Friday, March 30, 2012


Beatrice is 2.5 now and while parenting a 2 year old is fun and wild and exhausting and exhilarating, it is also hard. Really, really hard.

The hardest part about 2 is the endless battles over everything/nothing. My child is very strong-willed and is determined on doing the opposite of whatever I tell her.

"Put on your shoes, please."
"Imma put on my socks instead, mama."
"Take a sip of your water."
"No, Imma eat a grape."
"Let's go outside."
"Imma stay here and color."

It's frustrating and adorable at the same time. It's mostly frustrating though because obedience is important. And since she's determined to do the opposite of what I tell her, she is disobedient a lot of the time. Disobedience yields discipline and discipline is the hardest thing about 2.

It was just a short time ago that she was a baby and totally compliant and happy with whatever I did for her. Now she gets spankings and consequences and lectures about obedience. 2 is so hard.

I want to raise her to be honest and kind to people, to respect authority and to love God. Discipline is hard, but it promises to whittle away the rough edges of selfishness, pride, and disobedience.

I find myself really struggling with which battles to choose. She's little and is still learning how to express her emotions. She is testing the waters on which behaviors are allowed and which are not. I am doing my best to make on the spot decisions on which ones are allowed as well. Most nights I go to bed repenting for my shortcomings and asking God for wisdom with this little one. She's 2 and 2 is so hard.

I was told if I stayed diligent with discipline at 2, there wouldn't be a great need for it at 8. I'm hanging onto this wisdom. Please be true, please be true, please be true.

2 is hard, but I love this girl madly. She can be difficult and disobedient, but she is also sweet and helpful and hilarious. She is precious to me. 

I want to enjoy this hard stage with her, I want to survive it with her, but mostly, I want to do right by her. I find myself fumbling a lot because it is so hard to have such a cute, little person be downright defiant to my face. I want to get it right before she remembers how mommy wasn't so natural at this parenting thing.

Training up a child is hard and most days I don't know if I'm doing anything right, but I'm up for the challenge. This girl is the best. I am honored to be her mama. This makes me really proud to call her mine:

2 is hard, but it's almost over! I hear 3 is harder. Oh boy...

All photos by my talented friend, Sara Rose.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


After driving a bunch last week, I joked that we weren't going anywhere for a week. Little did I know, that statement ended up being prophetic. My Tennessee license expired on my birthday. I found this out after the fact and because it expired, I have to take a series of vision, written, and driving tests to be issued a new one. Because I have 2 kids and no valid driver license, it is going to take some strategic planning to be issued a new one. I am homebound until further notice.

It's not so bad being forced to stay home. My girls are loving playing with their toys and taking routine naps, my laundry is not piling up, and I've been cooking a bunch. I have also been studying the California driver handbook. It's long and intensive. I told JD I'm actually glad this happened. Otherwise, I never would have learned all of the rules of the road. I'm going to be a really knowledgeable driver when the State gives me my license back. Unlike all these years of just winging it out there. Weeeeeeeee! Just kidding...

Tomorrow is the big day. JD took the day off to help shuttle me to and fro. I am pretty confident the written and vision portion of the test will be easy peasy. It's the traffic cones and parallel parking that has me a little psyched out. Exactly how far is 100 yards away? Double broken lines mean what again?? I may be homebound for a little while longer...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Not Long Enough

I just dropped my brother and sister in law off at the airport. They followed me here from Tennessee to spend spring break with us. We had a fun week beach-hopping, exploring L.A, and staying up late. When it was time to send them on their way, I cried like a baby all the way home. I'm not ready to let them go.

I always cry when I send our family back home, but it was different saying goodbye to Seth and Jenny. They are more than our family, they are our dearest friends. We lived with them for 2 months before our big move to California. They love my girls like their own and are such a huge support to us. I love them deeply.

