the five

So yes. These are the pictures of the five of us. But I’m also 10 weeks pregnant here. With twins. Which equals five children.

And I have to remind myself to take it a day at a time. Because if I start to think about sleep..or carrying two infants down our stairs..or three littles under 2 or…whatever I start to space out and think oh. em. gee.

I didn’t know there was two at this time. We came home from California and a couple days later I went to the doctor to check out this newest addition. Twins are always on my brain until that first ultrasound because they are sprinkled around our families. And Wesley was definitely mentioning it more. Like, ‘yeah, we’ll do that…unless it’s two.’

However, I informed him as I left for the dr, ‘I think we’re good. I think there’s just one lime in here. I just feel like I’d be bigger if there was two.’

Famous last words.

So off I went and for the first time, the doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat. I wasn’t too concerned as I’d just thrown up that morning and was feeling very pregnant. So he went and got his little ultrasound scanner and started scanning…And then was like, ‘well. I have a bit of a surprise for you.’

And I popped up like a jack in the box and said, ‘Surprise! There’s the baby!’. And he was like ‘no…there’s two!’. (This is my favorite doctor who has very dry humor and doesn’t react over much.). And so I proceeded to say you’re kidding me for the next minute. And when he finally said, ‘I’m not sh!tt!ing you!’, I switched to ‘oh my gosh!’ for the next few minutes.

I got food poisoning or something on the way home and was pulling over in parking lots to throw up and on into the middle of the night and was just like, ‘oh my gosh am I going into shock? what’s happening to me?!’. But somewhere in there handed the ultrasound pictures to Wes.

He studied the picture of the two babies and was like, ‘it’s one right?’. To which I responded, ‘look again my friend.’.

And he laughed the rest of the night.

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Two days later, I finally felt recovered enough to tell the kids and so we all got on the bed and thankfully recorded the conversation. Because it’s pretty precious. And there’s nothing more contagious than the excitement and joy of a four year old.

And so now you know why I really made each kid their own book. Because I feel like crazy town is coming. And in the hustle and bustle of the next year (years? life?), I want them to see just how adored and special and loved they are.

My prayer? I hardly know what it is. I pray for healthy babies. I pray that Jesus will really let me feel him, and that he’ll help me lean on him.

And I give much thanks. For this home we’ve been given to fill. For that laughing husband who is calm when I am less than. And who is such a wonderful father to our children. And for a God who will give me everything I need for this day. Every day.

All praise to him.

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the third

Oh Ivy Mae.

I have to remind myself you are probably your father’s daughter. haha.

If there is a sweeter age than the fifteen months pictured below, I’m not sure I know it. This little butter ball is truly sweeter than strawberry pie and becoming spunkier than… a hot pepper? I was flipping through a baby name book and saw, ‘unlike the more demure Lily and Rose, Ivy is vigorous and self assured,’ and I was like, can I get an amen?

She often melts me, surprises me, causes me to snort and shake my head and squishes me. I do believe that she will take independence to a new level around here. But at the same time, she’s still a very be-by-you child who wants to be held much of the time and will find me when I’m sitting in my chair and climb up to honk noses together and laugh and just sit.

She adores her siblings, gives free hugs and kisses,  and is already getting the baby bounce rhythm down. She’s very communicative, be it with words, gestures, or some serious facial expressions (this is where we snort and shake our head, or hide our faces in our hands so she can’t see us die laughing).

As of now, she is our spark plug. And we love the spunk she brings to our family.

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Ivy Mae. These pictures melt me. I made a book of them for you so that you can look back and see when you were the baby of the family. I hope you see how we adore you and I pray that no matter what life throws you, you keep that spunk. I love you baby girl.

(Photos by the one and only Lisa Maksoudian).

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the second

I have to remind myself that he’s not my 90 year old Grandpa. haha. Not really, but Jack can truly be a chip off the old block, with his looks, dress (Jack prefers long pants and button ups; it takes 20 minutes to convince him to try shorts these days), mannerisms (he’s got grandpa’s hand flip) and thoughtfulness (although that might come from his father as well).

I’m always amazed at Jack’s patience and kindness to his sisters. Food is truly a hot commodity around here and he’s always willing to share with the little one who’s hopping around, freaking out about where her food is. And if Jack is given a treat, he always has to make sure he gets two more to give away.

He’s such a little helper, empties the dishwasher like a champ every morning and works very hard in the garden with his Mimi.  He harvests, then cleans, then spins, then bags up his produce, and then proudly holds his bag on the way home.

And my heart immediately fills whenever I look out the window and see him trekking around after Wes, picking up sticks in yard, mowing, spreading straw, you name it. I’ve probably already shared this but one of my favorite memories was going outside around 9:00 at night in November and asking Jack if he wanted to come inside for a bath but nope. He had to finish ‘help dad in the yard.’ I’m grateful for their relationship.

Jack literally has a heart of gold 90% of the time. And that other 10%…haha.. can be a bit loud. And so we work and teach and love watching him grow. I tell him how proud I am of him when he handles something well and literally watch him glow. And at night when I’m tucking him in, he’ll sometimes say, ‘mom, are you pwoud of me for…x,y,z.’ And I’ll tell him yes and he beams and my heart overflows that he is in my life.

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Jackie boy. I tell you, ‘Mama loves you…’ and then you finish, ‘Daddy woves me, ev woves me, Ivy woves me, Jesus woves me, God woves me.’ Sometimes we go down the whole family tree of all the people who love you. We talk about all that love that is heaped on you and how we can love others. I pray you always know how loved you are, that God made you and he called you LOVED.

I love you Jackie. I made a book for you of all these pictures so if you doubt, all you have to do is look and see.

(Photos by the one and only Lisa Maksoudian).

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the first

I have to remind myself that she’s not me. Her emotions, her reactions, her firstborn traits very rarely surprise me. And I have to tell myself to prepare to one day be surprised because..she’s not me. However, she is extremely relatable. I adore her.

She’s quite the passionate young lady; gives thanks for all the pregnant people, prays for sun on rainy days, weeps while running through the garden because she lost her giant radish, rejoices because she got to hold a baby bird.

She’s four and when she’s asked about school by various strangers she tells them she’s already in school..because we practice letters together and she sometimes goes to school on Sunday. This always makes me chuckle but she is very serious about her studies.

She’s full of joy and she finds much to rejoice in and I love this about her.

I came upstairs the other day and walked into my room to see that the bed had been made, with the comforter and sheets pulled back just so and all the pillows carefully lined up and I wanted to weep at the sweetest act of thoughtfulness.

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So much sunshine and roses from this one. I am so grateful for these 4 years with her.

Ev, I made you a book with all these pictures in them to remind you, if you ever forget, how treasured and adored you are. Jesus made that ocean you are frolicking in and he made you. And you are his delight. I pray that you always know how loved you are and that his joy continues to bubble up in you so that you can splash onto others.

I love you.

(Pictures by the one and only Lisa Maksoudian.)

 

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traveling sagas.

Ok. I assume many of you are on Instagram and followed along as we very leisurely made our way back to Virginia.

Before we left for the airport we knew we were going to miss our first layover (unless a miracle occurred) because our flight was delayed 18 minutes. We could have stayed four extra days, or continue on as planned and leave Phoenix the next morning at 5 am to get home just one day late. For various reasons, we decided to just go for it and booked the 5 am flight.

Everything really got muddled in San Luis when they sent a 50 person plane instead of a 70 person plane. This led to us picking up $4800 in vouchers. For flights we had already planned on missing. So that was a nice bonus.

We spent eight hours in the San Luis airport (had to stay for vouchers and then our next flight kept getting delayed). Jack napped. Ivy never did.

We arrived in Phoenix at 10 pm where we picked up our hotel vouchers and food vouchers, walked through the security checkpoint and I promptly couldn’t find my purse. I opened my backpack to start to search and couldn’t even handle it. I said, ‘Wes, find my wallet,’ and then started stripped off jackets, sweaters and hats and fell on the ground praying as I envisioned spending the rest of my life in Phoenix with no I.D. to get back into the airport.

After many hot flashes, Wesley (bless him) found it underneath the stroller and I prostrated myself further thanking God in heaven above. Wes told me to get up. haha.

But enough drama. Here’s why it was all ok. Even after two hours of sleep in the hotel and another delayed flight in Charlotte.

Before we even knew about delays, Ev was freaking out about what we were going to do if flights got canceled. And I was like, ‘Ev, we’ll all be together and that’s all that really matters.’

And we were. Ivy made us (and everyone surrounding) laugh like always. The kids did their kid thing. And we sat and observed and changed diapers and fed people. Kinda like normal.

Even as everyone operated on very little sleep, there were no epic meltdowns. From me or the kids! haha. And that my friends, is truly miraculous. Like truly. So much potential for true disaster. So. Thank you for your prayers.

And lastly. People were asking me on IG how I do it and how I managed. I didn’t. Wes did.

When we got on our shuttle at 11 pm I had the 3 kids with me on a bench seat at the front and Wes was somewhere in the back taking care of our stroller and backpacks. The bus was jam packed and everyone was regaling their American Airlines nightmares.

