Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So Thankful

  Caroline and Thomas had their Thanksgiving program and "feast" today at their awesome Mother's Day Out at our church. Their directors and teachers are simply wonderful and so loving.

Mollie and Thomas enjoying their class feast!

After the exciting singing program (where Thomas decided to yell out to me "mama! mama!" during "You are My Sunshine"), we followed the kids back to their rooms where I found Caroline with her place mat ready to go at her table.

The holidays are a glorious, yet difficult time for most people. We miss our loved ones who are not here to make special (or mundane!) memories with us, but it makes me feel very blessed to have a sweet daughter this Thanksgiving who is thankful for God and her family...(and her make-believe dog apparently--see photo-- but hey, she's 4 years old after all!)
Those sweet little hands outlined with paint that grow too quickly, the same hands that she folds so obediently during prayers and always remembers both her daddies.

Thank you, God, for my family and friends. Anything else you give me is just gravy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

County Fair 2011!

This is my first post using my phone, if this works it will be life altering for me.
And, yes, I have just realized in the last few weeks that I like to use dramatic words and gestures. Honestly, though, it will be life altering! It took me forever to email myself pictures and upload them onto blogger. I hope to blog way more often with the mobile option.
When did I realize my dramatics? Thomas has been mocking the way I yell "NO WAY!!!" when someone tells me exciting news. He yells it back to me and says it over and over.
We learn a lot about ourselves through our children, don't we?! (I do not feel that I exaggerate at all, however. I truly get that excited/emotional. My long time friends know to back away when they tell me big news so I don't push them over with my hands, like Elaine from Seinfeld. I do not dance like Elaine, just for the record.)
Here's Aly and Caroline calling the Hogs in front of a hog! We love our Arkansas Razorbacks! Woo Pig Sooie!
Thomas loved running from one animal to another yelling, "Gook!!" (Look!)
Caroline milking a fake cow. Ps the format didn't work well with the mobile upload. So  I had to edit it online. Dang.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Choo Choo! Thomas is 2!

  Yes, it's that time again! It's been two months since my last post, so it's time to play catch up! I'm even using the trick one of my Tara's taught me to change the date on the post, so in 20 years when we are reading the blog book, the order of events MIGHT make sense.
Honestly, just thinking about all the blog posts that should have been written in the last two months makes me have heart palpitations. (Because of the anxiety, not the excitment...) I am not sure why I get this way, but when I haven't blogged in a while, I start to get anxious and crazy. I can't even read other people's blogs: A. I have zero time for it. B. If I accidentally see a blog update from someone it reminds me of how behind I am and it takes a while for me to calm back down.
Ridiculous, I know. But that's how it is for me! :-)
I have so much to say about what has been happening with our family these last two months! In a nutshell, we have been enjoying becoming a family and praising God for what has been happening in our lives.

Now that everyone is caught up with us...ha! I'm going to try and put short blog posts of how we are living each moment to the fullest and appreciating little and big things in life.
That being said: THOMAS IS 2!!!!! How did this happen!? My baby boy is growing up so fast.

