Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blocks of Remembrance...2011

A quick recap of a BIG year.

For the second year now we had a family New Year's party with our crew of four where we played lots of games and let the boys eat all the snacks/goodies they wanted for one night.  Before they boys went to bed for the night, we sat down together and wrote the things we were most thankful for on their wooden blocks.  These blocks have taken on the role of more than just an item of play for Huson and Athan.  They serve as a visual reminder of what great things our God has done for us.

So here they are...our blocks of 2011

1. Our house sold, easily.  We knew it was not a great time to put a house on the market.  Ours sold quickly and without much trouble.  This was a huge confirmation for us that our step of faith in packing up and moving to Dallas was the right move.

2.  In fact, the house sold so quickly that we weren't ready to move yet.  So we got to spend a few weeks living with a dear family, the Herrmanns.  It was a huge blessing, a time of refreshment and a lot of fun.  They are a sweet family, who inspired us with many creative ideas of how to live for Christ as a family.  The boys LOVED being there, having lots of playmates, a multitude of fun toys, and a backyard that was like an amusement park!

3.  It took 12 months, but baby A finally slept through the night!  Woohoo!  To his credit we didn't push him to give up our nighttime assistance until we had settled after a long time of transition and moving.  Please don't think less of me, but I found I enjoyed him much more after getting a full night's sleep. :)  In celebrating his first birthday, we also were able to look back and thank God for Athan's good health.

4.  The boys had a great summer in Texas!  We made our move to Fort Worth at the end of May, and the boys didn't even seem phased by this major change.  Sweet Hudson really expressed excitement about the new adventure and living in an apartment.  He especially LOVED the pool.  What a huge blessing during the hottest summer known to man!  We also made some great friends, the Atkins family.  We had many fun play dates with Katy, Addy and Owen at the park, Chikfila, and the pool, of course.

5.  It was a daunting task to select a place to live in this huge area while living out of state, and yet we found a great apartment.  It's a good location, feels safe, and we've made friends with some neighbors.  And, of course, the pool was fabulous!

6.  This spring Jay spent hours on job boards, looking on church's websites, and making contacts with people in this area searching for the right job to have while in school.  We're so thankful that through all that the Lord led us to Mckinney Church in Fort Worth, TX.  Among many other things, we love their ministry focus, diversity and heart for outreach.  Jay also bonded quickly with the adult team that he is part of.

7. Mckinney ELC-- I also spent a great deal of time contemplating what type of job I would have and where the boys would attend childcare.  I was reluctant to also work at the church and wasn't sure an opening would even be available.  When I went to meet the director, she just happened to ask where I would be working.  I replied that I was beginning the search.  She told me they had openings, and there we go!  It's a perfect fit for our family and a fabulous program.  They are super supportive and understanding of teachers as moms first.  And, Athan, especially has loved his class and teachers.

8.  Hudson has made many friends this year.  He will express some reluctancy to attend preschool/church, but once he's there he seems to have such a great time.  He made some good little buddies in Stillwater before we moved, and has now connected with some little guys here in Fort Worth, too.  It's so much fun to see those first friendships.  He has also especially loved his cousins and started really playing with them all on his own- for hours at a time!

9.  And throughout the year, over and over, God has shown His abundant provision.  He has met our needs in many ways.  People have shared with us and given so generously to help in the move and time of part time work and full time school.  We are humbled through the gifts of others and amazed at the way our Father meets our needs.

Thankful,
The Felkers in 2012


Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Hudson!










We celebrated Hudson's birthday in Fort Worth style this year with a cowboy themed party. It was fun picking out decor and, thanks to Susu, stylin' some great cowboy clothes. Unfortunately though, for the second year in a row, Hudson was sick on his birthday. We couldn't have friends over, but family did brave the stomach bug and come on anyway (maybe not a good decision as they ALL caught it!). I'm so thankful they would as it made for a sweet time of celebrating. Hudson wasn't up to eating much and we waiting on cake until the next day, but he was excited about his party. Birthday hi-lights were waking up to the cowboy decoration and toys, a morning park trip with Susu, and dinner and presents with the Oklahoma crew. On Saturday Hudson got to ride his new bike and take our guests out to the Stockyards. It really was perfect. Well, except for all the sickness that passed around. :) We are so thankful for our family who would come make Hudson's birthday special- thank you Susu, Pa & Gigi, Aunt Kandace & Jackson!

As we celebrate H turning 4, it's fun to think back on how he has grown in a year.

In the ways that Hudson spends his free time, I've seen a big chance from simply toys to imaginative play. He loves to play pretend and is often coming up with something to act out. It often involves his long time favorite things- work trucks, cars, or animals, but now he wants to act them out. He usually wants someone to take a role with him, but he is okay at times to act out the dialogue on his own. He continues to ask tons of questions, though usually just resorting to the "why" when he is really tired (it took me awhile to figure that out). Other Hudson favorites this year were all kinds of sports- football, soccer, hockey & baseball, Curious George books & TV, Go Diego Go, puzzles (usually before bed), cars & trucks, animal figures, books, playing at the park, and riding his tricycle. He also has a strange desire to squeeze his brother's feet. We haven't quite figured that one out yet. :)

He is more independent. He is opinionated about his clothes. In the winter he was in love with his footed PJs and really all through the year he has wanted his Miss State football jersey and Lighting McQueen light up shoes. Not anything wrong with either of those things, just not my first choice for some outings! He looks older- taller & thinner. I don't really see chubby cheeks anymore. Oh, and he sings! This has been a complete change this year. He loves to sing and even dance. He used to tell me not to sing. Hudson is friendly & silly, eager to please others. We love him so and are thankful for his sweet, teachable spirit.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Word Lists

Athan has entered the talking season of life- I just LOVE this phase! Many word lists will follow.

Here is what Athan has been saying of late...

1. Dada- first official word

2. Jet- we hear them often living near an air force base; he even pretends to fly a plane with his hand and makes a motor sound

3. Uh oh- simply precious!

And then I have to include Athan's rain dance. We were all so excited about the rain, especially A. He hardly seemed to notice he was getting soaked. We were glad to have Mary V and Stephen over to enjoy the rain with us.
video

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sum-Sum-Summertime!

Move in weeked at our apartment...love you Thompsons!
Check out that new tooth!!!
Loved our visit from these Cside Alum
Loving us some popsicles
Learning more about God
Playing at Papa & Susu's house
Playing trash man

With the start of our new school year approaching, I thought it was time to reflect on our wonderful summer together.

Athan finally got teeth- lots of them. He grew sillier, more determined, bold & dangerous. On the silly side, he found such delight in sticking his hands in my mouth & laughing as I rocked him before bed. He start to sleep like a champ! He babbled all the time, and he could carry on conversations without words. At church, he has done fabulous in the nursery. He started reaching over the door for his classroom after his week long stay during VBS. I'm not sure I've ever seen a child do that. He is ready to go, and, of course, when we come, he is excited to see us. He fell in love with his belly button and walks around all the time with his hand up his shirt. Oh, and did I mention that his climbs all over everything?!?

Hudson couldn't be more outgoing. The move has not slowed him down. He talks to strangers as though they are his best friends. Sometimes it makes my heart hurt when I feel like people don't reciprocate his enthusiasm in a conversation, but it doesn't seem to bother him. He loves to play pretend. He plays fireman, zoo keeper, grocery store, and librarian. He offers such sweet prayers and has started asking amazing questions about God. One night lying in bed, he admitted he was afraid to go to Heaven because he feared he might fall out of the clouds. Other great lines Hudson has said: when looking at the weather doppler hearing about a hurricane, he said, "is the storm in a fight with the sun?" I told him that God loves us no matter what and he wants us to love others the same way. His reponse- "wow that's a lot of loving!"

We have been so thankful for our swimming pool in this extreme heat. We have enjoyed many trips to the pool, playing with our new friends Addie & Owen, exploring the stockyards, and many visitors coming to see us. We're thankful for all who've made the treck this way. We enjoyed trips back to Oklahoma, one to Mississippi and an extra special one to Sea World.

Thankful for summer 2011!

Oh, and Jay finished 2 more Greek classes. 1 to go!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Turtle Party

We celebrated our June baby with an outdoor turtle themed party! We had a wonderful time celebrating Athan's first birthday with all of his cousins and a few other special guests. Thank you all for helping us to celebrate baby A!

The turtle theme was based around Athan's swim suit!

Cousin Ally loves to help

Scarfing down the birthday cake...moments before he choked on it and spit it back out

Love that my dad would get in the pool with Athan even though he was fully dressed
Beautiful big brother

Our adorable Athan

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's Been a Year






Happy Birthday, sweet baby Athan! What an incredible year it has been!

Like every other before, this month was special for several reasons. The most obvious is that this boy is on the move. While not quite running, Athan can get around on his own very well. He still toddles in this adorable way and does crawl if needed. He doesn't sit for long, but if you can catch him while he is still, he will play a few games with you. We like to play "thank you," where we hand objects back and forth. Sometimes it really does sound like he is trying to say "thank you" as he hands me the object.

His looks have changed along with the season. As you might expect, my olive skin tone little boy is super tan now we're spending time at the pool. I am jealous of that skin! His hair is adorably fluffy and blonder (wasn't expecting that one). His hair seriously does stick up on top, and there's really no taming it. We're still waiting for those first teeth to arrive, but I'm sure it will be soon.

The lack of teeth hasn't slowed Athan down at all when it comes to eating table food. He loves anything you'll give him. He loves food so much that he normally cries when the meal is over, and we take him out of the high chair. He drinks well from a cup, which is good for keeping him hydrated because we are sweating all the time down here! His naps are very predictable, usually at 10 and 2. Many of his naps are right at 45 minutes, but he will nap longer some days. He sleeps from about 7 to 7, waking up just enough in the night to cry and send Hudson running to our room (poor Hudson!) and also eating a little at 6.

As I reflect on our first year getting to know our little Athan, I first think about his smile- how his face lights up when he sees us. He enjoys watching people, but definitely prefers Mom and Dad. He is a sweet little cuddler, he loves to be rocked as we read stories before bed or when he first wakes up from a nap. Even when he is playing, he will often trot over to me and just fall in my arms for a hug. Love that! He adores Hudson and wants to do whatever Hudson does. As most 1 year olds are, he is fearless and tenacious, willing try something over and over until he gets what he wants.

Finally, I feel like I have to write about his sleep. That huge issue that consumed my thoughts in my first months with baby A. If only I would have just listened to the advice of my mom..."try not to worry about it so much. Won't he just sleep when he needs it?" My good intentions went a little too far as I attempted to help Athan sleep better for the sake of our entire family. What I realize now is that Athan is just not a great sleeper. I know we made mistakes in the process of sleep training, but I believe some of that is just him and that really is okay. I do believe we gave him the gift of falling to sleep with ease. That was my biggest concern with him as a young infant. He had so much trouble falling asleep when he was tired. A few tools (dark room, paci, miracle blanket, and a predictable routine) seemed to help him make great strides in this. The gift he gave me was learning patience as I worked with him, and even more, absolutely precious moments of rocking him to sleep in my arms that I will always treasure. The year goes fast, and I am so grateful for those times.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Contagious Laughter

video

Our kiddos are just so resilient. We worried about how they would transition to a new place, and they are just doing fabulous. Clearly, you can tell from this, they are enjoying one another and having all their toys back again (after being in storage for a month).

On Sunday morning, Hudson asked if his friends would be at the nursery. I told him they were back in Stillwater, and he would meet new friends here. He was just fine with that and after the service was running around the foyer at church just like normal. It's such a blessing and a testimony to all the prayers we have received.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

All We've Ever Known

in the moving truck

When Jay and I married in 2003, our plan was to live in Stillwater just long enough for Jay to finish his last year of school. 10 months really was all.

