Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top 10-ish Photos of 2016

Yes, things are getting lazy around here. In 2015, I did a 'Top 15' post. In 2014, I did a 'Top 14' post.

It's 2016 we're talking about, and a 'Top 16' just seems like too much. 

So we're back at 'Top 10'. Well, 10-ish. 

It's my blog. I can do what I want.

In chronological order, here are my favorite photos of 2016. 

The photos that make my heart say 'awwww...' :) These are the photos that someday, I'll peruse while my kids are away at college, and I'll wonder where the time/pudgy arms/cheesy grin/wispy hair went. 

{ONE}

Sweet baby girl, first time in the water while on our family vacation in Florida. No fear, just all in. The cold temps didn't stop her from having the time of her life. This is typical-Macy.






{TWO}

A little crawling sister, who always looked to investigate all the fun stuff in her big brother's room. The smile, the tongue...the sweetness is almost too much. Pure sunshine, gazing right back at me every single day.




{THREE}

This is what growing independence looks like. This was a year of changes for Carter, and he handled most of them well. We had been pushing him more in all areas of independence - and tooth brushing was one area he really seemed to pride himself in.  Way to go, buddy. You can do just about anything you set your mind to.




{FOUR}

Possibly my first-ever picture of anyone other than our kids :) Our vacation to St. Maarten was a great way to recharge and refresh - and connect with two dear friends.

READ MORE HERE :)




{FIVE}

Eight years old and couldn't be happier. This grin is the real-deal. How did we get so lucky?

READ MORE HERE :)




{SIX}

With summer comes bare feet and squinty eyes, and life happens on the back patio. This little lady enjoyed really exploring outside for the first time this summer, and she showed us that she is an exciting mix of 'little lady' and 'tom boy'.

READ MORE HERE :)




{SEVEN}

Jammies and bubbles - almost a daily occurrence in the summer. Those lips don't lie - dude is an experienced bubble blower.




{EIGHT}

Sometimes the best photos are taken on a phone, on a whim. Sneaking a kiss from a busy one year old is hard to do, and deserves to be documented.




{NINE}

This photo is cute, but the memory tied to it is what landed it here on my list. This was taken moments before the 'sea plane' pulled up to our dock in St. Germain. There was so much tension, I thought we might all explode. Would Carter be brave, and face his fear to ride the sea plane? Would this be a giant flop? Would we all regret this idea?

Carter CAN.

READ MORE HERE :)




{TEN}

There is something so special to me about a little boy and his mom. This little boy still needs and wants his mama, but some day that might change. For now, I'll just soak up all the good stuff and enjoy the fact that he actually likes me.




{ELEVEN} 
(I said 10-ish, remember?)

The big announcement - Baby Gibson due March 2017. Are we crazy?  Why so soon?  Aren't we going to be overwhelmed?  Who has three kids these days, anyway?  We do. Can't wait to welcome this new treasure into our lives and into our family.




{TWELVE}

I snapped this photo while taking our family photos, and I can't help but like it. "Daddy - BONK!".  These two have a special connection that sometimes doesn't make sense to me, but I like it. Lots of laughs, mixed with a few tears, usually Macy's :) She's a spitting image of her daddy, and I'm not just talking about her appearance. I see many, many loving 'head bonks' in their future.



That's all, folks. Looking back to remember is good - but now we move forward to 2017.

Baby BOY coming in just 4-ish weeks, bringing many changes to our well-oiled machine.

Tiny one-year-old, soon turning TWO, causing this mama to stop and reassess and take inventory of what was and what could have been better.

Second Grader - in for some enormous changes in the fall, asking God even now (yes, 8 months in advance) for unique ways to prepare him and set him and his new team up for success.

It was a great year. Here's to another.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Embracing the good stuff!

Want more? Here are my lists from previous years :)
2015
2014
2013
2012


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Our Christmas, In A Nutshell.

Our tree is still in it's place, and I'll be enjoying it for a few more days. But - Christmas is clearly past. Lights are hanging off, pine needles cover the floor, and the bottom half of the tree looks like it's been redecorated by a toddler (because it has). 

Toys scatter the living room, yet to find their new place. Kids sprawl on the floor, absorbed in the newness of each toy. 

Oh, and daddies! Daddy is home, making breakfast each day and working on little projects each afternoon. He took the whole week off to be with us, and we are soaking it up.

Christmas has passed (and I'm ready for the tree to go, and the new toys to be organized) - but we're still enjoying the fruits of it. Here's what we're remembering.

HO HO HO.

In mid-December, He came again! Carter knew it was time and sat eagerly by the door for almost an hour before he showed up.



Carter was thrilled to be getting "santa presents".

