Happy New Year!

I realize that I’m about three weeks late with that sentiment but in my defense this is the first {ok, maybe second} *real* week we’ve had back in our usual routine.  The boys school vacation schedules were off so I was in part vacation mode/part real world mode for almost a month.  We {me} forgot more appointments and practices than usual and I probably spent more time in my jammies than I should publicly admit.  But somehow it was just what we needed.

We met the Christmas season moving at a snail’s pace.  And by the time the little ones were out of school if Amazon wasn’t delivering then it probably wasn’t going to be under the tree.  I just don’t take my little ones shopping.  Target and the grocery only if necessary, but other stores are an absolute no.  I can’t make a decent decision for the life of me and they are miserable too.  So we just skip it all together.  This probably also explains why we know our UPS man personally.

Anyhow, Christmas was wonderful.  We left town for a week of skiing and Christmas celebrations.  We have done this for a few years now and love it.  This also allows us multiple early Christmas celebrations with other family members who aren’t travelling with us.  We get to celebrate together but we aren’t rushing around, we actually get to relax and enjoy our time together and the kids have the chance to savor each gift they receive rather than loosing them in the shuffle.

I also realize that with our growing family this might not always work.  Quite honestly while on the road we looked like an episode of Hoarders buried alive, the *on wheels* version.  With three kids, two parents, one uncle, ski stuff for everyone, food, clothes, presents, etc. and yes even a suburban with a rocket box on top and we were drowning.  Oh and our speedometer broke.  But don’t worry, there’s an app for that.  However, there was no app to fix our DVD player.  Which also broke.  Sort of.  It would ONLY play Elf and Home Alone.  Parents of the year we are not.  In our defense it was a 9-hour trip.

We had a blast.  And of course I’m going to share an overload of vacation pictures.

Alex skied two full-days.  I skied two full-days.  Henry skied five.  Go figure.  And yes he has officially passed almost all of us up.  He is fast and prefers the bumps.  Did I mention that he is fast?  It scares me to death.  He was however, also very protective of me on the mountain.  “I don’t want anyone to run into you mom.  You’re pregnant so you need to be very aware of other skiers.  Tell you what, I’ll just ski behind you to make sure you are safe.”  That of course lasted for five seconds, but it was the sentiment that I loved.  This also means that I have no pictures of Henry actually skiing.

Charlie and William also put in some quality time on the ski hill courtesy of the magic carpet.  They both love to be on skis and their giggles as they fly down the hill and even when they eventually fall are the best.

We went bowling.  This was a great family activity for all of our kiddos, even the little guys had a blast.  As for scoring I’m pretty sure William was right behind Alex, and Uncle Jimmy might have come in last.  And yes, we used the bumper guards.

And bless my parents hearts.  They still welcome our loud montely crew.  We take over the entire basement and you can be sure that our stuff spills onto the other levels as well.  No matter, they still feed us and genuinely seem to have a good time with the whole crew under one roof.  {It’s 2012 kids, and Pop-pop is reading the Night Before Christmas via iphone…}  And a special shout out to my brothers.  My boys pretty much think they walk on water.


Making room in our hearts.

Mark your calendars, we’ll be welcoming our newest little firecracker this summer.

We are thrilled and overwhelmed, hopeful and prayerful. We have no idea what life will be like with four little ones, but we can’t wait to welcome this sweet bundle into our family.  I do know for certain that there will be plenty of love to go around.

I’m usually pretty quick to spill the beans when a new baby is concerned but this time we’ve kept the news close.  I’m not really sure why, but we’ve had fun gradually sharing the good news with family and friends.  And let me tell you the reactions are priceless when you announce that you are expecting your fourth baby.  I wish I’d recorded half of our conversations or at least had a camera handy.

Even Henry’s reaction was priceless when we showed him an early ultrasound picture.  “Yikes, that looks like a pretty bad infection mom!”

The whole experience has already been so different from my other pregnancies, but one thing has remained constant: we have loved this sweet baby from the beginning.  So yesterday when we saw the baby waving and kicking and wiggling around it finally felt like I could stop holding my breath.

