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My Joshie

Dear Joshie

I am pretty sure that time is passing faster each year.  Didn’t we just have your 9th birthday? How is is that we are celebrating your entry into double digits today?!

You are 10 today!!  In the blink of an eye, you have gone from a sweet little baby, to a cute pudgy toddler, to a energetic (sometimes explosive) little boy, to an amazing young man.

You are brave and bold and strong.  You are friendly and outgoing, and all the things that draw people to you.  You like to be with friends.  You love to try new things.  The ball field is your second home.  You are loud and funny and adventurous.  But you are also sensitive and thoughtful and kind.  You love your family so much.  You pick up on other people’s feelings.  You think about things long after they have happened.  You are compassionate and caring.  You love to be surrounded by a big group of people.  But you equally love a quiet snuggle on the couch with your Mama.

You had a great school year.  Writing is definitely not your favorite subject, but you blew me away in every other subject.  You caught on to math concepts faster than I could keep up, you now love to read, and you gobble up all sorts of facts in science and socials.  It’s been another big baseball year for our family, and you have certainly held your own.  You love to pound the ball and run with all your might.  You’ve also turned into quite a good back catcher.  I love watching you give it your all and cheer on your team.

You are so precious.  I am so thankful that you are part of our family.  You keep me smiling (and sometimes gritting my teeth, but not very often….) You give the very best hugs.  You love fiercely, and we are all better with you around.

My favorite part of the day is when I am tucking you in at night.  You always make a spot for me beside you and we talk about the day.  You invite me for a sleep over every night.  You start every prayer with “Thank you for giving me the best Mommy in the whole world”…. and no matter what kind of day I have had, I always leave your room with a smile on my face and my heart overflowing with love.  Thank you for being my peace at the end of every day.

You are a treasure.  I hope you never change.  I love you with whole heart.

Happy Birthday, my sweet Joshie Bear.

Love,

Mom xoxox

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My Bubba

Oh my sweet litte boy,

I cannot believe 6 amazing years have passed since you joined our family.  We were all smitten with you from the moment we laid eyes on you.

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Obviously we all know a good thing when we see it!!

You are incredible, and I am not just saying that because I am your Mama- although, I am incredibly proud to wear that title!  You are one of the kindest children I have ever met.  You are happy and easy going (good thing, because you are definitely the neglected last child in a big, busy family!)  You wake up with a smile and a hug, and that is how you continue on throughout the day.

You have loved Kindergarten this year, and have done so well.  You love to learn, you love your fiends, you adore your teacher.  At the beginning of the year, you were a little annoyed with me for putting you in Part-time Kindie, because you really wanted to spend every possible moment with the wonderful Mrs. Morris.  But as the year as gone on, we have gotten used to our “Mommy and Danny days” and we look forward to them all week.  We usually run errands- boring stuff like grocery shopping, house cleaning, etc, but it is just you and me and it is a special time for us.  I will miss our days next year, when you are in grade 1 and the school gets you every day.  I hope they know what a treasure they are getting!

You love to be outside.  You often come home and don’t even go into the house before you hop on your bike to cruise up and down the street.  You started baseball this year, and love it (good thing!)  You love to swim.  You love to run.  And you balance that nicely with your love for crafting and all things that involve a hot glue gun.

You are the best snuggler I know.  You sprinkle kisses and hugs and I-love-you’s throughout the day like confetti.  You are obedient more often than you are not.  You are my treasure, my gift from God.

You tell me you are the luckiest boy in the whole world because you got me as a Mommy.  And I know that I am the luckiest Mom in the world because I got you as a baby.  It’s a pretty good thing we have going on- I cannot imagine our family without you in it.

You are allowed to grow up, but please do not ever change.

I love you, my precious Bubba.  Happy 6th Birthday!!!

Love,

Mommy xoxoxox

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Ahhh it has been a long time since I have written.  The thing is, it is really hard to work 2 jobs and keep up volunteering/ over-involvement in my kids lives like I did when I was “just” a stay at home mom.

My school job is incredible.  My baby job feeds my soul.  My children and husband make my heart sing.  Baseball is amazing, but I think I am a pro at making things as difficult and confusing and time consuming as possible.

I haven’t been sleeping well this week because I have lists running through my mind.  I did sleep a little last night, but when I am feeling a little stressed about things, they often consume my dreams.

So last night…. I was actually on “Lenna duty”.  All I dreamt about all night was baseball and school.  Lenna was everywhere.  I had somehow accidentally put her on a Pee Wee team.  She was up to bat, but she was too small to lift the bat.  I had given her the wrong uniform.  Then suddenly she was in school.  She was arguing with me because she didn’t want to do her speech therapy and she kept calling out in class.  Then she was back on the ball field but it was pouring rain and I had forgotten to get her a “jill” (look that one up).  The she just sat down on the bench and started crying.  And crying.  And crying.

Oh wait, that was her, in her bed, crying because she was hungry.  I was so confused for a second when I woke up.  Ha.

But…. if I don’t die before this weekend, baseball will get under way and then I can stop dreaming about it.  Lenna doesn’t argue, or do speech therapy, so those fears should settle down.  And I promise I will never leave her in the middle of a field when it is pouring rain.

