Monday, December 22, 2014

Year End Book Review 2014

So it has been a really long time since I have blogged.  Being a father and a husband takes a lot of time away from sharing tales of adventure from the life of the Baareman's and believe there have been plenty.  It's just hard to keep up.  But the one post I usually have time for, and this year is no different is my year end book review.  This post started out of challenge from my bride to make a new years resolution.  I never used to make them, but several years ago I decided that I would read at least 5 books every year.  I am happy to say that I have met that goal every year since I started.  And in fact, this year I exceeded the goal and made it to 7 books thanks to not having cable.  No, Laura, I will not bump the number of books per year.  But anyway, this year was a fantastic year of reading.  I read some great books ever and many have them have greatly impacted my life and my walk with God.  So I hope you enjoy my synopsis and I hope that you pick one of these books up to read.

Coffee with Calvin - While this book is actually more of a daily devotional I am counting it.  I read this for the first few months of the start of this year, nearly daily as part of my time with God.  I really enjoyed the devotionals.  The author takes different excerpts from John Calvin's theological institutes (which he wrote at the ripe old age of 27), unpacks them briefly and then provides biblical back up and life application.  So it's kind of an easy way to see how depth of theology can have a tremendous impact on not only what we believe but how we live our lives for Christ and how we interact with others around us.  I thought this book was great and it was especially cool to read the thoughts of one of the great reformer's of the faith.  Pick it up and add it to your daily devotions.  You won't be disappointed.

The Autobiography of George Muller - The story and journaling of this man's life was simply incredible.  This book has had the greatest impact on my life as a follower of Christ than any other I have ever read sans the Bible.  George Muller grew up in Prussia and eventually became a missionary/Pastor to England in the mid to late 1800's.  From the outset he believed that he had a special call on his life to demonstrate the goodness and reliability of our God through constant prayer.  After pastoring for awhile, he was moved to build an orphanage in England.  Not only moved to start on but also to not ask for a single penny.  He would fund everything solely through prayer.  It was incredible to read sections of his daily journal at the timely answers of our God to there needs for His glory.  George writes this almost as a letter to future believers and throughout the book offers many points of challenge and advice as we strive for Christ.  He also provides sharp commentary to stewardship which will be sure to make you think.  The  tow big take aways of many from this man's life is that he was an ordinary man living in Christ and does not want to be elevated as some special saint.  He just implores you to look at the evidence and realize it is the same God and He is faithful.  And two, that you will never ever regret investing in the kingdom of God.  This book is long and at times a bit arduous, but you will never regret reading it.  It should be required reading in Godly homes.  I give this book 5 gajillion stars.

Son of Hamas - So, confession...I didn't actually read this book.  But I did listen to it as a book on tape through Audible.  This was my first book on tape so I got to "read it" on long trips to Atlanta and back.  This book is a little different then some I've read but I enjoyed it none the less.  In fact, this was a fantastic book.  It is the story of man named Mosab Hassan Yousef.  He grew up as a young boy in Palestine as the son of one of the most influential muslim Sheiks and founder of Hamas, Sheik Hassan Yousef.  He describes life growing up in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. He recounts times when his father would be detained for months in Israeli prisons and questioned for information regarding terrorism activities.  As Mosab grows older he becomes personally involved in the conflict fighting against Israeli's as apart of Hamas. He is also captured, tortured, but ironically ends up becoming a double agent for the Shinbet, the Israeli CIA.  This book is filled with emotion and action as the author describes from a most unique perspective the history, the daily effect of war,  and the hatred between people in this ongoing conflict that only Christ can heal.  All is not lost though, in the midst of all of the turmoil, Mosab meets some Christians and begins to read the Bible. He finally recants Islam and Mohammed for Jesus and eternal life.  This book is a full display of God's redemptive power through unimaginable circumstances but also provides helpful information in approaching the two people groups in this conflict.  This book is a fascinating, gripping thriller of a book with a powerful message.

The Gospel at Work - This was a much lighter and thinner book then some of the previous reads but a great book none the less.  Co-authored by a pastor and a veteran business man, this book delves into practical ways to approach our work in light of the Gospel.  The authors balance throughout the entirety of the book that one cannot be lazy in work nor can one make work an idol.  The book starts with redefining work in light of Biblical worldview describing that we were made to work and work is a good thing that has been tainted by the fall.  After a proper theological framework the book gets real practical and highlights chapters on being a Godly boss, being a Godly employee, looking at new jobs in light of the Gospel, and ultimately incorporating our faith in the workplace so people see and hear a difference in our attitudes and our conversations.

