A Big Lesson from “My Girl”

Many of you with children likely have little “quirky” things you do with your children. They may have started as a joke or something you did once, and it became normal for you to do. For EmmaLee-Tyler and me, one of those things is a phrase I say to her. When she says or does something really funny (that usually makes her mom roll her eyes) I typically follow it up by saying “My Girl!” is a silly voice! She likes it when I do it! After I say that, EmmaLee-Tyler typically laughs at me and we all have a fun laugh. Today, she said four words that reminded me of a big lesson I needed to remember!

We were sitting around the table eating lunch together when MaeLee asked EmmaLee-Tyler if she wanted real chickens in our yard. MaeLee has been trying to get me to get us chickens for years now (that’s another story for another day)! In the midst of the conversation about chickens, MaeLee asked EmmaLee-Tyler if she would help get chicken eggs if we had chickens. EmmaLee-Tyler responded, “No! I just want to eat the chickens!” Cue MaeLee’s chuckle and eye roll at our funny girl, and then it happened. EmmaLee-Tyler looked at me and said, “Daddy, say ‘my girl.'” In that moment it struck me that she was looking for validation. Validation that she was funny, validation that she was loved, validation that she was indeed “my girl.” I resolved in that moment I would always strive to remind her of two things!

First, I resolved to make sure she always knew she was “my girl” no matter what. My love for her is unconditional, and she needs to know that. She needs to know that no matter what happens in this life, no matter what mistakes she makes, no matter if she ever makes another funny joke, that she is and will always be “my girl.” There may be times I don’t say it, or times she doesn’t want me to say it (embarrassing parents, am i right?), but she needs to know that her being “my girl” isn’t based on anything she does or doesn’t do, but it simply based on the fact that I love her!

Second, I resolved to make sure that she knows her validation doesn’t come from me (or any boy for that matter), but from her Heavenly Father. There will be days when she is older when peer pressure will creep in, and in those moments I want her to remember that her worth isn’t wrapped up in another person’s approval, but His approval. As her dad, I have to lead the charge to remind her of her true value, which is found in Him.

Neither of these things are “new truths” for me. In fact, they are both things about which we seek to be extremely intentional. But today was a fresh reminder that even at the age of three and a half our children are seeking approval and validation. Make sure you remind your children today that your love for them is unconditional, but more importantly remind them that God’s love for them is unconditional and that rooting their identity in Him is the only way for a secure future.

Counting all things loss,

Tim

It’s Been a While…Adoption Update

At the Post Office mailing off our final paperwork

Friends, it has been a while. And by a while I mean a year since I have posted here. Ha! I am way more active on Instagram and Facebook with our more up-to-date life happenings. But let’s catch you up on what all has happened since my last post here…

We have experienced a lot of growth- personal, spiritual, adoption, and our kids! Cam and EmmaLee-Tyler have grown in every way imaginable. They are very much alike and very much different from one another. Their personalities are polar opposites and we are seeing that more and more each day. They amaze me with how much they are learning and how they listen to us more than I think so-ha! Cam’s hair is shorter now and Em’s has grown SO MUCH. I feel like I’m constantly having to change out clothes sizes and buy more shoes. Whew! And they are more than ready to add Casper to our family and talk about him all throughout the day!

My business is growing and it is something I am truly proud of! I am honored and love to educate my team that the Lord has entrusted to me to take care of. I never thought that I would have a business, but I love learning and sharing my passion of wellness with others. It’s a true blessing!

And we decided to take a leap of faith in October. We know, trust, and believe that adoption is what the Lord has called us to. We have been fundraising for over a year now and although we didn’t have all the money we needed we knew we needed to move forward and step out on faith. We put in our application with Faithful Adoption Consultants (FAC) and started our home study process! It turned into a whirlwind of couple of days of fundraising and the Lord providing minute by minute and hour by hour for the funds we needed. There were a lot of tears of joy and gratitude shed that weekend. God was so faithful to us raising the money for our contract and more!

After being approved by FAC, we finished up our home study and our social worker, Sara, was (and still has been) absolutely amazing! She has also adopted with FAC so she knew how to prepare us with our home study for the paperwork needed for FAC, too! We were home study approved in mid-November! Major praise for that!!

