Monday, January 30, 2017

Big Church

Growing up, Sunday mornings meant putting on lace socks and dresses, getting our hair fixed, and heading to church. We went to Sunday School and my parents went to what we kids called "big church."
Sunday school was where we sat in a circle and listened to a Bible lesson and then snacked on ring cookies and drank apple juice from waxed paper cups. We'd play a game and make a craft involving some combination of elmer's glue, yarn, and a paper plate. 
But occasionally our parents would take us into "big church" with them. As a kid I can remember associating big church with sitting for what seemed like hours on a pew bench trying to stifle yawns while drawing on the back of the bulletin or reading lyrics out of the hymnals. In our minds, Sunday school was way more fun than big church.
But "big church" is important and my parents had it right by taking us to be a part of it. Children's presence during a sermon might seem out of place or more work than just dropping them off to run wild with apple juice and elmer's glue, but it's part of discipling to train little hearts to listen to elders speak, be a part of corporate worship, soak in the examples of grown believers around them worshiping and praying, and if they've made a personal decision to follow Christ, partake in the Lord's Supper. 
Our kids join us for "big church" frequently. We totally let them get their Sunday school experience, but it's important for them to sit alongside mom and dad and learn from a sermon. These growing hearts need to and can retain from the "meat" given from the pulpit. We require them to tell us three things they learned after the sermon. They can draw it or write out bullet points depending on their levels of ability, but this requires them to be in tune to what is being taught and trains their ears to listen for what they do understand. They come away with questions we can talk about as a family later and use as further discipling opportunities. They've even witnessed their Daddy turn and silence loud talkative teenagers and then stood beside him as he confronted them after the sermon, challenging the teens to be respectful of the freedom to worship and the blessing of being together as the Body. 
These Sunday's all sitting together under our pastor are some of our favorite, all of us. These little people are soaking up everything and I'm thankful for the opportunity to have them soak in some "big church" and learn how to grow as a believer alongside us. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

35 Weeks

Better late than never...
I haven't posted a weekly updated since like the second trimester. I'm now in my 6th trimester. 
I kid, but seriously it feels about that long. 
So let's play catch up and begin back at 35 weeks, even though that's a week behind, but I still want to document all that's happened...
How Far Along: 35 Weeks (at least in the picture)
Size of Baby: We got an ultrasound this week and they estimated he weighs 6lbs.  
Gender: BOY! 
Maternity Clothes: Believe it or not I still live in my Blanqi leggings and tank, but wear my regular tunic tops. Thank goodness for the current styles! I haven't worn one maternity top yet! 
Movement: Little man is extremely active! He doesn't cooperate well for ultrasounds and monitoring since he won't ever stay still. But it's been a blessing because they want me to do frequent kick counts and I've never had to think about it too long before he's rocking and rolling in there. 
Cravings: No cravings, no room to eat, and no appetite haha! But once he's born I'm sure my list will start growing of things I want to eat!
Symptoms: Braxton Hicks are starting to pick up a lot which is always an exciting sign of baby being here soon! 
Best Moment of the Week: This week was a very full one! At my appt last week my blood pressure was elevated. They immediately ran tests and lab work and started throwing around words like "hospitalization, bed rest, and early inducement." Through much prayer all tests came back normal and blood pressure stabilized. We're not sure what happened there since I've never had blood pressure problems before but it was several days of learning to trust completely on God!
At my appointment this week we had another adventure. I had started experiencing itching along with some other minor symptoms. This began another whole gauntlet of testing and monitoring over several days. But we got to get an unexpected ultrasound to check on our guy and see how he could potentially handle an early delivery. Their measurements confirmed what I've been feeling for weeks! This guy is big; he was measuring 2- 2 1/2 weeks ahead! His lungs were practice breathing perfectly and he was looking around and sticking his tongue out and sucking his thumb. After another few days we were once again cleared after lab results came back but I think it's safe to say we're ready for an easy week with no adventures. It would already seem this boy is all about keeping us on our toes and making sure we know he may be the youngest but certainly not the quietest! :) 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Second Year Baller

