Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bridget's third birthday

I can't believe my baby is three years old already. Seems like maybe she could be turning two today, maybe...but not THREE! :) I'm once again amazed at how quickly time can fly.

Bridget's favorite things this year would probably include: Swimming, swimming and swimming. This girl is a FISH (which is ironic to me since that was Henry's nickname for her before she was born). She already swims quite well without any flotation devices. I usually will let her swim a while until she starts to tire and then make her put on her arm floaties.

She is a sweet little girl who loves her daddy. Most who know her would think of Bridget as a mama's girl, but she LOVES her daddy. She cares more about what he thinks than anyone and she is always seeking to please him. Lucky for her, that isn't hard to do as he adores his daughter! They have a precious relationship.
Bridget doesn't (and has never) liked loud noises. She wasn't a fan of the fireworks on the Fourth of July because they were just too noisy. In the picture above, Sam had just lit a campfire and the wood was popping and was clearly too loud for Boo but she didn't want to miss out on a chance to sit by the fire! :)
A little girl at church does a great impersonation of Bridget...she pops her thumb in her mouth and grabs a stuffed animal to hold to her's hilarious! So apparently even other 2-3 year olds understand Bridget's thumb/Rufus addiction. This is Bridget's tired face. She's doing somewhat better about not sucking her thumb but we haven't pushed it too hard. (And all you moms who would love to warn me about how bad it might be for her teeth...I know! Her dentist is well aware of her habit and isn't too concerned about it yet.) I love that it brings her comfort, and it's always a sign for us that Bridget is either tired or uncomfortable with a situation.

One of Bridget's favorite people in the world is her Grandpop. She always has a smile and hug for him, no matter what else might be going on. I have loved watching their relationship develop.

Bridget is not a fan of crowds or groups of people that she doesn't know. She is the most out-going, cheerful, happy child until she is placed in an uncomfortable situation. Then she turns shy and doesn't have much to say. Often when given enough time she warms up in these situations, but it has to be on her terms...she'll warm up when she is ready. :)

Bridget is such a joy in our lives! Having a little girl is very different than having boys and I'm so grateful that God blessed us with a daughter. I am forever changed by being a mom of a daughter.

Things Bridget loves:

her brothers
wearing skirts
shoes (any and all shoes, but mostly flip-flops and sandals at the moment)
Mickey Mouse and Dora
riding her bike
George Bush (the cat who used to belong to Henry...Bridget claimed Nugget the dog as hers and asked Henry to trade with her. So now GB is Bridget's.)
taking pictures, but not having her own picture taken
reading books
baby dolls

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bridget's first haircut

22 days shy of her third birthday, Bridget finally had her very first haircut.

I've been tempted to cut it before, but in the past Sam has said no. He wasn't ready for her to look 'older' or grown up or anything. His baby didn't need a haircut.Only she did need a haircut. After her shower one night, as I was combing out the tangles and trying to get Boo to sit still, I asked her if she wanted a haircut. She asked, "A short cut?" I said, "No but let's just trim it up a bit."

Bridget was very excited! I set her booster chair up on the kitchen table so she was just the right height.
We had to take 'before' pictures, of course! When Bridget's hair is dry it is pretty curly, so I was a little nervous that I might be snipping off her only curls. (Luckily enough, her hair is still adorably curly/wavy even after her haircut.)
Her hair was uneven in the back and had driven me crazy for quite some time. Nobody else ever noticed it (because of her crazy curls) but I am the one who always combed out her hair.

We didn't tell Sam. Just waited for him to notice when he got home. He actually didn't notice right away, he just kept telling Bridget how pretty she looked with her hair combed out. She always has a pretty good case of crazy hair, so people always notice when it's brushed properly. :)
I saved a perfect little coil of hair in a ziploc bag and labeled it "Bridget's first haircut", so after a few minutes when Sam didn't say anything about the haircut, I pulled it out and showed him. He was pleasantly surprised! I wasn't sure he would approve, but he thinks it looks adorable and totally supported my decision. Good thing, because it was too late to go back at that point! ;)

I didn't take a picture of it after it dried, but it is just the cutest hair style on our little Boo. She's getting so big! And now it's only three days until she turns three years old. Where has the time gone??? My precious little daughter-my joyful gift from God (who knew how blessed I would be by a little girl in our family) is growing up!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A week without Henry

It was wild around here without Henry last week.

