Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Life Lately

I've not been as good at blogging as I told myself I was going to be in 2014. And as I plan to have blog books made for both of my boys one of these days, I had better straighten up my act! Maybe it's the whole full time job/I have a 3 year old/I have a 1 year old thing. Who knows.

So, let's scoot back a couple of weeks to my birthday! I had a fabulous birthday! I think it might have even been my best birthday EVER! When I said that to one of my friend's at church, he said, "Hey, Emily, it was in Virginia, wasn't it!?" Yes, yes it was. :)

The hubbs took me to Frankie Rowland's for dinner. Yum! I ordered the shrimp cocktail for an appetizer with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc I'd never tried before. Then for dinner, I had the pecan-glazed salmon. And for dessert, I had creme brulee with a bellini. Heaven!


But way more heavenly than the food was the fact that I got to go on a date with my husband!

---------------

We attended three, yes three, Easter egg hunts before Easter! So fun! I'm not loving the fact that suddenly I have allergies and so being outside equals not feeling great, but c'est la vie. I'm hoping my body will adjust to the new environment in Virginia, and maybe next year I'll be okay. Maybe?

Nonetheless, any occasion to stick Jack in a smocked outfit, put Nathan in his Easter hat (story to follow), and to put on lipstick. . . well, sign me up! {By the way, Roanoke, VA is quite possibly the preppiest place on planet earth. The boys have Kentucky Derby Day at school. Everyone is smocked, appliqued, and monogrammed to death. Have I found my people. . . !?!}





---------------

The weather is finally turning warm-ish. Yay! We still have some cold/chilly days scattered about here and there, but for the most part, I can at least put the boys in short sleeves. Or, in the instance of finger painting, their underwear!


Balancing a full-time job and two little ones is hard. No doubt about it. Although working from home is nothing new to me, I still struggle with giving my boys attention vs. giving my work attention. I try to focus on the littles when they're not in school and not napping. :) So, finger painting it is! {I'm kicking my "OCD" to the curb.}

---------------

The Easter hat. Oy.

So, Nathan's preschool has the "Annual Easter Bonnet Parade."

Forget it. We tossed the word "bonnet" out ASAP.

But Nathan still told me, "Mom, Easter hats are for girls!"

And can I make a confession? I sort of agreed! We went to Michael's. {We don't have a Hobby Lobby. I know. It's tragic.} We looked around. Pink ribbon! Pom poms! Little chicks! Tulle! 

This was going to be a challenge.

And then Nathan offered up the perfect solution. That one missing element that made the "Easter bonnet" the "Cool Easter hat."

Sharks, of course.

"Mom!" he shouted, "I found some shark stickers! Can I put them on my Easter hat?"

Well of course you can!

So we bought the shark stickers, and the Easter hat was a hit!




Could he be any cuter? Nope!

---------------

Swim lessons have started back up. I really regret stopping them in December, because I can tell that Nathan has lost some of his ability. Oh, well! It's crazy to think that little brother will be taking them next summer! Geesh!


---------------

And Easter? I would love to tell you that I had friends over, served a beautiful meal, took cute pictures before church. . . but none of that actually happened.

I woke up sick (cold/allergies), frantically quickly got myself and my children ready for church, slogged my way through "teaching" Sunday school, came home and put on my jammies, ate baked Ritz chips for lunch, and that evening made my husband pick up Papa John's (which we ate standing up in our messy kitchen for dinner). Isn't my life glamorous!? :)

The toddler was super excited that the Easter Bunny brought him and baby brother the movie "Frozen!" And baby brother ate ALL the candy from ALL the eggs. Of course, if you know Nathan, you know he couldn't have cared less about the candy!



They both did look super adorable for church, I promise. I just didn't take any pictures. Mom of the Year!!

---------------

These days are long. Long. Long. The age of three. . . how shall I say it?. . . stinks. I've heard four is better, and I'm pinning all my hopes on that. But having a three year old and a toddler who's just getting to the terrible two stage is sort of like the perfect storm.

I'm issuing a challenge to myself. I'm going to try to set my alarm a little earlier and get up before my littles, so that I can really, truly commit myself to prayer before the day begins. We need God all the time, of course, but there are seasons of life where we can just feel how desperately we need His help. I'm in one of those stages right now with the boys.


I love them more than my life and they bring me more joy than anything else in this world. But, parenting is hard. Lord, help me! :)


They might really, truly be stink pots right now. But aren't they cute stink pots?! I certainly think so!

"This is the day the Lord has made; we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!" - Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My First 5K


I ran in my very first race last weekend! It was awesome!

Thankfully, my sister (who happens to have run track and cross country in college) was in town, and we got to run it together! Of course, she slowed down to run at my pace, but we had a blast running together.

