Julia is 23 months!!!







Julia Star McInerney is almost 2!!! Woohoo!!

I can not believe my baby girl is almost 2, time is flying by and she is learning and growing so fast. I prayed and prayed for a baby and so when I found out I was pregnant with Julia it was such a blessing and answer to prayer. The first person I shared the news with was my sister Sara, a promise from a long time ago...after we told our immediate families, the next people we told were our two favorite mentors in the world, Bill and Christy, hence why they are her God parents!

I pray many verses into Julia's life. Here are just a few:

Proverbs 31:30
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing. But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

Julia I pray that you are a confident woman of God who is beautiful on the outside, but who more importantly fears God in her heart and seeks to bring glory to His name with your life.

Proverbs 6: 20-22 My son, (My daughter Julia) keep your father's command, and do not forsake the law of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart; tie them around your neck. When you roam they will lead you; when you sleep they will keep you; and when you awake they will speak with you.

Julia I pray that we can be the best parents that God has created for you. I pray we teach you from His word, and lead you by example. I pray our words may be few and our actions will speak volumes to you. I pray you see Daddy and I loving eachother because this will also teach you how to be a good wife someday! Ultimately I pray you obey us with a willing heart because we will be seeking to do God's will in your life for as long as He allows us to parent you. You are our gift.

Ephesians 4:29 Let not corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Julia as you begin to learn new words and ways to communicate with the world around you I pray that your words will bring grace to all who listen. I pray that you are slow to speak, and quick to listen, and slow to become angry. I pray that no foul words will come out of your mouth. I pray that the adults and people in your life will continue to teach you good words, kind words, encouraging words to say. You are so smart! You are my delight. I love to hear you sing, talk, and play with your toys. I love that your new word is Whoopsie daisy! Since mommy seems to say that whenever you stumble!

Daniel 1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank...

Julia I pray that you choose a Jesus filled life! I pray that you purpose in your own heart the truth of God's Word. I don't want you to ever just try to be a christian because it will make mommy and daddy happy. I want you to see that there is true joy in following and obeying God because there is! I pray that you will not defile yourself with the things of this world that may seem appealing but in the end bring you shame, or lead you down the wrong path.

Psalm 30: 12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Julia I pray you are bold in your faith and want to tell the world about Jesus. I don't want you to be afraid or to be silent. I want you to be bold and confident because you are so proud to be a daughter of the King!

Weaver Thanksgiving






Psalms 118: 1 Oh, thank the Lord, for he's so good! His lovingkindness is forever.

Thanksgiving Part 2 at the Weaver house was wonderful. It took us about an hour and a half to get there, and Mark was so good, he slept the entire time. Julia was very chatty and interested in the drive. A couple times we had to tell her to keep it down because her brother was sleeping. She would look over and say, "Mark-y! Sleep...shhhh!"

We arrived close to 12:45 and Christy had us eating an early lunch/dinner at 2:30. There was turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, stuffing with craisins, peas/carrots, whole wheat rolls and cranberry sauce. Delicious!!!

I was so proud of Luke and Bill they really helped Christy a lot, Luke carved the turkey!

John taught Ben the McInerney Man tradition of making a Turkey Sandwich on a roll with turkey, mashed potatoe, stuffing and cranberry sauce! Ben was so excited that he had to try it!

After we relaxed and talked at the table clean up began...After clean up Bill and John and the kids settled down to watch Elf while they digested. Christy, Julia, and I took Piper (their dog) for a walk to burn off some calories. Julia was such a good girl. It was very cold!!! Poor Julia and I didn't have gloves and our hands were very red...but Julia loved being with the "big girls" and smiled the whole time!

Mark was such a good boy, he let everyone hold him, he laughed and played, he ate his butternut squash and cereal with water, since somehow I forgot to pack formula, I don't know how that happened! I'm human...it didn't make a bit of difference he gobbled up his food.

Bridget was a gem...she occupied Julia and played with her a lot. They sang songs (itsy bitsy spider), they played ball, Ben shared his toys, Ben even gave Julia one of his books to read at her nap time, (Clifford the Red Dog).

Dessert was delicious! Pie, ice cream, cookies and coffee. The best part was the fellowship! I am so thankful for such godly friends. We always leave happy and on the drive back we always say it makes us want to be a better family.

Thank you Lord for godly friends who make us feel special and make us strive to be better at serving you and serving one another!

Mark at 6 months Old







Mighty Warrior

We are praying that our Mark will be a mighty warrior for Jesus! Here are some fun things that Mark does right now:

1. Mark allows everyone to hold him for awhile. This has taken a long time, but finally Mark is comfortable in Daddy's arms, auntie's arms, Grandparents, even in nursery on Sunday he was okay the entire 40 minutes I left him and was actually happy and "talking" up a storm.

