Monday, April 29, 2013

Terrific Two!

Aloria turned 2 this week.
She was sick on her birthday, so I postponed celebrations until the weekend
when everyone felt a little better, dad could be home, and she could eat cake
which was the thing she was looking forward to most!

Her day started full of balloons and a table full of love gifted to her from all her
adoring fans.  Being two, she isn't well versed in the tradition of looking for the next
present to open.
She was happy as a clam to receive her bucket from Olivia and play with that
for a while.  Then she was given some stickers by sister Susanna and methodically
applied every one of them to a piece of paper before moving on to breakfast :-)

(Miles attends the party in a jammie that Bryce picked out for him

Much of the day was spent barefoot outside since the sun was so warm and
inviting.  It was precious to watch Aloria with her big brothers and sisters.
You can see that Olivia's dollar store bucket was prized :-)

Something really special that our birthday girl received, was a bunch of wooden
people that her brothers cut out, dad assembled, and sisters painted.
Daddy worked on a doll house for them that day though it was clear they could be
played with even without the proper housing.

Bryce gifted Lori with some "Twisty" straws.

When asked what she wanted for her birthday dinner, the excited garbles were
not easy to make out - except the last squeaky "Cake!"  which was as clear as
day.  There was something else about a candle, so that was the priority.
Cake complete with candle.

She wouldn't stand on her chair for a picture.
She wasn't into blowing out the candle.
So we left the candle burning and cut in.

It was a good party for a 'Lor, and she certainly made the most of it!
Eating cake though?
That was a great way to end a birthday celebration :-)

Happy Birthday darling daughter Aloria Mercy!

You are dearly loved by many.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sleeping like a Baby

These guys really know how to spend a weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

From the Sick House


One thing I find a bit heart-tugging , is when my runny, goopy, sneezing
toddlers want to love on our baby.
I can almost see the germs as they spew and ooze from one to the other and still
I can't bring myself to shoo the doting masses away.

At the expense of my fresh new baby's dry nose, I let his siblings cuddle up close and enjoy him.

From the time I had two children under 2 and one of them was a new big brother,
I determined to let the big one have access to the little.
18 month-old big brothers aren't especially soft or gentle in their movements.
Strokes and caresses are more like accidental socks and conks.  Sweet innocent infants
are loved to squished in my home as I monitor carefully within close proximity.

This decision made about 10 years ago has been harder at times than a quarantine
as I watch my sweet innocent infants be loved to smothers.
With breath sucked in I gently instruct the big brother or sister in their new roll,
and have seen over and over again that newly initiated "Big" take ownership.

Of all the parenting experiments I have tried, this one has yielded some of the most
 precious fruit over and over again.

Confidence to approach this wiggly new bundle without fear of reproach
has resulted in a desire to be near, to be helpful, and to engage in play and in conversation.
It has resulted in camaraderie.
As I show the Big how to hug, and kiss, and pat, and wipe spits from the face of his baby,
there are a certain amount of bumps that happen as well (and for the sake of this post,
germs and illness too).

But babies are resilient.

It's much harder to promote that sibling bond
after months of telling his hopeful new protector to back off.

And so our baby has the sickness too.  It' frustrating, but it's what is.

I try to mitigate the damage with encouragement to wash hands before touching,
and to not sneeze in his face, and to scoot back a little so to not share germs...
but I am more interested in the long-term relationship between brothers
than the short-term discomfort and inconvenience of dealing with more flu.

I'm certainly no expert in parenting, but I do know it's no fun nursing a house-full of sickies.
More than the usual share of energy-taxing, sleep-depriving duties multiply when germs
 invade 10 otherwise healthy bodies.
However that's nothing to the job of parenting with wisdom in the midst of brain fog;
and when wisdom says to take the harder path (which may even mean less than the little
sleep you're already getting), well...
it's hard.

But if the Holy Spirit leads your heart in the direction of the difficult, 

The rewards are greater than can be imagined.

Brothers:  Bryce 3 and a Half.  Miles 6 weeks old.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Celeb Photo Shoot

Lucy and Miles modeling the Quick Change Trousers.

Lucy and Miles modeling their own adorable selves :-)

It was all fun and games until.....

Lucy maintains that she didn't pinch her buddy, 
but the whole thing looks a little dubious, don't you think? 

Submit your caption! :-D

Friday, April 19, 2013


This is my boy.

He is over 5 weeks old and over 12 pounds now, and clearly,
he is a heart-breaker.

His sweet get-up is a gift from my dear friend Jana, who hand appliqued
the suspenders and tie.  What a good looking fella, my Miles!

Last night I had a fussy baby.
On the floor I sat, in a soft glow emanating from the open bathroom door.

5 week old baby Miles lay on a small flannel blanket spread before me.
Since I couldn't make him comfortable in bed, I brought him into the light
for a diaper change and a visit - I hoped (perhaps in vain) to obtain quiet
so the hard-working daddy could sleep; and in the business of being comforter
I didn't even track the time.
It could have been 1am or 5.  I could have been there for 20 minutes or and hour
I don't know, but the low steady sound of breathing from behind me was a balm as
Daddy slept on.

To my supreme pleasure, the clean diaper and small-talk with Miles seemed to
be just what the boy needed.  Since I was already awake, I took some time to
marvel over all his small parts, features, and the pudgy rolls in his arms and legs.
He is a "plush" baby, as my friend Lauri likes to say :-)

I've been told he looks like me.
I think he looks perfect.
I smile in his sleepy face and whisper endless "I love yous", bending lower
over his body to smell his hair.

How do mothers do it?  How do mothers function on so little sleep?
When asked, I'll stare blankly.  "Do it?"  Do you really think I am doing it?"
That's what I think to myself.
I happen to know that I'm running on prayer, grace, and the fumes of imagined sleep.
Just yesterday my 10 year-old Clayton asked me if I was thinking something.
"No... no," I replied "I'm sleeping with my eyes open."

And yet I savor this baby of mine in no particular hurry.  I know that middle-of-the-night
rendezvous of this nature are fleeting.

He fusses.  I turn him to his tummy and pat his back rhythmically.
The sound wakes my beloved and he offers help if I need it.
The offer is all I need this time - just the knowledge of his care - and I pick up my
now-quiet baby boy and hold him close in that soft light spilled on the floor.

There are lots of things I could think in a moment of nighttime solitude;
self-pity could be my theme, and yet...
yet I find myself surprised by what fills my consciousness.
Out of the darkness I hear my own voice say "This..."
This is exactly what I want to do with my life."
And I know it to be true.

Amazingly, there is always just enough supernatural strength to get through.
There is not always an abundance, or even as much as I would like there to be.
But there is always enough.

The Lord is exceedingly faithful to grant endurance through this season.
And because this situation (this number of children, this decision to educate at home,
this need to provide meals and direction, this lack of sleep) appears so impossible,
I can do only one thing:
Point to the Author of peace in my life, and the Giver of grace who sustains me.
He sustains, supports, and encourages.
In the darkness He whispers His delight of me.

I must believe Him, because ever so slowly I am learning to love what He loves.
And in an improbable turn of events, when my eyelids are heavy and my back burns and the
night seems never to end, I can't help feeling grateful.

As that tiny face looks up into mine and overrides all comfort and sanity
my heart cries this knowledge and my mouth agrees:
"This is exactly what I want to do with my life!"

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Slice of life in Colorado

These pictures are from last weekend.  Some from our front yard at the Colorado
winter home, and some from a hike we took nearby.
There was a serious outbreak of freckles from that day in the high altitude sunshine!
Lots of bright eyes too :-)