2.19.2014

The Last Week and a Half

It's just been one of those weeks (and a half) that have got to me. It started out innocent enough. In that first snow, a couple of weeks ago we had some gravel come up and crack the windshield of our van. So Monday (10th) we went to get the glass repaired. While we waited we went and walked around the Chickamauga Dam. It was pretty but getting cold.

"Supposedly" there was another snow round coming. But it's Georgia, and it had already snowed once, so it would probably just rain a lot, right? Just in case, when Matt went to work he took enough clothes for the week. Also, his grandmother had been in hospice and not doing well, so he also took his suit in case he had to leave from Atlanta and drive to be with his dad (in Vidalia, GA).

So when the snow started the boys and I got out of all our "snowed in" activities out and ready to go.

And it actually started snowing! I was talking to my mom and complaining about how I don't like playing in the snow and both boys were begging to. That's Matt's thing, but he was stuck in Atlanta. So, my mom sent Luke and Carly over to my house on the four-wheeler (we live less than 5 minutes apart). Within an hour, all my family had come to my house to play in the snow. We live on a huge hill so it's the perfect sledding zone. The problem is, we live on a hill so I am stuck here when it snows/ices. Thankfully my dad and Angie's husband had 4-wheel drive trucks and were able to make it up and down the hill to our house.

So Luke took Levi sledding while we waited for everyone else to arrive.

Again, I'm not a huge fan of snow so I went out once and slid down the hill and then retreated back inside. Thankfully, Noah isn't a fan of the snow either, so he was my excuse.

After awhile in the front yard, we all moved to the screened in back porch and watched all the kids take turns snow boarding down the hill in our back yard.

After a full morning of playing in the snow, Levi kept telling me he wasn't tired and didn't need a nap. He couldn't even finish 30 minutes of Daniel Tiger before he was knocked out.

All that playing in the snow and there was still a good 2" left in our yard. I made dinner and thought about how this would all be over soon. I was supposed to go into work, but they were closing all the pharmacies early due to weather so I didn't have to go in. That afternoon it started snowing, again and did not stop until the next morning.

It snowed another 8" overnight! It was unbelievable and our house looked like a winter wonderland!

So, beautiful, BUT I was supposed to work again today, from 11-7. I usually work two days a week, but of course I was scheduled for three back to back days, all right when bad weather hit. I had parked the van out by the road before the snow originally started, but there was 8" on the road as well. And our county doesn't salt neighborhoods. Sooo....

I found out the pharmacy wasn't opening until 12pm, and it wasn't busy so I wasn't in a rush, but I still had to go. So, after digging in 30 minute increments, 3 different times, I finally made a dent. But it was very "southern" snow digging. We have no snow shovel so I was basically sweeping snow with a regular, pointed end shovel. I'm sure I looked ridiculous. After my hour and a half of digging I was finally able to gun the van enough to get it going. I put the kids in the car and took them to mom's and went to work. It's lame, but I was so proud of myself for digging out of the snow, like a freakin' pioneer woman!

When I dropped the boys off at mom's I also left all of our stuff for us to spend the night. I knew by the time I got off work all of the snow/slush/ice was going to freeze and I wouldn't be able to get back out and go to work again Friday morning. Mom called me while I was at work and said that my dad and Luke had shoveled my entire driveway for me so we could sleep at our house, in our own beds. That was so thoughtful, and I know had to be a ton of work!

Matt got home around 2am Friday morning. He woke me up to let me know his grandmother had passed away Thursday night around 11:30. So, I went to work Friday morning (8-6:30), left work and went straight to Costco. After being in the house for a week, we were  out of everything! Milk, dog food, crackers, vegetables, everything. Saturday morning we got up at 3am and left the house at 4 to get to Vidalia for the funeral. It's a 5 1/2 hour drive so we got there early enough to spend time with Matt's parents in their hotel room.

Despite the difficult traveling and emotional conditions, the boys did amazing! After the funeral we piled back in the van and drove back the 5 1/2 hours to Ringgold that same day. We stopped at the huge Bass Pro shop in Macon and Ikea in Atlanta on the way home to get the boys out of the car to burn some of their energy off. Needless to say, we were glad to be back in our beds!

We were both beyond exhausted after the past week, and only getting four hours of sleep Friday night, so we took turns driving and sleeping. Here is Matt sleeping with his tie over his face to keep out the sun.

Sunday was church, trips to Target, Aldi, and Sams to get the rest of the groceries, and then to the park/walking trail to get some family time in. The boys loved getting out and walking around, picking up all kinds of sticks and throwing rocks in the creek.

These two boys trying to climb a tree. Adorable and frightening, all at once.

I worked Monday and Tuesday (yesterday). Matt texted me at work Tuesday night saying that Levi had started throwing up. 14 times later we had to admit it wasn't candy from his Valentines party at school that day, but the stomach bug had hit us. I came home from an 11 hour shift last night and swept and mopped all the floors and wiped down all the hard surfaces with bleach spray. Poor Matt had been cleaning up vomit for the last five hours and still managed to get all the dishes done and the living room picked up! I'm not sure how he did all of that!

We went to bed at midnight, and was awoken at 2am by Noah's screams. The second Morris was down. 

Two kids in, we have our middle of the night vomit routine down. We both go in, I pick up the kid and immediately start changing clothes, wiping them clean with a wash cloth, clean clothes, and take them to the living room where we camp out the rest of the night. Matt strips the bed and throws all associated stuffed animals and blankets in the washing machine. Noah and I spent the rest of the night rocking back and forth across the living room.

During that time, in the early hours of this morning, I just kept thinking about this week. It's been hard in different ways, being alone with the boys, all week without Matt, Matt losing his grandmother and grieving, me working so much during a time when we are all stressed out anyway, and some other things we are dealing with. It's just  a heavy time.

As I was reviewing all of this, thinking about NOW the stomach bug, I just kept thinking how thankful I am for Matthew. Seven years ago when we were engaged and about to be married I loved him for how nice he was, cute, funny, etc. Here we are now, living in the trenches of a life that is marked by chaos and I am so thankful for our partnership that has developed and grown  over these years. Even when we aren't getting along, or one or the other is stressed beyond belief, or when we can't even be together due to weather, we are still on the same team. Still fighting for the same thing, still working together. That love I felt for him when we were engaged has grown and changed in such beautiful ways. THIS man that I now love, I love not for the big bouquets and constant showering of gifts, and happy blissful moments I thought marriage would be filled with. I love him for how he cares for our boys, how he cried with me, and held me, during the miscarriage, I love him for how he explained to Levi the death of his grandmother and what that meant, about the beauty of heaven and being with Jesus. For cleaning up all the vomit (and more) while I was at work and he was home with both boys. I love him for our synchronized "middle of the night vomit reaction" we now have, for the fights that I feel secure in while we're having them, because I know they will pass. For today when I was barely keeping my eyes open and he says "I've got this, you need to sleep, go."

 Some of the (unmarried, young) techs were asking me about our Valentine's plans last week. Well, we went to the Terminal for dinner and used a giftcard for a movie the weekend before valentine's day. That was it. They all looked disappointed, "Oh, so y'all don't do gifts?" And I should have told them everything I've just written. But I just said something about we're not big into Hallmark holidays or something like that. 

I guess the point is, it HAS been a very hard, exhausting week. I am tired, but it's different now, tired but not frustrated or hopeless. We have changed as we've had kids, and had to learn to adapt. We've changed in our marriage, how we relate to one another, as we work together instead of trying to do more, or complaining about how the other isn't doing enough. We've changed in the amount of grace we extend to ourselves and our kids, especially in weeks like this. We've changed in that we are not striving to be the person at work who is there the most, who never calls in, and works around the clock, we are striving to love God, love one another, and love our boys. And in that order, no matter what happens, we will be ok.

2.11.2014

Disney Trip

At the end of January we headed down to Orlando for two days at Disney. This is the last year we can get the boys in free, AND Matt got two one-day tickets from his work for free! We went last year about this same time, so we knew what to do to make it an easy, fun trip,

First of all, the time of year. Matt has done a lot of research, and the week we went is the slowest week of the year. Secondly, Matt was REALLY thinking ahead when he looked online Black Friday and found an awesome deal at our favorite place to stay in Orlando, Buena Vista Suites. This place is an actual suite with a door separating the living room (couch turns into a bed) and the bedroom. This is what we love because we can shut the boys off in their own room, everyone sleeps better as a result. And except for the Marriott Resort, it's the closest hotel to the park entrance.

We stayed on-site (Key West Resort) before we had kids, and it was so nice and convenient. But now that we take the double Bob loaded with tons of stuff, it would be SO hard to push the stroller to the bus stop at the resort, unload it, fold up the stroller, get on the bus, ride to the park, and repeat in reverse. Plus, it's so much cheaper to stay off-site. And that is our end goal :) It's so much easier for us to park in the parking lot, load up the Bob and walk to the park.

Third, the double Bob. It holds our extra jackets, towel, snacks, drinks, lunch, diapers, wipes, hats, so on and so forth.

Fourth, we only went to the Magic Kingdom. Matt and I had been to the other parks, and with both boys so young (and short), they could ride the most rides at MK. Plus, for a three year old boy, he's not going to tire of seeing Mickey and Buzz two days in a row.

Our first day in Orlando we spent hanging out at the pool and walking around Downtown Disney. Just relaxing and resting.

Dumbo was a favorite of both boys AND we saw Bruce Willis with his new girlfriend/wife and their kid (I'm assuming it's their kid). Pretty neat!

The boys LOVED every character they met

Both days the boys napped at the same time for at least an hour and a half. That gave Matt and I plenty of time to ride the two roller coasters and have "adult time."

Several of the rides we rode together and it was so cute to see all three boys' excitement as we rode

Levi got to pick one piece of candy the last day and he chose this swirly sucker. He was overly excited, as you can see.

This was my favorite character meet-up, both boys hugged Pooh and Tigger for several minutes

The boys watching a show in front of the castle. Noah has his face pressed into the bars. This was right before a duck bit his finger, poor guy.

And here is Levi break-dancing to one of the parades we watched. The night before he was getting DOWN with Mr. Incredible and Fro-Zo, it's hilarious to watch.

It was a great trip and we were so thankful for the opportunity to go.

2.09.2014

What's Left Unsaid

In so many conversations, with so many people, so much is left unsaid. More is said in our pauses and eyes than in our actual words.

Saturday morning I was at work (every other Saturday I work 4 hours at the busiest store in the market to provide relief for the regular pharmacist). A woman, probably my age, called in. She doesn't get her medicine there, so I had no history on her or her medications, I didn't even get her name. But what she said, and didn't say was more than enough to know her struggle, as it is mine.

She had recently gotten a shot of a medication (that I worked with a lot at my old job in Bham, so actually knew a lot about it). This medicine helps women struggling with endometriosis, and usually, infertility as a result. She had the shot several months ago and hadn't gotten a period since, even though her doctor had put her on another medication trying to get that started.

She asked "Well, I mean, I know I haven't had a period, but can't you still ovulate even though you haven't had a period? I've taken pregnancy tests, and they're negative, but I mean, I can still be pregnant, right?"

And I started tearing up. I don't think she could tell over the phone. Because I know that hope. I also know the devastating blow my words were about to have. "Dear, I'm so sorry, but..." As I go on to explain the chances that she is pregnant with no period and several negative pregnancy tests are so slim they almost aren't worth talking about.  But they are. To her, in this period of never-ending waiting. Waiting for a period, and then for pregnancy. Always slightly out of reach. She was so nice, and thanked me and let me go. As I hung the phone up I knew she would be crying by this point. I do that too, month after month. As I did when trying for Levi (13 months of trying) and Noah (9 months of trying).

