Micaila, 6 going on 16

Good grief we have a 6 year old!! Happy Birthday Micaila πŸ™‚

Micaila, you my daughter, are one of a kind. You have so many good qualities I’m not sure where to start.

I suppose we’ll start with the obvious and it’s your role as the oldest, the big sister. You take a lot of pride in this position and honestly I take pride in YOU because you do it so well. You love your sister and brother. The majority of the time you are eager and willing to help them with whatever they may need. You have really become interested in caring for Caleb, whether its feeding, holding, or bathing him. Heck you’d be willing to change his diaper if I’d let you! You love to teach your siblings things you have learned and like your daddy you are a very good teacher. You explain things well and with patience. I really enjoy listening in on conversations between you and your sister and brother.

You are very smart Micaila and you like to learn. This has made homeschooling you a breeze. Yes, sometimes you and I butt heads, you want to do things precise and perfect and well, that may have been passed down from me. But your determination pays off and you are already blowing through your school curriculum. I hope you remain this eager to learn and grow in academic and spiritual knowledge through out your life. It’s such a great quality of yours!

Because you are a natural smarty this makes you a thinker which makes you very inquisitive. In fact Daddy and Mommy aren’t always sure how to answer your questions, like “how did Caleb get in your belly?” And “how will Caleb get out?” We feel as though you are a little mature for your age and sometimes we’re just not ready for you to grow a little more. You amaze us with your ability to act so mature though. Truly, you act like your 6 going on 16 sometimes and quite frankly it scares us!

When it comes to extra curricular activities you, again like your daddy, excel at everything. Whether its baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, anything that requires coordination and natural athletic ability, you got it! We hope you hone into whatever sports you enjoy and use the talents and gifts God graced you with to glorify Him.

One thing I know about you Micaila, even at a young age, you don’t step into anything lightly. You make careful thought out decisions and this is most definitely an excellent characteristic.

This year we had quite the scare didn’t we? We praise God for wrapping His loving arms around you and carrying us through that time of confusion, uncertainty, discomfort, and waiting. It seems like it really wasn’t that lengthy looking back but in the midst of it all it felt long and scary. You were so brave and for the most part (considering the circumstances) you had a really good attitude. Even though that time was unpleasant it was a time of bonding for you and I, Micaila. We had a couple of trips alone to the hospital and this threw us both into the loving arms of Jesus and relying on Him to get us through. We couldn’t have done it with out Him.

We pray that as you continue to grow into a young lady that you would be aware of how much Jesus loves you. That you would realize your need for Him and that the only thing in life worth pursuing, with everything you have is relationship with Christ. We pray that you would find satisfaction and joy in Him and bringing Him glory with the life he blessed you with.

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:9-12 NIV)

We love you Micaila Elise!

Not a baker

I’ll be real honest with you. I am not a baker. I like to eat baked goods but I am not the one who should be making them. Our cookie baking experiences usually consist of a toll house cookie pack that I pull off the paper and set onto the baking sheet. Done.

I bought a package of Red Velvet cake mix that has a cookie recipe on the side of it. I thought red cookies for Valentines day would be cute for the girls to eat. I also bought a heart cookie cutter.

Because I’m not a baker I don’t think like one. Even my best effort, to read at least half the directions, ends up biting me in the end because inevitably I have already screwed something up by the time I get to the second half.

I go to mix these cookies up, how hard could it be right? “Add ingredients mix by hand…..” Naturally I dive right in. I start to wonder “why on earth would they have you do this by hand?” I mean it is sticky and red and EVERYWHERE and worse yet it will not come off my hands. I really was ready to write Duncan Hines and tell them “what a horrible suggestion, mix by hand?! Why not use a spoon?!” And then it dawns on me. Folks I’m a little slow but generally I get there…..eventually. “By hand” is with a spoon. Doh! πŸ˜‰ so I start to scrape this mess off with a fork and try to salvage some of my ingredients. (If I could have handled my phone I would have loved to have captured that moment when my hands looked like a bloody red velvet cake mess!) Finally I was able to see some dough ball together.

