these girls

It’s been a year since I stopped writing updates about the girls on the blog so I thought I would do a little bullet update on both Little Bug and Sweet Pea for all my faithful readers who have been reading this blog since they were itty bitty!

These girls are NOT itty bitty anymore. It is crazy to think we’ve gone from this 0014

to this

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in just three years!

Little Bug:

  • She’s a mess. Nothing’s changed there!
  • Little Bug turned five in May and had a Ninja Turtle birthday party in which she made the invite list (7 friends from her class at church).
  • She LOVES stories. She has always loved books and being read to, but we are talking a boarder-line addiction here now.
  • She could listen to stories all day long, and practically does: after breakfast, during rest time, during our daily reading time, before rest time and bedtime, in the car.
  • She currently loves to listen to Jim Weiss stories on CD, “Wolf Stories” that Gramps tells her, “Flopsey and Mopsey” Stories that Grams tells her and chapter books that I read to her.
  • A close second to her love of books is the Ninja Turtles. She discovered my brother’s Ninja Turtle figures that he had as a boy at Grams and Gramps’ house and that was all she wrote.
  • Little Bug has done quite a lot of maturing over the past year. She can be trusted to not get in to stuff like she would if left alone for 2.5 seconds as a toddler. I never thought I’d see the day, but, behold, it has arrived!
  • She officially moved to having a daily “rest time” instead of naptime right before she turned five.
  • Turning five must mean that you suddenly accumulate toys with a bazillion tiny pieces…princess figures, My Little Ponies and who knows what else but it is a million little pieces of toy everywhere it seems. But she loves to play imaginatively with all these little figurines she has collected so I don’t mind the tiny pieces everywhere.
  • Little Bug is still a little girl who can go outside to play and be covered in dirt, head to toe, in no time at all. But she also still loves to dress up in her princess dresses and be “fancy”.
  • She is having to learn right now to do things without arguing and complaining. Oh, the arguments this child can muster. God’s going to use this talent one day…or else I will for real pull my hair out!
  • She completed her preschool years and will officially be a Kindergartener in the fall.

Sweet Pea:

  • Sweet Pea was the happiest little baby I had ever seen and now she is the happiest little girl I’ve ever seen. She is always smiling.
  • Except when she says, “I’m sad.” which is one of the cutest things she does.
  • Except when she attempts to see if this tactic will stall her bedtime. Little stinker! As I carry her to bed she says “I’m sad.” and then carries on and on. What is it with 3-year-olds? Seeing as this is my second 3-year-old I wasn’t fooled and it took two nights of her fake crying for 5 minutes for her to realize she’s got her work cut out to fool this Mommy.
  • Funny thing is, this girl loves her sleep and always has. She still naps 2.5-3 hours daily, but occasionally she will just not sleep a wink for a nap and then I just put her to bed early.
  • While Sweet Pea has grown up significantly in the last year, she hasn’t let go of all things “baby” yet, which is just fine by me because I know when she is ready, she will grow up. She still wears diapers 100%, sucks her thumb, sleeps with her “night-night” (receiving blankets for newborns that she LOVES to sleep with!) and calls herself a “baby”. I probably baby her which doesn’t help any of this, but…she’s my baby!
  • If Sweet Pea wanted to be potty-trained she would be. Many times now she has declared she wants to pee or poop on the potty and then proceeds to do so and is quite proud of her accomplishment. But if you ask her if she wants to wear diapers or panties, it is always “diapers”. The day will come… (hopefully soon!)
  • Sweet Pea loves to go on walks in the neighborhood and she holds my hand the entire time, which is just absolutely adorable.
  • She talks up a storm now. Hard to believe I was ever told she might need speech therapy.
  • Sweet Pea walks with determination in her step. She is a quiet one, but she is going to have an inner strength that will drive her to do great things in life.
  • Speaking of her being a “quiet one”, she isn’t always shy anymore. She has come out of her shell considerably in the last month or so. To the point that she has asked complete strangers (other kids) their names when we are standing in line at the store! That is HUGE for Sweet Pea.
  • Sweet Pea will start PK3 with Mommy this fall, just a few weeks after she turns three years old!

tell me the story of when I was born

I wish I had the words to express the joy in my heart yesterday over seeing someone who will forever hold a special place in my heart. We got to see Tracy (Little Bug’s birth mother) for the first time in over 3 years.

