The Boys Are Back in Town

Samuel and Levi are coming to our house tonight so Bethany and Micah can have a date night. We’re so excited to have them. Samuel is staying overnight, but Levi will need to go home for his feedings throughout the evening. Someday Levi will be able to stay overnight, too, which is great because the Friday night pizza/sleepover is becoming a thing, and I love it! Pancakes follow on Saturday morning. 😊

Last night we had a spontaneous rendezvous at the Fairlane Avenue Park here in Myerstown, followed by take-out dinner from Tosco’s, our local Italian restaurant. (Wherever I’ve lived, the Lord has made sure there’s a high-quality Italian place right down the street!) The weather was perfect, and we had a delightful time. I even had a “mush moment” at one point, quietly thanking God that our beautiful munchkins live so close that we get to see them often.

Oh, and fall is in the air. What could be better?

Have a lovely weekend. Be blessed.

💙 💚💙 💚💙 💚💙 💚

Levi has a laser focus, and he’s starting to smile at us.
Such a happy boy.
Samuel loves to pick the garden. Unfortunately, he doesn’t like to eat most of what he picks.
He knows what he’s picking, too. It’s o.k. that he stumbles at okra. No one needs to know what okra is.
Learning to spell one’s name can be hazardous.
When you love your baby brother, you just have to say so.
The song is dated, but the chorus is iconic and has been adapted by several sports teams. Skip the raunch in the later verses.

Bonus:

Little Ones to Him Belong

Samuel is only 19½ month old, but yesterday he joined his mama on the chorus of “Jesus Loves Me” at bedtime, and it took my breath away. His singing is beyond adorable, and my heart may have melted into a big fat puddle of Papa-love when I heard it. The video clip was shot after the lights went off, so there’s nothing to see. But there’s plenty to hear—pure praise “out of the mouth of babes.” Could there be any sweeter or more important message than: 

Jesus loves me, this I know, 
for the Bible tells me so. 
Little ones to him belong; 
they are weak, but he is strong. 

Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me. 
Yes, Jesus loves me.

The Bible tells me so. 

 💙 🙌💙 🙌💙 🙌💙 🙌💙 🙌

Nothing to see but plenty to hear.
Samuel picked up all his toys, so he was allowed to watch a little TV.
Levi is laser focused on those who came to see him.

A New Red Wagon for the Boys

Last week I got a new red wagon for the boys that I can hook up to my lawn tractor. It’s our own little Knoebel’s ride—with no tickets necessary (though my next door neighbor offered me two bucks for a ride. Unfortunately, he couldn’t fit)!

Samuel likes the wagon, though he doesn’t really like the noise that comes from the tractor. We did several laps around the yard, and then I dropped him off at the garden, where he loves to help us pick the ripe stuff. As we love to say around here, “He’s the best Bubby ever.”  

Levi is becoming more alert and used to our voices. It was fun to feed him for the first time last week and sing him to sleep. He is so precious, and Samuel is (mostly) gentle with him.

Bouns

‘When Are the Boys Coming Over?’

I just got back from church camp where I had the privilege of sharing five evening messages with a responsive and appreciative crowd. Their favorite, by far, was a sermon called “It Is Finished” from John 19:28-30, where Jesus says, “Tetelestai!” from the cross. It’s the gospel in a single word, and I got a bit exuberant preaching it! 

While I was away, Samuel and Levi kept being cute, and I missed them greatly. I gathered up a few snaps and clips upon my return, and now I have some new ones to share. I may have shown a few of their previous pictures via PowerPoint during one of my sermons. 🙂 Do you remember that picture of Bubby washing the car? And the one where he’s holding a sponge, covered in suds? The camp folks are now smitten, too!  

Here’s something I’ve been eager to say for the past nine months, and now I can say it: “When are the boys coming over?” Haha! Actually, Samuel was here yesterday (and it was SO good to see him). He’s coming tomorrow, too, so I’m super spoiled. I’m thinking it’s time to establish a Friday night pizza tradition at our house, with them staying overnight and having pancakes for breakfast on Saturday morning. 

Enjoy a few glimpses of my cherubs. And a song that may send your spirit soaring.

💙 🩵 💚 💙 💚 🩵 💙 💚 🩵 💙 💚 🩵 💙 💚 🩵


Tetelestai


Bonus

I made a reference to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in one of my camp messages: “Barely even friends, then somebody bends unexpectedly.”

More on Our Little Nugget

Joy abounds as we get to spend more time with Levi. Micah revealed his first nickname: “Nugget.” So, now we have Bubby and Nuggy. 😊 Samuel is learning what it means to be a big brother, and his interactions with Levi have been charming. Mommy and daddy have been working hard to make Samuel feel special despite all the attention his baby brother needs right now. So, there are some snaps of him below, too. He’s in “Sudsy Bubby” mode. Enjoy! 

