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Friday, May 20, 2016

Long days, short years

For the past several weeks our family groove has been thrown off and we are finding a new one in the chaos.  Myles has been working very long hours everyday and it’s put a kink in the normal way of life for me.  The office where he works is right next to Molli’s school so he had taken on the task of bringing Molli to school when he headed to work in the morning and picked her up at noon when she got out and he had a lunch break.  Not a bad setup for me!  Lately though, his long hours have him long gone by the time the kids get up and he comes home just in time for a quick story and a kiss goodnight.  It’s been a lot on my shoulders to maintain some sort of normal life with all the kids and maintaining the household.  I’m not doing amazing, but we are surviving.  Mostly, at least.  

Throwing us off kilter even more is the wrapping up of the school year, soccer and dance.  We finished soccer season (with a roaring hallelujah) and just brushed off the sparkles leftover from the end of this semester of dance.  These extra curricular activities are great fun but I’m not sad to say goodbye to some of the scheduling headaches. This week alone Molli had a field trip on Monday and on Tuesday, dance class on Wednesday, dance rehearsal on Thursday morning (during school) and a recital Thursday evening then the last day of school on Friday. All good things, but it’s like boom, boom, boom, one thing after the other.  Plus babysitters and nap schedules.

Today was the last day of school and I showed up for the tail end of the closing service with an all too eager three and a half year old and a toddler sound asleep on my shoulder (again with the scheduling/nap difficulty).  Molli was among the crowd of students and families somewhere and I got to thinking that this was her final hour at the school she has attended for the last two and a half years.  These walls have seen her through some of the most precious years of her life, and certainly have left an impression on her little heart.  Just as I was thinking all this, the group recited a prayer of thanks together and I got choked up realizing the value of what I was witnessing.  Communal prayer is beautiful, especially from the mouths of these young kids who are together each day learning about Jesus.  They are receiving an academic education, but more importantly, they are being filled with the Word and are being influenced by some incredible adults who love the Lord.  What an incredible blessing and honor it has been to be a part of such an institution.  Even at the tender age of five, Molli seems to have a greater understanding of spiritual concepts than many adults I know.  

She will be going to a public school for a full day next year and I am a more than a little bit heartbroken.  I have nothing against public schooling, at all, but it is scary to imagine sending a little piece of my heart into the world where things will be different. For the first time, she will be in an environment where those around her will not necessarily have love for Christ as their guide. There will be people who don’t know or care about Jesus, and that will be an eye-opener for her. Almost nobody in this great big school will know her and she will have to make a start for herself, without me present.  It’s important for her to spread her wings and have these fresh experiences, but man, it’s tough knowing where she’s coming from.  I am already praying for her future classmates and teachers, that she will be placed among people who will be beneficial for her.  I want her to build relationships with safe, Godly people.  There is no sense in pretending that I can protect her forever, but I sure hope that we are doing a good job at home instilling in her all the good things I want for her, because the most important components, she won’t receive at school any longer.  Her teachers will not tell her that Jesus created her perfectly when she messes up, or guided to pray for others who are hurting.  She won’t receive the life-giving words of scripture at school or pray as a group before snack time. This really increases the importance of my job as her mom. I will pray hard for her new teacher, just as I have prayed for those teaching her the past couple years. 

We have been blessed with the most incredible teachers at Grace Lutheran.  They’ve made their way into our hearts and I know Molli will miss them tremendously next year.  Thankfully, Gavin will be starting preschool in the fall so they will remain a solid part of our family. Gav is SO excited to be in Mrs. Hinz’s class!  He is already very comfortable at the school and makes himself right at home in her classroom, for better or worse.  It seems that he already loves her just as much as Molli does! As much as Molli has learned in these preschool and kindergarten classes, I am interested to see what Gavin will be like when he’s moving on to the big public school with Molli.  I hope that his experience at the school is similar to Molli’s and that he grows similarly to her.  I just cannot believe my babies are already at this stage of life.  

As hard as the days have been lately, I’m trying my best to treasure these kids.  They are living proof that they grow up right in front of my eyes and I hardly notice it.  The constant too-small clothes should be a sign that they’re growing, but I don’t see it clearly until I take a step back and reflect.  Reflection makes me emotional. I know one day, not long from now, I’ll be amazed at how little she was today.  She seems like such a big girl, but she’s still little, I just won’t know it until later. As I’ve been told a hundred times, “the days are long, but the years are short.” 

