Blog

The Calm in between the storm

Yesterday this girl and I left the house at 730 am and didn’t get home until 7pm. She is a trooper. Always a smile. Always ready for our next adventure. If I ever get a second to think about it… I feel a little sad for her on days like yesterday. In and out and in and out of her car seat. And coat. And shoes. No real nap. No real meal. By the end of the day she TOLD ME “nigh nigh”. Bless her. That big world out there is crazy and loud and messy and one of the best parts of my job is being able to create this soft place for them to retreat to. To be simple and quiet. Even if it’s just for a moment. We made one of these moments happen this morning. In between the chaos of getting lunches ready and the big kids out the door and preschool drop off… We were quiet. And simple.

>> Also check my new friend’s blog: baby car seat stroller combo reviews

Nothing but Everything

OSo… What have you been up to?!

A question I’ll get asked by my dear friends whom I havent seen in way too long. Harmless. But it always stops me in my tracks… What HAVE I been up to? My days start at 630am and doesn’t end for another 16 hours. My MomAgenda’s pages are filled with practices and appointments. I’ve got my phone’s alarm going off every fifteen minutes reminding me of where I need to be. I’ve got Evites and Signup Genious email that fill my Google acct. But, what the $&@! Have I been up to for the last few months… Nothing. And Everything.

Super Mom

Most days I feel like this parenting thing is kicking my butt.
Most days I forget someone’s something or am late to someone’s someplace.
Usually our meals are not the healthiest and our bedtimes are not the earliest.
The kids usually end up crying and I usually end up screaming.
(Or is it the other way around?)
But every once in a while…
I’ll have a day like today.
A day where at 8:30pm everyone is in bed.
Showered.
With their teeth brushed.
And their ears cleaned.
And a healthy home cooked meal in their bellies.
BAM.
Wednesday August 21st 2013…
I rocked you.
And today was not just any ol’ Wednesday August 21st.
It was back-to-school Wednesday.
AND…
The FIRST day of KINDERGARTEN for my sweet Lilah-Gracie Bee!
We had a big breakfast and all drove the two big kids to school.
Pictures on the front steps…check.
Kids to school on time…check.
No tears. (For either mama or babies)…check. check. check.
We went to church, ran some errands, had a doctors appointment, went out for ice cream and were home in time to rest for an hour and cook dinner.
Just call me Super Mom.
For today anyway.
Tomorrow I’ll be back to the mom who forgets to pick her kids up from school and who feeds them cereal for dinner…
But for today…
Super Mom.

High and Low

We’ve had some pretty high highs and some pretty low lows around here lately.
As for the lows…
we will get through it.
As anyone does.
Together.
As for the highs…
Well, for one, this little princess graduated from preschool.
This milestone, while a high for my little girl, felt more like a low for me.
I cried the entire time.
Thanks alot hormones.
I can not believe she is old enough to be going to kindergarten this fall.
And as much as it breaks my heart I am so so proud of the little lady she is becoming.
In between Mother’s Day and school ceremonies summer has been trying to show its face.
We hosted our first cook out with friends and family and it felt so good to have the house filled with people and food and laughter.
And with the warm weather brings our nightly backyard baseball games.
We’ve had to switch to using soft balls because Taegan’s swing has gotten so hard that our neighbors are starting to fear for their lives.

 

 

 

Me. By Lilah-Grace Age 4

 

 

 

 

Graduation Night

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excuse my puffy eyes. I had just stopped crying!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right in the middle of all that’s been going on we had a very big day.
We took all the kids to the doctors with us for the big 20 week appointment.
They got to see their baby on the ultra sound and were in awe of its little hands and feet and face.
We had the technician write the gender in a card and had her staple it shut.
We had the secret info relayed to our family friend who was on call at Party City with a handmade box and filled it with balloons.
That evening we had our family and friends over for the big reveal… >> Also check the best folding picnic table bench reviews at my friend’s blog. 

 

 

Special thanks to Cindy Conte!

 

 

 

 

A BABY SISTER!!!!

 

Taegan was a tad disappointed, but made a quick recovery and he was pointed out that being the only boy had its perks.

