My First (and probably last) Ever Video Blog! What?!

For the record, I can’t believe I actually made this haha. Enjoy my stellar awkwardness.

PS: You gotta love the frame YouTube chose as the cover picture. Good. Lord. Can’t you help me out even a little bit, YouTube?!

And here’s the donation link:

http://www.gofundme.com/6uygj4

The Thing I’ve Been Dreading For YEARS

Potty-training. I am so serious when I say I have been dreading it for years. Like…since I was in high school. How ridiculous is that? It’s true though. I knew I wanted to someday be a mother, so I started thinking about how awful potty-training was bound to be, and the thought/fear/anxiety has been stuck with me ever since. I’ve been dreading it!

You know how a chronological life story typically goes. You meet someone, fall in love, get married, have kids, blah, blah, blah. Well in between the marriage and kids portion of my story were two dogs. And buddy did that experience wreck me! We crashed and burned when it came to teaching those creatures where to pee and poop. This only heightened my anxiety levels for potty-training my future children.

And then 2010 brought my first child, who also happened to be a boy. Ask around, and most people will tell you that boys are hard work when it comes to potty-training. They’re also known to take a whole lot longer than girls. I knew that information when Harper came because for some reason, when you’re pregnant with your first, people feel the need to scare the ba-jezus out of you by telling you all of their worst parenting nightmares/stories.

So, armed with the knowledge that my boy would take longer to potty-train than a girl, I looked at one of his first meconium-filled diapers and thought to myself “well, this isn’t so bad. I think I can handle this for two years.”

TWO YEARS.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Yeah, no. I didn’t have a clue. And I didn’t know the nature of my child. He is not one to be rushed and typically takes forever and a day to do anything.

Close to his second birthday, I started to feel panicky because he wasn’t making the progress I assumed he would be at that point. I was also starting to get comments about him still being in a diaper.

I remember texting a friend and mother of four (Hi, Nicole!!!) about it one day to ask for her advice. Side note: I’m so blessed to have a multitude of wise mothers who have done these things before me. Who needs parenting books when you have that?! Anyways, Nicole gave me the best advice ever, and I am so thankful for it. She told me to just wait him out, and that he would probably be closer to age three before he potty-trained. She said if I would wait on him, rather than forcing it, it would take a week to train him versus taking a year. Pssssh! Sounds good to me!

After our conversation, I quickly formulated a plan to do absolutely nothing :) It took so much stress off of me. We continued to talk to Harper about the potty and we let him play on it whenever he was interested, but we tried not to force anything.

For whatever reason, as time went on, he began to lose interest in the potty and at some point, he even developed a slight fear of it. As he approached age three, I really began to doubt myself and wondered if we had missed “the window” everyone talks about. What if I had the one child who would never want to use the potty? I was also still feeling pressure from others to get him out of a diaper.

Let me tell you. There are few things more embarrassing than having your soon-to-be three year old walk up to you in public and say “Mom, I pooped. I need a new diaper.” Lots of stares and “if he can ask for a new diaper and tell you when he is pooping, he needs to be using the potty.” I’m sure to others it looked like Harper ruled the roost, and was getting his way. And maybe he was, but as much as we tried to encourage him to use the potty, he just wasn’t having it, so we just had to deal with the judgements for a while.

As hard as it was, we continued to wait and to give him time. Every now and then, we’d ask him if he wanted to try using the potty. Sometimes he did, and sometimes he didn’t. If he did want to try it, we always got the same result: lots of sitting without actually doing anything.

His third birthday came and went, and at this point, I was just resigned to him still being in diapers by age 25. We had pulled out all the stops to encourage him to go (big boy underwear, candy, cupcakes, toys, etc.) but nothing worked. So more waiting for us.

About a month later, on Thanksgiving break, we finally had some success. He peed in the potty. Woo hoo!! We still didn’t push things, and continued to go with the flow. When Christmas break rolled around, Benji and Em came down with the flu. We decided that if we were going to be house-bound we would also try to make some progress with Harper and the potty. He seemed ready, and since we couldn’t leave the house anyways we thought “why not?”

Best decision ever!

We let him go diaper-free, and within just a day or two, he wasn’t having accidents and was beginning to stop in the middle of whatever he was doing to tell us he needed to go pee. Fast-forward a couple of weeks: he is now wearing underwear all throughout the day, and he goes to the bathroom on his own, without any reminding from us. Amazing, right?! Yeah, I thought so too!

The only thing we’re having slight hiccups over is #2.

TMI ALERT: Don’t read any further if over sharing bothers you.

Harper has always been a standing-pooper, so this whole “sitting down to poop” thing is crazy to him. Add to that the fact that we’re now asking him to poop in a bowl rather than in his diaper, and it’s as if we’ve asked him to do the most unnatural thing on the planet.  Although he isn’t having accidents, he still isn’t a fan of going #2 in the potty, and whenever he *does* have to go, he tells us, and then holds it in. FOR DAYS. Right now we’re going on five days at a time. He could probably go longer, but by day five, I start to panic and pump him full of laxatives, until he can’t “prairie dog it” anymore.

