On Saturday we joined the Buttons and Fadelys on a photo walk through downtown Franklin. There was a good group of photographers there and we all enjoyed the nice weather and great environment. Kris and I encouraged Owen to bring along his camera that we had purchased for him at Christmas. He was all for it and was ready to start shooting as soon as we got out of the van. As soon as the other children got a look at it they too were anxious to take pictures and I was concerned that he wouldn’t get to use it because his personality tends to be a bit more passive than those around him. Apparently that is changing. He did not hog the camera and he did not give it up, he became camera administrator directing the other kids and telling them how many pictures they could take before they had to give it to the next young photographer. I kept hearing him bark orders and the others seemed to have no problem with the arrangement. My only disappointment is that I don’t know which child took which picture…though I have a few guesses. There are a lot of pictures of Dean and several of Owen too…making me think that these two would rather perform in front of the camera than behind it. I’ll have to leave a few comments for the pictures themselves which I will attempt to post below.

these three are definitely Chloe shots.

Ah! This is halfway. I’ll have to finish another time. I think I could go mad doing this.


Owen had his first dental appointment this morning. He was excited about it and told me so on the way. I had tried to prepare him for whatever might happen but let him know that everyone in the office is very nice and they would know his name when he came in and would treat him very special. And they did.

He loved the attention of course and cooperated pretty well. They put a movie on the television screen for him and he enjoyed that but got a little caught up in it at times and didn’t notice that they were asking him to open his mouth wider or turn a certain way.

He looked small again to me in that great big chair. So often he seems to be so big against the backdrop of little brothers. The hygienist was miss Beth who has been “our girl” for some time and she was so patient and perfectly informative for Owen. He loves to be prepared for what’s going to happen and she showed him each instrument and what it would do, even allowing him to handle a few of them.

Owen really enjoyed it and his teeth and bite are in good shape.


Owen has taken up songwriting. He will strike up a tune in the back of the van on almost every outing. He usually intermingles gibberish in his lyrics along with real words and phrases, rhyming isn’t essential and the style is erratic. What seems to remain consistent is his subject matter. He has been composing a series of songs that contain the phrase “Jump Into the Trees.” He will sometimes change the phrase to “Jump into the House” but he always calls them his “Jump Into the Trees” songs. Yesterday I tried to type while he sang a couple of his compositions. I couldn’t keep up with all of the “words” but here is what I got:

Jump into the trees
Ja ja ja ja jump
Ja ja ja ja jump
Bum ba dum bad um
I love to sing
Zaliwink to jalawink
Chuck a chuck a ch ch
Ratza fa
Fella bada puh puh
Jump in to the tree
Jump in to the tree
Jump in to the house house house!

Jump Into the House
Zoolaranda hey hey hey
Vasarah puh
Yeah! Alagant puhuh
Pada gatrapa
Jonaloona baby
Spin around in all of the circles
Albaranazan, albaranazan
Jump in to the house
Jump in to the house!

I’m not sure where he gets his inspiration but these are definitely worth hanging onto.

He also dances. When and if I can ever put video on this blog I will post some of his incredible movements. Ivan got a little guitar for Christmas and Owen likes to play it and dance like a rock star. It’s pretty amazing.

Happy New Year!

We spent a nice evening at the home of some friends last night. The kids stayed awake into the morning with us as we watched the Times Square celebration. The two younger boys fell asleep on the way home but our big four year old managed to keep himself alert for the 45 minutes it took to get home. He did whine a lot once we got here but got himself into bed and fell asleep where sleep belongs. This morning Aron and Ivan both woke me up first but I didn’t have to get out of bed for long with either one of them. I fed Aron and he went back to sleep at 5:30 and Ivan just came into our room, got a pat on the head and then fell asleep again on the floor beside our bed.

When Owen got up he wanted breakfast. I tried to think of what he could get for himself and remembered we have some YoBaby yogurt so I suggested he get himself some. He thought that was a great idea. I have allowed him to get it out by himself before, but not when I wasn’t in the room so this was somewhat of a first. I could hear a lot of scuttling around as he got the yogurt out of the fridge, moved stuff off the table and found himself a spoon. I was about to drift back to sleep when I remembered a situation in the past of finding the fridge door wide open after he had been in the kitchen looking for something. So I called his name and he ran upstairs to find out what I wanted. I asked about the fridge and he said, “Oh, I forgot!” I’m glad I asked.

I heard a lot of running and until I got down here this morning I didn’t know what was causing all the commotion. He had pulled out yogurt for Ivan too, set it in his place and pulled out a baby spoon for him to use. Ivan doesn’t use baby spoons normally and hasn’t for a while but for whatever reason, when Owen gets him a spoon he always pulls out a baby spoon. I think he made a trip to the drawer and the fridge for each individual thing that he placed on the table. Not to mention the need to run into the living room several times to place my purse and other items that I had left on the table when we came in early this morning.