Of course there is the whole reality of things.  There is nothing in me that can picture what it will be like to bring home a baby to an almost four year-old, almost six year-old and eight year-old. Our first three were so close together that we were in full-time baby {survival} mode.  Our hands were full, our hearts overflowing and we were overwhelmed to say the least.  Maybe, just maybe, it will be as peaceful and calm as my dreams?  Or maybe this is just further proof of my craziness?

In the meantime we’re giving thanks for this miracle and making room for this new little soul in our hearts.


You know how sometimes you just need a day to block out the world and circle the wagons?  Sunday morning the little boys and I did just that while Alex and Henry hit the ski slopes.

We had one of those days that practically begs you to make a big ‘ol mess in the kitchen.  It was the perfect recipe of sunshine, jammies, Christmas music, baking and for some added sparkle on top – snow!

I decided it was time to break out of my baking slump and just bake some Christmas cookies already.  And for good measure, and because I just like to do silly things, we also made homemade laundry detergent.

Don’t worry, no cookies were harmed in the process.

Promise you won’t think less of me because of these pictures, OK?  But in my humble opinion, dirty kitchens are somewhat underrated.  Surely they represent the best kind of living.  That catch it while you can, living in and for the moment sort of living.

In my defense, I plan on doing plenty of domestic-y things Monday.  Much needed things like laundry and dishes and vacuuming.  Maybe I’ll even go crazy and make dinner.

Christmas comedy.

If pressed to pick a genre that best describes our days right now I’d pick comedy.  {Maybe a comedy of errors?}

This month we’ve been to Christmas parades, had dinners with friends, watched Christmas programs and even tried our hand at some Christmas crafts.  We’ve even had some seemingly picture-perfect holiday moments, but it’s those *other* moments that have captured a place in my heart.  A spontaneous winter playdate at the park.  That afternoon we ate a few too many candy canes.  The church Christmas program where I had tears streaming down my face because I was laughing so hard at my children’s expressions.  {Henry looked like he was either going to die of pain or really needed to see an eye doctor.}

This has been the sort of December we always try for but usually don’t get.  Typically my festive desire *to do it all* gets the best of me and more often than not I go down in a ball of Christmas flames.

To be honest, this year I don’t even want to think about doing it all, let alone try.  We’ve said no to some pretty great Christmas activities.  Parties.  Projects.  And get this, I have yet to make a single Christmas cookie.

But you know what?  Right smack dab in the middle of all of this low-key nonsense we’ve found what seems like the perfect balance of peace and celebration.  Joy and silliness.  Snuggles and wrestling.

I’m not sure when the perfect amount Christmas magic hit.

Maybe it was somewhere in between sharing cups of cocoa my three favorite kiddos?

Or the evening that Henry announced that “Harmonica starts tomorrow” and William burst into song “dradle, dradle, dradle, I made you out of clay…”  {true story.}

Maybe it was the afternoon I was cursing under my breath while trying to piece together the world’s cheapest gingerbread house.  {Meanwhile, Henry pointed out that it wasn’t very nice of me to speak badly of the gingerbread house our elf Clyde bought for us.  He was certain I’d hurt our little elf’s feelings.}

But seriously you be the judge:

We have since thrown them out because every chance he’d get William would hop onto the kitchen counter and furiously eat the stale frosting and candy.

It might be our stellar decorations?

William has even tested a few new Christmas theories of his own.  The other day we caught him yet again on the kitchen counter.  This time he was opening and eating all of the chocolate from the advent calendar.  Without missing a beat he simply explained that by doing this “Christmas would be coming sooner.”

More than likely it’s our festive ride.  {or should we call it our sleigh?}

Yes, those are antlers and a red nose.  Of course I get funny looks as we drive down the street.  But come on, if that doesn’t scream Christmas cheer then what does?

Let’s thrown in one semi-decent Christmas shot OK? I do have a sliver of pride.  {yes even despite the looks of my car.}

Right now the days feel both long and short. Our house is positively bursting at the seems.  And while it would be easy to feel like we were right on top of each other {again, three boys need s.p.a.c.e.} instead it feels cozy, and just right.  Some days I can almost watch the threads of friendship and brotherhood weaving my boys together as they play and play and play together.

I’m almost certain that a month full of moments like these are a miracle.  I’m pretty sure they’re all I’ve ever wanted.



Before every meal and at bedtime we have established a routine of saying our *thankfuls.*  It is a little bit of goodness that has easily become a favorite part of our day.

William is always the first to rattle off his list, Charlie a close second, Henry waits patiently.  I am so thankful for this glimpse into our youngest child’s heart, because if I’m being honest William can be extremely exhausting and certainly keeps me humble. Just when I think I have him figured out, I make one wrong move and everything is despair and heartbreak. When he is happy, he’s the most fun kiddo around, but when he’s not, he’s really not.

Anyway, this month we’ve tried to focus even more on giving thanks for all of our blessings – big and little.  Giving thanks for good health, happy memories and even challenges.  For our family and friends.  For all of the time we enjoy together.

My thankfuls have been simple for our mealtime and bedtime routine, but there is so much my heart longs to give thanks for.  More often than not I find myself thankful for the silly stuff.  That my little guys are homebodies just like their mother.  Because being at home with my children is such a blessing to me.  It is far from easy, but I am thankful for this time in my life.

I’m continually giving thanks for patience.  Not always for me, but for a very patient God.  For the longest time, I’ve tried to do this thing or that thing, you know, all the stuff all the real *godly* people seem to be doing. I worry that I don’t read the bible enough and worry that my prayers aren’t quite right.  Truth is, I watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, can be quick to judge and swear more than I probably should.  I worry that my little mustard seed of faith is not enough.  And yet the truth is I’ve felt more alive and far more sure of things in the last few weeks than I ever have.  I’m more aware than ever of my un-holiness, yet my faith is somehow stronger.  Even in the midst of uncertainty.

In this season of giving thanks, my prayers have been for God to work a miracle through me, to meet me in my weakness.  That the Lord would give me the peace, calm and clarity that I so desperately needed.

I am so needy for His guidance and strength.  My heart begs for the energy, heart and spirit to be the mother our three little boys need.  I have learned through much trial and mostly error that I alone am not enough.

We are so blessed, even as we are stretched and tired.  Yet this much I know, those moments in time when we are worn thin are sacred.  When we come to the end of ourselves, we begin to understand the strength of our Savior.

I pray that my actions, not just my words show my husband a wife, and my children a mother who lives out a life surrendered so that they may clearly see His face, in this and many seasons to come.

Amazing Charlie.

This is entire post is probably going to sound like I’m bragging.

I am.

But seriously, with all that Charlie has been up to it’s impossible to not be proud.

I don’t even know where to begin.  How about horseback riding?

Charlie has two weeks of hippotherapy lessons under his belt and I can’t even begin to list all of the amazing benefits.  The look of pure pride and joy Charlie wears during his entire lesson is worth it alone.  There are of course some major benefits he is working towards – building core strength, balance, coordination, improvements in speech – honestly the list could go on forever.  Then there are the more subtle perks.  Like watching Henry encourage and cheer his little brother on.  And giving Charlie an activity that is special and fun and HIS.  Sure that might sound nuts, but with brothers like Henry and William, having the spotlight shine on Charlie for an hour or so is a good lesson in balance.

Another unexpected blessing is all the people who are involved in Charlie’s lessons.  There are just 3-5 kiddos per session, but it takes a whole arena full of people to make it happen.  Each person is quite simply amazing and we’ve left each session so encouraged and proud of our little guy.

Charlie drew this jack ‘o lantern un-prompted the other day at school.  AMAZING.  See how proud he is?

Then there is school.  Last week we had our fall conference for Charlie.  We simply can’t say enough about his teacher Mrs. R.  Her love and encouragement for Charlie is overwhelming and in the very best way possible.  She sees Charlie as we do and has taken the time to truly get to know and understand our child.  How he learns, his personality, his sense of humor, his strengths and his weaknesses.  And if you have a child with special needs, you understand that this is nothing short of a miracle.  She has never once taken Charlie at face value, or judged him based on any preconceived notions.  So yes, we think she is amazing.

He did this task unassisted.  It might look easy, but when you consider all of the balancing and fine-motor skills involved you’ll understand Charlie’s pleased as punch smile.

It was so much fun to learn about the work Charlie is doing alongside his *typical* peers.  Mrs. R. also pointed out that Charlie knows himself well.  He innately understands his weaknesses and instead of shying away from challenging work, he naturally seeks out the areas he needs to learn the most.  Speech, letters, words.  Fine motor skills, balancing.  Numbers, counting, value.  Of course he still leaves plenty of time for snack.