Anyway, time to put my crazy away and get back to work, but I just wanted to leave you with this treasure.

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That is my sweet Sammy.  At school.  In the classroom of the world’s greatest teacher (second to Miss Wiens, obviously) SMILING.  If you know me at all, you know this makes my heart sing with joy.

Okay, back to work.  The sun is out and it’s almost the weekend.  We won’t talk about the baseball schedule this week, or my crazy might come back out….

A year of Blessing

It is New Year’s Eve, not quite 9:00, and I have already been in my pajamas for more hours that I care to admit.  I feel old and boring, and I am not even ashamed of it.  We are coming to the end of a perfect Christmas and it seems fitting to reflect on the past year.

What a year it has been.  In January, I felt very clearly, that two words were to define my coming year: THANKFULNESS and TRUST.

Thankfulness was not totally unknown to me.  I have, for many years, felt overwhelmed by the “goodness” (for lack of a better word) in my life- namely my family.  I absolutely have a terrible attitude sometimes, I am often tired, I am easily overwhelmed.  But I do not take for granted what has been given to me.  However, this year I made a point of being deliberately thankful, more often.  And sharing my thanks with people.

Trust was a much harder one for me.  I do not like to trust.  I like to plan and arrange and have all my ducks in a row…. and I like to take care of things myself- and see them through to the end- so that I know things are done properly.  Some people might call me a bit of a control freak.  🙂  But I tried to take a bit of a step back and learn to trust.

So many wonderful things have happened for our family this year.  If I had to sum up the year in two words, they would be BLESSINGS… and BASEBALL (you had to see that coming!)

Lots has happened aside from baseball.  Renea got a full-time job in her chosen profession and moved out.  She is all grown up and it is weird.  But we are so proud of her and excited for her future.  Dean got to go to Africa and ready a children’s choir for their Canadian tour.  We had an awesome summer holiday on the island.  Our school-aged children all got PHENOMENAL teachers this year and are doing so well.  (Sam’s return to school has been incredible).  I am sure there is so much more that I am forgetting, but I am old and tired, remember? Cut me a little slack!

I have already shared about how incredible baseball has been for our family.  (Sarah and Danny might disagree a teeny tiny bit… they aren’t as into spending hours and hours at the ballpark).  I used to say that school broke my Sammy, and if I was being dramatic, I would say that baseball saved his life.  It was incredible to watch the transformation of our son on that field- and even more incredible to watch him take his newfound confidence with him off the field.  It was wonderful for Joshie too.  He learned new skills and made new friends, and had a blast.  I was slightly overwhelmed by the schedule when we first joined in the spring.  I even said we were never doing this again- especially when Dean went to African for 3 weeks in the middle of the season.  But then we accidentally signed up for summer ball… and the fall ball.  And then Dean mentioned that he might like to coach next season, and I somehow ended up on the CMBA board, so…. I guess we found a good thing- and we are looking forward to doing it again!  (And Danny can hardly wait to be on a team this time too.  Sarah has no interest!)

And incredible blessings…. we have always been blessed.  We have always been cared for.  But I have felt so incredibly blessed this year, especially in the area of finances.  Before Danny began school, I was adamant that I was not going to start working just because all my babies were growing up.  I still wanted to be fully available to my children.  Money has always been tight for us, but that was something we were willing to continue dealing with.  I would be lying to say that money (or lack there of) hasn’t kept me awake many nights, but I really trusted that God would make it work.

And then 2 crazy thing happened.  I somehow found a job as a night nanny for the sweetest little baby.  I work night time hours, so in theory, my kids should not even know I am gone.  I get to do all my mom jobs at home, tuck everyone into bed and then go to “work”, which is actually just snuggling and taking care of the most precious little love bug.  And I am home before everyone wakes up.

The second crazy thing…. it was suggested I apply to my kids’ school as an EA, and they hired me.  I am just on call this year, and hope to get a permanent position for next year, but it has been incredible!  I love the job so much.  I get to work with children, which is sort of my thing (and working in high school wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be).  I drive my kids to school, and I drive them home!  In the hours in between, I get to work at the school and sometimes I even have lunch dates with my children.  I cannot imagine a more perfect scenario.

I cannot chalk either of these jobs up to anything other than God’s guidance and blessing for our family.  I do not say that lightly.  I feel so overwhelmed by His goodness.

So, as I crawl into bed at an embarrassingly early hour on this New Year’s Eve, I am so thankful for the year that has gone by and so excited for the one that is coming.  44650946_10155579171692511_9035429885799038976_o

Still my Sammy

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To my Precious Sammy,

It seems unbelievable to me that 11 years have passed since you joined our family, yet here we are! I have always been so proud of you, but you have blown me away this past year with your courage!

It all started with baseball.  You decided you wanted to play, and you went for it.  We signed you up for Spring Ball and while you were a little nervous on the first day, you did not even hesitate to hop out of the van to go join your team.  You worked so hard, you listened to everything your coaches told you, you practiced, you played…. you had fun!  It was incredible for us to watch you out on the field with your team mates, laughing and talking and smiling.  And the look on your face when you made a good hit, or got someone out, or made it home…. victorious!  And then you played Summer Ball…. and then Fall Ball… Baseball was definitely a highlight of our year.

