Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lesson #531 - Check before you leave

Every few months I get it together enough to go back through the oodles of iphone photos and snap and shoot photos stored away in digital land on our computer. I used to love to rush to Eckerd to go get my pictures developed right after a trip in college to the beach or to a date weekend away. I would immediately put them in their own album and forget about the trip and the picture by the time the next event had come up. Needless to say, like every other sorority girl-pre-facebook days, I have a billion photo albums of things I'll probably never care to look at with the exception to a few really good trips or really good summers.

Anyway, one thing that is constantly on my to-do list is to print photos of the boys and to put them into albums according to the year. Of course I was great the first go round but unfortunately, number two barely makes the headlines enough (because of the toddler who is into everything) to get a photo taken of him.

I digress.....today was one of those days and during the boys nap I uploaded 59 pictures since New Years to a local drug stores photo lab. Tonight I swung by the store on the way home from a take-out dinner to pick up my photos. I buzzed in, paid the tall man, and left with my pack of photos in hand. 9 times out of 10 I rummage through the pictures while on site in order to throw out any shots that didn't process correctly. Today I didn't. I was hungry and in a hurry and exhausted.

I came home and luckily ate my dinner first. We quickly put the house in some kind or order and I raced to the sun room to put the last four months of our lives in an album.

Or not.

The End.

What do you think is the moral of the story? Please choose below.

A) Never send 59 half nude poses of yourself on your couch and your barstool to a local drug store to be processed without knowing there could be a slight chance that your photos are placed in the package of a now-scarred mother of two rather than the package with your name on it.

B) Never leave said drug store without first checking to see that there are 59 pictures of your smiling babies rather than some poor Atlanta-womans' hiney and such spattered all over your pictures.

True Story.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Toddlers, plastic eggs, marshmallows, and a good Good Friday

Mama here. But barely. I just took the most painful, exhausting, insane, make-me-want-to-curse-even-on-Good Friday, workout class at my gym that a body could ever endure and by endure I mean - leave alive but drooling, nauseous, dizzy, and crawling to my car. And to think I may actually go back next week?

You see, I had a baby EIGHT months ago and stopped nursing nearly THREE months ago but I still leisurely eat chocolate and monkey bread (that I just HAD to make for the boys...who know exactly what monkey bread is - not!) like I'm feeding two or more people everyday. News flash: you had a baby EIGHT months ago which is closer to a year than I like to thin which means it is well past the window where a new mom can eat whatever/whenever she wants. But since I don't see my caloric intake declining any time soon (hello Milk Chocolate mini cadbury eggs!!! and a new Publix around the corner with gazillions of samples) I decided I would actually try to get back into burning some of those calories that were so fun to eat but now so miserable to burn off.

Anywho, I am happy to be back at the gym because that means I am closer to being back to my old self again - and not over ridden with wacky hormones and other crazy sicknesses. Praise God! Really, all week, all day, everyday all I can do is repeat "thank you, God," as I start to feel more normal more and more each day. And then I sit and think how it ever felt to not feel good? I can't imagine that for so many weeks and months my body and my mind just didn't work right. What a perfect week to start feeling better, too. Easter week is my favorite week of the year. I say it every year but I always feel a newness with this week. I feel forgiven, free, and renewed - and usually the weather seems to be at it's perfect spring peak. I am excited to get to spend this weekend with all of my siblings for Easter! I never thought there would be a day where we went so long in between seeing each other but with marriages and careers that day has come. What a treat to get to see everyone this weekend! Yet another reason to be thankful......

With my new found energy this week I decided to throw together a little mini easter egg hunt for Brooks and all of his women. Literally. The boy knows how to woo the ladies - invite them over for some monkey bread and marshmallow stuffed Easter Eggs! An Easter Egg hunt with 1-2 year olds is quite humorous. You can tell the kids have no clue why their mommy's are shouting and pointing and jumping all over the yard. And the more the commotion - the more confused they seem! On precious little girlfriend of Brooks' hadn't even had a practice round and she literally ran the whole yard over taking 80% of the eggs! If Brad were around I think he would approve of Caroline for Brooks' first date to prom - confident and quick on her feet! The other girls and Brooks caught on once they realized one amazing mother had stuffed her eggs with bunny shaped marshmallows! Anyway, I didn't get a video of the chaos but it was such a delight to watch the little people figure out their love/hate of the plastic little eggs.

We're off to Good Friday Service at our church tonight. Every year this service is one of my favorites and I don't think anyone has ever left with a dry eye. Today this service I know will be all the more powerful as I am confident that this was the week that the Lord brought me out of a long fog. My heart is so full. My belly is too, thanks to the monkey bread. Enjoy this beautiful Easter weekend!
Yet the Lord LONGS to be gracious to {me}. Therefore, he rises up to show {me} compassion. For he is a god of justice. Blessed are those who WAIT on the Lord.
Isaiah 30:18


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oh no, mommy

This little saying is on repeat in our house these days. Whether the mac and cheese fell on the floor or William rolled onto his tummy and then slammed his head on the ground on the second roll - this is what we hear....."oh no, mommy!"

