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Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas fun.

We have had so much fun celebrating the Christmas season with Owen. We've made lots of wonderful memories and started some fun traditions.

Friday, December 20, 2013

"Walk with me Mommy".

Sweet words from my precious little man today...love little moments like this!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Owen's favorites.

Owen is a busy, busy boy meaning that I am one busy, busy momma.
I feel like the months of October, November, and now almost December have flown by with little time for me to share some of my favorite memories and things about our little Owen.

Now 23 months, Owen has definite favorite things...

The color green- He wants to wear only green clothes & has a clear preference for toys/objects that are green. He loves to say "My favorite color is green!"

Music- This boy loves music. About 2 months ago he began to sing. We love listening to his "singing voice" which is really just a deeper version of his talking voice. He has an amazing knack for picking up song lyrics. He & Chris listen to songs & watch music videos in the evening while I clean up dinner. They have quite the playlist...anything from classic rock, Irish folk songs, C is for Cookie, to Rocky Top. Right now Owen's favorite songs are "Holly Jolly Christmas" and "The Unicorn Song".

Reading- We must read for atleast an hour everyday. Our boy loves books! To be such a busy little guy, I'm amazed that he'll sit for 15-20 minutes at a time to listen to stories. Right now some of his favorite books are "Good Night, Good Night Construction Site", "All About Trucks", and "Frosty the Snowman".

Leaf blowers- Yes, leaf blowers. Owen is obsessed with them. He looks for leaf blowers when we're outside or riding in the car. He listens for leaf blowers when we're both inside & outside. He talks about leaf blowers constantly, and he pretends that empty wrapping paper tubes or toilet paper rolls are his leaf blowers.

Construction sites- I'm pretty sure we could spend a day at a construction site & Owen would be happy for a while. He loves to point out "dozers" & "diggers" and also knows about excavators, bucket trucks, cranes, and backhoes. I've definitely broadened my scope of construction equipment knowledge recently!

Hugs & kisses- For such a busy, busy boy, Owen still loves to snuggle and receive and give hugs and kisses. They're also lots of head bumps and fist bumps thrown in there too!

Loving watching our little man grow up!

Meeting Santa.

We took Owen to meet Santa Claus this past Saturday.
Although we don't push the Santa Claus thing, we did talk about Santa being such a nice man who likes to meet boys and girls. Owen talked about sitting in Santa's lap until just before it was his turn when he changed his mind.
I'm pretty sure you can see his lip quivering in the picture...no tears were actually cried, but we were close.

Owen did love the book he got from Santa and keeps talking about seeing Santa and getting a book.
He recovered quickly & agreed to pose for a couple of sweet pictures.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Little Bear.

Meet "Little Bear"...

Little Bear was the very first "baby" thing I bought after finding out we were pregnant with Owen. I traveled with Chris to Stockholm Sweden in June of 2012 for a chemistry conference where he had an opportunity to present some of his research. I was about 7 weeks pregnant. One day while Chris was busy at the conference, I took the bus to the world's first Ikea just outside of Stockholm. I spent much of the day perusing & dining on Swedish meatballs & ligonberry sauce...yum!
Although I spent hours there, I made only 2 purchases-a unique shaped coffee mug & this bear.

Fast forward months later...we found out that our little one was indeed & boy, moved, & began decorating Owen's nursery. I found a sweet little place for this little bear on a wall shelf. I propped him next to some wooden blocks & loved the way he looked there. 

When Owen was nearing a year old, I happened to take the little bear down for him to see & hold. There appeared to be no immediate connection until about six months ago. Chris & I had been calling him "Little Bear" & Owen adopted that name. Then Little Bear became an even better friend when Owen parted ways with his "binky" in September. Prior to that, Little Bear was mostly a friend to cuddle with for naps and at bedtime. Suddenly Little Bear was showing up everywhere. 

Fast forward again to this past Thursday...Owen & I ventured to Kohl's with our 30% off our total purchase coupon in hand in an effort to finish our Christmas shopping. Little Bear usually makes car trips with us but is not routinely allowed in stores. However, Owen was tired, mommy was tired, & he was not thrilled with the prospect of riding in the stroller without his bear friend. I caved & let Little Bear come along for the shopping trip. We had several things in various departments to scope out, so we covered a lot of territory before I realized that Little Bear was no where to be found. After retracing our steps multiple times, I proceeded to the Customer Service counter to report Little Bear missing. 

