Monday, April 20, 2015

Molly's 3rd Birthday

This year Reed and Molly both got a lot of birthday celebrating! :) They had their joint birthday party with friends the first week of April, then went on a very special Disney World trip with Papa and Grammy last week, and each of course were well-celebrated on their actual birthday.

Reed gave Molly her birthday gift early, so that she could take it on the Disney trip... Almost a year ago Reed started telling Molly that he was going to get her a LeapPad for her birthday, and whenever her birthday was mentioned she would exclaim, "my own LeapPad!" So it was really fun to find a great deal and let Reed contribute and actually give Molly the promised, much anticipated gift.

Molly's birthday was on a Sunday, so we started Saturday night setting up some decor for our butterfly-loving princess.

When the last streamer was hung, I sat on the couch and looked at pictures and cried about Molly turning three... and then snuck up to her room to take a picture of her.

Sunday morning Molly wandered downstairs and gasped, "There's a birthday down here (pause) ...Is it mine?!" :) She helped me finish making muffins until Reed woke up.

Reed and Molly colored butterflies, and enjoyed a Happy Birthday breakfast.

After a royal birthday bubble bath playing with foam crowns, Molly picked out a real crown to wear to church and a special birthday ribbon. However, she decided to be 3 going on 13 and ripped them off and wouldn't let me take her picture. :) This is all I got:

After church, Daddy had a missions meeting with the students, so we stopped by and had a piece of pizza. Everyone sang Happy Birthday, but Molly got bashful and said to make them stop!

Molly opened her present after nap time...

Dolls... which led her to her new dollhouse!

I think this would qualify as the reaction you would want when you pick out a special gift for your child!!

Reed was so sweet with Molly all afternoon! He would hug and hug Molly, and then said incredulously "I love her so much, Mom. I keep hugging her and I don't even know why!" (This was a very welcome mood shift from the morning when he blew out her candle during breakfast and proceeded to dis her birthday celebration). ;)

Reed and Molly played for a little while, and then we stopped by Smallcakes to pick out cupcakes and head to Moe's, Molly's dinner choice.

We ended the night at Target, letting Reed and Molly spend some of their March Madness prize money.

Happy 3rd, Molly B!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Molly is 3

Molly, I can't believe that you are three years old! It has been such a joy to watch you grow and learn and become each new day, but tonight my heart is gripped by how quickly the time has flown.

At three, you weigh 26.2 pounds and you are 35 inches tall. You just got home from a Disney trip with Grammy and Papa, and when we saw you Daddy and I thought you seemed SO big and tall. I measured you on our growth chart and realized that you had grown almost 1 1/2 inches since January 8th!

You've been pretty much potty trained for quite a while, but mommy has loved the pull-ups lifestyle. :) Now that you're officially three, we've been in panties since your return from Disney and thankfully it's been a breeze!

Some of your favorite things include bunny, playing pretend and baby dolls and kitchen, jewelry, gymnastics, riding scooters, reading books, stamps and pens, playing with Reed, and Sofia the First.

You prefer to be independent and love to pick out your clothes and dress yourself.

You like to ask for snacks and chocolate, and always ask to have your hair (and mine!) "down." :)

I love to hear you sing in the car, especially The Way and Calling on Fire.

I've started to find you talking to yourself or absorbed in complex make believe play-- you smile bashfully and stop if you notice me watching you!

You have very animated expressions and talk with your hands in the cutest way. :)

You love to ask questions and have lots to say, often starting with "you knooow..." or ending with "...or sumfin." It is also very cute when you say "actually" and "bemine me" (remind me).

You have the sweetest manners, starting requests with "may I please..." and "Is it okay I..."

When you are feeling grumpy, you do NOT use those sweet manners! You like to sigh with a big "Ughhhhh" and you know just what you want or do not want.

You often use "her" in place of "she." :)

Probably my favorite thing you say is "I love you with all my heart." Melt.

You have a sweet, tender heart and can be quiet and snuggly or very active and silly and entertaining.

You have started asking to have your back scratched and say, with your thumb in your mouth, "don't stop."

You give great hugs, and love to giggle.

You and Reed are the greatest buddies. You've been sleeping together each night in your big bed since February... unless you giggle too much and get separated. Your anticipated goodnight routine is to exchange a hug, a kiss, and a tummy blow, and then to each give the same to our baby in my belly :)

You are soon to become a big sister, and I can't wait to watch you embrace that role. You often ask "when our baby comes out can I..." and have all kinds of ideas about things to feed to and ways to entertain our baby. :)

My heart is stretched right now anticipating your transition from the baby of our family to big sister. I hope you know today and always how precious you are to our family, and that you are God's special creation. He made you so wonderfully and fearfully and we treasure your uniqueness. We love your big smile, your giggles, your sweet hugs and kisses, and the various ways you express your emotions. We love you more than we could ever explain. You are our princess. Happy 3rd birthday, Molly!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Happy Day to St. Patrick & Reed

We had a big, full day of celebrating St. Patrick's Day and Reed's 5th Birthday.

We woke up overhearing Molly telling Reed Happy Birthday-- so sweet!

