Saturday, November 21, 2015

Giving Thanks

The past few weeks I have been feeling "in the thick of it" motherhood wise. It's beautiful, messy, wonderful, tiring, and rewarding. So many times throughout my day I just pause and soak in the moments. I'm in awe of the beauty of life. I'm thankful. These are good reminders when I know that so much of the world is in terrible suffering. I can't help but be weighted down by the intensity of trial and persecution for millions around the world. My sufferings are so very tiny and minute in comparison, but I must not forget that any suffering we can unite with Christs' and offer for the needs of others is a good thing and God can use it abundantly. Prayer is indeed a powerful weapon and God can do mighty things even with the smallest of faith. Lord, may your strength, grace, and courage be with those suffering everywhere in the world, whether it be great or small suffering, and may they remain steadfast in you. Amen.

While certainly my days leave me exhausted before even the afternoon hour lately, I feel oh so thankful for the gifts God has so generously lavished on me. While my heart is heavy for the sake of others, I don't want to forget to thank God and see His goodness all around me.

"From the rising of the sun to it's setting, let the name of the Lord be praised!"
-Psalm 113:3-

Jason is selfless in the mornings and wakes up with the kids most days while Vianney and I get to wake up slowly and a little later than everyone else. Once Vianney wakes up and gives me some of the biggest, sweetest, melt-your-heart smiles, she will then promptly turn herself to the door hoping to see one of her sisters coming in to greet her in the morning. She loves seeing them, playing with them, and watching them! They provide a CONSTANT stream of entertainment and interaction. It's so fun to watch!

Her gorgeous smile which accompanies a happy squeal.
Being silly.

Vianney is our earliest crawler. She began around 4.5 months and now, at almost 6 months, is scooting around like a pro. She isn't crawling on all fours very well yet, but tries everyday. She can sit up on her own now, too. She is also an early teether, popping her first two bottom teeth at 3.5 months. I expect more to come in anytime now if she continues like her sisters. I can tell she's almost ready for solid foods as she licks her lips and mimicks chewing while watching us eat during meal times. She does NOT like being left alone at all. If I just walk into the other room for a few moments she is usually well aware and begins crying until I come back. Usually I can only get away with leaving the room if the other girls are in the room with her. She loves company and interacting with others and has since she was an infant. When she cries, she makes a perfect "rolling r" sound with her tongue. It is hilarious and adorable. I need to get it on video soon.

Teá and Vivi playing together.
Playing that they were at sea.
I love it when babes find their toes.
Amaryn is beginning to potty train. I know I need to just drop everything and focus on training her while she's showing signs of interest but I haven't done it yet. With Thanksgiving next week I am going to wait at least until after that, and possibly until after Christmas. I just need to mentally prepare myself for doing extra loads of laundry and of course prepare to keep the carpet cleaner nice and close. Hopefully it won't be too painful of a transition since she has gone quite a bit on the potty already and seems to want to use the toilet more than her diaper. Jason and I are also really enjoying Amaryn's newfound use of language. She communicates in almost full sentences now! The past 6 months her vocabulary and language development have just skyrocketed and it's so fun to watch and always nice to be able to communicate easier with her. She says the sweetest things in the sweetest little, innocent voice. She is very good at thanking me without be prompted. "Tank you, momma."

Amaryn swinging at the park.
Trying out the big girl swing. It was all fun until I accidentally pushed her off. Oops, sorry Amaryn!
Somehow (ahem, I know how) Vivi always ends up in a box or basket.
More fun at the park.

She's such a sweetie!
Teá continues to be her joyful, overall helpful self. It's hard to believe she will be 5 so soon. About a month ago she lost her two bottom teeth and her permentant teeth are already coming in. It was quite exciting for her. We took the opportunity to learn about St. Apollonia, the patron saint of teeth, and she received some special treats in an envelope we made with a St. Apollonia picture drawn on it. My favorite time of the day with her is while the others are napping in the afternoon and we get to have one on one time together. Usually we work on her schoolwork, sometimes we will play a game like Memory or Chutes and Ladders. Lately, we've gotten in the habit once again of reading chapter books. It's always amazed me that Teá likes to sit still and listen to books with very few to no pictures accompanying it. She loves it and so do I. Right now we are reading "The Adventures of Red Rowdy" by Sandra Grant. The homeschooling curricula we use offers this book for free online. I also enjoy her help as we get dinner ready during nap times. She is the most enthusiastic helper for dinner and as she gets older I look forward to entrusting her with harder tasks for dinner prep simply because I know she will enjoy it so.

 Pretend sleeping.

Lost two teeth!

Occasionally, Amaryn will also help out in the kitchen with meal prep or dishes. Kids enjoy helping and I can't stress enough the importance of letting them. Yes, it means things won't be cut evenly, there will be more of a mess to clean up, dishes won't be perfectly organized in the dishwasher, etc. BUT eventually they will get better at it and become more independent plus it makes great memories. Just pray for patience!

Bedtime stories read by only the best.
The evenings are often filled with either Jason or I reading books to the girls or Jason rough-housing with them on the floor. Once they go to bed, Jason and I are grateful for some quiet and rest. We usually fill each other in on the day's happenings, watch some news, and lately we've both been so exhausted we will just watch a movie together (hello, Hallmark Christmas movies!). Even in our fatigue, it is so nice to sit in Jason's presence and enjoy the quiet together.

I know from first hand experience how easy it is to get caught up in the disasters happening all over the world, and indeed we should allow ourselves to feel. There is good in recognizing the need to pray and look towards Heaven and contemplate life and death and our hope found in Jesus. We shouldn't, however, get so caught up in these happenings that we feel paralyzing fear or that we forget to recognize God's abundant blessings. Whether you find His blessings in the face of your children, in the smile of a stranger, in the beauty of the sunset, or simply in His peace and love, it is only right and just to give Him thanks and praise Him.

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