Wednesday, November 6, 2013

31 Questions with a Four Year Old!

1. What is your name? Ila
2. How old are you? Four
3. What is your favorite color? Blue 
4. What is your favorite toy? Bullseye
5. What is your favorite fruit? apples
6. What is your favorite movie? Atlantis
7. What is your favorite food? The noodle shop noodles
8. What is your favorite outfit? a dress up dress
9. What is your favorite game? zombie tag
10. What is your favorite snack? Cheetos
11. What is your favorite animal? Elephant
12. What is your favorite song? Create In Me a Clean Heart
13. What is your favorite book?  Llama Llama Time to Share
14. Who is your best friend? I like to play with Abby Waldal
15. What is your favorite cereal? Honey Cheerios
16. What is your favorite thing to do outside? I like to work with Daddy on the sticks!
17. What is your favorite drink? Mango Strawberry Lemonaid
18. What is your favorite holiday? Valentine's Day
19. What makes you laugh? Chessidy
20. What's your favorite thing to do with your Chessidy? I like to run around!
21.  How do you like to help mommy? I like to do the dishes and hold up Adorae's toy for her.

22. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be um...taller!
23. Where does daddy work? to the playground
24. Where does Mommy work? the kitchen
25. When you dream at night, what do you dream about? swimming with Eda (from Atlantis)
26. What's your favorite thing to do at church? play with the vacuum
27. What is your favorite chore? putting away the clothes
28. Can you tell me a secret? baby animals
29. What is your favorite thing to do at school? go to the quiet area
30. What's your favorite thing to do with Mommy and Daddy? I like to ride in the blue cars (car carts at the store).
31.What makes you happy? God makes me happy!!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The story of Adorae Shine Becker, By: Nicole

The Birth Story:
Saturday night we had some friends over for snacks and pinochle.  When they left (after beating the Beckers in 2 out of 3 games) at midnight all seemed normal.  We drifted off to sleep at 12:45 am, and I woke up at 3am with a full bladder and one heck of a contraction.  I dismissed the hard contraction immediately, because these things happen (especially with a full bladder), emptied my bladder and went back to bed.  At 3:45 a very hard and long contraction woke me up.  I thought there was a chance I was in labor,  but after 3 weeks of "thinking I might be in labor" I didn't get all too excited.  Eight minutes later, I had another hard contraction that lasted for 2.5 minutes, followed 7 minutes later by another 2.5 minute contraction.  That was enough confirmation for me to wake up Trent and let him know the time had finally come!

At this point, I was unsure about what sort of labor I was going to have.  Ila's was 4 hours and Chessidy's was about 8 hours.  The best, and quickest way to explain the difference between the labors (other than the time itself) is to say that a 4 hour labor is INTENSE and an 8 hour labor is EXHAUSTING.  As I stood there, having an incredibly hard, intense contraction that was MUCH longer than a normal contraction I prayed that labor would be quick.  More accurately, I cried out to the Lord "God, if it's going to be like this, I can't handle a long one!"

I got into the tub and left the timing of contractions to my husband.  I knew they were close together, and I knew they were hard.  After a few more, I told Trent that he needed to call his mom, because I really wanted to get to the hospital before transition.  He wanted to wait it out a bit longer, because my contractions appeared to be a bit inconsistent.  It was very difficult to be in disagreement on the matter while in labor, but thankfully, my body let us know in a short time that we needed to make the call and get going to the hospital.  We called Tammy at 4:50 and she was there by 5am.  Getting to the car took longer than one would want it to, but I made it.  At this point I was in full blown transition, and feeling the urge to push.  Thankfully we live all of 3 minutes from the hospital.  Trent called our doctor on the way and told him I was having contractions every 2 minutes, and they were a minute long.

Trent got the wheelchair and was followed by several employees who seemed very concerned about me delivering my baby outside the emergency room.  They were on the phone with OB telling them to have a room READY and as Trent parked the car the poor wheelchair man wheeled me to the elevator while very kindly asking me not to push and encouraged me to breath.  Trent and I arrived to the room at the same time, the nurses checked me and told me I was at an 8 and NOT TO PUSH.

