Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

So Wordless Wednesday went the way of....not happening on Wednesday.

Wordless Thursday doesn't have quite the ring...so, I am left with yet another idiom my non-native English-speaking husband won't understand :)

Christmas was so much fun at our house this year!


Carter's, "It's Christmas, yeah, yeah!' dance


A few cuddles before breakfast when he realized it was actually a bit early to be awake!

Christmas morning breakfast...every year :)

Carter can't believe he can eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast!

The silliness around here does. not. end!

Presents!




What would happen if I pulled this stack of trash?

Oh! It will all fall on me!

We call him "papa-razzi"...no we don't.  But that is clever, no?

Spinning his top from Great-Grandma!

He loves wearing his new gloves!

Yay! A tricycle from Abuelo and Abuelita!


And, of course, he loved the boxes and wrapping paper!  What kid doesn't?!?!

And for another special Christmas gift, I've started feeling our new little one squirming around!  It's hard to believe that we'll know if we're going to be welcoming a boy or a girl in just a few weeks...and that that will mean we are almost halfway through this pregnancy!  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, 
   for he has visited and redeemed his people 
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us 
   in the house of his servant David, 
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 
that we should be saved from our enemies 
   and from the hand of all who hate us; 
to show the mercy promised to our fathers 
   and to remember his holy covenant, 
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 
  that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, 
might serve him without fear
  in holiness and righteousness before him all our days."

Luke 1:65-78
an excerpt from Zechariah's prophecy after John the Baptist was born

We are worshiping and celebrating in full throttle this morning.  There were presents, homemade cinnamon rolls...we have a ham cooking away on the grill outside and casseroles ready for the oven.  Cakes and cookies fill the island and cheery music fills the house.  Family has come and more are coming.  All of this...an expression of the exultation we feel inside that Jesus indeed redeemed His people by being our horn of salvation.  We may serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness!  What a special, beautiful day it is today!

Merry Christmas, sweet readers.  And don't worry...this Wordless Wednesday will be filled to the brim with a sweet little boy in Christmas pajamas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve!

I hope you all have a Christmas full of family, friends, celebration, yummy food, and most of all praise for the Messiah who came to deliver us from what was unconquerable sin.  

I leave you with Carter and Santa...it makes me laugh. Every. Single. Time.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails, that's what little boys are made of!

..if by snips and snail and puppy dog tails, you mean precious, giggly, lovable little beings...then yes! 
That is what little boys are made of!

I love my little brother...

...and we sure do love our little boys!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

7 Little Things

We're in full Christmas celebration at our house.  The tree is still intact, despite the avid interest of Carter.  He's getting better...but will still take a swing at a few ornaments if he thinks he's in the clear.  It's our first real tree this year and...I am in love. The smell, the look...the sheer Christmas-ness of it....ahhhh.  New tradition. Starting now.

