home lately

I started typing this one handed on a rainy afternoon with a sleeping baby girl in my arms and two little boys in the room next to me watching Peter Pan and having their third bowl of apple chips. It's taken a few stop and starts but I'm finally finishing this first new blog post with a baby girl who's a couple months older than when I started, and two big brothers still asking for another snack. I have this desire to write now as we are yet again on the cusp of a lot of big life changes. We're settling in to life as a family of five and there's this stirring in my heart to make a record of this season of big growth, big moves, big dreams. But I also just want to remember the extraordinary ordinary days of mothering lots of littles and homemaking and living out this calling on my life alongside my family. So let's catch up!

Tommy is now 5 years old almost 6, just ask him. He goes to a morning Pre-K program at the same little church school he attended last year. We're beginning the adventure of learning to read and it's so magical. I can't wait for all the new worlds of wonder to open up to him. Since his birthday is so near the cutoff we decided to wait to start Kindergarten until he turns six and every day I am so thankful this is the path we've settled on. He is full of little boy wiggles and infectious energy that has no business being cooped up in a classroom for a huge chunk of every day. He enjoys sleeping in and starting his day slowly reading books snuggled on the couch or absorbed in his latest lego build, not rushing out the door (though that still happens most days, if I can let him sleep I will). He needs to be able to run and play and move his gangly growing body. He needs buckets of sunshine, swinging and climbing and enjoying the newfound freedom of a bicycle without training wheels. He still loves trips to the library for story time, followed by picnic lunches at the playground. He's a whiz kid with puzzles and mazes and an Uno enthusiast. His responsibilities are few, he is free, five is such a fun age! Tommy is also my sensitive soul. He feels things so deeply and is so tuned in to the emotions of those around him, a tone, a raised voice. Nothing escapes him and it's convicting. He is the sweetest friend to his siblings and is always looking for new friends. When I was his age I was terrified of everything but especially of going up to new people and speaking. "I hope I make a friend" he says wherever we go and oh buddy, who would not want to be your friend? He asks me to pray for him to be brave at making friends and I do and then stand back in awe of him, with my heart in my throat as he anxiously, hopefully approaches the playground. 

Will is now 3 years old. He also goes to the same morning preschool as big brother but just 2 days a week and sometimes not even that if we're just not feeling it and he wants to hang with mom instead. He keeps his BIG emotions right on the surface like all good threenagers. But after an unpredictable whirlwind meltdown about Pirate Booty for instance, he is quick to turn around with a full body hug and a big kiss on the mouth and an "I love you more than bacon!" He is so articulate, his language is truly beyond his years that I often have to stop and remind myself that he is only three and readjust some expectations. He is wild in the best way surprising us with crazy faces and silly dance moves or... you know... a swift headbutt while he shouts "it's buck time!"  Red is still his most favorite color but he's eased up a little bit. He used to worry whenever his hands got messy and only hold his food by the teeniest corner.  Now he goes marching off in his American flag cowboy boots, plops down in a literal pile of dirt to make mud soup and dig up rocks. The other day at the playground he ate a stick pretty much on a dare so his teenage years should be fun. He's less cautious than Tommy but they both watch each other to judge what is fun, what is scary, what is good what is bad. Their brotherhood is beyond my wildest dreams. What a privilege, an absolute honor to raise these little men. 

Sweet Daisy baby is nearly 6 months old somehow. She is an absolute ray of sunshine in our lives. Any fear I had about the transition from two to three went right out the window when we brought her home. Relatively speaking it's been the easiest.  The boys (all three of them) are simply head over heels in love with our girl. They tell her how pretty she is all day long, knock each other down to bring her a toy or fetch a clean diaper for her, and will perform any number of tricks and silly faces and songs to make her giggle. She's a little peanut with the sweetest rosy cheeks and the most precious tiny little tongue that pokes out at you. She's so content even with the loud chaos around her and being constantly on the go shuttling the boys here and there. She is along for the ride and very little ruffles her feathers. We're not sleeping through the night and I wont lie, I'm worn out, but she wakes up happy, goes down happy so it could be worse. I know all too well that these months of little sleep will be over in a flash so I search for the sweet spots in the dark and doze-off in the rocking chair with her nursing in my arms, her little fist tangled in my hair. She loves bath time, and being outside, and her little bunny lovie.  She rolls herself into every tricky corner and even right under the couch. She has started to find her (loud) voice and pulls hair and and grabs your face to pull you in. We just eat it up! She is so loved and we are so lucky.

T.J. is basically like a last semester senior with full-on senioritis. His army commitment is almost up save for some paperwork, turning in gear, and out-processing.  And after that we're on to the next thing. For T.J. that means a year long fellowship and for our family that means a move to Cincinnati, Ohio. Honestly I've not entirely wrapped my head around it even though the movers came to do a walk through this week and we're in the process of securing a rental house as I type.  We know next to nothing about Cincinnati and honestly it was kind of unexpected, Ohio? Huh? But we're excited or at least we're getting there. Leaving Tennessee will be hard as we've found a really sweet community here, a church we love, friends we'll dearly miss.  Plus T.J.'s had more control over his schedule and is home early most days and off most weekends and I've gotten really used to that. Going into a fellowship will be an adjustment as he will have less freedom and less time off, more like his residency days. But it's just for a year and then we're done and can start our post-army/ post-training "real life." Right? 

Well not quite... but hey this is our real life! It's chaotic and transitory and made up of seemingly fleeting seasons of hard and good. So in the midst of all the swirling whirling moving what am I up to, you wonder? Well, I'm hunkering down, organizing, purging closets and drawers (my favorite part of moving every couple years) and trying to just let go of all the stress about logistics because I know it will work out. It always has so why should this move be any different?  I'm also really thinking about intentional rhythms and routines I want to establish for our family that we can take with us wherever we go.  But consistency and familiarity can always be found in the laundry waiting to be put away, the snacks demanded around the clock, the books pulled off of shelves and read curled up in laps, the foreheads kissed and little ones tucked back into bed sometimes a couple of times in the same night. With our time in Tennessee ending and our time in Ohio so short, and our next stop even shorter (more on that soon), the only things that matter are the little hearts within the walls of our home. Nurturing them, helping them feel safe and secure, teaching them how to bloom where they're planted. Most importantly showing them what it looks like to trust that the God who created the whole world, who created them and loves them, is our rock and our fortress, the stronghold of our life. No matter where we call home, for however long we're there. 


  1. Shannon, I am so happy to read this catch-up post!! Y'all look so great! The kids are precious. My niece and her hubby are just finishing his Neurology Fellowship at UVA. He did his residency in Cincinnati and they loved it there. They are headed to Columbus and OSU Hospital for his first "real" job as a Neurologist. They have a baby boy, now, too. Home is where the hearts live!! Looking forward to your next post!! Hugs to all!! xo

  2. I love everything about this post and am so glad you're writing it all down. Your words are so sweet, tender, and honest. Also, that number 1 son is so much like his momma in all the best ways xo


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