The Birthday Celebration

This past week has been crazy and wonderful and so full of life I feel like I'm going to burst. 

Felix turned One and that in and of itself makes my heart pound in awe of how time is speeding by me. In my minds eye I can still conjure up the image of him as a squishy blob of a newborn doing nothing but slowly stretching his limbs, sleeping, eating and well...pooping. And then I look up and I've got this busy little boy in front of me walking around the house and trying his hardest to break into a run at times. Saying words like car, ball, balloon, willow, book, and many other made up words in his own language. And most definitely understanding some of the things I ask him to do...like "shut the door, please." "Bring me that brush." "Can you put that water bottle right there for mommy?" "Do you want to put your shoes on?" and more.

We celebrated his first birthday with a couple of small gifts when he woke up and then eating a giant belgium waffle. Half of it ended up on the ground and then very quickly made it's way into Willow's mouth. She was celebrating his birthday too, I guess. Felix took two good naps throughout the day and we ran a couple errands, and visited barnes and noble for a bit, but other than that I basically just sat on the floor playing with him all day, letting him do whatever he wanted...I mean - it was his big day! You only turn one once.

The BIG celebration came on Saturday when we had over 40 people come to celebrate our little man. He did so wonderfully wandering through the adult legs in our kitchen, playing with the other kids, begging for snacks and drinks and to be held. Then we let him do a smash cake (a vanilla one with blue frosting that I made for him). He gingerly played in the icing for a minute or two, but once I showed him that he could eat it, his eyes got really big and he dug right in...still gently, but with both hands full of blue icing and cake. It was the sweetest thing.

Some people may have felt stressed having so many people (including a handful of rambunctious children) in their tiny condo, but I LOVED it. The stress of getting the house clean is never my favorite, but once the food is out and there are people wall to wall chatting and deepening friendships, my heart is full. I am energized and I'm in my element.

We followed up our crazy busy Saturday celebration with more people filling our living room for most of the day on Sunday to watch Football. No agenda other than hanging out with a game on in the background. This is the root of community. Spending time together. Being around one another for long periods of time. Making memories. Making conversation.  In the age of facebook and cell phones, breaking down the barrier of the computer screen and text message friendship for real face-to-face interaction is when life happens. It was a beautiful thing.


“A portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Week 3: Felix's birthday week. He eats spaghetti with meat sauce for the first time and likes it.


Back to Three

This afternoon Felix and I ran errands in the rain. He was particularly cranky and needy. Wanted me to hold him during our entire Target visit and really panicked when I put him back in his car seat to run to the grocery for a couple of things I needed for dinner. I think he has two top teeth coming in and just wanted me to hold him so he could bite my sweater and feel close to comfort. But, we made it through our errands and I juggled him and 4 bags of groceries into the house. I nursed him and snuggled him a bit and then I put on some fun music and distracted him with boxes of surprise toys (read: random things from around the house) to discover. Balancing him on my hip off and on while making dinner.

I browned some quality organic beef we got from Whole Foods, added rosemary, sage, garlic, and a chopped onion then a jar of marinara sauce to simmer. Diced a tomato and sliced some romaine lettuce with a sprinkle of feta cheese on top and lightly tossed in Italian dressing. When Josh said he was on his way home from work I turned on the already filled pot of water to boil and a few minutes later added spaghetti. A spanish red was opened when Josh came in the house and he sliced, oiled, peppered and salted to perfection a baguette.

Our little family of three gathered around our table in our rickety falling apart chairs and feasted. It was Felix's first time eating spaghetti and he really seemed to love it (in spite of him gagging on some of the longer noodles that I missed cutting). I even gave him some berries with whipped cream for dessert. What a special treat for my little guy.

Last week Emily and Gabriel moved out. While we really miss having them around for company and a helping hand with Felix, getting back to just our little family in our regular rhythm of life has been refreshing. Plus, I know they have moved on to greener pastures in their own place to set up a home for their upcoming babe. (Due in March!!)

Before Felix went to bed the Josh and I laid on the floor in the living room and Felix ran around us showing us toys, throwing himself on us, we would grab him and tickle him till he couldn't handle it anymore and then he would sit up breathless and throw himself back at us for more.

It has been a long time since I've been able to say this and really mean it, but even on bad days, when it rains, and I'm sleepy and the house is a disaster, I truly feel so much of God's goodness. So much of His blessing. So much of His favor. So much of his closeness and daily weaving in and out of my life. And I am content and more than that, overflowing with Joy. Praise Him.


