looking for a wife

matthias By March 31, 2016 23 Comments

IMG_0921The other day Matthias said to me, Isn’t it crazy to think my wife is out there somewhere? I just haven’t met her yet. I wonder what she’s doing right now?”

At twelve years old, he regularly stops me in my tracks with this kind of insightful comment and perspective.

I asked him, “What are you looking for in a wife?”

He responded, “Well, first of all, I want her to love and respect David.”

Whoa.

There is a lot of heart and life experience and passion in that statement. Matthias has seen people open their arms to David and love him well. He’s also seen people awkwardly stare at David while they avoid eye contact.

Matthias unconditionally loves and accepts his brother–special needs and all. He wants to build a life with someone who has open heart and an open mind.

I believe Matthias is a better person because of his brother. I believe Matthias will make the world a better place because of his compassion and bravery. And I hope he finds an amazing wife who will be a trusted partner in this beautiful journey.

But it’s okay with me if we wait fifteen years or so to begin ring shopping.

Share:

a brother’s heart

family, matthias By February 17, 2016 54 Comments

When the boys were very little, maybe three and four years old, we tucked them into a side by side double stroller and set off with sippy cups and a diaper bag. As we walked along, Matthias saw someone staring at David, and he protectively put his arm around his brother. Steve and I exchanged a knowing glance. It was a small action with big meaning. Matthias was beginning to understand that his big brother needed looking after.

Months later, Matthias asked me, “Why do they stare?”, His green eyes full of innocence and righteous indignation. “They’ve never seen a child with only two fingers before. It’s unusual and they’re curious.” I tried to explain. My words sounded calm and rational, but inside their stares tore at my heart too. “He’s just David.” was Matthias’ perfect, childlike answer. “He’s my brother. He’s fine just the way he is.” In his unwavering acceptance of David, Matthias was beginning to grasp that his brother was different.
F3C41F14-26C7-4435-BA25-72AAC7B4E3A7Sometimes I wish Matthias didn’t know so much about how hard life can be. Having a brother with a disability means simple outings sometimes turn into complicated situations. He’s heard my voice shaking as we debate taking David to the emergency room. He’s had to be flexible too many times when plans get changed because his brother is sick or in the hospital.  And no one is as better at packing a bag with art supplies, books and snacks to wait out a long doctor visit.

And each time everything grinds to a halt to care for David, my heart hurts a little for Matthias. He assures me he’s fine. And I know Steve and I are intentional to make special time for him, too. But it’s hard. It’s imperfect. The stress that comes along with having a disabled brother affects Matthias, and it isn’t fair.a brother's heart lisa leonard1Thankfully he also sees the beautiful and amazing parts of this journey. Those long waits at the doctor’s office have given him time to nurture a passion for drawing and creativity. He has insights beyond his twelve years that will serve him well in life. He has compassion for others and cares for those who are hurting. Matthias adds stability to our family. We are better because of him. His life hasn’t been easy. Having a brother with a disability has shaped him and given him a bigger heart. As mothers, we want every good thing for our children.a brother's heart lisa leonardWhen I see my child struggle, it breaks my heart. But as I see those struggles produce a kinder heart that loves more deeply, I’m flooded with gratefulness. This journey has it’s twists and turns but I’m finding, step by step it’s taking our little family to beautiful places. We are stronger together.

Have you walked through a hard time with your child?

Share:

Risky, Messy Love

family, finding love, Louis and Beasley, matthias By January 19, 2016 10 Comments

louis and beasley lisa leonard-01
The other day, as I was driving the boys to school, Matthias told me he loves our new pugs so much it makes him sad.

I asked him what he meant, and he explained, “I feel so much love for them—but what if they get hurt or sick or worse, die? I would be so sad. Just the thought of it makes my heart heavy.”

I sighed and nodded. I knew exactly what he meant. I feel those same feelings and worry every day. Not just for our dogs {I mean, I love those doggies!} but even more so having children, committing to a husband, sharing life with sisters who are dear to my heart, it’s amazing and it’s terrifying.

louis and beasley lisa leonard2-01

Love is vulnerable.

