Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas

We are doing a lot of this...

and some of this...

I've been enjoying my people, I hope you've been doing the same.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Loving Now

A list of things I'm loving right now...

The way Selah's hair looks in pigtails. Sometimes I stare at them and remember all those years ago when I was just a girl pretending to be a mommy and think, "Wow, she's mine. She's really, really mine." It's just like I always hoped it would be only better.

This week Isaac and I shared a rare moment of just us. Selah and Gabe fell asleep in the car on the way home from school so we sat side by side on the couch snuggling under blankets playing Sequence. I loved that time together. I hope it's something he will remember.

It's sort of disheartening the way time is racing by. My seven year old who used to sit on my lap in his yellow and blue nursery and listen intently as I read Goodnight Moon every night is now reading Anne Of Green Gables to me, big words and all. How did that happen so quickly?

Oh, this one I looooove. I volunteered as one of the mamas to go along and chaperone a field trip for  Gabe's class. We talked about it for a good two weeks beforehand. We were both really excited, couldn't wait. The day of the trip Joe dropped the boys off at school while I got ready, fed Selah and dropped her off with a friend. I pulled up behind the school bus and followed it to Aullwood Farm. I parked the car when we arrived and made my way over to the school bus waiting for little people and teachers to make their way out. When Gabe saw me he seemed a bit underwhelmed. As the day went on I held his hand as we walked along trails and listened to guides tell us about the great horned owl, wolf spiders and snapping turtles. At the end of the field trip, as kids began climbing those big steps up the bus, Gabe gave me a big hug and huge grin. As the bus pulled away he had the biggest smile on his face and kept blowing me kisses. So sweet. Later that night he told me he didn't think I was going to show up and that he cried on the bus ride there. He thought I was going to ride with him on the school bus and when that didn't happen he thought I wasn't going to be there! Talk about ripping my heart out. So glad I was there. I wouldn't want to miss those smiles and kisses for anything. I hope he knows just how much I adore him.

Those are just a few things I wanted to share, a few things I don't want to forget. What are you loving right now?


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Catch Up

I'm sitting here listening to Sarah McLachlan's Christmas CD as I type. The kids are watching a little TV and  Daddy is at the office. Seemed like an appropriate time to get a quick blog post in. Waaaay too much has happened since May 30, the last time I came here, but there is so much I don't want to forget. Let's get to it.

My baby girl turned three. She had a wonderful pumpkin party at the pumpkin patch, same as last year. I purposely made it much simpler this year. The food was easy; peanut butter and jelly, bananas, grapes, and pumpkin donuts along with a cupcake cake in the shape of a pumpkin. I didn't freak out over what Selah would wear, her little pinstriped overalls were perfect even if they weren't new. I usually get so anxious hoping things go perfectly. I decided to let go of perfect and instead pay attention to her smile. Listening to exactly how she wanted to decorate her pumpkin allowing her chubby fingers to lead the way. I slowed down and watched her big three year old self race across the grassy field in a pillow case sack race. The night before, long after she'd fallen asleep, I scooped her up and rocked her and drank in every last bit of her two-ness. And last night she slept all night in big girl undies. She's just gettin' way too big.


The boys and I have a new little routine. On Saturday nights, after Daddy has tucked them into bed and after I've put little sister down, Isaac, Gabe and I snuggle together in one of their beds and tell stories. A "Gurb" story. He's a little boy we've made up who has all kinds of adventures. We lay there and talk after the story is over and I get to hear all the things they want to share under the security of a dark room and the comfort of a mama's hand rubbing their back. It's my new favorite thing.


So, my amazing husband decided to surprise me with a trip for our ten year anniversary. His sister drove in from New York to stay with our kids. This was the first time we've ever left them overnight! I woke up October 19th in chilly Ohio and fell asleep that night in warm Santa Monica, California. Crazy! I really thought we were driving to Chicago. Like really, really thought we were going to Chicago. It was a great trip, we spent one day in Santa Monica, one day in Beverly Hills and another day in Malibu. So much fun. I didn't see any celebrities so I pretended to be one ;) I think we need to make this an annual thing!


Ok, enough catch up for now. I have a three year old who just had an accident. That's okay, it just means she's not as big as she thinks. I'm cool with that.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Right Here, Right Now

Well hello out there in blog world! What have you been up to? It's been awhile, eh?

I just sucked down an iced caramel macchiato so bear with me, I'm a little chatty.

