Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas in Shelby

Me and my sweet man on Christmas Eve.
Jude really enjoyed playing with some of Daddy's and Uncle Cody's old toys, including this dump truck. With the unseasonably, but really nice weather, we played outside and we had forgotten that Jude isn't used to crawling around in grass, haha.
Another toy Jude enjoyed was his Daddy's old red rocking chair. He was such a ham and enjoyed the many photo shoots that came along with Nana and his first Christmas.
Poor Uncle Cody had a pretty invasive jaw surgery while we were home and though he was in pain and had to eat from a siringe, he did his best to spend as much time with Jude as possible.
It's hard to believe that another Christmas season has come and gone. We have had the opportunity to spend my entire Christmas break at home, beginning with a week in Shelby and now ending our time with a week in Asheboro. (Our Asheboro visit will come later.)
We got into Greenville, SC around midnight and Jude did awesome. He never woke up from the last leg of the flight, walking through the airport, driving the our to Justin's parents' home, then he slept until 8:45 the next morning (6:45 am our time). We were able to spend some time just hanging out with Justin's family, sleeping in, and relaxing. Things that we definitely take for granted now that we have a little one. :)
We enjoyed Christmas Eve festitivities with Justin's extended family, especially the annual Sock Exchange Shin Dig at the Cloningers. On Christmas morning, we got up and enjoyed opening presents. Jude really didn't know what to think, which is what we expected, but it was great to be with family and experience the precious memories of Jude's first Christmas. He has been spoiled rotten and gotten more goodies than he can ever imagine! So many things will be passed onto our other children (Lord willing) I don't know what they will receive as gifts!
On Christmas Day, we went to Justin's home church for the Christmas service and were able to see several of our good friends and their children that have been born this year as well. What a blessing! We also went to 3 different grandparents and great-grandparents homes. Considering the craziness of the schedule and all the new people, Jude did absolutely amazing! Everyone complimented on what a friendly baby he is.
The days go be far too fast, but we enjoyed our visit with the Dellingers. We met my family half way in Concord and have enjoyed our visit tremendously. We are amazingly blessed with wonderful family and friends.

Monday, December 19, 2011

3/4 of a Year!

I apologize for the quality of the pictures. They're taken with my cell phone and I don't have a high tech one...

This sweet little man turned 9 months old on December 15. I know it's cliche and every parent says "I can't believe how fast time flies." but it's so true. I can't get enough of him. As much as my heart longs to stay at home, I think working right now has really made me cherish the time I do spend with him, so I'm very thankful for that!

Onto what this guy is doing...we had our 9 month well visit on Friday and he's doing great!!! Stats are: Weight: 20 lbs (50%), Length: 28.5 in. (50%), Head: 17 1/4 (55%) so needless to say, we have a very "average" size guy.

At nine months, Jude has 2 front bottom and 2 front top teeth. He is crawling all over the place, pulling up, and sleeping great through the night (he has been for some time, but even little episodes with his paci last 2 seconds, he finds it, and he's fine.) He can say "Dada" but he uses it for both Justin and Mason (dog). He can say "chee" for cheese, but not consistently. He gives high 5's and is working on kisses and clapping when we say "yay". He still loves to be sung to and likes looking at books.

Things he LOVES: playing ball with Daddy and Mason, riding in his "Beep Beep" from Gran Deb, playing with his Music Table (Daddy insists that Uncle Zach buys him the most annoying toys :)), brushing his teeth, scrambled eggs, cheese, Berry Berry Kix, snuggling with Mommy, his lovey "Lamby", bath time, and riding in the stroller on walks.

Things he does not prefer, aka HATES: green beans, having his clothes/diaper changed, having his nose wiped, and being put into the car seat (he's ready to ride in a sit up/face the front kind)

This little guy has stolen our hearts and we are so thankful to have been chosen to be his parents.

On another note, we're ready to be home for Christmas and the New Year. Please say a prayer as we travel and for Mason...he's going to be taken care of by our neighbors while we're gone and we've never been gone this long from him...

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Have to Brag on HIM!

Our move across the country has taught us a lot about trusting the Lord with our finances. I took almost a $700/month pay cut in my job and though Justin makes more monthly, he finally received his first pay check since JULY this past week. Needless to say, we've had to really be careful with where our money has gone, which has been really hard, since I think we've ALWAYS had to do that. Any who, last Sunday, Justin and I realized that we had not tithed since the end of September, meaning, we've been scrimping out on the Lord for October and November. Justin looked at me in church and said, "If we write a check, it will bounce." We both knew we had to move some money over to savings and stop being disobedient. So, we wrote the check, placed it in the offering plate, asked the Lord to forgive us for not trusting him and obeying, and asked that he bless out tithes, though they be late.

This week, Justin and I set a goal of $4,000 to set back for some student loans that we will be inheriting next year. I usually don't drop numbers, but this is just how good God is y', we prayed, surrendered that number to the Lord and moved on.

Yesterday, my principal called me on the phone and told me to call him Santa Clause. I was like, "Ok Santa, what's up." Apparently, there was a mix up in our HR department and I never received my signing bonus (something I was NEVER told about.) I asked how much it was and he said, $4000. Tell me my God is not faithful!

In 1 week, Justin and I finally gave God what was His in the first place...we surrendered our account to Him and asked that He provide, and provide He did. Thank you and Praise you Lord...I just had to share!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Joy Comes From Thanksgiving

I would be lying if I said, "I love Arizona and could live here forever!" The Lord has been really been teaching me about the art of being content in all situations (which Paul teaches us), as well as remaining thankful, for out of thankfulness, pours joy. So, with that said, I wanted to make a list of all the things I am thankful for in AZ (in no particular order):

-Justin: On 7/19/08, I promised Justin, "Wherever you go, I will go." I have kept this promise and the Lord has been faithful to bless our marriage.
-Jude: Our sweet son is growing and changing every day. He truly is the joy of our lives and brings so much happiness into our home. He is strong, healthy, and happy!
-A job...though my job does not compare to the wonderful administration and faculty I had at AHS, I have a job, it pays, and it provides good insurance. Many people do not have this.
-A church...again, we can not begin to compare our new church, Maranatha Baptist to FBCO, but we shouldn't. The pastor preaches the Word, the congregation is SO welcoming. They have a great nursery for Jude and we're beginning a new Bible study on raising children in January.
-Circle K coffee: Circle K is a gas station originated in AZ...y'all, their coffee is GOOD, not cheapo gas station coffee. I can get a 20 oz for 79 cents and there is one right down the road from our hosue on the way to work
-Great Mexican food: Los Robertos Roast Chicken Burrito is all I can say...YUM!
-The views: I am a beach girl at heart, through and through, no changing that, but the mountains, canyons, rockscape, etc here is beautiful and wake up to the Pinal Mts. right outside our kitchen window with snow on the top is great!
-Friends: Though they are few and far between (compared to NC and AL) the Lord has provided specific friends who have been such a blessing since we've moved here
-Internet: Because of this amazing tool, I feel that I have been able to stay in touch more than I ever could have 10 years, facebook, blogs, webcams...Thank You Lord!

Just typing this list, my heart feels better. The Lord is so gracious and worthy to be praised! Thank you Lord for your many blessings!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ho Ho Ho

This little guy is LOVING this time of year like his Mommy. He officially has his 2 front teeth for Christmas. He loves playing with the tree skirt and the ornaments toward the bottom. I put ornaments without hooks on the bottom so if he pulls them off, it's ok. He's also pulling up on everything and is really enjoying some early Christmas presents, like his push around car from Gran Deb and Poppa Rogie, as well as his music play table from Uncle Zach.

We went to visit Santa last weekend after church. Surprisingly, he didn't cry. Santa's suit was the same fabric as Jude's Lamby lovey, so he just kept rugging the fur on Santa's coat.

Jude also enjoys looking at our nativity scene. He will climb onto the couch to look at it. Justin and I tell him the story of Christmas and show him each character as we tell it...he giggles and especially enjoys "chewing" on the camel.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, I pray that every person enjoys every special moment with their loved ones and takes time to remember the real reason for the season.

"For us to a child is born...He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." -Isaiah 9:6-

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lastly, We've Been Busy...Part III

We all enjoyed our hike in Sedona...

We had to pause for a family was much cooler near the water than I expected. Jude needed a tobagan, which by the way, no one out west knows what that is...they refer to them at simply hats or beanies???

Jude made the cutest crocodile if I do say so myself :)

The 2 cousins finally got to play together. Jude and Jamen thought the other one was funny and questioned one another when taking each others toys. The last 2 times they visited, they were too small to play...

And, of course, Mommy enjoyed napping with Jude in the recliner...we were just about to fall asleep when Auntie J wanted a picture!

We've Been Busy...Part II

While at Mamaw's, Jude got lots of time to play with Aunti J

He also loved playing with Uncle Zach with Jamen's toy. Fortunately, Gran Deb and Papa Rogie sent one for Jude man for Christmas!

Jude greatly enjoys being naked...especially when he can play and ham it up!

Jude continues to love bathtime...especially with Mo Mo and Nana!

My Dad (aka Pop) is totally smitten with Jude...he can't stand to hear him cry and often sneaks him treats (like licks of ice cream). Dad insisted on giving him his night time bottle while we were visiting.

We've Been Busy...

Jude loved playing with Alli at Mamaw's house

We have been super busy since the end of October. We had the wonderful opportunity to visit Sedona with Nana and the Caldwells and they celebrated Halloween with us. Then over Veteran's Day, Jude and I travelled to TN to visit family and to celebrate Jamen's 1st birthday! When we got home, we've been moving into our new house (pictures will come on another blog), decorating for Christmas, celebrating Thanksgiving, crawling and teething!

Jude also turned 8 months! At 8 months Jude weighs 20 lbs and is 28.5 inches long. He is crawling all over the place. It's hysterical...Justin will throw Jude's favorite toys across the room, Jude will crawl to it and then laugh hysterically because he got it. He's also pulling up on everything, including the tub which makes me a nervous wreck. He loves baths and still enjoys being sung to. His favorite toys are his stacking rings, his jacks, his singing farm toy, and he can't sleep without his lovey. He is beginning to eat table food like eggs, brown rice, mashed poatatoes, chicken, and turkey. He also loves cheese. When you tell him he's going to have cheese, he starts kicking his legs and says, "Chee chee". He also says Dada and specifically looks for Daddy at bath time if Justin's not home. Jude LOVES Mason. If you ask him, "Where's Mason?" he started looking around for him. He also has cut a top tooth, with the 2nd top tooth almost breaking through. He enjoys watching himself in the mirror and snuggling with Mommy. He is growing strong and is a beautiful blessing! How blessed we are!

Whew... Please enjoy this blog of pictures/updates.

Jude helped Mamaw feel better after surgery by snuggling with her (She will be so mad at me for posting this picture! She had not had the time to color her hair, haha.)

Jude has a window over his changing dresser...needless to say, with him pulling up, it's been a challenge to change a stinky diaper!

Over Thanksgiving, Jude helped Mommy decorate the Christmas tree!

And, we've also been having fun wrestling with Daddy and our best buddy Mason!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


"A thousand times I've failed, still your mercy remains. The art of losing myself, in bringing you praise. Everlasting, your glory goes beyond all fame. Neverending, your light will shine will all else fades. My heart and my soul, I give you control, consume me from the inside out. Lord, let justice and praise, become my embrace, to love you from the inside out."

Father, I fail you over and over again. There are times when I don't want to be here, but I know in my heart there is your peace. I find myself complaining, but I can sense the Holy Spirit telling me to be thankful. My heart longs to be at home with Jude, to be closer to home, but I trust that Your ways are higher than my ways and your thoughts are higher than my thoughts. Help me to be still and rest in your presence and in the promise that You hold me by my right hand. Your love never fails, Your mercies are new every morning, and great if your faithfulness! You are worthy of all praise. Convict my heart of the sin in my life and may I be broken before you. Lord, please help me to let You shine through me. Oh, how I need you. I ask for your forgiveness, for your guidance, and for your patience. I love you Lord and ask that your will be done through me...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

'Tis So Sweet

Jude LOVES to be sung to...he can be having a screaming fit and usually if I start singing, he'll start smiling and singing with me. Since he was tiny, I have sang hymns to him, and as he's gotten older, he continues to love them. It's been a good reminder to me because there are such good biblical truths and promises in so many of the older hymns. Here are a few of his favorites, as well as mine. I hope they can be a reminder and an encouragement to you today:

"Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. Just to take him at His word. Just to rest upon His promise. Just to say, "Thus saieth the Lord." Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!Oh, for grace to trust Him more!"

"I heard an old, Old story How a saviour came From glory How he gave his life On calvary To save a wretch like me. I heard about His groaning, Of his precious blood's Atoning Then I repented Of my sin And won the victory Oh, victory in Jesus, My saviour forever He sought me And he bought me With his redeeming blood He loved me Ere I knew him And all my love Is due him He plunged me to victory Beneath the Cleansing flood I heard about his Healing, Of his cleansing pow'r Revealing How he made the lame To walk again And caused the Blind to see And then I cried "dear Jesus, Come and heal My broken spirit" And some how Jesus Came and brought To me the victory."

A few more to look up are "The Solid Rock", "I'll Fly Away" and "There Is A Fountain" :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sedona and Halloween

2 weekends ago, we had some special visitors. Justin's Mom, Nana, and some of his grandparents, Mamaw Ann and Papaw Mick came for a visit. We picked them up on Saturday morning in Phoenix and headed to one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, Sedona, AZ. We had heard that is really is considered one of the most snenic places in the country, but I didn't believe it until we got there. All around us was sheer beauty! I'm typically a beach girl y'all, but I was in utter amazement. I definitely can't wait to go back!

There was lots of cute shops in the town of Sedona and we enjoyed yummy food while there of course. On Sunday, we had to enjoy the outdoor parts and we went to a National Park where we were able to take some amazing pictures like this one above. On the drive home, we saw some other beautiful parts of Arizona, including the Payson/Rim area. AZ is definitely not all desert!

We also stopped at some cliff dwellings near Roosevelt Lake. These were so neat! We actually got to go in these "houses" in the side of cliffs (of course there is a nice, steep walking path now) where Native Americans used to live, estimated in 1200-1500 AD. I can't imagine living there, HOLY COW!

Monday was Halloween and the Dellingers became the Irwins. :) As soon as we found out Jude was a boy I knew I wanted him to be a crocodile for his first Halloween and let Justin one of his idols, Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter! So, we did just that. I was "Terry", Steve's wife. We took Jude downtown to the town's Halloween Festival, but we didn't get candy since Justin and I would be the ones to consume it. They had a DJ and other fun things, but mostly we enjoyed looking at the different costumes and letting Jude enjoy the sights.

The family was able to stay until Wednesday morning and we had such a wonderful visit. Next time they come, we'll be in our new house so we won't have 5 adults sharing 1 TINY bathroom. :) Jude and I leave tomorrow morning for Tennessee to visit my Mom's side of the family. I am really looking forward to it. We get to help celebrate my cousins Jeff and Gerri Le's son, Jamen, 1st birthday! Say a prayer that Jude does as well on these plane rides as he did last month! :)

Friday, October 28, 2011


Jude loves getting kisses from Mommy. He is beginning to understand kiss and will lean in for a big one!

I am a huge fan of traditions. I think it's wonderful to know what you're looking forward to and something to expect every year. Growing up, my family had several traditions. Just to name a few, most Sundays we went to my grandparents house for lunch after church. Every Christmas Eve, we played games and had the whole family over at my Mamaw and Papaw's house. We would read the Christmas story, then my Papaw would hand out all the presents. My family always made home made fudge when we were snowed in...those kinds of things...we had certain things we always could count on happening. I think one of the reasons I love traditions so much is because it involves family.

Now that Jude is here, Justin and I want to start our own traditions with him. One thing that Justin and I have always done since we started dating 5 years ago, is to carve a pumpkin in October, usually between my birthday and Halloween, and then I use the pulp to make home made pumpkin bread and other yummy goodies. This year, we were able to begin this tradition as a family of 3! Jude and Justin went to the store to get 2 pumpkins. 1 big one for Justin and me and a little one for Jude. (I wanted to go to a pumpkin patch but apparently they're not as frequent as they are back home, so the grocery store had to do this year.)

Justin and I worked hard on being creative and Jude enjoyed chewing on the pumpkin and other toys more than anything, but we still had a wonderful time.
He enjoyed gnawing on the pumpkin...
...But not taking the pictures. If you can't tell, we carved a cactus in our pumpkin this year. We thought it was appropriate since we're now living in the desert. :) Last year we carved an AU. :) Jude helped paint his own he gets older, we want him to have his own and Justin and me will have ours, so we thought we would stick to him painting for the next few years. :)
What a sweet little man!

I can't believe that October is already over. Today is my sister Jillian's 23rd birthday, so I want to send a shout out to the most wonderful sister! Jillian and I have always been very close and I have always been super protective of her. There is a bond that we share that I honestly can not describe. We are very different in many ways, but we remain kindred spirits. I am so proud of her, for she has become a wonderful hardworking and compassionate nurse at Duke University Medical Hospital and a sweet, nurturing wife to my new brother-in-law. Auntie J, we hope you have a wonderful birthday and we can't wait for our visit in a few weeks! Love you!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sleeping With an Infant

Before Jude was born I read 2 books that I would highly recommend to any expecting parents, "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" (my favorite) and "Baby Wise". There is a lot of controversy over Baby Wise, but having read it, most of the controversy seems silly to me. Many parents will say that placing your child on a schedule is too rigid, but from our own experience, Justin and I are scheduled people and it worked well for our family. We still very much read Jude's cues and provided what he needed inspite of the clock (which is what the book suggests) and he has done very well with it. However, above all, I believe you must find what works best for your family. Placing Jude on a schedule worked well for us and it left us having an 8 week old sleeping from 9:30 pm-5 or 5:30 am, which was great.

Around 10 weeks, we dropped Jude's "late night feeding" of 9:30 or 10 and he began eating at 8:30 and going until about 5:30 consistently. Since it was the summer, I would nurse him while still lying in bed and we would go back to sleep until around 7 and our day began. About the time we moved to AZ (Jude was right at 4 months) he extended his morning time and decreased his evening time (which is normal, babies figure out when they need to sleep) so since then, he typically eats his last bottle between 7:30-8 pm and wakes up between 6:15 and 7:15 am. From months 4-6 he would wake up a few nights a week because he still had not learned to find his own paci and put it back in his mouth and we had some sickness of a terrible cold and ear ache that interrupted our little man's nights, as well as teething. However, 6 months was a magic number. 2 bottom teeth popped in, his cold went away, and he learned how to find his own paci! With that said, knock on wood, we RARELY have to get up for anything at this point...until the last few nights.

Jude started waking up at 5 or 5:15 and I mean "getting up" for the day. We were like, "hold up son, this is way too early" until yesterday morning. I thought to myself, we KNOW he can last longer without food, so why is he getting up...well, our 7 1/2 month old has realized what it means to be truly WET. That's it. Yesterday and today I have gone in and changed his diaper around 5 and he's gone back to sleep and sleeps until 6:45 or 7. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, but really? Some babies could go all day and never change their diaper, other than the fact they're probably develop a rash and that's not best practice, but not our little man...he wants out of his wet pants!

Oh well, I wouldn't change a single night...oh, and don't you just love that precious picture. He fell asleep watching the Lion King with his Daddy the other night...when Hakuna Matata comes on, his face lights up and he starts bouncing up and down. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lots To Talk About...

Whew...the last few weeks have been a whirlwind. October 6-10, Jude and I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a long weekend at HOME, yes, North Carolina will always be home! Jude did fantastic on the plane ride, better than I ever imagined. People thought I was nuts carrying him, my huge purse, and pulling my suitcase, but I was not about to pay an additional $25 for my bag!

We had a great time with both sides of our family. We spent a lot of time just hanging aroudn the house, having quality time with family. I was able to go see Jillian and Phillip's new house, which is wonderful! We played games, got caught up on Criminal Minds, and loved being at home. While in Shelby, Justin's grandparents had the whole gang over just to see Jude and I certianly felt special. I wish Justin could have been there to see everyone.

When growing up, I remember my Mom always crying when we pulled out of my grandparents' driveway (they live in Tennessee) and I never really got it. When I went off to college, I began to tear up when I would head back to Wilmington but now with Jude, I totally understand. It was so hard leaving with Jude. I am really trying to place my trust in the Lord right now. I so desperately want to be closer to home, and I pray that one day, sooner than later, we will be, but I am trusting that God has placed us here for a reason. The pastor read Isaiah 55 this morning, reminding me of the promise that "My ways are higher than your ways. My thoughts are higher than your thoughts."

Jude and I got back on Monday, then by Wednesday, I had to come home early from school because I could barely walk, I was so weak. I was extremely nauseous and my head felt like it was splitting open. When I got home, Justin was home with Jude and within an hour, Justin was throwing up. Needless to say, the next 36 hours were tough. Neither of us could hardly get our heads off the pillow, much less take care of Jude, but thankfully, we made it and we're doing 100% better now!

Since the virus, my milk supply has been very low, I'm assuming from dehydration and the fever. I have been pumping every 3 hours and taking fenugreek and praying that it comes back. I have been very emotional today. This morning, Jude was crying because he was hungry and pulling at my shirt and I knew nothing was there...I cried and cried as I told him I was sorry.

To end on a positive note, Friday was my 26th birthday, yes 26! Thankfully, Justin and I were feeling much better and my sweet friends Debbie and Ashton kept Jude so Justin and I could have a date in the Valley. We went to play Putt Putt and we went to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and it was wonderful!

Saturday was Jude's 7 month brithday...he weighs 18 lbs on the dot and is 27.5 inches long. He can go all over the place, backwards and sideways, but not yet forwards. He loves Mason and looks for him when yo usay his name. He also reaches up for me now and is beginning to wave and respond to his name. He is soaking everything up like a sponge and I daily try to keep my hands open and give him to the Lord.

We have been busy bees and the next few weeks will continue in this fashion...:)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Poetry Unit

I have been doing a Poetry Unit in my Resource English class and thought would share some of my students' work. Enjoy:

Student 1
I don't understand...
why my parents drink
why a lot of people like alcohol and drugs
why there are gangs

I understand...
why people get married
why parents discipline their kids
why education is important

Student 2
What if my dog ate my homework?
I might fail my classes.
What if just don't do my homework?
I could liek about not doing it.
What if I got an A on it?
I would be so happy!
O crap, where is my homework?

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Things Happening...

Well, 2 weeks ago, Jude man had his first 2 teeth come in...yes, poor guy cut 2 teeth at once, making for a very cranky little guy for a few days. Once they broke through, he's been his sweet, normal self and it's funny to see him roll his tongue over his new teethers, but not so cute when he bites Mommy while nursing!

As you can see from the picture above, this sweet guy is also trying desperately to crawl. He can get up and wiggle backward, but when he tries to go forward, he face plants into the floor. He is extremely wiggly while changing diapers and clothes, hence why he is naken in this picture. We were trying to get him ready for church yesterday and when we came back from his room, this was how he was, ready to go!

Another new thing that is happening that Mommy is slightly nervous about is our first plane ride coming up on Thursday. Though I am so excited to be flying home, it will be interesting to see how Jude man does on the plane and I will be doing it by myself. :) Please say prayers for me!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Is My Favorite

Jude man had his 6 month photo shoot last week. He was giggling up a storm and I thought I had timed the session perfuctly. Unfortunately, our photographer got into traffic coming from the Valley so she was almost an hour late and we were pushing for Jude's nap time. We got some really great shots though and I am really pleased with how they turned out! :)
Such a sweet little man!

Now, onto the blog that matches the title...if you look at years past's blogs, I will always divulge into why fall is my favorite season. My entire life, I remember longing for fall, knowing all the wonderful things that come along with this season. Here are a list of my favorite things (in no particular order):

1. Cooler weather...I love being able to dress in layers...jeans with a cotton shirt and a light jacket or sweatshirt for mornings and evenings.
2. Football...growing up with TN Vols fans, I have many childhood memories huddled in the living room. After moving to Auburn, my love for football grew even more as we became members of the Auburn family, where our ties will always remain true...War Eagle!
3. Foods of Fall...Pumpkin anything; bread, muffins, cookies, latte's, need I say more? As well as hearty soups such as some of my favorites, taco soup, chicken enchilda, and cheesy chicken noodle.
4. Colors...the vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows...lovely. (For my Auburn friends, in a few weeks, please drive by our old house and look at the beautiful bright yellow gingko tree by the will be a perfect spot for pictures of little ones and I know the Davis's won't mind you borrowing it for a photo shoot. :)
5. Halloween...though my family has never relished in the negativity that can come with this holiday, we have always enjoyed this as a timeless tradition. I love dressing up (in "nice" costumes) and doing the festivities like getting candy, fall festivals, games, hay rides, and pumpkin patches. LOTS of family time!
6. My birthday...yes, I would be lying if I didn't throw this one in here...October 14 is a very fun day for me!
7. The Beginning of a New Year...growing up, I always thought of "years" as my grades. From kindergarten-my senior year of college, that's how I looked at life and I always termed summers as "the summer before my senior year" or whatever. Then, after becoming a teacher, I have now continued with that with, "Oh, my 2nd year of teaching I _____________ fill in the blank." So, with August/September comes a new year for me. New students, new experiences, new year. :)

Let Fall Begin! :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Checking In At 6 Months

Our silly little man was 6 months old this past Thursday. When Justin and I were going to bed around 10:30 the night before, that would be 12:30 am in Auburn, Justin said, this time exactly 6 months ago, we were getting ready to head to the hospital...and then 2 hours later, Jude made his very fast arrival! :) Over the last 6 months, Jude has brought more joy, happiness, and thrills to our lives than I ever could have imagined.

