Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jack William

Our jolly little guy just turned 2!!! This boy, let me tell ya'...........he is SOMETHING!! If you know our Jack you know that is the only way to describe him.

He cracks us up. We have to turn away often when trying to discipline him because he does something funny or unexpected.

For example, today I was I was kneeling down in front of him and explaining that we do not climb on the coffee table (after he JUMPED off of it) and as I was telling him that is not allowed at all he interrupted mid-sentence and says, "What? WHATTTTTT? (head cocked now, like he doesn't get it) WHAAAT MAMA???" HIs sweet, inquisitive tone and puzzled expression.....like he was trying to understand my reasoning and just needed me to explain it again. Oh! This boy.

His curls have gotten wilder, his freckles have spread across his nose and atop his shoulders. He is HUGE! He is in a size 9 shoe (Kaiti is almost 6 and wears a size 11) and wears a size 3T. He is rough and tumble to the extreme. He loves to play with balls and he has pretty good aim when playing catch throw with his siblings. He loves helicopters (obviously!!!), trains, and airplanes. He is really the prototypical boy-- with a wild sense of humor and a melt-my-heart smile! You can't know Jack and not love him. Just. Not Possible.

As far as the health stuff goes, he is doing wonderfully. There are still some things we of course follow up on and he should be paying another visit the geneticist, cardiologist, and urologist soon. Ironically, all of these follow ups, and I think we are good as far as gastroenterology goes. We know we may encounter problems as he grows-- it is most common to see secondary symptoms of his genetic condition present around adolescence- we feel incredibly thankful that he has come this far without a single surgery. Hard to believe the place we were at emotionally a couple years ago, and where we are now.

Here are some Jack Jack pictures from our recent family session with Angie!


**If you have not yet entered the giveaway, click over and enter your name---- just a few days left before we announce the winner!!

Prayers Needed

******Update on Baby Drew- He is doing very well!! He made it through the surgery and the doctors feel that they corrected his 2 heart concerns and fully expect him to recover and live a healthy, happy life!!! Thank you for praying!!!

My friends baby, Drew, is one week old and in serious heart trouble. He was flown to Children's Hospital yesterday after Ellie -his mom- noticed he was breathing 'funny'. He has since been diagnosed with Coarctation of the Aorta and is fighting for his life. He needs to stabilize enough for surgery that could save him. Please, please, please pray! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Evie Diane

My precious blue-eyed babe is 5 months old today!! Oh, she makes us so happy. She coos and jabbers and laughs and smiles. She is such a delight!! 

She is practically sitting, but still doesn't like to roll over. We're quite certain she is working on some teeth. She loves her toes (uh, who WOULDN'T???), and laughs back when you laugh at her. She does not have much hair to speak of, but her eyes are a beautiful deep blue (for now).

Here are some of the Evie pictures we had taken by Angie Testa recently! Turns out, my little girl is just as cute in pictures as she is in real life :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

new bag!!

Do you notice the difference? Don't you just love my new pretty?

Look out ladies, mama's got a brand new bag blog (design)!!!!

I have been wanting to change the look over here for a while, something more streamlined, more functional, and lovely all at the same time.

Enter Becca, of Jumping Jax Designs!!

She is awesome, folks!! Not only was she incredibly patient with me as I waited on some pictures and flipped-flopped a couple of decisions, but she has a great eye and was able to figure out just what I was wanting pretty quickly and put something together that feels so very much ME!!!!

I'm just loving the new look! It's like my little blog got the cutest new haircut-- I feel fresh and ready to write!

Y'all, if you are wanting to pretty up your space and don't want to mortgage the house to do so, you've gotta check Becca out! She's wonderful, she's got a great eye, and she is affordable! Trust me, you won't regret it!!


In case you haven't put your name into the virtual hat, click on over to enter to win my little giveaway!!!!

Christmas Cards........CHECK!!

Merry Glee Christmas 5x7 folded card
Shop Shutterfly.com for elegant Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

I just put Shutterfly's 50 free cards to use and ordered our Christmas cards!! I love them!! 

And you know what I love more? That I found a design that I absolutely love and that gave me plenty of room to share pictures! Once again, Shutterfly has knocked my socks off by making a seemingly daunting task easy as pie! 