After becoming home study approved, we dove into applying for grants and more fundraising. We are still waiting to hear from grants on if we have been awarded any yet. Praying that we will receive several and we would love for you pray for that alongside of us. (Please and thank you!) And in mid-January we sent in our final paperwork to FAC to become an active family.

Tim traveled to New Orleans for 2 weeks in January for his last 2 classes of his doctoral program and that put a bit of a snag in things because of still needing to finish our clearances for Texas. But we got that done and were approved for Texas earlier this week (this doesn’t mean that we will travel or get our baby from Texas but we are ready to go there and get him if we are matched there!) and are currently waiting to be assigned a consultant to go ACTIVE! Whooooo!!!

One step of faith has led us to this point. It was hard to do, but I am SO thankful we were obedient because it’s led us to this point. God has gone before us and prepared our way…we need only to obey and follow Him. I’ll try my best to keep our blog updated with everything in the process moving forward.

#WeTheVillage T-Shirt Fundraiser

#WeTheVillage

What does this mean? We have been saying since before we even started the adoption process that it would take a village, our village, to get our next baby home. It is going to take a lot of prayer, support, encouragement, and money to make this happen for us. We know it won’t be easy and it is a process BUT with your help it WILL happen!

So, #WeTheVillage was born. We included it on our next fundraiser, which is our t-shirts! By you buying this shirt, you are helping us raise money to bring home Baby Mathis #3, saying that you are a part of our village, and bringing awareness to adoption by wearing this shirt wherever you go.

The back of the shirt has an outline of the United States because our little baby will come from somewhere within the lines of this map. And within the map we have a heart where Alabama would be to represent us and our family and the Bible verses Ephesians 1:4-6, which says: “In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”

As far as this super cool t-shirt goes, we tried our best to make it as gender neutral as possible while also making it stand out and look awesome! This shirt is available in youth sizes through adult sizes. The cost is $20 and if you’re not local to us then $2 will be added for shipping purposes. Please let me or Tim know if you want one, how many, and what sizes you will need! Orders will be taken until February 14th!

We desire for everyone to be involved in our adoption in whatever way that may be-praying for us, the birth mother, and our new little one, sending words of encouragement our way, helping us connect with other adoptive families, and taking part in our fundraisers. And as always, please feel free to ask questions you may have about our adoption and we will be happy to answer!

A Little Q & A

I wanted to answer a few questions that other have been asking us since announcing that we are adopting. And please feel free to ask any and all questions because we would love to answer them!

Also, we would love to thank everyone that has pledged money per mile for our first fundraiser! Every single cent given helps to bring the next Mathis baby home to us!

So… let’s get started!

Are we planning to adopt domestically or internationally? This adoption will be a domestic adoption. And if you don’t know what that means, that’s totally okay! That means that our baby will come from somewhere in the U.S.!

How much will our adoption cost? We are looking at a total of $38,000 to $43,000 plus our application fee and traveling expenses of getting our new and sweet little one. This price covers agency fees, legal fees, care for the birth mother, and hospital costs.

Will we be specific in any area of what baby we want to adopt? We are planning on being gender specific in adding another precious boy to our tribe, but we are open to all races.

What age will our sweet one be? We hope and desire to adopt a newborn. We would love to travel to the hospital and be there while he is born or at least shortly after.

Will be having any other fundraisers? Yes, and soon after Tim completes the Dopey Challenge/ Dopey For Dough Fundraiser! We plan to have t-shirts for sale, a silent auction/dinner, a 5k/fun run, and more!

I think those are the main questions we have had so far, but like I mentioned earlier here..please do not hesitate to ask us any questions. You guys are our village and this will only happen with your love, prayers, and support!

And if you are wanting to help with our first fundraiser, Dopey For Dough, you can go to this link and fill out the form there: bit.ly/dopey4dough.

 

Dwelling in Him,

Tim, MaeLee, Cam, & EmmaLee-Tyler

Blessed with Blessings

Earlier this week I was driving down the road with my littles in the backseat and started thinking about how truly blessed I am. This train of thought started as I replaying in my mind how Cam has started with all kinds of imaginative play throughout his days. He makes Buzz Lightyear fly around our living room, drives cars all down our hallway/entryway and over any wall near him, and likes to pretend he is a bear and scare people with his loud roar! It seriously is one of the best things to watch your child learn and grow and just wonder what is going through their precious mind. It is a true and complete blessing to be able to mother such wonderful children!

Then, I went further down that train of thought and became overwhelmed with just how wonderful it is to be a mother and get to experience life in a completely different way than I would if I wasn’t a mother. My second little, EmmaLee-Tyler, is just starting out in this world at 7 weeks old and I get to watch hit all the milestones Cam has already reached. I get to experience her rolling over, babbling, talking, crawling, and walking within this next year. It is always so fun and exciting to see my littles grow developmentally!

Life is so much more fun to me as a mom. Life is also more tiring and scary as I think about what my children will face in their lifetime. As a mother you wonder what type of personalities your children will have..will they be quiet and reserved or loud and outgoing? Will they be interested in science and math or take an interest in working with their hands? Will they want to be a preacher and a teacher or a doctor and a lawyer? Who knows except for the Lord! Also as a mother you don’t want your littles to have to face heartache or any danger. I pray that as long as they are in mine and my husband’s care that they will look to the Lord and us in times of uncertainty as that one of the blessings of being their parent.

I love being a mom and getting to watch my “blessings” grow and learn each day. I love getting to hear Cam learn new words, how to count, and how to color. I love getting to watch EmmaLee-Tyler smile, laugh, and roll over. I love having this feeling of being truly blessed my what the Lord has given me and two of my greatest blessings are most definitely my children!

Children are a blessing

 

