Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's a...

We are thrilled to announce our big news!! The newest member of the family is a boy!!! 

Claire is a bit lost only "understanding" there is a new baby in the family and he is in my tummy. Charli, on the other hand, for awhile thought it was a boy but had recently decided she wanted a girl. When we announced it to the family she cried in despair. We tried consoling but it wasn't doing the trick... Until I told her that when he gets big enough to play with them he could dress up like the prince. She was quickly persuaded that a brother was a great thing. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

First day of Preschool

Charli had her first day of school today. She was super excited; she even told me in the car that she had been "excited in her bed" the night before. It's the first time she's ever mentioned excitement affecting bedtime. 

Highlights (according to her) for her first day: new shirt, new owl lunch box, new school, nice teacher, and made a new friend, Maggie, who had something ballerina-ish about her outfit that Char liked.  She also enjoyed playing on the playground, coloring with markers, and painting. 

I think I've started a tradition with the sign. 

Putting her backpack in her cubby. 

With Miss Sheri, her teacher

The highlight of the day for me was asking her in the car if she would like her teacher to call her "Charli" or Charlotte. She thoughtfully decided on Charlotte with the reason that "it was her favorite best name".  I was proud of her decision. It was always our intent that she could decide between the two, especially in the school setting. She seemed to grow up a lot today!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Big Sisters

I realized this morning I hadn't blogged about our big news!

I love this picture that Brooks took for us and I love the shirts I made for Charli and Claire.  It's more than just an announcement of their little brother or sister; Claire at this age was saying "me too" after everything Charli said.  All 4 of us are excited about the new addition to our family.  We'll weigh in soon with our guesses about gender.  I'll find out mid August what we're having and this little one is due January 13, 2014.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Going Private

I've decided to make my blog private.  It comes after some long thought out issues related to privacy and social media.  That is, privacy for me and my family, especially my children.   Facebook is the next to change for us as well.  I already have only "real" friends on there but I'm realizing that anyone who takes a picture of us or of my kids and then posts it, is inadvertently allowing people who are complete strangers to me & Brandon to "get to know" our kids.  Not really okay with me at all.  I've heard some first hand accounts of issues like this and I don't intend to be party to it in our family anymore.

This is step 2 (step 1-being restarting my facebook page and only allowing friends to see what I post).

All of this being said, I really want this blog to be for our friends and family to stay up to date on our lives.  If you would like to have access to the blog please comment with your email address and your name (so I can make sure I know you ;) and I'll add you to the list of followers.

Thanks for understanding :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Quotable Charli

Charli is extremely articulate for a 3 year old.  She shocks us on a daily basis with her understanding of words and ability to use adult words. (not inappropriate words but above her age level)  Here are some recent things we've heard her say...

While playing in the tent in her room with Claire Charli announces in a high, authoritative voice, "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, I present to you... Charli and Claire!"

She also drew this kitty all by herself- pretty good for 3.5 yrs old! 
After ringing the doorbell at my parents' house and no one coming to answer it right away Charli said, "Apparently no one's here," matter of factly.

Playing with her beanie baby bunny she exclaimed, "Bunny can do amazing things!" and tossed it in the air.

I told Charli that I cried when I sprained my ankle because it hurt really bad and because I was very disappointed that I was hurt.  She said, "huh!? People don't cry!" (and by people, she meant adults)

When she woke up one morning she noticed that we had taken out half of the stuffed animals that she had tried to sleep with (because they were crowding her bed and there was no room for her).   She said, "who could do such a thing?!" and proceeded to call us "sneaky" for doing it.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Sprain

Today I would have run the race I had been planning, training, and looking forward to running: my first half marathon.  To me, it was the culmination of a lot of hard work, sweat, and strength gained.  I literally had been training for 4 months. 12 days ago, on a Monday evening run, out of the blue, I rolled my ankle and severely sprained it.  My plans were crushed.  As soon as I felt it happening I knew it was going to be bad.  I've had some painful moments in my life- two broken bones, excruciating recovery from lasik eye surgery, birthed two babies, kidney stones.  This is definitely among those most painful experiences.  The disappointment has far surpassed the physical pain.  It has been a spiritual lesson.  I am confident that God was in control of my circumstances, and this was a part of His good plan for me.  Someday I will also teach Charli and Claire that God's plans are different than our own, but His are always better.  I love this verse.  Though, I believe it is speaking in figurative terms, it literally has applied so well to me in these last two weeks. Proverbs 16:9 says, "The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."

