Archive for ‘baby stuff’

November 19, 2010

My Ten Year Old

He is such an old soul. 

**Edited to add his prayer request the other night: "I really want God to help me accomplish my goals because I have a lot of really big goals and they're important.  And I can't do them all by myself."

Can I just gush for a minute or two?
Baby griffey
This boy, this manchild, this son of mine…

Griffey boy

I am so glad nobody talked my crazy, know-it-all eighteen year old self out of having this amazing boy. 
Boy griff again
And I will not go on about how the first eight days of his life he scared us to death with his little NICU stint, or how I never put him down even when he was sleeping, or how I read him Steinbeck novels and played Fleetwood Mac to rock him to sleep.  I will not go on about how his birth changed the hearts of both of his grandmothers, or how he has been saying the most profound and funniest things since he was two years old. 

I will go on about how he has grown into the most awesome ten year old ever.  When he was five he prayed “Dear God, please make me a better kid so I can show the world what it’s like to follow Jesus.” And I have a notebook full of great things he has said between now and then.  *Sigh*  This boy…
When I ask him to unload the dishwasher he says “My pleasure” without even the slightest hint of sarcasm.  When we meet new people he puts his arm around me and introduces me “This is my mom, Amber. She is a really great mom and she is an amazing photographer” and then he goes on to introduce the rest of the family with their names and some positive quality he sees in them.  Love.
He walked into the kitchen the other day and said “According to Einstein’s theory everything that has mass has energy, so really if we want to save the planet all we need to do is find a way to harness energy that doesn’t do so much harm to the planet. I’m going to work on that.”  And he went back to mapping out plans in his notebook. And that is kind of Griffen in a nutshell, he is never not working on something, internally or externally. 
A few nights ago in the car I was “having a discussion” with the kids about their behavior and making better choices, but I was admittedly being pretty negative.  Then my ten year old put his hand on my shoulder and said “Mom, it seems if you only concentrate on the problem, the problem will grow or be the only thing you focus on and that’s not helpful.  Why don’t we talk about some positive ways we can change?” 
And then I swallowed really hard and took a deep breath and said thank you, because every time we leave church after I ask what they learned about, he asks me and apparently he listens.  Incredible. 
This morning after he got ready for school he came up to me and handed me this poem:
If you have no Life
You have no heart
No imagination, no soul

Thank God for your Life
For His Son sacrificed His
Really?  Yes, really.  I could write pages of his amazingess really.  He is quirky, he is different, he is so very ten years old sometimes, he can be just as frustrating as any other ten year old.  And he is beautiful, he is amazing.  And this child of mine, Jesus is in him and He knows it and that is the most important thing. (Please don't mistake this for me taking credit for all of his amazingness, really I was still a kid when he was born and I screw up this parenting thing all the time.  I'm sure good intention counts for something, but honestly I think it is by the Grace of God that I get to be his Mom and I am so beyond excited to see how he will change the world.) 

Keep shining Griff.
Love, love,

November 9, 2009

The Way She Loves

A couple of things about Grace:

            When I got pregnant with her I was on the edge of depression.  Kind of scared about where my marriage and life were going.  A little overwhelmed with the three Little Wonders that I already had, and well just not in a great place.  So the news that I was pregnant hit me like a ton of bricks, and not in a good way.  It was very unlike my other pregnancies where I sort of fell in love immediately with the little being inside of my belly. 

After a couple of days of laying in bed half hoping the pregnancy test was wrong, I went to lunch with Debby.  At that point she was still mostly a formal-ish mentor.  We met up at La Madeline and while standing in line, she noticed my pout-iness.  She asked what was wrong and I sort of mumbled out “Oh, I’m pregnant.”  Now Debby is kind of er…  reserved, or, I don’t know, she‘s just not very reactive.  She’s kind of known for keeping her cool.  Anyway, so I halfheartedly say “I’m pregnant.”  And she- I’m not kidding you, she jumps up into the air and kind of screeches out some excitement and hugs me.  It was bizarre.  Wonderful and bizarre.

            I did my best to calm her down “Oh, no.  We’re not excited.”  That’s what I said.  In a very Eyore kind of tone, I tried to talk her into being sad about me having a baby.  Didn’t work though.  She was super happy about it and I thought “Either she knows something I don’t know or she is crazy.”  I gotta be honest, I was leaning towards crazy. 

It really was not until Pie was born and I laid eyes on her sweet little face that I totally fell in love with her.  But man did I fall hard.  She, like all of my kiddos, is so uniquely special and wonderful.  Gracey’s uniqueness though is an effervescence of well, Grace.  Her gift to me and I think to others is that she loves easily and well.  I hope that all of my kids have some of this gift, I think they do, but it is just her nature to love and be loved without pretense.

Our life was Turned Upside Down before she was even a year old.  Her babyhood  was so totally different from my other ones, not as peaceful, less ideal.  She spent more time away from me than any of my babies did.  And now she is so, so, so independent.  She will never remember living in a house with both of her parents.  Her birthday and holiday memories will only contain one parent or the other.  Hard stuff to think about, only for me though, not for her. 


She might be tiny but her spirit and her capacity for Love are huge. She is fierce, my little Gracey Pie, fierce, and undeterred, and sweet, and funny, and too smart for her own good, and loud, and proud, and beautiful, and generous, and kind, and full of words and life and love.

So the other day when I looked at this photo I thought back to Debby jumping to congratulate me about being pregnant with Grace.

And I thought- She totally knew.  


September 16, 2008

her morning run

Apparently, she is a runner.  She wakes up in the morning and spits out her paci and says "Outside!!" and off she goes.  Two of my best friends are runners and they both talk often about needing to run and how it makes their day better.  This is true for Grace too, she needs to run, it makes her day better.  And it makes my day better to see her happily doing laps around our back yard, squealing and laughing and going as fast as her tiny little legs will take her.  I hope she goes through life like this, with this drive and determination, with this love and joy. My friends who are runners have those things, they have passion and that is what I want for Grace.  I see glimpses of it now and it amazes me.  Amazing Gracey, she is a runner…
Her morning run

August 13, 2008

all four

we walked in to the grocery store tonight and this woman said "oh my goodness honey, are all four of those yours?"   let me just say, it is not that rare that strangers ask that, but it is pretty rare that i look at them and say proudly with a smile on my face "yes, yes they are."  generally i look at whoever is asking with wild, almost scared and very tired eyes and shrug.  because generally, they are wild and i am scared and tired.  the four of them kind of wear me out some days, and i am still getting used to the single mom stuff, but today i realized i am getting used to the single mom stuff.  we have settled into some kind of chaotic, offbeat, wonderful rhythm.  our days are not all the same, but they have some similarities.  we walk to the park everyday, cook and eat meals all together, we clean up together, we laugh together and at least once a day, we dance together.  the five of us are a little team.  an awesome, funny, quirky little team.  these four little rugrats are the best, most supportive team members, encouraging, happy little monkeys, scrappers and lovers.  i love that in this time of so much change and uncertainty, one thing is certain, we are all in this together.  so tonight when that woman looked at me and asked with a mix of wonder and fear if they were all mine, the kiddies were being wild and i was tired, but not scared, just happy and proud.  proud to be the mama of these four great little human beings.  i wanted to say, "yes, all four.  they are my team mates.  they are all four destined for greatness, and they are all four mine"  Allfour

June 30, 2008


i came across these photos yesterday and fell in love with them all over again.  this is cade again.  i have about a thousand photos of cade, but for some reason i really love these.  as i sat and stared at this little peanut, it hit me.  it is a picture of him doing what he was made to do: stretching.  as we all know, babies are born doing a few things, they have some built in instincts.  they eat, they sleep, they cry and they stretch.  they do some other things too, sure, but these four things, a baby can choose when and how.  the thing about this stretch in this photo is, it is so full on, there is nothing halfway about this stretch.  you can see it in his face and hands and legs even, he has decided to and he is- 
s t r e t c h i n g. 
he is both causing and responding to growth in his own little body.  that is truly amazing to me.  and because i love definitions, i looked it up–

1. to draw out or extend (oneself, a body, limbs, wings, etc.) to the full length or extent
2. to extend, force, or make serve beyond the normal or proper limits
3. to extend, spread, or place (something) so as to reach from one point or place to another
4. to hold out, reach forth, or extend

so we are born with this instinct to extend ourselves and force ourselves beyond our normal limits, to reach from one point to another, to reach forth.  eating, sleeping, crying, they make sense, we have to eat and sleep to live, and when you’re a baby, crying is a good way to let somebody know that you need to eat or sleep.  stretching though is different.  there doesn’t seem to be much information on the why of it.  i can only assume that we are born stretching because it helps us grow.  i can only assume that newborns stretch because God thought it a good illustration for us.  i can only assume that we should all always be extending Stretch
ourselves and forcing ourselves beyond our normal limits, reaching from one point to another, reaching forth. 

June 28, 2008

a trip to target

okay, at the risk of sounding like one of those moms who is totally overwhelmed and who’s kids are completely out of control, i will tell you about our trip to target yesterday.

first let me say, i have four.  four energetic, lively, sometimes opinionated, sometimes stubborn, bright, always entertaining little ones and i am mostly organized and on the ball and capable of taking care of them and keeping them under control, most of the time, yesterday did not happen to be most of the time.  i did manage to get them all out of the house with clothes and shoes on and into their car seats in under 30 minutes which was good.  so off we went, down the highway, me on the phone, music on, no screaming or fighting or crying.  "this might be an okay trip to the store" i thought.  wrong. 

we got to target.  i unloaded the kiddies into a cart and off we went to get icee’s.   and then i realized i had forgotten my wallet.  great, oh well, let’s go, i must have left it in the van.  wrong.  i left it at home.  okay,  fine, everybody back in the van, sorry kids, we’ll come right  back.  so now i’m driving on the service road, getting ready to get on the highway and grace stands up in her car seat.  i thought she was strapped in.  wrong.  now gabe and emma are screaming "mommy, get gracie, get gracie, it’s dangerous, it’s dangerous!!"  so i quickly, carefully pull over at a gas station to put her in her seat and she has a fit complete with back arching and kicking and screaming.  about 10 minutes later we are both sweaty and frustrated and she is strapped in.  so off we go, everybody is in right?  wrong.  emma apparently decided to go check out the gas station while i was fussing with grace.  she is halfway across the parking lot, her hair bouncing away in the distance.  luckily she turns around and catches a glimpse of the horror in my eyes and decides to come back to the van before i can get any words out of my mouth.  she gets a little talking to about sneaking off while mommie’s not looking and walking across parking lots and into gas stations, a talk i would never have guessed that i needed to have with my oh so shy three year old.  so now, now we are all in and ready to go back to our house and get my wallet.  we do, and we make it back to target with a minimal amount of screaming and crying and fighting.  and again we unload into a cart and head for the icee’s.  the shopping is not to bad.  they are mostly tame, except when they aren’t.  (and i will just take this time to say, when you see a mom with four small kids, two chasing each other through the aisles and getting into trouble, a toddler on her hip covered in blue icee, and one standing in the shopping cart whining about princess fruit snacks, it is not helpful to stare, nor is it helpful to make faces, it is not even helpful to make comments about  "how that happens" or  question her about "how many more of those"  she is planning on having.)   so we are about halfway done with our grocery shopping and we’ve only made two trips to the bathroom, not bad.  now we are on a search for hot dog buns.  they do not have any and this is very distressing for gabe.  griffen suggests we use burger buns, but that will not do.  gabe is now frantically running from aisle to aisle looking for anything resembling hot dog buns and i am standing at the end of an aisle trying to get him to calm down and come back.  finally he concedes that we can use bread if we fold it.  fine, perfect.   but then something is not fine or perfect,  something is dripping on my toes.  what could that be?  the icee’s are long gone and there are no other liquids to be spilled… ?  oh, grace.   grace somehow tinkled all over me.  i assumed the diaper she was wearing would serve as some barrier between me and the result of her gulping down emma’s icee.  wrong.  it was everywhere.  my shirt and shorts and toes were wet, and there was a little baby sized puddle on the floor.  nice.  so we shuffled out of there and paid for all of our stuff, or so i thought.  wrong.  somehow in the mix of me getting peed on and trying to get my four little rugrats out of there, we accidentally stole some baby flip-flops.  oh, well, next time i’m here i’ll bring the tag and pay for them.  i am not going back in there now.  and then griff, bless his heart, in trying to help load the stuff in the van while i put a new diaper on grace, he simultaneously put a hole in the dog food bag and the milk.  not nice.  really not nice.   

