celebrating!!

October 30, 2016

amazing, how much pure joy & gratitude can fill a day! and one that starts with radiation, no less. 🙂

thursday, october 27 marked the final day of 33 radiation treatments, every morning at 8:15am, and oh my gosh i was SO ready, so done. this morning ritual was a dark spot on every day and on my final drive there, i was beaming.

 

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(pick a robe every morning)

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(i always used this same dressing room – crazy creature of habit i guess :))

i felt the love and warmth around me even as i arrived alone that morning, as i had texts and messages and virtual hugs already surrounding me. and then, i was blown away when i walked out of the dressing room in to the waiting room to find a dear kindred friend there! waiting with hugs and joy! (and the gift of her presence in that place means even more as it was revisiting hard places she’d walked years back with her beloved). she recognized the tech, bruce, who came out to bring me back – and she reminded him that he needed to play “hit the road jack” during my final treatment. yes!

 

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i lay on the table, laughing and with tears rolling down my cheeks as that song blared and i was finished and gave hugs to bruce & kalvin. done!

next was our thursday morning bible study & preschool, followed by an invite from grandma to come to her house for a bowl of soup on that rainy day. perfect. as we finished lunch, my precious aunt nancy arrived with these beauties, and more hugs and love.

 

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when we arrived home, there was a note at the door that a flower delivery had been attempted … it arrived a couple of hours later and again i was just completely blown away. so much kindness from a friend who lives in colorado, who has walked this hard road.

 

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mid-afternoon, the crashing radiation fatigue hit and i tucked in to our cozy bed, sunlight and big puffy clouds out my window, and took a lovely short nap while hubby picked up maddie from school.

then it was time to get ready for our date – the most crazy generous gift ever from heather, offering to have our boys come over (plus kids of our other best friend) so 8 kids under age 9 for the evening while we got dinner out. oh yes!

 

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i sat in her driveway, smiling through tears reading her card filled with words of such deep encouragement and love … then hubby and i tucked in to a booth at a local restaurant and filled our bellies with yummy food, fabulous red wine, and heart-filling conversation, dreaming of things ahead.

 

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the celebration started even earlier than thursday … and thinking of it even now overwhelms my heart. one of my best girlfriends invited me and our other bestie out to a celebration dinner tuesday night. we sat for hours, and they spoke words over me, having seen me at my darkest and hardest and lowest, knowing this journey so intimately.  we cried and hugged and truly celebrated. i couldn’t have walked this hard road without them and i can think few things as life-giving and soul-lifting as being truly seen and completely loved. carried by love; such grace and gift, this kind of friendship.

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last week was pretty intense. hubby’s business trip(s) – gone for 8 long days – coincided with madison’s tech week rehearsal schedule for her musical, which meant rehearsals til 8 pm a few nights and 11pm other nights. yowch, with 2 babies sleeping at home. i am SO thankful for amazing family and friends that stepped in and picked her up all the nights but one … what a huge help.

things came to a head on thursday, as it was both opening night for maddie’s show and the night that hubby was to arrive home. unfortunately, his flight came in around 11pm … the show started at 7:30pm … and i just couldn’t be there. even as i type this, that sick mama heart feeling of missing opening night – comes back palpably. i hate that we weren’t there with her, there in the lobby after the show to greet and celebrate. {logistics of having 3 kiddos has meant more and more times of missing out or not being as present for maddie as i’ve always been.}

the night all worked out fine … i packed up the babies to pick up maddie from her show and then we went to the airport to pick up hubby. SO good to have him back! truly, i gained a new appreciation for 2 things: 1 -that i can really handle long days and hours alone with the boys and 2 – i LOVE having him here providing more help than i realized before.

a gross cold bug had descended on us and that next morning at 5am, caleb was incorrigible – happy only when i held/walked with him in our bathroom with the loud fan blaring. poor sweet baby. maddie woke, came in to our room and said she wasn’t feeling good .. oh no! it was the 2nd day of her musical performance and it’s an understatement to say that she’s LOVED being in this production, was beyond excited for the performances, and already feeling blue thinking of it ending. i spent the day nursing sweeties and trying various things to help maddie feel better. she was so excited that hubby would be seeing her show that night, and didn’t want to miss. alas, he drove her there and i got a text saying they were heading back home – she didn’t feel she could do it. poor love.

the following day was her 13th birthday – 13th!!!. it was also her final musical performance, and me mom and grandma would be watching. hubby would be hanging with the babies! per our tradition, i decorated our house the night before so she woke to streamers and decor.  i gave her a bible and a new devotional – one that she can do alone (we do one together at bedtime) – and spoke words of encouragement to her heart about her growing up, seeking GOD and HIS word not just with her parents but knowing GOD’s great love for *her* and HIS truths and love expressed in His word.

i also made her traditional “number” cake – every year since she turned three, i’ve made a cake with her age. so fun!

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she felt better throughout the day and was able to join the final show – and it was *amazing!! wow, what an awesome show. and what a treat for me, to get to watch sans babies. yippee! hubby arrived after with the babies, and we enjoyed the post-show cast party. her voice was almost gone and she was deeply exhausted but overall, a sweet birthday for our girl and i am SO glad …

 

hubby arrived just as the show ended !

hubby arrived just as the show ended !

with her grandma and great grandma

with her grandma and great grandma

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secretly, i was looking forward to the coming of sunday – the mania of musicals and prep and birthday would have settled, and we could go get her ears pierced (her much-coveted bday gift) and then go out to a fun dinner (a restaurant she’s been to once with friends and has wanted for months and years for us to go together). finally, mom would be hosting a little family bday celebration for her after dinner. FUN.

the day was lovely … sunny … and just happy. blessed.

mid-afternoon, she and i went to the mall for the ear piercing gift … she was (of course) so brave and was thrilled with her piercing!

happy girl

happy girl

early that evening, we dropped josiah off at my mom’s and took maddie to a special dinner … sort of just us “big people” because caleb was with us, and of course restless and fussy during the meal!, but i refused to let it be a focus and instead celebrated our girl! and the special night!

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me and my girl

me and my girl

after dinner, we returned to mom’s and had a sweet celebration with family. lots of love, cake and gift cards! haa haa.

silly boys!

silly boys!

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life has settled back to somewhat normal and i am craving really being proactive about some tighter rhythms and order this week, so we’ll see .. 🙂

opening night!!

August 10, 2012

what an amazing night!! our sweet girl performed in “Music Man”, with a local theater group that is absolutely stunning in their professionalism, camaraderie and talent.

i am talking, WOW.  on your feet, theater-filling, stunning singing and dancing and acting that was electrifying! and madison was completely on cloud 9 and has been for weeks, being a part of this production. she loves every single thing about it.

and here’s the cool part: she had to audition. alone. on the big theater stage. singing “tomorrow” acapella. my shy girl! she did it, after almost deciding she couldn’t.

then, she had second thoughts about doing the show. she wasn’t sure she wanted to “miss out” on so much summer fun while spending long days rehearsing.

oh boy, is she ever so glad she decided to go for it! she has met such wonderful kids and is a part of this larger-than-life experience. these are special kids and a special group of adults directing, leading, and running things. the collective description is that it’s “one big family”, with such positivity and encouragement and uplift. and i see that in madison. and i love it!

tonight was doubly awesome because i got a date with my man AND got to see opening night of the show. yes and yes! mom came over to care for josiah (never mind that he stayed up til 10:30pm running his sweet grandma nonstop! but no tears, lots of fun and it went well. phew!). some of maddie’s best little girlfriends came – hooray! – as well as my aunt and uncle. she got lots of love and support!

here are a few pics …

maddie in her band costume after the show!

ok, funny story: this is another performer’s mama and she came up to ask if the baby had been responding to the noise of the show by moving a lot. and actually, YES he moved constantly! wild!

the fam, outside after the show …

with aunt nancy!! 🙂

uncle ron!

with her bosom buddies, maddie and maisy 🙂 🙂

the perfect {birth}day

June 15, 2012

i celebrated my 37th birthday this week and it was, honestly, one of the sweetest birthdays i can remember.

one of my dearest girlfriends commented today, so beautifully, that it wasn’t the material gifts or things that made my day so wonderful … it was the peace in my heart.  peace that cannot be bought or sold; sweet, abiding, grateful peace.

the day started with my precious daughter blessing me with some of her amazing handmade creations: earrings and rings! they are so awesome. plus, she bought nail polish to give me a mani/pedi. how fabulous!

