Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas past and present

Christmas.  I have such good memories of Christmas.  Chrystal clear memories of snuggles, traditions, special times with people I love.  I would say 80% of my favorite memories are from December alone. Christmas was magical.

My least favorite Christmas was the year that we lived in Charleston and were put onto the angle tree.  Every since I could remember and every year since, we would all pick a child off the angle tree and get so much joy out of thinking of them and buying for them.
The Christmas after my dad had attempted suicide (and nearly succeeded) we had no money (more "no money" than usual).  My dad had been in the hospital for more than half a year, we had crazy bills, and we lived with my grandparents.  So we were put on the angle tree.
It was so weird to have hundreds of presents delivered to our door.  We didn't pick them out we didn't make them, it was just an "instant Christmas" and it was the biggest Christmas we've ever had.
I hate to say it but it just ruined it for me.  Yes we got a lot of toys and clothes but the magic of giving had been taken away.  It felt empty.

My favorite Christmas was an unexpected Christmas spent in a 27 ft trailer in the top of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in CA.  We had no money this Christmas, as well, and spent all of December sewing baby doll clothes from scraps of our skirts, scavenging goodwills for the perfect gift, baking, reading Little House on the Prarie books, eating popcorn and just being together.  We had no friends, no other family but us, but Christmas was extra magical that year.  It snowed several feet and we cozily opened presents inside with our "charlie brown christmas tree".  Then we sledded down the hill right outside our front door.

Now I'm a mama.  I have two little boys who are making memories every day and it freaks me out.  

It's so hard as a mama to try to find the right ways to teach my children that Christmas is about Christ and His birth, that it is about the joy of GIVING and it is about being with people we love.
And also at the same time I have this overwhelming desire to shower my children with gifts to make their eyes sparkle with excitement.  I have to remember that sparkle will be over as the toys break or loose their newness but the memories of being with family will never fade.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Adoring Sullivan

20 Things I Love About You, Sullivan...

1. Every day we go to school you get your backpack on in the parking lot and shout, "Nuuuuuun!!!! (run) and WAAAAAAACE! (race).  Barclay of course wins every time but you get to the traffic cone and shout, "I WON!" Every. Time.  And when you run, you run with your little head stuck so far out.

2.You like to snack all the time.  I'm trying to get you to snack less and eat more at meals but you sneak and get food all the time.  My favorite thing you say is, "bippy bips" for veggie chips.

3.I wake up so many mornings to your little hot hands on my face and the sweetest little , Mmmmennning (morning).

4.I love how you carry your stuffed bunny around by the ear.  It's straight out of a novel how cute you are.

5.When you smile, you smile with everything.  Your mouth is as wide as your head and your eyes are like pools of the most beautiful deep dark water.

6.I love your "chicken hair".  It's blond and thin and it sticks straight up and it looks like a baby chick.  Especially when you run it sticks up more!

7.You kiss me all the time and before you kiss me you close your eyes for a good 2 seconds before moving in.

8.You break out in twinkle twinkle little star and happy birthday at all times of the day.

9.Far more than Barclay did, you fall asleep in my arms.  Those are such treasured moments.

10. Every time I'm doing anything relating to heat, your eyes get huge and you put your hand out as if to touch it and say, "aaaat!  attt! (hot)".

11.Like your brother, you also say, "danks mama" (thanks mama) unprovoked.

12.You yell out "Baaaaaaaaaaaaacalay" all the time.  You adore your big brother and are constantly vying for his attention.  When he hits you (unforunately a daily thing), you come up to me with the poutiest lip and say, "Baklee hit".

13.You ask very sweetly after almost everything I say, "Whhhhhyyyyy?"

14.You are very tender and love babies.  I am praying that one day you will be a big brother and be able to love on a new baby.

15.You laugh so heartily and it is infectious!

16.You also enjoy jumping off the couch onto the bean bag.  Every day you repeatedly say, "bean bag!"

17.You adore books (unlike your brother) and will sit for a long time when I read.


18.You copy Barclay all the time.  You do a little side glance to see what he's doing and then do it yourself.

19.You love dogs and animals of all kinds.  Even when they are big and licking your face you giggle and love it.

