Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sick Day Revelation

I'm home this afternoon with my oldest J-baby and what seems to be the end of her stomach bug that has plagued her for the last 5 days. We saw our fantastic family doctor today and he assured me that I was doing everything I could do (despite feeling like one giant walking mom-failure) and that she'll be better in no time. She's just got to get it all out of her system. So after a trip to WM for more Lysol, a lunch of chicken soup and some snuggle time on the couch watching "The Lego Movie" my sweet little girl looks up at me and says "Mom, do you feel better?" I asked "What do you mean? YOU are the one who has been so sick, not me." She replied "Yeah but you've been really upset lately. You don't look the same, your hair isn't pretty and you've cried a lot." Talk about a powerful revelation moment-- my poor child who has quite literally puked her guts up the last several days is worried about me and how I'm handling it. And I guess its pretty apparent that I don't handle it very well.

Early Saturday morning as she wretched after simply drinking some watered down Gatorade I googled "vomiting in children" to re-read the list of recommended do's and don'ts that I've read countless times before but still read again just to reconfirm that I'm doing the right things for her. However a big piece of the article jumped out at me that I haven't paid much attention to before: "Vomiting can be very frightening for children, so its important to remain calm and reassure them that they're going to be ok." Even though I read it and comprehended it, I still haven't found a way to put this into action.

In fact, I've probably worried about EVERYTHING else other than how she must be feeling emotionally: did she stain the carpet, will this wash out of those stuffed animals, will the vomit smell come out of my car, what if she makes her little brother/sister sick (which she did), how will I get caught up at work after missing these days, what if she gets dehydrated/how much will an ER bill cost us if we have to take her in, etc... my mind just starts spitting out these questions and what-ifs and worst case scenarios in rapid fire. I screamed in her face GET IN THE BATHROOM when she stood in the hall right outside the bathroom door and gagged. I called Jaret screaming as she threw up while secured in her carseat right behind my driver's seat, then pulled over and stripped her down in a parking lot while not saying a word to her because I was holding my breath and fighting my own gag reflex. I've asked her a thousand times "Are you ok?" and then made an involuntary disapproving facial expression every time she didn't automatically answer me with a "yes" right away... so many times now that if I even look at her she immediately says "Mommy I'm fine" even if she isn't. She is just trying to avoid my series of impending questions.

Now rereading everything I've typed, I'm disgusted at myself.. What kind of mother makes her child feel BAD about being sick? She can't help it, I know she would if she could. She doesn't like to get sick, she hates being confined to the couch or not being able to eat her usual snacks or be around her siblings for fear of sharing germs. I know its not her fault. I'm not trying to make her feel this way, and its not at all my intention in the words I've said or the faces I've made.

I've always had this crippling aversion to vomit. Just ask my mother, or especially my little brother. Once when he was probably close to Jailyn's age, he told me he had a stomachache while I was babysitting him and I basically locked him in the bathroom-- not the big "comfortable" bathroom in the house we grew up in, with thick rugs on the floor and a padded vanity bench to sit on in front of my mother's makeup counter, and a big bathtub and shower in case he DID throw up and needed to clean himself up-- nope, I threw him into the hallway powder room. Just slightly bigger than a closet, with a toilet and pedestal sink, and cold hardwood floors. And I think he stayed there for a good 45 minutes until I stopped gagging myself, called my grandparents and convinced them that it was an emergency, and they came over. I held the door to the bathroom from the outside and told him he could not come out until he either felt better or someone else arrived to take care of him. This was only one example of the many times I quite literally lost my cool when he was sick as we grew up... The time he got the stomach flu while on a mini family vacation to Hot Springs and we had to cut our trip short to come home... I rode the entire way home (4-5 hours?) with headphones on, volume all the way up, and my head buried in a pillow to block any "smells". I think by the time we got home, my dad was more concerned with my well-being than my brother's. The poor kid-- I probably scarred him for life.

Ultimately I think vomiting scares me because it is so out of my control. I mean, really-- you CAN'T control it. No one can. As an adult you can usually recognize the signs and get yourself to an appropriate place before anything becomes embarrassing or messy. But children can't always recognize it in time,or don't know what to recognize as a "sign" until its right upon them or its too late. Then there's the mess, and the embarrassment if it happens in the wrong place, and the ever-present fear of it happening in public. More so, there's the fear of not knowing the difference between just a stomach bug versus the possibility of something worse: a symptom of a concussion, appendicitis, an obstruction, or worse. My mind spins in circles over what could happen, what it could mean, what do I do, how do I prevent it?

I don't know why I'm like this. I guess everyone has their quirks, and this is one of mine. Fortunately for me, my husband's strengths fill in my weaknesses and this is a prime example of that intertwining of our relationship. While I run in the other direction when one of the kids is sick, he runs to them. He holds their hair, pats them on the back, hugs them and talks softly, telling them it will be ok. He is more nurturing than I am. Do you know how horrible a feeling it is to realize that someone else can be more nurturing to your child than you can? Than you're capable of? Thankfully its him, and he doesn't fault me for this. He knows its just the way I'm wired. If in the midst of one of these moments one of the girls asks where Mommy is, he just says "She's getting you a drink" or "She's getting your bed cleaned up" and leaves out the fact that I'm probably putting Vicks up my nose and holding my breath while pacing in circles.

