letter to my 7 year old

Jay Bird- 7 years old

Jay Bird,

Last Friday you were seven. You got up, read through some stories (on your own!!), got dressed like a 100 year old man for school, ate cinnamon rolls (affectionately named birthday breakfast in our house) and gave me a smirk while we sang to you and I took pictures. A smirk, kiddo, a smirk and it just about killed me. I’ve seen it a few times lately; it’s a half smile to show that you are still acknowledging me but it’s the smile of an older boy. It’s the start of the “cool” older kid attitude, the full release of the baby/toddler and little kid you were once were. You are growing before my eyes sweet boy. You are growing out of your clothing seemingly overnight, you are almost just a foot shorter than I am and can’t get enough to eat at the supper table, constantly asking what else you can have. You don’t stop moving, EVER, unless your head hits the pillow and you are a sleep for the night or there is a book in your hands or your being read to you. This last year your reading skills have grown in leaps and bounds and lately we can’t seem to have enough books around the house because you devour them! I frequently find you around the house with your nose stuck in the middle of one, turning page after page until you find a spot to stop and tell me about what you read. You aren’t disturbed by your loud brothers but rather tucked away in your own little world. If they do happen to bother you, you simply move to another spot nose still firmly routed in the pages of your book and settle back in. You read chapter books, pictures books, magazines, street signs, food labels etc you name it, you read it! I love watching you discover these new things you are constantly learning and soaking up everything around you like a sponge. You want to know about everything. How it works, what it does, where it lives etc. One of the things Mrs Behl, your first grade teacher says about you, is that she loves how you LOVE to learn. Your Daddy does too, I see so much of him in you because of this.

I wish it was possible to bottle your energy though sweet boy. When I say you start moving as soon as your feet hit the floor it’s no exaggeration. You run, walk, jump everywhere you go. You are constantly running and falling while playing out back and racing to see how fast you can go. The constant movement has taken a little getting used to and even then it’s occasionally hard to not be overwhelmed by it. You pace while you talk; circling the trunk while you tell me about your day, or walking back and forth while telling me a story. Even while reading with us at night you fidget. You sit on your hands to begin with but it usually doesn’t last long, they pop out not after too long we start and you pick at the pillows or fingers or sometimes even play with your belly button. Reading with you at night has been one of my favorite things to do lately. I LOVED reading Harry Potter with you! I loved seeing the story come to life in your eyes and the excitement of the wizardry and magic as you turn the story over and over in your head. I was sad that we finished the book but am looking forward already to reading the next one with you. We still haven’t decided what we will pick up next, maybe The Chronicles of Narnia, whatever we choose I hope you enjoy it just as much.

Jay Bird, I will call you that probably for as long as I am around so get used to it ;), I adore the person you are becoming. The inquisitive learner, the rambunctious boy, the dotting older brother, the kind friend, the giver of ridiculously large hugs. You are so many things sweet boy and all of them are so wonderful. You love BIG sweet boy and with your whole heart, you enjoy the world and things around you and I seriously can’t wait to see what you continue to do with all of this. I love you more than I ever thought possible and am incredible grateful to be on this journey with you, thanks for taking me along!

Happy Birthday Bird!!! I love you!!!!

letter to my 5 year old

Charlie Tuna,
Last fall you turned 5, one whole hands worth sweet boy, and that always trips me up!! How is it possible that it has been so long since they first laid you on my chest and I heard your sweet little baby cries. You laid on my chest, heart to heart, and while you have continued to grow your whole self still fits easily within my arms and you are still firmly routed in my heart. You are my company keeper, my sweet errand runner, the little guy who doesn’t leave my side. Probably one of my favorite things that you have ever said to me is… “Momma, I love keeping you company. I love when you keep me company. I just love being company and having company!!” and it’s so true. You LOVE when other people are around. You love learning about them, playing with them, hearing about them. You are the first to remember peoples names, what they do, what they did, who belongs to whom. It’s such an incredible talent to be able to relate to and to truly see people and I think you have it. I love having our afternoons together while Jay is still at school and your other brothers nap. You follow me around the house helping with projects, working on stuff with me or just talking to me about stuff. It’s so much fun and probably my favorite thing about you. I am really going to miss you next year when you are in kindergarten and I don’t have as much time with you. Although, you are SO ready to start school. You love preK and constantly ask when you get to start at Brookshire. You are so ready to be one of the big boys just like your older brother

Charlie you mean the world to me. I love watching as you and your brothers grow and become the people the you were always meant to be. Thank you for loving big and with your whole heart. I’m so excited to see what the next year brings for you.

