April 14, 2014

An in-depth look at dramatic parenting

So, I feel like maybe I let you guys off a little easy the other day when I shared about my families recent bout of sickness, and maybe I need to give you some of the details. Ok, wait, I lie that's not the reason . I'm really going to put it here more for myself. I find that when I go back to blog posts that I wrote when Ransom was a baby I  often marvel at some of our truly horrific days. Its nice to remember. Mostly because of the lovely fact that I'd first forgotten . When we are in the worst of it we can hardly imagine that there will be a day where the awfulness will have worn off, but its true.

It fades.

So, in the glory of the fact that this story will fade, let me set the stage.

It was Saturday night. We'd had a busy day, a day that had started with us at the Urgent Care clinic finally getting Tabitha's health issues sorted out. We had then rushed to take my friend Adelaide to a hair appointment ( she's in town for an army course and she's currently stationed in Germany which means she doesnt have her car with her. bummer for her...which you'll soon see...), and then I had made the smart decision to take my kids home instead of going to a Ministry training event.

I must insert here that its SO crazy how different my attitude is with two kids instead of one. Poor Tabitha has had to suck it up soooo much more than Ransom. There is NO way that if Ransom had been sick for weeks and weeks and I'd just taken him to a last resort doctors appointment, that I would then leave said appointment and even CONSIDER lugging him to some event. Bless my little girls heart. She is SUCH a trooper. I admit a lot of my attitude change has not just been that I'm now a mom of two...but also the fact that Tabitha really is so incredibly easy.

But as we drove and Tabitha started to whimper from the backseat, I shot up our white flag for the day and we headed home.

The day continued....I went back and got Adelaide from her hair appointment and she came home to our house where I put the kids down for naps and I made pizza dough for future dinners, and gave the master bedroom a deep clean. Adelaide insisted that sitting around and watching me do house chores was more fun than going home. I seriously doubted it. ;-)

So skip to the evening.....I'd made snacks, herded post-nap children, I'd made dinner, and was starting to clean up from the dinner process when Ransom yelled that his ear hurt. I told him it would be ok. ( yeah, I guess my overall attitude as a parent has relaxed considerably.) I figured he was just complaining because I'd asked him to clean up his toys. But, by the time we'd sat down to watch a little movie I could tell he was not himself. At. All. He was weirdly worried by parts of the movie he'd never been worried about before. And started to complain about his ear hurting. And then he started to cry. Uncontrollably. Nothing I did could make it better. He was beyond consolling.

Brett was getting ready to go into a night shift....oh yeah, did I mention Brett was on night shifts? And thus, making me a "single mom" for pretty much 20 hours of the day. More like 22 hours of the day. But, hey, I know some rockstars who are 24 hours of the day ALWAYS. So no complaint here. I'm just sayin'. Brett was getting ready to head off to work, and Tabitha was making it known that she needed to go to bed. right then.

So in the midst of this craziness, I decided to take Ransom to the ER.  eh. not my best decision. And I can now tell  you at least 20 reasons why, but at the TIME? At the time it seemed like a good idea. Story of my life.

Oh, and my Adelaide. What a long suffering friend! She just thought that Brett was going to take her home on his way to work! Nope. Instead she headed with me and a screaming Ransom to the hospital. And by screaming I mean that ear piercing scream. The out of control animalistic scream. It was pretty intense....luckily we only live about 3 minutes from the hospital and there was a super long train parked along the road so there was some minor distracting for my screaming son...but oooooopppppppsssss.....I left my wallet in the other bag. You know, the wallet that has my all important military ID. 
Back home we go, and the screaming gets MUCH LOUDER when Ransom realizes he does NOT get to go to his bed as he is so strongly suggesting.  And then...and then the worst thing ever.
That train?
That SUPER LONG train? Parked beside the road?!  It is no longer parked. It is moving....slowly, ever so slowly across our road. Leaving us at a standstill. No closer to the hospital. A hyperventilating 3 year old in the back seat, a husband who's getting closer and closer to being really REALLY late to work waiting at home with our sick 1 year old.
This is where I may have said something I am not proud of under my breath.

But then I pulled it together and talked in my most chipper voice about how exciting and fantastic it was that we were going to get to sit and watch this train go by.....Its in these moments that I realize how important it is to not let my own emotions mirror my childs, no matter how distressed and awful they might be making life for themselves and everyone else. Someone must be uber calm. And basically that person has to be Mom. Not always easy, and sometimes not even possible. But I put my whole focus into it and sat there watching that SLOOOOOW train go by and discussed the cars and their different colors with Adelaide.
Bless her.

After seeming hours had past we finally arrived at the ER. An ER that was filled with the young and old all reduced to waiting together in the hopes of getting some medical care. And there we were. Two women and a screaming 3 year old. And by screaming I mean SCREAMING. Really really loud screaming.

