Dear Fischer (Two Months)

Dear Fischer,

Life is hard sometimes. I can imagine that to your little body, all this reflux feels pretty bad. It's hard on you and it's hard on Mama. I do not like seeing you hurt and I wish I could take it away. But here's the beautiful truth of it all: God purposes the hard things for good. In fact he allows them for the best reason of points us to Him. How amazing that when you are only two months old, he is already purposing your life to need Him. That's a good reminder for those of us who have been around a lot longer. Life is hard so that we need HIM. Rest assured my sweet one, that although you are too young to go to him on your own for life's hardships, you have a Mommy and a Daddy who are desperately seeking Him on your behalf. We pray that you will learn to trust Him in all things: good and bad; easy and hard. And our greatest prayer is that you would know Him and serve Him and love Him all the days of your life.

- you weigh 14.6 lbs (82%) and are 24.5 inches tall(95%)
- you wear size 2 diapers and 0-3 and some 3-6 month clothes
- you are sleeping on average 4.5 - 6 hours at night
- you love to watch your mobile in your crib
- you are in love with me. Seriously. You coo and smile at me all the time. And my name is mush.
- reflux sucks
- we are having to start neck stretches with you because you are favoring turning to one side more than the other.  Praying The Lord heals you of this so we don't have to get a helmet.

The more I get to know your sweet personality, the more I see how perfectly you were made for our family. I love you, my littlest one and am so thankful for you.


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Man Date

(**this post is written by the SBOAM!!...enjoy!)

man-date - an authoritative command; especially : a formal order from a superior court or official to an inferior one

Man Date - also known as "Man Time" - a time for dudes to hang out and do manly things

From the get-go, Carrie and I have been very intentional about how we raise our kids…from how we pray with them and talk about our faith, to simply how we do life, schedule things, and set aside specific time for each of them (and, most importantly, for each other).

Starting at about nine months, Laura Kate and I began having Daddy / Daughter Donut Dates at the local "Fluffy Donuts" shop. Over the course of a couple of months, this became a welcome time, on Saturday mornings, for Laura Kate and I to have fun and eat sugary goodness while growing our relationship, all while Carrie got to sleep in for an extra hour or so. With the addition of Shepherd, our Donuts with Daddy time has come to be a fun excursion for the three of us (Fischer will join us, come next March or so!).

So, beyond our Saturday morning ritual, Carrie and I knew that we wanted to be intentional about one-on-one time with each of our kids. We envisioned this as being a monthly date to focus in on that child and enjoy good time together. LK and I have already gotten to have a few Daddy & Laura Kate dates (mostly involving breakfast or dinner at her favorite restaurant…McDonalds). However, last week was finally time for the initial Man Time with my Shepherd Boy.

A few months back, I went ahead and put our time into the calendar and began thinking through things that might be fun for daddy and his little Moose to go and do. Enjoying animals and all things outdoors / outside, I immediately began to think that Cabela's might be a prime place to take the little big guy. Having tons of things to look at, animals to see, a giant aquarium to check out, and yes, food…it was a no-brainer. I thought we might tag on a trip to the ice cream shop or something, but that would not be necessary, after arriving at this mecca of camouflage and stuffed animals (in the taxidermy way, not the cheap carnival type).

Upon arriving at Cabela's, Shepherd was mesmerized by the sheer size of the building, the lights inside, and all of the animals that were hanging on the wall and peeking out over in-store displays (the black bears and deer being his favorite). As he stared, open-mouthed, at row after row of camo and fishing gear, he signaled that he wanted down. He then signaled that he thought a game of "Chase Me Daddy" might be a great idea. So, off we went, trekking through the store, towards the back wall.

A few yards from the wall, my little boy realized that the back wall wasn't just a wall…it was an enormous aquarium full of all different kinds of fish! The blue glow beckoned like a moth to a flame, and the Moose was quickly climbing up on the fake rocks in front to have a better look. The next 30 minutes were full of shrieking fun as different fish came to stare at the brown-eyed boy, nose and cheeks pressed firmly against the inch-thick glass.

After his fill of fish, Shepherd was drawn to the balloons advertising the boats, but then to the gun section (bringing a tear to Daddy's eye). We ooh'd and awe'd over numerous different models, finally deciding to begin convincing Mommy why it would be great for Daddy to get both a new side-by-side 12 gauge and a handgun.

As we made our way onwards, Shepherd found the section of the store devoted to younger hunters, with tons of different toys and things. He quickly nabbed as many orange Browning bottle koozies as he could and tore off, attempting to make an escape back the way of the aquarium. However, what stopped him was our final destination on this trip anyway…the snack bar.

We wrapped up our time eating a chunk of fudge from the confectionary and laughing at how good a time we'd had.

Our prayer is that, with each of these dates with our kids, it might again and again be solidified, in their little minds, just how much Mommy and Daddy love spending time with each of them, as a whole, but then also as individuals. The LORD continues to give us arrows in the quiver. It is our job to sharpen them and then send them towards the mark that God gives each of them.

