Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Auld Lang Syne

It's hard to explain the "New Year" to the boys who already have a hard time with a new day or week since calendars are a relatively new concept in their world. But there are a few things we do to celebrate the blessings of the past 365 days and ring in the beginning of the new year.
1.) Over the year we collect mementos from special occasions, ticket stubs, arm bands, concert passes, etc, and place them in a clear ball ornament. We wrap a ribbon around the top with the year written on it and tuck it away with the Christmas decorations. Each Christmas we pull out the ornaments full of memories and have fun reminiscing.
2.) Most Christmas cards are thrown into the trash after the season is over, and some maybe before that. But in our home, after being hung up throughout Christmas, each is stacked and placed in a basket. Then at night after family devotions, we each take a card from the pile and pray over your smiling faces and hand written notes.
3.) While it's never healthy to "live in the past", it sure is a rich feeling to take a look back at where you've been the last 365 days. We've kept a journal of the "stones" (see Joshua 4) God has set up in our lives, the miracles, the blessings, the moments clearly ordained by our Heavenly Father we never want to forget. We make sure to take a few moments and remember these stones and talk about them with the boys, praising God for the gift of the old year and dedicating to Him new year to come!
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

21 Weeks

How Far Along: 21 Weeks
Size of Baby: About 10 1/2 inches, the length of a large carrot
Gender: Girl! (post to come about this little lady :)
Maternity Clothes: I haven't switched over yet, but my jeans officially do not button anymore and I have employed the bella band!
Movement: This baby girl is gentle and laid back. She stays pretty quiet unless hyped on my sugar consumption; though she does already dig her feet into brother's backs if they are invading her space too much. 
Cravings: Lots of fresh fruit and smoothies (partly due to my new Vitamix Christmas present and my addiction to using it 24/7)
Symptoms: Nothing new, feeling great, and happy to finally be sporting a "baby belly".  
Best Moment of the Week: Being huddled around the ultrasound screen with Matt and the boys eagerly waiting to her who this little baby was and discovering a little lady is headed into our world and hearts!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cookies with Cousins

There are just a few things that make Christmastime, well Christmastime.
One of those being cookie baking, decorating, and eating (and yes, all that together constitutes as one thing).
Another one is family. So when you can combine the two, the magical moments of this time of year pile up even more, much like the amount of sprinkles Jefferson has the ability to fit on one cookie.
This year we were blessed to have our cousins living close by. We've never had this special opportunity before so we've tried to pack in some great memories.
And since sugar bonds all ages together, every one of the cousins jumped in head first, literally, and were soon as icing covered as their cookies.
Giggles and sprinkles filled the house and made for a very sweet afternoon of Christmas time tradition.
And sugar crashes later made for good naptimes so I could mop the sticky memories :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

20 Weeks

                                       How Far Along: 20 weeks- halfway! (I missed a few weeks; travel, sickness, holidays, forgetfulness, pick your excuse)
Size of Baby: About 10 inches head to heel, the size of a banana
Gender: We find out in two days!!!! I'm so excited ya'll!
Maternity Clothes: I wore my first maternity dress to the ballet in NYC this past weekend. I wanted to be comfy while sitting there all dressed up and it was good choice since baby is now really growing.
Movement: Starting to learn baby's personality a bit. Where as Harrison and Wilson were non-stop rock and rollers 24/7, this baby is following Jefferson's movements. Baby is laid back and quiet but will party after exercise and sugar or to protest seat belts and a brother in my lap. 
Cravings: Not too many cravings right now, but fruit mainly, love it! I'm starting to get to that point in pregnancy where my appetite starts slacking off and I really have to force myself to eat normally. But since it's Christmas and that means lots of baking and treats I'm not too worried about weight gain :)
Symptoms: We walked just short of 20 miles in 48 hours around NYC this past weekend. I definitely wasn't wearing proper footwear for that kind of distance especially with growing baby and my body let me know it! 
Best Moment of the Week: Celebrating our ten year anniversary in NYC was a very special and wonderful time! We took this week's belly shot at the top of the Empire State Building which is why I'm covered head to toe in every effort to not get hypothermia (I'm a sissy in the cold). But believe me, under the heavy coat and scarf is a definite baby bump...finally! :)
And for memory lane fun, here are the boys at their halfway points:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


One of our favorite past traditions in Tennessee was lining Main Street with friends to cheer on passing high school bands and homemade floats on pickup trucks.
Meanwhile, DC's idea of a parade involves camping out 4 hours ahead of time to secure a glimpse of a passing cirque du soleil acrobat troupe and sitting in a traffic jam the rest of the day to leave the city.
So when grandparents, aunts, and uncles were headed to a small town, Christmas parade tradition of their own, we were eager to tag along.
Boys ran and played, picnicked, and pushed it as close as they could to jumping over a stream without getting wet.
The highlight was playing in the closed two lane road before the parade began.
When else is Mom gonna give you permission to go crazy on the asphalt since she's usually hollering to get back from the road.
So after jumping, running, and holding a mock parade of their own we bundled up and huddled up together to cheer on the parade.
And the hometown parade was perfect, in every small town Christmas way.
Local fire department trucks, police cars, BBQ catering companies, boy scouts, Civil War re-enactors, and county fair beauty queens all rolled by throwing hoards of candy for eager cheering boys.
Harrison got invited to join a baseball team, Jefferson ate his weight in candy canes, and Wilson scored fans with his loud "Merry Christmas!" greeting.
Muscle cars, nativity floats, karate students, and marching bands with even more candy throwing all wrapped up with a Santa appearance in a bucket and ladder truck.
And leave it to my boys to completely overlook the jolly man in red for the excitement of seeing the giant ladder firetruck, completely convinced it was a Transformer...boys :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Visions of Sugar Stuck All Over Their Hands

Christmastime is a time for giving, celebrating, and turning a blind eye to the sugar content devoured over the 25 preceding days, give or take a few.
I try to be pretty healthy in our eating choices as much as budget and picky pallets allow, but how can I say "no" to wide eyed boys staring at tubs of green icing on the grocery shelf?
The sugar, the food dyes, nutrition, are all pushed aside for the magic, the mess, and the memories.
The calendar flips faster every year and the Christmases are coming and going more quickly as these boys grow.
While I have a house full of sticky fingered, Christmas pumped, all-hands-on-deck little men I'm going to make the most of every single sugar covered, icing blobbed, sprinkle coated moment.
Decembers are going to come when the excitement over ice cream cone Christmas trees is gone but I'll have memories of these sugar coated little hands.
And I look forward to the future memories ahead of magical Decembers with my men and their families, but in this moment, this December, and this year, I say dance on sugarplums.

Monday, December 8, 2014

17 Weeks

How Far Along: 17 Weeks (again, a week late. Seeing a trend?)
Size of Baby: 5 inches, about the size of a large onion
Gender: We find out Christmas Eve!
Maternity Clothes: Not yet, but I've been gathering and washing them to be ready for use soon. I'm so glad leggins and tunic tops are trendy right now since this seems to be my pregnancy uniform these days :)
Movement: A ton more! Kicks are getting stronger, flips are getting more obvious, and ice cream makes this kid flip out!
Cravings: Still love a good turkey sandwich, cream of fruit oatmeal, and bad-for-you cereals (fruit loops, lucky charms, pops etc.)
Symptoms: This week with a combination of late nights and intense workouts I felt a new kind of tired that left me wiped out and crashing earlier than usual, but I guess growing a baby is a workout on its own too! 
Best Moment of the Week: Matt was able to feel the baby for the first time this week. I ate some Blue Bell Moo-llenium crunch, if you haven't had some, get some. Baby clearly approved with an hour long celebration of back hand springs and round house kicks which Matt got to feel as well :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

LEGO Theology

I never knew five year old's could stress about the future, but then again, since becoming a parent, I've learned more than all my years of formal education ever taught me.
Harrison and I were riding in the car when he confided his inner turmoil, "Mom, I really don't know what I'm going to do. I want to be so many things when I grown up, and I know for most of the things I want to be I need to make plans for the kind of school or training I need. But I can't do it all and I'm afraid I'll pick the wrong one and not be able to get back to the right one."
"I want to do what God wants me to do, but He hasn't told me what He wants me to do yet." I caught my heart and prayed for wisdom. In my mind he has years ahead to play, grow, and be a kid, but in his five year old world this was catastrophic. He didn't need me to point out the timeline, he needed a compatriot to fight fear head on.
In that quiet car I recited Psalm 119:105 to my furrowed brow boy. "A lamp doesn't give off a light to see the entire route, just enough for the next step. With God's guidance and His Spirit in you, you'll have just what you need for each step." Excitement spread across his little face, "Like LEGO's! If I flipped to the end of the instructions and tried to build from the finished picture I'd mess it all up and miss out on how I even got there!"...
"But when I go page by page I know which blocks I need and how they fit together! That's just like God! He will give me the blocks I need for each day to build my life! I won't be overwhelmed by the finished project just taking one page of instructions at a time!" 
And just like that the worry and fear melted from his face replaced with peace and contentment. He was done and moved on but I was left pondering deep in my heart the words of wisdom my little boy spoke into me without knowing. 
I was full of wonder at the lesson I just learned from my five year old and with awe at our God who spoke to a boy through LEGO's.

Monday, December 1, 2014

16 Weeks

(A week late, but better late than never?)
How Far Along: 16 Weeks
Size of Baby: 4 1/2 inches, about the size of a large avocado
Gender: We find out Christmas Eve!
Maternity Clothes: Not yet, but starting to see a definite baby bump and will be pulling out the more comfy wardrobe very soon!
Movement: Baby is definitely growing because I'm feeling more tiny kicks and rolls, one of the best parts of pregnancy.
Cravings: With Thanksgiving this week I got my fill of turkey cravings :)
Symptoms: Besides the precious little kicks and frequent bathroom stops, I've been feeling great! I still work out and the boys keep me moving non-stop, so baby and I get plenty of exercise!
Best Moment of the Week: Getting to hear baby's heartbeat at my 16 week appointment and scheduling our big 20 week ultrasound for Christmas Eve! I can't wait to go buy our baby's first Christmas present after we find out!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Full of Thanks 2014 Interview

Once again, time for an entertaining interview with the brothers... 
(And for previous entertainment here are the Full of Thanks Interviews 2012 and 2013 :)
What is one thing/item you are thankful for? 
Harrison: That I have a Buzz Lightyear toy 
Jefferson: For my Blades Rescuebot Transformer
Who is a person you are thankful for?
Harrison: Bean
Jefferson: My Daddy! (yelled loudly)
What is something spiritual you are thankful for?
Harrison: That God has given us a nice house to live in and we are safe there!
Jefferson: God loves me! (more yelling)
What is a weakness you have that you are thankful for?
Harrison: Well, I'm not as good at being an American Ninja Warrior yet, but I'll practice so I can jump across all that stuff and climb and I'm thankful for that!
Jefferson: Um, pico and chips!
What is a health related thing you are thankful for?
Harrison: Motrin
Jefferson: I can see in the dark!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving Day food?
Harrison: The turkey leg!
Jefferson: Yeah, turkey!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Talents, Teams, and Candy

Nothing like taking boys to a ripe hunting ground of competitive opportunities to watch personalities, talents, and sugar addictions come out.
Of course the opportunity for fun, games, and candy fell on one of the coldest nights of the year we had so far.
So we bundled up enough to make people in Minnesota laugh at our cold weather sissiness and hit the festival fun.
And we learned a lot about these little men, who are growing way too fast, but that's besides the point.
We learned their competitive nature is alive and strong even beyond the imaginary contests around the house.
We saw cold weather, rogue wind gusts, gloves, and bulky coats get blamed for missed throws and unhit targets.
We saw victory dances enough to rival NFL wide receivers in the end zone and cheers and chants enough to start a pep club.
Wils didn't care too much about the saga of carnival frivolity as long as he had something sweet and sticky near his lips. 
But even with the silent "one-upping" and "outdoing" I was proud to see it all in good nature.
Because along with the competition came encouragement and pride in their brother's attempts at nailing his shot.
And while Harrison's passion may not be kicking a football through the posts, he sure has a deadly accuracy with his football aim.
He threaded that pigskin through an old tire out throwing the loud show-off bunch of teenagers ahead of him.
And while Jefferson may not be quite the arm his big brother is, at least yet, his kick sure surpassed the same group of cocky teens leaving stares as he picked his sugary reward.
And I saw competing brothers clap each other on backs and offer praises of "well done" in genuine congratulations.
So a little competition around here is no big deal, it's healthy, it's good for them as they sharpen each other in bettering themselves.
But what's even better to me was watching the "team" mentality grow as well, identifying the other brothers as being on "their side."
Those comradery moments seem few and far between at times, but we can build on this, this knowledge that no matter how many dragged out, kicked down fights and squabbles they get into, they know their brothers are there for them.
They have each others backs and each others best interests. In the end, they're a team, even with their inner competitiveness. And of course consuming their candy bar loot together helps those bonds too.