Monday, December 31, 2012

wrapping up 2012 and anticipating 2013

Happy New Years Eve friends!

Where did 2012 go? Where did December go? Oh my we were busy beyond belief this past month. And I paid for the days after Christmas with a yucky sinus headache and runny nose. not fun. But on a positive note, I had a few lazy days and snuggle time with my girl. It was snowy here, and so cold, and perfect for staying inside and doing nothing. I can only take a few days like that though, and made up for my laziness yesterday by taking down and putting away every bit of our Christmas decorations, and cleaning like a mad woman {we are saying goodbye to the germs!} and doing a little 2013/New Years Mantle. I just got inspired for a fresh change for a new year.
Before we say bye to the Christmas Season and to 2012 for good, I just have to share these pictures of Caroline with Santa. They are about the greatest thing ever. She loved him, and I am so glad our photographer friend Aaron was able to snap these when Santa visited Chick-fil-A.
Aren't these the greatest? Her smile was priceless and she wasn't even the least bit scared. Next year may be a different story..

2012 has been such a fun year with Miss Caroline. What a true blessing she is, and what a blessing to be her Mama. Joy. Pure Joy.

And speaking of being overjoyed, Jay is taking a little sabbatical in January. Two weeks off. He hasn't taken that much time away from Chick-fil-A since our honeymoon. I'm giddy for this time with him! He needs a mental break, we need a family break, and we need some stress free, laughter, just the three of us. Jay works so hard, cares so deeply, and is incredibly devoted to making Chick-fil-A successful for our family, for our community, and because that is what he was entrusted to do. He is great, and a wonderful steward.

I am happy he is taking time to plan and dream, and refresh himself for a new year.

Jay and I always set family and personal goals. We don't do resolutions, but we love goal setting and planning. And we are going to make some purposeful goals for this little family for 2013! We are still talking and throwing around what we want our focus to be in different aspects of our lives, and we are thinking about coming up with a word to name this year. I'll let you know what we decide.

We do know we have lots of travel plans. I am excited for some fun adventures that have fallen in our laps, and for time with this sweet girl who is learning so much so quickly. I treasure these moments with her that are passing so quickly.

What are you excited for in 2013?

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Friday, December 28, 2012

memories to celebrate

I'm big on birthdays. No surprise there. Today would have been my Daddy's 64th. 

I sure wish Caroline could give him a big old smile and giggle and grab his neck for his birthday. I would like to make him a chocolate chip pound cake today. And eat it with him. There are about 14,000,000 questions I would give anything to be able to ask him. He was the definition of wisdom to me. 

But I can't, and it stinks. And Caroline can't and that hurts in my heart. 
This was taken on his birthday 8 years ago. 

This is how I remember my daddy. His smile and his love for his family. This is the life I choose to celebrate today. And it was a life lived well. A life worthy of celebration. And I am thankful for a reason to celebrate in my heart. There are memories and an amazing legacy worth celebrating. So I choose that today.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

8 Months of Joy.

Hello 8 Months of pure joy and delight.
I am always, every single month, sitting down to upload photos and thinking about the fun of the last month, and starting to type this: 

"Can't I make time slow down?" 

Every month. The same request. I look at how fast this beauty is growing and I seem to want to plead with God to make each minute longer, and each month double. 

Well this morning was no different, but what was different was that while I was uploading photos I pulled out One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp {yes, I am back to this book again. It is rocking my world.}

This is exactly what I read:

"Time is a relentless river. It rages on, a respecter of no one. And this, this is the only way to slow down time: When I fully enter time's swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here. I can slow time by being all here. I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment. When I'm always looking for the next glimpse of glory. Time slows. Weigh down this moment in time with attention full." 

God give me full attention. 

I can't stop those precious feet from growing bigger or those hands from becoming larger, or those sweet knees from crawling all over in curiosity, and I don't want to really. Really I don't. But I do want to remember every moment. Every single moment. 

Even the middle of the night moments. And the screaming diaper changing moments. 

But, especially the waking up from nap smiling moments. The ordinary everyday moments that are easily over looked.

These are the moments that have made up 8 months of Joy.

I am thankful for these moments, and I want to weigh down each smile with all of my focus and attention. Its the only way. 
"Its ridiculous how much JOY a moment can hold."
-Ann Voskamp

Mommy and Daddy have loved the joy that you have brought our lives over the past 8 months. You are growing into a sweet girl who smiles often, giggles beautifully, and studies the world around you.

In this past month you have started crawling up on your hands and knees like a champ. You can cover some serious ground girlfriend! I love to see you sit down, look around, and then crawl, sit down, look around, and crawl. You are very inquisitive, and purposeful.

You are liking more and more foods, and we have entered into the world of Puffs! You love them, and Mama loves them because they are an easy quick snack. Daddy is always worried you will choke, and breaks every puff into about 14 bites. I love how he adores you. You are a big fan of his too. You smile every time you see him. Daddies are special Caroline, and yours is wonderful.