Weakness is the Way - This is a short but rather deep book written by J.I. Packer.  This was the first book i've read by J.I. (Knowing God is his most famous book but I will get to that back maybe in 2015.)  I really enjoyed it but he is deep thinker and writer, however he does not leave the reader in the dust but provides excellent application.  The book centers around 2 Cor which states "for my grace is sufficient for my power is made perfect in your weakness."  After providing very interesting background into the history and context of Paul's letter to the church at Corinth, he goes on to describe how self preservation and thinking we can do everything in our power has a negative impact not only in our lives as we walk with God but diminishes the power of the Gospel.  He ties this concept to many applicable areas of life including giving and stewardship which I thought was interesting.  A great read and lots of good take aways.  I would highly recommend this book.

To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain - This was book is written by Matt Chandler.  It was the first book I've ever read by him and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I have listened to him preach and I know he has ties to The Gospel Coalition so I was familiar with him but had never read any of his books.  This book is centered on Paul's letter - Phillipians.  After providing some interesting history and background from the book of Acts on the church in Phillipi, Mr. Chandler jumps right into his central theme of the book which is holy discontent.  He breaks down many of Paul's statements in the book of Phillipians that apply to several aspects of our life to ultimately help you ask the question is Christ supreme in your life.  Do you have a holy discontent in which you are never satisfied with your walk with God.  Do you want to go deeper with God, serve Him more, even to have the attitude that to die is gain.  I really enjoyed this book.  Matt Chandler is an entertaining writer so it reads easily.  This is a great book to read if you are or are not studying the book of Phillipians.

The Soul Winner - Last but not least.  It wouldn't be a good reading year if I didn't include my boy Mr. C.H Spurgeon.  I love reading Spurgeon whether it be his sermons, his life story or his books.  This was a great book and it is classic Spurgeon.  It is essentially several lectures that he gave to seminary students and young pastors on soul winning and then all compiled together in one book.  So while it is geared toward pastors, there was still much to learn.  I especially appreciated his insights as a Sunday School teacher and a church Deacon.  He takes time to outline essentially how to win souls.  Now before you freak out and say "people don't save people, only God does"  relax.  This is Spurgeon we are talking about.  The whole first chapter is essentially a theological defense that regeneration and salvation are only a work of God and the Holy Spirit.  So in light of that he encourages young pastors and educates seminary students on practical things to assist in soul winning.  Spurgeon talks about our attitudes, do we expect God to save people through our messages to the people or do we have an attitude of indifference?  Are we actively praying for God to save souls?  Is there sin in our life? Are we two prideful?  So he discusses pitfalls and success in doing the work of soul winning.  There are a lot of insights from the prince of preachers and a man of faith who had a passion for people to come to Jesus.  I enjoyed the book but it may not be for everyone.

Well, I hope you pick up some of these this year and read away.  If you want to see past years just click the year: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013  Thanks for stopping by and finding out about some great reads.  What were some of your favorite books that you read this year?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mom Thoughts - Nov. 2014

Mom Thoughts 
  • I love the time that I have for more social interaction during the day time, and also in the evenings and on the weekend (since we aren't as behind running errands during the weekends like we used to be when I worked)
  • I love that I can actually go to my BSF Bible Study each Wed. morning. I used to have to miss about half of the time due to work, it is so nice to be able to go more consistently. 
  • I love that I don't have to worry/panic when I have a sick child. It used to be stressful to figure out how to take care of Lucy and also get my work done. Now it is still hard having sick kids but we can just have a low key day at home if someone is sick. 
  • It is also so nice to not worry about having a rough night sleep wise. Although I do need my energy, there is more flexibility if I'm more tired than usual, like I can relax during nap time or just watch some TV with the kids. 
  • It is super frustrating that I don't have time for projects like I thought I would. I would LOVE to paint the family room and hallway a nice grey paint color. I even have the paint in my closet right now! (leftover from our rental house paint job). I can't believe that I don't work and yet I can't find the time to paint! That is so ridiculous, but so true! My kids seem to always need my attention. In addition, there are so many books I'd like to read, runs/workouts I'd like to do, projects I'd like to accomplish and to do items that remain undone. The main thing that gets done in my house is taking care of my kids each day. I'm learning to be okay with that. 
  • It is hard to be on a tight budget while staying at home. I feel like all of a sudden I have so many ideas on how to spend money (on toys, our house, DIY projects, etc.) but ironically we have less money to spend so it is just frustrating. I'm learning to channel my love of shopping and spending money on the things we HAVE to spend money on - like food. So I've been having fun spending more time and energy on meal planning and cooking new dishes. 
  • I've been sick twice in the last few weeks, both when we've had family visiting. Because of this + the cold weather I haven't worked out barely at all. I really miss it and am thinking about joining a gym once I get better. I've learned it is really hard finding an ideal time to take the kids on a run/walk. Most of the time when I want to work out, they want to play (not sit still in a stroller!) 
  • I don't think there is anything better than seeing your kids laugh together, have a good time together, or make each other laugh. It is just a magical moment that is still very new to me (the last few months). I really hope to have more children so that I can see more of these sibling interactions as they grow up. 
  • As hard as it is taking care of two kids every day, I love that I'm pretty much always with them. I get to witness all of Bridget's new moves and Lucy's new words. It is super special. I'm very lucky. Thank you Lord for the priceless gift of being with my sweet girls every day! 

