Friday, July 29, 2011

Peaceful and Joyful

Each day is filled with so many fleeting and precious moments that I feel panic at their sheer volume.  I torture myself to better record, capture, and memorialize these snapshots of my family.  And I fail.  My frenzied brain seems to be coated with a non-stick surface that allows too much to slip away.  I fear Samuel pays the greater price.  Anecdotes of Eleanora dancing through the grocery store, introducing me to her imaginary friend "Quackaquack", or telling me Daddy is her best friend, are easier to capture and recount than the more subtle style of our sweet Samuel.

I want to remember...

the way he kicks his legs with glee every time I reach to pick him up from his crib

the sensation of his hot breath on my neck as he nuzzles up for comfort

his adorable giggle, directed at books, toys, and most often his sister

the way he quickly puts his thumb in his mouth nearly every time I carry him

his sweet voice cooing along while I sing his lullaby

his wriggles of joy as I lay him down to sleep and he finds his beloved stuffed hand, clutches a finger, and begins sucking his thumb

his easy smile brought on by seemingly nothing, that lights up the room

the look of determination and concentration as he propels himself, army-crawl style, toward the singular stone, crumb, or piece of lint that he will invariably attempt to ingest

the twinkle in his brilliant blue eyes when I catch his glance

Samuel is the embodiment of peace and joy, two traits I long for in greater measure.  He shows me day after day that being peaceful and joyful is not a state of circumstance, it is a state of mind.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


A beautifully animated French film about a little boy who must learn to read to save the heroes of classic children's literature. Free admission and popcorn.  English dubbing for the littles.  An ending so sweet it brought me to tears.  A theatre full of clapping, joyous children.

A perfect first trip to the movies.

Bonus?  The film's English title is ELEANOR'S SECRET which convinced my decidedly adorable girl that the best children's film I've ever seen was made just for her.

After Eleanora's usual bedtime stories last night, she requested her bedside light be left on so she could read books herself.  How could we resist?  She obviously has some heroes to save.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Imagination is an amazing thing.  The ordinary, the boring, the mundane all become magical within an instant.

Playing dress up is fun, but how much more fun is it to try to wear every article of dress-up gear all at once?

Playing in a pool filled with water?  Been there, done that.

Just eating dinner while looking adorable is soooo yesterday.  Eating dinner while playing peak-a-boo with white curtains?  Now that takes some imagination.

Imagination is not only for the littles in my life.  When I dread doing the dishes I like to imagine I am in the Olympics for dishwashing and my team is depending on me for the gold.  Bonus points for removing caked on scrambled eggs and dried up oatmeal.

I also dream of a backyard full of green, luscious grass that we can spread a homemade quilt (still obsessed) on and imagine animal shapes in the clouds.

For now, off the the Olympics I go.  I feel a world record in laundry folding coming on.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Baby Sammy

A year ago at this time, I was being whisked into emergency surgery, put under anesthesia, completely overwhelmed and in shock.

Fast forward to today and I am still in shock...

In shock that the tiny baby hooked to a ventilator, covered in tubes and wires, bruised and swollen is the healthy, beautiful little boy napping in his crib.

In shock that this little guy has overcome so much, and continues to amaze me everyday.

In shock that I am so so so blessed to be Momma to the sweetest, happiest, blonde-haired peanut.

I admit there are days that I am still angry, resentful, and just sad that we had such a rough start.  I hear about smooth deliveries without complication where the father is able to be present to witness the miracle of birth, and I am angry that I was scared and alone and without Ben for Samuel's delivery.  I look at healthy full-term babies, nursing without problems, not facing frequent visits to the neurologist, therapists, and developmental specialists, and I feel a seed of jealousy in the pit of my stomach.

But then, I look at this face...

And the anger, resentment, and jealousy disappear in an instant.  I wonder why we are so incredibly blessed with this perfect, amazing gift who overwhelms us with joy every day.  Given the choice, I wouldn't have it any other way.  The only thing I'd change is how fast this precious time is flying by.

Happy Birthday, Baby Sammy.  Please slow down this growing up business.  You're going waaaay too fast.

And remember, no one (NO ONE) loves you as much as your Momma.  Yes, your future wife will disagree, but I don't care.  I'll always be your Momma and you'll always be my Baby Sammy.  Even when you are old and gray.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sweet Reese

Robbie is one of our dearest friends from college.  He has the sweetest heart, the kindest ways, and is an amazing friend.  Shortly before graduation and his move back to Washington state, he wrote each of his friends an individual letter expressing his genuine love.  He planned a group Christmas party, complete with gifts for everyone.  He was a groomsman in our wedding.  He married a fantastic and beautiful girl, Bre Ann, who through the magic of blogs, email, and facebook I consider a dear friend as well.  

They are the parents of an adorable little guy, Jase and an unbelievably gorgeous baby girl, Reese.  At nine months, Reese was diagnosed with a large brain tumor.  The tumor has been removed, and now this sweet little girl is facing months of chemo.

This precious family has been heavy on my heart.  Will you join me in sending prayers, good thoughts and love to the Gilfillans?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Heat Wave

triple digit temps + stir-crazy momma = outdoor bubble bath and lots of fun

Added bonus?

This shot of Samuel's adorable behind that I fully intend to show to his prom date.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

i heart obsession

Confession...I easily become obsessed (obsessed!) with things.  The latest:

1. lusting over vintage fabrics on etsy
2. stacks of quilting books from the library
3. these love bugs

Isn't obsession wonderful?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Back to Business

I've been waaaay behind on blogging the past month or so.  Between traveling, graduations, baptisms, party-planning, and more traveling it's been non-stop around here.  Now that we are settled and (mostly) caught up on laundry I have a moment to reflect on the crazy fun we've been having.

First a few pictures from before the trip that make me chuckle...

The first order of business on our trip was a celebration in honor of the conquering and very handsome high school graduate, Joel Peter Gibson.

Next up, two glorious days with my college suitemates in Ohio while Ben and his parents were rock star babysitters.  Oh, how I love these girls...  Time with them is always refreshing, inspiring, and therapeutic.  They are amazing women who I am so so sooooo blessed to have in my life.

I also got to spend some wonderful time with some other special women in my life, dear friends Beth and Adrienne.  They each made the trek to Erie from Pittsburgh with their young families in tow to spend time with  us.  We also had a wonderful (wonderful!) day in Grove City talking, shopping, and being kid-free.  I spent the drive back to Erie basking in the glow of sweet friendship, a silent car, and licking my fingers from a caramel candy bar...fab.u.lous.

We kicked it into party-mode and celebrated Samuel's baptism (or "they put water on Baby Sammy's head!" as Nora said) and early first birthday with lots of family.

Everything was yellow in honor of our mellow-fellow... lemonade bar, lemon chicken, lemon basil pasta salad, pineapple, yellow frosted cupcakes, yellow balloons, yellow pinwheels, and yellow candy.  (Thanks to Kirstin for the inspiration!).  Ben made a "yellow" playlist which featured, "Yellow Submarine", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", and "Mellow Yellow".

Our sweet mellow fellow celebrated by taking a nap, then doing a nosedive into a cupcake.

The rest of our trip was spent enjoying outside activities, playing in the grass (a novelty!), going to the beach, and enjoying the non-sweltering temperatures of glorious PA summer weather.