The kids and I started reading the Chronicles of Narnia a few weeks ago.  I finished reading them The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe and we’re now onto Prince Caspian.  The truth is, I’ve never read these books before, so I am just as interested and captivated as my oldest son is. 

The other day during quiet time the oldest two kids started walking back and forth between their separate areas… eventually they asked if they could play quietly together and I let them as long as they stayed quiet. 

Quiet time ended.

The younger two woke up and still they played quietly downstairs.

An hour or so later and they emerged…


bringing with them The 4 Thrones of Cair Paravel.IMG_2845

I told them I wanted to take a picture and they said they wanted me to take a picture so they could send it into Lego Magazine

I’m so excited that they are enjoying these books, but more than that, I am excited to see their imagination go wild and watch them create things.   It’s summer fun just as it should be.

While looking through pictures recently, I stumbled across a few which truly captured life at the circus in its essence.

Exhibit A: taken in December of 2010


Here they are working on the pine wood derby car for Cub Scouts.   Notice how everyone, even the baby, is in on the action?  Noticed the leotard?  My girls wear leotards…. even though gymnastics is only twice a week, I can guarantee you those leotards are on more often than that.    Also, noticed my baby ripping his sisters glasses off?  He still loves to go for those glasses.  I love how he isn’t even looking at her, just out of the corner of his eye, he spots them and goes in for the grab…

Exhibit B: Taken in September of 2010


Here we are keeping the baby occupied.  My oldest son was reading to his little brother and then his sister had to follow suit.  It’s September and yet my daughter is wearing her bathing suit (even though I can pretty much guarantee you we didn’t go swimming that day) and my oldest son is wearing  an astronaut suit that is WAAAAY too small for him.  I believe his 3 yr old sister could fit into that more appropriately. 

Exhibit C: Also taken in September of 2010


I call this one tolerating tummy time.  And it really shows a lot about my son’s personality.  He was not a big fan of tummy time.  And even though his sisters are doing their best to entertain him… love how my 5 yr old is going to town on the baby piano for him, he really is not at all thrilled with this whole tummy time thing.  But he doesn’t cry… doesn’t complain… just lays there on his belly with a look that says, “How long Mom?”  “How long do I have to endure this?”

Something tells me that these pictures, not the posed group shots of them all smiling sweetly, these little glimpses of everyday life at the circus, are the ones I will treasure 20 years from now.  I’ll look at them and remember this crazy stage of life when the days were loooong and the years flew by way to fast.   Oh, how I love the chaos and costumes that makes up the circus life. 

As Scott and I worked to put together the scrapbook and video collage for our son’s 1st birthday, we looked at lots and lots of pictures and video clips. 

As we did, one reoccurring theme, was brought to mind.

This boy is adored by his siblings.

He really has been from day 1.  And by day 1, I mean, the day Scott and I told them about the baby in my belly.  But as we watched videos and looked at pictures of him at the hospital, coming home from the hospital, getting his first bath, changing his diapers, eating his first solid foods, drinking from a sippy cup, eating finger foods, crawling, standing… at each milestone, each new phase for him… you see 3 cheerleaders by his side.  Smiling and clapping, exclamations of “he did it!” ring over and over. 

As we celebrated his birthday, that love shone brightly though again.   They’re there, in his face , by his side, excitedly watching him open his gifts, eating his first bite of cake, watching his video that Daddy made.  They are excited.   They are involved.    The girls decided, on their own, to wear their big sister outfits… the same ones they wore when they met him at the hospital.  And they each made him thoughtful cards for his birthdayIMG_2655My heart was so full as I looked at that love. Overflowingly full. I love the way they love him.   And my hearts desire, is that that love will only grow.  That they will be lifelong friends forever.  IMG_2663

By the way, if your friends with me on face book, you can see the video by clicking on my wall. 

Ya know that feeling you get when you look at your kids and you just wanna freeze time?  You don’t want them to grow up, not one bit, so you just try your best to hold on to the moments while you can.

Well, we figured out a way to freeze time here at the circus…just a little…


Our littlest crew member turned one earlier this month.  Not sure how that year flew by so fast.  


However, we didn’t celebrate his birthday until this past weekend.  So, in a way… we froze time for a little longer.  IMG_2705

But, now that his scrapbook and video are both finished (circus family 1st birthday traditions), and he’s had that first bite of cake, there really is no denying it…IMG_2755

The Circus Baby is one. 

I have a little header on my right side bar that says “One Year Ago”  though it will actually list posts from this date either 1, 2, or 3 yrs ago. (Can you believe Life At The Circus is over 3 yrs old?) 

Every now and then I will see  blog title under One Year Ago and it will catch my eye.  I think that tab alone is the motivation for me to keep blogging lately.  I hit a blogging rut this spring where I wasn’t posting or commenting much.  As I read these posts from the past, they provide little snippets into our life then… things I had forgotten and it encourages me to keep posting b/c I don’t want to forgot those precious snippets from today either.  It’s a reminder that even if no one is reading or commenting (besides the ever faithful grandmothers and Happy(Happy you seriously deserve the commenter of the year award… you are so faithful at commenting and your comments are often like mini blog posts themselves… they totally brighten my day and often make me laugh out loud)   I am blogging to preserve a piece of this circus life for later.  Because after watching this post from 3 yrs ago I remembered things I had forgotten, such as…

1.  The fact that my son used to speak in a cute lil cartoon character voice too.  I LOVE when he says, “focusing on the ball” I had totally forgotten that!

2.  How much his Uncle Jim Army uniform is truly a part of his childhood.  Seriously, that uniform is getting tucked in a box when he outgrows it.  (funny thing is the very same day I clicked on this post and watched the video, he was wearing the same Army uniform while playing in the backyard with his sister)

3.  The baby you hear saying dada that I am holding in my arms while videoing is me now almost 4 yr old…3 years later and here I am holding another sweet baby in my arm saying Dada

4.  The baby in Scott’s arms is now our 5 yr old.  (wow was that a crazy stage of life with a 4, 2, and 11mth old)

5.  My son has always been very, very literal.  (I am convinced this kid has a future in either law or the military… hmmm JAG perhaps?)

6.  Scott still watches the US Open on Fathers Day… took me till this year to realize it is on EVERY Father’s Day.  He doesn’t watch it all, but guarantee you he will turn it on at some point on Fathers Day and sit down with the kids and explain it to them.  And I still couldn’t care less about golf… seriously other than perhaps tennis and Nascar… I can’t think of anything more boring to watch.  

Click here and take a stroll with me down memory lane, to June 2008… I had a 4, 2 and 11 mth old.  Life At The Circus was still in its honeymoon phase.  Funny how much has changed and how much hasn’t. 

Last week after telling my kids the Bible story of  baby Moses, I decided to offer a little application for them.  I pointed out how neat it was that God took care of Moses as a baby by allowing the princess to find him.  I even told how amazing it was that his own mother was allowed to take care of him before he went to live at the palace.  After discussing how Moses grew up in the Egyptian palace, I pointed out how God used that later in his life when Moses led the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt.   I was going on about how we don’t understand the plans God has for our lives, but he has special plans for each of our lives, and just like God had a plan for Moses, he has a plan for each of them. 

Of course my son had to be argumentative (is 7 the new 13 or is this just at the circus?)  and say he didn’t think there was anything special about his life.   Which I then refuted, telling them that long before they were even in my belly, God had planned out their entire life and he did indeed have a special plan for each of them. 

My son, then replies, “Well, what about you Mom?  God didn’t do anything special with your life.”

Seriously folks, motherhood is not for the faint of heart… ya gotta be thick skinned to survive this stuff.

I refuted with the fact that I thought my life was pretty special… look I get to raise and take care of 4 special kids (sweet, loving kids who think the world of their mother… ahem)    and FURTHERMORE… I pointed out… my life is not over… who knows what other things God has planned for me or through me… thankyouverymuch!

But, apparently, you gotta lead God’s people out of captivity and into the promised land in order to be considered special around here. 

I was so glad Scott had the camera handy to snap this shot of our oldest daughter trying to use the view finder at the zoo the other day.


Too short to see through the peep holes?

No problem, I’ll just hoist myself up there with my own 2 arms and take a closer look.

Yea…at 5 she’s already stronger than her mom.  No way I could do a chin up, and hold it!

Visit here or here for more fun with pictures this Wednesday!

There are a few words that my 3 yr old mispronounces on a consistent basis.  I find her consistent mispronunciation so photo (4)gosh darn cute, I can’t correct her.  I loath the day her voice changes and she no longer sounds like a sing songy cartoon character and she learns the correct way to say night gown.

