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Sunday, May 31, 2009

for my brother

today is my little brother's college graduation party. we're going to give speeches to honor his achievement. i figured i'd share the speech i'm giving :)

There’s a lot that I can say about my little brother. Most obviously, he’s not so little. So he’s pretty much always had the upper hand in our wrestling matches as kids. Which has meant that I’ve always had to fight dirty. Nowadays, his wrestling expertise has translated well. Elias looks forward to Uncle Bob’s big strong muscles to throw him all over the couch. Growing up, even though Bob was always stronger than me, I still always felt like I needed to protect him. I always just wanted to love him and stick up for him and let him know I thought he was awesome regardless. And I still feel that same way today. There were always times when I wondered if my brother would turn out alright, having to fight as hard as he did for respect, for justice, for a chance. And despite all the people who didn’t give him a chance, we all fought hard for him, and to this day, my brother has never let people, or objections, or stereotypes, or opinions stand in his way. I respect that he’s never been defeated and I admire that he’s never cared what people think. He has a distinct ability to be honest and be forthright while still endearing himself to others.

Bobby has always been an easy kid to love. Maybe it’s those blue eyes. Maybe it’s his sense of humor or wit. Maybe it’s because he’s good looking or athletic or a snappy dresser. I tend to think it’s his heart. He was always the boy who stuck up for other kids. He was always the one other kids admired and wanted to be. He was the kid who could get a black belt in karate, and excel at every other sport he played, all 327 of them. That is still true today. Not just that he’s athletic, but that other people want to be him and admire him. And that’s a powerful thing. Bob knows how to capitalize on his strengths and make them work for him. He’s taken his personality and intelligence and fashioned it into a successful career. He’s articulate, and he’s really intelligent. I’ve always been impressed at his brain’s capacity to retain information. It’s always been like that, too. When we were little his brain was so full of baseball and hockey statistics, he could barely remember all the words to his favorite Michael Jackson songs ;)

And even if he still teases everyone, and tickles us mercilessly, and pokes at us like he’s 5, I still think he’s great. He always makes me laugh, and he always is there to help. He’s a goofball, an entrepreneur, a businessman, a sports enthusiast, a boyfriend, a brother, a son, an uncle, and a now- a college graduate. He’s all those things and a whole lot more. My prayer for my brother is that he continues to challenge himself- that he’d never feel satisfied to stay where he’s at. That he’d continue to strive to excel at everything he does.

Bob- you’re all grown now. I’ve loved you through bowl cuts and hammer pants. I’ve loved you through your gangster phase, your skateboarder phase, and your preppie phase. And I’ve seen you evolve into a loving, thoughtful responsible, motivated person. It makes me so proud to have a brother my kids can look up to. I’m proud that you’ve been such an interested and engaged student. I’m proud that you took college seriously, and that you did well. But I’m not surprised. I have always known that you wouldn’t be the kid who just had potential, but that you’d realize your potential and exceed expectations. As you graduate college, know that I love you, I respect you, and I think that you are capable of anything you put your mind to. I am proud of the man you are today, and I am blessed to have you as a brother.

Congratulations, B.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

why is this mouse so FAT?

this is the question i kept asking when we caught ribbons just a couple weeks ago.

why is he so FAT?!

was he really feasting on THAT many bread crumbs under the toaster?! and then suddenly it became clear. ribbons is no boy (and with a name like ribbons, this is lucky)...ribbons is a girl. and not just a girl. a MAMA.

to four little teeny tiny mouse babies.

