07 November 2013

Dearest Hallie

Dearest Hallie,

Today you turned two.  I can hardly believe it.  I remember holding you in my arms, just seconds old, and thinking you were the most beautiful person I'd ever laid eyes on.

And you were.  And I still think that.

But not because of how you look or how you act, even though both are beautiful.  No, your true beauty lies in whose you are, not who you are (and especially not what you look like).

You are mine.  Mine and your Dad's and God's.  And as long as you're ours, you will be beautiful, no matter what anyone else says.

I remember realizing I was pregnant with you.  I fell in love with you before I even met you.  I knew you were a little girl, but the moment we found out for sure, my heart burst with joy.  God had answered my prayers and given me the desire of my heart.  More than anything else in the world, I wanted a daughter.  (I hold on to that memory on your difficult days because, let's face it, they're called the Terrible Twos for a reason, and you entered that stage a few months early.)

I love you, Hallie Ruth.

I love the way your eyes light up when you get excited… and when you're doing something you know you shouldn't be doing.  I love how you make faces at yourself in the mirror.  I love how the simple things delight you, how you would be happy to swing at the park for hours if I had the strength and patience to push you (I'm sorry that I don't).  I love having tea parties with you, playing with you, talking with you, singing with you.

I love that you love shoes and pigtails and bracelets and lipstick and sunglasses.  I love that you love princesses and babies and stuffed animals.  I love your obsession with your (stuffed) puppies, Cuddles and Twinkle.  I love how you talk to them, like you expect them to respond.  ("Cuh-yules, where aaaaare you?")  I love the way you sing "Bob Tomato" at the top of your lungs, getting almost every word, and then laugh when-- "Look, Cucumber fall down!"

I love the way you talk, how you finish nearly every phrase with an exclamation point.  I love your little voice when I get you up from sleeping:  "G'morning, Mommy!  I'n awake!"  I love your "tank-yew"s and your "yew wekkom"s.  I love how you say "Sah-weh-yah" (Cinderella) and "Bay-elle" (Belle) and "See Booty" (Sleeping Beauty).  I love that you call things "cute" and "pitty" and "fee-ful."

Today, I want to make you a few promises.

I will always love you; nothing you ever, ever do will change the way I feel about you.  I will always encourage you to be the best person you can be.  I will always choose to be your mother over being your friend.  I will always help you weather the storms of life, not shielding you, but beside you.  I will always be there for you--until death prevents me--to talk, to listen, to share life.

I will push you to try new things.  I will encourage you to read, dance, make music and art, write, and sing.  I will aid you in discovering what you're good at, what you love, and then assist you in becoming better.  I will let you learn from your mistakes as much as I can.  I will help you become independent.  I will teach you about being a woman and a wife and a mother and making a house a home.  I will show you how to cook and clean and manage a house (although I may send you to Nana's to learn from her!).

I will help you set high standards for friendships, for boys, and for yourself.  I will assist you in finding God's purpose for your life and then achieving it.  I will teach you that honoring God with your life is the most important thing you can ever do.  I will show you what it means to trust Him with everything.  I will help you understand that both blessings and trials are a part of life and that the tough times will make you stronger.  I will instruct you about true beauty and who you really are.

I will never value your physical self more than your spiritual or emotional self.  I will never insist on you becoming something that you are not.  I will never pressure you to look a certain way.  I will never compare you to anyone else.  I will never shelter you from the consequences of your choices, because that's how we learn, but I will always offer help if you ask for it.  I will never judge you or condemn you, no matter what.

I will always be your biggest fan, your cheerleader, your protector, your comforter, your mother.

And I will always keep my promises to you.

Happy birthday.

Your Mama

Swinging at 9 months
First birthday
Swinging at 12 months

Swinging at 23 months

01 November 2013

Exciting news!

Well, for me, at least! ;)

I have finally -- finally! -- opened my design business!

Check me out at tailormadedesigns.com!

I design party invitations, wedding invitations, quotes to frame, business cards, blogs, websites, you name it!  If you'd like to see samples of my work, please contact me via TAILORMADEdesigns and I'd be happy to show you.

