Tuesday, November 25, 2014

......lucky seven, Elsa Grace.....

.....I didn't intend for it to happen, but as I was gathering photos for this blog post, I came across a "recovered file" on my MAC......as I sorted through it, I found all sorts of old videos and pictures off an iphone that I used to have when both girls were one and two......I got lost in the pictures and videos; simultaneously longing for those days when the girls were so little and also appreciating the conversation and enjoyment I have with them now......and then the videos appeared when sweet Brody joined us......the snapshots and video clips quickly reminded me how living in such small NYC quarters in that phase of life was a blessing and a stress at the same time.....so now I am back to the present and enjoying it five years later.....

....the timing of finding this "recovered file" was perfect, as it brought me back to the days when motherhood was still so new.....and here we are, seven years into it and both Stefan and I are still learning, still in awe at this incredible responsibility of parenthood and are even more joy filled then we were when the days were much simpler and slower paced......

......this past weekend and all day yesterday, we celebrated our fist born turning seven.....

.....she wanted pink, she wanted a pony and she wanted a petting zoo.....so we turned our backyard into a little haven for 18 of her best girl friends and we had a little show down that surely did not disappoint......


....I heard the rustling around upstairs before 6am when I was having my coffee with Mae.....and the duo emerged all geared up and ready to go.....the countdown for Elsa's fall fest was on......the joy and excitement about parties, cake, friends, goody bags, and holidays is contagious and I love the buzz that it creates it our house.......I could use a little less craziness with the running and jumping and yelling, but we are learning that's all part of it too.....so we take the it all in stride......


....the day was on the frigid side, but it was gorgeous......we had abundant sunshine and the children were dressed to play.......they are immune to temperatures below 40 degrees.......it made the animals a little livelier and the hot chocolate tasted that much sweeter.....




......friends were reunited, farm animals were dotted on, old school games were brought outside, we had dear friends stay and help us man the party and the girls were saying good bye in no time at all......






....and it dawned on me as we were setting up for the party that this very well could be the last "birthday party" we throw for Elsie......granted, we have not thrown 7 of them since we do the parties on the odd years......so technically this is our fourth one we have thrown......but will she want a party at age nine?.....when she is on the verge of tweendom?......probably not.....I am guessing she will opt for a sleep over with close friends or another event that isn't all about inviting your entire class.....so there was a part of me that lost track of details that no one would have noticed otherwise......and letting those go; like handing out bandanas or fussing over the craft that flopped, went to the wayside just so I could be still, step back and watch it all fully present.....

....I could be wrong......this very well may not be the last party she has in our backyard, but I have a strong suspicion that it was.....and so I irritated several little girls to stop what they were doing around half time just so I could capture the group at our Farm Fest.....the first grade wonder......the sweetness that all of these girls had toward one another......

.....it was such a great group of girls......all playing with one another, all including each other in events and games and all encouraging each other.....


.......my heart was happy and so, so full......
(and sweet Mae was napping by this time)




......and so as we came off the high of this weekend and celebrating you in a grand way, Elsa Grace; the timing of finding these old pictures was remarkable.....

.....you have always had a special sparkle in your eyes.....I so clearly remember this day at the park with you, as it was late summer and I was planning your first birthday with other friends in our building.....your eyes have gleamed with sheer joy since the day you were born and even as a bright seven year old, you still find excitement and wonder in all things.......


....you have aways loved being outside, exploring God's creation......and of course, you have always had such a dear affection for your Daddy......


.....you can be serious, goofy, inquisitive and silly all in one breath......
(and your resemblance to baby Mae is astounding- so I had to add a picture of the two of you at the same age!)

.....Elsa, 12 months.....

.....Mae, 12 months......

......you have set such an incredible example to your siblings on how to show love to others, how to be compassionate, how to laugh at mistakes, and how to find the wonder in all things......





......I know that God created you to be someone He has already intended you to be......He has a future paved out for you and has given you gifts and talents that are specific to you......


.....there are people in your life you will impact......there are people in your little 7 years you have already made better by just being you......you are loyal, loving and considerate......



.....and you love to have fun.....



.....we have loved every phase of parenting you, Elsa....and I only hope that we can help you grow into the person that God made you to be.....I hope we can encourage you, comfort you, love you, discipline you, teach you and protect you as best as we can......it is those things that I pray for when I seek wisdom on how to ensure we give you all that you need.....our love for you is so bountiful, so deep and will never waver.....


....and our heart bursts just as much for your siblings; as you are all so incredibly special and unique in your own ways.....