It is quite possible that the Kohl's Customer Service representative deemed me crazy as I described the missing bear as if he was my own child..."He's about 6 inches, tan color with brown eyes, a little blue & white striped jumper with a heart in the middle. He looks old & loved on." I jotted my name & number on on a piece of paper and nearly begged her to please help me find him. 

We returned to the car-Owen asking for Little Bear &  me feeling defeated & nearly in tears. At a loss, I prayed simply for God to help someone find Little Bear & return him to his sweet little rightful owner. 

I shared the sad news with Chris & knew we had to move on. After asking multiple times, I decided to tell Owen that Little Bear hard more shopping to do at Kohl's & we would hopefully be able to see him soon. Meanwhile, Chris was making plans to get a new bear here ASAP. Getting an "extra" bear had been on our to-do list for a while, but they're not available online at IKEA meaning we would have to make a trip to the store. The closest IKEA is in Atlanta, but there was simply not time at Thanksgiving to go. Chris talked to his sister who happened to be downtown that day. She was so kind to head to IKEA & get us some more bears. My sweet parents arranged to get the bears from my sister-in-law Friday before they made the trip here for an already planned visit. I was somewhat relieved to know that at least a "new" Little Bear was headed our way, but was still sad to know that it would never be that sweet little bear that I brought home from Stockholm.

At 10:15 p.m. Thursday evening, I got a call from a wonderfully excited Kohl's employee who told me that Little Bear had been found!!! To say that I was overjoyed would have been an understatement. It was in fact an answered prayer. 

We returned to Kohl's Friday morning to bring Little Bear back home. His sweet little owner was so elated to see his bear friend & this mommy is so thankful that Little Bear is back home. 

P.S. Little Bear now has another "bear friend" but he'll definitely never be the favorite and the "real" Little Bear will not be allowed to make any more shopping trips again!

Friday, November 22, 2013

More on Samaritan's Purse.

Operation Christmas Child is likely one of the most known missions of Samaritan's Purse, but they sponsor and support so many other worthy causes in our country and beyond.

Several years ago we received a Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog. It highlights very specific areas of need among their various missions and shares the way that your donation will support their work. You can contribute funds to help build hospitals, houses, churches or to buy livestock, chickens, & fruit trees to support families in needs. You can give money to buy Bibles, children's storybook Bibles, blankets, athletic equipment, or bicycles. One of my favorite options is to contribute to purchase musical "Jesus Loves Me Lambs" for children in difficult situations. I truly love reading through the catalog and learning more about the heart of Samaritan's Purse.

You can purchase gifts in honor or memory of family & friends. Every holiday season, we review the catalog & pray about which specific missions to support and then we purchase a few "gifts" in honor of some family on our gift list who are "difficult to buy for" or who request no gifts.

Check out the 2013 gift catalog by clicking the picture below. Happy shopping & happy giving!


Operation Christmas Child.

Twelve years ago I began participating in a mission that has now become one of the most significant Christmas traditions for me, and now our family.

As a freshman in high school, I was introduced to Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child project through a volunteer service organization. I shopped & packed a shoe box, complete with a letter to an unknown child and felt so impacted by the action that I continued doing it annually as a high schooler. After going away to college, I continued to seek out the opportunity to pack my shoe box each year and send it off packed with toys, treats, and love. When Chris & I married, it became our very first "married holiday tradition". We have continued the tradition, and 2 Christmases ago when we were expecting Owen, we began packing a third shoe box. Last year Owen was a mere 10 months old, but we took him shopping to "pack" his own shoe box.

Several Sundays ago, we stayed for a few minutes following our worship service to pack shoe boxes as a part of our church's quarterly Day of Mission project. We helped Owen color a picture and select items off of a table to pack into shoe boxes to send to "friends" for Christmas. He continues to talk about "packing a box for a friend".

Last weekend we all went shopping for items to pack in our own boxes. Owen announced that he wanted to pack a "yellow car" and "play doh" in his friend's box. This past Sunday during our worship service the three of us, along with other members of our church family, walked our shoe boxes to the front of the sanctuary where we stacked them and then prayed over the boxes, the children who would receive them, and the impact that we know they will have on their recipients.

This year the mission of Operation Christmas Child has an even deeper, more personal meaning for me. It is so important to us to teach Owen the importance of serving others even at his young age. My heart was so full when I listened to him talk about sharing toys with a "friend" and watched him walk his shoe box to the front of our church. Although packing the shoe boxes may seem like a simple gesture, the impact of the love contained with in each box and the story of the greatest love of all placed in each box reaches deeper than any of us may ever know.

