Wednesday, September 30, 2015

One Week

In exactly one week I will hopefully be holding my precious fourth daughter {unless she decides to come early}.

It seems like such a short time when I think of all I still want to accomplish before she gets here, but yet so far away because my heart is so heavy with longing to meet her.

I feel like so much has happened over the last week, that I can hardly wait one more week!

Last week Lantz and I were able to go to Abilene for ACU's Summit Sunday through Wednesday.  It was awesome-- of course, as it always is.  Lantz and I so enjoy the time of spiritual renewal. It was awesome too because I got to spend a little time with one of my best friends from college, Laura.  It was surreal to be sitting outside of Moody each night and watch our kids chase and play with each other.  Such a precious time that I'll keep etched in my memory.

The best thing about our time in Abilene though, was the fact that our birth mom was so sweet and invited us to her doctor's appointment.  We got to hear Chantzlyn Hope's heart beat for the first time and it was magical!   My heart was full of gratitude as tears of joy streamed down my face as I listened to the sweet little, "Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh" sound and looked at the face of our precious birth mom who chose life for our little one.   What a grand moment to be apart of!

I also had the opportunity to meet the doctor & I'm so glad I got to!  He was very patient and was sure to answer any questions that we had. I love the fact that he prayed over us after the appointment!  Amazing!

Here is my first "bump" picture:

And here is our first selfie with our girl:

It was also great to spend some extra time with our birth mom and just get to know her better.  I can honestly say that I truly believe God has brought our two families together.  I have loved developing a friendship with this sweet lady and look forward to getting to know her even better through the years.

When we first met with our birth mom, almost exactly one month ago now, she was so sweet to give us pictures from Chantzlyn's sonogram. The girls and I have both looked at these pictures over and over and every time it brings a smile to my face.  I LOVE this little gummy bear of mine & I can't wait to give her kisses!

I have also gotten some things done around the house.

#1. We have gotten down the newborn & 0-3 month clothes out of the attic, washed them & emptied out two drawers just for Chantzlyn.

#2. Everyone has moved beds.  The crib is officially ready for Chantzlyn with a new sheet on & the bumpers dry cleaned.  I was worried about Preslee's transition into a big girl bed, but so far so good.  She has been sleeping in her new big bed for almost a week now and she loves it!  Bet you can't tell....

#3. We have ordered Preslee a new car seat.  She has to move out of the infant carrier so Chantzlyn can take over- which means she needs a new place to ride.  Good news- her new car seat should be here soon.

#4. Speaking of car seats, Lantz has moved all the seats around in the van. We are now ready for 4 carseats to hold 4 girls!

#5. I bought a pack of newborn diapers. ... Y'all, this had to make the list. :)

#6.  A sweet lady at church is monograming a blanket for Chantzlyn so she'll have something with her name on it. So precious!  Thank you Donna Corder!

#8. Lantz's mom got two new adorable little Wubba Nub pacifiers for Chantzlyn & Momma Jean picked up a few outfits for her... including some new gown sleepers.

#9.  We got "big sister" shirts for the girls {they were so excited} and a "little sister" shirt for baby girl.

I think that's it.  I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but that's where we are today!  We are getting so close and I can feel the energy just bubbling up inside of me!

Chantzlyn Hope, my precious baby girl, my heart is ready for you.  I pray for you every day.  I get so excited every time I think about you.  I wonder what color your hair will be, or what color your eyes will be.  I wonder how much you will weigh and how long you will be.  I wonder if you'll be a good eater or a good sleeper.  I wonder if you'll be a cuddler. I wonder what your cry will sound like.  I wonder what your little fingers wrapped around one of mine will feel like.  I wonder about so many things... but mostly I wonder about how I can already have so much love for you without even meeting you yet.  Our hearts beat with love and anticipation to meet you and hold you.  Sweet daughter of mine, I love you to the moon and back. 

{And in case you are feeling generous, we are still taking donations through our idonate page HERE. Thank you to everyone who either bought a shirt or made a donation, or both. We truly are humbled my the amount of love, support, generosity, and kindness shown us. }

Friday, September 25, 2015

Her Name Will Be...

Chantzlyn Hope

Yes... Chantzlyn Hope.

We love it and we think it will suite our 4th daughter just wonderfully!

Chantzlyn:  She will be named after her father and grandfather.  Lantz has an "ntz" in is name, and his dad's name is Frantz with an "ntz."  We wanted to keep the "ntz" alive through the generations.  If we ever had a boy his name would have been Chantz.  Since our home will be filled with all things pink we  decided to girlie it up a bit and that's how we got Chantzlyn.  

