Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Did You Say Pretty??

Oh my boy... You are so cute. You and your sister are two peas in a pod. Recently I have had quite a few people ask if you and Harper are twins. You guys are near the same size and you act much, much older than a 20 month old. You do and say everything that Harper does.

Recently bubu, you walked up to daddy holding a princess dress, motioning that you wanted help putting it on. I think you were put up to it a bit, since i could hear Harper in the playroom telling you to play dress up with her... Your dad may have cringed a little, but we helped you and you sure did make one cute little dress up friend for your sister ;) you were both filled with delight to be doing the same thing.

The next morning, you again asked to put the dress on, as Harper was putting hers on. When you were once again adorned, you said, "I pre-tty, I pre-tty".

I think this has probably happened to almost every little brother under the sun who has had a sister who loves the sparkles and frills and who he looks up to. I'm so glad you two are buddies and that you love being together!

Since then, I have added to my shopping list...

Boy dress ups ;)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Getting Creative in the Gone Again

This year, one of the gifts I wanted to give Jeremy for Father's Day was the gift of pictures... Pictures of the kids and I.  We are of course due to have family pictures taken of our family this summer, as the kids have morphed into completely different people since the last time we captured them in print.  But I wanted some pictures of the kids and I specifically for Jeremy to put in his office or to have on his travels.  I am SO thankful to our sister-in-law, Kaeluree, who took these stunning photos of the kids and I!

I have mentioned in previous posts about Jeremy's increased traveling schedule this year.  It has been a lot and has required us to get creative in how our family can intentionally connect while Jeremy is home.  As I mentioned in my previous post, Jeremy is a man with the most incredible heart and we couldn't survive this lifestyle if he didn't have a heart to be intentional and 100% WITH us when he's home.  I am so thankful and I try to tell him how much I appreciate this about him as often as I can.

The creative stuff has taken time to figure out.  Heck, we are still figuring it out!  But we have stumbled across a few things that the kids have seemed to really respond to.

  • Once we realized the travel wasn't going to stop, we invested in Jeremy getting an iTouch.  This allows him to see all the photos I take of the kids throughout our day with my iPhone.  If he's connected to WiFi, then he can see what we are up to.  It's a little way to give him a glimpse at what the kids are experiencing and even some things to ask them or talk to them about on the phone later.

  • The iTouch has also allowed us to do "Facetime" (iPhone's version of skype or something) in multiple different locations and neither of us have to be glued to our computers.  My phone is always covered in grime after each video session from the kids kissing daddy so many times ;)
  • If daddy's plane lands in the evening, he always brings something to eat from the airport.  Very often it is a smoothie, soup or chocolate chip cookies or a combination!  Of course the kids are thrilled to see daddy himself, but our little family goodie sessions have been something that the kids and I talk about and look forward to a lot... and it lends itself to great conversation and connecting right when he gets home.
  • I try to find  a good balance of talking about daddy while he's away.  I don't want to talk about him too much, because sometimes I've seen it have the opposite affect and make Harper miss her daddy more!  But I talk about him (always positively, even if I'm tired or frustrated myself) and try to get Harper to chime in about all the things we love about daddy.  These lists have been a hoot to listen to!
  • The kids and I pray for daddy each night before bed and sometimes we stop and pray for him throughout the day too.
  • I have been learning a lot about psychology 101 in dealing with sad feelings.  I have recognized to tentatively expect and always allow the kids to act out a little bit more when Jeremy's gone.  Not be naughty, but feel.  What I mean by this is, very often the first day daddy is gone, there are a whole lot more tears from the kids.  Bentley doesn't seem to respond so much, more he feeds off of Harper's emotions.  Harper, on the other hand, will sometimes have major meltdowns.  When we were first trying to figure this all out, I would get very frustrated, wondering why in the world she seemed to be acting like a crazy child who I didn't recognize at all.  Then, as I got council from Jeremy and close friends and prayed, it finally dawned on me that Harper was sad!  We have a series of children's books on feelings.  One of them is all about feeling sad.  We have read this book over and over.  From it, we have learned: It's ok to feel sad and it's all right to cry about it.  Sad is a cloudy, tired feeling.  We don't like feeling sad, but everyone feels sad sometimes.  We can tell someone we feel sad and sometimes it's good to be close to someone too.  We won't feel sad forever.  Needless to say, Harper is receiving more grace and a lot more hugs when daddy travels.
  • When the weekends arrive, we are trying to be better about doing "dates" with our kids.  This is something that Jeremy and I are aspiring to continue throughout the kids lives.  Dates allow us to be one-on-one with a kid.  To stop and breath them in - their personality, their interests, their smile, all of it.  Often it's been daddy taking one of the kids out someplace on a Saturday morning.  This past weekend was our first simultaneous date.  Daddy and Bentley went to the park to feed the ducks and watch some basketball.  Harper and I rode a carousel, grabbed smoothies and shopped for a sunhat for her.  Sometimes the dates spend money, sometimes they are simple-simple.  Jeremy and I crave to know our kids - their whole life.  And truly knowing them and how they function, Lord willing, will lead us into better parenting for each of them.
These are just a few of the things we feel are working for our family right now.  I know life is fluid...  Our kids will change and maybe even our situation will change down the line.   And I know there are so many families out there who are juggling the same ideas and challenges.  We are never alone.