We've been cooking/cleaning/prepping this week for Christmas...and now we're to the "sit back and enjoy it" part...mostly.  It's been a good week.  Here are some things I've been meaning to tell you about.
  1. I went to the doctor on Tuesday.  I heard the heartbeat for about 5 seconds, the doctor measured me in about 3 seconds and then proceeded to talk my ear off for 30 minutes.  I do love that doctor.  He said we are growing beautifully and that everything seems to be on track.  He also set up my ultrasound appointment for January 11th...just a few short weeks and we'll know if we are preparing for a boy or girl.  I am so excited either way.  I love little boys.  I get them.  I could totally imagine having my own little troop of boys.  However, I love the relationship I share with my mom...and would love to have a little girl with whom to share the same kind of love.  Win, win I say :)
  2. Carter's new tantrum starts with a gymnast split of wrath followed by the backward crawl of fury on his belly while staring up at us and crying.  It is absolutely, hands-down, one of the funniest things I have ever seen.  The tantrums have been really improving...but his new style is killing us.  
  3. Carter has a touch of my OCD.  He doesn't like certain things touching him certain ways, he likes his hands to be brushed off thoroughly after a romp outside, he talks just to hear his own voice, and he has some serious opinions...about everything.  I see a lot of my personality in him.  However, I have an abiding, real, and serious distaste for soggy cereal.  My dry cereal goes in one bowl, my milk in the other, and I dip the spoon from bowl to bowl as I eat.  It's totally ridiculous, I know.  Carter's new favorite breakfast?  Soggy Cheerios in a bowl with milk.  He waits until they are good and soggy before giving them a chance.  It grosses me out.  He thinks he has discovered the new breakfast of champions.
  4. Carter went to see Santa.  Our plan, as of this year, is to teach Carter about Saint Nicholas through several excellent children's books...and of course, the reason we celebrate Christmas by celebrating Advent.  We don't want Santa at center.  However.  My mom has a huge frame of every picture we ever had made with Santa in chronological order...and it's awesome.  I love it so much.  I really want Carter and future siblings to have their picture made with the guy in the red suit each year as part of our Christmas tradition.  I knew this year was going to be the year that he screamed his head off.  I also knew this year was the year that the line was going to be the biggest problem we faced.  I was prepared.  I planned, organized...and was at the mall early...(we only waited this long in the year because it is unbelievably hard to keep Carter's face scratch/bruise free for any period of time...I know.) and then ended up at Santa's workshop one hour before Santa showed up because I thought it was Thursday.  It wasn't.  It was Wednesday. The hours are different.  The line almost did us in...but we prevailed and got the coveted Santa picture.  The company will provide me with an online photo that I will share once they release it...but...it's hilarious.  The line was about 30 mins, the picture about 5 seconds.  Done.
  5. Before we visited Santa, we played on the little mall playground to kill the extra hour.  Carter was so amped to play with other kids...he didn't so much play with them as much as he just ran around glorying in their presence.  And petting them.  Like...patting them on the back and rubbing their heads just like you would a dog.  It was a little strange, but I was totally ok with it because petting is so, so much better than hitting.
  6. If you have kids that love those squeezable food packs (applesauce, mango, veggies...whatever), you have to buy this.  It pays for itself in a week or two if your kiddo loves those squeezies like mine does. I fill them with yogurt and applesauce most of the time...and a ton of pureed vegetables that he doesn't know about.  They are simple, easy to refill, go in the dishwasher and save a boatload of money.  I don't endorse many products...but this one is a winner at our house.
  7. Lastly....I hope this makes you laugh as much as it did  for me :
I have no idea what he was up to...but I feel certain it was not allowed.

Merry Almost Christmas!  Enjoy this week with the people you love!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Growing

Everyone is growing around here...in all different directions.

PS: not-too-wordy-update: This pregnancy is going so well :)  Some things are different from being pregnant with Carter, but I have been blessed with another very easy and very healthy pregnancy so far.  Oh second trimester, I love you.  I will have an appointment today to hear that sweet heartbeat again and to make our appointment for the anatomy ultrasound!  yay!  Can't wait to start calling this sweet baby by name and planning his/her room.  Carter also calls my tummy, "baby" now and likes to lay his head on it and smile.  To be fair, he calls his own tummy "baby"...but still :)  I wonder what he'll think when he lays his head down and feels a kick!?!  

**Yes, this is a week and a half ago...yes, I am already bigger.  We're working on it :)

And because I know many readers would leave quite disappointed if a Wordless Wednesday were without a picture of the star of the blog, I leave you with a shot of sweet Carter that his Grandaddy snapped before church on Sunday...with the rocking chair that was in my nursery :)


Monday, December 19, 2011

Memorization Monday: 12-12-11/12-19-11

**Yep...this was last week.  But? This week was unexpectedly difficult.  And today?  Today I had my first stomach bug since...I don't even remember when.  Let's just put it out there that I love being a stay at home mom...but the sick day policy just kind of stinks!  But the point is that I am STILL memorizing this verse...and will then take the rest of the year off for Christmas :)


**Another little last minute add...in retrospect...what a perfect verse for last week.  We will "glory over vanquished death" because God has given us victory over law, sin...and therefore death!  


"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."

1 Corinthians 15:56-58

sting: G1411 δύναμις dunamis
Thayer Definition: 
1) strength power, ability
1a) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth

Gill: and the strength of sin is the law; not that the law of God is sinful, or encourages sin: it forbids it under the severest penalty; but was there no law there would be no sin, nor imputation of it; sin is a transgression of the law

There is an inherent power in death...sin.  That sin is powered by the law that gives us a standard that is unreachable.  Sometimes I get caught here.  I stand in the place where sin has all power and think I'm never going to get it right...and I'm right.  I'm not.  But praise God...the victory is not in me...it is in Christ...and as a gift, I receive it!

