Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Piper grows up, 2 years

Piper girl,

When your sister turned two, I could barely believe it. You? I believe it. I thought your sister was stubborn and independent but you have taught me a thing or two about what that really means. You are everything I want you to be and a few things I don't want. You are strong, smart, affectionate and happy. You are also headstrong, moody, and independent to a fault. I love everything about you, but certainly get frustrated with your insistence that you do something yourself that you are completely incapable of doing.

Moving on. I remember being pregnant with you and being scared… scared that you would feel that you weren't loved like Jade was or scared that Jade would feel like her baby/toddlerhood was cut short by your arrival. And certainly, y'all being 18-months apart makes giving you each undivided attention hard. But ya know what? I think you're both gonna be the better for it. My fears have been completely squelched because not only did my heart grow so much when you were born, but you have your sister to love you too. So you get mama love AND big sister love and that's pretty awesome.

Speaking of your sister… I'm not sure how much you're gonna want to read this when you're older, but at this current age, you look up to her so much. Everything she does, you want to do. She jumps on one leg? You jump (and fall) on one leg. She pretends to sneeze and then giggles? You pretend to sneeze and then giggle. She runs and says she's gonna get her blanky from her bedroom? You follow and grab your own. Truly, you could not be more different and I certainly see myself shuttling to many different activities in my future because y'all are not gonna be doing the same ones, but you are also so similar.

You are still relatively fearless. I say relatively because I have certainly seen more daring kids, but compared to your sister you might as well be jumping off buildings. You climb up all the scary stuff at the playground, go down the huge slides and then do it all over again. You try to climb up our bookcases (don't worry folks, they're strapped to the wall!), get on the kitchen table, try to jump over the back of the couch, and frequently try to jump off of whatever you're on even though you can't quite do that yet so you kind of just fall. I swore you would be my first ER visit but I was proven wrong just 2 days after your birthday when I was sitting there with Jade. I won't say it was your fault… but um, I don't think the incident would have occurred without your presence.

You love your daddy and get super excited when he gets home from work. You love going to Mothers' Day Out and know all of your classmates names which really impressed me. You are started to be able to count, as opposed to saying "1, 3, 1, 3" when you pretend to count. You love to eat… you're picky, but not nearly as much as your sister so I'll take it. You're not quite talking in complete sentences, but you talk all.the.time and I can understand most of what you say. You're taking an interest in the potty but that's about it. You give great hugs and kisses as long as they're on your terms :) You love having tea parties and pushing your dolls in your stroller. You sing constantly… mostly in the car. "Jesus Loves Me," "You Are My Sunshine," and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" are your favorites. You also made up a song that goes "donut donut donut donut" on your birthday after your special breakfast that you really enjoyed.

Every now and then, you still let mama wear you. You're still nursing about 4 times a day and mama is starting to work on weaning now. You are far more attached to nursing than Jade ever was and I'm trying to make sure I do this gently. You're sleeping in a toddler bed and do well with it, for the most part.

I love you more than words can say and am so excited to watch you grow up.

Hugs and kisses,

and the pictures of Piper girl from our family photos a few weeks ago

Thursday, August 15, 2013

All the things

this post is all over the place. i would apologize, but really i'm just proud of myself for posting, so i won't.

The past two weeks, I have felt like a glorified cattle prodder and taxicab. We have rushed from one thing to another to another, and I can't remember the last time we were at home that my kids were awake that we weren't eating (this might be slightly exaggerated, because my memory is horrible- but suffice it to say, we've been busy). The sad thing is, I don't even know exactly what we've been doing. But somehow swim lessons 3x a week and the normal grocery shopping and Target trips have been combined with errands and attempts to socialize to become 3 very burnt out and grumpy girls in this house.

It's taking more and more work to get the girls out of the house. "But mama, I'm playing." And then when we come home and I need to cook dinner and need them to play "mama, I want you to hug me." Hugs are good, but at the end of a day where I barely sat down, I need my body to belong to me so that I can cook something.

So today? We're not going anywhere. We're not getting out of pajamas. We're cleaning the playroom so that we can walk in there again and we're going to play. And chill. And probably watch too much TV. I struggle with days like this. I try to pick one day a week that we don't go anywhere and while that sounds relaxing and wonderful, it actually stresses me out. Jade and Piper don't play very well together if they're not supervised. My days spent at home are spent breaking up fights, kissing boo boos from being pushed and bit, trying to find activities to keep them both busy and wanting to curl up into a ball and hide from my children. But I'm actually excited for today. We all need this. The girls are tired. I'm tired. And sometimes you just need to wear PJs.

Being excited for a day at home has me praying and searching and asking God if I'm doing too much. I feel like I shouldn't be this burnt out. There are constantly 5,000 things running through my mind. If I sit on the couch during nap time, I think about all the things I should be doing and feel incredibly guilty, making my supposed relaxing time anything but.

The floors need to be mopped.
The bathroom has dirty clothes all over the floor.
There's a load of clothes in the dryer that need to be folded.
The couch is covered in dog hair.
I need to move the highchair to the attic.
I really should walk the dogs more.
I need to clean the window on the back door.
Do we have enough money to buy flowers? We need flowers. Ours died.
Clutter is piling in the kitchen again.
Why haven't I hung curtains? This looks like a frat house.
I need to get rid of some toys. Too many toys.
I need to take Jade to the dentist.
Where is Piper's birthday party going to be?

