Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Do you see this picture? This crazy, fuzzy, motion-filled, imperfect picture? 

This depicts life in our home.

Someone recently said something to me about how I must only show the highlights of our life as a family of four. I can understand why she might think that. But it honestly irked me.

There are a few reasons for why it irked me and it's taken me some time to digest and navigate.

First, life in our house is far from perfect. Of course it can't be perfect! There are four personalities attempting to live under one roof. Four needs and wants that aren't always met. That makes for a lot of lowlights (the opposite of highlights) and shadows, and tears, and unpleasant moments.

Secondly, I find it disrespectful to post pictures of any of my children crying, screaming, or in any way unhappy. I'd be incredibly upset if someone posted a picture of me at my worst and mocked me for my emotions. They don't have access to social media now, but one day they will, and I want them to feel comfortable knowing that I haven't embarrassed them or shamed them for being human. I've done my best to embrace those emotions in our home, but it won't happen on social media. We have journals we are writing to each of the kids and I will write those things personally, if/when needed.

It's not that I want to paint the picture that life is only full of rainbows and sunshine. I'd love to tell you that's all I've experienced in this life, but it's just not true. Life is messy and dusty and new. Life can be full and empty. Life is hard and broken. Life is soft and fixed. Life is sharing, giving, and taking. Life is a daring adventure.

I once read a quote that said, "Behind every good kid is a mother who's sure she's screwed it all up." Or something like that.

I get to the end of every day and wonder, and pray, and hope that I've not ruined everything. Hoped that there would be grace where my edges were raw, where my emotions flipped for little reason, and that my children would know, first and foremost, how deeply they are loved.

My social media sites are full of what I want my children to know and remember and hear. It's full of what I want to savor. It's full of the goodness I want to seek, the moments I want to cherish, and the celebrations that should be lavishly enjoyed. I share my heart here, but it is certainly censored for our own privacy and to respect those I love so dearly, and myself.

I choose wonder, hope, and light in the midst of it all. If I didn't then I'm not sure how I'd get out of bed in the morning, or rest my head at night. These years won't last forever and I want to slow down, enjoy, and notice them.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!!!

This week my dad came down to visit for a few days and it was a really great time. We went on little excursions, hung out and relaxed during the boys' nap times, chatted and caught up, and just enjoyed being together.

My dad's always been a determined, strong-willed, funny, talented, and physically strong man. I've admired his musical prowess since I was very young. I love this picture of him; this is him in his element. His eyes become lost in another world, the world of music. His fingers, though we tease him about them being short and stubby, dance across the keys with ease. If you were to study his handball-callused, rough from hard work, hands, you'd never believe the grace they have at the piano.
He's a man of many talents and interests. He plays handballs with his "handball buddies" twice a week. He's a music teacher, composer, and now a church children's music director. Jim raves about his grilling... he's the best griller we know. We don't think we've ever had a better pork tenderloin, ribeye steak, or chicken than when it's been grilled by my dad. Recently, he built and earth oven at their cabin in Pennsylvania and he's gotten into making breads and pizzas. These, too, are delicious and enjoyed by many.

The thing I've most enjoyed is seeing him become a grandpa. Boy, does he love our boys...
....and the feeling is mutual. Both Ian and Owen enjoyed having Grumps around for a few days. We went on walks exploring Pandapas Pond and the Huckleberry, we went to the farmer's market and dancing in Floyd. Ian loved telling Grumps all about everything under the sun, and Owen shared his smiles and giggles non-stop.
Though we aren't together today, my heart is full from your recent visit, Dad!!! 
We love you.

To the father of our boys, I also wish a happy, happy day! Unfortunately, he's pulling a long shift at the hospital today and so our celebrations will be limited on this day. Just looking at these pictures, I see the exhaustion in his face, but the love and dedication he has for our family and our life together is always first in his mind and on his heart. 
This road hasn't always been easy, we've had to spend a lot of time apart. Lots of late nights and early mornings, lots of missed events and moments. When he's here, he makes such an effort to be present for our boys. That often means waiting to get all of his notes done until after the boys go to bed, or even after I've gone to bed. 

Our boys are blessed to have a father who works so hard to build a life for all of us. A father who, though he's incredibly busy with medicine, pursues so many interests and passions outside of his profession. Ian's already benefitting by being allowed to work with you in the garden, on small woodworking projects, and in the kitchen. As the boys grow older, I cannot wait to watch your relationships grow as you explore your own passions with them as well as take an interest in theirs. 
 From wrestling, to playing ball, to bike-riding, to planting seeds, to reading books, to singing songs, to running errands, to playing animals, to running laps around the house, to taking the night-time wake-up shifts, to supporting me in every parenting decision/woe/debacle, you are one heck of a father. I knew you would be. And I'm sorry for the times I give you a hard time.
 You lay down your life for us daily and our boys and I are truly blessed.
On this day, we celebrate you, Papa/Jim. We miss you and love you. See you later tonight!

Saturday, June 18, 2016


If I told you that Owen turned four months old, would you believe me?

Me neither.

