Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Perfect Plan

Something happened to someone very close to me today.  Everything's okay, or well it's going to be.  But I am intensely reminded of how blessed I am to have two incredible, healthy, smart, beautiful, infinitely perfect children.  I thank God for giving me Tucker and Gracie every single day, but today I'm just reminded how He didn't have to give them to me.  He chose to do that.  For me.  For Wes.  For them.  But also to fulfill a much larger plan.  His plan.  His absolutely perfect plan.  I am in awe that I was chosen by God to be "Mommy" to Tucker and Gracie and that He entrusted Wes and I to raise them to be the individuals God needs them to be to fulfill His plan for them.

Sometimes things happen and we don't know why they happen.  We find ourselves in less than desirable situations.  We feel pain.  We feel abandoned.  We feel alone.  We might question God.  We might question our faith in God.  We might even be angry with God. 

Something that I sometimes find hard to pray is for God's will.  I find myself praying specific prayers.  Prayers that are MY will.  My timing.  My way.  Almost like I'm afraid to pray God's will.  I don't know God's will.  It might not be in line with my wants.  My desires.  My artificial wants. 

But, God's will is perfect.  PERFECT.  He has the perfect plan.  He uses hard situations to grow us.  To draw us near.  To bring us to Him.  Where he wants us.  To reach others.  All we need is faith.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

A friend of mine shared a quote from her daily devotional with me.  "Even when God lets you experience pain, the pain becomes greater joy...."  In the midst of that pain, we don't see joy.  But God knows the joy is coming.  He sees the bigger picture.  The WHOLE picture.  We see such a small, minute piece of the picture.  It's like looking at one piece of a million piece puzzle. 

God loves us.  He loves our children.  Even more than we do!  I have such a hard time wrapping my brain around that!  God loves my two amazing children more than I do!  Seriously, I type that but yet have a hard time believing it.  I mean, I do believe it, but I'm just saying, that's a heck of a LOT of love because there's NOTHING I would not do for my children!

Wow.  And the love God has for me and for Y-O-U....  He became man when he didn't have to, to show you His love for you.  He suffered when He didn't have to.  For me.  For you.  Knowing that we would turn our backs on him.  He forgives.  He loves unconditionally.  Unconditionally

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:8

How Great is Our God.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

14 AMAZING Months!

Oh, Gracie Girl, you are already 14 months!  How did that happen?  I hate so much that I have not done a very good job of documenting on our family blog your first year....  I don't think I will ever forgive myself for that....  I promise to make it up to you, though, sweet girl.  Over the past several months, we have just been busy living and enjoying life; just loving our family of four!  Our family that you came into and so perfectly filled a gap that we didn't even know was there.  Things are busy these days, that's for sure, but we're busy living, loving, laughing, just eating up all this goodness that God has so generously thrown our way!  And oh my goodness, is it good, and you, my dear princess, are the cherry on top ;).  You are a happy ray of sunshine that keeps us on our toes!  A social little butterfly that spreads smiles on the lips of everyone you meet.  I cannot even think about you or say your name without a smile on my face.  I think that's how you get away with what you do.  You're so used to getting your way that one little "no" leaves you with your head down, in tears, heart broken.  Yeah, you're slightly spoiled and VERY dramatic....  Daddy blames Mommy for this.  Mommy blames Mommy for this.  Yep, it's my fault.  But, you're Gracie Girl, our Lil' Mama, my Little Princess, Daddy's Little Buttercup, Tucker's "Gra Gra".  You're Anna Grace :).

Here's a little about you at 14 months:

1.  At your 12 month check up you weighed 22 pounds (50%) and were in the 75th percentile for your height.  Not quite the chunker you were in your earlier months.  You've definitely slimmed up since you began walking (at a little over 9 months!).  Now you run everywhere lol!
2.  You wear size 4 diapers, 18 months in clothes (mostly but your wardrobe ranges from 12 months to 24 months these days), and size 6 shoe.
3.  You have 10 teeth, 4 across the front, 4 across the bottom, and your top molars.  We're waiting on the bottom molars and those nasty eye teeth.  You are an awesome teether.  I didn't even realize you had cut your molars until we were at the doctor for your well check and Dr. Lyon checked your mouth and said, "Oh she has her molars already!" 
 4.  You nurse about 4-5 times a day and a TON at night.
5.  Which leads to sleep....  You go to bed fine at about 8:00.  Our bedtime routine is to take a bath, get a night night snack, brush teeth, read 2 books, nurse, pray, sing a song and you go in your crib awake.  You go to sleep just fine.  But, then you're up around 11:00 and 1:00.  After that, I don't really know how many times you get up because we usually just bring you to bed with us at that point.  All I know is you nurse at least 3-4 times after that...  We gotta get this sleep thing together Buttercup!
6.  You take 2 good naps through the day.  Typically about 9:00 and 1:30 and for about 1 1/2 hours each.
7.  You LOVE bath time, especially with your brother.  Whenever we say, "Gracie, are you ready for a bath?" you will immediately run to the bathroom no matter where we are in the house.  At the end of your bath, you love to wait until all the water is gone from the tub and then "swim" and slide around.  You crack up, it's so much fun!
8.  You also L-O-V-E your brother.  You will run into his room when you hear him wake up from his nap.  You follow him around all day, trying to do what he does.  You love to play with him, in his room, with his trucks.