For those who know me well, my biggest dream, my deepest heart's desire, is to be a mother. The Lord has fulfilled this with our precious boy! My heart is overflowing with thankfulness for our sweet son.

At Jude's 6 month check up yesterday, he weighed 17 lb. 7 oz (39 %) and was 27.5 inches long (70%). At two months, he was 75% in weight and 40% in height so he's gone from our short and stocky little man, to our long and lean. As far as clothes goes, he's in mostly 6-9 months things, but he has to wear 9 month footie pajamas for the length. He's still in a size 2 (3-6) shoe though.

He is learning so much right now. He is sitting up like a pro. He started around 4.5 months, keeping himself up for 10-15 seconds at a time, but now, that's his position of choice and he plays for long period of time all by himself! He is starting to make lots of sounds like dadada, dedede, and he loves to squeal. His favorite song is definitely "The Wheels on the Bus" and he loves to be tickled. He is also fascinated with Mason. He's starting to pull on his ears and want to give him kisses. He loves to play on the floor and he definitely wants Mommy when he doesn't feel well or is sleepy. However, he LOVES playing with his Daddy. Justin always calls on his way home and when I put him on speaker phone, Jude just lights up!

A few more things Jude has learned in the past month (more so right after he turned 5 months) is being able to put his paci in his own mouth. He'll reach for it and stick it right in. He still can't find it if he looks for it while he's 1/2 asleep at night, but if it's within reach during the day, he's got it under control. He is really trying to get up on his knees, but when his bottom goes up, his shoulders come's too funny! He is also holding his own bottle...he usually can't make it for the whole thing, his arms get tired, but he usually makes it about 3/4 of the way through.

He's still eating and sleeping well. There really isn't anything he won't eat. He still takes 5 6.5-7 oz bottles (or breast) per day and eats rice cereal with fruit for breakfast and 2 veggies and 1 fruit with cereal for dinner. As far as sleeping goes (other than the 2 weeks he had terrible congestion and an ear ache) he sleeps from about 8:30 pm to 6:15-7:15 am (depending on week day or weekend). About 50% of the time, he'll cry once for his paci and other nights, he doesn't make a peep. He usually takes 2 1.5-2.5 hour naps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. He rarely needs a catnap in the evenings any more, but if he didn't nap well during the day, he might.

To think how quickly this past 6 months has gone by is crazy. I am trying to cherish every second I get with him at this stage...I keep telling Justin to enjoy this time because it is slipping away so quickly. I was looking back at old letters I wrote to him while I was pregnant and it feels like yesterday.

"Don't you see that children are God's best gift? The fruit of the womb His generous legacy?" Psalm 127: 3 (The Message)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Laboy Day Weekend

We had such a wonderful Labor Day Weekend! My Mom and sister were able to come out! Mom was here from Wednesday night until Monday morning and Jillian was here from Thursday afternoon until the next Thursday morning. It was such a wonderful visit and it was hard to see them go! When we were taking my Mom to the airport on Monday, Mason had the saddest look (he knows what it means when someone has a suitcase) and she started crying. It was so cute.

I have always been extremely close to my Mom and sister. Jillian was even in the delivery room when Jude was born. They are my very best friends, so to have them here was like having a piece of home, which I honestly, was really needing. Below, you'll see some of the pictures of our adventures while they were here.

On one evening, we decided to take everyone to Round Mt. Park to let them take the hike to the top and see the beautiful view of the city. Mom and Jillian both did great. I'm not going to lie, I was worried about my Mom, but she did great! She only said she hated me once, haha. But when it was all said and done, I know she had a sense of accomplishment. After she's seen she can do that hike, she's even signed up for Zumba classes back home! I'm so proud of her!!!Of course Jude got new toys while Mo Mo was visiting. It's really a good thing, because most of his toys are for 3 months and he's almost 6, so he really needed some new things to keep his mind stimulated. He liked showing off how great he's been sitting up! He's been doing his for about 2 weeks now and really does great. He does tumble occasionally after about 20 or 30 minutes because he's tired, but he's doing great! He got his new stacker toys, a blow up zebra, a new book, and a Mickey Mouse laptop!
My Mom, who we have been calling Dee Dee as her "grandma" name, has decided we're going to call her Mo Mo. When we were in high school, Jillian started calling her Mo as a joke, short for Momma, and it stuck, so often, we call her Mo. One day when they were visiting, I called her Mo Mo and we were like, "That is too cute! That should be your name!" All of my cousins call her Aunt Dee Dee and she just couldn't see Jude calling her wasn't sticking, but Mo Mo is! So, Mo Mo and Pop it is!
We also took Mom and Jillian to Roosevelt Lake. We had a really good time and Jude really enjoyed the water and his new float. While they were visiting, Jude had an ear infection and had some teeth really start to come up...they've not broken the surface, but you can see 2 white buds. He also had a lot of congestion. Given how sick the little man was, he really was a trooper!

