Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! Not much to say besides my kids just keep on being silly. Enjoy!

At bedtime…
J: My ears are pully. And my nose is beepy. (Then he socks himself in his nose.)

J, holding out his pinkie to Hubby: Can I put my pinkie-promise in your big belly button?

J to my mom: You’re the funniest guy!

J: EK, you’re the best and I love you.

J, while standing close to my face: What color are your eyes?
Me: What color do they look like?
J: I don’t know. I think they’re nice.

Tales from preschool…
EK gets a muffin and exclaims: Damn! That’s a big muffin!

J: I wanna give you a kiss on your back!

J, anytime I call him my little/baby boy: I’m a BIG boy! (Always in various degrees of indignance.)

EK’s lullaby she made up: Jesus, you love me, and all the people love you. And never fear! And we love you and you love me the best.

Proof that I’m a thirsty person and J doesn’t have much faith in my ability to do things one handed (like catch him when he’s catapulting off of a piece of furniture): J is always shouting at me to “Put your coffee down!” or “Put your water down!” or obviously beer or wine or whatever I’m holding. But you can bet he calls the drink by name.

Walking into the grocery store, all five of us holding hands…
J: Aw! This is my family!

When EK’s supposed to be asleep…
Me: You’re singing a little too loud since your brothers are sleeping. Could you sing a little more quietly till you fall asleep?
EK: Like this? *sings softly*
Me: That’s great! Good night!
EK: *genuine yawn* I’m tired.
Me: You could… ya know… go to sleep.
EK: Oh yeah!

EK, standing in a pillowcase: Mom, look! I’m a mermaid! A real one!

Bedtime snuggles…
J, holding up five fingers: Look mom, my family!
Me: Yes! There are five of us!
J: (Holds up his thumb.) This one is Daddy. (Adds his index finger) This one is me.
Me: What are the rest of us?
J: I’m all done.
Me: Okay.

She’s done…
EK: J is eating tomatoes and then spitting them back in the bowl!
Me: Tell him that’s yucky and to please stop.
EK: He just keeps doing it! And I’m DONE of that.
Me: I usually say “done WITH that.”

Do your kids pick up on your phrases? What do your kids say that sounds a little (or a lot) like you?

How to Achieve the Perfect Family Photo

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.

As you start thinking ahead to the holidays, you might be pondering ways to get the perfect family photograph. Whether you want to frame it as a gift for Grandma, or plaster it on a card to send to 500 of your closest friends, getting a perfect photo of your entire family is likely on your to-do list. If you’re like me, and you have young children, I have a few easy tips to make the process easier, and ensure a valuable, timeless product at the end of your session. You don’t want your Christmas card to look like mine did last year (see #2 – actually included on last year’s Christmas card). Here are my suggestions as you plan your endeavor to get the “perfect family photo”:

1. Hire a photographer. Like your mom, brother, or an unsuspecting stranger with an iPhone. This will ensure that the person taking the picture has the skills and equipment necessary to catch the perfect moment of a genuine group smile. (Or if you’re on a budget, invest in a selfie stick.)IMG_2199.jpg

2. Dress your brood well. First, make sure you give your kids coordinating names that will result in the same monogram for each child. Then, choose a neutral color for everyone to wear, and make sure each shirt is monogrammed in a coordinating “pop” color. It’s also important to wear hair bows, shoes, jewelry, belts, and scarves that match the monogram’s accent color. Finally, make sure you don’t eat in the outfit in which you plan to photograph. You wouldn’t want that marinara stain to ruin your Christmas card!img_0033

3. Strike a pose. Make sure each subject in the photo is being still, and smiling with just the right amount of teeth showing. Hands folded in laps and slight head tilts are recommended. Never allow movement while the pictures are being taken.DSC_0232.jpg

4. Keep your eyes open. To be certain that none of your photos include a blinking subject, make sure your family knows that blinking is not allowed. Pass the eyedrops around before you get started, so that there will be no need to blink to prevent dryness of the eye. (Note: this also prevents the eyes half-closed look, as though the subject is about to sneeze.)DSC_0269.jpg

5. Work the natural light. Morning and evening are the best times to take photos outside. Skip breakfast or dinner to ensure that the lighting is perfect. Tell those cranky, hungry children if they’d just smile, you could all go eat… and maybe have some of your own natural light.DSC_0186.jpg

6. Choose a few props. Pumpkins are always a nice choice for the fall, and beaches, snow, mountains, or lakes could be nice choices for other times of year, too! Be sure to bring things like these with you for the session.DSC_0026.jpg

7. Let your family be themselves. As long as it’s their happy, cute, lovey-dovey selves.DSC_0548.jpg

I hope that these simple tips help you get the perfect framer of your family!