Shortly after Jailyn's question to me, she dozed off. Curled up with her pillow and blanket (atop the sheet and pool towel she's laying on that is protecting my beige couch) she leaned up against me and fell asleep. I was still thinking about her concern for me and hadn't answered her before she dozed off. I think about the way she asked me, and the words she used--
1. "You don't look the same" = I'm assuming she's referring to the fact that I haven't worn a bit of makeup all week. I've spent every morning running around putting extra towels on the floorboard of my car, switching out loads of laundry, and spraying Lysol on everything after the kids have touched it. Who has time for makeup? I'm not even sure where my makeup bag is.
2. "Your hair isn't pretty" = I have spent probably a total of ten minutes on my hair in the last three days. Its out of my face and is (relatively) clean, but I haven't had time to curl/straighten/tease/hairspray it. My "signature" look has been absent this week, I am fully aware of it. Since she enjoys fixing her hair in the mirror with me in the mornings, sharing hairspray and picking out hairclips together for her, I know that the absence of this part of our routine is evident to her.
3. "You've cried a lot" = This part probably stings the most of all. The anxiety of knowing one or more of my family members are sick has kept me up at night, and when I'm tired I become overly emotional, easily upset and once the tears start they don't stop. I have jokingly told Jaret before that the pregnancy hormones never really left after I had Jackson, as I cry easily and often and at the drop of a hat when anything stirs up my emotions... This is true tenfold when I'm stressed or anxious. Tears are my trigger reaction. So when my child tells me "I'm going to throw up" or wakes me up on the one night that I was fast asleep and says "Mommy, I threw up in my bed", you got it-- here come the waterworks. Of course children interpret crying and tears in the only way that makes sense to them, that they can relate to: something is upsetting me. I'm hurt in some way. My child thinks that by being sick, she's hurting me. How do I explain to her that I'm just tired, and worried about her, and sick of cleaning and laundry and Lysol and Clorox?

But really, she doesn't need this explanation. Or should I say-- she really doesn't need a REASON for this explanation, because I need to just get it together. "Suck it up" is a popular phrase that I do not particularly appreciate and therefore do not use, but it seems appropriate now. I need to suck it up--  my ridiculous worry and anxiety about things that are outside of my control-- and instead focus on what is more important: reassuring my child that even though she feels crummy now, she'll be fine. The stain on the carpet doesn't really matter (it'll just blend in with all the others) and if the stuffed animals never smell the same, we'll throw them away and find new ones. The car will air out, and my boss has children-- she understands. She will help me get caught up at work. All of those things are so petty, and shouldn't even hold a candle to the importance of making sure my daughter knows that I'm always there for her, no matter what happens. That I won't get so wrapped up in the "what-ifs" to forget that I'm so fortunate to have otherwise healthy children. I have friends who would bend over backwards to clean up the wrath of the occasional stomach flu, instead of dealing with terminal or chronic illnesses of their children... friends who worry daily about things that I can't comprehend, like their children's disabilities or social anxieties or disorders... or worse, friends who have lost their babies and wish it was them who could take a sick day from work to sit on the couch and rub their sickly child's back as they sleep, but instead are faced with another day without their child.

So when she wakes up, she'll find a mom with pretty hair and some makeup on, excited to refill her Gatorade cup and make her another bowl of soup, let her pick the next Disney movie we watch, and pat her on the back if she can't keep her soup down. Most of all, this mom will do her best to keep the tears at bay. I can sleep later, the carpet doesn't matter, and work will always be waiting for me. My little girl won't always need me or want me to take care of her, and I don't want to miss that while I've got it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Catch Up

How has it been so many months since I’ve blogged? What is wrong with me?! Oh wait, I work full time and I have three children…. NOW I remember why “free time” is a thing of the past. J

A quick recap since my last post:

- As much as we love our J-babies, Jaret and I made the executive decision to forever remain a Party of Five. As in, no more J-babies. This was a hard decision to make (harder for me, I think) but in order for us to be confident in the fact that we can give our kids everything they deserve in life plus more, we need to stop multiplying in numbers and start multiplying our savings accounts. J Since Jailyn was conceived while on birth control, Jordyn was conceived as a result of taking antibiotics while on birth control, and Jackson was an “Oops!” while switching forms of birth control, it goes without saying that we needed something more permanent to depend on in this area. So in June, I had the Essure procedure done (read more about that here: ) and had to tough out a long three month wait to see if the procedure was successful. I was really skeptical at first, especially after having some complications with the procedure itself followed by weeks of pain and discomfort. I actually started to believe that this was a sign we’d made a huge mistake. Fortunately we found out in September that the procedure was successful and all is well! And now there’s no more worrying about if I forgot to take a pill this morning, and counting days on the calendar every month. I had no idea how stressed I actually was about those things, until I didn’t have to worry about them any longer. Whew! And super fun side fact: now I have to carry a little card around with me that states why I’ll set off metal detectors at the airport. Ha!
Forever a Party of Five
And I'm ok with that!
Photo by KReative Photography 479-633-4839

