Friday, September 30, 2011

Life with Lana today (5 years, 2 months)

Profile of a 5 year, 2 month old Lana

44 pounds (70th percentile), 45 inches tall (90th percentile)
  • Interests: Superheroes, painting, reading anything she can get her hands on
  • Enjoys: watching football with her daddy, running with her mommy  
  • Turn Offs: taking naps, unless she's in Mommy & Daddy's bed;  
  • Vices: being impatient with her brother and responding to him in anger
  • Strengths: so, so helpful - often offering to help us clean, set the table, work around the house before we even ask her.

Favorites of my 5 year old:
  • Foods: broccoli, mama's homemade bread, and anything that she helps cook.
  • Shows: Spiderman, hands down! 
  • Books: Chapter books, particularly ones that are mysteries (Cam Jensen) and Superheroes.
  • Toys: art supplies are the only toy she really plays with - colored pencils, markers, paint.
  • Activities: jumping and flipping on her playset - she's been begging to start taking gymnastics again.

Treasuring details of my 5 year, 2 month old:

She's had another growth spurt recently -
this pictures shows how she's just all arms and legs right now.

This girl is adored by her little brother.

Her ability as a gymnast astounds me!  She has just the right mix of flexibility and courage to make her good.  She's always trying something new, pushing herself.  She asks every day when she can take lessons again.

Lana genuinely loves life.  While she tends to be reserved with her emotions and doesn't walk around bubbling often, her natural reaction to life is to enjoy it.  That makes her such fun to be around!  

Lana is a summer child, through and through.  
She loves being outside, in the warm weather, better than anything else.
We're so glad God brought us to Florida!  
She's settled in well and truly here.  At dinner the other night, she told me that "it feels like home here now.  It didn't at first, maybe for a few weeks, but I just made friends and have a house and it's all ok."  I talked with her about how the Lord would use that experience in her life so that she could encourage someone else.  She would have a new friend move into town, or a friend move out of town, and she could tell them about how it feels.

Her math skills are taking off in Kindergarten, under the instruction of Ms. Fine.  She's always been a quick learner, and reading is definitely her strong suit, so it's neat to see the other "side" of her brain working overtime.  She learned in school to count by 10's and they're doing some basic addition and subtraction, too.

But oh my, is she ever the reader!
She can read just about anything she puts her hands on.  Our home library collections contains lots of picture books, but her interest and ability level is extending beyond those, so I'm making strategic choices for her at the library these days.
I'll often find her spending her free time tucked away somewhere like this:

My long, lanky girl is fast!  
She's been running a bit with me, and I think she's more of a sprinter than a distance runner!  She doesn't have a "steady" pace - for her, running is fast or nothing at all.  I wonder if she'll try track one day?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

LeapFrog Letter Factory

Thanks to this:

I adore being my children's first teacher,
but let me tell you something - 
I don't have anything on Leap, Lily, and Tad.

Lana knew all of her letters and sounds around 2 - 
strictly from watching this movie and then us practicing them together.
I really do believe this gave her a big head start,
and is part of the reason she's a strong reader already.

Tucker is following right along in her footsteps.
He asked to watch this movie a few weeks ago.
I put it on, realized he was paying attention,
and let him watch him every day or every other day.

This movie amazes me.
Everything by LeapFrog is top notch - 
they really do use the correct phonetic approach,
and they do it really well.
They have other movies that I think are entertaining, too,
but this one has far and away been the most educational for my kids.

Definitely worth purchasing!

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, September 26, 2011

Motherhood in the trenches.

"Fat souls are better than clean floors."

If you have young children,
RUN and get this book.
I'm serious.  Don't walk.
Find it at a local bookstore tomorrow,
or go to and pay the shipping to get it to your door quickly.

This is by far the most refreshing, gospel-centered parenting book I've read in a while.

If I haven't convinced you yet, here are some other reasons you really do want to read this book:
  1. The author, Rachel Jankovic, is the mother of 5 children, 5 and under.  And she writes this on the flyleaf of her rock-solid book: "I didn't write this book because mothering is easy for me.  I wrote it because it isn't."  Booyah.  She's the real deal.  
  2. It is around 100 pages, and each of its 20 chapters can be read in mere minutes.  Perfect for moms, wouldn't you say?!  
  3. It is not not not another how-to book.  Because let's just admit that we're pretty tired of those.  We read 'em and we try to do what they say and it doesn't always work but we feel like it's working for all our friends and that we're just bad moms or we just have bad kids or whatever other lie Satan chooses to tell us.  This is not another how-to book.  It is a book of encouragement....the subtitle is Motherhood in the Trenches.  Have you ever been in the trenches?  Yeah, me too.
  4. It will very gently slap your face hard.  And I know that doesn't even make any sense, but you'll know what I mean after you read it yourself.
My head is still reeling from it, in the best way possible.  Here are a few of the excerpts that are highlighted in my copy:

