Sunday, January 27, 2013

Maddie is SIX: a sleepover party

Maddie turned six on the fourteenth. The plan was to have her sleepover the weekend before, but we all were horribly sick with the flu and had to reschedule for two weeks later. :( Here are the highlights of Maddie's sixth birthday season (extended two weeks thanks to sickness). 

First up, some shots from her actual birthday:

"Girl" pancakes for breakfast, complete with chocolate chip eyes & mouth and whipped cream hair
Present opening on her actual birthday: a violin and lessons, American Girl
Cake and a birthday call from her Uncle, Aunt & cousins

We hosted three girls for a sleepover party this past Friday night. It was a barrel of fun! Seriously! I love this age; all of Maddie's little friends (close family friends) are so sweet and so fun.

Some of the decor and party prep:
Pink! Art supplies! Maddie adding "little love notes" to the favor bags

We had all the girls top their own pizzas with assorted veggies, etc. It was fun to see the personalities come through in the toppings and decor. Maddie added little notes around the table "Make your own pizza."

We did a couple art projects: the girls all painted wooden jewelry boxes and we also watercolored butterflies. So fun!!

Maddie requested ice cream parfaits for dessert. So easy and so fun! The girls chose from vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and raspberry ice creams, chocolate and caramel sauces, chocolate and rainbow sprinkles, whipped cream, and cherries on top. 

At bedtime, everyone hunkered down in their sleeping bags for a story. We started the process around 8:30. Most of the girls were out by 9:30 (though we found one girl in Sam's room at 10:45; they were up, talking quietly and playing! :) Hilarious! Our Sam is a stinker.)

The next morning we hosted the girls' families for a breakfast of pancakes and bacon (Maddie's request) plus egg puff and fruit salad (Mama's additions). Everyone thoroughly enjoyed Daddy's smoked applewood bacon. It was a great, lazy, fun morning celebrating our girl.

Tyler, Maddie & Kate 

As per Maddie's request: chocolate chip pancakes and bacon!!

We love you, Maddie girl! So glad that you had such a wonderful birthday celebration. We are so grateful to have so many people in our lives who love you and choose to celebrate you with us! Happy Sixth Birthday to our firstborn!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Baby Boy: 7 Months Pregnant

Dear Baby Boy YET Unnamed,

This morning I was compiling a list of "things needed" for your arrival and it hit me. Boom! T-Minus 8 weeks and you will be here. 8 WEEKS! YIKES!!!!! I'm ready, but I'm not. You know?

Things I'm definitely ready for: 
Not being pregnant. Ahem. 
The smell and taste and feel of a newborn baby head snuggled up under my chin. Yes. 
Breastfeeding. Oh, how I miss it. 
Little baby clothes. I actually look forward to doing itty bitt laundry.
The smell of dreft. See above.
Soft, supple, kissable baby skin. Yum.
Another Joyce to love. I mean, how amazing are my kids?!

Things I'm not quite ready for: 
Incorporating another set of needs into the morning routine. Gulp. 
Having to put off Sam's snuggle needs because I'll have another baby occupying my arms. Boo hoo. Baby stuff, everywhere. Ugh. 
Night feedings. Mama likes her some sleep (though I'm not doing much these days).
The hospital bill. What is it with me and having babies early in the year before the deductibles have been met?

All that to say, we are thrilled for your arrival. We can't wait to hold you and kiss you and welcome you into our little family! We hope that you love the chaos and embrace the crazy, because that's what you're destined for, little one. 

Looking forward to seeing you in about 8 weeks. GULP.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Maddie: SIX years old!!!!!

Dear Madeleine Noelle,

Six years ago, we welcomed you into the world: a round, soft, beautiful, snuggly, calm and most lovely baby girl of eight pounds and four ounces. You were the most amazing thing I'd ever laid eyes on. For years and years I had longed to be a Mama, and that day is one I will never, ever forget. When you made me a Mama, my heart grew within my chest. I'd never known such a tenderness, nor such a fierce protective love. 