For over a year now, Little Bug has asked me to "tell me the story of when I was born" to which I go into about a 2-3 minute story telling the events of her birth and when she "came out of Ms. Tracy’s belly". Yesterday, for the first time that she can remember, Little Bug got to meet Tracy. I told Little Bug I had brought someone very special to meet her. She asked me who it was and I told her "Ms. Tracy! Would you like to see Mrs. Tracy?". She immediately nodded her head excitedly and we turned around and I introduced my daughter to the woman who chose life for her. Little Bug and Tracy hugged right there in the middle of the Applebee’s entrance! The joy in both of their hearts was very evident.

It did Tracy’s heart so much good to see Little Bug. My heart just breaks for her. Her life circumstances are just so incredibly sad. Generational sin is real and strong. I wish I had the power to change her life around, but all I can do is use my words and actions to show her Who can.

While the need for adoption comes from tragedy, there is also a measure of redemption found in adoption that is one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed on this earth. As we parted ways and Tracy began to walk in one direction towards home and Little Bug got in the car with her family to go home, it struck me that Tracy’s choice to place Little Bug for adoption broke that cycle of generational sin for Little Bug. I am forever grateful and humbled that, because of my broken body, I am the third piece of this puzzle and the one Tracy wanted her daughter to call "Mama".

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Little Bug’s birth

I didn’t date this, but I wrote it shortly after Little Bug’s arrival so I would not forget anything about the moments surrounding her birth.

On Tuesday, May 26th, 2009, I awoke very anxious for Little Bug to be here! Two weeks prior we had had a false alarm where Tracy called us saying she was contracting and she may go to the hospital that night. That was May 11th. Tracy did end up calling us saying she was going to the hospital. Dave and I went too and were there for about 3 hours with Tracy and her mother.

Back to May 26th… When I awoke that day I was just so ready for Little Bug to be here. During my quiet time that morning I wrote out my prayer to God. I basically said that I acknowledged that He already knew the day and hour Little Bug would be born. I told Him that I was very anxious for Little Bug to be here and just be through with the waiting season. Then I told Him that I desired His will above all and that I knew whatever happened was exactly the way He had planned it from the start. I told Him I knew He was in control of everything.

The night of May 26th Dave and I went over to my parents’ house for dinner. At around 10:45pm we had just pulled into the driveway and the cell phone rang. My heart immediately began beating very fast. Dave and I had driven separate cars. He saw I was on the phone and walked over to my car window.

Tracy was telling me that she thought her water had broken and she was headed to the hospital. She said that she would call us back once she got there and was checked out. About 2 hours later she called to say her water had broken and they were admitting her. She later called and told us to come on up. We entered the room and there she lay in the bed. Her mom and sister were there with her in the room. Labor had not started naturally so they were going to give her Pitocin to induce labor. Tracy started having contractions here and there, but they didn’t seem very regular or very painful. I knew it was going to be a long night for everyone! The minutes seemed to be ticking by incredibly slow.

At some point Dave and I went out to the waiting room. Tracy had asked us to leave and she was going to get some sleep. We decided to try and get some sleep too. Dave slept; I, however, did not. At 7:09am I was on the phone with I think Maria when the cell phone rang. I answered and it was Tracy’s mom saying, “She is giving birth!”. I could hear Tracy moaning in the background.

I immediately told Dave we need to get back there. I had to put my contacts in and then we headed to the room. As we were walking I got the urge to run and felt we needed to get there NOW.

As I walked into the room, Little Bug had just come out and the doctor was holding her. They were asking who was going to cut the cord as I walked up. They said I would, so I cut the cord which was very special. Then they moved Little Bug over to the table where they take Apgar scores and clean her up. I walked over there with her. That nurse was especially nice and let me take pictures and even put my finger in her little hand for her to grasp. Those were some precious moments as I first saw with my own eyes my daughter.

The only thing was she wasn’t yet my daughter. It was an odd feeling really. I was so enamored with the moments of being there yet I had to remain somewhat guarded because I knew Tracy still had every right to her even though her intentions were to follow through with her adoption plan for her baby.

The nurse bundled Little Bug up and asked if I wanted to hold her. I told her Tracy had told me she wanted to hold her first and then she would “give her to her Mama”. To Tracy, that only seemed right and I totally agreed with her. The nurse gave Little Bug to Tracy and she held her for a few moments and admired her. Then she passed her to her mother who held her for a few moments. Then she was passed to me. I held her and then Dave held her. Dave and I kept passing her back and forth. She was just beautiful and precious. Her little face was all bruised because of her quick entry into the world. Those were some unforgettable moments.

almost FOUR!

