In March, Josh was in Costa Rica for a vacation and to attend his dad’s destination wedding. While there, Josh and his grandma frequently shopped at a roadside vendor and made quick friends with the owner. One day, Josh was looking at necklaces with me in mind and when he didn’t see something he thought I would like, he asked the man if he had anything with turquoise. The man shook his head but told Josh that he would make one and to come back the next day. When Josh and his grandma returned, the man had crocheted a beautiful necklace with black string and turquoise beads at Josh’s request so Josh bought it and brought it home for me. I love this story and I like to tell people that my son had a necklace custom-made just for his mama. 🙂


Redefining My Faith


When I was 4 or 5 years old years old my mom, my two younger brothers, and I moved in with my grandparents, two aunts and an uncle. We lived there until I was 13 when my mom married my step-dad. I like to think I lived a fairly unique childhood. I grew up in Christian homes but in an era of Christianity that was fraught with legalism. My particular family was not openly legalistic and seemed to have a pretty good grasp of the gospel so I wasn’t often made to feel like I was doing Christianity wrong. In 8th grade, I went from public school to a small private Christian school in the basement of the new church we attended in the new city that we moved to. I was so relieved that I didn’t have to go to the large public junior high. I was (and still am) so shy and so very scared of rejection and feeling alone and stupid. The small private school provided a family-type shelter. But the message of love, grace, and mercy was rather weak as we were rigidly made to follow an antiquated dress code and code of conduct.

I need to mention that not all authority behaved in this manner and I do have plenty of fond memories of my years and friends there but I went into adulthood without even a close understanding of who God is and who I am as His child. I am partly at fault, though, because I was more interested in boys and my friends than God. In my late teens and early twenties I made a series of bad decisions that ended in me pregnant with Josh and eventually married to his dad. When that marriage ended and my grandma, who helped raise me, died shortly after, my normal lean towards depression slowly grew into anger. I was so mad at God and alternately would rail at Him and cry for His help. Although I knew in my head that God loved me and had good plans for me, my heart just could not believe it. It just couldn’t.

God and I have been on a long journey to understanding what His love and grace and mercy means. I am learning to reject many of the beliefs that I was taught and ask God to show me who He really is and what He wants from me and for me. I have made Christianity complicated but it is so simple: love God and love others. Extend grace and mercy to all regardless of their age or race or religion or sexual orientation or however they may be different from me.  It’s taken me an embarrassingly long  time to realize that I am no better or worse than anyone else and that my judgements are not welcome. If I am serious about my Christianity, then my purpose here on earth is to love like Jesus. It’s certainly not easy and I fail so many times but it’s that simple. Of course, there is a whole lot more to having a relationship with Jesus but if we strive to love like He does, then others might see His light and know that we are Christians because of how we love.

I didn’t set out to write a broad testimony today but it happened anyway. I’m just working through some thoughts and ideas and struggles I’ve had over the last few years. There really are so many more experiences and emotions that fill in the large gaps. I’ll keep redefining my faith as I continue to learn more about God and His love for us.

So, it’s been a while since I’ve been here. I have several posts in my draft folder and a ton of photos to go with them. The problem is that I am so unmotivated and lazy. Also, I am not a fan of iPhoto editing, the app that holds all my photos, nor am I crazy about the name of this blog or even WordPress. All the creative names I come up with, which take a lot of brain power because I don’t have a creative bone in my body, are all taken. Names that would better describe our family also describe many other families. I don’t want to be negative but I do want to be realistic and joyous is not realistic for our household. Of course we have many fun moments but joyous is misleading. Unfortunately. So I need to employ my smartypants husband to help me figure out a new editing program where I can organize things a little easier and maybe even start a whole new blog (if I have to). I want to make it my own and even get a custom header and background with photos of my kids and family decorating the side columns. That takes time and probably some money but this ol’ blog is my scrapbook of sorts and a way to jot down my memories so, until then, I’m gonna jump back on and resist the pressure to have perfectly outlined and worded and photographed posts and just do my own thing.  After all, this is my blog and I can only be me.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Andy. On Wednesday, May 15th, as I was getting dinner on the table, Andy fell off the neighbor’s monkey bars and landed on his left elbow. I heard his awful cry from my kitchen and went running, hot pads in hands which I ditched on our front porch, and walked Andy back home. He kept saying he broke it and when I took a look, I kind of agreed. So we ate dinner while we waited to see if he would start using his arm after a little ice and ibuprofen. Soon it became clear that he was still in significant pain, though, so we took him to the ER while Josh stayed home with Luke.
 At the ER, the great staff did all their assessments and took Andy’s vitals. Then it was time to get some x-rays. Andy was understandably nervous because he knew we would have to move his him around a little but he put on a brave face over his whimper and let the tech and I maneuver his arm ever so gently. Sure enough, the pictures showed a break right above the elbow. Andy got a temporary cast and we got directions on how to care for him and instructions to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist.
Last Monday we met with the orthopedic specialist who, after some painful manipulations and more x-rays, determined that Andy was going to need surgery to align the humerus to the elbow with pins. In the meantime, the sweet nurse, Lisa, put him in the “blackest black” cast, at Andy’s request, and scheduled surgery for Tuesday.
On Tuesday, we arrived at the surgery center where another incredibly sweet nurse, Colleen, prepared Andy and us for the procedure. I was allowed to go back to the OR to be with Andy as they put him under and then waited in the lobby with Chris to meet with the doctor after the pins were put in place. It wasn’t a long wait and soon we were called back to recovery where Andy was coming out of the sedation. If I thought watching him go under was hard, helping him through recovery was even harder. He was mad and in pain and tearlessly cried for a long time. I’m tearing up just thinking about it again.IMG_2803
On Thursday, we saw the specialist again and Andy got a green cast put on this time. Another two-and-a-half to three weeks, the pins come out. Then it’s two weeks with a splint and some exercises. Then I hope nothing like this ever happens again. IMG_2846
Thankfully Andy is doing much better than I expected although his cast feels “pokey”. He can feel the pins (crazy!) but I can’t keep the boy still. He just wants to play and go outside. He couldn’t wait to go back to school and see his friends. I’m so glad he is doing well and that soon enough this ordeal will all be a distant memory.

