Sunday, July 31, 2011

Swim Lesson Graduate!

Friday was CB’s last day of swim lessons!! She did great!

We enrolled Cori in ISR (Infant Swim Resource) back in June. It’s a 10 minute daily lesson with the child and the instructor. We didn’t always get to go everyday because of all those Florida afternoon thunderstorms, so it took her a little bit longer than it would have otherwise. She definitely cried the ENTIRE 10 minutes, everyday we went to lessons, but that didn’t seem to change her love for the pool! And, as bad as this sounds, she looked pretty cute (and slightly pathetic, but mostly cute) as she cried. :)

She learned to swim and to turn over to float when she ran out of air. She would then float to the wall, where she would turn herself upright to climb out of the pool. It amazing how quickly kids learn to hold their breath, swim, and float. Watching Cori learn to swim reminded me just how important it is for kids to know these skills as early as possible – especially living in Florida where water is everywhere! … David is working in the ER right now and actually had a 2 year-old child come in yesterday who fell in the pool and almost drown. He was in the pool for 2 minutes before his parents found him and is now in the PICU. Pray for him. I am so thankful that if my child fell into the pool, she would know what to do to survive.

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getting ready to “fall in”


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just keep swimming…


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all the way to the wall!!



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practicing her float…


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all the way to the wall…


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then turn to get out!


She did so great, but she also had a FABULOUS swim instructor! Ms. LaVonne put up with a lot of crying, but we couldn’t thank her enough for her hard work with our little girl!! Cori got a trophy for completing ISR. Her first trophy! She was so excited!! So were we! :) We changed her into some dry clothes and took a family picture of her very exciting milestone of learning to swim. I’m sure we will take a re-fresher course next summer, but we will be doing LOTS of swimming until the cold weather hits!

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We took a trip to the park to celebrate her accomplishment. Dave had the day off from work so we got to spend the day together as a family. It was so nice!

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Until next time…

Friday, July 29, 2011

What I love about YOU … week 3 & 4

The weeks are passing by quickly and Finley is 4 weeks old today!

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  • The way you smile when you’re fast asleep. I like to image that you are having the BEST dream!
  • Your daddy’s calming effect he has on you. He breaks out those 5 S’s from Happiest Baby on the Block and your as calm as calm could be!

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  • The sweet peach fuzz on your skin.
  • The little wrinkles in-between your joints.
  • Putting bows on another little girl!!! (No matter what your grandma says!!!) Love you YaYa! :)

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  • Kissing you on the lips! Those lips are SO sweet!
  • That you are staying awake for longer periods during the day. I LOVE staring into those big beautiful eyes!

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  • Snuggling with you before bed time. It’s pretty much the only time during the day (other than CB’s nap time) that we get to be together, just you and me!
  • That the day before you turned 3 weeks old, your sleep schedule improved tremendously. As Jack Johnson would say, 3 is the magic number! … What a sleeping beauty!

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  • SISTER pictures!!!

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  • Seeing you worn out from sisterly love!

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I love you, sweet one!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

More pictures from Tampa…

While we were in Tampa last weekend Finley got to meet her newest little cousin, Jona. Jona is just 3 weeks older than Finley and it was so sweet to see them together! We got a few pictures before bedtime one night…

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Jona & Finley


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Jona – look at my muscles! :)


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Finley – taking it all in!


Cori got to ride on the boat during our visit and she LOVED every minute of it! Actually, she was a little unsure at first. Mainly because she couldn’t move as easily as she’d like in that life jacket, but by the end she was in her element – Mohawk and all! It was so cute to see her in her little life jacket!

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She even got to swim in the lake with her daddy, Uncle Ryan, and Aunt Missy! SO much fun!!

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And, to top off a great day of boating – a little wakeboarding by Dave and Ryan. Cori sure thought that was a sight to see!!

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After our boat ride, we all went in to cook dinner. Dave was in charge of dinner because Mama Smith was out of town. I decided that we should have skewers (YUM) so Dave and his dad did a little shopping and cooking.

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The preparation


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Ready to serve - we had pineapple, tomato, onion, green pepper, orange pepper, shrimp, and chicken served over fried rice. Oh, and a yummy salad. DELICIOUS!


We stopped in for a visit with my grandparents before heading home. My grandpa just had surgery to put in a pacemaker. He is doing much better after the operation. It was so wonderful to see them, as always!

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My sister Amber, grandma Dee Dee, and me

There’s my grandpa in the background looking cool in his sunglasses!

Until next time…

Adventure Racing!

