Tag Archives: daughter

Home

Standard

My sweet babies,

Let’s talk a little bit about purpose.  Everyone wonder’s about it at some point in their life. “What am I here for?” “What is my calling?” “How can I find happiness in my own life?” At times you might feel that your purpose in life is not totally clear, or you might feel that your purpose in life and what you are actually doing in life do not coincide with each other.  I’m here to tell you, my sweet ones, that the answer to this question is not a simple one.

rachelandjake

What I do know, my dear ones, is that this life is not all that there is in store for us.  I do know that there is more.  There is more waiting for us when we get to heaven.  There’s this trend I’ve noticed in my own life, and I’m curious to see if you notice it in yours someday too.  What I have noticed is that through almost every stage of my life (and it’s not like I’m old and gray, I’m still in my twenties after all! The tail end of them, but I’m still in them!) I have always felt like there should be more.  I’ve always thought “Well, if only I could have this or see this or do this then I’ll never want anything else! I’ll be totally happy!” That’s not to say that I’ve never felt contentment–I have! Just not 100% of the time in all aspects of my life.  It’s human nature to want more, to desire more, to push yourself to do more.  I’m convinced that the reason for that feeling….get ready for it….is because this world is not our home!

rachel1

Just because we live in this world, that does not make it our home.  Be careful that you do not find your identity in things that belong in this world, but find your identity in the One who created you for eternity.  It can be so easy to get caught up in the material things of this world–an expensive watch, a nice car, a fancy handbag, a new expensive house–these are all things that popular culture tells us are measures of success!  These items though, really will not leave you feeling satisfied, many times they will leave you feeling like you want more.  When you realize that your life’s purpose does not have to do with material wealth or prosperity, you can begin to live as a changed and focused person.  Try thinking about it this way–much like a dolphin could never feel totally satisfied living in captivity because it was meant to swim freely in the ocean, or a bird could never reach it’s full potential if it never was able to fly; you will never feel totally satisfied in this life because, like the bird with the clipped wings or the dolphin held in captivity, you were made for so much more.

jake2

Invest your time wisely.  Do not focus all of your energies on things that are only important to your earthly lives.  Your life on earth is just temporary, a fleeting moment in the entire scheme of our lives, and once you know that and really believe that, it can drastically change your values and what you hold most important in your life.   Know that just because you take the time to develop a prayer life or a closeness with God, that does not mean you will be without suffering or sadness.  If you ever find yourself wondering why there is pain or suffering in this world…remember, this is not the end of the story! This life is not, it can not, be the end of the journey for us.  We are called for so much more!   Don’t worry about “having it all” on earth in terms of material items.  Work hard, do your best, and know that there is more to life than what you see here in this world.  There has to be.

Now, sit back and enjoy the inspiration behind this blog post.  I hope YouTube is still around when you are old enough to read this in 16ish years.  This song is “Thrive” by the Casting Crowns.

I’ll love you forever, to the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxoxo

 

Relationship Advice #7

Standard

Rachel and Jake,

Last year I wrote to you about what I felt to be some pretty important relationship advice.  I plan to continue to do that each year on your father’s and my anniversary as a way to share with you some things that I have learned about what it takes and what it means to grow in love.  I am not an expert, just a Mama trying to share my thoughts on what can make a marriage work in today’s “what have you done for me, lately” world.  Maybe by the time you are older the world won’t be so “me focused.” …I hope that is the case!

So, without further adieu, here is your #7 relationship tip from your dear old Mom.

#7.) Remember Who you were made for.  

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

rachelandjakeIt’s hard to really articulate this piece of advice, because it’s something that needs to be more of a “belief” or a way of thinking rather than something I could just tell you so that you’d remember to apply it to your life.  Society today (and I’d imagine it would be even more so in the next coming years) tends to objectify both women and men.  Some people can look at women and men as an object or as something that should please them (ex. “She shouldn’t wear that type of bathing suit when she looks like that.”  or “Wow, I want to date him–he makes a lot of money!” ).

