Two years old!

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Newborn

Newborn

First birthday

First birthday

Sun suit that deserves its own post

Sun suit that deserves its own post

Out for ice cream last night

Out for ice cream last night

Birthday traditions first thing this morning: birthday ring and presents!

Birthday traditions first thing this morning: birthday ring and presents!

This afternoon, pre-cake.  

This afternoon, pre-cake.  

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Dairy Queen ice cream cake because he has a summer birthday! 

Dairy Queen ice cream cake because he has a summer birthday! 

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Today this adorably funny toddler is two years old! How can that even be?! He is the happiest, most expressive (oh, the faces he makes!), silliest, toddleriest  toddler we've ever had. I'm in love with his curly hair and rosy round cheeks and the mischievous glint in his eyes. He has our hearts, this "Big Buddy" of ours, so beloved by all of us.

He loves to give kisses, and then applaud right after. He loves to makes hilarious growling and roaring sounds. He loves vehicles of every kind, so very much. He loves to put on and take off shoes, especially shoes that are several (many) sizes too big. He loves to eat good food—lots of it. He loves to play vacuum (really loves it). He loves animals and delights in holding Alice (our kitten).

He often shows me what he would like me to do by moving my hands the way he wants them to go. He is playful and busy and so very good-natured. Although he can still cry louder than any baby I've had, he is almost always happy, which is a gift. (Until he isn't, and then watch out!) He is often singing to himself and he's a delighted side-kick to his older siblings, most especially that teenage sister of his (who sometimes uses him as an ice breaker with other girls her age who like to coo and fawn over him and his smiling eyes and curly hair).

His world is one of delight, and he has brought so much of it to our world, too. I praise God for him every day! 

We still call him "Babyjohn" although he's really more and more  "BIG John"  every day. 

Happy birthday, beautiful John Peter. We love you so—and more each day.  

xoxo, Mama 

Goings on

It has been such a long time since I've checked in here—I never mean for it to be, but there it is.

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Long course swim season is underway, and with it lots of extra practices each week for my girl who now swims with her team's senior group. 

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We have a new kitten in the house. Her name is Alice and she was a craigslist find in response to some very persistent pleading on the part of a certain 6-year-old little lady who felt left out on the pet front, as the dog is sort of Elisabeth's pet and our other kitty prefers to snuggle with James. At a certain point, it's impossible to remain unmoved by such earnest pleas, so we ultimately relented. Cats are pretty low maintenance... Fiona chose her name and I must say I was quite impressed. Although my children tend to be pretty good namers—whether of animals or dolls. Our dog was named Daisy by Elisabeth, and our family's most beloved dolls are named Claire, Peter, Charlotte, Josephine, Janie, and Anna. So I'd say we are pretty good namers around here!

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Not too much else is going on...about three weeks ago, a gust of wind caused a door handle to hit the back of my hand and hurt it terribly. It is still bothering me quite a bit so I may end up having to give in and have it checked out. As such, any type of handwork has not really been happening—I haven't picked up my cross stitch since it happened. Fortunately I'd finished a good amount of it before that . On the other "hand", I have been sewing a little bit, mainly cloth diapers to replenish our stash of worn-out diapers from the older children.  

I hope you are all doing well! Leave a comment to let me know if anything new or exciting is going on with you!  I would love to be able to keep you in my prayers. 

About subscribing to this blog

Hi there! A lot of you are new visitors to my site via Alicia & Ginny, and I'm so happy you're here! I've been getting some questions about how to subscribe to this blog and I'm so sorry I don't already have that set up. Our family is currently without a home computer and managing this site via iPhone has some limitations. I'm working on getting it all figured out and set up.  

In the meantime, I'm so glad you're here! Thanks for hanging with me while I work this out!

Stitch along

Photo courtesy of Alicia Paulson

Photo courtesy of Alicia Paulson

My kit, getting ready to go! 

My kit, getting ready to go! 

 

Two and a half years ago, Ginny and I had the idea to host a stitch along for Alicia Paulson's awesome Winterwoods ABCs cross stitch sampler. Last week, Alicia released a new cross stitch pattern and kit, My Sweetiepie ABCs. Ginny suggested that we host another stitch along, and I was definitely on board!  

A is for Apple! 

A is for Apple! 

Cross stitch is such a fun and easy craft, totally accessible even to inexperienced and beginning crafters.  These patterns are simple enough, and the instructions clear enough, that I don't think you need any previous experience.*

I'm posting from my phone, so I encourage to to visit Ginny's post for more links and details! I hope you can join us!

*Alicia did not pay me to say that! Neither Ginny nor I will receive anything for promoting Alicia's pattern & kit, other than the fun sense of community from stitching along with others!

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Newborn

Newborn

First birthday

First birthday

Age 1

Age 1

Second birthday  

Second birthday  

Age 4

Age 4

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Age 5

Age 5

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6th birthday

6th birthday

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Age 7

Age 7

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8th birthday

8th birthday

First Holy Communion

First Holy Communion

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California

California

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9th birthday

9th birthday

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Age 10

Age 10

Arwen costume

Arwen costume

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11th birthday

11th birthday

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Bobby soxer

Bobby soxer

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12th birthday

12th birthday

At Camp W. 

At Camp W. 

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Recital

Recital

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First in her heat at state (red cap & black shortjohn suit)

First in her heat at state (red cap & black shortjohn suit)

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13th birthday, with a bad head cold

13th birthday, with a bad head cold

Today our wonderful, amazing Elisabeth Grace is 13 years old. it hardly seems possible, and yet we are so ready, too. 

I think a lot about the ways I have fallen short and, yes, failed as a parent over the last 13 years. I worry about the ways my own baggage has come to rest on the shoulders of my daughter at times—when I see my perfectionism, anxiety, or hot temper flare up in her. I grieve over the ways our hopes and dreams for our family, when we were so much younger and just starting fresh with our first adored child, have failed to come to pass. 

But then I spent a few hours today looking through pictures of her—these, and so very many more—and I see the evidence of a joyful childhood, of a happy little girl coming into her own, developing interests and passions. I see a girl who is a leader, who is caring, compassionate, kind, funny, and brilliant. She is both very innocent and very, very wise. A few weeks ago, she told me that she thinks people rush through their lives and make risky decisions because they are afraid of facing the idea of death. I thought this was so profound, something I hadn't really thought about before. 

She is generous, often spending her own money on things for her siblings. For example, she recently bought a scooter for Fiona so that Fiona could ride on her own scooter with the older kids.  

She is responsible and so helpful around the house. She is wonderful with John, which is such a gift when I need to take care of other things.  

It's incredible to imagine that the sweet, silly baby that she once was is now this thoughtful, mature young lady—and all the amazing things she was in all the years in between. Creative, imaginative, stubborn. An extraordinary child, an extraordinary teen.  

As my girl now stands in adolescence, ever so gently closing the door on the large part of her childhood, I know that it was a beautiful childhood that we made together—Elisabeth, her father, and I.  

The mistakes don't matter so much as I think. I am so grateful for the gift of this incredible, beautiful human being.  To know her is a privilege, to be her mother is a true gift.  

I love you so much, my Elisabeth. 

Nine years old

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Almost 3 weeks ago, my sweet James turned nine! I've been meaning to get a birthday post up sooner, but just kept being distracted by other things.  

James is such a wonder at nine. He's really helpful and mature, very thoughtful and sensitive. He is also still quite a challenge in a lot of ways, but I think there's a real chance that what we view as challenges now will be strengths later in life. The very things that make him hard to parent will also serve to make him independent. He has a lot of integrity. He's a very hard worker and so sharp! I'm really proud of my little gentleman.  

I remember turning 9, and feeling quite grown up in so many ways. Somewhere there's a picture of me looking so poised and wise on my ninth birthday, and I think James has many of those qualities. Despite being the little brother of one, he's the big brother of two, and over time, I feel like he's shifted into more of an "older kid" role in our house (rather than just being "one of the little ones"). He's very responsible and conscientious. Recently he cleaned up our entire main level when Elisabeth and I were both sick, the house had been neglected for four days, but I needed to teach cello lessons anyway. He did a great job! He really surprises me sometimes!

He started swimming on a team (rec center league) in January and absolutely loves it. Soccer and baseball were both fun but he hasn't wanted to do them again. Swimming, though, has proved to be a good fit for his temperament, just like his older sister.  

James is also very articulate about his feelings and is so good at setting boundaries about his need for rest or time to himself, again, both traits I think will serve him well in his life.  

I love you so much, Jamesy! I'm so excited to see the person you grow into!