Happy 1st Birthday, Little Man!

Little Man, there is only one of you and you are a precious gift. Your quiet joy and delighted giggles bring joy. Your determined curiosity is fun to watch.

You are a treasure in an earthen vessel and it is a privilege to watch you grow and learn and explore. The mighty things you do in life may seem small, but you have a God Who Sees You and is greater than anything which will come against you. Be assured, things will come against you; that is the nature of the fallen world we live in. But you have family and a Mighty God here to help you, protect you, comfort you, and always love you no matter what.

You will never be alone, even on your darkest day. Jesus will always be with you.

Never forget that, ‘k?

Love you bunches and bunches, Little Man!

Little Man is ready to turn One!
Little Man knows who loves him
Little Man loves his guitar and mama
Exploring Daddy’s guitar.
Grins with joy at the rare chance to play with Daddy’s guitar.
Always curious
Loves his Daddy
Likes staying clean. ha!
Where did Ducky go?

{Road Trip} Craguns 2015

Every year, my cousins go to Craguns Resort on Gull Lake. I always get to go spend a couple days hanging out on the beach, playing with the kids, spending good times with family. This year I left my camera packed away most of the time, which was a refreshing break.selah_candace_rose_CRAGUNS_1 I spent more time talking with my cousins than playing with the kids. Late nights eating s’mores round the fire after the kids were in bed.selah_candace_rose_CRAGUNS_FISHERS Watching The Three J’s catch fish in all shapes and sizes!selah_candace_rose_CRAGUNS_FISH Watching a mama duck watch over her babies while they try to nap…selah_candace_rose_CRAGUNS_DUCK FAMILY And I played BINGO for the first time…and WON THE GRAND PRIZE!!!selah_candace_rose_CRAGUNS_2A mustang. πŸ˜€

What fun things did you do with your favorite people this summer? I’d love to hear!

Playing with Oliver

I was excited to spend a day with Oliver a little while back while Danica had a long day of shoots. We played trains inside for a little while then went outside with Onyx.oliver_trains_planes_and_onyx Oliver loves planes and birds flying around. We threw sticks for Onyx to chase, spun the big flower in the garden, and played peek a boo with the shed door. I absolutely *love* Oliver’s surprised face! He is so full of life and joy!oliver_hide-n-seek_shed door_surpriseWhile Oliver took his nap, I spent some time with Danica’s succulents. Danica has the greatest planters full of the nicest, little succulents so vibrant and colorful!oliver_garden_plants_purple_succulents

{Craguns} One Day in 2013

Excuse meΒ while I remember warm sand and three silly boys and a day at Craguns…

craguns6Loud, sensitive, shy, funny, insightful, thoughtful, loving, always hungry, great imagination…this describes The Three J’s. My {favorite} boys.

Oh, Jordan! When the family arrived, the first thing Jordan said after he jumped out of the van was, “Oh! You’re here! First grade is great! I had computer lab and they taught me about computers and stuff!” Jordan wanted to jump off the dock into the lake, but was told ‘no’ so….dragged a lawn chair into the water to jump off! He can entertain himself seemingly for hours on end with games he makes up and other random bits of imagination. (but then there’s the times when he says “Come play with us! I want a ‘dult to play with.” FUN!) Spreading lots of hugs around made everyone happy….even when he was wet and mom was dry. πŸ˜‰

craguns3Judah. What a little sweetie! He likes to be clean, he likes ‘pwiiiiivicy’ and loves anything sweet. (He has a sweet tooth unlike anyone I’ve ever met!) Super polite, he enunciates things so properly (like mom) and says things like ‘I am not shy around you because you are not a stranger’ or ‘we will be on the same team so you won’t attack me wif da bawwoons.’ He likes Civil War stories and playing on the beach. It is so. much. fun listening to him tell stories, or hearing why we must do something. He has the most fascinating way of explaining things…I love this little J so much!craguns1craguns2Give ‘Gup 10 seconds and he’d be down in the lake playing in the sand. In his pajamas. or clothes. As long as he was in the water, he didn’t care much. Unless there was food involved. ‘Gup is so serious about his food. And your food. He will climb to get food, to get in the water, and just to climb.craguns5Vacation done in pajamas are best. Add a beach to improve said vacation. Combine pajamas at the beach and throw in The Three J’s and that vacation is pure gold. Even if it is only one day long on a Sunday.craguns11It was too windy to take the boat out right away, so we headed to the pool room. Where the Three J’s rode…a boat. And swam.craguns4After the pool room, we did some boating and playing at the park. Oh! The nice warmness of it all!!craguns8craguns10The Three J’s driving the boat…and of course, ‘Gup went straight for the horn! He knows his noise-makers. πŸ™‚craguns7Who knew one day could hold so much fun? Fireworks, (glow-in-the-dark) balloons fights, boating, feeding ducks, playing in the pool room and at the park, sitting in the sun on the sand, and a million laughs at what The three J’s would say and do.craguns9I think somewhere in this day in between playing with the boys there was time to visit with Katie and Aunt Judy (Thank you as always for letting me crash your family vacation!) and Kris and Ryan and….

