Thursday, December 31, 2015


Wow!  This year has been full.  We have 2 beautiful, healthy little girls.  We have been blessed by Curtis' job.  We have come close to making some major decisions for our families future.  We were blessed with a third pregnancy.  And so much more.

I look around me and I am so thankful.  But, I also look around and know others who have not had the greatest year.  Job losses, marriage and family issues, health issues, loss of loved ones.  For some the year 2016 is a year some would like to forget or have a do over.

Around the world, Christians are being persecuted for their faith.  People are being killed just because they won't convert to another religion or just because they are westerners.  People have had to flee from their homes and country.  Families have had to endure the loss of their sons/daughters being beheaded by these terrorists.

There is now more division in our own country than there has been in a very long time.  Police officers are being targeted as the enemy.  Race has become a major divider in this country once again.  People are extremely worried about the next election and who will be the president of this country.  We are worried about terrorists hitting this country.  Everyone is on edge and scared.  In fact,  I feel more scared now than I did after September 11th.

I don't know what 2016 has in store.  I am praying for good and wonderful things.  I am praying for marriages to be reconciled.  For families to be united.  For jobs to be provided to those who need them.  For health to be restored.  For those who have lost someone they have loved to be comforted.  For God to appoint the right president in this country. For our eyes to be opened and for us to wake up as a country.  For these terrorists to be dealt with.

Somedays it is hard to be joyful in all these circumstances.  I know.  I deal with my joy being sapped from all the time as I worry about all these things and the future for my daughters.  I have to be put in my place constantly and be reminded by scripture and caring friends and family.

I hope 2016 will bring you all love and peace.  Remember, as hard it may seem to see how times, God's got this.  His hand is in everything.  We can't always see it or feel it.  And the media does a great job of covering up His work, but He is there.  Always.

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015
Christmas this year was a lot of fun.  The girls were way more into it.  We had lots of fun with family.  We began an annual tradition with cousins to do a Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt.  At least I am hoping I can talk them into that for a tradition.  😁

Curtis and I have done this Christmas light scavenger hunt the past two years by ourselves.  And, of course, this year we decided to try a different neighborhood (Brandon Oaks).  Step up your game Brandon Oaks!  Highly disappointed.  We will stick to the neighborhoods we have done in the past.  

This season has been filled with baking Christmas cookies and other Christmas goodies, looking at lights, decorating the house, making Christmas crafts, shopping for gifts, and cranky mommy who feels and looks like a beached whale and is ready to meet Baby Evie!  

Ava was really into all things Christmas this year.  Sally found out who Santa and reindeer are and those really intrigued her.  I think Ava is like her mother about the Christmas season.  It is just all so splendid and festive and cozy.  What is there not to love?  

Ava and Sally got some wonderful gifts from some very loving and thoughtful family members.  Some of their favorites is a puppy they can pull around, the baby doll and stroller and pack n play, their tent, Lamby from Doc McStuffins and her doctor supplies, their drum and music set, magnetic dress up dolls, their vanity (that their daddy made) and the hair supplies that go with it, and their red ryder wagon for walks.

Christmas Eve was spent hanging around the house, going to Christmas Eve service at church, doing the scavenger hunt, and ending the night at Mimi and PopPop's.  The girls had a ton of fun at each activity.  But, of course, their favorite was at Mimi and PopPop's.  They got to see all their cousins, aunts, uncles, and of course, Mimi and PopPop.  They had fun sitting with their big cousins at the table to eat with them, going up to the 3rd floor (they have never gotten to go there before) and play fusbal (sp?) and hang out with their cousins.  They ate lots of yummy treats and got to open some awesome presents.  When we got home, we turned on the fire and sat by the tree and read some Christmas stories.  

Christmas morning was eventful.  I wish the girls were more into sharing that morning, but there was a lot of arguing and fighting over the toys.  I know...they are (almost) 2 and 3, but my goodness.  Anyway, that did eventually calm down and for the most part they are doing a great job sharing. I look forward to next Christmas when we will also have Evelyn with us.

I am thankful.  Thankful that we had the means to have presents under our tree.  Thankful that we have a warm and cozy house to live in and keep us dry from all the rain we have gotten.  Thankful that I live near family and friends to celebrate with.  Thankful for a church to attend Christmas Eve services at. Thankful for healthy kids and doctors who can care for them when they are not.  Just thankful.  We, in America,  take so much of this for granted.  Be always thankful for God's provision and blessings over us.  