And now, look at you:

Radiant. Confident. Lovely. Funny. Witty. Generous. Gracious. Compassionate. Quick to forgive. Athletic. Determined. Intelligent. Pure joy.

At Chrismastime, you got on the stage (hearth) at Grammy & Papa's to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and I thought my heart might beat out of my chest; such a sweet, pure tone and with a twinkle in your eye, you had us all wrapped around your little finger.

Up on the mountain is where we got to see your confidence and athleticism shine. Where at one point you were hesitant, you no longer pause before trying things out. With tubing, you hopped right on and took on the first hill all by yourself, laughing and smiling the whole way. You hiked up that hill over and over, hardly pausing for a breath, delighting your Daddy with your positive attitude. And then on the ski hill! He took you up for your first-ever day on the slopes, a perfectly clear day on Mt. Hood, thinking you'd last a few hours. Boy, did you surprise him when you wanted to ski the whole day! It will definitely go down as one of your Daddy's favorite memories of the year, getting to ski with his best girl. 

And just a week later, we were at the beach. You got to enjoy splashing in the waves with your very best friend, a special time that you both needed so much. Different schools this year has meant we don't get to see Nicole nearly as often, but seeing the two of you side by side reminded me that there are ties that go deep. You said it best, "Nicole was my very first friend. We've been friends since we were babies! She'll always have a special place in my heart." 

The past six years have been a lot of work, for sure. There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears. But now, I see all of that hard work and discipline coming together in the most beautiful ways. Your truest self shines so brightly these days, and you are so wonderful. Your love for others amazes me. The prayers that you pray with faith and boldness encourage me to pray with greater faith. How quickly you forgive, how gracious you are to your brother, it astounds me. I see the love of Jesus so clearly in you. I am so grateful that God gave me such a lovely, beautiful daughter to share life with. You are a blessing and an encouragement! Happy 6th Birthday, my love!



Sam: 46 Months

Dear Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde,

I'm finding it difficult to keep up with your sudden and inexplicable mood changes these days. It boggles the mind how you can go from the sweetest, snuggliest, most agreeable boy to hell-on-wheels in the blink of an eye. One minute you're saying, "Suuuure, Mama," when I ask you to do something. The next minute you're standing on your chair, turning your booty toward the table, and pretending to pass gas as a response to a question. Ergh. Not a fan.

Though in the midst of all the naughtiness, you do have some shining moments. Watching you on the tubing hill with your Dad and sister this month was quite fun. At first you were "so scared" to try it out, preferring instead to hang out with Mama at the top of the hill and watch. But eventually you worked up your courage (with a little help from Daddy) and soon you were tubing and laughing and trudging up that hill like all the big kids. Your favorite part might have been attempting to make your way through the super deep drifts around the trees. Daddy had to rescue you, eventually, and he nearly got stuck!

On the beach last week you enjoyed collecting "treasure for decorating" the sandcastles, carefully selecting kelp and sticks along the water. Eventually we had to take off your pants, yet again, after you braved the freezing Pacific to fill up your watering can. You're just about as happy as can be when you're outside with a bucket of water and open territory to explore. 

You're pretty much a clown who loves to make others laugh, both at appropriate and entirely inappropriate times. You are full of crazy ideas, funny quips, and you love to sing songs over and over and over. "Oompa Loompa Doompa-dee-doo, I have another puzzle for you!" It's fun to hear you master more and more difficult phrases. I think this is one of the reasons you sing so much, as it helps you work those sentences out! 

One of my most favorite moments of the past month was our first night at Uncle Frank's. Tyler and Frank serenaded us with praise music and Clapton, the girls danced themselves silly, and eventually you crawled right up in my lap, into your "robot man home" of pillows, and fell asleep. As I watched the girls I love twirling and laughing, one baby boy bouncing and grooving in my belly, my big boy snuggled up, breathing peacefully against my belly, it was like perfection. All the love in the world was right there, right at arm's reach, and I was at peace. I'm so glad you'll still fall asleep in my arms.

I love you, my crazy, wonderful, silly, naughty, sneaky, cuddly boy!