And while she grows and sleeps and wins our hearts…

the others have begun the grand adventure of another school year!

We jumped back into our routine of chores and such on Monday, just to get our souls back in shape, and then Wednesday was the Big First Day.

Jameson began second grade, and Yo. He is just Too Cool For School. At least, that’s the vibe he’ll give when you ask him about what grade he’s in.

How cute is that kid??

He loves math — again. He begins any writing assignment with gusto, and rather quickly tires of it. He’s reading SO well, which is just plain old fun for me. I love hearing him read things out loud, imagining what it must be like when suddenly the world is full of WORDS that you can READ! I don’t remember that moment in my life, but it’s been so fun to watch it happen for him. He’s proudly reading his first chapter book at rest time, and loves to report to William and me about what’s happening in the story.

He also loves Legos, so (don’t laugh) two days into our first week of school, I ditched the morning routine and let them just keep building. He came up with this tractor trailer all by himself and was proud as anything.

Then there’s our kindergartener. Is there anything as fun as a kid proudly holding up their first work book?

For two years, he’s sat at the table and done coloring, puzzles, dollar store workbooks — anything I’ve asked of him — with total enthusiasm. But to finally be doing school!

I’ve been scared silly of his left hand and teaching handwriting, but after talking to some lefties, I finally decided to just take a back seat and let him sort of find his way — and he has!

And of course, we have a new pre-schooler with us this year. She sorts pencils and crayons, does her best to instigate fights with William, and just loves being with us.

And so we’ve gathered for several mornings in a row, Fiona included, and excitedly zipped through the first hours of book work and projects and read alouds. Legos and football in the backyard and washing our hands a bit more thoroughly are all a part of their learning, but those shiny new books and freshly sharpened pencils (all done by Mama, who is still the pencil sharpening Queen around here) sure do take the cake.

When not in school, these kiddos can most often be found checking up on the Red Sox.

Or actually watching the Red Sox.

It’s fun to be a kid, Yo.

new room for Beattie

Tonight, for the first time since August 17, 2011, I came into my room at 10:30pm and turned on more than a nightlight. For the first time, I didn’t bother to tip-toe. And I didn’t spend 5 minutes stumbling around by the light of my phone, trying to find the pajamas I just had in my hands. For the first time in almost two years, our room is not being shared with a baby girl.

Instead, fresh sheets were put on the bed in the Yellow Room. The antique quilt I nabbed at an auction was spread and admired by a little girl. Dresser drawers were filled with little clothes, and Most Special dolls and animals were given a place of honor at fluffed pillows.

For the first time, we have a little girl’s bedroom in our house (which will continue to double as a guest room as needed!)

Two excited brothers eagerly volunteered to do the bedtime reading and prayers. They kissed her forehead and tucked her in tight. She beamed.

Know what’s funny? Her favorite color is yellow. How thrilled do you think she was to look up and all around and see golden yellow wallpaper? Thrilled.

Our little baby. Growing up.


January, in a nutshell.

January was, in many ways, exactly the sort of month I anticipated: slow.

And not just slow. It was definitely a shift into survive where necessary, so that in the important things, we could continue to thrive.

It was a month of many, many naps for me — and lots of days where I never got out of my pajamas. Several mornings found me on the couch, and while my three care-takers perhaps didn’t always contribute to a very restful nap, their tender words and awkward attempts at tucking me in with afghans blessed me so very much. I don’t want to forget William’s sweet kisses on my forehead this past month.

Things had to slip — anything more than basic cleaning had to wait for a second trimester burst of energy, and that’s okay. Getting into a school routine after the holidays took a bit longer than I may have planned, but I don’t think Jameson’s future was too terribly affected. I did not even once want to write on this blog, because there just wasn’t energy for extra thoughts. There are seasons, and I think I’m starting to learn how to receive grace and direction for this tired and yucky one.

Taking our days more slowly, and trying to just hold on to the important things, meant that—amazingly!—I was able to walk almost every morning (save for this past week of sub-zero!) I’m really, really thankful for those 30 minutes of fresh air and exercise each day. I glanced through my journal recently and found an entry in August, praying for the Lord to give me ideas of how I could possibly incorporate regular exercise into my life. So more than being thankful for a morning walk, I’m just thankful that the Lord hears us and answers.

I also am five successful weeks into a Read-Through-the-Bible program. Another huge success, as I’ve utterly failed every time I’ve tried such a thing for the past 15 years. (I read through it so easily when I was 16, and haven’t been able to since!) Laugh if you want, but I googled “Bible plans for moms”, thinking there’d be some bite-sized option out there, and I found Bible Reading Plan for Slackers and Shirkers. Somehow, it’s working, and I’m really enjoying the variety of each day. Another thank you to the Lord.

Regina, my midwife, came this month and brought her handy-dandy list of high-iron foods. I’m trying to get a jump start on my iron levels by downing Floradix like crazy, as well as eating spinach omelets, almonds, bran flakes, apricots, hummus, and lots of other iron-rich foods. Staying on track with such intentional eating isn’t always easy when I’m too tired to care, but the boys remind me to take my Floradix and eat my bran flakes. They’re excited about this baby, after all!

Jameson is doing well with his school work, which we’ve kept very basic this month. He has reached a point in reading where he is inspired by his own accomplishments. Each book that he “conquers” just fuels his passion for learning more. He’s a natural at math. In every subject, his learning curve is focus. He loves to help me, and the “bigger” the job, the better. If he senses that I’m depending on him to take charge of something, he eagerly rises to the occasion. If anything, we have to have talks about being too helpful!

William is just pretty happy all the time. He loves his Playmobil, much more than Jameson (who prefers the mental challenge of a new Lego set to engaging his imagination), and he’s often in a corner of the family room, lost in the world of knights and dragons and castles. He also loves to be read to—still!—and so I try to grab a minute here and there to cuddle with just him and read him a favorite story. He’s less excited about work than Jameson, but he’s learning diligence and responsibility, and he loves to care for Beatrice and me.

Beatrice is changing every day. She runs through the house on her tip toes, clutching her dolly. She is experimenting with terrorizing her brothers, and has perfected her protest of “Noooo!” She’s cuddly and spunky and loves to make us all laugh with her antics. Books are her favorite: she pulls them all off her toddler-height shelf, and then chooses from the pile on the floor. Picking them up is not her favorite thing to do, but obedience in general isn’t her favorite thing. She always sizes me up when I give her a command, determining whether or not I really mean it. Spunky, I tell you!

The absolutely best part of this past month, though, has been watching both boys being drawn by the Holy Spirit, and genuinely responding. Whether it be in worship at church, family devotions, while reading a biography of Amy Carmichael, at a prayer meeting, or listening to a sermon, I have been beyond blessed to see their tender hearts shining in teary eyes. Ryan and I have been asking for fresh passion and surrender to the things of the Lord, and it’s spilling down to our kids. Biggest thank you of all to the Lord.

So, here we are. I’m coming out of my fog, and looking forward to feeling more like my usual self — but at the same time, realizing how much God doesn’t need me and my best self to accomplish His purpose in our lives. I’m so thankful. He holds our days, present and future. That’s a good place to live.