Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Baby Riley's Baby Shower

Sorry for the picture heavy post, but i couldn't pick which ones to leave off! Thank you cousin JJ for snapping pics for me, or else there would be no way to document the lovely day that it was! Liz and I threw a shower for my beautiful sister Sara-Britt in my backyard this past weekend. The weekend before my Aunt Stephanie and cousin Melissa threw Sara-Britt the sweetest most amazing shower ever for our family...and when we got there Liz and I realized they had the same idea in their mind for a theme (yellow and gray) so we quickly decided to re-think the theme since we didn't want to even try to compete with the professionals that they are...it was seriously amazing!

So we just used things i already had and kept it simple and it was a lovely day and just what Sara wanted - no agenda, no fuss, no games, just lovely women spending time together and blessing this (highly anticipated) baby Riley. There was a prayer of blessing on this baby and chatting time and then she opened gifts. Liz and I had arranged a group gift to get her the stroller she had wanted...little did i know she thought no one would buy her that stroller since it was a little pricey, so she registered for a different one in the mean time. to make a long story short...we were able to somehow surprise her with the stroller. She has just about all she needs and more and is ready to stop working (she was ready for that a while ago) and prepare to meet this baby!
Such a special time to celebrate. She is going to be the most amazing of moms and I can't wait to see her become a mom to her baby girl - she is going to fall so deep in love! It makes my heart happy to know she has an amazing support system within this group of women to help walk with her on her journey. 

Dear Riley - Your Auntie Carlee is so excited to meet you! I have been praying for you since the day I found out your mother was expecting you. I can't wait to take you to tea parties (if you like that sort of thing) and ballets (again, if you are into it) and make you wear dresses I made (when you are a baby you can't stop me...but when you get bigger I will let you decide). Whatever type of person you are, I have full confidence you can't help but be pretty awesome, since you are going to have pretty awesome parents who love the Lord, love life and know how to celebrate all that life blesses us with and how to deal with the stuff that life hands us that isn't so pleasant. Just remember you can always come over to Auntie Carlee's house if your mom doesn't want to play princess with you or if you want to learn how to catch bugs from your cousins or if you want to just bake some cookies with me. I make really good cookies just like your mom...
Love you Baby Riley!!!
Auntie Carlee

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Letter to Bryson

Dear Bryson,
Today you shocked your dad and I. We make you and your brothers stay in your room until 7:00 (even though you like to wake up at 6:00) - all year we have been struggling with keeping you all in...with you and Bodie getting yourselves dressed...with your brothers and you not screaming. Well today, young man...today you and bodie and bobby all came out of your room promptly at 7:00am and you had dressed bobby all by yourself! including his diaper! (it was on backward, but that is okay). You told me that you like making me happy and that you see how I am always doing stuff for you guys. I dont think my heart could have swelled more!

I have seen such a change in you since you started Kindergarten. I have seen you change the way you get frustrated with your brothers. I have seen you become such a gentle teacher with Bodie. I have seen the way you care for Bobby and look after him (most of the time). I have seen you make more of an effort to remember all the things you are responsible for (backpack, sweater, lunch box, homework). I have seen you own up to your mistakes and work really hard to do better. I have seen how well you listen and how you always help Mrs. Clanton clean up the balls and jump ropes even though you never use them...because you are ALWAYS playing tetherball....by the way...i have also seen what an amazing tetherball player you have become...i saw you beat that first grader. i know you think i didn't, but i did! i see lots of things you think I don't see ;)

I am so glad that God gave you to me so that I can be your mommy. God has shown me a lot about love and patience and self-lessness through you. Believe it or not, mommies learn lessons still. I want you to know what I pray for you every night when I tuck you in:

Dear God - Thank you for Bryson. Please help me to know how to parent Bryson in the best way. Thank you for his independent spirit, for his endless curiosity, for his love for life. Please help him learn how to temper those things as well. Please help him to have a grateful heart. Please give him sweet dreams and help him to dream about amazing things like (i switch these out each night) ice cream and baseball and catching bugs. Thank you Jesus.

I hope you know how much I love you...and I hope you know it through what I do...and maybe you do, since you are doing the same thing for me!
Love you dearly,

The Lemonade Stand

Bryson had his first lemonade stand a couple weeks ago after church. he has actually begged me on several occasions to do one...but i didnt know how it would work for me to be outside with all three boys trying to keep bobby from the street...didnt sound like a fun afternoon for me. But this Sunday our neighbors were all around for some reason, we had the big gate open because we were having a BBQ and people were over and it just worked.

Bryson wanted me to make him an actual stand, but he settled for his easel. I asked him how much he wanted to sell it for and he said $1 a glass...i tried to talk him down...that seems really high bryson...but he would not be talked down. at all! i even wrote 50 cents on there and he erased it and put 100 Cents. Ha! That kid! and people totally paid it! he made $15 selling lemonade.