  Here is my  photo montage to "the sprain".

driving to the ER for an X-ray

Brandon came to my rescue and saved the aquarium day! We had a blast, despite my need for the wheelchair. Claire liked riding in "mommy's stroller"!
I spent 3 days with it elevated and icing it every few hours.  It was painful, boring, humbling, and healing.

I decided to make lemonade from my lemons ;)
These motorized carts are fun!!

at my follow up I got fitted for a boot- my friend for 4 weeks

Today, it's extremely sore and still black and blue and a bit swollen.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


This Easter was a bit anti-climactic for me and it all had to do with weather (no pun intended).  We had such a mild winter and signs of an early spring but then BAM- freezing, rainy yucky weather hit.  Not only is it annoying with my 1/2 marathon training, it's killer when you have two kids who want to play in the backyard since they got a little taste of it already.  Soggy grass and toddler and little girly girl do not mix.  I was hopeful that at least Easter would be nice. Wrong again.  It rained most of the day.

So... church was great.  We talked a lot about the meaning of Easter and opted out of the whole Easter bunny thing.  I think we're dropping Santa next year too.  In theory I had planned on doing these "fun" parts of the holiday, but what I've realized is it becomes all-consuming for the child.  Anyway, I digress.  We talked a lot about why Jesus came to the world, why He died, and we sang praises in thankfulness for His resurrection.  My favorite part was actually what Charli learned about Palm Sunday.

We asked her, "When Jesus came to Jerusalem what did all the people shout to Him?"
Charli, "Hosanna! Hosanna!"
Me, "What does that mean?"
Charli, "Save us now!"
Me, "What did the people think Jesus was coming to do?"
Charli, "Be the king..."
Me, "But He wasn't coming to be the king of their city, was He?"
Charli, "no- the king of their hearts!" as she points to her chest.

Hallelujah to the Risen King, the King of our hearts!

The 2nd half of our Easter Sunday was great.  After the girls got up from their naps we headed to my parents' house.  Brooks, Lee & Becky were already there.  Aunt Becky wanted to dye eggs and Charli was thrilled to get to help!  They bonded in a new special way through that.  Charli also warmed up to Uncle Lee in a new way and was cuddled up in his lap with Where's Waldo (which she also mis-called "where's Wallace" one time) by the end of the day.  It did my heart so good to see all that love blossom. And for the record, I'm dying to be AUNT BESS.  It just sounds right, doesn't it!?  Charli heard me say I wanted to be Aunt Bess and she said, "mommy, I don't want you to be my aunt, I want you to be my mommy forever!"  Sweet, sensitive, Charli.  I cleared it up that I wasn't changing for her and she was very relieved.

Even if we got rained out of an easter egg hunt, what really mattered Easter Sunday happened.
as good as it gets with 2 kids in the same picture...

claire loves to walk holding one hand

how most of the pictures together ended up

gave up on a sister shot and got individuals

i let claire hold a bunny and crawl around to get a smile

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A trip to the zoo!

the 3 little girls ready to see some animals!

Claire wanted to "an up!" (stand up) at every exhibit.

the elephant even posed with us! 

Today we took a trip to the zoo with our good friends, Alexis and Avery.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day.  We saw most of the zoo in about 2.5 hours.  If you didn't know my girls very well, this trip would have spoken volumes about their personalities.  When we were waiting to go in I asked them what animals they wanted to see.  Charli said, "bunnies".  Where that came from, I have no idea.  But it sure sounds like what she would say.  Bunnies are gentle, cute, fluffy and even "girly," all things right up Charli's aisle. Claire didn't answer my question but by response, her favorite animals were the big cats.  She yelled, "meow" approximately 6 trillion times in that section of the zoo.  She loved the roaring lion and wrestling tigers especially.  Charli, on the other hand, when hearing the tiger's roar, sobbed.  She proceeded to be scared of everything she perceived to be big, mean, and loud. Unfortunately there were no bunnies at the farm section, but instead, Charli's favorite animal was the baby giraffe.  

