Friday, July 30, 2010

Life with Lana today (4 years)

It's so hard to believe that my baby girl is four!  We've had a fun month, and the name of the game for her these days has been independence!  She wants to do everything herself, including put herself to bed?!?  I really am grateful for the increased ability she's showing around the house, and it's so wonderful to watch her enjoying life in general!

Clearing the table after dinner:

making her bed

making salads for lunch

riding the jet ski (she's always been apprehensive about this)

getting a big girl haircut

jumping off the diving board

Click here to watch her practice her diving!

Here are a few others of my favorite photos this month:
(Click on any one to make it larger.)

It's hard to believe she's not my "baby" girl anymore.  She's so precious to me...seems like just yesterday I was holding her in my arms, watching her sleep.  

Happy 4th birthday, Lana!

Here's a look through the past 4 years with my sidekick:

1 minute old

1 day old

1 week old

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

4 years old

We have had a wonderful day together so far!

We woke up and had cupcakes for breakfast.  

Then she opened the gifts from her party last night.
Having her wait to open them was, by far, one of the best things we've ever done.
Instead of her ripping through each gift, tossing it aside in favor of another one, while children just want to go play - she got to sit in our living room and open each gift at her own pace.  She opened each one carefully, looked at it, took it out and played with it, looked at the card that came with the gift, etc. Then we took a picture of her with each gift and emailed it to the giver with a little thank you note.

After that, Tucker napped, and Dan & Lana went to the church so that she could ride her brand new big girl bike!  She has a bit of trouble getting started, but once she does, she can ride so well!
Click here to watch her ride like a big girl.
(She also did a little multi-tasking - talking to Sue Sue on the phone.)

Dustin & April gave us an above-ground intex pool, so Dan set that up and Lana wanted to swim in it:

After swimming, we had cereal for lunch, at her request.

Then it was naptime, but she said she didn't want to take a nap on her birthday, so she had quiet time instead with some of her new toys.

After we've all rested, we're going to the library (again, her request), to Target so she can spend a gift card she received, and then to CiCi's for dinner.

Oh, what a sweet, relaxed day we've had together.

Lana, I'm so thankful for your life.

I don't even have words to tell you how much I love you, how my life is better and more full because of you and the light you bring into our family.

Your silly fast dancing moves.
Your love for Fruit Loops like your daddy.
Your delight in your baby brother.
Your preference for me when you wake up from a bad dream.
Your love for books.
The joy you find in your friends.
The excitement each new day brings.

There are but a few of so many reasons you are my very favorite sidekick.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Meeting Marek

Meet Marek Joel Scott.
He is the second-born son of our life-long friends Dustin & April Scott.
You can read about how Marek came home here.

I first learned about Marek in 2001.  
Yes, that's right - 8 years before he was born.
I remember the morning that April & I were standing in the bathroom that adjoined our dorm rooms, getting ready for the day, and she told me about the dream she had the night before.
She dreamed she adopted a little boy....he was brown, and his name was Marek Joel. 

Marek, we are so glad you are home.
You are God's grace to us.
A beautiful brown reminder of the gospel.
For we are adopted
Through Christ,
into the family of God.
We're sons.  
As you are.
And as I've watched your Mommy and Daddy pray for you and wait for you,
and as I've seen God provide in amazing ways to bring you home,
I've been reminded of the way God pursues us.
Sacrifices for us.
Longs for us.
And joyfully, oh SO joyfully, brings us to his table.
Where we'll ever have a place.

April & I have been friends for over a decade.
Just to prove it, check out this picture from the spring of 2000:

We met during my freshmen year at University of Mobile, and have been dear friends ever since.  We were both education majors, and did our student teaching in side-by-side classrooms.  After graduation, April went to Africa as a missionary for 2 years, and I got married and started teaching.  One of the reasons Dan & I got married so quickly was to have the wedding before she left for Tanzania!  
After April returned to the states, she & Dustin got married...and here's the best part: they are as good of friends as she and I are.  If you're married, you know how rare (and wonderful!) that is.
They moved to Wake Forest, NC to go to seminary, and we came just a year later, living in the same little neighborhood, just down the hill from them. 
We felt so fortunate to live so near while our first born children were so small:
It was like having family just a few doors down!

Dustin graduated over a year ago, and they now live in Morganton, NC where Dustin is on staff at Burkemont Baptist Church as their Children and Families Pastor.  

We got to visit them for a couple of days....looking at this picture of us all together overwhelms me with gratitude to the point of tears:

These are just life-long friends.  
The kind you can say anything to because you feel perfectly safe.  
(If they've loved you this long, they're not going to give up now.)
The kind you don't get embarrassed in front of when your children act like they've lost their minds.
The kind you can clean the kitchen with and know it's been time well spent.
The kind you can dig in each other's pantry for a late night snack.
The kind you don't mind if they discipline your kids.
The kind you can pick right up where you left off, 
no matter how much time has gone by.
The kind that knows your history so well stories don't even require explanations.

So this time with them was so sweet, as it always is.
The best part is that when we're with them, we don't have to do anything at all to have fun.  Just being together is entertainment in itself. 

Our little boys loved each other - they had the best time on a blanket in the living room, looking and "talking" to each other.  
Our big kids played SO well's such a joy to listen to them race through the house, screeching with laughter, to hear them call for each other, to see them lean over and kiss each other, even to have them fight like brother and sister.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures.
Click on any one to make it larger.

Dustin, April, Hollis, and Marek - we love you so much.
There aren't any words to begin to tell you how grateful we are that the Lord has entertwined our lives so deeply.  Thankful to be on this journey of life, marriage, parenthood, ministry with you.
See you in October!

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, July 24, 2010

No, no! Not for Tucker!

The pictures tell the story:

Little rascal.

And look what I just found!  
Pictures of this same scenario with Lana when she was just his age - her temptation was the wall outlets.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mommy/Daughter Date

Our travel schedule is about to ramp way up - this is our last real week of summer just to be at home.  So we decided to make a point for each of us to spend some one-on-one time with Lana.

On Wednesday morning, Dan took Lana on a date to the (free) summer movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.  This morning, I took her to paint pottery, using a Living Social deal I had found online.  We had a wonderful morning!  As soon as Tucker laid down for his nap, Lana & I headed out the door to Klaystation!

Lana had the best time pouring the paint, painting her purse-shaped treasure box, and then cleaning up after herself!

It was so wonderful to spend a couple of hours alone with my girl, just enjoying each other.  This is the last date I will take my THREE year old daughter out on - hard to believe she'll be FOUR in a week!

My favorite moment of our date is when I realized that my funny girl had ditched her shoes.  She just prefers to be barefoot, like her mama!