Monday, December 30, 2013

hit the road croup {15 months}

Sweet boy, thank goodness you missed the stomach flu that everyone else had! It wasn't completely in the cards for you not to get something, so you (like your brother and sisters all had when they were babies) got a nasty bout of croup.
This face...
just about sums it all up.
Hit the road croup, and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more! Hit the road croup, and don't you come back no more!
Anna saw this picture and asked why you weren't smiling since you always do. It's a rare occasion that you aren't, you really are a happy little soul.
Today, you turned 15 months old. You are a full fledged walker and are trying your hand at the next speed, "the walk run". I cautiously follow you trying to prevent any major rough and tumble to the pavement.
Your verbal vocabulary is still small, saying "mama" and "da", but you understand so much! You shake your head no, blow us kisses, give us hugs and pats on the back. When we ask you to turn around as you approach the stairs, you lower yourself and ever so carefully reverse yourself knee, hand, knee, hand to the bottom. You initiate peek-a-boo, and giggle up a storm. I've taught you how to sign a few things and you can tell me when you are hungry, thirsty, want more, are all done, or tired.
You love baths and brushing your teeth and you cannot stand it when others are eating and you are not. You could have already eaten lunch, but if someone else has something to eat, you want it! Thank goodness, you are still a phenomenal eater. Can you keep it that way? I'm 1 out of 4!
No evidence of you thinning out yet like the others. You are just a big boy and I love that about you! We just bought you your first pair of shoes and you are only a 1/2 size smaller in shoe than Tatum. You are 15 months, she is 3. That is just plain funny. Your brother at your exact age wore a 4W. You wear a 6W. Did I say that you are a big boy?
I've yet to give you a haircut, though you really are in need. The first cut is always the most emotional. The day when you look less like a baby.
I have fully weaned you, so if I seem a bit emotional, it's because I am.
Baby steps for Mommy. I'm not ready for you to be so grown up!
We enjoy you so much, sweet Liam, all fifteen months of you.
Thanks for being you.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

just a few favorites {christmas 2013}

Dear Family,
I have not taken a lot of pictures this Christmas vacation. Most of us have been sick with the flu. I'm hoping that everyone will make a full recovery shortly, as the break has been spent homebound and I at least want to ring in the New Year in better style!
Just  a few favorites is all I've got, but they each have a special place in my heart...
like Tatum seeing her Elsa doll from Santa,
 she walks around with her constantly and sings "Let it Go"  
right on key, so sweet!

Like Anna....
so thrilled that Santa followed through in granting her one request of a giant bean bag.

 Like Cousin Johnny (and God father to Liam)...
giving Liam his Christmas present. These two love each other!

 Like Uncle Joe and Kevin's amazing decorations...
this is only a small fraction!

Like our semi-annual family Christmas photo... 
the crazy one, of course.
 We were missing my mom, sister, niece, cousin and her husband, 
but they were there in spirit!
Shortly thereafter, more of us took the Christmas flu hit (hopefully not Auntie Mary and Catherine while in Paris!).

Just a few favorites from this Christmas,
but I am ever so thankful, ever so blessed, that these favorites were spent with a family that loves each other and who I call mine.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas! {love, erik, kristin, kieran, anna, tatum & liam}

For a child has been born for us,
    a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
    and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Monday, December 9, 2013

it's the simple things...

It's the simple things that bring joy to a 3 year old, like helping Nonno and Nonna to pick out a Christmas tree. 

It's the simple things that remind me of the important things in life: God, my husband, my family and my friends.
Christmas time reminds me to slow down and remember the true meaning and spirit of the season.

'Tis the gift to be loving, tis the best gift of all
Like a quiet rain it blesses where it falls
And with it we will truly believe
'Tis better to give than it is to receive
{Simple Gifts}

To be loving...
it really is the best gift of all.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

before i forget...{14 months}

14 months.
How is that possible?
Before I forget, before everything fades...
you started taking steps last month. This past Monday, you began walking full time.
You'll crawl occasionally to get somewhere fast, but for the most part, you are less of a baby and more of a boy!
We've heard you say d-d-da for Daddy and only over the weekend and today do I think that I may have heard you say mama! That's exciting stuff around here!
I sent Daddy to Costco for diapers and should have told him to buy size 4. I don't know what either of us were thinking, but we're shoving you into them for the next few weeks...sorry big dude.
You are cutting another tooth which will officially make 7.
You eat EVERYTHING. I think you ate enough Thanksgiving for you and your siblings.
You are one pound lighter than Tatum...she's 3.
Okay, I'll give you a break, she is petite and doesn't eat a whole lot, but you are big. Really big.
What's biggest though, is your heart...
and it melts mine daily.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

