15 years later

Colby was hard pressed to decide on his birthday activity. His notions ranged from the gun range to a relaxing day at home (right!) or a trip to D.C. He ended up in D.C. with a couple of friends and a couple of siblings as well as dear old dad. They parked in Springfield and hopped on the metro for a trip to the National Archives. It was a trip to remember. Colby recently memorized the Bill of Rights with dates, the preamble to the Constitution and the preamble to the Declaration of Independence; so the destination was a natural choice for him. He really appreciated the history of the artifacts there as well as their significance. 
The boys have made some friends here in the neighborhood. Pictured with our motley crew are David and Jacob McCabe. They are the oldest 2 kids in a family of 11. That's right, a larger family than ours! They are good boys and appreciated the opportunity to take a city trip without little people who cry all the time.

The girls were decked out and thrilled to sport their cute hats and coats in the city.

Once home the boys hit the ground running and played nerf outside. Inside, Hazel cried to be held, the littles ran around smacking one another with balloons, Jackie set the table, Libby talked, and I made dinner. Colby had asked me to make him a surprise birthday cake this year. I decided to make the same recipe I did when the kids were baptized. It's a huge cake that serves a whopping 24 people. No need to worry, we didn't eat the whole thing, but we could have as it was delicious!! 
 I nearly burned my fingers trying to light the thing. 15 is a lot of candles.
Colby was pleased with the cake and really enjoyed his day. We're so thankful for you Colby.

I can remember very clearly the day he was born for it was the last day Jake and I spent together without children to care for. The weather had been drizzly and cool, so Jake and I stayed inside and set up this indoor putt-putt game. We hit golf balls around the house all day long. I had baked Jake his favorite lemon cake that morning, so that's what we ate for lunch. At the end of the afternoon right as we were going to take a nap the phone rang and it was a girl whom I had gone to high school with. It's the last time I spoke with her, I think her name was Erin.. We chatted and I felt something strange happen in my belly. I told her so and hung up the phone. When I stood up, I had been sitting on the end of our bed, I discovered that my water had broke. I was so excited and scared too. I had read that the first thing you should do when you know you are going into labor is to take a shower, so that's what I did. While I was in the shower I started hurting a lot. I didn't know anything about labor then, but I knew enough to think I had better get out of the shower and get dressed. We went to the hospital in Jake's old truck, Pearl. He drove like a madman, just like you see in the movies where the wife is heavily breathing and panting and she's says "Slow Down!' but the man keeps driving because he's been preparing 9 months for this moment to get his wife to the hospital on time... I think that's the last time he did get me to the hospital on time... That's not his fault though :). He flew through traffic lights and over speed bumps as though they were pebbles. We were at the hospital before I knew it and about 2 hours later Colby was born. He weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces, our smallest baby to date. He was very long, with an extremely long umbilical cord and had long feet. That was the only labor my mom was in the delivery room for. My father stood outside the delivery room door. I think that perhaps that's the harder place to be, hearing but not seeing and hoping all will be well. I remember holding Colby that night and looking at him knowing that life was now different, forever different. I knew a little then about mothering and I know a little more now. God wisely placed Colby first in our lives. He's been a pleasure to parent and raise, he's taught us much about ourselves and our Lord. He is a precious miracle; a gift of life. Colby we love you more than words can say, the first child, the first grandchild. Happy 15th birthday son!


Hazel is 6 months (on the 20th)

It is hard for me to believe that our little Hazel will be a half year old this week. The time has truly flown by since she came in such grand fashion. I am hard pressed to put into words how much this little girl has blessed our family. She is a joy, she is pleasant, she is happy, she is always smiling, she brightens the room with her dear eyes and countenance, she is so much fun, she has the ability to melt the heart of a 14 year old! Yes, she is that sweet. We love you Hazel. We are thankful for our time with you. We thank God for sending you here! 

All of the fuss in these pictures is centered around a train. Hazel is enamored of the whistle blowing thing. She rolls over to the tracks and tries to knock it off. She hears it whistle and instantly turns her head to discover the source. Colby and Jackie were hanging out with her this particular day and watching the train move round the tree with her. Who can blame them? Trains are fun and Hazel is sweet. It's the prefect combination.


Christmas Picture Failure

I attempted to have the perfect family picture taken. You know, the perfect postures, everyone's looking, everyone's having the time of their life. My dreams always come crashing down when the moment arrives. Somebody needs to pee, somebody has dirt in their eyeball, somebody is pulling somebody's hair, the baby spits up, somebody has seen a monster, people are smiling beautifully but their eyes are closed, somebody's done something terrible so they need a spanking, somebody forgot to take off their sunglasses.. Anyway, your Christmas cards are on their way but we are segregated according to types. The header on the blog will remain for the time being as well.

