Monday, April 28, 2008

Tatumn, 2 1/2 Years Old!

Tatumn turned 2 1/2 last week. My little girl is growing quicker than Ican handle. My heart did a little skip when I realized she was out of her 20's in months. I know that may sound so silly but for the first10 months of her life, I was absent. I missed it. My arms do not know how it feels to hold her as a newborn. My brain does not have a mental picture of her sitting for the first time. I will never know if she was always afraid of getting her hair(head) wet or if maybe once upon a time she liked the feel of water on her head. I wish I knew why she crawled with a lazy leg, doesn't like meat, and why she has a hard time swallowing.
I feel incredibly blessed to have held her in my arms while her little life was still barely nine months old. I missed some of her firsts but not all of them. I got to watch her take her first steps, say "dada' for the first time. I was a witness to the very first glimpse 3 big brothers got in an airport terminal of their baby sister. That moment will go down as one of God's sweetest blessings to me. I was also privy to watch a love story develop between a daddy and his princess in a stuffy hotel room in Changsha, China She went from crying every time she caught a glimpse of him to getting the first real kiss and a belly full of giggles. The image of him holding her for the first time is forever etched in my memory. Written on my heart.
Baby talk has been replaced with full sentences and the occasional sassy response like "...because I said." A little, tiny bald head now proudly sports pig-tails with hair bows. A very hot milk bottle has been exchanged for a sippy cup with chocolate almond milk, from the fridge. Pink lip gloss coordinates with every outfit. Everyday. A ballerina tu-tu can be worn with any outfit. It is fun to twirl...and twirl...and twirl. Brown Bear Brown Bear is known by heart. GoodNight Moon is still a favorite. Ms. PattyCake has taken over Baby Einstein in the vans DVD player. Sommer and MariaLuna are new friends. She knows my name is Stephanie but thinks that her grandma's name is grammy. Is the best cheerleader at all soccer games, wrestling matches, or baseball tournaments. Likes to go to sleep in her bed, with the light ON and the door OPEN. Wakes up with the sweetest smile, I know this because she wakes up right, next to me.
I don't mind.

I think she may have been taking notes.......

the last time I got a pedicure because this is what she did to her daddy the other night.

I promise my days are not filled with spa treatments and bon-bons.


Ballerinas, Lip Gloss, and Little Tykes Tools

What is.....Tatumn's Favorite Things

Yesterday, Kip created some "original" masterpieces for me. These were projects I had in my brain and as I explained them to him I reassured him that it would be easy. Simple. Piece of Cake.

Because my husband believed me....loved me, he set about with a carpenter's skill on my projects.

Tatumn was enthralled with all of the tools! This was something new to her. I was amazed that she wanted to be right in her daddy's shadow working with him. She started out with a real screw-driver and hammer but I knew we were in trouble when she wanted to handle the saw! And since this was once a house known only to little boys I remembered that there was a whole workshop downstairs filled with tools. So, Taylor being the GREAT big brother that he is brought up a whole load of tools for our little worker bee, and she worked her until her little heart was content.

Which really means until mommy said it was tine for a nap!

More pictures to come of my projects! Trust me....they are very cool! And after a while , it really was easy. A piece of cake.
Right honey?

Prince Charming?!

The little boys found a BIG toad the other day.
Poor Toad.
He was tossed around, flipped in the air, and squeezed almost to death. The toad did get a little revenge when he tinkled on the boys.
They showed the toad to Tatumn and she immediately wanted to hold him. She has such a tenderness to animals. It is very sweet. And she did not get that from me. I am not an animal lover by nature. Oh, yes I think baby puppies are darling and tiny kitty's are so sweet. But beyond that I am not overtly affectionate.
I may have just lost some readers.
Back to the toad....
Tatumn cuddled that little toad like one of her babies. She talked sweetly to it and even gave it a kiss.
She is such a sweet little girl.
The toad must have known that too because he didn't tinkle on her.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


The other morning our first born was just plain tired. Too tired to get up for school. He walked into my room and asked to sleep in for the morning and go to school when the little boys did. I told him to go back to bed and we would restart our morning in about 1 Hour and 1/2.

It was Bible Study day. And really besides sitting on a beach with my man in a quaint little resort, I couldn't think of any other place I wanted to be.

For those of you who do not have teenagers, please take note. Their time clocks change at the entrance into teenage-ville. (Otherwise known as purgatory) I joke. Sometimes. They do not switch on until after 9:30 and crash in the afternoon and then get a second wind about the time you are in a coma for the night. I had parents tell me this when I had toddlers under foot and I clearly forgot about this, until a teenager took up residency in our home.

He had stayed up to late the night before watching TV. But to his defense, he has been training for football at the HIGH-SCHOOL and it is kicking his tail. It is allergy season and he doesn't feel good. He has had MAP testing and he hated it. But he went to school. It is nearing the end of his middle school career and good riddance. From both of us.

None of that needed to be talked about that morning. I just felt it was okay for him to sleep in that morning. Simple as that.

So, as I was preparing breakfast and lunches we had a little time to chat. I told him that this morning was Grace. Simply Grace. I told him I understood, as much as I can, how hard the last couple of weeks (months!) had been. And this was his one grace. He agreed.

I had to run back upstairs and get ready for my day. I was busy drying my hair and putting on make-up. because I was going to Bible Study. With women. To talk about Jesus. Truly, what could be better?! My sweet first born comes into my room and hugs me before he headed out to the door with his dad. He always hugs me before he leaves. He took me by my shoulders and looked at me and said "mom, you look really good." I told him thanks, sometimes I actually get a little fancy, he just sees me before I shower and after I have been to the gym, the grocery store, cleaned the floors, wrestled piles of laundry, and played with a toddler all day. He left and I finished getting fancy and I felt the sweet spirit of God whisper to my heart.

"he didn't tell you that because you let him sleep in this morning. It was grace. Simply Grace."

Take your child to work day.........or NOT

So, as I drove out of the little boys' school parking lot a rush of guilt washed over me. I noticed as I pulled into the parent drop-off lane that it was less busy than normal.I patted myself on the back for getting the children out the door early and the baby dressed for our morning trip to the gym. I sucked in a breath of spring-time air and accepted the "mother of the year" award silently. Then as we pulled right up to the curb, because there were no other parents dropping off their kids, my middle son noticed an odd littler person standing beside the regular "welcome" teacher.

"oh yeah" he said. Completely deflated.

"it's take your child to work day."


"We are only going to have like 8 kids in our class." said my little Tucker-man.

"Bye, mom!" And as I kissed them good-bye and told them to make good choices, I had an internal argument with myself about running into the school and keeping them by my side today. (Daddy's work didn't work out, either!)

As I was finishing up my workout, Tuckers little friend Lia found me and asked where Tucker was. I had to tell her he was at school. She looked at me with a look that announced that I just dropped about 100 notches from the cool mom she thought I once was.

I thought Summer vacation was a permanent take-your-child-to-work-day.
And that my friends is coming in about 6 weeks.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What can I say?!

Yesterday, I was picking up Tatumn's room and she held up a crown and asked

"Is this your crown mommy, or mine?"

*Top picture from October 2006.Bottom picture from October 2007*

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

First Born

My first born is a special guy. I remember vividly the very first moment I felt the flutter of new life in my swelling abdomen. His life is my special treasure. As a young girl,so very lost in the world and as far from God as could be imagined, God began to call me home through the beating of an other's heart. There was a brief scare in my pregnancy that caused me to rely on a God that I didn't know by name, yet. A new desire to lean on my Abba father was ignited that day sitting in that Ob/GYN room.
On September 2 1993, a baby boy was placed in my arms and I have never been the same. This little bundle of newborn loveliness has emerged into a full fledged teenager. And yet again, I will never be the same.

Teenagers are tough.

Especially parenting the first born as a teenager.

This year, by far, as been the toughest with our first born. A gentle spirit has transformed into an independent and stubborn manner. There are more days than I can count that he is stuck between wanting to fight for his way and crawling onto my lap and crying his eyes out. I instinctively know those moments because his bottom lip still quivers like it did when he was a toe-headed toddler. The sweet chubby fingers that printed so beautifully has emerged into a hand that is bigger than mine. The hair that I used to comb is now worn in a long style that irks his grandpa. But I hear, although I am not eavesdropping, that the girls love his curls! His feet are now bigger than his dad's. And when he brought home his spring pictures this week, I sucked in a big breath when he asked me "Don't you think I look buff, mom?" Because you know what, he kinda did!

There have been more than one (hundred) occasions where I would have sold him to a pack of Gypsies. And then ran back and bought him back.

Seriously, there have been days where I have told the Lord "this is too hard." "I quit teenagers." "You picked the wrong parents for this one. We will screw him up if he doesn't kill us first." Most of the time I don't get a reassuring, still small voice. Sometimes, I do. Most of the time I would find my spirit filled with a peace that defied the surroundings. And then an inner fight wells up in me to NOT let the enemy notch a victory over this boy's life. Because this life will be counted among one of God's Greatest Victories this side of eternity!

When I walked in the door this afternoon from Bible Study, there was a flashing 1 on the answering machine. I should have known. It was one of the First-Born's teachers. Again. The enemy tried to steal away today's blessing.......................and he almost did.

