A quick taste

A sneak peak at our engagement photos. I will post more soon!

Another year to be Thankful...

Sometimes it seems so easy to forget what a miracle we have experienced.  I took a moment to look back to the beginning of Halles life.  I can't think of a better testiment to Gods love and faithfulness.  We were told Halle would have less than a 5% chance of surviving.... and here she is 5 years later and is so much more than we could have hoped for.  She is filled with this indescribable JOY.  I will spend forever in awe of Gods grace and forever thankful for my Halle. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

School Pictures

Amazingly, I think these pictures pretty perfectly capture the boys. Jack's sweet smile and mussed hair, Oli's scratched up nose and superhero cape. Yep, this is what the Longwell boys looked like in 2010. Sigh.

Jack is 5

Dear Jack,

When I sat down to write you this letter for your 5th birthday, I found myself at a loss for words. So, I went back through the birthday posts I've done for you in the past (when you turned 1, 2, 3, and 4, if you were curious). Honestly, the thing that really struck me is how these posts keep getting longer and more sentimental. I suppose birthdays do start to become weightier as we age, and maybe that's why every year I feel I have to say more so you and everyone who reads them will understand how I feel about you. And with each passing year, I do have so many more feelings about you. The truth is, you are just so much more of a person than you were when you were younger. But, in the interest of not turning into a puddle of goo right here in the interwebs, I will try to keep this short and sweet and to the point.

Jack, I love you so much. This last year you have really grown and matured in ways I didn't see coming. Your personality has developed so that I think I actually know you as a person now, not so much as a child I take care of, but as a human being that I care deeply and profoundly for. I will always love you for so many reasons, not least because I am your mother. But I can say now that every day I really find something else that I totally dig about you on a different kind of level. I feel like we have a great relationship and I want you to know how much fun I have just knowing you and being around you.

I also worry about you sometimes, Bub. The thing is, you are sensitive. I don't know how to describe it except that you are soulful and empathetic beyond your years. You feel the weight of the world in a way I wish you didn't have to. Here are some things I want you to always know, not only when things are weighing on you, but especially then: You are unique and no one has ever been or ever will be all the things you are, but lots of people know what you're going through at any given time; find those people and let them help you. Your ability to find joy and humor is one of your best qualities; let it shine. Sometimes people won't understand your instinct to be sweet and tender; be sweet and tender anyway.

Happy birthday, Jack. You are awesome and I want to be just like you when I grow up!

Love,

Mama

The Boy Who Lived

So I totally blew it and took almost no pictures of Halloween even though we had a really fun party at our house for the neighbor kids and some other friends. I didn't even get a good pic of Oli in his costume (he was Ron Weasley to Jack's Harry Potter - he wore a cloak and carried a stuffed rat called "Scabbers" and it was pretty stinking cute). Jack made me do up his costume around 10 am then had an identity crisis around 2:30 pm because "This black hair just isn't me - I have red hair!!!" It was pretty sweet. I didn't even get a picture of our costumes, which were pretty decent (I was Jamie Lee Curtis, Activia yougurt spokeswoman and Aaron did an awesome job on his costume of man-stuck-in-windstorm but people kept calling him Dilbert so I guess that's works too).

I always resolve that I'm going to take more pictures and then I always get distracted. There were a few pics (mostly blurry and of other peoples' children) from the party that I did put up on Facebook. Hope everyone else had a safe, happy Halloween!

Baby No More

Dear Oli,

I have bad news: it's the night before your third birthday and I've been on the verge of tears all day. Here's the thing - you're the baby of the family but you're not a baby anymore. You are totally and irrevocably a little boy. You'd just as soon tell me a fart joke as look at me and that's ok, I get it, that's what's supposed to happen, it's all part of the circle of life blah blah. But my breath catches in my throat when I realize where this is all headed. Not to get too far ahead of you, but I'm starting to realize that the day when I can no longer hold  you on my lap while you tell me your hilarious fart jokes is fast approaching. If I am losing my cool because you're turning three, just imagine what waterworks are in store for us when you go to college. Get married. Have a child of your own. You see where I'm going with this.

But here's the good news: You are amazing. Sure, you're built like a linebacker and I've learned to protect my face and gut when I see you coming. But there is nothing - and I mean NOTHING - in this world that feels better than your arms wrapped around my neck for one of your cheerful and sincere hugs and your laugh melts my resolve in every disciplinary endeavor. No one is surprised when they hear that your adorable face and sweet smile help you get away with just about anything. ANY. THING.

The fact is, you are so fun to be around and I am thankful every day that I even get to know you, much less be loved by you, much less be your "mama-poo-poo-head." You are so special and you complete our family and you make my life better and happier and for all those things, I thank you.

Happy birthday, baby. I hope that this year is one of amazing discoveries for you, and I know that even though you are a Big Boy now, you will continue to face every day with a sense of wonder and adventure. And the pure joy that is your trademark.

So much love,

Mama

They Grow Up So Fast

Jack passed his driving test and got a driver's license while we were in Southern California. Time sure does fly.

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