(Wasn't this like a week ago?)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Tide's coming in

The waves flow onto the sand, reaching as far as they are able before begrudgingly drift back out into the sea. Over and over the waves roll up and back out. Methodically coming and going, increasing and decreasing in a smooth, stable pattern.  Ocean waves are a familiar pulse. The waves are insignificant, quick flashes of a greater motive; the tide. It typically rolls in slowly with the waves, gradually creeping up the beach and back down again in its time.

Likewise, life ebbs and flows with various tides.  At certain times life seems to radiate from each experience, each connection. There is a brilliance during these times.  Perspectives shift and the world is a more beautiful place.  In other times, a sense of emptiness looms as the struggle to find genuine meaning increases. These darker times are seen through a sepia lens, void of the vast, captivating palate that is intended to highlight magnificence.

I sense the tide rising in my life. The desire to connect deeply with people, the need to use my time learning about my savior, the urgency to recognize His hand and to approach Him with gratitude.  My heart, sometimes literally, feels like it is being molded and shaped in a way that I haven't experienced in a long time.

The chorus to Dividing the Plunder's song "Perimeter of me" has been playing in my head as I reflect on where I am and where my life is headed.

And I want to live with wider eyes,
There's far too much to see
To think of nothing else
But where I've been and where I'll be
I've been longing for the freedom
That is waiting silently
In the life that's just beyond the small
Perimeter of me

Before this shift in tides, I had been feeling fairly disconnected from some of the most important connecting points in my life. The day to day tasks elevated themselves and became priorities, drowning out the pieces of life that should have been in those lofty positions.  My marriage, my kids, relationships etc. But I'm finding myself hurting more deeply for others and valuing my relationships more. I feel a sense of urgency to make sure I'm putting forth the best effort to build up my marriage, raise Godly children and reach out to hurting people. These are all normal components of my life that are expected of me, and should be, but the need to step it up and really live in a more selfless manner is weighing on my heart.

My prayer is that God would flood me with this feeling to connect; first with him, then with the people I'm in contact with in order that my insignificant perimeter expands and my eyes are open to what He sees. I want to love the way He loves and live accordingly. I want this tide to continue coming in fiercely and wash away the selfishness that I tend to lean on and just be swept away by who He is.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Fancy fun

My typical fashion is pretty much yoga pants and a hoodie.  We don't even have to be best friends for you to know this about me. If you know me, even just a little bit, you are probably well aware of this.  I dress for comfort and also for forgiveness.  Until Nike comes out with fringed and sequined yoga pants, I won't be fringed nor sequined.  Well, I also live in Alaska, so Nike will have to come out with them, then wait five years to get to us, then it has to stop being a top trend before I gain awareness, and at that point I'll catch on and wear them.  I'm pretty sure that everyone at Molli's school assumes either I workout constantly between drop off and pick up (HA), or that I only own oversized tops and pants primarily made of spandex. The stretch factor is important to me.  I don't need my own clothes making fun of me and hurting my feelings.  I'm a delicate flower, not to be burdened or broken down by buttons, zippers and other such atrocities. My love handles are more lovely snuggled up to some stretchy waisted pants and tucked in with a cozy hoodie.  It's my life.

Some moms may read that and nod in solidarity, or raise the roof because they're ahead of me in the game. (It's cool, I don't mind). Other moms might not have a clue what I mean because perhaps their kids are older and they have a life that doesn't equate pajamas with happiness. But let me tell you something.  I'm feeling large and in charge because I went to a fancy schmancy cocktail party tonight.  You guys, do you even know how many times I've ever been invited to something like this?! zero.  Because my friends aren't fancy and neither am I.  An outing with the girls typically involves the grocery store and coffee if we're lucky. (Except for the time girls outing ended up in the four of us getting tattooed, but that's another story). Anyway,  it wasn't just a boring fancy cocktail party, everyone went with the 1920s theme and dressed all up!  I can't get over the fact that everyone seemed to have THE perfect dress for such an occasion.  Like, what the heck, is it normal for a house full of women to be able to pull off the same look when we have like 1.5 stores that sell clothes locally? The fringe, the fishnets, the sequins! Oh my.  It was so good.   And the cocktails were fabulous.

(Belinda, Tamara and I are set to go!)

I'm not going to lie, when I first saw the invite, my initial reaction was "wow, they're going to have such a good time!" I automatically excused myself from going because I don't go to things like that.  But then I realized something.  If I say no, I'll be perfectly content to be home with my family and watching Lost when the kids go to bed.  No complaints! But what if I said yes?  What if I squeezed myself into something that made me a little uncomfortable and stepped out there among other women and pushed aside the discomfort of the social awkwardness and just rolled with it? What then? Would it be worth it?  I RSVPed affirmative and told Myles that I was going to a cocktail party and I need to figure out something 1920s themed to wear.  I'm sure he thought I was a little nuts for a minute because it's so far from anything I typically do.  The homebody in me is pretty persuasive and has probably talked me out of more than one outing in the past.

So, with some help, I pulled together enough accessories to make an outfit work just fine and got to work.  A friend and I knelt by my bed as we haphazardly followed along with an eye makeup tutorial on YouTube. Who knew that eyeshadow requires like 5 colors and 12 different brushes.  Good thing I saved all the clinique makeup samples my mom gave me whenever she bought her perfume.  The eyeshadow didn't matter anyway because I had a fantastic bright red lipstick to detract from my apparent lack of smoky eye skill. Pretty much, between the makeup, hairspray, and accessorizing, I felt like a five year old having a blast playing dress-up and trying out these new things.  I'm not going to say I looked like a superstar, but it was fun to get all done up and look like a very different version of me.

A few friends and I went out there together and we had a great time!  Being among other women was such fun, even if we only knew a handful of people. Now that I'm showered and relaxing before falling asleep, I realize that this little outing was more than a party to me.  It was a tiny bit of liberation from succumbing to the easier assumption that the fun things are for other people.  It was also a reminder of the innate desire to connect with other women.  Every lady in the house was there because there is something in us that craves company. It's the same craving that drives us to invite someone over for coffee, to spontaneously call/text a friend or to show up when it is easier to pass.  I'm sure I won't say yes to everything I get invited to, but to those who do the inviting, THANK YOU! It means a lot to me to be asked to join in on fun things and even if I don't always say yes, I appreciate the gesture, probably more than you know. And to those who are invited to things, consider putting yourself out there and saying yes.

So with that, I am back in my non-sequined, fringeless yoga pants and I'm excited for a (hopefully decent) night of sleep.  Being gussied up and around people is draining for this self proclaimed introvert.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Friendsgiving 2015

I've started this post three different ways and none of them are quite right.  I feel like I need to offer background on who I was ten years ago, in college, compared to who I am today, a mom.  I want to provide an explanation of the friendships I have from college and the deep connection we share. But the thing is, words are just not working out to do that. It all feels inadequate unless I commit to write an entire book explaining the history of our relationship, which isn't happening this morning.  I have limited time until I have to be Mom again so here's what I have to offer...

Once upon a time, last week, I got a shitty tattoo.  It's true.  Those who know me now would probably be surprised at what might seem an impulsive decision.  You see, the friends I have and see on a regular basis know me primarily as a family person.  I am a mom.  I stay home with my kids and most of what I do is for and because of them.  My days are simple and consist of diapers, meal making, cleaning, and whatever glamorous tasks come along with homemaking and parenting.  I make decisions based on the state of my crew; how close we are to nap times, who's hungry, the time span between bathroom breaks and general attitudes of the team. This is my life. Each tiny decision is weighed and measured along a subjective canon. 

Back up like a decade.  College.  I can't even begin describing such a time. It was full of so many experiences, most of which wouldn't even make sense to explain. Partially because my memory is terrible these days.  I can't remember details of actual experiences but I certainly have accurate memories of my feelings, if that makes sense. The primary feeling that I recollect from that time is connectedness.  I have a tremendous bond with a handful of friends that continues today.  I don't know if it's because of the vulnerability shared as roommates, the camp-like feeling of Bible college, or if we would have hit it off in any other time of life.  Regardless, we have a beautiful friendship and recently lived out a dream we shared back in the day.  