We had a joint party with our fellow turning 2 friend, Mollie, at Boingo Bounce! It's always a hit when the kids love it and the parents love the long naps the kids take when they get home.
We had a Thomas the Train and Minnie Mouse themed party. I'll let you guess which theme went with which 2 year old.
Some things I don't want to forget:
  • He says "Gook!" for "look"
  • He wakes up happy and singing to himself waiting for me to get him out of bed. When I open the door he usually says "Hi, mama!" or he hides himself to let me try to find him (in his 3 foot long crib)
  • He doesn't sleep with a paci anymore, but has to have his lovey with the tags (thanks, Ro-ro), his "baby" (Grandma Tracy gave him a "fur real" pet bear that pretends to sleep and makes noises---yes, I let him have it although it makes loud snoring noises. It's just too cute that he asks for his "baby" each night,) and his big, soft, red Razorback blanket (thanks, mimi.)
  • He loves juice. He will grab my pant leg and drag me into the kitchen and point at the refrigerator saying "juice, peas!" (no, he isn't a veggie lover. It's his "please.") Once he realizes I am going to get it for him he does a little dance where he shuffles his feet really fast and laughs.
  • He will pray with his hands folded and eyes shut so tight that they look really wrinkly. He ends with "AHMEN" (This is not 100% consistent, but he's on his way!)
  • He loves his sister and follows her EVERYWHERE.
  • He gives the sweetest, barely there whisper of a kiss on your cheek if you ask (and if you are really lucky, even when you don't ask!)
  • He does get mad. (yes, he's not a perfect angel, he's 2.) He will yell "NO!" and point at me like he's getting on to me. He hit me in the lip today with a toy (not really on purpose, but not really by accident...) and when he saw how hurt I acted, he got very concerned and came close to pat my hand. So we are learning about cause and effect.
  • He tries to read. Whenever he sees letters he says "E, O, A, O, E" over and over. I love it.
  • He has good balance, but has had a couple of falls that took a few years off of my life. (Once at a tennis match from the bleachers, and once at a playground.)
And next to turning 2 August 17, the biggest event in September:
  • the worst visible "scar" came from one of his closest friends...Percy.

 I am one of those parents that reads all of the labels and warnings on toys. #1 I want to be sure we aren't missing out on some feature that isn't apparent. (For instance, we played with the Chuck the Dump Truck for two weeks before realizing it was on "demo" what a nice surprise it was that it could say 20 different things instead of "I'm Chuck" over and over..and over again.)
So back to Percy.
This train is one of those cool, motorized trains with an on/off switch. It explicitly states to be wary of hair close to the wheels. I knew Caroline should be careful, but didn't imagine Thomas could be in danger!
I didn't realize he had it with him in the car until he was screaming loudly and I turned around (a little annoyed, admittedly. "Mom of the Year 2011") and saw that it was caught running on top of his head!!!
I ran around the car and by the time I tried to turn it off, Thomas pulled straight up, hard. And tons of beautiful, blonde hair came up, too. I was sure I would see blood on his head. Nope, just a bald spot.

We are doing our best to keep a "comb over" in place, but Thomas found a solution one evening. I found him in his room like this:

Most people say they can't tell, but if the wind blows just right--it is there. I hope it grows back in, but if not, it will be one of those funny stories he will tell as he gets bigger, and he will be able to part his hair and show it off. :-)
I love you, sweet Thomas. You are a blessing from heaven and a God send in so many ways for so many people. I look forward to your year of being "2" and all it has in store. Love, Mommy

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Amazing Love

Amazing love,
How can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
Amazing love,
I know it’s true.
It’s my joy to honor You,
In all I do, I honor You.

I start with those lyrics from "Amazing Love" because it's the only way to start a blog post like this one: by praising God!

As I type this I am overcome with emotions, happiness, sadness, joy, grief...(how many posts have I written that include a sentence like this, but I can only write what I am feeling, so all of that and more is on my heart today!) I'm happy and joyful about all God is doing in our lives. I'm also sad and full of grief for our broken world (for our own loss of Thomas, Kimberly's family as the second year of Hannah's heavenly birthday approaches, the Keylor/Hillian family as cancer took their mom and wife last month, and another local family loses their 18 year old daughter in a car accident this week) --it isn't supposed to be this way, but PRAISE TO GOD there is a plan in place to not only get through the hard times that come our way, but to rise above them and find joy here on Earth as we wait to reach our heavenly, forever home!

One of the best blessings and part of God's plan is RELATIONSHIPS! Most of us have realized this as we've seen trials and relied on each other to pray and support each other. I know first hand how important it was/is for me to have a relationship with God, my church and, of course my family and friends. Everyone rallied around myself and sweet little babies. And did we ever feel God's arms wrapped around us!

On August 5th, 2011 Tyler and I said our vows on Seagrove Beach, Florida in front of family and friends. The wedding exceeded our expectations for the love felt by those who joined us in Florida, the weather(!), and the peaceful, fun, full of God, atmosphere that surrounded us.

