Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

My 4 guys were all soooo sweet to me this Mother's Day!  They kept surprising me throughout the day with acts of kindness.  It was one of my favorite days ever.  :)

I love being a mom and feel passionately about investing in my kids.  But... mothering is so much harder than I ever dreamed it would be.  Most nights I lay in bed and recount all of the times that I blew it throughout the day.  "Man, I could have handled that better..."  "Why didn't I do this instead of that?"  It's a humbling job to nurture little souls, isn't it?

At the end of the day, being a mother to these three boys is a calling.  They are precious gifts that the Lord has given me to refine me and to teach me more about Himself.  When they are hurting and I want nothing more than to comfort them, I know that my Father feels that same feeling when my heart is hurting, only infinitely stronger.  When they disappoint me by behavior that I know that they have been taught is wrong, I know that my Father is infinitely more devastated by my own sin.  When I feel joy because they obey simply out of love with expectations of nothing in return, I know that my Father is infinitely more joyful when I obey Him with pure motives.  Mothering these three has taught more about Christ than I ever could have imagined.  Even when it is really, really, really hard, I am grateful that these three are mine.

On Mother's Day morning, I woke up to breakfast in bed from my Clayton.  He brought me a plate of cheese toast, a banana, and a yogurt drink.  All on his own - Wade wasn't up yet either.  It was the best cheese toast that I have ever had in my life.  ;)
We had just finished a poetry unit in school.  Clayton had written me a really thoughtful acrostic poem.  So sweet!
 Drew had picked out a card and written his name and "Mom" on the envelope.  Darling boy.
We went to church, which is always a tremendous blessing.  I love my church so much.
 I could never tire of those toddler hands grabbing my face and holding on tight for an extra long smooch.  ;)
The boys gave me flowers and the sweetest handmade gifts (better than anything that money could buy!). 
Clayton had asked for a break while we were working on schoolwork earlier in the week.  He hinted at the fact that he was working on a gift.  Y'all, he wrote the sweetest poem for me!  Wade said that he was so proud when he brought it to show him.  He asked Wade to help him type it up and frame it.  I was so moved when I read it - straight from his little heart.
As much as I love the framed version, the original is even better.  I will keep it for all eternity, you can rest assured of that.  (My favorite part is "Some times she is stern, but that's because she is helping you learn."  Me, stern???  Never.  Ha!  Priceless.)
Drew made a sweet hand print canvas at preschool.   Hand print art is my favey fav.
The questionaire on the back is hilarious!  "The best thing she cooks is: a cherry pop tart."  Oh my word - I laughed til I cried!
To top it all off, my guys bought me two BoyMom tee shirts, a necklace with the boys' initials, and 6 rose bushes.  Eeek!  I was so excited!  Wade and Clayton worked hard to plant my "rose garden" along the side of the house.  I love the thought of those bushes growing and providing years of beauty.

Days like this are important reminders that all of the tough parts of motherhood are totally worth it.  :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Owen Digs Being 2!

We celebrated Owen's 2nd birthday with a construction themed party on Saturday, May 11th.  We had a smaller celebration with just family and a few friends at the park.  While I was planning, I tried to include all of Owen's favorite things - family & friends, breakfast foods, being outside, his favorite park, and lots of trucks and diggers.  :) 

Party favors were easy - a tool belt, construction hat, and dump trucks.

We got his cake at Costco, and I jazzed it up a bit with orange cone candles, a crumpled up cupcake (dirt), and (new) construction vehicles.

Two of the best looking guys on the planet.  ;)

Owen loves almost everything about being at the park.  He could play there for hours and hours.
His only dislike... the swings.  :(
He always asks to swing, and then he proceeds to cry and look terrified.  Ha!
He has discovered "Superman swinging," and he is a fan.  ;)
Morgan & Makinley are always a huge help wrangling my crew.  Sweet girls!

The lighter that I brought was a dud, and the wind made it impossible to light the candles even when we were able to get a bit of a spark.  So, there were no candles to blow out.  Wah-wah!  Owen didn't care if they were lit or not, though.  He leaned forward and blew anyway at the end of the Happy Birthday song.  Ha!  2 year olds are so easy to please.  :)

Grammie & Papaw have given each of the boys a train set for their 2nd-5th birthdays - one car each year.  Owen was excited to get the engine and the first car.  Such a fun tradition!
My sister, Jeff, and the boys surprised us by coming to Owen's party.  Originally, they weren't able to come because Angel and Jonathan both had ball games.  At the last minute, the boys' baseball games were rained out, so they left Houston at 6am and drove straight to the park.  
Now that is dedication!  :)  We were so glad that they were able to come.
I loved getting to plan Owen's party - focusing on party details is a welcomed distraction from lamenting about my kids getting another year older.  Party planning is my coping mechanism.  ;)  I think my sweet boy enjoyed his celebration, and we are so grateful to our friends & family that spent their Saturday morning with us.  Such a fun day!

