Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Update on our favorite resources

I wanted to do an update on this post about our favorite parenting books and resources, as it's changed a little. If you aren't currently pregnant or have a newborn at home, this post will be really boring for you! If that leaves you disappointed, here you go: a treat just for you.

No fancy pics this time, just a list...

  • What to Expect the First Year  - I still read this occasionally but I found it took too much time to read it, and I am able to gauge Drew's development through the babies in my PEPS group (see below) and from my doctor to feel confident at where he is at.
  • Baby Sign Language Basics - We definitely use sign language, but I just usually google a sign for a word if I don't know it. So far, I can tell Drew understands me, but I don't think he's anywhere near being able to sign anything back to me.
Still using
  • Bible - if I don't read this at least every other day, I become a mean mommy and whiny wife
  • The Power of a Praying Parent (and the The Power of a Praying Wife) - part of my quiet time routine
  • On Becoming Baby Wise, On Becoming Baby Wise, Book Two - Drew is a Babywise baby, and we're obviously huge fans of the method. It's primarily a "sleep training" method, but the benefits far surpass just sleep training. If you haven't read the books, or don't have time, this blog is a good resource. There is also a Facebook group that's a fantastic resource.
  • WonderWeeks App on my iPhone - I don't check this that often, but usually when Drew is extra fussy he's going through a developmental leap. I like reading about the leaps, and there are tips on how to help your baby through the leap. If nothing else, it keeps me from getting to the end of my rope when I can better understand what he's going through.
  • Gymboree - The Parent's Guide to Play - If I ever find myself just staring at Drew kinda bored (this rarely happens), I whip this book out. Thus, it stays on my list.
  • The Growing Child - This subscription was a sweet gift from the family I nanny for. I still read these while Drew is taking his baths. I like the little anecdotes and stories that are included. 
  • Gospel-Powered Parenting - I've read this before, and loved it. We aren't quite there yet with Drew, but I've got it out and ready to read in the coming months as a refresher.
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart - Haven't read this yet, but I know it will be a resource we will use.


  • Baby Brain Rules - LOVE. L, O, V, E. Love. Must read. I can't praise this book enough. 
  • www.lucieslist.com: I used this when I was registering for baby gear, but continue to consult it. Her e-mails are fantastically hilarious, so definitely sign up for them.
  • www.amazon.com: obviously an old favorite (we abuse our Prime membership), but I realized I rely on Amazon almost exclusively (other than Lucie's List) to tell me which products to buy based on reviews. 
  • Edmonds Moms group on Facebook: this is a private group on Facebook that is for moms that work/play/live in Edmonds. What a great resource! With over 3,000 women, I can ask a question any time of day - or night - and get immediate answers. If you don't live in Edmonds, I encourage you to ask around to see if there is a group like this (on Facbeook) for your area.
  • My PEPS group: if you are pregnant or have a new baby, join a PEPS group. I have a vast support system (including a fab husband) and nannied for 12 years before having a baby, and I would go so far as to say I may have completely fallen apart without my PEPS group. I love my PEPS group and we still get together often (and keep up on Facebook and over e-mail). 
Giving it grace: I like to learn. In fact, I enjoy learning. I can also take my joy for learning too far; I get easily frustrated when I can't "master" a topic. You can imagine my frustration when I first became a Christian and realized how long the Bible is...my brain was trying to calculate how long it would take me to "learn" the Bible. {Spoiler alert: you can never be done learning the Bible}. You can also imagine my frustration when Drew wasn't the baby I read about in my What to Expect the First Year book. By God's grace, I quickly grew comfortable with the reality that I can't "master" Drew, or being a parent (or a wife, or even a human!) for that matter. I can avail myself to the resources at my finger tips, pray until my knees are raw, and simply show up every morning. And that's all I've got. That's all I'm meant to have: my God-given brain, a teachable heart, and a weakness that demands God show up in the moments that happen in between the page turns, google searches, and late night product reviews. His grace fills in the gaps, His grace is the gaps. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter 2014

This year for Easter, we joined my family for the 10:30 service at Mars Hill Shoreline. It was so fun! Only on Easter is the sanctuary packed so full, people had to use the overflow room...and then the overflow room was full, so people used an empty Kids Ministry classroom. Full. House. Full house! All the kids are dressed in cute Easter outfits (Drew being the cutest, obviously) and running around eating cookies and holding balloons. Our Pastor preached a great, to-the-point sermon about the Resurrection, and what it is we are celebrating. Great morning!

