Friday, August 13, 2010

Its not you...its me...its just...

we've grown apart.

If this blog were a relationship...I'd say its pretty much clear that its over. I posting in weeks...and I haven't even missed it. In fact, I can say, with pretty much every fiber of my being, that at least for the next little while, its going to feel really good to shed this blog thing. You hear that little more. We are done. Plus, I've found another blog that I like a little better (way less demanding) and I'm going to start seeing least twice a month (see below).

Guys...I just can't keep up. Training for this marathon is tough with two girls. There are few days where I have any downtime and on those days, the last thing I care to do is blog. In fact...I feel bad about sitting down and resting. Normally those free moments are spent tweezing my eyebrows...making grocery lists...studying photography and cleaning up all of Layla stray fancy accessories that inevitably end up in my crawling 8 month old's mouth.

WHICH brings me to my most exciting point...I have been picking up some extra "responsibilities" (if I can even call them that because they are SO much fun) with Autumn Song. One of those responsibilities is going to be a bi-monthly guest post on their blog. SO if all two of you guys are REALLY REALLY missing me :-) you can find me at my new blog's home HERE. Yeah, me and this new blog totally moved in together. I know....seems early. But I think we'll be a great match.

As for my sweet girls. They are amazing. Layla is constantly teaching me...she is growing like crazy and is developing the most amazing little personality. She is one of the most logical thinking humans I have met...I am constantly impressed with her ability to use uniquely sound logic and reasoning. Adalei...sweet little Adalei. She is crawling...standing and cruising on furniture. She is saying "mama" which I LOVE...she's been saying it for about a month now, but during the past two weeks has started using it to "call" me. She laughs all the time. Those girls make my days extraordinary.

Finally, for those of you who read this blog and go to my home church--you probably think we have disappeared :-) WELL, we are actually working with an amazing team of men and women to plant a church in Winston-Salem. If you are interested...please take a few minutes to visit the website HERE....We are so excited about what God is doing in Winston Salem...and we are excited about the opportunity to get in and serve a community that we love so much! YAHOO.....

Adios...whew. That felt good...the de-cluttering process can be pretty stinking amazing :-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vacation is over...let the training begin

Sorry for the delay in posting...we just got back from an amazing family vacation and its been so difficult to get back in the swing of things.

So excited...this week marks the first week of marathon training season! YAHOO! Its finally here. I just love training hard and working towards a goal. I love seeing progress and conditioning my body to do incredible things. We have about 16 weeks until the Marine Corps on October 31st....and these next 16 weeks are going to be challenging. I think my biggest challenge is making sure I can train at a high level AND keep my milk supply up for my sweet little Adalei. I also have a precious little toddler who LOVES to run with mommy...well, she loves to be pushed in the stroller while mommy runs--which is fun during "off" season, but kind of difficult after training runs! She ends each run with the following, "good thing you have me as your running buddy, huh mommy?" "Am I the best running buddy ever?" and then "whew...that was a hard workout." My answer, "yes" "most definitely" and an exhausted "yes".

Dad and I had our first hill session on Monday. It poured down rain on us...but I've been fighting a cold, so the rain was nice enough to come and wash all the snot off my face so I wouldn't have to worry about it while sprinting up hills. Nice. The rest of the week includes a tempo run today...45 minutes at just below 10K pace, 6 mile pace run tomorrow and 13 mile long run on Friday...then a 4 mile recovery run Saturday and REST REST REST on Sunday.

In other running related news...
My dear friend Jessica is running her FIRST 5K this Saturday. I am so excited for her....I'm most excited about crossing that finish line with her. She is the mother of even getting out the door to run is an accomplishment. I don't think I could be any more proud. Hopefully if I can get my silly little point and shoot camera to work, I can post some pictures!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

my babies

As promised, here's the video of Adalei's military crawling skills. Over the past week, she's started pushing up on all fours, rocking back and forth...and then falling--but she's getting very close to really crawling! She is also getting two new teeth, which brings her total to FOUR.

She has a really yucky cold right now...she's doing just like Layla did with cutting teeth. Poor baby! When I went into her room this morning, her little nose was stuck to the sheet and snot had sealed both nostrils shut--except for a tiny little hole where she was getting the smallest amount of air in. She peeled her nose off the sheet and looked up at heart broke for her...she just smiled at me...ear to ear grin and started reaching for my face to give me her morning kiss. She defines happy in every circumstance. That little one is incredible!

Untitled from Black Daffodil Films on Vimeo.


Oh my goodness, that girl is as sweet as ever...challenging sometimes as we make our way through some awkward stages--but we are learning. We've had some really good moments and some not so pretty moments over the past few weeks. But she has the sweetest and most compassionate little heart--even during a toddler meltdowns.

Here's a short little video of her. She has these crazy big headphones. She decorated them with Hello Kitty stickers--because without the stickers, she insisted they were boy colors. Let me just say...she sometimes wears these headphones on grocery shopping trips. Yes. I am serious. She's funny....she definitely doesn't take herself too seriously! I think her daddy turns the music up too loud...but she says she likes it loud so she can sing. And, sing she does. Enjoy her rendition of Everything Glorious.

Untitled from Black Daffodil Films on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Scent of a Woman

So a good friend of mine...who works at The Dispatch and who walks at the track where I almost always finish up my runs, posed this very interesting question to me yesterday. I laughed out loud--especially when I thought of why these women may be doing what they are doing....

Why do women spray themselves with perfume before going out for a run? (I think he has found that it isn't a slight scent of perfume, rather a dousing of perfume)

I am sure there are a ton of reasons why that makes perfect sense to a lot of women. For me...there is only one reason. I have been known to wear the same running shirt/bra two or three days in a row. There. Its out. So in order to save those who I BLAZE by (ha!) from my trail of two day old sweat...I sometimes spray perfume on said shirt/bra. Sometimes. Rarely. Maybe I've done this twice (okay...maybe more than twice). I can hardly take it. Perfume makes me gag...I'd rather smell sweat...but I'm sure not everyone feels the same.