2. Mark is incredibly ticklish! I never remember Julia laughing this much at this age. Mark's laugh is so contagious. He loves to be tickled on the belly, thighs, neck...and his back! It is so cute to see him wiggle and squirm and giggle.

3. He loves to be on his belly so he can push up and look up and over his crib. Mark has been so great in the mornings. He wakes up and rolls over onto his back and plays with his blanket or he pushes up off his belly and looks around. He likes to entertain himself and doesn't cry right away to be picked up...he is really interested in figuring out his surroundings.

4. Mark's favorite toy is his exersaucer. He could sit in this thing for an hour if I let him. He loves all the little gadgets and noises they make. He pull on the high ones and knaws on the teething toys. He talks and talks, and loves to be standing because then he feels like he can compete with his big sister who walks by him and talks to him and says, "Silly boy!" or "Mark-y!!" He is so blessed to have a sister that absolutely adores him!

5. Mark doesn't spit up much anymore. This is a random fact, but actually I really just noticed that in the last few days I haven't needed a burp cloth! How fun is that!

6. Mark eats two meals a day now. He has a morning meal of fruit and an evening meal of cereal and fruit or cereal and a vegetable. He likes everything he has tried so far, prunes, apples, bananas, pears, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, but he does not like peas! LOL ...yet! we will keep trying.

7. Mark loves to talk. He just yells out and squeals and yelps and coos, I love it. He usually does it when he is starting to get hungry or is super satisfied and wants to play. Julia thinks it is so funny!

Mark you are growing so well! We are blessed to have you, son. We love you so much bubbs!!

Julia at Thanksgiving







Ephesians 6: 2-3 Honor your father and mother, this is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise; that if you honor your father and mother, yours will be a long life, full of blessing.

Julia is a blessing. She had us all laughing and entertained on Thanksgiving. It was one of those gorgeous fall days where you don't even need a sweater.

Between cooking and getting things ready we took her outside to play "house" and we found a preying mantis on our french doors. It was so beautiful. Side bar--I don't really like bugs, but because I am/was a teacher one year I found a preying mantis outside my building and me and my students decided to keep it and take care of it as a class pet. It was so fun for the kids because they had the job of "collecting" food for it, like crickets and such. Anyway, Paul, that was his/its name really grew on me and so when I saw this preying mantis on our door, I didn't scream like I normally would if I saw a big hairy spider or a beetle...I just said cool, and Julia was so intrigued by it. She kept saying hi to him and waving at him, as if he could see and understand her. Aunt Sara felt that since we found such a rare bug this was sure to be a great Thanksgiving...well, it was!!!

Julia really bonded with Aunt Pia this time. Usually she is attached to Auntie Sara, her fav because Sara spends a lot of time with her. Sara has two jobs, lives off campus and is finishing up her degree at Rutgers, and still makes it a point to see her niece and nephew. To say that she adores them is truly an understatement. Sometimes on Saturdays she texts me right when she gets out of work, just to see them.

Paletza got on Julia's good side by tickling her and playing with her. Julia loves to be chased. She kept going up to Paletza and pointing her two fingers at her and saying, "I get you!" Or she would walk over (after her pjs were on) and pull up her shirt and point to her belly and shout, "Belly!!!" so Paletza would tickle her. It was very cute.

At our Thanksgiving dinner Julia was given a little bit of everything we had to offer. I was thankful that she at least attempted to eat her turkey and corn, no mashed potatoes though, she's never been a potato fan (french fries don't count of course! especially with ketchup) she ate grandma's corn muffin and absolutely loved cranberry sauce...I thought that was odd, but she is my fruit girl, so it makes sense. She ignored the green beans, and I think I forgot to give her some ham to try.

She of course was finished 2 minutes after we started but we made her sit for awhile in her high chair because I knew once she was out she would be visiting each person around the table and saying everyone's name...which she did! But everyone loved it! Especially grandma, because she says GRAN MA very well now and enunciates each syllable...it is so adorable!

We also had her show everyone how she knows how to read. John loves to write out the words she knows on regular paper and he shows them to her and she can identify words like elbow, arms up, nose, baby, play, mouth...she says most of them...sometimes you might have to show her the sign language for play but most of the words she remembers from practice...it really impresses everyone. She isn't sounding out words, but she is site reading, which is very impressive for a 23 month old. She has been doing Your Baby Can Read since she was about 8 or 9 months...we even have Mark doing it already since Julia watches them regularly...more about Mark's first Thanksgiving tomorrow!!!

Well, for dessert Julia was allowed to have some yummy ice cream and chocolate chip cookies...she was sooooooooooooooooooo happy! She kept saying "Ice Cream!!! Ice Cream!" because we didn't scoop it fast enough. Then she got down after eating and was running around the living room from a sugar rush...very funny...Daddy filmed her going around and around and singing very loudly. All in all, she had a great day, she ended the evening watching a Barney video with her aunties and then John read her a story and she went to bed...

Thank you Lord for our blessing...Julia we love you sweet cakes!

