Friday, October 29, 2010

"I'm 4!"

It's a phrase we hear echoed to strangers in the general public pretty much every day. Yes, Lydia is more than thrilled to be a "4-year-old".

Ok, so she was 4 a few weeks ago. I’m behind on the blogging, as usual. Here’s what I posted on Facebook on her birthday: “rejoicing as I remember the first time I held the tiniest human I've ever met in my arms... Today I'm thanking God for and celebrating 4 years of the life of my healthy, bright, beautiful, caring, loving, thoughtful, giving Lydia Elise. Happy Birthday, baby. We love you!”

This girl has an amazing heart. In Sunday school last week we were asked to share “What do you think are the most remarkable and wonderful traits the Author included as He developed the character of your child?” I immediately thought of her giving heart. For her birthday she received a Strawberry Shortcake set to add to one she already had. She found both of her Strawberry Shortcake dolls and was toting them around in her purse (where she stores her treasures). When we stopped by a friend’s house to deliver meals, she had a brief encounter with their daughter, her friend. I missed the exchange, but it ended with Lydia giving one of her dolls to her friend. When I got in the car Lydia explained, “I gave Riley the Strawberry Shortcake because I love her.” Yes, Lydia will often say, “Mommy, I have a present for you!” Which, in her mind is saying, “Mommy, I love you so much! Here, have something that is special to me because YOU are special to me.”

In typical first born fashion, Lydia is a leader. She enjoys directing the play of pretty much everyone she encounters from her babysitters, grandparents, classmates, friends, and, of course, her brother. Like doing things like this...

Lydia is an initiator with an agenda. Her G-pa was babysitting one morning and he relayed the story that Lydia came inside from the front porch with a pumpkin in hand, retrieved a butter knife from the silverware drawer, and proceeded to attempt to carve her pumpkin.

Lydia is affectionate.

She hugs her teachers, her classmates, and even the farm animals at the petting zoo.

She hugs mommy and daddy’s friends. She hugs and kisses mommy’s belly (for the baby). And requires hugs and kisses prior to our preschool drop-off or daddy leaving for work.

Lydia is an organizer. It seems as if she is perpetually “reorganizing” as she calls it. This process includes taking certain “treasures” (little dolls, candy, play money, trinkets, jewelry, etc.) and moving them from one bag/purse/carryall to another.

She’s very particular about it and, of course, protective of it.

Lydia loves God.

As we were hiking at Cunningham Falls Park the other day, she was creating her own worship song. Strolling along, praising God in His creation. This morning she asked me to “read the Bible verse” to her from her devotion book we gave her for her birthday. And often she declares, “Daddy, I woke up praising God!” Her prayers have depth and thoughtfulness and she is excited to attend Sunday School and worship. Today when I asked her to sing a song, assuming she'd sing the "ABC's" or "Twinkle Twinkle", she broke out in "How Great is our God." :)

Sure, Lydia has her tough times. All of these positive qualities can easily turn into disobedience particularly when her focus is interrupted by a request from an adult. Through mistakes and discipline and prayer, she is learning.

And we are blessed beyond belief with her life. "Thank you, Lord, for creating Lydia and choosing her to be a part of our family. We cherish and love her and ask You to help us guide her in fulfilling Your plan for her life. She's awesome and so are You. Amen."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Back to School

Whew, I made it before the end of the month!
September 28, 2010

The school year is finally in full swing. Mark’s trudging through his “managerial accounting” course which is requiring a tremendous amount of individual and group work. He’s learning and can envision the applications, but coming from a purely health care background, the concepts are a bit complicated and certainly foreign to him.

Both of the kids are at Mother’s Day Out one day a week. I’ve been impressed with the preschool program where I feel Lydia is being challenged and provided with unique learning and development opportunities such as individualized computer time plus a whole lot of fun and love (she’s been such a “hugger” this year!)

Lydia is also attending preschool two days a week in the 3-year-old class with “Franklin’s Friends.” The atmosphere there is so warm and caring and she has a blast with her buddies.

