Rourke is HUGE! Really, he is a big dude. He is learning to ride his bike and is a gentle, loving big brother. He's a big help to me and I am so blessed by the way he really loves his sisters! Amazingly, you can't take the boy out of him. He has a good buddy, Jay, and every time they get together they immediately pull out the noodles and just wale on each other!
Lydia is all girl! She loves shoes, princess dresses, shoes, crowns, jewelery, and shoes. She is so sweet. She is a good little mommy too. Lydia is so nurturning toward her baby doll, she coos at her, tucks her into bed, comforts baby when she is sad, it's really cute. She also loves to play with Zinnia & Esther.
Francesca "Funny Face" keeps us on our toes. She is so silly, has the cutest little voice, and is a joy! She isn't really into anything particular except swinging. She could swing the entire day and the smile on her face is priceless, you can see that she is really enjoying herself. She is a pretty good playmate for both Rourke & Lydia as she happily jumps in on what they are doing.
Zinnia is hilarious! She loves to dance and has this speed crawl. For a long time she just dragged herself around like a butterfly stroke in the pool. She may very well be a fast swimmer! Now she does this half gallop where her body stays still, but her arms and legs are moving at the speed of light. She HATES getting her nose cleaned...which is a problem because it's always full. We are in love with her blonde hair & blue eyes, she is a charmer for sure!
Esther is well, sweet. She has a precious smile combined with her dark hair & big blue eyes she just melts you! She too likes to dance and is a fan of making noises & screaches. She was quick to learn a few signs and waves her whole body when she tells us, "all done." Today she copied me when I said, "uh oh." It was cute to hear her "talk." She is a good eater, really, really loves momma, and doesn't like to sleep. Both Esther & Zinnia are still pretty small, so it's fun to have babies that are still cradle & snuggle size!
Anthony is a gift to all of us. His love for Jesus propels our family toward things that are good, right & healthy. He is truly my best friend and my mate. He loves, encourages, & cares for me with intention and in all of the ways I need him. Just last week he surprised me with a candlelight dinner, complete with delicious wine, chocolate cake, and dancing. Our kids ADORE their dad. Zinnia especially is a little daddy's girl. He is an example of strength and integrity toward our son. He is a charming prince for our daughters and Lydia is so proud to tell everyone that she is daddy's princess. He is a really awesome horse and lion. He is a hard worker and provides for our family with integrity and God has blessed him in his job where he is respected and continues to succeed.
Over the last year he has spent many hours coaching (sort of a discipleship/mentorship relationship) other discipleship team leaders in our church and it has been a joy for him to spend time praying for and seeing these men grow as they together are striving to learn more about what it means to trust & follow Christ, love their wives & be dads that are winning the hearts of their kids. It has been mutually encouraging for him to build these relationships with men from our church who love Jesus! I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my husband!
I have heard this analogy that there is a season in life as a mother when you are in a submarine. Where from the surface it doesn't look like much is going on, but really, deep under the water there is an intense amount of activity. I am tempted to sit here and write about all the great parts of my life (and there are many), but that's just not completely honest. Daily life for me is not always easy and not always fun. I often find myself struggling to control the fit welling up within me and just striving to make the next right choice...because it is hard...of course it is, God has given me, along with Anthony, the privilege of shepherding 5 precious souls and they are young and needy.
I am learning what is actually restful for me, how to ask for help when I need it, and that for a season, life in a submarine is a good, right thing. I am learning that I can still absolutely love my friends if I don't get to really connect with them for weeks at a time. I am learning that a washcloth, awkwardly folded in the linen closet, is a gift from a 3 year old girl who wants to help. I am learning that I don't need to make every meal from scratch. I am learning that I love to teach my children, doing their little preschool lessons a few times a week is fun! I am learning to seek Jesus throughout my day. I am learning to forgo the household tasks and read a book, I've read 5 since the 4th of July & it has been so much fun! I am learning to scrape away and peel off protective fig leaves of pride and comparison and allow Christ to be my only...to give him the glory for his working in my life rather than cling to my own self-sufficiency and good ideas. I'm learning to fight against Satan's ploys to steal & destroy my view of who God is and what He says about me (and you too!). I'm learning that "having it all together" is lame and just puts so much pressure on me to perform and sometimes I fall apart and that's okay as long as I am falling into the ever open arms of Jesus.
I do love Jesus and have been recently refreshed in the amazing way he was fully man, able to sympathize with my weaknesses in every way; and amazed that he is also fully God, able to draw me to his throne of grace and mercy! I am not alone and when it is hard, that's okay because Jesus promises to help me! (Hebrews 4:15-16) I am thankful that Jesus laid down his life for my sins and there are no righteous, good, noble works I could ever do to earn that freedom from sin. It is such a relief to know that I don't have to worry about anyone's opinion of me, I don't have to live up any one else's standards for my life because the only measurement of my life that matters was already calculated at the cross. Thank you, Jesus for meeting all of my needs!
Here's a bunch of photos...8 months of photos. Enjoy them!! I did put captions on a lot of them, so it's sort of like blogging...right? Let me know if you want any of these and I'll send them to you in a higher quality file.