Chris's Change of Command

Chris's Change of Command

Daily Bible Verse

Monday, January 31, 2011

Can You Feel the Excitement?

These crazy, silly, happy, funny faces can only mean one thing........


Chris has been busy training the MEU as well as training in Italy for nearly a month and boy, are we glad he is finally home.  We have some awesome family time planned and I can't wait. 

She Likes to Read

My third child.....she is so content, go with the flow, and in a nutshell, easy.  Yes, I know that she is only 14 months old and that the word "easy" can easily change to something else in a few months or years (or days), but for now, easy is a great word to describe her.  She will sit and look through her books for 30 to 45 minutes everyday.  Gazing at the pictures, pointing at characters, making the noises of the animals she sees and recognizes.  It is a hoot to watch her and I do every moment I can.

 I can set her in the Pack n Play with her books and a few toys while I am busy getting dinner ready and she never fusses or complains.  She just plays and reads; happy as a clam.  Like I said, easy.

 I don't know how long this wonderful stage of easy will last.

But I am going to soak it in for a while.

My Luke

Oh, this sweet boy of mine... I used to hold up size 18 month clothes when he was a newborn and think, "My word, he will NEVER be this long."  Well, he did eventually fill out his 18 month clothes just fine and now his size 7 jeans are starting to be a little short. 

When I asked Luke what he wanted to do on his day off from school, he told me that he would like to go and read to his sister's class.  He picked out the Jan Brett book " The Three Snow Bears" because he remembered that Mrs. Wallen (his K teacher, now Hayley's K teacher) had said that she loved Jan Brett's books.

He sat up in front of the class and read the story to a captive audience like a pro.  He reads with such expression and excitement that he makes the story come to life for all who listen.

Over the past month we have faced some challenges with this thing called "growing up".   He has such a sensitive heart, feels everything with deep emotion,  and sees things in black and white which can be a huge blessing and a curse.  We have had many talks, many privileges taken away, but then earned back (thank goodness).  He has shown me in big ways that he is getting "it". 

 One thing is for sure, he keeps this family laughing.  He loves to joke around and be silly.  He also loves a good dance party.  How blessed I am to be his Mama.

Friday, January 21, 2011

14 Months

Here we are at 14 months and a few days with our sweet Hannah Beth. I absolutely love this age. She is so busy exploring and I just love watching the new things she learns each day. Let's see what you are up to at 14 months, HB.
You are FULL of personality and a chatty little thing. You are trying so hard to join in our conversations these days. You say "Hi" to just about everyone. Some of your words include "no!", "thank you", and "bye bye". You are too busy for long snuggles. I usually get a quick hug and kiss before you are off and running to the next toy or trying to get into whatever your brother and sister are doing.
You are not walking yet. You stand and cruise, but are not quite brave enough to let go and walk. I have never seen a baby crawl as fast as you can. You can move across the room in 5 seconds. More than once we have caught you trying to figure out door knobs (great!). I catch you up on your tippy toes reaching for the handle and turning it the best you can. I think you may be our escape artist.
You LOVE LOVE LOVE music and bop and shake every time you hear a tune. As soon as you hear the first note of a song, you start moving to the beat. We all love to watch you dance. Too cute.
You are still a great eater and are drinking happily from your sippy cup. You love cheese, yogurt, eggs, milk, peas, and bananas. You can say "cheese" and sign banana every morning as I get your breakfast ready.

You are sleeping like a champ.  Still taking 2 naps everyday, one at 9:30am and another at 2:00pm.  You love your bath at bedtime and are ready for bed by 6:30pm to 7:00pm.  You are so happy when you wake up (usually around 7:00am). I love to listen to you call for me or just giggle and chat by yourself. 
Such a happy girl!
One of your favorite things right now is reading books. Every night at bedtime you point to the rocking chair and clap when we pick out a book to read. You love to listen and turn the pages. Reading to you each night is one of my favorite times of the day with you. You are loving "Quiet, Loud" and "Good Night, Blue".

Your brother and sister light up your world and they both love you so much. You squeal with glee when I open the car door each day and Hayley climbs in after her morning at school. Luke still makes you laugh like no one else and he loves the laughs you give him. The 3 of you play hide and seek almost every night after dinner. The noise that fills this house makes me one happy Mama.
You are becoming quite attached to your Daddy and have him wrapped around your finger. All you have to do is poke out your sweet lip and he comes running to your rescue. You love when he dances with you and I love to watch. You are one lucky girl to have such an amazing Daddy.

Happy 14 months to our baby girl! Mommy loves you so much.

Monday, January 17, 2011

In and Outside the Box

One of the greatest joys (and frustrations) in life right now, is watching each individual personality bloom in our children. I am learning so much about myself and at times it is very convicting. I am having to let go of "control", which for this type A Mama is a refining process. Don't get me wrong, I have not gone hands off in parenting. Oh no, my friends. There is still instruction and discipline in this house. But as God is shaping and molding our children, I am constantly learning what my roll is in His plan for them. I am having to guide and direct, but let them be who they have been created to be. I am having to let them stumble and learn to pick themselves up and dust themselves off. God did not make them to be my image, but He made them in His image for a specific purpose in this world.