SO--I pose this question--anyone out you spray before you run or workout?

QUICK little catch-up on sweet Adalei--

That girl is crawling...full on military crawl. And she's imitating sounds. Agh...they get big TOO fast. Breaks my heart. She's sometimes sleeping through the night (from 7pm to 7am) and sometimes waking up once at around 3:30 and then sometimes on more unfortunate nights :-) she wakes up twice--especially now that she's working on cutting her top two teeth!

I have some video of her I am waiting to upload and will post. She gets sweeter by the day. I think she takes after her big sister!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bang for my buck

Apparently my words were offensive. The BIG gigantic zero in the comment box sends a clear message :-) Or, like I told myself last could be that my husband did the offending. Yeah...I'll just throw him under the bus.'s something a little lighter. Okay...a lot lighter..but offensive all the same.

Edy's ice cream. What in the world is up with those folks. My first post ever...okay maybe second or tenth...was about the incredible shrinking Edy's ice cream. They really pulled the wool over my eyes by mysteriously shrinking the ice cream container. Passing off the smaller ice cream as the normal size without even a word. I compared it to turning in a research paper typed in Courier New rather than Times New Roman font--you know, giving the illusion that you typed 10 pages worth of stuff when really you just typed 7.

Well, surprise surprise. I was at the store last night and found the Edy's has now expanded the size of their ice cream BUT they are calling it a bonus buy....20% more free. Really. Boy, now I feel like a winner. I'm finally getting what I paid for. Sheesh.

I sure would like to be in the board room when they discuss these kind of marketing tactics. They must really thing the consumer is a dummy. I guess I am. I bought some. Yep. I did. And for a hot minute, I felt like a winner. Until I remembered that I didn't really find a bargain buy on ice cream. I was just finally getting what was normal two years ago. I finally out grew my mini-Edy's. Great. I feel for it.

The slow churned butter pecan was wonderful, by the way :-) The indigestion after realizing that I wasn't the bargain shopper I thought I was was terrible.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just like ME

Jesus is just like homeboy...He needs ME....

This is a way of thinking that has bothered me for quite some time now....this materialistic Jesus that wants us to have everything our upper middle class heart desires...this needy Jesus who really REALLY desires to be our friend and wants desperately to know us...this buddy Jesus who we can talk to like our BFF....this watered down Jesus that we take to unbelievers because He somehow seems easier to digest than the Jesus who commanded us to deny know the costs of following hate our fathers, mothers, spouses and pick up our cross and follow Him.

I could go on forever. The short end of it is this...

I am deeply offended when the gospel is presented in a watered down form. When Jesus becomes our buddy...when its all the sudden okay to sin because He is our peer...its okay with Him because He understands and loves the mess out of us anyway. When its more about me than it is about God. The end result quickly becomes....ME. Sinning just hurts ME and prevents ME from receiving God's favor RATHER than sinning deeply offends a holy God....God loves ME....period...rather than God loves me so that I may make His name known. So in our attempts to make Jesus more marketable and easier to digest, we have somehow have managed to place ourselves at the center of the gospel.

And ultimately...don't ya think if the gospel really needed to be watered down to be digestible to unbelievers...if the intention was for Jesus to be our peer...that God would have spelled it out pretty clearly in the Bible. Just sayin.

While I am not going to go on at sweet hubby did. You can tell that our time together over the past few weeks has been interesting. I love and am so very grateful that Neil and I can be passionate about our Lord together.

Anyway....check out his blog...HERE...and then you can come back to me and comment. I think. :-)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lacin up my shoes

I feel like I should post today..its been a while...and unfortunately, I can't just leave my sweet little husbands wonderful accolades up forever. Though, it would be nice :-)

Currently, my head is so full of snot that I can barely think and my little family has been sick with a yucky cold virus so rest has not been abundant in my house. This will be a pretty brainless running post. I really REALLY wanted to do a post on some of the awesome things God is teaching me--but He deserves WAY more than part of my brain this morning. goes.

Yes--I am still running even though I haven't talked about it in months. I'm still running about 40 miles a week--which includes a long run of about 12 miles and a 7 mile tempo run. Right now, dad and I are just "maintence running". Meaning, we aren't really picking up strength and distance training just yet. My next big race is October 31st--the Marine Corps Marathon. I'm hoping to qualify for Boston and am really looking forward to training hard and pushing myself. I miss hill workouts and speed work at the track. I am certain I'll be singing a different tune when June rolls around :-) Dad is so good--once I had Adalei, I was ready to jump right in and start hill work. Dad reminded me that I needed my fitness to peak on October 31st not June 1st. Minor details....minor details. Sometimes I remind myself of a bull in the pin just before the gate goes up at the rodeo.

What's even better...I am SERIOUSLY considering becoming a certified running coach and that excites the tar out of me. It would be a great way to make a little extra money AND be doing something that I love and get really excited about. Neil says he is going to force me to take the class and become certified--I guess he knows that there are a few--well founded in my opinion--reasons why I would back out (money for the class and two full days away from my sweet family and in a class room). So we'll see. I secretly think he wants me to take the class so that he can go to Birmingham with me and visit David Platt's church. I'm just saying.

So...the summer will be interesting. What will be SUPER interesting is how I keep up Adalei's milk supply while running my rear off. Bring on the chocolate milk and peanut butter sandwiches!

Okay--I'm off to blow my nose--or drill a hole in my head. I can't figure out which one would cause the least amount of pain at this point :-)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I Thank Him for You...

A mommy two times over....words can not come close to describing how wonderful you are.
You give all that you have for two little girls (and one quirky little me). And when you are empty, you somehow give more. Everything that you do is under-appreciated because we can not grasp the beautiful gift that you give to us day in and day out. You serve others. You sacrifice self for others. I know that somedays are easier than others, but it wouldn't be love if it was an easy sacrifice. This family functions because of that kind of love.