we headed over to our favorite local art-eclectic town in the morning for a photo shoot my hubby had (he is being featured on the cover of a magazine next month! so wild and fun). the photo shoot was at a neighborhood coffee shop … so the kids and i got a yummy drink and strolled for a bit. it was one of those *glorious* weather mornings … sunshine, blue sky, fresh summer morning air …

my pretty girl as we strolled …

i am realizing how much lack or a wanting for something, makes my appreciation that much deeper and sweeter when i do get that experience or that opportunity. 

i have been longing for a day in ashland with my man, ever since the sun came out a few months ago. there is no one in the world i enjoy being with more than him – we *LOVE* walking, talking, holding hands, drinking a coffee, people-watching, exploring, laughing. being with him, just hanging and piddling, is the BEST. and so when i thought about what i’d like to do on my birthday, i knew that spending a day in our favorite little town, having a picnic with my little fam, sounded ideal.

and throughout the day, we all kept saying, ‘this is perfect!’. even madison kept commenting on what a special, perfect day it was.

oh! so after the photo shoot, we headed up to lithia park. we pushed little man in the stroller, and literally strolled … ending up at the playground, where they had a blast. josiah is just starting to “run loose” at the playground (with us on his tail!) and he is loving it! it was glorious.  josiah and madison loved playing in the creek!

xoxoxo!

 

 

 

 

josiah loved the creek! he kept saying, “waa-wer, waa-wer!”

 

 

maddie loves this big climbing apparatus!

after plenty of park time, we decided to go get some food … so we went to the local organic market and picked up some fun picnic items. i’d packed watermelon, grapes, chicken salad; we bought some fun crackers, cheeses, salami, cookies and drinks. fun treats! it was waayyyyyyy past josiah’s nap time at this point and i was hoping he’d fall asleep just before we wanted to eat, so we could enjoy a peaceful lunch. and he did!! completely sacked out in the car, and we found the *perfect* picnic bench under some trees, near the creek, way up in the park. he slept the entire time we ate! it was idyllic – perfect temps, breeze, creek flowing, yummy food and my favorite peeps.

our little picnic spot

 

 

 

handsome guy 🙂

 

he woke up, hungry!

 

so thankful for a sweet passerby who offered to take a pic

after our picnic, maddie and i wanted to go do a little browsing at our favorite store in town. mike decided to stay at the park with little man, and they had a lovely walk from the top of the park all the way back down to the play area! we met them back at the park a bit later.

on his stroll with dad … what a view!

it was time for the fun to end … we spent nearly the entire day and it was absolutely amazing. a little day trip, just 15 miles away. 🙂

smooch!

 

(check out the fabulous hairpiece maddie bought herself on our little shopping trip!)

the fun didn’t end there, though. we headed home for a little rest and then went to my mom’s, who was hosting a family birthday dinner! SO much fun. take-n-bake pizzas, decadent cake, and some of the most generous thoughtful gifts *ever*. i actually cried when i opened the gift from my mom – a gift certificate for a haircut and color. it’s been *years* since i’ve had my hair professionally colored and nearly a year since i’ve had a haircut. i’ve been wanting it but it’s not been in the budget, so it is such a treat. (my grandma laughed and said, “pregnancy hormones!” when i cried. for sure! lol).

i am deeply thankful for simple pleasures, for the amazing love of friends and family, for a beautiful day spent with my favorite people. 

one year!!

April 12, 2012

our little love bug is one!!!

our sweet little growing up boy … so many big changes and happenings, even in the past week since his birthday:

he took his first steps on his first birthday!! 

a couple timid steps early in the morning while hubby and i watched, mouths gaping … and later, more! 2, 3, a few here and there.  our big boy!!

he gave his first “goodbye” wave to papa at his birthday party! (the day before his actual birthday).

he was so happy waving! and he hasn’t stopped since. hee hee. now if he just hears the phrase “bye bye” on a toy or anything, his arm starts pumping. too dang cute.

he is obsessed with a picture of a “ducky” in one of his books and now is obsessed (grunts, squeals) for this book, then POINTS at every duck on each page. ask him where the ducky is, and he points … right at the duck.  if he hears the word “ducky” and “book” he looks toward his bedroom (where the book is). he knows.

it is WILD how much he comprehends … people, objects, so much … mention it and it totally registers and he knows.

ok, more fun highlights after some pics from his party …  

opening the door for guests arriving to his party!

here he is with "BUZZY" ... his *absolute* favorite toy in the world!

so i have to mention that this toy, nicknamed (by maddie) “buzzy” was literally the best second-hand purchase ever made! he hauls around so fast with this thing, and it is his undisputed favorite toy. well, ok … maybe balls are his favorite, but this sure rocks his world. and we can’t help but grin when we watch him dashing around all serious and focused with this thing. adorable. 