Also, over the weekend, Jude watched pieces of his first Auburn game with Daddy as well as going shopping with Auntie J in Phoenix after dropping Mo Mo off at the airport. We have been so blessed to have everything given to us as gifts, we've really not had to buy very much at all for the little squirt. However, Most of his clothes were from newborn to 6 months, several 9 month sleepers, and then clothes for 12 months and older. He literally has 3 onesies and 1 pair of pants to do him from now until he's a year, so we went shopping at a sale at Baby Gap and got his entire fall/winter wardrobe pretty much. I was very happy with our purchases! Really all he needs now is new shoes and a winter coat, but we're seeing family in October and November, so we're waiting it out. :)

What a blessed weekend! We are going to have a webcam date with Nana and Papaw Derrick today...we miss them too!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Let me start off by stating that if you know me at all, I am a social butterfly. I love ministering to women and being with ladies. I thrive in this atmosphere. The Lord is really teaching me a lot about allowing Him to be my All in all. We continue to visit different churches in search of where we need to be to worship and serve. My job is slightly overwhelming to say the least. My only friends are my principal, my school secretary, and the Agriculture teacher, 2 in which are men...hmm. Needless to say, God is trying to stretch and grow me and I'm tryng to be willing.

I have some amazing family and friends though in other parts of the country who I can sense are lifting me up in their prayers. They have emailed encouragement, texted sweet messages, and they pray for me daily, and for that I am so thankful. One sweet friend and mentor gave me a quote that speaks volumes to me right now, "Sometimes it takes the absence of people to feel the presence of God." WHOA! I am a social being, more so than the average person, so to be still and spend an abundant amount of time without girlfriends is difficult for me. However, I am learning there will be seasons of life where He is enough and He should always remain enough.

I am so thankful to have a husband who is patient with me. I am learning to love him, even when I'm frustrated...he is the reason we're here, haha. BUT, he was being obedient to our Heavenly Father by moving our family here and I must trust that He knows what's best for our lives.

I have had multiple people who encourage me to be in the Word more now than ever and I am so thankful for that. God's promises are ALWAYS true, not just when life is hunky dorey.

Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and words of encouragement....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thoughts, Part II

I wasn't really sure on a better title, because truly, I'm just writing what the Lord has been putting on my heart. I have entered into a season of my life where I'm really the most unsure I've ever been. It's not a bad thing, for I'm having to really rely on the Lord and His direction, I've just never been here before. When going to college, God provided me with an amazing room mate and Christian friends really quickly and I adjusted well. When we moved to Auburn, again, great Christian bubble and wonderful work place. However, in our new town, it's different. There are believers, but the atmosphere is different.

Justin and I were just talking last night about how God might have placed us here to help start something. It really made me excited to hear Justin talking about the Lord has known all along that we needed to be here for a reason and the reason may be much bigger than our jobs/Justin's research.

On another note, God has also been teaching me a lot about holding my hands open to Him with Jude. Wow, as Jude's Mommy, I want to hold him so tightly, but I'm trying to have an attitude of my heart to hold him loosely and allow the Lord to move in and through him, even at such a tiny stage. He is growing so quickly and I've had to start telling him "no"...he tends to like to pull my hair and blow raspberries while eating, neither which are socially appropriate, though very cute. :)

Lastly, we had a wonderful weekend! On Friday we went to the lake. We found a secluded spot where no one was around and Mason could run around. Jude enjoyed the water and it was nice to get away. On Saturday, we went hiking and Jude man did great. He liked drinking from a water bottle. (I was afraid he might get dehydrated.) He LOVES being outside and it is amazing to watch Justin in his element with his son. He walks around telling him about trees, bugs, and animals. It's really quite precious.Jude and I after the hike...he was pooped!
Justin loved his backpack carrier. Jude and I got it for him for his Father's Day/Birthday present. It's Kelty Kids and we're very pleased with it!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


My Aunt Deb gave me a really great journal before Jude was born to write in. I've been keeping prayer journals since the 8th grade so I decided to use it as a journal to the Lord and to Jude during my pregnancy and Jude's first year of life. In it are different verses of scripture, quotes, and prayers. One that I read yesterday is one I think any parent would want to pray, so wanted to share it.

Dear Lord,
I pray that I will know the treasures that are hidden in You so I may help my baby find the rich things You have given us to enjoy. Please help me to be an example and to lead my precious little one into the delight of knowing You. Amen.

On another note, tomorrow will be Jude's 5 month birthday. The days seem like moments and every day I love this little boy more and more. He doesn't go back to the dr. until he's 6 months and we don't have a scale at home, so I'm unsure of his weight, but as far as developments go, Jude is:

-Still sleeping through the night, but still needing us to get up a few times a night to put his paci back in. He'll go down by 8:30 pm and sleep until we wake him up to leave for work and on the weekends, he'll sleep until at least 7 am. (**If any of you Mom's have advice on how to get a baby to stop waking up b/c they've lost their paci, I'm up for advice.)

-Loves trying new foods. So far, he's tried, apples, bananas, pears, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas and squash. There is nothing he doesn't like, but his favorite has seemed to be carrots. He prefers it when I make them rather than jarred, but our local grocery store has had the organic stuff on sale, so it's much cheaper that way.

-Very friendly. We've been trying a new church every week since we've moved here and everyone he meets he smiles and laughs. He doesn't always want new people to hold him per say, but he is a very friendly baby.

-Still rolling over well. His favorite toys are these new Baby Einstein balls we got him. We'll roll them and throw them with him and he cracks up. He still enjoys his swing when he's getting tired and likes playing on his play mat.

