Sunday, December 28, 2008

Family Christmas 2008

After spending 10 days in Alabama for Christmas, we returned home late on December 26.We got Lana in the bed, unpacked, and then Dan & I stayed up late pulling down gifts from the attic, taking them out of packages, and making sure everything had batteries.  Dan even made a midnight run to Walmart for more batteries!!  (I should have checked that before we left.)

We were so excited when she woke up the next morning!  We pulled our little sleepy head out of bed, talked about the Christmas story, and reminded her that we give gifts because Jesus is God's gift to us.  Then we all headed downstairs!  

Lana headed straight for the $2 musical instruments, completely ignoring the My First LeapPad and dress up clothes that we were sure would be her favorites!  It's so funny the things that they are interested in!
She did eventually make time to check out all her toys in the living room before we brought her outside to see her big gift - a motorized four wheeler!
We expected a big reaction, but in true laid-back Lana style, she just smiled a little bit, jumped up and down on the balls of her feet, and climbed on.  
After she rode around for a bit, we came inside for a favorite breakfast....pigs in a blanket.  We ate and lounged around and played with her toys the rest of the morning.  I made Dan's favorite lunch: meat loaf, homemade mashed potatoes, and green peas.  After we ate lunch, it was time for Dan to head to work and Lana & I to take a nap.  

Life with Lana today (2 years, 5 months)

Sleeping: This month we transitioned Lana to a big girl bed (toddler bed).  We were pretty apprehensive about the move because she's such a good sleeper in her crib, but those worries were for nothing.  It was the smoothest transition ever.  The first day when we put her in it for nap time, she stayed awake playing the whole time.  Bedtime that night was completely normal, and she hasn't looked back since.  When she wakes up in the morning, she just sits on her knees until we come get her.  Hooray!!  She's getting so long, we're going to think about having to put her in a twin sized one soon.

Eating: My girl has a sweet tooth like her Daddy!!  I try so hard to put healthy things in her body...lots of fruits and veggies and whole grains.  But since Daddy has a sweet tooth, we often have some sweet things in the house...candy or cookies or whatever.  She'll often ask for candy before she eats breakfast in the morning!  What do you think I say to that??  Surprised  I try to keep a close eye on what she's eating and if she gets a treat once every few days, I don't mind so terribly much.  Everything in moderation.  

Talking: Baby talk?!?  WHAT?  Lana is the most wonderful little talker, but for some reason, this month she's trying out baby talk.  She'll play with her babies and make them "talk" with short one or two word phrases, and then the next thing I know, she'll try to use that baby talk with me!  We've pretty much ignored it, thinking that she'll just stop.  It's worked for the most part, although about once a week or so she'll try out that baby talk.  So silly!  She's using pronouns correctly now, noticing the difference between boys and girls.  I love to hear her say, "I am a girl!" 

Potty training: starts tomorrow!!  I've got lots of fruit juice and decaf tea to fill her little tummy with.  Applesauce and oranges for fiber, two potty seats, and lots of panties.  I think we're ready!  I'm praying that this transition goes as well as moving her to a big girl bed.  She's plenty old enough, and I think she's mentally ready.  The only concern I've got is that she still wakes up VERY wet in the mornings - I mean completely soaked nighttime diaper.  I stop giving her liquids at dinnertime, and I don't know what else to do.  We'll see - wish us luck!!

Discipline: Since I wrote last month's blurb about discipline, we have really focused on teaching Lana HOW to obey.  Now she can tell you that she's supposed to obey "all the way, right away, and with a happy heart."  Sometimes a quick reminder is all that she needs to change her behavior.  She really is a well-behaved little girl.  It's funny to watch her try out behavior that she sees other children use: she'll throw herself down on the floor and look up to see what we're doing, or insist on having a different cup with her meal, and then giggle.  She's really been doing well with saying "thank you" lately.  Today we went out to lunch at Olive Garden, and she thanked the waiter each time he brought something to our table - I was so proud.  Our goal this month is to get her to use "yes, ma'am" and "yes, sir" regularly.  We're trying to say it to her and to each other.

