Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Best of Fall '15

I don't want to brag or anything, but we got a healthy harvest of leaves in our yard this year.
I mean like, full on bouncy house simulation, quick sand-esque, knee-high layer of deciduous aftermath.
But the more leaves, the bigger the leaf pile.
I get a work out from raking, they get a cushioned landing playground...win-win.
This year I had my two oldest little men grab rakes and join me in the pile creation which also was a win. 
Moments like that, when they choose to pitch in and help, are hopeful and energizing to see glimpses of the men they're becoming...
...before they revert back to their full-on boyness and launch a fistful of leaves into a brother's face.
Also Wils joined in on the leaf jumping this time since last year he was not a fan of the big crunchy pile he kept getting lost in.
This year we also added a snake to the leaf pile element. We don't like to do things boring so if we can kick it up a notch we're all in.
 Once the white underbelly of a snake was sighted during a leaf tackle fight, we quickly excommunicated the reptile from our leaf jumping party. 
I'd say fall 2015 leaf pile turned out pretty awesome, large with a side of adventure, but like I said, I don't want to brag. ;p

Sunday, November 22, 2015


We knew this day was coming. We've been preparing since we heard "it's a boy" at our first ultrasound seven years ago.
We bought all the infant sports balls, we were given toddler basketball hoops, golf clubs, and face masks.
Matt has given his due diligence in year round sports education reviewing plays, strategies, and game plans.
And now the time has finally come...
Harrison is now an official basketball player as he'll be quick to tell anyone, and believe me he has.
Sports have officially entered our life more than just watching them on tv. We'll now be going to practices and games, cheering in the bleachers, and drills at home.
For this momma's heart, it's overwhelming to watch my oldest baby grow into being a wide eyed boy standing alone in the middle of a basketball court for tryouts.
Then to watch that little guy wait anxiously to hear if he made the team, and even more to see him whoop and holler when he got the confirmation. Practices start next week and games in January and I know my heart will swell to new levels when he puts on his jersey and steps out to play for the first time. 
We've got these four little spitfires we'll be seeing put their all out there in the name of sports. It will be a new phase of life for us. But one we've definitely been waiting for and can't wait to be these four's biggest cheerleaders.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Our Not So Secret Garden

One of our very favorite places to play and explore in DC is the Botanic Gardens.
In case you aren't familiar, it's a stroller unfriendly labyrinth of footpaths and bridges leading through cacti, palm trees, venus fly traps, and bamboo.
On weekends, holidays, and tourist season we avoid this place like the plague.
If you have never suffered from claustrophobia before, you will experience your first full blown attack by attempting a visit here on any Christmas break day in December. 
But on random weekday mornings while schools are in session, we have full reign of the gardens.
For a brief few hours the bamboo hide and seek games, the watering cans, and the log bridge in the middle of the rain forest keep these little guys engrossed in all things horticulture.
Of course the draw of water and dirt have a lot to do with the appeal of the place.
And venus flytraps and cacti bigger than any of the boys factor in there too.
But I'm good with knowing they're going to get soaked and dirty while we hide out in our own secret gardens.
You'd never know the Capitol is steps out the door. You'd never know how fast a polo shirt could get drenched. You'd never know barricaded pomegranate and orange trees entice little guys towards creative ways to jump said barriers.
No one said these gardens were peaceful, but not many buildings we visit in the city allow one to dump watering cans over heads or play tag throughout bamboo, so it suits us just fine.
We can knock out some school, take in some sights, burn off some energy, and as with every DC visit, meet every police man stationed around the Hill, on our trips to the not so secret gardens.  
 It's just a matter of time before this littler lady is joining in the garden antics. But at the moment she's content to watch and I'm ok with not having four soaking wet kids walking back through the city...for now ;)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sieze the Sunshine