20.You are balm for my hurting heart.  On days I am very overwhelmed with sadness you snuggle extra with me and I feel like my cold heart is being warmed.  I feel so blessed to be your mama.

Adoring Barclay

20 Things I Adore About You, Barclay:

1.  You are really into dressing yourself.  This includes long drawn out picking out of hats, ties, pens in the pocket, boots, etc.  You are always dressed to "the nines"and repeatedly through out the day ask me, "Mama, and I handthom?"
"Yes my dear, you are."

2.You are a fixther man (fixer man).  You are constantly asking me what I need fixed around the house and you are always measuring, screwing, and hammering everything.  You are so serious about it too.  And when I thank you, you act all non chalant about it.  Sometimes when I go to put you in the car seat, you can't even sit down and out of your pockets come screwdrivers, pens, and wrenches.

3.You are so charming.  Although it gets ME in trouble sometimes because you seriously charm me and before I know it I'm letting you get away with all kinds of things.
The other night you got out of your bed and without skipping a beat you climbed into my bed and started rubbing my back and saying sweet things in your sweet voice,
"Mama, you are so beautiful.  I love you so much.  I just love snuggling with you."
I was helpless.  And you before I knew it you had been out of bed for 30 minutes!

4.Lately you are carrying a flashlight to bed and when Sullivan wakes up in the middle of the night and I go to get him, you sit up straight in bed and turn it on to see who it is.

5.You are a genuinely compassionate little thing.  You are always kind to people who no one usually cares about (ie dirty smelly people at walmart, people who speak different languages, random old ladies).  You are always so interested in talking to them and it always reminds me to not judge so much and to be kind to everyone.

6.I love this stage you are in, you have actual friends who you know and I love seeing you play with them.  You are a little shorter than most of your friends (sorry you got that from me!).  You are so spunky though and I think you are going to be the class clown.

7.You sing all the time.  At the top of your lungs you burst out the sweetest melodies.  I love how uninhibited you are.  My favorite is when you sing,
"He is stronger!  He is stronger!  Sin is broken!  You have saved us!
Christ for raisin (supposed to be risen), Christ for raisin! Jesus Christ is Lord of all!"

8.You hold my hand all the time.  It's always so hot and chubby.  I just savor it so much.

9.You spend HOURS a day jumping from our couch onto a bean bag then from a small trampoline to the couch.  You have endless energy and have so much fun with this simple activity.  You always want Sullivan to hold your hand and leap with you.

10.You are so serious about some things.  You have show and tell once a week at school and you take it so seriously!  You ponder for days about what to bring.  Your teacher told me the other day you were showing and they were running out of time so she was trying to hurry you along but you said, "Wait a second, are their any questions?".

11.You are very helpful and are always wanting to help me with the dishes, laundry, or rescuing me from scary monsters etc.

12.My favorite time of day (usually) is when you wake up from your nap.  Your hair is crazy and your cheeks are so pink and all you want to do is snuggle with me.  Moments like that I will never forget.  Blissful.

13.Sometimes when we are driving you just sigh and say, "Look at the beautiful trees!"

14.You say, "Thank you, Mama!"  all the time.  Unprovoked.

15.Whenever you play you mumble.  You are basically narrating what you are playing but it just just adorable.
Example: "So this dump truck drives over here and gets this wood and then OH! It dropped it..."

16.You are the best big brother.  You are always protecting and looking out for Sullivan.

17.At night after you are in bed you usually request me to come sing you "your song".
(Tell me why the ivy twines...)

18.You have the fullest cheeks, the shaggiest hair and the most perfect sparkling eyes.

19.You think you have two jobs.  One being at school and the other with Derek.  You are very serious about this and inform me sometimes you must go to work.

20.You love adventure and I feel like every day with you is one.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Broken Hearted

I'm broken hearted.
Currently experiencing my third early miscarriage this year.
Every. single. time I open my heart up to hope and very soon it is crushed.
I used to think miscarried babies went to that thought doesn't comfort me, it overwhelms me. So I have 5 babies in heaven? How can I adequately remember them all?
My first miscarriage, although sad and painful, was healthy. People knew about it and that was hugely helpful. I found little things to remember the babies I'd lost. I stop on the due date to remember...and now it's just overwhelming. So many losses. So many it seems redundant. When I used to value and celebrate every life, I now feel like zoning out. I'm numb. I feel like I annoy close friends and family with my constant news, both sad and happy.
I'm disgusted with myself. I'm angry that I want another baby so badly when I have two at home. I feel like my heart is black from jealously and discontentment. For the past year I've felt weeks away from being on my way to baby number 3 and now I am left right where I was at the beginning of this journey.
I wish that I could allow myself to not try, to be content, to wait patiently for God's timing. But inside i am a child throwing a tantrum...."It's not fair!"
I keep waiting for God to "go easy on me" but He sure is set on refining me from the disgusting sinner that I am and it's painful.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
When I had my first miscarriage back in 2010, I found comfort in thinking of my babies in heaven.  That one day when I died, I would suddenly meet two little towe head girls giggling in a garden in heaven.
Now I can't even think about heaven for babies.  I have too many babies up there.  Too many to count or know.

Location:Broken hearted

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm a jerk

I've moved 8 times since Noah and I have been married.  Not a huge deal since I spent all of my childhood moving every few months for my dad's job.  Most recently we moved from a brand new 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house with an attic and 2 car garage to a small, quaint bungalow with 2 bedrooms 1 bath (and an unattached guest "house" for visitors).  We made the move for the location and also wanting and craving a simpler life.  I like the lower payment, I like the less cleaning, I love being close to people and being right in the middle of town.  I like the charm this old house brings (but maybe not the mice! eeek!).

The main thing I DON'T like is being up and down all night long because my two boys who are bad sleepers wake each other up.  I don't like that I have to walk down a squeaky hall to the bathroom every morning and it ALWAYS wakes them up.

For the past 5 months or so I've been on a mission.  A mission to find an adorable, affordable, quaint, 4 bedroom 2 bath in downtown that could be our forever home.  Problem number 1, there aren't any!  Problem number 2 (a much bigger problem) is that we cannot qualify for another loan until January.
But every morning after getting pissed off that my precious sleep is affected by this small little house I get more and more determined.  I've even thought about knocking on some doors downtown and asking if they'd ever considered selling.

Then there's THE HOUSE.  A brick house on my favorite street downtown.  It reminds me so much of the house I spent many years growing up in in Charleston SC.  It is charming.  It is a forever house.  It's the kind of house I can suddenly picture having large family dinners with Vivaldi playing in the background.  It's the kind of house I can picture our daughter (you know the one we don't even have yet;-) walking down the staircase to go to prom.  I see Christmases and birthday parties and Saturday morning breakfasts.  I literally can start bawling just thinking about it.  It is for sale and it is also a RENT to own which is ideal.  But it is a little big and would be stretching us financially big time.
But I tell myself...
"We could have missionaries come stay with us and minister to them..."
"Wouldn't having all these memories totally be worth the extra money spent?  We will probably be there financially in 2 years anyhow..."

I am such a jerk.

I have literally let my current house fall apart from lack of maintenance.  I don't care anymore.  I can barely focus on the now because I am so insanely obsessed with having "that perfect life".  I find every excuse to harp on it with Noah.

I don't understand.  There are families of 7 or more living in one roomed mud shacks and sleeping on the same bed! Why in the world do I feel the need and the desire to have a bigger house?

Despite my desperate inward pleadings with myself, I still find myself dreaming and fantasizing about how a bigger house would just make all the difference in my happiness.

All I have is NOW, in this beautiful house that is plenty big for our family of 4.

Just being honest.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Why don't I blog much anymore?
Because every time I sit down to (which is several times a week), I feel such joy and sadness at the same time that I cannot put it into words.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Playlist for Grieving the Loss of Loved Ones

Death.  It's everywhere lately.  From grandparents who have lived a good 90 years down to a baby in the womb.  I don't know if it is just the older I get, the more people I know or how Facebook makes me aware of situations I wouldn't usually hear about, but it seems like every time I log on there is tragedy.

Last week I got a phone call from my mom.  Her best friend of 30 years had called from where she was doing missions in Ethiopia with devastating news.  Her 19 year old son had died in a scooter accident in New Zealand.  Her only son.