But God.

I had been silently petitioning God to fill me with wisdom on how to handle him. I found myself at the end of my ability (and patience) to get through this. And I felt God say "step aside". So, I did. As I went to my room I encouraged him to lean on God. To hash it out with Him. I needed God so badly to speak to my Taylor. To touch his heart, first hand. Not to do it through me anymore. And I so badly needed Taylor, to embrace God because he wanted too. Not because I wanted him too.

And you know what? He did. And they did. And He did.

A little while later, Taylor came over to me and hugged me tight. No matter how mad I get at him, those hugs are truly the best feeling in the world. He said in a softer voice than was used earlier, "Mom, I know it's all going to work out. I just know it will." I asked him how he knew and he shared with me this verse. He said "I just opened up my Bible and there it was. I knew it came straight from God." As I read that verse I just wanted to sit on the floor and sob like a baby. My soul was captivated by the Father's love for my first born. A love that has not quit. Has not thrown up it's hand in disgust. Has not forgot that his is dust. But sees him as the apple of His eye. As His delight.

I have once again asked God to write this moment on my heart so when the moments of defeat creep back in that I can recall this Victory.
Psalm 73 (The Message)
Truly God is good to Israel (Taylor, empahasis mine!), to those whose hearts are pure. But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such painless lives;their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don’t have troubles like other people;they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.

21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

Father, I thank you for loving my First-Born. I thank you that You hold his life. Thank you for speaking DIRECTLY to the heart of a 14 year year old who is still trying to find out who he is. But above all, I thank you that he is YOURS!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

SImply Ahhhhhhmazing

Hola from the newly refreshed Crawford house. All 6 of us are under one roof, again. All of our luggage has been unpacked and put back away in storage. And sadly, for the last 2 mornings no one has come and made the bed, there was no lavish buffet waiting for me for breakfast, I did not hear the roar of the waves crashing against a shoreline, and the sun is not shining here in my little place of Missouri.

Welcome back to reality.

I only kid. It is good to be back under one roof. To tuck mu kids into bed at night. To kiss them good-bye before they catch the bus. And be able to supervise their school attire. Like one faux-hawk worn by one middle child would have been nixxed pronto. To snuggle with our Asian darling and listen to her sleep soundly next to me. (FYI-next week we will once again conquer her bed and potty training!)


Our time on a Mexican beach was beyond perfect. It was peaceful tranquility. The views were breathtaking. The spray from the ocean truly brought with it a renewing of my spirit. The Father's blessings were lavished upon us. I felt His goodness in everything we did.

Even my massage. The one I didn't want. (I am not a fan of people kneading my skin like biscuit dough all in the name of relaxation!)

Kip and I laughed and joked like little kids. One thing I absolutely adore is hearing my husband laugh. He is the quiet, ponderer of the two of us. (Big shock, right) And is very serious and straight laced the majority of the time. But get him away on a beach, lathered in sun screen, away from schedule and appointments and this guy can laugh! Good times. Truly good times.

Thank you for praying for us there and back. We felt them and the kids here walked in the victory of those prayers. Thank you. My mom survived a crazy schedule of 4 kids. One who got sick the morning we left.

I promise more stories to come but enjoy the pictures. I need to go and make a phone call to our travel agent ...............................

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

55 Hours and counting....................

In about 55 hours Kip and I will be boarding a plane headed to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. We will be celebrating our 15th Wedding Anniversary.

15 years.

4 kids.

3 pregnancies.

5 different addresses.

7 different cars.

3 mortgages.

2 dogs.

countless fish.

Even a bigger number of diapers, shoes, purses, dishes.
Even bigger still the number of arguments and make-ups.

A couple of turtles

90's hair

Teenagers, then
Mid-Thirties, now

2 Zip Codes

2 passports

1 man devoted to God

1 girl who found Jesus

A lifetime of Love before us

A journey marked with endurance behind us

Trusting God for our future

Thanking Him for our past

Living in this moment


God is so good


Best Friends Forever

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Okay, totally late posting this I know!

We had such a great time at our 2nd Annual Chinese New Year celebration.

We love our Chinese family so much and feel blessed that God chose to weave our families lives together.
Funny things about the night.
Myer wore chop-stix in her hair.
Tanner ripped Tatumns dress right before everyone arrived. (not really funny, but worth remembering.)
Finley had each fingernail painted a different color.
Faith is a great eater.
Gracie would rather eat a cookie or a brownie than real food.
Bambi brought enough Diet Pepsi for a small army.
There was no sweet tea. Our first celebration without this sweet drink!
You can never order enough General Zhou Chicken!