Until then, I am savoring her sweet voice and the way she says…

night gallon for night gown

pastor’s seat for passenger’s seat

uppertainment center for entertainment center


How about you?  Any favorite mispronunciations at your house you’d like to share?

Visit Mary at TTT for more tiny talk!

One of the many reasons why life is easier this time around is that my older three kids are much  more self sufficient.

When we need to head out the door, I can instruct the kids to get their shoes on, go to the van and buckle up.  A few minutes later the baby and I  arrive at the van.  I buckle him in, do a quick seatbelt check on the big kids and we hit the road.

This works wonderfully…

except for when it doesn’t…

Like the time I pulled into the parking lot at church, open the side door and find my 5 yr old barefoot.  When questioned about her missing shoes, she responded, “ I couldn’t find them!”   As I sent her to SS barefoot her sweet teacher (and mother of 6) assured me it wasn’t the first time (which actually made me wonder, if she meant it wasn’t the first time someone came to SS with no shoes or if it wasn’t the first time MY DAUGHTER came to SS without shoes…I didn’t ask). 

Then there’s my three year old, who when faced with a similar dilemma, went a different route.

photo (2)

And of course mom doesn’t realize she’s not wearing matching shoes until she gets out of the van at the grocery store.

(yes…her dress in on backwards…another by product of our self sufficiency)

Apparently, I have a few questions I need to add to my check list before backing out of the driveway.  1.  Is everyone here?  2.  Seatbelts buckled? 3.  Shoes on?  4.  Shoes match?

They say having kids changes things.

And they are right, it does.

daddy meets his sonI remember so vividly after our first son was born.  My heart had grown at least triple in size.   As I held him in my arms, it was love, pure love at first sight.   But, in addition to that, my love for Scott, had quadrupled as well.  I never felt more supported, more cared for, more in awe, than I did that first night after becoming parents.  Scott was awesome.  He was totally there for me for the whole labor and delivery.   He was the exact support I needed.  He was my coach and team mate all in one and I never felt closer to him than I did after delivering our baby. 

And from that moment, from the very beginning, I knew we were in this together.   I couldn’t ask for a better Dad for my kids.  Scott is so hands on and involved.  That first week he changed every single diaper for our son.  In fact the first diaper I changed was over a week after he was born.  

Even though I am the one staying home with the kids, he is my partner.  I can call him in the middle of the day when I need to run something by him.  When I need to look at things differently.  When I need to vent.  When I have no idea what to do.   

When Scott gets home from work he is on.  Right away, the moment he walks in the door.  He could have had a long and stressful day at work, but he greets the kids with a smile, a hug, sometimes even a song.  

DSC00134He somehow strikes a balance between working hard and yet putting family first.  I honestly don’t know how he does it.  He manages to make time to get to the girls gymnastics classes, keep score at the baseball games, attend the cub scout meetings, ref the soccer games, AND yet fulfill his obligations at work.  I know this often means going in early other days, staying late other days and or making up time on a Saturday.  But, he always manages to pull through. 

IMG_0315Scott isn’t the kind of dad to sit on the sidelines.  We don’t have to hire entertainment at birthday parties.  He IS the entertainment… dressing as Darth Vader to battle the Jedi knights… or serving as swamp monster to throw the kids in the water.  IMG_1379

He has a wisdom about him, that truly amazes me.  He can talk to the kids and explain things to them in a way that they understand.  He is a fabulous disciplinarian.   He gets to the heart of the issue.


I couldn’t ask for a better Dad for my four children.   And I couldn’t imagine the circus life without him by my side. 

Happy Fathers Day Circus Dad!  We are so blessed to have you!!

With Fathers Day approaching this weekend and the kids and I brainstorming ways to make it ultra special for the circus dad, I feel it also appropriate to spend some time reflecting on my own father.

Because, when it comes to dad’s, I have been richly blessed. 

While in the throws of parenthood, I think many a parents wonders, “Is it making a difference?  Do my kids even notice?” 

And the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Now a mother myself as I look back on my childhood, I am so grateful, so deeply grateful for the relationship I have had with my dad. 

As I think of my dad, many thoughts come to mind… he’s hardworking, always a kidder, a follower of Christ, great with kids, a loving and attentive Grandpa, sports fan, great shopper…. but if I had to some it up in one word, I’d say my dad is dependable. 

Dad was always there when we needed him.   My brother and I went to a Christian high school that was about 30 min from our house.  I recall dad going out of his way to take us to school and drop us off.  He’d wait patiently in the parking lot for us, scheduling his work appts around our dismissal times.  He made it to our band competitions, and sports games, and school plays.  And now, as an adult, he’s still there for me.  He makes the trek to MD to visit me and my family multiple times a year.  He does his best to make it to the kids birthday parties and sports games.  He was there at the hospital to meet each of his grandchildren after they were born.  This sometimes meant driving late into the night after a full day of work only to drive that same long trek back home to go to work shortly after.  But, dad was there. 

I have one very vivid memory of my dad which truly means the world to me.  It was the end of my senior year of high school.  Math is subject I struggled with all through high school.  After being accepted to college, I had to go and take some kind of entrance test or something.  I don’t really recall the details of that, all I do recall is finding out that I was going to have to take a remedial math class my first semester of college.  It would be a non credit math class that I had to take and pass before I could even take the regular math class I needed to fulfill my requirements.   Looking back now, it really wasn’t a big deal.  It was one class, take it, pass, and move along.  But, then, as a 17 yr old girl, it was devastating… the end of the world… in fact.  “I’m dumb… I hate math… I’m never going to pass… this is awful.”  Truthfully, my pride was hurt.  And that in and of itself was the issue.    I went out that night with Scott and some friends… I recall coming home late and dad waiting up for me in the living room.  I remember walking in the door, and Dad coming over to me and just giving me a big hug.  He said, “Mom told me about your math.”  Instantly I was embarrassed again.   “Your going to be ok,”  He said, “I know it’s not easy for you, but it’ll all work out.”

And ya know.  He was right.  I took the class.  I was embarrassed that first week when I couldn’t find the building and had to ask a million and one people where it was b/c no one had heard of the building, b/c actually it was off campus at a Sylvan learning center, and thus I had to tell a million and one people that I was taking remedial math.  But I found the building, took the class, passed, took the required math classes after that, passed… and life went on.  In the scheme of life, it was a very little deal.  And yet 15 years later I still look back at that night… at dad waiting up just to give me a hug… at Dad letting me know he cared, he understood how I felt, and ya know what it was a big deal.   Because it illustrates yet again, that dad was there.  He cared.  He supported me. 

crystal hs graduation

And that’s the kind of dad he is.  Dependable, supportive, understanding.   I’m so thankful, so very thankful for my dad.  Happy Fathers Day Dad!!

flag day


1.  June 14, the anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official US flag in 1777.

2.  Justification for purchasing those fun patriotic outfits and crafts b/c “It’s not just for the 4th of July you can use them on Flag Day too”.


The kids enjoyed making their own American Flags out of ribbon.  They will serve as a great patriotic decoration in our home through the 4th of July.


Flag Day Lasagna: inspired from Family Fun magazine


A super big shout of of thanks goes to Miss Jen for making these adorable coordinating patriotic dresses!!


Dress up Ice Cream Sandwiches by rolling them in coordinating sprinkles.  Idea taken from Family Fun again.  But, I skipped the popsicle sticks and let the kids dip their own.  This was super easy and could be easily adapted to any holiday… hmmm black and gold Sprinkles for Steelers games anyone?

This has got to go down as my favorite flag day celebration yet… flag day with friends is definitely the way to go in my book! 






There are few sounds I cherish more than that of my oldests son’s belly laugh.  You just can’t help but smile when something strikes him as truly funny because his laugh is infectious.

Until recently nothing could bring out that laugh like Tom and Jerry or Snoopy

But, then I gave him his very first copy of Mad Libs.   And as I listened to him laugh out loud while he filled it in and read it to himself on the couch,  well, I had to grab the camera and snap a few pictures.   He couldn’t even read it out loud to me b/c he kept laughing so hard.  I had no idea what he was saying, though I laughed right along with him.   How could you not?


Look at that face… I know I can’t get away with saying this much longer, but seriously, is he cute or what?


This one is not staged at all, I swear to you, he put his hand over his mouth as he was laughing and reading it out loud. 


I hope your day is filled with a nice long, belly laugh.  There’s nothing quite like it!

This morning I was reminded what a great gift forgiveness is.  It was a rough morning… the last day of a very busy week with not as much down time as we’re accustomed to.   I felt the fatigue that morning with heavy eyes searching for the remote to buy me a few more moments of rest before I hit the to do list.   I noticed the fatigue in children who quickly burst into tears or whiny screams over rather insignificant things. 