In the middle of our meeting Mrs. R. put into words a thought I’ve long been trying to capture.

“There is no doubt that Charlie is a bright little boy, but sometimes his body fails him.”

Oh, how these words are true.  I see it daily as Charlie works so hard to run, keeping up with his peers.  Or when he is trying to say something to me – I can practically see the word in his mind, but he just can’t get it to his mouth.  And as much as this breaks my heart, I am once again blown away by the endurance and strength and determination of my child.

counting after lunch…

Always, Charlie you amaze me.

And we never stop being amazed by the ways God brings people into our lives, wherever our journey takes us.  I can assure you that we can’t stop giving thanks to those who have chosen to walk alongside us as we raise up our little ones.

I get it now.

Almost eleven years into marriage and after seven years as a parent I’m just beginning to get it.   Those tough questions my parents asked me as a child and young adult.  The boundaries they established out of love.

Growing up my mom and dad were both involved and interested in even the tiny details of our lives.  Mom was our constant comfort, Dad would encourage and challenge.  We were loved and grew and thrived within their firm boundaries.  Mom took care of the daily details guiding us along, while Dad seemed to take on more specific tasks.   He was the one who would ask us the hard questions, would tell us no when we pushed too far and was the one who had great plans for us as we grew.  Certainly life never goes as planned, yet together their quiet love, faith and guidance established a foundation I’m just beginning to comprehend.

Of course I still have plenty to learn.  But Dad, I’m beginning to understand.  We are so alike,  you probably already know this.

I love you dad.

And Alex. You are such a wonderful dad.  There is no doubt that you are the fun one and I’m OK with that.  Our boys are blessed to have a dad that is always up for a game of catch, basketball, a bike ride, round of golf or just one more kiss and hug before bed.  You’ve always been hard on yourself as you father our children, but I love that you care that much about them.  I’m so glad that you are by my side as we raise-up our three boys.

Happy Father’s Day.

Am I walking the walk?

I’ve been asking myself some hard questions lately about who I am as a wife and as a mother. Questions along the lines of;  Am I actually living the life I proclaim I’m living?  Of course this sounds super dramatic, so let me try to explain.  It’s one thing to be proclaiming words of love! and joy! and compassion! and patience!  But really, if I’m not living them out daily then what is the point?

Here’s the crux of the whole thing.  I’ve found that as I’ve become more and more intentional in my parenting, I am indeed walking the very same walk I’m talking.  Love, joy, compassion and yes, even patience are alive and thriving in our home.  However, {and this is humbling} it is in my marriage that I find myself talking far more than walking.  I wonder if this is a common mistake parents of young children often find themselves making?  Maybe it’s just me that finds herself pulling it all together for the little ones only to fall apart for Alex when the nitty-gritty of life begins to add up?  I know that my marriage is to come first and that my children will benefit – no thrive – as a result, yet sometimes this balancing act is tricky.

I suppose this reminder to myself was overdue.  But here it is anyway.  A reminder to be intentional and purposeful and kind and patient and joyful in all of my roles.  Even when life is hard. And crazy.  {And when isn’t it?}

To walk the walk.


I’ve come across some amazing reads lately, the words are still with me.


I highly recommend this article.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all.

And this one too.  Both are very different, but for some reason they helped to get my head on straight.


{thankful for:}

18. peonies.  for the entire month of may we have an abundance of these beautiful blossoms in our yard.  they are a blessing to enjoy and share.


19.  His grace.  I can literally feel Him covering me and filling in the gaps as I mother my children.

20. Alex.  this goes without saying.

21.  simple everyday moments.  {yes, I took in another sad looking plant.  it’s my thing.}

22.  toys strewn about the house, signs of little ones living and thriving.

23.  birthdays.  what a blessing and treat to be celebrated by family and friends.

24.  birthday presents.  looking forward to family bike rides, adding a basket and maybe a baby seat on the back for William or Charlie?

25.  a much needed morning at home putting away laundry, weeding, and not rushing.

26.  art.  even art that only lasts minutes.  it’s always worth it.

27.  baseball season is over.  henry every moment of his little league season and we loved cheering him on but its also very nice to have our evenings back.

there is always much to be thankful for isn’t there?