September 06, 2015

First Grade and Baptism

 Abby started 1st grade two weeks ago! She was excited and ready to see all her friends and explore her new classroom the first morning. 

Two weeks in and we are still mostly excited! Some days she really wants to stay home and play with her toys or the dog. Some days, she is up early and ready to go! We are discovering that first grade is a lot more work than Kindergarten! The teacher reviews her work and gives a smiley face, she will have spelling tests starting soon, she is already doing a lot more math each day, and she is learning cool facts. When at the high school football game on Friday, the national anthem started playing and Abby immediately whispered to me it was written by Francis Scott Key. I love when school facts collide with real world stuff!

We have three kinder friends in our classroom and that has proven to be good. Abby loves that she knows someone and luckily, she sits in a pod of desks with two sweet girls from her Kindergarten class. I love that both of these girls are quiet which is a good influence on my chatterbox!

I did not request a teacher for Abby through the school. I really prayed about it and left it up to God and He answered in a couple of cool ways. First of all, Abby's teacher has a peanut allergy! How cool is that- she is new to our school and a first year teacher and the decision makers didn't even know that! I love that God matched them up! In my mind, I had hoped for Abby to get a certain teacher and now that we are two weeks in, I am already seeing why she would not have been a good match for my child. Nice reassurance to not try and plan everything for Abby, but trust God!

Speaking of trusting God, after Abby accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior on July 31st, we scheduled her baptism and it happened on August 30th. She was baptized by her Daddy with our children's pastor, Mrs. Patty, sharing a little about Abby and her walk to Christ.

We are so proud of her and her decision to want to grow in her relationship with Christ. She is deep in her questions, big in her worship, and she is sensitive. We've taught her the phrase "break my heart for what breaks yours" and she is already trying to see the world differently. I have no doubt this will make parenting her my biggest challenge and my greatest reward. 

We gave her a little angel necklace to remind her little people can be big messengers for God. I hope she never forgets that. Her best little buddy Michael and his Mom Natalie came for the service. Natalie has been a wonderful example to Abby of the kind of love Christ has for us!

I so glad my Mom and Chuck were also able to drive over for the morning.

Our family on her big day! Congratulations Abby for making such a big decision and trusting God with your life. We are so proud of you and look forward to helping guide you toward Him.

August 22, 2015

Summer 2015 Recap and Photo Dump

We have had a pretty awesome summer and while I've shared many of these on Instagram, but haven't blogged much. So sit back and enjoy a whirlwind trip through our summer!

Abby graduated from Kindergarten and said goodbye to her friends Brooke and Sawyer for the summer. They were table mates for the school year and formed a sweet friendship!

On the last day of school, we headed to La Cantera for the weekend and Abby fully embraced summer life. We are sure she'll redo this picture in college at Tech- Guns Up!

Our niece Kyleigh spent time with us in June and we visited the graffiti wall in downtown Austin one afternoon.

We have swam in more pools throughout Texas than I imagined we would- I think the count is 8! Abby went from not swimming on her own, to swimming in her vest, to swimming without her vest all over the place. We've conquered water slides, deep ends and more!

We've seen friends and celebrated their summer birthdays!

We went to Chicago and spent our allowance for months on American Girl goodies.

And, enjoyed the cool weather and played outside, walked all over the city, rode planes, trains, and buses, saw shows, visited museums, rode a boat and more!

 We studied countries of the world and made homemade popsicles!

We escaped the heat or the rain with indoor playgrounds hoping for an early bedtime!

We visited grandparents who let us drive golf carts and ride on boats! 

We've been bowling and played in the arcade!

We've done camp with Daddy and rode ponies and ziplined!

We spent the day on the lake and discovered scary things can be fun things and then rode the water slide over and over and over again!

We've seen baseball games and learned how to be a cheerleader for our team!

We took ballet camp and then ballet classes and learned how to plie and leap and point our toes!

We gained confidence in swimming and passed two swim tests!

We saw Michael our long time friend and had contests jumping in the pool with him!

We spent time with our cousins at VBS, swimming and eating snow cones!

We learned more about God and Daniel and the Bible at VBS and did it with the best of friends!

We prayed to accept Jesus and asked Him to be the leader of our life!

We decided 1st grade called for short hair!

We have played with Mia, chased her around the backyard, snuggled with her, fed her yummy treats, and given her lots of love!

We have visited local libraries and read lots of books through our school summer reading program. Abby actually went up a level in reading this summer!

We've had jammie days where we get dressed at 2 PM just to go get a snowcone and go swimming.

We've played outside in the yard, in the park, and in the sandbox.

We've jumped and leaped and tried to flip (unsuccessfully!) on trampolines!

We've crashed in hotels for short little weekend trips in hotels nearby!

Another day... another water slide!

We've ridden our bike around resorts and our neighborhood.

We've made memories with silly pictures with silly friends on late summer nights!

We've said goodbye to our favorite teacher at church and moved up to the Kids area leaving the sweet preschool hallway we've known for almost 3 years!

We've made playdates galore and spent hours chasing friends through tunnels, slides and stairways of the biggest playground we've ever seen!

And, we have served at our church and our school!

And now, we have met our 1st grade teacher and are ready to start the new school year which is a good thing because I am out of money, ideas, energy and sunscreen. 

Goodbye summer- you've been fun. Bring on the pumpkins, football and boots! I'm ready!

August 01, 2015

Special Prayer

Abby is a deep thinker and I have had more religious conversations with her than anyone else in my life, maybe combined. I remember clearly while she was in preschool she asked me, "are people born good or with sin?" Excuse me, what? I'm not qualified to answer this! She came home one day from Kindergarten and told me she asked all the kids on the playground if they knew Jesus. Humbled because that terrifies me, I asked her what she said if they said no.... she told them He loves them and died on the cross for them. Wow.