Macy, on the other hand, was happy to watch Santa from a distance this year :) We just let her hang out where she was comfortable, and enjoy Santa in her own way.


And a family gathering isn't a family gathering without a cake from NaNa :) This one took her almost 3 hours to pipe all the frosting.


Guess how long it took us to eat it?


(Are you wondering why we have candles? Carter Law states that one cannot eat cake without candles. Candles make everything more special, don't they?!)

Thanks, Santa, for helping to fill our kids with wonder and excitement. See you next year!

THREE MORE CELEBRATIONS.

Yes, I said three. At least this year they were spread out over three days, which makes it a lot easier on the kiddos. I'll spare you the details of each celebration. All you really need to know is that our kids are loved a whole lot, by a whole lot of people.

Macy enjoyed her role as Official Gift Hander-Outer at GG & Grampies house. She had us in stitches - certain that SHE knew who the gift should go to better than the rest of us.

Little helper girl, just too sweet for words.


"Panthee dweth" :)


Carter enjoyed ripping open his gifts, and showing genuine excitement at the contents of each package. Carter's theme this year was garbage trucks, garbage cans, and 'trucks and boats' (and basically anything else with wheels). Our family understands the things that make this boy tick, and they did not disappoint with their gift giving.

If anyone needs mini garbage cans, we've got about 17 to spare.


As therapy ended in the fall, we realized that most of Carter's toys had a negative emotion tied to them (since his own toys were used for therapy purposes). I removed many of his toys throughout the fall, so Christmas was a great time for us to update his toy selection and get some new, exciting things in the house!


We also looked for toys that both kids could play with, together or individually. This little Melissa & Doug Magnetic Puzzle Book has been a hit, along with the Melissa & Doug Doorbell House (complete with keys to unlock each door!).

Also, as I was wrapping gifts up, I had the brilliant idea to remove the packaging from all battery operated gifts, and place batteries in them! I'm glad I did - each toy could be played with right away which eliminated tons of frustration and chaos.


CHRISTMAS EVE.

Possibly my favorite moment of the whole Christmas Season - the candlelight Christmas Eve Service. This year was different - Jake gave a message, which left me with two kiddos. One kiddo was silly to the max, the other was having nothing to do with the snacks I packed (because...why can't we go in the nursery?!).

I spent most of the service in the nursery by myself with my two spunky kids (Thanks for filling in for a few minutes so I could hear Jake, Rach! I appreciate it!). This is just the season that we're in. I can't say that I love it, but it's where we are. I'm growing, and learning how to be quicker to respond in love for my kids - slower to respond in selfishness and pride.

We snuck back into the service just in time for Silent Night, sung by candle light. We had no candles, one kid was climbing Jake like a monkey, the other kid was wondering why we weren't blowing out the candles, and Jake and I exchanged a look that translates to "It's okay". It was a special moment, and I'm thankful for it.

One little picture of our two Christmas Eve kids. This blurry, goofy picture sums up our night.


Our Christmas was so full - full of activities, full of people, and full of love. Kids, I hope that when you look back on your childhood Christmas celebrations you remember love. The presents are fun, the 'panthee dwethes' are nice, the candle light service is special, but love is what this is really about.


I'll leave you all with this. My favorite snap of the whole Christmas Season. Two siblings, just enjoying something together. Unexpectedly, this is doll house is a favorite for both kids.

Cozying up, snuggling in, quieting down, choosing love.

This was our Christmas.


One Thing I Know For Sure: Love.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Lately.

A friend told me the other day that she pops in here often to see what's new. I haven't posted since September, and life is full. And new, in so many ways.

Here's what's going on lately. Grab a cup and cozy up.

+HAIRCUT+

Macy got her first little haircut two weeks back. We watched some videos of 'big girls' getting haircuts, and explained that soon Macy would get a 'big girl' haircut, too.


Carter went first, to show her how it's done. He was a champ and a trooper, like he usually is. But I think he was extra good, for his baby sister.

Macy was climbing out of Jake's lap and couldn't wait for her turn. She was so excited - and sat in the chair so nice. Such a big little girl.


Bye, wispy baby locks. Bye, long goofy curl in the back.

Hi, big girl.


Thanks, Leslie, for a super fun and easy first haircut!

+CHRISTMAS TREE+

Carter has been talking about 'Christmas Tree Saturday' for at least two weeks (since Jake put the Christmas lights outside). We woke up on Saturday morning and told Carter that yes, finally, it was Christmas Tree Day.

We found a fun little spot in Wild Rose - the tractor and wagon ride was a fun bonus for Carter :)

The weather was decent, the kids were happy, and the morning was perfect.



As you can see, Carter is beyond happy, actually.

He has no problems tapping into the Christmas Spirit. Dude will be 110% Christmas Cheer from now until January 1.