Love is a risk.

Love is messy. Always.

Love isn’t safe.

If we love deeply and honestly, we’ll most likely get hurt.

But if we protect our hearts and keep them safe, we miss out on, well, the best of what life brings.

Because love is imperfect, we’re imperfect—flawed in all of our good intentions, living in bodies that will eventually fail us.

It’s heart-breaking.

But it’s also breath-taking.

walk in cambria3-02
Love makes the journey not only bearable, but beautiful.

Love may break our hearts but it also heals them.

Love eases our pain and comforts our souls in a way that’s impossible to understand.

To be loved is everything.

And so, these two sweet dogs have walked into our lives, made them sweeter and unexpectedly, they’re teaching us about love and life. And that is no small thing.

Share:

celebrating Matthias {twelve!}

adventures, matthias By January 15, 2016 2 Comments

Today is Matthias’ official birthday. Earlier this week we celebrated at Disneyland with his cousins, Torie and Lexie. We’re pretty much all about Star Wars right now. So fun! Matthias is twelve–I keep trying to make myself believe it. It’s cliche but the time goes so quickly!

Matthias, you are such a blessing to our family. You make us better. You teach us to see the world creatively. You help us understand David. You’re an old soul with keen insights beyond your years. I adore you!

celebrating matthias {twelve!}-02celebrating matthias {twelve!}-09celebrating matthias {twelve!}-07celebrating matthias {twelve!}-04 celebrating matthias {twelve!}-05celebrating matthias {twelve!}-03celebrating matthias {twelve!}-08celebrating matthias {twelve!}-01

Happy birthday, Matthias! We have so many reasons to celebrate you–and your birthday is a perfect opportunity! I can’t wait to have new adventures with you this year. And may the force be with you.

Share:

how we created the ‘cross of light’ ornament {matthias remarkable imagination}

christmas, inspiration, matthias By November 18, 2015 3 Comments

Months ago, I was working on our Christmas ornaments and I asked Matthias if he would like to design one. At eleven years old he draws and sketches all the time–I mean, he literally carries his drawing pad and pencil case everywhere. And this is nothing new–he’s been drawing since he was three or four years old. I thought an ornament would be such a fun gift for aunties, uncles and grandparents. I asked him to draw whatever he wanted and planned to create the ornament from his drawing. Take a look at what he came up with!

*Also, scroll down to the bottom to see our ornament special happening today!*

matthias cross of light ornament2-02

Matthias drew the cross himself, then from his drawing, together, we created the ‘cross of light’ ornament. It turned out so well!

matthias cross of light ornament2-03

I asked Matthias why he wanted to draw a cross for the ornament and he said, Christmas is about Jesus and the cross symbolizes Jesus. Beautiful!

matthias cross of light ornament2-04

The ‘cross of light’ ornament is finished with a sheet red ribbon and can be personalized on the back with a name or the year.

matthias cross of light ornament2-05

I love having Matthias use his talents and creativity to be part of the business. He loves to draw and sketch. This was a perfect opportunity to use his artwork in a new and different way. He inspires me!

matthias cross of light ornament2-06

All ornaments are buy two get one FREE today! Enter code ‘happytree’ at checkout. Yay! They’re the perfect gift for each kiddo, teachers and dear friends.

You can find the ‘cross of light’ ornament here. Click here to see all the 2015 ornaments.

Share:

art projects and letting it be imperfect

DIY, matthias By July 18, 2014 7 Comments

If you have been following along for a while, you know Matthias loves art. He is constantly drawing, sketching, planning and making lists. I love his creativity and I want to nurture it.

Meg did this awesome continuous line tutorial and I was so inspired! Watch her video too! I jumped into this project with Matthias and half way through ended up screaming at him. Ugh–what was supposed to fun went all wrong. I can’t even remember what made me so mad. I quickly apologized to him and was was forgiving. It took me a little longer to forgive myself. Being a mother is a process of growing, grieving, grace and forgiveness!

