Friday, April 30, 2010

Chad’s 29th Birthday… again!

Today, the love of my live is turning 29... kind of.  (This weekend, I mentioned that to my mom, and Gabe overheard.  When I got off the phone he asked, "How can Daddy and your Mom be the same age?"  I tried to explain that when people turn 29, that age lasts for a LONG time... but he looked at me like I was crazy.  Ha!)

Anyway, before we got married, I made Chad this book full of all the things I loved about him-- I wrote a different thing on every page and mounted them on pretty paper:

Chad is NOT a words person- so really, he didn't appreciate it like he should.  But he did say one thing that has stuck with me- He said, "that's funny, because you won't always love all these things about me".

And he was right... some of the things I used to love now drive me crazy!

So, in honor of his birthday, I decided to make a list of the things I used to love but don't so much appreciate anymore... (if this sounds mean, keep reading!)

Things that made the original list, but now have been cut:

#1. I love how you always rub your feet on each other- even in your sleep.

(I do NOT love this, now that I sleep with you.  It wiggles the whole bed and makes me unable to sleep!)

#2. I love how you pretend to not pay attention to me, but really you are paying attention.

(No, I do not love this.  Why can't you just pay attention and give me signs that you're paying attention?  AND for the record, I'm no longer convinced that you were really ever paying attention- I think I was just naive.)

#3. I love that when you get passionate about something that it's all you think and talk about.

(This is a funny one because I still LOVE that you dream and are passionate about things- but we've got a lot going on around here and a one track mind just doesn't cut it!)

#4. I love that you always say we are on our first date.

(I still think this is funny, but when I'm pregnant or toting a baby around, I get really embarrassed!  Or when you say it and a waitress looks at my ring finger and notices that I'm "married" I feel like I need to explain that I'm not really cheating.  So, funny? Yes! Love?  Not so much. Embarassing? 100% of the time!)

The book has 80 things in-- so removing 4 in 2+ years, isn't so bad, right?

AND there are many new things that I've discovered about my man in those years that need to be added to the list!  He is the most incredible Dad, he is more patient that I ever imagined, he can make me laugh even when I'm ticked at him, He is very forgiving and loving, regardless of what I've got going on, he is ALWAYS willing to help me, He has the best curls and he's grown them out for me, He'll clean the kitchen when I ask and does a GREAT job, he's so handsome and I love walking in somewhere with him, and He is my very best friend in the entire world.

I've got it made people- and no, you can't have him.

We're going on a hot date tonight to celebrate his birth, but I want to say publicly that I'm SO glad God made him and I'm so glad he was born! And so that I don't make his ears bleed, I'll sing here instead:

"Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to My Chad, Happy Birthday to you!  I love you!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Porcupine Museum

My Dad has two very endearing descriptions of me:  the first is that I'm as cuddly as a porcupine, and the second is that I'm a museum and that means you can look but don't touch.  And while I'd love to dispute these statements, it's actually pretty true.  I'm not sure why this is-- it's not like I don't like people or I'm afraid of germs or anything.  I'm just not touchy.  I think it's because I'm too busy and always too forward thinking to sit and cuddle.  I'm that friend that always make a "hello hug" really awkward, because it's always an afterthought once I've realized that someone is going in for the hug, and I try to react- but because I don't think about it, I'm not quick enough, and hence, the awkward situation.  And then, once the visit is over, I don't think to hug, and so I find myself in yet another awkward situation.

Now don't get me wrong.  I love affection from my Hubby-- although, I've missed several opportunities because I'm "busy".  And I often need a good hug or a quick snuggle, but then I'm off again-- and if Chad holds me up, I get frustrated.  Poor guy-- he can't win for losing.  When Gabe was little, he used to ask, "Will you snuggle me up?"  And we could never tell those eyes no about something that cute, so we'd crawl into bed with him and snuggle until he dozed off.  This has now become a staple phrase in our house whenever someone needs some lovin-- I ask Chad sometimes or Gabe, and they'll come sit with me.  And it's great.  Until I've had my 5 minutes of affection- then I'm done.  Please know that I do realize this is really weird.  I'm sounding more and more like a love 'em and leave 'em type of girl, ha!

Humorous.  Kind of.  Until I realized that I passed this trait along to my Max.  Boo.  I have a child that does NOT want to be cuddled.  He doesn't snuggle in for a good napping session or want to be hugged or snuggled up. But he does insist on being held (by me). He wants to be carried around life, so he can see everything and grab everything and help me with everything, but he doesn't appreciate my affections.  This really bothers Chad- I think because Gabe will still come sit with Chad, all snuggled up for an entire tv show or movie.  Gabe wants to be touching whenever he's near you.  But not Max.

Max's lack of affection does kind of make me sad too-- but I take it where I can get it.  When he sees me after not seeing- even if it's only been 30 minutes, I get one big BUT super quick hug.  And he still loves to be semi-snuggled up when he has his bottles. But that's about it.

So this past week, we have experienced quite the phenomenon over here at the Porcupine Museum.  Max has WANTED to be rocked multiple times this week and he has allowed me to sing and cuddle him to sleep.  I repeat, I have gotten to snuggle my baby up MANY times this week and I've loved every precious nano-second of it.  He laid his head on my chest, with his arms wrapped around me and mine wrapped around him, and back and forth we went until sleep took over.  And then I sat there and basked in the wonderfulness of the moment for a LONG while!  Ahhhhhhh!  I hope heaven is like that.

When Max was a newborn, he would fall asleep in my arms momentarily, and it required holding him super tight against your body to get him to stop fighting and fall asleep. (The sleeper hold?!)  But seriously, maybe 5 times in his life.  He has always preferred his bed.  And I know to some degree, I created that, because I was so insistent on teaching him to be a good sleeper, without sleep props, with the ability to fall asleep on his own.  But apparently, it's a catch 22.  Because while it is great to have a baby who can be laid in bed when it's nap time or bed time and he goes to sleep, it's really sad to have such a cutie that won't be rocked or cuddled.  Until THIS week.


Pure bliss.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about gleaning...

According to

glean- (verb)

1. to gather slowly and laboriously, bit by bit.

2. to gather (grain or the like) after the reapers or regular gatherers.

3. to learn, discover, or find out, usually little by little or slowly.

In the bible, God uses "gleaning" to cross Ruth's path with Boaz and he takes care of her and provides for her.  I love the story of Ruth, and what God did in her heart and in her life, through her faith and love, as she clings to her marriage (and mother-in-law), in spite of her husband's death.

