You are One, Son.

Yesterday, Collin turned one.

Fastest year of my life.

Collin is a happy, social, meddlesome & active boy. He likes to climb onto chairs and tables and fireplaces.

He will eat anything and always has some memento shoved into his cheek like a squirrel.
(P.S. This is how my sweet 3rd  child gets to eat his birthday cake in our family.  On a towel.  On the floor.)

Collin is the biggest that any Jennings boy has been at age 1 and that's probably best since he has two rowdy brothers.  Collin adores his brothers.

Collin likes to "sing", lift up his hands and dance.  He is so much fun.

We had a super low-key birthday dinner with my mom & my in-laws.  I made chili & we enjoyed cake.  Before my mom and my in-laws came over, the boys played in the driveway and scaled Adam's truck.  Overall, it was a pretty fun day!

Collin is a delight.  I am so thankful that I get to be his mama.

A Year Ago, Yesterday.


Elliot Is 3.

Spunky little sweet heart.  Elliot has brought so much joy to our home and he can make people feel so special and loved.  Our nickname for Elliot is Ferdinand because he is a stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of kid.  He really likes trains, play dough, coloring and"teaching" me things.

He has also learned to punch his big brother, so our home often feels like a cage match.

Happy birthday, Ferdinand.  You're teaching us how to enjoy life more.  We love you so much.


Collin at 9 (ish) Months

For my records...


Little sweetheart.
crawling everywhere much to the detriment of his big brothers' train tracks, block towers & perfectly lined up cars.  Lucky for him, he is the darling of the family and everyone dotes on him constantly.

21 lbs.
Just got his 3rd tooth.  Man, his gums bled like crazy!
I have never seen that happen before but he had a mouth full of blood and then, Voila!  3rd tooth. 

people lover.  especially other babies.  He crawls towards the girl babies at the church nursery and pulls their bows out.  That's game, son!

He perpetually has something in his mouth.  I know, I know that I should keep all choking hazards away and I really do try but he always finds a leaf or something like that and has it shoved into the side of his mouth like a chipmunk.  

3rd child has to nap on the fly most days (I try to offer him a good afternoon nap at home but sometimes a car nap in the morning funks that up).  He is finally sleeping better at night (Hallelujah).  Some nights he makes it until morning and other nights he still wakes up for a 3 or 4 a.m. feeding.  I'm cool with that.

Eating table scraps and baby food but still mostly just nursing (it's convenient).  
Says a lot of Ma Ma Na Na Da Da Ah Ah.
Precious child.  Delightful baby.  Wonderful gift.  


Tuesdays with Duckies

We have a great city park about half a mile from our home.  I love it because you see people of all ages, colors & sizes exercising on the walking trail or playing with their kids and grand kids.  If you ever find yourself becoming hostile towards mankind, this would be a great place to visit. It brings great hope to see all types of people enjoying nature, laughing, playing, visiting with loved ones and it becomes clear that we are all more alike than we are prone to believe. 


Dragging Bodies

Guys, Listen. There is a sweet couple in our neighborhood and they often keep their grandson  (age 2).  They invited our boys over to swim since they felt that their grandson needed some socialization. I happily accepted.  What fun to swim!  Swell!

We walked through their home to get to the pool & my boys immediately spotted the toys in the den belonging to their grandson.  I could tell that the grandparents/grandson were ready for a swim & so I quickly ushered the boys to the backyard. About 20 minutes into our swim, Elliot starts standing by their back door pleading up go inside and play. I repeatedly answer, "no." and try to carry on with our play date as I hold Collin in the pool. Henry is wanting me to watch his tricks, the neighbors are asking questions about Adam's job, and Elliot is begging to go inside.  After a few minutes, Elliot enters full-on tired 2-year-old freak out, sticking his head in the doggy door and pleading to go into their house to play. So I politely excuse us, saying that the boys need to rest & thank you so much for having us.