Well, oh no, mommy {daddy is in trouble} is just what I was thinking this morning when I saw this on our white board calendar hanging in the kitchen. APRIL 21 - PUBLIX!!!! The new Publix at Town Brookhaven makes it's debut today and I would be lying if I told you I didn't care. I have a slight fixation with Publix already. What's not to love.....a cookie for the little one while riding in his over sized {read: unmaneuverable} space shuttle poised as a grocery cart, no ugly orange stickers pronouncing a few cents off a box of cereal, the perfect chicken finger for any picnic, the buy one get one weekly sales that allow me to only get one for half the price, and the best store brand ice cream a family could want. And, not to add, this Publix that is not even a mile from my house is said to be 90% organic! Can I get a big ole Amen! I have searched every grocery store in a five mile radius (which is about 6 stores) for organic grapes - the one item all foodies would agree is best organic - and there isn't a store nearby that carried them. I feel silly getting all emotional over a grocery store but when you have two little ones this weekly trip is a half a days worth of entertainment or a raging train wreck - depending on how kid-friendly the store might be.

I read, too, that my new favorite store will have curb side service so in theory I could order the groceries online and then pick them up several hours later. This service isn't for me as I love to walk the aisles and dream of things I don't need to buy but might need at some point in the next several months. Somehow I still never seem to have the staples in my pantry when I need them but I have every snack to hit the market growing stale on our few shelves of food.

Ill take this though - a cafe serving gelato and coffee? Nice. I vividly remember having a "night out" to eat at the Publix deli when I was young. My dad would travel and my mom was smarter than I thought. We could order what we wanted and terrorize the cafe while she would do her shopping for the week. Smart smart.

So, William is napping and resting his bright eyes for our big adventure and Brooks has multiple pockets on his shorts today - enough for storing a few free cookies for my expectantly long trip to the new Publix. Never did I think the grand opening of a grocery store would be the highlight of my week but I love that it is! Oh, the life of a stay at home mom......

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I wish I could plug you in via a USB port and just click a button to have everything I dreaming and the energy that is pumping through me stream right into you with one easy click. I know that I am a walking testament of my own story and so in the years to come many of you who are close to me will get snippets and tidbits (whether you like it or not) from what has been the most exhausting yet rich journey of my little life to date. I can finally see on the other side of the fence and ironically, I am not leaping over it as fast as I possibly can but rather, daintily stepping over, one toe at a time, while looking back and seeing the good stuff that has come from such a long journey.

Last night Brad and I listened to a sermon by John Piper as we ate our delicious steak dinner that a friend prepared for us. We felt like royalty. The kids were fast asleep and the house was in the best condition it has seen in weeks and for some reason our hearts and ears were eager to listen to yet another person lecturing on adversity. As if we haven't heard of every book and every method and every sermon that might carry us through this hard time. But this one was different. Our hearts were in a different place and were ready to receive. That has been half the battle - I have been so unwilling to receive help in the form of meals or babysitters and even more unwilling to accept God's mercy or anyone else's let alone. I have carried a heavy guilt over the last few months that all of this was because of me.....That all of this happened because of my inadequacy or my lack of faith or even worse - my sin. And while I have certainly mastered each of those categories - it would cheapen God's story were I to continue to think that I could be a part of something so big all because of my own doing. In the sermon Piper was speaking about David in Psalm 42. He says David "suffered well." He suffered but he remained hopeful. Piper went on to say that if we have to be knocked under water by wave after wave after wave in order to feel God's presence than how great to be under water? Basically, if that is what it takes for me to know God then I should embrace being underwater.

I've always said that I could rejoice in all things. I have even written it on a note above the kitchen sink recently as if looking at it would heal me. The notecard also reminds me to be thankful in all circumstances. Yes, this notecard has laughed me in the face many days as I have sat over the sink just longing for all of this stuff to come to an end....longing to get on to the next thing and to get our focus off of me and my malfunctioning body. But now as I am starting to see a little ounce of normalcy - my heart is so grateful for every doctors appointment, every day that I walked around too dizzy to drive or function from lack of sleep or too much medication. I am thankful for every song, tear, co-pay, conversation, drug, vitamin, and every piece of counsel that has come my way this last year because today I know the bottom line.

