This past weekend, I attended the Deeper Still conference in Birmingham with my mom, my friend Ashley, and her mom.  It was such a great conference and I'm sure I will have a post just about it sometime soon, but I wanted to share some of what my favorite bible teacher, Beth Moore spoke on.  On Saturday, she taught from Luke chapter 2 about the treasures of our heart.  This chapter is all about the shepherds and the angels coming to see baby Jesus when he was born in Bethlehem.  After the shepherds saw baby Jesus, they spread the word about his birth and all who heard were amazed.  "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."  Beth talked about how we all have treasures and they are for us to keep, protect, and are our most private possessions.

Maralee after church

7 months old

Sweet Adeline is starting to get curious!!!!

7 months old

Hearing her speak about treasures, I couldn't help but think about my two beautiful little treasures, Adeline and Maralee.  My baby girls are so precious to me and I love them more than I could have ever imagined.  Like Mary, I so often treasure my girls and keep these special times close to my heart.  I adore the way they smile at me as their eyes open for the first time in the morning.  I giggle as they tug at my hair while I change their diapers.  Hearing them cue and make bubbly noises makes my heart melt.  These girls are precious in my sight and I just can't get enough of them.  Beth talked about how so often these days we don't take time to treasure special moments because we are so busy running around accomplishing our daily tasks.  She said that if we never learn how to treasure, all we have is what is obvious.  Eventually, we will stop being filled up and we will be running on steam.  Soon, that steam is going to run out and we are stuck on the side of the road with no gas in our tanks.

Adeline, seven months old

Maralee, seven months old

Friends, I think it is so easy for moms to be running on fumes.  Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, your little ones are keeping you busy.  So often, I take care of the girls before I take care of myself.  I feed them first, bathe them first, and put them down for naps before I get time to focus on myself.  Some days, I don't even have time for a shower because I am so focused on taking care of them!  Most days, I take care of them with joy but other times I do feel like I am running low on energy. Saying this, I have found the importance in taking time for myself yet also allowing moments to make memories with our girls.

This past month, we made lots of wonderful memories.  Some of our friends just had their little baby girl and we went and visited them in the hospital.  She was born at eight pounds but when I held her in my arms she was so much lighter than our girls.  For the first time, we realized that our girls are not newborns and they are really growing up.  Raleigh and I are starting to get past the preemie state of mind and slowly are entering into the "our girls are big" state of mind.  Currently, Adeline weighs 11.5 pounds and Maralee is 10.14 pounds!!!!

Another accomplishment this month was we officially graduated from seeing our eye doctor.  The girls eyes look great and we will not have to have laser surgery!  We are so relieved!!!!  Also, this past month we went to have our development test to see how the girls were progressing.  Going into this visit, I was hoping that the girls would test at least at 4 months but I was also preparing myself for 3 months just in case.  After undergoing a series of tests, both girls were developmentally 5 MONTH OLDS!!!!!!  WOO-HOO!!!!!!!!!!!  When the therapist told me this, I could not hold back my tears!!!!  I was such a proud momma!!!!!  For the first time since they were born, we were told that they were AHEAD of where they should be!!!!!  Praise God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let me see you Jump! Jump!

Adeline loves to hang around :)

Miss Maralee might be our little monkey!!!

Hearing that our girls are only two months behind gave me such confidence in what we are doing to help them overcome this gap of prematurity.  One thing that Beth said that really hit home with me was you have to endure the pain to see the purpose.  As y'all know, the NICU experience was so hard some days on us.  I hated seeing our girls struggle to grow and survive.  But, through that pain, I am now receiving the reward of trusting in God through that difficult time.  So much clarity has come out of that situation and I will truly treasure little victories such as these for as long as I live.

The girls continually amaze me every day with what they can do.  For instance, both girls are slowly starting to hold their bottles while they drink.

Adeline holding her bottle in Grandpa Jim's lap over Thanksgiving

As well as holding their bottles, they have also started on rice cereal.  Whoa, how messy this is!!!!!  The first day I did it really runny and it. went. EVERYWHERE!!!!!  Slowly, we have made it more of an oatmeal consistency and they seem to like that much better.  The girls still don't understand the concept of a spoon but I know they will get it eventually just like they did in the NICU when they couldn't figure out how to drink the bottle.  The girls get the rice cereal for dinner and then we put them to bed around 7:00 p.m.  Both girls sleep through the night (praise Jesus!) but Adeline is having a difficult time going down for bedtime.  We try the tough love and let her cry for a little while, but her cries turn into terror cries and she is just sobbing when we come in to get her.  I know that this is going to be the cry she makes when a boy breaks her heart and it is going to just kill me!  Ade loves for her daddy to just hold her and calm her down.  As much as Raleigh loves soothing her, we both have recognized that something needs to change for her to be able to go straight to bed.  Does anybody have any suggestions for us to try??????

Eating rice cereal is funny mom & dad!

Messy Maralee - first time eating

I prefer my fingers!

Adeline - first time eating

Friends, thank you for letting me share with you our precious little treasures.  They are growing and I am just so stinkin' proud of them!!!!!!  I hope you all get to make special memories this holiday season with those you love most!

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen