March, in photos

I’m so glad for pictures! These months of busy but unspectacular days would be lost if it weren’t for pictures. (Lost to my memory, anyway. Not lost in their impact!)


Waiting for Daddy


Fiona’s fabulous drawings


<3


A shopping trip where I let the girls pick out birthday gifts for a friend — oh, the joy!


Sunrises


She is loving this new skill!


Learning to braid Fiona’s hair


NZ gear from the grands


Another year older = time to start some good habits.


Luther together for movie night


Cherry pie birthday traditions


My new vacuum comes completely apart for cleaning. AWESOME.


Blessing my two girls with fun new skirts from Mama’s sewing machine.


Birthday outing!


BFFs


Bubbles and babies.


Sometimes our friend Julie spoils us.


Illuminating our scriptures.

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Reading!


She loves her baby dolls.


And she loves her pretend friends.


March walks.


I just love these kids!


Outings with Cecily


Learning to bake independently


Sunshine and a blondie.


In denial about winter


What up.


The four amigos.


So sweet.

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Jameson performing for Grandparent’s Day — much of our months has been music for various things!

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Beatrice!

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William!

February, in photos

The shortest month, almost done. So much just life crammed into four short weeks. So many moments of ordinary, and every one special and meaningful. I think that’s amazing.


This little one learning to stand, and take a few steps. Making us laugh with antics, loving when all eyes are on her.


This oldest one readily helping out each and every day.


Many mornings spent at the kitchen table, with kids drawing or painting while I read out loud from our current history selection. This hour+ is NOT on the schedule I made last fall, but that’s my favorite part of deep winter months: the quiet hours of books and creativity that sort of insert themselves in a way that just fits.


Mornings that occasionally look like this. Waking early and getting out for a walk before it all begins has been harder this winter than any other season in 5 years! But I keep trying. Something is better than nothing.


This blurry pic represents a whole-family excursion to scope out a new business location. As soon as we were all buckled in, I suddenly realized we hadn’t done anything all together since Christmas. We went out for dinner and it was special. We love each other.


We read lots of books in the winter. I wish it could be more — does anyone else look over their bookshelves and think, How can we read all of these wonderful stories today?!? But a moment here and a page there. It’s regular and routine and part of our lives, and I’m glad for that.


Reading is also togetherness most of the time.


I love hearing the boys read out loud. They put their best into it (although occasionally not, and I tell them to do it all over without the race-to-the-end effect!) This book is our 2017 winter favorite. “Snow,” by Uri Shulevitz. The kids always begin the story with title and author, because saying “Uri Shulevitz” is the most fun. If you don’t have this book, and you have littles, get it! Fiona had the story memorized immediately, so captivated was she by the simple text and fun illustrations.


February is when spring endeavors begin. William has begun rehearsals twice a week for his role in the upcoming high school musical. And no, he’s not in high school yet. Phew.


This. Every morning (except the occasional day when my routine gets thrown off and I forget!) A salad for Ryan. Probably most people think of him as a free spirit, spontaneous. And he is, somewhat. But not completely. He loves, craves routine. So each morning, this.


This past week, days that reached 60* (!!!), and rain that has melted all but the biggest piles of snow. But the week before, the loveliest snowfall of the entire winter. What I have no pictures of is the kids outside. Every single day, regardless of how on or off track we are, they head outside after lunch. They laugh and play (and fight and resolve), and are friends, even the ten year old boy and three year old girl. I love it.


This baby of mine. I just love her. She naps in a little “nest” on the floor, because I’m a weird hippie or something. We have no crib. Somehow I’ve always gotten through the crib stage without one, even if it’s a bit unconventional for a few months. She’s too old to be left on my bed, of course, but wants to lay down and nurse to sleep at nap time. So we do. I love these baby days. I know, and you know: they go too fast.


One of those mornings I did get out to walk, I sacrificed exercise for fellowship. I’ve been thinking about cultivating friendship with these girls. Rapport. Fiona, especially, really loves me. Somehow it’s easy to not really notice that, or to somehow think she just loves the mom in her life, but not necessarily me. I don’t want to take for granted or assume her affection. She’s a unique person who genuinely loves me as a person.

And so much more not pictured. Thoughts, conversations, piano lessons and meals and laundry piles and chores crossed off. Friends and family we share life with all week long. Choices made that allow for regular remembrance of Who our lives belong to and how we can honor Him.

So Happy Sunday. Thanks for following along with this update of the ordinary. Have a blessed day!

Christmas Eve

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A last morning to anticipate. This boy who is still my baby, still my sidekick. I’m thankful for so much today.

Enjoy your preparations, friends. The clothes ironing and cookie plating and dinner making. The last gift wrapping and tree rearranging.