.....happy lucky seven, Elsie.....
(and can't wait to hear what the tooth fairy leaves you, too)


.....you will forever be the one who made me a mama.....


.....thank you for being you.....

.....I love you to the moon and back.....

Xx Mama

Sunday, November 9, 2014

......our beautiful, Mae......welcome to one.....

.....why, hello my beloved blog.....boy, have I neglected you........it hasn't been purposeful.....life with four has been a juggle and then you add Beachbody, social activities, Stefan's travel and homework; just to name a few, and the days slip by without many visits.......but November was just what I needed- a milestone family event that has brought me back to you with an open mind and a clean white slate of virtual paper so I can capture the feelings of the here and now in our bustling home.....

.....our last addition to the family turned one on Friday and we celebrated her all weekend.....honestly, we celebrate her everyday.....her bright, loving, charming, sweet and peaceful disposition have most people stopping in their tracks to admire her and we don't mind it.....we all agree that she is the most precious baby who has every existed (except my other 3 children, of course) and the other five of us in the family are all love struck to the core......every single one of us......

......deep, deep love is what we all have for this child......she has made our family complete and I think each and every one of us appreciate that fact......

.....and so, Mae Elizabeth, I will do my best to capture the emotion of the here and now.....I will try to wrap up the last 12 months the best that I can because I want you to know how truly special you have been to our family.......




.....Mae, I prayed for you for months before we even knew you were coming......and my pregnancy with you taught both mommy and daddy a lot of about faith and love and trust and hope......you, my beloved baby girl, taught me more in 9 months than I learned in years of adulthood......you were knitted together perfectly in my womb and although God knew of your innermost being, we waited anxiously to know you too......



......when you arrived looking splendid and pink and perfect, it took our breath away.....you were everything and more we had ever dreamed of and your disposition was apparent from the very beginning......you were peaceful, affectionate, bright eyed and wanted to be in the center of the family action......



.....your siblings were ecstatic for your arrival and I will never forget your birthday afternoon when the troop rolled in to meet you......I could hear the squeals down the hallway 2 minutes before they arrived in our room......




.....and since I knew you would be our last baby, I savored every second alone with you......I studied your features, smelled your skin, watched your chest rise and fall over and over again.....I could have stayed at the hospital for several days just to have you all to myself, but I knew there were others who were chomping at the bit for you to come home.....




.....your first day at the house you fit in perfectly.....you went with the flow for every event we took you to and you we probably said you were the easiest baby in the world 10,000 times in your first 12 months of life......if you needed to sleep, you slept.......if you were hungry, you would politely let me know.......if you were bored, well, actually in this house I don't think you have ever been bored.....and when you have had enough of the crew, you let me know too and we make sure to give you some space to decompress......



.....you love to be silly, you love attention, you love to explore, you love independence and you love to be on the move......



.....we took a lot of photos of you.....gave you lots of hugs and kisses and I am pretty sure at the ripe age of 12 months, you know full well that you are completely and utterly adored......





.....and it just hasn't been your parents and your siblings who have loved spending time with you......you are doted on by the whole extended family, too.....











......and so when your birthday weekend arrived, we were ready to celebrate the beautiful first year of your life.....


.....so we planned a gathering with the Schallers.....the family whose four children all align up with ours.......all 10 of us planned a party to celebrate both you and Gracie.......the baby who slept next to you in the hospital nursery your first few hours of life......



......and the baby who would be your little sidekick for many months and years to come......






......around 7 months you two started to recognize and show interest in one another.......



.....and it is easy to tell that you are both fourth children because on spontaneous play dates in October, both of your mommies have you dressed in Christmas hand me down PJs at lunchtime.......you two didn't seem to care......


.....we celebrated big......lots of cake, lots of good food and lots of family......






.....and Michele and I did not miss a beat acknowledging that she and I made it though the first year as new mamas of four, too......


......Mae, you are an absolute joy.....I hope you know that everything we do as a family is so much fuller because you are here.....I wish I could capture you laugh, your little snort when you are proud of something you have done, your smile, your coos, your sweet voice, and your expressions......the time has slipped through my fingers so very quickly; but I promise you that I have inhaled every last second of you being such a little baby.....I am anticipating so much joy in getting to unwrap your little personality that emerges more and more each day......toddlerhood will hold so many other firsts for you, which will also be our lasts; but I am loving each moment of being a family of six.....


.....thank you for blessing each and every one of us.....we love you to the moon and back, sweet girl......

.....Happy first birthday......
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