Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Zachary is 5!

When Zachary was born, I instantly noticed his demeanor. His eyes were wide and he was incredibly alert. You could tell that he was taking everything in. I was overwhelmed at the magnitude of the birthing experience and then at how beautiful of a baby he was. He had a full head of hair, and the most perfect complexion. I remember how good he smelled and how warm his body felt against mine. It was the first time I had experienced being a mom. Those are the feelings I never want to forget. I thank God every day for allowing me that experience, and I will always have that special bond with Zachary for allowing me to experience it for the first time.

As the year went on, everyone commented on how he was the "perfect baby." He slept all the time, was always calm, and rarely ever cried. But the older he got, the more frustrated he became. I realized quickly his brain and his desire to make sense of everything was outgrowing his fine motor skills. He was too smart for his body. He would get so incredibly frustrated. His second year, we worked hard on teaching him how to communicate. He pushed through his stubbornness, and started taking his first steps, started signing, and we started trying to stretch him out of his comfort zone.

When he was two, we worked on teaching him to use his words and began to develop his social skills. When he was young, he had quite a bit of social anxiety and preferred playing by himself. But the more he spent time around other kids, and the older his brother got, the more he started coming out of his shell.

Which brings us to now, three years later. On his 5th birthday, I happened to have a parent teacher conference scheduled with his teacher. We sat in that room, talking about Zachary and the boy and student he has become. While she talked, I cried. And then as I shared Zachary's story with her, she cried. She told me there's not one student in the class Zachary doesn't play with. She told me that he is one of the leaders in the class, and is quick to answer and ask questions. She told me he initiates play with kids, and plays well with others, while also standing up for himself when necessary. As I sat there, thinking over the last five years, my mom heart was full while thinking of the journey we've been on with my sweet Zachary. Watching him confront fears, overcome fears, and develop into the boy God designed him to be is such an overwhelming feeling, similar to the greatness of holding him in my arms for the first time.

On your fifth Birthday, Zachary, I am so proud of everything you have become. I am proud of the way you help take care of your sister and brother. I am proud of the way you love your family. I love the way you want to make sure all your friends are included while playing. I love how smart and literal you are. I love how much of a perfectionist you are. I love how much you desire to know more about God and Jesus. You remind us to pray when at the dinner table.

You have taught me so much in the last five years. I thank God every day for allowing me to be your mom. I can't wait to see what the next 50 years hold. :)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Five on Friday

1. Zach will head out to pick up Sydney for the weekend. Zachary excitedly came into my room this morning, saying "All my sleeps are over until I get to see Sydney. She's coming today!!"

2. I've got to call the doctor this morning. Nora has a bad cough and has been running a high fever. Eli through up twice yesterday. We're not sure why. I am SO ready for sick season to be OVER.

3. My children have felt extra creative this week. I found the boys upstairs making "snow." They used a combination of salt, bubbles and soap.

The next morning, I couldn't find my packaging tape. I left it sitting out on my coffee table the night before to package some orders in the morning. I looked EVERYWHERE. I later found it that night.
 4. Zachary is really into games right now. McDonald's had these little games in their happy meals this past week. That equaled a very happy camper.
 5. I was trying to take a panorama picture of my room this week. At some point, Eli jumped in the picture. When the picture came out, his legs were gone. The picture scared him to death. He probably looked at it 1000 times, told everyone he saw that his legs fell off, and had a bad dream about it later.

 **I know I'm out of numbers, but I wanted to throw in this sweet shot of my baby girl who is in a batman phase right now.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Five on Friday

1. Zach and I are shooting another wedding tomorrow. I will always cherish this time with him. I love watching him work, and the time we get together, just the two of us.

2. Zachary's birthday party is coming up. We made all the plans this week. In his words, "Mom. I want this to be the best party ever. I want all my friends to be there AND my teachers. Like, 100 people, mommy. ALL the people." Hmmm.... Maybe he'll settle for 10?

3. Eli is potty training, and to be honest, he's done an AMAZING job. On the second day, he would run into the bathroom on his own, without asking for help or anything. That being said, I picked him up from Mother's Day Out this week, and he I asked him what his favorite part of the week was, and the conversation went a little something like this....
   Me: "Eli, tell me about your day. What was your favorite part?"
   Eli: "The part where I pooped on the floor."
   Me: "Ummm... I'm sorry. What? When did you poop on the floor? In the bathroom? On accident?"
   Eli: "No. On the rug, in my classroom. On purpose."
   Me: "Eli! Why would you do something like that?"
   Eli: "Because all my friends laughed."

Tonight he told me the whole story was just pretend. Needless to say, I have questions for his teachers on Monday. 

4. Nora became friends with a batman mask this week. And she wants to be batman ALL.THE.TIME. And makes the most adorable "I'm BAT-man!" sound when she wears it.

5. Sydney's basketball schedule is picking up more and more now. She is turning into quite the athlete. She started back to school and is now playing school ball. She'll be here next weekend. We are all SO excited!

Friday, January 2, 2015

A look back...

This year, I will focus less on trying to document every single thing we do, and focus more on the memories we are building and the milestones we have conquered. I hope to do a better job at capturing the personalities of our family.

In 2014, we had some challenges. We experienced job loss, new adventures, and milestones. We wept together, we prayed a LOT, and we squealed out of celebration. When I look back at 2014, I look at a year of growth. In 2014, my marriage was strengthened, my relationships deepened, my faith grew. I am so grateful for this past year, but I am SO excited to move forward to new adventures.

That being said, here are a few things to document since my last round of updates.

Zachary turned 4. Here are some things I wrote on his special day.
"This morning, I was greeted with the sweetest four year old running into my room, bouncing around, saying "Mommy!! I just turned four!"

Four years ago, I became a mother for the very first time. Four years ago, I learned what it was like to love someone so unconditionally. Four years ago, God gave me the most perfect gift. Four years ago, I met the most beautiful baby boy I'd ever seen for the very first time. We are so very proud of everything our big boy is growing into. We love his determination, his desire to learn, his quirkiness, his big heart, and his love for life. Our house would not be the same without him! Happy Fourth Birthday, Baby Boy!!

Nora turned 1. Here are some things I jotted down on her first birthday.

"One year ago, God gave me the greatest surprise I could have ever dreamed of. I am so glad that He always knows better than us! Nora is the sweetest, silliest little girl. She has such a calm, independent spirit, but you can tell she's going to be a tough little thing. She is our little angel. Happy Birthday, sweet girl. We are SO proud of everything you are!"

Sydney turned 12. Oh my. How did she turn 12???

"When I married your dad 7 years ago, I also married one of the most beautiful spirits and little girls I'd ever met. Your were gentle, kind, giving, nurturing and straight fun to be around. 7 years later as you turn 12, you're exactly the same. I cannot imagine my family without you. Thank you, Sydney, for everything you are to us and the kids. We love you more than life and I'm so proud you get to be my bonus daughter. 😘😘 Happy 12th Birthday!!!!

Eli turned 3. Here are my notes for that little wild man.
"Three years ago, I met my very handsome Eli for the very first time. He came into the world active and loud! Those first few weeks were definitely an adventure, which is appropriate for my adventure-loving boy. He loves Spider-Man, wrestling with just about anyone, cuddling at the right moments, and making people laugh. I love his wild, passionate spirit!! I can't wait to see what three brings you, Eli Samuel! We are so proud of everything you are!!!"

Here are a few more pictures from 2014. I love this family of mine!

Looking Ahead to 2015

If you're one of the few people that is actually still following this blog, you'll notice that I've been a little busy.

When I started trying to keep up with this blog, it was primarily to document our lives, so our "future" children could have a glimpse of their childhood, as they look through the "blog2print" books that I create every year.

A couple weeks ago, God hit me over the head and got my attention.

I took all four kids to the studio to try to get some Christmas pajama pictures. While there, I was having a hard time getting my remote to fire. The kids were restless. They didn't want to cooperate. I was stressed. Somewhere in the midst of this, we realized our car wouldn't start, all about 30 minutes before Sydney and Zach were supposed to be on the road, back to Cape Girardeau. I'm not sure exactly when, but at some point, I did what I do WAY too often.... I lost it.

I got impatient.

I "firmly" started telling everyone to sit still and not to make another sound. Because, if it killed me, we were GOING to get that picture.

The next day, I opened the folder on my computer to try to find the picture I was hoping to get. Instead, I found a candid that my camera had taken while I was trying to test the remote.

I found a picture of our absolutely wonderful 12 year old playing and wrestling with her brothers.
I was so busy trying to get my studio lights up and running, that I missed the fun my family was having, while I was busy acting like a lunatic. If I could go back and change things that day, I would have put the darn remote to the side, jumped in, and wrestled and laughed and played.

Don't get me wrong. Life right now is CRAZY. We have three kids under the age of 5 at home with me, all while trying to run a business, and we work daily to nurture a co-parenting relationship with Sydney's mom's side of the family. It gets HARD. But my resolution as I head into 2015 is to take a deep breath, slow down a bit, and embrace the beautiful chaos that God decided to entrust me with.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our Family Session 2013

My dear friend, Courtney, did our family pictures this year, and I couldn't have loved them more! There was so much to celebrate this year, and all that joy is reflected in these pictures! I love my little family!! Thanks, Courtney!