Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December Activities

Here is a little peak at what we are doing this Christmas season:

We live in Texas, so of course it makes sense that we would go to a hunting/sporting goods store to experience some Christmas cheer! Indoor carousel with wintry animals, talking reindeer, duck shooting games, and of course a peak at Santa Clause. This store also has a large fish tank the kids love, and lots of wreaths, lights, and ornaments suspended around hunting gear and camouflaged everything. A perfect Texas Christmas outing. 

Above - Rufflebum is standing next to the "talking" reindeer. Obviously amused.

Below - Rufflebum gets her first ever look at "Santa". We had no expectations going to the store - we just wanted her to take the lead so we let her see him, and it was pretty clear she didn't want to get any closer - so we did other things instead.

Things like admire Christmas trees made out of antlers.

Burrow is pulling herself up and becoming more independent every day. It is so fun to watch the girls play together. They adore each other. They light up when they haven't seen each other all day. And boy can they make each other laugh.

Here is Burrow showing her independence with her cup.

We have had cookie baking days with both grandmas. I rarely remember to take out my phone when I'm at other people's houses - so there are way too few pictures of the girls with their grandparents. But here they are with their Mimi reading Christmas books.

And here they are with their Yaya enjoying the wonderful Texas winter!

One of our traditions is to cut down our tree. It is fun to look back at the previous year's pictures and see our family growing each year.

And by growing - I mean in number and in size. Here Rufflebum is measuring just under the 3' mark. :)

We've also gone out to look at Christmas lights, watched a couple of Christmas movies, helped fill and deliver boxes of food for people in our community. We've stepped in to help friends in need. We've listened to Christmas music. We've played with our nativity. We've talked about Jesus and the gift that God gave to us. We've bought presents for people and have anticipated receiving presents ourselves. We've put up lights. We've gone to parties.

And I believe, that in all of this God can be glorified. If we just invite Him in.

But isn't that what Christmas is really about?

The Pampered Bird

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Good Gifts

This morning I was reading in Ephesians 2 about how we were dead in our sin - but are now alive in Christ. I love meditating on that truth. Especially after a week when I felt like I couldn't overcome my laziness, anger, and impatience. Hallelujah that Jesus came! He came to free us. Free us from our slavery to sin. Free us from death. Free us from destruction. And he didn't just free us to figure things out on our own. 

Ephesians 1 is all about the blessings he lavishes on us. Not like the blessings we talk about in our culture (health, wealth and happiness)... but things like this:

- adoption as his children (vs. 5)
- redemption (vs. 7)
- forgivenss (vs. 7)
- wisdom and insight (v. 8)
- an inheritance (v. 11)
- the Holy Spirit (v. 13)

... and the list goes on.

These are some of the gifts he gives to us when he frees us - so that we may have life and life abundantly (John 10:10). 

I'm so grateful that God loves to give good gifts to his children. 

Here are some of the gifts we've been giving to our children this season:

The gift of time together. Rufflebum and I have had a couple of mommy-daughter dates. And Mr. San Antonio has had some special time with her as well. Whether it's grabbing a muffin and a favorite local bakery, or wandering through the zoo, or just reading book after book after book... this girl loves having quality time with us.

The gift of learning: This one loves to bake with me. She likes to help me measure, and even has become really good at cracking the eggs. We use baking as a chance to talk about math concepts, work on fine motor skills, and learn responsibility (clean up after yourself, don't drop things that are fragile, etc.).

The gift of independence: This little one weaned herself overnight. Just woke up and decided she was done nursing, and also wanted to start moving around herself. It was much harder on mommy than on Burrow - but it's been a few weeks now and I'm loving watching her explore her world, and am appreciating that I can finally leave her for more than an hour at a time.

The gift of role modeling: This one loves to do everything I do... whether it's putting on make-up, cleaning the house, or taking care of babies, or getting some exercise. The city recently put in side walks on our street - and now she loves to take her baby for a walk, while I take Burrow for a walk. 

The gift of snuggles: Both girls were really sick over Thanksgiving week - and took turns "riding in my pocket" (Rufflebum's words). My girls love snuggles when they aren't feeling well - and although it is exhausting for me to carry them all day - I know that it helps them feel secure, loved, safe, and cared for. And I know it is temporary. It won't be long before I won't be able to carry them around, or that they won't want me to.

What a wonderful season to reflect on the gifts we have been given, and the gifts we can give to others!