Ok I'm done. But I could go on all day. My brain never stops. At some point, I make a point to turn it off, but generally I just go to bed then. So am I striving for too much? Do I need to lower my housecleaning standards, again? Do I need to give up on ever owning a home that's nicely decorated since my talents seem to lie elsewhere (don't ask me where my talents are, I just know they don't involve decorating). Or do I just need to rely on Him more fully. Let things slide sometimes and reign them in at other times.

So I stop. And breathe. And tell myself this is only a season. And play another round of Candy Land on my floor covered in dog hair and remind myself Candy Land is more important. One day at a time. I pray for guidance with the little things. The day to day. God cares about everything, but He doesn't want me to do everything. So I set boundaries. I protect our "stay at home day" fiercely. I remind myself that I am only one person.

Monday, July 15, 2013

When I need to write the most

One day last week, this was my facebook status:

I really do try not to complain much on here. I am blessed and I know it. But this morning, friends, I could use some prayers. I feel overwhelmed, ill-equipped and exhausted.

Honestly? Lately, that's how I've felt most days. Short on patience. Feeling like a failure. Guilty. Overwhelmed. The list goes on.

I really don't know when it all started. What I do know is that when I started to recognize it, instead of hitting it head on like I needed to, I hid. Hid from myself. Hid my problems from my friends.

When I needed to write the most, I went quiet. Avoided my quiet time. Started dealing with jealousy. And pride. And just went downhill.

I'm not "better" right now. But I'm done avoiding. Done acting like I'm ok when I'm not. Done feeling guilty for parts of myself I have no control over. Done thinking that my kids would be better off with someone else. Done acting defeated instead of fighting back. 

I'm not an idiot, I know this isn't the last time I'll deal with this. It seems to be something I'm gonna be dealing with for a long time. But I can make more of an effort to take care of myself and not curl into a ball the second I start to feel depressed again. I can stop relying on myself for things I was never intended to do, and instead rely on the One who loves to carry me through these times. 

And this is simply me putting this out there so I can't go back on my word immediately...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The top 10 signs you move too much (in no particular order)

1. You can never remember your zip code.

2. You find yourself driving to stores that are not in the city you currently reside in.

3. You never know what to say when people ask where you're from.

4. Your phone number isn't the right area code.

5. Your driver's license and license plate are the wrong state. And are a different state than your phone number...

6. When something about your current state of residence bothers you (hypothetically speaking {cough cough} tornadoes), you say "well I'm not from here" like you could control it if you were.

7. You own two homes that you do not live in, one that you have not seen in 5 years.

8. You think a 6-hour drive is a short road trip.

9. You have an attic full of clothes and recreational equipment for the wrong climate.

10. You can't remember if you saw that cookie sheet (drill, set of sheets, extra shower curtain...) in this house or your last one.

(and I wouldn't have it any other way)

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Tuesday, Piper girl started gymnastics. Seriously guys, I never would've been one of those moms that signed up my 18-month old. But keeping her entertained for 50 minutes while watching Jade is nearly impossible and Jade no longer has to be in a mommy and me class so we can go during the day and I can go in with Piper.

With that said, Piper LOVED it. Loved. She did things Tuesday that in 4 sessions we never got Jade to do. And Jade started a dance/gym combo class and was SO excited. Since I'm busy with Piper, I didn't get to see her dance at all, but her teacher said she did really well and followed all the instructions and Jade told me that she had "lots of fun" so I'll call it successful. I think she'll like dance a whole lot more than gymnastics so this might be the last round of gymnastics- or maybe we'll stick with the combo? Not sure, but I'm not paying for two separate classes, that's for sure.

This post is mainly about pictures though. The lighting in my house is horrible, so just bear with me.

Wouldn't stand up...

Wouldn't look at me...

Looked at me. But Jade didn't!


Yes, she held onto this all by herself. And signed "again" the second she hit the mat.

Staring at the people on the trapeze-jealous.

"Ok, fine, I'll climb"

I have a feeling this place will continue to get my money for some time to come.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

What needs to change?

saying that my thoughts are jumbled tonight is an understatement, so i apologize ahead of time 

Tonight I find myself asking this question. Realizing that something has to change because I'm headed down the wrong path again.

This month, I was reading through Nehemiah with SheReadsTruth. And just like a lot of other places in the Old Testament, we see the Israelites fail and recommit and then fail again. It would be so easy to point fingers. To act like I don't understand. To pretend like that is an Old Testament problem and not something I'm very much struggling with today in the here and now.

But that's not true. Although I'm not breaking covenant law with God and I have the grace of Jesus, there are certain things God has revealed to me about myself throughout the course of my life that I am downright ignoring. Because of that, I am finding myself burnt out, snippy and tired. I always try to just sleep more when I get like this, but the fact is the physical tiredness isn't the problem. I feel another kind of tiredness from the busyness and pressure I put on myself to do all the things.

I've never tried to make it a secret that I struggle with depression. It's hard to even type that without feeling like a failure, but if I don't face it and name it and speak power over it, it begins to take over. And if I ignore the things God has taught me, it doesn't matter how hard I think I'm fighting the depression, I lose.

So sometimes I have to take a step back. Re-examine things and see where my choices are taking me. Ask myself what someone looking at me from the outside thinks about my priorities. Ask myself what my kids think about the choices I'm making. Ask myself if I make my husband feel important or like an afterthought.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

This place I call home

Last year, when Chuck (very) abruptly announced that we were moving to Oklahoma, I had a few thoughts:
1. What? Moving? Huh?
2. I'm gonna miss our church.
3. Oklahoma? Really? Can't go somewhere else? I'll have to pray for a good attitude.

