Saturday, December 2, 2017

Be still, Baby!

Be still, baby!

If I could only count the number of times a day I say this.  I cannot for the life of me understand why my 7 month old baby thinks diaper change time is a great opportunity to practice rolling and crawling.  Or why when she’s been up way past her bedtime she feels it’s a perfect opportunity to pop straight up and squirm her way to the ground to make sure her toys are still okay.  Getting her in her car seat is like trying to put a rabid raccoon in a 5 point harness.  But, all of these things must happen.  Why? Because she needs clean diapers, sleep, and to be safe in the car.  I know this, but she doesn’t. It would be so much easier if she would just be still for 30 seconds.

I was rocking her to sleep last night doing our normal routine of rock for a minute, squirm and wiggle for a minute, rock for a minute, squirm for a minute.  And I thought “oh if you would just sit still for a little bit longer you would realize how much you need to go to sleep.”

It was in that instant that God whispered to me, “Be still, baby.”  See, one of my favorite verses in the Bible is “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).  I spend my days as a wife that is stretched pretty thin caring for a busy husband, a full time job (in social work no less), and a baby that demands a majority of my attention.  At any given moment I feel like I’m failing at a majority of what I should be doing.  And God gently whispers, “Be still and think on who I am.”

Oh if I could get that!  Does my baby feel neglected because I went to work today over staying home with her? “Be still and trust that I love her more than you do.”  Did I spend enough time in quality conversation with my husband or did he get my leftovers?  “Be still and remember I made you two into one no matter how much you talk.”  Did I mark off enough on my to-do list at work or will they think I’m a distracted new mama?  “Be still and know that I ordained you to be everywhere you are.”

Just be still.  He is the absolute best parent there is.  So, if he says “be still” it’s worth remembering and following.  Being still means letting Him handle the things we can’t see or understand and even the things we think we do.  It means trusting that if we could give him just a second of time where we trust Him over ourselves He would take care of it.  Just like there are times I need Hannah Kate to be still and let me do my job as her parent, God needs me to be still and let Him do His job as God, He is much better at it than I am!

Christmas Date Night


Shane and I have a tradition (If three years can count as a tradition) of a Christmas date night.  Holidays are so much fun.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we get to see pretty much all of our family on both sides and have lots of time to catch up with everyone else.  The first year we were married Shane surprised me and took me to Atlanta to ride the huge Ferris wheel and walk around in Centennial Park looking at Christmas lights.  It was so nice to stop all of the hustle and bustle and just spend time with each other.  During December we don’t have much time for date night, so now, we set aside one night just for us to do something out of the ordinary.

I joked the first year that date nights like ferris wheels and Christmas light parks were the stuff girls always dream of.  And, I meant it.  Shane does a great job of picking out great date nights all year long but our Christmas dates are always my favorite.  The second year I was SUPER pregnant and walking around was not an option.  So, we went to Medieval times and had so much fun laughing and EATING (you did hear I was 8 months pregnant right?)

This year was no different. Shane called me Thursday and said he had my sister lined up to babysit and we were going on our Christmas date.  We went to Cirque Italia in Gainesville, Ga and had a blast.  It was a really neat combination of all the interesting things you see at the normal Circus plus some other things I had never seen before.  We laughed and stared in awe through most of the night.  I mean really, how do people do those things???   

As our #goodwilldatenight continues to go viral, I want to pass this #Christmasdatenight along too.  Don’t forget in the midst of making sure you see every member of your family to stop for a night and spend time with your person.  I love spending time with our family and we always have a good time wherever we are.  But, my favorite night of the year is our Christmas date night.  I know every year it will be something special and we will have a blast simply being together.

And, P.S. all of our Christmas date nights have been tickets we found on Groupon for over half off!  (This is not an ad, no one is paying me to say that!) But, we have found that if we want to go somewhere Groupon not only has good deals but good ideas!!!

So Merry Christmas from us to you.  We hope your Christmas is filled with family time, good food, and lots of time celebrating the birth of Christ.  But, may it also have one night of making memories with your person.  

Friday, August 4, 2017

Put down your phone, mama.

“Put down your phone, mama."

I remember being a young, single, kid free woman sitting at Centennial Park several years ago.  This park has awesome fountains that several kids had “accidentally” jumped in.  I watched as their mom let them laugh and play and I dreamed of my future when I would have my own babies to watch.

What I remember most about this scene though is how desperately the little boy wanted his mama to watch him.  He would play, splash, and giggle with his whole heart and then turn around to find his mama’s approval.  

Only when he looked at her, she was looking down. 

She was looking at something that seemed to matter more to her than his laughter, her cell phone.  It broke my heart to see the disappointment on his face as he ran to her and said “put down your phone, mama.”  At that moment I said what all people without kids say “I will never do that to my kids.”

Fast forward five years and I have my own bambino now.  I love my baby with all that I am. Recently I was nursing her and like normal I had my phone scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, catching up on what happened the night before.  She stopped nursing so I glanced at her to make sure she was okay.  When I looked, she was just lying there staring at me with a huge smile across her face.  And I had no idea why.

And in that instant I realized I was that other mama.  My heart melted and broke all in the same instant. 

So, I write this challenge to myself.

Put down your phone, mama.  Facebook can wait.  Instagram is not that important.  It does not matter what Buzzfeed has to say today.  The viral posts, the diy projects, the cute baby or engagement announcements will all wait. There is nothing on your phone that could possibly be more important than what is in your arms. 

Your babies want to see your smile.  They want to look for you and find you looking at them, with as much love and attention as you give your phone. When they take their first steps, finally master the art of jumping rope, hit that home-run, or finally read all their sight words, they want to know you were watching.  That you valued them enough to give them all of you when you are with them. 

Your friend from down the hall in college is not going to miss you on Instagram.  The person you don’t even know that you’re spending 20 minutes creeping on Facebook is not more valuable than the little life you are responsible for.  

Live the moments you have right now.  They go by way too fast to miss because you were watching other people live their lives. Put down your phone, mama. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Nerf War

Shane and I have been so overwhelmed by the amount of attention our goodwill date night idea raised.  It is clear that so many couples are trying to keep their marriages strong and fun too!  We have our own issues and I promise we are far from perfect but we LOVE being together.  So, I’ve decided to share ideas weekly with everyone.  This is not to say that you should imitate our marriage, because you shouldn’t.  We may do things you won’t like (trust me, I’ve heard it all) but we may do some things that are right up your alley.  Either way, I hope whatever we share can be an encouragement to you to keep your marriage/relationship growing every day!

This week I wanted to share our nerf war saga.  I have no idea who to give credit to for this so if you know please email me and I will give them their due credit.  This all started long before I even knew Shane.  I saw a pin on pinterest for a nerf war and I thought, “man, I want a marriage like that”.  So, when I found the fella that was made for me I knew I had to do it.

I got off work before Shane one day and went and bought some cheap nerf guns.  I left a note on the door that read the following:

                           Welcome home!

1.       This gun is yours.  You have 10 darts.
2.       I’m waiting inside with my own gun, also with 10 darts.
3.       When you come in, it’s war!

                            Loser does the dishes.
                                  Love you!

I then proceeded to strategically hide behind our fireplace where I could watch him read the note on the garage door (the door we ALWAYS use) and be ready to attack when he came in.  However, I was so excited that I stationed myself there about 15 minutes before he was supposed to be home.  So, as you can imagine, I got bored and started playing on my phone. 

While I was innocently playing on my phone waiting to hear the garage door open, the front door swung wide open and Shane unloaded his nerf gun on me.  All 10 darts came flying out like he was shooting a machine gun.  He comes running in, rolls through the living room like James Bond (he has a flare for the dramatic), and reloads all his darts all while I’m trying to figure out how I missed him getting home. 

Needless to say for the next hour or so we played nerf war in our house and had a blast.  I ended up losing, but we were so worn out from our intense nerf war we opted to eat pizza and skip dishes all together.

We kept the note on our fridge and every once in a while we will break out the nerf guns and have a rematch just for fun!

So, ladies (or gentlemen) stop by whatever store meets your budget and do a little nerf war shopping.  For those of you with kids, bring them in on the fun, it takes less than $20 bucks and will keep you entertained for way longer than your favorite television show!

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing

Well since our facebook post has gone viral I figured now was an appropriate time to detail our date night a little more.

Shane and I try very hard to be intentional with date nights.  We have a baby girl and it is so easy to get wrapped up in her and her cuteness.  So, in an effort to keep our marriage first, we try to go on a date night one night a week.  And we try to make them fun!

Shane heard of another couple who went to Goodwill and picked outfits for their date nights and so we just had to do it.  To most people’s surprise, the whole date night was Shane’s idea.  But, we are very competitive so we had to add some rules to it.

Rule One: You each get $10 in Goodwill to shop for the other person and they have to wear what you pick.  This was so much fun.  We found some crazy stuff in Goodwill and made each other try on outfits until we found the perfect one.  This cued the insane laughter from the start of the date night.  My husband is absolutely goofy so as you can imagine I tried on some CRAZY outfits.  We ended up only spending $13 for both masterpieces.