Since last on here we've had Gabe's preschool graduation...let's talk about that for a moment...

He was ever so proud standing up there at graduation. Sang along with all the songs, hand movements and all. Too cute. Isaac was at school so it was just Daddy, Selah and me. We took pictures and videos on our phones. We (I) cried when the teacher read her end of the year poem (it's the same poem every year...I cry every time!) I watched my little man enjoy an M&M cookie and lemonade as I marveled yet again at how time surely does fly. Five years old. Jeepers, where in the world is time going?? He makes me proud, that one. We let him pick where he wanted to go for lunch. He picked the Pancake House, a favorite. He enjoyed two eggs over easy and a blueberry pancake along with freshly squeezed orange juice. I love the crooked, shy smile that slowly comes across his face when he gets to make grown up decisions like that. Love it!


We took our first trip of the summer to Kings Island. I have more to say about this whole Kings Island thing. We went back and forth on getting season passes. We ended up getting them. Which is huge for us because it's a pricey decision. Growing up it was definitely a once a year thing. We would get there when the park opened and stay until fireworks lit up the night sky, signaling closing time. The last few years were no different, only this time we were the grown ups hauling kiddos. Everything we've gone through financially over the past few years made us appreciate going at all. We packed lunches and took our own photos so we didn't feel pressured to buy the $12 image they sell at the end of every ride. And now we have season passes?! It might sound silly to be thankful for such a thing but I really, really am. It's something the kids love to do and I look forward to making sweet memories with them. Memories that someday they will surely use as a guideline when they have kids of their own. Humbling to think I will play any part in that. But also very much an incentive to make their memories special. Those kinds of things certainly aren't lost on me... I appreciate them very much.


I took a field trip with Isaac's class to the Boonshoft Museum. They have all kinds of cool things for kids to get their hands on. Lots of fun things for little minds to explore...planet discovery, zoo, huge indoor play area. But what I remember best were things like the way his eyes searched for mine when he correctly answered the guide's questions. The way he asked if he could sit next to me as we shared a sack lunch on the steps of the amphitheater. How his teacher told me some of the sweet things my dad told her on Grandparent's Day. I'm glad I got the chance to share the day with my boy, it makes me that much more excited for summer days when he's all mine all day!


We celebrated Mother's Day. The kids definitely DID NOT get the memo about allowing mom to sleep in. They were too excited to give me the gifts they so carefully created at school and at home with daddy. Pictures in frames, hand print bouquets and a potted flower along with yummy breakfast from daddy. It was a good day.


There was the YMCA daycare incident of 2012. Let me just say this never, I mean never happened with my boys. I came to pick Selah up after taking a spinning class where they informed me she had to be put in time out twice for pushing the babies!! What?! Oh, and she owned up to it too. She came running up to me saying "me go to time out, me push da babies!" What in the world is that about?? I'm afraid kids will start running when they see her coming now. In an attempt to nip this in the bud quickly I went the bribing route. Dangled the carrot in front of her so to speak. Only the carrot was a Dum Dum lollipop sticking out of her cubby. She knew she was allowed to have it when I came to pick her up as long as she DID NOT push the babies. It worked!! Yay! She might not have any teeth by the time she hits puberty but hey, I like to think I'm doing my part to help preserve the children of Springboro. I'm all about community.


So those were some of the big things that happened but I tend to like the little things even more. These are the things I'm loving right here, right now:

Watching Selah learn to blow bubbles all on her own. Pretty funny. She's a bit too impatient for the whole thing. Instead, she blows as hard as she can and then asks for my help. Cute.

My girl, the one with the pigtails that melt my heart. Oh, and the sweet way she says 'thank you, mama' whenever I do something to her liking. And the way she dances in her car seat, it just kills me. So cute! We took a bath together the other day...we've done this before but this time her excitement was almost too much for her to contain. She gathered her bath toys and shed her clothes before I even had the chance add the bubbles. I loved every minute, and I loved that she wanted to spend that time with me.

The way she fits in my lap just so as we read every book in the doctor's waiting room during Gabe's speech appointments.

Seeing Isaac's sleepy wake up face this morning. He's usually the first to rise, I usually miss out on that half awake, still-warm-and-rosy-from-a-good-night's-slumber face.

I loooove watching my boys play baseball. It's more exciting than I ever thought it would be at this age. Watching them swing the bat, run hard and make a good play in the outfield makes my heart so full.

Dreaming up what fun summer activities will take place over the next however many days. I don't want to start counting, it will go by waaay too fast as it is!

