Thursday, July 4, 2013

20 Questions

Quinn's answers...
1. What is your favorite color? red, blue, and orange... and green sometimes.
2. What is your favorite toy? basketballs
3. What is your favorite fruit? carrots
4. What is your favorite tv show? Spiderman and Incredible Hawk
5. What is your favorite movie? Elmo
6. What is your favorite thing to wear? my park shirt (???)
7. What is your favorite animal? giraffe and zebras
8. What is your favorite song? Mom, you answer that for me.
9. What is your favorite book? ABC superhero book that has a Q on it.
10. Who is your best friend? Adam and Max
11. What is your favorite snack? fruit snacks and cereal bars
12. What is your favorite drink? smoothies and juice
13. What is your favorite breakfast? pancakes
14. What is your favorite lunch? carrots and broccoli (I wish)
15. What is your favorite dinner? pizza and bread
16. What is your favorite game? tennis with an orange racquet
17. What is your favorite thing to play outside? basketball on the roof (try and figure that one out)
18. What is your favorite Bible story? The Bible tells me so
19. What do you sleep with at night? my bunny and baby
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? have instructions (construction)
Riley's answers...
1. What is your favorite color? pink and purple
2. What is your favorite toy? baby dolls
3. What is your favorite fruit? watermelon
4. What is your favorite tv show? pet shop
5. What is your favorite movie? The Chipmunks
6. What is your favorite thing to wear? the dress that Grandma bought me
7. What is your favorite animal? giraffes
8. What is your favorite song? my dance class songs
9. What is your favorite book? Pinkalicious
10. Who is your best friend? Elise
11. What is your favorite snack? fruit snacks
12. What is your favorite drink? juice
13. What is your favorite breakfast? cheerios. I like the marshmallow kind but you never buy them.
14. What is your favorite lunch? macaroni and cheese
15. What is your favorite dinner? pizza
16. What is your favorite game? tag, you are it
17. What is your favorite thing to play outside? playing with my scooter
18. What is your favorite Bible story? Joseph
19. What do you sleep with at night? Pheobe
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? a Mom and a Grandma

Sunday, June 16, 2013

#4.... Say What?!

Guess what? We are expecting our 4th child sometime around January 10. Yes, we know how this happens. Yes, #4 was unexpected. Yes, I am excited. Yes, I am scared to have 4 kids 5 and under. And yes, I have been pregnant A LOT lately.

These past few weeks, God has taught me so much about myself, being a mother, and letting go of my plans. To be honest, when I found out I was pregnant, I was overwhelmed with fear. Being a mother to my little ones has been one of the greatest blessings of my life in so many ways. I first of all feel privilaged just to have the chance to be a mother. There was a time in my life where I wasn't sure this would happen. What a joy it is to give birth to these little ones and watch them grow. Being a mother is amazing.

To be honest, it has also been hard. There is a lot of crying, tantrums, sleepless nights, potty training, whining, morning sickness, exhaustion. Then there is the self-sacrifice. The really hard stuff. The part of mothering that you can never really prepare for. It sort of shocks you with the first baby. You start to give up nights with friends and you begin to lose sleep. Income decreases, cost increases.  With each child you sacrifice a little more of yourself and time.

When I first found out I was pregnant I immediately asked God a million questions. "Do you see the chaos in my house everyday?", "You really think I can be sick again and take care of 3 little ones?", "Our house is small. Where will this baby sleep?", "We already struggle to pay bills, how are we going to get by?", "Do you realize I will have 4 kids under 5 at home every day, all day?", "Am I ever going to sleep?", "Who in their right mind will watch all 4 of my kids so I can have a break?", "I just fit into my favorite pair of jeans. Really?".

I am thankful for a God that shows me grace. During that week of questioning, God revealed so many truths about His purpose for my life. This saying from Rachael Janokovic has been engrained in my mind:
Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.
Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.
Our society hates self-sacrifice. We are taught to only give things up when it is convenient for us. God has continued to remind me to give up my body, my comfort, my fashion, my sleep, and my time. I won't be able to walk into a store with all 4 of my little ones and look like I have it all together. I mean really, I almost have to expect someone to be upset. Make-up on Sunday morning won't cover my exhaustion from a sleepless night. I will be forced to be vulnerable. I need that. I need to give up my desires in order to give to someone else. My mission field is my children. Those 4 little people have the capability to change hundreds, even thousands of lives. What a responsibility. What a privilege. What a blessing. A few years of little sleep is worth that.

If you visit the Richard house this winter please expect to see lots of kids running into each other on juice and dirt stained carpets. There will be a lot of crying and fighting. I will most likely be wearing my black work-out pants and sweatshirt from the year 2000. My hair will be in a pony tail and coffee will be in my hand. Don't expect fancy food. Pancake dinners will become a staple. There will be no chair for you at the dinner table. You won't have your own space. You may have to change a diaper. I'm cool with that because when you walk into this house, you are walking into a place that is exactly as God intended it.

