Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Working Momma vs. Stay-At-Home Momma

I am now four months into this whole stay-at-home momma gig and here's what I know.

Being a working momma is tough stuff.

Being a stay-at-home momma is tough stuff.

Brilliant conclusion, right?

Honestly? I think both are challenging and rewarding jobs each in their own. 


Different. And hard for different reasons.

Here's what I think, as a seasoned 4-month-in-as-a-stay-at-home-momma pro novice and as someone who was a full-time working momma for nearly 3 years.

Stress level? Much, MUCH higher as a working momma. The amount of stress, worry, and work that goes into getting one, or in my case for about six months, two little ones up, dressed, fed, packed up, out the door, and dropped off at school each morning, all under the pressure of getting to work at a specific time, is really high. It's why I had laminated check lists for morning and nightly prep--because despite my perfectionistic, organized self, unless things were written down, I would forget them (okay...that's still true...). And don't even get me started on when I got the call that one of my kiddos was sick. Bring on the high alert, code red stress level. Because crap! I have patients scheduled all day tomorrow and my kid can't go to school. And my husband has appointments with clients. Double crap. So, the award for the most stressful job goes to....the full-time working momma.

Physical exhaustion level? Much, much higher as a stay-at-home momma. Now, don't get me wrong. Being a momma in itself can be exhausting, thanks to unexpected, late night awakenings, early morning risings, and children who have so much energy you want to bottle it and sell it to make a profit to pay someone to come watch your children for a few hours so you can, please dear Lord, get a couple more hours of shut eye. Yes, mommas always have an underlying layer of tired. It's part of the job description. But. As a stay-at-home momma, I am more physically exhausted now than ever in my life. It's because, for the most part, from the time my children wake up until the time they go to bed, I generally do not stop moving. There is no sitting behind a desk (and thus, getting a little rest for the weary). It's up the stairs. Down the stairs. In the car. Out of the car. Wipe a hiney. Change a diaper. Fix a meal. Clean up after the meal. Put kids down for naps. Do the dishes, laundry, chores, etc. Play, play, play, play, and play some more with my kids, because that's the sole purpose of being a stay-at-home momma. And it is absolutely exhausting, with little to no rest for the ol' body most days. But. It is also the most fun and rewarding kind of exhausting.

Intellectual level? Hmmm....different for different reasons. As a pediatric neuropsychologist, I exercised different parts of my brain on a daily basis. It was constant reasoning, understanding, searching my anatomical lexicon to understand the workings of the human brain and relate it to child behavior. It was exhilarating. But also, intellectually demanding. Being a stay-at-home momma is intellectually stimulating in a different way. No, I am no longer required to consider neuroanatomical correlates when talking with parents (who would probably find it weird, given that my conversations with other parents now tend to be on the playground, rather than during a feedback session). But. I am constantly wracking my brain about how to challenge my kiddos to stimulate their developing brains: whether it's practicing recognition of numbers and letters or stretching their imaginations or ensuring their language is developing within, or above, developmental expectations, my new role as a stay-at-home momma allows me to exercise a more creative component of my thinking that I wasn't always able to tap into as a neuropsychologist. So. I call this one a tie. 

Multi-tasking level? Total toss up. As a working momma, it would not be out of the question to be studying for boards while thinking about the results from a result neuropsychological evaluation while planning what to bring in for my child's Thanksgiving celebration and also beginning to think about Christmas lists and, oh yeah, wracking my brain for what we could have for dinner that evening. As a stay-at-home momma, it is common to be carrying on a conversation with my son, who may suddenly launch his 40-pound body on my back, while I am changing the diaper of a wriggling toddler and trying to think three steps ahead to ensure that everything we need for our planned outing is packed, a dinner plan is in the works, and the dog is cared for. Multi-tasking and mommahood are synonymous, whether you are a working momma or stay-at-home momma.

Emotional level? Without a doubt, with question or hesitation, being a working momma can be more emotionally one sense of the word. For me, I absolutely ached in my bones to be with my children when I was a full-time working momma. I missed them so desperately. As selfish as it may sound, I wanted to be with my own kids, helping them, teaching them, kissing their booboos, telling them many, many times a day, how much I love them. I loved my job, I loved helping other children and families, but I missed my own. Now, being a stay-at-home momma is also emotionally taxing in its own right at times, but only because I must be the bearer of discipline, and the soul care provider for two active kids, each and every day, which can take a toll at times. It is hard. But at the end of the day, I am with my kids. And even though it can be emotionally demanding and patience-stealing, it is worth it.

All in all, I honestly don't believe one job is harder than another. Each role is demanding in its individual ways. And I don't think one job is more important or more meaningful than the other. We need working mommas for the world to function. At the same time, I need, so deep in my soul, to be a stay-at-home momma right now, which is what makes my world go 'round. 

At the end of the day, we are all mommas, who love our babies, and want to do what's best for them, for our spouses, for ourselves, for our families, whatever that role may be. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sometimes Mommas Make Mistakes

I am, without a doubt, a perfectionist.

No question.

I do not like to do things wrong. I do not like to be wrong (just ask my hub).

I attribute my perfectionism to a number of things: Perhaps it's in my blood (my sisters and I tend to house quite a bit of anxiety and perfectionism at times. One point for nature). Perhaps it's because I am the second born child but first born daughter (if you ascribe to the personality traits that typically accompany birth order and gender; One point for nurture).

Honestly, though?

I think it was one solo event that really steered me in this direction: The unexpected loss of a parent at a young age. Because you know what? I quickly learned that, while I cannot control the thoughts, feelings, or behaviors of those around me, I can control me and my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Which can make the world feel like a less scary place sometimes.

Sometimes, I think perfectionism can be a good trait: I am an organized person and, thus, usually on top of things and able to plan ahead. My house is clean. I made a 4.0 when obtaining my doctorate. I landed great internship and post-doctoral fellowship opportunities.

Sometimes, I think perfectionism is troubling: I worry about things being, well, perfect.


Do you know who's not perfect? Me.

Because I am human. I am supposed to make mistakes.

And do you know who else is not perfect? My children.

Because they are children. They are supposed to make mistakes. It's how they learn. It's how they grow. It's how they discover the "rules" of the world.

Sometimes, I forget that my children are allowed, are supposed, to make mistakes.

And I get frustrated. And they know when I get frustrated. Because I may raise my voice or speak to them too harshly.

I don't always like myself, more specifically, the way I choose to initially respond, in those moments. Because I forget, momentarily, that they are children. And they are allowed, they are supposed, to make mistakes.


Shortly after those moments, I am quick, and make it a point, to tell them one thing. A thing that I am proud to tell them because I think it is an important life lesson. I get down on their level, look them in the eye, apologize for snapping so quickly or speaking too harshly, tell them I love them, and then, always say,

"Sometimes Momma makes mistakes."

Because it's true.

Mommas make mistakes. Sure. We do our best. We try to stay calm and patient and understanding. Even when our child just spilled his third plate of food in so many nights after horse-playing at the dinner table. Even when our child just took 10 minutes, again, to simply put on pajamas.

We Mommas, we give mommahood everything we've got.


Sometimes Mommas make mistakes.

And that's okay. Because, despite our best efforts, we are not perfect. And we, too, are learning. We, as mommas, are supposed to make mistakes as we learn to be mommas.

For me, I want my children to know that no one else is perfect either. Mommas make mistakes just like everybody else.

And at the end of the day, that's the best I can do: When I make mistakes, learn from them and try better not to repeat them. And show my children that it's okay to make mistakes, as long as we acknowledge them and attempt to do better next time.

Make mistakes? Sure. But learn from them? Absolutely. Hopefully, my children will learn that perfection is not expected.

Because perfect's not so perfect after all.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes

Change is good.


Change is scary.


It's easy to get stuck in my comfort zone. I know expect how things are supposed to go. There are no surprises. It's comfortable. It's easy.

But easy isn't always best.

This has brought about two major changes currently happening in my life. In my family's life. Right now. As we speak.

I will write about both in greater detail soon. After these changes settle in and become a part of our family's daily life.


For now, I will just say that we're challenging ourselves, for the betterment (is that really a word?) of our family and hoping to come out on the other side as better versions of ourselves. And I'll be happy to share these changes, these life-altering modifications, with y'all, who actually take time out of your own busy lives to read this little ol' blog because maybe, just maybe, you'll be interested in these types of changes, too?

Change is scary.


But also?


So, here's to being brave, to facing change, and coming out with a fresh perspective on the other side.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

One Year: The Comings and Goings of My Girl

As a Momma, I always swear that I will remember each of these precious moments as they are passing. 


You know what?

