Eleven years ago my life changed forever. I quickly learned what it truly looks like to put another before myself. I think my heart grew that day and became soft over night. She became my everything in an instant. Over the years I have been amazed at who God is creating her to be. She has a gentle spirit, loves others deeply, and is always ready with a helping hand. She is strong and soft all in one. We are entering a new territory as she is officially a tween. I can already see how sleeping in is about to take on a whole new meaning. How the days of me picking her outfits are long gone. She is almost my height and we are so close to being able to share clothes. I am eager to enter this new stage of life along side her. I am sure it will have its learning curves with a few ups and downs, but there is no one I would rather have by side. She really is my everything.

* Bought her this little devotional to usher in her tween years and hopefully start more conversations. I've already gone through it and it's so good!

Life Lessons

So hard to hear yet so true...

“Sometimes kids get a mean teacher or a class they don’t like or an inflexible deadline even though that child was “exhausted the night before.” We should not cushion every blow. This is life. Learning to deal with struggle and to develop responsibility is crucial. A good parent prepares the child for the path, not the path for the child. We can still demonstrate gentle and attached parenting without raising children who melt on a warm day.” - Jen Hatmaker, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards

Definitely a good reminder why our kiddos have daily chores and helps remove some of my self induced guilt I tend to put on myself. Both Ellie and KJ are still happy as can be AND can load the dishwasher like pros.

Ellie Chores: wipe down bathroom sink and toilet, put away her clothes, keep bedroom somewhat clean {still working on this one}, vacuum with small dyson, pick up her own things from every room and put away

KJ Chores: take out trash, take out recycling, keep room somewhat clean, pick up and put his own things away from around the house, neaten tv room, put away clothes

Shared Chores: Empty and load dishwasher

I do all big and deep cleans and we always use teamwork. Plus they earn $5 a week, but only if their rooms are clean. Rooms clean I tend to think as a responsibility they should have and the rest are above and beyond tasks.

A Boy

The Mr likes to remind me often to let KJ be a boy. He is reckless and at times just plain ole dangerous. This in turn makes me want to constantly remind him to be careful, not climb so high, or go so fast. He smells of boy sweat most days and has the sneakiest smile of all times. I grew up with sisters and even though we were not considered the dainty type I had no idea what having a boy would bring. He lives in full throttle and loves in the same way too. Some might say he is a mama's boy. He is even quick to admit this to the man behind the dairy counter. Some warned me that he will grow out of this stage faster than I would be ready for. Since the burn I thought that time had come. The accident came much too soon after our Australia trip where I think he was just starting to forgive me for leaving him for a whole week. The longest I have ever gone without him. For weeks after the burn KJ would not really touch me. Our nightly show watching, book reading, just because cuddles came to an abrupt stop. He was afraid to touch me, because he was afraid of hurting me. Following the most painful times, when I was ready and able to hold him again he wouldn't have it. He would sit by me, but not in the same way he once did. He did it because I asked not because I could make everything better with a single hug. With a reluctant heart I succumb to the fact I was not needed the way I once was. I did not care for the way it all changed especially due to the circumstances, but life still went on. He was still my boy and we just operated a little differently. Fast forward to last week, KJ got sick. He ran high temps and felt all over miserable. The first thing he did was crawl onto my lap and stayed. I did not admit to him that it was painful for him to be sitting on my still healing wounds, but body scars can not compare to the heart scars in any way. For two days straight all he wanted to do was lay in my arms so that is what we did. I've come to know what I already knew more so this past year than any other, my children are ever changing, I am am ever changing, but our God is steady and for that I know all our days will be well no matter how hard or easy that day may be.  I am grateful our connection was healed.

*When the pain was so bad and I could not utter words KJ came up with a way for us to communicate. We would point our thumbs in a direction to indicate how I was feeling. It made me smile every time. Since the burns he still likes to communicate with me in this way. It can represent how dinner was, how our days went, or how he did on a test. I'm sure the older he becomes the more silly our way of communicating will become to him and eventually seize so for now I will relish in my eight year old ways. For one day my boy will be a man.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. - James 1: 2-4

sources: t-shirt | pants old Ann Taylor {similar} | booties | KJ's button down {war eagle} | jeans