Shane and Shane: Embracing Accusation (follow the link to hear the song)
The father of lies 
Coming to steal 
Kill and destroy 
All my hopes of being good enough 
I hear him saying cursed are the ones 
Who can't abide 
He's right 
Alleluia he's right! 

The devil is preaching 
The song of the redeemed 
That I am cursed and gone astray 
I cannot gain salvation 
Embracing accusation 
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/s/shane_shane/embracing_accusation.html ]
Could the father of lies 
Be telling the truth 
Of God to me tonight? 
If the penalty of sin is death 
Then death is mine 
I hear him saying cursed are the ones 
Who can't abide 
He's right 
Alleluia he's right! 

Oh the devil's singing over me 
An age old song 
That I am cursed and gone astray 
Singing the first verse so conveniently 
He's forgotten the refrain 
Jesus saves! 
He redeemed us from the curse of the law



victory: G3534 νῖκος nikos
Thayer Definition:
1) victory
2) to utterly vanquish

God didn't somewhat reduce sin's power but utterly vanquished it.  It has no power in us!  Sin...sin is death that threatens our hearts and souls...but in Christ we are saved.

In light of this redemption...this salvation...we are exhorted to be steadfast, immovable, and abounding in the work of the Lord.  Again...not in our own power.  God saves us from the sting of death and the power of the law, and then builds us...assembles us to do His work.  We do not have to claw at sanctification in our own power, but to simply stand so Christ can assemble us into His image.  It's not easy.  We have to stand when we want to run because He is clothing us in something we are afraid of.  We have to stand when He gives us builds in us a trait that is refined in the fire of a tough circumstance.  It is not always easy to be...but He has given us victory...the power of sin and death are vanquished...we can rise.

beG1096 γίνομαι ginomai ghin'-om-ahee

A prolonged and middle form of a primary verb; to cause to be (“gen” -erate), that is, (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literally, figuratively, intensively, etc.): - arise be assembled, be (come, -fall, -have self), be brought (to pass), (be) come (to pass), continue, be divided, be done, draw, be ended, fall, be finished, follow, be found, be fulfilled

work: G2041 ἔργον ergon
Thayer Definition:
1) business, employment, that which any one is occupied
1a) that which one undertakes to do, enterprise, undertaking
2) any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind
3) an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasised in opp. to that which is less than work

We should be abounding in the work of the Lord...our work is anything which occupies us...whatever we undertake.  My "work of the Lord" is raising two babies to know the love of Christ and become His disciples.    My work is to build up Steven and support his work.  My work is to do the dishes, make meals, make our home a peaceful, nice place to be, run errands, empty the dishwasher, change the sheets, dust the furniture...and all those millions of other things that fill up my day.  But?   My work is of the Lord.  It has eternal implications.  God recognizes that it is difficult...but He reminds us..our hard, troubling, toiling work is not devoid of truth...it is not empty effort. It is the work of the Lord and He is redeeming every minute for His glory.  I don't have to work to find meaning every time I mop the hardwoods.  I believe God's promise that my work is not in vain.  When I teach Carter about obedience by stopping him from unloading the dirty dishwasher every 30 seconds for 3 hours...I am doing the Lord's work...and it is not in vain.  

labor: G2873 κόπος kopos
Thayer Definition:
1) a beating
2) a beating of the breast with grief, sorrow
3) labour
3a) trouble
3a1) to cause one trouble, make work for him
3b) intense labour united with trouble and toil

vain: G2756 κενός kenos
Thayer Definition:
1) empty, vain, devoid of truth

Henry: "...they shall glory over vanquished death."
What better way to glory of the death God vanquished that to truly live in the work He has given us to do.

PS: I didn't really get this one totally memorized this week...so this week's verse is the same as last week's!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Best Days

Sometimes being a mom is hard.  Sometimes you feel a little like all the laundry, spills, tantrums, mopping, grocery shopping, cooking, dishes, diapers, and whining are overcoming all possible fun that could be had and you wonder if you'll ever feel totally rested again.

This is just not one of those times.

Carter is at the most fun stage of his little life.  Now.  Don't get me wrong.  He is throwing tantrums and whining when he doesn't get his way every single time I don't let him empty the dirty dishwasher/give him his 33rd cheese stick of the day/ turn over the Christmas tree/ hammer the blinds into the window, throw a full cup of water out of the tub...you know...fun stuff.  But those tantrums?  Egh.  They don't bother me anymore.  Sometimes it's annoying if we were having a great time and he ruins the mood...but he's just learning.  Just seeing if that will get him his way...and then he's double-triple-quadruple checking just to be sure.  Assuming he is safe, I just let him get it out of his system while I walk away to do something else.  Eventually he gives up and comes to find me.  Sometimes eventually takes a long time...but he's getting there.

