Little Man is One

I’ve been finding it harder and harder to post on here since these kids keep me so busy running around, and even though it’s almost 4:00 and I haven’t cleaned up from lunch yet, I had to post SOMETHING about the Little Man’s Big Day.

Yesterday Paul turned one.

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He loved his birthday and he loves being one. Grandma and Grandpa surprised us all by coming down to celebrate a day early and they gave him a tee and bat and ball, so he’s more eager than ever to learn to stand up so he can play ball with his Daddy.

Ever since he was a newborn, there’s been an ongoing joke that Paul has wanted some bacon. It became such a big deal that we just couldn’t pass his birthday without getting him some. So we found some less-bad-for-you turkey bacon at our favorite store and brought it home to cook up with his big dinner. Not only did the Big Guy get bacon, he got cake. Yes, he is our first baby who actually got to eat cake on his first birthday because with our other preemies we were extra diligent to avoid all the allergens and sugar. Well, to be fair, this was more of a banana bread than a real cake (sugar free, dairy free, egg free…) but it’s what we call cake and he dug right in.

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A tradition of mine is that I always make a cross-stitched picture to go on the kids’ birthday cards. For Paul I did a baseball picture of Charlie Brown, because we’ve often told Paul that he resembles the big-headed cartoon character. And baseball because, he’s his daddy’s boy.

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Dan carried on a tradition from his own dad and gifted Paul with the entire set of baseball cards from the year he was born. Paul was so fascinated by them, I could not get him to look at the camera.

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We spent a little extra time praying for Paul around the dinner table and on the way to Bible Study we retold the kids Paul’s birth story.

Paul has been such a joy, such a blessing to our family. He loves to play, wrestle, eat, and snuggle Mommy. He’s content and cheerful and can entertain himself, and even seems to be learning not to climb up on the dishwasher when it’s open. 😉 His first year has been a memorable one that involved ZERO trips to the NICU, and we still find it hard to believe God gave us a baby we could bring home with us the day we left the hospital. We are eagerly looking forward to the next year with our Little Man and all of the excitement it has in store.

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Happy First Birthday Paul!

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The Perfect Wedding Cake

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When Dan and I started planning our wedding, we had no idea what we wanted for a wedding cake. A friend of ours had experience at making cakes and was eager to help us with ours. So, we scheduled a meeting. The four of us all sat down together: my Mom, Dan, the cake-maker, and myself. As we began talking we realized we didn’t really have any idea what we wanted.

“It should be white.”

“Should there be some purple in it?”

“I like ribbons…”

“Flowers are nice”

After only a few minutes we decided to reschedule another meeting after we had come to a more concrete idea of what we actually wanted. Weeks passed and we put very little thought into the cake. Our meeting arrived and we sat down and essentially designed our cake on the spot.

“White. With swirls, I like swirls on the sides.”

“How about some roses?”

“What flavor? What filling?”

In a very half-hazard way, we designed our cake. It was three tiers, all white with swirls on the sides and roses lining the edges. They were small at the top and grew larger at the bottom. There would be a raspberry filling in the middle because that’s what sounded good at the time (and it was conveniently close to purple).

The only part of the cake I was sure about was the cake topper. I had picked it out myself early in our engagement and everyone gave their approval. Apart from the topper, I had almost no idea if the cake would even look decent…or wedding-y.

I remember the first time I saw the cake. It was morning, and sky was perfectly clear as I walked through the parking lot and into the gym where are reception was going to be. It must have been the day of the wedding, so all the decorations were in place. The gym was a sea of white with purple accents and delicate white roses were scattered everywhere. In the middle of the gym was a round table, and there on a small platform, was our wedding cake.

It was perfect. I couldn’t have designed a better cake for our wedding and for us if I had actually known what I was doing. The cake was simple, beautiful, elegant, and it even tasted delicious.

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Sometimes our marriage feels a lot like our wedding cake. Dan and I each came into it with our own ideas of what it should look like. We had plans that failed, expectations that have never been fulfilled. There were probably only two major things I was sure of when we got married:

1) Dan was the man I wanted to marry.

2) Jesus was the center of our relationship and we wanted Him to stay there.

I guess Jesus is a bit like our cake topper. He stays, but anything else can change (and most other things have changed). Marriage has held so much that we never expected. School changes. Job changes. Babies…early babies! Those crazy newborn months. And housing changes (and more and more housing changes). Sometimes our whole lives feel a bit disorganized. Sometimes they feel chaotic or downright out of control. But ultimately, Jesus is at the center of our marriage, and God is the one creating and perfecting our story. God is our marriage “cake-maker”.

Often we just see the messy cake-making process. But sometimes we get a little glimpse into the beauty that God is perfecting. This Thursday Dan and I will celebrate four years of marriage. Four years of chaos and four years of trusting Jesus.

We’re going to celebrate by having an extended weekend packed full of fun and friends and a nice, long date. So there will be updates and pictures and lots of sharing up ahead, but for now I’m just reflecting on the goodness of our God and the sweet results a marriage receives when Jesus is at the center.

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Sunflowers and Music Notes

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This weekend our family had the privilege of attending the wedding of Peter and Rachel, a young couple from our church. Everyone, even Lydia, has been looking forward to this wedding for months (just days for Lydia, actually) and we weren’t disappointed.

Peter and Rachel is that they both grew up going to the same church. They knew each other for years, but only as friends. Independently they sought God about marriage and both became certain they were to marry each other without ever talking to anyone else about it. When Rachel was deciding what to do after high school, Peter decided it was his time to step in and start a relationship. Both families were in favor so Peter asked Rachel to begin a courtship. They continued to read the Bible, pray together, and seek the Lord’s leading and their parents’ guidance all the way up to engagement and their wedding day. And the Lord blessed their faithfulness with a happy courtship and relatively smooth wedding planning. They are a great couple with a great story. (Peter and Rachel, we just love you guys!)

So anyway, the wedding. There was a lovely ceremony followed by an equally lovely, strolling reception. We talked with old friends, made new friends, and everyone had a happy time. So, without further adieu…

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Dan tells me people don’t really watch the bride walk down the aisle. They glance at the bride and than watch the groom for his reaction.

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The maid of honor was Rachel’s sister, and our Pastor happens to be the groom’s dad.

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Congratulations Peter and Rachel! It was such a joy to share in your wedding day and to watch your love story unfold. God bless you both and your new marriage!

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