I’ve got pictures of all of my kids as babies snuggling up with our beloved dog… I’ve got the classic shots of them getting a big wet slobbery kiss while they giggle with glee.  And Maggie lovingly observing their tummy time activities.

But, of my four children, my youngest is by far the most captivated by our dog.  IMG_9037

He truly loves her.  He excitedly greets her when we come home.  He persistently chases her around our house to give her big squeezes and to beg for wet kisses.   Maggie is by far, the most patient dog I have ever seen.  Hands down.

Here he is watching a show on my phone under the school table, while snuggling with his best bud.


Recently, he’s decided that Maggie must need a blanket and pillow as she sleeps on the floor.  (I love this picture… a boy, his dog, his weapons, and “his” Iphone….)


Here he is “tucking her in” with her blanket and pillow and kissing her goodnight.


See what I mean by patient? I am sure she is quite less than thrilled to be tucked in, but she takes it like a champ.


Until eventually she’s had enough and crawls away…only to be chased down “Oh no!  She needs her pillow Mommy.”  (I promise I intervened after this picture and let Maggie outside for a break from her naptime).


Maggie is getting old.  And she has some nerve issues which are effecting the use of her back legs.  She isn’t in pain, but truthfully, I am not sure how much time we have left with her.   And as those of you who know me well can attest, I am not a dog (or animal) person… but I know that a better, more patient, more family friendly, more low maintenance dog could never be found and so in her final days/weeks/months… I am trying my best to be more patient and loving with her.  Because you see, by stealing the heart of my son, she’s gone and stolen my heart as well.

We finally got some snow this week.  I really use the term “some” rather loosely.  Does it count as snow if you still see blades of grass poking up through the white?  IMG_8934

It appears it does.  Because I had to do just as much work gathering hats, mittens, snow pants, and boots to bundle up my 4 little Eskimos to head out and play.  And even though the mountain of soggy laundry was higher than the snow fall accumulation, I gotta say they had a solid 2 + hours of fun dragging each other around in the snow and sweeping off our steps.  And we got 3 days of hot chocolate out of it as well.  IMG_8961 

Brother of the year award goes to my 8 year old,who cheerfully pulled all 3 of his siblings around on the sled.IMG_8955


And then he pushed them down our “hill”IMG_8965

I learned a lesson watching them out the window this morning.  You can complain and whine because we didn’t get as much snow as others or we don’t have a real hill.  Or you can go out and make do with what you have.


2+ hours of fun and the only complaint I heard was of soggy mittens.


They each took turns pulling the sled around the court.  What a work out!




While he didn’t last quite as long as the big kids out there, my youngest little “oompa loompa” had quite a fun time in his oversized snow apparel. 


I’m so thankful for a little bit of white stuff for the kids to enjoy… as well as the fireplace and hot chocolate to warm them up with afterwards. 

The youngest circus member is 2 and a half now.  (HOW CAN THAT BE?) And I have to tell you he makes me laugh.  EVERY.SINGLE.DAY with the cute little things he says, the WAY he says them and those precious little facial expressions.   He totally has my heart. 


He still LOVES choo-choos.  Plays with them every day.  He has also recently started enjoying Sesame Street…particularly Elmo (who he affectionately calls Emo)  (like Nemo only no N) 

He loves to run around the circle on our main level… many, many times a day he will run laps around that circle then come to me and say “faster and faster?”  He’ll wait with these precious expectant eyes for me to say “yes, faster and faster” and he’ll take off running again.

Yesterday when the kids were doing school at the table, he happily colored beside them.  Then he walked over and handed me his paper and said, “I’m done my math Mommy.”

The big kids were playing Rock, Paper Scissors, Shoot… the other day in the car when he too chimed in with “Wrapping Paper Shoot!”

But, by far the most precious thing he’s said to me recently was last night when I was changing his diaper (yea… that potty train took a big LONG stop back in November and he hasn’t hopped back aboard yet)… as I was changing his diaper and he was fussing and I admit I was a bit grumpy, I said to him, “Ya know, your not a baby in a more.  You don’t need diapers, you’re a big boy and can go on the potty.”  His response melted me.  “I not a baby?”  he asked. "No, you’re a big boy,” I responded.  And then, no lie, he said,

“No Momma I your baby”

Ok… he had me hook, line and sinker… he can just stay my little baby forever. 

I am a words person.  Always have been.  I love cards, and notes, texts and e-mails.  And I save them.  Yup… every note Scott ever passed me in high school,  every birthday card, Valentine card, anniversary card… I have them all in a box.

So, it should come as no surprise, that when my kids start writing, I started hoarding those precious words as well.  I know can’t save them all, but I do try to save the “significant ones”.   Letters to their baby brother when he was still in my belly, family portraits drawn in crayon of stick figures, Mothers Day cards….I have a file in my filing cabinet as well as a few envelopes and shoe boxes stuffed with them. 

Recently, one of my children has developed a love of words as well.  Now that she’s growing in her reading and her phonics, I am finding she’s taken to the pencil and paper in a manner that surprised me. 

Last month, I found a note taped to her door.  It was written after she had been sent to her room for an outburst and  it explained  how she doesn’t always hate me but sometimes she does.  As soon as I found it, I knew it had to go in my box of keepsakes. 

Odd, I know.  But this is my box of keepsakes and I found the note significant for many reasons.  1.  She used her words to express herself (this is something we’ve been working on for awhile.  2.  The teacher in me was proud of the good use of phonics. 

Truthfully, I know she doesn’t hate me.  And truthfully, I found the fact that she told me, “I don’t hate you all the time just some of the time”  to be beautifully honest. 

(I didn’t read it like that at first, but when I reread it I realized it was an explanation for the hurtful outburst she had uttered downstairs).   And I pray that she can always be that honest with me.  As long as it’s respectful.  I don’t want my daughter to tell me what she thinks I want to hear.   I want her to feel comfortable to tell me what she is really thinking and feeling.  I want our lines of communication to be always open.

So, after tucking the note away in a drawer to save, I went and spoke with her about what she was feeling. 

I’ve found a few other notes taped to her door since then, which have prompted some good discussions. 

But, this week, was my favorite.  This week she decided to start writing me notes in a notebook.  And we’ve been passing it back and forth at night.  When I come up to bed, I have been delighted to find her little book waiting at the top of the stairs… filled with adorable phonetic writing, pictures and questions and observations on life.  I eagerly write her back and place the book by her pillow.  This note passing has gone back and forth for a few days now and her sister has also followed her example.  So, I’ve been treated with 2 notebooks at the top of the stairs each night this week.

I love LOVE this little glimpse into their minds and hearts.  And I pray this dialogue continues.  Seems like a safe place to ask questions and get answers.  What a beautiful way to grow our relationships with some good old fashioned letter writing.  AND to top it off, we’re working on reading, writing, and spelling just as an added bonus!  The sentimentalist in me is thrilled that it is all being documented in a note book as well, because you better believe these books will be tucked away in my box of sentimental things when we’re finished.

I don’t know how long this will last.  I’d love to envision it going on for days/weeks/months… but they could lose interest tonight.  I vow to answer as many as they write me though and I try to respond with some questions to keep the dialogue going.  And for now, I am treasuring, truly treasuring these gifts of words and praying for a lifetime of open communication.