And I think I'm in a gleaning stage of life- that is learning and discovering how to be the wife, mother, and woman that God's called me to be, little by little, by watching some incredible women.  The key is "little by little or slowly"- although I do wish there was a manual!

Instead of the manual, God graced me with the opportunity to live a life among these women, who are a few steps ahead of me.  According to Proverbs 31:25, a wife of noble character is clothed with strength and dignity- and while the list may be long of women who meet this requirement, let me tell you about 5 who continue to shape my life:

1. Kellee- she was my small group leader when I was in high school and has continued to be a spiritual catalyst for me since the day I met her.  I admire her marriage, how she raises her kids, her heart for The Lord, her search for Truth, and her loyalty and love for me and my heart.  I love her whole family and have learned more from doing life with her than I can ever put into words. Kellee is also incredibly generous.  I've been gleaning from Kellee for 10+ years and counting...

2. Stephanie- I didn't meet Stephanie until I had graduated college, at which point she had 4 kids under the age of 5.  She walked with me through a tough time and instilled in me a desire to memorize scripture.  She really stressed the importance of hiding truth in your heart and mind to fight temptation.  Her and her husband have an incredible relationship, and amazing kids.  They are great hosts and full of love and laughter. I really look up to her as a mother, wife, and Christ-follower. One of my favorite things about Stephanie is her balance- she is an incredible homemaker and cook, yet always has time to play with her kids and go on dates with her husband. I've been gleaning from Stephanie for 4+ years and counting...

3. Cherie- I work with Cherie and I haven't known her very long and I honestly don't know the ins and outs of her life but there are a couple facets of her life that I get to see on a daily basis that inspire me as a woman.  First of all, she is more competent, responsible, and reliable than any other person I've ever worked with.  And I've never met anyone as quick to admit their mistakes and own up to them as Cherie.  She also runs like a crazy person, marathons- like even when it's her birthday and the temperatures are so negative that your snot will freeze to your face, in the wee hours of the morning.  She really strives to take care of her body without freaking out about calories and food and such- she's all about "moderation" and looks awesome!  I saw her at the gym once and thought she was 20- but really she has 2 kids my age!  She speaks very highly of her children and her husband and would do anything for them.   I've been gleaning from Cherie for 1+ year and counting...

4. Mamaw- I am a lot like Mamaw, but not in a clash/ head butting way.  We both love stories and control and planning and bossing and talking. (My poor mom talks to both of us several times a week: Mamaw is talky talky and I’m chatty Cathy, and then we both ask about the other and keep up through my mom, aka the middle man!) My Mamaw is obviously the matriarch of our family- and she's incredible at it!  She keeps up with birthdays and cards and sizes for tons of us!  She is a strong woman with a heart for The Lord and my Papaw.  But recently, I've been blessed enough to watch her fight cancer with the strength and dignity of a Godly woman.  I admired her before, but oh my word, she shot through the roof in admiration points over the past couple months.  Through chemo and surgery, she has always had an Upward view and never stopped praying big.  I've been gleaning from Mamaw for 26+ years and counting...

5.My Mom- My mom is an incredible woman who loves the Lord, my Dad, and all three of us kids (plus Chad now :)).  When she puts her mind to something, she does it.  She never stops serving people, no matter how busy she is, and she is a great cook and makes her home (and mine!) beautiful!  My mom is also a great housekeeper- and isn't afraid to tell me things that she wished she had done differently so that I can learn from them.  And my mom is incredibly smart. I talk to my mom ALL the time- I can tell her anything and know that she still loves me.  She is my mom, my role model, and my friend.  THEN I had Max- and now so she has fallen head over heels with my son- and even though I pick on her and say "what about me"-- or "remember me"-- when she calls/ emails/ texts wanting to know about him 24/7, I secretly love how much she loves him.  It just makes me giddy and proud! There is just something endearing and bonding about being a mom and having my mom go through it with me and love him like crazy. I've been gleaning from my mom for 26+ years and counting...

SO these 5 women continue to shape my life without really even trying- I just get to watch and learn and admire.  It's incredible and I'm so thankful for theirs lives and their wisdom.

** Note- I have other amazing women in my life as well, such as my mother-in-law and my other grandmother- but in this season of my life, these are the 5 I'm really gleaning from.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Beth Moore follow up

Due to a busy weekend, I'm just now getting around to my follow-up post.  But as suspected, it was awesome!  I've got to be honest that there wasn't anything that was "new" news, but Beth just has a way with communicating the Truth.  She can take God's word and say it just like you need to hear it, and all of sudden, your eyes are opened to things in a whole new light.

One of the things that struck me was something she said about guilt- she said that guilt is the most powerful tool that the enemy will use against us.  And that guilt breeds insecurity.  That's because, in order to be secure, you must know that someone unfailingly loves you.  That someone is God- but if you feel guilty for something in your past, to the degree that you can't believe that God loves you, in spite of you and has forgiven you- then you're missing his unfailing love and therefore you're missing out on being secure, as well.  And in that one insecurity, you give satan a foothold that can ruin your life.

This struck me for many reason- for friends dealing with turmoil, for myself processing through brokenness, but largely for my children.  I know of several people who feel guilt that there parents heaped on them- it's like their parents used "guilt" as a form of behavior manipulation- and it's stuck with them.  In adulthood, they've never felt guilt-free or accepted for that matter-- so they can't fathom that God can love them fully.

So, for me, as a mom, I've begun processing what this looks like.  How do I explain and teach our boys that God wants us to do the right thing and that it's important to do the right thing- but when we do NOT do the right thing, God still loves us?  I know our sin hurts God, but turning from our sin is reason for rejoicing.  So how do I explain that to a kid?  It's deep.  But I think it's important to live in Truth- 100% of the time, but also to know that when they abide in Christ, there is ALSO grace 100% of the time.  It isn't 50/50-- it's all truth (sin is wrong and hurtful) and all grace (but by the blood of Christ, you're forgiven and accepted) all the time.

Dear Lord, I pray that you use me to teach my kids that they are fully loved and accepted by you and that they begin to believe this and live this, at a young age.  I pray that they know your unfailing love before they are too old to over think it and bring guilt into it- and that they find freedom and security there.  And God, while I'm at- allow me to be in on those teachings so that I too, will live as your daughter, loved and treasured by you, the King of Kings- despite my many short comings!  Thank you for your amazing love.  Thank you for giving me a reason, the reason,  to be secure.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cry Sessions

When I have a meltdown for no obvious reason, Chad calls it "getting my cry on".  He says that there are just pent up tears that must escape in the form of an emotional break down. Luckily, since going through child birth, those occurrence are a LOT less frequent and when they happen, can usually be attributed to lack of sleep, God working in my heart, something to do with Max, or a combination of the 3.  The best news is that it is rarely aimed at Chad anymore, and he usually escapes unscathed.

