Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bluebonnet Time is the Nicest of All

 We are still searching for a good spot for bluebonnets within Fort Worth (if you know of one, please tell me!), but the grounds of BRIT worked well enough this year.
 My first baby.
 My sweet second.
 And my third! :)
 Amazing pic Brad got of the cousins! 
Marcus is always so affectionate with Haven and I think they look like they could be brother and sister.

Anna learned this song at her school and I love hearing her sing it around the house and in the car.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Easter Weekend 2013

 The girls went on their second Easter Egg hunt with our church and thankfully, there were plenty of eggs for each child.   
 They were excited to find their baskets on Easter morning.  I love the enthusiasm they have over little things at this age.
 We made our traditional resurrection rolls and they helped tell the Easter story since we had been doing the Resurrection Eggs and reading Benjamin's Box the previous couple of weeks.
 Our sweet girls ready for church on Easter Sunday.
 Later that day, our Fort Worth cousins came over for another egg hunt.
 Why did I think I could get them to look up for a picture when I had just sat them down with their Easter baskets?
 Brad hasn't had a grill for over 5 years, so he was excited to finally get one and "grill out".  He used Uncle Michael's secret technique for the steaks.
 How fitting it was to have a precious new life with us this Easter, little Thomas not even two weeks old.
This year I found that doing the Resurrection Eggs and book was not just for Anna, but helped me focus on the significance of Easter as well.  It was hard to tell Anna about the terrible things that Jesus endured and then to explain why.  For several days, she asked me repeatedly "why did Jesus have to die?".  I struggled to not just give her a Sunday school answer, but being that she is only 3 (almost 4), it was hard to find the right words to express the depth of that answer.  I rest in knowing that it is not up to me to give her all the "right answers".  I just want to keep giving her inspiration and opportunities to ask the hard questions. 

Bruce Family Easter 2013

 Our Easter activities started off early this year with Brad's family.  
We had the whole crew there and it is always special when everyone can be in the same place at the same time.
Aunt Courtney was able to get this amazing picture of all 17 of us looking forward with our eyes open!
 The cousins went searching for over 80 eggs.
  Haven hung with all the big kids and aggressively went about collecting eggs.
Then Grandy did a presentation explaining the Easter story.
  Appy led us in our annual Seder dinner and the little ones did great!
 Haven would not part with her basket or eggs!  The only way I was able to get her to stay in her high chair during the Seder was to let her open every single egg and eat what was inside.  Thankfully, Grandy had filled most of them with Chex Mix.

Why I Don't Want to Shelter My Children (too much)

Anna watches a show on PBS while I make dinner and then the BBC World News comes on.  Some images on the news can be scary for little children, so if the need arises, I  turn it off.  Last week, images of the West fire were on the news quite a bit and Anna asked me about it.  We talked about what happened and then it was a good opportunity to pray for the people there.

The next day it was on the news again and they showed some of the houses that burned down.  We talked and prayed again and later that evening, Anna told me she wanted to send all the money that she got in her Easter eggs to the boys and girls in West so they could have a house.  In that moment, I was completely blown away!  We talked about how we could mail them the money.
The next day, I was at Starbucks and saw that they were collecting items to send down to West.  I told Anna that we would go to the store to buy some things to send them and then she told me that she wanted to give away one of her stuffed puppy dogs and a book about pets.  Later, when we were putting everything together, she said she also wanted to color the boys and girls a picture.  Her ideas and generosity just kept coming. 
 The thought had crossed my mind to look into donating money online or something, but I had not really taken action.  Anna challenged me and convicted me to do more than just watch the stories and pray, but to give as well.  I love this little girl and am so proud of her.
 It is also a reminder to me that in order for Anna to develop a heart for this world, she needs to be aware of what is going on in it to some extent.  Obviously, there are many things she is not mature enough to handle knowing about and it is Brad and my job as parents to be a filter for her. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

That Time I Got to Pretend I Was a Doula

 On March 18th, I had the honor of being my sister's "doula" as her and Giam welcomed their third boy, Thomas Isaac Sigaud, into the world.  I use the term doula loosely because she was amazing and didn't really need my help.  Plus, I have no official training in this area.  My biggest contribution was documenting the event.  Witnessing a birth is truly a miracle and I am so thankful to Karri and Giam for giving me that opportunity.
 Her main support was Giam and I did not want to get in the way of that.  They made a great team!
 This was seconds after he was born in the water and they found out they had a THIRD son.
 The hospital was wonderful and really encourages kangaroo care with mom and dad. They don't wisk the baby away to the nursery unless there are complications. 
 They also allowed Karri and Thomas to take an herbal bath in the birthing tub after she had a little time to recover.
Of course, Anna was itching to come hold her newest cousin.  I love how still and calm she gets when she holds tiny babies.  She even talks in a softer voice.

I Heart NY

When my roommates and I graduated college, I took off to Lowman, Idaho (population: 100) for an internship with the US Forest Service and they went the opposite direction to New York City (population: way more than Lowman, Idaho).  I found my way back to Texas 6 months later when the internship ended, Rachel moved back to Austin about 8 years later and Cara is still in New York!
 I knew once Cara had her baby girl, Elizabeth, I wanted to take a trip by myself to spend time with her family and revisit in a city that I absolutely love.  I have been to New York two times in the past and seen several of the tourist sites.  This trip was very laid back and I had the perfect time just catching up with Cara and seeing her in her new role as a mommy.
 I did request that I get to eat a bagel and pizza while I was there.  I was able to walk five minutes from their apartment to an authentic New York bagel shop.  According to Cara, I didn't even go to the intense one, but this Texas girl was still intimidated.  I had just walked in, was trying to decide what I wanted and heard them yelling "Next! Next!".  I didn't think they were talking to me because there were at least 5 other people in front of me in line and I had literally just walked in.  Turns out, it was me they were yelling at so I quickly blurted something out.  I have to admit, it was worth it and one of the best bagels I've ever had.

Another highlight for me was taking the subway from Brooklyn to downtown NY to attend Redeemer Presbyterian, the church Tim Keller founded.  He truly has a unique gift for teaching and is one of my favorite pastors to listen to and learn from.  I also love his heart for the city and cultural renewal.  Although, he was not preaching at the service I attended, I was thankful to get to worship with the Church in New York. 

Also for me, just the time ALONE on the airplane was such a treat!  It was nice to have a break from the constant needs of my little ones, but I was so glad to get to see their sweet faces on Facetime everynight.  I'm thankful to Brad, his parents and my mom who made it possible for me to leave for a few days.  Of course, the second I got on the return flight, I could not wait to be back home with my family!