Do you have a favorite vacation memory from this summer?

{N.E.C.} Playing Pretend

Well, you’ve already met N, E, and C. These are from before Mother’s Day when we started work on some Super-Secret-Projects for Mother’s Day. Which were ready a couple weeks early. And were also made for a *really* early Father’s day (pictures at the end of this post).2NEC1N wanted to be dressed up in her ball gown for the pictures. She was sooo excited to make a special project for her mom that was a secret!

2NEC2 E was very silly that day. She changed a few times and ended up in this outfit, a little ballerina!

2NEC3C was diggin’ his sister’s shades and played with them for quite a while.

2NEC4N was having fun telling E a story from the Zoo of Far Far Away with her horse and dolls. E had fun throwing her penguin up in the air and then jumping after it.

NECN and E are BIG into mermaids and princesses right now. And were VERY tired of all. the. snow.

happy mothers fathers dayHere are the Super-Secret-Projects made for King Daddy and Queen Mommy. Each girl picked out the colors and did the painting themselves. N did all her own gluing too. πŸ™‚ They picked out C’s colors also.

{Ada} Finally Hot

Cole and Ada have the best park. Right in their backyard! These were taken before it was finished, but the toys are so fun! Ada loved swinging and Cole liked driving his car around the school house and filling it up with gas. Both Cole and Ada tried digging in the dirt, but the shovel was a *little* big.2ada 2cole 2coleada

{N.E.C.} Oh, The End of School

This last winter I had the privilege of meeting and being a part of the Gustafson family and watch the three kiddos grow and learn new things: N (four), E (three), and C (9 months).

For our last ‘Kandi Day’ we had a day-long party. Lucky us that indoor activities had also been planned, because it was rainy and blowy and lunch and playing in the park was out of the question. N requested that we watch Court Jester and E wanted Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. We finished off the finger paints, made bath paint, had chocolate cake for snack and after lunch, watched some movies, played hide and seek, and pretended to be kitties.

1N is so…so…great! She tells great stories and sings the greatest songs. N is full of great art sense and it was fun seeing how her coloring changed in these past months. Playing Queen and tag were a blast with N and also curling up for Scary Zoo Stories which could last for hours on end. We may have had a bit of a rocky start (with new-adult-telling-me-what-to-do-when-I-just-want-my-mom, who wouldn’t?), but in the end, I will miss most this little girl who is a great helper. N works hard at keeping her siblings in line, because she wants them safe. She would often pick up toys ‘to make Mom happy when she gets home’. And MY mom loved getting the flowers N would pick for her ‘for another mother’s day’.

2E was two when I first met her. She immediately warmed up to me and we snuggled on a chair and read books all morning on the days N was at preschool. E still loves books, but she likes the park even more. She tells fantastic stories and likes to do whatever N does. Her good-bye ‘sloppy wet kisses’ were a highlight of my day (three year old’s are excellent at giving them!). E really knows how to encourage people in whatever they are doing. She is good at sharing and letting others have their way and making others happy.

3

C is such an easy baby to take care of – even when he’s sick! I got to watch him grow 7 teeth, learn how to scoot, crawl, pull himself up to standing, and walk around a (short) table. He loved being able to climb the steps to the kitchen while the girls were eating lunch and play under the table! C’s favorite song to fall asleep to was Baby Mine by Alison Krauss. He would do a little dance when Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk were playing.

This was my prayer over the kids for the last month of watching them. It is Lullaby by Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk.

Picture 1PS – in all the jobs I’ve had, this is the only one I cried about ending.