Today we’ll get ready for the last Christmas party of our year — just us, after church tonight, with candles and snacks and reading the Christmas story. The best party of all. Let the celebrations begin. Or continue — because isn’t that the whole point of this? Jesus came to dwell among us, abiding in our hearts, walking with us in every exhilarating, dreary, rejoicing, heartbroken moment. He crowns every moment with His presence. He changes us from the brokenness we were born as into the whole person He envisioned from the beginning. The celebration unfolds, day by day, and we anticipate Him coming again — when we will see “yonder break a new and glorious morn.”

Merry Christmas.

september 19: jameson turned 10

September days are always nostalgic for me. I am instantly brought back to the days when I was awaiting my first baby: more tired and achy than I ever imagined possible, growing in excitement, feeling my mind and emotion become incredibly focused on one thing. I love the expectancy of the end of pregnancy!

This year, as I walked past our first apartment early one morning, and heard the whispering leaves that lulled me to sleep many afternoons of that late pregnancy, I tried to wrap my mind around a decade.

And I can’t.

*****

We celebrated him and loved doing so. We were able to bless him with a few special extras, like the fire and s’mores he requested, and even an overnight with two friends. Altogether, three days of birthday partying. We laughed and asked how that happened, but he was blessed and affirmed and so thankful. He’s growing up, and we are so proud of, and thankful for, the young man he’s becoming.


an amazing older brother


thrilled to share his special day with Patrick


That picture shows my favorite part about him: the crinkly laugh lines around his eyes. He is so cheerful, so attentive, so caring.

He is a gift.

september 9

My Jameson and I took a turn going out this week.

“I’m really excited, Mom, aren’t you?” he asked that afternoon. That made me smile.

My two boys, best friends and yet so different. William just loves the pizza and ice cream; this one loves the experience. I knew he was expecting a real “date” kind of request for dinner, so that’s what we did.

He ran to his room to get ready, door closed firmly shut, no peeking. Emerged in shirt and tie with jacket, because that’s who he is. I expect nothing less!

We held hands as we drove and chatted, and I couldn’t help but be hit by waves of nostalgia, remembering so vividly the baby who made me a mama, snuggled in my arms on our little second-story porch as I sang to him. Wasn’t that yesterday? Or did it ever happen?

He was my sole focus for two hours. We ordered our food, and of course he wanted to try something new, because that’s who he is! Calamari because it’s his favorite, crab cake because he’d never had one. He tried my gazpacho and liked it. “I like new flavors.”

He is tall. Capable. Articulate. Excited and hesitant, all at once. Loves people but happy to be alone with his own ideas, too.

And he loves me. It was so good to just spend two hours alone, saying in words and just in the silence of being side by side, “I love you.”

My 9 year old boy, almost 10. More dear to me than I ever could have imagined. Thanks for holding my hand.

september 6: starting school

Yesterday, we jumped back into the full swing of things.

Something about this year has my head swirling, nervous and excited, and I’ll confess that I had a hard time sleeping in anticipation of the First Day. Would it go okay? Did I think it through enough? Would they like it? Would it go hilariously awry or be tragically disastrous? (“Hilariously awry” is a pessimist’s attempt at positivity.)

It was great.

It’s a lot of work, isn’t it? It was after dinner before I caught my breath, and then wondered how on earth I ever fit anything else into life — including basic things like returning text messages! I did, however, get to shower before evening, so I’ll count that a big win for me. Jameson was, of course, excitedly pushing through as many math lessons as possible before I finally noticed he was still awake last night and sent him to bed. William loves a checklist and excitedly crossed almost every item off (I may have some pie-in-the-sky hopes for what we can do in a day. That will get reevaluated this week as we see how our rhythms really flow best.) And Beatrice, of course. “I can’t believe this is really my first day of kindergarten!” Then last night, getting ready for bed: “I can’t believe tomorrow will be my second day of kindergarten!” I wonder how long she’ll be keeping track?

And, in true homeschooling fashion, the boys even spontaneously spent the afternoon helping my dad with a project. Rocking real life is the name of the game, joyfully looking ahead to each day with a willingness to bend and bow and weave learning into the fibers of real moments.

We got to the end of our day, and they all played basketball and frisbee with so much joy for a few minutes before bed, and I felt so soul-satisfied. It is good to work hard, with abandon, at the will of God. One can’t measure success by “soul satisfaction,” of course, but there is fruit. It is deep calling to deep, echoing, “This is right, and this is good.”

Sirens, a rare occurrence in my part of the world, woke me long ago, and so I am up meeting the day, admiring lingering stars, savoring quiet. Maybe some of you are up, too, maybe getting ready to begin school at your house. Send students off for the first time. Or maybe there are no little pupils in your life yet, or anymore. No matter the season, this day is written in His book for you: Seek His face, say yes to His will, and therein find delight and fountains of life.