Our First Thanksgiving






Psalm 92:1-2
It is good to say, "Thank you" to the Lord, to sing praises to the God who is above all gods. Every morning tell him, "Thank you for your kindness," and every evening rejoice in all his faithfulness.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for all your acts of "kindness" yesterday during our first Thanksgiving with Mark and Julia and my family!

1. Thank you that every part of the meal was served hot and on time!
Mom was such a blessing yesterday, on a last minutes notice she came over earlier than expected to help me with the kids and helped me finish making the stuffing and gravy. She brought over not only the green beans and beans but some unexpected corn muffins that was mainly what Julia ate at dinner!

2. Thank you that even though John came down with a throat infection he still was very hands on with the meal and helped out tremendously! John and I got an idea from my Martha Stewart Magazine to butterfly our turkey this year. John cut the turkey up after it was totally thawed and tied and seasoned it to perfection. A 13lb turkey only took 2 and 1/2 hours to cook this way and it came out so juicy and delicious!!! John did a fantabulous job (yup, I just made up a word!)

3. Thank you that all my sisters were there and were so helpful. Sara came over by 1:30 to help play with Julia and Mark while I cleaned and cooked and Paletza was absolutely wonderful with the kids after dinner so that I was able to do a lot of the cleaning up before dessert.

4. Thank you for the best two parents a girl could ask for. My mom is absolutely my number one fan and she was so hands-on and helpful and encouraging. Throughout the meal she just kept saying how good everything was, she is the only person to always do this and I really need her encouragement. My dad helped carve the turkey and ham when they came out of the oven and he didn't demand to help or take over he just was so gracious and available if we needed him. I so appreciated that. My parents really know how to be the guests, they don't try to take over anything...I'm truly thankful for their wonderful personalities.

5. The kids were well behaved, good eaters, and wonderful entertainment and delight for us. Another blog will feature our kid outtakes and stories...we had such a great and fun filled day which was so sunny and perfect. Julia took a nap between 10-12 and Mark did too so we were able to get the table set and the meats seasoned and put in the oven while they slept. During dinner Julia did her best to try the food we put in front of her, but my mom's corn muffin was a huge hit! Thanks Mom! Mark did so well with being passed around to everyone, even though he did watch me like a hawk and turn his head to follow my voice (my little mama's boy). Julia entertained us with all her new sayings and words, and John had her reading for everyone the words she knows (He is such a proud daddy!)

6. Thank you that everyone was relaxed and enjoyed themselves. After everyone ate dinner and helped clean up we put PJs on the kids and just played and talked. It was so comfortable and relaxing.

7. Thank you that when everyone went home it was still early so that the kids were in bed, but John and I had some wonderful couple bonding/talking time. John and I talked to eachother face to face with no interruptions until 11:30 last night. We really needed that "face" time of just sharing our hearts and feelings and connecting. You forget that you don't do this that much once the kids come because you are pulled into so many tyranny of the urgents. I realized how lucky and blessed I am all over again to have a husband who loves God and puts God first and really really loves me with all his heart. It is something I can't even explain in plain words, but when our eyes meet and he tells me his heart it just makes an ordinary Thanksgiving evening the best one yet...

Cooking & Cleaning & Prepping...and realizing that God is so good!


Well, as tonight comes to a close I feel very confident and ready for tomorrow. I was able to give both kids a bath tonight (usually I just do Julia on Wed...bathing 2 in one evening is very taxing, since when I bathe Mark I have to keep an eye out for Julia who likes to "get into" things). Thank you Lord for giving me the strength! It feels good knowing both the kids are clean and will be fresh for tomorrow's company.

Yesterday I was able to clean all three bathrooms and finish up the laundry. While making several trips to the grocery store. It's amazing how many little things you need to remember when company is coming over (I like to get everyone's favorites and some special things we don't usually have, like my dad loves ginger ale, my mom drinks Sprite, and John loves cranberry juice during holiday meals...I even picked up some apple cider, if you heat it up it tastes really good!)

Today was exciting for me because I got to pick up our Christmas portraits and mailing cards! It's been 2 weeks since our photo shoot and I couldn't wait to finally see the pics...they came out so good! Julia and Mark are just too cute!

Today in Shop Rite after picking up the photos, it was just Mark and I, and as I was reaching for a can of soup and an older woman started talking to Mark, she looks at me and says..."Are you the mom?" I said "Yup!" "How old is he?" she asked "Six months." "You did good!" she said with a smile. "Thank you!" I laughed...it reminded me of a moment I had a few years ago (Our first year on Joyce Street) on Thanksgiving with John's 7 year old cousin Matthew. We were sitting around the dinner table and he looked all around our house (he couldn't get over the track lights in the living room ceiling), and said, "This house is good!" We all laughed. It was so cute the way he said it so grown up and matter of factly!

Yes...we did good, and our house is good...Thank you Lord, you are too, too good to us!!!

