Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Sanaa!

Happy Birthday Sanaa! It's hard to believe that you are 3! You are such a blessing to our life. 
You and I definitely butt heads and you have a very stubborn streak in you, but you are also a very caring and loving little girl. It is so much fun observing you as you use your imagination and creativity. I'm so happy and lucky I get to be your mom!

Wearing her new sunglasses and tank top from great grandpa and great grandma Strawsburg!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday Uncle Caleb

Wow. I get the award for the worst sister-in-law of the year. Uncle Caleb celebrated his birthday last week and I completely missed the blog post. I remember thinking to myself at the beginning of June that I needed to remember Caleb's birthday because that was a very busy week for me with teaching and prepping for Sanaa's birthday party. I even reminded Nate a few times last week that Caleb's birthday was coming up and I still missed it.

So Happy Belated Birthday Uncle Caleb! We love you!

These pictures were from Christmas and unfortunately are the most recently pictures that I have of uncle Caleb with the girls. Hopefully we'll get to play with uncle Caleb, aunt Sarah, Natalie and Isaac soon.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The starfish cake

I figured I would show the starfish cake in a separate post.
This is how it looked when I started. I baked a 9 x 13 cake and then cut the starfish out of it. I printed off a starfish template from the internet and used that as a guide to cut out the star.

I had some good sized chunks of cake left over after I cut out the starfish and figured I could come up with some idea for them.

Here is the final product. Sanaa at first wanted an orange starfish, then she wanted yellow, and then she decided on green. So I made a green starfish with orange and yellow accents. As I was decorating it I took a break and decided to see what colors starfish came in. I actually came across a green and orange starfish here! How cool is that?

With the extra pieces of cake I decided to ice them blue like the ocean. All the white shells and starfish you see around the cakes (or on top) are chocolates. I found some chocolate molds at Michaels.

A shot of Sanaa's starfish cake with the candles. I know she is only 3, but she REALLY wanted the balloon candles on as well.
So there's the starfish cake. It was a lot of fun to make! As the girls get older I think I'm going to have a lot of fun creating cakes for their birthdays. Baking and decorating is almost relaxing for me. Plus, it's a fun challenge to see whether or not I can create what I set out to make.

Sanaa's 3rd birthday party

Sanaa was SO excited about her birthday party yesterday. We had two of her friends over in the afternoon for some swimming/playing and cake and ice cream. The girls had a blast! Here are some pictures of the afternoon.

 Sanaa, Skyler, and Lilliana (Layla napped through the swimming part of the party)

Sanaa checking out her cake. When we started singing she ran into the living. She wouldn't even come back to blow out her candles. So Skyler and Lilliana blew them out for her. I have no idea when Sanaa will get past this phase of not letting people sing to her. It's so weird!

Sanaa of course came back to eat the cake!

Layla enjoyed the cake as well. She actually tried using a fork.

But decided using her hands was a lot more fun.

And once she had eaten her slice of cake I guess she decided to lick the plate as well making sure she got all the yummy sugar she could!

I tried hard to maintain some kind of order while opening presents but that did not last as all the girls got in on the action.

I'm not sure what I was doing in this picture. Most likely I was trying to catch the tissue paper that was flying around.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mother May I?

Do you remember playing 'Mother May I?'
I do.
And today Layla reminded me of that game as she walked up carrying a box of crackers she had managed to find in the pantry. I attempted to take the crackers out and give her the empty box to play with but she wasn't fooled one bit (and let me hear about it!).

What a week

For the past two weeks Layla has started getting up extra early. Last week she consistently woke between 5:30-6:00. On Sunday (Father's Day) she gave Nate the wonderful gift of waking at 4:30am! He tried to get her back down but she refused and we really didn't want Sanaa to wake up. 

Monday night we had some severe storms roll through. Around 3am Tuesday our power went out. That woke up Sanaa who appears to be afraid of the dark. The storm was also really strong! The wind was blowing the rain so hard that we could hardly see the street from our front window. We let Sanaa sleep with us but since she never sleeps in our bed it was a bit awkward for all of us. Around 4:30am or 5am Sanaa finally fell asleep only to have Layla wake up around 6am.

We had more storms Tuesday night and another power outage around 6am Wednesday. And yep. Both girls were up at that point. I honestly figured with all these sleepless nights that the girls would sleep in more or take naps. But no such luck. Layla continues to wake early and she fights being put down for a nap. Both Wednesday and Thursday Layla only took 1 two hour nap. I thought 2 naps a day lasted longer than just a year. Am I wrong? I'm not ready for Layla to give up the morning nap, especially if she's going to continue to wake before 6am.

We've also spent time outside swimming. At least that's what I had hoped the girls would do. Both girls played in the water for about 5 minutes and then made a beeline for any dirt they could find. 

Tomorrow is Sanaa's birthday party! She is VERY excited and has been talking about it all week. She requested a starfish cake which I've been working on today. With it being so hot the icing doesn't want to cooperate very well so I've been taking frequent breaks and placing the icing and cake in the fridge to harden some. I will post pictures at some point this weekend.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nate's grandma

Late last night (11pm central time) Nate's grandma passed away. We were amazed at how long she hung on. Nate and I were told that her death was peaceful. The funeral/memorial service will be next week. Nate will be flying out to CA to attend. The girls and I will be staying home.