I thank God for placing me into your life.
I thank Him for giving us our girls.
I thank Him for giving them a mommy with a heart after His only Son.

Always, forever and more,

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mysterious Lady

She is still a little mystery to me...even though I know parts of her so intimately...there are times I look at her with wonder. She's only 5 months old and she has my heart wrapped firmly in her little hands. I love the way she laughs. I love that she laughs ALL the time. And, I am not kidding. When I look at her and smile, she laughs. When I talk to her, she laughs. When she's all alone in her room, she laughs. She is content to be alone, but LOVES to be talked to and snuggled. She lays her little head on my shoulder when I'm holding her. She smiles when I kiss her and rub my nose on her cheeks. She leans into me when I kiss her neck. She is as sweet as maple syrup and I am completely smitten.

I love that she quietly lets her big sister get most of the attention. In fact, she "talks" the most when her big sister is not around. I love that she patiently allows Layla to "make her fancy" with little hats and wands. I think its sweet that when Layla cries, Adalei cries...and really, that's the only time that sweet little thing cries. She also cries when she wakes up in a strange place and can't see mommy...which makes me feel pretty important :-)

BUT she's growing so fast...seems like she's growing even faster than Layla did. She already has two teeth. YIKES...and she's sitting up and rolling over from front to back and back to front. She normally is a great sleeper...only waking up once at night. BUT now that she's learning new tricks, she is waking herself up rolling around in her crib (and then gets a little mad that she's uncomfortable). She just started on some real food and loves it. She's even holding her own spoon AND has gotten it safely in her mouth twice. Most of the time she misses...but those times she has gotten it right, she just beams with excitement. I had planned on holding her off on cereal until she was 6 months old, but she kept reaching for my food at the dinner table and showing a real interest in eating. She's still only eating a few teaspoons....I guess its mostly just for practice :-) Oh yeah...and iron. Obviously (see video below) she isn't hurting for nutrition.

Sweet little Addie Bells...what a personality you have already....I can't wait to see how it takes shape.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Let's talk Oreos

It is official. Layla has now crossed into an age for which I have been anxiously awaiting. She is a walking chatter box (we all knew that) BUT she is starting to talk to random people and shares some pretty interesting things with them. Anytime she starts a sentence with, "mommy told me" or "my mommy said" or "daddy says" I feel my heart skip a beat. I am waiting for something embarrassing to slip out. But so far, so good.

ANYWAY...thought I'd share some of her latest and greatest....

(1) I had to run into CVS the other day...Adalei had gone FOUR days without pooping (thanks to a small tiny bite of banana) and Layla and I were hunting for a remedy to help her ailing sister. Layla (per her normal self dressing routine) was wearing her white patent leather dress shoes, winter socks with brown owls on them, one rainbow leg-warmer, a purple tutu, pajama top, princess tiara, headband with GIGANTIC purple flower attached, two necklaces, one glitter microphone and a wand. Yes. They looked at me funny. But not as funny as when my sweet little three year old noticed the nice wall of colorfully decorated condom boxes and blurted out, "hey mommy...remember that time that I played with those". Unfortunately my first response was, "huh"....which meant she repeated herself even louder. I never realized how (1) quiet a CVS was and (2) how much condom boxes looked like the band aid boxes she plays with. I told her she never played with those, she played with band aids. Those weren't band aids. She asked what they were. I told her band aids for grown ups. I think it worked.

(2) As I was getting her undressed/dressed for bed the other night...she informed me that she was being so agreeable to getting undressed because she was "getting kinda hot with all these clothes" and "probably needed to run around naked for a while so she could air out". Air out. Interesting.

(3) She has gotten really into riding in the BOB while I run. Its a workout, but we have some great conversation. She asked me other other day why I ran so much. I told her that it was important to exercise and eat well--that it is important to take care of our bodies. Kind of like brushing our teeth and bathing. This is the conversation that followed:

Layla: Well, what does daddy say about that?
Me: Well, hum. Daddy thinks it is important to eat healthy and exercise too.
Layla: Well...he does eat lots of Oreos. Aren't those not good for you mommy?
Me: They aren't REALLY bad. Just if you eat too many. They have lots of sugar in them.
Layla: Well, what does God say about exercising?
Me: God likes to see us take good care of our bodies. It is one of the ways that we glorify the Lord, and that's pretty important.
Layla: Glorify?
Me: Yeah. Like praising the Lord...making Him happy and stuff.
Layla: Oh. Can we not talk about that anymore? Lets talk about Oreos.

I love this age. I really do. Its alarming, embarrassing and HILARIOUS at the same time. She keeps me on my toes, for sure and makes me thankful that I don't have a potty mouth!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My heart is a construction zone

Warning...brutal honesty ahead....and probably some jumbled up thoughts and broken theology.

You may be seeing a pattern here. Neil is leaving on Friday for a camping trip with the guys. A trip that has been planned for a while, but its still another trip--away from home. I had planned on running a half marathon this weekend in Roanoke--registered and everything. I had planned on a nice day trip with the hubby--maybe stopping at a vineyard for lunch after the race. But my plans don't really matter. Neil is going on the camping trip. I am staying home.

When the reality of this sunk in yesterday morning, I went into full on battle mode. I was disappointed, angry and hurt. And I think part of me wanted a fight...I wanted to be mad and then have the opportunity to defend myself. I wanted the right words to make Neil feel really rotten about leaving his family again. I wanted to wallow and whine. My attitude stunk up the whole house.

Thank the Lord, He interrupted my thoughts and my heart yesterday--cause ya' was getting ugly fast. I was reminded that He is enough...that He meets my needs. My response, well okay God but I'm still mad. I'm still the victim here. Aren't I entitled as Neil's wife to express my opinion about him leaving...AGAIN. Aren't I entitled to be a little angry. And PS...I really need a day off. Just maybe an afternoon--I think I'm entitled to that too. Bless my heart. I better get some crazy rewards for keeping my mouth shut.

Ehhh hemmm. And that's just one mili-second inside my head yesterday. See...rotten!