The need to correct (behavior) is real, but so is the desire to pick a feather out while you're at it.  Do you really want to be the fastest, biggest, pickiest, meanest chicken in the barnyard?  So think about your own language with your children....Do you want to see them feel bad, or see them with a clear conscience...? (p. 19)

So while your children are little, cultivate an attitude of sacrifice.  Sacrifice your peace for their fun, your clean kitchen floor for their help cracking eggs, your quiet moment for their long retelling of a dream that a friend of theirs allegedly had.  Prioritize your children far and away above the other work you need to get done.  They are the only part of your work that really matters.  (p. 51)

Motherhood is hard work.  It is repetitive and oftentimes menial.  Accept it.  Rejoice in it.  This is your toil.  Right here.  Those are their faces.  Enjoy them.  The days of your life are supposed to be full of things like this.  But joy is not giddy.  It is not an emotional rush - it is what happens when you accept your lot and rejoice in your toil.  So rejoice in your children.  Look them in the eyes and give thanks. (p. 102)

See what I mean?

I've been chewing on this for days, now, and here's what I know about my personal trenches:

I'm good at orchestrating activities for my children,
when instead I should be doing more sitting and listening and playing.

I put my to-do list first.  I get it done and then I play.
I want THEM to be my to-do list.

When they have bad attitudes, quick tempers, selfish hearts,
I turn that into a sin against me.  
They have violated my law, offended me and my rules, embarrassed me.
I want to fluff feathers, not pick them out.

I chase after the high of motherhood.
I blog about the bright and shiny moments, and turn them into little gods.
I want the simple, every day things to be enough.
I want my heart to be less interested in how I feel
and more interested in glorifying God when no one is watching.

Bet you didn't bargain for all THAT when you opened up this blog post.

You see, though....I turn these blog posts into books.
And I hope my sweet daughter reads this one day, when she's in the trenches of her own mothering, and learns something about what not to do.  I hope she goes and digs out my old worn, yellowed copy of this book and reads through it herself.  I hope she digs out my Bible, fraying with age, binding unraveling, and sifts through, refreshing herself in the gospel.
She'll, of course, know better than anyone that I was not a perfect mother.
She'll know first-hand all my mistakes and blunders, my grievous sins, the ones that none of you will ever know about.  She'll know.
And I want her to know without a doubt that her mama had to just keep going back to the Cross for more and more grace.

Here are a few of my favorite moments from this past week....the quiet, relaxing moments....the ones I want to thrive in, the ones I want to find my joy in, the ones I want our family life to be marked by.



having chats with my girl who popped up on the counter
(I remember doing this very same thing with my mama, as far back as my memories go.)

slow bathtimes and bedtimes

frog hunting

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tucker sings!

Today, literally out of the blue - Tucker started singing!
We couldn't believe it.  
He was running through the house singing the alphabet song first.
Then Dan started singing "Amazing Grace" to him, and he sang along.
Then we just tried to see what else he would sing for us!

the alphabet song
(please ignore the sub-par parenting/bribery)

This boy melts my heart.

Class play date!

Lana has the sweetest gift of hospitality.
She loves having people in our home,
and her friends in particular.
So when she asked if we could invite her whole class to come to our house to play, we sent out fun invitations to her friends!

She's been counting down the days until this playdate,
and could barely sleep last night because she was so excited.

While she was at school, I set up snacks - all specifically requested by her:

 Dan picked Lana up from school, and then she parked herself here to wait:

Oh, the fun!

I'm so glad that Lana had this idea!  I loved getting to know the other moms.

Acts 17:26 "From one nation he (God) made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

We believe God has brought us to this place, to this community, to this school.  We're so thankful for the people He's placed us among!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Open House at Lipscomb Elementary

Tonight I got to take Lana to Open House at her school.
We made it a big deal by going out to dinner together before - 
her choice was Firehouse, of course.

She was so proud to show me the artwork displayed outside her room!

Proud mama moment that her favorite food is STILL broccoli.

Her desk had some more of her artwork, and a fun scavenger hunt for us to do together so she could show me around her room.

So proud to show me her library book!
They have a rockin' school library,
and they get to choose a book to keep in their classroom.

Near their circle time area,
they had written sentences about things they like.

Aunt Ranae, do you see what she says she likes??  :)

More cutie pie artwork.

Ms. Fine had put together a precious slideshow with pictures throughout their day - so fun to get to see my girl live and in action with her friends, just doing what they do.
This required some extra time and effort on the teacher's part, and I am thankful!

We are so thankful for a wonderful Kindergarten teacher!

After leaving Lana's classroom,
she couldn't wait to take me to the Art Room and show me where she sits.

Look at THIS incredible piece of artwork created by my daughter in art class!
I can't wait until this comes home so I can mat and frame it and hang it on my wall.

Next stop: the Music class.
Lana's self-proclaimed favorite part of kindergarten.