look mom, i'm all grown up

i'm "so over" carseats
i eat with a "big boy" fork
i swim with sharks
i'm friends with Nemo
i have a cooking show with my friend eli coming to the Food Network next year...
what more proof do you want?
can i have the car keys now?


i have decided that i am officially crazy.
well, not just lately, almost all of the time (my husband will vouch for this)
but more recently, i have been crazilly reminicent about my babies.

i can't help but think about their stories, the way they were brought to me in God's amazing timing and the many, many ways they have changed my life...but i say that in the best way...the changes are amazing and wonderful. i am forever grateful to my sweet little boys for what they have given me.

all this to say, i feel like elaborating, and if you feel like reading, read on. if not, no hard feelings. how would i know if you stopped reading anyway? :)

i remember thinking when i was in college that someday i would get married, have kids, cook turkey tetrizini and sausage egg and cheese casserole just like my mom...but i had no idea how to picture it. it was too scary. too much responsibility. there was no way i could be a mom and clean spitup out of my freshly washed hair, or poop out of light beige carpet...wipe drippy noses with my own sleeve, or have lunch by eating the remnants of a grilled cheese that was recently mouthed and then spittout by a picky 18 month old.

if i could only tell my former self how much fun it would be to do all of those things...although "fun" is a relative term, the fun comes from the honor of loving and nurturing the future - our legacy - God's legacy...a future warrior for Christ...a future husband, father, drummer, basketball player, artist, skydiver, engineer, snowoarder...and how amazing it is to have your little boy say your name for the first time...and then say it over and over as if to reinforce how special you are to him. a little boy that throws his arms around you and won't let go when you tuck him into bed because he loves hugging you. a little boy who shouts "AMEN!" as loud as he can after we are done praying together because he knows already how special Jesus is.

to have a husband that cherishes time at home with his wife and kids more than anything else...even tuesday night basketball with the guys :) to expirience the love of a child is the coolest and most all incumpassing love-matic expirience of my life...i praise God that i have been blessed with the opportunity...nay the seincere challenge....of raising children. am i up for it? am i able to do it? am i the best mom in the world? quickly and humbly i answer no. i have no idea what i am doing most days, and the daunting task of keeping up with 2 kids gets the better of me sometimes...

but most times, i can only ponder at what like was like before kids...i can hardly remember it. it is while i am just about to compute a single complete thought that i am blindsided by a warp-speed tennis ball in the side of my head or a racecar thrown at just the right velocity to bruse but not puncture the skin of my shinbone that i remember...my life is just as it should be...it's perfect. well, it's not "perfect" but yet, it is. my house of boys....one tall, one short, and one right inbetween. i couldn't ask for more!


la-la-la-la-la-la bamba

er, uh, bumbo
perhaps one of the greatest children's products available
where on earth was the bumbo when foster was little??
oh that's right. i didn't need a bumbo. i had both arms free :)


my kendall

oh how i love her so...
we run, we skip, we laugh as we go...
we eat each others chicken nuggets and cups of fruit,
and sip from the same sippy cup
oh so cute.
we hold hands and pause for long hugs,
and protect each other from the mall playground thugs :)


ode to you

and the love you bring...
i had no idea, years ago
how your smile would make 3 more begin
and how our family would seem strange without you inside it
i love seeing your big brother pat your head ever so gently, hold your hand a little too tight and kiss your lips at least 3 times just to make sure he got you nice and slimy :)

you are oh so dear to me, littlest one, the littlest of all, the littlest of the tall.
someday soon you'll be running and jumping...
but for right now, in this moment, i'm glad you're sitting with me.
sitting and smiling and loving my love
you're so precious to me, my littlest love.


#2 birthday joy

happiness comes in twos.
2nd birthday boy
2nd birthday joy
two love birds full of gifts
two smiles make his heart jump
on stephen's head sits a golf club lump :)


the story of you...

have i ever told you about you?
well, here goes.
prepare yourself. it's long and believe it or not, this is the short version.

august 18th, 2005 - married 2 years, me and daddy left for guilin, china...an adventure that would last our lifetime because it is part of our journey to you. we had high hopes to live in china for 2 years and then some. we had sold most of our belongings and with no return tickets home, we explored encessantly, ate mystery-meat on a stick for dinner, trusted God moment by moment, and got comfy in our oh-so-tiny apartment complete with a bathroom/shower that looked more like a closet with a shower head over the john. we spent every day with our friends and wandering into new parts of the city...ending up where the day took us. we were loving life. it is easy to say it was the best time of our lives. our thoughts were far from parenthood, but little did we know, God was working on our hearts...prepairing us for you...knitting our hearts with thread that would lead us down a journey we would love more than anything in the world...you were created in the happiest time of our life. that is something wonderful.

fast-forward 8 weeks. i had been feeling strange. i chocked it up to the chinese flush and the 20 pounds i had lost from getting a parasite. little did i know, i wouldn't fully recover from the parasite for another 4 months. this my friends is the price you pay for eating meat from a street vender who hasn't washed his cooking utensils in the last decade. i gotta say, it may have been worth it. that was one tasty meat on a stick :)

wait, i need to explain something else. the first year we were married, i was told i would have a lot of trouble having children without medical intervention. big bummer. i only ovulate 2 times a year at most, making it nearly impossible to get pregnant. after a few months of being very depressed and stuffing pillows up my shirt to picture what i would look like pregnant, i decided to look at it in a positive way and look forward to adopting a baby when we were ready to have kids.

ok, back to the story. i'll try to hurry. sorry. i'm wordy.

bla, bla, bla, i was feeling strange. i had a past addiction to taking pregnancy tests anytime i felt the least bit strange, but in china, this presented a challenge because no one knows where to get one. after doing some serious searching, i came accross 2 pregnancy tests. or, should i say, 2 small strips of transparent paper that an old woman sold me with a dissaproving look on her face. i had serious doubts as to their validity, but oh well. i was sure i wasn't pregnant anyway.

friday, october 14th, 2005. 7am. getting ready for class. might as well try out my strips of paper. into my cup of pee they go. silence. check the chinese instructions and strange picture of what the paper should look like in the event of a pregnancy.
wait a minute...there is a positive where there has always been a negative! could it be? my heart leapt...it leapt right up as far as it could go...i call out excitedly to clint with the news (who was still in bed, nausious with a parasite of his own) and he is instantly out of bed...nausia subsided and telling me to take another test...the second strip of paper...same result. we are stunned. we are speachless. we are pregnant! we both knew this was one of those moments that you never forget. the start of something wonderful. but no time to giggle and chat...we are late for class.

moments later, as i walked down the dusty university street, i could hardly contain my elated giggles of excitement. smiling from one side of the street to the other. the world looked different to me now...my baby needed me! and all of the sudden i needed it. i had no idea i wanted a baby so much, but the heart is a funny thing...it knows what you want even when you don't know it. love was bursting out from within my soul. so this is what a baby feels like! the best feeling i have ever felt and i can't even feel anything yet! i daydream about a pregnant belly and gentle kisses on baby cheeks.
suddenly, i am struck with instant terror. what if it isn't true? what if i'm not really pregnant? as tears stream down my face, i cry out with such passion to God...begging and pleading that He not take this baby away from me. begging for it to be true. begging for a baby inside of me.

later that day, in a small military hospital squatty-potty i pee into yet another cup...my face must have looked like a sun-deprived ghost as i emerged holding the fate of my child in my pee filled cup. i remember someone telling me i better sit down. they handed me a slip of paper with chinese writting all over it. my mind swirrled. my tears swelled. i'll never forget that moment. for the first time, i felt myself breathe. there it was, amogst the chinese characters...a plus sign. i was pregnant. my baby was alive! my sweet little foster was alive!


family night

little old man
green socks
raise your hand if you love mama
brotherly love

family portrait

3 amigos

me and the boys


i'm getting bigger!!!

1 week old, conservative 7.8 lbs

2.5 mo old

4.5 mo old, no-so-light 16.5 lbs.

swim swiminy, swim swim swim

very Very VERY hot sunday afternoon.
very Very VERY swimmy foster.
very Very VERY cute pics.
beware. i had trouble choosing the cutest one, so i just kept adding more.


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