Now to the fun stuff.  Now that Carter has this walking thing down...he is attempting full-on running...and is trying SO HARD to talk!  He is saying, "Mama," "Daddy," Puhpuh," and "uhoh" still in normal conversation and in the right context.  He has also started saying "dog" when he's talking about the "puhpuh" and if he hears barking.  When I ask him what a cow says he says, "mooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" and won't let up till he runs out of breath.  His favorite is saying, "ho ho ho ho ho" when we ask him what Santa says!  He says, "ahhhhman!" after (and sometimes during) the blessing and says, "Mo!" for Aunt Morgan and "Pa"when he sees their faces in the book Aunt Sarah made him for Christmas last year.  He also cracks me up wandering around the house saying, "oh boy!" all the time.  Apparently I say that enough for him to catch on to it?  We have a boat ornament on our tree and Carter says something that sounds pretty close to "boat" when we point to it..  All of that?  Basically started THIS WEEK.  What?  I think his brain just switched from gross motor skills back over to language development and is moving in full gear now!

Carter has also fallen head over heels, irrecoverably in love with Maddie.  He tries to feed her his coveted cheese, he chases her around to pet her (which he remarkably does gently...why oh why can't he just touch other CHILDREN gently!?!?) and lays his head on her back if she gets still enough.  Maddie thinks that is all well and good as long as he keeps throwing her food.  He also loves, loves, loves to play peek-a-boo.  Our favorite thing lately is that he'll lay his head on our backs, wrap his arms around us and wait to pop around and "surprise" us.  Basically, it's the best hug/game ever.  Our little lover-boy is also obsessed with hugs and kisses.  Melt. My. Heart.  His little arms around my neck, tummy, knees....plus a big kiss wherever he can reach?  Transfixing.  The best little hugs and kisses are just after he wakes up.  He loves to snuggle in the mornings and after his naps for a few more minutes of drowsy sleep time before he starts wiggling down to play.  Best moments of my whole life.  And thankfully all this new-found lovey-doveyness is finally being shared!  Carter has been, for so long, such a stranger-danger kind of kid.  And by stranger, I mean anyone but me, Steven and his Andi.  However, this past month has been so much fun.  He has fallen completely in love with his Grandaddy and Uncle Kyle:

and is happy to go with other friends and family members...especially when they are helping him do something he wants to do...like climbing! I am hoping that as the holidays come, Carter will be able to spend some of this time loving on his relatives who have been on a forced hiatus from Carter cuddles since he went on his "stranger-danger" tour.  They have been so patient and kept on loving him even when he, literally, ran screaming from them.  That's real love right there.

Ok.  I know this is getting long...but I had gotten so behind.  I leave you with a Top Ten list of things Carter currently loves:

10. Backward walking.  He looks like a mini-Micheal Jackson.  Not that I want Carter to be like a pop star...though the ability to do a mean moonwalk would not hurt my feelings, but this is super cute.  Unfortunately this is not the safest activity for Carter as he lacks the foresight to clean the toys from his path before walking...

9. Smiling with his eye scrunched up and all his teeth showing.  Cracks me up.  Do you think Santa will see this cutesy smile when we go see him next week.  Yep.  Me neither. 

8. Climbing.  Especially in parking lots.  I have to just carry him in most places to avoid the total meltdown when we have to go inside the store, leaving the sidewalk or curb that he was stepping up on, walking in a circle, and stepping back down.  Seriously.  He can go for as long as you will stand there.  He climbed stairs for almost 3 hours at Grandma's house at Thanksgiving.  He LOVES climbing.  

7. Closing doors.  He is super, super careful about his fingers...he tests every door to see how it works before going slam happy.  If only he could figure out how to open door handles...then my boy would be in nirvana.

6. Nighlights.  Specifically the act of unplugging them.  

5. Grabbing our necks and rubbing his hand on them while he goes to sleep.  If my neck phobia was still in full-power right now, I would need medication!

4. Copy-cat laughing.  You know that person who laughs really loud at jokes at a party and you can tell they don't get it...they're just laughing because everyone else is?  Carter is so that person.