After the initial shock wore off, I did a pretty good job with number 3. This is not a place I would have chosen to move, but God revealed a lot of the good to me and I knew He had a purpose in sending us here and I have been both pleasantly surprised and genuinely pleased with this location. I will not say that I "love" it, but I never said that about Virginia either and now I miss it like crazy so apparently that doesn't matter.

I have made friends, I have found a great place for my kids to go to "school", etc. And really? A place is all about who you know and what you make of it.

But right now? I wouldn't be sad if the Air Force said "hey guys, wanna PCS after just a year?" Because oh my goodness this weather.

Storms have never really scared me. I remember watching the sky turn green from my front porch when I was a kid and my mom yelling at me to get inside. I love watching them form and I love thunder and really I think it's just amazing. I knew (obviously) that they could destroy, but in my mind, people in bathtubs and closets were safe. I didn't insist on a storm shelter in a property when we moved here because I really didn't think they were necessary (a lot of people/houses here do not have them). Hindsight.

With the kiddos, I feel responsible. There are two little people looking at me to, ya know, keep them alive. And while so far we have been beyond lucky in that all the big storms have been south of us, I feel like my guard has been up for two weeks and I'm exhausted.

So I'm back to praying for a good attitude. To realizing that moving away for a couple months probably isn't sensible. To seeking out the reasons God sent us here. But I'm gonna continue to butter up the friend that has a shelter, just in case :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Piper grows up- 18 months


I know I say this every time, but I cannot believe that you are 18-months old. When your sister was this age, we were getting ready to welcome you into the world but you are still very much my baby.

The past couple months with you have been both tons of fun and lots of hard work. Which I suppose can sum up parenting in general. Your vocabulary is exploding. You can climb up anything at the playground and go down the biggest slides with a smile on your face the whole way. You have learned to say please and thank you and it's seriously the cutest thing ever. You love to play outside and brush your teeth (no help allowed, thank you very much). You reach out for Jade's hand to pray the second we put you in your high chair and blow me a kiss every night after I say "amen". You bring us books constantly and rarely let us finish one. You still love to nurse and now that  you've learned that "mmm" means that something is good you frequently take a couple sips, lean back and say "mmmm" and then latch back on again. Melts my heart every time.

Not so fun things that you are doing: hitting, biting, pushing, kicking, and in general just being the most opinionated, independent, tantrum throwing kid ever. Nothing that I have done discipline wise is proving to do any good, so I'm just focusing on being consistent and praying that you grow out of this soon because I really don't want you getting kicked out of Mother's Day Out in the fall!

With that said, they have never mentioned you doing this at church- they always say that you are really good and so much fun, so I suppose it's something you reserve for your closest friends and family.

You still love big sister and try to do everything that she does- you insist on carrying your backpack (which is almost as big as you) in and out of church. You are also starting to walk from the car to wherever we're going more than being carried/worn.

Your sleep has been all over the place. You're teething and going through a growth spurt, so some days you don't nap at all and other days you nap and sleep 13-hours at night. I rarely know what to expect.

You're going through the 18-month separation anxiety phase, which has made leaving you with friends a bit more difficult. At church, you're fine as soon as I leave, but with friends you generally want to be held the whole time.

We have lots of fun things coming up for you- in a couple weeks you start gymnastics, since you have been trying to break into the gym for the last 4 months while watching sister. We're going to the beach at the end of June and I have no doubt I will not get to sit down for a minute in order to try to save you from drowning yourself! We have lots of friends coming to visit this summer, so I know we won't be bored for a minute and then in the fall you're gonna be a big girl and go to MDO with Jade :)

I love you so much baby girl. You bring many smiles to my face every day. Your fun spirit will serve you very well in the future and I consider it pure joy to watch you grow up.

Lots of hugs and kisses,

18-month stats:
Weight: 22 lbs 2 oz, 19%
Height: 30", 10%
Head: 18" 29%

For the record, Jade was the same height at 18-months, but weighed 3 pounds less.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The day

I had every intention of sitting down tonight and writing Piper's 18-month post. Instead, I am watching the news and checking Facebook constantly to make sure that everyone I know is ok.

They're staying the tornado that hit Moore today is the worst Oklahoma has ever seen, which is, ya know, saying something. One minute, I was annoyed with my kids for being teething whiny disasters and the next I just wanted to hug them and keep them close.

We were never in danger here, but it was close enough to home that I am shaken and feeling burdened. Burdened to help and burdened to pray. They're telling us to stay away, not to come help. It's taking everything I can do to sit in this house.

Mamas lost their babies and babies lost their mamas. People lost everything they owned. Entire neighborhoods just leveled. Schools, with kids inside, destroyed.

Nothing I say is going to change anything. I'm not eloquent, or powerful or super-rich. But I know a God that is, and I'm praying to Him and waiting until I can do more.

Monday, May 13, 2013

My girls

Coud not be more different. Sometimes it surprises me how much they look alike in older pictures, because it's crazy to me that they could look so similar and be so different.

Jade is quiet. Piper is loud. Jade likes to read. Piper likes to climb. Jade likes to color. Piper likes to eat crayons (I'm hoping she grows out of that one!).

Ok, little (huge) confession here: sometimes I have no clue what to do with Piper. I can't keep up with her. She's always one step ahead of me. I think I've figured out something she likes? Nope, doesn't like it any more. Let's blow bubbles!! "No mama, let me hit that bubble wand out of your hand because I obviously don't want to do that anymore!" Completely hypothetical situation, of course.

Jade? Her I can usually figure out. I can see the meltdowns coming. And although I usually can't stop them from happening, she's older and generally calms down faster. She didn't throw fits at 17 months. Not like the ones Piper does anyways.