Celebrating || Hubby’s birthday last Friday! His band played at our favorite pub for their ten year anniversary party, so the celebration was even bigger than normal! My parents were in town, and the kids got to hang out and party too, which is always fun! We were glad to celebrate Finnigan’s Wake AND Hubby!

Enjoying || cooler weather – finally! The afternoons are still warm enough to need short sleeves, but the mornings are delightfully chilly. I’ve even started a fire during breakfast, just to take the chill off! I don’t mind bundling up when I wake up, but my kids have complained about “freezing” when they get out of their beds. Just you wait, little babies!
Eating || pumpkin pancakes! We eat a lot of pancakes at our house, and so why wouldn’t I be adding some pumpkin in?! I typically just add pumpkin into our regular pancakes, instead of buying the pumpkin-flavored mix. They just taste better, they’re a little healthier, and I don’t have to add anything to my grocery list.

Making || SO. MANY. SOUPS. We have been experimenting and looking for recipes for different soups to try. Everyone in our family loves a good soup, we can usually make them fairly healthy, and it’s a less expensive way to feed everyone. On deck this week: butternut squash soup, and zuppa toscana (here’s a similar recipe, but we almost always just improvise).

Anticipating || a visit from my brother and his girlfriend this weekend! They’re coming to spend some time with us and the kids, and I’m REALLY excited. We haven’t gotten together in a couple of months (summer was busy for all of us) so I’m extra glad for some time with them! We plan to hit up the local pumpkin patch, and hopefully have a little Oktoberfest, among other fall-related activities!

What’s going on with you currently? What’s your favorite soup recipe for this time of year? Have you gotten your pumpkins yet, or celebrated Oktoberfest?

Things Toddlers Say

Hey y’all! I almost forgot it was Tuesday! Here are the things from the week that were a little humorous… Enjoy!

Talking about being outside…
Me: …and I think Daddy wants to blow the leaves, too.
EK: I want the leaves to stay where they are, because it’s fall!

Talking about someone saying something mean to EK at school…
Me: You know what? Sometimes people say mean things. I don’t know that boy, so I can’t really make him stop. But you can tell him the truth, and that he’s wrong, and walk away.
J: I can make him stop! I can do this thing! I will make him stop and get my light savers (sabers, obvi) and make him stop!
Me: 😍

J’s preschool teacher told me this: J is very smart. He is able to remember details from the stories we read the next day. Although, when we read about Noah, I asked the children, “What did God put up in the sky after the flood?” And J kept saying, “Duck!”

Peekaboo champion…
J: Here, D. I got your bee swaddle! Zzzzzzz…. (He puts it on D’s head.) Look, Mom! Where did D go?!

G-Daddy to EK: You have your shoes on the wrong feet.
EK, crossing her ankles: Now they’re on the right feet.

J: Mom! Look what I picked!
Me: A booger?
J: Yeah!

EK: I want Cinderella’s pink dress.
Me: But Cinderella doesn’t wear a pink dress.
EK: Yeah she does. She has one from her mice.
Me: Touché.

J, holding out his hand: I catched it!
Me: Caught what?
J: My spit!

Twenty-first century kids…
EK: I want to hear the train song.
J: We can’t pull it up.

Bee stings from two weeks ago…
EK: When we get home, I would like a little ice for my stung. It was a couple weeks ago but it’s still there and it’s still hurting. That night when our friends were here? It’s still a sting and it hurts.

Some tidbits from a ride home one evening…
J: I could see some lights that I could see!
EK: And I see some trees!
J: I see some broccolis, mama!
EK: Um, um, um, um, um… how many times did I say um, mom?!
J: I’m still hungry. How much am I hungry, mom?
EK: When will I be home?
All in the same convo.

After we put the kids to bed, and we’re getting to bed ourselves, J comes up, asking for extra snuggles. Hubby and I hop on the bed for a couple of minutes of snuggling. After a sweet 30 seconds, J exclaims, “Somebody stinks.” and hops off the bed. Um, goodnight?

What are your kids talking about? Are they as random as mine?

Being Wild and Free in Jesus

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.


Y’all, I’m reading this amazing book right now. It’s called Wild and Free, and as you can imagine, it’s about finding your wildness and your freedom in Jesus. I was pretty sure I was going to know what the authors would say. I’ve read books like this before. I would know which scriptures they’d reference, and know where they were going before they got there. I’ve read and heard a lot about how Jesus set us all free. BUT Y’ALL. The Holy Spirit was ready to wreck me with this one.

When you’ve grown up in church, and you’ve been under similar teachings most of your life, I’d imagine that sometimes you feel like what you hear is a little watered down. You’ve heard 150 references to rams in thickets, and you know that freedom is in Jesus just as well as you know your last name. Even the most awesome miracles might seem to lose their luster once you’ve heard the story for the 101st time.

