A tale of teeth.

                     It's funny how in a split second your kids graduate from littles to full-on kids.
    When I took Pax to AWANAS last Wednesday night, he was just as he'd always been. When I picked him up...well, first I ran into the neighbor girl. She told me Pax has showed her his lost tooth-which was news to me, as he'd had all his teeth when I dropped him off. Then the AWANAS director ran up to me with a clipboard..."I'm so sorry, but I need you to fill out this incident report," she says, and I can't help but think uhoh..what did my rambunctious boy do now?
       Turns out what he did was simply goof off with another kid from his class (ie, roughhouse in the gym during gametime) and somehow or other, as the teachers were asking the boys to stop-Pax got the perfect whack to the mouth-and a tooth popped out. A tooth we didn't even know was loose!
      Loose it must have been though, for there was no fat lip, not much blood-so it couldn't have been that hard a hit. Pax? I don't think he even noticed he had been hit, once he realized his tooth had popped out. Apparently there was a moment of teachers scrambling on the ground looking for the tooth (which they found-bless them!); and then just lots of excitement on Pax's part. He was THRILLED!! So we did the whole thing, tooth in a bag under the pillow, and the "ToothFairy" visited and left a glittery note and a doller. Pax found that at 4am, when he reached under his pillow and then proceeded to flip on the light, which woke the baby, who started to cry, which woke Adam and I up (who lived in  The House that Jack Built)...I am admittedly not at my best at 4am. But an excited, gap-toothed Pax was soon tucked sweetly and happily back into bed with his letter; and a very awake one and a half year old wanted nothing to do with sleep. "A'done," he told me.
"A'done nigh-night. A'done,"
         Needless to say, I ended up with a baby in bed, snuggled down sweetly beside me, who kept insisting he was "A'done nigh-night," and patting my face to make sure I was, too.
And just like that, my little boy is officially a KID who looses teeth!
Fast forward 4 days...
Sunday I sang at church, so I was out the door by 7:25, with only Blythe and Adam awake to kiss goodbye. Adam did the whole get-everyone-clean-and-ready-for-church bit, which he's actually quite good at, and I got home right about noon. Blaise came running up to me fussing...unusual for him. Adam commented that he'd been fussy and didn't eat anything that morning or for lunch; I figured he might be teething and so his mouth was hurting. Well, I was half right.
When I asked him if his mouth hurt, he nodded, and I sat down with him in the chair to look for new teeth. What I found was this...
I don't know if you can see it, but his right front tooth is cracked prettymuch right up the center. I gasped, and Adam asked what he'd missed.
Turns out the poor baby had taken a fall in the shower that morning while Adam was getting Blythe and Blaise ready; we have stone-like tile and it's incredibly unforgiving. But at the time, Adam didn't see much blood or a crack-we're pretty sure it started small and then just kept growing, as is evidenced by the next picture. But I was pretty sure as soon as I saw the crack that the tooth would have to be pulled.  We quickly gave him a little ibuprofen (poor baby was hurting so much!) and called the dentist-I called the family dentist here we'd just started seeing, and Adam called a student dentist he has met recently through the dental school at AT Still.
     The clinic is free for students and discounted for family; and since Adam has hole-y teeth, we've been taking advantage of that perk :) It was totally a God-thing that he even had Kelly's number-she'd randomly called him at 8:10 Friday morning to be sure he was coming for his 8:30 appointment, and good think she did! She told us Blaise needed to be seen as soon as possible and personally got in touch  with the pediodontist early Monday morning to set up an appoinment for him, then called me to tell me...seriously such a blessing because I'd called the clinic that morning and left a message, but hadn't known the receptionist was out of the office and wouldn't get my message till 1pm!
    We showed up at 1 with a sleepy, hurting little boy and two big kids who thought they were on an adventure. Blythe had a hard morning with my attention elsewhere and worry for her little brother (which mostly shows itself through tears about other things...she's learning though :) but once we were on the road to "fix" it she was good. Adam wanted to be there to help out (and, honestly, to get out of a long lecture he didn't need to be at...they're all so ready for break!) so, although I had great offers of help from some of the other PA mamas, he came over to take the bigs and I headed in with Blaise. A 3rd-year dental student came down and gave Blaise a sticker (and Pax, and Blythe) to try to "make friends"...he was cautiously friendly, but knew we weren't there for fun. And, boy, was it not fun! Don't get me wrong, the dental students did a great job and the dentist was informative and helpful. But having to help strap your baby down in a "papoose" (basically a straitjacket) so he can have shots and a tooth yanked out is not.fun. He screamed the entire time, and when they waited for a few minutes to let his gums numb after the shots he kept telling them "NAO!!" as in, "Blaise, do you want a lollypop afterwords?" "NAO!!" (vehement head shake) "Blaise, do you want another truck sticker?" "NAO!!" shaking his head even more vehemently. Then he looked at me and pleaded, "A'done! A'done!" and it broke my mama-heart.
    I'm so thankful I was able to be there with him, helping to hold him, talking to him the whole time...I don't know if it helped him at all, but it sure helped me. I would've been a wreak otherwise. Then-yank, yank (the tooth came out in 2 pieces, it had split so much) and it was done. Must have been quite a sight, though, the two dental students, me, the DDS, and the hygienist all crammed in to this teeny room with a screaming toddler! The 4th year student put gaze in his mouth and asked me to hold it down to stop the bleeding, and I was finally, finally able to hold his little head and sing "Baby Mine," and his eyes locked on mine and he started to calm down.
I  snapped this before we headed into the dental clinic

