Clothes and Such

I spent so much time looking through old pictures, that I forgot my catchy title and “grab” for you to want to read this post. Maybe that’s just what life looks like at 6:43am, when no one in the world (other than new mommas) should be awake. I’ve had a full cup of coffee and still feel as if I could crawl back in bed and be asleep in seconds.

I digress.

Some laughed last week when I shared on Facebook that all Nathan’s clothes from before he met me had finally been thrown away. Then I realized that might have sounded a little harsh. Wait, no I didn’t, I just wanted an excuse to walk you through our college relationship in clothes.


New York City, spring 2007. Disregard the fact that we were 21 year old college students flying in on free tickets staying at a hostel in Harlem. We had free tickets, a cheap place to stay and $100 burning in each of our pockets!! This picture was taken in the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square. He is in an A&M sweat shirt. A SWEAT SHIRT. We also have great pictures in front of the Statue of Liberty and Wall Street in said sweat shirt.


An afternoon spent at Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s home, in some green shirt he’d had since high school. I am pretty sure it had a beer reference on it and up to that point in his life, he had only been drinking for 8 months, which coincidentally is how long he had known me. I am sure it has nothing to do with the other.

IMG_2874Oh, there is the sweat shirt again. This time at the top of Pikes Peak (side note: I just had to google “tall mountain in Colorado Springs.” I am fairly useless at 6:54am). Same sweat shirt, just 3 years later.


THE PLEATS. That is about everything I have to say about this picture. It was taken at my graduation from graduate school, 3 years into marriage. Oh the pleats. This is a battle I have only recently won, after it being waged for almost 8 years. But I was victorious. I wish I had a full length picture of his jeans in college. He claims they were boot cut, but I am fairly certain they were bell bottoms.

S5001055I add this one, only because I think it is the sweetest picture I have of us from college. This was taken at BYX Island Party in the spring of 2007. We had been dating around four months and knew that my graduation was looming. It’s funny, looking at back then. I graduated and moved the very next day to Washington, D.C. When Nathan asked why I wasn’t sticking around, I bluntly told him, “You didn’t give me a compelling reason to stay,” meaning HE HAD NOT GIVEN ME A RING 5 MONTHS INTO DATING. I want to take our precious hands from back then, and tell us that we were idiots and that it would be a good thing that we wouldn’t get engaged for another 7 months.

It’s funny the things that help you mark time. Nine years of friendship, seven and a half years of marriage, makes college feel like a life time ago. Heck, it makes life pre kids feel like a different life I lived. I walked into Central Market last night and the smell was not one of good foods, but rather the smell of life before kids. I look at 8 years ago and wonder what our little minds were thinking. Did we even fathom we would end up where we are now? (I’ll answer that for you – NO). So if I am looking forward to 8 years from now, both us of 38 (sob), Parker at 11, Ben at 9 (hold me), what can our little minds not even imagine or comprehend as to where we will be?

That Time I Met Jen Hatmaker

94F17F30-0C62-4960-98C2-91130D085658Two weekends ago, I planned a party at Jen Hatmaker’s house. Okay, technically her backyard but whatever man, it was on her property.

She is just as delightful as she comes across in her books, on her blog and on social media. She hugged and took pictures with over 200 women in under 3 hours. She let us trek all over her back yard. She let us meet her kids. She participated in a skit. She hugged, cried and prayed with us. The evening was an absolute delight and it was so fun to spear head the planning of the party! 1DCEA593-E601-4EBF-9E7A-E07E5E893C60Jen and I even did a Periscope for all our friends who could not make the party (and me in all my technical savvy forgot to save the video and it expired 24 hours after posting to Periscope. Bummer).

A team of over 40 women spent months planning this party. We had margarita machines, wine, beer, tacos, desserts, cutely decorated tables, shuttle vans, and hand made name tags. Noonday Collection was there with a small gift for everyone in attendance and they were donating all their proceeds that night to Help One Now – we raised over $3400!

More than just a fun party, though, the weekend was centered around celebrating the tribe of women who helped launch this book.

