And How

Thursday, December 30, 2010

11 Goals for '11

Last year I made a New Years Resolution and I almost made it, so naturally, I decided that 11 goals would be reasonable for the next, consecutive year...haha. Some of these, I'm sure will get vetoed by the hubster, but hopefully, I'll actually end up trying them all and making several of them part of my life permanently!  I figure blogging about them will keep me accountable. completely random order, here they are:

  1. Start quilting and make at least one quilt.  I think this might be in my blood (thanks to Grandma).  I started out sewing with the intention of moving in this direction.  Very few things that I own are as treasured as some of my homemade quilts and blankets and it would awesome to have this little trick up my sleeve.
    This is the quilt I'd like to try!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ten Words for OH-Ten

Five Hour Drives.
Family time.
Learning simple living.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Resolution 2010: How that worked out for me...

Well, I think it kind of did...KIND OF.

Let me explain.

My new year's resolution last year was to go the entire year without buying any new clothes. It started out as a purely money-saving goal, but I also figured it would earn me a nice shopping spree in early 2011:) I figured I'd probably cheat (even from the beginning) so I gave myself an out by saying that I couldn't buy any NEW clothes. Sneaky, huh?

Anyway, here's my confession of sorts:

I bought five pairs of new undies in January or February. It was a necessity, really. I also bought a dress for a wedding in September. Honestly, I didn't have anything "nice, that fit" and what I did have I got the "Fine" or "Okay" response from my husband as to how they looked, so they were obviously no-go's. I found a dress that made me feel a little sassy at Ross and I paid 25 bucks for it. It was a small price for the huge burden of guilt I experienced for buying it, but I wore it and was happy in it, so there!

Not sure if this is cheating or not, but I also got several (maybe five or six) new articles of clothing for my birthday in August from Pack and other family members. I felt like I had won the lottery! Not to mention, I also made a skirt for myself in my "learn to sew" class. You can decide if those count against me or not.

Enough confessions, here's what I learned:

1. I still have WAY too many clothes. I literally only wore maybe a fifth of my wardrobe. Come January, I'll be doing some SERIOUS downsizing!

2. I wear built-in-bra camisoles all the time. I probably need two or three more (preferably long ones) that I can wear all throughout the week. I even sleep in them!

3. I want a pair of rain boots (for practical purposes).

4. I want another pair of skinny jeans since I lost the pair I bought last year:( Perfect time to lost an article of clothing, right?

5. I don't wear these things: t-shirts, khaki pants, collared "golf" shirts, any sweater that isn't the one I've had since high school, or half the dresses in my closet.

6. I am not stylish or trendy and I will pick out clothes that look "hippie" above almost anything else.

7. Most of my jeans are "mom jeans." Yeah, I know. I should probably invest in a pair of dark jeans that I can wear with heels.

8. I should never wait almost a year before replacing my undies supply. Seriously, my "unmentionables" are in a sad state of affairs right now (but they ARE CLEAN!!!). TMI? hahaha

9. I'm probably only going to buy clothes for myself second-hand from now on (mostly). I want to build a more quality wardrobe without spending the quality price. I think it will be worth it in the long run to have clothes that last for a while longer than some that I've got.

10. I'm not as noble as I thought I was when I started this "mission." More than once I have found myself thinking that depriving myself of new clothes made me a better person somehow. I'm ashamed that I actually felt at times that I was suffering. Now I realize that I know nothing of what it means to suffer. I have way more than I need and instead of feeling deprived, this taste of humility makes me thankful!

In hindsight, I probably saved my family some money and learned what things I really need in a wardrobe (and 100 things that I don't). Most importantly, I almost ALMOST met a goal and that meant a lot more.

Of course, the year's not over yet ;)

Monday, November 22, 2010

A moment that might have been forgotten.

A cloudless, fall, Friday afternoon. I rake instead of mulching/bagging our leaves.

Best decision ever.

My boys, Pack, and I spend about 30 minutes playing in a pile of "almost trash." Nothing special. No planned activity. Just a spur-of-the-moment "this might be fun" type of thing. Turns out, we made a memory.

I'll always think of that as my first favorite Virginia memory. I've had a lot of good family times already, but this one is captured in my heart forever.

And on my Flip video camera. Unfortunately, the video wouldn't load to the blog, so here's a link to our moment:

Monday, November 15, 2010


Have you ever noticed that the minute you feel led to change something in your life, you are immediately fighting it? For example, for years I have struggled to have a consistent quiet time of Bible reading every day, but I always get too lazy. I want to experience the soul-soothing effect of living my life surrounded by the promises of God, but the minute I decide to change my behavior, I enter into mental warfare

I'll lay in bed and think, "I'll wake up early and read my Bible before anyone's up. That will get me completely ready for my day." But I'm a mom of two young boys and sometimes, mornings can hit me like a truck! Then I find myself trying to milk the night's sleep for whatever it's worth. Nap time? Nah...there's lots of cleaning and picking up I should be doing then. Before bed? Yeah right, I hardly even stay awake long enough to feel my head hit the pillow! Laziness.

Last night, I kind of had a realization. If you want to read the Bible, just do it. Don't wait for morning or lie there and debate when the best time would be to spend some time with God. DO IT NOW (or whenever now is)!

So I did.

