I also very much realized I had not one, but TWO blog post drafts from the last 4 years haunting my archives. Will they ever see the light of day? Would it be super awkward to post something about Cinco turning 1 when he’s now 4-&-a-half? Who’s to say?
Anyway, word on the street is Blogging is Back & overly optimistic promises of content delivery are about to be very in vogue a la NY resolutions so y’all might just be in for, like, one more blog post before I fade into the cyber-ether again…how exciting!
For now, let’s just chew the bite I’ve proverbially taken by actually committing to posting this & seeing where we go, yeah? YEAH!
Here’s a recent family photo & a tiny update on our life:
Skye is 6, Cinco is 4, & Jack is 2. All are halfway to their next age which is an important detail for the under-18 crowd.
We are (still) living in Germany with the US Army & have spent the last (almost) 4 years traveling & eating exactly as much schnitzel as you imagine. We’ve hit a dozen countries so far—single handedly supporting Airbnb until we tried family camping for the first time this summer! We’re sold! Hopefully next year will either bring us back to the US or take us on even more European adventures in a tent.
& that’s it. Update complete. I mean, I can’t tell you everything, that would take FOUR YEARS.
Let’s agree to meet back here in the New Year full of resolve (me) & skeptical optimism (you) that this will be a regular thing again soon.
Merry Christmas to you & yours from me & mine! & a Happy New Year!
…are wound up in all things little.” -L.M. Montgomery
Greetings from a cold but sunny Germany. I would like to take a moment to point out that if this were a Leap Year, this post would be made in the month of February so I’m basically a time-traveling blogger now. The future is now. Welcome to the new world.
The title quote is from Anne of Green Gables. (10 blog points redeemable in the gift shop for those of you who knew that already). When I read those words earlier this year I was struck by their profundity. I started to see them as a banner over the “all things little”’of my life. Perhaps if I probed & plied these words enough I could find them prophetic as well: That all things little would indeed wind up as all things great.
I’ve explored this idea before (on this blog actually) using the text from Luke 16 where Jesus says, “He who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much” where He’s arguing from the lesser to the greater in the way we steward our earthly possessions correlating to how we steward our eternal souls. A chaplain here recently preached a fantastic sermon asking the question: Are we doing a better job of investing present dollars in our future retirement than present moments in our future reality?
This provides a somewhat seamless segue to my structure from last month (yes I’m going to say “last month” & mean January. Just call me Simon, because I say so). So without further ado:
What I’m Reading
•Slowly working Savoring my way through The Lifegiving Home by Sally & Sarah Clarkson & one of the things I love most about their writing is their fundamental understanding of how the incarnation of Christ in a real & teeming world effects the way that we live in that same world ourselves. This pushback against the temptation to divorce our spiritual lives from our gritty reality in a way that breathes life into the very breath you inhale each moment.
If you have an iPhone, Android or other miniature computer in your hands every other minute of the day, I think you can agree that our visual & mental space has become crowded with content ranging from broad ideas about the state of the globe to the smallest minutia about the state of your living room. There are even some compelling arguments about how one relates to the other in any given instance. I’m not here to take on the philosophies of the day or to stand on a soapbox for a specific cause. I just want to pose the question that I’ve been wrestling with over the last few years. It’s another version of the dollars to eternity question posed earlier. But let’s recap how I got to this question first…
Over the last six years, my life has become more & more full of little things. Our oldest daughter joined our family 6 years ago & her brothers joined her not long after. Becoming a mother was transformational for me. This isn’t a new happening, in fact, I think it’s quite ordinary. (I’m going to resist the urge to caveat myself into oblivion with all the ways motherhood is not the exclusive entry point for these thoughts, it just happened to be mine.) As my days filled with smaller, noisier elements I felt myself aching for a reprieve & landed on the choice to leave Facebook. I still had an Instagram acct (& a Pinterest because recipes), but I needed to essentialize. Shortly after the birth of our third child I felt the same ache & again landed on a choice to pare down the mental noise in my life by exiting Instagram (for all the fact-checkers furiously typing my handle into your search bar: Yes, I still have an account. No, I do not actively use it. I just haven’t transferred all my old data off-app yet). I have now been off social media for over two years (except Pinterest because recipes & GoodReads because books).
This was an intensely personal choice & I’m not moralizing participation on the socials (see guys? I still know what’s up), but for me, it’s been a a season of respite & quiet. It has given me space to ask why do I have such a deep craving to be free of these little things in pursuit of something great? Why did the content I was consuming seem to add so much & absolutely nothing at the same time? How had virtual distractions supplanted real engagement? By this point I sound like every Luddite ever to write an article railing against kids these days, but stay with me.
I, as an enneagram 4, (don’t @ me about whether or not this is a valid way to categorize ourselves—you can’t anyway, I’m off socials)….
…have always been quite keen on the idea of living a meaningful life, being someone of significance, a leaver of legacy. As I hacked away at all the little things that seemed to be keeping me from this, many things other than social media fell under the axe. I found myself discontented in the minutia of my life, the mundane work of caring for & cleaning up after children, of planning for & implementing the feeding of those same children, even, sometimes, *gulp* those children. ALL little things seemed at odds with great things. & NOW I didn’t even have social media to happily distract me!
But in all my frantic life-purging, frustrated online minimalism & frenetic reading (because being well-read is meaningful, right??), a sense of significance eluded me. But there in the hard-won quiet where my mind could wander through deep thoughts & daydreams, big ideas & boredom the answer came slamming into view.
Lucy Maud said it superbly. I mean, so did Jesus, obvs. There just isn’t a great thing out there that isn’t entirely wound up in little things. & if I’m seeking to the height of great things—a life that echoes to the highest rafters I can reach of the total, unfathomable goodness & joy found in the One who created it, Who is goodness & joy—dare I forget that He came as the smallest? That He required of a mother the very same mundane care & keeping that my little ones do? That I did? That in breaking into our everyday happenings, He made them holy?
I still don’t have social media right now, but I have found my way back to this blog. For a long time I felt like there was no point in adding to the online cacophony; that there wasn’t any way I could add value by voicing my thoughts here. But as I read the heartening words of the Clarkson women, enjoyed a novel about a woman in the Norwegian middles ages (see subsequent bullet point) & marveled at the universality of the human experience, & pondered anew the human nature of Christ anchored as He was to a specific place, time & body, I decided to reclaim my little corner of the internet. So here I am, two years later asking different questions. Why does it matter that Jesus came as a baby human? Why is His incarnation essential to the story? How did He tether the mundane to the majestic, the ordinary to the otherworldly, the little to the lasting? How do I? How do you?
•Ahem…I’m also reading Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset which is a 1928 Nobel Prize winning novel highly reviewed as “…the first great story founded upon the normal events of a normal woman’s existence. It is as great and as rich, as simple and as profound, as such a story should be.” (Des Moines Register, Ruth Suckow) A fitting read for this season of life, to be sure.
What I’m Seeing
What My Kids Are Saying
•Skye on cracking eggs: “I’m not good at breaking it in half, but cracking it’s my thing.”
•Skye put on a puppet show for the boys today & afterward she sat at the dining room table & signed autographs 😂
•*jack’s drawing at the table with skye*
Jack: Skye! Skye! This picture! (holds it up for her to see)
Skye: Oh, wow, jack.
(to me) I wasn’t really proud, but I said wow to make him feel well. 😂😂😂 #relatable
•Skye & Cinco have a new game called Sonnikins where Cinco is Skye’s son. It mostly consists of him asking her to do things with him & her telling him she has to get to her exercise class or go to work 😂 She’s usually running late for something & Cinco is usually afraid of something & needs her to help him. I’m dying. #mirrormirror
•Me: Skye, you’re so special. You know why everyone smiles back & waves when you do? Because you remind them how fun it is to be alive.
Skye: I think I got dirt in my ear today.
What’s Been Freeing
Now you might be expecting me to wax poetic again about how it’s so freeing to believe in the almighty incarnational power of doing the dishes now, but I’m actually going to tell you a story about how I almost got detained at the French border last week. So YEAH. Now who’s predictable?!
Amidst the teeming, gritty reality of our life in Germany the last month (that’s included helping a friend with her six kids while she was away, getting a stomach bug that ran through everyone but Skye & surviving the deadest month of the year here) my family back in Georgia suffered a loss. My Uncle Bob passed away after a long battle with liver disease & I made my way back home to be with the family for the funeral. It was a sweet time of connection & togetherness that was truly a balm to my soul.
However, on the way back I had a lengthy flight itinerary that had me laying over in both New York & Paris. I knew it would be an exhausting return trip & I already had apprehension about my passport which was expiring in April. Due to the short notice nature of my trip I didn’t have time to renew it beforehand. The trip to GA had been uneventful, therefore when the French flight attendant nonchalantly turned me away at the gate in NY as I was about to board, I was completely caught off guard. It was like, “Hi, I’m here for the plane!” “Oh sorry, ma’am. Not today byeeee.” I was walking away before I realized I had NO PLAN for getting to Germany now. OBVIOUSLY I call Oakie at 1am his time sobbing about how I can’t board the plane & we had a good run, didn’t we? & kiss the kids for me & I’m just trying to embrace my new life as an exile & is this what Taylor felt like when she wrote that song?
He tells me to go back & try again which I VERY MUCH do not want to do. BUT I do, yet try as I might to explain that France wasn’t my destination because “SEE? I have a connection to Nuremberg right here! & a Status of Forces Agreement that guarantees me entry to Germany!” the flight attendant was adamant. He & his equally French cohorts were telling me if I was caught by the French border police I’d get fined €15,000 for being in the country without legal documentation. Their American (thank the Lord) boss said they should override the flag & let me go because of my military SOFA yada yada so the French employees did, but they told me the whole time (in their amazingly snobby French accents) that they thought it was unprofessional, they were documenting this (while taking very exaggerated photos of the system override on the screen) & that for them it was NOT ok, but they had to do what their boss said. They did stick it to me though by closing the flight I had a ticket for RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME & booting me to the next one leaving an hour later. By the time I land in France & head for my connection I am SWEATIN’. I get through the terminal change, security check & ticketing point before I ever reach Passport Control. *so close* I see border control agents to my left & an e-passport kiosk to my right. I take a deep breath, try to look like I belong there & choose the e-passport kiosk (basically reasoning that if it kicks me back I’ll plead me case to an agent, but it’s easier to keep calm when staring down a camera). Lo & behold, it opens the auto gate & the guy running the stamping station flips straight past my photo/expiration date page to the next empty page, slaps a French stamp on it & says, “Welcome to France.” & ya know what? That felt freeing to me.
Until next time…
Love from the Osbornes!
