family life · kids · story telling

THIS is my Motherhood

This is my Motherhood
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I saw this picture on Facebook in October. It has really stuck with me. In fact, every time I read it, I feel like the breath has been knocked from my lungs. The days are long.. they are SOO long. The years just keep flying by. I just looked at baby pictures of my girls. How did they become 7, 6, and 3 so fast?

I follow a lady named Ralphie on Instagram. GO FOLLOWER HER. She did an #Iamthiskindofmom hashtag where moms shared what their STRENGTHS are. Too often we focus on our shortcomings as mothers, which I believe robs us of a lot of the joy in motherhood. I often think about how I am not a patient enough mom. I’m not creative enough. I’m not fun enough. Her movement shifted my thinking. What kind of mom am I? That is the only way to not miss out on your children’s childhood; and your own motherhood. Focus on the good.

It is absolutely insane to think that my motherhood only has approx. 11 years left for Chloe. In 11 years (or more) she could be moving out of our house and starting her own life. ELEVEN YEARS. Seven years have gone by in the blink of an eye. I know I have fallen short in SO MANY areas. I have messed up and have regrets. But there is a lot that I hope my kids remember.

I AM the kind of mother who loves having my kids join me in the kitchen. I love baking with them and teaching them the life skills of preparing a meal. I am the kind of mother who tells my kids “the best chefs are the messiest chefs” so that they don’t feel bad about making a mess.. or me making a mess.

I am the kind of mother whose kids ask for their vitamins and probiotics daily. I teach them the best ways to take care of their bodies; because they only get this one.

I am the kind of mother who spreads paper, markers, stickers, etc. all over the table and lets her kids be creative. There is always a massive mess to clean up afterwards, but I love seeing what my girls create with some paper scraps.

I am also the kind of mom who teaches her kids to clean up after themselves. It’s important that they learn they are not “cleaning up for mom”, but they are cleaning up for themselves. We are a family unit, and everyone needs to do their part in order for us to function.

I am the kind of mom who lets her kids play in the tub until they look like raisins.

I am the kind of mom who gets festive like crazy for all of the Holidays. Food must be festive. Decorations must be festive. Colors must be festive. I’m completely bananas about any holiday.

I am the kind of mom who lets my kids get dirty. They can play in the dirt and throw leaves in their hair. The can jump in puddles and play hard. They learn best that way. Sensory play is my favorite.

 

We, as mothers (and fathers also), need to slow down. We need to realize that this is our one shot with our kids. What kind of parent are you? Make a list of all of your good traits. Don’t focus on your shortcomings. Focus on ALL of the good that you do!

 

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family life · kids · story telling

Harper Says

This little stinker is so full of funny words, phrases, and actions. She’s always saying or doing something silly and fills our home with loads of laughter.. and frustration.

 

The other day, Scott  had drawn a heart on me. I asked her who did it.
H: “I dunno”
Me: “Did Rocci do it?” (FYI: Rocci is our puppy)
H: “No, him don’t have hands!”

We are in the potty training trenches… candy is our bribery.
H: *sits on potty* ” Me go pee and me get CANDY!!!

She has been singing Elsa’s “Let it Go” at super speed.
“Let it go let it go can’t hold anymoooore”

Me: Harper, I love you.
H: I like you.

Again, potty training… She walks around with a bare booty most of the time. Rocci sniffs her rear with his cold, wet nose.
H “EW YUCKY DOG!”

After Mom had her knee surgery, Harper used her cane as a microphone singing “Sussa weens sussa weens” (super wings super wings)

Pointing to my belly “Mommy, you big”
Me “Yeah?”
H “Yeah. And Daddy big.”
Me “Is your belly big?”
H “No. It wittwe.”

As soon as she refuses allllll the food at any meal.
“Me want chiiiiiips.”

