Friday, June 27, 2008

Abi's first food...

Alathea: "Abi, open mouth!"

Abi's thinking "Gross!"

"This food looks much better than it tastes!"

Alathea: "Abi, open mouth again!"
Abi: "Mommy, please no more! I'll never look at food lustfully again!"

Abigail is happy girl again! She can handle the green beans as long as they are outside her mouth, not inside!

As you can see we gave Abigail her 1st taste of "real" food. I am no advicate of starting baby food early. I honestly would rather just skip baby food all together. I planned on waiting until Abi was at least 6 months old (she's only 4 months now). But, if you have ever seen this girl around food! She practically dives at it with her mouth wide open! She'll smack her lips, drool and reach for our food. So I thought maybe I was being selfish not seeing if she wanted it sooner. 

It was fun watching her faces! She did NOT like those green beans! Alathea was so funny feeding her. I have a hilarious video clip...I wish I knew how  to put it on this blog. Alathea actually did a great job. She has lots of practice after feeding Kat-Kat baby food last year (yes, it really looks like a baby feeding a baby!!). 

So, for now, we're keeping the baby food in the pantry. It was a fun 20 minutes. But we won't try again for another two months. Hopefully Abigail will behave herself around big people food until the time comes to try again. 

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Holden Beach

We have returned from our amazingly blessed family vacation to Holden Beach, NC! God truly blessed every detail of this trip...from providing a house, to having BOTH of our families together, to gorgeous weather and happy kids who love the doesn't get much better than that!! The "vacation" actually started before the beach. I drove to MD with Abigail (and Liz Shea and George Schaaf- which was so, so fun) the Thursday before the beach for my sister Julie's graduation from high school. We had a packed three days. We went to the National Zoo (Liz was thrilled...about as excited as Alathea would have been :), spent time with extended family, hung out at the house, laughed a lot, went to graduation & Julie's big party.

      While all that was going on, Joe had three special days with Alathea all to himself. (Well, he did have to work- and a big thank you to Hil & Reba for watching Alathea for us!). Joe was so excited to have this special time with Alathea and he made the most of it. He took her to her first baseball game. She wore a baseball hat and everything. It sounded really cute!

     Anyways, Joe, Alathea & his family drove to the beach Saturday morning. Abigail & I hopped on a plane Sunday morning, along with my family who drove, arrived at the beach Sunday afternoon. That meant 13 adults and 4 kids packed into one amazing beach house. Here are some pictures and highlights from the week.


I love this guy more and more every day. I'm always laughing when I'm with my love.

Here we are with Jon & Heather and there two adorable boys, Andrew & Caleb. Our girls are the almost the exact same ages as their boys. We tried to get an obligatory classic white shirt beach photo! 


Here is the whole family on the front steps of the house!

This was the view from our room- not bad! I have never stayed directly on the beach before this was incredible, especially with two little kids. We could sit on the beach when they were napping and hear them with our baby monitors. Below is a picture of the house and what seemed like our private beach!! Joe's grandma, Mere, bought this tent for the week, which was an absolute blessing. It meant we could sit on the beach all day and never get burned. 

Alathea was soooo happy! She had Ju-Ju, Pop-Pop, Grammy, Ee-oo, Rock-re (just to name a few), essentially all of her favorite people all staying in the same house all week with her. She has this special love for Julie, the best Aunt in the world. Here they are playing on the beach together. We'd all play down at the beach every night together- it was a real highlight for me.

 Below is my fam: Jessica (Rocky's girlfriend), Rocky, Julie & Dad. I love them so much. It meant the world to me that they came!

Joe went fishing daily and must have caught 20 of these baby sand sharks! It made us wonder where the Mama sand sharks were...

Are these two not adorable together??

As you can see, we spent a good part of every day in the pool. Andrew & Alathea especially loved it. To me, the beauty of this vacation was that I only left the beach house once ALL week!  All I did was spend the day at the beach, pool or back porch with my favorite people in the world!!


Oh man, these two were precious. They adore each other!

Sweet Abigail. She was such a trooper. I think every nap she had was either in my sling or on the beach like this one. But then again, that's not so bad after all! 

Here is Mere with her four great-grand children!! 

Something about this little girls smile just melts me!

Abi was with either peeking out of her sling (above) or snuggling someone fast asleep (below)

As you can see, it was a blessed week. God is so good to us. His timing in everything is perfect. I had not realized that this week would be a tough one for my family. June 11th would have been my parents 31st wedding anniversary. And Julie's graduation was a sharp reminder that a huge member of our family was missing. I hadn't considered either of these things when we planned our trip. Being at the beach was a joyful blessing in the midst of a week that could have otherwise been challenging. 

