Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 Goals

Richard and I don't always make New Year's resolutions. This year, however we have made a list of goals. Call them resolutions if you wish. We have put a lot of effort into each goal so we can hit the ground running come January 1.

Our 2013 goals fall into various categories: kids, finances, personal growth and our marriage. Some of the goals are things we just need to do, even though they aren't fun (potty training, keeping a budget, etc). But some of the goals have me really excited! Here are some of my favorites.

Purposeful learning time for Gabriel:
Although Gabriel is still very young, I want to put more effort and thought behind some learning activities. This can be anything from finger painting to trips to the zoo or a Smithsonian museum. Since we have worked out our budget for next year, I even have money each month to spend on these activities, and trust me, I plan to spend every penny each month! I already have fun things planned, like a local coffee house that has a live music time for toddlers, and purchasing many of the books off Gabriel's wish list.

Read through the New Testament in the ESV (English Standard Version) as a couple:
Richard and I haven't been reading the ESV version of the Bible for long, but it has a more literal interpretation of the word than other versions. We are excited to read the Bible from a new perspective.

Consistent work out time:
Well, isn't this the stereotypical resolution? It may be cliche, but working out regularly really makes you feel good. That's what we're looking forward to. Being healthy and feeling good. Oh, and looking good too ;)

Consistent date nights:
I think I may be able to count on the fingers of both hands the number of times we have gone out for dates in the past 2 years. When there's no family nearby and babysitters are expensive, that's just what happens. But that's really not an excuse. We want to make our marriage a priority. So maybe we'll be asking our friends for a few babysitting nights. However it happens, I am excited to spend time with my hubby!

I am looking forward to 2013. I think it's going to be a great year!

2012 Books

I've enjoyed keeping track of the books we read throughout the year, because it's neat to go back and see your accomplishments. It also makes me realize we read more than I think we do. I always feel like we, as a family, don't have enough reading time. Even though this year's list isn't as long as last year's, I think it's just as good. We learned a lot from parenting books and theology, as well as got some good entertainment from some easy reading. If you're interested in our thoughts/recommendations regarding any of the below, just let us know.

When The Church Was A Family - Richard and Sarah
Redeeming Love - Sarah
Pilgrim's Progress - Sarah
The Sovereignty of God - Sarah
What Is Reformed Theology - Sarah
Martin Luther - Sarah
Through My Eyes - Richard
On Becoming Pre-Toddler Wise - Richard and Sarah
On Becoming Toddler Wise - Richard and Sarah
The New Dare to Discipline - Richard and Sarah
The Hunger Games - Sarah
Encountering the Book of Genesis - Richard and Sarah
The Reversal - Richard
The Drop - Richard
Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches - Sarah

Gabriel's Books:
We decided to not list the endless children's books that have been read to Gabriel. Instead, we will post his books when he starts reading on his own.

Currently Reading:
1776 - Sarah
The Good Book Guide to Ephesians - Sarah

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mandi's Visit

Our friend Mandi and her baby girl, Charlotte, were able to come visit us for a long weekend. We had fun at Hope's baby shower and also squeezed in some Christmas activities.

We went to the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel, where there was a Christmas tree lighting show. The tree lights and fountains danced to music and "snow" was released from the top of the hotel. The kids loved it. The hotel was nice too, since it sits right on the Potomac River. Here are Mandi, Charlotte, Richard and Gabriel watching the show.

We also went to the National Zoo for their night time Zoo Lights. We got to see a few animals and walk around looking at the lights while drinking hot chocolate.

Gabriel loved having Charlotte around. He held her hand at Target (without being asked) and wouldn't let go the whole time. He also pushed her around in the stroller outside. Such a gentleman.

Gabriel even tried to Charlotte a kiss!

 And of course we shared our favorite time: we read books together before bed.

Thanks for coming Mandi and Charlotte!

2012 Ornament

Each year we add a new ornament to our tree that represents something that happened that year. This year, we added an M&M ornament from M&M World in Las Vegas. We took a trip there with Grandpa and Gram Gram in May.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hope's Baby Shower

I am so blessed to have friends (old and new) who are willing to go out of their way to throw me a shower. It was very cute with lots of pink/frilly stuff. Thanks guys for putting it all together! I am truly blessed to have great friends who care and want to celebrate together.

I must say, I am happy I had a boy for my first child, because I have been nervous about having a girl. I'm not sure I know how to coordinate colors and dress her up. I grew up being a big tom-boy. I dressed in boy clothing and played football/basketball with the guys after school and during the summer. But now that I'm having girl I am getting excited about having dresses and bows and flowers. I think Richard is actually the one who may be scared of all the pink. When I came home from the shower and showed him all the cute stuff I got he said, "I expected some pink stuff, but this is a LOT of pink stuff! I don't know if I can handle this much pink!"

So without further ado, here are some pictures from the shower...

 And coming home to this cute little guy was a definite highlight to the day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Visiting The Touchstone Family

It's taken me a month, but I am finally posting these cute pictures of our visit with the Touchstones in November. Baby Titus was two weeks old when we visited (he's how over double that!) and we loved snuggling with him every chance we got.

