Friday, March 9, 2018


Brooks, Brooksy-poo, Caboose, 'Boosey, my little blonde-headed, 26-pound nugget of pure joy:

You are one-and-a-HALF!

We all know I love to celebrate all the things, including half birthdays.  And I cannot believe we're already halfway to you being two.

You are a mess.

You are smart and silly, playful and sneaky, such a ham and such a heart-stealer.  And it's not just me who is wrapped around those sweet fingers - your big sister is smitten, as are all of the teachers at your school.  And pretty much anyone you come across as you smile and wave, "Hi!!!!!"

As for your big brother?  He prefers to clothesline you as he runs full-speed down the hallway.  I think in brother-land that's called love.

You like to make messes and throw your food across the room.  You prefer to tell other people "No!", but don't like to be told "no" yourself.

You have officially been introduced to the timeout corner, and I have a sneaking suspicion it'll become a regular place for you to occupy in the coming years.

You wake up before the sun even thinks about rising... so, so, so early.  It's like the minute your eyes open you think, YES!  IT'S TIME TO LIVE ANOTHER DAY!!

You love to nod "yes" and shake your head "no," and you're talking nonstop... a lot of words/sentences in, perhaps, your own language.  But so many other new words and I am just so proud.  It's more than I can count, but some of my favorites~ Bye!  Moxie; Outside; Water; Stuck!; Hi Sissy!; Cup; Ball; Stuck!; Sliiiiide; No!; Thank-you; Cracker; Uh oh!; Look!; Toe-toes.

But my most favorite?


You are obsessed with lollipops.  You will sneak into the "childproofed" candy drawer, weasel your chubby little arm through the crack, and wrap those fingers around a lollipop, running across the room shouting LOLLY! so very proudly.

And usually I just let you have it, no matter if it's 6am, because you're so stinking cute and #pickyourbattles.

Your eye color still perplexes me -- are they brownish?  Greenish?  Are they both a different color?

And the blonde hair... oh that blonde hair!!

You love to play with a ball of any variety, love when everyone claps for you, and love to stomp and dance and jump and you can actually finally get some air!

You prefer to snuggle with and sleep on top of your blanket, you only swing your left arm when you're running, and you will eat just about anybody under the table.

Brooks, I've said it before and I'll say it again:  I believe with all of my heart that God was so very intentional when he gave me you.  You, my caboose, a baby when getting pregnant was supposed to be pretty much impossible.  A baby who was the reason I had to get out of bed for many, many months when I just wanted to stay hidden in my darkness.  A baby who has the most joyful, sunshine-filled soul.  A baby who quite possibly saved my life.

One day, you'll be old enough to understand it all.

But for now, I will snuggle you and give you your snacks and let you sneak LOLLIES! and  tickle your Flinstone-shaped feet and smooch the space between your neck and your shoulder until you giggle uncontrollably.

I love you enough, Brooks.  I love you SO big.

Happy one-and-a-HALF!


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Quick Sunday Confessional

A lighthearted, quick, Sunday confessional~

*Do you bribe your kids like I do?  Have you heard of the ChoreMonster app?  Put it on your kid's tablet, download the Mothershp app on your phone...  Your kid does chores and earns points to redeem for rewards.  And all of a sudden things get done around your house without you having to lift a finger!  You're welcome.

*I have decided that I will always and forever hate the month of January.  Always.  And forever.

*I confess that my joyful little caboose is starting to be quite a handful!  Still joyful, but t-r-o-u-b-l-e.  Oh, and he's talking so much and I could listen to him all day long. <3

*I confess that I am loving the gym I recently joined.  It's so refreshing to do something other than just run, and I really am feeling stronger and seeing changes in my body and, not to toot my own horn, but I'm proud of myself! #toottoot

*I am obsessed with M&Ms, and I confess that I have at least one, usually two different kinds in the house.  I love all flavors and varieties.  Especially with a glass of red.  And especially before dinner.

*I am annoyingly excited about Everette playing his first organized sport this spring!  He and CK are both signed up for soccer, and I.cannot.wait.

*But recently Cameron has been taking some tennis lessons here and there, and she's actually really good!  I confess that I selfishly want her to fall in love with tennis -- I love the sport and her Bammy is quite the tennis player (and even played in college!).

*I confess that I usually, almost always, keep my phone on silent, on purpose...

*Oh, and besides M&Ms... if you know me you know I also love a Cadbury egg.  Once Valentine's Day is over I get giddy over the fact that alllllll the candy aisles are stocked with these sugar-filled pieces of heaven.  I confess that I've had quite a few, already, only four days post-Valentine's Day.