But in the words of my husband, do you need to get your cry on?

If so, follow these directions:

1. Put on some comfy clothes.

2. Put your child to bed. (If you don't have a child, use someone else's that you love dearly.)

3. Once said child is asleep, sneak in their room and watch them sleep for few minutes.

4. While standing there, recount all the many blessings that Jesus has heaped on your life through said child.

5. Leave the room, go to your computer and watch this video:

6. Cry and pray for said child.

7. Finish crying and blow your nose.

8. Go watch said child sleep some more.

9. Leave their room again, and write the child a letter about your prayers over them.

10. Cry a little more. Then be done.

Ok, so did you get your cry on?

I did.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Bud Light Dilemma

My parents live in downtown Indianapolis and my Dad manages to get tickets (usually good ones) to every sporting event within a 2 hour radius of the city.  This includes tickets to the Final Four, among other things.  The Friday before the Final Four games, my Dad and his buddy went to the "fan experience" while on a mission to find famous people.  Part of the fan experience was free gifts and hand outs, including these:

This wouldn't be a big deal except that we arrived for our Easter visit the same night that my Dad got the beads which means that Max inherited the beads.  And Max immediately took to the beads and wouldn't part with them. This would also not be a big deal- in normal circumstances- because babies sleep a lot and you can just get rid of things that you don't want them playing with during this time.  But Max LOVES necklaces- which leads me to my dilemma.

I am in the midst of re-claiming my body and my style, post-baby.  I'm doing the best I can not to wear mom jeans (EVER), and I'm aspiring to cut down on my weekly pony tail count.  Another things I'm finally doing again is accessorizing- which includes necklaces.  BUT I am a mom to a slobbery, teething, busy, little boy who loves necklaces.  And not just loves to look at them- if he spots me wearing one, he must be in my arms immediately, holding the necklace (choking me) and putting it in his mouth simultaneously. Did I mention that he's teething?

After a couple seconds of gnawing, there is a small puddle forming on my chest and it begins evolving into a lake at a very rapid rate. And I'm just going to be honest and tell you that sometimes I don't care at all and I have no shame in having a huge slobber print in the middle of my chest, in spite of how disgusting this might be to everyone around me, including my husband (a.k.a. the father of this child).  I've left church several Sundays in a row with one.  Mainly because I get to have good meaningful conversations, while holding my baby, if he's busy chewing on my necklace.

BUT certain situations do not allow for a grown woman to have drool on the front of her shirt.  So I kept the Bud Light necklace. (Don't judge me.) And I let Max chew on it- and I let him take it in public if I'm wearing a necklace that he can't chew on- and people give me dirty looks.  But I don't care- because I had a dilemma, I accessed the situation and decided that I could handle my 8 months on wearing blue and orange on a Bud Light necklace a lot better than I could handle him wearing another form of blue and orange and uttering some trashy statement like "Go Gators."

So enjoy the necklace big guy, it's the only blue and orange you'll ever own- and in the meantime, I'll appreciate my dry shirts.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Sinful Nature

If you've ever questioned whether we, as people, really have a sinful nature, then my guess is that you haven't spent much time with children.  Max in his measly first 8 months of life has already shown his strong will and selfishness. Several times.  I like to call it other things- you know, cute things or shrug it off as him being a baby, but the truth is that before long we will be working to teach him right from wrong, shape his heart, and even disciplining him :(

According to the Bible, the fruits of the spirit are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. But my sweet, adorable, precious baby, in all his infinite 35 weeks of life's wisdom, struggles with some of those already.

Let me say that patience is something I struggle with and managed to pass along to my son rather quickly.  Max already likes to demonstrate that it's his way or the highway and you will HEAR about it if he doesn't get his way.  (His Dad keeps saying "We need to nip this in the bud right now"- and I agree... except that I think we'll be "working" on this one for the next 18 years or so.... give or take.) And although he isn't quite old enough for play dates at this point, his interaction with other babies/ toddlers is quite entertaining as he has decided that sharing isn't something he wants to be associated with.

Yes, Max does have a big brother, but for a good portion of the time, while Gabe is at his mom's house, Max is an only child and also has many of the characteristics of "first child syndrome".  I, too, have that syndrome- and can honestly say that in Max, I have met my match!  I love it and hate it all at the same time, but I look forward to me and him learning to be more like Jesus together, so that we both can possess the characteristics of Christ.

On Monday, my friend Jill's sister was having her 4th baby, so Hudson, Jill's son came to our house to hang out for a while. Max loves watching older kids, and really enjoyed following Hudson around with his eyes and watching his every move.  (I was hoping that this would encourage Max to crawl, so he could keep up, but no such luck.) Hudson is 21 months old and a smart kid. He also loves being outside, so I got the key and opened the back door to our fenced in yard so that he could come and go while Max and I followed him around.  Hudson did some chores before coming back inside:

Once outside time was over, I locked the door and took the key out.  Immediately Hudson wanted the key, so I handed it to him.  He carried it around, and even held it while he ate his yogurt. (The key is in the big glop of yogurt on his tray.)

He played lock the door for a while before coming over to peek on Max.  He really liked "Beebe Makt" and would bring him things to play with.

Hudson, being the sweet boy that he is, then decided to climb up in the chair with Max.  And then the chaos ensued.  See for yourself:

[caption id="attachment_236" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Hudson: "Hey Max, check out this key""][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_237" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Max: "Oh cool, can I snatch it out of your hand?""][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_238" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Hudson: "No thanks, I'd like to keep playing with it- there's still some yogurt that needs to be licked off.""][/caption]


Max continued to lose his mind, and almost threw himself off the couch and onto the floor.  I tried to distract him with every means possible- but I didn't give him the key.  Everything finally calmed down, for a time, and then Max was diverted to nap time.

