Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Momma celebrates with...


Happy 2 month birthday, littlest love.
And thanks for being such a sweet model today.
This is how Momma celebrates!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Three going on 13!

Oh my oh my.  If this is THREE, I can.not.imagine what having a teen aged girl will be like.  Oh the drama, or the sassiness, oh the disobedience.  And in the same breath- oh the joy, oh the laughter, oh the LOVE.  Our little (big) Lou is all that and more.  She's been three for less than a week and has fully embraced it.  Then again she was "almost three" for months so its better that we just made it official.

On her birthday weekend we were traveling, her Daddy was heading out to camp and her biggest brother was S-I-C-K.  She spent the day just playing with Cbug at Nonna's house and actually having an AWESOME time.  But as she went to sleep that night she put her sweet little arms around me and said "Oh, Momma, all I wanted today was just to have cake on a princess plate".  Oh dear.  I mean, yes, she blew out a candle on her donut and opened presents before Daddy left.  But it just wasn't what her little princess heart had in mind.  It crushed me.  No, it was not the end of the world, but I really do LOVE getting to make a big deal out of my kids' birthdays.  So you better believe, the next night we had pizza and you guessed it- princess cupcakes on princess plates.  She was delighted.  And that was the end of that.

Sweet Princess Lou-

I surely love you.  I love the pink. I love the bows. I love the strut.  I love the princess heels. And I love that with all of that you can yell BOO-YAH at the top of your lungs, wrestle with your brothers and Daddy, run "super fast" and play super heroes.  You are one of a kind, sweet sister.  And we are so glad you are ours!

You've really enjoyed getting to go to preschool this year.  When you started, last fall, you fully embraced the fact that you were the oldest in the class.  You translated "oldest" as "teacher's-official-helper" and did your very best to keep the rest of the class in line.  I'm sure all of your friends appreciated that.  What's so funny is, that even though your tiny self might weigh 20 pounds (wet), your confidence makes up for your size.  And people listen to you because of that!  You are not afraid to voice your opinion, stand up for yourself, or explain how you think things need to be done.  We are working to develop a little grace and some key phrases like "please don't do that" and "I have an idea" which sound just a touch less bossy :)

You are oh so helpful around our house.  I can just be cooking dinner and you will come in to help set the table, clean up messes, or cook.  You are so perceptive at seeing what needs to be done.  And, even when I don't tell you or act otherwise, I do love having you by my side!  I also love watching you with your baby brother.  I'm pretty sure if you were just a little bigger, and therefore able to lift him, you could pretty well take care of him on your own.  You seem to know what his cries mean and are quick to let me know what he needs.  One of my favorite sites in the rearview mirror is you singing to him, reading him a story or holding his hand.  You also still LOVE it when your cousins come to visit.  You and your cousin C are good buddies, and I love how you help take care of her and make her feel welcome at our home. You never seem to mind sharing your bed, sharing your clothes, or sharing your toys.  You amaze me!

Your vocabulary, combined with your sweet southern drawl (enhanced by your lack of "r" sounds), make you a JOY to be with in a conversation.  I love the way you think through things and explain them.  AND I love it when you get words confused. Like when you want me to go faster and tell me to "Go speedy lemon" while driving (instead of "speed limit"). You say "Problems" instead of "Proverbs" when learning scripture.  You like me to "scrub" your back at night, which to you means a combination of scratching and rubbing.  Or, a recent favorite, is hearing you say "Let's ROLL and ROCK!"

You love your Daddy.  Boy HOWDY do you love your Daddy.  And he is pretty smitten, too.  He's not much of a shopper, but I've seen him come home with more splurges over the last 3 years than ever before.  He spoils you, for sure, but you also respect him.  I'm so thankful he is showing you how a man treats a lady by the example he sets in loving me and loving you.  Especially since you already have a couple of little boys that claim you will one day marry.  Oh, help us!

We love you, princess.  You are a joy and delight.  You are as cheerful as your favorite color, pink. And you are the perfect balance to our house full of boys.  On this birthday, we pray that you will always continue to use your perceptiveness in helping, your joy in giving, and your strong confidence to bless others and bring glory to your Maker.

Sugar, I love you more than sugar.  And that is A LOT!


Friday, June 22, 2012

SGB II: The Park

One of the things we loved from the first moment we first saw our first home was the proximity to the amazing park.  We were literally houses away from an entrance to miles of greenbelt, playgrounds, running trails, exploring trails, etc.  We didn't even have to cross a main street to get there.  So perfect with our crew of kiddos.

Do you have those places?  You know, the ones that you walk into and your mind's eye automatically starts a reel of family videos.  You simply have to look in another direction and see a whole other set of memories.  Its like a soul-flood.

In "our park", those memory-movie-reels surround me.

I can simply look toward a certain tree and smell the fun of a spring picnic. 

I can look toward a certain creek bank and picture a set of miniature hiking boots caked in mud from where KJ and I used to go on "adventures".

I can look down a particular sidewalk and vividly picture a crew of blonds, at various ages, holding hands and running in front of me.  Or a couple of boys who loved to "go for a run" with me as they accompanied me on their bicycles.

A glance toward a certain basketball court and I can literally hear the shouts of independence from my biggest as he first took a little "excursion" alone on his bicycle.

I can hear "happy birthday to you" literally sing itself from a pavilion where we've enjoyed many a party.

The playgrounds hold the squeals of joy from early swingers, the counting and "ready or nots" of hide-and-seek, and the brave "Momma, watch this" moments.

There is a bridge on which we stood many an afternoon.  I can see my kiddos leaning over the edge, throwing rocks or sticks, looking for animals or fishing with their Daddy.

I think when I remember back to our earliest child-raising years, I'll picture this park just as much as I picture the walls of our home.  Yes, this park has been the perfect place for our children to play.

and maybe its been perfect for me, too.
I can't tell you how many times I "ran away from home" into this park.  (Don't worry, I always came back).  A jog along those trails was usually just want the doctor ordered.  I could jog along seeing and hearing and smelling the places that my children loved.  WITHOUT having to be a responsible mother.  Just for a few minutes.  I love those escapes.

This post would be a lot harder for me if we were moving far. But we aren't.

Good news is our new home is at another end of this same park.  We'll enter from a different direction, we'll be closer to a completely different set of playgrounds and we actually have to CROSS THE STREET now to get into the park (oh the injustice).  BUT STILL.  We aren't leaving.  We'll just be filling more of the park with our family memories, creating new spots that are "ours".  AND I can't wait!


Thursday, June 21, 2012


KJ is S-I-X!!
Sweet-thang had his big day right in the midst of some major craziness for our family- moving out, end of school, weekend visit from cousins, new baby, CRAZY.  SO, it didn't get blogged.  The day did happen, and I think as far as he is concerned, it was special.  We celebrated (multiple times), but the big day did not get its proper justice here, on our family's little memory timeline.  And that just won't do.  I was feeling some Mommy guilt about this little blip. But then- one of my favorite bloggers (Kelly @ 30...Really???), just by being her sweet Mommy-self, reminded me that it's never too late to share with your children, and the blog-reading world, what you love about them at this age.  So, here we go...
(and stay tuned for Princess Lou is 3.  Also skipped here)

Dearest KJ-
For the entire year from your fifth birthday to your sixth, life for our family has been a bit of a whirlwind.  It has been full of adventures, adjustments, transitions, fun, and unexpected LIFE.  That is important to share in this letter because you, my big boy, have been AMAZING through it all.  So much about you is not naturally flexible.  You love rules (for example: your "health" teacher at preschool mentioned that 10 almonds a day are good for the heart.  And you do ALL you can to eat those 10 almonds. Every.single.day).  You love things to be in order.  You like to know what is coming next.  You are a lot like me in that way.  Which is why it is even more admirable that you have been able to adapt and adjust so frequently.  And not just adapt, but really excel.  You have totally taken on a responsibility and care for others that is well beyond your years.  And you are so responsible.  You've really started taking care of yourself (showering, brushing teeth, getting dressed) and of course, I love to see you watch out for your siblings.  You are especially helpful with baby C.  I can completely trust you to hold him and help take care of him.  You have no idea how much it helps me that you are so helpful.  Someday you will, though, and I hope you get to have an oldest child just like you to return the favor.

Your imagination is priceless.  I love watching you create games and playworlds for your brother and sister to join you in.  Whether it be pillow forts, Star Wars characters, pretend "moving" or acting out Bible stories, you always manage to find something to entertain yourself and others with.  You also love ANYTHING electronic right now.  Most things you know how to operate better than I do.  Much more like your Daddy in that regard.  You also like to combine your love for pretend with your love for reading and learning as you put together NUMEROUS lego creations.  You especially like to play leggos when Daddy plays, too.

Even more pretend worlds have opened to you as you have learned to read.  It is absolutely amazing to me how quickly you have gone from sounding out words to reading stories to all of us.  You have a love for learning that I pray continues flourish.  As a result, you have inherited a bit of your momma's nerdy-ness and love talking about things like patterns, numbers, math, and meanings of words.  I love watching your curiosity develop for new things.  Even if I do sometimes have to suggest that maybe we've answered enough questions for the afternoon :)  You totally ROCKED "practice" kindergarten this year.  I can't wait to see you excel in "big school" this fall.  AND you can't wait because there "won't be naptime".  We'll see.

