Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Isaiah Matthew: 4 year old snapshot

This is way late, but better late than never. I haven't been able to find much time for writing lately, but I am determined to try to change that. I've done a post about each of my boys near their birthdays the last few years. So Isaiah turned 4 August 31st. It's high time I write a little something about this boy that I am so privileged to call mine. My middle son. There is no one else like him. 

He loves the park, whether it's going down the big curvy slide or swinging on the swings or feeding the fish in the pond... So one morning we fit in a special trip there for some four year old pictures. 

Those green shorts are his favorite. He is so particular about clothes, and has been since he was two. He's getting better about just putting on what I lay out for him in the morning without arguing (much) anymore, but he always prefers jeans over sweatpants, and he likes shirts that look like what Shaun would wear... v-necks and henleys and plain grays or stripes... the kid has fashion sense I tell you. When I have questions about what to wear I ask him. And he loves to be in the spotlight making people laugh. He says the funniest things. And he was so much fun to take pictures of, his little mannerisms are so photogenic. 

He has a perpetual problem with his little hiney crack showing. He loves to eat meat. And fruit and cheese. But he really likes meat. He says red and green and orange and white are his favorite colors. He loves to go places. He is always asking where we're going each day. Church and his grandparents and aunts and uncles houses are favorites for him. He has this cute sounding little cartoon voice where he talks all high-pitched and raspy when he is really excited about something. He has two volumes, loud, and louder. He is super passionate and excited about He has been writing his name since he was three, and knows all his letters and numbers. He wants to keep up with everything Drew does. He is independent and tries to do things himself. Whether it's making a cheese and mayo sandwich (something he learned from Shaun, not me) or putting on his own shoes or geling his own hair... he just wants to try to do it himself.
I have honestly never been more proud of him than I am in this season.... since Drew started school especially, but even before that, he is just the best helper. Anything I ask him to do he does right away, and does a great job. He feeds his fish, who he named Little House, he feeds Zion, he gets the mail, he carries in groceries and unpacks the bags... the other day Jaden dumped a card game all over the living room floor, and I asked Isaiah to clean it up. He not only stacked the cards perfectly in their tray and put it back in the box, but he put the box back in the cabinet too. When he plays he is organized and gets all the pieces to whatever toy he is playing with first, parks his tractors in neat little rows, lines up his matchbox cars, and can play for hours giving cute little voices to his different toys and imagining all kinds of plots and battles and dramatic situations.... I love to listen to him play.
He dreams a lot, (probably gets its from me) and tells me his crazy dreams most mornings. He was sure this baby that I'm carrying was a baby sister, and he was right. Sometimes he tells me there is another boy coming after this girl. When we asked him recently if he was excited to get bunk beds in their room he said yes. "Because then Drew won't pee on me anymore." He blurts out the funniest things like that all the time. He pulls the crazy stunts and crashes into things and jumps up and says "that didn't hurt!!" and goes running back for more. When he's wrestling, expect to hear him yell phrases like, "ahhhhh! ya got me right in the hangnail!"
One thing we really had to work on was him retaliating and really hurting someone if they made him mad. (I call his feet sledgehammers... he doesn't know his own strength sometimes) I kept telling him, "if someone does something to you, come get mommy, and I will take care of it..." I don't know why it finally clicked, but it did, and he does an AMAZING job of walking away from his brothers, both bigger and littler, if they are instigating, and coming to get me. I am so proud of him for all the times he doesn't do anything back when Jaden messes up what he's working on, or when Drew is being a typical older brother and antagonizing him... that's not to say that they don't play really well together too, or that it's not sometimes Isaiah who is the one starting the fiasco, just, they all have their moments.... :)

He is full of the sweetest smiles and snuggles and gives the biggest, most wonderful hugs.He comes at you with his arms wide open and then grunts while he squeezes your neck with all his might.
I love when he comes into our room in the morning to climb into bed and get all cozy next to me and he says in his little smiley voice, "you're so warm mommy!"
I can not imagine life without Isaiah. I hope he always knows the treasure he is to our family.
We love him so.

Happiest fourth year to you, baby. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mourn with those who mourn

Romans 12:15 "... rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn..."