The Pampered Bird

Thursday, November 6, 2014

November Week One

Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I've been working on this lately. Partly because I want to be an example to my girls - be brave, do things I'm not comfortable doing, take risks, that sort of thing.

Partly I've been doing it to be obedient to God. He hasn't called me to be comfortable. He's called me to take risks for Him and live by faith.

This concept has taken a few forms this week.

1. It looked like a dance party in the living room wearing an outfit I let my toddler pick out for me - and mimicking dance moves my toddler made up.

2. It looked like doing a somersault and going down a really fast slide... things I haven't done in over 15 years. And were every bit as ungraceful as I imagined they would be.

3. It looked like choosing to pick up my toddler every time she asked me to hold her the past few days - because I knew she needed some extra attention. Even though it meant tasks were put on hold, to-do lists weren't completed, and my arms were sore.

4. It looked like sharing personal thoughts with friends - not all of whom took them the way I intended.


Some other things that have happened this past week:

This brave girl trick-or-treated for the first time. She never actually said "trick-or-treat"... but she did eventually let go of our hands and walk to a few doors by herself. I was so proud of her for doing something that is uncomfortable.

I took the girls for a quick walk through the zoo - and this little one LOVED the fish. It was the first time going that she actually seemed to care about seeing the animals. I love watching them take in their little worlds.

This week has been wonderfully rainy and cool and therefore the perfect weather to get some baking done. Two separate batches of rolls were made this week. I think only one or two remain...

And the thing that has taken up the most of my time/energy/thoughts/creativity is figuring out how to help this girl sleep. She had been doing great - and then a couple weeks ago she stopped falling asleep at nap time - but was obviously still exhausted (so I knew she wasn't ready to give naps up - that there was something else going on that I needed to address). 

This picture was post "failed-nap-time" - where she passed out in the car and then continued to sleep after I brought her inside. I think this is the first time that has ever happened for her.

As of yesterday things seem to be going much better - we've had two days in a row with successful naps and successful bed times. I'm not an expert - and I know that sleep with Rufflebum is going to be an ongoing battle - so I don't pretend to assume that what I've done the past couple days will forever fix things. But I just poured as much love, attention, and physical touch as I could on this sweet girl. Any time she asked me to hold her - I held her. And I was extra intentional about having some one on one play time with just her every day. 

I've also realized that she falls asleep best at night if I let her process her day out loud. 

I've always thought it was cute that she would talk to her dolls before falling asleep. But then one night last week she begged and begged me to stay in her room and talk to her. I thought she was stalling and so kept fighting her on it, but she got so hysterical that I went ahead and sat down next to her bed. She immediately relaxed and just started talking - telling me every little detail of her day - processing things that had happened - whether it was a time out she received, or a toy she played with, or an incident that occurred with a friend. And as I sat there getting this wonderful glimpse into her mind, she rolled over and fell asleep. I didn't have to do anything but listen.

So now, I'm trying to incorporate this processing time into her bedtime routine. Giving her the chance to work through her day out loud so that her mind can rest and she can sleep. 

I'm also praising the Lord for this insight into my little girl. My mind doesn't work that way and so it never would have occurred to me to try this as a solution to her sleep issues. But God created her, and knows exactly how she is knit together. I'm so thankful that he knows what she needs and reveals things to me when I need them to be a better mom. 

All that to say. It's been a full week. Some of it has been uncomfortable. But I'm comfortable with that.
-The Pampered Bird

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October Recap

October Recap:

My sister got married (everything about the day was beautiful!) and Rufflebum was the cutest flower girl ever. And Burrow was the cutest honorary flower girl ever. :)

My parents then left on a much needed vacation and we house/dog sat for awhile. During that time I decided that having a dog is really great because it significantly reduces the number of times you have to sweep/mop each week.

We've enjoyed pumpkin carving, hiking, morning runs with blankets tucked around baby legs, soup and homemade bread, fall festivals, and just the simple joys of watching our girls make each other laugh.

Burrow (who - by now I thought would have outgrown that nickname - but still burrows into me... so i'll keep using it) - is now army crawling, sitting up on her own, talking more and more, and displaying the most adorable dimples. She loves food - and prefers to feed herself. Her favorite thing to eat is meat. Any kind. Chicken, sausage, meatballs, turkey, hamburger... you put meat in front of her and it disappears. She also loves cheerios and when she sees the box she starts waving her arms frantically and grunting. She will eat any fruit or veggie placed in front of her... but banana is hit or miss. Not sure why - maybe a texture thing?