Now I know you’re sitting there in disbelief at the fact that I am talking about my son “prairie doggin’ it” so I figured I’d just go ahead and cross the line with a graphic:

Präriehund_P1010308Photo source.

There you go. Yeah, I know. I’m evil.

Anyways. I’m not really worried about this half of potty training since he isn’t having accidents. In my mind, the worst part is over and done with (I hope I am right on this anyways), and he will eventually come around on this part too. It’s just going to take some time, patience, and a little waiting. Overall, potty-training wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be, and for that, I am grateful!

The Pensieve.

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^^^This year’s memory jar (and here’s a link to my blogpost about 2012′s memory jar (here) if you care)

It’s that time again. A new year has come! To celebrate, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite memories of 2013 from our family pensieve (aka the memory jar).

Man. I really wish it was a pensieve. It’d be super cool to look like this when putting stuff inside:

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(Photo sourcey source) 

….instead of having to write it down like a stinkin’ muggle. But alas…I *am* a muggle…so I’ll have to settle for documenting things with a pen rather than a wand. Biggest disappointment of my life.

In all seriousness though….2013. It was such a wonderful year! New friends. New house(s). New job(s) for me. So much change. So many blessings. There just aren’t words for this past year. It was awesome!

I spent the last few minutes of 2013, reflecting on everything that has happened. For the last 30 seconds, I truly felt a pang in my heart because I didn’t want to see it go. As I watched the numbers get smaller and smaller, I just wanted to hold on to time and make it stop. It’s kind of silly, I know. And I’m not saying I’m not excited about 2014. I definitely am! I am just really sad to see 2013 become a thing of the past.

Once the countdown ended, my heart felt a little lighter. It was over and 2013 was gone. I opened my hands to let go of the past and held them open in hopes of things to come. I can only hope this year will be as wonderful as the last.

I rang in the new year “on the clock” and in my PJs, which was incredibly appropriate. My new job has been perhaps the biggest and best change for our family this year. I haven’t posted about it here because I don’t want to seem braggy. It seems that every time I mention my work to someone, I am flooded with questions on how I got this job, how someone could get into this field, etc. For a mom who wants to stay at home with her kids, but also wants to work, it is the perfect solution. It is my dream job, and I did absolutely nothing to deserve it.

Here are some of my favorite memories from the pensieve. I narrowed it down to ten:

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#1 Harper climbed to the top of the Chick-fil-a playground for the first time and wouldn’t come down. Benji had to go up after him. We joked that he looked like a giant hamster in the tunnels!

#2 Jenn, Theresa, and I all saw each other for the first time in 10 months! It felt wonderful to be together again. All the  kids had changed a ton and everyone got to meet our newest member – Emrist. She was all smiles. We had our first ever kid-free hang out that night. We shared wine and laughter. It was lovely!

#3 Slow dancing with Benji at Grace’s wedding <3

#4 We sat outside after Harper’s bedtime and watched fireflies. He loved it and kept asking us to turn them on and off. It was magical!

#5 Emrist is FOR SURE smiling! She did it to my mom yesterday and then to me four times this morning! She also cooed for the first time today. Absolutely precious!

#6 Harp swam by himself for the first time. He just took off suddenly and began swimming around. So brave! He is growing so fast!

#7 Emrist let me rock her to sleep for the first time in ages. Sweet girl!

#8 Dancing around the house with Harper and Benji before bedtime. One of my favorite things to do!

#9 On Tues, Harp brought me a chrysalis. I tried to save it by taping it to a twig! It worked! The butterfly hatched the next day. Harper loved it. He said “Look! It’s a beautiful butterfly. He’s cute!” After letting him dry his wings, we set him free. It was beautiful!

#10 We went to Paw Paw Joe’s for his annual Christmas party. Benji wasn’t feeling well the night before. I asked Harper if he would like to pray for daddy. I was expecting to lead him through it, but he excitedly said yes and began praying on his own. It was beautiful!

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Little bit loved the jar

So there they are. My favorite memories from 2013. I decided to type them out for you all because my handwriting is pretty awful :)

I hope you all have a happy new year and that blessings, joy, and laughter rain down upon you in 2014! <3

Opinion #1,000,647 On Phil Robertson

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(Photo Source)


I’ve been reading opinions all week. I actually got to a point where I stopped clicking because I was tired of reading opinions….so it’s funny that now I’m here sharing mine. I really don’t care if you read it. I just needed to get it off my chest.

You see….I have an overly empathetic personality. I hear that empathy is supposed to be a gift. Well, I view it more as a curse at times. Yeah sure…it has it’s perks. It makes me more personable and enables me to be kinder to people because I am constantly putting myself in their shoes in order to feel what they feel. I even have a few friendships that I can truly say are there because of my ability to empathize.

On the flip side though, I sometimes can’t even enjoy the warmth of my own bed without “the curse” creeping in and telling me there is someone, somewhere, sleeping on a freezing bench, which on more than one occasion has sent me to bed in tears.

