Just because

The six-month milestone is rapidly approaching and while Caroline has mastered the art of sitting in her high-chair we have yet to actually introduce any real food.  I’ve never been excited about starting solids, probably because I’m also not a fan of rushing through any of the baby stages.  But the good news is we are officially smack-dab in the middle of the golden, happy baby stage.

Kindergarten Christmas Program

look center, up to the left of the bright blue skirt…see our favorite blondie?

Last week was Charlie’s kindergarten Christmas program and I seriously wish that we had invited every single person that we know.  Leading up to the big night we were a bit nervous.  Charlie is doing so well at school but standing up on a stage, in an auditorium that he’s never even set foot in?  We didn’t know what to expect.

As usual, Charlie set me straight.  Not only did he do the hand motions to all FIVE of the songs, but he was SINGING.  Sure he was a bit off-key.  Yes, sometimes he was a beat or two behind.  But to see him standing proudly and to hear his voice along with all of the other kids in his grade was quite simply the best.

Of course I’m kicking myself for not taking more photos or a video or doing something else to document this moment, but honestly Alex and I were paralyzed in our seats for the entire performance.  Amazed.  Panicked.  Ready to run down to that stage in a flash.  But mostly we couldn’t stop laughing and smiling at the wonder of our little guy.

It probably sounds silly, but that night felt a bit magical.

Who knew it could be so good?

**total side note…for weeks Charlie’s teacher, me, really anyone who has tried to get a photo of Charlie cannot get him to keep his head straight for a photo.  I couldn’t figure it out.  Until I was snapping these photos.  And guess who had her head turned to the side while holding the camera?  Duh.  Mystery solved.  ;)

What a ride.

We learned a few things during our recent visit to Seattle:

1.  We would have been amazing parents if we’d only had two children.  We would have totally nailed it.  Of course I can say such a tongue in cheek comment from my little corner of the world where I actually have four children and run from fire to fire.  Maybe like most things, we’re doing better than we think.   But to spend a day with just William and Caroline was a real treat and a great reminder to schedule more one on one or two on two-time with our kiddos.

2.  After more blood work our delightful doctor confirmed that there is no indication that William has cancer or any other major blood disorder.  And while some of the pieces of the puzzle still don’t entirely make sense, what we do know is that William is healthy.  Whew.  Amen.  Alleluia.  Praise Jesus.

Of course I don’t mean to sound so casual about it all, but I honestly hadn’t even allowed myself to think such thoughts {though duh, we had an appointment at the Seattle Children’s Cancer and Blood disorder clinic} because quite honestly I might have officially lost it.

We’re still standing. Praise God He doesn’t give up on us.

It’s taken me a while, but I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that my children and all of the little details that make them who they are, aren’t going to necessarily fit the mold that I’d so {foolishly} dreamed and planned for them {me}.  I’m sometimes reluctant to admit that our Creator, the King of the Universe knows so much more than this suburban mother ever could imagine.  Of course He hasn’t missed a single detail when crafting their personalities, dividing cells and designing each fingerprint.

Conversations with William

While driving home after school…

William : “Mom does June have God in her heart?”  {June is our dog.}

Me:  “I think so William, but I’m not entirely sure.”

William:  “Well, I’m sure He is, June’s one of His creations right?”

—————

The day after Thanksgiving while working with William on some art projects…

{I’m using the term *art* very loosely here.}

Me:  “William, I used the very same craft supplies when I was a little girl.”

William:  “Where was I when you were a little girl?”

long pause to consider…

Me:  “Well I’m not sure William, maybe you were up in heaven with Jesus waiting to be born…”

William:  “In heaven!?  But I wasn’t born yet!  I wasn’t in heaven, I was in your heart mom.”

Of course you were wise little one.

—————

Later reading through a stack of Christmas books…

Me:  William, I read this very same Christmas book when I was a little girl and now I get to read it to you!”

William:  “Oh, so you read this book when I was still in your heart?”

Me:  “Yes, exactly.”  {smug Mommy moment, we have covered so much lately!}

William:  “Right, when I was in your heart.  And I was God.”

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We’ve been going through a series of blood-related tests with William and tomorrow we head over the mountains to Children’s hospital to hopefully find some answers.  There is no visible sign that anything is wrong; only a bunch of numbers on a report that causes doctors concern and leaves me to wonder what we might have missed.

