Everyday Beauty

In an effort to continue embracing this life that God’s given me and choose gratitude, I am making a mental effort to note the things in my days that are beauty to me…today.

At 3AM I woke Christopher up to help with Kyler as I had just put Audrey back to bed-I didn’t find out until the morning that he had been up till 2AM working on our broken dishwasher. He didn’t complain one bit, just got up and rocked Kyler back to sleep. Beauty is his gorgeous, long, bed head hair peppered with gray, super messy and super handsome.

This morning at the park, Kyler-ever wanting to be a big boy-had a face full of satisfaction as he swung on the big swing instead of the baby one. Beauty is the delight in his huge brown eyes.

As I snuggled Caleb in bed at naptime today, he was trying to describe what the M & M candy in his mouth tasted like:

“Mom, it tastes so good, it tastes like…I just don’t know. It tastes like sweet and crunchy and yummy. I just don’t know how it tastes. It’s like….(long pause)….it tastes just like you mama.”

Beauty is that to a four year old that I’ve struggled so much to parent the last couple weeks, M & M’s taste like me, how wonderful is that?

When I picked Rylee up from VBS today, she scooped Audrey out of my arms and sat down on the floor in the classroom holding her. In an instant, the chaos of the room calmed and every little girl who’d been running in different directions sat down in a perfect circle around Rylee, 6 of them, and delighted in every detail that is Audrey-hands, fingers, hair fuzz, nose, her pink outfit. Beauty is the intoxicating nature of a new baby and it is the treasure of a sister for my firstborn.

Although our dishwasher now needs replacing and our fridge went out this week also so we have a free fridge from a friend in our driveway where all our food is currently being stored-beauty is the way God always provides for us in the most amazing ways.

-Karissa

The food of summer

Since the year I was born, nearly every year I’ve picked berries at Harvold’s Berry Farm in Carnation. This year the strawberries were super late with all our cold weather, but summer is finally here. We had a wonderful time plucking berries and filling our baskets with 22 pounds of bright red berries. The only thing better than this is picking raspberries, we can’t wait!

Our garden, also slow to grow this year with the cold (almost all our seedlings died in late April just after they were planted because they were covered with SNOW-it was tragic), is finally helping fill our table with yummy things.

Kyler is becoming quite adept at eating cherries, taking care to smash them first to remove the pit all by himself.

-Karissa

Totally TWO!

I am feeling quite fragmented tonight, having Caleb and Christopher gone camping since Sunday and Rylee at my mom’s for a sleepover this evening. It is strange how simple life with only two kids seems when once I thought two kids was surely going to send me to the crazy house…..I suppose now the only difference is that this IS the crazy house and I’ve learned to adore it.

Kyler turns 2 on Sunday. Here is our conversation that took place on the deck tonight:

(Kyler holding a football)
Me: “Kyler, what kind of ball is that?”
Kyler: “Mine, mine ball.”

(Kyler kicks the ball and gets his new green ball)
Me: “Kyler, is that a green ball?”
Kyler: “No, mine…mine.”

(He loses the green ball and picks up Maggie’s fetch ball)
Me: “Who’s ball is that? Is it Maggie’s?” (knowing he’s just mastered saying our dog’s name)
Kyler: “No-mine, no Maggie, mine.”

(I’m getting quite amused and he finds a bright pink ball)
Me: “Is that Rylee’s ball?”
Kyler: “No, mine.”

I thought I’d get him on the last one since every pink or purple thing he sees he quickly deems as belonging to “Lylee”-his name for his sister-but not tonight. Tonight Kyler enjoyed life alone where he did not need to defend his domain or try to keep up with anyone, everything belonged to him. It was fun for a couple hours but my heart aches for us to all be together again, soon.

Karissa

Ice cream bars, squirrels and edible? tires

There is never a moment around here when nothing is going on. Last week we took some food outside to our garage freezer and left the door wide open, thank goodness it wasn’t a super hot day-we went about our play and work on projects inside and outside. We had dinner and I had one more thing to put in the freezer. I went outside and walked around the corner to find the freezer door wide open and a squirrel sitting inside the freezer. He had found himself an ice cream sandwich and had the entire, wrapped bar clenched in his teeth. He saw me and quickly split-ice cream and all-I screamed a little and then went about my business putting food away. This time I closed the door. Later on we found the wrapper in the front yard, the kids were so amused that squirrels love ice cream and that one had been sitting inside our open freezer.