Like I said earlier, my favorite thing about this trip was doing nothing but spending time with my favorite people in the world. I loved sitting on the beach, taking walks with Dad, playing on the beach every evening, watching Alathea have the time of her life, swimming in the pool, rocking on the back porch looking at the ocean and of course, spending a whole week with my boy (that is always a highlight!).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Abigail update

Our little Abi-girl  continues to be our little sunshine! She is so smiley and snuggly with such a sunny personality. What a gift! She celebrated her 4 month birthday at the beach! (Time keeps on flying by!) Here are some Abigail updates:

*Abigail is still our "Chunky-monkey-cutie-pie" tipping the scales at 16lbs 9oz (94%) and she was equally as long at 25 3/4 in  (95%)...the only thing "average" on her was her head in the 50%. 

*She is now proficient at rolling over from back-to-front and is super cute when she does so.

*She is sleeping mostly through the night- going to bed around 8pm and waking up briefly to eat around 5:30am, then sleeping until about 9am. If you can believe it, she is still in our room in her bassinet- that bassinet has been SO wonderful!

*She ate her first baby food tonight- green beans. Alathea fed her and did a great job! Abigail surprised us and didn't seem to like it- so, we will most likely be waiting until she's a month or two older and we'll try again. The way that girl eye-balls any and all food we eat, I thought she'd for sure want baby food.

*Abigail's new "love" is a sling that LiAnn is letting me borrow. She'd stay in that thing all day & night if I let her. She enjoys napping in it too!

*She is still teething...going on two months now.

*She now belly-laughs! Especially when she sees herself in the mirror or is tickled.

*She really, really adores Alathea. Her favorite thing to do is watch everything Alathea does.

*She always, always smiles. I just love it.

*She loves to snuggle. She kinda melts into your body. I really love that too :)

*She loves the beach!! Hurray for another Lechner beach bum! I'm posting our beach trip soon...

Back to reality

Whew. This week has felt a bit more challenging than the last two. It took me until today to realize that I was on vacation for a week and a half- and this week is back to reality- the normal routine of life. I actually love the normal routine of life, it's just that compared to vacation- with no cooking or cleaning and lots of beach sitting and a dozen family members ready to help with the girls at any moment- it makes daily life seem hard in comparison :). 

The Lord used tonight to remind me of a valuable lesson- that God has given me FAR MORE than I deserve. Joe is working late tonight as he is preaching in the morning, which means I had the girlie's bedtime routine to myself. Things went great and I was excited to have an hour "to myself", and I convinced myself I deserved this after all I did today. Well...Abigail decided for some unknown reason that she wasn't going to sleep, instead she would scream as loud as she could in her bassinet until I would pick her up. At the same time as Abi woke up, I was laying Alathea down and we realized that we couldn't find bunny. And I mean it when I said we couldn't find her! So I had both girls screaming for an entire hour. I didn't know if I should pick up Abigail- when I did it slowed my efforts to find bunny- which I thought would relieve Alathea's screaming for "honey, mama! yay-yay need honey!". Anyways, about an hour later I found bunny under my bed (I had checked there at least 5 times!) and I caved in an rocked my Abigail to sleep (which you all know isn't too hard for me to do :). While I was rocking Abigail, I wisely decided I needed some time with the Lord. My heart wasn't in the right place- I felt tempted to anger and resentment, etc. I read a chapter in "Pierced by the Word" (by Piper) on humility. It so convicted me!! He talked about one mark of humility to is realize what it is that we deserve... an eternity in hell, separated from God! But what has the Lord given me- FAR MORE than I deserve- salvation- and eternity in HIS PRESENCE!! Wow, how quickly I can forget the impact the simple truths of the Gospel have on my daily life!! Then, my heart was no longer complaining because I wasn't getting the evening of rest I thought I deserved, instead it was full of gratitude to the Lord! God was so kind to reveal this to me. And then I was able to spend some time thanking him for the girls, for Joe working hard to serve us and the church and I even thanked God for the hour of screaming. It was a reminder than even when I do not see it, He is always working good in my life. Thank you, Lord!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Fathers Day to the Worlds Greatest Dad!!

***A quick disclaimer before I begin...the worlds greatest Dad title would be a tie in my mind between Joe & my Dad. But, being that my Dad is MY Dad, and it is Father's Day, I really want to honor him today!...***

Daddy, where do I begin?? You are not only the worlds greatest Dad, but you are also my personal Hero. I have always adored you and looked up to you, but every passing day since Mom has passed away I have done the impossible, I've grown in my respect for you! As a result of this 10 year trial of Mom's sickness, death and now this season of loneliness and mourning, you have only chosen to praise the Lord. That is remarkable. You have never charged God or said he wasn't good. With every trial you encounter you only shout his praises louder. While this is only by the grace of God, it is not without you daily dropping on your knees, crying out to God with all your heart. It is also not without your faithful, daily meeting with the Lord. And I know you meet with God more than just once a day, it is often multiple times a day. You truly meditate on God's word day and night through the literally hundreds and hundreds of verses you have memorized these past three years and the literally hundreds and hundred of sermons you have downloaded on your ipod and listen to daily. You are so dependant on God's word for your daily strength, that multiple times a day you are seen pulling out your palm, scrolling through and reading the verses you are memorizing. I have never seen anyone meditate on God's word the way you do. You may forget this now, but that was a huge prayer of Mom's for you- that you would dive even deeper into Gods Word. She would be SO proud of you!! What an answered prayer! 
    You are an amazing man of God who is humble, faithful and teachable. Or "FAT" as you say "Faithful Available and Teachable". You have surrounded yourself with godly men and a multitude of counselors. You are quick to share struggles and ask for prayer, and while you could be, you are definitely not impressed with yourself. 
    You are also an incredible example of "not wasting your life" as John Piper would say. You life every day for Gods glory, always focused on the Lord and others, and not yourself. You have your eyes on eternity, and one HUGE way this is evident is the way you do you finances. I personally have never met a man so generous. There is probably not a day that goes by that you haven't blessed someone with something...and it is almost always done anonymously. While most of what you give I  do not even know about, what I do know is incredible. You see it as God's money, and all the money he has blessed you with you see as an opportunity to give...whether it be blessing someone with dinner, surprising a hurting friend with a basket of gift cards, sponsoring a child, buying a single mom a much needed washer & dryer, sending money to an unemployed friend or paying to repair a friends car. These are seriously small examples of where your money has gone, and almost every time you give no one knows about it since you do it anonymously. I can't wait until you get to Heaven and the thousands of people you have blessed are able to thank you.   
   You were also one incredible husband. You loved Mom with all your heart and would have given your life for her. In fact you often prayed that God would take you instead of her. You loved her & romanced her. You led Mom and provided for her. You were faithful to Mom and had eyes only for her. You always told her she was the most beautiful woman in the world. You took Mom on dates & made your marriage the highest priority. You LOVED being married!! Thank you for loving Mom and being the most amazing example of a godly husband who passionately loved his wife! Your example of what a godly husband should be is largely why I found the most incredible man I did!!! 
    Lastly, there is no Dad more worthy of honor than you. All three of your kids would say that with NO hesitation. You have been a devoted, faithful Dad since the day we were born. You have excelled at teaching us about the Lord, his Word and training us in godliness.  You have not only taught us verbally, but through your own life & example as well. You made us a priority from day one, being involved in every area of our life. You coached us all in soccer, making it to every practice & game of all three kids. Every day when you'd get home from work you'd spend the rest of the day in the backyard playing with us. You went on "dates" with each of us every week! It started as a donut date when I was Alathea's age and I remember sitting on the bar stool at "Montgomery Donuts" at two years old having so much fun with my Daddy. Then we advanced to having lunch together in high school and in college we still met every single week for our date at a different restaurant on Rockville Pike. Now, despite your dislike of Starbucks, we go there every time we are together because you love me so much!! These dates have laid a foundation for you to speak into my life- and it has enabled you to always have been one of my best friends!! Thank you for loving your three kids so amazingly well. You have been the best Daddy a kid could ever ask for. You have loved us and encouraged us so well. You have been involved in every area of our lives and taught us how to laugh & have fun. You have taught us about the Lord and held our hands as we have walked through trials. You are also now the best Pop-Pop ever to your two grand daughters who adore you so! Thanks for all the wonderful memories so far and I'm so excited for the many, many more to come. I love you, Daddy!!! Happy Fathers Day!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Alathea's boo-boo

