Monday, December 17, 2012

This is it.

Jay's First Day of 1st Grade
It took two days to hit me.  I had felt shock, fear, gratitude, worry...It took two days to feel genuinely SAD.  

Our children's program was yesterday.  It was on my mind as the kids came in.  I teared up as they sang song after song about Jesus's birth. 

The raw sadness hit when they left the stage.  Empty chairs. 18 empty chairs in the front row.  Mentally I add two more chairs.  

Empty chairs...where smiling faces had just been.

20 kids that had most likely been practicing for their own Christmas program.

20 kids, just like these joyful kids in front of me, singing about Jesus and LOVE.

20 kids that had done nothing wrong.

20 kids that have parents who will have a lasting image of a little LLBean bookbag getting smaller and smaller, then disappearing behind closed doors.

I'm holding my own tiny Lucy in my arms as the tears fall.  Her innocent smile.  Her whole life ahead of her.  

I look beside me at Justin holding my sweet Betsy.  She's so happy...feeling all fancy in her new polka dot tights.  I look over to my left and I see my first born sitting with his group, surrounded by his friends.  Adorable little faces...all dressed in their Christmas program best...little friends I'm thankful to have grown closer to in K Sunday School and VBS.  He smiles and waves. The tears keep falling.

20 chairs will be empty in their church. 
An entire classroom will be empty in their school. 

A little voice. "Mommy, why are you crying?"  It makes me cry harder to know that I can't even tell her why I'm crying because the sins of that day are too horrific.  I just say, "Because I just love you so much and am so proud of you."

Carefully selected gifts this Christmas that will be given away, unopened by their intended recipient.  Empty stockings.

Empty chairs at the dinner table.

Empty beds filled with loveys and blankies and favorite stuffed animals.

Already printed Christmas cards that will be a lasting eerie image of the final family picture.

Parents who will ask "Why?". 

Parents, just like me, who will have regrets.  Maybe one of them missed eating lunch the day before because they were too busy.  Maybe one of them was too tired to read "one more book" the night before.  Maybe one of them had a late dinner or holiday party and missed the bedtime routine.  Maybe one of them had an argument at breakfast.  Maybe one of them forgot to kiss and hug their sweet child as they got out of the car because they were on their stupid iphone.

Maybe one of them was so distracted on the ride to school that for the life of them they cannot remember the last words their child said to them...they can't remember the last words they said to their child.

Parents who will want to know that their child knew:
I pray for these families.  I pray for my own children.  I read Stormie during this storm.

Empty chairs.

This tragedy has made me pause.  It's made me reflect on my day to day.  Am I living with no regrets?  Am I being intentional about every moment?  Do I deliberately Choose to Love?  Do I talk to God enough?  Do I pray that He will be involved in every facet of my life, every moment of my day?
We are only given one life and every day is a gift. 

"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16

May God bless the families of Newtown with peace this Christmas.  After all, its no secret that kids LOVE a party and this Christmas I know one classroom of sweet, sweet children that is will be attending one HECK of a birthday party.
Through my tears, that makes me smile.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rub 'n Buff Redo (Take One)...

Labor Day weekend we bought a new couch.  You know how when you get one new thing it sparks change in the entire room?  I love that!

I moved the dining room rug to the living room, got rid of the living room rug, moved a table, and got rid of a table.  Lots of change!

That said, I have a little cabinet in my foyer that was my Me-Me's and the handles on it were broken.  I had taken several of the broken handles off and it has been bare for years.  I periodically have looked for replacements, but have had no luck.  I didn't want to settle for something I didn't love, so I've just waited.

Well, I was in Hobby Lobby last week picking up some mats I had cut and looking for Rub 'n Buff.  (My friend Missy had suggested this metallic rub for a mirror that I found at a yard sale.  It's for our master, but needs a little "umph".  More on that little project later.)

While in Hobby Lobby I looked through their handles and found these:

The color made them too "country" for me, but with Rub 'n Buff already in hand, I saw potential.  Anthropologie potential.

I really love the way they turned out.  I think they are Anthropogie-esque AND at a price of $4.50 each instead of $17+. 

Handles...In Progress.

