Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Stella's 2nd Birthday

Well, it has come and gone, but the fun memories...and let's be honest...some of the decorations remain. We had such a great time celebrating our sweet girl with our amazing friends and family.

What waking up TWO looks like.

My mom and Stella (and Uncle Jack - big day!) share a birthday, so we went over to surprise Mouschi with birthday donuts before she went to work.

Here are the birthday gals at their birthday dinner on Thursday. Super fun night celebrating with family and our awesome community group!

Lindsay came to dinner to share some birthday love.

Saturday was the actual party. Here's the cake table, minus the banana stand. ;) Stella loved the dipped bananas, but here's a tip if you are ever doing them for a party...frozen bananas that have thawed do not go back to regular bananas - they turn into the fourth state of matter - plasma. I was so glad I did a test run in advance. Hence, the empty platter. Don't pull them out of the freezer until the last minute!

The menu was finger foods that Stella loves: mini corn dogs, meatballs, watermelon, etc.

I cannot thank my mom and my amazing sister-in-laws enough for all their help with crafting and setting up. Wouldn't have made it without you.

That's 50 lbs of moon sand people. Good times. Special thanks to Uncle Russell and Aunt Chelsea for their masterful mixing!

Puppies and puppy chow for our friends. Stella loves her a basket o' puppies!

These are the doghouses that my dad helped me make. They turned out great, and Stella is still loving playing in them! Awesome Erica helped me make all the lanterns! Thanks, Erica!

Can you believe how cute this is??? And it was deeeelicious! I love our little Brenham Bakery.

So does Stella. ;)

Stella and her favorite cousin Nora checking out the doghouses.

My party sweetie.

Life size posters! For $3! I may leave them up for a while because they just make me laugh.

Look at all our awesome family who traveled to come celebrate with us!

Charlie and Grandpa

Charlie, uncle Russ and aunt Chelsea

Aunt Lael and Charlie

Mimi and Charlie

It's great to be 2!

I really want my kids to LOVE their birthdays, and the fact that Happy Birthday seems to be her new favorite song indicates to me that I think so far so good on accomplishing that mission. I feel so blessed by all our friends and family that helped me put things together, and then came to shower my girl with love!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

An Interview with Charlie, 6 months

Me: Charlie, you're six months old now. Are you excited?
CJS: I am so excited. I can't stop smiling. I am pumped to start eating food, and practicing my layups.

Me: What do you want to be your first food?
CJS: I am going to have to go with bananas. Stella seems to be obsessed. I've got to check it out!

Me: You were sleeping through the night for a while there. I am not going to lie. It was awesome. Thinking of doing it again some time?
CJS: I'm considering it, but I don't want to do anything rash.

Me: Mmmmm. Well, I guess we'll just see how you decide to play this one. Speaking of playing...what are some of your favorite things to do?
CJS: I love to play with baby toys! All those cool smarty pants developmental toys you got for Stella that she couldn't have cared less about? Love 'em. I can sit and entertain myself for whole minutes. I like the jumper pretty well too, and I love to army crawl and roll all over the floor. Except for when I accidentally roll under the couch. It's also a lot of fun to watch crazy Stella. I can't wait to chase her around. I am so close to crawling - I have almost got it. The next few months are going to be so fun.

Me: I know! I love watching you play and grow! How big are you these days anyway?
CJS: At my 6 month check-up today I was 20 lbs 15 oz and 28 1/4 inches. Boom.

Me: You're huge. That's why I have these awesome guns from hauling you around. So, which animal is your favorite, Charlie Bugs?
CJS: I guess I will go with the Honeybadger. I identify with it's strength and fearlessness.

Me: Would you rather be feared or loved?
CJS: Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me. (Michael Scott anyone?)

Me: I can't get over how stinking cute you are. I mean - man! It catches me off guard sometimes. Plus you are such an amazingly happy guy. I love your funny laugh! You are pretty much the perfect blend of my extrovert tendencies and your dad's incredible kindness. I am so thankful I get to spend my days with you Charlie. You are a JOY. I love you.
CJS: Thanks, mom. You should go get some sleep. Pretty sure I am going to feel like some middle-o-the-night cuddling tonight.