- Speaking of babies: just about everyone I know is expecting right now. That’s an exaggeration, of course—Not EVERYONE. But a good percentage of my girlfriends are expecting. So of course who has two thumbs and crazy baby fever? This girl right here. But now pretty much any direction I turn, I can get my hands on a snuggly little newborn and get my “fix”, then turn that precious little bundle back over to their momma for the “fun stuff” like breastfeeding and changing newborn diapers every 30 minutes. I’m pretty certain I’ve got the best of both worlds!
My not-so-little J-babies
Photo by KReative Photography 479-633-4839

- The same day as my lovely little procedure in June, Jaret’s sweet grandparents and one of his aunts were in a horrible car accident in Central Arkansas. All three were airlifted out of the crash site to hospitals in Little Rock. As soon as I was feeling better from the procedure, we and my sister- and brother-in-law from Dallas made a trip to LR to see them and be of support to Jaret’s mother and her sisters who were spending all of their time rotating between hospitals and working with doctors, nurses, social workers and insurance companies to get all the details set for his grandmother, grandfather and aunt’s extended care plans. A week later we took another trip to LR, this time bringing the J-babies to lift everyone’s spirits! It was nice to see them make their Mimi (my mother-in-law) smile.
Us with Jaret's sweet grandparents at our wedding in October of 2009

Grandma and Grandpa Bond with baby Jailyn when she was just a few weeks old, Spring of 2009
Sadly, two days after we came home from the second trip to LR, Jaret’s grandfather passed away due to complications from pneumonia that was exacerbated by the stress on his body from the injuries sustained in the car accident. Such a sweet, caring Godly man with the greatest smile and a witty sense of humor is greatly greatly missed every day, but we find comfort in knowing that he’s not in any more pain. His death has been particularly hard for Jaret, who viewed him more as a father figure than a grandfather, and I know he misses him so much.
Grandpa with Baby Jack this spring.
- Jaret and I have made a conscious effort to have MORE FUN together… as in, not working EVERY WEEKEND for him and not starting 1,462 new projects every weekend for me. I am proud to say we’ve done pretty well! We’ve taken a couple of little road trips here and there, including a trip to the LR Zoo, a weekend in Dallas with his sister and her family in August, a weekend away (with no munchkins!) in Eureka Springs in September, we FINALLY took the kids to a pumpkin patch for the first time this October! …And we’ve got some plans in mind for the rest of the year too!

Proud little Punkin Picker!

Jackasaurus, Keeper of the Pumpkins

Jordy and Lena (my adopted niece!) "deep" in conversation

Love these girls!!!

- Jaret also wins the Husband of the Year award for letting me go on a girl’s weekend away to Tulsa in September with 7 of the sweetest friends of mine to do some shopping, eating and to see Luke Bryan in concert. We had a blast! Luke puts on a great show, and that time with just my friends (with no kids, husbands/boyfriends, etc.) was priceless to my heart and rejuvenated me in huge ways! It also made me miss my sweet J-babies and realize again (as I do daily!) how fortunate I am to have a sweet family to come home to at the end of every day, every trip, etc. They have my whole heart! And I came home to find that my house was still intact (albeit quite messy) and all three kids were fed (mostly pizza and Gatorade), running around naked (as is the norm in our house on the weekends, so by no fault of Jaret’s) and happy (aaaaand spoiled) because they’d had so much fun with their daddy while Mom was away. Who knows how much Dr. Pepper was consumed by Jaret that weekend… and I probably shouldn’t try to find out! Ha!
En route! Tulsa Takeover 2013!

Joe's Crab Shack for dinner with these beautiful ladies!

Outside of the BOK Center... Ready for Luke!!

- My Jordykins turned 3 years old a few weeks ago and my sister-in-law came up from Dallas with three of my nieces to celebrate with us! We had so much fun with them that weekend, visiting and playing, went to the pumpkin patch (again! I needed more pumpkins for party decorations!), ran countless circles around Mimi and Grandpa Bobby’s house “catching butterflies” (no butterflies were harmed because the girls couldn’t quit giggling long enough to catch any), and eating lots of yummy food! Family in town = good excuse to cook big southern family-style meals!

The Big Girls enjoying their Ice Dream cones at Chicfila.

This is my little buddy! She LOOOVES Aunt "Manna"!

Oy, this girl. Cracks me up!

Sweet Miss Rylee


So now here we are, halfway done with November, and I’m in disbelief.

