Toddler Photos & Water Parks

Saturday afternoon, we met up with Danielle to try to capture a few family pictures. She took some great pictures of Henry back in May. However, to try & keep Henry still enough to capture a picture these days is comparable to baptizing a cat...or something like that.

So we got a lot of pictures of Elliot. I'm okay with that. Poor second child needs to have his life captured, too!

For Adam's 28th birthday (this past Friday), Katie came to babysit and I whisked him away to Erie's premiere indoor water park, Splash Lagoon. Oh yeah.

We rode slides with all the preteens and had a blast. Seriously, if you live in Erie & haven't been, you need to check it out. Muy fun. Warning, though: if you check it out on a Friday night, it's pretty crowded and the DJ plays lots of Justin Bieber.


Everything About Sleep

My Elliot is not a very good sleeper. By that, I mean that he wakes up a lot. With Henry, I stressed, worried & tried everything under the sun to get him to sleep better and in a consecutive way. I had read a book with a very specific sleep strategy and, while I've known people that loved that strategy & their kids did well with it, I did not and he did not. Every baby is so different. Don't even go there with the baby-mama comparison/envy game. It's ugly. I am thankful that God has seriously given me such a new perspective with Elliot. As in, the perspective that He'll get there!

Basically, he is 4 months old as of Friday. If you're trying to get your kid to sleep better, I think you have two main options: You can let them cry or you can go in and tend to them (i.e. put a paci in their mouth, nurse them, etc.) I am not ready to let Elliot cry so I am in camp #2, tending to him when he cries.

With Henry, we transitioned him out of the swaddle between 3 and 4 months old. I was getting ready to do that with Elliot (he was getting his arms out and getting frustrated). So, with Henry, it was the easiest transition ever- that first night that I didn't swaddle him, I told myself, okay...he'll probably wake up a lot. I will give him 5 minutes every time he wakes up and, if he's still awake, I'll go tend to him. So, he did end up waking up around every 45 minutes but he was able to just fall back asleep within the 5 minute time period almost every time. The next night, he didn't wake up every 45 minutes. It was easy-peasy.

With my Elliot, we tried this same philosophy the other night. The 5 minutes ended & he still cried and cried and cried. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. He was so upset. So, I swaddled him, wrapped his swaddle with the wing from a halo sleep sack and put him back down. In my mind, I'm thinking:

A. he's clearly not ready to be unswaddled
B. I am definitely not ready for him to cry like that.

So, onward we go. Here's the thing: he's not a great sleeper but he's healthy and so happy and God has helped me so much in the energy department and the not-stressing-about-it department.

And also, there is this awesome product that helps me every morning called coffee and I love my daily cup with assorted coffeemate creamers.

I look back at Henry & sleep issues and I was so worried and trying new things all the time- I was so inconsistent. But you know what? He got there and now he's a great sleeper. So, in my mind, you pray, ask for wisdom & then you follow your heart & your Mama-gut. Everyone's babies are different & everyone's convictions and breaking points are different. But now, when new moms ask me for advice on sleep training, my first tip is...just breathe.



Happy birthday to the best man that I have ever known. I love you, Adam Jennings.


the prodigal god

My girls' group Bible study is currently reading the Prodigal God & it's been really good. I mean, it's following up Crazy Love & Forgotten God (both by Francis Chan) so it had a tough act to follow. But it is a very in-depth look at the Parable of the Prodigal Son and takes a much harder looks at the elder brother i.e. the pharisee/super-striving religious feels entitled heart and the younger brother- both want the things of the Father but not the Father.

Anyways, I can't do an adequate job describing this book but I am enjoying reading it & talking about it with my girls' group and I sadly see more elder brother in my heart than I'd care to admit...

But I love that the word prodigal actually means recklessly extravagant and so that's why the book is called Prodigal God. His love and grace are extravagant and completely unmerited.



Dear Past Camille,

In the future, please hide the spare key to your car in a more obvious place. You left your real key in Adam's car last night after girls' night and now he is at work, you can't find the spare key, it's 6 degrees outside & you are stuck in the house for the day.

You are silly, Past Camille. I'm sure you were like, hey....this is such an obvious place to put the spare key but you know what? It wasn't.

It wasn't.

Present Camille


Doc's Birthday Week

Well, Adam will be the big 2-8 on Friday. Twenty-eight. One marriage, two boys, graduating medical school in May, adored by many, super hunky...

I love this guy.