We met up in Pennsylvania for a friendsgiving reunion.  This doesn't sound like a huge deal, but here's the low down: Jeff and Allison have the youngest child so we met near where she lives. We rented a big house and all gathered there with 9 kids and 8 adults. Andrew and Chandra drove from Ohio with their son, (An)Drew and Amanda brought their two girls up from Miami and we flew (and drove) from Alaska.  It was such a long journey with three young kids but we made it.  The week was not exactly restful, but was so, so good!  There was a lot of coffee, food and fun.  It was beautiful seeing our kids together and getting to know each of them a little bit.  I love that I have an idea who each of them are now beyond what can be explained.  My favorite part of the whole trip was probably watching my friends interact as families.  In particular, having known each of these girls so well as individuals, it was extra special seeing them as moms.

The first night there, the guys were in the living room around the fire and the girls were in the kitchen with wine and chocolate popcorn (typical). One by one we had to leave the table as we forced our kids to go to sleep. We were discussing the possibility of getting a friendship tattoo together on the trip and wanted to come up with the perfect image for us.  We tossed around several ideas and went back and forth many times. We made a decision to get two arrows crossing, which is a symbol Native American symbol of friendship, with four feathers at the base of the arrow, to represent each of us. We wanted it to look more natural/organic like sticks with leaves rather than sterile, perfectly straight lines like the more presently trendy look.  It's funny now that we were concerned with something looking too perfect. Andrew drew it up for us and that was that. 

In true mom fashion, we had no idea what to do when we decided to take a girl's day out.  So we found our way to town and popped a squat at an herbery for some coffee/tea.  It was nice just being together, talking, with only one child present.  While we were there we called the local tattoo place and  when he called back he said he'd be ready for us in ten minutes.  OH MAN!  We got our hustle on and  showed up at the door to his tattoo basement.  Once again, words will fail to explain this situation. Basically we were greeted by a pirate/wizard hybrid.  An old eccentric dude with a long white beard and a crude sense of humor opened the door and assaulted us with bizarre comments, unexpected jokes and references to people we'd never heard of.  We told him we'd be in touch and walked out shaking our heads because there's no way that was going to happen.  But after talking with a tattooed husband, we filled out bellies with some Mexican food, stopped by the grocery store and called the tattoo guy back.  Next thing I know, the ice cream in the trunk was the biggest concern we had, which in hindsight, is also funny. 

First things first when we got to the shop one of us had to poop.  If you know the four of us, you probably already know who. We asked to use his bathroom and it was weird for several reasons but mostly because there wasn't a sink. What kind of bathroom has a shower but no sink? Anyway, Amanda went first, then Allison, then Chandra then me. My friend locally saw the tattoo and told me I'm a very good friend for going last.  That pretty much sums it up.  We each put our brave face on, took our turn and ended up with a tattoo that makes me wonder if his moonshine joke was a joke at all. I don't think any of us really realized in the moment how bad they looked until we stepped out the door and walked back to the car.  At that point we could either laugh or cry because TATTOOS ARE PERMANENT!  We chose to laugh and are continuing to do so as we settle back into post-vacation life.  A hilarious memory was made, and so are appointments for tattoo fixes.

All in all, this week was very representative of us. It was so much fun even though it wasn't perfect.  There was a little drama, vulnerability, laughter but most of all togetherness.  And that is the stuff friendship is made of.  We have remained in close contact since the glory days of Bible college.  We may not remember a whole lot of the academic components that seemed important at the time, but college brought us together and I'm so happy for that. Truly this Thanksgiving was one for the books, or at least for the blog. Here's to friendship, family and plans for future trips together... maybe with more ice cream and less tattooing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"The Church" is such a deeply abstract concept and the more I think about it and hash things out with my husband, the more I realize that our model is so fundamentally flawed. The things that seem to matter to the church in our culture would make zero sense to Christ's original followers and that is so very sad.  We have people whose lives are dedicated to building up this church and it's a box step that repeats itself until circles are spun but very little progress has been made. We can count our steps, add our events, tithes, studies and groups but unless disciples are being multiplied and led toward baptism by the actual hands of the church, this family is little more than a complicated math problem with no objective solution. I went to Bible college so it's extremely safe to say that I am no mathematical prodigy but I am also inclined enough to spot a calculation error.

I love the church and I love each of the congregations I've been a part of.  I've had the pleasure of walking through the doors under a variety of steeples. The one that meets in a school. The one with great worship. The one with soul touching sermons. The one where we all sit on folding chairs on a carpeted basketball court. The one with sermons that I can't understand or follow. The one that only sings hymns. The one where the preacher sits on a stool with carpets on the stage. (Let's get church-funky.) Candles, organs, drums, teams, information booths, communion services, foot washing, potlucks, small groups, VBS, Sunday school, Bible study, seminar, retreat etc.