GLORIOUS!

now i have FIVE mice! elias has been calling them "uno, dos, tres, and cuatro" but undecided on which of the many amazing spanish numbers to choose from, he also calls one of them cinco.

i guess i'm in too deep now to go back. truth is, uno, dos, tres, and cuatro/cinco are REALLY cute (if mice don't freak you out, anyway). now i need to figure out WHAT i'm going to do with 5 mice...especially when being brothers and sisters doesn't exactly concern them in the mating arena ;) any good ideas?


video

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

a joyful sorrow


my uncle randy passed away in his sleep early thursday morning.

it's funny, i had expected that whenever i'd get that news, i would really lose it. somehow, all i feel is an incredible peace. sadness, too, but there is a lightness i feel that i didn't expect.

his wake is today, and i'm pretty sure that's when my emotions will catch up with my logic and reason. i'm really going to miss him. he had the most amazing sense of humor, a big heart and man, he was just...lovable.

on monday, when my sister and i heard he had taken a turn for the worst, we sat down and wrote to him, in case we wouldn't be able to see him before he passed away. i am SO glad we did, and that his boys could read the notes to him. knowing that he smiled when he heard what we wanted to say really gives us both peace and closure.

that's probably one of the hardest things about loss...there's just so much you want to say, so much they need to know...

i still am not sure where randy stood with the Lord, but i do hope they had a chat or two while he pondered life and grace and hope and peace. i hope those things pointed him to back to his Creator.

this week i've really been relying on phillipians 4:4-7

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

i know that there is nothing outside of God's control, and though we may hope and pray for circumstances to go a certain way, we cannot always understand the vast knowledge of God and his purposes, nor his desire to teach us, love us, protect us, and help us, always drawing us closer and closer to him.

even though it seems impossible, God can be glorified in all things and through all things. even death.

so today i will say goodbye once more to a man i've known my entire life. a man who loved me, who gave me good advice, who listened, who made me laugh, who put carpet in my apartments, who tucked wads of cash into my back pockets, who celebrated holidays with my family, who played with me, who taught me things, who had so much life in him that you couldn't help but enjoy his very presence.

and i hope to honor and celebrate his life by remembering him.

"Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:7-8

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Friday, May 22, 2009

bird & fish: vol. 2

our time at the park yesterday was truly delightful. trucks in the sand, a picnic lunch, hot sun, nice breeze, cool water...just delightful. i forgot eli's swimmies (dave later reminded me that the reason i couldn't find them was because elias had melted them on the wood stove...), but he just swam without them. he was up to his neck in the water, completely unafraid, and when he'd get too far out, i'd just ask him to come in a little. just like that. he's a FISH. he was in the water until he just couldn't stand how cold he was. he'd return to the blanket for a quick snuggle, then he'd be back in the water, swimming away.

piper, my bird, stayed close to the nest, spending the entire time on the blanket, mostly climbing on me like a jungle-gym or and playing trucks in the sand. she was not a fan of the water, due to it's frigid temperature, i presume. but she was quiet and content, soaking up some sun with her mum.
i love how close we live to such a great park. LOVE.

here's some photos :)















Thursday, May 21, 2009

early bird & crazy fish

it's currently 6:32 am and i have been awake for nearly an hour, compliments of my chipper early bird, piper glory, who's insisted for the past few days that between 5 and 6 am is the perfect time to poop her pants.

but it's SO not.

(side thought: her behavior the past week or so begs the question- are ALL little girls some degree of high maintenance? some level of demanding, squirrely, determined, or impossible? i know that girls and boys are inherently different in some ways, but for you mamas with girls and boys out there- are girls WAY harder to deal with, or is it just me??)

i might as well take advantage of this early start, though, with a cup of tea, and a nice early morning blog. it's already 60 degrees outside, which determines that today i'm going to take elias and piper to the beach at watson pond. i have yet to do this solo. i feel pretty confident, except for the fact that my son thinks he's michael phelps (who is an outlier, by the way) and i don't have any "coast guard approved" swim gear for him. (swimmies/floaties are not approved flotation devices. whatever...) so if the lifeguards are there, they're going to kindly ask me to take his swimmies off. they'd rather he drown than wear unapproved swim gear. because that makes sense...