(darn it's blurry but his smile is so irresistible!)

so, the first cupcake … the first bite of sugar, really. and yeah, he totally loved it. inhaled and begged for more …hee hee.

YUMMMMM!!!!!

center of attention!! 🙂

totally devoured

HIS FIRST WAVE GOODBYE!! TO PAPA! ON HIS BIRTHDAY!

hugging his new bear ... aww

one thing that was SO special about this birthday party was the absolute giddiness of our little boy. he received every gift like it was the *most* wonderful thing he’d ever seen, giggling and hopping up and down and basically just making everyone in the room totally melt.

is there anything more contagious than the giddy joy of a baby??! i don’t think so! 

my sweet grandma called the next day to say how josiah’s party was the most wonderful birthday they’d been to in a long time … just joy and delight. we felt the same way – hubby admitted he was surprised, as he’d expected josiah to be sort of half-interested in the festivities and family and toys … but no, he was FULLY engaged, excited, happy and adorable.

so a few more one year highlights … 

:: he has specific and clear taste in what books we read before nap and bed. he used to love “goodnight moon” and “the going to bed book” but now those are OFF the list; he is very clear by writhing back and pushing the book away. he *only* wants the book with the ducks, and a toddler bible that my grandparents gave him. haa.

:: bedtimes and naptimes are going SOO good: for the past few weeks, i’ve been laying him down *awake* every time, no exceptions. we sit in the cozy rocking chair, read 2 books, nurse (at bedtime) and/or cuddle with a blanket and “paci”, i sing a song then lay him down. he rarely cries but is pretty happy with his animals and blankets, especially if maddie lets him sleep with “kirby”, the most beloved big bear.

:: he is eating SO MUCH these days! for breakfast he’s been loving a BIG bowl of rolled oats with some mushed sweet potato and banana and cinnamon. he has a snack after each nap. lunch is usually something “savory” (today, organic ground beef + brown rice + avocado w/some broth), plus applesauce. dinner is usually coconut milk yogurt (with cod liver oil!), and something else … perhaps a slice of whole grain bread, etc. he does have likes and dislikes with food, but nothing consistent … more like, if he’s tried something i’m eating that he wants, he’ll push away his food.

:: his vocabulary is expanding!! so far, pretty much everything has been some form of “daadaa”, with different inflections. “daddy” is pretty clear, but “daaduh” is diaper, “duhduh” is bird or dog or pretty much … a lot of things.  🙂 but he’s totally got the “nn” sound now so “night night” is “naanaa”. he babbles a TON!

:: he hasn’t stopped moving. for one minute. lol. on the go, constantly, and super happy … pretty much always.

:: bedtime is 6:30-7pm, preceded by a bath. he is awake for the day about 7am. he naps at 9am and 1:30ish pm, for about an hour each.  so, his schedule is really consistent. it’s the middle-of-the-night that remains a challenge (ahhh). last night was better, but i don’t even want to jinx it by writing it here. ha. let’s just say, we are still working on it. and hoping for awesome improvements, especially before his baby brother or sister arrives in FIVE months. !!!

he is such a total gift and blessing.

we love you, little man.

maddie’s 12th birthday celebrations were truly SO FUN this year!! 3 days of celebrations … friends, family, parties, lunch, sleepover … all, just so wonderful.

she was on cloud 9 for days … and kept saying, “this is my best birthday ever!”

she truly felt blessed and loved and celebrated – and don’t we love that for our kids?!

on friday (her actual birthday) we had a family lunch celebration for her (each year we typically host a family dinner but she didn’t want to miss her basketball practice friday night so we had a lunch). it worked out perfectly AND bonus: my cousin and her kids were visiting town so they were able to join! it was sunny, lovely, and perfect.

my grown up sweet girl, in her new birthday jumpsuit, ready for lunch!

hooray, her uncle kaleb moved back to town just last week - so glad he could come!

yummy lunch ...