The bottom line is for me and Brad to wait on the Lord. I have now been slowed down enough, relaxed enough, and rested enough to see that I am just supposed to wait. Certainly, Brad and I are anxious to actually buy our own house one day, and we are antsy to see where his career might take him. We are even excited to plan a big vacation but for today I know we are just supposed to rest and wait. I am not supposed to force anything in this season of life and I am not supposed to try any harder. I am just supposed to wait and rest while waiting.

Yesterday I read this - "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to {me}. therefore, He rises up to show {me} compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait on Him!"

We have been so blessed through our tiny adversity by waiting on Him. We will continue to wait and soak up the compassion and grace in the mean time. And that's my download for now. Now hopefully back to fat little babies and silly stories about our little under-3 feet tall world!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ironically, much better

{Jump to pictures below if I ran you off yesterday with my whining. Sorry.} No, friends, I didn't get in my car and drive until I hit a dead end. I didn't even lose my patience with my sweet little ones. Maybe I lost it with the dog who always seems to be under my feet when I am feeling a little edgy but he forgives. I am here and I feel great! We feel great! The boys and I had a great Saturday together while daddy was getting his redneck on at (or in?) Talladega, Alabama. Wait - is it a city or a place? I am not sure but I know he had his jean shorts on when he left and was headed straight for the border.

If you had told me last night that today I would feel this good right now I would have raised my brow at you and made you feel silly. As you knew, I was already drained from the week and I knew that today, a Saturday, would be spent without my teammate as he would be off howling at the moon and spitting tobacco with the boys all day at the "tar race" as Brooks has said all day. But today was soooo good! God truly gave me the energy I asked for yesterday and we enjoyed a full day together. I'm thankful that He answered my plea even when it seemed I was being a little silly.

I was energized today despite few hours of good sleep AND I had an angel land on my doorstep in the form of a sister and I was able to get out for a few hours and let the windows down. I may have even done a little dancing in the dressing room while searching for the perfect summer thing that I don't need. And, that, friends, is how I know I am muuuuch better. What a full heart I have as I just put the littlest man to bed and he just clung to my hair - probably unknowingly but I love that he didn't want to let me go and I know his little heart forgives me for my selfishness yesterday. I'm so grateful God will not let me miss these precious days even when I am at my worst.
Umm, Could he be any more particular? Socks off, blanket on head, and extra blanket next to me just in case. Thanks, mom.
And, could he be any more of a goober? This little boy is so theatrical about the smallest thing and I love him for it!
When your trip to Target looks like this luckily you don't have much room for every item on the $1 aisle or a package of toilet paper. We had fun though!
Bethenny Frankel, move over, we like our "Bathies" over here, too! There was no room for daddy but he didn't miss the fun....

Friday, April 15, 2011


I am waving the white flag over here and maybe should have a few weeks ago. In heaven do you think children will wake up before 7am and only nap for 30 minutes? Seriously, the magical dust needs to be waved over our house for a little m-e-r-c-y. I am talking mercy in the little things. I don't need a yacht or a vacation necessarily, just a dry nose and a two sleeping babies for atleast 15 minutes at the same time. I know that we have been graced with this kind of love in the past so I know it can come around again. If anyone has seen the nap fairy pleeeease send her our way. It's really not even for the sake of my children and their health or their happiness - it's for me. I can't remember the last "break" I had from the two heart throbs that didn't involve a doctors appointment for myself. And folks, I am tiiii-red. So tired. So spent. So drained. So needing things to lean our favor for just a short while. Like just an afternoon - that's it. I'm not asking big here.

I will say that some of our most entertaining moments have come from these afternoons running on fumes so cheers to laughable memories of mommy doing silly things for the sake of entertainment!

Okay, no more whining from me...off to muster up the energy and patience for another afternoon with unrested children and an unrested mama.

God, give me the strength...or a babysitter....asap. Thank you.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

No owners manual included

Last week was one of those weeks that will never be forgotten. Every minute - day and night - carried so much weight for our family. Yes, one of our children spent much of the week in the hospital and in and out of the pediatrician's office so of course our senses were heightened and we were hanging on the news of each moment - but more than that - we were each wondering if our family of four could go any longer. Sickness had plagued our family last week and while one of us was certainly far worse than the other three, the rest of us weren't playing with close to a full deck of cards in the first place. But God is good.

