Wednesday, January 29, 2014

We Survived Snow-My-Gosh!

I was definitely a bystander in most of the chaos and worry and danger that so many people experienced yesterday. My greatest inconvenience was waiting for Steve to get home and bring groceries. We weren't running out of food in the "really starving" sense, but we were out of a bunch of basics, so I was thankful he found a store that still had supplies and actually made it home for dinner!

We had so many friends across the city, stranded in their offices, on the road, or in other friends' homes. Whitney and her girls had to stay in a hotel after getting stuck on the way home from a doctor's appointment! There were a lot of prayers yesterday, and so many Good Samaritans who stepped up and filled the needs of those who were stranded or looking for a ride home. A couple of friends from church even made it on the news for handing out free hot chocolate to stranded drivers! 

I think my favorite "feel good" part of yesterday was being on a group text with a bunch of my girlfriends, all checking in with each other and asking about husbands, other friends, and offering help and prayers. I loved the roll call at the end of the night when we knew everyone was spoken for and had found a warm spot to spend the night.

A great silver lining of the snow was that Steve gets to stay home from work today and tomorrow! We may actually even get off the couch and get some projects done around the house!

French toast for breakfast! I put Bella's hair in a bun so that it wouldn't get all sticky with syrup, so Evelyn wanted hers up, too.

Steve had to participate in a conference call, and Evelyn got in on the action!

We dragged a mattress downstairs for the girls to crash on and watch cartoons! Lots of fun!

My Little Pony is a popular choice around here! We snacked on ramen noodles, Kraft macaroni and cheese, cookies, and drinks. Definitely not the healthiest, but it was the only thing Rite-Aid had and tasted delicious for our snow day!

So thankful that God protected all of our friends and so many others! And as anxious as I was for Steve to get home last night, his five-hour commute ended up being the quickest of anyone we know!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Have Thine Own Way, Lord?

I was driving home from a meeting on Sunday afternoon and started mindlessly humming, Have Thine Own Way, Lord. It's a beautiful old hymn, so I was singing through the first verse a couple of times when I stopped to think: do I really want Him to have His own way?
With a new house and a new job, you would think that I'd be the last person to question God's blessings, but I still struggle with this voice in the back of my head that wants to ask, "Why don't we have a baby yet?" I was so sure we would get pregnant in January. I have an app on my phone (And you know those can't be wrong! Sarcasm.) that tracks my periods and ovulation, and tells me my most fertile days. The theory is, as long as you plan your "alone time" accordingly, you should get pregnant, right? Well, it didn't work. I started my period today (SIX DAYS LATE!!! Let me tell you how crazy THAT will make you!), so I finally know for sure that whatever awesome, baby-making plan we thought we had, didn't work.
No matter all of the things we tell ourselves about trusting God, trusting His timing, knowing we'll get pregnant eventually, Steve and I still ache for a baby. It's like there's a part of us that's just waiting for us to get pregnant, so we can hit the "restart" button on this last year. We don't think about it all the time, but Sundays seem to always bring it back. I'm not sure why.
So that's where I've been lately. Questioning God's plan and resenting His call for us to wait. I know He is beyond strong enough to handle my doubting, and I know that some of my darkest moments are due to emotions and not my knowledge of God's promises. So for now, I'm Wanting more than anything to be pregnant, praying for God to give us courage, faith, and trust to wait.

Moving Sale Or Bust!