The big kids (as we call Luke and Hayley), have had chores around the house since they were about 2. Each year, we add a few more responsibilities to their lists as they learn about taking their part in helping out. One of the very first chores they have had to complete each morning has been making their beds. When they first began this chore, I used to go in and "fix" each bed to my liking. But as time passed, I began to learn that bed making was a way for them to express themselves. Instead of pink hair, pierced "whatevers", and torn jeans, they were showing me who they are by simply arranging their beds just so. So I began to love watching their "creations" each morning, getting a glimpse into who they are becoming.

Luke's bed:
Each morning, Luke spends about 15 minutes getting his bed just so. He is very particular about how the sheets should lay. He loves each pillow placed in the exact same spot. He doesn't like to come down stairs until his bed is made the way he likes it. My "inside the box" thinker (as long as the box is nice and neat).

Hayley's bed:

Hayley is very "creative" when it comes to making her bed. Rarely does her bed look the same two mornings in a row. There is usually a theme when making her bed such as horses, dolls, Barbies.....etc. She likes to come down stairs and eat her breakfast before heading back up to make her bed. It has taken great restraint on my part not to "fix" her bed to the way I like it. My "outside the box" thinker (making sure there are plenty of stickers and ribbons in her box).

As for Hannah Beth, she usually just throws all her pacifiers on the floor and pushes her blankets to the corners of her crib. I look forward to seeing her bed making skills soon.

Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 is going to be a BIG year!

Let me start off by saying, NO, I am not pregnant. But that being said, the Steele family has some big things on the horizon in 2011 and I am just a tad bit giddy about them.

1. We found out this week that Chris has been selected to attend Command and Staff, a 10 month school in Quantico, VA. We will be packing up in June/July to head to Northern VA to enjoy another year of Chris at home with no deployments. I am praising the LORD for this unexpected blessing. We thought for sure that Chris was headed back to the fleet and a 7 month to a year deployment, but God had other plans and for this I am so very thankful.

2. Starting this fall, we will be entering the world of home schooling. Now, I know that after reading this statement some of you gasped, some of you shook your head and said "those kids are going to be socially dysfunctional", some of you clapped, some of you jumped for joy. You each are entitled to your own opinion. We did not make this decision lightly. We have been praying about this choice pretty much since Luke was 2 years old. I have nothing against the school system, but I do wish to be obedient to what God feels is right for our family. At this time in our life, Chris and I feel that home schooling is where and what God wants us to do. And honestly, I am VERY excited about this new adventure. I have been shopping curriculum, researching co-ops in our area, and talking with friends who already home school to find out what resources they are using. Can't wait until our school year will begin.

3. Well, there is not really a number 3 yet. Just waiting to see what else God has in store for us :) Just waiting and waiting...........

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Recap

I am still under piles of laundry, Christmas ornaments, a dirty bathroom (I did clean two of them), a tree, dirty dishes, a massive toy clean out.... but I had to take a minute to sit and write about our wonderful Christmas break.

We were able to spend the holidays in Georgia with our families and what a blessing it was. Yes, it was a little chaotic at times, and I wasn't sure our car would be able to pull the goodies packed from floor to ceiling as well as the busting at the seams turtle top, but we all can say we had an absolute blast. We spend the first part of the 10 days in Fayetteville with my in-laws. We ate, played with cousins, ate, played with new toys, ate, played with friends, ate, and then ate some more. We also slept a little too. We went to church Christmas Eve to the church where my brother in law and sister in-law attend. Not your traditional service which was really fun. Rock and roll and dancing too. Luke told us he wants to move to GA just so he can go to that church. He said the music blew his socks off. Ha!

Santa came to see us and brought with him some mighty fine loot. Here are some of my favorites from Christmas morning.

This is actually from Christmas Eve before we went to the Rock n Roll church!

Hannah enjoying her milk and her new puppy, Violet, from Santa.

Luke in his new robe and slippers from Santa. He was very excited about his Lego Airport.

Hayley and her AG horse, Abigial, and doll Suzyanne who is dressed in her new riding outfit.

Attempt at a picture with all 3!

On the Sunday after Christmas, my sister and I threw a baby shower for our soon to be niece, Delany, and of course the soon to be Mama and Daddy, my brother and our sis in-law, Ansley. We were not sure the shower was going to go as planned due to snow and ice (yes, folks, snow and ice in GA!), but all went off with out a hitch. We just can't wait to meet Miss Delany!
Ansley and Philip

Some of the fun things Ansley and Philip received at the shower

The last 4 days we spent with my parents, sister, brother, and sister in-law. We headed up to Northern GA to stay in a house at Big Canoe, a resort in the mountains. We had to delay the trip by a day due to, again, snow and ice, but we settled in and had such a good time being together once we got there on Tuesday. The kids got a FEW (term I use loosely) more presents, we ate some more, played on my new iPad, ate some more, and just visited with each other. Thursday morning the guys and Hayley went out on a fishing trip. They rented a boat and spent the afternoon trying to catch some trout. The gals went to the outlet malls and did a little shopping because I didn't think I had enough to pack into our van already. HA!
For those of you who have a Wii, I feel the new must have game is the Michael Jackson Experience. You get to select a song of choice and dance with Michael himself (in hologram form). You can dance by yourself or with the help of backup dancers in the room. After we put the kids to bed the last night at the cabin (as the kids call it), the "grown ups" danced until we were out of breath and laughing so hard at our awesome dance moves we couldn't stand it anymore. Sadly, I was out of breath after one dance to Thriller.
Arriving at the "cabin", Aunt Holly spoiled us good with some fun gifts.

Hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you are your way to a great 2011!