Archive | Milestones

Friday Round-Up: What’s Going On ‘Round These Parts

~I haven’t mentioned the dining room or master bedroom this past week, but they’re both coming along. Actually, they’re both finished minus the drapes in the dining room (BUTTTTTTTT they’re in the process of being made at least!) and hanging mirrors/artwork in the master bedroom. Hopefully soon I’ll be ready to do a post on each. Until then, here’s a sneak peek of our new bed. Oh y’all, it’s dreamy.

~Lawson got his first haircut yesterday at 18 months old. I put it off as long as I could as he is my last baby {I know, I know, never say never} and his firsts are hard for me because they’re my last firsts. It’s hard to explain, but hopefully other been there, done that mamas know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, his hair was too long. We had resorted to man buns around the house to keep it out of his eyes and people always just assumed he was a girl (he is “too pretty” to be a boy, if I do say so myself, haha).

My friend/hair stylist, Jessica, cut his bangs and about an inch off the back. It was important to me not to lose his curls (we cut Moseby’s off at his first haircut just assuming he’d always have curls. Uhm. NO. They never grew back. I’m not making that same mistake with Lala).

And look how cute–and grown up!–he looks. I’ll have to get some pictures with my camera this weekend. He definitely is looking more and more “little boy” and less and less baby. #slowyourrolltime

~Today I took the boys to the pediatrician for their well checkups. It was an experience. Which translates to: something I never want to do again. 😉

Lawson got his shot, didn’t cry at all, and as soon as I made a silly face afterwards he laughed out loud. This is his personality to a “T”. {And gosh, he looooooves that brother of his.}

Momo on the other hand? I’ll just leave you with this picture and say that he refused to put on pants for over THREE HOURS after his shots in case they might brush against his bandaids. I also had to carry him out of the pediatrician’s office like a baby (while also holding Lawson and my purse and my diaper bag). Lordy y’all. Lordy.

(His shirt is his St. Patrick’s Day shirt for this year. It says, “I Pinch Back”. …Lawson got one that says, “Irish I Had a Mustache”. I’ll have to take a photo of the two of them tomorrow and post it on Instagram.)

~Speaking of St. Patrick’s Day, I made Irish Soda Bread on Tuesday and it was good! It tastes like one giant buttermilk biscuit, I guess you could say. And it was super easy to make! You can find the recipe here.

~Do y’all remember me mentioning that I was hosting a couple of sign painting parties? One was at the end of February and the other was the past Sunday. Y’all, it was so fun! I can’t recommend PK Decor enough–you can go to her house and paint (she has room for about 15 people in her studio) or she can come to you. …and if any of y’all ever host a painting party yourself you better invite me because I have about ten more signs I want to make, ha!

Here’s two I made–a Fourth of July truck and a goat that looks like our pet/show Boer goat, Oreo (because…well, why not?!). MM made a castle for her bedroom door all by herself (girlfriend even added her monogram); her classmate/friend made a cute owl. My mom made a vase of cotton.

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~And, that’s all I got! Today is not only the most favorite holiday for all the reddish-haired pale people out there, but it’s the 37th birthday of someone pretty dang special.  And what better way to celebrate than going afternoon bowling with three kids! HA!! {Tomorrow night we’re going to his favorite restaurant (Hals) after he has an afternoon massage so I promise he will have some fun! 😉 }

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A Reptile Birthday Party!

So this little guy turned five yesterday.

I wrote this on Facebook about it:

today, moseby davin, you are five. or like you’ve been telling me for the past two months: “a WHOLE hand!” and every time you put that hand up to show me just how old you are turning my heart flutters a bit and my soul wonders how can it be? it honestly feels like just last week you were born, tiny & brown & covered with hair & perfect in every way. how can it be five years? i truly don’t know.
but what i do know is that you are fantastically perfect and unique. some things come harder to you than they do to some, like speaking or boundaries, but oh my, some things come so easily to you i’m even jealous. your natural physical ability to run, flip, kick, throw, climb, balance, and catch blow me away. how DO you do it?! and then there’s your ability to go into any situation and “just” make friends—i’ve never seen you nervous or shy—people are just drawn to you. that is SUCH an amazing gift, sweet boy.
at five you love power rangers (“the red one”), wild kratts, paw patrol (just chase), sloths + snakes, going ridiculously fast on your tricycle down our street, your four-wheeler, your friends lincoln + ty, hot dogs and popcorn and bacon (oh, you love bacon!) and my brownies and any cake with icing, and sissy and lala. what do you not like? the dark and ants…and that’s about it.
you are silly and mischievous and loud and always always moving and just about perfect to me.
i love you so very much, momo. happy “whole hand” birthday!

{You can read his birth story here.}

Since he’s going through such a reptile phase right now he just HAD to have a reptile-theme birthday party.

…and because I’m super creative corny I had to give all the foods weird reptile/swampy names. 😉

Pin this post by clicking here! 

 

Swamp Dogs Snakes

Alligator Eggs

Veggie tray featuring a spider zip & snakes made out of zucchini and cucumbers

Turtle (made out of a watermelon shell)

Rattlesnake fangs (aka Bugles)

Pit of Vipers

(I didn’t bake the cake, by the way, Baking Grounds did.) 

His party favors: lizards from the dollar store, spider rings, sour worms, and snakes.

And we had Mr. Greg’s Reptile Roadshow provided the entertainment for the kiddos. He brought a lizard, three snakes, an alligator, and an iguana. Check out Mo’s faces in some of these pics. He cracks me up!

(Yeah, even little Lala petted a snake.)

Oh, sweet Moe, I can’t believe you’re five. I hope whatever your wished for comes true {my wish? For time to slow down.}.

Other details:

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So.

So.

I am alive, in case there was any doubt.

Just took a little break. Because 2.5 years is really not that long of a span between posts, right? I mean, in the whole context of time from the world’s point of view.

Right.

And nothing has changed, can you believe it?

April Fools (in January)!

Biggest change? Oh, I don’t know–maybe this little guy? Meet Lawson.

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He’s a surprise {I say it like he’s a current surprise because he truly is–everyday I’m still surprised he’s here!}. …and yeah, in case you were wondering (because I totally would be too) I grew him in my wonky infertile body {maybe I’m not so infertile anymore?? HA!!}. He was born in August 2015. (For those that have been around from the beginning: his pregnancy was so different than MM. Yeah, I still had PreE {we discovered I had the hereditary kind}, but because I was 40 pounds lighter starting out and very active, I never had to go on bedrest. He did arrive at 37weeks5days just like his big sis, but only weighed 6lbs, 7ozs (she weighed 8 at that point). I even breastfed this little guy!)

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Then there’s me. Or what’s left of me. 95 pounds down and reached “goal” (and yessss, I could lose more, but for now I’m just enjoying the whole “I’m at goal” thing I’ve got going on). I actually have three items in my closet that are a size 6–I started this journey at a 20W. Still blows my mind.

{MM & I headed to the Nutcracker at the Fox right before Christmas. She’s rocking my Christmas dress from 1989.}

As for the original two kids, they are no longer 5 and 2. Oh no sir, they are almost 8 {on Sunday} and 5 {next month}. Can you even believe it? Where are my itty bitty babies?

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I’m still keeping C. around. 😉 Our 12th anniversary will be in four months {a dozen years, do what?!}. He started a new job last year and travels a ton during the week. We’ve started traveling some together as well. We’ve gone to New York, New Orleans, Las Vegas…without children {cue the hallelujah chorus}. Sometime this year we’re going to either the Pacific Northwest or Maine–we’re trying to narrow it down.

Us on the way to celebrate our 13th second first date anniversary. 

