Dear James

Dear James,
 Today you are three!  I forget sometimes that you are still just a little boy, you are so independent and grown up sometimes.  You’ve always been one to make your mark and make yourself known.  You even tried to steal Isaac’s birthday!  However, when that didnt work you made your own excitement, you were supposed to stay put and I was supposed to enjoy my leisurely 12 week hospital stay, instead on day three you caused all kinds of excitement and sent mommy into emergency surgery.

I was strangely not all that scared to welcome you at 25 weeks and 2lb2oz.  I had done this “NICU thing” before, we could handle it, you’d be okay.  We knew God was holding your hand.  And He truly was.  You still amaze everyone that you had ZERO issues, just a few “normal” things.  You needed NO therapy at all.  And you are SO smart.  But I’m not surprised, I knew all along what a miracle you were.  You see, we’re used to miracles in this family.  You were conceived after two miscarriages, even though I miss those babies I never knew, they were watching over you and sent me you.

Sometimes as the middle child you get forgotten.  But you are such vivacious child you could never be truly forgotten.  You had to become a big brother before you were two, but you can handle it. The phrase “thats just James” is spoken often in our house.  You are the one with the bumps, the bruises, the “troublemaker” as Isaac says.

You are my farm boy.  You’d drive the tractor and feed the cows all day long.  Your older brother would just rather design the automation to do it for him.  I’m so proud of you, I cant wait to see what you become.  As you turn three, please remember you are still mama’s little boy and give me a few snuggles here and there OK?

Happy Birthday My Jamesy Boy, my James David, mama loves you bunches and bunches.

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Dear Isaac…

Dear Isaac,
Today you turn 6!  I need two hands to show your age now.  When did you get so big on me?!

You are our oldest.  Our first miracle.  You taught us so much. You’ve always had your own plans in life.  And as exasperating as that is sometimes I hope you continue marching to your own drum. Your traits that frustrate me most sometimes will one day be your greatest strength.

You came into this world defying odds.  Babies your size dont always come out screaming and as full of life as you did.  All 2lb 14oz of you.  I didnt know then how scared I should have been, all I knew was that I was finally a mama.  I spent your first day of life missing you terribly.  You were two weeks old before I held you. But I loved you from the first moment.  You were so handsome and tiny.  I didnt care about the tubes and wires, just that you looked a little like me, but were tall like your Daddy.   We were a family of three.

They day you came home was an amazing day!  63 days you were away from us.  I was so happy to have you home with us.  It was a little scary but we got by.  You made me and your Daddy grow up.  We had to be the adults.  You taught us that.

Today you are about to start first grade.  You are so smart, way smarter than you show people even.  You are so full of life.  And a whole lot stubborn, but I figure stubborn is what got you through the NICU and through a lot of life’s trials.

Being the oldest sometimes you have to share a lot of things. Sometimes you get “forgotten” when your brothers cause trouble.  But know you are never forgotten, and you are loved just as much.  You are special.  You are the oldest which has a big role, you have to set an example.  Its tough, I know, I’m the oldest, but you can handle it.  You can handle anything.

Happy Birthday, Isaac Terry, my big boy, my first baby.  Mama loves you a whole lot.

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Dear Thomas….

Dear Thomas,
Today you turn one.  We’ve spent a whole year with you in our arms now.

You are our third son.  You are our baby.  You are most likely our last child.  You are an answer to a complicated prayer.  When your two brothers were born so early, I prayed to God to remove the longing from my heart for a third child, or to give us a “happy accident” because I couldnt make the choice myself to risk baby number three.  God chose the latter.  He chose to show me that He was still in charge and working miracles.  When I had so much trouble conceiving your brothers, God chose to give you me by surprise.  It was scary.  I had to go through a few things to ensure you “stayed put” but God was in control.  And you were born happily healthy, full term, and got to come straight to my arms.

You spent your first night sleeping beside me, and for the past year you’ve never left that spot.  I love that you love me so much (remind me that at midnight tonight ok? ;-)) that you never want to leave my side.  You are a mama’s boy.  It makes my heart swell. Dont be mistaken, your brothers are sweeties too, but you have always had a special preference for me and it makes me smile amid the exhaustion.

You are my big boy.  My “Monster Baby”.  You will always be my baby.  You will always be my special boy.  I am so thankful that God decided to give you to me.  I am so thankful that I have you and can’t imagine life without you.  Happy FIrst Birthday, Thomas William.  Mama loves you

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Friends

I hope my boys stay close and grow up to be friends and not just brothers into adulthood.   I hope their wives become friends with each other.  I hope their children are friends.  I hope they dont squabble too much and look down on one another.  I hope they live relatively near each other.  I hope they never feel lonely.

Friends in life come and go.  Friendships have seasons.  People lose touch on accident.   People choose to lose touch.  Life is not a sitcom where you meet in a coffee house and laugh about your day.  Our great society of instantaneous contact gives us the false sense that we actually have 541 “friends” when the reality is 537 of them wouldn’t recognize you in WalMart. 

Social media gives us the highlights.  Shows us the fun moments.  Lets us see the happy selfies when were home in our sweats wishing for something to do.  It lets us look at growing kids without ever meeting them, or caring to.  Lets us say “Happy Birthday” but never have to bother with a cake.  Its nice. Its handy. Its easy.   Its sad.

Yes, today Im sad.  Im a little lonely.   Feeling a little pitiful.   But its okay, I have 541 friends though, right?  Don’t get me wrong, I have friends.  But the majority of the time Im not the hang out friend.  Most everybody has someone they do stuff with, a sister, a sister in law, a cousin,  a really close friend…..those things I do not have.  Which is why I hope my boys stick together.  Being lonely is no fun.  Especially for someone who is somewhat an introvert.   I hope my sons never ask themselves “what’s wrong with me?  Why am I excluded/forgotten/ignored?” 

Who are your real friends?   Family?  Neighbors?   A kindred soul who lives in your computer?

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Fifth Week of Summer Break

Still lots of garden stuff this week.  We dug potatoes.  Boys were good little potato pickers.  Muddy bath water that night but that’s a sign of a good summer day for country boys.

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Picked and put up corn.  Homestyle cream style is our favorite.  Boys also did a fair job shucking corn.  They love corn so we are making sure we put up plenty.

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We didnt have library program this week so we did an experiment of our own.  We did “little explosions”.  Basically dropped dropper fulls of colored vinegar on a plate of baking soda.  It was a hit.

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The 4th is big for us because the last 8 years, hubby has done our community show.  Its nothing professional, just small town USA at it’s finest.  We put a peanut butter jar up at THE store (tiny gas station) and community donates to THEIR show.  We take money to a generous supplier who gives us a deal to stretch our money.   People come and sit on tailgates and enjoy.   Show lasts about 15 minutes.  I’m proud of my hubbys hard work and planning,  he does a great job.  He has a few volunteers of fellow volunteer firefighters but basically on the 4th we don’t see too much of him.
The Master at work…

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But the hard work pays off.  Great crowd and great donations so I think others agree,
The goods.

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The crowd.

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His biggest fan..

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Show was beautiful…

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Now were recovered and back to gardening.  These pintos won’t shell themselves.   However luckily I can do that job indoors, as it appears summer is here.

Parting shot of my 3 little firecrackers.

Fourth Week of Summer Break

Country life has slowed down some of our summer adventures as garden is maturing and we’ve been canning a lot.  Today we are finishing up the last of the green beans.  This will give us about 40 quarts in our pantry.  Canning is a new challenge with my 3 “helpers” but they’ll grow up appreciating this “art” and the skill and importance of self sustainability.

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I want my children to grow up knowing food doesn’t come “from the back room of the grocery store” (as a PBS clip tells them).  Food comes from farms of all sizes and its important to know how to feed your family yourself.  

In addition to green beans we are having a bumper crop of blackberries.   Jelly, berries in syrup, and a cobbler have been made with many more berries to come.

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We did make it to the library this week, we didnt spend all our time on the farm.  They learned about rockets and made and launched their own.

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The big boys got long overdue summer hair cuts. 

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Mom did some sewing and the boys got to try out the capes I made for a customer.

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We had plenty of outside play.  We had a family reunion.   We enjoyed some fireworks.

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This next week proves to be full.  Working on garden stuff.  Celebrating the 4th.  Now off to finish my beans before my helpers get into them.

Super Hero Capes

Sewing projects for crafty mamas of boys can be challenging.  No frilly dresses, no cute headbands, no darling skirts.  But…all is not lost.   These cute and easy capes are a favorite.   I made my boys one a couple years ago,  its worn almost daily.   I was commissioned to make a couple for dress-up toys for a local preschool.   Here is how I did it.

I used the shape I made before,  but just use a big piece of paper to do a mockup if you need too.  Basically a big tear drop size on the fold to make it semetric.  Then cut a half circle out of the top.  Clip your fold at the top.  You can make any lenghth, depending on the child, but I like it to be short enough for good running ability.

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Cut two of these.  Use the first one as your pattern for second.  Then pin right sides together and sew. 

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Leave a few inches open on bottom straight part for turning.

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Then clip your curves.  This just means little clips to make it lay smoother.   Trim corners at neck line, just get rid of bulk.  

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Then reach in your hole and turn, careful to poke out corners and curves.  Then press.

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When you get to your hole, just fold in seam allowance and press and pin.  We’ll sew it up when top stitching.

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Now, back to machine to top stitch it. Just sew close to edge all the way around.

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You can stop here and safety pin top together when you wear it, that’s what I do with my kids. (Mainly because I put ties and hated how they looked and cut them off) But these I did velcro. Cut a small set and sew around close to the edge.

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Now…go save the world!