Wednesday, May 22, 2013

sneak peek - chelsea's senior shoot!

I got to spend an evening last week with Miss Chelsea.  She is graduating this year and it was so fun to spend the evening with her - hearing about her plans for the summer and this year, traipsing through the woods and laughing quite a bit.  It was super fun!  Here's a quick sneak peek of a few pictures from our session.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

favorite things.

Hey y'all!  How about a list of a few favorite things for today?  There is no rhyme or reason to my list - just some things I've been enjoying lately that I thought you might be interested in.

1.  Camelbak Eddy water bottle:  Y'all. I love this water bottle.  I drink so much more water using this bottle.  I know that sounds crazy but something about using a straw makes me drink it a lot more quickly.  So, I'm able to get in at least about 3 liters a day.  It's great.  You should try one.  The Easter Bunny got mine at Target :)

2.  Pilot G2 0.38 Retractable Pens:  My soon-(as in five days) -to-be-sister-in-law introduced me to these pens.  They are my favorite.  It's ultra fine but, it's still super easy to write with.  Does anyone else love school supplies?  They make me so happy :)

3.  Eat Well Enjoy Life Black Bean Hummus:  I can't even begin to tell you how good this is.  I got it from BJs and I have eaten almost the entire bulk container in about a week.  It's perfect with red, orange and yellow peppers or with chips.  And, the salsa that's in the middle is SO good.  You should go buy some.  Today.  You can thank me later.

4.  Wild Riceworks  Sea Salt and Black Sesame Chips:  Speaking of chips.  These are my favorite to eat with the black bean hummus.  I got these at BJs too but they also have them at Walmart and Target (I think).  It's so good with hummus or salsa but they are also really good plain.  They have different flavors but I've never gotten any of the others because these are so good.  I'm sure the others are great too.

5.  Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap (Peppermint):  I bought a bottle of this a few years ago when I was in Boone and I use it all the time.  I use it to wash my face everyday and man, it wakes you up!  It makes your face tingle.  I also use it to scrub my bathtub.  It gets soap scum off immediately.  And, I haven't tried it for this but I know lots of people use it for cleaning their produce.  I'm telling you, it works for everything.  I bought mine at the Mast General Store but they have started carrying it in Target!  And, I noticed recently that they also carry some for babies now!

Like I said, no rhyme or reason to my list.  But, all things that I love!  Have you tried any of these?  Any favorite things you can't live without?  I'd love to hear about them :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Parent's Checklist

I attend a bible study every week called Bible Study Fellowship (BSF).  It's a phenomenal program that is worldwide.  One of the coolest things about it being a worldwide program is that people all over the world are studying the same chapter of the same book of the bible each week.  They operate under a 4-fold approach.  There are notes that you take home to read, a lesson you complete each week, a small group that you meet with and then a lecture that you hear as one big group.  The lectures are so, so good.  They also have an unbelievable children's program.  Even as young as Crews and Tate.  It's not just babysitting for the hour and a half.  It's structured time of singing hymns, telling a bible story, and interacting with the kids.  I can't speak enough about how awesome the children's portion of BSF is.  If you are looking for a bible study to get involved in, you should really check this out.  You can go to their website to learn more about the study as well as finding a class near you.  Most classes meet at local churches who are gracious enough to offer their facilities for hundreds of women and children to come each week and study the bible.

Sorry for the long intro.  This was not my purpose in coming here this morning.  But, I just felt like I should give you a little background info.  

So, one of the things that you can pick up each week in addition to your lesson is a Home Training Lesson (the yellow sheets that they offer out in the lobby).  There are typically some great ideas of how to parent you kids.  Offering thoughts on how to interact, discipline, encourage them, etc.  I don't always make the time to read mine because, let's be honest, some weeks I'm doing good to get the lesson done and the notes read.  But, this week someone in our small group mentioned it.  She picked if up before classes started and happened to skim over it.  There was a checklist on the back that she said was fabulous.  So, I grabbed one after lecture and quickly realized that she was right!  The list is so good.  It's a checklist of things parents should be doing every day.  

Now, before I post it I want to say something.  As soon as I skimmed it, I started picking out all the things that I am not doing consistently enough or well enough.  But I quickly realized, this should be an encouragement to me!  Not something to beat me up about what I'm not doing well.  I should be spurred on to add to the things that I'm already doing.  And I should find comfort and encouragement knowing that God is honoring the things I am doing because he specifically tells us to do these things (there are verses that support each item on the checklist).  How awesome!  Some days when the days are long and I don't have enough patience or energy left, I am encouraged to know that the work I am doing is not in vain.  I am training up young men of God.  Providing them with the tools to live a life worthy of their calling.  So, I am encouraged!  Knowing that there are additional things that I can do to impact their lives and wanting to stretch and grow in order to bless them and honor God in this thing called motherhood.