It was an all day battle between the flesh and the Spirit. I didn't recognize it as such until I was reading Layla's devotion to her last night...Galatians 5:16-26--fruits of the Spirit. Gulp. Amazing how God spoke to me through my child's devotion. It was like He reached down and covered my heart with is love and mercy. And I felt peace.

I am not in charge here...I am not the one judging or convicting. Seriously...I'd like to think that my sharp words would convict Neil's heart...but that's not my job. My job is to love him....and I'm completely free to do that every minute of every day because you know what...I'm not the one who disciplines him. I was reminded that my faith is not in man but in God. The disappointment I felt in Neil was completely lifted. The Spirit and flesh cannot co-exist. My flesh felt flesh felt flesh wanted the satisfaction of harsh words. The Spirit...well He was fighting to keep the give me self control and patience.

Guys...if you know me at all...this was a small miracle. I hold back and try to be everything to everyone. And when I exhaust myself trying to be the rockstar wife...I bottle it up and then storm around the house angry. I become a pill. I deny myself and I sacrifice, but I want a little pat on the back...I often NEED a pat on the back (I jokingly call this the "martyr syndrome").

But something changed yesterday evening. I desperately wanted to glorify God in my response to Neil and not myself....I wanted to feed the Spirit and not my flesh (believe flesh is not starving here...I feed it plenty every day). So between now and when my husband gets home on Saturday night, I am going to have to willingly give this over to God...multiple times, I'm sure. Because even as I write this....the "what about me" starts creeping in. Funny thing about really sacrificing is that you don't do it with the intent of reaping a reward...of being noticed...I'm starting to realize that I don't sacrifice for Neil. I do it for God. And really, what bragging rights do I have for my tiny little sacrifices when I compare it to the cross. There goes my sense of entitlement... a lot of work to do. My sweet Lord is working over time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Single and working...

Single, working hat is off to you!

Several months ago, I was contacted by an old high school classmate who expressed interest in me photographing his wedding. I felt pretty confident that I could do it...more importantly, Dad seemed confident that I could do I set up a meeting with the sweet little couple. My meeting was yesterday morning.

My wonderful little husband, who would ordinarily jump at the chance to have both girls to himself, had procrastinated on a couple of jobs that needed to be complete before he took off to Kentucky yesterday afternoon, leaving me to wrangle both girls AND meet with the happy couple to talk photography. Great.

So I got both girls dressed and fed, myself dressed, all of our stuff together and off we went. I have to admit, I felt half dressed and scattered--ALREADY. There is nothing like a 3 year old who has absolutely no concept of time and a mommy who is in a hurry. I detest when I get us into those situations--because I become impatient (read *selfish*) and Layla acts out accordingly.

When we are finally in the car, I turn to Layla to apologize for our less than stellar morning and vow that the day will get better. We arrive at the bookstore with 5 minutes to spare...SWEET! I decided to just bring in a diaper and the wipes container for know, my hip factor decreases slightly with a huge diaper bag and I have to look hip and professional for my meeting (you know, as professional as you can with two little ones in tow). Anyway, Adalei was just waking up from a nap in her car seat...but what on Earth was that stench. I asked Layla if she smelled something...she sniffed and gagged. Yep. poop. Nice. Thank goodness for that extra 5 minutes. Off we go the restroom.

I unbuckle sweet little stinky Adalei and my hand slides (yes...SLIDES) into something wet and gooey. I knew it...not just a yucky diaper, but an explosive one. There is poop EVERYWHERE. Layla is gagging like crazy and I am trying to maintain composure. Adalei's change of clothes were in the diaper bag (which was in the car because mommy was too cool to carry it in) she'd have to be naked for a little while. Score one for mommy of the year...naked baby in Barnes and Nobel! I laid her on the table, stripped her down and got to work...only to notice I had one tiny little wipe.

Mommy: Layla, what happened to Adalie's wipes?
Layla: Oh, those wipes
Mommy: Yes (note, hint of impatience).
Layla: I needed them for my lambie, she had a yucky diaper.
Mommy: Great. Did you get lambie all cleaned up?
Layla: Yeah, she's clean.
Mommy: Sweet, now you can help mommy clean up your little sister.
Layla: Okay, but remember, I'm expensive so we don't want to mess me up.


So every inch of my tiny little wipe was was toilet was the leg of Adalei's pants that didn't have poop all over get the job done. I got her changed, got the car seat cleaned out...managed to hug Layla, who was a superstar helper--an "expensive" superstar.

We met with the couple (6.5 minutes late), Layla and naked little Adalei. Layla blurted out that her sister got poop all over herself so I assured the couple that I managed to save the CD that I burned for them from the explosion. I looked down and realized that I did, however, manage to NOT save my shirt. Ya'll...I had baby bottom print on my shirt in yellow poop where I picked Adalie up trying to get her back cleaned off! Okay, so am I still hip..still professional? Sure. I think so. I told myself it probably just blended in or maybe looked like pollen? Fortunately, I was there as a I was just being an eccentric artist and could get away with stuff like that...yeah, that sounds right :-)

The meeting went great, but I left promising myself that I would NEVER ever NEVER do such a crazy thing again--at least for the next week. More importantly, I am thankful that I have that choice. So many mommies out there don't...and my hat is off to them. I can't begin to imagine the level of stress that they feel in so many different areas.

Single, working moms...thank you thank you thank you! You guys are rockstars.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Romance me

This post has been on my heart for a while....ugh...I hope I do it justice...

I admit it...I feel for the "prosperity doctrine" albeit brief--I still feel for it. Several years ago as I was interviewing for a new job, I was directed to the writing of one prominent teacher of the prosperity doctrine (I'm sure most of you know this chipper fella--but I won't mention him by name). Anyway, when I didn't get the job that I thought was the desire of my heart, I figured that I didn't trust enough...that I didn't say the right words when I was asking God for the desires of my heart. That maybe my request line to God was broken.

