Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mary Claire!

Well, I can't believe it, but my baby, Mary Claire, has officially turned ONE!

This morning at 7:52 a.m. marked the LAST 1st(contradictory?) birthday our family will celebrate! It's a little sad, but I feel the same completed feeling I felt when I first laid eyes on Mary Claire one year ago today and held her in my arms for the first time. You complete us, Mary Claire! (a great line borrowed from a good movie!:-))

One year ago...seems like yesterday! I sat in Sunday School a couple of weeks ago and looked up on the bulletin board where Mary Claire's birth announcement hung. And I felt as though I had just sent those out, but here I was approaching her ONE YEAR BIRTHDAY!!

A dear lady at church told me when I was expecting Mary Claire that her third child had always been such a blessing...not that the other two weren't, but she said her daughter had always been special. I think Mary Claire is such a blessing. I will enjoy telling her the story of my mom's reaction when the ultrasound revealed IT WAS A GIRL! Dr. Stern said it was the best reaction ever, and it was pretty good, I'd have to say. With two big brothers and a daddy who loves her more and more every day, I'd say she's a pretty lucky girl already!

Happy Birthday, Mary Claire! You have been an absolute JOY! I have never been happier, I think, to have been able to be at home with you for the first year of your life. To see you grow and laugh and crawl and talk! You are so beautiful and sweet! I love the way you wake up happy and call for daddy and me over the monitor! I love your dark hair (just like your Daddy's) and your eyes. I love the way you dance to the music you hear. You are a wonderful gift from God, and I am constantly reminded of God's goodness and greatnesss when I look at you. Thank you, God, for your ever enduring love. And thank you for this special day we celebrate the life You gave in this little girl we love so much.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Middle Love

This post is dedicated entirely to my middle love, Jonah. He's my middle child and while, yes, he might possess the typical characteristics so many middle children are labeled with, he also holds such a large capacity of affection...willingly giving it to those he deems worthy of it. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been given Jonah almost 4 years ago. His life was such a surprise to us, but knowingly planned by God. And the moment I saw his face will forever be stamped in my memory. His sweet little chubby face...must have really liked those cheeseburgers mommy ate! :-) It's funny to think that before he was born I wondered how I could love another as much! But since he came into my life, he has allowed me to learn so much about love and how much my heart could expand in love!

And while people so often get confused and call him "Noah"(which is a very nice name, too), I can't imagine any one with any other name that is better to have around and love than my Jonah. My dove...the meaning of his name. A that God used so many times to reveal His message to His people.

I guess the last few days have inspired me to post this about Jonah seeing as how he so often shows love to his baby sister. He's so sweet to her! He doesn't like for other people that he doesn't know well to touch her, and he will tell them! :-) If she is on the floor watching Baby Einstein, he will pull her into his lap and hold her while they watch T.V. together. Now, you would think an ALMOST one year old who is on the move would protest this, but she must feel safe and secure there because she will sit back and watch T.V. with him. It's the sweetest thing ever, I think! She is lucky to have Jonah as her big brother. And I am lucky to have him as my middle lovely middle child for whom I know God has great things in store for!

I love you, Jonah. You are not the FIRST or the LAST, but the special MIDDLE part of this family for which we cannot imagine life without. You make me laugh and cry! :-) You amaze me with your mind and thoughts everyday! You love like no other. I am so thankful for you and the gift that you are. Te amo, Jonah!
Love, Momma

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What Could Be Better?

Sunday afternoon naps together, riding in the truck with the windows rolled down on a gorgeously, beautiful (a little redundant, I know) day, drinks and snacks from the nearest convenient store! Who could ask for more? :-) We headed out after church this past Sunday to pick up our "new to us" patio furniture, and this was the scene from the backseat not long after we pulled out of our driveway. It was too sweet...I couldn't pass up the opportunity for a picture of all my babies napping!
Love the ones you're with! :-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Summer's Calling!

There must be something about the last day of school and the "call" of the cool (uh, just down right COLD) swimming pool! If there were a Polar Bear's Club in this area, my boys would be great members! One toe in and I could tell that the temp of the water was not quite warm enough for mommy (No sir, not me!), but the boys jumped right in! Even Mary Claire enjoyed the "brisk" feeling of the water on her skin!

John Owen helping Jonah swim! Sometimes brothers DO love each other! :-)

As I sat there with only my feet in, I couldn't believe that school was out and summer is beginning, and in just a matter of a couple of weeks, we would be here at Mimi and Daddy Nick's pool everyday, no doubt, trekking back and forth in our swimsuits and soaking up some summer sun! Soon the heat of the summer days would be calling us to the cool water to "beat the heat"...Here's hoping everyone enjoys their summer!

Mary Claire gets warmed up in her towel after taking a little dip!
And until that water gets warmer, I will have to just soak up the sun and leave the cold water to the seemingly thick-skinned boys I have! :-)
Have a great summer!
Love, Nicole

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Mother Friends

Several weeks ago, we noticed that the vacant nest out on the back porch had once again been claimed "occupied" by a beautiful mother Robin bird and her four blue eggs! We were so excited that we now got to experience a second year of watching her care for and sit on her eggs and then eventually return to the nest over and over with food for her new babies. Jonah, especially, found this exciting and would give me daily reports of activity concerning Mother Robin and her nest!

Unfortunately, with life being as CRAZY as it has seemed to be lately, I "dropped the ball" and didn't snap a picture of the baby birds as they flew the coop last week! I could just kick myself!

Soon after Mother Robin began her brooding at our house, we noticed a mother Killdeer bird had chosen a lovely place in the flower bed for which she would lay four gorgeous brown speckled eggs! You can only imagine how ecstatic Jonah and John Owen were! "We've got all kinds of animals here, Momma!"

And as I sat there with my babies watching these other Mothers, I couldn't help but feel comfort in knowing that all I had to do was walk out my back door and be in the company of some great moms...Mothers who take the time to care for their young, spend endless energy to make sure their babies are safe and fed. I liked the fact that they felt the safety and security of our backyard to choose this place for carrying out their journey of Motherhood!

But I also couldn't help but see the parallel between how quickly time seems to fly by with my own children and how quickly those baby Robin birds left their warm nest and their mother only to set out on their own in this world! In the matter of one or two days we watched the progression of the baby Robins as they stepped out of the nest, then made their way to the playset, then to the fence, and then off into the world!

I know it sounds silly, but I have often imagined what these other Mothers think and they think and feel like me? I cried when I found that one of the babies didn't make it to the fence and was not able to complete his journey into the world. While I know that Mother Robin may not have the capacity to "feel" the loss of her baby, I couldn't help but feel it for her as I scooped up the lifeless body of one of the babies she had spent so much time loving, protecting and caring for. I do not know the circumstances that surrounded the death of this baby, but it reminds me that no matter what "kind" of Mother you are, there's no way to know the future. This experience reminds me that life is fragile and precious and that we should make the most of the time we have together on this Earth.

Most of all, this experience reminds me that being called "Mother" or "Momma" or "Mommy" is a that will last forever! It's a wonderful experience like no other...for one to be called someone's Mother!

So, to all of my wonderful Mother friends and to all of you out there reading this who are blessed to be called "Mommy"...

Happy Mother's Day! I hope you have a blessed Mother's Day weekend!

Love, Nicole

By the way...Mother Killdeer is still here...performing her motherly "duties" and we hope to see some babies soon! I hope to not miss these babies as they hatch and fly!:-)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

By The Way...

I forgot to post this a couple of weeks ago when a fellow blogger had to "move" her blogspot. Please make note that "2 Kids, a Minivan & a Mortgage" has moved to:

Thanks! And happy blogging!:-)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Birthday Fun!

I promised more pictures from John Owen's 6th birthday party, so here they are!
We love birthday parties!

The Black "Venom" Spiderman cake that John Owen requested for his party!

The birthday boy surrounded by his guests for singing "Happy Birthday" and blowing out the candle! Who IS that behind the funny face?

Carter and John Owen have some fun with funny faces!Friends and costumes are so much fun!Grandmother Caudle, Mommy and Mary Claire