I look at these pictures and laugh.  Which is the main reason I'm sharing this.  I even laughed yesterday as it was happening. Watching the meltdown was humorous for sure. But in the back of my mind, I'm well aware of what's lurking for me right around the corner.... a decisive and determined toddler which only leads to the invincible teenager.  And I tell you what, I'm gonna need me a big huge dose of Jesus, if we both want to come out alive. Unfortunately, sin is something that we will face for the rest of our time here on earth- and the flesh is weak.  But fortunately, Jesus conquered it all, already.  So now, it's up to me to abide in Him and model that for my beautiful blue-eyed punkin head. I mean let's be honest- God already took sin, Satan, and temptation and squished it like a bug.  Now, in the words of UNK, let's walk it out.

I have no idea where that came from- but I think certain unedited portions of the blog are necessary for you to fully understand my brain (and sympathize with my husband).


** Without getting into a theological discussion I want to point out that I believe the Bible makes it very clear that each individual person has to choose to accept Jesus as their Savior, and believe in the Truth of the Gospel, and that it isn't until that point that we receive the Holy Spirit, through which we gain access to fruits of the Spirit. With that being true, Max obviously is not capable of receiving Christ and submitting to His Lordship, and therefore does not have access to the fruits of the Spirit. He IS a baby for crying out loud. But he does indeed already have a sinful nature about him, and he is mess for sure!)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TMI?! The Nursing Edition

Max didn't have any formula until he was 5 months old.  At that point, I tried it one night and he slept through the night on the very first try, for the very first time.  From that point forward, his last bottle of the day was always formula, and he nursed for all other meals.  This worked well, for a while... then Max started getting nosy.  And every little creek the house made, or sound Chad made- even from across the house- he would pop off and have to sit up and look around until he was "satisfied" with what he saw.  It's like all of a sudden he realized there was a world out there- even when he was eating- and he had to make sure he wasn't missing anything.  This made the whole feeding time take FOREVER.  The baby only ate for about 10-12 minutes, total, and has since he was a couple weeks old- but add in a dose of nosy Nelly, and we'd be there for 30 minutes.  Not ok.  So with the nosy came the formula feedings when we were anywhere except our house.  That got us through the next couple months.

Then around 7 months, I decided that I was DONE pumping-- as in not doing it again, I didn't care what you said!  So Max had a formula bottle with Maggie during the day and then a formula bottle at night to ensure sleep.  Mom supplied the rest.

That lasted until a couple days ago when Max's tooth broke... and he started biting.  Um, holy many words strung together that I do not normally say.  Painful. Ouch! YOWCH!  So I started contemplating "the wean".  And honestly, thanks to the "bite"- I wasn't sad about it.  I felt really good about how long we'd made it nursing, I knew it was a win for his immune system and I also knew that my immune system couldn't help his immune system anymore, since that benefit ends at 6 months.  I also loved the simplicity of formula.  I didn't have to worry about temperature or storage or privacy, etc.... Plus, Max is going to stay with my parents for a couple nights in June, so that Chad and I can go to an out of town wedding, so he had to be done by then anyway.

Well sometime between 7pm on Saturday night and 7am on Sunday morning, Max decided he was done.  He would have NOTHING to do with nursing when he woke up and has stuck with it ever since.  Nothing like a little determination... except that it broke my heart!  I thought I was "ready"- or at least "ok"- but it was all a lie.  I love that time together- especially first thing in the morning when he's so happy and smile-y and hungry.  But no more.  He's over "my girls" and onto other things-- although this does not include other "girls" until he is married.  But I will wait a week or two to have that conversation with him.

So although I protested, my baby is only drinking formula... before I know it, he'll be drinking real milk- yikes.  I can't handle this.  I don't even want to think about what comes after that.

Has anybody found that "pause" button, yet?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Max is 8 months- 2/3 of the way to 1!

My Max is 8 months old today!  It is flying by and I'm loving every minute of it! This post is going to be all about him, his stories, his milestones, and his daily life.

Max is finally a good sleeper-- he's stubborn and independent and strong-willed, just like his mother, so when he decides to do something, he's all in- but not a minute before he's ready.  He sleeps 12 hours at night without us hearing a peep from him, and about 4-5 hours during the day.  I know in my head that it took a long time to get here, but I honestly cannot remember what the sleepless night were like.  At 5 months, a light switch went off and he's been catching zzzzz's like a champ ever since.  And before that, I got up once a night for a 10 minute feeding- not chatting, hanging out, socializing, or even diaper changing. Therefore, I honestly think having another baby sounds like an awesome idea.

Max takes baths every other day and LOVES them.  He likes to sit in the bath for a majority of the time, but if I get him out without laying him back so he can kick and splash water all over me, he does not appreciate it.  Regardless of what toys I put in the bath tub, he'd rather play with his brother's shampoo and soap.  I guess all the advice about not needing half the stuff you get is more true than I realized.  Max also has eczema- but if we slather him with baby Aveeno lotion, all is well with his skin.

Max eats 3 meals a day, and has a bottle 4 times a day. (He just weaned himself this weekend, but that'll be explained in tomorrow's post...) He LOVES food and I've started putting bite size pieces of things on his tray.  He does a pretty good job with this, but still expects a full bowl of mushy food when he's done with the bites.  The upside is the bites give me more time to get stuff done in the kitchen- like, persay, dinner.  His father appreciate this :)  Max is a piggy, but this makes me happy.  Unfortunately his metabolism is like his father so I have to work really hard for any chunkiness that he has.  I ordered a fat, curly headed baby, but God decided I needed Max instead.  I've accepted it and decided I would keep him!!  At breakfast he eats oatmeal, applesauce and prunes, or yogurt, apples sauce and prunes.  At lunch, he eats at least half a banana and green veggies- like green beans or peas, and sometimes avocado too.  At dinner, he eats pears, whole brown rice, and orange veggies like squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots.  I still make all his baby food from ogranic, fresh stuff and I'm still trying to make it to his first birthday without any sugar.  That even goes for the yogurt which means his eats the  nastiest, sour yogurt, but with enough applesauce mixed in, he thinks it's awesome!

[caption id="attachment_213" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Trying to become "King of The Remote" already!"][/caption]

Max wears size 3 diapers, and size 12 month clothes.  His feet are the 6-12 months in length BUT his feet are SO thin that I could fold his shoes in half around his foot.  But if I'm honest, baby feet are so stinking cute and he's 10 times faster at taking shoes off than I am at putting them on, that as long as he's not walking, I'm pretty sure bare feet are going to work for us this summer.  Speaking of walking, the child isn't even crawling.  He's scoot to things as needed but only if they're in his vicinity-- I mean really in his vicinity- like maybe 4 inches away.  This is mainly because we all do what he says and he's the only baby around our house, so as far as he's concerned, there is a Mommy, Daddy, Gabe, or Maggie (his sitter) to do things for him.  This goes for holding his bottle too.  My mom tells me that my baby brother waited until he was a year old to crawl and decided to just go ahead and walk the next day.  There is less wear and tear on the knees that way, so whatever happens, works for me!