P.S. Apologies if this is the second publication email you’re getting. Had a slight WordPress glitch 🙃
^^^this was on my to-do list for this month & I’m choosing to view the fact that it is indeed the very last day of the month wherein I can accomplish this goal as a victory of completion instead of as a buzzer-beating, nail-biter of an ending to this the first month of the year 2023. Because optimism & glasses with some liquid in them & all that.
As I was stressing over pondering what I should post about in this definitely-not-inaugural-but-somehow-novel blog post, I came up with a little structure that will serve as a guide for now. I might ditch it later BECAUSE I AM IN CHARGE OF THIS BLOG, but it’s cute for now, so here goes:
Last year I read 54 books. I realize the heading of this section is NOT How Many Books I Read Last Year, however that information is relevant as I explain what I’m currently reading. I read a LOT last year with probably over half consumed as audiobooks. I read some winners & some losers & overall had a great time (you can follow my reading life over at my Goodreads profile). This could be categorized as a win through & through, but as I reflected at the end of the year I came to a hard conclusion: I read (& listened to) that many books as a way to escape a rough year. So, I’ve decided to read (& listen) less this year with a goal of 0 audiobooks (!!!) & 12 books each for fiction & non-fiction.
That being said, my Ansbach Book Club of almost four years, will continue to hold priority as we choose a (typically fictional) book each month. This month’s read is Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (which we will probably discuss over two month’s meetings because SHE LONG).
In February, I am planning to Buddy Read A Gentleman in Moscow with my sister, Hannah—whose book blog is a phenomenal resource if you need inspiration.
This is my year to read the Anne of Green Gables series. I enjoy rotating this in every few years & it’s been three years since the last read-through. Already almost through the first installment & I’m delighted to be an Avonlea resident again.
I am aiming for some soul-lifting non-fiction this year, starting off with none other than my beloved Sally & Sarah Clarkson’s The Life-Giving Home & Ann Voskamp’s Waymaker (a birthday gift from my sister, Sarah Ann). Already feeling joyful & held with these lovely women’s words echoing through my mind & heart.
•What I’m Seeing
This is an artful catchall for any photos I have to share or travel updates. Recently, Oakie & I had the immense joy of spending a weekend away while some dear friends watched our children. We galavanted off to Baden-Baden, a historically famous spa town in western Germany situated right on the French border. We luxuriated in a centuries-old Roman Irish Bath experience, got couples massages & ate lots of delicious (& quiet) meals. It was delight itself.
BTW, how we managed to spend an entire weekend alone & fail to take ONE SINGLE PHOTO OF THE TWO OF US is a burden I will attempt to carry with grace for the rest of my life. Thank you for your thoughts & prayers in this trying time.
•What My Kids Are Saying
Ahhh the section where I share the conversations I overhear, the funny phrases of childhood & what I think, personally, is objective hilarity out of the mouths of babes. For context, these are pulled from family group chats & I’m leaving the tone & heavy emoji use unedited. Welcome to the family 😉
Cinco: I want a snack, Mama. Me: Ok, you can have pistachios or a clementine. Cinco: I don’t want those. Wow, mom. You just want me to starve.
Oakie gets Jack dressed in his sweatshirt that matches Cinco’s: Jack: Matching! Cacki! (What he calls Cinco) Me: Oh yeah, you’re matching Cinco? Jack: (mad face) No! Cacki matching me!
Cinco & Skye bickering while they clean up their room: Cinco: Skye, you’re not cleaning up! Skye: Cinco, you don’t know me!
Made homemade hot cocoa & Jack called it ‘Christmas tea’. 😂😍
Sore from my workout, so I sat down gingerly: Jack: Awww, mama stinky?
After Cinco got in trouble earlier, he said, “Mom, is this ok? I don’t like you, but I love you.” I was like, 🤷🏽♀️ relatable.
Welp, I’m pretty much sure I’ve traumatized my children. We watched the 2000 Disney movie Dinosaur (I remember seeing it in theatres) & it’s about an orphaned dino joining with a lemur family who also loses it whole colony after a meteor hits their island. The next day I walk downstairs hearing the kids talking & quietly crying, but before I can ask what’s wrong I hear them talking about their favorite dinosaur family members they will NEVER SEE AGAIN & THEY ARE CRYING REAL TEARS. Just sitting on the couch together reminiscing over pretend lost & gone forever dinosaur family 😭😭😭
To be clear, as soon as I rounded the corner they were smiling & asking if I thought they were really crying or just pretending (granted they WERE really crying but they knew it was pretend). Cinco did tear up again as he said the names of the deceased 😂 Bumpy, Long Neck & Bronty, RIP.
I had the the door open so it was just the screen door open during this afternoon’s thunderstorm & I asked Cinco if the floor was wet inside. His response: No. Just dirty. 😂
•What’s Been Freeing
I don’t know about y’all, but I sometimes feel like a pinball in the machine of life. Ricocheting off each new event with no sense of direction or predictability, just trying to simultaneously score points & avoid falling down into the pit. Didn’t know arcade games could be so dark, did ya?
We moved to Ansbach, Germany in 2019. We had one glorious year before the world turned upside down & have spent the last three years waiting for it to make its way right side up again all while living as foreigners away from the built-in support from family & hometown friends. We’ve made a home here, a haven from the upheaval. But we’ve also felt like the unlucky-short-stick-drawers, the underdogs & I’ll admit, I haven’t maintained the holiest perspective about all of it either. I’ve pouted & complained &, as you know, read a lot of novels to escape into a story I liked better than mine. But this isn’t a sob-story. It’s not a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps sermon either. It’s a true glimpse into the past few years of our lives where we’ve felt anything but free, but where I’ve found a few things that feel freeing to me.