Andy’s Golden Birthday Party

Several months ago I asked Andy what kind of party he wanted for his 5th birthday and, without missing a beat, he told me Batman. So I scoured the internet, well Etsy, and found some printable party decorations for a steal.
Then one day, as I was sifting through the clearance racks at The Wal-Marts, I found a Batman t-shirt for $1 whole dollar. Score! Now Andy can match the theme!
Every year, because Andy is a Cinco De Mayo baby, we have a pinata. I bought a Batman pinata at a party store and while there, pawed through the clearance bins. I found Batman party favor boxes full of old candy and cheap toys for $1 whole dollar each and so I grabbed a bunch. Kids don’t care, right? Then I had a 40% off coupon which made them $.60. Frugal on accident.IMG_6115
And then! Instead of expensive, yet delicious, cupcakes from our local small-town bakery, Andy decided he just wanted Rice Krispie Treats for his “cake”. He had them as a snack at school a couple of weeks before and apparently couldn’t stop thinking about them. I kept asking him to make sure he was fine with that but he didn’t waver. He even helped me make them.IMG_6121
As far as decor went, I used a few of Andy’s little Batman figures and a large Batman robot toy that Chris found on clearance for %75 off. Am I sensing a theme here?
I made walking tacos with all the fixin’s, mexican rice, grapes on the side, and lemonade to drink. It was all very delicious!
Andy got a lot of really great gifts that he couldn’t wait to open up and play with. We all sure know how to spoil him!
We had lots of fun with family and celebrating Andy!

Golden Boy

Our golden boy celebrated his golden birthday last weekend! He turned 5 years old on May 5th!
Earlier last week I took him for his well-child check-up where he had to get vaccines for Kindergarten enrollment. He was understandably nervous about the shots even though I prepared him in advance. When Nurse Claudia asked him to hop up onto the exam table, Andy was very hesitant but did it anyway. And when she administered the shots, he barely flinched and didn’t even cry. That’s my brave boy! Andy is 44.5 inches tall (85%) and weighs 40.8 pounds (55%). He is blessedly healthy with good hearing and vision. He has no excuse to pretend he can’t see what’s right in front of him or hear my instructions! 🙂
Andy is still picky and way too busy to eat. His pediatrician asked him what he would eat if he was stranded on an island and he could only eat one thing and he told her fish. I busted out laughing because the child would not eat fish if it saved his life! I totally expected him to say candy or donuts because that’s all he would eat if left to his own devices. We have been having many conversations about making good choices and he gets so proud of himself when he chooses strawberries or carrots or a banana, his favorite good choices. Up until this point we have pretty much let Andy eat just about anything he wants because he is just so skinny. But we have begun limiting sugar cereal, candy, chocolate milk, and his overall sugar intake.
Andy, oh Andy. He is stubborn, intelligent, sweet, thoughtful, artistic, busy (so busy!), outgoing, friendly, and can push my buttons like no other. We are the best of friends and the worst of enemies, him and I. Chris and I have been making a conscious effort to make one-on-one time for Andy. We think a lot of his negative behavior has to do with jealousy over his little brother, as well as sugar hence the limited diet, but when we take time with him and enforce positive behavior, we notice a remarkable change in his attitude. He just needs his mom and dad to pay a little attention!
Andy is such a blessing to our family! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for his life!

Lukey’s 1st Birthday Party

For months I anticipated Luke’s first birthday party and knew I wanted to do a sock monkey theme using the sock monkies the boys got from Grandma. What I didn’t want to do is spend a lot of money so I found a seller on Etsy who made sock monkey party printables for cheap and started from there. It was a lot of cutting out but the decorations turned out so cute.
We served Frito Boats-chili and cheese spooned over Fritos in their bag- and bananas and grapes.
I ordered chocolate cupcakes from our local bakery topped with their signature buttercream frosting. Yum! After wondering what the heck was going on while everyone was singing to him and why there was an open flame on his high chair tray, Luke dug into that cupcake like he’s been doing it his whole life.
He dug into his birthday gifts like he has been doing it his whole life, too. After opening one gift he would get upset when I put it to the side so he could open another. He got some fun stuff! Now he can play with his own laptop instead of putting his grimy fingers on mine.
We had such a fun party with lots of our good friends and family. Luke is one blessed little guy to have so many people who love him.