Thursday, May 30, 2013

Three Month Face

Life has gotten busier.

I think it has something to do with this adorable face.

I keep thinking that if I was just a little bit more organized, and a little bit more diligent, and if I had a little bit of a nicer of a day planner, that life would magically fall into an easy pace. 

Then I'd be able to exercise, and edit pictures, and blog, and play forty games of Uno, and snuggle TK's warm body, and read a half an hour each night to each kid, and help with homework, and make a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner for the family, and keep the house meticulously clean for all the home-buyers out there.  And take a nap.

But really, I'm kidding myself.  I think one of the biggest tests in this life is in learning how to balance.  In learning how to choose the necessities and to prioritize the rest.  Blogging is such an important part of my life.  I love to do it... I love to take and edit the pictures... I love to write.  And there are so many things I'd like to write about.  I get frustrated when I can't put as much time into this as I'd like.  I would like to write about everything... record all of my thoughts and feelings about all of my experiences. (Which... while maybe boring for you... would be so fun and fulfilling to me!)

But... then I see this beautiful face and remember that this season of my life is dedicated to him.  Sometimes I can't kiss those cute chubby cheeks and write about it.  So I have to choose.  Turns out I'll take kissing the chubby cuteness every time. 

He's ticklish.  Really.  It's about the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life.  I'm pretty sure none of my other babies giggled this young in response to a tickle.  A small grunt of a laugh, maybe.  But not giggling.  It might be my favorite thing about this little guy right now.  Though, picking a favorite is pretty tough.  Boy do we sure love this little guy.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


It happened.

It happened as if something like this always happened.  When, actually, it's never happened.

"Can I hold Timothy?"  Miles has said this sentence before.  Just a small handful of times.  Two? Maybe Four?  But before we can even respond with a 'Sure' his request has always been rapidly retracted.  "Nussing (nothing)!  I didn't say anyssing.  Nussing.  I didn't say anyssing."

In fact, the last time Miles held Timothy was the same time you heard about... back when Timothy was five days old... And, you may remember, Miles received two pieces of gum as a bribe for that one (and watched Brian almost the entire time he was getting said gum).

Since that day we've rejoiced in the small successes that show that Miles is loving his little brother.  A glance here.  A smile there.  A pat on the head at the end of the day.  Last week when Miles came to give me a hug and kiss goodnight, he stopped and gave Timothy a hug and kiss as well.  That was big.  And then today, before I wiped the sleep out of Timothy's eyes, before I changed him out of his wet pajamas, Miles asked to hold him.

"Why, sure," I said calmly and slowly moved to transfer TK from my lap to his... fully expecting the retraction.  And then... it didn't come.  Ever!  I made it all the way to Miles's lap and even removed my hands.

And it only took three months, two weeks and six days!

Knowing I wanted a picture, but not wanting to ruin the moment I said, "Oh, would you like me to take a picture to show you what you look like when you hold Timothy?"


I only took two pictures to try to keep the happiness around.  But, that's all I need.  Looks like the friendship is starting...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spring was here

*The Spring Birthday Fairy came.

First for Brian.  Man, we so love this guy.  His birthday was a little more tender for me this year than it has been in the past... I blame the heart attack.  So glad you got to blow out 33 candles this year, my love!

And then for me,

Turning 30 was so fun for me last year!  I spent the first few months of being 30 with a smile on my face - loving the growth I could see when I compared myself to being 20.  But then hard things started happening.  One... then another... then another... and another... and I found myself blowing out the candles on my 31st cake with the wish please, let this breath blow away all the hard times of this past year and let me start my 30's over again. Thankfully, I have this beautiful clan to help me move forward.

No pregnancies or heart attacks in year 31!  All agreed?  M-kay.

*The monkey is up in her tree again.

This picture just screams Spring Break to me.  Not having a lot of kids in the neighborhood, these three are best buddies.  McKenzie sat up in that tree for an hour, collecting anything the boys sent up to her in that blue basket.  Their treasures included clumps of grass, twigs, rocks and an occasional giant ant.

*Popcorn is (was) popping all over the trees

I'm not sure how I'm going to survive without a NC spring in my life.  For some reason I don't think the palms in Miami are going to fill me with the same shocking brilliance that a row of well manicured fruit trees does when they explode in the springtime.  I suppose a walk on the beach at sunrise might do it.  It's just that... I'd have to get up at sunrise to see it... and it doesn't stick around all day.

