Birthday Girl

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Rory was born on an easy day for us to remember: 8-9-10.

IMG_5121We have been talking about her birthday for FIVE LONG MONTHS.  I made the bad decision to use her birthday to help the twins know when they’re going to start Kindergarten.

Here’s how the conversation goes every single day…sometimes twice a day.

Faith: Mommy, we haven’t started Kindergarten yet.

Me: Yes Faith, I know.

Rory: You start Kindergarten after my birthday!!!!!!!

Me: Yep, Rory. They do.

Rory: My birthday is August 9.  I’m going to be three.  Right now I’m two.

Me: Yep.

Rory: Mommmmmmy!!!!  My birthday is August 9.  I’m going to be three.  Right now I’m two.

Me: Yep.

Rory: And on my birthday I’m going to have birthday cake.  And I will be three!!!!!

And so on…

So I decided last week that we should throw a little last-minute birthday party for Rory.  (I love throwing parties and hate planning, so last minute events are the norm for me.) She decided on the theme, we talked for a long time about birthday cake, I made the invites and put them in the mail, and by the end of the day, the meltdown of all meltdowns ensued.  Rory was beyond devastated that her birthday wasn’t happening that day. She refused to eat dinner and insisted on birthday cake through tears and screams. Wow.  That didn’t go as planned.

The next morning, in effort to avoid daily meltdowns, I got out our craft supplies and we made a birthday countdown chain.  (And by “we” I mean that I made, colored, and cut almost everything while the other kids cut paper up into the tiniest pieces possible and spilled them all over the floor.)

She’s pretty excited about it and I’m going to have to implement these chains a lot more often to avoid losing my mind with constant questioning about future activities.

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These Four

IMG_5096 Sweet Rory, as usual, is full of life and energy.  Something that has stood out to me recently is how deeply she feels EVERYTHING.  She’s either grinning from ear to ear and giggling, or inconsolably upset. I try to use those moments to remember how *right* it is to feel and experience life fully–it’s how things were in Eden before the fall.  Though the heartache is deeper, the joy and satisfaction is also so much richer.

IMG_5097 Faith has shown tremendous growth recently.  A few months ago, if she didn’t get her way, she would pout and cause problems for the rest of the day.  Now, she can regulate herself within a few minutes and snap out of her bad mood almost immediately.  This shows us that she’s learning to trust others and beginning to understand that there are consequences for the decisions she makes.

IMG_5098 Favor has FINALLY bonded with me.  When we first brought her home, she wouldn’t even let me hold her.  (She’s been attached to Jonathan since day one, but really wanted nothing to do with me.)  Slowly, she’s let me in more and more, and, 14 months after I met my daughter for the first time, she’s finally giving me kisses and impromptu snuggles.  One of our sweet little jokes is when I say to her, “Favor, I’m so glad I’m your mommy.”  Favor grins and complains saying, “Mommy, you said that to me SIX times already.”  She is the sweetest!

IMG_5160Our little guy is perfect for us.  He’s super laid back and pretty easy to please.  With Rory, we were super scheduled and it just hasn’t happened that way with Ransom.  He eats when he eats, sleeps when he sleeps, and plays when he plays.  It works for us, and we are so grateful for such a good little guy!

*Drool bib made by me.  Tutorial coming soon.

Stone Mountain Park

IMG_5010 Last weekend we met up with some dear friends, the Nobles.  Jonathan ate many meals at their home while in college and they’ve been a great example of love and hospitality to hundreds of college students over the years.  The’ve been mentors to us since we got married, and now they’re parenting mentors too since they also have 3 girls and 1 boy.

Kate was our “rock girl” in our wedding, and now she’s practically grown up!

IMG_5014 Since it had rained for two weeks straight before we went to the laser show, the park where we sat was wet…like squishy wet.  Within about .2 seconds all 3 girls had fallen and were drenched from head to toe.  That’s part of the fun of being a kid though.IMG_5031

All the Noble kids and Jonathan played frisbee and soccer with the girls.  Thank goodness we have someone to teach them sports, because we all know I’m not going to be the one who does it.
IMG_5018 At first Rory was shy, but then we told her Kathryn was just like Grandma, and Rory was instantly bonded.IMG_5021Ummm, let’s talk about the Civil War for a minute.  I learned an entirely different Civil War history up north than they did down here.  You can tell that alone from the fact that they have carvings of and celebrate war “heroes” like General Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis.  That, plus all of the fanatical cheering for the different college football teams during the laser show reminded me that, though I’ve been in GA for almost 6 years, I’ve got a long way to go in becoming a true southerner.  Oh, and fried chicken, sweet tea, and the need for guns are totally lost on me.    
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A picnic isn’t complete without messy cupcakes.  IMG_5026 IMG_5029 IMG_5030This would be the sugar-induced reaction to the cupcakes.  Let’s just say there was a lot of screaming and running for a good 30 minutes.
IMG_5038 And then we brought out the bubbles.  I just love watching how much fun everything is for kids.  They live so fully in each moment.  We try our best to encourage a carefree environment where they are free to have fun. It’s not always easy for me to go with the flow when things don’t go as planned, but I’m working on it.  When I do, it’s always worth it because of the fun the kids have.IMG_5053 IMG_5056 IMG_5058 IMG_5075