I was able to just finish up 4 batches of chocolate chip cookies to go along with our pies at dessert. I finished stuffing envelopes for our Christmas mailings. And now I am enjoying some Decaf French Vanilla Tea, my fav, while John eats dinner. I thought this year I would be really stressed with two kids and hosting Thanksgiving, but for some reason I really feel ready, and looking forward to being with my family.

We made place settings for my Mom, Dad, Paletza (Pia), and Sara. I used all different scrapbook paper and cut out rectangles about 3 by 5 size. And each person got 5 pieces of paper attached with a gold ribbon. The first page is their name and then each following page is from me, John, Julia and Mark, and we are telling them what we are thankful for about them. It was fun coming up with something to say for the kids for my family members and of course John and I wrote our own things we were thankful for...like for Sara John wrote that he was thankful that she is so supportive of me and helpful to me. Julia got to color on each one over what I wrote for her. She loved having a little assignment from mommy, actually, she just loved drawing! I got the idea while taking a shower earlier in the week...go figure! I guess you can get good ideas just about anywhere...okay well, now I am rambling so I better say goodbye! I can't wait to post pics and tell you about our first Thanksgiving with both of our children! I am so thankful for my family!

God you are so good!

Tradition!



Last year we started another Family/Weaver tradition after Thanksgiving and that is spending time with our favorite people in the world on "Black Friday".

I am so excited this year to be with Bill, Christy, Luke, Bridget, and Ben because we are exchanging our Christmas gifts during the visit. The kids and Christy helped me with my "great idea." I wanted to get them a family gift that they could all enjoy...so I decided to make them a Movie Night Basket!!!

I love making themed baskets. My bosom friend Christy B. did this at her rehearsal dinner for her in-laws and family and it was so thoughtful and so creative. I could tell that she put a lot of effort into tailoring the baskets to fit each person. This inspired me to do the same for the people I love as well.

So I called Christy W. and asked her for some movie ideas for the kids, and then I secretly fb (facebooked) the two eldest Weaver kids with questions about their fav moive snacks/candy/cookies...then Julia and I had a "girl-outing" and went to WalMart! It was so fun!!! (Of course Julia was looking for Barney videos.)

It will be so cool to see the look on their faces as they see all the fun goodies in the basket. You can't go wrong with a gift when it is filled with "favorites".

Well, in less than 4 days we will be with them...I can't wait! I will be sure to post pics of our visit! Oh, did I mention that Christy is making a Thanksgiving dinner? Her family will be away on Thanksgiving at a baseball museum since the kids are off from school all week, so they are celebrating their Thanksgiving with us! Two Thanksgivings dinners in one week, John will be in all his glory!!!

Thank you Lord for dear friends like the Weavers who are our Eternal friends and family. We get to share not only family time with them, but share our love for you as well. Thank you for the people that you have placed in our life to grow us, stretch us, teach us, and love us.

Be a Missionary Helper



"Be a Missionary Helper, praying everyday, Be a Missionary Helper our dollars go God's Way....winning precious souls to Jesus our hearts are all a glow to be a Missionary Helper...Pray! Give! Go!"

(This was a song we sang with our students during my missionary update chapels at Timothy. It goes to the tune of "I've been working on the railroad")

Christianne, Grant, and baby Judah (who is now 16 months old) are missionaries that we support and dearly love. I grew up with Christianne at my church back in the 80s. Her father, Pastor Felo used to be our associate Pastor before going over seas to do mission work.

Christianne and Grant met each other overseas on the mission field as well. They were both in Afghanistan. They are both dynamic people and very much in love with Jesus. I think it is hard for them to be in the states right now raising their family and seeking to do God's work here because they are so used to serving God is such dangerous settings.

I know God is teaching them patience and faithfulness. I am praying that He makes it very clear to them what His plan is for their lives. They are really trying to reach out to their neighbors in Philadelphia and Grant is working for a Missions Organization right now as an HR manager. It is neat how having Judah has opened up a lot of doors for them to meet new people. Kids have an amazing way of doing that. You don't seem very intimidating with a baby in your arms!

They have taught me that you don't have to go overseas to be a missionary. You just have to be willing to share Jesus with the people who are in your sphere of influence. Whether that is at a book club, or a MOPS meeting, Dunkin Donuts, or your grocery store. Wherever there are people there is a ministry.

I have been praying for these two Latin girls at the farmers market. I go there so often that they have come to know me and my kids on a first name basis. Julia is always saying hi to them and introducing her brother Mark to them and her mommy! (She is my little witnessing ticket!)

Jesus, help me to be a missionary helper. I don't have to go very far to meet people who need you. Help me to be bold and willing to share all the great things you have done for me, and all the things you have changed in me. Thank you for Christianne and Grant and their son Judah. Help them to be a strong witness in their neighborhood. I pray you put people in their path that are searching for you. I pray that you allow them to speak your truth in love. Thank you for allowing us to be missionaries and to support missionaries.

Thanksgiving Prep Time


This is a photo from our first home in Old Bridge, and our very first Turkey Meal. We were so proud!

Now, we have a new home, 2 children, a puppy, and a very full schedule, but we are hosting Thanksgiving at our home again. Once you've made the Thanksgiving meal once, you really don't want to give it up. It is such an honor and a hostess' dream!

Each year we take turns with which family comes to us, the past two years we have had the McInerney's over so this year it is my family's turn and I'm really excited to show them what I can do in the kitchen...(even though all the recipes are from mom and dad!...except my apple pie)

John and I already emailed out our menu and tomorrow we are going food shopping for the big day! I'm so excited!!! I have lots of coupons and high hopes to find just the right turkey for our home! Last year was Julia's first Thanksgiving and this year it is Mark's...too bad he won't get to taste any of it...Julia got to sample it all last year since she was almost 1 and had lots of teeth!

Thank you Lord for allowing us to host Thanksgiving in our home again this year! Thank you for allowing us to be able to buy this big meal and not have to think about cost. Help us to be good hosts and I pray the kids are well-behaved.

The Letter


Psalm 19:14
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

My Mother recently sent me a letter in the mail that has touched my heart to the core. After reading it I quickly text her and said, "Your words were like balm to my soul." And they were.

First, let me start out by saying that growing up I really tried to honor and obey my parents and make them proud of me. I'm not saying I was a perfect daughter, but I definitely tried to be. I so longed to hear the words, "Kristi, I am so proud of you." My parents did the best they could, and I love them dearly, but I really don't ever remember them telling me they were proud of me.

The first time I heard my dad said he was proud of me, was either right before John and I got married or right after and he was talking to both John and I and it was such a powerful moment because I was thinking to myself, "wow, dad, you've never said that before."

I'm not sure if it was because they were super busy, which they were, or because of their personality, but either way they were words I longed to hear from them.

So, anyway, after I got this letter from my mom, and let me just say that because both of my parents are artists, and my dad is also a writer, they have a gift with words. Every birthday, or anniversary I cherish the cards they give me because they don't just sign the card, they write in the card. Usually bringing me to tears. Even John has noticed their gift with words, when he gets a card from mom and dad he always shows it proudly to me because their words make him feel so good.

Mom wrote, "I have wanted to tell you for a while now that I couldn't be prouder to be called your mother." Those were the first words of the letter and right away she had my full attention.

"You have super-sized my wildest expectations of you! Julia and Mark are blessed to have you for a mother!" And that's when the tears came. I don't know about you but whenever I am referred to as Julia and Mark's mother this overwhelming feeling of pride, joy, and great expectation just over take me and instantly bring me to a humbling place of tears. I really want to be a good mom and I really try to be a good mom to both of them, but sometimes I feel so ill-equipped, so tired, so overwhelmed, and I know I am my own worst critic.

She goes on to say, "You manage an entire household effortlessly (little does she know...actually she's a mom so she totally knows it takes a lot of effort, especially when you have two babies under two and you are working on little sleep, and you are very particular about how your home should look...is it normal to have lists about your lists? LOL) while caring for and nursing a newborn, managing, directing, teaching a super-bright toddler (okay she's the grandma so she is slightly biased heehee) not to mention all the details of maintaining a loving relationship with your husband." To all of you mommies who blog out there isn't it amazing how much we are able to do in one day, with the help of the Lord of course? Sometimes I forget that being a mom is ten times harder for me than being a full time teacher at TCS...being a teacher came so easy to me...being a mom is so much infinitely harder, very rewarding, I love my family, I love taking care of my home, but infinitely harder. That is why prayer has become so detrimental to my daily beginning. Without prayer, without refreshing myself with God's Words to me and renewing my mind, I would feel hopeless some days.

The letter goes on to say, "The Lord has given you an incredible inner-strength to weather such a period. (key words...the Lord...) You have clear and strong boundaries and this is good, and important." I won't go on to write each word she said to me, but I will say that God certainly knows when we need encouragement. He certainly knows when we need to hear the words, "I'm proud of you." So thank you Mom. Thank you God for your perfect timing. Isn't it so great to know that even though we think we grew up missing something, that God is always faithful to give us what we need at just the right time?

God you are so amazing. Thank you for your perfect timing in my life. Thank you for my mom's words of encouragement. Help my words to be pleasing and acceptable in your sight. You are my strength, and my Redeemer.

Wonderful


Ecclesiastes 3:4 ...A time to laugh...

At breakfast today, Julia sat in her highchair with a mini bowl of oatmeal and raisins. She began using her spoon and feeding herself very carefully and neatly. I was so impressed and so was John.

John says, "Wonderful job Julia." And Julia, without even looking up, and with some food in her mouth I might add, says, "Won-der-ful..." It was the funniest moment. John and I could not stop laughing. She said it so seriously and we couldn't believe she even said the word, let alone so clearly and perfectly.

