Monday, March 17, 2014

K & K do the US of A

A few weeks ago, I road tripped across the country with my younger sister Kelsey. She moved back to our hometown of Pittsburgh after 5 years in Reno, Nevada. We drove a lot. We watched Pitch Perfect 3 times. We raced the winter storm Titan (and won). We had a car dance party for about 8 hours straight during our last day of driving, which turned out to be 22 hours long. We ate in-and-out burger. We took lots of pictures. We shared the trip with 3 of her dogs, one of which is a great dane. We almost left her trailer full of stuff in Nevada... and Arizona... and every other state on the way home. We drove by the Grand Canyon and over the Hoover Dam and waved with no time to stop. We talked for hours about plans and life and dreams and nothing at all. It was a good trip, the best kind where I got to just share life for a few days with my favorite little sister. It was full of crazy and I'm so grateful we did it. Here's to hoping we can do it again one day, minus the trailer. 

Nevada = home of the RV

Reno, Nevada
on our way!

didn't mind the view

in-and-out burger newbie
good morning, Arizona

Route 66

New Mexico

oh hey, Albuquerque


my co-pilots


St. Louis

Oklahoma to Pennsylvania in 1 day


We made it!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

18 months of Graham

EIGHTEEN MONTHS?! How in the world did that happen? 

The first 12 months of Graham were so laid back and relaxed. The last 6 have been wild. It's as if my kids hit the 1 year mark and unleash the craziness they've stored up since birth. Graham has affectionately been called Grabby Graham for a reason. That kid is into everything! Rarely a day goes by that I don't have Everett yelling to me --- "Emergency Mommy! Graham's on the table/playing on your computer/getting into the toilet/climbing up the steps!!!" He sure keeps me on my toes! 
If I can't watch him, he's parking it with toys in his pack n play. That's where shimmers of his laid back-ness show up again. He doesn't mind being in there as long as he's got a snack or toys to play with. Thank goodness because otherwise I wouldn't get a darn thing done around here. 

being wild = getting bumps and bruises

He is a handful, but also just so dang cute. I can't handle it. The faces he makes are priceless. He does a mean imitation of mama's disapproving look. I laugh every time. He loves to be chased and wants to do everything that Everett does. He loves the dogs and usually lets me know he wants to see them as soon as he's up. His favorite word is ball. He uses as few words as necessary, usually it's just a point and a yell. It works though since I always know what he wants. Aaron and I joke that Graham doesn't do what Graham doesn't want to do. He's much more stubborn and strong willed than Everett. It's something that we want to encourage him in, knowing it will play out as perseverance; however, I'm sure it'll prove challenging to parent at some points too. :) 

We're still as smitten as ever with our sweet boy. He is funny and goofy and loves to play and laugh. I just smooch his face all day. It's hard not to. Happy 1.5 years baby boy. I'm madly in love with you!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


This year I've got a few things I'm focusing on. You know this. One of them is being present. One of my biggest hurdles to that is my iphone. I know I can't be the only one. It's hard. In a world of instant gratification, things like facebook and instagram give me something new to look at almost every minute of the day. When I am bored or have downtime, it's second nature to reach for my phone. It's become a bad habit more than anything. An addiction? Maybe. It's gross just typing that.

And you know what? That is detrimental. It's drowning out that still small voice. It's taking away my ability to focus. It's causing me to place too much of my worth on what people think. It's taking up precious time that could be spent being present with my husband or kids or my God. Hands down, if you asked me what was most important to me it would be my faith, my husband, and my kids. But, things like social media have a way of causing life to get out of sync. All of a sudden that friend from high school who had a baby or that interesting article that someone posted is more important than what's going on with Everett or Graham in that moment. And when it comes down to it, I don't ever want my kids to look back and remember mom on her phone instead of on the floor playing. I want them to know that they are worth my time and energy and focus and sometimes it takes more than words to show them that. Some days it's easier to escape into my phone than deal with the nitty gritty, hard parts of being at home. Some days it's easier to be busy with my phone than come up with yet another activity for us to do, but that doesn't mean it's better.

And so, I decided that I need to start weighing what it is that I'm giving my time to. I need to stop having the excuse that I don't have time for ________ (working out, time with the Lord, doing the laundry, etc) when I do and instead I've just spent it on seeing what everyone else is doing. I need to stop allowing myself to go down the rabbit hole of seeing an alert on my phone, going to the app, seeing all the updates, and then realizing I've just wasted 20 minutes.

So, I'm giving them up. I'm signing off facebook and instagram for lent. Maybe it will be for longer. Either way, the goal is presence. Being fully present with the 3 most important things in my life. Be present with my kids, even if it's watching Martha Speaks. I don't really need to be distracted on my phone. I can simply sit and be with them. Be present with Aaron after the kids go to bed. Actually listen when he says it drives him crazy when I'm on my phone while we're supposed to be watching a movie together. Not having my quiet time interrupted by alerts from instagram. I am removing those apps from my phone, along with my email. I want my phone to be used to really connect with people --- to call them, to text them, to take pictures of and with them. And learning that it's okay to have some blank space, some time that I'm not filling with anything.

There you have it. I hate being wrong/vulnerable/imperfect, but I am and this is just one glaring example. Here's to 6 weeks of presence with the things that matter most. Here's to 6 weeks of finding a better balance and living in some quiet, unfilled moments. Maybe you'll join me?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

what four looks like

And a video... because I just don't want to forget how much he makes me laugh.

Monday, March 3, 2014

four whole years

Dear Everett man,

Happy Birthday! I cannot believe you are 4?! It seems like yesterday I was waddling out of Walmart after my water broke and so excited/nervous/scared about all of the unknowns of being your mama. You have calmed all those fears. You're amazing kiddo. Amazingly smart. Amazingly funny. Amazingly loving. Today we were reading a book that we've read only a handful of times and I skipped a few lines. You let me know that I accidentally forgot to read a page. hah. I can't get anything by you! This year you've figured out how to write your name and count really high. You love to play board games and do puzzles. You love to wrestle and get wild with Daddy. You're still trying to convince one of the dogs to sleep with you. You're working really hard to be an awesome big brother to Graham. You love chewing gum, and super heroes, and playing with your friends. You are an amazing helper, constantly wanting to help me with the dishes or laundry or letting me know Graham's on the table again.

You are hilarious and wild. Case in point:

I just can't believe what a little man you are. You still ask me often to sleep with you at naptime, and some days I oblige. I know it won't last forever, this whole you preferring me more than anyone thing. When I leave you tell me "But Mommy- I'll miss you." I love the way you love me. You are quick to forgive and simply desire my presence. Some days I just can't stop squeezing and hugging and kissing you because you're just that awesome. Other days you've got me praying a lot for understanding and patience and how to be a mom to a wild little boy.

I pray for you daily - that you'd show kindness, love Jesus, and make this world a better place. I know you're already doing that at our house. Here's to another year of firsts -  another year of learning and growing and loving each other. I am beyond blessed to call you mine.

You are and will always be my most favorite Everett. I love you so dearly my sweet boy.