Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The stuff we're made of...

A few of the many ingredients of our family:

These remind me that I need to slow down.  In place worrying about cleaning up messes or quickly moving onto the next thing on the to do list, there's room to stop, breathe in, and take in the life happening. 

I don't want to miss out.  I don't want to miss these little moments given to me.  
They will soon be past and gone.

I don't want to miss a thing.

Can you sense the love in the midst of these pictures?  Cause it's there.  :)

friday favorite things | finding joy

Friday, May 27, 2011

My Kindergarten Graduate

Today, my sweet girl graduated from Kindergarten.  I know it doesn't seem like much, but it was for us.  This year was a big transition for us all.  I missed my girl from the first day she walked into that classroom.  I gave her over, for the first time in her life, to another person to teach and care for my little girl for more than an hour at a time.  I knew she would change and grow and learn so much.  I also knew she would learn some things on the playground about friendship and hurt and forgiveness and some ugly things I've been wanting to protect her from and she has, but I trusted that she would be ok.  That God would be with her as I prayed over her every day that He would protect her and use her for His good in her classroom and on the playground.

Every day I picked her up from her school and she shared with me about her day, who she played with, if she got the model-musician award for the day (which she often did), what she learned in tech, the library book she picked out, and if what I made her for lunch was good.  I watched her share what she learned with her brothers.  She loved to show us every single paper she brought home.  And one of my favorite parts of my day was sitting with her as she did her homework and read her library books each night before bed.

I also watched her become so much more confident.  She lost a little bit of her shyness, though not all, and I watched her learn and explore her new school and friends.  I also watched her become more aware of what the other kids thought of her and if what she wore or said would be accepted by her peers.

We counted the E's (for excellent) on every report card, celebrated with her as she won the juried art show in her age bracket, received the character award for graciousness and courtesy, and recorded every recitation, concert and event she was in over the year.

I am SO, SO proud of this girl.  Oh, how she's grown.  While I know she is going to miss her friends and teacher, I, myself ,am so glad to have her at home every day for the summer and I intend to make her time at home special and fun and creative before I send her off for her second year.  Wow, time really does fly. 

Wasn't it just yesterday I was snuggling with her and singing with her in my arms and rocking her to sleep each night? 

Anyway, it was a big year.  And a good one.

So, I present to you, our kindergarten graduate.

Walking in before the ceremony.

Emerson's teacher, Mrs. Uzzell, whom Emerson loved and we are thankful for.

Singing their graduation song to us.

Walking up to receive her diploma.  Mrs. Uzzell also shared each student's strongest areas.  Emerson's were reading and creative writing. 

A well-deserved cupcake!

 Emerson was a little down when we took these last few pictures. Just a few minutes later, she said her last goodbye to her teacher, who is moving away. As she was saying goodbye, she began to cry and gave Mrs. Uzzell a great big hug and then ran and buried her head in my shoulder and cried. :( She's gonna miss her and her first year of school. It's been such a great experience for all of us.

Then we celebrated in style.  Grandmommy, Grandma and Grandpa came to celebrate, some new friends came to eat lunch and play with us, and then our family took a little trip to Ft. Collins to play at the park (where the temperature was a whole 20 degrees warmer!) and have dinner out together.

I love this girl and love watching her grow.  I swell with pride when I look at her.  I can't wait to see all that she sets out to be and accomplish next year, but for now I will enjoy my days of summer with her!

friday favorite things | finding joy

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Field Day and Dandelion Love

One of my new favorite things about being Mommy has been helping out at my daughter's school over the year.  During her kindergarten year, I've loved tagging along on field trips and parties and helping make masks and statues in the classroom.  It's been such a  great way to get to know Emerson's friends and teacher and learn my way around our new school. 

Can I say how lucky and thankful I am to have the time and ability to do that?!

Anyway, today's school favorite was the annual field day.  By far one of the most fun events I've been a part of!  Kids and their families are invited to enjoy a picnic lunch together and then spend the rest of the afternoon participating in events together.  It was a blast!

Oh, and Emerson won the three-legged race with her buddy, Simeon, today!  Exciting stuff!

And then there's this boy.  I took this on our walk back from our fun time watching big sister and playing in the grass...

"Mommy, I got this for you because I really love you so much!"

Ahh, my heart swells for these kids of mine.  This is good stuff.  It's actually a part of mommyhood that I actually imagined when I was only dreaming of having babies someday - picking dandelions to share with me.  Good stuff.

P.S.  A surgery date has been scheduled!   It's becoming a little more real and my anxiousness is kicking in!  I'm so ready for this to be done!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Neon Ballerina

Way back in December Emerson's ballet class asked the students' parents to buy their costume for the end of the year recital in May.  She gave us a dollar amount (which, to me, seemed a little steep) due the week before Christmas vacation.  We weren't given any choice or any pictures about which costume they were ordering, so it would be a surprise when they were finally passed out three weeks before the performance.
Last year, Emerson's costume was so sweet, little girlish, yet still elegant in a little girl way.  We put her hair in a bun and she got to wear a little bit of makeup (which she LOVES to look forward to) and our sweet girl was adorable performing her ballet dance on stage.

So this year, when she came home with her costume (again, I had no idea what it was going to look like), I was, umm, a little less than thrilled.  The costume itself wasn't so bad, it was the neon pink wig.  I know that really probably isn't a terrible thing, but I guess I just pictured my sweet girl looking a little more... sweet!

However, my thrilledness (I know, not a word) went up a notch or two, though, when I saw how absolutely tickled and excited she was that she was wearing this blinding bright pink wig to dance in.  And, of course, once we got her dressed and her makeup on, I could sense how excited and proud she was to be a part of her special day in a costume and wig of her favorite color.

By the way, I didn't ask her to pose once, she can just be a little dramatic sometimes (plus it really was kind of chilly outside!).  :-)

Introducing Emerson, the neon pink ballerina!

P.S.  Her recital was great!  She did a beautiful job!  Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take any pictures during the performance and we didn't get our video camera working in time (still learning how to use that part of our camera!), but trust me when I say those little girls were incredibly sweet in their neon tutus and wigs.  :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


My kids (as, I'm sure, have yours if you have kids) mispronounce or just misunderstand some of our common every day words and like the good parents we are, most of the time we don't correct them.  Matter of fact, we have adapted some of their language into our own vocabulary!

For instance, the word "chapstick" is now "lipchap" to all in our house.

Our hamster, Lenny, has been re-named to Lenerny.

Commercials are comarshmallows.

And squash, the vegetable, is now referred to as smush.

These are just a few!

Then there is a case with Landen where the words "walk" and "rock" come out as the F-bomb.  "Bench" (which we have on our front porch) is another one - I'm sure you can use your imagination as to how it comes out.  Oh my!  So, unfortunately in this instance, pronunciation lessons are a must - in between giggles and laughs coming from Jon and I as Landen yells, "I want to walk to the bench!"  Ha!

There are some concepts that my children create, as well, that are sometimes hard to correct because they sound so sure as they are announcing their discovery.  (And again, sometimes we don't correct them!  Is that cruel?)

Just yesterday Braeden came to me with this idea that formed in his imagination and the following conversation ensued:

"Mom, when I'm a Daddy, will I have hair on my chin?"

"Yeah, you will, buddy."

"Because when we become daddy's there are sticky holes on our chin and then our hair will fall and get stuck on our chin, right?!"

And in the next breath, before I could answer him, he continued:

"And, Mom, when we turn 100, we'll die to heaven and I saw a comarshmallow yesterday and it said that if lightening comes down and hits us it'll make us die, so lightening will get us when we're 100, right?"

Ummm... where do you start with that?  Die?  Did he just say die?  Ummm... hmm.

And while I was trying to formulate how I was going to approach all of this mis-information handed to me from my 4 year old, his mind had already moved on to the next topic of if girls are called ballerinas, what is a boy ballerina called?

Sheesh! How do I keep up?

What are some of the mispronounced words or misconceptions your children come up with?  You know, we couldn't make this stuff up if we tried!

P.S.  For the family reading, here are some pictures of the boys I took yesterday (or maybe the day before, I can't remember!) riding their bikes on the driveway and playing with umbrellas in the sprinklers and a sweet one of Emerson.

Friday, May 13, 2011

a few days in the life and it was one year ago today...