My heart feels really heavy sometimes – almost unbearably so – because of the way I feel after reading and seeing certain things. This week, my heart has been heavy with Duck Dynasty and homosexuality. After several nights of going to bed sad, I decided to blog about it so hopefully I can feel some peace. I felt this same way when all the Chick-fil-a business went down last year, but I never voiced my feelings because honestly…I was afraid. It’s time for me to stop being afraid though.

Let me preface this by saying I love Duck Dynasty. Benji and I don’t have cable, so we usually watch it online. We love it. LOVE it. They remind me of my family, so I feel a deep connection with them even though we are complete strangers. I really and truly enjoy their show.

However, you will not find an “I stand with Phil Robertson” or an “I support Phil Robertson. PERIOD.” icon on my Facebook page. And here’s why:

I know that a lot of Christians are hellbent on “love the sinner, hate the sin.” Fine, whatever, but can I tell you my experience with something similar? When I was a child, I went to the doctor for one of my well checkups. I wasn’t overweight yet, but my eating habits were well on their way to sending me there. I remember being completely blindsided and…hurt, at this particular well visit. The doctor, who obviously felt he was doing his job by warning me of the inherent danger ahead, told me that if I didn’t stop and turn from my ways, I would end up being carried around in the back of a truck because I would be too big to fit inside of it.

I’m 27 years old, and I can still feel the drop in my gut when he said it. The shame. The guilt. The filthiness. The gluttony. All of it washed over me through his words, and all at once, I felt alone and not good enough. I still remember it so clearly.

This one moment has affected me on a daily basis, ever since it happened. Something that this doctor saw, not as mean, but instead as part of his job and as a “must” say, has at times led me to feel far from God, and far from both friends and family alike. Over the past 20 years, I cannot count the times I’ve looked in the mirror with disgust and self-hate because of what was planted in my head that day. I still struggle with food and my weight. Although he had the best of intentions, nothing he said changed me for the better. It actually changed me for the worse, and hurt me deeply.

This is why I cannot and will not ever tell someone the “err” of their ways. I don’t care if they are a drug dealer or a drug taker. A liar. An adulterer. A gossip. A girl who doesn’t cover her hair when she prays. A glutton. A homosexual. A heterosexual. A thief. A girl who wears jewelry or makeup. A politician. A guy who shaves. Someone covered in tattoos. An alcoholic. A dirty-mouthed sailor. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I. Don’t. Care. It is not my job to have a stance on someone else’s life. My job is to love God and to love my neighbor. Put even more simply, my job is to love.

Love is so much more powerful than words, y’all. If you really want to lead people to Jesus, love them. And I mean the no-strings-attached kind of love. Just LOVE them and accept them as they are. Don’t look at them as a project to be worked on. No. Show them love, acceptance, and friendship. If God sees fit to change someone, then let him do the changing. I can assure you….he is big enough to change someone, even if that someone ends up being you.

Lovely Little Snowflake

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(The difference between March and November! Photo on the left was taken by Rachel Stricklin and the photo on the right was taken by Jennifer Nicholson)

Sigh. Somehow I am here….posting about how Em just turned one. I have a ONE year old, people! Again. How is this possible? One of the best things about your second child, at least in my humble “I don’t know a thing” opinion, is that you have a knowledge that you didn’t have with your first. The knowledge that the sweet baby phase goes by hell-a fast and you better enjoy it while it lasts. Since I kinda rushed things with Harp, I tried to enjoy every moment with Em…even the not so fun ones. Newborn screaming fits that couldn’t be figured out (not very many of them fortunately), 1Am and 3AM feedings…..yawn, 3 hour feeding schedules, diaper blowouts, having to avoid red lights lest I wake the sleeping baby, etc. I really did try to savor every little thing! I tried to commit it all to memory. And yet…here I sit trying to remember the sound she used to make while sleeping, and for the life of me, I can’t. WTH. In some ways, I feel like time went by even faster than it did with Harp. Does it speed up with each child?

So in the blink of an eye, my itty bitty newborn turned into a one year old chunky firecracker. And let me tell you guys…she is AMAZING! Oh, how I love her! She has added so much joy to our family :)

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She is super affectionate and cuddly. She loves to talk. I had always heard that girls are quicker at picking up on language when compared with boys. Well, that’s definitely true for Em. Verbally, she is where Harper was at 15-18 months. This may also have something to do with her being #2. But yeah…she talks all the time. Real words and babbles. When she babbles, she looks at you like she is having a real convo with you and she expects a response. Her facial expressions when she does this are hilarious (mainly her furrowed brow lol)!

She loves her brother! A lot. Daddy is definitely her favorite though. I’m trying not to be too jealous since this is the natural law of the universe…”daddy’s girls” and all. Let’s see. She loves to eat. However, unlike Harp, she will eventually get to a point where she STOPS. Harp is a bottomless pit! She loves fruit, crackers, and broccoli. Over Thanksgiving, she tried ham (we don’t usually buy it because I’m the only one in the house who likes it), and it was like someone had given her candy!