The life inside of me was not an "accident". This child is not an inconvenience. This child is an unexpected blessing.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Been a while...

It has been a while, I know. There is a lot going on in this house. I was realizing yesterday that I fail at taking pictures when I don't blog. My kids are cute at this age so I need to make more of an effort to capture moments.

Here is a quick recap on all the kiddos....
Riley has been staying busy doing ballet ALL THE TIME. She dances all day long. She also changes her outfit 50 times a day (not much of an exaggeration). It drives me crazy, but since we have been stuck in our house a lot lately, I relent. She loves singing, wearing dresses, and taking care of her sister. Her new favorite thing to do is to listen to books on CD. She listens to her books during nap time and it keeps her quiet and sometimes puts her to sleep. Great for her and Mommy!

Quinn is pretty much Mark... cute, naturally athletic, eats like a horse and never gains weight, does not like crowds or new people, does not like to sleep, and has a somewhat scary temper. He is also very particular as you can see from the above picture. His things need to be in a certain order, He always likes to have 3 foods in front of him (because he is 3), has to drink from a blue cup, and be surrounded by his favorite toys and gadgets. His pockets are usually full of batteries, toy cars, keys,rocks and magnets. It is always a good idea to check his pockets before doing laundry. He will not take naps (insert extremely sad face here). We are working on having him play in his room quietly for a while during nap time. We have been working on it for about 4 months. Not going so well but we keep pressing on. He WILL get it someday... I hope.

This is Reese in her Easter dress. She hated it. She rolled around and cried for about 15 minutes. I finally took it off and put something else on. She looked really cute for those traumatic 15 minutes. Reese is taking some steps, but does not like to walk. I explained to her that it would be helpful if she could walk since it was nice outside and she is heavy to carry everywhere. She just smiled and crawled away. She is not as generally determined as the other 2 are. I am cool with that. She loves to eat, but is starting to become more picky. She use to love veggies, but now immediately spits them all out. She hates drinking milk and loves ice cream. She has 8 teeth. She takes a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon and sleeps about 11 hours at night. Reese is pretty easy going and is a joy to have!

Randomly Riley steals my camera and takes pictures. It is always fun to go through my pictures only to find 30 pictures my 4-year-old has taken. This one is my favorite. Thought you might like it too.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Happy Birthday!

My sweet girl turned 1 today. Early in my pregnancy, I was so excited to be having another baby, but I must admit I was scared. My other 2 were still young and imagining 3 kids 3 and younger made me doubt my parenting skills. How would I ever go to a store? What if 2 of them had meltdowns and I had a newborn in the car seat? I hadn't slept a full night in forever and it seemed like being fully rested was years away. My chances of working part-time and affording a babysitter for 3 kids was slim to nothing. My 3rd pregnancy was a bit more difficult. My body was tired, yet I knew the little miracle inside of me would be an amazing addition to our family.

We had some rough patches throughout the year. I lost plenty of sleep. My body is stretched and I have had some lasting side effects from the pregnancy. We have had our share of public meltdowns. Meltdowns that caused me to sweat and ask strangers to help me to the car. But you know what? I would do it a million times over in order for Reese to be a part of our family. Having 3 little ones has made me stronger. Reese has brought so much happiness to my life that I can't imagine life without her.

Reese has a pleasant personality. She smiles and laughs often. She sings wordless songs daily. She dances and claps her hands even when the house is full of chaos. She loves to eat and will be disappointed when I take away her last bottle. She is Riley and Quinn's shadow and doesn't know what to do with herself when they are not around.

When I look into that baby's eyes, I can't help but see God's goodness. After having the opportunity to love my baby girl, I can't imagine the love God has for me. God gave Reese to me as a sign of life in a dark, dying world. I don't deserve her, but am thankful for every day I have with her.

I love you precious girl! May you change the world!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lots of words and no pictures

Yes, I still remember this blog (sometimes). I think about writing quite often. This winter has been tiring. Someone was sick in our family for about 2 months. It went a little like this.... stomach bug, cold, pink eye, fevers, cold, coughs, stomach bug, colds, teething, fevers. Pick and choose who had what. Each one of us had something at some point. Quinn won the award for most puking incidents. I won the award for longest sore throat and Reese won for slowest teether ever. Hopefully, we caught every virus this year, so the rest of the Winter we should feel great!

Just to catch you up on what is going on in the Richard house, I will try to summarize the past month.

~ Reese is almost a year old. I don't believe it. I am sad, however it is always exciting to watch your kids grow and become more independent.

