Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday Manuel

Today is the day...my sweet little boy turns 6! It's really crazy that it was SIX years ago that I held him for the first time (well, at 3:30pm! :)) We started our day off with the traditional donut breakfast "picnic" , a lovely rendition of Happy Birthday and balloons! :) Tonight we will take him out for a special dinner! :) I'll post pics later (as well as pics from his bowling party)

In the meantime, some awful quality cell phone pics from this morning! :)
 His balloons! :)
Being so sweet and smiling for pics FIRST THING (this was around 6:30am! :)) (ignore the mess in the background! :)) 
His birthday donut and his six PINK candles (oops! That's what you get when you have a little sister whos birthday is a few days before yours and mommy forgot to pick up more candles! :)) Oh well, he didn't care! :)

Have a great day friends! :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Manuel's Year in Review (Part 2)

Thank you all very much for your sweet comments on my last post about struggles. I know we all struggle, it's the nature of life, but sometimes its good to know that you are not alone! Little did I know when I posted that, that I would continue to hear stories of struggle, even from one of my best friends in the entire world. I will be sharing about my struggles sometime this week, but I can not let any of what is going on overshadow what tomorrow is...the 6th birthday of my sweet, precious, amazing first born, Manuel Christopher! There aren't words to describe how much I love Manuel and his AMAZING heart! He is just amazing, true, genuine and the list could go on and on! :)

To read the first part of Manuel's year in review (along with a link to his birth story), go here!

And for good measure...

July: Our family vacation...LOVE that smile! :)
 July: Our family vacation...LOVE this picture! :)
 August: Building a fort/tent with Daddy during Hurrican Irene
 August: After it being postponed for DAYS (becuase of Hurricane Irene), Manuel finally started Kindergarten!
 September: Sundays were spent at church, and then rockin' our Ravens gear for football games! :)
 September: Being the best big cousin...helping Spencer open gifts! ;)
 October: A BEAUTIFUL Fall day, spent at the zoo...imitating the monkeys in this statue! ;)
 October: Celebrating Halloween as Darth Vader
 October: Getting dirty (and LOVIN' it!) at many trips to the pumpkin patch!
 November: After a few rough weeks, Manuel was rewarded for his awesome behavior by being able to bring home the class "pet", Bentley! We celebrated by dinner and bowling! :)
 November: On an unusually warm Fall day, Manuel learned to ride his bike without training wheels! :)
 November: Thanksgiving and all of the delicious desserts that come with it! :)
 December: Santa came!!!!! :)
December: Celebrating Christmas with our amazing family! :)

Manuel has had a pretty incredible, milestone filled past year...and January has already brought...him losing his first two teeth, getting to bring home Bentley AGAIN for awesome behavior, and a 6th birthday party at the bowling alley (pics coming soon!)

I love you Manuel Christopher! :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I have had some internals struggling going on lately...nothing really serious (in the grand scheme of life) but just a lot going through my head. I hope to open up soon about it on here and get some advice. It has NOTHING to do with my husband or children, like I said, it's all internal! :) BUT with that being said, I feel like struggle is going on all around me...friends, family, and some of my dearest blogging buddies, just seem to be in "ruts" and I hate seeing it. I know worrying is a sin, because all things should be handed over to God, and He will help those in need, but sometimes we worry, sometimes we sin, sometimes we struggle, and all the prayers in the world don't seem to help our souls (unfortunately!) We can't compare our trials and tribulations to each other, because trust me, there is ALWAYS some worst off than you, or struggling more than you, but in the moment you feel alone, sad, and helpless. I have shared a particular verse of this song with a few people lately because it REALLY speaks to my soul (so much so, that it's now the ring tone on my phone! :)) but I thought I would share the entire song with you all, in hopes that someone at this very second, needs to read these words. I am bolding/underlining/italicizing the verse that gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME...