Let me be clear...I grew up in a family where garage sales were serious business. You start early and you never accept the listed price and the signs had better be good. I loved going with my dad and watching him negotiate with the sellers. He was the best at playing it cool and walking away if the price was too high!
Unfortunately, I'm terrible at bartering. When we were in Dubai, we were told over and over to barter in the marketplaces, but I never did. I'm just not good at it and I cave way too easily. And I've never wanted to host my own sale, because it seemed like way too much work! Plus, it always made a little nauseous to think about putting all of my belongings out on the front yard and pricing them for total strangers: what is no one likes my stuff? What if I list everything way too high? Or way too low? In the past, if I was cleaning out a room, I either gave the things to a friend, donated them to Goodwill, or threw them out.
I finally reached the point where we had so much stuff we wanted to get rid of that we had to have a sale! Our new house won't fit all of our current furniture, Mel moved out 2 weeks ago and left a bunch of stuff that wouldn't fit in her new apartment, and we wanted some extra money to purchase some new pieces that would fit the new house better.
I spent all last week painting signs and thinking about pricing. Our sale was on Saturday, so my amazing husband went out in the insanely cold weather Friday night and hammered in all of our signs for the big day! It went great! I couldn't believe anyone came out since it was about 20 degrees in the morning, but we had a pretty steady stream. We ended up selling enough to buy Bella and Evelyn's new beds and a little extra to go towards a new couch! (I think our current couch would look too massive in the new house, so Whitney's buying it! Score!)
My dad would have been so proud! We bartered like champs! (It was much easier being on the "seller" end of that system.) I still felt a little pressure to give in quickly, but I tried my best to counter with a better price if I felt they were going way too low.
We froze our tails off, but we made some "fun money" for the new house and met some really nice people in the process! Bonus for also using it as a passive-aggressive way of telling our neighbors that we're moving!

This was only about a third of our took a freakishly long time to paint all of them! I'll admit, I was in full on martyr-mode by Friday night.

Bella kept me company during the last few and painted her own sign!

Most of our stuff lined up to sell. (I could only get half the driveway with my phone.) So thankful people came out to buy our "junk"!

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Opportunity, New Ministry

I have been excited about the chance to get more involved with our church for the last few years. Whenever an opportunity came up, though, I had to weigh it against my desire to be at home with the girls. We have been so blessed to be able to live on one income, and we made that decision very purposefully - I want to be home with my girls. I love not having a schedule and being able to have a lazy day when we're in the mood. With that in mind, there has never been anything that has made leaving the girls worth it.
I also love the Missions department at our church! Steve Reid and Trey have done a phenomenal job in creating authentic opportunities to serve and educating people in a new way of missional living. I have truly learned so much from these two men in the last 3 years or so. Being able to work alongside them in different volunteer positions has been incredible!
God has worked recently to allow the perfect set of circumstances to come together - moving closer to the church will give me a lot more freedom to be involved without all of the driving, Bella will be starting kindergarten in the Fall, so she will be gone in the mornings, and Evelyn will be doing the two-day preschool program at Eastside (also just in the morning) - all of these things give me a chance to work at the church a couple mornings a week without feeling like I'm missing out on time with the girls!
When Steve Reid said the Missions staff needed help with some of their administrative duties, I was thrilled! I'll be doing administrative and planning work for the orphanage that our church is a partner with, Orphan Concern International; helping Steve with anything he needs; and being involved with planning and organizing the missions activities in our church. 

It's a lot of behind-the-scenes work, and I'm so excited to be involved on the ground level of Eastside's Kingdom work!
I was at the church yesterday for a meeting and was not planning on sitting for my security badge picture, but it was fun to make it official!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


The last week and a half has been a very crazy, stressful, wonderful ride! Before we found out that we weren't able to buy our first choice house, a friend who knew we were looking told us about another house of a mutual friend that wasn't even on the market yet, but was really close to church.
We didn't think much about it at first, but thought we'd look at the house just in case. We thought it was really cute, but still had the "first choice" in our minds, so we didn't take a lot of time to focus on it. Once we found out that we couldn't afford the first house, we looked at each other and figured we should maybe take another look.
Guys, we loved it! It's so adorable! It's small, but I think we can make it work, and it's got so many beautiful upgrades! We call it "Sapps, Jr.", because it has the same "cottage-y" feel as Trey and Whitney's house, but it's a smaller version. The owners added so many incredible things...the yard is fenced-in, there's a beautiful deck (okay, I may use the word "beautiful" a lot, because I'm a little excited!). The floor plan has been opened up with beautiful (yep, again) arches and hardwood floors throughout, and the kitchen has been updated, as well. My favorite thing is the sunroom; without it, I don't think we'd be able to fit in the house. The girls' room is pretty small, so the sunroom allows them a lot of space to spread out and have a spot for their toys.
The bedrooms are tight, but I've already spent time online and on Pinterest, looking for ideas on how to fit two girls into a little room. (I finally found 2 beds from IKEA that can fit end-to-end on one wall.) It may seem like "small" is a common theme of this house, but I have to be honest...I love that it's small! And before it sounds like I'm whining too much, let me be clear, too...the house is beautiful! It's not like we're living in a tiny, rundown shack! I don't want someone from a third-world country to start mocking me horribly!
Oh, and also, I love to purge things! I love throwing things out! It gives me a weird high that I'm pretty sure Steve thinks I need therapy for. Which means the idea of moving into a smaller house and not being able to fit all of our current belongings makes me a little giddy! I know that the reality is I will definitely have moments of feeling like we're living on top of each other, but I'm committed to being able to live a little "simpler", and enjoy the space!
We had our realtor check it out, and she gave her full stamp of approval, so we made an offer. We were so excited to sign our contract today! We signed a contract! We have a house!!! We are so excited!!! Now we just need to sell our current house. I'll admit, the reality of having two mortgages gives Steve and I a few moments of having to breathe deeply into a paper bag, but after a lot of prayer, we decided to move ahead with it. Our prayer is that we are able to sell our current house quickly and we would never have to actually pay for two mortgages! (Sweet Baby Moses!)
So...deep we go!