Um yeah...sadly mistaken and mislead was I. I threw the prosperity doctrine right out the window and was pretty much finished asking God for anything--other than those last minute hail Mary moments when I really needed help or those weeks out of the month when I was feeling extra spiritual. Sad, but true. I was a Sunday morning/couple days out of the week Christian. I was comfortable...I was worldly.

Less than a year ago, Neil and I started a morning Bible study together. In that time, my heart begin to dramatically change shape. God was calling me to him and I started to listen a little better. Over the months, I have been disciplined by a loving God--most of it doesn't feel very good--and its certainly not comfortable, but its worth it. I prayed that God shed light on my weakness so that I can trust Him more--and shed light he has. Its humbling when all your weaknesses are pulled out and you realize that you truly are but dust--incapable of NOTHING good.

During this time, I've had an intense desire to love God more than I love Neil. I depend on Neil for so much--for too much. In the past, I have depended on him for more things than he is capable of delivering. On a good week, Neil was "successful" as a husband, but on a bad week--I was hard to please. As I realized that Neil was not intended to be my shelter, my provider, my lover--that I shouldn't depend on affirmation and acceptance from him, I realized I had a LOT of work to do.

I begin searching the scriptures and begging God to show up. I found Eph 3: 14-20. It became my prayer...everyday--the desire of my heart! Not a new job, not a nicer car, not a second home--just God...just to be consumed by Him--to live under His shadow (instead of moving in front of it like I stubbornly try to do). God began working on me--sharpening me, conforming me, breaking me....and romancing me. And you know what happened, I felt a freedom with Neil...a freedom to love the heck out of him with no expectations and no real needs.

This week--I received the desire of my heart--but not as the prosperity doctrine teaches. Neil has been away for almost a week now serving God in Guinea Bissau. Have I missed him? Yeah--more than words can say. But you know what...I have felt so full, so content, so happy while he has been away. I actually get REALLY excited about talking to my Lord at night and reading my Bible. I've found the perfect companion--the lover of my soul...and I've begged Him to stay--right here--as close to me as my skin. And I'm gonna keep begging, every hour of every day.

More to come later...and hopefully I'll be able to post some exciting pictures from Neil's trip. My hubby can take some pretty amazing photographs...seriously, I haven't found a thing he ISN'T amazing at. He can even change a pretty mean diaper in a flash.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The most vibrant red

This is way to good to pass up.

If you know my little red know her as the dramatic type. When she is sick...there is no mistaking it. When she is know it. When she is know it. She has a flair for fashion and a very vibrant personality. I joke that if our family was a box of crayons, she'd be the brightest red crayon in the box. She is Layla and I don't think God made another like her and WOW how I love that little thing!

Events unfolded today that have made it one of the most memorable mom days yet...

My hubby is leaving for Africa on Thursday, so me and the girls took a trip to Wal-Mart for his last minute care package stuff--you know, the essentials (peanut butter, granola bars, dried fruit and nuts, Gatorade powder, malaria medication). While we were walking through the store, I heard one of Layla's dramatic gasps and knew she must have spotted a baby doll or stuffed animal that she was in love with. I was partially right...she found a baby doll...a pretty pink one BUT she wanted to buy it and send it with daddy. I told her daddy probably wouldn't need a baby to sleep with to which she quickly responded that it was not for daddy but for a little girl in Africa who didn't have a baby doll. We also bought gummy snacks to send...because every little girl needs gummy snacks, right? I was instantly blown away by how sweet and unselfish she was--right there in the middle of the baby doll aisle!

So we get forward to nap time. I get her snuggled in and walk out of the room--only to hear her screaming minutes later. I walk in to deliver her tissue that I forgot to leave for her (since becoming sick with that cold WEEKS ago, she now has to have a tissue every time she goes to bed). I walked out of the room and turned around to say "nite nite" when I saw her leaning on her railing--you know..the kind that is supposed to keep your toddler IN the bed. I started to tell her not to lean on would break--for the 50th time--when I heard a pop, and saw her fall--face first--to the ground.

DRAMA....she wailed. I picked her up and asked her what hurt. Her lip. It was "broken" I asked her to move it, wiggle it and smile. She did all of those with the most pained look on her face. I told her the good news was that she could move it was probably just a really bad sprain. She told me that she'd probably still need crutches. INTERESTING! Who knew that lip sprains required crutches. Well, now ya know! She also said she really felt like the dog in Sandlot when the fence fell on him and everyone was sad. Then she asked that I act like Smalls (the kid in the brown shirt and khakis) and be sad for her (for a forward to 7:15).

Thankfully, I held my laugh until I shut her door. I'm still laughing. Gosh...I just have the best job in the world and I still have the WHOLE afternoon in front of me.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Modified Vaccination Schedule

Adalei had her 3 month check up this week...12 pounds and 23.5 inches, which surprisingly puts her in the 25-35th percentile...and here I was thinking she looked like a tiny little linebacker with all those adorable rolls. I thought she was going to be in the 60th percentile or something...seriously--the girl has some rolls, guys.

SO--Neil and I talked a lot about it...I did a TON of research and prayed like crazy and we decided on modified vaccination schedule. The doctors were not completely happy about it because it goes against the American Academy of Peds...but I kept repeating to myself (as Dr. Griffith tried to convince me to follow the normal schedule) "I'm the mama, I'm the mama, I'm the mama". I'm not going to lie..I almost caved. I am so NOT assertive. So NOT assertive. I try...I like to think I am, but I am not. I rarely--if ever--complain or send dishes back at restaurants. I never argue a store's return policy...I pretty much suck it up and deal with it because me and confrontation = NOT FRIENDS. Anyway...I was so worried that I'd cave, so the fact that I stood my ground with confidence was an answer to prayer.

Fortunately, Dr. Griffith looked at the schedule and gave me her blessing, well, as much as she could because she has to stick with the AAP guidelines. I think she was somewhat relieved that I didn't go for the Dr. Sears vaccination schedule :-)

So--what does the new schedule look like...