Bridget is 6 Months Old!

Things about Bridget I want to remember:
  • You have the best fuzzy head. I love it, but everyone thinks you are boy if you don't have a headband on! 
  • You have made me such a softy. I thought I would never nurse a baby to sleep (that would just be too much work!) but now I love to do it for you to relax you to bed. My favorite moments are you falling asleep in my arms and feeling you relax. 
  • You are really tough, so many times I think that Lucy has just hurt you and instead you laugh and giggle and smile at her so big. You adore your big sister. 
  • You are growing so fast. You aren't as big percentage wise anymore, I think you are 70% height, 80% weight (18 lbs), and 70% head size. You are wearing size 3 diapers and 9 month or 6-12 month clothing. 
  • This month you started crawling and sitting up by yourself (right after you turned 6 months old). Then a few weeks later you learned how to transition from sitting to crawling. You love to re-position yourself up and down, up and down over and over. 
  • When you don't want to go down for nap, you will sit in your crib and cry - it is so sad to watch on the video monitor. Sometimes you will stare right at the camera. 
  • You started eating baby food at 6 months and I am attempting to make it myself. I started with oatmeal cereal mixed with breast milk and you liked it a lot. When I switched to making it with formula (because I was running out of my frozen milk stash) you didn't like it at first, but now you do. Then we tried bananas and sweet potatoes, you liked both after the initial shock of a new taste. You didn't like apple sauce, but while we have been in Atlanta have tried some store bought baby food and you did like blueberry-applesauce, so I'll have to make that when we get home. Random story: I tried to make you steamed carrots and I steamed them so long (to make them extra soft for you) that I destroyed my pot. The water ran out in the bottom and melted the nonstick coating! I will admit I was trying to give Lucy a bath at the same time and Kristen was visiting so I was a tad distracted. Lesson learned, don't try to multi-task while making baby food! 
  • You are 6 1/2 months now and already pulling up on toys! It took you longer than Lucy to roll over, but you seem right on track with her with everything else. 
  • You have had an ear infection(s) since the beginning of October. You have been on 4 rounds on antibiotics and it didn't improve until the 4th round, and even then didn't clear up completely. We think that on the 3rd round the infection disappeared because your fever cleared up and you weren't as crabby anymore. However when the doctor checked your ears at your 6 month appt. she said there is still trapped fluid in there. We are taking you to an ENT on Dec. to see if you are a candidate for tubes. 
  • While you had the infection, you were crabby and didn't do well for the nursery at church or BSF. It turns out it was because the antibiotics weren't working for you and I thought they were! :( Well now you are back to your super happy self and doing well in the nursery again. The only remaining symptom is that you grab your ear especially while your feeding before bed. 
  • You love looking at books and grabbing the pages. Although it is hard to read to you and Lucy because you cover all the pictures and she can't see. 
  •  Your favorite toy is the blue owl. All we have to do is give it to you or hold it up in front of your face and you immediately giggle and laugh. 
  • You wake up once in the middle of the night to eat and wake up between 6-7 am. We prefer 7 am! We did sleep train you by letting you cry it out. It took about 1 week, but then you got sick and I sometimes had to give you medicine in the middle of the night or feed you to make you feel better and fall back to sleep, so we have regressed in that department. 
  • You recently moved to a two nap a day schedule. You wake up between 6:30-7:00, take a first nap at 10:00 and a 2nd nap around 2:30 or 3:00. She sleeps a total of 3 hours a day and goes to bed around 8:00 pm. 
  • You play really well by yourself now that you can move around and you love practicing your  new moves so much. You now can stay awake for about 3 hours at a time. You only get crabby towards the end of that period and want to be held and/or played with. 
  • You love to make a grabbing motion with your hand to feel new kinds of surfaces. You extend your whole hand and then make a fist over and over and over. It is pretty funny. 
  • Nursing you plus taking care of Lucy apparently has taken a toll on my body. I have been sick twice in the last few weeks. First with a horrible stomach bug, now with laryngitis. Boo! You are worth it though. 
  • I love holding you. You are so cuddly. This is such a cute fun age where you just sit there and play with toys - mostly sticking them in your mouth. You are such a joy Bridget! We love you so much! 