My advice to you–You are not an object or something to be used in order to please another person.  You are not disposable and should never be treated as such in a relationship.  You belong to God, and He loves you unconditionally just the way you are.  He knows your struggles and your strengths and will always be there for you when you need Him.

mommyandjake

This is similar to the way your relationship should be with your spouse.  When you get married, the vows you take bind you to your spouse for an eternity.  It is not just an earthly commitment that is a convenient tax break or until something better comes along.  When you say “I do” you are saying that you promise to love that person for an eternity.  Yes, you might have some cool looking “bling” on your finger because of it, but your rings are simply an outward symbol for the seal on your heart binding you to your spouse.  Although you are married, it is important that you both recognize that even though you love each other more than any other person on this earth, your greatest love is waiting for you in heaven.  Your spouse should be someone who recognizes that this life is not all there is in store for you.  You and your spouse should be  a team that works together so that you can both reach your highest potential while you are here on earth.  That sounds like a big job–and when looking at it as a whole picture, it can sound pretty overwhelming– so here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help see if your spouse is helping you reach your full potential.

1.) What is the big picture of our relationship? Where are we headed? Do we work together towards a common goal that we both feel called towards?  If not, what can we do to change that?

2.) Do we encourage each others thoughts, dreams and desires? Do we value the life path that our spouse has chosen?

3.) Are we communicating effectively to get our thoughts and feelings across in a respectful yet direct way?

rachelandjake1

If you answer no to one or all of these questions, then one or both of you may end up feeling defeated or not valued in your relationship.  When one person is unhappy, it can change the dynamics of your relationship and your life.  Work hard to make each other happy in a way that lifts your partner up to be the best they can be.  Be careful that you do not objectify each other in a “what have you done for me lately” kind of way or think that the other person is there specifically to please you, you are worth more than that.  Remember–life is not just about you, it’s about Him!

rachel

When your dad and I were married (7 years ago today!) we both had common goals for where we wanted to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, etc. We knew we wanted to be married for a few years before we had children and we hoped and prayed that we would be blessed as parents one day.  We knew we wanted to retire early and live out our golden years on the beautiful beaches of North Carolina.  Our beliefs are similar, our goals are similar and our overall outlook on life is similar.  I’m not saying it can’t be done without these things, I’m just saying that life will be smoother for you if these things align.

I love you both very much.  More than you could ever know.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxo

Two and a Half Year Old Rachel

Standard

Sweet girl

Rachel,

Who knew two and a half years could be so sweet? It’s hard to really even imagine what life was like before you were born; I seem to remember it in little snippets here and there but then I think “wait, was she really not born then??” You fit in so perfectly with our lives and just kind of blended right in to where your Daddy’s and my life path was taking us.  Life was changing all around us when you were born but it seemed like a natural transition, an easy and perfect kind of love churned together with your perfect little infant self that taught us what love and life is really all about.  It’s hard to believe that you are two and a half…on the downward slope towards three! Three! I can hardly stand the thought of it…can’t you just stay a baby a bit longer? I love you so much…

rachel3

Twirling away

So much growth and change happens from 2 to 2 1/2 years old, I just had to write to you about it.  You still (of course) love to run, but now you love to have races with other people! You pump your arms and go, go, go “like the wind!” you’ll say.  You come up with the funniest sayings that I would never expect a two year old to say.  You are quick to give hugs and kisses and are always willing to have unexpected visitors or friends to play with.  It’s not uncommon for you to tell me that you love me “so much” (and it never stops melting my heart!).  You love to read and your favorite book is “The Night Before Christmas.” We read it every.single.night. But I love you for it! 🙂 At least you know what you like! That is true with most things when it comes to you.  You want what you want when you want it and if you don’t want it, you’ll be sure to let us know.  Take these pictures, for example. I wanted to get pictures of you for this entry, but the only way you would oblige is if you could race up and down the sidewalk.  Throw in a few twirls and a few strategically timed arm pumps…and then you were happy to indulge me.  Before that you were saying “No, Mommy, I no want to go outside.  I no want to wear a dress no more. I NO want to take my picture!” 🙂 You have a quick temper but are just as quick to follow it up with a hug and a kiss and an apology.  You have a huge heart that is very thoughtful and kind to others but you are also very sensitive.