I am super skeptical of online relationships. I am a flesh and bones let’s grab coffee type of person. I need to look someone in the eye when talking. I want to feel their feelings and hurt their hurts. So needless to say, online just doesn’t ever work for me. But this tribe of 500 women found a way to circumnavigate the awkwardness of the internet to band together to pray, weep, rejoice and help fellow sisters. It was and is beautiful.

From the group of 500 women, 20 of us found ourselves staying in a farmhouse in South Austin. Yup, 20 women who had never met before. Once I talked Nathan into letting me stay in a house of “serial killers,” I was off for the weekend.

That weekend was the treat of a lifetime. We talked, colored (Y’all. I am hooked on adult coloring books and need to buy some asap), drank wine, made margarita’s, cooked breakfast, told inappropriate jokes, prayed, encouraged and loved each other exactly where we were. We ranged from 20’s – 50’s. We are single and married. We stay at home, we work full time and work part time. I was worried we wouldn’t have anything to talk about. But I was so so wrong. We sat around in our pj’s til long past bedtime every night and are already planning a reunion weekend next year.

I left the weekend encouraged and wanting more time with friends. More community, more honesty, more real life. Sometimes as a mom of littles, I feel the urgency to do more activities. But then I think about the stress our family would feel and how I don’t want my kids to grow up remembering being shuttled from place to place. I want them to remember intentional conversations, dear friends and an honesty that can only happen when friends bind together and agree to passionately pursue Jesus, regardless of the cost. That’s what count.

New Glasses

ECC76D3F-63B2-4748-9368-C68AA5164EFAI got new glasses last week.

I’m not going to lie, I feel like a poser.

I’m not a trendy dresser, I don’t really understand how Pinterest works, my house is not cutely decorated, and I am pretty far behind on anything popular.

It took me a while to get used to them and I am still pretty self conscious wearing them outside the house. I was rocking Ben one night recently (because bless that boy, he still doesn’t sleep through the night and sometimes needs wants to be rocked to sleep) and started thinking about how the glasses made me feel (my therapist says I should focus on situations that make me uncomfortable and see how they make me feel inside. It’s super fun to be thinking about feelings all. the. time.).

What I realized is that I feel like a poser in my glasses because I don’t believe I deserve good, trendy, expensive things.

Eighth grade was the first time I ever thought about my body or how I compared to others. I was a healthy size 6/8, played sports and didn’t really have a care in the world. All the girls in my class audition for the school musical Annie. I was so excited to finally have something in common with all the other girls at my new school. Then the casting came out: every girl in my grade had been cast as an orphan but I had been cast as Miss Hannigan. I was horrified when my drama teacher in front of the class explained to everyone that, “I got the solo and the role of Miss Hannigan because I was the biggest girl in the grade.” I looked around for the first time and realized that I was, in fact, the biggest girl in the grade. I didn’t really care, I didn’t think I was fat and I wasn’t to concerned about it. Life went on, I sang the solo and forgot about it.

I started at a new school in 10th grade. It was a smaller school with only about 60 kids in my class. Despite the small numbers, I didn’t really make any friends. I had a core group of two girls who I was in a Bible Study with, but that really was it. So imagine my horror when a popular boy turned to me as the swim team was being handed their swimsuits and said, “Good thing you aren’t on the swim team, no one wants to see a beached whale flopping around in the water.” I stared at him, unable to even process the words he had just said to me and the rest of the room.

That was the first time it ever crossed my mind that I wasn’t good enough. That there was something I was missing, and that I definitely did not have what everyone else wanted.

The rest of high school passed in a painful blur (there is no amount of money you could pay me to relive high school) and off I went to college where I finally flourished. I loved college. I found my people, I found my jam, I made friends, I was popular, I was known and recognized on campus, I made a difference and people listened when I spoke. It was everything I dreamed college could be. And then in a series of events where I was not personally involved but had to make decisions on whether or not the actual people were involved should be held at fault (I was the director of a large organization on campus) everything changed. My decisions were not popular, but I stand by them today. A group of people headed up by my roommate/best friend decided that I was entirely at fault, that I could no longer be trusted. I lost almost all my friends.

In a flash everything was gone.

