Pulling up. He's doin' it.


 And after several days of trying to get him caught on tape...

(The several days part will explain the urgency in Jim's voice for Jake to "back up" because now he's so dang quick about it!)

...here he is doing his newest thing.

Thanksgiving Day


Thanksgiving Day was a lazy one for the most part. We ate smoked turkey (the one and only way I've come to love cooked turkey...Thank you, BIL) and sifted through two newspapers, The Montgomery Advertiser and The Tuscaloosa News.

I haven't quite pin-pointed why, but on-line Black Friday ads just aren't my thing. I still prefer to put two quarters in, pull the handle, then grab the thickest one and spread it out all over the floor as I circle something that catches my eye.

This year I circled nothing, but I'm okay with that.

Parker has started clapping this week. It's the little things, like this one, that make me realize it really is possible to forget all the stuff they somehow just do. Like when you walk in the room after they wake in the morning and find them sitting up instead of lying down (Yeah, he's doing that too.).

My BIL and Jim played golf while my Aunt Mary, Cousin Jimmy and his family all came over in the afternoon to visit and jump on the trampoline and ride the golf cart. Their stay was definitely way too short (it would take days to totally catch up), but Thanksgiving dinner was waiting for them (we ate lunch) and Happy Feet Two at four o-clock was on the books for me, my sister, Jake, and Emily.

That night we ate leftovers and then called it a day kind of early - the perfect thing to do after two rounds of the best food you can put on your plate all year.

Captain America


We're watching it right now.

And it's so, so good.

He loves him. He loves him not.

I guess since it's been since Friday, I should probably back up a few days (even though I love where I'm at right now - enjoying the morning with my laptop while my legs are still tucked underneath the covers of our bedding).

After we all spent the better part of twenty bucks apiece on books at the book fair Jake's school was having and showered him with "I love you!"'s and "I'm so proud of you!"'s and gave his teacher a Thanksgiving gift (homemade pumpkin bread courtesy of mom and two-inch thick socks), the grandparents went home. I passed the next seven hours away at work like it was less than one and ahhhhhhhhh...the weekend.

We spent the really early part of Saturday morning in Jake's room - just reading books and keeping the small things away from Parker - and the latter at the Children's Hands On Museum and Chick-fil-A with Tonya, Ashtyn, Morgan, and Taylor, and on Saturday afternoon we heard from my mom that my grandma (my dad's mom in Arkansas) had passed away. She had been back and forth between a nursing home and the hospital for a couple of months, my dad had been back and forth between home and Arkansas to visit I-couldn't-keep-count-how-many times, and by the time my mom called, he had left again. He wanted to go alone, so we let him (Jim may very well be the only person who gets that about my dad.).

On Sunday, my grandma celebrated her 86th birthday with Jesus, and before I left home with Jake and Parker to spend a few nights with my family, we spent a little over an hour at Bryant Denny Stadium. It was the annual stadium tour for Big Al's Kids Club members, and it.was.crowded. But hey, it's the one day all year that Jake gets to play football where "the football players play", so you just kind of roll with it, and you go regardless of the fact that it's been raining off and on all morning and could start again at any second while you're there.

How is it that one loves him and one doesn't? 

Waaaay too much face to face time before I left him in his lap. Oh you better believe I'll be backing Baby in next time...strategy.  

And no, Daddy holding him didn't help him show any love towards him at all.  Sigh.

We made our way an hour and a half east where I spent a few days with my family and got started on my Christmas shopping. I have no list at all, so I'm literally buying things that scream, "Buy me! He'll love me!" So far, it's been Operation (the game), The Lion King and Cars 2 on DVD, a couple of beyblades and a playdoh set that turns cars and trucks that he'll make out of molds into Transformer robots.  I came home yesterday as a company of one.  And when Jim got home, we went out to dinner, the mall and Target and then watched Horrible Bosses before we said goodnight.

Today I'm thinking about what I'm thankful for (Last Friday on my way to lunch, I saw a Children's Hospital helicopter outside of our hospital in Tuscaloosa, and it made me really stop and think about what a gift it really is to have healthy babes. Stuff like that really hits home for me, you know?). I think I'll go out in a little while and get a manicure (because I never do and because my mini-me's are ninety something miles away) and look for a coffee table. And hopefully by the night is over, it will be squeaky clean and look a lot like Christmas in here.

Happy Wednesday, Ya'll!

And just in case I don't pop in here tomorrow (because I'll be back with the whole fam in the morning and eatin' up some dressing and deviled eggs and sweet potato casserole) to say it, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!!  I hope everyone who reads this has a zillion things to be thankful for and is reminded of every single one! 

Grandparent's Day


Our house was the fullest it's ever been on a weekday this past Friday morning. My mom and dad drove on Thursday and stayed overnight just to wake up early with the four of us so we could all make it to school on time. Jake's has a tradition of honoring the grandparents of its students around Thanksgiving instead of in September (when the holiday actually has a date on the calendar). I guess so they have time to settle in to new routines, new teachers, and new classmates - and to have time to do stuff like memorize two songs and a whole chapter of the book of Psalm (which is what all three K4 classes did and recited it together on the stage in the school gym).

We dropped Jake off in his classroom and found seats as close as possible, and then my dad secured copies of the program, some muffins, donuts, and orange juice.

We watched Jake sing songs to wish his grandparents a "Happy Grandparent's Day", and he recited Psalm 100 (Jim got the whole thing on video.).

I was so very proud of him; and it was most definitely one of those, "Wow, he's really, really growing up!" reality checks, you know?

But seriously as proud as Jim and I were of him...

nothing tops how these two felt.

"Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children." 
~ Proverbs 17:6 ~



Your little hands wrapped around my finger
And it's so quiet in the world tonight

Your little eyes flutter cause your dreaming
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light

To you everything's funny, you got nothing to regret

I'd give all I have, honey
If you could stay like that

Oh darling, don't you ever grow up

Don't you ever grow up, just stay this little

Oh darling, don't you ever grow up

Don't you ever grow up,

it could stay this simple

(taylor swift, never grow)

Parker ~ 10 Months

"Bowt and Arwows"


So ever since we moved and our drive to and from home is sort of over the hills and through the woods, deer in our headlights are what we're looking for if we go out at night. We have Jim on the left with his brights on and Jake doing a little bobblehead action from the back while we cruise at 40 mph tops and hope to see at least one. And when we do (see one), the backseat goes wild.

This has happened more than once, and we've even seen some grazing in the open field behind our house, and after all the squealing and "There's one!"'s have died down, he starts talking about how he just wants to "keel one."

And (somehow?) he knows a bow and arrow can get it done, so he starts asking for a "bowt and arwows" so he can "keel uh deer".

It's all he's been asking for (a "bowt and arwows"); so when my mom called me from Wal-mart and asked what she could surprise him with this past Wednesday, it's what I suggested.

After two days of waiting (because on one he spit on a classmate's arm and the second he didn't come when his teacher called him to come off of the playground) and just hours before he called his Grandma an old woman (Out of anger. And at his pediatrician's office while we waited for a solid hour for flu shots. Which is such a long story that ends with Parker in his car seat while he got his and mine and Jim's plans for a night out being cancelled and me saying "Just once I want to leave my house and not wonder if I have a diaper or a bottle!" while we changed clothes in our closet.), he pulled the string of his bow and shot arrows for as long as possible.

And I can assure you that so far, no deer have been harmed just yet.

But look out eight points!

'Cause this one's getting good at shooting his arrows.

And he's coming for ya!


Because (hopefully) one day, they'll thank me.


Because until tonight this was unseen footage for me too when I downloaded everything from our digital video camera.

Because I wanted to say "Thank you" to Jim for real life that can be replayed over and over...no matter how old they get.

Because it wasn't the one I recorded of Parker playing outside of his bouncy seat instead of lying in it yesterday but instead saw this one - and somehow it was so much better.

Because when I watched it, it made me smile.

weekend therapy


"Momma! You're the best momma ever!" That's what he said to me this afternoon as we left the playground in our neighborhood. He's been asking to go since...well before we moved in, so today we seized the moment of seventy degree weather (because from now until Spring it will be hit or miss) and spent nearly an hour at play amongst the mulch, two slides, and a set of monkey bars he said were for big kids.

This past Wednesday we welcomed my mom. And the smell of country fried steak, mashed potatoes, butter beans, cornbread, and fried okra welcomed us one day and lasagna, carrot cake, four new pairs of socks, a Cinnamon Spice Yankee candle, and "Real Moms Real Jesus" (late birthday gifts because she wanted to give them to me in person) welcomed us the next.

We wrapped up our week with appointments for flu shots at our pediatrician's office, Jake restricted to his room for calling his Grandma and "old woman", and steaks on our grill as our way of saying "Thank you again! We couldn't have done it without you." to the ROTC cadets who helped us make the move.

Jim didn't make it to see Graceland today as he has hoped, but he did make it to Memphis (a quick overnight trip he had to make for work).

After we left the playground, Jake, Parker, and I went to Target to replace my hair dryer and buy cupcakes and cookies for the Thanksgiving feast that we'll share with Jake's classmates this Wednesday.

By Thursday, our countdown will probably be all the way to minutes as we wait for Friday (which is also Grandparent's Day at Jake's school...He's been reciting Psalm 100 over. and over. and over. for the program.) to come and go. The days of Thanksgiving will be under way, and I'll be spending the entire week at home (and at home with my family) - the kind of therapy I experience every Saturday and Sunday extended well beyond forty-eight hours.

And yes, if the temperatures are warm like they were today, I'll definitely be spending another hour or two like we did today...amongst the mulch, two slides...and a set of monkey bars he said are for big kids.