It was fun for me having two kiddos who could walk with mom and dad, hold hands, and listen to directions. This has never happened before.

What am I supposed to do with my arms? Nobody is hanging on me!



After choosing our tree, which took about 6 minutes because every tree was 'just right', we headed to the little shop for popcorn (for the kiddies) and pepsi (for the parents).



Popcorn on the table. Popcorn on the floor. Popcorn in jacket pockets. Popcorn in mittens. It's okay. It's fine. They're happy.


It really doesn't get much better than this.

{and also, let's enjoy these days when some popcorn makes them this happy. may it always be so.}

+BABY BOY+

Yes, this is new :) I realize I haven't said anything about Baby Boy here.

Sorry, third child. I love you dearly. Really, I do.

Actually, I love you SO much that I'm taking the time to prioritize and take direction, and sometimes that means the blog has to wait. It's good stuff, I promise.

Hi, third trimester!

Baby Boy - coming in March 2017. Due two days before Macy's second birthday.

We talked in late May about adding another babe to the family, and after waiting two years to get pregnant with Macy we knew we might be waiting a while.

Not this time!

Max, Silas, Joel, Sawyer, Jude, Sam...while we're having fun thinking about what to call you, we know you already have a name, and you're known by it.

You're known. You're seen. We can't wait to meet you.

+MOM LIFE+

What I really mean is that we sold the fun, sporty, lux Lexus for a minivan (because #threecarseats #holymoly). This was harder for me than I care to admit. It's just a car, right? It's no big deal. I don't care about stuff! Or...wait...

The Lexus was for a short, fun season. But the season that's coming will be good, too. Different. But good.

I told Jake I will drive whatever he picks for me. I didn't even test drive it. "But, maybe we could just stay away from red. If it's red, that's okay! But it wouldn't be my first choice. Just in case you were wondering."

The minivan is red. Dark red. Maybe I'll call it wine. But really, I know it's red.

Hardy har har har.

Giving up control, another area I need to grow in.

But Carter is beyond thrilled that he now can push the button to open and close his door. This is livin' large, for our eight year old boy. I'm embracing that perspective.

+FREEDOM+

There have been many changes in Carter's life - and maybe I'll dig into those in a post after the New Year. Big changes deserve their own post :)

We have had amazing, loving, excellent people come into our life over the past 6 months and all of them have told us the same things.

Popcorn everywhere. Drinking the sisters juice. Sitting down and READING A BOOK. What the what?!
Reading is fun when you aren't being made to do it. 

Carter needs a better way to communicate. Give it to him.
Carter is not benefitting from therapy. Cut it.
Carter's brain works this way. Learn it and embrace it. 
{It's actually not that different from yours or mine}
Carter is an eight year old boy. Eight year old boys need to play. 

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

Freedom, in the most unexpected ways.


This is where we are today. Our lives - hands - hearts are full, in every sense of the word. Embracing this full season, and enjoying every little part.

One Thing I Know For Sure: This is the good stuff.




Thursday, September 01, 2016

Bye, Summer.

This morning, I peeked in on a little 8 year old and rousted him from his sleep. Eyes barely cracked open, arms stretching big - and then: "SCHOOL!". 

Yes, Carter. Today is school. The first day of second grade.


Our morning was practically from a fairytale.

Breakfast as a family  - pancakes and bacon, of course. Everyone was happy and cheer-filled as we got ready. There were so many hugs and kisses, I lost count.

It was a perfect morning.


Just kidding. Our morning sucked.

To make a long story short - my car battery died, and Carter was sent to school covered in green glitter powder.

Don't ask.

It was actually the perfect way to end this summer season.


Guys, summer was rough. I'm just being real. I cried to Jake last night that maybe I wasted our summer. I think I spent most of the summer wishing it was over. Fail.

Jake reminded me of all the things that Carter accomplished this summer. His list was long, and it was filled with things I had not thought of. It wasn't a waste, at all. It was full and stretched us all in ways we hadn't anticipated.

Summer didn't look like I thought it would. I've learned some things, and this hard season has helped me to develop a plan for next summer.

But until then, we'll enjoy second grade.

After we took our first-day-pictures: "Driveway Dancin?"

Yes, Carter. Let's dance.



Our first day of second grade was a little different than I had expected. But Carter handled all the changes beautifully. I pulled up to school in someone else's car - with a boy happily covered in green powder glitter (think eyeshadow, in powder form) - to an aide who thankfully thought it was pretty cute.

We got out of the car, and as I brushed the green powder off, it only rubbed into his skin more. Poor kid was making his first impression in second grade, looking like the incredible hulk.

But he was happy. So as I hopped back into someone else's car, I thanked God for a happy boy.