Once they unstrapped him, I held the gauze in a long as possible but the kid is STRONG and after the gushing stopped, I gave up and just let him snuggle me, chest to chest. He grabbed his blankie and me and cried...and cried...and finally, finally after lots of rocking and soothing calmed down. At the end he even smiled at the 3rd year who'd actually done the yanking; although he still wanted nothing to do with the stickers and toy chest gifts they tried to appease him with and just said "NAO!!" and threw the things back at them. I can't say I really blame him, poor baby.
Thankfully, by that evening he was already SO much better-he chowed down two large pieces of chicken pot pie, and then proceeded to terrorize his sister and the Christmas tree.  (a sure sign he was feeling better!) The 3rd or 4th time I found him between the window and the tree, I told him firmly "Blaise, no touch!" his response? A sweet, now-very-gap-toothed smile and "Bye bye, Mama. Shhee ya!"
Although he wasn't planning on going anywhere...
So now our daughter is the only one yet to lose a tooth; and our baby will have one front tooth for many, many years. The dentist wants us to come in for a re-check next month...I'm not holding my breath for a smooth visit then :)
Ahhhh, my gap-toothed boys. How I love them, but this mama is expecting some grey hair soon !


A little bit chilly.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, it rained. A lot...for 2 days almost straight-thru, which is a super-rare occurrence here. I was soaking it up...no pun intended! It almost truly felt like fall!                                      Saturday morning we bundled the kids up (it was cold! At least in the 50s...) and went out into the yard to play kickball, which was of course super fun. Once we finished, Blythe was "brr-ing" (that's "cold" in Blythe-speak) and Pax was, well, not boiling hot; so they asked if they could have hot cocoa in front of the fire. An easy request to grant, since our fireplace is gas...and they loved it.

Although, if you look closely you can see that neither one has socks on. You can also see that Pax put on shorts after coming inside...so they couldn't have been THAT cold :)

....toasting his fingers....
since Blaise was outside with Daddy removing a dead palm tree, I took the time to actually grab the big camera and snapped a few shots, instead of using my phone. Some things just need to be documented well.

Hot Cocoa simply tastes better when you drink it out of pretty cups in front of a blazing fire, don't you think?
So thankful we get to make memories like this with our kiddos.


So Tinkerbell, a Jedi and a doctor go out one night....