Could that be the pattern-breaking solution? Apparently, I just can't give myself enough time to talk myself out of whatever it is that needs to be done. I decided to keep Bibles all over my house. In the nightstand, the living room, near the stove, in the my purse! Wherever I am, He will be with me.

Along those lines...

Ever since I was a teenager, I've never been able to listen to the James Taylor song without thinking of my Abba. I think this song describes the way God feels about it. I don't feel or think even for a minute that he gets mad at me for not trusting Him to help me through my day. He doesn't hold grudges. I do think that it thrills Him for me to seek Him out. And He comes RUNNING to me (the Maker of the Universe...the Alpha and Omega)! He wants to be my friend!

You've Got a Friend

by Carole King as performed by James Taylor Copyright © 1971 by Colgems EMI Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
When you're down and troubled
and you need a helping hand
and nothing, whoa nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.
You just call out my name,
and you know wherever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah baby
to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
all you have to do is call
and I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You've got a friend.
If the sky above you
should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep your head together and call my name out loud
and soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name and you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer or fall
all you got to do is call
and I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Hey, ain't it good to know that you've got a friend?
People can be so cold.
They'll hurt you and desert you.
Well they'll take your soul if you let them.
Oh yeah, but don't you let them.

You just call out my name and you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Oh babe, don't you know that,
Winter spring summer or fall,
Hey now, all you've got to do is call.
Lord, I'll be there, yes I will.
You've got a friend.
You've got a friend.
Ain't it good to know you've got a friend.
Ain't it good to know you've got a friend.
You've got a friend.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Christmas Gift Ideas

Okay, I will share my list of ideas for homemade Christmas gifts IF my family doesn't get insulted if one of these becomes your gift AND if maybe one of my nine followers offers up another suggestion. (Okay, I can't make you do that, but we'll go on the honor system).

Here there are with links to places where I found the ideas:

1. A game board bulletin board. I LOVE this idea and it looks super-easy. I'm going to Goodwill to see if I can find any used games that will work with this since it doesn't really matter if a few pieces are missing.
2. Tree Slice Cake/Cupcake Stand. Very cute. This looks like such a cute idea to display lots of things and I've looked all over for affordable "tree slices" and I just can't find them, short of cutting down the trees in my backyard (not happening). I'm still on the lookout though.

3. Reusable Snack bags. Okay, so I was thinking that Santa might leave a few of these in my stocking, but I'm not sure most people would appreciate the novelty and "green-ness" of this idea. I still like it though and think it will make a good use of excess fabric I have. The ones I have in mind are super-simple, but how cute are these?

4. Tin Can SlipCover. This will most likely be filled with either kitchen utensils or pens/markers, but it would make a great teacher gift or even wedding gift if it doesn't work for any of your Christmas gifts. I'm keeping this one in the vault.

5. Dream Frame Bank. This is way easy, but you have to know a little something about the recipient (like say, where a fantasy vacation location would be or something they are saving up for), but that's the hard part. Finding a shadow box frame is easy (and cheap). Finally, find a picture that represents their "dream", drill a money-sized hole in the top and you're ready to go. For added effect, paint the frame in chalkboard paint and draw a progress meter.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tis the Season...Almost

I'm really excited about Christmas this year. It's an entirely new experience for us being in another place and I hope that helps to make the season more relaxing. Every year, I vow to get all the shopping done early so we can just enjoy the atmosphere of Christmas, but every year, I end up shopping up until Christmas Eve...and spending way too much!

This Christmas, I'm trying something new. It's either going to make Christmas a lot more budget-friendly and relaxing, or it will be a disaster. I'm sure it will be somewhere in the middle.

The idea is: I'm going to MAKE as many presents as I possibly can! Thanks to my new sewing machine I got for my birthday, combined with a few basic sewing lessons, I think I may be able to tackle a few simple sewing projects. The children and women are easy. I've thought of several craft ideas (not just sewing either) and I've even made a few things already, but it's the men and boys I'm worried about. What in the heck can I make that would suit them? Got ideas? Shoot.

Another part of my 2010 Christmas resolution is something that I've been wanting to do for a while (for obvious reasons). Whatever I can't make, I'm going to try to buy used! I've actually done pretty good this year setting aside some money for Christmas and I can't bear the thought of it not taking us as far as I thought it would (we have A LOT of people to buy for), so this might extend the budget some. Most of this will be felt in my immediate household. Mainly, Pack, Penn, Jude, and Me. I got the idea when I was thinking of how long it takes us to open all the toys on Christmas morning, only to find out that the boys just aren't that crazy about them as we thought they'd be. Hence, un-packaged, pre-assembled toys that are ready for playing and probably only cost a fraction of what a new one would!!! I shouldn't feel guilty for NOT buying my kids brand-spanking-new gifts. They could care less!

If you're in my extended family reading this, please feel free to join in and make us something homemade or buy something used for us or someone else on your Christmas list! I feel bad asking people to do this because I realize it takes a little more effort and time in most cases, but I feel that the holidays will be so much more focused on the true meaning and traditions of Christmas. Not electronic toys in perfect (or annoyingly imperfect) cardboard boxes, but gifts from the heart to represent the greatest gift of all...JESUS! The bottom line? I don't need anyTHING! It's all just stuff and I've gotten such an itch this year just to simplify my life.

