Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Ever since we found out that our newest addition (coming in August, if you hadn't heard!) is a BOY, we have heard a slew of random comments, congratulatory remarks, and lots of tips on how very very different this little creature will be from our two sweet girls.  And while YES, we are over-the-moon excited about all this little guy is going to add to our family, there are a few of these comments that make me scratch my head sometimes.  For instance, "You'll never believe how dirty little boys can get!"  I may very well eat my words someday, but let me just state for the record that little girls can get awfully dirty, too!

Daddy has been hard at work in the garden as of late (he expanded it quite a bit, which required lots of digging, removing giant rocks (because this is Tennessee), adding to his amazing rock wall, and adding more dirt of course), and Caroline & Ellie are happy to be of assistance whenever possible. 

Yesterday evening he was adding and leveling some dirt in the new addition, so the girls got to work with their shovels as well.  They weren't big fans of Daddy tossing the dirt from one end to the other (as evidenced by their facial expressions in this picture!).

I only had to ask Ellie not to lick the spade two or three times.

But she worked really hard on moving big clumps around to make sure things were in their proper place.

Caroline has gotten pretty handy with that shovel.  Although she did ask Daddy for some "softer dirt" a few times.  I'm pretty sure they are going to be sorely disappointed when we actually plant the garden and they lose their giant dirt box!

No comments about child labor laws, please.  She's 3 1/2, plenty old enough to start earning her keep around here!

This is the filth I'm talking about, people.  This child.  The quantities of dirt do not necessarily show up in these pictures, but it's there alright.  The ring left in the bathtub last night could attest to it.  And doesn't she look just distraught over it?

I'm actually a little upset about these shoes.  I just bought in, last week.  Someone apparently didn't get the memo that they are not her gardening shoes (ahem, Daddy???).  I'm hoping they survive the washing machine.

But how is a mother supposed to be upset over these things?  Even when I see stain removal in my immediate future, I can't help but enjoy this sweet, filthy face.

Ellie spies just about any bird in a 100 mile radius.

She melts me.  Snot & all.

I guess she'd had enough of the garden for awhile, so she decided to check out her other favorite location...there's ALWAYS dirt and/or mud here!

And then there's my first born.  Crazy Caroline.  And while this girlfriend can get dirty, she has also been known to fall into tears of despair when being sprinkled with water from a neighbor boy's water gun.  She just needs to be prepared for what's coming.  So if dirt is coming, it's long as she isn't presently in love with the outfit she's in or the shoes she's wearing or won't be forced to take a bath AND wash her hair because of said dirt.  And while I sigh in exasperation, I also completely understand what she's going through...she may be a little bit like her Mama :)

Apparently she was prepared for dirt yesterday.  And somehow, her clothes managed to escape with only so much as a smudge on the back.  So maybe that's what people are talking about when they say little girls just don't get very dirty.

But then again, they probably have never met Ellie.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Well hello there!  I know, I know, I've been away for awhile...sorry about that.  I'm ready to give it another go.  I think.  At least today I am...we'll see about tomorrow :)  But rather than go on about the last several months that I've missed, I'm just going to jump right in and pretend like that little break never happened - ok?  Here we go!

I just got back from a grocery trip a little while ago that got me thinking.  As I was going through the process of getting everyone & everything out of the car van, I saw a friend of mine pull up in her sleek white car.  This friend of mine leads a rather different life than my own, and the next few minutes highlighted that rather profoundly for me.  She is a very successful career woman who is now able to run her own business from home.  She caught up to us in the entryway as I was loading the girls into the "car cart," situating grocery bags, wiping down the steering wheels, and trying to find my coupons and mile-long grocery list I had compiled before we left.  My friend breezed in without so much as a purse.

