Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On Potty Training and God.

(This may be a bit of a scatterbrained post, but I felt like I needed to write it.... so here goes...)

I’m going to let you in on a little secret (that’s pretty well known if you know me in real life): potty training is the bane of my existence. It just gets to me in a place that I don’t like. I mean, the three year old phase is hard enough. Your kids are temperamental, want everything that is opposite of what you want,  yet somehow, we’ve decided this is a great time to jump up and down and wave flags and lock ourselves in our homes for 5 days straight in order to get said temperamental preschooler to hand over the one area of control they have left to be a “big boy/girl" and pee in a potty. Makes sense. 

I have all of this on the forefront of my mind because, as luck would have it, Connor decided it was time. Which is comical really, because last Monday I was bemoaning to his MDO teacher that I was giving up on trying to convince him it was time to make the grand transition. I couldn’t figure out what motivated him. We had tried EVERYTHING. M&M’s, hot wheels cars, big boy underpants, ice cream…. NOTHING worked. His MDO teacher chuckled along with me, because sometimes, there’s really nothing else to do during this terrific three year old phase than laugh (or cry) at the comedy of it all. And so I threw in the towel on Monday and bought another pack of diapers. Tuesday Connor turned 3. And Wednesday he woke up proclaiming that he was through with diapers. Of course.

I figured this was just a ploy to get his ration of blue M&M’s, but when he made it till the afternoon with not an accident, I started raising an eyebrow. And then Thursday came with the same scenario, at school even, and I high-fived myself on the inside, making the realization that perhaps there was a possibility afterall, of us being able to attempt potty training before Kindergarten.

That was last week. And so far, we’ve done fairly well, all things considered. As I was sitting here reflecting on the last week, I found a stark similarity between myself and my three year old, and wondered if this is how God feels sometimes when he needs us to grow up and change. Even if the change is for good, for some reason I stomp my feet and refuse to budge on what should be such a simple concept. God promises me rewards and blessings and still I stick my nose up at him. The difference between me and God in this situation is that during the potty training process, I tend to get a bit dramatic, thinking that my kids won’t ever change and that we’ll be stuck purchasing cases of diapers until Drew and I check into a nursing home (I realize that this all seems a bit irrational, but I found that sometimes parenting and rational thinking don't really blend as well as one may think they would). I've wondered if things would have been smoother, if only for me, had I just waited patiently, for the time that was right with Connor. That’s what God does with me. He doesn’t stomp his feet or demand I change regardless of how I feel about a situation. He waits for me. Patiently and gently. Still encouraging me. He’s a good God. I’m so grateful for His patience with me. And pray that as He prods me and reminds me of His faithfulness to me that I’m able to transfer it over to my parenting of the boys.

Hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tyler Paul {6 Months Old}.

Six months.

Six months since I've given birth. Six months since we became a family of 5. SIX WHOLE MONTHS, Y'ALL.
He's now closer to a year than he was to being born. In many respects six months has always been a victory month for me in terms of raising an infant. It seems like something internally clicks for my kids at 6 months and we hit a magical world of not only sleeping through the night, but also taking predictable naps. This has been true for Tyler (with a few days that are hit and miss, thrown in for good measure I'm sure).
I've always wondered if I would end up having a shy child. Lord knows my older two are nothing close to even being remotely shy, and have never met a stranger. So far, it looks like Tyler is following suite in that regard. He loves people, and absolutely hates being alone.
Speaking of hate, he still cries the minute he sees his car seat. No lie. We've tried upgrading his car seat to a convertible rear facing seat, installing a mirror for him to look at (complete with blinking lights and music-- this aint your momma's mirror, folks), having Brayden talk to him from the 3rd row. I think that by me accepting the fact that he just is not going to be a good car baby, it has made things easier even though things haven't really changed.

