Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Fall seems to be the prime time for having family pictures taken. The weather is still nice enough that you don’t need to be completely bundled to be outside, and family pictures make great Christmas gifts. Plus, these annual photos are such a fun way to measure the physical growth of our children. Look how much you’ve grown since last fall!

Our family is no stranger to the fall family photo phenomenon. This year even the kids were excited. They knew that the new pictures we planned to take would replace their old ones on the wall, and they were even excited about the outfits we chose for them to wear. I was excited too; this year would be an easy one for pictures, especially compared to last year when we were in the process of saying goodbye to our foster son.

The day before our photo session Will came down with a brief illness. It wasn’t bad, but he was under the weather enough to take a nap that afternoon, something that never happens anymore. But the nap also threw his sleeping off, and he was up before 5:30 the morning of our pictures. Which naturally meant he fell asleep in the car an hour before our pictures. And so it follows that when we woke him to get ready for the photo shoot he was not in a good mood, and there wasn’t much anyone could do about it. The short ride to our photo location we spent prepping Will and Emma with bribes incentives for cooperation and smiles, but to no avail. Surely he’d snap out of it once we started taking pictures. Surely he wouldn’t cry the entire photo session. Surely not, because look at our cute outfits! We are a happy family!

Not only did he cry for the entire time, but no promised incentive (gum! donut for breakfast! you get to pick a movie to watch! play in the leaves!), no amount of prayer with him, no time by himself to calm down, nothing would dissuade him from his determination to be miserable. Nothing that is, except the end of the photo shoot and the ride home in the car. The tears stopped, the whining ended, he was willing to talk, and even understood that his choices prevented him from receiving the promised gum, donut, movie, etc. Oh, how I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time, and even to pronounce punishment on Will (“go to your room, you ruined our pictures!”). But grace took over that day, and while he still did spend time in his room, he was told that he was a loved son despite any poor choices. Over the remainder of that day and the weeks that followed, those 30 long minutes trying to get a family picture have come back to me many times, and I think I’ve taken away two really important things from that day.

First, I have family pictures that are great, but they aren’t perfect. And I have a family that is great, but not perfect. So really, I have pictures of my family looking the way we actually look, which is NOT perfect. And second, I have a son who is a little sinner (he’s not the only one, I have a whole family of sinners, hence point number one). In Will’s pride and stubbornness he decided that he would not cooperate or smile for a picture. Mitigating circumstances aside, it was still his decision, made willfully and with full awareness that his choices were wrong. So often I am that stubborn, proud child before a Holy God. I dig in my heels and make my choice, willfully choosing disobedience over obedience. Then my perfect, loving Father comes alongside me in my tantrum and draws me to Himself, even in my sin. He doesn’t vindictively pronounce punishment from on high, though there may be consequences for my actions. He reminds me of His great love for me, His child. I didn’t get it perfect that day; there was anger in my heart and anger trying to jump from my lips. But I understand a bit more about God as our Father, as our loving Daddy, and how we are supposed to be like him as parents.

Friday, November 21, 2014

9 months old

Sweet miss Gwen has been 9 months old for a few weeks but just had her well visit this week, so I'd been putting off blogging about it. She weighed 17 pounds 11 ounces (just under 50th percentile), which is right about where she has been for several months.

She's crawling, mostly army crawl style still, because she's faster that way than hands and knees.

And Gwen is pulling up on everything now. She looks so big now when I look over and see her peeping over the edge of things.

Her hair is getting long enough for pigtails too!

And Gwen is our awesome eater still. She basically eats what we do each meal, including fish, mushrooms, salami, lasagna, meatballs, lo-mein, stir fry...anything we give her!

Her communication has grown so much too. She signs eat, milk, more, claps her hands and waves, and says Mama and Dada, as well as hi (while waving). Super cute stuff.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Crazies at Costco

Costco has a lot of great things going for it as a store...jumbo carts, free samples, and tons of seasonal decorations to peruse. We usually try to make time for it to be a longer trip, and these crazies love going.

Monday, November 3, 2014


Emma loves to wear her matching shirt with Gwen! The first picture is from a few weeks ago, also in their matching Jean skirts.