The focus seems to have somehow shifted from collectively dirty fingernails to a very efficient, streamlined program where numbers somehow trump hearts and no one notices the ripe soil sitting next to them because everyone's too busy craving spiritual water and setting up chairs. Jesus created this church to be a family but it has been painted in hypothetical GMOs and pesticides, robbing the organic chemistry that is foundational.  Christ's bride has a veil so dense that it's created a lens through which she sees everything and spends her time and energy to fix things that aren't even the real problem.  If we could all just pull back the veil, look into Jesus' eyes and allow ourselves to be transfixed, we would not need all the silly things we count as "church."

Let us sincerely grab hold of each other and get real. Let's expose our inch thick dust and have people over for dinner. Let's bust out a bottle of wine for heaven's sake, play games, laugh and have conversation!  Let's be vulnerable to admit when we've screwed up and laugh at ourselves as we brush the dirt off our butts when we fall on them.  Let's be people we can trust to help raise each other's kids and not be afraid of the mistakes we will make along the way.

Our poor kids.  We love them and want the best for them, but they're being presented with a very confusing world that is not going to be gentle on a young, Christian heart. No matter how we may try to protect them, bits of societal ugliness will seep through their precious skin and will influence them in some way.  Social catchphrases will be the norm for them and they won't bat an eye at the concepts of transgender, abortion, divorce, sex, STDs, terrorism, polygamy etc. We can't just drag them along on the same spiritual wave we've been riding because it won't work.  Statistical observation shows that a good majority of them will fall off that wave and come close enough to drowning that returning to church will not even be worth considering. I don't know how to protect my kids on this level but I have to assume that keeping them sheltered and only exposing them to people who think exactly like we do is not going to help them in the long run; it will just delay the exposure to a time when my influence is eclipsed by the world. Meanwhile it is fully my job to teach my kids about Jesus, love, discipline, sacrifice, and what it all means to them.

I don't have all the answers, and I'm certainly not pointing fingers at anyone or any congregation in particular (unless you feel convicted, then roll with it).  I'm just having a hard time connecting the great plan for this family of God when it's so easy to get lost in weird details that we've unnecessarily created and progress seems to go sideways instead of forward much of the time. I want to look at the church and be proud of people banding together, loving people in their community with no expectation of repayment, association, or anything else that would detract from the ultimate goal; one person engaging with another person creating relationships that point to Jesus. It's got to be so much more simple than we've made it. Older people, train younger people do to it right and let's influence a healthy cycle. Elders, that's you! Lead the church and train people up. Let's get some mentorship going on up in here. Everyone, be like Jesus and get to know people, meet them where they are and show some love. Do it outside of the umbrella of "ministry" and let it be your life.  It's a good thing!  If it wasn't, Jesus wouldn't have said to do it.

While this is all coming from my heart, part of it is coming from the small corner of my heart that tends to be task driven rather than the bulk that is relationally driven.  There is a place for tasks, but I'm realizing that it is not my goal to do things for the sake of doing things.  If I can foresee something inflicting stress on me that does not center around relationship building, it is not for me.  There is a time and a place, and surely a person for the job, but it's not me.  Saying no isn't my cup of tea, but with the right parameters set, I might be doing more of that in the near future.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A fierce flourishing

A fierce flourishing... the MOPS theme for the year.  If you don't know, MOPS stands for Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers- A bimonthly meeting where moms come to support one another in our journey of motherhood while our kids are being cared for by someone other than mommy dearest (shout out to all the volunteers out there!). So yes, the theme, "a fierce flourishing" totally didn't resonate with me right away.  It's difficult to say and didn't strike much inside me.  This is my fourth year with our MOPS group and some of the previous themes definitely hit home, particularly "A Beautiful Mess," for obvious reasons.

The promo video had some catchy phrases to explain just what it means to flourish fiercely. Including the statement suggesting that we take "one year choosing to live our one wild and beautiful life with as much celebration as we can muster.  One year embracing healthy rhythms of play and rest, one year of noticing the goodness that is right in front of us..." Perhaps in other words, this year is about taking the time to live the way our kids experience life!  I witness on a daily basis an almost 5 year old playing and pretending with all her might; Fully succumbing to each emotion with exuberance. I see a three year old proudly presenting me with clover flowers as an expression of love, who so desires the affection of others that he alters how he naturally plays to become one of the big kids, yet tucks back into my arms when he is ready to be still and little again. The ebb and flow of the healthy rhythms of adapting. I see a baby who only knows love. Whose face lights up and chubby arms flap at a simple smile, the little flirt. These kids are flourishing. They celebrate each and every little thing and are aware of the good things surrounding them.