And then, it happened…

I was busy trying to clean up the kitchen b/c we’re having a new oven delivered and installed today and it seemed having a table still full of breakfast dishes and a sink overflowing as well, wasn’t the face I wanted to present to the world.    A temper tantrum erupted, I can’t recall over what, but I do know that my 3 yr old wasn’t just whining she was screaming (a new tactic of hers which I find incredibly annoying)… just screaming at an ear piercing decibel).

I screamed back.  Yelled at her to stop screaming, STOP SCREAMING, your brother is sleeping… be QUIET… BE QUIET, I yelled.

Yes, the irony of my response is not lost on me. 

I sent everyone to a room to chill.  It was only 10am so I knew we couldn’t try for naps yet, but yet,I knew we all needed some space.  So I barked out for everyone to find a room and play quietly ALONE. 

And as I looked at her face, saw her crying, I knew I had messed up.  I knew I hadn’t handled the situation well at all.  I added to the chaos of the moment, rather than controlling the climate. 

And so, I apologized.  I looked into those teary eyes and I said, “I am sorry for yelling at you.  You shouldn’t have been screaming and that was wrong, but I was wrong to scream at you.  Please forgive me.”

And she did.

Instantly.   A smile lit up her face and we embraced in a hug.  And I was reminded again what a sweet gift that forgiveness is.  It’s a beautiful thing. 

We all then enjoyed a little quiet time doing our own things… me dishes, my son Legos, my daughter drawing, and my other daughter playing with her animals…


The morning had been redeemed thanks to a restart.  I called them out of their breaks and we worked together on some more “fun” aspects of house cleaning, the mood dramatically lighter in the circus house.   In fact, we we got so much done that I went into lunch with a bounce in my step… the house looks MUCH better, the kids were working together and I even tackled a few of those odd jobs that never seemed to get  to the top of the to do list (ie… bleaching out the trashcans). 

I wish I hadn’t yelled at her to stop screaming.  I wish I had calmly asked her to stop and redirected her behavior without joining in it.  But, I am thankful for God’s grace evident in my family this morning.  Thankful for a chance to apologize and move on.  Thankful for a heart willing to forgive.  Thankful for a break and an opportunity to start over and thankful that when nap time did finally roll around, we began it with light hearts, ready to go take a break, not with exasperated spirits at the end of their ropes.    I am thankful for a day turned around. 

IMG_1884My girls had their Mini Olympics Show yesterday afternoon and I gotta tell you, I was one proud Momma as I watched them perform.  

Their class did a floor routine (which was super cute to watch) and then each girl had a chance to perform on the bars, trampoline, and tumble track.  




The event concluded with a trip to the medal stand for each girl and then the opportunity to pose for pictures afterwards.  In January, the girls were placed into the same class.  This was nice, not only b/c it allowed me to take fewer trips to the gym each week, but also b/c the girls really enjoyed being together in class.  This summer my older daughter will move up to a new class.  I hope though, that it isn’t the last time they share practice time. 


They both worked so hard this year and learned so many new skills.  I love, LOVE watching them work hard in the gym as well as practice their skills in the living room floor, on what they have deemed the “gymnastics couch” and on the sidelines of their brothers baseball games.  I am very proud of my 2 little gymnasts!

While we’re making him wait till the end of the month to savor his first taste of cake (at his party when his grandparents can be there to ooh and aah), we couldn’t let his day go by without some sort of yummy mess. 

Enter baby’s first donut for breakfast.


First, he ate each individual sprinkle off of the donut.  IMG_1464


Then, it was time to ditch the hat, and tack a dab at the icing… again using his fingers to scrape it clean.


Next, it was time to dig into the donut itself.


Hey Mom, do ya have any more?


No? Ok, no problem…


The circus baby says, “Hooray for donuts!”

It was one of the best days of my life. 

IMG_1531Even though it seemed like the time would never arrive, finally it was time.  The doors opened, and Scott’s best friend began playing Trumpet Voluntary on his trumpet.  And dad and I began our walk down the aisle.  I will never forget the look of love in Scott’s eyes as I walked toward him down that aisle.    I have a picture of his face on my dresser so I can remember it always.  Love… Pure Love… as he looked at his Bride…How in the world was I ever lucky enough to be chosen as his bride? 

