and there you have it…


baby book

a birthday for a girl

Dear first born daughter,

You and I went to the beach together to watch the sunrise on your first day as an 8 year old. I woke you up, put you in the car and asked how you felt now that you were 8. You made a surprised sound and said, “I’d forgotten! Sometimes you forget things when you go to sleep.” We started the day with a laugh.


You have continued to blossom this last year. You’ve found a love in gymnastics and dance. You’ve added round offs and pirouettes to your still near constant cartwheeling through life. Piano has also been added to your repertoire and I am in wonder watching you play. You have a regular practice time, but it’s so rarely the only time you play. The only time I enjoy hearing Let It Go is when you play it. Though I still enjoy the Star Wars Theme and your favorite Hall of the Mountain King a bit more.

Baking has been big for you this year and you made your own mermaid cupcake cake for your party.


You’ve also been somewhat obsessed with tiny houses. You make your own in the bedrooms, you plan how you will someday make a real one, you watch documentaries on them. I, for one, would be very interested in seeing a tiny house you made. You’ve also been taking your faith more seriously this year. You read through your entire kids’ study Bible and are in the process of considering being baptized. It is very exciting for me to see you begin to rely on God. He is the one who made you who you are, and He is so vested in your life.

You throw all of yourself into the things and the people you love. You are kind, generous and caring toward the people in your life. You consider what they like when picking out gifts, even when you’re tempted by what you like. You are excited about life and having adventures. You are so many things it took me so many years to learn and it gives me such joy to watch you.

As you grow into the approaching pre-teen years, these years that seem to start earlier and earlier these days. I will try to make sure you hear the good things I think and believe about being a woman said out loud. I will try to show you how to love yourself and your body. I will try to show you to not internalize the guilt and shame others will try to put on you. I will try my best to be free, so you will know the path to staying that way. I know they’ve shown that children, you, learn best by example. Nothing has made me try harder to be the whole person God intended me to be, so you’ll know how to do the same.

As always, I love you, for who you are,


Happy Birthday Jacob boy!

We celebrated a birthday over here this weekend. The littlest boy in the house is now six. SIX. That’s like a whole new category of kid, he’s no longer little. The last week he was five I think I told him he was only 5 about 100 times. Only 5, you are still only 5. But no more, he is officially 6 now.

Dear Six year old boy,

You have been eagerly anticipating this birthday. This is the year I told you quiet time could go away and you could having reading time downstairs with the big kids instead. You are thrilled, I am dealing.

You have learned so many new things this year. You overcame your fear of putting your head under the water and lo and behold you swam. Right away, first lesson I did with you and you were getting your head above water. You spent the rest of the summer turning yourself into a fish. Pool time this year has been amazing for all of us, you were my last non swimmer and now you are a fish, we have had lots of pool time. You also learned to ride a two wheeled bike this year. Various adults and big kids had ran with you and that little bike at the beginning of the year, but just a month or so ago it clicked and off you went. You are also reading now. Though you and I are of different opinions on this. You have not taken off and hit your stride yet like your brother and sister so you do not believe you are reading. The stack of books you have read continues to grow however and I believe you can. Watching you realize it yourself is something I am very much looking forward to in this next year of your life. I cannot wait to see what things will grab your attention once you realize you can pick up any book and read it.

I do not think I can adequately express how much you are loved. I am not sure I am even going to try this year. To put it in your terms, we love you even more than you love your beary, who had to come down and sit with me this morning while you were playing cops with your brother. I suppose there is some little boy left in their yet.

Much love,


Just a mini photo real of my boy, my personal favorite is the last one. This kid has personality 🙂


a 9 year old boy and fireworks

Just so you know I have not forgotten about the final week of menus. It’s still coming, I promise! There’s just been more important things commandeering my attention like more birthdays!

We celebrated our own 9 year old this week. It’s his last year before double digits. That somehow seems significant, like he’s on the cusp of childhood even though I know he’s only 9. He already seems like he’s ‘pulled away’ from the others developmentally. He’s in a whole new category and as always with a first child we are in unknown waters with him, again. We’re figuring this out together buddy!


I took the kids and his best friend to the science center to celebrate (Thank you Nana and Papa for birthday passes!) He loved this tree history, had to read every single event the tree had lived through in its 300+ years of life. Yes I just had to ask him how old the tree was. He gave me actual years. I gave you approximates, your welcome.


EARTHQUAKE SIMULATOR!!! I told them to act scared. One wasn’t acting and ran away when it started moving.


But we pulled her into the hurricane simulator with us. She loved it. Wind force of about 70 in this pic. Hair is flying!

Proof Bycemaster is an active father. See the look of pure joy on his face? Can you see what he is holding? Not something he would even know existed if I was a single parent. ALL my children love these things and I LOVE having an active partner in this whole parenting experiment.
IMG_3569It came with a table. But the non pro wrestling fans are all why? Why a table? Are they going to break bread together?! The suspense is killing me. TELL ME WHY?


So The Big Show could break the table with Andre the Giant. Now you know.

He also got loads of cash and the 2016 National Geographic Kid’s almanac, which he stayed up late reading that very night. That love comes from my side. I love that he’s got interest from both of us and lots completely unique to him thrown in.

But with a birthday so close to a national firework holiday, how can there not be a little fireworks? I actually took the camera off dummy mode for these. First real attempt. I was having fun documenting them having fun, that’s what counts….right? 🙂


That face. I mean really, he makes the picture.


