Liam Brave, Age 3

How is it you are 3?  Although, there are days, I could swear you are 63.  You are such an old soul Liam Brave.  A child’s heart happily coupled with an old soul, there could not be a more perfect being.  Although, I am the one that should be leading the way, dear one, I am certain that there are days that you are guiding my way.

+first things first in the morning and for you it is Peppa Pig
+ you are still trying to get ahold of the grownies coffee any chance you get
+ you always say, “mommy, you make me happy”  and my heart melts
+for lunch its peanut butter and jelly
+you are such a good little swimmer + love going to lessons each week
+this past summer was spent driving the John Deere and you are quite the driver
+every night at dinner you declare, “this is the best dinner I’ve ever had.”
+you just moved out of your crib + into the bunky beds (as you call them) with Luke
+when you grow up you are going to be a doctor and take care of us all
+we have a little song, “there once was a man named mr. poop, mr. poop, mr, poop…”
+you’re favorite book is The Gruffalo (and I like that one very much, too)
+you can sing every word to “A You’re Adorable” and I’m amazed each and every time
+to you an apple is an “un pomme”
+giraffe is still your favorite and I know he always will be
+one day I will take you to D’Ork (New York) with me + we will have the best of times

I know, certainly, that without you I’d be lost.  You are a package of perfect sent from heaven above.  I wonder if one day when you are older you will remember all of our little grown-up conversations.  If for some reason you should forget (which I doubt with that miraculous little memory of yours) then I will be there to tell you the stories and remind you of our days.  Of how, when I would be losing my cool, over the stupidest thing, you would grab my hand and say, “I love you mom.  It’s Ok, my mom.”  And suddenly, it was all OK.  It is all OK….because I have you.  Brave, when the day comes when things seem overwhelming, too much, upsetting, or just bleak, I will be be there, grabbing your hand and saying, “I love you, Liam.  It’s OK.”

Happy Birthday, Liam Brave, age 3.


Liam Brave, Age 8

There are some things people do not tell you about being a mother. And then there are the things they tell you over and over again . . .

I lost track of how many times other’s have told me that “it all goes so fast.” Sometimes I would just tune it out, because while you are in the thick of it–the diapers, the tears, tantrums, and bags under your eyes it’s easy to want it to go fast. I felt guilty for feeling these feelings, but they were there and so I faced them. I felt the glorious weight of two babies–one on each hip. It was a constant tip of the scales from high to low and low to high. Sleep deprivation, of course, having much to do with it.

But one day I caught the words my friend was saying….”The days are long, but the years are short.” Catchy, I thought. But soon enough I knew.

I know.

The diapers are gone. The kids are in school. And, now, I’d like to freeze time.

But it’s a slippery thing, time. It ticks and tocks and never stops–not even for sleep.

I want to freeze time, Liam Brave. You’ve just turned eight (I can hardly type e.i.g.h.t.) and I’m stumped on that one.



You’ve always been an old soul (I mean what kid is caught reading the paper in the back of the car on vacation? I think I might know one other person that could have been a kid like this). Your mind, compassion, empathy, and understanding always exceeding your years. But now, your legs are catching up. So quickly, that your pants can’t keep up, I might add.

I know we’ve got time. I mean you are in 2nd grade, right? But I’ve been here before. Two times to be exact. It’s hard to remember your sister in second grade and it seems like just yesterday that Lukie was in the same classroom you sit in today. Time is always on the move. And because it is….I like to freeze frame what I can. Freeze frame who you are at this moment in time. Because you will change. You will grow. You will not always like what you like now. You will not always say what you say or think what you think. But you will want to remember. And you will want to return. You will want to find the pattern of who you have always been. Let me help you with that.