Lucy Update - Nov. 2014

 Things about Lucy I want to remember:
  • You love your little sister. You ask for her every night so you can kiss her goodnight. You kiss her twice, once on the top of the head and once on the cheek. You are still a little rough with her, most of the time innocently, but I have to keep my eye on you when you are with her. The  only exception to this is when you are watching TV and are totally focused in on it. 
  • You now give hugs and kisses to people and hugs and kisses to Mommy and Daddy every night. 
  • You love to pray before our meals. If we forget, you remind us to "pray" (things in parentheses are things you say). We all hold hands to pray. 
  • You like going places and going shopping. You prefer to walk around or at the very least sit in the back of the cart, but so far you haven't proved you are ready for this freedom. You went a little crazy in the "back" of the cart (sitting on the edges, taking everything out of its packages) when we tried it, so you have to sit in the front for now. 
  • You love crafts. You really light up any time we do a craft with you or let you "paint".
  • You aren't really big on toys right now which has been a challenge for us. If I'm doing chores, you would rather tag along and be my little shadow while looking very bored ;/ 
  • You do great at nursery for Sunday Mornings, Wed Night, BSF on Wed mornings, and MOPS every other Tuesday morning. I have been your Sunday School teacher during the 2nd hour this year. Of all the kids I have noticed that you LOVE crafts and activities more than most, you are lighter/smaller than most, are more assertive than most and you still have a little trouble pushing and shoving to get a toy you want or getting to the sink to play with the water. 
  • You are the world's best sleeper! You sleep from 8:00 pm to 7:00-30am every night. You normally nap from 1:30-3:30. Lately you have been skipping naps a few days a week, but I have you stay in your bed for 1 hour if you don't fall asleep and let you look at books. Then after 1 hour you can play in your room by yourself for about 15 min before you can come out. So far that has worked pretty well in getting you at least a little down time during the day. 
Things Lucy says!
  • "Ruh-Ruh" = the barking sound a dog makes. You says this for dog. Your favorite "Ruh-Ruh" is Roxy. You call Roxy "My Ruh-Ruh"
  • "Where go me?" - for playing peek-a-boo. In general you like to talk like Yoda. 
  • "Gigi and Pops house". This sentence was said a lot in anticipation for our visit over Thanksgiving. 
  • "Gamma Gamma" - Grandma and Grandpa (The Baaremans). You said "Gamma Gamma my how" a lot to talk about them coming to visit your house. 
  • "Nigh-Nigh" = going to bed. If you are tired you say "My Nigh-Nigh", if you don't want to go to sleep - normally at nap time it is "No Nigh-Nigh". You are starting to say more sentences like "No My Nigh Nigh". "Baby sissy Nigh Nigh", ect.  You also call beds "Nigh-Nigh", like "Mommy Daddy Nigh Nigh" for our bed. 
  • You can say names, you said my name "Laura" yesterday, and can also say Gigi, Pops, Roxy, Bridget, Lucy, etc. 
  • You call cars "Go" "My go", "mommy's go", "daddy's go", etc. 
  • You love talking about shoes. You have "blue shoes", "ligh (light) up shoes", "white shoes", "boots", etc. 
  • "No go daddy" - When you don't want Jason to leave
  • You know that daddy eats an "apple" every day for lunch so you say "eat apple daddy" a lot even when daddy isn't even home. 
  • "I Cold" for when you are cold, "I hot" most of the time when sunlight is shining on you.
  • You love tv so we hear these requests "Baby Animal Tee-Tee" for Charlotte's Web (your favorite), "Dora" "Baby Tee-Tee" for Creative Galaxy and "Blue Fox" for Tumble Leaf. 
  • You still love going "Outside" and you know to put on your shoes and coat to go outside. 
  • You still love baths "Baa" 
  • You know most animal sounds. Lately you've been doing a lot of monkey sounds "ohh ohh ahh ahh"
  • You call your squeeze packs of applesauce "my baby food" and when Bridget eats you say "Baby Sissy Babyfood" and you like to pull up a chair to watch her. 
  • You love to read your "Bible" before bed each night
  • "Where go (insert person's name here)?" 
  • Polite phrased we have been working on: "Help Please" "Help Me" "Excuse Me" "Please" 
Lucy, I'm so blessed to be your Mommy. You are learning so much and growing up so fast. I'm blessed to be able to witness it every day. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bridget is 4 Months Old!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17 

Bridget is 4 1/2 months old now! Time is really flying - evidenced by the fact that I didn't even write a 3 month post for Bridget!

The past two months have consisted of our family getting more into the normal groove of life with two kids. The first two months we had help from family and I spent a lot of time just hunkered down at home or out and about by myself. Recently we've enjoyed lots of play dates and social times since Bridget has been fine with longer stretches of awake time and I have been more confident in my abilities of keeping two children semi-under-control while hanging out with people. I've found that with two kids there is normally one of the two that gets short-changed. Being at the house in the AC playing with toys on the carpet is what Bridget would prefer most of the time. Lucy is okay with this but gets bored quickly and would prefer to play outside, go to the pool, paint or do some other messy project. In order to make Bridget happy, a lot of times that means Lucy will get bored, and to make Lucy happy that means Bridget will miss out on a good nap and instead have to nap on the go as long as she can in the car seat either while driving or at someone else's house. Then of course there is the added complication of doing what I want to do - normally that means neither of the two kids are in their ideal environment. I would like to go on a run or walk every day, or run tons of errands all at once- and I have to stop myself most of the time and realize that would not be fair to Bridget and/or Lucy. This is really teaching me a lot about selflessness. One of the hardest moments I had this past month was when I wanted to go visit my family and go to a huge consignment sale in Atlanta. I had planned on it for months, but when the time came both kids were sick and I realized I just couldn't do that to them. So I got to stay home with sick kids for 3 days instead of have fun shopping in Atlanta. But in the end, it was definitely the right decision to stay home.