Max is NOT a snuggler unless you're giving him a bottle, but he does still like to be held and carried around.  I take what I can get.  He's also is very nosy (again, his mother is to be thanked for this lovely trait) so he'll reach for anything and everything, which includes diving out of your arms and scaring the "carrier" half to death.  Thank you Jesus, there have been no major injuries, head bonks, or blood in his first 8 months.  Although I thought he was getting a tooth months ago, my pediatrician informed me that that was a white cyst on his gums which are apparently normal and a false alarm.  He also tells me that is good news because the later they get their teeth, the healthier the teeth are-- hopefully this counts for the tooth he just cut last week!  His first one poked through on Monday night, and let me be the first to tell you, it is indeed, sharp.

Maggie comes to love on Max Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings- he loves her and she loves him and it's just an awesome set- up for Mom too.  He has yet to spend the night away without us, and has only had one night without me, and Dad held down the fort.  Max loves being outside, riding in his stroller, walking around, going to the park, sitting the grass, eating sticks, going to Gabe's soccer games, and many other fun things.  He has had his first couple application of sunscreen over the past couple weeks and has demonstrated that if a baby licks the sunscreen off his mom's hands while she's applying, he will not get sick or appear to be affected at all.  Max and Dad do fun things together- they already to beginner's wrestling on the bed, channel surfing, and lots of laughing.  I'm sure they do lots of other things that mom's aren't allowed to know about, too... lucky for me, Max will be talking and outing them before too long :)

[caption id="attachment_212" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Max helping with yard work today"][/caption]

Max's normal schedule

Wakeup between 7-7:30am

Bottle #1 followed by breakfast

Nap at 8:30am (1 1/2 hours)

Bottle #2 followed by lunch at 11:00am

Nap at 11:30 (1 1/2 hours)

Bottle #3 at 3:00

Nap at 3:30 (this nap is usually the "short" nap)

Dinner at 6:00

Bath, pj's, bottle, song, prayers, bed at 7/7:30pm

I should also mention that Max is VERY flexible!  The above schedule is ideal- but if we're not home for naps, or if we're running around like crazy, or have people over, or eat late, he's the same happy little camper.  If he decides to "lose it", it usually lasts about 5 minutes, then he bounces back.  I can say that with the pace of life around our neck of the woods, I could not ask for a better trait in a baby and I really hope this carries over to the rest of his life as well! This laid back attitude about his schedule is definitely from his father- I wish I could take credit for this but I can't!

Max is very active, and makes lots of sounds (Da, Ba, Mama, Heh, Beh, etc...) he waves hi and bye, signs "more", claps for himself when you sign "all done", lift his arms up when he wants to be help, and he's working on blowing kisses with me and giving high fives with Dad.  He loves singing and dancing and he is a mama's boy.  I DON'T hate that- let me just tell you.  He is also very loved.  I just can't get enough of that little boy.  I never imagined that I could feel this way- it's a love that can't be described until you do it- it magical and perfect and humbling and wonderful- all at the very same time.  He is truly one of God's best gifts to me, and I am so thankful for this addition to my life.  The Lord is teaching me so many things through motherhood, and I'm so glad he chose me to be Max's mom.  I'm honored to do the job.

[caption id="attachment_215" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="He can DESTROY his bumper, even though is it attached to his bed, in a matter of seconds if he has decided that he is done being in bed."][/caption]

Sunday, April 18, 2010

So Long Insecurity

I have 12 pounds to go and then I'll be at my wedding day weight.  And that is a great thing.  I look at my wedding pictures and think "What the heck happened to me?"  And it wasn't just the prego/ having a baby thing-- I married Chad and got a little too happy and a little too confident and started liking my time in the kitchen a little too much, and before I knew, I was carrying around about 10 extra lbs.  This wasn't a huge deal- I was a little on the "thinner" side of my weight/ height bracket before, according to outsiders, so really, it was fine.

But I was married for all of about 5 months when I started growing our little human (aka pregnancy) and I really took that job seriously!  I was ALL about natural child birth and everything any books that supported natural child birth said- which included eating a TON of protein.  Which isn't a bad thing necessarily- but I don't like the normal things people eat for protein, so I ate some (lots) really crazy (FATTENING) sugary (FATTENING) things, with TONS of calories.  Add in my over the top tiredness, leading to a lack of excercise, and before I reached my due date, I was Shamu.

[caption id="attachment_205" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="This is ON my due date. Can you say, "Moo"?"][/caption]

(I don't think this picture does justice to the ham hocks, previously known as my upper arms, and my chicken legs turned thunder thighs.)

Well anyway, I finally got my booty in gear after the first of the year and started eating better and exercising- which yes, you can do both of those things with a baby and while nursing, even though I tried to convince myself otherwise.  And the lbs started falling off... mid-March I got a little distracted and started adding some back on, and now, again, I'm making progress.

So, what the heck is my point?  Well believe it or not, it isn't the number on the scale.  My point is that somewhere along the way, I started finding my worth in that number on scale.  Or really, thinking I'd have more worth, with a smaller number on the scale.  Since becoming a Mom, my "insecurity" level has shot through the roof.  I worry WAY more about what people think about my parenting style, my new and unimproved "lack of" clothing style, my mommy gut, what my child can and can't do vs. other children his age, what my husband thinks about me and how I look, and on and on and on.  And why do anything of these things bring me worth? I have no idea.  But for some reason, I think my "value" lies among them.  (As I type this, I realize how ridiculous this sounds, but it's still very much true.)

I started reading Beth Moore's "So Long Insecurity" a couple weeks ago.  I'm really enjoying it, although how much time I can spend reading without my eyes sinking shut has been radically reduced in the past 8 months. (Thank you motherhood!)  I will eventually finish the book.  But something startling happened in chapter 3 that really opened my eyes-- I won't go into the how it happened, but I will tell you that what I figured out is that I truly believe that I'll be "happier" and "better" and "secure" once my weight is back to it's old number.  I was telling my friend Anna about this (who is also reading the book), and she asked me if I was happier and more secure when I was skinny.  At that point, my eyes flew open because I've NEVER thought I was skinny.  So therefore, I've never been "happy" or "secure", according to my own rules.  Which, if this remains true, means I still won't be secure in my skin 12 lbs less from now.  Um, problem?  Yes, I think so!  Major insecurity?  A million times, YES!