Our front door...Steve loves the craftsman style of the pillars and door!

The back of the house...I love the cottage feel and I love how they did the deck! There are three separate sets of stairs around the deck, which I really like, and I love the detailing in the railing.

Looking into the kitchen. The archways! And the huge window over the sink! We will be changing the light over the kitchen sink, but they did some great woodwork around the oven hood and I'm glad there's still a bar area to sit at.

One view of the sunroom; there are huge windows wrapping around the entire room.

This is the office and probably my only "style negative". I love the built-in shelves and cabinets, but we will definitely be painting those paneled walls! There's no closet, but this will double as a guest room, which we definitely need!

The Master bath...there's a beautiful, walk-in shower to the right and a large linen closet on the left. We will be switching out the mirror, but I love the beadboard and pedestal sink.

The Master bedroom (and our lovely realtor, Heather). Again, the bedrooms are really small, but we don't have a lot of bedroom furniture, so I think we can still be comfortable. We will change the light and hopefully add a fan. I think our TV will have to go in here, too, because I'm a little opposed to putting a TV on on the fireplace mantle. (Steve and I are still negotiating this one.) Also, I lovingly refer to the windows as "prison windows", but they're growing on me. 

Enlarging them would be part of our "ten-year plan", so I'm going to need to be content with them for now.

I didn't get a great, "all encompassing" shot of the living room, but this gives the general idea. The front door is to the left of the bay window, and I love that the widow has a little bench area. Directly behind this view is the kitchen, and back right is the dining room.

Okay, that's all! Just a little view. (Although, I guess there's not much more that I didn't show.) 

Two huge benefits that have nothing to do with style are that it's only 1/10 of a mile from the church, and buying a smaller house will (we think!) allow us to afford to send Bella to Eastside! We are feeling very blessed!

I'm excited to post pictures on here about how we adjust to the space!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Shameless Mommy Bragging

There's really no reason for this post other than the fact that I've taken some cute pictures of Evelyn on my phone recently and wanted to show them off.

Flirting with Daddy

Covered in cheese dip and loving life!

Chillin' at Trey and Whitney's

Using Mama's chapstick. No matter where I try to hide them, she is always finding my lipglosses and chapsticks!

Can't contain herself during a dance party with Bella

Little human loves to be naked! It's becoming harder and harder to convince her to keep her diaper on!

Ballin' in Daddy's hat...

And in Mel's hat; she loves copying the adults in her life!

Look at those eyes! Swoon!

Playing Rex's guitar during out playdate on Friday.

Evelyn is demanding and hilarious and sweet and smart and cuddly! She knows exactly what she's doing, and she's pretty good at using her eyes to play a crowd. (Or just Daddy.)

I am holding my breath in excitement and trepidation at the thought of she and Bella sharing a room in our new house. They are instantly best friends and then sister-rivals, and then back to playing silly games. It's wonderful and exhausting, all at the same time!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Can I Just Spill A Little Of My Crazy?