We made it to our hotel room and I was in the middle of undressing Jack when a guy walked in. Took me a minute to figure out it was our bus driver with a pack and play for Ivy. He looked at Wes and said, ‘hey man. Thanks for all the help loading and unloading everyone’s baggage. I’ve never had anyone do that and kinda felt like I should tip you!’.

And I smiled and shook my head and thought, ‘this is who I married. And this is why it’s all ok.’

And it was. Thanks to your prayers and Wes and some pretty good kids.

haha. And boy, do these pictures bring it all back. Happy we made it home, sane and sound.

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cayucos 2018

I can remember as a kid, those last few moments of our vacation at the beach. I would go stand on the bluff and watch the sun set while soaking up every minute of beauty hoping it would keep me full til the next time.

And now I’m watching my kids stand on that same bluff, soaking it all in, loving every minute and it’s pretty great.

I told my mom that I was like a thirsting man in the desert crawling towards this vacation as he crawled towards water. It was really needed. And wonderful.

Couple highlights.

Davey and Jennifer got to fly out to celebrate Journeys End’s 20th birthday with the Bowins and it was just really great. We had one of those Norman Rockwell morning where the whole family was down at the water, the guys surfing, Aunt Jennifer in the waves with Ev and Jack and Mom and I sitting by the shore chasing Ivy out of the water. Just one of those, ‘soak in this moment’ times.

Wes and I got away for 24 ish hours and it was just fun; kicking up our heels, eating the good food, and plain relaxing.

We also went to a foot reflexology/massage place in SLO and I think I drooled for an hour.

Wonderful to see my grandparents and other family and friends.

There’s just not much like sitting in the back yard of Journey’s End with your family around you. Thankful and grateful for the opportunity to be there.Three kids-3Three kidsIvy MaeEv w flowerJourney's End

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surviving…thriving…

Well it’s about time for that monthly update.

Biggest news is that we survived January. Barely. We were saved by eight days where it was pleasant to go outside and play and practice some down dogs.

Speaking of down dogs. I don’t really do the whole new years resolution thing, probably because I don’t enjoy failing, but I kind of purposed in my heart to get up in the morning. I asked my mother to pray for me because generally my soul weeps when I hear Ivy crying long before dawn.

And I kind of decided I was going to follow Yoga with Adriene’s 30 day challenge.

Amazingly enough, my soul is not weeping in the morning. It’s more resigned and while I still don’t hop joyfully out of bed (perhaps thats the next phase), I do manage to sometimes make it down before Ev and Jack and the five of us kitchen together if not breakfast together. It’s actually a quite pleasant way to start the day.

And wow. I’ve been doing yoga for 43 days straight. Mostly inspired by my father who appears to have grown taller after 6 months of daily practice.

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So. There’s how I’m killing it this winter.

My children?

Ivy’s just started doing down dogs with me and it’s about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. She started walking at 13 months old and is so pleased with herself she could pop. Her vocabulary is miles ahead of what I’m used to. Like, she says hi to people! Crazy. She plays legos with Jack and Ev and there’s not much I love more than watching them together.

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Jack is…hilarious. He has decided that he prefers to sleep in Ev’s room and so I tuck him and Ev in Ev’s queen bed, shrouded by a flowered duvet in a pink room. He routinely wakes up in the middle of the night to let us know that his foot hurts, Ev stole his blanket, and he can’t find Ev. He’s also SUCH a boy as he loves to pester his sister’s with a twinkle in his eye. He sings to Ev when he tucks her in for a game of goodnight good morning and as he croons ‘God is so good’ to her, I wonder at my blessings.

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Evelyn is suddenly grown up, wants to go to school and tells me she’s ready to learn things. And so we paint our way through the alphabet and practice writing names and occasionally work on math with all the legos around. She plays such an amazing role in the interaction between the three and there is no way I’m ready for her to head off to school. Hoping I can convince her to hang out with us for a bit longer. img_4116img_4218img_4380

We are well. We are longing for spring. And a trip to California. It’s been eleven months since I’ve been back to my home state, which is the longest I’ve ever been away, which may have attributed to my winter crazy. Plus the week and a half of house arrest while the stomach bug made it’s way through our family.

SO. Yeah. We survived January. And its February! And we’re going to buy seeds on the 64 degree day and plant our little spring garden and rejoice.img_4382img_4641img_5088img_5054img_5110img_5129img_5138img_5142img_5167img_5341

Gosh what great kids. And husband. And life.

Hugs to you and yours!

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