Tobias is the shocker above all shockers. When I dropped him off the first day he said, “Bye mom, I love you.” And I walked out. That was it. No tears. No screaming. No reaching for me while wailing. Polar opposite of last year. His teachers LOVE him as he is the in-class entertainment. He provides songs at lunch (ABC’s, Happy and you Know It, Happy Birthday…) and disciplines the other kids at naptime (“Lay down. Be quiet. Listen to the music. It’s time to sleep.”) After giving out those instructions, he does follow them himself and naps well there. It’s such a blessing that he so enjoys and is enjoyed.

The kids also got haircuts last week. Lydia got hers chopped and it was Toby’s first one. They did amazingly well. See the smiles?
Lydia before...

We’ve had some great fall outings including an afternoon at Wheaton Regional Park with Grammy & Papa at the carousel & train ride,

Celebrating G-pa’s birthday with a picnic & creek-walking (and fish-catching!)

Apple picking,

Cheering on daddy in his first Sprint Triathlon. He came in 2nd in his age group and 9th overall. We’re so proud of our hero!

We also spent a bitter-sweet day with Mark's whole family celebrating lots of birthdays, but also bidding farewell to Laura and Nick who will be moving overseas for a few years. They accompanied us to the park where we shared lovely frivolity on the carousel and train, laughing at the kids, and chatting about life. We sure will miss them, particularly upon remembering days like this…

And some sweetness in our lives…

• Lydia sang me this original song to me at dinner this month:
“You look beautiful.
You look precious.
You look wonderful every day.

I love your heart.
I love you the way you are.”

• The pretend play in our house is developing at rapid speeds, particularly on Toby’s end. A couple weeks ago he “dipped” us ice cream from the top of the banister and delivered all sorts of flavors to us. Yesterday he had a whole imaginary playtime at breakfast with the “fish” in his empty cereal bowl. And at dinner, caught "fish" (ice cubes) out of his water cup requesting that we "say goodbye" to the fishies as he crunched them. The kids are coordinating their imaginations in a much more civilized, peaceful manner. Music to my ears.

Life'e moving along at rapid speeds. I'm thankful for this reflection on God's blessings and faithfulness. Praise Him with me! :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer Celebrations

Toby’s birthday celebration at the end of July kicked off a crazy couple weeks of celebrating in the Willson household. Just 4 days after his birthday, Mark and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary with a delectable dinner at the Cashtown Inn followed by the gorgeous views at Hauser Estate Winery topped off with a hot fudge sundae. We rejoice for the gift of our union and our Creator and Redeemer who is our guide, strength, and inspiration.

In celebration of the completion of Mark’s summer grad class we hit the road – 5 hours, non-stop to VA Beach where we joined most of my extended family for 3 lovely days of sun, sand, and surf.

(oh yeah, and ice cream. :)

At our annual Chinese extravaganza at the Imperial Palace, I was treated to song (you really should hear the Gotwald’s sing by they way – they do harmony and everything) and cake. Can you tell I LOVE my birthday? ;)

The town of VA Beach even joined me in the celebration by setting off fireworks from a boat right outside our hotel window.

Unfortunately, my big birthday beach plans were somewhat thwarted by my hubby waking up with a vomiting migraine which left the kids and I on our own for the morning. I took them for a bike ride to the end of the boardwalk where we stumbled upon this awesome playground on the beach.

After packing and loading we joined my family for lunch, shopping, pool time,


and dinner before heading home, another non-stop trip.

I returned to a mailbox full of cards, gorgeous 2 dozen roses on my doorstep (from my dear sister-in-law Meredith),

and multiple serenades on my answering machine. What blessings are my family and friends who shower me with love and help me to be who God created me to be!

The other side of my extended family enjoyed a picnic at Cowan’s Gap for my cousin’s and my bdays. We played spirited games of bean bag corn-hole (and Mark and I actually won 2 games!)

took a little walk to the lake,

and had a scrumptious dinner with loving fellowship. Yes, and sadly it was the final celebration of my birthday month.