Clean sheets with clean babies sleeping tight. Love that.

What are you loving right now?


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Voice Of Truth

Today, as I drove along in the car, I heard this song by Casting Crowns. I've heard it a million times, maybe more. But today it was a little different. We'll get to that in a minute....

See, I've been struggling with something. Like majorly struggling. It's all I can think about. The first thought every morning, the last thought every night and about a bazillion times in between. And it's so ridiculous. I wish I could say it was something meaningful, like maybe world hunger or going to the far places of the earth and preaching the Good News to all mankind...something like that. I have those thoughts, I mean, I do have a heart beating in my chest and I really do want to show people who Jesus is. But this thought? It's waaaay more shallow. It's that dang number on the scale. Last week I wanted to chuck it out the window. Seriously. I'm not kidding. I've been trying to get back to what I weighed when I got pregnant with Selah. For over two years now! Ha. That's what the scale was saying to me, "HA!" It's not like I don't try. I try very, very hard. I'm at the gym six days a week working out for no less than an hour and a half, a couple of those days being two hours at a time. No, I don't eat chocolate cake for breakfast. In fact, it's a half cup of flax meal along with four egg whites and a cup of coffee. Jealous?? Lunch varies depending on what that day holds but often it's plain chicken with a cup of veggies. Dinner also changes from day to day but I promise, I'm not parking myself at the Old Country Buffet. Promise. Snacks in between are usually protein shakes. The weekends are not so structured, thank goodness! So you can probably understand how frustrating it would be to hop on the 'ol scale and see you've gained three more pounds. Lovely. To say I was annoyed would be an understatement. I even considered not showing up at our girls night because I didn't like the way I looked in anything. I wanted to spare them from the hideous cellulite. I'm nice like that. I like my friends, I want to save them from' also why I don't cook for them. This was Thursday night. Friday was no better.

All the while I have these crazy thoughts. The guilt of putting so much of my time, energy and thinking into something so superficial. Something that the bible warns will fade away. How it says to store up our treasures in heaven. I didn't see anything in the good book about how you can become more like Jesus if you are a size 4. It's not in there.

Jumbled in with those thoughts would be stuff like "should you really be eating that" or "no wonder you can't lose've just eaten two cookies for crying out loud!" Things my cruel step dad would tell me came flooding back. "You're stupid, there's no way you could make it in college.  You're not pretty." I have a vivid memory of  being about twelve years old, lying on the living room floor watching the Miss USA pageant. I loved those. The sparkly dresses, the way they walked confidently on stage and performed their talent, be it yodeling or throwing their baton in the air and successfully catching it. I know there was a teeny, tiny part of me that thought that would be the coolest thing ever. To be Miss USA. But I couldn't yodel or twirl a baton or sing or any of the other things those girls did. I'm not even sure why I thought it would be so wonderful, I sure hope Selah has higher aspirations! Anyway, he looked over at me and said I shouldn't get my hopes up to be on any sort of beauty list. He said I liked macaroni and cheese and that girls who like macaroni and cheese don't need to worry about those things! Good gracious, this man has been out of my life for over sixteen years, when will those voices go away?

I really don't dwell on those things much at all anymore. I was feeling yucky and weak and vulnerable. I know Satan likes to use those things to drag us that much further down. Which reminds me of something I heard in a Beth Moore study a couple of weeks ago. That Satan is counting on us staying in those dark places. When we get to the other side of it is when we are our most powerful. When we use what we went through for God's glory. But the enemy wants us to stay there. Because when we are there, in that bad, awful place, we aren't allowing God to use us like He could. There is so much more on the other side...

Then, Saturday, Sunday and Monday I did the unthinkable. I didn't workout! It wasn't on purpose at all. Just sort of happened that way. I slept in! I woke up feeling, that never happens! Joe was worried. He knows I get a little crazy if my body hasn't produced sweat in over a day. My fuse gets short, I'm antsy. It's not good. But it wasn't like that this time. I wanted to get a good workout in but it just didn't happen. I threw the ball to Gabe and Isaac so they could practice before their baseball games, we took a few walks around our neighborhood. I guess I just sort of let it go for a bit. I kind of can't believe we all survived.

Back to that song. Do you know it? If I was at all technically inclined I would put up the little linky thing for you, maybe show the video on here...but I'm not that girl. I'm the girl that googles the song lyrics, writes it on a piece of paper and types it here for you to see. I'm pretty sure there's a faster way...

