A Resolution


I have one. Just one. It's to eat a lunch that I brought from home more days of the week than I eat out. I've kept up the pace for the entire month of January, and I love what it's doing for me - more gas in the tank, more change in the checking account, and less of the same 'ole same 'ole from the same 'ole drive-thrus. I think I'll keep this one.

And just to randomly fill in the gap between Sunday and right this very second...we exhausted ourselves in an hour long meeting about getting to the bottom of what it all means when she says he would benefit from repeating K4 skills on his mid-year evaluation, Parker almost climbed up one of the steps of our staircase (two hands on the second step and one leg folded on the first...but he kept the other bolted to the floor) and I fell down four of them (I have no idea how, but the bruise should be a good one.), Jim is huddled on our couch under a thermal blanket symptomatic of the flu, and Jake just reminded me of someone. You know that bed wetter from Home Alone? The one who wore glasses and chugged a two liter of Pepsi with his pizza before he was supposed to share a bed with Macaulay Culkin? Minus the glasses (but not the bed soaking capabilities - he takes after someone I know), he's lying here next to me taking huge - I mean HUGE - swigs of the sweet tea I put in his Lightning McQueen water bottle.

Hope ya'll have a great (and dry) night!

"You is kind. You is smart. You is important." - The Help


Before I left work on Friday, I logged onto Blockbuster Express and rented "The Help". As of that night, I wrote my name off of the list of only something like fifty people left in the Southeast who haven't seen it yet, and I loved it. I laughed, held it together, put Crisco on my shopping list (you know, so I can test out that baggy eye trick), and just cried and cried as Mae Mobley beat against the window pane calling for her Aibi not to go. Ahhh, what a great movie.

The rest of our weekend has been as good as Minny's humor.

Yesterday, we ate breakfast at Hardee's and dinner at Zaxby's (with James, Tonya, and the kids). We shopped the dollar bins at Target for flashcards and PreK workbooks (so we can work with Jake more at home on what he's learning at school) and bought groceries.

 ***Parker is ball-obsessed. Ooooh if it's round, he's on it, and he'll actually throw it back and forth. (Jake at this age was all about anything that rolled - as in "on wheels". If it had wheels on it, it was right up his alley. I can see him now crouching/laying all the way down so he could watch the wheels roll back and forth.) As for Baby, it's all about the bounce.***

Today I tortured Jake outside our front door just before we left for church and took these of him within ten minutes.

At lunch we argued with him that microwavable hamburger helper is the same thing as the cooked-on-a-stovetop kind (he ate it; although, he likes the microwavable kind better) and afterwards we spent an hour or longer at the playground in our 'hood.

In the latter part of our day, I made this (bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and almonds - I mix sugar with the strawberries separately before putting it all together because I like mine sweet) and ate a bowl while I watched the game of basketball going on in our cul-de-sac from our kitchen window.

The finale - "Zookeeper" (the movie) in the rec room - all of us.

After two days, my opinion still stands... (On the way home from work on Thursday, Jake asked if tomorrow was another school day.  I said yes, but then we'll have two whole days off.  "Is that a long time, Mommy?", he asked me.  I answered honestly, "No.  No, it really isn't.  Not long enough.") they just weren't long enough.

Walking. He's learning how.



Just like the charm that worked for Jake at this age, so is the walk-behind-me learning walker working for Parker.  

And today when Jim picked him up from his preschool, he braced himself for that first step because he thought for a split second he was about to take it.  The excitement of seeing his Da-da coupled with the fact that he was already standing up and holding onto something (a tricycle) made him come sooo close.  

Ahhhh...It won't be long now!

Dear Jake,


I just want to start by saying I love you - more than you'll ever be able to comprehend really. And I understand at times you think I don't and you fold your arms and say, "No one loves me. NO ONE! Even YOU don't love me!" But I'm here to tell you I do...unconditionally. And so do a lot of other people.