i have to say, the whole time though, through all of this, i remained calm, placid even, cool as a cucumber, i smiled and laughed.  and that is the key i think, you can’t let them know they’re getting to you.  because then they win.  am i right?  and really, what good would one more of us having a fit have helped?  really.  it was an adventure, we made it though.  i made it with no screaming or crying or fighting.   

and i think the lesson i learned is-  target does not really have very good theft prevention.Flips

June 22, 2008

this girl

this grace.  this little one is sunlight to me.  her face, her smile, her eyes, shine, shine, shine.   today she sat in my lap and looked at me and i said "gracey, you’re so pretty." and then she said "pri-dee".  and oh my gosh, those two syllables suit her little mouth.  the way her pouty lips formed those sounds and then the corners turned up into a smile was perfection.  she laughed at the sound of her own tiny voice and said it again "pri-dee".  what could i do but sit in wonder at my baby girl?  emma and the boys clapped and marveled at her new word and we all said it over and over just to hear her say it over and over.  pretty is quite an understatement if you ask me, this girl is beautiful beyond words, and she Gracey
brings light and love wherever she goes.  she is our beautiful baby, she is our sunshine, this little grace, and we are hers.   

June 21, 2008


these kids are mine.  they are mine and i have missed them.  i have missed griffen’s words and gabe’s kisses and emma’s dances and grace’s smiles.  i have missed moments with them, moments of their lives that i don’t want to miss.  and even though some of those moments that i missed were fits and fights and messes and mishaps, they were mine to miss.  and i wish i hadn’t because i also missed the cuddles and  talks and hugs and times in between and around those moments.  these kids are mine and in them i see me.  i see my flaws and my triumphs.  i hear my words and my voice.  and in their eyes i see hope and redemption.  and from their mouths i hear joy and life.  they are my dreams, these kids.  they are future dreams and the dreams of my youth running around my house.  they are what i have prayed for, hoped for and worked for.  and they are what i live for.  these kids are mine and they are like my heart divided in to four, except somehow the love is multiplied.  they are mine, my moments, my fits and fights and mishaps and messes, my flaws and triumphs, my hope and redemption, my words, my voice, my joy, my life, my dreams, my prayers, my heart.Mine

June 10, 2008

caden and emily

they’re cousins, they are the babies of my friends, except their mommies are more than my friends and these babies are more than the babies of my friends.  i am not quite sure what to call them, (or their mommies), but i am quite sure that i am so in love with them.  his quiet, calm disposition and her contagious, enormous smile. caden is so fresh and new and so stinkin’ sweet.  and emily is so full of joy and light and so stinkin’ cute.  and jake and nick are their amazing big brothers/cousins, a couple of sweethearts who love these little bundles dearly, and i love those guys too.   there is something about babies though.  the newness and the smallness that carves out big places in my heart.  these babies are adored.  they are my little lovies, maybe my new favorites, (don’t tell my kids).  Cadenandemilyandmommiesandyaya_2
their mommies are like family except i like them way more.  their yaya is fabulous, the best really.  these families, this family, they make me happy in lots of ways.  they are genuine and they are fun, they are kind and good.  it is way too rare to find a family who loves the way they do.  i know i’ve said it before, but truly, they have changed the way i think about families. 

June 4, 2008


this little one, this little pie, she is my babiest baby.  she is the tiniest, she walked the latest, she still drinks bottles, she’s the most cuddly by far, she’s just the babiest, and i love that.  i love that my baby is still a baby and together we’re holding off toddler-hood as long as possible.   i’m not sure what the actual measurements and technical requirements are for calling these pigtails, but i’m doing it. her first pigtails.  she hates them, she fussed the whole time i was fixing them and took them out almost immediately.  emma was so excited for her though, emma loves them, and wanted her own to match.  and that is so them.  my girly girl who squeals when she gets a little dirty does not like the outdoors at all and my baby girl who gets excited at the site of grass and comes crawling fast when the front door opens to get outside and play in the dirt.  they are the princess and the pie, my sweet, lovey girlsLoveygirls  

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