We’ve just been “taking in” these final days of summer: playing outside, taking walks, eating lots of ice cream…

Lydia declares that she is ready to go back to school (but NOT with the big kids!) and we are getting prepared for that transition after Labor Day. Another huge transition around here is the children moving to bunk beds. Tobias was climbing out of his crib with increasing frequency and proficiency so we decided to move him to a “big boy” bed and them into the bunk beds Aunt Leslie had in her basement (Lydia has been begging for bunk beds ever since she experienced my cousins over Christmas). It has been a trial with lots of frustration but guarded success. We went from having to have one parent in the room with them as they fell asleep for every nap and night time (to remind them it was time to put their heads on their pillows, quiet themselves, and FALL ASLEEP), to reminders and a few repeated “checks” which are decreasing in necessity. I have to say, it’s awful cute having them cuddled up in one room.
Reading to the kids before bed. (Tobias insisted on wearing those goggles. :)

Here are a couple developments of the kiddos…
• Lydia is drawing with purpose, creating scenes from her mind that actually resemble something.
This is 2 suns, 2 kids, and 2 beach balls.

• Tobias developed the response to the question, “Why did you do that, Toby?”, “Beeeeeeecause… I want to.”
• Lydie develops elaborate plans such as going to Disney World, and a “Party for Jesus” complete with a menu that she created, and delegated who is doing decorations, cooking, making dessert, etc.
• One of Toby’s silly phrases: “What’s going on, guys?”

Well, our celebrations don't cease when August does, we have lots of birthdays to celebrate in September (2 close friends, a new baby, and 5 immediate family members). Let the celebrations continue! :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Where's your...?"

Yesterday morning, Mark was attempting to keep Tobias engaged and quiet during the beginning of the church service. Mark initiated the name-the-body-part game. He'd quietly ask, "Tobias, where is your... head?" "Where is your...ear?". It seemed to be working: Tobias was smiling and silent. Until daddy completed the typical list of body parts and Tobias stopped, looked daddy in the eyes, and at the top of his voice (which, anyone who knows Tobias knows is QUITE loud) inquired, "Daddy, where is my penis?!?!"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Birthday Boy

Look who's TWO!

We had a lovely family birthday celebration a few days prior to his big day – all of our immediate family were present to rejoice in Tobias’ sweet life. What a blessing to be surrounded by such love, affection, smiles, and, of course, presents. True to form,Toby was so comical opening his presents – completely in awe and enthusiastic beyond measure. When he opened a shirt, he exclaimed, “Oh, Look! A new dress!” You can tell he spends time around his dress-obsessed sister. ;)

Here’s a clip of his reaction (to practically every present):

And here is Toby's amazing "dump truck" cake created by daddy and Grammy with lots of time, energy, creativity, and love.

Toby learning the finer points of his new Ferrari's from daddy. He quickly learned how to say "Ferrari" particularly in the sentence, "That's MY Ferrari."

We had pizza (Toby’s favorite) and took him out for ice cream on his birth date. Just so happened that, as we were running an errand prior to dessert, we ran into Uncle John, Aunt Leslie, and Rach so they joined us for frozen treats. And, of course, lots of playing and running...

Mark took the day off work Friday to spend as a family so we headed to Fuller Lake for some fun in the sun.

Here are some more things our 2-year-old is up to:
• Uses the words, “delicious” and “humongous” appropriately.
• Frequently reiterates, “I get it MYSELF!”
• Pretends he’s “Cap’n Caillou”
• Uses prepositional phrases in most sentences as descriptors: “This one is in the tunnel.” “My milk is on the table.” “I wanna go under there.”. "My Bryon the bulldoza is in the car."
• Speaking of “tunnels”, Toby has a slight infatuation with tunnels. Loves to manufacture/build/create them and drive his vehicles through them. He also loves to drive under or over them in the real car and loudly announces when this occurs.
• Uses “like” like his sister. (at dinner, from under the table Guinness is heard burping.) Toby: “Guinness is like burping.”
• A couple evenings ago after reading books we gather for prayer time. Toby initiates praying: “Dear God, Thank you play. Thank you toys. Thank you friends. [Giggles spurred on by his sister], Thank you Peek-A-Boo. [more Giggles.] Amen.” His first spontaneous prayer.
• Mimi & Pop-pop taught Tobes a little hand shake that includes a “fist bump”. One morning as I was still relaxing in bed, Mark brought Toby in. He crawled on top of me and said, “Mommy, fist bump!” So if you see him, ask him to “fist bump” – so cute.

Oh, how we love Tobias! Here's to a blessed year ahead, buddy!