spring in our step

I loved our sweet little house... 
 I still miss it. We visited the new owners not too long ago and when we got out of the car, Tatum said, "Oh! We're home!" It made me a little teary eyed, I felt as though I had taken something away from her  that she had loved and never bothered to give it back. I have so many memories in our sweet little house that I am ever so thankful I found my love for photography and documented so many of them. Those memories are ours forever.
I'm also ever so thankful for my sweet husband, Erik. He worked so hard to make our little house a home. We had more to accomplish there to make it what we wanted, but we just grew too big to keep it. I am so thankful for the sweet family that lives there now as they are treating it with such love and care and it looks adorable. I know that they will continue to bring love and happiness there and make changes to the house itself that will bring it new life.
As for us, our new home is so different. It's bigger, has quirks that we knew about and others we are uncovering. Some, just small issues, others eerily similar to the time we had to zip wall the house. Somehow, water does not like us. I stop there though, because we've hit our limit of three and that's that universe!
There's much to change decoratively, but that comes with time. As of now, Erik is once again working endlessly, tirelessly, day in and day out to give us the backyard that we never had in our sweet little house.  It was just a small patio. It worked when Kieran and Anna were really little, but as they grew, there was only so much sidewalk chalk I could convince them to play as I feverishly cleaned the house.
We have beautiful parks where we live, and we frequent them, but there were those days that I longed to send them outside if I was too tired or couldn't join them just then and say, "Have fun! Go play!" and have it last more than twenty minutes.
Our little dream of a backyard is becoming a reality. I say dream because I don't take for granted, not for a second, the hard-earned money, time, effort and love that Erik has given that has brought us to this point. 
Enter the in-ground trampoline.
 Even for
the big kids.
There's no fence to the yard right now, so it's a little strange with people walking on the trail and seeing into our yard. Thankfully, it's only for another couple of days. Until then, if they were looking in, they would have seen a group of siblings (sorry, Liam, you were eating in the high chair at the time of these pictures) giggling and jumping with pure glee with their daddy.
You would have seen a little girl learning that along with her new home, 
comes new memories and comfort as we settle in.
You would have seen,
that love lives here too, and that's all that really matters.

Monday, November 11, 2013

3 years ago... {happy birthday, dear tatum}

Dear Tatum,
I'm having a hard time finding the right words this morning to write you your birthday letter.
I think it's because I'm in total awe over the fact that you took your very first breath, 
three years ago today.
I've said it before, but I'll say it again. In that moment when you took your first breath,
you took mine away.
You were more beautiful than I could fathom.
I had prayed for you,
waited for you,
and you were finally ours.
 It's hard to believe that you went from this...

to this,

to this.
You are your own girl. You are quiet when you choose to be or you could talk my ear off all day.
You love, love, love, to read.
Your favorite show a year later is still Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
You eat pancakes and quesadillas and drinkable yogurt...maybe this will be your year to finally eat?
You are my pixie girl, not much bigger from the year before, but you have grown by leaps and bounds in personality.
You are so incredibly loving. You always have care and concern for Kieran, Anna and Liam.
You are usually my shadow, but have your sweet moments with daddy.
You recognize the beauty in even the smallest things, the things that others might otherwise take for granted.
Daddy and I are ever so blessed to call you our daughter, our sweet Tatum Frances.
Our lives are richer, fuller and more joyous because of you.
I love you Tates. Happy 3rd birthday!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

i heart faces {pets}

I never enter many things, but when it comes to photography and when i heart faces announced a pet photo challenge, I knew I had to enter this one:
hands down.
I think it might be one of my all time favorites, especially the story that goes along with it.
Here's to furry pets, and ones that pretend they are pets, too! ;)

Photo Challenge Submission

Saturday, November 2, 2013

goodbye, halloween

Growing up, I loved Halloween.
Somewhere my mom has pictures of me as Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan and as a self-invented blue conehead martian.
Can't quite put my finger on it, but it's not my favorite holiday as an adult. 
I can't remember the last time I dressed up, it's been a while. I really don't love all the candy, well, actually I do and that's the problem!
Erik wondered where the candy went. I seriously mowed it all down. Yuck.
I can't say I love the battles of a 7 year old boy wearing or not wearing his costume at the parade.
He feared that he would be made fun of and wiped off the awesome beard I drew, but at least Captain Jack Sparrow made his appearance. And, wouldn't you know, just like last year, he had a great time!
That said, I loved the heart of his expression...
the child in him that I hope remains forever.
I loved the excitement in her voice when she said, "Next house, Mommy, Next house!"
I loved the pitter patter of her little feet as they hit the pavement 

 with intense desire to keep up with her siblings.
I loved that even when her big sister has moments where she's not always nice,
 there's more moments like these where I ask to take their picture and their sisterly love radiates. 
It truly melts my heart.
I loved that this big sister made sure to include her tired baby brother as he had no choice but to ride from house to house wondering what was going on.
I loved his cute glow in the dark skeleton jammies.
No, I can't say that I'm sad to see Halloween go.
My very favorite holidays are ahead.
Gratitude, love and joy await us as Thanksgiving and Christmas draw near.
Time to pack it up,
and call it a day.
Still, I realize that there will come a time where trick-or-treating will come to a screeching halt. There won't be anymore elementary school parades (not until I'm a grandma anyway), or Halloween art projects. 
It may not be my favorite holiday, 
but I loved that Erik and I got to spend it with them.
I loved sharing in their playfulness, silliness, and fun. I can only imagine that that is what it was like for my mom watching me paint my face blue, strap on rainbow suspenders and put on some boxer shorts in my conehead glory. 
No, this holiday is not at the top of my list, but making memories with my family, now that's number one.
Goodbye, Halloween,
see you next year!

