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2 Years Already?!

Today is Aiden's birthday! I still cannot even begin to believe that he is two years old! I have been so emotional this week! Today I am running around getting things ready for his dinosaur bash on Sunday (just a little family party, but I might have gotten a little excited and jazzed it up... getting ready to paint melons as dino eggs and make molten lava cakes!!) and knew I wasn't going to have time to blog, so I seriously got all weepy when I opened an email from one of the sweetest gals I know and found these:

Stephanie is just the best, and the fact that she took the time to whip up a little graphic design love with some photos off my blog is just the perfect icing on the cake for this special day! (I can't resist mentioning her etsy shop where she can make fabulous things for you as well!!)

So anyways, I am off to get things dino-tastic!! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!!

The Perfect Gift

So, this weekend we put together A's bday present. He doesn't actually turn 2 until Friday, and we aren't having his party until Sunday, but I simply could not wait. This is the first time I have ever known exactly what he would want for a gift. In the past we have bought him fun things knowing that he would enjoy them, but when I was thinking about his birthday I knew for sure he would want a new riding toy. We considered different options, and decided not to go the tricycle route yet. Instead we got him a Radio Flyer scoot-about. He was eager to "help" daddy put it together, and instantly shouted "bike!" when it was done. In fact, we had assembled it indoors, and he threw a huge fit when we tried to relocate him outside to ride it. He was so excited. We watched him try to figure out how it worked, Matt stepped in to guide him in riding it a bit, and then he was off!

As I sat there watching my little boy so overjoyed at his gift, my mind wandered a bit. Or rather God took the opportunity to teach me a little lesson through the eyes of my son. Obviously A hadn't actually asked for a bike. In fact when he said that word without us telling him what it was we were pretty surprised. I had just known with total certainty that this was exactly what he would want. As I thought about that, I realized how often my Heavenly Father knows exactly what I would want far better than I ever could. I can't always tell him in words what I am looking for... often because I don't even know. God knows, though. He knows my every want, and my every need. And He is just as delighted to give me gifts as I am to give them to my son. Even more so! Because the love of my Heavenly Father is perfect and flawless. I am constantly thankful for the way God is showing me this through my own parenting. As I sit and watch my little one play, and feel the joy that comes from knowing I have made him happy, I know that God is watching me and feels the same way! What a beautiful gift.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:9-11

Currently Reading...

I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately, and I love sharing great books with friends when I find them! Right now I am reading:

The Way of Boys by Anthony Rao, Ph.D. - This one is a parenting book specifically about raising boys and it is so good! I can identify with much of what the author talks about already, like the pressure to have a well-behaved, socially capable boy at a very young age. However, I also see where this just doesn't make sense based on development, and how expecting too much too soon can do more harm than good! I love that I am learning about how to communicate with my son, and what some of his quirkyness means! One of the best things I have read so far was that often times there will be a disruption in behavior right before a big developmental breakthrough, and one of the things mentioned was poor eating. I had been worried about A's eating there for a while and sure enough he started eating better and talking more (a lot more) at the same time. I am so glad I found this one at the library... I may have to buy a copy for myself!

Simplify Your Spiritul Life by Donald S. Whitney - This is a current quiet time book that I am absolutely loving! It has such great information and techniques for building a solid spiritual life. It is broken up into quick sections covering different areas of having a living faith, and then each section has lots of different ideas. I am learning so much about making God more a part of my daily life in very practical ways in addition to having a more enjoyable quiet time with Him each morning. Good stuff!

Diapers, Pacifiers, and Other Holy Things by Lorraine Pintus - This is my current spare moment book. When I need a mommy pep talk, or if I am hiding from the toddler in the bathroom, it is perfect! Short little devotions that remind me that my job as a mama is important, and that God is excited to help me grow as a parent and His child along the way. This book is out of print but you can get it used on amazon for like a dollar... if you have a toddler I say go for it!! I am thinking of ordering several more copies for gifts!

For my current Bible study, I am using a free reading plan and ebook for the Good Morning Girls summer session! I have joined an awesome group of ladies on facebook, and am loving the accountability and insight that it provides. I know I have mentioned Hello Mornings in the past, but I think I like this approach much better. We are studying Proverbs 31, and I am thinking I will take this S.O.A.P. method into my future studies as well!