We still have our old house. We’re gearing up for Renovation 2.0 in the next couple of years {most likely summer 2018}. Adding 1.5 baths, redoing a bath, adding a closet, redoing a mudroom {and actually getting a washer + dryer that is NOT apartment-size, ohhhhh yeah!}, redoing our current kitchen into a butlers pantry and making our current sleeping porch into a kitchen. And then everyone switching around bedrooms {we’ll move downstairs and MM will go into the boys’ old nursery since we’re adding a bath in there}. It’s fun dreaming about it, but it doesn’t seem real yet, you know? I’m sure when I’m writing the checks it’ll become real, real quick.

And that’s about it for the updates, I guess.

I turned 36 last month. I feel it too. 

Oh. Except I now drive a minivan. So there’s that. At least I put a sticker on the back window that says “I used to be cool, I swear” so that makes it totally cool, right? …right?

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The Graduate

{It seems the blog has been a bit more focused on MM as of late.  Blame it on this changing season in her/our life. I promise to get back to the regularly scheduled programming soon with more focus on a certain little boy.}

This past Tuesday MM graduated.

Thankfully, it was just PreK and not high school {oh no!} or college {egads!}.  My heart still aches at the passing of this milestone, but I’m thankful that I still have years {God willing} with her in our home.

{When she does move out I will be a basketcase. Giving you a heads up now…don’t say I didn’t warn you.}

During the ceremony/program her teacher listed what each child said they wanted to be when they grow up. My girl? A teacher AND a mommy…like her own mommy. Makes me get teary-eyed thinking about it.


When she is nervous she fidgets. I do the same thing. Sweet girl.

And after receiving her diploma and eating a tasty lunch in the fellowship hall, we came home and took some pictures in the back pasture.

And {of course!} little brother had to get in on the action. Big Sis let him get in one {just one!} picture on the swing. I think you can tell just how she feels about that with her faux smile. HA!

And this picture has absolutely nothing to do with graduation, but a few weeks ago Little Miss talked her daddy into getting her this lady-size hat at Charming Charlie’s when Mama wasn’t looking. I scolded them at the time, but my, I do love it! {And I may or may not take it to the beach for myself!}

As far as what she can do at the end of PreK: she knows her letters {D’Neilan, the system her new school uses, is throwing her for a loop though & we’re working on ID’ing those} and their sounds. She has started blending her sounds–which makes this reading teacher very happy–as well as knows about 10 sight words. She can rhyme like a champ. She can count to 30 orally and can identify 1-10 by sight. She can list eighteen colors {I love that she names old lady colors like “mauve”}. She knows her shapes. She tries hard with the first couple of pages in a book sounding out words and then gets flustered and says, “I just like it better when you read it!” I can’t wait to see all she learns in kindergarten.

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Kindergarten Registration {Can She Really Be That Old?}

Kindergarten registration was this past Thursday.

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And while she seems so small and naive and innocent to me, she towered over the children in line with her for testing.  {She’s a tall one, my girl. The doctor says she’s in the 99.9 percentile because they can’t go any higher than that in their practice (it’s only out of a hundred after all), but really she’s more like the 141st percentile or something crazy.} But still. Still in my heart she is tiny.

And maybe it’s because I’m an elementary school teacher myself, but I know how time works.

From birth until kindergarten the days are long, but the years are short. From the first day of kindergarten, well, it all flies by.

april 24. kindergarten registration. church pics_0002

Oh, it gets me teary-eyed each time I think about it.  I am so so so happy that she is thriving and healthy and ready to go, but my heart just wants to cuddle in her bed and read picture books to her and sing silly little made-up songs.

This mothering thing is hard.

{Harder than I thought.}

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Choosing to be Grateful

Since Moseby’s diagnosis early last year I have struggled with it.

‘Struggling’ is putting it lightly.