So, wow.  Enough talking.  Here's the list:

A Parent’s Checklist

o  Hugged my child and told him, “I love you” (Luke 15:20)
o  Prayed specifically for my child (1 Chronicles 29:19a)
o  Listened carefully when my child wanted to talk (Mathew 18:5)
o  Read to my child (Proverbs 4:1-4)
o  Discussed God with my child (Deuteronomy 4:9-10)
o  Expected obedience from my child (1 Timothy 3:4)
o  Exhibited patience with my child (1 Corinthians 13:4)
o  Sang or listened to music with my child (Psalm 8:2)
o  Spoke about his father/mother with loving respect (Colossians 3:18-19)
o  Did not expect behavior beyond his or her age capabilities (1 Corinthians 13:11)
o  Trained him or her with appropriate boundaries and consequences (Genesis 2:16-17)
o  Punished disobedience with appropriate measures (Jeremiah 17:10)
o  Helped my child learn something new (Luke 2:52)
o  Encouraged my child to do something for someone else (Galatians 6:10)
o  Took action to shield my child from evil and harmful influences (1 Corinthians 13:6-7)
o  Challenged and helped my child to do something he though he could no do (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
o  Avoided punishing my child when I was angry (Psalm 103:8-14)
o  Exhibited good manners for my child to model (Matthew 7:9-12)
o  Commended my child for a valuable character quality (Galatians 5:22-23)
o  Read the Bible to my child (2 Timothy 3:15)
o  Prayed with my child (Matthew 18:19-20)
o  Modeled only those attributes I want my child to emulate (1 Corinthians 4:16)
o  Laughed with, not at, my child (Romans 12:15)
o  Thanked my child for something he did (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
o  Gave my child some responsibility (Titus 3:14)
o  Did not talk negatively about my child in his presence (Proverbs 12:18)
o  Praised and thanked my child more than I criticized him (Proverbs 16:24)
o  Asked my child’s forgiveness when I was wrong (James 4:6)
o  Forgave my child immediately (2 Corinthians 2:7-8)
o  Made time to be alone with my child (Deuteronomy 6:7)
o  Did not make a promise to my child that I cannot keep (Ecclesiastes 5:5)

Now, I know that it's a lot.  But, there are probably many on this list that you already do.  Intentionally or maybe even unintentionally (which, how cool is that, that God can use even things that we unintentionally do to impact our kids! - encouraging and convicting :))

So, here's my plan.  I printed a few of these on a smaller piece of paper (to fit inside my planner) and have I plan to use them for the next week or so.  For the first few days I plan to check off these items at the end of the day.  Not referring to the list constantly to see what I still need to do for the day (I'm afraid that would end up looking a little something like this:  "Okay, Crews and Tate - now we're going to sing...ready?  This little light of mine...laalaalaa until the song is finished - and by the way, I was supposed to give you some responsibility - so how about you put this book away.  Oh and let's have a tickle fight right quick so I can check off the laughter one. -- All within five minutes...I'm thinking that's not the point of this list :)) .  

After the first few days I'm hoping to choose a couple that consistently haven't been checked off and be intentional to add that into my day.  Over time I am hoping to make a habit of the majority of these.  They are really phenomenal ideas.  And really?  This motherhood thing is a priority.  A top priority.  So I should some time figuring out how to be best at this job.  

I guess we can consider this "professional development"  :)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

mother's day 2013.

I started writing a post last year a few weeks before Mother's Day.  But, I never finished it.  So, I figured I should post it this year.


So, I should probably wait until Mother's Day to post this but it is on my heart tonight so I wanted to go ahead and post it :)

I can't beging to explain how grateful I am for my mom.  
I have needed my mom more so than ever before in my new role as a mom.
And boy has she delivered.

My mom always said that when I was born, everyone rushed straight over to see me, the new baby.  But, she vividly remembers her mom rushing over to check on her.  She wanted to make sure her baby was okay.
And then same thing happened When the twins arrived.  Everyone was dying to get down to the NICU but before my mom could head down the hall she had to come check on me.  And actually, while I was in the hospital, she spent more time in my room than in the NICU.  

