30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 22 :: Traditions

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 22 :: Traditions
I love family traditions.  I love thinking about the traditions we had growing up and bringing some of those into my own family as well as creating our own.  One of my very favorite traditions that Justin and I have had since we've been married is putting up our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving night.  We come home with bellies full of food and hearts full of thanks, and we're ready to welcome the colors, lights, and excitement of Christmas.  This year was a little different than they've been in the past.  Derrick was so excited to decorate our tree and he was actually pretty helpful.  Jenny Kate...well, she's wide open and she likes bright, pretty things.  It's going to be an interesting year for our tree, that's for sure!  So tonight, as we redecorate the tree since the kids are in bed, I am thankful for the traditions I grew up with and the ones we've made in our little family.  I hope they're things our kids look forward to each year and maybe even carry into their own families one day.  These days are sweet memories that I'll treasure forever.

We're always excited to try new things, so what are some of your favorite family traditions?



30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 21 :: Productivity

Oops.  I skipped a few days of documenting my thankfulness.  I have the pics I just haven't gotten around to posting them.  I'll put them up soon.  If you've read this blog for longer than a week you aren't surprised, right? :)  I impressed myself by making it 15 days in a row! Ha!


30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 21 :: Productivity

Today I'm thankful for productivity.  There are so many days that I cannot tell you what in the world I actually accomplished, so I get excited when there's some scratching off the to-do list. Today we surprisingly got a lot done, but my favorite accomplishment is our new "art" beside the table.  We've had these pictures of the kids hanging in the kitchen for a while now, but today we finally added Derrick's blessing above it.  I love looking at their food-covered faces and reading that sweet blessing he says.  Makes me smile.  :)

We did lots of cooking today, a little cleaning, some kid Christmas tree decorating, and a run.  Now it's time to put kiddies to bed and watch this week's Parenthood! :)

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!



Thankfulness Catch Up & The Color Run

I have a little catching up to do.  Justin and I went out of town last night sans kiddos to stay with our friends and to run in the Color Run in Charlotte today.  Fun. Fun!!

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Days 16 & 17 ::  Time With Friends & A Night With Grandparents
Today (and yesterday) I am thankful for much needed time with friends and a night with the grandparents for our kids.  Justin and I went up to stay with Missi & Joel and Justin's parents kept the kids all night for us.  (This was only the 2nd time we've left them overnight, the first being about a year ago, so this was definitely overdue!)  We enjoyed dinner with just the two of us (and had to smile when someone else's kid screamed during dinner and we didn't have to react at all :).  It was fun staying up late catching up with Missi and Joel even though we had to get up way too early this morning to head to our run.  

We signed up for the Color Run back in the summer.  Apparently this crazy run sells out THE DAY it opens (in Charlotte anyway), but we lucked up and had somebody on the lookout to get us signed up. Missi was my original running buddy so it was really fun to finally be able to run with her again...especially in this race.  I also got to run with her new running buddy and it was fun to make a new friend. 

It. Was. COLD.  Holy cow!  

This was us before:
and after:

The Color Run was fun (it is, after all, the "Happiest run on the planet"), but it was a tough course!  The hills were killer!  It was a 5k and at every kilometer we were blasted with a different color of cornstarch-y stuff.  It was a fun distraction to getting through the run but it didn't make it easy.  I can tell I haven't been running as much lately!

At the end of the run there was a dance party.  They did waves of color which was really neat.  It was crazy when we were in the middle of the crowd during the color waves because all of a sudden it got really dark and everyone got drenched in color.  It was a lot of fun!  It's also very interesting to find all of the different places the color hides, even after showering.  :)

We had an appropriately colorful sky on the way home.  It was so pretty in real life!  It's amazing how many colors can be in the sky at sunset.  This phone picture doesn't do it a bit of justice.

While we were driving home we got this picture from Mamaw:
 She sat still enough to let Mamaw put curlers in her hair AND left them in until her hair was dry!  I was shocked!

Here she is with her added volume:
 I'm still totally shocked that she sat still long enough to have the curlers put in because she sure wouldn't sit still for a picture!

 It was great to have some time to ourselves but it sure was nice to squeeze these babies when we got home.  I missed 'em like crazy!



30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 15 :: Lots of Undies

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 15 :: Lots of Undies
Today I am thankful that Derrick has lots of undies. He's very into dressing himself and changes clothes at the very least four times a day.  But this...now this just might give my washing machine a run for it's money! Would all of these now be considered dirty?



30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 14 :: Family

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 14 :: Family
Today, and everyday, I am so thankful for my family.  I love these people more than I thought I could ever love anybody in the world.  All three of them.  Love, love, LOVE!

