaints, but he still eats it. Knowing if he doesn't, he'll have to see it again for breakfast (since it's usually dinner that he doesn't love.) That's a little tip we learned from some friends and we've only had to use it a handful of times. It works, even with the most determined child.
Holden has matured into such an amazing big brother. We've been teaching him that he can be the protector, to watch out for Pax and care for him. And he's really taken that task to heart. If Pax is upset, instead of laughing at him, he is concerned and tries to fix it. It's been such a special development to watch. These past several months have probably been some of the most special in their relationship. They are such wonderful playmates. They are great communicators to one another now. They still argue, fight and tattle on one another. But those instances are becoming far less frequent and the fun and sweet moments they share together, I get to see on a daily basis. I am so grateful they have one another. They truly are the best of friends.
Holden's favorite toys are cars. I didn't have to stop and think about that one. It just is. He is normally walking around the house with a handful of matchbox cars. I find them in my bed sheets, on the backs of the toilets, in the couch cushions and on the kitchen counter tops. Tiny cars are often scattered around my house. That is definitely a calming activity for him. He rolls his cars and closely watches the wheels spin. That would be his one thing he'd want if he were stranded on a desert island. No question about it!
Holden is eager to add to our family. He loves to be around babies and finds that it's his job to make silly faces, do silly dances to try and make them laugh. And he normally always gets a smile, if not a full laugh from those babies he entertains. Holden is hoping for a sister and has chosen a name that we would actually consider for a middle name, should we receive a little girl next. I can't wait to see his gentle side more often when he has a baby sibling to love on.
Holden loves to be the first to lead us in prayer for meals and before bed. He loves to be read to. He also loves to pretend to read to himself and often to Pax. He knows most of the story lines well, so it works. Other things he enjoys is running and playing outside, riding his bike, digging in the dirt and playing with water. That is a good summary of our Holden. He is a complete blessing to our family. He will always be the first miracle that made us mommy and daddy. And we adore each little piece of his ever changing and growing personality. I'm blessed to know him. To really know him down deep. And I'm truly honored that God gave him to us!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pinterest has changed my life!

That sounds dramatic, huh? I guess it hasn't changed my life. But it has definitely changed what has been going on in my kitchen. Dinner (and breakfast and lunch, for that matter) can get so boring and repetitive. And Pinterest has helped me to change things up. So I thought I would share some of mine and my family's biggest Pinterest successes. Try these out if you're looking for some changes to your weekly menus. And sorry, no food pics. You'll have to click the links to see the original. I'm not good at food photos. With my pictures, I would unintentionally make these delicious recipes look very unappealing.

This was such an amazing and filling side salad. Though it could be a one meal wonder for me. I loved it!

Pancakes made from just eggs and banana? Yes, please. And the little boys gobbled them up with a just a smidge of maple syrup.

We've tried this baked oatmeal with different fruit varitions and it has been a hit every time. I will say that we cut the milk by half, because the whole family tends to steer clear of wet food. Unless it's soup or icecream. That's supposed to be wet. :)

Crockpot fried rice was shockingly so easy and so tasty. Another big hit with the littles. And in my book, if Holden loves dinner, it was a huge success.

My family would probably vote to leave this one off the list. I know, I know. That's not selling you on it. But Jeremy has some texture issues when it comes to food. And the other two family members are too young to vote. But The Whole Enchilada Soup is one of my favorites. Please try it. There's a 25% chance you'll love it too. ;)

Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken was another one that the entire family loved. Don't you love easy crockpot recipes? I do!

This Beer Crockpot Chicken is a big hit with Pax and Jeremy. (Holden is on a special diet that I'll probably talk about at another time. So he has to skip out on this one. I pull him out some chicken and cook it a different way when we have this for dinner.) I know, another crockpot recipe. I just can't help it. This is one that you probably have all the ingredients on hand for, as long as you have one beer in your fridge. Seriously easy.

This Sweet and Spicey Bacon Chicken has definitely become a new staple at our house. We all love it.

This baked avocado is one of my very favorite lunches. Why have I never thought to bake avocado before!

I have some new ones on the menu for next week. I plan to keep sharing as I come across more breakfast, lunch and dinner winners.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pax (almost 3 1/2)

In about 6 more weeks, my little guy will be 3 1/2. What a blessing Pax is to our family. And I want to try and sum him up for you in a little post. He is generally a happy boy and easy going. If you met him, he would probably be shy and stick close to me. He loves me a lot. :) Believe me, it's mutual. He is STILL a momma's boy. He often verbalizes his feelings and thoughts, which is so much like myself and very much not like his father. If I say "Pax, I'm so happy to be your mommy." He will probably respond with "Mommy, I'm so happy to be your Paxton." That conversation has actually happened more than once. Man, he's sweet. I love that he shares his heart so openly with those that are close to him. I hope his openess continues as he gets older. He is also very affectionate. He wants to sit close if not completely in your lap. He loves to snuggle, hug and be as close as possible. 97% of the time I'm thrilled with this. The other 3% of the time, I need some extra room to breathe. But this really is a quality of his personality that I enjoy and soak up.
At this age, he has definitely warmed up to the regulars in our lives. He walks confidently into his classroom at Mother's Day Out each week. I usually have to remind him to give me a kiss and hug as I drop him off. He loves our friends that we spend time with regularly. He will normally show off his very silly side to these people. When I pick him up from his church class on Sundays, I often find him snuggled into Mr. Ben's lap. Sometimes they're reading and sometimes they're having a tickle fest. He is somewhat head over heels for his teachers this year. They've done something quite special to make a precious connection with my little boy.
He was totally into Dance Central 4 with our church cell group. And so was his daddy. :)
He's a little slow moving. Never in a hurry for much of anything. Unless he's about to wet his pants, then you can really see him run.
Several times during our day, Jeremy and I look at one another and laugh. That is because he is hilarious. Hilarious, I tell you! I think his humor began before he knew it and understood. The things he said were funny, but he didn't intend them to be. And now he is purposefully the comic around here.
He has always been a great eater. He rarely complains when his plate is set in front of him. He just gobbles up whatever is on the menu for that day. He loves veggies and often asks for seconds. Sometimes this includes plain leaves of lettuce. He just crunches on plain lettuce. He's a dream eater for me! His top favorites foods are: pears, grapes, oranges (the little cuties are his fave), bananas, carrots, corn, peas, lima beans, waffles, homemade granola, yogurt, grilled chicken, cheeseburgers and peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches.
He loves to sing along to his musical toys, to music as we ride in the car and to new songs he has learned. He loves to sing and does it often for us. It's cute. He's also obsessed with pretending to play the guitar. He likes to strum his belly as if he's holding on in his arms. We have a drummer and guitarist/singer in this house, so far.
Some of his favorite past times include books and balls. I know I've talked over and over about the boys love of reading. I think Pax's desire to snuggle plays into the part of him that just wants to bring over a big pile of 10 (sometimes lengthy) books and read one after another, after another, after another. Until my voice starts to crack from talking so much. ;) He loves books. I think if he was going to be stranded on a desert island and could only take 1 thing, he would attempt to take his entire library of books. He also loves balls and any kind of sport. If he's outside in the backyard, he is usually holding a golf club or baseball bat. He loves to play catch and has an amazing arm when he throws. We're still working on the catching. That's about 50/50. At this point, he'd make a much better pitcher than catcher.
Each Wednesday, after BSF, Pax can tell me all about his Bible story and what he learned. It's amazing. He is a very good listener. He understands and even more amazing he can often apply it in his own life. One particular week they learned about being peacemakers, like Abraham. Holden was doing something to purposefully irritate Pax on our drive home that day. Through tears, Pax said, "Holden is not being a peacemaker!" And we were able to have a little talk about how to be a peacemaker and why that is important. I was just amazed by his application of the lesson. So I mentioned he was a great listener, but sometimes not the best listener at home. In fact, I asked the doctor when he turned 3 about an ear test. And after a little further conversation with the doctor, he sort of laughed at me and pointed out that his hearing was fine. I think I already knew that. He chooses to ignore us on occassion. We've been working on it and it's getting better.
The past few months have been the most challenging in parenting and disciplining Pax. He's gotten a little sassy in his 3s. But he doesn't know what a breeze he is compared to someone else we know that was once 3. For the most part, he's just easy.
He's our pretender. He has a great imagination that we continually get to see at work. He loves to cook meals. Fight the bad guys. And make up just about any crazy story to have a little fun. I love his creativity.
Playing on a pretend laptop (it was really a book). Not sure where he picked this up from because we don't even own a laptop.
We are trying to prepare him for a baby sibling...even though we may not feel any closer to another adoption, we do feel like more babies are in our future. Hopefully near future. Yesterday, he told me he wanted a baby brother and we should name him TuTu. That is silly Pax for you. I would completely embrace and even be giddy for a 3rd baby boy. But I assure you that he would not be named TuTu. So sorry Pax-man. Even in my attempts to prepare him, I wonder (and maybe worry a little) how that will go. I just wonder how Pax will adjust to a new baby and becoming a big brother. Which is kind of funny. He's almost 3 1/2. Holden was almost 16 months and I didn't worry much  about his transition when Pax joined us. But Pax has been the baby of the family for a while now. So I just wonder about it. But I also know that I will work extra hard to make each of my kids feel very special and very loved.
And in a nutshell, that is our Pax. He's so so sweet, if you didn't already pick up on that. He's a happy, smiling face that I see each morning. And very tight hug around my neck and kiss on the lips at nighttime (and many times in between). Our little Pax is a precious gift and it's pure joy to spend my days with him.


