Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Finally caught on tape...

As you may have seen from the previous post, Mary Grace started taking steps while holding on to something, but crawling is still her preferred and most efficient form of mobilization. A few days ago, she stood up and took a step toward me before falling to the floor. After we all cheered, she got up and did it again. For several days after that, she had no other such attempts, but then started pulling herself up to stand, letting go and taking a step or two over the last few days. All of these were spontaneous and unpredictable and never on command, so we haven't managed to capture any of these unassisted steps on video...until today!

The next video cracks me up because it also shows MG nodding her head "yes" when I ask her a question, blowing raspberries, and then taking a few more steps after climbing off the horse.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Learning to walk, etc...

Mary Grace has been pulling up to stand, cruising, and climbing for a while now, but she hasn't started taking any steps yet. She still hasn't taken steps without assistance, but for the first time today I noticed her push the ottoman (it has wheels) and walk behind it. So tonight I stood her up behind the activity walker and she just took off...
Looks like she's on the same trajectory as Sarah was at this age. Sarah started walking on her own at 14 months. MG is 13 1/2 months.

The following video of MG learning to eat with a fork was taken about 2 weeks prior to the above video. I thought it was funny that both videos show Sarah being MG's little helper.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The effects of the Fall...

Tonight I was reading the first 3 stories from The Big Picture Story Bible, by David Helm to Sarah and Hannah. We have recommended this story bible before as a great resource for family worship because it so beautifully connects all the stories of the Bible together as God's one big story of redemption. There are probably too many pictures and not enough words for Christopher at this point (though he still enjoys it), but it is at just the right level for the girls to understand. We have read it to them over and over again and they are getting the themes of redemptive history written on their hearts, which is such a joy to see as a parent.

The first story is titled "The Very Good Beginning", which talks about how God created all thing, created people in His own image and established His good rule over His people. The second story is called, "The Very Sad Day", which talks about when sin entered the world and changed everything. As I was reading about Adam and Eve's choice to believe the lies of Satan and mistrust the goodness of God and how sad they were after sin had entered into their hearts, I noticed that Sarah was wiping tears away from her eyes. I stopped reading and asked her why she was sad and she said, "Because it was such a sad day for Adam and Eve...and could you please turn the page?" It really tugged at my heartstrings to see how deeply affected she was and I was eager to get to the good news on the next page as well, where God promises that He will one day send Someone to crush Satan's head and rescue His people from sin. Sarah closed her eyes and said, "Please God, could you send Jesus to crush Satan's head again?" I assured her that Jesus already crushed the power of Satan when He died on the cross and rose from the dead, and that one day, Jesus will wipe away every tear from our eyes (there's a great picture of this in the last story titled, "The Very Good Ending", which I showed Sarah) and we will never again experience sin, sadness, pain, suffering or death in the new heavens and new earth.

Thank you Lord for breaking through my 4 year old's little heart tonight with the hard truths of the Fall and the deep assurances of the Gospel. And thank you for reminding me of those truths through her eyes. May we both continue to recognize our desperate need of salvation and cling to Jesus our Rescuer.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The saga of Christopher's first loose tooth...

BEFORE: Christopher's tooth has been loose and hanging by a mere thread for a couple of weeks now. No manner of trickery, bribery or persuasion has worked. I think the loose tooth was bothering us way more than it was bothering him!

AFTER: Today was the day. I could stand it no longer. He let me wiggle it for 10 seconds and then I convinced him to let Nana do the same. She pulled it without him even knowing or feeling it, it was so loose! You should see how relieved and happy he has been since it has been pulled!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The memory of a golfish...

Yesterday while I was madly trying to get dinner ready, Christopher was asking me to think up something fun to do and Hannah wanted me to read her a book. I came up with the brilliant idea for Christopher to sit down and write a story, which just prodded him to write an 'encyclopedia' of monsters, and got Hannah to sit at the table with him and color. His imagination was going wild as he began to write down these outlandish statistics about these monsters that were bigger than galaxies and Hannah kept asking him what the names of the creatures were in his big dinosaur book that was sprawled out on the table. After repeatedly asking him the same questions (which 2 year olds are want to do) to which he'd already given answers, Christopher cried out in frustration, "You're a FISH! Because fish have a memory of 3 seconds!"

Ever hear the one about the goldfish who declared, "Hey, who put this castle here?? These people think just because I have a memory span of 3 seconds that I'll be satisfied with the same 'ol fish flakes...Ooooo, look! Fish flakes!...That's a nice castle..."

Sarah asks for the blessing tonight...

Tonight as we all sat down at the dinner table, Sarah declared, "Oh, I wanna pray, I wanna pray!" So we all bowed our heads and she prayed, "Dear Heavenly Fah-der, fank you for da food and fank you that we got to go to Colorado...and if anyone else from Texas wants to go to Colorado, You better drive their car FAST! In Jesus name, Amen." Needless to say, there was much laughter that followed...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

How to Misuse Strong's Concordance

Here is a great example of how to take Strong's Concordance and severely abuse it...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lots of progress this week...