I suppose watching the crisp, clean waves crash on the beach might do it.  But, oh, how I'll miss these trees.

*Lots of walks

Do you still call them walks when everyone has wheels attached to them somehow?

*Cinderella dressed in yellow went upstairs to kiss her fellow.  Made a mistake and kissed a snake.  How many doctors did it take?

My kids have a different version of this little jump-rope song.  It goes like this:  "Cinder...  oops. Let me try that again.  Cinder... uggg... Cinder... hmph...  Cinder... Geez!  This rope keeps getting all tangled up!"

But they seem to have fun anyway.  Also, the buds came out on our apple tree. 

And McKenzie took Timothy for his first tree-swing ride.

And Miles peed in the forest.

How was your spring?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Beachy Sabbath

A couple of years ago, when my kids were enrolled in soccer, a make-up game was placed on a Sunday afternoon.  When one of the mothers of the team heard that we would not be able to make it she asked, "Oh, does the game go right through your church services?"
"No," I truthfully replied, and then my brain and my words got stuck.  Surely I couldn't just leave that 'no' dangling out there with no explanation... but I could not think of a tactful way to explain our family's fierce devotion to keeping the Sabbath day holy.

Living in the south, I am surrounded by good, honest, wonderful people who love Christ, love the Bible, and respect the ten commandments given by God to Moses.  Sometimes I forget that we all belong to different religions.  We all seem to be spinning around to the same music, enjoying each others company when all the sudden two bodies collide and we remember, we are different.  Different in the way we worship; different in the way we interpret the Bible; different in the areas of life to which we give our focus and attention; and, sometimes, different in the way we live those ten commandments. 

I could not explain to my friend on the soccer field that day that the people in my religion believe in keeping the Sabbath day holy because, most likely, the people in her religion believe the same thing.  We just interpret those words a little differently from one another which creates a fertile breeding ground for sounding judgmental and/or for taking offense, of which I wanted neither.  Hence the sticky brain.

But as I said before, I could not leave that 'no' dangling out there, either.  So, as gently and tactfully as I could I said, "... we just like to keep our Sundays quiet."
"Ohhh," she said nostalgically.  And, dropping her shoulders as if she were missing a dear friend continued, "we used to do that."
"Yeah.  I loved those quiet days.  But it seems that life has just swallowed those up into its hecticness and now Sunday is just like every other day of the week.  Just one more day to get the shopping done and the house cleaned."  Her eyes turned and gazed out over the soccer field and she said, mostly to herself, "I should try doing that again."
"We love it," I said.

And we do.  It is hard to say no sometimes, though.  Sunday birthday parties are the worst.  The kids feel disappointed, the parents sometimes feel disappointed and that makes me feel disappointed, too. But as I've sat reflecting in this occasional disappointment, I see that so many blessings, so many, have come from staying true to the way I interpret this single commandment.  One full day a week is spent in reverence.  Quietness.  Family togetherness.  We talk of Christ.  We build our unity.  We sing and play together.  We worship and recharge.  And we rest from the cares of the world... for just a day.  I love it! And the happy feelings that come from it are worth that occasional disappointment for me. 

And, when we're spending a week at the beach and Sunday rolls around, we try to treat that Sunday with as much reverence as other Sundays.  Though, it certainly doesn't look the same!  Walking on the beach... letting the waves lap up over your feet... writing your name in the sand... all these things can be done with reverence and quietness.  Boogie boarding and Frisbee five-hundred?  Maybe not so much.  So, we try to guide our kids' activities in the reverence direction by simply saying, 'no swimsuits today.'

But kids don't mind getting their clothes wet.  Even their church clothes.

So we add a little extra by saying, 'try not to let your clothes get wet.'  But we know, and they know, that it's a very soft rule and that they can bend it pretty far before it breaks. 

I'm sure they go to bed talking amongst themselves saying, 'hey, remember when our Moms and Dads told us not to get too wet?  That was funny.'

This particular Sunday happened to be Mothers' Day, too.  And what better way to spend Mothers' Day than on the beach with your dearest friends, husband and kids?!  Watching our husbands busy themselves around the kitchen making a delicious meal for us added to the magic of the day. 

Especially because we got to sit and chat while they did so.

 The kids were delighted to see they were having octopus for dinner:

 And we adults had salmon, asparagus, rice pilaf, a gourmet green salad, and fruit and sherbert for dessert.  So delicious it was all eaten very quickly.