 

 

My sister is expecting a baby boy on October 1st and our little girl is due October 10th.

 

It should be a race to the finish line!

 

 

 

 

The girls are officially out of school and we’ve been spending a lot of time in the sprinklers waiting for the pool to open.

T-minus 6 days until Taegan is out of school and our summer officially starts.

My Mother’s Day

It’s nice to have a day where you are able to claim…
“Its MY day, so I get to…”
Fill in the blank.
1. Sleep in late.
2. Have breakfast made and cleaned up for me.
3. Take a 2 hour nap.
4. Choose my own radio station.
5. Not have to wipe any bottoms.
6. Not have to wipe ANYTHING!
I had a pretty great Mother’s Day.
While all the details were taking care for me I had sometime to look around and see what is right in front of me.
To start, I have a pretty amazing husband.
I may or may not give him a hard time about his singing and nail biting and the amount of time he takes to get ready…
But when it comes down to it, he kinda loves me.
A lot.
And I know it.
Which is pretty awesome.
And I only hope he knows how much I love him.
(More)
Together we have these pretty great kids, with one more on the way, and they are the most precious gifts I could have ever asked for.
They drive me crazy.
They are loud and dirty and messy, but dang do I love them.
I love being their mom.
I told each one of them that last night as I was tucking them in.
“I love being your Mommy”
I’m not sure I’ve ever told them that before, which makes me sad.
Because I feel it everyday.
I love this job.
This role.
This life.
Whatever you want to call it.
I have it pretty darn good.
A very wise lady once told me…
“People can call me a lot of things, but they can not call me ungrateful.”
I feel that way too.
I am so incredibly grateful for all of this crazy life.
…Its MY day but I also buy a kids outdoor playhouse as a gift for my children.
Happy Mother’s Day.

That’s All That Matters

It’s crazy the way life happens.
How it unfolds with you right in the middle of it.
Some of life is so bright and beautiful that it seems too good to be real.
Some of it seems so unreal for different reasons.
I try to be optimistic.
To look for the silver linings.
To look for the good.
And if there is something that I have found to be true in my long 29 years of life, it is that there is always,
ALWAYS,
something to be grateful for.
It is hard to see that from rock bottom.
And when anyone is going through a hard time, I just pray that they are able to see the good around them.
That they are able to be grateful for what they have.
That they are really able to feel gratefulness deep in their soul.
There is a peace in that.
I’m sitting here typing with a heavy heart and yet the wind is blowing and the smells of summer are so strong that I can’t help but stop for a second and take a deep breath in.
I am grateful for that.
I am grateful for my family and for the opportunity to tell them I love them.
Something I don’t do often enough.
I am grateful and yet I feel kind of lost.
Like I don’t know what else to feel.
Life can be so complicated, but when it comes down to it, it is really not complicated at all.
It’s your family and friends and the ones you care about.
That’s all that matters.

Stick A Sock In It!

Do you have (or know) a child that
NEVER
STOPS
TALKING?!?!
I do.
She’s cute and tiny and she doesn’t shut up for even a second.
She’s been home sick with me all week.
I’m not sure I am going to be able to make it two more days.
I’m not sure how many more questions I can answer…
“Right Mommy?”
“Right Mommy?”
“Do I look pretty Mommy?”
“Do you want me to sing a God song Mommy?”
“Do YOU want to sing a God song Mommy?”
“Where are we going now?”
“What about now?”
“Mommy?”
“Mommy?”
HOLY MOTHER!
She talks whether I’m listening or not.
Whether I’m in the same room or not.
She talks to her babies… and her baby’s babies.
Do you think it would be rude to tell her to
“Stick a sock in it!”?
Probably?
Thought so.
Good thing she’s so stinkin’ cute…