For those who have been praying I would ask that you continue to pray for Nate's grandpa who is also not doing well health wise. Also, pray for his salvation. We're fairly convinced that Nate's grandma did accept Christ as her Savior (a huge praise!), but we still don't think his grandpa has made that decision. Also pray that Nate's trip next week goes smoothly and that the girls are fairly well behaved while he is gone.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to Nate, my dad, and my father-in-law! All three of you are very special to the girls and me. We are extremely lucky to have you in our lives.
We love you!

(This is blurry since it was taken with the camera on my phone)

 Super dad carrying both girls. We had to wake Sanaa up from her nap so that she'd actually go to sleep in the evening and she appeared to be a little confused.

Grandpa Lind reading the directions to make bird food.

Playing and laughing.

Sharing her eggs.

Enjoying some Papa Gene time.

Friday, June 17, 2011


This has been a loooong week (I honestly thought today was Saturday and was disappointed to discover that it's only Friday). Although the class I've been teaching has gone really well, the girls have been a handful. Layla has been waking up every morning around 5:40-5:45am. She has not been taking very good naps. She cried for 2 hours today before finally falling asleep for a nap. She was a grump Monday and Tuesday, which was most likely due to her shots. Sanaa won't nap at all and of course is grumpy by dinner time.

But even though both of them have to be exhausted, putting them to bed at night has been hard. They get some kind of second wind and are playing, talking, and goofing off. In fact, right now, it's almost 7:45pm and Layla has been crying for a good 25 minutes while Sanaa runs around the room laughing. It is so frustrating and extremely irritating. I'm just thankful that Nate is home tonight to help out.

I could go on and on with my list of complaints, but this afternoon Nate's mom called and suddenly this bad week was put into perspective. Nate's grandma (his dad's mom), Maxine, has taken a turn for the worse. She has round the clock hospice care, is now on morphine for pain, and is sleeping most of the day. She's also not eating much (if at all). It's been sad to hear the reports of her going down hill so fast. We're not sure how much longer she has.

For quite awhile none of us were sure whether or not she had accepted Jesus as her Savior. As she's gotten sicker she began asking for people to pray for her and read her Scripture. On Wednesday Carol's parents (they live close to Gene's parents) went and visited Maxine. Carol's dad asked her if there was a time in her life that she remembers asking Jesus into her heart and she replied yes. That was definitely encouraging and we do truly hope that she is saved.

So, yes. I've had a bad week, I'm still quite grumpy, my girls are going to continue to be obnoxious, but that shouldn't matter anymore. The class I've been teaching (along with the things that have been going on with Nate's grandma) have started to help me take my focus off myself and think about my girls and others who need to hear about what Jesus did for them and why He did it. My perspective is changing.

Monday, June 13, 2011

12 month check up

This morning Layla had her 1 year check-up. It went like expected. Lots of tears! It didn't help that as we entered the elevator to go up to the doctor's office we met Dr. Berger (our pediatrician). Layla immediately recognized her and started crying. Meanwhile, Sanaa began carrying on a conversation with our pediatrician and showed her the boo-boo's and band-aids she is currently wearing. 

Layla cried/screamed even harder when the nurse called us back. The nurse joked that Layla sounded an awful lot like Sanaa when Sanaa was 1. Sanaa is much better about visiting the doctor (she'll ask them what they are doing or do a little dance for them) but for the first 2 years or so she cried each and every time she saw the nurse. It looks like Layla may just follow in Sanaa's footsteps.

Anyway, Layla is doing great. She continues to be a very petite child: 18.05 lbs (10%), 28 1/2 inches long (25%), 17 1/2 inches for head circumference (25%). 

A new rule is that children are now suppose to stay facing backwards in a car until age 2 so Layla doesn't get to turn around yet. I had heard this from a couple of my friends so I wasn't surprised. Even if that new rule hadn't been introduced, Layla doesn't even weigh enough for us to turn her around. 

I hope you all had a great weekend and a great start to a new week! It's hot here so our plan for this week is to find ways to stay cool!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Our week in review

It's been hot here and we've spent a lot of time in doors. I've taken the girls out briefly to swim or play but we don't last very long so I've had to come up with ideas to keep Sanaa busy (and to keep her from constantly asking to watch tv).

Hiding in the tunnel.

 Playing in the princess tent and knocking it over. Knocking it over was a lot more fun then playing inside it and Layla more often than not was the one who would push the tent down.

 We made pudding popsicles. Am I behind on this idea? I found the idea here and have no idea why I didn't make them sooner.
 Nate really liked the pudding pops as well!

 Layla is becoming more independent each day. She now wants to feed herself with a spoon. It creates a huge mess, but she needs to learn somehow and she really enjoys it.

