Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A perfect poem for my life with five

A friend of mine sent this poem to me.  I first smiled at the fact that I could be known so well by a friend, even one who hasn't met our dear Littlest yet.  Then, I sighed in relief that another has clearly lived intimately with with five young children, survived, and loved it enough to  crystalize the experience in a exquisite piece of poetry.  Motherhood is timeless.

Song for a Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
(1921~    )

Mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth!
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby, loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.)

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby. Babies don't keep.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Backyard Crew

A family photo afternoon gave our crew a perfect opportunity to show off their latest smiles.



Buddy Bear


Littlest Bear

All the Bears

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Our Littlest's Baptism

On the eve of a special feast day,
we came together to welcome our Littlest Bear into the Christian Family.

We gathered with MoMo and Papa outside of the church,
our little boy dressed in blue.
And after renewing our baptismal promises, 
we all processed in to the water fount.

T had picked the songs we sang together:
I Love Your Lord and Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go,
which the older kids helped us all to sing.

And when it was time, Father dunked our Littlest Bear three lovely times,
which upset his sister so much that she cried.

So, while the rest of us were beaming,
 I brought J-Bear to get Baby's new white blanket
so that she could help wrap him up to calm him down.
Finally dressed all in white, our Littlest Bear was so peaceful.

G-Bear received his candle for him,

Father anointed him with the chrism oil,

and I promised myself I wouldn't bathe him for a week
because the smell is so sweet.

We finished at the alter, which is where we all want to place our lives,
at the foot of Jesus.
Four proud, older siblings were smiling for their little brother.
And, standing next to T with the Littlest in our arms, 
I couldn't be more thankful, Lord, for your many blessings upon our family.

We will remember today as a truly special day, alongside our other family baptismal days.
Father reminded us that Saint John Paul the Great, when asked what he considered to be the best day of his life, replied, "the day of my baptism."  May we, too, always remind Littlest Bear of the importance of today, and live out our own baptism in faith and thanksgiving.
Lord, make us all saints for you!

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Boys' Big Day

Today, E-Bear let Buddy Bear borrow his bike.

Buddy Bear hopped on and pedaled it down the alley on his first try!

Then, we headed over to the lawn across the street,

and E-Bear climbed a tree all by himself that he had been trying to tackle for months.

When you are four and six years old, these kind of victories make for a great day.

Way to go, boys! 

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Friday, July 17, 2015

Our Littlest Bear

Our littlest is a week old already.

Dude, you won't be this little for long.

From head to toe, we already love you so.

Our sweet Littlest Bear.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Thursday, July 16, 2015

One July Afternoon

It's another perfect July day.
The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the garden is lush because it rained last night.

T is home early.
He has set up the Slackline between our two trees in front.
The speakers are playing our favorite songs.
It is rest time, but pretty soon the kids are beckoned outside.
They can't resist T and his Slackline.

T has spoiled me.
I have a chair in the shade.
I have our baby in my arms.
I have a sweet tea in my hand, made by my sweet T himself.

From my seat in the shade, I get to enjoy 
the sight of my three oldest smiling and laughing,
bouncing T off the Slackline, trying their balance,
playing catch with our tiny black mitt and a bright tennis ball.

From my seat in the shade, looking down in my lap,
our newest addition is snoozing in peace,
where just days ago a round belly was seen,
which now feels strangely far away.

And the kids are laughing, and T is ever smiling, 
and there is a breeze in the shade and the baby's at peace,
and my tea is very sweet.

I would bottle this moment if I could.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Monday, July 13, 2015

Joyful July

Our July is flying by, 
filled with many joyful moments.

Take, for instance, our daily Duplo time.  J-Bear loves her brothers' help in making whatever creation they have dreamed up. Whatever they make for themselves, they are careful to make one for her too.  One day it was a tower to match their aircraft carriers.  The next day, they had to make her a matching X-wing to theirs.  She then proceeded to follow them around the living room, "whooshing" right behind them.

Our garden is in full swing, full of tomato plants that we grew from last year's seeds, pepper plants that made it through the winter indoors, our fruitful blueberry bush and our Alpine strawberries.
There is a daily search for ripe strawberries that occurs each morning.  They taste so sweet and are pretty irresistible.  As you can see, the kids have all kinds of ways of trying to get up to the hanging basket to pick some:

At least when Buddy Bear is successful, he loves to hand out his bounty to his siblings,
to J-Bear's great delight.

During quiet time, while J-Bear is napping, G-Bear is often found snuggled up with a book.  She is a voracious reader these days.  Sometimes she might be found working on her cursive or (if I really incentivize) finishing her math work for the day.  The boys, on the other hand, are two peas in a pod, whether building at their workshop or building out of their Lego boxes in their room.  Today's creations?  E-Bear made a bed for his baby brother, complete with a personalized label and G-Bear's doll linens:

And then the boys emerged from quiet time to show me the robot warriors they had made from scratch.  The warrior part aside, I am continually amazed by their creativity.

 When T comes home, it is time for backyard fun with Dad.  This usually involves some variation of baseball or soccer, but no matter what, it is one of the highlights of the day.

After dishes, it is time for our pre-bedtime walk around the blocks.  Baby loves the fresh air, and while the older crew often fusses at first, by the time we pass our neighbor's house they are tearing down the sidewalk leaving me and T in the dust.

These days are full of so much joy.  Thank you, Lord for these precious summer days.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Heard around the house this week: New Brother Edition

"Baby my, don you ky, baby my, don you ky.
Okay, baby, it okay, baby."
~J-Bear, singing her bedtime song to her brother 
when he is upset during his diaper changes


Overheard while passing the (stinky) local cigar store during an grocery run with Dad:
"If someone gave me a box of cigars for a present, I would say 'thank you'
and then throw time in the trash."


G-Bear: "Oh, he is so cute!  I love it when his eyes are open!  
J-Bear, come here, Baby's eyes are open!"

J-Bear: "Eye?  Eye?  Oh, see!  Eye!"


Overheard during family play time:
"J-Bear, do you want to play Duplos?  Okay, c'mon!"
~E-Bear, who is up for Biggest Brother of the Year Award


"Can I hold Baby?"
"Can I give Baby a kiss?"
"Oh, he is so cute, he is just like a little baby Moses!"
"Oh, don't cry, you're okay."
~Buddy Bear, a most affectionate older brother


"Baby nee banket.  I give baby blanket."
~J-Bear, a very helpful older sister


E-Bear: "Mom, can I hold baby for you so that you can make dinner?"
Me:  "Sure, E-Bear.  But, he is a little fussy right now.  Will it bother you if he cries?"
E-Bear:  "No, it won't bother me.  I just worry about him and what he needs when he cries.  
It isn't that the crying bothers ME."

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Friday, July 10, 2015


When the Littlest arrives,

 all the celebrities show up to meet him.

Everyone is excited.

We had kissed the kids goodnight before leaving for the Birth Center.  We arrived back home as everyone was waking up the next morning. What a wonderful surprise to be able to present a new baby brother!

G-Bear said,
"Mom, I know I said I was hoping for a sister, but really I just wanted a baby to hold."

Truly, G-Bear is a proud and doting oldest sister.  She couldn't be more in love with her new brother.

J-Bear was overjoyed to wake up and find a new baby in my lap.  She couldn't wait to hold him for herself on the "baby pillow."
"Oh, Gee, Gee!  He so cuuuuute.  He so cuuuuute!"

"Baby brofer? Where a baby?"  says J-Bear when she is looking for him.
J-Bear has been ready to be a big sister for some time.  I hope this little guy is up for it.

Buddy Bear is so tender with his little brother.  
I don't know that I have ever seen him treat anyone so tenderly.  

He is so careful to pat his baby brother's head and feet.  He is always wanting to hold and kiss him.

E-Bear has been a tremendous help.  He asks lots of good questions about how to care for a baby.
He is up for any chore.  He said to T at the end of our first day,
"Even though we have a new brother, nothing feels different."
T replied,
"I know, E-Bear.  Isn't it amazing that when someone joins your family, 
all of a sudden you can't remember what life was like without them?"

These three make quite the new trio.

MoMo and Papa were on hand to greet, cuddle and take the older crew to dinner with T.
Can you believe this gorgeous lady has 9 grandchildren?

And once everyone returned from dinner, 
we celebrated the end of the birthday with an ice cream cake. 

Now, Littlest,  
it is time for us to get some rest.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Our new Littlest Bear has arrived!

Dearest Littlest Bear,

We have waited for you for so long.
We have waited for you to grow strong.
And then suddenly,

you're here.

You're weighing in at the top of our charts.
(Tied with E-Bear, who was 10 days late!
Not bad for two hours after your due date!)

You're stretching to new lengths.
I kept telling everyone that you were a big baby, but no one believed me until you arrived!

And as I pulled you up, I was able to announce,
"Baby, you're here!  It's a boy!"

We are eager to hold you,
we are eager to name you,

 we are eager to introduce you to everyone.

We are home, happy and healthy.  Praised be to God for His indescribable gift of another healthy Johnson Bear and a happy, healthy Momma.  

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Fourth of July, 2015

Hooray for the Red, White and Blue!

Today we are waiting for Baby, 
sipping lemonade, 
and watching the local Fourth of July Parade.

Our flags are waving,
our cheers we're raising,
tonight fireworks will set our sky ablaze.

Today, we thank God for our family, freedom and country,
those that have given so much,
to ensure liberty for this precious bunch. 

God, bless America!
Happy Fourth of July!

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Highlights from Cousins' Week

Dinner at Aunty Cindy's house,

bagels and playtime at the splash pad one morning,

an afternoon at the park,

and a fabulous Frozen birthday for cousin H,

who could imagine a more wonderful week with cousins!

Thanks to our Boston and Seattle cousins for staying an extra week to play after Uncle C's wedding.  The week was just what we needed:  high energy, exhausting and full of fabulous fun.  The kids are all so close in age, and they all get along so well, so it is a real treat for them to all be together.  We discovered that lunches out after outings are a worthwhile treat, and dinners on the porch are the way to go.

 We will all miss our cousins now that they are heading back home.
J-Bear has already asked for cousin T, whose name is easiest for her to say, several times.  
Life is decidedly quieter around MoMo and Papa's house.  
Many sacrifices go into these special weeks together, but the time always bears much fruit in the loving relationships that our kids build together.  We couldn't be more thankful.

Happily Ever,
Queen B