Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

Halloween 2012
This Halloween was the year of the Angry Bird (Noah) & the spider (Jackson).  Jax was pretty much "over it" as soon as we began. He clearly enjoyed the wagon ride, but could care less about the costume and the candy. Noah, on the other  hand...was into it! He had fun picking out his costume, putting it on, saying "trick or treat," and even handing out candy to the few folks that ventured to our house. 
Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jackson's After 2 party

I always enjoy the moring AFTER a birthday party. Yes, the house is a complete disaster...but it's also less stressful, and the party food and fun is still there awaiting!
So, we did what we do after every some more.  But no focus on the perfect picture, or decorations, or hosting...just sweatpants (for Mama) and diaper (for Jackson) for the fun. We ate leftover birthday cake for breakfast, played in the fog bubbles, and of course got all the bang for our buck out of the slide and bounce house!

Morning after Jackson's 2nd Birthday Party

What I love about mornings AFTER the birthday party...moments like this. Just precious these of my sweet Jackson Joseph...the morning after his 2nd birthday party, when he wakes up to the wonder of a house full of balloons and goodies, but without all the stimulation & hustle and bustle that go along with the birthday party. 
I just love his expression in these pictures that I casually snapped as he sat at the breakfast table with a cupcake and balloons the morning after his party.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Napping Jackson

I had a meet-the-teacher today with Jackson's teacher and I snuck into the nap room to watch my sweet boy sleeping! Amazing how all these little loves just nap away! Precious moment for Mama!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I've got big news...
Today....I registered for the DALLAS MARATHON!
Not the half marathon...the full 26 miles and 385 yards. 

This has silently been on my bucket list.  But I never really knew if I could do it. 
So, why not try it about 5 months post neck surgery? Makes sense, right?
(For the record, I called my neurosurgeon, and he gave me the o.k. He said if I already did a half-marathon, he'd clear me for the full.)
I guess I had it in my mind that I'd like to be able to say in my lifetime that I did a marathon.  And I'm going to be 40 soon. 
Just felt right. 
And, I figured..."Feel the fear and do it anyway!"
If I have to walk some of it, I'll still finish.  I'll still be able to say I completed a marathon.  I'll still get a medal.
Bucket list!!
I'm excited...and a little bit terrified of the training.  But when have I ever backed down to a challenge? Why start now, right?!?

O.k. It's officially declared.
Now it's time to run, run, run.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mama's got a brand new bag

I was so happy today to find my new Coach bag delivered to my front door. It was my little treat for myself after having only a diaper bag for the past 4 1/2 years...and nursing two boys for over 2 years. Bye bye, diaper bag!! Mama's got a brand new bag!!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Boys & trucks

A new house is being built nearby, & my boys flipped when about 6 dump trucks full of dirt made their way to our neighborhood today. Jackson loves trucks & i could hardly keep him from jumping on. Noah was too sweet, guiding his Bubba to look at the trucks. Sweet, sweet boys!!
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The most amazing letter I received about my mother


Today, as I halfway paid attention to some Facebook posts,

I noticed I had an email. I checked the message, and I was

COMPLETELY blown away by the message. It was sent to

my sister, Susie and I from a "girl" (now woman with a son of her own)

 that previously attended my father's little Lutheran church in

Commerce, many years ago. I took a picture of the

 pansies I planted yesterday in memory of my mother, and posted

 it to Facebook. Fifteen years after her death, I'm still amazed at

the amazing impact my mother had on the lives of so many. It

simply takes my breath away. I'm not one to rant "religious" things

 in my posts because I, honestly, disagree with a lot of the hatred

 and intolerance that is sometimes put out there in the name of God. MY
GOD is a tolerant, kind, loving, and forgiving God. Anyway, what I lean toward

 is SPIRITUALITY more than religion, and BEING the change I want

 to see in the world. Sometimes, I feel that the hypocrisy of some

"Christians" is more intolerant, inflexible, and judgmental than my

 FORGIVING, TOLERANT, LOVING God. What I love is when a person

 BEHAVES as Jesus behaved. I guess that's why I like the whole

 "Love is a verb" statement. When someone IS THE acts

 of DOING...that, in my humble opinion...not just sitting in a pew on

Sunday having a personal, authentic relationship with God.

 And then there's folks like my of those phenomenal ladies

 who was the whole package...Christian in every good sense of the word,

tolerant, graceful, honorable, the whole package...inside and out.

She was the verb, 150 percent. I left off the name of my childhood

friend that sent this message to me, in order to protect her privacy.

 Below is her message. It simply means the world to me and I never

 want to forget. THIS, LEGACY...

Hey Ladies, I hope this email finds you all well! Brenda, your post about

your mom reminded me that I needed to email you girls about something

that happened a long time ago, but that I still think about often.