... it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke; but really, it's just Halloween at our house. A month late. Please note the bells on Tink's ballet slippers, ankle and wrist--that was my dad's brainchild dreamed up with B while they were here for Pax's birthday; and she was adamant that she MUST have bells so she would sound like Tink, too. (She was beyond thrilled with the bells! And thank goodness for Halloween in Arizona, so Tink didn't need to wear a snowsuit.)Blaise was a doctor because, well, he'd been carrying the stethoscope around like a security blanket for the entire month. He was excited! he didn't know why! but he got to "go" and that's all he cared about!
         Pax's costume choice was no surprise to us, and pretty easy...I made the robe out of an old comforter. I knew it would come in handy someday! And his light-saber lights up and makes the "battle"sounds, which came in handy in the dark.We went to Arcadia with our across-the-street neighbors again to trick or treat, and hit up the big houses where they give out (not even kidding) king sized candy bars, even to the baby. Which works out well for Adam, as I'm pretty sure he was the one who ended up eating most of the candy...

...and I'm loving my stair-step children right now :) Just a quick post to document (although the pictures aren't great-sorry about that. Phone photos.) because, really, I'll want to remember the way they looked in 10 years...and that, the day after we carved pumpkins Pax asked me if next year, he could not watch while I scoop the "guts" out of the pumpkin. "Why not?" I asked him, "It's kind of fun,"
"nah," he replied, with a shake of his head and a flick of his wrist;
"It makes me feel like I'm gonna throw up,"
So, I'm thinking maybe not surgeon as a career choice for him.


Now he is Six.

I realize this post is a month late. But- Pax turned 6 on October 2nd. SIX. I won't say it's crazy, even though it is; I will say that when the kids and I watched the little video my dad had put together of his birth and the days immediately following; I felt a strange sense of nostalgia and even got a bit teary...not that I want to go back to those days. The kid didn't sleep through the night until he was 15 months old, no matter what we did. And really, he's such a fun BOY that I can't imagine missing tomorrow to go back to then! The kid was BEYOND excited for his birthday; begging us to let him open his gifts as soon as they started showing up in the mail and changing his mind 5,000 times about what kind of cake he wanted, what kind of party he wanted, what he wanted for dinner that night....all the fun stuff. Finally, he settled on a vanilla cake with salted caramel frosting (the kid has good taste!!). Yum! don't know how to make caramel frosting? Neither did I! and the first batch turned into caramel candies....with lots of extra sugar. But the second batch was gooooood. He helped me make the cake and frost it while the littles napped...he was, of course, thrilled!
 My folks (Grammy and Grandaddy to the littles) came to visit for the big day; and my mom mostly spent her time freezer-cooking with me and putting together the seventy-five thousand pieces of a starfighter Lego ship. Seriously, it took her (with some help from Pax) hours....my dad spent his time helping us find an affordale pool-cover-removal-device and turning an old planter box into a sandbox for the kids. They're good to have around, those grandparents! I would apologize for the fact that I have only a handful of camera pics of his celebration-but I was spending time with my boy, and carring his cake in while everyone else sang, and playing lightsabers and making pizza for when his buddy spent the night (his "party" of choice) and so really-I don't feel bad about the lack of photos at all.

Here's my mom with the compleated (finally!) Starfighter, and Pax about to enjoy the cake!

B gave it two thumbs up, too. Adam and Little Adam (Blaise, that is) both thought it was too sweet...more for the rest of us :)
 This is a little video of Pax and his buddy Baylor...they were up at 6 playing; by 7 they decided to take on the (chilly!!) pool. Silly, silly boys...I love them!
Oh, Pax..my small son who tests me, who has been used by God to teach me so much about being a mother; who must always, always know "why?"; who is always thinking and dreaming and planning...how your Daddy and I love you! I remember you that night, a grunting little baby boy struggling to breathe after a somewhat difficult birth; your Daddy's face radiated joy and pride..
You still bring us Joy and Pride today.
We love you, Small Son. Always.


Be careful what you say...

    Yesterday, as I ran around like a crazy woman trying to get dinner ready while prepping myself and 2 kids for AWANAS, I told the bigs that it was crazy hat night. We talked about some of their hat options, and they both ran out of the room to find something. good. Great! I thought. At least we won't have to deal with that part in the after dinner rush! (although it didn't actually go that smoothly...but that's another story.)
    Meanwhile, Blaise (now 18 months) was in the kitchen; he obviously was in earshot of the conversation, but I didn't think anything of it.... until he went to the Tupperware drawer, opened it, and placed a container on his head. He turned to me and grinned...crazy hat night? Check! All over it, Mama.
      Also, the kid can "sing" Darth Vader's theme song with perfect pitch and understanding. Which is what he was doing the other night, while wearing his Superman jammies (and cape!) and Pax's sunglasses.