I don't know if there are other women who do this (Please, God, let there be other women who do this!), but in a perfect world, I would "plan" my babies. In my perfect world, I would not have had Bella and Evelyn in the same month, because that just seems redundant - I already have a baby born in April; why would I want a second one born in April? Pick another month.
Do you see why they call it crazy?
Which brings us to the potential, yet-to-be-conceived baby that isn't currently growing in my womb.
The two pregnancies that happened last year were very much a surprise. I mean, okay, I'm not a moron; we were having unprotected sex (Mom, hopefully, you can scrub that mental picture from your brain.), so a baby was always a possibility, but it took us a year with both Bella and Evelyn before we got pregnant. Most of that was due to inconsistent periods, no clue when I was ovulating, and a bunch of other boring details.
The moral of the story is, when we got pregnant twice within five months without even trying, we were really surprised.
After we lost both babies, we were told by the doctor and midwife to wait a couple of months/cycles to let your body get back to normal. We lost Lily in August, so December was four months. The ironic thing is that, ever since Lily, my periods have come every single month like clockwork. That has never happened since I got my first period at thirteen! As a teenager, I once skipped my period for an entire year! The doctor said nothing was wrong; I just had a weird system. (Thanks for that, doc.)
Here's where my crazy kicks in...I've always wanted our third baby to be born in the Fall. The girls and I all have Spring birthdays, Steve's is in October, and no one likes having their birthday in the Summer when school's out, so the Fall seemed perfect. So basically, the exact month that the doctors gave us the go-ahead to start trying is also the same month that I wanted to get pregnant in order to have a Fall baby. And it's this month! THIS MONTH! Which means I've become a freakish expert on my cycle, peak ovulation days, things about fluid that I can't say in public, and the phases of the moon (kidding).
This all sounds like a great plan, but then there's the waiting.
Oh my word, guys, t...h...e...w...a...a...a...a...a...i...t...i...n...g......
The waiting may kill me and cause me to go certifiably crazy this month! Even though it's still too early to test - and I know! Why would I do that to myself when I know I'll just be disappointed - I have probably peed on 12 sticks in the last two weeks. Twelve sticks!!! And obviously, since I didn't title this blog post "We're Pregnant!", they've come back negative. Each little "no" in the window is another disappointment. And the "crazy" comes in, because I know it's too early to test, and I know this doesn't mean we won't ever get pregnant, and I know I should just stop buying tests, but I CAN'T STOP PEEING ON STICKS!!!

Bella's Twisted Little Brain

Just some "precious" little moments that I need to remember...

Bella: Mom, where do dragons live?
Me: In caves, baby.
Bella: How far are they from here?
Me: Well, dragons aren't real. The ones in your movies are just pretend.
Bella: You just made all of those words up.
Me: (Banging my head against a wall.)

Found Bella and Evelyn in Bella's room yesterday, both of them stripped down to their naked derrières. I let them play for awhile, but finally had to put their underwear back on. As I laid Evelyn down to put a clean diaper back on, I found a tiny, red ball from the Hungry, Hungry Hippo game stuck between the cheeks of her bottom. Such a glamorous job, motherhood.

I'm sure there's more, but I can't remember them right now...I'm going to go watch North & South now.

You just KNOW she's devising an evil plan to take over the world.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Letting Go Of A Dream

