Little Man Turns Two

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It’s hard to believe Paul is already two years old. He is. And, when he’s not being shy, he’ll tell you he is.

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“How old are you Paul?”

“TWO!”, he’ll answer with a grin as he holds out his thumb and pointer finger to show you.

It’s cute. He is adorable. And he had a really great birthday.

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Before Paul was born, Dan and I joked that we needed a boy. Our girls like their snuggles from Daddy. Several months ago, there was so much fighting over who would sit on Daddy’s lap during Bible time, we had to set up a schedule. So Dan and I would joke that we needed a boy who wouldn’t need the snuggles from Daddy, a boy who would snuggle Mom instead. And do you know what? Paul is the snuggliest little two-year-old I’ve ever met. He wants Mommy to hold him during every meal, whenever he’s tired, and whenever he’s unsure about something. Paul is incredibly sweet and loves to help. Lately he’s enjoyed taking his bib off, bringing it into the kitchen, and throwing it into the sink. He usually does so in the middle of a meal, but it’s still adorable. He also likes to help with laundry, by pushing the wet clothes into the dryer as I put them down on the dryer door. Then he slams the door shut, usually before I’m done. He also likes to shut the dishwasher for me, while I’m still loading it. 😀

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Paul also likes to help set and clear the table. He’ll spot a condiment in the fridge and put in on the table and then come back for more. He’s choices don’t often match the meal (mustard when we’re having tacos, for example). When the meal is done and the girls are delaying as much as they can before clearing their dishes, Paul will walk back and forth, grabbing whatever is left on the table, and throwing it into the sink or trash (not always the right one).

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He’s also a Little Rascal. He’s cute and he knows it. He’s not afraid to cock his head to the side and give you his sweet “emoji” grin when he’s up to no good. He loves to wrestle, but doesn’t like to lose, and isn’t too old to run to Mom for a hug when he doesn’t win. He loves balls and bats, and toys or pictures of animals that growl. (He likes to growl.) Paul loves to be outside and will often grab his shoes and point to the coat closet to tell you he wants out, but he hates the cold and will stay inside whenever it’s below freezing.

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Like Abby, Paul has been slower to start talking. Recently we started using sign language for some basic words at meals and he’s picked up on those pretty well. Even more recently he has started picking up more words and putting words together. Here are some recent favorites:

Bible/Baseball – “Bay-Bul”
“No”
“Coat”
“Bye Nana” (after I got off the phone with my Mom the other day)
“Night Daddy”
“Thank You”
“Hold” (me)
Elijah John – “Lijah John”
Lydia – “Lee-ya”
“Car”
“Nose” (He finds it hilarious to say “nose” and point to your nose.)
OK Google – “Okay Gool” (which he says into my phone whenever he can get his hands on it)

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Paul loves being a big brother and hasn’t had much trouble adjusting, but sometimes he gets jealous if he sees me holding Elijah (or anyone else) when he wants to be held. Overall he is a great older brother who loves his siblings, snuggles his Mommy, and wants to be just like his Daddy.

We love you Little Man! Happy Second Birthday!

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Birthday Princess (Lydia’s Fifth Birthday Celebration)

Five years ago on Memorial Day, Lydia Hope was born unexpectedly. Unexpectedly because, after a completely routine and healthy pregnancy, my water broke at only 30 weeks. Several hours later we had a baby. This year, Lydia’s birthday fell on Memorial Day again. It was her fifth birthday. And, for several reasons, this one felt like a big one. Since Dan had the day off and Lydia knew exactly what she wanted to do for her birthday, and since Dan and I knew exactly what Lydia would love for her birthday, we made the day a pretty epic celebration.

Dan greeted Lydia in the morning with a birthday tiara and a bouquet of orange roses, her current favorite flower. Dan has a tradition of getting his girls birthday flowers and he puts a lot of thought into getting them flowers that they will love.

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Then Dan and Lydia took off on their own for Lydia’s first Daddy-daughter date. They went to Leo’s, a coney island just down the road from us, and Lydia got to pick whatever she wanted from the menu. Now Lydia had been fighting this plan for weeks because she likes us all to be together and just couldn’t understand why Daddy had to take just her. Afterward she told Dan, “I didn’t think it was going to be fun, but it was.”

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When they got back, we surprised Lydia with a couple of small gifts. Gum, and nail polish. She’s been drooling over both for the past several months with no idea she could ever actually chew gum or wear nail polish. “Maybe when I’m sixteen?”, she would ask. Lydia’s not usually a good “reaction” girl. She takes in surprises slowly and gets excited a day or so later. The gum and nail polish must have been pretty good surprises then, because her reactions were priceless.

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After lunch and a quick (failed) attempt at naps, we packed up and headed to the splash pad for some more fun. I didn’t bring my camera with me, so you’ll have to use your imagination on this part. Abby was beside herself with excitement. She loves playing in water. Paul was uncertain and spent much of the time watching the kids play but keeping away from the water himself. Lydia was in and out of the water, torn between relaxing on her towel and running around getting wet.