My portfolio is still a work-in-progress, so for the entire month of November, I'm offering a 20% discount on all custom orders!

If you are getting married, throwing a birthday party or a shower, want to give your blog a refresh (or set up a new one), I'm your girl.  I'd love to work with you! :)

25 October 2013

Teethers, nephews, and life.

You guys.  Life is crazy with three littles.

I hardly have time to think most days.  There's always a fight to mediate, a child who needs to be held, food to prep, laundry to wash/dry/fold, etc., etc., etc.  Finding time to blog has become less of a priority.

So here's what's been going on with me.

The past week I've had two teethers.  Well, Asher shouldn't really count.  Other than the drool and a little fussiness, he has been himself.  Considering that he is the happiest baby I've ever met, being a little fussy makes him almost normal. Haha.

This is the face of a happy teether.
Hallie, on the other hand, has been cranky enough for two.  Two-year-old molars.  Teething on steroids.  Seriously.  I have never seen my girl this cranky.  She won't eat and won't sleep.  Which means, of course, Mama doesn't get to sleep, either.

Midnight cuddles.
Fortunately, the bottom two look like they've broken all the way through, and Hallie seems much happier today.  Unfortunately, she didn't get all four in at the same time, so we have to do this all over again when the top two decide to come in.  Yay.

To top everything off, Gabriel got sick last night.  I'm praying that it was just an isolated incident, that it's not a stomach bug about to go on a rampage through my house.  I just don't think I can handle that right now (or ever!), thanks.

But, lest you think I'm complaining, lots of good stuff's been going on, too!

On October 13, my sister-in-law had a baby boy.  We were in Dallas for the weekend and I got to see him when he was less than an hour old.  I forgot just how little they are when they're born.  It's only been five months since Asher was born, but I was surprised just how much I didn't remember.

Here he is, y'all.  Isaac Andrew.
There's just something so precious about a new little life.

Fresh.  Peaceful.  Innocent.  Beautiful.

Isaac is a strong little baby, just like a Louis.  He got an infection while in the hospital and had to stay an extra ten days for a round of antibiotics. :( But every picture I saw of him, he was so peaceful and calm, like he didn't even notice his IV.  Amazing.

Getting ready to leave the hospital!
He's home now and doing really well. :)

Not as interesting, but I wanna talk about it... homeschooling Gabriel has been an absolute joy to my heart.  We're a little behind -- started a week late and then took a few days off for the birth of my nephew -- but we are having SO much fun.  I highly recommend the curriculum we've been using, God's Little Explorers.  If you have preschoolers and are contemplating home school, check it out. 

This week, we were learning about Abraham, so we built a tent in our playroom.  It was also great to read about the original Isaac, since cousin Isaac was fresh in his mind.

Fun was had by all!
This past Wednesday, my husband got off work early so I could go have an adventure on my own without kids.  (Well, except Asher, but he hardly counts because he's so easy.)  I without a doubt married the best man.  Ever.  Not only did he take care of the babies, but he dealt with Hallie at her worst.

I went to hear one of my favorite authors speak.  I also got to hug him and get a book signed.

Ted Dekker, y'all.  TED. DEKKER.
This guy is so incredible.  Everything he talked about was like a timely word for me.  It was exactly what I needed to hear in this season.  But more on that in another post.  For now I'll just say, what a privilege to have had the opportunity to hear his heart twice now.  Instead of, you know, just reading his heart.  Ha!

Anyway, my little non-mommy outing gave me strength to get through the night mommying a sleepless toddler.  Hallelujah.  No pun intended.  (Because I call said toddler Hallie-Lou.)

Well, there's a little who needs to be fed and a little who needs to be set free from "room time," so I should sign off.

I have some exciting news that I'm going to be sharing soon, so stay tuned! :)
(Not nearly as exciting as my new nephew or meeting Ted, but big news for me, nonetheless!)

26 September 2013

Hi there.

It's been a long time, I know.

Truthfully?  I haven't felt like I could write before now.  I've been so low on grace the past two months.  I've been hard on myself, hard on my husband, and hard on my kids.  There's just been so much going on with our family and with me emotionally and my fuse has been extra short.