Have you seemed to notice that along with the nice weather also come better moods in your kids?  I can attest to that in my son, Braeden!  His attitude and mood have been amazing, for any four year old, the past few days.  I think it's finally being able to run and play and pretend outside that have been bringing out the best in him these past few days.   And I'm loving it - both the weather and the moods!

Today the sun was warm and relaxing so when I picked up Braeden and a friend from school, we decided to eat our lunch outside.  It was still a little breezy, hence the jackets, but still nice.  I think one of my favorite things about spring and summer are picnic lunches.  There's just something about eating out where the sun is shining and birds are singing and we break out into song there is green grass to be seen (insert a deep sigh of satisfaction).

Yesterday wasn't quite as nice (it was snowing most of the day, matter of fact!), so I spent it working on a little sewing project.  And by little sewing project, I mean one where I took the sewing machine out of hiding, dusted it off, and had to re-teach myself how to use it, so this little sewing project really turned out to be a medium to large sewing project - especially after jamming the machine right off the bat and trying to figure out how to take it apart before I sewed a single stitch!  Ah, oh well.  I did eventually figure out what I was doing and after six or so hours, my fabric went from this...

... to this!

A little bit harder of a project than the square curtains I last sewed for the kids' bedrooms, but it was a fun one.  And my reward for all my hard work was Emerson's delight when she tried it on and didn't take it off the rest of the evening and then wanted to wear it to bed.  Score!

Unfortunately that smile you see on her face yesterday was wiped clean today as my sweet girl woke up with a fever this morning.  I could tell right away that she just wasn't feeling well and she rested and slept most of the day.  Sad day for her.  :(  I'm hoping she'll wake up tomorrow feeling much better so she can enjoy the nice weather the boys and I enjoyed today.

On a not-so-side note, it was one year ago today that we lost our little one.  I was slightly into my second trimester when we went in for a routine appointment and couldn't find my little one's heart beat.  I've been running into reminders of that sad day recently.  The same activities were occurring this same time last year - a ballet recital, kindergarten roundup (which I had to miss), and preschool programs.  When I run into some of these memory stirring reminders, it brings with it a pain in my heart that isn't as strong as it was just a year ago, but still there.  I've come a long way since then, though.  I'm thankfully in a different place in life mentally and emotionally. 

I still think about how things would be different.  My little one would have been six months old.  Things would look a lot different than they do now, but I'm so, so thankful for what I do have, right this moment.  I'm thankful for my wonderful husband, Jon, and my three kiddos and another year of growing closer and watching our family grow and evolve and change.  I'm so grateful for all that I get to be a part of.

So while I miss my little one, especially on this day, I pray, telling God thank you for my babies as well as my sweet little one that I will meet someday and for using this loss for me to understand, empathize, and connect with other mommies who have also never met their babies.  It's just another way for God to provide relationships and bonds, for " ... we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him."  (Romans 8:28)  And he is using this for good.

I didn't understand or see this a year ago, nor did I care to at the time, but He is making it clearer as time passes. And I'm so thankful for that.

(P.S.  The blog post I originally wrote about my experience losing my baby through miscarriage is still the most read blog post I've ever posted.  If you're interested, you can find it by clicking here.)

Monday, May 09, 2011

sweet baby faces, a sunny day, and giant mosquitoes

Finally, FINALLY spring seems to actually be settling in here.  We spent most of all of our day outside yesterday raking, fertilizing, and watering.  The kids brought out their own toy tools and were also helping with some breaks in between with sidewalk chalk and scooters in the driveway.  It was beautiful!

We are lucky to have our best friends as neighbors and they were out doing their own yard work yesterday and all of our kids were playing together outside.  Shelly is a photography hobbyist and during my own break, she was teaching me some things about my camera, and the only little one outside not running around searching for giant bugs to catch was her littlest, so I practiced some of my newly learned camera settings on him.

He's such a cutie!