You were brave and tried new things- and you conquered fears that you did not even want to face.  School was a HUGE things for us this year.  You really did not want to leave the comfort of home, even though you admit it was boring to be here while everyone else was in school all day.  You were terrified. You had stomachaches all summer long.  But on the first day of school, you got dressed in your uniform and held your head high.  I won’t ever forget the look on your face as you entered your class- equal parts terrified and determined.  I also will never ever forget the smile on your face as you came out of your classroom on that first day…. and that whole first week.  I won’t forget about how you talked nonstop every car ride home, as you told me about your amazing teacher and your great new friends and the FUN math and writing you had to do in class.  I will never, ever forget about how you told me, just the other night, that you are glad you went back to school because you love it there.

You have been so courageous and strong.  But you remain my sweet, gentle Sammy Boy.  You would prefer if I dropped you off a block away from school so that nobody sees you with your mom, but in the safety of our home, you still love to snuggle with me.  You love to lay with me and tell me about your day.  You love to play and talk with Danny and Sarah.  You and Josh are still best buddies.  You and Renea could talk for hours.  If Daddy asks if anybody wants to go along, you always offer, even before you know where you are going.

You love to draw and write comics.  You devour every book you can get your hands on.

You would live on carbs alone if I would let you.  Your room is a pig pen.  You come home in muddy pants every single day from school because football is also a new hobby.  Youth Group is the highlight of your week.

In this past year, you have gone from a timid, shy, scared little boy to a brave, bold young man who loves to be with his friends and have fun.  Somehow in this transformation, you have managed to stay sweet and caring and sensitive.  My heart explodes with pride.

I cannot wait to see what you get up to in this next year.  Watching your grow definitely takes away the sting of my babies growing up.

Happy 11th Birthday, my Sammy Boy.  I love you to the moon and back.  Forever.

Love,

Mom

xoxo

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Sarah

 

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My Sweet Princess,

 

You are 7 today, how can it be? Time sure flies- it must be because we are having so much fun!  I’m can’t be sad about how fast you are growing up though, because you just keep getting more and more wonderful! I cannot believe you are so old, but I love that you still let yourself be little.  This morning, you came into my room and asked if you could have a snuggle to start your birthday.  You cuddled in close and stroked my hair and told me you love me.

You are such a treasure.  A few months ago, you broke my heart a little when you told me that it seems like I don’t have time for you. You are in every beat of my heart, but I do know that I get busy with my check lists and sometimes forget to sit down and just be with you.  I still fail a lot of the time, but you are gracious with me, and I am trying to remember to savor the moments with you.  You love it when I read to you, and you love it when I listen to you read to me.  You draw and color and cut and create all the time.  My night table is piled high with notes and pictures from you.  I want you to know that I treasure every single one.  I treasure every single “I love you” and every single snuggle.

As much as you love to sit and do quiet girly things, you also love to play loud and hard with the boys! You love to climb trees and ride your bike.  You love dogs and horses, and babies, equally.  You love to swim, and you conquered your first roller coaster this summer.   You love adventure!

You still love your bling- the more shine and glitter the better.  You love to paint your nails (and mine) and your dream outing is to go for High Tea!

My sweet girl, my heart explodes with love for you.  I hope you never lose your zest for life, or your love for others.  I cannot wait to celebrate you today!

I love you for ever and ever.

Love,

Mama

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4 ingredient muffins

I’ve been awfully posty lately! It must be all the free time I now have!! (Haha, I have had a total of 3 hours (minus driving time) to myself so far, so I haven’t gotten bored yet.)

Anyway, I have shared before that Sarah has some food restrictions.  We have tried bringing said foods back into her life, and the result was not pretty.

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I mean, SARAH is pretty, but how she felt was not.  So…. back to finding weird recipes to try to feed her, because she is often hungry!

Most of what I make that is Sarah- friendly is not loved by the rest of the family.  Except these amazingly easy muffins I just made.  So, as my gift to you this raining Sunday, I am sharing my secret recipe.  Ready?

Super Easy, But Still Delicious, Allergy-Friendly Muffins

1 cup quick oats

2 ripe bananas

1 teaspoon baking powder

Chocolate chips- however many you want.

2-3ish tablespoons brown sugar, if you want

Directions: In a food processor, grind the oats until they are flour like (I didn’t grind them that fine, it just gives the muffins more texture.)  Add chopped up banana and baking powder.  (If you want sugar, add it now) Give it a whirl in the food processor.  It will be quite wet and cakey-like when it is all mixed.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Portion into 24 mini muffin tins and bake until they are done.  (I made them as regular sized muffins but they were very hockey puckish.  They are better as minis for some reason).

That is it! I was going to take a picture of them all beautiful, but I went to find my phone to take a picture and when I came back, this is what was left.

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Everyone loved them, even Dean, who prides himself on not liking anything remotely healthy or weird.  So there, go make some muffins.

You are welcome.