Joel is 3 (well, almost as he pointed out to us “not really fee til Monday”). We had a busy and somewhat rushed Saturday but ended it at Joel’s B-day party (late but at least we made it).
We started the day with a run (me) and a walk (jason and Anni). Later great guest speakers from a church called 2 Rivers in Tennessee spoke at our all church meeting. They really challenged us to believe what the Bible says about prayer and intercession and not let our our own fear of “being right” keep us from praying for ourselves or others. It was a good reminder and challenge that God is good and He desires to give good gifts to His children. The verse in Matthew has new meaning to me since becoming a Mom “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” Mostly, I think I am guilty of not having the faith to ask. I am praying about more boldness when it comes to grasping hold of what is promised to us.
After the meeting we had a nice neat plan to go home and feed Anni lunch and then put her down for a nap and then; according to our stellar plan, she would wake up right before we needed to leave to drive to Jorie and Mark’s. Anni laughs in the face of plans!! She fell asleep in the car as soon she hit her car seat WHICH NEVER HAPPENS. Perhaps, I should recall the tale of Anni driving 5 hours to St. Louis and not sleeping once to make my point. So, needless to say we were shocked and then perplexed: what does this mean? she did not eat lunch, how long will she sleep? will she sleep later too? These may seem trivial but those of us who know that a 20 pound (or in our case a 24.5 pound) infant can decide the fate of an entire day for you these issues are of serious concern. It felt like we were in the midst of a covert op and these decisions would affect the outcome of a mission (or at least the fate of the birthday party). She snoozed for a bit woke up and our friend Kim (who gets the rock star award as she offered to watch at least 2 babies besides her own yesterday so couples could pray together with the prayer team) fed her a little lunch. We picked her up and went home. Since she seemed sleepy we put her down thinking she could snooze for a little while before we headed out to the burbs. But Anni continued her mocking of our plans by taking one of her rare marathon naps (never when you need to get stuff done around the house but always when you need to be somewhere). We finally woke her up and headed out to the Thomas birthday party.
Joel was eagerly awaiting our arrival and when we entered the decked out house with Thomas decorations everywhere we were greeted by the adorable Joel who then proceeded to yell “Mommy, now open presents, now open please!!” It was so cute, he could barely contain his excitement but he did wait until we ate pizza and sang some train songs. After watching Joel I think 3 is when birthdays really get good. We all know that 1 year old parties are really more for the parents and the pictures than anything (I of course will completely follow the trend in having one but lets face it they are not for the baby). But 3 years is totally different. Joel was ripping through the gifts and showing elation (at anything Thomas or train related) and apathy (at dress shirts) just as his age demands. It was refreshing and so fun to watch. The night ended by Anni defying our expectations of a screaming and crying (Anni screaming and us crying) car ride home by being sweet and adorable even though we pushed her bedtime by over an hour. We say conductor hats off to Joel for having the coolest train party we have ever been to!
Above are some pictures of the proud Joel with his station (the name escapes me but Joel knew it the minute he opened it), the 3 cousins reveling in the new trains and track, and Great Grandma and Grandpa Engstrom who just celebrated their 70 year wedding anniversary (WOW, the rock star award does not cover this one I shall have to come up with a new one). What a great day!

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