It all started on Monday morning when Joe graciously allowed me & Alathea to go on a little "date" together. We stopped by starbucks first- she ate a cookie and me a chai, we played "connect four" then headed off to the Davis Lake park. After playing on the play ground, then feeding the ducks, we walked back to the car. Alathea was in her silly mood and decided it would be fun to "chase" we kinda played tag. That was until I heard Alathea screaming and laying on the ground. I went back to assess the damage and noticed a skinned knee. Normally a quick kiss would calm her down and we'd move on. Not this time. This may as well have been a broken femur. She was hysterical. I decided it was time to head home. I also thought if the old momma kissing the boo-boo didn't work, than maybe a band--aid would magically heal her.
Needless to say she cried the whole way home. Then after I carried her inside she collapsed into Joe's arms. She buried her head in his shoulder and kept saying "Dada- Yay-Yay boo-boo"! Joe took her to the kitchen to put a band-aid on her and she freaked out!! Maybe the band-aid reminded her of a shot?? We ended up giving Abigail a "sympathy" band-aid per Alatheaa;s request. Anyways, we prayed for God to heal her and she sytopped crying. But for the next hour leading up to nap time she didn't move from Joe's lap.
Naptime came and we laid her down and Joe & I had a good laugh about the whole thing thinking it was over. Well...a few hours later and I heard a very concerned Alathea yelling for me from her room. I went in and she was still laying completely down in her bed. Normally she's standing and jumping up and down when I get her from her crib. I thought this was odd and asked her what was wrong and she pointed to her knee saying "Yay-yay boo-boo". I asked her if she could at least sit up and she cried and cried. Apparently she thinks she is crippled by this skinned knee! So I picked her up and carried her to our room. So once again she hung out with Joe in our bed and read stories with him, not moving at all.
We figured she would be "healed" within the hour since it was date night. She was going to Kat-kat's house where our babysitter was. We knew for certain she'd get up and chase Kathryn around. Especially since she thinks all of Kathryn's toys belong to herself. But when we got home, our sitter said she didn't move at all the entire evening!! Our sitter simply lifted her from the couch to the pack-n-play at bedtime. We couldn't believe it! By morning she'd certainly forget about the whole thing...but NO! She was still quite hysterical about this boo-boo. I actually started wondering if she chipped her knee, because nothing could get her to walk. If we tried to get her to stand up she'd have jell-o legs and start crying. So once again she sat on our bed reading stories and playing with Abigail. After about 3 hours of not moving from the same spot she kept asking for more toys and books or to watch a movie. After I declined a number of times I think she got bored...and at 10:38am on Tuesday morning, exactly 24 hours after her skinned knee occurred, she looked at me, stood up and said very excitedly, "Mama! Yay-yay can walk again!!" This picture was taken 5 minutes later...
Needless to say we got a good laugh out of it all!!

I'm in MD now- a HUGE CONGRATS to my Sis who just graduated from High School today!! I'm soooooo proud of you Julie!!! We're headed to Holden Beach in the morning!!! Pray for safe travel and a sweet time with both the Bowers and Lechner Family's (Joe's whole fam too).

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Memorial Day weekend...

Our little sweet heart. I just love when she wears hats!

Not Abigail's most flattering picture, but I thought it was so sweet that she had her arm around Jason :)

We had the joy of having Kat-Kat stay with us for 2 days while Nick & Reba were away on an anniversary trip. She's such a fun little kid. The girls may as well be sisters they love each other so much.

Andrew is such an awesome boy cousin. He pushes his "princess" girl cousin in his swing.

Abigail enjoys a Pop-Pop snuggle...

Me & the girls with "Great-Grama B". She is hysterical. She was cracking jokes while taking this picture!

My Dad is the best Pop-Pop in the entire world!! And Rocky's not a bad uncle either :) Alathea LOVES them both so much!

We try to keep busy when Joe is out of town- to stay distracted since we miss him so much! What a full Memorial weekend this was! My Dad & Rocky drove down from MD to visit while Joe is at NA. Alathea was in Heaven! She just adores my Dad & brother. She also loves my sister Julie so much that she cried 5 minutes after Dad & Rocky arrived when she realized that Julie really wasn't with them. It was really cute. The five of us drove to Columbia, SC to visit with my Grandma for the day on Saturday. It was wonderful seeing Grandma, and totally worth it, but the 2 hour drive home that afternoon was long to say the least :).  It was such a treat spending Memorial Day with Dad & Rocky. I'm so grateful they drove all the way to see us. Reba & I also enjoyed passing the time Joe & Nick were gone by scrapbooking until 2:30am!! We got a lot done!

 We made our true leap into summer this week by going to the pool!! I love the pool. It was quite different with two little one. I actually think the baby pool in the back yard may work just fine on most days. Alathea especially had a blast swimming for the first time this summer in her cousin Andrews little backyard swimming pool. We went to his house for his 2nd b-day party. The little guy is growing up!! 

Right now I'm in packing mode as I'm heading to MD on Thursday to for Julie's graduation!! Then from there to the beach for a week! And our beach trip is with both Joe's & My entire families. I'm so excited!