2 years, 9 months

Ok, so 2 years 9 months old isn't exactly a milestone so much - except for the fact they are on the closer end to 3 years old now & not 2 1/2. Which gives me pause every time someone asks me how old they are. Do I go with 2 and a half or do I say the honest answer and "almost  three". Which, quite frankly, almost reduces me to a sniffly "where in the world did the last three years go and wahhhhhhh!?!!!" mess.

What I'm Loving:

1. How much they really do love each other. They love to be around one another, they love their built-in playmate, and they are growing very respectful of each other. Nothing warms my heart like Quinnie bringing Ryan his water just because, or Ryan giving up his seat in the car because his sister wants to sit there. No prompting from me - they just do it. 

2. Their sponge brains. Both seem to really love learning --- always have an interest in "what's that, Mommy?", "why, Mommy?" and a bazillion other questions. They love to learn the alphabet and numbers, both reciting and visually recognizing them. They get super excited when they see letters or numbers they recognize. Is it any surprise they know HEB? :) 

3. They LOVE books. I mean, LOVE. They would read 10 books a night if we let them. Usually I read them a couple throughout the day and then let Daddy have some special reading time with them at night while I finish up cooking dinner. They love when their Daddy reads to them - he does all the funny voices, noises, and is just generally entertaining. It's times like that when I peek up from whatever I'm stirring, and just watch  without them noticing. And maybe get a little tear in my eye. It's all I could have ever hoped for in a daddy for my children.

4. They are so darn much fun to play with. Their zest and zeal for any activity is incredible. Whether it's cars, princess castle, kitchen, or just running around outside, they have so much joy and their smiles are infectious. Quinnie is my craft kid - she loves anything artsy and believes wholeheartedly that quantity is better than quality :) She will rush through one project just so she can start another. Ryan is my calmer kid who can sit for long periods of times in his imaginary world of planes, trains, and automobiles. He is very, very focused on each activity - especially if it's playing basketball or kicking the soccer ball. He makes sure to line up and do a couple of practice thrusts before actually letting go of the ball. 

5. They are learning manners! So great for this southern mama's heart. I always have said I will have done my job if I raise kids who love Jesus, love others, and are polite. It's was just ingrained in me from a young age and I want them to have the same thing. They say "Please, thank you, you're welcome, etc" for almost everything. Still working on "Yes ma'am" and "no sir" because I think it confuses them --- why are we suddenly "ma'am" and "sir" if we were just "mommy" and "daddy" before. 

6. Independence. They can do so much more for themselves. Feed themselves, put up their plates and silverware, put their clothes on the stairs instead of discarding them at the door, even get dressed themselves for the most part (Quinnie) and pick out their own clothes (Quinnie again). And independence has led to the reward of the "big" beds. Which I realized they were ready for them long ago - turns out it was momma who wasn't.

Love you, R&Q. I'm sticking with 2 year olds until exactly June 3rd :)

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Coming of Age

Today is my birthday. My 33rd birthday to be exact. Wow. 33 years. As much as I joke about getting older, I am actually super happy to be turning 33 instead of 23. Or really anything in my 20s. 

I finally feel like I am starting to get to know myself. That I am okay with the things I am not and the things that I am. I am content. Content with most everything in my life. Namely, my little precious family who makes my days worthwhile. If I think too long on that, I'll start to cry.

Because it's all just so much more than I deserve.

If you know me in "real life", you know that my self-esteem is not always the best. For whatever reason, I've dealt with a multitude of insecurities - not pretty enough, bad hair, bad skin, not skinny enough, not smart, not a good mom, not a great wife, not a good "believer". The list could go on and on. 

Slowly but surely, I am peeling away those insecurities and learning to like ME. The real ME. Not the ME that I sometimes project for the world to see.

I'm started to discover my shape. How God has shaped me for this earthly world --- and how much He loves me, all of me. I don't deserve His Grace, none of us do, but I have it anyway. And He gave me this life and for me to sit and wallow in a pit of self despair hurts Him.

I am becoming more comfortable with knowing me.

Knowing that I am not shaped in the following ways:

I stink at home decorating. It makes me anxious.
I hate "crafting" and do-it-yourself projects. Even kiddie crafts. There I said it.
I loathe pinterest because (for me) it brings on the comparisons that steal my joy.
I do not like baking. At all.
I find scrapbooking or other memory-makers boring.
I love spending time with people but overnight retreats or long days with the same people leads to massive anxiety.
My skin isn't perfect (but that's why they invented MAC and Bare Escentuals.)
I am not good at "going with the flow". Spontaneity give me hives.

