Friday, November 28, 2014

hey november, thanks.

hey. it's been a while. sorry about that.

i haven't felt like posting much in the past few weeks.

the truth is, i was not very grateful this november.

the month started off with a lot of anxious stress, and some real sadness. it pretty much ended that way too. in fact, come thanksgiving day, i was pleased we had decided to skip the holiday all together and work on our house instead. we shipped the kids off to grandparents, and tyler and i stayed back to roll up our sleeves. we had jack-in-the-box tacos.

it just felt like my awareness of the unfairness, the heartache, the cruelty, the worry, and the downright confusion of life was particularly pressing. it was drowning out the spirit of a holiday that hadn't bothered to show up in my heart to begin with. like, at all. let's just say i've been the real ebeneezer of the whole autumnal season around here. there has been a lot of swearing. insert shame face. 

but, you know what? the heavens randomly send you an inkling sometimes. one of those serendipitous sort of inklings that remind you of all the good things that you may have momentarily forgotten. the kind that makes you stop and say, hmmm. it's especially the best when you're not expecting it, in the least. and when your undeserving heart feels particularly cold, and closed, and angry.

yesterday, on thanksgiving afternoon, i was in my house. taking a break from the boxes surrounding me. cool air was blowing through the open windows, ventilating all the dirty, saw-dusty spaces. i happened upon this video while browsing online. 

i watched it. 

and, quite out of nowhere, 

i felt hopeful. and tearful. and warm.

like a reset button had clicked.

 for this, i am thankful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ellie Jane

Hello to you, my four year-old Ellie Jane.

It's late on your birthday, and this year I'm not nearly on top of things enough to have any sort of formalized post ready. Luckily, you indulged me in a spontaneous photo shoot a few weeks ago outside of Auntie Sarah's house. It all happened simply because you were so darn cute, and auntie Sarah had a wonderfully droopy oak tree outside her fence. I look through these photos and my heart does what it always does when I think of Ellie Jane. It's a combination of giddy and fuzzy and really super sappy I'm-about-to-collapse-in-fetal-position-and-cry-for-three-days-in-gratitude kind of feeling. And the mantra repeated over and over in my mind is,

Never was a child so loved.

Only, when I really think about it, I know that there actually are other children who are so loved. Your sisters, for starters. 

And I can imagine, although it's hard to, other mamas out there who feel the same way. Ok, fine I'll admit it... there are most likely countless Mamas -- from the beginning of time and stretching all the way into eternity -- thinking that same thing about their own. Never was a child so loved.

It's one of the most glorious, infinite gifts of God. This thing that happens. This miraculous, almost unfathomable human experience of being introduced to the sunshine of a pure soul. Over and over, again and again, it happens. 

Yet, every single time, every. single. time., it is so entirely unique and one of a kind. There is just not ever, and never ever ever ever ever will be anyone like you, Ellie Jane. Ellie flippin Jane. 

 And that makes me quite literally, eternally, and unmistakably the luckiest Mama alive. I mean, really. That's just a cold, hard mathematical kind of fact. There's no getting around it. 

Gah, it's making me get all dribbly just thinking about it, how much you make me love life.

Your birthday party was a bit under-planned this year, due to the overall insane nature of our lives and house under construction. Yesterday, we made merry with Nonna and Pop at their Palm Springs retreat, and you swam happily in your birthday suit in the pool. You had a "Frozen" themed birthday cake, and you didn't disappoint one bit with your reaction to the various princess themed gifts that were showered upon you by your grandparents. You even shared with Emerson, who immediately plunged and pleaded for your new Anna doll. What a sweet big sister you are.

Today, on your actual birthday, we mostly ran errands around town, preparing the big girls to begin at their new school. We squeezed in a special slurpee and stopped for you to pick out a toy at the store. You chose a Barbie ensemble that included four dolls, specifically so each of your sisters could share and join in your play. I mean, come on. That kinda stuff. That kinda stuff!!!! You're killin' me smalls, killin' me!

Tonight, we sat in the upstairs loft of our new house. The only area we are permitted in while the rest of the interior is being torn asunder. We sat on the wood floor and ate McDonalds. Because we are real class acts like that. And, to make matters worse, Daddy was gone on business this evening to boot. 

So it was just us girls with a few cheeseburgers and fries. We decided to go around and share what we love about Ellie Jane. I asked who wanted to begin.

You raised your hand and proclaimed that you wanted to go first.

oh my ellie.

Lily said that she loved how you are funny, even when you aren't trying to be. {case in point} {Lily also leaned over and said, "Pss, Mom. You know how when Ellie is trying to be funny and tell jokes? She really kinda isn't. But I think that's cute too.} London said she loves that you are so nice. Emerson demonstrated her appreciation for your generosity by still furiously clinging to your Anna doll. And I said that I love how you make me so happy.

I love you Ellie Jane, thanks for making life so sweet.

Happy Birthday!