Friday, September 24, 2010

Four... ever

I may not have expected to use our girly tubs of hand-me-downs again so soon when I saw those two pink lines just over a year ago. But I can tell you now that I'm so glad we get to.

Leesie-- you came out to meet us just four months ago, but it feels like you've been here forever. You fit in a way that only you and your wide-mouthed grins could do.

God is so cool like that.

I must also tell you that the tiny blessing of you has been so special to your Mommy lately. Daddy and I have had some unexpected things happen and, consequently, some big decisions to make. In moments when I feel tired I love to slip away with you. You'll grab the neck of my shirt and coo as I hold you close. When I pull you up to eye level with me you smile and smile until your bitty body scrunches up with joy from the attention. And your laughs? Blowing raspberries on your belly or sneaking some in the rolls of your neck produces just about the best sound in the whole wide world. In fact tonight as I sat watching you splash in the sudsy bath water and smile up at me, I called out to your daddy that you must be an angel.

And for the record he yelled back a hearty, "Yep, you're right!"

You start out your nights in the bassinet beside our bed until you wake for a middle of the night feeding. After that I so enjoy tucking you in next to me as you breathe against my chest. Here in the last week or two I might ask that you get back to only waking once or so, especially since your adoring sisters like to wake when you are yet asleep, and the whole process is kind of killing me. But I digress because honestly...

I know you'll only be such a bundle for such a short time more.

No matter if I want it to be forever.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Every Time

My parents got to unexpectedly spend two days with us this past week. One afternoon all us girls dropped by a little roadside produce stand. We loaded up on some comfort foods... regular red and fried green tomatoes that fit nicely inside Mom's homemade biscuits, cornbread squash casserole, sweet potatoes dripping with warm butter, cinnamon, and sugar.

Boy, home sure tastes good.

But better still is the taste of a word that resonates with you. A word that in the middle of the night when you're up thinking, searching, wondering, asking... reminds you that He hears.

And He answers.

Not always in our way or our time, but every time just the same.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When Biggest Sister is Away...

will learn
and play!
(In heels
and a crown,
no less!)
Pay no mind to all that baby, kitchen, dress-up all over the floor. I mostly don't. :)

Then again...
never felt
so good!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Growing Up

At the beginning of this week some cookie cutters helped us pack her lunch. (Now you know we had to make it kinda cute for her first day.) :)
She and I picked out her clothes, Daddy read "The Kissing Hand" as we planted big ones on our palms, and she opened a purple gift I got on a great sale several weeks back. She even did some homework. Inside we carefully placed a picture of her with her sisters because, "I love them, Mommy!," a small "Peter Rabbit" book because of her bookworminess, and a set of watercolors because, "You know I love to do art pwojects!"
The next morning she woke up and ate a new banana bread recipe for breakfast, which was supposed to be a new fun puffed pancake one. Thanks be to Google for searches like "easy breakfast, one egg." Then we took the first of what I hope are eighteen years worth of pictures.

Hope loves to go, to explore, to learn. But she's also my girl, never liking to be apart from me or the people she loves for too long. After prayer and conversation, we found what looks to be the perfect fit for her. Our hearts tell us it's time, it seems to be that special something that she needs, and the classical Christian atmosphere is the cherry on top.

Her only disappointment? After hearing from Open House that a boy named Diego would be in her room, she finally understood that THE Dora and Diego would not be teaching her Spanish class after all. "He's only a child, Mommy... just a child!" Ha! As I put her to bed on the night of day two, she admitted to me that she just had to ask three year-old Diego if he was an animal rescuer. I think he made her year by responding with, "Maybe I am?!"

She surprised me with her confidence that first day as she walked right in and headed straight for a particular corner, which was certainly no surprise at all. On another little funny side note, the other day both our girls wanted to pack some old book bags for a car trip. Hope's was filled to the brim with books, so I began to help Maddie collect some for hers. After a two year-old meltdown, I realized I must not be packing the right stuff. Maddie's choice? An entire backpack filled with shoes. Ah me... :)

Hope quickly picked up how to get in line, headed toward devotions while proudly telling Ms. Dawn"I have a Bible at home!!!," and sat right down on her spot. One of my favorite images will always be when the head of the preschool invited them to fold their hands in prayer. Instead of simply clasping those chubby preschooler fingers together, she got on her knees bowing her head towards the floor. Her teacher smiled this big genuine smile, and I knew everything was going to be just fine.
Still, letting go can be so hard.

Watching her spread her wings, though?

That is some kind of amazing!
On the subject of growing up, I'm late on posting another growing girl who has gotten two months older since the last chair picture.

Two months

Three months

Smiling, cooing up a storm, eating like a champ (90% in weight-whew!), sleeping for couple hour stretches at night, still not liking to be far from snuggled next to you, already drooling beyond belief, determined to sit up, mostly easy going, bath loving, family enjoying Alysse Maribeth.

You, our darling baby girl, are SUCH a joy.

Thanking God for these opportunities to help and witness our babies grow,

Monday, September 6, 2010

Do Over

We've been trucking along and overall enjoying the end of lazy summer mornings. Lots of them I find myself getting up to fix breakfast and then trying to convince the older girls they really want to play such and such nearby while Alysse and I attempt to make up for some of the night's lost sleep. When I finally get it together we've been painting with pudding, slathering on shaving cream, reading to baby dolls, and the like.

We got some unexpected news a little while back that has made us stop and reevaluate a few things. I got into my natural "fixer" mode until Joe went away for some much needed friend time this past weekend. Then suddenly I got tired. More of that lost sleep caught up with me, and I felt my patience wearing thin. On and off for about two days I kinda lost my stride. Sure... having all three by myself could account for some it, but I know me. I know my heart. It was at a crossroads, and I had a choice to make.

Discouragement or Hope?

A sweet friend, who my girls love, showed up the next to last night I was solo because she wanted to come help me put them to bed. We did that and solved the world's problems while we were at it until the wee hours of the morning.

I woke up the next morning to mercies anew, to a do-over kind of day. And so I scooped homemade batter into a hot waffle iron until the result was the perfect consistency of crispy and soft. Choose hope.

Had some camera therapy of freeze framing their littleness, a tried and true strategy indeed, and laughed at the genuine laughter mixed with fakey smiles that pleaded for me to get on with it already. Choose hope.

Got us to church. Held a sleeping Alysse close to me as I sung promises I *know* are true. Heard it grow louder. Hope, hope, hope!

Ate lunch with my girls and headed to a nearby farm for an afternoon of corn hole, stick horses, trough digging, animal petting, and make believe. In all of my rearranging, unbuckling, pushing, sweating, reminding-- still it's there... HOPE, HOPE, HOPE!

Got home and had a leftovers dinner, dunked kitty whiskers into a bubble bath, rocked and rocked and rocked some more, and finally fell into my bed with a sweet smelling babe in the crook of my arm and the memory of a day well spent in my head.

Yes, I know me. I know my heart. Unfortunately, this won't be the last time I'll need one of these do-over days.

But I also know that this won't be the last time I choose hope.

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
~Isaiah 40:31