We have found a church, the church where we are going to join. But now comes the part of jumping in, getting involved, getting to know people. I went to Sunday School (Matt had to work tonight so he was napping). I am a really awkward person, especially when in social situations by myself. I much prefer to sit on the sidelines while others talk around me. I sat for the hour watching and listening. At the end, when I just felt so alone, so overwhelmed with this task/desire of knowing and being known but not wanting to travel the long, awkward road of getting to that point. When this woman came up to me. During prayer requests she (18 weeks pregnant) had asked for prayer as she was in a wreck with her four other children, totaling their van. So, she's pregnant and has four kids under the age of 5. She has a LOT on her plate. I can't imagine how tired she is, sore, etc.

She came right up to me at the end of the class and introduced herself, and started asking questions. We had a great conversation, but I could tell we were both leaving things unsaid.
She: "Do you have any kids?"
Me: "Yes, we have two boys" (I have another baby, in heaven, but I can't mention him without breaking down to you)
She: "Oh wow, do y'all want to have any more?"
Me: "Yes, we are trying, but it usually takes me awhile to get pregnant" (I started my period this morning, I cried all the way to church. I thought I might have been pregnant for sure. I'm not.)

And so on, and so forth. But she kept talking to me, asking me questions, letting me talk. In that moment, she was a God-send. Noticing me, drawing me out of my wall-flower state, loving me. That meant so much to me, more than she'll ever know.

But as Matt and I struggle with our own struggles, which people don't know about, as we don't all go about wearing signs with our problems written out, how much more is everyone else just like us? Every conversation I have, every question I ask, every patient I counsel. We each have our own parenthesis answers. The things we left unsaid that we just wish we could tell someone.

I've been re-reading "Disciplines of Grace" by Jerry Bridges. And I am praying constantly for grace. Grace towards others. To have my eyes open to these things that are unsaid, these weights people are carrying around that cause them to lash out, be rude, forget to call me back, etc. To love them unconditionally as I am loved unconditionally.

"For just as the sufferings of Christ pour over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Cor 1:5

For as sure as we will suffer, we will be comforted. So much, in fact that this comfort we receive will be so much we will be able to comfort others. That is so beautiful to me. The covenant body of Christ, loving one another, comforting one another. This has been so heavy on my heart, as I miss our church family in Birmingham and long for one here. For people to know me well, and for me to love them, to "do life together."

This song by Sara Groves "Painting Pictures of Egypt" I've been playing over and over daily. It's about the Israelites when they were freed from slavery in Egypt, while wandering in the desert. They were so tired of where they were, so scared of what was to come, they asked to go back to Egypt. Back to slavery.

"I've been painting pictures of Egypt, leaving out all it lacks. The future feels so hard, and I want to go back....I don't want to leave here, I don't want to stay. It feels like pinching to me, either way. And the places I long for most are the places where I've been. They are calling out to me, like a long lost friend....The past is so tangible I know it by heart. Familiar things are never easy to discard. I was dying for some freedom, now I hesitate to go. I am caught between the Promise and the things I know..."

When I was in Birmingham I was so ready to go. To move here to Ringgold. And now I'm here, and I just want to go back. But see, Matt and I prayed for 6 years about when/if we should move home. And God opened the doors to come here in a huge, very obvious way. But I keep forgetting that, as I yearn for what I used to know, what was comfortable. So, this song cuts me to the quick. I'm so thankful for how God uses music to minister to our souls.

1.16.2014

3 months

Today is 3 months. So odd, as it feels like it was yesterday, and yet it feels like I've always been carrying this around me inside as well.

I don't mean to mislead, and for you to think that all I think about is the miscarriage. A month ago, that was true. This month, God has been good and I am not CONSTANTLY thinking about it. It still comes up, in my mind, every day. But it's different. I don't well up in tears (all the time, sometimes I do, but I'm a cry-er anyways), and I can feel inside me the healing. I know, and have been told by others who have gone before me, there will always be a hole there, a longing. As someone put it "A piece of your heart is in heaven." And it is.