Pumping your arm as you run

Pumping your arm as you run

If I were to take a video of your time awake during the day, I would guesstimate that 90-95%% of it would be video of you talking.  You love to talk and you love to engage others in conversation.  It’ just part of who you are.  It doesn’t matter if we are at the grocery store or sitting on our front porch–you will talk to anyone and everyone you can. You are afraid of flies and bees and any kind of bug.  You love to hunt for butterflies and to help me water the flowers at night.  You insist on holding part of the hose as well so you can really feel like you’re doing it too.  You love to help me put groceries away and to help me do the laundry.  Your favorite things to do usually involve playing with your water table or going to visit the horses at a nearby college.

rachel7

rache4

This is your pouty face

Jake Man is your best buddy and you two have such a fun time together.  We are so blessed that you have taken to your Big Sister role so easily. You tell Jake all day long that he’s “so cute” or “so soft.” 🙂 You are gentle and loving and a true nurturer.  At this point, you love to wear dresses and refuse to wear shorts on a regular basis.  You are rarely ever seen without your doctor’s kit and are quick to give “check-ups” to people and stuffed animals alike. Although you give your best effort on the regular to eat cookies for lunch (“Mommy, I please have cookie please?”) you are also quite satisfied with your Daddy’s grilled cheese instead. rachel2

You make up your own songs and sing along to ones you know.  Somewhere along the line you learned how to sing your ABC’s and Jesus Loves Me and we haven’t gone a day without hearing them since.  You love to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Curious George on TV.  And who could forget Polka Dot baby…your baby doll that you insist sleeps with you each night.

Rachel, all these things that make up who you are are just little tidbits into the every day happenings of your life.  I am regularly amazed at your kindness and sweetness and your tenacity for life.  For just a two and a half year old little girl, you have completely stolen my heart and changed my perspective on the world.  I thank you for that.  Thank you for reminding me that love and beauty is all around us, and that we have the choice to see the beauty that our world has to offer.  Thank you for teaching me about unending love and what it means to love someone more than myself.  You have helped me learn, you have helped me grow and there’s no doubt you have made me a better person.   You make loving and living easy, sweet girl, just by being you.  Cheers to your two and a half year old self!

rachel1

I love you forever, to the moon and back.

 

Love always,

Mommy

xoxo

 

 

In the Blink of an Eye…

Standard

Sweet Rachel,

Happy 2nd Birthday! It’s hard to believe that two years ago you were born into this world, and our lives haven’t been the same since.  You have taught us (and continue to teach us) what it means to love someone more than we could possibly love ourselves.  You remind us every day of God’s promise of goodness and everlasting love.  After all, if we love you as much as we do–He must love us even more.  Hard to imagine, but it is true.

rachel

This year was a big year for you! You learned to walk, and soon after you learned to run! And since then, you haven’t stopped! You were nicknamed “Go, Go, Rachel” and it has seemed to fit you well ever since.  We have gone to Art Classes, StoryTime at the Library, and Gymnastics.  You found a new love for the sand and the ocean and all things “beach.” You started going to school once a week and have made lots of new friends already! You love going to the pool and playing with your cousins.  But most importantly, this year you became a sister! You, my little love, are an amazing sister! The way you love on little Jake and try to help me take care of him is just beautiful.

keeping a close watch

keeping a close watch

Already you have shown that your heart is full of love.  You greet others with a smile and are quick to give hugs to anyone who needs one.  You make friends every where we go–from the cheese man at the grocery store deli or the lady beside us at a restaurant–you make people feel loved and happy.

IMG_5850

You love to read and are just starting to make up your own stories to the pictures of your familiar books.  You love to dance and have the  cutest little waddle move when your favorite songs come on.  You insist on sleeping with just about every stuffed animal you own in your crib.  Do you prefer chicken or beef? The answer is most definitely neither.  Strawberries, grapes, applesauce and noodles would make the perfect lunch in your eyes.  Your butterfly wings are a staple in your daily wardrobe.  If your rain boots were the only pair of shoes you owned, I’m quite certain you would not mind at all.

IMG_5898

You are the embodiment of the person I would like to be–vibrant, exciting, loving, forgiving, compassionate and kind.  You are a thinker and a problem solver.  You are determined to figure out puzzles, games, and the world around you.  You admire the little things.  Looking for the moon each night before bed, listening to the sound of a train go by or watching a bird fly in the sky or a squirrel climb up a tree…these are all ways that you enjoy the the world around you, and at the same time you are reminding me to do the same.   You give “kissies” without hesitation and say “I weave you” just as quickly (I love you too, sweet girl!).  If something makes you happy, you let us know it.  If something makes you sad, you let us know that too.  You love everyone, and judge no one.  Maybe we should all be like that….

Moments after Rachel was born. And so the journey begins...

Moments after Rachel was born. And so the journey begins…

Rachel, I love you and I am amazed by you every day.  Thank you for all that you are and for making me a better person.  The world is a better place because you are in it.

I love you to the moon and back,

Mommy

Oh TWO-odles!