And I'm thankful for my friend Rebecca, who took this picture.  We got our families together and did family pics for one another.  It was a perfect trade and something I'm looking forward to doing more often.  We do not have enough pictures of the four of us.  Thanks, friend! :)

 Thank all of you, too, for your sweet comments and promise of prayers for D and my dad.  I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.  

This is starting to sound like an acceptance speech, so I'll stop for now.  :)



30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 13 :: Modern Medicine

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 13 :: Modern Medicine
Today I am so very thankful for the advancements that have been made in modern medicine. I think about it every day, but today was one of those days that kept it at the forefront of my mind.  

Derrick had his 3 month cardiologist follow up today.  The appointment went well and he was a super big boy.  He sat on the table by himself and had his blood pressure checked and let Dr. S listen to his heart.

He helped put the stickers on for his EKG and daddy held his hand while he was on the table.  He was super still just like they asked.

Overall, the appointment went well.  Derrick looked and sounded good, EKG was the same and there were no new murmurs.  His sats, however, have been slowly trending down and we had the big "S" talk again.  Dr. S told us today that he wanted to do Derrick's Fontan in May instead of waiting until the end of summer.  This caught us off guard a little since last time we were there we kind of had a choice and were planning to wait until the end of the summer.  

So, in SIX months it will be time.  

Honestly I'd rather it be earlier so he has the summer to recover and we don't have to worry about the germs of the fall.  I have to admit, though, that I had visions of a jam packed summer living it up before the big day.  I guess we'll have to do the hard part first and celebrate afterward. 

I've been thinking about it all day and trying not to think about it all day.  Oh, my gosh I'm so not ready to do this again!  In thinking about being thankful today, I've thought about how grateful I am that Derrick was born when he was.  If he were born 25 years earlier he wouldn't have much of a fighting chance and for that I am so very thankful.  There is great hope for my boy and this surgery is going to make his quality of life so much better.  It's a GOOD thing, not a BAD thing.  I have to keep remembering that.

Here's the rest of our day in Instagram photos:

We went to Family Fun Day at the mall.  Jenny Kate jumped right in and was enthralled by the puppet show.  She isn't the least bit shy and I love that about her!

Derrick loved it too, but he stays close by.  And I love that about him.  :)

Derrick had one of his favorite foods for lunch, Japanese.  The boy loves some rice! 

Jenny Kate had her favorite food too.  Ketchup.

We had to play on some of the rides and this time when they started moving Derrick loved it.  This is a big step for us!  I guess it also means that we have to really put coins in from now on because just sitting in it isn't going to cut it now that he's not afraid.  :)

Jenny Kate liked it too, but she wasn't overly thrilled.  Her face was expressionless just like this the entire time D drove her in the cement truck.

We promised Derrick he could get a gumball since he was such a big boy today.  Of course he chose blue.  He loves blue candy!

We stopped by the mall playground one more time before leaving.  Can you tell this girl loves her brother?

Overall I'd say it was a pretty good day!

On another note, my dad could really use some prayers.  He's been doing radiation 5 days a week for the last 6-ish weeks and he's had 2 chemo treatments.  He's been doing really well, but it's starting to catch up with him and his throat has gotten really, really sore.  So much that they gave him a couple of days off from radiation because it's burning his throat so much.  Obviously he can't eat anymore (he does have a peg tube so he can get calories), but it's even hard for him to swallow now and he really can't talk at all.  I sure would appreciate some prayers for him and I know he'd appreciate it too!  Thank you, friends!


30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 12 :: Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshakes

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 12 :: Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshakes
Today I'm thankful that Chick-fil-a's peppermint chocolate chip milkshakes are back in season.  Because really, sometimes you've just gotta have one.  Or two.

We're heading to Derrick's 3 month cardiologist check-up tomorrow morning.  Yikes!  We would love your prayers.  He told me tonight that he wanted Dr. S. to give him a shot.  Ha!  At least this is one place where he doesn't have to worry about needles.  :)



30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 11 :: Impressionable Lives

Derrick goes into "big church" with us now.  He's too old for the nursery and we're not ready to fight the battle that may break out if we attempt Children's Church (although we have made lots of progress lately here and here!).  Anyway, Justin had to leave the service a few minutes early to go to work so it was just D and me.  After finishing a whisper argument about how yet another pack of sweet tarts was not ok, I looked over to see this:

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 11 :: Impressionable Lives

A kid "following along" in the hymnal at church is nothing extraordinary and I'm sure I've even seen Derrick do this before.  But today instead of it just being something to keep him occupied for a moment or it just being cute, it made me realize how impressionable kids are.  I knew this, but sometimes it's more apparent than others.  Derrick has been asking about the Bible a lot lately.  The other day I was trying to get ready and he came in the bathroom and said, "Mommy, I want to read the Bible like you and Daddy do."  I stopped what  I was doing and walked into our bedroom and handed him our Bible.  He said, "Can you read it to me?"  So Derrick, Jenny Kate and I sat on the bed and Derrick randomly turned the pages of the Bible and I read until he was ready to turn the page again.  I was shocked at how long he sat there and listened to me read.  A few days later, as we were reading bedtime stories, Derrick picked up his Children's Bible Story book and said, "I want to read the Bible all the time like you and Daddy do."  This made me proud yet very convicted.  I really don't think he has ever seen us read the Bible.  He sees it beside our bed, and may have seen one of us pick it up on occasion, but we have not been good examples of daily quiet time with God.  We certainly don't do it nearly as much as we should!  So today as I watched him in church with his hymn book, looking at the pages like he knew exactly what was going on, I realized how thankful I am that God has trusted us with two little impressionable lives to mold and teach.  It's an overwhelming task if I really think about it, and I can't say I'm always a great example of how I want my children to be, but I'm ready for the challenge.  I know as we try to raise Godly children, our children will bring us so much closer to Him.

(I had a mini internal battle about whether or not I should snap a picture in church, but I figured since people were getting up for communion and it wasn't in the middle of the sermon or prayer or something, it was ok. { I hope!}  Of course, as he saw me reach down into my purse to dig out my phone (hopeful that I would pull out more sweet tarts I'm sure) he looked at me so I couldn't capture the real moment.  Trying to be discrete about the pictures in church also explains the very odd composition of the picture, but a mama's gotta sacrifice sometimes.  :)



30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 10 :: Laundry

I hate laundry. Everyone who really knows me knows that my laundry room is an enter-at-your-own-risk kind of place. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that it has been a little over two weeks since I did laundry. Well, since I've completed a full cycle..as in not re-washing the same load over and over because it was still in the washer days later. Anyway, to save my family from having to continue to dig through a basket (of clean laundry!) to find matching socks, I figured I had no choice other than to bite the bullet and wash, dry, and put away some clothes.

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 10 :: Laundry

Today I'm thankful for laundry...washed, dried, folded, AND put away laundry! I think I did about 10 loads today. Seriously! I had some little helpers, so that made it a little more fun (and a little slower, but that's ok:). It's (almost) finished, and I'm so thankful! Maybe I'll be off the hook for a few days.

Tell me I'm not the only one with this issue!! Please?


30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 9 :: Independence

There was one thing we knew when signing Derrick up for preschool, and that was that we would have to walk him inside every morning. His school does a carpool drop off but we were sure that Derrick would never ever be ok with being removed from our car by someone who wasn't his teacher.

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 9 :: Independence
He's been telling us for a few days that he wanted to walk in school by himself like his friends.  (He also said that he wanted to "just do whatever my friends do," which might be a whole nother issue! :) This morning on the way to school I asked him if he wanted to go through carpool. "Yes, I want to walk through 'big room' by myself like my friends," he told me. We talked about how Jenny Kate and I would stay in the car and a teacher, probably not one of his teachers, would help him out of the car. He kept insisting that was what he wanted to do so we got into the carpool line. I unbuckled him as we waited in line and when the teacher opened his door he hopped right out with barely a wave goodbye. Today I am thankful that my clingy little boy has has developed more independence than I ever thought he would at this point. I was so proud of him as he hopped out of the car and walked up the steps with his book bag that's almost as big as he is. I have to admit though, this step tugged at my heart strings. Hard! I can't believe how much my boy has grown up these last few months!  It's bittersweet!


30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 8 :: BraveHEARTS & Such

This morning we packed 18 Christmas BraveHEART Baskets and took them down to MUSC.  I love packing the baskets, and this morning Derrick even helped a little.  He likes looking at all of the goodies and talking about taking them to the "BraveHEARTS".  Today we were so happy to have Aunt Shirley tag along for the delivery.  Let me tell you, getting two little kids and a bunch of baskets in the hospital is quite a feat.  We always get funny looks as we walk the halls trying to juggle everything.  We were so happy to have an extra set of hands!  (And it was also great having her for the car ride!  Thanks Aunt Shirley!!)

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 8 :: BraveHEARTS & Such
Today I am thankful to be part of Hope for BraveHEARTS.  It is such a blessing to be part of this organization and I have loved seeing firsthand how God works through something as devastating as a Congenital Heart Defect to bring hope to others.  It's so exciting to know that the baskets bring smiles to little faces as they wake up from surgery and it's even more exciting to think about the research that is being done to save little lives.  Of course, the money HBH has donated for research is not even a drop in the bucket of what is needed, but hopefully we can make a difference somehow.  Hope for BraveHEARTS is nothing that any of us can take credit for.  We have an enormous amount of support from friends, family, and the community that has made the 125 baskets we've delivered and the $17,500 donated to research possible.  It's totally a God thing and that makes me love it so much more!