I'll interrupt myself here and mention that I was taught to listen to my body while in labor, and when a body says push, doing the opposite is dang near impossible.

They hooked up the monitors and the next 11 minutes ticked by at the speed of a snail for me, and flashed by like lightening for everyone else.  I was having contractions with just a few seconds in between for rest and with each contraction I was trying my best to breath, and not to push, but I was mostly pushing and not breathing all too much.  At this point I would say I barely had my stuff together and if it weren't for Trent's encouraging words and the calming touch on my arm from one of the nurses I may have gone totally off the cliff of uncontrollable flailing and wild animal noises.

My doctor arrived and the nurses asked me for the 100th time to get into a different position, so they could 1. check me again and 2. so the baby wouldn't fall on the floor if it came out.  They checked me and said I was almost there at a 9.5, just wait a little longer to push, to which I responded "I've pushed at a 9.5 before!" My doctor gave us (mostly the nurses) the go ahead and after a few pushes Adorae was here!

The Statistics:
9 pounds
21 inches long
35.5 centimeter head circumference
Born at 5:40am on Sunday, August 25th, 2013.

The Name:
Naming her was more difficult than in the past, as we had fewer choices than ever before.  It's amazing how many names we liked when I was pregnant with Ila and how few we like now!  We thought we made up the name Adorae a few months ago, but when we researched it we discovered it was indeed a name, albeit a very uncommon name.  You can read about the name here, but it means "gift; beloved; adored." Adorae really is a gift from the Lord.  All children are but Adorae was a gift the Lord chose to give us completely in His timing.  Shine means to "give out a bright light."  We have hope that our Adorae will give out a bright light with her personality, but also that the light of the Lord will shine out of her.  The definition of Adoration (Adoraeshine) is "deep love and respect. Worship; veneration."  This is how our hearts should be for the Lord.  We deeply love God, we respect Him and His power in our lives, His will for us and we should worship Him in all we do.  This is the hope we have for our children as well.  We will raise them knowing His power and love and raise them in His will and direction, and pray that as Adorae grows into her own person she will have adoration for Him, shining out of her!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Chessidy is 16 months old!

On August 20th, Chessidy will be 16 months old!  My sweet baby girl, who really is a toddler, is such a baby at heart still.  I am partially to blame for that.  I probably baby her more than I should, partly because I haven't had a baby around for so long (so it seems) and the other because somewhere, deep inside of me, I feel a little guilty that Chessidy only gets to be the baby of the family for 16 months.  Probably a silly thing to feel, but I recognize these feelings, and remember that God has a plan for our family, and this is part of it!

Eating some chips after enjoying a teething biscuit.
At 16 months, Chessidy walks, runs, climbs, spins and gets into all sorts of trouble.  She is in that stage of exploration that puts a mother on edge. I'm always (trying) watching and hoping I'll be there to catch her before she falls. It's good to let them fall sometimes, but other times, it's best to catch them.  Chessidy loves to do things that Ila does, and lately that is jumping from one section of the couch to the other.  Unfortunately, Chessidy can't jump, and really just steps off the couch, which often ends with tears, bumps and bruises.  

Climbing on big sisters bed.
Chessidy has an amazing appetite, and out eats Ila at every meal.  She is not the least bit picky about what she eats, but she is VERY demanding about having food the moment she sees it or smells it. The hard thing for Chessidy is chewing, as she only has three teeth.  Yes, you heard me right, THREE teeth at 16 months is pretty dismal.  She is currently working on five though, and that makes her grouch and irritable.

Chessidy camping in Yellowstone
Chessidy LOVES to cuddle, and be held.  She gives the BEST kisses in the world.  If you ask her for a kiss, she puckers up and waits for you to lay one on her. If you ask her to cuddle or for a hug, she'll gladly do that too.  She often wants to be read too, and the moment she gets on your lap she settles in for the story by laying her head against the reader.  When she watched Baby Einstein with Ila, she will lay her head back on the pillow, and lounge, or lay her head on Ila.  

