Two Months of Adorableness (Times Two)

Levi turned two months old today. He celebrated by staying at our house from 8 to 4, along with his brother, Samuel. These two together are unbearably cute, and I love them to pieces. Levi and I had a good 20 minutes of just looking and smiling at each other. He’s in the cooing and pooing stage. 🙂 Samuel was his usual delightful self, charming us with his cheerful spirit. I think I read The Little Red Caboose to him four times today. He participates in some way on every single page (i.e., speaking, pointing, laughing, lunging, waving, etc.). Below are just a few scenes from Levi’s milestone.

💙 💚💙 💚💙 💚💙 💚

Levi at two months old.
Wait for it…
Samuel (above) and Levi (below) at the same milestone.

Bonus:

Micah made a special step stool for Samuel so he could help with the dishes. He loves them both (climbing the stool and doing the dishes)!

He knows his colors, too.

I Love a Rainy Night

What? A song about rain, and it’s not from Enya? Yes, and this one goes all the way back to 1980. Sheesh! There’s no real message to this song other than, well, “I love a rainy night.” 😊 That, and maybe the escapist notion of showers washing away the cares of the world, giving way to a sunnier day to come.

What I don’t love about rainy nights is how they sometimes wreak havoc on the neighborhood trees. A blast of wind sheared off the top of a tree in Micah and Bethany’s front yard, and it landed right across their driveway. Drew and I were able to run down and move it out of the way, no problem, before the kids got home.

Speaking of kids… 💙😊🩵😊💙

Levi getting to know his Poppi.
Samuel making homemade pizza with his Mimi and his cousin.

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:

Samuel and the Joys of Onomatopoeia

It’s commonly known that onomatopoeia refers to a word that phonetically imitates or suggests the source of the sound it describes. For example: 

The snake hissed in the grass.  

The fallen leaves rustled in the wind.  

The bees buzzed around the flower. 

The students murmured their dissatisfaction about the upcoming quiz.  

The rooster’s cock-a-doodle-do announced the arrival of a new day.  

“Chitty bang-bang. Chitty-chitty bang-bang.” (Ian Fleming)  

“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Oh what a relief it is.” (Paul Margulies & Tom Dawes)  

The Scriptures contain examples of onomatopoeia, too, though it doesn’t always come through in English. For example: 

“Then thundered the horses’ hoofs—galloping, galloping go his mighty steeds” (Judges 5:22). Hebrew: daharoth, daharoth (cf. English: The Lone Ranger: darrrunt, darrrunt). 

“Be silent before the Sovereign LORD . . .” (Zephaniah 1:7a). Hebrew: hass (cf. English: hush). 

“Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac” (Genesis 17:19b). Hebrew: Yitzhak (cf. English: yuk yuk). 

“Go and buy a clay jar from a potter” (Jeremiah 19:1b). Hebrew: baqbuq (cf. English: glub glub). 

“And some began to spit on him . . .” (Mark 14:65a). Greek: ptuo (cf. English: spit). 

It’s a fun linguistic phenomenon.  

Anyway, Samuel discovered its joys recently when he started imitating the siren of a little firetruck we recently bought him.  

“Eee-ooo-eee-ooo-eee-ooo!” 

He also displays a bit of rhythm, too, with the bopping head. This little munckin always makes my heart smile. 

Some Bonus Snaps

The World’s Most Impressive Fall Color Destinations

“As the hot, sticky hug of summer yields to the crisp embrace of autumn, nature embarks on a colorful and captivating transformation. Fall is our favorite.” So write the editors at the captivating Moss and Fog website, and I wholeheartedly concur. Fall is magical. I’ll be linking below to their August 17 post titled, “Exploring the World’s Most Impressive Fall Color Destinations.” First a few snaps and clips of my cherubs.

Levi cooing to Mama.
Samuel enjoying the special seat I got him for his new wagon.
Someone learned how to use the remote to our patio lights.
Testing. Testing. Testing.
He pushes a button and then announces the color.
Bubby always gets worn out after a day of playing with Papa.

O.k., here’s the link to that Moss and Fog post.

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.

Two Little Dino-Mites

Samuel likes being a big brother to Levi. We had them over to our place a couple times this week, which is always a sheer delight. The last time they were here, they had on matching dinosaur shirts. Of course, I had to get the camera. 😊 Levi had a procedure at CHOP this week, and all went well. He seems rather peaceful, with no lingering effects. 

