Class Rules


Work quietly.
Follow directions.
Work and play safely.
Respect others' property.
Keep to your own space.
Listen to others.

His first week of K-4 has come and gone, and these are the rules posted in his jungle-themed classroom.

"Mommy! Jentry told me I am his beeeeeest friend!", smiley faces on the pages of his agenda, notes about "...treats taken away at rest time...told him I was writing a note to his Daddy...and settled down after that", bleacher sitting, "I'm proud of you"'s and kisses at drop-off, football, "I learned Spanish today!" You did? What did you learn? "Hola." What does that mean? "Hello.", and face paint are just a few of the high notes of his first five school days of the year.


I have grown from you. To watch you grow is joy. To watch you learn is pure reward. To wake you from your sleep, dress your little body in new clothes and do everything from making you breakfast to brushing your hair to make you ready for this day and walk you into your classroom on your first day of K-4 is a gift. It's the day you've been getting prepared for all Summer long, but yet you still searched for answers, even last night, about whether or not you can take your museum souvenir with you into class and if you'll play with the classmates you've known up until now.

My hopes and prayers for you this year are this: that each day you'll become all the more wiser, disciplined, and confident than you already are...that your friends don't have to find'll find them...that you'll always be a leader but follow the rules...that you'll always do your very best and try, try again if it doesn't work out quite right for you the first time...that your good days will outnumber your bad...and that you'll always know and feel that you are more loved than words can say.

I'm so, so proud of you, Baby! And I hope you have the very best day and year of K-4 that you can possibly have!

With all my love,   ~Mommy

This one's been a long time coming.


Hi, Baby!

Can you put Sophie down

and show Mommy

your new tooth?

There it is!

Thank you, Baby!  

And did I mention how proud I am of you?  And how much your eyes capture my soul?  

You handled this first tooth business like a true champ - no fever, no upset tummy - just a little cold and some extra spit-up this week.  What a big boy!  

Toothbrushes and lessons in "No biting!" .... here we come!

while the cat's away


For his birthday, Jim is doing a little white water rafting this morning. He left yesterday with almost forty of his former ROTC students, his former boss, and the new Lieutenant that's taking his place as the Commandant of Cadets...and maybe another person or two that I don't know enough about to share.

Yesterday, I fed Parker his dinner at his preschool, and on our way to an amazing 75% off charity sale called "Buy For Rise", I called one of my girlfriends, Kelly, to tell her Parker officially has his very first tooth. Jake went home with his K-2 teacher, Ms. Diane, (Yes, they are still as thick as blood.) and then back to his school to watch the Patriots play their first game of football this season while Parker and I shopped for two hours straight and until my stomach had hit my backbone, and we came home.

This morning Jake has some serious bedhead goin' on, and we're all waiting on Hodges Heating and Cooling. While Parker and I waited on Big Brother to get home, I noticed it was just slightly on the toasty side in here. I looked at the thermostat, and it read 82 degrees. I climbed into our attic with Jim on the phone nearly four hours away and switched the breakers a time or two...nothing. After phone calls to our home warranty company to file a claim, I turned on every ceiling fan to circulate air, and found one of Jake's no-longer-missing socks when it flew off of a fan blade. I called my mom and cancelled plans with her today and set up the Pack-n-Play for Parker in my bedroom...because that was where it was coolest. Three makes company, so Jake and I shared my bed. We whispered for nearly an hour (so we wouldn't wake Baby) and sorted a small gift bag full of plastic Cowboys and Indians. We rode them on their horses and had shootouts at the OK Corral. We found the end of the rainbow on his left cheek, and he taught me the cheer he chanted earlier in the night.  We finally drifted off to sleep to the sounds of Caillou on our television and the humidifier on my dresser.

The "cat" of our house is away, but it's been a great (and extra warm - we're always warm with love and now we're even more warm thanks to an on-the-blink a/c unit) night and morning.

Now I think now I'll go honor Jake's request to "Let's just quit takin' pitures and go get something to eat!"

"Okay, Baby. I'm comin'. I'm comin'.

Happy Weekending, Everyone!

Happy Birthday!


Today is Jim's birthday, and I just wanted to wish him a Happy one! 

This morning he woke up to birthday wishes and talk of, "At what age do you actually consider yourself old?"  We stood at our respective sinks in our bathroom, threw out our plan to make pancakes at home for breakfast, and decided to eat out instead.  We dressed ourselves, and dressed our sons. We threw backpacks and diaper bags and two little boys into two cars and drove to Panera Bread.  Jake hugged his daddy's arm for the better part of our meal and told him he loved him over and over and over.  It never got old - to hear him say it. 

I love this sort of spontaneity.  I love that three little words from his oldest mean more to him than any gift money can buy.  I love him.  And I hope he has a day far beyond the amount of special that he is to me (if that's possible). 