Bridget continues to be SUCH a good baby! I don't know what I did to deserve this baby but I'm sure glad she's mine! Here are some things I want to remember about this age and the past two months:
  • She normally wakes up around 7:30, if she doesn't wake by then on her own, I wake her up and feed her. I like feeding her in peace and quiet while Jason is showering and getting ready for work. Sometimes Lucy wakes up on her own before 7:30, so then we have to figure out how to keep her occupied while I feed Bridget. Normally this means Lucy in our bed (a special treat) with a book to look at or watching TV - "Boo Coo" (Blue's Clues) or "No Boo Coo" (Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood) on our Roku - thank you Amazon Prime!  
  • After holding Bridget for about 5 minutes upright to burp (this time has gotten less and less over time), I can then put her down on a mat in the family room to play while Lucy plays too, we read to Lucy, or we are getting Lucy breakfast. Bridget will play contentedly by herself for quite awhile, but she is obviously happier in the kitchen with us if we are eating. She loves to look around at everyone. Her favorite thing is for me to hold her while I sit at the table so she can stand and look around at the food and everyone. Last night, I had Bridget in the high chair and Lucy wanted to have her booster seat moved next to Bridget (so cute!). Then this morning, she wanted me to face her chair so she could see Bridget in her swing. Another option that I utilize a lot is the swing in the kitchen. She likes it, although she is almost too big for it now. Speaking of which...
  • Bridget is a BIG baby! She was 16 lbs, 6 oz at her 4 month checkup. This is 90% weight, She was also 65% height (24.75 inches) and I think 90% head circumference (17 inches). I feel like I'm always explaining to people that she is a big baby. When I tell them she is 4 months, I feel like I need to explain why she looks more like a 6 month old! I thought I had everything planned out and that Bridget could wear Lucy's hand me down clothes. Well turns out she hasn't been able to wear a lot of it because she is so much bigger than Lucy was at this age. Right now she's wearing 6-12 month size clothes, which puts her in Lucy's winter clothes. Up until today it has been way too hot to use any of those. So long story short, Bridget has gotten lots of her own new clothes! Maybe this was her plan all along! :) 
  • Bridget is a very flexible baby. I think partly because I never nailed down a perfect Babywise schedule for her, and partly because she is just a pretty content, go-with-the-flow baby. We try to keep to this schedule for the most part:
    • 7:30 Wake and Eat
    • 7:30-9:30 Play
    • 9:30-10:30 Nap
    • 10:30 Wake and Eat
    • 10:30-1:00 Play
    • 1:00-3:00 Eat then put down for long nap during Lucy's nap
    • 3:00-5:00 Play - Eat somewhere in there. 
    • 5:00-6:00 Nap
    • 6:00-8:00 Play
    • 8:00 Eat then put down for bedtime
    • 3:00ish - 90% of the time she wakes up one time in the middle of the night to eat. Although the last two nights she has slept through the night until 6:30 am! 
  • However, with our current schedule, this gets flexed a lot. On Sundays, we have church at 9:20, so we leave the house at 9:00 and she's in her class until 12:30 because I help with Lucy's class in the 2nd hour. So her morning nap is botched normally. Every other Tuesday I have MOPS which is from 10:00-12:00 - again, morning nap happens but may be in segments in her car seat. Wednesdays we have BSF from 9:30-11:45, she normally sleeps at some point but the new environment ensures she won't fall asleep immediately after I drop her off. Wednesday nights we also have church from 6:15-7:30. All of these times except MOPS require that she take a bottle, so I'll normally pump some before we go and sometimes utilize some frozen stored milk. She takes a bottle pretty well and is normally pretty good for nursery workers but I have found that my very "good" baby is especially "good" for me. One time I picked her up from church nursery and she was absolutely hysterical because she hadn't drunk all of her bottle and hadn't napped...uh oh. Sorry nursery workers! Add to these disruptions other things like when she wakes up too early, other necessities like grocery shopping, and activities for Lucy and me (play dates, shopping, the library), and poor thing has no hope of having an 100% consistent sleeping schedule. I have felt guilty about it at times, but all in all, as long as she is fed approx. every 3 hours during the day and sleeps approx. 3 1/2 - 4 hours total during the day she is super happy. 
  • I normally run errands or have play dates in the morning, because the time period between the end of naps and Jason getting home (3:00-5:00) isn't quite long enough to get much done. Depending on when Bridget woke up for the day, she will either have her morning nap before the errands, or during. When she was 0-3 months old, she would stay asleep quite well during outings, but around 3 months, it got harder and harder to keep her asleep. From then on I know her morning nap (at its proper length) is at risk if we're out and about. One time she fell asleep in the car on the way to Publix. I tried to keep her asleep in transit from the car to the grocery cart, but at some point she woke up and cried almost the entire shopping trip because she was tired and couldn't fall back to sleep! :( I then made a mental note that it was better for her to have her nap at home, then I could run errands with her awake. This was quite the shift. Between 0-3 months, I pretty much had to be home during her "awake time" or she wouldn't stay awake for long enough. It took playing on a blanket or looking at toys and moving to keep her awake. Luckily during