My Sweet Oldest,

I just can’t really grasp that you are seven-years-old. Oh, you seem seven. You fit the profile of a first-born to a tee, and I may be biased, but think you are quite mature for seven. It’s the part where I have been a mom for seven years that I can’t quite wrap my head around. That you’ve been alive for longer than I was in college (because that seemed like such a large chunk of time). That you’ve been alive for more than 1/5 of my life. I remember Meme telling me once, when I was a teenager, that it seemed like I had been alive her whole life – and I think I’m beginning to understand that sentiment.


You are a wonderful big brother. To be honest, I really don’t have a clue what that must be like. To be the oldest brother of three boys. I know that we place high expectations on you, and I also know that you believe we love you unconditionally, and we do. Your brothers ADORE you. The Middlest is always thrilled when you are done with school for the day, admires everything you do, and wants to be just like you (even though he has his own interests).

The Littlest, well he just thinks you are the coolest kid ever  – and thank you for treating him like he is the coolest kid ever. You two have had a bond since the day The Littlest arrived home from the hospital, and it has truly been a blessing to see that relationship flourish (I’m really sorry he bites you when he’s angry, working on that…).


At age seven, you desire to be a professional golfer when you grow up. You also want to be a scientist. Both are admirable, and for a seven-year-old, you’re an excellent golfer! But, you also LOVE to create. I’m not sure you know that about yourself, but I am interested to see how God uses that in your future. You remind me of your aunt. Writing books and stories. Illustrating and imagining all through the day.

You are a social boy, at age seven. You thrive in a crowd (not a strong suit of mine, so that must come from Dad, along with your handsome blue eyes and your work ethic). You are kind, and you are sensitive. You are learning your way in social settings; learning lessons in pondering your words before you speak them, and learning to choose behavior that glorifies God. It’s hard, as a mom, to watch you navigate that journey and I know that I often fail to be a good example. But I have no doubt that you know how much I love you – and at the end of the day, that is motherhood.

You fascinate me. Being the first born, every single stage you enter is always a new one for me and you teach me so much. Sorry you have to be the guinea pig in this my parenting journey, kiddo, when you are frustrated you know where to find my older and wiser sister.

Love you more than words can describe, happy birthday!

stopping time

I read somewhere, this week, that the way to stop time is to write. Reflecting on that, I realize just how true that statement is. When I sit down to blog [journal] a bit about the boys, it seems that I am able to freeze these moments, even while time keeps passing. I feel like there have been several “let’s stop time” moments over these summer months. Mainly, that I am really going to miss The Oldest when he heads back to first grade. He has been fun to be around this summer, due largely in part to his independence [bored? go read a book. still bored? go outside and play. pool? he’s got this.]. And, when I need to take a shower, change a load of laundry, or work on making supper, he “takes care” of The Littlest for me, and does well.



I’m sure I’ll miss The Middlest, too, but preschool is just different, because I think it serves as quite a productive, and needed, break for both of us. To his credit, he is also very helpful with The Littlest, just not quite as independent as The Oldest, yet, in certain regards. I AM, amidst my thoughts of missing The Oldest, truly looking forward to some sweet one-on-one time with The Littlest. [Which, if I’m being honest, probably looks like a quiet weekly Target run.]


If I could sum up this summer in one simple word, it would be good. It has been a good summer. We have done many fun things, nothing over the top, and nothing over-programmed [my favorite place to be]. We spent quite a bit of time in the great outdoors, swimming and golfing, mostly. The Oldest and The Middlest are developing quite the passion for golfing and Their Dad has enjoyed indulging his own passion for the golf course on the two of them. [ahem, we may or may not have a putting green mowed in the back yard]. And of course, generally hanging out in the backyard, feeling pretty darn grateful when the neighbor boys take the time to wander back and see us [even if it’s just for the popsicles].


To be honest, though, I had two main tasks that I wanted to accomplish this summer. One: mastering the art of tying shoes, once and for all, for The Oldest. Two: learning to ride a two-wheeler bike. Mission accomplished. This last week, those two things just clicked for him, he’s thrilled, and I’m thrilled. This fall/winter, only two sets of shoes to tie. And, I’ll probably invest in velcro.

On a personal level, I have made quite an effort to be diligent in creating a weekly meal plan, and prepping as much as possible at the beginning of each week. I’m really hoping to share more about that, soon! But for the time being, here are two delicious recipes that we have enjoyed as a result of the planning: firecracker shrimp tacos | peach yogurt breakfast muffins


As we begin the transition to a new season, I am looking forward to digging deeper in to some of the desires that I believe the Lord is placing on my heart. Between reading “Restless” this spring, the work I am doing for a non-profit organization, and recently attending a video-cast of the Global Leadership Summit, I am confident that God wants me to use my passion for physical fitness and wellness for His glory. It’s scary to put that out there. I don’t even know the what, when, where or how of this. I only know the why. But, I am going to listen for his guidance, pray for the vision, and run after it. [and on the running note, I am running a local 5K this evening, and have been making myself nervous ALL day. This is the very reason I do not sign up for organized athletic events anymore. All the nerves. I don’t even care about “beating” anyone, just all the dang anxiousness to wait until 7 PM to run. I’ll letcha know how it goes…]



celebrating two

We rang in “two” with a visit to Scratch Cupcakery (pictured left: The Sully | pictured right: Snickerdoodle) and our favorite chiropractor. The Littlest was adjusted the day he was born, and nursed like a champ. I find that no coincidence, since I had some intense struggles nursing The Oldest and The Middlest. So, it seemed to only make sense to ring in year number two with a good adjustment.carsten 2
The following weekend we celebrated with our close friends and family “Little Blue Truck” style. Truly, I just went for a “country-ish” theme and coordinated the cookies to the book (to see more of my cookie work, visit “Sugar & Butter” on Facebook or use the hashtag #sugarandbuttercollection on Instagram). I set the books as a decoration, and voila!carsten 2_2 We had a “kid station” with some sammies, applesauce pouches, and granola bars. Because, let’s be honest, kiddos rarely take time to sit and actually eat at these types of events. And, of course, we had a small mimosa bar for the adult party-goers.

We ate a lot of sugar, enjoyed our friends, and dug in the dirt for hours. Success. carsten 2_3
The Littlest’s shirt is from The Blue Envelope. My friend Emily did a brand shoot for TBE and I couldn’t resist!

And speaking of brand shoots, the day after The Littlest’s party, we road tripped to Des Moines and he participated in Emily’s shoot for Little Blue Barn.

IMG_8743[photo credit: Hello Charlie]