Wednesday, July 31, 2013

a pirate's life for me

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for Hayden!  Happy 2nd Birthday my precious little pirate man.  Your bros were so excited for your big day & your birthday party.  Our day was fast & furious - we got to celebrate your birthday & have your party the same day which was a ton of fun but sooo.busy.!

 Birthday party planning is such a labor of love for me - it hasn't come very easy to me & this party was no exception.  For whatever reason - probably the sleep deprivation - I was just a bit teary until we got the party started!  Even when buying the birthday cake that morning, I choked up just telling the check out clerk he was turning 2, haha.  But, with our lovely family & friends & all the prep work done, I was able to just enjoy & celebrate my middle little.  A big thank you to Mimi for her finishing touches & photo booth decorations!  Thanks to Uncle John & Kelsey for the beautiful & delicious banana pudding!  Thanks to Aunt Michelle & my hubs for the watermelon pirate ship!

One thing I kept reminding myself when I began to feel a bit overwhelmed: If I can't celebrate my Hayden & love him well, then none of it is worth anything in the end.  It doesn't matter if all the decor is perfect if I don't give it cheerfully.  It doesn't matter if all the details are perfect if my attitude stinks.  I am so grateful for my hubs who is able to lift up my spirit when it begins to get weighed down in the midst.  I am so blessed to be able to share my boy with our family & friends on his special 2nd birthday.

We started off the party with my favorite activity of the day: dig for buried treasure!  We layered the sandbox with beaded necklaces, jewels, & gold doubloons, and then poured new sand over top of our treasure for our pirates to dig it up.  So easy & so fun.

We invited our guests to 'sail the seven seas' on our pirate ship pool float & find the 'sunken' treasure chest.  They swam with many small pirate rubber duckies, since our own Captain Hayden LOVES his rubber ducky - the only problem was getting him to share! haha.  Hot dog pirate ships for lunch with watermelon cannon balls, gold fish & chips, and Pirate's booty (Hayden's personal FAV).

 Mimi's photo booth for our pirates to strike a pose: Ships' wheel & cannon!

You are so loved my hilarious pirate boy.

My favorite birthday tradition: cake & candles & singing & his moment in the spot light.  Our little Hayden was a bit shy, & Daddy had to pick him up out of his chair & untuck that chin.  But our buddy was a little too shy to blow out his candles, so we all helped.  He wasn't too shy to eat his cake though. ;-)

Thank you all who made our day special for Hayden & thank you all for celebrating with us.  Hayden bug, we love you so much.  You light up our life & challenge us more than you know!!  We are so proud of you & praying for many more birthday celebrations to come.  Watching you grow is one of my great joys & privileges in this life.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lately, I've been running.  We've been running.

One of the songs that has spoken to me as I've been running... David Crowder's 'I am a seed'.
"I've been pushed down into the ground, Oh how I have been trampled down.  Lord I put my trust in Thee.  You won't turn you back on me.  Oh I am a seed.  Oh I am a seed.  I've been pushed down into the ground but I will rise up a tree."

Oh, it definitely feels like I've been trampled down many.days.  I don't know how many times I have told my little Hayden to make his cars drive on the floor: not the furniture, walls, doors, windows, window ledges, kitchen counters, people... seriously?  Some times I do just fold - give in - refuse to say it again - refuse to discipline for disobedience - decide to fight a 'different battle'.  BUT I am a seed, and so is he.  The toddler-tantrums between our 2 toddlers absolutely  BUT I am a seed, and I will rise up a tree.  and so will he.

We have such beautiful, enormous trees where we live.

"Oh I can see it won't be long.  Till I break free from what I was.
Your river of GRACE flows endlessly.  You won't turn your back on me."

I am so grateful for the opportunity to go out & RUN.  It is wonderful for my mind, body & spirit.

The stress-free whine-free zone of the run.

My new blessing: afternoon nap X3 = momma's quiet time for afternoon coffee & reading & blogging & Bible study.  I am a seed.

So many feet on top of me, But I will rise up a tree.

a long time coming.

Matt & I had the privilege of dedicating our boys - all three together - this July 2013.  We have been waiting to dedicate James since he was born, so it really did feel like the we'd been waiting a long time to stand up with our family & friends and dedicate our boys to the Lord.  We lived in Hickory, NC when James was born, and actually had plans to have him dedicated around the time of his 1st birthday, but unfortunately, he came down with strep throat.  We rescheduled, but by then we had moved to Charlotte & Hayden was born.  We never truly found a place that we felt a part in Charlotte, and we never felt that we should pursue dedicating our boys then.  What a blessing to move back to OP, have Calvin join our family, and return to the church that we joined when we were first married.  We were so excited to be able to dedicate all 3 of our little fellas, together, for the first time.