Voice Of Truth:

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
To the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy, you'll never win!"
"You'll never win"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"
And the voice of truth says "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a Sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again, "boy, you'll never win."
"You'll never win"

But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
From the top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

So, there I was, cruising down I-675 to meet Joe at the Greene. Two kids in the back, nearly asleep, and this song comes on. Like I said, I've heard it a million times, but today was so different. It's felt like this issue (which I think is more mental than anything. I know I'm at a healthy weight, after all...) was my giant. I felt less of a person because of a silly number on a scale. I'm not less of a person. I'm a person that God created on purpose. I wasn't an accident, although Satan likes to remind me that I was absolutely not planned by my young parents who were not married. There are so many negative thoughts racing through my head at any given time. The voice that's hardest to hear and believe is the voice of truth. The one that says "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I'm fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful." Psalm 139:13-14.

Next time, because there's always a next time, I will choose to listen to the voice of truth. Today I stepped on the scale after a great seven mile run. Guess what? I actually lost a few pounds. It didn't take long though until that voice, the one telling me I'm still not at the number I was when I got pregnant, came knocking at my mind's door. But this time I told it to go away. That I was proud of myself for finishing a long run. That I'm no longer listening.

I choose to listen to the voice of truth.  Who are you listening to? I would love to hear what you think.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Happy Is...

Happy is...

A certain seven year old losing his first tooth....

Roughly a month left of school,. No more rushing in the morning, no more packing lunches at ten o'clock at night. We are looking forward to more of this...

It's the soft voice of my two year old saying 'das so tweet (sweet) and cocking her head to the side whenever she sees something cute.

It's the same little girly watching me get ready. She tells me my dress is so pretty and quickly empties her drawers to find something just as pretty  to wear. She likes to match her mama, whether it's matching boots,  a dress or spraying my perfume, she wants to be like me. It's humbling. It's food for thought, a reminder to keep my priorities in check.

It's growing closer to new friends. Being able to cheer them on and allowing them to do the same.

It's anticipating Spring Sing at preschool. We will watch as Gabe steps on stage with his fellow classmates and sings songs they've been practicing for months. Can't wait :)

It's a family walk under a bright blue sky, boys on bikes leading the way, talking with Joe about anything that comes to mind. Watching little feet dangle out of the stroller as the bump bump of the sidewalk coaxes an active baby girl to relax.

These are the things that made my day. It's also knowing I get to wake up and do it all over again tomorrow.

Sorry about the old's agony being without one! Hopefully soon...


Monday, April 30, 2012

Flower Patch Farmgirl

Saturday I got to meet up with Shannan from Flower Patch Farmgirl! I have to tell ya, it was pretty cool. If I had to sum her up in just one sentence, it would be that she's the Real Deal. 

 I'm naturally shy so I was definitely nervous. Then I was running late, and then there was a huge thunderstorm the entire drive there. The kind where the wipers are on full blast and people are pulled under the overpass to wait it out. Then I got lost.... It was quickly turning into not how I pictured this whole thing going down.

I eventually found her, seated in a cushy yellow booth at La Fiesta. We planned on wearing matching blue gingham because, let's face it, it's cute. And two girls wearing gingham is twice as cute. That and our matching cuffs from Becky at Farmgirl Paints and we were stylin'. Okay, her waaay more than me but that's okay. We all know she's got that 'eye' for fashion. I kept wondering what might happen if we clicked our bracelets together, like some sort of updated (and way less creepy) version of blood sisters where we are then committed to friendship for life. Seriously, who wouldn't want her to be a friend for life??

We sat there and talked about all kinds of stuff. Anything from parenting to how we grew up. The conversation was easy. I got the feeling she genuinely cared about what I had to say. I don't know if it's just my upbringing or what but I don't always feel like I have a lot to add to any certain situation. True, I can change a diaper in record speed or bandage a scraped knee with ease but I tend to step back in conversation, never wanting to say too much or give people the impression I know it all. Except when it comes to my babies, that is. I could describe in perfect detail the color of their eyes or each freckle placement on their petite frames. But to someone I've never actually met before?  Well, I wasn't sure what I could offer to someone I didn't really know.  But as I sat there across from my gingham clad twin, all of that worry just sort of dissipated and I felt like I was there with a good friend. She's so open and honest, she doesn't pretend to have it all figured out. I so appreciate that. I crave deep conversation and I love the way two girls who adore the Lord can get knee deep in discussions simply because there's already a level of trust established.