We are going out on Friday night (Adam's birthday) while our babysitter, who turns 19 on Friday, watches the kids. Yes, I realize it's her birthday...I tried to encourage her to go do something fun but she insisted that this would be fun...So, boys! You better behave and show Katie a good time!

At least she can rely on the fact that we are old fuddy-duddies and will want to be in bed by 8:00, probably.

Also, I will be making Adam's #1 favorite dessert, PEANUT BUTTER PIE! Num, num, num. I'll be sure to repost that recipe soon. It's super easy and super tasty and super type-2 diabetes-y!


Meals for Men

Every so often, I cook a new meal that I think, Hey... I should catalog that for when my boys are older and they come home from practice with 3 sweaty friends and they are all hungry and this is something that will fill them up for cheap and also sneaks in a few veggies.

Here is one of those meals...
This is from Taste of Home but I made a few modifications...

you're gonna need a large skillet.

  • 1 package (7 ounces) small pasta shells
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef we use 1 pound of ground buffalo
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups cubed cooked red potatoes I cooked the red potatoes while I chopped the other veggies
  • 1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) Hunt’s® Tomato Sauce
  • I also added 1/2 cup of ketchup & 1/4 cup worcestershire
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper I also added 1 T chili powder
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the carrots, celery and garlic; cook and stir for 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  • Stir in the potatoes, corn, tomato sauce, salt and pepper; heat through. Drain pasta and add to skillet; toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook until cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.
Total Man Meal. Adam loved it.


Dirty Hair

Some faves from a girl wearing the same headband again because she has dirty hair...

1. Under Pressure by Queen & David Bowie. I pretend that I can hit notes like Freddie but I can't...but if you turn up the music loudly enough, I can't hear myself & that's best.

2. I still love logo t-shirts from places like Delia's. I always want to order them and then I'm like, "Wait...am I too old to be wearing a shirt like this?" Probably. And that's why I expect to be nominated for What Not to Wear any day now.

3. Preparing a riding-with-the-windows-down play list in hopes of warmer weather coming.

4. Enjoying my last 3.5 months with these dear, lovely gal pals.
A few of the gals pictured above from our slumber party last June.

I can't talk about that one too much or else I'll get really sad. These girls have walked so closely with me the past four years and I love them dearly. Thank you Lord for providing these friends!

So I leave you with a happy note at my expense...


Pacis and Practicality

My friend Casey recently posted about her son's upcoming birthday and how she'd like to make that a marker for getting rid of the pacifiers. I have been thinking about this some, too. Henry will be two on April 21st. On his 1st birthday, we relegated his pacifier use to his crib but it is a serious sleep tool for him. He gets into his crib, puts one paci in his mouth and then hoards the rest of them (like 4 or 5 pacis) between his hands as he falls asleep. When he's ready to go to bed, he says, "paci...paci...paci..."

I'm not very excited about taking the pacis away.

Also, we're moving at the end of May. So, should I dump the pacis a month before we move into a new house? I mean, on one hand, pacis might make the transition easier. On the other hand, Henry might become even more attached to pacis if they aid him through this transition.

The guy who cuts my hair in Louisiana said that when his son turned two, they had a big party. At the end of the party, they gave him some helium balloons with all the kid's pacis attached to the ends of the strings. Then had told him that he was a big boy now and that the babies in heaven needed pacis and so, when he was ready, to let go of the balloons and they would go to heaven to be with the babies. His son was fine with this and let go of the balloons and went on his merry way. However, I can see Henry lying prostrate on the ground, weeping and in hysterics watching balloons carry his pacis away.

So, trying to figure out what that transition should look like and when it should happen. Probably step one is getting rid of the 5 excess pacis in his crib...


My Funny Valentines...

Elliot, the Waver

Adam, the Giggler

Henry, the Diaperhead



My friend, Casey, is doing a self-portrait series. In the interest of sincere disclosure, I took the portrait with my photobooth on the computer and without preparing..soooo it was a weekend afternoon and I hadn't put on make-up and my bangs are pulled back in a headband. But, hey- this is what I probably look like most of the time...let's be real. So, hi!

Also, she asked that we list some random facts about ourselves:

1. I hate the noise that Styrofoam rubbing against itself makes. Ugh. Also, when someone rubs a balloon or makes a balloon animal. That noise...cringe.

2. I am a total book nerd. I love reading. I have tons of favorites. So, I will tell you one of my surprising least favorites: Wuthering Heights. Ugh. I had such high expectations (incidentally, Great Expectations is a great read.