I resigned myself to a lonely senior year, knowing that I had taken the high road, hunkered down with my roommates as my only friends left and started dating my now husband. Looking back, I can see that while I resigned myself to the situation knowing I was in the right, I also secretly believed that I didn’t deserve anything good so it made sense for everything to just disappear.

Fast forward to now, twelve years post high school and eight years after college. I can talk about the past now without anger, tears or bitterness. I’ve seen most of the guys who berated me in high school grow up to be godly men who lead their families well. I’m not friends with my former roommate from college, but see her on social media from afar and can assume she is doing well.

Life has moved on but the whispers of my past still ring strong in my ears.

I am the biggest girl in the grade.

I don’t look good in a swimsuit.

I don’t deserve friends.

I don’t deserve good things.

I don’t deserve happiness.

Nichole Nordeman has a new CD, The Unmaking, and I can’t recommend it enough. One of the lines in her song, “Name”  stands out to me, “Do not ask the shadows, the light of the world knows your name.”

Don’t ask the stupid high school boys or the ex college best friends or the seemingly successful by the world standards women or the friend group I have always wanted to be in to define me, the light of the world knows my name.

It’s something I have to remind myself of every day. I am not a poser in my new glasses. I fit in at church. I do not stand out at the park. My size does not define me.

The light of the world knows my name.


For the Love

It’s no secret that this past two years has been one for the books. High risk pregnancy with Ben, a healthy baby, a baby that then never slept and screamed for 6 months straight, finally a sleeping baby, catching up on sleep, noticing my spouse for the first time in 9 months, then fighting through some miscommunications for 7 months and now, finally, a peaceful season of family and marriage.

By February of this year Nathan and I knew we needed to start intentionally working on ourselves and our marriage. We were going to counseling together (cause everyone needs a neutral party and listening ear!) and were finally starting to feel less like drowning and more like treading water.

Then my life changed.for the love

Nathan calls me the most dramatic person he’s ever met, but in hindsight he completely agrees.

I was chosen to be on the Launch Team for Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For the Love. What I thought would just be an advance copy of the book turned into something more. Much much much more.

496 women and 4 men (thanks for holding strong #bandof4) were chosen to be on this team and we loving refer to ourselves as #the500. I thought, “Oh a new Facebook page to peruse, this should be fun.” But then I read the book. And everyone else on the team read the book. And lives began to change.

Jen didn’t just write a book. She is calling a generation of women to say stop. Enough. This is crazy. Do you hear yourself? We are driving ourselves crazy trying to be perfect when we all know that no one is perfect.

This is why we live and breathe: for the love of Jesus, for the love of our own souls,

for the love of our families and people, for the love or our neighbors

and this world. This is all that will last. Honestly, it is all that matters.

Because Paul basically said: we can have our junk together

in a thousand areas, but if we don’t have love, we are totally

bankrupt. Get this right and everything else follows. Get it wrong

and life becomes bitter, fear-based, and lonely.

Dear ones, it doesn’t have to be.

Love is really the most excellent way.

I can’t even pick out another quote from the book, because I want to quote everything. Jen finally gave me permission to do something that I had subconsciously been craving for years: to stop trying to measure up to self imposed and super mom imposed standards and let myself be the exact wife, mother and friend that Christ has already given me the ability to be.

Her chapter titled “Jesus Kids” wrecked me and changed how I parent my boys

“On Calling and Haitian Moms” made me pause and take a deep, hard look at the theology I believe in.

“Thank You Notes, Parts I, II, II and IV” made me laugh so hard I woke Nathan up snorting and crying.

But here’s the catch: 500 other people realized all these truths at the same time. And what began as a random group of women (and #bandof4) became a tribe of women, gathered across the world, to spur each other on towards Jesus. We come from every denomination, political party, and stage of life that you can imagine. Our ages range from 17-60. We are married, single, divorced, in college, way out of college, never went to college, moms, wanting to be moms, introverts and extroverts. And you know what? All those difference don’t even matter. I have a tribe of women who can and will pray for me the second I ask for it. Who encourage me on rough days, check in when I’ve been silent for to long, send me encouraging notes and challenge me to love Jesus more than I ever thought possible.