I get all my little balls ready and then I thought I need to try the heart cutter! So I mash out some separate dough and cut those out. “Oh they will be so cute!” I thought……

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Like I said…..

Not a baker. πŸ˜‰

Oh sweet Valentine :-/

Come on now, you didn’t actually believe I wouldn’t post a Valentines day blog did you? πŸ˜‰

Having lived away, over 2 years now, from the glorious, wonderful days of grandparents at our finger tips we are learning to improvise when it comes to occasions such as Valentines Day. And even with our stellar attempts at orchestrating a “perfect” evening, with 5 family members involved there is bound to be a few hiccups.

Is it just me though? Because I am telling you, on any occasion that would be exclusively celebrated between Jason and me, satan is right there ready and waiting the minute we wake up to “seek, kill, and destroy.” True story! On this particular morning, (after many mornings actually), I had not slept well. And, I kid you not, I’ve been gently expressing to Jason “We really should consider investing in a new mattress.” for like 2 years now. (You know you’re getting old when you start talking mattresses instead of a vaca!!) Anyways, anyone who knows Jason or has kept up with this blog has to be fully aware that the man I married, God bless him, (seriously! It’s not a bad thing!)Β  he’s quite the frugal provider. So obviously my unfortunate mood over wanting a decent mattress was clearly not what he was looking for on Valentines morning. Sorry babe. I will say, even in the midst of my being grouchy (and achy) he still loved on me with kisses and hugs goodbye, which I mean,….. I wouldn’t have done that to me.

Knowing that satan was after me, my Beloved, and our romantic Valentines evening I sought God in my quiet time and laid it all down. Even my mattress! Seriously, I know this sounds stupid, but this is real life stuff that people feud over for weeks! I’m not having that y’all! Through prayer and scripture I was gently reminded that THIS is not my home.

2 Corinthians 5:2, & 6-8

While we are here on earth, we sigh because we want to live in that heavenly home.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.For we live by faith, not by sight.Β We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

I need to remember this. It helps me keep perspective. When I’m not “feeling” it, it’s ultimately because my Spirit has created in me a longing to be home, not here but my ETERNAL home, with God, my magnificent Creator.

But WHILE I’m here I want to make every effort to love those around me. (So hard sometimes.) I wanted Jason to feel loved when he got home regardless if the evening was a perfect Valentines Day sort of evening. So I needed an attitude change. I straightened myself up and re focused on Him. “Set your minds on things above, not earthly things.” Colossians 3:2

The day was beautiful. And before Jason came home from work we spent some time outside riding bikes. The girls were sporting their new heart necklaces, that their daddy bought them and presented to them on there daddy daughter date the night before. And as a side note, can I just say that I am so proud of this man. I was so impressed with Jason’s own initiative to love on his girls. When they came home beaming over those sweet necklaces I just had so much pride well up within me because he did that with out any one suggesting it. That is where it’s at. I would sacrifice every valentine gift in the world for a daddy that wants to invest in his daughters.

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Psalm 100:5

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

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It was so beautiful and BRIGHT out I had to have them looking down.
So, on to our Valentines. We have adopted the Graham (Scott and Nicole) tradition of staying in and eating a staple meal every year. Our first Valentines day date, (what seems like a life time ago,…. okay 10 years) I cooked Jason chicken parmigiana on my parents back porch. So that’s what we have and it’s funny because this is the ONLY time I ever cook this meal. But it’s sweet because it floods back memories of that night…. candle light dinner, frogs croaking in the back ground, (because my parents lived in front of a swamp) I even remember what I wore, (in fact I still HAVE it) and Jason bought me the oh so popular Tiffanys necklace. I will never forget this night. πŸ™‚
But OBVIOUSLY, now, we have to do some planning for the children, I mean, they are still here. Oh, but we did have offers for babysitting! (Thank you offerers!) Honestly though, we’d rather have this tradition on THIS night and go out on a random night. Okay so, the kiddos….. they get to have the same special dinner, but a picnic, in mommy and daddy’s room, with a new movie!
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Aren’t their One Direction cups awesome! Jason bought those lol!
Valentines Day is actually quite fun with kids. And in our home schooling we’ve been reading 1 Corinthians 13 and learning what love is. A FABULOUS reminder for ME πŸ™‚
So while they were upstairs we stayed downstairs and enjoyed this……
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But as I said, with 5 members somebody’s going to be a wild card. Fortunately isn’t wasn’t me or Jason! Because trust me, I’ve been in that situation when we’ve had all the solitude in the world and it didn’t do us a bit of good because we were fighting. We did get to eat before we had any major interruptions and eventually we decided we’d go watch Ice Age with the kids because come on, who doesn’t love those movies?
Not quite the romantic lovey Vday but as Jason so often points out “It shouldn’t be just one great big effort to love our spouse once a year, we should be doing things daily.” Truly I married a very smart man who is growing in Christ more everyday.Β  And I love him and all our little mini’s too!
So, here’s to allowing our family a little more grace on Valentines Day. It makes for a lot less stress! πŸ˜‰