This little guy is TEN MONTHS OLD…. Seems impossible! I know the next two months will fly by with the holidays approaching, and before I know it January will be here and my last J-baby will be a one-year-old. I’m already stockpiling the Kleenexes now.

I try REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to keep up with this blog… and then it just falls to the very bottom of the priority list every week. If you knew the number of half-written blog entries I have saved in various places, you’d laugh. Or cringe. I’ll try so much harder, I promise!

Until next time!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Apples to Apples

I have a friend who’s going through a “first.” It’s their first time to experience something coming up – something BIG – and it’s interesting to see how everyone reacts to it. Everybody has a different opinion, a different viewpoint, a different attitude about it, or different pieces of advice to offer. Some care a great deal, some don’t really care at all but are too polite to say it, and some find humor in the whole situation and can only respond with sarcasm. (Anyone want to guess which category I fall into?)
So this friend of mine… They’re about to embark on a pretty incredible journey. It’s going to change their life. They’ll never be the same. We’ve all had a life-changing, breath-taking, oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-this-is-about-to-happen moment… single, married, divorced, short, tall, fat, thin, black, white, working, unemployed, educated, experienced or inexperienced…. We’ve ALL been there. Your moments of this unbelievable magnitude may not be a “big deal” to me, and my life-changing moments may seem ridiculous to you, but in that moment I don’t care how you see it, because its life changing for me. Everyone has had one of these moments where you have no choice but to take the plunge and hope you can make it without drowning. So I’m going to simplify this scenario to put it into a perspective that EVERYONE can understand.
My friend… is about to… eat their first apple.

That sounds dumb right?
Well, for good reason. Who hasn’t had an apple before? Nobody I know… but maybe I don’t know what I don’t know. Some people may be allergic. Some people may have grown up with family that had an allergy to apples so therefore they were never within reach. Some people may have grown up in Alaska where certain types of fresh fruit are hard to attain so they never tried. There could be lots of reasons why someone has never had an apple.
So this friend… They’ve never had an apple before. Most of their friends and family have already had an apple at some point in their lives, and some have been teasing my friend about her carefree apple-less life up until this point. The few friends who haven’t had an apple yet have made it a point to stay away from apples. They’re good with peaches and pears and the occasional watermelon. Apples aren’t something they’re ready for.

My friend didn’t buy a ripe apple… It’s still a little greenish/yellow. Not ready for eating yet. So all my friend can do at the moment is know that they’ve got an apple in their possession and try to prepare for the day it can be eaten. During this excruciatingly long wait, all they can think about it this apple. What’s it going to look like? How will it taste? How will they feel about it once “The Big Day” comes?... Will they want to eat it, or will they be ready? Will they be happy to eat it, or will they be sad that their apple-less life is over? What if it doesn’t taste good, or what if it doesn’t live up to their expectations? What if it smells sweet but at first bite they discover it’s actually a bitter apple? What if they drop it or it gets bruised or it has a worm?! What if it gets dirty?! … What if it doesn’t live up to their expectations?!!! WHAT IF they’re not preparing for it correctly?!
Quite quickly, my friend’s brain became obsessed over this apple. And their possession of the apple. And their preparation of the apple-eating day. Rightly so, of course… All of those who have already experienced the apple-anxiety can remember when we, too, could think of nothing but the apple. We read about it, dreamt about it, stocked up on supplies to get ready for the post-apple life… But then it happened, and we moved on. It’s hard to tell my friend that they are not the first person to EVER eat an apple in the history of the world, and that life DOES go on after “The Big Day” of apple-eating. It’s understandable that my friend is almost constantly overanalyzing their apple-anxiety, and asking all their apple-experienced friends for tips and advice and suggestions and recommendations… But it’s hard to tell my friend that while good advice is always helpful, sometimes you just have to have your own experience. Don’t let your expectations be set by what someone else experienced… You’re only setting yourself up for failure or disappointment, when this experience SHOULD NOT include failure. Everyone’s first experience with an apple should be wonderful as defined by their own expectations, not the expectations others tell you that you should have.


So in sharing with others their apple-anxiety/excitement/anticipation, it has drummed up a multitude of different reactions: some are excited for my friend, and leave it at that. Some are excited WITH my friend and want to be involved in every aspect. Some are all too ready to pass on their apple-knowledge and experiences, regardless of whether or not their advice was sought out or even welcome. And some… like myself, I regrettably admit… have heard enough about it.
I’ve had apples. Yes, they are new and exciting each time… but I’ve got my own apples to worry about. I’m more likely to bow out of the conversation every time it turns to apples nowadays, because frankly sometimes I feel like I’m already up to my ears in applesauce. Apple pies. Apple butter. Apple-scented candles. My life is consumed with apples. Sometimes I’d like to have a conversation about ANYTHING but apples.