It's hard to remember each and every detail. Case in point: I know my son started walking around 10.5 months and starting saying single words shortly thereafter, but the actual details of the other activities and abilities he was engaging in are hazy. 


I want to document, honestly more for myself so I can reflect on this down the road, when the details are again hazy, exactly what my little Raleigh is doing now that she is the ripe ol' age of 1 year. 

Thus, the comings and goings of Miss Raleigh Jane at 1 year:
  • Raleigh weighed 19 pounds, 3 ounces (20th percentile) and was 31 inches tall (95th percentile) at her one-year well check. Long and lean? Looks like it. This means she has gained 11 pounds, 3 ounces since birth and has grown 10 inches. And I promise--this girl can eat! Sometimes she will out-eat her brother, and that's saying something!
  • Raleigh started walking right around 11 months. Her initially wobbly steps are wobbly no more. In fact, I swear this child is almost running half the time. She loves chasing after her big brother and is CONSTANTLY on the move. One of her activities of choice these days? Climbing. Up stairs. On couches. Up slides. On stools. You name it, she'll climb it. And let me tell you, there is nothing that makes a momma's heart skip a beat more quickly than turning around after 2 seconds and seeing your toddler standing tall on the couch, with a huge smile on her face as the sweetest giggle escapes her lips. Seriously. I wouldn't be surprised if I have a stomach ulcer from all the lets-keep-momma-on-her-tip-top-toes tricks my two little teamsters orchestrate each day.
  • Raleigh looooooves talking. Loves it. In addition to "mama" and "dada," her current vocabulary includes Banks (which, truthfully, sounds like "Bay"), Coop (our dog, which, honestly, sounds like "Boop," which is exactly how Banks used to say it!), baby, bye-bye, up, dog, uh-oh, milk, cup, hat, shoes, and ball (and maybe a couple other words that aren't coming to mind right now?). She will also make the animal sounds for cow, snake, monkey, bear, and dog. And she has this to.die.for. giggle, in which her entire face lights up and she squeals at the top of her lungs. She knows her Daddy and Momma love it; so, she does it all the time. Swoon.
  • As of two days ago, Raleigh is no longer breastfed. She is a good little eater (with three big meals and two to three smaller snacks throughout the day) and loves whole cow's milk. She uses either a sippy cup or straw cup for all of her milk consumption and loves to throw it on the floor when she's done. Her favorite foods include waffles, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, lasagna, Cheerios, and toddler "granola bars." Oh, and sweets. She is her Momma's daughter, after all.
  • Raleigh loves to do whatever her big brother is doing. Often, this means racing cars side-by-side as her brother zooms around the playroom. She is starting to learn golf, thanks to mimicking her big bro, and absolutely adores kicking around the soccer ball. Maybe she'll be an athlete? She also, as I mentioned, loves climbing on any and everything as well as swinging at the park and pushing her baby around in the stroller. 
  • Raleigh adores being around other babies her age. She gets so excited to see someone her size and is VERY affectionate. Not only with her Momma, Daddy, and brother, but also with  her buddies. It is the cutest thing to see her go up to her new friends and try to steal kisses. 
  • One of our favorite things Raleigh does right now is, after she or anyone else in the vicinity, finishes taking a sip of her/their drink, she will proudly say, "Ah!," as if to say, "Man, that was refreshing!" Especially appropriate after Momma or Daddy takes a swig of their adult beverage. She will also point to a few different body parts on command (e.g., eyes, nose, mouth, belly, head), although usually more on others than on herself.
  • Raleigh has four teeth: two on top, two on bottom, which we brush twice a day with a baby (i.e., finger) toothbrush, although we'll likely switch to a big girl toothbrush soon. She doesn't such her thumb, fingers, or paci. She will, on rare occasion (e.g., when bored during car trips), suck her toes. Gross. But also, quite flexible. And also, her Momma used to do this as a baby.
  • Raleigh's hair is sloooowly growing in. It looks like she'll be a blondie like her big brother. And right now, she has one single curl (that sometimes curls up into a ringlet!) in the back. Come on blonde curls!! 
  • Raleigh now, generally, takes just one nap, which has been averaging 90 minutes to 2 hours the last few days. She goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 pm and will usually sleep until 6:30 or 7:00 am.
  • Raleigh is truly the sweetest, happiest little lady I have ever been blessed, privileged, and lucky enough to know. I am so, so excited to see what Year 2 holds for my precious girl. It is hard to imagine my love for her could increase any more, but my heart continues to grow in love, exponentially, for both she and her brother, each day. Blessed. Blessed. Blessed. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Family Fill-In: Rainy Day Fun

It has been raining, nonstop, all week. 

