Thursday, August 15, 2013

Evan: 5 Months

FIVE MONTHS!!!!! How is it possible?! Stay this age forever, buddy. You are SO delicious right now. So snuggly. So smiley. So interested in the world around you. So easygoing. Evan Michael, you are truly a gracious gift of God. Every day I find myself giving thanks for the delight that you are.

This month was a month of great changes in your life. Shortly after 4 months you moved into your own bed, and then into your own room. While I enjoyed the nighttime snuggles, it was time. You still wake 2-3 times a night, but at least I don't hear (and feel) all the kicking, turning, shuffling, and rustling. 

You started blowing raspberries, much to everyone's delight. After a few days of studying my face intently, and placing your little tongue between those kissable lips, one day you blew out and your first raspberry was made, much to your great surprise and great joy. So fun.

You are also rolling over like a boss. The first several times no one witnessed it, but we found you rolled over in your crib or on the carpet. Now that you have tasted that bit of freedom, you LOVE to roll. Every time I put you down, it seems you stretch and twist, using that big cabeza and flexible torso to get going in the direction you desire. 

You are also an accomplished scooter. By digging your heels into the floor and arching your back, you can make serious progress across the carpet in a short time. But once your head hits that cold tile floor, it is not so enjoyable and you will scream out for help. 

After months of being behind, you have finally caught up in the weight department, much to my great relief. At 4 1/2 months, you were perfectly halfway between Maddie & Sam's weights at similar ages. Your head and length are in the 90th percentile and your weight is finally almost 50%. YAY!

You tried rice cereal this month and loved it. You are very interested in whatever we're eating and even try to grab food off our plates or out of our hands! It's definitely time. Next up: oatmeal, veggies, frozen fruit to gnaw on. Yummers!

Some day I know you'll give me a run for my money (hello, four years old is #sohard), but for now I'm eating up every delicious minute of having a baby in the house again. Thanks for reminding us to slow down, get on the floor, make crazy high voices, and repeat foolish behavior over and over and over in order to get one of those amazing huge belly laughs. You're the best, buddy!

Mommy's happy little camper, indeed.



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Maddie: 79 Months

Dear Madeleine Noelle,

My almost first the Summer has flown by! In just a few short weeks you'll be back in school, full days, and I'll be missing you like crazy. Six is so much fun. You are helpful and kind, obedient and communicative. You are a voracious reader, full of life and energy and creativity. SO MUCH FUN.

One morning getting dressed, I overhead you tell Sam, "Buddy, it's all about style. Style to the mile! That means, the more style you have, the further you'll go!" Wherever you got that fashion advice is beyond me, but it gave Daddy and I some great laughs. And you do have your very own style--it's awesome.

It is so great how much you love to read. Pretty much every night I find you like this, asleep in a pile of books: 

Since moving into a bunk bed with Sam, I find books everywhere as they fall like meteors from the top bunk once you've nodded off. So far no one has been injured by falling books (thankfully). Sometimes you'll spend an hour or more up on that top bunk, surrounded by books, layers deep. And the nerdy reader in me absolutely loves it. 

You are, officially, the very best big sister. Gentle and kind, thoughtful and responsive, tender and fun. No one can make Evan deep belly laugh like you. At times you can be a bit, ahem, enthusiastic, but I'd rather have an overly enthusiastic big sister than a boring one! I seriously could not get things done around here without your help and I'm so grateful.

You are so mature, so wise and so composed. At times I forget you are just six. After a particularly hard morning this month, you were able to articulate so beautifully and honestly your heart and the struggles you were facing. You shared with both humility and confidence, not shying away from how you were truly feeling but also without blaming me nor trying to protect me. I was SO proud of you. And a few days later, after an epic meltdown, you softened to the prayers of your earthly father and were able to receive great encouragement and love from your Heavenly Father. I can't imagine a better time to hear so clearly and deeply how beloved you are. We pray that there is never a doubt of how much God loves you, and that you will know just how accessible the truth of your Father, when you take the time to listen.

God is so good in giving you to me. I am delighted that I get to journey with you, to learn from you, to disciple your heart and to witness the work of God in and through you. You have a heart for Jesus, a tender love for those around you, and a desire to share God's love with all those you love. What a gift. So excited to see what the next month has in store for you, little one.



Thursday, August 08, 2013

Sam: 53 Months

Oh, Sam,

These past few months have been, well, some of my most difficult months ever as a parent. We are in constant discipline mode and I feel as though this phase will never end, even though I know better. I keep on keepin' on, though, because, what else can you do?? (Well, pray, and I'm doing A LOT of that these days, too.)