One of my favorite things about Braeden is his imagination.  The limits of his mind and the things he can do in pretend is endless.  And as I mentioned, he began a search yesterday for bugs, which turned into mosquitoes, which turned into mosquitoes with giant pointy noses, which then turned into giant mosquitoes that were knocking down our fence to suck out all our blood (not only does he have an imagination, it's definitely a boy imagination!).  And, as is the course of personalities of my kids, this transferred over to Emerson in the form of fear of all  bugs.  And since I had my camera already on hand, I was a slightly insensitive mom and captured a little bit of that fear of potential blood-sucking creatures.  :)

Isn't it funny how different our kids can be?  One ventures outside and finds adventure and excitement and my girly, sweet one turns cautious and worrisome about the welfare of all that are outside with her!  And Landen, he could care less about what's going on with bugs, as long as he's running, he's all good!

As they grow I can pinpoint more and more of these differences in the substance of their personality and enjoy the variety God has placed in our family.

And then there's this guy.  It's possible that I'm going to get in trouble for posting these, particularly the one where he is looking at the camera, but I can't help myself.  :)  I love this face and especially his blue eyes.  And for the record, he isn't angry in this picture, just squinting into the sun.  Like I said, a beautiful day!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

for mother's day - my mom

As our moms' kids it's easy to assume we know a lot about them;  their strengths, weaknesses, and even their shortcomings.  We can pinpoint certain character traits that we'd like to lean toward or away from.  And as I got older, I decided I wanted to be successful like her and buy a home like my parents have and reach for some of the same goals that she has achieved.

I also had memories of her disciplining me, and within those same memories included thoughts on how I would do it differently.  How she just didn't know what she was doing at the time or how it scarred me!  (Oh, how naive I was - and maybe dramatic?!  ;) )

Oh, but once I became a mommy... well, my perspective has changed about her.   I realized she was more than just my mom.

I realized I am on the same playing field.  I am now that imperfect mom now trying to make the best choices for my kids just as my mom did so long ago with me and my sister.

I began to imagine my mom doing the things with me that I am doing with my babies.  I imagined her worry when we were sick when we were little and I imagined her pride as we brought home good grades.  I envisioned her excitement when we learned something new or made a picture just for her.  I also pictured that she was sometimes frustrated with our bad choices and I could see her reaching for us, to steer us in the right direction in life, hoping that we would follow the path to become good people, a path she was helping to create and guide us on.

Who knew my mom lived through these same experiences and emotions that I am now currently experiencing as a mom of my young ones?

Instead of judging my mom, I began feeling some grace and compassion toward her!  Oh, I know I was a pain sometimes... those fights with my sister, and eye rolling, and talking back (and other awful things I put her through that I'm probably subconsciously blocking out of my mind - or just don't want to admit!  Ha!). 

I'm also finding myself in those sweet 'mommy moments' as my mom created with me...

I don't know if she knows, but I remember singing You Take the High Road and Twinkle, Twinkle in bed at night.

I remember her sitting us in front of the fireplace downstairs after we had just got out of the bathtub to keep us nice and warm.

I remember her pushing the back of my bike as I learned to ride with just two wheels.

I remember her working two jobs so my dad could go back to school to get his Engineering degree so that our family could have more.

I remember her laying out all sorts of different, fun ingredients on our kitchen table and telling my sister and I to just create!

I remember her teaching me to play Monopoly.

I remember the way she told me that she wished she could switch places with me when I was dealing with my hair loss in elementary school.  

I remember her sitting with me in the middle of the night when I was in junior high because I had an awful ear ache and couldn't sleep.

I remember how she and I worked together to teach Sunday School together when I was in high school. 

And now I sometimes get to relive those moments when I see her with my own children.  And it leaves no room for doubt in my mind about how much she loves them... how much she loved me.

I also don't know if she knows this, but I hope I am a lot like her.  I hope I can glean from her wisdom about motherhood.  

I don't tell her nearly enough, but I am so thankful for my mom. 

So today, Mother's Day, I celebrate her and all that she is to me - and now to my own kids, too.

I love you, Mom! 

Friday, May 06, 2011

farm animals and fun with pictures

A trip with Braeden's preschool class to see the farm animals.

Enjoying a leftover chocolate bunny from Easter.

And playing with the settings of a picture I like!  
Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Answered Prayer and Why I'm About to Look Very Different

It's amazing what nice weather and a trip to the park can do for one's spirit!
Landen and I went to the park with some friends this morning.  The temperature?  47 degrees.  But you wouldn't believe how warm 47 feels after our long, long winter we've been having.  So, while a trip to the park when we're not shivering is an answer to prayer, I received another very shortly after I shot this picture.

