This weekend Jim and I were at home alone to get a little project done - cleaning and regrouting our kitchen floors.  My mom and dad came early Saturday morning to watch Jake play his weekly game of T-ball (this week he covered first base) and took the boys back with them for the night to give us room to work.

After a breakfast "date", a trip to Home Depot, a trip to Lowe's, lots of moving furniture and back-breaking, knee-bruising labor, we got it done, and we were on our way back to Centreville to pick them up.

When we pulled into our usual meeting spot (a gas station), Jake and his Grandpa were inside while Parker was pretending to "drive" in his Grandma's lap.  We gave hugs and loaded their overnight gear back into our car and waited.  Finally...here they come.

When Jake walked up, he was holding this magazine.

He conned it right out of his Grandpa when he said, "I've been looking for this for YEARS!"

from this morning


"Mom.  Do you know Brogan?"

Yes, I do know Brogan.  I think he's such a sweet boy.

"Mom.  Ummm...do you know Allie Grace?"

Yep.  I know Allie Grace.

"Well, do you know Tyler?"

No, I don't know Tyler.

"Me either."

I also found out that his size 18-24 month swim trunks fit him again this year.  His height changes but somehow his waistline never does.  Today, his school is having what they call "Field Day".  He's been raving about it all week long.  They'll have games galore, prizes they can win, huge blow-up water slides, and hot dogs for lunch.  But I really think more than all of that, he's super excited about the fact that nap time is being scratched off of their routine schedule.  I swear I've heard, "And no one's gonna take a nap, Mom!  At all!" more than "And there's gonna be huge water slides there!"  Love it!

on part of his milkshake being spilled


"Ya'll are messing with my emotions."   ~Jim

The spiller:  Parker

The one who took the blame because he had just finished saying, "Hey, watch him with that milkshake.  He might spill it.":  Me

Thanks,  Baby.  You totally owe me one.

....my love


He's everything a little boy is made of - t-balls and puppy dog tails, dirt under his fingernails and lizards in his pockets.

He asked me to let his "doggies be in [his] pitures" yesterday when I took these right after his bath.

He challenges me and charts me into unknown, parent-to-the-oldest-kid territory like deciding whether or not this school is best for him or whether it's okay to let him stay up past nine on a Tuesday night.

He asks how to spell the most random words all the time (purple and blue are the two most recent) and catches an episode of the old school Scooby-Doo pretty much on a daily basis.

He knows I believe in him - in who he is and everything he dreams about - because I tell him I do.

He's really into putting the "L" in Landers after the "e" in Jake when he writes his name.

He's an ordinary miracle.

And he's the keeper of the key to my heart.

a few things from our weekend


a....This weekend we gave the urns we had sitting on the exterior doorway of our old house an extreme makeover.  They were still in awesome shape, but the original finish that was on them before had been rubbed off in a few places from the move back in September.  I lost the war to replace them altogether, so I thought I'd try giving them a new coat of paint (A better solution anyway?  It's amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it.).  I picked out a textured one just to give them a little something and thought it'd be easier to get even coverage.  Jim sprayed on the first coat, and I came back with the second.  I filled them up with a juniper topiary that will grow much, much taller (I wish they were there now, but I got what I could get.  I guess it gives me something to look forward to.) and purple, blue, and white blooms all around the bottom.

b....Parker got his first taste of miniature Oreo cookies, and he kind of liked them.

c....And yesterday, my parents celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary.  Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!  I love you, I love you, I love you!  And I wish you many, many more years of loving each other more and more every day to come.

He's got two words for you...


 dog.  And ball.


One - for grasshoppers.

The other -


Really?  Sigh.

Yes, he gave them up.  

And I gave him his sippy cup instead.  Just in case he was still hungry or something.

red, white, blue...snowflakes?


As we drove through a close neighborhood to pass the time while we waited for our large pepperoni pizza to come out of the oven on our way home earlier today, we talked about the grey kitty we saw on one person's front porch seat, and then the big kid started noticing birds.  I guess animals were a theme?

"Mom!  There's a red bird!  I really saw one!  Have you ever seen a red bird?"

Yes, I have actually.

"For real?"

Yep.  I'm for real.

"Oh Mom!"  I jus' saw a blue one!  An' he had white snowflakes on his tail an' everything!"

Still wishing I hadn't missed that one...and saying Goodnight,



What a week!!  All in all, we had one appointment with our family's dentist (Jake's that was three months overdue), one set of Kindergarten registration papers to drop off, and one appointment with the boys' pediatrician (Jim took care of that one for me.  Thank you, Buddy!).