There is something magical about spending quiet Sundays on the beach.
I'll have to do a lot of it in Miami next year.
If only I could take my friends along...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Dear Miles:

Being a grown-up is hard sometimes.  You have to make scary decisions about lots of things.  Money, children, jobs.

Sometimes you have to move away from a beautiful, beautiful life and into the darkness of uncertainty.  You have to say goodbye to friends and places that have become such a part of you that you hope and pray there will be enough of you left to continue when they're no longer there.

You have to carry the weight of family decisions and you have to think, a lot, about how to protect your kids and family from all sorts of trouble.  You have to work, even when you're sick.  And you have to do the dishes every day.

You have to spend a lot of money and you have to save a lot of money and sometimes you can't do both and you have to choose.

You'll be a grown-up someday.  And I hope that when you are, you'll have a little kid just like you who will help you remember that, even though being a grown-up is hard sometimes, life is still so, so beautiful and you can have this. much. fun. playing a simple game of 'Membory'.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Camera vs. Face

Isn't he beautiful?  Even with a gash across his nose?

I let Miles use the camera.  That was the first mistake.  Truthfully, it wasn't even my camera to let him use, but he asked so excitedly, and his red curls have that magic tendency to pull a yes from me.  I'll deal with the reprecusions from McKenzie later, I thought as I handed her prized purple camera over to the eager hands and watched him run down the hall.  Minutes later I heard a solid thwack and Carson came stumbling out of the bedroom with his hands over his face, crying out in pain.  

Each of my children deal with pain differently.  McKenzie has a tendency to collapse to the floor and roll around moaning if her hangnail pulls in a funny direction.  If she doesn't get attention, the moans quickly escalate to a frantic loud panting, whimpering, and eventually end in deep screams.

Miles largely ignores pain.  The kid has more bumps and bruises than I can count, but I rarely hear about them (unless he remembers that Band-aids exist in this world and then he'll ask for several).  When I do hear about his pain, however, it's big.  Jumping up and down, shaking hands and screaming big.  His face goes pale and gigantic tears course down his cheeks.  (One time he even turned blue and passed out before he took a breath from the initial (hard) impact.  Scariest. Thing. Ever.)

Carson braves his way through it.  He'll try to hide his tears by blinking them away quickly and fool the world with a closed-mouth smile until the shock of the pain wears away enough for him to tell me 'It's okay.  I'm okay.' 

So when Carson stumbled out of the bedroom crying out in pain, I knew something was probably broken and it got the 'run down the hall' out of me.  (Do you really ever run in your house?  Funny that kids seem to run from room to room to room but, even if I'm in a hurry, I only walk briskly.)  I wrapped him in my arms and asked to see his head.

"Mooooooooooommmmmmm!" came the call from McKenzie.  "You let Miles use my camera and he just threw it at Carson's face!"

Whoops.  Sorry, Kenz.  And sorry, Carson.

Carson let me look at his forehead while he rubbed the tears from his eyes (sometimes I think he's thinking that if he just rubs his eyes hard enough, the tears will stop).  It looked fine... I couldn't even see a bump.  Weird, I thought.  "Well, it looks like everything is fine, Buddy," I said as I stroked his hair.  "I don't even see a bump."  He nodded and walked away, still rubbing his eyes but not crying anymore.  

A minute later he came into the bathroom I was cleaning to ask a question.  I looked up at him and immediately felt like Mother of the Year because, obviously, that deep gash that was crossing the bridge of his nose and dripping blood must have been there when I inspected his forehead for any bumps.  Guess I forgot to check for gashes.

Closer inspection revealed that the gash was deep enough to need a bit of attention and, thankfully, I remembered that my husband had brought home some Derma-Bond (think Super Glue for the skin) from the hospital for just such an occasion.  No ER visit for us!  Even so... Carson was feeling nervous.

He worried that the glue would sting the open wound and all I could say was, "I don't think it will, Bud" because I've never actually glued my skin back together.  McKenzie was delighted to take over the camera and capture Doctor Mommy in action.

Thankfully the cut closed perfectly when he scrunched up his nose... so his job was to scrunch his nose and not move.  Mine was to glue him back together.  Miles's was to sit in time-out.  Timothy's was to be happy without being held.  And Kenzie's was to capture the moment.  We all did awesome, if I do say so myself.  Fantastic shot, Kenz!

Genius who invented Derma-Bond?  You are a lifesaver.   Taking four children to the ER or Urgent Care is something I'd like to avoid.  Forever.