Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dusting Off the Keyboard...Again

Here we are again. Another year. Another promise to myself of blogging more consistently. In all honestly, I haven't even looked at my own blog in so long I was surprised to find that I had blogged at all in 2016! Once I looked at it, I was happy I did. There are great memories I want to remember. 

Lately, though, I have really had the itch to write. To put things down about the girls that I want to remember. I know I keep up with Facebook and Instagram, but there is something about the stories of blogging that I miss. 

So, again, let me tell myself: I will blog more. I will. I will. I will. 

So, I plan on going back and blogging about things like Christmas that I missed out on recording, but in the meantime I will dust off the keyboard and give it my best shot. 

Here's the short version: 


Emerson is now 4 1/2. (Gah!) She started PreK. She's killing it. She has matured so much and soaking up everything like a sponge. If it's a song, she can hear it one time and know every word. 

Her teachers say that she is an excellent friend. She goes out of her way to make sure that every kid has someone or something to play with. She has lots of friends, two of my co-workers' kids in particular. They insist on walking to class together each day and hugging each other if they see them outside of the norm. It's adorable.

She loves anything arts and crafts. She still loves dinosaurs and wants to be a princess. She's getting opinions on what she wears and how she wants her hair. Her favorite color is purple. Mornings are NOT her time of day. She enjoys church and LOVES to read. (Yay!!!) She's got a lot of anxiety about the dark and being alone. She doesn't like it at all, but we're working on her fear. She also won't try new foods, which is sooo much fun (sarcasm font). 

She is THE BEST big sister ever. I can't believe I was ever worried about how she would transition to having two little sisters. She mothers them better than I do at times. She loves to play with them and help them. She and Caroline are especially close. She is turning into this awesome big kid and we are loving it. 


Harper is just a few days shy of 1 1/2. She is our spitfire. She can be as mean as a snake, pulling hair, and hitting, but she also loves big. She is currently a major mommy's girl, but she lights up when her daddy walks in. She isn't really into anything in particular. She likes music and loves animals, but she is content on her own a lot. Harper is our girl who just likes to be in the moment. She eats anything you put in front of her, but refuses to use a spoon or fork over her fingers. She is our talker. Her first word was, "Caroline," but she doesn't say it much anymore. Her current favorite phrases are, "Happy birt-bay to you" and "Bye, y'all!" She's repeating sounds when Emerson counts (4, 5, etc) and says the ABCs. 

Back in August, our pediatrician referred us to a pulmonologist at Texas Children's because Harper continuously had "junky lungs." She coughed and wheezed to a point it was quite scary for us. We tried everything we could think of. We went in October and met with a wonderful doctor. He had us do a bronchoscopy, which revealed that Harper's lungs were not formed properly. We then were sent to have a CT scan. By the pure healing grace of God, the CT scan showed that her lungs were normal size and were functioning. Her right side just branched much lower than where it should. He got us on a good routine of breathing treatments and an inhaler, which has helped her breathe normally. We still go back for regular check ups at TCH, but we are beyond grateful that she has an excellent prognosis. 


Caroline is truly "Sweet Caroline." She is the quietest, most gentle little person. She is not our talker, but she likes to shriek. Her most used words are "wook" (look) and "dada." She is Emerson made over. She LOVES her daddy almost as much as she loves her pacifier at night. She is the best sleeper. She lays down and puts herself right out, but she's particular about her pillows and blankets. Caroline needs a friend most of the time. It's usually Emerson, but she and H are started to babble and play with each other more. She loves playing with my phone or anything that plays music. Emerson's karaoke machine she got for Christmas is probably her favorite toy! She talks nonstop on it. 

She is a good eater. She likes her routine and little comforts. She adjusts easily to new situations and isn't quite as clingy as her sisters. She wants people to feel loved. She is a big helper and will do things like put her shoes away without you even asking. (Thank you, Lord!) 

ALL 3:

All three girls love to be outside, visit their grandparents, play with their cousins, and be with each other. They devour spaghetti like it is the greatest thing they've ever tasted and love popsicles. 

We're in a season where it's easier than it was when they were babies, but it's still pretty tough trying to juggle everyone, home, and work. We could not ask for three greater kids though. They are truly the best in the world, and we feel blessed God loaned them to us for awhile. I love sweet little babies, but watching them grown and change has been the joy of my life. I am seriously blessed to get to be their mom. 

Here's hoping this blogging thing lasts! 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter 2016

Easter 2016 is in the books. It's kind of hard to believe that Easter has already come and gone, but, then again, it was really early this year. I can already tell April and May will drag on and on with zero holidays thrown in there. We had a really good Easter! We started the morning off with Emerson having to go find her basket in the woods. Justin's family had a tradition of the Easter Bunny hiding their baskets outside and them having to go find them first thing in the morning. We've continued that with Emerson, and this year was my favorite! She really got into it. I have a sweet video of her finding their baskets, but I'll have to play around with it to see if I can get it loaded.

