December 30, 2013

when your twitter gets a little out of control...

sometimes we don’t know we’re deep into a hole. we can look around at our surroundings and think, “this is fine, this is fine. i’m not in deep. i can get out at any time.” and it’s only when this thing becomes a little bit of a crisis do we look around and up and realize how deep down we actually are.

sometimes these pits are serious and sometimes they are a little silly. i recently found myself at the bottom of a rather silly pit.

confession: i love twitter! love it! i tweet approximately ten times a year, and most of those tweets are about the bachelor, so i’m more of a passive consumer of twitter than some kind of twitter extraordinaire. when i first joined, i followed a lot of celebrities, but learned that actually, most celebrities are pretty boring on twitter: lots of retweets for people’s birthdays, well wishes to the troops, that sort of thing. i began following other bloggers and a lot of religious writers and thinkers, all people that i have a great deal of respect for. it felt good to read lots of new blog posts and to fill my feed with theological discussions. i love discussing theology and Christian feminism and race relations and books and politics; all subjects that don’t exactly lend themselves easily to playdate conversation fodder (not that we haven’t tried, right, anna?). so i was getting filled up on twitter. i just didn’t realize how filled.

it all began to take a turn for the worse a few week ago with some controversy surrounding dave ramsey’s blog. suddenly everyone on twitter was firing back and fighting and tearing each other down over this post. there were articles on about it. there were a lot of nasty anonymous comments. it was stressful to me. next up was a controversy over the “jesus feminist” twitter feed—and the fact that the posts (mostly quotes from the book) were typed in by a man. lots of passion, mean comments, threats, discussion about who is allowed to speak for or even about women. finally, and i don’t think anyone missed this, was the duck dynasty controversy. i stressed over the comments on jen hatmaker’s blog. i felt stressed for kristen howerton. i want to give rachel held evans a hug. 

i kept reading the horrible, nameless comments that people, other Christians, were leaving for each other. my heart pounded, my stomach was in knots.

oh? did you miss all of this? right, because all of this was happening online and not in my normal every day life.

there’s enough good left on twitter that i’m not going to turn it completely off, but i did a major purge right after Christmas. even if i like your writing, even if i think you’re right, i just need to take a step back. no more snarky comments. no subtweets. no retweeting mean commenters or mark driscoll, because i don’t want to read them. and certainly no more following anyone associated with the bachelor.

even if it began well-intentioned, my online life was dragging me into a pit. here’s to starting 2014 with twitter in it’s rightful place, and truth and love being spoken everywhere.

December 16, 2013

a twitterature linkup: what i've been reading lately

today i'm linking up with modern mrs. darcy's monthly twitterature. these are my short reviews of recent reads. 

allegiant: i wish this wasn't the final chapter in the divergent series. i think veronica roth had too many plot lines and twists, and this story would have been more satisfying told as at least two books (there are five factions, write five books, right?). a lot of fans felt that the ending was controversial, but i felt satisfied by the time i turned the last page (aka, clicked the last button on my kindle). #teamfour
the boxcar children: cruz and i are reading this out loud and my heart just thumps with happiness every time. i like reading books with him that are above his comprehension level, just to give him a taste of it and expose him to new vocabulary. that said, i've been surprised at how much he's tracking with it. #greatreadaloud
happiest toddler on the block: harvey karp offers what has got to be the strangest advice about dealing with toddler tantrums... but guess what? it kind of works. #anythingtolessentantrumsamiright
mockingjay: tovi and i recently went on a date to see catching fire (gasp!), so of course i came home and reread mockingjay immediately. my dad says that mockingjay was his favorite of the three books, but i have trouble seeing it (sorry, dad). this is another book that felt like it suffered from being squeezed into a trilogy rather than a series. #realornotreal
night film: i started night film the week of halloween because i wanted to read a thriller. the first half was terrifying, and i could only read it during the day. but then... then the book took a turn for the weird which was never explained. i honestly think that the author was on the right track, and that under the hands of an excellent editor, night film would have killed it. will you take a risk reading it and then we could process it together? #daytimereading 
why we broke up: no joke, i read this young adult novel in less than 24 hours. it's charming and relatable, and will remind you of dating, friendships, and cliques in high school. the book is a letter from min to ed, explaining all the "things" that she's giving back to him, "and that's why we broke up." fun fact: author daniel handler's former pseudonym is lemony snicket! this book is illustrated, so if you read it on an e-reader, make sure that it will support the illustrations. #teamed or #teamal