I'd like to say I've turned a corner, but I can't really say that if I'm being honest (and I promised myself to always be honest here).  But I will say that I'm trying harder.

No, I'm not trying harder to stop losing my temper.  I'm not trying harder to be happy.  I'm not even trying harder to be a better wife/mom/person.

I'm not trying harder to do anything, other than go to the One who can make me better and happy and give me self-control.  Because I can't do it on my own.

Life updates soon, I promise! :)

In the mean time, check out Charlyn's Heart, a blog by a sweet woman I have known for many, many years.  I had the privilege of designing her blog a few weeks ago.  I know her heart will bless you like it has me!

16 August 2013

Yes is Good

Last week, I said yes.

Gabriel has been begging me to paint ever since I bought him a paint set.  Six months ago.

I always had excuses as for why we couldn't.  I was too tired.  I had to make dinner.  We didn't have two brushes, so Hallie couldn't.  It was nap time.  It was lunch time.  It was dinner time.

If you can think of an excuse, I probably gave it to him.

But last week, I finally said yes.

He was so excited!

I explained about not mixing colors, and he did his best to keep the purple out of the yellow and the black out of the red.

We gave Sister some crayons and she was just as content as if she'd had her own paintbrush, and Mama was happy not to have to clean up her mess. (I realize I won't be able to do this much longer.)

Despite his recent aversion to the camera and posing, Gabriel was more than happy to show off his masterpiece (or half of it).

And when he was finally finished, he looked at me with those big brown eyes of his and said, "Mama, we play playdoh now?"

And you know what?  I couldn't say no.

So I said yes.

Not sure what to do with it.

Makin' snakes.

I want to say yes more often.  Yes brings joy to little faces, little hands, little hearts.

And in doing so, yes brings joy to big hearts.

"Look, it's Baby Jesus!"  Um, what??

It's not about saying yes all the time.  

It's about saying yes when I can.  When I can push through being tired.  When I can postpone lunch or dinner by a half hour.  When I can make a choice to expend my own energy to give them something to do, rather than putting on a show.

In those moments, saying yes is good.

02 August 2013

Summer Time

It's been a busy, busy summer, y'all.  Picture-heavy post coming through!

Around the middle of June, we packed up our minivan of awesomeness and made the 22-hour drive to Williamsburg, Virginia, for VACATION!  First up was my little sister's bridal shower and my little brother's graduation. Woo!

Matron of honor with the bride-to-be!

Four of the five!

Handsome grad!

Both events were kind of unreal.  I can't believe that my first sister is now married and my first brother is a high school graduate.  Where has the time gone?!

Anyway, after the shower, Drew and I drove our kids down to Myrtle Beach for a week for our first ever family vacation!  We took one of my sisters with us; she was a HUGE help watching the kids so Mom and Dad could actually get some vacay time of our own.

Here are some of the highlights of our beach trip...

Krispy Kreme -- a luxury we do not get in Houston.  Shipley's sucks. :p

All by himself on the big slide!

Keepin' cool in the shade.

Beach Babe.

"Look, Mama, it's a 'G' for Gabriel!"
I was amazed.

The week was amazing, full of water slides, swimming, date nights, sleeping in, sand, and rain.  When it was over, Whitney and I dropped Drew off at the airport and trekked back up to Williamsburg for wedding preparations and family time!

Uncle & Nephew.  Best buds.

Hanging out at Bounce House.

Hallie's first haircut!

And a long-overdue haircut for Mom!

The five sisters.

Independence Day in Colonial Williamsburg!

Papaw dedicating Hallie and Asher to the Lord.

And then Gabriel lost my phone.  (And it's still missing.  In my parents' house.  In Virginia.  And yes, it's an iPhone 5.)  It died before I realized it was missing, so I couldn't call it or even utilize Find My iPhone.

So, needless to say, I got zero pictures of the wedding festivities.  I somehow forgot that I have a digital camera in my diaper bag.  I'm so used to using my phone that I don't even think about the camera anymore. Sigh.

But anyway.  There's my summer update in (mostly) pictures.

And if you think of it, please pray that my family will find my phone.  I feel like I've lost a limb.  Haha.