She loves to swing…a lot. She giggles like crazy when you push her really high. She is daring, and very brave. She enjoys anything that takes her breath away. She reminds me of Benji in that way. She has a quick, fiery temper (a lot like mine) and is perhaps the most stubborn human being I’ve ever met…even more stubborn than my mom ;) She is special, and I see bits and pieces of Benji and me, as well as several of our family members all wrapped up into her tiny little frame. And at the same time, she is uniquely her own. She is amazing, and words can’t describe how much I love her.

With her being our second, I had a good many people tell me that I wouldn’t document her like I did Harper. That I would take fewer pictures and make fewer notes of her milestones, etc. etc. Well…the thought of her being 20 years old and having fewer memories written down or on camera because she wasn’t born first made me sad so I tried to keep up with what I did for Harper. I wrote letters to her in her notebook. I took a ton of pictures and videos. I documented milestones.  And, I made a video of her face changing, just like I did for him.  Let me just tell you…there is nothing more annoying than having to remember to take a picture once a day for months. I’m glad I did it with both of them, but I’m also glad it’s over lol. There’s one dad out there who did it every day for like ten years. I just can’t even…

Anyways, here is her video:

It has been such a great year! I look forward to many, many more! <3

The Wait Is Over

Updating about our new hizzle. After talking to a dear friend yesterday, and finding out that she was unaware of our upcoming move, I realized that I hadn’t really shared the news with a lot of people. Not intentionally…I’ve just been busy working two jobs and planning birthday parties, etc. Just busy with life, really.

Anyways…here’s my update.

Remember the house drama that went down about six weeks ago, and THIS post I wrote afterwards? Well…we waited. We didn’t know what we were waiting for, or for how long, but we waited nonetheless.

pslam

Photo Source Here

Last month, we found a house on Craigslist. I guess one of the real reasons I didn’t tell many people about it is because I was expecting it to fall through. Honestly, I thought our time of waiting would be longer than just a few weeks. As per our usual, this story is a little weird…nay…miraculous :)

Basically, I was on CL one day just window shopping and trying to get an idea of what was out there. Although neither of us knew how long to wait, we both assumed something wouldn’t come our way until after the new year. We let our apartment go into a month-to-month lease which cost us an additional $100 in rent each month. We didn’t want to pay that much for very long, but figured it was fine for a few months.

Any-whoo. On that particular date, I got onto CL, and my eyes immediately went to a house about halfway down the page. It caught my eye because the square footage was 1,222. If you know me, you know my thing with this number (222).  It’s like a secret code God uses to say “HEYYYYYYYY!!! Over here!” to me, so of course I clicked on the listing. Three bedroom, one bath, brick home, fenced in backyard, on a road with a cul-de-sac, Millbrook. Pretty much everything we had been hoping to find (it even has things that the other house didn’t). I almost didn’t reply to the listing because it was just too perfect, and we had no money for it.

Backtracking a little here. Since September I’ve been working as a medical transcriptionist as well as working as a waitress. The MT job will be my main job soon (in less than two weeks, actually!), but it only pays once a month. With that being the case, I went a full eight weeks of working there without a paycheck. My first paycheck was also cut in half in order to pay my trainer for the two months she spent training me (trust me…she deserved more than what she got). I won’t actually be getting my first FULL paycheck until the end of this month.

I kept my job waiting tables to get us through the transition period, but at the same time, I had to cut my hours in half to allow me to work as an MT. Things have been TIGHT to say the least. Really tight. Especially after the whole house fiasco. We lost about $500 on that due to the rent money we paid there and all of the disconnect/set up fees we had to pay to get the utilities stopped at our apt, turned on at the house, then stopped at the house, and turned back on at the apt. It was one big fat expensive mess.

So when I saw the CL listing, we no longer had enough money for a full deposit. Sigh. I just knew we wouldn’t be able to get the house, but I emailed the owners anyways to see if we could view it. I guess I just wanted to torture myself.

Benji and I talked before we went to see it and agreed that we were not going to rush things. We both agreed that A LOT would have to fall into place in order for it to work out. They’d have to be okay with us only having half of the deposit, and they’d also have to be okay with allowing us to wait 30 days before moving in so that we could give our current landlords notice. If these pieces of the puzzle didn’t fall into place smoothly and effortlessly, oh well. We would just keep waiting.

We went, and I pretty much fell in love. It’s right down the street from one of our favorite parks. It’s in a quiet neighborhood. They had just put new carpet in the week before we viewed it so it had that fresh new smell about it. It also had a layout similar to our home in Northport, so it felt strangely familiar upon entering. The backyard was big, flat, and fenced in and directly behind it was a creek. It was beautiful and peaceful and I remember standing there in the backyard and getting that feeling in my chest…that feeling you get when you want something you know you can’t have. I had to remind myself of my agreement with Benji…no rushing. If it was meant to be, things would fall into place. If not, well…there was no sense in longing for something that wasn’t meant to be ours. So I stuffed those feelings away, and put on a smile. We walked inside and I basically just blurted out our situation to the owners (I’ll refer to them as J and M. J is the wife, and M is the husband).