Tabor and Gabriel were finally reunited and it took a day or two for them to figure each other out again. But soon they were back to being best buds and did everything together. It's so funny to see the personality differences between them. Tabor is very energetic and loves making music and noise. Gabriel is more sensitive and thoughtful. At the beginning, Tabor would scare Gabriel with his loud noises, and make him cry. Good thing we stayed long enough for Gabriel to toughen up a bit. We love these boys!


 I realize as I'm posting this that all the pictures are of kids. I guess that's all you think about when you have little ones running around. I'll have to fix that next time and get plenty of pictures of everyone.

We love you Touchstone gang! Some day we hope to live close together again so we can see each other more often. Gabriel and Tabor definitely need each other!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pregnancy With Hope

This picture of me was taken on Thanksgiving day, when I was 32 weeks pregnant.

My pregnancy with Hope has been much different than my pregnancy with Gabriel. Hope moves around constantly, but Gabriel hardly moved at all. I even went to the hospital once when I couldn't feel him move for a long time. I also have more aches and pains with Hope. As I write this, I am 33 weeks pregnant and I often feel just as tired as I did during the first trimester. I am sure some of the differences are because I am taking care of a 30 pound toddler all day.

Hope's due date is January 13, but I keep thinking she'll come earlier than that. Although, I want her to be born far enough away from the holidays that she can celebrate her birthday separately. So I am thinking January 5 might be a good day, if I was able to pick it.

Only seven weeks to go! Or less :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pursley Family Visit

We recently got to spend a week with our family who came to visit the DC area, and we had a blast!

Our first destination was to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown. First off, I was amazed at how much I didn't know. Or maybe I shouldn't be too surprised at my poor education. After all, I remember watching movies all semester in History class, instead of learning about the Revolutionary War. So I was soaking in all the information I could. And I am slightly mad that Disney's Pocahontas movie is so obviously wrong in their portrayal of Pocahontas's relationship with John Rolfe. I bet every little kid will forever think that Pocahontas actually married John Smith and they both lived happily ever after. Ummm, no! Wrong guy first off. She married John Rolfe, not John Smith, AND she died within one year of traveling back to England. Sad, but true. But I digress.

Michael, Ella and Evan. Ella loves horses, so we always stopped to pet them.

The Pursley family standing in front of the Governors mansion in Williamsburg. Ella, Holly, Michael and Evan making the funny face.

And the Sanders family.

Watch out! Evan is about to steal one of the governors swords!

Cousinly love. I can't even tell you how many times we heard Ella say "He's sooooo cute!".

Richard and Ella had fun pretending to be soldiers at the Jamestown Settlement.

And here we are aboard one of the ships.

A pumpkin picking we will go...


We also went to Mount Vernon, which was George Washington's estate. Did you know that George Washington loved farming? In fact, he may have told you he was a farmer before he mentioned anything about being a soldier or the president. And he was really smart too! He would experiment with different fertilizers to see what was best, and he even set up a crop rotation for his land. I am pretty sure there weren't many farmers that were that advanced with their farming strategy at that time. Here I am with Gabriel on the top deck of a small cruise boat that took us around the water surrounding Washington's land. It was a beautiful view!

Gabriel became quite attached to his older cousin, Evan. He would hug him, hold his hand and tackle him. Evan didn't seem too thrilled to have such a close shadow, but he was a good sport about it.

Gabriel loved having his cousins in the house to play with. We all had so much fun watching them, too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gabriel at 21 months

I know 21 months isn't a big milestone, but I feel like Gabriel is changing so much I want to write about him before he changes again and I've missed it.

First off, he's still cute as a button. He hasn't lost his chubby cheeks or big belly. Some family who recently visited have nick named him "chubby monkey". Here he is sporting Bronco colors (mommy's favorite team). When asked to smile, he now squints his eyes like this.

Playing with "Teddy" and while wearing nothing but a toy hard hat and a diaper.

Gabriel likes to organize things just like his dada. One day he picked up all his toys by himself and organized them as shown in this picture. I love that he put the panda sitting in the teddy bear's lap.

He also likes to line things up. Here he is putting all his board books in a row. He separated the hardback books into a separate pile.

He is also learning letters. Well, I should clarify that he is learning what a letter is. Whenever he sees a word on a t-shirt, toy or anywhere else he points and starts saying whatever letter comes to mind. So you may hear him say something like "P...B...O...L...L...P!" He also loves his choo choo train made of letters that his Aunt D made for him. I took a picture of how he thought his name was spelled.

Gabriel loves his daddy. He plays a game when Richard is in another part of the house. Gabriel will yell "DADA!", and wait until Richard says "yes, sir?". Then they will repeat themselves until Gabriel gets distracted or Richard comes into the same room.

We are also trying to teach him to say "I love you" or "I love mommy", etc. But each time he fills the last part in with "DADA!". When I try to get him to say "mommy" or "you" he just giggles and says "dada" over and over again.

Gabriel is a big helper when Richard is getting ready in the morning. He helps him put on his belt and points to his tie and says "tie!". Just in case Richard were to forget what it's called, it's good to have Gabriel there to remind him. Gabriel also likes to pretend to shave his face and put deodorant on. He loves wearing Richard's Cubs hat.

But don't feel bad for me. Gabriel loves his mommy too. I'm so glad he loves to snuggle and kiss and much as I do.

And here he is pretending  to drink coffee from my empty Starbucks cup.

We love our little boy so much. Even though I still call him my baby, he is definitely a toddler and is learning a lot every day.