Now I think she needs a little paint...kinda like new earrings sometimes call for a new dress!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mommy is not perfect.

At LEAST once a week I lose it...Really lose it.  An example of a "lose it" moment:

We are on our way out the door (not late yet) and I have calmly stated, "Put your shoes on" 18,000 times as I gather my all my crap together.  As as I'm FINALLY ready to walk out the door feet are bare.  "Losing it" sounds something like this:
This rant ends with me slamming the door to the garage, loading up my crap and starting the car.  My little ducklings stop whatever non-shoe-putting-on activity that they were doing (probably something messy that I will be cleaning up later) and they are all business getting in the car.  We ride in silence.

I seethe in silence for the next five minutes.  My jaw hurts from where I have it clenched.  Although in the moment I felt 100% justified..."I just wasn't being HEARD!", about 5 minutes later the Holy Spirit shows up and I feel really crummy.  I beat myself up and think about how childish it was for me to throw a tantrum and wonder why I can't "Choose to Love" in every moment of our day.  And my two little ducklings are very quiet and very obedient and it is eerie and weird and it makes me feel even worse.

Just like when JB and I fuss, I know I'll feel crummy until we patch things up, so that's when I put on my mommy-panties and apologize.

"Listen you two, I'm sorry that I yelled.  I love you both SO much, but I just get SO frustrated when I ask y'all to do something and no one listens to me.  Mommy works hard to get us where we need to be and I need y'all to help me by being good listeners.  Would you feel angry if you wanted me to listen to you and I wouldn't? (They nod.)  I lost my temper and the way I yelled was not loving at ALL.  Will you forgive me?"

And, just like our loving Father, they do.  They always do.  And when that thick cloud that was hanging over us all lifts, I'm so thankful and glad that I asked.  Mommy is NOT perfect, but she always loves her babies.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

To Expectant Mothers...

I absolutely LOVE the post To Expectant Mothers:  A Warning over at Power of Moms.  I have to say that all of the things Becky talks about are SO true...even after your third child.

We love to laugh at Lucy's sweet faces she makes.  We ooo and ahh over every little sweet grunt and coo she makes...awake or asleep.

I take her picture ALL DAY LONG.  It's just so EASY with my iphone...and I agree with Becky that even though I take a ton, none can capture how stinkin' cute she really is.

I love how JB interacts with our newborns.  He loves to cuddle with them.  He speaks so sweetly to them.  They sleep on his chest every evening. he's a master burper!

I love watching Jay and Betsy and how they mimick us.  Every day their first question is "Where's Lucy?"...I love that.

I snuggle and sniff and rub her fuzzy head and give her kisses on her sweet neck and cheeks until she's annoyed.  Jay loves to do this too.  (JB tells us to quit, but we can't help it.)  I love the smell of her breath and her little wrinkled neck.

When I think of her growing up I want to cry.  When I think of "unloved" babies I want to cry.  Everytime she grows out of a sweet little outfit I want to cry.


Just Stay Little.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I am easily influenced.

A few years back a good friend told me I was "easily influenced".  At the time it bugged me and I dwelled on those two words for a long time.  You know how once you "name" something it really becomes noticeable and it's in the back of your mind nagging you?

Then something beautiful happened.  One day instead of those words nagging me I just went ahead and owned them...because they were true.  I AM easily influenced.  Let me tell ya, this was a wonderful feeling and it led me to exploring this statement about myself.  I'm a pleaser.  My "love language" is words of affirmation.  Knowing that I am easily influenced helps me to be aware that I need to surround myself with positive influences (daily prayer, good friends, Bible study groups, excellent parenting books/resources/blogs, etc.)  Over the past few years, being aware of that one simple statement has helped me GROW in my faith, friendships and parenting.

Personalities are formed at such an early age.  As my kids get older I am learning that if I observe what "makes them tick," I can parent them better.  Not only can I be better at "filling their love tanks", I can help them "name" qualities they have that we will have to nurture as they get older.  This is SO important because a quality (ie. easily influenced) can certainly be "fed" in healthy ways, but it can also be "fed" in very unhealthy ways.

Betsy is a "pleaser" for sure.  Sometimes it is a subtle "Do you like how I am listening Mommy?" and sometimes it is way more obvious.  Last night she is sitting beside me on the couch and hollers into the kitchen to JB, "Daddy, I really love this football game!"  Then she turns and whispers in my ear, "I really don't like football.  I'm just saying that because I know it makes Daddy happy."

I busted out laughing.  I'm telling you what, she's hysterical.  So many things about her are wise beyond her years and she has a VERY complex personality for a four year old.  I know that the more I observe and learn about her, the more I can help her GROW.  I'm up for the challenge!

PS:  I'm noticing WAY too many quotations here...I'm picturing myself as Chris Farley (SNL skit) flying into the air!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Betsy's Mother's Day Poem...

My video never loaded, maybe it was too big.  Here is a link that her school sent me.  I must say that the poem selection for her was perfect.  She is the queen of "dirty little marks" and is VERY familiar with The Magic Eraser.

Lake Fun...

We bought a boat in March.  We love it!  It's such a great place for us to spend time together as a family.  We were saying the other day that we shouldn't have waited this long.  I'm glad we did though because the wait makes us appreciate our new toy all the more!

I'm very patriotic.  "The Fourth" has always been my favorite holiday...even before I had a July 4th baby.  Growing up, our family vacations were always during that week and I've been blessed to see Independence Day celebrations in most of America's greatest cities.  I get goosebumps during The Star Spangled Banner, tear up when the choir sings patriotic songs at church and LOVE a red/white/blue color combination.  That being said...One of my favorite things I've noticed about being out on the lake is the patriotism.  Whether on boats or on lake houses there are American flags everywhere!  I think it is because there is something about being so small and riding around in that big water, the wind blowing your hair, God's beauty all around you...You feel truly free.  That feeling of freedom makes me thankful and proud to live in America.

These three are pretty thankful too!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Me and You...

Thought I'd start off with some tears in case you haven't seen this one.  This preggo mom about lost it!

sniff, sniff...So...I had a big day Friday...I was fortunate to attend two very special Mother's Day programs.

Jay's class sang a really sweet song and each of the children read a paragraph they wrote about why they love their mom.

One thing I found interesting was that not a SINGLE child said they loved their mom because she BUYS them THINGS, takes them on TRIPS, DRAGS them to multiple organized sports...etc.  I did a similar exercise with Jay's Sunday School class yesterday, and the result was the same.

All of the responses were ACTS of love...and many of the boys responses were related to food (I guess "the way to a man's heart"...starts early!).  Examples...
-I love my mom because she plays games with me.
-I love when my mom spends time with me at the zoo.
-I love when my mom rides bikes with me.
-I love my mom when she makes me macaroni and cheese...or "steak, broccoli and chicken"...or spaghetti.
-I love my mom because she reads books to me.
-I love when my mom paints my nails.
-I love when my mom holds me and hugs me when I'm hurt...

As mothers, the responses of these little people show us that all the "extras" that we THINK may matter to our little ones really don't.  When it comes down to it they just want US.  Like newborns...what matters to them is for us to spend time with them, feed them, comfort them, hold them and love them.  

It's that simple.

I have heard many wonderful things about the "Mother's Day Tea" at Montessori schools.  It is a really BIG deal and a very special event for the children and the mothers.  Usually it is for 5 year olds (I was very disappointed when Jay didn't get to do one last year since he wasn't 5 on Mother's Day).  At Betsy's new school there are only a few 5 year olds, so the 4 and 5 year olds got to participate.

It was yet another example that if you expect more out of your children, they will EXCEED your expectations.

Betsy met me at the door and led me to my table.  The children decorated and set the tables all on their own.

The table looked beautiful! 

The children made our plates and served us.

After bringing our food.  They poured our tea, complete with sugar and cream!

They sang several cute songs and then recited long poems in pairs (Will try to upload Betsy's in the next post).  The finale was them singing Kenny Chesney's "Me and You", with their little thumbs pointing to themselves when they said "me" and their little pointers outstretched to their moms when they said "you".  Not a dry eye in the room!  I will never think of that song the same way again!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Produce and Ice Cream...

