Friday, January 28, 2011

Wait, Mom, look at me!

Just yesterday Landen was performing his "bring a chair to wherever I need to get into something I'm not supposed to" scheme and looking cute doing it, so I whipped out the new camera to get a few cute pictures of it. 
After getting one picture, Braeden immediately noticed the flash...

Braeden: Wait, Mom, look at this!  I'm silly.  Take a picture of this, too!
Me: Sure, Buddy!  Ok, I'm going to take one of Landen again.

Braeden:  Ok, Mom.  Look at my mouth.  Look, take a picture of this!

Me:  You are silly, Braeden!  {click} ... Landen, smile for the camera!

Braeden:  Wait, Mom, this is better.   Look how STRONG I am!  Can you take my picture?
Me:  You ARE strong, Braeden!  Good job! Ok, Landen, give me your googly eyes!

Mooommm!!  Look at ME!!
Poor Braeden.  He just wanted a little of his own attention with the camera.  To know that I wanted to just have a photo shoot with him.  Mental parenting note:  ask Braeden ONLY to pose for me sometime soon.

But first, I caught Landen (though it's a little hard to see in the picture) jumping while getting BOTH feet off of the ground!  And for this little almost-two-year-old, that's a big deal!
Ok, I can do it!




Yep, I did it.  Did you see that
 And then there's this girl.  My sweet, girly-girl, Emerson, is going to try her hand at sports.  Wednesday night was her first night of soccer practice!  She is now a proud member of the Blue Monsters team with her best buddy, Kendall. 
(Sorry for the shadow there.  I'll point out again, I'm no photographer!)

But she's sure darn cute!
And lastly, my friend, Shelly, taught me a trick to put collages in blogs, so I thought I'd try it out with a few pictures Jon took the other night.  I'm learning all sorts of new things about blogger lately!  Anyway, it's a fun new trick!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Because I love him...

"Live with your wives in an understanding way... and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life."  -- 1 Peter 3:7

This verse is talking to husbands about their wives, but it's also talking to me.


I want to honor Jon.  Esteem him.  Respect him.

And why not?

Life is hard, for starters.  We're all full of imperfections in our personalities.  And living with someone takes work.  A lot of work.  Throw some kids into the mix and busy schedules and tensions can rise.  It's easy to fall into a pattern of being defensive with our spouses because we are most vulnerable to them, aren't we?  They, of all people, know the most about us, therefore giving them an arsenal of weapons to hurt us with.  Right?  It's hard to honor that!

I jump to this extreme in relationships because it's somewhat of an idea how Jon and I began.  Our start was a little rocky (which is another story for another day.  A long story).  And because I've known relationships get to this point and have seen divorce as a result.

I am so thankful to say, though, that Jon and I stuck together through some of those rough times.  It was sometimes really hard.  And sometimes really easy, too, but because we've been through some big things in life (in our small span of 8 1/2 years of marriage) we've really grown together, seen our relationship change and grow...

A loving marriage is a choice.  This is important.  It's not something you can base upon feelings or butterflies in your stomach or that honeymoon phase when it seems the other is perfect and can do no wrong.  Reality will come and there will be stretches where those feelings will go away and you have to CHOOSE to love your spouse.

And so I choose to love Jon.  And he chooses to love me.  Which sounds so dreary and unromantic and unadventurous.  But you know what those choices brought?  Even when it was hard to make those choices?  I'll tell you from my side:

Jon has chosen to clean the kitchen for me because he knows I love a clean kitchen.
To bring flowers for no reason or when I'm having a bad day.

He's chosen to look past and forgive my sometimes snarky remarks to him when I'm stressed out.

To help me put our kids to bed every night (giving us some super sweet memories and moments).

To call me and ask me how my day is going.

To plan dates for us.

To give me a hug or a kiss for no reason.

To fold laundry without being asked.

To lovingly confront me when he feels I could be doing something better.

To give me nights off to enjoy a bubble bath and a book.

To clean the hamster cage several times a week without one complaint.

To jump in and help me make dinner after a busy afternoon of soccer practice and ballet lessons.

He serves me.

And these choices, as mundane as they may sound, set the stage for something absolutely romantic.  Something fun.  And in return makes me want to love and honor and serve him - and do something exciting for him! 

And I do.  I love him.  I respect him.  I long to esteem him.  He does so much for our family.  He works hard.  He seeks out ways to show us his love every single day.
I look up to him and I'm so thankful that he leads our family. 

I love you, Jon Kelly.  I'm so glad you make the choice to love me unconditionally, too!  I'm so glad we're in this together!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fun Uncle Ryan and Aunt Katie

Ryan, my brother-in-law, has expressed to me several times that he wants to be the fun uncle (besides that he is the only uncle right now, but that's besides the point).  And to prove this to me and my kiddos, he has tickled them until their red, taught them the "rock on" hand sign, and offered to go play with them, separating himself from the adults, just to get some quality play time in (usually getting them nice and hyper just before he leaves!) among other things.  And just to give me a heart attack prove to me just how much fun he wants them to have with him, he once put them in a sleeping back, holding onto the open end, and swung them around himself in circles. Good time for all (and no one, miraculously, went to the ER!).