Playing: Christmas time means lots of new toys!  We've cleaned out some of the ones she's not playing with so much to make room for the new.  It'll be fun to see what emerges as her favorite.  She loves playing with her babies, of course, and she has begun to want to dress up.  We made a dress up bin under her bed.  She spent most of Saturday dressed up as Miss Pattycake, with gloves and all.  She really enjoys play dough, and will color for short periods of time.  After Christmas, I cut the photos out of all the photo cards we got and let her glue them on a big poster board.  She did a great job learning to glue!  Just a few photos into the project, she was using just a few dots of glue.  

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Silent Night

Tonight in the car we were headed back to Brother & Janika's house, and the three of us were singing Christmas carols.

We were singing "Silent Night" and got to the part where you sing "all is calm, all is bright," and Lana exclaimed:

"He can just wear his sunglasses!"
What??  "Who can wear his sunglasses, Lana?"
"Silent Night can!  He just needs to wear his sunglasses."
"What in the world are you talking about?"
"You SAID all is bright, Mommy!  Silent Night just needs to put on his sunglasses if it's bright."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas in Alabama 2008

We are celebrating the holidays in Alabama from December 16-26 this year, and I want to write down all the fun things we are doing for her to read about one day:

*Playing with Piper...pushing the babies in the strollers, cooking in the kitchen, dressing up, playing at the park on the swings and the merry-go-round, listening to Daddy tell Bible stories in the backyard, eating soup at Daruma, sleeping in Piper's big girl bed
*Playing with Nana & PawPaw at their house, watching cars with PawPaw, eating lunch with Nana, opening tons of presents on Christmas Eve at Nana & PawPaw's house
*Being silly with Noah, playing chase 
*Playing with Jake at Grandaddy's - burying bubbles, running in the yard
*Reading with Uncle Allan
*Making jewelry with Aunt Kacie
*Building gingerbread houses with Baloo
*Playing with Sue Sue, letting her paint toenails  
*playing with Jake in his playroom, sharing toys at the restaurant, shopping together
*hugging Noah, hugging Noah, and hugging Noah
*smiling for Aunt Nika and Mommy taking pictures
*Christmas Eve: going for breakfast with Mr. Steve & Mrs. Dana, Kenna, and Cole and playing until lunchtime, taking a "good sleep" then heading to Nana & PawPaw's for our big Davis Christmas, going to visit Phyl & Randy and their family, and getting in bed LATE! 

Monday, December 15, 2008

First real haircut!

When Lana turned one, we had her bangs trimmed up, but it was only one snip.  The lady who "cut" it didn't even charge us.
I've put off a real haircut for two and a half years.  I just love her curls. I love to wash them and put product in them and play with them.  I love how they curl up around her face when it's humid.  They are just so HER.  And I've been so afraid that if we cut it, they wouldn't come back.  
However, it was past time for a haircut.  Dan put his foot down about it finally - he said he didn't want a daughter with a rat tail:
I knew he was right.  So I e-mailed Aunt April in a panic, asking where to take her.  I called Impressions Salon in Wakefield this morning to see if they could get in her in today, and thankfully, they did.
The sweet lady who cut her hair was so patient with me.  I told her that I was a freak out about her curls and that I would be so sad if she cut them off.  She really listened to what I was saying and took the time to show me what she was doing.  She kept the biggest curl for me to save.  
Lana was absolutely WONDERFUL!  She sat in that chair just as big as you please.  She was very serious the whole time, and didn't move one muscle.  She looked up, looked down, etc.  I was so proud of her.
And my friends, I LOVE it!!  Those little curls just bounced up tighter than ever.  It has the cutest shape.  Lovin' my girl with a haircut:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A treat for Mommy

This morning (Saturday), we are preparing to go to lunch and the Wake Forest Christmas parade with our friends Dustin, April, and Hollis.  I have not yet wrapped Hollis' Christmas gifts, so Dan & Lana made a quick run to the dollar store to get wrapping paper while I took a shower.

I heard them come in the door, and Lana came shrieking up the stairs: "Mommy!!!  I got you a treat!!"  She did indeed have in her hands one of my favorite treats: Hershey with almonds.  I cannot begin to tell you how excited she was to bring this to me.  

I told her thank you and gave her lots of hugs, and then she took off downstairs.  She came back up with another candy bar and said, "Here's my treat, too!"