What an added joy: my wonderful Aunt Lina made a beautiful bubble for baby Calvin to wear for his dedication.  It even had some very special buttons, from my Grandpa Dean's mother, Alma Austin.  She saved some from my Papa's clothes & my Aunt Linda sewed them onto this bubble for our little Calvin Dean - so fitting as his namesake!  The sentimental value of these things to me is priceless.

Our parents were able to be with us that morning & it was such a joy to share those moments together.
(Mimi is holding James in this photo, and Grandpa was preaching down at FBC Elfers this morning).

Little Calvin, just shy of 3 months old, in his very special outfit.

A wonderful day to celebrate: our greatest blessing in life, our children.  Our Pastor Jeff, spoke a beautiful dedication over our boys out of Daniel 3.  He prayed for them to know the unity that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew& that they too would meet the 'fourth man' in the fire in the different trials of life.  What a wonderful prayer that I will continue to pray over them for many years to come.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I'm amazed that you are 3 months old now little Calvin.  I took you to see how big you have gotten, and at 12 weeks old, you weighed 14 lbs 2 oz!!  You have gotten to be so big & sweet & easy going & patient.  I can't believe how much I am getting used to having all 3 of my guys going this way & that around the house all day.  You are smiling & giving little laughs now - sleeping about 8-9 hours (!!) at night from around 7:30-4:30 in the morning.  Your naps are starting to get more regular & your eating is (obviously) doing wonderfully.  You have rolled over tummy to back, but still working on tummy time & holding up that head in push up position.  You have stolen my heart completely & I wouldn't know what to do without you.  :-)

Monday, July 22, 2013


Having a new little guy has brought with it so many 'firsts' for our little man & our family.  I have been cherishing the time that we get to do things for the 'first time' again - even if we as a family of 4 had already done them - going to our favorite places to eat or even favorite places to play are 'new' for us again.  haha, re-learning life part 3.  Little Calvin below learned how to roll over for the first time - tummy to back - at 2.5 months old (just like his older brothers).  I love this milestone because it is such a heads up.  None of mine were intentional with their 'roll over' skills; it always appeared to be just an accident - and even scared them some!  Isn't that an interesting mirror to our adult lives, haha.

One of the best 'firsts' is meeting family members.  We are blessed with so many aunts & uncles for our boys, it has taken a while for them all to meet our newest little guy.  Still one more to go... Calvin recently got to meet his Uncle John who lives up in TN while he was on a trip down to FL.  We had so much fun seeing him and 'aunt' Kelsey whom the boys just really enjoy as well.

 There aren't a whole lot of things in this world that are much more fun than having time with your family where you just get to enjoy each other.

I love that Calvin was wearing this onsie when we took him to see his Uncle John.  I affectionately would like to give Uncle John the responsibility of teaching little Cal how to survive as the youngest of 3 brothers.  "what's it like to be the littlest little bro??"

The blessing of seeing the bond between our boys grow&grow.  I will never get tired of hearing, "mommy, put Calvin next by me!!"

Hayden has become our budding artist, and has even inspired his big bro to take a little more interest in coloring as well.  This has led to the unfortunate relocation of all the art supplies after they got them our without mommy's help & ended up with marker on the carpet.  I'm just glad we have an older kitchen table & second hand chairs were we can color & eat & make messes & enjoy things together with some closer mommy eyes.

creativity a la Publix.  A shopping buggy with 2 boys & one wrapped up on momma inspired the check out clerk to bless us with some coloring supplies, haha.

I am just waiting for the day that he holds him head up 90 degrees so I can take his picture.  For now, tummy time is still not a favorite activity, and he prefers to be on his back still.  Those little arms and legs are learning how to reach & kick & play though!

Every time my 3 boys sleep at once in the afternoon feels like some kind of miraculous gift.  I cannot tell you how it refreshes me to have some afternoon coffee & my Bible & my latest read & my blog.  I have not done chores during this time yet.  ;-)

Favorites:  James has just recently started expressing to us that certain things are his 'favorites'.  We have our little monkey see monkey do expert following every footstep of his big bro, and Hayden has picked up on having favorites.  I think he told us the other day that his favorite color was blue.  His favorite toys are currently: Doc & Mater (given by Grammy).