+ You instantly pick up lyrics. You are our second little singer. I think Charlie Puth’s “Attention” just might be your favorite song. Or is it that Shawn Mendes one?
+ You actually enjoy reading, now. Two years ago it made you cry and now you ask to sneak my book light into your bed at night. Of course, I let you because–what could be better than reading a book in bed?
+ If anyone (but me) touches your food or even looks too closely at it, you say…”I’m not eating it!!!”
+ You break into an English accent at random times, like me. Ello, Panuchio. I’m still now sure where Panuchio came from.
+ I think Turkey meatloaf might be your new fave dinner? But it’s probably Spaghetti.
+ Current show: Thunderman’s
+ English tea, with milk, before bed is becoming a ritual.
+ Lino’s pizza makes you puke (I hope you grow out of this).
+ During the letter game you used words like “Distastic” which I can only assume means “not fantastic,” and “dislikeful.”
+ You love to play chess and taught me to play checkers (Crazy your 40-year-old mom didn’t know how to play but it was worth the wait for you to teach me).
+ You love going to the trampoline park and can now do a flip into the foam pit.
+ You like to read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and Roald Dahl too (Hallelujah). Reading The Twits together was a dream come true.
+ You caught a fly ball during a baseball game this summer.
+ You are obsessed with Steph Curry and the Warriors. You said you would like your name to be changed to Wardell (Steph Curry’s real name). This makes me giggle.
+ You understand. Sometimes with your eyes. Sometimes with your words. Always with your heart.

You are a most unique soul, Bravey. There is something so very special about you and I get to unwrap that gift every day.

I love you always,

Mom xo


more birthday posts here.


liam brave, age 4

liam brave age 4

liam brave age 4 liam brave age 4

liam brave age 4

four.  i’m not sure about four.  four is that year where munchkins turn to (little) men.  somewhere in the year of four, you go to bed one night a baby, and wake up the next morning a boy.  and, the thing is, you never really know which night that might be.  you, though, liam have always been somewhat of a munchkin and a man.  my old soul. words of wisdom, kindness and understanding, only known by those who have lived life, seem to float out with ease in a mini pitch.  while, i know your voice will change with age, i pray your tone never will.

+you’re favorite food is spaghetti and pepperoni pizza, besides chocolate, of course.
+you ask if everything has coconut in it (which you are very against).
+all you seem to talk about these days are four wheelers.
+you say the most hilarious things like”you just got owned like a dog dog on a bun with mustard.”
and you tell me, “i’ll marry you everyday, cause your my wife.” #liambravesays
+you make sure we never miss “best part + and worst part of the day” at dinnertime.  and, everyday your answer is :  “the best part of my day was going to gommy’s house” and if you haven’t been to her house, than the worst part of your day, obviously, is “i didn’t get to go to gommy’s house + ride 4 wheelers.”
+you’ve started growling like a cheetah, which actually sounds more like a snake hiss.  i’m not sure?  but, it is your favorite response when asked a question.
+you ask me if you can pray for me, if i’m having a hard day.
+you’re favorite show at the moment is peter rabbit (i love this)
+you’re very insistent on picking out your own clothes, more particular than most girls, and you always want to wear jeans and your tiger shirt.  or, anything that you think makes you look like a worker (as you say).
+you learned to jump off the diving board + swim without water wings this summer.
+you are slightly obsessed with duck dynasty + have some how picked up some sort of twang accent.  i’m puzzled.
+you love going to chicago.  i think you will be my little traveler.
+you think your the boss (you kind of are) and you have no problem speaking for our entire family (like when the fireman came to our house – burnt food – and you answered the door and proceeded to introduce the entire family to the fire-chief).
+this year you asked santa for shoes + a stuffed animal reindeer.
+you’re favorite book is iggy peck architect.

bravey, although you are sandwiched in the middle, i hope you know how much you stand out.  you are one of a kind.  a kind that oozes kindness and curiosity, which makes for the best personality.  you’re little arms uplift my tired ones and your little prayers help me to have big faith.  i hope you will grow to know that you can always count on my arms and prayers too.  lets always offer this to each other.

happy birthday, liam brave, age 4.

more birthday posts here.


Poop Sausage (and Chocolate Sandwiches)

Did you know that in France kids have their very own swear word that is actually an ok, or shall I say, approved swear?  caca boudin (pronounced caca – buddah) which roughly translates to, yes, you guessed it, POOP SAUSAGE.  I’m not afraid to admit to you that as 30 something grown girl I found this amusing myself.  What I don’t want to admit is that I shared this unnecessary information with my kids.  It turns out poop sausage has quite a ring to it and is now on constant repeat between my 3 talking children.  Although, I give Liam Brave the award for saying it with the most conviction and enthusiasm.

