seven fleeting years

I remember sitting on the second story porch of our first apartment with my 8-day-old Jameson. It was a delicious September afternoon, with warm sun and a breeze stirring the trees around me. I remember what he was wearing — soft baby jeans and a navy cardigan from my mom — and I remember holding his little bundle of a body so close. He nursed, and I sang to him. And I cried as I sang, my heart hurting with the gift of that moment and the simultaneous knowledge that it was disappearing as quickly as I savored it.

Today I continued to persevere through the semi annual Great Clothing Exchange, and as I stood folding load after load of freshly laundered summer clothes, I pulled a pair of pajama bottoms from the dryer — and paused.

I held them up: skinny waist band, custom made for my thin as a rail son. Long legs, custom hemmed for his bean pole body. I made them last summer out of vintage robot fabric, and his face beamed when he realized the project running through my sewing machine was for him.

Robots. Skinny waist. Thrill over Mama-made clothes.

Those things don’t last forever.

I folded them slowly, not really wanting to put them away. Can we just stay here? Can he be my little boy forever, and can he jump up and down with sheer glee when I make something for him?

He’s seven now, you know. Seven.

Out with Daddy on his birthday-eve. This is his first ever medium cone. Next time you order a medium cone, try smiling like that. I have a hunch that it’ll turn your whole day into one big thankful fest.

jameson: six

This boy is six.


We celebrated his birthday on the actual day (the 15th), but then had a “big” birthday party this past Saturday. This was his first big party, and BOY was he excited! We decided on a knight theme, and then had so much fun finding plates and stickers and prize gifts with knights and castles. In classic Jameson style, he had every moment of this party mapped out in his mind — knew just how he wanted this and that to look, what games he wanted to play, and even drew an elaborate tunic (after a style he noticed on Guy of Gisbourne, which I sadly did not have time to execute). Planning, preparing, and celebrating with Jameson is just so much fun.

And that fully-clad knight in the photo above? Well, that’s how he appeared in my room before dawn the morning of his party. So much fun.

He’s also tall and lanky. He constantly acts without thinking, yet is extremely thoughtful. On his birthday, he blessed me by making my bed. (Since my sisters are wondering: Yes, I had to go back and re-make it before actually sleeping in it.) He’s full of life and brings that vivacity with him, everywhere he goes. It’s amazing. His humor is developing into that of a young boy — teasing, sarcastic, puns, you name it. He loves to talk about what it will be like when Jesus comes back, and about heaven. Will he go back to being a baby in heaven? Does it rain there? Hearing him practice piano is my recent favorite thing. Having someone play the piano while I’m washing the dishes — even if it just Hot Cross Buns — is such a blessing, and he loves to play. He’s also catching onto the reading thing, breezes through math, and could care less about proper penmanship. He’s super sharp, and hears and remembers everything I say — with the grand exception of, “SIT ON YOUR CHAIR, YOUNG MAN.” That one thing gets repeated at every meal, numerous times. Oh, he makes me want to pull my hair out, and then laugh until I cry. He is a great, great kid.

I’m trying really, really hard to just stay in the moment. To give myself completely to the things God’s asked me to today, but can I just say, the end of this past summer has been sad for me? My firstborn son enjoyed his last truly little boy summer. And he was the best little boy.

Jameson, you make me love being a mama.

letter to Beatrice

Dear Beatrice Elaine,

You are one.

Today, under a canopy of brightest blue punctuated by clouds of white, you stood on your own in the middle of the sea of grass that is your yard. You smiled, laughed, at your proud accomplishment, giddy with the sense of how big the world was around you. You are leaving babyhood behind.

On your first birthday, you already had mastered quite a string of accomplishments: standing alone, two wobbly steps in succession, a mouthful of teeth including 2 (almost 4!) molars to celebrate your momentous day, 5 weeks of eating anything I cared to share from the table, and climbing out of the basket in which you sleep. Your brothers, by the way, never felt any need to even try such a thing. But you are not quite like them, are you? Daddy and I are always looking at each other and saying, “Did the boys do all this quite so young? No, I don’t think they did!” You, in your very quiet way, are taking life by the horns. There is strength and determination in you.

A table of small, feminine things: my favorite.

You’re my little girl. Just by your tiny presence, wrapped in a pink blanket, you interrupted life as we had known it and demanded that we make room for a girl. Perhaps it was simply that fact, but you were the first baby to seem so much like a person right from birth. We hesitated with naming you too quickly, because you somehow seemed like, well, like you already had a name, and we were just trying to articulate it. We were delighted to welcome you as our resident princess, and to make room for all you would become. Family shapes us as individuals, and you brought a whole new nuance to the family we were.

