We are home!!! Six hotels and an apartment later, we are finally sleeping in our own beds and unpacking our newly renovated home. Thank you all so much for praying for us through this crazy post-house-fire season, and during our move home. Unfiltered house tour pics coming hopefully later this week!
I wanted to share a little update about each member of our family, since it’s been so long and I’ve missed capturing so many memories here these past 6 months.
Mark, age 5
Mark turned 5 exactly one month after the fire, and it turned out to be the day we moved from our second hotel into an apartment. My mama heart kind of grieved the fact his birthday wasn’t a bigger deal than we were able to give him – we packed and moved, and then took him out for a pizza dinner and ice cream that night. He still loved the extra hugs and attention, and a week later we had a family party at my parents’ house with the “barn cake” he had been dreaming of.
Mark is officially in kindergarten this year, although last year during our first year of homeschooling I discovered he was much farther advanced than I had realized, so we ended up completing most of kindergarten last year. This year he’s doing some kindergarten recap and some first grade materials. He’s a fantastic reader. Most afternoons you can find him curled up in our family room rocking chair with a book, or several. His favorite things to read right now are children’s encyclopedias and science readers. He’s a facts sponge, just like his Dad.
Mark is a great conversationalist and is inquisitive a bit beyond his years and quite a bit beyond my ability to keep up with him, that’s for darn sure. This past week he’s regaled me with stories of his future trips to Egypt (can’t recall why he wants to go there, something he read about the country inspired him) and Africa (he wants to see lions, thanks to a favorite episode of Wild Kratts.) Tonight while I was doing dinner dishes he sat at the counter and asked me questions like “which is heaviest: gasoline, diesel fuel, or water?” and “what would you like to drive for your next vehicle?” and “did you know that honey badgers actually don’t love honey?”
This fall Mark started Tball, giving our family our official entry into the world of sports. I love seeing him in his uniform – he’s adorable. I must admit now that the season is winding down, I’m relieved to have my weeknights and Saturday mornings back, but it has been fun for all of us to cheer Mark on and enjoy this new season of life. His brothers can’t wait to join him on the field when they’re old enough.
Mark really became my big boy helper this summer. It’s amazing once that transformation happens in a mom’s life – to have a child old enough to be a real help, even a little bit, throughout the day. He’s been such a gift to me that way. I’ve also seen him step into the role of big brother consoler/counselor/champion this summer. He really takes care of the younger two, making sure they are safe and doing what they should…or at least doing what he wants them to do, haha! He’s as bossy and argumentative and opinionated and controlling as a firstborn could be. I personally wouldn’t know anything about that ;o) eh hem.
Luke, age 3
Luke is my emotionally charged, sensitive, loud as heck, goofy, squishy, gives-the-best-hugs, makes-the-best-jokes, middle child. He brings SO much color to our family and keeps us laughing, cleaning up his messes and “mistakes”, and bringing balance to the Weinert universe after his oh-so-different cerebral older brother. Honestly it’s a proof for the existence of God that two brothers could be so different. And also the very best buds! Along with the usual “is this next one a girl?” and “are they all yours?” and “are you done?” questions I get every time I step out in public, everyone still asks if Mark and Luke are twins. They’re 17 months apart, but Luke is still just as big as Mark, wears the same size clothes, and beats him by a pound on the scale and five seconds on the wrestling mat.
My crazy wonderful Luke. By far the most musical of my children, Luke sings to himself nearly constantly. While he plays. Or rides in the car. Or eats his dinner (hence the new family rule “no singing at the table, just talking and stories with our family.”) He loves musical instruments and can be found strumming his guitar several times throughout the day. He’ll also proudly tell you that he “knows French.” He’ll make a saliva filled, nasal-with-a-little-guttural sound and put it in front of any English word…and declare that it’s the “French word for it.” His particular loves include his older brother’s bicycle (he steals a turn on it any chance he can, and can’t wait for his 4th birthday wish of his own bike to come true), one-on-one errands/trips with his Dad, spending time with his aunts and uncles, and food. He’s my foodie, truly a guy after my own heart.
I haven’t made any formal attempts to start school with Luke, but he’s soaking up nearly everything Mark is learning, it’s been crazy! He seems to have a particular gift for writing and penmanship – just by copying what he sees me doing with Mark. Since his personality is so vastly different from Mark’s, I’m really fascinated to see what teaching him will be like next year. I’m sure I’ll learn the most of all of us.
Garrett, age 2
I have three sons and love them all equally (aka to the moon and back times infinity) but I have to admit it: This one melts my heart into a pool of butter on a daily basis. I could gobble up his fat rosey cheeks and toddler squeals in kisses and snuggles pretty much all day every day. He adores me, his “Mommy Bear” as he calls me. The feeling is mutual.
Because Rett has big brothers to teach him all the things, he’s my “earliest” at just about everything. Earliest to walk, run, talk in full sentences, learn his ABCs and numbers and Mother Goose rhymes and how to talk back, throw a fit, and show mom big doe eyes when he wants his way.
In August Rett broke his tibia by falling off a dining room chair and twisting his leg as he fell. He spent almost a month in a cast, and he was so brave. Much braver than I was about the whole thing. Of all the calamities that befell our family these past 6 months, this was the one that sent me into the greatest emotional spiral. Give me a dozen housefires over a toddler screaming in pain because his leg is broken. Poor sweet Bubba.
The Hubs and Me
Peter and I are doing really well, all things considered. I think we both “grew up” quite a bit this summer. There are certain major life events that change you, like getting married and the birth of your first child. But sometimes there’s a period of intense struggle or trial that you go through as a couple that refines and greater defines your relationship with each other. A refiner’s fire of sorts, and the past 6 months have been that for Pete and I on every level. It hasn’t been incredibly fun, but it has been good. Very good in most ways. We are better for the hurt, the hardship, the stress, the letting go. And we are both so very extremely, obscenely grateful to be home.
At 39+ weeks pregnant we are on daily baby watch at our house. Both of us can’t wait to see how our family dynamic will change and evolve adding a little female to our testosterone filled home. Follow me on Instagram and I’ll be sure you’re one of the first to meet her! Hopefully VERY soon. (please oh please oh please!)
Since moving home we’ve had so much fun hanging pictures, decorating, working on the yard. The boys and I are thrilled to be baking and cooking in a real kitchen again. I love having my little helpers swarm to help me make a delicious mess!
And of course Halloween was a blast with our three little Superheroes…
Thank you again for all the thoughts and good wishes and prayers and offers to help us during our transition home. I can’t even put into words how grateful I am for the support and encouragement so many of you have been to our family.
I hope y’all have a wonderful, very blessed week. I’ll be sharing our home tour pics in a few days, and hopefully announcing Baby Girl’s arrival.
“But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap. He drew a deep breath. ‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.” – Quoting Samwise Gamgee, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings