Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sunny Saturday...

The end of January and the temps are in the 70's. CRAZY!

Jared has been out of town this week and he got home in the middle of the night last night. We were so happy to wake up with him home! We spent the whole day just hanging out as a family. The weather was beautiful, so after naps we all headed outside. Mika has never really played outside much but she loved every minute of it. This makes me ready for Spring.

I grabbed the camera and got some cute shots of the girls. There are a few.... so enjoy!

They decided to trade bikes... it didn't last long. 

First time in the swing.... she thought it was great!

Me and the love of my life! 

I can't even tell you how much I love this picture.... that is the sweet face that I get to see everyday and it makes my heart smile constantly.


First time on the trampoline.... 

Trampoline static hair! ha!

She kept saying "night night" and laying her head down. Precious!

Let me introduce you to some of the many faces of Peyton Lou:
The thinking face

The sassy face

The happy face

And my sweet Laila.... I love that precious smile!

We have had a wonderful day and I hope you have too! Now I'm about to have a movie date with my man.....

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

We Left a Pile of Hair on the Floor

I have been looking forward to today all week. Peyton and I had hair appointments at our favorite salon, High Maintenance Day Spa in Conway, AR. This was Peyton's first time to get a professional haircut. We were both excited! My sweet friend (and the salon owner), Katie, hooked us up and I am so thankful. Her salon is too cute... if you are in the area, you should definitely check it out!

After a moment of freaking out, Peyton calmed down enough to get her hair cut. I didn't get any pictures of the haircut process because she made me hold her hand. Ha! But after she was done and before it was my turn, we had a quick photo shoot in the salon.

The general opinion is that she looks way older with the shorter hair. I had no idea it would change her looks so much to have short hair. She loves it though and I think it is perfect for her sweet but sassy personality. 

She's been loving her new hairdo all day! And we had a great time getting our hair cut together. It's the simple things that mean the most!

As for me, I just got my hair shaped and ready to grow out.... and I got bangs! WooWoo! I'm loving it! 

While I was getting my hair done, Peyton was walking around the salon pretending to work there. We were cracking up.... she was really into it and kept walking back and forth, talking to herself in her authoritative/mom voice. Hilarious! Katie was so sweet to help me watch her while I was in the stylist's chair.

Now that you know more than you ever wanted to about our salon experience and our new hairdos, have a good evening!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Lighter Day...

I've had a heavy couple of days this week. So today I'm writing a completely "fluffy" post. Nothing deep, just some cuteness.

We are still planning Little Miss's First Birthday party. I love having parties for my girls. I don't go overboard and we don't do anything really elaborate or fancy. But we have fun! I love choosing a color theme and seeing how far I can take those colors when planning the party.

I also love that Mika has a February birthday.... we are going all-out Valentine's colors for her party. If you show up, prepared to be surrounded by pinks and reds and purples! I used this picture for her invites - I love it!

The girls and I are planning on making some cookies today to test out some ideas for the party. I just thought I was going to stop eating so much after Christmas. Ha! I feel like I'm still baking all the time (and eating what I bake). Its good for my soul but not so good for my hips. And I know I'll be wishing I hadn't been so quick to jump in the kitchen and turn on the electric mixer when I have to put on a swimsuit this summer. Ha!!

We also have our first case of pink-eye with the girls. Eeek. Peyton woke up complaining her eye was hurting yesterday and it got worse and worse throughout the day. We started eye drops last night so I'm hoping we can get it under control before anyone else gets it. We've been washing hands and trying not to touch in the hopes that we won't spread the eye junk. However, I am so thankful that the girls don't get sick too often. 

And finally, I've said it before, and I'll say it again... How is it that my baby is already ONE? (Well, she'll be one next week.) Where does the time go?! It is so funny to me to think back to this time last year - I was SO pregnant and expecting to go into labor at any minute. Ha! Now look what I have - one year later - this sweet girl to love on each day! 

Happy Wednesday Y'all!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Precious Life

Yesterday I saw a status show up on Facebook. It was a blog link from a girl I went to high school with. We weren't close friends, but we went to a small school so pretty much everyone was friends. I didn't quite understand her status so I clicked on her blog link. What I read absolutely floored me.

She has breast cancer.

Breast Cancer.

My first thought was that she had to be talking about an aunt or someone older than us. But no. I sat in front of the computer crying. For some reason this news completely knocked the breath out of me. She has a little girl (she's adorable!) and is a Mommy and Wife and works. And she just got this horrible news. And to top it off.... she has complete faith in God and has a very positive outlook on things. Amazing.

She found an enlarged lymph node during her self-exam one day (three weeks after a doctor appointment where things were normal). She is undergoing chemo right now with surgery in the near future.

PSA: Ladies, please be pro-active and check yourself every month. Men, please encourage your ladies to take good care of their bodies and take notice of anything out of the ordinary - and do the same for yourself, guys....because we ladies need you!

I've been completely shaken up by this - I can't get it off my mind and all I know to do is just lift her up in prayer. It kind of puts things in perspective.

This news also has me thinking about Jared - he's a cancer survivor! I don't think about him having cancer too often (it happened before I knew him) but when I do I just thank God over and over for having a bigger purpose for Jared's life and for allowing me to be a part of it. He is a special man and the world is a much better place with him in it. My mother and grandmother both survived cancer as well and I feel so blessed to still have them with me. I pray that we never have to go through the horror of cancer again.

I woke up this morning and quickly realized what today is..... today marks the day that my precious niece went to be with Jesus. She was three months old and never knew life outside of the ICU but in her short time on this earth so many people were changed because of her little life. She had the sweetest eyes. I know I am changed because I knew her. I will never forget that day and I know we will see her again one day.

My heart is heavy today with all of these things. But I am filled with the promise that God is always with us. And I do not take one minute of this precious life for granted. It can all change in an instant and I'm doing my best to focus my attention on the things that matter.

"'The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.'"    Deuteronomy 31: 8

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It Started as a Typical Lunch...

We went to lunch after church today.

Just the five of us.

We ate at one of our favorite places at the request of Miss Peyton Lou.

We sat down, ordered and started snacking on our bread. The big girls colored and Mika Lynn snacked and played. Then the food came and we started fixing plates and handing out food. Mika and Laila split a child's pizza and Peyton ordered a salad (it is so funny to me how much my 3-year-old loves salads). Seriously, I think salads are nasty and it blows my mind that my little picky eater would eat salads for every meal, every day. Crazy girl!

Jared and I were laughing because I commented that I felt like I was part of a circus. Things were so crazy. One of the girls was constantly needing something (except Peyton, who was just happy as a lark eating her salad).

When we go out to eat and it is just us, it doesn't leave much time for observing the people around us. We pretty much stay wrapped up in our little world, trying to make it through dinner without breaking a plate or dropping too much food on the floor or spilling a drink everywhere.... you know what I mean. :)

We were finishing up when the waitress sat down a little mini dessert (chocolate cake with ice cream) in front of Peyton. Jared and I looked at her strangely and she said it was from one of her other tables, that they were impressed with how well she had eaten her salad and how grown-up she had been acting. The lady who sent the dessert spoke to us, saying that they couldn't help but notice the girls and thought it was so great that Peyton ate her salad so well and was so well-behaved.

I was so surprised. Immediately, I felt so proud of my "baby" girl. My heart was overflowing. I couldn't stop smiling and I was fighting back tears.

If that wasn't enough.... P took one bite of her dessert and just when I thought I couldn't be more proud of her, she fed Laila a bite. She shared her special dessert. Jared and I were praising her good behavior and just watching our girls interact. Huge smiles on our faces.

Then, in typical fashion, the girls started pretend playing. The LOVE to pretend that Peyton is the Mommy and Laila is the daughter. So Peyton was calling herself Momma (ex: "Let Momma have this bite then I'll give you one, ok.") and Laila was calling P Momma. I was cracking up! Jared looked at me and said "Looks like you've been replaced." Ha!! She was so proud of her dessert and had the happiest look on her face (as did Laila... chocolate cake and ice cream, what's not to be happy about?!).

I reached in my bag to grab my camera because I wanted a picture of this special lunch, but I quickly remembered that I left my camera on my bed this morning. :( I knew I wanted to remember this lunch forever, so I am recording it here.

It started as a typical lunch.... but turned into so much more! I left the restaurant so full of joy and happiness and love. It is amazing how something as simple as a mini dessert could mean so much.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Weekend Fun...

We spent the weekend with my dad. It was fun and relaxing and I'm so glad we went (I always am).

We really didn't do much except eat. Seriously, the minute I step foot in my dad's house I want to eat. I'm never hungry while I'm there (because I snack and eat so much) but I ate so much that I felt like I needed to detox when I got home. Ha! I haven't even stepped on the scale this week and I don't plan to either.