What's so amazing to me is that God made them both. Ok, I know that sounds like a "duh" statement but my goodness it is SO true. He made them both just the way He wanted them. And while I love them more than I could possibly describe, He loves them FAR more than that and designed them just the way they are. He gave them their personalities for a purpose. My job is simply (ok, there's nothing simple about it, but you get my gist) to find their natural abilities and pour myself into teaching them how to use those for Him. To discipline the yucky stuff, but show them how great the rest of them is.

I don't have to try to make Jade more like Piper or Piper more like Jade. Or either one of them more like me. I just have to help mold them to be the best version of themselves. To show Jade that sometimes we have to be brave and climb even when we're scared. To show Piper that sometimes it's good to sit and read a while. But also to show Jade that there is nothing wrong with reading for hours on end- that using your brain is amazing and good and important. And to show Piper that climbing and screaming and standing up for yourself and what you want is amazing and good and important.

To show them that no matter how different they are, that they can be each other's champions. Can cheer for each other. Can use their abilities and inclinations to serve God and His Kingdom. Such a high calling I have.

Monday, May 6, 2013


Today on my run, a girl yelled at my friend and I that we were crazy. I enthusiastically responded "yes, we are!"

The truly crazy thing is that we got that response with only one kid apiece in our strollers today. Normally we're pushing far more weight and huffing and puffing a little bit more.

But really? Running with a double stroller doesn't make me crazy. It keeps me from being crazy. Sometimes the days are long and the only respite I get is a run. Unless I get up with the roosters, showering by myself is a luxury I am not privy to. I do get up early and soak in the Word and try to eat some food before the kiddos wake up, but I'm ashamed to admit that even with that time, by 8:30 I'm often ready for naptime and need to hit the restart button and find myself a new attitude.

So with a prayer and a run I start over. I summon a little more patience. Some more empathy. The ability to see the world through my kids' eyes instead of seeing my day as something to trudge through.

So to me, *not* running is crazy. Running helps me to see my life as an adventure instead of drudgery. It shows my kids that taking care of yourself is important. That you can be a stay-at-home mom and not sit around and eat bonbons all day- that even as a SAHM, you can have goals and achieve those goals.

I'm not breaking any records or even running any races, but I'm running. And some days, that's all that keeps me sane.

Asking you all to ignore the fact that this picture is clearly from the fall. I don't make a habit of taking pictures of my runs...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What they don't tell you

When you're pregnant with your first, people like to say vague things like "oh, you're life is about to change." I always wanted to respond with something sarcastic, but (generally) held my tongue.

Even when people aren't being vague, they'll mention how hard parenting is in the contexts of diapers and spit up. They'll talk about how expensive babies are and how your car will never be clean again.

They don't mention the day you'll be rocking your toddler, trying desperately to get her to sleep, when she twists her head a little bit and bites your collarbone *hard* for no discernible reason.

They don't tell you about the days that you put running clothes on and throw the jogging stroller in the car first thing in the morning, just to go to sleep with those clothes still on and that stroller unused that night.

They don't tell you that you will celebrate each of your kid's successes as they were your own... and feel the sting of their failures.

They don't tell you that some days, you will have so many things going on in your head that you won't be able to find your car keys... even though they're hanging right where they're supposed to.

They don't tell you that isolation can hit hard when you're a stay at home mom, and that you have to make serious efforts to get out and speak with someone over the age of 20.

They don't tell you that sometimes your serious efforts will be failures... that your picnic lunch will be cancelled when your three-year old gets sick. That your trip to the playground to burn off steam will end in tears when your toddler is pushed down by another kid. That sometimes... your best isn't good enough.

They don't tell you how much you will love your kid. But really, how could they? You can't explain it.

They don't tell you that you will covet your little girl's wardrobe.

They don't tell you that some days you will want to check yourself into the looney bin just to get a break.

They don't tell you that everyone has a perfect way to parent, but that there are no perfect parents.

They don't tell you that parenting is the hardest thing you will ever do, but that you will never doubt it's worth.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Letter to Jade, 3 years old

Miss Jade,

My goodness. Three. I don't know why, but I can barely believe it. You have started acting three and form an objective standpoint, I can totally believe that you're three. But as your mama? It seems like just yesterday that I was bringing you home from the hospital. It's so surreal.

You are so much fun these days. You are still sweet and shy, and love to read. I suppose in those ways you haven't really changed. But you are starting to recognize some words in your books and when I told you I was gonna (try) to teach you how to write your name this summer you got beyond excited. You love to learn.

I am still amazed by how much I love you. I never understood it until I was a mom, and sometimes it still takes my breath away.

I want all the best for you. I want you to grow up to be a woman of God. To find fulfillment doing whatever it is He calls you to do. Have a family, don't have a family, get rich, live in a shack- I don't care. Just follow His calling for your life and you will have joy sweet girl. That's what mama wants for you. Contentment in your purpose.

This year has been a year of change for you- we moved, uprooting you from the only place you'd ever known. Like I expected, you did amazingly well. You still ask for your friends from there every now and then, but you've made new friends here and are doing extremely well.

Most of the time, you love gymnastics. I'm pretty sure we're gonna sign you up for a dance/gym combo class this summer and see what you gravitate towards more. You're still a really cautious kid and I'm just not sure if gymnastics is the right place. It has served it's purpose though- you have broken out of your comfort zone some and I've been so proud of you.

You still love being a big sister, but I think it's hard for you sometimes too. Just like any person, you want attention and sometimes it's hard to wait for your turn with mama. It's teaching you a lot though- I am so glad that you are growing up with a sister and am still waiting for that magic time that y'all start playing together :) Piper still just adores you and you still love to sing to her to help her to feel better.