I'm pretty sure Adelaide and I  were mistaken as a couple by an actual lesbian couple and their tween son who were sitting in front of us, but they were SO nice and friendly and incredibly patient with the amount of weeping and nashing of teeth that was going on behind them. Seriously, I do not know why the ER didn't call us back sooner, just for the sake of the 40 other people having to suffer through listening to us...  But they didn't and instead we waited for FOUR HOURS. Ransom eventually fell asleep 

And we watched the time tick away. With each passing minute I regretted my
Decision to come to the ER. After further observation it was clear that only Ranaom's ear hurt. Nothing else. Classic ear infection. And sure, he kept waking up in pain, but at home at least the two of us would be the only ones suffering. Here in the ER Adelaide was stuck with is, and by now, my Dear Friend Deb was watching over Tabitha at home and Brett was at work, so Deb was ALSO holding an unasked for night vigil. I had clearly jumped the gun. We should not be here....
But now that'd we'd put in all that suffering time, when should we call it quits? At what point was all of this waiting around NOT worth it any more? 

I held Ransom's sweaty head in my lap and played mind games: "if we haven't been called by 11, we'll leave..."

"If we haven't been called by 12:15 we'll leave."

At 12:30 I sent Adelaide on a recon mission to see how far down on the list we were. It was SUPER discouraging to here that there were five patients in front of us.

And then around 1 Ransom woke up again. And so did everyone else within ear shot because the dude began to scream and cry again. In desperation, I picked him up and carried him up to the desk with me to have the people tell ME to my FACE that 5 hours in the ER was not enough... And guess what? They did just that. They told me and my crying son that there were no longer FIVE people in front of us, but SIX. 

This was the last straw.

I turned, went back to our seats and told Adelaide we were leaving... And then, the most annoying thing happened.... They called our name! Sure as I'm impatient they had called my bluff and I was NOT taking it!! And there they were calling is back. Half begging us to stay!

I suppose I should be thankful that the rest of our ER Visit last about 45 minutes, from seeing the doctor to getting our medicine and walking out the door. BUT IM NOT.

Should I have called their bluff sooner? Pretended to leave so my kid would get care? Should we even have to resort to either going to the ER or being sent to a clinic that misdiagnosed Tabitha only a few weeks before? Should I have definitely just waited to go to the ER during the next morning so all my friends could have gotten a decent nights sleep?

All the answers to these questions made for a pretty unsatisfied Mommy.

But such is the way, and as I have said before, these moments so quickly fad
From memory... And for that I am thankful. 

Resurrection Eggs: my new favorite thing

So a week or so ago one of my lovely Instagram friends posted a picture of some "Resurrection Eggs" and I was immediately curious! She gave me the details and a few days later I headed out to buy our own set! 
I am SO glad I did! 

You can find these Easter eggs at any Christian bookstore ( I looked into about three different ones in our area and they all had them)- I got mine at Family Christian Books. And the price ranges from $15 to $20. ( I got mine for $16.50), and hey if you don't live somewhere with a Christian bookstore, you can get them online too!  

The eggs came in a fun "egg carton" but I moved ours into a big bowl on our dinning room table, easier for little hands to get to and also added decoration! Score!  

At first I thought we'd use the eggs like an "advent" calendar of sorts. Open an egg every day, discover the little figurine inside and read the story, but turns out Ransom likes to hear ALL the stories ALL at once! He sat through all 12 eggs about four times on the first day! I was AMAZED at how opening little eggs held his attention and how much of the stories he retained by having these little "visual aids" 

I would tell him which egg to get out, he would find the right egg, open it up and he'd play with whatever was inside while I read him the story. 

There is a donkey ( Palm Sunday), 3 silver coins ( judas betrayal), a little cup ( last supper), praying hands ( prayers in the garden) , a rooster ( peter's denial), a crown of thorns ( he was mocked), a whip ( beaten and tortured for us), nails ( nailed to the cross), a spear ( pierced for our transgressions), a linen cloth ( buried) *, a stone ( covering the grave), and an empty egg ( He has risen !) 

I currently alternate between reading the little stories and just telling them. But honestly, it was all surprisingly well written and each story pointed to the Truth of Easter.  Tabitha's little baby hands in the picture above also prove that even little ones like to sit and play with the eggs. I definitely think these eggs will be a part
of our Easter Tradition from now on! Ransom just keeps on asking for us to do the Egg Stories and we just keep saying yes! 

*I was super bummed when I found that my Eggs came without a linen cloth! Looks like they just left it out! Boo! But as far as easy to replace or come up with my own it was probably the best of the options. Still. Bummed. 

April 08, 2014

We haven't died yet.....

Hey, see that white line that almost looks like a hair on my cheek? and then that little drip on my chin. THAT'S SNOT! Snot from my adorable-yet-also-affectionate daughter who decided to give me a kiss after sneezing. 

The month of March was the month of sickness. From what I can tell sickness entered our household almost as soon as my sister's family left our home after they visited for spring break at the beginning of March. That may sound like I'm blaming it on them but I'm not, if anything,  the fact that the sickness did not hit earlier was directly related to how hard I prayed and pleaded with God to "not ruin their visit with sickness"....clearly I should have been much more specific, because as I said, the sickness hit after they left and it DID NOT LEAVE.

If I was savvy with charts and grafts. I'd show you the ebb and flow of the sickness as it surged through our family, but since I am not. I'll just tell you the highlights. I wished for death around the 27th of March.  Tabitha got EVEN SICKER ( even though I didn't think that was possible) on the 29th and Ransom went to the ER on 5th of April.
And then you might also think, oh hey, noticed Brett wasn't mentioned there! He must have been saved from the misery. Well, you'd only be partly right. He spent two of those weeks working EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. without any sign of a weekend or anything. Just night after night, then he'd come home, parent a little bit, sleep for a few hours, get up, parent again and then head off to work. He didn't see the Real World until this past Sunday.