Saturday we went to our favorite place for lunch.... The Back Forty. Mmmmmm. World's best burgers, hands down! That was the only time I got the camera out so I'll share some pictures from our lunch - we had some friends meet us and it was a great time!

The gang...

My almost birthday girl. I LOVE this face.

Sister and her hubby! Aren't they cute? She took a pic of Jared and me but we look awful so I left it out. It's my blog so I can do what I want, right?!

Laila - she posed with a cheese stick. What can I say, the girl loves food!

Momma and Mika Lynn. I LOVE this picture of us. 

It was a fun weekend and now we are all back to normal at home. I'm so thankful that my dad is so good to us and that he has such a special relationship with my girls. He loves them like crazy and it is precious.

Well, there you go. I'm all caught up with what we've been up to. I have canvases hanging out that need to be worked on tonight so I'm cutting this post short :)

Check out my other blog if you want to see what I've been working on.

Good night y'all.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Celebration of Life...

First, a few things....

Thank you ALL for your sweet comments on my last post. You all made me smile and warmed my heart. It is so comforting to know that I'm not alone. :)

Also, if you'll remember back to this post I told you all about the crazy diaper rash that wouldn't go away. Well, it went away. Want to know how????? Are you on the edge of your seat? Ha! It was all because of the formula. I knew it was but there wasn't much I could do because of the recalls. Once I got Mika Lynn back on her original formula her rash cleared up within 24-48 hours. Yay!!

I have some fun pictures to share from the weekend, but first I want to share about something else.

Last night I went to a Celebration of Life party for one of my sweet friends from LG. A year ago yesterday, January 17, 2010 she almost lost her life. I will not get into the details as they are not mine to share, but we were all very concerned that she would not live. When I went to see her in the hospital she looked like a shell of herself. It was heartbreaking. The doctors were not optimistic AT ALL. But her friends and family prayed for her and prayed over her and God worked a miracle in her body. I'm telling you it was a real miracle. A. Real. Miracle. Today she is physically healed and emotionally healing.

A bunch of people who love her gathered last night to surprise her with a party to celebrate her life. She was definitely surprised. Some of us shared letters we had written to her, some of us just hugged her neck - thankful that she is here with us and we get the chance to hug her. Her sweet daughter even spoke about that horrible night a year ago and shared how much she needs her Mommy and how much she loves her. Needless to say, many tears were shed, but they were ALL happy tears.

I was immensely blessed to be a part of the celebration last night. She is a wonderful person, a great friend and now has an amazing testimony to share. She even said she had a great day yesterday, despite the dark cloud that was looming as she remembered this day last year. Seeing all those people there in honor of this one woman made me realize even more how important it is to have friendships. And I'm so thankful that I'm working harder on the friendships I have. But the most important friendship we will ever have is with Jesus. (And just so you know, I'm working harder on that friendship too!) So what I wanted to share with you today is this:

  • We are never alone because Jesus is ALWAYS with us! God's love is perfect. Amen.
  • God is still working miracles - big and little!!! And finally,
  • Make sure your friends and family know you love them. You never know what may be going on inside their hearts and just maybe some words of kindness, love and encouragement from you could mean the world to them. 
Alright.... here is a sneak peek of our weekend fun:
I'll be back with more pictures from the weekend tomorrow :)
Happy Tuesday, Y'all.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

That's What Friends Are For....

I LOVE that song.

Friendship is something I really struggled with last year. I just read that sentence and it sounds completely silly. But it is true. 

All my life I've never had a problem making friends. I've easily made friends in every stage of my life. In fact, I've never really had a falling out with any of my friends. Of course, there are people I still talk to on a semi-regular basis but most of my friends and I don't really see each other or talk anymore. That said, I know that if we ever ran into each other that we would be able to sit and chat for hours. 

Recently, I've found there has been a little emptiness in my heart. After spending much time praying and trying to figure out where this bit of sadness was coming from I realized that it was because I really didn't have any friends. Ok.... not exactly true. Maybe it wasn't so much that I was missing friends, but that I was missing out on meaningful friendships.

Once I realized that I was missing out on friendships it was time for me to figure out how to find these friendships. Seriously, this is new territory for me. I've spent the past 4 years at home every day with my children. On almost all of those days, the only adult interaction I have is with Jared when he comes home from work. I love him dearly, but it just wasn't enough. I needed something for me (not in a selfish way, but in a way that helps me grow emotionally and spiritually).