She had been my biggest supporter since Day One.
When I told her I was considering cloth diapers, she never flinched a muscle.  And believe me, I watched for her reaction.  I wanted to see how she really felt about it.  And I knew, I would be able to tell in the split second after I told her.  Of course I knew she'd tell me that I should do whatever I thought was best, but I wanted to know her true reaction.  And she didn't think twice before telling me she thought I could handle it.  She immediately wanted to know how they worked and what the process looked like.  Being as supportive as possible.

And the same thing happened when we talked about me staying at home.  She has worked full-time for the majority of my childhood and was a wonderful mom.  But, I felt like I should stay at home.  And never once did she react in a way to make me feel as though that was not a good decision.

Time after time, she has been supportive.  

And, she is so intentional about the time we spend together.  Looking out for me.  Which, to be completely honest, is really nice.  As soon as you have babies, life completely changes.  You are no longer responsible for only you.  Ever.  You are always thinking about their schedule and feeds and baths and diapers and, and, and...the list could go on.  But honestly, as Mama, you are the go to person.  The one who has the answers.  About where the video monitor is packed and when they should eat again and whether they burped after they ate and why they're fussy.  And, there is very little [as in almost none] time that you have to yourself.  

But, praise the Lord for my mama.  She has given this worn out mama some rest.  She came a few weekends ago so I could go to a multiples consignment sale.  She told me to run whatever errands I needed to while I was out.  So, I decided to stop by TJ Maxx.  Well, I ended up spending like two hours [TWO WHOLE UNITERRUPTED HOURS] in TJ Maxx.  Browsing the home goods.  Then looking at the clothes.  Then going over to browse the baby clothes.  Then the shoes and bags.  I mean, it was wonderful!  I texted her and told her what a gift it was for me to be able to spend this time.  And she responded telling me what a gift it was for her to keep my boys.  


Okay, so I never finished my post.  But, over a year later I feel this way even more.  She has been there through every stage of this journey.  And, although we do things differently, she supports how I choose to raise my boys.  Never making me the bad guy by saying, "your mommy says we can't do that or can't eat that" or trying to discourage me on what I've decided is important.  It's such.a.blessing.  Seriously.  And even more of a blessing, she cherishes my boys.  I mean like misses them when she doesn't see them for more than a few days - can't wait to get her hands on them - begs to keep them - that kind of cherish.  It's such a blessing to know that when she offers to keep them it's not putting her out.  She LOVES it.  I am oh so grateful for this.

I always knew she was fabulous.  Really, I did.  But I had no idea JUST how fabulous she was until I became a mother myself.  It's like we connected on a whole knew level.  And I am so grateful for the way our relationship has become stronger and deeper and the way I appreciate her so much more than I ever have before.

Mom, thank you for everything.  You have loved me well.  You have taught me well.  I'm the most blessed gal in the world.  Love you.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Y'all.  Life is so good right now.  But, it's also crazy.  This season of life is so sweet but it involves two 18 month old little monsters running around, dragging every pot and pan out of the cabinets, surfing on cookie sheets, flipping off furniture and unfolding every piece of clothing that gets folded.  

This means that in order for me to keep our house somewhat tidy, I am either cleaning up ALL DAY or we are out of the house for the day.  I realize that none of this really matters.  Or at least that's what people say.  But, when your reality looks like the pictures get to the point where you realize it might matter a teeny little bit.  

I finally came to the realization that I can do one of two things during nap time.  I can spend it cleaning and have a spotless house...well, at least until the boys wake up.  Or, I can spend it getting things done. 

Today, for example, was a monogram day.  I had a few things for different people that I needed to get done so I decided to focus on getting all of it done today.  This means that our house was pure chaos.  Like, a mad house.  Seriously.

In fact, it was so bad at 5 p.m. that when I heard Jordan pull in, I jumped up and ran to the door.  And before I let him come in, I explained what I have finally figured out...clean house or productive day.  One or the other.  It can't be both.  Or if it can, someone needs to hook me up with all the detail about how they make that happen!

But, at the end of the day, the house has been tided (thanks, Jordan!), the babes laughed and were read to and snuggled, and my monogramming is finished.  Oh, and I feel like my day was so much more productive than it is on the days I spend time sorting balls from blocks twelve million times.

Happy Wednesday!  Hope y'all are having a great week!

Patterson Family Sneak Peek

A couple of weeks ago I got to spend an hour with the sweetest family!  We met at Pullen Park and spent the hour laughing and chasing Miss Victoria.  It was so fun.  She is full of personality and isn't she the cutest?!?

Thank you, Christina and Donald, for the opportunity to capture your family during this sweet season of life!  It was such a fun evening.  Here's a little sneak peek of our session!