There are so many wonderful stories of the impact of the boxes...check them out here.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pumpkin Carving.

We carved our pumpkin Tuesday evening. We wanted Owen to be able to participate so we kept it simple.

Owen wasn't sure at first, but quickly got into picking out the seeds (one at the time) & scooping out the inside. His favorite part by far was putting the "fire" in the pumpkin.

Such a mess, yet so much fun!

Monday, October 28, 2013


We pray as a family before meals and have recently begun praying a meal time prayer similar to one I learned as a child.

Owen would usually say a nice loud "Amen" following the prayer, but that was about all.
Friday at lunch, I asked Owen to fold his hands so we could pray. Before he could get his little hands folded & I could get my eyes closed, he said "God is great, God is good, Thank Him for this food. Amen".

Through a few tears, I complimented him on his sweet prayer and assured him that God hears all of our prayers.

Since Friday, Owen has repeated the same sweet words of thanks before we sit down to eat. For me, there is nothing sweeter than hearing my sweet son pray to his Heavenly Father.

I am so thankful.

So hard to believe...


I've spent a lot of time over the past week thinking about just how grown up you have become. It seems like just yesterday that you were nestled in my arms, 100% dependent on me to meet all of your needs. Although we still snuggle often, you've learned the word need & you frequently tell me that you "need more milk", "need a snack", "need dry diaper". (You've also recently learned to open the refrigerator & have been known to take out the jug of milk & tell me "need more milk")

It's so hard for me to believe how independent you're becoming...
You want to pick a shirt to put on each morning (you always look for a green shirt), you have learned to put your dirty laundry in the basket when we take your clothes off, you usually start picking up your toys as soon as we say it's time for a bath, & you love to brush your teeth all by yourself.

It's sometimes challenging for me to let go of doing things for you & let you do them on your own, but you're pretty determined to be such a big guy. I'll always be so proud to be your mommy.



Thursday, October 17, 2013


The Publix Baby Club newsletter came today & when I flipped it over to the back page I saw a column titled "What Every Mom Needs: Moms Need Perspective". It is an excerpt from a MOPS publication. It's a truth that spoke right to me, and after this past week seems to be yet another fitting reminder of my weaknesses & struggles.

"What Every Mom Needs: Moms Need Perspective

"Not now, honey. Mommy's busy. Maybe later."
How many times a day does a mom give this kind of response to her toddler's endless requests to "Read me another book" or "Play with me...please, Mommy, please," or "Let's make some cookies."

After all, Moms are always busy and always struggling with the decisions of what's most important right now. What a mom needs most in the midst of this struggle is perspective-the ability to fit the meaning of the moment into the bigger picture of life. Moms of young children especially need perspective as they constantly weigh the importance of household tasks against the importance of playing with children. The struggle to balance the urgent and the important. The struggle to recognize the choices and make them with wisdom. The ability to make the most of life's irretrievable moments."

I am learning that (1) keeping perspective is a moment by moment struggle for me, (2) a momentary lapse in perspective doesn't mean that I'm an awful, unloving mother, (3) mothers need to support each other in the challenge of maintaining the right perspective. 

What a wonderful reminder to me of the need to keep the right perspective no matter how difficult it may be!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Owen's Bookshelf.

Owen loves to read. His love of books is no doubt inherited from Chris & I. Our love of reading was certainly instilled in us by our parents & grandparents who invested time in reading to us often.

Because we think reading is so important, and because Owen loves to read, we read a lot of books every day.

Here are some of the books on Owen's shelf that are currently getting lots of love...

"Georgia book" & "Tennessee book" are two favorites. It's a sweet series of books that highlight fun attractions in each state.

I adore that Owen loves this book ("hush baby book") because it was one of my childhood favorites.

Owen loves his "Bible storybook". We have several Bible storybooks, but this is the best for his current age because the stories are brief & the pictures are great. He loves talking about "Noah's big boat" & "Jesus & John in the water".

Let's be honest, Dr. Seuss books are L-O-N-G. But, Owen loves this one & will sit all the way through at least one reading of it & sometimes requests "again". He usually prefers that Chris reads it to him, which Chris gets a kick out of! Owen's loves to talk about "Mr. Gump" & "Mike on the bicycle".

I love watching how much he is learning &  recalling from books. I have also just discovered this great resource for choosing books (& movies) that teach lessons that are important specifically for boys to learn. I'm looking forward to using that to guide some of our future book selections as our little man grows.
What Stories Does My Son Need?: A Guide to Books and Movies that Build Character in Boys

Measuring Up.

