Monday, April 13, 2015

Wedding & Easter Weekend

Andrew's brother, Austin, got married Easter weekend. We left Jonah with my parents for his first overnight stay with us so far away and we took to the two big kids to Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas. It was absolutely beautiful and left me wishing MS had mountains.

We got back home the Saturday night before Easter at almost midnight. We spent the night with my parents and celebrated Easter the next day with family. We were obviously worn out by Sunday evening, but we had a very fulfilling weekend celebrating God and family--my two favorite blessings.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hannah's 4th Birthday Movie

I FINALLY finished her 4th birthday video 3 1/2 months late, but
better late than never. I went back through old home movies from the
time this little girl was so small and just cried. She's just so
precious and growing up so quickly. Watching her blossom into a little
girl is so bittersweet. I finished the video feeling so very blessed to
be her mama.

Without further ado....

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Life Update

It is 10:20 at night and my creativity juices ran out. At approximately 10am. But now seemed a good time to fill in some gaps in the kids' "memory blog posts" since the house is FINALLY quiet enough to hear myself think.

DREW: This kid is amazing. He is all boy. Loud and boisterous and absolutely joyful. He is quick to forgive, so very compassionate, giving of his blessings, watchful of his siblings, and not afraid to get dirty. He is my right hand some days and is more mature than he probably should be at age 6. He loves to play the Wii and Clash of Clans, play ANYTHING outside with a friend, ride his bike, pretend to shave, and help around the house. He can do an entire load of laundry without assistance (minus the soap) which is the reason we have clean underwear some days. (Fist bump to Drew.) He is such a breeze to teach. He currently has finished the Kindergarten and first grade handwriting books and is starting on second grade printing and is begging to learn cursive. He can spot an onomatopoeia, personification, and a simile super quickly. He can do math in his head faster than I can sometimes, and he has learned more in history this year than I learned in my college classes. Just tonight he asked to read his history lesson as a bedtime story. (Blow me away.) He can read just about anything these days. While school always has little challenges and bumps, this year has been terrific. We've learned together and fought through some math together and been creative in our learning. All side by side. I have LOVED being his teacher this year and watching the lightbulb click on when something finally clicked. He is superb kid. My word for him, without a doubt, is JOY.

HANNAH: My sweet little firecracker. She is all things girl, including equal parts cuddling and drama. Her heart is tender and she needs lots of affirmation when her heart is pricked. Drew is her best friend and she loves to play with him. But when she gets too hot/cold/tired/hungry, she is DONE. We joke that she gets "hangry" (Angry when she's hungry) just like her mama. (Not that I get roaring mad. Just....snippy.) She has surprised me this year with our schooling. She now likes to be at the table with us working on whatever we're working on. I bought her a Handwriting Without Tears book for preK-K and she is loving it. In two days she's done 28 pages. Yeah, wow. She absolutely is a sponge when it comes to our history lessons. Many times Drew will be unsure of the answer to the review question, but she can spit out the answer! She really, really loves learning, and that excites me! I really pray I fan that flame and don't squash her desire. She loves to pretend to be her favorite characters. For two weeks I was "Captain Barnacles" and she was "Dashy" from the Octonauts. Today I am "Donkey Kong" and she is "Diddy Kong." It's quite hilarious how many times she corrects me in a day as I call her "Hannah." She loves to cuddle under warm blankets, fall asleep with her Daddy, play the Wii with Drew, put lots of bubbles in her bath, play babies, dress up, watch Princesses, read books, and eat popcorn. We got her hair chopped off to her shoulders about a month ago and it is THE cutest thing. As the only other female in the family, she is absolutely PRECIOUS to me.

JONAH: My little daredevil! He doesn't talk a whole lot (says 13-15 words), but he understands a wealth of speech! He is a climber, scaler, jumper, runner, and finder of any liquid to play in. He can undo baby-proof medication caps, baby-proof door locks/covers, and frequently gets into the secured knife drawer. Yeah. It's no wonder he got stitches at 13 months. That was our warning sign! He is in pure toddler mode: cleaning out a drawer in 30 seconds, unrolling toilet paper rolls, and dumping out any container he finds. He keeps me on my toes ALL. DAY. LONG. And when he wakes up, I can't wait to run in and kiss his face off. He is equal parts daredevil, mess, and sweetness rolled into one little tornado. He LOVES to be outside and with his siblings. He's a mama's boy, hands down. Lover of fruit, cheese, milk, bathtime, blankie, climbing stairs, and trains. He is the reason I smile and cuddle in the day and sleep soundly at night!