Several people have been like, "Hey, are you guys doing better?" and I basically attack the nearest piece of wood with some sever knocking when I say, " I think so!"  because I had proclaimed with all sorts of vigor and false optimism that we were "better" last week and I spent Saturday and Sunday at various medical facilities, so pardon me if I don't get excited about the use of only half a box of kleenex today as opposed to a full box yesterday.

In the midst of all this horridness I have been thinking a lot though and one thing I know for sure. We are SO blessed. Both of my kids have been sick with common illnesses. Things that can be easily explained ( even though Tabitha was misdiagnosed twice. thanks for that). I was sick with a common illness mixed with a ( un)healthy dose of lack of sleep- things that were also eventually cured.

 We have "free" healthy care. Thanks to the military all the horrible doctor visits and potentially dangerous diagnosis and misperscribing was at the very least all free. No doctors bills for us! And that may sound tongue and cheek ( as in, we definitely got what we paid for) but I know plenty of my readers can identify with bad medical care and yet they've also spent months paying it off!

Sometimes it really is important to count your blessings in the midst of minor suffering and so today I salute the single moms, the deployment-single parents, the parents of kids suffering from life threatening illness, those buried under a mountain of medical bills and those fighting hard to stay afloat due to sickness of any kind. I acknowledge that while you may be able to find little blessings and silver linings in your days ( which, by the way, rock on for that attitude!) I also know that things are TOUGH and please know that you are not alone.

Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains....

April 04, 2014

Consultation on entertainment

When I was little, like maybe 12ish, I said that I wanted to be a consultant when I grew up. Because I had an opinion on everything and someone should really pay me for that. My parents thought this was a really kicker and told strangers on the street what I'd said, and then they'd all laugh....

But, I'm 30 now and I'm still pretty sure I'd be an excellent consultant. HOW DO YOU GET THAT GIG?  Luckily I don't have to think hard about it because there is all this free internet space just asking for my opinion so here today I will share with you my favorite entertainment: BOOM.  ( still not being paid though....that's a real downer! haha!)

I was listening to NPR on my way somewhere and I heard about this book and then received it for Christmas and then finally got to read it a month or so ago. Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL team six now besides the fact that the title is kind of stupidly long the book was a total page turner. These are my faaaavorite type of books, real stories that have almost fiction-like plots. I was also really moved and surprised by the added element of spirituality that was shared by her previously agnostic husband during their ordeal. And you can NOT HELP but get excited during the Seal team six rescue. Seriously I love that we've got heroes out there like this.  I definitely recommend this book.

When Brett is working day shifts and we have evenings together, after we put the kids down we will often "celebrate" making it through yet another day by watching a little TV. Now, we don't have "real" TV, but we do have the internet. Which is basically the same thing. There are about 3 shows that Brett and I watch together. And now that I look at my little list, I'm happy to say its fairly well rounded. 

First, this is our newest favorite show ( Thanks sister and bro-in-law for telling us about it): Brooklyn Nine-Nine on FOX.  I didn't think I'd like this show because I never really cared for anything Adam Samberg did when he was on SNL ( It was always kinda... ew).  HOWEVER, this show is actually incredibly clean. Besides some allusions to some things, its without a lot of the off-color comedy that seems so common on sitcoms these days. This show is also incredibly funny.  As in we laugh out loud every SINGLE episode. I also think its a mark of a good show when basically every single character is both likable and hilarious. Nice work. Oh, and when you watch it, and you get to the season finale and Gina starts talking in Emojis....just imagine me laughing till I cried. 

Second, this show is in its second season and Brett and I are still really liking it a lot. Elementry on CBS.  Now, after watching Sherlock on BBC ( which we also loved, but isn't worth mentioning because they only do THREE EPISODES A SEASON AND THEN LEAVE YOU HANGING FOREVER), I was skeptical about ANOTHER modern day Sherlock Holmes. And then the whole "female Watson thing" ? Yeah, call me doubtful. But! I was presently surprised! We enjoy the little mysteries, the dialogue is fun, and the relationship and growth in the characters is actually quite touching at times. I'm always down with well rounded characters and I feel like the creators of this show are really making it happen.

And lastly, we watch MARVELS: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D on ABC.  I know, I know, nerdy. But since I haven't seen a movie other than a comic book movie in the movie theatre in years. Seriously. I've just given into the fact that I'm married to a huge nerd and I actually am a huge nerd too. But this show? Another Joss Wheaton show failure?! I was incredulous that it was going to be any good. But, like I said, being married to Brett meant that I was going to be watching it whether I had my doubts or not, so you can go ahead and thank me now: I did the dirty work for you and can now say, after viewing the first 16 episodes that it's a good show. As in really good. Well written, good cast, and pretty fantastic story line development. We've gotten increasingly excited about this show and get pretty sad when it misses a week. So, if you've got a little nerd streak in you, ease your fears and give this show a shot. You won't regret it. 

So there you go, one book and three tv shows. Just show's how totally cultured we are around here. 
Need something to go along with your entertainment? May I recommend  my favorite cheap wine? Its Mirassou Winery's Pinot Noir.  Super dry red, always reliable, about 8 dollars. What's not to love? 