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Social media can be such a drag

I have been wanting to write this for a long time.  I couldn't quite find the words or think of a good way to put it.  But, with the constant drive of the media shoving in our face all that is wrong with our world, as I watch teenagers put on their Instagram accounts tbh so they can get some accolades from their peers, selfies and selfie sticks galore,  and I as watch my precious time get wasted by it, I am finally figuring out the words that need to come.

Social Media is a drag.  Sure, it can be useful.  It can be fun.  It can even be helpful, at times, but the constant longing for it and the unending need of everyones approval is unnerving.

Just last night I was looking through Instagram and saw a pretty young teenage girl post a picture of herself.  Her comment on the picture was if they would give her a tbh she would return the favor.  It made me so sad.  Here is this beautiful young girl, who needs approval from others and wants people to tell her nice things about herself.  What have we come to?  She is not the only young girl doing this, by any stretch of the means.  I see this kind of thing all the time.  Our society is so wrapped up in feeling good about ourselves, getting the approval of others,  and needing to hear approval and nice things said about ourselves constantly.  And then, what if someone's tbh was not so nice?  Then that poor little girl's outlook on herself is dashed.  Why have we become so concerned about others thoughts and feelings about us than us seeing ourselves as uniquely and wonderfully made?  Where are the moms and dads in all of this?  Are they not constantly telling their kids all the special and beautiful characteristics about their kids?  Probably not.  They are probably too wrapped up in all their social media interests, or engrossed in their electronics, or working a bunch to pay for all their kids to have these things.

Facebook can be a great tool and resource to keep up with family and friends.  However, it is also filled with threads that can terrify the living daylights out of you!  For an already anxious and fearful person, like myself, this can be detrimental.  It can quickly still all the joy out of your lives.  Then, there are those that like to post only the good things and make their life look all picture perfect.  They can't even be honest with themselves and post how hard life can sometimes be.  And so those of us who struggle with the comparison game are left comparing ourselves to this seemingly perfect person and feeling as if we will never measure up.

I guess I want to say all this to remind us that not one of us is perfect.  NOT. ONE.  And, you know what? That is ok.  We all mess up, we all have bad days, we should all be honest about that, and embrace it so we can move on and do better.  We need to remember that there is good in this world.  The media just doesn't want us to know it and neither does Satan.  We need to realize that what other people think of us makes not one difference in the world.  God thinks we are special and unique, and He is for us.  So who cares what anyone else thinks.  I am sure I am preaching to the choir on this.  And I need to take a little dose of my own medicine.  These are complete struggles of mine, as well.

I just have had it on my mind...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sally Jean 22 months old

Sally Jean 
22 months

Sally:  lover of sweets, carbs, pretzels, movies, Laura Numeroff books, taking everything out of their proper place, walking around in stores, watching movies in the car, listening to music, giving hugs and kisses, running from us at diaper changing time, Mimi's dog Sheldon, taking off her socks and headbands, throwing fits, pacifiers, and chewing on her toothbrush.  

Sally: hater of all things healthy, cooperating during diaper changes and getting dressed, being buckled into a shopping cart, being told no, being put in timeout, getting toys taken away, strangers, long waits, getting teeth brushed, being stuck in a carseat for too long, not having Fuzzy and Boo to sleep with.  
Enjoying a small cup of frozen yogurt from SweetFrog's for good behavior

Instead of eating her grapes, Sally decided it would be more fun to work on her motor skills by moving
her grapes from her plate to her cup lid.

Sally relaxing while watching a Christmas movie.

Getting some lovin from daddy!

Sally getting ready to enjoy the sugar cookie she sprinkled.

Helping daddy put a cart together for mommy.

Sally showing her dislike for sitting with someone she doesn't know.  Santa grinned and muttered the words, "take it fast!"

Looks like she found a new way to sit at the dinner table.  

Eating her sugar cookie.

She is just cute!

Sally, you have an exuberant personality.  And there are many people who do not know how to take you all in.  I find it funny, most of the time.  However, there are days when that exuberant personality can be extremely exhausting.  It is especially tiring when I am carrying this huge load in my big belly.  You don't seem to care, though.  :)  Not that you really should!  

I hope you like your little sister.  I am a bit concerned about that.  You do fine with other babies.  But those babies either leave or don't come home with us to stay.  We shall see in about 40 days! 

You love to play, watch movies, and listen to music.  You began humming this month, which is cute, but I remember having hummers in my classroom and it can become not-so-cute very quickly.  You like to dance.  It is cute when you grab one of our hands and say c'mon and lead us to the family room to dance to the music on Pandora.  You love to twirl around with Ava.  Your favorite movie that will entertain you the entire time is Curious George, a Very Merry Christmas.  