Last weekend Dave and I took the girls down to Tampa for Finley’s first visit. While we were there, the boys (Dave, his dad, and Ryan) registered for a last minute adventure race on Friday night. These adventure races seem to be more and more popular these days and my SIL, Rebecca, even did one over the weekend up in MN. Although, hers was a mud run and looked WAY cooler! So fun!! Go Rebecca!

So, with a few rain clouds in the sky, Dave, Ryan, and Joe headed down to Picnic Island for the race, while the girls (me, Missy, Jamie, Jona, Cori, Finley, and Missy’s friend Megan) all headed down to watch. It sure was a lot of fun!!


Here they are getting ready to run! Of course they had to be in the front of the pack! There was something like 700 people there!!



One of the obstacles – crawling under the net through the sand. There were lots of other obstacles – hurdles, tires, swimming, etc.



Go David!! This was the last obstacle before the finish line. They had to run through the water out to a buoy and back in. David did great, finishing the 3.6 mile run along with all the obstacles in 27 minutes!! Ryan was close behind him with a 28 minute finish and Joe came trailing in around 30 minutes. They all did GREAT!!



Here they are after finishing the race. Apparently the first few runners in got a glass cup. Joe was so sad he didn’t get one! So, he held up his Gatorade cup instead! :)



Our sweet family of FOUR!!



















More pictures of our Tampa trip to come…

Monday, July 18, 2011

My hands are full … of good things!!

I was on FB over the weekend and saw that a few of my friends had posted a link to this wonderful and thought provoking blog post. I read it and was inspired about what I do everyday – being a mom. Being a mom of two is tiring. It’s a challenge at times. But it’s so good and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. When I look at either of my girls, my heart melts. Motherhood is what God has called me to do and this article reminds me to take it seriously. I wanted to post it here so I can always look back and remember that my hands are full of GOOD things. I hope it inspires you too!

Motherhood is a Calling

- Rachel Jankovic

A few years ago, when I just had four children and when the oldest was still three, I loaded them all up to go on a walk. After the final sippy cup had found a place and we were ready to go, my two-year-old turned to me and said, “Wow! You have your hands full!”

She could have just as well said, “Don’t you know what causes that?” or “Are they all yours?!”

Everywhere you go, people want to talk about your children. Why you shouldn’t have had them, how you could have prevented them, and why they would never do what you have done. They want to make sure you know that you won’t be smiling anymore when they are teenagers. All this at the grocery store, in line, while your children listen.

A Rock-Bottom Job?

The truth is that years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law.

Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing.

If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom “baby itch”? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?

It's Not a Hobby

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.

Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die—and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.

Run to the Cross

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.

Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.

The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loved them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children.

The Question Is How

The question here is not whether you are representing the gospel, it is how you are representing it. Have you given your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally every thing you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gave it to us—freely?

It isn’t enough to pretend. You might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won’t. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car.

Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.

Hands Full of Good Things

When my little girl told me, “Your hands are full!” I was so thankful that she already knew what my answer would be. It was the same one that I always gave: “Yes they are—full of good things!”

Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.

Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone.

Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of "Loving the Little Years" and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).

Friday, July 15, 2011

What I love about YOU … week 1 & 2

I can’t believe that Finley is TWO WEEKS old TODAY!!

I blogged almost every week about what I loved about Cori Belle as she grew from one week to one year. I actually just went back in my blog book from last year and so enjoyed reading all the things I loved about my little girl as she grew. Those memories are so precious and fully engrained in my mind. It’s something I want to do with every child and so it begins with sweet Finley Grace.

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  • Holding another tiny baby. You are so beautiful to me.

  • That you enjoy taking baths. You have not cried once during bath time and really seem to like the warm water rushing over your body.

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And your big sister LOVED helping/watching you in the tub!

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  • Watching your sister give you kisses. I really feel like she could kiss you ALL DAY and not get tired of it. You are one loved little baby!

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  • That you slept the best you’ve ever slept last night!! We’ve been struggling a little bit in the swaddling and going to sleep at night category, but last night you did great! You nursed at 9:30 pm, 2:30 am, and 6 am. The best part was that you didn’t mind getting re-swaddled and you went right back to sleep with no fidgeting or fussiness! Praise Jesus!
  • Taking you and your sister for walks in the double BOB. It’s such a peaceful time. Now if only it didn’t feel like a swamp outside!!
  • That we are finally getting into the swing of nursing and it doesn’t hurt mommy so much anymore. It’s such a sweet bonding time with you.
  • When you curl your little legs up to your chest.
  • When your eyes are open and I can tell you are just taking in the world around you.
  • The way you poke out your bottom lip when you’re done nursing.
  • Being a mommy to TWO precious girls! God is so GOOD!

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This is definitely NOT the best picture of me, but hey … I’ve got both my girls and that’s what matters! Right?!? :)