Dan told me the rest of the story:
They were in line at the store, and Dan saw the candy bars.  He pointed out the Hersey's with almonds and told Lana, "Mommy really likes those."  "Let's get it for her!" she responded.  She brought one to him to buy, and then looked up at him with those big blues and said, "But what about a treat for me?"  He laughed and let her pick out a candy bar, too.  As she headed toward them, she said, "Daddy, do you want a treat, too?"

It made me so happy to see her delight in giving something to me, and then even thinking about her Daddy.  We are going to be careful to give her opportunities to pick up small gifts for people she loves.  We want to encourage this giving spirit in her!

Friday, December 12, 2008

LLLC Christmas Musical 2008

Today was Little Lamb's Learning Center's Christmas musical.  This was Lana's first year to be in the musical, and she has been so very excited about it!  She has been singing the songs every afternoon, and couldn't stop talking about dressing up as an angel.

Dan had a front row seat with the video camera so he could tape the show.  We didn't get many still shots as he was manning the video camera, and I was on the stage with my own class.

She was so excited to see her Daddy when she walked in, and as soon as she hit the stage, she twisted and turned and craned her little neck to see was the sweetest thing.  She beamed at me and then turned back to the audience to sing.

It was SO FUN to see her on stage - I could not have been a prouder mama.

Rob & Emily were so great - they came to watch her.  There is simply nothing like friends who are family...
What a wonderful day for the Davis family!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Easy greasy.

I am in a bit of shock over how easy the transition to a big girl bed has been for us.  I really expected it to be more of a battle, especially since she's been developing a little mind of her own lately & such strong opinions.  I have been so pleasantly surprised!  Besides her not sleeping for her nap time on the first day, her sleep has been completely normal.  I tried to think some tonight about why I think it's been so good.  I want to write it down so I can remember this when I'm transitioning another child, God willing.  

I think three things have been key for us:

1) Lana had good sleep habits to start with.  She was sleeping an uninterrupted 11-12 hours a night, with an hour and a half or two hour nap each day.  Early sleep training has made a huge difference for us in this area.  I may not agree with everything in Babywise, but it sure did send us down the right road in the area of sleep.

2) For over a year now, Lana has been trained to wait on us when she wakes up in the morning without crying. When she was much younger, we would NOT go in her room in the morning when she was crying. We would wait for a break, when she wasn't crying, and then go in with lots of big good mornings! It made sense to us - we didn't want to reinforce the fussing. We wanted to reinforce the waking up happy! So before the transition, when she was still in a crib, she would wake up and just stand in her crib quietly until we came & got her - sometimes up to 45 minutes or an hour if we accidentally fell back asleep!! She would just stand at the edge of her crib and wait. This worked for us because we have a video monitor, but I think it can work even if you don't. Anyway, she does the same thing in her bed girl bed. She wakes up and sits on her knees at the edge of the bed until we come get her.

3) We decided beforehand that it was an obedience issue. We talked to her the whole day about obeying Mommy & Daddy by staying in her bed until we came in. Dan & I decided that if she got out of the bed, we were going to spank her. She knows what it means to obey and disobey, and we were in complete agreement that we were going to insist on total obedience in this area.

I'm not going to say that we might not have trouble with this in the future, but I'm so proud of how she's done so far!  I'm super hopeful that she'll do well when we're traveling over Christmas and she's sleeping on an air mattress.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Big girl bed

Day 1:
We are so excited about our trip to Sweet Home Alabama in a couple of weeks!  One of the major things we've been doing is trying to figure out sleeping arrangements for Lana.  She is too long for a pack and play, so that really complicates traveling.  She's a great sleeper in her crib at home, and we've never had to try to get her to sleep on an air mattress or anything until now.  We purchased a twin size air mattress with plans to let her "practice" sleeping on it here before we ventured into someone else's home.

Last night, I was talking with my mom, and we talked about how to transition Lana from her crib to a bed.  After getting off the phone with her, Dan & I talked about it, and we decided that we'd rather train her to stay in the bed at home before we are staying with friends and family.  

So today Dan converted her crib to a toddler bed while she & I were at storytime. 

Here's her last time in her crib:

We went to Target and let her pick out a pillow and a special stuffed animal for her new big girl bed.  (She chose a giraffe she has named La La.)  We also picked up a rail guard so she won't roll out.  We talked about how she has to stay in her big girl bed until Mommy & Daddy come get her.