   I'm 95% sure this kid is smarter than me already...and 100% sure he doesn't EVER want to be left behind!


WHO is in your room??

The other night, Adam came out from Blythe's room chuckling a bit and told me I should go give her one last kiss. So I went in, sat on the edge of her bed, and she began to explain to me that she didn't like sleeping by herself(very dramatically, with lots of gesturing) because "Pax and Blaise get to sleep together and you and Daddy get to sleep together and I'm" (head shaking, more gesturing) "I'm just in here with God and wisdom!!!"
Somehow, I manage to only smile at her as she says this so earnestly; and I tell her that maybe someday soon, we could get a cat...."yeah...and then the cat could curl up on my pillow or sleep on a little bed next to my bed and...." at this point I'm kissing her, saying goodnight, and heading out the door-- and wondering who, exactly, wisdom is!
But I'm pretty sure if she has anything to do with it there will be a cat named Wisdom here very soon. Or Lucy. She likes Lucy, too...
"I'm just in here with God and wisdom!!!" 
seems like pretty good company to me :)


Diary of a P.A. student('s wife): So we had a Monday. (and my baby has a concussion.)

Monday...ahhh, Monday. It started out pretty well; everyone slept,  I had hot coffee and time with God to start my day. Even got a shower...although a certain tiny boy was up at that point. Actually, all 3 of them were up and running, at 6:30. So, that was the beginning of it-well, that and the part where Adam took an extra 20 minutes to study and then still decided he could "fit a run in" before he left. Which made him dash out the door 10 minutes late (I think we said "good morning!" in there somewhere...), not horrible but not good on a quiz day. Ok, we can settle into our day now, right? Until I saw his briefcase. Still sitting on the counter. Ten minutes AFTER he'd left. A quick phone call, a sigh, a car turned around, another phone call to ask if I'd meet him at the end of the driveway, 8 minutes of waiting at the end of the driveway chatting with the construction workers; a quick kiss thru the window, and I thought Monday could settle down.
      After the baby finished breakfast, I set him down and let him run around the house while the others eat, do devotional with me, etc. Then I started the never-ending dish cleaning....
...and quickly discovered that Blaise is now tall enough to see onto the giant island in the middle of our kitchen. Where he spotted his sister's bracelet, full of tiny beads, which I'd confiscated from him sometime last week. He asked (ie, pointed and said, "dat! dat! dat!") if he could have it; I told him that wasn't for Blaise, that it was sister's, and turned back to scrubbing the oatmeal pot (ohh, the oatmeal pot!).
      My children are strong-willed. Have I mentioned that before? ALL of them, chiefs. Which pretty much means that half the time they assume what mom says is just a suggestion, or possibly means, "try harder". So, quietly, he scooted the step stool over to the oven door; then proceeded to climb onto it. I glanced back just in time to see him try to climb up the oven...and too late to save him from falling, hard, onto the unforgiving tile, cracking the back of his head. Thankfully he hit his cloth-diaper covered bum first. But he screamed, I quickly checked and picked him up, he screamed, Blythe stood in front of the freezer deciding which cold pack to get him, I grabbed one out, he screamed....poor baby. He cried and cried for at least 5 minutes, which is a long time in little-kid-injury-cry-time. Then he just lay on my chest, and that was my first clue that something was not right. I mean, other than the fact that he'd just cracked his head on the tile...but kids hit their heads a lot, and B had dance class, so he lay on the couch while I helped her find her tap shoes, a tutu, braided her hair, grabbed sand toys for the boys, and got everyone into the car. Thinking his behavior a bit more unusual than the normal head bonk, I texted Adam and told him what happened, asking him about concussion symptoms. He sent me a check list back, asking if he'd thrown up, how his pupils were, etc. I glanced at him quickly and thought they looked ok and no barfing, so probably he was mostly ok. He was still crying off and on in the car and was quite pale, so I gave him his plug, thinking it would soothe him.
   By the time we'd dropped off the books at the library, he'd fallen asleep. At that point, I was pretty sure we had a mild concussion on our hands...and then he woke up and threw up everywhere.
    Miraculously, I'd managed to arrive at dance class 10 minutes early; which every mom tries to do always because of potential barf or blowout issues but, well, you know how that goes. I was fully prepared to send Pax in to drop off B at class. But, thankfully, I managed to get it all cleaned up in time to get her into class. She met up with her little friend Elizabeth, and Elizabeth's mama walked out to the playground with us.
     I think we made it all of 10 feet before I told her what happened...see, Elizabeth's mama was a pediatric trauma nurse before having her oldest. It's helpful to have these friends...make a note of that :) As I got to the part where Blaise had fallen asleep and then thrown up, I could see her face change. She asked if she could hold him for a minute and gave him a quick check; then explained that while he seemed mostly ok (he recognized her, smiled, no issues there) he most likely had a mild concussion and I needed to keep a close eye on him. That afternoon before naps I also noticed that his right pupil WAS slightly bigger than the left...but they were both reacting to light equally. So, we went the path of close observation and lots of prayer...after another call to Adam, more checking, waking the poor guy up every 30 minutes during naptime to be sure he would wake up easily; a call to my cousin the ex-paramedic for more tests to check for signs of bleeding, coordination, cognition, etc; and one final check by Adam with his cool pen light when he got home. (it IS handy to have someone in the medical field in the house) Verdict? concussed, yes. Mild, yes. Ice? almost impossible with this particular 17 month old, even WITH a head injury...but accomplished with the help of a lollipop and lots of singing and rocking. And other than sleeping more than usual, he's pretty much back to normal now...although we're still supposed to "keep him quite" for the next few days to a week. Not exactly sure how that will work, especially since the kid was back to climbing whatever he could on Tuesday; I think our youngest may be the one to give me my first grey hair. And I'd like to thank the city of Scottsdale for their impeccable timing in ripping up the street right in front of our house with many "mighty machines" for the past 3 days- that was quite seriously the best thing my two boys have watched in a loooong time. Their sister liked it, too. Hey, I liked it! We gave water and caramel cookie bars to the "workers" :)
Despite the craziness and stress of Monday, (I felt like I could sleep for a week by the time the kids went to bed that night...)  I'm SO thankful for the prayers of family and friends and that little buddy is healing quickly. In fact, since Tuesday, the day after his fall, he's had a crazy language explosion-both in vocabulary and in the clarity of his words. Slightly ironic, I know. But I'll take it!