gifts {with lots of "help" from little lynnea!!}

each year, i make a cake with "her" number ...

kaleb and uncle ron ...

crazy, busy, fun!

the next morning was maddie’s last basketball game, followed by the end-of-the-year basketball banquet, immediately followed by her sleepover party!  {she scored EIGHT points in her last game … it was INCREDIBLE! a complete improvement over game one, when she literally didn’t know “offense” from “defense” or pretty much anything else. SO proud of my girl’s hard work! she had SO much fun!}

last game picture w/friend and teammate, sarah ... plus grandma and aunt nancy 🙂

the sleepover party was literally a NONSTOP fun-fest!! one of the sweet girls commented to me that night that it was the most fun birthday party she’d ever been to – more fun even than her own! so sweet. i have to say, it was totally over-the-top fun and giggles and dancing and laughter and love and smiles.

we did a scavenger hunt at Lowe’s (a total hit! and FREE! split the girls in to teams, gave them lists with crazy items like a certain type of bolt, and the first team done won prizes!). we came home to play more games, eat, the girls performed a magic show, did a toilet paper dress up competition,

and then finally settled down to movies, giggles and (eventually) sleep.

maddie, maisy and kait

silly soph!

our sweet mylia

the darling twins!

magic show 🙂

a lovely, full weekend … and oh boy, this mama was wiped out sunday morning when the sleepover crew left! phew! 🙂

odds and ends

November 15, 2011

:: my real-life friend, meredith (who has an *awesome* blog!) brought this over yesterday for josiah to use. YAY! what a treat. thanks, mere.

:: i am missing my hubby (again) and trying to keep busy and keep positive while he’s gone. it’s a blessing to be home with my babies AND the days are long and there is no break, so i am seeking to stay refreshed and focused on the beauty and gifts (not the stress and drain!)

:: maddie is a real entrepreneur! she is having such a great, learning experience with her jewelry business. her “booth sale” was quite a success this past weekend … she had advertised, put up flyers, and on the morning of the sale she decorated (of course!) her little stand so cute. we are enjoying seeing the process: her creativity and also her decision to continue “re-investing” in her business, using some of her profits to replenish her supplies and keep creating. she is making some REALLY pretty jewelry, too. wow. and cheap!

:: the coolest thing happened yesterday: we ran in to the mother of a little girl that madison befriended at a local park months ago. since that day, we’ve regretted not getting contact info for the family to arrange another play date. the special part? this girl looks *just * like maddie. they could be sisters. and living “in these parts”, there are not a lot of girls that fit that description. lol. so yesterday we are at the mall and we see the mom … and so i decided i had to go for it, as awkward and silly as i felt. i introduced, we talked, and yes the mom remembered … and she was super excited about setting up a playdate! we exchanged info and i am going to call her later this week. very cool. last night at bed, maddie wanted us to pray for the little girl, alexis. 🙂

:: we have been experiencing practical, humbling, beautiful provision again {still?}. GOD is so good. He’s given me a word: trust ME for TODAY. today. i am not to worry about tomorrow, about what i will eat or wear; i am called to rest in Him for today.

:: our little man is becoming seriously more and more fun! he’s now very clearly recognizing and expressing when he sees something he wants and doesn’t get it. last weekend we were at my grandparents and madison had a raspberry “popsicle” (frozen fruit pretty much). he was going crazy grunting, “flexing” his arms, just overall freaking out for that thing. i let her give him a lick and it was over – he went crazy when it was taken away! oh boy.  and he’s not easily distracted. the boy remembers. try to hide the thing and he strains and cranes his neck to find where it went.

:: my hubby delivered the keynote speech at our local VA Dom’s veteran’s day event friday and it such a special day. grandparents and aunt came, the place was packed and the vibe was just so lovely, so warm and so patriotic. my hubby lauded my grandpa for his service, and then had me stand and spoke sweet and wonderful words about me. i was blessed … and blessed by the words of the many people who came up afterward, kindly congratulating and speaking life and love.  one woman said that josiah and madison got “smart genes” – so funny! another woman said that the message of my hubby’s speech (which she felt was that we are called to give our best, no matter the circumstances; to work diligently at all times) is the very thing she is striving to train and teach to her children. i was encouraged.

grandma and mike 🙂

 

it’s time to start our schooling day … baby is napping, madison is showered and ready for mama!