She was so excited about her big girl bed......

right up until it was time for her to actually get in it for nap time.  She fussed for a while, and then sat up talking and playing for 2 hours!  Not once did she close those peepers and go to sleep!!  WHAT?!?  The good news, though, is that she did not attempt to get out even once.  She stayed right in that little bed until we came in to get her.  We definitely praised her for that!  We can't make her sleep, but we're satisfied as long as she stays in her bed.  

We put her down at 7:00 tonight, and by 7:02, she was asleep, curled right up next to La La the giraffe.  She completely refused the pillow, and wouldn't let us cover her up.  Whatever.  She's sleeping. 

Day 2:

Day 2 in the big girl bed was a breeze!  Lana went right in for her nap with very little fussing, and slept her normal two hours.  When she woke up, she sat up on her knees and waited until we came in to get her.  You better believe we did some celebrating!  She stayed in AND she slept!!  Woo-hoo!  

When she went down for the night, she didn't make a peep...just laid down and went to sleep.

It's during times like this that we realize how essential it is to insist on first time obedience from her.  

We're not foolish enough to think that we won't have trouble with her getting out in the future, but it's made it simpler thus far to be able to say to her, "Mommy & Daddy want you to stay in your bed until we come in.  You must obey."  

Hooray for Lana!!  We're so proud of her, and we're very glad that we're making this transition here instead of while we're traveling.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Life with Lana today (3 years, 5 months)

Sleeping: Oh, the bedtime battles.  Lots of tears and hugs and spankings…it’s just endless, especially on the weekends when Dan is working.  I’ve tried putting her to bed earlier, not wanting her to be overtired.  I’ve tried putting her to bed later, not wanting her to be wide awake.  None of it works.  We are doing lots of praying for discernment during these times….sometimes it is a battle of her will, and sometimes it’s a genuine need for some more closeness.  We want to be sure to handle each instance the best way we can, and it just seems like we have to take it on a case by case basis, while trying to be as consistent as we can. 
Eating: When we had Tucker, we were so fortunate that friends brought us meals forever…literally every other day for 2 months!  It was a blessing in the most profound way possible – just a beautiful expression of the Body of Christ doing what it does best.  Most of those meals came complete with a scrumptious dessert – much to the delight of my husband and daughter!  I rarely make “dessert,” instead serving fruit or applesauce for something sweet.  Well, my lovely friends spoiled my family rotten, and now Lana thinks that we are SUPPOSED to have dessert after every meal.  She’ll eat a little and then ask “How much do I have to eat before I can get some cake?”  She’s still shocked when I tell her there IS no cake!
Talking: All.  The.  Time.  That’s really all I can say about that.  She wants to talk to us, listen to us tell her a story, sing to and/or with us, talk to her babies, ask about what’s going on….it’s endless and precious and sometimes tiring.  When we’re riding in the car and Dan & I are talking, it’s very common for her to pipe up from the backseat during a break in the conversation: “What are you guys talking about?”  Her little ears are always listening!
Discipline: Those crazy temper tantrums we were seeing last month have become increasingly more rare, although they’ll still rear their ugly head at bedtime sometimes.  We have been encouraging her with Deuteronomy 5:16 (the first commandment with a promise): “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live long and that it may go well with you.”  We are pointing out to her the correlation between how her life goes well when she obeys vs. the pain and suffering she experiences when she disobeys.  We are teaching her that the reason we must be careful to teach her to obey us is because we want her to obey God well. 
Play: Pretend has reached an all-time high at the Davis farm!  She is, of course, always the mommy – I am usually the daughter, Dan is the big brother, and Tucker is the little bitty baby brother.  The Daddy is at work.  She likes for us all to pretend we are kitties, too.  Her imagination is taking off, although she is always happiest when we are engaged in the pretend play with her.  She still doesn’t do very well pretending on her own.

"We share everything we have."

Tonight at dinner, Lana & I were eating hotdogs.  I had mine on a bun with ketchup and mustard, and I licked a drip of ketchup off.  We have a strict "no licking" rule about ketchup in our house.  If we let her, she would put ketchup on her finger and lick it off the entire dinner time.  We tell her it's only for dipping - she has to eat something WITH the ketchup.  