Friday, October 25, 2013

do what weezie says... {a baby boy and his rabbit}

Someone left Dreyfuss' cage open, along with the baby gate.
I could have freaked out.
I could have let the fact that I was completely grossed out take over the moment.
Or, I could do what Weezie (my daycare provider/kids 3rd "grandma") says and quickly grab the camera.
So I did.
"Why wouldn't I crawl in and hang out with Dreyfuss?", the baby boy asked.
"You should really try this some time, it's kinda fun!", exclaimed the baby boy.
"I love this kid, but I'm making my escape while I can!", shouted the rabbit.
 "Hey, where are you going?", wondered the baby boy.
And with that, the baby boy followed his furry four legged, thirteen year old rabbit friend out of the cage. 
Meanwhile, their mama learned that life's moments may not always be clean,
but they are a click away from missing.  
This one,
was priceless.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

sweet dreams...

It's what happens sometimes when I'm running around trying to do different things for different littles. Most of the time I'm spot on with their schedules and doing the nightly routine.
Sleep is so important, that I think I ought to take my own advice and get more of it. I am always sure to see to it that they are well-rested.
Then there's days like today, that just happen and I quietly click away before taking them up to bed.
There is something so sweet about a sleeping baby, even on the couch or in the high chair. 
Yes, today was one of those days, but just like my parents said to me every night, so do I say to all four of them.

Sweet dreams,
Happy face in the morning, 

I love you sweet sleeping babes.

Monday, October 7, 2013

on a sunday afternoon...

Feeling ever so blessed,
to be able to pick up and go to the zoo for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy each other's company.
We've been countless times, but we always marvel at the greatness of these animals.
We watch them with great respect and know that we are guests to them.
My personal favorite are the gibbons, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the elephants.
Cousin Gina and her husband Jeff are the elephant keepers and they work fiercely and lovingly day in and day out to bring awareness and education on the plight of elephants and the ivory trade.
Gina is passionate about her job, the "ele's", elephants around the world, and of all animals. You can read more from Gina here and also how you can help elephants here and here.

photo credit: Oakland Zoo

photo credit: Stephen Woo

Each time we go to the zoo, we make a point to try and see Gina. Kieran had me text her today, but we missed her! 
We are lucky to have Gina as a cousin and the elephants are lucky to have someone as passionate as she is, in preserving their beautiful lives.
We love you, Gina!

Monday, September 30, 2013

30 days hath september {happy first birthday, liam}

30 days hath september,
and oh,
where have the days gone?
I picked you up out of your crib this morning and sang you happy birthday. 
Without warning, my voice cracked, my throat choked up, and the tears slowly streamed down my face.
My baby, my sweet, sweet, baby, you have turned one today. 
You went from this...
 a standing, into everything, stuffed animal loving, giggling, happy, happy boy!
Tell me, where oh where
did the time go?
I will find out on Thursday how much you weigh and how tall you are,
but what I can say about you right now is that you are the most happy,
loving boy.
You love your siblings and your daddy,
you are inquisitive in every sense of the word.
It doesn't take much to make you smile,
and I can tell that you are thinking about how this big world works every minute
of every day.
You are a jokester...
and a romantic,
rolled up into one.
Every day I ask you for my kiss and you say, "mmm" and attempt to give me your most slobbery of slobbery baby kisses.
We think that you say mama and dada and you definitely wave hello.
You eat everything in sight, I actually don't know where you put it because you often eat a total of what Kieran, Anna and Tatum eat combined!
Each of them compete for your attention, each of them have a unique relationship with you.
They love you fiercely.
You, like your siblings, are a mama's boy, but when you are in my arms and reach for your daddy, your love is overflowing and evident.
You are still crawling, but scaling walls and couches and you often stand on your own without even realizing it. You clap your hands, play peek a boo, blow your food when it's hot.
You hug us tight and we know that you are telling us how much you love us.
I am in awe of your love, in awe that God chose us to be your parents.
You are an amazing baby, an amazing one year old boy.
I promise to love you with all my heart, and all my might.
I am sad that your baby days have moved into toddlerhood, 
but my heart bursts at the seams thinking of the child that you are and the man that you will become.
You are such a special human being.
A blessed soul.
Happy 1st Birthday, my sweet baby.
30 days hath September, plus three hundred and thirty five more,
and oh,
how I have savored every moment.
With Love,

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