Monday, March 28, 2011

Celebrating is for Everyone

The birthday parties are as much for the kids as they are for everyone else. We are blessed to have a family that truly enjoys being together.  For the most part our parties to simple, low-key, and no frills, but they are more than overwhelming when I look around the room and see how much love these people have for each other.
Batman Birthday

This year Aunt Elaine was even able to join us.  She was evacuated from Japan after the earthquake and has orders from the Navy to spend a month at home. We were so happy she was able to celebrate with us, even if it did make my brother's absence more noticeable. {he is not in Japan, either. he and his plane evacuated just after the earthquake, but he gets to stay with his plane.}

We have great-grandparents to travel and have even been known to dress up in costume.
Batman Birthday

Aunt Ally had to miss it, but she still made time to make "her favorite blonde nephew" his special Batman cake.
Batman Birthday

And so you can feel like you were there.

The birthday boy gets showered "I'm thinking of you(s)" in the form of presents, and everyone wins because there are more than enough to share.
Batman Birthday

When the weather is this amazing and there are bubbles things turn to the patio and no one complains about the lack of seating or the sand under their toes.
Batman Birthday

Batman Birthday

And in live action

 A day filled with the superheros in my life, and none of them plastic.
Batman Birthday

Until June and he next birthday gathering...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Colin on Steroids

For some breathing trouble Colin was having last week he was prescribed a 5 day course of steroids. It did help him breath, and I am so grateful for the medical treatment available to my children.

But...he for sure had some side effects.  He was less than his normal happy self. I pray this was his last course of steroids, ever. Cause really, I'm fine with never seeing that particular personality again.

But...he did have a good side effect as well.  His eczema completely cleared up.  It is the first time I have seen his skin completely clear since he was a couple of months old.

I decided this was a perfect time for a photo session.  But, I neglected to consider the first side effect of the ornery personality.

Backyard 3.22.2011

Backyard 3.22.2011

Backyard 3.22.2011

I'll take it.
Backyard 3.22.2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Celebrating 4

The precious baby who I never thought would let me put him down has had another growing up milestone.  He turned 4. He is still my loving, sweet, cuddles more than most guy, but he is firmly on the path to big-kidness.

The morning began with a few small gifts from mom and dad.
Eli's 4th Birthday
After he unwrapped each thing he would say, "Oh, thank you, thank you mommy and daddy, thank you." (such a little encourager)

And the one he picked out and waited patiently for until his birthday.
Eli's 4th Birthday
(somewhere far far away there is a Naval Flight Officer (also known as Uncle Matthew) rejoicing at the amazing influence he has had from across the ocean)

Breakfast. Chocolate milk with a chocolate donut covered in chocolate sprinkles.
Eli's 4th Birthday
Yup, he's mine.

He was not interested in making the traditional cupcakes.  He chose brownies with chocolate frosting. Sensing a theme here?
Eli's 4th Birthday

And so excited to find some Amazon packages waiting for him after rest time.
Eli's 4th Birthday

He immediately went outside to read his new truck books and enjoy the amazing weather.
Eli's 4th Birthday
(he went to bed with a flashlight and his new books, love)

We ended the night with life group and spending time with some of our dearest friends.
Eli's 4th Birthday
(the car ride over, of course)

Happy Birthday, precious Eli!
Eli's 4th Birthday
What an amazing year this will be.

*More celebrating to come.
On turning 3, and 2, and 1.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Sounds of Today

I love this place where I log reminders in words and pictures of our family adventures, but the posts I come back to time and time again are the videos where I can see and hear exactly who these kids were in that moment in time.

We started our day outside. A perfect day in central Alabama with sunshine, a slight breeze and a private backyard that welcomes mommy in her pj's with a cup of coffee.

Walker has started singing. A lot.  I love it.  Jason and I make up songs all the time and now the boys are doing it, but they also have a few songs they sing all the time. Some of Walker's are about trains, imagine that.

There was some train building and train playing.

Playing in peace. Working as a team. Because they are best friends and have practiced so much.

Mid-day baths.

2/3 of the boys were exhausted from yesterday's adventures and crashed shortly after lunch into naps I was most jealous of.
Post busy weekend crash.

And now we are back outside again. Enjoying all this Monday has to offer, and listening intently to the breeze and the sounds of little boys.


PS - "Someone" (pictured above) might be in the worst mood ever due to a mix of feeling lousy, steroids, breathing treatments and teething so there might have been some other sounds of the day, but I'm willing to let those fade into distant memory and hold onto these.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

He's Got A LOT to Say

Walker Talking to the Fence

This is a picture of Walker talking to a fence.

I know you have heard the expression, "This kid would talk to a wall."

