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Archive for February, 2017

Happy 10th, Ellie!

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February 27, 2017

Happy 10th Birthday, Ellie!

You are only a little bit shorter than us these days. There is no more bending down to talk to you or reach you. Wow! The day you were born (which feels like just yesterday) was one of the happiest days of our lives. We didn’t know how much joy and love you would bring into our lives. It continues to bring us much joy to see your contentment in life in this season.

You seem to be thriving in school and with friends. You have adapted to a new school, persevered through timed math tests and a new Spanish curriculum, and received your first letter grades (you rocked them!). You have always made good choices in friends (like Ava, Rachel, and Caroline), so we are glad you have made new friends (like Katie, Kate, and Milling), with whom you seem to share a lot of similarities.

Besides the expected academic growth we have seen in you, we have noticed how school has helped you to grow spiritually. In particular, your prayers have been thoughtful and meaningful. No longer do you copy what you have heard others say, but your prayers are your genuine feelings, hopes, and fears that you are offering to God. Thank you for sharing this with us.

You have continued piano lessons and you seem to enjoy them. You joined the school choir and you put on a wonderful performance. Your newest endeavor is the climbing team at Inner Peaks. We have appreciated this outlet that allows you to challenge yourself, build strength, and escape from the every day things of life.

As you mature physically, you are also growing emotionally. You have a lot of strong opinions and frustrations. It’s just plain hard to get what you want when there are five other people at home with competing desires, preferences, activity levels, and volume! We continue to pray about this and to work on it. We hope you will always know we care and we listen even if things don’t turn out as you want them to. We do love you dearly and want what is best for you even if our decisions don’t make you happy. Our hope is that you would be able to love and respect others even when you disagree. (This is still something we are working toward each day, too.)

The recent trip to NYC with mom was a definite highlight. You are very mature and a delight to be around. Your enthusiasm about making your own ice cream, getting to the top of the Empire State Building, and braving the subway have created lasting memories for both of us. You bravely entered the G-force simulator with a stranger, where you were tossed side-to-side and upside-down. This is symbolic of this new era as you enter the double digits. Life is going to be hard sometimes and you will feel like you’re being tossed around. But, just as the ride ended safely, as you journey on in Christ, He will always steady you no matter your circumstances.

Love to a special girl who makes us so proud,

Mom and Dad

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We just got back from the best weekend ever. Many years ago, I told Ellie that when she turned 10, I would take her to Princeton, NJ to see where she lived when we were born. And, you can’t visit NJ without visiting NYC. She has looked forward to it ever since.

Ellie was such a delight and full of smiles. She is easy to travel with, goes with the flow, and was very quick to develop navigational skills, especially on the subways. She insisted on trying everything, even those things we adults tend to avoid, like city buses. We had a lot of funny moments making a few wrong turns, observing some “interesting” characters on the subway, and encountering some very crabby train conductors in New Jersey.

Her favorite parts were going to Cool Mess to make our own ice cream, touring the Intrepid aircraft carrier, eating in Little Italy, and meeting up with her friend, Caroline, who moved from Charlotte to NY last year.

Enjoy the highlights!

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The Lego Store

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Magnolia Bakery (red velvet cupcake)

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American Girl store

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Animals that inspired Winnie the Pooh 

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Definitely a Cool Mess

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Dylan’s Candy Bar

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9/11 Survivor Tree

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Ellie went upside down in this…

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Submarine tour, too

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Brooklyn Bridge

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Reuniting with Caroline

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Ellen’s Stardust Diner (Broadway performers sing while you eat!)

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The terrific actors from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

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Catching the train to NJ

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Had my first Mother’s Day at this special place 10 years ago

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We’re still here…

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Blogging is not high on my radar these days, but I know a few family members and friends appreciate updates. So, it is my pleasure to reflect on our lives at present.

Before I get to the four cuties, I will share about the adults. Wes continues to thrive as pastor and leader of Waypoint. He has never been more fulfilled in his ministry and he exudes a good bit of joy most of the time. The church has really grown. There are some seasoned people who have stepped up to lead groups and initiatives and there are also some young families commiting with great energy and enthusiasm. We are so grateful to God for the ways He leads and guides us in this. Wes is also scheduled to finish up his doctoral degree (and very large thesis) early this summer. It is a big undertaking, but he enjoys the intellectual challenge.

I have embraced this season as one of “recovery.” This month I celebrate ten years as a mom. It has been an exhausting and overwhelming decade. My gift to myself was to not commit to anything as the kids began school full time last fall. So, the fall was a lot of restorative and quiet time to myself, some home organizing, a few running goals met, meeting with women at the church, and helping out at the school when needed. This month I have begun doing a Bible study with moms from school (affording me a great chance to meet other moms) and also a Bible study with a few neighbors (which has long been a desire of mine). I am also looking to re-enter the counseling field on a very part-time basis.

Ellie is thriving at school and in friendships. She recently joined the local indoor climbing team and she thoroughly enjoys it. They have goals to ensure the kids are challenging themselves and we see her gaining confidence and strength. It has been a good outlet for her, especially since she hasn’t been passionate about organized team sports. Wes and Ellie also bond over talking about climbing and going together on the weekends. Ellie has been struggling with some relationships at home. She is sensitive and emotional and we are all figuring out how/if to respond and what to ignore. She is not easy to parent right now, but she is easy to love…hopefully that helps!

Jack has been remarkable as of late. His teachers regularly report how well he behaves and how quick he is to learn. This has not necessarily been the case in previous years, so we are very thankful for the great experience he is having as well as the maturity he is showing. I am most impressed by the strides he has made in reading. I imagine it is very difficult to have two brothers your same age who take to reading easier. But, he perseveres and doesn’t get discouraged. Jack has had to deal with a few things socially. He hasn’t yet had a very close friend from school emerge. But, a new student has arrived who is also a neighbor and that is giving him some confidence and connection. He also enjoys playing with the boys on our street.

James is definitely the man about campus. He has made a lot of friends and has a lot of “girlfriends.” I get frequent reports from the girls in his class about how he has tried to kiss them or how they are “in love.” I am not quite sure what to make of all of it. I do know he is very happy and connected and he has a teacher who is sensitive and thoughtful like he is. He is doing very well in school and he loves Bible time. His class is well bonded, so he has a lot of birthday parties and get togethers with his buddies. He is wrapping up basketball season and has LOVED it.

Thomas is in a great place. Everything in his life is coming very easily for him. I am not sure that is necessarily a good thing, but it is definitely true. He is academically very similar to Ellie where there is no challenge too great. He loves to learn and work hard. He is quite popular among the boys in his grade. For now, that benefits his brothers, too. I anticipate this being a source of pain and hurt feelings at a later point. Thomas highly anticipates going to play with his friends in the neighborhood each day. The very mild winter we are having has allowed him to be outside nearly every day, which is great for him. He, too, has played basketball and is passionate about it.

This spring has many adventures in store: Ellie and I are going to NYC for her birthday, she turns 10 on Feb. 27th, Wes and the boys are traveling to the Adirondacks for a retreat in early March, and for spring break we will travel to Florida. I can’t promise to report on those things, but I do promise they will be fun times!

 

 

 

 

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