“We really like your house, but we can’t move in for 30 days, would that okay?”

“Yeah, sure. We’ll just need a deposit in order to hold it for you.”

“Well…about that…”

To my amazement, they were willing to work with us (sidenote: our appointment actually ran over and another couple came to view to house while we were there…so this made me even more grateful that they were willing to give us a shot).

We told them that we would go home and figure out just how much we could give them, and that we would call them back. I called them back later that evening and told them we could give them a little over half the deposit. M got on the phone and informed me that he didn’t want us to give them everything we could – he wanted me to put a little aside in case of an emergency. He asked that I give them a little less than what we could afford instead, and said they would hold the property for us. I was basically speechless. After the way we had been treated by the landlords at the previous house, this was a breath of fresh air. They seemed to genuinely care about our family.

Over the past month, they have worked with us time and time again to make sure everything fell into place. Our security deposit was finally paid in full, and we signed the lease last night. So it’s officially official now. We are moving in this weekend, and I just cannot wait.

I’m excited about the house, but I’m also excited about working with and knowing J & M. They are just two sweet, incredible people. Two retired veterans, who love Jesus and have been married for 44 years. They are both full of wisdom and I honestly love being around them. Just an example of their kindness (beyond working with us on everything!): one of the times that I met up with them, it was raining. M ran out to our car, with an umbrella, covered me and the children and ran us inside.

Like seriously, y’all. They are incredible, and we are just over the moon excited and thankful to be so well taken care of by Jesus. Even in spite of our doubt.

Three Years

I guess this post is better late than never!

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Baby bird is now three years old.

I feel like a broken record when I say I can’t believe we’re here. Three years with Harp. How? It truly feels like we just brought him home yesterday.

I imagine I’ll be saying this for years to come (I hope so anyways). How, how, how? I don’t know that I’ll ever see him as anything other than my little baby. Even now. We have conversations. He sometimes gets an attitude and talks back to us. He tells us what he is thinking, feeling, etc. He is gentle, kind, and makes us laugh constantly. But sometimes when he is talking to me, I have to catch my breath because it feels so weird. My little man is…talking to me? What on earth? Wasn’t he just babbling at me? And before that, wasn’t he just screaming at me because he wanted a bottle?

Now, three years later, he fills our days with hilariousness, joy and love. He talks of jumping into the clouds and eating them and about how the moon and stars are friends. He tells us when he thinks someone or something is cute. He tells us when he is happy, sad, or scared. He obsesses over helicopters, motors, and propellors. He loves to watch air conditioning units and fans.  He is just so grown up.

And yet, late at night, when I sneak into his room to kiss him goodnight, I can still see my baby lying there. Maybe it’s the long lashes resting on his cheeks, or the tight hold he has on his bunny, but I can see him almost as if he hasn’t changed at all.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over baby bird, and I hope I can always catch glimpses of him, no matter how old he gets <3

Moving along.

To celebrate his birthday, we had a party at one of his favorite parks. We had friends and family come all the way from Birmingham, Fayette, and Tuscaloosa. I feel truly blessed to have people willing to drive so far to celebrate our son.  We had SO much fun on his birthday. It fell on the weekend this year, so we were able to have the party on his actual birthday.

On Saturday morning, Harp woke up to a flood of balloons. The night before, Benji and I blew up a ton of them and placed them outside of his door for him to walk into. I think we were just as excited about his birthday as he was. This was the first year he really understood what was going on, so the anticipation was high for all of us. Here’s a picture the balloon craziness:

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The look on his face when he saw it was priceless. I videoed it, but I’m too lazy to upload it at the moment. In a nutshell, he walked out, smiled, and started kicking them, and immediately asked for cake. We died laughing. Emrist enjoyed the balloons too!

The party wasn’t until the afternoon so we spent all day preparing and just enjoying our time together. My family arrived at around noon, so we also got to spend some time with them which was very nice. Once the party arrived, Harper was in heaven. Candy, cake, pizza, presents, and LOTS of helicopters. The hardest part was getting him to let go of one present so that he could open the next. He was pretty smitten with the first gift, and had a hard time opening the rest haha.

Overall, it was a wonderful day that left me feeling exhausted and so loved.

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Blowing out the candles.

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Helicopter favors.

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Family photo.

And that’s it. The rest of the party pictures are on my camera :)

Here are some pictures I’ve taken since arriving at three:

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Little buddy loves his sister.

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He got a zoo membership for his birthday, so we have been going a lot! He loves it!

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He also loves to swing.

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And finally, a random banana picture because my goodness, this boy blows through some fruit.

The end <3

A Four Letter Word I Hate

WAIT.

I hate that word. With a passion. I’ve never been a very patient person, so being told to wait is similar to torture for me. So it figures that God has told me to wait ;)

I wanted to share this story yesterday, but I chickened out. In the spirit of being completely transparent with you guys, I’m a little afraid of people thinking I’m either a). psycho or b). a liar.