With her favorite play buddies!
As for communicating, Chessidy is doing great.  She has a vocabulary consisting of the normal words her age speaks, and she says  "Ila" so clearly.  She still signs a few words, but she is also speaking them more and more.  Chessidy is very vocal, about everything!  This often means you'll hear her yelling, squawking, or growling.  We are working on some of these choices, and trying to teach other ways to communicate her frustrations, but being patient with her, as we should be!  

Posing for the camera.
I have to tell you about Chessidy's silliness.  She is a ham.  She KNOWS when she is being funny, and will laugh at herself.  No matter how upset she is (mid-fit even) you can get her to laugh by tickling her feet or swinging her upside down.  She is adventurous, and tough!  Ila and Chessidy wrestle with each other and rough house often.  Sometimes it doesn't go well, but most of the time it's full of laughter and sequels of delight!

A beauty and a ham!
I'm sure I haven't really captured the essence of Chessidy with this blog, because she is just so full of light and joy it's hard to explain.  Her name is so perfect for her, because she really is a delight to be around!  I look forward to seeing her learn about being a big sister, and she has a great big sister to teach her all the ropes.

Hanging out with Ila in the morning!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Owl

Having a three year old is quite an adventure.  We have our ups and downs here in the Becker house, good behavior and bad behavior.  Sometimes we listen and sometimes we don't.  But what we ALWAYS have is a very imaginative little girl.  These days it's all about the owl.

It all started a few months ago.  Aunt Telcia came over and watched the girls while we were at an OB appointment seeing our little baby in-utero.  When we got home Ila said "Aunt Telcia has a baby in her belly, and mommy has a baby in her belly an
d Ila has an owl in her belly."

An Owl?

"Yes, mommy, Ila has an owl in her belly."

We went with it because it was pretty cute.

A few weeks after that, Ila got up from a nap and wouldn't eat a snack and was moping around the house.  Fairly uncommon behavior for her.  I even tried to give her a cookie and she turned it down.  She laid on the kitchen floor and said " Mommy, my owls hootin'."  Trent, in all is wisdom deduced that Ila had a tummy ache.  Sure enough, within minutes she was in the bathroom barfing and pooping like crazy.

Over the next past weeks (about a month now) Ila has been saying with every little tummy pain (which usually comes right before a poop) "My owls hootin'!" Off she runs to the bathroom to go. It's become pretty funny to us, and we never discouraged or encouraged it, we just go with it.

Then the day came, the day for Aunt Telcia's baby to be born.  I waited several hours to tell Ila that Aunt Telcia was going to have a baby.  Here's how that conversation went:

Me: Ila, Aunt Telcia is going to have her baby today!
Ila: Aunt Telcia is going to have a baby?
Me: Yes, Aunt Telcia and Uncle Jon are going to have their baby today!
Ila: Aunt Telcia is going to have a baby and Uncle Jon is going to have a baby?
... conversation about how the baby will be Aunt Telcia's and Uncle Jon's...
Ila: Can they come over to my house and play?
Me: No, not today.  You can meet the baby in a few days.
Ila: Mommy, can Ila have a baby too?
Me::::pause::::  Ummm, yes, you can, but not yet.
Ila::::longer pause, looks to be really thinking something over::::  Ila needs to have her owl first?
Me::::  silence, unsure how to answer::::
Ila: Yep, Ila needs to have her owl first. Then she can have a baby!
Me::::silence continues, trying to think of SOMETHING to say:::
Ila:::runs off to the living room::: Chessidy!  Aunt Telcia is going to have her baby today! And I can have a baby too, but I have to have my owl first!

So, if you are ever around Ila, and she tells you her owl is hootin' please take her to the bathroom.  I'm not sure when the owl will be born, but I think at this point we're planning on giving her a toy owl when our new baby is born.  A couple more months of carrying around an imaginative owl in her belly can't hurt, right?!

Chessidy, walking
Everyone else is doing well here.  Trent started his new job a few weeks ago and it's going great. He's even had time to continue working with his dad some, and I know he loves that!  Chessidy is walking all over the place and I am doing my best to stay caught up on my household duties and chase after the kids and grow a baby.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The best homemade Fish Tacos you'll ever make/eat!

