Living Truth

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Psalm 145
“I will extol You, my God, O King, and I will bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty and on your wonderful works I will meditate. Men shall speak of the power of your awesome acts, and I will tell of your greatness. They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness and will shout joyfully of Your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is God to all, and His mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord, and Your godly ones shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom and talk of Your power; to make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts and the glory of Your majesty of Your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and save them. The Lord keeps all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.”

In Brendan’s Words: Intro to Brendan Talk

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Guess what? Brendan talks! “Talks” is totally subjective…he utters sounds consistently for certain things and we can understand him more than ever. He repeats a lot of what we say and definitely has his own way of enunciating. He easily repeats the first syllable of any word and a lot of times that’s all he’ll say. Or sometimes he’ll just say the end of the word. His favorites are “dilla” for quesadilla and “nana” for banana, or Nana.

Reading a book.

Reading a book.

When he says more than half of a word, he tends to yell the last half. “dinNER!” “aMEN!” “daDDY!” “tayLA!” (Taylor, so cute to hear). This boy has himself a healthy set of lungs and he will use them at any point. Super happy? Jump and scream. Unsatisfied? Grit teeth and screech.

I'm surprised these "DU!"s stuck around while he excitedly screamed about ducks.

I’m surprised these “DU!”s stuck around while he excitedly screamed about ducks.

My favorite things that he says are thank you, good job and sorry. He says “dant you” for thank you and he says it any time he brings me something or helps me pick up. When I would normally tell him thank you, it’s like he’s telling himself. He also tells himself good job, I love it! He’s been getting in trouble a lot for the screaming and runs himself to his room to calm down. He hates getting in trouble. He knows he can come out when he’s calm, so he basically takes one step into his room, stops screaming and comes back out saying “Saw! Saw!” As in the first half of Sorry; I’ll take it!

Happy squeals.

Happy squeals.

In Taylor’s Words: Getting Married at Taco Bueno

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Hello friends and family! It has been a loooooooooooooooooong time, eh? So long it took a couple of tries to remember my password….Nevertheless, I have returned! Let’s pick up where we ended, like old friends.

Taylor is now almost 3! Two more months to go! I think she is most excited because she thinks she will get more of everything when she is three. Right now she needs 2 of everything “because I am 2, mommy. I’m 2.” Two ponytails in her hair, not one of course. Two cookies…you get the picture. She will be head over heels when that 2 turns to 3, except I’m not sure how 3 ponytails in her hair is going to look.

Two ponytails!

Two ponytails!

She is also obsessed with wearing dresses and dress-up. She most frequently chooses Tinkerbell or a ballerina outfit for dress-up or her “lady bug dress.” This dress from Nana is red with white polka dots with a little lady bug on it. She comes in right after Wes leaves in the morning (a hair after 6:30…and I’m not a morning person) and says, “Mommy tan you buckle this?” I think her morning routine is as follows: open eyes, realize the sun “is not sleeping anymore”, remove normal kid clothes, find lady bug dress, slip it on, and go find mommy to button it up. Oh, then ask, “Mommy tan I have regular milk, in a bottle, warm?” And my brain is still asleep. I keep telling her that the sun gets out of bed too early lately :)

Taylorina ballerina t-ball girl.

Taylorina ballerina t-ball girl.

She also thinks that wearing her lady bug dress means she is going to get married. Who would she marry, you ask? Bubba, of course! She would marry daddy if he wasn’t already taken. The other night we took the kids to their favorite place to eat, Taco Bueno. After we ordered, Taylor motioned to her dress and said, “I’m getting married at Taco Bueno! I’ve never been married at Taco Bueno!” I think she’s the first, ever, to be married at Taco Bueno.

And last, one more morning story. I have had a bit of a cold this week and it feels worse in the morning so I’ve been extra groggy (with an extra awesome, lower-than-my-normal-super-low man voice). Taylor woke me up by turning on cartoons. I looked over at her and she was in her Sleeping Beauty dress staring at me. She asked for “chocolate milk, cold, in a big girl cup, on your bed?” I replied, “Taylor, I really don’t feel good. I think I need MY mommy to take care of me.” She said, “Oh, I will take care of you! I will wipe you!” Just what I need, right? Gotta love it.