I’ve cried {oh, how I’ve cried!}. I’ve questioned God. I’ve been angry at the unfairness to Moseby…and to us. I’ve felt utterly helpless. So I’ve worried. And worried some more. And worried again.

Everyone always says a year has a verb you can associate with it. Like happy. Or adventure. Or dreaming. Etc. My word for 2013 would definitely, positively, have been WORRY.

But here’s the thing: my worrying about my son’s disease helps no one. It doesn’t make the onset of his symptoms later. It doesn’t make his symptoms less progressive when they begin.  All it does is steal my daily joy.

The daily joy I can have watching him grow and run {oh, how he loves to run!}, jump, twirl, be mischievous while smiling the whole time, hugging and kissing, playing with his sissy.  That’s all lost when I worry about tomorrow.

Because as cliché as it sounds ’cause we’ve all heard it before, but it’s true: no one is promised tomorrow. We don’t know what it holds.

This past week at the gym I was watching the news and  I watched Mindy Corporon’s address to the world after her son and father were killed at a Jewish community center in Kansas last Sunday.  Y’all, you have got to watch it.  Her faith, her strength, her value on the days her son spent alive {and not being consumed by the days he missed by dying at 14}. Oh my word. Her words put me in my place.  She helped me to see–crystal clear–that I have to stop thinking about the future and what it holds, or doesn’t, for my sweet boy.

In the news conference she says she hopes that something good will come out of her son’s death. I wish I could tell her it did. It made my heart realize that I have to treasure today with my son and just be grateful for that.

Thank you, Mindy, for your powerful words.

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A Peppermint Party

The one good thing about not blogging for a year {…or a little longer. yikes.} is that there’s lots of things to tell you about.

And by “lots of things” I mean my sewing and parties.  ‘Cause those are two things we really love around here.  In fact, we’re getting ready to throw our third party of the year {yep} next month.  What can I say, we like to celebrate!

Anywho.

Whenever my kids are really little and don’t really have opinions yet on their birthday party theme I try to think of something they love or something that describes them.  And so when it came time to decide on Moseby’s second birthday party theme I thought of his favorite foods.

Pretzels, popcorn, watermelon, pineapple, and old-fashioned peppermint sticks.  I settled on making peppermints the theme because, well, I’m a little Type A and love when everyone matches.  And when you have a peppermint party everyone is instructed to wear red and white…oh, how that makes my matchy-matchy soul sing!

The decorations, unfortunately, I didn’t get a really good picture of.  We had red and white pompoms hanging from the chandelier and lots of red and white balloons.  We had red and white mums in vintage vases and milk jars. You’ll just have to picture all that in your mind {ha!}.

I did get a picture of some other things though: we had a beautiful cake made by my favorite local bakery that we’ve used forever.  {Seriously, isn’t it awesome?!}

cake

cake2

And all the food {minus the brown chicken nuggets} was red and white as well.  {Our!clothes!and!food!matched! Yipee!}  We had bananas and strawberry skewers, yummy creamy corn salad,  biscuits with strawberry jam, an assortment of white cheeses {on a red serving dish of course}, peppermint sticks {duh}, and peppermint Oreos.  For drinks we had cans of {red} strawberry banana juice, bottled Cokes, & water with strawberries.

food

drinks Moseby had lots of fun blowing out his candles.  {Look at his little hands!  Look at those perfect little cheeks! (he was a PRO at blowing out those candles, let me tell you!)}

And he had so many people that he loved, and who love him like crazy, come celebrate his day. Even his birth aunt that he met for the first time {joy!} and then the next day we kept the party going when we went and visited his birth family.  Oh, sweet, peppermint-loving, little man, you are so loved. I can’t believe you are TWO. Do you know just how much joy you’ve brought us in two years?!  My heart just overflows.

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And Then She Was Four

How can it be?

I blinked my eyes and she is four.

january12. mm's birthday_0011

Serious, strong-willed, opinionated, with a large laugh, kind heart, and who is motherly, creative.  Always thinking, watching, trying to figure it out.