There were so many beautiful options, I honestly had to enlist some help in choosing the right one. But chose one, I did, and I love it. I also love that there is a place for me to include another photo inside the card!! (I'm a picture-happy kind of girl.)

If you haven't yet gotten your Christmas cards all wrapped up, you've got to check Shutterfly out! I have ordered cards from Shutterfly- from folded to flat to photo announcements- and I've always been so pleased with the results!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Rule #419

When crafting with candy 

do NOT 

leave unfinished craft 


I got up to change a diaper and came back to this.......yeah, *he ate the hot-glued marshmallows right off my tree. 

*I am guessing I probably don't need to tell you who he is, but in the off chance you're uncertain, his name rhymes with snack :)

If you have not checked out my fun little giveaway, CLICK HERE to enter your name!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Outta the mouths of mamas

These posts are quickly becoming my favorites! I add to them here and save it until I have a good list of things. And everytime I come back on to add something else I've said, I laugh. Our kids put us in some of the silliest situations, some of the most comical conversations!!

So here they are!!! Outta the mouths of this here mama.........

"Daddy didn't invent helicopters. Well, he didn't. I'm sorry to disappoint you."

"You are NOT allergic to "things with seeds". No. You're not."

"Aunt Kelley is 'gainin' on us?' What do you mean. Hmm. Well, Aunt Kelley and I weren't really 'racing'. We just had the number of babies that we think is right for our family. Okay. If Aunt Kelley starts to catch up, then I guess we'll just have another baby. That seems like the right thing to do."

"Why is he walking around with a spatula? And WHY is he NAKED??"

"What do you mean my answer "doesn't feel right" to you? I said you're only allowed one cookie and that's that."

"No, I never met Abraham Lincoln. He was a bit before my time."

"You can breathe through your NOSE. Chewing with your mouth closed is not going to kill you because you can't breathe. Quit acting like you are hyperventilating. Come on....."

"Please quit chasing him with a chainsaw. Thanks."

"Did you just say 'when this fish dies, I am gonna pick out a shiny red one?'. Okay, we need to talk about that."

"Why are you running away from me? What's a cheese touch???????"

"No, you can't have an iPad for Christmas. No way. Are you kidding. No more TV for a year. So if you can't have an iPad you just want a soda? Tyler, you're killing me!"

"Kaiti, please stop telling people that we are moving to Africa. No, that's not what I said and now I have to write a note to your teacher."

"No, I think we'll just take the car. Because we can't roller skate over the bridge."

"Uhhhhh.......I don't really see it, but if you think you do, sure. Well, then yes, definitely, you and Trouble look like twins." {Trouble is our 7 year old black lab, in case you were wondering :)}

"Can you please take your finger out of your nose. Out, please. You- making eye contact with me- take your finger out of your nose. Seriously. Why are you still looking at me with your finger UP YOUR NOSE??!?!"



I am hosting my very FIRST GIVEAWAY and I am sooo excited!!!!
I mean, just look at all those explanation points ^^^^^^. Serious excitement, people!

Introducing....... (insert drum roll here)..........Sweet Hearts and Soles!! 

Sweet Hearts and Soles  is an absolutely adorable etsy shop I found when I was hunting for sweet little knit shoes for Evie. I ordered a pair and fell in love!!! I got back online and ordered a couple more custom pairs from Teri, the lovely lady who handcrafts each pair of shoes. I've told everyone I know, and some I don't know, about Sweet Hearts and Soles. (I've been stopped countless times by folks wanting to know where I found Evie's cute shoes!)  In fact, just a few weeks ago I was going to order a pair but my sister swooped in before I could add them to my cart and snatched them out from under me. Little stinker ;)

So, what is so fabulous about the shoes from Sweet Hearts and Soles? Well, let me tell you.....

First, they fit wonderfully. They have some stretch, so it seems like they mold to my little sweetheart's foot. This also means the shoes stay on Evie's feet. (We've had others that have slipped off, and it's no fun racing through the aisles of Target frantically searching for a shoe the size of an acorn while pushing a cart full of kids. Trust me on this.)

Second, they are cute. REALLY STINKIN' CUTE!!! If you don't have a little one whose toes need warming, they would make such a special gift! Baby showers, Christmas presents, just because.........every little sweetheart deserves a pair! And if you have specific colors in mind, just let Teri know, and she'll try and accommodate you! She does custom listings and is great about responding!

Third, I got all of my pairs super duper quick. Like, I blinked and they were here. (Disclaimer: my blinks last about 3 to 4 days.)

So, here is the deal-- and totally what you have been waiting for! Sweet Hearts and Soles is giving away a pair of hand-knit shoes to one lucky winner! How sweet is that?!?! 

Oh my gosh, are these the most adorable holiday shoes ever??? 

Here's how to enter: ( #1 is a required entry, everything else gives you an additional entry!!)

1. Go over to Sweet Hearts and Soles, come back and leave a comment telling me which shoe is your favorite! (if your comment is not linked to an email address- meaning, if you have not signed in through google, etc, then please leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win!!!)

2. Follow this blog and leave a comment telling me you 'Follow'
3.Add Sweet Hearts and Soles to your Favorite Etsy Shops by clicking on the heart - come back and leave a comment saying you did!
4. Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway- come back and leave a comment saying you did!
5. Visit the Sweet Hearts and Soles Facebook page HERE and "LIKE" it. Come back and leave a comment telling me you did!!

The giveaway ends next Friday, December 3rd, at 5pm!! Good luck to everyone!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday's Prayer

I had a beautiful weekend with my family. The weather was great-a cool 72 degrees- the sun was shining, and we had NOTHING on the calendar. That last part is reason enough to celebrate. I love the weekends where the hours are ours to do what we want. Of course, this means mountains of laundry today, but that's alright. I've made my peace.

On Saturday and Sunday, we took the kids to the baseball field on base to play some ball. This is the first time in 4 seasons that Tyler has not played ball, and I feel badly about it. I just knew that with my husband gone and the twice weekly practices and weekend and weekday games, that it was too big a commitment to make with Evie being so small. 

Anyway, we are trying to keep with the sport and give Tyler time to hit and run so that meant the entire family (well, not Evie, of course) played some ball. We had such a great time. I wish I snapped some pictures :( The kids ran the bases, swung the bat, we cheered when someone made contact with the ball....and when we were done, we did kart-wheels in the grass and raced each other to the fence and back. 

But during all of this splendid fun, a clock was ticking in my head. Since my husband has been home, I've been very aware that the days we have as a family are limited. Today marks 47 days until he leaves again-- for a LOOONNNGGGG deployment. And having just come off of one, I know all too well what it is like living this life without him right now. Enter the clock.

Even when I am completely immersed in the happiness and excitement of life with my fanily, somewhere, quietly, that clock is ticking down the minutes. Until goodbye, again. 

Try as I might, I cannot get that clock to quiet. Yesterday, as I stood on 3rd base, holding my side as my lungs worked feverishly, trying to recover the air I spent trying to make it to 3rd base, I looked around. Happy, sunlit faces, my husband smiling with a ball in one hand and Evie wrapped lovingly in the other arm, her little face taking it all in. Kaiti's laughter, from seeing her mom run as fast as her legs would carry her while Daddy chased,  was bouncing around the field. Tyler stood, arms crossed, lip out, all huffy that Jeremiah did not tag me out and Jack using the bat like a golf club as he swung at I-don't-know-what. Complete joy.

And then that dang clock. Tick tick tick tick tick.


But I didn't. If I did, I might possibly be writing this post locked away in a stark padded room somewhere.

Instead, I prayed away the ticking.

I am praying right now that the clock quiets in all of our moments. That the ticking stops and I am not constantly reminded of the fast-approaching deployment. 

I want to be in the moment. I want to only feel the happy, only feel the warmth. I want the sorrow for what's to come to leave me for now-- I will feel it soon enough. I don't want to feel the need to bottle the joy and save it for days when he is not here. I just want to sit in the joy and let it seep into me. 

So I will keep praying and asking Him to help me keep my focus on the now. 

What are you praying for today?


I did not take any pictures of us playing outside, because, well.....I was playing! But here is a picture of Little Miss Sweet trying some rice cereal for the first time.

"I'm not sure......gimme another bite, and then I'll decide."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Want to win a $25 Gift Certificate to an adorable shop??

I am guessing the answer to that is YES!!!

So, CLICK HERE for your chance to win $25 to spend at Paislee Lane!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cheese! Click! Upload! Print! Easy!

Down here in sunny Florida, it's hard to tell when winter has arrived. The sun is still shining, temps are a 'chilly' 78 degrees, and my kids are still skipping around town in flip flops.

But one trip to a shopping plaza, and it's clear-- Christmas is just around the corner! And the impending arrival of the holiday season means it is time to start figuring out.......duh duh duhhhhhh....the Holiday Card!

I used to fear the Holiday card. So much work, so much thought, so much time spent getting it all together.

But thanks to Shutterfly, I fear no longer. Shutterfly has made holiday cards wonderfully simple and beautiful-- two things I absolutely adore.

I happened across Shutterfly seven years ago, while I was pregnant with my first child! Somebody told me about the ingenious way Shutterfly allowed you to upload all the digital pictures you've taken and create online albums-- to be shared AND ordered from! How amazing! No more worrying about picture sizes and attaching photos one by one!

Well, let's just say I was HOOKED!! When Tyler was born, before I even left the hospital, I had my husband uploading all the birth pictures and sending out a virtual album to family and close friends so they could share in the experience. Then I ordered photo cards for Christmas, like the cards PICTURED HERE!!

There's this one....

The Rainbow Red Christmas-- joyous and upbeat!

...and this one. Simple, elegant, lovely.

Elegant Black Damask- spectacular!

And when one picture just won't do, Shutterfly has options like this charming one....

For those going for a quirky little card, how adorable is this??

Santa's Belt Christmas-- Ho, Ho, HO!!!

And I can't talk about Shutterfly without mentioning their Wall Calendars. These calendars grace you with pictures of your sweet family all year long!!! Wall Calendars also make great gifts for the grandparents and adoring aunts and uncles! You can even customize these calendars by adding your own important dates.....ensuring that my dad will never forget to send me a birthday card :)

But don't just take my word for it! Go check out all the amazing options Shutterfly offers HERE! There is something for everyone and Shutterfly makes getting your Christmas card taken care of as easy as one (upload), two (choose card), three (ORDER!). 

Disclosure-- I will be receiving 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly for writing this post, but I love Shutterfly and have used them for 7 years for printing my photo products, from pictures, to cards, to calendars and photo books!

Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly, follow the arrow à http://bit.ly/sfly2010 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Do you see him now?

My babies are growing up. At what seems like an alarming rate, especially when a new milestone is reached. Like when Jack started forming sentences, it felt like one minute he was fussing something incoherent from his carseat, and the very next moment he was saying 'Mama, Ja go hooooome'. I remember turning into our neighborhood, hearing it for the first time, taking my foot off the gas, and shaking my head in wonder. Obviously, this is not new to me, but it catches me off-guard just the same. Of course, as parents, we are blessed to get to watch them grow, change, and learn. It is a joy and a beautiful gift to see them go from teenie little beings to walking, talking, opinion-having, personality-driven people. But this loud, crackly-voiced reminder that he is growing causes me to take pause, get a little misty over the fact that he is no longer a baby, and look back at how he's changed.

Jack turning two is another occasion that left me shaking my head in wonder. It didn't quite hit me on his actual birthday. Jeremiah was gone and set to come home the very next day, and the kids had Halloween celebrations at school I was busy preparing for. We did have a mini-party for Jack at the park with just our family. Cupcakes, play, and a little present, and Jack was just giddy. This boy really loves to be celebrated, something he didn't show us as much last year. Then Jeremiah came home- I am pretty sure Jack considered that his 'big present'. This boy absolutely loves his daddy!

But now a week after his birthday, and I sit here this morning in awe of the fact that my son is the boy that he is. 'He is going to be a giant' is what our pediatrician told us yesterday. The boy who had a very questionable future, whose growth and development was up in the air, and who seemed dependent upon surgery and constant medication before birth in order to just live......and now we are told he'll be a giant! Yesterday, as I juggled the 4 kids into the doctor's office and was trying to keep the 2 little ones content, I slumped in the chair exhausted after Jack walked up to a family, rifled through THEIR diaper bag, and pulled out a toy. I apologized when I saw what he was doing and grabbed his hand and led him back to where I was sitting, tired and a little spent. And then they called us back and did their measurements- which put him around the 85th percentile for weight and 97th for height. It was like God lovingly put his hands on my cheeks, turned my face towards my son, and whispered "Look at this boy now. Do you see him? Do you remember the worry? And look at him now."

We were at a corn maze this weekend and I met a lovely family. The dad used to be in the Navy, and the mom stayed at home with her 4 children. What I first noticed was that their youngest was not in a regular ol' Graco stroller, but a specially designed stroller that was more like a wheelchair. After talking to her for a while, she introduced me to her daughter Eva. Eva was 2 years old, like Jack, and has been diagnosed with Trisomy 13. We learned that Jack and Eva see the same cardiologist and geneticist...small world in North FL! This beautiful little girl was a living, breathing, smiling miracle. She was not expected to survive more than a day or so after birth due to neurological malformation and severe heart defects. But she did. And she is almost 2. She is blind and deaf but was smiling a beautiful smile for her mama as she lay cradled in her arms. She has 3 older siblings that love on her and, I am sure, learn about compassion, love, and miracles, every day that they spend with their little sister. I was talking to this mom, who was clearly exhausted physically, mentally and spiritually, and I could not keep the tears from spilling onto my cheeks. I am sure this family has days that they think will break them. I cannot imagine the angusih that mother suffers, knowing that each day might be her last with her baby girl. But all I saw in front of me was love. It was amazing. And it reminded me of the first days of Jack's life and where he was.

Each day is a gift. A gift He uses to show us love and beauty, to teach our hearts a thing or two. We don't know the kind of path we will walk, but we know there will be bumps, there will be turns, and there will be falls that cause us heartache. And I also know that I won't walk it alone. And I need to revel in all of the beauty that I see, whenever I see it. It is worth stopping for. It is worth celebrating. And when all we can see is despair, we need to look harder, because somewhere in it all is His beauty. Beauty and love. I am sure that Eva's mom has gained so much from her little's girls life. I know I have from Jack's. He is my little reminder that He will surprise us, He will see us through it, and He wants us to to stop and breathe in the beauty while it is right here in front of us. And He wants our hearts to be changed from the challenges.

The next time my little boy decides to color on the walls, or I catch him shoveling oreos into his mouth while hiding in his room, I will remember the whisper I heard yesterday.

"Look at this boy now. Do you see him? Do you remember the worry? And look at him now."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fab Two Plus One Tuesday

Okay, I realize it is Tuesday, so I am about 4 days late for the Fab 5 Friday extravaganza and I am also 2 shops short of 5, but cut a sister some slack. I've been in the kitchen baking about 100 cupcakes for each of the kids classes, Jack's birthday, and Jeremiah's return. But I want to get this one up because I have some stuff I'd love to share with you! I could have thrown in a couple more shops, but honestly, I only like to pass on the shops that I LOVE!

1) Sweet Hearts and Soles! This shop features adorable knit mary janes booties for teenie little tootsies! Evie has 3 pairs of baby janes from this sweet little shop and we love them!! They are soft, they fit great, and the price cannot be matched!! I have honestly gone to check out the bin of sized 6-12 month clothes that Evie will be in soon to figure out which colors I need for my next order! Oh, and the turnaround time on these handmade booties- AWESOME-- as in, less than a week from shopping cart to mailbox kind of AWESOME. (And stay tuned, because the lovely lady, Teri, behind this adorable shop has something special in store for my readers!!) See how content my sweet baby girl is when wearing these cute shoes? :) (the bottom 2 images are from Sweet Hearts and Soles etsy site)

2) Little Town Boutique I cannot say enough wonderful things about this adorable shop! I keep going back, again and again, to add to my daughters' headband collections. My favorites right now are the little satin rosettes, but I also love the felt flowers and mini poms. I used to not really be a headband kind of mama, but then I found this shop. And my favorite thing about these headbands- they are not the same ones you see on every baby girl out there! Adorable. colorful, sweet, and girly~ all things I just love!! 

3) Fabzy Babzy- A fabulous shop created by a super sweet girl I went to college with. And it turns out, she's wonderfully creative. She makes super cute tunics/pillowcase dresses, both mama and child aprons,  decorative pillows, and beautiful flower pins. Go check her shop out! The prices are great, and the color and patterns she uses are vibrant and fun! (Kaiti is wearing her flower beanie today, but I forgot to get a photo of her before she left for school-- probably because we were already 5 min behind schedule and I was herding people out the door like a seasoned cowgirl!) Images below are from the Fabzy Babzy shop!

**To check out any of the shops mentioned, just click on the shop name!


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