Other highlights at 6 months include...
  • sitting up unassisted for a few minutes at a time. He still topples over fairly easily, so I have to be close by in case of a fall. 
  • He is a BIG boy, weighing in at 19.5lbs (~90th percentile). He also likes to be carried around a lot, so you can imagine how good my back feels. I have no idea how tall he is, but if I had to take a guess I'd say it's about 26 inches or so. 
  • He's wearing some 6-12 month clothes, some 12-18 month clothes, and if it's even sizes and not a range (ie: Carters or Ralph Lauren), mostly 12 month clothes.
  • Still exclusively breastfed, which means I made it to my goal of 6 months. He nurses (or eats an 8oz bottle) 4 times during the day.
  • We still are feeding him the dream feed. Every time we try to drop it he wakes up twice in the middle of the night. Considering my sleep (and sanity) are worth a bucket of gold to me right now, feeding him a bottle before we go to bed seems like a much better alternative to waking up every 3 hours in the middle of the night.  
  • Takes 2 good naps a day. Usually about 1.5 hrs in the morning, and 2 hours in the afternoon. We'll throw a cat nap in the evening on occasion, but you've pretty much grown out of that one by now. 
  • Is a solid food eating CHAMP. So far he's eaten green beans, peas, sweet potato, bananas, avacados, apples and pears (and yogurt!). I need to introduce some new foods, but haven't had a chance to make any more baby food so we're kind of on a roll of what we've already introduced. He eats about 2oz of food (plus a little cereal mixed in) for breakfast and dinner. We're trying to work in lunch, but it's not consistent at this point. 
  • We're finishing up the size 3 diapers, and converting over to size 4.... FINALLY. Not gonna lie... I say a small prayer every time we put a size 3 on. It's quite a gamble that I take, this whole "don't waste a diaper" mentality. The size 3's are starting to look like rather small loin clothes rather than complete bottom coverage. Blow outs are only one wrong twist away. 
  • He is trying SO hard to scoot. He gets up on his knees and hands for a few seconds at a time. I'm still trying to decide how I should feel about this. He's so very proud of his new found tricks, but I am just not sure I am ready for 3 mobile children. Lord help me (and send Starbucks coffee!). 
  • He's on his second round of ear infections (if you're counting, this is his second one in less than a month). I've been so bummed about it, and also a little worried that he may perhaps be more prone to ear issues. Praying this isn't the case. 
  • He's in love with Brayden & Connor. Anything they do can almost always get a smile, and Brayden seems to be able to get the most laughs out of Ty. 

Tyler Paul--
I can't believe you're already 6 months old! What an incredible privilege it has been to be your mommy these past several months. I have loved watching you grow and learn and become more integrated into our family each and every day. You are such a joy to be around and I am so very grateful that YOU are the answer to my prayers. Your daddy, brothers and I love you so very, very much. Happy 6th birthday baby boy!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday... Because Everyone Needs to See a Baby in a Fedora.

(Tyler's 6 month post coming tomorrow...)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Connor is 3!


3 years ago, my life changed forever when I heard the cries of a 7 pound 14 ounce baby boy. Before that moment I had doubted that I was ready to be a mom of two babies. But the moment I heard his cry, I knew.

I knew that Gods timing was once again perfect. That our family NEEDED Connor Andrew in it. That somehow this dark spikey haired babe would complete us in ways we never thought possible.


We're in the throws of the terrible threes. Historically, this has been a hard time for me as a mom. I'm thankful that this time around I have the perspective that there's light at the end of the dark tunnel of three year old tantrums. I'm also thankful that with that perspective comes a unique ability to soak in the preciousness that is this stage. While we do battle quite regularly, Connor somehow finds a way to sweep me off my feet on a daily basis. There's really nothing like hearing "mom, you're my best friend" from a tiny little voice piping up from the back seat.
(picture credit: Bethany Blair Photography)

Other things I want to remember about this stage:
- He has trouble with his combination -s sound. I hate correcting him because it's SO cute when he says "Fiderman". He also interchanges the -b- sound instead of the -v- sound. I love when he says "I gettin' under the cobers" at night when we're putting him to sleep.
- He loves music and singing.
- He's learned how to pray and listening to him thank God for things is the sweetest thing ever.
- He absolutely adores Brayden. They are the very best of friends, and fight like cats and dogs.
- He wakes up in the most cheerful of moods. The minute his little feet come pittering into our room, he exclaims "good morning Momma!" With a huge grin on his face.



This birthday has been bitter sweet for me as your momma. I feel like we are kissing goodbye the last bit of toddler that is left in you, and ushering in the new phase of being a grown little boy. You are such a sweet, sweet blessing to our family, and I couldn't imagine a day going by without you in it. We love you more than words could ever say, Connor Andrew. Happy Birthday sweet boy!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bloggy Friends, Spidey Sense & Steven Curtis Chapman.

 Don't miss the $350 giveaway I am participating in this week! I'd love for you to enter and win!!! Click HERE for details!

This has been a crazy busy weekend, but one that has left me smiling because it was filled with great memories. Those are the best kind, am I right?!

Friday night I had the pleasure of meeting up with a group of Arkansas Women Bloggers. I met several new people, got to see old friends and even some of the friends I made when I attended Blissdom earlier this year. I had fun chatting without interruption from children, and enjoying good food with friends doesn't hurt either. So thankful to have a community of bloggers that live close.

Saturday was Connor's big day. We celebrated his 3rd birthday with friends and family, and of course, chocolate Spiderman cupcakes ;) The party really deserves a post of it's own, so I'll be blogging about that in more detail later this week, but for now, I wanted to show you this picture I took of him right before we left for  his party. I can't believe how grown up he is... didn't I just have him?!?!
almost time to celebrate this dude.

Sunday was just a typical day mostly. We spent the morning going to church, and the afternoon fighting bad guys.
Someone got in daddys hair gel. There was no turning back, so mohawk for church it is.
Connor got into Drew's hairgel right before we were supposed to leave for church. So we improvised and went with mohawks (or, I should say, at least my boys went with mohawks ;) ).
The bad guys in my house don't stand a chance.

Sunday night Drew and I got a babysitter and headed out on the town. First we hit up our 5&10 for ice cream sundaes.
Ice cream sundaes at the 5&10, then Steven Curtis Chapman in concert. Somewhere inside of me, my 7th grade is squealing.
ice cream with my love in an of itself was a treat. But the night got even more special when we went to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert.

Admission: In junior high, I was like the biggest SCC fan EVER. I went to his concert when I was in 7th grade, and after he touched my hand while running through the crowd, I thought I might never wash it again (don't worry, I ended up coming to my senses and washed it when I got home). So when I found out SCC was coming in concert to our area, I was all over it. What made it even more special was that Drew had never been to a SCC concert. My 7th grade self was smiling the entire time last night (although my old age ears could have used some ear plugs... whew, concerts are a lot louder than I remember! ha!). It was such an awesome experience, and even more fun that I was able to go with Drew.

Black Friday Shopping Spree GIVEAWAY!

A few weeks ago I was thinking about offering a little giveaway before the holidays. Because, I mean, who doesn't really like a good giftcard to spend on yourself during the holidays?! And the only thing better than a little giftcard, is teaming up with other bloggers to bring you one BIG giveaway. That's why I am SO excited to tell y'all that I have teamed up with 13 other awesome bloggers to make that dream of a little giftcard turn into a BIG lump sum of Paypal cash. BOOM.

Without further ado, I'd love to introduce you to everyone else...

Leslie - Lamberts Lately

I am a wife to Noah and a mommy to Emma Ramey.  I blog at Lamberts Lately about life, family, beautiful things, and anything home.  When I'm not blogging, I love Alabama football, a great dinner, and time with family.

Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Amy - Total Tippins Takeover

I'm Amy and I blog over at Total Tippins Takeover. I write about my faith, our family, and life with three little a little monogramming, reality tv, and crafting thrown in the mix, too!

Blog  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Megan - In This Wonderful Life

I am a Lifestyle Blogger over at In This Wonderful Life. I love journaling life, motherhood with twins and the most random thoughts of my day!

Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Lindsay - Baby Mama Drama

I'm Lindsay! Wife to Adam and Mama to Presley--both who I have diagnosed as worlds biggest Drama Queens. Surviving the "Terrible Two's" will be lifes biggest accomplishment--I'm sure of it!

Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Lindsey - Blessings, Miracles, and Thoughts in Between

Hi, I'm Lindsey! Late 20s wife to Alex and financial advisor turned stay at home mom to miracle babies Kate and Will, both bone marrow transplant survivors. I am a follower of Christ, infertility survivor, book nerd, and advocate for bone marrow transplant donation!

Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Shannon - Life After I Dew

Thirty{ish} years young. Wife turned mama {times two}. Exceptional cook, wannabe crafter. Only child and it shows {sometimes}. I believe honesty is the best policy, reality TV is quality programming and wine is better from a box.

Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Emily - Louisiana Bride

I am a teacher by day and the food & lifestyle blogger behind Louisiana Bride by night. I love God, my hubby, our crazy dog Ellie; I can't finish a DIY project to save my life, I'm a foodie, and I consider Target to be my second home.

Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Lindsey - A Dollop of My Life

I am a wife & boy mom, and have a deep affection for all things Southern. I blog at A Dollop of My Life, where I chronicle the joys and chaos of running a home of all boys.

Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Brittany - Not So Newlyweds

I'm a wife, new mom, and teacher. On my blog, Not So Newlyweds, I share my thoughts on cooking, decorating, fashion, and the ups and downs of everyday real life!

Blog  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Jennifer - Life in the Green House

I blog at Life In The Green House about motherhood, what I'm cooking up in my kitchen, the many DIY projects I always manage to talk my husband into pulling out his power tools for, and family. I'm a fan of a great vacation, a good cup of coffee, laughter, and carbs.

Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

The Chirping Moms

Courtney & Julie from The Chirping Moms are best friends that met at a neighborhood park. They started their friendship as neighbors, but now Courtney lives in New Jersey & Julie in DC. Together they share their adventures in motherhood along with great activities for kids, crafts, recipes and ideas for family travel.

Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram


Lauren - A Page Is Turned

I'm a wife to a fantastic husband and a teacher-turned-stay-at-home mama to two beautiful, busy boys. I'm a lover of books, cool weather, bundling up, cooking, spending time with my friends and family, and I blog about our day-to-day life at A Page Is Turned.

Blog  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Jennifer - Our Dream Come True

I am saved by His amazing grace, happily married to a hunk of a husband, and a new mommy to my precious Baker, who was born with Down Syndrome. I am daily blessed to be living my dream come true.

Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram


Enter with the Giveaway Tools Widget below!

This giveaway will close at 9pm (CST) on the night before Thanksgiving, November 27th.  Once it closes, we will pick and contact the winner!

Good luck, and a great big thanks to everyone who enters!

Disclaimer:  No purchase necessary.  To enter, participants must use the Giveaway Tools widget above.  This giveaway is not affiliated with or endorsed by Paypal, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin', Google, or Instagram.  Winner must have a Paypal account to receive winnings.  Winner must be at least 18 years old and a US resident to win.  Giveaway closes at 9pm CST on November 27th, 2013.  Winner will be contacted after the close of the giveaway on November 27th.  Once contacted via email, winner has 24 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen.  Winner is responsible for any applicable taxes on winnings.  Any winning entry will be verified for completeness before winner is contacted.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekend in Review.

We've had a fun weekend just as a little family, which always makes my heart happy.

Friday night and Saturday we spent some time with the boys filling our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. We decided to really involve them in the process this year by allowing them to pick out what goes in the box. I'm not sure this was the wisest decision on my part, especially with Connor, who thought every toy that Walmart and Target sells should go into our small shoe box. It was a fun experience though, even if it took a few years off my life trying to keep up with two boys with baskets in the dollar sections. I love this time of year and being able to teach the boys about blessing others. (I'm also kicking myself for not documenting the cuteness that was two boys with handbaskets at Target in the dollar section.)

Today we celebrated Veterans Day. Hard to believe that it's been over 6 years since Drew came home from his deployment. I'm so thankful for all of the men and women who give put their lives on the line for freedom. We live in such a great country.
So very thankful for my own veteran, as well as the many other men and women who have put their loves on the line for freedom. (ps- the first kiss after your man's been gone for 18 months is the best).
first kiss after being apart for 18 months... THE BEST.
(also, I am SUPER bummed I can't find the originals of this picture in my backup harddrive.)

The weather was absolutely perfect today after church, and since we have a winter cold front on the horizon, we seized the moment and spent the rest of the morning doing yard work.
little cutie watching all the bigs work
learning how to work hard

We decided to end our day today with a little bonfire and outdoor play... the boys were ecstatic!
he's grounded for looking like he's 16. I can't even handle it, y'all.
He asked me to take a picture of him in the air. I obliged :)
grounded again. both of them. WHERE DID MY BABIES GO?!?!
contemplative cutie enjoying his swing. He hates being strapped into ANYTHING unless it's the swing.
He kills me with his cuteness. Such a sweetie boy.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ninja Turtles, Roses & Doctors Visits.

Every year our little town puts on a toyland with most of the toy vendors for Walmart. It's a REALLY big deal, and for the past 2 years we've taken our boys. Since I wasn't feeling very brave this year, I decided I'd recruit Drew to go with us during his lunch break.

My boys were so excited to see all of the new toys that are out this fall. This year Brayden knew that you get free toy samples at a lot of the booths, so he was especially excited and patient to wait in the lines.
since we went early we missed the LIVE Ninja Turtles, which I am sure my boys would have FLIPPED over. Thankfully dressing up was just as fun to them. (although Connor thought we would be able to keep the sword, and had quite the meltdown giving it back to the people running the Ninja Turtle booth.)
this was their first experience with a real hotwheels track. I'm pretty sure we could have just played with this the entire day and they would have been perfectly content.

Saturday marked 50 days until our 10th wedding anniversary. I was surprised by these that morning:
50 roses to mark 50 days till our 10 year anniversary. You can go ahead and be jealous now. #besthusbandever
50 roses!!!
A little history: When Drew and I were engaged, he gave me 100 roses 100 days before our wedding. So Drew wanted to do something similar since we're coming up on a milestone anniversary. He's a keeper.

Saturday we also had family pictures. I've only received a sneak peak of a pic of the big boys on facebook, and I cannot wait to get the rest because it is the sweetest thing EVER! Bethany did our family pics last year and they turned out amazing, and this year my boys actually cooperated so I'm on pins and needles waiting to get my proofs! Saturday Tyler had seemed abnormally fussy, but we had just chalked it up to not getting very good naps, so we decided to continue on with our plans of hanging out with my friend Jenna and her family. We had a blast, but as the night wore on, it was pretty apparent that something was not right with Tyler.
Family picture session a smashing success. Now a stroll in the swagger wagon to see the fall foliage.
we thought that maybe a ride in the coutryside would make Tyler happy before we went to hang out with friends. It ended up being a ride listening to Tyler screaming. This picture makes me smile-- seems like just yesterday Drew and I were dating at U of A. Now we're driving around together in a minivan full of kids. Love doing life with him!
all the boys playing together on the baby blanket. Because apparently that's more fun than playing in the playroom. ;)

After a long night Saturday night, I decided to go to the walk-in clinic with Ty, as I was pretty sure he had an ear infection. After waiting for over an hour, my suspicions were confirmed, along with an upper respiratory infection diagnosis. I was kind of bummed that Ty had to start an antibiotic this young, but also so grateful for modern medicine that allows him the opportunity to heal quickly. Bless his heart, even with 101 fever and a nearly ruptured ear drum, he is still smiley (sometimes).
Still smiling after 1.5 hrs in the clinic, 101 fever and a definite ear infection.

This is our first week without speech, and I am already looking forward to having more than 1 day of the week with absolutely NOTHING on the agenda. Maybe, just maybe, my house will be cleaned this week!

Hope yall have a fabulous week!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Week of Costumes.

I hated titling this post "Halloween", as we really don't celebrate Halloween in a traditional sense. Trying to avoid Halloween altogether seems near impossible, so we just use it as a fun way for our guys to dress up and get free candy. We've had a few talks this year about some of the evil that Halloween stands for; Brayden's taken the talks in stride, but I can't say I haven't held my breath in fear that he might tell someone that THEY are evil for dressing up like a goblin or skeleton.
Just when I thought he couldn't get any cuter.... He goes and kills me again. #babymonkey #tylerpaul
this is the only half decent picture I got of Tyler dressed up as a baby monkey. Poor third child....
Every year we get together with our friends during the week of Halloween for a costume party. This year we forgot to take a picture until most of the kids were out of their costumes... it's amazing how much everyone has grown since the first year we did this 4 years ago!!!

This was the first year I would say that Brayden was EXTREMELY excited about everything. Last year he got excited about it once he realized he was getting candy, but that was the extent. This year he's been talking about what he was going to wear and where he was going to trick-r-treat for MONTHS. Thank goodness I got a back up to Batman, because at the last minute Brayden decided that being the Dark Knight was not in his plans afterall, and he'd much rather sport Captain America. I'm not really sure what we would have done without the backup plan. I'm also grateful I get the costumes used... having to purchase a costume at full retail would have killed us this year with the indecisiveness of a four year old. ;)
Captain America and Buzz before going trick-r-treating at Daddy's work
Brayden was happy to find another Captain America. I'm not really sure how it happened, but he looks SO grown up.
our little fam trick-r-treating at one of our neighbors houses. Connor was obviously still on a candy high (in fact, I'm not quite sure he's come down from it, as I had to chase him through the parking lot today with Tyler on my hip. We can mark that moment down as one of my least favorite times as a mom).

We ended up just doing one loop around our neighborhood for trick-r-treating. This year we had SO many trick-r-treaters, and I think the boys had more fun giving away candy to everyone than going door to door (plus they didn't quite understand why they couldn't take unlimited handfulls of peoples candy when they rang the door bells). We also had the added bonus of running into our friends while we were out, and we had them over to help us hand out candy.

A few of my favorite halloween moments this year:
- Connor, hyped up on candy after we had visited Drew at work. He ran down the hall, yelling as loud as his little voice would carry:
I'll be honest- it was a bit embarrassing during the moment. But looking back on it, it was such a sweet moment. He was absolutely filled to the brim with excitement, and lost in character. Of course, all good things must come to an end, and even Buzz Lightyear has let downs.
- A bonus of halloween is working on good manners when you are given something. We focused especially on saying Thank you and looking someone in the eyes. Drew added a "God Bless You" to the equation after candy was given. So B learned how to ring the door bell, wait patiently, express gratitude for the gift and then threw in a "Happy Halloween, God Blesses you!" to the equation. Pretty cute.
- Connor liked asking what everyone was while we were trick-r-treating. At one house a kid came up dressed as some sort of goblin (I'm honestly not really sure what he was, only that he was kind of spooky). Connor went up to him and inquisitively asked "are you batman?!" The kid looked at Connor perplexed, and then said, "ummm.... NO." Connor, without missing a beat, said, "Oh, OK. I Buzz Lightyear!" And ran off.
- at one house there were little kids giving out candy. They kept loading B's basket, so B said, "well, here, you can have some of mine." And he gave them some of his candy too. :)
(I think the biggest horror of Halloween is that the candy must stop at some point.)

Until next year.... 


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