Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Happy sixth birthday to the one who made us parents.  Amalia June Ward, you are as fierce and beautiful as the day you were born.  This year we have seen you grow even more than we expected.  As bold as ever you started Kindergarten (marched right on to that bus!), made new friends, learned to swim, welcomed a baby sister with open arms, began to read, and navigated more of the world around you each day. Your current favorite song is "Party in the USA" as well as a few more that we wish you didn't hear on the bus." You love screens in any form, the color turquoise, traveling, sushi, and making plans. You prefer writing to reading, and swingsets to bikes. We have watched you confidently leave our family "nest" and return to us with love. I hope to always remember the day you were passing out desserts to all of us and you paused by me and said, "And one for someone special!"  Daddy & I just eat up compliments from you since you speak nothing but the truth!

As much as you have grown, we still catch glimpses of our baby girl in you at times.  One morning we indulged in a yummy breakfast before heading down to our favorite seafood store in the Strip District.  When you saw chubby blow-fish, you asked with complete seriousness if they had gotten that way from eating too much bacon.  You also believe that the little boy on your bus really did travel to outer space last week.  At least you gave him a chance to talk instead of reminding him again about the Kindergarten discipline policies.  You do love justice in all forms. I love picturing you as a lawyer someday.  As well as a loving wife and mother, surrounded of course, by your sisters and their families.

Miss Amaila, there is nothing cuter than you dressed in a cape pretending to be WordGirl, shouting "Word Up!".  But even sweeter were the comforting words you provided to us and your aunt & uncle after we heard troubling news this spring.  The words of Mark 5:36 ("do not fear, only believe") were on your heart.  What a blessing to all of us to watch your faith grow.  That is our prayer for you, above all other prayers.  We love you so very much.  Thanks for being our first "pancake"

Friday, June 22, 2012

Six Months Old!

Seriously?  A whole half-year out of the womb?  Not possible!  This little cutie of ours has been quite the world traveler lately.  She's been to Michigan, Chicago, and Texas all in the past few weeks.  Thankfully, she's great in both a car and plane.  Binkys and puffs help.  We tried to eliminate the binky habit (mainly for Carrigan's sake--she just can't resist those tempting things) but desperate times call for desperate measures. 

Laney's been an overall good sleeper, but ever since our final days in Texas she's been up a few times during the night.  Ugh.  She is also a little crabby falling asleep for naps and bedtime which leads us to believe a tooth or two may be on the way.  That hasn't affected her eating at all.  In fact, the riverboat tour guide in San Antonio stated that she looked like she "hadn't missed a meal!".  (Have you ever known a Ward to miss a meal?)

She's certainly still a sweet girl even when she scoots herself on her tummy further in this house than we could have imagine.  We love how she shakes her hands and feet when she's excited whether that's about a swimming pool, her stuffed animals, or just another round of rice cereal.  Her laughs are contagious and even her hair-pulling charms us.  Love, love, love her.

Loss and Joy

Without going into too many personal details, we do wish to share that our extended family has experienced a recent loss.  A loss that was somewhat expected, but nonetheless tragic.  However, in midst of deep sorrow, our family did experience peace and joy.

We have learned many things in the past few weeks.  We saw firsthand that there is strength in numbers and that families are strongest together.  Friends sent all sorts of comfort, namely in kinds words and prayers. We saw that God provides in expected and unexpected ways.  We were reminded over and over that He is faithful in his promises, even that He will "wipe every tear from your eye" (Revelation 21:4)  and that He will "turn mourning into dancing" (Psalm 30:11).

Praise be to God for his wonderful gifts--for friends, for family, for medical care, for comfort, for Holy Baptism, and for his promise of heaven.  In the words of Job: 

"I know that my redeemer lives,

and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,

yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes —I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!"
 --Job 19: 25-27

Texas 2012

Once again, the Kurth family provided us with a simply marvelous vacation.  This time we were even wow-ed by their lovely new home! We day-tripped to San Antonio to check out the lovely Riverwalk and Alamo. Blue snowcones were involved.  All in the name of Texas Independence, I guess.  We swam and ate BBQ, and drank Oreo shakes.  Most importantly, we relaxed and enjoyed their wonderful hospitality while discussing all topics near and dear to our hearts.  Just seeing these pictures make me crave an afternoon chai!  Maybe with a side of Rudy's.  Oh, and a mint Oreo too.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

On Mali and Kindergarten

Somewhere in the busyness of the last few weeks, our first baby girl graduated from Kindergarten. The morning of her "closing ceremony" she looked up at her Daddy and asked if there was any way he could ask his boss to leave work early that afternoon to watch her receive her Kindergarten certificate.  What's a daddy to say to that?  So all five of us in Mali's personal cheering section watched her perform as a storyteller, recite her songs/prayers, count to 100, and teach the audience a "chickety-chackety-chAMALIA" rhyme. 

Her teacher was nothing less than fantastic.  She knew how to push them tenderly and to provide the gentle structure that Mali thrives in.  She loved math and writing and persisted throughout reading, even when it was challenging.  One of her biggest accomplishments to date is only getting on "uh-oh frog" twice during the school year.  We'll take it.

Most importantly, she learned even more about Jesus and her faith and was guided to apply it in real-life interactions with others.  Thanks again to Redeemer Lutheran School to providing that for her.  She's proud to wear her RLS shirt and thrilled to go there all day next year for first grade. (GULP!)

Friday, June 01, 2012

On Brinnly & Preschool

Our "first youngest" has wrapped up her preschool career.  Her closing ceremony was yesterday and it was a delight to see her sing and perform with her class.  Her teacher had also been working on sign language with them and the class demonstrated those skills by signing all of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  What a blessing to have Christian teachers.

We had gone back and forth with the idea of Brinn and preschool this year.  Redeemer's preschool is in a different campus than the rest of the school and a good 20 minutes away from our house.  Brinn is probably the best at independent play and "reading" of our kids and in a lot of ways homeschooling would have been good for her too.  We compromised with sending her two of the three morning a week program.  (Carrigan lived for those mornings that she and I filled with outings to Target and the library). Bhe enjoyed being a part of her own school, having "letter days", the gross motor play, the chapel services, and the music class.  She quickly made special friends with a set of twins who were too shy to talk to anyone but each other.  Her birthday treat of donuts cured that shyness.

Brinnly is off to Kindergarten next year.  She's technically 10 days past the age deadline, but we are considering her an exception.  We've watched Mali's curriculum throughout the past year and think it will be appropriate for Brinn now, even though she will be young for the grade.  And another Ward girl (Carrigan) will be starting preschool in the fall.  So congratulations to our Bug-a-boo...we can't wait to see what possible pose you come up with for your Kindergarten picture.!

(Sorry for the poor quality pictures--they were taken and sent from a friends' phone)