Ready to go for a skate. Love my girl!

Ready to go for a skate. Love my girl!

Just Breathe

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You know those periods in life when you wish you could just press a pause button to take a breath? That is me right now. Well, not literally right now, because I currently have a spare moment to blog…but me, right now, in this phase of life. When my daughter was almost 7 months old, I found out I was pregnant with my son. He came a little early so they ended up being 14 months apart. Anytime someone did the math and realized how close in age they would be, they would remark at how crazy I am and how my life was going to turn upside down and be one big hot mess. Okay, so maybe they would merely react with a surprised look and reiterate that I was going to have my hands full. After enough comments, I had myself convinced that I was surely going to go nuts. Up until recently, I thought I had proved everybody wrong because life with two turned out to be just right. Then Brendan learned to walk and climb (high). Then someone taught him that if a shelf is organized that it is his civil duty to pull everything off such a beautiful shelf and disperse it throughout the otherwise picked up house.

In other words, the second I think I have my act together… the moment I think my clothes are clean in order to leave for work… right when I sit down to take a breath…I look around and realize that everything is out of order. And Brendan thinks it is funny. I think I need a beach that comes with a free masseuse. I end up cleaning the house 5 times instead of 1, giving the kids 3 baths in one day, and apologizing to the babysitter because there are food chunks on the floor from breakfast (must have forgotten to let the dog in the kitchen to eat the scraps that baby boy thought he should throw out of his high chair). My perspective slowly shifts to a negative outlook that doesn’t include reaping the rewards of all the hard work and effort I put into my life.

For some reason, it is so easy as human beings to focus on what is going wrong, what has us out of sorts. It takes effort to pay attention and take heed of what is good and worthy of our attention. This struck me this morning when I watched my daughter trying to teach my son how to pick up all the bouncy balls he had just emptied from their bin. At first I chuckled because this was destined to fail. Hurricane Brendan does not come back through his mile-wide territory and pick up. To my wide-eyed surprise, he successfully threw each ball back where she pointed. This may seem insignificant, but it has meaning. This is hard work paying off. Between teaching Taylor to pick up and modeling this to the kids (that’s the positive way of saying “picking up for them”), she caught on and there is hope that I might reduce my daily pick-up tradition from 5 to at least 4!

Nothing like a 2 year old to challenge you to expect great things when put in hard work. Sometimes I forget my purpose and my direction and why it’s important to do the same, consistent, hard things over and over again. Being a mommy is hard work. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but man, this momma just wants a nap! I just need to remember that perseverance produces character and character produces hope. It may be small successes today, but I know in the long run I can expect great things.

In Taylor’s Words: Don’t Yell! Just Talk.

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In about one week miss thing will be 2 and 1/2! I am mostly loving this stage. She has always been independent with a touch of stubborn. My mom tells me that there was once a little girl just like Taylor who could do everything by herself too. I turned out alright (I think), so there’s hope! With her blossoming language skills, she is able to tell us more and more of what is on her mind.

A couple of months ago, we ate Chinese with Wes’s family and Taylor ate Teriyaki chicken. That week, she started talking about her friend from church that she plays with. We asked her what her friend’s name was and she replied, “Teriyaki. My fwen Teriyaki.” I assume none of the kids in her class are named Teriyaki, so I have no idea who her friend is. Then for Christmas, she received a new baby doll with hair to brush. When I asked her what her baby’s name is, she said, “Teriyaki!” The name has stuck and generates lots of laughs when she exclaims, “Teriyaki is hungry!” Or “Shhh, Teriyaki is sleeping.” Or “Bubba, stop eating Teriyaki!”

"Teriyaki is sad. I need to lub her."

“Teriyaki is sad. I need to lub her.”

Apparently motherhood suits Taylor well and she has extended her skills to include baby Brendan. She is learning that only adults need to discipline Bubba, or any other kid for that matter. Let’s be honest, she is pretty good at parroting every line we give Brendan when he is being a pill. “Bubba, get down.” “Bubba, momma say NOOOO!” “BubbAAAAAAA! My say no!” While playing at her cousin’s house, she told her cousin “don’t talk to your mommy like that.” She needs to take a bit of her own medicine sometimes.

