Summertime Boys

a rainy Summer day

As I sit here in my warm home, I look out the window to a torrential downpour and high winds. Living on an island has its weather-related perks, but it can also come with a lot of rain! We had a much drier Spring than normal so all this rain is welcoming, although we’ve already been issued a state of emergency and flash flood warning for the city of Christchurch, so maybe it’s a little “much” right now.

foraging for yellow plums

All this rain reminds me that the seasons are changing, and I’m thankful to live in a place with significantly varied seasons, even if they are at the opposite time of year than what I’m used to. Fall is coming, and as people are quick to point out, it’s actually Autumn that’s approaching, not “Fall”. Whatever your word for it is, when it arrives, all semblance of summer is gone. This was our first summer in our new home, and our “year with TWO summers”. Here are some thoughts on this waning season:

Marlborough Sounds

Several times this Summer I found myself saying, “This is the life!” Being a parent in Summertime brings me so much joy and I think this is what my dreams are made of. Hosea (5) and Moses (3) have spent their Summer constantly barefoot, covered in dirt from head to toe, running inside and outside with buckets of water, finding and collecting bugs, admiring monarch butterflies, jumping on the trampoline, and eating heaps of cherries, blueberries, and watermelon. On the cooler Summer days they’ve honed their crafting skills, cutting endless amounts of paper, taping things together, and twisting pipe cleaners while simultaneously building blanket forts, having light saber fights, constructing Duplo homes, and cuddling their new bunny.

water hose + trampoline = hot weather fun!

Their hair is growing long but only one of them wants a haircut. Their muscles are growing strong and they’re both becoming great climbers. I had to get rid of the small pairs of underwear, because now they wear the same size. They’re both much taller than I think they should be. They’re not to be bullied by anyone except each other, and they’re quick to provide comfort when one of them gets hurt.

our favorite plant-based ice cream

They’re encouraging and hopeful, funny and strongly feeling. They’ve experienced grief this Summer when their first bunny was killed by a cat and then immense joy upon getting another bunny 3 weeks later. They’ve made more friends and developed new skills, always willing to try out a new experience if the other one is nearby cheering him on. They’re getting better at pushing each other’s buttons, and also at speaking each other’s love languages. They share knowledge about common interests (currently: sea creatures, Ferdinand, animals, plant facts, Harry Potter, bible stories, rocks, forts) and can improvise plays on a whim, feeding off one another for each line! They’re inseparable, and they share their impressive and detailed imaginations with each other constantly.

admiring a monarch

“Summertime boys got it goin’ on. Shake and wiggle to a hip hop song…” (If you don’t know the song I’m referencing then, I apologize for wasting your time just now 😀) They’ve done a lot of dancing and singing this summer, even joining mom and dad for daily workouts. They love to sing, often force me to sing various movie soundtracks in their entirety (think: Moana, Frozen, Beauty and the Beast) and occasionally put in song requests for our Sunday services.

enjoying the sun and sand (and the driftwood fort)

Spending time with them this Summer solidified my decision to homeschool them. I’d been tossing the idea around for a long time, and we’d homeschooled for Hosea’s pre-k years already, but I decided I just couldn’t bear to send them away! We all looked at the pros and cons together and decided homeschooling was the right decision for now. I just love watching them learn and grow!

pretending to be seagulls

This is a snapshot of our life this past season, balancing a million different things, but loving our roles as parents the most. Boys at 5 and 3 are crazy fun! I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s actually really hard some days. But it’s also rewarding, enlightening, and challenging in all the ways I didn’t think I needed to be challenged.

making “sand angels” instead of snow angels at Christmastime

Unfortunately 2018 won’t offer us TWO Summers like 2017 did, so until warmer weather visits us again, peace and blessings to you <3

Our October Baby (Thoughts From a Year Later)

I slept terribly the other night. Maybe it was too many thoughts racing through my head, or maybe it was the coffee I didn’t finish until 4pm. Either way, I had a difficult time falling asleep and slept a grand total of about 3 hours. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how to transition “home”, and asking where exactly is “home” now? I can’t help but think about how different our life was just a year ago. We were in this sweet joyful season of expectation. Expectantly waiting an international move, and expectantly waiting on our second child to be born. We had a happy and calm two year old who never gave us any trouble, and my belly was swollen with a 39-week-old mysterious life inside. I loved everything about being pregnant and was SO EXCITED to welcome this new baby, but not entirely ready to give up the amazing feeling of fullness that comes with carrying a child inside you.

After all, there are only a few times in our lives when we get to hold our babies so close to our hearts.

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10659405_3133219208076_7199090142194771931_nMoses came to us after only 5 hours of labor, 4 of those spent at home. It all started in the middle of the night; It was like I went to sleep with one son, and woke up in the morning with two! The first few months were rewarding, and difficult. The things I’d learned with Hosea weren’t applicable with Moses. I quickly learned that he was completely different from his brother in every way! After dealing with a tongue tie and breastfeeding struggles, a dairy sensitivity, packing up our important things and moving to Northern Ireland, and after settling into a new rhythym of life on the other side of the world, I learned to take a breath. 

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After all, we only get to experience our babies’

first year once.

11412265_3509443213441_5349062205543739562_n If I could choose one word to describe Moses, it would be ‘passionate’. Boy oh boy, is he a passionate fellow! He loves to imitate his brother, joyously screeching as loud as he can. He hears music everywhere, real music on the radio but also imaginative music in the banging of a highchair tray or the slamming of a cupboard door. He dances wildly and can do a million squats in a row with those chunky legs. He’s got the biggest 6-toothed grin and lights up when he sees Dada, Mama, or Bubba <<3 of his words. He also signs more, milk, food, and I’m pretty sure he said ball yesterday. When it’s warm (not too often in this climate), the sides of his white-blond hair curl up and I call him “Mozo the Clown”. Other nicknames include “Mosey Bear”, “Mo Bear”, “Little Mo Mack”, and simply, “Mo”. When we lie on the floor, he sees that as an invitation to jump and wrestle, pretend-biting any patch of skin where clothing has fallen loose. One of his favorite toys is a toothbrush. Our exercise ball is our lifeline; I used it during labor, but we also bounce him to sleep on it every night. He walks by cruising along the edge of the sofa and the coffee table and will walk all over the house if we hold his hands. As they say in Northern Ireland, he is “all go”! He loves all food, especially berries, and still nurses quite a bit too. He’s just transitioned to one nap during the day, a sure sign that he is indeed growing up. 

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After all, this first year can’t last forever and God’s presence is so evident in his growing up. Sometimes I wish he’d stay little, but then we wouldn’t get to witness his growth, inside and out.

11221295_3566285114453_7600441103134910882_nHappy 1st Birthday, Moses! You are a true joy, your passion is inspiring, and we praise God for bringing you into our family and allowing us to be your parents. 11393085_3520222162908_6188649816407841100_n  11402959_3512188762078_5919977489000002218_n