This is a version of that.  Sure, there were people on the other side of that fence, but they were not listening to him.  That didn't even cause a pause from him.

Since he was capable of conversation, he has been in one.  From the moment he wakes until the moment he sleeps.

At the grocery store today he made ten new friends.  Every single person responded and engaged with him.  He is truly a joy to talk to and others notice.  And then he invited them over to play.  Every. Single. One. I just hope not everyone was paying attention to his all too detailed directions.

We call him our little politician (although I really don't wish that on him).  He even love babies and makes sure to comment on how cute each one is.  Already prepping for the role.

I love that he is a confident, curious, and so expressive.

Lord, help me to lead him to learn how to guide his tongue for Your glory. Cause he has amazing potential.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Grace in the Everyday

Today was a long, demanding, fun, and filling day.  It amazes me that these things can all go together.  Motherhood is like that.

Breakfast came with a bit of inspiration from Ann Voskamp.  Set the perfect tone for the day.

Then the rhythm of the day came.

There was reading, and more and more they can do it without me. Well, sort of, I mean they aren't actually reading but they follow the story (or make it up) from the clues they do know.

Eli teacher, Walker student. Love.
Eli ask questions of Walker in the same way I ask question when we read a book.  And my heart explodes.

Walker teacher, Eli student.
And Walker can ask the questions, too.  They have created a reading corner.  Learning centers are developing in our home, organically.  Amazing.

Art Time.
Art time!
Note that blankie is close at hand.  It just might be that Colin is the best colorer of them all.  He is impressive with a crayon.  It may be that mommy won't let him near the paint too often, but whatever.

There is lunch. Some picking up (as a team), some vacuuming (which they love a little too much) and some kitchen cleaning that is completely erased by the end of the day, but today I find joy in it.

He got a nap, I got a shower, now back to snuggling.
There are cuddles after a (much too short) nap.

Colin has a low fever and a rough cough and just needs a bit more mommy. He picked out his sling for the babywearing.  No, he says to the back ride in the babyhawk.  He choses the hotsling so he can sit on my hip.  I'm glad he still chooses me.

Not to far into the afternoon Eli rushes outside, "To hurry and play before the sun goes away!" Walker has no interest until after dinner when daddy refills the sand table.  The construction crew of two is perfect.

Bedtime is delayed for no discernible reason and everyone starts to pay the whiney price.  Grumpy children are escorted to bed and fall asleep in a flash.

Ahh, I cannot wait for what tomorrow holds.

Today was a good day.  Nothing big and special, but millions of little and special.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Swimming in the Bathtub

Playtime Bathtime

The day had gotten long.  We were still inside with no real hope of going outside.  The energy level was building. We needed a distraction.  Why not take a swim in "the big bathtub?"

Playtime Bathtime

We blew the Crayola colored bubbles. {Which turned the water a yucky lake color and left some orangey residue on the kids. The kids didn't care, but that might have been a one time deal.}

Playtime Bathtime

Worth all the towels and puddles that remained. Now they are ready for swimming pool weather and keep asking if it will be warm enough, tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Laundry Baskets

Somebody needs to do the laundry.

It almost always ends poorly, but the boys love to play in the laundry baskets.  I mean someone always ends up trapped, or bumped, or with a smashed finger.  But it sure is fun while it last.

Laundry Basket

Laundry Basket

And it's been going on for as long as they've been mobile.

Playing in the Laundry Baskets

Walker in the Laundry Basket

I suppose one day they won't fit, so we will flop and push and hide in the baskets for as long as it last.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bonus Kids

My boys cannot remember not having a playmate.  There is always someone around and they love it.

They love it even more when five bonus friends come over to play for a bit.  A busy morning of sharing, playing, taking turns and enjoying having some extra personalities running around.

Of course, there was train play.

And even bowling.  Which is pretty challenging with 3 toddlers knocking over or stealing the pins before they ever get set up.

 This didn't last too terribly long.

Lunch. {there was even a half of a sandwich left over}

Ending with some Bugs Bunny as a reward for an amazing clean up job.
Play Day
8 kids can make a big mess, but when 5 of them can actually help in the clean up they get the task done pretty quickly.

I'm not saying 8 kids is no big deal, but it is totally worth it for the fun and friends.
{and it is far easier than you are thinking in your head right now}

So who's coming to play tomorrow?
{not really, Eli woke up with a fever and feeling pretty puny.  maybe next week?}

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Moments that Make it All Worthwhile

Boys Reading

The joy of watching these two "read" together is something I cannot truly put into words.

Boys Reading

And round about three years ago.
Walker and Eli Reading

The photo album of my dreams involves years and years of pictures depicting this scene. {with the addition of little brother, just as soon as he learns to sit still for 2.7 seconds}