When we were young, and Jeff (my oldest brother - not sure if you

all remember) was having some serious mental difficulties, he attempted

suicide more than once. To say that was an extremely difficult thing for

my family to go through is an incredible understatement, and to say

that we dealt with tremendous confusion, pain, shame, etc. would be

putting it in a very mild form. Those years shaped me, in ways both good

and bad, and still do today.

As a young girl, in a small town where people loved to gossip, you

can imagine some of the things I heard about my family. Tough stuff

for a young tween to experience. I recall specifically, one day I had

overheard someone saying something particularly disturbing about my

parents, and your mom pulling me aside, bending down to my level and saying,

"P, you are a bright and beautiful young woman, you have absolutely nothing
 whatsoever to be ashamed of, your brother is going to be okay and we are going

 to help pray for him. Don't ever forget that." I never, ever did.


She also cooked meals for my mom during that time, when nobody

else in the community did, and often stopped in to check on her.

I know that years later my parents chose to leave the church – for

whatever reasons they never told me, and honestly, I could care

less about - but I remember my mom always reflecting on how kind

your mother was to us during those days. I never heard either of them

say a negative word about your parents, and I will always consider Trinity

Lutheran my church. In fact, the example your mom set for me has helped

me to reach out to other women in my community, particularly during difficult

times, and somehow come up with the right thing to say.

I know this is very random, and deeply personal, but I just wanted to let

you all know. She is still alive.  I think she lives through us all by the

way her kind actions shaped us. She was truly a wonderful woman.

May God Bless you both - much love


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Saying YES


After a long, hard, weekend full of Noah vomiting, the anniversary of my mother's death, and a seemingly endless "to do" list...and relapsing on chocolate, Mexican food, and Blue Bell ice is with a heart full of HOPE that I SAY YES, once again.  Every now and then, I find myself, unfortunately sweating the small stuff...and I realize that when this happens, I listen to my lower self...and say yes to the stuff I don't WANT to say yes self doubt, complaining, and comparison...the stealers of JOY! So, enough of that! It is time to pull myself up and make the choice to embrace a new day, a new week...a new opportunity to say YES...
This week, I'm saying YES to...
  • Getting up early again for 5 am runs.
  • Doing what I meant to do last week but didn't...get HELP cleaning my house! I will digress here, but I had so much stuff to do...I actually needed help with getting the house READY to to be cleaned! I know that sounds lame, but if you don't clean up piles of junk, the cleaning lady will just clean AROUND it, and what's the point of that?!? It just ends up making me feel like a failure because I didn't have it done...hence the procrastination and, I didn't get the cleaning lady to come. THIS WEEK, I've got to just suck it up and get some help!
  • On that note, I'm saying YES to trying to make time every day to clean up.  This is particularly difficult when I'm trying to plan and do Jackson's birthday party all this week because I'll be out of town the whole week of his party. 
  • And on THAT note, I'm saying YES to trying to stop freaking out about everything being "perfect" for Jackson's birthday party.  Several of our cousins can't make his party, and it's a costume party, so I allowed myself to get all worked up today about "What if it's just us in a costume?" what if it is? What's the WORST that'll happen?  We'll dress up in costumes, which is fun...and we'll bounce, slide, and eat cake.  What's the bad part about that?!?  (That's the sweating the small stuff I've GOT to work on!)
  • And on THAT note...I'm saying YES to keeping things in perspective  and not sweating the small stuff.
  • I'm saying YES to eating clean, exercising...for that is the core of "being me."
  • I'm saying YES to one-goal-at-a-time...
  • YES to deep breaths...
  • YES to appreciating my blessings (and NO to complaining)
  • YES to hugs, snuggles, reading before bedtime with my boys...
  • YES to opening the boxes from Amazon and Etsy that will be waiting on my porch...
  • I'm saying YES to planning my outfits the night before & YES to fun boots!
  • Oh, and I'm saying YES to getting my new Coach bag in the mail...because Mama got a great deal, and I decided that after almost 5 years of carrying diaper bags & breastfeeding each son for a year.. that it was time Mama got a cute bag again!
  • YES to cutting out banners, cupcake toppers, and decorations for Jackson's party...
  • YES to asking for help...even if that means getting a sitter while Michael is out of town (oh how I struggle with asking for help!)
  • I'm saying YES to accepting myself...flaws and all, imperfectly perfect.
  • I'm saying YES to sweet text messages to my friend, MB, who remembers me when I need it most!
  • Oh, and I'm saying YES to this GREAT new app...Red's FREE & Fabulous...a must for moms.
  • Yes, to not beating myself up for having a rough couple of days...
  • YES to getting back up and holding my head high...
  • YES to pumpkins, spiders, and (not so) spooky Halloween decorations...
  • YES to ordering my Halloween tutu for Jackson's party...
  • YES to ordering my son's 2nd birthday cake and being perfectly OK with not baking it myself!
  • YES to what really matters...
  • YES! YES! YES!
What are YOU saying YES to this week?!? Listen to your HIGHER self and say YES!

