Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Jimmy | 4 Years

I realized the other day that Jimmy's birthday fell during the time I was transitioning to a new computer and I also had other photoshoots I was working on, so while we celebrated this sweet boy with cake and ice cream and a pumpkin patch and a costume party, I never "officially"/online acknowledged his special day of birth, October 29, until now. Mom fail. But he's forgiving and understanding and sweet, so it will be okay. 

Jimmy is the best thing that could ever happen to a person. It's hard for me to believe he's four already. But, at the same time, it's even more difficult to imagine my life ever existing before him.

I love this age. Granted, it seems I say that for every new milestone and age he reaches because he's just that great of a kid. But so far, four takes the cake. His thought processes, his reasoning, his discussions, his questions, his observations, his kindness, his ginormous heart, his four year-old innocence. It's enough to make me want to keep him like this forever. If life doesn't have a four year-old in it, what sort of reason do you even have to get out of bed?? With that said....

Dear Jimmy,

You are such a funny, sweet, and all-around-awesome little person in general.

You sings songs like, "Life without Mommy is like a donut... 'Cause there's a hole in the middle of your heart!"

You have been known to have strong opinions about the way I look; slicked back sloppy pony tails get a horrified gasp and, "Mom! Fix your hair! It is not pretty!! I do not like it!!!"

When the babysitter asked you how you liked your sandwich that she fixed for you, you replied, "Well, it's not yucky."

One time you informed me your baby brother was sick... because "Colton's nose is walking and stuff." 

You're the best big brother any little boy could wish for. 

In the wee hours of Christmas morning, much too early for the people in your life who happen to treasure the benefits of sleep, I could hear you muttering to yourself, "First I will go ni-night with Mom. And then I will open presents. New toys! Actually, I will go open presents now. I will be right back, Mom!"

"'He' fixes my hair, my 'mudder' is beyond compare, my 'mudder' is everywhere. We 'wuv' you, mudders."

You have mastered getting yourself dressed. Usually. Sometimes though, things end up backwards and it upsets you and you tearfully sniffle,"Look, Mom. Spiderman. He's riding on my back!"

One time, after a string of cloudy gloomy weather we had sunshine. You were excited and declared,"God turned the light on for us!"

Your random dialog while enjoying time together... "God made the trees, Mom. And the sunshine. The sunshine is so nice today. God made the the trees, He put the trees on the grass and got leaves on them. The trees are so heavy! Oh God. He is just so funny."

Your perception of God makes me smile, and helps me see Him in a whole new light.

You learned to pedal your bike this year.

Daddy gave you a high and tight hair cut much to my horror.

You got to fly in Grandpa and Daddy's little airplane.

You love puzzles, and could spend hours on them every day.

You love rough housing with your little brother.

You're always so positive, so genuine, so sweet.  Your heart is so big and kind. You make me laugh, and you make me think. Your tenderness makes me a better person. Your sweetness is what made me, a disliker-of-kitties, stop that cold afternoon to get the poor stray kitten off the road so he wouldn't get hit. Instead of running from me, he came meowing and purring. You claimed him and loved him even when he was dying. Your big heart is what made your Kitty Gomez pull through. You showed me that love truly is a healing potion. Who knew a kid could teach his parent so much?

Thank you Jesus for four year-old's. And thanks for making one of them our Jimmy.

You are such a great kid. Thanks for that. Thanks for being mine. Thanks for loving me, and somehow taking care of me in your own special way.

I love you more. 










Thursday, January 22, 2015

Love is a Four Legged Word

Love is always there, eager to clean up the leftovers.

Yet love somehow offers the gluttonous little kitty friend first dibs, with little complaint.

Love is loyal. Protective. Watchful. Always. 



And when love's young master is sick, love will break the no-dogs-on-the-couch rule to be close to him and give the healing comfort of doggy breath and soft therapeutic fur. 


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Artists

"an artist is an explorer."

- HENRY MATISSE


I love watching my kids create their own art. Learning how to wield a paint brush, watching them try to re-create what they see, seeing how they can ignore all lines and patterns and do whatever their hands and eyes and coordination desire. I really believe art is an important stimulation in brain development, and I had so much fun ignoring my ever loyal to-do list to just explore with all sorts of colors on this Winter afternoon. 




What has been created in your space lately? Link up in the comments.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

That Four-Letter F-Word

F . E . A . R 


Maybe my biggest regret as a mother has to do with fear. Thinking fearfully ahead too much to enjoy the beauty of life growing and flourishing right here. Right now. Today.

Moms have a lot to worry about.

During pregnancy we fear loss, we fear the inevitable and excruciating pain in our near future, we fear the inability to make it through the upcoming sleepless nights, we imagine everything that might possibly go wrong. Sometimes we even fear our babies won't have all their fingers and toes.

Then the incredible miracles of life that are so beyond our control unfold, whether or not we are ready for them, and suddenly that little bundle is snuggled peacefully against our chests. And now there's these big scary germs all over the place terrifying us, there's diseases that seem so rampant, there's SIDS... And is the baby gaining enough, and is he hitting his milestones, and how in the world can I possibly be adequate? Those nights our babies unexpectedly sleep peacefully still find us lying awake in bed thinking about all the big bad scary things that might possibly go so terribly wrong.

And then those little beings that were babies yesterday are suddenly walking and talking and dressing themselves and singing the alphabet song. Now we're pretty sure we're screwing them up. They mimic our bad attitudes. We're not everything Pinterest wants us to be. We're not making homemade play dough, we're not taking enough pictures, we have emotional breakdowns, we even lose our tempers. It's pretty ugly. When should he start school? What school should he go to? What curriculum should he use? What sports should he be involved in? I'm not spending enough time with him.With me as a mom, is he even going to be okay?

On top of normal mom worries, there's still ISIS, and ebola, and planes missing, and influenza, and drunk drivers, and school shootings, and financial frustrations, and cancer...

Whatever possessed me to possibly believe that this world was a perfectly good place to bring a kid into?

It's a heavy load to be lugging around on your heart.

Fear is your biggest enemy; even bigger than that thing that you're most afraid of. Fear is your deterrent to happiness, hope, health, even wealth. Fear paralyzes you from being who you were created to be. Fear robs you of the blessings you have in your life, right now... Today. When fear invades your heart, it also affects the people closest to you. Fear, worry, anxiety... it does nothing profitable for you. Jesus has it all under control, because He cares for you. The burden of tomorrow isn't yours to carry, and when the enemy of your soul tries to hand it to you, laugh in his face. Because he sucks, and he doesn't get to have that privilege in your life.

This isn't just for moms. Everybody has fears. What's yours? Can you give it up?

"So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too."
Matthew 6:34

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Real Strength

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, 
and nothing is as gentle as real strength. 
Ralph W. Sockman

{My brother Zack and his adoring little nephew Colton.} 

When I say he's special, I don't mean short-bus special. 
I mean really, really special. 
He has a gift that the world can't afford to exist without.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread

Recipe Below



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This pair of buddies are basically like my little elves. They are magical little creatures who bring so much more enchantment to Christmas. Their joy and enthusiasm in the creating and giving makes me love Christmas more and more every year. Truth is, every person needs to have a child in their holiday preparations.

Think about it...

 The very first Christmas came to us in the form of a child. It really is all about children, and must be shared and celebrated in every which possible way with them.


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Since we were all decked out in our adorable aprons, they actually wanted to take pictures together. This doesn't voluntarily happen often.

Jimmy wanted to whisk the flour and sugar, and Colton wanted to Ninja pulse the cranberries.


Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread

1/2 cup fresh frozen cranberries, chopped
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cold butter
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
Splash of milk
1 cup chocolate chips for melting
1 additional tablespoon butter

1. Preheat oven to 325f degrees 

2. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender (or Ninja Pulse) cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in almond extract, chopped cranberries and miniature chocolate chips. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball; if too powdery, add a splash or two of milk. 

3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds

4. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer to wire rack and let cool. 

5. In a small saucepan, melt butter on low. Add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Place cookies on wax paper until set. Makes about 60, providing you don't share too much of the dough with the boys.