He did look pretty cute in his bow tie, so i think it was part of his whole gimmick. One guy drove by in his car and tipped him $5! what? lemonade stands have come a long way...just sayin...

Afterward bryan made him pay me $2 for overhead - for the sugar and cups...and my labor for making the lemonade...the lemons were gifted by our neighbors beautiful tree that partially hangs in our yard. thank you neighbor's tree...

The problem here is that it worked...so now bryson wants to go in to the lemonade business (hello! little bryan!) and thinks he needs to do one all the time. I need to be constantly one step ahead of this guy...which is getting harder each and every day!

Monday, June 4, 2012


The Graduate! 

what a full and wonderful weekend! still recovering...need to get my second cup of coffee because that first one barely dented the brick mass that once was a brain. so excuse me if there are typos a plenty...

We started the weekend fun-o-rama with my niece's graduation party - just as i was starting to get over the fact that she is 18...boom! she graduates from High School. so nuts. I can't believe my brother has an 18 year old daughter. he seems like he is about that age himself sometimes :) but we stayed the night at my brothers and my boys love it there - swimming and getting teased by uncle jake - what more could you want?

my SIL threw the party for Katie and it was so nice - nice to see family and friends gather and have some time to actually chat (after the boys went to bed of course...before that i just kind of start a conversation and then run around chasing little people) i feel like most parties/gatherings i go to with my boys i can never fully participate at because its peppered with "MOM!" or tugging on my skirt or bruised knees or...or....or... - so its nice when we can stay the night somewhere and have some exhale time and catch up with people for longer than 5 minute spurts. There was a taco guy there too that was pretty amazing i must say. and i must...you will find that food will interject here and there because we write about the things closest to our hearts do we not? right...so...the tacos...the al pastor especially...yum! anyway...i had some amazing conversations and got to connect with people i don't usually get to. i am so excited to see what Katie does- where she goes, what she discovers. Such an exciting time of life, no?

The next day was my sister's baby shower. oh goodness - i didn't take a single photo. bad sister! i know some other people did though - so when they post them on FB i will just have to steal them :)

Such a lovely shower - thrown by my Aunt Stephanie and my cousin Missie...or Melissa, i guess - but to me she will always be Missie :) - they wrote the book on showers - every detail was touched by a loving hand - carefully put together for her because they love her and wanted to shower her with blessings and love. and they did and she was. Such a neat part for me was seeing all the women from our church growing up who raised children alongside my mom. at one point i was looking through my sister's baby book and there was a list of who gave what to my mom and so many of those women were there in that room...now giving gifts to that baby's baby...so amazing. it made me think of the women i have found in my church that i am raising babes with alongside right now. to share in that time. to have community like that - to know that these friendships will last a generation and longer - that is powerful and wonderful. i kinda feel like it might be similar to a war buddy...you go through something that traumatic and stressful together and you can't help but be kindered to each other. maybe motherhood is not like war...but you get what i am trying to say!

My wonderful husband had the boys for the day so i could spend some time with the women in my life who mean the most to me - cousins and aunts and friends and my sister of course! it was an emotional day and an amazingly beautiful shower - forever memorable!

Then...after that...it was Parent's Night Out at Bodie's school - we took all 3 boys to Bodie's pre-school from 3:30 - 8:00. we didn't have any plans...we came home from dropping them off and looked at each other, like "what do we do? its so quiet!" so then we took a nap. seriously. that is what we did with part of our PNO. sad. but also awesome. then...when we woke up we rode bikes down to 2nd street and enjoyed a meal together.  we ran into some old friends and new friends and the ride back to the pre-school i just had a big goofy grin on my face thinking about how much i love this place we live.

The next day after church we drove straight up to Ojai for a BBQ with our college friends. Our friends Jon and Anna recently moved to Ojai into the cutest little house with the best backyard. Our friends all kind of got into cooking around the same time...so its always amazing just to hang out because you know that not only do you get to be around some of the best people in the world...you also get to eat the yummiest food - julia made an awesome corn salad and that beautiful cake you see up there...rhubarb and strawberries and angel food - all from scratch...thank you...i brought some of my beer and this salad that i need to blog about and Solera brought the rhubarb strawberry crumble that i had to have seconds on...jon and anna made the most delicious salsa and roasted veggies and sangria...and everything was of course amazing. the day was lovely - there were a lot of boys (we missed you Hansens and Bartels!) but i deemed it a success that no real damage was done to the house (minus a now bubbly fountain thanks to bobby dumping a bottle of bubbles in it) and no real damage done to any of the children. are my standards now too low, i wonder? perhaps - but perhaps that is also why i am so happy!