this phase she slept a lot and would stay asleep pretty well in transit - so as long as I made sure we ran errands during her sleeping time, things were good. Around 3 months, it was harder to keep her asleep, but she also got way easier to keep awake. Now, if it is her awake time, she will stay awake even if we are driving in the car. Plus, I've been using my Baby Bjorn A LOT because this is the best way to keep her happy and awake while we are out and about. She loves looking around at everything and loves getting to stretch out her legs. It is hard to get Lucy in and out of the front section of the grocery cart while Bridget is in the Bjorn, but somehow I do it without injuring Bridget! It also takes a little bit more time to get Bridget in and out of the car if I'm using the Bjorn because I have to unstrap her from her carseat, but I'm getting faster and faster with practice. 
  • Around 4 months old Bridget started to roll over, however she wasn't too fond of it. She would either accidentally roll over, or roll over with some assistance. It wasn't until about a week ago that she didn't get upset when we nudged her to roll over. In the past week, she has started to realize how fun it can be to be on her tummy. She has scooted as much as 180 degrees on her tummy and also rolled both ways on her own, However, she still isn't crazy about rolling and only does it rarely. 
  • Bridget has gotten more and more verbal recently and loves to make all sorts of cooing and squealing sounds. Sometimes it is hard to decipher whether she is crying/upset or just exploring new sounds. I love hearing her voice! 
  • Bridget loves to smile and laugh and it is soooo easy to get her to laugh. As long as she isn't tired she'll pretty much laugh every time I smile and say "Boo!" to her. She normally laughs so hard that she'll suck in air and get the hiccups! After visiting my sis in CA with my mom, they both agreed that while Bridget may be a little behind Lucy and Wyatt in motor development, she seems to be more verbal and easier to make laugh/smile. 
  • I copied Kristen and bought a new exersaucer for Bridget after seeing how much she loved the one Wyatt had and that her legs were long enough for it. I normally put her in there for about 15 minutes each awake time. 
  • She loves her sister Lucy and lights up every time she sees her. They love being close together but it still makes me nervous because Lucy is so unpredictable and half the time will try to pick up or roll Bridget over a little too roughly... 
  • Bridget is a pretty fast eater but lately has been getting more crazy while she eats - with flailing arms, kicking legs, moving head, etc. I used to be able to read on my iphone while nursing, but that's a lost cause now :( It takes one of my arms to hold her and them other one to keep her limbs under control most of the time.
  • I got a high chair, a walker, and a new swing for Bridget on Craigslist. I'm pretty sure Lucy burnt out our old swings motor by putting her dolls in it and playing with the buttons lol. Bridget is still a tad small for the high chair but she likes to sit up there and play (ie: throw toys off of the tray) while we eat or do arts and crafts. 
  • Up until this week, I took Bridget and Lucy for about 1 run/walk a week (I wish I could do more!) in the double stroller and Bridget rode in her carseat carrier. This week though I put her in the stroller without it since we were just going for a family walk on Saturday morning. She loved it and was looking all around for the first half, then fell asleep. And Lucy loved getting to sit next to "baby sissy". 
  • During her first month of so of life Bridget really hated baths, after that she started to like them and now she is really interested in the water. She likes to sit up straight so she can see the water. I have to force her into a lounging position so I can rinse her hair without the soap getting into her eyes! Yesterday she was enamored with me pouring water over her hands - it was so cute! 
  • Up until about 4 months, Bridget slept swaddled in an Aden and Anais muslin blanket. But she started to kick her feet out of it almost every night She was still swaddled around her torso, but her feet were out. I put her in a sleep sack one time and she hated it - I think it was too loose. So Kristen let me borrow the Sleep Sack swaddles that Wyatt used, and she seems to be good with those. However the weight limit is 18 lbs - only 1.5 lbs. away! At her rate of growth she will be too big for them soon, so I'll give the sleep sacks another try. 
  • Being a younger sister is rough, Bridget has had her life endangered more times than I care to admit (okay I'm exaggerating a bit)...Lucy has inadvertently or carelessly hit her with a few hard toys and one time I caught her about to stick a pen in her mouth (it was at her lips when I arrived on the scene...) Add to that the time I found a huge roach in her crib when I went to wake her up! That night, we sprayed roach spray around the room and that night put her crib in the middle of the room with the fan on a door open to get rid of the fumes. 
  • Bridget went on her first airplane ride right about the time she turned 4 months. On the way over she was awake the whole time except for about 30 minutes during take off. She didn't cry really at all, but just would not fall asleep! Me and my mom were utterly exhausted from holding and playing with her by the time we landed! On the way back, she didn't do as well and cried off and on. After getting her to sleep a few times via nursing, she just wouldn't stay asleep very long but was still super tired. Finally my mom got her to fall asleep with her head resting on her shoulder (she's never fallen asleep in this position - proof of how tired she was) while walking around the plane. 

