Wednesday, September 24, 2014

from two to three

Transitions are tricky, and there is much debate regarding which family size transition is to one, one to two, two to three, three plus. While I have no experience with the zero to one category, I can tell you that there is definitely a difference when you go from two to three.

For the first time, you are constantly outnumbered, even when both parents are present and engaged. This can lead to some questionable public restroom and parking-lot-crossing situations.

You can no longer have passengers in a regular sized car. Our family of five now fills our SUV to the brim. Need a ride? Sorry.

You are forced to be more creative. From stroller/carry/walking combinations to get through the mall to how to fit everyone around a table made for four, adding a third little one creates some life riddles.

You don't get invited to people's houses very often. You think you and your two kids are unwelcome guests? Just wait until you add a third. I cannot imagine why allowing three children three and under to roam through your beautiful home is not appealing. Seriously, though, your invitations come less often....but your life-long friends will still allow your army to invade their turf.

Twenty minutes. For us, at least, the difference in two kids and three kids appears to be 20 minutes. Pre-kids, we were early to everything. With the twins, we were typically right on time. Now, we are almost always 20 minutes late. To everything. I have become one of those chronically late people that used to drive me crazy. But somehow getting those final items in the diaper bag and three pairs of shoes located and on feet always takes longer than planned.

You have even more fun than you had with two kids. Although it can be work, watching three kids play together is amazing. I love the moments I can sneak into the playroom and see them all working hard in their kitchen. And with three kids, at least one of them always wants to play with you. More playmates for everyone.

Your life is even more full. I have a theory--the messiest lives are the fullest lives. Nothing against people that have it all together, but I truly believe that there is much joy to be found amidst chaos.

You love even more than before. You thought your heart was full when you married. Then you had your first (two) kids, and just knew your heart was at the brim. Somehow, though, with that third, your love just keeps growing. God gave us an incredible capacity to love. And adding our third little one truly unlocked that capacity a little bit more for us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

my sweet one year old

My dearest Shepherd,

One year ago was one of the best days of my life. The day you were born could not have been more beautiful. Hearing you cry for the first time…seeing you and touching your precious hand when the doctor held you up over the blue sheet…nursing you…finally cuddling and kissing your gorgeous face. Welcoming you to the world was magical. I should have realized then that you would bring that same magic to our family each day.

Your first year has been such a joy. Sure, there have been tricky moments and difficult days, but you have brought such energy and love to our family. Watching you discover your world never gets old. 

Shepherd, you are so brave and determined. You already try to keep up with the big kids, following B&F up slides and onto beds and into so many places you aren’t quite big enough for yet. And while you scare me, you also make me smile. Your fearlessness is amazing.

Your smile is infectious. People cannot resist you, and mom & dad are like putty in your hands. You are the friendliest one year old—batting your eyes and sending a giggle to anyone you meet. I love your independent spirit. I love that you feel confident enough to walk away from me. But even more, I love that you always walk back. I pray that you will always think of me as an anchor. 

Sweet Shep, over the next few years you will grow exponentially. Your personality and brain and body will continue to develop, and you will learn more and more about your world. I am so honored to walk with you on this journey. You will never know what a privilege it is to be the one helping you, guiding you, each day. I pray that as you grow, you grow to be kind, compassionate, and loving. I pray that you know your own worth, and also know and respect the worth of others. I pray that you realize just how much your dad and I love you…just how thankful we are that you are ours. And I pray that you will grow to know our God, that you will grow confident in the love of Jesus and your identity in Him. 

Thank you for being my son. I love you more than you could ever imagine.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

celebrating shep

Shepherd, your birthday is in mid-September. The cusp of fall--a gorgeous season full of cozy days and family and, for us, football. So today we celebrated your first birthday with a very special "tailgate party." The house was filled with loved ones and orange as we toasted your first amazing year. Thank you for being our son. Thank you for sharing this fabulous first year with us.  We love you so very much....even if you don't love cake quite yet. 

stadium cups, cake, and footballs...all the makings of a perfect tailgate party

and who could forget a concession stand?
our independent little man

a few of the friends who came to celebrate and play

Monday, September 8, 2014

bye bye summer

There's something incredible about being a kid in the summer. And maybe even more incredible about being a parent in the summer. Yes, it's hot and sweaty with a constant chance of rain, but it's also full of water and park and outdoor and throwing the kids in the car with no coats. We love fall. The cooler temperatures are welcome, and football and soup are always great additions to the calendar. But the Shafers will definitely miss summer.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

what's in a set?

China. Encyclopedias (when they existed). Silverware. Chess. Weights.

A few months after Shepherd was born, Andrew asked me what the new name of my blog would be. New name? Why would I need a new name? He explained that with three, we no longer had a "set of shafers." 

I see his point. Twins come at the same time and are thought of as a unit. But here's the thing....for me, each of our children is unique and individual and special, yet each is a piece of our set. Our set isn't limited by time or numbers. It's not limited by birth date or birth order or biology. Our set knows no bounds but the number of children with which we are graced. After all, so many wonderful things come in sets of more than two. What if a tea set could contain no more than two cups....what kind of tea party would that be?

So Shepherd, you are part of our set. Barnes and Frances, you are part of our set. The children who came before that we didn't get to meet are also in our sweet set. Our set is messy and crazy and silly and sweet and held together by immense love. And we are ever so grateful for each precious piece.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

almost one

In less than 2 weeks, Shep will be a whole year old. How is that possible?!?! He's supposed to be my tiny baby, but he's quickly becoming not so tiny. Here's an update on all things Shepherd:

Has learned to: walk (he walks far more than he crawls now, but he still doesn't stand up without holding on to something, so his whole day pretty much goes pull up, walk til he falls, crawl to the nearest object, repeat), wave (he is a super dramatic waver), dance (preferably to the Mickey Mouse Hot Dog Song), annoy is brother & sister (whatever they are playing with is ALWAYS what he wants)

Toys he loves: measuring spoons (stainless steel ones), bean bags (that belong to B&F), books, balls, blocks, magnets

Favorite foods: ritz crackers (still obsessed), grapes, cheese, strawberries, blueberries, green beans, mum mums, cereal bars, chicken

Some of his loves: his daddy, bath time, playing on mom & dad's bed, gymboree, naked time, walking up and down the hall, following brother & sister wherever they go