Rule Two: Once you leave Goodwill, it’s like fight club, no one talks about it.  We had to resume date night as normal and pretend like we had no idea our outfits were off the wall.  We went to Longhorn for dinner so of course we had to wait for a table.  The minute we got out of the car we had to put on our game faces.  People were snickering as they walked by and we got a lot of side eye from the hostess.  Again, to most people’s surprise, NO ONE said a word to us about our outfits.  Everyone just looked and laughed behind our backs I’m sure.

Rule Three: You have to pick fake names and go by them all evening.  This didn’t start as a rule but after we saw the outfits we knew it had to happen.  When I walked out of the dressing room Shane said “Ethel get your choir book and come on” and from that point on I was stuck with Ethel.  And really, who wears more plaid than a “Roger” which I affectionately shortened to “Rog” in front of our waiter.

Y’all I don’t think we have laughed this hard in a long time.  Marriage is tough, parenting is tough, and honestly life is tough.  But everything is better when you’re doing it with your best friend.  So, have fun and make sure you hashtag all of your pictures with #goodwilldatenight so we can laugh at your pictures too!

***Disclaimer- to all of the people posting that Shane and I are “goals”, thanks.  But, we are both very off the wall, sinful people.  We only have a great marriage because we put our relationship with Jesus Christ first and let Him tell us how to live and love.  Without Him loving us and showing us how to love each other we would be nothing! 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Year Two

Hard to believe I have been happily married to the literal man of my dreams for two years now. 

Year one was bliss.  It was laughter, dancing in the kitchen, and spur of the moment date nights on a Tuesday. It was binge watching Netflix and staying up way too late, sleeping in, and being late to work.  It was remodeling our little house and dreaming up big plans for the future.  It was fighting with the kitchen sprayer and arguing over who was responsible for dishes.  Year one was filled with memories of carefree adventure and spontaneity. 

Year two was harder.  It was twin pregnancy hormones, miscarriage, joy and sadness all wrapped up in one.  But it was wonderful.  It was laying in the bed crying next to my best friend while he held me tight.  It was wondering how I would ever find the energy for another day and waking up to find breakfast made for me.  It was having someone rub my feet and try to get the right pressure points so I would finally go into labor (which didn’t work).  It was having someone hold me tight when I thought labor pains would kill me.  It was him literally holding me up while I birthed our child in a pool.  But in the midst of all the hard times it was so much joy.  It was painting a nursery and daring to see who would start the paint fight.  It was picking out baby names and dreaming of our sweet girl.  It was playing board games on Christmas Eve eve, Sunday trips to the dog park, and making our own family traditions.  It was wondering why we ever wanted a baby when she wouldn’t stop crying at 4 am no matter what we tried.  It was taking 4 hours to watch one movie because we had to stop so many times to calm a fussy baby.  It was hysterical laughter as our newborn baby latched on to him to try and breast feed.  It was watching him transform into a daddy as he rocked and swayed our newborn in the nightlight, whispering how much he loved her.  Year two was a year of growth; the year we grew into our own family.

Our marriage isn’t perfect, but I’m convinced God blessed us with a once in a lifetime love.  There is no one on this planet I would rather spend my days with; the good ones and the bad ones. My husband loves to hunt, fish, golf, garden, and work with his hands.  But, more than that, he loves our sweet girl and he loves me.  And the best part is, more than he loves both of us, he loves Jesus and follows hard after HIM.  He is sold out and that makes him an incredible husband. He is patient (most of the time), he is kind, and he is definitely not self-seeking.  So excited for what year three will bring our way! 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Our Water Birth

Many people have asked about Hannah Kate’s birth, mainly because it was a water birth so I wanted to take a moment to share our story.  I’m also including a few pictures that are my absolute favorites.

From the time we found out we were having a baby I was amazed at how quickly my body just took over.  I didn’t have to do anything to grow this sweet little life inside of me; God had designed my body to grow and carry a baby.  It was truly a miraculous experience.  Everything she needed she got from my body yet my body was still able to function (but man was I tired!)  I was so amazed that I decided early on to attempt to deliver my baby with no pain medications.  The thought of an epidural terrified me more than the thought of the pain of childbirth.  I have control issues and could not stand the thought of being numbed to the point of not being able to walk. 

The more research I did the more I read that water birth was the way to go if you weren’t going to have pain medications.  However, I was delivering at a small hospital and I had no idea that was even an option.  However, when we were discussing our birth plan with my midwife she asked if we had considered it.  I immediately said yes! And we started planning to deliver in the water.

For those of you who think that’s crazy, don’t worry I heard that a lot.  But, to clear up some misconceptions, the baby will not swallow water and drown.  They are floating in water inside of their mama’s and when they come out they can actually stay in the water for up to ten minutes as long as they are attached to the cord.  They also won’t take their first breath until their face hits air so the likelihood of them swallowing water is slim to none.  And, my biggest concern was that it was going to be disgusting.  But, in reality it wasn’t all that bad or if it was I was so busy I didn’t even notice it.