Oh my Little Bug! She is around the corner from turning FOUR!

I remember taking this picture like it was yesterday. Little Bug was exactly one month old and I had finally gotten her to sleep and laid her down on the bouncy chair. I can remember just looking at her and taking her in – she was my baby!! I wasn’t babysitting! I was actually a mother to this adorable baby girl!

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Where do I even begin in describing this girl?!

The days are long but the years are short is a good start, I think.

Little Bug’s strong personality becomes more apparent with every passing year. She is a smart, confident little girl that never meets a stranger. She befriends everyone – and age does not matter. She has “best friends” who are 100 years old (her great-great-grandma who passed away last spring) all the way down to the little girl she “met” while sitting on the toilet in the restroom at Cracker Barrel.

Let me tell this story:

We walked into the restroom, entered a stall and Little Bug became aware there was a “friend” in the stall next to her. So she said (as she sat on the toilet), “Hey!! How old are you?!”.

And the little girl replied, “Six! How old are you?”

Little Bug said, “Free!” {Three}

And then they continued to talk about whatever 6 and 3 year old girls talk about while peeing in a public bathroom!

The little girl was finished before Little Bug and left the restroom before Little Bug was out of her stall and Little Bug was so forlorn that she did not get to see her new friend.

Whereas some kids shy away from adults, Little Bug does not. If the person is Mommy or Daddy’s friend, Grams or Gramps’ friend, they are her friends too! And any kid who comes to the neighborhood park is automatically Little Bug’s friend. Little Bug captivates everyone she meets. Her spunky, talkative, charming personality draws people to her.

She is an extrovert through and through. She is not an introvert at all.

This is some random friend she made while at the local outdoor mall:DSC05367

This larger than life personality leaves this Mama feeling run down many days because with her spunk comes a stubborn streak that can make for some very long days! There is never any question or doubt about what Little Bug thinks about anything. She has an opinion about everything!

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At nearly four years old Little Bug loves: dress up, Disney, princesses, FOOD (more on that in a min), orange juice, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, parks, outside play, being around family, building forts, pretending to put people to sleep in her bed and picking flowers to give to Mommy.

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I cannot keep this girl full!!! She literally eats all day long – from the time she wakes up until the time she goes to bed. She will get up from a meal after eating adult-sized portions and say, “I’m hungry! Can I have a snack?”!! As a general rule, my kids don’t snack much because snacking can make a child not eat their meals well for lack of hunger, but Little Bug is always hungry so I am always feeding her it seems! As long as the snacks don’t interfere with her three daily meals, she can snack all she wants to be able to get the food she needs. It is amazing how much this girl eats! I guess she is in some major growth spurt because shirts that fit her just a couple months ago are now too short on her!

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Little Bug loves books. She always has. She loves to be read to and, recently, she has figured out that getting a large stack of books and reading them on her own is very fun, too!

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At almost four, she is still napping daily. There is the occasional missed nap here and there, but when she does not nap, it shows, so we still have a daily naptime. She naps usually 2-2.5 hours. Bedtime is 8-8:15pm and she gets up around 8am.

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It’s a little hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I have an almost four-year-old. I remember the days wondering if I’d ever be a mother and here I’m almost the mom of a four-year-old!! It’s been a wild and crazy four years with this girl and I look forward to many more adventures with the little girl who made me a Mommy.

A Real Big Girl Bed

Little Bug now has a real Big Girl Bed – a twin bed made by her great-great grandfather. It was Dave’s bed as a boy and then it was our guest bed until December 16th when Dave moved it into Little Bug’s bedroom.

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The space in our house where she slept in her crib and then toddler bed is now where her dresser and some toys are. I left her name hanging above the dresser.

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This switch came at a perfect time because Sweet Pea was ready to have Independent Playtime in her bedroom instead of the pack n play. We sold the white crib months ago and now Sweet Pea sleeps in the big crib. I loved the white look of her nursery, but there was no way I was getting rid of this crib and one had to go!

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The furniture is now finally matching as well. This dresser had still been in Little Bug’s room, but it matches the crib.

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This is where the twin bed had been. It really opened up Sweet Pea’s bedroom when we moved the twin bed to Little Bug’s room. Sweet Pea has enjoyed her “room time”.