As I lay in bed during all of this I was peacefully drifting toward sleep once again when things got very quiet downstairs and Kris and I heard Owen start to pray for his breakfast, “God, thanks for my yogurt, and thanks for Ivan’s yogurt and for our blessings and thanks for keeping us safe and going to Josie’s house and all that stuff, in Jesus name, Amen.”

(Sigh) Hearing my son pray so sweetly is a good way to start the first day of 2008.

Decorating Cookies

Owen and Ivan got to decorate cookies tonight. We picked up these sugar cookies for about 1/2 price at Publix earlier today and decided it would be a fun thing to do. They donned their new aprons made by Tisra (so adorable) and started in. Ivan took a bite of the cookie before he ever got a tube of icing open. He would decorate, then eat, then decorate then eat. A two year old’s dream. Owen was a bit more careful, making his cookie look as much like a Christmas tree as his little hands were capable of. He was not so in love with his work that he hesitated to eat it. He smiled and held it up for the camera and then ate it. He made one for his daddy and his granddaddy too.

“Better Not, Here I Come!”

Owen loves to play “Hide & Seek” and though Ivan is still a little young to cooperate, Daddy will often play with him in the evening. The other night they were playing and when Owen finished counting to ten he jumps up and yells “Better not, here I come!”

His language skills are very good and I hate to correct things like this because it’s few phrases that he gets wrong and it’s sort of cute. His understanding has jumped up a notch lately and turning four years old has been another big milestone. He is grasping sounding out words and wants to spend time making letters and spelling. He likes to do addition on his hands announcing his discoveries now and then with glee. “Mommy! 4 and 3 make 7!” He also counts to 29 almost perfectly. He tends to skip 15. When he gets to 30 he usually says “twenty-ten.” I’ve laid out the numbers in columns of ones and tens but it’s a little beyond him yet. He wants to go to school and I intend to look into some of the preschools around here to see what we can afford and would challenge him. I just haven’t done it yet.

He loves to play with his brothers and loves to fight with Ivan as well. The two of them love each other dearly and know how to make each other mad at the drop of a hat. Aron is someone he seems to be growing more and more proud of. His little brother that he can hold and even carry short distances as his mother shudders from out of reach. He likes to tell me how cute he is and talk to him in that voice that adults use on babies and small dogs.

Yesterday I forced Owen to lay in his bed for some quiet time. He insisted in tears that he did not want a nap so I pulled the whole, “you don’t have to sleep” routine. I demanded 30 minutes of quiet in his bed and he fell for it hook, line and sinker. A couple hours later I made some noise in his room to encourage him to wake up and when I looked at him and saw that his eyes were open I asked him if he slept. He shook his head no and looked at me expectantly. I told him his 30 minutes were up and he could go play now. Later I heard him bragging to Hayden from next door that he didn’t have to take a nap but that he had been quiet for “how long was it mommy?…Yeah, 30 minutes.”

Sharing Shoes

I heard Owen and Ivan scheming happily but didn’t pay attention to what they were doing. Soon I heard Owen calling me and as I approached the top of the stairs he was coming up.

“Me and Ivan are sharing shoes!” he told me. Owen was wearing one shoe and Ivan was wearing the other. “People can share shoes!” he continued. I marveled at their cunning plan. He went further to explain that they couldn’t share Ivan’s shoes because they were too small.

Apparently, big people can share things and small people can’t.

That’s good insight, don’t you think?

Responsible Owen

This is a picture of sad dejected Owen from last Monday. His wardrobe choices were questionable but that wasn’t what had him down. It had something to do with someone hitting him or kicking him but from what I understand he had done his share of abuse as well.

These past few weeks have been a view of what happens when Owen takes charge. He is really taking this oldest child thing seriously. He is trying to take over the house I think, but we won’t let that happen. Ivan my little tank won’t let that happen. Owen is still very obedient and though he does argue occasionally I am happy that his response is usually to obey.

This morning as I turned the computer on and opened Firefox, he quickly ran to my side and said, “Let’s see what the world is doing.” He really wanted to check the weather maps and see the radar pictures but as I was just opening Fox News’ website it tickled me to think of him keeping up with news around the world. It won’t be long before he’s interested in all of it I think. He already asks more questions about things he has no business asking.

Yesterday he had a bit of a rough day. From a bit of constipation to a hard fall on the steps going off the deck to a scratch from the neighborhood kitty it was all a little hard to take. He had a good time playing outside and by the time dinner and bath were over he was more than ready to go to bed. All three boys slept very well last night.

Today it is rainy and gray so I don’t expect to get a lot of outdoor time for him. However, we are behind in reading some books and doing some activities so this will be a good day for that.

I’m Four!

Owen turned four yesterday. He had a wonderfully full day.

Because Kris and I had to go to a retreat in Bowling Green, Owen and Ivan were blessed to have Todd and Christina Spitters keep an eye on them overnight Friday night. Owen loves to be there and is close in age to their middle son, Luke. I had invited them to Owen’s birthday party as well but knew that with the drive and the chaos of two extra boys over the weekend it probably wouldn’t work out for them to come. Christina offered to throw Owen a little private party on Friday night so that her boys could wish him a Happy Birthday as well. She made cupcakes and they gave him a gift and he was ecstatic! When we picked them up on Saturday, his actual birthday, he was first to the door and announced proudly as the door opened, “I’m 4! I’m 4!”

