Monday, November 28, 2011

Saying YES!

After a busy Thanksgiving Holiday, filled with lots of carbs, over-indulgence, sleep deprivation, and one trip to the ER for what the doc thought was pneumonia, I'm ready to say YES to a new week! (Chest X-ray was clear; I just have severe bronchitis:)
This week I'm saying YES to...
YES to trying to work off Thanksgiving pounds...
Yes to Diet Coke & Coke only beverage addiction.
I say YES to Christmas decorating...
Yes to trying to set REASONABLE goals...
YES to getting outside of my comfort zone...
Yes to Online shopping...Amazon is my new best friend:)
I say YES to getting up all the Christmas decorations...and YES to taking the time to soak them all in!

YES to finally uploading and posting all my pictures from Jackson's 1st Birthday Party...(It was SUCH a bash!)
I am saying YES to appreciating my husband...

YES to patience...something I continually have to work on...
YES to my boys...they are joy personified...
I say YES to planning a few Christmas surprises...
and YES to taking it all in stride...
YES to prioritizing what reallly matters...
YES to being SO OVER people pleasing...
YES to one day at a time...and when that's too moment at a time...
YES to smiles...
YES to listening to the fireplace crackle...
YES to hearing the best voicemail from a dear Floridian friend and YES to catching up with her soon...
YES to progress, not perfection!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Boys, My Bliss

There is simply nothing better than hearing the laughter of your children. It's simply the BEST! Life is DESSERT!
 My Boys=My Bliss!

Christmas Tree Decorating

     We decided to do something JOYFUL today in memory of my mother, and I just couldn't think of anything that was more "her" than Christmas. She LOVED Christmas, and some of my best memories of her were decorating the tree each Christmas and baking sugar cookies. So, the boys and I busted out the big ladder and got our 12 feet tall tree ready to go! This tree takes some serious time to get "just right," but we had a great time putting the ornaments on the tree. Noah loves pictures about as much as I do, and was so cute pointing out the person in each frame and finding the perfect spot on the tree. So much fun. 
     There was one particular momen of perfection I want to remember...

Noah & Daddy were busy playing a game on the floor, and an old Christmas song, "Little Drummer Boy," sung by David Bowie and Bing favorite version of all time, began playing. Jackson was in my arms when the song began, and we danced cheek-to-cheek as they sang, "Peace on Earth...Can it be." It was a perfect moment. I felt so much love for him and my life, and I just began to cry.  It was at this moment that I realized how much I was missing my mother I wish she were here to hold her precious grandson and dance with him.  I wondered if she danced with me the same way when I was a babe.  Knowing my mom, I already know the answer.  Of course she did.  Then the distance between heaven and earth didn't seem so far, and joy and grief-filled tears streamed down my face.  It was a moment I never want to forget.

Happy Birthday, Mom

Dear Mom,
Today would have been your 65th birthday.  How can it be that you died at age 50 and that almost 15 years later, my heart still aches for you? It does. Most days are busy, but there's honestly not a day that goes by that I don't think of you, miss you, wish you were here. Oh, mom. How you'd adore these boys! They are amazing! I hurt that they will never know your sweetness and grace; that they never were soothed or rocked by your loving arms.  You would love Noah's fiery red hair; the exact same color of my hair when I was his age. I know you'd see so much of me in him.  And Jackson, Jackson is so much like you; an old soul full of grace. How I wish you were here to watch him toddle as he explores this new world.  And how I wish you were here to gently guide and encourage me, as I, too have my struggles in this crazy world.  My heart aches for you, especially hard today. But with tears streaming down my face, I know deep in my heart that I am blessed...for I had the world's greatest mother. You taught me how to love.  You taught me the importance of family and what matters most.  I know that we will have eternity to catch up, but until then, I hope I honor your life by choosing JOY today. That's my middle name you gave me, right? I miss you. Happy Birthday in Heaven.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