And on top of all that, I went into organize/audit/move-to-storage-as-many-as-possible all the files I'm responsible for at work beginning on Monday.  And I promise you by Wednesday, my bed time was just minutes after Jake's (Parker's is about an hour before his.).  I was tired!

Our weekend has been a lot of rest, weekday recovery, and rearranging furniture.

We watched Jake play T-ball yesterday morning, we grocery shopped, we took naps (Well, at least Parker and I did.), and we finally found something we both agreed on for the loooong wall in our den.  After we put it there, our furniture seemed out of place, so we moved it around.  I like it.

Between Easter and well, all of the above, I guess, I'm a whole week behind on wishing Parker a Very Happy 15 Month Birthday!

At this age, he's:
not a full-time walker (But this past week, he took more steps on his own and practiced standing a lot.)
super high maintenance (i.e. If you put him down...he cries.  If you leave the room...he cries.  If I'm putting on my makeup, and he's not sitting at eye level on the counter...he cries.)
waving bye bye when he feels like it
has a new found appreciation for the taste of hot dogs (cut into pieces, of course) and McDonald's french fries
weighing right at 21 pounds and measuring right at 32 inches tall
and has an ever-increasing vocabulary (So far, he's saying momma, dada, ball, dog, and Uh-oh! as well as if he'd made them up himself.)

By the way, I have a video of him saying "ball" and "dog".  It's a short one, but you get the idea.  I'll post it as soon as I can steal the power cord to the camera that it's on out of Jim's backpack.

Here's to hoping this week is a less tiring one!

Our Kitchen, Easter Sunday


Late, late Sunday morning, Jake came running through our back door for us to welcome him home, and before we knew it, our kitchen smelled like ham, hard boiled eggs, creamed corn, black eyed peas, and two kinds of rolls.

Their Easter buckets lined our kitchen table.  Parker's was full of Sesame Street books from the dollar bins at Target, Apple cinnamon and Sweet potato Graduates squeeze pouches, Goldfish, a Sesame Street food storage container, and Graduates Lil' Crunchies.  Jake's was packed with chocolate bunnies, Trolli sour worms, skittles, bubble gum, and a water toy to play with when we hit the pool this Summer.  And not to leave Miss Emily out, I filled hers up with color wonder paper and markers, a box of Hawaiian Punch water flavor packs, a new nightgown, and candy, candy, and more candy.    

My mom and sister made lunch while I made Resurrection rolls with Emily and Jake.  They were so, so good, and we had such a good time making them.  And I'm pretty sure I was just wearing my heart on my sleeve, but I completely choked up when we talked about what each step in making them meant and what each ingredient stood for.  

While they baked, my sister helped Emily dye just a few eggs and had a slight meltdown when she colored not just an egg but part of her brand new shirt, Jim did the man thing - watched The Masters,  Parker got his zzzz's, and Jake got busy cracking open what the Easter bunny brought him.

my mom and dad

I think I speak for all of us when I say our lunch was one worth waiting for - even if we didn't have the sweet potato casserole I've decided since then our menu was missing.  And I think I speak for my mom and my sister when I say we'll be making more Resurrection rolls waaaaay before next year's Easter Sunday.

Hippity Hop


My first try at making Resurrection Rolls was a complete success.

Our refrigerator smells like hard boiled eggs.

And when it comes to getting the two of them together, this is as good as I got - no Sunday's best dressed, Parker's not happy, and Jake is squinting the other way.

Our Easter Sunday has been one of the best days ever.

"...My Redeemer
He lives to take away my shame.
And He lives forever, I'll proclaim.
That the payment for my sin
was the precious life He gave.
But now He's alive
and there's an empty grave...
Let all Creation testify, 
Let this life within me cry, 
I know my Redeemer lives."

~Nicole Mullen, My Redeemer Lives

our week in words


This week my mom was here from Sunday through Wednesday - the same days Jim was in St. Louis for work (the last of his extended trips until the Fall).

When she got here on Sunday afternoon, we spent a ton of time outside, ate strawberries, pitched tennis balls to Jake, and inhaled enough pollen to deserve a special trip to CVS just to buy Zyrtec. That night we all played in Parker's room and watched him take his first steps. He's been making tracks behind his learning walker for weeks, pulling up, cruising around furniture, and even letting go to come to me. But when he'd let go, he would just dive - never move his feet.  So we each took turns letting him hold just one finger, got him in a good swift walking motion, then let go.  He took two steps towards my mom all on his own and then three to me, and I'd have to say after that our night was spent just...celebrating.