You love Minnie Mouse, Cinderella and Doc McStuffins. You have finally started asking for Doc McStuffins over Mickey sometimes which I am so grateful for. Something finally beats Mickey!! Although I do sometimes wish it wasn't Doc because she has a tendency to make you a hypochondriac!

Love you to the moon and back Miss Jade. I'm so proud to be your mama.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I'm convinced that we are all so busy trying to preserve our little worlds that we miss out on great opportunities. That we are trying so hard to stay above water that we keep our eyes on ourself and ourself alone for fear of screwing up our world.

I've been better lately about looking above. Seeking Him for what He wants for my life, even in the day to day circumstances. Realizing that He not only cares about the smaller things in my life, but that He desires me to seek Him and talk to Him about those things has been a game changer for me.

But this morning, again, God pointed out that I don't need to just be looking to Him, I need to be looking around me. I need to see other people's needs. I need to show them that I care about them. I need to stop running through my list of things to do constantly and instead pray over the needs of my friends. I need to be showing my kids that my world doesn't always revolve around them and their needs- that sometimes we need to take care of other people.

It's easy to make excuses. My favorite one is "I have young kids". Don't get me wrong, this is frequently a very valid excuse for things. I have called a couple organizations around Oklahoma that I thought about volunteering with and asked if I could bring my kids and was told "no" from both of them. I got so frustrated- venting to Chuck that I feel God calling me to help people and offer my skills to people, yet knowing He gave me these kids at this time for a reason and not knowing how to reconcile the two things. I keep telling myself that this is just for a season, but I couldn't help longing for something to change.

This morning I was doing my devotion, and it was on intercessory prayer. And God could not have gotten His point across more clearly if He had sat down at the table with me and said the words Himself. Ok, maybe that would have been more effective but you get the idea.

"Erin, stop thinking about yourself all the time. When you tell people you're going to pray for them, actually do it. Allow yourself to cry for others. To mourn for others. Allow your heart to be broken even when it's inconvenient."

We don't have to volunteer at a women's shelter or crisis pregnancy center to make a difference. We can make a difference by smiling at the frazzled mom at the grocery store. By allowing ourselves to really notice the people around us and think about their needs. By really listening to your friends and not just waiting for your opportunity to talk. By spending our time driving praying for others instead of thinking about what we need to do when we get home. By realizing that frequently our problems are simply distractions from what really matters.

I've been so convicted of this recently. Realizing how much I talk instead of listen. Getting home from playdates and not being able to recount a single mom's name. Inviting people over and not even offering them something to drink. Walk by another mom in the store dealing with a toddler tantrum without so much as a glance.

I pray that God will help me to open my eyes and realize that even in this season, I can help people. I can be there for people and serve people even while my life is being run by nap schedules. I can look outside my own little world and see the big picture. By asking God to show me what He sees.Convic

Friday, March 15, 2013

Brain? Where are you?

Before having kids, I was a pretty organized, on top of things individual. I'm not saying my house was always spotless or I didn't have to write things down, but I remembered things. I got places on time. If someone asked me to do something and I couldn't write it down immediately, I remembered it until I got to a place where I could.

Now? Not so much. I'm seriously amazed at some of the stupid things I do and it's even more amazing to me that there are moms that are uber successful in the workplace. Before I had kids, I was impressed by them, but now I want to beg them for their secrets. Without to do lists, I am a disaster. Something not on the calendar? I won't be there.

It's pretty pathetic, really. I hope that when my kids get older and I'm not longer breastfeeding or pregnant, some of my brain power will come back to me, but I don't know. It's been a while now so I think it might just be gone.

So I'm trying to adapt. Get used to the feeling of being spastic. It's especially bad in social situations, because that's where I'm most uncomfortable. Put me in front of people when I don't feel 100% prepared and I start rambling and sounding like a 13-year old. It's lovely.

But this morning in my devotional (if you're looking for something to do, check out SheReadsTruth- it's awesome), she talks about the blessing Christ has given us. That He has taken our burdens and given us blessings. We read Psalm 127, which says "unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain".

Read it before? Me too. But today it hit me between the eyes. I rarely get a break during the day. I make breakfast, clean up breakfast (often while wearing a fussy baby), get 3 people ready for the day, go out somewhere, come home and make lunch, clean up lunch, put two kiddos down for a nap, do laundry, vacuum, etc etc etc. And all of those things are important. One of my goals for my kids is that when they're teenagers they can have friends over without asking me first. That they can call on their way home from somewhere and say "hey mom, we'll be there in 5 minutes" and I will say "ok" and not freak out on them because the house is a mess and I don't want anyone to see it. But I'm realizing more and more that achieving that goal has far more to do with my mindset than my productivity.

When I think of what I want in a home, I want a peaceful (as peaceful as you can get with kids anyways) place that makes people feel like they're at home. Comfortable. I don't think "spotless" or "perfectly decorated" because that's not something I'll ever achieve. So this is something I'm working on- being a good hostess, and helping people feel comfortable in my home.

But I realized this morning that all of my Pinterest projects can't make that happen. Only God can. And if I'm just toiling and toiling away to have a "welcoming" home, I'm gonna feel spastic and spent all the time and my home will be anything but welcoming. Another verse in Psalm 127 says that He grants sleep to those He loves. Isn't that amazing? Of course, it doesn't say how much sleep and my dream of 9 hours a night and a nap in the afternoon probably isn't gonna happen (I really like sleep), but He doesn't want us to stay up all night working on things that don't matter. Things that will make no impact on the Kingdom. Things of Earthly value instead of eternal value.