You prefer the booster seat at the table to your high chair so you can be like him.  You want to drink from a big girl cup and sit on  the potty to be like your brother.  When he gets his silky, you go get yours.  When he's pushing his trucks around, you go get a truck and get down on your hands and knees and push the truck around just like him.

9.  Which leads into my next number - You need to stop trying to do things you are not yet big enough to do!  You climb on EVERYTHING.  You get into EVERYTHING.  Sometimes (most times), it's hard to keep up with you!  But I got to because I'm afraid you'll hurt yourself trying to do all the things that you aren't big enough to do yet!  Seriously, it is impossible to get anything done while you are awake.

10.  You sign more, nurse, all done, book, open, thank you, water, eat, please, at?, no, and pray.
You also say lots of words.  From the top of my head I can think of Mama, Da Da, ball, mo mo (more), Maemew (nurse), Duttur (Tucker), at, sheese (cheese), cacka (cracker), day (pray), bibe-a (bible), bay-bay (baby), wawa (water), stop, baa (bath), bubba (paci)......  I'm sure there's a few more...
11.  You LOVE to read books.  You will sit by yourself and flip through book after book.  You will also get a book and bring it to Daddy or I and crawl up in our lap and want us to read to you.  Of course, you have to be the one to flip the pages, and we usually cannot make it through the book before you are climbing down for another.  On the rare occasion that you become quiet in another room, I can pretty much bet you are on the floor flipping through a book.
12.  You know where your hair, nose, mouth, belly, ears, eyes, and toes are.
13.  You LOVE to brush your teeth.  You climb right up on Tucker's stool.  You can barely reach the water with the tooth brush, but you manage.  You go into the bathroom, get under the sink, and drag your tooth brush out all the time.  We have to close the bathroom door just to keep you from brushing your teeth all day long!

14.  You love spinach, broccoli, and edemamas.  You'll eat about anything, but a few bites is enough.  I'd say you don't have a big appetite, but I think you just nurse so much that you're not that hungry at meal times.  I'm hoping once we're done nursing your appetite increases (though I am in NO hurry to wean!).  I'm not worried about it; your brother was the same way.  What I am worried about is how messy you are when you eat!  I joke that you're lucky we love you because it can be a huge chore just feeding you lol!  Miss Messy Pants!
15.  Oh, and I have to go over by one...  You LOVE shoes.  You will bring me shoes to put on you all day long.  You want to try on Tucker's shoes, Daddy's shoes, Mommy's shoes, and will even stop when we're out somewhere and check out stranger's shoes lol!  This does worry us somewhat! 

Oh Gracie!  We love you to the moon and back times a million times infinite!  I could not imagine being the mommy to any other little girl.  In the book "God Gave Us You," the baby bear asks his mommy, "Do you ever wish God gave you a different baby, like Samuel the Seal or Fredricka the Fox?"  His mommy responds, "Never, ever.  God gave us you and we wouldn't trade you for the world."
Gracie Girl, you are so perfect.  Everything about you.  No matter how busy you keep mama.  No matter how much you do not like to sleep at night.  No matter how messy you are.  I would not change one little thing about you.  The thought of your smile can make gray skies blue.  That may sound corny, but I'm serious.  One smile from you and if it's a bad day, suddenly everything's okay.  My heart overflows with love for you.  I want you to stay little forever, but I also can't wait for you to grow up and for us to be best friends.  I hope you know that you can always come to me about and for anything.   Daddy and I will always be here for you, and I have no doubt that your big brother will be right by your side as well :). 
Love you Lil' Mama!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Black Friday

Nope, wasn't out fighting the crowds in an effort to save a few bucks.
I actually believe my comment on a friend's post on FB was, "Wild wolves couldn't drag me out in that madness."
Instead, we spent time doing a few things that have grown to become family  traditions.
Putting up the smaller Christmas Tree in the upstairs living room. 
(Wes has started to refer to this tree as the "Charlie Brown Tree" lol!  It's pretty small. We will put a larger, real tree in the basement in a couple weeks.) 

