Denver — THREE!

Glory be, she is three! What a girl. Denver is a river…deep, wild, at once peaceful and still, then full of fury…ever changing…ever winding…ever inviting. She’s the one who joins me in my quiet moments…just sitting…longing to connect in our unspoken language. And yet, she’s the loudest of my girls. This quiet soul…so LOUD. Not a single moment with this one is taken for granted. All that she is…every glance, giggle, cry, and yes…scream…each one is a gift…because she was born to another. She was carried and nursed and swaddled by another. And yet. And yet. The same loving arms that welcomed Denver to the world, courageously delivered her to us. Denver is our daughter. Our beloved daughter. Our darling girl.

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At three years of age, Denver:

  • loves to have her back tickled as she drifts off to sleep.
  • wears panties. All day long! (Still uses a pull up for night time.)
  • embraced her first RV trip. While the others wanted to stay in the RV upon hitting our campsite, Denver wanted O-U-T. She wanted to explore nature…girl after my own heart. She discovered the stream behind our campsite.
  • wants to feed me at each meal. With each offering she puts in my face, she eagerly says, “It doesn’t have wheat, Mom.” Of course, it typically does. Still. Cute.
  • calls raspberries daddy fingers, because of THIS. She puts a raspberry on each finger and sings the finger family song. She even uses that funky accent.
  • shows that she is THREE with her pointer, middle, and pinkie fingers. Don’t know why she does it. I hope and pray she never “corrects” it!
  • insisted on party hats for her birthday party. Insisted. And we happily complied.
  • calls dark feathers “dog feathers.” That’s my girl.
  • shouts, “Get me off this thing!” dramatically. No, she has never seen the Jetsons. It’s just our Denver.
  • lights up at the words Paw Patrol. Thus, a Paw Patrol birthday party with Paw Patrol party hats, plates, toys. Girl cannot get enough Paw Patrol. Her favorite is Chase…followed quickly by Skye. She likes me to sing the Paw Patrol song as a lullaby…which is quite the shift from her beloved ABC lullaby.
  • reminds me daily that we never know what surprises are just around the bend.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we proudly present…DENVER, the three-year-old!

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Eden — Four and Nine

Eden is such an enchanting girl. The girls wears her heart proudly on her sleeve. Good thing her heart is so lovely. Well, except for when it’s not. Even then, I adore that she is authentic in all that she is…hides nothing. She’s a breath of fresh air in a weary world.image

At four years and nine months, Eden:

  • is not satisfied with a simple, “no” reply. Eden’s version = “No, ho, ho!!!”
  • has named the phenomenon in which one sneezes and toots at the same time. It is an achoo toot. Quite appropriate, I think.
  • has mastered the remote. And life will never be the same.
  • does her own laundry. Or more accurately, can do her own laundry. Joyfully. Because she’s only four. (Phil is da man behind any chore stuff…teaches the girls to do laundry, to sort laundry, and to put away laundry. THANK GOD for this man.)
  • has discovered the delights of the chicken leg. And she’s terribly sad that only two legs come with a bird. AND, she’s discovering where chicken legs come from…which, yes, gives me pause. It freaks her out a bit that chicken legs are…CHICKEN LEGS. We may have a future vegetarian on our hands. We’ll see.
  • enjoys pork chops, but believes them to be chicken. She even asked, “Is pork chop a way to say chicken in French?” Hmmmm. Not so much.
  • looks for the recycling symbol on all of our food containers. Thanks, Rocky from Paw Patrol! We love you, buddy.
  • has embraced the joy of our new compost bin. Fun science stuff!
  • loves to play “house” with Denver. There are exactly two roles in house = the mother and “the dear.” I love that the kid is “the dear.”
  • greeted me one day with, “Mom, you’re just the woman that I wanted to see.”
  • thinks it is pretty hilarious to say “vulva hiney, vulva hiney, vulva hiney.” Yep, that’s a good one, kiddo.
  • unleashes her fury upon me from time to time. This one will need guidance in taking a moment or two to calm down before speaking…as does her mother! And just like me, she almost immediately regrets the words that flow forth. Case in point:
    • Eden: “When I am older, I am leaving and I will NOT be in your family ANY MORE!”
    • Me: “Oh! I’ll miss you. But I understand.”
    • Eden: “Well, I’ll stay close…in the neighborhood. And I’ll visit. BUT when you are mean, I will leave to be with my roommate.”
    • Me: “Sounds like a good plan.”
    • Eden: “But I’ll miss you when I’m gone.”
  • blesses me beyond measure.