EmmaLee-Tyler’s Birth Story

After the majority of my morning sickness subsided in the last trimester, the only complaint I had was not being able to sleep due to restless legs and just not being comfortable. Most nights I would only get about 3 hours of sleep at the max. My blood pressure was being managed pretty well with medicine. Then when I hit 36 weeks I started feeling bad just generally and my blood pressure was still high (really high) with my normal amount of medicine. I let my wonderful OB know and we ran some tests and then by the end of the week I was in the hospital being induced and anticipating the arrival of EmmaLee-Tyler.
We arrived to the hospital around 10:00 PM on Sunday, March 6th at 37 weeks 2 days to start the induction process. But before we left the house I had the honor of rocking my 19 month old son to sleep for the last time as an only child at home. It was truly a bittersweet moment and as I rocked him I was fighting back tears because as excited as I was for our family to become 4 people, I was nervous to how Cam would react to this big change in his life, how he would be spending the night away from us for the first time, and how I would handle taking care of 2 children. So, we get settled into our room and the nurses enter in all of my information and give me the meds to help start the laboring process and a mild sedative to help me rest. The plan was to give me meds every 3 hours and by the second dose I started having contractions, but thankfully the sedative did it’s job and allowed me to sleep more than I had been doing at home..even with multiple interruptions of sleep from the nurses. The third dose of meds really had me contracting at the time.
After I received the third dose they started my IV of pitocin to really make me contract and set on my labor of EmmaLee-Tyler. A couple of hours later my lovely and wonderful doctor came by and checked on me and broke my water. (When I had my water broke with Cam I didn’t feel anything or any sensations of the water because I already had my epidural so this was an interesting feeling.)
My pitocin was most definitely working and I contracted ALL DAY LONG! Another couple of hours after having my water broke I asked for my epidural. My epidural this time around compared to Cam’s was a completely different story. It was administered differently and I was able to feel and move my legs this time. I was re-dosed several times because of this. The medicine would work for about a good 15-30 minutes and then I would start feeling the contractions hardcore again. (It was weird and I don’t know what exactly happened like if I just metabolized it fast or something was wrong with how it was placed or what?)
I was progressing in my labor just a whole lot slower than anticipated by everyone, especially me. I went in with the goal of having her my lunch time. Boy was I wrong!!
My awesome nurse tried moving me in different positions to speed things along but to no avail. Miss EmmaLee-Tyler was quite comfortable where she was! Also, she had her head turned to the side so they tried turning her head several times, but she was a little stubborn like her big brother was and would turn it right back where she wanted it to be!
Speaking of Cam, he was in and out of the room throughout the day and each time he came in he asked, “Where’s baby?” Poor baby had been told several times that his sister was coming that day and he kept expecting to see her! He was champ and only had one meltdown when he had to leave that night to go home to eat, take a bath, and go to bed. It was really sad for this Mommy’s heart.
I stalled for a while around 8-9 cm dilated and we tried pushing a couple of times to see if I could get to where I needed to be to deliver. When it was 11:00 PM that day it looked like I wasn’t going to be having on her the 7th liked we thought she would be. (This was a running joke with us because of how long my labor was Cam and went into the next day, so every time someone told us that Em would be born on the 7th, Tim was quick to say to them to not guarantee us that because of our previous experience. Haha!!)
It was around 11:30 or after when I started feeling a lot of pressure and felt like I needed to start pushing. Tim went out to get the nurses and doctor to let them know what I was feeling. Sure enough it was •finally• time to get the show on the road. Like I mentioned earlier about my epidural not exactly working, it definitely wasn’t working at this point. Let’s just say that I felt everything and that’s the most pain I’ve ever had and want to ever experience in my life. I pushed for about 10-15 minutes. (I’m not exactly sure how long because everything was a blur.) It was all a blur of emotions, tears, pain, and joy!
At 11:58 PM EmmaLee-Tyler Jean Mathis made her grand appearance weighing 6 lb 10 oz and was 19.5 inches long! She was immediately placed on my chest and covered with blankets. What a wonderful and long-awaited moment to have with our baby girl! Tim was so happy and full of joy of meeting his daughter for the first time as tears streamed down his face.
Sidenote: Can I just say how thankful I am to have had my friend, Talia, who is a wonderful doctor deliver our baby girl?! We were so impressed with the nursing staff and how wonderful they were to me and EmmaLee-Tyler during our stay there.
I was able to do skin-to-skin with Em for about a hour before they had to take her to the nursery to check out her lungs and warm her up. We didn’t exactly know what was wrong with her until a few hours later when the pediatrician had to come and check on her and then explain everything.
Em had fluid in her lungs and wasn’t able to hold her body temperature where it needed to be. They said her lungs just needed some more time to mature and they needed to make sure she didn’t have pneumonia. She was placed under the oxy hood for a couple of days and to us the worst part of it all was that she wouldn’t get to eat anything during that time.
On Wednesday morning we were able to hold her for the first time since she was born that Monday night. It did our hearts so good to be able to wrap our arms around her little body. She started making improvements as soon as we were able to hold her. Her oxygen sats came up and stayed where they needed to be for the most part after that. That night I was able to nurse her!
Thursday was a day of all around improvement and she was moved out of the nursery to the room they were allowing me to stay in while she was a patient. Cam was able to meet his little sister for the first time that morning and able to hug and kiss her! It was so sweet to watch them interact. And on Friday morning we were finally able to come home as a family of four!! We were all so happy to get to do that and just settle into a routine and I was glad to be back in my own bed!
We want to thank everyone again for all of your prayers you prayed during that week for us and our girl! They were much felt by us and appreciated, too!

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Disney Trip 2016

We recently took a trip to Disney World and we had a blast! When we went last year, it was Tim’s very first time to go and experience all of the magic that Disney has! Ever since we left Disney World in 2015 he has been wanting to go back and so we quickly started planning when we would go again and saving all of our Disney Rewards. Tim’s mom, stepdad, and sister were able to go with us this time and it was his stepdad and sister’s first time to go to Disney World.

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Although Cam is still too young to remember his first 2 trips to Disney World we will remember his trips and how his face lit up seeing all of his favorite characters and watching the wonderful parades. During our last trip we didn’t get to watch the parades due to riding rides or not being in the park while they were going on, but this time we were able to catch a daytime and nighttime parade and Cam absolutely LOVED them! He got so excited to see the characters he knew!

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Cam also rode a few rides last time but this time he rode a lot of rides that he was big enough for in Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. We would walk by a ride and he would start saying, “Ride! Ride! Ride!” We rode the tea cups, carousel, Dumbo, Magic Carpets, and It’s a Small World with him. I think there might have been a few more he rode but some of the ones he rode multiple times due to no waiting times and fast passes!