I'll be the first to confess that not everything I gift this Christmas will be handmade or used, but I'm going to do my best and I would encourage you to give it a shot too. Maybe just hand make two or three gifts (I'm hoping I get some food, hint, hint). We don't need to kill ourselves. But who knows, you might end up developing a skill in something you never thought you'd be able to do!

And don't forget, if you've got any good ideas, PLEASE let me know...seriously:)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A little "sumthin" to think about.

I heard on the radio today that in 2003 there was a discovery in astronomy of a point of light that represented a whole ton (okay...I don't remember the number) of galaxies in space that we don't even know about.

One point of light.

One AMAZING Creator. (Because at some point, there HAS to be a Creator)

And he chose OUR little planet to send his Son because his most precious creation lives here.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.

He would have done it just for me (or you). Chills.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A year and a half later...Jude's birth story.

We got pregnant with this sweet baby boy 13 months after Penn was born. We were thrilled...thrilled because Penn was such an easy baby (although that changed during toddlerhood), thrilled because we were having another boy (I would have been thrilled with a girl too), and thrilled that I was pregnant again (this would soon change).

I felt totally different this pregnancy. Every ache and pain was magnified because I was chasing a toddler. I didn't rest. I didn't eat enough (early on...later, I ate like a champ). My ribs hurt like mad. And I was too stubborn to ask for help when I needed it.

These complaints aside, I still loved being pregnant and did my best to make it look easy in front of people, although I realize now that I probably wasn't fooling anybody.

Toward the end of the pregnancy, the doctors became concerned that little ole me was going to give birth to a ten-pounder (like I said, I began to eat much better). We decided to schedule an induction for a week before my due date. This was a bittersweet decision. It was an easy choice in some ways because we could make arrangements for Penn more easily, and at that point, I was tired of being pregnant anyway...I was already dilated four centimeters and 75 % effaced (whatever that means...). On the other hand, I really, really wanted to experience the spontaneity of going into labor on my own and see when this baby would decide to come.

The pain won out and we showed up at the hospital early Friday, March 27, 2009, after dropping Penn off at "Mamaw's". I remember Pack and I argued on the way to the hospital, but I don't remember what about. We were both nervous as anything and a little heartbroken that Penn wouldn't be our baby anymore--and he didn't even have a clue. Mostly, we were anxious because we wanted to meet the newest little boy.

For the record, sitting on the hospital bed at 6 am, getting prepped for induction is surreal. It's crazy thinking, "In just a few hours, after a ton of pain, I won't be pregnant anymore." I'm willingly lying down and asking them to administer the pain for me. Weird.


Contractions started immediately, about 6:30. I liked the "pain" at first, probably because it wasn't really pain. It felt productive. I knew I was already a four, so it wouldn't be too long before it got worse.

During the labor, I got bored, so I did what any bored person would do in 2009, I facebook. What else could I do, right? Here's the play by play:
7:38 Getting restless sitting in the hospital bed and I've only been here an hour and a half!!!
8:46 Trying to resist the epidural, but Pack is freaking and wants me to get it asap.
*I finally got it about 9:30 after Pack begged and pleaded.

About to start pushing!!!
*I was instructed to "labor down" at about 11:00, which basically meant they wanted me to sit straight up in the bed to allow the baby to get way down in position. This was supposed to make everything move a lot more quickly without as much worked
Has a new little boy...born at 12:01...he's perfect. I'll post with measurements later. *I promise I was not neglecting to spend time with my perfect boy so I could facebook. I had already gotten my first snuggles and nursing session and was getting ready to switch rooms while Baby Jude got checked out in the newborn nursery.
Jude really was perfect (APGAR score and everything). We noticed his super-long toes and the fact that at 9lbs, 1 oz and 22 inches, he was almost the EXACT same size Penn was at birth. He nursed like a champ from the get-go (and did so until he was 18 months old!!!!).

This labor was fast. Pushing took 15 minutes. We were in the hospital 36 hours before we went home (not staying longer was a me MISTAKE). We spent the next few weeks forbidding Jude to grow up...he was going to be our baby forever.

It didn't work.

You can't convince the boy now that he's any younger than his brother. At 1 1/2, he's gotten more injuries than his brother has had in his whole life. We realize now he's not perfect...sometimes, he's bad. We are crazy in love with him still and he's growing at lightening speed!

Baby Jude, you came into the world quickly and pretty easily! We adored your babyhood and were so sad to see it go, bit by bit! As you grow (quicker than we'd like), our mission is that you will never be able to say that your mommy and daddy never kissed you enough, said, "I love you" enough, or neglected to tell you about God. You will always be our sweet boy and we are so thankful that God trusted us with your care. You make our life so sweet and we love you tons and tons!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Woe is me...

I can't think of much right now that is more stressful than meal time. I realize that I'm not the first person to have to cross this bridge and I'll probably think fondly upon these days when I'm having to deal with more "big boy issues," but I am at my wit's end! Between Jude's utter destruction of any element of neatness in my kitchen and Penn's finickiness (that's putting it lightly...), I wonder if we will ever emerge to a season of life that doesn't require begging, threatening, and baths during and immediately following meals.