Nicole's Fish Tacos

Here is what you need:
heavy cream, half and half or fat free half and half
mayo, sour cream or plain greek yogurt
2 habenero peppers
4-6 cloves garlic
2 bunches cilantro
white fish (4 large pieces of tilapia was enough for the 3 of us)
corn tortillas
finely shredded cabbage (they sell packages of shredded cabbage at the store. the also have coleslaw packages, which would work, but I found the cabbage by itself.)
1/4-1/2 onion
2-3 limes
chili powder
dried oregano
dried dill
olive oil

Awesome sauce
-1 c. mayo, plain greek yogurt or sour cream
-1 c. heavy cream, half and half or fat free half and half
-4-6 cloves garlic (keep in mind that the garlic flavor will get stronger the longer it sits in the fridge, and you will have leftovers)
-1 bunch fresh cilantro
-2 habanero peppers, seeded *USE GLOVES WHEN YOU HANDLE THESE BABIES.  THE WILL BURN YOUR SKIN LIKE CRAZY IF YOU DON'T! (You can use 3 peppers if you REALLY want some kick, but beware that this sauce gets hotter the longer it sits in the fridge and you WILL have leftovers and you WILL want to eat it!)
-Salt to taste. I used approximately 1.5 tsp. sea salt
-One whole lime (the juice from the lime that is, squeeze every last drop out of it!)

Throw it all in a Cuisinart (or blender) until everything is finely chopped and well mixed. Refrigerate while you cook the rest of the meal so it can set-up.

*It WILL be runny if you choose NOT to use mayonnaise and heavy cream, but it will be just as tasty!
**This sauce IS spicy, but not dunk your tongue in milk spicy.  My toddler eats some on her tacos, but if you can't handle any heat, reduce the amount of habanero's.  I do not recommend leaving them out entirely though, as the flavor they give is important and good!

4 large tilapia fillets, or other white fish
Sprinkle on top of fish:
1.5 tsp cumin (or more!)
1 tsp chili powder (or more!)
some oregano
some dill
squeeze half a lime on fish
drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top.

Stir and cut up the fish while it's cooking (mine looks like the shredded/ground fish when it's done, which sounds terrible but tastes great!). Cook on stove top till done.

*You can fry your fish and/or keep it in big chunks if you'd like.  I just find this cooking method to be much healthier and quicker and just as tasty! I think my parents even used fish sticks one night and they had no complains.

How to dress them:
-Heat some corn tortillas up
-put a spoonful of sauce on each tortilla 
-add a little bit of tomato based salsa if you want, or pico de gallo, or not at all
-add raw diced onion
-fresh diced cilantro
-fresh lime wedge squeezed over it

ENJOY! We put extra (and I mean extra, I like every bite to be DRIPPING with sauce!) sauce on our plates for dipping.  I usually serve it with Mexican rice and beans. 

Just one more note, this makes a lot of sauce. We only used half of it. So if you make this for more then 2 people, double the fish and toppings, but not the sauce! It's also a yummy chip dip, chicken taco topping and enchilada topping!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Here we go again!

They say pictures are worth 1000 words, and I'd wager this one is worth even more!

We are pretty excited that our family is growing again.  My due date is a little complicated, so we can just say to expect another Becker kiddo in mid-to-late August.  The due date is complicated because my cycle was a little strange after my gallbladder surgery, and the two ultra sounds I've had (one today and one four weeks ago) measured with a week+ difference.  We are sticking with the due date from the first ultra sounds, but not taking it all too seriously.  With that being said, I will be 13(ish) weeks tomorrow. 

Baby looked great on the ultra sound today, nice strong heartbeat, lots of movement.

The only think that is going to be not so great is being pregnant and HUGE ALL SUMMER, but that little bundle will be well worth it in the end! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Kids really do say the darndest things....

Tonight we had the pleasure of going to church for a mid-winter picnic.  We have a Missionary from Guinea in town this week and tonight was kids night.

After an awesome meal of hot-dogs, deviled eggs, chips and cupcakes all the kids sat up front to sing songs and listen to the Missionary speak. Ila sang along with the songs even though she didn't know them and did the actions and was a delight to watch.

When the Missionary got up to speak he asked the kids a few questions.  It went something like this:
Missionary: Raise your hand if you can tell me what missionaries do.
   all the other older kids raise their hands, so Ila does too.
Older girl: They tell people about Jesus.
Missionary: Yes, good.  What else do they do?
   He points to Ila
Missionary: Yes?  Can you tell me what missionaries do?
Ila: Ummm....snowmens.
Missionary: Uhhh...well...yes, I'm sure some missionaries build snowmen. Not really in Africa though, we don't get snow!

A few minutes later he pulls out a carved hippo.  All the kids were really excited about it.
Missionary: Okay, raise your hands if you can tell me what this is.
Ila shouts "A HIPPO!" While all the other kids sat nicely with their hands up.

A few minutes later he showed a picture of the kids in his village at school.  He asked the kids to tell him what they saw.
Kids praying, kids clapping, black kids were some of the answers.  Then Ila says "white teeth!"
She was right, the kids sure did have white teeth!  It was pretty great that she noticed THAT though!

Then, while the Missionary continued to talk, Chessidy made some noise from the back of the room.  Ila turned around in her chair and whispered loudly, "Chessidy, SHHHHHH!"

The missionary was great, and all the kids seemed to really love his sharing, as did the adults, but I walked away laughing at my own child.  She is hilarious!  Trent and I were both surprised that she said anything because she usually gets shy when strangers ask her questions.  Seems like she is growing out of that a bit. She was the youngest kid up there, so we weren't expecting her to participate, but I'm sure glad she did.

I probably need to teach her about raising her hand though...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Girly Girls by Nicole

Children change us.  Not just in the becoming selfless, giving your everything, fill every moment of the day way.  They hopefully bring about maturity, a whole new level of love, patience we never thought possible and  a very different perspective on God, and how He loves us.

But that's not what surprises me.  Oh no, none of the above has surprised me one little bit.  There is a change that has occurred in me that has floored me, taken me off guard and surprised my pants off (literally).  It's the pinkalicious, princess lovin', dress wearing, costume sharing, play jewelry,  barbie collecting, girly squirly, change that has surprised me.  

Maybe I should rephrase the first sentence of this blog to say "GIRLS" change us.  
Before I had kids I was certain that if I had girls, they would be tom-boys through ad through.  I requested minimal pink at my baby shower for Ila, and felt a strange twinge of disgust with myself as I opened up pink outfits and thought "that is SO CUTE!"  Purple has and always be an acceptable color for my girls, and we LOVE purple in this house, but for some reason, pink has an Elmo like quality with girls that can't be matched.  What is it about that color that makes the world turn round? 

As I look back at the last three and some years, I have to laugh at the change my girls have brought about. I say things I NEVER would have thought I would say, like calling purple milk "princess milk."  Telling my mom that a Princess Barbie would be a more appreciated gift than a stuffed animal cat.  Asking Trent to fashion an old dresser into a wardrobe for the girls dress up clothes (which he did, and it's awesome).  Watching Ariel, Rapunzel, Jasmine, and others again and again.  Asking Ila if she wants to wear pink or purple. Agreeing with Ila when she looks at herself in the mirror and says "I'm a princess too"  as she dances around in her pink velvet princess jammies. Taking Ila to see the princesses and getting almost as excited as she was to see them, hug them and talk to them!

I have become a mom who embraces pink, princesses, dress up clothes, barbies, and all things girly.  My two little girls are girls to the core, and I rejoice in it.  I gladly put them in dresses and tights almost every Sunday because dressing up nice and girly is FUN!

Perhaps it's easy to accept and have fun with because they still play with cars, they run around and get dirty, they love rough-housing, we eat pretend bugs, hold snakes and play with legos.  Or maybe it boils down to just enjoying what my girls enjoy, because it's so much better, healthier, and FUN than forcing them to be something they aren't, or to enjoy something they don't.  

I love my girly tom-boy girls and I'm glad they brought me around to loving what they love!  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My hilarious 3 year old by Nicole

Ila, is hilarious.  This week she's been on a roll with some pretty amazing sayings.  We've been writing them down in her baby book, but I figured you'd all like to hear her awesomeness as well.

