Sunday, October 24, 2010

Five for Our Fall Baby

I already joked a couple posts ago about how fun it would be to have a baby born in the fall. As I looked over some recent pictures I realized that though I don't have one whose birthday is in September or October, this year I've got myself a real pun'kin alright.
Best part is that God picked her straight from His patch and shipped her way back in the Spring!

He lights 'em up like no other, I might add.

Happy five months, our pun'kin'girl! You're growing so fast and especially reveling in your abilities to roll with the best of them and to blow the bubbliest of bubbles. You were made for this season in so many ways. Kissable, round, chubby cheeks ranking toward the top of that list. I thank God for your sweet smile and irresistable coos that illuminate a room!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bottle of Life

There was the inevitable rush of throwing all our junk in the car because two unexpected poopies, three thousand forgotten supplies, and one major spit-up later we were running late. There was the awesome, but unexpectedly harrowing, hike to visit with some of Joe's long lost family that had me sweating bullets and him kinking up his baby-wearing back. There was a two-year old who didn't listen and stay put in the tent while we searched for their mini flashlights, so she got a good sized boo-boo on her wrist. There was the three-year old who had "jus' a lil' accident, guys!" when she fell asleep hard in the backseat en route to our camp site. And there was the cleaning out of the above junkified car four days after our return home and the wondering of how on earth a little weekend excursion could accumulate such a mess.

I guess I could have shortened all of that by basically saying... there was life.

And though there's plenty of life in this bottle of mine, there is plenty more of life in there too. The kind that you turn up, give the bottom a nice satisfying tap-tap-tap, and savor to the end. This past weekend such a realization hit me right about here:
Actually it was just after here when Joe handed me a snow-suit bundled Alysse who fit snug as a bug down inside the sleeping bag he got me for our first Christmas together. Then he slept at the foot of us all just by the tent's entrance for the protecting of his girls. Everyone was snoozing while breathing the cool from inside their cozy bags, heads adorned with fuzzy topped fleece hats, Maddie missing one glove so she could suck that bitty thumb of hers. I dared not move lest anyone awaken, and I'm pretty sure my back might not ever be the same from that position, but really I thought my heart might burst. I whispered an, "I love you, Joe" across the darkness. As in, "I love you. I'm sorry I was so annoyed at the hurried start of this day. Can you even believe our blessings?"

He knew exactly what I was saying and whispered right back.

I turned up the bottle good and long, drank it in deeply... the kind where you gulp and gulp until... "ahhh"... you just know this drink was so good because you must have been really thirsty for it. Despite all the life that tried to get in the way, it was simply one of those full and precious weekends from start to finish.

Beginning on Friday with a morning playdate... painting us some side of the road, gave me a deal pumpkins with leftover paints and sticking on dollar store faces. Eating chocolate chip pumpkin spider cupcakes adorned with pretzely legs on the warm, black driveway. Mamas sipping cinnamon spice coffee, redistributing favorite toys when the occasion arose, and catching up on what God is teaching us lately.

It's been a lot. A lot a lot.

Surviving that hike with family on Saturday. No small feat, I tell you. Eating camping kinds of food and taking Alysse for her first overnight in a tent... declaring her to be the not yet five month-old happy camper of the year.
The ONLY pic I took on the hike because I knew that this is exactly where we were gonna end up if we didn't watch it.

Coming home on Sunday to a familiar sight... the girls at the table playing with Little People. I'm sure at some point someone chased someone else around the kitchen after Eddie, Freddy, or Sarah-Lynn. But who cares? There was a lot of laughter, plus hot chocolate with marshmallows!
And an evening trip to a nearby farm for Hope, Maddie, and I with neighborhood friends just before we bathed our dirty selves into end of the weekend oblivion. Hay people, gigantic corrugated pipe slides, miniature mazes, tire towers, wagon and hay rides, and a picnic dinner.

A busy weekend? Uh huh. Peppered with a few silly frustrations? Just maybe.

But good, so very good, to the last drop?
Double... nah, triple... yes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hopey Ham

That first born of ours can sometimes be one of the most enthusiastic kids I've ever known. At least twice a week now I'm hearing an excited bundle of three throwing her backpack in the car while chattering away, "Guess what, Mommy???"

You just never know what might follow that whole grown-up kind of "guess what" business. Maybe she'll share that music is made up of vibrations, that red in Spanish is rojo, that she doesn't think her teacher sleeps at school, that today is Tuesday and she needs to pull over to potty again and so-and-so might have had to go to the think about it chair but it's okay because we all make mistakes. I love it.