What I am good at:
Loving my children and family.
Cooking - as long as I have a recipe.
Being a friend.
Showing compassion.
Seeing a page out of Pottery Barn and buying exactly those things to make my "decorating" easier.
Purchasing off of etsy for the people who are DIY inclined.
I can be funny.
I know what my passions are.
*Admiring all the people who are shaped the way that I am not*

These lists could go on and on. But you get the point. I remember my mom saying to me long ago, and maybe more recent than that,

 "One day you will look in the mirror and like what you see -- and that's a damn good feeling."

I'm almost there, Momma. I'm almost there.

I like me. I like the 33 year old me. The 23 year old version of me was self-centered, self-serving, and full of massive insecurities that threatened to paralyze my life.

I've let almost all that go. And here I stand, proud to be my age. Not afraid of growing older because I can only hope that my 43 year old version is an even better version of the 33 year old. 

And because now every birthday is one more year that I get to spend cherishing my precious children, loving my amazing husband, and striving to be a good daughter, sister, sister-in-law, and aunt. And another year to work on shedding self-doubt. One more year to grow closer in my relationship with Christ.

Thank you for another birthday. I welcome 33 with open arms. Bring it.

(As a side note: on this quiet Saturday birthday, the best possible present I could have received was hearing my children serenade me with "Happy Birthday". I could have died happy right then. 
And because I still am a little bit self-serving, I had them sing it 5 more times.)

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Easter Bunny 2013

Well, I'll just let this speak for itself. LOVE.

Easter 2013

And last year. My sweet little ones when Jon Jons were Daddy-approved along with squeaky shoes.

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Gaining a Little Perspective

It happens every once in awhile. 

Those moments where something happens that makes you step back and evaluate what is truly important in life. Admittedly, I get wayyy too bogged down in just the daily details - you know the ones. The feeding, the cleaning, the dressing, the disciplining, the bills, work, etc. The things that can suck your energy dry - and leave you feeling too exhausted to do the things you really want to do, like get on the carpet and play with your kids all day, actually take care of yourself, or just enjoy fixing a nice meal for your family.

This past Wednesday I was in a really bad car accident. I say "bad" because it involved 4 cars, multiple tow trucks, a couple of ambulances, multiple emergency personnel, and one trip to the hospital via ambulance for me. Thankfully, no one was killed or seriously hurt.

Ironically I was on a tollway that I very rarely travel on unless I am with my husband or heading down to the med center with the kids. We typically stay in our "suburbia" most of the time so this was a rarity.

Anyway it happened (not my fault, I should point out but I suppose it doesn't really matter). In a matter of seconds, I was faced with a split decision on how I wanted to wreck - into a wall, into the cars that had already wrecked in front of me or swerving to the side to attempt to avoid but knew I'd probably hit someone there. No bueno on the choices. 

I chose to swerve. Car was coming up on my right side and that was the end of the right side of my car. Somehow I was able to pull my car to the right shoulder (which is very limited spacing on this particular roadway, it's basically a 2 lane tollway with very little shoulder space). And I sat there. Just shaking uncontrollably. Replaying in my mind. Wondering what just happened. One minute I was excited about the prospect of the day, actually dressed in something other than work out clothes (a rarity), and the next I am leaning against the back of my car seat, grasping for my cell phone and praying my husband would answer. 

I felt excruciating pain in my neck and shoulders but initially that wasn't what was bothering me. By the time the emergency folks got to me, they saw my tears and asked if I was ok. I just gestured to the back seat where three empty car seats sat (I watch a little boy every Monday so we have his car seat too) and just broke down.

They weren't with me. The kids were safe and sound at school. Whereas they are riding with me 90% of the time I am out and about, they weren't with me. Thank you, Jesus. I'll talk a million ambulance rides never to be in an accident with them. A huge prayer of thankfulness was sent up. 

Five hours later after multiple tests at the hospital which confirmed nothing was broken, we were picking up our babies from some dear friends. And I was just overcome again with emotion. I just wanted to grab them and never let them go and whisper in their little ears that momma would do anything, anything to protect them.

But I can't. Not all the time. We can take reasonable precautions but we have to take the risk if we take them out in this big ole world. 

But my goodness. The dishes and cleaning may go by the wayside for a little while in name of just being with my kids. 


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