Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Weekend in Nebraska 2013

We went to college with Brad and Kara, and now that they've moved to Nebraska and have two boys, a winter vacation to Henderson, Nebraska has become a MUST!  It is so fun--we spend two nights up there and the kids just play the whole time, we eat and play Rook, and just have a wonderful weekend.  This year was no different--and as we entered Nebraska, we entered a different climate!  We hit several bands of white-out conditions with wind and snow!  Quite the interesting drive....but we made it!

 (pretty sure I have this picture from all 3 years, the only thing that has changed is the kids!)
 We taught them Garbage--it's one of our kids' favorite new games.  It was a hit!

 Luke was enthralled with Lily's ipod games...
 Saturday morning all three boys ended up wearing the same overalls!  It was fitting, since we were on a farm!  :-)
All 5 kids.  *seriously, does anyone else ever look around and wonder WHERE IN THE HECK DID ALL THESE KIDS COME FROM?!?!?!?!

It was a great weekend and we are so excited to go up again next year!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Grace-Based Parenting

We are finishing up a study that we've worked through with our small group this year, entitled, "Grace Based Parenting".  It has been the BEST parenting book I've ever read! (And I've read a lot!)

Dr. Tim Kimmel has such a different perspective when it comes to parenting.  I wish I could quote the entire book, but obviously, I can't.  But here are some of my favorites:

"Grace based parenting is not a checklist for parenting:  it's a lifestyle."

"God left our families in communities [as opposed to holing ourselves up in a 'safe place' away from the world] to serve as porch lights, if you will, for the lost people around us.  We are to be the steady glow that helps them find their way out of the darkness.  When families are commited to being this light, they are inclined to live more intimately with Christ.  They pray more, they study their Bibles more, they care for one another more, they reach out to their neighbors more.  Somewhere in all the talk about raising kids, we moved away from this as a priority in our parenting."  

"Kids inside homes where nonmoral issues are elevated to a level of big problems don't get to experience the kind of acceptance that makes a heart feel securely loved.  Instead, they live with a barrage of nitpicking criticism, receiving put-downs because they are curious, anxious, excited, helpless, carefree, or absent-minded." 

"As our children grow and mature in their relationship with Christ, things they need to adjust will happen far more easily when they are prompted by God's Spirit rather than coerced by their parents."  

"As adults, we know that those who follow the well-worn path to the base of the cross find ample room for heavy hearts and hurts that can't seem to heal.  It's an amazing grace that doesn't trivialize the fickle nature of our personalities.  There's no condescension waiting to counter our tendencies to become easily embarrassed.  There are not lectures longing to straighten out the folly of our thinking.  There's no mocking of our self-conscious thoughts--just a generous Savior with a gentle heart who knows how unsure we often are about ourselves." 

I could keep going.  It is so good.  We are far from perfect parents.  But this book has been so helpful in beginning to take the "fear" out of parenting.  Allowing me grace as I allow my children more grace.  Realizing that it is not up to me to convict my children of sin.  Reminding me that I can pray for them, and trust in MY heavenly Father who loves me unconditionally and always gives me more grace.  

If you're finding discouragement in parenting....I'd highly recommend this book.  It points to an incredibly merciful God who LOVES us, KNOWS us, and continues to PURSUE us for His glory. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Instagram Friday

I am realizing that I do a much better job of keeping up with the daily pictures of my kids on instagram, rather than my camera and I've decided to dedicate a post simply to Instagram, and the everyday lives of the Smith kids:

 Brahm loves fitting these blocks into the right holes....but dumping them out is WAAAAY more fun!

 Lily's tea party for her 4th birthday started well....quiet girls enjoying "tea" and "cookies"....

...that is, until Oliver came in and started making "drinks" (from the punch" for the girls....(yikes.)

Legos are pretty much a constant thing at our house.  I love it.  But somedays, I get asked a gillion times "would you like to ride in THIS spaceship mom?"  Someday I'll miss that question.

This little boy makes this little face ALL.THE.TIME.  It's hilarious!

Oliver was so excited about HIS reading progress, that he decided to teach Lily to read, too!

We are REALLY ready for summer (and our pool) here.  ANYTIME.

Joel thought that it was high time to introduce the Sega Genesis to Oliver and Lily.  

Lily and Brahm have special mornings together--here, we're brushing our teeth!

Another "staple" of our mornings together?  Lily works.  She is quite the productive little worker bee, I should add.

Lily and Joel designed her picture of "Joel" for 'J' week at preschool.  I love it.

Cutting coupons.  Another task this girl could do ALL.DAY.LONG.  Actually, this is the "work" she does during her 2-hour rest time on the days she's home!  

Brahm usually takes his snack at the little table, alone.  

On this particular day, he was enthralled with the camera button, and figured out how to make it "click"!

Mornings together.   These two are getting to be pretty good buds.

Every other Friday or so, Joel or I go to eat with Oliver at school.  Lily loves to come, too--and it is such a fun time!  (Especially since Fridays mean "giant pickle day"!)

Lily's friend Luke comes over every other week for a morning before school.  This particular day we went to Walmart where they "rode" the motorcycle together....

And then dug in the dirt making mud soup.

Oh this face!!!!  (and p.s. he loves climbing into laundry baskets, too.  And eating raisins out of a teeny bowl.)

Eating ice cream like a big boy!

Lily's letter to "Aunt NeeNee".  

And we turned this Animal Cracker tub into a space helmet...and now it's all Brahm wants to wear!

I'm so thankful that we get to spend so many days together at home--these three are SO precious!!!