She is growing up so fast these days and mimics every single word and words we say. I am always saying to Mark, "You silly boy," and now whenever Julia sees Mark laugh she looks at me and laughs and says, "Sill-ly Boy!" (it's cuter when she says it though because she adds extra l's).

Thank you JuJu for always making us laugh! You are the star in our life...you light up our day! We love you.

Thankful from A to Z


Pastor Steve gave us a homework assignment this past Sunday. For all of you who know me this was awesome! I love homework! I know I am weird but I just love doing assignments. We had to write down one or two things that we could thank God for according to the letters in the alphabet and then share our list on Thanksgiving. Here goes:

A Awesome waterbirth experience with Mark
B Books to read and enjoy in my Blue reading room
C Cinzia (my best friend since 6th grade) and our children growing up together, Christy B's love, godly wisdom, awesome friendship and laughter
D Dimare's (my doula and godparents of Mark), Debi my prayer partner and dear friend
E Entertaining people I love
F Faithful husband, family, friends
G God's constant provision, Paletza, Parents
H Hardworking husband, Healthy children (we prayed a lot for that during my pregnancy)
I In-laws
J Julia and John
K Kind people at MOPs who watch my children
L Ladouceur family (especially you Suzie), Library time with Julia, Liz and the kids
M Mark, Movie nights with friends and family, MOPS
N Neighbors who look out for us and are always willing to lend a helping hand
O Opportunities to serve others
P Paris our puppy, Party Gym where Julia gets to jump and play, playdates
Q Questions Julia asks me, I'm thankful for a bright daughter
R Reconnecting with friends like Bianca, Rayna, and Suzette (huge blessings in my life) Retreat with godly women at my church on Sept 27th
S Sisters, Shelter, Speaking in Chapel at TCS
T Thanksgiving dinner with my family
U Understanding spouse
V Vacations to Cape May and around the world, vehicles that are safe to drive
W worship in freedom, Weavers (our mentors and godparents of Julia), Word of God
X Extra grace from my husband (I am an EGR person...Extra Grace Required)
Y Yellow sunshine!!! So thankful for sunny days outside in our yard!
Z Zippers! They make a mommies life so much easier than snaps! :)

Psalm 100:4

Enter into His gates with Thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Dear Jesus,

I am so thankful for all you surround me with, even life's difficulties. You are molding and shaping me into the woman, wife, mother, and friend that you want me to be. I pray that I can bless others the way you bless me each day! I love you Jesus!


Team Mac Sunday Morning Checklist




Now that we have two wonderful children, getting out of the house timely has become a new challenge, especially since we both need to be dressed and ready to go as well. I was starting to feel very overwhelmed Sunday mornings and sometimes downright stressed. Looking our best, eating a well balanced breakfast, preparing our hearts, and getting to church early if not on time is very important to me. I also teach 2 or 3 times a month in Sunday School and so I also have an additional responsibility.

Just like a good teammate John saw my Sunday frustration and one morning he wrote down everything we did since it was a successful morning and this list has become our Sunday checklist. We are both very organized and list driven people, so this idea was perfect!

Now I don't feel as stressed because I know I am not doing everything. We both know what we need to accomplish and so we don't waste time asking questions or re-doing tasks. I also know now that John feels confident because he knows what I need and he feels successful because he knows how and when to do it. It is a huge relief to me and now I can enjoy the ride to church and not feel like we forgot to do something or feel rushed because we are running late. The last 5 weeks have been so much better! Even the kids are cooperative, believe it or not.

Here is our list:

John:
Change Julia
Take out Paris (our puppy)

Kristi:
Feed Mark

John:
Simple Breakfast (Key word: simple, before John was making a huge breakfast that took forever because he loves to spoil us and cook, but we decided simple is best when trying to get there on time)
Feed Julia
Feed Paris

Kristi:
Dress Julia
Brush Julia's teeth
Brush Julia's hair
Take my shower

John:
Dress Mark
Prep bottles
Prep snacks
Clean kitchen
Take shower

Kristi:
Pack car
Bags
Snacks/bottles
Bibles/Tithe

Final departure:
Kristi:
Put Mark in car

John:
Let out Paris
Check house windows
Put Julia in car
Set house alarm

Thank you Lord for helping us be successful when going to your house to worship and honor you. We are so happy that now we can all get there on time and have good attitudes while there. Thank you for John for being so sensitive to my needs and desires and understanding the importance of timeliness. We are blessed to be a family of four. We love you.

Julia's New Interests...





It is really neat to see your child in all different situations grow and blossom and learn. Lately, I've been noticing that Julia is quite the social butterfly. She is learning people's names and remembers places with people. Like for example her blond friend Cayla from church came over the other day for a playdate (the girls are literally a week apart...Grace and I did our birthing classes together and her due date was Jan 3rd and mine was Jan 13th...we shared the same Doula, same doctor, and same hospital...well Julia came 2 weeks early, and Cayla came about a week late...go figure!)