One nice thing about it was that it gave me some precious time with Jonah and Bridget. They missed their big brother but also stepped into new roles while he was gone. Jonah enjoyed the 'social director' position that Henry usually takes over. Bridget was willing to follow along with most anything Jonah wanted to do, but Jonah was also willing to spend copious amounts of time playing dolls/dishes/dress-up with his sister. He's sweet like that. Plus he likes wearing the high heels. ;)

We kicked off the week with fireworks on the Fourth. We went up to Sky Ranch; even though we had to watch from a different area from the campers, we got to see the same show. It was incredible! They did such an excellent job.

We saw friends there, like Jonah's favorite person in the world-Joe Bellinger:
Bridget was SO very excited to see the fireworks, but when they finally started she was very scared. She liked the way the look up in the sky; however, she was just terrified of the sounds. So she spent the evening like this (even though it was 80 degrees out):
Before the fireworks, the kids and I headed out to the lake to swim a bit. Then Dave and Mary Beth joined us for the show:
We bought some small fireworks for the kids to see at home, and Bridget felt a little more brave about the whole thing. She still isn't a fan of the noises but discovered that if she just plugs her ears it isn't quite so bad. :)
The kids and I went to a dollar movie while Henry was gone too. We very rarely see movies in the theater, so it was a pretty big treat! We watched "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown" which, even though we've seen all the other Ice Age movies, we somehow hadn't seen before. It was very fun! The theater even offers one dollar popcorn and drinks, so we had the full experience.
After the movie I treated the kids to ice cream. We love Braum's, but it's all the way on the other side of town so we don't go often. Both Jonah and Bridget chose Cherry Lime-ade ice cream (which sounded very odd to me but was really refreshing!) and they enjoyed every last bite of it.
Also last week, Sam and I watched the mileage in our car turn over from 999,999 miles... 100,000 miles! It was a fun milestone for our van. :)
Jonah and Bridget enjoyed a few bubble baths together while Henry was gone also. It's a little crowded in the tub with three kids now, so they don't often get bubble baths together anymore. I think I had forgotten how much they enjoy them!
We also attended a story time summer reading event at our local library one day, and another day we headed into Dallas with Mary Beth to get some shopping done.

It was a fun week and we tried to stay busy so we wouldn't notice how much we missed Henry. :) It's amazing how one child can change the dynamics of a family so much. Even the way that Jonah and Bridget interact was very different while Henry was gone.

He left a hole in our lives while he was away at camp, but he's back home now. It's so good to have our family all together again! :) This week really gave me a new perspective on parenting. I've always known that I am raising my children for the purpose of sending them out into the world, but I had a lot of time to reflect on that this week while Henry was away. It's given me a renewed vision for how I want our parenting to look and which things I really want to focus on during these younger years. Thank you Lord for my kids! May they always strive to know YOU and make YOU known. :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

End of Camp

We were so glad to see our boy yesterday!!! I could hardly sleep on Friday night as I was so excited to go and pick him up from camp.

Grammy and Grandpop (Sam's parents) came along to see Henry and watch the closing show. They arrived at camp at the same time we did, so we got to catch a ride on the people mover together. Have I mentioned how blessed we are to have family living so close? It's wonderful! We love having them here to share in the big and small events of our everyday lives.
Sam left his post (he works Saturday mornings through the summer, helping to keep camp running smoothly during camper departure) and came along to enjoy the closing show. He saw us drive by so he pulled in along behind us. :)
Jonah and Bridget were very excited to see Sam, but they were both very anxious to see their big brother.
Henry had an amazing group of counsellors. His senior counsellor was Josh, an amazing guy with lots of energy and love for these little guys. Henry was very sad to have to say goodbye to them all, but he felt better knowing that we are still able to visit Sky Ranch and see them throughout the rest of the summer.
He had a more difficult time accepting the fact that he wouldn't be seeing his new friends every day anymore. We tried to snap a family picture after meeting up with Henry, but he was upset about having to leave his friends. :)
The closing show was great. The theme for this year's camp is "Be-volution: Form the Swarm" and everyone up on stage was dressed as a bee. Very cute, lots of energy, and tons of fun. The campers participated by reciting their daily memory verses as a group and singing the camp anthem, among other worship songs.