If you are local you have probably heard the news. It is wrecking my heart over and over.
I have a hard time exposing myself to heartbreak if it is not carried by someone I know personally. But we are told to mourn with those who mourn. Mourning is a season that assuredly comes in life.... but hallelujah it is a season, and our God is a redeemer, a restorer, and He brings beauty from ashes. Promises to cling to in the darkest of times.

A family about the same age as Shaun and I entered a nightmare Friday morning. We don't know them well, Shaun played softball with the father, and I had a conversation or two with the mother when we visited my parents church when dropping my kids off in the nursery. They had three children, two boys and a girl. But friday morning their little daughter, just a few months younger than Isaiah, was riding in an enclosed cab tractor with her daddy when the door latch was somehow pulled and she slipped from the cab. And in those terrifying moments her precious life on earth ended and her time in eternity began, and I can't even begin to imagine the gut wrenching horror and devastation her mommy and daddy are experiencing.

My heart has never broken so fully for someone I barely know before... I woke up Saturday morning crying for them. I wept all through worship this morning for their dear family... They are never far from my mind and I just keep lifting them in prayer, hoping that they can feel the way the community is desperately trying to bear their burden with them, and praying strength and comfort over them. There are so many who have been so deeply impacted by the loss of little Avah. It takes a mighty healer to care for such a deep wound. I am thankful our God is so faithful to bind up the broken hearted. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. My mom was at the viewing this afternoon and said she's never seen so many people. The lyrics to this song are especially meaningful right now:

"You satisfy my soul
You satisfy my soul
You satisfy my soul
With Your love

You make my heart sing
You lift me on eagles wings
Just when I thought that my heart it would faint
You take the darkest night and turn it to shining light
Just when I thought that the night had won

Hallelujah, You make all things beautiful
Hallelujah, trials and testing prove there’s gold
Hallelujah, You turn mourning into joy 

sometimes you gotta sing your way into the truth..." 

God is good. All the time. And He works all things for good for those who love Him. And He will never leave us or forsake us. That is the truth, and it is unshakeable, a rock and a steady place to stand when everything else is shaking and falling apart and full of confusion. 

I was sitting on the floor this morning trying to put all my boys shoes on. I was feeling quite large and pregnant. Jaden didn't want to be anywhere but my lap even when I was trying to put Drew and Isaiah's shoes on, and he kept kicking his boots off after I would get them on. A situation that could easily have turned to frustration, or exhaustion or maybe stern words about behaving and sitting still... but all I could think is how grateful I am to have this pile of boys pulling on me and sitting on me and kicking off their shoes and climbing over each other and complaining about their socks not feeling right. Oh God, that the small things would be kept in perspective, that the big picture would be ever present, that our gratefulness for the life around us would never be far from our minds.... I started talking in a silly accent to them, diffusing the craziness by adding my own, and even as I made them giggle the tears were clouding my eyes as the motivation for my actions was so very clear to me... to think of a family in such close proximity to us mourning a beloved child.... how could my reaction to my clamoring babies be one of frustration this morning? 

Jesus, God, Abba Daddy... I know your heart is breaking too. God you feel. You are full of emotion and passion and desperate love for us. And you care. We thank you Jesus for your promises to comfort... to never leave... to hold us close and deliver us. To redeem the most horrendous situations. God be glorified through this. And Jesus I speak supernatural peace over their family. Help them cling to your truth. Make them strong in you. Let them press into your love. Jesus I declare that "this tragedy is not their identity, and that there is life to the full still ahead for them." Jesus hold sweet Avah close. And bring comfort where it seems impossible. 

It costs us more to stop hoping than to keep hoping. 

Please lift up this precious family in your prayers. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Touring our home: Front Porch and Living Room

Our home has never felt so cozy and lovely to me as it does now, after having lived here for 5 years at the end of this month. We have made so many memories here, and I can feel the heart of our family in every nook and corner. When I'm picking up at the end of the day I notice I often stop in the middle of something to just sweep my gaze around the room with a smile on my face... I am so thankful for this place. I imagine it's the thankfulness and the contentment that make it feel so lovely to me. It's the collected-ness over time that tells a story I know by heart. 
If you were to come to our house, you would probably hear little boy shrieks and giggles and roars before you ever made it to the front door... maybe as you were walking up the sidewalk, past the lamp post and the flower beds. 