clearly they they don't understand that my son, ever since he could, runs full speed for ALL water, all the time, and he's a total unafraid menace...in a puddle, kiddie pool, big pool, lake, and especially at the beach. he's jumping in, waves knocking him over, salt water in his eyes, and the BIGGEST smile on his face imaginable. he's been jumping into my parents pool since he was 1, and last summer, at 2, he would jump in by himself, no help, and swim around. with his little floaties, of course.

almost completely fearless.

which can be SCARY and a tad UNNERVING. (just not to lifeguards...)

truth is, i pretty much love his fearlessness. he's a good fit with my crazy bartlett genes because i'm not ever worried about him. i find that mostly, elias makes other people nervous, but not usually me. moms pace around nervously glancing from him to me, wondering if i'm going to continue letting him do whatever he's doing. it's funny. since he's always had the propensity to be dangerous, so we've just taught him how to safely climb/teeter/jump/scale/reach/stack/etc. it's much easier than trying to keep him off off away from things. he's equipped with innate skill and coordination, so if he doesn't think he can do something, he'll always shoot me a glance like "i don't know about this one mom. what do you think?" and i'll give him a nod and a wink.

right now i'm kind of imagining him in the water at watson's, diving around, doing his stunts, while piper eats sand, splashes maniacally, and tries to leap in herself, carrying on the menace legacy. this girl...whew, i might be more nervous about her. the more i write this the more i'm wondering if i need back-up. hahaha. it should be...complicated and interesting.

what i don't imagine is that i'll be laying on a towel, reading a magazine, and relaxing. that would be what i would have been doing, say, 4 years ago. and i'd be all tan, and up on fashion trends, and drinking an iced coffee. but today? i'll be juggling kids, making sure no one drowns, feeding sandwiches full of sand, lugging gear, overseeing sandcastle constructions, monitoring sand throwing and splashing, packing and unpacking...

and you know what...it will be great. especially in my cute new bathing suit :) so 1950's. love it!


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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

delicious

just real quick-

i dreamed up this burger tonight and it was so good. i thought i'd share:

take 1 ripe tomato, slice it fairly thick, and put the slices in a bowl.

add creamy greek (or reg. greek) dressing, basil (fresh is always better, but i only had dried), and feta cheese and put into fridge

take 1 lb of ground beef (or turkey), salt and pepper it up and make 3-4 burger patties; fire up the grill

when burgers are cooked to your liking, throw a pile of shredded mozzarella cheese on there until it melts

toast up a few buns, slip on a burger, and add the sliced tomato and feta cheese on top

viola!
DELICIOUS.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

joy in the hard times

and now...back to your regularly scheduled programming...

i should be doing the dishes right now, and flipping a load of laundry, seeing as how i managed to avoid both like the bubonic plague today. but i'd rather say hello to you folks. dishes and laundry are for losers.

so i've been submerged in books over the past week, and finished up two that were on my "books i need to have lists" 1 and 2. i read kite runner by hosseini (beautifully written. a masterpiece) and outliers by gladwell (fascinating, intriguing, and smart). both fantastic. just as i'd hoped. both i read within two day spans. they sort of required and demanded the reader to be completely submerged. all in. and that's cool, except when you shirk all other responsibilities. namely, watching your kids. if you haven't read either of those books, they're worth the read. and last week was a great week. some nice birthday celebrations, lots of playing with toys, lots of reading. enjoyable. busy as the week wrapped up, but nice.

as saturday rolled around, i got some bad news about my uncle randy. he has cancer that's now spread, and he's not doing well. he's not a blood uncle, but i'm far closer to him than any of my actual aunts or uncles, so it's kind of like getting news that one of your parents is terminally ill. deeply saddening. heart-breaking. and the last time i saw him was the night before piper was born. which was 10 months ago...and boy that time has flown. so i miss him, which is compounded with the sadness of thinking of losing someone who means so much to me. i'm praying for God to do a miracle, though, and i have been for months, and i am praying that Jesus will nudge him a little. Jesus is the way to hope and life eternal. and i want that for everyone.

so this weekend was hard for me. the news actually made me physically ill, which is not something i've ever experienced. and since it was a murky and grey weekend, i was just feeling melancholy, which is not an approach or disposition that i tend to have. i felt like so many people were sad, too, not just me, which made me even sadder. if i'm to be honest, it was almost out-of-body for me because it felt so unfamiliar or contradictory or opposed to my personality. it made me glad that i'm an upbeat person, but it allowed me to really appreciate how true my emotions were.

i have a much better peace today than i did over the weekend. it's hard to be sad, especially when elias crawls up on my lap, wipes a tear with the back of his fingers, and says "don't be sad, mum. it's okay." and then proceeds to wipe the tears onto my dress, which makes me laugh. and then him laugh. kids are good for bringing cheer, aren't they?

please pray for my uncle randy, and that he might find the Lord in this difficult time. more than anything, it's a reminder that our life here isn't what we're living for, despite how gut-wrenching loss can be. i am grateful to serve a God who can remind me that his plans are not my plans, and i ought to be living my life every day like the Kingdom is at hand.

finding joy in hard times is easier said than done, though, isn't it?

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

finale: a picture post of my boy-boy

i have to preface this post by insisting that it may seem ridiculous how many pictures there are, but more ridiculous than that are how many thousands of pictures i have taken in the past 3 years. no joke. i've taken over 2000 photos...since december. i have a problem. i realize this. and i need to seek help. but first, take a trip on a fantastic elias voyage.

this is elias just a few months grown. in jamaica. he's a traveller...

not fully grown, but getting there

snuggler

proud dada. tiny boy.

smiling from one day old...

on his first road trip to maine to see nana and grampy pete

with cadence, his bestest bud

loved this hat

and this hat. te-he. and those CHEEKS!

drooling. yum.

halloween. not so much with the jalapeno costume. oh well...

getting big. yeah, and i loved this hat too. what can i say? i love hats.

goof.

"look, ma! i'm standing! thumbs up!"

trouble-maker. risk-taker.

elias sitting in a wok. he sat there for the longest time, too.

with his pal cricket. who sadly had to go back to the shelter.
she sure was cute, though.

elias in a bucket at the beach. this was the only way i could keep him from running full speed into the waves. like a total nut.

elias with his monkey...snuggling

bath time!

eli at auntie kristen's old apartment. having a brew. making andy laugh. always going for the laugh, this one.

eli the tool man

rock star, mohawk

"cheese"

playing with bubbles in the yard

elias meets piper

kisses for sissy

family photo!

contemplation

proud big brother

elias and alicia

shaving with dada

posin'...and goofin'

hot chocolate face

climbing, of course

eli playing soccer with dada, just last week


so there's a glimpse- really, just a glimpse, of the past three years. thank you for joining me for elias week. it was special for me to be able to write to him and about him this week. i really loved it.
have a fantastic weekend!





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Friday, May 15, 2009

dear elias

dear elias,
there are so many things i love about you that i'm not sure i can qualify. of course, because you're mine, i think the world of you. not because you're perfect, but because your are genuinely and authentically you. you have a sparkle, a magnetism that you get from your dad that is undeniable. you make people smile, and laugh. one of the things i love about you the most is your silly sense of humor. you go out of your way to make people laugh. and even though i don't appreciate how you roll your eyes at me and make me laugh when i'm trying to discipline you, i do love that you evoke frequent laughter.

i love how affectionate you are, and how you're that way towards everyone. you're a borderline romance novel romeo with how you cup our faces in your hands, and sweep the hair from our faces. you speak closely, and are constantly in people's personal space. it's endearing, though perhaps not to everyone :) i love how you whisper secrets in my ear, and i love how you always want to snuggle me.