Two girls, two totally different little personalities.  Both, of whom, I completely adore.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Friends are friends forever...

Today I spent the whole day with my best friend from college. This year will be our 10th friendaversary (yes, I made that up). It was a big day. It was the first time our 4 kids have ever played together. It was fun to see and also precious to let the daddies cover nap time and us go out shopping, alone.

Life changes so fast and that makes me more thankful for friendships that will last a lifetime. What a joy to reminisce about that past but also make new, fun memories!

Here's a pic of the first time our big kids met 3 yrs ago and then tonight.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Late Walkers, Early talkers

Seems like lately I've said this phrase a lot.  Charli didn't walk until 18 months.  Claire is almost 17 months and VERY active, but not walking on her own.  But, talk, she can!  She communicates in a much more demanding way than Charli ever did at this age, but we are thankful she is at least communicating.  And since I have been terrible with writing stuff down about Claire, this blog will likely be my best record of her milestones.

Claire can say:

ball, cup (usually sounds like pup or puppy), juice, cheese, sissy, daddy, mommy, pop, emmy, didi, papaw, brooks (sounds likes "ks"), kitty, CAT (which is how I yell at the cat, which she has picked up), puppy (for doggies), church (sounds like chch), yummy, help (sounds like hep), toy (her cutest word), get down (sounds like "et owwwn!"), Hi, Bye (sounds like die), movie (sounds like moo-mi), hand (meaning stop-trying-to-get-me-to-walk-without-your-hand, i-need-it!), minnie mouse or mickey mouse (sounds like mi-mi-mou), elmo, grover, murray, zoe, abby, veggietales, mouth (mou), ME (when she wants something she yells "ME" and points at herself)

Now that I type out this list I can think of many more things she says. Lots of foods, commands, tv related things, toy names, animals & their sounds, etc.  She's hilarious.  She's opinionated and loud.  When she's happy you know it, when she's mad- she wails.  She's into everything and loves to climb- two things Charli never did.  She is fearless and is a thrill seeker. (If you're a 17 month old thrill seeker then you love to swing really high and you crawl up the steps at the playground and then go down the slide face first and laugh joyously at the bottom.)

Charli is all things girl, princess, and little miss information.  She loves going to church and playing with her friends.  She loves to color, dance, sing, and baby her stuffed animals and baby dolls.  She says hilarious stuff everyday.  Earlier this week we went over to my mom and dad's house. I knew they were home and we rang the doorbell b/c the door was locked.  They didn't come, so we rang it again.  Charli says, very matter of factly, "apparently they're not here."  HAHA. I looked at her like, are you 3 or 30??

I love my girls. I love how different God made them from one another and yet they get along great and love each other dearly.  Lately I've been thanking God for making them uniquely themselves.  I want them always to know that God made them with special gifts and personalities.  I hope I can help them learn who God made them.  I will never tell them they can be anything they want to be. It's just not true.  I will tell them they can be exactly who God intended them to be, and being that person will bring them great joy if they do if for His glory.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Park days are here again!

Going to the park is one of our favorite morning activities. I love being outside, I love letting the kids use a lot of energy, I love sunshine, I love being away from "screens", etc. Claire can't walk unassisted yet but she doesn't let it stop her. She is fearless and on the go constantly! Today was a beautiful sunny day in the mid-fifties so we hit our favorite park in Collierville, Johnson Park, with some friends.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Run, run, as fast as you can!

I continue on with my fitness/weight loss goals.  I've lost about 40 pounds now and I think it will keep falling off as I continue with this new lifestyle.   I've been asked a lot recently how I'm doing it.  If you're wondering and for the sake of posterity I'll chronicle how here.

