Wednesday, July 6, 2016

eisley, you are three.


you are three.

i don't understand time. part of me is heartbroken that our baby isn't a baby any longer and the other part of me is just so excited to see you learning and growing into your own person a little more everyday.

you are still "strong willed" but i think you are learning a little more about give and take. you still love your mom and i am perfectly okay with that. you are so excitable and it is SO fun to excite you! you have been known to use phrases like "you are the best daddy i have ever seen!!". you say thank you all the time without any prompting. you are feisty but also have this really genuine, kind side to you.  babies are still your thing (i guess you get it from you mom) and you push those babies around all day long in your double stroller. yes, you have a double stroller for baby dolls. we bought a trampoline this summer and you love to jump on the "jumpoline" as often as you can.

you love your brother and sister. your relationship with tucker in particular has really grown this past year. you two have a good thing going and i love seeing him look after you. you really like to mess with him and try to get a reaction out of him but he has grown so patient with you. you went to your first movie at the movie theater today and did so well. i wasn't sure how it would go, so we tried out a free summer movie (Monsters, Inc.) and you watched the whole thing. you are so big these days eisley. it makes my heart both want to break and burst. you still love minnie mouse. we didn't do a birthday party this year but we celebrated you at home with our family. i kept asking what you wanted for your birthday and you always answered that you wanted a cupcake and a balloon, so we made sure to have that. we did make your first trip to chuck e cheese on your birthday though. you loved running from game to game but were not a fan of the mouse.

you are into princesses more these days and will be found wearing one of your princess dresses most days. you figured out how to use the potty in practically no time at all. you are still in a crib and mom's not messing with that set-up any time soon. you seem to love being in the water and are suddenly fearless in it! you love to dance. you love to snack. you love to give hugs. you love your stuffed puppies and have even grown to love real puppies. so much so that your crazy mom was considering getting one for you guys but fortunately, came to her senses. your grandparents gave you a stuffed dog and kennel for your birthday and you literally jumped up and down and said "i'm so happy!!" when you opened it. you want to talk to everyone, all the time. you often ask me to tell you a story, you don't care if i tell you the same story 100 times in a row, you just want to engage in conversation.

you are not shy or timid, but you really want to be in control of your situation. so when it's time to leave you with a babysitter or in your class at church or the gym, you scream 90% of the time but only until the door closes and then you are happy. i think this is your way of making sure we all know that being left was not your idea.

eisley, i could talk about you for days and never run out of things to say. i can't believe you are 3. we love you more than i could ever say. you have our hearts and we are so thankful for your life.

Monday, June 6, 2016

things i am loving lately

(alternately titled; that time i posted way too many selfies.)

i almost don't remember how to do this but here we go.

1) Salads. I have always loved salads but have also always been a little lazy at making decent ones at home. lately, I have been making sure to have butter lettuce on hand (makes a huge difference IMO), boiled eggs and a dressing that i like that isn't too heavy. the Tessemae dressings have been a game changer for me when it comes to making tasty salads at home. you can find them in the cooler of the produce section at most grocery stores. the only flavor i haven't loved is the zesty ranch.

-1b) also green smoothies...and by "green" i mean i put spinach in them. i'm going to need a much more powerful blender before i can add anything more green into my smoothies. i have also been having a smoothie most days too, usually for breakfast but sometimes for dinner when i don't have anything planned and want something light. spinach, frozen blueberries or a banana, pb2, ice, almond milk and blend. simple and quick. i was using a protein powder but i ran out and can't seem to bite the bullet and spend the $$ a good one.

2) keeping with the food theme, ICED COFFEE. obsessed with iced coffee lately. again, nothing new about me loving iced coffee but making it at home is a new thing. i recently bought this iced coffee maker for myself and love it. it is so simple and easy to use and clean. today i made a half caff mix because my caffeine consumption has been questionable lately. i also made some coconut syrup to add to it because my dunkin donuts almond joy iced coffee consumption has also been questionable lately. (seriously, it's sooo good and soo not good for you)

3) working out at home, specifically, the Beachbody workouts, more specifically, the 21 day fix and 21 day fix extreme workouts. now, i am not a beachbody coach and i don't get anything from saying this but i have really loved their workouts lately. they are a doable 30 mins (even my super needy kids can last 30 mins) and effective. 

