Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Falling face first

So, falling seems to be the going trend at our house this week. Unfortunately, for Libby- her falling was of the literal sort. She and the gravel at her 'school' got a little too friendly. However, don't worry your pretty little selves about the Libster- it was nothing that a rootbeer float couldn't fix.

Thankfully for all involved, my falling is of a different nature. Ever since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of being a writer. In fact, if I were going to create a bucket list of sorts one of the things that would be on it is to write a book that people will stand in line to read. Well, I'm not there yet, but I do feel as though I'm one step closer. For you see, I've gotten my first official writing job. I'll be writing at least one column a month on the art of writing for a site known as Blissfully Domestic. To say that I am super excited is quite the understatement. Once I write my one writing article, I'm free to submit as many articles as I'd like in any of their categories, which range from spirituality to crafts to parenting. So while I'm not ready to quit my day job, I am wishing I could put my day job on hold for a while, hoard up in front of my computer, and just write my little heart away. To put it mildly, I've fallen face first in love with the idea that maybe, just maybe, one day I WILL write something that people will line up to read (you know, like the way I camped out at Wal-Mart for three hours to get the last Twilight book- and don't laugh, because I'm sure several of you were right there with me).
Oh, one last thing before I go. Speaking of things I love, get a load of this:

Life sure is good sometimes.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Big shoes to fill

It's been a monumental week. Monday, I faced the mob to register Libby for kindergarten (insert deep breath here). I am ok with the fact that my wee little one (or my BABY #1 as we've been refering to her as of late) will start school. However, I'm not as ok with the fact that she's so stinkin' BIG. I mean, why does five have to essentially equal pre-teen? Can't she just stay five, as in little kid five not so much pre-teen five, for a little while longer? Say three or four more years?
I asked her what she thought about this idea last night. She said she wouldn't mind staying five except that she wants to have a birthday party come September. I, of course, said no problem; we can celebrate staying five for one more year. At this, my little mother-since-birth, cupped my face in her little hands, and said, "Mom, I'm gonna turn six. But I promise you can still be my mommy, and I'll still let you come to my wedding. Would you like me to read you a story now?" I swear; that kid has more mothering genes in her pinky toe than I have in my entire body. I don't think anyone ever looked at me when I was little and said, "That one was born to be a mom".......but I find myself wanting to say this about Lib at least once a week. I, my dears, have big shoes to fill.

Speaking of big shoes, check out this pic.:

For once, I wasn't the one behind the camera. Lib's dance teacher actually took this one, and those are actually her shoes. Lib was wearing them while trying to convince her that SHE should be the dance teacher that day. And I think she could do it, by the way. Once again, I've got big shoes to fill, folks.

Going home again

So, anyone who really knows me knows how much I adore my college. I truly believe that MUW is exactly what God hand in mind for me in the college department. To say that I cherish every moment I spent there is almost an understatement; I truly could not have dreamed up a better college experience, filled with great friends and wonderful memories.
However, I don't just adore it because I spent five FABULOUS years there but also because it's home to me. You see, I moved in high school...twice. My parents obviously don't live in the house I grew up in and neither does my grandmother. My aunt and uncle have moved and so have all of my childhood friends. So to me, the W is home.
This past weekend I took the trip to Columbus, and despite the overwhelming heat and somewhat fussy pre-sick baby, I had a great day. I had a good visit with the Silhouettes, whom I absolutely adore. To this day, I don't know how I was fortunate enough to be one of the fourteen girls they noticed and liked enough to want to call their own the year I went through rush, but I am eternally thankful for whatever it was I did to catch their attention. To this day, all but one of my nearest and dearest friends was first my Sillie sister. I mean- seriously- can you blame me for loving my club so much? Look at how stinkin' adorable these girls are---

Cute, right? How could I possibly be anything but proud?

Even Hollyn was excited to be there, and I must say that I think (despite being partial), that she was the highlight of homecoming.
However, giving her a run for her money was getting to spend time with Rebecca. She was first my friend, then became my Silhouette little sister, and is now truly one of my all-time favorite people I have ever known.

