Saturday, February 25, 2017


Neva and Barrett "playing" together. She was intently curious; he was tolerating her presence. Reminds me of when he was transfixed with his older brother and Will would've rather not given him the time of day. Now, thankfully, the two boys are two peas in a pod. 


Will got a hold of my phone and took LITERALLY 226 selfies. I think he looks like Neva in this one. 

Ice cream after haircuts! Even though Daddy had to give them their showers afterward, they survived. To great reward. 

Friday, February 24, 2017


Barrett's monster truck to Will's monster truck: What's your name?

Will's monster truck: Winner Firecracker Zoomer!

Barrett's truck: Whoa!


February 23rd

What a great day! First, I got a few blissful hours of alone time for my midwife appointment and 20 week ultrasound, which went terrifically. Everything looks great, and even the fibroid the tech had spotted at eight weeks seems to have disappeared. I consider myself very lucky. I put the ultrasound pictures up on our fridge and as Brian and I looked at them together, I asked, "Can you believe that whoever that is, we're going to love them as much as we love our kids right now?" This baby has sneaked up on us, it seems. With all the busy life of the past couple of months, it's been growing under the radar. I can't wait to meet him or her in July!


When I got home, it was naptime for Neva, and William asked to make a card for Lake. He had heard that her pictures, which she had been drawing to send as thank you notes for Christmas present, had been destroyed when her baby sister crawled into her tent without a diaper and peed all over them."I want to make her a card to help her feel better," he said. So we colored her some pictures and drew on the backs, and these were the notes the boys wanted to send. It was utterly hilarious when I asked Barrett, "What do you want to say?"and he piped up, "Dear Lord..."

After Neva's morning nap, it was off to the library to pick up some materials we had ordered online. (In the picture above, they had been pretending to pull the books off the shelf.) Of course, we couldn't ONLY pick up our 15 holds, and we left with a duffel bag of probably 40 books. It never ceases to warm my heart, how much my boys love books. While I was checking out, they both just sat peacefully on the couch and looked at books. While William and I were picking out the books he wanted, Barrett kept running up with random books in his hands, like young adult novels and youth chapter books about sparkly cats. "This could be great!" He would exclaim. 


Next to our tiny Addison Library is a tiny park. It was the perfect day for it. It's so tiny that I have almost never seen anybody else there, which suits me perfectly as I am learning more and more I prefer to be alone. And oh, we had so much fun. We brought Barrett's new birthday toy from Aunt Bit and Uncle Phil and Imogen, a bubble blowing gun. I'm telling you, this thing was super cool! I wanted a turn so badly but I had to let the boys do it. :-) William said, "It's like a slushious gun!" (From a movie called Home with a flying car that shoots bubbles from its exhaust.) Barrett couldn't quite get the hang of it and preferred to run around in the sunshine trying to pop the bubbles William shot at him. It was perfect… Both boys had an occupation and there was no fighting. Unfortunately, Neva was kind of a cranky pants, at the park at ALL DAY LONG. She really needs to learn to walk. She does not like crawling around, but wants to follow us everywhere. A couple of times I would prop her up on a picnic table and run over to the edge of the woods to help Barrett pee, and I would hear her cranky cry as she followed on her hands and knees, getting herself all wet and muddy. Girlfriend really needs to learn to walk. Her mom is getting tired of hauling her butt around!


The swings were my lifesaver, as it was the only chance I really had to put Neva down. Barrett absolutely love the swings, loves them as much as William hates them. Such an odd couple they make. I showed Barrett an underdog, and he kept shouting, "Can you do a dogger dog again?!"

We got home in time for naptime and time to clean up for daddy to come home. After dinner, we spent some low-key family time and then headed upstairs for bathtime. Typically bathtime is a fairly relaxing period, but as per usual today, Neva was NOT happy. I had reached my max capacity just in time to lay the kids down and have a long, philosophical discussion about the Bible with William. (He stays fairly quiet through the day, until bedtime hits and he is full of deep questions that would've been perfect at a family dinner, during which he instead fooled around on the bench and made faces into the mirror.)

"Mom, why did God make the world? What is it here for? What is it supposed to do? Is Satan real? Is he on this world? When Satan tempted Jesus, did Jesus draw pictures to make him go away? Jesus told him, 'You shall only worship the Lord your God,' so does that mean Satan worships God? When Paul got into a boat and went to Rome, did he do it because God told him to? We know Satan isn't real because David killed Goliath and all the sin, right? When Adam and Eve left the garden, did they still worship God? Did people eat other people when they stopped following God?" There was more. I really tried to answer each and every question as thoroughly as I could, so Neva and Barrett were both fast asleep by the time I climbed back down the ladder and headed downstairs to take a shower and finish cleaning up the kitchen. At 10 PM I fell into bed, horizontal for the first time all day, and conked out.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Barrett turns three!

"I'm SO EXCITED for Barrett's party!" said William all week long.

I'm so thankful we don't belong in a circle of friends that throw petting-zoo, ice-cream-truck, multiple-bouncy-house, to-the-max parties because I keep it SO simple and the kids are still beside themselves with excitement. While I was buying Barrett's streamers, I spotted a $2.99 Paw Patrol birthday banner and picked it up on a whim. They went nuts.

"I can't WAIT for our friends to see our Paw Patrol banner!" cried Will. "I will stand here [on a chair] and say to all our friends [one hand gesturing toward the banner], 'Welcome to Barrett's party'."

"That's AMAZING!" yelled Barrett.

The party was mostly our friends, with two kids there for the boys to play with. Keelyn and Kurtis are their best friends and the two of them were PERFECT. "More" does not always equal "better," and that is true when it comes to kids at a party. The four kiddos ran around and played nicely all night long. Keelyn is a bit older than the boys, and she kind of doubles as a little mama. Barrett ADORES her.

Hannah and Philip, Becca, Nick and Kathleen, Matthew and Kass, Erin, and Mom and Dad made a fun group of Barrett's "friends." He got some fun presents: "Amazing!"

"What was your favorite present?" I asked him. "The Captain 'Merica one!" he replied, referring to a big, Barbie-sized figure from Aunt Hannah. Sure enough, he's carried it around every day since then. He also got an Army "dress-up" kit from Auntie Erin, and he's been wearing his helmet, badge, and watch since then. Two cool cars from Aunt Becca like to be Captain America's friends and rescue him from laundry baskets, and "laser guns" from Grandpa are a huge hit. (Grandma and Grandpa bought him some fire truck Lego Juniors, which they are allowed to play with at the table for limited times, but Grandpa also visited the Dollar Store the day before and brought LOTS of stuff for the boys.) When Barrett opened an 8-inch-long wiggly rubber centipede, he at first held it at arm's length, a little nervous. "I didn't want a centipede," he said. But ten minutes later, he came running up to me. "Look, mom!" he exclaimed. "It has eyes!" He pointed to little bug eyes on the front of the face and then hugged the toy. "He's my best friend." Keelyn and Kurtis brought him a talking Lofty truck and although Barrett has played with him every day, he can't get his name right: first "Lizzy," then "Lostey." They also brought him some Magformer-type toys, which I am super geeked about! I *personally* have wanted those for a long time, and I already have plans to expand the collection for Easter. (squee!) Aunt Kathleen gave them each a new, warm, animal hat: Barrett got a sock monkey and Will, a big-eyed puppy dog. They love them! Brian asked, "What the heck happened to our 'no gifts' instruction?!"

We gave Barrett a couple of Brio train sets and a steal of a table that I found on Craigslist about a month ago. It had a table top with a full layout of Brio track screwed on (pretty well done, too! a lot of cool stuff- different kinds of lifting bridges, a train station, a coal elevator) as well as a plain, blank table top to make your own layout (the tops just lift off the frame). The table reveal coincided with the inauguration of Brian's newly finished basement floor. It was so cute: when Brian asked the kids if they wanted to see a "surprise in the basement," they rushed down the stairs. Will and Barrett spotted the train table right away: "WOW!" But Kurtis (4), yelled, "A NEW FLOOR!" The floor is smooth, tough, and shiny; the walls are painted a very bright white, and Brian installed 100-watt bulbs to make the space feel even brighter. Although the basement is still "unfinished" by definition, the change is amazing. It was a LOT of HARD WORK. What a guy!

For food, we just had snacks. Barrett's cake could not have been easier. I psyched him up: "Barrett, do you want a DONUT cake with SPRINKLES?!" Of course he did. So I made Kentucky Butter Cake with sprinkles mixed in to the batter, and then glazed it and poured more on top. I showed the boys that morning. "THAT'S AMAZING!" Barrett exclaimed. (His new favorite word, which he uses for everything, both amazing and unremarkable.) Having the party after church complicated things a bit; we got home with about two and a half hours to go and almost nothing ready, but Brian was my hero and did everything from chopping a huge platter of apple slices to mopping the floor. I love that man. Of course we made too much food; when will I learn?

Barrett (and Will) had a fantastic time at the party, and I did too. I'm so thankful the boys can enjoy a simple get together, with simple decorations. Their wonder and amazement at small things make my heart hurt. I hope to soak in all of these moments, so that, like the memory of a sunny day in dreary winter, I can look back and be warmed by their recollection.

Building the Lego set from Grandma and Grandpa. 

Barrett, for his party colors, wanted "pink, purple, and white."

Thursday, February 9, 2017


I love my kids. 