On Monday, I took the day off, and we made shopping a day of it - just my mom and I.  We left the boys in the hands of their teachers and went to Birmingham.  Buy Buy Baby and two malls later, we rescued Parker and took our turn in the carpool line for Jake.  Before the night was over, we wondered if the new navy blue beanbag in Parker's room was worth it because he. was. miserable.  Not enough rest?  The bite mark (his first) on his right hand?  The rash he had all over his belly?  I guess we could take our pick really because it was most likely a combination of all three.

Tuesday - Parker was brand new and chicken and dumplings were on our plates at dinner.  I love, love, love my momma's cooking; not just because it tastes so good, but because I never do.  One day?  Absolutely.  When my babies aren't babies anymore and are old enough to play outside and I have to call them home and food is a motivator for them to obey me.  And when they're beyond the ages where they are now where one cries at my feet with his arms in the air and the other one would rather me "...jus' come play basketball with me.", I choose to use the time I'm given with them to do what's most important in their eyes.  This will all pass.  Our days won't always be the same, and neither will their immediate needs.  And when it all changes, I'll whip up some homemade mashed potatoes just like my momma does, and I'll watch them come running to our table.

On Wednesday, Jim took his last flight home, and my mom left with Jake in tow.  She tells me he's visited my dad while he's worked on building a house with Habitat for Humanity, had lunch at McDonald's, jumped, jumped, jumped on his cousin, Emily's trampoline, practiced writing all of his letters, ridden his bike, caught two caterpillars, told her, "I miss my mommy.", and this morning they went as a family to Egg-Citement (a huge Easter festival at my mom and dad's church).  My sister has sent me oh eight text messages with pictures of him playing plinko, sliding down a huge blow-up slide, petting a goat, and finding the golden egg in a baby pool full of them.  I texted back, "What did he win?"  She said, "He got a free ice cream from Chick-fil-A."  How cool is that?

So Parker has had our undivided attention while his Bubba has been away, and he knows it.  He has owned us big time, and we love it.  He has yet to walk independently since he last showed his moves to me and his Grandma last Sunday; but his daddy totally believes me because his big brother did the same thing (took his first steps then waited several weeks before he never crawled again).  He's practicing, though, all the time.  We took him to see the Easter Bunny yesterday, and he just assumed that we didn't.  He never cried, but he would look back, then reach for me...look back then reach for me.  The picture isn't a smiling one, but I love it because it's him - cautious with just enough courage.  After we got home and said goodnight to Parker, I took it upon myself to take Jake's closet from Winter to Summer.  I sorted through all of his winter clothes, kept the ones worth saving for Parker, and unpacked the shorts and short sleeves that I bought at the end of the season last year and the ones he hasn't outgrown.  Sooo much easier without him here.  Yeah, he's getting waaaay attached to certain things in his closet.  Right now his favorites are his Smurfs t-shirt, his Hawaii t-shirt (it just says Hawaii and has a surf board on it), and his Guy Harvey swordfish t-shirt.

And now, I can't help but be excited for tomorrow.  It's Easter, and I can't wait!

He Giveth More Grace


I had planned to say something different today; but this morning, I found out that one of the great girls that I spend all of my week day work days with has had her world turned upside down.  And really all I can think about is her, so I thought I'd share something I read today that I thought was pretty amazing instead.
It was written by Annie Johnston Flynt, a hymn-writer who was orphaned very early in life.  She was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis and spent most of her life in bed where she had to have eight pillows to cushion her body from head to toe because it was covered with sores.  When she wrote this ("He Giveth More Grace"), she had lost control of her internal organs, and cancer was taking her life...

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater 
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase 
To added affliction, He addeth His mercy
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace
When we have exhausted our store of endurance 
When our strength has failed and the day’s half done, 
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s own giving has only begun 
His love has no limit 
His grace has no measure 
His power has no boundaries known unto men 
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus 
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.

the walker


(less than twenty-four hours after his first steps)

He took them!


Parker took his first real steps today!

Two to his Grandma and three back to me.

We cheered, squealed, clapped our hands.  And me...well, I cried.

Little dude knew he had done the most celebrated, biggest thing of his life.  And smiled; oh, he smiled the whole time.

Way to go, Baby!  You have set my heart above the clouds with the pitter-patter of your little feet!

And I command you today: Love God, your God. Walk in his ways. Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by God, your God, in the land you are about to enter and possess.  ~Deuteronomy 30:16