It is so easy to blog about the fun, happy moments of our lives but we all know that life isn't all fun and happy. Life is hard, and so I am challenging myself to write this post about a less glamorous truth of my life. This is honest. This is real.

If you know me, you know that I am organized & neat. I am a planner. I like helping others, but have a tendency to say 'yes' too often. I thrive off of schedule & structure. I pride myself on being efficient. I seek out technologies and products that make me feel more efficient. I am completely wired & gifted to plan events, to organize spaces, and to structure my schedule to achieve the highest level of productivity.

Since becoming a mom, I have many new responsibilities and have attempted to be very careful in not overburdening myself by saying 'yes' to every seemingly worthy opportunity to help that comes my way. I have attempted to continue to keep my family first.

Sounds good, right? But, here's the problem...I measure my worth by how many things I can accomplish in an hour, or in a day, or in a week. The truth is, I can never measure up to my standards. They are high and often incredibly unrealistic.

God has been teaching me so much about who I am over the last week. It has been a hard week. I have felt unproductive, unchallenged, incompetent, inadequate. It has taken me almost a week to realize that God brought me to this place. He walked me down this path knowing that eventually I would learn something that I needed to learn from Him.

The truths I have learned are that I will never be able to measure up to my standards. I am thankful for that because I have been reminded that God measures me by a non-worldly standard...A standard that is far more important than my standards about how many loads of laundry I can do in one day, how many papers I can grade while Owen naps, how many homemade meals I can cook each week.

I am thankful that the One who measures my life, measures me by my heart, my love, my intentions, & my passion for His causes. And no, I'll never live achieve perfection in these measures either but they're far more important and worthy of my effort than my measures.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pumpkin Patch.

I took Owen to Walden Farms last Thursday. We had an absolute blast!
He really could have cared less about the pumpkins and was mostly interested in the farm animals & riding the 'train'. Although Owen is no stranger to goats (I think they're his favorite animal), he had never had the opportunity to feed a goat before. No picture would ever to justice to the precious squeal & expression on his face when the goat's lips tickled his little hand.

I love these fun firsts!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

It's Fall Y'all...

I know it's fall because...

-There's a delightfully crisp feeling to the air in the mornings
-This week I cooked a pork loin with cinnamon apples in the crock pot...smelled (& tasted) just like fall
-I broke out my boots & wore them twice this weekend
-We went shopping for our little man some new jeans, little man shirts, & fall-attire
-I baked pumpkin spice cookies with chocolate chips
-Owen is now the proud owner of a "real baby" pumpkin & a mini-light up pumpkin
-If the tv is one, we're watching football. We were certainly watching yesterday when UGA beat LSU....Go DAWGS!
-I made a big pot of chili this afternoon...yummy!
-We have 2 trips to the pumpkin patch planned in the next 3 weeks

We love fall!

September fun.

It's been a very busy September for us, but it's been full of lots of fun...

Labor Day lake swimming...
A trip to see the train at Centennial park...

 We got Owen a 2nd carseat for Daddy's car, meaning we had a giant box for him to play in!
 Playground fun...
 Bruce Munro Lights Exhibit at Cheekwood...

 The Nashville Zoo opened their newest exhibit a few weeks ago, Kangaroo Kickabout. You can walk on a path in the enclosure with kangaroos & if they approach the path, you can actually pet them. We had no luck finding a friendly kangaroo to pet on our 1st trip, but did have success on our 2nd trip with Grandma & PawPaw. Thanks Ima the Kangaroo!

1st carousel ride at the zoo...

 One cool dude cruising the zoo...

 Owen's favorite part of the zoo is the petting zoo where he makes sure he pets every goat (there are probably atleast 15).

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Goodbye Summer.

I suppose we have to officially say goodbye to summer.
I was so blessed to spend the summer with our little man.
It was a special summer filled with...

trips to the zoo
blowing bubbles
spending time with grandparents & aunts
catching lightning bugs
roasting marshmallows
coloring our sidewalks with chalk
tending & harvesting our garden vegetables
learning about Play-Doh
lots of wagon rides
washing Daddy's truck
watching for lawnmowers, trash trucks, & mail deliveries
evening family walks
Monday library story times
enjoying fudgesicles
soaking in the pool
walks with friends

Now, it's back our school/work routine. 
We'll miss our summer fun, but I'm so looking forward to this fall.