There's no question that I enjoy being with them. I would never want a job outside of the house right now, because I want to be the only one with them, taking care of them and enjoying their little quips and antics. 

But in this season of my life, alone time to me is indescribably precious. I just went up to get William up from his "books on bed" afternoon time, an all-too-brief 45 minutes, when I saw that he was sleeping. Knowing we are going to be at my parents' house tonight, and he'll undoubtedly be staying up late, I felt relaxed about letting him sleep. As I walked back down the stairs I'm a perfectly, beautifully quiet house, I felt my soul being restored. 

Lately I spend my alone time with an audiobook playing while I do chores around the house. It's not like I need to sit and paint my nails, or put my feet up, or watch a show. I have a cup of coffee in silence. I do something peaceful, like ironing, or put on my rubber gloves and clean the kitchen, knowing I won't have to take them off in 20 seconds when somebody needs to pee or the baby starts screaming for more food. 

Do I feel like calling a friend during this time? Never. (Which lately has made keeping in touch with people difficult since I don't feel like calling a friend while the kids are awake and creating mayhem, either.) Do I feel like writing an email? Never. I do not want to say a word to anyone. I just want to listen and be quiet. 

As the chaos in the house increases I find this need stronger than ever. I am so thankful that Brian and I can sit in companionable, blissful silence after the kids go to bed. No longer do I experience frustration that I can't find anything to talk about. I don't want to talk. And he's OK with that. 

Alone time. Peace. Quiet. After this fourth baby, I may become a total hermit. 

Barrett at bedtime

Every night: "Sweet dreams, buddy."
Barrett: "You have sweet dreams in your dreams, too."

The other night I tried to give him my final night time kiss (after song and conversation) and he whined, "I want to keep you."

Most night before he falls asleep he whispers, "When I wake up in the morning can I have a chocolate bar?" No, Barrett. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Then Santa is real at Meijer!!!

Today, in a mischievous mood, I teased the boys that I was going to start calling them by some new nicknames: I would call Barrett Sassafras and William would be Ocracoke. "No!" they squealed, and I teased them for another couple of minutes. Barrett took it lightheartedly, smiling and crowing, no! William, who is extremely literal (for example, earlier today, after Neva and I took a "ride" on his and Barrett's "train" for about 10 minutes, where we bumped over bridges and whooshed through imaginary tunnels and leapt over giant gaps in the track, I said, "Thank you for the ride, Mr. Engineer," to which he replied, "Mom, I'm not really an engineer, you know... I'm just pretending") did not at all like the possibility of being called Ocracoke for even two minutes longer. In a sudden burst of frustrated, adorable four-year-old rage, he raised both his fists into the air, high above his head, and shook them at the heavens, yelling, "Mom, if you're going to keep saying mean things, then…(threatening) then Santa is real at Meijer!" I burst into rollicking laughter so hilarious that he couldn't keep his scowl on his face. Before I knew it, the three of us were laughing together uproariously. 

So word to the wise, if you are considering introducing a new nickname for William, proceed at your own risk. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Cranky pants

The morning of the bridal shower, I was feeding Neva breakfast and BOY was she cranky. At one point she was wearing the most grumpy, I-hate-the-world face I'd ever seen on her. I pulled out my camera to capture it for Brian when suddenly, she was all smiles. "Hey!" I protested. "What happened to your cranky face! Can you make your cranky face?" I asked. "Like this?" I did my best impression of her cranky face and then, to my surprise, she imitated it (but in combination with a smile). And this is what I got:


Friday, February 3, 2017

February 2

Yesterday morning, around 6:30, an hour before the kids are typically up, Neva started crying. This isn't unusual, and I went upstairs to cuddle her for a bit and then put her back to sleep. But when I got into the room Barrett called from his bed, "Mom, I waked up!" I whispered, "Do you need a drink of water?" He replied, "Yeah, sink I need a sip of water." I fetched the water and tucked him back in, then tucked Neva back in and hurried back downstairs, hoping I had bought myself another hour. (This morning, I was particularly drained, fighting some virus off and also working on Erin's bridal shower.)

Ten minutes later, Neva's fussing resumed, and then I heard a thump-thump-thumping upstairs as Barrett apparently decided he didn't feel like going back to sleep. Since he was playing happily, and since Neva soon started laughing at him, I continued working until about 7:10, when I walked upstairs to find the lights on, Will still sleeping, Barrett having found a headlamp (which he was wearing as a necklace) and having stolen a few of Neva's stuffed animals out of her crib. He plays so happily in his own, even in the early morning. I brought up a couple bananas and a cup of coffee and sat with the kids while they played, unable to work up the energy to do the whole getting-everyone-dressed-pottied-beds-made. They'd set up the train in the guest room and I rested on the floor, sucking down my coffee, enjoying them as they played.