We chatted for a few minutes, talked about community group this weekend and she said she was going to pick up a cake since it was so-and-so's birthday.  I racked my brain about what exactly I was going to make since I will be supplying the other part of the snack for that night.  Caroline asked about her son, and she told her he was at "school" (daycare).  Caroline looked confused, but let it pass.  Then she said good-bye and headed for the deli counter to grab a sandwich for lunch, smiled as my girls got their free cookies, and was gone before I had picked up a loaf of bread.

I took a deep breath as I looked at my grocery list.  I had a looong ways to go.  And I thought about my friend as we zig-zagged our way up and down nearly every aisle, pausing every now and then to wipe sticky fingers or break up an argument over the water bottle or say "no" for the millionth time to those dumb toys that are hanging about every 6 feet right at cart level.  I thought about my friend when Ellie had a complete melt-down in the dairy section because she couldn't eat her yogurt RIGHT NOW (never mind a spoon) and I had to carry her the rest of the way (thank goodness it was the last aisle), and I thought about her again as I checked out amidst my disorganized coupons and crying children. 

Over an hour later, we were finally on our way home.  We were all hungry and tired, just thinking about loading in all that I had purchased made my back hurt, and I quickly tried to figure out what would be the quickest route to get them to eat & then (please Lord) sleep.  And I thought about my friend again.  Jealousy was starting to get the better of me when a simple little phrase came to mind: 

Comparison is the thief of JOY.

A friend of mine has that posted on her refrigerator, and I'm glad she does, because I needed to be reminded of it today.

Comparison really is the thief of joy.  As I compared my life to my friend's, I could only see the good stuff in hers and the crummy stuff in mine.  As I saw her whisk out of the store with her sandwich in hand (that someone else had prepared), I thought about the 2 meals I still had left to prepare before the day's end.  I didn't think about the meetings and hours of work I'm sure she still has left before picking up her son, dealing with typical house-hold stuff, and falling into bed exhausted. 

I also didn't think about the snuggles I'd get when I put Ellie down for her nap.  Or the sweet song Caroline sang to herself on the drive home.  I didn't think about the time I had yesterday morning to oblige Caroline and put both girls in tutu's, watching them dance & spin without a care in the world.  I didn't think about the pride I felt just a couple days ago when I was able to bring them to Story Time at the library and another mom watched as Caroline carefully wrote out a couple letters - then asked if she goes to preschool (nope, I taught her that!).  I may have been thinking about the loads and loads of laundry I've done this week, the piles of dishes, the never-ending housework -- but I didn't think about the fact that I'm usually done with all that (or can be) when Dan walks in at the end of a day, and we can simply sit down and enjoy our evening.

Neither did I think about this moment, in which I am able to put my feet up, eat a few M&M's from Ellie's Easter jar (she won't miss them), and just think about how blessed my life really is.  I am blessed to have the resources to fill a grocery cart almost weekly in order to prepare (mostly) healthful meals for my family, and then sit down and enjoy them together (okay, so not all meals are exactly enjoyable...I suppose that's another post for another day!).  I am blessed to have a beautiful home to care for and maintain and make into a peaceful place for my family and others to enjoy.  I am blessed to have TIME.  I am blessed to have time with my girls all day every day.  My Mom always said that in order to have quality time, you must have quantity time, and now I totally understand that.  I am blessed to have slow mornings and restful afternoons.  I am blessed to have time with my husband whenever he's available, because I always am.  I am blessed to have time to pray, to read the Word of God, and to be reminded of His truths.

I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom.  It's not for everyone - and I know that my friend feels very blessed in her life, because she said so just the other day - but I am thankful that it is for me.

 Here are a few of the "moments" I'm so thankful I didn't miss over the past few days (please excuse the quality - they're from my phone):

morning ballerinas

My big girl had just come down the steps all by herself after nap (this is a new step for us!)


Nutella monster :)

These 2 snuggled & wrestled in Ellie's crib for a good 20 minutes the other day - it was hilarious and endearing all at once

At the park with Ells-a-bells on a beautiful day

Showing me her "roller coaster" she had just created

Listening/watching animated books on the computer at the library