Healing Hands of God by Jeremy Camp
I have seen the many faces of fear and of pain

I have watched the tears fall plenty from heartache and strain
So if life's journey has you weary and afraid
There's rest in the shadow of His wings

I have walked through the valleys, the mountains, and plains
I have held the hand of freedom that washes all my stains
If you feel weight of many trials and burdens from this world
There's freedom in the shelter of the Lord

And I have seen the healing hand of God
Reaching out and mending broken hearts
Taste and see the fullness of His peace
And hold on to what's being held out
The healing hand of God

And I have touched the scars upon His hands to see if they were real
He has walked the road before me, he knows just how I feel
When you feel that there's not anyone, who understands your pain
Just remember all of Jesus's suffering

'Cause I have seen the healing hand of God
Reaching out and mending broken hearts
Taste and see the fullness of His peace
And hold on to what's being held out

Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you
He's near to the broken and confused
By His stripes our spirit is renewed
So enter in the joy prepared for you

I have seen the healing hand of God
Reaching out and mending broken hearts
Taste and see the fullness of His peace
And hold on to what's being held out
The healing hand of God

And one more song that I'd like to share, because again, the words speak volumes to me. In our struggles, in our heartaches, we have to remember this is all temporary. Life is SO short compared to eternity, eternity where we will see all of our loved ones again, eternity where we will be with our families FOREVER! What a beautiful thought! (Don't misread this, I want to live MANYYYYYYYYY more years with my amazing husband, children, family, etc. but it's just a good reminder that in times of pain, this is all temporary! :))...

Where I Belong by Building 429
Sometimes it feels like I'm watching from the outside

Sometimes it feels like I'm breathing but am I alive
I won't keep searching for answers that aren't here to find

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

So when the walls come falling down on me
And when I'm lost in the current of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance holding me.

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

When the earth shakes I wanna be found in You
When the lights fade I wanna be found in You

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

Friends, if you are reading this, chances are I'm praying for you! :) I pray for you in your times of struggle, I pray for you in your times of joy. Things will get better...they ALWAYS do! :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Manuel's Year In Review (Part 1)

First let me get this out there...my Baltimore Ravens lost to the Patriots in yesterdays game and I am heartbroken! :( I'm a HUGE football fan (NFL) and I just hate when the season is over with, especially ONE GAME AWAY from the Superbowl! It's funny because I was/am genuinely bummed and still a little "down" today about it and I have NO true vested interest in the game (I'm not a player, I'm not related to any players, and I certainly did not bet money on the game!!!! :) I wonder how I would feel to be in any of those peoples shoes?!?!? :) Oh well, there's always next year (UGH! I hate when people say that! :)) Now to the important stuff...

January is a whirlwind month in our household with both of the kids celebrating their birthdays. We make them both feel VERY special and each birthday party is an individual celebration of that particular child and all of their amazingness! :)

On January 31st, my sweet sprited first born will be turning SIX! How did that happen!?!? Just typing that literally made my heart ache for a second and make me want to tear up. It is absolutely insane how quickly time goes. I must say, I understand how people have 5, 6, 7, 8 + children because time does fly, they grow up so quickly, and you miss each stage as it passes.

You can read Manuel's birth story here.

This last year has been an awesome year for Manuel, full of many milestones...graduating preschool, attending summer camp for the first time, starting Kindergarten, giving karate a try, growing as a big brother, learning how to deal with his emotions and not act out in school, starting the beginning stages of learning how to read, getting to bring home Bentley (his class mascot) for outstanding behavior (TWICE! :)), and a million other little things along the way. Manuel is definitely a little boy that any parent would be proud of!