In long overdue HAM fashion, that's not all I'm loving these days. Here are just a few of my favorites...

Several weeks back we were having a work day lunch with Joe at a favorite sandwich shop. He and Hope were going back and forth with their usual, "Guess how much I love you?" while outdoing each other's "THIS much/Oh yeah, well, THIS much!" In one smooth move Hope picks up the cookie off his plate, holds it between them, and says with that unmistakable twinkle, "Then how about this much?"

A few days later she casually strolls into the room and tells me, "Mommy, my tummy's sick. I'm pretty sure it's because it's growing up to have a baby!" I think she currently believes she'll be happy with something like ten of her own.

Though it's going to be hard to have babies at all when conversations like these pop up from the back seat, "Umm, excuse me guys. I just don't think I can grow up and go off to college. I'll miss you too much!" :)

At least she's got down some basics of baby-ing. For instance, while I was at a Mom's Night Out last week Alysse started to cry. Hope came running in to save the day, as she often does, and tells Joe the following:
H: Daddy, she's hungry! Feed her.
J: I can't really do that, Hopey.
H: That's right (pulling up her shirt). You don't have big knuckles like Mommy!

Yep, she's very technical in all manner of terminology... banilla (vanilla), overmahauls (overalls), prentzels (pretzels), and Daddy's favorite-- "Wook, Daddy, Wook!" The only word she still pronounces her "l" like a "y" or "w" for. We're not correcting her any time soon.

All that said, it takes little to thrill her... like announcing that it's time for a bubble bath. "Hooray," she exclaims, "It's my favorite time of the year!"

This stage of finding happy, round stick figured people and lopsided letters of the alphabet on scraps of paper the whole house over... this stage of coming home to teach Maddie everything she learns in an exaggerated teachery voice... this stage of Little People, play food, and baby dolls... this stage of sharing wars that almost cause me to throw away Little People, play food, and baby dolls. This stage so often makes me smile from the inside out.

For in it she quotes scripture, very often to be found in places like 5:30 John 18.

She astounds you with out of the blue questions like, "So, Mommy, mercy is forgiving even if someone doesn't deserve it?"

And she challenges you to become a better person. Like happily using the $5 her grandparents sent to buy orange grocery store gerbera daisies for her Daddy, writing love notes when she knows she'll be parted from you, and coming downstairs to ask you pray for her one more time before bed.

In all these things and so much more... love.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall So Far in {Mostly} Photos

It's been a busy season and not just because of the awesome, family friendly things to do around town. But those are the things that make life seem normal and the especially fun things to blog about, so behold... our so-far-fall in photos.

(Well, mostly just photos. This is one of those a picture (or 700) is worth a thousand words posts. Forgive me, but I have quite the love affair with this time of year.)

There have been autumnal birthday parties. Oh to have a fall babe. It would be worth it just to throw a party among the leaves and pumpkins and cute brown cupcakes.

The annual visit of the at a highly esteemed, yet seldom visited park. We'd visit the ginormous castle park more, but losing one of my three-three and under always makes for a real downer.

Other freebies... Touch-a-Truck with a festival across the street. A sweet friend packed us all lunches and there's a sneak peek of the month's end pretending to boot. The girls insisted on it; they'd sleep every night in these get-ups if they could. I love those little, BIG imaginations so!

And finally... though we've spent next to nothing... the girls are earning their own way. That's what I'm talking about. Three yard sales and three drink stands later, we've got two green piggy banks and their two proud owners carefully selecting where nickles, dimes, and quarters will go.

If you haven't already left me for a slice of pumpkin bread, I applaud you. I have no bread, but I do have muffins.

All this cutting and pasting has made me hungry. :)

Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Sometimes you just gotta get away. Raid the pantry and put together random trail mix. Step over the messes and just get in the car.

Grab that camera, the chance to remember years from now, before going of course.

See things out of fresh eyes. Get excited over ravines and leaves and snail shells and what might have lived in those holes and every trail marker on every tall tree along the path.

Stop to remember Who made all this beautiful stuff anyway. Sing and let the hills echo back to you.
Be thankful that your hands are full, your life filled with some uncertainty. It means God is getting ready to move. It means you have new purposes to fulfill.
Head home just before sundown. Let your breath be caught in your chest just a little.
Or a lot.
Then it feels so good to escape... back home.