P.S. Excuse the poor photo!  Dark parking garage + phone camera = not a great shot but we had to freeze the moment.  

Thanks again Aunt Shirley!  You rock and we love you!! 



30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 7 :: Help

The old saying, "It takes a village to raise a child" is so true!  I am so thankful we live close to our family.  Our parents are a huge help with taking care of kids when we need them and we are so grateful for that.  Friends are also a huge help when it comes to taking care of kids.  Without them I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have left the house without Justin the first year of Jenny Kate's life.  I love that when we're out with friends that the mom's just all parent each other's kids.  We're all on the lookout and treat them all as our own.  It's fun and funny.  One of Derrick's friends calls Justin "the other daddy."  Ha!

Help with kids is great and I'm pretty sure I couldn't parent without it.  Now the kids being the help...that's something I'm looking forward to!  {And a little side note:  My mom told me that when I was younger I told her that they had kids just so we could clean up. :) Ha!!} 

We decided that Derrick is old enough to have a few responsibilities.  He has to clean up his toys, he "sweeps" the kitchen with the swiffer vac maybe once a week, and he is also in charge of keeping toilet paper stocked in the bathrooms.

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 7 :: Help
Today I am thankful for help.  Being a mom is harder than I realized it would be.  I am so thankful for family and friends who lessen the load and love our kids, and I'm also thankful that my own child is becoming more helpful.  Even if sometimes it's a little extreme.  :)

P.S. He did this totally without my help or encouragement.  He did, however, enlist Jenny Kate to carry some rolls, which she was happy to do.  He's also learning the power of appointing people to do his "jobs".  Already.



30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 6 :: Honey

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 6 :: Honey
Today I'm thankful for honey.  Not for the normal, yummy, sweet goodness that it is, but for it's natural healing.  Derrick has been coughing like crazy at night (and only at night, which is kind of bizarre) and a teaspoon of honey does the trick.  Thank you, honey, for helping my boy with his cough and helping all of us get some sleep!



30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 5 :: Promises

Shockingly I'm still on top of this after 5 days.  I mean, the day is almost over, but still.  This is big for me!  :)  I've been going through each day really trying to be aware of all of the little blessings I have in my life and I think this little project is good for me.  

We were playing outside today in this awesome fall weather and I was pretty sure I was going to capture a moment with one of the kids that would spark an idea.    Of course I took some pictures, and of course there are so many things that the kids did/said that I am thankful for, but nothing that felt right for today.  Then we walked around to the back yard and in the (sad looking) flower bed there were four butterflies fluttering around.  The three of us stopped in our tracks to take in their beauty.

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 5 :: Promises
 There have been a few things heavy on my heart lately, and seeing these butterflies reminded me that there is nothing that I could be more thankful for than God's promises.  No matter what life throws our way He has a plan.  And He promises us a life of more perfectness and beauty than we could ever imagine as long as we believe in Him and trust in His promise.  I'm thankful for beautiful little butterflies, but I'm so thankful that we serve such an awesome God!

And a few little snippets of our time outside this morning:

Playdough (or "Pee-do" as JK says) is no longer allowed inside or on the screened porch, so we had to get creative.   They're obsessed.

Derrick got bored with the playdough, especially after it was covered with dirt and leaves.

Jenny Kate decided that eating the "pee-do" was much better than actually playing with it. 

I sure do love these crazy kids! :)

I also want to ask that you please keep our friend Reagan in your prayers.  She was born with HLHS and had a transplant when she was a baby.  She has been through a LOT and is an amazing fighter and such strong little girl, but she is pretty sick right now and she and her family could really use your prayers.  Please, please pray for her!!


30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 4 :: Progress

30 Days of Thankfulness :: Day 4 :: Progress
We love our church.  We've made great friends, have an awesome Sunday School class, love the children's programs, and most importantly of all, feel like it's a place where God really speaks to us.  In August, once school started, Derrick moved to a "real" Sunday School class.  Once he left the comfort of Ms. Debbie's nursery, he decided he didn't want to go to church anymore.  The change apparently was a little stressful for boy, but he has wonderful teachers who are always ready to give him a little TLC as he's crying even before we reach his classroom.  He's gotten progressively better as the weeks have gone on (especially if his buddy Lawson is there).  Today, I am thankful that Derrick wiggled down out of Justin's arms as we got close to his classroom and said, "I want to walk."  And he walked right into Sunday School and never looked back.