Monday, April 9, 2012


It has been so long since I have posted anything, and with being off of social media for lent...I feel like I haven't shared nearly enough about my darling boy. Here are some recent iPhone photos and a little commentary.

He is a big boy! It's always the first thing everyone says upon seeing him, and it's true. At his 2 month doctor visit he was 15 lbs 15 oz, and at three months he was 17 lbs 9 oz. Not only is he big, he's very strong, and active. He wants to stand and test his leg strength all the time. He figured out how to roll back to front last week, and after two days he was flipping like a pancake, and after three he was steamrolling off of his playmat. He holds himself up pretty well, and is already fairly easily sitting in the Bumbo. He likes it when you carry him facing out so he can see what is going on, and don't even think about cradling the little man! He is awake quite a lot during the day, and gets upset if he feels like he's been left out. He started sleeping all night during his 10th week, and has been doing it regularly since then. I am a Babywise believer! And I feel so much more human! He is still in our room right now, but we will most likely transition him out sometime in the not too distant future.

He loves my grandma. She is a Charlie-whisperer. He can't wait for her to move down here!

Charlie has already been to the zoo! He did really well, and enjoyed all the outside time.

Here are my babies in their jammies. It's hard to capture in an image just how very enamored Stella is with him. He is almost always the first thing she asks about when she wakes up ("charlie see 'em?") and when he is upset, she wants so much to make him happy. She now makes suggestions to me of things she thinks he might want, for example, "paci back?" (does he want his pacifier back?), "baby huuuuungry...", "poopy diaper?", "blanket?", or sometimes she'll just bring him a toy - "Charlie hold it." Very helpful.

Likewise, no one gets more smiles from Charlie than Stella does. He is pretty patient with her attempts to hold him, and really likes it when she is near. He watches her intently. I pray over this affection that they have for each other, that God would give me wisdom about how to foster their friendship and fellowship so that it would endure.

Here is Charlie hanging out with Papa Bob (aka Papa Stinko, as Stella would say - my dad). They are getting to be very good buddies, and dad can't wait to teach him to shoot stuff off the back porch.

Charlie enjoyed bonding with Uncle Russell. Russell, my brother, and my SIL Chelsea visited from Oklahoma last month and got to meet charming Charlie. He will adore Russell and all of Russell's hilarious antics one of these days.

Memaw and Grandad (my grandparents) also came to meet Charlie in March. We had a good visit with them, and Big Jack and Little Jack were very pleased with each other, I think. (My mother's maiden name is Jackson, and that's where Charles Jackson came from - my grandad calls him Little Jack).

He smiles with his whole body. It's impossible not to grin right back at him. He is really turning into quite a cheerful guy most of the time, and I just can't get enough of those cheeks!

When I see pics like this it shocks me how big he looks. I tell him to just stay little, but he is most definitely NOT listening to me. I snapped the below picture while he was napping the other day. I want to remember these moments so very much. I am dangerously aware of how fast they are racing by.

Here he is lounging with one of his buddies at an Easter egg hunt. Next year he'll be part of the action!

And here's one of me and my sweet boy on Easter with confetti in our hair! What a blessing he is to our lives. We love you so much Charlie, and thank God for you every day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Half-Birthday!

Christmas morning 2011.  Discovering the new car.  She LOVES it.

Today our sweet Stella is 18 months old - and to celebrate, we will be meeting her baby brother later today!  I would be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little anxious about how she will react.  I have been praying over her for months now though for this transition, and trust the Lord's timing and His ability to prepare her in ways that I never could!  I haven't updated the blog in foooorevveeeerrrrr, and so I thought I would spend a few minutes giving an update on our Stella...kind of a highlight reel of what she's up to and into these days.  I'll start with her likes for now, with hopes of expanding onto another subject in a future blog. :)

It blows our minds at the way her personality and individuality have just exploded in the last couple of months.  She is becoming more and more independent and opinionated, and we are really starting to see how bright and creative she is.  She is FUN and beautiful and happy, and we are so blessed to have her in our lives!

She loves Sesame Street, particularly Elmo...who can do no wrong.  I never really understood the Elmo craze, but she is wild about that red monster!  She will spot him across the store - literally - and start calling out "momo!  momo!" and waving like crazy.  She picked out Elmo PJ's at Target for her daddy, and we wrapped them up and gave them to him for Christmas.  He wore them on Christmas morning for her, because he is pure awesomeness, and when she saw in the flesh the living combination of Elmo and daddy I thought she would faint from excitement.  Her favorite parts of Sesame Street are the musical numbers and the vignettes with the Muppets.  She is not so into the animation or claymation parts.  She loves to dance to the music, and any music with a good beat is likely to get her bobbing and spinning (her signature move).
She also loves babies and all baby care activities.  (I am hoping this applies to baby Charlie!) She cuddles them and hugs and kisses them and feeds them and changes their diapers.  She also rocks them and takes them for rides in the stroller and the swings.  Her longstanding favorite is a beat up old newborn Cabbage Patch doll ("Bebe") that was mine as a child.  My mom brought over some of my old toys that she had saved when Stella was newborn, and this summer she found that doll in the box and it was love at first sight.  She has a couple other small dolls that are also dear friends, but they are all lower case babies.  I have a special new doll for her when she comes to meet Charlie at the hospital, so we will see where she fits in the mix! 
I think nothing would please Stella more than to be able to just live outside.  She is so happy just being outdoors.  Whether she is riding in the bike trailer with dad or just wandering around collecting acorns she loves it.  My parent's house with it's 2+acre backyard and creek and cows might as well be Disneyland.  She is always excited to go explore with Papa Bob, and they spend lots of time goofing off, as he says, outside.  We have to keep the deadbolts locked now at all times.  She knows how to open the doors, and is always trying the handles to see if she can escape! 
She also has a very special bond with our older dog, Farai.  She is fascinated by both dogs and thoroughly enjoys them both, but Farai has that kind of legendary Labrador patience with children that Stella senses and relishes.  She hugs and kisses her and lays on her and rides her like a horse and chases her and tries to put various articles of clothing on her, and Farai has only and ever responded with stillness and gentleness.  It absolutely melts my heart to see them together.  She basically thinks Saul is the class clown - which he is - and she gets a good laugh out of his antics, but she doesn't follow him around and try to hang out with/on him.  She really enjoys throwing the ball for him, and squeals with delight as he runs to get it.  He is an outstanding retriever, and she seems to appreciate that about him.  She also has figured out that she can get a great game of chase started by trying to grab his tail, and so they do that a couple of times a day.  It's highly entertaining. 

Thanks for reading!  We'll post some pics of baby boy soon!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Memory Lane: Happy 5th Anniversary!

Today is our 5th anniversary.  It doesn't even seem possible that 5 years have gone by...I still get "twitter-pated," as my friend Julie says, when he calls to say he's headed home.  I can't even begin to describe the gratefulness in my heart to the Lord for giving me this great and luxurious love in my life.  He serves my heart, strengthens me, makes me better, and brings so much joy to my life.  I am looking forward to the next 50, Nate!  And what an amazing blessing to know we are welcoming baby #2 this year! 

Here are some snapshots from memory lane in the last 5 years for your viewing pleasure.

When Love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden…for even as Love crowns you, so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth, so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the Earth…all these things shall Love do unto you, that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge, become a fragment of Life’s heart…but, if in your fear you would seek only Love’s peace and Love’s pleasure, then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of Love’s threshing floor, into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears…Love gives naught but itself, and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; for Love is sufficient unto Love…and think not you can direct the course of Love, for Love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must have desires, let these be your desires: to melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of Love; and to bleed willingly and joyfully. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving; to rest at the noon hour and meditate Love’s ecstasy; to return home at eventide with gratitude; and then to sleep with a prayer for the Beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet