Permission Granted

This photo sums up my life lately…

As I look at that face, I laugh. But the truth is, I’m spent! It’s a combination of being completely exhausted and dealing with my children who are in an impossible stage of life. Gracie is entering the oh-so-frustrating phase of toddlerhood. You know… the refusing to listen, throwing food on the floor, hitting Turner, etc. She’s probably had more time-outs by 20 months than Turner’s had in a lifetime. And to add fuel to the fire, whatever Turner does makes Gracie cry or scream and I end up reprimanding him because he’s the older one and “should know better”. But on the other hand, he’s so tender-hearted and innocent and it makes me feel so guilty. They are so stinkin’ cute but so irritating all at the same time! What a phenomenon.

I’ve had little to no time to myself, and when that happens my priorities are majorly out of wack. No wonder I’ve had an overwhelming sensation to re-organize and deep clean my entire house the past week! You know what makes a girl feel better when her world is spiraling around her? Steam cleaning the carpets! So that’s what I did. On top of that, Stew and I emptied every single basket of toys in the whole house and threw out broken pieces and things the kids haven’t played with in years and de-cluttered my life. What an amazing feeling. 

After internalizing my feelings for the past week, Stew and I laid in bed after putting the kids down the other night and I talked about everything going through my mind. He said all the right things, and I immediately felt better. I felt comforted by the fact that I have a supporting husband who will be strong when I am weak, patient when I’m not, and pick up the pieces when I can’t.

I’ve given myself permission to not be perfect. I can’t do it all! I will make time for myself to sit in the quiet and process, because when that piece is missing, nothing else seems to make sense. Today will be a day to soak up time with my wacky bunch and not sweat the small stuff! Wherever we are in life, we need to give ourselves permission to accept what is here and now and to not add unnecessary guilt to our already hard job of raising little humans! Happy Memorial Day, Friends!

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Happy Mother’s Day

It’s hard to believe I’ve only been a mom for 4 years! I barely remember a time that I wasn’t a mom! I feel everything more deeply, I cry more often, and I have more moments in the day where I need a deep breath! But I love it! There’s nothing more challenging and rewarding!

Being a mom to Turner has been amazing! But adding Gracie to the mix has made my heart even bigger and softer! I love seeing them interact with each other. Watching Turner love and teach Gracie so patiently is beautiful. He has a heart of gold. Their personalities are so different, and they certainly have their moments of insane bickering, but at the core they are just so sweet!

Mother’s Day is one of those bittersweet holidays! I have friends who have lost mothers and children. And I’m sure this holiday brings up feelings of sadness! But I love what today represents, because it’s a celebration of ALL mothers, no matter how long or how short. Mothers impact our lives in a huge way. What a great and awesome responsibility we have! I’m thankful that God blessed me with these two angels. I feel honored to raise them!

 

 

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Easter

I LOVE Easter! Not because of the candy or the bunny, but because of what the holiday celebrates, our risen Savior! I’m one of the worship leaders at our church, so we always have Jesus on our lips in this house! But especially at Easter. Turner is obsessed with talking about Jesus and “the cross where Jesus died” which is so cute and disturbing all at the same time. How does one talk to a four year old about God coming to earth as a man, being brutally beaten, and being hung on the cross to suffer an excruciating death, and then defeating death by rising from the grave?? The answer is I don’t know. But I talk to him as if he gets it. And maybe he does?

The weekend was spent celebrating Jesus, spending time together, and of course hunting for eggs! This is the first year Turner was psyched about hunting for Easter eggs. We had a neighborhood hunt on Saturday which was at the park across from our house. They let the little kids hunt first and then unleashed the bigger kids. I thought that was a great idea so the little guys at least had a chance!

While Turner hunted for every last egg, Gracie found a spot to sit and collect rocks in her super cool basket.

Sunday, after church, we headed to my mom’s for an amazing dinner with the family and yet another Easter egg hunt!

There’s nothing better than celebrating Jesus with our babies! They’re at an age where the holidays are so much more meaningful. I love every second of it! I am feeling beyond blessed! Happy Easter. He is risen!

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Strawberry Picking

We have been picking strawberries for almost a decade now! Stew and I used to go every year back when we were dating! That was so long ago, I can hardly remember it. Who are these two kids?!

Now, I can’t even go to the bathroom without my personal space being invaded, let alone have a proper date with my husband! Anyway, I digress…

Boone Hall Farms has a HUGE field of red juicy strawberries. We probably eat more than we pick!

Our neighbor, Madison, came with us. She is one of our favorites! She loves to play with the kids. I mean, who would blame her?? They’re pretty cool.

Gracie and Stew wandered up and down the aisles eating strawberries, while I competitively searched for the biggest, juiciest strawberries out there! Watch out people!

We will be eating all things strawberry! If I come up with any good recipes, I’ll be sure to share them! I hope your week is off to a fantastic start! Spring is in the air!! Sun’s out…crack’s out?

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Sweet Summertime

So it might not be summer yet, but we went from freezing temps to 80 degrees and sunny in a matter of days! It’s the weather we’ve been waiting for. The pollen has died down and we can enjoy being outside! The windows are open and we are soaking up the sun as much as possible (before it gets too hot)!

The kids couldn’t be more excited. Turner always has a habit of stripping down to his undies first thing in the morning, and Gracie, trying to copy all things Bubba does, follows suit. It’s going to be a summer of chunky thigh heaven!

Turner is in school three days a week, so that’s usually my time with just Gracie. I love it because I feel like I had nothing but time with Turner, and Gracie is such a second child. The other day, I set up a tent in the driveway and the two of us hung out outside eating lunch and playing. It was glorious!

And of course as soon as Turner gets home, he wants to be outside too! We did some gardening the other day which was so fun. He loves to help and Gracie just does everything he does so it’s easy to keep tabs on them both.

They are both at such fun ages! I love our days together and am psyched for all of the warm weather fun to be had!

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The Dreaded Nap Transition…

We have been blessed with babies that have been great sleepers and nappers. We started sleep training at an early age with both of our kids (Turner’s sleep training post HERE and Gracie’s HERE) which is never easy but has helped us tremendously and was well worth the effort! As a mom working from home, I needed my kids to be on a schedule so I could plan my “office hours”.

Now that Turner is 4 he’s transitioned to “quiet time”. That happened sort of on its own. He would still go to his room for his nap and I’d hear him jumping around and not actually napping, which told me his body didn’t necessarily need a nap. But this momma still needed time alone! So I had the conversation with him that he didn’t have to nap, but he had to play quietly in his room. If he didn’t he would get a spanking. I made very clear rules for this so called “quiet time”. And no I’m not crafty and didn’t make any fancy box o’ fun because ain’t nobody got time for that. I told him that this was Mommy’s quiet time and he needed to respect that (which surprisingly worked??). He would choose a few toys to play with, but he had to stay in his room until I came to get him. Occasionally he will pass out on his floor but I don’t love that because then he doesn’t fall asleep until 9 at night. Instead, I’d rather him stay awake during the day (in his separate space) so he falls asleep when we put him to bed around 7:30. By the way, he’s a total first born. He’s eager to please and doesn’t like getting in trouble. I expect a completely different outcome with Gracie!

Which brings me to Miss Thang’s naps! She has been taking two naps for a while. I tried to transition her to the one afternoon nap, but she was so exhausted that I had to cave and keep her at two. Recently I’d put her in her crib for her morning nap and she wouldn’t fall asleep. She was chatting away with all of her stuffed animal friends. That happened several days in a row. So here’s how I handled that! I knew she was still sleepy, but I wanted to work towards one nap for her. Usually, we go to the gym first thing in the morning before dropping Turner off at school at 9. She would doze off in the car for a few minutes at one point or another during that commute. That would buy me enough time to get her to the afternoon without completely falling apart. So I would pick Turner up at 1 and get them home and down for naps around 1:30. The fear, of course, is that she falls asleep on the WAY to pick up Turner which would completely throw a wrench into my perfect plan. That actually happens a lot. So, in that case, I put them down for their naps around 2. On days that we don’t go anywhere in the morning, I put her and Turner in their rooms around 12:30 for his quiet time and her nap. Now, mind you, we’re still in the transition phase from two naps to one nap for her. Eventually we will get to where she naps at the same time each afternoon. But it’s like exercise, you have to warm up and stretch first!

So here’s a typical school day for us now that we’ve transitioned to the one nap:

Schedule at 4 years old and 1.5 years old:

6:30 am — wake up/drink milk/coffee in our bed

7:00 am — breakfast (I have school lunch prepped the night before. More on that later)

7:40 am — out the door for the gym

9 am — Drop Turner off at school (Gracie cat naps in the car on the way)

9:15 am-12:45 pm– Run Errands if needed/Mommy works/Mommy and Gracie play time/eat lunch

1:00 pm– Pick Turner up from school

1:30 pm-4:00 pm — nap/quiet time/Mommy works

4:00 pm — Turner and Gracie play/prep dinner/Mommy works some more

5:30 — Daddy’s home!!! Eat dinner and drink wine

6:30 — play time before bed (sometimes a bath. I’m not gonna lie. We don’t bathe our kids nightly anymore. Judge if you will)

7:30 — Kids to bed!

I love a good schedule. It fills my need to control things. Of course, it’s not perfect and there are hiccups all the time! But for the most part, our days have a nice flow to them!

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And We’re Back!

Life has been super busy lately. I’ve been working a ton with little time for social media and blogging. It’s been a refreshing break actually! We are very much in our routine of school, snuggles, and anxiously awaiting the warmer weather!

After Valentine’s Day, we made the spontaneous decision to drive to NJ to visit our family! It was a slow time at work and, after our last trip proved to be a success, we vowed to do it more often than every two years!

My OCD and excessive planning help these things go smoothly! We split the 12 hour drive into two days on either side of the trip. It’s the best way to do it! Right when we start getting stir crazy, it’s time to stop at our hotel! We only hit a few trafficy spots, and may or may not have peed in a cup, BUT all in all the drive went smoothly!

It was a great week with my dad, cousins, and Stew’s parents. My dad is seriously one of my favorite people ever. We don’t get to see him nearly enough! And whenever we’re together it’s such a blast we never want it to end! Turner felt right at home and started losing articles of clothes by the minute, despite the fact that it was 19 degrees outside.

We went to my aunt and uncle’s house two nights for dinner. It’s one of our favorite things to do. I have two cousins and they’re both married with a total of 7 kids between the two of them. Add Turner and Gracie to the mix and it’s a downright nutty and hilarious extravaganza. It’s loud and the food is amazing always!

Not to mention Gracie and her sister from another mister! They are nearly identical!! And their outfits always match. We don’t even plan it :o)

It’s nice to get back to real life, but it makes me wish we didn’t live 12 hours away! Every time we get home, we love getting unpacked and settled, but we immediately start talking about the next time we’ll make the long journey!

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Valentine’s Day Traditions

Ahhhh Valentine’s Day. One of my favorite holidays! Not for the romance and flowers (that part’s nice too), but because we’ve weirdly made it a super special holiday! Stew and I started the tradition of making fondue every Valentine’s Day more than a decade ago. It’s evolved from sitting in his garage apartment that shook when someone walked up the stairs, to being in the comfort of our home surrounded by our babies (who stress us out and teach us how to love so deeply all at the same time)! It’s no better or worse, it just shows how life is ever-changing!

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that makes me think about love and relationships. It’s not like the movies. The years go by and people change. I don’t get butterflies when Stew and I hold hands, but there’s a different kind of love that has grown. It’s one of depth and comfort and need. It makes me think about how no one person is going to fit every check box and marriage isn’t easy. But it’s worth working at. It’s worth talking through the downs and celebrating the ups. I feel blessed to have a husband who loves me more than words can express and who thinks I’m beautiful in my sweatpants and glasses. That’s what it’s about, isn’t it? Once the newness and passion wear off, hopefully there’s a depth that keeps you coming back for more!

As moms, our husbands get the leftovers. They get the tired, stress-out version of us at the end of the day. They are the ears that hear our complaints. While we give to our jobs and our kids all day, our husbands don’t get any of that! So this holiday reminds me that our husbands deserve more than the other areas of our lives to which we give. Because when Mommy and Daddy are happy, the rest falls into place. So here’s to a Happy Valentine’s Day, wherever you may be!

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Happy New Year!

This is my favorite post of the year! It’s a recap of our year in pictures! It’s been one of the best to date!

We dressed in our holiday best

We moved to a dreamy nest

We celebrated birthdays

And went on family vacays

And caught up on much needed rest!

It was a year to remember. One of growing, and learning, and loving more than we ever thought imaginable! A year of thanking God for our many blessings and praying for many more to come!

Thank you for letting us share our family with you! Wishing you a Happy New Year! May 2017 be filled with joy and blessings (and sparkly dresses)!

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Merry Christmas!

To say that this was our best Christmas yet is a huge understatement! We are blessed beyond measure and have enjoyed every last second of this holiday season! Decorating the house was an absolute joy! I loved sprinkling every inch with holiday cheer!



This Christmas was filled with festive garb, Christmas movies, nebulizer treatments and snuggles, hot chocolate-a-plenty, and reading about Baby Jesus! We packed as much into this Christmas month as we possibly could!

Christmas morning was perfect! I was up at 5:30 and went downstairs to put Monkey Bread in the oven before anyone was awake. I crept upstairs with coffee and Stew and I waited for the kids to wake up! Turner slept in later than he ever has (6:45)! I wanted to wake him up but since both kids were just getting over strep throat, I figured he needed his sleep.

FINALLY, he started yelling from his room, “I’M AWAAAAAKE”! So we went to get him and then headed downstairs to see if Santa came! And boy did he come! But before anyone could touch presents, we had to get our token family photo (insert post-traumatic flashbacks of my dad setting up spotlights for the perfect video which seemed to take hours)!

Turner had a blast opening gifts! Gracie didn’t really get it. She mostly got food and stuffed animals which kept her happy!

After a morning of playing, napping, and cooking, my family arrived for more presents, food and celebrating!

And of course, Christmas with my family wouldn’t be Christmas without our token Christmas carol singing and nearly fatal dance party!

Merry Christmas to you! I hope it was a great one!

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