 You'll find white mums and pumpkins somewhere on the porch pretty much every fall. 
 And there's room for a little table and chairs on the porch, where we sit to watch the boys ride bikes and scooters up and down the drive and sidewalks. 
When you first come in the door you'd be in our living room, and you'd see a view like this: 
 Only there would probably be toys scattered around. You might find boys laying on the floor like in the photo below though. 
Or lounging on the sofas or recliners, maybe watching Veggie Tales, or Cars, or Winnie the Pooh...  
Behind the front door there's a little row of hooks for bags, jackets, scarves... I searched for an inexpensive set of hooks that I loved for a while until I found these at Homegoods. 

If you look back toward the front door and window you'll see this: 

These sofas were one of our earliest purchases in our marriage. Bomber Jacket leather, from Raymour and Flanigan. We bought them before I even really knew what style I like. But I love them still and will love them always... the leather only becomes softer and more distressed and beautiful over time. They are so comfortable. 

This shelf is my "mantle." It was here when we bought the house, and I love decorating it. This mirror and the white pillar candles have been here for a little while now, but I change what's in the vase based on what's in the garden or what I find at the roadside stand. Below the mantle is a stack of collected storage... The wicker chest I got at our community yardsale for $4. The suitcases are from my mom. One belonged to my grandparents, and one she found at a vintage store. The big basket was another thing I hunted for quite some time.... and also found at Homegoods. (I should just start my searches there maybe..?) But I wanted something we could throw all our blankets in and was big enough to hold them all. The feathers taped to the wall were from our trip to the zoo for Isaiah's birthday. The boys found them on the ground there and brought them home with us. 

Our tv cabinet was given to us by our wonderful family friends, the Herrmanns. And that leather recliner was given to us by a neighbor, Jack, a World War II vet Shaun loves to spend time with when he got a new one. 

On the little end table next to our loveseat I have this wicker tray that I got from the Pottery Barn outlet early in our marriage. I love to put my magazines and whatever chapter book I'm reading to the boys in it. And that wooden bowl... It was from target long, long ago and it has held a million different displays in it... from potted daffodils and moss to wooden easter eggs, to nuts in the winter, to pumpkins in the fall... 
Also on the table is a milk glass vase of grass from my backyard... 

Canvases and a silhouette of drew and a newborn photo of Jaden... 
And a close up of what's on top of the tv stand... Wooden crate from Shaun's great aunt's garage when it was being cleaned out, dried lavender from my sister-in-law's shower last fall, a greenish gray pumpkin and a globe. 

I took these photos right after picking up... It does not stay this put together for more than a few minutes, believe me. But I think it's pretty beautiful with lego towers and train tracks and tractors and matchbox cars creating a little community on the floor too. :) 

For a look back at our living room when it used to be yellow, click here
And to see our living room at Christmas time, here is 2013 (my favorite) and here is 2014

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fall maternity wear

Just jumping on my blog for a quick "fall maternity wear" post... It is kind of the farthest thing from my mind, but I desperately miss writing when I don't for a while, and all the photos were already uploaded.... So this is what it is today. Mostly just slightly blurry mirror pics... I do what I have time for. :) 

T-shirt: target (non-maternity) 
scarf: J. crew
Pants: motherhood
gray oxfords: Gap Outlet (Recent!!!)  

Sweater: Aeropostale
white tank: old navy maternity
wine colored leggings: motherhood
Gray oxfords: same as above
this outfit was so unbelievably comfortable... :) 

Purple boho dress: Aeropostale
white leggings: motherhood
locket necklace: belonged to Shaun's grandma
(I wore my combta boots with this outfit) 

Dress: J.Crew (non-maternity... another one of those pieces that I surprisingly like better when pregnant) 
Ankle boots: Aldo (at least 7 years old, but still absolute favorites) 

Anniversary Date night!! 
 White one sleeve top: Express, non-maternity, several years old
Orange Skirt: Abercrombie clearance, recent
Earrings: Stella & Dot

(Shaun is wearing all J. Crew) 

Scarf: Made by me
Top: Old Navy maternity 
Jeans: Motherhood
Boots: Steve Madden