We came home and put Ivan down for a nap while Owen watched Star Wars (episode 4) with his daddy. It was his first introduction to the movie so we were curious to see how he would like it. He enjoyed it but was a little unsure of what to think. A couple of times he would jump and say, “Oh, that scared me.”

Just as the movie was ending I started getting Aron ready to leave for our planned party for Owen. Because of the baby’s arrival and being so unsure of when that would be we were apprehensive about planning a formal party for Owen. We finally decided to use an outside location and Chick-Fil-A fit the bill. They provided everything except the cake and we had about 16 kids show up last night at 5:00 for Owen’s birthday party. His first reaction to a having a 2nd party in two days was to ask Kris if he was now 5. The Chick-Fil-A Cow visited and gave everyone hugs. Owen opened gifts and loved everything he got and everyone enjoyed cake, ice cream, chicken and more chicken. We brought chicken home too, along with a good bit of cake.

Owen has been rummaging through his gifts all afternoon. He truly enjoys each thing. Kris and I bought him something he has been asking for the past couple of months. A Titan’s football helmet and uniform. He looks so cute in that helmet. The uniform has been very important to him and he is sleeping in it as I type.

Today being Sunday it was his first day in the four year old class for church. He was a little intimidated when Kris dropped him off in the gym but soon recovered when he saw his friend Conner. The two of them have become pretty tight and coincidentally share October 6 as a birthday. Conner’s mom and I compared birth stories this time around as well. She delivered a tiny little boy on September 14 and of course Aron arrived 11 days later.

I love throwing party’s for Owen as his delight is so obvious. He really enjoys every bit of attention and every gift he is given with true joy. He lights up as he opens each gift. I’m grateful that he is not so overloaded with toys that he fails to appreciate new things. I admit there are many things he takes for granted but gifts are special to him.

A few pictures of his party:

Him and Me

Owen is a big brother twice over and experiencing such new thoughts and feelings since Aron arrived. On the day of Aron’s birth I saw Owen’s confusion and frustration and I pitied him. As I labored, he waited and played happily in the playroom for a while but was constantly interested in the conversation and activity in the bedroom. He wanted to climb on me which you can imagine was not something I could tolerate as contractions were coming hard and fast. Kris set the boys up downstairs with a movie and they were completely distracted for a while. I started pushing right at lunch time which aunt Becky quickly provided for the boys as the movie was over at that same time. She told me later that my groans and yells were heard from the bedroom and both boys ate with anxious looks on their faces. Owen especially, was unhappy to wait in his chair and wanted to know what was going on. Thankfully, pushing the baby out only took 10 minutes and Owen ate faster than ever before. Kris took Aron downstairs to show them as soon as he could and then when things were a little more cleaned up in the bedroom the boys were allowed in to see mommy.

Owen’s first question to me was one of curiosity. I was sitting with my belly covered and he wanted to know if my belly had been broken. We haven’t talked in too much detail about how the baby would get out and he has been anxious for some time about what would happen to me. I reassured him that I am still in one piece and that all is well with me and the baby. His wheels were still turning and I watched him take the scene in with quiet concern. Finally, the baby was dressed and I was resting in my bed. The big brothers were allowed up to see the baby and give mommy hugs and kisses. Owen’s exuberance and self consciousness was more than he could contain and he began to bounce around on the bed a bit. Kris was quick to correct him and he settled down for a brief moment, but was back to bouncing in no time. This being too near tender mommy and tiny baby, Kris then ordered him off the bed. I knew this was not a small thing to Owen. I saw his face fall and his despair rise. All the worry he had carried over mommy and this change in the family was coming to the surface. He slowly melted to the foot of the bed and stood leaning against it looking at the rest of his family all seated cozily at the headboard with this new little member surrounded by his parents and doting middle brother…and he was not a part.
His tears came without sound and he looked at his daddy as if to say, “why don’t you want me here?” I saw it and felt it all and I felt horrible for him. He was wrong to bounce on the bed and he was wrong to disobey but I couldn’t stand to see this going on inside him. I quickly asked him to come sit on the other side of me where any activity on his part wouldn’t hurt the baby and held him close to my side explaining to him how the first day that we got to hold him we sat just like this with him wrapped in a blanket right between daddy and I and we held him and looked at him all day long. He recovered quickly and found a way to be still. He wanted to hold the baby and asks now and then to do so but is still the more disinterested of the two brothers.

He is a great helper as he promised he would be and runs to get things for me whenever asked. He plays a little more aggressively of late and seems to stand taller and know more than ever before. He is a big brother to two little guys now and seems to take on the posture of authority with his new role. He certainly needs reigning in often, but I am also very proud of him and his attitude the past week. He is a wonderful big brother.