To fight the feelings of restlessness secondary to being cooped up inside all day, we managed to have a little fun in the form of two playdates and some at-home creativity. 

Here's what we did to keep ourselves occupied this week amidst the ever-falling raindrops:

Monday: Banks had a fun surprise waiting for him when he got home from "school": Ladies and Gentlemen, it's the Luton Motor Speedway (hopefully, you just read that in your best deep announcer voice). I thought Banks would really enjoy this, as he and his Daddy went to a monster truck rally over the weekend and he has not let his souvenir monster truck out of his sight since then. So. With a little masking tape, a checkered flag, and a lot of "spectator" stuffed animals, I created "Luton Motor Speedway." And what good is any event without the appropriate concessions (i.e., hot dogs, tater tots, popcorn, and Goldfish [the latter was provided especially for the littlest patron]). It was a hit!

Tuesday: We joined our playdate group for an outing at the Charlotte Nature Museum. There was lots to see and do, although I think Banks most enjoyed feeding the turtles and Raleigh most enjoyed climbing up and down the stairs (her current hobby of choice). Fun for all, and a great chance for us mommas to catch up and get out of the rain.

Wednesday: More fun awaited Banks after his morning at preschool. This time, in the form of fishing at "Lake Luton." Blue streamers set the scene, and the tackle box, fishing rods, and fish were awaiting his arrival. Banks was quite the fisherman, following in his Pop's footsteps. He also enjoyed a momma made fishy lunchable made comprised of cheese and cracker fish, turkey seaweed, and, what I like to call, "Sneaky muffins" ('cause the veggies sneak in without the eater ever knowing) for sand. Fun for all ages!

Thursday: We braved the rainy streets to again join our play group for out-of-the-house enjoyment, at Sports Connection, an arcade/bounce house. This place is great because (1) fun at the bounce house generally means a nice, long nap later in the day, and (2) my kids are still at the ages where they don't realize that you need money to make the arcade really fun. They are happy to just sit on the cars and motorcycles and steer the wheels (thinking they are causing the scenes playing out before them on the video screens), wander around and look at all the lights (Raleigh), and sit on non-moving carousels. One day, they'll catch on. For now, free fun in the arcade!

Friday: Our week in the rain will close out with a special pirate hunt for treasure around the house (for chocolate gold doubloons!). Pretending to be a pirate is one of Banks' most favorite things right now, and even Raleigh likes to get dressed up in her big brother's pirate gear from time to time. Arrrr matey. Bring on the hunt!

So, yes, we were still able to have a fun week, despite all the rain. That being said, I am looking forward to next week's forecast, when there is 0% chance of rain and we can get back outside. Starting later today...

Enjoy the (rain-free!) weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nope. Still Don't Enjoy Cooking.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I just do not enjoy cooking.

I don't enjoy the hunt that goes into searching for recipes.

I don't enjoy the thought that goes into menu planning. 

I don't enjoy the effort that goes into grocery shopping.

I don't enjoy the time that goes into prepping and cooking the meal.

I don't enjoy the fact that, despite all that time, energy, and effort, the meal is generally consumed in less than 10 minutes (unless you're my 3-year-old, in which case, tack on about 40 more minutes to that).

I'd rather be hanging out with my hub and children than spending time doing any of the above. 

My memories of growing up do not revolve around all the actual meals that were consumed by my parents, older brother, two younger sisters, and me. 

Nope. Not one bit.


My memories of growing up do involve very vivid images of the six of us sitting around the dinner table, saying our grace, discussing our days, and spending time together, as a family. It was a given that at the end of the day, despite full schedules of school, work, and sports and dance practices, we would meet together, at the table, as a family.

THIS is what I hope one day resonates with my children: That time together is important. That we eat dinners, at the same time, together, as a family. Every night. Around the dinner table. Not for the purpose of indulging on some immaculate meal I spent hours (away from them) preparing. Not gonna happen. But. For the purpose of simply being together.

I may not provide the best home-cooked meals (although, I am happy to report that we, as a family, are now committed to using as many organic foods as possible and eating less processed foods-at least the few meals I do prepare are healthy, right? Right?), but I will ensure that there is always a family-filled dinner table waiting. 