Here's the scoop. Penn eats nothing (okay, very little). I've seen birds that have bigger appetites than this kid! The only time we don't have to argue with him about eating is when we're having breakfast foods, some form of chicken (plain), bologna, hot dogs, fruit, or sweets. Oh yeah...celery. This boy eats celery. You know all the foods that they say all kids eat--like mac and cheese, spaghetti, french fries, peas and beans??? Mr. Firstborn won't touch any of these unless you force them into his mouth and then be prepared for it to come back up. I was trying to lose weight so I decided to eat portions of food that I would give to the children. Unfortunately, I have discovered that I would not survive on what Penn eats. Seriously. And don't even think about taking this boy to a restaurant to "try something new." He's as stubborn as his momma and it isn't going to happen.

Jude, on the other hand, is my "good eater." He'll literally eat almost anything I put in front of him. Well, I take that back. He'll try to eat anything I put in front of him, but at least half of it will end up on the floor, on his head, the walls, in his get it. Then when he's starving all the time and we're wondering how he could possibly be hungry again, you remember that he only was able to get half the meal you offered him into his mouth. Poor guy. I know you're thinking, "Can't you just help him out and spoon-feed him a little?" Nope. Not only is Jude my "good eater," he's also "Mr. Independent." He'd sooner starve than let you help him--with anything. Give him a spoon and it may as well be a piece of jewelry, nice, but not necessary. Fisting food is much more efficient to him.

Therefore, after meals, you will usually find me near my breaking point. Wanna help? Got advice for either of these scenarios? Let me know. I'll be the one under the table threatening Penn if he doesn't eat something, while vacuuming cous-cous with ketchup up my arm.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Is 27 still considered "mid-twenties?"

Tomorrow is my birthday and I thought I'd commemorate that event with a post, since I haven't done that too often lately.

When I take a look back at "my" last year, I'm amazed at all the changes. This time, last year, we had just found out that Pack got THE JOB. The one we had been waiting for to come around for over a year. The ball was finally rolling...we thought. Within a week: loan pre-approvals, meetings with realtors, sign in the front yard, chaos in the house. I was terrified of what was to come. Everything seemed to be moving so quickly during those first few weeks.

Then everything slowed to a snail's pace. Our house didn't sell. Pack was gone Mondays through Fridays most weeks. I felt like a single mom. Our house HAD to stay clean for any last minute showings and I had to be ready to go out the door with just a few minutes' notice. I couldn't and still can't do anything on a few minutes' notice with two babies...

Christmas came. I was thankful that we got to spend one last holiday in this little house that we loved. I missed my husband like crazy during the days he wasn't home. It felt like college all over again, but this time I was doing it as a single mom of two.

After the New Year's Holiday, my mom got sick. Real sick. We were afraid she'd die before going to a doctor. We made her go. A couple of week long hospital stays. A surgery. Months out of work. I was thankful, once again to still be in Florence to help take care of my mom (but if this ever gets back around to her, she should only think I was basically her chauffeur and lunch picker-upper). I still missed my husband.

In March, Jude turned one. Our baby...ONE! We celebrated his first year on Earth with an alien party and had a blast. I decide our house will probably never sell. It was okay...we liked it there.

May came and so did a surge of showings. By the end of the month, there was a contract on our house and I was having to plan a birthday party for my sweet firstborn while getting ready to move out. Penn celebrated his third birthday with a small dragon party at the park (which he requested), but none of us anticipated that he would end up with two swollen feet from ant bites, fever, and soaking wet from getting rained out of his party. May was a doozy!

In June, we became homeless. We lived with my parents for a little bit and in a hotel for a little bit longer (I still kind of hate hotels). I very nearly lost my mind. By the end of the month, we had two significant dates: the day we were SUPPOSED to close on our new house (which ended up as "the day I parked in front a Wachovia and cried because BOA is disorganized"), followed immediately by the day we actually closed on our new house and moved in! If May was a doozy, June was a whirlwind!

July was wonderful, but busy. We made several trips to SC for some commitments we made before we had a clue where we'd be. We went on our first mission trip as a married couple. July was still "limbo" for us. I felt like we were vacationing in Virginia, except I had to make up the beds, cook, and do all the dishes...sheesh!

August has felt right. I feel like I'm home. I miss my family in SC, but I know that by being here, I'm able to give myself up completely for this house full of boys.

This year has been a JOURNEY! I can look back and see God's perfect timing in every circumstance. I might not have been too thrilled with "HIS timing" during this process, but I'm ever-so-thankful for it now. Where would I be without you, God?
I can't imagine how my 27th year will end, but I hope it will be as exciting as 26!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Waiting for the box fairy to come...

We have been in our house almost a week now. First to get settled was Penn and Jude's bedroom. Next was ours. Then...everything else. We're in phase three right now and I'm pretty sure we're never going to be able to park a car in our garage. How come we have no space for this stuff and it's a bigger house?

I did manage to clear the million-and-one boxes off our front porch today so it didn't look like the Sanfords lived here. I think it made a huge difference. Now, all I need are a few green plants to put here or there and the outside of our house will be done for now (the backyard will have to wait...don't get me started).

I think I've unpacked all the boxes in the house with the exception of the garage, the computer room (Mr. Packard will handle that beauty), and the dining room. I really, REALLY want to get my dining room in "dining" condition, but we're going to be painting at some point and I hate to put my china in the cabinet and then have to move it around to paint.

I hate boxes. I hate packing paper. I hate that brown tape that I've been finding all over the house. But I LOVE this new house and can't wait to put pictures up of the rooms once we get everything "straightened." Oh well, enough for now. Bedtime!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Never thought we'd get "here"

We're here. I can't believe that we are actually co-habitating again in Richmond. It only took eight months, but we made it through. In a few more weeks, we'll be in our new home. I can't believe it. I can't believe it!