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During our day in Magic Kingdom we obviously wore Cam out before lunch because as we were waiting to order our food at Be Our Guest he fell asleep and slept through our entire lunch in my arms. Speaking of Be Our Guest…this was something that was on my bucket list. 🙂 I tried and tried to get us reservations to eat there last time but wasn’t able to get them. BUT this time as soon as I could make reservations for restaurants I made them for Be Our Guest. Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my all-time favorite Disney movies and I wanted to eat in the castle! It was a great experience and great food! It was a definitely a dream come true/wish fulfilled!

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Another wish fulfilled for me was getting to satisfy my pregnancy cravings with multiple Dole whips! You guys…Dole whips are heavenly! I haven’t met anyone that has had one that hasn’t liked them!

The night after our day at Magic Kingdom was quite eventful and resulted with about 2 hours of sleep for me. We had a family suite that had multiple rooms for all of us to sleep. We put Cam to bed as normal in our room and about 2 hours later I hear “Momma, Momma! Momma, Momma!” coming from our room. I walk in the bedroom to Cam laying in the middle of the bed with vomit covering and surrounding my sweet little boy! {Sidenote: Cam has only thrown up one other time and it was in the car as I was driving down the road.}

Tim was in the shower and Cam was still half asleep and not crying about the situation at all. As Tim’s mom started stripping the bed, I take Cam to the bathroom and strip him and put him in the shower with Tim to wash him off and wash his hair. (This was quite an experience!)

We get new sheets on the bed and pillows and Cam continues to throw up every 30 minutes to 1 hour throughout the night until 5 AM. It was a rough night to say the least, but we made the best of it.

The next day was our Animal Kingdom day. We had already paid for tickets and had reservations for meals so I sent everyone else to Animal Kingdom until I knew for sure Cam could hold down food and wasn’t feeling too bad to ride in the stroller. We (Cam and I) joined everyone else around 10 AM that day after he had another bath, ate some breakfast, and had some gatorade to rehydrate him.

Cam was a little puny that day as he later had other stomach issues happen to him in the middle of meeting Mickey Mouse. (Yikes!)

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Our (Cam & I)  favorite part of that day was our safari ride and seeing all of the animals! Tim really enjoyed the roller coaster, Expedition Everest, from Animal Kingdom. We ate at Rainforest Cafe that night, which was one of our favorites from our last trip and Cam liked seeing all the “ah-ah”s (monkeys) when the rain would come in the restaurant.

Well, that about sums up our trip..other than the fact that everyone else got the stomach bug Cam had except Tim and his mom as we traveled home. (Lucky them!) Even with sickness going on we had an awesome time!

Until next time…

The Blessing of Our Baby Girl

It has been quite a while since I have last blogged, but life has gotten the best of me and I have a busy TODDLER to attend to during my days. There is a lot to catch up on since last June.

We now have an 18 month old little fella who is a ball of energy and so smart! It amazes me of what all he is learning right now. He tries to repeat back pretty much any word or phrase we ask him to. Most of the time though he still has his own little language going on. On of his favorite phrases to say is, “Let’s go!!” He is putting together three word phrases more and more and I know he will be speaking in full sentences before I know it! He loves to run and play outside, swing on the swings at the park, watch Toy Story (all 3 of them) and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, throw balls, look at any kind of pictures, watch videos of himself, throw things away for us in the trash can, and ride on things.

Cam has done so much growing since he turned one and I can’t believe his 2nd birthday is already closer than his 1st birthday!

Speaking of his 1st birthday, we found out we were expecting baby #2 the day before his birthday party! We are SO excited to welcome this new baby into our little family in March! Children are a BLESSING from the Lord and deserve to be celebrated like the blessing that they are!

We told all of our family and friends at Cam’s birthday party and let him be the one to share the news with everyone by him wearing a Big Brother shirt under his Woody western shirt.

The first trimester was rougher than it was with Cam as far as sickness goes. Cam made me super sick but EmmaLee-Tyler made me even more sick! Since I entered the second trimester in September of last year things have gotten much better. Tim was the real MVP during our first trimester as far as cleaning the house and helping even more with Cam, especially at night when I was utterly exhausted!