This is my job as a Momma and I take it seriously: Allow my children to be the beneficiaries of a childhood that is painted with beautiful memories of togetherness. Because I highly doubt that what was on the menu each evening will color their memories. But. I do believe they'll remember the time we spent around our table, praying, laughing, sharing, and being together. In my opinion, those are the makings of any good meal.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What I'm Lovin' Now

  • The fact that it is sunny and 75 degrees today. In January. This has meant lots of outdoor family fun this weekend. This is one of many, many reasons I love livin' in the South.
  • The fact that all the planning, preparation, time, and effort that naturally accompanies the holidays, and a certain little lady's first birthday party, is now behind us. My to-do list has shortened immensely and I love that none of the to-do's on my shortened list feel like they need to be done now, now, now. This means soaking up special moments with my kiddos and really being able to enjoy them, being present, without a nagging to-do list constantly beckoning me in the back of my mind.
  • The fact that we have two very special trips on the horizon in the upcoming months: a special trip with just my hub and little buddy and then an exciting, week-long getaway with the hub, alone, overseas. Yeehaw!
  • The fact that my little girl's vocabulary is blossoming each day! My little lady is all about talking these days and loves mimicking what I say and discovering new words. I swear, that little voice is one of the sweetest sounds on earth and I love hearing her say so many new words!!
  • The fact that this is going to be a big wedding year for my side of the family: My baby sister will tie the knot in October in an outdoor ceremony at a gorgeous farm. I can.not.wait. for their big day! And my stepbrother just got engaged to his amazing fiance and those wedding plans are underway as well. Bring on the showers! And bachelorettes! And wedding fun!
  • The fact that my little buddy started his first organized sport on Saturday: Soccer! The sight of him in his first official jersey on his first official "team" at his first official practice was almost too much for this Momma to take. The whole family was up bright and early Saturday to attend his first practice, and admittedly, three different cameras and a video camera also joined us for the morning-all of which were heavily used the first part of practice before I decided to shut them all down and just take in what was happening before my eyes. Magical.
  • The fact that I went on my first run in seven months over the weekend. Man it felt good. And surprisingly, I am not sore...yet. It felt so great to get out and run again, and I am looking forward to making it a part of my regular routine again several times a week. 
  • The fact that we have finally decided on a church here in our new town-well, it's not quite here. It's actually going to be about a 25 minute drive. But. I am truly excited about it, which is surprising, because I would never have used the words "church" and "exciting" in the same sentence 10 years ago. But. This church, this pastor, has transformed me and moved me in many ways over the last few years.
  • The fact that, outside of soccer practice each Saturday morning, and a special weekend away for just my little buddy at his Bammy and Digby's house at the end of the month, we have absolutely no plans for any weekend this month. We won't know what to do with ourselves with all this free time! Love it.
  • The fact that my little girl is finally healthy after a nasty virus last week. Every momma knows how heartbreaking it is to see their little ones sick. Luckily, we are on the mend. 
  • The fact that we are making some great new friends here in our new town while also getting to spend lots of time with old friends. And seeing the friendships form between all of our children-priceless. 
  • The fact that there is still a little time left in this weekend. Off to soak it up!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Remember When

Remember when you gave up a summer of fun;
I knew right then that you were the one.

Remember our day, it was you and me,
Saying, "I do," under great oak trees.

Remember the year that I lived away,
Counting down 'til I could see you every day.

Remember when, so young and carefree:
Late nights, later mornings, and spontaneity.

Remember when the test said, "Yes";
There was shock and excitement as we prepared our nest.

Remember when we first heard him cry;
Instantly, our hearts entwined with our big guy.

Remember as we watched him grow,
Raised him with love, faith, prayer, and hope.

Remember learning that three would be four,
This time a little girl we would instantly adore.

Remember when we first kissed her sweet head
And sang to her softly as we rocked her to bed.

Remember watching them laugh, love, and play,
Their sibling bond stronger with each minute, each day.

Remember uprooting and starting anew,
New town, new home, new adventures, too.

Remember us now. Remember us here. 
Our love, our home, our family, our dream. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Winter One-derland

I still cannot believe my baby girl is one. 

Say wha?!? 

I swear we just brought her home from the hospital and settled in as a family of four. 

But. Alas. Time and life move along, often too quickly for this momma. 