As I try and put rainboots (97 and sunny) on Elliot as he is collapsed in a heap by their doggy door with Collin on my hip, Henry trips over the Waterhose and skins his knee, resulting in a scream/tear combo. (When Henry gets hurt, he gets mad. Angry screams.)  I try and usher all the boys out the back gate so we can walk home: this takes effort since Henry & Elliot are sobbing and I'm holding Collin, a pool bag & a life vest.  We finally get through the gate, say good-bye and the gate shuts. 

Then my kids really lose it. Henry is lying in their front yard because he only has one leg, he exclaims. Elliot is crying hysterically and I'm not sure why. Henry refuses to walk so I end up dragging him by the arm with Collin on my hip and Elliot grasping to my leg, pleading to go back.  Every time that I pause for a break, Henry collapses in a yard, bawling about his knee pain. At one point, I leave Henry in a yard to walk Elliot across a street and tell him to stay put while Collin & I go back to get Henry.  Elliot begins screaming, "Don't leave Henry!!!" over and over, alerting the neighbors to my child abandonment.  I finally drag everyone down our driveway & into the house where I can apply band aids and try to keep the screaming to a minimum since Adam is sleeping after his night shift.  Everyone was sent to lie down and rest their bodies.

So, neighbors...you're welcome for the socialization.

Honestly, it wasn't funny in the moment but now, even one day later, it's a little bit funny and I am reminded how blessed I am to have three healthy & vivacious sons and lots of stories to tell for years to come.  


Breaking Out.

Since I'm such an infrequent blogger lately, I've provided you with a song to keep you informed. Picture me rapping:
Summer, summer
Getting a little dumber
Watching Netflix & swimming every chance 

Popsicle stains
Happy when it rains 
Building block towers, doing a silly dance
Superhero Wannabes
Driveway skinned knees
I love my...Son, do NOT touch that knife.

Breaking up fights
Late nursery nights 
Motherhood is crazy but full of life
Daddy working hard
at work & in the yard
Laying down that discipline & fun at home

Crazy family times
Mama busting out them rhymes
whilst nursing a baby, blogging on my iphone.

Peace, drop the mic.



Napportunities is a word that I came up with which simply means opportunities for napping.  I offer my boys a napportunity every day and my eldest two rarely take it.  I mean, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.  So while I have them lie down and "rest their bodies", they do everything but slap themselves in the face to stay awake.  Wait, oh yes, I do believe that Henry has slapped himself in the face before in order to stay awake.

I have learned to let this go because the perk of your preschool age children not napping is that they will go to bed earlier at night.  That sounds horrible but, let's face it, after 13 hours of parenting, it's time to clock out.  I recently had a bout with 24-hour a day parenting while Elliot had Hand, Foot & Mouth disease.  It was dreadful, the kid was in so much pain and had huge sores in his mouth.  I felt awful for him but also a little awful for me because he couldn't sleep and would be up whining at all hours but, being two, often refused medicine at 3 a.m. or spit it all over my comforter (He was sleeping in our bed while Adam slept in Elliot's bed).  The point being, I had a recent experience with 24/7 parenting lately and the Lord sustained me and I wanted to be there for Elliot but, on a day to day basis, I know that we need to shut it down at a decent hour if nobody's going to nap.

I get angry when my kids abstain during their napportunity and then try and fall asleep in the car at like 5 p.m.  I am like, "Heck no!  You missed your napportunity, son and now it's too late!  You have to wait until BEDTIME, which will be at 7 p.m. tonight!  Maybe you'll listen to me tomorrow during your napportunity!" (they don't.)  I know that they are young and I shouldn't be upset about them not being able to keep their eyes open but I often do because we all need sleep, friends and my eldest son gets aggressive when he's super tired and my middle gets whinier and if everyone would nap, we could have such a pleasant evening.  

But, alas, there is no point in crying over sailed ships.  I just would be remiss if I missed this opportunity to introduce you to napportunity.   Let's not take naps for granted.  Over and Out.  

P.S. I love my children, no one get their panties in a wad, please.  This is all for funsies.


Sense or Sensibility

After I laid the big boys down for bed, I heard deep belly laughter coming from their room. "Ah, how sweet," I thought.  

I didn't go into their room to correct them but just let them giggle, applauding myself for my flexible parenting and remembering what's important in life. 

Don't sweat the small stuff, right?

Then I looked on the video monitor.  I couldn't locate the little giggling boys.  

Then I went to check on them and they were busy flooding the bathroom by shoving copious amounts of toilet paper down the toilet and flushing.  


Summer Rhythm

Summer is such a delight. We've had visitors: Adam's best bud from college, my best bud from home & her girls, my dad, now my brother...

Almost every day that Adam has off, we go out to his folks' house and swim it up. They are incredibly hospitable and the boys love it there.  

Henry & Elliot began their swim lessons yesterday. They have private lessons, 30 minutes a day for 8 days.  Parents don't get to stay & watch until the last 5 minutes of class.  At that point, Henry was swimming am awesome freestyle stroke and Elliot was crying & d.o.n.e.

Adam & I have an overnight work thing coming up and so Collin will stay with my mom while the big boys stay with Adam's folks.  So far, I haven't been able to get C to take a bottle and my mom has been "encouraging" me to get on that!  I found this Tommee Teepee cup at target that is supposed to naturally transition from breast to cup-bottle thing.

Elliot hasn't napped in over a week. The kid is tired, I can tell, but you can only lead a horse to water (keep a kid in his bed for an hour), but you can't make him drink (sleep).  Upside: they sleep until 7 now!     

I love summer.  I do miss our regular buds (it's more difficult to get together in the summer and sync schedules/visitors/trips) but I love the family pool times.


Roommate Update.

Henry & Elliot have been sharing a room for a few months now and, well, it has been an adventure.

Tonight, about 10 minutes after bedtime, they were found in their closet with all of their blankets from their beds.  They had a pile of books and Henry had pulled on some jeans.  When asked about where his original pants had gone and if he'd taken them off, he replied that they had just slid off.

Another night, I walked in after hearing the sound of train tracks being thrown against the walls and manic laughter.  Train tracks were removed and now there are basically no toys in their room.

Some nights they jump from bed to bed.  Some nights they roll around on the floor.  Sometimes they are in the bathroom.  They almost always make some kind of weird noise and they laugh a lot.  Bedtime used to be a lot simpler with separate rooms but we're giving them some good material for reminiscing one day.


This One Time.

This one time, when I was a freshman in college, I had really short hair and so I decided to get extensions. Mind you, this was before extensions were so mainstream & accessible for white folks. So, my friend, Mary Hurst, and I went down 26th street to a place called Queens by La'trice one Saturday morning and I spent 4 hours in the chair. (La'trice had me pick up my extensions from a beauty supply the day before...I did not go to the right beauty supply and ended up with some interesting extensions).

 First of all, she braided all of my hair to my head (very tightly- ow). Then, she sewed the extensions onto my hair. Then, she trimmed up the extensions into a fashionable, layery cut.

 The only problem? Well, the hair did not match my skin tone. The hair did not match my ethnicity. It was like Aliyah's hair on my head (rest in peace). It just did not look right, people. Plain and simple.  (I am the one who bought the hair extensions so this was on me, not La'trice.)

I left the extensions in for approximately three days. I spent most of these three days with my hair in a ponytail. Then, my scalp was itching and I couldn't reach it except by jamming pencil lead into my skull and so I surrendered and walked down to my friend Mary's dorm room and she cut out all my extensions.

P.S. I only have one photo documenting this hair excursion. It was taken on a disposable camera and my hair is in a ponytail at a Baylor football game. I kinda wish I had some more documentation for you.


These Days.

 Life these days (subtitle: showing more of our family pictures)

Adam has less than 13 months of residency left.

My mom moved to town at the end of May and it has been so lovely for me.  I know that starting over is a great challenge but I so value having her near us.  The boys definitely love seeing her often.  The other day, she brought over Dollar General shaving cream and the boys squirted it out and then drove toy cars through it.  Genius.
I go to the YMCA to a class called Body Pump.  Have you heard of it?  It's basically an hour long class of weight training and it is so good.  I would never push myself that hard on my own in the gym.  I try to go twice a week.