Reed asked first thing to be measured on our growth chart to see if he was any bigger! :) And then followed the shamrock path downstairs.

Reed had requested Dad's icing biscuits for breakfast. Actually, he requested pink icing biscuits like we had on Valentine's Day. I asked him if he was sure he didn't want green for St. Patrick's Day, and he told me that green ones sounded... sour. :) I assured him that they would only look different, but taste the same.

"Happy Birthday to Reed..."

We also had shamrock shaped honeydew, which got snubbed for the bubbles, headbands, and flashing necklaces.

Reed couldn't wait to open his gifts. This year Daddy and I got Reed a bozo bopper, real boxing gloves and inflatable bopping gloves, and some joke and riddle books. Molly got Reed Spinner, a Switch & Go Dino.

After we played with gifts and got ready, Grammy and Papa arrived and we set off for an early showing of The SpongeBob Movie... much to Reed's excitement! Grammy and Papa bought drinks, popcorn, and candy all around.

Tuesday was a beautiful spring day and we met Daddy on his lunch break for a picnic at the square. Reed chose Taqueria for lunch because of the fortune cookies. :) (Just so happens that kids eat free on tuesdays too!) ;)

We played on the train, played hide and go seek, and threw lots of pennies in the fountain.

Our plan was to get some Sweet Treats ice cream, but after the movie grub and then lunch we were all full. While Molly took a nap, Reed and mommy spent the afternoon playing games. Daddy picked up Reed for gym class, and they stopped for Reed's free St. Patty's cupcake after.

(Are you tired yet??) :)

Finally, it was a beautiful evening for soccer practice. Reed's enthusiasm for the start of the season has been off and on, so we were so glad when he had a great birthday practice. The green b-day sports drink we brought along helped pump him up a little. :)

St. Patrick's Day Molly!

Reed's coach brought St. Patty necklaces and gave Reed a birthday shout-out. :)

It was a full and festive day!

And Daddy squeezed one last birthday candle onto a post-soccer grilled cheese! :)

...that's a wrap!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dear Reed (5!)

Dear Reed,

Today has been a whirlwind of a day! I love, and I mean loooove, celebrating you and planning how to make your birthday special. After a full morning of St Patrick's Birthday breakfast treats, opening gifts, playing, a movie in the theater with all the stops, a sunny picnic at the square, and an afternoon of basketball and boardgames, you just left with Daddy for gymnastics class, and a birthday treat. Whew! I passed the baton before the finish line and this (pregnant!) momma is wiped out for the day. But oh so full. This is the first time today I have sat down with my thoughts, and, man oh man, did it just it me like a ton of bricks that you are FIVE today. Five, Reed! You are such a big boy!

Not computing how all this happened, and so quickly...

In most birthday notes I like to write down things about you at that specific frame of time, things like... right now you are playing soccer with SSA, you're pretty great at all sports, getting big muscles in gymnastics... you can count to 100, are learning to read, starting kindergarten in the fall (WHAAAAT?!), and to top it off you're about to become a double big brother in just a few weeks...

This birthday feels a little different. A little deeper. As you officially enter the "big kid" years my thoughts quickly turn from what you are up to, and hover more than ever on who you are and who you are becoming. And as I think about you and reflect on today, I think about how your birthday gifts represent a lot about your heart and our wishes for you as you continue to grow. So here are five special things about you, Reed, at age five...

The first thing you woke up to today was a trail of shamrocks leading you downstairs to a St, Patrick's/Birthday breakfast and decor with lots of green and silly goodies. We ate green icing biscuits with rainbow sprinkles, donned light up shamrock necklaces, headbands, and green mustaches and played with bubbles and a balloon and candle. You love celebrations and seem to have a sentimental bent, as well as an amazing memory-- you love to recall and talk about your various birthdays and birthday parties, (among many other memories). You like to have fun, and you are excitable and participatory. I love that about you, and hope that you continue to delight in life. May you have eyes to recognize and a heart to engage the gifts and joys all around you!

You are always looking for something to karate chop, shoot with your bow and arrow, or attack with a weapon of some kind. To spare our home, Molly, and ourselves, and also to give you an emotional outlet, we got you "boxing gear" for your birthday. You are not only tender and perceptive as I mentioned above, but you are also spirited.  You think and feel deeply, can respond strongly, and you express many things out loud and physically. You don't always want to be left with a sitter, or share, or lose, or follow through with certain commitments, but as you experience these tensions and feel things like frustration and fear and disappointment, you are learning more and more how to express your emotions and how to be flexible and resilient. We are so proud of you. In just the couple of soccer practices so far this spring, I see a fierce competitive edge emerging. You are a fighter, a feeler, a defender, and a warrior. We pray that you would always fight for the right things--for godliness, for others, for His kingdom come. And pray that you would be brave in continuing to live and fight from your unique heart.