This was a fantastic experience. I signed up for the race, and then I got my booty in the gym! I ran 3.1 miles 4-5 times a week for a month leading up to the race, and then on the day of the race, I was only 14 seconds away from my fastest time yet!

{We ran in the Color Run, which is why we've got goofy sunglasses on, paint on our shirts, and a tattoo that says "HAPPY."}

I really love running! I think I might be hooked, folks! :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Very Quick Trip to Little Rock

And when I say, "very quick," that's exactly what I mean. I flew to Little Rock for my friend Barbara's wedding, and was in town for literally less than 24 hours!

I flew out of Roanoke at 5:30 AM, and I got into Little Rock at 10:30 after a connecting flight to Charlotte. I was so happy to see my momma waiting for me!

My sweet southern mother had planned a luncheon for me, with friends and family. Picture tulips, mimosas, linen napkins. Perfection!


I was so happy to get to see my grandmother, my cousins, my aunt, and my friends! I was laughing with my friends, drinking my (I lost count. . . ) mimosa, and thoroughly enjoying myself, when suddenly. . .


Everyone started singing "Happy Birthday!" Honest to goodness, I was confused. And then I saw my mom walk around the corner holding this gorgeous cake (made by Babicakes in Little Rock, AR), and I burst into tears! I never cry, but I think the combination of being genuinely surprised (it's hard to surprise me), being genuinely exhausted (I'd been up since 2:45 AM), and being genuinely grateful to be with my favorite people, just made me cry! It was so sweet and so special to me!


I had time to take a 45 minute nap before it was time to get ready for Barbara's wedding. I was so, so, so beyond excited to see my long-time, tennis buddy, church friend, friend for life get married! I can't even remember the last time I cried watching a bride walk down the aisle (scratch that--my sister's wedding not even a year ago....maybe I AM a crier!?), but I certainly teared up watching Barbara walk down the aisle in the gorgeous Pulaski Heights Methodist Church and looking like a dream! I am so very happy for my friend, and so excited for this next chapter in her life. 


Yay for an eighteen hour trip to one of my favorite cities to see some of my favorite people! :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

So-Gal's Recipe: Honeybun Cake


Oh.My.Mercy.

Make this cake. That's all I can say.

I baked this cake on Wednesday night for my lifegroup. I kid you not, the entire cake was gone in five minutes. No exaggeration.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and I tweaked it a little bit.

You will need:
  • A 15.25 oz. box of yellow cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 2 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 7 tablespoons of whole milk
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Mix the cake mix, eggs, oil, and sour cream. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the cinnamon and brown sugar. Set aside.
4. Grease a 9x13 pan. Spread half of the cake mix on the bottom. Top this with have of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Then, the rest of the cake mix, and the rest of the cinnamon mixture. {cake, cinnamon, cake, cinnamon}
5. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Poke holes (but not too many!) in the cake with a toothpick.
7. To make the glaze, mix the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour over the cake.

And there you have it! Simple as can be!

Really, I promise, if you've got something coming up--a Bible study brunch or a dinner party--make this! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day Of Spring

Well, it's here! The first day of spring! Hallelujah!

We pulled in the driveway today, after getting lots of volcano books at the library, and Nathan asked, "Mom, can we eat our lunch outside?"

Yes! A picnic! Now that's a good idea!


We ate our lunches and enjoyed the sunshine. Our next door neighbor came over and chatted for a bit. It was heaven! I'm ignoring the fact that we're supposed to be getting our third March snow next week (kill.me.).



Spring, it's about time you got here! That was a looooooong winter!

And do you know what I went out and bought for myself two days ago? Tulips--my favorite flower! They're yellow and white and happy! :)


Happy spring! Thank you, Jesus, for newness--and sunshine, when I needed it most!

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Boys


One runs, stumbles, trips, toddles. The other jumps, stomps, crashes, dashes.

When one wants the tricycle, so does the other. When one wants the light-up ball, or the baseball bat, or the golf club, so does the other. And there are crocodile tears. And, "Mooooooommmmm's." And pouty lips.

Mud throwers. Dirt eaters. Puddle jumpers. Skinned knees. Dirty hands. Flushed cheeks.

They rush by, and they giggle with strawberry grins. Fine, straight hair--my hair--sweaty, sticking up like straw. Cheeks that ask for pinching, that beg for kissing, that plead for hands to hold and cup and instruct.

The ding of the tricycle bell and the low growl of the scooter. These sounds I treasure--I breathe so deeply in.