I got a call from Jon with some amazing news- the surgeons office called and said that insurance has approved my surgery!   Praise God!  After months of claims and denials, they've finally agreed to help us pay for this necessary (not cosmetic, like they kept claiming) surgery on my jaw.  

We've been praying specifically for this for such a long time - or for complete healing- because it seemed like an impossible situation.  I was faced with the decision of waiting this out, with the indefinite result of my jaw breaking itself because of all the bone degeneration and loss of ligament that has a occurred, or find a way to pay for a $100,000 surgery that insurance  most likely wouldn't help with.  So, we took a chance, a leap of faith,  and started the treatment that would lead to surgery, and we did this knowing our chances were small that insurance would pay, but trusting that God would somehow provide.  

And, giving all praise and thanks to Him, He did!  He's provided.

We are still faced with the portion that insurance won't pay (at this point, we don't know how much that will be), but I'm also trusting for this to be worked out as well.

And I wrestled with whether or not to post the predictive pictures the doctors made and sent to me.  They include the before and predicted after pictures of my face after this structurally changing surgery and I decided that I couldn't.  It makes some of my facial shortcomings painfully noticeable and I'm just not brave or strong enough to do that just yet.   Maybe someday after this is all done I'll be brave enough.  :)

I will, however, tell you that I'll have a much stronger jawline with much more open airways and  healthy joints that will lessen my sometimes very painful and long lived headaches.  I'll also have less of my gummy smile and more of a natural one.  

I struggled for a while with this inevitable change,  knowing that I'd be changing the health of my joints for the good, but also the structure of my face would be different than how I was made, different than what God originally gave me, and different from how my family and especially my kids have always known me.  

However, over time I've come to embrace it.  I know that this will make me healthier, able to breath better, and possibly easier on the eyes!  Ha!  And when all is said and done, I'll have (if I remember correctly) 16 screws in and around my jaw. Yikes!

If you'd like to read about the beginning of my TMJ story, click here.

P.S.  I'm linking up to Things I Can't Say today!  Thanks, Shell, for hosting a meme where I can pour my heart out!  :)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Grown-ups Only

Coming home to my children after being gone a day or two is one of the funner moments of life.  I love hearing them yell, "Mommy!" and running for me full speed.  Or sometimes the older ones like to hide and jump out and scare us when we get home, and of course we act surprised. 

Love it!

I got to return home to my babies just yesterday.  We walked in the door with promises of a surprise for each of them and were rewarded with hugs and kisses and "Guess what, Mommy?!"  And then, because of the time of our return, and to their dismay, we had to do the bedtime routine and tuck our little ones to bed shortly after.

And then Jon and I got to collapse.  We were exhausted! 

It was such a GREAT weekend.  We have 3 other couples that we consider our best friends.  And each time we are able to spend time with this life giving group, we give thanks for their friendship. 

This past weekend marked our 2nd annual weekend without kids!  Last year we all went to Vegas.  This year was scaled down a little, but no less fun.  Actually, for me, I think it was more fun.  I laughed so hard at one point that I cried (UA!!) and enjoyed an incredible dinner where we relived that hilarious moment as well as shared stories, drank wine, and ate wonderful, delicious food (have you ever heard of The Melting Pot?!). 

Clockwise starting at the top left:  Tod and Tammy, Matt and Shelly, Bill and Jen,  and Jon and I.

Amazing food at The Melting Pot

This was followed up with a walk in Old Town in Ft. Collins.  We tried to find a jazz club under a restaurant called Hu Hot (is that how it was spelled?) and were successful, but found that it was so packed that we decided to continue on our walk where, instead, we found an abandoned piano with a sign that asked for someone, anyone to play it.  And instead of jazz, we got to hear our friend, Matt, re-sing the song that he wrote for his wife for their wedding day (aww!).

A walk around Old Town.

The next day was filled with sleeping in, more funny stories around breakfast at the hotel and a Rockies game (which was so cold!) where we all enjoyed a hot dog and peanuts and more of each others company.  :)
The Rockies game!
A great weekend, indeed!   And, like I said, ended with my kids running at me with excitment that I was home.  What a blessing this weekend was to me!

My husband and I!


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