Sunday, June 19, 2011

Homage for Father's Day

I read this article today.

After reading it, I feel so thankful that I have a husband that does 9 out of those 10 things. For those curious, John never does #9 because he knows that I am a sleep dictator. When the kids are in bed, they stay in bed, except for the holy trinity of reasons (blood, bodily excretions, fire).

It makes me so happy that my boys want to grow up to be like him, and my girl wants to marry someone like him.

We love you John!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My First Baby is 10!

Nathanael turns 10 today. I really feel like I blinked and he went from this....

to this....

It's not always easy being the oldest of four kids. He often ends up acting like the third parent. We have placed a lot of responsibility and expectations on him from an early age. He had to stop being "cute" and start being "mature" way sooner than he should have. He even had to go to bed at the same time as his siblings for a long time. I admit this was a mommy fail. No 8 year old should have had to go to bed at 6:30. I'm sure he will forgive day.

In spite of all this, he's weathered his calling as the oldest sibling pretty well. He's developed a natural compassion and sensitivity for others from being a caretaker. I remember the basketball game that one of the kids on the opposing team fell down hard. Everyone else was focused on the game, but Nathanael was focused on the kid. He stopped playing and helped pick the kid up. That may not have been the best move as a game player, but he didn't care, and neither did we. Even this morning, when I was choking back my tears because my baby was in double digits, I noticed that he was too. I hope no matter how old he gets, he never loses this. His compassion and empathy is going to take him somewhere in life. We love you!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ode to Selah Fierce

My one and only daughter is turning five today. Verbatim, this is what she told me before she went to bed last night.

"I want chocolate cake with chocolate sprinkles. Gabriel doesn't like chocolate but it doesn't matter because it's my birthday cake."

"I want mac and cheese for my dinner. It doesn't matter that brothers don't like mac and cheese because it's my birthday dinner."

"I want brothers to make me cards and have them put it on the table for me when I wake up, just like they did for you on mother's day. But it's not mother's day. It's my birthday."

It only made sense to use this Beyonce song in the slideshow of her life thus far. Happy birthday baby girl. May you channel your feistiness to one day change the world.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Unabashedly mushy post

Today is the 11th anniversary for John and I. While we remember this and other big dates in our lives (birthdays, anniversaries, mother's day, father's day, etc), it's not where I feel most thankful and celebratory.

It's in the non-special days that I see the strength and love of our marriage, and I feel truly grateful. I love the fact that things he did while we were dating, he still continues to do today. He still instinctively eats all the orange and yellow candies because I like the red and green ones. He still fills my gas up when it's empty. He still thinks he married up (but I know I really did).

One day, our kids will be off doing what we hope they are meant to do. By then, we'll finally start looking our age. We might not even have teeth to eat those orange and yellow candies. But I hope we can keep walking down the road of life together, laughing at some private joke only we know. Happy Anniversary honey. 143.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Food Fight

Our family has a tradition of asking people to donate money on our birthdays, rather than giving presents. Our kids have grown up doing this, and each year, they get to research and decide where they want their money to go. Last year, Nathanael collected 190.00 at his birthday party and donated it to Food Fight (see blog entry 6/15/10), an organization started by high school students in our community ( In their own words, "Food Fight's mission is to harness the potential of high school students in order to eradicate hunger across the world." This past week, they packed meals at six of our local area high schools. These students have packed over 600K meals in the past 3 years!

We wanted to make sure Nathanael didn't just throw money to something, but actually had a hands-on experience with it. Since they were packing meals this week, we pulled him for part of the school day today so he could participate. He saw with his own eyes the impact his donation made. More than that though, the hope was that in seeing role models of students dedicated to changing the world, he would begin to see his own potential to make a difference, in whatever way he feels led to. Pretty good reason I think to play hooky.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Disney Reflections

I have to admit, I never wanted to be that family that took a vacation to disney world. It just seemed so stereotypical, so cliche, so overdone, so obvious. But after returning from disney world this past spring break, I have to swallow my pride and admit that I was totally and completely wrong. Disney truly was a magical and joyous time for our family. These were my top 3 memories of the week.

Bonding through Suffering
It rained 3 out of the 5 days we were there. Not just a sprinkling of rain, or on-and-off-again rain. These were torrential, unrelenting storms, complete with lightning and thunder and winds that made the raindrops hit us horizontally. But our family put on the ponchos and waded through disney nonetheless, and our kids got an unexpectedly awesome life lesson. They got to experience that life is imperfect and full of disappointments and difficulties, but attitude and perspective can get you through a whole lot. It was neat to see them processing how to turn grumbling into thankfulness. As a family, we grew tighter as we saw the storms as our common adversary. Some of my fondest moments were when we were huddled together in the downpour, clinging to each other, and laughing in the rain.

Perfect Timing for the Princess
Selah is at that perfect stage of being all things princess. It was truly a magical time for her. She had her hair done by the fairy godmother in Cinderella's castle. She got to wear her dresses and have all the workers and waiters refer to her as princess. She got to meet all the characters that she adores. Every pond we passed by, Selah would stop and whisper, "Ariel, I'm here. Are you swimming in the sea?" Call me a sentimental whack job, but I got teary-eyed every time I saw her light up. Her joy was my joy.

Priceless Family Memories
At the end of the day though, it really wasn't Disney that was so magical. It was our family genuinely enjoying being with each other that made it pretty freaking awesome. For all our lives, we will have this memory together. Long after we forget about the rain, the rides, the characters, the all you can eat buffets (for my boys), we will remember the feeling of family. Nothing sweeter than watching my boys walking around with their arms around each other, or John holding Selah while she rested her head on his shoulder in complete bliss. You can't put a price on that.

I'll end it with this recap from my nine year old.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Unexpected Birthday

I expected to go out for a lovely breakfast date with John while the kids were at school. I expected to go out for a delicious family dinner so I wouldn't have to cook or clean. I expected to spend some of the day selfishly doing the things I love, like working out, shopping, hanging with girlfriends, showering in peace.

What I unexpectedly got for my birthday was the motherload of snow, which had trapped all of us in the house. But in this change of plan came some unexpected awesomeness.

John cooked all day, including a birthday cake. So much better than any restaurant because I know for sure no chef loves me like he loves me.
My kids stepped up and tried to keep things clean. I loved watching their effort, even if the actual result was less than stellar.
Most of all, even though I wanted some time to myself to do whatever I wanted, I was completely and totally surrounded by my family. As I felt my grumbling thoughts starting to rise up within me, my mom called. In that phone call, it struck me that it has probably been about 15 years since the last birthday we were physically together. Which made me think that in another 15 years, it will be very likely that I won't be physically spending my birthday with my kids anymore. These times are precious and numbered and pretty freaking awesome.

Sometimes the unexpected is so much better. It catches you off guard. It helps you see the routine of life in a new light. Besides, I also got some pretty amazing gifts. Look at the game my third guy made me as a present. Don't have a clue what the rules are to this game. I don't think he does either. But it doesn't really matter, does it.