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Jena

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.

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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.

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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,

Mommy

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a brief baby update and a big girl dances

I’m breaking radio silence. Briefly. We (read I) have dealing with a bit of an emotional upheaval the last few weeks and have not really been in the frame of mind to write. Things are still sort of in limbo and I’ll share more when we know what’s going on, but for now.

Here’s our brief update

We heard from  one of the other grants, and we were declined. This one was kinda of expected because they prioritize their money to people with no children first. But it was an easy application and we went for it anyway, oh well.

I had a birthday, it was low key and nice. The kids got me blue hair, new pens, rubber grippers (for those pesky jars my sore hand has been having trouble with lately) and straws with spoons on the end. Minus that last one, which I’m pretty sure was just for them, the others were all very thoughtful and insightful gifts for me. Maybe they are listening more than I realize. I also got a beautiful new journal from Bycemaster, very much looking forward to that.

Our Jena had her dance recital this weekend as well. She was in dance when she was in preschool, but preschoolers just kinda sway back and forth and spin in a circle for their recitals. This was actually real dance and she did amazing. I’ll claim credit for her love of dance, but she got her physical ability from her daddy. Just to clarify Bycemaster used his in sports, I’m sure he’d like you to know, same difference to me! Regardless, it made a good combo 🙂

Here she is afterwards.

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That’s all for today! We gotta run, ’tis the season!

what do you want to be when you grow up?

Our Jena has decided she wants to be a baker. The whole ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ question has never really been something we’ve focused or even broached in our home, I mean they don’t really have context for that when they’re little. But this one spontaneously decided recently, and it’s been kinda fun to explore it with her. We’ve had a number of opportunities lately for her to use her new found passion.
IMG_0730Here she is mixing up batter for baby cupcakes for a baby shower. Someone gave us a toaster oven and I bought her a mini pan to fit inside. She made 60 minis in her toaster oven last week. She also discovered that the regular muffin pan on the counter behind her fits too. We are clearing out a cupboard in the kitchen for all her baking goods. She is very excited. Down below are her finished product. Getting to fancy frost them was her favorite part. Plus sprinkles, of course. IMG_0731
IMG_4080But this was her true masterpiece. She made her daddy a chocolate fall out cake, for all the non gamers please enjoy the Wikipedia link to know what the heck I’m talking about :). That is the pip boy surrounded by atomic bombs. It’s a post apocalyptic game so I suppose the end of the world had to be depicted too.

I wish I could have gotten some mid process photos of this one, but I was napping! I helped put the cake in the oven and color the frosting after my race and then laid down. I woke up and she had decorated it all up! The photo below is her practice drawing before she drew it in frosting. Marker is a little easier to work with than frosting. It really does look just like the pip boy to me. IMG_4102
IMG_4099Here she is giving daddy one of the MANY presents she made for him. I love this picture cause she didn’t know I was taking it. No goofy face, just the joy of someone receiving something you’ve given them. He’s also proudly wearing the purple sparkly “watch” she made him, go daddy.

But we also had my race this weekend! Bycemaster’s birthday and my race being tied together is providential. Without him (and my running buddy!) I would not have done near as well this training season. They both kept me going when I wanted to quit. He kicked me out the door and she dragged my butt along when I would have stopped if I was alone. It was a hard training season, it’s been a hard year.

I talked a little bit about my expectations for this race last week. They were lower than low, given what my goal for this year way. After I wrote the post, I did more figuring based off our training runs and became even more discouraged. It really looked like even coming in under our OUC time of 2:28 was going to be really pushing it. But neither of us quit things we commit to, so that wasn’t even really considered.

4am sunday morning I was up getting ready to go. My devotion that morning was on finishing the race. It spoke about how often the journey is hard and no fun, but the end is always great. I remember laughing thinking God you have a sense of humor. I also remember thinking it’s the end, I’m trained up, and about to run this thing, and it’s not great. I still was not looking forward to it really.IMG_0734But here we are at the start, psyching our selves up and trying to talk ourselves into being happy with finishing at what we thought was reasonable. Excuse the awfulness of this pic. It’s the only pre-race shot I’ve got.

However, below is our finish line shot. We were maybe 10 yards from the finish, actually able to sprint and coming in about 15 mins sooner than we could have ever dreamed in the picture above. We were elated. This was the real end, and this was fantastic. We came in at 2:15:03 not even 2 mins over our PR and way under our expectations. sprinting toward the goal

This running/racing thing is so much like life sometimes it amazes me. So many things we are journeying on, down and discouraged just barely putting one foot in front of the other and then the unexpected happens and we are able to finish, sometime even finishing strong.

Right now as our adoption stuff is beginning to expire (we are approaching the one year point of when we started the paperwork) and it’s just one foot in front of the other I’m focusing on that finish line. It will be here eventually, and the journey is part of the joy of the end. I prefer to enjoy each step of the way, and often I can find the good in it all, but some things are just hard. But I know hard does not equal bad, quite the opposite I’ve found. Generally speaking the harder it is, the greater the potential for joy at the finish line.

But just as importantly, the hard part is bearable when you are not alone. The joy is also exponentially greater when it’s shared. So I’ll just be here wading through my hard with all of you, thinking about the joy I’ll get to share at the next finish line.

Thanks for journeying with me.

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.

a new year a new leaf

So I came on here to write about how the irony of rocking out to Beastie Boys’ Intergalactic (wow that was a crazy video I missed with no MTV as a kid) down the highway in my mini van full of children made me grin like an idiot. To show our pictures of the kids seeing snow for the first time, actually taken with the real camera! To just generally gush the gratitude I feel at the amazing gift of a virtually free vacation in a time when it would not have happened otherwise.

Then I opened chrome and WordPress was not one of the 6 most recently viewed webpages….again. When I was doing my yearly goals this January (December is too crazy, I give myself all of January) I put the blog on there, again. Cause really if I’m going to do something, I want to actually do it, not just feel guilty about not doing it. However, I know from experience that something vague like “the blog” is never going to inspire anything more than guilt over inaction, I need something specific and measurable.

HELP ME PLEASE! Those of you that read this or any blog, how often do you like them to update? Is once a week often enough? Everyday good or too much? Anything in particular you are looking for? More writing? Less writing, more photos? Recipes? Acrobatics? Magical robots that cook and clean and do laundry? OK I already know the answer to the last one is YES! I feel like I’ve been out of this writing world for so long I don’t know what’s what anymore. So help me set my 2015 blog goal, it’s only mid February and hey there’s always time for a fresh start right? 🙂

But I’ll still leave you with some photos so I can procrastinate on our adoption photo book just a little longer! Why of why do I do these things to myself, le sigh.

He'd actually seen snow before, his one up on the big kids. But this is the first he'll remember :)
He’d actually seen snow before, his one up on the big kids. But this is the first he’ll remember 🙂
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You can barely even see the snow in this pic, but trust me, she could
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He was so pumped
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Also my 6 year did this. She wasn’t even big enough to go up on her own, but she owned it. I was shocked (shouldn’t have really, this is so her) and asked the guy if this was normal, he said he’d never seen a kid her size run them all so easily. I ❤ her.

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