If you live around here and have been to the mall with children (something we rarely do anymore and don’t really enjoy at all usually), you have probably seen the display by the play area of bendable tracks with cars that zip around on the tracks. We were delightfully given one last Christmas. The cars lasted a few days then quit working even with fresh batteries. They weren’t too exciting anymore which meant they disappeared for a few months.

One surfaced a few days ago, but still not working it was quickly given to Kyler, who always seems to get the less desirable cars from his brother. He thought it was great, drove it around and took all the tires off the wheels. What two year old doesn’t put everything in their mouth? Yours you say? Oh how nice for you, our Kyler still puts all sorts of ridiculous things in his mouth. I found him chewing on a tire later, no big deal, I asked him to spit it out and he did, always does. But only one tire. I took the car away and looked for the other tires to no avail.

Skip to dinner time the next evening. Uncle Buzz informs me of a diaper full of sand that needed cleaning, I head outside to take care of that. Planning to just pull the sandy diaper off, I sat Kyler down-quickly figuring out there was much more than sand in there. Leaking out all the sides, I hollered for Rylee to bring some wipes, lots of wipes, actually bring the whole box. The sand-poop mixture was awful. Now I knew where at least one missing tire was. Upon opening the diaper, a fully intact and fully digested tire was sitting inside.

Disgusting indeed, but the real problem? Two tires are still missing.

Karissa

Binkie laughs

We recently traded in our old Mam (Sassy) brand binkies for Gerber Nuk ones that are made without BPA as we’ve read too many reports and stories and articles about it’s questionable safety lately.  I explained to the kids what BPA was and why it was bad.  I gave one old BPA-laden binkie to Rylee for her baby.  Today this is what I heard on that note:

Caleb – “Yay! I found the BPA binkie”

Rylee – “Mama, Kyler took my baby’s binkie earlier and it has BPP in it, he might be sick.” (I assured her he would be just fine, thinking it will take much more than BPA binkie to bring that boy down)

My mother (slightly confused and not in-the-know about our recent binkie change) – “Rylee said Kyler can’t have this binkie (he’s sucking on it as she talks), something about it having BPP?”

So we are doing our best to raise earth-aware, eco-friendly, green children, even if they are a little foggy still on all the details and acronyms.

Karissa

 

A Season of New

A new decade of life, a new year of marriage and a new member of our family-all in 6 days. No wonder I’ve been just a tad emotional these past 3 weeks. The day Audrey was born, we all sat down to dinner and quiet tears started streaming down my face. I looked at Christopher holding Audrey and the rest of our brood and he said, “Here we are, our first night with a table for six”. I cried some more, then as always one of the kids asked “What kind of tears are those mama?”. I replied, “Happy ones, very happy ones.” I went on to explain to them that I was overwhelmed, in the best way, with the treasures around my dinner table.

There has been this inexplicable sense of expectation and anticipation for me as I approached my 30th birthday, Audrey’s birth and our wedding anniversary. The past year or so has been a challenging one for sure and we’ve had a lot to work on. As we have persevered and struggled our way through, we are emerging into a beautiful place together that we’ve never known before. Not a perfect place, but a place where I think twice before I criticize or tear down with my words, a place where I don’t complain about things around the house that aren’t done, a place where we make an effort to show tenderness even when we’re exhausted-a place where we are stepping forward holding hands instead of holding back.

From the moment we found out we were expecting another little person, I had such a strong sense that her coming would be part of our re-birth and renewal. God impressed on my heart dozens of times that her entrance into our family was symbolic of the new work He was doing in our life together. As He breathed new life into ‘us’, He gave a new life that would become a part of us.

For some people turning 30 or any year older for that matter, is the beginning of the downhill slide to old age. To me, it feels like the beginning of a new era, a fresh start. A chance to enjoy the journey more and to worry less about the small things that don’t really matter. A new season where each day, each moment is a gift.

Karissa

(The photos are new blooms in our yard-isn’t springtime wonderful?)