Happy 1st Birthday, Mei!

It has been an emotional week. Hurricane Harvey made landfall here in Houston six days ago and we have been cooped up while dear friends' houses flood. I feel like it is unreal that today is Mei's birthday; it must just be in my imagination. But like it or not, it is really real. Mei is one. I usually have a hard time coming up with a list of a person's attributes but not for Mei. I have no complaints about her. She is easy to talk about and I am full of praise for what is contained in her tiny, little body. She is moving constantly, getting into everything she can, and smiling the whole while. She is a bundle of joy and curiosity. She is the happiest baby and radiates that glee to everyone around her. She likes to be up to mischief of one kind or anything and when she sees me coming she only moves faster in the crime. I am looking forward to hearing more words from her so I can know what is going on in her mind; it probably has something to do with eating blueberries, smooshing things between her fingers, and climbing stairs. Mei is living up to her name and is everything beautiful.



Today marks 12 years since the day Rachael died. It was a peaceful day thinking of her. This picture used to make me so angry; we all look fabulous and then BAM! Bunny ears. But I saw the picture again today and it warmed my heart. My family is so kooky but I love them all entirely. My memory is imperfect and my brain wears rose-colored glasses but I am convinced my family is the best. While we were in Utah last month, six of the eight siblings were there (missing Flannel and Rachael). It was healing to hear stories of Rachael come up in regular conversation. We all know and love her and it was happy. I am grateful for pens and pictures that are stronger than my memory. I curled up on the couch tonight and cry-watched the video montage of her life and remembered: Rachael was goodness. What an incredible blessing it is to have a family.


Happy 8th Birthday, Alex!

I look at Alex and my heart swells and I puff up my chest; I am a proud mom. Alex is such an incredible kid. He is in tune to his feelings and the feelings of those around him. He notices people and wants to help them. He tries to follow the rules. But he is also a kid. He laughs at fart jokes, gets angry when he thinks he has been wronged, and throws a pity party with the best of them. He is eight years old. Unbelievable. I have vivid memories of his birth and now he is making vivid memories of his own. We are so glad to have Alex in our family. He is a gem.

(Camera battery died at the end. "We love you, Alex! Happy birthday!")


Nine Years!

Today is our family's birthday. Sam is easy to love and has made these nine years spectacular. A lifetime is not long enough; I am looking forward to eternity with the most kind-hearted person I know. It is amazing how much has changed – and also how much has stayed the same – in the past nine years. I love being married to my best friend.


Happy 4th Birthday, Declan!

Today is Tax Day and Declan collected his four birthday hugs multiple times. Declan is the coolest four-year-old around. He is hilariously happy. He has always been even-keeled: the perfect third child. If something is not as he sees fit, he doesn't disagree or throw a tantrum, he just does whatever he wants. He is so calm (i.e. sneaky) about it, he usually gets away with it. He has a very good method to his madness. Sometimes I am surprised by how young he is because he seems so mature but he has hardly four years of experience. One day we were driving somewhere in Sam's car and he asked me why the keys are plugged into the car. Normally he rides in my van which has push button start. He did not know that keys were required to start a car! He is always cracking me up with his quirky and quick outlook. One day he tattled, "Edison stuck his beehive out at me!" He meant "Behind." It was too adorable. Declan rocks at life and we love having him in ours.


Mei's Moments (7 Months)

Weight: 17 pounds
Length: 26.5 inches

Mei has changed so much in the last month and we cannot get enough of her around here. She is curious and happy. If I had to pick a word to describe her it would be adorable. Everything she does is perfectly cute and draws a crowd.

She loves squealing, especially very high-pitched squealing.

She found her feet! (3/5)

Beautiful eyes!

Emily: Declan, put down your shirt.
Declan: But it's impressing Mei! 

It looks like Mei took this picture. She needs a selfie stick!

Everyone gather around for the show!

Tummy time is tiring.

But she sits now! I was worried this would never happen! (3/20)

"How do I get this in my mouth?"

