My 15 Minutes with the Birthday Boy

Dear Cole,

Today is your birthday!  So far, it hasn't been what we've planned for quite some time now.  While we were supposed to have your humongo Star Wars party, we had to reschedule because we've had a sick house this last week or so.  So, while we were waiting to have cake and ice cream for your "family party" today, you and I went downtown and did a mini-photo shoot.  It only lasted about five minutes, which seems pretty fitting, doesn't it?  In your defense, it was soooo cold!  But I love these pictures of you and how they capture you and your personality, right now, at this awesome age of
And while we're at it, here are my top five favorite things about you:

1.  I love that you are a boy who loves routine.  I mean, LOVES it.  Every morning, I know that you will request a bagel with cream cheese and a chocolate milk.  Every night before bed, regardless of how much past your bedtime we're up, you request a story before going to sleep.  And while my sleepy eyes feel like it's a bit too much to give in to since you usually have school the next day, how can I resist a request like that?

2.  I absolutely, positively love having you read to me.  It blows me away how you just grasp the idea of letters and sounds and how they all work together.  I'm pretty sure you've read every single one of your birthday cards to us this year rather than the other way around.  Your favorite books right now are Dr. Seuss books and I thought it was so cool to see your 4th grade reading buddy read you an entire collection of Dr. Seuss' works in your class the other day.  It totally "fit" you.

3.  While we're on the subject of reading, I love how you've been reading to the girls.  It is the sweetest thing I've seen you all do together and I hope it continues for years to come.  I will never tire of you three, sitting on a little couch with a sheet over your heads, in your own make-shift fort and reading them Dora story after Dora story.  What a great big brother you are!

4.  I love watching you wrestle with Dad, knowing the bond you two are building together.  Your laugh is infectious and your moves are getting really good!  It's especially fun to see your sense of humor shine through in your playtime and goofing around.  You make us laugh so much!

5.  I love when you tell me you love me out of the blue.  Just today, driving into the city, you said this when nothing really prompted it.  You have no idea how much that means to me.  It's one thing to say I love you in response to someone.  It's a whole other thing to be the first to say it.  I love when you're the first.

Cole, you bring so much joy to our family.  You are the caring big brother that I am so proud your sisters have.  You are a loving, respectful son who enjoys having tons of fun with us.  And most of all, your heart for Jesus is just growing and flourishing.  The questions you ask me blow my mind and I love that you want to know more...know who He is and how He loves.

I never called myself a mom until you came along and my world totally changed.  You are my little man growing into such a big boy and it's undeniable that you are definitely not my baby anymore...the way your legs dangle past my knees when I try to carry you proves that! 

Aside from your dad, you are the most important guy in my life.  I love you!!!!

Happy Birthday!


Maurah Kate

Dear Maurah Kate,

Today is a day to celebrate you!  I cannot believe that you are 3 years old already!  You are such a gift to have in our family and you bring so much love to all of us!  Here are three things I'm loving about you right now:

1.  I love how you take care of everyone...if Laina is crying, you bring her blankie to her.  If I need something, you are the first to come and help me.  Even if it's a complete stranger of a child crying in the store, you are concerned.  Your heart for people is so tender and loving.

2.  I love how you wear your pink Dora sunglasses wherever you go, no matter what you're doing...even to go to the bathroom!  It is so cute when you push them up on your head, holding your hair back and you look like a little lady.

3.  I love your voice.  It is somewhat deep and very raspy...when you say words, they are so adorable!  I really hope your voice stays like this forever.

4.  I love how you hug me at night, patting my back so gently...some days I think I need your hugs more than you need mine!

(Okay, I couldn't limit myself to three...)

You are my Baby A, my Maurah-Bora, my little Bear.  I love you!  Happy Birthday, sweet girl!


Hayden Charis

Dear Hayden,

You are 3!  You have grown and learned so much in this last year.  You add such a light to our family and bring joy beyond belief.  Here are three things I love about you right now:

1.  I love how you always remind us to do our "happy parts and sad parts" at supper.  There isn't a night we don't share how our day went with each other because you are so interested in everyone's day...or, at least, in sharing yours.  :)

2.  I love how you pray!  You are so sincere and genuine in your prayers and I just know your little voice speaking into God's ears brings even more joy to Him than it does to me.

3.  I love, love, LOVE how you ask to watch your "sick movie" (the slideshow I made of you and Maurah in the hospital) and how you sing David Crowder's "How He Loves Us" at the top of your lungs.  Three years ago today, this is a moment I never thought I would see.

4.  I love your love for music and dancing!  One of my favorite things you say to me is, "Mommy, when I'm in the movie do I get to sing and dance?"   You've got rhythm and excitement for life like no 3 year-old I've ever seen and it makes me so happy to watch you!

(And I couldn't limit myself to three...again...)

I love you, Baby B, my Badies and my sweet, brown-eyed girl!  Happy Birthday!


Some Days

Some days, I don't wake up filled to the brim with patience.

Some days, I don't get a shower until right before dinner, when Jake comes home from work and the day is pretty much over.

Some days, my bedroom floor is SO covered with laundry that I can't even walk in it without very strategically planning my steps.

Some days, the rest of my house follows the pattern of my bedroom, only with toys instead of clothes...well, some clothes might be strewn in there.

Some days, I think, "If I have to wipe down this highchair one more time..." or "If I have to go in there and tell them it's bedtime and to go to sleep one more time...".

Some days, I feel like I can't possibly handle this task of motherhood...homemaker...wife.  I'm not keeping up with it all and I feel like one of the balls that I'm constantly trying to catch is going to drop, break and I will fail miserably at what I've been called to do.

Today is one of those days.

But then I'm reminded...

Every day is filled with God's grace...and this tired momma is so thankful for that today.

A New Spark

June also brought with it a somewhat new adventure for Maurah.  She joined MainStage Academy of Dance in the winter and showcased her work t...