Well, after the kids have been literally asking for a few weeks when Aunt Katie and Uncle Ryan were going to come visit them, they finally came!  They, along with my parents, were going to a basketball game and came before and after the game to visit.  Grandma and Grandpa brought presents, Aunt Katie colored with Emerson, and Ryan held the kids upside down for a while.  It was a great day - keeping up their expectations as fun Aunt Katie and Uncle Ryan!  It was a great day!


(P.S.  I'm not sure why I didn't end up with any pictures of Katie and Ryan with the boys, but believe me when I say they had their share of giggling with them!  Oh, well, I guess since I gypped Emerson of pictures in the last few posts, it was her turn to be in the spotlight, anyway, right?!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bedtime memories...

Aww, as I am revising my blog, I ran across this old post.  What a sweet memory!

A New Cannon

Recently I've been complaining to Jon that our camera stinks!  The pictures are dim and dull and most of the time they're fuzzy.  Matter of fact, and it's the truth, my camera on my phone took better pictures.  This got Jon all excited since he used to be a photography buff and so he went to work searching out the perfect new camera.  And this is what he found.

Canon EOS Rebel T1i 15.1 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3-Inch LCD and EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens

I won't pretend to know all the cool things it does, but I do know it's cool!  Jon was going on and on last night (while I strained to follow and understand this new language he was speaking) about all it can do.

So I'm excited to share some pictures on here in the future as I read the manual (which, so far, is very user friendly) and figure out what I'm doing.

But for now, here are the first three pictures I took with the camera (unfortunately Emerson is not included since she was already at school, but it's likely she'll have her own photo shoot when she gets home!).  They were taken on the automatic setting, so it's absolutely nothing fancy, but oh what a difference from the old camera!  I'm so excited!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Time is slipping away...

I've been reading a new blog recently called the AfterBelly.  She posted recently about how important it is to enjoy your kids.  Sounds obvious, doesn't it?  But when I get into the routine of day-to-day life of taking them to and from school, doing laundry, making dinner, cleaning, and breaking up fights between my kids coupled with a few bad days of major tantrums and lots of defiance, it's easy to forget to do that - enjoy them!  The way my friend phased  it was that "today is a page of my kids' childhood... written moment by moment... whether by laughter or tears."   And these days are slipping away so fast!  I'm not sure why, but it just hit me like a ton of bricks! 

Don't get me wrong, I play with my kids.  I laugh and have fun with my kids, but I want to re-awaken my senses to breathe them in. To remember to take note of their innocence and wonder of the world while they're only 6, 4, and 1!  Oh, it's going so fast!

So, today I made the decision to be more intentional with my time with them today.  

And then I decided to buy a calendar for each of the kids' rooms to notate our special time each day, whether it's special time that we get in their Bibles, or how we had a chance to serve someone that day, or a surprise trip to the dollar store (kind of silly, but they love picking something out at the dollar store!), or a movie we watched together... anything!

It's a motivator for me to make more purposeful, sweet time for my kids so they have something to write on their calendar!  And, of course, it's fun for them to cross off the days and think of something to write on their special calendars for that day.  It's a win-win for all! 

So today, the kids wrote "swimming and pizza for dinner."  Both were last minute decisions.  I usually would have avoided taking them swimming without Jon (because three kids who don't know how to swim is a lot of work!).   But I'm glad I took the chance.  We all had SO much fun! 

Some recent Braeden-isms

Sure, Braeden is my strong-willed child (isn't that the newest label for HARD and defiant and stubborn?).  But while he can be a tough kid sometimes, he sure is creative and boy, can he be funny!  Here are a few "Braeden-isms" I've posted recently on my facebook page.
 Braeden just told us a long story about how his bum caught on fire at school today and the firemen had to come rescue him and then finished by saying, "But don't ask my teacher! You can't ask my teacher about it!"
 So this morning Braeden informed us that he was a wishing fairy who will grant wishes in four days, he lives in outer space, just past heaven, with the tooth fairy (Landen) in a snow fort where he fights away the polar bears. He lives such an interesting life! :)
After school the other day -
Me: Braeden, how was preschool today?!
Braeden: It was good, but I didn't get to play with Eyelash.
Me: You didn't get to play with Eyelash?
Braeden: She wasn't at school today and I wanted to play with her.
...I realized he was talking about his friend Ashlyn! (I've been told Braeden and Ashlyn are pretty inseparable. Glad he and "Eyelash" get along so well together! :) )
Family fun night tonight! Dinner out and slumber party in the living room. And according to Braeden we can have treats together like vegetables or lollipops or something. :)
Just now, Braeden took his Bible out of his room before I put Landen down for a nap (they share a room) and Braeden said, "Mom, I had to grab this Bible first because it tells me how to be respectable and not hit." I love my four year old! :)
Braeden just flew "super speed" to the moon and found a secret spy with eight eyes, but we're not to worry because he's trapped outside. Sweet.
Braeden was just humming a song and when he was done he asked me if I knew where the song was from. I didn't and asked where it was from. He said, "It's from my heart, Mom." :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I have four children...

It's a heavy subject for any parent. And until recently, I never knew the depth and weight of this kind of loss.  Back in May, I wrote about the loss of our fourth baby, whom I never got to meet.  It was crushing to learn that I had miscarried.  Most of us have all lost someone we've loved and know how heart-aching it can be.  And even though I never met my sweet little one, this was no exception.

I expressed a little of my reaction in a blog shortly after we lost the baby:

" ultrasound confirmed our fears and worst nightmare. Our little one wasn't with us anymore. Jon and I were both devastated and my heart was breaking for my family. I have known other familes who have lost babies to miscarriage. I always knew it was a tragedy. I never understood, though, the depth of the hurt, pain, and the broken dream of a having a baby. I have been crying for the loss of my baby, for the loss of a little brother or sister for my other babies, and it has brought about fears of pain and suffering for my little baby as well as deep feelings of guilt. I know some of these emotions are normal and healthy and some not, but it's made me think about, struggle with, and question God and His reasons for letting things like this happen. It's been one of the most painful seasons of my life and leaving me with a desire for firm ground to stand on." 

It sent me into a little bit of a depression.  I had only experienced the loss of my grandmothers before this, and while those losses were very sad,  losing a child... my sweet baby... there are just no words to describe.

Since that experience, my heart has healed a little and I also rest in the truth that someday I will meet my sweet child when I go home to be with Jesus.  I've also realized I know countless women who have had miscarriages -  some I would have never known this loss of theirs except we now share this bond of having lost a child - one we never got to meet.

My reaction was that of deep grief (that I had trouble with sharing with most everyone), but I know that others react and grieve differently than I did.  It's hard to put emotion to someone, a baby, that they'd never seen or met.  Their response, though in whatever form, is no less valid or real than how I responded.

Here is my point.  If you are a parent who has lost your child, your sweet baby, you are not alone.  There are so many of us who have shared in the loss that you have.  If you know of parents that have lost a child to miscarriage, know that their hearts may be aching, they may be grieving deeply or just finding the determination to try again despite the pain and loss.
Give them that space to grieve even though it may be hard to understand.
Grieve with them.
The pain will never completely go away, even if you don't see it, it's there.  And be sensitive to that.

And it never hurts, even after it's been 8 months or 8 years, to ask how they're doing.  Ask how their heart is doing.  I'm blessed to have friends who still ask and who still share in this journey with me.  And I'm thankful for that.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Landen-bo-banden buddy

  My Landen.  Also known as Buddy, Landen-bo-banden, and Wanden.  He's my happy-go-lucky guy.  He loves people and loves to pose for a camera.  He is a lovey kid - he can't go to bed or leave without giving everyone a hug and a kiss.  He waves goodbye to everyone in the store.  And I also fully believe that he is going to be a risk taker - he's fearless!  Matter of fact, I can't leave the kid in a room by himself!  A common scene in our house  includes all the kitchen chairs laid down on the ground to prevent him from pushing the chair and climbing into, well... whatever he can possibly climb into!  I got a chance to capture a little bit of this personality with a few pictures I took over the past few days (plus a few more).

Landen with one of my best friend's sweet baby, Aviah.   He insisted on laying with her!

And I just had to include one more of Kristin's sweet baby girl.
And here he is, using that clever push the chair where I need to climb trick!

Painting at the Denver Art Museum
Playing at the Bubble center at the children's museum.  He wanted to try everything!

Wearing Braeden's new engineers hat after we got home from Christmas.

Playing with my grandpa

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

This is the piece of paper Emerson brought me today after we returned home from school.  I'll preface it by saying that while picking Emerson up, before we even left the building, Braeden began to hit Emerson (for what reason, I don't know... is there ever really a reason?) and then Emerson hit back (gasp!  She never hits - well maybe not never, but I can't remember the last time she did! And it's possible that maybe Braeden deserved it?). 
Anyway, Emerson, after spending some time in her room for hitting (as did Braeden), she came to me with this:

Haha!  I laughed so much at this (mostly on the inside as to not hurt her feelings).  Both Braeden and Emerson were much better after we got home and I may or may not have given in later (ok, so I did, though it was McAlister's we visited - infinately better than McD's)!  And we had a great time.  :)


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