Hep B: Delay until a year before she starts school
HIB: 4 mos, 6 mos, 8 mos, 17 mos
IVP: 4 mos, 6 mos, 8 mos, 17 mos
DtaP: 5 mos, 7 mos, 9 mos, 16 mos
Prevnar: One dose @ 4 mos
Varicela: decline
MMR: 18 mos

So there it is in all its glory. Essentially what I've done is spread them out so that she is getting no more than two at a time (except for 4 mos when she'll get the Prevnar). SO, I'll be going every month--which is fine--and she won't be getting the crazy cocktails of shots so early on.

If anyone is interested in the articles and books I researched...let me know and I'll pass them on to you. There is SO much out much misinformation on both sides its frustrating as a parent for sure.

NEXT speed work has not yet commenced, I'll have no stories of wetting my pants post baby--I assure you :-)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What a day!

(though I'd like to take credit for this little took the picture and mom knitted the hat--pretty talented folks, huh)

Last night was crazy. Adalei was up for her normal 12:30 am feeding/diaper change. Then Layla was up at 1:15 and did not go back to sleep until 3:45--she was feeling yucky and finding all sorts of reasons NOT to sleep. Needless to say, neither did I. So when my internal alarm woke me up at 5:30 this morning, I contemplated forgoing my quiet time for some extra sleep. Thankfully, God was persistent. In fact, I was quickly reminded that given my night and the day that stood in front of me, I needed time in prayer more than sleep. I couldn't afford the extra sleep. He was right...He's always right. So I crawled out of bed--made coffee and sat down for my quiet time. As I prayed, I pleaded with God to carry me through the day--that without him I was destined to fail miserably as a mother and I knew my girls needed me. I thanked Him (for some crazy reason) for Layla's wakefulness the previous night and then time I spent mothering her. It was a pleasure (minus the sleep deprivation).

SO at 6:45 am my day got started...
It was interesting to say the least! Layla has developed quite the terrible cold/cough combo and woke up way earlier than she should have. She is definitely her daddy's daughter when it comes to being sick. She's nothing short of dramatic. I think I carried her around ALL day today because her legs were tired. Apparently there must be a link between legs and snotty noses--I think she overheard me talking to a friend about her legs being tired after a long run and noticed some sympathy in my voice.

She did not nap...neither did Adalei. Layla's coughing kept them both awake. And--they both needed sleep. I think we all did. So for two hours straight this afternoon Layla cried...then Adalei...then Layla..then Adalei. Mostly they cried at the same time and both wanted to be held. I cheerfully carried them both around...I cleaned up snot...a bloody mouth (Layla popped her mouth on the sink--adding to the drama)...explosive poop and was surprisingly calm and happy. At times I wondered if I maybe I had just lost my mind because how could someone like me...someone who does NOT deal well with messed up so happy in chaos.

God is pretty flipping amazing, huh? On my own...I would have been horrific. I would have surely lost my cool. I would have certainly cried too...I would have more than likely lacked sympathy for my dramatic little red head. But God knew what my babies needed today and He worked through me today. I know--it's was God working in the confines of my house. But--it was an amazing answer to prayer--a prayer that I have been praying for rely completely on Him each minute of each day--specifically with my children. Because guys--truth be told--I am nothing more than a wretched mommy on my own. I thank God for His mercy and grace because I was shown an awful lot today!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A messed up attempt at theology for toddlers-Part 1

As I was putting Layla to bed last night I confronted a beast that I knew was coming...yet I was COMPLETELY unprepared for it. I probably could have handled a dinosaur in her closet or a monster under her bed much better than I handled this...and I'm almost embarrassed to admit to it.

So our conversation after her night prayer time went like this:

Layla: When we talk to the Lord, is it God or Jesus.
Me: Well, both. It kinda just depends.
Layla: Well, who were you just talking to.
Me: Jesus.
Layla: Why?
Me: (thinking...get me out of here...I'm drowning in my own stupidity) You know, I probably should think about this a little more before I answer.
Layla: Why?
Me: Well, mommy is a little confused.
Layla: Do you just like Jesus more?
Me: No baby...I'm just...well...I don't know.

AGH! I failed her. I completely failed. A giant "F" on my biblical mommy report card.

So today at rest time...after reading her favorite Bible story about the 5 loaves and 2 fish...she asked me if God was Jesus. So I explained to her that He was...kind of like I am mommy, daddy's wife and her nana and poppy's daughter ALL at the same time. The conversation went something like this:

Layla: Well, is God a daddy then?
Me: Yep.
Layla: Who's His daddy?
Me: You mean, who's He a daddy to?
Layla: Yeah.
Me: Everybody. (hoping this blanket statement would end the conversation)
Layla: Is he my daddy?
Me: Yeah (not so much a strong yeah...because I had a feeling what was to follow).
Layla: Well, what about my daddy?
Me: WELL, God let mommy and daddy borrow you for a while...because he loves us so much and he thought you would be a very special gift for us.
Layla: Oh. Let's read another story that isn't about God, okay?
Me: (wiping the sweat from my face) Okay.

I should not have been so exhausted by that exchange and SO confused when I walked out of the room. I feel like I should have been more prepared. Like the biggest exam of my life...the biggest test to date and I was unprepared. No more. I'm studying up and more importantly...I'm committing it to prayer. I've realized that I can do nothing...that I make a mess of everything on my own..but God...He's good--He makes everything neat again. So hopefully through His guidance and His words, I can make sense out of this mess I've made for Layla. Poor thing. I bet her little head hurt too!

Someone PLEASE tell me you've goofed up in this area too..that I'm not the only mommy feeling like I need to wear a dunce hat for the remainder of the day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

For the love of cupcakes

Now that Neil is playing at church each Sunday, mornings have proved interesting--getting Layla fed and dressed (which is another story entirely--she thinks dress up clothes are not only for play but also for church--this Sunday's choice--pink leotard, tutu and leg warmers--I'm not kidding guys!) and Adalei fed and dressed and myself fed and dressed.

