The mess I woke up to

I had an awful migraine this morning so hubby was in charge of C and S while I stayed in our dark bedroom to let meds start their magic. I emerged to a quiet house and a text saying he had taken them out to pick out new fish so I could rest.

I came downstairs to a spread of blankets and cars blocking most of the walkway. But I smiled. You know why?

It was the sign that my kids were playing, likely together.

That they weren’t sick in bed.

That they were using their imagination instead of electronics.

That they were blessed with toys and blankets to make forts and schools and doggy daycare and whatnot come to life.

So I appreciated it. As I appreciated the quiet house for an hour. How lucky we all are.

Happy 7th, Dear Daughter

My dearest firstborn, happy 7th birthday to you!

This has been a year of many firsts. Your first real chapter book. Your first lost tooth. You can do cartwheels pretty well now. And the no handed ones that always give me a panic attack! Not to mention you worked so hard at school and at activities like swimming that you’re getting quite good at (you have a pretty decent butterfly!). You have blossomed in your role as big sister and your brother loves nothing more than to follow you around.
I hope you always remain as carefree as you were when I took this photo. But there were some firsts of self consciousness I saw creeping in this year too. For the first time you said you were worried someone would make fun of the JoJo cup you like to drink out of. You stand in front of the mirror, wet down your hair and try to brush out your beautiful curls so your hair is straight like your friends. For the first time you told me that you wished God didn’t make you as sensitive as you are.
My dear, big 7 year old you are perfect in every way that God created you. My heart breaks a little bit as you grow older not just because you are becoming more independent and less of a little girl with each year…but because I know that before long you’ll be tugging at your swimsuit in the mirror wondering how you measure up. There is no measure dear one – you were made to be exactly how you are and my love for you literally makes my heart feel as if it will burst.
For now, I love watching you carelessly twirl around until you are dizzy with tiny glimpses of your baby cheeks still visible here and there. And I treasure knowing that we have a little more time with you as our little girl.
Happy birthday dearest daughter. You are our everything. ❤

hope in the face of grief

Our neighborhood was shaken by a loss of a fellow mom nearly 7 months ago. It was probably one of the most difficult things I have ever been a part of. Not just because she was a friend of mine, lived two doors down and our kids played together all the time – but because it was (and still is) one of the most tragic things I’ve seen a family deal with.

But in the midst of it all, something small but good has happened that signifies HOPE. Our neighborhood has banded together.

People invite the father and two small kids over for dinner multiple times a week.

Neighbors set up a weekend playdate schedule so the dad and kids would have something planned to do every Saturday morning.

People shoveled walkways. Helped repair swingsets. Brought trash cans back up the driveway.

And much more.

It made my husband, who doesn’t typically show much emotion, cry as he told someone “I now know that if something ever happened to me, this neighborhood would help take care of my wife and kids.”

We are grateful to have stumbled upon this village that is now a part of our intertwined lives over the past 4 years since we moved here. But the sense of hope that I’ve now seen goes much further than that, and I’m grateful to witness it.

I see you my little

I can literally see you growing before my eyes.

Lately you’ve been into Rainbow Looms. You sit and make these bracelets and can’t wait to show them off. Your level of concentration at this newfound hobby is something I haven’t witnessed in you before.

The other day one of your friends was sad.  For the first time, I felt that you were really, really affected by the fact that she was hurt. That you couldn’t make her feel better. And so you wrote her a letter and asked me to walk it across the street to give to her mom.

Today we were at a friend’s house for a pool party. Daddy asked if he could come swim and play with you. You said not now – I’m playing with my friends, but you can come watch. And I saw a slight pang in your daddy’s eyes. “A short window,” he said to someone.  “You only get a short window.”

You are becoming fiercely independent. And I grow more and more proud of you every day. Not just at how hard you worked in first grade this year, but at the person, the real person you are becoming.

I see you, my almost 7 year old, and at the same time I feel you slipping away. I know you will fly on your own someday my little…I’m just grateful I have you here under my wing for a bit longer.

dad I’ve been watching you

C is now 3…and he’s at the age where he wants to do EVERYTHING that daddy does. I underestimated just how much sons want to be like the men in their life!

I mean he wants to eat what daddy is eating…if daddy wears a coat, he wears one…if not, nope. He tries to walk the same way. And most recently, he walked around our patio and used daddy’s leaf blower to “help.”

I’ve learned that letting toddlers help….even if they are making more of a mess than actually helping, is important. They feel productive, they feel like they are contributing. So this day, my little guy helped and cleaned up the back just like daddy. And of course the toy yard tools weren’t good enough – he needed the real thing. 🙂

It was a good reminder to me to be conscious of what we emulate in front of the kids as they are always watching and listening!

roots and stems – a great kids experiment

We recently did a fun learning project with the kids that they both loved. The school unit was roots and stems, so we found something that helped continue the learning at home!

What you’ll need:

-heads of romaine lettuce

-food coloring (not the gel kind, that type won’t work; get the old fashioned kind!)

-a tall glass

-water

Prepare the water by adding a few drops of food coloring until it’s pretty dark and stir. Then cut a leaf off (make a fresh cut) and put in cut side down. Wait 24 hours to see the max it will “drink” up!

Some colors work better than others as you can see here, so have fun experimenting!

He’s 3, just like that

My little one is 3.

It seems a bit hard to believe…I feel like just yesterday I was rocking you to sleep multiple times a night. Watching your every tiny milestone as the days flew by. Now, you’re turning into such a little boy, full of personality.

You’ve traded in snuggly lovies and pacifiers for fire trucks and legos.

Little ride on toys for motorized vehicles you drive around on our sidewalks.

Finger paints for colored pencils; veggie pouches for salads with grilled chicken (really).

My little sunshine is growing faster than I can believe, and I’m so excited to see the little boy personality flourish before my eyes.

(Just don’t grow too fast.)