So many of you prayed constantly for my family over the years, I had no idea about the power of prayer until I felt it for myself especially in 2009.  Our Thursday night bible study group has been studying Prayer. We have learned not to feel the need to articulate perfectly our plan or expected outcome, but to pray with confidence! Prayer releases God's power so He can/will work in our lives.
So without further ado, praying friends,'s the fruit of your prayers in picture form (Thank you for capturing them in pictures, Staci Coston!)

Your prayers allowed the power of God to transform me into a new person. A person who only wants to seek Jesus and tell others about Him...and while I still grieve today for a life and love lost, the prayers sent heavenward allowed God to work in a way I didn't even see coming for myself and children; it allowed a new family to form, not forgetting the past, but embracing it. Tyler and I are grateful that God has blessed us in becoming a family and we are committed to praising God through the trials and good times in the years to come.
I am praying thanks for all of you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wedding Week!

 Whew! What a fun, busy time getting ready for a beach trip with my sweet kiddos AND a wedding! We are finally here on the (not so anymore) "forgotten coast" in Florida enjoying God's amazing creation with my immediate family and as the days go by more of my family and friends are arriving for our big day at the end of this week. I can feel God showering us with blessings and it increases each day as the Day approaches. I didn't know if I would be a mixture of emotions: cheerful, sad, bittersweet, excited, etc, but I am truly just plain old happy.
Seeing the kids play in the sand after dark just as we arrived and hearing Caroline yelling "This is the best night EVER!" over and over, to Thomas yelling "GOOK, GOOK!" ("look") at planes and seagulls flying over our heads today, and seeing Jett and Thomas bonding (and fighting, especially over their "choo-choos") as close cousins do...oh, and the water is so beautiful. A lady walking on the beach stopped just to tell me that she was here a few months ago and it was so dark from seaweed and she was amazed at the water. She ended by saying "it's such a blessing." It was like God saying, "Here you go, another blessing."
 When I think back to how God had told Becky this was going to happen for Tyler and I, even before I even barely knew who Tyler was, amazes me. I am asking for prayers from everyone this week as many of my family and friends are traveling and also that we would have a wedding that is glorifying to God.
 Our ladies bible study has been studying prayer this summer and I've known first hand prayer works, but I'm starting to understand a little about how it works, and how powerful and necessary it is. I pray with a new intensity and fervor that deepens my relationship with God and it also let's me be at peace in a way that eluded me for some time.
 I have learned that nothing turns out the way we think it will, or how we think it should, be it life or a vacation with toddlers. I am learning to not only accept what is happening and live in the moment, but to find joy in it. Even if it isn't how I planned on it happening.
Family, friends and blog readers I've never even met, thank you for traveling this road with me and please take a moment to realize your prayers have worked in ways that exceeded my expectations. As I write about all the good things happening right now, I am aware several of my friends are going through difficult times in their lives and I am praying for them as they have prayed for me. I have such hope now for people going through hard times, since I'm living proof that God can create beauty from ashes.
I am not naiive and I know there is no quota to sadness or grief one can experience in life, but I have learned to relish the good times and accept the blessings whole heartedly. I am happy today and I know that God is the same God of yesterday, today and tomorrow, no matter what it holds.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Less than 7 weeks until our wedding! WOW!
I had to show off what a thoughtful man Tyler is. He gave me these for our one year anniversary of dating! It's four, big, square scrabble tiles spelling LOVE that we can hang on the wall! I don't have time to go back and re-read my blog to see if I ever wrote about how we started "talking" so here's the short and sweet version: We started getting to know each other when I got my iphone last May and started playing "Words With Friends" (electronic scrabble.) Through the grapevine I heard the only people I know playing with this app were Tyler and my friend Leigh.  We started spelling words and using the messaging system within the game to "talk." Before this he seemed a little on the quiet side, but when we started playing this game I realized how sweet his is and what a funny sense of humor he has (I'm a sucker for someone who makes me laugh!) And the rest is history!
So now you know what an incredibly thoughtful gift this is for me to receive!! Wow, Tyler! You continue to amaze me each day with your kindness, compassion and love!
 We have been so blessed to have my parents living a few minutes away and they are always willing to keep the kiddos! Tyler and I have been able to have some 2 on 1 time with each of them lately and it is so fun! The dynamics are so different when no one is having to fight to be heard ;-) Here's a pic from our night out at the Promenade Mall with Caroline. Mimi's Cafe lets you order breakfast all day long so, of course, Caroline would order chocolate chip pancakes! She's such a sweetie pie. She still says "Lasterday" for "yesterday" and now she's been saying "Holy Guacamole!" (I plead the fifth on where she's heard that before...) She is so thoughtful and sweet. I love seeing her sounding out words when reading and singing songs she makes up herself. She says to Thomas "You are so cute, I could just eat you up!" 
 Here's a pic from our night out with Thomas! Pushing a stroller on Dickson Street sure makes you feel all of your 32 years! We ate at Chipotle (I'm not sure which of the 3 of us ate the most guacamole, but it was totally gone by the end of the meal.) We then walked quickly through the used bookstore, he wanted to show how good he was at de-shelving books and ended up in the garden of the Walton Arts Center. I love little hidden gems like that in a night out--I had just said to Tyler while leaving the bookstore "I wish we could let him out of the stroller in a safe place to run around" and we turn the corner into the garden. Thomas danced and climbed all over the place. (and no we did not end up eating frozen yogurt at Orange Leaf--Tyler and I started counting calories and working out last week, we are doing well so far...well except for the excessive guacamole eating.)
 When I was little all we had to play with was the gas meter...
 We LOVE the springdale aquatic center! Especially with a sweet friend like Luci!
 My BFF's 4 year old daughter, Aly. 
(Yes, I use "BFF" she's been my friend since we were 8, I think that is close to "forever.")