Things That Bring Me Peace

Things That Bring Me Peace
1. A clean (and quiet) house
2. A lavender scented candle
3. My Indie singer/songwriter station on Pandora
4. A fire on a cold day
5. The windows open on a warm day
6. Coffee before everyone gets up
7. A shower in the dark. Better yet…an outdoor shower.
8. Being by the water
9. My favorite antique store
10. A drive by myself with my radio up and the windows down
11. A good glass of wine or a cold beer
(really missing those right about now)
12. A summer night on the patio
13. A really loud fan when I sleep
**So I just had to break**
 Here I am trying to find my peaceful place when a scream comes from upstairs.
McKinnley just threw up all over the carpet in my room.
Spaghetti and watermelon.
Throw up does not bring me peace.
Really could use a number 11 right about now…

Blue Jay

So after I declared that I am getting back to the heart of my writing I started to get excited.
Ideas for post started swirling.
Only a few hours after I wrote the post, For Me, I have found myself in my house…
By. My. Self.
A rarity.
The kids went to run errands with Logan and since they walked out of the door I haven’t stopped cleaning.
First the playroom, then the den, then their rooms.
Each of these tasks has sent me by the kitchen windows a least a couple of dozen times, and like the last few morning I keep noticing a pair of beautiful bright blue jays.
Sometime they are sitting together on the fence.
Other times they are pecking in the grass, but always together.
Before I met one of my dearest friends, I would not have thought twice about these sightings.
But through her I have learned to look a little deeper into meanings of things and I got curious.
I looked up the meaning of these ‘Blue Jay Sightings’ and my jaw just about dropped open!

For Me

Well…
Its been a while.
I’m not sure what has kept me away so long.
Life?
Kids?
Time?
Fear?
Every time I get the urge to write a post or story or something, I freeze.
I don’t have ANYTHING to write about!
Well…that couldn’t be further from the truth.
My mind rarely shuts off and my thoughts are always spinning and turning.
Surely within my crazy full life with my three kids (and a fourth on the way!), my husband, friends, etc… you’d think I could come up with a post or two.
I want to write.
I think I am a better person when I do…but something has been holding me back.
Maybe its writers block?
Or a less professional version.
I know I could write about the insignificant things that happen in my day to day life, but for some reason that doesn’t seem like enough.
Sometimes I feel like I get so far behind in recording our family milestones that it would just be easier to scrap the whole blog all together.
Then, after nights like last night…
And a sweet talk with a neighbor…
The fire is lit again.
This blog is not for anyone else.
I am so humbled and flattered whenever anyone mentions that they read it or even better LIKE it!
But, its not for them.
Its for me.
I don’t need to stick to any schedule or routine here.
I don’t have to post about one thing or another if I don’t want to.
I think I forgot that.
This space started as a place for me to come and ramble about anything and everything.
Back then my husband and mom were my only followers.
I think I need to get back there.
When writing was fun and not a commitment.
My life is so full of commitments and schedules that I can’t help but feel like I am falling short to fulfill.
That’s what this blog started to feel like.
Like something else I wasn’t able to keep up with.
So,
I’d like to start again.
I’d like to get back to the basics and the fun that writing used to be.
For me.
And maybe post a couple of cute pics of the kiddos, when they’re feeding a boy bunny – a new member in our family. He also has own house, an indoor & outdoor rabbit hutch, which looks like a villas of pet.

Southern Nest…Bless Your Heart

This is so long over due I’m almost embarrassed to do this post.
BUT…
Ya’ll have got to see this.
It has taken me so long because the possibilities are endless.
So I have this girlfriend.
Not just any girlfriend, but one of my best.
Isn’t she beautiful?
We clicked instantly and no matter how many miles are between us we pick up where we left off every time.
So, my awesome girlfriend has this awesome blog and website selling these
AWESOME Monograms (and pet products, like this outdoor cat house)
Are you dying!?!
Ya’ll know how I love my monograms.
The girls have them on just about half of their clothes so when I saw them I begged and pleaded for one.
She was so great and got it to me and now I’m here to tell you how in love I am.
I’ve moved it all over my house,
but for now it adorns a wreath on my front door and brings a smile to my face every time I pull in or out of my drive way.

 

 

(check out the nest full of babies birds!)