I stood back today and watched you both. I remembered small, little, hospital newness. And those things seem so far away. And in between has been life, full of snuggles, blankies, trips to the library, trips to time-out, kisses, corrections, stern voices, contagious laughter, dinnertime, bedtime. Life.

You, little boys, my boys, will never know how much I love you. Will never know how much I adore you. Will never know how every word--every syllable--you say to me, I savor. You could never bore me. You grasp the world with both hands and ask questions. Good questions. And make observations. Good observations.

Little boys are treasures. And tiring. And everything in between. You are my soul and my strength. I pray over you and your skinned knees, and your elbows, and your strawberry hair. I kiss you at night when I stand by your bed and over your crib--watching you, and knowing you'll never know how much I love you. You are the ache and the fulfillment. You are the adventure I lead, and the adventure I want to succeed. You are my little boys, my children, and I love you to the moon and back.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lately

He's obsessed with Batman. And striking a pensive pose. And looking like he's fourteen.


But even superheroes get tired and fall asleep on the couch while watching Planes.


We bought a sled. It's exciting. For everyone but me, who does not like sledding, nor cold weather, nor all this snow that has become the norm around here.


He loves the tricycle. And the bell. When I say, "Jack, ring the bell!" he gets to ringing.


They wrestle. They laugh. They love each other. They own my heart.


Jack is allllll about coloring now. He specializes in scribbles and crayon breaking.


While the ten tons of winter gear it requires to step out your door in Virginia used to annoy me, I'm an old pro now. Winter gear galore! I'm now a certified PBU (professional bundler upper).


We went on a date! That might not be a big deal for you. But your husband doesn't work eighty hours a week and you know one or two babysitters.


We played in the snow! No we didn't. That's a lie. We posed for a picture in the snow.


Jack's First Haircut

I knew the time was coming: Jack needed a haircut. The curls were turning mullet-like, only because the front of his hair was short! (Let it be known, I otherwise would have let that boy's hair keep growing with those sweet strawberry curls!)

Here's a picture I took of the boys just a few nights ago. See how long it had gotten?


I ran my fingers through those soft curls a million times. I breathed in their sweet peach smell. I washed them with shampoo. I kissed them goodnight after a bedtime story.

There's something about the long, sweet curls that say baby. Little boy. Small.

So, when the time came that he did need a haircut, I didn't quite know what to do. When I say we haven't had good hair cutting experiences in Roanoke, I.Mean.It. I couldn't let some stranger cut my baby's curls for the very first time. That's special. That's memorable and meaningful. That's potentially tear-inducing.

So, what did I do? 

I cut it myself.

If you know me at all, you just gasped. Loudly.

I know. I can't believe I did it, either.

Why did I do it? Because I wanted it to be special. I didn't want some stranger cutting Jack's hair for his very first haircut. I wanted it to mean something. I wanted it to stay in my heart and my memory.

So, I took out the scissors and comb, and I got to work.

And may I say, for those of you who gasped and are still waiting to hear about a disaster. . .

. . . it turned out perfectly. I'm tooting my own horn. Per-fect-ly. Like, whoa. I got skills.




And yes, he looks like such a big boy. And my big boy is saying new words every day now! Slow down, little one.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Let's Go Outside

"Let's go outside!"

That's what I've been exclaiming for the past two days!


I'll admit it. I was getting a little tired of the snow. And although there is still some snow lingering, we've had two blissful days of sunshine and warm weather. Heaven! 


The boys have been running around the front yard, wrestling in the grass, playing with soccer balls and golf clubs, and just being BOYS! It makes my momma heart so happy. 


The boys have been so happy (and better behaved) this weekend, and I just know it's because they're getting their energy out. They're doing what little boys are supposed to do--playing in dirt, being messy, and running around!


I know we've got some colder days ahead before spring truly arrives--but these warm days have whet my appetite for sunshine, freckles, and being outside!


These boys. I thank Jesus for them every single day. When I see Nathan riding circles in our driveway on his scooter, and when I see Jack getting excited and exclaiming, "DOG!!" when someone walks by with their dog, I think my heart might explode. Parenting is tough. It's not for wimps. But, this weekend, it's just been the fun stuff of parenting--cuddles, playing outside, giggles while drinking milk (messy!), crayon scribbles on birthday cards and church bulletins. The happy stuff of life. The little gifts God gives me and I thank Him so, so much for.


Few things make me as happy as when I run for the box of wipes in Jack's room to wipe off muddy hands. The dirt that gets under their nails and in every crevice of their palms. That dirt that tells me they've run, they've laughed, they've played.

And that's the good stuff of life, isn't it?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Snow Much Snow

Okay, we got TWO FEET of snow. So, of course, it's still lingering a week and a half later. Here are some snow photos!