Andrew and I will somehow celebrate 11 years of marriage in May. I still feel like I'm 20 years old and freshly married (until I hang out with 20 year olds....then I definitely feel 30). My love for him is rooted, strong, constant, and pure. He is my best friend, and I thank God all the time for the gift of our young love. He knows my highlight reels and the scenes I'd rather delete forever. He is true and devoted and level-headed, fun and a rock for our family. I love doing life with him and serving God as a team. He makes this ride worth it!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy 18 Months, Jonah!


I haven't written an updated blog on you in about 6 months, and I'm so sorry! I had great intentions. Really. But the house finally gets quiet at 10pm, and my brain is fried mush. Incapable of forming coherent sentences. Much less ones to go down in a baby book (er, blog).

So what about you?! We like to say you're a replica of Drew, only a climbing version. No kidding--you two are SO much alike. Maybe it's a boys verses girl thing, but I'm thinking it's something more. You love the washer and dryer (seriously--it's genetics), the vacuum, the mop--all cleaning related things like your brother.
I LOVE watching the two of you together. It's like you "get" each other in your little unspoken boy language. Y'all roughhouse and laugh at each other until you get the hiccups. He'll pull you around in a laundry basket or on a blanket, and you think it's the bee's knees. When you hear him coming down the stairs each morning, baby, you SPRINT to the gate. You two basically are crazy about each other.

Hannah really loves you, too. And you love yelling her name. fully realize that she is not much bigger than you are and that you can get away with more with her. So while you like her, you also like pulling her hair, pushing her, and pulling her clothes. It gets quite a rise out of her, and I think you secretly cackle like only a brother would. ;) She really is so sweet to you though, even though you don't always reciprocate. I have high hopes that with a little time, the two of you will be really close like Hannah & Drew are now.

Baby love, you are a CLIMBER. At 13 months old you climbed up Drew's bed, fell, and got 11 stitches. That was the day we learned you could climb. We've been frantically keeping up with you ever since. You scale the back of the couch, climb up our legs, shimmy to the top of the table, and zip up the stairs before we can turn around well. My favorite? When you reach the pinnacle of whatever mountain you're scaling, you start patting your hand over your mouth while you yell like a little Indian, as though you've just conquered a quest and you're giving a victory yell. That victory yell sends me RUNNING when I'm in another room. Drew and Hannah sometimes leave the stairs' gate open, and it keeps me on my toes!
Absolutely typical since about 13m old.
The very awful, several-thousands-of-dollars-fall battle wound the day after.

Around 15 months old (that's the magic age for toddlerhood to emerge), your little temper started rearing its head! If you are told "no," it's most likely that you'll fling yourself in the floor, scoot across on your stomach and potentially get carpet burn, flip over to whatever you know you're not supposed to have/do and immediately DO/GET it. Currently, it's Christmas tree ornaments and the plug for the Christmas lights. You run straight for it in anger as if to say, "I'll show you!" and then chunk it. So yeah, that's a lot of fun! :) We're working on patience and self control, and you're getting better. Some days.

You're a great eater. You eat just about anything and you can THROW DOWN some grub. You usually eat a decent amount more than Hannah at each meal. You each three meals a day plus an afternoon snack. You love grapes, cheese, yogurt, goldfish crackers, apples, green beans, corn on the cob, carrots, peas, bread, pizza, mac and cheese, turkey meat, spaghetti, lasagna, etc. Like I said, you're a great eater! You are STILL nursing twice a day. It wasn't my intention to nurse this long, but it's what works. You nurse at naptime and nighttime, but if I'm not here, you let Dad walk you to sleep after a couple of minutes. It works, so we press on.

Hannah was our talker. You--notsomuch. In the last 2-3 weeks you've started trying to finally talk more. Your favorite current words are Hannah, no, "is it," (where is it?), shoo-wee, now, and mama. You understand so much. You take things to people when asked, put things back where they belong when asked, head to the car when I tell you, and shimmy up into your highchair when I say, "Are you ready to eat?" And if I tell you we're going to check the clothes in the laundry room, you high tail it that way!