Now, everytime we get in the car to go to church and I say, Julia are you going to play with your friends today in church, and she says, "Cayla?" She gets so excited then and for the rest of the car ride she sings, "Cayla, where are you?" (Its a song we usually sing for daddy with his name, but Julia switches it up to be funny) It is so cool that she knows Cayla is her friend from church! I am so amazed sometimes by her memory!

I love how Julia greets Cayla with a hug and a kiss, and sometimes Cayla is just not in the mood and it is funny to see her so unaffected by Cayla's dismissal.

Julia has been playing with her lego blocks a lot recently, although I am sad to report that she really gets very frustrated when the pieces don't do what she wants them to and she either cries and gets very upset or whimpers "Help!" and uses her hand sign for help. I'm still trying to figure out the right way to handle her frustration...I usually just say, "Julia show me what's wrong, I will help you." Sometimes she shows me and sometimes she is just too upset. Is this because she is the first child and traditionally first borns are very detail oriented and usually perfectionists?

She still is really into playing house. She "steals" Mark's burping cloths all the time and uses them as blankets for her dolls, and now that Mark plays with toys she covers her dolls with a blanket and puts a baby toy on top for them. It is so funny. She copies every thing I do. My little shadow!

We've also noticed how athletic she is becoming with the soccer ball, and forward rolls. I can tell she is going to be some sort of athlete with how limber she is and how much she loves to run and be outside. She definitely got that from her dad and my dad!

My mom has been coming over once a week or so and she practices with Julia's fine motor skills. They do writing and drawing projects (my mom is an artist) and things like putting stickers on pieces of paper cut into fun shapes. Last Friday my mom brought over this giraffe that Julia had to actually stuff it with stuffing and a sound maker and then Velcro it up (it was kind of like a miniature build a bear). I think it's really good for her to have all these different experiences. She is so good with holding a pencil and pen (a righty) she makes me so proud as a teacher/mom!
She is so careful to hold it correctly and everytime it begins to slip down the pencil she carefully fixes it while holding it close to her chest and then begins again...it is so cute :)

That's my Julia update...oh and today John and I took both kids Christmas shopping for the cousins for an hour or so and they were both fantastic! It was a dream to just go strolling through the stores with the double stroller.

Thank you Lord for my 3 best gifts...John, Julia and Mark!

Not peas!!!





We have found out that Mark loves prunes, bananas, apples, sweet potato, carrots, but not peas! We just introduced a second feeding each day for breakfast. I give him oatmeal or rice cereal and then a fruit at breakfast and a veggie at night. Last night he let me know for sure that peas are not to his liking.

I know you are not supposed to compare siblings because each child is so different, but Julia really loved every fruit and vegetable we gave her, except for green beans.

At church today, my friend Debbie, who has three beautiful children in grades 4, 1st, and a 4 year old, asked me, "Kristi, how is it that you've had two calm, happy, babies?" And all I could reply was, "You are right Debbie, I've just been really blessed I guess." Although Mark did have some rough days as a newborn, now he is so mellow and low maintenance. It is wonderful!

Today was the first day I left him in the nursery (my mom was in there so I felt super comfortable) and they said he did great. I'm hoping that soon when I go to Mops (Mothers of Preschoolers) that I will be able to leave him in the nursery as well. Right now I just keep him with me because he fusses to much with the workers.

Well, that is my Mark update! Eating well, with some opinions already, and happy as a clam!

Happy Birthday my Friend!!!


"Who can say if I've been changed for the better, but, because I knew you, I have been changed for good."

Dearest Suzette,

I really just want to convey to you what a huge blessing and inspiration you've been to me over the last year since we've been back in contact. From the simple ways you care for the people you love, to how you get excited about cleaning a room, to your faithful devotion to your sister Faye, I just really admire you!

Hebrews 6: 10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward the saints, and do minister.

You inspire me to be a better wife, a better mom, a better sister, and a better daughter! I love how your main focus or goal in life of course is to serve Christ and bring glory to His name, but also "to make life wonderful for your family."

Most people want to make life wonderful for themselves; I even get trapped in that vicious cycle myself when I lose my focus on the Lord. But to honestly say you want to make life wonderful for Brian, Addie, Faye, your Dad, and all of your extended family is such a blessing to me because now that is what I want to do.

I have found that on my darkest days, whether I am tired, or blue, or struggling to pull things together because I feel pulled in so many directions, if I just focus on making life wonderful for those around me, the focus is shifted off of my wants onto my family's needs. What a much more healthy place to be.

