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Sunday, July 31, 2011

13, 14, 15, 16

Grace is 16 weeks old now! Hard to believe almost 4 months ago she was still in my belly- it feels like she's been with us forever! More details to come in her four month post, but I just wanted to remember that her little personality is sprouting more and more and her love for gnawing on her hands is growing exponentially!

I'm not as happy with this batch of pictures. Most of them were taken in a rush when I realized her week was almost up! I suppose it is a sign of things to come- life will only get busier and busier, right?





Friday, July 29, 2011

{Memorize}

Lately, the importance of Scripture memorization has been lain on my heart. This summer has been a particularly dry time for me, spiritually, and I know it has been from not being in the Word enough.

I'm one who thinks that I am not supposed to be "fed," but it is my responsibility to find the food.

If I can be brutally honest, I wasn't eating much. Or, if I was, it was drive through or a smoothie- any way to get "full," as quickly and painlessly as possible.

I came to a breaking point a couple of weeks ago, and the Lord has rebuked me and redeemed me again, pulling me back into His arms and pointing me in the right direction. My quiet time is more stable, I've started Beth Moore's Esther for Bible Study, and my prayer life is stabilizing.

But Scripture memorization.

Phew.

That's a tough one for me.

I know it is important.

I know it is valuable.

I just have a hard time committing them to memory.

So, here is my two part question:
1.) What is your FAVORITE memory verse or life verse (please put the full verse here, not just the reference!)
2.)How do you go about memorizing and filling your life with Scripture?

Can't wait to hear all of your responses, and I hope this helps others out there who may be struggling like I am!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mini Vacation 2011- Day Four

On our last morning of our trip, we woke up and got out of the house early in order to make the visitor hours at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.

I had wrestled with visiting this mosque for awhile. Or really, any mosque for that matter. As a Christian, I believe that they are worshiping a false god, or idol, and I just wasn't sure how I felt about touring their place of worship. It would be similar to visiting Stonehenge, a Buddhist monastery, or watching a Native American pow wow. In the end, I decided it was more of a cultural event, and would benefit my understanding of the culture I live in.

The mosque is HUGE! Beautifully designed and ornately decorated. I could have stood and took pictures for hours on ends.

We got to see the area where they ritually wash before entering the prayer hall...

Men's and Women's separate, of course.
We visited the women's prayer hall and then the main prayer hall, complete with the LARGEST chandelier I have ever seen.

And it's the second largest in the whole world, so I'm pretty sure it is the largest I'll ever see!

Each of the outer spires are larger than a grown man!

I loved the calligraphy, tile work, and colors throughout the entire grounds.

This is the interior of the dome.

Here's me, standing on top of the worlds second largest carpet (not the blue one.) My head does not usually have to be covered here, but it is required when touring the mosque.
And here's Ian and I, NOT touching. It felt like we were in middle school again, taking pictures without touching, ha!

I went a little photo crazy but decided to spare you the pain of scrolling through dozens of photos...

LOVE the turquoise and blue that was in so many of the tiled niches.

In the end, I'm so glad I went so I could put some conversations I've had with people into perspective!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mini Vacation 2011- Day Three

On our third day on our mini vacation (really, just a long weekend away, but the only one we've had in almost 10 months!) we drove out to a marina and used their pool for the day. Alot of the hotels or clubs will let you use their pool if you buy a meal or a day pass from them, so, at about the cost of a meal at Chili's, we got to use a beautiful pool, surrounded by mountains and the ocean and had a great lunch!

I was the most excited about swimming because I would get some sun! I'm all about using sunscreen and being wise, but I always look healthier when I am not pastey white! Can I hear an amen on this one?

It was Grace's first time in a pool, and, as an ex competitive swimmer, I was hoping that she would like the water. We don't have a swim suit for her at this size, so we just let her take a dip in her diaper, which turned out to be hilarious when it filled with water!
Grace LOVED the water (yay!) and stayed in for about two thirty minute sessions, with a nice nap on a lounge chair in between. Luckily the pool was covered with shades or her nice porcelain skin might have gotten roasted (don't worry, I also put baby sunscreen on her and covered her up whenever not in the pool.)
Love this family picture of us- these are few and far between these days!

I hope Grace always loves the water and that she learns how to be a safe (and good) swimmer as soon as possible!