And I promise you that your yellow beyblade is just as cool as your blue one, and it'll be okay when you have to take it instead because you can't find any others before you leave for school. You may think, "No one's gonna think this one's cool!", but I'll bet they will. And if they don't you'll learn that life goes on. Really. It does.

Last but not least, it'd be really awesome if the next time we went to Target you didn't boldly profess from the basket of our shopping cart that you, "jus' wish [I] would kill [you]" or that you "jus' wanna run away and hide somewhere so no one can find you." Neither I (or anyone else probably for that matter) wants to hear you say those kinds of things. You'll also never get your wish (I'm not the killing type...especially when it comes to my own children. Sorry.) and by the time you get to the end of our street, you'd most likely get tired or hungry and want to come back home anyway. I'd also like to see you grow up, so I hope you'll reconsider wanting "to kill [your]self" because I didn't buy those Legos for you. There will definitely be more trips that we'll make to Target and more opportunities for you to expand your Lego collection. Rest assured.

Oh! One more thing. I really do love you. Pinky swear. I do.


just breathe


 Today, he and I did lots of this...

four times to be exact.

When he started preschool at eighteen months old, he was diagnosed with bronchitis three times within six months or less and by the time he turned two, we were breathing treatment veterans. We've had a machine at home ever since, and unfortunately we've clocked countless hours just like the ones we did today.  Oh but snuggling with him and reading his favorites...yeah, I'll take it.

One Year...That's a wrap!


He's ONE, and it officially feels like it.

This weekend we partied better than we did in 1999, and we rang in his second year in Very Hungry Caterpillar style.  When it comes to a caterpillar, I think Eric Carle told his story best - one we have loved, loved, loved since this book was gifted to Jake on his first birthday by someone I completely adore (I passed by her on the street one day and complimented her on her tan.  She told me she was getting married soon.  A year or more later, we started working together, and she reminded me..."Yeah, you walked by me and..."  That was you?!  That WAS you.  We've been friends ever since.).  Our first copy bears his teethmarks.  It traveled in his backpack everywhere we went, and he still asks me to "Read about the caterpillar, Mommy!", and he butts in when he begins to eat through one apple, two pears, three plums.......  And now Parker has his own copy with an inside cover full of blue ink from the Sharpie marker we all used to sign it with "I love you's" and first birthday wishes.  I hope he loves it as much as Brother.

Party details as I go - I like it like that.

The door hanger was created using an unfinished wooden number one painted in green and "aged" in brown. I drilled two holes in the top (one in each corner) and threaded wire used to make jewelry with through each side, made two bows out of two different ribbon, tied them on with a pipe cleaner and voila.

The lanterns.  I ended up only using four of them.  After spending a half hour on an eight foot ladder and breaking a sweat, I cursed the other three and decided I liked this better anyway.  I could not for the life of me get them to stay via fishing line and blue painter's tape (the weight of the lanterns and slick, textureless fishing line maybe?).  I quickly raided my storage container full of ribbon, tied a red strand to each one, reused the painter's tape, stepped back, and never felt more proud.    

The tent cards I used here were purchased on Etsy and the roll of white yarn from Wal-mart.

The ceiling of our dining room converted party room was covered in balloons, our dining room table covered in food (almost all fourteen of them).

His grandma made his cake, and I love her for that.

To make the pennant banner I used two wooden dowels (Thank you, J!), scraps of fabric in patterns from the book and yarn. I cut three triangles using pinking sheers and two small slits in the top two corners of each one, threaded the yarn through and tied each end to a dowel.

Number 1 candle: Publix.

Cupcake liners and paper straws:  Hey Yo Yo.

Glassware: Wal-mart.

The love on Sunday....we definitely passed it around.

Almost five and a little over one is still hard to breathe in.

 I swear I love their birthdays more than they do. It's as much for me as it is them, I know this.  

My one goal is to make them feel half as special as they made me feel the day I brought them into this world.

If they only knew.

