my view

For those of you that don't know, I now live in a house that is across the street from the house I grew up in. I lived in that house from about one year of age until I was 15. To say it holds a lot of memories for me is an understatement.

It has been vacant now for several months. When the last renters were there, I walked through the old spaces that I used to know so well. They'd lost most of their magic, and things had changed enough that is was no longer my home.

Yet today, while I sit and look out my big window, across the street, in the bleak February air I see six squirrels dancing around in the front yard, running up and down trees my dad planted. I think of the "pet" squirrel my sister and I had, Puffy, that lived in our yard after my mom and dad nursed him back to health. He would come down from one of those same trees and eat pecans out of our hands. I doubt any of today's squirrels are descendants of Puffy, but it's fun to imagine that it is possible.

And even though the wallpaper was different, and things smelled different, when I walked through those rooms, and when I look across at its peaked roof, I can't help but think of the old Miranda Lambert song, "The House That Built Me." She sings about going back to her childhood home, and telling the lady that lives there now, "I know you don't know me from Adam, but these handprints on the front steps are mine." And I think about the set of handprints on the garage floor that are mine. I think about the garage that burnt down around them one scary night in a February 13 years ago, and yet I know they are still there in that concrete, under the roof of the new garage we built back.

She goes on in the song, saying, "Up those stairs, in that little back bedroom, is where I did my homework and learned to play guitar." And I think of my little bedroom, with its tiny closet that my dad used, and my clothes that hung from a rack my grandpa built, and how, by the time we moved, the clothes that fit my long legged 15 year old frame hit the floor. I think of the countless Barbie's lives that were invented on that hardwood floor, the books that were read in the corner I turned into a secret hideout, and the daydreaming that was done in the little twin bed in the corner.

Miranda finishes the song with, "You leave home and you move on and you do the best you can. I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am. I thought maybe I could find myself, if I could just come in, I swear, I'll leave; won't take nothing but a memory, from the house that built me."

It's hard to believe that I've almost reached the point where I've lived longer outside of those walls than I spent there.  And I think I get what Miranda was singing about; I get that there is something intrinsically a part of me in that house. It was in that house that I saw my sister, night after night, in 4th grade, reading her bible. It was in that house that, every night, we met at the dinner table and shared a meal and swapped stories. It was in that house that my dad rescued me from countless nightmares, and my mom stayed up with me until my fevers broke. It was in that house that we met and got to know the families of the girls my mom babysat. It was in that house that I watched my dad paint in his makeshift studio in our dining room, and tapped into my own creativity. And it was in that house that I learned what it meant to be a part of a family, I traversed the chaos of middle school and puberty, and fell in love with reading in the lilac bushes in the front yard. It was in that house that I first learned what Jesus love really was.

I kind of like the fact that if I get lost in this "old world" and forget who I am, I can take a peak out my windows and be reminded of the foundation I come from.

I kind of like that, every day, just across the red brick street, I am staring at a reminder of the importance of creating a home for my family-- I am reminded that the job title of "homemaker" is so very important, for it is the heartbeat of our family. And one day I hope my children will want to come back and knock on the door of this old brick house if ever they need to be reminded of who they are and where they come from.

post signature


baby bump #2: week 29

Laughing at the photographer [Brent].
Blythe was napping, hence her absence from this picture. 

I almost forgot to snap one this week, so technically this is pushing 30 weeks but shhhhh, she will never know.

Dear Baby,

Oh my sweet tiny girl! I'm getting to the point that I'm getting anxious to get things done to prepare for your arrival, and more and more anxious to hold you and get to know all about you. What makes you laugh? What makes you uncomfortable? And beyond that, what will your passions be in this life? Your daddy and I have been praying that you will be devoted, meaning that you are committed and passionate about what is most important to you-- and so I wonder what that will be? Ultimately we pray it stems from the heart of Jesus.

Our doctor's appointment went well, and everything is right on track, which is always such a blessing to hear. I also got a new gliding rocking chair to put in the corner of your room, but your dad loves it so much, it's currently taken up residence in our living room!

Other big news? Your room has officially been vacated! The nursery is now ALL YOURS. Blythe moved to her new room and big bed this week [she did great], and that means it is time for me to get all YOUR stuff out, wash the crib bedding, and hang up a few decorations that I made just for you. I can't wait.

