Friday, December 21, 2012

december happenings

It's been a fun few weeks over this way. It's been nice to close my computer and knock some things off of my to-do list. and take on impromptu projects like disassembling a crib, a set of bunkbeds, and a trundle bed and having everyone switch rooms. :) 
(insert big sad mama moment here. Can you believe we don't have a crib anymore?!) 
Anyway, Corban and Cate had been sharing the smallest bedroom in the house, so we decided to swap things around. You can see a fine sampling of what was Nora's room:
It used to be Cate's room, and she had 'decorated' every inch of wall space in a days' nap. Sigh. We decided it was time to bid the wall princesses and their families adieu, move the big kids in, and make a room suitable for a boy and a girl. 

Corban helped tear down and rebuild the bunkbeds. He loves to help Jordan work-- and I love that my boy is learning to be a handyman like his daddy. :) The room is not 100% finished so I don't have any crazy after pictures, but the highlight of the room is this:
the chalkboard wall! 
So perfect for my 'all the world is a canvas' little girl. It was finally dry yesterday and we have already spent hours playing on it. 
(Our babysitters did the portraits below!)

 Corban's favorite things about it are drawing targets to shoot his nerf gun at and playing hangman. Hangman is funny when you don't yet know how to read. CAURLGRRO (or something close to that) was one I got 'hung' on last night.

 The kids had their Christmas program at school this week. Both mine and Jordan's parents came and my brother drove over, too. I love that our families make the time for things like this... and it was really really precious. So fun!
 And then, we had our first big snow today. The kids were bursting with excitement from the time they woke up this morning. As soon as we were home from school, it was snowpants/hats/gloves on and outside they went. Cate didn't make it too long, but Corban stayed out and enjoyed for quite a while.

 It was one of those really sweet sort of days. I think I thanked God at least twenty times for positioning us in such a way that I can primarily stay home with my babies. To be able to sit with Nora on my lap as I visit with an old youth grouper home from college, and then to help with the kid's Christmas party at school, and then layer them up and watch them throw snowballs at each other... It really is a privilege  and I am so thankful for these little things that I might otherwise miss out on. I think I did miss out on a lot this fall (by my over-scheduling and time mis-management) and I want to be here, really here, for all of these long, cold, winter days. And on that note...naptime is over and it sounds like my ceiling might fall through with the jumping off of bunkbeds that is taking place.
Have a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

conversations with Cate

Oh my sweet little Cate... she is the most unique baby girl I've ever known-- bursting with life and wonder and joy. She's quick to giggle and operates only at full-speed ahead. She's passionate and stubborn and tender and kind. Lights up a room with that big smile and is just down right funny. I'm confident that her brain fires constantly and she says or does whatever crosses it. Impulsive, you might say. Spontaneous. Fun. Challenging. All wrapped up in one beautiful almost-four-year old little girl body.

Normally, I tuck Nora in and Jordan puts the big kids to bed. For some reason, tonight we switched rolls and I found myself snuggled up next to my middle baby, laying there lost in conversation. I don't want to forget these conversations, her scattered remarks, her quick thinking-- so here I am to jot it down.

We started out talking about what she wants to be when she grows up. Her response? A horse. When I explained to her that she would always be a human, she decided riding one would be good enough. "A cowgirl, then," she decided. I asked her where she would get her horse from, and she said she would buy one... except she didn't have money. "We should go to Papaw's house, because he has money," she said. When I told her that Papaw had to work for his money (as does the rest of the world), she decided she'd be a 'How It's Made' worker... you know, "because I like to make things" she said. The first thing she wants to make is cupcakes. Chocolate for her mama, she said. And then next she would make lightbulbs. And heaters. and paint. 'Oh, I want to be a painter!' she interjected. 'Did you know that I saw a fish skeleton by the lake with Mrs. Dumas?' she said immediately following the painter remark. (ha!) And then she moved on to being a bride. With a white, sparkly dress- no lace. She would then later have four boys and four girls.. except for when I explained that four plus four was eight, she concluded that she only wanted three. She'd name them Caleb, LuggyBunny, and Ella. And she would make them cake, too, she said. "Where will I live, Mama?" she asked. "Where is the house store? Where did we buy this house? Can I live at the lakehouse we just went to?" she streamed out loud. And then moving on...  "sometime, I'd like to try and make hair. Out of soft blankies. That I cut and paint. Oh nevermind, that won't work," she decided.
I started to uncover and tuck her in, let her know it was time to sleep. "Just one more thing, mama!"... "I can draw really good lady bugs. And Corban drew a good butterfly at school today. I mean tomorrow. Oh, you know, the other time."

and that was that.
Isn't she wonderful? I put a picture of her up tonight on Instagram... just bathed, jammie-clad, sweetest smile. She looked at me so sweetly and then leaned in and whispered, "I want to go fight my daddy now." and then off she ran to wrestle with the boys.
So perfectly Cate.
And I would not want it any other way.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

picture overload :)

I'd planned on recapping vacation and Thanksgiving and all of those things, but I have a rare afternoon of three sleeping babies and a venti pumpkin spice latte and an end in sight to my editing (hallelujah, thank You, Jesus on ALL accounts), and I can't spend much of this precious fleeting time on blogging. SO- how about a few pictures?!
One morning before church I thought I'd snap a few shots of the kids all together. It certainly did not go as planned (read: christmas card worthy pictures) but they are sweet moments of my kids being my kids. Fun, energetic, full of life kiddos--- and I guess when I think about it, these really are the shots I'd loved framed, the moments I want to always remember. :)
(If you click on the picture, you can view it larger and then scroll through them all, just FYI!)

We have lived in our house for five years now and I have always dreamed of a mantel above the fireplace. Two weeks ago, Jordan built me one, and I love it and it's perfect. :) We got a beautiful tree and had a blast decorating it. Our house feels so home-y and cozy with all of the Christmas decor and always-burning candles. I love everything about this time of year. 

Lastly, my baby girl turned 23 months old. This is the last month that I count months and I cannot believe she is weeks away from two. Surreal. I am so enjoying seeing more of who she is... sweet, spunky, loving, funny little girl. She's tender and silly and so different than I expected and so different than her siblings. Such a gift!! (Oh, and crazy beautiful, too. Those big brown eyes...)

 (this shot below breaks my heart a little bit. too too big.)

 these two below are some of my favorites. so very Nora.

Me and my littlest girl. :)

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

my heart

Today as we entered the pool at the YMCA, what I had slowly been realizing suddenly became very clear: We are entering a new season. A season that doesn't involve life revolving around nap time or diaper changes, carrier car seats and strollers. We are on the brink of a new ease and I see it happening before my eyes. My baby is a month and a half away from TWO. My big kids are learning to read and they dress themselves and get their own cereal in the morning. Independence. It's a new season of motherhood and I have a million conflicting emotions about it. Mostly, though, I see a really sweet transition. It's less chaos-control and more enjoying. (What?! You think 3 in 3 years isn't chaotic?!) And friends? My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude.
I'll be really honest with you-- I really really really love age 5. Like, bottle up and keep for ever love. Five has brought a hunger for knowledge, a deepening love of sisters, a new curiosity and a new understanding. We play card games. Play basketball. Sound out words. Pray. I have loved every age, but there's something really incredible about this stage. And to then watch Cate watch and imitate her big brother.. she's not far behind in her learning and doing. Nora is in the into-everything/never-sit-still stage (we make busy toddlers. just a fact of life.) and it's hard... but she's different than her siblings were. While busy and curious, she doesn't have that same strongwilled-ness about her. There is an ease, relatively speaking, to the hardness. 
I think it's part recognizing that our kids really are growing up and part enduring the miscarriage this summer, but I don't think I've ever enjoyed being a mama more. I don't think I've ever treasured my kids more. I know that I have never given more thanks for each of their lives, never cherished this gift of being mama more. Truthfully, and sadly, I think in ways I have taken it for granted. Taken for granted the ease in which we've gotten pregnant. The healthy babies. The sleeping newborns. The beautiful children. I knew they were gifts straight from the Lord and I loved them and cherished them, no doubt, but there's a difference. In the wake of losing a baby and not being pregnant and seeing the lack of control that I really do have, my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for that which we've been given. Grace. Gifts unmerited, these children who call me mama. I am so grateful for the privilege I've been given and if this is it... this is more than enough, you know? 
I mean that with all of my heart--but it's been an up and down struggle. There are days when I can say that only because I'm holding fast to the truth that my God is sovereign and good despite circumstances, not because it's what I feel. Some days my heart so badly aches for the baby that would be joining our family in ten weeks and it's ugly and messy and I could easily be consumed with the desire for another. But if I've learned anything the last three years, it's that my God IS faithful. He is constant when nothing else makes sense. That Jesus really is enough-- no matter what I'm facing or what I have or what I don't have.. He. Is. Enough.  I would love to have another baby some day, but should these three be what the Lord gives us... oh, how blessed am I? The Lord has been so good to me. SO good to me. 
I hesitated to ever write about any of this for fear of coming off as a spoiled brat, an ungrateful mom, more more more, you know? I know and have heard so many stories of those who try for years to get pregnant, who would do anything for just one. Or those who would love a second and it isn't happening. Or the one who has suffered loss after loss after loss. I know that it's a miracle to have the three that I do... please hear my heart in this. The one we lost this summer? That was a baby like Corban and Cate and Nora were, you know? From the moment that plus sign showed up, my heart anticipated January 20th. As my belly swelled, so did my heart. Yet again, the Lord enlarged the capacity of my heart to love another with all I have, and I was already there. To find out after six weeks of praying and dreaming and naming that that reality was gone... it was heartbreaking. I don't know where I'm going with this, but I wanted to write tonight. To be real about where I'm at. I know that I'm not alone in this and it took someone else being courageous enough to share through the loss of her fourth baby to encourage me and in a sense validate my heartache, to know that it was okay for me to hurt for our baby. 
If I could say anything to you... you who is enduring or hoping or aching tonight... I want you to know that it's okay for you to hurt. To have loved. To be devastated by the 'what would have beens'. And in the same breath, you need to know that Jesus WILL meet you there. He shows up in those dark places. You are not too much. Your hurt is not too much. Your heartbreak... it's not too much. He is enough. I'm praying for you who know what I'm saying all too well... that you will experience the truth found in psalm 34-- that He is near to the brokenhearted, that you would hold fast to lamentations 3:22.. that because of His great love we are not consumed, that His compassions never fail and that they are new every morning. He IS faithful, and I'm praying you find rest in that tonight. He is yesterday, today, forever the same. He is not moved or changed by your circumstances. He is Faithful and True, and He loves you deeply. 
There is much to be thankful for, my friends.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


for staycation. for brunch with freshly made doughnut holes and pancakes and scrambled egg skillets. for restaurants with paper table cloths to draw on while we wait. for my 22 month old who only colors with her left hand. my son practicing dribbling outside on the sidewalk (and memories of doing so for hours at a time in my own childhood). for Cate snuggling with me after napping. and for Cate napping. for gym memberships and life-guarded indoor pools.  for the close of a busy season. for my patient husband. for a husband who prays with me and for me. for a husband who loves Jesus with his life. for the twenty people who gathered in our living room Friday night to worship and pray and learn about being disciples and making disciples. for our youth group. and for our church. for pumpkin spice lattes. and new yoga pants. and the tea party scheduled for tomorrow, just me and Cate. for a little boy who writes 'I love Cate and Nora' on notes at school. for visits with friends. and home project dreaming. for the sweetest reminders of God's faithfulness. for my God who IS faithful. and loving. and gracious. oh so thankful for grace. for my mom. for instagram. and popcorn and diet coke. for new flannel sheets. and for bedtime. (which is now.)  

a tiny portion of the things overwhelming my heart tonight. in the best kind of overwhelm sort of way.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

quick list

true story: it's really hard to get back in the habit of doing this.
So... while I'm rusty and out of practice and not even sure where to begin, how about a little list for you? Here we go.

