On Friday morning, I was headed out to do some Christmas shopping. On my way to the mall, a CNN headline popped up. It read something like this:

Police arrive on the scene of a Connecticut school shooting

Sadly, I didn't really give it any real thought other than: "Another shooting?! Geez." That alone is disturbing to me looking back on it. How far have we come from the days of Columbine??

As I strolled through the mall with my two boys while waiting to meet my mom, my husband (who was in Cleveland at the time) started sending me a series of text messages. Each one worse than the next:

Turn on the news
Over 20 dead in CT school shooting
An elementary school
Give Pally (his nickname for Carter) a hug for me

That last statement alone told me he was really disturbed by whatever he was seeing on tv. As the day went on, more information poured into my phone... but it wasn't until late that night after getting my boys to bed that I wept. And wept. And wept. 

For those poor little, innocent babies.

And the brave souls who gave their lives protecting them.

For their families. Especially the moms and dads who would never hear the sweet voice of their little one again.

For the other children in that building who will, no doubt, forever be traumatized by what they experienced.

For the first responders. God only knows the sights and sounds they encountered that morning. Carnage that no person should ever have to witness. 

And also for the perpetrator of these crimes. Because how far into darkness do you have to go in order to commit such heinous, evil acts?

With each passing day and each new news report, I am reminded of how broken our world is. Yes, our gun control laws need to be seriously reevaluated. And yes, our mental health system is completely dysfunctional. But we, as people, are broken and lost and in need or someone to save us from ourselves. 

And that's when it hit me. This tragedy came less than 2 weeks before Christmas (which is a tragedy in itself), but what a powerful reminder that there is someone who came to save us from ourselves and the depravity of this world. The Advent season is all about waiting and celebrating the birth of a Savior. And because of that we can have hope. 

Long lay the world
in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared
 and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope
the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks
a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees,
O hear the angel voices!
O night divine,
O night when Christ was born!
O Holy Night
Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord,
That hath made heaven
and earth of naught
And with His blood
mankind hath bought.
Noel Noel Noel Noel!
Born is the King of Israel!
The First Noel
"And then, just when everything is bearing down on us to such an extent that we can scarcely withstand it, the Christmas message comes to tell us that our ideas are wrong, and that what we take to be evil and dark is really good and light because it comes from God. Our eyes are at fault, that is all. God is in the manger, wealth in poverty, light in darkness, succor in abandonment."
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer


November Update

My poor, neglected blog. I have so many things I'd like to write about, but life has gotten in the way over the past few months (more on that another time). I don't, however, want to forget these precious, but oh-so-crazy and tiresome days with my two boys. Here's a little of what they each have been up to lately:

Carter, age 3/12
  • Carter continues to be our curious, opinionated, observant firstborn. He talks non-stop. And I do mean non-stop... even if no one is listening he'll say, "Oh, don't worry about it. I'm just talking to myself." Like mama like son :)
  • As he's gotten older, he has gradually gotten more picky and selective about what foods he will eat. He pretty much could live off of chocolate milk if given the option. Healthy foods that continue to be his favorites include: Chicken (especially Chick fil A), mashed potatoes, peaches (as well as most other fruits), and cheese.
  • This year (the 3's) has been much more challenging than last year (the 2's) ... and I really didn't think that was possible. Carter can be very strong willed and is constantly negotiating things so that he gets what he wants. I hear this on a regular (hourly) basis: "Ok, mommy.. here's the deal.. I'm going to do ____, then you can do ____. Is that a deal mommy? Ok mommy? Did you hear me?" Ah, yes.. this child has tested every ounce of patience I have left in my body. But I adore him. Oh so much.
  • Several months ago I think I mentioned that Carter started reading. This has continued into a full-blown love of reading and I could not be more thrilled! Dr. Seuss books are currently his favorite, but he will read just about anything in front of him. He can read most of them without any assistance at all. I am absolutely astounded every time I hear him. 
  • On that note, we are starting to prayerfully consider our educational options for this little boy. I am open to any and all suggestions and truly just want to find the right fit for him.
  • His current obsession love is any and all Superheroes. We talk about Superheroes all day. We play with Superheroes all day. We pretend to be a Superhero all day. Spiderman is still his favorite.
  • His imaginary friend, Walgreens is still a very active part of his life. He regularly invites Walgreens over to play- which involves me opening the front door, greeting Walgreens, giving him a hug, etc. The other day I even got to talk to Walgreens' mom on the phone so I could get directions to their house :)

