Saturday, March 23, 2013

Samuel: 10 months

Dear Samuel,

Carter doesn't say "Sam-ool" anymore.  He says your name just the way everyone else does.  Except me.  And your Daddy.  Because we are in the habit and because it is cute, we just keep saying Sam-ool.  We're working on it.

Carter is newly obsessed with you, if that was possible.  He loves wrestling with you, and you oddly laugh every time I think it has gotten too rough for you and you must be getting hurt.  You're rough and tumble and it is one of my favorite things about you.  The only times you get mad are when anyone takes something out of your hands.  Or when we put you in the high chair.  Or the car seat.  Or put you down.  When you get mad, you throw your little head and arms, arching your back in protest.  It feels like the beginning of the end of the part of parenting where you don't have to do a lot of, well, parenting.  The more personality we see will mean the more discipline you'll require.  Welcome to the party, Samuel.  Carter has a lot to show you.

Huge announcement.  You are totally saying "da-da" now.


It gets better.

While reaching out for Daddy and smiling.  He melts, and I lean over your shoulder whispering "m" sounds.  It's cool.
You still love me since I'll still your lifesource and all.
Your Daddy was so proud you said his name first that he has been asking me on the daily if I have put the news on the blog yet.  Daily.  You're a sweet, sweet part of your Daddy's heart little boy!

Also.  You're crawling.  There wasn't one particular day you started.  It's all been rather bit by bit, squirming, "Does that count as crawling?", "Look at that!  What is he even doing right now?"kind of stuff.  Hilarious.  You squirm, bounce, roll, army crawl, and traditional crawl all over the place depending on the surface, distance and environment.  You're on the move with a special target for Carter's train tracks.  And me.  You may be saying Daddy's name, but you want to be touching ME at allllll times.  I love it.  I relish in it.  I love you, little sidekick!

Guess what?!?!  No ear infections.  Boo yeah.  Love you tubes!  Right now you have no ear infections and no teeth coming through.   You are twelve levels of happy all the time (provided no one is doing any of the things you don't like) and we love it.  You make everyone around you smile.  Carter asks every day for a special "Samuel kiss" before nap.  You are a crazy little kisser and are quite generous to unsuspecting babies who don't see that wide open mouth coming at their face as a warning.  You're open and free with the slobber and benevolent with your love.

You're pulling up on everything, with no regard to sturdiness.  You aren't interested in taking steps, but you love, love, love to stand up!  You also love, love playing "Patty-Cake" and peekaboo.  You clap along, and when you're feeling particularly bold, you bang the table.  You particularly love playing peekaboo with Carter, whose drama makes you smile.

Nothing is more fun for you than grabbing Carter's toys.  Your big brother is SO patient with this, but this is definitely going to be a bone of contention we will be working through in the next months.  

I am so grateful for you Samuel-bug.  Your sweet daddy-shaped eyes and wide-mouthed grin literally take my breath away.  I love to dream about all you will do in your life, but I am amazed by all the joy you've already brought....the work you've already done.  In just ten short months of life, you have changed, improved, and brought beauty in the lives around you.  I'm grateful to live life beside you and open the present of your life each day.

Keep working hard, buddy.
I so admire your quiet way of working at things until you figure them out.

I am so grateful for you.  I love you, always.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Table for Two

The kids' table.

Some of my dearest memories are from the little table off the kitchen at Ma and Pa's house.  Allie, Brady, Travis and I would pile our plates high, talk too loud, steal each other's food when we ran off to the bathroom, and make up ridiculous stories that made each other howl with laughter.  We forged our friendship there, laughing and filling our bellies.

Travis and I grew up with this table.  We painted, colored, formed play dough sculptures and wrote stories.  We tipped it over to build forts and flipped it on it's back to sail away on a ship.  It has the scars of a childhood well-lived.

It is sweet to see our boys gathered around, busily stuffing their faces. (Well, Henry did anyway.  Carter is forever running off from the table...)

Right now, they are still close to the "adult" table, if we can really be called that.  I know we pay taxes, parent children, and hold jobs...but I still rarely feel like we count as adults.  :)

I am so grateful for these boys and the friendship they will have.  What blessed people we are, to have a house brimming with baby boys.  They will soon graduate to a bigger table, farther away from us and with more seats for more family.  But for now, their little table for two is just right.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

I was just sitting like....

...and he was like...

...and I was like...

...and he was like...

...and I was like, Mama!"

and she picked me up.  
And kissed me.
And fed me.
And I was like...

Thursday, March 7, 2013


We got to dedicate Samuel to the Lord a few weeks ago at church.  It was a sweet time with our families.  A time of hope of what is to come and a reminder of the promises we fulfill to him in our smallest choices every day.  We shared the verse that we pray over Samuel every day.  They asked us to share our vision for Samuel.  What do you say?  How to condense every hope and dream we have for this precious life?  We summed it up, as best we could by saying:

"Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit will draw Samuel’s heart to himself.  We pray Samuel will trust that Jesus’ death has satisfied the debt he owes and will know the full joy and freedom of his Savior.  We pray that he will be satisfied in Christ alone and that his life will be a fragrant offering to his God."

We told them a little about how we chose Samuel's name, saying, 
"It is our desire that Samuel will be like the faithful priest of the Old Testament, bringing those around him to the place where they can meet their God.  We pray that he will go in and out before the presence of God for his whole life and that the legacy of his obedience will influence future generations."