Before any of my local friends feel the need to stage an intervention, I have to tell you - I consider these last few posts (and the last few weeks) teaching moments from God. I've been discouraged and disappointed at times, but I've been able to see what God is doing in our lives. Sometimes I have to look back to see it, but I learn eventually.
We've had our eye on a particular house for a couple of months now. It's beautiful! There were a few "cons", but the pros would blow you out of the water. The owners had done really incredible updates, and I pretty much could have lived there for the next 50 years and been thrilled.
I think my favorite thing about the house was that it seemed intentionally...modest. Don't get me wrong, the upgrades were stunning, but in size, especially surrounded by the rest of East Cobb, I loved that every room would be lived in and I wouldn't be buying furniture (from Target and Goodwill) for a fancy living room that we would never use.
As Steve and I have talked about new homes, we have been drawn more and more to this idea of "intentionally small". We would like to have a third child, so we don't want to be naïve about what we need and what would make us miserable, but we also want to be purposeful about our choices, and not just drawn into the trap of bigger and better. Living in this area, where so much is about status and comparison, we've been blessed to have friends (on both ends of the socio-economic scale) who don't live under the spell of "keeping up with the Jones'". With those things in mind, we were thrilled that this "dream house" seemed to fit our ideal for living in a beautiful home without being extravagant.
Except that we can't afford it.
We found out yesterday that the house is being listed for more than what we could pay. Even if the buyers came down significantly, it would still be at the absolute top of our price range. There were definitely a few tears when Steve and I discussed it last night. I think I had been assuming for awhile that the house was a guarantee, so I had to deal with some serious disappointment. It was a dream that I was losing. But I also had a weird sense of peace.
Steve and I were both taught to not live outside our financial means, and as I saw this house becoming less of a reality, it made me realize that I had been willing to sacrifice a lot in order to have it. It made me really pause and think about my priorities and what I want to spend my our God's money on.
What I really want is to send Bella to our Christian school. If we bought our dream house, we would not have been able to afford both. For that matter, if we had bought the dream house, we would not have been able to afford much more of anything! Steve and I have always valued our quality of life. Not simply the house we're living in, but things like driving to Florida to see my family, being able to afford to see his family for holidays, taking the girls on special dates that might not have been in the budget. And once again (just for good measure, Lord), sending the girls to a Christian school.
So, I had to let go of a dream. It definitely stung. And I think I'm still suffering from a healthy dose of denial. But God showed me that I was not being the wisest in my quest to have what I thought was perfect for our family. Once I began to accept that, it became easier to let go of my former dream and start working on a new one. (One of many!)
Whitney sent me a great Francis Chan quote this morning that made me suspect Francis may be listening in on our phone conversations.
"...and ultimately, you need to stake your faith in God alone, not in the gifts (good as they may be) that He gives. It really comes down to trust. Do you trust God that when He says 'no' or 'not in this way' to you, you still believe He is good and doing what is best?"

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Having One Of Those Days For A Few Weeks Now

For the past week or so, it's seemed like just "one of those days" for this household. Our day-to-day operations are still running smoothly and happily, but some of our "waiting for God" moments have been discouraging. I've been thinking a lot in this new year about the idea of God being good. In my head, I know that God is good. Period. No matter what. But I've been struggling with living that out in my journey with Christ.
I was raised by a mother who was raised in a "buck up" family. I've realized as I've gotten older that I have inherited many of those traits from her. And I'm incredibly, genuinely thankful for that! But I've also learned about myself that it has tended to make me feel entitled with God.
When Steve broke his hip (it's been one of our only "hardships), I didn't feel like I was tapping into some super-God-strength, I just handled it, because that's what you do. I remember having two different moments in the hospital where I sat on the floor outside of Steve's room and cried at the what-if's. After that, I was fine. Steve came home and slept downstairs in a hospital bed for four months. And we survived just fine. We made it work, and ended up actually loving those months together.
When we lost the second baby last year, I don't mean to over-simplify or forget our pain. It was terrible.  And with the new year happening, there's been a lot of calls to "remember" and "think back", which has brought back some emotions of the last year. For the most part, though, Steve and I feel healed. I don't say that to belittle our experience or belittle the pain of those friends and family who mourned that baby right along with us, but it's my natural personality to move on and keep going.
Which brings me to the last few weeks. We have been doing a lot of waiting lately. If I were completely honest, there are times when I feel like God owes me for my pain. It sounds so ridiculous to see it written down and say it out loud, but I know it's how I honestly feel. I struggle with thinking that God owes me another baby right away. And God owes me a new house. Not just a new house, but the exact one that I've wanted for months. And God owes me the kind of education I want for Bella.
And I really want just one of those things to be easy! For the record, none of them have been easy.
So that's where I am today. Do I believe that God is good no matter what? Even if our "suffering" isn't over? Even if I believe that I've done the whole suffering thing, and now I'm ready to be blessed. Will I believe that God is good even if His idea of blessings is different than mine? 
I don't have a quick and easy answer for those questions. Mostly because I'm still human and I still want my blessings, which struggles with the Spirit inside of me Who's teaching me that God is blessing me abundantly, even as I sit here and type this.