  3b) the ymca. i know. i just said i am liking working out at home. i am. i am also still loving having a membership to the Y for the purposes of running. i know most people hate running on a treadmill but with gregg's schedule and kids at home all the time, it's my only option. plus, i sorta love putting my headphones in and zoning out on the treadmill without having to worry about where i'm going and what's coming at me. plus, running on a treadmill is easier than running outside ;) 

also, on the subject of running, i am really enjoying running to worship music. i have always stuck to pop/main stream music for running and i still do listen to that often for working out. (hello JT!) but i have been surprised by how much i am enjoying putting on worship music for my time on the treadmill. so many times, i finish a run and feel like i have just spent time in worship and connecting with God. it's been so great for me. so maybe give it a try if you are like me and have always thought it wasn't motivating enough to get you through a run.

4) dresses. way back before a baby was ever growing in my body, i wore dresses and skirts all the time. it was basically all my wardrobe was made of because i have always lived in the south and there is rarely a time when it's cold enough that our legs absolutely need to be covered. but then, i got pregnant and honestly just found dresses so unflattering on me i couldn't handle it. and then i had a baby and everything looked different and i convinced myself that dresses just were not made for my body anymore. ridiculous. anyway, 7.5 years later..i am loving dresses again whether they look flattering or not, i don't really care. they are great because:
  • they are cool and it always so freaking humid
  • all i need to do is locate one piece of clothing in my closet and pull it on and i am ready for the day. add a necklace and i'm ready for something fancy.
  • they are so comfortable
here are some of the ones i have found for this summer

old navy, gap, tj maxx and target have been really good to me lately with supplying dresses and dresses with pockets!!

5) the beach. um, obviously.

6) the music of these people, why i am just now jumping on this train?? i don't know but i'm glad i am.

Monday, April 25, 2016

another day

another day done.

another evening of climbing into bed and feeling like i wasted the day.

some days everything just feels so much harder than usual. today was one of those days for me.

maybe it was because i went to bed at 11pm (instead of 10pm) last night. maybe it was because my kids woke me up pretty consistently from the hours of 4am to 6:30am. maybe it was because it was monday.

i don't really know why but when i finally opened my eyes this morning for good, life just felt overwhelming.

lunch to pack, kids to dress, messes to clean up, fights to break up, breakfast to make and serve, breakfast to clean up, school drop off, work out to get done, etc. all simple tasks and, honestly, all tasks that i feel like are a gift to even have before me for the day.

but today, they all felt like a burden.

i don't know why.

but when the house was finally quiet and the messes were finally cleaned, when the kids were put into bed and lights turned out, i crawled into my bed and felt...guilt.

just as i was starting to go over the list of all the things i messed up today, i had a new thought. what if i made a list of the things i had gotten right today instead? surely, there had to be something to put on there.

so here goes:

- i was up before my kids this morning
-everyone was fed and abbey was at school on time
-i prioritized a workout even when i REALLY did not feel like it
-i stuck to my eating goals for the day
-i touched base with friends and family both in town and out of state
-we spent over an hour playing at the park in this incredible weather
-i said yes to riding with the windows down in the van even though it's really not my favorite
- 3 loads of laundry got done
-i made dinner (grilled cheese and scrambled eggs...but still) for the kids instead of going through chic-fila
-abbey wrote a story and i remembered to ask her to read it to me before bed instead of forgetting this sort of thing like i often do
-i calmed down several epic 2 year old meltdowns today without spinning into my own meltdown in the process
-i sat to watch a 3 minute superhero video with a 4 year old because he insisted that i HAD to see the "coolest video ever" even when i really wanted to keep trying to nap instead

so maybe today wasn't the best day i've had as a mom but maybe it wasn't a completely wasted day either. this (kinds corny) exercise really did help me sort through my thoughts about the day more than i expected it to. maybe it could help you too?

oh, and hey, i wrote a blog post for the first time in 4 months.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


i have noticed a trend lately with my mom friends on social media. we seem worn down and defeated, telling ourselves that we haven't been good moms and are letting our kids down. i have SO been in that place lately.

sometimes, it just feels SO hard. i go to bed at night going over all the ways i failed my kids that day. all the times i raised by voice, over reacted, made up some stupid consequence that didn't really apply and disciplined out of frustration and annoyance. it seems like the thing in our lives that brings us so much joy and fulfillment can also leave us feeling so inadequate and exhausted.