The move itself has been a little more rough on me than I anticipated. Watching the movers pack up the children's rooms in just a couple of hours was hard. I cried every time I looked in the back of my house...their house. I kept thinking that we picked that house out especially for our babies.

We were pregnant with Penn at the time and we looked at a ton of houses around Florence. Congaree was one of the smaller houses we looked at, but we fell in love with the neighborhood and the hardwood floors. Our first week, two of the neighbors brought us over a meal (one of those ladies passed away last year...a sad day for her neighbors). We knew we made the right choice for a place to bring our new son home.

I think if we ever move back to Florence, I wouldn't want to live in any other neighborhood. You can't find that kind of real estate diversity, convenience, and beautiful scenery in any other place. We loved it!

Now, we're in our first home in VA...a hotel. It's a nice one, but I'm sure four people living in two rooms for two weeks will make anyone crazy. It's okay though...we're together and that's what we've been waiting on (and it's a definite plus that I don't have to make breakfast or supper on most nights).

I can't wait to move in and get to know my new state, new neighborhood, and new neighbors. I simply excited. I think the emotionally hard part (the waiting and leaving) is over and now we can just look ahead to the exciting times we'll have here. This is the place where my babies will become little boys and that's a lot to look forward to!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

An Excerpt from "Mayo Clinic Book of Pregnancy and Baby's First Year"

Weaning from the breast. At this age, breastfeeding babies are usually very efficient. Because of their effective sucking and their mothers' easy let-down, these babies often don't take the time to snuggle and nurse. They are easily distracted during feeding times. Some mothers interpret these shorter, easily interrupted feeding times to mean that their babies are giving up nursing. However, these types of feedings are most likely just a part of a developmental stage. Most bbies at this age are so intent on practicing moving around the room that they aren't willing to settle down for anything else.

This SO explains what stage I am in right now with Jude (14 months)! I also weaned Penn at this age because it seemed to me that he would rather have been eating "on the run." Had I read this when Penn was still nursing, I probably would have continued nursing him through that stage. Don't get me wrong--I think I did well to nurse him for a year (13 months to be exact), but I know how beneficial it is to continue the nursing relationship for as long as possible.

I'm so thankful to have run across this book during our packing and moving. What seemed to me like clear signals that Jude was tiring of nursing, is most likely just a stage! I'm so glad because I don't think I was ready to stop nursing just yet.

I think Jude and I might not be the only beneficiaries of this little gem. Breastfeeding is something that isn't always the most "convenient" option, but you will never regret doing it as long as possible!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mixed emotions

I'm fine today, but two days ago at this time I was literally in tears. Tomorrow I might be blissfully happy. Who knows these days??? This house selling/house buying process all at the same time is turning me into an emotional wreck. I'm nervous, anxious, excited, and everything in between.

I cannot bear the thought of leaving the house I brought my children home to. I mean, when I think of the sweet life we had here at this house, I will always remember that this is the place where Penn and Jude spent their baby days. Leaving our home is kind of like having to accept some strange rite of passage into another chapter of the book of our lives where are children actually grow up. So sad.

I'll always remember how I swept the kitchen floor in the hours before we went to the hospital to be induced with Penn. We celebrated the first year of his life in our backyard. How we sat in our bedroom the day I found out Penn was going to be a brother. I'll never forget the sound of Penn's feet running down the wood floors in the hallway in the middle of the night, trying to get oriented enough to find our room. Or how both boys would stand at the front door and watch their daddy get home from being gone a week.

That last thought makes me so glad. I am so grateful to be able to be with my husband again and not have to plan our lives around when he will be "in town." I want him to help me put them to bed at night, turn out the lights, and make sure the house is safe and secure. I want to grow into this new house, which we love. I want to live like a family again.

So, I realize that I'm sounding a little over-dramatic...whatever. I know people move every day, but that doesn't make it any easier for me. My hope is that when we actually get into the process of moving, I'll forget about all the sentiments and just be distracted by the task at hand, For now, I am left alone with my thoughts, which are bouncing around like a ping-pong game in my brain.

Any thoughts to help me cope?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Stressed to the MAX!

It doesn't feel like this roller coaster will ever end! Our house is sold, pending the inspection. We bought another house, pending Florence inspection and Richmond's a double whammy! I am SO nervous that the buyers of our house are going to want us to do repairs that we can't pay for. I don't think anything's wrong, but you never know. Hopefully, they'll go through with it and we won't have to fix much.

On the other hand, I am so excited about our new house. Unfortunately, it's going to be about a month and a half until we close on it, so we have quite a long wait. We won't be in it until summer time so that means we will have to find a place to stay for that length of time. Will it be our parents' houses or a hotel suite for three or more weeks? Tough call--for real!

We'll I'll keep this short and sweet. Hopefully we'll know something about the inspection before the weekend so I can get some sleep again. Let's get this ball rolling!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

House-hunting is... (not always), exciting (can be), frustrating (yep), headache inducing (uh-huh). I've spent the last two days looking at three-inch pictures of our possible future home and I've already had enough. Online house-hunting is for the birds...I'm done. We have emailed the realtor (about 15 times a day) and we've given her a list of some houses we are interested in. I assume that she'll have some houses up her sleeve as well and we've scheduled a trip to Richmond for this weekend so we can see some of these babies up close. I'm exhausted. I'm hoping she's got some good ones (in our price range) scheduled first thing in the morning so we can check em out, make an offer, and head home. Unfortunately, that may not be the case and we might be doing this again for another few weeks. We are so ready to be there. Together.