Still wearing his lighted necklace 
Love the unnecessary pool of light on the floor
Sleepy Will
Sweet boy
Will took this
Later that morning, Will finally got a request granted to go out and drive trucks "to make tracks in the snow." Thus I experienced an absolute FIRST: both boys going outside and playing in the snow ALONE, without me. After the required 20 minuted to get them suited up, I figured they'd be back in in under 5 minutes, but they actually stayed out for close to 25. I was shocked and so pleased. (And it was really cold, too, despite the sunshine.) Hopefully this is the beginning of a long and exciting career of outside play for both of them.

Trying to drive their trucks and make tracks in the snow

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Look Mom, she's walking!

She is still weeks, if not months, away from walking (but why, Neva?! you would be so much happier on your feet), but Will likes to see her upright. I love everything about these pictures: her mismatched clothes (laundry has fallen by the wayside with the shower coming up soon), her very dirty knees, her missing shoe, the love and care in Will's eyes, and the pride on her face to be standing up.

Meanwhile, Barrett had finished going #2 on the potty and was hollering his head off. I couldn't miss the opportunity to take these cute pics, so he waited a minute or two. By the time I got in there, I wondered if he'd be peeved, but instead, he said in his characteristic, low voice: "I was lowin' for you because I love you." For some reason, he says "lowing" instead of "yelling." Brian says he thinks Barrett's just a genius and prefers to use the more descriptive term of a calf calling for his momma. Barrett's voice sometimes does remind me of a little cow. One morning I was finishing a workout around 6:45 when I heard a low sound, something like a moo, something like a gale of wind scraping the corner of a house. I ignored it once and then heard it again. I paused the workout when I realized Barrett was standing at the top of the stairs, calling for me: "Mo-om." "Hey, buddy," I greeted.

"I lowed for you," he told me. "I have to go pee pee."

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Don't grow up, buddy.

Oh, my sweet William. Tonight I am sorry. I'm sorry that you bear the brunt of my expectations and, therefore, often my frustrations. In the past couple of days I have snapped at you for being too rough with Neva, for singing potty words to church songs, for not seeing a water bottle I needed for a hacking Neva, a bottle sitting right in front of your face. Each time I snapped at you, I was thinking, grow up, buddy. But you are four. It reminds me of the time that you were two (TWO! You had just turned two a couple of months before!) and I was having you learn how to feed the dog. I asked you to pick up his dog dish and bring it to the pantry. As you walked over with the dish, you beat on the bottom of the empty bowl with your hand like a drum. For some reason at the time I was frustrated and impatient and I said something like, hurry up buddy. Thankfully, God halted that RIGHT in its tracks and spoke very clearly, he is a little boy. You are still a little boy. You are learning. 

And you are such a good boy in so many ways. You have raised the bar for four-year-olds everywhere. You set such an excellent example for Barrett and Neva, gamely helping me with chores and letting me brush your teeth without a fuss and sharing so nicely and playing so creatively and worshiping in church so diligently. I am so very proud of you. Tonight I apologized to you, oh, it must've been three or four times. And you so sweetly forgave me. I had to laugh at one point, though –  after the third time of Barrett bursting into tears when it was nearing bedtime and you kept pushing his buttons, I vented, "William, why does he keep crying? Why do you keep making him cry?" And you replied, "I just don't know how to stop, mom!" You are not perfect, but you are the perfect son for me. I love you with all my heart.

Last night you and Barrett were playing Dino Trucks. Neither of you have seen Dino Trucks but you know it exists, and you guys got the idea to each wedge a big ball into the backs of your two dump trucks, and voilĂ ! Dino Trucks. "Wow!" I exclaimed, when the two of you rolled into the piano room and told me what you were playing. Barrett said, "my Dino trucks name is Beekle!" "Cool!" I said. "William, what's your truck's name?" "His name is Truck," you replied. That is so you.

I love you. 


My poor sick girl

Neva's sickness took a turn today; she stopped nursing only last week (I had to wean her, finally, because it was causing so much pain with the pregnancy... it was very sad for me as she still seems like such a baby to me). I wonder if that lack of breastmilk antibodies caused this to hit her so hard when the boys are sailing through it. She spent all day with a fever, hacking and snotting and clinging to me. When she was with me, she was her sweet little self, but sleepy! Geez. I hate when my babies are sick! But I do always try to thank God for the reminder that they are only healthy sick. No cancer or incurable disorders. Thank you. 

Oh Neva, I love you and the sweet little kisses you have just figured out how to give us. 


Babywearing is a TOTAL LIFE SAVER when you have a sick little one and a bridal shower to throw in two days! Praying she is feeling much better by Friday.