Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Orange is her new favorite.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

yellow bed

This is how she sleeps.  Pillow facing up, always.  Hands tucked under her cheeks.  Like an angel baby.  I love sneaking into her room and catching her in dreamland.  Such a big girl in her yellow bed.  She left her crib over a month ago and amazed us by actually staying in her big girl bed when we put her down (unlike her older sisters who were notorious for coming out dozens of times a night).  She would still call for me to come get her in the morning and after naps.  Until this week. When we heard the familiar squeaking door and little pitter-patter of feet.  She knows how to get out, and she knows she can get out.  Yet another sign our baby is not a baby anymore.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ellie's First Field Trip

Ellie is officially into the swing of things with school.  Not that she doesn't still cling to me each morning at drop off, or beg me to let her skip her homework, but she is getting used to life as a kindergartener.  Last week she took her first ever field trip to the fire station.  I have no idea what her expectations were for how the day would unfold, but somehow by the end of the trip, she had ditched her loving chaperones (mom and dad) and gabbed the whole way home with her girlfriend.  She is part 7th grader I'm afraid.  Her favorite part was when they were getting the tour and the station got an emergency call.  Off went the fire truck with lights and sirens.  She was thrilled.  Pretty exciting tip for a girl who had decided years ago she would be a "fire girl" herself. 

Friday, September 21, 2012


 Almost 8 years ago he set it up for the first time...

and now he's taking it down for the last
No more crib...
no more babies...
but many, many sweet memories.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

this week...

We just barely made it through our yearly heat wave.  High eighties for over a week.  Can you believe it?  Spoiled I know.  We ended up staying at church for over 9 hours trying to avoid our heat box of a house. Spiritual and physical refreshment for the week. 

The girls have been begging for a dog lately.  Watching "Where the Red Fern Grows" really got them going.  Brooklyn went so far as to say, "I probably wouldn't need nay toys at all if I had a dog."  That girl.  Lucky for me, Leighton is perfectly content with her mess-free Snoopy dog.   Although it did have to be walked around the block this morning.

 Ellie had big news this week when she discovered her first loose tooth.  Girl's gowing up for sure! 

Somehow Leighton has completely filled her crib.  Could she be a cuter napper?  Seriously look at those hands under her cheek.  I'm loving her (and my) nap times these days!

 Ellie is adjusting to life in kindergarten more each day. Thanks to the help of a sweet friend, lunch recess has become a lot more bearable. 

I can't get enough of this little lady.  Potty training and all, she is such a joy to spend time with. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Life with Leighton

My days are so different with the older girls gone at school.
So mellow.

I've never had this time alone with Leighton before.
And I love it.

And she loves it too.  
She's only asked once in almost 2 weeks where they are. 
She's always been a mommy hog.

And I'll hog up every minute I can get with her as well.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Come ride the potty train...

aside from the absurd mouse tail, could these pull-ups be cuter?
I finally bit the bullet and started potty training Leighton last week.  And despite the fact that it had been years since my last potty training experience, the "I think I'm going to completely loose my mind here" moments were still very clear in my memory (think 12 pairs of wet panties by 10:00am).  Which is why it has taken me so long to start with Leighton.  And of course it was perfect timing to start on the hottest week of the year, as well as Ellie's first week of kindergarten (which has required me to make 4-5 trips to school each day).  Add a bit more chaos to the mix I guess.

I am no expert on potty training.  I haven't written any potty books or produced any potty videos, but I have discovered several truths that have helped me make it though this final round of it.  So for all my friends with soon to be trained toddlers of their own, I hope this helps.

Truth #1 You have to do what works for your child and for you. 
Every mom has their fool proof method...pull ups, definitely no pull ups, panties, training pants, diapers, cloth diapers, and completely bunsie (our term for naked around here), pump the liquids, restrict the liquids, give candy rewards, use sticker charts, sit on the pot every 15 minutes, sit on the pot all day, never leave the house, bring your port-a-potty with you wherever you go...and on and on. Everyone will give you their two cents.  But the truth is, every child is different and you have to do what works for your child and for you.  

Truth #2 At first, you are not potty training your child.  You are potty training yourself.  
It takes a good while before they actually tell you they need to go.  For weeks its you telling them, "Its time to go".  Not "Do you have to go potty?" or "Do you want to go potty?"  Because 99% off the time they will answer these questions with a big fat NO!  But its not up to them yet, its up to you  (I'm realizing this idea goes way beyond potty training and is a major parenting theme here...)

Truth #3 You have to be consistent.
The biggest part of this "self potty training" for me is consistency (like taking her to the potty every 30 minutes) which means I can't get distracted and let too much time go by, or run long errands without taking her to the bathroom.  It has to be on the forefront of my mind all day (thank God for naps when I can escape potty on the brain!).  And I can't let the fact that she doesn't feel like going and may make a fuss keep me from being consistent.   Sometimes its going to be a battle.  I've had to strong arm a "stiff as a board" child into a sitting position on the potty many a time.

Truth #4 You can potty train with diapers.
For me,  the accidents have a tendency to put me over the edge (especially on carpet and furniture).  So I've been using diapers for the last week.  I know if I'm lazy with her and let her go potty in her diaper, it will just take me that much longer to train her.  And she doesn't seem to have a preference for diapers, pullups, or panties at this point.  She will pee in them all if I let her.  Since pullups are more expensive and I've got a truckload of leftover diapers, we are using those for now.  After several days of being dry all day (or when my diaper supply starts to run low), I'll just put her in a diaper when we are out or for sleeping, and brave the panties at home.

Truth #5 Liquids are scary but necessary.
Leighton is the queen of the sipee so she is drinking 6+ cups of water/juice/milk a day. This allows her to pee every time she sits on the potty.  We don't have long sessions of waiting on the potty because she constantly has a full bladder.  Giving your child tons of liquids may seem like its going to make more work for you (and it may at first), but I think they need to have lots of opportunities to go before they can understand what's going on.

 Truth # 6 Number two is a whole different game.
Please note I am just talking about peeing here.  Number two is a different ball game.  She still is pooping in her diaper (or the floor!) if I let her out of my sight. The only thing I can do is watch her like a hawk and as soon as I see her starting to grunt it out, run her to the potty.  Number two does have warning signals.  It's the least it can do.

Truth #7  Potty training really is easier when they are "ready"
So far this time around, we've had a lot of success.  Leighton is staying dry all day (after 1 week) and waking up from bed and naps dry too.  I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that she was physically and mentally ready for it (she is 2 1/2  years old).  I feel like I tried too early with Brooklyn (thus the 12 pairs of wet panties) and had to give it another go a few months later (with more success).  There is a physiological element to being able to hold your bladder as well as a behavioral maturity factor that make a big difference.  I'm sure this is proven in science somewhere.

And lastly, it's okay if you take the slow road at this.  Its okay to quit and plan to start at it again later.  Its okay if all your friends' kids are potty experts before yours.  Its okay if it takes 10,000 pullups to do the job.  Its okay if you set the potty chair in the middle of the living room in front of the TV.  Its okay if your child pees in the cart every time you go to Target.  Its okay.  You will get there, and so will they.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Life is a bit rough for this little one right now.  She's not sure quite where she fits at school.  Recess namely.  We've had reports of tears at lunchtime 2 days in a row.  And tears for her mean tears for me too.  This morning her prayer request was for school to be only 5 minutes.  She doesn't know exactly what 5 minutes is, but she knows its short.  Tonight as I tucked her in she told be through choked back tears that she wished she could just stay in her classroom all day.  Part of me wants to be there the second she walks down the stairs and sit with her all though lunch, then play jump rope or tag til recess is over and walk her back to her perfect little kindergarten room.  She wouldn't shed a tear if I did that.  But the other part of me knows that difficulties in life produce strength.  Its a delicate balance here.  Comfort from being close or growth from letting go.  Growing sure hurts.

Monday, August 13, 2012

On the first day...

 Guess what?

 Ellie is a officially a kindergartener!

And Brooklyn is a big Second Grader!

After much begging and pleading they simply refuse to stop growing.  
(And apparently I refuse to stop changing out my patio cushions!)


Brooklyn and Ellie,
May you girls be greatly blessed this school year.  My prayer for you is that you will grow in understanding and knowledge, not only of the world around you, but more importantly of God's great love for you.  May you always do your best, be a good friend, and shine your light for Jesus. I love you and will miss you every second you are away. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

the lake

My husband grew up spending lots of time at his grandparent's house on Lake Nolin in Kentucky.   Now the second generation of grand kids gets to do the same.  We make the drive up from Nashville, watching fields of corn, tobacco and hay fly by,  listening to "are we there yet?"  dozens of times, and stopping at the DQ on the way if we're lucky.  We enter through the side door (the sticky front door has given my father-in-law fits and remains permanently locked now) and immediately start in on boxes of cheezits, homemade treats, and lake popsicles (only called that because they are always at the lake).  We make the trek down to the dock through the forest (trying to avoid chiggers and their nasty bites) and spend hours here fishing, swimming, snacking, and loving our time together.  We strap on life jackets and head out in the boat to the swimming cove to cool down and relax.  And let it be known, I actually got in the water more than ever this year.  Mommies do get wet apparently.
 on the dock

at the cove

Friday, August 10, 2012

grandma's house

This is a magical place.  More magical than Disneyland to my girls.  Sadly, we are only lucky enough to visit once or twice a year.  But we love every minute of it.  Memories made at Grandma's house are not quickly forgotten.  And must be duplicated year after year. Same Popsicles, same blow up bed, same Lucky Charms, same bird-feeding, same popcorn, same videos, same ride in Grandpa's convertible...

Watching barges on the river from the back yard.  Seriously who has a river in their back yard?  I told you it was magical.  And look at those clouds.  Clearly not California clouds.  Magical clouds.

Conversations with Grandma.  Serious or silly, she soaks in every word. 
And the girls soak in all the attention. 

Swinging from the old oak tree.  A real tree.  Big enough to hold a swing.  
Totally foreign to these suburban girls.

Hanging in Champ's pen. Why is it fun for kids to hang out in animal cages?  I totally remember playing in a dog house as a kids.  Disgusting.  Grandma's house is where they get to pretend that have pets.  And then beg us for a dog or cat for weeks following.  And be sadly denied. 

Grandma always takes time to sew with the girls (something I'm not quite patient enough to do).  Grandmas excel in patience.  Ellie had her first go at the machine this year.  She loved to go slow taking her time and then floor it.  Typical Ellie style.  Her pillow will be accompanying her to kindergarten.

Leighton was headed to Tennessee this year with two things on her mind.  This dog...

and this cat.  If you asked her who she was going to see in Nashville it was Champ and Shadow, not Grandma and Grandpa.  She and Shadow were best friends until she didn't take heed to Shadow's "give me some space kid" purr and got scratched, twice.  

We love this long walk on the greenway.  Brooklyn and Grandma walk and talk together most of the way,  looking at flowers, birds.  Grandma knows the names of them all.  And then she arranges for fireflies to light our way home.  I told you...magical.

Monday, August 6, 2012

new post...can you belive it?

Well I almost forgot where the "new post" button was it has been so long.  Can't really say what I've been doing with all my time, but its been full for sure.  We had a rather laid back summer this year.  No lessons, camps, VBS, or anything organized going on around here.  Each day had a flow of its own.  It was really good for us.  So good to slow down and do what we really wanted to do for that day.  Sometimes something exciting (like a trip to the ER for Ellie's second busted chin), and sometimes something simple (like homemade Wendy's frostys).  

Of course a few projects kept me busy on quiet afternoons.  Projects like printing out all these instas from the past year.  Costco prints on 8x8 paper so its really easy to make a square collage and get 16 tiny memories on each one.  Then you can cut them into strips, individuals, or leave them whole.  And they deliver right to your door.  But wouldn't you rather go pick them up and a get a giant swirl of frozen yogurt while you are at it?  I know I would.

PS-No clue how I ended up with 3 of Leighton in the Skyfari at the zoo.  Bonus points for you if you noticed!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


So I got this new and amazing camera. Total surprise from my thoughtful husband.  Still trying to get acquainted with it.  One of the best things about it is it takes video as well as photos.  Check out this adorable cutie pie.  Many, many more to follow...

Monday, July 9, 2012

kinder coming

Kindergarten is coming.  Quickly.  And amidst all the vacations, lazy mornings at home, swims at the pool, days at the beach, and time playing with friends, we are "trying" to prepare.  I'm eager to see how my middlest does in school.  I really have no idea how she will respond.  No clue what she will be like in a classroom far away from her mommy.  Each time I find myself getting anxious or worrying that I haven't prepared her well enough,  I must pray.  My worrying does nothing.  My praying does everything.  For her and in me.  I pray she loves learning, makes wise choices, connects well with her teacher, and finds good friends.  It will be hard to let my Ellie go...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


seven years old
seven teeth lost
seven dollars saved
for 2 frogs
or maybe a turtle
love this too big girl

Monday, July 2, 2012

where we live

I love where we live. 
It hits me at times like this. 
When Brooklyn pedals her bike,
and Ellie pulls Leighton in the wagon
3 short blocks to our neighborhood park 
in the middle of the day,
in the middle of the summer,
in a warmish 70-some degrees.  
No complaints here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

building bears


When Grandma Judy asked Ellie what she wanted for her birthday, it was to go to Build-a-Bear together. She had window shopped there before but had never made a bear of her own.  And somehow she knew the outrageously priced animals and accessories would be something only a grandparent would fall for.   She insisted Brooklyn come along and that they make an extra bear for Leighton who was napping at home (Ellie is always thinking of her sisters).  She wasted no time and went straight for the most psychedelic animal in the place.  And insisted she be dressed in a Rapunzel dress to boot.  And since she already was wearing the dress, it just made sense to name her Rapunzel.  Please note Brooklyn's traditional colored bear in a sensible jean skirt and t-shirt named Honeycomb.  Again, polar opposite sisters.

As soon as she got the bear out the door and got the outfit on it, she gave it the biggest and longest hug imaginable.  Ellie is known for her dramatic flair. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

six sandals

Here's to 
matching sundresses, 
bare toes, 
saltwater sandals, 
green grass.

We love you summer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

welcome summer

sandals and sips