Thursday, September 7, 2017

Bits

A pretty little princess, twirling barefoot through mud. 
She fusses about messy fingers while melting popsicles drips off her round baby chin. 
Her hair is always dressed in bows or running freely along with the wind. 
She giggles like the summer birds and I swear makes lightening bugs glow brighter. 
She wraps herself in pink blankets and buries under piles of baby dolls to sleep. 
A song follows her until her way is impeded by a big brother or another opposing force and then her tears melt the whole world. 
She is our Bitsy; our bossy, dancing, singing princess. 
Our bit of pink God gifted our family with and we are smitten. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Home Sweet New Home

I'm going to do my best to tell you what this past month has been like, and about two minutes into reading this you may start skipping lines and scrolling past and I wouldn't blame you a bit. 
But since this corner of the internet serves as our treasure of memories I'm going to pick up my pen (keyboard) and write (type) so in the years to come we can remember. 
Because we need to remember the last day we lived in the old house and told the kids they could eat whatever they wanted in order to clean out the fridge and freezer. They looked at us like we were crazy for about two seconds before diving into popsicles and leftover pizza for breakfast. 
And of course we need to remember prematurely packing the kitchen and then unpacking half the boxes looking for things we still needed. Or finding Wils packing himself in boxes and boys creating forts in the stacks of furniture. 
I don't want to forget the day we went to close on our new house and how it almost didn't happen. How the county held onto one piece of paper and would't be able to produce it until the next day at the earliest but could have stretched into the next week. 
But God created my husband to have a fire in his soul for holding people to their words and he took charge, made phone calls, we prayed and trusted God, and in the end, 8 hours later, we left with the keys to our new house. 
I don't want to forget tucking each of these five awesome little people into their beds at the old house on that last night as we were all a little sad to leave and nervous to move forward, yet excited at the same time. 
I want to remember the moving crew showing up and Wils cheering them on and complimenting them on their feats of strength. I want to remember Madison curling up on her pillow watching 'Snow', (aka Frozen) while our boxes were loaded onto a moving truck.
I don't want to forget walking the empty halls and seeing the silent bedrooms that each housed thousands of memories for our family. We doubled in size inside those walls and saw babies reach milestones, first words read, lives given to Christ, and birthdays celebrated. 
I don't want to forget the first few hectic days in the new house searching for towels, can openers, and pillows. Or the incredible family that poured time they didn't have themselves into unpacking boxes, keeping hyper kids entertained, and bringing food for the masses. 
I don't want to forget Wils discovering there was a bathroom off the rec room days after we had been living there, brother-in-laws hanging shiplap, nephews playing cars, boys chasing each other through fields, a princess twirling in giggly approval of her new pink room, a husband's hard work to provide such an incredible blessing for our family, or the overwhelming moment Matt and I stood in each other's arms, in the middle of our new living room, before the throne of God, with no words, just tears of gratitude from grateful hearts. 
This month has been memory upon memory, box upon box, discovery after discovery, and blessing upon blessing. We're unpacked, started the school year, and settled into a routine of easy mornings, lunchtime on the front porch swing, and sunset walks. A whirlwind has swept up the past few months, but I treasure them all in my heart. I can't wait for years down the road, to read these words I'm writing now, see these little faces in these pictures of the grown adults I had the privilege to raise here and cherish all over again this precious, crazy, joyful adventure. 

 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

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 :)