Tucker was beyond excited about decorating the tree.  As Daddy was putting up the lights he complained, "But it's taking Daddy FOREVER!  We're NEVER going to decorate it!"   He had to put each ornament in just the right spot and absolutely did not like for Gracie to disturb the ornaments.  (Of course, since decorating the tree, we have had to relocate all the ornaments to the top third of the tree to keep them out of Gracie's reach, so all Tucker's hard work and diligence was in vain :-/. )
Gracie was just fascinated by it all.  She, of course, wanted to be in on all the action.  She did her best to put decorations on the tree too.  She especially liked the ones with glitter.  Yeah, she's all girl ;). 
It makes my heart smile when I catch moments of Tucker and Gracie playing together.  They do it more and more now.  Unfortunately, this also means that they fight over toys more and more lol! 
Here they are playing with the Little People's Toy Nativity set together.  Gracie kept kissing baby Jesus and hugging him.  She understood right away that he was a "bay-bay". 

Tucker, on the other hand, is more interested in lining all the characters up and saying their names, then putting them back where they belong.
Another Black Friday tradition, and probably Daddy and Mommy's favorite, a family nap!
 Then more fun!  Old Chicago Pizza!
(Sorry, pic quality is bad....cell phone pics!)

Then, bowling!

 Gracie would get so excited about knocking the pins down that she had to give fist bumps every time lol!
Followed by breaking out in dance!
 Tucker was serious about it!  He wanted to know how many pins he got down each time.  He would watch his ball all the way down the lane.

He alternated between throwing the ball himself and using the guide. 
Excited to see the ball knocking down the pins!

The fun we had was definitely worth the extra money I may have saved by fighting crowds to get a good deal shopping.

I am so thankful for my little family and especially for all the memories we are making together :).

Friday, November 23, 2012


Gracie finishes Tucker's song

*Please note, Gracie is not chugging down cough syrup even though it looks that way lol.  That is an empty and washed vanilla extract bottle that they play with in their toy kitchen that she is playing with!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

A few of the things on my Thankful List
Firstly, God's love & grace, which I fall way short of deserving.

Next, in no particular order, my incredibly handsome hubby who cooked up a feast for our family and my sister's family today.
This incredibly sweet boy who was cooking Thanksgiving Dinner in his kitchen, just like his Daddy, wearing his absolute favorite basketball shorts (that he currently wears almost every day!) and the jammie shirt to a pair of Christmas jammies from last Christmas, that is too small, but he insists on wearing it because "it's almost Christmas time and I have to wear something Christmas."
This incredibly scrumptious princess who insists on wearing her shoes, boots, or house shoes 24/7 and always says "sheese" when a camera comes out!
The fun and laughter that we all have together.
Happy Thanksgiving!

the Keenes  :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Annuel Stormhaven Square Dance

Last Friday night we went to a fundraiser event for Stormhaven youth Ranch.  Stormhaven is an awesome ministry that focuses on helping children heal through building a relationship with a horse that has a history of neglect or abuse.  Hurting children can relate to the pain a horse has been through and in many cases, a horse can reach children in a way that a person cannot.  Check out their website here.  Mike and Gaye Cox that run Stormhaven are amazing people, seriously, truly amazing.  I am very blessed to take part in a weekly bible study that is led by Gaye with a couple other women.  Her heart is to serve the Lord.  Her passion for this ministry is fueled by her faith and love for God.  Check out the site!
This was our 2nd year attending the fundraiser and it just gets better and better!
Tucker was excited to be dressed up like "Woody"!  (Yep, he LOVES Toy Story, though I think the obsession is slowly fading.  We haven't watched any of the movies in a couple weeks now. It was a daily thing for a while.)
Here's my lil' cowboy ;)
My three amigos!
Gracie's favorite part was her cowgirl boots and the noise they made on the floor lol!
Aside from the delicious meal and the silent auction, there was so much for the kids to do. 
They were never bored!
Horse rides ;)

Ring toss with friends, Tucker & Eli.
And Eli is no ordinary friend, he's a real, authentic cowboy!  He can even lasso a steer!
You can read about his family and their farm here :)
Coloring, which Gracie spent a lot of time doing.
 And Tucker spent about 30 seconds doing lol!

Fun, fun!

 Another friend, Josiah ;)
 Tucker and Carver playing tug-o-war.  (Yeah, they're not authentic cowboys lol!)
 Gracie Girl breaking it down on the square dancing floor!
This girl LOVES to dance!
And I snapped this pic when Wes was busy talking to somebody.  I can't help but think he makes a pretty hot cowboy ;).

We had a family picture taken as well.  When I get a copy, I'll post it.
We are so glad that we were able to support such an awesome ministry.  We look forward to next year's event!