Hope:  Seems only fitting.  "Choose Hope" has been our victory call through our whole adoption process.  We choose hope in Christ first and foremost and we pray that for all of our sweet babies including Chantzlyn.  Her "tummy Mommy" {what the girls call our birth mom} chose hope by choosing life for our daughter.  Romans 5:5 says that "hope doesn't disappoint..."  and we know that our hope in Christ and living in obedience to Him will never disappoint us. 

Precious Chantzlyn Hope, oh how my soul longs to hold you in my arms!  I pray for you every day and know that the Lord is keeping watch over you.  I can't even begin to explain the love that my heart feels for you already.  I got to hear your heart beat for the first time this week and it filled me with joy, love, and hope.  You are my beloved chosen daughter and I love you. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Preslee is 17 Months Old

I cannot even believe it's already time to write this post!  Ahh!  Where or where does the time go to?  I can't believe that my baby girls is already seventeen months old {yesterday}!  She is getting so big, so fast!

Preslee Ray:
- You are a handful!  You have already begun testing the limits and trying to learn what boundaries are.  You have a voice and you are not afraid to use it.. even in the middle of a store or restaurant. You have learned to rare back and flair your body and kick and scream like a pro now.  You are having to learn some hard lessons that you have to listen and obey.  It's definitely been a month of testing the limits.
- You have started becoming much more pickier of an eater.  So much so, that you will forgo eating if you don't like what is in front of you.  We are having to help you understand what it means to eat a healthy meal.  There is definitely no complaining from you in there are carbs on your plate though... I guess you take after mommy!
- You are expanding your vocabulary daily.  You are constantly trying to "talk" to us and repeat different words.  You ask for your "bu-ee" ("bunny"... your stuffed bear dressed as a bunny) when you are tired or cranky.  You say "puuu" for "puppy." You scream, "Iiiiii" ("hi") and wave to anyone that you see and you will wave and scream "byyyyye" to anyone as you are leaving.  You are so sweet!
- You are a FAST girl!  There is no holding you back!  You are running to keep up with your sisters or running carrying one of their toys that you stole or running away from Mommy & Daddy!  You think you are so funny and so fast {and you are mostly!}.
- You are still breastfeeding five times a day, but when your baby sister gets here soon we will start slowly weaning you down.
- You are wearing some 12 month clothes, but mostly 18 months, and wearing a size 6 shoe! Your feet have grown so much lately! It seems like it won't be long until you are out of those size 6s!
- You love to get right in the car and start climbing around.  You do NOT like it when we try to buckle you into your carseat.  With each trip in the car it seems I can guarantee a tantrum to go along with it.
- You are fearless when it comes to climbing. You have no idea of height.  We have to watch you so closely in the backyard because you will just run right over to the play set and climb right up the ladder without us watching.  It's so scary!
- You laugh is so contagious and your smile can seriously light up the room!  I love your dimple and your little gaps in your teeth and how you smile with your whole face!  It's so awesome!
- You still love to play babies. It's precious to watch you walk around with your baby and try to feed it a bottle.  You are going to be such a great big sister!
-Lately Sunday's after church you completely crash.  So much so, that if we get home or go to a restaurant you don't even wake up and you just sleep on me.  I love it so much!  I know those moments are fleeting.

My sweet little baby,  you are such a joy to be around.  You light up my world like no other!  You have a personality bigger than Texas and I love every ounce of it!  I love how bold and independent you are and I love how confident you are!  I pray that you never loose those traits, but that you channel those for the Lord and for His kingdom. You are so precious and I treasure moments when I can steal some extra cuddles from you.  I love how you love to give hugs to almost anyone and how you are so generous with your smiles!  Precious girl, you have no idea the amount of love that my heart feels for you.  Every day I can't imagine loving you more and then the Lord floods me with even more love to give you.  I am so thankful for you Preslee Ray.  I love you so much and I'm so thankful that I get to be your Mommy. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sawyer Starts Preschool

So about three weeks ago Sawyer finally got her chance to go school!  To say this girl was ready would be an understatement!  After watching her sister go to school for the last two years this little sister was ready to see what it was all about for herself.  She did not understand why Kennedie got to go to school a week before her and she didn't understand why she couldn't go every day like big sister!  Two days a week just didn't seem fair to her.  It was more than fair for this Momma!  It was a little bitter sweet to watch my angel girl go off on her own for two whole days a week without me, but I'm also so thankful to see her happy and enjoying it!