So, what has been entertaining you recently? I'd love to hear your recommendations! 

April 03, 2014

It's like riding a bike.

Did you know that I never officially learned how to ride a bike? I'm sure I've mentioned this embarrassing fact on my blog before but its worth repeating.

It's even more embarrassing because, thanks to the awesome invention of the "balance bike"  my 3 year old has been riding a bike better than I ever could for almost 2 years now.

That being said, the whole phrase "it's like riding a bike" has always been more theoretical than actual known scientific fact for me. Basically I'm just going to have to take all your bike-riding people's word for it- But writing blog posts is definitely one instance that it is NOT like riding a bike, you can NOT just jump back on.

Turns out that good writing takes practice. And my own writing has dwindled down into one word sentences that look like this:
 "Help."  written in the margins of my Bible.

I'm coming off of a three week bought of sickness. My kids are still sick, but luckily I  seem to becoming to the end of it. I say luckily because Mama really has to be well. There are no sick days for Mommies.

Unless you're Gwyneth Paltrow.

Anyway, I'm coming up for air. And I'm letting you know that after finally getting my computer fixed ( it's been under the weather for a bit), I'm hoping to get back into serious book writing. However.  As I just mentioned writing just doesn't come all natural like. It takes work, and some greasing of some wheels. Therefore I've decide that I'm going to kick start my writing juices by writing some badly written blog posts here.... Lucky you!

And since all my creative juices are focused on things like, "What will we eat for dinner this week?" ( because its one of life's greatest unfairnesses that we must come up with things to eat EVERY DAY, THREE TIMES A DAY)- I'm going to ask you, dear people-who-use-to-read-this-blog-back-when-I-wrote-things. What would you like to see a blog post about?
Maybe I'll pick one and write it this week!

February 15, 2014


Yesterday Ransom had a V-day party at his preschool which was basically his favorite thing ever. He got a giant bag of Valentine's from his classmates ( read: candy) and he got extra playtime at school ( we usually only go on Tuesdays and Thursdays). I spent the whole time nervously making small talk with very well dressed mothers. I had put on make up and worn my clean pair of black pants but I still didn't feel like I was measuring up. I basically went out of my way to not mention that even if we wanted to go to this preschool next year, we wouldn't because WHO CAN AFFORD THAT?! ( apparently prices go up to full-on private school tuition once you hit actual "preschool" age. So instead of paying for your kids college you can just go ahead and spend that money on private preschool (whaaaaa!?! ) .

But I didn't. And by the time we left I was feeling about as insecure as my 16 year old self. I'm THIRTY! I kept telling myself, I'M THIRTY! I SHOULD BE OVER THIS!

But the thing is, I'm not over it. I care a whole heck of a lot what other people think. But the embarrassing part there was that I should at least care about IMPORTANT things, right? I mean, what these ladies thought of my last seasons ( Target) shoes should not be on my list of what is important. Ever.

But sometimes I slip into this really awful insecure place where people do things at me. They wear their designer Jimmy Choos  at me.  And they throw perfect Valentine's parties at me. 

So stop whatever you're doing and read this blog post right now. Quit pointing your avocado at me. It should be my anthem. And I should definitely remember it when the Mommy guilt or the 16 year old self starts to seep in.

We're all fighting some battles and instead of spending my time in that preschool class room being insecure, I should have spent it loving those adorable 3 year olds, their great teachers and those other moms  ( and Nannies...there were several Nannies) of 3 year olds...because if their 3 year olds are anything like mine, then they need some major loving too....

So here's to being less about me this next week.

P.S. This blog post is brought to you by 2 hours of ALONE TIME AT STARBUCKS during the usual late evening bedtime ritual which is being handled beautifully by my wonderful husband so that I could write in peace. He is a gift.

February 06, 2014

Picture, picture on the wall...

This is my second post in what could loosely be called a "series" about my love of pictures. The first one was on Photobooks and how to keep all our picture memories at our fingertips, quite literally.

Photobooks tend to be a lot of work, though totally worth it! But printing pictures should NOT have to be that hard! So, the other way I enjoy our picture memories is by printing individual pictures and displaying them around our home.

Our photo wall ( which has pretty much met capacity...) in our dinning room is always GREAT when we have first time visitors to our home. Its has all kinds of good conversation starters right there on display! I choose pictures for print using a few guidelines:

1. Is it "artistic"and captures an important event in our life?
2. Is it flattering and does it capture important people in our life?

So my photo wall is a mixture of landscapes ( places we've lived and visited) and people ( friends and family who make us who we are)....if you're curious as to how I accomplished placement of over 40 pictures without loosing my sanity and our renters deposit ( because of the holes)...then look no further than THESE BABIES. ( thank me later).

I also have pictures in frames in our "office" that are just of our family. This has been a more recent edition and I'm enjoying adding to these picture that are of a more personal nature.

But then lately I've enjoyed just "sticking" pictures (with magnets, tape or clothes pin) that are not framed in other places around the house, usually just pictures of the kids that I find irresistibly cute....maybe I need an intervention? Hmmm...

Anyway, if you're interested, I use three major sources for printing pictures:

Kanvess.com is my current favorite. I use them for printing my "birthday pictures" tradition. The bonus (slash drawback...its the only size they offer!!)  is that they have the perfect size for my birthday print needs: 3x3s. And they are fast and easy to use and pretty cheap ( right now they have a great little Winter sale, where your first 6 prints are free using this code: WINTER7360 ) . They have an App ( and for Android) that will let you quickly and easily buy photos off your Instagram account. Or you can go on their main site (surely they will update their app for this soon?!)  and order pictures from your computer, phone or other photo keeping sites.

Postalpix is another favorite for buying prints right off my phone! Their App ( here's the Android link) lets you very easily add pictures to your cart and once you reach a full order just click "buy"! Once again, I'm drawn in by their "square" photos and I often use their 4x4s in framed pictures. But they also have your traditional 4x6 and 5x6, 8x10 etc...SO EASY if you're an "I only use my iphone for pictures" person like my self....sigh. My poor poor DSLR you are so neglected now that I have a second child!

But, once upon a time, I DID take pictures on my DSLR and I do also periodically get pictures from friends and family. I will often stick those in Dropbox and then transfer them to my photo library on my phone and still use the above Apps to print pictures! It really is just so easy and fast!

However, I still can't beat Snapfish for their bulk prices on your traditional print sizes...so when I'm buying up a bunch of traditional sizes, say to update my photo wall, I will use their company. ( they have an App too!). In further contemplation the only reason I do not like Snapfish they just have NOT got on board with the square pictures that Instagram has made me love so very very much ( clearly I'm nostalgic for some Polaroid!) and their app and website is not very user friendly in my opinion. What can I say, I find Snapfish a necessary evil.

So, that's how I print pictures for our home. If you've got some great sources that I have mentioned let me know! I'm always on the lookout for the trifecta: ease, expense, expedient ( oooh yeah, alliteration!).

January 19, 2014

1,000 words and/or picture(book)

If I could go back, I'd do them ALL like I've done the last two- "picture wrapped" covers instead of dust jackets...

Tabitha turned one. Im woefully behind in book-writing. My phone got so overloaded with pictures that I couldn't download the new operating system....and then my computer, ummm yeah basically MAXED OUT because of all the pictures stored on its harddrive.  All these things came together to give me my New Year's Goal ( resolutions are so 2005).

This year I'm staying more on top of my pictures and memory capturing.  This of course is much harder right now because not only do I need to stay on top of "January" but I also need to some how make up for the waaaay behindness that the last few years have garnered.

So my goal consists of several parts, which I'll cover in a couple of posts:
Photo storage
Photo printing.

And since I just  finished up "2012: Part two" photo book yesterday, I'll start with my photobooks.  Now that I've gotten 2012 well and truly documented ( almost 500 pictures, and 110 pages in just the last six months?! Whaaaaat?!? )  That will then leave me with 4 books* to make this year, not to mention the book for this actual year! So, yeah, luckily they aren't TOO hard to make!

(My favorite is the  "Standard Landscape" 10x8 in/24x20cm)

I find that making "photo books" is way "cleaner" and actually more cost affective than printing out pictures and doing either photo albums ( hey, last decade called they want your albums back!) OOOOOOR doing a scrap book. Scrapbooking is for crafty people and people that do not have 1 year olds who eat paper. SO photobooks it is! Also, lets say the house burns down. Every last one of my photobooks is saved in my account for easy re-ordering. That would literally be a life saver!!

If you're curious, I use the company Blurb.com   ( and hey, if you decide to use Blurb because of my recommendation, though they did not ask me to, do me a solid and click on this link! If you order a book then we'll BOTH get $20 off!! WOO!!). They are really easy to use and work well with both iphotos, flickr, photobucket and several other photo sights to make your book/photo making easier. They have already set up layouts you can use, or if your a design nazi like me, you can EASILY make your own page layouts and incorporate those too. To be honest this is why I like Blurb better than say Snapfish or Shutterfly. Bottomline, I hate the thought of me having a photobook that would even REMOTELY resemble someone else's. But they have totally different pictures, Abigail.  I didn't say it was at all logical!!
I also like Blurb because they will frequently have rockin Groupon deals and so I'll make a book and wait to buy it till a time when I have a Groupon to cash in. Simple.
My last, recent fav thing, which other companies may be doing now too- is with the purchase of my book I can buy a digital copy for just 5 bucks! This means we've got kindle versions of all our photo albums! Want to walk down memory lane while out with your ipad? Easy peasy!

So there you have it! I'm SO excited to get my next book in the mail next week! EEEK!!! Ransom loves these books too and will sit for hours looking at pictures of himself. It's so great having a hard "in your hands" copy to enjoy together! And since the books are so easy to re-order I don't worry too much about grimy hands or accidental tears. Our books are to be enjoyed!

*I still need to make a photo book of the year that Brett was deployed. I've procrastinated because in my mind it's "two years" worth of pictures! But after putting some thought into it, I think I'm now just going to go month by month and have "Brett's January/Abigail's January" then "Brett's February/Abigail's February"....it'll hopefully be fun for us and the kids to see just how DIFFERENT our lives were!

I also have Tabitha's First Year book which I will be making just like I did Ransom's. Instead of just pictures of the year it will also include her birthstory plus a letter that I wrote to here each month that first year.    

