Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Act Your Way into Feeling

I have to admit... even I have a hard time maintaining my drive to eat and cook healthfully. It's not that I don't care about my health. I do. It's not that I don't like healthy foods. I love them, generally speaking. But I will admit that staying on the health tract takes effort. It doesn't just happen by chance in our society and it isn't always the easiest or most convenient route.

For me, there have been three culprits at work lately: 1) It's summer time, which for our family means that routines and schedules have changed. The days are long and full trying to take in all the summer happenings. With all of the activity, I have been less than motivated to cook... especially when the hot weather is in full effect. I'm ok with the summer craziness and I truly love the heat. I especially love that it goes hand in hand with delicious fresh summer-time produce that is abundantly available. Our family takes full advantage of this... but I still don't find myself wanting to cook. Which leads me to culprit number 2) I have been feeling bored of the typical salad, and I love salad! This has led me to eat less greens these past two weeks, which isn't normal in our home. The third culprit that is haunting me and threatening my healthy eating habits is that, 3) I am feeling tired and bored of my recipes. All of this has been begging me to ask the question, so now what?

I have made the obvious adjustment to doing more "cold" meals. Ones that don't cause me to melt by requiring the oven at the height of the heat. This has helped with using the oven less and has caused me to explore salads that aren't based solely around greens. I have also opted for more meals that require minimal time, since it is precious to all of us (especially those of us with two young kids). The other adjustment I have implemented is that I have started asking around as to what my friends and extended family dish up. I have found that other "circles" of people (those outside of the immediate family I grew up in) often eat differently than we do... use different spices, have a different twist, use a different method than what I am programed to imitate.

Yes, we all have food creativity slumps and times where eating healthfully isn't as inspiring as we wish. These are the moments when I remember my mom's wise words I heard my whole life: "Don't feel your way into acting... You must act your way into feeling". I wasn't feeling the way I normally do about food, so I acted as one who eats healthfully and one who is resourceful. I had to be honest and purposeful about my food slump and am pleased to see my health habits coming back around.

I don't like that chick!

Harper's Nana and OoOo gave her this singing duck for easter last year... she loved it then and still does now, but Bentley on the other hand... not so much!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

9 Months and a Totally Different Boy

Bentley, sweet boy, you have now reached the 9 month mark, and you have changed over night from a baby into a little boy! You are our chill, go-with-the-flow child... and we love that about you.
For the first 8months, you went along for our whirlwind of a family ride and never made much of a fuss or statement. The constant comment I have always gotten is, "wow, he never makes a peep or cries. Is he always like this?" Yes, you mostly have been. Your sister had a weekly gymnastics class for months that I had to help her with, and week after week everyone would say, "you would never know you had a baby on your back... he just watches and smiles back there." That is who you are Bentley. Happy, laid back, eager to watch everything (especially Harper), and often smiling. I think you got most of that from your daddy. You boys even out the girls in the family, thank goodness!
The ninth month has been a change. Not bad at all, just more fun, more busy and full of seeing more of your personality. You were so laid back the first 8 months that you didn't care too much to crawl. You were happy to sit for a while. You then moved on to being happy to stand holding on to something. Now you are everywhere! Moving around the house with ease, pulling up to stand wherever possible and getting into all kinds of things mommy and daddy hadn't put out of your reach (we have now). You love trying to do what Harper is doing and you prefer to be with us all the time, following us from room to room as quickly as you can go. You are SO proud of yourself whenever you climb up and stand next to a different piece of furniture or toy. You yell and laugh with delight that you are now strong enough to do these things on your own! It is precious to watch.
You are a "mama's boy" mostly because I'm the one at home with you everyday. I know all your in's and out's... how you like your bottle warmed, how to feed you as fast as you would like it, what signs mean you're tired, and what makes you feel comforted. Truthfully, I know beyond those day to day needs being filled by me, at heart... you are a "dada's boy". You light up when he walks in the room, you love being in his arms and "walking" with him, and you love how daddy makes you laugh! You boys just melt my heart watching you interact.
Bentley, you ADORE your sister. I hope your relationship stays like this forever, but I know that most all siblings go through their spats and rough years. I will take it like it is as long as God graces us with it. Your connection with Harper is so very different than with mommy and daddy. Out of a room full of people, you watch and study Harper, hands down every time. Daddy and I joke about how you are taking notes on what Harps is doing, so that someday you can take each trick and tumble one step further. Every night, Harper gives you a kiss and says goodnight to you before we take you to bed; and every night you belly laugh so hard when she leans in to kiss you. Sometimes Harper will even entertain us a bit and kiss you over and over again so we can all hear you laugh numerous times - each time with the same level of excitement and laughter! Oh, you have no idea how cute this is!
Just like your sister, you are nine months old with only 1 and a 1/2 teeth. Both on the bottom. You are not a picky eater, and at this point are a more versatile eater than your sister was at this point - enjoying things like quinoa, asparagus, and black beans! You love playing in the water (preferably with your sister) and love jumping whenever someone will help you or put you in your jumper. You are a big dude for your age. You look and sometimes even act like a one year old. You have your doctor's appointment next week and I am so curious where your stats are at. If you are at all like your sister, you will start tapering off on the growth and weight gain in a few months. For your sake, we do hope you are a bit taller than your sister ;)
Bentley, you are the sweetest little boy your daddy and I could have EVER imagined! We are so blessed to be your parents and to get to watch your every development. You have a softness about your personality that is endearing and a sparkle in your eyes that fills our hearts with joy. We love you Bentley-boo!