Good thing she is so snuggly and cute. 😉 She’s ornery as can be, but I am so thankful to have this girl in my life!

family life · holiday · story telling

Thanksgiving Recap

Isn’t Thanksgiving food just beautiful? I love making things from scratch. To me, it is really satisfying to see it all come together.

The day before Thanksgiving, I made a giant cinnamon roll for breakfast. (100% a tube of cinnamon rolls) The girls freaked out. I achieved cool-mom status for the first time ever probably. I put frosting on it and cut it like a pie. Sprinkles had to be added, of course. They gobbled the whole thing up leaving their poor cool-mom to starve. 😉

Cut to Thanksgiving, and all of its beautiful food. I didn’t get many pictures on that day. Scott and I really tried to soak in the goodness of having family around us… plus it was bananas. I took a few pictures while I was cooking. Cranberries are a beautiful color. They were frosted by the sugar and it looked like a Christmas decoration. They were SO tart, but yummy.

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My mom came over the day before, and we made pies together. She also helped me get sweet potato casserole assembled since I had never made it by myself. Mom made a really pretty apple pie that was equally as delicious. I also baked the rolls and heated them up on Thanksgiving so the butter would melt on them. (Note: this WILL dry your rolls out, even if you cover them in foil. Bummer.)

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This Thanksgiving was so bittersweet. It was our first big holiday without Jim. I think we all felt the hole where someone was missing. It was very sweet to be surrounded by all of our family that was in town. I really am thankful that God brought us back for this time. Everyone signed our Thanksgiving tablecloth with what they are thankful for this year. (Except Josh. Get your butt back here.) I think I will probably cry every year that I bring it out since it is so full of memories.

 

I also have to share this. When my mom came to make pies, she also brought a little something for the big girls. She made a carseat poncho for Harper, which we love. Chloe and Addi were jealous that they couldn’t wear a poncho.. which made me laugh. My mom, being who she is, quickly whipped up two more ponchos for the big girls. They were so thrilled, and it’s really cute to see them running around in them.

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Little stinkers.

 

I hope that you had a really blessed Thanksgiving.

family life · Ramblings · story telling

An Assortment of Wintery-Things

*Groan* It is Monday already. I am pooped. We had meetings, dance class, Christmas parties, rehearsals, and recitals this past week/weekend. I’ve also been fighting off a miserable cold (along with the rest of my girls). Blah! Colds are dumb.

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It was a fun full week. Chloe did such a great job at her dance recital!!! She tends to get really shy when she has to be in front of people. To be completely honest, I was really worried about her getting stage fright. But, she rocked it!!! During rehearsal she looked overwhelmed for the first few moves and then found her groove. Show time was no problem at all for her. I am so proud, and sat in my seat fighting back tears. I was a backstage mom, so the above picture is the only one I have of her. I don’t know that I will ever volunteer to be a backstage mom again, but we will see. haha!

We actually got some snow here the night of the rehearsal. I don’t think that we even got an inch, but it came down really thick and windy while we were driving. It got below freezing, and I wanted to hide under many blankets inside.

If any of you girl moms are in need of a winter coat this time of year, Old Navy has these for $12.94 right now. For you boy moms, these are the cheapest I see. (Toddler girls/Toddler boys) I discovered a huge hole in Addi’s winter coat, and discovered that a hole was forming in Chloe’s in the same spot. I guess the moral of the story is don’t ever buy Gymboree coats because they fall apart easily. They did wear them all last year, so it’s not a complete loss.

I am really enjoying winter in Oklahoma so far. The temperature has been well above freezing, and the sun actually shines. I usually get in a MAJOR winter funk every year. So far, I am not feeling that one bit. It is so great to not feel clouded by depression. I can put on a coat and hat and usually feel pretty good outside. Though, most days I haven’t even needed the coat. Allllllllllll the praise hands!