when i start to feel this way, i try to refocus and remember that at the end of it all, i am really not the most important person in my children's lives. that i am not the deciding factor that all their future happiness and stability hinges upon. and man, i am SO grateful for that. i am so grateful that the well being of my children doesn't rest on my ability to parent them well but on Christ's ability to redeem and restore. i will always fail, no matter how much i don't want to or how hard i try to love well, i will always make mistakes. but God. whew. but He is always faithful. and when i remember that, i can breathe a little bit easier. when i remember that, i feel a new sense of freedom to love and parent my kids the ways that i know how, trusting that i'm not doing it alone.

it can all feel so hard sometimes and that's okay. the hard things in life are often the things that are the most worthwhile and important. parenting is by far the most relentless call to selflessness that i have ever faced. it is by far the most refining experience and the thing that pushes me towards to Jesus every single day. every single day i need Him to come after me and redeem my heart and point me towards Him.

a month or so ago a good friend sent me this article and when i read it, it felt like a breath of fresh of air. if you are struggling with living up to that "good mom" in your head, i would encourage you to read it to. and re-read it as often as needed.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

this may be the longest period of time i have gone without writing something here.

we've had three birthdays, start of kindergarten and lots of other stuff going on since august. i have thought about writing but then lost energy before getting to it.

i came across this list of writing prompts for December a few weeks ago and it seemed like an easy way to jump back in here. obviously, we are on the 6th day of December and i'm just getting started, so there is no real plan to do everyday but i will do what i can.

the prompt for today is:

Name a song that triggers emotions from the past and describe those emotions.

i am not even sure where to start with this.

i will pick a good memory rather than a hard one.

way back in 2004-2005, i was really in to indie music mostly due to some friends having introduced me to it. if left to my own devices, i stick to whatever comes on the radio. thankfully, i had friends who were willing to search out better music.

The Shins were at the top of my playlist, along with Iron and Wine, Deathcab, Sufjan, etc. For the longest time I had New Slang by the Shins set as my ring tone of my awesome pink razor phone. remember those? they were a really big deal. i know you are impressed.

during this time i had just graduated from A&M and was in living in Austin alone in my one bedroom apartment. i cannot tell you how often i think back to that one bedroom apartment and that period of my life. i was so happy to be living alone but it was definitely a weird time for me. i moved to austin not knowing anyone, still trying to move on after a break-up and really unfamiliar with living in an actual city. i remember driving up down the streets of downtown Austin being in awe that i actually LIVED there. i grew up in a four thousand person town and then moved to another small town for community college before finally transferring to Texas A&M in the thriving metropolis of College Station, Tx. to be fair, College Station felt like city life based on my previous homes. i mean a mall AND a target in town?? it was pretty exciting.

but when i graduated and moved to Austin, it was a whole new world and, while i loved Austin, moving to a place where i knew no one wasn't exactly easy. that transition from easy going, free flowing college life to the monday to friday, 8-5 life was pretty rough too. it took awhile but i finally found my place there. now, when I hear New Slang, i think about driving around Austin exploring my new city, the friendships i had at the time and my first post college job at the Capital Area Food Bank. and i think about the first time my phone rang and a number with the Jacksonville area code "904" showed up on the screen. i had no idea what answering that first phone call was going to lead to. life is crazy that way.

Monday, August 31, 2015


you know why we go to bed feeling like crappy parents most nights? because we just endured bedtime. no one can possibly feel awesome about their parenting coming out on the other side of that.

abbey made bedtimes seem like a fairy led walk in the park....until 2.5 yrs old.

tucker was pretty straight forward about his intentions when it came to bedtimes from the get go. wasn't havin it.

eisley is a complex little thing. when it comes to bedtime, she is perfect. when it comes to literally everything else...she is, well, complicated. in the cutest way possible of course.

it took me 1.5 hrs to get my 3 children successfully to bed tonight. ONE AND A HALF hours. that may not seem that bad (as my husband had the audacity to say..) but let me tell you, it's that bad.

you know what comes before bedtime? bath time. you know what comes before bath time? dinner time.

for the love, how are the cards so stacked against parents when it comes to schedules.

