Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter For the Win

It was our first Easter in St. Louis and that meant we got to participate in a long standing tradition of all day Easter brunch with the Roach family.  Matt and Carly hosted us all in their new home and Dennis and Geri were in town to celebrate Easter and Geri's birthday.  The kids played hard all day, inside and out and our bellies were full from the delicious brunch spread.  Community is a large part of what brought us to St. Louis and it felt good to share this holy day with our friends and family.  

 Lakin emerged for the outdoor bubbles wearing this sequined number.  Always was a show stopper.

Our friend, Kevin, dressed as the Easter bunny and surprised the kids.  This costume was made by Kayla when she was little and has been an Easter tradition year after year.  Kevin was the most amazing E. Bunny but the kids quickly figured out his true identity.  

Julia and Bennett were leery of the bunny and shed many tears over his presence.  It's all fun and games until someone dresses like the Easter Bunny and crashes your party...

The girls gave an impromptu dance performance that really knocked our (and their) socks off.

Bennett's other best friend, Abe.  (Bennett Camp, we miss you buddy and still talk about you all the time.)

These are some of my favorite girls.

And look at dem muscles.

Scott and Kevin with their biggest fans, Abe and Bennett.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Ballu and His Family

We had the honor of hosting Ballu and his family for dinner the other night.  They are here temporarily from Nepal while Ballu is getting his PhD.  Ballu shared stories about life in Nepal, many heartbreaking, and about his heart to change his country and bring hope to the destitute through education and opportunity.  He's spent his life work studying international economics and dreaming of a new world for Nepal.  When he completes his degree in a few years he'll leave behind the comfort and convenience of America to return to his true home and tackle a gigantic task and life long dream.  I'm thankful for dreamers and doers like Ballu.  It was an honor to share a meal and stories with him and his sweet family.  I pray for Nepal and Ballu.  I am confident God's got his hands all over this mission.  

Above is our self timer attempts to get a group photo.  Nailed it, right?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Julia Kate {One Year}

Julia. forgive your mother for failing at the monthly updates.  Turns out three small people up in your grill day in and day out makes for a lazy blogger.  But you know we soaked up every minute of this first year with you, even if you don't have the blog posts to show for it.  Or the photos.  Or the baby book.

But hey, that's life in a family of five.

Julia's birthday was full of fever, runny noses and a lot of crying.  Lucky for Julia it won't be a permanent memory.  We spent the day at home, snuggling, crying (all of us at some point, I'm sure) and praying for some healing.  When she was feeling more herself we took her to Chipotle.  Because that is how this family loves and celebrates.  And no e. coli outbreak is going to scare us away (yeah, that's right Steve Ells, the Jaegers will always be loyal customers).

Jule Bug did put on appropriate birthday attire because a lady is never too sick to wear a tutu.

Lakin was my photographer assistant and helpful in entertaining the babe in the crib while I ran around gathering materials and switching lenses.

And here was the moment where she was D.O.N.E.  Forget this birthday photo garbage!

So what's the little Miss up to at the ripe age of one...

Julia is able to stand for a couple seconds unsupported and cruises her way around any furniture.  Walking is not even on her radar and I'll give the evil eye to anyone who shows her prematurely that if she wills them, her legs will take her where ever she wants to go.

She's an excellent night sleeper, but it took months to get there, and prefers a 5:30 or 6:00 PM bedtime.  No complaints here. I think a few of our friends here in St Louis think she's a made up baby since she's always in bed by the time they come over.

Julia shakes her head "no" when you ask her any question.  It's up to you to discern if the "no" is actually a "yes."  Which makes for some emotionally charged moments from the kid.  But she's got a couple words and new ones surface every day.  Her newest word is, "kiss" which means, "this" and she uses it to indicate when she wants anything.  For example, when I'm eating breakfast, she emphatically points and asks for my food.  It's worth noting that pretty much anything you eat in front of Julia will cause such a commotion that you have no other option than to forfeit your goods.  Persistent, that one.

She's my little shadow.  Claws at my legs, accompanies me to the bathroom, calls my name non-stop, desperately peeks around corners if I've left her sight.  Lots of validation.  Little smothering.  But all the kids had this phase and they all grow out of it.  Eventually it'll be like, "Mom, you mean the lady that makes my meals?"

Julia's infatuation/ co-dependency/ love affair with me is the reason this post took all day to write and is about two weeks late.  While I'm at it, I'll blame the dirty laundry, lack of blog posts and our incessant tardiness on it too.  Because... neediness is a thing.