So this past Sunday, I decided to give Layla a very important job while I got dressed--watching her little sister--you know--as much as a three year old with Angelina Ballerina on the TV can watch her little baby sister who is far less interesting. ANYWAY--as I made my way to the bathroom to start my short makeup routine, I noticed that it was really quiet--which is never a good thing. I walked around the corner into the kitchen only to find Layla on her little stool reaching into the box of leftover cupcakes from her birthday. While I briefly entertained the idea of making her put it back, she was far too adorable with the sheepish grin and red icing all over her fingers. So I grabbed a plate and napkin for her, as she was in a hurry to get back to her cartoon and her "job".

She made her way back into the living room because she "had a job to do"--watching baby sister. As I continued to get dressed, I overheard her talking to Adalei and Adalei was giggling and cooing up a storm. I smiled to myself thinking of how sweet it was for Layla to choose to spend time with her sister rather than watch her FAVORITE cartoon. As I walked closer to the door--my heart still smiling--I heard this one-way conversation between Layla and Adalei.

Layla: I just love cupcakes. These are special birthday cupcakes. I bet you'd like cupcakes, Addie Bells. Ummm hummm...these are good cupcakes. Mommy got them special for my birthday. You don't have teeth Addie Bells.

Adalei: squeal

So I walked around the corner--took one look at my adorable little three year old on the floor with her sister and paused--something didn't seem quite right. Adalei turned her head when she heard my voice and all I saw was bright red icing all over her little face. Yep--Adalei has definitely--most certainly been introduced to the cupcake. No wonder the squeals of delight from the living room. Her cheeks smelled like butter cream and had a subtle hint of red for the rest of the day--and I'm pretty sure she developed an instant love of sugar. Great!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Layla An

She's three tomorrow! Its so hard to believe that three years ago I was DYING to meet her and starting to feel the contractions that would bring her into this world. Its even harder for me to imagine my life without her--without her contagious smile...her giggles...her sweet little hands holding mine...the trails of mess that she leaves behind. Its hard to imagine my windows without little finger prints all over them and a refrigerator without her newest masterpiece placed neatly on the door.
I still look at her and can't believe that God trusted me with such a sweet spirited little girl--one with a huge heart and an even bigger smile. She has made me forever vulnerable and
words can't begin to describe how blessed that little redhead makes me feel. Its my prayer that some day...she'll be proud and feel blessed that I'm her mommy--that she'll be called to Jesus and learn the love that only He can give. I know--big prayers--but go big or go home, right :-)

Happy Birthday sweet Layla are indeed--fearfully and wonderfully made--a perfect little you!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pictures and updates

WELL, the wedding went great...sorry to just NOW be posting! The cake turned out really well (see it at I learned that I (1) really respect cake people (2) will NEVER make a career out of decorating cakes and being a mommy at the same time (3) *sigh* am willing to admit that I am still--at the ripe old age of almost 30--in desperate need of my momma's help. Whew...that last one was a hard one :-) But let's just say the cake would have probably gotten done--but I would have been a basket case in the process. Can you imagine setting up the cakes--at the venue--with a nursing baby who SHOULD be sleeping but rather decides to fill up a diaper and want to nurse--all while I am covered in cream cheese icing and coconut and facing a strict deadline to be back at the church and dressed as a bridesmaid for pictures. Aye Aye Aye! Thank goodness for family (aunt Sharon--if you are reading this--I am FOREVER grateful to you for coming to Graylyn and helping).So as you can imagine--once the wedding was over, I was greeted with a nice little stomach virus which I then shared with my sweet momma! What a payment for her help, huh?

Thankfully--we are all back to normal now! And through it all and by God's grace, my girls stayed happy...healthy...and as rested as they could be. God is so good. I can't tell you how worried I was about them over the wedding weekend and with this virus. I know--I should know better than to worry, but I think that's part of my job description as a mommy!

SO some updates...

Addie Bells...
Sweet little Addie Bells. Amazing how different a second baby is. I haven't worried about schedules or nursing times or anything with her. Its been the most laid back experience of my life and WOW...she has found her own little schedule and it is both predictable and perfect! My favorite part of the schedule--her 7:30 or 8am wake up call to snuggle and be held. It happens almost without fail! She kind of cries out--I go pick her up...and she snuggles right next to my neck in the living room and dozes off for another 10-15 minutes before looking up at me and smiling the sweetest little toothless smile in the world. And guys...that girl has started cooing like a crazy woman. She "talks" almost all morning--and is starting to experiment with the
volume of her cooing--which is absolutely adorable! She has even started giggling at me. She's holding her head up like a champ, rolling over and is swatting at things--which means I now
have to put down the coffee cup when I'm nursing. Strangly, she's accomplished all this "stuff" without me "working" with her--agh how I worked and worked and worked with Layla to meet her little milestones. Thank goodness Adalei is a self-driven overachiever :-)

She loves her big sister--who probably get the award for being the recipient of most of the "giggles" and only a few of the cries. Layla likes to sneak in and take Adalei's socks off because Layla doesn't like to sleep in socks. Layla also likes to cover Adalei up but sometimes startles her by tucking her in just a little too tight.

Layla An...

She's growing up too fast...her sentences are changing...her little mind is working over time--thus the 50 BILLION questions before going to bed, ranging from "Did God make my pjs?" to "Why don't we wear shoes to bed?". All are very important questions that need thoughtful answers--believe me, I tried to make quick half-hearted answers and that didn't work.

Layla is BEGGING me to teach her to read. So, we are finishing up working our way through letter recognition and letter sounds. She's actually doing pretty good with it--given that her attention span is pretty short. She's also shown in interest in learning what time it is and what that means--so we are getting her a clock and working on telling time. AND she's got a repertoire of 4 memory verses in her little noggin--thanks to her daddy. He is the BEST at pulling out the perfect memory verses at the perfect time. My personal favorite just happens to be "Honor your father and mother" or as Layla says, "Honger your fager and muger" . here are some pictures of Adalei that dad sent me. He's letting me borrow his fancy smancy camera so I can get back to snapping expect more (and less perfect) pictures coming your way. I've missed annoying Layla with my picture taking :-)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Messy Chef

Okay--as update on Project Wedding cake.