But good news for all those in my life or effected by me and my "issues"-- less than a week from today, I will be aBeth Moore's conference for the WHOLE dang day.  Which also means, due to self-inflicted goals, that her book that I mentioned above will be completely finished!  And if there is one thing I know about Beth Moore, it the fact that her only source of Truth and therefore, self-worth come from The Bible.  And knowing what I know about my good friend Jesus, there in lies the end if my own personal lies about weight, and my freedom from this stupidity.

I'm really looking forward to this conference for many reasons.  First of all, it is a whole day to focus on me and God- much needed rival for my soul!  Secondly, I know I can't be a good mom or mentor for young girls if I talk the "Jesus made you and loves you just as you are and God thinks you're worth his son's life talk" if I can't walk that same darn walk. Thirdly, how draining is a wife that looks to her husband to supply her self-worth?  And lastly, I get to worship and learn and study with other women- how refreshing and encouraging!

More details to come...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What Life Would’ve Been Like

Last week, our sitter and her husband were at my house when I got home from work.  They were in the youth group that I worked with for several years, so they knew my "back story".  They knew me before I knew Chad and Gabe, and before the thought of a "Max" even existed.  Josh, our sitter (Maggie's) husband, started asking me questions about my past.  He wanted to know what led me to North Metro (the church I mentioned above) and why I chose that job over another... and then and there started my trip down memory lane.

Because I was "in love" when I started my post- college graduation job search, I didn't necessarily make my own decisions about my career.  Unfortunately (fortunately), my heart dictated the majority of those decisions.  I stayed in state and took a job at a church and bought a barely used car from my parents.  Not long after that, I got engaged, signed a lease for an apartment with said fiance, while living with my parents until the wedding, and my life started down life's road.... only to encounter a road block:  BREAK- UP!  Mid- engagement, I called off the wedding, and dealt with several  (MANY) months of a broken heart and re-grouping.

With the re-grouping came un-doing and then re-doing life, so that it would be my own.  I got my own apartment, my own style, my own eating and work-out regime, my own cleaning supplies and vacuum cleaner, my own bills, and my own dog. And after much taunting from my friend and co-worker who should remain nameless, I bought my very first car on my own- my dream car- from a dealership, brand new, smelled like heaven, straight off the lot.  This was second, only to my very improved intimate relationship with my friend Jesus.  (I knew Jesus before this debacle-- I just didn't know how much I NEEDED Jesus until this debacle-- it was the most wonderful and life-changing thing that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, and hope to never have again,  experience.)

Last week, my dream car did something it's never done before:

Me and that car have traveled and grown 75,000 miles worth!  Holy COW!  Since I got that car, God re-built my life and my heart, I met a guy (and his cute kid), we fell in love and got hitched, we bought a house, and had a baby, all while driving 75,000 miles.  So as I watched the odometer click over to 75000, I couldn't help but think how life would've been different had I chosen a slightly different path.

You see, the "fiance" I mentioned at the top pursued me when I wanted NOTHING to do with him- I even got another boy friend and told him about this new boo and the guy didn't care- he wouldn't stop.  He wore me down and I ended up dating him, which of course led to the whole mess I explained above.  BUT let's say I didn't do that-- let's say I stuck to my word and didn't everanswer the phone again when he called, like I had threatened- then I wouldn't have been in a relationship with him EVER! I would've taken a good paying job and moved to California post graduation- which means I would've never worked at the church that has led to some of my greatest and closest friendships, I would've missed the crying on the floor need God to breathe experience that led Him to actually getting to sit on the throne of my heart, I would've never met Chad (and therefore no Gabe) and I wouldn't have a Max.


Needless to say, I'm glad I answered my phone, disaster and all-- which is why I added the "(fortunately)" to the second paragraph above.  My little trip down memory lane was an incredible reminder of how God can make our messes into beauty-- even when we wind ourselves up in stupidity, sin, and bad decisions.  Look what He made out of my mess:

I'm so glad I got to think through what life would've been like, and I'm so glad it's not like that!  My life and my experiences and my family, all smooshed together, make for the most incredible blessings, and I'm so glad THIS is how I get to spend my time here on earth.  And hopefully, we're all bringing God much glory in the process.

Reader Update

For  any of you who read blogs through Google reader, or any other blog reader for that matter, I wanted to pass along some information.  This blog is a wordpress blog, and it is forwarded to my own site.  So, if you're having trouble adding my site to your reader, try the wordpress address, instead!


Please know that I am technically challenged, but I have friends who are not and they are helping me figure out this technical and uncharted territory.  Thanks :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why I Love Summer

Lord, have mercy!  Look at all that baby skin:

A year ago, this month, I had my first baby shower.  Wendy and Trisha Foster gave me this outfit and I've been waiting for months to put it on him.  And today was the day!  I am overcome with joy each and everytime I look at him, because of all that skin hanging out.  The rolls, the silky softness, ahhhh, yummy!

I could just eat him up with a spoon.  Baby skin, baby skin, and more baby skin.

And that is why I love summer.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring Break 2010

Better late than never, right?

Me and the boys had a great spring break.  We headed up to Indiana for the first half of the week to see my Mamaw and enjoy some time with my parents.  There were lots of fun things on the agenda, thanks to my mom!  She took time off work and had quite the agenda put together for us.  We took Gabe to The Children's Museum-- it was incredible!  I used to go with my grandparents when I was little, so there were lots of things that I remember from 15-20 years ago-- but they also really stepped it up and have tons of even more fun things to do.  The BIG hit was the Dinosaur exhibit.  Gabe wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up, so he was in Heaven!

[caption id="attachment_172" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Practicing for his future..."][/caption]

We also went to a real live dairy farm- Fair Oaks Farm.  This place was incredible.  I would've loved more time to read and watch and learn about all the things going on there, but a certain 7 year old and a certain 7 month old wanted to keep things moving.  This may sound gross, but we got to watch two calves being born.  It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.  Maybe because I have birthed my own baby, but I just sat there in awe watching as the mommy cow worked and worked, and then jumped into action to take care of her baby and clean it up, as soon as it was born.  We also had fresh ice cream and wonderfully yummy cheese made right there on the farm.  Honestly, this isn't really something I would be into-- even in the car on the way there, in my mind, we were going purely for Gabe, because it was something we thought he's enjoy.  But we all thoroughly enjoyed it- Max loved being outside, Gabe did every single fun thing at the farm, and me and my mom soaked it up too!