Another huge praise is that we have a GARAGE. Scott worked his tail off on Friday and Saturday to get the rest of our boxes put in the attic or emptied out so that we could park in there before the cold set in. He was able to pull the van in before the “heavy” snow started. That man works so hard and does so much. I am so incredibly thankful for him.

Yesterday, he had to take our entire toilet apart. The handle to our diaper sprayer fell into the bowl as it got flushed and down it went. It got stuck and was clogging the toilet. He told me that I should start a blog series “Adventures with my Husband”. He was able to get something shoved in the pipe and pushed it up juuuust enough for me to cram my hand as far as I could get it and grab it. Who knew there would be such a celebration over things like that. Married life, folks. It’s never dull.

Hopefully the rest of our “holiday week” will involve less toilets. Do you have anything fun planned? I haven’t really planned anything this week other than Chloe dancing at an assisted living facility and our Christmas Eve service at church. I think that sounds like the perfect week.

P.S. I am hosting an intro to essential oils class over on Facebook today, so if you are at all interested in learning about them please join.

encouragement · family life · ministry · story telling · Uncategorized

One Year Later

I find Facebook memories to be enjoyable. It is amazing to see what God has done over the past year (or 10) in my life. Monday marked one year since we found out that Scott was losing his job. (Today also marks 5 years since a day full of testing newborn Addison for Cystic Fibrosis. Thank God for negative results!) He came home on his lunch break and told me that the church could no longer afford to keep him on staff. We had until the end of February with him receiving a paycheck, and then it was just darkness. At least, that is how it felt. A week later, we found out that he only had until the end of January.

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Our hearts were shattered. We had spent the last 4 1/2 years growing to love our church family. We had ministered to these teens for years. We saw them through their awkward and obnoxious Jr. High years. There were times I wanted to strangle them, and they know this. haha! They also know how deeply I loved and cared about them, even in their obnoxiousness. Now, these once awkward Jr. High boys and girls had become incredible young men and women. They still are.

We went through the next couple of weeks unable to tell our church family. We didn’t want their Christmas to be ruined by this news. Not that we are that special, but it is hard when your youth pastor and family are leaving. I know from experience. Somehow, rumor got out and hearts were broken right before the holidays.

One year ago, we were making plans to move in with family  if God didn’t open a door in time. It seemed impossible that a door could open in time. I knew God could, but honestly, I didn’t believe He would. I was hurt and confused. Why do things like that happen? We had surrendered our whole lives to serve God in full-time ministry. It is a sacrifice. It is painful and hard. It is also incredibly rewarding and such an honor.

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One year ago, I had NO idea what today would hold. Where would we be in a year? Would we have a home? Would we still be serving in ministry? Goodness, it was such a dark time. It sent me into a bit of a tailspin questioning WHY.

If you had told me what our future was going to hold, I never would have believed you.

Here I sit in our beautiful home that God just plopped into our laps, not in my old teen years bedroom.

We serve in an INCREDIBLE church with some INCREDIBLE teenagers who fiercely love Jesus and want to reach the world. Seriously, THEY inspire ME. Plus, I get to serve in the children’s department and love it.

We have made some great friends that I know will be around for a lifetime.

We are living in a beautiful state in an amazing family-oriented town; able to walk out the door and feel safe.

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God has completely blown my mind with all that He has done in the last year in our lives. I am not the same, and I would never want to be. Sure, we miss many people from Michigan terribly. They became family to us. Distance doesn’t cause a family to fall apart though. I am grateful for social media that allows us to keep in contact; and snail mail for those sweet ladies who don’t even e-mail.  I am thankful that there are roads that connect us when the chance arises. I am thankful for our new family. They are so amazing and such a blessing to us.

I am so thankful to be where I am doing what we are doing. I feel an incredible sense of gratitude. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that we would ever be here, but I am so, so thankful.

family life · holiday · kids · Ramblings · story telling · Uncategorized

Catching Up

Hello, friends! I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We were able to spend time with my entire family for the first time in 6 years. It was crowded and chaotic, but oh so fun! I spent 12 hours in the car yesterday with Harper throwing up the entire way. All of the girls got it overnight and now all have high fevers. Please pray for them to get well.