My sweet and very giving mom and dad insisted on getting Layla yesterday and playing with her all day so that I could stay focused on my cakes. They must know that I (a) never--okay rarely--ask for help and (b) don't take help unless someone insists and I know they are helping because the want to help (not out of obligation). So it was perfect for mom and dad to INSIST on and be excited about playing with Layla all day yesterday.

SO I took Layla to mom and dad's yesterday morning at around 9am and Adalei and I hit the local Wal-Mart for eggs, butter, flour, sugar--all that good stuff. Adalei was such a trooper during her first Wal-Mart experience. I think she liked all the lights and color because she just looked around without a peep. So we grabbed everything from the list and off we went.

By 11:30, my first batch of layers were in the oven (and I was out the door for a run while they cooked)--the 6 inch and 10 inch and the batter and pan for the 12 inch was prepared. Lauren and Augie wanted a three tiered coconut cake for the center and two, two tiered funfetti cakes for the side. The coconut cakes really turned out great. I used a recipe from a European cake baking book that I have had for a while--so I had to convert all the European measurements to American standard measurements--FUN FUN FUN. That could have spelled disaster for me. You see, I consider myself a pretty good cook--definitely not a chef. Chefs are precise--I like to improvise. Chefs have great technique--I do not (you should see me chop an onion--its laughable). So as you can imagine--the idea of having to be both precise and use great technique had me really worried. Cakes are funny that way...a little too much of any ingredient and its a flop.

BUT---guys...I am so proud to say...all the layers turned out perfectly! And they taste amazing. My camera is broken, but I'm going to try and borrow my dad's so that I can take pictures of all the layers before I fill and ice them. I wish I would have had a camera yesterday because my clothes, my hair and my kitchen were COVERED in flour. But I'm sure it'll be much more interesting when I whip out the powdered sugar on Friday :-)

SO yay...Project Wedding cake is off to a great start. And, Layla had a great day with her Nana, poppy and Bradyn at the Children's Museum. In fact, to show you how much fun those two have's a picture that dad took the other day when they had Layla and Bradyn over to play (of course Layla had to were her princess dress ups and glitter shoes for a hike in the woods...I mean really, what 3 year old girl wouldn't?). I hope they are always close--and I hope they always make each other laugh like they do.

FINALLY, pictures of Adalei are coming...I promise. I have lots of video, but because our camera is broken, I'm having to get pictures from my dad. I've ordered the batter charger for the camera and hoping it will fix the problem. We'll see! So bear with me...I hope to have some new pictures up soon.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Addie Bell to Wedding Bells

WOW how I have neglected this poor little blog. Things have been so busy around here...but nothing seems quite blog-able...or maybe I just have mommy brain right now and my focus has been shifted from "what can I blog about this week" to "how can such a little thing produce so much POOP".

So I should probably do some little updates...

Adalei (and as Neil is calling her "Addie Bell) is doing great. She's had a couple of yucky evenings where she cried pretty hard and only wanted mommy for about an hour or so. On these nights, Neil so nicely (yet timing was slightly off) reminded me that these little (BIG) cries are a blessing from God. True, for sure...but that doesn't mean they are pleasant. However, the past few nights have been a breeze...especially since I started giving her a tiny bit of acidolpilous. She's been going to sleep around 8 or 9 and sleeping like a champ. She's smiling at me now which is AMAZING--and sometimes it's coupled with a faint little giggle. The first time I got a big ol' toothless smile, my eyes filled up with tears. I love that she knows me...knows my smell, my voice, my face--and Neil swears she knows my footsteps.

She is a great little sleeper--YAY--for the most part. She falls asleep on her own and is still sleeping for 4 and 5 hour stretches at night. She generally wakes up happy and is very easy to satisfy. She makes it easy for me to think about having more babies :-)

Layla...sweet little Layla. What can I say--Neil and I have been blessed with one of the sweetest spirited girls in the world. I cannot say enough how amazing that little girl has been through such a dramatic change in her little family dynamic. And fortunately--now that all my post-pregnancy hormones have regulated and my sleep schedule has gotten better, I am FINALLY back to being the same ol' mommy that she was used to--pre pregnancy. THAT has made a world of least it seems to have.

I'm back to running regularly again. I started running again after about a week and a half--still feeling sore and tired at the end of a run. My core muscles suffered the worst from pregnancy, but they seemed to have bounced back with a little help from some exercises. I've had a couple of weeks of really enjoyable and great runs. It has been so nice to have one area where things are little constant...a time of day where I can focus, recharge and spend some time in prayer. Soon, dad and I will start our training regimen for the Marine Corps Marathon in the fall and a half marathon in the spring. I can't wait to tackle some hills and the track--I've been craving a run that leaves me completely depleted. What a great feeling! And I have a new partner (I hope) sweet Carmen (who just welcomed baby Noah last week) is going to train with us...YIPEE! I treasure my time with her and am SO excited that it's going to be on the increase.

Neil's sister is GETTING MARRIED this coming weekend! We are so excited to see the family growing and the guy that stole her heart is the sweetest and most amazing match for her. I can't wait to write a post after the wedding and include some pictures :-) Layla is going to be a flower girl--which has her VERY excited because flower girl = fancy--and you know how that girl loves being fancy. And I--yours truly--am making the wedding cake. heard it right here folks...I am making a WEDDING CAKE. I'll update mid week with pictures and hopefully a very positive post about all my progress :-) See, I'm off to a great start...thinking positive and getting started early--like tomorrow I am making the layers.

SO I have a busy and exciting week ahead...and am thanking God for blessing us with a very easy baby and a sweet little almost three year old so that I can fulfill my promise to make the best wedding cake ever! Pictures and updates to come...PROMISE.