We left La Fiesta with full bellies and...three tubs of salsa. You gotta love a girl that asks for three tubs of salsa to take home. We exchanged the famous stool in the parking lot and headed south towards Tipp City. She wanted to take me to one of her favorite little antique shoppes. The whole time I kept thinking how cool it was to watch Flower Patch Farmgirl work her magic. I loved seeing the things she was drawn to, the things that caught her eye. I can't wait to see what she does with the stuff she picked up. Love her style!

I felt totally humbled that she would spend a Saturday with me!  I'm sure there are a hundred things she could've been doing, but she chose me. She chose to take the time to connect with someone she didn't really know at all. I think that says so much about her.

P.S. I have one measly picture of our day and it was taken with my phone. I'm not really sure how to get the pictures from my phone to the computer so until then just picture some rockin' blue gingham and leather cuff power!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Just For Fun

I was reading Meg Duerksen's blog. Have you seen it? I like her a lot. I stole this whole thing from her. It's okay though because I think she stole it from someone else...

Right now I am:

Watching: Grey's Anatomy. I can't believe Jackson and April. Or Dr. Webber and Jackson's mom...

Drinking: Still sipping my Starbucks grande Caramel Macchiato with skim milk. One pump vanilla instead of three. They love me there, I'm sure. Joe just rolls his eyes when I order. I'm a girl, I'm supposed to be complicated, right?

Wearing: Black stretchy pants with white sweatshirt. Both from Target. Red Nike hat.

Eating: Just finished my grilled chicken with mixed veggies. I'm so boring. Is anyone still reading?? Oh, and I had a chocolate covered marshmallow egg leftover from Easter.

Listening: Sweet Selah crying in her crib. She thinks that twenty minute nap in the car was enough rest. It wasn't. Hoping she falls asleep...

Avoiding: Sit-ups. Didn't get them in at the gym this morning.... They will happen soon though. I won't allow myself to shower until they are done. It's nearly bikini season you know.

Wishing: Someone would come do my laundry. Or mop the kitchen. Or that my husband would buy me that Roomba robot vacuum thing. Or a new camera.

Feeling: TIRED. Getting up at 4:30 or 5:00 most mornings is exhausting. So is carpooling/feeding/potty training/cleaning up after three kiddos. EXHAUSTING!

Missing: Days when I ran pain free...but still very, very grateful my legs can do it at all. It's amazing what a woman's body goes through don't ya think?

Thankful: So much. Mostly that God chases us down with His love. Over and over again.

Craving: The cookie dough in the fridge. We bought four tubs from Isaac's school. I'm pretending it's not there...

Wondering: How tomorrow will go. I'm meeting Shannan know, Flower Patch Farmgirl?! Like, for reals, live and in person! I'm holding her bar stool hostage. I told her I won't hand it over unless she takes me out for Mexican. Thankfully she agreed. It all goes down in less than twenty four hours.

Praying: My kids know the Lord. Like really, really know Him. I want their relationship with Him to be their's and their's alone. Not something they do to make mommy and daddy happy, but something they crave. Something they can't get enough of.

Needing: A shower. And sleep.

What about you? What are you up to?

Happy Weekending!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Few Thoughts and Things I Don't Want To Forget

I walked into Gabe's preschool this morning, one arm carrying the Birthday Bag they give each student the day of their birthday. I was returning it two days late. Slung over the other arm was another bag that held Cleo, the class 'pet'. She was also a few days late. At that precise moment I remembered I was in charge of bringing in Clorox wipes. Two weeks ago. So, I apologized for the late 'pet', the late Birthday Bag return...and I promised I would have the wipes at pick up today. Mrs. Heather just looked at me and said something like, "Don't worry about it, we've got it covered until you get them."  I love her. She's a mom of four, I'm guessing she's been there before. I get the feeling she knows I'm doing my best. I wanted to hug her.

Today on the radio I heard a story about a woman who was a prostitute. She happened to be listening to KLOVE and decided to call the radio station so she could talk to one of the pastors they have on staff. She gave her heart to the Lord during that phone call. They told her God had forgiven her and that He remembers her sin no more. She mentioned the thing that got her through most days was remembering  the scent of her infant son's hair, a son she hasn't seen in several years. They told her God loves her like that. He adores her just like she adores that child. He knows each hair on her head. It 's just amazing how He loves us. I love that the creator of my soul spoke to me during a radio station pledge drive. It makes me want to tell this hurting world that there's so much more to life than the here and now. It will get so much better. 