I have also been reading some fiction books, but I tend to fly through those and not keep close track of them! While I am suggesting titles, though, I definitely suggest checking out Abundant Simplicity if you are looking for a good devotional (it seriously change my life), Creative Counterpart if you would like a truly excellent Christian marriage book, and The Power of Play if you want another parenting book to read for young children. I am sure there others I should share, but that covers it for now!

What have you been reading lately?? I always love getting suggestions!

Cuteness Overload!

Oh my goodness we have been having so much fun lately! I thought I would be able to share all of my favorite photos from the past week or so in one post... but then I actually sorted through the photos on my camera and there are so many I love! So, here are just a few collages of the cuteness that has been going on around these parts...

Did I kill you with the cute? ;) Happy Wednesday!

Live and Love...Out LoudA Fresh Perspective

Ready for your chance to get an early start on the Edit Me Challenge? This week we have an amazing photo from Nancy at A Rural Journal! Download the photo here, edit to your heart’s content, and then link up Wed-Sat on the Edit Me Challenge blog.


24 Months of Motherhood! (well... almost!)

Technically, I will not celebrate 24 months until the end of May, but last year I put together this little collage of my first 12 months for Mother's Day, and so this year's collage makes 24 photos at least ;) 

Here is 2010-2011:

And here is 2011-2012:

I hope all of my awesome mommy friends have a wonderful day tomorrow! Love you all! :)

Getting my jog on!

Today A and I hit the walking trail and I jogged some intervals. It never fails that every time I go jog because I actually WANT to I laugh inside at what my high school gym teacher would think. I have been overweight for most of my life, and let's just say that gym class was not my favorite. However, over the past few years I have told Matt countless times that someday I want to be a runner. In the past it has always been one of those crazy like "someday maybe I will be an astronaut" statements, but I don't know... lately I think it might actually happen!

I am coming up on a month of counting calories with My Fitness Pal and working out daily (other than the two days I missed due to hurting my back changing a tire this week, haha), and even more shocking I actually bought a scale! I have never owned a scale, and I swear I was having palpitations when I opened the box... but you know what? It isn't so scary! In fact, watching that number drop is pretty awesome. I am down 16 pounds, but I have a long way to go.

What excites me most is that I can't help but feel that this might actually be the time that I start and never stop. That I finally beat this struggle with weight once and for all! And I am pretty sure I know why... I am approaching things differently this time. Not only am I starting on a spiritual level and including God in this process, but I also have the biggest motivation yet... a very active little boy to chase! I want to be the mom that is out playing tag with her kid without looking like she could fall over at any moment from exhaustion. That right there is my goal.

I have been watching the biggest loser for motivation (don't laugh) and one of the contestants said his goal was to lose the weight before his kids were old enough to realize he was fat. I get that. I want the same thing. And you know what... I don't have any doubts that I can do it this time! I have never been able to say that before. It feels good...

Remember when bedtime meant sleep?

Last night Matt had to go in to work at 2am. Now obviously this totally threw our schedule off, but actually it was not the main reason I got no sleep. No, the culprit this time was a Fiber Plus snack bar. A stole one right before bed, and gobbled it down. As a result he woke up at 11 needing a new diaper. Then at 3:30... needing a new diaper. Then at 8... that's right, needing a new diaper. Good grief! Of course after the 3:30 diaper change he refused to go back to sleep. So I brought him in my room and put him in the playpen, and crawled back in my own bed. For the next half hour or so this is what I heard...
(sound of soothie sucking)
A: "Mama?"
Me: "Time to sleep, bubby"
(fake snoring)
repeat. over and over and over.
Now I will admit that I am fond of the cute noises he makes, and the sweet little "Mama?" made me melt the first few times. But eventually I really just wanted to sleep! Eventually we both managed to fall asleep, and when I woke up this morning he got a good giggle out of scaring me silly. I completely forgot I had brought him in my room in the middle of the night, and did not expect him to pop up in the playpen!

These are the sleepless nights that I want to remember when I look back on how tired I was during the toddler years. Not the three poopy diapers necessarily, but the nights when I fell asleep to the sound of my little angel sweetly making sure mama was still nearby... and then my goofy little monkey practicing his fake snore.

I love this boy so much...