*So, since transitioning to becoming a working-full-time, single mama, dinner time has been mostly a time during which I tried to survive.  Refilling milk and picking up dropped food while simultaneously packing lunch boxes and signing agendas and calling out math facts.  Well, many, many years ago I knew that when I had a family, I really wanted us to have dinner together, around the table, at least on weeknights.  So, a couple weeks ago the kids and I finally found our rhythm, and we've gotten into such a better groove with our dinnertime.  And while there's definitely still chaos, having dinner together around the table is a time I will always cherish. <3

*Y'all, I have TMJ... and I confess that I wear a night guard to bed (#sexy) and even recently got a new one and I just can't seem to get my jaw right.  Any suggestions?  I carry all of my stress and tension in my jaw and sleep with my mouth clamped shut, clenching my teeth.  HELP.

*And lastly, I confess that Valentine's Day actually didn't suck as much as I thought it would this year.  Thanks to my three little loves, surprises from my friends and family and students, cupcakes, the most beautiful flowers, a heart-shaped, Papa Johns pizza, and the absolute best texts from my sister every hour, on the hour... my heart felt full and happy and strong and brave and hopeful...

Have a wonderful week!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

-This Valentine's Day-

"There is no fear in letting tears come.  Sadness is a gift to avoid the nothingness of numbness, and all hard places need water.  Grief is a gift, and after a rain of tears, there is always more of you than before.  Rain always brings growth." Ann Voskamp
I am a sucker for a holiday, and a self-diagnosed hopeless romantic.  I love all things love .. surprises and cheesy and sappy and sentimental.

So - truth is - my heart hurts today... this Valentine's Day... the first Valentine's Day I've been alone in fifteen years.

I am missing a love, grieving a love I thought I had and a life that is no longer.  Finding my way and learning how it feels to walk through it all searching for strength and courage, yet too often feeling broken and grief-stricken.

But my battered and bruised heart is still full of love today, and I am trying with all my might to focus that love on the three tiny humans who force me to choose joy, to eat the dessert first, to jump on the couches, to sing as loud as we can in the car, to dance in the kitchen, to kiss and to hug and to giggle and to snuggle and to embrace our new, scary, messy, beautiful life... a life in which they will always, always know what love means to me - the truth of my heart, that it beats for them, and that they were the ones who taught me how to fill in the cracks and piece it back together in the most imperfect, courageous way.

"Maybe the love gets in easier right where the heart is broke open -- because wounds are what break open the soul to plant the seeds of a deeper growth..."

Happy, Happy Valentine's Day from me and my three tiny loves. <3 <3 <3

Monday, January 29, 2018

a letter to my children

Cameron Kate, Everette, and Brooks ~

I remember the moments each of you took your very first breaths.  The memories etched into my heart with permanency, the images so vivid I can hear and see and smell and taste it all.  Each one so perfect in its difference -- one marked by the beginning of a new love, one outlined by the reminder to never lose hope, one cradled in an embrace of peace.

But also, all the same.

Because in each of those moments I felt the release of you leaving my body while simultaneously feeling my heart wrap around every single ounce of your being.  I felt a part of myself both separate and become a new kind of whole.  I looked in your faces and knew that, for the rest of my life, I would do everything in my power to show you what true happiness is made of, to hold your hand when you needed me, to let go when you were ready to fly, to try with all my might to make you proud to be mine.

With each of your births, a new me was born.  A new part of my heart started beating.  The immediate love I had for you was so beautifully painful.

It was always the most humbling thought that I, I had been entrusted by God with your lives.

And I promise -- I promise -- I have never, ever taken it for granted.


Cameron, the other day you pointed to a shelf in the den that was lined with several books.

"What books are those, Mama?  What are they called?"

"Cupcakes and Running Shoes."

A silly giggle erupted from your missing-tooth grin.

"Cupcakes and running shoes?! What in the world?!!!"

I then explained to you how much I love to write, and that every year I take all of the things I've written and turn them into a book, so that one day you and your brothers can read my words - all the way back to the time you were in my belly - and get a tiny glimpse into my head and into my heart.

You see, my three tiny people, I want you to know me.  Whether I die tomorrow, or when I'm 40, or 73, or possibly live forever like your G Gram (who is still kicking life's butt at 94) -- I want you to know what life looked like through my eyes, felt like in my <running> shoes.  I want you to know how my heart beats for you and how we got through so many little and big adventures together... not completely unscathed, but we made it.

I can promise you that I will always, always, always be here for you and I will always, always, always be open and honest with you.

I will protect you and love you fiercely and forgive you and stand by your side, always.

And, just as since the day you took your first breaths, every thing I do, every decision I make, every road I take... it will all be with the three of you as my guiding lights, always.

I am so proud of you guys.  And I think one day you'll be proud of me, too.

Life can be hard and beautiful and painful and joyful and exhausting and energetic, all in the exact same moment.  Lately, I have simultaneously felt scared and brave and hopeful and questioning and happy and heartbroken, all in the exact same moment.

I am working with everything I have to help us find our new normal -- to answer questions both protectively and honestly, to teach you how to have courage but also teach you that it is absolutely, 100% okay to just lie down and let the emotion pour out of your body in big, loud tears.

You three -- you three are amazing.  You know that?  You are resilient and you are my happiness.  You are so incredibly brave and so incredibly kind.  All three of you love big and hard, and feel big and hard - just like me.  And while that may put you at risk to one day feel a pain that actually squeezes the air out of your lungs - living life with a heart that can love big and hard is worth every risk, every jump, every tear.

Without loving big and hard, I wouldn't have you, and I wouldn't be here today - and where I am today is a place I am proud to be.

We're going to be okay...

We are okay.


Tonight the witching hour got us all.  After the best weekend, and after a pretty awesome Monday, we all kind of fell apart.  I got you guys to bed and walked downstairs and sat on the dirty kitchen floor with the remnants of dinner covering pretty much every visible surface.... and I gave myself permission to feel, to hurt, to cry, to be overwhelmed and scared and stressed and disappointed and frustrated and tired.

But you know what I did next?

I got up.

And I walked into your rooms and saw your faces - eyes closed, lost away in dreams of soccer balls and superheroes and lollipops... 

...and I saw it.

Love, hope, peace.

And it hit me hard, that tomorrow will be exactly 365 days.


Cameron, Everette, and Brooks -- being your mom always has been and always will be my greatest joy.  One day, I hope with all of my heart that when you can read and learn and know and understand me, my heart, and our beautiful, brutal story - you will be proud of who I am, of every step I've taken, of the promises I've kept, of the hope I've clung onto, of my faith, of my perseverance, of my transparency, of my grace, of the relationship I've built with Jesus through it all...

One day, you'll know how there were many, many, many mornings where the thought of having to pull the covers back, get out of bed, and put one foot in front of the other made me physically sick.

But ... 

Then there was you.

You were the three reasons I found the strength to keep breathing... 

The strength to look up and see the sun rise for the past 365 days.

And how can I not be hopeful about each day's sunrise, when I get to be yours...
I love you.

I love you.

I love you.


"Every morning the sun rises and you get to rise? That's God saying He believes in you, He believes in the story He's writing through you." Ann Voskamp

Friday, January 19, 2018

finally... FINALLY! Catching Up!!

A couple weeks ago I started a Five on Friday post.

And then... well, LIFE.

And then I started it again, a week later.

And then.... LIFE, again.

Every time I seem to start to somewhat juggle ALL OF THE THINGS, I forget something, or am late to do something, or break something (see: ran into the garage with my car AND my washing machine basically gave up on me)...

Or, I drop ALL OF THE THINGS simultaneously and don't know whether to laugh or cry or pray or pour a drink or take a long winter's nap or escape to an island in the middle of nowhere.

So, here I am, yet again... in an attempt to document what is going on in our small little corner of a loud and chaotic and busy and exhausting but oh-so-beautiful universe...

*All of Everette's wishes came true and he finally finally FINALLY started gym-astics:

*And not to be left out of activities, CK got back into the groove with her personal fave:  soccer.

*And speaking of that girl... SHE LOST HER FIRST TOOTH!  See also:  her mama (kind of accidentally) pulled it out.  One night she basically decided she was ready to lose it, and -- Ikidyounot -- she wiggled it nonstop for 48 hours straight.  Until it was hanging on by a thread.  I was wiggling it while at school, and the bad boy popped right off of her gum.  We both laughed and cried and omigoodness it's crazy to hold a tiny tooth that you so vividly remember making its grand entrance through a slobbery baby gum.  The tooth fairy had a successful visit (and why didn't anyone tell me how nerve-wracking it is to play tooth fairy?!)... my stealth nighttime ninja moves brought a silver dollar, a sparkly, tooth-fairy-dusted $5 bill, and a huge, missing-tooth smile that makes my heart melt every single day.

*Can we please talk about how I got diagnosed with pneumonia a couple weeks ago?  And how it completely kicked my butt?  And how it caused me to spend way too much time horizontal, which led to me getting sucked into a Call the Midwife and Stranger Things Netflix hole?!

*I taught Brooks to safely go up and down the stairs.  Which means no more baby gates.  Which means the angels sang HALLELUJAH.

*Oh Moxie girl... we're all so glad you're finally spayed and declawed (and yes, I know you cat-lovers find that to be controversial, but girl needed her front claws to be OUTTA HERE before she drove us all crazy) -- but y'all, she is currently pitiful!!

*I recently decided that I love coffee mugs.  YES I'M OLD.  But as a working-full-time, single-mama-of-three-littles = there's no such thing as too much coffee.  Usually I've had two cups by 7:15am.  SO.  I hope to slowly work to trade all of my plain white coffee mugs with others that I pick up here and there.  Because there's just something about drinking a hot cup of coffee out of a mug that makes you smile...

*Brooks had his first rat tail hair cut!  I went to get Everette's mop shaped up (Omigosh his COW LICK.  Bless...)
...and my hairdresser basically took one look at my sweet blonde-headed-baby and decided we may as well chop his little mullet-in-the-making.  So I'm now the proud owner of an envelope that holds a tiny blonde rat tail.

*In an eye-rolling turn of events, I joined a gym.  In January.  With all of the other I WILL WORK OUT THIS YEAR crazies.  Now, y'all know I need to run like I need to breathe.  But several weeks ago I started getting the itch to do something different for my physical, mental, and emotional health.  And for some reason, it seemed like joining a gym may be a good change of scenery?  You see, before my kids I used to go to a gym all the time.  Once they came along, I gave up working out like I preferred and instead would just run with the stroller (so that I wasn't technically "away" from them - silly, I know).  And every now and then, I'd go for a quick run by myself.  But since I had them, I never really got back into investing in self-care the way I deserved.  Enter:  gym membership via an early birthday gift.  And y'all, I forgot how much I love a gym!  I will still be running because it definitely feeds my soul, but gosh the weight machines and the fitness classes and the pushing myself as far as I possibly can just feels so, so good.  So, yay me.  <pats self on the back>

*I was recently gifted an Echo Dot, and I am obsessed with all things Alexa.  My favorite feature?  A voice-activated time-out timer, because OMIGOSH three-year-old Everette is giving me a run for my money and Brooks, at the ripe age of sixteen months, has officially been introduced to the time-out corner.

*You know what true friendship is?  Someone who makes sure you constantly know how much you are loved, how important you are, what you deserve...  Someone who knows all of your truths, who sees you at your darkest moments, and who makes sure you know she will support your life no matter what hard decisions you have to make.  Someone who, over and over and over again, drops everything, puts her own life on hold, and travels across multiple states to make sure certain dates and memories don't haunt you, to make sure you remember how strong you are, to hold your hand and help you get through what would've been some tough days, some hard-to-swallow memories and realizations.
So, we basically talked from the moment she arrived until the moment she had to leave to drive all the way back to NC.  We ate and drank and laughed and went to this awesome children's museum in Birmingham and our friendship is just a constant ellipsis because it will never be over, will never be complete -- it always does and always will just keep on going... <3

*I love about one good snow day and then I'm basically over it.  Combine multiple snow days with temperatures below zero and being stuck at home with an under-the-weather six-year-old, threenager, and teething toddler and I'm basically like LET ME GO BACK TO WORK FOR A MINUTE.  Because fun in the snow quickly turned into four hundred and fifty seven games of Kerplunk and Candy Land, eating way too many made-from-scratch chocolate chip cookies, watching too many cartoons, creating and playing with slime, and stir-crazy kiddos...
*Hashtag MOLARS.  Jesus take the wheel.

*Another thing that, over the years, I'd forgotten?  How much I absolutely love to read.  Throw in a fire and a glass of Target $5 red wine, and it's even better.  Also?  Everyone on this planet needs to read at least one book by Jenn Hatmaker and one by Ann Voskamp.  Wow, wow, wow.

*Tomorrow, my girl and I are headed to see The Lion King in downtown ATL at The Fox Theatre and I absolutely cannot wait!!

Ok, wrapping this up so I can finally actually finish my first blog post of 2018.  Happy weekend!!