I'll leave you with this funny story: I was helping out in the infant nursery at church this week, and was changing a diaper. I got the new diaper on, snapped the onesie, pulled the little guy's pants half way up, and then proceeded to stand him up to pull his pants up the rest of the way like I've gotten used to doing with your sister. I forgot, however, that 8 month olds have noodles for legs, and was left awkwardly holding him and trying to maneuver his britches up. How did I forget so quickly? When I relayed this story to your nana, she laughed and assured me it will all come back to me. For your flimsy little leg's sake, I hope so!

I love you, little one. I am cherishing your kicks and flips and jabs in my ribs. Truly. I love it. Ten more weeks! [?] Here we go!

Love, Mom 

post signature


on becoming a mother of two

In ten or so-ish weeks, I will welcome my second daughter into this world.

Two babies. One me.
Brent and I will be playing a man to man defense now.

Am I ready for this?
I mean, really ready? Is anyone every ready?

Here is an example of some of the things that randomly pop into my head:
I was driving down the road the other day and thought, "I wonder how much hair, mine and others, I've eaten in my lifetime?"
I don't feel like a mother of two would think something like that.

I guess it will be about prioritizing. For example:
Hurt comes before hungry. If one kid is crying because she just feel off the chair, and another is crying because she is hungry, hurt comes first, right?

And hungry comes before whiney.

And discipline comes before diaper change. ?

There are just going to be a lot of things in the air to juggle. And have you ever seen me attempt to juggle? If not it looks something like this:
google images

Sure she may look like she has it under control, but that is because she is tricking you: there is only one orange in the air. If I accidentally really try to juggle and throw two balls into the air? Then I look like this: 
google images

Sheer panic and chaos. Lucky for me though, Brent is actually an expert juggler, and looks something like this:

google images

So that should help. 

I've heard many a mother say that the transition to two was pure hell; that the transition to three or four or more was so much easier than that initial transition to two. Thanks, mothers everywhere, for that vote of confidence. 

I guess only time will tell. And I know we will figure it out…
We will have to, right? 
But in the mean time if you see me roaming the streets with mismatched shoes and diaper rash ointment in my hair, give me a little grace? Or let me come sleep on your couch for a minute? Or at least hand me a cup of coffee? 

For those of you that have made this transition, and many of you have made it look flawless I might add, what are your secrets or tips? Are there any? Keep it real, please. 

post signature


baby bump #2: 28 weeks

When she saw me move over to the wall, and saw Brent with the camera, she literally sprinted over!

Dear baby,

This week has been fairly uneventful, except for the fact that I can tell you are growing immensely! My entire belly will move and shake now when you roll and flip in there.

Also, the weather finally warmed up a little bit and we were able to get out and go for a walk. We walked a little over a mile and I'm just gonna throw this out there: wowsers. I should probably do that a little more because I was actually sore the next day. It is incredible to realize how my body is changing and stretching moment by moment.

Bending over to put on shoes or pull up pants, rolling over in bed, getting up from the floor, etc. are becoming increasingly more difficult for me these days. But I mean this sincerely: I don't mind too much, because all these things that are slightly uncomfortable remind me that YOU are here with me. Every pain or ache or uncomfortable moment means YOU. And I love you. So I don't mind them.

This week we also celebrated Valentine's Day. We didn't do much on the actual day, but just spent time together as a family. We definitely dreamed about your little life and how much more love that means for our family, and we are so very excited, little one-- excited to meet you and love you and hold you and kiss you and get to know you. And smell you. I can't wait to smell the scent of you.

Love, Mom

post signature


this goes out to all the elementary kiddos

In elementary school, Valentine's Day was tricky, man.

First you had to pick out some cool cards. Early on it didn't matter: you liked Barbies, go for the Barbie cards.

Disney Princess was your thing? Bring on Belle:


When you got a little older though, like 3rd or 4th grade, you didn't want all your cards to be super girly, or they had to be something that was IN. For example, these Power Ranger cards would have been perfect! [And I probably received approximately 72 of these in elementary]: 


After picking the perfect set of cards, you had to create "the box." It had to be creative, yet you wanted it to be fairly low key. [Not like today when the more outrageous the creation, the better.] Maybe a few stickers here and there, some paint-- make it look nice without being too gaudy. Done. 

The real kicker though, for elementary girls anyway, was the actual addressing of the valentines. Man, this got tricky. Take these cards for example [Thank you, "Doug"]. I will refer to the top card as "card 1", Quail man as "card 2", and the bottom as "card 3." :


Card one was a dangerous card. Sure, it had a fun play on words-- knight, night…haha, clever-- But there are LOTS of hearts, and Doug and Patti are clearly swooning. If you really had a crush on Henry, you couldn't POSSIBLY give him this card because he might actually think you liked him. If Shawn had a crush on you, you couldn't POSSIBLY give him this card because he might actually think you returned his sentiments. If Larry sat next to you, you couldn't POSSIBLY give him this card because it would just be awkward. You also couldn't give this to your best friend, because it doesn't express your friendship with her and you want her to have one of THE BEST cards in the entire box, or at least one of the two cards that were 4X6 in size [the other one OBVIOUSLY had to go to your teacher]! So you have to settle and give card number one to Amber-- you're friends, but not super close. Perfect. 

Card number two was a safety card. You gave any card that used the word "friend" to the guy you actually had a crush on. 

Card number three would be good for just about anyone else in the class, the problem was you needed 10 of these cards and there were only two in the box. 

See? It was all about strategy. 
But then, what if you got a box of cards that had one like this: 

Oh Animaniacs! Didn't they know that there were SO FEW people you could actually give a "KISS ME!" card to! Yikes.

It seems that Lisa Frank always pulled through with "safe" cards though:


But again, once you got a little older, though her neons were still pretty stellar, it just wasn't cool to give a guy a Lisa Frank card. But shhhhhh, you still wrote his name on your "cool" valentine with a Lisa Frank pencil, which you took out of your Lisa Frank pencil bag, which you stored in your Lisa Frank trapper keeper, so win-win. 

I know you were like me and had some Berenstain Bear cards in your day. Here is a little test for you, to see if you could have survived being a girl, addressing valentines, in the 90s. Which of these four Valentines would be the MOST dangerous to give your crush? The LEAST dangerous?: 


If you're like me, the least dangerous would be the cards on the left, the top left in particular. The cards on the right are a little more explosive, and should be handled with care. Though the top one seems to be saying, "Hey you! Let's be Valentines!" They are just hanging out and catching frogs…so not as dangerous. However, the one on the bottom right? They are HOLDING HANDS!!! AHHH. DANGER! DANGER! Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT give this to the boy you like! 

Guys had it easy though. They would just pick up a box of these bad boys, slap on their classmates names in alphabetical order and call it good. 

If you have to go back though [ya know, cause time travel],  I would recommend sticking with Disney. You usually got good variety, and had plenty "safe" cards to counteract the dangerous ones. 

However, if you're not time traveling, and you are an elementary kid now? 
I'm sorry. Pinterest has arrived and you are now expected to be super creative:


But really, let's be honest-- elementary guys notice ONE thing when they tear into their boxes: Starburst! A pack of gum! SKITTLES! SCORE! 

[and let's be honest, this post really goes out to all the parents and teachers that oversee this sugar-crazed disaster of a day we let our kids celebrate.
and to dentists everywhere.]
post signature


how I rebelled against my family

This first act of rebellion, I've already written about here.

But this second one? I feel like it's more of a direct slap in the face of how I was raised.
You see, growing up one of the chores and often fell to Kali and me was folding laundry. And just to get this straight: I hated it. Almost as much as I hated dusting, which always fell to me because my sister played the "I have allergies and the dusting really stirs things up" card. Unfortunately her puffy read eyes and overall bedraggled look after dusting eventually sold it!

But folding? Yuck.
One reason I hated it so much was because, like most moms out there, my mom had an exact way that the folding needed to be done. A very exact way.
For example: towels? In half, then in half again, and then in thirds. [I can still hear her voice giving me those instructions…probably because she had to give them to me three times per folding session].

I gave up on trying to fold t-shirts right because, well, WOAH. That's hard. I usually was able to pass them off to Kali…I don't think she noticed that she folded ALL of them, right?

But here is the kicker, if you don't believe my sordid tale so far: Underwear? It had to be folded THREE times. UNDERWEAR?!
google images

But those were the rules-- thrice-- and as long as I lived under that roof, my underwear, and whomever's underwear I happened to be folding, were folded three times and placed neatly in the drawer.

But now? Well, now I'm an adult. Now I live under my roof.
And now, my underwear drawer looks like this [except for the fact that I don't wear men's underwear-- this is courtesy of google images, thank you very much].

google images

I don't expect Brent to live like this if he doesn't choose to, so his underwear gets folded.

But nearly every time I pull out a new pair from my mess of a drawer, it makes me feel liberated!

I know I could have rebelled against my upbringing in worse ways, so this one small act of defiance doesn't seem too terrible.

post signature


baby bump #2: week 27

Blythe, sneaking in to the picture with her mullet

This makes me laugh so much.
Also, HELLO baby! 

Dear baby,

This was a fun week for me to be your mama.

First, you gave me a little gift. I've been waiting for your hiccups, as it is one of my absolute favorite parts of pregnancy [oh, you thought it was was the leg cramps and the bloody noses? Sorry, you were wrong ;)]. And sure enough, on February 5th, I sat down for a minute right before your sister woke up from her afternoon nap. I thought, "Hmm, I feel the baby's heartbeat…" and then realized that that isn't something I can feel…"OH! Hiccups!!" I just cherish it because it is such a human little thing for you to be doing in there. It really makes me feel like I'm holding my baby, YOU, close. So keep 'em up [unless they are uncomfortable for you?].

The other thing that happened was a tea party with your sister. We spread a quilt out on the living room floor, poured water and a little sugar from a real tea set, and shared animal crackers. What does this have to do with you? It just made me dream a little about our days ahead-- about days with TWO girls sprawled across a quilt in our living room, pouring each other tea and giggling. I know there will be times you and Blythe don't get along, but I also know that having a sister is a precious gift, and I so look forward to watching you two grow into that gift.

In other news, you are getting bigger by the minute I think! It seems that all at once it is difficult for me to bend over to put on shoes or pick up toys, and my energy is a bit more zapped. All in all though? So worth every minute.

Before I go I have to tell you a funny story about your daddy. The other night I wasn't sleeping the best and tossed and turned a bit. I got up to use the restroom and when I crawled back in bed I sneezed.  Not a big deal. However, your dad, waking up upon the sneeze, sat straight up in bed and kept asking if I was okay. I kept saying, "I just sneezed, I just sneezed…" but he was panicked and kept saying, "What happened? What happened?" The next day in the car I sneezed and teasingly said to him right away, "It was just a sneeze! I'm okay!" He's just concerned [and was partially asleep], but it was pretty funny.

We are getting more and more excited everyday, and your dad gets to feel your movements more now too. In less than three months you'll be in our arms. We love you.

Love, Mom

post signature



I was looking through some older posts recently and I enjoyed walking down memory lane so much I thought that today I would just post a few links to some older posts for you all. I know several of you have followed my blog faithfully from  the start-- and by several I mean my family--, but others have trickled in over the years or even recently. So here are some old posts, in no particular order:

State Champs: This one is a bit more recent, just last fall: I write about the time I got to coach a team that won state! 

Letters from my students: Letters my students wrote me after I had Blythe

The resurrection: I write about a funny moment in my classroom… with a sermonic twist at the end [as Brent would say]

Perspective: I write about the time a tv show gave me a little perspective on teaching, and on how to be a more compassionate person in general

Reflection: I write a reflection on my first two years of teaching

First Realized I was Grown Up: I write a little piece about becoming an adult

Tired old Town: I write about a place a grew up, and great literature

Unwritten: I write a poem for my daughter [I remember writing this and posting it from my phone-- the first and only blog post I have ever done like that-- while nursing Blythe. That is why there are a few capitalization errors etc] 

What I Come From: I write about my heritage

Under a Streetlight in January: I write about one of the most romantic wedding ceremonies I've ever heard about

Short Story: I write a short story … or attempt to write a short story. I am not a great short story writer. 

Missing Home: One of my first blog posts-- as a senior in college, I write about missing home 

My Fear: I write a poem about one of my greatest fears 

Noticed: I write a piece about my sister

Blythe's Birth Story: I write about Blythe's entrance into the world

Our Love Story [it is almost Valentine's day after all…and tomorrow marks TEN YEARS since Brent first had the guts to say, "I like you" and we started dating] : This is long- I wrote it over the course of several years-- and it isn't perfect, but I wanted to record it for us, but mainly for our kids to have a record of someday. So here I write the story of me and Brent, from awkward, teenaged beginning, to beautiful, wedding dress day end…which is really the beginning, right? 

I doubt anyone will actually reread all of those. But I had fun! And hey, some of you have been cooped up due to snow all week and may just be bored enough to read a few of them ;)

Happy weekend!
post signature



Thanks for the feedback on THIS post. 

I always am kind of curious when and how a hobby became a hobby for a person.
You like to read? When did that start?
You sew? How did you learn? 
You run marathons? That's not a hobby-- it just means you're crazy. 

As I spend my days with Blythe, I am realizing that in these small moments, I am giving her opportunities to develop hobbies. I can already tell there are certain things she enjoys doing, and I don't know if it's because I've given her the opportunity to do them, or if she has a natural knack for them. Regardless, here are a few that I've captured time and time again: 
if you follow me on instagram or facebook, these will be redundant, but I keep up this blog, in part, to record our everyday so I wanted to post them here too. 

Give this girl her apron [or her "bib" as she calls it], a spatula, and a bowl of flour and she is set! 
Not only does she like to actually help me out when I'm making something, but she enjoys cooking up treats in her pretend kitchen too. 
She has started to bring me my "bib", and that's my cue we need to make something. 
Though, like my sister once said about her daughter, I think she may just be in it for the licks [but who isn't?!]

making THESE BARS for her daddy. wow they were awesome-- but in my 28 years of life I've learned that anything that calls for TWO STICKS of butter, is usually pretty good

she does like to help with other things around the house, but baking is definitely a favorite. we were making THESE MUFFINS this day 

her favorite ingredient is definitely flour. We were making THIS BREAD
Here she is helping me butter a stromboli we took to some friends for supper

"Working out"/Anything with a Ball
Now I know some parents just really want their kids to enjoy sports, but she really does. She's been to so many softball and basketball games that she knows what is going on. She loves "shooting around" at the gym- which means having someone else shoot and then she will either clap or say "MISS!" If she misses a basket, she says, "HEARTBREAKER!" 
She loves her bats and her ball glove. At least once a day she drags them over to me and we play for a bit. 
She also like "working out" with her daddy, but I think that's just because he makes it pretty fun for her.  And she likes doing ANYTHING with him! 

Sitting on Daddy's pull up bar. And she doesn't wear those pig pajamas all the time…I promise. 
You have to have the proper workout attire if you want to be a professional about it 

Attempting some sit ups

Some sliding-plate pushups. 

This girl LOVES her books. 
And this mama could not be happier. I can only hope that I can continue to instill this passion in her and that she doesn't grow out of it! 
So often I find her sitting in a room, thumbing through her books. She has some favorites, but rotates through them all. 

I love this one- she decided she didn't want to work out with Daddy this time, but still wanted to be near him…so she opted for reading a book while he worked out ;). That's my girl!

I think this is pretty typical of this age, but this girl has got the bug to CREATE! 
I never taught her how to properly hold her pencil, she just naturally did it that way. She can mimic/draw some basic things now, which is fun. 
Who knows, she may just be quite the artist when she grows up! 

one of my favorites…coloring, and telling stories… :) 

One of her favorite places is Papa's studio, and it's not hard to guess why! There are MILLIONS of paint brushes, and an endless supply of paints and paper…and a papa who can actually draw what she asks for: Elmo? You got it! Woody? Okay! I remember sitting on his lap in church and by the end of the sermon he'd have drawn me an elaborate scene of something or other… I didn't realize I was so privileged until later when I realized most people can't draw like that! 

Writing thank-yous at Christmas 
I should probably just invest in a booster seat, but when you have classic literature...

And there you have it: Blythe's current "hobbies" at age 22 months [she will be 2 in a little over a month and a half!]

What are your hobbies and when and how do you think you developed them? Any from when you were two that have stuck around?

post signature