Two and a (Challenging) Half?

Harper, you have just crossed over into the 2 1/2 age and it's been interesting and fun all in the same breath! You are a ball of LIFE, and at this stage I am reminded that you are more interested in living that life more independent from your parents every day. Last Tuesday epitomized this stage perfectly:
While we were playing in the morning, you ran off to go play in another room. I followed you like I usually do when we are playing and you turned around and said ever so calmly, "no, don't come with me mommy." I think I might have stopped breathing for a split second.
It wasn't even 15 minutes later that you ran into the bathroom to go potty. Again, I followed you to observe that you followed all of the "steps" (especially since if you had it your way, you would skip washing your hands every time so you could get back to playing). You turned and looked at me again, as you began shutting the bathroom door, and said, "go away mommy!" I respected that (after my heart skipped a beat) and let you exert your independence... after we had a tiny reminder about manners and using the word please. As we got you ready for your gymnastics class, you were determined to put on your leopard print leotard and rainbow leggings on yourself... and I have to say, you did a great job! We arrived to gymnastics and I walked you over to teacher Cindy. It was your second week in the toddler class without parental involvement. The week prior, you walked out to teacher Cindy and did the entire class without looking over your shoulder... barely realizing that I was no longer by your side to help you through all the drills. On this particular day, you were into the beginning stretches when you DID realize that I wasn't right there. Oh how you melted down screaming yourself into a puddle. "Mommy, mommy!!!! I want my mama!" Needless to say, Bentley and I came down from the bleachers and joined you on the floor. I don't think you transitioned from one drill to the next that day without crying for me, to check if I was still standing close enough. Bentley and I were happy to give you hugs and loves along the way to get you through class.
My mommy brain was spinning that poignant day with the dramatic back and forth of independence and dependence. I am realizing the importance of you exercising your independence at appropriate times and, at the same time, realizing to stop and cherish the moments when you reach out for my hand and reassurance.
Harper, you still love music and dance every time a song comes on. You have turned into our little tumbler - doing summersaults constantly. You climb anything and attempt jumping off many things that make mommy and daddy look at each other wide-eyed. Thankfully, you still have a sense of caution and do seem to know your limitations. You are obsessed with our ipad, asking to use it more than I can count. You love being outside, but make it known that you don't like the rain and you love the sun (mommy's little girl). You can spot water a million miles away and love playing in it, whether it be a fountain, the sink or a swimming pool. You have a love-hate relationship with bugs - calling them your friends and then squealing/screaming(?) when you actually touch one. Harper, one of the things your daddy and I love the most is your heart. You have the biggest one out there. It often comes across in sweeping emotions, but you are sensitive because you care about others. You try to calm your brother when he's crying and recently have been seen putting your arm around him. Anytime anything or anyone appears to be hurt, your eyes wince and you can't move on without assurance that they will be ok. When mommy's grandma died this month, you caught me crying once and you kept saying, "it's ok mommy, don't be sad" and hugging me. You talked about it for weeks. You are so precious to us sweet girl... don't ever change or lose your heart.
2 and 1/2 has proved to show us the rewards and challenges of parenting. Every day there are countless reminders for you to use your manners, to share with your brother, to eat a healthy "real" meal (not just a snack), to stop stalling and go to bed, to obey us the first time we ask you to do something, and to stay in your big girl bed at night. Mixed in to all of those daily challenges and tests of patience are: morning greetings that would make anyone smile, belly laughs that are nothing but contagious, an imagination that is creative and dramatic, kisses and hugs that soften any moment, a sweet little voice that can make all our worries go away, and two big brown eyes that sparkle and remind us that life is meant to be celebrated.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Greg's 60th Birthday Weekend!

This past weekend, we spent a very special couple days with Jeremy's family at the beach celebrating Greg's 60th birthday. We ended the weekend by surprising Greg with a party at our home, full of friends and family who love him. We shared some wonderful moments together and made memories we will cherish forever... Thank you Greg for the love you shower on us, for your Godly example of how to serve others, and for a life worth emulating. We love you!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Harper, Ice Cream & her Imaginary Tiger

This video was taken when we told Harper she could have her 1st bowl of ice cream after her swimming lessons last week... it was pretty funny and a very typical "Harper" moment captured on video (rare these days as she is usually too aware of the camera). She is FULL of imagination and facial expressions! Jeremy and I hang on everything that comes out of her mouth... as we never know what to expect at this stage. Sometimes it's cute... and sometimes it's very much a 2 year old and not so cute. You parents know what I'm talking about ;)