After that, Kyle and I headed over to his grandma Eva's house to have Easter brunch with Kyle's family. The food did not disappoint! Drew also took a super long nap, so Kyle and I were able to eat in peace and visit with family. After brunch, there was an Easter Egg hunt for the cousins. Kyle "helped" Drew gets some eggs on his first egg hunt. It was a lot of commotion in the yard, so Drew was somewhat tentative about the whole thing. I'm noticing his personality is to be very cautious about new things or situations. I think he gets that from Kyle; Kyle tends to hang back and assess a room before diving in. As I'm getting older, I'm tending more toward that direction too. But certainly in the past I've been the type to just walk right in and get down to business, whatever that may be. Anyway, I love noticing Drew's personality as it develops.

Drew was pleased to find the eggs were filled with baby Puffs for him to eat!

Family pic - with a grumpy Drew
Almost got a smile out of him!

Giving it grace: I don't really feel qualified to talk about "grace" relating to "Easter". Or I guess I don't really even know where to start with it, or where to go with it, or how to end it. Resurrection Sunday is such a momentous display of God's grace, I don't feel that I am able to fully explain such a concept. I mean, the reality of it is that nothing better demonstrates God's grace for us than Him sending His son to atone for the sin of the world (Good Friday). And then the grace doesn't end. Jesus triumphs over death (Resurrection Sunday), by God's design, and is alive today for us to be in relationship with. That's almost beyond my comprehension of grace.
My sister and I were baptized on Easter four years ago, so I always get a little emotional at Easter. I had no idea four years ago where that outward proclamation of an inward faith would take me. Over the past four years, God has transformed my life magnificently with His grace and love, and while that's worth celebration all year long, it's especially significant to me on Resurrection Sunday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Drew: 9 Months

Drew loves: Going on many months of "standing" being his favorite thing ever. He'll stand anywhere he can put his feet! Which is funny, because I spend all day thinking about any possible reason to sit down...
I think he's really starting to love his Lovie Lamb and his binky (both only for sleeping). He's getting consistent at going down to sleep anywhere I put him - as long as he has those two items. This has been great for me when taking him to the house where I nanny, and we can now put him to bed at community group on Tuesday evenings (and he tolerates the transfer back home to his own bed without a fuss). Using the Babywise Method has truly paid off for us!
He likes water from a sippy cup, which officially makes him the only member of our family who likes to drink plain water...probably because he's not yet tasted juice or soda. And we're going to keep it that way as long as we possibly can (or until Grandpa Pete gives him grape soda...can we really stand in the way of that?).
He also loves taking things out of a container, and then putting them back in. Please Jesus, let this be a sign that my kid likes to keep things tidy and organized. Can you picture it now...Mom and son dates to The Container Store?!

Drew hates: Well, obviously, he hates not standing. If it's a means-to-the-end-of standing, he'll tolerate it. That includes sitting while he takes a break from standing, or crawling to a new place to stand. We're happy to oblige, as frankly I think the sooner he can walk the happier we'll all be. Walking is the obvious next step from standing (pun not intended, but it fits so perfectly I'm tempted to say it was intended), so we try to help him stand as much as he wants. Which is every minute of every hour...important to know if you plan on taking him to a restaurant thinking he'll sit in a chair, because he will not. He will stand in a chair, for the entire two hours you are celebrating your grandma's birthday. But everything he does is ridiculously cut so it's impossible to even be mad!