I came up with the greatest plan: Seth and Jenny must move to California! They can live next door and we will pool our resources like we did during the 2 months we cohabited. Grant and Jenni must move too (my other brother and sister in law who I am equally close with). Jamie too. Then this whole California adventure will be much easier. So it's settled then? Everyone's moving? Excellent! We shall live here:

Even if they don't move (they never said no...), the good news is we live in a fun area that lures people back to visit us often. I am busy planning our next adventure, guys.

I have a feeling it's going to be harder to bounce back from their departure. My heart is heavy with the pending loneliness that is sure to come on Monday once JD returns to work. I hate these stupid goodbyes. 1 week wasn't long enough.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I once drove around with my check engine light on for a year. I knew I needed to get my car checked out, but it didn't seem urgent to me. I figured the engine would explode or fall out or something if it was that serious. When I finally took my car in, I was told my catalytic converter went out (went bad? broke?) and if I waited about a month longer, the warranty would have expired and I would've been $1800 poorer. Ouch. Lesson learned, get things checked out and don't ignore big warnings. Got it.

Tonight, my tooth broke in half. And although my tooth has been abscessed for 2 years I gotta say, I didn't see it coming. I knew it was in bad shape. I haven't been able to eat on the left side of my mouth for several months due to the cold, searing pain emitting from that tooth. But I never guessed it would just crumble to pieces in my mouth. Now I have a broken, jagged half-tooth that's probably going to need to be pulled. Blech. I feel so dirty with my broken tooth and soon to be gaping hole in my mouth. 

Don't be like me. If your car has a red flashing light, it's probably best to get that looked at sooner than later. And if you have a rotten tooth in your mouth, get it checked out before it breaks in half. To be continued...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


When I was a little girl, I dreamed about turning 16. I couldn't wait to drive, get a job, and have a boyfriend. It was going to be awesome. Sure enough, my 16th birthday delivered. I drove, I got a job, and I had a boyfriend. It was awesome. Then I couldn't wait to turn 18. I could vote, go to college, and be an adult. That birthday was pretty spectacular too, but soon I was itching to turn 21. No more restrictions! I could drink what I wanted, go where I wanted, and be a person in her 20s. That birthday rolled around and it was everything I dreamed it would be.

Every birthday since then has been, meh. My 20s seemed to drag on even though I accomplished quite a lot and went through the most life changes (marriage, babies, relocating). The only birthday left to anticipate was one I wasn't too excited about: 30. 30 seems so old. It seems like the beginning of mom jeans and gray hair and minivans. Shudder. I'm not ready for 30. For all I care, 30 can wait around for a couple more years when I feel more like a 30-something.

I turned 30 today. Sigh.

Honestly, I'm not as bummed about this birthday as I'm leading on. It was really no big deal turning the big 3 - 0. I don't feel any older or wiser or grayer. I feel like me. With kids and a husband and financial stress. Has anyone seen my minivan? And maybe that's why I was sweating this birthday: I am not prepared to feel older and wiser and grayer. I'm quite certain I will be an old, wise, gray-headed woman who feels perpetually 25. I don't want to feel old, even if I am. And if 30 feels just like 25, I think I'll be pretty good at it.

Today, I had my first shot at it. My brother and sister in law are visiting and we spent the entire day at the beach frolicking in our 30-something bodies.

Other than the 2 kids I have acquired in the last 2 years, I felt just as I did on my previous milestone birthdays: special, excited, young.

If anything felt different about this birthday, it is the settled feeling I have. At 30, I know my strengths, I'm not ashamed to admit my weaknesses, and I am comfortable in my skin. I don't know that I'm any wiser, but I feel settled in knowing who I am, what I am capable of, and that I'm not afraid to do stuff. Other than feel old. That terrifies me. 

30's not so bad. It feels just like 25. Now if I could only figure out how to not get any older yet live a long life, I will be happy.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


When I was 12, my family moved. I vividly remember the 13 hours it took to drive from my hometown in Florida to our new home in Tennessee. I cried the entire trip. I was sad to be leaving the only home I ever knew, my friends, my church, my roots. I hated Tennessee for ripping me from all of that and vowed to never call it home. A Floridian I would always be.

