Friday, December 28, 2012

bottled joy

I know that Christmas is not about the presents. 
I think that I do a fairly good job at teaching my children the same...
that Christmas is about Christ, 
that true gifts are those of love,
both on the giving and receiving end.
When I asked Kieran to draw a card for his teacher for Christmas, I fully expected to see a tree with ornaments, presents abound and Santa on his sleigh.
Rushing out the door for school as usual, I was stopped in my tracks and was filled with pride that Kieran had not chosen to draw any of the sort.
There, on the white computer paper he had written: "Dear Mrs. B, I hope you have a happy break".
On the inside in his very best attempt (art is not his favorite activity, but this was the best of his best),
a manger scene.
I'm not sure why it is, but there are times when I've felt guilty in a way, by extending Christmas in giving it a dual meaning...meaning Jesus and Santa Claus.
Am I confusing them?
Am I diluting the true reason by taking away from Jesus and giving in to Santa?
To some, maybe.
And then I think, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus"!
I find delight in his reaction 

to receiving ski poles.
Those are the poles that will be with him as he flies down the mountain alongside his daddy and his papa.
I find excitement in hers
as this is the bike
that she will learn to ride alongside her brother and daddy (I don't have one ;)).
I find myself filled with great anticipation
that she will continue to develop her love and appreciation for music for it has been a large part of my life thanks to my mom and dad.
It's the time that we spend with family
whether it's your husband cooking with his father (who never cooks and joined in alongside his son to learn something new),
or your mother-in-law
having a "conversation" with her grandbaby,
that matters.
It's the photo with your phone that didn't come out so great
but is a cherished memory because it's the only picture you have of yourself with your mom and dad and (almost) all of your kids since the baby went to bed to say, "I was here".
It's the funny times that you want to remember, 
like when your two year old is obsessed with her new puffer jacket and her big sister's bike and helmet
that she just can't
get enough.
It's the tradition of eating apple pancakes,
because it's that fattening that you only eat it once a year.
It's the thrill of the light strip that Daddy mounted under the bed,

that prompted her to model some of her favorite colors and makes you smile.
My guilt melts away as I believe in my heart that it's not about the material items themselves so much as it is the time that was spent and will be spent laughing, dancing, cooking, eating, skiing, biking, talking, just being...together.
And if it means a visit to him...
along with a manger scene for Him,
so be it. 
I will have bottled the joy that is Christmas to live it all year long.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

before you turn 3 months...

My sweet boy,
before you turn 3 months, I needed to post your 2 month pictures:

 Oh, how you melt my heart!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2 months, 2 years {liam & tatum}

My little loves,
life has its way of quickly stealing time. I've not been looking through the lens very much lately and I ache to do so, to capture the sweet babes that you are.
Just when I think I have a moment to steal back, I am distracted and so goes my individual praises to each of you. They will come, but before I forget...
You are two months and in those two months are packed smiles at 1 month 6 days old. In those two months, are the small coos as if to say, "Hello, Mommy", "Hello, Daddy", "It's nice to meet you!". 
Yes, two months of growth and oh, my you have grown.
You are 15 lbs 4 oz, the 97th percentile to be exact, and 23 inches, placing you at the 62nd percentile. You are bigger than any of your siblings at this age.
No matter that you are the fourth in order, I have a feeling that you may be the stronghold to lift your siblings through times of sorrow and celebrate in times of great joy.
You are alert to the world around you, there is a vibrancy about you that fills up the room.
You were destined to be a part of our family and I am in awe that I was called to be your mother.
You are two years and in those two years are sweet giggles, lips that strand small sentences together by saying, "I love you, Mommy". "I love you, Daddy", "See you later!"
Yes, two years of growth, and oh, how you too, have grown.
Perhaps not too much in stature as you fall in the 11th percentile for height and the 25th percentile for weight at under 25 lbs. 
You are wearing 18 month clothing, though we put you in 24 rolled.
Just one year ago, you had a scare that had us uncertain that you might lose your vision in one eye forever.
God must give us what He knows we can handle. Quite honestly, I don't think it was us who handled that experience, it was you. What we as adults can learn from the heart and strength of a child is mind boggling.
You, my sweet girl, who loves to sing every song she can think of, who loves to count to 30, tell me all of her numbers, colors and shapes. You, my sweet girl, who loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, quesadillas and baby dolls.
You my sweet daughter, are a vision of light, of beauty, of love.
2 months, 2 years...
of the most amazing beings that I will ever come to know and love in my lifetime.

Monday, November 26, 2012

family is everything

We're not often all together, but when we are it's a room full of laughter, good conversations and time well spent.
To give remember that it's not about what we do not have, because when you have family, you have