  Cooper at 10 months
{now 14 months}
  • My sweet Coopy Coop is such a happy boy. He has a very pleasant disposition and is generally very content.
  • He continues to be extremely active and enjoys climbing on anything he can maneuver onto.. i.e. the stairs, couch, chairs, stools, etc. He also loves to push things around. This includes kitchen chairs, barstools, kids table/chairs, Carter's piano, etc. The boy is strong too!
  • Cooper will eat just about anything in front of him. He is getting more independent and likes to feed himself most of the time. 
  • He LOVES animals.. especially my parents' dog, Romeo.
  • We've seen a bit of a temper rise in Cooper lately. He will scream and lay on the floor and throw his version of a "fit" over the silliest things. It's pretty funny, but also concerns me for the future (think terrible two's). He is also extremely jealous if I touch or hold Carter. 
  • Coopy is still a mama's boy at heart, but really has a new found love for his daddy and Bella. 
  • He doesn't show much, if any, interest in books but LOVES "things that go".. cars, trucks, trains... especially if they make noise!
  • Finally, he is developing a love for Sesame Street- especially Elmo. This, of course, makes me very happy!


A Little Summer Reading

Here's a look at some of my summer reads. 

I realize they are kind of all over the place- and not necessarily the most educational or sophisticated choices- but they made for good reads nonetheless! 

{this one I actually read earlier this year, but figured it was worth mentioning}

{I'm working on this one right now.. I like that it's written in short chapters.. almost like a devotional}


Words of Wisdom

I found this quote in a magazine recently (I can't remember which one) and it has been hanging on my refrigerator ever since. Maybe these words will resonate with you as well:

The tendency to run away from suffering is there in every one of us. We think that by seeking pleasure we'll avoid suffering. But this doesn't work. It stunts our growth and our happiness. Happiness isn't possible without understanding, compassion, and love. And love is not possible if we don't understand our suffering and the other person's suffering. 

Getting in touch with suffering will help us cultivate compassion and love. Without understanding and love, we can't be happy, and we can't make other people happy. We all have the seeds of compassion, forgiveness, joy, and nonfear in us. If we're constantly trying to avoid suffering, there is no way for these seeds to grow.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Your True Home


Gerber Baby

My sweet boy

It was nearly impossible to get him to sit still for pictures!

{Notice in the second picture that his toe is pulled back. Carter has done this since he was a newborn and still does. This little similarity is sometimes the only thing I think they share. They are so so different!}

10 months



I am turning 30 next week. How this is possible? I still feel 12 years old on most days, but regardless of how I  feel about it... it's true. June 21 will come and go and then I will be 30. 


Approaching this milestone has made me reflect on my life thus far.. specifically the past 10 years. While I have had many amazing experiences in my twenties, I can't say that I'm sad to see them go. I, unlike most people, coasted through my teens years with very little difficulty. In direct contrast, my twenties handed me a big, fat dose of reality :) 

I started this decade as a college junior living at home with my parents and will finish it as a married, mama of two boys. The years in between included this:

-Moving 5 times 
-Buying our first home
-Owning 3 cars (6 if you include Jeremy's cars)
-2 degrees 
 (a Bachelor's in Psychology and a Master's in Counseling)
-Several years of unforgettable work experience
 (both positive and negative)
-The marriage proposal of my dreams followed by 
  a fairy tale wedding
-4 pregnancies
-Birthing 2 two beautiful, healthy baby boys

Not too shabby if you ask me. 

In so many ways, I feel like the same person I was as a little girl with strong convictions and big dreams. In other ways, how can you ever be the same after enduring things like heartbreaking losses and disappointments or the miraculous love of motherhood? 

So here's to a new decade filled with more laughter, family, fun, and hopefully a few more hours of sleep! :)


9 Months

9 months

  • Learned to drink from a straw
  • Started clapping his hands
  • Started pointing at everything
  • Favorite foods: bananas, yogurt, cheese (including grilled cheese), pears, sweet potatoes, and puffs!
  • Enjoys "wrestling" with his brother (most of the time) 
  • If you ask him to "love mama" he will lay his head on my chest
  • Also loves giving mama wet, sloppy kisses!
  • Pulling up and cruising on everything 
  • Attempts to destroy anything he can get his hands on


For the moms...

If you are a mom and anything like me, then you probably enjoy browsing lots of things on the internet posted by other moms. Things like facebook posts, tweets, instagram pictures, blogs, etc. While these things, in and of themselves, are not bad ... I think they deserve a word of caution. As moms, we are all proud of our children and want to share their accomplishments and the funny/cute things they say and do. We do not, however, always want to share the down side- the frustrations, loneliness, insecurities and countless tantrums we encounter on a daily basis- and I'm not sure why this is. Perhaps it's because in this new, technology-obsessed world we can meticulously control the images others have of our lives. While I'm not one for "airing out your dirty laundry", I do whole-heartedly believe in being transparent and honest- especially as a mother.

So let me share a little of my experience in this area. My first born, Carter, was a difficult baby. He wasn't colicky, but he cried a lot and hasn't been a good sleeper since his first night in the hospital. As a new mother, it was really difficult for me to hear about other people's infants who were sleeping 12 hours/night at 6 weeks old. I tried my best to comfort him, but nothing (other than nursing) would soothe him and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't really frustrated by all of it. Eventually, he outgrew this stage and developed into a very pleasant toddler, though we still 3 years later.. struggle with naps and nighttime sleeping. I've learned to accept this about Carter- and I'm ok with it.

A different (and more sensitive) issue was that of his delayed speech. Carter didn't talk until after he turned two (27 months, to be exact). I had done everything in my power to encourage his verbal development and he could literally only say a handful of words on his second birthday. As a very expressive and "early talker", I was baffled as to why he wasn't the same way. Many other children his age were talking in sentences by this point, which only made matters worse. In my gut, I knew there wasn't anything seriously wrong with him.. I had enough experience working with developmentally delayed kids to know that. I stopped reading things on the internet and did my best not to compare him with his peers- because if I did, he inevitably fell short every time. Then in February 2011, he started gushing out new words everyday and now possess a vocabulary far above his age level.

I say all this because I don't want any mom who ever reads something I post about my boys to feel insecure or to look at her children and compare them to mine. I confidently know the strengths of my kids, but I am also keenly aware of their weaknesses (and mine) and am more than willing to share them, if need be. Carter started reading this week, but he cannot hold a pencil properly and refuses to color. He isn't terribly interested in throwing or catching balls, but he can name the top 50 country music artists (and their songs) on iTunes. My little man, Cooper, is far more physically advanced than Carter, but hates sleeping in his bed most days- as he still prefers the arms of his mama. I strive hard every single day to be the mother God called me to be, but I lose my temper and patience regularly.

Each of us were given the children that God specially designed for our family. Let's work on being transparent and honest with each other.. because Lord knows that young moms need more support and encouragement than anyone else.

Food for thought:

"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." -Steven Furtick

"Comparison is the thief of joy." -Franklin Roosevelt

Can any other moms relate? I hope so.


Here and There

First post via my iPhone so bear with me! Here's a look at us lately...


8 Months

Last month was a big one for our sweet boy! Here are a few highlights:

-His first two bottom teeth arrived :)

-He started saying "Dada" all the time!

-We have continued to try new foods, but his favorites are still carrots, sweet potatoes, and corn. He isn't really picky, but definitely shows a preference for certain foods. The ones he isn't crazy about (some fruits, green beans, etc) take much longer for him to eat.

-He is still on the move (but not on all fours yet) and into anything he can get his little hands on! The boy is super strong!

-He typically is ok staying with Jer or my mom (as long as I'm not in sight), but he would still prefer his mama 100% of the time. The only exception to this was on Easter Sunday when he sat with Uncle Taylor the ENTIRE service and even fell asleep (snoring!) for part of the time!

-His weight gain has slowed way down due to how active he is... I'm certainly not complaining ;)

I'm really enjoying every stage with Cooper and wishing time would slow down. It's true that it goes by SO much faster with the 2nd baby!



Yes, we are still alive and well over here.
I hope to be back soon with several new posts,
but in the mean time I'll leave you with this sweet picture of my baby boy.

Happy Spring and belated Easter!



Blessed to have a husband
who takes his role as a father seriously.

Blessed that my days include hours of playtime.

Blessed that the Lord hears our prayers.


Six Months

My big, sweet, beautiful boy turned 6 months on the 15th. Six months, people. Where is the pause button? I'm trying to soak up this wonderful, crazy time in my life, but it's going by so quickly.

Here's what our little guy has been up to lately:

-At his 6 month check up he weighed a whopping 19 lbs 5 oz. To give you some perspective, Carter weight 18 lbs 12oz at ONE YEAR.

-He's still nursing like a champ. I mean, duh ... look at him :) He's huge. He also loves his baby cereal and carrots. Green beans were not a big hit.

-I have a hard time finding ANY similarities between him and Carter as babies. Truly, their personalities are so unique.

-Cooper loves to smile and laugh- especially at his big brother. And of course, Carter thinks he's greatest thing in the world.

-He's super, SUPER strong and, given the chance, will pull anything out of your hand in order to put it in his mouth. This includes coffee cups, as I learned the hard way.

-Lately, I've caught him:
hitting his crib mobile with one hand.. spinning it around
turning on and off his rainforest-music-thingy that's attached to his crib
rolling across the room to get to Carter's alphabet puzzle...
and then pulling out a piece and stuffing it in his mouth

He's a mess, but in the best kind of way.

-His hand-eye coordination is remarkable and he just might already be more skilled in this area than his brother is at 3 years old! (Daddy's really hoping for a ball player)

-He is sitting up (without support) for longer periods of time, though would much prefer to be on the move than sit still.