3. Adam & I lived in Waco, Texas for 6 years (Including 4 years of college) and we love it so much! I really miss Katie's custard... best ice cream ever!!

4. I think walkie-talkies are one of my favorite, most fun items.

5. I have started and not-finished many journals. This YEAR, 2011...I completely finished my first journal. Every Page. Go Me!


Top 10 Henry Phrases/Words

Henry (or Hee-Hee as he calls himself) is a little jibber-jabber these days. Many times, he's telling me something and I have no idea what he's saying but I'll nod along with his story and interject, "Yes!" every so often.

He manipulates us now by saying snaaaa, snaaaa (snack) in a pathetic, tiny tim voice when he's trying to get out of something (like going to bed).

These are his fav sayings:

10. Choo-choo! Anything choo-choo, truck, caah (car), or jeeee (jeep) is a big, very big deal to my boy.

9. Tee-Tee! Not to be embarrassing, but he is fascinated with both relieving his bladder in the potty and with the anatomy of that particular function. As in, he will whip open the shower curtain on Adam and point and say, "tee-tee!"

He also says I poooo for both pooping and when he toots. It's funny.

Also, BUUUH (burp) has become a big hit. He thinks it's hilarious when he or someone burps. Uh-oh.

8. Yay Mama! I sing a lot. I make up random songs. And everytime I'm done, Henry says, "Yay Mama!" Now, he will hear Adam sing and say, "Yay Mama!" I definitely don't need the encouragement....singing is not my gifting.

7. Go Dada! Go Bubba! Go Hee-Hee! Go Mama! This was derived from dance party. Need I say more?

6. Peeee (pink) & Yey-yo (yellow) the only two colors that he identifies. I think this came from a book we were reading?

5. Cohhhh. As in, baby it's cold outside!

4. Shoo-shee! (Smoothie) He & Adam split blueberry/banana smoothies. It's pretty cute.

3. He loves saying people's names. He looks through picture books of our families and identifies his grandparents (Lulu, Bob, Meemaw & Dude) and other family members & friends. My favorite is Annnnn Beeeeeeeeee, which is Aunt B...a.k.a. Brooke Ackley

2. Paci! This signifies bed time/nap time. When he turned one, we limited his paci use to in his crib so, when he wakes up, we throw his pacis back into his crib. Paci, paci, paci can be heard here around 7 p.m. Also see ny-ny (night-night!)

1. Jee-Us! Jee-Us! The other day, we were driving home and there was a song on that kept saying, "Jesus" and he started saying, Jee-us, Jee-us! It literally brought tears to my eyes- it was the sweetest sound.

honorable mention:
why? (ymca)
animals like key-kah (kitty cat)
ca-ca (cracker...also spanish for, um, poop)
bah (ball...and a sheep's bahhhh)

ish (yes) but most often we hear no, no, no, no.

Also, he calls the vacuum Dada. Adam doesn't like this.


Food And Such.

*giggle, giggle*

I love gnawing on this little guy's chin. Is that so wrong?

A notable difference between raising my 1st and 2nd son: With Henry, at the 4 month mark, we were like YES! Let's give this kid some rice cereal! Wheeee! So much fun! With little Elliot, I'm all, I think I'll wait until closer to 6 months. Because I have learned that oatmeal and rice cereal become an invincible glue on our floors, tables & high chair which not even the Hulk, armed with a chisel and the hammer of Thor, could remove. And I'm kinda lazy. And breastfeeding is just so darn easy right now. No preparation. Just whoooop, whip it out. So, no hurry on the real food front. That's all I'm saying.

Speaking of food, Henry, although born to the most carnivorous father since the T-Rex, is not a meat guy. He's a black bean guy. He's a peanut butter guy. But not so much with the meats. This is fine by me...inexplicable to Adam. Hey, he's a picky toddler. The other day he said "no" to 8 items of food and then ate shredded cheese for lunch and then dumped the remnants of it all over the floor. He does love grapes. So do I! (and Carmie Smith- in fact, we used to spit a grape from one of our mouths into the others mouth in high school...and we were really good at it! Wait, Why didn't I have a boyfriend back then....weird!)

Speaking of food, again-again... I just went to the grocery store with Elliot and I picked up a cookie from the prepared foods section area and peeled off the wrapper and ate it as I walked around the store with Elliot strapped to my chest. Chocolate chip cookie crumbs rained down onto his monkey hat but I like to think that it helped me pass on impulse buys...having a cookie in my mouth/hand.

Also, it helped me not to get hit on... that's usually such a big problem, ya know.

don't worry- i kept the cookie package and payed for it at check-out. i may be hungry but i'm honest.


Toddler Moments

My (usually) very sweet toddler on the left

So...I'm trying to figure out this whole discipline thing with a toddler. how to lovingly discipline Henry and how to be consistent. A lot of times, I see specific reasons for Henry's behavior: hungry, tired, frustrated, or trying to get our attention. Like, you aren't paying attention to me, so I just chunked my train across the room. Or when he's trying to accomplish something on his own and isn't able to do it... oh, that autonomy...it can come at a high price to us parents (and a messy price!) I see him watching me, testing me at times to see how I'll respond. For example: No, you can't hit the glass table with a croquet mallet. So then, he'll look at me and go hit something else with it. Can I hit the floor? Sure. What about this? What about that? What about the glass table again? Are you going to stick by your rule?

One thing is for sure: I'm glad I have a partner with whom I can tackle this. Yay Dada! I'll find myself wishing that there was like this one book of the Bible on exact rules for raising kids and developing healthy sleep habits- like, one right way. But that's how them Israelites rolled and they had like 60 kabillion laws and wanted a leader to talk to God for them, not direct relationship. Then I'm glad that there's not this one set way and formula for parenting because it keeps me coming back to the Lord and asking the Holy Spirit for counsel and seeking help and asking Him to fill in the gaps.

The Lord is so good at keeping me at a place of seeing my need for Him and then, in meeting with Him, He satisfies and He is my peace.


Two Things I'm missing today...

Henry last summer.

1. The sun. Thank you, Lord, that spring is coming...eventually. The one thing that I can say about getting pounded with snow for months on end is that it makes you SO appreciate the sun, warmer weather, being outside! Yes, we will spend hours and hours at playgrounds, in the backyard, going on walks, swimming in the lake!

My Henry needs some running around outside.

I don't want to be complain-y so I will just say that I am so looking forward to the spring! And...thank you Lord that we have a heater and a warm house and a car to go places in the winter.

2. Powers The Powey-Zowey dog is staying with his grandparents in Texas right now (as of last September). I think he probably loves life a lot there- other dogs, lots of attention, he sleeps with them... but we miss him! Especially the area right underneath Henry's high chair. And all the crumbs on the living room floor from Henry's snacks. Oh man, I miss him.



I give Adam a hard time on here sometimes, but I need a moment to boast on my hubs.

He is an awesome Dad. He and Henry have just become the best of buds. Like, when Adam is home, it is a total boys club. Henry + Adam...no girls allowed, please. Henry is pushing me out the door.

It makes me happy. I love watching Henry ride on Adam's back like a horsie. They share smoothies. They wrestle.

They play some car game on the computer. Adam better get ready for when Elliot can crawl because he's going to be double duty wrestle Dad. Here's to my sweet husband, an awesome Dad.

P.S. pictures taken in our back office/playroom. Yes, it's pretty messy in there.


The Wedding

Heeeey bridesmaids.

It was a whirlwind trip to Louisiana and back (landed in LA at 9:00 on Thursday night, flew out 6 a.m. on Sunday) but it was totally worth it! What a beautiful, worshipful wedding and I had such a refreshing weekend with the sweet girls in her wedding party.

I will upload pictures as soon as I get some in my email (ahem, Beth) but for now, I will share with you about THE DRESS. Yes, the famous dress. Well, it had to be let out a bit...surprise, surprise. Ashley Binns & I went to Minden on Friday morning and, while the lady worked on my dress, we used a paper cutter to trim the seamstress's pictures and place them in frames for her mardi Gras ball on Saturday night (that's how we roll in Louisiana...help a sister out.)

Shout-out to Jesus and my praying friends...I was a little concerned about the flight home since I was going to be super-tired from getting in late and leaving the house at 4-something. BUT, Elliot slept the whole time on all 3 flights. Thank you Lord! And thank you for coffee. Amen.

I am proud of myself for not mentioning lactation the entire lingerie shower. Goooo me! (Okay, maybe there was one tiny mention but that was it! And it was only to a small crowd!)

Adam & Henry had a bro's weekend and did lots of fun activities like going swimming (inside, clearly) and visiting the Ackley's and playing Giddyup, Horsey (a new favorite!) I think Adam loved having that sweet one-on-one time for a couple of days and Henry is definitely attached to his hip. Pretty cool.