I decided to re-join the Ladies' Group I was in when shortly after we were married (I had to stop going because of babies and Jared's wacky work schedule). I knew it was going to require a commitment from ALL of us for me to go - but Jared and I both agreed that I needed it. They are a wonderful group of women who love the Lord and I love them all dearly.

I've also started getting together with my S-I-L, Jill, for our daughters to play (as often as we can). We both agree that we may need those playdates more than our girls do. It's a win-win, really. 

And then, just like clockwork.... here comes the attacks of the devil. I started feeling like I was upsetting my girls by leaving them every other Monday night for group. I started feeling like no one really wanted to be my friend because I don't really have anything to offer a friendship - my kids and husband take up nearly all of my time, so what was left for me to share with a friend? I started feeling like I didn't really belong with these women. I could go on and on.... but, you get the picture. Attack. Attack. Attack. 

Through many tears and prayers I got past the worst of those attacks. God is so good! I've realized that I can be a friend. What I have to offer a friendship is me - nothing more or less. I have to ease up on the pressure I put on myself to be the "perfect" friend all the time. Is there such a thing as the perfect friend? Ha! And the truth is (and this is hard for me to accept sometimes) that there are people who actually want to be friends with just me. No pretending, no facades, just me. Humbling.

Here is what I know now:
  • I need friendships. We all do.
  • I have great friends from my childhood that I may not see regularly, but we will always be there for each other. Our friendships will change and evolve as our lives do and that's ok. 
  • I have an amazing group of women in my Ladies' Group that I am honored to call my friends. I love each of them and I'm excited about growing our friendships as we continue to spend time together. These ladies are very special and God is using them to help me in so many ways. 
  • I am so blessed to have so many women in my family that I can call my friends. 
  • Jared and I are working on doing things with other couples. And I can honestly say that some of my favorite moments of the past few months were made with some couples that we love. 
I plan to do as much as possible from now on to grow my friendships. I have realized how important it is in my life and I will do everything I can to keep from letting go of my friendships. If you are reading this and you are one of my cherished friends, know that you mean so much to me. And if you are reading this and you feel like you need a friend, email me. 

I'll leave you with another video..... perhaps my FAVORITE friendship song of all time.  I can't tell you how many hours my sister and I spent singing this song together. It's like someone took our relationship and wrote it into a song. Love. And can I just add that I miss Whitney Houston. The girl could SING! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

We've had a snow day here....

When the first snowflakes started to fall yesterday, my girls went crazy with excitement. They had been praying all afternoon, asking God to please let it snow! :) Daddy had to go to work today which meant that we couldn't go play outside until he got home. I couldn't really let them play outside by themselves and I couldn't really take Mika out to play for more than a minute.... so we waited on Daddy.

I keep thinking of the time it snowed last year while the girls and I were at my dad's house. We woke up and there was snow falling. Peyton looked at me and had the sweetest look on her face and said "Thank you, Pappy, for the snow!" Oh sweet innocence.

They were so ready by the time he got home. We quickly suited up (as best we could since we don't own snow gear) and they girls headed out with their Daddy. Nana and DaddyGrand came out to play too!
For their first time with snowballs, the girls took to it pretty well! 

Peyton had a blast throwing snowballs at her Daddy. 

Laila had fun too but she is a little more timid than Peyton when it comes to new things. 

They love playing with their Daddy because he really is just a big kid himself. :)

DaddyGrand and Mika.... she came out for a minute to see what was going on.

Snowy sisters. 

I love this shot of Mika looking up at her Daddy. Precious!!

Two of my favorite people! Mika liked the snow until she sat down in it and realized how cold it was. Then she was ready to come in and cook with Mommy!

My baby and her first snow!

I told the girls this morning that when it snowed, Daddy was the one who played outside with them and Mommy stays inside and cooks! Ha! But seriously, I don't do outside too well. :) So in keeping with my snow "theory" I made homemade muffins for a snack this afternoon. And while everyone was outside playing, I cooked dinner for us all. 

Overall it was a pretty good snow day (I could have done without all the whining and disobeying, but that's just part of life these days). I hope if you had snow you were able to enjoy it however you like! 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Hopes for 2011

I don't make New Year's Resolutions.