-He currently wears a size 3 diaper and mostly 9-12 month clothes.

-Our sweet "Coopy Coop" is such an alert, happy boy and adds so much to our little family of four.


January Reads

In no particular order, here are the books I read in January:

I enjoyed them all and was really proud of myself for reading 3 non-fiction books in a month! In regards to The Hunger Games, I have to say that I thought it was good but I'm not dying to read the second book. Is that weird? Probably. While I enjoyed the general concept of the plot, it was almost too much fantasy for me. Maybe I'll eventually finish the series- who knows.

If you are a mom, I highly recommend The Mission of Motherhood. It challenged me in so many ways that I probably could write a whole post about it.

I have a preschooler who is spelling words like crazy, so I had to get my hands on something that would give me guidance on basic reading skills. Ready, Set, Read! gave me some great ideas.

Finally, I have a hard time turning down a Holocaust memoir, so when The Secret Holocaust Diaries appeared on my "Daily Kindle Deal" (i.e. a FREE book!) I couldn't pass it up. This was a different than any other Holocaust book I've read and I liked it so much that I recommended it to my mom... and she loved it too.

Here's to a great year of books!


If I May...

... Please allow me to vent about a couple of current pet peeves.

For the record, I have a much more sophisticated post in the works about some wonderful books I just read, but right now I need to get a few things off my chest :)

1. When did it become socially acceptable to complain via Facebook all the time? And I do mean all the time. People, I am really really sorry that you have a headache for the 3rd time this week and your kid has been sick all winter, etc etc... but seriously... tone it down. Please.

2. If your last name is Smith (for example) please don't sign your cards "The Smith's". It should be "The Smiths"... no apostrophe. Am I correct, English teachers? I have seen this on WAY too many Christmas cards and it drives me nuts!

3. My second born child is NOT a girl. Nearly EVERY time I go out in public, people either assume that he is a girl baby or have to "guess" (as a lady in Nordstrom said yesterday) as to whether or not he is a boy. I seriously don't get it. I don't dress him like a girl (I don't even put him in smocked boy clothing) and he doesn't have a cross-gender name. My mom says he's a "pretty baby", which he is... but just in case you are ever confused... If you see a baby in a green stroller, dressed in all blue, wearing a hat that says "Cooper" written in blue, sucking on a baseball pacifier... it's a boy. All boy. I never had this experience with Carter, so it has really taken me by surprise.

Ok, that's all. Happy Thursday!


Welcome, 2012!


Let me just start by saying that I LOVE the holidays. From Thanksgiving to New Year's is one of the most wonderful times of the year, but is anyone else absolutely exhausted when it's over? Most years I wait as long as possible to take down my Christmas decorations, but this year I was done with them immediately.

Done. done. done.

Before that, however, we had a wonderful time at the Christmas Eve service

And a nice little Christmas

Followed by a fun day trip to Chattanooga to celebrate with Jer's family

Then Carter came down with the stomach flu
(which I LOATHE every single second of)
Then Jeremy left for Philadelphia
Then I spent New Year's Eve alone on my couch

Then this happened on January 2...

I was frantically trying to get myself + 2 boys ready to pick Jeremy up from the airport. I was SO beyond ready for him to be home. I had spent the last several days nursing Carter back to health and obsessively trying to keep Cooper and I from catching that nasty illness. This also was his last trip with the Redskins until next season, which increased my anticipation even more. Anyways, somehow in the midst of me running around the house,
Carter locked himself in our master bedroom closet.

No biggie, right?

I figured I'd just unlock it the same way we've unlocked the other doors in the past.

Except this one was different.

It had a keyhole... to which I had no key.

Jeremy was in mid-flight somewhere over the East Coast.

I searched for the missing key, attempted to pick the lock with a bobby pin, safety pin, and every tool I could get my hands on.

Cooper was hungry and started screaming.

While nursing, I watched a video on You Tube about how to pick a lock.

No luck.

I called my mom.

No answer.

I called my sister and talked to my brother in law about how to pick a lock.

Fail. fail. fail.

Meanwhile, Carter is unusually calm and quiet.
So quiet that I think he might have gone to sleep.

I am not proud of how many curse words I said under my breath,
but let's be honest.. I was at my wits end...
And it takes A LOT to get me at my wits end :)

In a final act of desperation, I called a locksmith.
(And said a prayer that he wasn't a serial killer)
As it turns out, the lock was installed upside down (who does that?)
and he ended up having to drill it out of the door.

We were 2 hours late picking Jeremy up from the airport.
But we were alive and safe. Thank God!

Needless to say,
I was very ready for the fresh start that the beginning of 2012 brought.
My next post will include some of my resolutions for this year.

I, for one, am hoping for a few less of these days... :)