And there have been so many good things, good days, visits with friends, holidays, that have passed. It's a weird sensation honestly. To be so present in the  moment, so thankful and happy, and joyful. But there is just a teeny piece of me thinking "I would be pregnant right now... we would have a baby on the way." It's strange to feel so completely connected to those around me and feel and know I am loved and included, but at the same time to feel a gap, disconnected, alone. Strange.

I think the hardest think has been an absolute shift in the world I've always known. To walk into a room one person, and walk out changed forever. To live my life mourning with OTHERS, carrying OTHERS' burdens, praying for OTHERS going through hard times/things/trials. Because bad things are all around, but they happen to OTHERS.

To be an OTHER is altogether different. This has been my hardest realization. The bursting bubble. Our baby died. What if Matt died? What about Levi, Noah, my mom? Me? What if one of the boys gets cancer? Do they have it now? What if the US government just implodes (mess that it is), should we get a gun? Should we, what if, how about?

And every night as these questions absolutely overwhelm me in my paranoid panic attack driven fit, I just have to shout "OK... WHAT IF?" What does that change? What is my core? These peoples, these circumstances, this government? NO. No. Christ is my core. And every night "preaching the gospel" to myself, as our small group leader used to say. Bringing myself back to the foot of the cross, Christ died for me. He lives. Every good and perfect thing is from above. My marriage, my boys, my family and friends. These are all good things given to me by my Creator for a point in time.

I see much clearer the effects of sin and evil in this world, and it has intensified my longing for Heaven. For righteousness, for completion of all good works. For Christ. This baby has driven me closer to the cross, brought me down to my knees, as both Levi and Noah have in the past, only this time it was done in a much more tangible way, much more painful way. Because give me sleepless nights and spitting up and a messy house and toddler tantrums. But loss, oh loss. Motherhood is humbling. The children we bear and lose, all of them. Humble us, God uses them to mold us more like Him. And in the end, that is the goal. I have to remind myself of that. Earthly happiness will get me nowhere. Joy in my Savior, belief in Him, that will get me everything.

As always, Andrew Peterson's lyrics hit the nail on the head. Pillar of Fire:

On through the passes of the mountains it goes
As bouldered and broken as my heart
I shiver and cry and I watch as it winds
To the deepest and the darkest parts

I can see it whirling, swirling,
Spinning all around
Now upward, onward, now homeward bound
Oh, Jesus, hold me through the night,
Pillar of Fire

Where, Oh Lord, are you leading?
I can get so scared in the night
My feet are cut and bleeding
With every step I feel less alive

Oh, but Pillar of Fire, you blazed this trail
You've been there every step along the road
From a barn in Bethlehem to Hell and back again
You blazed the trail that leads me home

*As a side note: I started writing not sure where I was going with this, so, yeah, it got out of a hand a little bit...

12.30.2013

December Wrap-Up

December was not as festive as usual. BUT we still had a great time leading up to Christmas. Here is a picture dump to show you.

Some of our good friends from Birmingham came up and Judah and Cory spent the day with us. They went to Levi's Mother's Day Out Christmas program. Levi was SO excited to see them in the crowd.

We all went to Target, and this is how we made it through, everyone had to hold onto the buggy. It was cute AND it worked!

Then we came to our house and they all dressed up as superheroes while I put up the Christmas tree.

With "help" from Noah. This tree was DRY when we bought it (made the mistake of getting it from Wal-Mart), so if you just touched it with one finger it sounded like it was raining. And as you can see, caused a HUGE mess. I was very happy to throw this tree in the burn pile the day after Christmas, all that vacuuming was getting on my nerves.

Little Noah, my eater. He eats ALL day long and is still so skinny. I am trying to dish out breakfast but he couldn't wait.

Halle (my niece) turned 1 this month so we all celebrated her big day. Here are some of my siblings having fun with the photo booth that Angie set up.

And here is the sweet birthday girl!

We used our Rock City membership (we love it and go at least twice a month) to go to the Enchanted Garden of Lights. The boys really enjoyed it AND Nan and Pop went with us, and both boys love any time spent with them!