Merry Christmas dear ones!


Parable Under the Pillow

Perhaps you would be surprised at the amount of sin that dwells in this house. Perhaps not if you understand God's word and know that where there are many people there is much sin. One thing that surprises me about sin is that it is in a child from the beginning. It begins to manifest itself in different forms as the child grows. If not dealt with properly and appropriately at the right age it morphs itself into an ugly monster that is extremely difficult to deal with. The sins in a little person are far easier to deal with then the sin of a grown person.

Jake and I were shocked recently to discover that Silas had been stealing candy from the candy bowl. When I say steal it may sound harsh, after all the candy jar sits on the bar and all are welcome to a piece of it every now and then. If you are a little person you must ask first and if you are big you must use self control and be mindful of your neighbor. Well, our little Silas had been taking a piece or two as he was able and then hiding them under his pillow. At night he'd snack on them and throw the trash under his bed when he was all finished. It's amazing because it's outright thievery. He had it down to a science; grab the candy when no one is looking, hide the candy under the pillow, eat the candy during the course of what should be peaceful slumber, and then throw the trash under the bed when finished. When Jake and I realized that something was amiss, Silas continuously was waking up with chocolate stains on his lips and chocolate drool across his cheek, we asked him about it. His countenance fell and he was greatly ashamed. We marveled at how advanced his sin had become and we counseled him and gave him appropriate consequences.

If Silas was our first born we might have hid the candy bowl as that would be the easy course of action, but we now have many more people in the house who aren't stealing the candy and who know to ask.  Experience and wisdom have shown us that it is better to leave the candy bowl out in the open and train him to not steal, teach him to ask, and show him that he can trust us to give him good things. This all takes time of course, but it is good to train the heart now.

I do marvel at sin, it is clear that Jake and I didn't teach him to steal and how to do it well. It was there in his heart all along. I'm thankful for the discovery. Just as the Lord chastens those He loves, we as parents chasten our children whom we love whom we have been given from God. Blessed be His name!


The kids really were little once and other randomness

Well, as I was thumbing through pictures I discovered some older photos which I hadn't seen in a while. Below is a photograph of Colby and Jackie at a birthday party in Okinawa. What's bizarre to me is that when I look at the picture I am astonished at how little they are; yet when I think back to the party where the picture was taken I can still remember it very clearly. Jake and I were there together and shortly after I photographed these two darlings I handed Jake the camera. He dropped it and the lens jammed inside. We had to send it off to the states and have it repaired. Anyway, this thought isn't about broken cameras. It's about how much Colby and Jackie have changed so much in such a short time. I mean, just look at them!
Here they are about 6 and 4 years old.

Here they are 14 and 12 years old. Looking the same, but also much different. I fear that if I'm not mindful they'll be in college standing beside one another before I blink.

Off to the random. We headed down to the blessed NC coast this past weekend for a retreat with our former church. Can I just say that it was a retreat? It was truly refreshing. I've never taken a family retreat where I have come back... refreshed. While we were there Jake got to surf. The sweet man doesn't get to do much of that anymore and it's one of his favorite hobbies, if not the favorite! Can you imagine your favorite hobby being out of your reach?
Here he is, as the the surfers say, "Getting Stoked."

This is just a beautiful picture under the pier.
More randomness in the form of sweetness. Hazel adores Colby. Colby adores Hazel. It's a strange day if Colby hasn't whisked the little miss up in his arms for lots of loves. She and he have a sweet relationship. Colby has always adored the babies that God has brought into our family. Well I should clarify. All of them except for sweet Jackie. There was the time with Colby, his tricycle and Jackie inside her bassinet.. he tried to run it over, then there was the time that Colby threw Hotwheels inside Jackie's bassinet while she was sleeping, then the time that he nailed her in her car seat with his loaded sippy cup... I can't blame him though, he was only 2 years old and had been the only child, maybe he knew it was the start of a long life of babies, babies, babies. Since Benjamin he's adjusted very well and is a shining example to everyone else of how the babies should be treated.
Dear souls.
Enough of random posting. I'm off to therapy for Samuel. Because he doesn't say more than 10 words and most of his language consists of the word "no" we decided we'd bring him to therapy. His therapist likes him very much. I don't blame her, he is pretty awesome!