by the time bed time rolls, or crawls, around i am so emotionally and mentally traumatized by the previous hours' happenings that all i can muster up are some bedtime prayers and a kiss goodnight. i don't have it in me to do songs and stories and long cuddles. power to you if you can find energy for all that but after flying solo through dinner and bath time, i'm literally hobbling into bedtime.

eisley puts up a little fit every night when i put her in bed but it doesn't last longer than 2 mins and she is out. or at least quiet.

abbey is pretty hit and miss these days. some days all is dreamy in her little world and she obliges to staying in bed to look at books until quietly putting them and laying down for sleep. but some days all is the opposite of dreamy and her bed is suddenly the most lonely and terrifying place her little eyes have lied eyes on. on those nights, she likes to get out of bed and come remind me of her new found aversion to her room every 10 mins until i finally issue some half empty threat about taking her tv time away, at which point she supernaturally musters the courage to face her bed, closer her eyes and

but tucker. tucker is holding true to who he laid himself out to be from day one when it comes to bedtime.
eisley lays down the weight of the task of my sanctification at bedtime and tucker picks it right up from her and carries on. i am at a loss with this kid. it should be noted that the two nights a week that gregg is home for bedtime are a TOTALLY different story. tucker also taps into the supernatural on the those weekend nights and finds the ability to lay the heck down and go to sleep within a 5 minute time period. but mon-fri night he is running hard to make sure that mom sanctification responsibility doesn't get neglected.

by the time it's all said and done, i collapse into bed and start trying to gather the engery to do it all again the next night. i need at least 24 hrs to get ready for it again.

bedtime; killing parent's confidence since the beginning of time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

real life

social media is a strange thing.

we all hear the complaints of everyone shows the "highlights" from their life, how no one shows or talks about the real stuff, the less than ideal stuff.  i agree with this consensus for the most part. most of time when it comes to posts, people stick to the highlights of vacations and smiling kids in cute clothes adorably eating their kale. or something. on the occasion that someone admits that their child or life is less than ideal there is almost always a positive spin put on the end of it. something like #stillgrateful or #lovethemanyway or #atleasthescute...i've done all of those too.

there seems to be a desire for realness based on all the comments and talk about how frustrating social media can be in creating unrealistic expectations and setting us up for comparison and let down. but, when you get real and are willing to talk about the hard and annoying parts of your life, you open yourself up to criticism. i feel like this especially applies to parents.

i feel like i post real moments from our lives and i don't always throw in the positive spin hashtag at the end of the caption, because frankly, that's just not (my) real life.

when i have put my kid back in bed 7x at the end of an exhausting day, there is some real frustration. when the 2 year old will not stop screaming her face off in the car for no apparent or fixable reason, i'm feeling pretty done. when the 5 year old decides that for whatever reason, tonight would be a good night to become suddenly and inexplicably driven to tears by the thought of her bed, i'm not feeling super gracious. that's real life. sometimes i put those real life moments on facebook and instagram because i know they are relatable and because posting it out there for the world to see somehow helps me feel less alone in this madness.

it does not mean that i am not grateful for my children. it does not mean that there weren't funny and sweet moments all day long surrounding the chaos. it does not mean that i wish my responsibility to parent away or regret our three children. and, yes, as irrational and crazy as it may sound, it does not mean that i feel like we have met our child quota.

here's the thing about parenting that i think we can lose sight of; it is a very weighty and worthwhile role. and, as with most weighty and worthwhile roles, it is demanding and refining. it is filled with high highs and low lows. it will change who you are and how you see life. you will see the best parts and absolute worst parts of yourself when you take on the role of parenting. admitting the hard doesn't mean i am any less grateful than the person who chooses to see it (or at least display it) as all sunshine and hearts. it just means i have a different approach to how i process and share life. and that's okay.

the truth is, sometimes i do need to intentionally realign my focus and perspective to see the beauty in the madness. some nights when my kids finally do quiet down and go to sleep, i walk back to their rooms just stare at their beautiful faces and remind myself what a gift their lives are to me. sometimes, i feel the rise of a well of tears and a physical ache when i consider how much i love them.

so yes, you see will sweet, cuddly pictures with my kids on instagram but it's pretty likely you will also see a crying kid captioned with sarcasm and a hashtag sendalltheicecream. that's just real life for me though.