A Glimpse of Fall. WARNING: extremely long and LOTS of pictures...and some rambling.

         This blog is, mainly, my way of digital scrapbooking and journaling. I use it to keep track of our family's events, silly stories, and the things God is teaching me; which means sometimes you get deep profound thoughts and sometimes, well, you just get life :) This past week, we made another lightening-fast trip to Durango; this time, for a very happy occasion. An old student of ours, Sarah Branch-Boyle, was engaged to be married and had asked Adam several months ago if he would perform the ceremony. Of course, Adam told her that if it was at all possible with school, he'd be honored to do it; and as the summer went by we figured that we could make it work. So last Wednesday morning, I packed up the kids, picked up Nicole and Peyton Lobmeyer, and we headed to the cool of September in Colorado. Nicole was going to be a bridesmaid in the wedding of another old student of ours; so carpooling worked out perfectly! Adam and Jason left Phoenix late Thursday evening with their older 3, after Adam was out of class...I was a little nervous about their drive, I'll admit. It was pouring rain, they would be driving very late into the night....I prayed, a lot :)

Blythe the builder. With Blaise and Madi in the
It's so fun when Daddy gets to come!!
 After fresh pain au chocolate for the kids and a croissant with coffee for me (just one of the perks of having inlaws who live over a bakery!), the kids and I spent Thursday morning at the Discovery Center with my sister-in-law and 3 nieces...I couldn't help but laugh at the contrast in their clothing. It was (to us!!) cold and rainy-my kids were dressed for Arizona winter. My nieces all showed up in summer dresses :)
Nina and Blaise "building" together.
 The discovery center is fun for all, and since it's small enough that the kids can roam at will, Tiff and I had a few minutes to talk, which feels like another rare occurance. We decided next time we're in town, we must figure out a way to go get pedicures, just the two of us... it's always fun to see how the middle 4 cousins just pick up where they left off. And Nina, our oldest niece (who, by the way, turned TEN today; which is crazy, since she was born 6 weeks after Adam and I started dating!) loves playing with and looking after Blaise.