Plans changed...for the better. After Jay graduated from college, a temporary job opened up at our church where he could fill a need. His desire was to serve in ministry, so he took it. That was over wonderful six years ago. We knew a time would come when we would move to Dallas. That was the plan all along. I just had no idea we would get to stay so long and that I would fall so in love with this place.

We love Stillwater. It's all we've ever known together. And even though the size and feel of the town is so much different than what I knew growing up, I have grown so accustomed to this place and can't imagine anywhere else feeling like home. Of course, it's not the town itself that I have loved. It's those who live here and how our family has changed while we've lived here.

Countryside. We can't say enough how grateful we are to our Father in Heaven for the privilege of serving this body of believers through discipling and loving the youth. We have loved our students and have also been graciously loved by their families. The support and encouragement of the entire church has blessed us in many ways. This is a special place with genuine people who strongly desire to know the Word.

Our family. We've lived in a dumpy townhouse as newlyweds, a much better duplex when we got a little more, and then we bought our own home. We entered the real world work force here. We got our dog. We've had our baby boys here. This place is full of wonderful memories starting from the years we were dating until now when we are nearly to our 30s with our own children.

God's hand has been evident in our lives. He provided for us in ways we weren't expecting, including our move. Our house sold quickly (yea!), but that meant we needed a place to live for a few weeks. And just as it has happened over and over again, our need was met through the body of Christ. The wonderful Herrmann family opened up their home and offered for us to stay with them. I could not have imagined a better living situation or feeling more comfortable staying somewhere. We are humbled and blessed.

Now that we are settling in to Ft. Worth, I can say that I am excited to see what God will do in our lives while we are here. We trust that we will be blessed by those we met here, and our prayer is that we will be used to minister to others as well. It won't be Stillwater, but we look forward to making new memories as a family.

Athan's Eleventh Month





Could it be that this month had the biggest changes for our baby A?

He started the month crawling, moved to pulling up and cruising, taking steps, and is now on the move with a combination of walking and speed crawling wherever he needs to go. Watching him learn to walk has just been incredible. I love seeing his determination and feeling of pride as he lets go of whatever he is holding on to, checks his balance, and bravely steps out on his own. What a great example of perseverance and tenacity! He almost always ends up falling eventually, but that doesn't stop him from trying.

Cognitively, he has also made new developments. He enjoys driving cars and trucks, a shared passion with big brother. He babbles "ma, ma," "da, da," among some other sounds, and I really think he might know to call me "ma, ma." It's not all the time, but when he wants my attention.

His look is a little different as well. For the first time his hair has started to curl in the back- a shared trait for Lanes!

With only one month left in this first year of Athan's life, I am feeling grateful for him and looking forward to many more years to watch him grow.

video

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Athan's 10th Month





Double digits are here, and, oh boy! we've had some changes this month.

Athan's on the move! After we decided he just might skip this stage altogether, Athan surprised us by crawling after a lamp cord on April 10. I saw him take his first successful lunge on a Sunday afternoon right as I heard Jay pull up in the driveway. I sprinted outside to tell him to hurry in, and then we all got to witness this exciting milestone together. Athan has been struggling to figure this out for over a month, so the entire Felker family was delighted to see him put it all together. Walking won't be far behind because he's pulling up well and loves to walk. He often only crawls to get to something to help him walk.

His fine motor coordination is increasing, too. That has made meal time more enjoyable for everyone. He can pick up food from his high chair and feed himself. I love the finger food stage! It took some time, but he has also starting drinking from a cup. For the longest time he seriously only thought it was for banging on the highchair!

All this, of course, means more sleep disturbances. He now knows how strong and capable of movement he is, so it's hard to settle down in his crib. We did lower the bed today as he started standing up in there. His naps are still a little shorter, but I'm hopeful that he'll get back to napping longer again. He's always happier when he does.