December 12, 2013


i hope that in heaven there will be a time when mary, mother of jesus, gently taps all the moms on our shoulders and pulls us away to a special room where she tells us about the times that jesus kept her awake all night because he had a cold and was teething and just ate every two hours. we'll all nod and give each other sympathetic looks. and then mary will say, "ladies, my special heavenly gift to you is that we'll all take a really great heavenly nap." then we'll all lay down in the fluffy clouds and sleep and we'll only wake up when we're ready. i'm looking forward to that.

December 9, 2013


in the summer of 2012 we lost a sweet little baby, and while that was hard and unexpected, i was pregnant again quickly, and that helped to take away some of the sting of our loss. with all of my pregnancies, i have felt pregnant immediately (because #thekatemiddletons. not a joke). maybe you'll think i'm so crazy for saying this, but right away, even when she was the size of a peanut, london felt fat and solid and round in my belly. this is still a good description of her.

when i was pregnant with her, i asked God to give me insight into her character, anything that would help me to mother her better. whenever someone would say, "she's going to give you trouble!" or "you're going to get a crazy one!" i would hear God whisper, "she's going to be a fighter, but it will be for justice. she is going to be your warrior." i'd rub my belly and feel her, so solid and confident and sure. that's how i see her; my warrior-girl, my arrow for the Lord.

this story starts in the same way as a lot of our stories: we were at the library. cruz tossed the pastel foam blocks out of their pen and got busy building a zoo for big lion (whom we did not leave behind). london and i scanned the shelves for potential books and i was about to settle her down for mommy-baby board book time, when i looked up and realized that we had an audience. a very, very elderly couple had pulled up chairs close to us and were clearly settling in to watch my children. "i love to come here and watch the children," she told me as i looked over, confirming my suspicions that we were indeed the afternoon entertainment. i nodded, smiled, and feeling a little like a fish in a bowl, began reading to lolo.

london, charming girl, could not stop looking at this old lady and smiling her gorgeous smile. "that is the most beautiful baby i've ever seen!" the woman was so delighted. she started to get up out of her chair to come over. "dorothy! your back!" her husband looked up from his book and got her to sit back down.
"i'll bring her over to you," i said.
dorothy asked me how old she was, commented that she was a very big baby, and told me that she'd had six children. i nodded, smiled, and took london back to our seat.
london giggled and cooed back at dorothy.
"that is the most beautiful baby i've ever seen! i've just got to come over!"
"dorothy! your back!"
"i'll bring her over to you."
"how old is she? she's a big baby! you know, i had six kids."
and once we'd gone through this routine three times, i began to get the picture and my heart just melted. i brought london back over, and my baby's smile could've knocked you out.
dorothy looked at me, her eyes magnified by her thick glasses. "may i hold her?"
i paused, i really did; caught by strangers and germs and worry because who just asks to hold a baby? but here was my london, my own arrow carrying God's love. i could say no and keep london reasonably safe and in my arms, or i could trust God and let her do what she was born to.
"have a seat," i told dorothy. "i'll help you hold her." and slowly and gently, just like i do with cruz, i settled london into dorothy's arms, held onto my baby's legs so that she wouldn't squirm away, and prayed that this was the right decision.
dorothy and london looked at each other and smiled and laughed. after a few minutes, dorothy's husband told her to give the baby back. he got up slowly from his chair, helped his wife back to her walker and walked back to lay a hand on my arm.
"she just turned 90 last week. she doesn't remember too much these days, but we've been married for 64 years, and i know her well enough to know that this was the best part of her day. that's a special baby you've got there."

it's precious and overwhelming, this knowing what a gift i've been given and knowing that God has given her to me to be used for His glory.
"children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. children born to a young man are like arrows in the hands of a warrior." psalm 127:3-4

December 4, 2013

what we wore on wednesday

 ^^ today's post was a little more spur of the moment than usual, but the light in lolo's room was so soft and white and then kids were being darling playing on the bed. and not to be that mom...but sometimes i have to be that mom and when the kids are this cute, it's an outfit post kind of day.
^^ i don't know why he's not wearing a shirt? he's currently trying to negotiate climbing into "the big bed." but on team eliasen, we don't get into big beds without going potty first. cruz is really into sports, so we talk about 'team eliasen' a lot.
^^ made it to the big bed! this guy can do a great lion naptime. naps, prayers, even a gentle, "i know, lion. i know." does a mama proud.
^^ i haven't worn this shirt for a year; so happy to have in back in rotation!
^^ the last time london wore this shirt someone thought she was a boy, so i thought that this time, she'd wear a giant bow to compensate.
^^ cruz is so ready for christmas this year. we've been reading the christmas story every night and going for a walk around the neighborhood to look at the lights. he remembers christmas from last year and totally gets it. tonight was the annual "pickle tree" lighting up at westmont and if you know westmont, the pickle tree lighting is the most westmont-y event imaginable. there were no tears while meeting santa, and once cruz got a lick of his first candy cane, he was ready to party. (to get cruz into his christmas jams, i had to bribe him with a cookie. ain't no shame in my game.)

happy wednesday!

December 3, 2013


a little snapshot of what we were up to in november... at least according to instagram...

^^ this november was one of the most glorious months we've had in the last ten years. seriously. the weather was dreamy-- never too hot and it got just cold enough that we could pretend it was fall. it even rained! (clearly we aren't too experienced with rain-- my neighborhood grocery store was kind enough to remind us that rain = wet). almost every night my instagram feed was filled with sunset shots. it would have been cliche, but the sunsets were just that amazing. (i actually just realized that we might have fantastic weather every november but last november i don't think i ever got out of bed because #thekatemiddletons)
^^ these cuties are becoming more and more like siblings. london loves to watch cruz and the littlest things he does her crack up. he's learning that he likes to make her laugh, and he's been sweet about bringing her a toy or keeping an eye on her if i step out of the room. i keep telling them, "you two are best friends!" and i hope it will start rubbing in. (what? you don't brainwash your kids?)
^^ age three is... a mixed bag. to borrow a phrase, when it's good, it's very very good (and when it's bad it's very very bad). the good is watching cruz's creative spirit develop. we're creating and building and pretending all day long. his capacity for abstract thought and reasoning continues to astound and challenge me.
^^ we had some growing pains with our little lolo. being a work-from-home mama is so good and equally, so hard. sometimes you end up with that face while you're on the phone with a client. it can be empowering to know that i'm helping to support my family while being their primary caregiver. on those days, i'm all about #leanin. and then sometimes the mama guilt and the awesome-lady-business guilt battle each other hard and on those days i text my fellow work-from-home friend anna angsty texts that usually end with #LeantheFIn. i'm not proud of it, but there it is. london also came down with a nasty cold and cough that ended up being pretty scary one night. we thought we might need to take her into urgent care because she couldn't really breathe, but a couple of sessions in a hot steamy bathroom cleared her lungs nicely. we took that second picture soon after she started breathing again, and she was immediately back to her sparkly self.
^^ you know i'm an open book about areas in which i struggle as a mom/wife/lady, so let me just take a minute to share an area in which i think i excel. i know my kids. i am such a good mom to them. this month has been a gentle reminder that one of my primary jobs as their mom is to delight in them. i've taken that to heart and with everything that is in me, i delight in my kiddos. with all of it's challenges, november turned out to be a pretty sweet month.