Spending this one-on-one time is just one more way that we can effectively do this, as our three little Scouts continue to grow up.

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Dear Shepherd (18 months)

Dear Shepherd,

One of my favorite things about you is how different you are from your sister. I love seeing how the Lord has created you uniquely like no one else. Your smile melts me. Your giggles are irresistible. Your tears break my heart. Your "boy-ness" makes me laugh. And your dancing skills are un-matched by any other in our house (No one can drop it like it's hot quite like you).

This season with you is turning out to be a difficult one. From ear infections, picky eating,teething, tantrum throwing, and delayed verbal skills, you are not always the happiest kid on the block. You are more strong willed than your sister (believe it or not) and you are very very opinionated. The Lord is teaching me patience as I learn how to best parent you during this season. My prayer for you during this season is that you would begin learning to obey right away, all the way, and with a happy heart so that as you grow this would translate to how you relate to God. 

-You weigh 25lbs 6oz (66%) and are 32inches tall (34%)
-You wear size 5 diapers, 18 month clothes, and size 4-5 in shoes
-You love to play with cars and balls (and are developing quite a throwing arm)
-You are still tolerating baths
-You eat next to nothing. Most of the time we might be able to get you to eat chicken nuggets, french fries, yogurt melts, oatmeal, yogurt, apples, bananas, ritz crackers, and cheez-its. And that's about it. Everything else you spit out or throw off your high chair. 
-You are obsessed with the outdoors
-The favorite part of your day is when daddy walks through the front door

We love you so much and are so thankful that even during trying seasons, we still have the privilege of walking through them with you, our little moose.


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Ten Things

1. The Wiley's celebrated the beginning of Fall last week! We do this every year at the start of September. Typically this involves lighting our Fall candle, getting out the Fall decor, and praying over the season. This year was really special. While we did all of the above, it was accompanied by three screaming children. Ah, memories!

2. Last week Fischer slept 6-8 hours every night! Praise the Lord, I can live on that!!

3. Monday I went grocery shopping with all three. Yeah buddy. Not only did I survive, but I came in under budget and we only had one major meltdown (all 3 were crying at checkout, but really it just made them check us out faster). I'm pretty proud of myself. 

**By the way, this is also the first picture I have of all 3 of my children in the same shot.

4. The Sasster is doing brilliantly in school. I probably shouldn't be as surprised as I am, but she is getting her hand stamped every day for good behavior and listening and following directions!. 

5. Sassy Pants also started dance back up a few weeks ago.....and she is also doing extremely well. Much better than last time. Last Friday, her teacher came over to me in the middle of class to brag on her and tell me how beautiful her demi-plies were. And to top it off, she hasn't licked the dance mirror once!

6. I would ask, "who is this kid"?, but on Monday when getting in the car to go to the store, she reminded me just who she is.... I asked her to get in her seat and buckle her seatbelt and when she did not, I gave her the choice of having a reminder or buckling up. Her response to me in the sassiest voice I have ever heard from her lips were: "Or we could just not go"...... Excuse me. Are you 4 or 14? 

7. My little moose has been recovering from his second double ear infection in 3 months. Poor buddy. Add that to his picky eating and he has not been the happiest camper. Gosh he's still so cute though.

8. Look what I did....

9. This is me when I was a baby....see a little Shepherd Andrew in there??

And who does this sassy look remind you of?

See? My children do look like me after all!!

10. Life without Jesus is like a donut. Like a donut. Like a donut. Life without Jesus, is like a donut. Cause there's a hole in the middle of your heart. (You're welcome for putting that in your head all day). 
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Dear Laura Kate (Pre-K)

Dear Laura Kate,

The first thing I ever noticed about you from the moment I laid eyes on you were your beautiful eyelashes. And today, when I hugged you good-bye, I looked at them again. The gateway to your brilliant mind. The trim on your bright, hazel eyes. What will they see today? What will they learn? Who will they meet?

Today feels like a milestone. A big one. For the next 17 plus years you will be in school. When you are 18 years old you may not be able to remember this day, but I promise you I will. I will remember how excited you were to make new friends. I will remember how ready you were to learn. I will remember how you will not keep your tongue in your mouth when you pose for a picture. I will remember that you told me last night, "Mommy, I want to learn about God". I will remember how you wouldn't get in the car until you had kissed both of your brothers good-bye. I will remember how brave you were to walk into a room full of people you didn't know. And I will remember the feeling in my gut that I get sometimes when I realize I'm experiencing something remarkable. When I stop and remember the incredible miracle that is your life and how extremely blessed I am to have you as my daughter.

-You weigh 34lbs
-You wear size 4T and size 9 in shoes
-Your favorite things to eat are PBJ's, Cheeseburgers, and Waffles
-Your favorite color is pink and only pink.
-Your favorite person is Grammy.
-You like to play with your babies and read.
-You love to play games on the computer
-You like to watch Olivia

Your daddy and I are so proud of you and love you more than you will ever know!


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