We took a week off of paleo for my birthday and now are back at it.  I realized, during my birthday week, that I still have a lot of room to grow in self-control (as I shoved the most delicious sweet rolls down my throat from Chicken Express, of all places).  Now we do give ourselves a cheat day once a week, though.
I've mentioned that Adam's father is retired and Adam's mother is a teacher.  She is off during the summers and they live about 25 minutes away from us and are wonderful.  We visit them tons in the summer and swim in their pool and just enjoy general merriment with them.  Adam and I turn songs from Les Mis into songs about wasps and the rafts in the pool.  (We like to smash wasps with these little mini-rafts).  Powers, our old dog, lives with them now and he seems to like it that way.
Water guns, Pump It Up, birthday parties, Sunday church, riding bikes in the driveway, swimming pools, movie stars.


Collin Clinton.


5 months & 20 days old.

 Happy, gummy smiley kid.  (no teeth yet).

Eats solids once a day.  Loves sweet potatoes.

Happy baby but atrocious sleeper.

Seriously, kid.  The past couple of weeks, his longest stretch at night is 3 hours of sleep in a row.

 Super entertained by his brothers.  

Delights in bath time.

Likes the ergo carrier.  Not such a fan of the car seat.

Sweet, smiley Collin.


Elliot Hayden

2.5 years old.

Little sunshine. Such a happy guy.

Wants to do everything like big brother.

Loves coloring & painting. (Henry couldn't care less so this is new to me)

Will eat almost anything.

29 lbs.

Not very interested in swimming. Mainly enjoys lounging on the top step & being silly .

Super interested in animals.

Cute Vocab: Wowy-Powy (Rolly-Polly), "Nenry" (Henry), "Pick up you" (Pick me up), "Push da butt!" (Push the button)

Lovey, Dovey Bear.


Henry James

One of my favey things about blogging is being able to look back and remember. What was Elliot's first word? I don't know. Check the blog. Oh, it was Dada. Cool beans.

I'm not a scrapbooker so blogging works.

So, here's the Henry report, for my records.


4 years old.

Swims like a stinking dolphin.

37 lbs.

Loves baby Collin.

Argues a lot with Elliot. Fights over toys with Elliot. Has the most fun with Elliot. B.F.F. at bed time.

Still really into tractors, toy fire trucks, police cars & ambulances.

Great imagination. Loves pretending to be a sheriff, fire fighter, super hero, and doctor.

Intense. Booooy, howdy. Whether happy, sad, silly, sweet, or mad. Intensity.

Recently into fishing with Daddy.  Anything with Daddy, really.

loves pb&honey sandwiches and TJ's yogurt.

Wonderful, wild Henry.


Controversial Topic

I know that I was raised in Louisiana by a well-mannered southern woman and what I am about to say is considered blasphemy round them parts but I am just going to say it...

Brace yourself, ghost of Emily Post.

Can we all agree to stop writing thank you notes? I know that it's a lovely gesture of gratitude but, lately, the obligation is just a hot, steamy pile of guilt.

Maybe my question should be, "Could you excuse me from writing thank you notes for these next few years?"

My oldest son, love him dearly, is the most meddlesome child you have ever seen and, in the last 4 months, has hidden my thank you note lists and has taken to delivering my unmailed (and often, unaddressed) thank you notes to places around the house as he pretends to be a mailman.

I can't keep track. Who has received a thank you note? Which ones have I written but Henry had hidden in his various mailbags? And each time that I receive a lovely thank you note in the mail from one of my more thoughtful & organized people, it's like a reminder that I am...not so much.

So, if I owe you a thank you note, forgive me. If you owe me one, please don't sweat it. Incidentally, I could write a thank you note right now except that I'm nursing a baby in the dark.

Sorry, Mama.


Tending to My Sheep.

My days are not all roses & butterflies and sometimes I yell and want to hit trees with a baseball bat. But sometimes my eyes are opened to the beauty of these fleeting days and this unique season.

