Friday, October 23, 2015

Someone's Getting Cocky

When Charlie and I sat down for the first time with a pair of tiny blue plastic scissors, fifteen minutes of epic meltdowns immediately commenced. He insisted on holding them upside down and in the wrong hand. When I explained through clenched teeth that the thumb went in the little opening and the fingers went in the big one, he threw himself on the floor and told me I was wrong. I knew nothing about scissors, or paper, or really anything, according to Charlie. 

Friends, I'm here to tell you that we persevered. Though there were times that I wasn't sure we were going to make it to the finish line, we never stopped believing. And at the end of the arduous journey, I wiped the sweat from my brow and realized as my heart swelled with... heartburn (21 weeks, people)... that I no longer had a fine motor-impaired preschooler. I now had a cocky one.

Overheard from the kitchen just yesterday: "Mom, I'm like the king of snipping."

Yes. Yes he is. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

This One's Gonna Keep Us Young

We're rejoicing over the gift of Baby #5!

Arriving on or before March 6th, 2016. In less than a year we will have moved twice and had our fifth baby. We like to keep things interesting :-).

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Joy

Do you remember how old 40 seemed when you were 10? Literally, I thought my grandparents were 40. If you had asked me when I was a kid how old my grandparents were, I would have paused and thought for a moment and then said, "Ummm, I think they're 40." Forty even seemed old to me when I was 25. So how is it possible that I turned forty in July?

It's interesting, how these milestone birthdays are often met with a combination of fear and loathing. I've never felt that way about any particular birthday, but I am beginning to understand as I get older that the sand is running through the hourglass more quickly than it used to. It makes birthdays more special, I think. What a gift it is to have had another year of health and joy and friendship. It should be celebrated.

And celebrate I did! My awesome sister, whose firstborn son was born on my birthday, suggested an intimate gathering for dinner with a few friends after my nephew's trampoline and pizza party. I love this picture of three of my dearest friends.

Greg secretly asked his mother to come to Pittsburgh and watch the kids so we could have a night away. It was a fantastic surprise. We stayed at a new boutique hotel called Hotel Monaco in the city and had dinner in Point Breeze at our beloved Pino's, the setting for our first official date. We drank beers at a rooftop bar overlooking the city, slept in, and had a relaxing breakfast in the South Side before heading back home. It was nothing short of wonderful.

Monday one of my closest friends had asked me to head over to her pool for lunch and an afternoon of swimming. Still trying to figure out how to get around from the house we're renting, I got completely lost and walked in flustered, thirty minutes late, as I heard all my closest friends and their kids scream "SURPRISE!" It was such a shock, and such a blessing. They sang Happy Birthday to me, spoiled the kids and me with all kinds of great food, and forced me to blow out 40 big candles. 

I am grateful for the privilege of the years God has given me, and filled with hope for the years to come.

"The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes."
-Frank Lloyd Wright

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

That's a Bummer

A mother/son conversation while doing laundry this morning:

"Hey Mom?"

"Yeah Max?"

"Being a male bird-eating spider is a real bummer, because a few days after he impresses the female, they mate and then she kills and eats him."

I love so many things about this kid, perhaps most of all that he described the above process as "a real bummer."

I can't believe I ever hoped he'd be a girl. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Some People Will Do Anything for Free Food

Nothing beats dressing up like cows for a free fried chicken sandwich and some fries, am I right?

The highlight of the entire adventure for me was when my four year old looked me up and down and said repeatedly, "You look like a cow, Mommy! My Mommy's a cow!" My self esteem is sky rocketing.

Did you know that cows have whiskers? And mohawks? 

Well they do. The kids even won four free breakfast meals in some cow game. Total awesomeness. Hip, Hip, Hooray for Chick Fil A!

Eat mor chikin, ya'll.

Monday, July 13, 2015

July 4th, Cincy Style

We spent the weekend of July 4th in Cincinnati. We took in a great parade, made s'mores in Grammy's new fire pit, watched fireworks, and terrorized a horde of lightning bugs with sparklers. The next day we woke up to more beautiful sunshine and Greg was hankering for an adventure, so we spent the day at Miami, his alma mater.

One of his all-time favorite eateries, the Bagel & Deli.

George Washington has become one of the heroes of my history-loving kids. We learned all about him last year, so they were thrilled to discover a statue of him in Alumni Hall, natch.

The Quad.

Sam has now declared himself a future Miami Redhawk.

A visit to Greg's hometown is never complete without a stop at the one-and-only Skyline Chili. We recommend the three-way, but you can't go wrong with the coneys either.

We parents dealt with quite a bit of complaining from one particular child throughout our visit. It would have tried the patience of Mother Theresa herself. And so it was no small relief when we emerged from Skyline, full-bellied and blinking in the sun, to discover a grassy square and running fountains. Though we did not have any spare clothes in the trunk, we let them jump and play to their hearts' content. So relieved were we that the grumpy Gus among us had finally raised the white flag in exhausted defeat, we didn't dare stand in the way of their joyful antics.