Rufflebum has figured out how to use the big potty - but most of the time chooses to still live in diapers. I've learned that it's best not to push her. So I just act like I don't care - and find that she uses the potty the most often when she can just go in by herself, without me reminding her or asking her to go. My motto is - We'll get there when we get there.

Not to get all deep... but I guess I will get deep for a minute. 

Some friends and I were sharing different ways that we teach our kids about Jesus - how to apologize, and ask for forgiveness, and how to pray, etc. And we decided that potty training is a good analogy. We can't force them to do it... we can only model how to do it, give them the right tools to do it, and then encourage them as best we can.

See - I wasn't deep for too long.

Mr. San Antonio is getting better. His knee got infected which set him back a bit, but he's back in physical therapy and is allowed to do moderate exercise as long as he keeps the swelling down. We are thankful for that! 

To wrap things up, here are a few recent Rufflebum quotes:

- "I'm going to stand here one minute until I get a little bit bigger." (Put her hand on top of her head) "OH! I got taller!"

- (Me - hearing strange noises in the other room) "Claire, what are you doing?
- (Claire) "I'm in here!"
- (Me) "I know where you are. What are you doing?"
- (Claire) ::Pause:: "Mommy, you are sooooo beautiful."

- (Claire, praying with her dolly): "Dear God, thank you for dolly. Thank you for this room, and dresser, and walls, and mommy and daddy."

- (Claire) "What are you doing mommy?"
- (Me) "I'm taking all of our sheets off our beds to wash them."
- (Claire) "Wow. Thank you mommy. You are such a good mommy to us."

- (Claire, gathering her owl purse, keys, etc.) "I'm going to work now."
- (Me) "Ok. Have a good day."
- (Claire) "Ok. I will. Call me if you need anything."

And that's it for now.
-The Pampered Bird

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's Fall Y'all!

Happy Fall! We are enjoying the "cooler" weather in San Antonio - it's only been in the 80's!!! :) And have jumped right into some of my favorite fall activities: running, baking, roasting veggies, admiring pumpkins, and occasionally throwing on some fall clothes (at least for an hour or two in the morning). We baby step into fall down here.

Here is a very brief overview of our past couple months:

Yes, that is Mr. San Antonio in a wheel chair. Fortunately he didn't need it for very long - and went on to crutches quickly. But this was after he was thrown over a car while on his bike. Long story... made short - it was a miracle he walked away. The Lord protected him. We are so thankful. 

We finished off the summer with lots of swimming! 

And some playing inside while wearing rompers. Rufflebum would choose to wear a romper every single day. Sweet girl fights me tooth and nail about brushing her hair, but always wants her nails done and a romper on. 

I was able to spend a special weekend in September with my sister celebrating the fact that she is about to get married. 

And then - the highlight of the summer - just one week before fall officially began - our little family of four went on a family vacation in Davis Mountains of west Texas. We had a blast.

It was a much needed time for the four of us after Mr. SA's accident and before the craziness of the fall and holidays began.

I hope you are enjoying the beginning of fall as well!
-The Pampered Bird

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Six Months!

This girl....

Is 6 months old!

We have officially put the infant stage behind us and are loving every day even better than the previous.

This girl....

Is the perfect addition to our family. She has a calm, peaceful demeanor, but also knows how to speak her mind and will let you know if she isn't happy about something.

She adores her big sister. And laughs hardest when watching Rufflebum bounce around her.

She loves her momma. I mean... LOVES her momma. She's at a stage where if I'm out of her sight - she gets very angry. She won't necessarily cry tears, she just yells and is mad. As soon as I come back, or pick her up etc. then all becomes right again.

This is simultaneously adorable, and irritating.

Something that is only adorable is that she has started to say "mamama"... specifically when she wants to be picked up.

This girl....
(Napping in the shade while Daddy and Rufflebum played in the river)

Knows how to roll over both directions, but stubbornly chooses not to do so. She really prefers to sit up in her bumbo chair, and is getting close to being able to sit up on her own.

To comfort herself, she will suck on her hand or a blanket.

I've given up trying to give her a bottle because that is one of the few things in her little life that makes her purple with anger (literally, she turns purple...).

This girl....

Lights up the room with her big gummy smile.

Her bottom two teeth are trying to poke through but aren't quite there yet.