Baby was pretty much all over his birthday cake, yet he kept it clean (Jim pulled back the rug just in case).

I made his bib from the same collection of fabric that I used to make the birthday cake pennant banner, and I made the fabric banner that's hanging above his high chair from three of the four fabrics used throughout (free-handed paper triangle that I used as my pattern, thread, and sewing machine).

As for the gifts, he knew exactly what to do, and he loved them all.  (A ride-on toy, blocks, and a Busy Ball Popper courtesy of Mommy, Daddy, and Brother...a hooded towel set, books, and a savings bond courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa...and a V Tech twirling, chasing, talking, musical kitty courtesy of Aunt Cathy, Uncle Dean, and Cousin Emily).

On the outside, our bushes were full of caterpillars made from egg cartons (I got two from each one by cutting them in half then used paint and pipe cleaners to decorate with.) and fruit made out of wood to throw bean bags through.

At the end of it all, we pulled the balloons from the ceiling and each let one go in honor of his age...

even the birthday boy.

Happy Birthday to You...Happy Birthday to You...Happy Birthday...Dear, Parker...Happy Birthday to You!  And I can't wait to sing many, many more birthday songs just for you.

A Toddler's Rules of Possession


1. If I like it, it's mine.

2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.

3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.

4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.

5. If it's mine, it must NEVER appear to be yours in any way.

6. If I'm doing or building something all the pieces are mine.

7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.

8. If I saw it first, it's mine.

9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.

10. If it's broken, it's yours.

Oh so true!  Ahhhh...their little ways of thinking.    

What's on your plate?


There's a whole lot of new things on his.

Making the transition from 2nd Foods to whole foods is a hard one for me. When Jake was his age, 3rd Foods weren't an option (Oh, he just gagged and gagged anything and eeeeeeverything with texture.), and at some point between then and eighteen months old, I remember wondering if I needed to seek the medical attention of a straight up specialist to find out if he would ever be able to actually chew and swallow food.

But Baby...he's making me look like I know what I'm doing.

He's dabbled his little fingers in turkey and carrot ravioli and throws back those Lil' Crunchies like he's a ten year old tossing pieces of popcorn into his mouth.

He turns into an animal when he sees a bag of banana yogurt melts and shares a cup of applesauce with his big brother on most nights of the week.

The cookies shaped like bananas are a religious practice, and we're stockpiling containers of Sweet Potato puffs.

Table foods...and escalated grocery bills...here we come!

what i'm loving wednesday


first tastes of birthday cake


loved it too!

Extra Extra

A three-day catch-all...I'll get started.

On Saturday morning, two small tornadoes blew through nearly every room they could run and crawl in to. Every dinosaur Jake owns was no longer extinct but roaming his room instead, destroying everything in its path, and Baby was close behind. Every basket in their shared toy closet was touched, and I hugged our heating pad for several hours while Parker napped and while Jim worked at the Bryant Conference Center. We kept our date night as planned (long, long overdue) and dropped the boys off at James and Tonya's late that afternoon. We had dinner at Mugshots and bought books at Barnes and Noble and milk at Wal-mart. A real date (except for the milk run maybe). We used to go to the book store and just sit and read for hours back in the day. Absolutely one of my favorite things we used to do - so this was my idea, and Mugshots for dinner was his.

And then there’s Sunday. Jake was dressed, and I was still in the process. He sat on our bathroom floor mumbling about the lack of time he has to play at home, he was hatin’ on the jacket he was wearing, and his jeans were “…jus' rubbing me.” and then finally (totally saving the best for last on this one) he said, “I jus' wish today wasn’t a day we had to go to church.” I’d give anything for the words to come and fill in the gap between this sentence and the next, but they don’t. I just can’t explain the feelings of failure that came over me. Have I not been faithful enough? Or consistent enough? I cried while I drove, and we chatted about why it’s so important in a way he could understand. We got there, and he sang and shook an entire package of Mentos like a Polaroid picture until three of them went rolling across the floor three aisles over, and he blew up Treehouse like it was a birthday party. I love that he loves it once he settles in; but I especially love what our guest speaker shared. “Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. If I do all of these things today, I will give thanks to the One who enabled me. And if I don’t, I’ll ask for His grace. And when the day is done, I’ll lay my head on my pillow to rest, and I’ll ask Him for another day.” Oh Lord, make me a better example of You. And give me Your grace as I train these two precious little lives you’ve entrusted me with in the way they should go.