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Little Bug wasn’t home when we made the switch. She had gone to nap at Grams and Gramps’ house, which was a HUGE blessing. It would have been difficult to do this move when the girls were awake.

When she came home she was SO excited to see her new bed.

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Checking out her new bed:

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She really is a big girl now. Smile

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And now we need to find her some big girl bedding!!

Little Bug is 3.5 years old!

Halfway to FOUR?

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Yes. Little Bug is half way to FOUR, but she thinks she is all grown up and ready to conquer the world.

Little Bug loves preschool. She attends twice a week and always wakes up ready to go. Daddy takes her in the “new car” and she loves the ride. They apparently listen to music on the way to school and then Dave prays with her before she gets out of the car. It’s another one of their special Daddy-Daughter times.

I had a teacher conference with Mrs. S back in October. It was a new experience for me since I’ve conducted countless teacher/parent conferences before but until this one, I had never been the “parent” and had always been the “teacher”! Mrs. S reported that Little Bug is performing above average or average for all prek-3 skills. Some assessments she was not able to do on Little Bug (such as an assessment to see if Little Bug knows her shapes and colors) because if Little Bug knows something she is done, she wants something else to do. I have noticed this during our Learning Time too. Once she masters a skill, she doesn’t want to do it anymore. She wants something that will challenge her.

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It is amazing to me how Little Bug and her Daddy share not one strand of DNA, but they are seriously identical. Dave tells me all the time, “I was just like her when I was little.” It’s funny to me because when we first learned we would not have biological children I told myself, “Well, I don’t have to worry about raising a strong-willed kid like Dave.” HA!

Little Bug loves her Learning Time with Mommy. She is always eager to have this time and often asks if we can do this more than one time a day. I love teaching Little Bug, doing crafts with her and watching her have so much fun with our activities. Her smile today when she wrote the letters P and M was priceless!

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Little Bug is either the sweetest big sister in the world to Sweet Pea or she is the biggest bully to her! Poor little Sweet Pea. Smile I know these girls already have a deep bond because if Sweet Pea gets hurt Little Bug is right there to check on her. She will bring her sippy, a toy and anything else that will make her sister feel better. And then…two seconds later, she could be found knocking her sister down! I don’t know what makes Little Bug want to do mean things to her sister. Right now, we tell Little Bug to “show love” to her sister and that usually snaps her out of the meanness.

Little Bug LOVES to take Sweet Pea into her room (or Sweet Pea’s room) and play with her. And they usually play pretty well together like this. I keep my eye on them when they do this but try to stay “out” so they can have that time for sister play. The sweetest sound in the world is to hear them both laughing hysterically about something!

Little Bug still loves to read and play outside. She is not understanding why we can’t just set up the pool and swim even when it is cooler outside! Instead of siting and reading for a huge chunk of our day, we read several times throughout the day. We often read books during our Learning Times, before nap and bedtime, and then after bath time, Dave usually reads with her while I am getting Sweet Pea to bed.

Little Bug does Independent Playtime in her bedroom 3-4 times a week and her new favorite thing to do during this time is to read books in bed!

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We are having to work on just saying “yes mam” & “yes sir” when we ask her to do something because this girl is FULL of excuses about why she doesn’t need to do something or what she thinks is a better idea. And while we are more than happy to give her choices in some areas of her life, there are some areas that simply require first-time obedience.

And can we say emotional? Wow. Sometimes I am thinking to myself “If she is THIS emotional at THREE, what is it going to be like when she is THIRTEEN?” Dear me. I think I will have to attach a bucket to her neck to catch all the tears. It is not unusual for her to wake up extremely grumpy even though she is getting the perfect amount of sleep! On those mornings I have started sending her back to bed for a re-do. I tell her she can wake up when she is ready to face the world. It works every time to snap her out of her grumpiness.

Little Bug is obsessed with “Jesus dying on the cross”. She spots every single cross on every single church building and she always asks if that was the cross that Jesus died on. She can sing the old hymn “The Old Rugged Cross”. She wanted a “cross song” and that is the one I sung to her and now she can sing it herself. When we read the Bible with her at night she always wants to see the page where Jesus died on the cross. She is understanding that Jesus died to pay for her sins. I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing the truths of God’s Word taking root in the heart of my little girl. That is the ultimate reward of parenting and makes the frustrating times of disobedience and stubbornness all worth while.

