Thursday, August 7, 2014

Today I am a Fireman

He carried in the red plastic suit, dragging the long coat behind him.

"Today I am a fireman," he announced matter-of-factly.

As I snapped the clasps closed and pulled the too-big hat down over his ears, I said, "Charlie, I miss my baby! Where has mama's baby gone?"

He smiled and said, "I turned into a boy."

And so he has.

"The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow, for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep. I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep."
-Ruth Hulbert Hamilyon

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Reading Garden

Spent a summer morning at the library today. They have a wonderful outdoor reading garden that we discovered in the winter. 

Back then it was sad and snow-covered, empty except for a few trembling birds.

My kids steamed up the windows with their sad sighs. We'll come back. I promised. Spring is coming! I promise, it is coming. 

Today is sunny and 80 degrees, and the reading garden was calling our names as soon as we walked through the library doors.

Grateful today for promises kept.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Celebrating a Superhero

Charlie turned 3 on June 6, and we celebrated the following weekend with a family party. He had requested superheroes, so that's what he got! It was a sweet time to celebrate our sweet little boy.

As always, we took a trip down memory lane with a few favorite pictures. I love putting this together for each of the kids' birthdays.

The party started off with a bang... Grammy presented Charlie with a brand new bike!

He love, love, loves his "big boy" bike. 

He didn't care that he was in the kitchen. I did though.
Out to the deck to show Daddy...

Food fit for a superhero and his buddies...

After some food, all the kids donned masks and went on a hunt for Mr. Menace, a villain who looked suspiciously like Greg...

One awesome crew...

So grateful for our sweet new friends.

Then it was time for cake... three candles for this big guy.

I'm quite certain that no three-year-old boy on the planet has a big sister as wonderful as Charlie does. She loves him with astounding devotion. 

And he loves her back.

Charlie was blessed and spoiled by his mates.

Charlie, you are the same delightful boy we fell in love with three years ago. The kids and I literally race each other to your room when we hear your chitter chatter crackling over the monitor after naptime. (I nearly always win, as I am not above clotheslining one of your bros if it appears he might beat me.) After three quiet (albeit restful) hours without you every afternoon, life feels oddly empty for all of us. Daddy and I love your chilled out, surf's up, whatever man attitude, your sweet smile, your determination to hang with the big kids. We love to slick your hair back for church, rock you at night, and watch you march around in your Spidey underpants. We're just so glad you're ours, Chilly. You belong with us. Happy Birthday crazy boy. You sure are loved.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

This is 39, People

Hugs and snuggles and coffee in bed. A surprise text from a sweet friend while I'm exercising - I just left you something on your porch swing...

A mid-day babysitter, requested by Greg. I'll be home at lunchtime, he said. Don't eat! Don't make plans!

A low-cal lunch in defiance of my ever-slowing metabolism.

Time to explore a new city neighborhood.

Triple chocolate Italian gelato.

After lunch, Greg announced he was taking me somewhere special. Hmmmmm, I thought. A long, leisurely walk along the Canal? A trip to a new bookstore he's found?


This is why I love this man. A long time ago, a lifetime ago, I was a girl who loved Go-Karts. Four kids and fifteen years later, I am still that girl to him, which was the best gift I received today.

Chalk murals from my four favorite little people.

Presents chosen by each of the kids. Side note: Greg let each child pick out their own present for me, 
with no help and no suggestions. Charlie picked out three packets of M&Ms. Max picked out an IPad. I think if our house ever catches on fire and we only have time to grab one thing, we should put Max in charge.

A sweet birthday song sung by sweet little voices. A Wegman's chocolate cake, my favorite.

The chance to blow out candles, to give thanks for another whole year of health for myself, my husband, our parents, our brothers and sisters, our kids. Do I deserve this, any of this? Certainly not. Really, none of us do. But every bit of it is a blessing, not luck. And tonight, I have a heart full of gratitude.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Sundays

Our town hosts a Sunday night concert in the park each week in July and August.

Tonight was their kickoff for the season, a near-perfect evening of seventy degree weather and red-streaked skies.

There's prancing kids, toe-tapping seniors, and everyone in between. There's old couples dancing barefoot as their favorite song is sung.

We chose this town by chance. We had three days and two nights to find a house. It was winter and everywhere we looked we saw melting, dirty snow and gray skies. So we prayed. 

We prayed for wisdom, for blessing, for good gifts from the One who loves to give them. 

We miss our town. We miss the stadiums and our beloved three rivers. We miss the beautiful, revitalized city, the eclectic neighborhoods that all feel like home, the Steel City pride. We miss our urban church, a glittering jewel of a place in the midst of a concrete jungle. 

But God, in His providence, has us here, and it is well with our souls.