Snow is fun! Even if it's just a little snow.
Catching the melting snow in his mouth. Nasty. But funny.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Goals and Dreams for 2013

I love January and the opporunity for a new and clean start. To look ahead to the year with hearts full of hope for our future. The excitement of the unknown. How differently our lives can change in just a short 12 months. I mentioned last year that Jeremy does not hold the same excitement for a new year. But even with my sweet pessimist...realist, by my side, I anticipate this year with high hopes. I set my goals. I start fresh. And I'm dreaming and praying big for a year that will change our lives and change our family forever. We're ready for you, 2013, and all that is in store. I'm getting a little bit of a late start, but here are a few of my goals and dreams for 2013 (in no particular order).

1. Back to healthy eats. This is *usually* pretty consistent in my life. But during the holidays, I went on sugar overload. And I'm tired of it. My energy has been way down and I contribute it 100% to the lack of good stuff in my diet lately.
2. I want to do more races this year. At least another 10k, maybe a little further. I'm just not super committed to running when it's cold outside. I'm a fair weather runner, for sure. So hopefully a race this spring! It's been a LONG time and I really enjoy them. For now, I'll be working out indoors.
3. I want to learn and understand Genesis like never before. Starting BSF last semester was definitely a good choice for me. I've learned so much (we've completed the first 15 chapters of Genesis) and I'm craving more and more. I needed a Bible study that would challenge me to dig into the Word on a daily basis. This one has done that, while also softening my heart to some things. I feel like it's helped me to understand our God, His creation and our sin in a whole new way.
4. I pray that we will have at least 2 more little baby feet under our roof in 2013. It's something I haven't shared much or talked about. But we finally feel ready to grow again. We have not yet taken a step forward in the adoption process. We are praying for our next step and for God's guidance towards our next child. Feel free to pray for us when you think about it. You can pray that our hearts would be open to whomever God has for us next and whatever direction He chooses to take us. We are in a different location, than when our boys were born and placed with us. So there are many options and it gets overwhelming. Jeremy and I just want a clear word from God and to walk forward in obedience to Him and agreement together. It's exciting! I'm ready to get started, but not without God. So we wait on His timing and His guidance. We had 2 baby boys at once, and it's taken us an incredibly long time to recover from that. I guess we're weak. But now fully recovered and ready to do it all over again.
5. Monthly date nights with my guy. We finally worked out a little baby sitting swap this past year and it works well for us. Now our dates don't always have to double in price to pay for a sitter. I love my date nights with Jeremy. And I'll definitely work to get AT LEAST one a month, out of the house, just he and I.
6. Read. Read. And read some more. I love to read. Reading for entertainment. Reading for education of my interests. Reading to be a better mom and wife. I enjoy them all. But afer the boys came along, I stopped making time for it. I changed that this past year. And I already have a stack of books to tackle. So I'll definitely be making time to read this year.
I've got a few more ideas in my head and things that I'm aiming for. But these are some of the big ones that I felt like sharing. Cheers to 2013. A new beginning.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

More holiday pictures

We had alot of bonus time with extended family over the holidays. It was a blessing to host my sister and her family for a few nights. The boys loved having their cousins around. I'll just let these pictures speak for themselves and then call it a wrap on 2012.