I tell you what just makes you laugh: lunch with Grandpa & a french fry up your nose.  Or possibly James' funny joke, "fonaut!!"  "is that so funnY??  Yes, James is making up his own words and using them interchangeably as person, place or thing.  Including: names for his racecars, a kind of ice cream & location where to purchase it, a punch line, new letter in the ABCs when sung silly style, and anything else his heart desires.  I actually think it sort of sounds like 'fondant' the icing. haha.

these are the cool kids, I'm telling ya.

Our summer has been filled with afternoon rainstorms which keep us home & inside more than you'd think.  But, I'm grateful for them- they make movie time & nap time for fun.  They keep us from having to water our grass as much or fill our pool.  I think the only downside for me is they make our sandbox wet, haha.

Can I just say that this boy walking down St. George Street in St. Augustine is the cutest thing ever.  Check our that swag as he's holding daddy's hand & got the other in his pocket.  This boy.

We made a little trip to the Pirate museum in St. Augustine for fun & to get excited for Hayden's 2nd birthday party coming up.  Captain Hayden will turn 2 in just a couple of days, and I am amazed.

Yes, this is the same sticker.  Yes, he wore it to bed after transferring it from his clothes.  Yes, these silly faces & wild hair are exactly how I picture my goofy guy in my mind.

 We did have to tame the hair though, for the boys' Dedication at church & Hayden's birthday.  They are after they get their hair cut.  I love seeing these guys, so different, and so similar looking like little boys.

I have been going over&over in my mind about what scripture verse to use for the boys' dedication service.  It is such a privilege to be able to dedicate them all at once & in the church we have known for the past 6.5 years, almost our whole married life.  I am so looking forward to raising our boys in this body of Christ.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hayden's 2nd year

I have felt a strange sense of disconnect with Hayden's 2nd year of life - When we lived in Charlotte, he was just a baby, and had so many sweet milestones & memories that were so special.  We celebrated his 1st birthday & then immediately (like 2 days later) moved out of our house for a 5/6 weeks of in between.  He started walking in that time & I was so sick from being very early pregnant.  Those days of being just exhausted & house hunting & being unsettled & moving made my memories blur.  I turned around after finally getting settled in & my baby was all the sudden a big boy!! walking, talking a blue streak, chasing his bro, climbing stairs, throwing tantrums, you name it.  Walking myself back through how much he's changed has helped me see why the year felt like it ran away without me- he just grew&changed&changed&grew.

Hayden's 1st birthday - July 27, 2012

My little guy learning to walk at Grammy's house - August 8, 2012

A face that has become quite the classic for him.  Sea World - August 2012

Hayden the baby shark.  insisted on walking around & even carrying that football by himself - October 28, 2012

Hayden, ready to take on the world.  Thanksgiving 2012

Such a precious shot of him looking like such a little boy all of the sudden.  Christmas 2012

learning to enjoy life in FL.  Started sleeping in his toddler bed & sitting in a booster seat at the big table - January 2013

My precious fella who definitely felt the 'middle squeeze' somehow as the least needy child.  Oh my sweetheart, mommy tries so hard not to let you get squeezed too much.  March 2013

Meeting his baby brother & getting to be a big brother himself.  He has been such a helper for mommy & so loving.  April 2013

This fella can throw one heck of a tantrum.  the brave, sad, sword fighter.  Poor guy feeling the squeeze.  May 2013

Hayden's 'surprise' face.  one of my all time favorite things.  June 2013

Amazingly, Hayden naps for 1-2.5 hours in the afternoon & goes to bed 7-7:30 and sleeps till 7-7:30 the next morning.  He's running through life just as fast as he can to keep up with big bro during his days playing cars, trains, coloring, riding bikes, swimming.  He knows his name & has an amazing memory & vocabulary.  He can count to 14 (say whaaat??!?), he knows his colors (except yellow), he can sing the ABCs as well as many different songs.  He is already engaged in creative play where he changes the main character within his own stories.  He is blowing my mind.  No wonder I couldn't keep up with this little guy.  For his 2 year Doctor appt. he was 31.5 lbs & 38 inches tall, which is the average size of a 3 year old.

Hayden bug, we are amazed by you!!  So blessed to watch you grow&change everyday.  We love you so much & are so glad you are in our family.