We had a full week of “vacation”. I use that term loosely because with kids there is no such thing as vacation. It’s all work! haha! The first half of the week was pretty low-key. Tuesday, we went shopping for the last of the items needed for family photos. It basically ended up being an item for each girl. We went to Target where I drooled over Christmas decorations for as long as the girls let me. Then we went to the mall and my dad met us for lunch. (Look at the cute deer at Target!)

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We hung out at my OLD.. I mean, older..sister’s house on Wednesday. We found out just how allergic Scott is to cats. Oops. It was a lot of fun to get to spend time with her catching up on life. We were so busy talking that the only pictures I really have are of her dog. HAHA! I brought her a coffee and she bought us pizza. It was pretty great team work.

We had our Thanksgiving on Friday since my younger sister was with her husband’s side of the family on Thursday. We did a lot of prep work on Thanksgiving Day. Chloe got to make merengue with my mom for a coconut cream pie (my dad’s request) and Harper got lots of Papa snuggles. He would probably disagree on the word “lots” being used, but for a two year old he got pretty lucky. haha!

Friday morning I went out for Black Friday with my mom and older sister. We ate a super delicious breakfast and Amy made coffee for me. I pulled an all-nighter and really needed it. We had our huge and delicious meal. I may have blacked out because I don’t really remember eating, but I remember it being GOOD. After everything was cleaned up we played Watch Ya Mouth and laughed (and drooled) a ton!!

On Saturday, the family all went to a Reindeer Ranch. We ate “lunch” there. We all agreed that it was more of a snack (an expensive snack) than a true lunch. Then, we got to go on a reindeer tour and feed them! Addison was too afraid to feed them, but Chloe jumped right in. Look how beautiful they are! Harper seemed to enjoy it as well. They had a playground for the kiddos to play on also, so they all had a blast.

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We also helped my mom put up one of her Christmas trees. Once again, I’m not sure how much help our crazy crew was, but we tried. haha! Sunday was the usual- church, lunch, and re-packing all of our junk. The girls also got to open their presents from Mimi and Papa. Christmas is going to be SO fun this year!!!

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Even though our car ride was pretty rough on Monday, I feel really blessed. My grandparents are in a nursing home that is just slightly off our path home. We were able to stop and visit them. I left Harper with Scott. I honestly thought she was just car sick, but kept her out to be safe. I feel terrible that everyone was harboring this bug. Hugging my grandma and grandpa is one of the best feelings. They are two incredible people who I love so dearly.

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There is one more thing though! My best friend from High School was able to take some family pictures for us! We had initially planned on Wednesday, but it rained all day. It was a huge blessing (for us anyway) because we got them done on Friday. Our whole crew was together. So, we got our family photos, and then the rest of the family met us and we were able to take our first group shot in years. They turned out so beautifully!!! Meredith Michelle Photos has all of the credit for these beauties below:

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They are so stunning. I could just stare all day. Thank you, Lord, for a week full of blessings and for whoever invented the washing machine.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you get any good deals over the weekend?

family life · story telling · Uncategorized

Addi is FIVE

I guess I should say that Addison is five. She has been offended any time she is called “Addison” saying that she won’t go by that name until she turns five. haha!

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It is so hard to believe that it has been five years since this beautiful baby was born into this world. She was beautiful and had a head full of dark hair. Fast forward five years and she is still beautiful with a ton of long hair that she never wants cut.

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She is OBSESSED with My Little Pony and anything else horse related. My mom got this Pinky Pie sweatshirt for her, and I want one in my size! That fluffy hair on the hood is too much!! I just love it.

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Most of the time that she was opening presents, the view that I had was Chloe’s head. She wanted to help Addi open everything. Oh my goodness, it was driving me bonkers.