I hope that these pictures will be just one more thing that connects our family during this season.  Where Jeremy can look at these pictures when he feels far away and remember the tiny, yet bigger than life details, about his three loves: that we are with him always, we love him forever, and we are never complete without his feet in the picture.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Daddy's Day

Harper and Bentley,

The three of us are blessed beyond belief to have the daddy that we do. He loves us like crazy and has a heart of pure gold.

In fact, Harper, you are already well aware if this because when I ask you what you love and miss about your daddy when he is traveling... Your response is always "his heart" followed by "his smile". The first time you said this, my heart melted. Not even a three year old could miss the light that shines through his heart and his smile. I couldn't agree more.

I know we will be far from perfect parents on this long journey to raise you guys... and someday maybe you'll lament over all the things we didn't "get" about each of you... But it is my prayer that you will grow to see the depth and the beauty in how much your daddy loves each of you.

Kids, he is the most intentional man I know... He doesn't float through life or checkout when he's overwhelmed or has too much on his plate. He loves us fiercely and with an unmatched passion. Sometimes your daddy even makes me believe it is his sole mission in this lifetime to know everything that could ever be known about each one of us.

He is your favorite playmate, your biggest belly laugh, your best game of chase. He is a shoulder ride any time of day. He is safety and calmness in the middle of the night; your speedy race car driver during the day (you will cause him a ticket or two Harps ;) He is Mr Negotiate and gets you to do what mommy cannot. He is Flynn Rider, Prince Eric, daddy kitty, daddy tiger or any other imaginary character who is always the hero. He is always your voice of truth or encouragement when there is a lesson to be taught. He is a giant bear hug.

He is YOUR daddy. He is vital and he is needed. ALL the time. We are so thankful. We love you daddy!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Lake Cabin

For Memorial day weekend, we got to spend a night up at our family's lake cabin.  It was the first time this year that our family has made it up there... and we forgot how much we LOVE it.

It is peaceful, removed from everything, and so beautiful that you can't help but fall in love and feel refreshed.  The kids had a blast throwing rocks, going in the paddle boat, chasing ducks, and searching for any sign of life... and of course being with extended family.  This kind of exposure to nature is so necessary for kids to be creative and adventurous.  It isn't exactly the camping-kind-of-bonding with nature... but I'm pretty much ok with that ;)  Jeremy and I did find a little time to run around the lake on it's treacherous trail.  This has turned into a favorite moment for the hubs and I... running together.
Bentley is just a tiny bit excited...
Going across the main lake
And through the channel...
And we've arrived at our cabin... nestled in the woods... all by its little lonesome.
Paddle boat fun with Mimi and mama
 Me and my girl
Nature hike right outside our door
This little natural spring of water is just a few hundred feet from our cabin.  It's a treat to fall asleep to the sound of this natural "waterfall" right outside the window.
This past week, I have thought back to this picture in my mind... the water rushing down and crashing onto the moss covered rocks... it has kept me in a peaceful and thankful state of mind... in moments where I am fighting the opposite attitude and stance.  I love it when I can carry a piece of inspiration with me throughout my week.