 Our dear Uncle Travis! He took Caroline on her first fishing adventure! She is a very sporty little girl. Well, yes, her fishing pole is pink and purple with Disney princesses on it, but it can snag a fish just like the other poles!
 Caroline helped Uncle Trav reel this one in! She was literally screaming at me to see what had happened! She's ready to catch her own fish all by herself next time.

No, it has not escaped me that Father's Day is tomorrow. Or for the fact that baby T is just about the age sweet Caroline was when her daddy went to heaven. But when I start to feel sad, I really make myself get down to the nitty gritty of our lives, and think about all that has happened. I keep realizing more and more that God has taught me the biggest lesson of my life. I'm blessed to have had it revealed to me at a young age and at a time where it will shape the future of my kids the most. It is to love. 
I tried to put a comma or a colon or something in that sentence to jazz it up, but it wouldn't be right. To love. What a simple concept, but it has so many layers and aspects to it that it takes millions of books, songs, poems and blogs to try and explain it. 
Oh, yes, and I forgot to mention, it is the greatest commandment in the bible. ; )
I definitely loved before the accident. But as God has shown me His love by taking care of me through strangers, friends and family over the past few years, it has taken this love thing to a whole new level for me.
I want to return the love poured into me and my sweet babies, by pouring it back out into my friends, family and even strangers. So instead of being sad on this Father's Day Eve for my sweet kiddos sleeping soundly in their beds, with visions of snowcones swimming in their heads, I am encouraged. I have an amazing love story to tell Caroline and Thomas about how their mommy and daddy came to be their parents, and I'm also right in the middle of another awesome love story that will unfold while they grow up.
I see love in their lives spilling out all over the place.

1 John 3:1 (msg)  What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we're called children of God! That's who we really are. But that's also why the world doesn't recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he's up to.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

This too shall pass…

My poor blog. Why have you been neglected? Because:
Relationships! (We are all still putting our Living Proof Live  knowledge to work in our lives! God is AWESOME!)
End of the semester grading-whew! Such an AMAZING group of students. I look forward to seeing them excel in their own classrooms!
   Saturdays at the Farmers’ Market!

Planting our herb garden, and tomatoes in our weed garden. It’s all about the experience, right?