~ It is cold outside. We have had our share of pj days lately. Why not? Some days I put normal clothes on when Mark gets home so I look more put together. He then puts his pj's on when he gets home. Thankful for a husband who gets it.

~ Quinn asked me what God's middle name was.

~ Reese is getting 4 teeth right now. Her gums have been swollen for a month and only 1 tooth has popped through. Poor girl.

~ I made some homemade chocolate cake. While eating it Riley says, "Mom, can I have the ingredients for this cake so when I am a mommy I can make it?". Quinn follows her statement by saying, "Mommy, when I am a daddy I am going to come to your house to eat your cake then go home". So typical of their personalities.

~ Quinn has informed me several times in the last couple of weeks that he does not like people and does not want friends. I think Mark has told me that before. No wonder they are such good buddies.

~ I love the show "Downton Abbey". I look forward to watching it all week long. Too bad they only show 6 episodes a year. What is that about?

~ We painted our kitchen, living room, and hallways. It took about 18 hours. I can't believe people choose to do that as a job.

~ Reese has been standing on her own the past couple of days. I am thinking she will be walking in about a month.

~ Nap time has been hard. We are trying to figure out when the older 2 should wake in the morning and go to bed at night so that they will still take a nap.

~ Last week, I decided to be productive. I made a ton of cinnamon rolls and homemade chicken broth. The kids watched movies from 8:00am to 1:00pm. I gave them giant carrots to eat all morning. Great way to get your kids to eat veggies. Neither of them are huge fans of carrots.

~ Our good friend Marc came over one night to change the brakes in our van. He asked Quinn to help. At first, he was too shy to go in the garage, then I told him he could use tools. He ran to get his shoes. Marc was so patient with him. I am pretty sure Quinn asked a million questions. It made his day and he still talks about all the screwdrivers Mr. Marc had!

~ I came to the realization that the shopping carts with the built in bench are a bad idea for our family. Riley and Quinn fought on the bench the entire time while I had the toughest time steering it through the aisles. Oh, and Reese was not a fan of being so far from me. Just picture us. It was a mess.

~ I turned on music today and Reese literally laughed so hard out of excitement she snorted. I swear that girl is going to be a musician.

I am so thankful for this little family of ours despite these long winter days!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Blueberry Sucker

Nap time has been rough in our house lately. I remember the good old days (like 3 months ago) when all 3 children were safely snug in their beds in the afternoon and this momma took a nap and drank hot cocoa. Recently nap time has become a battle of the wills for an hour and a half. I have daily been spending that much needed quiet time putting a little boy back in his bed over and over.

I have tried so many discipline methods and have been consistent to the point of exhaustion. Today I needed rest. He needed rest. I said, "Quinn, if you stay in your bed and rest today, I will give you candy." He said, "Mom, I want a blueberry sucker". I said, "ok".

Quinn stayed in bed and slept for an hour and a half. I didn't hear a peep. I did not have to get up one time to put him back to bed. When he woke up he asked immediately where his sucker was. I let him eat it in the living room.

Soon we will go back to the grind of sleeping without a candy incentive, but for today (and maybe tomorrow),an hour an a half of rest was totally worth bribing my child. I'm cool with that.

Right now my 11-month-old is playing with a plastic bag. I guess I am  cool with that too. Totally deserve the "parent of the day" award.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Birthday(s)

I can't believe this boy is looking so grown up! He was so excited to be turning 3 today! He had a special lunch with his daddy and was excited to wear his "tennis clothes" for his birthday.
This beautiful girl woke up dancing because of her excitement. She had a special lunch with her mommy. We went to a Mexican restaurant. She has a serious chips and Salsa addiction. I am willing to join her in that addiction.
We made our own pizza for dinner. You don't want to know how much pepperoni is under that cheese on Riley's pizza.
We had a Spiderman and Princess cake. We know how to party in this house.
Quinn ignored everyone's "Happy Birthday" singing by closing his eyes throughout the song. Riley loved the attention.
They were blessed with some awesome gifts from some awesome people.
Gotta love the outfit she had to wear. She made her own princess crown.

Quinton~ You bring so much energy to our family. I love that you are so strong-willed and aggressive, yet you can't say good-bye to anyone without kissing them on the lips. In a few years that may be weird, but for now, keep on kissing! Your big blue eyes and overall cuteness makes my heart melt. I love how your best friend is your daddy. In your eyes he can do no wrong. He is a great man to look up to, buddy. I can't wait to see you continue to grow!

Riley~ You bring joy to our family. You are laughing, talking, and dancing most of the day. Your love for people is inspiring. You always want to do your best at everything. I appreciate how great of a big sister you are to your siblings. I will always enjoy our shopping and Taco Bell trips. Your beauty and contagious smile are an outward reflection of your beautiful heart. I can't wait to see you continue to grow!

Happy Birthday kiddos!!!