Mothering little ones reminds me of David out tending his sheep, before the whole running-from-Saul days.  David was out in nature, taking care of his sheep and meeting their needs but with lots of time for conversing with God and noticing his hand in the world around him.  This is so like mothering little folks.  They require supervision and work, but our days are slow, in ways.  Henry just turned four in April, so we aren't doing the t-ball, soccer, music lessons, boy scout deals yet.  We have a couple of low-key activities and the rest of our days are flexible.  We can dig for rolly pollies.  We can walk to the pond near our house and feed the ducks.  We can use the toy excavator to pick up rocks and put them into a dump truck.

I remember when Henry was 2 and Elliot was 7 months old.  Elliot napped twice a day,  Henry napped once and their naps were staggered.  This meant that we were locked down at the house for about six hours a day, which goes completely against my mom-nature.  I tend to want to be out and about, going and blowing.  But, though I feared being at home with little people for hours on end, they ended up being some of my sweetest days.  I felt more aware of God everywhere I looked and I look back and can see growth and specific areas that he refined in my heart during that season.

Now my boys are bigger & there are more of them. The older two require me to be a referee more often but there is still lots of space for communing and seeing God, if I open my eyes and let go of distraction. That's key: embracing quiet moments and not immediately turning to the next thing.  He is tenderly leading me (and you) as I shepherd my little guys.

...he gently leads those that have young.
Is 40:11


Family Pictures Almost Killed Me.

How I feared all of the pictures would turn out 
such a lovely expression on my face 

So, Rachel, a friend from church, is a photographer and makes beautiful photographs.  She was running a mini-sessions special and so we signed up so that we could have some pictures with old #3 (Sweet Collin) in them.

First off, getting out the door.  Our session was at 6:30 p.m. and so we did afternoon baths and prep.  I, of course, was unprepared and the boys ended up in semi-random clothes and Elliot had an ink stain on his pants.  Incidentally, these are pants that Adam bought for Henry when Henry was 3 months old.  They are Patagonia sun-protection pants and I really didn't want Adam to buy the pants because I thought that they were too expensive but Adam did and somehow they were larger than the 6 months size that they were labeled as and, long story short, our boys have worn these pants for 5 summers now.

So, Adam was right.  Good investment.

I couldn't find any eyeliner and so I ended up using Adam's surgical skin marker from the hospital (it was purple...and long-lasting).  I probably should buy some makeup.  At this point, I only own mascara, lipstick, and some concealer from 2008.

Anyways, back to the family pictures.  Rachel is a pro and knows how to work with crazy families but posing for pictures is about the most unnatural thing for little boys to do.  We were constantly threatening and bribing Henry and Elliot (Super parenting strategy!) and they were constantly running off or pretending to be asleep/dead (Henry).

Needless to say, I was totally fried after our 45 minutes session.  We stopped for Sonic ice cream for the boys and Adam and I cracked open a bottle of wine at home.  I did not have high expectations for our family picture turn-out.

But, like I said, Rachel is a pro.  I was so happy with the pictures and couldn't even narrow it down to twenty.

If you are bored, here is the gallery of all of the pictures.


Paddle Balloon

I don't have too many brilliant ideas but, every so often, my ingenuity will appear & I'll pass it along.

So Adam has a precious aunt who always sends the boys fun little care packages. And, boy...does she know what kids like. Glo sticks, 3D dinosaur books, light up trucks, stickers, etc. Jackpot.

So, in her most recent care package, she included two sets of foam paddles and a soft ball. Unfortunately, our guys still lack the hand-eye coordination to be very good at this mini tennis game. Fortunately, I had an idea.

See, because I'm not a very good housekeeper, we still have a few resilient balloons sitting around our home from Henry's birthday (April 21st). So we replaced the soft foam balls with balloons and it turns out the boys are great at paddle balloon (patent pending).

Ok, so maybe it wasn't the most genius idea ever but it's entertained us and justified my weird balloon hoarding.

PS I know that popped balloons can be dangerous if inhaled or ingested