Jett turns 2 with the coolest birthday party ever! Your parents rock!
Chick-fil-a? I’d like to place my daily order.
She had been asking for cotton candy for a long time, I think she likes it! Go Naturals!

     Caroline and Thomas had their end of the year program at their Sonshine School. We love this school! Caroline sang her heart out.

Most of our GFN (Girls’ Fellowship Night) group on our last night of the Breaking Free study by Beth Moore. The ultimate bible study if you are looking for one to do. It will teach you how to be free from areas in your life that keep you from experiencing all of the benefits of being a follower of Christ! (The one I’m working on the hardest is the benefit of God’s peace-the obstacle of having peace is prayerlessness. See earlier post…)
Caroline’s recital at The Academy of Dance! She won an award as Dancing Doll 2011!
Promotion Sunday at Mt Comfort Church of Christ! Our babies are now at the end of the hallway! Here’s her buddies Emma, Canaan and Sara. Next year: UPSTAIRS!? How time flies.
So why the blog title? Because this will pass. All of the good and the bad will pass on. I needed the reminder today as I carried a loud Thomas out of our church’s auditorium. People say it’s because he’s a boy and he’s approaching the age of two. I know they are right, but it still makes it hard to go through the stage.
I know this is such a tiny, not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, type of issue to be blogging about, but I’ve always wanted to keep track of our highs and lows as a family on this blog. When I think of all my little family has been through in the last four years—it’s a lot. And yet, we are still moving forward one day at a time. This is just where we are right now and in a few months we will be laughing about how it was, just not today.
Here’s a picture that is probably representative of a snapshot 14 years in the future:
photo(3)Thomas driving a jeep and looking not the least bit afraid of the bumps and jostles happening, and Caroline-my loyal, rule follower-looking very nervous and ready to come tell me what her brother was up to!

Lots of our pictures and time together involves me running after Thomas or him running out of the picture:photo(5)
Our fun trip to Batesville to visit Papaw, (Tyler’s Dad) Kate and T.B.(Tyler’s sister and her husband.) I’m keeping Thomas out of the pond.
Easter egg dying! Notice Thomas is not in the picture. I chose to do this during his naptime. Terrible mom or is it okay for me to leave him out for the safety and sanity of others? Ps Becky wouldn’t mind me saying that this was a staged picture and it was hard even with just one sweet boy.

Summer has started at our house when the slip n slide comes out! Here’s our friend Luci and Thomas running away. By the way the cicadas are crazy right now! People are being swarmed by them when they come to visit us (sorry, Nellie!)
Or he’s running out of an otherwise precious picture. This is Tyler’s sister’s son, Tate. He is so sweet, but all boy. He reminds me a lot of our other cousin, William, who is about the same age. I’m hoping Thomas will turn out like these boys!
I’m not saying at all that Thomas is bad, he’s just making some bad choices (So sorry Mollie, Thomas pushed you down today to show how he loves you...)
He makes good choices, too:photo(18)
He loves looking at his dad’s books. I put a few on the bottom shelf and he pulls out the huge ones, with zero pictures. I’ve found him like this several times. His favorite is Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy by Kip Thorne (if you were curious.)
And after church he crashes. This is a good choice, too.
He can be very sweet, too. He will randomly kiss and hug on us and say, “Peas” (please) over and over again when he wants something, and he loves to be tickled. His favorite words, are “No” “Nah” and “I did it,” but in a flash he’ll be in his room listening to his ipod and I’ll wish his screams for more grapes after he’s already had 20 too many, could be heard once again.
Thomas will hold Caroline’s hand and she will say, “Oh mom! Take a picture!” So I have at least 6 of these on my phone.
Tyler and I will be married in two months. Each day I get more excited! We’ve all four grown together as a family and we are ready to make it official.  Oh what blessings Thomas and Caroline are to us. We’ll take it all, the good times and the not-as-good times, because we know how this all will pass. We have our sights set on loving each other as God loves us and cherishing the time we have together.
Psalm 118:24 - "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."