This one will change the world.  You just wait and see.

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For her birthday party this year she wanted an “addition party”, meaning a magician, of course.  And what she wants, she gets.  So here’s a few pictures from the party {I decided to have it at our church’s parish hall since I don’t really have a “stage” at our house, ha!}. And for once I didn’t do a full meal. Just cake and fruit–it was so nice and relaxing, clean-up a breeze.  The party favors were balloon animals that the magician made and magic wands.

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Several times during the show she was the magician’s assistant.  She LOVED that.

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Happy birthday, sweet, sweet girl. Your daddy and I love you to the moon and back…and back again.

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What I Haven’t Said

The cold rain comes down from a sad, cold sky.  The windshield wipers do their best to slap it away, but it’s still hard to see.  It feels as though the clouds are crying and aching with us.  I feel numb, yet so raw at the same time.  A juxtaposition of my soul.  Afraid yet strong.  Weak but steadfast.  I once heard someone say they were “strong at the broken places” and oddly I felt that exact same way.  As my hands gripped the wheel, my knuckles white with anxiety, I cried.  I cried like I had never done before.  I heaved so hard it actually felt like my ribs were going to break, my lungs might collapse.  It was animal-like.

Beside me sat a white box addressed to a genetics lab.  Inside was a small vial of Moseby’s blood that was taken at the local children’s hospital.  {He had laid so still while they took his blood.  Large tears rolled down his cheeks and he looked at us, questioning us, but he did not move.  My sweet boy!}  Now I was on my way back to the genetics lab so they could ship it for us.  I couldn’t help but look at the box at every stop light I came to.  Perhaps I should just throw it out the window and drive home.  Act like this was all some dream and that we didn’t need to know.  We could just pretend that this wasn’t a possibility for him.  But my head told my heart that it didn’t make sense.  We needed to know.  We had to find out.

Oh, my dear, darling boy.  Our much prayed-for blessing.

When Moseby was a little over a day old, still in the hospital in fact and before any paperwork had been signed, we found out he had a 50% chance of having a rare genetic neurodegenerative disease called Machado-Joseph Disease or SCA3.  It’s specifics are easily Googled, but suffice to say it scared us to our core.  Not enough to walk away from the “situation”–an adoption term that means baby–we were already so head-over-heels in love that we just laughed when the caseworker mentioned that we didn’t have to accept his placement.  He is our fate.  Our destiny.  He is our son just as much as if he had come from my womb.  So we signed the papers, cried happy tears that we were a family of four, and began our lives together.

At our first appointment with our pediatrician when he was two days old I mentioned the possible condition to the doctor.  His happy, jovial mood instantly changed.  ‘We’ll get you into with the best genetics doctor in Atlanta as soon as possible,’ he said somberly.  I think that’s when the reality set in that this could be something bad.  And later C. held me as I sobbed in the pediatrician’s parking lot, our newborn son asleep behind my seat.  We came home and told our families about this possibility.  They all said to not worry about it until we knew for sure–after all, there was a 50% chance he didn’t have it!  We had to think positive!

And it turns out genetic testing and counseling is a very busy business.  We were told we would have to wait over nine months for an appointment and that they could see us first thing on December 12th.  They asked if they needed to send us a reminder card and I laughed nervously.  No, 12/12/12 would be forever etched in my brain.  We began the wait for our appointment.

I was certain as the days turned into weeks and those weeks turned months I would forget.  And I did during the day.  I would see this wonderful, perfect little boy checking off milestones left and right.  Gaining weight, growing.  Smiling, cooing, being an absolute joy.  But at night I remembered.  Each time he awoke I would look at his face in the soft moonlight as he sleepily drank a bottle and I would pray.  More often than not I would pray with such fierceness that tears would roll down my cheeks unto his head.  Please God, PLEASE.  Please let him live a long, healthy life.  Do not make him suffer.  Do not give him this disease.  Please keep him healthy. I said the same prayer every time.  Repeating it like a mantra.  Oh, how I prayed!  Oh, how I hoped!

Because as parents, what do we really want for our children?  Happiness and health.  Sure, success and grandbabies and closeness are all wonderful things, but in the end we want them to be healthy–able to physically do what they want–and happy.  The thought that my baby may not get to experience a healthy life and that his life would be cut short?  Well, it physically hurts my heart.  And so I prayed.  And prayed.

The genetic counselor said that normally the test takes only one to two weeks {instead of looking at his entire DNA, they look simply at chromosome 14q}, but because of the holidays it would be after the first of the year before we knew the results.  So we celebrated Christmas and New Years the best we could.  I would often find myself staring off into space, realizing my cheeks were wet.  Sometimes I would cry and C. would hold me and say, ‘Natalie, you can’t think this way.  He might NOT have it!’  But I cried still.  I honestly didn’t understand why my soul hurt so much, of course, now I know.  I was grieving the loss of a “normal life” for my son.

Finally, we received the results.  Our genetic counselor called us last Thursday.  As soon as I answered the phone, I knew.  Her cheerful, upbeat voice was replaced with sympathy.

Oh.

But as she told me the news, I didn’t cry.  I realized during the phone call that my heart knew he had it all along–that’s why I had cried so much the past ten months.  This mama’s heart–this mother’s intuition–knew that my perfectly created son has Machado-Joseph Disease.  We don’t know when the onset of his symptoms will be–we are now fervently praying the onset of this disease will be early adulthood, as oppose to…well, much sooner.  We’re praying for the researchers that will hopefully find all sorts of treatments for the symptoms he will have.  We’re praying specifically for some studies going on in Portugal that are trying to block a molecule called Calpain {…which makes the extra protein that Moseby’s brain will produce eventually into fragments…and those fragments are what start the neurodegeneration, if that makes sense}.  If this research that is being done on rats now can be done on people…well, it would be the first-ever treatment for MJD.

The reason I’m telling you this very private, very personal story is because I’m begging you to pray for Moseby.  Pray for him please.

5


A Year in Review {2012 Edition}

One from each month.  Let’s do this.

January. The beginning of ballet for my newly turned three year old.  I went to Moseby’s ultrasound.  Lots of nervous waiting and preparing.

ballet_0013

February. Our family gained a son. I really still can’t put it into words what his birth was like…or the love we feel for his birth family…or the wonderful thing open adoption is. I’m literally speechless.

day 1 through 3_0039

March. That surreal period after a baby is born. That sleep-deprived time where everything is new and feels like a dream.

kissing her new baby brother

April. Getting more out in the world. Warm days, egg hunts, Easter, baby chicks in their Easter baskets, a new {to us} playground at our house.

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May. My grandmother’s 80th birthday and Moseby’s personality started to come out. And that personality? Happy-go-lucky and easy to smile. A pure joy.

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June. We went to the beach, Moseby’s adoption was finalized, and he was Baptized.

after moseby's adoption finalization {he's legally a cooper now!}

July. My camera broke. It was hot. We canned a ton.

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August. School began again for me. Moseby learned to sit up on his own at five months, he turned six months at the end of the month. MM began gymnastics.

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September. MM began three-day {half-day} preschool. Moseby started crawling.

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October. LOTS of parties, and sewing, and trick-or-treating. A fantastic bat and a happy pirate {sorry, but I’m posting two for this month}.

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November. It finally became cooler as our family geared up for Christmas tree season.

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December. What a whirlwind of a month! Parties {three at our house alone!}, school play, church pageant, Nutcracker. A train ride with Santa. A visit with Moseby’s birth family. My 32nd birthday. The list could go on and on.

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I’m excited at what the next year holds.  I can’t imagine it will be any more exciting than 2012, but who knows, God might just surprise us.  😉

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