Although campus has a few new buildings, a few less trees, and a fresh coat of paint, the one thing that IS the same is the warm, fuzzy, generally comfortable feeling I get when I visit. Although I agree with whomever it was that said you can't go home again, this is a really close second for me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Reason to celebrate

Today marks a truly monumental occasion, at least for me and some people I love. For you see, it was one year ago today that the beloved LeBlanc triplets were born. In case you've forgotten or have just recently started reading my blog, my oldest friend, Heather, gave birth via c-section last year to some very premature, very tiny little blessings. Not only had I prayed for Heather while she was trying to conceive, but I literally prayed through her entire pregnancy, even before she knew there was not just one little blessing in her belly, but three. I prayed every day during her twenty-four weeks and five days of pregnancy, and I prayed hard.

I've never told her this, but the night I got the call that they were coming soon, as in dangerously soon, I was so devastated, heart-broken, and angry. I remember just sitting at the kitchen table, attempting to eat dinner, and just crying. Heather and Brent are truly wonderful people, and I just knew they would be wonderful parents. I hadn't even tried to get pregnant with Libby; what made me someone God would choose to give a child to and not Heather? Why was this happening to them? This is one of those times when it's truly hard for me as Christian. It was hard that day and in the days that followed soon after to trust in God. I knew He was in control, and I knew He had a plan. However, at the rate things were going, I wasn't so sure His plan was the RIGHT plan.....It's so hard when I think what I have in mind is better than what actually happens. At 1 lb. 6 oz, 14 oz, and 10 oz, their little lives were fragile from the moment they entered this world. I remember being truly terrified when I heard how small they were. The news literally took my breath away; I had never seen a baby that small....heck, I'd never known anyone with a baby that small, much less three babies that were absolutely tiny.

However, Heather and Brent held strong during this time. I honestly believe Heather fell madly in love with each of her three children long before they were actually born, and I can't imagine the agony and terror she felt watching them being poked and pushed those first few days. However bleak the situation may have seemed, I just knew God would prevail in just the way I had planned....He would heal them all, give them each a quick, trouble- free recovery, and in no time at all, they'd be home and doing well.

However, once again, His plan and mine--- not so much the same. Kuylen only spent six days here with us before God brought him home. Although I never got to meet Heather and Brent's little jelly bean, I think of him often. I think of what Mary Louise and David will think and how they'll feel later-- will they feel like a part of them is missing? Will it make them draw even closer to one another? I wonder who he'd look like, as Mary Louise is identical to Heather and David looks so much like Brent that it's not even funny. I wonder what sorts of great things he would have accomplished, and if he'd ever use his birth story as a conversation starter--- something he could one day laugh about and brush of as if it wasn't that big of a deal.

Kuylen's little life may have been short, but it was meaningful. I know I am not the only person who will say this, but Kuylen's life changed mine. Little did I know that it was almost exactly to the day he left us that I would get pregnant with my precious Hollyn. If you'd ever talked to me about having a second child prior to Kuylen, I would have laughed and said something along the lines of, "NO WAY, JOSE!". I honestly felt as though Lee and I were just meant to have Libby. I had absolutely no desire for a second child. I didn't feel like something was missing. I didn't long for a baby to hold and rock. I was done.

Except that I wasn't. Again, God had bigger plans than my little mind could conceive. And by the time I found out that I was pregnant, instead of being overwhelmed or upset as I'd imagined I would be if such a thing were to ever happen, I found myself being thankful. I was thankful for the miracle of life. Kuylen helped me to realize not only what a gift life is but just how PRECIOUS that gift is. And even on days like today, when Hollyn has introduced us to the world of a croupy baby, I can't help but be patient with her, despite the forty-five minutes she spent crying incessantly in the garage while we waited on Lee to get home while dinner was overcooking and the phone was ringing.