3. Taking off his socks and shoes.  I don't even put them on him until we have reached our destination...if I do, I just have to spend forever digging through our entire minivan for the offending parties that were thrown in all corners.  The only thing that's better than pulling off his socks and shoes are pulling every single article of clothing from a dresser drawer.

2. Peanut butter, cheese, yogurt, applesauce and fruit.  If I let him, this would be all he ate, every single day.

1. Reading The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear.  His new favorite book.  

I am so excited for this new baby to come.  I am so excited for a new little scrunchy newborn to love...but I am treasuring every single moment I have with this precious little boy.  I can't imagine anything better in the whole world than my house...right now.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Memorization Monday: 12-5-11

"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"

Micah 6:8

kindness: translated in some translations as mercy

I didn't memorize the entire context, but to study, it is important to read the two preceding verses:

Mic 6:6  "With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Mic 6:7  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"
Mic 6:8  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

I feel the people's groaning in my own heart.  What!?!  What can I do to be enough?  In a time when one ram was considered justification, they offer thousands, even offering their children up to be sacrificed.  Their need for repentance...for peace...was thick with pain and longing.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary: "Those who are fully convinced of sin, and of their misery and danger by reason of it, would give all the world, if they had it, for peace and pardon."


Now, first of all....we have to state the unstated...the assumed.  God is outlining what we should do to live in obedience to Him...not to earn salvation.


Maclaren: "The gift of God is Jesus Christ, and that gift meets all our failures."


We have been justified by Jesus Christ...and until we are justified, no amount of doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with God are possible.  Trying to do those things without the redemption of Christ is exactly what gets us to the point of frustration...trying to offer scores of rams for our shortcomings.

But God tells us...Once He has redeemed us...to walk with Him is not complicated or difficult.  He gives us simple guidelines to help clear our thinking when we are muddied and confused about what will please Him.  More important than any justification we can try to offer...is obedience.

1 Samuel 15:22 "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LordBehold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams."


Henry: "We need not trouble ourselves to make proposals, the terms are already settled and laid down. He whom we have offended, and to whom we are accountable, has told us upon what conditions he will be reconciled to us."


He will be reconciled to us if we claim that the death of Jesus Christ has justified our sin!  The terms are already paid...and in that we have power to obey!


I love that when I studied this in the Hebrew...there were no tricky translations or interesting word choices...the truth is simple.  To walk in obedience with Christ, we should be just in our dealings with others, looking out for those to whom justice is not being given. We must love kindness...mercy.  To love something, we have to know it.  We have been given the greatest mercy and kindness imaginable on the cross...to withhold that from another is unthinkable.  (But let's be honest, I do it all the time!)  To walk with humility with God...to know Him because my time, heart, and priorities put Him first...being honest about my position in His kingdom as both heir and adopted child.  May I remember to do justice when it would be easier to walk away instead of fighting for the rejected...may I love kindness when I am treated unfairly and no remorse comes from the offending party. May I walk humbly with my God in every moment...because that is the greatest gift I have been given- a precious relationship with the most high God.


And in all things, I remember that obedience is only possible because Jesus Christ has redeemed me and made me new!


"The gift of God is Jesus Christ, and that gift meets all our failures."


This week, I will be working on:

"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."

1 Corinthians 15:56-58

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Teeny Tiny Itty Bitty


November 2, 2011
Dear Teeny Tiny Itty Bitty,
Your first picture.  You're a teeny little blur and simultaneously the most perfect little thing.  You are actually younger than the picture tells.  When this was taken, I was 6 weeks, 5 days along.  (My due date is our anniversary...June 8th...I can't think of a more perfect way to celebrate our marriage!)  That means you had barely been in existence 5 weeks.  And you had a heartbeat.  That sound is one of the most longed for, beautiful sounds in this world, sweet baby.  It was so moving...so miraculous to see evidence of new life- so secretive and perfect.  I can't believe how much I already love you.  I felt the same way with Carter...I don't know why it surprises me so much.  I think there is just something about knowing.  I now know what it feels like to hold a baby...my baby in my arms.  I know that rush of love that only a mother feels.  So, for you sweet baby, I already feel it though I've yet to hold you.  I already feel that love without even seeing your face.

You are making me extraordinarily mushy these days.  I already cry more often than I did before...and I know hormones make you crazy when you're pregnant...but sweet baby...I teared up when I picked up a block of cheese in Wal-Mart the other day because it made me think of how much Carter loves it...and how much I used to love the cheese at Ma's house more than any other in the whole world.  If a block of cheese can make me tear up, good gracious..I'm not sure what I am going to do with myself for 9 months.  (PS: I also teared up just writing this...it's getting totally out of control.)

Also.  I would like to commend you.  You are making me a bit sick...but luckily it's just enough to assure me I'm still pregnant (since we aren't really telling people yet, it almost doesn't seem real yet!) while not immobilizing me.  I have discovered that ginger is a total miracle worker.  I made some homemade ginger ale that kicks my nausea within the first few sips.  Seriously.  (Side note: Readers...you totally have to make this.  If you like ginger.  It doesn't taste like store-bought ginger ale [that doesn't even typically have real ginger in it], but it tastes delicious in its own rite.  And?  It's easy.  And?  It makes me feel better in half a second.  Done.  Make it.  You'll thank yourself.)

Little baby, we are almost nine weeks into this journey.  Not too much longer and our big secret will be out!  I can't wait.  There is already so much love for you...words can't even describe.

I love you, sweet baby.

Love always,
Mama

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Thanksgiving

First of all, let's just do a side by side comparison from last Thanksgiving to this year.

How is that possible?


Moving on.

We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving with both sides of my family.  Carter ran about from person to person, climbing steps and throwing pecans to his heart's delight.

He had much more fun than this picture would suggest...it was just too beautiful not to post!

He spends half his time in this position...righting himself from a near fall from going too fast!




 This is Carter's new smile.  Eyes scrunched, smile big...directed at anyone who will smile back.


Notice Andi's smile here.  Guess who wasn't smiling anymore when Carter's entire Thanksgiving lunch came up?  Yeah.  That whole "gagging himself" thing is less funny when you're the person holding him! :)

New clothes...reaching up for Mama's hand.  We have much to be thankful for, indeed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dear Baby: Love always

September 30, 2011

Dear Baby,
Anytime your Daddy writes a letter to me, he signs it "love always" or just "always" because I know just what he means.

Love...forever.  He is committed to a love that chooses, fights, and endures.  Love, always.  That's the way we already feel for you, sweet baby.

Tests confirmed today what I have known in my heart for a few days.  You are on your way.  As I write this, no one knows but me and you.  I won't be keeping it a secret for long, but for right now, I feel like Mary in Luke, treasuring these things and pondering them in my heart.  When your Daddy gets home, I'll have a cinnamon bun in the oven.  Yes, he loves cinnamon buns, but I wonder if he'll pick up that we have a new "bun in the oven".  I've been dropping the phrase lately to make sure he knows what that means!  He will be so excited, sweet one.  We will rejoice together that God has given us new life to love and nurture in Him.


Sweet baby.  You are a total mystery right now.  We don't know if you're a boy or a girl.  We don't know when you'll arrive (though it will probably be around the time your Daddy and I celebrate our fourth anniversary or maybe even around your Daddy's birthday) or what you'll be like.  We don't know your tendencies, strengths, weaknesses, or passions.  Not yet.  But baby?  I know one thing. 


You are loved.


Our love has nothing to do with what you are like or what you do in this life.  You can't earn it and it can't be taken away.  You are loved because you are our child.  We will love you fully and unconditionally our entire lives.  Baby, we are not perfect people, your Daddy and me.  But we do have the Spirit of the living God in us, and He has filled us with a love that will follow you all your life.  


As soon as I found out I was pregnant this morning, I thought of Hannah and Samuel.  Though we have been blessed to not struggle with becoming pregnant, my heart resonated with Hannah's as I read about her praying earnestly for Samuel to be conceived.  Sweet one, we have prayed for you already.  We have hoped for you and anticipated your arrival.  Hannah then committed her tiny baby to the Lord, acknowledging God's grace in her life by naming him "Samuel" (God heard/requested of God).   She prays: 
  And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;

my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
There is none holy like the Lord: 
because I rejoice in your salvation.



for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.


Sweet child, our hearts exult and we rejoice in this gift God has given us from His grace.  We pray we will love you with His perfect love.  Always.


We can't wait to meet you, know you, and to introduce you to the cutest, best big brother in the whole wide world.