Four month old Owen David is deliciously padded with a little more chub and a few more rolls, but still certainly long and lean. 

He's squealing ear-splitting joyful squeals by day, and cooing himself to sleep at night.

His eyes get tired and his face gets upset (which rarely happens), cueing us to his need to head to sleep. And soon. Usually, after changing his diaper, nursing for a few minutes, and then singing him a song or two on my shoulder, he's ready to be put down on his sheepskin for his nap. He does not need or want to be rocked completely to sleep. I'm trying to be conscious of his ability to fall asleep on his own as he becomes more aware of this world.

He's rolling over from back to front, but only occasionally. Mostly it happens when he wakes up from his nap on his belly and before I get to him he's rolled himself over.

His fingers are never far from his mouth. He enjoys his thumb and his pointer and middle fingers the most. 

Toys are now within his reach. He grasps and picks them up, bringing them to his mouth. Now that he knows he's capable of this skill, he can become frustrated when he's not able to pick something up. Or when he drops it unexpectedly.

Owen's often in a completely different spot from

where we put him down on the blanket. Sometimes he's feet away from the spot, but facing the same direction. And sometimes he's spinned completely around, with his feet where his head used to be.

He is SO strong!!! He loves to push into a standing position on our knees or on the floor, while we hold his torso. He cranks his neck to see everything and tracks each of us as we move around the house.

Owen's spent time in the jumper and really enjoys it! Just make sure there's a towel nearby for all of the drool that ends up on the floor ;)

His favorite yoga pose is "Happy Baby!" Makes sense, since he's such a content little one. He can often be found holding one or both of his feet. There's nothing like a happy baby!!
 He's just so joyful and exuberant. Bringing joy to every member of the family.

 It's easy to get lost in his deep, baby blue eyes.
 And look at those sweet lips...
 His hair is fairly thin (for now),
 and he has a section of lighter-colored hair around the middle of his head. It looks like he's got little or no hair there, but it's really a light blonde color that's just as long. Ian has the same thing. It's like a little crown around their heads.
 "Oh, like Owen" (as Ian always says), we sure do adore you.
You make us laugh and smile. You warm our hearts.

What would we do without you? What did we possibly do without you in our lives?

These four months have flown by. You have been such a joy to love and watch grow. Thank you for showing us how easy it is to fall in love all over again. Our hearts have grown and expanded so swiftly and we just absolutely love you, sweet son!!

Happy four months, Darling Boy!

You love: rolling onto your side (and occasionally all of the way over from belly to back), watching Ian play, listening to Mama sing, smiling at whoever will smile back at you, grabbing your toys and bringing them to your mouth, waking up as soon as we stop the car (!), being wherever we are, music and dancing, the jumper (though you just turn in circles), taking baths with Ian, & getting your diaper changed.

We are so blessed to be yours.

Four Month Stats (At 4 months, 12 days):

  • Weight: 15.81 lbs and in the 49.99%
  • Length: 27.5 inches (to which the nurse incredulously said, "Wow!", under her breath) and in the 99.43% (off the chart)
  • Head Circumference: 17 inches and in the 84.84%


Photos get stuck on my phone far longer than I intend. There are tears to wipe, summer's dirty feet to wash, smiles to savor, tantrums to weather, eggs to gather, cuddles to linger in, herbs to weed, and more moments to cherish with these two sweet boys.

I *believe* these photos span since just before Memorial Day weekend.

 Owen tried the jumper for the first time and LOVES it! If he's awake enough, I can normally catch a span of time to work in the kitchen while he twirls and drools in this thing. After he's been in it a while, the floor has to be wiped because it's almost covered in drool puddles ;)
 We went to my parents' home for the Strawberry Festival, as seen in a previous blog. Here are the photos I took on my phone. Grumps and Owen smiles.

 Aunt Phoebe holding hands with Owen.
 Ian playing in the yard and on the porch with Papa & James.

 More Owen & Grumps smiles!
 Äma pulled out this set of blocks she's had since before Ian was born and he went to town building! What fun to watch his imagination and engineering sense take off!
 It's serious business. Someone's gotta do it.
 We returned home for our little family vacation. We spent time around the house, went to Claytor Lake, the aquatic center, had breakfast with friends and lots of babies, and to Pandapas Pond and then to our favorite restaurant for brunch.

 It's so fun to watch the boys interact. They LOVE each other so much. Just look at Owen's eyes as he watches Ian play and listen to Ian softly talk to Owen about things. Life around here is certainly not always perfect, but the interactions between these two are pretty close.
 I love this picture.
 We've started having bath time with the two of them. Both of them really seem to enjoy it!
 Crazy hair is the name of the game for me. Life's a mess and full of spit-up, loud running feet, and diaper changes. It's also full of gaping smiles, sighs of comfort, and song-singing. Who needs tidy hair?

These two goofballs....

 Owen's rolled over from his belly to his back after waking up, but has only done it a handful of times. He can often be found like he is in the picture below. As soon as he gets the urge, there will be no stopping him!
So crazy about these little guys. Their zest and zeal for life and love. Life with them is incredibly full, tiring, and wonderful.