-We are a week and a half from our second annual 'stay-cation'. This comes much welcomed in the wake of October. I am really really really looking forward to a week at home as a family. 
-I'm currently day dreaming of that time when all three kids used to nap. Remember that? 
-Pumpkin Spice lattes are still my favorite.
-Nora has started saying sentences this week and repeating any and everything said to her. She calls her brother 'Bebo' for some reason, and I love that a lot. I also love this: Ah wuv you, mama. Over and over and over, all day long. It's my favorite, too. 
-Cate is wildly imaginative and turns any object into little imaginary families with fun names like "Ponyella" or "Simon". (Case in point: two bags of rice were twin brothers at the grocery store. Our little drum was turned into a princess. The foam letters that we have in the bath tub?! A whole family. 24 kids.) She's wonderfully wild, the most outside of the box thinker I've ever known, impulsive. Some days, this presents a whole lotta problems (like when she walks past the scissors and cuts her hair. Or walks past toothpaste and decides it needs spread all over the walls. Or when her pink walls are too boring and need a princess family drawn all throughout...), but I love the way the Lord has wired my baby girl.... even if I can't quite figure out how she works. ;) Pray for me? :)
-Corban is five. Wrap your brain around that one, folks. I have a five year old... who is learning to read, who loves to help, who is tender and kind and passionate. I still can't get over it. He loves to play card games and nerf basketball in the kitchen and likes to win like his mama and daddy always did. I really love this age and this season. 
-I'm dreaming up an art station for somewhere in my house. I'm dreaming up a kitchen remodel, too, but that's a little more labor intensive and costly. :) Has anyone else set up an art area? Have you been able to keep supplies contained to that area? Right now, we have a couple of boxes that are stored in the kitchen and cover the table most of the day-- we spend hours drawing and coloring. I would love to have a spot designated for their art stuff with different mediums available for them to use. Any suggestions?!
-It's November tomorrow.
-I'm currently reading and being wrecked by the book "Radical". Jordan and I are going through it together (we have a standing date-night-in on Tuesdays and usually spend part of that time reading). I highly recommend it!
-I'm out of things to say. And out of time. Real posts coming soon!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


First of all, I would just like to say THANK YOU for the kind words and messages and emails I've received in regards to my last post. I was so hesitant to share and now wish I would have months sooner. And while it breaks my heart to know that so many women have endured the same thing, it is really sweet to know that I'm not walking alone in this. So thank you, friends. A lot. I have a lot more that I would like to say, but we're going to keep things light around here today.
We have a sweet Monday routine of grocery shopping (me and Nora) while the big kids are in school. After we get them from school, we hang out on our church property and hike trails and play in the leaves and visit Jordan. It's a perfect start to the week! I realized that I had taken about five pictures of kids in the last month, so I brought my camera along with me last week. I love the fall colors and I love these ages and stages that my kiddos are in. It's crazy that I forget that they're my favorite subjects and that I love to capture them being them-- I've been so busy with photo sessions that I just haven't gotten my camera out. Anyway, I love these images... my sweet babies. 

 (I asked Corban to tell me about what he likes to do. His reply? "I like to be strong." ha!)

 ..and then he was pretending the leaves were a camera, and then really wanted to take some pictures. And so I handed off the camera and here's what my little boy took:


(ps- you can click on a picture and scroll through them all to see them larger!)