These are the days that are so incredibly sweet and precious.
Full of baby kisses, baby laughter and coos, big sisters’ adoration. Little Man is changing almost before our very eyes, it seems.
The little baby stage is of the deepest sweetest possible, so innocent and pure.
I bend down to kiss his sweet face and I’m almost intoxicated by the delicious baby smell.

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[typical attempt at a family photo]

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These days are so full, so overflowing with life and love and overwhelming and tears and laughter and tired.

These are also the days that I feel rather like that gerbil in the middle of the wheel.
Turning, spinning, going around and around and around and going… where, exactly?
My weekly to-do lists from pre-baby that were miles long
(okay, some of it was due to nesting, I do have to admit. and that syndrome passes with the birth of a child)
have gone to two or three things a week.
Namely, get dressed each day, and make sure no one goes hungry.
Okay, so that’s not quite accurate. But it’s close. 
Anything accomplished on this little list of mine? You better believe it gets crossed off with a Great Big Flourish!
We celebrate the small things. :)

This being a mother of several children is not for the faint of heart. 
I’ve only gone away with all three kids three times by myself to date: the hardware store, the goodwill-type store, and the post office.
We’re staying nice and tight with the Little Cottage these days.
My admiration grows by the day for those women who are mothers of more children than I.
I’m also realizing why people of generations past used to hire and maid and have her live in with them fulltime?
Um, yes, I’ll take two, please.
Ben is so kind about letting me get outside and walk/run after he gets home,
something about that is so revitalizing.
And lest I seem too energetic, let me hasten to add that some days [many days?]
I pass on the offer to go for a run out of sheer exhaustion.

[first bath by Nana, with an audience of sisters.
and no, his first bath wasn’t at ten weeks old.
some of these pictures are rather dated but i haven’t blogged in ages, okay? ]

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But I can’t even describe how unbelievably precious these days are.
I mean, I look at my three little kiddos and my husband and they’re all so beautiful and healthy and precious,
and I can’t believe I’m so lucky.
Just look at these three. They’re mine. They’re ours. The product of the love between my husband and I. 
But however did I grow up so fast and have three kids?

The Three Littles that I call my own.

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[this is where everyone goes first thing every morning:
find Baby and cuddle if he’s awake,
or wake him if he’s not :/ ]

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 I still feel like their big sister some days, we just have so much fun together and laugh a lot.
We read Stuart Little together, we make pretties together,
and now we have to go search in a trash bag in a dumpster for something valuable Olivia threw in last night
and just told me this morning [after the trash was hauled out to the dumpster].

And then other days I find myself just wishing to go have a good cry somewhere.
Even the bathroom isn’t a safe place, because what do you know, my kids have radars that find me anywhere I go.
If they’d find me crying in the dark stall of the shower I’m afraid they’d be scarred forever.
The tears come not from feeling like I’m going to lose it, or that I’m drowning in this ocean of baby and diapers and kids that need to get along better.
It’s more the constant busy, someone is always needing something.
The job of being mommy is far bigger than I am. How is there enough of me to reach around to everyone?

[As I write this is a rare moment of quiet – the girls are both writing/coloring quietly (amazing for Olivia) and the baby is asleep on my lap.
Sweet little boy that he is. Little arms stretched way over his head in complete relaxation and trust. ]

These are days I just want to freeze because I adore having my house full of little children.
What an unforgettable time of life. There are so many funny things the kids say that have me constantly in stitches.
Their discovery of the world around them,
their color combinations in outfits that are downright terrible sometimes and adorable other times,
the purring over their little brother…
It’s such a sweet life.

[July 4th, with new little handmade dresses]

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[funny faces are the thing to do for pictures these days]

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[the sisterhood  ♥♥]

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And it’s busy. I’ve always disliked when people talk about how busy they are.
But truly? This time of life is busier than I ever expected. 
Three children four and under. There is so much they are learning to do, and so much they still need help with.
So much continually training and trying to stay consistent with discipline when I’m tired because of little sleep is a big-time challenge. 
I sometimes feel feel busy and overwhelmed by the role that I am called to fill. 
How can I ever train them well, teach Zoe to be unselfish, teach Olivia not to be a mean teaser, teach Hudson to be a boy that is not a terror to his world?