I Caved...And Tweeted

I have never had a desire to join Twitter. I've basically decided that anything that comes after Facebook will be lost on me. My struggle with Facebook is to find a balance - I swing from checking it every 5 minutes to see who has liked the new picture I posted, to getting frustrated with it and deleting 3/4 of my friend list and the app on my phone, back to somewhere in the middle.
I feel like I've been doing okay with it lately; I don't have the app on my phone, but I still check it daily (and I'm okay with that). I like being able to upload pictures from Instagram to a larger audience, but I'm at a place where I don't want to jump off a cliff if not everyone in the universe thinks my latest picture of Evelyn is the cutest thing they've ever seen.
When Twitter came out, I never even had a moment's desire. Not because it's evil or a spiritual issue; for me, it's just too...constant. Everyone has those Facebook friends who tend to post a new update every few minutes of their day. (If you don't, then you might be that friend...) Twitter seems to be that on overload. I don't need the temptation of having a media outlet where I can post my every waking thought.
But then Sunday came. Our Pastor, who is an incredible speaker anyway, has been preaching some amazing sermons. They are tough in all the right ways, and he is truly challenging his people as he teaches the words of God. Pastor David happened to mention on Sunday that he was on Twitter. Since I was all caught up in the Spirit and everything, I thought, "Huh! It would be cool to read updates from Pastor throughout the week..."
Famous last words. I filled out my account, added my pictures, and searched for David's account. Done! And then I searched for Trey's account, because...why not! He's one of my best friends, I have him on a wee bit of a spiritual pedestal, and he's been a big brother, both spiritually and throughout life. Bonus! (You can see where this is going, right?) If I follow Trey, I have to follow Whitney! She's my best friend! I love the awesomely weird and twisted thoughts that come out of her head. Umm. And then I found the "suggested" list. Oooooo!!! Honest Toddler, Steve Carell, Louie Giglio, Jimmy Fallon, this is so exciting! NEIL PATRICK HARRIS!!!!
So here I am, twenty-four hours later, with one tweet that took me two minutes to figure out where to write it, and following only 12 people. Which, I think is super-sane in the face of current social media. (Do you like how I justified that for you? You're welcome.) If you're on Twitter, don't bother following me. Seriously. I'm a little excited about getting to read Neil Patrick Harris' thoughts on a non-stop basis, but I still don't plan on writing any little gems of my own.
Something about the best laid plans...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Singing To Our Girls

Every night, when we put the girls to bed, we sing to them. Usually bedtime is Steve's "daddy time" with the girls, so I sing to Evelyn when I put her down for naps. 

When Evelyn was born, Bella was watching the Prince of Egypt, and Moses' Hebrew mother sings a beautiful song when she puts him in the basket in the river. Here are the lyrics...

"Hush now my baby. 
Be still now, don't cry.
I have a prayer just for you.
Sleep and remember my last lullaby, and I'll be with you when you dream."

I love it. It's simple and soothing, and I love singing it to her everyday. Even Steve knows the song now, and sings it to her when he puts her down at night.

For Bella, the song has changed over the years. We sing a few different ones to her each night, but the one that has stayed constant as the last song before she goes to bed is, "There's Something Mighty Sweet About the Lord." I love it when she started to learn the words herself, because she says "...something migh-Dy swee-TY 'bout the Looooord." It's fabulous.

Her favorite song right now is the theme song from Twilight. She obviously has no idea what that movie is, but somehow, they play the song on the Disney Princess channel on Pandora, and she thinks it's beautiful (which I think is awesome!). The lyrics are actually really sweet; here they are...

"I have died everyday waiting for you,
Darling, don't be afraid, 
I have loved you for a thousand years. 
I'll love you for a thousand more..."

Okay, so yes, the part about dying seems a little creepy, but luckily, her little toddler mind is weirdly obsessed with with death and bad guys now, anyway, so she doesn't seem to mind.

I grew up in a family where we were singing all of the time. Broadway shows, gospel music, acapella, and lots of oldies! Even now, when we come together, we're always singing. 

I want my girls to grow up in a home with lots of music! The girls' faces when Steve sings along in the car with them is priceless! And P.S. He has a really fantastic voice and can harmonize like a rock star! Which I'm super bitter about, but I've had to get over, because he's so good at it! 