After all that, they led the kids outside to wait for us to pick them up. When Henry saw us he came running. I bent down with my arms open and he ran straight into them and buried his head in my neck. He was so emotional that he couldn't talk without a raspy voice and he had tears in his eyes. It was so incredibly precious. Later that day, he described the moment to us like this: "I wasn't so sad and I didn't really miss you guys, but when I saw Mommy, it was so weird. Tears came into my eyes for no reason at all!"

We brought Henry home and had a late lunch after listening to ALL of his camp stories. He had a lot to share! New friends, new experiences, new challenges, and so much fun. Henry laid down for a nap after that and slept all afternoon. Sam tried to wake him up around 5pm with no luck. When dinner was ready around 6, I went in and forced him to wake up. That boy was TIRED! :) He made it through dinner, got ready for bed, watched a 1/2 hour cartoon show to relax and went back to bed at 8. He's feeling much better today!

We are so thankful for Sky Ranch and all the staff that works so hard (and so sacrificially) through the summer to create this amazing camp ministry. Henry seems to have grown up in the week that he was gone. It's incredible the difference we can already see in him. We are so blessed to have had this opportunity to send him to camp! :)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Henry's at Camp!

This past January, Sam took a new job as facilities director of a local Christian summer camp. It has been an amazing change for him and he LOVES going to work every day. My favorite added benefit of this job is the opportunity for our kids to go to camp for free.

Henry is old enough for overnight camp and we decided to send him this first week of July. We prepared him as best we could, packed his things up in a trunk and took him up to camp on Sunday afternoon. Henry had been counting down the days until camp...but when it finally got here he was a little nervous.

Sky Ranch does an awesome job of making campers feel welcome. They suggested we decorate our car in advance, so we went all out. (Truthfully, we may have gone overboard as it's a little difficult to see out a few of the windows, but it looks GOOD!) When we got to camp I had Henry move up to the front seat so he could better see what was going on outside.
There were staff members everywhere to greet and direct traffic. They met us at the front gate with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and lots of cheering for our decorated car. All the employees wear matching green shirts on arrival day, so it's easy to spot them. We followed the orange cones around to a parking area (getting stopped many times along the way to be welcomed to camp and have people cheer for Henry). Once there, an employee greeted us and asked where Henry's luggage was so that he could get it unloaded for us. They loaded our luggage onto a people-mover trailer and asked us to hop on too.
The trailer had a 'tour-guide' giving us camp information along our route. We were dropped off not far from Henry's cabin and told his luggage would arrive shortly.

Henry was apprehensive but went ahead and walked right in. Henry has three friends joining him for camp this week and luckily one of them had already arrived. That helped a lot with his nervousness! Henry was given a choice between top or bottom bunks (he chose top!) and we set to work making his bed and helping him settle in. See the family pictures taped up to the wall? He was pretty excited to have those to look at while he is at camp.
Because of the fourth of July holiday, this week's camp attendance is low. So Henry ended up in a cabin with only nine campers and five counsellors. Pretty good ratio for camp, eh? His counsellors were all very excited about the week and they seemed like great guys. Before we left, the head counsellor handed me biographies of all the counsellors so we could 'get to know them a little better'. Sky Ranch is very selective with their summer staff and only bring on the best of the best. They are all Christians, passionate for sharing truth and teaching kids about Jesus.
When it was finally time to go, we gave Henry a hundred kisses and hugs and he stood at the door until we walked away. I turned around to glance back at the cabin before we got too far and I saw this:
One more chance to wave! :) I love that boy so much!

I've heard a few updates through Sam and others that he works with throughout the week. It's not quite the same as hearing it from Henry or talking with him, but it's been nice to hear something at least.

So far I know that he passed his swimming test (meaning he doesn't have to wear a life jacket in the pools), rode horses (even though the other kids were done after one ride, Henry rode four times!), tried out all the big water slides, and got stung by a wasp ON HIS EYE! I could have done without hearing that one, but I am just grateful that Sam was at work yesterday and able to go help Henry when that happened.

I am so thankful for Sky Ranch and all of the incredible staff that are pouring into my boy this week. I know it is going to be life-changing for him. :)