Manuel Christopher,
   My kind spirited, sweet little soul, where do I ever begin? You are TRULY one of the most amazing little boys I have ever met, and I'm not just saying that because your my son. You have an absolute heart of gold, such a heart for people that I have no doubt you are going to be something astounding one day! To say that you are an excellent big brother is an understatement...you are SO patient, so kind, so caring and just wonderful with Mia. I know she can be a bit much sometimes buddy as you just want to quietly sit and play your LeapPad, or calmly sit and watch a show, but you ALWAYS make time for her! You always talk to her when she's talking to you, and I just can't say enough about how you treat her. I pray that you two always remain close and that you are always there to protect her. I could sit and watch you two play for hours, in awe of how good you are with her. Daddy instills in you 3 very important things that you can say when asked, "What do you need to make sure you do in life?" You reply, "Work hard, love God and always protect my little sister." :) Not many 6 years old say that sort of thing, but Daddy has done an awesome job making you the little man that you need to be, to then ultimately become an amazing man of God! (and of coures Mommy has helped too! ;)) You had a big year buddy, with starting school, riding the bus and more, and I couldn't be more proud. Grant it, we had a rough two weeks where your behavior was "off" but with prayers, consequence, and talking and more praying, you did a complete turn around and are showing your true colors, like I knew you could/would! :) I pray that Mommy and Daddy raise you right buddy. I pray that we raise you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, to live a life that honors and serves him, and that you gain confidence and love of the fantastic little boy you are. You will always be my baby!

Love, Mommy

And for good measure (a review of the first half of Manuel's last year)...
January: You celebrated your 5th birthday! :)
February: We were able to enjoy some outdoor time when it was unseasonably warm!
March: Celebrating St. Patty's Day in your green! :)
April: Helping Daddy build something! :)
April: Celebrating Easter
May: We welcomed warm weather and enjoyed a local carnival! :)
May: Celebrating our cousins 3rd birthday in Heaven
May: Graduating from preschool and making Mommy and Daddy SO proud by your response to "I am amazing because...." you answered, "I have good parents" :)
June: Building Daddy a tool box at Home Depot for Fathers Day
June: Celebrating Mommy's 30th birthday and unwillingly getting a picture taken! ;)
June: Wearing matching outfits with Spencer at Mommy's party

Stay tuned for Part 2 :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mia's Birthday Party

Thank you friends for your sweet comments on yesterdays post! :) We just got home from church and we are getting ready to head to our friends football party to HOPEFULLY watch the Ravens win but I wanted to post the pics from Mia's party first!

And for good measure...
 What she wore :)
 Mia wants to wear glasses SO badly (Manny, Manuel and I all wear them) so I bought her a pair at the Dollar Store and took the lenses out! :) She LOVES them! :)
 The snack table spread! (A former co-worker of mine made the cake..LOVE IT! :))

 Clearly my niece, Vivienne enjoyed the pizza! ;)
 Enjoying the Wii
 Such a princess! ;)
 Enjoying some of Nonna's cookies (Don't forget to become a fan of my moms Facebook page and be automatically entered to win a Valentines Day basket of delicious goodies! :) Go here)

Have a great weekend dear friends! :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mia's Birthday Part 1

Hi Friends! I hope you all are having a great weekend!!! We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves this weekend! I will be a VERY happy girl tomorrow if my Ravens beat the Patriots and head to the Super Bowl (FINGERS CROSSED!!! :) Before I start Manuel's year in review posts next week (in honor of his upcoming 6th birthday), I wanted to finish off Mia's birthday posts! :) Thank you all for your super sweet birthday wishes for my sweet, Mia Grace! :) She had a wonderful birthday on Wednesday! Her day started out with a birthday breakfast picnic with her brother. They enjoyed donuts (a rare treat) after a beautiful rendition of Happy Birthday courtesy of Manny, Manuel and I! ;) Today was her birthday party at my moms house. It was a great day!!!!! There are a ton of picture, so todays post will be pics from her actual birthday (tomorrow I'll post pictures from her party! :))
And for good measure...
 Her birthday balloons
 Getting ready to walk in her room to sing Happy Birthday
 Sleeing in her brothers bed (don't ask! ;)) No, they don't sleep in the same bed. Sometimes parenting is about compromising and not sleeping in your bed (either of the kids! ;))
 Trying to wake up and take it all in :)
 Morning Hair! :)
 The birthday picnic set-up :)
 She barely ate of her donut, but she sure made a mess! ;)

 Mia opening up up her gift from a us! (and yes, we have toys EVERYWHERE in our house, and yes we are outgrowing our house! We need to move when our lease is up! :))

 A BIKE!!!!! :)

 All that partying wore the kids out...yes, Manuel is sleeping under those balloons! :)