Perfect mouth things.

Spring beauty

She gets her crazy hair from Mommy.

She was very interested in reading... and tasting.

I found her sitting up in the stroller like this. She has to be buckled always now.

You missed your mouth, baby.

Sunday sleepies

First food: avocado

Second food: sweet potato

Third and fourth: broccoli and butternut squash (has also had cauliflower and carrots)

First fruit: banana (followed by grapes, mango, and oatmeal)

Want more Mei? She...
...has started getting herself stuck places by rolling in and not being able to roll out.
...rolls onto her stomach if she is not swaddled in bed. But will only sleep on her back. Which means I have to return to roll her to her back, repeatedly.
...is always kicking her legs, especially her left leg. That's how we know she is awake: we can hear her leg beating in her bed. Sam calls her Thumper.
...tries to eat my shoulder when she is hungry.
...has started to chomp while nursing.
...pants like a dog before nursing because she is so excited.
...recognizes her own name. It is adorable to see her turn around when I say her name.
...babbles and drools constantly.
...does not sleep through the night anymore. Parents are so sleepy. Her weight gain has gone down as well and I worry she is not getting enough food. She only nurses five or six times a day and they vary in length from five to 25 minutes.


Happy 6th Birthday, Edison!

Edison has been waiting to be six years old for his entire life. Or so it seems. If he saw me looking at my calendar he would ask, "Are you looking at my birthday?" As March approached and I was occasionally on the page that said March 27th, he would peek over at the page and a smile would creep across his face. Edison plays hard and has so much energy. He basically takes whatever is given to him and never complains. I had to grab a rotten orange slice out of his hands as it was headed for his mouth. He was going to shrug his shoulders and eat it because he is so chill. His physical, mental, and emotional growth is astounding. He definitely has a limit to that growth and when he is done, he is done, but he is usually very willing to play, include others, and learn. I admire so much about this little boy. Sam and I regularly discuss how Edison is so cool. He is very charismatic but does not seem to notice that others are drawn to him. He is happy with whatever is going on around him right then and does not concern himself with anything else.


Mei's Moments (6 Months)

Weight: 16 pounds, 10 ounces
Length: 26 inches

Someone at the gym today said to me, "I just had a baby..." and I interrupted and said, "Me, too!" Then we figured out that she had a baby eight weeks ago and I realized that the baby I "just" had is actually six months old. She still seems very young to me. Maybe because she is not sitting or crawling yet. My Mei Obsession continues.

Such a ham. She cannot help but smile if someone smiles at her.

I love the shape of her upside-down eyes.

Still eating anything near her face.

Sleeping through Sunday School

She loves sneaking peeks at the television.

I think Mei likes Declan as much as he likes her.

Matching with Mommy

First time sitting in the cart! Still a struggle.

Grocery shopping with four kids gets me a lot of looks from other people.

Oh, Daddy. Always up to no good!

"Who is that baby on the screen?"

Cannot sit alone but she loves to be sitting!

"Mei: I'd smooch you all day and all night. I'd wake up early and bright, bright, bright. I'd turn on a light to see your beautiful face. So cute, chubby cheeks, cute little eyes, little Mei ears to hear brothers laughter. I love you so much. Why oh oh too cute. With love, Alex."

Many naps are taken in the stroller while we are out and about.

Favorite naps happen with Mommy in the big bed though!

Beach babe

I love this outfit the most.

Declan is so kind to share. But I put a stop to it quickly. I am trying to keep Mei away from screens as much as possible.

Cuddling with her bro.

Spending every spare moment at the park.

Want more Mei? She...
...rolled from her back to her belly for the first time (2/13) and belly to back for the first time (2/21).
...has not tried any foods yet but that will happen soon.
...is becoming so aware of what is going on around her but I keep ignoring it because I want to think of her as the baby for a long, long time.
...nurses seven times a day. The first and last time of each day is usually much longer. She normally sleeps 9pm-7am but sometimes likes to come visit me around 1am or 5am because she misses me so much.

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