Love always,
Mama

Monday, November 28, 2011

Memorization Monday: 11-28-11

Good morning!  I hope you are all recuperating from your turkey/casserole/pie/cake/football/family ecstasy and enjoying your Monday.  We really had the perfect Thanksgiving...but there is also something so nice about being home and back in routine.  I hope you are also enjoying it.

This week I am memorizing Micah 6:8.  It is a simple, straightforward verse with such clear reminders of the truth of God.


"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

I heard this verse in a song recently as I was popping out of the car...bringing it back to my mind.  I've hung this verse in variety of bedrooms, posted it on the front of a few notebooks, and doodled it on things throughout the years, but I've never really studied and committed it to memory.  I am praying the Lord uses it in my heart to change me.

Have a great post-Thanksgiving Monday...it's Christmas season!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Castillo Party of...5!


That's right!  This Thanksgiving we are celebrating so many things for which we are grateful, not the least of which is a new member to our little family!  We are expecting a sweet baby on June 8th of next year.  Please keep us in your prayers as the baby grows and prepares for his/her big arrival.  Carter has been and is the most fun, precious, stretching, and joyful experience for Steven and me...we cannot wait to add to our joy.  The Lord has blessed us many times over what we deserve...we are so grateful He has entrusted us with another little life to nurture!

I am 12 weeks along and will be posting pictures of my "progress" soon as well as a few posts I wrote to publish once we made the big announcement.  I can't believe how much I'm already showing.  I haven't gained any weight yet, but I can definitely tell that there is a baby growing!  Hopefully, I'll also get back up to speed with Memorization Mondays and Letters to Carter...I've just been SO TIRED that I haven't been able to keep up with everything lately.  Something had to give!  I'm hoping that will continue to improve, and I will catch up!

Thank you, as always, for following us on our journey as we've grown from two kids madly in love, to caring for a pup, welcoming a sweet baby who's grown to a toddler...and now preparing to become a family of 5!  What are we most thankful for this year?

Family.  Especially our little family of 5!

PS: I am sure you are aware by now...Wordless Wednesday has much, much more to do with there being a picture than a word count.  It's who I am. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Memorization Monday: 11-14-11

Memorization Monday
Oh I'll just post it one day late.  
Two days.  
Three days
Memorization Thursday?  

Oh boy.  

When you name something by a day of the week, you really just set yourself up, don't you?

Sigh.

Memorization Friday...just doesn't have the same ring.

Oh well. It is what it is, right?


Rom 8:16-17
"The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him."

bears witness: G4828 συμμαρτυρέω summartureō soom-mar-too-reh'-o
From G4862 and G3140; to testify jointly, that is, corroborate by (concurrent) evidence: - testify unto, (also) bear witness (with).

I am so grateful Christ stands beside me to testify that I am indeed His and that my sins were legitimately covered by His blood.  I am so grateful that He will be there on the day judgement is pronounced on my soul...but also as I walk in life.  He "testifies jointly" and "corroborates" by redemption when I am tempted to walk in shame and condemnation.  And as I learned so long ago when I started this chapter, "there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."  I am so grateful He stands beside me to bear witness of this forgiveness!

Gill: "...He makes them heirs; they are not so by nature, nor do they become such by the works of the law; but God his rich grace adopts them into his family, begets them again, and freely bestows the inheritance on them: or subjectively, they are heirs of himself; he not only makes them his heirs, but he himself is their inheritance and portion;"

Num 18:20  "And the LORD said to Aaron, "You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel."

Psalm 16:5 "The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot."

Revelation 21:7 "The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son."


What inheritance could be better?  In our adoption as children of God, we become heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.  This involves all sorts of glory when we are in heaven, but the greatest part of our heritage as children of God is our Father.  His fatherhood to us...His involvement in our hearts and every intimate detail of our life...His fulfillment of every desire of our hearts...this is the greatest inheritance we will ever know.  Praise God!  


And with that...Romans 8:1-17 is memorized!  I really can't believe it.  This verse is now hidden in my heart to remind me of truth when I have forgotten or others need it spoken.  It is an incredible testament to God's grace being enough when we aren't, considering memorizing anything is my utter downfall in life.  I am so, so grateful that I do not end in myself and my own abilities.  


With that, I am going to take the rest (all 2 days of it) of the week off and just plan to not do anything new next week with Thanksgiving and busy plans taking up our time.  I will be back in the last week of November though to start up again!


Romans 8:1-17



"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that therequirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
  So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him."