Monday, November 19, 2012

i choose them

It's easy to get frustrated when the house is messier than messy, dishes in the sink, laundry piles a mile high, an entire cup of milk poured on to the hardwood floor by the 2 year old toddler because she wanted to see what would happen.
And then, when they are laughing hysterically, wrestling on the floor and they ask me to take a picture, 
it all fades away. The frustration is gone...
because I realize that someday, all four of them will be grown and on their own.
Sure, I'd like there to be less clutter, and have everything in its place, but if it means less time spent with them, then all of that no longer matters.
I choose them.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

one month

If I have said it before, I've said it a thousand times, maybe more...
where does the time go?
My, oh my, how you have grown!
At birth, you weighed 9 pounds, 1 ounce.
At 1 week, you weighed 9 pounds, 5 ounces.
At 2 weeks, you weighed 10 pounds, 5 ounces.
And at 5 weeks, you weighed in at a very healthy 13 pounds, 3 ounces.
You have certainly beat the record compared to your siblings!
You, my little tank, are in the 97%ile for weight, 95th percentile for height, and 92%ile for head circumference.
 are a very big boy!
You are and have been extremely alert since birth.
I am so excited each and every day to wake up to this face...
as it is truly, a little slice of heaven!
One month of kisses, hugs, staring, snuggling, and loving you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

happy birthday, dear liam

Dear Liam,
I sit here, a month into your beautiful life and I am speechless. Not because you are the fourth child, and certainly not because when your sister Tatum was born I had said that our family of five was complete. 
You see, I may have said that, but God had other plans for me, for your daddy, Kieran, Anna, and Tatum.
God had other plans for us...
He had plans...
Nevermind many of the pictures are out of focus and rushed, the night of your birth happened so quickly, we were lucky to capture anything at all!
Your birth story begins on the morning of September 30. I began feeling contractions, but they were very far apart. Breathing through them throughout the day, I spoke to people on the phone (namely your Auntie who was scheduled for her c-section with your cousin Noah, just four days later), mopped the floor, and even flat ironed my hair...
I had to look semi-decent for your arrival!
Now the evening, I made every attempt to keep things as normal as possible for your big sister, Tatum. I didn't want her to get upset that I was leaving so I breathed through the contractions while I put everyone to bed.
Your grandma Linda arrived from a 4 hour drive away to take care of Kieran, Anna, and Tatum with just minutes to spare. 
I had planned on my friend Melissa taking pictures like she did for your big sister, Tatum, but I hadn't anticipated how quickly you were coming. 

  I called Dr. W and told her that my contractions were very close together, so close that in a minute long conversation, I had to breathe through 30 seconds of it.
Off we went, me, my mom (your nonna), and your daddy. 
I made it from the front door...
to the park bench just outside. 
I had to sit down because my contractions were fierce and I mean fierce.
I ran as quickly as I could to the car and grabbed your daddy's shoulder as he drove. I think I may have left an imprint because I was squeezing him so tight.
We arrived at the hospital at 9:10pm. I ran across the courtyard from the parking lot to the front doors of labor and delivery, and made it to my next park bench.
With three births before you, never did I have to sit, I had always walked in, but man oh man, you were coming! The security guard helped us to get a wheel chair and up we went.
I dressed in my gown, signed paper after hospital paper, all the while breathing...
The nurses checked to see the progression of your soon-to-be arrival. I was dilated 9cm. 9cm? I may or may not have sworn, simply because I was shocked! I had only made it to 4cm with your siblings, never did I expect to hear the nurses tell me that I was near ready to bring you into this world. The nurses told me that I had come this far, they thought that I could make it through without an epidural if I wanted. Then, the panic, for just a moment, but still, panic. Tears flooded my eyes (and your nonna tells me your daddy's, too...let's just say he was sitting down at this point) and I asked for the epidural. The anesthesiologist came running and had told me that there was no guarantee that I would feel any relief as you were arriving very, very, soon. "That's okay", I said. "Just enough to take the edge off."
Dr. W arrived and let me know that it was a good thing that we came when we did! 
It was time to bring you into the world.
9:10 pm, we arrived.
you did.
You arrived, my sweet Liam. 
Just as in my dreams when I held you and saw you, 
so did you in our living world look just as I had envisioned.
Dark hair, and oh, so handsome. 
My big boy, all 9 pounds 1 ounce of you (a shock as your siblings were 7 pounds, 8 at most)!
At long last...
in our arms.
Thankful to Dr. W, and our nurses,

 and for our pediatrician, Dr. N...
 and thankful that my mother was able to be with me to give me strength (she says I held her hand, but I don't remember that part)!
I will never forget the quiet,
 the calm,
that it was to hold you, gaze at you as you were so neatly swaddled in your bassinet. Soon, it would become a daily party in a little house as a family of six.
Kieran and Anna were thrilled to visit you...

 especially Kieran as he's been longing for your companionship for quite some time. He loves his sisters  to the moon and back, but I've never seen a boy quite as proud as him.
Tatum didn't come to the hospital because we were worried she'd become emotional when she had to leave me. I wasn't worried for even a minute at home...
as she has welcomed you from the moment you were carried in the door.
Your Nonno, usually nervous and sometimes with a look of discomfort when he holds tiny newborns, was as content as I'd ever seen him. "Now this is my kind of baby", he said as he held you for a good while.
Who'd have thought that it would be over 100 degrees a day shy of October? The view from my room was magnificent as we prepared to bring you home.
This, my last stay,

my last car ride home with a newborn.
My last welcome home sign
my last baby balloons.
Visitors abound from my childhood and lifelong friend, Amanda,
 to my friend and coworker, Melissa,


I will miss this view...

 for it is bittersweet, but the view that God has now bestowed upon us...
 is as sweet as they come.
I love you, my sweet Liam and I thank God every day that he has blessed us with the beautiful boy that you are.
My cup runneth over.

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