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mini Vacation 2011- Day Two

I actually don't think this was "day two," but rather "event number two," of our vacation.

But "Mini Vacation 2011- Event Two," sounds weird, doesn't it?

We were in Muscat, Oman, on a mini family vacation, staying with friends of ours and exploring some of this beautiful city. I wish I could sit down with all of you, with a cup of coffee and alot of time to share my love for the Middle East and its people. Oman did not fail to meet my expectations, with a genuinely welcoming people.

On our second night there, (okay, so it was day two!) we headed out to a souq (said like soup but with a "k" sound at the end and it just means market) that was old.

I know, I'm really informative, but there wasn't exactly a tour guide standing around to give me information.

So...I just made up a story as I went along!

History schmistory.




We arrived at the Souq right as it was closing (depressing!) but were able to make a quick run through one part of the labyrinth.

It is such a neat blending of cultures. Oman has the unique position, geographically, to have influence from the Arab world, Africa, and India!
The is the traditional hat for the locals. The red/white black/white checkered scarf like head dress that you see on some Arab men, is indicative of where they are from. Different patterns can mean different tribes/countries (though this is changing in the past couple of years,) so that is why it is SO important that you don't buy one and wear it without understanding what it represents (if you ever travel to this region.)

These are different from the scarf like head dress and is particular to Oman!
Have you ever seen Amazing Race? Well, this was one of their challenges- to bring some incense to Ali Baba's, and this is Ali Baba!
The souq was beautiful and we look forward to retuning when we have more time to savor all of the sights and do a little shopping!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

What a Way to Start My Summer!

As of yesterday, around 1 pm, I am officially on summer break!

I took my final exams in Arabic and passed both, meaning that I get to start back with my class in the fall! It's been alot of hard work, making up for my maternity leave but I am so excited to be back where I should be.

Summer plans include lots of reading, some shopping, skyping, traveling, family time, and snuggles with Grace. Oh yes, and getting caught up on blogging.

That too.

Because things have been pretty exciting around these parts.

*We busted a tire on a recent road trip.

*Grace went from rolling over, to not doing anything at all (her laziness must come from me, ha!) to rolling right off of our ottoman. Guess she shouldn't hang out there anymore.

*Care packages have been coming in! New Bible studies, pajamas, a infant mirror for the car, and Butterfingers are some of the newest treasures.

*My friend got engaged! Yay, Katie!

*I chopped off my hair! I had been waiting and waiting to get over the border and into a salon but it didn't happen, so I grabbed our scissors and snipped away! 3-4 inches later and my hair feels so much lighter and healthier!

*Speaking of the border (the looming giant in our lives,) Grace received her visa! Which means we can cross back and forth with ease now! Yay for access to air conditioned shopping and, you know, medical care!

And wouldn't you know it, Grace gave me the best gift on my first full day of summer break....she slept through the night!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mini Vacation 2011- Day One

We took a mini vacation to Muscat, Oman, to visit some friends and get to see the city that Ian fell in love with over 5 years ago.

We arrived late on July 2nd, had dinner near the beach at an Italian restaurant (yum!) and grabbed some gelato before heading back to our friends' house.

The next day they took us to a supermarket that we had heard about for a long time, called Sultan Center, which had alot of imported US products. We stocked up on biscuits in a can, canned cinnamon rolls, black beans, root beer, ranch dressing, and Ian's beloved cinnamon gum. We could have spent alot more money there, but since we hadn't brought a cooler, we tried to limit ourselves.

We rested during the heat of the day and hung out with our friends, and then decided to head to the beach, just 10 minutes away! It was absolutely deserted and was just us!

We set Grace up in a make shift tent (our sun shade from our car perched atop her diaper bag) and she fell asleep in the muggy heat within 10 minutes!

I didn't really feel like getting all the way in the water, I was just enjoying my time NOT in long sleeves and pants, so I walked up and down the beach, took pictures, and checked on Grace while Ian and our friends swam.
I about died from laughter, when checking on Grace I saw that she had latched onto Ian's sunglasses and was mad! She still hasn't figured out how to let go of things....it will come with time! Also, please note her pacifier rope across her neck. It really isn't tight, but it makes her really upset. Since this time we got rid of that and just give her the pacifier.