So that's it! I just wanted to pause and write down the lyrics of their favorite lullabies right now. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Being THAT Mom

I tend to be that mom on opposite ends of the spectrum. Sometimes I'm that mom in a take-myself-way-too-seriously kind of way where I get way too caught up in my first-world problems and desires. Like yesterday.
Yesterday, I was looking in Target for new shoes for Bella. I just happened to find a super-cool pair on sale, so I was pretty proud of myself. In the middle of shopping, I got a text from my friend, Emily, asking if we wanted to come over and play. Since we were already out of the house and I was starting to yell, I mean, whisper lovingly to the girls to stop touching each other FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND seemed like a great idea to take them to someone else's house to get out all of that extra "energy".
And that's when I became that mom. I suddenly thought it was a necessity to buy Bella a shirt that matched her new shoes. You know, so she would be color-coordinated for her playdate. (You're very welcome, Emily.) And since I was already in a shopping mood, I bought myself a new sweater that I wore to the playdate, too.
We actually changed in the Target bathroom before getting in the car and heading to Emily's house.
Oh my word, I can't believe I admitted that out loud. I sound like such a tool!
In these cases, Mel or Whitney usually just lovingly mock me until I get over myself and return to the real world. Well, Mel mocks; Whitney tends to just stare at me with a knowing expression until I cave. I'm always grateful. (I actually confessed to Emily, and she just smiled at me without calling me crazy to my face. Again, very grateful.)
Today I was that mom in a my-kids-are-way-too-dirty-to-actually-be-going-to-the-pediatrician's-office kind of way. I'm pretty sure God lets me be this kind of mom to keep me humble. It balances out the times I'm the other kind of crazy-eyed, materialistic, too-cool-for-school mom. When I say that we only bathe the girls once a week, I'm not saying it to be cute or self-deprecating; we seriously only bathe them once a week. (Some of you need to go ahead and shudder or gag. It's okay; I'll wait.)
This morning was Evelyn's 18-month checkup. Except that she's 21 months old. Yeeeaaahh, I keep forgetting to make an appointment. (That mom.) One whole side of her head has white paint on it from when I was painting the playroom last Friday afternoon and Evelyn decided it would be a good time to try and reattach herself to my uterus. On the other side, she has cheese dip still dried and stuck in her hair from when Matt and Caroline were here on Saturday night. The girl can-NOT seem to eat cheese dip without looking like she mud wrestled in it.
I had great intentions to bathe her last night (BWAHAHA!), but Steve's doing a bank exam this week and didn't get home until 6:30. And yes, I'm perfectly capable of bathing her without Steve being here, but he's the one who normally bathes them, so I totally wussed out. Let's just say, a bath didn't happen.
So I got to be that mom this morning, and drag my child to the doctor for her check-up with paint and cheese dip dried into her hair, and crusty things behind her ears. Oh, and Bella hates to have her hair brushed, and I keep giving in and agreeing with her, so now she's got borderline dreads going on. We need to bath her, too.
Those were my mommy escapades this week. I just thought I'd confess to my "that mom" moments. The fun of being that mom is that I get to look back and chuckle at the things that I thought were disasters or screw-ups, realizing that they weren't so bad after all. I think Steve's going to make me return the sweater, but at least the doctor didn't seem to notice the dried cheese dip.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Catching Up With The Rookes

I just had to share a quick moment and a few pictures from our dinner tonight with our friends, Matt and Caroline. 

We haven't spent any significant time with them in over a month, and it was so nice to sit down, catch up on each others' lives, and laugh a lot!

Both of them have jobs with interesting schedules - Caroline is a nurse who frequently works 12-hour shifts and Matt runs marketing and training for a regional moving company, so he is constantly overseeing various teams of movers. Because of their demanding jobs, we sometimes have to be creative about seeing each other, but it is always worth it!

Tonight we made homemade Chinese food, talked about everything we had missed from Christmas and New Years, and feasted on brownies for dessert. Such a great time with friends!

Evelyn is a little obsessed with Jude! And P.S. Can you see Evelyn's little painted fingernails? That was Daddy's amazing accomplishment this afternoon! So cute!

There is some serious, touchy-feely love going on between these two men!

He's getting so big!!! So close to one year old!

I told Caroline she needs to let me babysit more, so I can convince Jude that I'm his favorite aunt! (He actually has two "real" ones in his family, but I'm local, so I'm hoping that gives me some bonus points!)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Resolutions And Renovations

So I have a ton of catching up to do on the blog, but I have some pictures from today, so I'm posting them - even though I haven't gotten around to posting anything from Christmas yet. 

Each year, I "publish" this blog as a scrapbook for our family. Since I print it according to the calendar year, I like to make sure I have a New Year's post on January 1st as a way to start off the new year. 