Since we came home from vacation, our weeks have been pretty full (2 weddings, 2 funerals, VBS, swim lessons, a few fun days at the lake with some friends, etc.). I foresaw that this week would be our first 'down' week, so I geared up to potty train Hannah, who had been showing signs of readiness ever since the week prior to our vacation in PA. I thought of potty training her while we were in PA, but there's something to be said for diapers when you're traveling and constantly visiting other people's homes.

Nana volunteered to keep Christopher, Sarah and Mary Grace on Tuesday, the first day of intensive potty training. There were several accidents, lots of carpet/floor cleaner and loads of laundry, but Hannah also had many successes and was even self-iniating by the evening. On day 2, she only had 2 accidents - one in the morning when she started to wet herself, stopped short, ran to the potty and successfully finished the job; and one mishap with #2...always gross. On day 3, her only real accident was not making it to the potty in time to do #2. A funny moment in the evening was hearing her yell, "Oh no!" and then seeing her dart down the hallway toward the bathroom yelling, "I peed on Cinda-rey-yah!" (the corresponding print on her undies). This morning (day 4), she had her first successful poop on the potty! There was much rejoicing in the McCracken household, as you can see in the video below:

I also noticed this week that Mary Grace was able to get herself from her tummy to a sitting position pretty consistently. By Thursday, I thought she was getting so close to crawling and then watched her take a couple 'steps' toward a toy!

Christopher and Sarah began the summer completely forgetting how to swim. I even had to put Sarah back into a life vest and then slowly eased her back into putting her head under water. Christopher picked it back up pretty quickly, and then both were swimming really well by the time we had swim lessons. Yesterday at the pool, I saw Sarah do things I'd never seen her do, like swim out to the middle of the pool by herself and then dive down to the floor to get a ring (or some other sunken object) and swim back to the wall or the steps!

It is so fun to see each of the kids making progress in different areas of his/her development, so we always have to have our cameras and video recorders handy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vacation 2009 - part VII - various excursions

Paw Paw with her grandkids at the Great Valley Nature Center.

Paw Paw and Hannah in front of the bald eagles.

Paw Paw and Hannah.

Hard to believe, but we only made 1 trip out to Valley Forge National Park for a walk, picnic and relaxing afternoon.

Sarah and Christopher.

Daddy and Christopher.

Paw Paw and Mary Grace.

Daddy and the kids lounging around on the picnic blanket. You know it's chilly in the shade when JOHN needs a blanket!

enjoying the sunshine...

Our last Sunday in town, we worshiped at a friend's church in Reading. Since we were in the neighborhood, we drove by my alma mater - Albright College.

For those of you who wonder why I don't eat cheese...here is the infamous "Pizza Italia" (affectionately known as "Piggers" to Albrightians) where I ate my very last mushroom cheese pizza that forever spoiled cheese for me.

A view from Mt. Penn

The Pagoda on Mt. Penn

Vacation 2009 - part VI - Philipsburg

For Memorial Day weekend, we drove to central PA to visit more family...

My mom, Mary Grace, Me and Mam Mam

My mom, Mary Grace, Christopher and Mam Mam.

Mam Mam - my only living grandparent and my kids' only great grandparent.

My mom holding Mary Grace, Aunt Linda holding Hannah and Mam Mam.

2nd cousins - Sarah Ruth and Sarah Jane.

It is SO rare that we get a picture of Christopher where he's smiling and looking normal, so I thought I'd post it.

Cousins - Me, Missy and Shelly.

Missy and Bill took my mom out to Black Moshannon to kayak. Isn't it beautiful out there?

Off she goes...

Looks like fun! John and the kids watched from the pier while I stayed back at Mam's house to visit since Mary Grace was napping.

A view from Bill and Missy's back deck.

Bill and Missy's back yard is quite a bit more expansive than our postage stamp sized yard, so the kids had a great time exploring.

Me, Mary Grace and Mam Mam.

Hannah and Mam Mam.

My mom holding Mary Grace, Aunt Bub and Missy.

Sarah and Mam Mam.

Uncle Bill and Sarah.

Vacation 2009 - part V - Strasburg

For a day trip, we went to Strasburg, in the Amish country to visit the train museum.

The inside is filled with enormous steam engines and smaller locomotives like this one.

This is where we were...

Kids running around the inside of a box car.

We also went on a 45 minute train ride from Strasburg to Paradise and back.

We packed a picnic lunch and all the kids did amazingly well on the entire trip.

A view of the Amish countryside.

Sarah taking in the view...and hamming it up.

Daddy and Mary Grace.
Christopher hamming it up.

Here's a close up of what Hannah did to her face the morning before this trip. She tipped over one of those little riding toys over the curb and smacked her face onto the pavement.

An areal view of the train museum.

Another view of the countryside.

Tiny Mary Grace in front of a gigantic steam engine.