The whole situation is just devastating.  And the fact that I have two sons now makes it more real to me.  I keep thinking that I wouldn't be gracious if I was in that situation.  My mom said that in New Zealand they bring the body into the home for a couple days and the family serves tea to visitors.  My mom, who flew there a day after hearing the news, said they've served hundreds and hundreds of cups of tea. I can't help but think that if one of my boys died, that I would lay in bed and refuse to talk or see people.  In fact, it makes me so sad that I think I couldn't breath from the grief.

Before my mom flew out there, I was trying desperately to think of a gift for my "Aunt" that would just ease the pain just a bit (as if there is such a gift).  Finally after listening to pandora and crying over some of the worship songs I decided to make her a play list and put it on an ipod so that in those times when she was laying in bed dying inside of grief, that she could hear truth.

I am human.  I have my doubts once in a while about God and heaven.  But when I am confronted with death like this, all doubts go away and I am left clinging to the promises that this life is fleeting compared to eternity.  Death without hope of heaven and Christ taking our place for our sins is hopeless.  It's so dark.  Death with the promise of seeing our loved one again is beautiful, in a way.  The sucky part is when we are the ones left behind to trudge through life alone.

I decided to share the playlist I came up with in case someone else was needing comfort like I do.

Blessings-Laura Story
Homesick-Mercy Me
King of Glory-Third Day
All the Heavens-Third Day
I Will Carry You-Selah (This is more for the loss of a child)
Climb On-Caedmon's Call
Your Great Name-Krissy Nordhoff
Perfect Peace-Laura Story
Give Me Jesus-Jeremy Camp
Praise You in this Storm-Casting Crowns
In Christ Alone-Owl City
Christ is Risen-Matt Maher (This is one of the most powerful songs I've heard in a while)
Come to Jesus-Chris Rice
Be Thou My Vision-Ginny Owens
Hallelujah's-Chris Rice
If You Want Me To-Ginny Owens
It is Well with my Soul-Chris Rice
There Will Be a Day-Jeremy Camp
Lead me to the Cross-Hillsong
Tears of the Saints-Leeland
1000 Reasons(Bless the Lord)-Matt Redman
Blessed be your Name-Matt Redman
Held-Natalie Grant
Love Song-Third Day
Revelation Song-Phillips, Craig and Dean
Thief-Third Day
Wonderful Merciful Savior-Selah
Cry Out to Jesus-Third Day
Jesus I am Resting, Resting-Tricia Brock
Trust in Jesus-Thirdy Day
What do I know of Holy-Addison Road
With Hope-Steven Curtis Chapman

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baby Steps

I have said for many years how my great struggle in this life is balance. It doesn't come easy for me! I am all or nothing. Days when I'm nothing mixed with the days I'm all make for a very chaotic life!
As I wrote in my last post, I'm really realizing my practice time is up! Since Barclay is nearing 4 and I had my first memories at 4, I cannot use the excuse, "oh well, they won't remember this!" anymore.
I decided a month ago to try some baby steps to make me a less chaotic person. It bothers me I can't 100% of the time be on top of everything but hopefully being 100% about these baby steps will help.

1. I made a go to bed by 10pm rule.
2.I have to wear pajamas.
3. No cell phones in bed!
4. I need to wake up at 6:30 and hope its before the kids in order to attempt to get a hold of what day it is, read a little bit of scripture, and maybe breathe in and out a few times before little needs need to be met.
5. Each morning make a list of 3 things to do. Even though it's simple and certainly not all the things that must get done. It makes me feel very accomplished.
6. Each week make one habit I want to make.
First week was sorting and putting the mail where it goes, right away.
Second week was try to load the dishwasher every night.
Third week was not putting clean laundry on the laundry room floor (FAILED that week!)
This week I'm doing: 10 min timed pick up when kids are in bed...despite my deep longing for collapsing on the couch:)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

An Adventurous Boys Room

I've gone into it before.  The dreaded moment when the ultrasound tech announced I would be the mother of a BOY.  After being the oldest of 5 girls the idea was foreign and scary to me.

I have come to find out that gender doesn't matter one bit.  Yes it decides a little bit of how you dress them or what the nursery looks like but gender doesn't make one bit of a difference in how you love them:-)

It sounds bad, but the first thing I did when I found out that Barclay was a boy, was buy something cute.  A blue and brown owl onesie.  I took solace in tiny baby shoes (of which he never wore), old adventure books, and just basically anything that deepened my understanding of boyhood.