Then we discovered the camera could do this. She was very excited.


Just a little competition going on. Let me see the picture mommy! Let me see it!


I promise you his hair was not on fire. I just really liked this one.


Then we discovered that our neighbors may or may not be pyros. But we enjoyed a full half hour of these lovelies from the comfort of my own balcony. After all the birthday fun, it was much appreciated.

IMG_3609Happy Birthday America.

a birthday for a girl

We added a new 7 year old to our bunch this weekend. I had every intention of writing this for her on her actual birthday, but she had friends sleep over for the first time the night before and though it actually went very well (I admit I was slightly terrified), my brain was certainly not up to full capacity. I was doing just fine, if I was, you know, sitting, doing nothing, but that actual thinking thing, was a bit delayed (you know, like this over-comma-ed sentence). Then we had Easter and they were all up early again! Which was really more of the problem with the sleepover, the insane hour they awoke (like my fancy wake up there?). I am not used to predawn hours anymore, I don’t wake before the sun, it’s unnatural people. My cushy job of eating bon bons and watching soaps all day allows for me to wake with the sun, not before, its on the pro side.

Dear 7 years old,

You are 7 now my dear. This much anticipated birthday for you has come and gone and just as you seem to do everyday, you got bigger. Baby years have long been gone, and you are continually becoming more and more of who you are. This year you started gymnastics. You have excelled, which was the point, we knew you would. You spend your days in one endless cartwheel, why walk to the table when one can cartwheel? why eat at a table when one can chew and cartwheel at the same time? why ride your bike when one can cartwheel down the sidewalk? Long hair splaying, skirts a flying, cartwheeling is how you spend your days.

You got a sewing machine for your birthday this year, you were thrilled. You already have plans to make new pillows and blankets for your dollhouse and I look forward to seeing what else you come up with (and I look forward to seeing how you manage to cartwheel while using a sewing machine). Your generosity and creativity have not abated. I’m sure the sewing machine will end up being a new outlet for those as well. love watching the joy you find in creating and in giving your creations to those in your life. Even if at the moment your incessant momma, Momma, MOMMA!!!! coming from the room you are “sewing” in is not bringing the most pleasant thoughts of you in my head. You are relentless, this has great potential to one day be an asset, to be honest most days it wears me out. But even in my mentally exhausted state from helping facilitate your endless endeavors I am still excited to see where you will go with them all. I am also very very proud of who you are becoming, and as always look forward to watching you grow.

till next year baby girl,

your MOMMA!!!

side note to you readers. I just finished reading The Pioneer Woman’s book: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, go read it now. It was fabulous, I’m semi obsessed with her and her blog now and may or may not have been internet stalking her all weekend. It also made me sorely miss working with Bycemaster. I miss him.

and the road goes on

I feel like my head is about to explode.

We’ve spent the last two days immersed in the adoption world, we’ve talked to families that have adopted, mothers that have placed their children, case workers, other couples in the process, even a few children who were adopted. My tears were cried for things I’ve long felt for and for things I never even knew I could feel for. I somehow feel so full and so empty, all at the same time.

It was incredibly encouraging and heart wrenching to hear all the stories of the birth moms and the adoptive families. So much joy and so much sadness, right next to each other. It makes sense now, but I really never fully placed myself into the position of the birth mother. Of the options most have, placing their child in a loving stable home is an enormous sacrifice, for the mother. Choosing to have the child. To go through 9 months of aches, pains, nausea and social stigma in many cases. Then relinquishing your child to another home because you know you cannot provide for it. I cannot even imagine. I’m almost ashamed of how I viewed them before, in my ignorance of their heart. Then to hear the families who received these babies and the blessings they have been and the joy they have brought. To see them running around, smiling and getting into mischief, it was amazing. Hearing the highs and lows and everything in between really brought the whole thing home, it’s real. It’s finally happening, some days I still can hardly believe it. I also know that a lot surrounding adoption is controversial, especially where birth mothers are concerned. Again I really don’t want a debate. Honestly, right now I’d probably just cry and shut off the computer for good. I’m so emotionally spent right now I don’t think I could handle it.Too much heavy…

So….time to lighten it up..with a little paperwork! Such a light and fun topic! No one here is daunted and defeated by just a few pieces of paper, with a few hundred words and some blank lines. There’s nothing to be scared of! How do I explain the feelings that come over me when I think of it? Joy! Elation! So many fun phone calls and appointments to set up! I’m simply ecstatic! Dancing with joy! And guess what? Wait for it…


More papers with words and blank lines we didn’t even have yet! Also a CPR class!  Also articles and 4 books to read (well that may actually be unsarcastically filled with joy and elation (also did you know unsarcastically is not an actually word?(I also feel I should continue this parenthesis within a parenthesis trend with an additional parenthesis!)), especially by comparison!). Wow that was fun to read! And so grammatically correct I’m sure a few of you are in fits of joy!

But get this. Not only is there more fun papers, but they take WEEKS to process after we finish with them. Then we have WEEKS of interviews after that, and at least a MONTH of processing when those are done. Then a photo book to make, which should be fun and easily accomplished, especially since I have no experience even making a baby book for our children! It will be great! I’m sure I’ll finish in no time flat. It also gets to be reviewed and edited (few more weeks) and resubmitted and then and only then our fun will be over and we will be placed in waiting. And if we wait to long, we get to do a lot of it ALL OVER AGAIN!

Completely sincerely, the further down this road I get, the longer the road becomes.

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