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I guess I can finally report that Little Bug is no longer a “messy eater”! She does a pretty good job these days of leaning over her plate and keeping her messes to a minimum with most meals. There are some exceptions, but she is only 3.5. Smile

Little Bug has entered the phase of wanting to pick her own clothes. To save a lot of tears and frustration, when I get her up in the morning, I announce if it is a morning she can pick what to wear or if it is a morning where Mommy will chose what she wears. I pick if it is a pre-k day and if it is an “at home day” I let her pick her clothes.

Little Bug has definitely started the nap wean. There are some days where she just doesn’t fall asleep and I know this is perfectly normal for her age. We still have a daily naptime where she is expected to sleep (and most days she still does sleep), but I do realize that there are just going to be some days when she won’t sleep. On these days when she does not nap, she goes to bed early. When she does nap, she usually sleeps two hours.

I try to think of a time with Little Bug wasn’t a part of my life and it is hard to remember life without her! It is hard to believe that there was life before Little Bug and it is hard to believe she has only been in my life just three and a half years. And then, it is also hard to believe it has already been almost FOUR years since Tracy placed this baby girl with our family and my journey of motherhood began.

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These 3.5 years have been the best 3.5 years of my life. The birth of this special little girl gave me the title I had always dreamed of having. I love nothing more than spending my days with her (even the hard days) and I stand in amazement at all she is becoming at the tender age of just 3.5 years old.

She is one of my greatest blessings in this life and I can’t imagine any other little girl on this planet being my oldest daughter.

I look forward to the future with my big girl.

What Little Bug is up to at 3 years, 4 months old.

Little Bug’s imaginative and pretend play has really taken off since her 3rd birthday. It has been so cool to watch this. She is always talking to “the Disney friends”.

In the car, she will ask for a certain song and then, without fail, she will say in one breath: Disney friends, are you singing with me? Uh-huh!

Her imagination has revolutionized my role as her mother – I no longer have to entertain her every.second.of.the.day. She finally plays independently at times (or with her sister) allowing me to clean up the kitchen from a meal or throw a load of laundry in the machine…in peace!

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Little Bug loves our learning time! We do this after her roomtime and she usually leaves her room asking me, “Mommy what activity are we going to do today?!”.

I love this time too. I love teaching my girl and seeing her learn. It is special time for us.

Even though she is going to preschool this year, I still plan to have learning time with her on the three days a week she is not in preschool.

Little Bug loves to play Hide-N-Seek!

Little Bug and Sweet Pea are interacting more than ever now that Sweet Pea is mobile! Little Bug loves her dearly, however, she tends to be rough with her! She loves to lay on top of her. Sweet Pea doesn’t seem to mind but I’m afraid she will get hurt. We did go through a phase where Little Bug would want whatever Sweet Pea had. It didn’t matter what it was. If Sweet Pea had it, she wanted it. We had to teach Little Bug to not snatch from her sister and that she shows love to her sister when she shares with her.

Little Bug watches out for Sweet Pea. And she does love to do things for her, like get her a sippy of water or feed her some bites of food.

I look forward to seeing these two play even more together in the coming year. They start their mornings by playing together right after breakfast!

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Little Bug still LOVES the outdoors. She has loved the outdoors since she was a baby! It is just so hot right now that our outside time is so limited. She begs to go to the park but the heat is seriously unbearable unless it is very early or very late and those times aren’t always convenient for going to the park. She loves her little pool in our backyard and the water table so we try to stick to those “cool” activities outside for the time being.

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Little Bug has improved significantly in her “mess making”. I started making her clean up her own messes and that helped her to not make a mess for the sake of making a mess (with toys).

Little Bug could win an award for “Messiest Eater” but not anymore! Unless it is just a “messy” type of food, Little Bug has gotten very good at keeping her meal time messes to a minimum! I thought I’d never see the day!

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Little Bug’s spit-fire personality becomes more and more apparent the older she gets! She is a master manipulator. She knows I’m a “tough Mama” and expect her to obey the first time. Yet, she is a master of dragging out the bedtime routine, no matter how much we just stick to her routine. And, as only Little Bug could do, she has figured a way to drag it out even more as, up until this point, I was able to squelch all her attempts to prolong bedtime. She has started calling me back for “one more hug and kiss”. In a way this makes me feel very good because she knows her Mama loves her endlessly and will never deny her hugs and kisses…but the turkey is using this to HER advantage!!! Knowing I would never say “no” to one more hug and kiss, I now go back twice to give her one more hug and kiss but she knows that is IT and after the third hug and kiss the door is closed and it is time to go to sleep!