Then other days I walk around misty-eyed that I actually have been entrusted with such beautiful souls, and I’m in awe.

 I want to treasure it, knowing these days are so short.
I look back at Hudson’s newborn pictures and can’t believe the change in just 10 weeks. 
It’s okay if my house doesn’t get cleaned every week right now (right, Mom? :) ),
or if it takes 3 days long to clean it in-between interruptions when I do attempt it,
as long as every night there is a cleanup time and at least everything looks tidy at the end of each day. :)
 I suppose I’m learning to let go of some things in order to embrace the changes and learn a new sort of normal.
Still learning, after 10 weeks.

[Papa, with his first grandson]


[Uncle David is soooo fun]


[my dad and i]


[the little monkey that is otherwise known as olivia]



[my precious sonshine]




People ask me if it feels different to have a boy.
And I say, yes, and no.

At first I was scared to death to even call him anything sweet.
We’ve always called our kids sweet names, and with a boy I was afraid I’m ruin him if I would [thanks to his paranoid father :) ].
But after a week or so, I decided that this is my little baby, and boy or not, he’s going to have sweet names.
Of course, hopefully a little more tailored for the Man-Child.
But he’s become “Sonshine” and “Little Man” and “Sweet Son” and “Huddy” along with others.
We’ll see what sticks. :)

And also at first, as thrilled as I was to have a boy, a son, I was uncertain about what this would entail.
I know at least a little about girls: not boys.
Sometimes having a boy scares me because I’ve seen so many poor specimens of boyhood.
I’ve seen far too many rude, belching, bullying, mean boys.
There are so few I can point to with Hudson as he grows and say, “There is a boy that follows Jesus.”
Wow, it’s scary sometimes.

I know nothing about raising a son.
I do know that I don’t want to emasculate him and take away who a man really is just by wanting him to “be nice.”
And yet since when are boys allowed to be selfish simply under the name of “they’re just boys”?
[I’m not thinking of anyone in particular, just so you know!! :) ]
I want to come to terms with the fact that there is a side of boys that I won’t ever understand.
I have two brothers: I know they’re rough and tumble, they’ve got unbelievably energy,
they like things like basketball and skateboards and parkour.
[YIKES if my son ever jumps off buildings and does flips on the way down like my brother!]
However, I’ve also seen that men can be tender, they can learn to care about the people around them,
they can be taught [some] manners and [a great measure of] decency.
It will look different than it does with my daughters, and I want it to.
I want Hudson to be a he-man.
But I want him to be a Man in the real sense of the word, not just because that’s his gender.
A man because he follows Jesus with all his heart.

Now I feel like I’ll be scrutinized by anyone who knows me, and poor Hudson will be watched like a hawk as he grows. :)

I think the aspects of raising a son have thrust me upon the Lord in whole new ways.
I realize afresh that this is far greater and far bigger than myself.
If not for Jesus, this thing of parenting and motherhood would be a dismal failure.
It is God alone that brings purpose, that provides strength,
that imparts wisdom to both me and to my children each day, moment by moment.
God doesn’t just give us things to equip us for this task: He gives us Himself.


And it’s summertime! What a great time to be alive.
The heat is oppressive some days, making my kids look like they’ve been in the pool at 8pm,
when they’ve really just been outside and sweating bullets.

We’re enjoying fresh salads! Who knew that blueberries would add such a pleasant taste?

[yes, i realize this picture doesn’t have anything at all to do with the rest of this post, but…
it’s the small things, right? :)]

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Little Man is now 10 weeks old! It’s amazing how he’s become so much a part of our family.
We can’t imagine life without him, and 10 weeks ago we couldn’t quite imagine life with him. ;)

He is growing and changing so fast, weighing at over 13 pounds.
He’s gained twice the recommended weight for infants, but has put it all into length.
He’s also grown 5-6 inches since birth!
Little boys sure eat a lot more than girls, that one thing I do know. ;)

[i could gaze into those blueberry eyes forever]

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How we {{{ LOVE }}} him!

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And have you ever ever ever seen such an adorable onesie? I have super talented friends! ♥

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Happy weekending!

I have a fun one ahead of me ~ my sister Jana is coming to spend some time with us, and we’re super excited!
We have plans to make THE best marinara sauce ever, and maybe hit a junk shop together, and…
I love sisters. :)




45 thoughts on “The Sweet Life [and admittedly wild & crazy]

  1. Jabber_wock

    He is so. CUTE. As is that onesie.
    And I can identify so much with feeling like a hamster on a wheel and like everyone needs you from sunup to sundown and in between. Mothering toddlers and babies is so intense. Somedays I remind myself that small people = small problems, and someday I’ll probably wish for these days back. Other days I ignore that voice of reason and just get through the day until the kids are in bed and I can catch up on xanga. :P
    Blessings . . .

  2. ata_grandma

    Your little boy is so sweet. I love how they wrinkle up their little foreheads and look at people. Glad you are enjoying your children. You’re right……it’s a big job, but God is able, and helps us.

  3. appalolly

    Fun to read this post…I am sure you will do a great job as a Mom of a boy…just like you are doing with your two little girls!  I remember when I went from 2 kids to 3…(my oldest had just turned 5) and I felt so overwhelmed. I would say you are doing well and enjoying it far more than I did at that stage.  Anyway…I love that picture of Hudson yawning. And the ones of him with the girls, especially the one where he is laying on one of the girls’ chest/stomach.  Thanks for taking the time to share all of this ^^ with us…

  4. aSeriesofFortunateEvents

    He is soooo sweet. I want to hug him and squeeze him and pinch his little baby cheeks!! lol

    You get your eyes from your Dad, don’t you??

    You’ll do fine raising your boy, Clarita, I just know it! Little boys have a way about them when they get to be toddlers and up. When they stop putting rocks in their pockets and scuffling for just a minute, and show you the sweet side, “I love you, Mama”. You’ll just die, it’s so sweet. lol

  5. richlyblest

    you have such a sweet family, clarita! hudson is simply a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e!! i am bummed that while xanga is finally accessible for me, over half of the pictures are blank, but the ones i did see i liked :)

    i am SO relieved hudson had a bath before he was 10 weeks! that part made me smile. you seem like such a relaxed mama in spite of the busyness and sometimes overwhelmingness. i don’t take the time to do enough fun things with my girls. i can be so uptight :(

  6. jennieanne84

    So CUTE… all of you!

    you are such a good mommy. i loved reading this post. you have such a sweet heart. blessings on you and your littles!

  7. threadsofgrace

    I can only imagine how busy you are with 3 little ones now!  they are all so precious – but oh my that baby boy is so beautiful!  (handsome!)  :) 

  8. down_onthefarm

    he is and can i say beautiful? as in handsome beautiful. :) 
    and his onesie is so doggone cute and makes me think of my super talented friend april!!!

    i did it the other way, two boys and then sarah. and i remember thinking i don’t know how to do girls! :)
    i enjoy reading about you and your family so very much. and this resonates with me—“I suppose I’m learning to let go of some things in order to embrace the changes and learn a new sort of normal. Still learning, after…” 17 years. teehee. love ya.

  9. singingrachel

    what fun to read your update on your life. refreshing it is, to read blogs of people embracing the crazy stage of intense motherhood…. and i’m glad you admitted your weaknesses because yep, we all have them. crazy tho it is, you are right. just so much joy in the living it out in real life and feeling overwhelmingly blessed. your family is lucky to have you.

    blessings and sanity and a clear mind and a good nap to you… this day. :)

  10. brokenmiracle

    love loooove LOVE the little handmade dresses your girls are wearing!!!! so cute :)
    and the photo w/ your 3 little ones laying down w/ Hudson in focus is perfect! i might have to “borrow” that idea if/when some more little munchkins role around ;)

  11. oneblessedwoman

    Even though I live less than 15 miles from you it was so much fun to see into your life in a way I have not since the adorable”little man.” Seems like our life is on the crazy side too but at a little diff stage than yours. I have been wanting to stop by and spend some time with you, but with my three all “hanging” out with me right now it would probably get a little crazier at your house. So it shall wait till after school starts. Please call if you need a sitter Mary has been begging to have girls over one day, But our days are so unpredictable these days. And I echo what everyone else has already said, you little family is so beautiful,sweet and dear and your pics are so much fun to look at.

  12. brillownco

    Your openess, realness and dependence on God are each such an inspiration to me! We just met so briefly at Erv’s wedding but I feel like I know you more then that just from reading your heart and life for the last while ;) I was just thinking yesterday, I might shoot you a message asking for any advice you may have for a young mama with 2 girls and a baby boy on the way, yes under the age of 4 as well, with husband dear and hously responsibility all added into the mix, when alas here is a blog update that was so perfect for me! ;)

    Have a beautiful time with Jana and may Christ continue to be your strength for each moment! Thanks again!

    Rachel Yoder

  13. erlinyoder

    Hudson is one of the cutest baby boys I’ve seen!(: I’m sure you’ll do wonderful in training him to be a decent and respectable boy. Maybe we can learn together.(: Yay for having a sister close enough to do canning with! So glad you get to do it together!(:

  14. smilesbymiles

    Oh, this post just did me a world of good. I pretty much don’t bother to even log into xanga anymore b/c by the time I get to town and do the business stuff online that I have to do, there is only about 10 minutes of social time left so I just give up and scan fb hurriedly for a few minutes. I saw the link to your post and since I have a little more time clicked over. Which may have been a bad thing b/c now I realize in a much deeper way how much not having internet is detrimental to my life!!! ;) It is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo encouraging to hear of other moms who are embracing life and wanting the best for their kids. Your paragraphs on wanting Hudson to be a man but a man in a REAL sense is completely what I have been saying (and trying sometimes unsuccessfully) to teach. It is hard. And it has just gotten exponentially harder. I hope that you will keep posting as you learn even if my guys are ahead of your stage. Coming from an all girls family, I definitely didn’t know anything about boys. Sometimes I’m still not sure I do. :) Loved seeing the sweet pictures of your babies … and wishing they’d all load. Love to you!

  15. fruitloops115

    I loved this post. All the little baby boy pictures. I’ve been back several times to read, but have never had the time to collect my thots for a comment. I still am not sure what it is that I want to comment about first, but I guess the whole new-to-mommying-a-boy thing gets me too. I have differant fears for this child then the other one, I also want a strong good man to result from this little life I hold, and how to get him to that point….?

    Love the last few pictures of your boy. I am so sad that my baby will one day leave this tiny baby stage, but he def. makes the next size look gooood. And those oneseis??? I’m thinking I know where they are from…..they make me smile.

    I also wanted to say I love the two pictures of you w/ the striped shirt and baby in the little hat-the lighting on those is phenomenal.

  16. goingfortheprize

    I can identify with you so much! Mothering is certainly not for the faint at heart. Especially when it comes to boys. What kind of mother do they really need? I have so much to learn also. I love boys though. They are so. much. fun. As far as sweet names, I couldn’t stay away from them either when they were little. Mine were tiny, or even precious and sugar. masculine, huh? They didn’t stick as they got bigger though, and I’m pretty sure it didn’t scar them one bit.


    Ahh, finally a post. I’ve been checking regularly . . . and somehow I’m sure this one didn’t get written all at once. Love it and love you. And, oh, i miss you. Your pictures are beautiful. Just beautiful.

  18. redladybug18

    how fun to read and see an update on the home front. Everyone is looking as cute as always and especially Hudson! He really is precious and looks so sweet!
    Keep hanging in there! I know you must be awfully tired but life won’t be like this forever :) Wish I lived closer to just drop in and give you a break and love on those sweet kiddos for a bit ;)

  19. yurietruly

    Just wanted to let you know that all the pics are loading for me…so maybe it’s not on your end?!

    Also love seeing pics of Hudson…my Kadence Brynn was born the same day so love hearing about/seeing another baby the very same age!

  20. lifeisadance

    @yurietruly – okay, good, thanks for letting me know! i haven’t been having trouble viewing other people’s pictures, but i know a lot of people have said they can’t view them lately! :( but good to know that someone is able to view them!

    and congratulations on your little baby! what a beautiful name, and how fun ours were born on the same day! :)

  21. lifeisadance

    @brokenmiracle – I had gotten skirts in Asia years ago when I was there, and that’s what I made the dresses out of. I love them too! And the picture of the three was one that just sort of “happened” – with three littles, not much photography is actually planned, so I was happily surprised by the result! :)

  22. lifeisadance

    @oneblessedwoman – You may stop by anytime you like! I always love when you do! And my girls would just love to spend some time with Mary! We’ll have to arrange a time for them to get together, Mary could come here! And you, my friend, are a treasure!

  23. lifeisadance

    @erlinyoder – maybe we can learn together, but even much more likely *I* will learn from *you*! your little boys have been so fun to watch grow up, and i think you guys do such a wonderful job raising them! i love the way you raise them to be such true boys and yet so respectful. they are a joy to be around! ♥

  24. lifeisadance

    @fruitloops115 – yes, you do know where those onesies are from. :) april is so talented! i just love them!!
    and those two pictures you mentioned were taken by my sister Claudia with my dad’s super cool camera. :) she’s so good, my dad’s camera is awesome, and i was happy. :) thinking of you lots these days too with your {darling} little boy!

  25. Elizabethmarie_1

    HOW? did I miss this post? Oh such a beautiful life you have. =)

    My girls and I were just ooing and ahhing over little Hudson. and we always pause and scroll back up to the lollipop picture in your header each time we are over here.

    Like Cindy, I was the reverse, boys first and I thought…
    How am I going to do girls? and I’m Still learning how to do both! Each stage brings new challenges for both of us. I don’t know how people raise children without God in their lives. I really don’t!

    I enjoyed seeing all your guys are all so gorgeous!
    and I know what you mean about seeing your kids and thinking they are a product of you and your husband being in love. Jeff and I will talk about that sometimes..if we never would have fallen in love, five people wouldn’t be here! It’s amazing, isn’t it? The way God does things. =)

    Also…remember when I said I was bad at mailing? =/
    I’m doing it this afternoon!!! Hopefully you will get the package in a couple days! I am so sorry!!!

    Happy Monday beautiful Clarita! =)

  26. grace_to_be

    okay, i’m doing the same thing on your post as i was just a minute ago over on thelma’s.. screaming/ screeching/ awwwing at your little too cute for words sweet baby boy!! oh my word. the little bike onesis!!! so adorable~ and the shot of all your littles lined up? incredible. love it. that would be cool in a black and white canvas in hudson’s room. love his name by the way~ not sure i ever told you that yet. but so cool. hudson taylor was/ is always one of my favorite heroes of faith. such an inspiration.

    you’re right. raising boys IS scary. just like raising girls. ;) except a different kind of scary. but both the same in the sense that they send you running to the Lord with, “oh, HELP!!” and often! :) but such a joy. honestly, so far.. i’ve found raising my boy easier than raising my girls. so many emotions on the girl side. ;)

    and i pray for boys that we can raise up to be as you talk about, the kind of example for younger moms behind to point to and say, “look at that guy following Jesus full out!!” oh, let’s pray for each other, sweet friend.. to be the kind of moms we need to be to mold such souls for Christ!!

    love this post in every way! you look amazing.. like you never had a baby. if i didn’t like you so much i’d have to hate you for that, ya know. ;)

    big hug. and happy first days with your “sonshine!!”


  27. oneblessedwoman

    O and one thing I forgot to say last time, I am so anxiously waiting to see “The wedding in pictures” of your sis wedding. Seen and heard so much “before” really MUST see “after”:). And yes I am aware this sounds like begging, mabye it is.

  28. madisonsmom2

    Oh at last, I can see the pictures to this post. :) Xanga was at the bottom of the barrel there for awhile. He is a beautiful baby, I know, he’s a boy and beautiful shouldn’t fit but it does. :) 3 children eventually grows on you, and soon when 1 is gone to school you’ll wonder what you ever did with only 2. Then the next one goes and I’m down to 1 child. Wow. Time flies!! Love him while he’s little!!

  29. lifeisadance

    @grace_to_be – YOU are funny. NO, in fact, if you’d see me, you’d realize that I indeed did have a baby. Three months ago. And it’s still looking like it. :) So, hating isn’t even necessary. Ha! Somehow, this third one (and he was bigger) is much harder to get back down! Ah well. I have a precious little baby to show for it all. :) your comments are always the best! xoxo

  30. grace_to_be

    @lifeisadance – well, i’m sorry. i don’t believe you. you’re just too nice!! ;) hope you’re enjoying your sister time, as i just read in the above post. so fuN!! and reading about your marinara sauce made me hungry.. at TWELVE THIRTY at night!! :/ so i must now go eat a bowl of cereal.. which is why i still look like i, on the other hand, JUST had a baby!! ;)) haha.

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