Tag Archives: family

Currently.

What my days look like. See "wishing".
What my days look like. See “wishing”.

Here is my second Currently. post to link up with A Mama Collective and When At Home! I love being able to connect with so many awesome writers and believers and thinkers and doers. Y’all are really, really wonderful.

I am currently:

thinking about my family. Not just Hubby and the kids, but also my parents, my grandparents (of which I have only one living, but three dearly loved and missed), my great grandparents (two of whom I knew well), my brother, my aunts and uncles and cousins… We have a circle of love and support, a tight bond that can only be forged by doing life together. Living so far away from them and missing things and coming home not as often as I thought I would has only made me think more about spending intentional time with them, wherever it is spent.

reading Dragonfly in Amber. It’s the second book in the Outlander series. My mom and one of my best friends (and 947204275 other women) read these when they came out, and I am just now reading them for the first time – partially because now that Starz is making a series about them, I want to SEE it, not just read it! So far, I’m a third of the way in, and it’s a little more slow-going than Outlander was, but I’m still in it to win it.

eating banana bread and macarons. I am in the middle of finding all the banana bread recipes I can, and make them healthier without losing their yum factor. Also, on the subject of macarons, my best friend Lauren is in a macaron-making swing, so naturally I’m on the helping and receiving side of that. Let me not complain!

loving this fall weather. NC hasn’t seen as much fall yet as some more northern states have I suppose, but it’s definitely cooling off a little, and I’m seeing a few yellow and orange leaves. Also, the temperature drop has really helped my running (read: I’m not as miserable doing it) because I tire less easily and I pick up the pace when I’m not sweating into my eyes and stopping to take a drink every 12 feet.

wishing my sweet daughter would extend her sweetness to her brother. Every time he gets near her, there’s a squeal almost at the pitch that only dogs can hear. And he adores her. I just want her to tolerate him a little, ya know?

watching all of those lovely shows I’ve been missing all summer. The shows Hubby and I are excited to start again include Modern Family, New Girl, Once Upon a Time, Parks and Recreation (SO SAD it’s on it’s last season!), Grimm, and 30 Rock.

listening to Citipointe Live. They’re an Australian Hillsong-like group that writes tons of worship music. A friend recommended them to me for possible new worship songs for church, and I was happy to listen to several great tunes to share with the worship team!

anticipating fall and winter and CHRISTMAS! I know, Halloween isn’t even here yet, but fall/winter weather and holidays are my favorite (yes, Hubby and I both have birthdays in there) and Advent through Christmas is by far my favorite few weeks of the year.

thankful for my incredible Hubby. When he found out that my grandmother had passed and I needed to get to GA, he cancelled his weekend, helped make a plan and pack, drove all the way here, and has done everything he can for the past few days to make my life a little less stressful. He is the biggest supporter and encourager I have, and I don’t know where I’d be without him. Love you, babe.

There ya have it – what’s happening with me Currently. in a nutshell. What are you doing currently?

It just takes one. And sometimes, that one is you.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve been writing for My Big Jesus once a week or so. You also know that I love Jesus. You ALSO know a lot about me. So, you won’t be that surprised when I tell you that I had a total Jesus moment today.

I was at church for a worship team meeting, and was stopped on my way out by one of the sweetest ladies ever. She’s a long-time buddy of my mother-in-law, watched Hubby grow up, and is a fixture of wonderful ministry at our church. She had a really cool story to tell me.

She had seen my post Like a Litter of Puppies on My Big Jesus, loved it, and shared it with her kids (who are a little older than me). Her daughter, who had read it, got a call from a friend who was in shock at finding out she was (unexpectedly!) pregnant with her fourth child. Can you imagine?! You have three kids. You think you’re all set., then BOOM. One more is coming! She obviously is going to love that fourth child, but you can see why it’s a shock, right? So anyway, the daughter sends my post about Hubby and his brothers being like puppies, and big families and close siblings, and she is totally encouraged! She was blessed by the words that The Lord had put on my heart. That blows my mind.