 

 

 

Not to mention it makes me think about my sweet friend and her big smile!
Any one who visits asks about it and I’ve had runners stop mid-run to ask me where I got it.
They are a prefect the wedding gift, for lets say a sister who is getting married this September.
She has smaller sizes too that you can use as present toppers, shower decorations, or baby gifts.
Seriously…
I could go on.
Her sweet blog is called Charming Little Nest and is full of great decorating ideas, and my personal favorite, pictures of her dangerously handsome little boy.
Her company and website where she sells her sweet monograms is appropriately called
Southern Nest.
As she so perfectly says these monograms are, “A little vintage, a little preppy. Nothing is sweeter than the Southern lifestyle. Bring the South into your home.”
She’s got a quote on her site from Reese Whitherspoon, the quintessential Southern Belle, and which I thought was too cute…
Reese says, (yes we are on a first name basis, me and Reese) “If it’s not moving, monogram it!”
Love.
So run, or click, over to Charming Little Nest and Southern Nest and order yours now…
Bless Your Heart.

Get It Together March

Alright March.
You need to go ahead and pull yourself together already.
You need to start acting like the month in which the first day of Spring is celebrated and take all of these clouds and snow and shove ’em!
We have had about enough.
It is time to pack away our socks and boots and pull out of flip flops for crying out loud!
It is time to open up our windows and let your breeze clear out all of the viruses and bacterial infections already!
We are tired of looking for the missing glove and dealing with snow coats and boots.
We are tired of Disney Channel reruns and two-hour delays!
Our kids need to go outside…
Where kids belong.
Our legs need a tan.
Our wardrobes need an update.
Our weekends need to be filled with fresh air!
We do not want to be searching for Easter eggs in our winter coats.
Or spend our Spring Break stuck inside.
Our homes are seeming smaller by the minute.
And our patience growing even smaller.
We’ve done our time.
We’ve made enough fires and hot chocolate for one winter.
We’ve put in our share of snow days and movie days and pajama days.
Enough is Enough.
Get it together March.

One Thing At A Time People

This post has been a long time coming.
Every time I see that damn Sprint commercial I write and rewrite this post in my mind.
And then like most things, I’m distracted by an orange juice spill or text from a girlfriend and my brilliant post has long been forgotten.
Today, I’ve been reminded a few times about what bothers me so much about the for mentioned commercial.
It’s the one where a man is sitting at a table with a bunch of preschoolers and asks them what is better…
“Doing two things at once or one thing at a time?”
The kids answer immediately, “TWO!! Definitely two!”
And I cringe.
This is an argument that I have with my kids, and more often my husband, on a daily basis.
Since when has it become better to give a bunch of things a little bit of your attention, rather than one thing your undivided attention?
Why is it necessary to sit in front of your 500 channels while searching the web and texting?
Why do you need to be trying to beat your best Fifa score and talking to someone on the phone?
Isn’t the point of calling to talk to someone or even sitting down to enjoy your favorite show to, for those few minutes, give that one person or one thing all of your attention?
Isn’t the point of doing anything to give it your thought and attention?
How personal is a phone call when you know the person on the other line is engaged in five other things?
How enjoyable is your favorite sitcom when you miss half of b/c you are constantly checking your incoming emails?
What is the point of sitting down and having a meal with someone if for the whole time the two of you are tapping away at your screens?
Doesn’t that just defeat the whole purpose?
I mean, just go eat by yourself for goodness sakes!
So…
To the man in the Sprint commercial…
One thing at a time.
The answer is one thing at a FREAKING time!
Giving your personal and heartfelt and full attention to whoever or whatever you are doing is always better.
Its not always practical.
But its better.
And its not always easy.
But its better.
I’ve been known to pull up Pinterest while waiting at a red light or check Facebook while the TV is on.
I’m guilty of trying to carry on two conversations at once and running to my phone when I hear a text come through.
Then I am reminded of those sad little kids in that commercial and that doing more, having more, saying more is not always better.
One thing at a time people.

Where Is The Good?

I have been talking with other moms about the Newtown tragedy.

It has been in the forefront of all of our minds.

As we drop our precious kids off at school and doors that used to be left open are now locked and guarded, we are reminded.

During pick-up conversations the topic always leads to Sandy Hook.