You do not like to share or clean up.  In fact, you spend most of your day undoing all the cleaning I have done.  And there are times I have asked you to put something back and you shake your head no at me.  

Some of the things you are saying are: milky too!, paper, bubbles, c'mon, see you yater, see you in morning, pacy, fuzzy, ok?, bless you, thank you mom, sowee (sorry), get out, get down, walk, mine!, scootch, gapes (grapes), cheese, pwease (please), cookie, MiMi, Poppop, sit, nite nite, hold it, more mommy more, hot, teef (teeth) star, Christmas tree, movie, dance

You are a lot of fun.  I can't help but love you.  You really are a pill, but there is something undeniably sweet and lovable about you.  And even your feistiness  is endearing.  We love you so much.  You are such a bright spot in our lives and we cannot imagine not having you in it.  You are something else, but I wouldn't trade you for a second.  Not. One. Second.  Love you silly girl.


Baby Evie (33 weeks-pregnancy)

How far along? 33 weeks and 2 days. 

How far to go? 40 days

Due Date: February 6, 2016, but I will have a csection between the 1st of Feb.

Baby? Honeydew (4.2-5.8 lbs.) 17-18 in.  

Maternity Clothes: Still loving maternity leggings, boots, and maternity shirts.  

Stretch Marks: A few showing up lightly on my stomach.  Also I have a lot of skin tags!

Pregnancy Symptoms:  slight round ligament pain, lower back and hip pain, frequent trips to the bathroom, and trouble sleeping, heartburn/indigestion/gas, heaviness in my lower abdomen, minor braxton hicks, short of breath.  

Sleeping:  I feel like I sleep a tad better than I had been.  Sometimes, I have to lay ice on my hip and lower back to relieve the pain.  Sometimes, I have to roll out of bed or off the couch because it is much easier that way.  

Best feeling this week:  I am pretty excited that I am close to being in the last month.  

Movement: She is still quite active in there.  But her movements are much heavier and noticeable, even to other people. We did have a scare the other day because I was having horrible gas pains and NOTHING I had ever experienced before and it woke me up from a nap and carried on for probably 2 hours.  Since I have gotten quite used to feeling Evie move and I can now sleep through it, I couldn't remember the last time I had felt her.  During the whole time I was having excruciating pain, I could not feel her and that was freaking Curtis and myself out.  I took a bath to see if that would get her moving because often it does.  But that didn't work.  Then I went to bed and laid on my side because she usually gets squirmy.  Nothing.  I switched sides.  Still nothing.  I finally decided I needed some sugar or caffeine, so I ate a sugar cookie.  Within 5 minutes, she was back to her normal, active self.  Thank goodness!!!  
Cravings/Aversions: junk.

Belly Button: In

What I miss:  sleeping on my belly.

What am I looking forward to: Holding her and seeing what she looks like and becoming a family of 5 and seeing the girls with her.  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ava's 3 year letter

