we’re still here….

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recovering from a busy summer.  a really busy summer.  and i hate to admit it because when zach left his job to stay home… i was silly enough to believe that things might be ‘less busy’ and it just hasn’t been the case.  constantly looking for ways to simplify and slow things down and i wonder if i’ll have it all figured out by the time i’m ninety.

i have so much to share and so many pictures that i need to get to and it’s all so incredibly overwhelming right now. we’re in a weird season here…. if i’m being honest.  we’re grateful and we’re anxious.  we’re looking ahead.  we know that change is coming but we’re not sure exactly what kind of change or where.

marriage is so good.  the babies are so good.  we’re thinking about maybe moving out to the country… having some ducks and chickens and a barn… or maybe even living in a barn.

there’s a lot of what if’s and how about this’s and what do you think’s going on in our house.  we’re just not settled quite yet here and we’ve been here for five years already.  the place is so beautiful but it doesn’t quite feel like us.

i’m praying that God will help us to be joyous and filled right where we are and that He’ll ease any anxiety we experience when it comes to moving on from here. i know this: He knows what’s in store and He knows where we’re headed and it’s far better than what we have imagined so that’s that.

i went on a recent trip to washington state… just me… to visit a friend.  and what i thought was going to be a long week filled with tears and missing my babies ended up being a long week filled with laughter and soul-filling conversation with a beautiful friend and i came home feeling refreshed and well-rested, something i haven’t felt for quite some time. it was so good for all of us.

the unfortunate thing is that since i’ve been home (two weeks or so) it’s been pretty crazy…. non-stop…. and i’m not even sure, to be honest, if my bags are completely unpacked.

it’s hunting season, aka ‘jamie is a single mom for three months’ season…. so things aren’t going to slow down any for the fall.

somehow, i’m adjusting to the busy-ness that is three babies and a husband and a house bigger than i’d like it to be.

i’ve wished for so long that life would slow down and it. just. doesn’t. maybe someday. maybe when i’m eighty and the kids are grown and my little crochet bag sits by my side table and i watch nature shows on the weekends while zach messes with stuff in the garage.

and well…. i think i’ve just decided that i’m in no hurry for all of that. i’ll take the busy-ness.  i’ll take the disaster of a house and the never-ending to-do list.

i’ll take the precious little girl who followed me last night with her little vintage fisher price camera.  i tried to tackle taking all three kids out by myself to take some pictures of them.  ‘just ONE good picture’, I told myself.  i thought i’d feel super accomplished if i could just get a picture of the three of them suitable for framing.  and at the last minute, just before we piled into the truck- she grabbed her camera and announced, “I wanna be just like you Mommy.  and when I get big… I’m gonna take pictures of my babies too.”

and so she and i did a photo shoot of the boys.  she took a few, i took a few.  it was perfectly imperfect.  and fun.  and these days…. the crazy busy days of three babies five and under- fun is really all that matters.

and look what happened…. i ended up with one of my favorite photos of her ever…. and oh, the memories that are attached…. are innumerable.

here’s to being busy and saying yes to my babies more often…. especially in this particular season. good things are coming. i can feel it. DSC_6152


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Everyday Musings

Making : a quilt for Emerson.  that I started on when I was just 4 months pregnant with him in hopes of having him wrapped up snug in it in his first few weeks home from the hospital…. well obviously- that didn’t work out.  but it’s ok…. it’s coming along really well.  just a few more hours and it’ll be ready to throw in the washer.

Cooking : a lot of rice and mashed potatoes and hot chicken broth.  I had my wisdom teeth removed last week and it’s been dreadful.  I’ve been extra whiney about it and pretty miserable and I’ve taken more pain medication in five days than I ever thought I would need to take in my whole life.  I’d rather have a baby with no pain medicine again than endure another day of this discomfort.

Drinking: hot tea and of course coffee and never enough water.

Reading: Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford and it makes me want to cancel my cell phone and burn it afterwards.  It makes me want to hug my babies all day every day and take in every bit of them while they’re tiny and growing so fast.  It’s really really good and I wish I had read it sooner….

Wanting : more Jesus.

Looking: pale.  and wishing that there were more hours in the day so that I could justify going to the pool for a couple of hours by myself just to lay there, soak up the sun, and read the rest of my book.   

Wishing: that time wasn’t moving so quickly.  our babies are growing so fast and I just go to bed some nights feeling like I am just watching it all fly by while I’m scooping up toys and pouring glasses of orange juice and reading stories.  I wish that I could just bottle up this special time and come back to it anytime I want to later in life…. when I need a reminder of how incredibly blessed I am and how much God loves me. 

Enjoying: these warm weather days with my sweet outdoor loving babies. Trying to savor every last bit of it.

Waiting: for Friday… we’re waking up in the morning and piling in into the car with our favorite clothes and our favorite books and our favorite things…. and taking a road trip.  I. can’t. wait. any. longer.  so excited.

Liking: taking pictures.  more than usual.  I’m so thankful for the ones that I’ve taken that are beautiful.

Wondering: what God has planned for our future.

Loving: opening our windows first thing in the morning…especially the kitchen windows while we make breakfast and coffee.  I love the crisp smell of spring mornings and the sound of the birds.

Hoping: that the babies are on their best behavior all weekend so that our little mini-vacation is as incredible as I have it all pictured in my mind…. I really think it will be special….

Marveling: at what a blessing it is to have three little ones under our roof….. and at how naive we were to think that stopping with two was ever a good idea.  Emerson has added so much to our family…. not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what on earth we would do had we not welcomed him into our family in November.  He has been the perfect addition.

Needing: more grace for myself.  more patience.  more confidence.

Wearing: rain boots.  almost everyday. whether it rains or not.

Noticing: how sweet and grown up my Clover is becoming.  She just doesn’t seem like a three-year-old anymore.  She is so inquisitive and well-mannered and her personality is starting to shine through like never before… I love getting to know her.  I love being her Mommy.

Thinking: about this next school year. goals and plans and curriculum and how blessed we are to be homeschooling.  Carter is really into Ancient Egypt right now and it’s pretty awesome getting to teach him about it knowing that if he were in public school- his teachers would never have time for catering to his interests in this way.  I love spending time learning about the different things that interest him. 

Feeling: blessed.  So much to be thankful for. yesterday, today, and every day. 

and just like that…. that sweet little baby that introduced me to motherhood was five.

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five.  it seems like such a big number.  he seems like such a big boy.

he rubbed the side of my cheeks tonight, look right into my eyes, and told me that he was going to marry me when he turns 68.

and then he whispered, “Mama…. I have an idea.  Let’s all sleep in my bed tonight so that when we wake up on my birthday, we will all be right here to celebrate together.”

I can’t imagine a sweeter boy.

so very thankful that God trusts us to raise him.

What a beautiful five year old we have….

our new normal

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Everyday Musings / Thoughts on Life

the typical morning scene in our house.   jammies in the playroom, scattered toys, music up loud in the adjacent rooms, Zach and I scrambling around cleaning up the breakfast dishes, trying to keep up with the laundry scattered in the laundry room, the smell of coffee in the kitchen….   

pure heaven on earth really.  even when it’s absolute choaos and we’ve told Clover four times to get out of the refrigerator and Carter is asking fourteen questions and Emerson needs a diaper change….. and it’s only 8:30 am.

I wouldn’t trade this life for anything and there is no place I’d rather be than right here watching them grow and learn and thrive.  

People at work look at me like I’m mad when I tell them that I have three babies and my oldest is four.  I couldn’t imagine life any other way.  It’s a crazy kind of beautiful and it works so well for us. 

Since Zach has been home- we’ve been trying to de-clutter in major ways and honest to goodness…. I think we have hauled at least twenty trashbags of things out of the house.  We’re not even half way through yet.  It’s the best kind of therapy, minimizing is.  But it’s also time consuming…. and getting through major projects is hard work when you’re surrounded by three very needy little humans.  If there’s anything that has been a little stressful for us it’s learning to accept that somedays- nothing gets done.  I’m trying to learn how to embrace that reality rather than wish it were different.  The kids have to be a priority.  Our marriage has to be a priority.  So as much as we’d like to put them to bed at night and sort through kitchen drawers- we also recognize that we need adequate sleep to care for them and we need time to care for one another. 

balance.  finding a healthy balance between it all is a learning curve.  we’re getting there.

We were just talking today at lunch about how time is passing us by so quickly…. and how busy things are.  You would think that if the two of us are home at least four days a week together- we’d get so much done.  That isn’t so when you have three little ones, two of which you are homeschooling. 

We are busy folks.  Busier than I would like to admit. 

Sometimes- I just want to shut everything down and pretend that all we have to do is sit and play all day long.  And sometimes…. even for just a few hours…. that’s exactly what we have to do.  Otherwise- I’d lose my sanity running here and there all day, every day. 

The other day I turned off the computer, left my cell phone sitting in a quiet room with the door shut, and I snuggled with the babies on the couch and read books for a couple of hours.  Out with technology and interruptions and in with quiet snuggling time.  There are days that I get to just relax and breathe and take them in…. and on those days- I am so overwhelmed with how blessed I am to have three healthy babies. 

I am guilty for wishing that I could do that everyday.  Just ignore my responsibilities and snuggle all day long…. but that would be…. well, irresponsible.

So we set aside time each day to forget about the world and focus on eachother and we can appreciate that there is so much growth happening in all of us right now.

God works in such mysterious ways.  I can clearly see and hear His reminders that we are right where we should be right now and I just wish I could physically give him a big hug.  I am so grateful for these days. 

It’s not everyone’s idea of perfect and it’s certainly not perfect all day, every day…. but I have never felt more at home on earth.  I have never felt more loved by my heavenly Father.  I can almost hear Him somedays whispering… “I have such good plans for you….”

And so here I sit.  Just trying to take this all in.  Trying to be grateful in all circumstances, trying to relish in the present, and thanking Him daily for where He has led us.  I’m clinging to His promises for a good future and I’m praying for His grace to get me through the days I’m in…. asking for His forgiveness and understanding in the tough moments when I am anything but graceful. 

He is surely pruning us all right now for some lovely fruit to come…..Image


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Everyday Musings / Vacation

Zach finished his last day at work three weeks ago.  And I am so thankful that prayer has helped us to really embrace the future and put aside the ‘what if’s’.  I think I was very nervous leading up to his last days at work… for a variety of reasons but mainly because I’m human.  He has had such a positive attitude about it all…. no worries and nothing but encouragement.  He inspires me.  Just another reason why I’m so grateful that he’ll be home with me when I’m home…. I need his good attitude.

It’s amazing the growth that has taken place within the two of us in these past several years.  Ten years ago- I think we both would have admitted that he was the pessimist of the bunch.  It’s different now.  And that’s not to say that I’m the pessimist at all… I’m actually sometimes annoyingly optimistic…. but Zach has such a great way of being able to admit at the end of the day that we have eachother and that’s all that matters.  He really finds joy in the basics.  He definitely doesn’t sweat the small stuff.  For the most part, of course…. every now and then he freaks out about Clover climbing into the refrigerator or Emerson pooping on his clothes.  He has his limits just like everyone else under a roof with three kiddos four and under.

We spent our first week of his new “stay at home job” vacationing.  Which was a tremendous blessing.  I desperately needed to get away from the house.  We thought we’d be escaping the snow to bask in the sun but that didn’t happen entirely as planned since the weather 800 miles south of home was still a whopping 50 something degrees on most days.

HOWEVER…. we’ll take 50 degrees over sub-zero temperatures…. and not to mention- there is something to be said for getting away from your house.  It was SO good to not feel the need to be cleaning or organizing the closets and cabinets for eleven whole days.  Our agenda just consisted of walks to the beach, nature exploring, enjoying some quality time with Nana & Papa, and some occasional fishing.

We were able to get out every day and enjoy the sun…. even when Carter complained that he was “freezing to deaf” on the coolest day there.  We forced the poor boy outside to make a nature loom and then we taught he and Clover how to weave with palm leaves and various grasses that we found around the beach house.  He really enjoyed it but Clover was more interested in balancing on logs that we came across while we hunted for things to weave into the loom.

He survived.  He’s so funny…. so opposite his sister.  She will walk barefoot in the snow and sing happy songs while he will shiver when it’s in the 60’s and ask us to turn the fireplace on when we go inside.

I bribed him with oreo cookies to get a picture of him holding our nature loom.jan28fb jan29afb

I’m not above bribery for good pictures.  Truth be told…. I could probably have bribed him with hugs and kisses- he is the SWEETEST cuddliest boy that ever lived.

So I apologize in advance for completely random posts coming up with pictures from our travels…. we had so much fun and I took too many pictures.  (that will be on my headstone: she had so much fun and took too many pictures)

I’ll try to share them here and there…. so the blog doesn’t get so neglected.

These are such good days we’re in.  Zach and I can’t believe that we are blessed to hug eachother tight every morning- whether I work the night before or the day of…. we can’t believe that he’s home and I’m working a few days a week and it’s working for us.  God is so good to lead us to this.

It’s not been long…. just a few weeks…. but so far- it’s pretty blissful.  We’re cleaning and organizing areas of the house that have been neglected for months.  Zach is learning so much, bonding with the babies more every day, and I’m growing to love him even more.  I’m bursting with pride.  Beautiful sweet babies and a pretty cute husband who takes care of them SO well.

You would never know it by the looks of our bank account but I feel like we are so very rich right now in all the ways that really matter.

blessed.  blessed.  blessed.

that’s all for now…. back with some recent photos soon….

Clover’s Official 3 year Interview

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Clovie / Interviews

I started interviewing Carter at 3.  Really…. because he wasn’t talking well at two…. but three is a great age to start interviews.  So every year… starting at age 3- I’ll be interviewing my babies.  Maybe I’ll compile their interviews with pictures into a really neat coffee table album for them when they’re grown.  I’ll probably change the questions each year to fit their ages more appropriately…. I’m not sure quite yet where this project will go but I’m thankful that it started.

So here’s Clover’s first and official interview.  At age three.  We took a special trip out for tea together to get it done:jan4c

1. How old are you?  “Well…. I’m free.”

2. What is your favorite color? (as if I didn’t already know this answer…. she mentions it at least once a day) “PURPLE!”

3. What is your favorite toy?  “my little pony toy that’s name is twilight… that’s my favorite toy.  I love that toy.”jan4d

4. What is your favorite fruit? “brown cows”   (special ice cream that she enjoys with Nana & Papa)

5. What is your favorite TV show?  “Rocket”  (Disney’s Little Einsteins)

6. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  “birthday cake!”

7. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  “hot dogs with ketchup but no mustard.  I don’t like mustard on my hot dogs.”jan4f

8.  What is your favorite outfit?  “my polka dot shirts and purple pants”  (anything purple or with polka dots is her favorite)

9.  What is your favorite game?  “My Umi Zoomi game on my Leap Pad”

10. What is your favorite snack?  “fruit snacks”

11. What is your favorite song?  ” Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”

she opted for hot chocolate over tea

she opted for hot chocolate over tea  .  i love that her fingernails are bare- i’ve been asking her for a few weeks if she would like to have them painted and she says, “No thank you Mama.”  she is such a girly girl in so many ways but she reminds me often that she has a tomboy side about her…. Zach jokes that she will want to hunt with him more than the boys will….

12.  What is your favorite book?  “Peter Rabbit”

13.  Who is your best friend?  “Mama and Carter and Daddy and Emerson”

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?  “Paint”

15.  What is your favorite thing to do inside?  ” have snacks at bedtime”

16. What is your favorite drink?  “sprite”

those eyes..... she is blessed with the most beautiful eyes.

those eyes….. she is blessed with the most beautiful eyes.

17.  What is your favorite holiday?  “Christmas!”

18.  What is your favorite cereal?  “Fruit Loops”

19.  What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  “Bunny”  (a stuffed bunny we bought on her first visit to the Children’s Museum- she was one)

20.  What is your favorite animal?  “Unicorns!”

21.  What would you like to have for your birthday next year?  “A new doll”  (she has been toting the AG catalog around with her for the past two days)

22.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  “a dancer”

23.  What do you think Carter will be when he grows up?  “a painter”jan4h

She melts me.  I adore her.  I learn so much from her.  I can’t sing her praises enough.  I can’t thank God enough for creating her for us to raise.

She is such a special girl.

About four seconds after I took that last image…. she tilted that cup back a little too far and spilled hot chocolate all down her little coat and onto her dress.

She stood up, brushed herself off, and said in her sweet little voice:

“Oh my dear Lordy…. I’ve just ruined my pretty dress”

And then she giggled while I searched for some napkins.

I wish I had captured it on video.  Her little voice, her giggle, and the giant smile on the lady’s face at the next table.

I am so proud of my spunky little Clover-girl.

She was rewarded for her special interview answers with a gorgeous little bouquet that she picked herself…. pink carnations that she affectionately referred to as “the prettiest little daisies I’ve ever seen!



I didn’t have the heart to tell her otherwise…..

a long winter’s nap

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Emerson / Thoughts on Life


There is nothing better than this scene…. in the corner of our bedroom.

Our sweet sleeping baby.  Snug under his blankets.

Safe and healthy and here with us.

For a full month now…. it’s so hard to believe it’s been a month.

It’s so hard to believe how very blessed we are.

It’s so hard to believe how in love with him we are.

Life with Emerson is good.  Everyday is good.  In all honesty.

I can’t imagine why Zach and I ever would have thought to stop with just two babies.

Some moments are a little crazier with three babies vs. two babies…. but we happen to love crazy…. so we think that it’s pretty perfect being a family of five.


xoxo~ J.

my clovie-girl

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Clovie / Emerson

DSC_3328fbI thought for sure that Clover would pretty well ignore the baby (for the most part) in the weeks prior to having him.  I’m not sure why I assumed that…. her attention span is just so short sometimes and she is such a busy little girl… I knew that she would adore him as she adores all babies but I just thought that she would probably be much to busy to spend a lot of time tending to him.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

She’s just as in love as Carter is.  In fact…. it’s quite opposite what I thought…. we have a hard time keeping her away from him while he’s sleeping because she is constantly wanting to kiss him, pat him, rub his belly, and hold his hand.