It took some time, but eventually, Tennessee became home too. I went to middle school, high school, and college in the town that we moved to. I made friends, got my driver's license, and my first job there. My parents split and I buried my dad in the Volunteer State. I met and married JD and had both of my babies in that town. Tennessee was a blend of happy and sad and because of it, I am deeply rooted there.

I returned to Tennessee 10 days ago. And while it was a great trip with much needed time with my family, I wasn't prepared to feel the way that I did about my former home state. It felt familiar, but definitely not like it was my home anymore, just a place I used to live.

 JD said that is what happens when you move away and come back for a visit: it never feels like home again. My home is in California now. Tennessee is where my family lives. And because of that, I am still deeply rooted there.

It's strange to say, but I missed my new home in California while I was away. The trip to Tennessee made me realize that I can be rooted here too, with my little family. And while I will always hold Tennessee near and dear to my heart, it's not home anymore. I have planted my roots here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Going Home

I've been a little melancholy since Pam left. Her departure reminded me just how much I miss my family and how lonely I am without them closeby. That's the rotten thing about loved ones coming to visit: they have to leave and my heart feels all mangled and empty afterward. It's brutal.

Last week, I experienced one of the saddest days of my life. I cried for a solid 6 hours, then cried a little more until my tears were all cried out. JD and I were hoping that he would have a prolonged work trip that would allow the girls and me to fly home for a few weeks. The trip was cancelled and I was devastated. I cried like I was grieving the loss of someone. We decided that I needed to go home anyway.

So we booked some tickets and later this week, I will be back on rocky, clay-like soil - because Tennessee dirt is more like clay, but details schmetails - I'm going home!! Once that flight confirmation email was in my inbox, I turned my frown upside down. And I've been smiling ever since. Except when I remember that I am flying alone with 2 babies, then I start crying again. Hold me. 

I cannot tell you how badly I need this trip. I can't wait to get my hair done, get some pro pics of my girls, visit my Nana, have some kid-free time, and go to my church. I'm so ready. I can't believe I have been gone nearly 6 months. Sheesh, time flies when you're sad and lonely and 2500 miles away from everyone you know and love. Or something like that.

I'm going home. I really need this trip.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Half A Year

Penelope is 6 months old now. 
It's hard to believe she will only be a baby for a few more months. I still think of her as a newborn. That probably has something to do with the multiple times I am up with her each night. 

Sissy is super cuddly. She is a total mama's girl and is content being on me at all times. She's my little buddy.

She is strictly breast fed. I tried bananas with her last week, but she projectile vomited violently for an hour afterwards. She was pitiful and I was terrified. We're holding off on solids for awhile longer. Boobie milk for life!

She's a fun loving girl. She wants to be in the middle of whatever we are doing. She's getting big enough to play too.

I love this baby so much.

We all do.

Especially her sister.

Watching their relationship grow is so awesome. They crack each other up and are super gentle and sweet to one another. They are gonna be best friends, I know it.

Stop growing up so fast, Mama's Baby. I love you.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Family Pizza Night

JD and I don't remember too many family traditions of our childhoods. There were no regular vacation spots or nightly singalongs, no secret handshakes or yearly camping trips. The only thing we both remember is Friday night pizza. With a little family of our own now, we wanted to start our own tradition. Tonight, we kicked off the first official ourlastname Friday pizza night.

We made homemade dough, homemade white sauce, and built our pies skyhigh with cheese, artichoke hearts, pepperoni, and onions. My kitchen is a disaster zone, but oh how my big girl had fun.

White Pizza Sauce

2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 c milk
1 clove garlic, smashed or pressed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 pepper
1 tsp basil
1/4 c parmesan cheese

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and flour. Whisk until smooth. Slowly add milk, whisking to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Photo Challenge: Part 4

March 1st already? When did that happen? Here are the last photos for the photo challenge.