Sweet Pea — Eight Months

The girl is on fire! She wants to get up and go, go, go with her older sisters. On top of that, I highly suspect she…much like her beloved Eden…is an extrovert. Though my snuggly-wuggly wee babe has been replaced with this go-getter, Sweet Pea has retained her sweet, gentle, contented yumminess. Everything she does feeds my soul with such peace and joy.

At eight months, Sweet Pea:

  • sits up. All on her own. Just like she’s been doing it her whole life. Oy.
  • wants to play ALL day. She down to only two good naps a day. And so it begins…or rather, ends.
  • holds her own bottle.
  • experienced her first camping trip. She happily played out in the “woods,” mouthing sticks, rocks…any bit of nature she could grasp in those beautifully chubby hands.
  • eats crackers. Sniff, sniff. Crackers. There’s no turning back now.
  • takes a bath in the bathtub now. Oh, this girl! Soooo fast! She’s growing up so fast!!
  • says “dah-dah-dah,” which is great and all. And to be fair, it was her first utterance. But hearing “muh-muh-muh-muh” makes me giddy. Giddy.
  • is everywhere! She is officially crawling. And nothing is beyond her. Sigh.
  • can drink from a sippy cup.
  • lights up the room…not only with her smile, but with her sweet spirit.

Chick Pea — Twenty-Three Months!

Just one month shy of two, yet with the wit and wisdom of one MUCH older. This girl never ceases to amaze me with her fearless ambitions. I have rarely seen anyone move forward toward a goal with such unwavering faith that it will be accomplished. Whew. She keeps me on my toes!

At twenty-three months, Chick Pea:

  • loves to wipe up messes. This comes in handy around here. She’ll look at me, with a rag in hand, “Clean?” Oh yes, baby girl, you knock yourself out.
  • has caught the Paw Patrol frenzy that exists within our wall. Though it sounds like “Bubbles,” the girl is saying “Paw Patrol.” No doubt.
  • brushes her hair…just like the big girls. (I adore how proud she is to be just like Eden and Denver.)
  • says “Good night” with absolute clarity.
  • can count. It goes something like this, “two, free, bap!”
  • says “thank you,” of her own accord. Sweetie girl.
  • loves our new dog, Lady. Perhaps because Lady will let Chick Pea love on her…or more accurately, because I let her love on Lady. Sadly, I often find myself limiting Chick’s affections on others…cause girl likes to smother the baby…and poke at her eyes…so I’m forever saying, “Gentle, Chick Pea. Don’t hurt the baby.” But Lady is gentle enough, yet sturdy enough to happily endure Chick’s affections. Lady is going to be sooooo good for our girl.
  • throws the ball at the dogs to play fetch. It’s awfully cute.
  • likes to wear panties…over her clothes.
  • calls animal crackers “baubbs.” Funny how some words are crystal clear and others are garbled.
  • can sign so many words…I’ve lost count. Smarty pants can remember just about any sign she’s ever seen…even if only once. I would put her sign vocabulary right around 200 words. BOOM.

Denver — Two and Eleven

Denver, Denver…how do I love thee? This bundle of energy delights and frustrates. But have you seen this kid? How can I stay mad at her? Little stinker winker. This is it…the last month of two. I cannot fathom…how did she get so big? So fast? She still leaves me breathless with gratitude…this precious one…given in surrender to me…to us. We love her so.

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At two years and eleven months, Denver:

  • is LOUD. She prefers screaming over using her words. And really, with three sisters running about, she might be on to something. And boy, does this girl have a set of lungs on her.
  • has discovered the joys of hiding under the table. Not only is she hidden from view, but once discovered, her gently aging parents struggle with the acrobatics required to pull her out. Little stinker.
  • uses the phrase, “You little stinker winker” a lot. Hmmm, wonder where she picked that one up?
    • loves the “surprise egg” phenomenon popular on YouTube. Baby Big Mouth. Oh yeah, some of you moms know what I’m talking about. I thought she was weird…the only one…but oh no. At a recent MOPS event, I discovered this is a thing. A thing! Anyhoo, the girl loves the surprise egg thingy. Yea Baby Big Mouth.
  • has mad memory verse skills. Mad.
  • nightly asks Phil, “How’s work?” It’s the cutest!
  • asked Chick Pea one night, “How’s work?” Cutie girl.
  • pronounces the word crazy CUH-RAAAZY!
  • smooshes her words together…”I’m verHUNNNGRY.” Don’t know where the girl gets her quirky pronunciations.
  • says “can’t share” for “won’t share.” So when she tells me, “Eden can’t share,” I can’t help but answer, “Oh yes she CAN!”
  • calls yummy food “tasty.” It is the most adorable thing to hear her say, “Oh, Mom! This is very tasty.”
  • calls her apron her cooking dress.
  • sometimes leaves me scratching my head. Okay, often leaves me scratching my head. Here is a little example of a conversation we had:
    • Denver: “I want hummus.”
    • Me: “OK, you can have hummus at lunch.”
    • Denver: “NO! I don’t like hummus.”
  • loves, loves, loves Paw Patrol. In fact, we are having a Paw Patrol birthday party very soon!
  • loves pockets in her clothes. Loves them.
  • sweetly sits beside Chick Pea early in the morning. I NEVER thought this would happen…mainly because Chick Pea is a bit of a pincher…and by a bit, I mean “Watch Out!” Anyhoo, they sweetly sit together on the couch in the morning drinking milk. Swoon.
  • plays with Chick Pea more. Again…shocker as these two butt heads like crazy. Yet more and more, they enjoy each other and giggle, giggle, giggle.
  • screams. Did I mention that? Screams. The girl screams. SCREAMS!
  • makes her family complete.

Sweet Pea — Seven Months


This sweet, snugly, round baby is doing her best to become a toddler. Within one month, she has moved from reclining to rolling to scooting to bear crawling to tripod-ing! And she’s on the edge of sitting up all by her wee self!

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At seven months, Sweet Pea:

  • ate some apple breakfast bar because I was busy talking to someone…not paying attention…and fed Denver’s snack to the wee babe. Ooops! She did not choke…and seemed to rather enjoy it. Whew.
  • sleeps on her side now.
  • can control her pacifier. Ahhhh. This little trick makes napping/sleeping so much easier!
  • is eating so much…and by “eating,” I mean rice cereal. How did we get here?
  • tries to feed herself.
  • is all over the floor. She can roll, scoot…honestly, I don’t know how she does it…as she won’t crawl. Won’t. It’s probably because she does not have to crawl to get all over the floor!
  • can sit in her high chair. I pack the sides with blankets to keep her upright. But she’s in a high chair…sniff, sniff.
  • rolls, and roll, and rolls.
  • visited the Picciuti Crew. She approves.
  • scoots backwards…sorta.
  • when she sleeps on her tummy, she turns her head toward her pacifier…for easy access.
  • has mastered the tripod…two legs and one arm. She is trying so hard to walk! No crawling. Just walking.
  • does a bear crawl…with her eyes on the prize. Must. Walk. Like. Big. Girls.

Fostering — This Spectacular Journey

A few days ago, Face Book graced me with a blast from the past…a post I wrote on our paper pregnancy. It was written by a fostering rookie. It made me want to pat that innocent, starry-eyed writer on the head and say, “Well now, isn’t that sweet?” But it was this…this paragraph that took the cake:

….This time, we are linking our arms as a family to take care of a baby in need, a baby we may not get to keep forever.  We are okay with that. We are okay with the potential heartbreak…and this is why. For as long or as little as we get to love on our new baby, for one moment in time, the world will be right for that precious one. And we are honored to be the ones to bring a moment of light into a child’s life.

Ummm, “…the world would be right for that precious one”??? Uh, we’re not that great. We get a lot of things right. But this parenting thing is a crazy train, and at various points, it has brought out our worst. Our very worst. In light of this realization…our focus in fostering has shifted…unexpectedly…beautifully.

Once upon a time, Phil and I hoped to save children from abuse and neglect. And we hoped to do this by providing a safe, stable home. But the thing is, our safe, stable home suffers from time to time. Periods of instability. Periods of brokenness. We’ve realized that within our own brokenness, we are in no position to save anybody. But we can help. We can reach out to hurting, scared, broken mothers and promise to be gentle with their children. We can pray blessings over the lives of the families torn apart by poverty. We can speak words of encouragement to parents who are lost…who sought to escape despair…only to find more despair at the hands of their addictions. We can seek reconciliation…for hearts…for relationships…for lives. And yes…we can love and hold and breathe hope into babies…building secure attachments…or at least laying the groundwork for such.

Our once upon a time is wiser today. Today, we fight just as hard for the mamas as for the babies. Today, our hearts beat just as furiously for the mamas as for the babies. Today, our hope has grown from healing children to healing families…to crazy plot twists with glorious resolutions.

Through it all, we are ever grateful to be a part. Here’s to our good fortune…the opportunity to joyride on this spectacular journey.