Here are some fun facts about my 5 year old Addi:

Her favorite color is pink.
Her favorite animal is an elephant (though she loves horses also).
She would eat macaroni and cheese or pizza every day, as long as the pizza doesn’t have pepperonis because they hurt her tongue.
She cannot stand having her hair brushed and only wants it in a braid.
She is a rockstar and is always wanting to teach others how to be a rockstar, too.
She sings along to the radio in the car and it melts my heart.
She is the most snuggly child that I have. She always wants to be curled up in my lap or at least touching me.
She hates the sound of hand driers and toilets flushing.
She wants to help cook all the time, and has recently started wanting to help do the dishes.
She frequently talks about missing our house in Michigan, and I am really hoping that she will start to feel at home here soon.
She has such a kind and generous heart. She lets Harper take her giant stuffed animal Marshall to nap every day.
If Addi hurts one of her sisters on accident, we spend more time trying to comfort her than the one who actually got hurt.
She is definitely the one who tries to keep the peace and will give her own things away to make someone else happy.
She will NOT wear any pants with buttons. She says those are big-kid pants and for Chloe, so you will always see her in leggings or a skirt.
She says that she is going to live with us forever.

Oh, my sweet Addi, I hope that your kind heart never changes. You bring so much joy and laughter to our lives with your silly personality. I hope that five is the best year yet!!
I am editing to add that Addi just got a present from her very best friend Mr. Jeff!! He is her friend (and ours) from Michigan.there are 30 or so buffalo statues all over our town. She loves to pose with them and send the pictures to her very best friend. A huge thank you to Mr. Jeff for thinking of her! 

family life · kids · Ramblings · story telling · Uncategorized

Weekending

We had a pretty special weekend!!!

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Scott’s parents came to spend the weekend with us, and it was lovely. As you can see, it got really cool outside on Friday. Addison was dying to take Mimi and Papa to see the fountains that she visits each week. So, that is what we did. Chloe had not seen them either, so she was pretty excited to go! As we were walking, we discovered a Starbucks kidding inside one of the buildings. WE stopped in for some hot chocolate (or chocolate milk) and cookies. God bless my mother-in-law for getting me a PSL! What I love about this is that Denise knows Harper’s food allergies and made sure that she got a treat, too. She got hummus and pretzels, which makes her dip-loving heart happy. 🙂

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Mimi also brought cowboy hats for the girls to wear. Addi wore hers the most often.

Friday night, Scott’s mom offered to watch the girls for us while we went out and spent the night at a hotel. It was glorious. We went on a double date with some friends of ours, and ate really delicious food with great company. Sleeping through the night without a child waking us up was also really amazing… plus I am a huge fan of continental breakfasts. Scott went downstairs and brought breakfast up for me while I was still asleep. Did I mention that he is the greatest husband in the world?

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On Saturday, we went to the park and even got Mimi to climb the tower! Chloe serenaded us with her stick guitar and a song that she made up. I love her imagination.

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I can’t forget to mention that Addison’s 5th birthday is later this month, and Mimi brought a huge present for her! This treehouse has been a source of constant entertainment, and is so darn cute!!

I really love having company come to visit. Living far away from family makes you really appreciate the time that you get to spend with them. I am really grateful that they were able to come.

My sister and her family will be here on Wednesday, and I am completely giddy because it has been a YEAR since I have seen them!!! Blessings upon blessings, I tell you!!!

Happy Monday, friends!!! How was your weekend?

family life · Ramblings · story telling · Uncategorized

Fresh Air

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The weather is FINALLY cooling off here in Oklahoma. It still gets really hot in the late afternoon, but you better believe that I’ve got the windows open all morning and evening! I love hearing the wind rustling the leaves outside my window.