Thank you for writing in your blog. I have only a handful of friends that I look up to spiritually. Especially my young mommmy friends. Most of my mommy friends are not believers yet and so it is sometimes hard to relate to them because I know God is calling me to such a higher purpose; He wants me to be winning souls (or planting seeds) for Christ and teaching my children about His Word. My kids have been a great ministry opener because I meet so many new people, but it is so great to hear from a godly mom on a daily basis. Even though you are far away your transparent heart and love for God is very refreshing!

Thank you my dear sweet friend for blessing me this year! Happy Birthday! I am so thankful you were born today! I love you, my friend! (I can't wait for Addie and Julia to begin writing; I have a feeling they will be penpals.)

Keep up with your labor of love, your light is shining through!!! Matthew 5:16

Salt and Light


Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men...vs 16 In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

It was wonderful to be back at Timothy Christian School. I love walking up and down the halls of school and watching the kids scurry to their classrooms. I love the smell of pencils being sharpened, and the sound of lockers opening as kids unpack their back packs. I even love the sound of the school bell signaling the start of the day!

I felt God laying on my heart a talk about being the "salt of the earth," for today's chapel message. The theme this year for the Elementary School is a Lighthouse...Let your light shine before men! All the walls showcase lighthouses in New Jersey and around the shores of the United States.

So today, I brought in some pretzels, crackers, and my favorite, potato chips! I had each teacher (there were 6 homerooms...about 100+ kids) send up a taste tester. It was up to the children to figure out what ingredient was in all of the items they were tasting. After the pretzel, a very bright, beautiful, Asian girl shouted out, "Salt!" Well, there went my taste testing! All the teachers laughed...what a smarty! The kids loved being able to eat in chapel though!

As I read our verse in Matthew for the day I had the kids answer some questions about salt. What does salt do to food? What is it's purpose? The kids were so responsive and enthusiastic...that always encourages me when I am speaking, if I see the kids understanding what I am teaching and they are getting excited about what they are learning, it just makes it all the more enjoyable! Kind of like tonight when Julia and I were reading books before bedtime and she was pointing to all the pictures and labeling each one with her words! It was so awesome! There is nothing like learning...it is contagious. And learning about God's Word is such an added bonus because it transforms your life and renews your way of thinking.

Then we talked about how salt refers to the way we are supposed to be attracting non-believers. The children were giving me great examples of how we can point those who don't know about Jesus to come to know Him. Be kind, showing love, being helpful...

Then I read the next part of the verse, "but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?" I gave the example that whenever you flavor your food with salt it comes to be the best part of the dish, and how whenever Julia eats a cracker or a chip the first thing she does is licks off all the salt...it's the best part to her! We talked about the possible ways we as Christians might lose our flavor...and the ultimate answer was SIN. I shared with them the promise of 1 John 1:9, one of my favorite verses about if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to cleanse us and forgive us...I told them that then God separates our sins as far as the east is from the west, and of course all the kids went "Whoa!" As if that were the first time they ever heard that, maybe it was, and that it was so profound and amazing to them! Kids are great! No wonder Jesus wants us to come to him like a child, children are so trusting and a lot more willing to listen to God's Word than some jaded by the world adults are.

Then I used an illustration about my bookshelves (heehee) They were so cluttered, and so jammed with unusable things that were really garbage. Because of all the garbage I had no place for my new books or the good things I wanted to showcase. So I needed to get rid of the garbage before I could have room to put the good things on my shelves. I told them that is what our hearts/lives are like. We sometimes have so much garbage or sin, or bad behavior, bad attitudes, laziness, whatever it is that keeps us from the purpose that God has designed for us and until we get rid of it we will have no room for the good things in store that God has for us! We need to confess our sins and be free from the "garbage" so that we can be the "salt of the earth" and lead others to Jesus. Then we talked about how reading God's Word, and prayer are so important because they help us to grow closer to God so we can learn from Him and be more like Him!

So I ended my time with showing them a huge container of salt and told them that the next time the eat something salty or see salt they need to remember that we are called to be the "salt of the earth!" I told them all to go and be salty today!

After we dismissed the classes back to their classrooms, the Kindergartners from Mrs. Duque's class all came over and hugged me and thanked me for coming today. It was so sweet! They were all so small compared to the third and fourth graders I'm used to teaching. What a blessing it was to share God's Word and be invited to do so!

Lord help me to be salty today!

The List Gets Shorter!!!





I am happy to showcase some before and after pics of my side of our office downstairs. My two bookshelves were overflowing and desperately needed some organizing and special attention. I decided to donate a lot of books already read, and threw out a lot of school items that I no longer need.

It felt so good to get it done! I was praising God because I felt so motivated and both kids napped yesterday morning for over an hour! That rarely happens! I am still working on the left side bookshelf, but the bottom is done I have only 3 shelves left. I will post a pic when I am finally done with that side! But the right side is as good as new!

Last night I was also able to order all of Julia's birthday supplies on line. We are having an Elmo birthday party (I can't wait to see John dressed up as Elmo!). My list is getting shorter!!! Go Team!

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