For the memory books

First I want to precede this post. The following is yet another story, occasion, event that I want to document because I really enjoy remembering them and all the silly details and this is one of the reasons I blog. So basically, you may not find this interesting but I’m okay with that. πŸ™‚

So Jason left Saturday morning for Florida. He and his dad went to the Miami-Laker game. #spoiled. Hehe, just kidding….. But come on, lets be real! Anyway, I received these gems on Saturday evening.
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For all the mature eyes out there, it’s not Caleb. I mean y’all knew that though right? πŸ™‚

I’m not gonna lie, I used to be real jealous when I’d run across photos of Jason that clearly proved Micaila resembled him. But now, I don’t know why it is or what has changed (gosh I’m maturing so much pff, no!) but I really delight in seeing how alike Caleb is to Jason. I guess it’s okay with me because he’s a boy. (I mean who’d want their boy to look like a girl right?)

Anyway, setting that aside lets address the obvious reason that I’m blogging yet again. Jason is gone. Boohoo. Last night I had company and the first slumber party I’ve had in like 12 years. But tonight, I’m just paranoid. I know I have talked about this before. If you recall, I blogged about the first night (EVER!) that I was forced to sleep alone because Jason was caught in an ice storm 2 years ago. Y’all I am a BIG BABY! In fact I imagine every light will stay on ALL night (jay will be REAL happy bout that one) and every door including the one to my bedroom will be locked with some sort of baracade in front of it. Completely necessary. (Be quiet, it is!)

But for now I will stay awake as long as my lids will allow and share these sweet photos I took at the park. Oh but first let me tell you a funny story of just how I acquired such precious photos. It was gorgeous yesterday, because winter in Georgia, with the exception of our first year, is a lot of RAIN. But yesterday was sunny and beautiful so of course I thought “we need to capitalize on this weather because it will probably rain tomorrow!” (Which it did by the way) So I packed a cooler and loaded Caleb up in the stroller and the girls wanted to ride their bikes and we headed to the park. However it’s down hill to the park and the first hill is the biggest so Ryann who’s not quite as experienced was a little concerned to just go for it. As she should be! After going through the whole “roll, BRAKE! roll, BRAKE! roll BRAKE!” We finally made it to mostly level ground and she was able to coast for a bit. Then there’s another big hill UP to the park. Her legs must be sore because she did pretty good peddling and pushing. (And that girl could use the muscle, poor little chicken legs) πŸ˜‰ so we played, ate, and enjoyed the sun. Even met a new little friend. Here’s some pictures.

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20130211-000019.jpgSo when we finished playing we packed up all our gear and headed home. We went down the hill from the park, same deal, “roll BRAKE! roll BRAKE!” Then we cruised for like 47 seconds and it starts going UP hill. Micaila does great, she’s totally got it. Ryann is like “I can do it mommy!” And then soon “my legs are tired mommy.” So here I’ve got Caleb in the stroller and I’m pulling Ryann on her bike, up a pretty sweet hill. Meanwhile Micaila has hopped off her bike and is like “forget it, I’m gonna have to push the rest of the way!” (Thank goodness she’s bound and determined otherwise we would have lost a bike, or a child….) We finally made it to the top and well, all I’m saying is these kids are the soul reason I’m in shape! Hehe! But really it was a great little trip to the park and I just get so excited when I get good pictures on my camera. It can be quite challenging capturing those “great shots” when you have 3 kids and I’m learning if you don’t plan for it they usually turn out a bajillion times better.

I’ll be honest, Caleb is pretty cute and easy to photograph. Love photographing babies.

Little man

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Dear Time,

Please slow down.

Sincerely,

Me and probably every mom on the planet

Caleb is 7 months old already. And the time with him has been so sweet.

What are you doing right now little guy??? I know, I’ve been a total slacker on the mile stones. Not to worry, I have been keeping track of it in your baby book. (That’s a first!)

Right now, as of 2 days ago actually, your first tooth is coming through! I feel like you are behind your sisters with the teeth but I don’t actually know because I never wrote it down! Sorry girls.

You have gotten really good at sitting up which makes play time a little more interesting. You love holding and grabbing e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. This clearly is the age I start considering chopping all my hair off. You are now very good at finding and putting your paci in your mouth. Man you really like that thing!

You have perfected your skill of blowing raspberry’s and spit bubbles. Yum. And you babble all kinds of baby stuff including da-da. I admit, I really wanted momma to come first, and it was not from lack of trying. We did try. I tried! But daddy must have been sneaking around when mommy wasn’t there and teaching you his name. Who could be upset though at you forming some of your first words. I’ll let it slide. πŸ˜‰

You are developing a very charming personality. You smile, a lot. Winning the hearts of probably every lady that meets you. Something about a little boys smile that gets us. However, you are a human like the rest of us and revealed your ability to have a temper. Specifically when it comes to being fed. (You really like to eat!) Though you are mostly a very happy baby, when you do cry, you have no problem letting the world know you’re upset. I’m curious how this will look in about a year.

Caleb you have brought new joy and laughter into our home. You have turned your sisters into little mommies and they just love you so much. Your daddy is so proud of his little man that looks just like him and every one that knows you just loves you to pieces. ImageImage

Micaila update

Hey everyone!! Thank you for your continued prayers. Micaila is doing awesome! She hasn’t been on a steroid since Saturday and she is having no discomfort. Praise God! Her legs are starting to look normal again as well.

Psalm 65:5 You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior.

Although there is a chance the HSP could flare back up, right now we are completely thankful for the healing progress.

Micaila is eating good and her energy levels are back up. We are back home and had a full day of school today. Having a normal day was really nice!Β 

So thank you again! God is so good and we love you all for being concerned, supporting, and praying with us through this.

Our verse for the week,

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

It’s time to go

The kids and I have been in Florida for 9 days now. It’s been a really wonderful, relaxing, WARM, πŸ™‚ trip.

We enjoyed the wedding celebration of a long time friend of mine, Devin, to Tony who did not disappoint my expectations. Very sweet, genuine guy. Their ceremony was beautiful. And the reception was a real treat. I must say, as this was our first experience with Micaila and Ryann being flower girls, it was sheer delight for me, watching them accomplish their task and then dance the night away.
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Mr and Mrs Hass, eee!!
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blessings 1,2,3

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They were owning that dance floor. Had so much fun watching them.

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As did he πŸ™‚

We have enjoyed the time with friends and family.

We went to the zoo with Linda and had the most gorgeous zoo perfect weather. They had the sweetest baby elephant and probably the coolest part of the day was leaving the elephant exhibit and my 4 year old Ryann saying “Roll tide elephants”. Jason you are doing a great job! πŸ˜‰

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I just love this sweet boy and all his exposed chunk!

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Linda and the girls feeding the sting rays

I’ve gotten to spend quality time with my best friend Kaitlyn. We talk nearly every day on the phone but nothing beats couch time with her. She is one of Gods (unexpected) gifts in my life. Beautiful inside and out and a Christian woman that I really look up to. I can not tell you how instrumental she is in my daily life and how much I value her genuine, authentic Faith. And icing on that cake, an evening with Harry Potter and a sweet potato for a snack. A perfect evening with you Kait. I know, we’re so lame cool. I even fell asleep. Turns out you’re rubbing off on me Nicole!

