My baby, my youngest, turns 7 today.

There is a cozy little house inside me where the rooms have large windows and deep chairs; everything whitewashed and sunlit, warm and inviting. I've come and gone from this little house during my life. It's a place of quiet intimacy where God whispers through every thought, each breath.

As Matthew has grown, this little home has slowly closed up. After his birth I cradled him as we moved from one room to the next, as I'd done with my other babies, but this time the light went out behind us, the door closing as we moved along. With the realization that my body would never again be home to a growing, stretching, kicking little person - that gift would not come my way again - the door to that miraculous space clicked and locked as I moved on, cradling my last newborn baby.

The hungry little thing stopped breastfeeding and again I held him in my arms, pulling another door shut behind me on a most precious, intimate, defining experience.

He took his first steps, holding my fingers, leading me on to the next room. I smiled, though I felt without looking the lights fading out at my back.

I have moved through his firsts that are for me, also lasts - smiles, teeth, words, songs, prayers, Pull-Ups, vaccinations, bicycles, school...

Him marching happily along growing up has been precious to me all the more because I felt the little house dampening her lights one by one, hinges creaking in the wake of his confident stride, raucous giggles, and bent towards destruction. My last firsts were being completed and we went hand in tiny hand.

He is 7 today and that is a big number. All that was left in the cozy little house was one small lighted window in an upper corner somewhere. Yesterday, his last day to be 6, Matthew winked at me. His first wink. And poof! He's a boy. We live in a new place.

He is such a blessing. Affectionate and bold, strong and sweet. And those toffee colored eyes - his father's eyes. While I'm sad I won't again traipse through this sunlit house where things grow so easily and with such breathtaking speed, Matty has been the perfect little one to lead me on my last tour of the place.

Seven Years!

With his big sister
With his big brother
With Daddy
"The Walk." The arm swinging, confident stride.

Yep, that's him!
Need I say more?

My Cowboy.

The darling angel...

His first baseball practice.

He loves adventure! He's up for anything!

This happened...

I blinked and then this happened.
Me and my baby. I'm sorry buddy but you will still be my baby when you're 40...

You sweet thing.


10th Birthday Outdoor Adventure Theme Party

Shark Boy (still haven't renamed him for blog purposes), turned 10 this summer. He invited a herd of boys over for a Camp / Outdoor themed party. Here are some photos, for those of you who scan for party ideas!

The dessert table. Lanterns we use for camping, a wooden bowl and a tin bucket with bait (Swedish fish) were perfect accents.

I did a lot with rolls of burlap and gingham and plaid - just unfinished pieces of fabric. I put daisies in Mason jars and in my blue enamel camp coffee pot.

The cake was chocolate with chocolate ganache filling, graham crackers for the tent, sugar cones for trees, candy rocks for the fire pit and the '10', and a lake of blue gel icing, which fortunately tastes good!

You have to have cake pops, right?

Campfire cupcakes. 

On the campsite cake he is standing beside his tent. That is a photo I took of him hiking in The Garden of the Gods in Colorado. I printed it on regular photo paper, cut it out, and stuck it right in the icing.

Above - water bottles and Hersey bars wrapped in camp theme craft paper.

 He was helping me hang decorations on the pergola and looked at me and said, "You didn't have to do all this." I assured him I did because I love him and it makes me happy to create a great party to celebrate one of the greatest days of MY life - the day this sweet child was born.

After it was over he hugged me and said he really appreciated his party and thought it was completely awesome.
Mission accomplished.


It's Been A Long While...

It's been so long. I hardly know how to begin.

A great deal has happened to me since this blog was active and part of the reason it trailed off was my uncertainty about whether to change direction at this blog or start over with a new one. I've decided to start posting and work up to what I think I'm supposed to write about and wait for the answer to become clear.

I also have given much thought to my boys blog names - Shark Boy and Bear. I don't want to use their real names but the play names don't feel right anymore. Not sure what to do about that.

Shark Boy is 10 now and in 5th grade, which I can hardly wrap my mind around. Sending him to 5th grade was harder for me than taking Bear to Kindergarten this week, which was an unexpected twist on the first day of school.

Speaking of Bear, he's a real pistol and I wish the teacher much luck. He's darling and sweet as can be but you really can't take your eyes off him. In the last year or so he's cut the tassels off my drapes, "cleaned" the outside of the door of my SUV with sandpaper, peed in the trash can in his room (you smell that long before you find it), used black Sharpie to write his name on his bedroom furniture, burned grocery receipts in the toaster, AND ETC. This is not an unsupervised child. He's like a curious cat and half the time he is genuinely surprised to be in trouble.

My grown daughter and my husband are also fine, in case there is anyone out there from before who still has this blog in their Reader!

In terms of the fluffy side of life, just allow me to say: PINTEREST. I tell Mr. Smith that the answer to everything is on Pinterest. (It's true.) I love it and have been doing a lot of the things I pin. We've designed a new deck and patio from my inspiration board, I've painted faux bois walls in the boys rooms, I've learned to make my own photo canvases and remove stains from anything. I know hundreds of things to do with pallets, Nutella, and Mason jars. I've also developed a serious nesting impulse and decided that next to nothing in my house really reflects me at this stage of my life, including the house itself. (Pinterest can be a bad thing.)

Whew! A post up after over a year!

Maybe I can do this again.

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