We spent a lot of time preparing both Carter and Clover for Emerson…. it was a little bit of a challenge because we didn’t know whether or not he was a boy or girl…. but we did our best considering.  We, especially in those final weeks before his birthday, talked about him daily and asked them if they were ready, excited, thankful, etc.  At our dinner table every night- we all talk about what we are thankful for…. “the baby” was a big one in those last couple of weeks.

I don’t know if that’s why they are both so in love with him…. or if it’s an answer to prayer.  I have prayed over and over again for years that my children would always be close to one another.

There is no doubt that God has answered that prayer.

They don’t ALWAYS get along like very best friends, our older ones, but their deep connection and love for one another is ALWAYS evident.  They truly adore each other.  And it seems that so far with Emerson…. nothing is any different.

They both are very devoted to him, very attentive to his needs, and they try to include him as much as they are able to in their little lives.  Toys and drawings are always being shoved in his little face when his eyes are open…. and they don’t pass by him without a hug or a kiss.

He is well-loved in this house.  It’s a beautiful thing to see.  It’s THE most beautiful thing to see as their Mommy.  I hope that their love for one another is always evident, always strong, always growing….

I’m so proud of Clover.  She is so beautiful.  She is SO passionate and so full of life and so full of love. She is very considerate, very attentive- she doesn’t ever forget about her older brother and she doesn’t pass Emerson without stopping to kiss him or hold his hand.

She is the only one in our home that can get little Emerson to take a paci.  I’ll never forget that.  I will offer it to him a dozen times, Carter will try, Zach has tried….. he will only take it from her.  I don’t know if it’s something special between them or if it’s the softness in her voice when she says to him, “It’s ok, It’s ok Emerson…. here’s your paci…” but he falls for it.


I am loving, more than anything else in these early days of having Emerson here with us, watching Carter and Clover bond with him.  They are making such beautiful memories with him right now…. some that I have been fortunate enough to capture…. some that I have just had to store in my memory.

God is so good for blessing us with the three of them…. and so good for blessing them with one another.


our tenderhearted carter

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Carter / Emerson / Gratitude Journal

carter has been asking to carry Emerson in the carrier since he saw me open the package the afternoon that it came… we tried it out today and my heart might as well have been mush watching him swoon over his brother. he’s going to be such a good daddy someday…. just like his.

my darling four-year-old boy.

he is as precious as four-year-old boys come, I tell you.

he tells me everyday, more times than I can count that he loves me and that I’m beautiful.

he reminds me all the time that he wants to be close to me so he’ll “follow his Mama wherever she goes“.

he holds my hand walking through the house.  he touches my cheeks first thing in the morning when he says, “Good morning Mama.

he is FULL of compassion and sweetness.

he is mature WELL beyond his years.  sometimes…. we snuggle at night and talk and I feel like I am talking with a twelve year old boy.  I have so much to learn from him.

he asked me if we could talk tonight when the house was quiet and the other babies were sleeping….

Mama.  Remember earlier today when you told me and sissy to get off of your bed?  You were kind of mean when you said that.  Why were you upset?

Sweetheart…. sissy had food on her hands.  I didn’t want her to get it all over the bed linens.  I’m sorry that I sounded mean.  I didn’t mean to be mean.  I just wanted to wash sissy’s hands before you played on the bed together.  I should have told you that.

It’s ok Mama.  I didn’t know that’s why you wanted us to get down.  I forgive you.

…and then he leaned over and nudged his little forehead into my arm and asked me if I wanted to snuggle with him and watch a movie.

so we did.  we stayed up way past bedtime and watched Despicable Me 2…. and we laughed and snuggled and shared strawberry milk.

my precious firstborn…. my little boy who used to stand outside of the doors at birthday parties or other crowded places and cry  because he was too shy to go in…. he is so talkative now and he’s starting to try new things and make new friends…. I try to remind him daily how brave he is getting.

I am having to hide tears from him so many times at night when he confesses to me that he doesn’t want to grow up.  He doesn’t want to get big…. he wants to stay home forever and “help Mama with the babies”.  Oh- how I wish that life could stop and he could just help me with the babies forever.

I am SO proud of him.  So proud of the big brother that he is.  So proud of the little boy that he is.

he is so smart, so sweet, so imaginative and creative.

he truly truly inspires me.

I know that Carter will do big things in this life.  I know that he will provide an incredible example for his sister and brother.  I will always call myself blessed to be his Mama.