These boys. The bigger they get, the sweeter (and louder) they get. So far, the fights have been very minimal, and the hugs and laughs all the time. Granted, Noah still can't really talk yet...

Another membership we have, the Tennessee Aquarium. This is both boys' favorite spot, they like to set up camp and watch the fishes.

Jenny (the far right sister) sent me this picture and I love it. My sisters (and brother) love my boys so much, and so well.

A Grant Christmas morning tradition that we have carried on, covering the entrance to the living room with wrapping paper. The boys (and Matt) then bust through it and run to their pile of presents and stocking. This is the first year Levi's been able to bust through the paper by himself.

A lesson learned the hard/expensive way: three presents per boy next year. They didn't have a single gift over $25-30, but they had multiple. The problem is after their stocking and one present, they were so busy playing with what they had, they didn't even open the rest of the presents! We ended up opening Noah's for him and it took Levi forever to focus on the unwrapped presents enough to open them.

Noah was so cute opening this present, his Mickey. We had seen him at Toys R Us several times and Noah would start jumping up and down and just hug him. His reaction was similar Christmas morning. Mickey now sleeps with Noah and gets drug around the house all day long. Congrats Walt Disney, another child has latched on to your brand. Count us suckers, twice over.

And this is a perfect photo of the boys' personalities. Their joint gift was a Playmobil pirate ship/good guy fort. Here is Matt and Levi diligently put together piece by piece while Noah is chowing down on snacks.

Here is ALL of my family. This was taken yesterday when we had everybody together to exchange gifts. We are all so very blessed.

And here are the cousins (minus baby Jacob, 6 weeks old). Levi and Noah are wrestling on the floor, Halle kept waving and smiling at the camera and Noah just snacked and played with cars. It was so cute to see all of them in the same space, each kid so different!

And that is December, the happy parts. All that is left of this year is a bunch of continuing education for my pharmacy license. Yay...

12.26.2013

Overprotecting

To follow-up on this post, I had a miscarriage. I don't want to talk about that yet. But something from it. I was talking with someone today about whether we should have told Levi and Noah (with only Levi understanding of course) that we were pregnant, and then that I had a miscarriage. What is better, to shield them from truth, from life, or to expose them to the fact that this world is hard, that we will suffer in it, but that God is good IN the suffering.

In our case, hiding the pain of the miscarriage was unavoidable.When I passed the baby, I was in the guest bathroom on the toilet. Matt and I, of course, did not realize how painful it would be or the grief that would rack us both. I was screaming, crying as I have never EVER cried before, seeing my precious baby, dead. In that moment I wasn't thinking about the fact that Matt had our two boys in the house, trying to read to them over the sobs. As my sobs slowed down, I could hear Matt, with both boys in Levi's bed, praying for mommy.

That didn't help the sobs. But honestly, when I finally came out of the bathroom, a changed person forever, Matt and I didn't even flinch when we both answered Levi when he asked WHY. "Jesus has taken our baby to heaven Levi, to love him and take care of him there."

I'm not going to lie, I pray regularly that Levi will not remember this. Remember hearing me cry, remember the days and weeks afterwards, when I was a mess. Barely here. But at the same time, every time Levi asks me "Mommy? Where did your baby go?" "Levi, you know, you tell me where he went." "Mommy, your baby is in heaven with Jesus, will He give us a new baby, I want another baby." "Levi, we are praying for a new baby, we must learn to wait on Jesus' timing."

We have this conversation several times a week, and then always pray that we will wait for Jesus' timing, knowing He is working for our good. And every time I tear up. With sorrow that he asks the question, but with thankfulness that his little heart is seeing now that we don't understand WHY things happen, but we rest on Jesus' provision.

As I read these parenting books about "grace based parenting" over and over they say your children learn more from what you DO rather than what you SAY. So I hope that years from now, when Levi (& Noah) is inevitably faced with similar pain and loss, I pray now that we are laying a solid foundation for both our boys.