Each girl got some play clothes, their Easter shoes, and a couple of toys and snacks. Emerson also got a few pieces of little girl jewelry, headbands, and a pair of flip flops.

After church, we met up with my family at Justin's parents' house. The past few years we have hosted Easter for both of our families, but we are all quickly outgrowing our little house. We ate lunch and then the kids hunted eggs. By this point, everyone was hot and on the verge of meltdowns. In the best picture of the twins Emerson had her finger up her nose, and everyone I caught of her looking and smiling had a twin making a break for it. We may dress them up and stage some pictures one day.

Who am I kidding!? We're lucky to all make it to one place with clothes on these days. Easter 2016 will just be the year of the crappy pictures! The important thing is everyone had fun...and Emerson scored some M&Ms. :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Day at the Park

Yesterday was picture perfect! Since we were out of school unexpectedly the girls and I were able to meet up with some friends at the park to play.

All 3 of them had a blast! Unfortunately this is about as good as it gets with these three lately. Poor Harper had spent all of her time being nosy and chatting with the adults so she was beyond ready for a nap. Caroline is anxious to be on the move so she's trying to escape, and Emerson is constantly mothering her little hens. :)

After three hours of playing, I think it was safe to say we wore them completely out.

I am so thankful for this little tribe of people God has put in my life. I appreciate and love their mamas as friends, but it means even more to know that my kids are growing up with people who will point them to Jesus. I can't tell you how many times they helped me hold a baby, change a diaper, or distract a toddler on the verge of melting down. I can dress grubby. My kids can act a fool. They love and support us in the midst of our mess, and that is worth it all!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Spring Break That Never Ends

Last week we were on Spring Break from's still going.

Our area got lots of rainfall, which has led to some local rivers flooding areas in our county and around us. We are very blessed to live on a hill and in an area that was not hit so hard. A lot of kids and staff at my school were not so lucky. Today, they have closed one of the major highways near us so school is canceled while all of that traffic is diverted through our tiny town. It should be interesting.

But, here we are with another day home! I am not complaining! It has been a great week together. I think we were all in need of some unhurried quality time with each other, which comes easily when it's raining for days on end. I have finally decided that I am going to really (REALLY) make an effort to blog more. We were comparing the twins current tricks to things Emerson used to do, and it was so nice to be able to look back at my blog and remember those times with her. I have decided I have got to (REALLY) start making an effort to do that with them too. So here we go! Spring Break '16:

The first weekend we took a trip to the Houston Zoo. Emerson has been asking to go "see where the lions live" for awhile, but once we got there she was pretty much only interested in the wagon ride and a grape snocone!

This girl is my heart! Three has not been an easy year for us, but there are so many sweet, sweet moments that you want to bottle up and keep forever. She loves to "steal smooches" and tells you she loves you all the time. She is the BEST big sister and such a sweet soul (despite her knack for drama). I love her so!

Monday, Justin was off so he and I got to have a date day, which really translated to "We have a whole bunch of errands to run so let's do them while we have a sitter." It was nice to get stuff done without loading car seats in and out and changing diapers every five minutes!

Then the rain started so there were lots of days spent like this:

Caroline has decided she's ready to be on the move! She just started pulling up on stuff, and then Wednesday she decided she was ready to start walking behind her toys. I am so not ready for this!!! It makes me sad to think we are so close to not having "babies" anymore. We'll have full-blown toddlers  before we know it!

We finally got some beautiful weather the second weekend so we started our garden for the year! I have a MAJOR black thumb, so we'll see how long this lasts. Justin built us two raised beds, and we planted all sorts of stuff just to see how it will do. I am most excited about our herb garden! Since we live in a small town, the grocery store very rarely has stuff like fresh basil. Now we can (hopefully) just walk outside and grab some.

Yesterday, school was canceled due to so much of our area being under water. I finally worked up the courage to take all 3 girls to run errands by myself. I know that probably sounds crazy to some people, but with a three-year-old and two seven months old even a quick trip to Walmart is like packing for a weekend getaway! Plus the world is not created for double strollers. The thought of trying to navigate that thing in a public restroom stall when Em decides she's got to go is enough to make me want to take a nap! All three girls did awesome though, and we even made to multiple places! I feel a tiny bit more confident about going and doing things this summer.

We'll have to see what else this week brings us. It's looking like we could have quite an interesting week with rain toward the end. Either way I plan on soaking up these three like a sponge while I can!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Palms Up

I always love a good new year. Whether it's January 1st, the beginning of a new school year, or a birthday, a new year just seems to signal a time to start fresh. A time to do all of those those things you've been meaning to do and take a good hard look at what you've done and what you haven't.