But I must remind myself daily, sometimes constantly, sometimes BY THE MINUTE, that at the time in my life when apples were new and scary and exciting, I would’ve been devastated if someone told me “Quit talking about your apples already, I don’t want to hear it!” So I’m trying my absolute best to keep in mind that other’s experiences, no matter if they’re ahead of or behind me in the game of life, are JUST as important to them as my past, current, and future experiences are/will be to me. I’ve also come to the conclusion that, since I’m not one who angers or aggravates super easily, there’s probably another underlying issue at work here… and that would be jealousy. I’m jealous of the excitement in my friend’s life at the moment—if I could go back in time, there were lots of things I’d do differently to better soak up the moment, every little moment, pre-apple.
Sometimes more aggravating than the apple conversation is the party who dominates the apple conversation with their advice. “You must buy your apples HERE and you must cook them LIKE THIS and you must eat them A CERTAIN WAY… because that’s how I did it”… That’s more often than not the time when I have to step away because I cannot stomach someone even insinuating that because we don’t juggle our apples the same way, that I’m automatically not doing it right.

So… now that I’m sure you’re curious as to what apples we’re comparing here:
Guess what.
I’m not going to tell you.
What I WILL tell you … is that we ALL fit this scenario. We’ve all been through some apples. And we’ve all been on both sides of the situation: my friend’s side with all the butterflies-in-your-stomach anticipation, and the excitement and nervousness during the planning, and even the moment right before “the end” when you freak out and want to scream “NO! I’m not ready!!”… to the wonderfulness that consumes you when whatever you’re anticipating FINALLY happens and its more phenomenal than you could ever imagine… and also on my side where your time has come and gone, and life keeps chugging along, onto the next step.
Need some examples? How about… Graduating. Getting a job. Buying a new car. Buying a house. Dating. Getting Engaged. Getting married. Having a baby. Adopting a baby. Travelling. Opening a business. Buying a business. Overcoming an addiction.
I’ve had friends experience all of these things recently. So I’ll let you all come to your own conclusions as to which one I’m referencing.
Here’s a hint…. Almost all of them. J
And you know what, friends? I’m so proud of all of you. I’m proud of what you’re doing, of what you’ve done, of what you’re aspiring to do or be or become… I’m proud to call all of you friends, for standing by me when I’ve been through my apples in life. I’m proud of what I’ve become with your support, and I’m proud of where I’m going in life with all of your help.
And I plan to be a proud bystander in your lives as you all juggle your apples. And I promise to lend a hand whenever I can, without complaint/envy/exacerbation. Because when it comes to apples, we’re all in it together.

Now who wants some pie?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Weekend Overload

Sometimes I miss my kids so much during the workweek that I kind of smother them on the weekends. I'll admit it. I'm that mom who's kissing all over her kids and wants all three of them sitting in my lap and wants to play with their hair and whisper in their ear and have tickle fights. And I call them all my babies, no matter where we are or who can hear. And more often than not, by the time Sunday evening rolls around both they and I are sometimes more than ready for me to go back to work on Monday because I've smothered them to the point of us all being a little bit irritated with one another. The girls get irritated with each other, are tired of sharing toys, one wants to go outside while the other wants to stay in... They get irritated that Mom is holding Jackson and all she wants to do is play with him on the ottoman or on the floor (in between loads of laundry, while the dishwasher is running)... Jack gets irritated with me holding him when he really wants to wiggle around on a blanket on the floor and try to eat his toys without my camera in his face because I just want to capture "ONE MORE grin!"... and I get irritated that everyone's getting crabby from too much togetherness. But I can't help it! I miss out on 50+ hours a week with them, when you factor in my work week plus all the driving time in the mornings and afternoons. By the time we get home there's usually only 3 hours left in the day before bedtime. THREE HOURS. Over 5 days that's 15 hours. So you best bet I'm going to spend my weekends smothering my kids.

I know, I know... half of you are thinking "Why don't you just stay home then?" Believe me, I've tried to figure out how to make that work. One day, that might be a possibility. But in our stage of life currently, its just not something we're financially capable of. More than that, I'm not sure that I am capable of it. I love my kids, but I love my job too. I love the satisfaction I get from completing the work week and knowing that I got things accomplished and made a positive contribution to my team. I love the interaction I have with my coworkers: people from other walks of life that I would have never crossed paths with if I didn't have my job. I love working for a wonderful company! I love that my job not only provides a paycheck for my family, but also health insurance (among other benefits), stock options, a great retirement plan, and who can forget about the Walmart Associate Discount?! Not this girl! Over the last three years that little card has saved us $2200 on general merchandise! That's a good chunk of change to be given back just for being an associate! (That also means that we've spent $22K at Walmart in the last three years... Oy.)

My kids have learned so much from spending their days with other people besides just me! The benefits of having them learn from others is truly priceless. They've gotten quality time with their great-grandparents that is absolutely precious, and that is something that most people NEVER get! Jailyn has participated in a couple of Mother's Day Out programs at a couple of local churches, and will soon begin the Pre-K program at ABC Happy Kids in Bentonville, to get ready for Kindergarten which is just a little over a year away (Did you hear that thud? That was me falling out of my chair at the realization that my child is almost going into kindergarten.) and I know that because of the time she has spent with her great-grandparents and wonderful babysitter Miss Lyndsey, she's more than ready to enter this program. Once she's into kindergarten, Jordyn will start the preschool program, and in turn Jackson will when he's close to the age of 4.