You are taking baths in the big tub now and love it! Still lots of toys. You really love books and crawl straight for your book basket in your room. Music is still your favorite, and Bella of course. She is getting more and more interested in you now that you are up and moving. I keep telling her to rest up because you will really be chasing her before too long.

We are looking forward to Christmas with you, love bug! You have already had your hands on some wrapping paper and giggled with delight, so Christmas morning is going to be the best!

Thanks for another month of memories. Mom is enjoying the moments and making the most of them. This is my prayer for the coming month:

"May God give us the eyes to see what matters the most in this life."
-John Piper
We adore you precious girl!

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Tree Picking with Caroline

Jay and I have been cutting down our own Christmas trees ever since we have been married. Its one of my very favorite yearly traditions. It just doesn't feel like Christmas without a REAL tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving. I like it up early so we get the full Christmas tree enjoyment packed into 5 weeks. And I am definitely one who leaves the lights on all the time... day time too. Can't help it. Its too pretty and too festive. Anyone else?

Anyway, this year it was Caroline's 1st Christmas Tree Picking adventure. It was wonderful. Very chilly, but lots of fun! 

 Caroline liked the decorating part too...
I love how these sweet photos turned out. Such fascination and curiosity. So pure. 
Hope everyone is having a great Christmas season so far. Ours is flying. Grabbing moments when we can and savoring the Joy.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Thankful November: Week #3 & 4

Well hello again! Had to figure out a way around paying to upload photos to this little blog, and thanks to my sweet friend Heather, it has been solved....{If you are running into the storage limit error message, then check out her post on how to fix it easily!}

So, I realize its wayyyy past November, its already the 7th day of December {whoa!}, but I wanted to finish my thankful November posts. I'm kinda crazy like that. Got to finish what I start... plus I am still in a major Thankfulness mindset, because Ann Voskamp's Book One Thousand Gifts is still rocking my world. I am a really slow reader, and I keep re-reading. oh well, I'm seriously loving it!

"When I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me. This, this, makes me full, and I magnify Him with Thanksgiving."
-Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
I am continually and constantly thankful for this guy and this gal, and to the God that allowed me to be their wife and mama. I pray He continues to stretch and grow me so that I am worthy of partnering with him, and guiding her. 
I am thankful for a warm day at the park for a another BIG Caroline First - swinging! It's not her favorite park activity... she much prefers the slide in someone's lap... But hey, she looked cute doing it :)
I am thankful for a girls craft night with sweet friends! Blessed and thankful for women to share pinterest ideas with, talk about recipes, gain mommy wisdom from, and walk through life with. This is priceless to me. 
I am thankful for christmas baking! {And Pinterest, lets just be honest, I am thankful for it!} These are chocolate covered nutterbutter reindeer that I made for our sunday afternoon decorating Chick-fil-A for Christmas. Yum! {and EASY!}
I am thankful for this girl's growth. While I would prefer to figure out how to slow down time, I am thankful for her health and happiness, and the fact that she is now pulling to standing! {The crib is now down low, thank goodness! The morning I went in and found her like this I almost had a heart attack thinking that she could have flipped herself over. Probably not in all reality, but in Mommy Brain world she could have!}
Thankful for Bella's playfulness. And for a sunday afternoon picking out a Christmas tree with my precious ones. It is a favorite family tradition. {I think Bella loves it most of all... our herding breed-city-dog, poor thing, was trying her hardest to herd these sheep who were already in their pin.}
Thankful for this girl's giggles. Music to my ears that I want to bottle up and remember forever. Giggles at Bella's barks, and Daddy's tree chopping, and Gram's photo taking, and Mama's silly goofiness. 
Thankful for playtimes. Pure Joy. 
Thankful that Christmas is on its way. Thankful for the craftiness that kicks into full swing in my brain during this time of year. 

And most importantly thankful for Emanuel. God with us. Thankful that HE is coming. Thankful for the reason for this advent season. 

"Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks, and I unwrap the gift given: JOY."
-Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

I am trying, unsuccessfully some days, to focus on the real gift this Christmas season, and to daily wake to unwrap God's free gift: Joy.

He has already given.

My gifts, and the Joy that they provide, are in front of me.

I realize the fullness of the Joy they provide when I simply give thanks to the Giver.

Be thankful sweet friends. Unwrap Joy.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How I feel Today.

I stumbled upon this blog a couple years ago, and she writes beautifully. Her post this morning is how I have been feeling the past couple weeks... tired. Sleepy. Putting one foot in front of the other and taking care of things. And then going to bed guilty that Caroline is growing quickly and I am just going through the Mama motions.
And I only have one babe... and I want 4... will I make it? I feel like this dog sleeping in a wayyy too small space when I only get a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep. When the baby monitor awakens me to a little one with a stuffy nose who is struggling to breathe or who has decided she needs a middle of the night snack.
There is such joy in her snotty nose, sleepy grins. There true delight in giggles from her crib when her naps are way short. Caroline honestly is worth every moment of sleep deprivedness. She is and so will the other babies {when God gives them to us} because as I was reminded in Erin's post this morning, they will grow fast, and our house will be empty and I will have days on end to sleep. And I will miss the midnight nursing and the 6:00 wake up smiles. They are precious. SO precious.

God, remind my heart how precious they are when my 3:00 AM exhausted self wants to stay in bed forever.

Mama nights are long, but I am finding out how extremely short the months really are. 
Being Mama is priceless. Every single moment {even those spent awake in the night} are part of the journey of being mom. God, I am thankful for this adventure you have called me to.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful November: Week # 2 & 1/2

Caroline has her first cold... a nasty sinus infection and it has been awful around here this week. Not much sleep, lots of fussy moments when just nothing seems to do, and lots of snot! Yuck, I know. None of those things make me even the least bit thankful...

But, I do have lots of things to still be thankful for. Its all in the perspective :)

"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world." 
- Sarah Ban Breathnach 
Thankful for this girl's JOY! And her big milestones like pulling herself to standing! 
 Thankful for sweet cousins who love playing together. 
Thankful for Operation Christmas Child and the huge blessing that filling these shoeboxes are every year.
 Thankful for this man who is an amazing Daddy. And Thankful for the opportunity to go on a real grown-up people date with this man last weekend. It was so nice to go to dinner and a movie and just be us for a couple hours. 
Thankful for the HUGE honor it is to Vote in this country. That is about the only thankful thing I have to say about the election, but hey, I am thankful that I got to take my girl to the polls and vote for the candidate of my choosing. Thankful to be an American, and thankful that as much as I love my country, this is not my Kingdom, and my God is a BIG God. 
Thankful for this Bella and her snuggles. 
Thankful for a warm sunny Saturday to play outside {and eat leaves!} 
Thankful for 7 Months of being Mama. 

What are you thankful for? 

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

SEVEN Months!

Seven months. SEVEN MONTHS....SEVEN MONTHS! I have to keep reminding myself that Caroline turned a whole 7 Months on Friday. And I have to keep reminding myself that I carried her in my belly longer than she has been out in the world... for some reason it makes time seem slower? Maybe because being pregnant seemed soooo long? Anyway, I'll be sad when I can no longer say that.

SO... Seven months! This past month has been a blast. So many Caroline firsts including her first Clemson football game, first Halloween, and her first time crawling. Thats right, we're on the move! Its more of an army crawl, but she sure can cover some ground quickly, especially if its in pursuit of Bella!

You are such a joyful girl. You have a huge two-tooth smiled. You are ticklish and make the sweetest giggle. You are also busy, busy, busy! Always looking for something to "explore", and reach for, and throw on the ground, and put in your mouth. You also love to climb all over our laps, and all over pillows on the bed. You even have started to pull yourself up on the coffee table. {You're welcome to slow down if you want!?!}

Bathtime is still your favorite. You love bath toys and lots of bubbles. You like music and gigglebellies videos. You also love all your toys that make noises, and your babydoll. This past month we have started putting you in highchairs at restaurants and riding in the front of shopping carts. It makes you feel like such a big girl. You also have discovered Bella on a whole new level this past month. You smile and call her "Ba-Ba", and "chase" after her as fast as your little arms and legs can take you. Bella loves to lick you and it makes you giggle. 

Bananas are your favorite food so far. You are also really starting to embrace applesauce and sweet potatoes {Thank goodness!}. Thanks for working with Mama and Daddy on this solid food thing. You are finally starting to get the swallowing-with-a-spoon thing down. 

You hate getting in your car-seat and you strongly dislike getting dressed. If your aren't tired, or hungry, or stuck in your car-seat you are a happy girl. You're an easy-peasy baby, I tell you! You sleep well - about 8 or 9 hours a night, and usually only wake mommy up once to eat around 5 or so. Thank you! 

Your hair is getting longer, and thicker, and more blonde. You're still in size 3 diapers, and we are still loving cloth diapers while we are home. {They look so cute on you, and daddy likes how much money they save us!} You are wearing 6 month clothes and some 9 month clothes. Your legs are so long, and you're quite long waisted, so you have a couple of 12 month pants for the length. You're such a beautiful girl, and we are head over heals for you!
 I was cramming too many things into Friday afternoon, and with daylight savings time, I missed some of the good daylight when we headed outside at 5:15pm, but I do actually love how these pictures turned out. Caroline was loving being outside and playing in the leaves, and the sun was setting so beautifully in the background. 
Carolne, you were singing Mommy a beautiful song, and I loved it. Your noises are precious!
 Pure Joy.
 Discovering the leaves. Thinking about putting them in your mouth...
Not too tasty, my love. 
 Cute pouty face.
Caroline, Thank you for another great month of being your Mama and Daddy. We love you. We are blessed to lead and guide you as you grow. We are thankful for the joy you bring to us daily. Keep up the good growing sweet pea, you are precious. 

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