There’s also a part of me that hates to tell people how I pray.  Praying has always been a secret affair for me. I talk to God all throughout the day, but dude…I hate doing it out loud. I am not a fan of praying in public. Truthfully…if you’ve ever heard me praying in public, I’m gonna go ahead and say it wasn’t authentic because I was likely a nervous wreck. Just being real.

When I pray in public, I feel like I have to cross my T’s and dot my I’s.  Everything must be proper. “Mr. God, thees and thous,” etc. When it’s just me and Jesus, we’re on a first name basis. I don’t worry about offending others by the way I talk to him. You see…me and Jesus are slightly gangsta. He calls me his main squeeze. I like to give him mental high fives, and talk to him just like I would talk to any of my close friends. We even have a secret handshake. Okay, not really on the secret handshake, but you get my drift. I let my guard down whenever I pray to God and no one is around. And sometimes I make really ridiculous requests that I would normally never share because they are so…ridiculous! Today however, I’m going to share a ridiculous prayer that I prayed because I feel like everyone needs to see just how awesome God is, and how much he cares for us.

I’m sure you all remember my post about the house drama. If not, just go to that link and you’ll have an interesting read about the roller coaster ride we’ve enjoyed for the past week. When I wrote that blogpost on Wednesday, I was having a major pity party. MAJOR pity party. “Oh, woe is me, because things aren’t going according to MY plans.”  blah, blah, blah.

Late that evening, God gave me a vision of a mother in a grocery store. Her cart was full of groceries. She stood about a foot away from her overflowing cart, and had her arms crossed. Her toddler was in the floor screaming for a candy bar and she was just standing there…arms crossed…watching.

The mom represented God. I was the toddler. The candy bar was my desire for a house, and the overflowing cart represented God’s provision in my life. It was very humbling when I finally saw that I was throwing a temper tantrum over one small want, when I had a cart full of needs that had already been met. Instead of dropping to my knees and praising God for everything he had already given me, I was screaming for MORE stuff. How obnoxious.

When I went to bed that night, I was still feeling pretty defeated. I was sorry for my toddler tantrum, but still didn’t know what to do about the whole house thing. Where should we go? What should we do? Etc. I had a panicky feeling in my gut, and as a result, was having trouble falling asleep. I decided to open up my Bible app while praying that God would give me something to cling to for encouragement. The verse of the day was Psalm 27:14:

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

WAIT. I ended up going and reading the entire chapter. I connected with several of the verses, but this one really stuck with me. And I felt God saying to wait on him. But…wait for what exactly? And when would he move? What would he do? And what if I waited, and nothing happened?

All of these questions began swirling inside my head and then I started thinking that I probably hadn’t heard from God at all. I began to think that maybe I was just desperately looking and wanting to hear something so badly, that I was making something out of nothing.

That’s when I prayed the ridiculous prayer. “Alright God…I need a sign. If that was really from you, I need a friend to text me a scripture. Then I’ll know.”

Really? lol. I don’t know why that’s the sign I chose, but that’s what I asked for. I wasn’t even specific about the scripture. Someone could have sent me John 3:16 and I would’ve said “okay, I hear you loud and clear, God!”

But no…he decided to freaking blow my mind. I woke up around 11:40pm to this picture from my friend Jenn:

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Is your mind blown? I hope so, because holy moly.

Go, Jesus! You rock. Thank you for answering completely ridiculous prayers and caring enough about your toddler to send encouragement her way :)

So wait.

Wait for what? I still don’t know, and I don’t even care. I’m just waiting. He’ll let me know what’s up when it’s time. Until then, I’m gonna try to get comfy.

Popcorn anyone?

That Time We Lived In A House For Like Two Days…

This has been a week for the books – aka the week from HELL. Lord, have mercy.

We’ve only had the chance to share this craziness with a few people, so if you’re a close friend or family member, and you’re finding out via the blog – I’m sorry. Things have been insane. I thought it’d be nice to write about it here so that I can stop telling the longest story in the history of the universe over and over again. I also thought it’d be a nice stress reliever. I’m going to try and keep it simple, and straight to the point, but even still…I think this post will be lengthy.

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We found this lovely home a month ago. We’ve been in an apartment for a year now, and really wanted a nice backyard where Harper could run free whenever he wanted. He loves being outside! We were very excited to find this house. It was gorgeous, old (I dig old houses), spacious, in a nice neighborhood…and in our price range! We signed a lease for it in late August and set our moving date for September 20th.

Fast forward to Friday.

I met our landlord at the property at 10:30am to pick up the keys. She let us in and I immediately notice a “smell”. The house has been vacant for quite some time, so I assumed it was musty for this reason, and pushed it out of my mind. We went into the kitchen where she had me sign a move-in form stating that everything was in good condition. At first glance, everything was in good condition. Looking back, I probably should have walked all over the house and looked in ever nook and cranny before signing and letting her leave, but Harper and Emrist were both roaming the house, and she was staring me down, so I signed the form just to be done with it. Tisk tisk.

