On Seizing the Day

I crawled my way  through a blown-up bounce-house obstacle course, with my sweet {not-so-baby} girl laughing at my heels. we collided at the bottom of the slide and  Gracie-girl burst into that irresistible toddler-belly-laughter that always makes me want to scoop her up and squeeze her tight and laugh with her forever.

today, we laughed hard and played hard, 
chasing each other through the numerous bounce-house-contraptions at the indoor playland.  
{and, goodness, i am not as young as i used to be!}
one of those afternoons that makes you want to stop time for a moment
and just relish in the sweetness of your children.


there's an article that my mom-friends have been circulating recently.
i agree, to an extent.
i do.

when those sweet grandmotherly figures smile at my frazzled self and my mis-matched toddler with pigtails askew who may or may not have shoes, socks, or undewear on,
and then proceeds to tell me how blessed i am and to enjoy every second,
i smile kindly at her,
but kinda roll my eyes and shake my head 
while feeding the toddler her 47th m&m of the morning 
just to get through the check out.

so, i get it. I know that every moment of every day 
{or every week, or every month}
is not going to be those stop-in-time-moments where you bask in your child's sweetness.

but when that grandmotherly figure stops you in Target and tells you to seize the day because they're gone so fast
you know what I really think they're saying?

I think they're saying that in those in-between-moments -
in those every-day life moments of wiping up cheerios from the floor,
doing the eighteenth load of laundry for the day and having it sit in the washer so long you have to re-run the load,
cleaning up the fourth bathroom accident and giving the third bath for the day -
in those moments

be less frustrated. less irritated. yell less - well, really, stop yelling at all.
handle all of those in-between-moments with more grace and kindness - the way you'd like someone to handle those moments of your life when you've made a mess of some relationship and are trying to clean it up.

the grandmotherly figure is really saying to
stop getting on your child for doing childish things.
clean up the third cup of spilled milk with out yelling about it.
linger over books at bedtime and give into those one-more-hug bedtime requests.
stop telling your child to hurry up even if you have no reason to hurry.
smile more. love more. hug more. rock more. cuddle more.

that's what I think she's saying.
because those stop-the-time moments are few and far between, 
and it's the every-day moments that make up life.

so, yes, *I* am seizing the day.
carpe diem, bring it on.
even if the day brings more bathroom accidents and sibling fighting than anticipated,
i'm seizing it.

doing my best to handle those moments with grace, wisdom, and kindness.
because these moments?
they'll be gone far too soon,
and i know that when i'm not tripping over legos in the middle of the night,
i'll miss it.

carpe diem, mommy-friends, carpe diem.

grace abigail, 2.5, in her ever-present slightly-askew state.



warm cup of coffee in hand, 
i sat in the dimmed light.

thankful for a few early moments of quiet,
i went before the throne of grace with confidance.
asking for mercy and grace.
pleading for mercy and grace.
{hebrews 4:16}

mercy on a week that's already been too long.
grace on our family that's finding a new rhythm with a now non-napping toddler.

i walk away, refreshed.
the crepe paper streamers from yesterday's make-shift parade are still strewn about.
the cushions are still piled high from our forever fort-building.
the 2-year-old will still not take a nap.

but still, i am refreshed.
re-focused on the greatness of our God.

today, i breathe deeply,
aiming to love well.
and if not well, at least better than I have been loving this week.


Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
   and establish the work of our hands upon us;
   yes, establish the work of our hands! 
psalms 90

today, may the work of my hands, of your hands -
whether it be in the office, or at home with littles,
{be it networking, problem-solving, or cutting peanut butter sandwiches}
be established.
to His glory forever and ever.

Pantry Project

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, 
or if you actually know me in real life,
you know that I'm pretty laid-back.

sometimes, though, I'm a weird mixture of laid-back and type A. 
can you be a type A type B? 
When I want something done, I want it done *exactly* right.
like, all the hangers hanging a certain way in the closet.
towels and sheets folded the same direction.
it's weird. a little OCD, I know.

behind the piles of laundry and dishes,
i have an inner organizational side.

i really, really like things organized.
 a lot.

one of my new year's resolutions was that our house would reflect my inner-OCD-self.

so, with the pantry I began.

i can barely show you the before photo.
my OCD-side freaks out at it.
{and, this was definitely our pantry at its absolute worse}

but, with a deep breath I click upload:
 our pantry before

eek! it's bad, I know.

after a few coats of paint.
{yes, I painted the pantry!}
and several trips to the Container store,

it's fabulous, isn't it?
i maybe keep the door open just to look at how pretty it is. 

and I think it makes the Gracie monster happy, too.
she at least gets her OCD-streak honestly, huh?

2011 Reflections

We are {already!} two weeks into 2012.
Over the past couple of weeks as I've sat in the early morning hours with my ever-present coffee-with-lots-of-cream and my Bible,
{while missing my sparkly white twinkling lights from our Christmas tree 
that I sat next to the whole month of December!}
I've reflected on 2011, and I've thought a lot about Joshua.
you see, he was the leader of the Israelites when, after 40 years of wandering in the desert, the Lord parted the Jordan river and allowed them to cross into the Promised Land.

After they had crossed over, Joshua commanded them to take 12 stones and build a memorial.
a public testimony of the power of God.
a reminder of God's goodness, mercy, and faithfulness to them.

As 2011 came to a close, my heart has reflected on God's goodness and faithfulness to us personally throughout the 12 months.
Some of the months got long.
{like all of last spring? whoa. it was long, folks}.

Some of the months were sweet and easy.

however, through out it all, God was faithful. merciful. kind. provisionary.


I spent the first two weeks of February in East Africa.
i loved it. a whole lot.
{and will get back on a plane in a heart beat as soon as the Lord tells me to go}

As we prayed about whether or not I should go on that trip to Uganda, I wrote out a list of four reasons that made me not want to go. four things that the Lord had to work out for me.

And you know what?
as I prayed and read the Word, seeking His direction,
the Lord answered every.single.one. of those four reasons.

2011 Memorial Stone #1.
God heard my prayers.
He answered. in very specific, very tangible ways.


When I got off that plane from Africa, Matt and Grant met me at the airport.
Grant's leg pain had culminated while I was gone, and that day in the airport?
he refused to walk.
to climb into a chair.
to get into his carseat.

the little man was hurting.

a few weeks later and several doctors visits later, he remained undiagnosed, and yet his symptoms mirrored the childhood leukemia checklist.

as I stood in our upstairs hallway after tucking Grant in one night,
I cried. and cried some more. and clung to Matt, and we cried out to God together.

i pleaded for no leukemia.
but in all, I pleaded for the right doctors at the right time.

and just a week later a super-specialist got us in,
got Grant checked out,
his symptoms under control,
and made the very clear diagnosis of *just* juvenile arthritis.

thank God.
2011 Memorial Stone #2.
the very best doctor for Grant.
one of the best hospitals in the nation.
exactly when we needed it
God came through.
and He has continued to,
with just the right medicines for our sweet boy,
exactly when we need them.


a few months later I sat next to a hospital bed with our sweet baby girl.
I will always remember the moment when the ER doctor took one look at her, then looked at me and said
prepare to stay.
she was sick.
really, really sick.

late that night
I was exhausted.
physically, emotionally.
Grace wasn't sleeping, and was in a serious amount of pain from one of her super strong antibiotics.
I sent a text to a couple of my late-night-friends.
pray. right now. please, pray.

they did.
ten minutes later the on-call doctor happened to call Grace's nurse.
upon hearing Grace's condition, he immediately ordered some medicine to calm her down.
and then, with her in her itty hospital gown, hooked up to wires, laying on me in her white-sheeted-hospital bed, we slept together.
and I praised God for his provision. and prayed for her to not get worse.

and three days later,
we were home.

2011 Memorial Stone #3.
our baby girl had toxic shock syndrome.
but God allowed her ENT to extraordinarily quickly recognize her symptoms and get us seen.
praise be to God.


2011 was a big year for us.
We {clearly} dealt with a lot of health issues.
as I head into 2012, I build these memorial stones, just like the Israelites did.
come what may in 2012, may I never forget that through some very, very hard situations,
God has proven over and over and over again that

and He will continue to be through out whatever the next year may hold.
if I may be honest for a moment,
I do get kinda nervous about what health issues we'll face in 2012.
but I remind myself of God's very specific direction in our lives,
and I {try} go into 2012 confidant, bold, ready.
at the very least, I go into this New Year trusting in the One who knows what new trials we will face.

Whatever the Lord has for my life,
may I be worthy.
Be a workman not ashamed.
be competent to complete the good works He's prepared in advance for me to do.

and in all,
may my life reflect more Glory to our King.

Happy 2012, everyone.

May your year be full of God's faithfulness, too.

right now

Just about now,
we are celebrating the snow with warmed chocolate milk and left-over birthday party hats.

{celebrating the snow i love with the ones i love}

5th Birthday!

Last night, I was nostalgic.
reminiscing about hospitals and babies and celebrating and teeny tiny fingers and toes.

we partied.  

{The little sister partied hard}.

As Grant and his sweet, sweet 5-year-old friends ran around the house, 
my heart was so, so full.

for if five years ago, as I sat in my hospital bed, 
{incredibly groggy after an emergency c-section},
if I could have said what I hoped his 5th birthday would look like,
tonight would have been it.

 a handful of friends making pizza together,
playing tag,
singing to the birthday boy.
{even if he did get a bit shy during the song}.

it was so fitting, and so fun.

{at least, we had fun}

So, tonight, there was no room for nostalgia.
there was too much cake to eat!
the monster cake Grant wanted.
Grant Owen,
happy birthday little man.

the verse on his birth announcement 5 years ago still fits.

The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy. 
Psalm 126:3


5 years ago tonight I was sitting in a hospital bed 
at 35 weeks 6 days pregnant with our firstborn.
we thought we'd have several days left.
{not knowing overnight his heart rate would begin to decelerate to scary levels}

I was prepared for a several day induction process.
Matt was even going home to get a few things, 
not knowing he'd be called in a panic to come back to the hospital

we have different kind of preparations happening.

before he went to bed,
my sweet last-day-of-being-four-year-old told me
Mom. Be sure to put the decorations up while I'm sleeping.

of course, buddy. of course. 

how could I ever forget?
you were my first born.
with you I learned how to nurse and swaddle and swing 
and cuddle and love.
with you I learned that in a mother's heart, their babies will always be just that-

in my heart, Grant Owen, 
you will forever be that 7 pound 1 ounce bundle 
that they put next to me in the operating room.
you will forever be that baby that liked to swing at the fastest rate possible.
you will forever be that toddler that zoomed tractors and combines every.single.day.

{you will forever be my baby boy.}

tomorrow you will run around with your friends, 
play Transformers and dart guns, 
and blow out a big sparkly green number 5 candle.

and as that candle blows out, my heart will ache a little bit more.
ache for the baby you were.
ache for the sweet, sweet boy you're becoming.

Grant Owen,
we prayed for you for many years.
the Lord truly Granted our request.

you are very, very loved.


it's {unintentionally} been awhile since I've written.
i miss it.
i feel as though the words are welling up inside, waiting to come out.
but, tonight, they'll have to wait a bit longer.

you see, last night, I went to one of my favorite stores
{The Container Store}
all by myself.

so, I gathered my stuff.
drove the 23 minutes.
and when I pull in the parking lot, I realized.
{no purse.}
{no wallet.}

tonight, i need more sleep.

I leave you with my favorite only-4-more-sleeps-until-he's-5-year-old.
apparently, he thinks Charlie Brown is hilarious.


i needed that tonight.
i hope your 2012 has started off calmly.

if not, at least it's the weekend, right?