Layla is a full time walker. The past 2 days she has been walking constantly and will even stop in the middle of the floor to lean over and pick up an object. It makes my job a lot more difficult as she toddles off to places she shouldn't be (i.e. the bathroom or behind the tv!).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Layla walking

The past few days Layla has begun to spend more time walking and less time crawling. I think the crawling days are disappearing quickly. Sanaa likes to cheer Layla on by saying, "Go! Go! Go!"

Parenting Perfection

This is Nate.

I have achieved fatherly perfection. I would like to demonstrate how I achieved this for all of you fathers who have yet to get there.

Observe this video.

Now. A few things to note in why the following activity is perfect.

1. Sanaa is happy.

2. Sanaa is wearing herself out prior to bedtime.

3. The level of physical exertion by me is extremely minimal.

From a parenting perspective, I suspect that I've reached a sort of nirvana.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Learning lessons as a mom

This morning got off to a BAD start and I had a few choice words running through my head when I knocked over a full pitcher of grape juice in the fridge....
........and then bumped the cat food off the counter as I reached for scissors.
I got everything cleaned up but was definitely short tempered with the girls as I tried to keep them out of the way. Once everything was cleaned, the girls were fed lunch, and Layla was down for a nap, I sat down for a much needed break and read some blogs.

I came across this blog where I was reminded that while I want to be a good example to my girls I will most definitely fail. The paragraph that jumped out at me said, "Having an imperfect parent is actually a blessing to my children. They get to see, from the start, that we all need God's grace...especially their crazy Mama. Just like children need to be able to fail gracefully, they also need to see me fail gracefully as well."

This was an encouragement as well as a challenge for me. I know other things will happen to test my patience and hopefully when those instances occur I can remember this post and change the way I respond.

On the upside, my fridge has never been cleaner and looks brand new inside!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Stepping WAY out of my comfort zone

I typically keep our blog very family focused and use it to keep all of our out state family (which is pretty much everyone) up to date on what our girls are doing. But today is a little different. Whenever you all think about me, I would greatly appreciate your prayers. Beginning this week I will be co-teaching a 7 week evangelism class for women at our church twice a week (that's 14 total classes). To all you teachers out there, that probably isn't a huge deal, but 1.) I've never considered myself a teacher and 2.) I am A LOT more comfortable teaching young children as opposed to adult women.

Some of you already know the story of how this came to be, but for those who don't here's the background. This May I just completed my Certificate of Graduate Studies at DTS (Dallas Theological Seminary). After Sanaa was born I was burned out with school and took a long break. Just before the holidays this past year my father-in-law (who works at DTS) approached me and casually mentioned that my name had come across his desk on list to be dropped from seminary. I was still burned out but the fact that I was only 1 credit hour away from finishing the certificate motivated me to finish. So Nate helped me find a class with the least amount of class work that would also benefit us in the future. The class I took was Evangelism.

During the class one of my assignments was to present the gospel to a church staff member and I did that with our women's director at church. After I finished my presentation she told me I did a great job and that she was talking with another lady at church about doing an evangelism course this summer for the women at church. She then asked if I would be interested in helping and possibly teaching some. I said sure (this was in March) and totally thought I would only be sharing during one of the classes.

In April I met up with our women's director and 2 other ladies to discuss this class and me and one other gal ended up becoming the co-teachers. I remember calling Nate and saying, "I have no idea what just happened, but I'm now co-teaching the evangelism course this summer."

The timing of all of this is purely God since I just finished taking Evangelism at the seminary and the evangelism course for women at church has been tossed around as an idea but there's never been anyone to teach it. Yet at the same time I still don't feel qualified to teach. So instead of teaching I plan to share what I learned this last semester. But that still doesn't take the fear of talking in front of a group of people away. I don't like to do public speaking. It terrifies me.

So during the next 7 weeks (until July 20 when the class ends) I would greatly appreciate any and all prayers as I prep for this summer class. There is a rather big interest in the class and the sign up sheets at church this morning showed between 10-15 ladies for each class. Wow!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Butterfly birthday

We had Layla's birthday party on Thursday night. It was a fun evening with some of our close friends. I didn't even think to get a picture of our friends that came, but thank you Mike & Karissa; Lance, Erin, & Abigail; Dwayne, Colleen, & Skyler; and Gene & Carol for making the evening so much fun! I know Sanaa and Skyler had a blast running around the house together!

I did a butterfly theme for Layla's first birthday. Both girls had butterfly shirts and the party hats that were passed down to us had flowers and butterflies on them.

Layla's butterfly cake I made.
Butterfly cupcakes.
Layla got very shy as we sang Happy Birthday to her. Sanaa hid around the corner! I guess our girls do not like to be the center of attention.

Layla was very aware that EVERYONE was watching her as she ate/played with her cupcake.

(As I was proof reading this post I just noticed that Layla had on her butterfly bib! That was not planned.)
Sanaa and Skyler talking about something and enjoying cupcakes. Sanaa is one day older than Skyler and they've grown up together at church.
(Before everyone arrived I gave Layla a party hat which she promptly ate, so she wasn't allowed to have a party hat.)
Nate, his dad, and Abigail (Lance & Erin's daughter). Abigail and her parents are moving to Florida this coming week, so it was extra special that they were able to come to Layla's party and we could spend some time with them before they move.