Standard

rachelparty3

rachelparty7

rachelparty8

What a great day we had celebrating with family and friends for your 2nd Birthday, sweet Rachel! It’s hard to believe you will be two in just a few short days! Of course, what better way to celebrate than with a Mickey and Minnie Mouse party! From the time you were itty-bitty you loved watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and dancing along to the music.  So it seemed only natural that we embrace your love for Mickey while we planned your 2nd birthday!

rachelparty1

rachelparty2

With the weather predictions calling for a large snowstorm, we were unsure if the party was actually going to happen in the first place.  Luckily for us, most of the snowfall held out until after our party was over.  And an extra special surprise happened during your party! Uncle Eric, who recently returned home early from Afghanistan, showed up on our front steps to surprise you! What a special birthday and Christmas gift!

rachelparty12

rachelparty9

rachelparty13

rachelparty11

IMG_5678

Children’s squeals and laughter could be heard while you and your friends and cousins crafted a special ornament and played together with toys, adults chatted (and munched away on goodies!) and gifts were opened slowly but surely throughout the morning while Christmas music played in the background.  Little Jake napped through most of the party, but woke just in time to watch you blow out your birthday candles after you were serenaded by our friends and family (which you LOVED, by the way!).

rachelparty5

rachelparty6

rachelparty15

rachelparty14

rachelparty18

rachelparty17

rachelparty16

Happy Birthday Party Day, Rach! We are thankful that God trusted us to be your parents so that we could share in these moments with you. You are so very precious to us all.   I hope you had a wonderful day!

Love You Forever, Baby Jake!

Standard

Welcome to the world, baby Jakob Timothy Donald!

It’s hard to believe baby Jake was born exactly one month ago today.  Wow! What a great month it has been!

photo

I can not believe how beautifully this little guy has just fallen right into place in our family.  Even though we’ve only spent a month loving on this little guy, it’s already hard to imagine what life was like before him.  Our family feels more whole now, like he was always meant to be apart of our daily happenings.  He is just the sweetest little guy we’ve ever met.  It’s amazing how much your heart grows with love with each child that is born.  I am totally smitten and majorly in love with this little babe.  How could I not be!?

photo 3 (3)

Every once in a while, I find myself looking around and feeling like I should knock on wood or something because everything just seems so….perfect.  And wonderful.  And amazing.  It’s really unbelievable. We are truly blessed!

Here’s a look back on our first month together as a family of four!

Happy Jakie Day!

The Snowy Day

Standard

Today we experienced what I am hoping was “Winter’s Last Gasp!” Around 6 inches of snow fell in our area last night and all local schools were closed today! The extra snow day was bittersweet as it means that we will be in school an extra day in June, but it also meant I got to spend an unexpected day snuggling and playing with my girl.  After being sick with strep throat over the weekend, it was nice to relax around the house and especially nice to finally be feeling healthy again! I’m crossing my fingers that I have experienced my last bout of winter illness that can come with being a teacher.  After today, I am officially ready for spring! (Who am I kidding, I have been ready for spring for a while!) This little gal and I are ready to get outside and enjoy the warm weather and all that spring has to offer as soon as possible!

Crawling around

 

Our day started off pretty simple with us all just hanging around in our pajamas.  Rachel has a new found fascination with my phone and spends a lot of her free time trying to pry it out of my hands so she can use it.

Rachel and my phone

They may have been some dabbling in piano going on this morning.  We’ll have to work on her formation later 🙂

piano playing

My husband and I decided to have a seafood feast while Rachel was napping.  We agreed that if it was going to be cold and snowy at our house, we were going to pretend like we were someplace warm and sunny! We had shrimp, clams with butter sauce,  crab chowder and some fries.  A perfect lunch, if you ask me!

IMG_1278

IMG_1275

The rest of our day was spent playing and having fun with sweet Rachel.  She is walking all over the place now, and it seems as though she has some road-runner blood in her.  She is on the move!

IMG_1291

We might not have done anything extra exciting today, but it was so wonderful to spend the day with my husband and little one while we waited out the storm.  I can’t think of any one else I’d rather spend my days with than these two.

IMG_1284Ah, yes, her beloved duck puppet.  She loves when he “comes alive!”

 

IMG_1326

 

Of course, what day would not be complete without a little “jam session” from our favorite musicians!  My girls loves her some Avett Brothers.  🙂 The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, I guess!

IMG_1318

 

Have a great rest of the week, everyone!