On September 5 (pinch me, because I still don’t think this is actually real) Jen has invited the entire Launch Team to her house to celebrate her book and the friendships that have flourished. So I am going TO HER HOUSE to celebrate this book and the freedom that Christ has given me to just be me.

I am an extrovert by nature, but an introvert the first 15 times you meet me until I know for sure that you have enough crazy bubbling under the surface to match my crazy. So basically I love crowds of people who are already my friends but would rather sit in a rocking chair with a screaming baby than walk into a room of people I’ve never met. You know what I am doing the weekend of the party? Spending 3 days in a farmhouse in Buda, TX with 20 women I’ve only ever met online. Nathan thinks I am crazy and is slightly concerned I might be murdered. But I am so excited to spend the weekend with sisters who have prayed, fought for, and encouraged me in the last few months. I can’t wait for long talks over wine, exploring Austin and setting up for the biggest baddest party Buda has ever seen.

Do yourself a favor and go order this book right now. You will never be the same. I don’t say this lightly, two books have changed my life in the last year, and this is one of them. (Don’t worry, I’ll write about the second one soon!)

“Be kind. Be you. Love Jesus.”

Some Days

Some days are idyllic wonderlands where kids want to snuggle, meals are all eaten, and kids behave in public.

And then there are other days.

I should have seen it coming. Breakfast was a disaster. We tried to play outside and it lasted all of 5 minutes before they were both crying. So I set them up across the room from each other playing with their own toys and stationed myself in the middle so I could grab Ben before he destroyed Parker’s puzzles and before Parker could show Ben that he was playing with the toy all wrong. That was successful for less than 8 minutes before Ben shot past me (being unable to move quickly cause, you know, surgery 5 days ago) and tore Parker’s puzzle apart which resulted in Parker knocking Ben’s blocks down. I loaded us all in the car to head to Target. Admittedly we didn’t need anything, but Slurpee’s and popcorn can keep my kids quiet for at least 20 minutes. The boys were blissfully happy with their snacks and I got to wander aimlessly. I even got two grandma’s to smile at how cute my boys are.

I should have headed home. I could feel it in my gut. “Just go home. Watch a show, feed them lunch and just put them to bed.”

But I didn’t listen. We headed to open gym at the local rec center, which is basically a toddler free for all with bounce houses, hula hoops and balls. In the course of 45 minutes Ben shoved a kid down the slide, cried on the ground because Parker wouldn’t pull him with his cape (this was after Ben grabbed on to the end of the cape and Parker dragged him half across the gym while I heard Ben’s belly scrape against the gym floor but couldn’t stop laughing), cried at the bottom of the slide because I couldn’t help him get to the top and cried because another kid had the hula hoop he wanted (never mind the fact that there were literally 25 other hula hoops sitting next to him).

An old picture, but an example of what the inside of the tire thingy looks like that Parker plays in

Parker happily played on the rolled up carpet against the wall of the gym because God forbid he play with the actual toys in the room. Then he grabbed a parachute and wore it as his cape (see Ben sobbing above). He noticed that his favorite toy was finally available and ran to it. I can only describe it as a giant fat tire about 2 feet wide made out of the same material as gymnastics flooring. I assume it’s purpose is to sit inside and be rolled around but Parker likes to stand it up and hide in it (if that makes any sense at all). He accumulates all the toys he can find, throws them in then hurls himself in on top of the toys. Then he can and will happily play for 20-30 minutes in there.

I, finally thrilled to only be watching Ben for the moment, struck up a conversation with another mom in the room. Then I heard screaming. Then I recognized the screaming. A one year old had the audacity to knock over Parker’s toy and Parker was screaming in the boys face while throwing toys at him. Delightful.

So off we went to the car (after a big apology to the boy and his mom). Lunch went about as well as you’d think. Both boys were in bed by 12:15 and asleep by 12:45pm. Currently I am in bed, grateful that the boys are both asleep and I got to take a pain pill.

So here’s to better days. And here’s to hoping everyone wakes up in a better mood.

Fashion Friday

I’ve got to be honest with you, I do not understand this “Fashion Fridays” I keep reading on blogs. I mean, I get it, let’s talk about fashion on Friday because it’s a fun little phrase. But to me, it just seems like an extension of Pinterest: unachievable desirings of what I could look like if my little minions weren’t hovering at my feet all day long. For example, this is what I wore last Friday:

1FA5004F-A766-48F0-AFB5-1B7E084FB807The shorts are from Target 3 years ago. The shirt is from the clearance rack at Old Navy. It is also, if you can tell, on inside out. I noticed this around 5pm. The under shirt is also from Target and is necessary since “my ladies” have not shrunk back to a decent size after nursing two babies in two years. My sports bra is from Zulily, because for the life of my I cannot justify spending $60-$80 on something no one will ever see.

A few more things to point out: I am standing in my unrenovated bathroom with pink tile from the 50’s. The cabinet door behind me no longer shuts after little hands slammed it shut. This is also the only mirror in our house that I can decently see myself in.

Don’t get me wrong: I love to dress up and look nice. I do it for small group, church on Sunday, and date night twice a month. But that’s about it. Trying to get dressed up at all with my minions is a futile cause: last Friday I put on a  cute shirt and it stayed clean for 45 seconds. Literally. I got dressed, walked to the kitchen and Ben wiped his hands on my shirt while giving me a kiss. The kiss? Totally worth it. The cute outfit was relegated to the dirty laundry and the lovely outfit pictured above was adorned.

One day I will get dressed in Pinterest worthy outfits and flounce around all day in clean clothes. Today, fortunately, is not that day.

Why Even Bother?

Apparently I spent too much money at the beginning of this pay period and apparently we didn’t have much money for the last 5 days of the month. It’s all alleged, but whatever, I think it’s all just hearsay.

Not a chance, a high likelihood come 4pm. No Sunday School teacher will judge me for coffee at 4pm, since Parker likes to recount my every actions to his teachers every single week.

We have a nice morning routine worked out here. Nathan gets up at 6am, showers, reads his Bible, gets the boys up and then somewhere around 7:30am he comes in to our room with a cup of coffee and gently tells me it’s time to wake up. I mumble, roll over and usually go back to sleep. But somewhere in the midget of my grogginess I can smell the coffee he left at my bedside and the alluring scent of caffeine and energy for the day finally drag me out of bed and into the kitchen. It’s a routine that hasn’t changed much since Ben was born. Until this week. The exhaustion, the mumbling, the scent of coffee and the allure have all been there. The only change is that I’ve been dog tired. All. week. long. I just assumed it was life with 2 kids until Nathan pointed out THAT HE’S BEEN GIVING ME DECAF COFFEE. I’m sorry, what? Apparently when we ran out of money we also ran out of coffee. So in his husbandly duties, he just kept making me coffee because, “I really just thought you liked the smell and taste of it. I didn’t know the caffeine was that important.”

If it’s a deep silence and long glare you hear here, then know that’s exactly what Nathan received.

You will be glad to know I went to the grocery store today and bought real coffee today.

Life As We Know It

I can confidently say that life finally feels manageable, and dare I say fun, again for the first time since Ben was born.


That sounds bad; like the last 19 months have been the unfun, unmanageable oblivion of parenting.

Well…..maybe that’s not to far from the truth. Okay, the half truth.

Ben is a sheer delight to our family. His laughter can make everyone in the room stop and join in, his sweet little voice croaks out the funniest words, and his intensity to get what he wants is a telling foreshadowing of his strong personality. But the first 6 months of his life, whew, were not fun. He basically cried and didn’t sleep until the week he hit 6 months. Then he started napping (finally) and sleeping through the night (finally) but his nap didn’t overlap with Parker’s. So for the second half of the first year of his life, we played catch up on sleep, life and marriage. But guess what? When you basically spend 6 months trying to sleep whenever you can and always holding a screaming baby, the long intentional conversations of marriage take a back burner. So then when you start talking again for the first time in 6 months, some issues tend to creep up (fun, right?). But it’s nothing that counseling can’t fix (hey mom and other concerned readers – we are fine! All marriages hit bumps and I am glad our first big bump happened 6.5 years in when we had a solid foundation, knew how the other communicated and had the money for counseling. All is well now. For realz.).