You also brought whole new ideas about baby. I was flabbergasted to realize that you would, left on your own, simply drift to sleep for hours on end. You would let anyone in the world hold you. You would sit with me quite happily and just watch life. If life got busier when we went from two children to three, it was only because your brothers got busier: you were only ever happy and quiet. Taking care of you was like playing house. “Are you for real?”, I’d whisper to you, as you fell asleep with a smile, woke up with a smile, laid on the floor staring at the ceiling fan with a smile, ride in the car for hours with a smile… I looked forward to each evening, when I’d put the boys to bed and then just stare at you for an hour or more. You were beautiful, and you quieted my heart. A gift.

The boys’ gifts and cards, created and arranged all on their own. Such excitement!

The boys love you immensely, and have from the beginning. They still talk to you in sing-song baby tones, and fall over themselves trying to help get your bib, your highchair, your barrette — anything to take care of you. They oooh and ahhh over your pretty dresses and sweet shoes, and making you laugh is one of their greatest delights. You are very generous with your laughs, of course. You’re the first of our one-year olds to be so celebrated by their siblings: the boys had already made you cards and tied ribbons on their very favorite stuffed animals by the time you woke up yesterday, and you were greeted with an overwhelming chorus of Happy Birthdays — uttered along with plenty of jumping, dancing, hugging and kissing. I love watching you three smile at each other.

You’re Daddy’s girl, and you will do anything to get his attention when he walks in the room. Fake laughs, fake cries, silly faces, crawling over his laptop — anything. He can get more giggles from you than anyone else can, and when he scoops you up and takes you on an errand, your smile says that you feel like the most special girl in the world.

Oh, how I love you! My heart aches, wanting to go back and do this past year just one more time. Every single moment with you has been a delight. Now we’re moving towards Little Girl years, and while I’ll cherish memories of brand new you, I’m so excited to learn more about you and teach you more about Jesus. You were born just as the first traces of pink were lighting the sky, vanquishing the darkness of night. And you, Bringer of Light, will continue to do just that as you walk through life. You will bring laughter, strength, joy, and determination — but most of all, you will bring light to those who walk in darkness. And I’m excited to see that.

I feel so blessed and honored to have you to care for.

I love you forever,


I’m afraid I didn’t do well at getting many pictures, but here she is, surrounded by excited siblings and cousins.

william is 2

My baby William is a little boy. Granted, he’s a little boy who still has chubby little arms, who barely talks, and who still loves to nurse, but he’s not the baby he used to be.

Our little boy William quietly mimics everything Jameson — or Merrick, or Aubrey — does. He wears a holster carrying a red plastic cap gun almost all day long. He is not intent on becoming Leader of the Known World, but neither is he at all a push-over. Recently, he can be heard at any given moment sternly and adamantly telling Jameson, “Na! Na, na, na, na!” (No.) I wonder sometimes if getting bent out of shape is his passion in life, since he seems to go out of his way to be upset by anything and everything! He hugs me oh so tightly and loves for me to cuddle him close whenever he’s sad. He’s started giving great big kisses, too, which is the sweetest of surprises. He absolutely LOVES the worship time at church, and dances, claps, and waves his chubby arms the whole time. (He also hates the nursery. Oh well.) He adores Ryan. If there’s any indication that anyone is leaving the house, he goes into panic mode, desperately concerned that he may be left at home. Watching him run down our long hallway is one of the most amusing things I’ve ever seen — especially if he rounds a corner, at which point he steers with his arms.

He is such a blessing to our family. And as much as I can’t get over how old he is, and how much I miss that little baby, I am absolutely enthralled by these unique, fun, oh-so-adorable little boys that I have the joy of mothering.

almost 4.

Jameson’s birthday is in a few short days. The “year of 3 and 1” is almost over, and I’ll miss it. Tons.

Except that I do love the bigger boy my first baby is becoming.

My recent favorite Jameson quote:

A few days ago, the boys each got a red helium balloon at the hardware store. When they got them home, the game was (of course) to let go of the string, and then wait for a grown up to come fetch the out-of-reach balloon. Once, when William let go of the string, Jameson managed to grab the string. When I expressed how impressed I was with his ability to get the balloon, Jameson explained, “Well, it’s just because my arms are very… [paused while he examined his outstretched arms, trying to find just the right word…] they’re very reachy.”