We've been teaching Chessidy baby signs this past week.  We've been focusing on "more" and "all done."  The more sign is taking your fingertips and tapping them together.  All done, you put your hands up in the air.  We (Ila and I) had been going over and over "all done" and showing Chessidy the sign again and again.
Ila got up to the table to eat her lunch and all of a sudden said, "I got it mommy!  Put your hands short and stout!" and proceeded to show me the all done sign.  She was referring to Chessidy's arms, looking very short and stout, like the tea pot, when they are up in the air, because they are so short!  We had a good laugh about that one!

On Sunday, Ila and I went to lunch with some friends from church.  Our pastor, Jim, and his wife were with us and Ila requested a hug and kiss from them when they were leaving.  Jim came and gave her a hug and she grabbed his face and kissed his lips and then said "That was a GOOD kiss!"  To which Jim replied,  "Why thank you!!!"  The table erupted in laughter.

On Monday Ila was playing with her two barbies, Ariel and Rapunzel.  They were chatting away and this happened.
Ila: Oh, hi, Ariel.  Do you want to draw a picture?
Ariel (by Ila): NO! I CAN'T! MY HANDS ARE TOO SMALL!!!

Ila left Ariel alone for a few minutes to cool down and just played with Rapunzel.

I can't wait to hear what she comes up with next.  This is one hilarious 3 year old we've got!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What is being a big sister all about? by Nicole

As the baby of the family I obviously never got to experience being an older sibling.  Having only a brother I also never experienced childhood with a sister (thankfully I am experiencing adulthood with several sisters, they sure are great!).  This has lead me to wonder: what on earth is going on in Ila's head these days.

We've had a rough two weeks.  I know it's partly cabin fever, and missing school like crazy (she asks at least twice a day if she can go to school!) but the other reasons I have no idea where they are coming from.  She can morph from a sweet, helpful, respectful child into quite the opposite in a matter of  minutes.  She has all of a sudden become jealous of Chessidy and would prefer if everyone just ignored Chessidy and paid attention to HER!  She is being mean to Chessidy more often as well, and that is the hardest thing to figure out and deal with!

Today I've been a bit under the weather, and that lead to a situation where I asked Ila to play with Chessidy IN the play & pack.  I was sitting in the chair right next to the P&P, and I'm certainly glad I was.  There was pushing, toy steeling, screaming, and overall unkind behavior coming from Ila, directed at Chessidy.  After a few minutes of this "play" time was over and we all had snuggle time instead.  I sat there holding my two girls, in opposite arms and wondered how it feels to be asked to play with your little sister, when you have grand ideas for play time that DON'T involve said sister.

I don't want to make this sound terrible, 90% of the time Ila and Chessidy spend playing together it is a happy & fun time.  Ila is VERY helpful with Chessidy and Chessidy ADORES Ila, as all little sisters adore their big sister!  They laugh so much together and have so much fun.

I just wonder what goes on in Ila's head when I say "Ila, please got play with Chessidy." or "Ila, will you talk to Chessidy while mommy does _______ please?"  or "Oh, Ila, grab that from Chessidy, quick!" as Chessidy finds something dangerous and it's approaching her mouth and I'm on the other side of the room!  Ila is so quick to listen when I ask her these things, but I want to know WHAT and HOW she feels about it.  I'm guessing that the 90% of the time they get along when I ask Ila to help, Ila GENUINELY loves it!  She is a bit bossy and very independent  I'm sure it's nice to have permission and even have Mommy ASK for help with Chessidy.  I'm starting to think that the 10% of the time it doesn't go well is those times when Ila has bigger and better plans for her time.

That leads me to this thought:  I should stop the poor behavior when I see it and ASK Ila why she is making bad choices.  That does not necessarily mean she will get to go do whatever she wanted to do, but at least we'll be talking about it.  It's important that kids learn to obey and listen, even when they don't want too.  And it's important to teach them to think of others before themselves too!  I do however, need to be more mindful of what is going on in Ila's mind and help her to communicate that.

I'm hoping this will help the negative behavior I've seen more of these past few weeks.  Any big sisters out there have thoughts on the matter?