Monday, November 30, 2009


This is so fun.
While Jody and Dad were in Liberia, they had a camera man with them taking video footage the whole time. He put together this amazing video giving you a glimpse into the lives you are changing. The village chief says it best. Real people. Real change. All because you have chosen to give...

Liberia, 2009. from Water for Christmas on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday night.

It was a pretty great weekend. Lots of family time. We got the tree put up today. Sorted through christmas decorations and wound up with 2 full garbage bags full of "give-aways".
I got on a roll and started sorting through clothes for Ayla. She's currently in an 18-24 month size, so I decided to pull out all the 2Ts we have. Oh my word. Somehow we inherited tub after tub full of size 2T. Please clothes for Ayla for Christmas. Or shoes. Or pajamas. :)
I'll be donating some of that as well.
Paul worked around the house. The kids played and fought and played and fought.
I'm working on getting the etsy shop all caught up tonight, but am thinking I may want to hit a late movie later....we'll see.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Ayla

Oh Ayla.
Such a little spit fire.
She has been so great lately!
I think she is getting better.
Or maybe we are just learning how to deal with her better.

Either way, I can actually relax more with her lately.
She's talking and telling me what she needs.
She doesn't seem so frustrated.
She acts like she's 16.
She just seems like a much older 2 than Brigg and Lani ever did...yet she's just so tiny.

She wants to be a big kid...and she's getting there.
She drinks from a big cup, no longer wears diapers and is sleeping in a big bed.
She doesn't love to be carried when we are out running errands.
She likes to walk like a big girl.

She's such a little smarty pants. She remembers things. She follows directions well.
And she's pretty funny herself. She's hesitant at first with new people, but once she warms up, watch out!
She'll talk talk talk. It's never quiet when she's around. And get her and Brigg together and you have the recipe to put Lani in an insane asylum!

She's growing up.
They are all growing up.
8, 6 and 2.
Just for the record, I'm really loving these ages.
I could hit the pause button for a while right now.
Or at least the slow motion button.
Love them all so very much.
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My Brigg

He's a hard one to catch these days.
Always on the go.
He has a hard time sitting still...and keeping calm and quiet.
If he's awake he is moving and talking.

He's lost 10 teeth.
And the other day he claims he found his first chest hair.
Did I mention he's hilarious?!?
Always wanting to get a laugh...he comes by that honestly.

He is a lover of all things active.
Baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, running or just rolling around on the ground.
Doesn't matter as long as he is moving.
He plays every single sport with himself in the backyard.
Sometimes it makes me sad, but usually I think it's great.
He definitely knows how to entertain himself.

And get him in a group of other kids and he'll have a game organized in 5 seconds flat.
He thoroughly enjoys each and every second with other boys.

He still loves to be with us...although if given the choice, he'd choose an overnighter at a friend's house any day of the week.
He loves chaos and noise and activity. So weekends like Thanksgiving are some of his favorite. 10 things going on at once. He loves that. And he did not get that from his Daddy!
I would say he and Ayla tend to have more Stewart blood pumping through their veins and Lani is more Burback.
He's fun and I get him. But there are days that I just wish he would be still. He really needs to learn how to be still.
But I do love this age. I can honestly say that with Brigg, our first born, we have said with each passing year that we love this year even more than the last. When will that end? I'm afraid the magic number is approaching quickly.
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My Lani

I think she's grown a full foot in the past few months.
She's doing great these days...such a helper.
We've started giving the big kids more chores and Lani loves it.
She loves being a helper.

She sweeps the floors after supper and helps load the dishwasher.
She loves helping me bake. I think that's her favorite.
But laundry is a close third.
(what's the deal with her?!?!)

Starting in January she is moving up to the next level in gymnastics. She's willing to try anything, but she doesn't love any activity more than just hanging out with us. I don't see her being big into sports, but she really enjoys gymnastics. And for now, I am so happy about that. No recitals or costumes or make-up or pictures. It's nice for this mom. Who knows what she'll want to do in the upcoming years, but for now I'm loving right where she's at.

School is going great for her. She loves going. She was even sad about having such a long weekend. She's really getting into reading those beginner books. She is recognizing more and more words.
She was so excited about water weekend. She even attended a couple meetings with me and helped get things up to the 3rd floor of the Redstone building for the Davenport event.

She's just getting so very old.
And so fun to be with.
So excited to see how she grows and matures in the years to come.
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Before Drew was born, she seemed so so tiny.
Not so much anymore.
But just as adorable...

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Back to liiiiife....Back to re-al-i-ty

Sorry...sometimes I live my life through song.
Did you read that title in song format?

I might be losing it. :)
Everyone is gone. And now we go back to real life.
No newborn babies around.
No infants around.
No nanas around.
No brother and sister-in-laws around.
And fortunately, a lot less food in the fridge.

I feel like this is the first time I've been fully submerged in my normal life for nearly 3 weeks.
It was a gorgeous day today. Paul worked outside. Kids played outside for a while. Ayla took a really long nap and while she did that I took the kids to a movie. We got home and played dominoes and ate leftovers. And now we are heading out to church.

Feeling good. Loved having a newborn in the house, but really confirmed that I'm happy with our number of kids just as it is. No longing for another baby. Could not get enough of little Drew, but it wasn't that feeling of wishing I had another of my own. So that's a good thing. :)

It seems like Ayla has grown up SO much over the last couple of months. She transitioned herself into a big-girl bed. (again, this was in no way part of my plan). She's talking like crazy. We are outgrowing all that baby stage and I'm feeling ready for it. It's nice! Feels like we're on the edge of a brand new season of our lives and I'm excited about it.

So thankful.
Just really really thankful for all of it today.
Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all....


To speak gratitude is curteous and pleasant,
to enact gratitude is generous and noble,
but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.
(Johannes A. Gaertner)

Last ones for tonight...

Great great time spent with family.
So thankful for these people.

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Meeting Drew....

This was the first time the kids got to meet their new cousin, Drew.
Brigg was SO happy Drew was a boy.
He met Erin at the door and wanted to hold Drew immediately.
The kids are smitten, no doubt...

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If you want a baby, but your spouse does not,
if you are considering having another baby, but think maybe you should not,
I repeat,
Because if you do, your decision will be made.
And your spouse may not be happy.
Just fair warning...

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The girls...

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When they weren't looking...

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Some from today.

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