If anything has been made abundantly clear, it’s that I’m not the boss of the geopolitical landscape. Or our own journey through a military career. Or even choosing when or where we move. I’m mostly not the boss of basically anything EVEN THOUGH MY INITIALS ARE CEO & I FEEL THAT WAS MISLEADING. But ya know what I have the God-ordained rule over? The culture & atmosphere of my home. & who knows? That could end up effecting the geopolitical landscape one day…but for today, I’m in charge of choosing well how I will spend my time. How I will invest my mind. How I will discipline my body & mind to serve me & my family well. I’m the boss of my phone. I’m the boss of my bedtime. I’m the boss of my alarm clock. We can both relinquish control over the major events of our lives & take up the reins of those things we have within our stewardship. & that is freeing to me.
If you showed back up here & this feels like a lot & a little at the same time, it does to me too. How do you reappear after 4-ish years & casually drop some travel photos & inner-world thoughts? Beats me. But thanks for sticking around to watch me try. All four of you. It’s a pleasure to be back in the blogosphere. Is that a word? No red line appeared prompting me to rethink my spelling so we’re going with it.
Here you will find adorable monthly progress photos of little Cinco’s life…except for month 3 because we are fighting the hard battles over here & WE’RE NOT ALWAYS WINNING. Sometimes napping & toddlers are winning & that’s just fine because falling off the self-imposed Monthly Progress Photos in the Blue Chair Series wagon at month 3 with your second child IS NOT AN OVERALL INDICATOR OF HOW WELL YOU’RE PARENTING, OK?! Sometimes, keeping the faith & keeping calm just means keeping them alive and stuff. Sometimes, you had it all planned out & the laundry just LIVES in the basket now…ahem, I mean, the photo session just doesn’t happen.
The good news is, month 4 is here to prove to us all that he’s still actually growing & changing & breaking my HEART with how big he’s getting & how cute he is. & while we’re at it, I decided to create side by sides of he & Skye BECAUSE WHO DOESN’T WANT TO REMEMBER THAT SWEETNESS?? (if you just replied, “Uh, me.” I lovingly invite you to leave this cyberspace because there’s literally no other reason to be here that I can tell so far.)
Another thing that I feel should be pointed out at this juncture is that this amazing, beautiful, darling, vintage blue chair was a wedding gift from the one & only Geege/Theresa & little did either of us know that it would be home to my favorite tradition. (I know you advised against taking it on the boat to Japan, but aren’t we both glad I didn’t listen to you??) THANK YOU!
M O N T H O N E
may first, two-thousand eighteen
The whole first month with this boy was a dream that I relive over & over in my mind. What a sweet time. Our whole birth experience meeting this little guy was nothing short of amazing. Is there any interest in a Birth Story post? Comment below if so. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m happy to share if enough people are interested. Otherwise, make sure to ask me if you see me (or email me!) because it’s one I love to tell.
This month’s photo was taken around 10pm when I remembered “today is the day!”, but we were in the car about to head to Florida so Cinco could meet his paternal granddaddy & the man I married said, “NOPE. We’re turning around. It’s worth it.” AND HE DROVE US BACK TO THE HOUSE. (granted, we had just pulled out of the driveway & made the first turn, BUT STILL.) Tradition saved. Mama happy. Sign missing. Baby grumpy. #worthit
M O N T H T W O
june first, two-thousand eighteen
If you’re like me, you’re looking at the these two photos & are floored at the difference between these two. I NEVER would’ve called Skye a roly poly baby, but Cinco is taking tiny to a whole new level. Also, the difference between his month one & month two… WHAT??!! It’s also about this time that I realized the lighting in our two houses is SUPER different & the color of the chair is washed out. Mental note to work on my camera settings. Second mental note to not overshare what’s in my head when I’m writing this blog. Moving on…
M O N T H T H R E E
july first, two-thousand eighteen
Ah yes, the moment that solidified Cinco’s second child status; aka, the month I completely forgot to take the 3 month photo. One day he’ll look back through these & say, “So that was it, huh? It only took 3 months for the newness to wear off & for MY monthly photos to get the boot on the priority list?” And I’ll look into his young, innocent, beautiful, blue eyes & say, “100%. Yes.”
M O N T H F O U R
august first, two-thousand eighteen
These four-month-old babies make me so so happy. Look at those grins! These past four months have been magical…and also messy & sleepless, so it could be the delirium causing the hazy glow in my memories, but I’m pretty sure this is what all the older moms are talking about when they recall the good ol’ days, diapers, dimples, tantrums, teething, snuggles, smiles & all.
If you came here for the cute babes & nothing more, feel free to move on from here, but if you came with the understanding that I OBSERVE NO RULES in the blogging department, then feel free to stick around for this next segment entitled:
SIX BOOKISH QUESTIONS FROM HANNAH
(who has a fabulous blog for all things books/reading
10 outta 10; would recommend to a friend)
Hannah is my dear sister-in-LOVE & she recently (if you call over a month ago “recent.” I’m sorry, Hannah!) tagged me in a post on her blog asking questions about my reading habits (which are seriously lacking these days), but it served to inspire me to dig back in to prioritizing some good reading & I’m soaking up the afternoon nap-time quiet.
1. Do you re-read books? What was the last book you re-read?
Usually, the answer to this is a hard no for me. I just…get bored? I don’t know. Other than the Bible, I don’t find a good deal of books worth it, with the notable exception of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. I LOVE these books & Anne Shirley is a forever friend. Every stage of life brings me back to that sacred ground in Prince Edward Island (which Oakie & I visited on our first anniversary).
2. What book are you most proud of finishing?
100% Les Misérables. It was long & laborious, but also remarkable & worth every bit of its literary stature.
3. What are some of your hobbies aside from reading?
Writing this blog, baking & anything crafty. From watercolor to sewing, I love a good project that I can then give away or display in my own home!
4. What is your favorite read (so far) of 2018? Least favorite?
Favorite read so far is Sally Clarkson’s Mission of Motherhood. Both of her books that I’ve read so far are phenomenal & she has so many more that I want to read. Definitely recommend to anyone looking for solid spiritual wisdom on living your life to the fullest.
Least favorite: Swamplandia. I know, I know. A lot of people love this book, but it just…didn’t do it for me. I’m willing to say that it could’ve been the stage of life I was in when I read it (36 weeks pregnant), buuuutttt, I just honestly didn’t enjoy it.
5. Bookmarks or dog-ears?
Bookmarks all the way. I have bookmarks that I’ve had for YEARS. They always remind me of a season of life I was in when I got them. That being said, not all my bookmarks are made for that purpose. One of my faves is a receipt from Hiro’s Pie Factory–our favorite bakery in Japan. I’m getting it laminated next week so I don’t destroy it with all the shuffling from book to book.
6. Who are your read-everything-they-ever-wrote favorite authors?
Ummmm…this is going to be disappointing. No one. I don’t have an author that I follow that closely. I mean…I like Dan Brown (sue me). I’ve read almost all of his books with the exception of three (that I know of). If you were to ask me that question about any entertainment celeb, my answer would be no one EXCEPT Taylor Swift about whom I can confidently say that I’ve heard every single thing she’s ever put out there. Otherwise, woof. I’m not dedicated enough. There, I said it. *shrugs shoulders*
And that concludes our little update on Baby Oz turned Cinco. I’m so glad you stopped in. I often wish this were happening over a hot cup of coffee or tea with a candle lit on the table so I could then ask you for YOUR life update. I definitely will, next time I see you.
This title is a double entendre (I have never typed that word, but I now feel VERY accomplished as a writer) because we welcomed Baby Oz earth-side & into his actual home very recently!
Allow me to elaborate (aka the most succinct title if I had to give my blog a new, more honest name):
Nathan Oakley Osborne, V was born April 1st, 2018 at 5:50am, weighing in at 7lbs, 8oz & was 21.5 inches long.
Yes, you are remembering correctly, that WAS Easter Sunday AND April Fools’ Day! I announced this birth on IG (that’s what all the cool kids are calling Instagram. Go & do likewise.) in a rather nonchalant way. The following are all the of not-so-nonchalant birth announcements that didn’t make the cut:
In the category of Most Obnoxious:
We had Baby Oz!
It’s a boy!
His name is Nathan Oakley Osborne, V & we’re calling him Cinco!
He weighed 7lbs 8oz & was 21.5in long!
It’s actually a girl whom we’re calling APRIL FOOLS’ DAY OSBORNE!
It really is a boy & the above information is correct.
Happy Easter! #heisrisen #bestaprilfoolsinhistory
In the category of Most Clever If We Could Have Pulled It Off: [insert photo of me holding two babies]
Oakie was right! It WAS twins!!!
Introducing Axel Rose & Axel Rod Osborne born April FOOLS’ DAY!!!!
[insert correct information about Cinco]
*all credit for this idea goes to Theresa Garcia Robertson
*all blame for this not happening goes to all the pregnant women who did NOT have their babies on the same day as me at St. Francis
In the category of My Personal Favorite:
Friends, colleagues, fellow countrymen, I just wanted to inform you that our only begotten son was born on April 1st, 2018–this Lord’s Day that we are celebrating Easter Sunday. As our Saviour went to the cross on Good Friday, so I went into labor on Good Friday & as He rose again from the dead to new life on Easter morning, so I brought new life into the world on Easter morning. And we say together with the saints, “Behold, the Womb is empty!” #heisrisen #bestaprilfoolsinhistory
[insert correct information about Cinco]
*all credit for the punchline goes to Randy Robertson
Now without further ado:
This newborn session was with one of my new favorite people, Jennifer Corcoran, who perfectly captured our crazy, beautiful family just as it is right now. It will change, grow, and look different in the future, but these images will forever have captured how I see us right now. Thank God for gorgeous photography & the artists who do it well.
Right after this shoot, Oakie left for SERE school for 3 weeks. This sweet boy did him the favor of not changing all that much while he was gone & today he turns one month old. Fear not, for those who enjoyed the Blue Chair Series of Skye’s first year will love the continuation of the Series with Cinco. Stay tuned for his very first Blue Chair photo!
In case this is your first visit, this is a follow up to Part 1 wherein we explored Summer & Autumn in the Osbornes’ life.
“It was thrilling, informative & just the right amount of funny.” -Real Life Reviewer
“10 out of 10. Would recommend to a friend.” -Another Completely Real Life Reviewer
“There were too many photos…” -A More Honest Real Life Reviewer
w i n t e r (the one where they didn’t change costumes for the shoot & you started to notice)
Winter in Alabama is actually exactly what you would expect from winter. There was even a small amount of snow! About the same amount as is pictured in the above Winter episode poster. And our faces were about the same as well…it’s just that WE WORE JACKETS.