And since there are a lot of other pictures from 2013 that aren't just Tabitha oriented, I can't seem to figure out a way to just not have a 2013 book as well. And, let's be honest, there will probably be TWO books for 2013. Because I take far too many picture and I have no ability to cut any pictures, THEY ARE ALL IMPORTANT GOSH DARN IT!

THEN if I get all that done, I've been really itching to make a photobook of my years at the University of Otago, or just a book of my time in New Zealand period! My kids have no IDEA about that part of my life, and I doubt they'll care for a few more years yet, but hopefully ONE day they'll enjoy a look into a different culture and the beautiful country and people that was so influential in my life...Plus, it'll be 10 years since I left this coming December (!!!!!!!) and that seems like a fun way to mark the occasion!

So, there you have it! My photobook goals for the year! We'll see how much I get done! Ha. ha. ha.

January 15, 2014

love language

It's coming up on February the month of "red things". I've never been super huge on valentine's day, but I'm not gonna lie. I do love me some RED. So all those V-day decorations that are out in Target right now? Be still my heart.

That being said,  its the 15th of the month and I've already hit the max on my monthly "Abigail" budget so I'm trying to stay strong and not buy a super cute heart garland.

How'd you spend your Abigail money so quickly, you ask? Weeeeellllllll....it had to do with the out of control toy situation in our living room and some much needed cheap bookcases. Did you know that you can buy a small( will probably fall on you and you will die if you are in an earthquake) bookcase for under $20?!?! Wal-Mart, Target, Ikea. They've all got them...and while I'd made a vow to never buy "cheap furniture again"...I'm going to make an exception because of all the shelving needs we've got in our house. Plus I don't think there are any active fault lines in San Antonio...that I know of.

Friends, I'm not gonna lie. Shelving is one of my love languages. That and calendars. If Brett wants to show me some serious lovin' and get me all warm and fuzzy he just has to pull out his work calendar and give me the "what to expect in the coming weeks/months" rundown and I'm basically at his mercy. I love me some organization.

Incidentally I take full and complete responsibility for Ransom's multiple/thousands of time a day question of "What are we going to do next?" questions. He gets it straight from this here DNA.

So, when we put together two new bookcases, one in our living area/kids play area and one in the master bedroom ( for like the 50 MILLION new books Brett has gotten from his brother in the last few months), I was positively gitty with happiness.
And you know what?

Now that all the toys and our house, once again have a specific spot all their own and not just one giant over flowing toy bin. More toys are being played with, the clutter is nonexistent after the end of the day clean up and I think we are all happier.

"It's beauty" as Ransom would say.

So,  don't be afraid to buy some bookcases, get your toys organized and have your kids put them all away at the end of EVER SINGLE DAY.  Beginning and ending the day clean and organized is also one of my love languages.... But just in case you're confused...or house looks like this all the time in between:

Because that's life. 

January 12, 2014

Prayers that get underlined.

So, I told you all about my prayer card during my last post and tonight I will share one of my prayers with you.

Smack dab in the middle of my card I have written "A friend for Ransom" it is circled. For artistic reasons. But tonight, I wish I had UNDERLINED IT IN BOLD.

This prayer has been on the table since we moved to San Antonio almost a year ago ( I can't believe it'll be a year in March!!), and while some days it has seemed more pressing than others ( like when Ransom talks about the little boy he met at the park for DAYS after being there or when he stands back and watches a large group of kids at the sandbox)...but having him attend school twice a week has helped, and having almost monthly visits to our home town where he has cousins to play with has also helped. But it has stayed on my mind. I can not let it go.

Yesterday we were outside riding bikes when Ransom noticed a little girl on a scooter down the street...and he HIGH TAILS IT DOWN THE BLOCK, yelling "Let's go meet the other children!"

And so, I swept up Tabitha, barefoot and sippy cup in hand and we trekked down the street looking like total loonies. But we met a very friendly little girl named "Abby" who was 9 and her brother Caleb who was almost 6 and in the 20 minutes I stood talking to their mom, Ransom got in trouble for riding his bike further than he is allowed and got invited to watch Abby's new bedroom TV. ( um. no). He also got to play "baseball" with them in the front yard which was almost impossible to tear him away from when I remembered that we had literally left dinner in the middle of preparation to meet our new neighbors. And so, while I was thinking how difficult it is that all the children we currently know are so much older than he is.....it was established in Ransom's mind that we would be playing baseball with them the very next day!! FOR EVER AND ALWAYS
He talked about it all evening, asking me when we could go over to their house again.
I told him that we could walk down to visit soon...

So, today came. Ransom's first thought was about playing baseball with his new friends. We took a morning walk to see if they were around. No luck. It was cloudy and raining anyway....I promised him we'd go "see if they were home" after his nap.

Well as you can imagine after his nap his FIRST WORDS were: "Do you think our friends are awake too?!"
He then sat with Tabitha's baby monitor waiting for her to wake so we could go.
Now, honestly, Ransom gets excited about just about MOST THINGS. Going to the store? He's excited. Going for a walk? He's excited. Going to the dentist? He's excited. He's like a labrador puppy. So really I wasn't paying too much attention to his excitement until he gathered up all his baseball gear.
His hat.
His glove.
His baseball bat.


I started to prepare him for disappointment.

"If our friends aren't home, we'll play baseball together, ok?!"

But the damage was done. He could not hear me through his expectations.

So you can imagine the fallout when our neighbors were actually gone.