Now, if you are wondering where I happened upon this French fact it is from the book Bringing Up Bebe, which this post is really all about.  I told you awhile back that I was reading it and quite enjoying it.  There has been a lot of buzz about this book as of late and there is good reason why.  It’s a good book.  I only wished I would have read it 9 years and 4 kids ago.  If your a new mom or soon to be mom, get it.  If your kids are still trainable (meaning not yet teenagers-ha) than I still recommend the book.

Yes, I admit I am a full on Francophile but truly the book is well written, the culture fascinating and the pointers are worthy of implementing.  I’m not saying the French do everything better but I am saying they do a lot of things right and author Pamela Druckerman (an American mom, raising her kids in France) communicates the differences between raising children the French way and the American way in a very common sensical and humorous way.  I’m pretty certain you will like this book if; you like learning about different cultures, you are interested in different parenting techniques, you like good writing, you wish you lived in France (oh wait that is me), you want to raise decent little human beings.

The way of thinking in this book, or shall I say, the French way of raising kids, is honestly, a bit of the old fashioned way.  It’s a lot of common sense based theories, really.  Things that perhaps, if they were presented in a book here (America) would likely be looked down upon because they don’t give the children extreme amounts of freedom of choice or are not modern and new.  But since these theories are French than they are much more acceptable and, “oui, tré chic!”  I personally resonated with much of the book as my parenting style is a little more old fashioned on many a matters.

Here are a few of my favorite take aways from the book that are so worth sharing:

BONJOUR– saying bonjour / hello is very important,  more important than the “please and thank you.”  You are acknowledging another person (likely an adult) and also that children are people too (this is a big one that I want to work on.  I always want my children to give a polite hello and acknowledge a guest or individuals we come in contact with and I think the idea of children being able to have a conversation with an adult is an important one.  You don’t see much of that these days).

CADRE – This is a term that describes the French parenting ideal.  The whole concept of setting limits and parameters for little ones but within those limits freedom is given.  Although French parents are very serious about their “No’s” (in fact, they even make their “No’s” stronger) they also believe in saying yes, most of time.  You can’t forbid everything.  Interesting, as I have been thinking a lot on the idea of saying “yes,” more.

GOÛTER – An afternoon snack for kids eaten around 4:30.  The only snack of the day.  Yes, you read right….One snack!  This concept was shocking but also mesmerizing as mine try to graze all day long.  I’m cutting back to two snacks.  I’d try one, maybe if we actually lived in France.  And a few other interesting facts on food, starting with my favorite…chocolate is basically another food group and “a nutritional fixture rather than a forbidden treat,” writes Druckerman.  I knew I wasn’t alone in this belief.  In fact, a chocolate sandwich, as in a baguette with a piece of dark chocolate in the center, is sometimes eaten for breakfast and is a classic French goûter.  So many other great points on eating (this is what the French are all about and thus many a more bits you will want to read, like the fact that tasting everything is more important than eating everything).

Overall the French may come across as more strict.  I read many a things like:

*Not everything needs an explanation (thank God because it’s tiring trying to explain “why” all of the time.  I guess “because I said so” isn’t such a bad thing)
*Kids need limits (but of course they need their freedom too–within those limits)
*They don’t spare their kids from every misery.  It will on set them up for great discomfort later in life.  Getting a shot at the doctor is just a regular part of life and should be treated that way.
*Don’t try to resolve everything for children.  Let them work things out on their own…maybe even a fight out on the playground …le gasp!

While some might view some of these ideas as controlling (and the many more discussed in the book), I found them anything but.  In fact, I found them somewhat freeing.

And I also found French mom’s to be fascinating.  I’m far from French in these areas but I feel challenged in all of the right ways.

You may want to know that:

– The ideal Parisian woman is clam, discrett, a bit remote, and extremely decisive.
– “American women typically demonstrate our commitment by worrying and showing how much we are willing to sacrifice while Frenchwomen signal their commitment by projecting calm and flaunting the fact they haven’t renounced pleasure.”
-French women don’t do guilt – in fact, they consider it unhealthy.  They reassure each other with the fact that the perfect mother doesn’t exist.  (Now this is fascinating to me.  My dad always told me that guys don’t do guilt but I could never even fathom a women not doing guilt, let alone a mother. I mean guilt is my middle name.  Perhaps, the reassurance from other women plays a big part in this guilt free version of motherhood?)
-They don’t smother their children.  They believe it is unhealthy for mothers and children to spend all of their time together.
-Children do not run their parents lives.  French mom’s sit and talk at the park while the kids play on their own and French parents enjoy meals and conversation during the meal.  You don’t give up your self as a person and individual.

There are so many other points, ideas, thoughts and takeaways that are worth discussing.  I just wanted to give you a glimpse and share a few things that really resonated with me and that I’d like to implement with my, not so little, family.

So tell me, have you read Bringing Up Bebe?  What did you find most fascinating?  You’re favorite takeaway?  And if you haven’t read the book, tell me, do you find the above as informative and as interesting as I do?

P.S.  If you want to make your own chocolate sandwich I highly suggest you check this out.

P.P.S. Do not tell your kids about caca boudin a.k.a. poop sausage

image tartlette flickr 



Rocco, Age 1

One.  They say it is the longest short year there is.  I know this to be true from 3 other little la la’s but with you, Rocco, its been nothing short of too fast.  If I really think about you being one today, my heart kind of aches a little.

+You easy going.  I’m not sure if it is because you have to be (with 3 olders in front of you) or if that is just who you are?
+You have the sweetest little lips that form the prettiest little big smile that I ever did see (don’t tell the others).
+You seem to have patience, like an old soul, you are.  Thank you for making up for my impatience.
+You say “hi” over and over again, with the cutest of waves.
+You broke the mold and grew straight blonde locks.
+You are very serious about your food and no matter how many new tastes I offer, for now, you only prefer, bread, yogurt, veggie chips, crackers + bananas.
+When I give you your binky at night you, you look for any extras and trade it out for the one I gave you.
+You just started crawling (which is a-ok, by me) and you move in a very steady, thought out kind of way (slightly different from LB who crawled with one leg like a little monkey).
+You are a crumb picker at his best.  You can track down the tiniest piece of something, a whole room away, and then attempt to eat it.  Who knows what has made its way to your stomach so far.
+You love going on walks with me.  You and I are walking partners, indeed.
+You have a scrunchy smile, where you wrinkle your nose + squint your eyes.  You’ve been doing this from the start.
+You are a good little sleeper and for that I thank God!
+So far your words are dog, hi, and Ella.
+You are 22 pounds of pure baby goodness…rippled legs, wrist rolls, dimples and baby cleavage all very appetizing.
+You are such a honey.  So much so, that I really want another.  But I can’t imagine one any sweeter than you.  You are the perfect ending.  The icing on the cake.

Your face lights up the room.  It lights up our house.  Dear boy, it lights up my life.  You know the song, You are my sunshine, my only sunshine?  Perhaps over sang, yes. But the bit about you make me happy when skies are gray…..I’ve never known it to be truer, dear one.  Your name means rest and that you are.  Named on a day and in a time in our lives where rest was not likely in more ways than one.  And, true to your name, you have been the rest that our tired hearts have needed.  Today my heart is still tired and my mind and body weary but when I gaze upon your sweet face little one, I find the rest that I need.  And I hope that, one day, when you find yourself in a time that is tiring, a day or even a season that makes you weary, that you can find the rest that you need in me.  We will always be each others home.  I love you Rockwell Royal and I thank my giving God for you!

Wonder why we chose the name Rockwell Royal? It’s all over here along with some really cute newborn pictures.

Trina McNeilly

Trina McNeilly is a writer and founder of La La Lovely, where she has been blogging for nearly a decade. With an eye for beauty, Trina finds inspiration in styled spaces, other times in the broken places and everywhere in between. Through soulful writing in the voice of a trusted friend she shares her finds and all about being found.

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