Anyway, I spent most of my pre-Christmas winter directing a sweet Christmas show down at Southern Broadway called The Christmas Gift. It’s a period piece about a Massachusetts orphanage at the end of WWI. It had all the sweetness & nostalgia of a classic story, with a clever twist at the end. It was my inaugural directing venture & it was a delightful challenge. The cast was cooperative & talented & the company directors & writer were exceedingly kind to allow me the reins of their art. I learned so much about directing, storytelling & the magic of theatre from a different perspective. Plus, I got to teach Zip Zap Zop to a whole new group of kids, so that alone was worth it all.
P.S. I CRUSHED THEM.
We spent a good deal of time with GA family during this time as well (which I know is technically Autumn, but I kinda forgot to add these photos because PREGNANCY).
Also, my sister, Mary Lou & I are BOTH pregnant & it’s just the cutest sister thing I’ve ever done. Isn’t she ADORABLE?? These were all taken over Thanksgiving weekend which as you can tell was an absolute blast. Being close to family takes the edge off of all the amazing friends, sites & events we miss about Japan. Isn’t it just the best problem to have so many blessings scattered ’round the world? It makes me think of Pooh Bear:
SIDEBAR THAT I ASK YOU TO FORGIVE ON ACCOUNT OF ME BEING THE *MOST* PREGNANT: We’re staying at my folks’ place while we finish waiting for Baby Oz & I found our copy of the Winnie the Pooh treasury & we’ve been reading aloud from it each night to Skye & I just cannot wait to share it & all the other treasures known as books with my little family as we learn how to be brave, honest & kind by reading stories about characters who are all those things & more. One of my favorite things is watching Skye sit down with a book & “read” it to herself out loud because, if nothing else, I am doing one thing right if she thinks that’s fun. Praise the Lord, who chose stories to share His love for the world & continues to lead us in ours as we enjoy the beauty of all the rest. END OF SIDEBAR. LOVE, THE TEARY PREGNANT LADY IN THE BACK.
After the show closed, we spent our Christmas break down in sunny Florida where we got to catch up with so many sweet friends & family members & enjoy being warm over the holidays.
Then it was back to normal life in Alabama, taking the pup & babe for evening walks, doing all the research on having a biological baby & reading the #1 best book on it that I’ve found: Holy Labor.
P.S. When we pack up & travel it always looks like this, whether it’s for a day or a month:I literally love it.
Also, guys, I know this is a lot of photos…it’s just there are SO MANY GOOD ONES. But not too many becasue that’s not a thing *cough* looking at you, honest reviewer *cough*
Yes, that’s our daughter in the freezer (she loves ice) & yes, that’s her in a box (she loves squares) & yes, that’s her hanging from a pull-up bar (she loves muscles). Just a little glimpse into our everyday. hope you’ve enjoyed:)
s p r i n g (the one where Rory has never handled live flowers before AKA the worst one yet)
Spring has been a season of waiting for the Osbornes. Oakie finished up the first half of his flight school & is waiting for a SERE slot (look it up if you’re interested enough to ask) which will happen after the baby comes. We’re waiting FOR the baby to come. And after all that, we’ll be waiting to find out what airframe Oakie will fly which will largely determine where in the world we move to as a fledgling family of four come the end of this year.
If you travelled with us through our season of adoption in the last almost 2 years (whaaaa????), you know that we’re familiar with waiting. It’s become a rhythm of our lives as we journey through. Waiting has produced patience, patience perseverance & perseverance the strength to find joy along the way. Our waiting muscles are strong & we are soaking up every moment of this waiting, knowing that sooner or later, all things come to pass & you find yourself looking around the next bend. Life doesn’t happen around the next bend, friends. It happens while you’re waiting. It’s not a new thought, but it’s a challenging practice. Maybe someone needs to hear that.
Here are a few ways we’ve spent our season of spring…and waiting:
First of all, looking at photos of this sweet babe. I am so excited to nuzzle that little nose, mouth, chin combo! (Oakie thinks these are a little creepy; if you share that sentiment, I’m sincerely sorry to subject you to it.)
Next, a short series I’ve titled Skye in Containers:
We’ve also been spending a lot of time in our sweet backyard snapping all the candids & selfies because the photos only snag a glimpse of the magic & I like to frame as much magic as my walls can hold.
We’ve also been exploring pigtails, motorcycle gear & our Sunday best trying to find Skye’s aesthetic. I vote all three.
Lastly, we made the move to Columbus to have Baby Oz in my hometown. My sister, Theresa, threw Mary Lou & me the baby shower of the century:
We celebrated Oakie’s March birthday in his favorite way: just the three (four) of us sharing a picnic in the middle of nowhere & eating out together at Cracker Barrel. #classyand29
Since then, we’ve been enjoying the sunny countdown days to Baby Oz (which they tell me will have to be by Saturday/early Sunday morning at the latest)! Next time you hear from me, we’ll have a tiny babe to add to this Mowgli Baby & her best friend, Remy.
GUYS. I’m here. I’ve been MIA since this kid turned one & looked like this…
Now, she’s ALMOST 2 & looks like this:
THAT HAIRRRRRR. As you might’ve guessed she’s only gotten more delightful, hilarious & quirky (three of my favorite human attributes). When we left Japan, she was juuuust learning to walk, but within two weeks of being stateside, she was basically running. I credit all the family support & the carpeting at Auntie Hannah’s house.
In the way of an update, this post will be a quick rundown of Osborne life from leaving Japan to making our home in Sweet Home Alabama (insert guitar riff you’ll be humming for the next hour. YAWELCOME.) I’ll be taking a chapter from Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life and giving seasonal updates because, let’s be honest: it’s the only chapter we need to be taking from that tack-on series. Yeah, I said it. And I know you’re thinking, “Caroline, there are so many other seasonally themed things you could use like Hobby Lobby’s entryway displays or Starbucks’ rotating coffee syrups!” But as author of this blog, I get to make the choices. #sorrynotsorry
We spent the last few weeks in Japan soaking up our sweet routine, which OF COURSE involved Jeopardy & Wheel of Fortune each evening with Daddy. This routine continued in Alabama once we figured out the local broadcasting schedule & set up our whale skeleton antennae. (That’s what it’s called, right, honey? Honey?) I’ve fallen in love with local news–looking at you Allison & Dillon. Those updates on the happenings in the Wiregrass keep me GOING from 6-7pm CST. AND THE FADE OUT BANTER? Don’t even get me started…
In our final week, we also spent a lot of time saying goodbye to friends; true heart friends that made this the hardest place to leave that I’ve ever left.
How do you put into words the love you’ve built for 19 months? How do you say goodbye to friends you’ve done life with for all that time? How do you solve a problem like Maria? Whoops. Joke. Coping mechanism for deep emotion. Just call me Chandler.
In short, we love you guys. We miss you. We’ll always look forward to the next time. lovelovelove.
We also took some time to say goodbye to Fuji san…the morning of our flight…because I’M NOT CRAZY. *YOU’RE* CRAZY. I felt like leaving without a family picture in front of the most iconic symbol for Japan would be akin to visiting Paris & saying, “I’ll see the Eiffel Tower next time…” As my good friend Riley once said in the greatest film of all time (National Treasure): “It’s not that it shouldn’t be done, Ben. It can’t be done.” I feel confident my family will thank me for the 5am, hour plus long drive and camera-tripod-self-timer-mania later. Maybe MUCH later, but I’ll never stop waiting. I feel a little like I channeled some Jill Osborne on this & for that, I couldn’t be more proud.
The home where I became a mama, we became a family of three
& we made some of the best memories & friends I never knew I needed.
A N D H E L L O A M E R I C A ! ! !
Home of my childhood, home of the brave
& new home to our growing family.
(SPOILER ALERT: I’M PREGNANT & DUE ANY MINUTE!).
s u m m e r
(the one where you can tell Rory has never waved a tiny American flag IN HER LIFE.)
Our summer was spent transitioning to American and Alabamian life with pool days galore & lots of moving in. We spent some time in our mountain haven & lots of time with family & friends we hadn’t seen in a while. It looked a little like this:
Oh, and we got a new pup because we just couldn’t wait any longer! He & Skye are best buddies & have been since day one. We needed this guy in our lives & we’re so happy he’s here. Hello Remus, successor to Romulus, aka Remy!
Who now looks like THIS…
…because YES I KNOW I haven’t blogged in months & kids & puppies grow leaps & bounds in that time. This particular blog post is for people who really love those HGTV Before & After reveals.
The rest of the summer was a blur of morning sickness, backyard pool days, crazy good tans & grilling out. It looked a little bit like this:
Uncle Reagan met Skye, we celebrated the 4th of July in America for the first time with our new American citizen & we visited the Biltmore Estate. It was a summer for the books.
For those who don’t know, our move to Alabama was spurred by Oakie’s branch switch from Infantry to Aviation so he could fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a pilot! We’ve gotten to see him fly a helicopter, make all the Top Gun references, call him an Ace Pilot from Day One & thoroughly enjoy helping him study to pass all his exams with flying colors (pun ABSOLUTELY intended) which he did, graduating number 1 in his class & I’m so proud of him, I could die.
a u t u m n (the one where I know they call it fall, but autumn is a magical word & I’ll never understand the poor substitution that “fall” is)
Autumn in Alabama is a lot like summer in Alabama. In fact, for most of the summer pictures, I’m not even 100% sure they were taken in that season, but IT HONESTLY DOESN’T EVEN MATTER because heat + pool + eventual coolness + insanely rapid digression into sweaters & hot beverages = just fine with me. #southernborn
During this sweetest of seasons, we announced our pregnancy to the world, got to know our new town in southern Alabama & enjoyed every last drop of summer weather. I also performed in a dinner theatre production in an adorable downtown theatre called Southern Broadway. It was a legal thriller called Juror #7 about a recent law school grad, Lindsey Walker, (me) who becomes embroiled in revealing & solving the scandal of the century for that small, southern town. For some fun photos of me making ridiculous faces (acting) & also looking like I know my way around a courtroom (extra acting), make your way over to the website with the above link. It was a true pleasure to return to the stage & we met the kind of friends that you know you’ll keep for a lifetime. I am just absolutely the most blessed to have found it & been invited to the table for a little theatre & some seriously amazing food.
(and yes, I WAS 5 months pregnant by the end of the run.
Yay for flexible costumers & baggy shirts!)
We completed the autumn season with another trip to our mountain haven just in time to see all the leaves change, fall & make room for new life. It was magical.
This seems like quite enough for one post, so check in later for Part 2: Winter & Spring as we count down to the blog post about Baby Oz being born (turns out the prerequisite for that IS Baby Oz being born).
Today, this growly, grinning girl turns one! Sometimes, I actually think someone formed a conspiracy to skip a month or two in there somewhere because it can’t literally have been an entire calendar year since this baby came into the world. But they assure me it has & all mamas feel this way. I guess I’m a card-carrying member of the Time Flies Club now (our mascot is a fly; I’m campaigning to get it at least to be animated, but they said I’m new here so just hush).
Yes, we let her stand on the chair. She has killer balance. & it’s her birthday.
We celebrated with this family. The Todds.
The family that made it all happen.
The family that made the phonecall & made us parents.
We wouldn’t be here without this family. God bless them. We love y’all.
Although the delays have caused more waiting then my heart was prepared for, I feel it’s appropriate that she celebrate her first year here in Japan. How many birthdays will she get to have just a few miles down the road from where she was born? (For all I know, it could be tons, but just let me have this…)
As we approach this milestone, my heart is rent in two as I try to hold all of the feelings inside; feelings of joy & accomplishment, excitement & pride in all that she has become & will grow to be, but also the weight of what this day means for another sweet couple who remember this day a little differently…a lot differently. This is the other side of adoption. The side we don’t show to the cameras. The side we don’t talk about. Even now, I hesitate to relate the thoughts that take up space in my mind as I work through the complex emotions of this anniversary. There’s another family who is processing the reverse of these complex emotions; grief at the loss their family has experienced; joy at the outcome of their love-led decision: the best thing for this baby girl. The weight of their sacrifice will be borne through their years, just as it will through ours. We will always be commemorating this day in tandem. A parental parallel held loosely in life, but bound by the strongest cords of love.
How does one even begin to behold such magnitude? I find myself saying with Paul, “And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:14) When he penned those words, he was talking about a different kind of love…or maybe the same kind of love? He was saying that our lives spent spreading the knowledge of Jesus are a Christ-like aroma fragrant to those who are being saved, but quite a different aroma to those who are being lost. To some, the way we live Christ-like lives will seem attractive & full of light, but to others it will seem senseless, naïve or worse.
I’ve seen a little of what he means just in this past year. Some reactions are full of delight & wonder at the story of God’s providence in our family’s lives. Others are critical, skeptical, insensitive; unmoved by the weight of the decision made by both families. And who is sufficient for such things? The answer, as you might have already guessed, is: Not me. Not Oakie. Not us. We stand here by the grace of God alone. He has softened my heart with an empathy I’ve never before known; He has worked out in us a patience we could never have manufactured; He has led us graciously & slowly, giving us only each day as it comes, requiring of us a soul-deep trust in His goodness & faithfulness. And I feel certain, He has been walking another family through a similar faith-journey.
In the end, I see in our story an echo of The Story. Another Father who lost His child so that we could experience a love we had never known. Another Child who lost His Father so we would never be Fatherless. Another heart-wrenching sacrifice so the ones He loved best could live in the fullness of life.
I pray that within our lives, you sense the aroma of Christ that brings with it true Life. I pray that our cracks will allow His light to shine through all the more; that as the psalmist says, we will be like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day (Proverbs 4:18). We are the jars of clay; we are the moon reflecting the sun. It will never be us, but the One who is in us that will be worthy of your praise & adoration. May we only ever be the shadow that points to the substance.
love from Japan,
P.S. For Skye’s first birthday, we’re asking friends & family to write Skye a letter or note that we will keep for her 18th birthday. Include anything you like; funny stories, advice, wisdom from your life, good knock-knock jokes, examples of handwriting/paper/stamps as those will be obsolete in the next two decades, really anything you’d want her to have as she launches into the world 18 years from now. (There are no degrees of separation here; if you know us, write us! And for the three people reading who don’t know us, but stumbled on this blog in cyberspace, I don’t want you to feel left out. You have good knock-knock jokes too! Write us!)
Mail them all to the following address:
Skye Elizabeth Osborne
c/o Dr. Paul M. Garcia
3612 Edgewood Road
Columbus, GA 31906
Well, of all the reasons for being late to post, this has got to be the best one: We spent all of Saturday on a much needed hike in the woods & the early parts of this week chasing down the final paperwork for Skye’s passport to return to the US with us!
We are now all set to apply for the Japanese passport as soon as Golden Week is over & expect to be ready to move to the visa phase in the following couple of weeks. This means there’s a really high likelihood that we’ll make our June report date! Praise the Lord from whom comes every good gift.
For all you Amazing Race fans, we would’ve made you proud. On Tuesday we got our first clue: Meet your attorney’s assistant at her office @ 4:10pm to get what you need for the next challenge.
Challenge: Make it from your attorney’s office on one side of Tokyo to the Minato-ku City Hall on the other side of Tokyo by closing time (5pm).
Our victory: Take a number at the appropriate window 2 minutes before they stop taking requests, have a wonderful bi-lingual friend to translate (thank you, Kaori!!) & get everything you need to apply for Skye’s passport.
Reward: A Travelocity sponsored dinner at an amazing Hawaiian restaurant. JK, it wasn’t sponsored by Travelocity…but it should’ve been.
Phil, WE ARE READY.
And so are you. For Skye’s 11 Month photos:
After all that, a hike might seem commonplace, but for us, it was exactly what we needed. I’ve been reading about the effects of nature deprivation & I self-diagnosed. The prescription? A 3 hour, 8-mile hike around Lake Miyagase in the Mount Tanzawa range. Just what the doctor ordered!
Lastly, guys: This photo. Her hair is terrible. The face is…just…everything. & I don’t even know. I just flipping love it.