Anyway, back to my original point--

So some weekends I smother my kids. And we're all a little preturbed with one another and ready for Monday once it rolls around again. But NOT this past weekend. This past weekend was bliss! Quite possibly because I had to do hair on Saturday for a few special occasions so the kiddos got about 5 hours of quality bonding time with their Naynay and Poppop, and I got to roll up my sleeves and get elbow deep in some hair and makeup, my true passion. Also quite possibly because it was Mother's Day weekend and my kids somehow knew that Sunday was a special day just for celebrating Mommy. (Maybe Jaret had a little influence over that?)

We played a lot, and watched some movies, and cooked dinner together. We all laid on the floor and tried to coax Jackson into rolling over. (It didn't work but we had fun trying.) We blew bubbles and chased them around the front yard. We had extra goodnight hugs and kisses. For Mother's Day we went bowling, and out to dinner so I didn't have to cook. Jordyn told me "Happy Mother's Day" about 1,537 times throughout the day. I could listen to that sweet little voice all day long!

I'm a blessed momma.

Here's a little bit of cuteness for your Tuesday. It sure is making mine MUCH more enjoyable to relive my weekend through these pics!

Big Boy at his 4 month checkup on Thursday. Almost 14 lbs!

Love that hair!

This is how Jack gives kisses. Can't get enough of them!!

Jailyn and her Miss Lyndsey
She loves her so much that she NEVER wants to come home!

All the kiddos with their Great-Grandma Shirley.

These little bedheads woke me up on Sunday morning :)

A little Mother's Day bowling!
Jordyn was obsessed with the "hole" that the ball would come out of.

The lady I celebrate on Mother's Day... my sweet momma!
 Until next time!

Monday, May 6, 2013


Bliss. This past weekend was bliss. No better way to say it! At times it was a bittersweet kind of bliss, but blissful nonetheless.

Friday morning we woke up with snow. SNOW. On May 3rd. In Arkansas. Let me say it again... SNOW. Insanity.

My house, covered in snow. In May. Unreal!
Jaret woke me up before he left for work Friday morning just so he could see my reaction to his announcement of snow outside. My reaction: "Shut your mouth!" as I flew across the room to the window. Of course, then he couldn't wait to tell the girls, so he went into their room and raised the blinds so they could see.

Their reaction: "Snow! It's Christmas!! SANTA'S COMING!!!"

Thanks, Mother Nature. Thanks for disappointing my children. Or rather, making ME disappoint them.

They were confused as to why it snowed when it wasn't Christmastime. But they were pretty excited to dig out the winter coats and hats again. (I, not so much, as I was the one who had to do the digging!)

Winter hats.
Jordyn's looks a little funny... She wanted to wear it turned that way because "It looks like Peter Pan's!"
I just smile and nod. I don't get it.

Still confused.
And still arguing about Santa's impending arrival.
 Saturday morning, I got up early with Jack and let everyone else sleep in. I enjoy our one-on-one time, even if it is before 6:30am on a Saturday, because I know he won't be a baby for long. He won't want me to cuddle with him or sing silly songs or blow raspberries on his tummy. So I'm relishing in these moments whenever I get them. Bliss.

Sleepy boy.
I made an extra effort to have the house cleaned up by the time the girls got up and around so we wouldn't be tripping over toys and shoes and blankets while getting around. I also made an extra effort to NOT scold, not correct (too much), and to avoid arguments before they even started. I asked what they wanted for breakfast and made it, without any pushback. I wanted a stress-free Saturday morning, with everyone in a good mood.

Because before the morning was over, we'd be saying goodbye to someone very special, and I didn't want to be flustered.

We dropped the kiddos off at my parents' house and went to Fellowship Bible to celebrate the life of my sweet cheerleading coach.

I made ribbons for each of the former RHS cheer/pom girls that were in attendance, to honor her and to honor our time with her, our memories of her, and our acknowledgement of the awareness of the vicious disease that took her from us.

Blue and white for the RHS Mounties signature colors, pink for Breast Cancer Awareness.
 Of course, I was terrified I'd run out of ribbons so I ran to Walmart Friday night for more and they were out of the blue/white chevron. Isn't that always the way it happens? So we had a mixture of chevron or polka dots to choose from on Saturday.

They turned out cuter than I expected!
My sweet friend Hillary met me at the doors of the church and we passed out ribbons to all the girls from the squads, and their families. It was wonderful to look around and see everyone in the congregation wearing something in commemoration of Mrs. P... blue and white ribbons, pink ribbons, red flowers (her favorite color was red!), RHS/Mountie Blue shirts, etc. She was so so so loved. Bittersweet bliss. 

Her memorial service was beautiful. Quite possibly the best one I've ever been to. It was the most optimistic, upbeat, beautiful message of hope. If a non-believer was present, they left a changed person. At least I would hope they did! I sincerely enjoyed all the stories shared about Mrs. Peacock, about her family, about her involvement in so many groups within the church, and just about her as a person. She loved antiquing, playing with her grandkids, encouraging others, red lipstick and nail polish, football, Route 44 unsweet iced teas with extra ice and extra lemon from Sonic, scripture and worship music, and her family. The church was decorated with items from her home, which was a beautiful place, because of her artistic touch.

The pastor asked that the congregation take a few minutes and shout out a word, a phrase, a title, a color, a song, a scripture, or anything that made you think of Mrs. Peacock. Hillary and I (per Mrs. Peacock's daughter Dru's request) stood up and shouted out "5, 6, 7, 8!!" while clapping our hands, as that was Mrs. Peacock's signature to starting all of our dances, cheers, and other routines when we cheered for her. That got a round of laughter and applause from the rest of the congregation, but all in good fun. It was a true testament to her and how I remember her: on time, on beat, always consistent, demanding perfection of us and of herself in her coaching. And smiling. Always smiling. Bittersweet bliss.

Another Mrs. Peacock story: When she and Coach Peacock were first dating, she was the first to be comfortable saying "I love you." Coach Peacock wasn't quite ready for those words yet... but what he WAS comfortable with was "1-4-3"... 1 for one letter ("I"), 4 for four letters ("Love"), 3 for three letters ("You"). He could say it or show it by holding up his fingers in the sequence of 1-4-3 to show how he felt, and it stuck. They said or showed this throughout their marriage. This story was shared at her memorial service, and it brought back memories of seeing Coach Peacock hold up his fingers in this sequence to Mrs. Peacock from the side lines of a football game or across the field house during practice. This was their "I love you" without saying a word. I always wondered what it meant, but it wasn't until after I graduated that I learned its meaning. Jaret and I really loved this story.

It was so good to see all these beautiful ladies againon Saturday! Such sweet friends! This is a mix of squads and graduating years, but all with a common ground... We had the time of our lives on those squads, and we loved Mrs. P. 1-4-3, girls, 1-4-3.

Meghan, me, Amy, Jennifer, Kate, Lindsey, Mitchell, Sara, Natalie, Jennifer
Allie, Jordan, Vanessa, and Liz
(Hillary was MIA)
I had to have Hillary snap a pic of Jaret and I before we left the church... This guy cleans up pretty good! Its rare to see him with his shirt tucked in, so I had to capture the moment.

So handsome. Love him.
Jaret took me to my favorite restaurant for lunch after the memorial. Just us. That is a rare treat for us. Then I spent the rest of the day with my munchkins. It was good for this momma's soul. Nap time, play time, dinner time, bed time...Bliss.

Sunday was spent catching up on laundry, housework, and getting some much-needed organizing done. I recently pulled out all the boxes and bins of the girls' old clothes that we've accumulated and went through them, making piles to donate, to sell, to give to my best friend's daughter, etc. in order to get rid of some clutter and make some room. Plus, I LOVE to see Lena in handmedowns from the girls! It makes me (and her momma!) so excited to watch the girls grow up together! Seeing her in their clothes or rainboots and rainjacket is just so special!

I can finally say I'm DONE with the organizing. I've emptied 7 boxes and two large storage tubs of everything smaller than 2T size, packed away a few keepsake outfits into the girls' memory boxes, and purged everything else to their perspective destinations. Feels good!

I also had to go through my ridiculous shoe collection and get rid of all of my babies (shoes) that don't fit anymore. A few tears (or maybe more than a few) later, I have sold or given away most of the pairs that I can't squeeze into any longer. (It was like Christmas for Kayla!) This was definitely bittersweet... Not so much bliss, except for maybe to the recipients.

Of course I also got to enjoy a little down time with my kiddos in between my cleaning sprees. Dress up, tea parties, and some snuggle time on the couch while we watched a movie.

Movie time!

Goodness, I love this boy and his many faces!
Funny story: we haven't gotten cable yet since the move (it just hasn't been a priority) so we've been watching movies. Lots of movies. And we let the girls pick what we watch if they're awake. There's a shelf of movies that is full of only "their movies"... anything kid-friendly or family oriented. Last night Jailyn picked "the guitar movie" -- Freaky Friday with Lindsey Lohan (pre-psychotic-break era), Chad Michael Murray (yum!) and Jamie Lee Curtis -- so that's what we watched. During the ending when Anna gives the toast at the wedding while "in" her mom's body, I teared up like I ALWAYS do, and tried hard to blink it away before Jaret could make fun of me. I shot a quick glance over at him only to find that his eyes were filled with tears too! We caught each other's eyes, and laughed so hard at ourselves for several minutes, for crying over a kid's/family movie. Parenthood has made us soft!!

