Thursday, July 5, 2012

The End and the Beginning

I have decided to close out this blog and start a new family-oriented one.  I will be archiving my favorite posts in a book using www.blurb.com, but I will not be posting new entries on this site.  Here's a link to my new blog:

http://thebeltfamily.wordpress.com


Monday, June 4, 2012

One Year Old and SO Busy

Our busy, busy one year old is so much fun!  And so exhausting!  But the good kind of exhausting where you know what you've been running around and doing all day is important.  Here's what our little guy is up to these days:

-Weight: 19 lbs, 4 oz (10th percentile)
-Height: 29 1/2 in (50th percentile) - his height and weight percentiles have been the same since he was about 2 months old.
-We are in the process of weaning.  He is loving his whole milk!  He's a little fussier and clingier since starting to wean, but he's taking the milk really well.  He's eating 3 main solid food meals a day with at least 2 snacks.
-He is VERY mobile!  He cruises on everything.  He can go back and forth between the couch and coffee table easily.  He loves to hold onto our hands and walk around.  He has a walking toy that he takes all over this big cottage!  He has let go and stood on his own a couple of times, so walking on his own isn't far off.
-He says "dada" and "mama" but so far that is it on his words.  We have worked on sign language for "more," "all done," "milk," and "please."  He occasionally uses the first three, but hasn't learned to use "please" yet.  However, he recognizes all of them, so if I sign them I can tell by his reaction if I'm understanding what he wants.
-He babbles ALL THE TIME!  It's obvious that he knows what he is saying, so we have many conversations.  Apparently, he also likes to tell jokes, cause he will talk and talk and then burst out laughing.  It is precious!
-He typically sleeps 11 to 12 hours at night though he's had a little trouble with this recently.  I think my milk quality has decreased, so as he gets more whole milk we are seeing better sleep patterns!
-He needs two naps a day: morning and afternoon.  But, that doesn't always happen.  His nap schedule has just been off recently.  I'm hoping as we finish weaning and settle into a different eating plan that he will develop a really good nap schedule too.
-He LOVES to read!  He has favorite books and prefers to only read those most of the time.  He will turn the pages for us.  He also will sit by himself with his books and "read" them to himself!
-He is such a happy boy 95% of the time!  He LOVES Bible class at church.  He likes to wave at everyone he sees when we are out in public.  He is definitely our child!

What a fun phase this is!  He keeps us on our toes, that's for sure.  But, we love watching his personality emerge more and more everyday!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Yet Again...Wonderful Changes for the Belts

At the end of June, Taylor and I will have reached a whopping 3 1/2 years of marriage.  In that time we have each changed jobs at least twice, moved twice, and had a baby.  Needless to say, our life is not dull. Each of these changes in our life together we feel has been led by the Lord.  And, this next one is no different.  


10 months ago when we pulled into the parking lot of the Children's Home with all of our belongings and our 9 week old son, we had no idea what God had in store for us during this time.  What we have come to know is that not only did we physically move into the desert, the Lord led us spiritually into a desert phase as well.  Desert phases are hard.  Don't get me wrong-they come with abundant blessings; but they are hard!  We wouldn't change a thing about our time here in Albuquerque.  We have learned SO much!  Each of us has taken individual journeys that only this experience could have provided for us.  Our marriage was SUPER challenged during this time - and has come out the better for it!  Our faith journeys have been rocked, and our hearts forever changed towards "the least of these."  Maybe one day I can talk more about what the last 10 months have been like, but that's another post for possibly another time.

So, what's this post about, then?  

Well...we are MOVING...again!  And SO excited about it.  Taylor has been offered a position as the worship minister at the Sugar Grove congregation near Houston, TX.  (Houston friends, S.G. is in Meadows Place right in the middle of Sugar Land).  We are thrilled to join this body of believers and for Taylor to get back to where his passions so strongly lead.  We have learned in the last several weeks that Sugar Grove is a place that gathers together as a congregation to teach, encourage, uplift, and support each other to really, truly GO and BE CHRIST outside the walls of the church building!  They have a wonderful group of young families that are striving to be intentional about teaching their children to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world!  As we have learned all of these things, we couldn't help but look at each other and say that this is where we want to raise our family!  

And so, here we go again.  On another adventure of our young married lives.  We will leave Albuquerque forever changed because of our time here.  It will be very hard to leave our kids.  This kind of change is immensely hard for them.  We have already begun conversations with them about why we are leaving and what amazing things we have learned about each of them while we have been here.  We are going to be present in their lives 100% until we walk out of the door because we do not for one second want them to feel abandoned.  We pray that this will also be a teaching opportunity for them about how God uses passions and gifts, and how He can and will place people according to His will even if it's for a short season.  

Isaiah 55:8 says, "'My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,' says the LORD.  'And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.'"  Wow!  Is that ever true!!!  Not long ago if you had asked me if I ever wanted to be a house parent I would have said no.  And now I wouldn't trade this time for anything.  I'm also not sure that without being here I would appreciate my husband's gifts and passions as much as I now do after he has not been using them to the fullest for the last 10 months.  The way that the Lord crafts our stories is just amazing to me!  

Please join us in praying for this transition in our lives.  We have one more week off starting June 15th, and we will be traveling to Houston to house hunt.  Our kids will officially move out on July 9th, and we will leave town on the 13th or 14th of July.  Taylor's first Sunday at Sugar Grove will be July 22nd.  Pray for our peace as things are always hectic with a move.  Pray for the kids as we also transition them to a new cottage on campus.  Pray for Sugar Grove as the Lord leads them on a summer of building relationships in their neighborhoods.  And, pray that the Lord will always be glorified in our lives no matter where we are!  

"For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."  Isaiah 43:19
 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Carter Ashton Turns One!

One year ago:




Today at his Dr. Seuss First Birthday Party!







What a precious gift from God!!!  More updates on my big one year old after his check up tomorrow!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Because the World Needs More Carter Videos

Here's a couple of recent videos of Carter.  The first was at the park today.  He LOVES to swing!  The second one shows that our son may likely be a preacher though you will notice at the end he may have to watch closely for the edge of the stage.  :)

video
video

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

And...We're Done!

We went to the orthotist today for Carter's next round of head measurements.  We have been on this journey since February 2nd.  When we first went in, Carter had a 17 mm difference between two measurements that needed to be corrected.  Here's a look at his head before we had the helmet:




Today Carter is only measuring a 9 mm difference which means his head has rounded out by 8 mm!!!  We asked about how much longer we needed to continue.  She said that at this point it is really up to us.  His head will not get any worse.  As he grows it may even continue to naturally round out through his 2nd and 3rd years.  His ears are closer to symmetrical now, so concerns about glasses fitting in the future are no longer applicable.  Also, he shouldn't have any trouble getting hats to fit either.  Our major concern about stopping too soon was whether or not his forehead would start bulging again.  When we started this process, Carter was beginning to show signs of a forehead deformity because that was the only direction his brain could find to grow.  That is no longer an issue, and since his head will stay as it is or get better then we do not have to worry about that either.  In the end, she left it up to us.  We left the clinic and talked a little bit.  We are ready to be done!!  As it gets warmer he's getting sweat rashes where the helmet touches, and when that happens we have to take it off until it gets better.  His growth spurts are likely to slow down quite a bit since he will be one next week, so that will make his progress slower.  Taking all of this into consideration we decided we were ready to call it quits.  We were ready to see our sweet baby's head without the helmet and SO ready to cuddle without all that plastic in the way!  Here's some similar shots of his "new," rounder head:




We are SO thankful for our orthotist that took us through this process.  She was fabulous, and Carter loved her!  It was nice to have extra protection on his head as he learned to crawl and pull up.  There may be extra bumps and tears now, but he's also gained a lot more strength and balance during this time so that will help a lot!  And, no matter how his head looked/looks he will always be my perfect little gift from God!

Here's a silly shot for the fun of it!


Parenting

I've been spending a lot of time recently reading books about parenting, marriage, and being a woman of God. I know there are some out there that will laugh at my desire to read so many books about parenting right now while I have my first. I definitely do not believe that reading books about parenting (or marriage, etc.) will make me a perfect parent. What I know about myself however, is that what I read helps keep my thoughts on the intentionality with which I long to parent. It's the same with reading the Bible. The more I read the Bible, the more likely I am to have His word at the forefront of my mind. It's that whole idea of good-stuff-in-good-stuff-out. Having said all that, I am reading an incredible book right now. It's called Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham. There are things that I don't necessarily agree with, but what an amazing book that is speaking into the need for families to be the basis of Christian development in children not the church. I'm still working through it, but here's a quote I read recently that perfectly captures how Taylor and I desire to view our job as parents:

"Is it wrong to want good things for your children?  Not necessarily.  Unless in our effort to attain 'the best for our children' we ignore their God-given gifts, talents, abilities, and passions.  The key is to understand that our children don't belong to us - they belong to God.  Our goal as parents must not be limited by our own vision.  I am a finite, sinful, selfish man.  Why would I want to plan out my children's future when I can entrust them to the infinite, omnipotent, immutable, sovereign Lord of the universe?  I don't want to tell God what to do with my children - I want Him to tell me! When I allow my will to take precedence over God's will, I have not only given way to a rival - I have become one."