Anyway, she of course noticed when I licked the drip.  She said, "Mommy, you licked that ketchup?"  She pointed to my ketchup and stuck her finger in it, accidently, I think.  

She grinned and licked the ketchup off her finger.  "I want some more of your ketchup," she said.

"No way, Lana!  You can't just lick it, you have to eat something with it.  And you have your own ketchup," I told her.

"But I want some of yours!  And you say we share everything we have!" she insisted.

I cannot believe that at two and a half, she's already using my own words against me!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I love you more than...

Since the time Lana was born, I have played the "I love you more than...." game with her.  For the past six months or so, she has played with me by repeating what I say to her.

I would tell her "I love you more than there are stars in the sky," and she would smile so big, immediately repeating back to me, "I love you more than the stars!"

Tonight for the first time, she came up with her own!  As I was rocking her before bed, I said, "I love you more than there are people at the mall."  She smiled and said, "I love you more than I love to eat at Chick-Fil-A!"  I laughed out loud, and said, "That's a lot, Lana!  I love you more than there are lights on the trees."  She responded with, "I love you more than I love to eat at CiCi's.  That's a lot, Mommy!"  

Life can't get any better than this....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Life with Lana today (2 years, 4 months)

Here's my monthly journal entry about what life is like with Lana.  I wish I had been doing this since she was born - there's so much that I might remember, but can't quite remember exactly when it happened.  Glad I'm starting now!

Sleeping: Lana is such a great sleeper.  She's had a cold and a pretty persistent cough, along with her two year molars breaking through, and she has slept through the night without a problem.  On the other hand, she's starting to test us at nap time.  I guess she's gotten old enough to realize that she'd rather be playing, so when we give her the 5 minute warning for nap time, she starts telling us "I'm not sleepy.  I'm busy.  I need to play!"  For a few days, she was crying quite a bit at nap time, asking us to come in and get her.  Finally, I had to tell her that Mommy said it was nap time, and if she chose to pitch a fit instead of sleeping, she was disobeying.  It isn't as if she doesn't need the sleep - when she finally goes to sleep, she's napping an hour and a half to two hours.  Hopefully this phase will pass, soon.

Eating: One of the hardest things for me to adjust to when Lana turned one was the change in her eating habits.  When she was a baby, she ate on a pretty consistent schedule, and pretty much the same amount each time.  When she turned one, all that changed, and now that she's two, it's even more hit or miss!  She eats a wide variety of things and will try anything at all, but her appetite is so unpredictable.  Some days she's starving and will eat as much as Dan does at a meal; other days, she just picks and will hardly eat anything at all.  We never make eating a battle - we want her to learn to listen to her body's signals to eat when she's hungry and stop when she's done...none of that cleaning her plate business.  So if she doesn't eat much at one meal, we just make a point to not give her a snack until the next one, so she'll eat well then.  Today is Thanksgiving Day, and she's been a big eater!  Sweet potato fries were the huge hit today - she couldn't get enough of them.

Talking: She is learning to reason and try to convince us to do things her way.  It's so funny!  "Mommy, I'm not sleepy, so I will just read a bunch more books."  or "Daddy, I don't want to get dressed.  I'll do that later."  It is so fun to be able to communicate with her.  She's listening to everything we say.  We hear lots of things that her teachers say.  She told me today, "Mommy, you don't talk while I'm talking!  You just listen."  I'm CERTAIN her teachers have had to tell her that a time or two.  I wonder what they hear at school that we say here at home?  She's been watching her LeapFrog Letter Factory movie a lot, and she can identify lots of letters and most of their sounds.  She can often spell her name if we ask.

Potty training: We intended to spend this Thanksgiving week potty training, but my friends Lindy Hayes and Melissa Black really encouraged me to wait until after the holidays.  It makes so much sense: even if we were really successful potty training this week, we are only here for 3 weeks before we are traveling for Christmas.  To have her so newly potty trained and take her out of her environment, routine, etc. is a recipe for disaster and regression.  We decided to not add that stress to our holidays.  We're going to hold off on the "intense" training until we get back from our Christmas vacation.  We'll have a week or so before we have to go back to preschool, so we're going to hit it hard and heavy then.  In the meantime, we'll keep encouraging her to let us know if she needs to use the potty, reading lots of potty books, etc.

