Friday, November 17, 2017

A surgery, a birthday and some other things

Here we go! 

I'm going to get this update DONE today. I've literally written on my to do list every single day for the last week and every single day it has been moved to the next. 

Last week Mama had knee surgery. I told someone this morning that it was two weeks ago...sure does feel like it! It was originally scheduled in December which would have been the week right before Christmas. I am so so so thankful that it was moved up, it's done and behind us now! 


There are new toys to enjoy at home :)






We celebrated Easton turning ONE!!! 

Nora planned the party. Yep! I gave her some options or helped guide a few things but she chose what needed to happen! One of the things she had said we needed was a real gecko. Uh...

I gently let her know I wasn't quite sure that was going to happen. BUT I decided to get on one of the moms groups on FB and just see if anyone had one we could borrow for a few hours-and we found one! The sweetest family let us come meet Echo the Gecko a week before the party and then they brought her over and the kids enjoyed seeing her :) As you can see, it was a party for Easton but it was mainly Nora's friends ;)





Soccer season ended! I think these two friends may have enjoyed seeing each other every week way more than playing with the balls :)


This is fun! Last year on Halloween, Easton joined the world and later that day mommy made him dress up like Mickey. Poor kid. Ha!



Trick or Treat! Nora went with Luke our neighbor last year while I was home with Easton...and you know, recovering. She talked about going with Luke again all year. 


Grammy & Nora bought Easton his first car for his birthday. This dude is ready. 


My friend Shawna took this picture when we had gone to the pumpkin patch with her and her kids.  So fun! :)


We build a lot of forts in this home and I LOVE it. We built another one recently and we stayed in our pjs for a long time and I think I loved it even more. :)


Can you see us??



Cutie.


Sweet friends :)


Some days are just lay on mommy days. 


Thank you for those of you that asked about my race! I ended with 2:04 which was good for me! I had been keeping my eye on my watch and at one point I was thinking I could PR but about mile 10 I knew it wasn't going to happen-and that's ok! It was still a great race! Another 13.1 done! 


One of our friends had given these little Mickey Mouse shoes to Nora. You may remember seeing them in pictures. Well, this little guy gets to wear them now! 


I remember when Nora was a baby. I would stare at her and think that I was going to memorize everything about her and never forget. Oh how I wish I couldn't forget. I watch her now and think those same things. She has so many opinions and her own thoughts about things. We try to write things down but I know we miss so much. Every age has been so fun with her. Challenging-yes. But I have really enjoyed every age with her. 

Easton, ha. This boy. He does things that Nora never ever did. He climbs the front of the stove. He stands in his little rocking chair to rock. He is so so so different and we love him like crazy. It cracks me up how different he is from when Nora was at this age. 



Cale has been able to go to a few different hockey games which is always a favorite! We also went on a date last week to see Jim Gaffigan. Lots of laughing! 

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Ok, I had written about this last year and I'm going to put it out there again. During the holiday season there is a LOT of amazing things to give towards. If you are interested in donating towards the sled hockey program that Cale is involved in click here and scroll to the bottom of the page. On the right side is a link you can click to donate. The program is getting ready to do one of the biggest fundraiser nights they have. Cale and I have been trying to think of a fun idea to help raise money for the team as well...but we're not agreeing on the ideas...uh...haha. We'll keep thinking though! 

Also, this picture popped up on my FB memories from 3 years ago! Oh man. My heart! 







Tuesday, November 7, 2017

There is still beauty.

It's quiet at the moment. 

Easton is taking a nap, Cale is upstairs looking at pictures on his phone, Mama is at the hospital for her surgery today and Nora is having her rest time. I'm sitting here with a warm cup of coffee. It's gloomy outside.

My mind doesn't know where to start. If I allow my emotions to lead, I will be all over the place. This is true not only for this post, but with every day life as well. 

Life is hard. 

There's this tug within my heart every single day. I choose joy. I choose love. I choose peace. 

I choose to be thankful.

Not because I'm a hippie either. Ha.

Jesus offers these things. 
I have the Holy Spirit living inside of me and he's not just taking up space.

He makes it possible for me to walk through my days not focused on myself and my flesh, rather able to choose living a life that would be impossible otherwise. 

I understand this life is full of pain and hurt- I get this. There is no way to really explain certain things that happen and the loss that comes along with it. If you are someone who believes that Jesus is your Lord and Savior and you've chosen to surrender your life and live for his glory, you may have a quick few verses you throw out when something horrible happens. You know the answers and you know the truth. 

If you are someone who doesn't believe in Christ and that the Bible is 100% true from cover to cover, you may think it's just life. Bad stuff happens and you move on. 

Maybe you've been hurt by the church? Maybe someone who claimed to be a christian wasn't so Christ-like? You might be angry and even blame God. 

Maybe you think there's a higher power but you don't really want to claim one way as the only way because that's too closed off and judgmental. When something devastating happens, you may think something is not right in the universe. 

Maybe you don't even know what you believe but when something terrible happens, it's the governments fault. 

I don't know. I'm sitting on this side of the screen able to type these words from the viewpoint of someone who has grown up with a dad who wasn't so wonderful. He died and I never had a conversation that I felt like I needed with him. I married a man who was in the military and was away...a lot. I was with him while both of us were in a car accident that wasn't our fault and I can never erase the damage our lives endured. 

I have experienced a lot of pain and there has been a lot of hurt that has continued. 

Life is hard. 

Just in the last few months our country has experienced hurricanes and mass shootings. There are women that are slaves to men for money, pulled away from the life, family and they've always known. There are children that are dying every day because they have no food at all to eat. 

Life is hard guys.

In the most tender way possible through this screen, I somehow want to tell you that I am able to choose joy, love, peace and thankfulness because of a man named Jesus. He gave me the Holy Spirit as a gift and there is no other way. There is not-not for me. 

I can't make sense of all that is going on and all the loss. There's not an easy answer to bring perfect comfort to all the families that endure intense devastation. Ignoring it does not make it go away. 

A thought had come to me a few weeks ago and I'm still not even sure I can completely articulate what it is that has been stirring but I'm going to try my best. 

Being a mommy is a challenging role. I would not have understood before having kids what that really meant. I know even now, I can only understand on a level with a 3 and 1 year old. 

In simple every day, I am having to be consistent with discipline. Somedays I end feeling so wiped out just from the constant mothering that happens in this home. It sometimes feels miserable and exhausting. There is no break. Being mommy is fun as well-I definitely love it but it's not easy.

Stay with me-

With Cale, its a lot of the same when my emotions are in the driver seat. There's no break. It can be so challenging and lonely. I battle between two roles; wife & caregiver. It's not easy. 

Recently we had family pictures done. I was adventurous and chose to have a shoot done at the state fair. One of my friends Jessica had done a themed shoot at the fair and I loved it! I didn't want a themed shoot but I so loved the idea of how fun the fair is and well, I was also just crazy. Ann, my friend here who is a photographer went with it and was excited as well. 

Speaking of a challenge. Whew. Easton who is normally so smiley and happy was serious and was so focused on all of the colors and sounds. Nora-well, she was Nora and a three year old and also just wanted to eat all of the cotton candy. 

Over the last few weeks since the shoot, Ann has sent me sneak peeks which I have absolutely loved every one of them. 

And this was my thought:

I could only see the moment during the shoot. At one point I sat with Nora and talked with her about obeying Mommy. She was just acting crazy and not listening at all. 



Those moments of harder conversations, when it's not just fun and playing with dinosaurs, they can be draining and frustrating. 

But we can't see the beautiful picture. 

We can't see what God is piecing together and we may never. For Cale and I, our heart is that God would use us and our story. Truly. I don't say that as a light thing or an automatic comment because thats what christians say. I don't say that as a crutch to keep me from depression. 

It's my heart. Our heart. 

I choose to keep loving and serving and growing and learning because I know God sees the whole picture and it's not for me; its for him. It's for his glory...










...and it's beautiful.

When people ask me;

"How do you do it?"

My honest answer is, 

Jesus

All the messy, the hard and the crazy, it's for Jesus. I can say that with full confidence. 

What about these other awful awful situations where people are dying for nothing?

My heart can not fully process. I can't imagine the anguish. I can't compare or try to reason all I can speak is his name, Jesus

When it seems completely impossible that anything beautiful can come from an ugly situation, I'm confident that with Christ it can be. Somehow. 

If the Holy Spirit is involved, then no matter what mountain is being looked at or valley or desert or whatever other word you would like to insert there, then there is a possibility to choose joy even still. It is possible to choose peace and to choose love. 

It is possible to still be thankful.

It's still possible to see the beauty.
















Saturday, October 21, 2017

days...and days...and days.

Hey guys.

Wow. I can't believe the last time I posted was in September! I had a good posting streak going for a bit! Ha. This is what happens, I always take a ton of pictures and I love to share them. I also have a TON of thoughts and some I would love to share but there's really no need. Some I do want to share and I do feel like they are thoughts to share but when too much time starts passing, all of these pictures and thoughts pile up in my head and then I don't feel like I can get it all out! 

I know. This is so silly, but it's the truth! Haha. 

Once again I'm going to load a bunch of pictures and tell you about the last few weeks and at some point next week I'll sit with this little laptop and try another post...with some of the things stirring within me. 




A couple weeks ago Cale and I went to a Jack Johnson concert. It was a fun date and we enjoyed it with friends :) We made banana pancakes for breakfast that morning!! 



Nora is loving soccer. It's funny though...this girl. She'll love it and be so excited and she really is pretty good but she's three and that makes for some really entertaining Saturday mornings. :) This morning she was a hot mess. 


Easton is getting SO big! He's just cute. 




Nora helped Grammy make a cake the other night and the progression of waiting for it to bake cracked me up. She just wanted it to be done! It was extra funny because we baked the cake in the evening to have for breakfast the next morning...so there was a lot more waiting. Haha! 



Moms, three is hard. Two was hard for us here. Like, a wild hard but three came and at first I was thinking, ok, this is easy. Well, then it wasn't so easy. And I'm not saying parenting is easy-we all know that's not the case. Especially when you add another kid! The day we took these pictures was a day that this mommy needed to slow it down and take a breath with her sweet littles. I know the mommy I want to be. I know the life and home my heart desires to have, but getting there, thats not just an ABC formula. There is grace-I'm oh so thankful. We can pray-oh my goodness thankful. But, the days and situations that come up aren't always easy to navigate. 

I have a whole lot more thoughts but for now, I'll stop and say that on this walk, we paused. We listened. We looked at and enjoyed everything around us. 


We fed ducks with Mimi! 


Easton watched Daddy on the ice playing sled hockey! I love watching Cale and his excitement on the ice. He loves it. 









{these pictures were taken in a row within seconds...!}








We went on a pumpkin patch express. It was a blast! I love when we can do these as a whole family and all of us enjoy it :)


So...I had come up with this brilliant idea. Easton loves eating cheerios and putting them in a mini muffin tin makes him work a little for them and it's just more fun. Well, the first time I tried this-success! Second time was when I took this picture. He dumped this in less than a second after I snapped this photo. Not exactly as cool as I thought I was...


These two ladies. Man. They are gifts. Like, real amazing gifts and I love them so much. I want to be like them when I grow up. 


pumpkins!


Nora made this cuuuuuute little hedgehog at preschool. Isn't he SO cute?!




I love this crazy life. 






Chick-Fil-A host really fun events for families. One of the many reasons why i love them. Last weekend they had a fall party. Nora had a blast with friends! 



So this little man climbs everything. EVERYTHING. The other day he pushed the chair over to the door and decided he was going to exit to the backyard to play. Ha! He's walking all over and gets into everything. EVERYTHING. I adore him. 




{I love all three of these!}






Bapa and Nana came to visit! These are friends we had met when we first moved to NY. They both have the biggest hearts and have loved on us for so many years now. When I was preparing to go to Malawi for 6 months during Cale's first deployment, Mama had sewn a whole bunch of skirts for me and Jean took the time to hem each one. Time has passed and two babies have joined life and she loves on them just as sweetly! It was like a dream having them here in our home. They aren't just friends though; they're family. 








Nora and I had so much fun at the NC State Fair! We were given an admission ticket for me and a wristband for Nora which was a blessing! We both had so so so much fun. She has been saying it's her favorite place and asking if we could go back!


We actually did go back the next day for family pictures! Yes! Easton is turning one soon and we have had pictures on the calendar for awhile now. Thursday is can day so if you bring a certain amount of cans you get in free-yahoo! 

Ann is a sweet sweet friend I've met here who happens to take our pictures as well! She is super talented and I love her so much. I CAN'T wait to see how these pictures turned out! 


Easton has teeth coming in. It's awful. :( He's had a hard time and Friday he just wanted to be held and decided he was just going to be fussy. I loved the cuddles! They happen less frequently now. 


I took 15 shots and they all turned out just like this one. Picture fail.


He even makes running errands a good time. 



I took Nora to her first Ballet! There's a place downtown that has very inexpensive small ballets performed by one of the youth programs. We went with friends to see Cinderella and Nora even asked to wear her Cinderella dress. It was fun. Some of her excitement was on the stage and some was her friend next to her...a good time was had either way :)






Today we went to visit friends and visited a pumpkin patch! The kids once again had a blast. They ran and played and ran and played. I expected it to be a lot cooler out than it was. We were all sweaty and rosy cheeked. Shawna is such a dear friend. Do you remember her spending time with me when Cale was in the hospital that first year? She stopped life and spent time living hospital life with me. I treasure our friendship. She lives like an hour away and we don't see each other near enough!! 

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Oh. wow. 

That was a million pictures.

That is October so far!