In October we found out that EmmaLee-Tyler was EmmaLee-Tyler! We both thought for sure we were having another boy because of my pregnancies being so similar to each other, but we were gloriously surprised to find out that there was a sweet little girl inside of me!

We have made sure to include Cam into everything during this pregnancy and want him to be as involved as he can be. He loves to kiss and pat my belly and talk to the baby. He likes to go into her room and go through Em’s things. He has been dying to open up her giraffe Wubanub (paci). Also, recently Cam thinks its so funny to walk around sticking his tummy out as far as he can as a way to be like me. 🙂

We are now anxiously awaiting her arrival next month and she truly is an added blessing to our family! We cannot wait to get to know her and see her personality shine. Her room is practically finished and I have her clothes washed and ready to go. Now, we just need a little girl to add to the fun in our house!

Here a few pictures to recap the past few months:

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Cam- {10 Months}

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Of course I’m late on posting my blog again for you folks. But what else can you expect from a busy, on-the-go 10 month old?! And boy, am I a busy boy!!

I am on the move and have to busy moving and going somewhere!! I also have {7} teeth now!! I am going to town on some food these days! I am talking A LOT these past few weeks. And when I talk, I talk with my hands for the most part. I guess I picked it up from Daddy and Mommy and how they talk with their hands when they are not holding me.

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This month I learned a lot about softball because we spent 2 days cheering on the girls at the AHSSA championship games! I cheered and clapped and cheered and clapped and in between all of that I took naps even with the noisy fans going on and on! Mom and Dad said I was MVP again. I’m looking forward to being the girls ball boy next year. 🙂

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Mother’s Day also happened this month and Dad and I got Mommy some chacos she was wanting and some pretty sweet cards. I picked my card out for Mommy and I kinda got it for me too because it has Mickey Mouse on it and he is my favorite these days. I love watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!

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Some of my favorite foods this month are: strawberries, watermelon, blueberries, spaghetti, and chicken. Things I enjoy doing: reading books. climbing stairs, crawling, standing, playing with the youth group {especially the girls}, watching sports live or on TV, and still watching Toy Story 3.

Well, only a little longer until I turn {1} YEAR OLD! Do not tell Mommy though because she’s liable to break into tears about that subject. 😉

Grace & Peace- Cam

{Cam- 9 Months}

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Time is flying these days or at least that’s what Mom and Dad are saying a lot. I listen to them most of the time. The rest of the time I’m not listening to them I am hearing them but still choose to do the thing I want to do but am not necessarily supposed to be doing. I am trying to learn my boundaries around this place and see what buttons I can push, literally.

I am still hearing “no-no” a lot. I am pulling up and standing more and more each day. I am still a fan of opening drawers and pulling things off shelves. I can crawl at a super fast speed if I am in a hurry to get somewhere. I am standing for a few more seconds without holding onto anything. Mom says I am just getting way too big for her liking. But I’m like, ” Mom, c’mon I can’t stay little forever!”

I can make all kinds of sounds, but I am still not saying “Mama”. You could say that I’m saving that one up for a special occasion. (Maybe I will say it to Mom on Mother’s Day as her gift.) I have also started dancing when I hear some music I like. It’s actually more like bouncing up and down, but I got some moves! 🙂

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This month I experienced my 2nd Resurrection Sunday, this being the first outside of the womb. It was a good weekend celebrating Jesus’ life! I had fun at MVBC’s Easter egg hunt. I liked playing with all the plastic eggs I found and seeing the other kids running around and playing.

I have also been going to baseball and softball games to see some different friends of ours from Curry. I love being outside so much so this has been a lot of fun!!

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Ready for swim class!

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Part of our planted garden! I just love being outside!

Lastly, Mom signed me up for a water babies swim class and it was awesome! Two days per week Mom and I got in the water to learn some fun stuff! I learned different cues on how I am supposed to enter the water. I learned how to kick right after I hit the water, splash, and how to close my eyes and mouth when I go underwater!! My teacher said I was an excellent student and I made the parents proud!

Until next time…