Today you are four. I watch you daily in your magical world...in your world of dress up, dancing, and singing. I see you and I see joy. You are a gift to us all. I pray you will never lose your zest for life, your curiosity about the world around you, and your love for creating beautiful things. We love you to the moon and back...today and always.
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My sweet e.
We are fast approaching your 9th birthday. This birthday has brought so many emotions for mama. It is your last single digit year and half way to 18. I had planned that today I would write your annual birthday letter to you, but I have decided to do something different. I am going to wait and give you your letter to you on your birthday. I want you to read my words, only you, and not an audience. I've come to realize that there is so much about life we share with others, yet there is so much we need to keep for just us.
Today I want to share some of the highlights of the last year while you were 8.
As I look back on 8 the one thing I will remember forever is that this was the year you asked Christ into your life. As a parent I do not think there is anything that can bring more joy than knowing your child's eternity will be spent in Heaven. Your daddy and I knew this had been something you had been thinking about for a long time; something you took very seriously. It was such a blessing to see the peace and excitement you had when you shared this with us. I will never forget the night we sat as a family, hands held, while you prayed to our Lord.
This year you have gone from enjoying soccer to absolutely LOVING soccer. You dream of being a soccer star. I love watching you on the field. You are atleast a foot shorter than all of the girls you play against, yet you don't let that intimidate you or stop you. You are fast on your feet and you truly amaze me with your skill. I love to see how you always cheer your teammates along, even when you have been the "under dogs" this season. You are still filled with enthusiasm and encouragement.
You love to sing and dance. I don't think there is a day we don't have a performance going on in our home. You create plays and you choreograph dances for you and your siblings and cousins. These are so dear to me. You've been teaching yourself piano on the Ipad and I love to hear you perform your song choices. Your latest love has been learning the "cup song." You taught yourself the whole rhythm and lyrics via you tube. I love hearing your beautiful voice sing.
I've told you this before, but I have to tell you again. You are an amazing big sister. I love how close you and your brother and sister are. It is something I will not take for granted ever.
You love American girl dolls and you love to play pretend. I love to watch you. You have a favorite tree that you love to climb. In that tree your imagination is endless; it's a gift indeed. Childhood is precious and I love that you aren't in a hurry to grow up. You really seem to enjoy being 8 and living for today.
You will try any food and have such a great variety of foods that you enjoy. I spent my childhood being a picky eater and I am so glad that you aren't.
You are enjoying learning to bake and do things in the kitchen for yourself now. It is fun to see you gain your independence.
You still love to sleep with mama and daddy. There isn't a night that passes that we aren't snuggled up together at some point during the night.
You are a lot like me in that you get your feelings hurt easily. You wear your heart on your sleeve and it's hard when others do not return the love you give so freely. This will be something that you will always find hard. I know.
You love to read and write, but don't enjoy math too much.
You are not a morning person. It is rare to find you awake before 9 :00 each day.
You love to make things...crafts, clothing for your dolls, cards, drawings--you love it all. You have such a creative mind.
I am so proud of the girl you are and the little lady you are becoming. It is hard to watch you grow and give you your wings; but I know with God leading you, you will do wonderful things.
I look forward to seeing what the next year will bring in your life.
I love you to the moon and back,
I have joined a group of other mothers writing letters to our children each month. Please head now to the blog of Bee Chalmers. Her work and heart are equally breathtaking. I adore the way she is able to capture her children.
Our sweet baby girl, I look at you daily I and am still amazed. The journey we took until you joined our world was not an easy one, but I would not trade one moment of the road we traveled.
In January of 2009, Daddy and I found out that I was pregnant. A short week later we found out we would no longer be having that baby. It was hard to understand at the time, but we knew God's plan and timing are always perfect.
A month later, in February 2009, we received the news that we would be having a baby in November. Daddy and I were so excited and very surprised. I will admit that I was nervous because of what we had just experienced, but I knew I had to put my faith in God. My pregnancy with you was wonderful. I can still remember the moment the sonogram technician told us you were a girl. I was shocked and so excited. At that moment we knew we would call you Caroline Grace. Your brother and sister both have names that have been in our family, but we knew this was the name we wanted for you. We loved the meaning of your name: Caroline, beautiful woman and Grace, Grace of God.
In September of 2009 everything took an unexpected scary turn with my pregnancy. One day I began swelling, which I had never done before with you or your brother or sister. It was very unusual and it didn't go away. The doctor took my blood pressure and realized after some other tests that I was very sick. I was diagnosed with severe pre- eclampsia. I was admitted to the hospital that day and taken by ambulance to another hospital the next day about an hour away. I had to get to a hospital that had an adequate NICU for you to be admitted into upon your arrival. You were still not due for almost 2 more months. I was scared. I was terrified. I remember being in the ambulance so frightened, worrying about what was going to happen to you and me. I had never felt that sick in my life. We made it to the hospital safely and they started Mama on a drug to help with the sickness I was having. I was also given shots at this time to develop your lungs.
One day later, you were delivered; almost 2 months earlier than planned. I honestly do not remember anything from the first two days you were born. I was so sick. In addition, to being on the drugs to help with my blood pressure, I ended up having a spinal headache and could not move until the Dr. went back into my spine and performed a spinal patch.
Those first few days were so emotional while I was so sick and you were in the NICU. I am so grateful for Daddy and Mimi for all they did for us during those early days. BUT then things got better and I finally got to hold you. All of the rest did not matter at that moment. And you were amazing. You were a little thing at 4 pounds 10 ounces, but amazingly healthy. Your doctor named you Super Star, because you did so well. You didn't need alot in the NICU, only to feed and grow. I began to pump my milk for you around the clock, and those moments when I got to feed you and hold you were some of the most special moments of my life. And then finally you were able to actually nurse and it was so encouraging to see you begin to thrive. It was so hard to leave you on the days I had to go back to our home, but I knew your brother and sister needed me as well. I will never forget the day the four of us drove together to bring you home from the NICU. It was a moment like no other.
I remember being so worried that the time we spent apart would affect our bond. I was scared that things would be different with you than with Sissy and Bubby. I couldn't have been more wrong. Today we share a beautiful unique love and I am grateful for it; yet I feel like none of my words would adequately describe this love to you. I know that you feel it as well and that is more than enough for me.
I share this all with you, because this experience taught me so much about life. I have always tried to plan things...it's just who Mama is. But in those days I learned that I have to give God complete control of my life. I have to have faith that He alone has a plan and that if I trust in it, everything will work out in His timing. I pray that you and your sister and brother will live with this faith as well. I have seen time and time again without fail, that any hard experience God has brought me through; I've been left with lessons learned, blessings, and so much to be thankful for. His plan; it is perfect. Yes, I say this, even on the hardest of days.
Today you are 3 1/2. You are the light of our lives. You are always filled with so much joy. You say the craziest things and we all just watch you and laugh. You dance wherever you go. You always say "mama, watch me, watch my twirl". You love painting and usually create something special most mornings while we do school. I love how you say "Mama I LOVE you BIG"...or sometimes you will say "little" just to watch my sad face...and then you giggle so sweetly. You love to bake with mama, though I think licking the bowl is what you really love! You are strong willed and determined to get your way (whenever this side of you comes out, I think of the little preemie in the NICU who thrived beyond any of our expectations). You still carry your pink blanket wherever you go. Last week we took your crib down, and admittedly it was so hard for me to see it go, but you were ready.You are definitely your own little person now, and we couldn't be more blessed to have you.
Caroline Grace, you are such a gift and I look forward to watching you become the beautiful woman that God has planned.
Jeremiah 29: 11 " For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"
All my love,
Each month a group of talented ladies and amazing mothers also write letters to their children. Next in our circle is the beautiful mother and artist Jennifer Warthan. I always love seeing her life on the farm.
dear bubby, for your birthday a few months ago i shared a letter with you about how you complete me in so many unexpected ways. having you, our only son, has taught me so much about love. you have shown me that love doesn't always come easy; it can be messy, hard and challenging. but wow, what a gift your love is. it can be quiet and tender and so thoughtful as well.
you are all boy in all you do. you are fearless and competitive and you love to be rough and explore the world around you. i often wonder if somehow you are missing out by being surrounded by girls all the time. you are the middle child in our family with two sisters and you live on the same street as five of your girl cousins. sometimes, i get sad as i see all of the girls playing, that you do not have a boy to share your childhood with. yes, you have friends, but not a brother or a cousin close by in age or proximity.
i have come to realize that you are just fine and you are going to be an amazing man one day because of being the only boy. you indeed are all boy, yet you have a tender side to you that is beautiful. you care how other people are feeling and you express empathy for them. you have learned patience as your sweet girl cousins admire you and always want to be near you. you have learned to find your own "role" in your sisters' pretend games. God had an awesome plan with blessing our family with you as our only boy. we all have learned so much through you.
thank you for being who you are. thank you for the laughter you bring into our home and the love you speak, not with words, but through lovely actions. i am so blessed to have you as my one and only son.
i love you to the moon and back.
te amo, mama
i am blessed to be a part of this circle of amazing artists and friends to write letters to our children each month. up next in our group is amy grace. she is always able to use her incredibly soulful words and images to capture the beautiful love she shares with her children.
hello sweet boy,
today you turn 6. i can still remember the moment we found out we would be welcoming a little boy into our world. to be quite honest--i didn't know what i would do with a boy. i was caught off guard and surprised in all kinds of ways. i would never have dreamed the way that you would complete my life, like only you can. you have taught me so much about life and living it. you have taught me that parenting isn't always easy...it can be messy, hard, and challenging, but it is such a gift i never want to take for granted. you have shown me what it means to live out a crazy love, so full of emotion and presence . you have displayed a kind of bravery and zest for life that i envy and desire for myself to take on. you remind me so much of your dad in this way. i hope you will remain fearless and strong in your choices. you, our middle child, have shown each of us an extraordinary love. the way you take care of your baby sister makes me warm every time i see you together. and the way you look up to your big sister is so endearing. i pray that this adoration for your sisters never ends and that you will always be the best of friends. the lake has really become your happy place. whether you are spending time fishing, digging for treasures, or just running around in complete bliss. it is where you find peace and solace. i love that at six you still want me to lay with you at bed time. some nights you ask that i don't snuggle you; but then if i give you a few moments, you slowly embrace me. these moments with you are so precious; i hope i will feel and remember them always. never forget how much you mean to each of us. your dad and i pray that you will walk with the Lord and follow His plan for you in all you do. you have a special heart and so many gifts to give this world. happy birthday my sweet son.
i love you to the moon and back
"when I look into your eyes, it's like watching the night sky, or a beautiful sunrise. there's so much they hold" jason maraz our spirited third child. today you turned three. my heart is so full and floods with so many contrasting emotions. i want to cry inside as i watch our last baby turn into an independent little girl. but then i want to rejoice and laugh as your growing personality overflows to all that know you. there is so much to you that i never want to forget. your questions and wonder. the why's you ask hourly. your giggle. your big brown eyes and adorable dimple. the special way you have me tuck you in bed every time you go to sleep. your love and adoration of your brother and sister. your bossiness. your crazy clothes choices and the even crazier things you say. these details of you are so precious to me. i love that you are open to life with such a big heart. you are so independent and strong willed. you are a mama's girl. but you love your daddy in such a special way. it melts my heart. he's truly your prince. and you are indeed his princess. these three years have been more than i ever dreamed. i cannot wait to watch you grow into the person God has planned for you.
today we shared your birthday in so many special ways. first it was just the four of us (daddy is gone to the middle east-but he joined you for birthday cake via skype) and you opened a few presents. you got your first american doll and you fell in love completely. at lunch time a few of your cousins were able to join us for lunch and cake. it is truly a blessing for you girls to all live on the same street, growing up and making these special memories. and then we ended the day with your mita and pito. and yes, as you look at these pictures one day-you really did change your clothes that many times in one short day.
you are loved by all that know you. i hope this year is filled with many more amazing memories and that you will always know how much we love you.
the ordinary moments are my favorite memories of you. its quite simple. my prayer is to be present and not miss anything in this walk together. i long to be so much as your mother. to be an example. to be a friend. to be a teacher. to be a leader. to be an inspiration. to bring comfort. to bring smiles and laughter. to show patience and forgiveness. to love and keep loving every day. i don't want to forget the smiles, the giggles, the dimple, the dirty faces, the dreams, the frustrations, the achievements, the connections, the stillness, or the wonder of every day. i never want to take these simple moments for granted. ever.
please follow along our blog circle to see what my talented friends have shared this month. first up is the delightful Elizabeth Jane Photo. So happy to have her back this month -she is such a talented artist!
dear e, the past eight years have flown by much too quickly. my heart changed in unspoken ways the moment i became a mother.
this year seems extra sentimental to me as you enter a new phase of life. you are not quite a little girl anymore, but not quite a teen-aged girl either. i certainly see changes in you as you gain more independence and curiosity about the world around you. when i think of you, i think of the tenderness that fills your heart. you are so loving and so full of compassion for everyone in your life.
we've shared so much in these short eight years. in the last few years daddy was deployed quite often and you were my rock. you were there to make me laugh, to give me snuggles, and to be a help in more ways than you'll ever be aware. indeed, i missed daddy, but these memories will forever be etched in my heart. i love the bond we share and i hope we never lose it.
i've enjoyed watching your faith in God and love of Jesus grow over the past year. you have questions and passion and it makes me so happy. my prayer for you is to grow closer and closer to Him. i want you to let Jesus lead you and trust in Him for everything in your life. if you do this, you will forever be blessed.
i know the next few years will continue to bring changes as you grow into a young lady. i pray for wisdom in guiding you, love and patience in teaching you, and an open heart, to be there for you always.
i love you to the moon and back!
happy eighth birthday!!!
welcome back to the third month of 10 on 10. if this is your first time here, please read about our project. i am so glad that you have joined us. this month for my "10 on 10" photographs i decided to capture my youngest child for the day. she is 2 years and 5 months old. she is changing much too quickly for my liking...every day brings something new. i used my iphone this month for one of my pictures and i also have included one that is fairly abstract. i was dancing with my precious baby girl and we had it on the timer and it didn't quite focus us. i thought it turned out sort of neat! for this month i have included a letter to my sweet C. my sweet Caroline,
you are growing so quickly these days. you try so hard to keep up with your big brother and sister. you amaze me with all you can do at such a young age. you have a fascination with the ipad and refer to it as "MY PAD" and lately your game of choice has been to find Barbie Fashion and dance with the theme song (not my proudest accomplishment of yours). you love to eat and you eat well...all sorts of great foods. we love that you are so open to trying everything we give you (and for that matter things we don't give you). you love your baby dolls and to play pretend. it is so sweet to hear you talk to them and to play in your kitchen and "make things". you love the beach and playing daily at the lake. i love watching you run up and down the sand and dive into the water, without a care in the world. you are very strong willed. this makes some moments of the day a little harder than i'd choose:) you were our fighter from day 1 though, being born almost two months early and only spending 10 days in the NICU..you proved early on, you would carry your own! you love dancing and singing and tutus and all things girl. daddy and you both love the mornings when he is home. he will come into your room when we hear you wake up for the day. and you will spend time together; just the two of you, snuggled up, quiet, in your own little world. you are no where near being potty trained....and well, that's just fine by mama. i will be ready when you are ready. but in the meantime, you love your elmo potty (not that you really use it, but sit on it). you are a dream sleeper. you go to bed without a fuss. you sleep in late (until 9 or later most days) and you nap a couple hours each afternoon. and then you wake up with the sweetest of all smiles. i love this time. i love everything about you. the many things that make you so precious to us all. your little sayings and sweet kisses. OR when i ask you if you love me and you say NO in this crazy voice, with the cutest giggle. oh, sweet Caroline, we all adore you and are so thankful for you as our baby girl.
i love you (and i know you love me too, even if you say no),
now head on over to the blog of my friend ElizabethJane Photo and see what 10 she has captured for us this month...
i can't believe a month has flown by since i first introduced you to this project. its time for my next 10 on 10. you can read about this project here if you missed the first one. this month i decided my 10 on 10 would come from Christmas day. once again, i went over the 10 pictures. this month, i also thought i'd write this post as a letter to my little ones... my dearest children,
what a fun time we had getting ready for Christmas. when the morning finally arrived, you were all full of excitement and anticipation. what fun it is to see the magic and wonder through your eyes. this was our first Christmas morning waking up in our own home. this was the best gift for mama and daddy. until this year, we were always travelling home to florida, so living here is such a blessing in more ways than one. when you woke up yall found the last note of the year that "cute red elf" left. bubby was so sad to realize the elf would not be returning for another year. yall were ready then to run downstairs and see what santa had left. but you were so patient while we woke up baby sissy. once downstairs you were all ecstatic about your surprises. big sissy is loving american girl this year and you found your double stroller and bitty twins from Santa, and were super excited about your camera that we gave you. bubby got a cars race track, a new bike, and some more cars goodies and games. and baby sissy was over the moon with your new pram pink stroller and your very own baby. we had fun opening gifts at home and then headed over to mimis with all the other cousins. it was crazy, but such fun being all together. we are truly blessed to all live here on the same street. i don't think i will ever take that for granted. after breakfast and more presents we all went home for naps and you guys played with your new toys a bit. the house was a complete disaster zone. later in the afternoon we headed back to mimis for lunch. after lunch we danced on the patio, played outside and just had some wonderful time with the family. it didn't take long after getting home, that everyone was asleep and pooped out for the day...even Buster. it was such a wonderful Christmas day. daddy and i both pray that you always remember how very blessed our family is and the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas...
i love you all to the moon & back,
please continue on with our blog circle and see what Elizabeth Jane photo has for her 10 on 10.
i cannot believe you are turning five. where have the years gone? i know i say this every year but they fly by way too fast. you are our dear middle child; our only son. you have such a special place in our heart and i hope you will always feel our love for you. i cannot imagine our family being complete without you. you are so full of love and life. so full of emotion and energy. you make us all laugh and giggle and remember to not take life too seriously. you put your all into everything you do. this year we started pre-k with you and i am your teacher. it has enabled me to see a new side of you as well. i am proud of your eagerness to learn and unwillingness to ever give up. cars and lightening mcqueen are still your passion but you have entered into the world of legos this year (cars legos of course). you have such fun playing with your daddy and i am so thankful for the bond i have seen grow between you. you have had to tell your daddy goodbye numerous times during your short life (3 of which were seven or more months)....but your love for him has only grown more and more. i love that you still want me to cuddle you to sleep and come find me in the middle of the night most nights. i know one day i will miss these moments. you adore your big sister and are always eager to play with her but also very competitive with her. you do not like to lose. you are so tender with baby sissy and my heart always smiles when you come running to tell her good morning or good night. you are so thoughtful and loving. thank you for being the most amazing son. for filling this spot in our life that only you could. bubby, we love you to the moon and back!
my dearest e,
today you turn seven. i cannot believe the years have gone by so fast. this is the day i became a mother; truly the most precious gift. you taught me what it really means to love unconditionally. to love more than i ever imagined possible. i will never forget the moment i held you for the first time and realized just how much our life had changed.
its been amazing to watch you become the little girl you are now. we have always shared such a special bond. you are our love bug. you love to snuggle and to share your love with all those you are around. you have always had the most tender heart and have been filled with this love that words cannot do justice. you are filled with compassion and a sweetness that makes me feel so blessed to be your mother. you look out for your baby brother and baby sister. and you lead by example. i pray you forever have these qualities.
you love to create things and have a true gift of creativity. you light up when you dance and come alive to the music. you are all we ever dreamed of, but then so much more.
as we always say to each other ..you are my bff. i pray you will have a lifetime of love, happiness, and good health. i cannot wait to share many many more memories with you. thank you for all you've given us the past seven years. happy birthday my sweet girl!
I LOVE YOU!!