Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bye-Bye November....

November is nearly gone. Just a matter of hours before this month is completely in the past. I suppose time flies when you're having fun :) Considering we were out of town for over a week, I'm so proud of myself for sticking with NaBloPoMo and posted something everyday. Today being my final official NaBloPoMo post, I figured I'd finish it off with a Thanksgiving Post. 

Every day of my life is filled with things that make me feel completely and utterly blessed. Far too often, these are the things that I take for granted and never say a word of gratitude. 

My whole family- this doesn't happen very often :)

1. I am thankful that (most days) Michael is a reminder to me of what a servant looks like. He is always trying to make my life better.

2. I am ever so thankful that I finally finished designing my girls baby book and only paid $9.00 for it :)

3. This year, I have been given a renewed sense of gratitude for my family. They mean more to me than I can express!

4. Everyday I am thankful for the church family that God has chosen to place in my life. I can't imagine my life without you all!

5. Cousins. Particularly the ones my son regularly calls his brothers. They bring so much joy to his life- especially when it allows him to run around crazy at the "big park."

6. I am thankful for water pressure. After our little Thanksgiving adventure in the mountains, I have been reminded of this little convenience. (also that I do not have to go fetch water- that would totally put a damper on my day-haha)

7. I am thankful for the smiles on my kids faces that light up my day.

8. Thankful for the roof over my head. We may not have much extra space but we are warm, dry and comfortable so we're better off than much of the world.

9. My heart is full of gratitude for the gift of photography. Snapshots into the past- always available to refresh old memories.

10. This community of bloggers. I am ever thankful that God lead me to this little niche in the world. A place to share, be encouraged and learn all kinds of new things!

Ending this month is slightly bitter-sweet. Sweet because I managed to accomplish my goal to post daily for 30 days- YAY! Slightly bitter because it mean time is ticking away and I did not accomplish my goal of 30 portaits in 30 days. I'm okay with it, though. There is a whole month ahead to continue my project :)

My last words of gratitude are for you. Thank you for reading and being a support. I look forward to many, many more months of writing :) Excited for what the future holds :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dog Days Are Over

The Dog Days are Over. 

No more bullying. No more speaking out of pride. No more using our words and actions to bring others down and build ourselves up. No more. The dog days are over.

Look around your world. Look around your community. As you walk through the grocery. As you drive down the street. As you go about your business at work. Look around. Take in the faces. Realize the devastation that surrounds you. 

Bullying is real. 

"Sticks and stones may hurt my bone but words will never hurt me"


Ask the kid who's mom just told him he is worthless. Ask the boy that was laughed off the bus. Ask the girl who sits alone at school every single day. Ask the boy who has red hair. Or the girl that towers over her classmates. Or the co-worker with the funny accent that some how becomes the butt of every joke. Or the boy that sings too high. Ask the guy in your class that is gay. Or the christian. Or the muslim. Or the Jew. Ask the girl that is too black, too white or too ugly to be acknowledged. Ask the family from the Middle East. Or the kid that is quiet or smart or slow. Ask the 16 yr old carrying her child. Ask the girl with tattoos or the guy with the piercings. 

An endless list of judgements, assumptions and harshness.

Real stories of real people with real feelings.

It isn't kidding. It isn't 'kids being kids'. It isn't funny.

The dog days are over.

Help save lives.

Take back happiness. 

Deliver kindness.

Show love.

Let us not use our words (or actions) to bring others down. Face your insecurities and prejudices. Make an effort to share love. 
Bullying is real. It happens every day.

Are you a bully?

Do you make assumptions?

Do you make biased judgements?

And act on them?

Do you speak harsh words to make yourself feel better?

Do you turn a blind eye when you see it happening?

Do you wash your hands of it?

My encouragement is this:

End the dog days. Speak love. Share love. 

Don't be a bully and don't turn your head to hide your face when it happens right in front of you. 

Be intentional.

Kindess doesn't have to be random.

Take a stand.


**This post was inspired by Pentatonix on The Sing-Off. They chose to spend time volunteering for a suicide prevention organization for bullied teens.**

Monday, November 28, 2011

Life Made Lovely Monday {What's in a Name}

Today my life is made lovely by the sounds of my little girls saying their brother's name. Absolutely one of the sweetest things in my day! Lilly was following Malakai down the hallway tonight after their bath and we heard her say, "M-Kai-Kai" (or something of the sort). 

Melts my heart!

Today was also an awesomely amazing warm spring-like day with some 70 degree temps! 
We skipped naps to enjoy the sunshine today :) 
Unfortunately, we were having far too much fun and Mama didn't snap any photos ::sadface::

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hello dramamine. Hello home.

This photo was from the beginning of our trip. I wish it was forshadowing a pleasant trip. Beautiful, beautiful scenes of the mountain countryside. Carsick 2 year olds are not so beautiful. Pitiful, yes. Beautiful, no.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Little Out of It

Home. As much as I don't want to leave my family, I am ready to be home and back in somewhat of a routine. The house is so quiet today since my brother and his fam headed back to Kentucky. ::sadface:: (also my sister's husband and in-laws headed back to Maryland- which btw it was such a blessing to have the opportunity to spend some time with them!) The weather has been perfect, the food has been filling, the family time amazing. Today, things are beginning to wind down and I can feel the end nearing.

It is time to get back to actual blogging that people even care to read. I cannot wait to share some the photos from our beautiful scenery here in the mountains. Frost in the mornings, beautiful sun in the afternoons and marsh mellows by the fire at night... ::bliss:: I think most people know my preference for all things sand and ocean but I wouldn't trade these surroundings this week for anything.

So check back in a few days to see some (hopefully) much improved blogging :) My commitment to blog everyday this month has been successful so far but it has made for some pretty lame posts over the past few days due to lack of resources and time :)

I'll leave you with this tonight...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Can you Feel the Mountains Tremble?

Since be out of town, my resources/time have been limited. I promise when I get home, the photos will return :) Honestly, my phone hasn't had a full charge (or any charge for that matter) for about 3 days. Weird. Nice. Quiet.

This week has been especially needed family time because my brother is scheduled to leave for Marine basic training on Sunday. Never imagined him there but can see it as a good fit for him. My husband is in the military so I already have a heightened sensitivity to these things but this is my brother... yeah. I haven't cried. yet.

Leading up to him leaving today, we have spent more time talking, laughing and reminiscing these past couple of day more than we have in years. Some of it is captured in photos, some on video but most of it is just stored away in my mind. We sat around the fire and talked about all kinds of things... most of which does not belong on any blog. any where. haha... Looking out past the fire was darkness and the faint sounds of coyotes. As my eyes adjusted, the sky filled with more stars at one time than I had seen in a looooong time. The sky and stars are at the top of my list of favorite things about being in the country- especially at night. They are such a reminder of God's wonderful works in creation.

In addition to all the family time, my girls have continued to blossom more and more everyday. I have to say, it is such a joy to be sharing some of these milestone firsthand with our family that is usually so far away! Just over the past few days, the girls have learned so many new words! Added to their vocab: up, Tubby (my parent's dog), YEAH, hello (mostly Lilly), Malakai ("kkkkkkk-kai") and I'm pretty sure Ava is saying Lilly. They are both seeming very interested in walking but still working to get the coordination (in other words, not trying RUN). One of the girls was actually making car noises while she was pushing one of Malakai's trucks around. They both have teeth cutting through... which I believe is giving them some fits tonight :( Really, I enjoy this stage SO much! They give me so much joy every day and make me incredibly proud.

Home will be a welcome sight but I am very much being refilled and refreshed spending this time with my family.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Heart

Today is set aside to remember what we are thankful for.
Homes and cars and jobs and food are luxuries for some.
Amidst the hustle and bustle throughout the days and weeks, it's easy to forget what brings us such great peace.
Now look around and ask yourself, what blessings can I share?
Knees humbly bent in reverence for the One who gave it all.
Family full of turkey, grace and love.
Unbelievable blessings, graciously given from above.
Loving, laughter and life fill every part of my heart.

This week has been such a refreshing time with family and friends. The Lord has truly blessed me with good people. 

Happy Thanksgiving!!! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Common interest

What do nemo, cars, and vomit have in common?


Heading to west virginia, all these things have kept our sweet, car sick boy, occupied.

We took the "scenic route" of sorts to our destination. Travelling through all kinds of little coal mining towns had me wishing we could stop. I would have loved to take some photos! It's kind of neat to think about the fact that so many of the citizens in those town have something in common: coal. Whether they mine it or have a job because of those who mine it, they need it. This big black business keeps their little towns running and growing. For some it has tradition for others its just pay check but none can deny their need for it. It was sort of a random thought but an intresting one that one industry could be the sorce of so much revenue and commonality between people.

Tonight, I will leave you with my slight randomness and allow you to get back to your evening :-) leave me a comment to say hi and weigh in with your random thouht for this Tuesday :-)

Monday, November 21, 2011


How quickly I have forgotten malakai at the age my girls are now. There are so many things they do everyday that amaze me and make me smile :-)

Today, they were playing and talking and looking so big! It was such a joy!

**side note** my son is talking to his 2yr old cousin n I quote, "OH! I know what happened to the tractor! Its sleeping, in the barn! Its sleeping." It is super cute :-)

Sadly, I had forgotten all the falling. This time the falling is x2! Yikes! I lost count on # of falls today. Thankfully, they recover quickly!

We're almost a week in to having 2 one year olds and it's good. I cannot wait to see what this next year holds!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Frustrated right now. Trying and trying to post a blog for today and things just are not going my way :( I may just have to give the girls an extra day for their birthday blog week :) If the one I published a few minutes ago ends up showing up, yay! If not, here is another post... :) We've had a busy time visiting family and looking forward to the rest of our time together this Thanksgiving season. Speaking of Thanksgiving, every day I am more and more grateful for my girls and the blessings our children bring to our lives ;)

That is all for today.

Sorry for the lame blog post. It will get back to normal here soon.....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Birthday Week Day 5 {crazy day}

Today is birthday celebration #2 for the pretty girls :-) lots more blessings, lots more kisses, lots more hugs :-) We celebrated with my in-laws at our thanksgiving feast :-) It was super sweet and a lot fun to see family! My intentions were to get some photos and post them today but, yeah, didn't work out. I'm actually writing this in the car on the wayb to pick up my sick husband from drill. (Someone is bringing him to meet me at a gas station which gave me a few minutes to get this done :-) Anyway, one this I've learned about my girls this birthday: they LOVE cake! Haha both times they've had the opportunity, they dug in like they hadn't eaten in days! (I will add pics when I get to a computer :-)) Second thing: they are fabulous! I already knew that but really, they did so good today! Family visits consist of lots of driving, people they aret that farmiliar with and minimal naps. These two girls were champs! They smiled, played, hugged, kissed... s sweet :-) So this is what I have for today. Kinda lame but it's written and I didn't miss a day of nablpomo :-)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Birthday Week Day 4 {Yep, Identical}

The girls had their 12 month check up a couple of days ago. I meant to take photos but getting through a well check with 2 babies is enough work on its own much less, add a camera into the mix. So, yeah. 

The girls are both growing pretty well ;) They are normal length but on the very small side weight wise. 

The Stats:

Ava- 16lbs 6oz, 29 inches tall, 17 3/4 in head

Lilly- 16lbs 6oz, 29 inches tall, 17 3/4 in head

I mean really? Exactly the same. The nurses were shocked. We thought it was hilarious. Aunt B. thought it was creepy. haha. One of the nurses said, "well, we're the same people." (as if speaking for the girls) Ava emphatically shook her head, "no." I just rolled my eyes. Whatever.

4 shots this time. FOUR SHOTS! yuck. I swear it gets worse to watch as they get older. It didn't help that the nurse was sooooo slllllooooowwwwwww! She would do one shot then bandaid before doing the next shot. Just get the pricks done and then apply the bandaids... boo. My poor Ava had just started calming when, BAM it all started over on her other leg. Granted, it was all over in a matter of seconds but geeeze... 

Poor girls. 

Poor mama. 

Poor Daddy who had to hear Mama complain for 10 mins after the nurses left. HA! 

Overall the girls both look great! It was fun to watch their curious minds trying to figure out what the doctor was doing. Oh! and when the nurse did the finger prick (oh yeah, 4 shots PLUS a finger prick) to check for lead and iron levels, they were SO intrigued. They couldn't take their little eyes off of that tube. So neat to watch their little wheels turning.

from this ^

To this ^

On a sort of unrelated note: Ava has seemed to pick up an interest in walking. She took 2 or 3 steps unassisted today. YAY! Such a big girl :) They are both also saying, "cup" pretty clearly now. (well, it's more like pup or bup but whatever)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Birthday Week Day 3 {Say What?!}

Let me back up a little.

July 2010, we went in for our routine ultrasound. We were really excited to see our baby for the first time. At this point, I was 20 weeks along and had only heard the heart beat though doppler. On the way to the OB office that day, I had this urge just to pray for peace for whatever the outcome of the ultrasound. Something inside was telling me this ultrasound was going to be different. I am not a person that really worries or get worked up about things but I just prayed for protection and health over our baby. I prayed for peace. I prayed that no matter what was revealed in this ultrasound, we would be content and trust God. I prayed for peace.

Turns out that this would prove to be a very different ultrasound. 

Our anxiety grew as the moments grew closer to seeing that little black and white screen fill up w/ our growing bean. The tech covered my belly in the gooey blue stuff and put the little do-dad on my belly. She rubbed it around a bit to get a good view. I barely had the chance to look at the screen when she said, "well I guess there's no easy way to put this other than to just say it." Our hearts sunk. In hindsight, I should have known it wasn't something horrible bc generally it has to be the OB that delivers that kind of news. Never the less, the split seconds between that sentence and the next seemed like an eternity and dread for what could come next was all that filled my being. 

"You've got two in there." 

I was shocked. Michael was shocked. More than anything, though, we were RELIEVED! 

"What?! Are you kidding me???" 

I think Michael just kept giggling and grinning ear to ear. He kept cracking jokes and telling Malakai he was going to be a big brother of TWO sisters!

She kept moving things around and looking and said, "I can't know for sure because of how far along you are but I'm pretty sure they are identical." 


This was all too much to process. 

After some searching for the membrane and peeking around, she determined that both were girls and most likely, they were identical and sharing a placenta (monozygotic/dichorionic).

 The ultrasound tech noted how calm we were. Apparently, the general response includes a lot of screaming, crying and freaking out. I think she just chalked up our response to shock but I think it was partly relief from the way she presented it and mostly the grace of God giving us a peace and joy for this double portion :) 

Following the ultrasound, we sat waiting to see the doctor. We didn't even really know what to say to one another. I stared at the floor, smiled at Michael and attempted to wrap my head around this news. (BTW- I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.)

Due to the fact that they were sharing a placenta, we would need to regularly see a specialist to be monitored for twin to twin transfusion (basically, where one twin is getting more nutrients than the other which can cause a multitude of issues for both babies). Praise God, we didn't have any complications and week to week received the good news that both babies were growing nicely. 

Thus, began our journey into parenting multiples. Sharing this news with friends and family was a lot of fun :) Some knew right away what they were seeing, while others thought maybe they were seeing butt cheeks ??? Yeah, no. 

Regardless, we were overjoyed and scared to death! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 2 of Birthday Week {Letters to my daughters}

{Dear Ava}

Momma loves you. More than you know, I love you, sweet 'Baby A'. Everyday I am more thankful that God thought fit to place you in my care. Our dreams for you are nothing more than to see you follow Jesus and love Him with your whole heart. We of course hope, pray & believe for your protection, health and success. We trust that God has great plans in store for your life. 

Please know that you are a joy to my heart. You bring a smile to my face daily. Your smiles are contagious. Your kisses are intoxicating. Your tender heart is an inspiration. I love to see you love on your sister and learn from your brother.

Thank you for being my daughter. Thank you for joining this family. Thank you for changing my life. Thank you.

{Dear Lillian} 

Momma's heart is full. Full of lots and lots of love for you, my precious, 'Baby B'. My heart is blessed by your love for people. I see in you an adventurous spirit. From the beginning you've done things your own way. You test limits (and patience). You climb and crawl on everything. Jesus has great plans for you you, baby girl. We know and trust that as you place your life & heart in God's careful hands, He will lead you and guide you in peace. He will use you & your strong spirit to share His grace & love. No matter how many things you get into or messes you make, we love you always. Your laugh and smile and precious hugs melt my heart. I can't tell you how much I cherish your cuddles. 

Thank you for being my baby girl. Thank you for joining this family. Thank you for changing my life. Thank you.

{For My Twins}

Please do not ever question our identity. No matter how much you may look like your sister, we see YOU. No matter how many times you are asked, "Now which one are you?" No matter how many times you are compared, analyzed, stared at or questioned, We see YOU. We know you. We see Ava. We see Lillian. We see your differences. You are unique. We only expect you to be who God designed you to be. 

Please trust that you are NOT a burden. You are a blessing. Unfortunately, you may hear people describe you as 'double trouble'. This is NOT truth. We've always considered you both a double BLESSING. An extra portion. We are honored to be your parents.

Please try to understand that time passes quicker than you realize and some day you will want it to slow down. These few years I have with you, I look forward to making many, many memories. I look forward to teaching and learning. I look forward to growing and changing. Just realize that I am content to wait for those memories to be made in due time. I am enjoying you today. Tomorrow will bring new ones but my goal is to savor every single moment I have with you- today.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Can it be?!?



Yes, today is the day. 1 year ago I walked into the hospital, anxious to hold my baby girls. These two little sisters are precious joys in my life. I can't imagine life without them. Seeing them interact with their brother is intoxicating sweetness! Words cannot express how blessed I feel. 

So Ava Lynn. She is beautiful. Precious. Happy. Curious. 
Ava likes to get into everything. She loves to talk and laugh and be tickled. She has 4 teeth and working on #5 (her first top tooth). Brother thinks she is a brother and also that she is 2 or 3 yrs old but she doesn't mind, she loves to rough house with him. Ask her a question and generally, you will get, "no" for an answer. Her favorite words right now are, eeeeeat, no, da-da, Pop-Pop, please (saying & signing), more (signing), all done (signing). I think she says cup or drink or something for that but it's not that recognizable. She HATES it when I mess with her hair. She enjoys looking at books and singing. Oh how this girl loves singing. At church she will "sing" and get louder as the singing gets louder (it's more like yelling but it's totally adorable). You can catch her singing, "ei, ei, ooooo" to herself all the time. Precious, precious, precious. Ava is still pretty content to crawl, which is fine. I'm really not into rushing things these days but it will be nice when her face and hands are not always in the floor.

Lillian Renee. She is a greeter. Gorgeous. Sweet. Cuddly. 
Lillian loves to climb. She climbs on the couch, in the toy basket, through the bars under the chairs. She is curious and her sisters sidekick. She has 2 teeth but I'm seeing 2 more on bottom trying to come through. Lilly likes to say, "yes". She will legitimately answer your question if she wants whatever you are asking. If she doesn't want it, she just looks at you :) Pushing the limits (even beyond) is a regular occurrence for this little munchkin. She wants us to think she doesn't understand and is just tooooooo cute to discipline. She's almost convincing. She can say, "please." Most of the time, she doesn't want to. Actually, I think she prefers to say it over signing it but still she fights it. Favorite words for her are, (signing) more & all done, (saying) hiiiiii (in the sweetest high pitched voice you've ever heard), eeeeat, AaaaaP (we're not sure what it means but I'm wondering if its Ava bc we asked her to say Ava last night and that was one of the sounds she made), bath (which sounds more like, "baaa", da-da and of course, pop-pop. I could not believe my eyes a couple of weeks ago when she took her first steps! I was so proud of her. She still isn't officially walking but shows a lot of interest in it. 

Both girls are just getting so big and are truly coming into their own little personalities. Seeing them interact is so neat. They have a special bond and I look forward to watching that continue to develop. 

While the year has FLOWN by, it seems like there was never life before the sisters. They have invaded and are here to stay. 
Life is so good :)

**Just a little note: I think beginning today I am going to make this birthday week and post something Lillian/Ava/twin related for the next 7 days :)** 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Evidence of Grace

While this little moment didn't happen on a Monday, thinking about it makes this Monday totally & completely LOVELY!

As I busied myself in the kitchen making THIS cake for my girls' party, the girls were napping and Malakai was playing in his room. Just as I was finishing up getting the first cake in the oven, I heard the faint sounds of waking babes. A few minutes had passed (trying to get as much done before getting the busy bees out of their bed) and I headed to their room to get them up. As I rounded the corner, I could see that their brother had also heard them and took it upon himself to go in, turn the light on and climb in Lilly's bed (this happens pretty often). He loves to go in and say, "good morning" and talk to them when they wake up. It's sweet... but not nearly as sweet as what I happened upon this particular afternoon.

Not only had he climbed in her bed, but he sat down in the corner with her and was praying for her!


He had his eyes closed so he didn't even realize that I came in. I RAN to the other room to grab my phone, hoping to catch this on video so Michael could see it when he came home. I walked back in just in time to hear him say amen. This was our conversation following.
(I believe the beginning of the video is right about the time he said, "Amen.")

Without further ado...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Reality sets in...

Tiny baby girls do become little girls...

My tiny 5lb twin baby princesses just celebrated their first 1st birthday party. Their actual birthday is on Tuesday but we celebrated at church with some friends and family this afternoon. I am so thankful to have such great friends and family that helped me pull things together :) It was pretty and dainty and everyone had a great time!

My friend Kelly (a woman w/ a servant's heart who graciously gives her time, creativity and efforts) and I made a cake from scratch: Red {Wine} Velvet Cake w/ German cream cheese buttercream frosting... one word... YUM! (This recipe was written by someone my husband knew growing... she is a very talented pastry chef and witty writer- check out Stella at her blog, The Brave Tart) I'm not the most experienced baker but I do enjoy it and this turned out fabulous!

My sister also receives BIG props for her sewing skills... she made some adorable dresses inspired by this dress. I will share more when I have photos but I definitely wanted to say, "thank you" :)

We were going for 'sugar & spice'... it turned out very sweet and tea party-ish and was a lot of fun :) While it still is hard to believe that its already been a year since they joined our family, we certainly cannot imagine life with out them :) They are a joy and make our lives so much fuller.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

90 Minute Delay


Momma and Malakai ventured out to breathe in the sweet fall morning. A quiet stillness all around. Thick fog filled the air until well after 9am. Shades of red, orange, yellow and green speckled the trees. 


Malakai 'wee eaing' 

The still quietness of the morning, left me in awe of creation.

Walking, photographing my son, left me more in love with my little man.


If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around...
does it still make noise?


But it definitely creates a great bench :)

Sticks and stones

Spending a little time in the woods with an imaginative 2yr old is refreshing for the soul

If you don't have one, borrow one and find some woods :)

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!