That's really all that matters.

Back home now, and this little sister has called her 'bruddow' at least 12 times on her play phone. I wonder if he's thinking of us as much as we're thinking of him.


Bye, summer. You were kind of a jerk, but you taught me important lessons.

Hi, second grade. I think I like you already. Be nice to us, though. Mmkay?


One Thing I Know For Sure: Change is good.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Gibson Getaway 2016

Here we are again. Another Gibson Family Getaway has come and gone. Spending my morning with coffee (thanks, Panera!), a quiet home (thanks, NaNa & G.G.!), and clean floors (thanks, me!). Between working on projects for our soon-to-be Second Grader & doing laundry, I'm taking a 'get energy' break.

Scrolling pictures & remembering St. Germain, 2016:

Remembering this independent, brave boy. Last year, he was afraid of the floating dock and was extremely hesitant to go on it unless someone was holding him.

This year, he owned that dock.

Duh, guys.


MiMi was smart and brought a kiddie pool - thanks to the hot and humid weather, Carter spent the rest of his vacation here :)


Water. Carter's happy place.

I hope Nozar and Linger have a place for the kiddie pool in the classroom.

:)

Remembering this dolly - who spent her vacation with dirt under her fingernails, chocolate on her face, and joy in her heart.


Happy Boy, happier every day. This is Carter.


Remembering quiet moments in 'MiMi geen boat!' with two kids who love the water and their mom.



Remembering hot afternoons spent with campfires (because, it's camp) and bubbles.


We discovered that Carter is an expert at catching bubbles on his hands. As much as the rest of us tried, we could not catch a single bubble without it popping. We got our hands good & wet, even...thinking that must be the trick.

Nope. It's just Carter's special touch.


Or maybe it was Giraffe.


Thankfully remembering so many moments with my people.




There's much good to reflect on. We don't just vacation, we fellowship. Tension & release.

This vacation had profitable tension.

Here's some of the tension:


Doesn't look tense, does it?

It was.

In the middle, you'll see a little boy smiling so sweetly. What you don't see is that before and after this picture, we had a nervous little boy telling us "Noooo! No sea plane! All done sea plane!".

The backstory: For Ben & Carter's birthday (in April & May) we combined their gift and gave them a certificate for a sea plane ride in St. Germain! We knew we'd have some work to do to prepare Carter, and we have been rehearsing this moment with him for months. Literally, since May.

Over the past 3 months, Carter's feelings toward 'sea plane' went from ecstatic to terrified, and everywhere in between. We really believed that if we could just get him ON, he would love it.

So here we are. On the dock. Waiting for 'sea plane' to pull up. Trying to reassure a nervous and scared little boy. He pauses his nervousness and takes a smiling photo for his mommy.

And then the sea plane pulls up to the dock. This is the moment of truth. This is the culmination of three months of preparation.

Major tension.

Can he do it? Will he even try? Can he be brave like he says? What if he doesn't? Will he regret it? How will his mommy feel if he doesn't do it?

What if? Then what?

Grabbing on to his daddy so very tight. His safety.

Saying 'nooo sea plane' but wanting to jump in so badly.

So much tension. Everyone is quiet, watching in anticipation.


Carter CAN.


Big smiles, birdie whistles (his happiest sounds), 'SEA PLANE!!!" exclamations from the backseat.

Big smiles and thumbs up from dad, too :)


As we watched him take off, conquering his great big fears, there were so many tears. Jake sent us excited videos and texts during their 15 minute flight. Carter owned that sea plane.

What excuse does anyone have to sit stagnant? What's holding me back from growing?

After the ride was over, we met the plane in the middle of the lake with our boat. Carter crossed the threshold from plane to boat in the arms of the pilot, Mr. Bill.

I'll never forget the celebration that took place on that boat when Carter's feet hit the boat.

Release.

Carter CAN. Carter will.


Since we were on the boat anyway, and Carter definitely earned it, (and Tom probably would have thrown a fit if we had just gone home) we decided to head to Cathy's for ice cream.  On the walk from the boat to Cathy's, Carter was levitating.


This is fellowship.

Laughter, ice cream, family love....all part of our release.




To add to it, we hit a rain storm on the way home.

We were all soaked from head to toe - all of us laughing so hard our sides hurt. Even the kids.



Gibson Family Getaway, 2016. Possibly the best one to date.


This was the first group picture I took. Normally I have to take at least 25 to get one good shot.  I guess we get better every year.

Understanding each other, understanding ourselves, embracing the tension & enjoying the release.

This is family.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Gibson's CAN.

If you're bored and have several hours to kill:
St. Germain 2015
St. Germain 2014
St. Germain 2013
St. Germain 2012
St. Germain 2011


:)
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