So, our story. Shane and I tried everything to get our baby girl to come.  I was miserable and swollen and ready to have my girl in my arms.  It wasn’t looking like she was going to come on her own so my midwife went ahead and scheduled me to be induced.  I started the second round of medications on Feb. 21 at 5 am.  This really jumpstarted my labor and my water broke at 8:45.  When the midwife came to check me I was only at a 4 and she would not let me in the water until I was at a 7.  For those of you who don’t know, once your water breaks contractions really start to hurt.  So I was determined to get to a 7 and get there quickly so I could get in the water. 

Shane and I started walking around the hospital stopping every time there was a contraction.  I was still adamant that I wanted no pain medication.  And, if I had caved, I was told I wouldn’t be allowed in the water, so walking and moving was the only relief I had.  At one point in the hospital lobby a contraction hit and it was so much pain that I literally started throwing up everywhere, talk about embarrassing!  We decided to go back to my labor room to keep from showering the rest of the hospital in my bodily fluids.

They checked me when I got back and I was finally at a 7!  They started filling up the tub and told me it would take about 45 minutes.  So Shane and I got in a rhythm through contractions.  We raised the hospital bed as high as it would go and I leaned over.  He stood behind me and every time a contraction would hit (felt like they never stopped!) we would rock back and forth and he would remind me to take deep breaths.

After 45 minutes, which felt like 17 hours, the tub was ready.  The nurses told me I could get in and let them know when I felt like I had to poop, because that meant I was ready to push.  No sooner than I got in I knew it was time.  I yelled at them that I was ready to push and they checked and sure enough it was time.  The midwife was at her office so they immediately started telling me not to push.  Now, you might think that’s easy right, just don’t push.  Only it’s not.  Your body naturally starts trying to push and you literally have to stop it from doing what its designed to do.

The midwife finally showed up, only two minutes later, but again it felt like a million years.  I pushed about 6 times and out popped a red headed baby girl at 11:21 am.  They handed her to me and my whole world changed.  I’ve had a wonderful life and had some incredible moments but there is no way to describe the feeling when they place your baby in your hands for the first time. 

Our birth was perfect.  I desperately wanted to do it without medication to see what my body could do and I was amazed.  God truly thought of everything and is such an amazing creator.  It hurt. Really, really, really bad but at the end of it, I was so thankful that it had all gone exactly like it was supposed to.

**and extra shout out, my husband is a rock star.  He was by my side the entire time and was so supportive and encouraging.  I could not have done it without him.  And, how sweet is this picture of him praying over us.  I’m so blessed.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Back to work I go...

To my sweet girl,

Time is flying by and its already time for me to go back to work.  I’m crying as I sit here because the thought of leaving you all day breaks my heart.  I will miss snuggling you before nap times, the sweet smile when you wake up from your morning naps, and the way you grin when you get that first clean diaper in the mornings.  Oh, my heart hurts to think about all the firsts I will probably miss. 

I want you to know that every second I am away from you my heart is wishing it was with you.  I want you to know that you and your daddy are the most important people in my world.  But more than any of this I want you to understand why mommy works.  Yes, we need the money and insurance.  Yes, mommy needs time outside of the home too.  But, more importantly than all of this, mommy feels called to a purpose greater than herself.

Yes, my sweet girl, this is what I hope you understand one day.  Jesus saved me according to good works that He has ordained for me.  Every person is created for a purpose; that includes mommy, daddy, and even you.  I am so passionate about making sure that kids who are less fortunate than you have a safe place to go and have someone looking out for them too.  I feel God placed me here to fight for them and fight to make sure they are safe and protected too.

Being your daddy’s wife and your mommy are the biggest joys in my life.  My number one job is to serve your daddy and to raise you up to know and follow the Lord.  So, every day when I leave you, know that my heart aches with the things I might miss that day.  But, one day I want you to look back and remember that mommy was working for a purpose bigger than her and even bigger than you.

I hope one day you have the joy of being a wife and mommy.  (If that’s not what God has for you that’s okay too).  But, I hope you find your purpose and I hope you commit to serving God, no matter how hard it is.  Maybe your purpose will be to stay at home and raise my grandbabies (and maybe even take care of other people’s babies!)  Maybe it will be to go live across the ocean and tell people about Jesus that have never heard.  Maybe your purpose will be to teach snotty nosed little kindergarteners.  I don’t know what your purpose is going to be; I am so excited about watching you grow and figure it out.  I hope that whatever it is you have the strength to follow after it with all you have because you saw your mom and dad stand strong and do what they were called to!

I love you forever.