You loooooooove your mama! If you're slightly hurt, you're going to find mommy. Daddy says I coddle you a lot. That's probably true. But it's possible that you're my last baby, and as of now you ARE my baby, so I treat you that way. :) Experience has proven that the baby stage of wanting mama is quite short lived in the long run, so coddle I will!I spend a large portion of the day with you on my hip, usually pulling you out of whatever shenanigans you've gotten yourself into. ;)

You're currently 26.5 pounds, you wear a size 18-24 month clothes, size 5 diaper, and size 5 1/2 wide shoe. You absolutely hate shoes though, so we may not buy you anymore until you're 4.

You love: the laundry room, the pantry, the vacuum, the mop, pushing buttons, climbing, unrolling the toilet paper, riding in the car, being outside, playing in the potty, bathtime, taking your diaper off (especially if it's poopy. so much fun to clean up!).

You dislike: socks and shoes, footed pajamas (but I make you wear them anyway because few things are more precious), ketchup (you shudder), stopping in the car too long, mommy leaving the house (or going behind any closed door), and you simply are not crazy about a coat/jacket. (Yet another Drew-Jonah similarity!)

You had your first major sickness just a few weeks ago on Thanksgiving day--boo. You woke up Thanksgiving day with fever which later exploded into full-blown croup. You were PITIFUL. I could hear you breathing over the monitor, and I was paranoid you would be struggling to breathe and I wouldn't hear you. Daddy went and bought a humidifier for your room and he slept on the couch with the monitor next to his face. The next morning I left at 5 to go black friday shopping with jaja and kacie, but I was pretty miserable until you woke up and headed to the pediatrician. A few minutes after oral steroids and you were much, much better. I really felt like someone had lifted the weight of the world off my shoulders. Sickness is no fun, but when my baby's airway starts getting compromised, it's scary.

You are a fun, sweet, lovable boy, Jonah! You are full of spunk and joy and you are the first reason I smile so many days when I walk in your room to get you out of your crib. I know God is going to grow me through you and he's going to use you for great, great things in His kingdom! I thank Him so much for gifting you to me and Daddy. We love you to the moon and back!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Why This SAHM Gig is the Hardest Thing I've Ever Done

I remember one horrendous night in the emergency room as I worked a tough shift as an RN. I had an active GI bleeder in room 7 whose blood pressure was dropping, a former OBGYN doctor in room 11A who was on an IV for his blood pressure, and it was CRAZY sporadic, and an active heart attack patient who was handed to me as I stood with a gaping mouth. I really felt like someone might not live that night because I didn't have enough hands, feet, and brains to care for everyone. Being an RN was so rewarding, but the bathroom breaks were few and far between and my dinner was chewed over an hour interval as I sprinted up and down the halls, trying to swallow before opening the patient's room door. But when the job was done at 7am, I got to go home. Once those tasks were checked off, and I handed my patients off to the next brave nurse, I clocked out. Physically. Mentally.

As difficult as that job was for three nights a week, this job as a stay at home mom is so much harder. Why? I have multiple bathroom breaks and I get to sit down to eat (sometimes). For a while I thought it was because of the decreased social interaction with other adults. Then I added in the lack of change of scenery. The same four walls can start closing in on you. Let's be honest: the diapers were in both places, so that wasn't the culprit.

Almost 6 years into this motherhood gig, and I think I've put my finger on a major portion of it for myself. Being a full time mom means my kids see me at my best and my worst--every single day. I can't call in sick when I need a mental or physical health day or try lying low at work when I'm in a funk. I'm the center of their world every waking morning, no matter my disposition. I can't hide my selfishness, my bad attitudes, my desire to be left alone on "off days." I am an open book to them. There is no mask I can wear to show them just the good side of me. You can't pretend all the time. So I'm raw. I'm unedited. I'm fully flawed. I'm in their sight all day. Almost every mistake.

I'm also their teacher of Jesus.

And as opposite as those two roles feel, God intends that for good. It's not a mistake in His design. He intends that to mesh beautifully, for the entire journey to point to him. Too often I've felt the pressure for it to point to me. My goodness. No weaknesses. Strive for perfection. That burden grows heavy quickly. My bones ache from the weariness of that impossible load. You can never win when you run the race of pseudo-perfection. Our humanness contradicts it. It only ends in a beating of self when the sun goes down. Satan creeps in and whispers, "You screwed up- again. You'll never get this right. How in the world did God pick you? You're going to mess these kids up." And the only remedy for that kind of poison going in your ear is to ingest the anecdote of the voice of truth. It means you have to be actively IN the truth, listening for God's voice of validation and worth and redeeming grace. He reveals to you his upside down ways. How he can use a flawed woman who does the same thing every single day. The mama who thinks, "Does what I do really even matter?" And he shows you how he's using your very role to change the world. To change the kingdom.