Discipline: "Obey right away, all the way, and with a happy heart!"  Sometimes I wonder if she'll ever "get" it, and then I'm reminded that I still don't obey my heavenly Father that way all the time.  Sometimes I'm slow to obey, or just obey the parts I want to, and obey grudgingly.  Whenever I get frustrated with Lana, I have to remember that it's the kindness of God that leads me to repentance, and in turn, I want to use kindness to bring her to repentance.  She is such a tender girl, and usually accepts discipline and instruction willingly.  She's been testing us lately.  It seems that if we slack off even for a moment, if we allow her "slide by" with being disobedient once or twice, she runs with it, and we have to really tighten up.  It's so interesting to me that her obedience to us in so dependent on our consistency.  It makes me realize when I'm seeing a lapse in her good behavior that I need to check my own!

Playing: This month, Lana is such a homebody.  It's winter and dreary outside, and Dan & I will try to come up with fun things to do: "Let's go play at the Factory!" or "Let's go get ice cream at the mall," or whatever.  No way.  Almost without fail, she responds with, "No, I just want to play at home."  She's lining up EVERYTHING these days!  It's so funny to watch...her animals, her letters on the refrigerator, her nativity characters, her babies - everything goes in a straight line.  Today she had all her animals lined up, and she accidentally walked backwards into them and knocked them over.  When she was trying to set them back up, they kept toppling over, domino-style.  It drove her BESERK!  She was in tears over these animals falling down - they had to be in a line.  It was really quite funny, although she didn't think so.  She really plays well with others, loving especially older kids.  She will follow them around, doing exactly what they do.  I better be careful who we schedule play dates with, right?!?  She loves playing with our neighbor Julianna, and her friend Olivia at school is her favorite - she talks about her all the time.  We have already begun praying about the friends she will choose when she's older, about the company she will keep.

Happy Thanksgiving from Wake Forest, NC

It has been such a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!  Although we missed being with our family in Alabama, it really has been a treat to have a quiet, grateful day with the three of us.

We started the morning at the airport.  Our friend Courtney's husband Jerry has been in Iraq for a year, and got to come home for a few days.  A group of us brought flags and big smiles to welcome him home on Thanksgiving Day and tell him our grateful we are for our sacrifice.  It was a lot of fun! 

On the way home from the airport, I reminded Lana that it was Thanksgiving Day, and I asked her what she was thankful for.  I uploaded a video of her telling you...what a treasure for Dan and I.

We came back home and got busy preparing our Thanksgiving lunch!  We had a honey glazed ham, homemade mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato fries, rolls, cherry pie, and sweet tea.  It was all of our favorites!  We all ate until we were stuffed.  Lana could not get enough of the sweet potato fries!  

As we ate, we talked about what we are thankful for.  This year, Lana could participate, and we made it such a special time.  I jotted down all the things that she is thankful for in her own words - we'll do this every year.

After lunch, we cuddled and watched the parade and some football and then when we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore, we all went down for a Thanksgiving nap.

After nap time, we all had another piece of cherry pie.  Yummy!  We lounged around reading and watching football and playing until around 5, when we took off to watch the sunset.

We've found a little hill where we can see the sun as it sets, and it's beautiful.  Sometimes we see deer when we go there.  We park the car, let Lana climb out of her seat, and we all cuddle together in the front.  

After the sunset, we came back home and decorated for Christmas!  Lana LOVED putting on the ornaments, and the lights on our little tree.  (We don't have room for a big tree, so we just do a table top one.)  We brought out her Little People Nativity for her to play with, and talked about Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.  I love having a nativity that she can touch and play with.  

Then we watched Miss Pattycake's Christmas.  On the DVD, Miss Pattycake uses the book "What God Wants for Christmas" to tell the Christmas story.  It has little treasure boxes to open that makes it really interactive.  We have the same set for Lana, so she got to open the boxes along with Miss Pattycake!  You have never seen a little girl so excited.

It was a really good day here in the Davis home.  I think we've started some traditions here that will last a long time. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lana's favorite things at 2 and a half

Favorite nursery rhyme: Jack and Jill (she can sing both verses)
Favorite book: Biscuit - she loves that puppy!
Favorite song: the B-I-B-L-E
Favorite snack: apples and pears
Favorite part of her lunch: gummies, otherwise known as fruit chews
Favorite inside toy: baby dolls & her farm animals
Favorite outside toy: her scooter
Favorite drink: milk or water
Favorite meal: spaghetti
Favorite dessert: anything chocolate
Favorite free activity: to go play in the gym at Daddy's school
Favorite comfort item: lovey, of course
Favorite movie: LeapFrog Letter Factory - she knows almost all of her letters & sounds!
Favorite restaurant: CiCi's pizza and Chick-Fil-A

I forgive you, ball.

Today just before naptime, Lana was rolling a ball across the floor in our living room.  She wanted the ball to go under the chair, but it wouldn't fit. 

After a few tries, she brought the ball to me and said, "Mommy, this ball is being disobedient!"  

Choking back a big belly laugh, I said, "Well, Lana, what happens when we disobey?"  
"We get a spanking," she said.  "And only mommies and daddies spank.  So you spank that ball, Mommy, for disobeying!"  So I spanked the ball, of course, and then said, "What do we need to do now, Lana?"  

She took the ball back, hugged it close, and said, "I forgive you, ball."  "Now you need to pray," I reminded her.  She thought about it for a second, folded her little hands, bowed her head, and said, "Dear God, this ball not obeying.  Please let ball obey.  Amen!"  

I would have give anything for a video camera - it was probably one of the cutest things I've ever seen, and a wonderful reassurance that she understands our discipline process of disobedience, correction, forgiveness, and restoration to each other and to God.  Wow!  

Friday, November 14, 2008

Toy Chest 2008

We are overflowing with gratitude for the people of Bay Leaf Baptist Church.  They host an annual ministry called "Toy Chest" for seminary families, and it is one of the greatest blessings of our holiday season.  Let me tell you about it....

The Toy Chest provides brand new toys for the children of seminary students at Christmas time each year.  Now, when I say toys, I mean TOYS, my friend!  You get 7 points for each child, and can get a maximum of 3 gifts.  Each toy is labeled with a point value from 1-6.  And these toys are not someone else's cast-offs. They are AWESOME.

Toy Chest is always on a Saturday morning.  It is such an incredible opportunity that people begin lining up as early as 4 or 5 a.m.   This year, they let the seminary students whose wives teach at the preschool pre-shop on Friday.  It was such a treat to be able to take our time shopping.  And on top of that blessing, some of our fellow teachers (non-seminary students) volunteered to keep our children after preschool so we could shop.  Amazing!!!  Do you have a feeling now for the incredible community that we live in?  How blessed I am to teach at Little Lambs?  I walk each day among spiritual giants.

This year, we got Lana a motorized jeep - not as big as a Barbie jeep, more like a ride-on toy that is motorized.  Perfect for her size!!!  She is going to LOVE it!  We also got her a My First LeapPad and a bug vacuum.  What a wonderful Christmas she's going to have!

We also got to visit the "Quarter Aisle."  These is a row filled with toys that they did not give away last year, or gently used toys that people donated.  We got 2 garbage bags full of those toys, including a doctor kit, crayons, toy ambulance, toy flutes, candyland, a marble game...just tons of really fun stocking stuffers!  We'll save probably half of this stuff for her birthday, too - it's just too much to get at Christmas.

Tomorrow morning, we'll go back for the raffle.  Each family can put their name in for the raffling off of MAJOR gifts for their children.  These big ticket items range from things like a Barbie jeep to Mac notebooks.  You only register for things your kids will use.  So for Lana, we registered for things like a train table and a Barbie jeep, but we did not register for things like the XBox 360 and Ipods.  

And the most unbelievable part of all of it is the attitude of the church as they minister to us this way.  It is NEVER an attitude of "Look what we're doing for you."  Instead, their attitude is complete joy.  It is precious and makes me cry every single year.  

We were able to visit Bay Leaf Baptist Church a few weeks ago and share with them how Toy Chest has touched our life and family.  They considered something that we were doing for them, but we were just so grateful to have the time and pulpit to tell them congregation what a difference it makes in our life, not just for now, but for how we'll do ministry in the future.  I hope that all our seminary friends get to visit Toy Chest tomorrow morning!  

Thank you, Bay Leaf members!  You have blessed us more than we could ever ask for or imagine.  Your sacrificial giving and joy in giving makes the Body beautiful.