Monday, November 7, 2016

To My Almost Two Year Old

Owen. I had no idea how much fun it would be to have a little boy, and here you are, almost two years old and teaching me all about it.

You are the neatest little boy I have ever known. You have your times of pure hyper-ness, but you also take things in stride and slow down in new situations. When you enter an unfamiliar situation you take your time to observe before jumping in. I think you are always observing, and you have more focus than I would have imagined for a little boy-person.

Some of the funny things you say right now are...You call your sisters "A-tay" and "Bear." Actually you are starting to catch yourself when you say "Bear" and then correct yourself by really drawing it out - "Cuh-Lay-Er." When you wake up in the morning the first thing you say to me (after yelling from your crib, "Mommy!!! C'Mere!!! Mama!!! Get me!!!") is either "Et-mole" (oatmeal) or "Fuffin" (muffin). Breakfast is your favorite.

One of my favorite things is the way you say "What" - not like a question, but a statement. You say it when you don't know what else to say. Sometimes it's in response to me - "Owen, come over here." "What." And sometimes it is to yourself when you are thinking or figuring something out. You might be trying to build a tower with blocks and then look at the block in your hand and say "What."

You are also into saying "Mommy. Mommy!!! Watch." You say it before you shoot the basketball or put the next block on the tower, but sometimes you say it first and then frantically try to think of something to do now that I am watching. And my favorite is when you want to tell me something in a whisper. You cup your hands around your own ear as you lean toward my face to whisper whatever it is you want to tell me.

 You just make us all smile, O-bo. You have ridiculous skill with all things ball-related. Your favorite thing to do is play ball with your daddy. You also love to play with blocks and train sets. You always prefer to eat your breakfast in the treehouse. You love to read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See" and to find Goldbug in Richard Scarry's "Cars and Trucks and Things that Go."You ride AK's old purple tricycle like you own the place. You don't care that much about the tv unless your sisters are watching a show, at which point you yell "Fireman Sam!!!" You get frightened by loud or unexpected noises. A couple of weeks ago we were at the Rock Ranch and there was a pig in the fence right next to us. You were so excited, "Pig! Pig!" until that pig oinked at you. Whoa, that was traumatic.

You love to tell people "Hey" and "Bye" and you give some pretty awesome hugs. Your sisters are your favorite people on earth. Except for maybe your daddy, whom you are so excited to see every  night when he gets home from work. Well, you like me a lot, too. You still love "Eye of the Tiger" and we have actually caught you humming it at random times. Along with that, your favorite songs to listen to are "Come Together" by the Beatles, "Church Clap" by Lecrae, and "Tractor Tractor" by Andrew Peterson. Any time you have pain anywhere on your body, you think it's caused by ants. You know the answer to "Who loves you the most?" God! And you can quote the end of the phrases of many, many Bible verses. AK loves to play the game when we are reviewing our verses, where we stop at the end of each line and let you complete it. Your favorite is Hebrews 11:6. One day those words will be life-giving to you, Buddy.

Normally you go to bed with no problem at all, but tonight you started to cry when I put you down. I was happy to hold you and rock you one last time as a one-year-old. I sang over you and reminded you of who made you, and you asked if we could go for a run, if you could play basketball, and if you could eat some cheese. It was a beautiful moment.

Man, you are just too cool. Our family is just so much richer for having you in it. Here's to a wonderful two-year-old year, filled with growing and learning and laughing and loving. Happy 2nd Birthday, O to the Bo!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

To My Almost Seven Year Old

If there is one thing I know, it's that just yesterday you were a toddler and there is no way you will be seven years old tomorrow. But here we are, and as hard as it is for me to accept the fact that you are just 13 inches shorter than me, I love so many things about watching you grow.

You are focused and determined. This is especially easy to see when it comes to sports. When you set your mind to learning a skill, nothing can stop you. You will spend hours shooting the basketball or rollerblading in the driveway. You and your Daddy are in the habit of playing basketball until after dark nearly every night. You love the movie "Pistol Pete" and are always trying out drills that Pete Maravich does in the movie. You are super coordinated and I really think you have the ability to do anything you put your mind to.

I am always amazed at what a great big sister you are. Just the other day I was out for a run and when I got back home you and your brother and sister were in the driveway playing basketball. I hid in the shadows and just watched for a few minutes. You were directing the action so that everyone would get a fair turn, and you always let AK shoot twice if she missed the first time. Yes, you and especially AK fight like cats sometimes, but most often when I watch you relate to your siblings I see compassion and a nurturing heart shining through. You take your responsibility toward them so seriously and I love that about you.

 I asked you to make a list of what makes you happy, and you wrote: fall, a pool, and books. In fact, the only thing you asked for your birthday this year was a swimming pool. I'm sorry we couldn't get that for you, but you do seem to really like the mountain bike we got you instead. You love to read on your own, but you still love for me to read to you as well. You especially like historical fiction; we are reading "These Happy Golden Years" by Laura Ingalls Wilder right now. You are a great storyteller, with your expression and attention to details and massive vocabulary. You are learning to play the piano and have just begun violin lessons as well. You have the peculiar ability to argue with a brick wall, and also the hidden talent of staying up three hours past your bedtime every night. (Last night I went to sleep before the UGA football game was over, and when things got exciting at the end of the game at oh, about 10:30 PM your daddy went to your room to get you to watch the end of the game with him. Because, of course, you were still awake.) You also have your own sense of fashion and you really enjoy shopping for clothes (within budget, of course.)

Fairness is one of the values that you cherish the most. This can be a problem for you because the world most often does not operate according to the same ethic, and that is so hard for you to process and come to terms with. It can also be a problem for you when fairness eclipses grace in your mind, but you are growing in this area. Mostly I think (and pray) that the Lord will use your black and white mindset to fight for justice for the oppressed.

You love to draw, write, and create. In school you are doing well in all areas, but your favorite part of any day by far is being around other people. You love to see your friends and to do special things like field trips. "Normal" days are hard for you to bear. You continue to ask the most insightful and detailed questions about everything, including faith and Scripture.

Claire Alyse, your name means "clear, bright, beautiful, and noble;" and that's exactly what you are, and what you are becoming. I love you so much, my sweet almost-seven-year-old!

Friday, November 4, 2016


 Halloween has come and gone. The first Halloween (fall festival) we had Coronation Anna and Angry Anna.

Or was that Coronation Anna and Ninja Anna?

And a cute little Owen, who had a doggie costume but who also happens to be the sweatiest kid on earth and it was 800 degrees outside that day and so the costume came off almost as soon as it went on.

Then second Halloween (trick or treat) we had Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Little Red Riding Hood, and a UGA basketball player.