Happy Thanksgiving!

This year we spent Thanksgiving with my family in Pennsylvania. Jon, Mekonen, my cousin Jess and I all made the long trek to PA late Wednesday night. We didn't get in until 5:30am, but we made record time! I don't know how we did it. We stopped more than we ever do (pregnant people have to pee A LOT, and a little boy named Meko kept needing to be changed), and we made it in 10 hours and 15 minutes instead of our 11 to 11 1/2 hour ride. Mekonen kept Jessica quite entertained in the backseat (until the Benadryl kicked in that is). He sang all his songs and pulled out all his tricks. He was EXTREMELY excited to have someone sitting in the backseat with him. It was a "short" trip for us- usually when we go to PA we spend at least a week, but this time we arrived 5:30am Thursday morning and had to leave early Sunday morning. We packed a lot of family and activity in those few days! We didn't take as many pics as usual and they didn't turn out super great. But here's to some turkey day fun anyway!!

The best of about 50 shots of the kid table (minus baby Kim of course). Hilarious. 

A part of the big people table! Always a crowd at the Castros. 

The newest family member Kimberly. So big. Up to 6 lbs. 

Mekonen kept holding his hands out to hold baby Kimmy.

Then he got very jealous because Mommy was holding her. He climbed up, tried sitting on me and started sucking his thumb! Uh-oh baby #2! 

Mekonen and Auntie Amy

These pictures make me incredibly happy. This is the first holiday I've spent with my brother in years! He was so cute with Mekonen and Mekonen was very interested in Uncle Aaron every time he appeared. His curiosity was definitely peaked when Uncle Aaron pulled out the guitar! Music is the way to this boy's heart! 

Mekonen was very hesitant to try on his own, surprisingly. 

So Aaron scooped him right up, all on his own, right onto his lap and tried to get him to play. So cute. 

And last but not least, one of about another 50 attempts at a cousin pic. Hilarious. 
Jane, Natalie, Kim, Mekonen, Aderyn, and Manny


Turkey Craft!

Today was such a fun, relaxing day with my boy. We got up, did our "chores" (Mekonen is learning how to "make" his bed), had breakfast, took or usual walk (it was quite cold), and then settled into some crafts! It was kind of dreary, cold, and rainy so it was fun to be inside, listening to music and creating! Check out his masterpieces.

Turkey Handprint! 
Mekonen was very confused as I was painting his hand. Haha. I can't believe the paint actually landed on the paper, and the paper only! 


Mekonen holds crayons in the funniest way... all the way at the end between his pointer and thumb. I keep having to show him how to hold it so he can actually get a grip on it to color with. Hehe. 

Can you guess which bird Meko colored and which bird Mommy colored? You guessed it? My kid is a fine motor skills expert! Of course he colored the one on the right! :) 


A Few of Meko's Favorite Things!

I love all the little things that excite Mekonen and make him giggle and laugh. Here are a few of the things that make up our days together!

Everyday Mekonen, Macy, and I go on a long walk after breakfast. Mekonen gets super excited and yells, "wot! wot!" He runs to get Macy's leash and lays it over her back (thinking he hooked it on. haha).
As Jon says, "Mekonen thinks the world is made up of parks for him." We are taking advantage of all these extra warm fall days and playing outside a lot.
 Music! Singing! Songs! 
Mekonen LOVES music. We often hear him singing "Old MacDonald," "The ABC's," "Jesus Loves Me," and "The Itsby Bitsy Spider." He can't say all the words yet, but puts in his own baby babble to a the perfect pitch of the song. He has just re-discovered a musical bear from his baby activity gym and carries it around everywhere! He loves that it plays music and he can take it wherever he goes. When we turn music on he starts to clap and dance.
Here's Mekonen happily enjoying the Amharic singing at our local Ethiopian group. He was clapping away and stomping his feet!
This is one of Mekonen's favorite books to read in the car. He says "boot! boot!" as soon as he's strapped into his carseat. (Notice the 'wear and tear" from our toddlers teeth!)
He automatically turns it to the page with all the cars. He stares and stares at this page with a very intense look on his face. We always wonder what is going through his little mind. He can look at this page for over a half hour! It's crazy.
Stuffed Animals!
Mekonen is really into his stuffed animals right now. He sleeps with them propped up next to his head and runs to get them out of his bed whenever we are upstairs. These two animals came from two special guys in his life. The big dog named "Puppy" used to be Daddy's when he was a little boy, and the little dog affectionately named "Pug" is from his cousin Manny.
Another favorite of Mekonen's is KISSES!!! He loves seeing Mommy and Daddy kiss and always grabs the back of our necks while saying "Mommy, Daddy" and pushing our heads together to kiss. He is also wildly obsessed with giving us kisses, giving his toys and animals kisses, and then making his toys and animals kiss! It's hilarious. He always adds the special sound affect "mah!"