Molly got you a switch n go dino to add to your collection. I love both of your expressions in the picture above. You are creative and imaginative. It is fun to glimpse you playing alone as you enter your own world and create with legos or cars or dinosaurs. It also a joy to watch you play with Molly. You really are such a great big brother, Reed. Of course, you get frustrated with Molly at times or lack in the sharing department, but I see overwhelmingly how you care for Molly, cheer her on, and delight in her like a friend. You two are really great buddies in this season, and it fills my heart. I can't wait to watch you delight in our new baby in just a few weeks, and teach Molly how to be a big sister. What a gift you are and will always be to your siblings.

Your card this year was a joke book. Whenever I reflect on or am asked about your personality, one of the first characteristics to come to mind is your humor. You have always loved to make people laugh and smile. I remember one day when you were three you came and did some silly stunt move into my room. You immediately stood up and said, "hey! You didn't laugh this time." It was as if you had mentally noted that something was funny to me and set out to recreate the experience. Right now, we have to be verrrry careful when we laugh... there is lots of covering our mouths and leaving the room. (Of course, you usually know when you've gotten us anyway). Earlier this year you started liking and telling (trying to tell) jokes. You are so intelligent and insightful, Reed. Your exploration of and appreciation for humor and thought represent your perceptive heart and your ability to understand. We hope you always remember that laughter is a gift from God. May your joy be rooted in him, and may you never lose your desire to enjoy life and laugh out loud.

You got to go to the movies today! You love movies and you love treats, so you were on cloud nine to be at the big screen where Grammy and Papa busted out all the stops. Somehow in one of your friend groups you heard about the SpongeBob movie that is in theaters and you had been asking to see it. At first I said no way, but as I planned out your special day I looked up the movie on Focus' family website and was surprised that it got good reviews for its message and didn't have anything inappropriate in it. I decided that we would take you. It sounds sort of silly, but in a way it represented this small step of recognizing that you are entering the big kid years, and will eventually be making more and more choices on your own and developing your own tastes and interests. In your enjoyment of movies, you seem drawn to the idea of story. You have a unique grasp of your own emerging story already. We pray more than anything that you would recognize your story as part of the "Big God Story," that God would give you a heart to fully trust Him with your life and with your story.
(PS- Please stop singing Spongebob Squarepants.)

Reed Matthew Morgan, you are a beloved child of your Creator--the God of the universe! I can't even explain in words what a joy it is to be your mom, what a privilege your daddy and I have to nurture you as you grow and help you become the unique individual God fashioned you to be... To enjoy you and help you journey through life. He knows you even better than we do, Reed. And if you can imagine such a great love, He even loves you more than we do. That's a LOT. To my fun, brave, feeling, creative, big-brothering, joking, perceiving FIVE YEAR OLD-- Happy, Happy Birthday! YOU are my gift!

I love you,

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sunday School Fun

A big part of our year has been pre-teaching Reed and Molly's Sunday lessons using the Tru Homefront resources from our Sanctuary Kids curriculum.

I really wanted to make a "big deal" out of our Sunday mornings and find ways to have fun introducing the part of the big God story that they'd be studying each week. Each Sunday we get a Homefront resource from church that walks through and gives ideas for introducing the remember verse, sharing the Bible passage, and having some follow up conversation.

On the first Sunday of Reed and Molly's new classes (Molly's first "real" class and Reed's first year upstairs with large group time!), we celebrated with a new back pack set out for Molly and a new snack pack to match Reed's back pack as a surprise.

Off to 2014-2015 SK classes

Their very first lesson was "God is the Living God," centered around Daniel in the lion's den. We hunted for lions in the morning and had lion waffles for breakfast (I was trying to be creative with what we had on hand!)

The next week was about the story of Jonah... To get pumped up we had another "creative" story-themed breakfast (ha!), played a fishing game in the bath (and after!), and snacked on cheddar whale crackers on the way to church. :)

We also had fun waking up to "manna" in the living room one Sunday morning and collecting it in baskets before breakfast and Homefront.

Reed and Molly started out with the same Bible stories each week, but are now doing different lessons most of the time. Sometimes I completely forget or our intro is just a conversation on the way to church in the car, but silly breakfasts or none I love that Reed and Molly are both enjoying their classes and learning about the God of the "Big God Story." My favorite thing is that they are hiding God's word in their hearts. We keep the remember verses written on our easel and say them together when we think of them. Reed and Molly both know most of their verses! These aren't the best videos, but Matt and I kept saying we needed to record them and we just went for it-- cookie eating and all. ;)

Molly's Remember Verses (February 2015):


Reed's Remember Verses (February 2015):

Being a parent, privileged to shepherd little hearts, is so soulful and overwhelming. I often question where I'm too lax and where I need to show more grace, but I'm trusting that in this planting of seeds, in being faithful to tell them the story, in living out my own journey of following, and in praying to have ears to hear and for God's spirit to move in the lives of my kids... I'm trusting that He is at work. Writing beautiful stories of grace.

Lord Jesus, Thank you for the gift of Reed and Molly. We pray that you would lead us as we lead them. We pray that your hand would be upon them, that your Spirit would be at work in their hearts even now and that you would hold them close. May they each grow to know and love you fully, with their whole hearts and by your grace may they follow you all the days of their lives. In Jesus' name, Amen.