I love you sweet boy!

Charlie- 5 years

Charlie- 5 years old

Charlie- 5 years old

Charlie- 5 years old

Charlie- 5 years old

Charlie- 5 years old

Charlie- 5 years old

Charlie- 5 years old

Charlie- 5 years old

Charlie- 5 years old

Family Circles

Kristen and I have wanted to make a printable family tree for a while and what better motivation than Christmas gifts? We looked at a few ideas and the inspiration for the design we ultimately landed on is now nowhere to be found so we can’t link to them. Anyway, below are the three family “trees” that we created. And by “we” I mean that Kristen did all the design concept work and I clicked the mouse a few times in a graphics program with her supervision. We gave these to the grandparents and any other family members whose names we happened to draw and we’re happy to print more for other family members.

Houghton family circle

Vickers family circle

Perreault Family Circle

I will also point out that my very compulsive wife insisted that all photos be chronological by birth. Whether the aesthetics worked best clockwise or counter-clockwise, the second generation is in age order and then the third generation is in age order while staying within the bounds of their parents, etc.

Unfortunately, we didn’t do a circle for Kristen’s Dad’s family, the Westlakes. We don’t get to see that extended family often and obtaining all the required pictures would have been exceedingly difficult.


It’s safe to say that I usually have a project (or two or three) underway at any given time.  I like to create, I like to make things with my own two hands and I really enjoy making gifts for others.  Creating has a way of recharging me that is SO, SO necessary to me these days!  So it works out well for me that fall is here (well almost if you are being technical about it) and the holidays are coming!!  I am so excited to get our fall decorations down and to begin working full tilt on some of my holiday preparations and homemade gifts.  Would you be jealous if I told you that I have already started on my Christmas shopping? Well I have, so be jealous ;)

Holiday prep aside most recently my projects have been centered on updating our home; however, in-between painting and reupholstering furniture I was able to make a few gifts for some sweet little people.  I am lucky enough to have dear friends that have either just had babies or have little ones on the way. And I, like many others, am a sucker for all things tiny.  Here’s a taste of some things I have been working on.

Some sweet headbands for baby Elise. I mailed them to Mississippi right before hurricane Ivan :( here’s hoping they arrived ok. And if they haven’t arrived yet, sorry Nan for the spoiler…

My models… Charlie had no choice but Jay begged me to be able to wear the headband too and who am I to refuse ;) Heaven help me if we ever have a little girl because the list of sweet baby girl projects I have in my head is ever growing.

A hand stitched mustache onesie for a little one that has yet to make his appearance. Really looking forward to December when I can cuddle with this one.

I have a few other things in the works that I will show soon, that is if I can remember to get photos of them. I am going to try my hand at quilting and I have a few crochet projects in the works too- yay for fall and cool weather projects!

thing one and thing two

The other day I was trying to get some photos of Jay and Charlie in their thing one and thing two shirts… We don’t have many of the two boys together in photos right now so I am trying to make a more conscious effort to take some.  I wouldn’t exactly call the said “photo shoot” extremely successful- you can’t really tell what the shirts say and I am not wild about the back lighting in the photos.  That being said, I will most certainly try again for a ‘brothers’ shoot soon and there are a few cute ones of my fellas that I had to share… enjoy and happy Friday to you!!!

the next two of Charlie are really similar but I couldn’t decide on which one I liked best so you get to see them both. Isn’t he getting so big!?!

Thank you

Just a quick note to say “Thank You” to our vets at Tuskawilla Oaks Animal Hospital and the veterinary specialists at AVS for helping us provide Dolce with the care he needed to live 6 more months with us. We wish his time hadn’t been cut so short, but we are thankful for the time that we had. (Except for the first few weeks of recovery, you wouldn’t have known that he had been through major surgery.) The compassion shown by both offices is very much appreciated.

Dolce cared for us long before we had to care for him. When Kristen was pregnant with Jay (August 2009), Dolce made sure she took it easy and stayed warm

And later, when both Jamie and Jay were sick (June 2011), Dolce was there to make sure we got better

When Dolce returned from the Vet (September 2011), he had a little sweater on to hold a feeding tube in place, but he still wanted to be where everyone was, a part of the action

And even though he wasn’t back to 100% himself, he kept Jay company when Jay wasn’t feeling well, cuddling up next to him while Jay watched a movie