Rewind...Oh I wish I could.


"Morning.  Tweaked back this morning.  Awesome!!!!!  How'd Jake do with me not there?"  I got this in a text message from Jim on October 20th.  He was out of town that week, so he wasn't there for "Donuts with Dad". The week before Jake had muffins with me, and the following Thursday was his day to have breakfast with Jim in the form of donuts.

We talked about it the Sunday before when Jim left for North Carolina and then again the night before and, of course, on the way there.  We got to school, and I walked him in.  We sat with Matthew and his dad, Tom, and we talked about the chaos of the parking lot, the extreme noise volume of the school lunchroom, and the fact that Jim was traveling.  I asked Tom if he wouldn't mind including Jake in the time he was spending with Matthew once they got into the classroom, and then I talked to Lori (Jake's teacher) to explain to her the where's and why's of Jim absence.

I turned to leave, and I raised my voice to the four year old who was sitting where I left him with one of his very best friends and his dad.  I said, "I love you, Jake!  Have a good day today!", and I waved.  He stopped and looked, and he yelled back, "Wait, Mommy!", and he turned to climb down from his seat.  I just stood there and watched as he ran around his classmates and the table they were sitting at.  And he just kept coming toward me, so I bent down, and I stretched out my arms to scoop him up.  He hit me at full speed, and our arms wrapped around each other, and I lifted him off of the ground.  I stood up, and his feet dangled around my knees.  Then he pushed back and said, "I just wanted to give you a hug!", and then he gave me a kiss.

I felt like I was in a dream, and his school lunchroom became a stage that only he and I were standing on.  And all of the voices and laughter stopped, and I felt like everyone was watching our embrace.  And I almost wish I could have seen it too, but to be a part of the "play"...sooooo much better.

The day he was born I was amazed.  And the time between then and now...just pure awe.  But that morning, I became breathless. 

And my fingers couldn't text what my heart felt, so instead, I called him and told him, "He did awesome!  And he ran...and we hugged...Were we the only two people in the lunchroom?...Because that's how it felt...Yes, he did awesome!"           

LSU Bleauxs!



He wasn't real happy on Saturday either.

"It's Halloween Day, Mommy!" "Yes, it is, Baby. Are you ready to say Trick-or-Treat?"


For some reason, October 31st, to me, feels like the end of a whole year because, in essence, it's the beginning.

It's the beginning of making plans for how we'll spend the two biggest holidays of the year and the days when Christmas music plays while I work.  It's the beginning of the days when I come home and change into my most comfortable sweats and two-inch thick socks and when I begin to make shopping lists to buy the gifts we'll put under our Christmas tree.

This past Monday, we walked the streets of our neighborhood with the neighbors that we know and watched as their youngest and our oldest dug their hands into candy bowls and ran their fingers through furry coats while we met new ones and told them to help themselves to the bite-sized Laffy Taffy, tiny boxes of Nerds, and single-packaged Reese's Peanut Butter cups we left on our doorstep.

It was special

And it wasn't as cold as we expected it to be, so the short sleeve shirt and shorts that Jake turned "Zookeeper" wore were perfect.

After two stops on our street and five ounces of the bottle I made for him before we left, our Zebra laid back as far as he could in his stroller and fell fast asleep.  While Jake rang doorbells and his bucket took the major brunt of the fall he made in the seventh (or eighth?) driveway down, Parker completely missed the entire point of the night.  Or maybe he didn't.  He wore his costume comfortably after he settled into being okay with wearing a (very) puffy, white, one-piece with dark brown stripes and an extra heavy hood with a mane, ears, and eyes.  And no, he didn't eat any candy because he can't, but he went along for the ride and was the ultimate sidekick for Big Brother.  Success - I felt it because when I initially put it on him, he tugged and wailed, then tugged and wailed.  He got over it.

This year, this is how Trick-or-Treat was done, and it was momentous.

And I can guarantee you the excitement of what costumes they'll wear won't wait until only two weeks prior next year.

The wheels of ideas are already turning in this head of mine, and I already look forward to the day next year when we snap pictures on the hill beside our home before the darkness takes over and then purposely not take my camera with me so I'll live in the moment as we walk down our street and watch little hands take candy from bowls and make sure "Thank you's" are given and say, "Just one more piece!" at least twice as we sit with emptied buckets on our living room floor, costumes half on, half off.

And I already look forward to the reminder that October 31st gives me that I'm in the season of the year I love most...Fall...and the season of my life that I'm so, so incredibly blessed to be in - a piece of childhood not to be taken for granted relived as a Mom to two of the greatest gifts I've ever been given (even when one isn't quite as excited about his costume as I am and the other has to be threatened within nearly an inch of his life every single day since he got it if he even thinks about eating "Just one more!!!!!" - as he says it - piece of candy).