… reunited and it feels so good!

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For those of you who don’t know, I’m completely obsessed with my nieces….. These girls are just everything to me and thankfully I was able to spend a bit of time with them while in Georgia before heading back home. 
The “big one” is inching her way closer and closer to standing eye to eye with me and as excited as I am about her growing up, I just want her to stay little! She’s the sweetest and smartest little girl ever! She’s so considerate and has a beautiful singing voice!! It’s been forever since I’ve seen her face to face, so I soaked up as many pictures, hugs, squeezes, and kisses as I could!!

threeofusThis “little one” is just a lot of cuteness in a tiny, tiny yet growing package. I couldn’t believe how big she was, how her voice has changed, and how much of a big girl she’s becoming!

We went out on Lake Lanier before heading to the airport and to experience the giddiness of the little one and the blasé attitude of the big was priceless. That big one is either in a book or watching shows on her tablet. Makes me wonder what her teenage years will be like….. away, doing her own thing, and not interested with in hanging out with your aunt, mom, and little sister! Ari kept screaming, “Go fast!!!” and then would just giggle, giggle, giggle as we sped off.

Being an aunt has been an amazing role to play… The older I get, the less it becomes about being fun and playing but more about learning who they are and encouraging them to be and do in a way that fits their personalities.

It’s funny to see how different the girls are and it has really taught me how impactful people are to children. How when not truly knowing and being comfortable and confident in who you are can definitely

cause friction in this budding relationship and also drive wedges and breed insecurity amongst members of your household.

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My oldest niece is super sensitive, her feelings are easily hurt. She’s okay with being by herself  to a certain extent. So, I work hard at pouring so much love, encouragement, and support into her in an effort to boost her self esteem and just to let her know that I’m on her side. She can be really timid and fearful of trying new things and last summer, I saw how she would push away from something she was interested in but a little scared to try and how easing her into it and starting where she’s comfortable opens her up to new opportunities much faster (and nicer) that getting frustrated that she’s acting out and not wanting to participate. What I love the most is the heart she has for Jesus and how kind she can be towards her sister. She’s so supportive of her and gives compliments freely. I hope she continues to be such a wonderful example and model for her little sister.

The little one is always up for anything. She has no fear. With her, it’s more about encouraging that spontaneous, adventurous spirit while at the same time encouraging her to focus on important things like her “school work”…. At this point, she could careless about homework! Being that she’s 4, I’m hoping she grows out of that soon – she’ll be in Kindergarten next year! Amazing how fast the time has flown by!! She’s an absolute charmer which can be a little scary as she knows exactly what to do to get out of trouble and utilizes those skills very well! I almost can’t believe that she will be five this summer…. she used be to so small and young; unable to say my name and I couldn’t understand a thing she said. Liya had to serve as the interpreter for us a few summers ago until we began to understand her.
bwRaising kids can’t be easy… there’s so much pressure but I’m grateful for the experiences and learning things that I will definitely put into practice in my own mommy-hood adventures.  To teach them that they’re valuable to us and to our God and displaying His character will definitely the foundation of our interactions. Getting to know each child individually and building a relationship is definitely first and foremost on the list. I definitely believe in the importance of encouraging and building relationship within your family…. I believe that teaching grace, love, and forgiveness are the cornerstones in building a relationship between people who sustain their relationship long after they’ve moved out of the same house and gone their separate ways because there has been a relationship built on character and love instead of one that is just rooted in familial ties.

One of the major goals I have for my family and children is to be attached and bonded to each other. To truly enjoy each other’s company and for us to be each other’s biggest support system.
Am I exactly sure how to do that? No. But, I am pretty sure that as my character develops more and more to resemble the character of Christ and as I learn to give forgiveness and patience as freely as I’ve been given it, I believe that that is half the battle. And, I’m definitely keeping in under the feet of those families who I see the undercurrent of relationship and friendship in their families.

As much as I have truly despised this three year process, I am forever thankful for it because it has taught me so much that I know will result in me being a better more compassionate and relatable mama. I know that learning to trust God and building a relationship with him has been the absolute cause of this shift. I see it in how I relate to my students in class and how I handle other relationships in my life. selfiewithaliya

As a recovering perfectionist (smile!), I worked hard at doing everything right. But, embracing the imperfect qualities in myself has taught me to give myself grace, it ironically gives others the opportunity to become or display the character of Jesus, and also keeps me humble and in need of my Savior. A less-stressed and uptight Alaina leads to a more relaxed classroom and home.  Imperfect is beneficial to everyone! 🙂

The main truth that I have to keep reminding myself of is “yes… they know you love them.”… my fear is that they won’t know how much I love them and how crazy I am about them no matter how often I tell them or squeeze the life outta them when I see them. I know and believe that if they feel worthy and loved by people they can see, it will make it easier for them to understand that a God they don’t see believes that they’re lovable, worth the death of our Savior, and more beautiful that a field of lilies. Considering the fact that a God who created us has to tell us over and over again of His love and commitment to us, it’s only logical that a child will need the same reiteration and crave the consistency of evidence of that love, too. 

I can’t wait for the summer to hit and enjoy spending days on days on days with these sweet girls…. hoping my sister will be able to stay a few more days this summer in the same way she did last summer.

Our little 5 hour reunion was so special and exactly what my little heart needed. Now it just aches from missing them. I’m looking forward to being a part of their lives and a role model for them… I really can’t wait until they get older and I’m praying that we’ll remain as close and continue to grow closer to each other and have a sweet little relationship as they mature.

… here’s to family who make pretty sweet life buddies.

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