On the other hand...we are petrified!!! I lived away from home my first year in college and I did okay, but now that I have children, it's a whole different ball game. Pack and I are both scared that we'll get all moved in and Penn's gonna start crying for one of his grandmas. I keep telling myself (and Pack) that he's only two (almost three) and he'll adjust just like kids do all over the place. Families move. Kids survive. We'll only be a few hours away and we've already decided we'll be coming home to SC at least once a month for a while until we feel more at home.

Kids aside, I can't begin to explain how much I will miss my parents, my siblings, my entire extended family. I may not get to see them all very often, but it's somehow reassuring to know that they're close if I need them. We want to buy as huge a house as our budget will allow so we can just have everyone come up and stay with us whenever they want...or we want. I hope they will. Richmond is a great place to vacation guys, I promise!

Prayers, please...this is getting real.

Just a fraction of my heart I'll be leaving...

Monday, April 26, 2010


So today we got our first offer on the house...and it was more than we were hoping to get, so THANK YOU, LORD!!! I have been avoiding this blog for a while now because I dreaded spreading that there was no news on our house. Well, this is definitely news and we are thrilled!

So, all day I've been thinking about God's perfect timing and I keep referring back to these same points that keep reminding me that we really are doing the right thing:

*Pack got this job about a month before we would have been TOTALLY broke from me not working. His new income pretty much makes up for my lost one.

*We are moving to Richmond, VA where we will be only a few hours away from home and Pack will still be based back in Florence making family more accessible.

*While waiting 7 months on our house to sell, we have been able to pay down some debt and get our finances under control so we're prepared for the higher cost of living while in VA.

*Our house gets a contract on it just two days after I take a walk alone around our beautiful neighborhood and tell God, "I'm okay just where I am." That's the first time I ever consciously told myself to STOP GRIPING about not being where I want to be and to be happy being where I am! I put on a good show for others, you know..."All in good time," but I didn't really mean it until this weekend.

*Pack gets a larger than normal bonus (thanks to his hard work), which we can use to help us with a down payment on our house.

God really has known what is best for us all along! And he keeps giving us the reassurances that we are doing the right thing. All day I keep saying, "This is not a coincidence!" When my faith is stretched and I have to step out and just trust that God will take care of us--he always does.

ps...Hopefully, my next post will be titled, "SOLD!" *prayers, please*

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My first baby

Okay, so I know this is a long time coming, but I've been dreading sitting down to write this because I know that I've forgotten so much already! I'm going to do my best trying to remember how things went down and I'm going to vow that with my NEXT baby (in a few years), the first thing I will do when I get home from the hospital will be to document the birth.

Anyway....May 21, 2007

I had had a pretty non-eventful, textbook pregnancy with Penn. Things were actually going really well for me. Morning sickness was minimal and aside from the 50 pounds I gained and my hugely swollen legs and feet, I really felt great throughout my entire pregnancy. As I made it to the final weeks, I was progressing. I'm not sure how much and when but I was dilating about a centimeter a week from 37 weeks on.

On this particular check-up about three days from my due date, the doctor took one quick look (or grimace) at my "telephone poles (aka legs)" and swollen hands, and we were given the option head to the hospital to be induced as soon as a bed was available. At that point, I was three centimeters dilated and completely effaced, but I hadn't noticed any contractions. Pack and I both agreed to that (it was hard not to at that point), and immediately looked at each other thinking, "What the heck are we doing...we don't have a clue!"

There were no beds available at the hospital right then so we went home and waited on them to call us. I swept and nested like a mad woman! Finally, we got the call to be at the hospital at 7 to spend the night and try to "soften the cervix" before induction began at 6 the next morning. Holy cow! This is it!

I was so excited to get to the hospital! After getting our room, changing into a gown, answering dozens of questions, and getting the IV site ready (by far the worst part), I was ready to get some sleep. The doctor came in and inserted Cervidil to ripen my cervix. This part sucked. I was up all night feeling very uncomfortable and needing to constantly go to the bathroom. I was so happy to see five o'clock in the morning come!

May 22, 2007

I got up and put some make-up on and brushed my teeth and tried to look as good as I could for someone almost 10 months pregnant and in a hospital gown. The nurses came in right on time at 6 to begin the Pitocin drip. They also asked me if I was interested in having a doula present. Since I wanted to have a natural labor (as natural as induction gets), I said, "Yes!"

Roy (a female), the doula, came almost immediately/ She was a voice of reason and confidence when I needed it and I am so thankful that I was able to have her with me during my labor. As contractions got more and more intense after they broke my water at about 9 am, Roy constantly praised me and made me feel like I was handling labor like a champ. I really was enjoying the experience this far.

Also, my wonderful husband/coach was amazing. He was right by my side, scared out of his wits, but supporting me anyway! He was letting everyone know the updates and taking lots of pictures because he knew how important that was to me. When I think back to that day though, I picture him standing right beside the bed, head to head with me, telling me what a good job I was doing and asking how I was feeling. What a wonderful man!