A new year is exciting, although I can also see how a lot of times it's overwhelming. When there's so much we can change. So much we didn't do. So much we wish we had or wish we could change...which is why I think 90% of us make the same resolutions year after year after year. (I'm looking at you "exercise more.")  :-)

That's why I really love the concept of "one little word." One word you focus on over the next year. One word that encompasses what you want your year to hold. I think mine last year was SURVIVE! We knew at that point we were having twins and I was in the middle of morning all day sickness, so I didn't do much deep thinking. The year before my word was "seek." I honestly think I held true to that. That was the year I went to Pursued. That was the year I sought out new and different things, like a new church, a new role at work. I can definitely look back and see how I was seeking and finding God in a lot of different areas. I know I chose words before that, but let's be honest...3 kids later I have no idea what they were. I can barely remember yesterday.

This year is a little different. Instead of a word, I have a phrase I want to focus on:

"Palms up."

Weird, I know.

A little back story: Over Christmas break we went to church with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Forth Worth. Their pastor gave a great sermon on living "palms up," living in a way that shows submission to God. It's not about being defensive. It's about being open. Matt Chandler, another pastor I love, often talks about it as living open-handed. He talks about not having anything held so tightly in your hand that God can't access it and do whatever He'd like. You can't hold on to it all. I've heard it. Heard it a million times. For some reason, this year, it stuck.

I really started thinking about the concept of living life palms-up (that's what 5 hours in a car will cause you to do...deep thinking). What would it really look like? What exactly does it mean to open your hands and just say, "Ok, God. Here ya go,"? What would I have to change? How would it affect my family? What if God asks me to do stuff that makes people think I am weird? (Insert a good, strong eye roll here, but I am being honest.)And honestly, I have just reached the point that I don't care anymore. I don't care how weird it is, or how radical it is. I want to be obedient to God. Period. 100%. There's nothing more to it than to just follow through. NO. MATTER. WHAT.

I did some extensive research via The Google (as you do) on what it means physically to have your palms up. I know the obvious meaning of giving someone something or "hey, don't shoot me," but I thought it was interesting that phrases like, trustworthy, honest, having nothing to hide, sincerity, and submission kept coming up. My favorite was this,

"offer to give up control and gain support and trust."

Well, there ya go.

In all of my deep thinking whilst Emerson sang, "Hakuna Mata" for the 60 billionth time from the back seat, I realized that living palms up isn't just about giving or letting go. It's also about being willing to receive, which may very well be the toughest part in my mind. I can't just be willing to give things up to God for Him to control. I also having to be WILLING to receive whatever comes my way. That led me to thinking of specific things I think this may apply to this year.

  • Be open to God moving me somewhere else, whether it's moving our family to a different place or a different role at work. I know I need to stop being so comfortable where I am. 
  • Give God control of our finances and do more to honor Him through giving (specifically giving to Illuminate.) 
  • Be open and SEEK where I am supposed to be using the gifts and calling God has placed on me. 
  • Be willing to sacrifice time and comfort in order to seek Him more. (I am also reading Beth Moore's Believing God right now. One thing she asks you to do is seek out deepening your sanctification--meaning, put your money where your mouth is. Make a sacrifice that means something. One of the things I have felt is that I need to get up even earlier to carve out alone time with God. That means getting up at 4:30 am, which I am NOT thrilled about. However, I believe that by honoring God with my time He will provide the energy and strength I need to keep going each day.) 
  • Spend more time in prayer. Less time on social media. Give up caring about what everyone else has going.
  • Receive the spiritual gifts God has given me and SEEK OUT how they are to be used. Heck! Just use them in general instead of wondering what to do. Stop fighting what He has confirmed again and again. 
  • Receive friendships and strengthen them. I feel like I have become the worst friend since I've become a mom. I feel like I have let so much of that go to the back burner so I can take care of my kids. I am realizing more and more how important those relationships are. I want to build those up this year instead of taking them for granted. 
  • Help. Advice. Wisdom. I used to be really good about having relationships with people more experienced at life than I am and mentoring people behind me. I feel like I have lost a lot of that. I would like to find a mentor-type person to talk with regularly.  
  • I also want to gain support (of the Holy Spirit) and the trust of God (that I am worthy and capable of handling the keys to his kingdom). 
Right now that is all I really know. I don't doubt for a second that God won't blow this thing right up this year, and I am excited to see what exactly He'll do. All I know is, I am ready. Ready a change. Ready for Him to control. Ready for Him to take over. I'm walking into 2016 palms up and ready. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Big Sister Trip: Great Wolf Lodge

Before the twins were born we wanted to take Emerson on a little trip with just the three of us. Kind of a babymoon with our first baby. However, I seriously underestimated how hard it would be to travel at 8 months pregnant this time around so we never got around to it. At the end of September, Zulily ran a special on suites at Great Wolf Lodge. We knew this was the perfect opportunity to reward Em for how awesome she has been this past year. Her whole life has been completely turned upside down, in every way possible, and she has handled it with as much patience and grace as any three-year-old could.