5x7 Folded Card

With Love Christmas Card
Shop Shutterfly's collection of Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I love pictures and I LOVE Shutterfly! I've been using Shutterfly since the early 2000's, and use them to make fabulous photo books and Christmas cards! So, imagine my happiness when I went to checkout my Christmas cards, and I learned that if I posted my card to my blog,  I'd receive a free $10 to Shutterfly? Awesomeness! Win! Win! I am especially proud that my 2011 Christmas card is already done! Go mama! Here's a sneak peak!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A grateful heart...Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving Day 2011~
     As I sit here in Rebekah & Brian's kitchen, I hear familiar sounds that will be gone all-too-soon...sounds of children laughing, the guys on edge over the UT & A&M game, the sound of Alice and Rebekah playing on Rebekah's computer, and the sound of babes in deep slumber. It is with a greatful heart that I pause and thank God for the beautiful blessings in my life. I thank God for this day, this opportunity to gather as family and enjoy a meal that we traveled far to savor.  I thank God for Rebekah & Brian, and all the work that goes into preparing to have a house full of guests. They went completely out of their way to set up a crib for Jackson, completely furnish their back house with furniture, and even had fresh flowers and snacks waiting for us. Love is in the details, and I sure noticed lots of details. (Thank you Rebekah). And on that note, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge out loud how blessed I am to have such a wonderful sister & brother-in-law. Rebekah & Brian are simply amazing.  Here they have a house full of people, and yet they find time and energy to make each person feel welcome and loved. This sounds corny to say, but if you pay attention to it, you can actually feel the love and the warmth of their home as soon as you enter.  I love watching Brian with the boys. He always gives them funny names and this Thanksgiving, he called the boys, "Big, Strong."  For example, when Jackson was toddling along, Brian said, "Hey there, Big Strong. Look at you."  Or when Brian was (graciously) trying to help by getting Noah outside, he said to Noah, "Come on, Big Strong.  Let's go outside and swing."  He just has such an ease with the boys, and it's completely authentic.  I love watching him. And the boys love him, too. 
     And Rebekah, well she deserves a post all her own, but it's getting late, so I'll try to summarize.  Rebekah is simply incredible. She and Grammie spent days cooking a ton of food (I'll never forget those sweet-potato cups!) yet she managed to take everything all in stride and not stress out the way I probably would have.  (Of course, Rebekah actually feels comfortable in a kitchen!) Although the food was fabulous and the table lovely...what I will remember most this Thanksgiving 2011 is that it was important to Rebekah for us all to sit down TOGETHER at the table for Thanksgiving dinner.  It would've been much easier on her for everyone to simply go buffet-style and dig in when they were ready...but Rebekah is keenly aware that she is the memory-maker for her family...and she wanted us to take time to sit around the table and savor the food, the conversation, the family...the blessing of Thanksgiving.  In particular, she said that she wanted us to "linger" at the table. Love that. It was kinda funny, actually. It became a little joke throughout dinner. Because my boys were not cooperating with "lingering," Michael & I took turns eating, and when Jackson started fussing, I moved to the living room where I could still visit, and told Jackson, "Don't you know I'm trying to linger here?" The point of lingering is the stuff that memories are made of, though...and I SO get that. And I admire that quality in Rebekah.  The word "amazing" is often over-used, but she is truly amazing. She's such a blessing in my life and I love her dearly and thank God for her.  Noah thinks Rebekah absolutely hung the moon, and I think he just might be right.
     It is with a grateful heart that I thank God for all my boys...Michael, Noah, and Jackson.  Without them, I would be lost.  They are the loves of my whole heart.  I am so blessed to get to spend my life with these precious three.  There are moments with each of them that are so special...I just wish I could freeze time to make the moment last; to make the moment "linger," just a bit longer.  I think that's going to be declared the theme of this Thanksgiving 2011-"Linger." Wouldln't it be nice to have our gratitude linger each day? If we took the time to linger in all that we HAVE going for us, all of our blessings, instead of worrying about what we don't have and what isn't working...wouldn't our lives be happier? I'm reading a book right now, "One Thousand Gifts," and my favorite line so far is when the author says, "When did I stop thinking life was dessert?" SO TRUE!  I for one, choose to make a conscious effort to LINGER each day, if only for a few moments...on the many blessings I have been given. LIFE IS DESSERT! Happy Thanksgiving!


Noah on Thanksgiving 2011

Noah Michael McBride (3) Thanksgiving Day 2011

 My Darling Noah,
This Thanksgiving Day, 2011, I am SO THANKFUL for YOU, my darling son! You have abundantly blessed my life since the minute you joined our family! You have a charisma and "it factor," that is truly indescribable! You are JOY personified! You approach every day of your life with a zest and enthusiasm that is contagious! You never meet a stranger. You have your own unique style, even at 3 years old! And I'm incredibly blessed to have you as my oldest son. Watching you grow is a blessing, indeed. I'm so thankful for you... not just on Thanksgiving, but every day! Mommy loves you!

Thanksgiving 2011

 Thanksgiving 2011
We spent Thanksgiving 2011 at Rebekah & Brian's house. It was a full house! Rebekah and Grammie spent a ton of time and energy making everything simply amazing. These women are nothing short of miracle workers as far as I'm concerned! I recognize how LUCKY I am to have a mother-in-law and sister-in-law that I adore. And, from the pictures, clearly I'm not the only ones that adore them! Noah's face just lights up when we get to visit the Carliles and Grammie! We have so very many reasons to have a heart of gratitude.  I am humbled by my many blessings. Watching our family interact today, especially with the boys...really made me think...this is the stuff of life...the stuff that really matters. Connecting with people. Relationships. Memories.

Driving to Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving 2011-
We are on our way to feast at Aunt Rebekah & Uncle Bri's house. As I turn my head to view my sweet boys behind me, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. My whole life is in this vehicle. How blessed I am indeed. Happy Thanksgiving!

BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fall walking

Today was a balmy, almost 80 degrees in Texas! The boys & I took a walk through the neighborhood. Noah & I talked about Fall and how the leaves "fall" off the trees in Fall. Not a minute later, Noah saw a pile of leaves in the street. "Look, Mommy! It's Fall!" I love the iPhone for letting me capture these moments! It is Fall, indeed!
Something I forgot...I say YES to Fall walking with the boys & rediscovering beauty through the eyes of a child. YES!
Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saying Yes

Our weekend was anything but restful! Michael was out of town with Bevo, as Noah would say, and I had both the boys...sick. Double ear infection and cough for Jackson, and pink eye and cough for Noah. Did I mention that I lived on about 4-5 hours of sleep a night last week because I had a hell week at work? Did I mention that we had a photo session for the boys scheduled this past weekend? Did I mention it was out of town? Did I mention I self-medicated all weekend with carbs? (Yes, at one point...oh no, make that two points...I was literally eating the icing out of the can. A certain type of desperation comes when you're doing that!) Did I mention that, despite the sickness, the coughing, the hilarious attempt at pictures, and sleepless nights...I still had a great time? Did I mention that Noah is at the most precious age? And did I mention that Jackson is, too? Despite the chaos, I took it as it came and didn't miss the moments of perfection that were right in front of me...holding my baby against my chest as I rocked him to sleep...playing tent under the covers, watching the boys splish splash in the bath...watching in amazement as Jackson toddles along...listening to Noah sing "Angels We Have Heard On High." Perfection.  Yes! Yes! Yes!

This week, I'm saying YES to...
Getting back on the bandwagon with my fitness...STAT!
Yes to talking to Noah about the meaning of Thanksgiving.
I say yes to baking my mother's cookies for Thanksgiving with the boys!
Yes to Turkey Trotting.
I say yes for gratitude for my many blessings.
Yes to remembering my mother.
I say yes to staying in the present moment.
Yes to Christmas decorating.
YES to my 12 feet tall tree filled with pictures!
Yes to watching Jackson toddle on two legs. Yes to watching my sons play together.
Yes to packing the family up for Thanksgiving with Grammie & The Carlile Crew.
I say yes to declaring this a no-stress Thanksgiving.
Yes to turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie...and Yes to giving myself a free day with no guilt.
Yes to black Friday shopping with Susie.
Yes to pictures and catching up on my blog.
I say yes to going with the flow & letting it all happen as God intended.
Yes to reflection.
Yes to feeling humble.
Yes to grace..."a free gift God gives us."  Something my dad taught me in confirmation.
Yes! Yes! Yes!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Today is 11/11/11.
I must write something, as the numbers don't align this way often, right?  Well, I don't know about writing something epic. Sounds intimidating. Daunting. Instead, I will write something seemingly simple...
Yes. Such a short, seemingly simple word. Two consonants and one vowel. Yes.

But is it easy to say yes? Perhaps.  I heard William Shatner discussing his book on the radio recently.  I haven't read his book, so I'll have to take his word for it...but he said there's a chapter title in his book called, "Say Yes To Everything."  Interesting concept. But the more I think about it, the more I agree. Say YES. Yes to life. Yes to trying new things. Yes to opening our minds and hearts and taking a chance. Yes to love. YES!
But so often, we get so wrapped up in our busy lives, the expectations we have for ourselves and our lives...the "shoulds," and we end up saying no to potential moments of perfection...for whatever reason or reasons.  Well, on this 11/11/11, I say no to that and YES to life.
Here's a start.
Today, I'm saying yes to...
Watching Jackson toddle in that special baby way, as he learns how to walk...
Yes to staying in the present moment...
I say yes to connecting with others...
Yes to asking for help when I need it...
I say yes to singing and dancing with Noah...
Yes to squeezing juicy baby bottoms...
Yes to showing gratitude for my many blessings...
Yes to being in the present moment with my boys...
Yes to accepting my many flaws...and yes to making efforts to improve the things I can.
I say yes to playing trains, making tents out of sheets, and getting cozy with the boys.
Yes to getting caught up on things I've been procrastinating doing...and
Yes to forgiving myself for not having finished the things with which I've been procrastinating!
I say yes to preparing for our family Christmas photo shoot...

Yes to editing and sharing pictures...
I say yes to the crisp fall air and cozy sweaters...Yes to starting the first fire of the season...
Yes to progress, not perfection.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Jackson took 9 steps today!

Jackson took 9 steps in a row today---twice! My baby is going to be walking soon!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Special Moments with Grampa

 Noah & Jackson have the most incredible Grampa.  Just incredible.  He gives love so freely and he is just great with the boys.  I don't think there's many things that bring my heart so much joy as watching my father with my sons.  Love you, Dad. You are my hero.

Happy 7th Birthday Matthew

 Happy 7th Birthay Matthew! Noah, Jackson, & I traveled to Athens to celebrate Matthew's 7th birthday party! Matthew is a little outdoorsman, and loves all things nature. He wanted a "fishing" party for his birthday, so the kids met out on the lake and did a little fishing.  No actual fish were caught, but the kids had fun, anyway. Grampa was such a big helpt to me, as Daddy was in Austin watching Bevo. It's hard to believe my nephew is already 7! I was there the day he was born, and I really don't know where the time goes! Happy birthday Matthew! We love you!