And you will hopefully not fault me that I dropped everything and piled Tabitha and Ransom into the car to drive to a park. ANY PARK. At that point I didn't care. I figured God would at least give us SOMEONE who likes to attend parks in the evening on a beautiful 70 degree Sunday night....SURELY GOD WOULD DO THAT!!!

Annnnnnnd the car wouldn't start.

So, dear friends, here we are....later in the evening, my son was pretty easily soothed with Toy Story 2 ( he rarely gets to watch movies, score.) and pasta for dinner. We ended the night playing "bad guys" with his drill and screw driver. And now I lie here in bed, asking God for a friend.
I guess I need to pray that I  will make a friend, because let's be honest, at 3 years old....its the mom's who are making the play dates. I need a friend with a little boy who knows all about obeying their parents ( we don't need bad habits just quite yet), who likes to play cars and super heros and firetrucks and who doesn't mind that pants are optional.

 I'm realizing as my little dude gets older that some things are harder than I thought they'd be. Toy Story 2 and pasta did not ease my heart the same way it did his. I hurt for his little heart and I pray that we both find friends soon.

The positive here is that God knows my prayers. And He knows how long I've been praying for this. He also has perfect timing. So I look forward to updating my blog about this topic when we have a 3 year old little friend to play baseball with.

December 29, 2013


This morning while Tabitha was taking her morning cat nap and Ransom was busy pouring dry pinto beans into a toy garbage truck, I wrote "Prayer Matters" at the top of my blue and white card, right underneath "2014" and got started on my prayer list for the coming year. 

It was double meaning as in, "matters of prayer" but also the obvious "Prayer does matter" and sometimes I need reminding of that. 

For my birthday Brett got me a really awesome "journaling bible" which basically means really wide margins that are lined so you can write next to verses that stick out to you. I'm guessing it was meant for bible study in the more academic sense, but for me it has revitalized my prayer life. Sometime that has faulted a lot in the last year. Make that two. Basically ever since Ransom could pick up a pencil and scribble in my prayer journal. I'm not blaming anyone but me, but let's just say...its hard to put a prayer together, much less a basic full sentence without interruption with babies and toddlers sucking your life force (oops that was a bit dramatic)! But now that I've got a place to write again, and as my bible reading guides my prayers, I write them down ( usually just a few sentences) that way when I'm interrupted I know exactly where I was...it's written right in front of me! 

But then another Mommy Brain area needed addressing. I've got tons of things that I'm praying for at any given time, but my Mommy Brain has assured me that I can't keep them all straight. 

So entered the prayer card. It's a list of the Big Prayers.  For me that means I don't put "hope I can make it to and from the grocery store in one piece today!" on the prayer list. No, that prayer is just going to happen...but we're talking praying for the Mom of a friend who passed away this year, or the friend who's marriage is rocky with a chance of avalanche. We're talking prayers like "10 people from our neighborhood find Jesus this year." or "That Ransom finds a good friend his own age." "That our friend will be healed of his life threatening illness"
The prayers that may take a while, the ones that I need to return to day after day. 

Basically it's like a Prayer version of New Years Resolutions except that I know I can't do the things on my list! In fact, the fact that I can't do them makes them all the cooler. Because I know that Jesus can. 

One of the cool editions to the prayer list this year is that right at the top I always put Brett, Ransom and Tabitha's name..not that I'll ever forget to pray for them...but this year I flipped the card over and wrote something new: 

This year I got the idea from a friend to pray through the Fruits of the Spirit for my husband and children. And not just "May they have love, amen" but basically anything and everything I can think of in regards to each word. 
For instance joy: May ____ have joy even when times are rough. May ____ be joyful in the middle of the night when ___ has a nightmare. May _____ find Joy in giving to others. etc etc. 
Hopefully it'll give me a lot of new "material" in praying for them! Especially for my children. I feel like I spend so much time praying for our present season that I forget or loose sight of praying for big things. Salvation, schooling, friends, spouses there are allllll sorts of things I want to be praying for on a regular basis. 

Right underneath my families names are the names of seven people who I've got BIG THINGS to pray for them about. These are the lost, the downtrodden, the sick, the broken hearted in my life. I love them and it just so happens that when I asked God who to put on my list he gave me 7 names!! COOL! Because now I get to pray for one of them every day of the week!! 

There are of course other things on my card too.  The dreams, the worries, the goals. And I also made room for some blank space for the BIG prayers that I know will cross our path in 2014. Because that's what life is.....it is stock full of things that we can decidedly not handle alone. They too will be going on the Prayer Matters Card. 

May we all go into 2014 with our eyes upon Jesus the Author and Perfecter. He is Worthy and I wish each of us a growing relationship with Him this year! 

December 15, 2013

I guest posted today...

Hey friends! Today I'm honored to share that I'm guest blogging over at my friend Renee's blog. I met Renee and her son Apollo ( as well as one of her other daughters, Tilly) while we were staying at the Ronald McDonald House last year. I was first drawn to them because her son had GORGEOUS golden ringlets and seemed to be about the same age as Ransom. Oh, and they were running around outside with short sleeves on and it was, like, 60 degrees ( CLEARLY they weren't from Texas! hahaha!). Sure enough, they were in Houston all the way from Washington state for a surgery for Apollo. I since learned what an interesting lady Renee and her whole family truly was and have enjoyed keeping up with them on her blog. ( 14 children! homeschooling! adoption! child with health problems! mission trips! Crafts! Recipes! ALL THINGS I'm TOTALLY into reading about!)