Seriously...the kid was in heaven!

This is the rocket Violet made for herself and Pax :)

 The next day, with Adam safely arrived at about 2 am and a short break in the rain, we went to the "triangle park". See my very tired eyes? That's because someone got sick AND decided  his pack and play was extremely uncomfortable...the only time he slept all night was on me. Which, as all mamas know, means not much sleep for Mama :)

This girl. She's an emoter, that one, and although it can be challenging when she's angry or upset, watching her in full-joy-mode is delightful! Her cute little rain jacket was a gift Grandma brought back from their last trip to Paris, and she wouldn't be parted with it. No matter that the sun was actually shining for a few minutes....
I love the relationship that is already there between our boys. And I love my husband's goofy side (wearing Pax's fleece, which disappeared...now it occurs to me we may have left it at the park that day. I told you-no sleep!)                          

Tiff and the girls came, too-cousins swinging! Yup, now that I look at this picture, I'm convinced we left the fleece at the park. Glad to have that mystery solved, anyway...
Fall colors. Miss this so, so much! And I adored our little taste of fall...it's my favorite season (at least in Colorado); which may or may not have something to do with the fact that I was BORN in the fall. ahem.
We spent the morning climbing, running, playing hide and seek; then in the afternoon Adam and i made one of the most beautiful drives ever up to Silverton for the rehearsal dinner. it rained the whole way up, but cleared for the rehersal. Aside from being incredibly touched at the thoughtfulness of Sarah and Alex towards their family and friends and those involved in the wedding, it was so nice for Adam and I to just talk...and talk...and run through eye disease flashcards...romantic, I'm telling you! Saturday morning I had the opportunity to do 2 photoshoots, both for good friends of ours. In the middle of the first shoot, Jill (the mama) answered her cell phone-it was my sister-in-law, Tiff.
"Oh, sure, he can come. No problem!" she said, and I'm thinking to myself, "Oh no, my son did NOT just invite himself to a birthday party..." but yup. Apparently he literally sobbed when he heard Violet was going to Jack's birthday party (he loves the Palmer kids...Kale introduced him to Star Wars Legos. Pretty sure he's Pax's hero right now) and wouldn't let go of her; so Auntie Tiff of course called and asked if he could come along. (Her exact words to me that night were, "If it had been one of my kids I would have just told them to "suck it up, buttercup" but it was my nephew and I just couldn't....") Thankfully, Jill's pretty much great and so is Mark and so Pax got to go to a Star Wars themed birthday party; and loved every second of it. Blythe was thrilled to go off with Madi and Nina and Blaise to Farmington to watch uncle Yay-Yay coach peewee football; and somehow came home with her first Barbie-like doll: Cinderella. (ahem. Aunt Tiff again.) All in all they had a fabulous day...and so did Adam and I!
It rained, once again, all the way up; but the clouds kissing the tops of the mountians and the waterfalls rushing down in the distance were absolutly spectacular. We even saw the first snow on the mountiantops of Silverton, although it had melted by the time the ceremony was over. The rain stopped literally 5 minutes before they started the ceremony, and the sun came out. It was chilly and majestic and perfect. Adam did a wonderful job with the service; and the personal touches Alex and Sarah added (including washing each others' feet and communion with their parents) made the service one of beautiful worship, as well as a marriage celebration. It truly was an unforgettable wedding!
Below, you can see the view from the gazebo and the mountains with the low-hanging clouds clinging to them...it was spectacular.

Sarah is half Irish, half Hispanic, which meant that both parents walked her down the isle. I couldn't hold it together, watching the three of them walk down the path; proud of the woman Sarah has become and seeing her parents love for her; and, yes, thinking a bit about our own only-daughter.

And the bride and groom :) see? Sun!!

The reception was very nice, although we left a bit early in order to pick up our kiddos and put them to be ourselves that evening. And to pack the car. We actually had everyone in the car and pulled away from the bakery at 6 am; although after gas and a few other errands we didn't actually get out of town until an hour later. But, really, that's how it goes! The drive home was almost-uneventful, with more eye disease flashcards and a little carsick girlie who unfortunately takes after her Mama. Even with a car-full of sick kiddos and very little sleep-I'm so very glad we made the trip happen. There's just something special about watching old students get married...and then, I love hearing Adam share his heart so eloquently...and seeing family was just the icing on the cake! And, a week and umpteen loads of laundry later, I think we're almost recovered. I think.


Because, well, I can.

I'm working on a post about our quick trip to Durango last weekend, buuuuut I'm also editing and I just had to share these pictures. I'm having so much fun! This first one is of the Palmer kids, Kale, Kate and Jack...they're laughing at their goofy Dad. Pax managed to crash Jack's birthday party later that day-I would have been mortified when my sister-in-law called in the middle of the session to ask if he could come too, as apparently he was clinging to his cousin and sobbing at the thought of not being able to be there, too...but it was Jill, after all. She's great like that!
 And this one...is little boy-newborn-brother perfection. Our friend the Steph asked me  a few months ago if I could do newborns when their youngest son was born (props to Steph for being up for a photoshoot 5 days after giving birth!!) and of course I jumped at the chance to photograph them again. I'm especially loving the plastic horse up Asher's nose and Kaiden's impressed expression :)


Sew what?

      Among other things, I've decided that this year I will become a better seamstress. Clothes sewing, in particular...with the long-term goal of being able to sew more of my own clothes and more of the kids' (I already sew some of them) and actually not have them look too homemade :) My mama made sure I learned how to sew as a girl, for which I am forever grateful, and I've sewn off and on throughout the years; mostly home goods with several skirts thrown in the mix. For my birthday last year, I asked for a new sewing machine...and with it, I think I've sewn more in the past year than in our entire married life! Including the first "fancy" dress I've ever made for B. She wore it to the Daddy-Daughter dance...and now, she has a new dress. I've been wanting to learn to sew with knits (like the ever-popular jersey...maxi skirt, anyone?) for months and, after getting some ballpoint needles and some advice about the stretch stitch from the girl at the sewing machine store, I dove right in. My first project...well. It turned out fine, but the jersey I used is absolutely see-through (oops) and so will not be featured here today. Or ever.
     I decided for my next project to do something small...3t sized, to be exact. And since I made up the pattern from another tank top and my own sewing knowledge, I have to say I'm thrilled with how it turned out! Especially since it cost me nothing, being made up of leftover fabric from other projects. The best part, however, was absolutely seeing the joy and excitement on her face when she put it on...when the girl won't stop dancing or twirling long enough to eat breakfast, and then starts to cry that night
  because she has to take it off for bedtime....well, you know she's truly pleased! Which, of course, made my Mama-heart overwhelmingly happy. She is a gem. I will never, ever get tired of watching my children in full-joy mode.


Diary of a PA student('s wife): the First Term.