I know winter is inevitable, but this fall has gifted some incredible warm days just begging to be spent outdoors.
Who am I to say "no" to that? We've hiked and explored, and walked and played for miles all over for the past few weeks of these lingering warm days.
The boys have their favorite spots to explore and recently have begun packing their favorite gear to bring along.
I used to get out of the door with just a sippy cup and an extra diaper but now there are far more important things to remember for a day of hiking.
Like spy gear. One never knows when you could be called into duty for some intense espionage so it's better to always be ready with your motion detector and super sonic ear piece.
And you can't have a successful hike with a plastic carving knife to blaze a trail in case the worn footpath disappears or you need to hunt for survival, so I'm told.
I was also educated that army satchels are a must on these excursions. A heavy duty canvas bag can come in handy for rock hauling, stick collecting, and snack toting, in case that hunting with a plastic toy knife thing doesn't pay off.
My hiking must-have list is a little lighter. I want our hands free for all the lessons and opportunities time outside brings our way.
These sunny days hiking a few miles with my crew are filled with rich moments of watching a box turtle hide himself inside a pile of leaves until we lose sight of him, or talking about the trees and plants growing strong beside the lake water and how we should be like trees planted by water.
It's about packing moments into the day of praying aloud for the people that come to our minds and the hikers we pass. It's handing the camera off to one of the boys to take some turns getting used to capture memories through his eyes.
It's leaving my hands free to hold theirs, and their sticks that won't fit in their army satchels, and my heart open to drink in these precious fleeting moments just like these lingering warm days.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Half a Year LilyMae

Happy six months our sweet LilyMae!
With every baby, with every mother, I'm sure we all share the same astonishment over how fast this really goes.
One day you are a tiny wet infant placed into my arms and the next your a rolling, babbling, kisses giving little lady with dimples enough to melt the hardest heart.
You are definitely coming of your own. We are starting to get to know more of you and what's behind those ocean eyes of yours.
You are still very laid back, go with the flow, sleep anywhere, eat anywhere, content to find something to chew on or stare down. You could win a staring contest with your steady gaze. But once your grin cracks through there is no stopping it.
You are in size two diapers, 6-9 month clothing, nurse five times a day, sleep thirteen hours at night and take two 2-3 hour naps every day. You spoil me!
You have three big brothers in love with you, though you do like to push Wils buttons by rubbing his head with your little fingers which sends him squealing. I'd say your fitting in around here.
You love eating real food and haven't turned anything down yet. Your big brothers continue to try and share their foods with you and just this week I have rescued you from fruit snacks, animal crackers, pepperoni, and milk filled sippy cups.
You love grabbing our faces and pulling us close for a snuzzle, you love your pink monkey and sophie giraffe. You love watching your brothers play and have just started trying to sit up for a better view.
Our first half a year with you has been precious beyond words. We are so grateful God chose us to be your mom and dad and family. We have loved getting to know you and we can't wait to see you become the young lady God is growing you to be! We love you baby girl!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How 'Bout Them Apples?

I don't know whether to be proud of worried that my six year old can tell the difference between a Rome and a Staymen.
Or that my four year old is now proficient in pocket knife skills alongside his big brother and dad when it comes to carving out a taste of a fresh picked apple.
Or that my two year old chants "apple pie and apple sauce" while sinking apples in our wagon like a shot from the foul line.
But I guess when you make apple picking a yearly "must-do or it isn't really going to be a successful fall", kids will finely hone their apple know how.
This year Harrison beat his record for how high he could climb to reach the perfect apple.
And Wilson beat a record for how many apples you can humanely consume in a two hour time span.
And Jefferson got to carry and use a pocket knife for the first time. This is a big deal in our house.
It's like the rights of passage into apple picking manhood around here. Once you reach a certain age, dad presents you a pocket knife the night before the trip.
The next morning you slide it proudly into your jean's pocket and head to the orchard where you launch into apple carving manliness and provide samples for tasting.
This year's apple picking trip was cold and sunny, yet filled with a ton of great memories and laughs of tree climbing, apple throwing, and boy chasing through rows of trees.
It provided another opportunity to take this picture of growing legs and bigger feet as boys become men in more ways than just packing a pocket knife.
And it provided these growing boys plenty of reward for their apple picking skills with pies, crisps, sauce, and muffins. Now excuse me while I go cry over pictures of last year's tiny little feet sitting on the edge of that truck.