My girlfriend and I stood in front of our kids preschool today while our beautiful, healthy, and safe children ran around the school yard and we and without even saying a word we both knew what the other was thinking.

We just can’t shake it.

It’s on our minds every day… all day.

How can it not be?

How can I look at my own six year old’s face and not think of those parents who would give ANYTHING to look into their child’s one more time.

We are feeling broken and lost.

Hopeless and sad.

“What is the world coming to?”; we keep saying.

“Where do we go from here?”

I thought it was just me, but turns out, its every mother I talk to.

Where is the good?

(I did not write this but its been emailed to me a few times and I’m sure its floating around facebook and I wanted to share)

Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38

when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.

their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.

they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.

they were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.

they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.

“where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.

“this is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”

when what to their wondering eyes did appear,

but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.

He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.

then He opened His arms and He called them by name.

and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring

those children all flew into the arms of their King

and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,

one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.

and as if He could read all the questions she had

He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”

then He looked down on earth, the world far below

He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe

then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,

“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”

“may this country be delivered from the hands of fools”

“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”

then He and the children stood up without a sound.

“come now my children, let me show you around.”

excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.

all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.

and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,

“in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

This Is What MY Six Looks Like…

I can not come up with my own words to explain how I feel about the events that happened this past Friday.
So, until I do, I’ll share this with you.
This is what MY six looks like…
What Six Looks Like
by
Jennifer Rowe Walters
I am not really a major cryer. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I cry — when it’s appropriate to do so. Funerals. The occasional wedding if it’s particularly beautiful or meaningful. Schindler’s List. Things that normal people cry at. I am definitely not an over-cryer. I don’t cry at commercials or cheesy Hallmark movies or at the drop of a hat. And, when I do cry, there’s usually a beginning and an end. I cry. I get it out. I stop. Normal crying.
However, since I first started to understand the magnitude of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday morning, I have cried a lot. I cried when I heard the terrible news. I cried when I went to pick my son up early from school. I cried when I told my husband what had happened. I cried when I talked to my girlfriends about it. I cried at church when we prayed for each victim by name. Off and on for going on three days now, I have cried. And this is despite going out of my way to not watch anything about it on TV or read too much about it online. I’m actively trying to avoid it, but I still find myself crying more than usual.
I mentioned this to a friend last night and she said that she couldn’t seem to stop crying either. When I asked her why she thought that was, her answer was, for me, a revelation. She said, “I think it’s because we know what six looks like. We see it every day… in all its glory.” And she was right. Because, you see, this friend and I both have a six-year-old child. I, a six-year-old son. She, a six-year-old daughter. Both are in first grade. Both, I imagine, so heart-breakingly similar to those 20 kids who were so brutally and senselessly killed on Friday morning. And we do, indeed, know what six looks like. We do see it every day. In all its glory. We see the good, the bad and the ugly. The beautiful and the infuriating. It’s in our face. We live it and breathe it.
We know what six looks like. We know what it smells like. How it can go from the fresh scent of shampoo and soap to the musky aroma of “dirty child” in what seems like minutes. How it resists getting in the bathtub… and then resists getting out half an hour later. How sweet its hair and skin and clean jammies smell when it sits on your lap and asks you to read it a bedtime story. We know the unmistakeable fragrance of the occasional accident in the middle of the night caused by too much milk and no last-thing-before-bed visit to the toilet.
We know what six looks like. We know what it sounds like. How it cries and whines. How it sings and laughs. How clever it is and how much more clever it grows every day. How it sounds out words on signs as we drive past in the car and how happy it is when it gets them right. How annoying it sounds when it teases its little sister and how kind it sounds when it soothes her when she falls down and hurts herself. We know how lovely the words “Mommy” and “Daddy” and “I Love You” sound in its six-year-old voice.
We know what six looks like. We know how it tastes. How picky it is. How it thinks chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese are gourmet foods. How much it loves candy and cookies. How it tolerates broccoli and carrots. How it absolutely abhors Brussels sprouts. How it thinks French fries are a vegetable. How it thinks chocolate milk was created by God himself. How it thinks pizza is its own food group. We know that six is happy when it finds “I love you!” written on a napkin in its lunch box at school.
We know what six looks like. We know how it feels. How big it’s getting. How fast it outgrows its clothes and how it’s no longer a baby, but not quite yet a big kid. We know the weight of six in our arms. How we can barely carry it anymore, but try anyway because we can’t quite bring ourselves to accept the truth. We know how easily six gets its feelings hurt if someone says just the wrong thing or if this friend or that one doesn’t want to play with it or it gets in trouble at school. We know the velvety softness of six’s skin. We know the still-silkiness of its hair.
Yes, we know what six looks like. We know six’s gap-toothed smile and its gangly arms and legs. We see how it jumps and dances. How it twirls and runs. We know how funny six is. How absolutely charming it can be. We know six’s terrible jokes. We know how obsessed it is with “Minecraft.” We know its crooked “S” and its backwards “3.” We see how it teeters on the cusp of the world of books and all the joys of reading, but how it’s not quite ready to fall in yet. We see how six can’t decide if it wants us to stand beside it or not. We watch it take two steps towards independence and one step back towards us every day. We know how sturdy and strong six is… and yet how frail and fragile.
We know what six looks like. How beautiful it is. How precious. How brightly it shines with promise. How much it looks towards the future… toward 7,8,9… How much it looks like forever.
We know what six looks like and can only in our worst nightmares imagine how devastating its loss in this senseless and evil way would be. We can only barely imagine the wreckage and the despair and the utter hopelessness that would be left if six were brutally and suddenly taken from us. We know we couldn’t bear life without it.
Yes, we know what six looks like. And we know that, to us — like it must be for those other mothers and fathers in Connecticut — six is the whole world.
Jennifer Rowe Walters
http://jrowewalters.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/what-six-looks-like/