Then we fulfilled Lydia’s requests for dinner: pizza and ice cream from restaurants. The first pizza place we tried was closed for Memorial Day, but we yelped “best pizza” in the area and found a winner. We got our meal to go and ate outside at our favorite ice cream place, a locally owned Dairy King in Plymouth. Paul was a trooper and didn’t complain once about his steamed broccoli and bananas while the other kids got pizza and ice cream.

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There’s a picture of me when I was about Lydia’s age, eating some sort of blue ice cream out of a cone while standing on a beach. I wish I had it to post along with this one. Ice cream all over my face. Like Mother, Like Daughter.

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It was late by the time we got home, but we finally let Lydia open her “official” present from us, a new (bigger) ballet leotard and tights. The girls danced around in their dress up clothes before finally getting ready for bed

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As Dan was tucking Lydia in, I heard her crying, “Today was the best day in the woooorrrlllddd. I don’t want it to end everrrr.” Good thing we’re Taylors. “It’s not just a birthday, it’s a celebration” is what we like to say, and the celebration continued over the next two days.

Tuesday Lydia got her presents from my mom and Dan’s Gramma. Abby had trouble understanding why they weren’t for her and Paul was disgusted at the amount of clothes Lydia was opening.

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And, finally, Wednesday tapered off the celebration with a visit from Dan’s parents, more presents, and sharing the news with Lydia that Grandma got a job in Ann Arbor and is moving down here!

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The birthday was a complete success, way too much fun for me to handle in a day, and a meaningful way for us to show Lydia how very thankful we are that God has given her to us, even it she was unexpectedly early.

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!

Our Up North Christmas

The very first Christmas present I opened this year was a new camera from Dan. My last camera stopped working several months ago and I was so excited to have something better than Dan’s phone to take pictures on. Sadly, as I was playing around with it one night, I deleted all of my pictures.

:'(

But my brilliant husband suggested, “There must be a way to get them back”. And he was right. I’m in the process of retrieving those pictures now so that’s why there aren’t any pictures from Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Sorry friends. Check my Facebook page in a few days (or weeks or months since I never have time to upload pictures with the three Little People running around).

🙂

The Taylor family (us) celebrated a rushed Christmas on Christmas Eve morning before packing the car and driving up North for an extended family Christmas Celebration (on both sides). Lydia didn’t sleep the night before Christmas Eve because she was SO excited to go up North and to open presents. Remembering those feelings myself, I was sympathetic, but we were exhausted because we couldn’t sleep either and when we did doze off for fifteen minutes we’d wake up to Lydia yelling, “CAN I GET OUT OF BED YET AND OPEN PRESENTS. I’VE BEEN ASLEEP A LONG TIME!”

So began our Christmas adventure.

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Christmas Eve we showed up just in time at my grandparent’s house for a traditional Matson family Swedish Christmas feast, followed by carols and presents. It was a sweet time and fun to catch up with cousins and watch the kids run around together.

Christmas morning we woke up after ANOTHER sleepless night (I only told her she might get to open a present from Grandma and Grandpa but someone must have let the cat out of the bag because this night wasn’t much better than the first!) We enjoyed breakfast with my parents and brother, took a quick walk around the block and then waited for the rest of my siblings to come with their families. All of the kids, and grandkids were together for the first time in a long time (ever?) and it was such fun. Oh, and there were presents, lots of presents (much to Lydia’s great joy). As much as we enjoyed the gifts, it was the time with my family that we cherished the most. The day went by all to fast and the next morning it was already time to pack up and head over to Dan’s parent’s house for the other Taylor Christmas.

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There was good food, lots of visiting, a bit of Euchre, and, of course, presents. Abby was so cute when she realized she got to open some too.

“Presents? Me?!? Presents? Me! Me!”

Among other goodies, the girls got a collection of kitchen food and gadgets. They love them. And so did I. (Until we got home and the 100 piece collection scattered itself all over our house three days in a row. It may have disappeared after that. Good thing Grandma also got us some toy storage!)

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Is this picture overload? I can’t help it. She was so cute sitting there so absorbed in her toys.

As you’ve already seen, there was a little bit of Wii playing. We even let Lydia have a turn.

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Paul got in lots of snuggle time. With everyone.

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And Lydia and Abby got to make some special Christmas cookies with Grandma Taylor.

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After a few days, we braved the bad weather and drove home with a few days left in Dan’s break. So, we took Lydia ice skating. She has been asking to go since she found out winter was on its way. It almost turned out to be a failure when we got out on the ice and she couldn’t stand up. Someone gave us on of those “pushers” (anybody know what those are actually called?) and that helped, a little. Dan got out on the ice with Lydia and helped her figure it out. Soon she was holding onto that pusher with all her little might enjoying the ride, frequently reminding us, “Not too fast!”

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In the end I think ice skating was a smashing success.