Milestones: He got two more teeth on top, with two more making their way in. We used to call him "Drewdle Bug"; now we just call him "Drooldle"!
At swimming, I had my friend (who does swim lessons with her little girl) dunk Drew under water. He wasn't phased by it at all, and then I tried it on him just to make sure it wasn't a fluke. He seems to love the pool, and water, so I'm counting that as a milestone as some babies take a long time to warm up to the water (was that another pun? Warm up...water...warm water?)
Crawling is the biggest milestone right now. Although, it's been kind of anti-climatic as he's somewhat indifferent to it. He does it, but really he just crawls so he can get somewhere new to stand. And then he stands. He's getting more brave with the standing; he likes you to pull him up to standing, and then he bats your hands away so he can stand unassisted for a few seconds. He then falls forward into your lap and screams in delight. Repeat, repeat, repeat!

Ok, I think I've exhausted the topic of "standing"...so now: pictures!

More fun at the park on the swings!
He just laughs and laughs
Taking a break, just hanging out
He likes to stand at the top of the play structure and watch the other kids play down below
Too much fun at the park!
The weather has been nicer, so I try to get outside with Drew as much as possible.
This day we had a picnic lunch with Lynette and Samson down by the beach.
Drew got a walker from his cousins and he LOVES it.
He likes it when it's lined up next to his activity table, and then he pivots back and forth
between the two pushing all the buttons. Keeps him busy!
My guys!
Saturday mornings Kyle lets me sleep in, but one Saturday morning
I caught this reading time between Kyle and Drew...such a good daddy!

Another nice run of weather called for Saturday night dinner at the park!
Drew wishing he could walk over to the swings...
We finished off the weekend with another picnic dinner at Greenlake
Drew and dad eating dinner
Mom and Drew enjoying the sunshine
Caught Drew in the act of his new favorite activity: STAND and then fall forward
(and hope that mom catches him!). Somehow I snapped this pic and managed to
catch up as he basically jumped off the couch!
Snapped a pic of these gorgeous flowers on my
morning walk with the little boy I nanny
Drew and his buddy Miles on the way home from a quaint afternoon at the pocket park.
Tiny baseball caps and baby jeans...my heart rejoices!
My BFF Kaleigh was in town for a quick visit, so Drew got to see his girlfriend Neva again!
Drew got a little handsy...
Holding hands...
Just like the first time they met!

We happened to catch his first moments of crawling on camera. Catching a "first" on camera is like a parenting Super Bowl win (or something else really cool that doesn't happen very often, like 80 degrees in Seattle before July 5th):

And now, some Easter cuteness:

Giving it Grace:
My sister Brooke recently returned from a short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic. The University Presbyterian Church in Seattle (where my sister interns) took a group of students to the DR through an organization called Children of the Nations. She spent a week there working on various projects, and had an amazing experience. When she got home, she was going on and on about a little boy who had latched onto her while she was there. Through some strained conversations with him (because of the language barrier), she was able to find out his name and a few details about his family. Listening to her talk about this little boy, it was clear God had really placed him on her heart. When she returned to the US, she made contact with one of the Children of the Nations employees located in the DR. Based on the information she provided, the employee was able to locate the little boy and determine that he is not currently sponsored. Brooke texted me a few days ago to tell me that she gets to sponsor him! She is so thrilled, and I am in awe of God's provision for this little boy - if even in a small way, for just a season - through my sister.

This series of events has been on my heart, as it's such a real reminder to me of who Drew's ultimate provider is. It's not me, it's not Kyle, it's Him. I know I've talked about this before, but I need to be reminded of this frequently. While we know that God certainly favors the family unit, He is not restricted to providing through it. Watching God use my sister to provide for a little boy in another country reminds me that God is not constrained by what constrains us. I find that so awesome! How big does that make our God? How small does that make us? The Bible says that we are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:14); that's how small we are. I want to be small, and I want God to be big. When it's the other way around, when I'm big in my own eyes and God is small in my heart...that's a very bad day to be having.

Before I finish, it's Easter this Sunday! Woo! If you don't have plans or a church to attend, the invite it open to attend with our family~