But having no teeth is not stopping her from becoming very interested in our food. I've only given her a couple small tastes of things so far... and each time she has looked at me as though I've deeply offended and disappointed her.

This girl...
(On the 4th of July)

Is doted on by her big sister. If she cries, Rufflebum runs to get her a blankie. If she laughs, Rufflebum will repeat whatever act brought on the laughter. If she is frustrated, Rufflebum will try to readjust her - at which point mom swoops in to save her from potential injury.

This girl....
(Post river swimming ice cream stop!)

Is loved. Deeply. Passionately. And unconditionally.

Happy 6 months little one.
(Train ride at the zoo)

-The Pampered Bird

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Embracing Summer

Historically speaking summer time has been my least favorite time of the year. I love having a schedule. I love having routine activities. Even as a kid I dreaded summer vacation (weird I know). Once I was out of school and working full time summer didn't really exist in the same way and I actually liked that. I enjoyed working through the summer and being able to keep on keeping on with my same activities.

I quit my paying job two years ago. That first summer was horrible. I had a six month old baby, very few friends who weren't working full time, and absolutely nothing to do. I was very lonely and had lots of doubts about the whole stay-at-home-mom thing.

Then last summer I had an 18 month old, a lot more friends who were also at home with their kids... and miserable morning sickness for the entire summer. So I spent most of last summer on my couch, eating popsicles and once again wishing those days would zoom by a little bit faster.

(The reason I was sick all last summer... she's pretty worth it!)

This summer.... this summer is totally different. And for the first time (maybe ever... or at least in a long time), I am enjoying summer and all of the different things that it brings.

(Last day of gymnastics came with popsicles!)

Here's how I'm embracing summer:

1. First thing I had to do was get over my dislike for wearing swimsuits. I've never been comfortable wearing a swimsuit and have always felt more exposed than I would like to be.

But I have a toddler who LOVES the water and would swim every day, multiple times a day if it was possible. And I finally decided that I needed to get over my swimsuit phobia and get in the water with her.

(I hope this girl never loses her confidence!)

It's good for her to see her momma feel confident in her own skin. It's good for her to see her momma take appropriate risks and do things outside her comfort zone. It's good for her to see her momma have fun and not be afraid of looking foolish.

So I headed over to the LandsEnd website and found some cute swimsuits that I feel confident in (I got a couple of their SwimMini  Skirts and mix and match tankini tops found here) - and I've been doing cannon balls, and splashing, and getting my hair wet, and not freaking out about smeared makeup, and laughing, and cheering her on from inside the pool. And let me tell you...  it's been kind of amazing.

(Love these girls and their silliness)

2. The second way I'm embracing summer is by being ok with lazy days and making up our schedule as we go along.

Many mornings begin with a run/walk through the neighborhood and a short stop at the nearby playground. We come home and rinse off and play at the house or run a quick errand. After lunch comes naps and then we hit the pool. Or maybe swim before naps and play at the house in the afternoon (you know, if I really want to live on the edge and stuff).

3. The third thing I've been doing to embrace summer is being proactive in the kitchen.

Historically I experience my worst eating habits during the summer. It just gets so hot that cooking sounds horrible and so instead of eating well, I snack on food that isn't giving me anything in return and I fill up on cold drinks that aren't really hydrating me. As I result I don't feel my best and I think I cope with the heat worse than I could if I really focused on taking care of my body.

So this summer I'm being proactive and keeping my fridge stocked with homemade energy bites (recipe here), zucchini bread, fresh fruit, grilled meat, and other things that make meal planning (and snacking) quick, and healthy.
(I need lots of snacks to keep up with this active girl!)

4. The last thing I've been doing to embrace summer is keeping my priorities in check. It's easy when I'm out of my routine to just focus on the immediate and not think about the big picture.

Above all my purpose on earth is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and love my neighbor as myself.

So each week I meet with two dear friends to talk about how we are doing those things. We encourage each other to spend time with the Lord each morning (whether it's before the kids are up, or while we're nursing babies, or have toddlers climbing in our laps, or have preschoolers yelling at us to tie their shoes). We pray for each other and our marriages and our mothering dilemmas. We share funny kid stories, and our mommy failures. We pick each other back up and send each other into the week with hugs and smiles and a "text me if you need break".

God is so gracious with us. And the slow pace of summer is a wonderful time to really see God's grace at work.

May your week be filled with purpose, and grace, and the joy of lazy summer days,
The Pampered Bird


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