It Comes Down To…

 

“It comes down to whether you believe in seven miraculous escapes a week;
or…
One guardian angel.”
~ Robert Brault
This quote has been on my mind lately as the holidays come around and my thoughts drift to my very own guardian angels.
I have two, in particular, who are constantly on my mind and in my heart and this time of year I can feel their presence more than ever.
Some people cringe at the talk of spirits or “guardian angels”…
I cringe at the notion that there aren’t any.
I have their things and pictures around my house and they always seem to grab my attention or draw on a memory when it is needed the most.
My Uncle Meatball’s wine glasses sparked a memory of his annual Christmas Party and now we are scheduled to have friends over for a holiday party of our own.
A gift from my Aunt Anne made me think of her and how when McKinnley was born this time three years ago, it was to her that I was praying.
Asking her to keep my daughter safe and healthy, and she did.
My thoughts are a little heavy this week as I am trying to find words to comfort a dear friend who lost her father.
As I am preparing to go to the funeral and be a shoulder that she can lean on.
So I find myself here, thinking of my very own losses…
my very own guardian angels.
Praying to them once again.
And maybe toasting a glass of wine or two!

Hold The Door

I haven’t blogged in quite a while…
But I had to write this down.
Today I was at the mall and ran ahead to open and hold the door for an elderly couple.
To be honest, my first reaction was to go through the other doors so I wouldn’t get stuck waiting for them to pass through.
~Reeeeal nice Whitney~
But as I got closer, I realized they were both very old and both using walkers so I sped up to help them out.
The sweet older lady came through first with her hair perfectly curled, dressed in her festive Christmas sweater and her white gloves!
Like not white gloves that you wear because its cold.
I’m talkin white gloves like my mom used to force me to wear to cotillion, white gloves.
Her husband followed and as they passed by the lady looked back at me astonished that I would be holding the door for them.
“God bless you sweet girl”, she kept saying.
For holding the door?
I have had a handful of these ~ What Is The World Coming To ~ moments lately.
How could someone be so surprised by a tiny gesture like holding the door.
They had to have been pushing ninety.
In my book they have earned the right to have every door held for them for the rest of their lives.
So…
This is just a reminder for myself, and my children.
Go out of your way and do something nice for somebody, no matter how small,
Every. Single. Day.
And always ALWAYS always
 ~Hold The Door~.