i love how much you adore your father, and how you help him constantly. you want to do everything he does, and learn everything he knows. that's a great way to be- and your dad has lots to share. i love that you make friends easily, and how willing you are to share if someone asks, despite how territorial you can be. i love when you sing the alphabet, and i love when you sing "american boy." i love your silly goofy words and your silly goofy one-liners. i love your quick wit, your enthusiasm, and your attention to detail.

i love how energetic you are, even if i often feel like i can barely keep up with you. and i think it's neat that you are so outgoing and unafraid, although i've learned to be afraid for you. you're a daredevil, a risk taker, but you know enough not to drive your ATV down the piles of dirt. so that's good. you're quite a paradox- rough yet gentle, laid back yet energetic.

i admire that you are relentlessly curious about things. you've got quite a mind in that head of yours, and it's always excited to learn new things. you have lots of questions about how things work, and i love that i can show you something once, and you'll understand it. a "quick study," you are. i find it fascinating how you connect things you've learned. and i am so happy to see your vivid imagination every day, whether you're captain hook, or a firefighter, you sure love to pretend.

i love your honesty, and laugh when you come and tell me the thing you "juts did" that you weren't supposed to. i adore that you want to bake and cook with me, but mostly you want to lick the bowl. and the spoons. and maybe stick your fingers in a few times. i love how you'll ask people their names when we're out shopping. just because you're curious. i'm glad you are polite, and you're helpful, and i hope you stay that way as you get bigger. i also think it's special that you're protective of your sister. it really delights me, actually. ever since she was born you've looked after her, and i hope you'll always look out for her.

i love how you think you can spell words, and i'm proud that you can put on your shoes by yourself. i only wish that you were more concerned about matching, like me. i love how you call freckles "polka dots" and how you always shove your hands into your pockets and walk around like you're a teenager or something. i also adore how you've always played with your ear when you're tired, and i love how you think it's funny when i say "whoa-oh, pajama time" and that you'll dance around the kitchen with me and sing songs.

i often wonder what you'll be like as you grow up. i can only imagine, but i do hope you are always kind to others. i hope you use your gifts to help others and that you'll want to be like Jesus someday. i hope you find joy in life like you do now, and that your joy will show others what it's like to know the Lord. i have a feeling the woman you marry will be a very lucky gal. i pray for her already, hoping God will help you pick a girl who will be just what you need.

so whether or not you're always intent, or charming, or funny, doesn't matter. but you will always be my baby boy. and i'll always love you to the moon and back, to the bottom of the deep blue sea, around the universe and into another galaxy, and more.

mom

Thursday, May 14, 2009

eli's birthday party

so it's been a mellow birthday day for elias. pretty much like any day, except he did get to ride on GP's lawnmower today, which was cool. we're about to have dinner, and then we'll head off to friendly's for a little birthday ice cream. elias LOVES ice cream. then back for some presents from us, including a lightening mcqueen kite and birthday trunks, a baby bottle and juice cup, and a pirate/captain hook costume (which we bought thanks to great grandma skip!). he's going to love his presents. and by the way, his phrase of the day today is "totally awesome!" no matter what i say or ask. which is...totally awesome.

so here's a few photos from eli's little family birthday gathering on sunday for your viewing pleasure :) you can look forward to two more installments of birthday blogs tomorrow and saturday to wrap up birthday week!

dada helping me decorate. this guy makes hanging streamers look so easy. i wish i had known about this talent sooner.
lightening mcqueen. of course.

almost ready for party time!

my attempt at making a really cool birthday cake. i wanted it to say "tractor tippin's fun!" but i couldn't fit it on this mini-cake, so i settled for "3" :)

and some cupcakes

let the madness begin!




oh look- it's a picture that's in focus. hmm. how bazaar.

elias with a frosting face

elias and cousin jack

and a little video to capture some of the fun. (warning- my family cannot be held responsible for any of their actions or background conversations. bartletts are crazy. they just are.)

video

this is elias opening his gift from grandma and grandpa in indiana, so this one's especially for them. enjoy! we love you!

video

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