Dandelion fields forever

In a continued attempt to update the blog with the multitude of pictures I have taken of the kids here are some more, of Hayleigh and Braxton (just how it worked out). I got a new camera lens (!) and after a rough day of symptoms about a month ago a dandelion field was beckoning our name!

 

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Updates and far too many pictures of my kids

Now that I am feeling a lot better I have been trying to catch up on things, including putting a dent in what was formerly the mountain of laundry which became a mountain range of laundry while I was down for the count. I am also feeling my head be clear enough to start to maybe think about executing some crafty/DIY plans for the kids’ rooms. It is also amazing how when your vision is clear and you spend significant time NOT on the couch how much dirt you notice around your house. Still looking into finding that illusive cleaning fairy. Let me know if you have her digits. Anyway, I have been sorting through some pictures on the computer. (I tried to not let my “sickness” prevent me from documenting the kids’ life, although sometimes it was hard because I couldn’t hold the camera steady and I couldn’t tell if the photos were out of focus or if it was just my vision being blurry.) There were lots of photos that I haven’t shared on the blog, and I like to do that more for my sake than anyone else’s. I have this thought that someday my kids can come back to this blog and read what I write to and about them and see the photos, maybe even after I am gone. Who knows. Maybe that is a little fairy-tale-ish of me. Anyway, I would love to write a long letter to each of them catching up but that seems a little unrealistic since I am still not feeling 100% with the vision and also have lots of things to catch up on, including quality time with them right here and now, in the flesh. So I will just give a little update and a smattering of photos of each of them from the past month or two.

Hayleigh:
I meant to write this down a while ago but better late than never, I guess. On May 6th, Hayleigh trusted God for her salvation!!! My family dog had to be put down and this prompted a lot of questions from my sensitive, deep thinking girl. She asked if Sophie would be going to heaven. Then the conversation led to questions about Hell, which we had spoken about before but not too much since Hayleigh tends to be fearful and anxious at times. I didn’t want to load her down with heavy things before she was ready. We talked about souls and eternity. And she was very intrigued and thoughtful. I could tell the wheels were really spinning. I re-iterated that Jesus is the only way to get to heaven, but I never pushed her to pray any prayer, or put any words in her mouth. I just spoke truth to her and answered her questions, and prayed and prayed silently that God would give me the right words to say in a way she would understand and that the Holy Spirit would do the rest. Suddenly Hayleigh turned to me and said “I would like to pray to God now.” She bowed her head and prayed “Dear God, I am so sorry for my sins that you don't like. I do naughty things like don't share with Braxton or be mean. I keep trying but I am still learning. I need God to forgive myself. Please forgive my sins. I know God is the only way to go to heaven. Please forgive all my sins so I can go to heaven. Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross. I want to sing my songs to praise you. Amen." I sat dumbfounded at the work of God in the heart of my baby girl. I was reminded that it is not my own work or my perfect scripted teaching, but only the grace of our great God that can save her. In my own imperfections and weakness He is truly strong-filling in where I screw up and carrying me when I can’t walk. His grace extends even to me. I have always know he loves my children more than I do, but I was completely humbled and my heart exploded with joy and gratitude as I watched him work a miracle in the heart of my once lost babe.  I know she seems young to really understand the depths of theology, but God has reminded me that all it takes is the faith of a child. A couple nights later as I put Hayleigh to bed I prayed a typical prayer where I asked God to help Hayleigh grow up to love and follow God. She interrupted me to say “Mommy I ALREADY love and follow God. You don’t have to pray that anymore.” Oh, my heart.
I am so thankful for this tender-hearted, caring, sensitive, imaginative, sweet girl. God has blessed me beyond what I deserve and given me the desires of my heart. She is in so many ways my kindred spirit. Sometimes I worry for her that she will be eaten alive by the world or have struggles similar to mine but God often reminds me that ultimately she is not my child, but His. I need to daily surrender her to Him and treat Motherhood as the stewardship relationship that it is. I count myself privileged (and challenged) by all that I am a steward of and am constantly thankful that not only are my children the Lord’s, but so am I. He will never leave me or forsake me. He is for me, not against me. And he wants to help me do well in the task of Motherhood that He has given me. I am thankful for his abundant gifts-and one of the biggest gifts is this precious girl.

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Braxton:
This boy continues to pull at my heart strings. No one gets under my skin the way he does on a daily basis, but neither does anyone penetrate my heart quite the way he does either. In the past couple of months he has turned from a toddler into a kid. Craziness. He is starting to have more and more of his own opinion and interests, yet still is often times Hayleigh’s little echo and shadow- so much so that the other day Hayleigh called him her disciple. I love to watch them play together. They really are best friends. It warms my heart and brings such a smile to my face to watch and listen to them interact. The past couple of nights we have moved Hayleigh’s mattress into Braxton’s room so they can have a “slumber party.” (We are transitioning Royce out of our room and into the room she and Hayleigh will share. But she needs a few nights to cry it out in there-or so we thought. She hasn’t woken once. Go figure.) Peter and I sat downstairs the first night expecting chaos in there, but all we heard was muffled whispering and singing. Oh the sweetness! Hayleigh told me the next day that Braxton wouldn’t talk to her or sing with her, so she did it by herself. And then she said she “did was you do Mommy” and went to whisper in B’s ear that she loves him before she fell asleep. I mean really, c’mon!