Hudson just may be his biggest fan. Although it's a challenge for Hudson to share all the time, he really does enjoy picking out one of his toy that Athan could play with. He's quick to comfort Athan if he cries when I leave the room. He'll say to Athan, "it's okay. I'm here with you. Mommy will be right back." Seriously melts my heart! He also loves to tell people all about Athan's accomplishments. They occasionally bathe together now. Athan doesn't enjoy it quite as much since he normally bathes laying down, but Hudson is all about that. Sometimes he strips his close and jumps in before I can stop him.

We have laughed at how we're seeing Athan's emotions and will being expressed. We said early on that he seemed a bit loud and maybe even dramatic. These seems true this month. When we take something from him or do something he doesn't like (come inside, change his diaper), he protests by screaming loudly and arching his back. I can help but think, seriously kid?? On the other hand, he is expressive in good ways. His laugh is contagious at our house, and I love all the fun noises he makes.

Pictures will come soon, but with a move coming next week, I thought I better post while I can!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Athan's Ninth Month





Three quarters of the way through the first year. Where has the time gone?

As we coach Athan on crawling and walking, I keep thinking to myself maybe I would rather not teach him these milestones just yet. I know he is not content to sit in one spot anymore, but he will really be discontent once he gets that taste of freedom. He has continued to get stronger and stronger, closer to both types of mobility, but still not yet moving on his own. He does roll around more and can scoot on his bottom.


Sweet Athan really is engaging to people and draws so much attention with his beautiful smile. It's fun to hear people comment on how happy and beautiful he is, instead of just his size. Yes, I know I am carrying around a heavy baby- you don't have to point that out to me! We enjoy his babbles and delightful kicks and bounces when he is happy. I think he holds the record for longest time happy in the bouncy seat at the church nursery. When he is really excited, he will tighten up his entire body and grit his gums together. Love it! He babbles "ma, ma," which I love even if he may not know exactly what he is saying. One day Hudson asked, "is he saying mama?!" He also says "ha, ha, ha" when he is happy.



He keeps eating more and more foods. We've added lunch and started progressing to chunkier foods. I use baby food only about half of the time now. It's fun to get to serve him something similar to what we are eating.


Night sleep is making a general positive progression, even though he STILL doesn't sleep through the night. This month, many of his afternoon naps weren't longer than 45 minutes, which has confused us, but he is old enough now just to get through the rest of the day okay even if he's nap wasn't long. So thankful for that! He also has really improved on drifting off to sleep while drowsy.


Athan's interests are not so much in baby toys anymore. Rattles may be fun for younger babes, but Athan is moving on up! He prefers to play with anything that belongs to Hudson (big brother is handling this pretty well) or is something he's not supposed to play with. He is often lunging after cords or strings of all kinds.


Love our little A!

Letters, We Get Letters!

What fun we have been having with letters at our house! A few months ago we taught Hudson how to recognize and then write the letter h- "one line up & one little hill" for the small one, and "two lines up with a bridge across" did the trick. Hudson's interest in letters has developed on its own. I have always heard and believed that reading comes naturally for a child given the right environment, and it's fun to see that take place now.

He can now recognize all the letters in his name, and write most of them. He loves to write on the marker boards at the youth house. Another fun development is seeing him take interest in silly word play. He enjoys changing words around and coming up with his own take on words. He is so talkative and loves to engage in conversation with adults. We have now started to work on polite interruptions and turn taking in conversation. Jay's parents were here recently, and said that Jay was just as talkative as a young child, so that must be where he gets it! :)

Here is a video of him "reading" Panda Bear, Panda Bear by Eric Carle.


video

Friday, March 11, 2011

What a Man...

Undoubtably, I don't mention my fabulous husband enough on my blog as I ramble on and on about our wonderful children, so this blog is just about him!

Now that we are in the process of selling our home, it's fun to look back at all the changes that we have made. Thanks to Jay's hard work, skill, and ocassional recruitment of cheap labor (you know who you are!), he has updated this house and transformed it into the perfect home for our family. We will certainly miss living in this special place.

Thank you, Jay, for all you do to take care of our family!