I also love that one of your favorite things to do right now is worship.  You recently left VBS saying "that worship was SO.MUCH.FUN" and some of your favorite music to listen to includes MWSmith, RHCC praise band, and Fernando Ortega.  Which means I love to listen to music with you!  You also have applied your love for learning to bible verse memorization.  This week at VBS you learned a couple of new verses and I was amazed how quickly you memorized them...and then taught them to the rest of us.  We are all reaping the benefits of your love for God's word.  Thanks, little man!

It doesn't seem to bother you a bit that you are still very small in stature.  Your heart is big, your confidence is big and your enthusiasm is B-I-G.  Plus, as you like to remind us, it helps that you are "super fast". I'm praying that as you get older, you are always able to see the amazingness that is KJ.  The perfection to which God has designed you.  Never let anyone tell you that you are "too small".  You are just right for whatever purpose the Lord has set before you in this world.  Your Daddy and I pray all the time we'll be able to mold and shape you just as you for that purpose. And I'm so glad I get to be along for the ride while you discover it.

Love you with all my heart, sweet boy, my BIG 6-year-old!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Being a Daddy is hard work

I was thinking.  I never knew before how many things daddies have to do.

They have to touch worms.  They have to kiss hurts. They have to help children out of trees.

They have to say when it's time to go.  They have to pay bus fares.

They have to do lots of other things, too.

"Daddy," I asked, "is it hard to be a daddy?"

"Sometimes," he said, "but I think it's fun, too.  I like it, Son."

He gave me a hug.

-From Sesame Street's "I'm My Daddy" by Daniel Wilcox.

Our little family is VERY mindful this father's day of all that Daddies have to do.  The "Daddy" on our little team has made many sacrifices to take care of our family and even other children.  My Daddy taught me to look for someone like RRL by the example he set in working hard and using what you have to bless others.  Best part is, even when being a Daddy is "hard work" they always make me believe that they like this job they've been given.  The job of being a Daddy.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

SGB I: The Front Porch

Saying Goodbye, Part I (SGB I)
Breaking up is hard to do.
So, please excuse the fact that this post has ONE MILLION pictures. 
Each one is absolutely, completely necessary.  And I actually did eliminate at least one million others.
I assure you.

I remember the first time I discovered it.
It was one of those days you don't forget as a parent.  Although I'm sure there were MANY hard days before it, its the first one I distinctly remember many of the details of.  It was the day KJ ate diaper ointment.
I took these pictures.  And I discovered how perfect our front porch was.

Sure, it looked amazing in lights. And covered in snow.
But what I loved most was the pictures.
Something about the lighting.  Just enough even shade to balance out the natural light.

Something about the shape. The perfect design to sheild small children from distractions and escape routes. (helpful, as there were sometimes LOTS of children to contain)

It was the perfect place for taking pictures. And so we did. Lots of pictures.

Pictures of one.

Then two.

Then three.

Then six.

Then four.

I love the pictures, but even more I love the memories that this threshold represents.
Late one spring evening in 2004, RRL and I got the keys to enter through that threshold for the first time.
Later that same year, RRL helped me hobble across that threshold after major surgery for my Crohn's disease.
We remodeled, we cleaned, we hired other people to clean :)
We lived.

We carried all four of our babies across that threshold.

And we welcomed three others through that door, too.

Oh, dear.  Here come the tears.

We celebrated many things standing on that porch.
Potty training.  And first sleepovers.
First days of school.  

And KJ's last day EVER of preschool.

Wearing Red for Valentines' day, Being Fancy for Easter and Dressing up for Halloween.

Snow days, play days, and every ordinary "we just look cute" days.


Ok, now I'm really crying.  Big buckets.

With some creative acrobatics by the photographer, it was there that we caputred some sweet moments,

some silly moments,
some twin moments and some tough guy moments.

Above all, they were OUR moments.
The great thing about these moments is...the door just beyond them was nearly always closed.  Partly to block the glare.  But mostly to hide the piles of laundry, the maze of toys, or the child pitching a fit inside instead of joining the "moment".

Which is why these final pictures are so perfect.
They capture our last moments of all 6 of us on this porch.  The very last time it was OUR porch.

This was the last picture on the porch AND it was KJ's first time to hold Christopher, standing up, for a picture. And our front porch once again helped us capture the moment perfectly.

Well nearly...except for the little bit of...um...imperfection that happened to leak out.

Then again, maybe an imperfect finale actually WAS perfect.
The front porch always did capture us, just as we are.

Couldn't have planned that ending better if we tried...which, obviously, we didn't (especially KJ).
Can't wait to share more about saying goodbye to Great Divide Dr.
And then about our next great adventure (a whole mile away).
But then again, we are right in the midst of the adventure now, so I can't make promises about when those updates will occur.  Thanks for traveling (and being flexible) with us.