Most of our conversations happen in the car. We listen to Christian music and she would ask what different phrases mean and it would spark conversation. Throw in 2 years of really catchy VBS tunes and we had lots of questions! Abby had asked enough questions by the Spring that in talking to our children's director, we sent her to Kids Praise (1st-3rd grade) on Easter Sunday to hear an official gospel presentation explaining how Jesus, sin and the cross all work together. At the end of that, she said in her response card that she wasn't ready to make a decision. In talking about that with her, we learned two things. One, she didn't understand the breadth of sin. It was just major sins in her mind- lying, killing, stealing. Two, the thought of being baptized was closely tied to accepting Christ and that thought TERRIFIED her.

We would talk about accepting Jesus casually and she would immediately talk about being scared and asking a million questions about being Baptized- how long am I under water? how deep is the water? will they hold me under? can I hold my nose? We fully understand she can accept Christ and not be baptized for a long time- years even- but I wanted her to know the decision was bigger than a fear of water and to want it all in her heart. So we continued talking about Jesus and focused on discussing sin, but also went full force into giving her confidence in the water.

She took swim lessons in May and then we've been at the pool 3-5x/week since then. We worked on swimming, but then focused on going under water. We'd look for toys and then started jumping in the 3 foot, then 4 foot and eventually 6 foot. Then we took off her life vest and did it all over again until now, she swims above and under water all over and can jump into the 6 foot without a vest. During this time, I bribed her with a lego set if she'd let me stand in the 3 foot and holding her body do a back flip underwater. She agreed. Just a few days later, I asked her if she wanted me to pretend to baptize her. She agreed. I did it in the pool and when she came back up, she had a big grin and said, "that's it?". Ha! It really wasn't all that hard after all she had done in the water!

In early July, Abby attended a camp at church that was outdoor fun, but also taught her a Bible verse, gave her a daily Bible story, and taught her more worship music.

Two weeks later, she attended VBS and spent all morning learning more about the Bible, Jesus, and worshipping. She has always loved music and since I really only listen to worship music, it is her favorite. She has combined her love of Jesus with Marcus' ability to learn song lyrics and she is a quote machine! 

Fast forward to July 31st, Abby in the car tells me she has made a decision. I think she is talking about her 1st grade haircut which is a popular topic this week, and she tells me "no, about Jesus. I want to say the special prayer tonight". Gulp. Okay, Let's do this! So, on the way to drop her off at the YMCA so that we could celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary, Marcus asks Abby lots of questions. We both want to make sure she knows the commitment she is making and it isn't due to peer pressure or to please us. He had spent Wednesday during VBS answering kids questions and counseling them so he was trained and ready. She understands Jesus died on the cross so that sinners like her could get into heaven and there isn't another way. Sin isn't allowed in heaven and she will sin. She loosely understands the holy spirit will be with her and help guide her along with the Bible so that she can learn to live her life for Jesus and be a worker on his team, as she likes to call it.

I'm proud of her- accepting Jesus is the first step in living for Him and one Marcus and I really didn't make until adults. I love that she has Him for as long as she can remember and will grow in Him from such a young age. I love that she is a deep thinker as I know understanding God's word requires deep study. I love that she sings to worship Him without abandon. I love that she wants to share Him with her playground friends. I love that I get a front row seat to see what He has planned for her precious life. God is good! 

For posterity, her special prayer with her Daddy is here.

And her goodnight prayer afterward...

May 12, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

This sweet girl and her Daddy outdid themselves for me on Mother's Day. I slept in and took a nap, they cleaned my car and brought my sweet tea in the morning, I picked where we ate for lunch and dinner, and they gave me Kendra Scott earrings and some very thoughtful presents.

A few months ago our church did a series on our identity in Christ... who we are in Christ's eyes. They had a video montage during the series of people in our church with a word written on their bodies with a black Sharpie showing the word they identified most with from Christ. It was healed, complete, adopted, etc. I told Marcus that because of our trials in getting pregnant, I felt like Abby's word would be CHOSEN.

She was CHOSEN by God to be born. We were CHOSEN to be her parents. We not only chose, but worked really hard to be able to have her. So, he had her picture taken in the bluebonnets with the word CHOSEN on her arm for me. He even sent it to a friend to edit it and framed it for me. Note, on her other arm, she chose the word CUTE. :)

(Pardon the quick iphone picture of a picture- it is clear in person!)

Finally, I received a folder full of art and the annual Mother's Day survey from Abby. I'm so grateful they still do these in Kindergarten. I was afraid she had outgrown that annual craft. This answer right here brought tears to my eyes. She loves me because "you care for people". 

Of all the things I can teach my child, isn't this really the core of it? God's greatest command is to love Him and love others. I don't always do it and I haven't made it a priority until recently, but the fact that she sees it motivates me. It was like a little love note from God through her that I'm on the right track. And honestly, I don't think I am doing superhero things, but I explain what I am doing to Abby. 

When we take a meal to another family, we talk about it. She helps me bake the cookies and we talk about they are sick or had a new baby or are sad and this is a way to love on them. When I have a church meeting or event, I always explain to her that I am serving in our church to help others. When a new kid visits her Sunday school, we talk about how scary it is to be new and how she can make them feel better by welcoming them. We pray for ambulance, police and fire the moment we hear sirens. We pray for friends in school that miss because they are sick. When we wear our TOMS, we talk about the other kid without shoes that got a new pair because she got a new pair. 

It just surprised me that she sees it. She knows what it is all about. I'm so grateful for her and her answer on this year's survey. 

Happy Mother's Day!


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