💙 🩵💙 🩵💙 🩵💙 🩵💙 🩵

Bubby Bonus:

Levi Has My Genes

Levi is home now, settling into family life. It’s been quite an emotional week watching it all unfold. Since I’m an adoptee with no connection to my biological family, Levi is just the fourth blood relative I’ve been able to meet (after Andrew, Bethany, and Samuel). So, Levi has my genes! According to his paternal grandpa, he also has my mouth. Speculation is growing already that he’s going to be a preacher. 😊 

As is our custom, I read Psalm 139 over him when he got home. Cue the waterworks.

For you created my inmost being; 
you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. 
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 
your eyes saw my unformed body. 
All the days ordained for me were written in your book 
before one of them came to be.

Before any of us had a place in this world, we had a place in God’s heart. And Levi now has a place in our hearts, too. He is precious and perfect, and all of us savoring this wonderful gift the Lord has entrusted to us. 

I promised some pictures, so here goes:

Bethany was amazing throughout the whole process of labor and delivery.
Welcome to the world, Levi. We have loved you for nine months already.
Micah and Bethany are so thrilled with their new bundle of joy. They are wonderful parents.
Yes, here is news worth broadcasting! Also, Levi is the first in our family to have a July birthday. 💙
Sleep in heavenly peace, dear one. Your family back home is eager to meet you.
The precious cargo is strapped in and ready to come home for the first time.
Samuel loves being with his gaga and papa, but he really missed his mama and dada.
Mama and dada really missed Samuel, too. ❤️
Samuel’s first look at his baby brother.
Samuel seemed to sense that this was a special moment.
Oh, the fun these two are going to have together. 🙂
We are smitten. And we’re grateful for a safe delivery and a healthy baby.
We’re working hard to let Samuel know is is still important to us.
If little boys grow up to become bigger boys, is the same true for buses?
Being a big brother is hard work.

The Best Bubby Ever!

I was out of state last week teaching a doctoral residency (along with conducting another remote learning course, a prayer meeting, a variety of staff meetings, and even some dissertating). I couldn’t wait to get back and see our little Bubby. (Yes, and everyone else, too.) In fact, I got choked up on the flight home at the thought of reconnecting with this little munchkin and getting to make a “Samuel Sandwich” again. 

What a joy to return to this adorable, pleasant, and wonderful little boy. His receptor language has always been good, and now he’s starting to talk up a storm. He said “Bible” the other day, which was another reason to get choked up. He was also the ring bearer at a wedding last week. He’s only 17 months old, but he made it down the aisle (with a little help)! 

He’s the best Bubby ever, and every day I get a little more smitten. Below are some random snaps and video clips, in no particular order. 

Enjoy!

💙🥰💙🥰💙🥰💙🥰💙🥰💙🥰💙🥰💙🥰💙🥰💙🥰

Happy about eating out.
Exploring the great outdoors.
Pondering the mysteries of the universe.
Too cool for school.
Time for a piano lesson.
Working in our flower bed.
Taking a happy break.
Challenge accepted.
Dressed for the wedding.
Out on the dance floor.
Down the slide with “Gaga.”
Sing us a song, you’re the piano man.

Out of gas, but resting up for tomorrow.

In addition to which…

Here are a few bonus pictures that didn’t upload the first time.

Trying to eat a grilled cheese sandwich in one bite.
Lots of room to roam.
The label on the swing gets it right.

Yawning and Snoring on Cue

Micah and Bethany are such good parents. Below are two clips that make my heart smile. The first is Mommy reading a “dino-snore” book to Samuel. He’s learned to yawn and snore at just the right time during the story. It cracks me up every time I watch it. The second clip makes me a little nervous, but it’s still adorable. Daddy gets a bit physical in mimicking the “Swish! Swish! Swish!” line of “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” song. Please don’t drop our little Bubby, Micah! 🙂 💙

Ambulating & Annunciating

Our little Bubby has been walking for well over a month now, and the words are starting to come, too—clearer and clearer each time. His first discernible word (beyond “Momma” and “Dadda”) was “hello” several weeks ago. It was adorable.

Yesterday he said, “Gampa” for the first time—not a bad attempt at “Grandpa.” Of course, I melted. The other day we thought we heard him try to say “fish.” Today he said it again, and the kids caught it on video. It sort of came out like, “shish.”

Thus it begins—a life of ambulating and annunciating. Walking and wording. Bring it on, SamJam. We’re eager to watch and listen.

Besides, Levi Timothy will need you to talk to him…and play with him! 

💙 😊 💙 😊 💙 😊 💙 😊 💙

Boy, Oh Boy!