This story is an inspiration to those of us who desire to bring people closer to God. Whenever I write a post like that, for My Big Jesus or just for my own blog on a whim, I hope it touches one life. If my words reach one life, encourage one soul, spark one mind, or help heal one heart, I am satisfied. Sometimes when I write, that one person touched is, in fact, me. Other times, it’s a friend who saw me link it on Facebook. Or even still, a total stranger, like the story today. It was a very “six-degrees-of-separation” feeling to know that a friend of a friend of a friend read it and was touched. But that’s why I’m doing this! I wrote that post just for her, in that moment of her life, when she needed to hear a little encouragement in a situation in the midst of which she was surprised to find herself. I never know who you are that needs to hear this, but hey – this one’s for you.

Like a Litter of Puppies

This post was featured on MyBigJesus.com

Hubby and I have said, ever since we started talking about kids, that we’d like to have them close together. There are two reasons. First of all, my brother and I are almost seven years apart, and we were never very close… at least not until we were both adults. We get along great now, but we were never in the same stage of life till we “grew up”. Secondly, Hubby grew up with two brothers, just a little over 3 years between the oldest and the youngest. They’ve always been best friends – shared everything, fought over everything, loved the same things, and disliked the same things. They knew each others strengths and weaknesses, successes and faults. Yet they had a strong bond. They still have do, and that bond has carried over into their wives and children as well (you know, once the kids have personalities and do their own things).

Hubby (far right) and his brothers, circa 1988-ish.
Hubby (far right) and his brothers, circa 1988-ish.

I just spent an evening recently, celebrating one of my sisters-in-law’s birthday, with the whole family (Hubby’s parents, his brothers, their wives and the offspring). The love that every person in the house had for every other person was amazing. We know each other well, know our nieces and nephews well, and we love each other well, too. But the most hilarious thing is to see the brothers interact. When they’re all together, they have a hilarious tendency to revert back into their eight, nine, and ten-year-old selves. They immediately start bragging about their Nintendo skills, talk about how they used to wrestle each other in the basement (roundhouse kick to the FACE!), and possibly give a quick reenactment of one of their fights. Or, they lie on the floor, cuddling, like a bunch of puppies, maybe even with their kids.

Sometimes I sit and think about how much love is in that pile of faces and limbs and laughs. Grown men or babies, love and a sense of belonging abounds. What a great image of the love of a Father, who knows us better than we know ourselves, who knows our thoughts before we think them, and loves us abundantly anyway. To be loved is important; to love others unconditionally is of even greater significance.

So when I think about my children, I want to pile them up like puppies. I want to them to have that sibling love inherently, to not really know life without their best friends. I want them to experience that love early, and first hand. Their siblings and cousins, because of their closeness, will know each other inside and out, and will know how to love through differences or difficulties. What better way to love and be loved?

The four babies of the three aforementioned boys, less than one month in each picture.
The four babies of the three aforementioned boys, less than one month in each picture.

Toddlerese and Forgiveness

This post also appeared on MyBigJesus.com

I don’t know what qualifies as a “late talker” but I’m guessing my daughter falls on that spectrum somewhere. Recently, as in the past two months or so, her vocabulary has really catapulted into the “most sounds are actual words” range. For a while, it was still mostly gibberish while she pointed her chubby finger at something, with the occasional real word in there. Now, she’s stringing three or four or even five words together in a row, and sometimes making sentences! Hubby and I are so proud! I’m especially disappointed proud to say that her first full sentence was, “I wove fry fries!” As you can imagine, that means she really loves french fries.

Recently, she’s been using “thank you” (sounds like “kick you”) and “I’m sorry” a lot. For us, teaching manners to our kids also meant teaching a few polite phrases. When she receives something, she always says thank you. When she does something like take her brother’s toy or pull my hair (yeah, I don’t know where that came from but it’s a thing), we tell her to say “I’m sorry.” I know she doesn’t fully understand, but I always respond with “I forgive you” because I want forgiveness to be a familiar idea in our home. I want to extend forgiveness for small things and big things. I have a perfect model of forgiveness to follow; Jesus’ death on the cross for my sins (and yours!) is the ultimate act of forgiveness. If I have been forgiven for every single sin I have committed and will commit, it seems a simple thing to forgive my kids for their innocent transgressions. I consider forgiveness a particular blessing I can bestow on my family, and it mends my heart as well.

Family and Food – Hsus Do New York

More New York City fun… Here’s what we did Sunday and Monday!

On Sunday (our second day), my mom and I woke up with the kids, packed them up, left Hubby in bed, and went to search for bagels. Thankfully, we found a DELICIOUS bagel place  less than a block away. It was inexpensive and had more than just bagels (fresh fruit, good coffee, juice, pasta salad, etc).   I think it was called “Bagel Express II” but I’m not sure. When we had eaten and collected Hubby, we visited FAO Schwartz and hung out on the east side of Central Park. It was great weather to just peruse the area, eat some street food, and think of some things to do during the week.

Enjoying some street meat - lamb gyro to be exact.
Enjoying some street meat – lamb gyro to be exact.
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EK in her princess crown with her beloved cockatoo (cah-ah-too)
J deciding if he wants a new tiger.
J deciding if he wants a new tiger.

For dinner, we decided on the Italian restaurant on the corner near our hotel, Tony’s di Napoli. It was delicious, however very crowded and slow. We didn’t anticipate having a two hour dinner that began at almost 7:30. We ended up giving J a bottle to put him to sleep and sending EK back to the room with my mom for a bath while we waited for the check and boxes for our food. It was a little hectic, but their food was truly delicious.

On Monday, lots more things were open again, and we could really get in to some fun things! First, we visited the Natural History Museum with Hubby’s cousin Becca. She’s an awesome lady – a jazz singer in NYC who always makes time to hang out with our littles. (Her website, by the way, is here. Check her out because her music is ridiculously amazing.) We looked at tons of animals, and watched the show in their planetarium (totally amazing) and both the babes even loved it!

Cousin love.
Cousin love.

We followed that up with an delicious Vegan lunch at Peacefood Cafe, coffee at Irving Farm, and then Mom, the kids and I went back to the hotel for naps. (I won’t lie… an afternoon nap schedule suited me JUST FINE because I was pooped by then also.) Hubby went with Becca to a famous guitar store and played zillion-dollar guitars all afternoon (he came back a very happy camper). Miranda (another of Hubby’s cousins, who had lunch with us) came over to the hotel for dinner (take out) and brought us some teeny-tiny cupcakes, which we ate on all week!

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Miranda snuggling big J, the hippie.

That night, Mom kept the kids so Hubby and I could go out on the town. We went to the East Village to a favorite spot of yet another of Hubby’s cousins (Katie – sister of Becca) who used to live in the city. Drop Off Service used to be a laundromat, and kept the name when the space converted to a bar. Small, intimate and homey, lots of good beers on draft, and in a trendy neighborhood for the piece de la resistance.

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This is the pic stitch we sent to Katie to guess where we were!

We walked from Drop Off Service to a little Irish pub, O’Hanlon’s Bar, where we played some darts. I won both games, of course. It’s worth bragging about because it’s the only thing I’ve ever beaten Hubby at. Just give it to me, okay?

Stay tuned for one more NYC post in the series… I’m having a blast writing about it! Check out some of those links, and leave some comments about places we should try next time!

 

 

Happy Fourth of July, ‘Merica!

There’s nothing more American than family and friends, grilling burgers and hot dogs, drinking beer and playing games on the back deck. That’s exactly what we did today. And then after we had eaten our fill and were ready to cool off inside for a while, we all went over to my brother-in-law’s house to see my new nephew on his first day home from the hospital. It was indeed an incredible day spent enjoying the freedom that so many have fought and sacrificed to give us.

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My bestie Lauren hanging with EK
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My awesome, hair-twirling bro getting some snuggles with J.
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American dresses! My mom literally got EK’s at a Cracker Barrel. True story. Mine’s from J. Crew about 6 years ago.
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My awesome dad telling J how to be a cool dude!
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My mom can get that smile outta J every time!
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Hubby and buddy Drew throwing the football. I’ve never seen this before.
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Lauren and me, getting some face time with my nephew, Finley.

Baby Swim Wear and Fun at the Lake

So, Hubby’s parents have a lake house. They are the sweetest for sharing it with their three crazy sons and their families. As my toddler takes to water like a fish, she is especially grateful for a day at the lake here and there.  Hubby’s mom has been giving her swimming lessons at the pool, and she is f.e.a.r.l.e.s.s. She is actually getting the hang of the kicking and keeping her face out of the water. But she always wears her Puddle Jumpers (I mean, hey, she’s two). These things are lifesavers (pun intended?) because they are a lifebelt and “water wings” combined.  Also, they’re covered in a fabric similar to what all swim suits are made out of, instead of the blow-up, bare plastic, scratchy arm bands. There’s honestly no way she could get out of them, and that’s my favorite part. I don’t have to worry about her jumping off the tube or treading water without holding onto someone. She’s afloat in an actual life preserver (seriously- it’s a certified life preserver, can be used on the boat, etc).  Our Puddle Jumpers are from Costco, but they’re available at Amazon, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Target and more.

Look how happy she is!
Look how happy she is!

Speaking of useful things to have when swimming… that little bathing cap? Totally a Target find. It’s the Circo Infant/Toddler Floral Swim Cap, and it’s on clearance, so hurry! There’s a slightly different one that’s pink and not on clearance, but still with the little flowers attached.

I don’t have a picture (unfortunately) but J has some trunks and swim shirt from Carter’s that we LOVE. He also borrowed a straw fedora from a friend, and looked like a stud muffin.

Bottom line: Hubby and I have been blessed with water babies, and we are glad, because we love the water, too (and the sun, and the boat, and the water skis/wake board)! However, I hope I haven’t passed on my pasty white, easily sunburned skin; we’re of course greasing them up with Blue Lizard, but hopefully they won’t get sunburned just from walking to the mailbox like I did as a kid!

We’ve had two day trips to the lake so far this summer, one a couple of weeks ago, and one just yesterday. It’s only an hour away from home, so a day trip is easier than an overnight trip for us right now. Both times, we had some trouble with naps. When we’re at home, EK takes one big afternoon nap most days- she’s trying  to drop it and I say, “Heck no!” because we all need a little break, right? J still takes several naps throughout the day. Anyway, on both trips, EK fell asleep watching a movie in Hubby’s mom’s bed (not at ALL typical) because she wouldn’t go to sleep the way she normally does (sippy of warm milk, blanket, kisses and leave her alone to sleep). J was so excited with everyone and all the sunshine that he would only nap if someone was holding him (typically he lays in his crib just fine for at least 45 minutes, and sometimes 2 hours depending on the time of day). So naturally, by the time we had dinner, took the evening boat ride, and packed into the car, it was meltdown city for the first half of the drive, and passed out kiddos for the second half, throwing off any semblance of a bedtime schedule we had left. But hey- this is going to be our summer, so we will figure it out! We have such a fun time that honestly, it doesn’t bother us that much.

Here are a few more photos from the trips:

Gorgeous girl, loving the sunset boat ride.
Gorgeous girl, loving the sunset boat ride.

 

What a good swimmer!
What a good swimmer!

 

We've got windy boat hair  and we don't care.
We’ve got windy boat hair and we don’t care.

Photo credit for the photos in this post goes to my fabulous father-in-law!

Do you have any swim wear recommendations? Suggestions for balancing rest and play on a day trip? We need to hear them!