Other movies we have both cried during recently: Parental Guidance (the scene where the grandson perfectly recites "The Shot Heard Round the World" without stuttering... melt my heart!), Marley & Me (because if you don't cry during that movie, well... you don't have a soul), and We Are Marshall (one of our favorites, and a huge tear-jerker!) ... If you haven't seen that one, its worth tracking down. Trust me! Practically all football movies make us cry... The Blind Side, Remember the Titans, Rudy, and Gridiron Gang, to name a few. Apparently, we are saps.

Will Jaret kill me for telling you that he cries during movies? Yes... yes he will. Good thing he doesn't read blogs. :)

Just kidding. He loves me, even if I share some of his secrets on social media.

In my purging of boxes this weekend, I ran across some keepsakes from high school.
For your viewing pleasure...
Senior Prom.
We were hot stuff.

One of my senior pictures.
Someone told me once that I looked like Marie Osmond in this picture.
I don't see it... but Ok.

You may not recognize this person with thin arms. And nice calves. And a waist.
But I swear that's me. Eight (gulp!) years ago.
Well, that was fun.

Someone whip me back into shape.

Sorry for the boring post today, folks. Rereading it now, it feels like a diary entry. But I guess this is my blog and I can post about what's important to me, right? Right. I like when I agree with myself.

Until next time!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I've shared this multiple times before, both here and on Facebook, but I'll say it again. I often feel that as a mother, my biggest enemy is time. Time just gets away from me far too quickly. Not just hour by hour, but days, weeks, months, years... It's just flying by. And I haven't figured out how to make it stop. I never will, either.

What I HAVE figured out is that instead of wracking my brain for ways to slow things down, it's better to just capture the moment. Then I can look back at those captures and relive the memories. It doesn't slow the minutes but it does allow me to treasure the minutes longer than just during that fleeting moment.

Fortunately, I have an amazing family photographer to help me capture these moments in time.

KReative Photography by Kayla Rushing (479-633-4839)

Why is she amazing? Well, I couldn't give you a complete list because I'm sure blogs have some type of entry size limit. :) But here's the top reasons:

1. She knows her stuff. She knows her equipment, she knows her lighting, she knows her surroundings. She knows her capabilities and does her absolute best. Every time. Example:

She managed to get this shot, in perfect lighting AND with a smiling toddler, before the rabbit jumped out of the basket and tried to make a run for it.

She captured this before Jordyn squeeze this chick to death.
No baby chicks were harmed during this photo session. (Thankfully!)
 2. She knows my kids. They are comfortable with her. She knows what sets them off, what to say to get that perfect facial expression, what pushed their buttons, and how to help them relax. She also knows when we've hit our limit and when to say "That's enough!" for the day. Example:

Love this perfect picture of Jordyn taken last spring. Gorgeous!

I have always treasured this awesome picture of Jailyn at 17 months old.
One of my all-time favorites!

3. She knows my husband and how ridiculous he can be about getting his picture taken, and she likes him anyway. :) She doesn't make him do awkward poses that make him uncomfortable (which he always tells me he appreciates!) and somehow she manages to make him look even more handsome in pictures than he already is, all the time. Example:

So handsome!

I like him. :)

4. She's fair and flexible with her availability and scheduling. Also with rain checks due to weather issues!

5. She's AFFORDABLE. Key word there for all the mom's out there!

6. She listens to my crazy ideas for photo ops and props (mainly that I've found on Pinterest) and is willing to try them out. Some are hits, some are misses... but she always says "Let's try it!"

Prop was a hit!

This pose was a miss (at least in Jordyn's opinion)
But hey, we tried! :)
7. She doesn't always make us "pose"... Sometimes she tells Jaret "Just go play with the kids!" and then starts snapping. Example:

I just adore these!
 8. She captures our crazy life just the way it is: Crazy. Messy. Disorganized. Loud. Laughing. :) Example:

Just a-swingin'

MMMM... cake!

Duck lips!

"Aunt K! A BALL!!"

9. She doesn't promise to work miracles. But it often seems like she does anyway. Example:

NO ONE feels beautiful while this pregnant.
But she made me feel that way after looking at these pictures!
(Maternity shoot, fall of 2010)
I gained more weight while pregnant with Jackson than I did with either of the girls.
But I don't feel like I look like a whale in this picture!
(Maternity shoot, winter of 2012)
10. Plus the best reason of all... She's my favorite. :)

Photo courtesy of another awesome photographer!
Stacy Gough of Phorever Studio (479)366-0537

So why the free advertising today? Because she deserves it. Because I was reminded this week that some photographers aren't half of these things, aren't 1/10 as talented as she is, and are incredibly overpriced, and sometimes a little arrogant. Because she's passionate about photography and it shows in her work. And... because she's still my favorite.

And because she's done it again.

Here's a few pics from our spring family session two weeks ago. Our first photo shoot as a family of 5!

Enjoy. :)

Until next time! :)