One of my favorite things (and my friend Missy's!) about the baby website I used with Jay was that each week it compared the baby to the size of some type of produce.  I was so excited this week to see an update in my "I'm Expecting" app that added this exact thing!  I've really been missing it!  FYI, this week, Week 25, baby Lucy is the size of a zucchini! (Last week was a grapefruit, next week is an eggplant.)

Speaking of produce (which I need to be better about working into my diet), I'm getting really close to having to take my glucose test.  I guess, considering that I had ice cream 3 times yesterday, that means I'll have to watch my sugars a few days before!  My former boss is hyperglycemic and he was really helpful in telling me what foods to avoid before my sugar-test with Jay...I'll have to email him for a refresher!

I spent last weekend in Charlotte with dear friends and, as always, we had a fabulous time!  What could be better than shopping in IKEA with friends?...

...Shopping in IKEA with friends while eating $1 soft-serve frozen yogurt cones!!!

Car Seats...

The purpose of this post:  Just because you are expecting a third doesn't mean you have to sell the sedan and buy a van!  How can you make it work?

So in August my back seat will be 3-wide with car seats.  One comment I've been getting is "So, when are you getting a van?"

  • I've totally warmed up to the idea of a Swagger Wagon.
  • If someone gave me one/or I won one, I would NOT turn it away.
  • If I'm in a van I definitely get "van envy".
  • MOST of my neighbors have vans.  When we moved in, some friends came to visit us and their son Spencer said, "If you live in this neighborhood, do you have to get a van?"
...I'm not giving up on Cammie (my Camry) quite yet.  She's got some spunk left, gets fabulous gas mileage and is paid for!  JB and I are on track to reach big DR goals this year, and I'm not about to set us back out of "want" instead of true "need".  Especially since instead of "gazelle" speed, we've reached our goals more at "goat" speed. :)

So, where do you go with random questions?...Google!...There I found an answer to my search:  three car seats in a Camry.  I found post after post and the Radian car seat was a common theme.  The Radian has a very narrow base and a 5-point harness, which allows the seats to be extra close because the kids don't have to reach down between to buckle.  So instead of buying a new car, we had my car detailed :) and bought two Radian car seats.  Since this change, I've been obsessive with keeping my car clean and neat (which is VERY unusual for me!) and I must say it makes me and Cammie even better friends.  Now if I can just get to cleaning out the trunk...

When ready, these will be side by side and the baby-seat will be on the end.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Betsy has been doing the "button lesson" at school.  At her school four-year-olds are trusted with needles and scissors and are sewing buttons on little scraps of fabric.  It is truly remarkable what little people are capable of!  I'm constantly amazed by their lessons.  She has been SO proud of this new have I!

So inspired by Betsy's button lesson, Tara's Post, and these MJ pants I dolled up some leggings with big white buttons (which I already had in my sewing box!).  I pretended to have Betsy "teach" me (although I really DID need a refresher since I haven't sewed a button in a LONG while!) and she talked me through all the proper steps.

Friday, April 13, 2012

22 Weeks and Feeling Great....FINALLY!

I'm getting REALLY excited about Baby Lucy.  I'm pretty sure I'm already nesting and I'm only half-way there.  It took me 20 weeks this time to really start feeling "myself", so once I did I got to work!

I remembered really loving being pregnant, but for a long while I've been asking JB, "WHEN did I start really loving being pregnant?"...Of course his response was, "Never?  I don't remember loving it?!  First you're sick and SO tired, then the heartburn starts and stays the whole time, you have to worry with what you eat so you don't feel "too full" or "on the verge of vomiting", then you are up and down all night peeing, then you get to where the heartburn is so bad, sleeping is can't get comfortable so you move from room to room trying to find a comfortable way to sleep sitting up..."

It's funny how us mommas remember only the good when it comes to pregnancy...and labor for that matter...and our husbands remember the bad, ALL the bad.  He rattled off that list MUCH faster than I expected him to.