Things I Don't Want To Forget:

*The way Gabe runs to get his toy garbage truck the instant he hears the real one pulling onto our street. He loves watching that massive machine lift loads and dump the waste into the back.

*Selah crying out for me in the dark of the night, requesting we rock in her chair. It's not thirty seconds later and she's pointing with that chubby little index finger wanting back into her crib. I love the way she just likes knowing I'm a shout out away. And I love drinking her in even if it is only for a swift thirty seconds. Someday I will want those moments back. I just know it.

*The way Gabe and Selah have found their groove. They can play happily together. I love the feeling I get watching them pretend to play in her little kitchen or the way they can erect quite the town out of wooden train tracks, cars and blocks or the way they fly through the house with matchbox airplanes and rockets pretending to be pilots. Precious.

*Isaac crawling into bed with us at two a.m. because he had a bad dream. I love that even as he grows, even as he wants to stretch himself in new directions, branching out just a little from mommy and daddy, well, I love that he still needs us. I love that we offer that comfort to him.

*Joe and I staying up late, talking side by side in bed about how fun it is watching our oldest play baseball. How we think he's really good and how we aren't just saying that because he's ours...

There's more. More thoughts, more things I can't wait to write about, like my big boy turning five, me turning thirty four, Isaac and Gabe's first baseball game and how I want people to see Jesus in me. I want it written all over my face the way Selah's looks after she's been caught getting into the Easter basket. Completely covered, not a speck untouched. I wonder what I'd look like if I cared more about what He thought, loving myself the way He loves me, seeing myself through His eyes. I wonder if I'd recognize any part of me....

Gotta go...Selah just pulled leftover cake frosting out of the fridge. I'm sure she thinks it's a perfectly acceptable snack. Heck, some days I think it is.

Oh, and I have to buy those Clorox wipes...


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sweet Things

This week I saw my dad. I don't see him very much, sad as that is. When I do though, it's great. Always. I can't explain it, really. The way my soul calms the very instant I look in his eyes. The way my body relaxes as he hugs me, his mustache whiskers brushing my cheek. The scent of  his familiar cologne that in a nanosecond has me feeling like I'm six all over again. I'm with my dad and I feel myself relax, my guard comes down, I can breathe in the slowness of pace and just be me. The best gift of all, I think, is when we can truly be ourselves and our parents allow us to do that more easily than any other. So many times I ask myself where I would be without this amazing man in my life. Where I would've ended up. He is incredible. If you know my dad, you are blessed. He is one of a kind, of this I'm certain.  He's the one who witnessed my first breaths of life, those tender first cries. The one who walked the floor with me as an infant, the one who I feel praying me through the hard days along with the good and every season in between. The one who watched my first steps, who celebrates the joys, holds me in the hard times and every season in between, whether physically or on his knees in prayer.  My dad, I couldn't love him anymore if I tried. Yes, I saw my daddy and it was good.

Other happenings this week included a lot of ordinary. As I sat with Isaac watching a basketball game (hello, more dad memories!), he exuberantly exclaimed "Sweet!" as a strong player dunked a shot.  I thought to myself,  "when did he get so big?!" I wasn't even aware he knew that term for anything other than a tasty treat :) He wakes by alarm clock and is responsible for making his bed, getting dressed, brushing his hair and teeth and doing his breathing treatment which includes several steps, all on his own before I walk in the door from the gym. He's getting big. It breaks my heart and makes me proud all at the same time. It makes me think that the first person to come up with the idea of a time machine was most certainly a mama trying not to allow childhood to escape her kiddos too quickly.

We've been outdoors a lot, tossing footballs, swinging bats. I have boys and that's just what boys do. It's so much fun watching them get stronger. Thinking back over the years when they would get so frustrated trying to get the ball and bat to connect, well, that doesn't happen as often anymore. They get bigger, they get better, they grow. Constantly. 

Speaking of growing, Gabe's fifth birthday is less than a month away. Five, wow. That's all I've got for now, wow!  Seems like it was just yesterday he was a little guy rolling around on his play mat in the living room...

It was a good week. Spring seems to be here for good. The grass is green, the trees and flowers are blooming, neighbors are mowing. A foretaste of summer. I can't wait. Late bedtimes, dirty feet, the scent of sunscreen on my babies. What are you looking forward to?


Monday, March 12, 2012


This weekend started out as it usually does, me headed to the gym for a couple of hours and then back to my favorite place, home. 

Over the past four-ish years home has been several different places. I've come to the conclusion though that it's not the space that's welcoming, it's the people inside. I really love those people inside. My people.

Joe made pancakes for the kids. It's become their special Saturday morning ritual. So sweet. And I love the aroma that hits me when I walk in the door. Usually I'm able to sneak a few bites from a syrupy plate with a sticky fork but not this time. The kitchen's been cleaned. The only thing lingering is the sweet maple scent.

Other highlights of the weekend included the boys' very first baseball practice ever and they LOVED it. I can't wait to see where this road leads...

When did they get so big? Baseball, really? Shouldn't they still be eating puzzle pieces??

Sunday was relaxed. A take-your-time kind of breakfast with the paper and hot coffee. Selah still has strep throat so we didn't go to church,  we just, sort of, last minute decided rest was best for all of us. We rarely ever skip church. Late, yes. Skip, not so much.

The day unfolded quite nicely. Kids playing in the tub. Mama getting all the laundry done and put the heck away. Sometimes it sits folded in baskets forever. Not this day. As I sat watching HGTV and folded leggings and pink things it hit me once again that I have a girl.  I never knew how much I wanted one until I had one. I thought I was simply cut out to be a mama of boys. My sweet, loving, easygoing  boys. Over the years they've reminded me of just how much fun trains and hot wheels, worms and wrestling can be. It's been such a blessing to see the differences, the similarities.  I just witnessed Isaac ever so gently placing a bandage on Selah's skinned knee. "It's okay, I know what I'm doing." Love him and how he and his brother came running when they heard Selah cry after she fell down...

We biked to one of our favorites for lunch and noted that they now offer Kids Eat Free Mondays. I'm quite certain we will be taking them up on that! We stopped for ice cream on the way home. Such a beautiful day to be out,  it has me ready for summer break. We've been busy talking about all the things we want to do this year. I can't wait. More adventures, more memory making.

Then BOTH boys came down with a fever. Bummer. The kids played in the yard with bare feet and short sleeves after the sun went down, thanks to the help of Tylenol. We tossed the football, raced across the patio and bandaged the first skinned knees of spring.

Gotta go, I've been invited to sit side by side sick kiddos and color, it won't be for much longer that they choose Mama for such things.

Happy Monday out there.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Hello There

So, it's been awhile. Our computer wasn't working. Joe bought some sort of magic computer cord and now we are back. It feels good to be back, to be getting my thoughts out again.

A lot has happened since the last time I sat at this computer and wrote about our little life here on Burke Ct. We celebrated Joe's thirty-eighth birthday, had an impromptu Super Bowl party, welcomed friends to our new space, met sweet neighbors, had fun doing a little decorating and all the typical day to day life stuff.  We study Bible verses and spelling words, practice our vocabulary and math facts. We laugh at little sister when she says new words and phrases like "No way, Jose". We shake our heads, smile and wonder where she picked it up...

As always, time keeps truckin' on by. I find myself at the end of yet another full week thinking "I can't believe it's Friday already!"  And with signing the boys up for baseball, I don't see things slowing down one bit. But it's all good. ALL good :)

My girl has totally and completely wrecked my heart, slayed it into a million pieces. So different from her brothers. Her most recent? Saying "I love you too".  I gently place her in her honey hued crib, brush my finger across her cheek and say "Night, night, I love you" and she sweetly responds, "I love you too".  My boys still don't do that! They have their own charm and fascination though. Kids, a God given gift, that's for sure.

She's all about the babies right now. It's adorable the way she totes them wherever she goes. None have names, just "baby". She loves changing their diaper, feeding them, putting them "nigh, nigh" and ever so gently holding one to her cheek and patting its back if it's sad or hurt.

It's a good thing she's cute because girlfriend can throw one heck of a temper tantrum. Just ask my two gym buddies we went out to lunch with last week. After telling her she needed to eat a few bites of chicken before having more chips she proceeded to fling her plate across the room...and then her brother's. It was awesome. Okay, not really. My boys never did that either...

It's hard to believe she's the same age the boys were when we welcomed a new baby into our family. Joe and I have been talking about that lately, having a fourth. I go back and forth. It's nice to have everyone sleeping through the night, to have little people who can pick up after themselves even if it isn't done perfectly. But then there's the other stuff like nursing, feeling a baby move for the first time inside of me. I'm just not ready to close that door. I'm grateful for a husband who at least entertains the idea of another even if he is perfectly fine with our family as it is. I'm grateful for a God who has a plan, who knows the deepest desires of my heart and who knows what's best for me, for us. I like that, even though I'm not a spring chicken, I still have a little time to think it over, to pray about it.

Random thought breaking in here: You know the Disney commercial that plays One Republic's "Good Life" song? I love that song even if it does have some swear words...I just ignore that part... It plays every morning when I'm at the gym and it's all I can do to not break out into some sort of awkward dance number on the elliptical. Can you imagine? That would be pretty hysterical! Anyway, I try not to let the fellow gym goers see me singing along...

But that song reminds me that this really is the good life. It really, really is. Even if we never make that trip to Disney with the kids or give them all the things, opportunities, memories we wish we could, we've got all we ever need and so much more. These three souls that share our DNA, that have us striving to be our very best, that grip our hearts with nothing more than simply making eye contact. That and a heavenly father who shows us so much grace and love, faithfulness and hope, opportunities to start new and fresh every single's the good life and it's happening right here, right now. I'm off to go soak it up!

Feeling very blessed this Friday morning. Happy almost weekend :)


Monday, January 30, 2012

I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World

We were talking over lettuce wraps and sweet tea at Mongolian BBQ. It was just Joe and I which was a nice birthday surprise from my mom.

So, as the kids were enjoying some grandma time Joe and I were enjoying some good conversation. As we sat there and talked about all sorts of things, mostly parenting, I was taking note of the eighties tunes quietly playing overhead.

I love eighties music. (Right now my sister Emily is rolling her eyes and throwing up in her mouth a little bit...she's not a fan of the eighties music...)Like, it's probably my favorite, that and country. I never ever listen to either of those genres anymore though. It's all KLOVE all the time around here. The contemporary christian music station we jam to as we drive around town. I love it. I especially love hearing my kids sing along to worship and praise songs. Probably the sweetest thing my ears have ever heard.

But last night it was nice to hear familiar songs from my childhood. Songs that took me back to favorite memories of my mom and dancing in our teeny living room together, songs that brought back precious memories of my dad, songs that had special meaning in significant relationships. And songs that, as I listened, began to have new meaning. Like I heard them through different ears and for the very first time. Songs that I've heard a thousand times but for some reason brought tears to my eyes as I thought of them in a new way.

"I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World" by Ronnie Milsap did just that. It had a whole different meaning to me all of a sudden. That song made me think about things like countless sleepless nights. Nights where I noticed distant train whistles at two in the morning, certainly something I wouldn't have noticed before rocking a hungry baby in the stillness of the night.

It made me think about how difficult it can be now to just drop everything and go out to lunch with a friend or make a trip to the mall. How it's hard to do anything spur of the moment.

How I used to keep my house spotless. I even had the ability to have something for years and years before it broke. Now chubby, sticky fingers move pretty fast and have superhuman strength as they toss the remote across the room, or in my case, the mouse that just took a bad bounce onto a linoleum floor and split into two pieces. Yeah, that never happened before kids.

And neither did about a million other scenarios.

But ya know what?

I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World...

No mama would. We love our kids no matter what. Those are the things we know we will someday look back on and laugh. It bonds us to all the other mommies out there when we meet at play group and try to "one up" each other with our "Oh yeah, well guess what my little one flushed down the toilet" stories.

Right now I can't really imagine a less chaotic life. One that doesn't require prying three DVDs out of the DVD player or breaking up fights over who gets the first slice of cake or going through homework folders and making sure my big boy reads at least twenty minutes every night. What in the world will I do when I only have to do laundry once a week?  What will I do when my days don't require two, three or four cups of coffee??

I know what. I will miss it. I will miss these days. I will think back and remember how very challenging they were and wonder how I made it through. I will wish I had little people clinging to my leg and begging to play kitchen.

So, for now, I will soak up every single second. I will be more patient, I will stop and play when they ask me to, I will refrain from rolling my eyes and muttering under my breath when I walk into a room strewn with toys. All too soon the toy room will transition into something else, maybe a room with a couch that doesn't have peanut butter marks or hot wheels under cushions. Too soon.

Every soaked floor from a crazed bath, every Lego I've stepped on in the middle of the night, every girls night out I've missed well, it's okay because this kid thing?  I agree with Ronnie, I wouldn't have missed it for the world...

Happy Monday out there. Go hug your little people :)