92F76D30-D3EA-4B57-8DDF-159EDAF9B5CBSo with all that being said, life feels GOOD. Really good. Parker is growing up and talking like you wouldn’t believe. His imagination is a force to be reckoned with; the scenarios and stories he sets up for us to play in are unreal and I love them. His vocabulary and understanding (no surprise) is nuts. He can spell all our names, recognize all his letters, use words like ‘scheme’ and ‘voraciously’, and carry on long long long (loooooong) conversations with thousands of questions. I love this little peek into his soul where he tells me every little thing that crosses his mind. He is a goofball and I love him so much.

Ben wakes up with three thoughts on his mind: where is my mom, where are my boots and where is my food. ECF8DD8B-4904-41E2-B47A-B02446B763A9As long as all three of those are within arms reach (literally) then he is happy. His vocabulary has exploded in the last two weeks; he can actually ask for what he wants, he sings little songs, and he screams for his toys. My personal favorite is he has started grabbing my hand and insisting I stop whatever I am importantly doing (hello Instagram and national news) and dragging me to show me something. I love getting to see what his little heart treasures. He could read books all day long: just a few days ago he sat while Nathan read him 103 pages of a Curious George book. I love my little readers! I always knew I wanted to raise kids that loved to read and I knew it would be a struggle with boys. And who knows what the future of their love of reading will look like. But for now, they both beg to read and I absolutely love it.

klyde warrenToday we went to Klyde Warren Park downtown to play with the big Imaginarium blocks and then head to the fountains. Well apparently it was wildly offensive to Parker that other kids had the audacity to touch his blocks, even after he had finished playing with them. Which then prompted a meltdown of why they took down his tower from last week (I don’t know buddy, maybe because they had to put them up and store them for a week?). But alas, logic is lost on the three year old mind. So we headed to the fountains where Ben proceeded to lay ON TOP OF the other kids playing in the water. Whatever. At least they had younger siblings and could laugh it off. Parker, on the other hand, refused to get near the water since last week he found a dead bird in it. Thank you for shouting that loudly today buddy and causing all the parents to stare at me. Nathan surprised us with a short 15 minute visit between meetings downtown and heading back to his client site. You’d think the boys would be thrilled to see him – and they were, for about 2 minutes. Then Ben started screaming at every kid who deigned to come within 15 feet of him and Parker cried because there weren’t real monkeys on the trolley that passed us.

Whatever guys. I wore you out and got 2 hours naps out of both of you. I WON TODAY.



Just imagine I am singing and dancing while writing this post. Because I am. We have been a computer-less family for almost a year (my delightful breast pump exploded all over my old laptop) but our tax rebate (why is it called a rebate, by the by, since it was my money to begin with and they are simply giving back to me what was rightfully mine in the first place??) enabled us to finally purchase a new laptop.

Oh happy day.

I’ve been sitting here for almost an hour with so many things I’ve been wanting to do on a computer for the last year and am instead totally crippled by the possibilities at my finger tips! But in my absence, let’s recap the last year, since all I managed to do for the last year was a monthly post on sweet Ben:

– Ben cried. ALOT. Nathan and I guess that he cried for half of the first year of his life. He was such a delightful baby when he wasn’t crying.

– Parker went from baby to toddler to big kid. His vocabulary has exploded, he never stops asking questions, he notices everything, dances to all music, wants to read books all day, and can do puzzles forever.

– Ben finally stopped crying…..most of the time. He still has his days but for the most part he is a very happy baby. He dances, claps, babbles, walks and wants to read books all. day. long.

– Nathan has the same job.

– I have the same job. I just have a lot less time to do anything at my job. By job I do mean keeping my two hooligans alive, shaping their minds, and cooking endless dinners.

– I still write for Dallas Mom’s Blog and love it.

– I got picked to be on the Launch Team for Jen Hatmaker’s new book! I am loving not only her new manuscript but at the same time, loving the new community of people to interact with on Facebook.

But on the blog front, I hope to have lots of changes coming soon. I’ve been scribbling ideas on scraps of paper and in notebooks all over my house. So hopefully I will have lots of new content and stories for my five readers.

Happy reading!