Since the miscarriage I've gone into each boys' room at night to cover them back up and pray over them. These sweet, angelic sleeping faces. Pray for them, for the heartache and sorrow they will face. That God will call them to Himself at a young, early age and that they will not stray from Him. That God will equip us to love and lead these boys well, the unbelievable blessings that they are.

Today Grace and I took the kids on a walk and as they were running in front of us Elinor called out to Levi to hold her hand. He completely ignored her and just ran right past. Rejection. Little and insignificant, as Elinor didn't even flinch and kept running, but still. And this little bit just a foreshadow of what is to come as each child gets older. But seeing that little incident today is what inspired this post, and then later that conversation. 

I think more than anything, God, through this suffering, has opened my eyes to the sin, hurt, and pain in the world. Because until that Wednesday it happened, things like this happened to people I know. Bad things DO happen, but not really to us. And now I see, as Matt has reminded me over and over "God gives and takes away." There is pain and suffering and as followers of Christ, we know we are to suffer as He as suffered. God has also put on my heart a huge passion, longing, maybe is the right word for our boys. To protect them as much as I can. To pursue their hearts, to love them better, to teach them more. Through all of this, I have been reminding myself that BOTH statements are true "God is God" AND "God is good."

There really is no point to this post, but just to get this out of my head and onto "paper." I went and saw a movie with a friend from high school tonight, Saving Mr. Banks. And as I watched I thought about all of this.

I do want to write about the miscarriage. What happened, physically, emotionally and spiritually then and now. As we have found, there really is little information on it. But just not yet.


10.28.2013

This week

Some pictures from our week:

Halle came for the day so of course they all had to squeeze themselves in the wagon...

Holding hands while walking. Sweet boys.

I posted this picture on Facebook and Instagram and was surprised at all the comments. Levi is TERRIBLE at falling asleep (it's 9:15 now, he went to bed at 7:30 and he's still in there talking and banging around). So a few nights ago I told him (after repeatedly getting up) that he could stay up with me and do chores, or he could go to bed. It started out "Levi, you can pick all the toys up in the living room and put them in this basket or you can go to bed." "No mom, I'm not going to bed ever." And he'd do what I asked. Within 30 minutes he had picked up everything off the living room floor, stacked up all the kid books in the shelf, washed Noah's bottles, unloaded the clean silverware out of the dishwasher and cleaned off over half of this wall, 3 spots at a time "Levi you can clean these three spots, or you can go to bed." After 10pm I just called it and sent him to bed anyways, I wanted to go to bed!

It's been a rough few weeks, and I was just starting to come out of my funk and am starting to find me again. I made homemade applesauce, then used it to make these muffins. Then Saturday night/Sunday morning I made these pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Today I put two chickens in the crock pot while I was at work then separated them this evening into  "dinner-portions" and put them all in the freezer along with two pot roasts for later cooking.

It seems dumb, but those kind of things, home-maker stuff, makes me feel like the "old Betty" who's hips were  narrower, didn't have stretch marks or permanent dark circles under my eyes. And I like that. But if you saw my kitchen right now you would be able to tell the new more tired, stressed out Betty is back and not messing with all those dishes.

Saturday we went to a concert with Bebo Norman, Andrew Peterson (who you all know that I love), and Sara Groves. It was a good concert, but I wish it was just AP. I'm trying to talk Matt into going on a Christmas overnight getaway to Nashville when he's doing a concert there, plus I really want to see Nashville. But for SOME reason Matt doesn't see that as a getaway... ;)

And here is my mini-Matt. (I had just finished rolling up and cutting the cinnamon rolls, hence the flour). This kid is his dad made over. Constantly running into things and hurting himself, he creates a path of chaos/mess like the Tazmanian Devil (and Matt), and he is hilarious.

Levi and Matt on the swinging bridge at Rock City yesterday. We skipped out on church for some much needed family time. This past week was a doozy between our work schedules and we needed some time just the four of us.



It was a great end to a busy week. Thankfully this week is much calmer, with me working a lot less. Plus, Halloween! Matt even took off that night so he will be here with us to see the boys both trick or treat for the first time!