He kisses the funniest toys. Here is "Guy" (named by Meko) getting a kiss from him. 
Mekonen thinks Macy was put on this earth to be his personal jungle gym and entertainment. He pretty much tortures her all day. He has stopped running into her feet with his big chunky tonka trucks, but has now resorted to chasing her feet with his little matchbox cars. He climbs over her, grabs her back and says, "up, up!" wanting to take a ride, and always tries to feed her from his highchair. 
And of course, last by certainly not least, CARS!! These are a staple in our day and Meko is obsessed with them. He runs the big ones all over the house and carries the little ones everywhere! His new thing is the matchbox cars and he loves carrying them around in a little container I gave him. We lose them all the time! I guess we need to stock up! He also loves this "Vehicle" book. It's simply a board book with pictures of cars, motorcycles, trucks, etc. He reads it in his bed everyday while he waits for us to come get him. He never gets bored of it. 


Halfway There!!

I have not blogged much about the little bean growing inside! I have been keeping a journal/log but have yet to transfer them to blog posts. Life feels crazy right now and exhaustion has set in big time this week. I am more tired this week than in my first trimester. Whoa. I am wiped! Maybe this babe is going through a growth spurt!!

I can't even believe I can say this but, "I'm halfway there!!" What? Really? Halfway through this pregnancy already? In one sense, it has gone by fast, but in another sense, the end of March seems really far away. (Maybe because there is so much holiday goodness coming up). I have been feeling pretty good (besides being extremely tired this week). Most of the nausea is gone, except for the occasional bout here and there. Blah.
20 Weeks (5 months)
 Food cravings (oh yes)
  • 1st Trimester: I ate Campbell's Tomato Soup and grilled cheese almost everyday, sometimes more than once a day. It was heavenly. Now the thought of that soup kind of creeps me out.
  • 2nd Trimester: I went through about two weeks straight where all I wanted was spinach artichoke anything! I ate several things of the dip (all by myself...yikes), and made and devoured spinach artichoke macaroni and cheese. Yum. During these couple weeks I also downed more orange juice than I care to admit. ;)
The Belly
  • It's growing! Due to my smaller size, my doctor said I am likely to feel almost all stretching and growing. Um yeah, she was right. And I will say it hasn't been the most pleasant thing. I have been uncomfortable All.The.Time. It's the weirdest feeling, one I can't really explain. I want to say it just hurts all the time, but hurt might be too strong of a word. Too much jostling hurts- like when I tried to play hopscotch with my nieces the jumping about felt like my lower stomach would explode. If I move too quickly in or out of a position, or sneeze/cough I get some good pangs. Ouch. 
  • I'm still wearing all normal clothes, with the occasional rubber band around the button on one pair of my jeans. The maternity pants right now are just a tad too big. But give it a few more weeks, and I'm sure I'll fit in them just fine. ;)
And here is the little baby bean at 18 weeks! Still looking a tad "creepy" and working on growing its cuteness. At this appointment baby weighed 9oz and is ahead of schedule in size! (Um yikes. Cause Jon was over ten pounds when he was born! Me? Only 6 lbs. 1 oz. Note to Jon: I'm not delivering your ten pound baby!)


Mekonen's Baby Dedication

This past Sunday was Mekonen's Baby Dedication at church. It was a special time for us as we made a commitment in front of our church family to raise Mekonen to know Jesus and to welcome our church family to speak into our lives and guide us in wisdom as we strive to do just that.