As with many of the children that we met at the Ronald McDonald House, Apollo's health problems are ongoing and he remains one of those kids that remains a permanent fixture on my  prayer list. How thankful I am for that time at the RM House for so many reasons! But the children I met there have forever changed me. And I am honored to keep praying for them even now.

I must also mention that Renee asked me to guest post for her today because she's in New Zealand! JEALOUSLY!!! I hope she gives a shout out to my alma mater while she's there.

So head on over, give Renee's blog a peruse and read my post about my Christmas Great Expectations.  

December 10, 2013

What's for Christmas....Ransom

I'm posting this as part of my little Christmas series on gifts for my kiddos. You can view the first post, if you missed it, here.

While it was a little hard to stick to my 4 presents rule for Tabitha, it was MUCH harder for Ransom, and I'm glad we're starting this rule early in their lives. I know that as the years go on it will be that much harder to combat the "geemies" on both sides of the board.

That being said, here are the winners and runners up for Ransom's presents this year:

Ransom ( age 3 and a half):

Read: This was hard. It always is. There are so many books I want for Ransom, but I'm gonna be honest with you, this year, because he already has so many beautiful books and I know he's just going to get more, I went with the cheap route. And I also went with the route of "Lets learn some lessons". Thus "The Berenstain Bears: Kindness Counts" and "The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving"


Ransom LOVES the Berenstain Bear books. He inherited all of mine from when I was a little girl, and I love how they are a good teaching tool for various lessons we face on a daily basis ( can you guess our current "learning" issues!?! hahah).

I have a running list of back up books for Ransom at all times, but here's one that should be on any little boys Christmas list: "Steam Train, Dream Train"  Isn't it gorgeous?


I decided to go with something a little fun for Ransom's "wear" category...afterall, it is Christmas! I'm pretty darn excited about this present and I can't wait to see him wearing them! However, *REAL TALK* I haven't actually purchased this gift yet...yeah, I've got to make a trip to my local boot barn and it just hasn't happened yet.  But don't you think Ransom's gonna be ADORABLE tromping around in something like this?! 

My runner up was in a close race. But the boots ended up winning out by just a little. You'll see why...
Yeah, I know....it was such a tough call! I can totally seeing him running around with these boots on for days on end, especially since he loves playing fireman. But, in the end I decided I would rather not have to fight the battle of not letting him wear his rain boots to school every day....You can purchase this set for your little fireman for just $19.99 on Zulily right now if you act fast! 


This is always the hard category when it comes to Christmas gifts, you don't want your kid getting new pencils ( unless they are really awesome pencils) for Christmas, so I went with something that I feel like Ransom does need, but that he might also have a little fun with. And, there's a little story behind this one, so buckle up. Ransom only has one real board game. We won it at a white elephant a few years ago, and it's Candyland. Not the best little boy boardgame and so I don't have to tell you that he doesn't really like it that much and when he does want to play with it, he definitely doesn't want to play by the rules. That being said, I think he needs to start learning how to wait your turn and follow rules and learn how to loose well, all things that playing games teach you. So, I thought back to when I was little and one of my favorite board games was Memory. 
Now, I went through all the current Memory boardgames and I didn't like the pictures very much. And, well, the pictures are kind of important in Memory! SO I went on ebay and I found the exact Memory game that I had when I was a little girl, still in the wrapper for $15 bucks. I was SO EXCITED! ( it says ages 5-7 on the box...that's ridiculous!)

Now, after I purchased my totally awesome Memory game that I CANNOT WAIT TO PLAY ( wait, who's Christmas present is this again!?! haha!) I saw this incredibly cool memory game on Kelle Hampton's blog. I'm still tempted to buy this one for someone else, because its GORGEOUS. You get to actually upload you're own pictures for the set! Isn't it lovely?! 

Oooooh, so hard! Especially for a very active little 3 year old who could have fun with just about anything! But, in the end I went with something I really think he's going to enjoy: Legos!!
I ended up finding this set at Sam's Club for $10 less than Amazon or Toys R Us, so SCORE! Of course, I'm sure those annoying Black Friday People got this for like $5 or something, but I can't handle that kind of pressure. 

Of course, the present that I went back and forth and back and forth with the Legos over is similar and yet not...in fact, I'm still not sure I made the right decision ( it DOES say "4+" on the Lego box after all!! EEK!) However, a few months ago, my parents gave Ransom some little lego candies that are the same size as little lego blocks and you can even build with them! Added bonus they are pure sugar ( thanks Grandparents!)! I was surprised at how Ransom sat and made little towers with those candies, even though they didn't always fit together well ( candy, afterall)....Ok, so I went with Legos, but every little boy needs a good set of wooden blocks too! So maybe in the future he'll unwrap a set of Wooden Blocks like these : 

So, there you have it! What Ransom will be unwrapping from his parents this year! Of course, I have a lot of other fun finds on my Amazon Wish List for Ransom that you can check out if you'd like some ideas for the 3 year old boy on your list or if you're just curious. (I think the "I dressed myself" pin might be handy in the coming months ;-) )