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Finally, we rang in the new year with a quiet night at home, the kids sleeping in their own beds. Daddy and Mommy stayed up until midnight, just barely. We snapped a quick “new year” picture while we washed cloth diapers. I know, I know, doesn’t sound like much of a party, but some quiet time at home with Dan was just the way to wrap up 2015.

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Happy New Year everyone. And a special thanks to our parents for hosting us for Christmas and the days after. Traveling with the Littles isn’t easy, but you all help a lot. And I know we created memories in our and their little minds that will never be forgotten.

Sweet Potato Prayers

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This Thursday will mark six weeks of basement living for our family, and, as we don’t have an accepted offer on any houses yet, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. I daily ask God to provide the right house for us in His timing, but that His timing would be soon. It was during one of these prayers that I realized a change (for the better) that has come over me in these past few weeks. I am more desperately depending on God for help. For me, that looks like lots and lots of praying. It’s not the kind of “close yourself in your closet and get on your knees” praying. It’s the “in the middle of the chaos” sort of praying.

And as I pray, God answers. I don’t want to forget those answers, and I thought it might be fun to share some little answered prayers from this past weekend.

Friday was Lydia’s birthday. We had big plans of spending the whole morning at the playground. We were even going to eat lunch there and come back for a later nap time than usual. Then, as Lydia and Abby napped, I was going to clean up and cook up a Mexican feast which was to include this sauce that Lydia loves. She affectionately refers to this as simply, “Sauce”.

Somewhere in the middle of our morning (pre-playground trip) I realized that I didn’t have a sweet potato for Lydia’s special sauce that I had promised her. And Dan had taken the car to work with the stroller in the back seat. Bummer. I prayed that God would somehow provide me with a sweet potato for Lydia’s sauce. I decided to go to the playground without the stroller and just eat lunch at home. And I went on with the day.

After breakfast I asked Lydia to go to the bathroom so I could brush her teeth. She scurried off and I took care of a couple of things before heading off to join her. When I got to the bathroom, the door was shut. And locked. And Lydia didn’t know how to unlock it. After messing with the lock for a while myself I went upstairs to get RJ (the real homeowner) to ask for help. He graciously came down and we spent the next twenty minutes trying to explain to Lydia how to unlock the door while he tried various tools in the lock.

She had been in the bathroom for almost half an hour when RJ went upstairs to look for some different tools. I had been praying silently all along, but after unsuccessfully trying to explain one more time to Lydia how to unlock the door I decided to pray out loud. We asked God to help us get the door unlocked and within minutes RJ tried the right tool and Lydia was free.

I had been on and off the phone with Dan all along and called him once more to tell him the emergency was over. Then we got ready to go to the playground. Just then, the door opened and there was Dan! He had been sent home to work for the day because they didn’t have the internet working at the office. And Dan brought home the stroller and the sweet potato.

Lydia enjoyed the rest of her birthday with a long-awaited visit to the playground, a necessary nap, and a Mexican feast, including her special sauce.

God gave us a sweet potato, an unlocked door, and even a stroller (an unvoiced prayer) all in one short morning. These are just a few examples of the daily ways God hears our calls for help and gives us what we need. One of these days I believe He will give us the house we’ve been praying for, but in the meantime (and long after) we will be thankful for answers to our “sweet potato prayers”.

Leslie’s Bridal Shower

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As I mentioned in my previous post, I had the privilege of co-hosting a bridal shower for my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Leslie, this Saturday. For being my first shower, I’d say the planning went very well. Even more than that, though, I would say the shower was a great success and fun time for Leslie to meet some of her soon-to-be family.

The other Planners and I wanted to incorporate some sort of theme that would be unique to Leslie. Well, Lelie loves orange. And she had the creative idea for an engagement picture that included some scrabble pieces. We put the two together and made it an orange and white, scrabble themed shower.

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Altogether there were about four ladies who ended up bringing different parts of the lunch. Once everything was compiled and spread on the table, we had more than enough and it was all delicious.

Our friend, Tariho runs a soap making business and offered to make our favors for the shower. She created an elegant soap cake and sliced it up for everyone to take a bar home.

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And you just can’t have a soap cake without a real cake, now can you?

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I was excited to try a little Pinterest project myself and put together a vase decorated with oranges. It wasn’t as difficult as I expected and I think it turned out alright. I also wanted to make sure our game prizes weren’t anything lame. So we bought truffles. How can you go wrong with truffles?

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I put together a little talk to share with Leslie on “The Calling of a Christian Wife”. It was based on a couple of verses in Titus 2. For each characteristic of a wife, Leslie got to open a token gift that somehow represented that characteristic. That helped to make me less nervous, kept the onlookers from getting too bored, and was just fun.

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Things got pretty serious when we pulled out the “Bridal Bingo” sheets. Lets just say there are some competitive ladies in this family!

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But, more important than all of that, we had a lovely time to get to know Leslie, and let her get to know us. It was great to have some family together just to be excited about the upcoming events in the Taylor family. Less than six weeks until Bob and Leslie’s wedding and we are eagerly looking forward to the celebration!

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