Happy Birthday, Babe!   



They come to me often...quietly and unexpectedly. Sometimes they surprise me to the point that I have no recollection of what made me think of that in the first place.  I just sit and relish in them...mostly smile and other times cry depending on what comes to mind.

One came to me today, and I want to give it back to Jake.  Because he was too young to remember, because my own mind may erase it if I don't write it down, and because, after all, that's what this whole blog thing is for anyway - to be my scrapbook - to write down what I never wish to forget and to be a place where my boys can discover exactly what they were like and see photos of themselves at this age or that age...and to feel my love for them in and through it all.

Jim had to travel to Atlanta for a conference, and like any other time that it was feasible, we traveled as a company of three.  It was some time in April of 2008.  He was just shy of fourteen months - not yet walking and not much taller than my kneecap.  We took him to the original Chick-fil-A and to the Atlanta Zoo.  He wore plaid pants, a button-down shirt, and a white, navy-trimmed vest.  I can see him now peeking in and out of the tiny door at Chick-fil-A that a person not more than thirty inches tall could stand upright in, and I can see him cruising from window to window to watch the panda with her cub.  I can see our family of three sitting on a rock smiling for a stranger to take our photo, and I can see him fast asleep in his car seat before we left the zoo's parking lot.

Our day was one of those unhurried, as-if-all-three-of-us-had-never-eaten-Chick-fil-A-or-been-to-the-zoo kind of days.  It was all in the details - the squeals and the "Look, Daddy!  Here she comes again!" looks on his face, and the one I love most...his wave.  He had recently learned to say "Hey!", and it was his new look-at-what-I-can-do-I'm-so-proud-of-me-repeat-over-and-over-new-word-I've-learned.  And I remember strolling him for hours up and down the hills with his little arm reaching out and waving to every single person who would stare, his little voice saying, "Heeeey!".  It was drawn out - just like that, his hand twisting back and forth.  Oh how he smiled.  And oh how we smiled just watching him.

How sweet it would be to hold that tiny hand that used to fit in mine all over again.

Thank you, Lord, that I can watch it wave...any time I want to.



"If you were to open up

a baby's head -

and I am not for a moment suggesting that you should -

you would find nothing

but an enormous drool gland."
~Dave Barry

And when it comes to his drool...I could eat it...with a spoon!



While we sat together this morning at our kitchen table eating breakfast, he said to me, "I've got a really great idea, Mommy!  "You do? What is it, Baby?  "We could just play with my dinosaurs until the museum opens!"  So we did because he wanted to.

We talked quietly while dinosaurs ate leaves from the trees and ran like mad when they came running towards us. We put things in our cart at Wal-mart we ordinarily wouldn't, blasted off into space aboard the space shuttle Altantis and walked on the moon. We boarded The Captain Tim Parker, and when I asked where we were sailing to, he replied, "California!"  "Okay! California it is! Steer the vessel for us, Captain Jake!"  We read stories to each other while sitting on the tops of mushrooms and made funny faces in distorted mirrors.  We turned ourselves into the queen and king of our castle and rubbed sticks together to make a fire that singed our eyebrows completely off of our foreheads.  We collected two more Smurfs that we got in our Happy Meals, and we laughed like crazy underneath the covers we shared for our two-hour nap.

Our day was simply...magic!

(Belated) Thousand Words Thursday

Finding our place in this sun this Summer...

is absolutely worth a thousand words.

Oh the places we'll go...tomorrow!


I definitely don't think it's been said enough how incredibly proud I am of Jake - not just because he's leaving K3 smarter than ever or because he's coming around to saying what all Southern gentlemen should which is "Yes Ma'am." and No Ma'am." or because he's just...well...mine.  Because that's all he needs to be to make my heart swell with pride...mine.  He's all of these things definitely, but he's also a big brother.  And since he's become one, I've truly been amazed and overtaken by everything about him.

Life as he knew it changed nearly completely, and he started doin' this Big Brother thing almost flawlessly.  His unconditional love for Baby was instant.  It somehow smothered any feelings of jealousy and resentment he may have possibly had, and his acceptance of someone and something...I mean was effortless.  "Not now"'s and "Wait a minute, Babe.  Mommy needs to take care of Parker first."'s he was okay with...and still is.  My precious one who had always come first in the lives of the two people who love him most was biding for second.  And as far as anyone could tell, he was okay with that...and still is.

And all the while I know he's confident in where he stands with us, I still have that "Mom-To-More-Than-One-Child Guilt".  I'm torn between the seven month old who is tackling milestones while spending much of his weekdays at preschool and taking advantage of the one who's capable of entertaining himself and had me at his disposal twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for the first eighteen months of his life.  I want neither one to not be lavished with thousands of kisses and receive hugs until our arms ache.  I want them both to be sung their favorite songs and read their favorite books as many as times their hearts desire.  I want more than anything for them both to feel the overwhelming amount of love I have for them and not a drop less.

So because his school is closed tomorrow so teachers can work without students under their feet...because he deserves it...because we haven't done it since the week before Parker was born...because he still needs one-on-one time...because I won't feel the least bit guilty about it...and because he got to choose where he wanted to go - we'll make a trip downtown to the Children's Hands On Museum and spend a few hours exploring, learning, and enjoying...together.

And I think I'm almost more excited than he is!

Marching Band: One day football will be played at halftime.


No two ifs, ands or buts about it, ya' of my absolute favorite things about every football season is the band. Music with no voices can move me like God can move moutains, and a good band playin' just does it for me.

This week after I've dropped Parker off at our church in the mornings, I've driven by Arby's restaurant, then the practice field, and then the Moody School of Music. Every morning, they're out there. And they're playing! And aside from today when I walked with Jim down to one of our favorite restaurants on "The Strip" to have lunch, I've driven by, and they've been in the same two places. And they've been playing!

It melts me - just like the words of Amazing Grace put to music does.

Roll Tide Roll, Ya'll!

Fishing, Friday, and a Fling


While Jake is relishing in one last Summer fling with his grandparents, Jim, Parker, and I are spending time as a threesome here at home.

This evening while he's fishing with his Grandpa at Mr. Sonny's pond, Jim and I are sitting under our pergola listening to the sounds of our neighborhood and locusts in the nearby trees while we watch Parker "snack" on his toes as he rocks in his bouncy seat.

We headed out of town early Friday evening and spent the night and day on Saturday with my family. When I picked Jake up from school on Friday, Mrs. Pam (his preschool's director) told me we couldn't go wrong with any one of the three K4 teachers he might possibly get. Yesterday we found out he'll be one of Mrs. Lang's students, and today I ordered his backpack online.

Jim played golf with one of his very best friends who's visiting from a two-year assignment to Turkey, and my mom, sister, Parker and I made stops to Kohl's, Hobby Lobby, and Prattville Pickers while my dad played referee to Jake and Emily. I bought an old window like the millions I've seen be repurposed on Pinterest and a wooden highchair for Parker. I've been looking/wondering where I'd ever find a wooden highchair without paying full price, and now I own one I found on the fly.  Eek!

In two days, Jake will be home and then will spend two more as his last in K3.  His preschool is closed on Friday for an in-service day, so he'll have one last break before he starts K4 one week from tomorrow.

And I'm rejoicing because I'll get to spend it with him.  And I'm hoping I'm not still searching for the pair of tennis shoes and treasure box surprises he still needs before next Monday.

Bring on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and most definitely, Friday!



There's nothing that makes me feel more like a year has come and gone like the start of a new school year. The first day of school, to me, feels more like 365 pages have just been torn off of my calendar than midnight on New Year's Eve.

It'll happen for Jake on August 22nd - his first day of K4.  This week my coworkers have seen first days of third grade and fourth grade and sixth grade and first days of preschool come and go. And today my niece, Emily, spent her first day in first grade. 

I love what her teacher asked my sister and brother-in-law to do for her today. At orientation, they were asked to write a letter to Emily that she would read today for the first time - her first day of this school year.  It was meant to be something special for her and was probably filled with words and encouragement and descriptions of love and pride.

I love this idea so much that I plan to do this for Jake and Parker each year.  I'll start off by saying "I love you" and "I can't believe another year has passed."  I'll ask them to do their best and give everything they do their all.  And I'll tell them if they do those two things no matter what the outcome is, I'll always be proud of them.  I'll make promises to keep my expectations realistic and reward their successes.  As the years go by, I'll ask for forgiveness in advance for the times I might embarrass them in front of friends and when I can't seem to make myself let go.

I know deep down I'll blink, and Jake will be doing multiplication and division.  He'll change lockers and classes when the bell rings.  He'll solve Algebra equations, dissect frogs, and plan his senior trip. 

But for this year, he'll master his ABC's and learn to write his name. 

And he'll receive his very first letter that I'll write to him on his first day of K4. 



On our way home Jake asked to have the windows rolled down.

And I watched in my rear view mirror as he laughed hysterically while the wind blew his hair - his red juice stained mouth high in the air and his eyes nearly closed because his smile was so huge.

And while the evening sun went down, I wrote Parker's name in chalk for the third time...

and wished this day would never end.



There's no other love like the love for a brother.
There's no other love like the love from a brother. ~Astrid Alauda

Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero. ~Marc Brown

A brother shares childhood memories and grown-up dreams. ~Author Unknown

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. ~Proverbs 17:17

He is my most beloved friend and my bittersweet rival, my confident and my betrayer, my sustainer and my dependent, and scariest of all, my equal. ~Gregg Levoy

On Parker's 7 month birthday today, my heart is so thankful.  Not only for him, but that today celebrates the day that he and Jake instantly became a brother.  I dream about what their bond will be like.  I watch two little boys play a game of catch on their front lawn, and I imagine the two of them doing the same.  I can already hear the laughter and tears and "He did it!  Not me!" 's that will come from their little lips, and I can already picture their hugs when they're all grown up and are seeing each other for the first time after the "It's been a while." 's.  It makes me smile, cry, and fall in love with both of them over and over again...all at once.

Happy 7 month birthday, Sweet Parker!  We love you immeasurably more than you can imagine!  ~Mommy, Daddy, and Big Brother, Jake


Shortly after Jim and I were married, we bought a couples devotional Bible.

And it's really great because it has devotions scattered throughout and these little "activities" that they title Weekending.

They ask you to do stuff like test your personality and write down five things that make you feel loved and share them with your spouse. They give you great date night ideas and suggest that you write down what drives you nuts about your spouse so hopefully he/she won't ever do those things again. (Yeah, right!).

Our Weekending this past weekend consisted of dyeing eggs because Jake wanted to and I said "Why not?!" and totally threw out the fact that Easter was nearly four months ago., school supply shopping while they could be purchased tax-free, and reading the tube of Baby Orajel to see how many times a day it can be applied and still be safe.

Beats going back to visit the spot Jim and I got engaged and professing our love to each other all over again with a huge stick, huh?

A Supply List


Jake has one.

For K4.

And it goes something like this...

K4 Supply List

1. School Box (5 x 8) ***
2. 2 Rolls of Paper Towels
3. One 4oz. Bottle of Elmer’s Glue***
4. 2 Boxes of Crayola 8 (basic colors) crayons (regular size)***
5. 1 Box of Crayola (24 Count) crayons (regular size)***
6. 3 Large glue sticks (0.77 oz.)
7. 1 Box of 8 washable Crayola Markers (classic colors – FAT)***
8. 4 Expo Brand Dry Erase Markers (large – not skinny ones, any colors
are fine.
9. Crayola Watercolor Paint Set (8 colors)***
10. 1 Box Baby Wipes
11. 1 Package of 6-8oz. cups
12. 1 Package of Copy Paper (500 sheets)
13. “My Hold Right” Pencils (pkg. of 3)-Office Depot or Learning Experiences
14. Lysol Disinfectant Wipes
15. Nap Mat (that will fit in a small locker)
16. Extra set of clothes in a Ziploc bag labeled with name (don’t forget to
change the clothes during the year to fit the season)***
17. 40 small toys for treasure box
18. 2 bags of individually wrapped candy for the treat box (appropriate for a
4 year old – please no gum or hard candy)
19. Large backpack to be brought to school everyday
20. 1 Box of Kleenex
21. Ziploc bags
Girls – Quart Size (sandwich)
Boys – Gallon Size
***these are the items that you should put your child’s name on

Ya'll, this absolutely thrills me. 

Because buying my school supplies every year was like picking out my own Christmas presents.  The perfect Trapper Keeper...oooh and my lunchbox...packs of unsharpened pencils...brand spanking new notebooks with subject dividers...selecting those babies were some of the best moments of my life!  

Oh yeah!  I'm about to get my school supply shopping on.  

The Invisible Mother


Today I can't stop thinking about my Mom.

She left to go back home after spending four nights of her week with us again this week to watch over Parker while Jim and I went to work each day because his preschool is still closed for their Summer break.

I didn't wait until I became a mother to realize the sacrifices she made. I noticed them every time she took my sister and I shopping and every time we had guests in our home. I noticed them every Wednesday and Sunday at our church and every semester as my dad went from undergraduate to graduate student. Service was her trademark. Selflessness was her character.

And to this day she leaves me in awe by all that she does now for my children.

A mommy and friend sent me this long ago....

The Invisible Mother

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel ?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fuelled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there...'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

How privileged I feel today that my mom chose to see her role in life as building cathedrals. 

My prayer is that I will do the same.

Thank you, Mom, for your love and sacrifice.  I'm eternally grateful.  Your driver's license is in the mail.  Don't leave home without it between now and Saturday when it should be delivered by your postman.  I'll bring your entire purse that you left on my kitchen table because you were holding Parker (kissing his neck and saying your goodbyes) to you next Friday when we bring Jake, an overnight (or two or three) bag, and his fishing pole.  The leftovers we ate tonight were just as good as they were made originally, and I've eaten six of the peanut butter cookies you baked this morning since three o'clock.  Oh!  And I love you deeply!

Nothin' Like 'Em


There's nothing like

a DIY upholstered headboard project

a visit from Grandma  

and this grinning face

to keep me from blogging regularly this week. 

Nope!  There's just nothin' like 'em!