The feeling of affection is mutual. Braxton thinks Hayleigh is a genius and the cool kid. She is basically the rock star of his world right now. And he loves her dearly. He is such the protector of his sisters already. The other day at the playground a kid “hit” Braxton. Really he was being sweet and brushing a wood chip off Braxton’s back but it really stuck in B’s craw. He came down the slide and proceeded to tell me that “Dat boy hit me. He gonna hit Hayleigh next. Where is she?” He then ran to her and stood in front of her glaring at the boy (who had moved on to another toy without any malicious thought.) Crisis averted. Braxton is such a hero. I love that he naturally wants to protect and love the girls in his life-and there are many of them. He is surrounded by pink tulle, princess songs and estrogen. He is such the dichotomy right now. He goes back and forth between being a cheerleader and driving his cars to Uncle Danne’s shop to fix them up. (Peter’s uncle is a mechanic.) He is equally comfortable in a princess gown  (before I convince him to maaaaybe change into something more masculine) as he watching diggas and dump twucks. He and Hayleigh have gotten married dozens of times but lately he is expressing more interest in “boy things, not girly things”. I have convinced myself that all this will be good for him and he will be well-rounded and comfortable in his own skin. For now, it is just about all the cuteness my heart can bear watching them play, run, laugh and talk together. They are little people and it just so darn sweet. And this Braxton Boy of mine, he has carved out a special place in my heart. There are few things in this world more precious than sitting cheek to cheek with my boy or singing Snuggle Puppy to him at bedtime. And when he says “My wuv you Mommy” or “My need a hug”, I just melt into a puddle. I never quite understood what people meant by the bond between a mother and son being so magical and so different from the bond she shares with her daughter. Well Braxton has taught me. He has deepened me, refined me and given me a love I never knew I needed. But now I desperately crave it. I adore my sweet boy in a way I do no one else. I love that I can have a unique relationship with each of my kids. They are each so precious to me. God knew where each of them would fit in my life. I am so enjoying watching my love grow and expand.

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Royce:
Roycie Adelyn is 6 months old now. Ummm….where did the time go?! She is sitting up very well on her own now, almost over night. She has rolled a few times but really has pretty much no desire to roll, be on her tummy and certainly not to crawl. She is kind of my laziest baby yet, which is fine with me! She just loves to sit and people watch. The “people” she watches are pretty entertaining too, so I can’t blame her. She thinks Hayleigh and Braxton are pretty much the best comedians in the world. Everything they do is gold. She laughs hysterically, sometimes to the point of falling over, when they dance, play with a ball and sometimes just sit and talk to her. It is pretty much the best.
Ever since having a stretch with no ear infections (she has had 5 double and one single ear infection-tubes next week!) she has been a very content and sweet, happy girl! She just adores us all, but has a special smile for Peter. And he does for her too. It’s really sweet. Every time he comes home from work she gets so excited and will bounce and fuss until he comes to pick her up and chat.
She brightens my days in a way I knew she would but is still just so sweet to experience it. Her smile is so contagious. She has two smiles-one is just her mouth wide open in a circle and the other is a simple line across making her cheeks very 3 dimensional. I love them both. And I love her, to pieces. I love this age. I am looking forward to the next months as she transitions from a baby to a toddler…wait! A toddler?! This is nuts. In so many ways she is still my itty bitty baby girl! Slow down, Roycie! I took some 6 month pictures of her. They probably deserve their own blog post, especially since this one is the blog post that never ends, but I am lazy and didn’t want to write yet another one, so I included them here.
 
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Having three kids has been very physically and logistically challenging for me, but thank God mentally I am doing pretty well. After my post-partum with Braxton I was prepared for the worst and even went on anti-depressants pre-emptively but have since gone off them for months now and been pretty good in that regard. I have moments where I want to rip my hair out or run away or just scream, but I think that is pretty normal when you have three kids in under 4 years. Despite the craziness I am trying to enjoy this stage in our life and all it brings with it. I know it will be gone so quickly and I just want to savor it. I often feel overwhelmed or pulled in a lot of directions-I mean I have a lot of people demanding things of me (often for good reason), but I don’t ever take for granted that this is the fulfillment of my life dream. Who would have thought that getting married at 20 and being pregnant just 8 months later I would be able to stay home?! Not me. We have no degrees, 1 job, and 3 kids between us we make many sacrifices and often struggle a bit financially but it is all worth it for me. I couldn’t contribute enough money to make working worth it anyway so it is practical for us as well. My kids are my favorite project, my most pain-staking accomplishment and my greatest joy.

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(My loves on Father’s Day)

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