I find myself saying “that girl” a million times a day!!! God knew she needed a mother who would pull the reigns in on her, but yet help her channel her energy and zest for life into good, productive things. That is the type of mother I strive to be for Little Bug. I want to see this little girl grow up and use these skills she has for God!!

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She is one special kid with potential that reaches beyond the skies. I saw that in her as a tiny baby and I cannot wait to see what God does with this little firecracker who already at the age of three KNOWS what she wants and how she is going to accomplish it.

At 38 months she moved from her crib to a toddler bed and did very well with the transition and her new Sleep Time rules.

She sleeps 11-11.5 hours at night and takes a 2-2.5 hour nap in the afternoon.

It is hard to believe she is nearly 3.5 years old!

she is sleeping here tonight

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PRAY FOR US!!!

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It’s time. I know. The kid is 3 years old. It’s high time she was given a bed to sleep in.

Hey now, I heard that “ya think??”.

I wanted her to have “ownership” of this move though. She has asked (multiple) times when she will sleep in a big girl bed.

I was waiting for her to ask again. She did earlier this week.

So today Daddy got her big girl bed set up and tonight she will sleep in it for the first time.

Her crib is still in there and I will not be afraid to put her in it if she doesn’t follow her “Sleep Time Rules”:

1. Lay down, close eyes & go to sleep.

2. Stay in bed until Mommy or Daddy come to get you up.

Who thinks she will be able to sleep all night long in her big girl bed????

I am choosing to be optimistic, but Little Bug is the type that must test her boundaries. It would not surprise me in the least bit if she has to sleep one more night in her crib to learn these “Sleep Rules” DO apply to her!

But hopefully she will look like this tonight, all night long:

DSCN9455She wasn’t actually sleeping here. She was showing us what she does in her big girl bed. And hopefully she will choose to do this tonight!!

A Cup of Milk

Little Bug keeps me on my toes.

For the past few weeks she has started not going to sleep right away at naptime. Naptime is 2pm and after hearing her play in her crib for a while, I would go in her room at 2:15ish and tell her to go to sleep and she would.

Then things escalated from there. The past few days I’ve found myself going in there multiple times from 2-3ish, telling her to go to sleep and taking friends out of her bed if she doesn’t.

Then yesterday, she did the unimaginable – although I have learned to put nothing past this girl!

I put Little Bug down for a nap at my parents’ house and left for the Crisis Pregnancy Center.

At 3pm, after hearing strange sounds, my mom opened Little Bug’s door to find she had climbed out of her crib, turned the lights on, pulled numerous wipes out of the container and made a mess all over the room.

When I got back from the center, I talked to Little Bug about what she had done. We talked about sleep time rules: lay down, close eyes and go to sleep. Then, I talked to her about the danger of climbing out of her crib. (And yes, I realize it is time for a big girl bed. Thanks for your comments yesterday! We have lots of out of town family coming and going during the month of June so I want to wait until things calm down towards the end of June and then we are going for it.)

This morning, while warming Sweet Pea’s bottle, I noticed Little Bug’s light was on in her bedroom. I opened her door and found her sitting in the middle of her room, playing with a toy. She said, “I’m just playing with this.”

I calmly picked her up and told her, “You must stay in your bed until Mommy comes to get you.” I closed the door and left to go feed Sweet Pea and talk to Dave.

But first I prayed that God would give us wisdom on how to handle this because the issue had become more than just needing to adjust nap time or making sure she was good and worn out before laying down for a nap. (Little Bug still needs a nap. When she does not get one, by dinnertime, you can tell.)

A friend had suggested to me that I needed to take something away from her that would be a big deal to her. So I got to thinking. What could be taken away?

Dave and I started talking about this and I threw out the idea of “no TV”. Little Bug watches a 20-30 minute show while I feed Sweet Pea at noon. We didn’t really think that would be effective because the consequence wouldn’t be immediate upon waking up for the day.

Then I thought of “milk time” and as much as I hated to take this away from her, I knew that was the something that would speak to her the loudest that her disobedience is unacceptable.

I could already see the alligator tears that would be pouring from her eyes when she learned she had lost “milk time” and, I also felt like a mean Mommy.

But I knew it was the right thing to do to hopefully solve this issue.

When Sweet Pea was finished with her bottle, I left her in bed with her Daddy and walked to Little Bug’s room.

