Thursday, March 26, 2009

Camryn's Big Day

Thankfully, the stormy weather held off until this evening, and we were able to play outside all afternoon. Camryn had an absolutely fabulous 1st Birthday! Just a few picture and video highlights ...

She knows who the princess is!

Now, that's one yummy cupcake!
I think the tub is full!

Are they bats, or are they children? Always upside down!

It was just about this time on this day last year that the reality of childbirth was once again beginning to set in. After having my water broken at 9, the contractions were really starting to hit hard and fast. I was excited to know that in only a few short hours, I would finally get to hold my precious daughter in my arms.
It was such a special day, as all of my children's birth days were! I feel so blessed to remember every smell, the feel of the air walking into the hospital each time, every horrible print on the hospital wallpaper (seriously, where do they buy that stuff), every contraction, the looks on the faces of my family members (they looked far more tortured than I ever felt), the feel of Nick's wedding band as he held my hand during pushing, the innumerable typos on the various publications in the women's center hallways at St. Edward (during each contraction, I'd stop walking and focus on finding typos and grammatical errors on the papers -- who said being a nerd doesn't come in handy!) ... priceless memories! I'd re-live each day a hundred times over if I could!
There is no greater blessing than being a mom. Thank you, God, for these blessings. And "Happy Birthday" to my Baby Cam!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Zero No More

Well, this is Camryn's last day as a "zero!" I'll be honest ... I'm not handling it very well.
It seems like only a month or two ago that I first held her, hearing her little lambie-like cry and marveling that any baby could be born that gooey and beautiful at the same time.
Her infancy has been so smooth - very few times of tough transition or struggle. She has achieved each milestone so quietly and without fuss. Not a whole lot of practicing ahead of time for them. It's like she's decided, "Well, today's the day I'll start sitting up. Using my pincer grasp. Holding my own sippy cup." Such a pleasant baby. We always get comments about what a sweet girl she is, "And look at those eyelashes!" :o) They are quite beautiful, framing those bright blue eyes!
I'm just not really ready to leave the "zero" stage behind. Part of my struggle with moving into toddlerhood with Cam is the knowledge that today might be the last day we have a "zero" in our family. I am in that stage of indecision like I was before becoming pregnant with Camryn. Our family seems so perfect, so healthy, so manageable. I argue with myself back and forth mentally the merits and challenges of adding another person to our family. And that's the catch -- it's not just the addition of another baby, but the gravity of adding another person at all stages to our family. That would be ages 18, 16, 14, and 12 in our home at one time! And to think four kids under 6 would be a challenge, just fast-forward to the teens. :o)
I was so relieved when we unexpectedly became pregnant with Camryn. I had been so tortured with trying to make a decision. God had the mercy on me to make that decision for me. I still have that little yearning to grow another baby inside me, bring him or her into the world, nourish that little body after birth . . . but even after another, would that yearning go away. Does it ever go away, or is that just part of being a woman? Thoughts, moms?
Then, there's the question of adoption. That's something Nick and I have talked about off-and-on since grad school. There are so many children in the world to whom we could offer some of the advantages our biological children enjoy. Another child in the world who could be raised in a Christian home, rich with affection and opportunity.
All these questions, but for today, I will enjoy my "Zero" for one more day!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fill 'er Up!

Brandon told us one day recently that his belly hurt, that he thought he had something yucky in it. Curious, I asked what he thought he had in his tummy, and he said, "I have gasoline in it!"
Uh, could that be "gas" in his tummy?!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

10 Little Fingers, 10 Little Toes

Times 3, Plus Me!
I am responsible for 40 fingers and 40 toes ... what a blessing is that!?!?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sneaky Surprise

Nick has never been a good secret-keeper, but I think he's been watching and learning from the best (Me!) for the past 15 years and has perfected the craft!
Other than vaguely suspecting he was being sneaky about something, I was genuinely surprised tonight to walk into a house-full of my family and friends for a birthday celebration! And I'd even looked for the source of his sneakiness -- through his truck when I was driving it earlier this week, in his sent mail in his email, on his ebay and amazon accounts ... to no avail.
He carried if off completely, down to the blindfold he made me wear all the way back from Fort Smith. A word of advice: do not wear a blindfold while riding in a fast-moving car on Mount Harmony Road! Blah!
Kudos to the secret-keeper! And remember that "Angus cows only moo at midnight!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Purely Angelic, Vol. II

Here's another heart-melter!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Purely Angelic

So sweet to watch them sleeping!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Over the River, Through the Woods

To Grandma (and Grandpa's) house we went.

A weekend full of outdoor play, new games, and ice cream.

See my new top toothies!

Don't put me down, Momma! You're supposed to be holding me!

Brandon pushing Abi down the road.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Looking Lens

I am still figuring out what I'm going to be when I grow up. I have so many interests, it's hard to narrow them down -- or imagine having time to pursue them all.
I am inspired by teaching, would love to own a gym someday, enjoy cake decorating, love studying about the human body, am absorbed by painting, love working with people, am calmed by being organizational, and enjoy taking pictures -- I'll stop there for time's sake.
I would also love to pursue photography. I've always enjoyed taking pictures, especially of landscapes and children. I remember taking pictures with an old 35 mm camera and the anxiousness of waiting to have film developed!
Teaching opened my eyes to the world in such an amazing way. I see a potential lesson in everything around me now, which has benefited me as a parent tremendously. Planning for and watching my students -- and now children -- learn about the world around them is so invigorating, fueling my own curiosity.
When I have a camera in my hand, I view the world differently, too. I see the colors more vibrantly, the details more closely, the form more uniquely. I think looking at things through a photographer's lens helps me focus more clearly on the amazingness of God's creation. Everything and everyone seems so much more awesome. Not because it changes the subject, but because I am changed. I slow down to appreciate it all.
I certainly don't have the talent of some of my dear friends, but I have a desire to learn some of the mechanics of photography and practice the art of it to the extent of what little talent I have.
For me, photography, painting, teaching, and other creative pursuits are a form of worship ... slowing me down and allowing time for reflection and renewal.
So, I commit to myself that someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, I will pursue more creativeness and will encourage my kids to find their own forms of creative expression so they, too, can appreciate God's creation more richly.