What is Baby Dedication?
  • It is taken from the story of Hannah in the Bible. Hannah was barren and past child-bearing years. She fervently prayed everyday asking the Lord to give her a son. She told the Lord that if he did bless her with a son she would "give him back to the Lord" and diligently raise him to love and serve God. God did just that- blessed her with a son she named Samuel. Hannah gave him back to the Lord, teaching him to serve God all the days of his life.
  • It is a commitment of the parents to do all that is in their power to teach their children about Jesus in hope that when they are old enough they will choose to follow Him and serve Him. 
  • It is the parents placing themselves in the humble position of accepting the guidance and direction of other Christians as they seek to nurture their children to come to know Jesus.  

What Baby Dedication is Not.
  • It is not salvation. Baby dedication is not a means by which a child can go to Heaven. Salvation is an individual matter. When the child is old enough to understand that they are sinners, realize they cannot make themselves perfect enough for Heaven, and need Jesus to take their sins away, they then accept salvation as a GIFT from God, not something they earn by going to church, being good, etc. 
  • It is not a means by which a child becomes part of the church. The "universal church" is simply all Christians (those who have believed in Jesus to forgive their sins) all over the world. The "local church" is the specific group of Christians that you worship Jesus with. Being part of a local church does not mean you go to Heaven nor does it grant you any special rights. 
  • It is not Baptism. Baptism is simply a public profession of the fact that you know you are a sinner, cannot be perfect enough for Heaven, and therefore need Jesus to forgive your sins so you can spend eternity with Him. Baptism is an individual choice a person makes after they have understood and accepted salvation. This happens at any time in a Christian's life, but usually right after a person has asked Jesus to forgive their sins and have decided to follow Him.
What Do You Do for Baby Dedication?
  • I imagine different churches do things differently, but this this is how our church does it. We take a short "class" with the director of our children's ministry as they explain baby dedication and the importance of parents being the ones who teach their children about Jesus. It's not the job of the church, the Christian school, or anyone else. 
  • We all gave two pictures of our children that they put into a slide show. During the Sunday morning service, they called each family up with their child, announced the child, their birthdate, and read the Bible verse(s) that the parents chose for their child.
  • Then our Pastor read five commitment statements that if we agreed to we answered "We will."
  • Then our Pastor called family and close friends to come up and gather around each family to pray with them as they committed to teaching their children about Jesus. 
 These are the 5 commitment statements we answered "we will" to:
  1. Do you desire to dedicate your child to the Lord and publicly commit to parenting them in a way that honors God?
  2. Do you promise to raise your child in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” through instruction and discipline that is defined by God’s Word? (Ephesians 6:4)
  3. Do you promise to lead your child to an understanding of salvation and his/her need for Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior?
  4. Do you promise to work diligently and consistently to instill in your child an understanding of God and His Word? (Deuteronomy 6:4)
  5. Do you promise to conduct your home in a way that models Christian love and heart-felt commitment to Christ and his instruction? (Psalm 127:1)
Here are the Bible verses we have chosen for Mekonen.
Colossians 1:9-11
From the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in cthe inheritance of the saints in light.  
We received two gifts from our Pastor at the Baby Dedication. 
These are great resources I'm sure you'll love! 
The Big Picture Story Bible

The ESV (English Standard Version) Children's Bible 


Trick or Treat!

Who says Halloween is just for kids? I think I had more fun than my confused toddler, dressing him up in a ridiculous outfit as a rooster, and parading him around to friends houses. It was a riot. He was extremely confused and doesn't even really know what candy is. So BONUS! We have a cute little rooster who walks around with his "buttet" collecting treats for his Mom & Dad. ;)

I am not a fan of these kinds of portrait pictures but I had a coupon for a free Halloween collage so I figured, why not?! And he is pretty cute. ;) 
 Mekonen getting treats from Grandma Magz. He LOVES putting things in "buttets" so he was really digging this trick or treating thing.
Very confused about why he is being stuffed into his carseat with a rooster costume on.
 Off to the Johnson's house.
 Daddy and Mekonen, very excited to see his friends the Webers!
 Eagerly anticipating the candy bowl.
 And helping himself into their house of course.
 And choosing his "favorite" candy. (okay, maybe I coaxed him on his choices a bit).
 And now. The best part. A video of our little rooster!!