I am SO SO SO SO SO SO thankful that I don't have to work anymore and get to spend almost all of my waking hours with my sweet girls. I'm just so blessed and thankful. I know I don't deserve these two precious girls or the treasure of spending all this time with them, but I'll take it gladly! I'm pretty much obsessed with Bridget. She is so cute and cuddly and I love hugging her and kissing her chubby cheeks. She is just so precious and innocent. I know this stage will pass so I'm trying to soak it in! Lucy meanwhile is hilarious. The things she says and does crack me up. I'm also starting to see glimpses of just how smart she is. She notices and remembers every little thing. This can be annoying at times, but her personality is one-of-a-kind and very endearing to me as I get to know her more and more.

I'm also thankful for my awesome husband who comes home from working all day and immediately gets on the floor and plays with the girls while I make dinner or have some time to myself. Then to top it off, he helps me with chores after they go to bed. As utterly exhausting as life with two kids is (and it is WAY more exhausting than I anticipated...), I'm LOVING life right now. It is hard work, but it is good work. Thank you Lord for these precious blessings in my life!
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lucy is Two Years Old!

Dear Lucy -

You have changed so much since I wrote about you at 20 months old! Mainly because you took on your most important role yet of big sister. But I'll back track a bit. From mid-March to mid-May our lives consisted of these things: being sick, getting ready for Bridget to be born, and working a ton. It wasn't necessarily the most fun moments of my life, but there was much anticipation for the month of May!

Around March, (after much hesitation, prayer, and thought) I told my boss that I would not be returning to work after Bridget was born. I had been working approx. 25-30 hours a week up to that point. After announcing my departure, things at work got busier since I was heavily involved in hiring and training my replacement. This meant that my hours increased to full time for the two months before Bridget was born. For you Lucy this meant full time daycare attendance. I didn't care for this at all because I felt like I didn't see you nearly enough! I only got to see you about 30 min. in the morning and 2-3 hours after work. To make matters worse you were such a grouch when you got home! You would scream and whine almost the entire 2-3 hours you were home in the evening. Finally one day, the daycare workers casually mentioned that you hadn't been napping (even though it had said on your take home sheets that you had been...) This explained not only the crabbiness at home, but also the occasional reports of you hitting friends and/or being "aloof" at daycare. One time before I had made the final decision to quit my job, you were sick and I took the afternoon off to take you to the doctor. However, the next day I couldn't take off since I had too much work to do and I had to take you with a dose of ibuprofen in your system. That day was horrible since I just hoped and prayed that you would be okay. It was this day that God used to show me that it was time to quit working and stay at home with you. It would take a lot of trusting in God for provision, but I felt at peace and ready to be home with you all the time - especially when you were sick and needed me the most.

Playing with cousin Wyatt
The preparation for Bridget's birth included a couple of crazy weekends. For example, on Easter weekend we got a Budget rental van, loaded up our guest bedroom furniture and drove it to Atlanta where we exchanged it for my old twin bed set that had been at Kristen's house and the outdoor playhouse that Gigi and Pops let us borrow. Another weekend, I had a baby shower for Bridget and your dad and Pops assembled a brand new swing set for you to play on (this was your early birthday gift from us). Yet another weekend included me and your dad painting your new big girl room lavender so that the nursery could be used by Bridget. Another weekend we spent running around town exchanging diapers and other baby items received from friends to make sure we had exactly what we needed for Bridget. You were a trooper through all of this and remained pretty much clueless about the big change coming your way.

First family photo!
On May 12th, you became a big sister. Your transition started early when we dropped you off at Christian and Tiane's house at around 4:00 am and expected you to be just fine. Ever since then we have worried a little less about you as you have suddenly become (or appeared to be) so big, brave, and able (in comparison to Bridget). You really love being a big sister. Ever since Bridget was born, your favorite toy to play with has been your baby dolls. The Ware's got you your first baby doll when you turned 1, and you only recently really started loving that doll and toting her around with you everywhere. You also had a few rag dolls that have become more popular. Also, you got two new dolls from Gigi and Pops - one the day Bridget was born (Anna from Frozen), and one on your 2nd birthday (with blonde hair and a pink dress).

Eating the hospital food
Your actual 2nd birthday was pretty low key. When Grandma and Grandpa Baareman were here, we had a little celebration for you. They got you a cake from Publix and gave you a bike! On your actual birthday - which was the Wednesday that Kristen and I drove all the kids to Atlanta, we had some chocolate cake and balloons. Then on the Saturday after your birthday, your daddy was there and we all went to the zoo then came home and had cookie cake and presents with Nana and Papa there too.