We were really pushed for time with this move. I’m currently working two jobs, with one of them requiring internet. With that being the case, I needed the timing to be perfect so that I didn’t miss any of my work. We had our internet provider and the gas company come out and set up service right away on Friday. They both came around 12:30pm. The gas didn’t take long at all. The internet took just about all afternoon. Once I got the kids down for their naps, I started wiping down the kitchen. (I do this no matter where we move because you just never know…)

I started opening cabinets while cleaning in the kitchen, and the more I opened, the more I found. Here are just a few pictures:

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Umm, yes. That is garbage, crusty gunk, and a half smoked black and mild.
Cue the music.

You feel me? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I was very upset about the mess, but decided to just saturate the house in bleach and be done with it. But the more I looked, the more I found:

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Top shelf in our bathroom closet.

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Gross. This was in one of the drawers in the bathroom.

photo 3-1This mess was under where the washer and dryer had been.
They had been in the house when we originally viewed it,
and we told them we would be bringing our own.
So they removed the washer and dryer, but left the mess.

What the hell-o. Did they even have this place cleaned?! They later told us that their cleaners did come by the house, and missed all of this. I’m gonna go ahead and call BS on that. Along with the lovely mess, we also found a picture of the previous tenant in a towel (hawt) along with bail bond cards. Super skanky, y’all.

We called the landlord later that afternoon to see if they would send a cleaner by. At this point, we were still okay with staying as long as the mess got cleaned up. We expressed our displeasure, and asked for help and were basically told there was nothing they could do because Erica was out of town for the weekend. Umm…okay? The lady (Jennifer) we spoke with told us to document everything and they would make a note of it in our file. Gee, that’s helpful! Thank you.

Even though we didn’t have time for it (my parents were coming the next day to help us move, and we needed to focus on packing our things up), we decided to take the kids to the house Friday night and clean like crazy. However, just as we got into the process, lights in 3/4 of the house went out. Awesome. We spent the next eternity looking for the breaker, all while the kids were fussing at us, and wandering around in the dark. We finally decided to just go home and put them to bed. Once we had everyone in the car, we found the breaker outside. We flipped the switch, and everything came back on. We were exhausted and frustrated and decided to continue with our plans to go home.

Saturday morning.

My parents drove from Birmingham to bring us our washer and dryer and to help us move. Of course, it poured rain the entire day. In my family, we have a title for things like this: Waldrop luck. Now I’m wondering if maybe God was just trying to get us to stay at our apartment. I sure wish we would have. Instead, we braved the rain, and moved in spite of it. Blaine and Benji did an amazing job of carefully wrapping each piece of furniture so that it didn’t get wet. Mom and I stayed with the kids at the house and cleaned. At the end of the day, we had all of our (dry) furniture in our new half-cleaned house. I decided not to unbox anything until everything had been cleaned, so we didn’t unpack at all.

To keep this as short as possible, here’s what happened next.

That night, as we were leaving Harper’s room, sparks shot out of the light switch when I flipped it. We soon realized that this happened anytime we flipped it. The next morning, after the “clean” smell disappeared, I noticed the original musty smell again. It was concentrated in the front bathroom. I shut the door, and it continued to get worse. Like way worse. It got to the point where it was knock you down strong if the door was left shut for any period of time. If it wasn’t shut, the smell went all throughout the house. I finally concluded that there was definitely some mold somewhere in the bathroom. Benji and I talked and decided that it would be best for us to try to make a clean break from this place.

I spent all weekend documenting the mess, and when I finally received a response from Erica, she was appalled. She apologized and said that when Jennifer had called her about this on Friday, she thought we were complaining because “the house wasn’t clean to some people’s standards.” So basically…she got the news on Friday, and could have helped, but decided not to because she thought we were complaining over nothing. WONDERFUL. I wrote her back and told her about all of the other problems and told her we wanted out of the lease and that we also wanted both the pet deposit and security deposit back.  Only then did she finally offer to do something. Ugh.

She offered to call an electrician immediately, and to have their cleaners come by the house – because clearly they did such a lovely job the first time. She said she didn’t want to lose us as tenants and asked if we would stay if she did all of this. I told her no, and again told her we wanted our deposits back.

What followed was a series of emails, phone calls, waiting, sketchiness, broken promises and more waiting. Thanks to the determination and perseverance of my husband, we finally succeeded in getting out of the lease without losing our deposits. Our move out day is set for this Saturday. So we moved in last Saturday and will be moving out this Saturday. One freakin’ week, y’all. The shortest we’ve ever lived anywhere.

At this point, I’m not 100% sure what our next step is. Honestly, I feel rather lost. I’m just trying to breathe and take one step at a time. I know God will get us wherever it is he wants us to go. We are going to call our landlord from the apartments today to see if we can stay in our old two bedroom until something else opens up. We are praying that it hasn’t already been promised to someone else. If it has….well I guess we’ll have to cross that bridge when and if it gets here. Sigh. 

I have been so stressed the past few days. I haven’t had a day to just relax in a few weeks now, so my brain and heart feel fried. I was really upset about my parent’s efforts in moving us going to waste. I told Benji that I wasn’t going to ask for their help again because they had already gone through enough trouble for us. We decided to rent a u-haul and move everything by ourselves. I texted my mom yesterday evening to let her know that we were getting out of the lease and to apologize. About five minutes later, my stepdad’s number popped up on my screen. I immediately started crying because I knew what he was calling to say. He’s pretty awesome. He told me to rent a huge u-haul, he would pay for it, and they would be here Saturday to help us move…again. Now…I’m not a big cryer, but I sobbed during that entire phone call because I felt so loved :)

I don’t know what the point of all this is, but at least I know that we are loved. Benji and I now have yet another crazy apartment story to tell our kiddos when they get older.  As I was crying last night, Benji reminded me that this will be a story we will definitely laugh about on down the road.

“Hey…you remember that time we lived in a house for like two days?”

I look forward to the day when this is all a distant memory and we can laugh about it together. I know we will.

Summer Recap.

This is what I started writing about the other day, and then it turned into something completely different! I still want to update about our summer though…since I was silent for three whole months. Oops. 

So here we go. Summer. It was glorious! And just like any good thing, it passed way too quickly. We had Benji home with us more than usual, which was great! He wasn’t home everyday, as he continued to open up his library once a week for the kids, and also helped out once a week (sometimes more) with a summer camp they had at his school, but we usually had him here 4-5 days out of the week. It was nice. 

We started our summer off with a trip to the park. 

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We love going to the park, and just being outside. So we did lots of that! 

We went to baseball games, went swimming, and we played at the new splash pad that opened up near our home. We picked blueberries:

photo-5We visited friends and family. Emrist actually got to meet an aunt, uncle and two cousins for the very first time too! We went to playgroups, and did story-times. Benji did a few story-times for my mommy group that were awesome! We ate friend green tomatoes, squash and green beans. We sat outside, way past Harper’s bed time, and enjoyed watching fireflies together. We even caught a few because Harper kept asking us to turn them on and off for him :) 

We soaked up the sun whenever it was around. It went missing for half of June & July. It rained a lot then, and was cooler than usual. Once all that passed, we ended up getting summer colds. Then the kids got pinkeye. Then we got colds again. I got an ear infection, and didn’t go to the doctor. Then my eardrum ruptured and I *had* to go to the doctor. I spent a few weeks not being able to hear out of my right ear – being a waitress and not being able to hear properly is ANNOYING. Then I got better! 

Benji and I took our first trip away without kids since…2010! Wooo. Thing 1 and Thing 2 stayed with my mother, while we were gone. It was lovely, although we did miss them terribly. They weren’t phased at all by our absence. I think they may like Gran more than us? :)

And then there’s the growing.

Oh my, yes….the growing! Both kids grew like weeds over the summer.

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Harper is quickly heading into “three” territory. 

“No.” 
“My turn.” 
“I don’t want to do that.” 
“No, mom. You do it.” 

Etc. Etc. Etc.

All of his latest, greatest phrases. There is so much sarcasm in that sentence. I’m guessing this is the time everyone warned us about? “Terrible twos are nothing. It’s three you have to worry about.” Meh. lol.

Life with Harper is nonstop talking and nonstop eating, with some crazy awesome giggles in between. He is always asking for something. He gives amazing hugs, especially when I request a really tight one! Occasionally, he can be a little bipolar – happy one minute, falling apart the next. He’s funny, empathetic, and a lover of mechanics. He is obsessed with helicopters, propellors and air conditioning units (yes). He loves his baby sister, and finds so much joy in making her laugh. He’s really great at making me slow down. I rush. He doesn’t. He loves to stop and take it all in, something I should do more often. He kisses bugs and enjoys dancing in the rain. He is just so alive, and I love it! I love this age, even with the challenges I can see coming down the pike :)

And Emrist. Sweet little sugar plum, diva girl.  

She really is a diva. I have given birth to a diva. Me. How on earth did that happen? Y’all. She is eight months and already slings herself onto the ground when she doesn’t get her way. It’s hilarious. And quiet frightening. What is this darling dove going to be like as a toddler? Or worse. AS A TEENAGER?! :) I’m already trying to formulate my game plan. How to mold and guide her, while keeping her stubbornness intact. I like that she’s stubborn, and I want to keep her that way. I want her to fight for what she wants and to never settle. But I don’t want that fight to involve kicking and screaming on the grocery store floor! Ha. I can just see that in our future. Maybe I just need to focus on teaching her to fight nicely.

She is so precious and has the sweetest smile. She loves to be held close. And my goodness…she LOVES her daddy. And her brother. Benji and I joke that she may love Harper more than she loves us. He can make her laugh anytime, anywhere. Those two are going to run together. Just like her brother, she loves to eat! And you know what? When we started her on solids, I was worried about Harper stealing her food. It’s actually the other way around – she steals his!!! She likes to bounce, dance and mimic us. Her giggles are contagious. She has brought so much joy to our family. 

Benji got this book for her for Christmas, and it’s just so perfect for her: 

Our little blueberry girl. Goodness, we love her.

 

So there you have it. A little recap/update. Life is good. We are so blessed by these two! 

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LOL

 

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