One particular night you got in trouble at the pool, and you were not able to get back in, but you came up with your own Sam way of playing poolside:

True Sam fashion, pushing the limits while making the most of a hard situation. Smiling. Creative. Silly.

You are full of funny Sam-isms these days, saying the funniest, most clever things that keep me giggling long after you've gone to bed. One afternoon you were trying to negotiate an extra dessert and mentioned that you had enough sugar already, and that too much of a good thing can be not-so-good for little bellies. You said, "Mama, it's okay. I can have more sugar. I hear the sugar in my belly and it's saying it's okay." 

Last night you went to see Turbo with your Grammy and Auntie Cheryl. Later, at bedtime, you were insisting that I get a piece of paper so you could draw your "snail race(track)" before falling asleep. I tried everything to distract you, to no avail. Finally, I asked if it would work to take a picture with your brain to help you remember exactly what you wanted to draw, so you could start first thing in the morning. You agreed, to my surprise, taking your time, eyes squinted, lips akimbo, until you finally exclaimed, "click!" Then I asked you to put it somewhere safe in your brain, where you could access it easily. "It's ok, Mama," you replied, "it's at the end of the 8th aisle in my brain." 

You take a lot of hard falls these days, what with your ever-increasing sense of adventure and ever-decreasing safety filter. There's no ladder too high, no water too deep, no mud too thick, etc. At a church concert you took a horrible tumble, face first, onto the sand. It was clear you were going to develop a swollen, black eye and I offered ice. But after just a few minutes of crying and a little TLC, you were well on your way. That shiner is not your first, and most certainly won't be your last.

You continue to select particular outfits for particular purposes, such as the cowboy get up for our trip to the peach "farm." It was so hot that day, and the sweat was pouring from your red face as you ambled through the orchards, up and down ladders, clad in full-length sleeves and pants, boots, chaps and a vest. You didn't do much peach picking (obvi), but you definitely made time to check out the farm equipment:

Though you are at times naughty as naughty can be, you are still the sweetest, loviest boy. One morning in Woodlake you snuggled up on the couch, asked to feed your brother, and gave him the most tender and precious little kisses. I'm so glad I was able to snap a quick photo of that soft, quick moment between you.

And then there's moments like this:

No shirt, "craft beer" hat cocked to one side, smirk on your face, up to no good. You are funny and sneaky, creative and impulsive, crazy and 

This week you had your first sports camp, Li'l Baseball. It was pretty darn cute. You enjoyed throwing the ball, playing little games, and clowning around. Grammy and I watched you during warm ups, falling over while trying to stretch, tossing your glove in the air and catching it, and kicking the dirt by your feet. It was perfect. Now you want to try soccer camp, basketball camp, and fireman camp. 

Sweet little buddy, how I wish I could just hold you and comfort you and keep you safe until this crazy season/phase is over. How I wish I could make it easier for you to navigate the world. But I know that you will eventually grow out of the chaos and step into a new, centered sense of self. I trust that God has a good plan and purpose for your life. I look forward to seeing just how he meets you in the midst of this all. Thanks for letting me journey with you. You are my best big boy.



Thursday, August 01, 2013

Woodlake & Kings Canyon

Last week we visited some good friends in Woodlake. We've been friends with Joe and Jodi since seminary and their brood visited us last Summer, so it was time for another visit. We loaded up the car and headed Southeast to a valley near some mountains. 

It was pretty hot, so we did a lot of hanging out inside during the heat of the day and venturing out at night or to local swimming spots. J & J have four awesome big boys aged 5, 8, 9, and 13, so there was plenty of fun to be had.

Maddie & Daddy relaxing (note the similar profiles):

Sunset our first night in Woodlake:

Evan didn't need any clothes during the day, even in the shade:

Evan working on his new trick, raspberries with spit bubbles:

Sam enjoyed a first, playing "big boy" video games (with buddy Owen):

Lots of snuggles in the morning light: 

Fooling around (photo bomb by Judah):

Maddox & baby E:

On our last day we bid goodbye to our buddies and said hello to Kings Canyon. Gorgeous mountain ridges, deep valleys, giant sequoias, cooler temps. It was awesome.

Kings Canyon:

Giant Sequoia exploring: 

Little buddy, mesmerized with the big trees:

I can't wait to go back! The trees are so beautiful and the mountains so majestic. Hopefully one day soon we can return for camping.