For the mommas in the trenches


Ever had one of those days where pooping in privacy is like a vacation? Or brushing your teeth at the same time as your husband to the melodic sound of your 3 three year old’s temper tantrum down the hall is like a date? (Now, that’s ambiance.) Where your (bi-weekly) shower only being interrupted by one earth shattering (and ear bud shattering) “emergency” makes you feel like you have just been to the spa? Of course you have. You are a mom. (And why are all three of these scenarios based in the bathroom? Not sure, except that maybe it is because the bathroom is my sanctuary. And no, I don’t want to think too deeply about what this says about me.)

We have all had those days. But even though we have all had them, and are most likely living that day right now, it can be all to easy to feel alone. So Momma in the trenches, I want you to know I am with you. I am you.

To the mom who prays for patience not to lose her temper with the 66,000th act of disobedience before lunch- I am with you.

To the mom who prays for forgiveness after she has lost her temper AGAIN before lunch-I am with you.

To the mom who looks at the smear on her pants and can’t figure out what kind of bodily fluid it is-I am with you.

To the mom canceling her plans  because the kids are sick again-I am with you.

To the mom reading the same story for the 11th time today-I am with you.

To the mom who wants to grab a garbage bag and just throw away every last piece of plastic food, Barbie shoe and Lego duplo-I am with you.

To every mom who just wants to punch someone in the face when you look outside in mid April as the walls are creeping in around you, the natives are closing in, and you see it is raining (or snowing) again-I am with you. Let’s have a playdate.

To the mom who won’t allow her son to call her a “bloser” even though he doesn’t know what it means (what DOES it mean?), who gives up and lets her kids have ice-cream for dinner, who won’t let her toddler eat dog food or play in the street, and who can’t get the Frozen soundtrack out of her head (and it is even playing at church…what?!!!)-I am with you.

To the mom who hides behind the lens of her camera and screams “Smile! Just give me a nice smile! Just look at the camera for goodness sakes! Act Happy!! AHHHHH!!!”-I am with you.

To the mom who hears incessant nagging for a snack 30 seconds after breakfast ends or incessant tattling that so and so hit them 100 times and looked at them with silly eyes-I am with you.

To the mom on the phone making the stink eye and arm motioning like an air traffic controller at the interrupting kids while maintaining the sweetest possible tone with the customer service rep in India-I am with you.

To the mom who wonders when her house turned into the little tykes aisle at Toys-r-us or an episode of Hoarders-I am with you. Stop by my house any Monday, Tuesday…heck, any day of the week and you will feel better about yours.

To the mom who sits like a dog by the door waiting for her husband to come in from work-I am with you. Peter really can’t stand it when I jump all over his work pants and slobber all over him. Wait…that came out wrong. I was going for the dog metaphor. Oh forget it.

To every mom who has more plastic spoons than silver ones, but somehow every last one of them is dirty in the dishwasher and the kids are screaming like they have not been fed in 6 months-I am with you.

To the mom who has to be ready to answer every question under the sun, including “Mommy, does God tell us in the Bible not to put our fingers in our butt hole?”-I am with you. And if you can come up with an answer without laughing, shaking your head in sheer disgust or looking at your child like they just sprouted a third eye-props, mad props.

To the mom who battles thoughts that everyone’s kid is better behaved than theirs, smarter than theirs, better dressed than theirs, more polite than theirs and thinks every other mother must be doing a better job than they are-I am with you. Read my blog. It will make you feel better.

To the mom who has more dirty dishes in the sink than she got hours of sleep last night-I am with you.
To the mom who has considered putting an ad up on Craigslist-“IHA 1 nasty tempered toddler. Give me your best offer”-I am with you. Just me? Okay, cool. Maybe pray for me then.

To every mom who wishes time would just stand still (they grow up so fast!) but the next moment wonders why the clock never moves-I am with you.

To every mom who goes to bed at night and swears tomorrow she will get it right. And every mom who knows she can’t do it by her own strength. And every mom who dissects things and over-thinks things and researches things and asks for advice and tries to improve herself and never stops being preoccupied with parenting right, because it matters too much to get it wrong-I am with you.

To every mom who knows she lost the battle but is determined to win the war-I am with you.

To the mom who would never trade her “job”, loves her kids more than she can put into words, but desperately needs a haircut and a girls’ night-I am with you.

To the mom who works for more than just behavior modification but rather heart transformation-I am with you. It is hard work.