A week before school started she got to go in for Meet the Teacher.  She was so pumped, but sad that she didn't get to stay for a full school day.  She felt totally jipped to just be there for like thirty minutes. Ha! She was also super excited to find out that her classroom for school was the same class for church! Score!

She got there & she and Preslee immediately started playing puzzles:

What her day will look like:

In front of her cubby holding her sweet little nap mat that a friend from church made her. {Thank you Mrs. Teresa Turnbow! She LOVES it!}

She is in the puppy class at school which is so perfect for her!  Every time we are in the car or on a walk, Sawyer is quick to point out any "puppy" that she sees.  She calls herself the "puppy girl" over and over.  It was such a fun surprise to find out she would be in the puppy class!! Here she is pointing out her paw print with her birthday:

And finally a picture with her teacher.  She originally was supposed to have two teachers, Ms. Odet & Ms. Aislyn, but the split the class up and Ms. Aislyn is with other students.  Her teacher is Ms. Odet, the sweet lady on the right:

Finally the first day of school arrived and Sawyer Sue could not be any more excited:

Morning hugs from baby sister:

Sister picture (K was already at school):

Obligatory pictures with Daddy and Mommy:

Picture in front of cubby again:

So excited for her first day!  Here she is with her teacher Ms. Odet:

And this was how we left her....
Completely in the zone on a puzzle. No tears.  Totally content & ready for the day.

I'm so thankful Daddy is right down the hall if she needs anything.

I will confess Mommy did pretty good.  I was fine until I got in the car and thought about it and then I had a few tears well up in my eyes.  It's so hard to watch them get big, and yet such a blessing.

I love my sweet Sawyer Sue and I'm so proud of her!

Sawyer's Sayings

There are a few sweet things that Sawyer has said lately and I don't want to forget them.

This summer at VBS they sang, "Roll the Gospel Chariot Along."  Sawyer interpreted it as, "Roll the "Dod" chariot along..." {Her "Dod" was "God."}  It is so sweet to hear her singing it.  And hey, "Gospel" and "Do" (God) can easily be interchanged in that song. :)

She also came home "Cast your burdens unto Jesus" and she'll just sing that part of the song over and over again... omitting every other part to the song.  Love that these are the things that get "stuck" in her head.

When Sawyer has blood on her she will say something like, "I have bleed on my leg."  It's always "bleed," never "blood." It's one of those things that just sound so sweet and innocent.

The past month whenever we get a babysitter, she will ask, "Who is Bible-studying us?"  Instead of "babysitting us" it's always, "Bible-studying us." Or, "Is Bee Bible-studying us?"  I love that she thinks her babysitters are Bible-studiers. Ha! To her credit they do sound similar.

She calls the hand sanitizer: "hanasizer."  It's like it's all one big word.

She also will let us know when someone needs "pry-sa-vee" {privacy}.  Its super sweet when she lets us know she needs "pry-sa-vee" when she is going to the bathroom or changing. Ha!

I just love my sweet girl so much!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Kennedie Goes to Kindergarten

Well, Kennedie has been in Kindergarten now for almost a month now.  It's just so crazy how fast time goes.  It's like a whole new ball game with Kindergarten.... it's like we left one stage of life over night and entered into a completely new one.

Kennedie is going to a charter school.  We put her name in the lottery last spring not sure whether we really wanted her to go to the school or not.  Lantz and I both spent so much time praying about this decision.  It seemed so unclear what to do.  There were pros and cons to the the zoned elementary and also to the charter.  I spent so much time talking to God (and anyone who would listen & let me hash it out) about where I should send Kennedie to school.  Not just the best place for her educationally, but I also wanted her in the best place spiritually.  I wanted the right place for her to be able to shine her light and share Jesus' love with others and also stand strong in her own faith.  I doubted where the right place for her would be.

I finally laid it all in the hands of God.  I asked Him to show me where the best place would be for my Kennedie.  If the charter school was right for her, then I prayed for her to get in. If the zoned school was best then I prayed for her not to get into the charter school.  I pleaded with the Lord to do what was best for my girl.

Well, there were about 500 Kindergarten applicants for the charter school and only 100 places.  If there are applicants who have siblings already in the school or a parent that teaches at the school then they are automatically allowed into the school.  After all 66 siblings were placed on the Kindergarten list it only left 44 places for other students.  My Kennedie was 22 on the list and so she got into the charter school.

I wish I could tell you how excited I was for her to get in and how at peace I was with the whole decision. Unfortunately, I am ashamed to admit my lack of trust and faith in God in this situation.  I was still so uncertain if this was "right" for her.... or if there was a "right."

Lantz quickly reminded me to just stop worrying because we had spent so much time in prayer.  He said that we just needed to trust that this was where she was meant to be and have faith that she would do great.  {"Besides," he said, "we can always pull her out if it doesn't seem to work."}

So... we dove head first into our charter school experience and haven't looked back yet! So far we LOVE it and Kennedie seems to be thriving (minus the crying, but we'll get to that) and learning so much.

About a week before school started we got an email telling us Kennedie's teacher name (whom I truly believe was hand picked by God just for her.. she has been amazing for Kennedie) & inviting her to Meet the Teacher at their school.  Of course that meant that I cued up my camera & prepared to photograph this monumental moment. :)

After shaking her teacher's hand she got to pick out her own seat.  Here she is:

Here she is with her super sweet teacher, Mrs. Lopez:

And no classroom would be complete without some Minions:

Kennedie came home from Meet the Teacher BEAMING!  She was so excited & loved her teacher!

Fast forward to the first day of school. Here is my girl in her uniform looking so big:

And just for fun let's take a walk down memory lane.  Here's my baby girl's first day of pictures for preschool, KR, and Kindergarten. {Insert tears & tissues!}

She did so GREAT and was SO incredibly brave!  We got to walk her in and of course I took more pictures.

Her classroom:
(We were one of the first ones there.  I was not making the same mistake I did last year on her first day of KR where we were the LAST ones and walked in right when class was starting and I just had to leave her without helping her settle in. )

At her desk coloring:

Pictures with Mommy, Daddy & Sisters:

After the "sister picture" Sawyer just stayed there with her hand on Kennedie for the longest time.  It was the sweetest thing ever.  It was like she knew what was coming and just stayed close to her:

Preslee on the other hand found herself a seat and planted it.  She thought she was staying.  Ha!  She is so 16 months going on 6. 

This is where I would insert a super cute picture of Kennedie and her teacher again, but unfortunately her teacher got in a wreck on the first day of school.  Luckily she wasn't hurt too bad and was able to be back on day three. 
The bad news is that I think that not having her teacher there was REALLY hard on my girl.  She only met one little girl at Meet the Teacher and her teacher.  She doesn't do well in new environments or with new people, and so day one (and every day after actually) was really tough.  Here she is about 2 minutes before we left.... trying SO hard to hold those tears back:

Poor thing.  We had to leave her with tears streaming down her face (and as soon as we rounded the corner I was a sobbing mess myself!).  One of the counselors was there trying to help soothe her.  I got a call from the substitute at about 11:00 letting me know that she hadn't stopped crying yet. She cried pretty much all day.  But when I picked her up, I asked her if she had fun, she said yes and she told me she made new friends.  So, go figure?

On Wednesdays, it's a Spirit Day at school. All the students can wear a spirit shirt instead of their uniform and every Wednesday they have early release at 11:45.  Yes, EVERY Wednesday.  It is my favorite part of her school! I love that Wednesdays are only half days and we all get to eat lunch together and I get a few extra precious hours with my big girl.  It's great too since we have church on Wednesdays and it allows a little less "rush" to the day. Here she is in her spirit gear:

We are a month into school and Kennedie still cries when we drop her off and has cried every single day at school (multiple times a day).  Again, you wouldn't know it though.  She comes home smiling and telling me all about it.  She says she has fun and is loving playing with all her friends.  When I ask her why she cries, she says, "Because I miss you Mommy..."

MELT. MY. HEART. "I miss you too baby... every single day." 

A Few Pictures...

I found a few random pictures that hadn't made it into a blog yet, so I thought I'd share them....

Love that we get donuts for a few "special" reasons in our house.  On the morning of someone's birthday the birthday girl gets to go get a special donut & bring back some for everyone else to share. That is also the case on the morning of yearly portraits for each girl.  I found this gem of the girls enjoying some donuts {on the floor} after Kennedie's early morning of 5 year old pictures:

That above is real life y'all.... Sawyer gets so hot all the time.  She ends up taking her clothes or pajamas off so often throughout the day.  She runs around with out clothes most days. And let's talk about Preslee's bow... I have no idea why she has that on her head.  But her pajamas were mine when I was a baby... only it's a gown for a newborn.... on her its a short sleeve walk around grown. Ha! Love it!

Love this sweet one of K & Pres:

And here is one of all my babies playing babies together {again, real life with Sawyer}... 

Sawyer loves to wear her sunglasses:

Ha!  She is so funny!