I think the 10 o'clock hour is when things started getting rough for me. I kept setting 20 minute goals. I'll ask for the epidural in 20 minutes. Finally, Roy told me that if I thought I might want an epidural, it was not in my best interest to keep waiting because I may get to the point where they would let me have it and then I would be out of luck. This convinced me to go ahead and have it. By the time the nurses and anesthesiologists arrived to administer the medication, I was 5 or 6 centimeters (I think). Although I was terrified of having an epidural, it was no big deal and I was able to catch up on some rest that I hadn't gotten the previous night.

Roy still stayed with me, talking with my mom while I rested and labored. She would leave to go check the nurses' station and then come back to our room. At one point she came back a little excited and said, "Have they checked you recently?" I told her that it had been a couple of hours and at that point she suggested that I have a nurse check me again because the monitors at the nurses' station showed me having some pretty intense contrations that were right on top of one another. I really didn't feel any different, but they checked me anyway and by 12:30, I was at 10 centimeters. I thought Pack would faint!

What I never imagined was how quickly after those words come out their mouths that the room is transformed! My bed was being separated, the lights in the "baby area" were coming on, mirrors and lights were coming out of the walls, and they were trying to finagle my limp, fluid-filled legs into the stirrups without dragging me off the bed! I pushed several times before they went to go get the doctor. Meanwhile, A Baby Story is on in the background and everyone keeps getting a little side-tracked with HER delivery in between my contractions. The doctor arrived all gowned-up and ready to deliver a baby.

It is now about 1 o'clock in the afternoon. I push for so, so long, not having a clue what I was doing thanks to the epidural (doing it's job, I guess). The doctor says, "If I would have known you were going to take this long to get him out, I would have waited to come in!" Thanks, lady! Anyway, turns out, Penn is stuck and veering off the "traditional course," making it harder for me to get him out. Finally, after another hour and fifteen minutes, Penn was born squalling like a pterodactyl! It was 2:16 exactly when he was born.

The first thing I want is to hold my baby, but the doctor hands him off to a nurse who starts cleaning him up. My face in the background of his first pictures show me longing to hold him. I couldn't believe that I had just delivered that baby! As soon as I get him, I am amazed...AMAZED! What perfect little red lips, and beautiful, slick brown hair. My baby was THE most beautiful thing I had ever seen! After the finished delivering and "repairing" me, I was able to nurse Penn for the first time. He didn't really get it and as a matter of fact, didn't really start eating well until we were home from the hospital.

My doula, Roy had remembered the fifty millions times I had mentioned how bad I wanted a cold Diet Pepsi during the pushing phase and went and got me one to throw back as soon as the doctors had finished with me. It was obviously a shock to my system though because I instantly threw it up and very nearly threw up on my sweet little newborn. YIKES!

After two more nights in the hospital, we took our little baby boy home and kept falling in love. That was it...that one little day...eight hours...made me a mom and I am so thankful for that whole experience. When I remember Penn's birth, I actually get excited about doing it again! In fact, I was so excited about doing it again that I did...almost two years later, when my sweet Baby Jude was born, but I'll get to that another day:)

PS...Here's Penn's birth video for the experience in a nutshell:)

Monday, January 18, 2010

The things I hope I never forget

  • I love how you made me a MOM on the day you were born.
  • I always wanted a snuggly baby...that's you!
  • I love your interest in and tenderness with babies.
  • It drives me crazy when you aren't happy to see me.
  • I'm in love with your colorful personality, which is obviously a perfect mix of your Daddy and me:)
  • I love reading to you and watching you look at the pictures, knowing that you know exactly what the story really means.
  • I love to hear you tell me your "favorite part of the day" every night.
  • I always feel horrible when I make you cry because you hardly ever REALLY cry and it truly breaks my heart!
  • I love to hear you ask, "Are you happy, sad, or mad," when you know I'm probably mad.
  • I hope I never forget your words for things: safe scissors, something special, peek-a-boo apples, juicy, hot-diggity-dogs, bock-bock, yippy-yay...
  • I love it when you run up and give me a hug for no reason.
  • I miss your curls and baby smell.
  • I love how you try to protect your little brother, like when I fussed at him for playing in the puppy water and you ran up to me and said, "Be nice to my brudder, Mommy!"
  • I love to watch you play pretend.
  • Lately, it makes me laugh to see you do your skunk impersonation.
  • I love how you can always make Jude laugh...I hate that you can also just as easily make him cry...
  • I think it's adorable that you love bouncy balls so much and you can ALWAYS keep up with them!
  • I am so frustrated that you are such a picky eater!
  • I love that you always want an extra piece of candy for your Daddy.
  • I wish I remembered the last time I nursed you and rocked you to sleep.
  • I love that I was the first person to hold you when you were born.
  • I love how your mommy is the only person in the world who can make you feel better sometimes.
  • I love that you have hazel eyes like your Daddy.
  • I love how you always wiggle your feet and rub them together.
  • I love that you have dimples.
  • It makes me sad that I know your baby days are coming to and end.
  • I love to watch you clap when we sing, "If You're Happy and You Know It."
  • I love that you are such an angel when I put you to bed every night!
  • It bugs me when you won't let go of my legs when I'm putting on my make-up or trying to dry my hair.
  • I love your toothy grin even though at one point during teething I was wishing you could be toothless forever--I take it back!
  • I love that you always say "Ma-Ma" and that you make the sound by pressing your top teeth to your bottom lip. It looks like it should sound like "Va-Va"
  • I love to see you smile when you hear your Daddy's voice on the phone.
  • I love your laugh and how you suck in air really loudly when you smile really big. You also do this like a language back and forth with your Daddy.
  • I can't wait to find out what your voice sounds like!
  • I hate it when you bite me. I have three bites as we speak!
  • Speaking bugs me that you laugh when I try to fuss at you for biting!
  • For a long time, I was disappointed you wouldn't take a I'm thankful!
  • I'm amazed at the sheer volume of your voice when you want food or attention at a quicker pace that how you're getting it!
  • I love your name...Jude Tillman...and I love that I thought of it myself!
  • I wish I could keep you as a baby forever, but I'm thankful for the days to come...I'll only love you more!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