To every mom who will sneak upstairs to cry when it just gets to be too much-I with you.

To every mom who feels lonely even though she is constantly surrounded by noise and demands-I am with you.

To every mom who thinks “I can’t do this” but clings onto Philippians 4:13 –I am with you.

I don’t know if if makes you feel any better to know that I totally get what you are living. It might at least help to see that I am probably more crazy and have worse hygiene than you, right?
It is always nice to know that someone can relate. I secretly, and sometimes not so secretly, like to hear stories of other frazzled moms and sometimes naughty or gross kids because it lets me know I am not alone. But you know what is even better than hearing a fellow mom say “I am with you”. Hearing God say it. So on days like today or moments where I want to rip my hair out (or just walk out) I mediate on what this really means when I read:

“He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.”
Isaiah 40:11
So mom, I am with you. And God is with us. I hope that the knowledge and experience of God taking special care of those that have young means more than a thousand “dittos” from me. I am praying for us today. I am praying that we will be encouraged that what we are doing matters for eternity, that fitting perfectly into our skinny jeans is not the be all and end all of existence, and that we would rest in the care and gentle leading of our Shepherd. Hang in there Momma-He is with you.

I am glad Jesus cried.

The other night a I cried until my eyes burned. The next day I had a cry hangover. I just can’t cry like I used to. Maybe because since having kids and since entering adulthood, (which happened pretty much simultaneously for me), I don’t cry much anymore. I often feel like who has the time? Crying is exhausting, and time consuming, and I just haven’t let myself carve out the time to be super emotional lately. So that is probably why it came on me seemingly out of nowhere. The flood gates opened and swept me (and poor unsuspecting Peter) away. As suddenly as it started it stopped. And I felt lighter, except for my eyelids. Those suckers were nearly swollen shut. Which was probably good because it meant I couldn’t get a good look at my raccoon eyes in the mirror.

I am glad God created crying. I am glad He gave us a release for our emotions, that literally empties us-at least for a moment- from some of the burden we feel.

God is the Wonderful Counselor. I can say to Him everything that I am feeling. And lately I do. “God, I don’t like this.” He doesn’t shy away from that. He welcomes my feelings. He comforts me when I am distraught. He is worthy of my trust and my praise, despite my situation, because of who He is. But that doesn’t mean I am not allowed to say “God, this sucks. This hurts. I don’t get this. I don’t want this." I used to think that pouring out negative emotions on God showed a lack of faith, a lack of trust in His plan, even rebellion. Now I understand that actually it is a deeper form of faith-to choose to trust God with my emotions, to not like what I have been dealt or to not understand why but to turn to Him instead of away. So that is what I am trying to do first. Before I dump on Peter, before I call my mom, before I stew in my head and have a pity party or let my emotions convince my mind of lies, I am trying to pour it out to God.

A wonderful and wise friend and I are doing a book study together. We read through part of 1 Samuel and she pointed out something glorious to me that I had not noticed before. I just can’t get it out of my head.

In 1 Samuel we meet Hannah. Hannah was infertile and deeply distraught. She went to the temple to pray.

As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli (the priest) observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”

 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.

She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.” (1 Samuel 1:12-18)

Hannah’s situation had not changed. She was,for all she knew, still unable to have children. But after she poured her heart out to God, she got up and left and “her face was no longer downcast”. I can almost see a picture of God putting his strong yet tender hand under Hannah’s chin and lifting her face up, so it was no longer downcast. That picture of God is a new one for me, but one I want to know more of. If Hannah had complained around the well about her plight I think her face would still be downcast. If she had cried on her husband Elkanah’s shoulder, her face may still have been downcast. If she had journaled all her thoughts on tear stained pages of her private diary her face may still have been downcast. I don’t know. Maybe she did do those things. Verse 7 says Hannah was distraught “year after year”. And in verse 8 we see that Elkanah tries to comfort Hannah and convince her to stop her weeping, but to no avail. Sister just had to cry…to God. It wasn’t until then that her deep sorrow was comforted.