[caption id="attachment_173" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="My Mom and Max at our dairy picnic"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_174" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="It's a girl!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_175" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Gabe and Bessie"][/caption]

We also got to celebrate my mom's 29th birthday.  It really was a jam packed 4 days.  The boys had few naps and really spent very little time in bed altogether.  But there was so much going on, they never even had time to realize they were tired.  When we got in the car to leave, before we were even on the interstate, Gabe started having "leavers regret".  His voice got all squeaky and crackly and he said "I'm not ready to leave yet, that was too much fun."  I replied by telling him that I agreed but that he got to go on a great deep sea fishing trip with Daddy as soon as he got home.  I thought that was a great fix to the situation-- I mean he was going from one fun thing to the next, right?

Well that didn't cut it.  He sat there for a minute, and then said, "I wish  I was a robot, too-- then my robot could stay in Indiana and have all the fun here, and I could go fishing with Daddy."  My chest got tight.  He's seven and he already needs to duplicate himself?  He was already feeling the pressure of wanting/ needing to be in two places at once.  In this case, he didn't have a choice.  We were leaving, and he was going onto his next trip-- but I couldn't help but think about this feeling he was having (and expressing).  It was really sad to me that he already had that "I'm not ready for it to be over yet"departure, and that he was forward thinking enough to wish for a robot so he could have his cake and eat it too.  How can we teach this little man to be right where God has him?  How can we teach him to look back only for wisdom from experience, and to look forward with anticipation?  How can we teach him to be grateful for fun, wonderful, love-filled experiences, without being greedy and holding on too tightly?  I'm not good at this myself, so I don't know the answer yet- but I do know the One with the answers.  My prayer is that as I see glimpses of these grown up feelings and emotions in our little men, that we take the time to have the conversations and the teaching moments, and that I'm humble enough to learn right along with them.

[caption id="attachment_176" align="alignleft" width="276" caption="My mom and Max, at her birthday dinner- her first as a Grandma- she does it well, huh?"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_177" align="alignright" width="300" caption="My Dad and Max at the birthday dinner"][/caption]

An Introduction and Further Commentary

Slowly, I'm going to begin introducing some of my peeps.  Obviously my hott hubby Chad, and our boys, Gabe and Max make regular appearances as I re-tell our stories and the many lessons I'm learning, but I have some other key players as well, so I'll introduce one of them today:  Anna Louise McCulloch Prusa-- she's pivotal in my commentary below.

Anna and I were roommates in college.  We actually met through my random potluck freshmen roommate and knew of each other for several months before we began hanging out.  She was one of those people that God puts in your life just at the right time and has just been there ever since.  We graduated college on the same day, got engaged at the same time (she actually married the guy she was engaged to, I did NOT... but we'll save that story for another time....) got pregnant with our first children within about 6 months of each other, and both moved to Woodstock, GA with our little families.  Our husbands get along great, we love each other's kids, we share a sweet Jesus, and we're just the kind of friends that you keep forever and ever and can tell really embarrassing or immature or sinful things to and know you're still loved.  She's one of my "if she's going down, I'm going down with her" kind of friends.  Her husband is Robert (I actually went to college with him too and got the watch their whole courtship, engagement, and now marriage, in action!) and her sweet little baby is Elizabeth Grace, who was 1 in March.  I'll link you over to her blog... but more as an inspiration for her to actually blog, because there isn't much there for you to read....

[caption id="attachment_165" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Meet Elizabeth Grace"][/caption]

Anyway, while I was hanging out with Anna this weekend, she commented on my "Irrational Fear" post and mentioned that I seemed to leave an essential part out!  And it's true... you see, I could've/ should've ended that post with the power of Jesus and how I need NOT be scared of those nasty things.  I know this is true-- and I even typed an amazing ending about not needing to worry or fear, and how Jesus has conquered it all.  But then I deleted it.  Why?  Because I'm just not there yet.  Now that doesn't not mean that Jesus is not all of those things- He most certainly is-- and if I was more mature, then I'd be able to choose that and live it.  But like I said, I'm just not there yet.  But Jesus is bigger than my stubborn, scared heart and can and will bring me to the end of myself and therefore the end of my fear.  And I hope He does-- but I also hope it doesn't involve me and a S-N-A-K-E or my baby and one.  I'm not sure what'd be worse.  But in the meantime, He loves me anyway, just as I am-- how amazing and grace-filled is that?

A side note:  Elizabeth Grace came over for a good portion of Saturday to hang out with me and Max while her parents got to go to the Masters.  Max had his first demonstration of selfishness when Elizabeth Grace picked up one of his rings:

[caption id="attachment_167" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Max: "Hey, that's mine?""][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_168" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Elizabeth Grace: "So what, I'm bigger""][/caption]

It looks like Max isn't ready to be a big brother for a while!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Irrational Fear

Yesterday, I drove in the car ALL day.  Chad flew home early (on Sunday) so that he could work and so it was just me and the boys... for over 9 hours in a car.  It was a LONG day, but we made it!  When we pulled in the driveway, Chad was out in the yard talking to our neighbors.  These are the neighbors that know all the "news" on the street.  They told us about burglaries, what people do, who lives where, how our yard used to look back in the days, etc...  I could only imagine what great information she was sharing with him now!

Once I got the car parked, the boys were more than ready to see their Daddy, and I started unloading.  Before I knew it, we were feeding kids, doing laundry, getting the boys bathed and to bed, then re-packing, because Chad and Gabe were heading out for a fishing trip first thing in the morning.  Before I knew it, I was crashing into bed when I remembered about the neighbor with the news and asked Chad what she had to say.

My husband says, "Oh nothing"

Ok, like any good wife, I didn't buy it.  So I pushed.  And pushed.  Until he told me: When our yard guy was cutting the grass, he ran over not one but two S-N-A-K-E-S.  I can't even say that word.  I am absolutely over the top petrified of those things.  I can't begin to rationalize or even explain the extent of this fear.  I once heard about one swimming up in the toilet  and biting someone on the booty while they went to the restroom, and I'll never go to the bathroom, ever, without turning on the light.  Even when I was pregnant and had to go a million times a night, I would turn on the light, and check the toilet before I went.  I can't watch tv if "they" are on there- not even cartoons- I won't even touch a plastic toy that is one and or a even a stuffed animal for that matter.  And this isn't like one of those funny fears that is good to use against a person, all jokey jokey.  I am over the top, freeze, faint, cry, yell and never get over it, scared of "them".

So, back to the news, about the things in our yard-- I tried to play it cool- and act nonchalant- but the keyword there is act.  I didn't sleep all night last night, because I was thinking about it.  As I sit here on the couch typing this, I want to pick my feet of the ground of my living room out of fear that one might be under the couch.  I will NEVER go in my back yard, I was scared to death as I carried Max down the driveway to check the mail, I'm afraid of our garage, and this is no exageration-- when I climbed in the car today (both times) I opened the door really slowly in case they had crawled up in the car.  Do you want to know the best part about this story?  I'm driving Chad's MONDO HUGE truck, because he took my on his fishing trip-- and like an s-word could crawl up in this:

So then, naturally, I started pondering "fear" and since having my Max, fear has taken over my life in a way that I can't comprehend.  I worry about really crazy over the top things.  I think through things that really shouldn't even be thought through.  And it may have started with the s-word thing.  Who knows.  When I was little, like maybe 5 years old, we were at Frank Lisk Park in North Carolina where I grew up.  It was a church pot luck picnic at the park, and the park ranger found a little green "thing" and started letting the kids hold it.  Nicole Shoemaker, a girl 2 years older than me, held it.  And the "thing" bit her-- and hung on her lip.  It might've only been for .02 seconds, but I can still see it in my head today.  And so I live in fear of those "things".

So because of something that happened over 20 years ago, I'm not sleeping.  This is nutty.  And I know it.  But I can't do anything about it.  And when it's time to begin addressing fear with Max, I'm going to be a pot calling the kettle black.  It's already started with Gabe-- Chad tries to walk him through his crazy fear of bugs- like any bugs- even nice, friendly bugs- and I try to help and have a good parenting moment- but the plank in my eye blocks me from having a good conversation with Gabe about the speck in his.  This is a parenting lesson I haven't quite learned.  But I'm working on it.  So tonight, I'm going to sleep. And tomorrow, I'll think about walking through the garage as a normal person. Maybe.  Dear God, please teach me to be a brave and courageous Mommy.

The post was heavy and scary.  So here are pictures of Max to brighten my mood :)

Oh those bring some happy!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter 2010

We had a really great Easter.  We got to spend it in Indiana with my family- including my parents, my middle brother, and my Mamaw and Papaw.  We went to my Mamaw and Papaw's church and then had a big extended family lunch at my uncle's house. This is our 3rd year in a row that we've done Easter Indiana-style, and this is the first time it was warm and sunny and beautiful.  There is just something about a beautiful Easter that does the heart good.

Easter is GREAT because my sweet sweet Jesus came to earth and lived a sinless life, then died on the cross to save me from my sins.  He did ALL of this while I was still a sinner- unclean and unworthy- but he saw I was in need of a Savior, so he met my need.  I do not deserve it, but I have eternal love from a perfect God, anyway. I've mentioned this before, but now that I'm a mother myself, I can NOT imagine giving up my own child for everyone elses mistakes- so now I am even more grateful for this unending and mercy-filled love The Father showed me.

It was really awesome to talk about Easter with Gabe this year- especially since this is his first Easter since asking Jesus into his heart.  He even got to take communion for the first time too.  What a cool conversation to get to have with such a little heart.  My prayer is that Max gets to that point too, at a young age.

Aren't these brothers so adorable?

(I'm sure this is one of the only years we'll get away with making them match!  Luckily Gabe is very easy to get along with and thinks Max is great... and Max thinks he's pretty darn awesome too.)

This is Gabe, Max, and Addie (My cousin, Natalie's little girl)

My brother Sam and Addie

Max's First Easter

My prayer is that you got a chance to think about what Easter is all about- our Jesus who rose from the dead for you and me- and the blessings that continue to flow from that unconditional love from our Heavenly Father.  Praise Him from whom ALL blessings flow! And if you don't know my friend Jesus, please let me know, I would LOVE to tell you about him!

Baby Brother’s Birthday

Ok, I'm way behind but I have many great stories and pictures to share, so I'll try to catch up!

On Thursday, me and the boys (but no Chad) drove to Athens just for the evening to celebrate my brother's birthday.  My baby brother is 22!  Holy cow. (Do people still say "Holy Cow"?) It was incredible weather and he's such a sweet Uncle, so we drove up just for dinner and went to Calientos- where we got to eat outside- and then to Marble Slab for dessert- YUMMY!

Of course for me, it was bitter sweet because I LOVE Athens and it reminds me of how much I loved being in school there myself.  The is just something awesome about The University of Georgia and being a dawg fan-- Gooooo dawgs-- add in some old football season memories and I'm drooling.  I tried to figure out a way to go back to college during my visit, but for some odd reason, I just don't think it'd be the same with a husband, a 7 year old, and a baby- what do you think?  So I guess I'll just settle for visits instead!

What's funny it that when I was there, I couldn't wait to be out of college, with a job, and living on my own.  Then when I lived on my own, I couldn't wait to get married, and then once I had my better half, I was wishing for a baby.  For some reason I just kept on wishing my life away!

But this is NOT the case with my brother, Eli.  He is in his senior year and will be a super senior next year.  He has a very difficult major, and although he came in with a bajillion credits, he still has to stay longer.  I think he has 5867 minors as well-- he's the kid the gives overachievers their bad rep.  He gets incredible grades, busts his butt over projects, will stay up all night to finish something- crazy kid- and still finds a way to get scholarships and jobs and have friends and a really funny roommate- I just love it.  I'm not sure how he does it, but he's super cute too.  I could learn a thing or two from him!

And while Eli may be a little dingy-- and he might have some Noblitt stubborn in him too-- maybe-- but he's always been incredible with kids.  And now, with my kids, it's like 10 times better.  He loves them to death- and they love him right back!

And yes- I am already training (brainwashing) both of them to be little bulldawgs!

Ok- now this next picture sequence is a before and after- and seriously- it's too good to be true.  But it is true.  I saw it with my very own eyes. This IS how they walked down Lumpkin.



Who knew behind the knee leg rolls could be so cute?

SO we really enjoyed celebrating with Eli, and the beautiful weather.  The boys were delightful even though we got in traffic on the way there- and I got another reminder of how precious life is right now, because before I know it, this too will be gone :(((  I'm taking notes from Eli's playbook and sticking around this stage for as LONG as I can.