In my last post I talked about my fluid method of decorating.  This is true BIG TIME of the "nursery".

I knew right away I wanted nothing to do with sports, balls, or characters.  I also wanted to stay away from blue and brown since that was an extremely popular color scheme for boys when I was having Barclay.  I knew I wanted a room that wasn't baby.  One that my boy (soon to be boys) could have through college.  I wanted it to have an adventurous spirit about it.  I totally think I achieved it.  Little by little, piece by piece, 4 years it is.  My not so little boys room.


This is the view of the whole room.  It's a very small room that we have tried to make the most of.  My favorite part of the room is the color.  It's a navy blue that is just perfect and not to babyish.  The bunk bed with trundle was a find on craigslist.  I foresee the boys sleeping together on it for many years to come.  It is great for when guests come because we can sleep several more people.
That huge teddy bear was sort of a joke from a friend but the boys adore it and usually sleep on it.  We call her Teddy.
I found that sailboat wall hanging for $3 at Goodwill but it was cheesy brass colored so I just spray painted it.  The two boat shelves were from thrifts stores as well.  At first I tried to fill the shelves but it just looked too cluttered.  I got the shutter for free and used wooden letters from Michaels and a horrid little welcome oar that I spray painted.  I just adore the shutter.  It makes the room seem a lot bigger than it is.
I ended up going with mismatched quilts for the bed.  It makes it look so casual, which I like.

I finally found a hamper that is small enough for this room.  Just a cute little wire basket from Marshalls.  I got the little lifeguard stand from a yard sale for $2.  It's one of my favorite things in the room.  The whaling painting was 50 cents at a yard sale and I framed it with a frame I had on hand already.  I just modge podged the wipe canister with some scrapbook paper.  The VW bus was a special gift from Noah's mom.  We keep pacifiers and diaper ointment in it.  It has a surf board on top and reminds me of the adventures I had as a little girl.  That little built in shelf is my favorite and it is perfect to house diapers and wipes.  

I got these hooks from World Market and they are perfect to hold the boys' school backpacks.  The picture to the left is one of my favorites of Barclay reading.  The one in the middle is a beautiful print from esty.  It's of a little boy looking at his reflection in the water,  The oil to the right was a gift from my mom.  It has three little boys in it (which I very much see in my future).  I just adore it.

This is Sullivan's side of the room.  I love this little crib from Walmart.  We originally had a bigger sleigh crib for Barclay but it would not fit in this room so we got this inexpensive but solid little crib.  The middle piece of art is a cool soldier print that I found already matted for $10.  The print to the left of that is a beautiful little sillhotte of two little boys that my friend Brandy gave me when Sullivan was born.  Then there is a framed booklet from my Grandfather's college days at Presbyterian College.  Next is a little sketch of a sailboat.  Then there is one of my very favorite photos of Sullivan giggling.  And to the top right is another print from etsy.  It's the same artist as the little boy in the boat.  This one is of a child counting sheep that are jumping over his bed.  

I just love personal details like this.  

Here shows a little metal airplane that we hung.

This is a little reading corner.  We keep little board books in the baskets and the others on these Ikea spice racks that I stained and converted to bookshelves.  These are the BEST!  I originally had a bookshelf but anyone with a baby older than 6 months will tell you that they will not stay on a bookshelf!  I love the vintage books at the top.  The little hat hanging on the chair is an old pilot's cap that belonged to one of my cousins when he was a little boy.  He passed away when I was pregnant with Barclay and we gave Barclay his middle name (Thomas).  

Some of my favorite books.  The Dangerous Book for Little Boys was given to me by sweet friends of ours.  It has a handwritten letter taped in the front of it for Barclay to read by himself whenever he can.  I have not peeked yet!  

Another one of my favorite books at the bottom right.  It's called, "You Will Go To The Moon."  I feel like that about my boys, that they can do whatever they set their mind to.  Then framed to the right are two of the most boyish pictures.  One of Barclay riding a bike with the most impish little look:-) and the other is of grassy bare feet.  

This room will always have a special place in my heart as it represents falling in love with raising boys. I hope that Barclay and Sullivan will grow up with tons of adventures and imaginations that run wild.