Well, even though all the above is true, just recently I HAVE been loving being pregnant!  And I finally remembered at least some reasons why (JB-Read this post! :))...
  • I'm OUT of the "Is she fat or pregnant?" part.  Thank goodness!  That is such an awkward phase.
  • I finally have my energy back!!!
  • I LOVE maternity clothes!  PLEASE can I always wear pants and skirts with an elastic waistband?!
  • My absolute favorite part. - I feel Baby Lucy in my belly a lot more than a flutter.  I LOVE this!  Between Betsy and being pregnant this time I would lay in bed and have phantom feelings of a baby rolling around in my tummy.  Is that weird?  Has anyone else ever had that feeling?  Needless to say, it is much more satisfactory (and much less creepy) feeling a baby rolling around in there when you know that there actually is one! :)
  • Baby Clothes!  Now that my energy is back, Mom and I pulled boxes from the attic.  I purged my boy clothes to Missy and started stacking up my boxes of girl clothes to see what I'm missing.  I've washed up all my newborn and 0-3.  Doing that is so much FUN and it took me right back to our old house when I was pregnant with Jay and folding all those sweet LITTLE clothes.

  • I love that Every. Single. Time. I walk into Target I get popcorn...without the guilt!
  •  I love how excited my kids are about their new sibling!  Jay was so bummed that he wouldn't be sharing a room with a little brother that BIG tears welled up in his eyes at the ultrasound.  Thankfully my mom let us use Bart's old bunkbeds anyway and both kids are BEYOND excited about that!  (Bet's been sleeping on the top bunk while Jay has been at my parent's this week.)

  • I love that I know that I'm having a girl. So when Bet and I see matching dresses in a 9 mo. and 5T for next summer at TJMaxx we can both get REALLY excited!  Are these cute or what?!

  • I love wondering what she'll be like.  Jay and Bet look so similar to me...Will she look like them?  Will she have curls like Bet, or straight hair like Jay?  Will she talk as much as they do, or will they never let her get a word in?  Will her infant personality be easy-going like Jay, or exhausting like Bet?  Will she play princess and "mommie" with her babies like Bet, or will she be a tom-boy?
  • I love when we are out and Betsy wants to buy things for Lucy.  She has two very soft blankets that she adores..."soft-soft" and "so-soft".  She insisted when we were out the other day that she buy Lucy her first soft blanket.  So, I let her feel them all for appropriate softness and she picked out a really sweet one.  (Now I'll just have to watch close so she doesn't smother her when she tries to wrap Lucy up in it like she does her baby dolls.)
I'm sure I could keep going...I'm just so happy that I can finally come up with a list of "loves"...even though it did take 20 weeks! :)

What are some things y'all loved about being pregnant?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A few pics from our Easter weekend...


Ready for the Egg Hunt at Bet's School

A zoo trip with friends...This "photo session" was a DISASTER.  Funny thing about it...while all the "big kids" were being wiggly, Sweet Tripp is patiently posing and smiling in ALL of my shots!  What a sweet boy!
Mason and Jay on the rock wall.

Tara was really proud of Jay for choosing to ride on the tiger!

Sweet Duncan's first zoo trip!

Easter egg hunt at the McCarty's.  No time to be still for pics...These kids were on a HUNT!

Best I could get of the girls...Pretty sure they had mouthfuls of candy!
Games at our church's Easter Party.

More games!

Another hunt!

The bounce house was a nice surprise!


An amazingly GREAT group shot (considering there were +/- 40 kids)!  The hunt was at a parishioner's house that just turned 99!  It was SO sweet of her, and her family, to have us all over for festivities and picnic-in'!  It was a FUN event!

Easter egg decorating...

...with Cookie!

The release of the butterflies!  The kids have watched caterpillars grow into butterflies at our Wednesday night program.  Like the tomb, the cocoon is now EMPTY!

We added some flowers from our yard to the cross.

The family in our Easter best...Isn't that cross just gorgeous?!

Uncle Bart with me and the kids.  (The Easter Bunny brought both kids their very own devotional Bibles.  (Click on link:  These devotionals are so sweet!  I highly recommend them!  AND the whole "God's Little Princess" book series.)  I was so pleased with how excited and proud they were of them!) 

Cookie and Bet with their matching Easter head flair!  Betsy's little squinty face here is too funny.  I love that little girl SO much!