My heart walks outside my chest...

Sometimes he drives them insane.
And the feeling is mutual right back at them.
But most of the time they're crazy about him.

We could have missed this.


a dozen years of Caleb

My dear son...

For your 8th birthday you requested, "the crunchy stuff with the brown sauce." And Daddy and I never could figure out what you were talking about.
Tonight on your 12th we stumbled upon 
"the crunchy stuff with the brown sauce," by accident as a side dish at a Thai restaurant new to us. 
Sorry it took four years...

Thankfully you didn't hold it against us.  That's one thing I can say about manage to be the epitome of "happy go lucky" and very, very rarely find reason to frown or to hold a grudge.

And offering you carbs, especially in the form of Asian noodles (Pad See Ew in tonight's case), for the past four years didn't hurt.

You my son find joy in the simple things.  

A fudgy chocolate cake with Nutella ganache, Coco whip and strawberries elicits that megawatt smile.

I probably shouldn't tell you but there isn't much I wouldn't do for that smile.  Thankfully it comes often.

Watching you blow out your candles reminded us of your amazing sense of humor.  Being around you is pretty much a guarantee to share a few of those smiles.  Your quick wit and often subtle sense of what is funny keeps us on our toes.  I have to pay attention to make sure I don't miss something bound to make me laugh...or groan.

You are one of the most easy going kids I know.  Siblings assisting opening your gifts?  No worries.  You know that in the end the gifts will be in your hands and don't stress about the added hands.

A Barnes and Noble gift card (you're currently wavering between another Minecraft guide book, some Harry Potter stuff or a few Percy Jackson books), a Garmin step tracker, and a set of 64 bb size rare earth magnets rounded out your birthday list.

I think one of my favorite parts of watching you open your gifts was seeing the recognition that I had remembered about the magnets.  While you are spontaneous and fast moving, you do catch details that many others the fact that we had seen those magnets together months ago and you realized I had held onto that little detail.

BTW, I'm sorry about the flowers that appear to be sprouting out of your head in your gift pictures.  Of any of our kids though, you're the one least likely to be stressed about something so silly when  you look back on these pictures later.

Ten years ago my heart ached on this day knowing you turned two half a world away from me.  But today my heart soars for knowing you.  You are an "all in" kid...putting your heart, emotions and activity level to the full.  It's interesting to note that in Hebrew, the name Caleb literally translates to "whole hearted."  I suspect that's why God whispered your name to me the very second I saw your picture for the first time.  He knew you would be one to whole heartedly embrace life...

Your happiness is contagious and your personality draws others to you.  May you always be confident enough to march to your own drum and invite others along for the journey.

I am beyond blessed to be the one you whole heartedly call Mom.  With all of my heart, I love you!


Because pumpkin...

When your evening schedule is too busy for a post dinner run to Goodberry's on pumpkin opening day, you have lunch dessert. 

For our family Goodberry's on September 30th is a yearly tradition.  Or at least my Facebook memories would suggest it so...


...and somehow she's halfway through this last year before she's a teen...

(Actually she's two days into this second half, school open house and hurricane prep pushed us back about 48 hours. thankfully she's cool as long as the chocolate covered, custard filled comes before long)
Happy 12 & 1/2 K-Boo!


11 1/2

I love you sweet girl, thank you for being mine!


celebrating our Nugget

Once upon a time our family was the M6 and we felt there was a little spice missing in our lives. Five years ago today we gained that spice and more.

Happy FIVE year Gotcha Day to my spicy nugget. You are the pizzaz the M family was missing all that time. I love you more than all the dumplings in China!


back to the grind

The mentality of summer is my favorite time of year.  It brings longer days, uber relaxed schedules, scads of pool time, Costco sized containers of popsicles, and a host of kids in and out of the house.  We stay in our pajamas until midday and vote on which "bucket list" item to complete...or if staying in pajamas all day is a bucket list item.

But eventually the days start getting shorter and (hopefully) the temperatures start dropping a bit lower and my favorite season of the year is upon us.  And of course the approach of fall means the endless summer days are over and it's time to step back into routine...and of course, the "S" word.

the backpacks were set by the front door with care
This year THREE of my babies...can I still call them babies now?...headed out the door at 6:50 for the middle school.

my three cougars
My buddy moaned as his wake up call came and commented that it felt like we were going to China.  I suspect he's in for a more rough reentry to non-summer this year as he adjusts to earlier morning life.  I also have a feeling there will be a constant debate between he and his sisters about what time they should arrive at the school.  They want 7:00 when the doors open to have time to go to their lockers, get to the classroom and mentally prepare for the day.  If given the choice he'd elect for 7:27 with just enough time to grab his books and slide into his homeroom seat.  So far they're winning...

the sixth grade twins in disbelief and the "mature" seventh grader
They'll work it out though.  And while they figure out their timing differences, I'll try to stop looking at them and seeing them like this...on our very first "first day of school" in 2011.

Shellshocked as I felt about those three cherubs heading off to middle school together, there wasn't too much time to sit in disbelief.  After all, there was another trio to get out the front door.

my three dragons
Two headed back into the familiar world of our amazing little elementary school and yet another headed for his very first "first day of school!"  (at least first day of school here in the states...we're still not 100% sure we understand his educational experience before he came to us).

These three.  When asked how they felt about school starting I got a "Meh" from one, a joking thumbs down from another and an excited "Yay!" from the third.  Of course we weren't alone in the walk to school...while our numbers are down significantly from previous years due to four moving on to middle school, we are maintaining the tradition of mornings with our walking friends.

Before I even knew it, we were at the front doors of the school and my little guy slipped his hand into mine and said (with a smile on his face), "I don't know where my class is."  I knew he did, and he knew I knew it, but I decided to savor the moment of his uncertainty and walk in with him.  He totally led the way and at the sight of his sweet teacher, he let go of me and walked straight to his desk where his seat partner started to show him where to put his things and how to hang his backpack in his cubby.  

This was his expression as he tried to hurry me out if his classroom. He was a big boy...and made certain to get the message that "I've got this" across before I left. 

All kids delivered to their locations, Ian and I headed to our local coffee shop for our first day traditional coffee and breakfast before he headed off to work and I went back to a very quiet house.  

The house didn't seem quiet for long though as I had to go to the school to give Nat some post surgery eye drops at lunchtime. Advantage of having third grade "twins?"  They eat lunch at the same neighboring tables.  I saw my new to school buddy in the cafeteria long before he saw me and he was sitting between two boys, one from the pool and the other a friend of Nat's from class last year, and chatting and laughing like he'd always been there. He smiled when he finally saw me, and was happy to see me, but didn't "need me" one bit.  And his sweet, sweet teacher gave me a two thumbs up and said he'd been having a great day. Made my heart happy...

From there it was a quick run to the grocery to grab a few items for meals this week and then suddenly it was time for the middle school crowd to come home.  Loved seeing a crowd of about fifteen walkers headed toward me...while my three aren't in core classes with their closest friends, we discovered they all have at least one in their electives and they walk home together.  I caught up on the ins and outs of their day over popsicles and then was off to get the elementary set.  

My energetic one said "everything" was good about the first day, my "meh" kid smiled and told me she played with her brother at recess and the new kid excitedly relayed that he made a new friend.

It will take a few weeks to work the kinks out of readjusting to the daily grind of school life, but it looks like we're off to a good year.  Now bring on the crisp mornings and the vibrant colors of fall!