2nd Birthday Celebration with Grandma and Grandpa Baareman

New bike!

Feeding the birds with dad at Atlanta Zoo for 2nd Birthday

Cookie Cake!

You really started to talk more around the time Bridget was born. We joke that that is because you realized you had to do something "big" or you would completely lose the spotlight! Well, I don't think you will ever lose the spotlight Lucy because you are always doing something new. Some of your favorite words and phrases are:

  • Water (you are OBSESSED with it) - sounds like "Wadi"
  • Baby Sissy (also OBSESSED). 
  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • No and Uh-huh (for yes) 
  • Blue's Clues (your new favorite TV show) - "Boo Coo"
  • TV - (I let you watch TV when I'm feeding Bridget....hopefully you won't get addicted!)
  • I pooped - "I poo"
  • Boo-Boo 
  • Bath  - "Baa"
  • Night Night - "Ni-Ni" - most frequently used in the phase "No Ni-Ni" when you aren't ready for bed
  • Bible 
  • Book - "Boo"
  • Outside - (also OBSESSED)
  • Shoes - "Shoo"  (associate shoes with going somewhere)
  • Go 
  • 1-2-3 (getting there with counting)
  • Ready - Set - Go (Not easy to understand yet, but we know what you are saying!)
  • I see, I see (when you want to see something)
  • See Baby? (when you want to show baby something - either Bridget or baby doll)
  • Eat/Eating (use this when you are hungry or when Bridget is eating)
  • Mole - funny enough you find moles really interesting
  • My boat - My bow (she says this when talking about the lake house)
  • Tube - for tube at the lake house 
  • Bow = buckle or hair bow  
  • Please - Mo Pee (you say "More Please" for "Please" since that is how you first learned it) 
You have also started string these small words together into really funny sentences like "No daddy no nigh nigh" when you don't want to go to bed. We normally ask you lots of question and you respond with "no" or an excited "uh-huh" (while nodding head) for us to understand what you want. It is really fun that you can talk more now so it's not so quiet around here anymore. Sometimes I'll play some music on my iPhone to liven things up when we are playing together. 

On the boat with Wyatt and Gigi
Helping dad with 4th of July Fireworks
The whole family on 4th of July
Birthday cake for Aunt Kristen
Playing Angry Birds with Pops
Her specialty: making Bridget smile!
  • WATER (drinking it, playing with it, swimming in it, you are a little obsessed. We had to limit your water intake recently because you were drinking so much we think it took away your appetite for regular food!)
  • Helping with baby sister (waking her up, putting her to bed, getting her bath, etc.)
  • Going places (church, play dates, errands, shopping, you love to get out of the house!)
  • Being outside (playing with your water table and baby pool especially)
  • Bath time, brushing teeth, reading stories in bed with mommy and daddy before bedtime. 
  • Helping (with laundry, wiping the floor, dusting, you name it!)
Biggest Challenges this month 
  • Hurting baby sister - most of the time by accident, but sometimes you think it is funny :( 
  • Eating full meals - you aren't really picky but sometimes you don't have much of an appetite at all except for milk, fruit, and cheese.... 
  • You want to do everything on your own, so when we have to do something for you, you can get frustrated. 
  • You are very needy in the car and are constantly wanting us to hand you this or that, and when we don't you get upset. 
First time in big girl bed
Helping take in the groceries
At Steed's Dairy Farm before Bridget was born

Right now we are mainly either spanking you and/or putting you in your room when you are blatantly disobedient or doing something that you KNOW is not allowed (hitting, throwing things, pushing, biting, hurting your sister, not laying correctly when we try to change your diaper on the floor, etc.) You are VERY tough and most spankings you don't even cry. Recently you also seem to care less about being in your room, so we may need to do something else like time out in the corner or something like that. It is still hard to tell exactly how much you understand and correlate a punishment to what you did wrong. We make sure to explain to you why you are being punished before, and to talk calmly about it afterwards. We are also trying to relate all punishments back to a reason "why" - either scripture or a practical reason why you should have obeyed us (cleanliness, safety, respect, etc.) We are currently going through "Growing Kids God's Way" with our Sunday School class and hope to learn some methods that way. I've also read a few books about toddlers that I'm hoping will give me some guidance on what type of behavior is acceptable or not.  

Lucy - we love you so much! We are so proud of the big sister that you have become to Bridget. You are such a fun little girl. You love life and are just in general so happy. We love your smile and giggle. It has been so much fun to see your personality, and likes and dislikes emerge more and more. You are starting to become pretty "Type-A" like me. You really like routine and everything in just the right place. We know that God has a special plan for you and that he made you just the way you are for his purpose. You brighten our day every day. Ever since I quit my job you have become my little buddy and I LOVE spending all day every day with you. 

Love, Mom 


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