I started with running 5 days a week in July.  I could barely run a mile, slowly.  I could see that that pattern wasn't going to work because I injured my foot.  It was too much, too quickly.  I switched to running 3 days a week and biking and/or doing Power 90 (by Tony Horton) 2-3 other days a week.  In August I was discouraged that the weight wasn't coming off like I thought it should.  I decided to sign up for 3 months of Weight Watchers on-line.  I did WW hardcore for about 4-6 weeks.  Counted every point and quickly learned my problem areas: too much for breakfast, too many carbs/sugars, too many unhealthy snacks.  I made some significant changes in portion sizes too.  Once I got the hang of eating healthier, I started feeling so much better and the weight started to come off (about a pound or 2 a week).   Of all the changes I've made with food, eating more fruits and veggies is one of the biggest.  I used to make a couple veggies for dinner but that was the only time we ate them.  Now I keep a baggie of cut up peppers, celery, carrots, cucumbers, etc. to snack on throughout the week.  My kids are getting better at eating those raw veggies as well!  Instead of cookies, cereal, or muffins I'm eating fruit for my main snacks in the day.  A big apple with a little natural peanut butter is so yummy and so much healthier than what I was eating before.  The other thing I've gotten into is smoothies.  I'm drinking a smoothie for a meal 5 days a week.  Here's my recipe:

1 cup light (any flavor) greek yogurt (i prefer vanilla)
1 cup frozen fruit (anything from berries to mango, pineapple, etc) -this replaces ice, so you get more nutritional value per ounce
1 small banana
1/2 cup almond or skim milk
2-3 cups of raw baby spinach, it sounds nasty but you cannot taste it as long as you have a banana in the smoothie

I've kept running that 3 day a week schedule and now I'm doing some aerobics/weights classes 2 days a week.  My goal is to run a half marathon in April.  This weekend I ran 9.6 miles for the first time in my life.  Thanks to my wonderful brother and sis-in-law because they helped me mentally press on and ran at my pace the whole way.  They are seriously rockstars in my book.  After running 9 miles, I'm even more impressed that they are 3 time marathoners (and training for their 4th now)!!!

So, that's me.  I've come a long way. Maybe after my half marathon I'll post before and after pictures of myself... we'll see.  For now- here are a few recent running pics from my phone.
after a humid 5 mile run
My longest run so far

Most of my runs during the week are in the dark, cold.  I wear two pairs of tights, two long sleeve dry fit, warm shirts, my earmuff, and wear reflectors on both arms and carry a flashlight. i look silly for sure!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Look carefully then how you walk..."

I'm not really a "new year's resolution" type of person; however, I am about making changes in my life or in the life of our family when I feel like God is leading that way.  The beginning of a new year does present a great opportunity to re-evaluate what we value, how we spend our time and money, how we take care of our bodies, etc.  Some of the areas we had already begun to make changes, so we are just going deeper into those new lifestyles.

Health changes we are working on this year: REAL food.  If it comes in a box or a can you better believe I am reading every ingredient and if it's something I don't recognize, can't pronounce, etc. it's not going in our bodies.  This is our "home" rule.  I am not going to be a crazy-food-vigilante. (like not letting my kids eat snacks at church, other people's homes, etc.)  If we want cookies we will make them ourselves.  They will have real butter, organic sugar, unbleached flour, etc. This is just a personal conviction of mine and a step away from "diets" and a step toward good, healthy living.

How we spend our time is another area that I want to tweak.  (and this relates to money as well)  We got rid of Direct TV.  The cost is outrageous and we don't need 5trillion channels.  I'm tired of commercials that are practically pornographic, consumerism being bombarded at my 3 year old (she will inevitably want every toy she sees in a commercial), and the temptation to turn on the TV at every lull in the day.  We have an apple TV now, with netflix on it and instead of background noise during the day we are listening to KLove through the radio app on the apple tv.  These are very positive changes in our home.

Nightly Family Bible Stories and songs is an area we are more committed to than ever.  I can think of nothing more important than Brandon leading our family in devotions and prayer.  We are making a point to do this as a family; reading from our Jesus Storybook Bible, sharing how we need God's help to learn from each story, sharing how we can pray for each other and praying for others.  We are ending our story time with singing together.  I am blessed to have almost 30 years of investment in my music archive.  I want to sing songs over my children that say true, great, and praiseworthy things about God.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
(Ephesians 5:15-21 ESV)