So, last Friday morning we loaded up the car, grabbed some great friends, and made the 5 hour drive. I think the drive there and back was just as great as the trip itself. We had a "man" car and a "woman" car, and each had to take the kids for part of the trip. Em got to be with her besties and I actually got to have a conversation with someone without stopping to answer 50, 000 questions!

We got there early Friday afternoon and immediately hit up the water park. It is awesome! There was a great range of stuff for little kids to grown ups. It was super clean, and most of Friday it was empty! The kids could do as many slides as they wanted without having to wait for very long.

Emerson did great at the water park! We only had one severe meltdown because she thought she could hang in the 4 foot deep pool with no life jacket. She kept telling me, "But Mommy!! I got this!!!" Sweet girl, you don't "got this" quite yet. She did get really brave and swim under water a couple of times with Justin and I right there. Sometimes I wish she had an ounce of fear in her, but I would rather her get some bumps and bruises than sit on the sidelines afraid. 

That night we cleaned up and went to storytime in the lobby. They had this gigantic Christmas tree that smelled just like Christmas! It was pretty amazing!

During storytime they made it "snow". It would have been even cooler if our kids were actually awake enough to enjoy it. And if I hadn't totally busted my tail in front of everyone. Let's just say that trying to stand up on your leg that is DEAD asleep after being in the same position for 45 minutes will land you flat on your back. :)

The next day we water parked some more and then headed home. Emerson got her first Starbucks, which Miss Fancy Pants informed me was called "cocoa NOT hot chocolate!" The drive home involved an hour and a half spent in random traffic and women who were starting to lose their cool.

A few seconds after being in our car without her friends Sister ended up sound asleep for most of the ride home. Toward the end she was getting restless and Justin and I were anxious to be home so we had a Disney soundtrack dance party in the car. The girl can shake her booty for sure. It may have been my favorite part of the whole weekend.

It was such a great that really reminds you of how blessed you are. We are so lucky to have people near us who we trust and who love us enough to keep the twins so we could take Emerson to do this. We are lucky to have great friends who have kids who are great friends to Emerson. We are lucky for little moments of fun and happiness. And we are lucky that overall we are a pretty positive family. I didn't exactly grow up in a positive thinking/acting/speaking household, so it's been a conscious effort to try to make as much of our kids' days as positive as I can. We have choices, really in every moment, to either be happy and make the most of a situation or to gripe and complain. I can wake my kids up by yelling and griping or I can wake them up by tickling and singing (badly). As long as I can, I want to choose to wake them up tickling and singing so they look forward to their day-to their lives-instead of waking them up already defeated. I am so thankful that God "woke us up" this weekend with pure JOY.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Back in the Saddle

Well, after a really long hiatus, I am trying to climb back into the blogging saddle again. I think it's equal parts guilt over not keeping up with the twins' lives mixed with the feeling that God has something he is trying to get out of me through blogging  that is bringing me back.

Oh, wait, what's that? I never blogged about the fact that we actually have TWINS now???

Well, we do. 

Caroline Reese and Harper Brynn entered the world July 22nd weighing 7lbs 15 oz and 6lbs 8 oz respectively. Yes, that is 14.5 pounds of baby. You can only imagine how delightful I was to be around toward the end of that pregnancy!  Both girls were healthy, although Harper did have to spend 98% of our hospital stay in the NICU due to her having some breathing troubles. Hopefully I will get the chance to write more about their story later on.

They are SUPER different, incredibly sweet and happy babies. Caroline is our chunky cheeks (even though she is smaller than Emerson was at this stage). She has her daddy's dimples. She loves to eat and goes sleep easily on her own. She's our serious girl. Harper is our little peanut. She is the happiest baby EVER. She's also a nosy baby who can't focus on anything except what everyone around her is doing. She constantly smiles, and really only cries when something is seriously wrong.

Then there is this girl...

Our sweet Emerson Kate is 3 1/2 now! I can't even begin to understand how all of that happened so quickly. She is so smart, the greatest big sister, and DRAMATIC. The whole "threenager" thing is a very accurate description of her. She is soaking up everything like a sponge. We've started working on memorizing Bible verses and identifying sight words. She LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to sing, play blocks, and watch TV.

The whole transition from one kid to three has been challenging, but we are making it. We really couldn't ask for two easier babies so that helps, but a lot of our time right now is spent on surviving. We're slowly reentering the land of the living, which hopefully means maybe I'll have something half-way interesting to blog about! We'll see how I do. :)