November 12, 2013

this way to butterflies.

as part of intentionally parenting with wild freedom, i am trying to say yes. yes to extra trick-or-treating. yes to hanging out with our neighbors. yes to spur of the moment play dates. on saturday my friend ashley texted me saying that she and her son were headed over to the butterfly preserve and would we want to join them? yes. we actually didn't end up overlapping at the preserve for more than a few minutes because of naptimes and trying to wrangle two children into clothes, but i am so glad we said yes!
it was closest to perfect you could imagine. my little boy walked up every steep hill on his own, scrambled over big logs, and took off running in the woods like the best little adverturer you could dream of. we kept choosing to wander down paths that took us deeper and deeper into the woods, stopping to find butterflies and listen to the wind stir the eucalyptus trees. it was warm with just an undercurrent of cool ocean breeze. i stretched my arms wide wide wide because God is so good and His creation so beautiful and He made my children to be so precious and i just can't dare keep that kind of praise to myself. 

November 5, 2013


here's what we were up to in october... at least according to instagram...
^^ lolo and i took a bunch of selfies. after our first all-nighter//embracing fall style//wearing chevron  (cruz: why is everyone wearing pointy stripes?)
^^ in things that can't possibly have happened news, cruz turned three in october. this year he really got it and loved his birthday. we spent about a week singing "happy birthday" and practicing blowing out candles and then he rocked it at the party. (ps: would you like a post on how to plan your child's birthday without pinterest? wild and free, baby)
^^ soccer player. ballerina. curious george. come back soon, halloween!
^^ i've stepped it up in the arts & crafts department. we've been painting, "chalking," and decorating pumpkins with glitter. it's been so fun to watch cruz draw with purpose-- a road for his cars, the sun and moon, our family (we all have very heavy eyebrows in his pictures and also in real life).
^^ cruz is equal parts tovi (awesome ball skills) and me (great satisfaction in completing paperwork)
^^ babies helping me with work
^^ who's the cutest sitting in a bumbo? london rae, that's who.

November 1, 2013

halloween just got a little bit cooler

listen, i've just never been a halloween person. i grew up in the pacific northwest where our halloweens consistently occurred in the rain. there's an awesome costume under all this rain gear kind of affairs. then we moved out near uc santa barbara where halloween gets taken to the next level, but not in a good way. our local grocery store piles pallets of cheap beer in the aisles in the few days before halloween weekend and students stream through our neighborhood in costumes both small (and tight and risque) and scary. it's gotten better over the years, but it felt yucky and dark and turned me off of halloween for a long time.

but this year we took the kids trick or treating and it all turned around.

tovi has been planning matching costumes for him and cruz for a looong time. wanna see??
curious george and the man with the yellow hat!! can you even??
we started trick or treating at ghost village road in montecito. the costumes were cute and creative. we felt like celebrities because everywhere we went someone would yell, "hey, it's the man with the yellow hat!" and tween girls would coo, "look at that george. he is sooooo cuuuuute!" the first time someone recognized cruz as george you would have thought he'd burst open with the pride of it all.
after about an hour, cruz and london got tired and hot and full enough of candy and ice cream (um, yes. ice cream trick or treating for the win!), so we headed home. we still wanted to go out in our neighborhood, so we convinced cruz to go on a walk with us to look at jack-o-lanterns. and we happened to bring his candy bucket just in case.
i don't know if our first trip out had served as a practice run or if the evening light made him more comfortable, but trick or treating around the neighborhood was the stuff dreams are made of. cruz was so bold walking up to each door for candy. he wouldn't say trick or treat, but he did say thank you, which i like even better. it was dusk and there was just something magical in the air. the neighborhood felt so safe and so friendly. we chatted with neighbors and rang doorbells of people we had never talked to before. all around us you could hear people laughing and calling out "see you later!" and "happy halloween!" our neighborhood felt like a community. we went to bed with happy hearts and tummies full of candy we stole from cruz's bucket. i think i could like this holiday.