Despite the fact that His plans and mine don't always coincide and that sometimes I don't understand them at all, God is so good, and even though I can't always see it at the time, His plans are never without purpose. He has given Brent and Heather two of the most amazing gifts I've ever known. Mary Louise and David are a part of our regular conversation, and Libby can tell you as much about them as anyone. (Don't believe me? Put her to the test.....but just know, my money's on the kid.) We love them. Even Libby feels a sense of pride when talking about them. Every time they do something new or learn something new or say something new, I feel my heart just swell with love for them and with joy for Heather and Brent. They have earned the right to many a happy days this past year.
It's situations such as this that baffle my mind as to how someone could not believe in God. I can see how times such as this, when bad things happen to good people, can cause people to doubt. However, God never promised us an easy road, but He did promise to hold our hands as we walk down the road we've been given, no matter how many potholes we fall into along the way. To me, the fact that they have come so far and met so many milestones this past year, is proof alone that there is a God, and He is truly amazing. Without God how could you possibly explain how those precious babies could go from this:

and this......

to THIS???!!!????

Are they not two of the most adorable, angelic babies you have ever seen??????? They, my friends, are almost walking miracles(it's coming Heather and Brent, and once they take those first steps, your lives will never be the same :) ). They beat all the odds, and I just know God has great things in store for them. They've already proven themselves to be fighters and have already overcome more in their one year here with us than many people ever overcome in their whole lives. I literally get overjoyed when I think about how bright their futures are, and I believe I am truly blessed to have an inside view into their little lives. I still pray for them daily, just as I pray for my girls.

And to Kuylen, thank you. I never got to meet you, but I love you just the same.Thank you for teaching me to treasure every minute with my girls. Thank you for showing me that life is not a given or a guarantee. And thank you for helping me to realize that, in the long run, God's plan, however confusing and heart-breaking it may be at times, and is never without purpose, just like your little life was.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rejoice in the Lord

Easter was just wonderful in so many ways. If you recall, we had a real scare this past fall when my grandmother (aka who I hope to one day become) had a heart attack while in surgery to remove a blood clot from her leg.
So, as you can imagine, getting to witness this brings me great joy:

These two did some serious conversing.
Oh, be still my heart.
The bunny was a big hit, although Lib wanted the one I made for Hollyn because starting at that very moment, brown was her new favorite color. How convenient...and unfortunate. Those initials are non-removable. Sorry kid.
(Note- she was over this idea in about 2.5 seconds, so no worries.)

She named her bunny Ally.
I still can't get over this. Seriously, when did she go from big kid to little lady????

We went to church with my parents. It was fabulous. Seriously. No fussing. No whining. No wiggling. It'll probably never happen again.
And these two girls sure did look cute.....

or at least I thought so. :)
And I just love this photo- it's so THEM.....
These the kind of moments I'd like to capture and put away in a box that I can pull out and open whenever the mood strikes. Honestly, knowing that Libby will remember my grandmother when she's all grown up is truly one of the greatest blessings I've ever known.

But, THIS is where my thoughts have been lately.
Ugh, I love this kid.

Truly, if I'd known having a second baby would bring this many blessings my way, I'd have jumped on this wagon a whole heck of a lot sooner.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Let the Easter-ness begin!

Ok, so first of all, I'd like to brag on Hollyn Reed who has slept through the night three times this week! I am so stinkin' proud of my twelve-week-old, and I am so in love with this little grin.

So, today Lib and I went to an Easter egg hunt at the Methodist church here in town with some friends. It was a beautiful day, and we had a great time together- just the two of us. :)

......And the kid did some SERIOUS egg huntin'.......

....and then got to meet the big white bunny.

OK, so a new Easter tradition at our house are the Easter story cookies. We made these last night, and I think it is one of the best teaching tools out there. Here's what you do:

You’ll need: Bible, 1 c pecans, 1 tsp. vinegar, 3 egg whites, pinch of salt, 1 c granulated sugar, 1 qt. or gal. size zipper bag, wooden spoon, tape

Before we started we preheated the oven to 300 and lined a cookie sheet with wax paper (it's important to preheat your oven now and not when you're halfway done).

First, have your helpers crush, smash, and beat the pecans and while they do it share with them that this is what the Roman soldiers did to Jesus’ body. Read John 19:1-3. Put the pecans aside until a little later in the story.

Note: This picture was taken prior to telling Libby what the beating of the pecans represented, hence the inappropriate joyous expression. ;)

Next it's time to add the vinegar. Before you add the vinegar to the mixing bowl let the children smell the vinegar (I even let Libby taste it- wish I'd captured THAT face on camera). Explain to them that this is what Jesus was offered to drink. Read Read John 19:28-30.