By George...

I think I've finally got this two-kid thing down! Life has eased up a bit on me lately and I'm soaking it up! Jude, my non-napper/sleeper, has finally conceded to taking two "scheduled" naps a day and Penn, as usual, is down for the count at almost exactly one-thirty every day. PRAISE THE LORD! That's the best thing that's happened in quite some time and I'm actually looking at getting some down-time every day again (aside from nighttime, where I will fall asleep as soon as I get in a semi-horizontal position).

So here's our recent family goings-on:

  • Christmas
So sad it's gone, right? get your tree up and decorated, presents all nicely wrapped under it, and it just "smells" like Christmas. Then in no time at all, your house is destroyed, the tree comes down, and you wonder if you've always had this much empty space in your house. Oh yeah, except for the toys...the mounds and mounds of toys that, once opened, creep into every room in the house and under every piece of furniture. Ugh! My kids have way too much stuff, but it's so hard not to make it BIG for them!

We had an amazing Christmas! Penn woke up on Christmas morning and immediately grabbed for the two ornament-shaped Cokes that Santa brought. He was so excited! Yeah...Santa brought a wagon with a roof and tons of toys too, but the "ball Cokes" stole the show...should have known!

We spent all day traveling at warp speed. From our house to my parents', then to the in-laws, and finally to the Carmon family Christmas (all day in the pouring rain), we had a pretty crazy day, but it reminded me how truly blessed I am for having such a close family. I can't imagine giving up even one of our "engagements."
  • Mama
A few days after Christmas, Mama's diverticulitis began acting up again. She's still in the boat for surgery in the next few weeks and we're just hoping that she feels better soon. She'll got from times of feeling pretty normal, to being laid up in the bed. Just hearing her talk, you know how she's feeling. I think she'll feel like a new woman once they get this under wraps. Who knows how long she's been letting this fester!
  • New Year
If there's one thing this past year has taught me, it's that you can't get moments back. Through Jude's pregnancy and birth, Cam's deployment, Aunt Connie's death, Pack's promotion, and our transition to Virginia, our family has experienced joy, sadness, excitement, worry, and fear to the extreme this year. 2009 was bittersweet. I am saying goodbye to a decade that (for the most part), made my life what it is. I started dating Pack in 2000, got married in 2005, and babies in 2007 and 2009! Those were my most joyous moments. Then there were the times of sorrow...the death of my last remaining grandparent, the sudden loss of my sweet Aunt, seeing my parents go through their own struggles of health and well-being, and the loss of other family and friends. There is no getting those moments back to experience them one last time (and for some, I am thankful for that), but I am so blessed to have had the moments that remind me just how special family really is!
  • Virginia
Speaking of 2009, I was disappointed in not including a MOVE to Virginia to wrap up the decade. Unfortunately, we are still trying to sell our adorable home that I love so much. I can't imagine living anywhere else with my boys, but I know we'll adjust well and it will be so, so nice to have Daddy home all the time again. Hopefully, I'll still be able to stay home with them when we move, but you never know...houses don't come cheap!
  • Green Stuff
I'm talking about money...the insufficient amount of it. I have graciously offered to take the finances off Pack hands and make budgeting my responsibility. Maybe a better way to say this would be that I relieved Pack of the burden of my spending (I don't spend on me though!!!). I'm trying to lay out a budget and cook more regularly because I actually think that we can waste less and save more if I quit letting everything in my pantry and fridge go bad! This should also impact our waistlines (I hope, I hope), thus being good for the planet...haha! For the past few months, I've been "priming" myself to get started becoming the best "homemaker" I can be and not having to worry as much about money would be a great start! I know myself well enough to know that jumping in with both feet is never my style...I've always like to dip a toe in gradually and get used to the water. Maybe in another year, I'll be able to report that I'm a regular tree huggin', coupon clippin', penny pinchin', baby-sittin' (ok, SAHM'in) gal!

NOW...seeing as how this is the longest stretch of "alone time" I've had to blog, I better get ready for the GREAT AWAKENING!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Preach it!

"Venting every feeling isn't mature. Learning to deal with uncomfortable and unpleasant feelings is an important aspect of maturity. The pop-psych notion that you have to divulge every unpleasantness or you will have gangrene of the soul and spirit is ultimate nonsense. Learning to endure, transform by perspective or action, and be grateful is the fast lane to a good life. That's right. Having great luck and fortune is not the conduit to loving and enjoyable life; gratitude is." -Dr. Laura Schlessinger

I feel like I owe my husband an apology...yikes!