15 years

October 14, 2012...
15 years today since I lost my mother to cancer.  Some years I get through the days better than others.  Today was a tough year.  I don't know if it's because of the number 15...just sounds monumental...if it's because we've been struggling with Noah being sick... or what...but I had a hard time finding the joy in the day.  There were moments...seeing Jackson's smile...Noah waking up feeling happy after vomiting yet again last night. But I felt a sinking, heavy, grumpy feeling all day today.  And despite my attempts to wash it just lingered.  After some maladaptive coping of Blue Bell ice cream and chocolate, I decided to  go to the nursery and do something positive with my negative energy.  I bought some plants and planted about 5 flats of pansies. 
I can remember shortly after my mother died...when we planted pansies in my mother's memorial garden on my parents' land.  I remember my father planting the pansies and saying that my mother was a lot like the pansy flower.  Seemingly delicate...beautiful...but tough.  Pansies are a tough flower.  They withstand the harsh elements.  Yes, my mother was like a pansy, indeed.  Truly the most amazing person I've ever met. As I wept while digging in the dirt today...her words came ringing loudly into my heart. It was as if I could hear her say, "Brenda, fear not.  Only believe."  Such a woman of faith.  How I wish I had her strength, her patience, her grace...all areas I struggle with.  But I know I have to be me...flaws and all, and some days that's tougher than others...days like today, for example.
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Halloween costume shopping

Today I took the boys to the Halloween store to look for costumes.  Jackson was a no-go, but Noah fell in love with the blue Angry Bird us!

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Wild Friday night at our castle

Friday nights at our castle aren't what they used to be...
Gone are the days of quiet, romantic dinners out...
Gone are late-night movies...and waking up late the next morning.
Friday nights at our castle have been, indeed, redefined since we have had kids. 
This Friday night, for example, was an evening outdoors with our boys.  It was an evening filled with giggles, big smiles, swinging, sliding, walking around the lake, & topped off by a push-pop!

Michael was so cute swinging next to Noah.  That's one of the things that I love about my husband...the way he plays with our boys. After we finished playing and we came indoors, I watched Michael holding both boys in his lap.  He looked up at me, and said, "What?" I was thinking to myself what an amazing father he is to our our boys have such a head start in this life because of the presence of their father in their lives.  I walked up to him, kissed him on the cheek, and said, "I just love you." 
So, although the quiet, romantic dinners are few and far between...(and we should probably fix that & get a sitter more often) my heart is just as full of love.


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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Brotherly love

October 10, 2012

sweet brotherly love

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Turn Tyler Pink 2012

Tonight was Turn Tyler Pink 2012...a wonderful event hosted by the Tyler Firefighters...that started as a result of the Tyler Firefighters' desire to somehow help a fellow firefighter and his (now) deceased wife as they battled her breast cancer. I was humbled  and blessed to walk Wes and Tonya Malcom through Tonya's battle.  I'm always so amazed at the blessings that result from tragedy.  As a result of the Tyler firefighters' efforts to aid the Malcoms, this annual event began several years ago...and the Tyler Firefighters now generate about $100,000 annually to support the fight to end breast cancer and to fund their C.A.R.E. team (Cancer Awareness Relief Effort) team.  I was blessed to be a part of this process, so much bigger than I could've ever imagined. Wes and I are still friends.  He was recently happy.  He recently told me, "I remember when I was going through all said I'd see a bigger picture one day.  I didn't know what you meant then, but I do now." I signed the pink poster, in memory of my sweet mother, who I lost to breast cancer 15 years ago the 14th of this month.   Life sure is a roller coaster......but what a ride!!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Our little piece of heaven

Sometimes I get so busy in the hustle and bustle of life...I don't stop...look around...take a deep breath and realize just how BLESSED I truly am.  Take, for instance, my wonderful neighborhood.  I literally live with a small lake in my backyard, complete with a walking trail around the lake.  Any day of the boys and I can literally get away from it all by taking in God's beauty with a nature walk around our little lake.  This year, Jackson is big enough to walk all the way around the lake by himself.  I love to watch him explore. He & Noah each found their own walking sticks and were precious as can be we enjoyed the beautiful fall weather and took in God's beauty.  As we made the turn around the lake, I noticed a burnt orange shirt (my husband, the Longhorn). Daddy came to meet us around the trail.  Immediately when Noah saw Michael, he sprinted toward him.  Jackson soon followed, just as fast as his little feet could pedal.  It was so heartwarming to see my boys run to their daddy...their hero. And THESE are the moments that I need to focus on...need to breathe in...when the boys are screaming, the house is a mess, and I myself losing patience and appreciation for my blessings.  Moments like these.