I can never have too much time with my parents. They have been graciously sharing their condo space with us- 950 square feet, give or take a few. And even in such a humble living area, it’s not that small when your parents are as awesome as them. They are such a blessing to me. Never have they made me feel that I’m wearing out my welcome. They have been here for me when I need a break or when I need prayer. They love us abundantly and unconditionally. You guys seriously rock!

I always enjoy worshipping at Lutz. You guys are the real deal. Every one of you, Dad, Delio, Steve, the band, the choir, and the members of the Lutz Body I love you. Thank you for always reminding me that I am loved there. Your hugs, concern for my family, and prayers mean the world to me. Y’all will always be home. πŸ™‚

And I don’t mean to leave anyone else out. But if I kept going on I’d be here all night. Every moment I had with every individual was wonderful.

When you have really awesome visits like this it certainly makes it more difficult to leave.

I MISS JASON. Babe. Seriously. I miss you!!!

But I haven’t felt ready to go home. I have been surrounded by so much family and support since Micaila’s diagnosis and even through the difficulty I wasn’t alone. (Well of course, we’re never alone right?) Interestingly my not wanting to go home has little to do with Micaila (and her HSP which I will update you on later) and more to do with me.

Satan knows my weakness. He knows exactly where to get me. People keep telling me “you are handling this thing with Micaila so well!” And I am. What I’m not handling well is an entirely different matter. I truly haven’t felt this kind of spiritual warfare in years. It’s almost as if satan sees my reaction to Micaila and decided “well if I can’t get her there I will poke around over here. Play with her mind, her thoughts, her emotions.” He knows what to do and how to do it. He saw me taking steps in the right direction, sensed my desire and sincerity in making changes in my thoughts and actions.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)

So he decided to amp it up. Plant more lies and deceit.

And I continue to fight back. Fully aware that the only way I’ll come out of this dark cloud he’s trying to hang over me is by the power of God.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:11, 12 NIV)

So what does going home have anything to do with this? Well, I really dislike being alone. And you-know-who knows this! I’m here, with my parents, my siblings, my in-laws, my best friend, and all kinds of other Christian relationships that I literally could fill every.waking.moment. visiting people and being encouraged through out this emotional battle.

But then I wonder. Is it possible God wants me to rely on Him to come out of this victoriously? By Him and His power alone. Uh, yeah! I think that’s a pretty safe assumption.

Each time he said, β€œMy grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 NLT)

Now I’m not saying I’m there, yet, but I certainly want to adopt that same mindset Paul had. And have confidence in what Gods Word tells us.

In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went throughβ€”all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. (Hebrews 12:4-11 MSG)

Can I get an amen!! How wonderful Gods Word is!!

And while satan wants me to believe his lies, lies like “you’re gonna be so alone.” My sweet Savior is already working on my behalf to counter that.

While I wrestled with doing what’s right and doing what I wanted to do, the Holy Spirit was moving on someone else’s heart.

I opened up to Nicole about where I was at spiritually and emotionally. And don’t you love it when you can clearly see the Holy Spirit overflow from one person on to yourself. Like you just are so glad that they are in your life and that they made themselves available to be used by Him. And now their sensitivity to you and the Spirit is touching your life. God is good y’all! Have I said that yet?

He is so good!

And then just to really affirm me, the Lord orchestrates another phone call from Caroline. Nicole’s best friend. That she has been gracious enough to share with me. I can learn a thing or two from these godly woman. Thank you for calling. I love you gals!

I didn’t even have to get home for the Lord to start revealing to me that He loves me, He will take care of me, He will never leave me, and He has placed people in my life, in Georgia, that want to love me right where I’m at and encourage me in my faith. All I had to do was lay it down at His feet. Put aside my fears and quit thinking about my darn self!

And heres something else to really kick myself in gear. I got to thinking and I figure, usually when it comes to attacking its done by someone-to someone that they see as a threat. And if satan sees me as a threat well then I will take that as a compliment and continue to pursue God even harder. So take that devil!