    Somehow, just like that, it's August. Somehow, the craziness of PA school has made things time-warp...no longer are we in the first month of school. We raced past that milestone without blinking, and the kids and I flew to Ft. Collins to spend they week of midterms with my folks, and half of this past week with great friends up in Flagstaff. You know, so Adam could bury himself in bodyparts (that sounds weird, but it's kinda true) and come out victorious. Or at least still standing.
   Somehow, we are adjusted (for now, at least) to his crazy study schedule and I have learned to balance having my husband home but not available 90% of the time. I'm seeing more and more just what an incredibly beautiful support system of friends and family we have...I've gained insight from sistercousins on how to deal with the days when it's overwhelming...and then the hubby comes home and must go study. I've been reminded by a dear friend and mentor that each minute does not last forever; and that there isn't a limit to how many times you can ask God for the strength and patience to make it through this temper tantrum and not freak out too each day. I see that even in the hard times, in the exhaustion, in the trips by myself with the kids when I throw up on the airplane as we land in a crazy lightening storm; there is still a beauty there to grasp that does not come from me. (My daughter kept singing joyfully, "oh, no, you never let go; through the calm and through the storm..." and the baby bounced up and down and laughed at the turbulence and Pax stared at the lightening flashing just outside the window and exclaimed, "Oh, wow!!" 18,000 times during that landing...)
      Adam and I are both soaking up more than ever the beautiful truth of, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you," (Matt. 6:33)  Adam has learned to be efficient in his studying; and it has made his time more productive. Like drinking from a fire hydrant. He's been home every night for dinner (when we're in town), been there for bedtime every night; and although sometimes I feel the absence of "us" time more than others; the kids know their Daddy will be there every night. That's HUGE right now with the hours some of the students are keeping-but we knew it was a priority. We're both finding out, again, the importance of true connection with each other every day in some small way. And that good communication is worth its weight in gold. And that love notes are never, ever overrated. And so we press on....
    The kids slept better in Colorado than they ever have at my folks' house. It truly was Grace, because as they sleep all-too-often so goes my day; as was evidenced 2 weeks ago when the baby was cutting his one-year-old molars and up three times a night and then the bigs started getting up (for no reason I can find) several times a night themselves which all added up to a very tired, half-lonely, sleep deprived mama who caught a bad sore throat and may have had a tiny breakdown one morning in which the words "it's not fair!" poured out with my tears....for about 2.5 seconds. Until I realized, again, that there is no guarantee of fair, only of grace.  Having the right priorities, being intentional, meeting the needs of my husband and kids, filling up my heart with the Lord's goodness daily, checking my attitude...these things are essential. Wonderful. But they don't guarantee an "easy" life, only a life rich with goodness. Some days I have to look harder than others to find the richness. But it's always there.
   It was there on my bathroom mirror later that same morning, where my husband had written:
 What to say?
Know that even in struggle you have great purpose.
Your effort...your great work is NOT in vain.
Your Lord God sees and loves you.
He is your strength.
He is your comfort.
Look up and be encouraged.
(yes, I absolutely know how wonderful he is. He knows I think he's wonderful, too.)
     And then there's Celine..the grieving we are all going through along with all the craziness of PA school is continual. We think about her often, of course. Some days, the kids come to me and simply say, "I miss aunt C.C."; to which I can only reply, "Oh, honey, so do I,". But we don't ever leave it at that. We talk about where she is, what heaven might be like, what she might be doing. Why she left. Who she's with. We've had more conversations about the what-ifs of heaven in the past 3 months than I ever have before...because they want to know what it's like. Except I don't know what all of what it's like, of course; so I tell them what we do know and sometimes we "maybe its" the rest. But we always, always end these conversations with good memories about times we spent with her...because that's the best way to remember her and celebrate her life. And I want them to remember her.
    It breaks my heart a little, sometimes, when Blythe asks me what she used to do with Aunt C.C. She's three-and even though she's very smart, she's too young to remember some things very long. So I talk about how we were in Paris with her when Blythe was almost two; and when Aunt C.C. was here for her third birthday and played tea party with her new tea set. How Celine loved to carry B around long after she actually needed someone to carry her because B was so tiny.
    I think about the picture I found on my phone (which used to be her phone) just a few weeks ago of Celine and her sushi and I smile even as I tear up a bit; and I am thankful for this chance to teach my children that it's ok to grieve, it's good to let yourself feel the sadness because it means they left an imprint in the softness of our hearts; but that joy-the good memories and the knowledge of what comes next-always comes at the end. I find myself wishing our kids had memories of their Aunt Erica, too; but instead I give them mine, so when they think of both their aunts together they have an idea of who she is, too.
   So tonight, Adam will come home. A bit late, but he will be here. We'll eat breakfast for dinner and play in the pool and put the kids to bed exhausted, since there was no napping  today. And I'll go to my computer, put on my headphones, smile at my studying husband across the room....and remember again how very far we've come to get to this point. How very blessed we are. First term finals almost done. Next week, we will rest and just be together and talk and talk and talk.
I can't wait :)


She is.

Do you know this kid?

Because you should.

She is seriously the twirliest





     most dramatic (in good and not so good ways!)













most intense

most darling
little three-year-old pixie

I know.

You really should know her...

a priceless gift, she is.