It was hard to get a picture of us up there because it was a bit dark, but we do have a few.

Yes, Carter has a muffin in his hand.  I was totally unwilling to fight that one.  

We are so grateful for the blessing and responsibility of being Samuel's parents.  I cannot even imagine a more precious calling than raising these boys.  I feel so many times each day the full weight and joy of it all.  Dedicating this life in every little moment I spend with him.  


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

We're adventurers...paid in the currency of Vitamin D.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Letter to the Boys

Dear boys,

I pray that you will be brave in spite of me.

I pray that I will not urge you too much to be careful when you are doing big things.  I pray I will not caution you too frequently when you are stretching yourself.  I pray I will not constantly remind you of all that can go wrong when you are about to take a huge leap of faith.

I want you to be like Jesus more than I want anything for you.  I also understand that living a life as a fragrant offering for Christ means pouring yourself out completely in full faith that there is only abundance in Jesus.  I understand that losing this life for the sake of the Gospel is the greatest fulfillment of every desire you will ever have.  I also understand that it looks nothing like what the world values.

Sweet boys.  I am going to fail you.  I am going to hope that you will be safe, cared for, and comfortable.  I am going to caution you to take care of yourself first, keep yourself surrounded by those that won't "hurt" you, and to accumulate enough to insulate yourself from reason for faith.

But that is not what I desire.  I am fighting to be braver than that.  To want more than that for you.  Having brave boys means that I will watch you fall and will let you pull yourself painfully back up again instead of doing it for you.  Having strong boys means that I will watch you put your heart out on the line when it is evident that people are going to fail you.  Having boys that are warriors for the work of the Lord means that I will watch you give up positions of leadership for those of service.

So I pray that I will bite my tongue and that the Lord will change my heart.  I pray that I will say, "Ish gibor chayil!" instead of "Be careful!" when the Lord stirs in your heart to befriend that lonely, angry, scared boy whose emotions manifest in "bad behavior" on the playground.  I pray that I will cover you in prayer instead of worry and fret when you give up "prestige" and "honor" for a place of service for those who need strong defense and protection.  I pray that I will cheer on your efforts to give to the point of hurting when you could be saving up for the things you really want.  

My dear ones, you have the sweetest gift of life. I pray that you will use it completely.  I pray that you will pour it out for Kingdom far greater than what we can imagine here on Earth.  I pray that you will be brave, strong, bold, and full, full, full of love as Christ fills you with Himself.

And I pray that I will never, never stand in your way.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Carter: 2.5

Carter is now two and a half years old.

He weighs 28 pounds and 2 oz (31st percentile) and is 35.5 inches tall (41st percentile).

He loves pickles, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, avocado, frozen bananas, black beans, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and oranges the very best.  His favorite treats are cookies.

Carter loves to sing, say the blessing before meals with his eyes scrunched up but still open as to not miss any action, and jump, pretending he's picking fruit from tall trees.  He loves to "run the bridge," which is any long straightaway he can zoom down, facing the side (for some reason).  He hates coloring, but loves to paint with water colors.  He asks for baby sisters on the regular and loves to take things away from Samuel.  To be fair, he also really loves to give Samuel hugs and kisses.  He loves having his teeth brushed with his Thomas toothbrush and his favorite Bible story is Joshua and the battle of Jericho.  He gets a kick out of naming every single thing God made....which is obviously an expansive list.  He sleeps all night and waits obediently in bed for me to come let him get up in the morning.  That feels like a complete miracle when I consider the sleep challenges we faced the first 18 months of his life.

Carter uses manners pretty well when reminded, but spends a good deal of time in "pimeout" as a result of frequently doing exactly what we ask him not to do while staring at us.  If Carter were a color, I think he'd be bright yellow.  Fun, beautiful, strong, and intense.  Everything he does, feels, or says is in the boldest, loudest, most extreme expression.

At two and a half, Carter can operate my iPhone at nearly full capacity, identify all his colors and count to ten when he feels like it.  His favorite letters are "R" and "C".  I think he can sing the alphabet, but he refuses to do that.  He is still pretty adamant about only peeing in the tub, so we're rocking on with the diapers happily.  He can balance on one foot at a time, jump, run almost as fast as I can, and trot like a horse.  Carter is remembering more and more of different story lines and can "read" several books on his own.  He can tell you more parts of a train than I ever expected to know and loves anything to do with firetrucks, ambulances, cars, trucks, and especially tractor trailers.

Carter loves sidewalk chalk and being outside in general.  He loves throwing gumballs at the park and eating Cheerios in the stroller when I run.  He loves, loves, loves other children and still pretty much hates, hates, hates strangers above 5 feet tall.  His favorite song is, "If You're Happy and You Know It" and "Down by the Station" and he loves to "help" me prepare meals by eating everything I chop, putting food from the cutting board into the bowl/mixer/food processor, and stirring.  Stirring is the scariest.

Carter is my favorite two and a half year old in this whole world.  I look in his eyes and see so much of myself.  I hear the things he says, and hear so much of the man I love most in this world.  I watch him, and I see a boy so unique and new that it leads me to praise I cannot contain for a God who, after fashioning so many creatures, still created something so fresh and rare.  He is my firstborn, my dear son, and a person I greatly admire.

30 months of motherhood...and it just keeps getting better.

newborn-30 mos