Felix Almost One

My dad says Felix walks with a swagger. It is really adorable actually. he is a bit duck footed and sways gently back and forth with each step and picks his left foot up just a bit more than his right. The boy loves to explore. We went to a place called the Fun Factory for Christopher's birthday in Cookville and they had a baby area where Felix could wander about at will. Brightly colored plastic balls from the ball pit were scattered everywhere. Felix went about squatting all the way down like a little indian man his butt a hovering a half inch above the ground investigating each ball within reach and then choosing one of his liking to carry around proudly. Holding it out to each person he would encounter. 

Those places are germ infested, always have dingy fluorescent lighting and a funky smell but they are so much fun for kids. Papa bounced him with vigor and he belly laughed up a storm in the bouncy house. I stuck him in the ball pit and he starred around for a while with saucer-like eyes of wonder amazed at the balls surrounding him. Then he started tossing the balls out side of the pit one at a time like a man on a mission to chisel his way through a mountain.

He is starting to get that things have names. He will hold different items out to me and say "Da?" with a question mark on the end like he is asking what the item is. I with repeat "cup" or "ball" or "dog" to him multiple times and sometimes it seems like he is trying to say the word back to me. 

His hands never fail to find the poo in a poopy diaper.  Constantly grabbing himself or starching his bum the instant his diaper is removed. Its the grossest part about parenting so far (stomach bug vomiting and snotty noses included). There is nothing worse than trying to wash and dry a baby's hands with out getting water everywhere to avoid having fecal matter under your child's fingernails. yuck…Plus, I know where his hands are going the next time I nurse him - deep inside my mouth - inspecting every tooth and pulling my lip like he expects it to pop off at any moment.

He is a really sensitive independent child. Older kids and their unexpected "cookie monster" voices, stealing toys, or their desire to "dress up baby" really send him over the edge. He also seems to have a pretty delicate personal bubble. Too close and big ole tears are sure to come. We tried to give him a bath with his cousin North recently and it was way to much for Felix to handle. 

He has learned how to crawl up and down stairs. He will circle his feet all the way around and crawl backwards from a foot away from the stair when he is ready to go down. And when he is ready to go up and quietly sneaks away from me and takes a little peek with a sly smile over his shoulder to see if I'm watching while he jets up the forbidden staircase. It's too adorable to make me angry. 

He is going to be one in 2 days and it makes my head spin. I have so many sweet memories and so many challenges that I loved my way through in this first year of motherhood. It is truly amazing how this little boy with creamy white skin, one little tuft of red hair in the back and 5 teeth has flipped my world upside down and has taught me about self-sacrificing, unconditional, earth shattering love like I never knew before. It was heaven and hell, dark and light, wretched to the core and gloriously beautiful all at the same time. And this year has started the weaving of a beautiful tapestry of our family of three sweet lives twisting and turning in and out of one another from this point to eternity.


1 & 2/52

Hoping to post one portrait a week for the 52 weeks of 2014 featuring my lovely son. A bit behind already, but here are the first two for January.

in my favorite squat playing with christmas toys.

a boy and his sippy cup


Auld Lang Syne, My Dear.

2013 was a year of some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life thus far. The heart exploding joy of welcoming my son into the world in January and the dark night of the soul questioning everything after the attack of my littlest sister in July. The precious snuggles and coos of a newborn and the mind numbing exhaustion functioning on 4 hours of sleep each night for weeks. The isolation of new motherhood and the community of new motherhood. Financial crisis and scraping by followed by massive breakthrough, favor and open doors for Josh's work. It's overwhelming to think of all that we have experienced in the last 365 days of life. 

I completed nearly all of my simple goals for 2013. The three that didn't make the cut - walk more, read more, write more. But that doesn't matter! 2013 is over and done. I'm excited for 2014. A fresh start. A clean slate. A new beginning. 

Here are my plans for the untouched days ahead.

  • Health - more veggies, less sweets, more movement, less tv, more meals at home, less pizza. More water, less coffee…ok, not less coffee, but more water.
  • Create -  release what I have to offer the world in photography, music, & writing
  • Connect - be present, supportive, engaged and loving in all my relationships.

Auld Lang Syne, my dear. Auld Lang Syne.