“Little Bug, what did you do this morning?”

“I climbed out of my crib.”

“Did you choose to obey Mommy?”

“No.”

The stinker was smiling through this whole conversation. It is one thing to do something wrong and then be sorry for it, but to smile and be proud of the wrong you have done? Help me raise this child, Lord, ‘cause this isn’t something I can do on my own strength!

I started talking about the story of Adam and Eve. I said, “Little Bug, did Adam and Eve obey God?”

She quickly said, “No they did not.”

I asked her, “What happened?”

“I don’t know.” Good answer, kid, since we have only talked about and read this story about a million times since your birth.

So I prompted her, “What did God tell them not to do?”

“Eat the apple.”

“And what did they do, Little Bug?”

“They ate the apple.”

“So did they obey or disobey God?”

“They disobeyed God.”

I then explained to Little Bug that Adam and Eve sinned when they chose to eat the apple and that sin always has consequences. Adam and Eve’s consequence was that they had to leave the garden.

Little Bug looked up at me and asked, “What is my consequence?” The smiling faded. She knew this wasn’t good. Finally.

And then I told her, “You chose to disobey Mommy. That is called sin when you disobey Mommy. Sin always has consequences. Your consequence is that you will not be able to have your milk time this morning.”

And then the buckets of tears fell right on cue as Little Bug realized her choice of disobedience cost her “milk time”.

It was in that moment that I realized something, too.

I felt horrible taking her milk time away but better for her to learn a lesson in sin and their consequences with climbing out of a crib and losing “milk time” at age three, than to learn with something like premarital sex and pregnancy at the age of 16.

Little Bug doesn’t need me to ensure her happiness and pleasures in this life. This morning she needed a mother that was willing to stand in the gap between learning to choose wisely in this life and being left to flounder around without clear boundaries and standards.

And, thank God, the only loss suffered this morning was a cup of milk.

I learned something invaluable too.

These are the moments God is giving me to mold and shape the heart of my little girl so that she will hopefully one day grow up and love our Lord and desire to do what is right and pure. I cannot allow myself to fall prey to the lies out there that would suggest my daughter’s happiness is more important than teaching her that sin has consequences.

No, it is my greatest responsibility and privilege to teach Little Bug, at the age of 3, that sin always has consequences. The choices we make have consequences and while our sins are forgiven because of Christ’s death on the cross, the consequences of our sin live with us forever.

Today was humbling for me because I feel so inadequate for this job of bringing this (stubborn, hard-headed) child up in the Lord! I must just press on and trust that God will continue the work He has already started in the life of this precious child.

And that she will learn these lessons well and only have to lose her cup of milk.

3 Years Old

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There is nothing more amazing in life than watching your children grow, mature and learn through the years. It seems like just yesterday she started taking those wobbly first steps towards her Daddy so she could eat the cottage cheese he was trying to feed her. And now, here she is a beautiful, spunky, imaginative 3-year-old.

I will never ever forget the tiny weight I felt in my arms on the day of her birth has her birth grandma placed her in my arms. I literally could have sat there and held her and stared at her for 24 hours straight.

So, what’s new with this big 3-year-old girl?

She went through those couple of weeks of testing her boundaries and being a complete pill and then…she came out on the other side with a vivid imagination! Often times rough patches indicate growth and development and something definitely changed in this girl during those two weeks.

She NON-STOP talks and plays with her imaginary “Disney Character” friends! It started one morning when I got her up and she told me the “Disney Characters” were in her bed. Each slat of her crib was a character and from that day on, the Disney Characters go and do EVERYTHING with her. One day at lunch one of them was siting in the chair next to her and I was scolded when I sat on him! I told Little Bug he had moved to another chair and then Daddy was scolded when he sat on him in the other chair. So, that Disney Character eventually moved to the floor so no one else would sit on him. Little Bug was happy with that.

She talks to the “Disney Characters” constantly! She has even, on her own choosing, gone outside to play with them by herself and then one day at my parents’ house she went upstairs by herself to “play with the Disney Characters”. I am LOVING this new stage of imaginative play. It is so cute to hear her talking to her imaginary friends.

Little Bug has started to get into games. She likes to play Candy Land, Elefun and Hi Ho Cherry O. I have a lot of educational games that I bought on sale long before she could play them and we’ve started playing those too. Her attention span with games is still somewhat short at this age, but I expect that will increase this year.