Ava Bean, 

You are such a light in our lives.  Looking back, I cannot get over how much you have changed.  Everything you do and say seems so big now.  You are still spunky, still imaginative, still march to the beat of your own drum, still empathetic (for a 3 year old), still funny.   You have also turned into the horrific threes.  You are back to spending a lot more time in time out.  Usually it is for not listening, mouthiness, sticking your tongue out at us,  and/or getting an attitude. Lately, we have to repeat ourselves to you a lot, and the hardest part of that is I know you know what you are supposed to be (or not supposed to be) doing.  I wondered if this would happen when you turned three because, frankly, you were a super easy baby and toddler.  Oh well, we will get through this! 
You have learned a lot this year.  Your vocabulary amazes me.  And you come up with some of the funniest sayings.  A lot of times, you say a mix of different things you have heard in your sentences.  It is really funny.  Like the other day, Sally and I were singing Christmas songs and you were playing in the playroom.  You came running in there and said, "What in the Pete Sake's is going on in here."  You are quite the lazy little thing, too.  You have no desire to help pick up the playroom, unless you are going to gain something from it.  You come up with every excuse you have in your book.  But, most of the time, you tell me things like, "I just can't.  I am too busy in my life."  Ugh.  You are going to be fun as you get older. 
During this third year of life, I fretted and fussed about the fact that you were showing absolutely NO desire to get potty trained.  I had visions of you being 16 still in a diaper.  Ok, maybe that is a bit drastic, but I do remember thinking you were not going to be able to attend preschool next year because you were not potty trained.  I would think about how bummed out you would be when we dropped your sister off for her 2 year old class and you would have to go home with me instead.   Thankfully, you are now potty trained.  As always, it had to be mostly your idea with a lot of encouragement from your daddy and I.  It didn't take you long ( like 2 days to get it figured out) and then you were hooked!  We are so very proud of that huge accomplishment (and yes, a little relieved you are 3 and not 16.)
But, Ava, when I look at you, I see such a sweet girl.  I see someone who has made the lives of those around her better.  I see this endearing smile and hear this cute little voice.  I love how you are realizing that God is so much a part of you and this world around you.  I love how you love Sally.  You are usually so kind to her.  I love the way you look and try to help care for little babies.  I love your curiosity. You are so mesmerized by the fact that there is a baby in my belly. You enjoy talking to her and rubbing her.  Your love for books and music and dancing and sprinkles is so much fun.  I find it hopeful that when you do make mistakes you want comfort from us and once you have gotten over being upset about it, you are looking up at us with this cute little smile to see if we are still upset with you. 
The truth is, there is SO much to love about you.  I could go on and on.  There are going to be many things in this world that try to steal your joy.  I pray that you can overcome that.  I pray you have freedom from fear.  I struggle with letting the ugly things happening in this world taking every ounce of joy from me.  I pray you never struggle there.  I pray you are bold and courageous.  I light shining in the dark.  I pray that the way you live your life will touch others and they will see bits of God's character through you.  You have everything it takes to do this.  Believe it.  See yourself the way your Creator sees you.  I pray that you know we love you so much, but I pray that you depend on God's love more than anyone or anything else. 
I pray your 4th year is healthy, abundant, peaceful, and wonderful. 

I love you sweet girl so much.  I thank God always for letting me be your mommy, to get to know you, and be with you every day! 

Love you forever and for always,

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What's Up with Ava (November)


Oh my!  Can I tell this child is getting ready to turn 3.  She is exuberant.  She is mouthy.  She is Miss Attitude.  She is independent.  She is whiny.  She is bossy. She is an eye roller.  Hmmmm...what else?  I do love her to pieces, but my goodness, what do I do with all that.  

The month of November has been jam packed.  But I would say our BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IS....


I truly thought we would NEVER make it to this wonderful place.  It had to totally be her does everything else in Ava's world.  But once she was ready, it was like a 2 day training process.  The voila, she got it.  She can do both number 1 and number 2 in the potty, without any issues and gets through the night and naps dry (most of the time).  We are so very proud of her!  
She also went to Ohio for Thanksgiving.  She did pretty good on the trip, minus the constant attitude.  She had tons of fun with all her cousins and was sad to leave.  She enjoyed her Thanksgiving dinner, especially the green beans.  

She had a ton of fun in preschool this month and made many things with turkeys.  She also got to visit our good friends, the Loftis' and she had a blast with them.   

Her vocabulary is really growing.  Some of it is cute and some not so cute.  The other day I asked her if she would go pick up the playroom and she said, "I just can't.  I am too busy in my life."   

Some other things she has said are:
"You eat your soup.  You eat your soup, too."  This was when we were nagging her about eating her grapes and I guess she wanted to shut us up.  

"I wake up dis morning.  I dreamed about God.  Sally dreamed about cookies."  This was said the other morning because we thought it was funny when Sally told us she dreamed about cookies when we asked her.  I guess Ava wanted to repeat it so we would laugh again.  

"I am happy you so proud of me mommy."  This was when she did a number 2 in the potty after having a really hard time being able to do it.  She was scared to death of doing a number 2 in the potty.  But she has finally made it through that short phase.  

"No say no.  Say yes."  This was when she wanted to go outside with her cousins in Ohio.  I guess she had heard no a lot that day.  

These are just some of the little, funny things that come out of her mouth.   

She is turning 3 on Saturday.  I can't believe I have gotten to be her mommy for 3 years now.  What a blessing she is.  What an incredible gift I have been given.  I do love her so!  

Precious fall pictures taken by Kelly Byrd

someone was very sleepy on our way home from Ohio.  She stayed in a dry pull up for 6 hours of this trip.  Amazing!

She slept with us one night at my aunt and uncles house because she woke up screaming and saying she was scared. 

getting over our fear of doing number 2's in the potty meant a trip to Sweet Frog's. 

eating a waffle with nutella for breakfast.