On Mother’s Day 2021, Sonya was opening her gifts from her children. At one point she held up a gray T-shirt and started to cry. I was sitting on the other side of the room and couldn’t see what it said. I thought to myself, “I’m sure it’s a very nice T-shirt, but we don’t usually cry over T-shirts now, do we? So, what’s up with that?

What’s up with that was the writing it featured on the front: “Best grandma ever.”

“Is this true?” she asked with a gasp. 

It was. And after she turned the shirt around to where I could see it, I started to cry, too. Micah and Bethany were expecting their first child. As readers of This New Life well know, Samuel James White was born on December 1, 2021. I’ve been utterly smitten ever since.

Bethany always felt kind of bad that her mom got the news a split second before I did, so on Christmas Day 2022, I opened a similar gift. This one had a little red Christmas stocking in it with a piece of paper inside. “What in the world is this?” I thought. I was mystified—until I saw that the little paper was actually the sonogram of child number two. 

I may have cried again once the news sank in, causing the others to wonder what was going on. It was my turn to be smug this time as Sonya was sitting across the room in confusion. Eventually everyone came to realize that Samuel was getting a sibling.

Last night was Micah’s birthday. We celebrated at Dogood’s Tavern here in Myerstown, and then we came back to our place to give him his gifts. To our surprise, he then gave us a gift. We had a hunch it might be some sort of gender reveal, much like they did for Samuel.

Sure enough, when we opened the box, a little white onesie greeted us with the joyful announcement:

Hello, my name is Levi Timothy.

Samuel has a brother, and that brother’s name will carry my own. Are you surprised that there may have been more tears? I’m still stunned. And I’m smitten with Levi already. This week he’s the size of a lemon.

We expect to meet Levi sometime around July 18, 2023. Until then, my prayer for him will be Luke 5:28: “And Levi got up, left everything, and followed [Jesus].” Come to think of it, that may be my lifelong prayer for him.

Until Levi makes an appearance, Samuel has the stage all to himself. So, here you go…

Tubby time.
Only three teeth so far, but they all need to be brushed.
The sock and the sonogram from Christmas Day. The onesie from the big reveal on Micah’s birthday.
Samuel is happy about the new one to love, too…
Spaghetti time. And time for another tubby time.
I wonder who’s having more fun?

Rubber Duckies and Mashed Potatoes

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted any Samuel pics and clips, so prepare to be deluged with cuteness! Our little Bubby passed the 10-month mark earlier this month, and he continues to be a source of great delight to all of us. Sometimes I have to fight back tears of joy while simply holding him because I love him so much. What a gift the Lord has given us!

I have such a great time with SamJam when we’re together, and I’m exceedingly blessed to be able to see him at least three or four times a week. I’m thinking Christmas is going to be a blast this year. I had better start preparing now for “adorableness overload.” 🙂

Enjoy!

Getting ready for his 10-month photo shoot…

Hold the sign a little higher…

There we go

If you’re happy and you know it…

Helping Grandma do her grocery shopping…

Until it’s nap time…

They do feed me, but when I’m teething…

I could just melt when he looks at me like this…

Plotting his escape…

Held by Aunt Joan…

Video clip time: Learning how to jump…

Learning how to sing and dance…

Making fun sounds on Mommy’s thigh…

Rubber duckies, followed by the breaststroke kick…

Saying, “Ma ma ma ma ma ma ma…”

Giggling at “My Turn, Your Turn”…

First time eating mashed potatoes…

Learning to say, “More” using sign language…

Celebrating the Phillies post season run…

Coming over to see Grandpa…

BONUS

I performed a wedding last weekend at Camp Swatara, and the autumn leaves were breathtaking…

Our Cackling Little Bubby

Samuel is such a happy little boy (except, of course, when it’s nap time). Lately he’s been hootin’ and hollerin’ and having a grand ol’ time with his newly discovered capacity for cackling. There’s even a brief clip below of daddy helping him learn how to scat. Maybe he’a a jazz singer in the making. It’s hard to believe he’ll be nine months old in two days. He’s an endless source of joy and laughter, and I love him to pieces! Enjoy a few slices of life through a child’s eyes.

Response to mommy coming home from a wedding shower.
Loving life on daddy’s shoulders.
Watch out, Ella Fitzgerald!

And a few pics…

Helping around the house.
First time in a grocery cart.
Just being adorable! 🙂

The Beach Bubby Is Back!

I missed this little guy so much last week while he was at the Outer Banks. From the pictures we received, it looks like he had a great time on his first trip to the beach. He also tasted ice cream for the first time, and the video below registers his verdict. (I may have given him some myself last night while we were watching him for a few hours. Shhh!!!) Oh, and I’ve made about a dozen “Samuel Sandwiches” since his return. 🙂

Bonus

Thank you, Kirby Keller for the new “squish baseball.” Dr. Keller caught it at a recent Reading Phillies game we attended together and gave it to Samuel. This could be the start of something big!