But as much as I felt like I already knew what was coming, I’ve been taken aback on every page, being beckoned into wildness in Jesus. I’ve reveled in the descriptions of how wild the first believers were, how free Adam and Eve were created to be before the fall, and how every single one of us is called back to a total belonging to the Lord, that can result in true freedom to be yourself and be wild in the complete love of Christ. The body of Christ doesn’t have to be a somber group of people, faces downcast, working hard for their salvation. And it shouldn’t be! The body of Christ should be individuals who are freely themselves, being together in community, encouraging one another, filling gaps, shaping and molding each other, just as iron sharpens iron, to share the Gospel and prepare the Kingdom of God! There is joyful news to be told, love to be shared, and lives to be healed! We sang this yesterday at my church: “You are stronger, You are stronger. Sin is broken. You have saved me. It is written: Christ is risen! Jesus, you are Lord of all!” There is no better truth to proclaim. The chains have indeed been broken – you are already free! Jesus has done the great work, and God is ready to do a great work in you, too.


If you’d like to get your hands on the book Wild and Free, here’s a link to get it on Amazon.


It’s October! Finally! I love October’s weather, colors, tastes and smells. Here’s a little about what’s been going on in my life…

Cheers-ing || Hubby’s cousin Liz and her new husband Taylor! Their wedding was a blast, and EK’s first that she will actually remember. She had a blast watching “the princess bride” (I made sure Liz knew that was her new title), dancing and eating cake. She also wore a dress I wore when I was her age. That was a special detail for me.

 Organizing || D’s new room! We recently moved him from the nursery (across the hall from our room) to his new room next to his siblings’ rooms. He’s farther away from us, but since he’s sleeping much better, that’s not a big deal. I think he likes being downstairs with his brother and sister, especially since it’s usually J that wakes him in the morning now. We’re mostly just taking out all of his clothes that he’s outgrown, organizing his diapers, sheets, etc, and putting some art on the walls.

Dreaming || of wearing the boots it’s still too warm to wear. Here in NC, it’s definitely cooled off, but it’s not quite fall weather yet. The afternoons are still quite warm, even if the mornings are chilly. If I don’t get a change to change midday (like usual) I have to layer to keep from sweating to death in the afternoon.

Buying || a couple of new dresses. Well, hopefully soon I will be. I don’t have much time to shop, and I’m always nervous to get things online. But many of my fall dresses are too big now (no complaints here!) and so I need a few dresses with sleeves to get me through the next two seasons. I don’t mind wearing a sleeveless dress with a cardigan, but many of mine are either thin (and I’d freeze when it gets cold), or they’re too summery-looking to put a sweater or boots with. Either way, I just need a couple more dresses that are long or 3/4 sleeve for church, or the occasional date night!

Listening || to Hillsong’s “Of Dirt and Grace” album. The tunes are stripped, mostly live versions, and I love it. The songs sound so much different, and much more worshipful, when they’re more realistic to how you’d do them in a worship setting versus in the studio. There are even songs that I didn’t think I liked until I heard them that way, and I like them now. It’s interesting how production can make such a huge difference.

Thanks to Anne In Residence and Jacqui at Drink the Day for hosting this month’s link up!

Things Toddlers Say 

Happy Tuesday, y’all! I don’t have too much to preface today’s goodies with, so here they are! Enjoy!

On speaker phone with Hubby and the kids…
Me: And I love you, too, D!
EK: (in her “baby voice”) I love you too, Mommy! (In her regular voice) Aw, that was D!

Anytime J gets on the phone: The young man bit me.
Me: What does that even mean!?

Me: Did you have fun at lunch with Daddy and your brothers? You were the only girl!
EK: I like it better when there are two girls and three boys. (As an aside:) The two girls are you and me, and the boys are Daddy, J, and D.

Me, to D: No, no, no bite.
J: I don’t ujally bite you. I ujally be sweet!

J, melting down: I can’t jump on one feet! Can you teach me?!

Watching Cinderella…
EK: J, look at all that sparkly magic! She’s such a good furry godmother.

At hubby’s cousin’s wedding…
EK: She’s here! The princess bride is here!
Annie: What do you like best about the princess bride?
EK: Her side ponytail.

Heard in the back seat of the car…
EK: Stop in the name, you police officer!

EK: Today is Easter Day!
J: No it’s not! Today is tiger time.

EK, from the kitchen: D is walking! D is walking! (Then we hear a fall, and a cry. Not walking.)

J: I need your chair to be all close to me! (Gets down and pushes me closer to his chair.)

EK is doing this thing where she pretends to be a waitress. She takes our orders, and writes them down (we spell the words with her). I’m ridiculously proud of her 4yo handwriting…

One time when we played the waitress game, she had me take her order and write it down. “What do you want?” I said. She responded, “Black beans with pasta. And wine. I’m pretending to be a grown up!”

Aren’t you proud of her letters, too?!

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