That said, there are quite a few things I'm looking forward to doing/working on/achieving in 2011. I call them my "Hopes" for this year. Here is a short version for your enjoyment. 

I want to become a more patient and gentle Momma. I feel like I've really let this get out of control and I'm working really hard on becoming more patient with my kiddos and being more gentle with them. By gentle, I mean not so easily frustrated, not so easy to raise my voice, sweeter and calmer in the way I talk to them and especially when I discipline them. They deserve the very best from me and it is my hope this year that I can truly give them my best.

I want to become healthier. That looks like a silly sentence to me, but it is the best way I know to describe what I'm looking for. I spent the entire year of 2010 with my hormones being all wacky. I feel like they are getting back to "normal" now but I feel like I need to take some actions with my body to continue to make me feel better. So I'm going to start taking vitamin supplements (I've never been good about this before, but I know I need to start). I'm also going to stop drinking so many Dr. Peppers. In fact, I haven't had one in over a week! I really want to feel good (on the inside and about the way I look) so I can be a happy, healthy wife and Momma so I'm taking a few little steps to do that. 

I want to help my girls learn as much as they can this year. We are working on basic things right now such as alphabet and numbers, shapes and such. I'm trying to be creative in the way I teach them these things and I will welcome any tips! It brings me such joy to see them learn new things and I'm hoping to really get some things accomplished this year. 

I also want to teach my girls about serving others and being a blessing to someone else in whatever way you can. There are a few things I have planned for our family this year on this topic. I really want to see all of us putting others before ourselves and meeting others' needs in any way we can. 

Jared and I are hoping to take a real vacation this year. We will still take the girls to the lake with my dad for a week this summer. Right now we just feel like that is the best way for our family to have a vacation - there is no stress, no long trips; it is just a really fun, easy way for us to spend quality time together and be able to enjoy it. BUT, Jared and I really want to do something special to celebrate our birthdays this year (we both have a big one) so I'm hoping we are able to do that. 

I want to keep painting and I hope that people still want me to make things for them. I have some great ideas I'm working on and I can't wait to see how they turn out. I hope to be able to share some pictures of my "creations" soon. 

There is so much more, but I'll leave it at that for now. There are a lot of things I'm looking forward to this year. But at the end of the day, I'm as happy as can be to have my sweet husband and my precious babies to share my life with. So no matter what happens in the days and months to come, I'm beyond blessed to be where I am today and not a day goes by that I don't thank God for all that he has given me. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bringing in the New Year.... Our Way

Hello there 2011.

It is nice to finally meet you.

For some reason, I keep feeling like today is the actual first day of 2011. So weird, I know. It is probably due to the fact that I'm just now starting to feel like myself again..... almost.

Last Thursday I was incredibly sick. I am not sure how I made it through the entire day (from wake-up until bedtime) taking care of the girls alone. I don't even remember parts of the day because I was so sick and my fever was fairly high and I was just plain exhausted. But we made it. Thankfully, Jared had Friday off and he was a huge help to me so I could rest and try to get well.

By Friday night, I was feeling somewhat better. However, I was in bed by 9pm. Yes, that is how I celebrated New Year's Eve. Ha! It was worth it though, as I've been feeling better and better every day. I'm not quite back to normal yet, but I'm hoping to be by this weekend. Why this weekend? Well, its our 5 year wedding anniversary. We have some sweet plans and I hope we both feel great so we can enjoy our time together.

We've really just laid low this January. :) The girls and I all have this weird cold thing so we are resting and drinking lots of fluids and eating lots of soup. Its been fine but I'm ready to get our lives back.

I have so many posts floating around in my head but I'm still struggling to find time to sit down and write them all. There is so much going on... in my head, in my heart and in our lives and it will all eventually end up on here. Just know that I'm working to really share these things with you, it is just a matter of finding time to do it.

For now, I'll leave you with some thoughts:

  • I'm still working on my 2011 goals (can you say "slacker"?! Ha!)
  • I've started a Bible Study (thanks for the info Jill) and each morning it seems to be EXACTLY what I need to read - How great is God!!
  • My Christmas decor (what little I put out) is all packed away and I was happy to see it go (seriously, I don't even recognize myself anymore. Who am I? Ha!!!)
  • Our Razorbacks lost in a very sad Sugar Bowl game last night. It was a hard game to watch and I'm still feeling a little emotional about it.
  • My baby will be ONE in less than a month! Seems like she should still be this tiny...

Happy Wednesday everyone!