Happy 8 Month, Emma Josephine!

8month_collageEmma, dear, you are well over 8 months old!

Your month marker came and went without our typical photos this time around because in the battle between documenting and living, real life wins. Because sick babies need comfort, not camera flashes and catch phrases. Your smiles were cut short this month with coughing fits that scared us so fiercely, we bundled you up in the middle of the night and took you to the hospital. We scanned your little lungs and heard words like “pneumonia” and “double ear infection.” But you are so tough and you continue to recover, even today, tugging at those ears in a way that breaks our hearts and has us praying and scheduling appointments.

You are determined beyond belief, in everything you do. From battling sickness to trying new foods and visiting new places. You pulled yourself to a stand just before Thanksgiving and haven’t stopped since. This Thanksgiving, you were thankful for Aunt Hanna’s sweet potatoes, for cousin love and grandma snuggles, and in our act of thankfulness to God for you, we declared our dedication to raising you in His Word.

Your little fingers and hands are busy, splashing bath water, tugging hair, petting your pup, and picking up Puffs (aka baby rice cakes…very strange). Formula didn’t phase you! But your clothes are shrinking again, turning pants to pedal pushers and making your parents look foolish (thank goodness for tall socks to keep you covered!).

We love you more than you will ever know. This month gave us a glimpse into what I imagine is the hardest part of parenting: The inability to stop the hurting. We would take on all of it if we could but we are so grateful for the resilience God has given you. You are so strong, sweet love.

Happy 8 month, Emma Josephine. You are a blessing to this family and a joy.

Christmas before Thanksgiving

What a wonderful evening at Frederik Meijer Gardens!FMG11252014santafaceout

I’ve heard that children help bring the magic back to the holidays and if today was any indication, I’ll be up waiting for reindeer hooves on my roof come Christmas Eve! We headed out for a night of Ho Ho Hos and Christmas carols, Christmas trees and and a peak into Christmas traditions around the world.FMG11252014santafaceoutcrop

Santa was wonderful. He patiently sat with children of all ages, listened to wishlists, gracefully managed the frightened child with beat red face and tears pouring from little eyes. When it was Emma’s turn, he made sure to let her see us for the first few pictures and then suggested that we take a picture of her facing him.

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I am so glad he did. Emma was so intrigued by Santa, looking intently at his face and beard. I had fully prepared for our own beat red, streaming tears picture with Santa but instead we captured a little bit of Christmas magic.

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And for that, I am thankful.

1,000 Gifts & Gratitude to God

In honor of my book club and One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, I will be going through and updating this post until I reach 1,000 gifts appreciated in the here and now. 1,000 sure signs of the blessing and presence of God.

  1. Cool night breezes through parted windows.
  2. Bright, crisp vegetables made into Pico.
  3. A father’s face alight with joy at his daughter’s many faces.
  4. The tireless panting of man’s best friend.
  5. Coconut lotion arousing tropical thoughts passed through hugs.
  6. Baby smiles reaching bright blue eyes.
  7. The volley of toads’ calls setting the night’s rhythm.
  8. Muscles sore from use.
  9. Love notes left on counter tops.
  10. Resting child with half slit eyes.
  11. Ice cream shared in tiny bowls.
  12. Breathing deeply husband’s scent while drifting off to sleep.
  13. Birdsong trumpeted through open windows.
  14. Strong head lifted floor to face.
  15. Patio permission for playful dogs.
  16. Aimless meandering with family in tow.
  17. A father’s tears at gifts unveiled.
  18. Understanding shared over unexpected hs.
  19. Beach sand underfoot.
  20. Grandma’s arms wrapped tightly around grandchild.
  21. Sunshine staining milky bodies golden.
  22. Familiarity in another’s kitchen.
  23. Nephew jumping higher than sky in fit of giggles and pomp.
  24. Cousins’ joy over newborn babe.
  25. Flower petals unfurling in summer heat.
  26. Tires whole after pothole greetings.
  27. Road worker’s hands confidently replacing the air intake cover near steaming radiator and directing to nearest auto repair.
  28. Driver of a classic car stopping on his way out of work to lend a hand.
  29. Steady hands for roads wet and winds racing.
  30. Husband’s safe return.
  31. Community with sweating moms.
  32. Coffee laced with cream.
  33. Discount bag with Bible words.
  34. Baby laughs unleashed in sleep.
  35. 6 month clothes freshly washed.
  36. Advice from mothers uplifting.
  37. Two parents on a date alone.
  38. Friends to watch the little one.
  39. Wardrobe expands as waistline returns.
  40. Car games shorten trips.
  41. Baby hands intent on toys.
  42. Small hands grasp at feet.
  43. Grandparents give a bottle.
  44. Wedding vows exchanged.
  45. Friends from outside state returned.
  46. Summer Shandy cool on lips.
  47. Air conditioning recharged.
  48. Naps permitted in the day.
  49. Family members gathered close.
  50. Hot summer rain sounds on tin roof.
  51. Inside jokes passed back and forth.
  52. Great grandpa filled with pride.
  53. Sister bonding at street cafe.
  54. Face from the past in present.
  55. Curious cats to greet new babe.
  56. Car rides shared with dad.
  57. Flag pole restored.

Uncomfortably Full, Fat, and Happy Thanksgiving!

The family has gone home. The bird has been de-boned and divvied up. The dessert plates have been washed and put back in storage and the casseroles, stuffing, and freshly baked rolls are no more than a not-so-distant memory. Well, in truth, they’re actually quite present as an uncomfortable rock sitting in my stomach. And to continue on my path of truth, I should admit that I’m currently sitting in the family room watching a documentary on Joan Rivers with my long sweater pulled over my unbuttoned jeans. Ha, pitiful.

Why do I always eat so much at Thanksgiving? And WHY don’t I ever remember to put on my stretch pants in the morning in preparation for the Thanksgiving feast?

That aside, I am thankful for much in my life 🙂

I am blessed and I am grateful.