We sang a few praise songs, the pastor gave his sermon (I remember him talking about the two becoming one and relating it to chemistry some how)  Then we said our vows

“I Crystal, take you, Scott, as my husband.  I give you my solemn words, as a sign of my faith in you and love for you.  For better or for worse; for richer or for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.  I promise to support you; to undertake full responsibility for you; to shelter and protect you.  I trust you. I will stay with you, never leaving you, and make a home with you after the pattern for Christian marriage commanded by God and described in the Scripture.”

and then we exchanged our rings…

With this ring, I give to you my promise that from this day forward you shall not walk alone.  May my heart be your shelter and my arms be your home.   May God bless you always. May we walk together through all things. May you feel deeply loved, for indeed you are.  May you always see your innocence in my eyes.  With this ring, I give you my heart.  I have no greater gift to give. I promise I shall do my best.  I shall always try.  I feel so honored to call you husband.  I feel so blessed to call you mine.  May we feel this joy forever.  May the glory be to God.  I love you.

We signed our marriage certificates, lit our unity candles and gave flowers to our mothers.   Verses were read, a song sung, prayers prayed, and the benediction given.  It was the wedding of my dreams.  It went exactly as I dreamed it would go, and then…

IMG_1534 after which, we were pronounced husband and wife.

10 years ago, I walked down the aisle of my parents church holding hands with the man I loved.  IMG_1537

We took gazillions of pictures, had a fabulous time at our reception and then were off for our honeymoon.  I remember going to church 2 weeks later and seeing our friends.  “How’s married life?” they’d ask.  And we both would answer, “Married life is even better than I thought it’d be and I thought it was going to be good.”

10 years later and I say the same thing. 

Married life is great.  Truly great.  Marriage gets a bad rap in our society today.  In fact I read the other day that according to the recent census, the number of people married today is at a record low. 

I know everyone isn’t as fortunate as I am.  But I can honestly say, with the technical “honeymoon phase” long passed…4 kids, a dog, a house and 10 years later… Marriage is even better than I thought it’d be and I thought it was going to be good. 

Thank you Scott.  Thank you for treating me with love and respect.  Thank you for making me feel adored and special.  Thank you for working hard to provide for us, while yet, putting your family before your career.

These past 10 years together have been wonderful.  Truly, the stuff dreams are made of.   And in the midst of these crazy years with everyone telling me, “my your hands are full” as we jet to baseball games, soccer practices… as we juggle nebulizer treatments, and pukey kids…while figuring out when we’re going to mow the lawn, trim the trees, and buy a new oven…as I try vainly to keep the fridge stocked and the laundry folded… in the midst of what some might call the mundane of every day life and others might just call the circus… in the midst of all that… thank you for making me feel like #1.  Thank you for coming home to our chaos every day.  Thank for you for choosing me.  For loving me.  For cherishing me. I feel so honored to call you husband. I feel so blessed to call you mine. May we feel this joy forever. May the glory be to God. I love you.

I don’t share the kids names on the blog… but ya wanna know a secret? If our youngest son, had been a girl, her name would have been Joy. And as I reflected on that recently, I couldn’t help but think what a perfect word that is for our little man.

He truly is Joy personified.

Never have I seen a more happy, more contented, more easy going baby. He showers us all with laughs and smiles. He is a true joy.

And he has brought such depths of joy to our family this past year. His brother and sisters adore him. Truly adore him. And they have from the moment I told them we were having a baby. He was loved and welcomed into the circus crew from the womb.

As far as our planning is concerned, this little man will be our last baby. And knowing that, I have tried very hard to savor every precious moment with this guy. I have never been rushed for him to reach the next milestone or stage. I haven’t minded the nights when he needed Mommy to snuggle him to sleep on the couch or the fact that he held onto his middle of the night feeding longer than any of my other kids did.

I have savored his first year. I love how easily he smiles. I love the way he waves his hands in the air and exclaims with glee when I'm getting ready to feed him. I love that he is my snuggle bug, often falling asleep in my arms at gymnastics or practice.  I love the way his eyes light up when he sees his sisters or brother walk in the room. I love the way he crawls to the gate and says, “Da Da” when Scott comes home from work. I love how he claps his hands and yells a loud grunt when he's at one of his siblings games.  He's the best little cheer leader/encourager!

His laugh, which comes so freely, truly warms your heart and one can't help but smile when he calls out to you and flashes one of his smiles.

We're waiting till later this month to celebrate his first birthday, but I can't help but pause this week and reflect on the gift of joy that God has given our family through this precious lil guy.