These cooler days have also meant that we are hitting up the parks again. That may be my favorite part of homeschooling. We have the flexibility to go to the park when it is pretty empty. We can pack a picnic lunch and know that a table will be available. The girls were SO excited when I told them that we were going earlier this week. This playground is covered by a massive canopy, which is really awesome on a sunny day!

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Feel free to pin that super healthy meal right there. Don’t be intimidated by my skills.

We have continued our tradition of exploring the town while Chloe is in dance class. I feel like we see new things each time we are out and about. Addi loves getting to run around and pretend that she is riding on her imaginary horse named Whistle. It cracks all of us up.

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The fresh air has been absolutely incredible. I get grumpy when I am stuck indoors for long periods of time. I never imagined that it would get so unbearably hot that no one wanted to go out. Fall weather is my favorite, and I intend to soak up every moment and enjoy the fresh air blowing in the windows as long as possible.

I am also excited to do some Halloween decorating this weekend! I try to be good and save it for October 1st; though we do have some window clings up that I let the girls pick out. I have trained them well. 😉 As a bonus, Janssen over at Everyday Reading has written a post with her favorite children’s books for Halloween. I LOVE her blog. If you ever need book recommendations, she is your girl! Plus, she has three little girls and has girl #4 on the way!! I love that. I feel like we are BFFs, but she has no clue that I exist. haha!

Do you get excited for the fresh air and fall weather? What about decorating? Are you a just-can’t-wait-to-decorate kind of person, or a wait-till-the-last-minute person? 

family life · Ramblings · story telling

Catching Up

Last Thursday was Homeschool Teacher’s Appreciation Day. I didn’t know that was a thing, but Scott looked it up. I was the lucky recipient of some very colorful flowers. 🙂 I love when the girls pick flowers out for me because they are always super bright and cheery.

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You’re welcome, again, for that super grainy cell phone picture. ha! The camera batteries died…  (..and Addi was eating something with ketchup in the background.)

It was grocery shopping weekend, so we spent our weekend at the grocery store. Scott had an lock in, so he spent Saturday half awake and half napping. Exciting, I know. I feel like two days were completely wasted.

Sunday, I got to be in a church service for the first time since Easter. I can’t tell you how exciting it was. I still feel like the new kid in town even though we’ve been here for three months. I have missed so much because of sick kiddos that I don’t know a whole lot of names. We are in such a great church full of really great people. I just wish everyone could wear name tags. 😉

We realized that we had not done anything fun, so Sunday after Harper’s nap, we went to the park. There is a park in town that has a huge canopy over the playground and we have been dying to check it out. This town is FULL of parks, and we had not made it to this one yet. The girls were SO excited when we got there; even though they were upset that we weren’t taking them to their “favorite” park.

There was a man sitting on a bench making balloon animals for the kids. I have no idea how long he had been there, but it had to have been a long time. So many kids had balloons. Addi waited so patiently and got a pink unicorn that she carried around all evening. She is still dancing around with it today. Chloe wouldn’t wait in line long enough, so she missed out.

The park was right net to a beautiful neighborhood full of trees, so Scott made my heart happy by driving through. I love looking out houses. I always have. My interior design classes were by far my favorite classes that I have ever taken.

Moving on…

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This week promises to be busy. Harper’s glasses will be ready soon, and we’ll be driving down to get those. She starts speech therapy tomorrow morning, and they will do another tympanogram on her. On Friday, Harper and Addi have back to back appointments at the ENT. Harper will get more hearing tests done, and Addison will be having  her consultation for the procedure that she needs to have done. We could end up having two surgeries to schedule that day.

For those of you who have been through surgeries with your children, I’d love to hear your tips. Harper will most likely have surgery to put tubes in (that is still not a guarantee). Addi will most likely be put under to have her procedure done. Both are minor, but both will be uncomfortable after. Addison is really sensitive, and I worry about her the most. She’ll have stitches right on her hairline near her ear. I don’t want to see either of them in pain. I would love to hear your advice, and would absolutely love your prayers.