Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Third Month

I am way behind in posting Benjamin's monthly updates! We are traveling right now, so I'm hoping to grab a few minutes here and there while we're on the road to do some catch-up work with the blog.

Ben's third month passed in a whirlwind of activity. He celebrated his first Halloween (as an adorable zebra -- see picture here), and his first Thanksgiving. And in between those two firsts, we packed up our things, said goodbye to our life in Portugal, and made yet another international move. Baby Ben took his first trip on an airplane and was an absolute angel during the long flight from Lisbon to Chicago. And before he was three months old, the little guy had already been in three countries!

Back in the States, we settled into my parents' house. Benjamin enjoyed all the extra attention from Nyanya and Babu. He started taking baths in the big bathtub, using a baby bath chair. He met his Great-Grandmother, Ruth, and his Great-Nyanya, Nadine. He discovered his hands. He loves to suck on his fists or use his hands to bat the toys on the arches of his playmat. Night-time sleeping was a little rough when we first got back -- adjusting to a new time-zone, plus getting used to a new bed in a new room. Eventually, he got back into the pattern of waking up just once or twice during the night. He usually goes back to sleep right away after eating, so I can't really complain, but I am sure looking forward to sleeping for 8 hours at a time again!

Here are a couple of pictures of 3-month old Benjamin:

Sweet, smiling boy
And this picture, just because I thought it was hilarious!

Monday, January 09, 2012

New Beginnings for a New Year

I didn't make New Year's resolutions this year. I usually do make them. And they are usually the same resolutions each year: Exercise more. Have regular God-time. Write more. Go to bed earlier. Drink more water and less caffeine. Etc. And then, a few weeks (okay, who am I kidding, a few days) into the new year, I've fallen off the wagon and back into my old ruts and ways of doing things. Habits are so hard to break. So as 2011 faded away, to be replaced by a fresh calendar, a whole year of blank, white squares, I was resolved not to make any New Year's resolutions. Who needs a bunch of unmet goals staring you in the face when you already struggle with feelings of failure?

But a new year is an appropriate time for new beginnings, I suppose. A time for old habits to give way to new ones. Because isn't that the best way to break a habit? By replacing it with another, better, healthier one? And so this past week, I was inspired to make two new beginnings, to try to weave two new simple habits into the fabric of my daily life.

The first new beginning was inspired by one of my daily reads, Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience. I received Ann's book as a Christmas present this year and have thought for some time about beginning my own "gifts list," but never actually started on it. And then I read this post and decided to take the "Joy Dare." Chronicling three gifts each day this year, I will count my way to 1,000 gifts in 2012. I'm keeping track of my gifts in my prayer journal, but I may share some of my list from time to time here. Join me if you like -- click here for the details.

And the second new beginning is simply the commitment to spend time in the Word each day. I'm challenging myself to read through the entire Bible in one year (actually, because I started on January 7th, I won't actually finish until a few days into 2013). There are many different "Bible in a year" reading plans. I decided I wanted to read the Bible chronologically, so it reads more like a story, and I am using The Message rather than a traditional version. I created an account on and set up my reading plan with a few clicks. Each day, I can log on and do my assigned readings on my laptop -- what could be easier?

New beginnings, A fresh start for the new year.