These two are from last week. Gwen looks so big standing up holding Emma's hands! And Emma looks like a young lady with her beautiful long hair and grown up expression.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Love how this boy loves books.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fall hiking

Beautiful October weather found us back at the trails in the state parks. We hiked 3.5 miles and the weather was just perfect!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy 4th birthday, Will!

Four years ago Will arrived fast and furious and not much has changed since! His fourth trip around the exwas full of scrapes and bruises, temper tantrums, tears, and many prayers.

You are full of energy and tenacity; may you always use it to care for others and pursue the Lord.

You have a fierce love; may you love truth and goodness and run from cheap imitations.

You have an inquisitive and analytical mind; may you continue to ask questions and learn about the world.

You are proud, stubborn, and iron-willed; may you learn to be humble, boasting only in the Lord, stubborn in the face of adversity, and iron-willed in the fight for what is right.

Monday, September 8, 2014


Over the weekend we went to Ken Singleton's Gala fundraiser for the Cool Kids program. Not only did we get to dress up and get out together, they had killer crab cakes, we mingled with former Orioles greats, and a family friend at our table won an incredible signed photo of all the Orioles Hall of famers (Ripkin, Murray, Weaver, F. Robinson, B. Robinson, and Palmer) all together. Such a fun evening!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

7 months old!

This cutie is getting so big! Gwen has one tooth, with a second close behind. She loves to eat anything we give her and loves feeding herself. Foods so far include avocado, sweet potato, peas, green beans, carrots, banana, and yogurt. At her well visit two weeks ago she weighed almost 16 pounds! She is a lot bigger than Emma and Will were, but this still only puts her in the 40th percentile. We're so grateful to have a happy, healthy kiddo!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week in review

For last week's school we took advantage of the awesome weather!

Hiking at Lum's Pond:

A day at the beach:

Emma finished her first Sing, Spell, Read, and Write book (the first of two for kindergarten).

Excited? Understatement!

We worked on drawing world maps.

Emma's blob continent map

Will's asteroid belt:

And over the long weekend Dad spent lots of time reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to an enraptured audience!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Perler beads

Emma has become quite good with perler beads! These are her own creations (with a little help from me on the cone on the right). On the left is all her. It's an ice cream cone melting in the sun and her hand is holding it. Little white clouds and some punk ice cream dripping!

She followed a pattern for this elephant and did a really good job copying it all by herself!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Week in review

We've been doing school since June, just a few days a week. Our official "first day" will be in September, but we're embracing a gradual start to kindergarten, so this week we stepped things up a little more. I'm hoping to blog about each week, at least through pictures, so we can have a nice summary of our work this year!

Telling time and learning about money were favorite activities this week.

As well as art (especially since I could supervise and read my book!).

And we read a lot, naturally.

We try to cap off our weeks with Friday afternoon playdoh. Simultaneous play lasted almost an hour (yay!), then Will moved on to books and Emma continued on her own, making the entire alphabet with cookie cutters.

And we introduced a new level of Robot Turtles while they waited for dinner. They can't get enough of this game, and we love that it's fun for adults too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014


This picture has a lot going on in it.

1) Will coloring
2) Will coloring carefully
3) Will coloring with Emma
4) working together!

(We've had a lot of issues with Emma telling a Will he isn't able to color, and him believing her. On this occasion she was encouraging him and he was eating it up! Our words are so powerful.)

Friday, August 8, 2014


Will asked to have his hair fixed like this the other day:

We've let his hair grow longer this summer and I am loving it. He looks so handsome :)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Water baby

Gwen's first real swim in the pool...she loved it!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tummy sleeper

Gwen has become a tummy sleeper! The first day it happened we out her on her back and every time we checked on her she was rolled onto her belly.

The next day, every time I laid her in bed on her back she fussed and arched her back so I flipped her onto her belly and she instantly stopped fussing, gave a big sigh, and settled down to nap. What a total sweetheart!

Here she is even sleeping with her head resting on her arm. Baby sleeping is so adorable! I never get tired of seeing how they look.