This time of year is always thick with course and syllabus preparation, which also comes with added tasks and responsibilities in the digital age. Still, it’s a labor of love, as is the dissertation, which is still in motion. Next month always feels like a changeover at church, too, so the pile is doubly high these days. All the more reason to throw in some silly memes for a few lighthearted moments before getting back to the grind.

Enjoy. And have a fantastic weekend.


The cats don’t even try.
This is never more true than when I try to swim or play softball.
As long as it’s not a lead pencil.
A legitimate observation, despite the typo.
I guess this qualifies as a generation gap.
Passed the test at school. Flunked the test at home.
Yes, I am an INTJ, but my N is moving in the F direction these days. In fact, I tend to extrovert my F, which is why I could never be a good poker player.

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

Identity Theft

We’re thinking that Levi (aka, “Nugget”) bears a striking resemblance to Andrew (aka, “Uncle Tino”). My history in pictures doesn’t begin until I was 13 months old, so we’ll have to wait for those comparisons. All the same, he’s a cutie pie, and I was able to give him a bottle for the first time today. Last night Samuel stayed overnight at our house, and we had a blast. I’m so thrilled he loves coming to our place. We love having him!

Andrew is on the left. Levi is on the right. I think.
Samuel loves to pick the vegetables out of our garden.

Bonus:

I did a double take when I saw this in the grocery store. I once had a demon-possessed Pomeranian.

‘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! 

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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.

Welcome to the World, Dear One

Samuel’s brother Levi Timothy was born today at 5:35 a.m., checking in at 8 lbs., 8 oz., and 20 inches long. He is so precious—ruddier, chunkier, and hairier than his brother, who he was born nineteen months ago. Maybe they should have named him Esau. 😊 

I’m told Bethany did well. She was accompanied by her husband, mother, and mother-in-law, who is a nurse. After about 9 hours of labor, she needed only four pushes when the time came. 

I wasn’t able to blog through the night like last time because I was babysitting Samuel—which is always an utter delight—but I was keeping up with all the action by phone. And, of course, when I heard Levi’s strong and healthy first cry, I melted into a puddle of tears. Again. 

Samuel saw pictures of his baby brother this morning, and he was able to say, “Levi”! I will share some pictures later. For now, here’s a hymn that is meaningful to me this week in light of both the tragedy of premature death (a good family friend) and the beauty of newborn life (Levi Timothy). 

The song is in desperate need of an update, but the message is timeless and true: God is always there. In good times and bad.

The Bubster’s First Time under Water

Samuel got to hang out with some of his cousins at the pool on Independence Day. Below are some snaps from the great time he had on the bright, sunny day—including a slow-motion clip where he goes under water for the first time. What a cutie! 💙

Meanwhile, the crew on our side of the family yesterday went to see The Sound of Freedom, the incredible story of Tim Ballard, a federal agent who rescued a boy from child traffickers. After learning the boy’s sister was still a captive in the Colombian jungle, Ballard quit his job (because of bureaucratic red tape) and embarked on a dangerous mission to save the young girl from a fate worse than death.

It’s not uncommon for me to get choked up at poignant moments of a good flick, but this was different. I tried three times to stand up and walk out of the theater after it was over, and two times I had to sit back down and continue the blubbering. It was an ugly sight. As I seem to remember, the same thing happened after the last Jim Caveizel movie I saw in the theater.

Yes, everyone needs to see this movie. And, yes, we all need to be angry, sad, disgusted, and—above all—mobilized to action. I’m pondering how our family (and church family) might be able to contribute to the solution. Speaking of angry, Disney stood in the way of this movie’s release for five years. Walt would roll over in his grave if he know what a slimeball enterprise his company has become.

Unrelatedly, this coming weekend we’re headed to Cooperstown, NY for an anniversary trip. Friday will be a Puccini opera, Saturday will be the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Sunday is the art museum. So, we’re checking all the important boxes here—music, sports, and the arts. 😊

Our son took this picture from our front porch as the sun was setting on Independence Day 2023.

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Just had to share this brief clip of our little Bubby saying the name above all names (along with a few other odds and ends below). It took my breath away when he said it, not unlike when he said “Bible” a few weeks ago. His receptor language skills have always been good, and now his oral capacities are taking off. Best of all, we get to see him again tonight. Let the spoiling begin continue!

💙🙌🩵💙🙌🩵💙🙌🩵💙🙌🩵💙🙌🩵


I should be arrested.
Indeed.
Haha! But the Avalanche Ranch was a blast.
When a great actor conflates his lines.
Haha! The MBTI meets Sesame Street!
Speaking of introverts…

Credits: Our Daily Bread, The Trend Spotter, The Babylon Bee