This weekend was one I will never forget. Her birthday party was one I will never forget. And not because of the time and effort and planning I spent preparing the party, and ultimately crossing my fingers that things would turn out as I envisioned. It was because of the amount of love that was hugged within our walls as our family and friends, both old and new, traveled to our home to help us celebrate our little girl's first year. If it hasn't been made clear yet in my lil' ol' blog, family, and good friends, mean the world to me. And this weekend, we got to share a special piece of our world with them. 

So, without futher ado (and with a lot of pictures), the "Winter One-derland" first birthday party we threw for our little Raleigh Jane.

First up, the birthday girl herself:

Side note: As soon as I found out I was pregnant with a little girl, I KNEW I wanted her to wear the biggest, fullest pettiskirt I could find for her first birthday with some rockin' Converse. Enter the talented etsy seller DreamSpunKids. Love. Love. Love. I bought the skirt six months ago and excitedly waited as it hung in Raleigh's closet, just waiting for her big par-tay. Oh, and the over-the-top flower headband was made by my go-to bow seller on etsy, HartsAndRoses.
Despite a lengthy search, I couldn't find a top or legwarmers that I thought were befitting of the awesomeness of the pettiskirt. So, I ended up making them myself, using a very inexpensive white onesie and open-toed tights and hot glueing on craft flowers I found at my local Hobby Lobby. Voila. :)

Next, the decor, eats, and treats:

I have a love affair with bunting. Of every shape, color, size, and design. With the exception of the white doily bunting, I made the rest, each of which were easy to do and cost effective.
Given the "Winter One-derland" theme, snowflakes hung from the light fixture over the food table

The dessert and favor table

Yet more handmade (pinwheel) bunting
If I haven't mentioned it before, I LOVE to bake. And decorate cupcakes and cakes. Thus, this ruffle cake (and snowflake topper) was made with lots of love by this Momma for smashing by the birthday girl

The simply delicious cake pops by Dough Mommas, who, once again, knocked it out of the park

Chevron favor bags, complete with a snowflake tied with baker's twine and filled with, what else, the always delicious Nestle treat: Sno Caps

Maybe my favorite part of the party? The hot chocolate bar, complete with marshmallows and sprinkle toppings for the kids and Bailey's for the grown-ups. Delish.

Miniature milk bottles tied with twine and adorned with aqua striped straws for all the guests' hot chocolate drinking pleasure

In my excitement for the party, I forgot to take a photo of the food table (You can see part of it in the background here). The menu consisted of several yummy apps, chicken nuggets, and, a winter staple, cheddar potato soup. Yummy! And shout out to the best big brother around. Man, I love this little boy. :)

Handmade chalk labels for each food item

Tea light candle holders made out of baby food jars, burlap, and lace (and oops! I forgot to light the candles. Oh well.)

My trusty ol' galvanzied tub, adorned with lace, and later filled with water bottles. Other beverages served for the grown ups included beer, beer, and more beer.

A fun little craft station for the party guests: Make Your Own Snowflake!

The birthday girl's high chair, decked out in (what else) festive bunting and ready for cake smashing

A slideshow of our girl, compiled by her Daddy, played throughout the party, along with fun music, of course!

A few of my favorite special moments from that day:

Flying high with Daddy

She spotted her cake! This was the first time she had EVER had anything sweet...

Tentative at first...

But then she devoured it. That's my girl!

My sisters/best friends

Our girl examining her very special gift from her Daddy: a necklace made out of the wedding band I gave him as we said our vows on our wedding day over 8 years ago (I gave him a new band a few years ago so he had the first made into a necklace for his baby girl)

Kisses for Bammy

Our little family of four, at the end of a very special day

Here's to more joyful and memorable moments as we enter Year 2...

Friday, January 4, 2013


I am yours and you are mine

From now until the end of time.

With your first breath my life found cause:

Be she you admire without pause.

Your twinkling eyes and constant smile-

You'll be this young for just awhile.

So I hold you tight and breath you in

Love you more with each sunrise again.

You'll have my love, my soul, my heart,

Long beyond the day we part.

'Cause I am yours and you are mine

From now until the end of time.

With all my heart,


Happy 1st Birthday (one day early) to my best girl, my Ralls, my beautiful, precious, don't-know-how-I-ever-lived-or-breathed-without-you baby girl, my Raleigh Jane. I simply adore you.