It's in these days that I've come to realize that my goal for my kids isn't to hear them say, "My mom was a great mom because she had it all together. She never got mad, snapped, or had a bad attitude," but for them to say, "My mom was a great mom because she pointed us to Jesus, in the good and the bad. I'm more like Jesus because of her."

If I inadvertently hold up some pseudo perfection for them to attempt to achieve, they'll feel incompetent to stand after each defeating day. But, if in my mistakes, I am truly authentic to them, if I point them to the one who makes us stand from our battered knees in His glory and washes us anew, then their confidence and their worth is found where it should be. Their model is Jesus. Not their mom. And the glory is where it should be, and I've been used for the cause of Christ inside these four small walls. And His mark on me makes me a good mom. And that's where I can rest my weary soul.

Happy 4th Birthday, Hannah!

My dearest Hannah,

I remember the day we found out you were a girl. I was SO excited lying on that ultrasound table that I started crying.

A girl to play dollhouse and babies with?!

 A little girl to dress up in frills and pink?!

It has been everything I dreamed plus so much more. In the last year (really the last couple of months) you've come into your princess phase. You wear your pink princess dress, complete with jewelry, crown, and disney heels all around the house. You live in your princess pajamas and love anything sparkly. You have 6-7 babies that go with you anywhere we go. If you see me getting ready you'll always say, "Mommy, if you want any of your kids to go with  you to the store, just ask me, and I'll go." You love being my shopping buddy, and I really enjoy your company.
Fearlessly riding rides at Six Flags!

I love this age! You have a sweet innocence, and you think mommy hung the moon. (I dread the day I burst that bubble for you!)  We have a sweet relationship blooming that leaves me so hungry for the friendship that will come. I thank God for you (and your brothers, of course!) so often. You have been the perfect spot of brightness and sweetness in our family. God knew you would balance our family beautifully.

But let's be honest. Girl, you have SPUNK. You get a lot of it from your BFF and partner in crime, "Drew Man." You love to laugh and rough-house a little, just not as much as the boys...and with less intensity. Too much rowdy wrestling sends you whining to mama! With all the princess stuff you have going on, you still have a wild side. Case in point: you want a TOOT MACHINE for Christmas. I die. I die.
10pm. You were supposed to be asleep, but instead had your PJs stuffed with blankets!

You've surprised me so much this year with how much you've learned through Drew's schooling. You enjoy trying to write your letters and sometimes you answer questions from our history and science lessons that Drew can't answer. You're a smart cookie!

You are our cuddler! You especially love for someone to fall asleep with you at night, namely Daddy. :) He loves it and I often have to come pry him out of the bed after you're both snoozing away. Of course, piled in the bed are your 5-6 blankets plus your 7+ babies! There's not much room for Daddy to stay all night!

This year for your birthday we ate breakfast in our decorated kitchen, met Daddy for lunch at Logan's--your choice, and then went to Kids Only Gym. For dinner you got to pick again. You wanted Velveeta mac and cheese. No other kind would do. What a birthday dinner, huh?! But you were happy! We had red velvet cupcakes and sang, which you loved. :)
We had your friend party a couple of weeks before which was a Donuts and PJs theme. You were SO proud of all the decorations and excited to have your first friend party. You had a great time! (A good thing because Daddy and I were at the building until after midnight the night before, prepping!) We got you the new princess gown and slippers you wore plus the ariel baby doll you'd been (not) patiently waiting on. You were SOOOO glad to get your Ariel baby. didn't have enough babies in your bed already.



Favorite foods: watermelon, apples, bananas, any type of nut, green beans, "soft chicken" (aka chicken in the crock pot), spaghetti, BUTTER (you lick it off your bread), ice cream, french fries, apple pie, and gum.

Favorite activities: playing Super Mario World with Drew and Daddy, taking a bubble bath, running errands with mommy, playing kitty, playing babies, playing ABC mouse, playing with Jonah, swinging outside, playing in sand and/or mud, and riding bikes. You also LOVE going to spend the night with Deda, Grammy, and Jaja and Papaw. You rarely get homesick, but are very glad to be home when you come running to me!

Little girl, I am blessed by you every day! This next year will be so much fun and I can't wait to see all the great plans God has laid out for you. You are precious to me and Daddy, but are somehow worth so. much. more. to God. We love you to the moon and back!


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