So despite the fact that my brain is missing, I can live like a blessed, rested person. Because God cares about me that much. "He has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


the pictures in this post have nothing to do with the post because I'm awesome like that

Sometimes life just doesn't make sense. The good guys lose and the bad guys win. Yesterday I got some news from a friend and I just hung my head and cried for her. And then yelled. I'm a yeller. Sad, mad, happy, whatever- I yell. So I yelled and I cried and I yelled and cried some more and here I am, a day later, yelled and cried out and still not sure what the next step is.

If I ever lose my phone, I know who has it.

Lately, I've started trying to be more intentional with my days. If I stay at home and don't have any activities, goals, or whatever planned for the day I wind up kind of wandering and lost. I'm not to the point yet of making a schedule of each day, but I do think through our days and try to think of ways to incorporate "lessons" if you will.

Playing outside on a nice day

One of the things that this has helped me to realize is that I'm not always intentional with my kids. Sure, I feed them, bathe them, dress them, drive them places. I play with them, I teach Jade things. But when I think "what do I want them to look like as adults and what am I doing now to ensure that end result happens?" I'm kind of stumped. It's such a BIG thing that it seems impossible and overwhelming.

Kid cracks me up

So I've started to make a list of character traits I want them to have. I haven't really gotten to the point where I know what I need to do to make that happen, but I figure this is a start. One of the biggest things I've come up with (after faith and just all-around responsibility) is that I want them to know how to be a friend.

At a friend's birthday party

One of the reasons this is a big deal to me is that I have *amazing* friends that will do anything for me. And just like I strive to be a friend like that, I want my girls to be friends like that too. To take note of someone's favorite coffee drink or Chick-fil-A order and surprise them one day. To go out of your way to show someone that they're important to you. To make other people feel special.

Riding backwards

So right now, I'm trying to make sense of things that don't make sense and having to hand over that concern and anger to God over and over again. And I'm trying to be a good friend. Because while I can't fix her pain, I can show her that she matters. And I can show my girls how to do the same. And pray every day that they grow up to have amazing friends like I do and that they will know how to be a friend as well.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Teaching your kids the Word

Growing up, I didn't really memorize scripture. There are plenty of verses that I can finish for you if you start them, but if you just give me the reference, I generally won't know it.

This is something I am not proud of and am trying to fix. But I have realized that it's incredibly hard for me to remember new things. I truly wish I had a delete button for my brain- I know many things I don't need to know and can't remember new things I want to know!

But one of the things that I have learned since having kids is that their brains are like sponges. I am *amazed* at some of the things that Jade remembers. So I realized I needed to get to "work" on her scripture memorization. I want His Word to be the thing that she can't delete from her brain!

I can't remember what blog referred me to Truthcards, but I am so grateful. I bought them almost a year ago but didn't really do anything with them until last month. So far, Jade has learned three verses and she's gonna pick out a new one today. 

It's such a simple concept- they just have a picture on the front, along with one word, and the verse on the back. So far, Jade's picked out all of her verses by flipping through the cards and picking the picture she likes. She's learned the "butterfly verse", "share verse" and the "snowman verse". These aren't necessarily the verses I would have chosen for her to learn, but she picks them and she's happy, so I'm happy!

All I do is read the verses to her while we're at the table eating. So far, she won't practice with me at all- she just wants me to read it over and over until one day she says "no, I'll say it" and proceeds to say the whole thing. 

So, if you're looking for a way to teach scripture to your kids, definitely look into truthcards!

I know she's hard to hear, but she is reciting 2 Corinthians 5:17, Luke 3:11 and Psalm 51:7

Monday, March 4, 2013

Write anyways

Last week was pretty crazy. It culminated in a trip to Dallas on Saturday that's highlight was me completely losing my cool on my 2-year-old in Ikea. Awesome.

One good thing about having kids is that no matter when you get them in bed, they wake up early. I'm calling this good at the moment because that meant that no matter how exhausted we were yesterday from our trip Saturday, we had absolutely no excuse to miss church. This was the second week of having a guest speaker and it was awesome.

The speaker yesterday talked about how God doesn't call you to give out of your excess, he calls you to give from your heart. He calls you to give all. And that God doesn't want just your money; he wants your money, your time and your talent.

Easy, huh?

I have been striving to be more generous lately in all areas of my life, and I was sitting there in church thinking "I'm generous. I'm good on this one". And then I realized that I also want more for myself. More wraps, more clothes, more things for the kids, more... stuff. God kind of slapped me in the face with that one. Would I still give my money if it meant I couldn't eat out whenever I want? Would I give my time if it took away from my precious sleep?

Am I giving out of excess?

I pray that I'm not. I'm asking God to show me the truth of my heart. And I'm writing. Because through my 28 years on this Earth, I have learned that I write to learn. Learn about myself and about God. I write to unscramble my thoughts and put them in logical order. I write to see where I need to go next. God is continuing to show me how important it is for me to write.

So sometimes I might get some comments about my blog that make me want to stop. Stop writing for other people to read. Stop putting myself out there. Stop showing people who I really am. But I'm not going to. I don't know why, but He doesn't want me to stop. I can only pray it's because He's using this small little space for good.

I know the last couple posts have been "deep". I'll try to do something more lighthearted next time :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Failure and brokeness

Lately, I've felt like a failure. I pray and pray for God to help me to be more patient. More graceful. More loving. More joyful. To help me control my temper. Not be greedy. Man, I pray for a lot of things. Constantly. And yet, I see no fruit. I still yell. I still walk into my bedroom and punch pillows. I still get grumpy, focus on the wrong things, grow frustrated, ask too much and give too little. I fail.