Drew's Spring Preschool Program

My sweet Drew had his spring preschool program on May 7th.  So... Baby Brother got to celebrate his birthday evening at his big brother's performance.  Oh well, O didn't seem to mind.  ;)

The chapel teachers did a great job, as usual, of planning an adorable program.  Drew's little Duck class sang "King of the Jungle" and they all wore different animal hats.  Drew was super excited to be the puppy dog.  :)  My boy was not the most animated kiddo in the class, but he was definitely cute as could be.

 Drew LOVED his teachers, and they loved him.  I could not have asked for better teachers for my little buddy's first year of preschool.  They were perfect for him!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Owen Version 2.0

It was a very happy TWO-sday at the Carpenter casa this week!  Our precious Owen turned 2 years old!  This boy has proved to be the perfect addition to our home over the past two years.  We are so grateful for the energy, joy, and laughter that he brings us all.  We are all crazy about our O!

Owen with his elephant and frog at birth, 1 year, and 2 years.  My, how he has grown!
The first picture of 2 year old Owen on Tuesday morning.  :)
We started the day with pancakes and ended the day with cupcakes - the perfect way to celebrate our little carb-o-holic!  He LOVED blowing out his candles.  We relit them many, many times throughout the day.  Ha!

 At 2 years old:

*  Owen weighs 26 pound, 8 ounces (31%) and is 36 inches tall (94%).  He continues to be long and lean - just like his Daddy.  :)  His head circumference was 49cm (59%).

*  Owen wears 2T shirts and 18month or 2T bottoms.  He still wears a size 4 diaper and just got new Nikes that are a size 7 1/2.  He is growing like a weed (despite the fact that he eats like a bird!).

*  He currently has 15.5 teeth (his cracked front tooth only gets half credit).  ;)  There are 7.5 teeth on top and 8 on bottom.  He cut his 1 year molars in November/December, his bottom canines in Januray/Februray, and his top canines in March/April.

*  Nap time and bedtime are my favorite times of day with my O.  He still wants to be held like a baby and is so snuggly.  We sing songs and rock for awhile before I lay him down.  Such a sweet mommy/son time for the two of us...
*  Owen naps for about 3 hours most afternoons (sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more).  He sleeps about 11.5 hours at night.  He is still in his crib - glory hallelujah!  Both of my other boys were out of their cribs right around their 2nd birthday, so I am trying a new strategy to ride the crib wave a little longer this time around.  A friend (thank you, Devon!) told me that a sleepsack would make it impossible for him to kick his leg over the crib rail, so we put him in a sleepsack right after we stopped swaddling.  So far, so good!  I know that he is capable of climbing in and out, though, because I saw him do it at the end of February.  I was packing for our ski trip and he was in there with me (without his sleepsack on - just playing).  I saw him climb in to get his nanny & bap and then promptly climb out.  Ha!  We are going to stick with the sleepsack method until he figures out how to unzip the zipper.  ;)

*  This boy LOVES his nanny (security blanket) and his bap (pacifier).  Anytime he is sad/hurt/sleepy/in trouble, he is asking for them.  I know that I need to break him of the pacifier (Clayton & Drew were both paci free by 2), but I just can't do it.  The way that he says, "Bap" is so cute...

*  Owen's personality and vocabulary have both exploded over the last couple of months.  At the beginning of March, he was mostly saying "Hulp" (help) and "Bite" spontaneously (aside from the usual baby words).  Now, he chatters away like crazy.  His most common phrases are, "'Ut happened?" "Oh no!" "'Ut doin'?" "'Ere Dew? (or 'Ayton or Daddy)" and "Tank too, Mama" (thank you, Mama).  It is a whole new world now that we can communicate so much better with him.  My favorite word that he says right now is "Shore" (sure) when I ask for a kiss.  So. stinking. cute.
I was doing his hair one day and he just started randomly making silly faces in the mirror.  Funny boy!

*  Speaking of hair...  I still haven't cut O's curly locks.  It makes me tear up just thinking about it.  I know those curls are gone forever when we cut them.  :(  A few people have told me that he looks like a girl and that it looks like a mullet.  Usually, I am a people pleaser and those types of comments would send me straight to the kiddie haircut place.  But, for some reason, I could care less what people say about his hair.  I've teased that I am going to change his name to Samson so that no one can tease me.  Ha!
 *  Owen is such a terrible eater!  His diet is the thorn in my side right now.  Both Clayton and Drew ate really healthy diets at 2 and were happy to eat whatever was on their plate.  I never understood why people complained about their kids not eating.  I would smugly think, "just don't give them junk, and they will eat fruits and vegetables - duh!"  I guess that my prideful attitude needed a picky eater to humble me.  Ha!  Owen is a carb addict and acts like we are torturing him when we force feed him fruits and vegetables.  It is soooo frustrating.  I'm praying that it is just a phase and he will be asking for asparagus in just a few months.  ;)

He would eat carbs all day long, if we let him...
He loves burritos.
 and doughnuts
 and anything that he can dip.  He will literally drink ketchup, if we aren't paying attention.
Case in point...
 *  Owen is super sweet 95% of the time and super spicy the other 5%.  He will ride through the grocery store, in the front of the cart, smiling and waving at passersby saying, "Hi!" and "Bye!"  I call him "the Mayor" when we are out shopping - a master at working the crowd.  ;)  He is cuddly and loves to be held.  Most of the time, he is sweet as pie. 

But... he is really, really, really stubborn and strong willed the other 5% of the time.  Holy Moses - he can be a toot.  I'm grateful that those moments are few and far between, for certain.  He is tender to correction and quick to say "I sorry.  'pease give me." (Please forgive me.) when he gets in trouble.  That attitude reassures me that he is just testing his boundaries and giving me small glimpses of his sinful nature.  I know that he has a sweet, sweet heart!  
 *  He loves any kind of ball and balloons.  He always counts backwards (3-2-1) before rolling or kicking a ball.  I can already tell that he is going to have a servant's heart - he loves to help.  He LOVES to help sort laundry or unload the dishwasher.  He will pick up each clothing item or dish one by one and say, "Here 'go, Mama."  I'm trying hard to foster that characteristic!

*  Owen started tee-teeing on the potty before his bath a couple of months ago.  I know that it will still be many months before he is fully potty trained, but it is fun to see how proud he is when he goes.  :)

*  His favorite TV shows are the Baby Mozart DVD, Barney, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Max & Ruby.  He will bring us the remote and say, "Mouse?" or "Drew-by" (he confuses Max & Ruby with Drew's nickname).  :)

*  Owen had his first true sick visit back on December 18th.  He had his first ear infection and first antibiotic then at 19 months old - a major record amongst the Carpenter lads.  His brothers had lots of colds and ear infections early on, so I am insanely grateful for O's good health!
My Darling 2 Year Old,

You are T-W-O!  My gracious, I can hardly believe it!  You still seem like you have so much baby left in you, to me.  I cringe a little when people comment on you being a big boy, because I just don't see you that way.  Every night you say, "I Mama's Baby!" before bed.  Yes, you are, Sweet Boy!  

As much as I am hanging on to every little bit of baby that you have left, I LOVE watching you learn new things and catch on to new concepts.  It is just as exciting to watch my third baby learn as it was with my first and second.  I constantly find myself saying, "Wade, you'll never guess what Owen did today!"  I am certain that you are going to be really, really smart (says your totally unbiased Mother!).   ;)

Two year olds have a certain way of creating calluses on their mother's knees.  You are no exception, my Love.  I have found myself praying for you more than ever lately.  I have started praying that God will use your stubborn side for His glory.  I pray that you will be firm in your faith and go from "spirited" to "spirit-filled."  I pray fervently that you will recognize your need for a Savior early in life and run without abandon to the One who created you.  I hope that you cling to Him and never, ever let go!

You are so funny lately, O!  We've always said that Drew is a "party looking for a place to happen," but you may give him a run for his money as the comedian of the family.  You cut your eyes at just the right moment and have THE BEST laugh.  You make life so fun!

I have watched over the last few months as your relationship with your brothers has grown - it thrills my heart like you will never know.  You ask about them all day long when they are at school/preschool ("'ere Drew?  'ere Clayton?" approximately 153 times a day) and are so happy when you are reunited.  When I see you three together, I often think, "This is exactly how it was supposed to be."  God knew exactly what He was doing when he picked you for our family.  His plan is always so perfect!

I love you with a part of my heart that I didn't know existed on May 6th, 2011.  On May 7th, that part became readily apparent and has grow every day since.  You were meant to be mine and I will never stop praising the One who has leant you to me.

Happy Birthday, My Darling Boy!

I love you to the moon and back,