October 29, 2013

a day in the life

as a blog reader, i love day-in-the-life posts. it's partly voyeuristic, like peeking into someone's purse or medicine cabinet. growing up as the daughter of a sociologist, i'm well-versed in the art of people-watching. and knowing how someone else spends their day makes me feel good; it pulls back the curtain on "how does she do it all?" my friend robin wrote a cracker jack post on how she's balancing her schedule as a working mom, and then invited others to write their own day-in-the-life posts. i got to spend all day truly thinking about how i was spending my time... and it felt great!

of course writing down what i'm doing with my day doesn't quite capture everything. you can't schedule cheering for a friend who had a great ultrasound, sneaking cruz's halloween candy while he naps, or covering london's face in kisses while we wait for cruz to finish his snack. but this is my life and my day and it made me feel satisfied to take a good look at how it all balances out.

so here's what i did.

5:45am. tovi's alarm goes off for his first client at 6am. i get up right after he does, brush my teeth, and head downstairs. i pour myself a glass of water and drink it while i read my devotional (currently i'm reading this one) and pray. i spend the next 45 minutes working on stuff for mops. mops is one of my favorite things to invest my time and energy in, and i give it the best part of my day.

8:35am. by the time i get home from cruz's daycare drop-off, london is up and hanging out with tovi. i nurse her, and then spend some time on work that won't require me to be on the phone. we lay on the floor together and i chat to her while i enter data. i'm glad we get to spend this time together, although sometimes i wish our one-on-one time would be more about playing with her than just keeping her occupied.

9:45am. london's back down for a nap, and i launch myself into work calls. my time is limited, so i try to be as careful about it as possible. i tell myself that i'll take a shower at 11:15 and i barrel through the next hour and a half.

12:20pm. cruz is home from daycare and i unleash him on the backyard. we play basketball for awhile, and then i put london down for her second nap. cruz vacillates between making layups and chalk drawings, wanting to play together or wanting to play by himself. this is his time to get really worn out, so i follow his lead.

1:30pm. my boss (who's also my neighbor and a friend) asks if she can drop by later in the afternoon. i get cruz down for a "quiet time" after we read a few books and do a quick clean of our downstairs. rugs get vacuumed, all the sports equipment is returned to their home outside. i get more work done and eat a quesedilla with goat cheese (thanks to bread and wine, i've learned that goat cheese is always the right answer). it's delicious and i savor my time alone... until lolo wakes up at 2:15. i get a little annoyed that her afternoon nap wasn't too long, but as i'm getting ready to feed her, i figure out the answer-- two front teeth are popping through! i cut her some slack; she's been surprisingly unfussy.

3pm. cruz gets released from his naptime jail. he has taken all the books off his shelves and lined them up along the floor. "it's slippery!" he tells me, delighted. for his birthday, our friends adam and leah bought him berenstein bears: the trouble with chores and now he's obsessed with doing chores, so he cleans up the room as soon as i ask him to (thanks, questads!). since we potty trained him, cruz has been resistant to wearing pants, so after naps are usually a good time check him out in his undies. we have a snack. we read some books. london is a little fussy, so i put her in the carrier for awhile. "put london in the ergo, not the moby," cruz instructs. ah, bossy and a modern toddler!

4pm. rachael stops by for a chat and brings cake. that's my favorite kind of pop-in.

5pm. it's been a goal of mine to get to know our neighbors better. one way i'm trying to do that is by encouraging us to play in our cul de sac more often. we head out front with our chalk and our neighbors are also out riding bikes. there are few things that make me feel more like a real mom than helping to supervise pre-dinner cul de sac playtime.

6pm. tovi steps in quickly, transitioning between soccer practice and one last client. i feed cruz his dinner and then send him into the studio for a few minutes. my sweet, tired london is ready for bed. i feed her and she falls asleep quickly.

7pm. tovi and i chat when he comes in from the studio, but we end up talking too long and it's past cruz's bedtime. he starts to melt down, and i carry him upstairs with less grace than i'd like. his screaming actually wakes london up, which is a bummer. i settle her back down and then trick cruz into brushing his teeth and putting on his jammies. i don't remember what happened after that... did we read a book? did we say prayers? did tovi take over bedtime and i fed london again? i think that's what happened. anyhow... he's asleep!

8pm. we eat bagel sandwiches and a salad-- we keep it classy around here. look, this is how i get it "all" done. there's just no such thing as "all" anymore. something always has to give and i'm trying to give myself the freedom to let a couple of things slide from day to day. today i cleaned. maybe tomorrow we'll eat a real dinner. when you're balancing work and taking care of littles, something will always have to give. we watch two episodes of friday night lights because it's awesome and so that tovi can have that extra coach-taylor power boost as the team heads into their last games of the regular season.

10:30pm. i type up this post in bed, feed london one more time, read a couple pages in my new book, and finally turn off the lights.

i'd love to see what your day looks like! i'm linking up with robin here... and you can too!

October 17, 2013

what we wore on wednesday

some days you write relevatory blog posts... and some days you just want everyone in cute outfits. ladies, ammiright?

^^ cruz decided that it was a "green day." green dino jams, green undies, green crocs it is! i mean, you know i love a good theme.
^^ we call this one our little bunny, so these striped bunny jams are pretty perfect for her. we get all kinds of squealy when she has them on. there is something so sweet and soft and lovable about her... just a sweet little bunny.
^^ i've been dying for her to wear this romper from tea collection. i bought it in august, thinking she would wear it in the spring. because it's for one year olds. but how super darling is it????

^^ i was pretty proud of this outfit. actually, so proud that this is the second day in a row that i wore it! the first time was out on a date with tovi, and i liked it so much that i put it back on the next morning. and that's how we roll.
^^ we continued with our green day!
^^ me: cruz, what's on your shorts?!!??
    cruz: some crusher. let's take these off.
    {we take them off. let him run around in undies for a minute. he runs back over to me}
    cruz: cruz needs new shorts. but not crusher-y shorts this time.

   bahahaha. love that kid.
^^ unfortunately, london didn't stay in her cute romper for long. just as we were about to leave the house to have dinner with friends.... outfit change time!

and that was wednesday!

October 15, 2013

meant to be a mom

practically a minute ago when i was pregnant with cruz, i heard two comments that really shaped my pregnancy and parenting. neither of these comments were directed at me and probably were never thought of again, but, as tovi will tell you, i take small things to heart too easily. is that enough of a qualifier? just simple, off the cuff remarks that were never ever meant for me. ok. when i was pregnant with cruz someone commented that their friend (pregnant for the fourth time), was just "meant to be a mom" because she was never sick while pregnant. oh, how that stabbed me straight in the heart. there i was on the brink of motherhood, having dreamt of motherhood since i was a little girl carrying about my baby dolls, throwing up every time i turned around. clearly not meant to be a mom. someone else remarked on a new mom we both knew: "she makes it look so easy. she's just meant to be a mom." so i stepped into motherhood determined to prove that despite morning sickness and my lack of mothering experience, i was meant to be a mom.

i never complained during labor. i never asked anyone to stay up with me during midnight feedings. i buried my anxiety down deep so that on the surface i could make mothering look easy. i wanted badly for motherhood to roll over me so effortlessly that i worried about every detail of cruz's babyhood. i worried about him having a paci. i worried about him falling asleep in my arms rather than on his own in the crib. i worried that we didn't co-sleep. i worried that he slept in our room too long. when we started solids, i "knew" that "good moms" made their own food. when he wouldn't eat it, i paid an arm and a leg for jarred food at whole foods, and then i apologized for it!

eventually, i grew out of all this worry and anxiety, and i knew that i wanted something different for london. throughout my pregnancy i prayed for freedom from anxiety and pressure and what i imagined to be other's expectations. instead of the stress i felt when cruz was born, i felt nothing but joy when london was laid in my arms. i swear, there was that silly high pitched "aaaaaaah!" of angels singing as the nurse handed her to me, all sticky and wet. i felt free from worry.