What a Wonderful Counselor we have! He does not deny us our feelings, our grief, our anguish, our frustration, confusion or disappointment. In fact, he can sympathize with our suffering in every way. I am glad that Jesus cried, wept even. (John 11:35). I really am. It means He gets it. He knows how heavy a heart can be; it can’t help but break wide open, emptying evidence of its pain, shaking its being, flowing out and making eyelids as heavy as the heart.  And it might be worth mentioning who Jesus poured his heart out to in his deepest moments of anguish and dread. He prayed to His Father asking God to take this cup from Him. “Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  Then he returned to his disciples…” (Mark 14:35-37a) It kinda looks to me that Jesus resembled Hannah a little bit. He fell to the ground in honest emotion before God. He begged from God what He wanted, but submitted to God’s will. Then,  afterwards He got up and went about doing what was next-returning to His disciples, to be arrested and taken to die. It might sound sadistic, but I love that prayer of Jesus. It is so real and I can relate. It gives me such comfort. Misery loves company and I would say I have the best of all in Jesus.  He gets it. He gave me an example. He gave me a place to turn. He gives me compassion. And He has given me what I could never have on my own: victory. He not only suffered, but He won.

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT).

He endured the same sufferings, not so He could lord it over us  that He suffered but did not sin, but so He could empathize in our weakness, offer us compassion and offer us help. He suffered so we would know we are not suffering alone. So why suffer alone? Why not approach the throne of grace and mercy, compassion and help? Sometimes I think that act of faith is more difficult than stuffing it all inside or trying to solve it all myself. It can be easy to choose to get angry with God when we don’t get what we want or what we think we deserve. It is way too easy to confuse my emotions for reality. What can be hard is to choose to trust when things don’t make sense or when things just plain stink.

Some days my feeble voice is choked by sobs and I can see myself in that portrait of Hannah. Some days that is all I can muster. But I choose to cry at the feet of God. I choose to wrap my emotions in truth and beg for His grace. Some days that is my biggest leap of faith. “It doesn’t feel okay. But I know you are holding me. I don’t like this. But I trust this is best. I don’t know what is coming. But I know you.” Some days that is my most sacrificial act of worship. It isn’t pretty but it is real. And I don’t have to pretty myself up for God. He sees me, takes me, loves me just as I am. Which is awesome because I don’t know about you, but I have never looked pretty crying. When those tear ducts open it is like the first hour of the Perfect Storm. People just try to take cover, because tears and snot will fly unpredictably in any direction. I am glad Jesus is an expert at calming storms, even the storms that brew up in me.

And I can say from experience, when I pour my deepest feelings out to God I never feel empty for long. When I choose to trust Him despite what I feel and walk in faith farther than my eyes can see, I never feel betrayed. My God is so amazing. He fills me with peace I cannot explain and makes my face no longer downcast. Now, if only he would do something about the puffy raccoon eyes…

Things I don’t want to forget…

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She doesn’t understand why on earth I would pluck my eye-brows. She lives her life in a musical. I love to listen to her sing her way through everything she is doing or to make up stories to sing to us. My favorite is when she just starts singing praise songs she has made up, straight from the heart. I know it makes God smile. She also has a silly “vibrato” she does, but it is very serious to her. She makes nests for birds out of moss and roots and rocks colored with sidewalk chalk. She likes to do her own hair, which consists of putting hairclips haphazardly all over her head. I sometimes think I have taken them all out and will find a stray that has been in there for a good day or two. She lights up when we spend one-on-one time together. She does not stop smiling and giggling and trying to talk like she is all grown up. It is one of my favorite times too.
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She loves to hear that she is the one who made me a Mommy. She insists she does not like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches anymore. She doesn’t know how to smile in pictures. She gets self-conscious. Everyday she is planning her next birthday party, or playdate or sleepover or dinner party or dance production. She is nervous and excited about Kindergarten. It is surreal that she will go to the same school I did. She will ask if we can drive by the school. When she sees it she will always say “look! That is my and your preschool, Mommy! It is both of our school! How funny/great is that?!”
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She asks so many questions. They are all insightful. She is saving up her money for Frozen slippers. So far she has 42 cents. Bringing her own snack to school in her lunch box on Thursdays gives her an extra bounce in her step. She is always asking about God and Heaven, especially in the car or at bedtime. She has prayed to ask God to forgive her sins so she can go to heaven about half a dozen times for good measure. She asks to chew gum about 35 times a day. She focuses really hard on not swallowing it and takes it very seriously. Another obsession is chapstick. She stashes it various places so she can always find it and layers...all over her face. Tag is not just tag but "tag-you're it". She colors every day-usually hearts and swirls and bug eyed people. They are always a gift for someone. Lately she has been making name tags for dinner every night and she also decorated our house with about a dozen creepy-cute Easter bunny pictures made with markers, construction paper and “fancy scissors”. She told me the other night that my dinner “bammed her mind. He mind was bammed.” and after the next bite she said, “oh good my mind is back in my head again!”. She asks everyday if she can wear one of her nightgowns to bed. She looks so small wearing my old mini-mouse t-shirt/nightgown. It is down past her toes. The first time my mom saw her in it, she cried. When I am trimming her bangs she laughs hysterically when I blow away the stray hairs from her face. It reminds me she is still a little girl. I love those glimpses.
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She still says some words wrong-like “Oat-mi-meal” and “geggies”, “bacuum” and “nittle bit”. I don’t usually correct her. She will ask me everyday “what are we doing tomorrow?” She doesn’t require much, just to know. She is so flexible with whatever life gives us, even if it means disappointment, or waiting, or the mundane. She and Braxton were afraid of the house phone (and kind of still are). We got it so the kids could dial 911 in an emergency. Now they are fairly certain that we will have an emergency because of the phone and neither one wants to learn how to use it. Her favorite hairstyles are braids like Elsa and Anna from Frozen or a “top-knot bun”. When I give her a compliment or I give her a kiss and tell her something sweet she scrunches up and gives a little giggle. I don’t want to lose the sound of that slightly uncomfortable, but giddy little giggle. It is then I know her cup is filling up. She calls lettuce “salad”. We are growing “salad” in our garden. She struggles with counting and gets frustrated very easily. When she gets something we have been working on right, she jumps and shouts and says something like “I got my hardest one!” She calls Braxton “buuuud” when she is talking down to him…in the sweetest way possible. She just got a pet caterpillar from preschool. She named it Stella and made a sign to introduce her to everyone.  She wonders when she will find the prince she is going to marry. She calls all girls princesses and all their boyfriends or husbands are princes. She fell in love at school the other day, with a boy who loves Ninja turtles. She asked him if he believes in God and that Jesus took his punishment and if he is going to heaven. He said “ummm yeah I guess”. So she told us it they can get married and wants to start planning the wedding. She will also ask people if they believe in God, Satan or Santa. If they say they don’t believe in God she sadly tells them they are going to Hell. We are treading carefully there and working on that one. She gets sad when people don’t respond with the same enthusiasm she has for friends. She sometimes gets scared by pretend or sarcasm. She is amazed and proud that I didn’t eat my boogers as a kid. She thinks that makes me honest. She doesn’t get the concept of hugging around the waist. She gives new meaning to a “hug around the neck”.
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She says the best thing about being a big sister is telling Braxton and Royce what to do, so they can learn how to be a big kid like her. She spends a lot of her time playing pretend with her Disney princess dolls and castles. Braxton often joins in with his knights and dragons and they will hide away for hours at a time. They really, truly are best friends. It brings tears to my eyes both in how beautiful it is and in how it may change. He is going to miss her next year.

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Hayleigh is his idol and favorite playmate. The way he says her name melts me. No one can say it like that if they try. I hope that no matter how old I get in my head I can always hear the way he says it to her, so full of affection and admiration. He insists he likes scary and spicy things. He does not, however, like “pinich” (spinach).  He wants privacy going potty but then will say he is still potty training and needs help. He hates being alone. Hates it. He struggles to go to sleep at night because he can’t stand being alone. Usually he will “read” books for a long time before falling asleep. He is entranced by the pictures. He smiles with his eyes. It is one of my favorite things about him.
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He loves cuddling. His love language is definitely physical touch. He loves to give me nosies and kisses I can’t wipe off and to rub our cheeks together. He wants to meet a pirate and a knight in real life. He often asks me if witches and ghost-es are real, just to be sure. He wants to protect his sisters. The other day at their Dr. appt he told me he would cover his eyes and hide in a corner because he doesn’t like to see his sissies get “hurted”. When either Hayleigh or Braxton gets spanked the other one either cries or will grab their stomach and say it makes their stomach feel funny and sick. He hates wind, or as he calls it “cold blow”. He thinks sticks are treasures. He planted a rock the other day so it could grow into a big boulder. One moment he can be clenching his fists and steaming-the next he will be throwing his arms around me and scooting to find a comfy spot on my lap. On Easter morning he ran in to our bedroom around 6:30 am and shouted "Satan lost! God win-did!"He is always up for an “ad-benture” even if it is just a trip to Wegmans or a walk around the block. If you want to get on his good side, give him a donut. If it is a chocolate one, he will love you forever. He will nervously lick his lips and chin, leaving an almost constant chap mark. When he doesn't do it for a few minutes, he will excitedly praise himself. When I put on chapstick it is worse, because he likes to "wick dah favuhs off" (lick the flavors off). He loves to have boy time with Peter and send us girls upstairs for girl time. He has moments where he is so masculine-all man. And then their are moments where he is at home playing princess games and house with Hayleigh or asks to watch Cinderella for rest time. He and Royce have gotten pretty close too. Perks of being the middle child. He calls her “Woycie-Booboo” or “Woycie Boogah”.  He talks to her in babble more than real words, and always while he is down on her level, as close to her face as possible and squirming with energy and excitement.

