We have a 3 year old!

Emerson, today you turn 3 years old.  It feels like just yesterday I was enduring a super long labor to bring you into this world and you will always hold a special place in my heart being the only child that I delivered naturally.  You have such a sweet heart and are always complimenting others and asking compassionate questions such as “How was your day at school Kinsley?” and “Are you feeling better?” You will randomly look over at me (and others) and just say “I love you.”  When you love someone or something, you love them to an extreme.

For all the sweetness, you are also our troublemaker and the mover and shaker of our family.  I still can’t leave you alone or have you quiet for 5 minutes without you making a mess of something (case in point – the greasy lotion you smeared all over our bathroom and bed sheets or the finger paint you used to paint the carpet because you wanted to make a masterpiece).  You definitely need rules but don’t obey them even when you know they are there.  You love being active – running, walking, playing sports, and just being outside.  You are a huge daredevil who has no fear – from riding bigger rides at the fair all by yourself, to jumping off the blob into the lake at Fall Retreat when even college students were afraid, to riding your bike without training wheels, to swimming without a float at age 2.

You love Kinsley and want to do everything she is doing but you also aren’t afraid to put her in her place and stand up to her (hence the millions of arguments you have every day).  You have a zest and love for life and I love seeing your excitement, you facial expressions, and how you genuinely look forward to every moment and live it all out.

I pray that you will come to know the Lord and have that same passion and excitement for him that you do for other things.  I pray that you will have no fear to follow him and go where He leads you and do what He wants you to do the rest of your life.  I pray your sweet sensitive heart would allow you to love the Lord and love others in a way that shines for Him.

We are excited to celebrate with you today – no parties for you, you just want to go to Monkey Joes and jump and run around with a few friends (again, such a difference in your personality versus Kinsley’s). We are so thankful to the Lord that we get to be your parents – you have added spice and adventure and craziness and sweetness to our life that we would not have experienced without you!

You came down from nap wearing this shirt of mommy’s.  Why?  Who knows why you do half the things you do.  You are always into something or doing something crazy and mischievous.

When you crash, you crash…as evidenced by the fact that you are still holding this balloon while you sleep.

My Favorite Things

As I was walking around my house today, I kept thinking “I love this” and “I love that”, so I decided to blog about it instead of just talking to myself :).  You can read about some of my past favorite things here and here and here. I am still loving all those things!  Lets hope the same is true of these in a few months…

1.  Fall and everything pumpkin

Growing up, summer was my favorite season because it meant I got to spend every day at the beach (one of the perks of living on the coast!).  Now, I have to say that fall is my favorite.  I love everything about the fall – cooler weather, the leaves changing colors and falling, the decorations, corn mazes and pumpkin patches, and most of all, the fact that everything is PUMPKIN!  I used to hate pumpkin and all things pumpkin, but a switch flipped in the last few years and now I love all things pumpkin and can’t get enough.  Pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin candles – all these things equal heaven on earth 🙂

2.  Motivated Mom’s Chore Planner

I have heard lots of people ask or comment on how I can keep my house clean with 3 littles at home.  While I realize that having things clean is a little too much of a focus for me and something that I desire in a bad way sometimes, I really don’t spend that much time cleaning.  I used to love having the whole house clean at one time, but I knew that was unrealistic as I didn’t have 3-4 hours to clean with 3 little kids.   Knowing I needed a change years ago, I started this chore planner that Money Saving Mom recommended.  I tried it for a little bit and I was hooked.

What do I love about it?  I love that it only has a few things for me to do each day.  I love that it even lists things that you should do regularly but that I always forget about (clean sheets, changing the air filter, cleaning the blinds, cleaning the toaster – you know, those things you always overlook!).  I love that it keeps my house clean throughout the week, so if someone unexpectedly stops by or we have company coming into town, I don’t have to frantically clean before I feel like I can host.  I love that is easy for others to look at and pitch in to help, like when my mom is in town or Ed has time to help.  I love that others I know well have tried it and love it too.

Here’s a sample page below (most weeks don’t have this much to do).

3.  Running in NYC

I mean, seriously, who wouldn’t love looking at the city skyline and neighborhoods like this while you are running?  We were in NYC last week for a vision trip (hence my absence from blogging) and I loved getting a chance to go running.  I love the city, but I love running in the city even more – always something and/or someone to look at.

4.  the book “Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome” by Kent and Barbara Hughes

To be really honest, we just went through a season where we were hearing questions from lots of people such as “how many people are involved in your ministry” and “how many people have made a decision to follow Christ”.  While numbers are important for many reasons, everyone in ministry knows (or should know!) that numbers should never dictate whether your ministry is successful.

Our staff team is reading this book together as a team and discussing it weekly, and let me tell you, it is SO, SO GOOD!  I love that it brings me back to the Gospel and the truth about what it truly means to have a successful ministry.  Are you in ministry?  Read this book now! You will thank me for it.

5.  Puzzles (Yes, you read that right!)

I love puzzles. I love that my kids love puzzles. I love that they allow me to zone out and rest, but yet keep my mind engaged.  I just decided to re-engage in this long-lost hobby of mine, so I started with a 2000 piece puzzle.

Couple of lessons I learned –

1. It is not a good thing to do when my kids are around because they love to “help” which often means undoing what I have done or putting wrong pieces together.

2.  2000 pieces is a bit ambitious as a mom of 3 littles.  Aim lower.  Much, much lower.

3.  Pick a puzzle that isn’t half black and half purple with not a lot of differentiation between the pieces.  This type of puzzle will take much, much longer and make you want to quit (I literally wanted to quit but Ed gave me a lecture about not showing my kids that it is okay to quit (seriously, he did – over a puzzle, may I remind you) and Kinsley kept saying she couldn’t wait to see it finished).

4.  Those puzzle mats seem like a great idea but will lead you to have to redo some of what you have done.  And your baby will pull up to the table and want to pull down the green hanging part.  Don’t spend your $ on them.

Without further ado, here was my finished product (minus the few missing pieces that I am sure were eaten by either the dog or the baby – or both):