Saturday, August 5, 2017

6 Month Washington

Happy half a year baby boy!
You're now rolling across the floor, grabbing at cell phones, glasses, cups of water, and your sister's ponytails. 
You eat anything you can get close to your mouth. Thanks to your siblings, your pallet is very advanced. 
You've had preacher cookies, oreos, cheese-itz, fruit snacks, popsicles, strawberries and coffee, all of which I'm sure would be enough for someone to report to the AAP. 
When your siblings aren't sneaking you contraband, you're downing sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini, spinach, pears, plums, and blackberries, all pureed of course since your working hard on those teeth so you can tear into steak with the rest of the men in this household.  
You love being carried but you hate facing in, so we hold you out or you hitch a ride in forward facing baby carriers and you're quite content with your view of the world from there. 
You wear size 6 month clothes, size 3 diapers, weigh 16lbs, and sleep a glorious 13 hours every night.  You take two naps a day and go with the flow no matter what craziness we put you through. 
This month some pretty big stuff happened in your little life. We moved to our first house! Which meant you graduated from the pack 'n play to a real crib for the first time in your life! 
I was wondering how you would adapt to being in a real bed in your own room as opposed to a travel crib in the corner of your brother's room, but you seem to savor this and in your own six month way, ask for bedtime now. 
You are such a sweet, happy, and smiley guy. You are quick to pass out smiles and "talk" to anyone who stops to say 'hi'. 
You love watching your brothers play legos or wrestle and watching Madison sing and dance. 
I can't believe it's been half a year with you in our lives and not one of us would imagine it another way. 
We all deeply love and adore you Washington and we cannot wait to see the way God continues to grow you into the man you will become. Happy six months baby man! 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Escape

Sometimes life can get a little crazy.
Building a house, moving, doctor's appointments, dentists, job schedules, VBS, family and friends visits, paperwork, research, long meetings, phone calls, etc all crashing in a small, few day time-frame creates quite the chaotic storm. 
While adults grab bottomless mugs of coffee and plunge forward, these five little people don't know quite how to handle the cacophony of their world. 
Couch jumping, aggressive wrestling matches, and bickering crank up a notch and it's clear to everyone we need an escape. 
Escape days are actually kinda imperative to survival and in truth are as much anticipated by me as they are the kids. 
If you know me, I'm the biggest party animal there is and always look for an excuse to have a good time, celebrate, or search out an adventure. Maybe that's why God gave me these awesome five kids to always have adventure partners.  
So when it becomes apparent an escape day is needed we all eagerly fill up water bottles, grab some granola bars and pile into the car to see what direction we end up. 
This past escape day found us driving into D.C. 
I try to have somewhat of a plan but usually the day materializes as we go and thats exactly what we did. 
We aimed for a location we hadn't spent much time in before, scoped out some God provided parking and loaded the stroller for a full day of escaping. 
Eager for the break, I watched my 5 literally refresh before my eyes as they recounted facts about monuments, presidents, museums, and traffic patterns. 
I watched the stroller basket fill with additions to rock and stick collections, I heard made up jokes and stories, and watched little fingers draw pictures and write stories into the dirt on the National Mall. 
We posed for the obligatory pictures of eager foreign tourists who gawk at the fair featured large family, a common occurrence that happens every single time we head into the City. 
We looked at dinosaurs and held rhinoceros beetles, we said 'hi' to mounted police and played hide and seek while entertaining a mountain biker on his break. We made friends with a mother-daughter tour group and a POW-MIA group at the Jefferson Memorial, and observed the tide coming in at the Tidal Basin. 
We laughed, we learned, we escaped. And we were ready to plunge forward again into the craziness waiting back home. 
I love taking pictures of these day together knowing there will be many more like it and knowing they will each be precious memories. I can't wait to see what adventures are still ahead and I can't help but feel privileged to know I have these 5 to take them with and to live the days in between alongside. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Surprise!

Last year we had four birthday parties.
Each completely unique and creative.
Each thoughtful, well planned by amazing aunts, and completely catering to the Clark kid that was  being celebrated. 
But the parties were each 30 days or less apart spanning a period of five months. 
It was a good, but chaotic spring and summer. 
With building a house and adding one more little Clark the thought of another five months of partying was a little daunting. 
So we put our heads together to think of how we could celebrate these awesome kids without going non-stop balloons and streamers. 
We quickly came up with a joint brothers/sister party and couldn't wait to start planning one BIG party. 
We made their favorite colors the theme and made a huge ice cream sundae bar for dessert. 
But as the planning was in process, Matt came up with another idea. 
The boys had been to their Aunt Bean's surprise party earlier this year and had been talking about it non-stop. 
They couldn't wait to be old enough to have someone give them a surprise party. 
So Matt came up with making this big joint party a surprise one!
The kids went over to their uncle's and aunt's house the night before for a cousin sleepover. 
Once they left we decorated and baked and got ready for the next day's surprise. 
And they were definitely surprised! All four were in shock and while Madison and Wilson still probably have no clue exactly what happened, Jefferson and Harrison were ecstatic. 
They were so sweet and grateful for the party and all the details that went into making it happen. And while I look forward to future personalized birthday parties again, this special surprise favorite-color party was a very sweet memory, literally. They were covered in ice cream sundaes afterwards :) 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Full of No

Watching me pack, Wilson started asking to play with everything I was loading into boxes. 
"No, Wils," I explained, "it's time to pack these up so they're ready to take to the new house."
"So can we go to the new house today?!" "No, not today. It's not ready just yet."
"Ugh, Mom!" he exclaimed, "You're so full of 'no' today!" 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Moth and Rust

Senioritis has set in. 
I find myself wondering, "How important really is it to dust anymore? I mean we'll be out of here in just a few weeks."
And then my OCD kicks in and I dust anyway. 
But even with my neat freak nature, I'm strangely ok with the pile full of card board boxes, or the bare walls where pictures have been taken down. 
I spend a lot of time dreaming of where I will hang those pictures on our new walls. 
I spend time thinking about furniture placement, room layouts, and throw pillow covers. 
I scour Amazon for organizational products, guest bedding, and light fixtures. 
I research lawn tractors, cellular blinds, and granite sealers. 
I'm on Pinterest looking at shiplap and mudroom bench plans. 
And as much as I want to think I know what I'm doing with interior design I'm sure Joanna Gaines would take one look at my attempt and be so shocked she'd never eat another cupcake again.  
But all that's to say is, this house is where moth and rust destroy. Sure it is a blessing, beyond what I could have asked for or imagined. 
But it is not an idol. It won't fix anything, solve any problems, add eternal value, or make us content. 
This house is a gift, it's a blessed place to lay our heads, nourish our bodies, and make memories. 
But unless our true contentment is found in Christ no new house, bedspreads, throw pillows, paint colors, or light fixture will ever find us peace. 
The walls and floors may be filled with the best most perfect shiplap and marble but unless our hearts stay filled with seeking Him first it is the biggest waste of time and resources. 
There's nothing wrong with enjoying picking out curtains and closet organizers, in fact to an extent it's practicing good stewardship of what God has given. 
But my pouring so much time into moths and rust needed to hit the breaks. 
So the walls may go paintless, the couches won't match at all, and Joanna Gaines still may give up cupcakes, but we're content. 
We're studying caterpillars, picking wildflower bouquets, and soaking up the sunsets. We're praying over the crew and our neighbors-to-be. We're serving and learning and growing and knowing that no matter where we live, we're already home together and one day eternally with Christ.