While there was no major repercussions of the week other than some steroids and possible breathing treatments in the future, the week held so many long terms effects on our family and I am so grateful. A few months ago I remember writing in my journal that I wanted a grateful heart. It sounds silly but I remember knowing that I had so many things to feel thankful for but not really feeling thankful. But as I walked back in to our laundry-ridden, germ infested, messy house last Thursday my heart was so full and so thankful to be home. For the first time in awhile I actually feel grateful for even the raspy cough of the 2 year old - as it proves the progress he has made. I am even grateful for the 5 feet of clean laundry that needs to be folded because it means I have several people in my inner circle that love me and like to change clothes alot. Ha ha. I am more grateful for a selfless, optimistic, consistent husband than I have ever been in the last 3+ years. We were truly forced to be a team this week and our marriage feels so good because of it....you know what I mean - it feels so good when it is the way it is supposed to be - a partnership. And lastly, this week I felt like the shepherd and protector of two boys and my heart just overflows because of this. Most days I feel like a mom - feeding, helping, dressing, correcting, encouraging but this week I feel like so much more than just a mom. I feel like we are truly the sculptors (on earth) of our children's hearts. We are truly the hands and feet of Jesus to them - showing them love that we can only give because it was first given to us.

Excuse the sappiness.

Anyway, there was no google search that I could have done to have gotten me through this week. There was no parenting for dummies and certainly no owners manual. We were truly forced to unplug from anything society tells you to go to when you need a lift or an answer. I laid awake on the hospital bed next to my crying son at 344am Tuesday morning and there was not one thing in that moment that could have comforted me or calmed my confusion but just uttering the word, Jesus, over and over. I had nothing left in me to fight or to keep me optimistic. We had come into this week as a family already in repair from my battle with insomnia and Brad's battle with his sub par health (just cold type stuff, nothing severe) and for the first time in a long while - I didn't even have the strength to pray. Luckily, I knew there were so many others praying for us even when we couldn't. But other than prayer and a little glue to hold Brad and I together there was nothing else that could give us the answers we needed this week. Again, my heart is grateful for the gift of prayer and for the many people that pray when they say they are going to. There were so many instances this week when someone would text or call and say they were on their knees at that very moment and then in the same moment we would take a step forward - oxygen levels came up or IV fluids were stopped or a doctor gave us hope of a trip home soon.

Today is 150% better than yesterday which was 150% better than the day before. We have many days of feeling kind of puny - all of us - but I can see each day being a little better. I'll give you a few pictures backwards. You can tell by this first picture that obviously, Brooks was feeling a little better this morning as he was back to lining things up. And yes, you can tell mommy doesn't care what is used to occupy him - a dozen cookies did the trick!
The littlest (but maybe biggest?) person of the house really missed the harassing of his brother {but learned how cool a sippy cup is after 8 months of a bottle!}
Poor little guy. I took a picture after 14 hours of continuous crying. I have never been more thankful, too, for a sleeping child!
I thought Brooks would be giggling to get to go home but he only wanted to go home if it was to "grandma or Nene's house" as he kept repeating. Kids are funny.
And just because this smile got me through the week - I'll leave you with it. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ponies, cupcakes, and Spring time....oh my!

First, I feel the need to divulge some of my deepest secrets. You can judge us all you want after you read this but fortunately, we are secure enough in our hippie-identities to not worry about your opinions. So here it goes....last night Brad and I turned to the pot. We have never done such a thing before and I surely never thought our first time would be after a splendid Saturday in the sun. I guess I figured it be some time on a beach or in the woods together but we went there and I am now a believer. Yes, friends, we took our first trip down the road of natural medicine and whether or not it actually helped any of our pollen-ridden symptoms - we both felt so pure, and so relieved that we didn't care.

You got it....we hit the neti pot! Short of buying a face mask for the two of us for the next few yellow weeks in Georgia Brad and I have tried every medicine available to no avail so yesterday we splurged on a little tea pot and some saline solution in order to try to relieve some of the crud inside our sinuses. I'll give you more of a report later but I will say we both felt a little bit of instant relief and went to bed feeling a little more clear and in harmony with nature. I hope the covering of yellow only stays a few more days so we can actually enjoy the perfect temps here in Atlanta!

Speaking of perfect temps......It's Masters week!!! I can't tell you what my heart does as Masters week approaches. Many of my most favorite times were spent roaming around Augusta with my favorite college friend, scooping out the players, cute boys, cheap sandwiches, and southern fashions. Brad and I spent one of our favorite dates during our short courtship on the greens of the Augusta national as well. The last few years we have spent Master's Saturday at our friends annual party but they moved this Winter so we need to find another tradition to fill the party's spot. Oh, thank goodness for spring weather, blooming flowers, and memories to last a life time!

Despite the pollen, we spent much of yesterday outside suffering and laughing with both our next door neighbors, some fun neighborhood friends at a birthday party, and a dear couple who treated us to a relaxing dinner last night. Our hearts are so full this weekend as the aura of the weekend has been 100 times better than last weekend. We are confident God has lead us in a direction for true redemption from the last few months of sleeplessness. It may take several weeks or months to be fully healed and back to sleep but we feel so cared for by our sweet friends, family, and our heavenly father who knows our best.

Enjoy some pictures of the munchkins down on the farm at our friend Karcyn's 2nd birthday!