I am excited to get to know the ladies at my table this year.  I always love hearing each new story, connecting and letting the relationships be a mutual encouragement. I hope that everyone who came to our MOPS meeting this morning feels good that they did something positive for themselves and took a step forward in connecting. I am grateful for the opportunity to be around other moms as we make the effort to notice and celebrate the small things and find joy in the ordinary!

My sister in law told me in reference to a drawing, "you can't win if you don't play." Apparently that little phrase got people sucked into the Arizona lottery.  Regardless of it's origin, this little token phrase speaks volumes to life in general.  How can you make friends if you don't say yes sometimes? How can you connect with others if you are not really present? How can you grow if you don't open yourself up to learning new things? How can you flourish if you don't expose yourself to life giving elements?  It's all very logical! You really can't win if you don't play, but if you give yourself the chance, it just might happen, and who knows, you just might flourish.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Growing up

The thing about kids is that they grow up.  Each new stage a confusing dichotomy of excitement and grief.  I know all you mommas out there can understand! Every new skill, a wonderful thing that we praise them for, but also a kiss goodbye to the child from yesterday. Each much anticipated birthday an admission of time passing.  We know the time goes fast because that's what every stranger in the grocery store tells us.  But, my goodness, how can it be possible that I have a kindergartner? For that matter, how can I have a three year old and a NINE month old? Nine months is almost a year and that means walking, learning to talk and destroy things.  One year also means baby weight transfers to real weight so I have my work cut out for me. Maybe if I squeeze the baby tighter time will slow down? It hasn't worked yet.

Molli has caught on to my not so subtle vibe that I'm not ready for her to be a big kid.  So much so that she's declared that this will be hear last real birthday.  From now on they will be pretend birthdays. That means, she will turn five and stop changing ages but will still get a party each year.  I approved instantly. Yes, let's do that so you will always fit on my lap and want me to read books to you.  You will stay a gangly wild child who wants to run around in bizarre clothing options make believing and bossing, then make cookies. You will always accept that I know everything, the car has wings that come out when kids sleep and that it is whatever time I say it is.  Stay my little princess monkey butt, baby girl.

Unfortunately, you and I both know how that works.  Kids grow up and with that they do new and exciting things.  Molli's kindergarten teacher came for a home visit before school started and in one of the papers she left for me to look over was this suggestion to prepare Molli for school:

Have frequent open and positive conversations about kindergarten.  Don't show regret to your child about "how old they are getting" and "can't believe" but state it in a positive manner.

My bad... clearly I failed at that part!  That evening I began making an effort to talk about all the positive, exciting and wonderful things coming up for her even though I cried a little inside.  At that point I realized  two things that I can never, ever forget.

1) It's not about me! From the moment her life was even a conversation between Myles and me, my wants and desires became second.  My life stopped being all about me and became something so much more beautiful and satisfying.

2) What a honor it is to age and watch my children do so! This might come across a little bit morbid, but truthfully, if I learned anything this summer, it is that life is so terribly fragile and something to rejoice over. Not everyone is granted full or long lives.  My nephew, Jude, weaves his way into my thoughts anytime I feel sad about my kids to stop growing up.  We are designed for life! We are designed to move forward and progress.  To wish that away is to wish away life and that is incredibly selfish (see #1).

So yes, my little girl started kindergarten and it's emotionally conflicting for a momma's heart.  But on this day, I am soaking up the relationship I have with her, knowing that she will keep growing and everything will continue to change, grow and advance.  I can celebrate in her growing up because despite the things I will miss about her being little, one day I will travel with her, go on roller coasters, teach her to drive and plan her wedding with her. Our relationship will definitely change, but I look forward to all the incredible experiences we will one day have.  I am finding joy in the new experiences she is getting and hope that this will continue to be my mindset as each of my babies grow into older versions of themselves.  What a blessing and honor it is to be a mom and to be trusted with these amazing people.

(The girl who started school)

(The boy who turned three)

(The one who outgrew his carseat)