It rained on us on and off, but we all huddled under two umbrellas.  The girls sang lots of “Singin’ In the Rain” (one of their favorite movies) and eventually it got dark enough for us to start the movie.

Rory and Faith loved it and really enjoyed the “sparkles in the sky” while Favor lost her mind at the loud noises.  Jonathan was eventually able to calm her down, and all 3 kids stayed awake for the entire show. (Ransom, on the other hand, slept soundly in a number of different arms throughout the night.)

We had a fantastic time with the Nobles and are so thankful for such great examples in our lives.  Stone Mountain was super fun too and I’m hoping to make the laser show a yearly tradition.

Life at Home

I’ve been a stay at home mom for about 4 months now.  This whole stay-at-home-mom gig wasn’t planned, but has been great!  The company (non-profit) I worked for lost the majority of it’s funding due to a state issue, so they had to make some cuts.  Though I wasn’t laid-off, I was told my job couldn’t be protected when I had the baby, so I really had no choice but to resign.  Thankfully, I was able to receive severance, and still have the baby on the company insurance.

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When Rory was born, I couldn’t get back to work soon enough, because I was SO BORED at home.  All she did was eat and sleep and I got bored and lonely and depressed after about 1 1/2 weeks.  I watched 5 seasons of Mad Men in that 6 weeks I was home.  (I’m sure 5 seasons straight of Mad Men had NO contribution to my depression either.)

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This time, however, has been entirely different.  Four kids 5 and under keeps me a lot busier than a newborn infant.  I love the freedom I have to meet up with friends, work out, go to the pool, sew, volunteer with local organizations, and just enjoy my kids and life.  My patience level for their chaos (and blatant rebellion) has increased dramatically since I’ve been home and I have learned so much more about each individual personality now that I’m with them so much more.

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I think I left work at the perfect time.  I don’t regret my previous years as a working mom and would do it over again the same way, but for now, I’m happy and thankful for where I am and all the fun that comes with being a stay at home mom.  (Don’t tell anyone, but my mom job is actually easier than my management job.)

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IMG_1708I never thought I would have have four little kids (two by way of Ugandan adoption), be a stay at home mom, live in THE SOUTH.  And I really never thought any of these things would fill me with such thanks.  Our life is hard (currently Faith is tantrumming next to me) and we’re tired a lot (Favor was up crying for a couple of hours last night), but we are so very thankful.  IMG_4997

Ransom clearly didn’t understand the instructions to dress like a cow in the above pictures.  Jeez, who got him dressed anyway?

Berry Picking

Hello blogsphere!  We have lots of fun in our house and we stay pretty busy, so I’m not great at blogging.  However, I love reading other blogs and wish I was chronicling our lives better (since baby book updating has gone out the window).  So, I’m going to give regular updating another try!

IMG_1466 IMG_1480 We went strawberry picking a couple of months ago.  This year, we went south to Southern Belle Farms.  We went on a weekday morning, so we basically had the farm to ourselves.

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They did a great job picking ripe strawberries once we showed them what to do and we filled up three buckets pretty quickly.IMG_3787


IMG_3786The best part, of course, was eating the freshly picked strawberries.  One strawberry each turned into lots of strawberries for everyone.IMG_3798 IMG_1487After we picked strawberries, we had a picnic lunch at the farm and visited all of the farm animals.  (If you look closely, Jonathan is carrying a napping Ransom.)  Ransom is so great.  As long as we have him in the Ergo, he just hangs out and usually sleeps.
IMG_3808 IMG_3812Faith and Favor are terrified of animals, so we were surprised when they happily pet the horses (ponies? donkeys?).  I guess the fence helped.
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Then, a few weeks ago, we headed back to the farms for blueberries and blackberries!

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The blueberries took FOREVER to pick, but we filled up our buckets super quickly with blackberries.  Thanks to our berry picking, we have lots of jam, frozen berries, and enjoyed some fresh pies.

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I always laugh at the irony that taking the girls to a farm in the country feels so exotic to me even though the twins spent the first four years of their lives in rural western Uganda with farm animals wandering around all over the place.