Love this little lady and all the joy she brings.  When the older kids are making me crazy I hold her and smell her skin.  Which is pretty much daily.

Happy birthday, Julia Kate.  We're praying for all that the Lord has in store for you in this world.  No doubt, you will have one beautiful (and crazy) story.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Batman and his fight to end prostate cancer... a tale of a threenager

This last weekend Chris' group helped organize St Louis' Zero - The End of Prostate Cancer walk/run and we took the kids to cheer on Chris for his 5K and for the kids to compete in the Superhero dash.  It was a perfect morning to exercise and be outside.  The kids were excited and Ben was delighted to have an excuse to wear his Batman costume out of the house.  Lakin threw together an odd combination of spandex and we were off.

It's worth noting that Ben is in the throws of "threenager."  He's a volatile mess one minute and the most adorable little guy the next.  This morning was quite the spectrum of emotions - as is the case most mornings these days.  And afternoons.  And evenings.  But I digress.

So while the enthusiasm was high driving to the park and getting out of the car, things took a turn toward dramatic when Bennett had to pin his bib on and put on the adorable velcro cape each runner was given.  Then, to add insult to injury, his mother tried to take a photo of him with his running bib and cape.

 Cold shoulder and pouty face to demonstrate his disgust with the whole charade.

 Lakin was flying high wearing her favorite leotard and tights as pants - a typically off limits look for the light of day.

 Still disgusted.

 Since Bennett and one other small Spider Man were the only kids dressed for the dash as actual superheroes, this adult Wonder Woman latched on to Lakin and Ben and hoped they would give her a great PR shot for the run.
 To which Bennett promptly declined.

 Lakin got a taste of race competition and loved it.  This medal is now proudly displayed in her room.   As if she needed one more reason to attempt to be first at everything she does...

 Give a kid a medal and she thinks she's an olympian or something.

 After the dash, runners lined up for the 5K.  Since Ben flipped at the last minute and backed out of the kids' run with much weeping and gnashing of teeth, Chris offered to let him start the 5K race with him.  The plan was for Ben to begin the race and I would snag him when they ran by.

 Julia continued to earn her keep by sitting politely in her stroller and being low maintenance.  Bless that baby.

 I turned around for one minute and Lakin had her tights and shoes off before I knew what happened.  I wish I could say this was an isolated event.

 Oh, what do you know?  Bennett is crying and flipping out about running with Chris.

 Mr. Emotion spent the rest of the morning in his chariot because all the feelings were too much for him to handle.

 Lakin and the leotard...someone please tell me my child will not be in this odd phase for the rest of her childhood.  I am weary over the spandex battle.

All in all it was a great event and a fun morning. We're learning to navigate these emotional waters with our threenager.  It's gonna be a long year.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ben Says:

Ben has his genders all mixed up.  He calls my mom Grandpa, same as my dad.  The word Grandma does not exist in his vocabulary.  So when I dropped him off at Bible Study last Thursday his Bible teachers were two sharp looking ladies who looked about the age as his grandma.  Our conversation at pick up:

Me: Bennett did you have fun?

Bennett: Yes

Me: Did you listen?

Bennett:  Me and Abe didn't listen to those Grandpas, Mom.

Bennett has a little issue with pooping on a potty.  It's pretty much the most dramatic 30 minutes of anyone's life.  The emotional intensity is comparable to the electricity of a labor and delivery room.  So when the urge to go hits, there's a lot of tiny shuffles, wiggles, whimpers and other signs of discomfort and avoidance.  One night Ben was standing at the sink "helping" me wash dishes.  He abruptly jumped down from his chair.

Ben: Mommy, I'm scared of something!

Me: What's scaring you?

Ben: I think my poo is grumpy with me.

Gigi and Papa were in town for Ben's birthday.  Gigi tells Goofus and Doofus stories with the kids and they love making up similar stories.  Bennett always refers to these stories as Goofus and Goofus stories.  Last night at bedtime this was his prayer.

Ben: Thank you God for Goofus and Goofus.  I love them.  The end.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Boy is Three! : More Pictures Than Your Neighbors' Trip to Hawaii

We did three big with a weekend of celebrating.  Ben's third birthday fell on a Friday this year and we celebrated the day with swim lessons which are easily one of Ben's favorite things to do (possibly because he associates lessons with the sucker he gets from his instructor each time)  followed by lunch at Chick-Fil-A.  Bennett and Lakin do not appreciate chicken as a superior meat - in fact, they don't ever eat meat.  But momma loves herself a cobb salad and some waffle fries so it was PB&J for the kittens and a gourmet fast food meal for mom and Papa and Gigi (also in town for the celebration).

Friday night, Benny opened his presents from the family.

 Lakin feigns interest with the book in the corner.

 Just a crazy three-year-old.

 On a recent trip to Hobby Lobby Lakin was perusing the crap toward the check out and fell in love with the handheld fans filled with candy.  After talking incessantly about buying herself one once she saved up enough money, she wised up and asked my mom for one.  Grandma made good on that promise and sent one along for both of them in Ben's birthday package.  As evidenced in the following photos, the candy fan might have stole the night.

 Lakin takes note.

 And discovers it's nothing worth her time.  Back to the book.  Bennett, however, is loving his rescue bots.  I am learning so much about boy culture through my little guy.  Rescue bots are half heroes half robots.  Or something like that?

 A treasure sent with love from Miss Cathy.

 Miss Cathy knows all the best toys.  This hot wheels case unzips and becomes a track.  We took it to dinner at a friends the other night.  Amazing.  Hours of entertainment.  I bow down.

 Intermission to figure out how the heck to get the candy out of those fans.

 Lakin picked out a Costco Batman costume for Bennett.  She was just as enamored with the idea as Ben was.  What can we learn from this?   Costco might be the only place you should shop and costumes are the universal gift.

 Chris test drives the tee ball set.  Almost breaks a lamp.  NBD.

 The transformation into Batman had Bennett giggling.

 One final gift of the night, Ben now has a three wheeled scooter to eat his sister's scooter dust.

 Ben's candy fan came flying open after several attempts scattering candy like a birthday piƱata.  Ben found every tiny piece and shoved it into his mouth.

 Family photo attempt #1.  Not pictured Julia who was preciously sleeping upstairs for the evening.

 Family photo attempt #2 featuring Superman and Hello Kitty personal fans.

And the framer of the evening.  The Jaegers and the Statue of Hello Kitty.

Sunday evening we had our four close family friends over for pizza and cake.  The weather was ah-mazing.  So we opened up the porch doors and spent the night on the deck and in the yard.

 Pre-party cheesing.

 I added some dinosaur spikes to the party hats.  Go ahead, pin it.

 We set up a table of play doh and mini dinosaurs for the kids to play with.  This stuff is currently all over the deck smashed into oblivion but the children has fun and it's nothing a good rain can't wash away.  At least I hope.

 Julia feeling festive.

 I am SO SAD that I put the letters in the cake in the wrong order and that I photographed it for memories sake.  Win some, lose some.

 Abe was distressed that Bennett blew out his candles during the birthday song and not after as is tradition.

 This caused panic to rise up in Bennett and he has a little moment of anxiety.

 Peyton, Reese and Holly watch the emotional roller coaster and candle blowing.

 McKinley was eating her carrots so she could have some birthday cake.

 Ruby is no stranger to cake frosting.

 Lakin and Natalie, sweet new friends who are exactly two weeks apart in age.  Praying for this sweet friendship and its development.  Lakin is missing her Rochester friends so much lately so it's wonderful to see her make new friends in St Louis.

 Matt and Ashley, new St Louis friends, but not completely new, I was in Bible study with Ashley in Columbia and Chris and Matt went to medical school together before we all moved for residency.  Matt just started his career in St Louis as well.  Our worlds came full circle in St Louis.  The medical world is small.

 Campbell loving her cupcake.

 My St Louis sisters!  Carly and Kayla.
 Matt and John representing Chiefs and cheap beer.

 John and Abe.

 Dinosaurs and cupcakes.  #winning

 In case you are wondering, the beard is being retired soon.

 Oh look, it's a half dressed Lakin.  Let the record state this swimsuit was smuggled out of the dirty clothes and into one of Lakin's many hiding hoarder stashes.  Girlfriend's got a problem.

 Kayla and Rubers.

 Abe and Bennett are best buds.  They fight like brothers but they are always excited to see one another.  This sweet moment turned sour quick.

 As you can see.

 Lakin set up a "present stage" for Ben to sit on and open gifts.  Here's the man of the hour and all the little ladies in his life - and Abe.

 The Schneiders - friends from Rochester!!!!

 Lots of super hero gifties.

 A creepy photo for the album.

 Jule Bear having a ball staying up late with her siblings.

 And the party ended with an appearance by Batman and Superman.

These two are pretty fierce, wouldn't want to get on their bad side.

Bennett told me today that he loved his birthday.  He's already thinking about when he turns four.