Ava made a name turkey.

Over at our friends house (The Loftis').  Ava loves her some Justin and Jordan.  Wish so bad she could have met their brother, Josh.  She would have adored him, too. I am sure he is helping to watch over her too since he knew how badly we wanted to have a baby.  We got pregnant with Ava right before he left this world and went to be with Jesus. 


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sally Jean 21 months

This is you at our preschool morning breakfasts we like to have at Chick Fil A. 

Oh Sally Jean! Where does the time go?  You are getting so big and independent! 

We went to Discovery Place Kids with you and your sister.  You guys had a great time.  Of course, you had a mind of your own and wanted to do what you wanted to do, but with you, that seems to be what is expected.  Your favorite thing was the big playground.  You spent a good hour up there.  You would climb up the stairs, go through all the tunnels, climb through the glass tunnel and wave at us and then go down the slide on your belly over and over again.  You did lose a headband up there. 

 You also "helped" Daddy carve the pumpkins.  I was actually taken by surprise with this.  You are one that likes to get your hands messy, but you didn't want a thing to do with this.  It could have been that we really wanted you to pull out the pulp and you were not going to have any of that since it was not something you came up with, but who knows, really?

 You like to eat at your little table a lot.  You will sit in the chair and say "sqwooch" so I will come and scoot you up closer to it.  You also can be pretty sneaky at this table and feed Winston when I am not looking.  He likes it when you sit there, too, because he has easy access to your plate when you are not looking and then he gets  in big trouble. 
 You were a strawberry for Halloween.  I couldn't decide if I wanted you to be an owl or the strawberry, but since you walk around the house with the strawberry hat on much of the time, I thought it was the better choice.  I didn't go walking the neighborhood with you to trick or treat because I was handing out candy with my mom, but from what I understand, you were your typical moody self.  I think this is the only smile we got out of you that evening. 

I just love your sweet little profile!
 And your cute little face. 
 You love to play destroy the playroom.  You pull absolutely everything out and throw it all around.  It is quite a mess. 
 I love putting you in the footy pajamas, even though you slide around on the floor a lot. 
 You tried to make a name turkey when your sister was making one.  You pretty much wanted to do things your way and Ava and I ended up matching the feathers to the right letter for your name.  You are going to be fun to educate!
 When you hear music come on now, you grab Ava's  hand and pull her into the family room to do some dancing.  It is pretty cute.  You two get along (most of the time) and it is cute to watch you play together.  Thankfully, Ava is not competitive with you and is very encouraging which is something your daddy and I try to encourage between you both.  I just hope you are both able to accept Evie into your little circle. 

You are obsessed with taking your diapers off.  You have sat on the potty and gone once in the potty.  You were so proud you wanted us all to dance and sing Zaccheus and Heaven.  You came out of the bathroom saying, "I did it!"  But you haven't done it since.   I think you may have a little lisp.  It is pretty cute..right now.  If you truly do, something will probably need to be done about it at some point not too far off in the future.  You love Christmas movies and surprisingly, you have not been as dangerous with the Christmas decorations as I thought you would be.  You LOVE a bear Mimi got Ava a couple years ago that sings "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and you will carry it around the house.  As soon as it stops singing, you bring it to me to play again because you have not been able to find the button on its foot, no matter how many times I have shown you.  You talk, talk, talk.  I don't understand everything you are saying, but there are many words you say that are recognizable.  You are super animated in most everything you do.  The other night, we watched you drag your face along the floor and cry for 30 minutes because I would not let you have my phone.  Those times are exhausting for all present.  You are accident prone, mostly because you flail yourself all over the place when you are mad.  Yesterday, you were mad because I didn't want you in the bathroom when I couldn't see you.  I don't want you playing with the toilet water or the dog's food and water so I was trying to pick you up to remove you.  You threw yourself down right on top of Winston's water bowl and water was all over you and the floor. You also saw your reflection in our dishwasher and you were holding a toy and I guess you thought the reflection was someone else trying to take your toy and you got so mad at it and looked at it angrily and said, "MINE!"  I had to laugh at that one you goofball!   Sometimes Sally.  It is a good thing you are so stinking cute and funny.  

Anyway, that is your 21 month in a nutshell.  As always, I know I am forgetting many a thing.  But I have high hopes for you.  It is a scary world you are growing up in.  I pray that you never let fearfulness (like I often do) steal your determination and your ability to follow God.  Look to the Mountain Mover, not the Mountain, my feisty one!