Isn’t his owl awesome?

I decided to try the same concept with a heart theme. You know I love hearts.

Next time we do an art project together I’m determined to stay patient. Sigh. Life is so imperfect–but there is beauty.

Share:

first day of school

david, matthias By August 24, 2012 20 Comments

These pictures were an attempt to document the boys’ first day of school. Um, yeah getting the three of us to look good in a photo was an impossible task–but these pics made me laugh out loud. And I figure, this is us and pretty much captures our crazy. And I love that.

David is offically an ‘upper grader’ now. He’s hanging with the big kids. I’m a nervous wreck! But it’s going to be great. Matthias loves his third grade teacher. It’s a new year. A fresh start.

We are so excited, how about you?

Share:

Eric Carle inspired Lorax project

DIY, matthias By March 15, 2012 13 Comments

After seeing The Lorax movie last weekend, Matthias and I decided to do an art project together. Well, he needed a little coaxing {he’s got strong opinions about what he wants to create} but after a few minutes he got on board.I had an idea to do something inspired by Eric Carle, I love his artwork, don’t you?

We started by painting a piece of paper completely orange. This would be used to cut out the shape of the Lorax.

We used watercolors for this project.

He was determined not to have any bits of white show through on his painted orange paper.

I also painted a piece of thick, white paper completely yellow–for the mustache and eyebrows.

While the painted papers dried, we worked on creating the background on a canvas. First Matthias sketched some truffula tree trunks.

To make the trunks look stripe-y we used water down black paint and then dabbed a napkin here and there on the trunk to soak up paint in certain spots. The truffula tufts were fun to paint in a swirly motion.

We drew a little dot above the top of the tree trunk and then painted swirly lines coming out from there until we had a nice fluffy tuft. The Lorax is cut out of the papers we covered with paint. I drew a pattern for us, but you could use a coloring sheet like the one found here for a pattern, too!

We each did our own project, but Matthias’ turned out way cuter than mine!

We are huge Dr. Seuss fans over here. For David’s 5th birthday party we had a Sneetches celebration.

Have you seen The Lorax?

Share:

a conversation with an artist {awesome Matthias}

family, inspiration, matthias By March 8, 2012 60 Comments

Matthias is very passionate about art. He’s 8 years old and spends at least a couple hours a day drawing, planning, researching and thinking about art. Of course, I love that my son is creative. I try to nurture that as much as possible by keeping supplies around and signing him up for art classes when possible. Today I’m sharing an interview with Matthias and getting his perspective on art and being a creative person.

LL: How long have you been an artist?

Matthias: I’d say ever since I was one year old.

LL: What are your favorite things to draw and paint?

Matthias: Oh, um, that depends. It depends on what I’m interested in–it could be power rangers or made up superheros. It really depends on what I’m interested in. Last Sunday I did an absolutely good job on a power ranger painting.

LL: Do you ever feel like you might run out of ideas? And if so, how do you get inspired?

Matthias: I don’t know but I think I still have a lot of good ideas. I get inspired from TV shows or a really cool toy or whatever. It comes from something else or my brain.

LL: What kind of art would you like to do when you grow up?

Matthias: I’d draw pictures and sell them for a few bucks. I can draw animals or superheros. I could paint paintings or illustrate books but I still need to learn a little about both of those things.

LL: What is the hardest part of being an artist?

Matthias: It might be that sometimes I have an idea and I have to think about if it’s appropriate. Once you make a decision, you just have to go for it. When you get older, you have to learn how to draw all parts of the body. The hardest part of the body to draw is the neck.

LL: Is there anything you really want to learn?

Matthias: Hmm, I want to learn how to make books. I would sell them for $5, $10 or $15 dollars.

LL: Any ideas on how art can make the world a better place?

Matthias: I could teach kids art and get more people interested in art.

LL: What else do you want people to know about you?

Matthias: I want people to know that I am really active and that sometimes I take my time on drawing a knight or king. When I read I get more ideas.

Matthias, that is awesome! Thank you for sharing with us about your art. You rock!

Share: