Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's Almost Here!

Holy Smokes!

Molly's first birthday is just a month away! How in the world is that possible?!

This past month has brought...

-Molly would probably prefer to nap once a day- most days I try to squeeze two just because CK still naps and it's SO much easier on me if we can do one nap time instead of two back to back. She is so laid back that she just goes with the flow on most things anyway!
-Goes to sleep around 8:30 and wakes around 7:30 (not continuous sleep of course!)
-She has two bottom teeth but one is getting close to breaking through on the top which means its buddy isn't far behind!
-No more breastfeeding. She's been my fastest to wean and I'm not sure how I feel about it. So I won't really talk about it just yet... ha!
-On that note, she is taking a bottle about 4 times a day. She JUST dropped her early morning (5 am-ish) bottle which has been awesome!
-Likes to drink pretty much everything and really likes cold whole milk! My only child to like milk!! Prefers HOT bottles, though!
-Is a fantastic crawler, but can walk across the room (wobbly, but does it!) She started taking a step here and there almost two months ago, but is now "walking" quite a bit. My earliest walker!
-She gets rocked to sleep at night, but is starting to want to be put down to fall asleep- either rolling around in her bed or a big bed
-She is starting to talk a lot- copies a lot of words we say, but her common repertoire includes da-da (favorite word!), ma-ma, Tex, ba-ba (bottle), wa-wa (water), nigh-nigh (night night), bye bye, ah-ah (uh oh), hiiiii, two (I count one and she answers TAH!), daydee (baby), makes the elephant sound and the lion roar, blows on her food, says NAH (no) when she means it! She also signs well and uses them often!
-Loves to dance! Anytime music plays she will dance and loves to carry around my phone with music and dance
-Loves the Little People app on my phone and looking through pictures. She can swipe so well!
-LOOOVES books
-Likes putting lids on things, loves playing with her toys, loves babies...
-Loves to climb up the stairs
-Has a seriously awesome sense of humor. One of the things I have noticed from early on is her great laugh and how she finds a lot of things funny. She also loves to joke and tease in her own little way and I think it's SO SO awesome!
-A freaking great eater! She eats anything and everything! Seriously- I love this!
-Definitely loves her pacifiers- and is just starting to like more than one at a time. Just like her brother!
-LOOOOVES her blankie! It's an instant calming tool. 
-Can roll her tongue like a taco on command! Cutest! 
-Is pretty good about sitting and playing with toys. When she plays with the Little People she just talks and talks and talks (in her own language of course!)
-1,000,000% adores her big brother and sister. And they are so very good to her. She is the best about going to a lot of people. She just "people hops" when we are in a big group- she reaches out and goes from one person to another to another. It's hilarious and she loves the attention. 

I know I'm forgetting a lot, but that's what happens when your brain is fried from three littles! Ha. 

I don't know why I'm struggling so much with Molly turning one. Maybe because she is my baby, but more likely because I realize just how fast time goes with these little ones. Next year Jay will be in school five days a week and I am so not ready to let him go. I think that's showing me how quickly they grow up- and I want them little and in my safe nest forever! 

Molly, you are truly one of a kind. You have the sweetest, most fun-loving personality. Your family has truly enjoyed every single moment of you. We love you!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Just Stuff

There is just nothing really of huge importance going on right now around here. Just the same ol' day to day things.

I'm just watching a little Teen Mom right now (seriously, I LOVE this show. It's the original 4 girls and I just love watching them). I have never been so thankful for my life than when I watch shows like this. I mean, wow. These girls were just babies who had babies and are now trying to figure out life. Eesh.

And to move on from the heavy stuff, I thought I'd post a few pictures from recently.

The kids have been doing a LOT of swimming. The water is FREEZING. But Jay is in the pool every single day if not twice a day. CK goes in to about her tummy and is done. And Molly and me just stick our feet in the pool! Eventually it will get warm enough!

There has also been a lot of this collapsing into naps lately. CK goes hard. And crashes harder. 

And this has begun. Hurricane Molly doesn't sound quite right, so maybe we will should think of something else?

Oh, so here's a little story for you. I went into Anthropologie the other day. I had a gift card and was planning on looking for a few things for our upcoming trip (have I talked about that?!). Anyway, the sales lady was older and SO sweet. And I had like 12 things to try on. I had no intention of buying all of those things, but I also had nothing specific in mind, so I wanted to try on a bunch of different things. Well, anyway, the sales lady probably thought I was going to be spending a lot of money. She was so kind and attentive and just kept bringing me stuff. Then came the time to leave and check out. I looked through my bag and couldn't find my gift card, so then I felt really bad- I didn't want to buy the things unless I had that card (since that was the whole reason I came in anyway). I was in a total moral dilemma- I very seriously contemplated buying a bunch of things and then coming back and returning them. WHO DOES THAT?! Me, I guess. But luckily, she got hung up on another customer and I just beelined outta there. Whoops. I really will go back and get what I want, but I felt bad for her.

I can't get enough of this baby. I just love her so very very much!

Look at this child... 

And then look at her older brother.
Sigh... we just make 'em this way!

They RARELY bathe together anymore- like never. So I had to document the occasion. 
And they wanted a funny face picture. Oy. 

Loading the car and this child is doing gymnastics. 
She's ALWAYS doing gymnastics. 

Waiting in line to pick up brother (the reason she is in the front seat). 
Always doing gymnastics. 

They loved this!

So we are just continuing to truck along- busy with gymnastics, ballet, baseball, gymboree, and lots and lots of play dates. I love the end of the school year- so busy and so exciting! And the knowledge that summer is just right around the corner is so so exciting to me!!! I can't wait to have more time and freedom with all my babies!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Good for the Soul

This past weekend was one of those times that was so, so good for the soul.

I was a Chi Omega at Texas A&M. I have about 1,000,000 good things to say about it. Going to into college I knew very little about sororities. I had the whole "why would you pay for your friends" thought about them (probably thanks to some high school friends). My aunt was in a sorority when she was in college, and my second oldest sister was in one (but they were colonizing to become a national sorority so she never had to rush or go through that side of it). Most of my high school friends were going through at their respective schools, but very few of them were going to Texas A&M. I went ahead and decided to go through rush, knowing that if I hated it I could always drop out. I had no clue what was about to happen.

I LOVED rush and all of the people that I had met. I was so torn each day on what sororities to keep and whose feelings I would hurt. But come Bid Day, I knew with 100% certainty I had made the right decision to choose Chi Omega- even though I knew NO ONE else in it!

Fast forward a few months when we were in the full swing of pledgehood- I knew I was getting to know some of my very best friends. But I had no idea how much of an impact these girls and this sorority would have on me.

Almost 15 years later, those girls are still some of my very best friends.

So last year when we got an email about our sorority's 40th anniversary reunion weekend, I knew I was in! The emails between our girlfriends started flying and arrangements were being made.

This past weekend we met up in College Station and it was like we had never left. We all took our mom/wife/career hats off and put on our BFF/college/sorority girl hats. There were a few girls I only email with a few times a year- and this weekend it felt just like we talked every single day. I just love those kind of friendships!

We had a selfie stick for this one!!

The weekend was a blast and of course went by too quickly! But it was SO SO good for my soul. I came back feeling recharged and positive and so happy (even though I got less sleep there then I would have at home). You just need those weekends every now and then!

Owl Trot!

Century Tree on campus!

Wings N More! 

At the reunion dinner! 

Pearls for Melissa! 

With one of our pledge trainers!

Typical shenanigans

Feet were hurting by the end of the night... Just like old times. 
Only now it grosses me out. 

Lucky to take a picture with the Chi Omega national president...
Who also happens to be Erin's Aunt Shelly! 

I am so thankful to Anthony for "allowing" me to go (of course he would- but he never fussed about it and never complained). I'm grateful he can take care of our kids so well. I'm also thankful to Anthony's parents for coming in town to help and to spend time with our kids while I was gone! I missed my babies like crazy, but I can honestly say that this weekend recharged me so much and truly made me a better mom for them!

And as I was about to leave Friday, I remembered that this was going to be my first full night of sleep without waking to/listening for a baby in TEN AND A HALF MONTHS!!! That's a LOOOONG time without one full night of sleep! I blame this one...  :)

Can't wait until next time....

Sunday, April 12, 2015


I don't know if you remember, but back in November Anthony went on a medical mission trip to Haiti with a wonderful organization, LiveBeyond.

A little and very brief background on LiveBeyond- it's a Christ-centered medical mission ministry created after the 2010 devastating earthquake in Haiti. David and Laurie Vanderpool founded LiveBeyond when he sold his medical practice in Nashville and moved permanently to Haiti. They have built a housing compound to hold the volunteers that come each month. First and foremost their objective is spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. They do this through medical help- which is so few and far between in the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Y'all, this country is just a 2.5 hour flight from the US- and it is so so impoverished. Anthony described the living conditions as archaic- houses that are really just huts built from limbs and cloths with dirt floors. Holes for toilets and no clean water. The people are so hungry that they eat dirt to fill their tummies- which of course results in so many diseases. Voodoo is the religion of choice with about 80% of the population practicing. This country is so close, and needs so much help. LiveBeyond has come in and is making a huge impact. They are giving the people medication and help that they desperately need. They are employing and empowering the citizens so that they can continue to make a difference and teach others. With the help of Brad and Kimberly Paisley they have created wells to provide clean drinking water. Scott and Tracie Hamilton have also partnered with the Children of Hope orphanage and serve on the board of LiveBeyond. Basically- this is an incredible, and relatively new, organization that is making HUGE waves in Haiti.

Anthony's first ever mission trip impacted him so much in so many ways. In fact, so much that when he came home he immediately wanted to do more. More mission trips to Haiti, more prayers, and more money for the organization. For example, there was a group of 7 from our church that went on the trip this past year. They realized that the housing base was spending a lot of money monthly on regular electricity costs, and this could be reduced drastically by adding solar panels. So the 7 of them pooled together and raised $40,000 (just between themselves!) to have solar panels installed! Just like that! One week home from their trip and these guys had already given back to Live Beyond. That is how much the trip inspired all of them.

As the fire was lit in Anthony and the others, they knew they wanted to do even more. While there have been some benefits and fundraisers in Nashville and Dallas, there had never been one in Houston. Anthony knew that's where he wanted to direct his attention next. He came up with the idea of the fundraiser, and got the wheels in motion. With the help of a few others, they put together a wonderful benefit dinner at the beginning of April.

The benefit was amazing. They raised an incredible amount of money for LiveBeyond.

The guys really enjoyed sitting around listening to Gene Stallings' stories before it started! 
I am still in shock that we got to sit around with Gene Stallings!

My family (minus a few) came to support Anthony! Everyone had a blast!

A few of Anthony's work guys (minus a few!) were there, too!

Anthony, his BFF Jake, Jake's dad and Gene Stallings

My fam with Coach! So awesome! 

While this might not seem totally shocking, it really is if you know Anthony well. Anthony is a driven man. He takes his career very seriously and truly loves it. But all he's ever known is a work-life. So he invests most of his time and energy into his job. Many of his good friends and even his coworkers tease him about this- even if there is a day off, Anthony is working. He's not the guy at the office that walks around joking and laughing and fraternizing- Anthony is at his desk or in a conference room working. All day, every day.

So when Anthony decided to do this benefit, he sacrificed a lot of his work time and free time to plan this event. He was contacting catering companies and setting up meeting with potential donors. He was sending out save the dates and emails and invitations. This was not the Anthony that most people knew- this was an even better Anthony.

I can say with certainty that I don't think I have ever been more proud of my husband than these past five months. From the moment he first went to Haiti through the night of the Houston Benefit, I have seen a new man evolve before my eyes. His faith has grown, his outlook has changed, and his leadership qualities have become even more apparent. I have fallen so crazy in love with this guy all over again. I can't even begin to explain the pride I feel when I think about this recent transformation.

I am so very proud of Anthony and the way he is using his God given talents to spread the gospel. I am so impressed with his humble attitude and his changed heart. I am so thankful that God used him in this way. And I am so happy I get to stand alongside him through it all.

If you would like more information about LiveBeyond or feel compelled to donate, please let me know. They are currently raising money to build an operating hospital in Thomazeau, Haiti. This hospital would more than double the number of operating rooms in this region and provide critical medical care to the people of Haiti. You can donate here if you feel so inclined. Every single dime is truly appreciated!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Their Own People

The other night, we were sitting in our back yard as a family. It was a pleasant night and just the kind where things just go right. You know what I'm talking about? Everyone is happy and things are just right.

I was snapping pictures of the kids doing various things and it hit me- each kid was doing what makes them happiest.

Jay was swimming (naked, but whatever). I have never seen Jay so confident as when he swims. Everything just clicks and it works for him. And it works well. He is so, so natural in the water.

And Charley Kate was doing gymnastics. She loves doing gymnastics and she is really really good at it. Her body just knows how to do it- and she is fearless enough that she tries new things all the time. She is a natural gymnast.

And then there was Molly. She was eating. And she is so good at eating and loves it so much!

JK about Molly- but I cannot wait to see what she's into. I can't wait to see what comes naturally for her.

And watching our kids that night- all doing things that they love, that they are good at, and that they enjoy- my heart was so happy. It was a no-frills night. Just a regular ol' weeknight. But it's times like these I like to remember. Just an ordinary life, watching my babies do what makes them happy.