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Little Bug continues to be Miss Social Butterfly. She doesn’t meet a stranger and will go up to anyone and start talking to them. When we are at the park, ANY child who enters, is an instant friend to her. No matter their age. She joins in with the “big kids” as if she is their age. I think she actually prefers to play with kids older than her, although she enjoys her Sunday School friends as well.

Her favorite things include: the Disney Character friends (of course), her Minnie Mouse, people, getting out of the house and going places, playing with her friends, making new friends, learning time and reading books.

Little Bug loves to wear dresses. Most mornings she requests to wear a dress. Her favorite is a little pink dress with flowers. She wears is all the time!

Little Bug participated in her first little dance class this spring. She seemed to really enjoy it. She pretty much stayed on task during class and would watch and do what her teachers were doing. She looked absolutely adorable in her little pink tu-tu!

Little Bug loves to read Bible stories. Every night as we go the rocking chair and as she drinks her milk, she says, “Don’t forget to read the Bible!” She is always full of questions and wants to look at the pictures over and over again.

Little Bug loves her baby sister. Their relationship is really starting to take off. Little Bug can get her sister belly laughing in a matter of seconds. They light up when they first see each other in the morning. Little Bug enjoys getting a basket of toys and bringing them to Sweet Pea so they can play.

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Little Bug is most certainly left-handed! She has preferred that hand for a while now, but now that is drawing and writing, she always puts the crayon/marker in her left hand. We have a leftie for sure.

We are loving our 20-30 minutes of daily structured learning time. Little Bug knows we usually do this after her room time and she will often ask, “What are we doing today, Mommy?” I love seeing her having fun while learning. She is a sharp little girl and I am going to have to keep learning interesting for her. She is able to do way more than I thought she was capable or ready to do. We have enrolled her for preschool in the fall. She needs some “outside of the house” activity to do weekly and preschool is it! I know she is going to have a blast at school two days a week.

Little Bug had those 2ish weeks when I wondered how in the world we were going to make it through age 3, but then, after she tested her boundaries and we were very consistent with her and made our expectations for her behavior very clear, she has been our sweet, obedient (for the most part) Little Bug since then. I am sure she will go through another time of testing her boundaries but as long as Little Bug is getting the appropriate amount of sleep, she is such a pleasant little girl to be around.

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After those two crazy weeks of testing boundaries constantly it seemed Little Bug matured somewhat in the area of making messes and not being able to be left for literally two minutes without getting into something. I used to have to put her in the pack n play just to take 3 minutes to go lay Sweet Pea down for a nap, but I have started letting her stay in the living room and she has done well with that. She will play or look at books. It is nice to finally feel like I don’t have to watch her every single second – although she does still require constant supervision. I also started making her clean up her room after room time instead of her cleaning about 20% and me cleaning 80%. I feel that has made all the difference in the world in her making messes everywhere she goes. Now she knows she will have to clean it up so I guess she figures she just might as well not make the mess to begin with!

Yes, Little Bug is 3-years-old and still in her crib. And, I have changed my original plan of moving her to a bed at her 3rd birthday. I KNOW my girl and I KNOW the battles we would have, and I am just not ready to go there. She still fits comfortably in her crib and she still needs those boundaries. I know I will know when she is developmentally ready to not have the boundaries of crib rails and she is just not there…yet.

Her schedule hasn’t really changed much since age 2. She wakes up around 8am, but doesn’t get out of bed until 8:15ish. She has breakfast and then room time from 9:45-10:45. After that we do learning time and then she gets to watch a 20-30 minute show. Her favorites are Word World, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Dr Suess. On Saturdays we sometimes let her watch some of Charlotte’s Web. After TV, she eats lunch, plays outside and then naptime is from 2-4/4:30pm. Her bedtime is 8:30/8:45pm. We are going to have to adjust her schedule slightly in the fall when she starts preschool because she will need to be at preschool by 8:30am.

Little Bug continues to be a very good eater. We continue to limit her intake of sugar. She loves to chew watermelon gum and calls that a “treat”. She loves milk and still has “milk time” when she wakes up, after room time, after nap and before bed. It’s our time to snuggle and I am going to have “milk time” with her as long as she wants because I know a day will come when she won’t run to the fridge and get her milk cup and come running to the rocking chair for “milk time”.

This precious girl changed my life in more ways than I ever imagined. I am forever grateful God chose me to be her mother. It is one of my greatest privileges here on earth.

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Happy 3rd Birthday, Little Bug!!