Just a few weeks ago I was crying to a friend "I feel like I am more patient, but my kids are also requiring more patience so I'm still getting angry just as frequently!" I was so angry, so upset. I wanted to bask in my patience for at least a week before them demanding more of me. I wanted to pat myself on the back.

I wanted to feel successful.

Yet over the last few days, God has showed me that I'm not a failure. I'm broken. And those are two completely different things. I'm crying out to Him for help instead of relying on myself. I'm recognizing my sin and addressing it. I'm drawing closer to Him every day and He's showing me the things in my life that need to change.

And that, my friends, is success. However I might appear to the outside world, I recognize that I am not a failure. That I am broken but that I am on the right path. I am learning that it's not about my success, but about what He can do through me. And if I'm broken, He's getting me ready for something. Something big. Something wonderful. Because flowers won't grow if the soil is rock hard. It has to be broken up. So here I am, anticipating what the flowers coming my way might be. While I am focusing on the little details, my failures, He sees the whole story and what this time is preparing me for. And for that, I am grateful.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Meal planning

This blog will always be mostly my ramblings, but this is something I think I should share with you guys because it's been awesome for my family.

I've always wanted to feed my family healthy foods. Granted, healthy means different things to different people, but for me it meant cooking with fresh, non-processed foods. Only problem is that I don't have a whole lot of recipes that fit the bill and the ones I found that did were typically complicated and time consuming.

Meal planning always stressed me out- I would pick one or 2 "good" recipes and the rest ones I was familiar with that weren't necessarily the healthiest because I hated the amount of time it was taking to find the "good" recipes. The whole process of planning meals, making a list and going to the store is by far one of my least favorite parts of being a wife/mom. I enjoy eating at home and I don't mind cooking, I just don't want to have to think about it.

Enter The Fresh 20. I stumbled upon this right around the new year. One of the blogs I read asked for suggestions on meal planning, and tons of her readers recommended this. And there was a Groupon- $24 for the whole year of meal planning and grocery lists. Sold.

I'd heard of stuff like this before. I tried to do eMeals at one point, but realized they didn't really prepare the kind of meals I was looking for. I actually had a friend send me a ton of her The Fresh 20 meals right after Piper was born, but I tried to pick and choose meals that sounded good and wound up giving up.

Their premise is that they make 5 healthy meals from 20 fresh ingredients. They give you your grocery list and give you "meal prep" guidelines which is something you do on Sunday (or Monday) to cut down your cooking time the night of. I've found that when I do the meal prep like I'm supposed to, it's taking me about 30 minutes the night of. I would imagine most people would be faster. For whatever reason, I am a slow cook.

Some of the meals have weird names and I have made meals with ingredients I've never even heard of before starting this plan. Sometimes I set Chuck's plate on the table and he gives me a "really?" look. However, even he will agree that this has been a huge success. Ninety percent of the meals have been good, most of them have been really good. The ones that aren't good aren't horrible and I'm willing to deal with some not great meals every now and then if I don't have to plan them myself.

The meals throughout the week build upon themselves- for instance, last week I made a huge thing of BBQ for Meal 1 and they had you save half of it for Meal 3. This can make things more complicated if you don't want to make 5 meals that week, but a couple times I've just picked 4 and as long as you read through the recipes before picking which one to leave out, you'll be fine. For the most part, we have leftovers and we're able to eat those for lunch throughout the week.

I know some people are scared of this plan because they have you making almost everything fresh- the BBQ sauce for the BBQ last week, for instance. But (gasp) no one from The Fresh 20 is standing in your kitchen making sure you do everything their way. I actually did make my BBQ sauce, but didn't make my bread crumbs for another recipe that week. Store bought are just fine, thank you very much.

So there ya go. If you want to cry doing your meal planning like I did, let someone else do it for you :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Piper grows up- 15 months

Piper- girl,

Yesterday you were 15-months old. I can hardly believe it. It seems weird, but I still feel new to Oklahoma, which makes you 6-months-old in my mind. And then I see you walking and talking and doing all of these things and I'm just blown away by how quickly it's all happened.

Since the letter I wrote at 12 months, you have made the switch to walking. And climbing. Oh goodness the climbing. I've been around babies much worse, so maybe I shouldn't complain but if I find you in the bathroom sink playing with the soap one more time I might lose it. All doors in the house are either closed or gated thanks to you baby girl. You have no concept that you can fall off the stool in the bathroom (even after doing it) onto the hard tile floor, so closed door it is.

You have just recently begun to talk a bit more. Your words aren't quite as clear as Jade's were at this age so it's taken me some time to figure out that you're saying the same thing consistently and that it is your word for certain things. For instance, every time you see Belle, you say something. Just (I thought) a little piece of gibberish. But then I realized that you were saying the same thing every time. Not sure if you're saying Belle or dog, but I'll count it as a word :) You also say swing (or something like it) every time you look in the backyard. Other new words are book, uh-oh, all done, eat (which is mostly the 'e' sound), Minnie (me-me), and you hoot like an owl (of course). You haven't bothered to say dada yet, but we know that you love him so he's letting it slide.

You are also signing up a storm. Not a ton of signs, but that's not your fault, it's mama's and daddy's for not teaching them to you. You sign all done, milk, eat, more, bath, diaper change, and are starting to try water. Because you learned the sign for milk, I feel like a cow again because every time you see me you sign milk with both hands like that's all I'm good for. I'm assuming (hoping, haha!) this is a stage that will pass rather quickly.

