Saturday, September 10, 2016

happy birthday, mom.

Friday, September 9, 2016

devoted sisters

Monday, September 5, 2016

"ice skating" with daddy

a whole decade of mothering a mouse

dear ava,

well, this is a little late. how embarrassing. but if you knew the month i've been up against you would feel sympathetic and not...however you feel right now as you read this (miffed? apathetic? jilted?).

you are ten this year. ten. TEN. ten! ten? TEN??? oh geez. i need to sit down.

mouse, i think you're a pretty awesome oldest child. i think i'd take you happily in any birth order, but as an oldest child, i am particularly pleased with you. you're helpful. you're responsible. you're thoughtful. you're funny. you're sweet. you are patient. other children are easily enamored with you and follow you. you think of fun games and are a natural leader.

you read a lot, you still are obsessed with horses (this obsession includes shrieking whenever you see a horse, which has caused my heart to give out several times. seriously, STOP DOING THAT). you love volleyball, and you're good at it, which is exciting. it's fun watching you develop talents and interests.

you're also a bit of a hypochondriac, which i've written about before, but i feel the need to mention it so i can once again urge you to KNOCK IT OFF. because today we saw some little tree frogs when we were playing pokemon go at the nearby university and this man was all, 'wash your hands afterwards or you'll get salmonella' and you were all, 'what's that' and then he told you and then you didn't want to go to bed that night because you thought you maybe had salmonella even though you didn't really touch the frogs and you also washed her hands like a WHOLE bunch of times (for real, a lot). meanwhile seth practically washed his mouth out with those frogs and when i was like, 'wash your hands' he kept "forgetting" and then at dinner i was like 'TELL ME YOU WASHED YOUR HANDS' and he was like, 'i forgot'. OH. MY. GOSH. anyway, mouse, i'm pretty sure you'll live to see your eleventh birthday, or at least your next halloween. don't worry. for real. stop. but do me a favor: stop before you get to seth's level of not caring because i can't take two of you. that's too much.

we just cleaned out your room, which was fun. it turns out you have kept ever last thing you have ever owned in the last year. and you kept it all outside of your drawers or closet or shelves. so going through it all and finding homes for everything was both entirely satisfying (me) and frustrating (you). turns out, once everything has been put away you can't seem to find it again. don't worry, we'll figure it out.

you love school, which is exciting, including your teachers, which is also exciting. you love reading and writing, history and science. NOT MATH. maybe that will change...? because you love school and kate loves school and seth tolerates school sarah is so excited about school. it's a beautiful example you're setting for your younger sister. i'm grateful to you.

your aunt shannon makes you laugh and laugh. you also love to play animal jam, and skipbo. you hate to see my kiss your father. you keep slippers by the side of your bed and you put them on when you get out. i think you got that from your grandma rebecca. your room is always clean, you wear deodorant and take more frequent showers. you seem to suspect a little puberty is right around the corner (haha. inside joke) but you don't want to talk about it. except you do. no, you don't. please don't explain. but do. because you're listening. you still kiss me goodbye in the morning, and goodnight in the evening, you keep a stack of books to read on your desk beside your bed. you love pokemon. and american girl dolls. your best friend is "bella g" and you each have half of a best friend heart necklace. harry potter is your favorite book and your birthday dinner wish was artichokes and hollandaise sauce (seth's was ribs and corn on the cob).

mouse, we love you. we love how good you are, how kind, we love your heart and your sense of humor and how you seem bewildered by the fact that these days you a cry a bit more than normal.

love, love, love you.



a birthday and a baptism

 i am behind. sorry.

dear seth,

you turned eight (like, three weeks ago). and last sunday you were baptized. I MEAN I PLANNED TO WAIT TO WRITE THIS POST UNTIL AFTER YOU WERE BAPTIZED. I DID THIS ALL ON PURPOSE (do any of you feel like most of your parenthood is spent messing up and pretending like you did it that way on purpose? like, DON'T YOU APPRECIATE SHEETS NOW THAT YOU HAVEN'T SLEPT IN A BED WITH CLEAN ONES FOR NEARLY A WEEK? YOU'RE WELCOME).

so eight is kind of a big deal in our church because it means you're at the age where you can discern right from wrong (generally speaking) and now you can make the choice to be baptized and confirmed. and so you did. and i attempted to do all of the things that moms do when their children are getting baptized: i ordered only half the set of scriptures, and then i waited until the night before your baptism to prepare your talk. i also didn't take your photo for the program until the morning that i absolutely had to take the programs to office depot to get them printed up. oh, and i took one photo the entire baptism. ONE PHOTO. and yeah, i'm a photographer, so that's shameful. basically, i was on top of things and it was amazing.

actually, seth, it was a little amazing at your baptism. i mean, when i spoke you sort of flopped over on dad's lap like you were bored out of your mind, but that wasn't too offensive, since that's the stance any of my children take when i go out of my way to say something sincere and special to them. but the spirit was there. and i thought about how baptism is this beginning of your journey as a christian man, about how baptism is the start of your attempt at being a better person-- at learning what it means to be loved by god to love others the way god does. and i thought it was really special that so many people came, and that when they found out about your baptism they were proud of you and happy for you and they said, "of course we'll come! we wouldn't miss it." 

seth, you are loved. by so many good people and dad and i are so proud of you. not just because you were baptized, but because of so many other things. you are a really good sport. when i need to focus on something and sarah is getting in my way, you make up a game to distract her. you are the easiest buddy to each of your sisters, because you work around some of their eccentricities. you accept kate's sensitivities, you work with sarah's loud demands, you laugh with ava. and you and daddy? well, let's just say that between you and kate i have to fight to get a minute alone with him. thank goodness you go to bed so much earlier than i do (sort of). 

when there is a package of markers and a stack of paper, you are busy for hours. when there is a book you are learning to be interested, and not just assuming that you won't be able to read it, or that it will be too hard for you. i spent a lot of time this summer strategically dropping books in your path so you'd stop and read them. did you really think that book on giant squids just happened to be in the middle of the hall on accident? uh, no. 

you are a slob. i cleaned out your disgusting room on the first day of school and by the end of the week it was nice and gross again. for some reason, room cleaning and folded laundry are almost more than you can bear. and when i think about you sharing a room with this baby, it's almost more than i can bear. i don't want my sweet little baby in your disgusting bedroom. 

you're kind of a picky eater, but you're also a pretty good sport. so you always try things and you never complain or say bad things about the food (kate could totally take lessons from you. today she said rather conversationally, "what did you make?" and after i answered that it was quesadilla pie, she answered without changing her tone, "that sounds disgusting. are we having it for dinner?").

seth, i love you. i'm grateful for the dynamic you add to our family. we are better having had you here. happy birthday, my special, sweet boy.



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