And Charlie rode home in his undies.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rainy Day at the Farm

We spent Saturday at what my sister affectionately calls "the Farm," their property about an hour and a half north of Pittsburgh. They don't actually have animals, nor crops, nor tractors, nor barns, but they're surrounded by them so they adopted the name. We had two special boys to celebrate. Last year my darling nephew and the resident baby of our family, Benjamin David, was born on Charlie's birthday. My sis and I think it's pretty special that out of all 365 days in a year, God ordained that our baby boys would both be born on June 6th. As such, we have years of joyful family celebrations to look forward to now as the rainy Pittsburgh spring gives way to summer and our boys blow out ever more candles on their cakes.

                          There's a whole lotta love among these brothers, sisters, and cousins.

It poured all day but that did not stop our fun!

Sweet Baby Ben...

Happy First Birthday sweet boy!

Our favorite superhero blew out four candles! We love him so.

The best way to get anywhere? The back of Uncle Paul's pickup.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Homeward Bound

                      "With God all things are possible."
                                -Matthew 19:26

Friday, May 8, 2015

Thoughts on Friendship

Dear Chloe, Max, Sam, and Charlie,

I wanted to write you a note tonight. I felt it was particularly important. I didn't want tomorrow to come without me writing these words to you, in the hope that someday you will read them for yourself.  I want you to know that friendship is showing up for people even when it's not convenient. It's saying yes when it would be much easier to say no. It's laying down your so-called rights to "boundaries" (by far one of the most overused, misused words in the modern Christian vernacular) to prioritize the feelings and needs of others before your own. Only then can God begin to form real, honest community among you. And I've learned that if you don't feel that you have it, look in a mirror. The problem isn't the people around you. The problem is you.

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."
                    C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


I have unsettling news to report. Our littlest, the baby of our brood, has horrible allergies. It affects every part of our life, lately, and certainly every meal. He is allergic to chicken, to beef, to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and to bananas. He is allergic to yogurt, to unsugared cereals, to almost all fruits, and to water. He is severely allergic to vegetables in every form. Chopped, diced, steamed, baked, green, yellow, or orange... allergic to them all. But before you despair on our behalf, take heart. There are foods he is not allergic to, foods he can enjoy in liberal quantities. They include, but are not limited to, jelly beans, chicken nuggets (please note, only the really cheap crappy kind that contain breading and chicken "parts"), frozen waffles, french fries (the less potato, the better), honey nut cheerios, chocolate chip cookies, and ice cream in all forms. 

Thank goodness. At least the poor kid won't starve to death.

Three is the cutest age, especially when you've already survived it three other times. I hope I never forget this little phase, in which every time I hand him a plate of something remotely healthy, he shakes his head solemnly, hands it back to me with wide blue eyes, and says, "Mama, I'm allergic to that."

Thursday, April 9, 2015

In Which I Shamelessly Brag...

She memorized 161 events and people in chronological order, 24 history statements including the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, 44 U.S presidents, the location and capital of the 50 states, the locations of 70 geographic features in North America, 24 science facts including the first 12 elements of the periodic table and the parts of 8 body systems, Latin rules and vocabulary, the text of John 1:1-7 in both English and Latin, 24 English facts including the principal parts of 11 irregular verbs, the multiplication tables up to 15x15, common squares and cubes, basic geometry formulas and liquid, linear, and metric conversions. She stood in front of a teacher for 90 minutes this morning and recited each thing one by one from memory. 

So we bought her doughnut.

A deal's a deal. 


Fourth grade is the new college, people.
She's a pretty awesome kid. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Stars of Our Love Story

 Valentine's Day 2015

Once upon a time, there was just the two of us. We were young and didn't waste time deciding we were in it for the long haul.

We were typical.

                                                         We thought we were unique.

We were going to write important things, do important things, see important things.

We were going to go here and go there. Ordinary couldn't touch us.

Our favorite pronouns were "I" and "Me" and we used them liberally when we talked about our dreams.

And then along she came, and she changed us.

And along they came, and they changed us.

And then he arrived. And he changed us.

And a life well lived was slowly redefined, like water rushing relentlessly over a jagged stone until it is finally smooth.

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Inside, Looking Out

                                        Here are a few facts for your early Sunday morning:
1) The first week of February, 2015 is already over and I haven't blogged once since telling the tale of a batch of peanut butter blossoms back in the middle of December.
2) There is more than a foot of snow on our deck and the ground has been white since sometime in the middle of December.
3) Greg hit the two year mark in his employment here in Rochester. Hard to believe. In certain respects it feels as if the time has flown. In many others, it feels as if our family is still sitting at square one here, waiting for some semblance of our old life to begin.
4) Spring is exactly forty days away, and with it, the promise of new beginnings. I sit inside, looking out on the quiet world, with a hopeful, expectant heart.

"Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder."
Romans 12:12, The Message