Because of your joy in being able to sign milk, you're nursing about 10 times a day. At 15-months old. Most of the sessions are very short, but when I say no you generally pitch a fit. So yeah, I have no desire to wean anytime soon, which I've decided you very much appreciate. If we're out and about you don't nurse that much, so I know a good bit of it is that I'm here and you're bored and you are slowly starting to accept distractions so I expect that number to go down a bit here shortly. You also *love* to eat table foods. You are getting a bit pickier, just like your sister did around this time, but for the most part will eat anything. And a lot of it. You love oatmeal and have that most mornings along with a banana or some other fruit and some cheese. And then you ask for more, so I generally wind up giving you multiple pieces of fruit. You're still a bit sporadic with meat, but other than that and avocado and a few other things I can't think of right now, you'll eat basically anything. You're tummy is still a bit sensitive and you've thrown up just from drinking too much or eating too much, so I figure we're a ways away from trying eggs again and I'm holding off on the peanut butter for a while as well.

You've finally learned how to point and will now point to things in books when I ask you where it is. You also know your nose and I'm pretty sure you know your eyes and ears too and just think it's funny that you point to your nose every time.

We are wrapping just as much as we were at 12-months. I probably wear you around the house at least once a day (generally to cook) and oftentimes more than that. I always wear you when we're out because if I have to take sister to the potty, it's a whole lot easier if you're not walking around touching everything in the (gross) bathroom. For the most part, you love being worn. Every now and then you want to get down, but you generally lay nice and still while I wrap you and hang out on my back for as long as I want you to. I love babywearing :)

You are starting to outgrow your 9-12 month clothes. Or at least your 9-12 month shirts. They've started to ride up fairly consistently (which helped you find your belly button-yay!) but your pants are still pretty long so I'm not sure how that's gonna work out. Can't wait until it's shorts weather and then it won't matter!

Your personality is a lot more toddler-like than Jade's was at this age. I think because you have such a good example in your sister haha. You pitch fits, hit (mostly just trying to push me away, but it still hurts!), pull hair and scream when you don't get your way. But you also laugh super easily and make the most awesome faces that crack me up. I have a feeling you might be up and down a bit like your mama. Nothing wrong with that ;)

You are still adored at MOPS and church. You moved to the "walkers" room at church and your first week I asked how you did and they said "she really loves snacks". Ha! That's my girl :) You aren't as quick to smile at strangers as you used to be and have perfected a scowl which I find hilarious. When you would walk up and reach for perfect strangers, it scared mama a little, so I'm ok with the scowl!

We love you so much Piper girl, and can't imagine life without you.

Lots of love,

15 month stats-
weight: 20 lbs, 13 ozs, 18%
height: 28.75 inches, 8%
head circumference, 32%
compared to Jade

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thoughts on a 3-day weekend

Yesterday was Presidents' Day. Which meant Jade did not have Mother's Day Out. And also (thankfully) meant that Chuck had the day off.

And I have to say it- I don't know how mom's who have husband's that travel a lot do it. Not how they manage while the husband is gone- although I don't really know how they do that either. But how they adjust constantly between him being gone and being home. Because I suck at it.

Don't get me wrong, I love it when Chuck is home. The girls are so excited to have daddy here and it's really nice not to have to sit on the stool in the bathroom to nurse Piper while I'm waiting on Jade to go potty. That combined with the fact that I do genuinely enjoy his company makes for some fun times.

Ahem. But I also find that he's constantly "in my way" or "not doing what he should". I have such a good routine going during the week that when he's here I find that I get *way* less done and this weekend in particular I got so incredibly frustrated.

His answer to this predicament is that he can just not come home. Uh, no. I find my attitude to be completely ridiculous and get so ashamed at the way that I act. Here I am, expecting Jade to behave and have a good attitude and I can't even manage that! Last night, I found myself laying in bed thanking God for the patience and grace He extends towards me and asking for the ability to extend that to my kids.

I don't think this post actually has a point. I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else has a hard time adjusting between the weekends and the week and how they handle that. At this point, I wouldn't blame Chuck if he didn't want to come home because (let's face it) the kids can be all over the place emotionally and currently I'm not a whole lot more predictable. This is an area that God is really bringing to my attention that needs to change, that I need to repent of, ask forgiveness for. Am I alone?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Some photos

I mentioned to you guys last week that I was starting a photo course this week and I would post some of the pictures.

So here I am. Mind blowing, I know.

First, one of the main reasons I wanted to take the course is because I was sick of my nice DSLR sitting in the camera bag. Well, I've taken 300+ photos this week. So if nothing else, I've achieved that goal.

The other reason I was taking the course is because I never like the way my pictures turn out in auto (particularly inside), but I have no idea how to use manual. And I would like to learn. I haven't gotten to that part of the course yet, but I plan to read through it tonight and try the techniques out this weekend and I'm pretty excited about it.

I'm taking this class. I read this girls blog (and if you don't, you totally should) and I love her photos and her general perspective on life. And she just adopted a little girl from China, which I think is one of the coolest things ever. So I sold a few things around my house to raise the money for the class- even though some other courses might be cheaper, I love that I'm supporting a person that has the same values and perspective on life that I do so it was worth the extra money :)

Honestly, not the best picture composition wise, but I just love her smile.

Again, cropping was bad, but the grin!

In love with this one. Ashley Ann did recommend leaving her hand in next time.

I love the light on her hair.

Definitely one of my favorites.

She might look like she's falling over backwards, but she's actually walking forwards.

Working hard.

We got some snow this week, and Zoe enjoyed every second of it.