Just the other day she got in trouble for doing something that she knows is off limits. Wes strictly told her no, but there was no yelling involved. She scrunched up her face and pointed at him and said, “Don’t yell, daddy! Just talk.” Those are my words, and my pointy finger, but I sure hope I don’t scrunch my face up like that!

On a sweet note, she is Brendan’s biggest fan. Besides me, of course. Lately she keeps telling people that Jesus wants to hold Bubba. If you tell her that Jesus loves her, she’ll tell you that Jesus loves Bubba too.

And last, but certainly not least, and definitely most embarrassing, is Taylor’s newest way to motivate you in your New Year’s resolution to tone your belly. After recently seeing her aunt’s growing baby belly, she started associating bellies with babies. While hanging out with her beloved grandpa, she looked up at him and said, “Poppop? You have a baby in you belly?”

I sometimes wonder why she names her baby after chicken or when she’ll learn not lift random people’s shirt and inquire about their bellies…or when she’ll stop waking up in the middle of the night screaming about ant eaters that are in her room that she wishes weren’t in her room. When I really think about it, I don’t want her to have big girl nightmares. I like her funny 2 year old baby names and sense of independence. I’ll miss her at this age, I know I will. I hope 2 year old Brendan has just enough attitude for me to find funny and to remind me of his big sis.

I'll miss the little Taylor that was convinced that this is how you wear your sunglasses.

I’ll miss the little Taylor who was convinced that this is how you wear your sunglasses.

I'll miss my baby girl who walks out of her room in the morning ready to jump on the bed wearing a sun dress she pulled down from the back of the closet.

I’ll miss my baby girl who walks out of her room in the morning ready to jump on the bed wearing a sun dress she pulled down from the back of the closet.

Oh, princess. If I could name you after chicken, you would be my sweet and sour. We love you and you’ll always be our baby girl, even though you will always think that you’re a “big dirl.”

 

“Prayers for Brendan”

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Brendan was just a wee one when I started this blog just about one year ago. After deciding to have a family blog, I waited to publish until I settled on a name. The name we concluded with, One After Another, comes from a scripture verse: John 1:16. Today as I was reading to Brendan, I had Taylor pick out some books for him and she brought me this:

bubba

It is a cardholder with a scripture verse for each letter of Brendan’s name that my old small group put together for him. It had been put with all his newborn keepsakes that I found when we were organizing after Christmas. I started to read them to the kids and it really hit me how much I want these verses that the women chose to be true for him as he grows. Coincidentally, the verse for “R” was John 1:16 for the word “receive.”

From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.

I wanted to share these verses with you because of their encouragements and challenges.

Bold: …”that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:19-20

Receive (John 1:16) and Reap: “Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Enlighten: “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance with the saints.” Ephesians 1:18

Need: “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8

Disciple: “Jesus said, ‘If you abide in My word, hold fast to my teachings and live in accordance with them, you are truly My disciples.’ ” John 8:31

Abides: “Whoever keeps his commandments abides in Him, and He in them. And by this we know that He abides in us by the Spirit whom He has given us.” 1 John 3:24

Noble: “The noble man makes noble plan, and by noble deeds he stands.” Isaiah 32:8 and Now: “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Those are some powerful messages! I am so thankful to have found this little treasure and look forward to making these verses and more part of my prayers for my little boy.

 

Friends Old, Friends New

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This year I treasured getting to catch up with childhood friends. I live in the city that we grew up in so come holiday seasons, many of my friends come home to visit their families. I love getting to catch up with old friends because they were so much a part of who I am. We are all scattered across the United States, from right here in the Midwest, to Washington D.C., and all the way to Hawaii. It’s the perfect picture of following God’s calls and our dreams. You never know where you’ll end up.

What’s a post without pictures?? Here are some from 2012:

Me, Reese, and Sally.

Me, Reese, and Sally.

Me, Becca, and Jessica

Me, Becca, and Jessica

Andie's Wedding!

Andie’s Wedding!

These pictures aren’t exhaustive…just the ones I was able to steal from facebook :) And here are some from high school. Also stolen from facebook.

The good ole uniforms.

The good ole uniforms.

High school sweethearts.

High school sweethearts.

Life has changed so much, yet so much about us is still the same. I am so thankful for the memories we shared and how these girls impacted me. We learned some hard lessons and had some good times.

So thankful to have some time together!

 

 

 

Christmas Cheer

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This Christmas was so much fun. And hectic. And slightly overwhelming. Just like a typical Christmas, right? I could listen to Christmas music all year long, but I make myself wait until it comes on the radio full-time. This year we totally missed out and didn’t find Pandora’s Christmas music until the day before Christmas eve. We decorated the week after Thanksgiving and learned quickly that very few decorations could be within finger reach of Brendan. Everything goes straight to his mouth. This meant that our Christmas tree was sparsely decorated on the lower half. Wes and Taylor decorated all the trees out front when I was at work one evening and Brendan continually “ooh-ed and aaah-ed” at the lights every evening. The season was filled with cheer. Without further ado, here are some pictures:

The annual "Everyone asleep after Thanksgiving Dinner" at my parents house.

The annual “Everyone asleep after Thanksgiving Dinner” at my parents house.

Headed to our anniversary date to Newport Grill, our new birthday/anniversary date favorite.

Headed to our anniversary date to Newport Grill, our new birthday/anniversary date favorite.

Dancing on the fireplace. And the extra stocking is for the dog...if you were wondering :)

Dancing on the fireplace. And the extra stocking is for the dog…if you were wondering :)

ornaments

Taylor put all my childhood ornaments in the same spot.

santa

Brendan did not like Santa.

doughnut

Holiday Krispie Kreme doughnut

tree

Putting the first ornaments on the tree.

Playing with her new Belle in her Madagascar wig.

Playing with her new Belle in her Madagascar wig.

Taylor kept saying “Happy birthday everyone!” when we opened gifts at each different house. When she met santa, she asked him for hot chocolate. Brendan was excited about all the lights and entertainment. He has had a cold for almost the whole month of December so he had some awesome holiday naps. (Apparently he copes with feeling sick like mommy, sleep it away!)

santa

Christmas Eve with the growing Lewis fam.

Christmas Eve with the growing Lewis fam.

Thanksgiving with my family.

Thanksgiving with my family.

We are very blessed to make it through another year together. Christmas always reminds us of what matters most – as our church says – knowing and loving God and making His love known to others. I hope you saw and knew some of that love this season!

Blessings,

The Lewises

 

 

Channelling My Inner Katniss

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This year Wes has gotten into bow hunting. In fact, on his first morning hunting, he hit a buck! With his car of course…not the bow. The buck lived and we have nothing but a dent in the car to show for it. It’s a nice reminder of the irony of that morning. Anyway, I had to share that story because it is too funny!

I tried to pull back his bow, but no such luck. It is set for a beefy, brawny man. I didn’t think using a fancy bow would be any more fun than my old-school “Lil Sioux” that I picked out at Bass Pro Shop when I was little. Wes was determined to get me to try so he found a used woman’s bow that a friend was selling. I could draw this smaller one back easily and got hooked instantly. A little more practice and maybe I’ll be the one hitting a buck!

bowwesYes, my arrows are pink and awesome. We had so much fun shooting together. It is a quiet alternative to shooting our pistols during nap time which never pans out well.

Hope you enjoyed your Christmas season wherever you are!

 

Brendalina Ballerina

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The title speaks for itself…Taylor isn’t the only ballerina in this house! Daddy put Brendan in Taylor’s tutu and he was in love! He ran around, well, shuffled as fast as those big feet can go, and smiled from ear to ear. He was so excited!

Too much fun being a ballerina

Too much fun being a ballerina

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He was having so much fun he didn't want to stop for a photo!

He was having so much fun he didn’t want to stop for a photo!

Lest you worry that he is any less mannish, here is proof that he is in boyhood: climbing!

DSC00450DSC00359This last one was an unsupervised climb. I heard him grunting like he needed help and I couldn’t find him on the floor. I saw our first trip to the ER flash before my eyes as I ran to grab him. Way to go, mom!

If he’s a dancer and a climber, we’ll be happy, as long as he keeps that smile!

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