I've been reading over and over on Facebook today about how so many friends had an amazing 2013 and can't wait for the exciting things to come. I had to chuckle a little because this is probably the first time in our eight-year marriage that I've been thinking, "Yeeeeaaahh...I could do without repeating this year." 

To be fair, there are many wonderful, happy moments that I look back on from this year - Steve started his job at the Federal Reserve and for the first time ever, told me he loves his job, we got to celebrate an awesome, combined (and really PINK!) birthday party for Bella and Evelyn, we spent an incredible week up in Michigan with all of Steve's family for our summer vacation, and Steve and I got to spend an unbelievable week in New York! 

However precious those memories are, though, this will always be the year that we lost two babies. The first one was heartbreaking. The second one almost destroyed me to my core. That experience left Steve and I clinging to each other, with no way to answer the why. 

With all of that sadness and brokenness, I can say, at the end of the day, without any hesitation, that God proved faithful. It may sound cliche or forced, but He is the only thing that brought us through to the other side. And because of that, I can look at this coming year with anticipation and excitement - knowing that whatever our Father has for us, He will work it for our good. 

Here are some of my resolutions for the new year. In no particular order; some are spiritual, some practical. I tend to suck at follow-through, but that's what makes the new year fun - a promise of a fresh beginning!

1. Read through the entire Bible. I have began (begun? began? I don't know) and failed at this so many times I'm actually really a little sick of Genesis. BUT! Steve began his third year this morning, so he has inspired me to start once again! I'm trying a plan through my phone that includes readings from Psalms and Proverbs everyday, so that should help.

2. Pray as a couple every single day. (Or night.) Steve and I were talking a couple of nights ago how we'd like God to be more active in our marriage. We are pretty good at running on "comfortable" instead of "working our tails off" in our marriage, which in a lot of ways, is awesome. Well, maybe not awesome, but it allows us to be lazy and successful at the same time. However, I also know that we could miss out on some incredible things that God has in store for us, so we're starting with prayer. 

3. Have a garden. I don't care if it's only one head of lettuce, or that weird strawberry plant that grows upside down, I want to plant something, have it grow, and be able to eat it.

4. Sell our house. This will make more sense when I go back and fill in my previous "Dreaming" post...

5. Make a baby. Our family is not complete. It's frickin' awesome (Have you seen our girls??? They're loud and filthy, but they're awesome.), but it's not done. We really want to have a baby this year. 

6. Bring God into our family more. This one is definitely more abstract, but basically, when Steve and I talk to Bella about Jesus, we feel like morons. And if you could eavesdrop, you would probably think we sound like morons. "Jesus...Umm...God is watching you...Sooo...Jesus...Say you're sorry...Yeah ." It's like we're suddenly bumbling idiots who can't put sentences together. We know it takes practice, so whether that's reading the Bible nightly together, or finding a family devotional that we love, we want our girls to feel natural about Jesus being in every aspect of our lives and in our home. 

And here's how we spent today! Because of that whole "wanting to sell the house" thing, we have some major projects to work on. Mostly painting, spackling, and more painting. Have I said painting yet? Our house is in total disarray, and everything is covered in silt and dust from sanding the walls. But little by little, we're checking things off our list.

This is our Master has become ground zero for packed boxes, random toys, and paint supplies. Oh, and dirty laundry.

Painting Bella's room...we now have it completely primed, and tomorrow, we'll do a final coat of color. Painting over Bella's owl mural was a little painful for us; our incredibly talented friend, Ben Smallwood, painted it for us as a gift and it's been part of Bella's room forever. She calls it her "flower garden".

Evelyn being all cute and awesome. She does not care for all of the projects; in her mind, it just takes time away from playing with her.

Painting our bathroom cabinets. Our bathroom had maroon tiles all around the garden tub. Maroon tiles, guys. It was bad. But it's going to look so awesome when it's all done!

We started tearing apart Bella's room about a week ago, but didn't get it all done, so Bella's been sleeping in our room. She thinks it's the best thing ever, but Steve's about to start twitching.

So that's our new year! There is a lot going on, and I feel so incredibly blessed to have a patient, funny, godly, sexy man who rocks my world; two precocious, demanding, charming, smart, and hilarious little humans who call me "mommy", and a strong, amazing support system of friends who love us, encourage us, and sharpen us with iron.

"Not to us, O Lord, but to Your name be the glory."