and while the anxiety that always hovered near me when cruz was small never resurfaced with london, i found myself wanting to reign in control and pressure to still make it look easy. more and more often i was keeping us at home because of all those sneaky what ifs. what if he needs to go to the bathroom? what if he has a meltdown in public? what if she needs to nurse and he's running around? can i carry all their things? and of course the big one... what if this feels hard and that means i'm not meant to be a mom of two?

from a couple of things that we've been talking about at church, through jessi's writing, and through the sweet leading of the Lord, it has dawned on me that i haven't been parenting with freedom. i have been so held down by the expectations that i imagine other's hold me to, that i haven't let go enough to let God and only God lead me in parenting my children. far too often, i parent from a place of "should do" or "have to" and i want to embrace "want to" and "get to." i want to mother my children in the knowledge that where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

i now know this: cruz is three and london is almost five months old and there is no one on this earth that is meant to be their mom except for me. no one else can tell when london needs to go down for a nap. no one else that lets her wind her fingers through their hair the way i will. there is no one on earth that understands how fast cruz's mind works or his little toddler concerns. no one can comfort or nurture or mother them the way i can. and sweet friend, there is no one else on earth that could mother your child the way you do. 

we have freedom in christ; there are no credentials left to prove. we are mothers because we are mothers, and there is nothing about it that makes one mom more suited for this role than another. whether being a mama was a desire deep in our bones or a situation thrust upon us or a dream not yet fulfilled; whether our children are born from our bodies or carried by another, we are meant to be mothers because we are just meant to be. when God is for us, who can be against us? neither heights nor depths, angels nor demons, co-sleeping nor jarred baby food can separate us from the life God has called us to. let's live it-- in wild freedom. 

October 11, 2013

happy birthday, cruz man

dear cruz,

today you are three, and i don't even know, kid. there it is-- kid! you are all kinds of grown up and even though you're still my baby, you're not my baby. even in the last few weeks, your language as been exploding. your sentences are grown up ("my arms are too short to reach the ipad!" #omgfirstworldtoddlerprobz) and today you told me, "no, mommy, uh-uh" in a sassy voice that sounded eerily just like mine.

i think you're the greatest. even your quirks and toddler-ness is endearing because underneath it all you are mine, and geez, i just love every single thing about you. cruz, you are a man with a plan. i can practically see the gears turning in your head. you are constantly raiding our drawers and cabinets to create collections-- my hair sprays, our candles, the spice jars. your enthusiasm for your projects is catching.

you are clever. we were singing in the car the other day, "i know Who goes before me / i know Who stands behind / the God of angel armies / is always by my side." i asked you if you knew who we were singing about. "God," you answered, and then i could tell you were thinking a little bit more. "God is running around cruz!" you shouted. sweet, smart boy. you love to read. you count to twenty. you can spell about ten words. you love to write the letter h.

and for all the ways that you're growing up, you are still my little boy. when you're sleepy, you burrow down into my neck and i swear to you, it takes all of my self-control to set you down into your bed and not simply hold you for as long as you'll let me. after your nap your drag lion downstairs by one arm, wearing little boy undies and a t-shirt. you gives kisses on the shoulder. you are in awe of the men on tovi's soccer team. you wriggle under their arms and tap their heads, as if you can't believe how close you can get to your heroes.

and you are mine. from the first minute we see each other in the morning and you shout, "it's mommy!" as i open your door, to playing in the backyard, to setting you down in your room until you settle from a tantrum, to the way you end our prayers with "a is for amen!" you are wholly mine. every single minute that you have been alive, you have been loved and cherished. you will be loved and cherished every single minute of the rest of your life.

like i tell you every night, cruz, may the Lord bless you and keep you. may He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. may He grant you peace, today, now, and forever. a is for amen!
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