today you are four. {audrey rose}.

[Every year, on my children's birthday, I'm going to write them each letter. I want them to know the good, the challenges, the laughs, and my prayers to them.]

My Dearest Audrey Rose,

Sweetie pie, you are four. You have entered the "kid" tag. No longer toddler. I'm going to say this every year, but I can hardly believe it. YOU made me a mama, my first-born and now you are twirling and rhyming words and changing outfits five times a day and drawing the most beautiful detailed pictures and cracking eggs all by yourself. 

Oh my, do you love to sing and dance. You really would prefer to dress up all day and twirl around then play with toys. Often times I will find you in your own world making up songs or singing a princess one and dancing like there is not a care in the world. Will you always dance like that, please? Because, truly, we don't have to worry. That's my prayer for you, that you cast your worries on the Lord. [I have to remind myself of that daily.] 

You my dear, are such a sweet sensitive one. I should have known since the moment you entered the world in such a delicate way--with your heart surgery at just a mere five days old. I love how you feel when someone is sad and rush to them to find out what is wrong. Even if in the middle of a dance recital. [Yes, you did this.] You don't like to feel hurt and you don't like others to either. I pray that you use your sensitivity to help others. And I truly believe you will. Your prayer often includes praying for the boys and girls without mommies and daddies. You specifically pray for the boys and girls without panties, which is funny to hear, but holds a lot of truth. [I shared a story with you about sending undergarments over to boys and girls in Africa, a true need there. That story stuck with you.] You also have recently asked if we can give food to those who don't have any. I told you we definitely can, and I also told you one day I would like to go on a Missions Trip with you, you will understand that better when you're a bit older. 

You are getting good in the kitchen. At any available moment you ask if you can help me cook or bake.  Yesterday, I let you crack eggs and open them all by yourself (before you just cracked and I opened). You have conquered the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This is a lifelong skill, pb & j's never get old, even as an adult. I love how you measure out ingredients and then with your tiny index finger you scrape off the extra to level it out. Do you know how many times you ask me if you can have a lick while we bake? You ask until I give in, I'll tell you that. 

Princesses are your thing. I never thought I would give in to the Disney Princess craze, but I have, because it makes your heart happy. And well, I found my prince charming. But know this, you, YOU, are beautiful just the way you are. God made you, and there is no one else like you. He wanted you to have those beautiful big brown eyes and light color hair with a small wave to it. And that beautiful gappy smile. Parts of your looks will change over the years, but remember, it's what's on the inside that truly matters. Let your heart shine. 

One of my very favorite things to do with you is art. I love that you love to draw and paint and color and create and write. Yesterday at the library you drew a picture of a person, I asked who you were going to send it to (you were putting it in the pretend mailbox), and you responded "Jesus." I'm positive He got it. My prayer is that you always desire such a pure relationship with our Creator. 

It's crazy how I can predict so well how you will respond to things and act out if you are lacking sleep. You know why? Because you have my personality through and through. I understand your sensitive side, I can cry at the drop of an "I do" at any wedding. I know that you like structure and boundaries, because I'm like that too. You've never been a big mess-maker, or marking on walls, or ripping pages out of books. (Your sister took on that role.) If a rule is made, you pretty much follow it. And it shocks you when someone doesn't. You point out every single biker that doesn't wear a helmet. Or if there is trash on the ground. 

Your memory astounds me. You will bring up something that happened over a year ago, like cotton candy at your cousin's birthday or how I painted your foot to make a turkey out of it (last Thanksgiving). My prayer is that you remember the smallest things, make the biggest impact. 

My love grows every day for you. Every single day you do something that makes my heart pitter-patter.  I love watching you grow, especially as you begin to really question who Jesus is and what heaven is all about. Can it really be better than being here on earth with your family and Barbie mermaid? Yes, my dear, it really is. 

I love you, a bushel and a peck.



(I was really sick one day, and you just stopped and prayed for God to make me better.)

(Probably my very favorite picture of you. Playing dress up with mama's clothes and hat.)


{the joy} of leaves.

I don't ever want to take for granted that we live in an area where we get four beautiful seasons. [Ok, I could do without winter, except at Christmas, but you know.]

Crunching leaves doesn't happen everywhere.

But it does here.

And I'm so thankful for that.

Today we enjoyed a slow day. We breathed in the warm temperatures that will soon disappear and swam in God's creation of oranges, reds, yellows, and browns.

Lincoln touched leaves for the first time and the girls requested their first of the season leaf pile.

Audrey twirled and sang in the pile while Naomi brought me a pile of leaves that was a "san-wuch fur du eat."

This season of life is good.


fairy party.

I'm not going to lie, I love that the girls' birthdays are just two weeks apart. That means I can combine their party and have a lot of fun with it. I'm kind of ridiculous too in the sense that I start thinking about their party way way ahead, say springtime. This past spring I came across a super adorable fairy cupcake set at TJ Maxx, that was not Disney Tinkerbell.  [I love that store. Probably too much.] And within the same week I saw some "decorate your own wings" at Michael Craft Store. (I didn't buy them then, and ended up purchasing them through Amazon.) After agreement from Audrey, we were set on a fairy party.

Of course, even though I start planning in my head months early, I usually don't do hands-on planning till the week before. I scored this Fairy book at a garage sale this past summer for a dollar. I used the beautiful whimsical fairy pictures for the invitations, which the girls helped make, and for a pendent banner to hang.

The kiddos decorated their own wings and wand. The day of the party I thought about having them put "fairy dust" on their cupcakes, but I didn't have sprinkles (beside chocolate) on hand that would work. Ah well, it was still a lot of fun!

I think my favorite part were the pictures I hung of each of the girls. I spray painted some frames from the Dollar Tree pink and added a picture from birth and each of their birthdays since--so Naomi had two pictures and Audrey had three. 

The girls Gamma (Andrew's mom) made the sweetest fairy outfits for them. But I didn't manage to get a good picture of them all dressed up, I still need to do that! I did get one of each of the girls before the party started, but Audrey was just wearing her pre-party outfit. 

It was a fairy good party. [har har har, I couldn't resist.]

Happy 2nd Birthday Naomi Fae and 4th Birthday Audrey Rose! 

P.S. Lincoln napped the entire time during the party. He is already trying to ignore all things girly.


to the pumpkin patch.

We had one really beautiful, warm day this week. When I checked the forecast and saw that coming, I knew we had to take advantage of it. So we met up with my brother and his little family at an apple orchard/pumpkin patch place. We went last year, but each year just gets more fun as the kiddos grow. Somehow we managed to get almost the entire place to ourselves with the most perfect weather.

[You guys, look at his unbuttoned pants. He is such an old man, it cracks me up. 
My little Linc isn't so little anymore.] 
 [I spy with my little eye, drool. Always drooling.]
[Cousins! Not pictured- Lincoln and the newest addition, Lela- just one month old!]

two iphone pics:
[Yup, all three went down that slide!]

[Lips. Eyelashes. Need I say more?]

You can see last year's post here!


today you are two. {naomi fae}

[I've decided every birthday to write a letter to each of my children. A letter that reveals strengths and weaknesses. Details I don't want to forget. And my prayers for them.]

My Dearest Naomi Fae,

Today you are two. An age that is usually negatively labeled as the "terrible-twos." But I don't see that with you. I see hope. And growth. {And tantrums, but mainly growth and excitement}. I think you have been waiting for this age. The last six months have been challenging for you {and me}. When you were 17 months we sold our home and moved in with your Gramps until our new house was ready.  Then at 18 months we welcomed your baby brother into our family. And at 19 months we moved into our forever home. Those months my sweet child, were a time where your boat was rocked. You only wanted your paci, blankie, and your mama. Then at 20 months we took your paci away and 21 months moved you to your big girl bed. You did remarkably well at both. Low and behold you wanted to potty train just shy of 22 months. All of this in six months. You know what this tells me about you? You are strong, even at your young age. When hard times strike, you are going to be a rock. I pray that you carry this quality with you all through your life.

In the last few months, your language skills just took off. We weren't sure when you were going to begin talking, you tend to be on the quiet side, compared to your sister. {And that's totally okay.} Now though, you talk in full sentences. Your favorite phrases begin with "I want..." and "I do it 'self." You are independent to no end. You want to be able to take off your clothes (which you can mostly do) and dress yourself. You don't want to hold my hand in a parking lot and you climb everything. Which sometimes gives me a little heart attack on playgrounds.

You have determination. And I pray that it takes you far in life, but I also pray that you don't expect perfection. And you learn to let others help you, just as I know you will help them. I know this all too well, because I'm the same way.

I call you my "spit-fire," dear. You keep me on my toes. You've been known to rip books, write on walls, take your dirty panties off and try to clean them yourself in the potty, draw on your body, get in cat litter, wipe baby ointment all over your face, spray your face with (natural) bathroom cleaner, and eat old found food...to name a few. I have a feeling this is only the beginning with you. But do know, I will love you forever and always no matter what.

You adore your sister. When you wake up from nap, usually the first words that come out of your mouth are you asking for Audrey. You share a room with her, which I pray helps plant a bond between you two that will continue to grow throughout the years. Just the other day, I was told at preschool you didn't want to get on the firetruck at first, but when sister encouraged you, you went with her. Be each other's encouragers, ok? Believe it or not, you adore your brother as well. My favorite is when you go up to him with your squeaky two year old voice and say "buster-boo!" I don't think you have gone a day without kissing on him. I have a feeling you two are going to have a lot in common.

Your favorite things right now are coloring, Dora, babies, and books. Oh, how you love to love on your babies. You nurse them, wrap them in blankets, and push them in the stroller.

Even though you are only two, I have already thought about your future. What kind of driver will you be in high school? What will you study? Will you stay around or move away? These are fun things to dream about. But in the end, none of it matters to me. My prayer is that you know the love of Jesus and that you demonstrate this love to others. That compassion is written on your sleeve. I love you more than anything, and His love for you is even beyond that. Crazy, huh?

You are beautiful inside and out. I cherish the moments you tell me to "suggle wit du." (snuggle with you) And when I can just look at you with a big smile and your pretty smile flashes right back at me. How you ask for a high five. And your new favorite thing to say is "I'm a monster!" And you kind of are, I'm not going to lie. But a cute one at that.

I'm so thankful that God created you exactly the way you are. He knows all the hairs on your head, and girl, you were born with a lot!

Welcome to two, sweet baby.

Love, Your Mama.

{Naomi photo overload is about to happen, but not really, because you can't really overload with pictures of her. I'm her mom, I can say that, but it's also truth.}