 We jumped feet first into the world of sports last year when Harrison played his first season of basketball. 
 I learned to juggle nursing a baby, packing snacks, entertaining toddlers, and making practices and games in inclement weather, freezing temps, or dark nighttime skipping at least three kids' nap times. 
 Harrison learned to remember his court shoes and water bottle, how to dribble left handed, and what it feels like to get elbow checked in the eye socket. 
 It was a growing experience for all of us. And we are nowhere near having learned it all as we're a few weeks into the second season of basketball. 
 We still forget water bottles and granola bars. The baby that was nursing last year is attempting to run out on the court to join in this year. 
 The big brothers who were easily entertained with goldfish crackers and an iPad now get bored after the first few practice drills. 
 I can't tell you how many nights we arrive at the gym in a chaotic cloud of no naps, missing coats, leaky water bottles, and all serval minutes late. 
 We've certainly left our impression but we're falling into a groove and learning even more this season and I'm watching my biggest boy grow leaps and bounds in skill and character on the court. 
 In just three weeks of games he has completely transformed as a player, noticed not only by his proud Mom and Dad, but coaches and refs alike that pull him aside to compliment the way he's handled various situations. 
 He's been awarded "sportsmanship" and "Christlike Character" bonus stars in addition to the regular weekly star awards due to his leadership and attitude during the game. 
 The guy is the most vocal encourager of teammates, helps opposing players back up after falls, congratulates and encourages players on the other team, thanks the refs and coaches, all the while making goals for himself to improve on with each game. 
Every week after the game he asks what he did best and what he needs to work on and then thanks us all for coming and thanks his brothers and sister for being willing to take their day to sit and cheer him on. 
We've got decades of sports ahead of us but I'm pretty proud of the way Harrison has already grown and matured in just his second season. Can't wait to see what the years ahead will bring on courts, fields, locker rooms, and sidelines for all of these awesome kids...and how many water bottles we forget and how many practices we're late to ;p. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The House The Lord Built

For four years we've made a townhouse in NOVA into our home. Since moving in we've almost doubled in size as a family. This house has been a huge blessing to us and met every single one of our needs. God truly answered every prayer we had when He lead us here. But we knew this was not our forever home and about a year ago we started looking. 
Easier said than done. Up here it's not about space, it's about convenience and you pay a hefty price for it. A family of seven needs space and some practical use of square footage, not to mention some kind of outdoor yard for fast growing kids with a ton of energy. We'd either find a house with bedrooms and no yard, or find a yard with two of the bedrooms in a basement and one upstairs. 
We saw prices that made our heart stop and prices that reflected a pit that needed razing. After a year of looking and praying we started to wonder if being home owners was really what we were supposed to do. But just when we were almost ready to surrender, our home found us. Well, really God lead us right to it. The second we saw that land, a peace like no other flooded us and for the first time in our entire married lives we felt home. 
The road to starting the build process has been very much so a growing experience in faith, trust, and utter dependence on God and His perfect plan. At one point we had to completely let go of this house and walk away before God opened the door back up in a better way than we ever could have imagined! 
We've picked cabinet colors, shower tiles, carpet, and hard wood floors. We've chosen outlet locations, front door colors, and overhead lighting placement. We've made hundreds of little choices I never thought about before but we've had a blast doing it. Even with all the warnings from well meaning individuals of how this would cause disagreements and stress between Matt and I with all the decisions to make, we were a complete team and chose everything together without argument and I think we'd both say this has made us stronger and more in love than ever as we "build our house" together. 
Our lives on ten acres of pure peaceful beauty are going to be an adventure we cannot wait to begin. I'll be blogging through the entire way so one day we can look back on the incredible beginning of the "house the Lord built." 

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it.
Psalm 127:1