I tell myself that there is no reason for me to worry but this experience is just plain unsettling.  It seems like we’ve spent so much time trying to get to this place of ordinary life, at least our version of ordinary.   And I want to soak up as much of it as I can.  Naturally I’ve done my best to down-play the situation but the truth takes my breath away.  I love this boy with my whole heart which of course is scary and exactly as it should be, all at once.

On giving thanks.

Gosh I love them.

There is so much to be thankful for, we are abundantly blessed.  Our life is full.  Bursting at the seams.  So much has happened this year {hello baby Caroline!} Sure we have had our fair share of bumps along the road, but God has been by our side through each one.  {I only wish I was better at skipping the drama mama part.}

Life with four kids is a sort of beautiful chaos.  It’s been a challenge for me knowing that even on my best days I’m pretty much just scrambling from one moment to the next.  I’m learning that motherhood is just a constant state of changing from one phase to another.  I still don’t know why this surprises me.  Or why I’m so surprised when things go smoothly or equally shocked when things go south.  This is hardly the calm, quiet, organized version of motherhood I’d imagined.  No, life is messy.  The good kind of messy.

In the middle of it all I find myself praying.  I pray a lot.  Prayers of thanks. Prayers that the baby would only wake-up two or three times a night.  Prayers of praise.  Of frustration.  Prayers asking why.  Asking forgiveness.

I’m also continually giving thanks for patience.  Not always for me, but for a very patient God.  My prayers have also been for God to work a miracle through me, to meet me in my weakest moments.  {And there are many.}  That the Lord would give me the peace, calm and clarity that I so desperately need day in and day out. Because let’s be honest, while being a mother is the best thing I’ve ever done it’s also the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I am so incredibly thankful for Alex for dreaming big in our life together.  For taking risks, for working incredibly hard because let’s be honest, being a husband and father is a big job and thankfully, Alex is one of the hardest workers I know.  He gives so much of his time serving our community, at the office and yet still has energy at the end of the day to play with the kids and help with bedtime. I don’t thank him enough but he certainly is adored around here.

Sometimes I feel like I have so much to write and say but it all gets jumbled up and doesn’t come out right.  I guess it all boils down to this – I’m so very thankful.  Thankful for the love, relationships, challenges, laughter, noise, full house, tears, big hugs, lack of sleep, big smiles.  For all of it.  Because without all of that we wouldn’t have this beautiful and full – very full – and blessed life.

For Pete’s sake.

Oh my goodness.  I guess you could say that this is my first rodeo.  No one ever warned me about how tricky it is dressing and accessorizing a girl.  Clearly I need a little hand-holding.

Baby girl might have been wearing her sweet little hat backwards for over a week.  Oops.  However, during that entire week we received many complements on her darling little cap and her sweet little cheeks stayed nice and warm.  This week a little birdie told me to try rotating the cap, and voila!  It’s like we have a completely new hat to enjoy.

Thankfully Caroline is patient with her dear mama.

P.S.  Caroline is now fascinated with her hands.  She can’t seem to get enough of them – from discovering how to hold toys to flat-out trying to eat them, they are hands-down a wonderful new discovery.

Saturday morning.

A typical fall Saturday morning has Alex and Henry off duck hunting before sunrise while Charlie, William and now Caroline and I enjoy a slow and lazy start to our weekend.  Honestly it is such a relief to not be rushing off anywhere, to sit and sip my coffee and to have the time to make pancakes {pumpkin spice, yum!}  The boys run around happily building forts, pausing to watch a show, move on to art projects, a big bubble bath, you name it.  I putter, bake something, clean the kitchen, start some laundry, and maybe read.  However, my new favorite Saturday morning pastime is taking pictures of baby girl.  After her morning nap she is happy to watch me dance and sing and coo while I snap away on the camera.  Something tells me that I’ll be quite grateful that I’ve captured as many sweet moments as possible during these fleeting baby days.

In all fairness I should point out that during our sweet photo shoot, Charlie and William were having a nerf gun fight while wearing only their underwear.

PS – these pictures are also a sort of love letter and great big hug for my dear friend.