Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Few Random Thoughts.

It's naptime, and I really should be trying to catch a few minutes of rest, I thought I'd type. I'll probably pay for this later when my kids are crazy and I am more than frazzled, but I have random things in my mind that will not go away until they are here on the internets.

In just a few short days Drew and I will go on a trip all alone, without children, for the first time since before Connor was born. I was reading my post from the last trip we took together (we went to Dallas), and I kind of laughed when I wrote that I hoped it wouldn't take us very long to plan another trip alone. This is one of those moments where life has a way of laughing at me. Also, trying to go away on a trip is infinitely more difficult when you have kids. We have been in a hustle and bustle of having wills made, medical releases documented, schedules coordinated, meals cooked and frozen, and caretaker duties split up. It's a lot to take in and process and coordinate, and I feel like I need a vacation just for the coordinating of little children alone. Praying that when I step on the plane next week I'll be able to relax and enjoy our time away.

Today marks the last meeting for a few of our weekly events, which means that summer is just around the corner. I have mixed feelings about summer this year. On the one hand, I could really use some non-structured week days and lazy days with my babies (where we're not snowed in during sub-zero degree days... winter 2013/2014 was BRUTAL to us). On the other, sometimes the non-structure leads to more melodrama in our home, and if there is one thing that is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, it's a little bit of melodrama. The beginning of summer also marks the beginning of the end of Brayden being at home with me all the time, and I am just not sure I am as emotionally prepared for this as I thought. Come August, I'm almost positive that I'll be one of those moms crying in the Kindergarten hallway.

This week I have slowly been reintegrating back into social media. I had thought about writing an entire post on my month long abstinence from it, but the more I typed, the less I was convinced that it needed to be published. The hiatus was so good for me to realign my thinking and focus. While I do love social media and don't think I am in the camp that would drop it completely from my life, I also find that the more I am into it, the more my attitude is easily shifted into one that tends to complain more, focus less and become entrenched in other peoples lives more than my own. I've said many times and will say it again: social media is a double edged sword and must be used wisely. I so missed the many friends who I have made throughout the years, especially instagram. I didn't miss some of the whining and drama that is pretty much inevitable on any social media channel you're on. I did miss the ability to ask a question and get an almost immediate answer from a REAL person, not some freelance journalists paid post that Google seems to spit out at me (plus, twittering about an illness is much better than Googling, as twitter will rarely lead you to believe you have cancer if you google "springtime allergy sniffles in babies").

Lastly, but certainly not least, I want to put the spotlight on holy week. Unless you live holed up like a hermit and have not gotten out recently, it's Easter this Sunday. Easter is by far my favorite holiday. We have been going through the resurrection eggs with the boys, and since we're studying Matthew in BSF this year, we've pretty much been inundated with all things Easter. One thing that I've always hoped would remain clear in my blogging is that I am imperfect. Thanks to Pinterest and various internet channels, it's easy to assume that what is online is all encompassing. That there is nothing behind the words and that all that you see here is all that there is. While I am an open book on most accounts, there are parts of my life that are not shared in the public arena because they just aren't ready to be shared. There is so much more story than the words on this blog, the pictures on instagram and the humored tweets on Twitter. My story for the past 5 years has been one filled with so much joy, but it's also been filled with so much pain. My life is far from perfect, but I think that the imperfections is what makes it beautiful. Easter to me means Hope. Hope that Jesus came despite our flaws and our hurts and our imperfections. Jesus came to save us and to give us what we couldn't give or get or earn ourselves. He has come to rescue us. My life here on earth may not be perfect, but I am hopeful and living for the day when all these things pass away and everything is made new and whole again.
Also, as a sidenote: during dinner one night this week, Brayden (who has been doing the eggs during Sunday school at church), said "I love the last egg. It's the best one!" When I asked him why he said "because it's empty. And that means Jesus rose again after 3 days." Holidays are sweet to me, and even sweeter when I get to see them through the eyes of my kids. I'm so grateful that Brayden is beginning to connect the dots on all of the stories he has grown up hearing, and he is relishing in the beauty of the simple. That the stone was rolled away and that our God is not dead.

Are you celebrating Easter this weekend? I'd love to hear how you celebrate... let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Happy Birthday, Brayden!

Today Brayden turns FIVE.
I’m going to go ahead and admit that out of all of the birthdays we have celebrated in the past five years, this one has definitely been the hardest. Letting go of what little we have left of baby boy, and turning a new page into complete boyhood. Entering new freedoms like being able to go to the unattended game room at the gym, old enough for almost all organized sports and the quickly approaching Kindergarten year this fall. These have been the bittersweet moments for me as a mom, as I celebrate these new freedoms that Brayden has so excitedly looked forward to, and I as a mom am excited too, but it also means that my first baby is anything but a baby anymore.
This year has been sweet as well, as the terrible twos and awful threes past us. Four was a good year for us. We went from dealing with strong will tantrums where I wasn’t quite sure if we’d even survive till this point, to being able to get through most days without major breakdowns and fights. Brayden has turned into a very tender hearted boy, and captivates pretty much any person he comes in contact with. That indeed is something I cherish so very much.
Some other things that I want to remember about this age:
- His favorite color is green. If it’s green, he wants it.
- He LOVES Mexican food (boy after my own heart!), and can down a good portion of an adult sized order of fajitas. He could drink salsa from a straw. His 2nd favorite food to eat out is Chick-Fil-A; so far his highest nugget count eaten is 13 (this also included an order of fries and a fruit cup, thus the reason we have cut down our visits to CFA considerably- ha!).
- He loves ALL sports, and anything to do with superheroes or ninjas/swords.
- He loves to color and draw.
- He can: count to 100, tie his own shoes, recognize all letters and numbers, shapes and phonetic sounds.
- is trying to learn how to tell time. He says it like it looks (ie: "one two four" instead of "one twenty-four").
- We’ve learned he likes his hair to be long enough to spike, thanks to his first (and hopefully, last) self-haircut.
- wears a size 12 or size 13 shoe, depending on brand.
- wears size 5 shorts, is inbetween sizes in jeans (6’s are too long, 5T is too short and tight), and wears a 5/6 shirt.
- wants to be a professional golf-ball player when he grows up.
braydenthomas5yrsold_adollopofmylife_28 copy color
- loves his brothers with all that he is (and fights with them with all that he is too).
- loves working with Drew with tools, and frequently asks if there are chores around the house that he can do (only if there is money involved though ;) ).
- has a great sense of justice, is very black and white when it comes to issues.
- prefers things to be neat and orderly, and always wants to know the schedule of events for the next day as he’s going to bed.
- hates to wear shoes, and almost always wears t-shirts and basketball shorts.
- thinks pink and purple are girl colors, and refuses to color, draw or wear them.
- says some of the funniest things. Some of my favorites are: "I think God's middle name is Jesus," "Man, I am so tired that my legs are freaked out" (meaning his legs are worn out), "usually I've had one of those lately"
- favorite games to play is Ants in the Pants, Connect Four and Candy Land.

They said that I'd blink and you'd be this big. They were right. I'm scared to even think about blinking again. If ever there was a time I wish I could freeze, now would be that time. You are at the perfect stage-- still innocent, care free and relatively unmarred from the imperfect world that you were born into. As we step into a new stage with you, part of me wants to hole up and protect you from the pain that I know will inevitably come to your life as you grow older. But that wouldn't be healthy for either of us, and the truth is, the world needs more boys like you out there. My prayer is that you will not grow hardened to this world, but that you will soften those around you. That you will become a beacon of light to the otherwise darkness. I pray that you will never lose your laughter and joy from the little things in life, and that you in turn will teach others to laugh too. I pray that you will continue to become a man of integrity, that you will stand up for what's right and stand in the gap for those who can't speak for themselves. Fight for justice, seek mercy, and above all, learn to love Jesus and others with your whole heart. I am already so proud of the little man I see you becoming, and am so blessed to be your mom. You are my sunshine, and I love you so. Happy 5th birthday, Brayden Thomas!