Monday came and with it an extra vote of confidence - an extra nine hours of parenting we aren't ordinarily allowed during a normal work week because it was a holiday. Our morning consisted of returning Bridesmaids to the Blockbuster box at Publix, shopping at Wal-mart and Sam's quickly, and haircuts for Jim and Jake. We napped, and the golf course called their names while Parker and I bought two 2 x 2 squares of plywood at Lowe's. And when his day was finally over, two purple pipe cleaners were added to a red paper lantern (antennas, of course, on the Very Hungry Caterpillar), and I cut out a pear and an orange with our jigsaw (doing the cabbage patch while I type this because I did this all by my lonesome) and painted them in their designated green and orange while Jake painted one of the holes I cut out so a bean bag can be tossed through each one.

As for the rest of the week, the grind returned on Tuesday.  And today we're half way there.

Bring on the weekend already, eh?!

This is what Saturday looks like.


Right here.

One isn't still wearing what he slept in. One is.

Right now.

One understands what he means when he says, "Let's fight, Parker!" One does not (and crawls away).

It's gonna be a good one!

Happy Weekending to you!

You know that birthday party?


The one that we're supposed to have on Sunday? Uh huh. That one. It's being postponed until next Saturday. Long story. Keepin' it short. The custom fondant cupcake toppers that I ordered two weeks ago were mailed to our old home address and are in the process of being forwarded or returned to their state of origin with is Utah. (Oh, I gave her the new one, but no, she didn't use it.)     

And then there's Grandma. She's vomiting.  Enough said.

Lah-dee-dee lah-dee-dah.

Moving on....

To be completely honest, disappointment would have definitely set in by now had we not done this last week.  

A visit to All Fired Up is an annual event for us.  We started the tradition two years ago when Jake made a Christmas gift for Grandma and an ornament to hang on our tree.  Christmas of 2010 became let's-wait-until-Baby-gets-here-so-he-can-make-one-too, so we put it off until February.  And then there's this year.  The one where we let twelve days come and go without putting it on our To-Do List, and I actually wondered when we would go until at (almost) the last minute (the Friday before when I discussed my options with my coworker, L, after she asked me, "What will you do on Sunday for Parker's birthday?"), we made it a date.

The lights came on at 1 in the afternoon, and we were there.  We picked out our pieces to paint, put globs of different shades of green, red, yellow and brown into white plastic trays and went to town. 

Jake's - a Christmas ornament in the shape of a reindeer.

Parker's - a mitten with his hand printed almost perfectly on top and on the first try which completely surprises me to look at it (I think when we did this last year, it took at least three, maybe four, attempts to get a footprint that actually looked like one.).

The oldest who temporarily lost his smile (He was incredibly disappointed that a) he "didn't get to jus paint, um, a plate" and b) that he "didn't get to paint sumthin' else."  This time we were keeping it simple and budget friendly and realistic on how long the birthday boy would last before he started running on fumes, throwing his head back, and wallowing into an it's-waaaaay-past-my-naptime meltdown.).

Oh he looooved the brushes.  Even the way it tickled his skin as she painted a good coat of Lime Rickey green on his left palm and fingers. 

He got it back.

I think this may have just become a birthday tradition.  A semi-annual event maybe held on January 8th and then again quickly February 27th?  Loved, loved, loved celebrating his special day this way, and I can't wait to see how the souvenirs made especially by them turn out.