To the vinegar, add egg whites. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life, and the eggs represent new life.
Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each childs hand and let them taste it. Have them brush whatever is left into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sins. Read Luke 23:27.
Point out to your little ones that so far, the ingredients in this bowl aren't so appealing, just like our lives would be without Jesus in them.

Next, the story turns sweet. Add 1 cup of sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.
Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 & John 3:1-3.

Fold in the broken nuts. Drop mixture by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.

Place the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

GO TO BED. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20.
The next morning…
open the oven and remove the cookies. Notice – the cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.

Libby LOVED this- I think it really helped her to wrap her mind around all that Jesus went through so that we may be free.
Again, I hope you and yours are truly blessed tomorrow.
Easter mornin' pics comin' soon. :)

Friday, April 2, 2010


Meet Dolly.
Although she might not look like much at first glance, this is one of my most treasured possessions. My grandmother made her for me when I was about seven. She now lives in my hope chest, and if my house is ever on fire, she will be one of the first things I grab. I still remember the exact way I felt when my grandmother finished sewing her and handed her to me for the first time. There's just something so special about knowing someone took the time to MAKE you something...that my grandmother chose every thing about her and stitched every little stitch herself. This is a feeling I hope and pray my daughters will have one day, and a feeling I hope to give to Libby this Easter.

So, for Easter this year, I made each of my girls two gifts. The first is an ABC Bible verse book. I think it's very important to learn and study scripture, and I don't think you can ever start introducing this too early in life. Thanks to my hubby who downloaded over a hundred super cute new fonts for me to play with, I was able to make each letter's verse different. I am super-pleased with how they turned out and hope the girls (well, Libby, as Hollyn's still a little young for this just yet) really likes her book. And I think Easter is the perfect time for a gift such as this.

The second gift took a little more effort, but I do believe my hardwork has paid off this time. :)
Libby has decided that Easter isn't Easter without a stuffed bunny, so I bought some tall women's socks on sale at Target and got to work. Here's what I came up with:

I decided to personalize them by putting each girl's initials on the inside of an ear.

And then, to make it extra meaningful, I stitched the scripture reference to Psalms 139 on the booty. If you aren't familiar with or can't call this scripture to mind, my favorite verse is as follows:
Psalms 139: 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
How perfect is that for my precious babies?

Will they like them? Well, I guess we'll have to wait and see.... I'll be sure to let you know. :)
I hope that you and yours have a truly blessed Easter weekend and that you take a minute out of this crazy world in which we live to think about all that GOD has done for us and the many ways you are blessed.

If she wants to rock, she rocks....

Ok, so those who know me well know how much I LOVE music, especially live music. So, when my friend Kristen called and invited me to a free, outdoor Eric Hutchinson concert, I couldn't possibly resist. If you haven't heard of Eric, he's GREAT! I love his newest can check him out here.
So, yesterday, after what felt like the longest teaching day of the year thus far, my friend Erin and I headed down to Clinton. The weather was perfect, and the view was amazing:

We weren't the only ones who enjoyed the concert. Check out this fella, dancing.....alone.....

See, I told you we were close to the stage. :)

Could the night possibly get any better? I didn't think so. And then one of my FAV-O-RITE people EVER, the infamous Megan T., showed up.

me+megan t.= endless hours of giggling and a guaranteed good time

Erin and I enjoyed every minute of Eric's performance.

THe four of us had a fabulouso time.
Erin, me, Megan T., and Kristen

However, it did get a little windy. Good thing the Libster thought to stick this handy hairbrush in my purse, right?

As you can tell, it really helped keep our hair 'in check', so to speak.

Kristen, whom I do believe is Eric's biggest fan, got him to sign her t-shirt.
I thnk she wasn't excited, but I'm not sure...what do you think???

When I said we were close, did I mention that if we'd been any closer we would have been on the stage with him?
I loved his faded pink guitar.....what color was this originally, I wonder....

And his drummer had sparkly blue drums. Too bad Libby wasn't there- she's a sucker for anything that sparkles.

But the highlight of the night was this, when we actually got to MEET him.
Great start to a great Easter weekend?
I think so.