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When he wants to ask a question he will say “Mommy I have something to tell you” or “Mommy, I have two things to tell you”. He is self-conscious of his “sticky-uppy” hair. He will mat it down with water when he sees it in the mirror. He often will say in an embarassed tone “my haiwuh is cwazy. I need a haiwuh cut”.  When they stay up late they mistakenly say “staying up early”. He learned to snap. Actually he just made the motion with his fingers and the sound with his mouth. He showed the people in the Ark at church a couple months ago. Apparently they giggled at him. That made him embarassed and kind of mad. He will tell me stories of times he was a little boy. And he is always asking questions about what babies and toddlers can do (compared to what big kids can do). He is concerned whether or not food is “guten fee” so I can eat it and not sleep for a really, really long time. About once a week he insists on wiping himself after going number 2 and will use almost an entire roll of toilet paper before he realizes the toilet is clogged. He “just wants to make suwuh it is weally clean of all duh poop.” He and Hayleigh are excited to just walk in my parents’ back yard and eat vegetables right out of the garden. Braxton is planning a family picnic party at Hamlin Beach for this summer. He wants us all to bring instruments for a family band. He is trying to be brave enough to kill bugs for me when Peter is gone. Usually he will panic and then try to throw a tissue or shoe at it. He is yet to actually kill one. He lights up the room wherever he is. I love when he wears his knight hat, or big sunglasses, or one of Peter’s ties out in public.  He says he wants to go to Heaven, but he is scared of it too. He asks if they have TV and snacks and beds in Heaven.

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His favorite animal is deer. He regularly will want to drive through parks to look for them. If a word starts with a double consonant sound, he will usually pick just one consonant to use when pronouncing the word. I just love it. So much. He wants to read the story of the crucifixion  and of David and Goliath almost daily. He is captivated by them. I can almost see the wheels turning. Sometimes he runs with his shoulder hunched and a goofy little twist at the waist. He still wears a diaper at night but he likes to wear underwear over top of it.  He will sometimes sit on the toilet until his little legs fall asleep and then he can’t stand up. His voice. Just his voice. I can’t imagine not hearing it. I sometimes just video him talking or playing so I can have the sound of it forever.  Jayna, Pop and Papa are his favorite people. He has a special kind of seizure dance when Jayna arrives and a special kind of anxiety attack when she leaves his sight. He thinks he is a big kid, but still will want to curl up in my arms and wrap us both in blankets. He still falls asleep on me some days. The sound of his breathing is a lullaby for my heart.
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He and Hayleigh will ask some days if we can have a “tickle fest”. When someone is sad or sick he is always trying to find ways to “feel them better”. He sometimes says to me “Mommy, call me Buddy boo. Say ‘I love you Buddy-boo’”.