I played with Grace in the sand (and by played, I mean we sat and I put her feet on the sand and watched her funny reaction,)
and we got her thoroughly sandy....
So it was time to put her teeny tiny feet in the ocean for the first time! At only 3 months old. It makes this Florida girl's heart happy to know my daughter might be a beach baby.
Then Ian took her out into the water! It was so warm, so we figured she might like it, since it reminded us of a warm bath.
And it was a success! It took a couple of days to really get the sand out from under neath of her double chin, haha, but other than that, Grace's first beach trip was a blast!
We had a fun evening planned (more on that later,) so we went home to get cleaned up, rested, and ate dinner!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Grace's New Trick

We had a first this week! On Wednesday, July 6th, 2011, at 2:00 pm, I layed Grace on the ottoman to get some tummy time and she rolled right over!

I thought it was because I was still leaning on the ottoman and that there was an incline, so I put her back on her belly and stood back and watched, and away she went!

Grace's New Trick from IGalloway on Vimeo.

I guess this means no more tummy time on the ottoman!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Three Months, Grace!

Grace,

I can't believe you are three months old! This past month has flown by! You are such a good, flexible baby and bring so much joy to our lives. You just roll with the punches and deal with whatever crazy schedule we throw your way. You are much loved by many people- both the friends here that get to hold and love on you, and your family and friends in the USA who wish they could hold you, but for now hold you in their hearts.

I am so excited to see what you learn to do in the next month.

Love Always,

Mommy

Clothes: Grace is still in 0-3 month clothing, while still wearing some newborn pajamas. She's not super tiny so I really feel like clothes manufacturers make their clothing bigger than they think!

Food: Grace is still eating every 3 hours, 7 am until 10 pm, and one feeding between 10 pm and 7 am, usually around 3 am. She started eating faster, and can usually finish a side in 10 minutes or so. When she is finished with one side, she pulls back and just gives me the biggest grins. Too cute!

She nurses almost exclusively, maybe taking one bottle a week of pumped milk. I just can't seem to find the time to pump between feedings and clean the gear- it just takes more energy than I am willing to give right now. It sure would be nice to have more of a pumped supply stored up though!

Sleep: This month her schedule made a big change. She had been eating every 3 hours from 7 am until 10 pm with a 3 am feeding also, but when she came down with her first cold, one night we shifted her last feeding. Where we used to feed her at 7, bathe her, and then put her down, now we get her up from her nap at 6:15, bathe her, and then feed and put her down. This is the only feed where we don't follow the feed-wake-sleep schedule, but it seems to be just fine. She goes to sleep by 7:15 and sleeps until 3 am, when she feeds and then goes back to sleep until 6:30 or 7 am.

This schedule is not really ideal because it requires us to be feeding and bathing her right in the middle of a normal adult dinner time, but for now, it allows her a longer stretch of uninterrupted sleep.

Activity: Grace smiles all the time now. Ian taps her cheek, nose, cheek, and then her chin and it always brings out a big grin! We use the bumbo almost every day and it has seemed to help to develop her muscles because now she can hold her head up better and she doesn't scream when when has tummy time.

Personality: Grace loves to stare at the ceiling fan, which is funny, since it is white and the ceiling is white. It doesn't seem to be very high contrast to me, but she likes it! She also will turn her head to watch what is on tv which leaves me a little afraid for her- I don't want her to be glued to tv and computer screens!

Miscellaneous:

*Bald IS beautiful! Grace has lost most of her birth hair, except for a little bit on the back of her head. It makes her look like a cute middle aged man :)
*Grace went to her first dance recital. Well, it wasn't hers, but it was the first one she attended! Though I didn't dance much, some of my favorite memories were at my friend's dance recitals and I hope, whether Grace dances or not, she can enjoy these type of events.
*She still LOVES her pacifier, but it really isn't an issue for us. It's not a sleep crutch and she really only uses it for 15 minutes a day, usually when she is over tired and having a meltdown.
*She started making many different sounds but her most prevalent cooing noise is a breathy "oooh."
*Grace has put on more weight, though how much exactly we are not sure. She seems so big now!
*Grace had her first cold in June. It lasted almost seven days and was mainly alot of congestion, sneezing, with two days of (low) fevers. She had a hard time nursing and sleeping because her nose was so stuffed up.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

9, 10, 11, 12

Two weeks later and we finally have internet! I've got alot to catch up on and alot of it centers around Grace! So, just brace yourself for several days worth of catch up!

Grace's week by week pictures for her 2nd month...