She answers to “Bee-Bah”.
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She and her brother have the same laugh, a kind of chortle giggle. It is equally contagious. All my kids have the same crazy arm and patterned breathing wave when they get excited. She will put her ear right up next to my mouth when I hold her because she wants me to whisper or sing in her ear. Recently she has started grabbing my face with both hands, putting her mouth up to my ear and babble whispering to me too. She adores Braxton.  She loves to run up and tackle-hug him or pat him on the back when he is sad or bend down and put her face right in front of his, at an angle, and babble. She walks with a little “don’t mess with me” waddle. She sticks out her stomach, raises her chin, sets her sights on something and goes straight for it.
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She wants to color so badly like the other two, not with crayons, but with markers. When he first got her hands on sidewalk chalk she laid down on the pavement and colored intently. She purses her lips and makes popping and spitting sounds as she drones around from room to room. When she lays her head on our shoulder in a hug, she pats us on the back. It is the best. She folds her hands behind her back. She roams. She still wants a bottle, warmed up. She doesn’t like juice. She doesn’t want to hold your hand, unless she is uncertain of a situation, but that uncertainty never lasts long. She would play in the road if she could. And Jayna joked the other day she would give the on-coming traffic her sassy hand to dismiss them. She will yell at every dog she sees, even if they are not barking. She still twirls her hair to fall asleep.
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She likes to play with Hayleigh’s toy camera, but she wants to keep it in my camera bag, not the toy bin. She makes the “num-num-num” sound on her bink too. She hated her dolly that she got for her first birthday. She would throw it every time we gave it to her. Or she would stash it in the far corner of her crib. Now she curls up with her, always in her left arm. She doesn’t say much, but she is very vocal. There is no guessing what she wants. She will “talk” with inflections of sayings but not say the actual words. She calls my mom and dad both “Nana” which is okay I guess because the other two call them” Nanapop” when referring to both of them. She will not let any door stay open (including the fridge or dishwasher) and will take any dishtowel off the stove or hook and throw it on the ground. Even at other people's houses. Her cheeks sag when she gets tired. It makes her lips all smushy. All of them had this. Gosh, I love to smooch those little lips and those soft, chbby cheeks. She will go from sleeping to being rudely woken up to smiling and jumping at the bars of her crib in about 1 second. She won’t wear bibs. And she is the messiest eater ever. She is always playing games to be goofy or to get attention. She wants to be part of every conversation and laugh along at every joke. Getting her to look at me for a picture, let alone smile, is a task. It has always been this way. When I get a good picture of her I feel doubly proud of myself. She is always happy to see us. She yells and bounces with excitement and wants to be scooped up right away. She loves wagon rides. She sprawls out and lets the wind sweep over her. She thinks she is entitled to as much or more leg room in the wagon than any bigger sibling. And she will fight for it. She will laugh and pretend to be shy and bury her head into you. She sits on my lap and we put our legs up-me on the coffee table and her on my legs with her feet crossed at the ankles. She prefers to eat her snack on the go in her snack cup than at her feeding seat. She wants to come up on the couch so she can stand and crawl around. She will physically shove Braxton or Hayleigh off my lap so she can sit there. Paisley barely eats her dog food anymore because Royce makes it her mission to feed her from her own plate/tray. She will even get bowls from the toy kitchen and fill them with her crackers for Paisley. Her favorite book is “I love you so…” She picks it almost every time. She has a hilarious scrunchy face. She has so many faces. 
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She either wants to be held and cuddled or she is running around. She has a special tone when she says “mama” and “dada”. She really, really needs and wants us. I can’t refuse. The only toys she really likes are mega blocks, Hayleigh’s princess dolls (to undress and re-dress their snap on outfits) and matchbox cars. She is obsessed with shoes and coats. She loves to dress up in Hayleigh’s dress up clothes or jewelry, headbands and crowns. She walks around thinking she is a big deal whenever she is dressed up.  She won’t eat a plain peanut butter sandwich, but give her a Clementine, any kind of berry or sweet potatoes and she will inhale them. She is adorable. She is sassy. She is perceptive. She is just so goofy. She is determined. She is selectively deaf. She is nearly fearless. She is independent. She is temperamental. She is flexible. She is terrifying. She is endearing. She thinks she is pretty funny. And she is right.
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What we have been up to…

Or I should say what my kids have been up to since Peter and I hardly make it into pictures.
Spring is here. And just in time because if it had snowed more than 2 days over Hayleigh’s Spring Break I think we would have all needed to be locked up in padded rooms. Hayleigh literally cried when she saw it snowing. She said something along the lines of “What?! Nooo! It was only spring for 3 days and now it is winter again?! Already!?”  Thankfully the snow melted. All of it. For the first time since December 1st there is no snow on the ground. And we are loving it. I think this will be our best Spring and Summer ever.

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Planting our first Vegetable Garden from seed. Stay tuned on how many plants survive.
268 copy 261 264 copy
Coloring Eggs:
   311 copy  327 337
Nana Betty’s (my grandma’s) 86th Birthday Party and Egg Hunt (with no pictures of Nana Betty at her request):
                                    135 copy 138 copy
Just being goofy and adorable (some of us are better at that than others):
073 copy
100 copy 124
086 copy 003 copy 046 copy
And Easter:
044 copy
049 copy
                           075 copy 084 copy
(That last picture pretty much sums them up these days. Love them.)

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