-He wants to sit up so bad. He acts like he's doing crunches and get really frustrated. If we sit him up and let him go, he can stay as much as 20 seconds by himself, but not consistently.

-He is very long legged, like his Daddy. We have a few pant jumper outfits and he looks like Huck Finn in them. I can't buy a size bigger b/c he's on target as far as clothes with his waist goes, so if I buy bigger to be long enough, they'll swallow him whole around the tummy area. This fall/winter may be interesting. :)

We are continuing to make new friends and learn more about the town and new culture we're in. God is faithful and we're thankful for the many blessings we've been given.

"From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another." John 1:16

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Afternoon at the park...

When we told everyone that we were moving to Arizona, everyone said, "Oh, it's so hot!" Me included. However, our quaint little town is actually in the mountains, not the "Valley" aka Mesa/Phoenix area and it's a good 10-15 degrees cooler here than there. This morning we woke up to a perfect 70! Granted, it did make it to the mid 90's, but with 3% humidity, that's nothing compared to the 100+ heat in Alabama with 100% humidity. Any who, last weekend, we decided to go to a local park and "play" with Jude. Justin and I probably had more fun than he did, but he did really love the swing. Mason also enjoyed having grass to roll in, since we have very little in our yard.
Jude LOVES his Daddy! When Justin gets home, he just lights up. However, he is still definitely a Momma's boy. If he's grumpy or tired, he prefers me, but he loves to play with Justin.
I'm really enjoying having my camera that takes action shots. It has several options, but my favorite is the one that takes 20 frames and you choose which ones you like. It's really funny to see the faces we make in slow motion!
Many people have been wondering how we're adjusting, and I honestly think we're all doing really well. After only 2 nights here, Jude decided to start stretching his 5-5:30 am feeding to 6:15 or even as late as 7:40 a few times, so that's been nice. We still have to go in at least once in the middle of the night to help him out with his paci, but that's it. He's also doing well with his new sitter. She has another 18 month old little boy she also keeps, so I think that will be good for Jude. She says he's fussy most days, but I know my boy and I think that's relative. I have done A LOT of babysitting over the's practically what got me through college, and I've seen fussy babies and Jude is not one of them. Don't get me wrong, my child cries, but I would consider him pretty typical. He'll cry if he's hungry, wet, or tired. He'll wimper a little if he's getting bored with an activity (which is what I think is happening at her house) but over all, if he's communicating, there is a reason.

As far as Justin and I adjusting, I think it's going really well. We have started a new devotional that we do seperately, but most days discuss and with his work schedule, we're getting in a good family routine at night where we eat dinner while Jude takes an evening cat nap, he wakes up and eats, then we take Mason on a nice walk, come back for a bath, and them play. I really enjoy it! I won't lie...this weekend I had a total break down and said I hated it here and really complained but talk about conviction. It was like a neon sign was over my head saying "Do all things without complaining..." Needless to say, the Holy Spirit quickly reminded me of the many things I have to be thankful for, and there are many, and got back into a normal frame of mind.

Any who, that's about it...kiddos come back to school tomorrow, but fortunately it's only for 2 days and I get all day Friday, Saturdsay, and Sunday with my boys!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Settling In...

That's what Jude said to riding in a car seat for 3 days/1700 miles. :) "Poo on you!" No really, he did great and so did Mason. After what seemed like a huge deal at the time, we had an ordeal with the moving company, but God was faithful and with the help of wonderful friends and great family, we made it! Our quaint little town is definitely different than Auburn, but 3 years ago, I was thinking, "Man, Auburn is so different from Wilmington!" and I fell in love with it. The people here are super nice and love to hear our accents.
After unpacking boxes and beginning to settle in, we took a "hike" at Rount Mt. Park here in our new town. Jude loves being outside and it's got nice trails that are actually more flat than our neighborhood. Taking a "leisurely" walk is more like running stadiums and my glutes are on fire.
Jude is loving eating his oatmeal and changes more and more every day. Though we are going through some crazy transitions right now and we are experiencing God's love and mercy like never more!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happy Birthday to All!

Happy Birthday Justin! Justin's 25th birthday is tomorrow and we're planning on having some time to ourselves. Sweet friends of ours are keeping Jude for us so we can do a movie and dinner. I also bought Justin an ice cream cake from Marble slab (Sweet Cream with strawberries) and we had a little family party with just us today to dig in on it. I let Jude lick my spoon a few times just to get a taste of it and that tiny amount kept him up for 4 hours straight.

I do want to take a moment to give my wonderful man a shout out for his birthday. My hubby is one of the most hard working and dedicated men I know. He loves the Lord and his family and it shows! He also is crazy about his job and is passionate about what he does. I am incredibly blessed to have a husband who adores me and our son! Love you Justin!

Yesterday Jude Man turned 4 months old! I know it's cliche to say "Man, how time flies!" but it really does. This little man has been such a blessing to our family and I can't remember what life was like without him. Here are a few 4 month stats:
-Height: 25 1/4 in. (60%)
-Weight: 15 lb. 6 oz (60%)
-Can roll over occasionally when he's mad, but does not do it consistently yet...about 50% of the time
-Started Whole grain rice cereal and oatmeal with bananas. He LOVES them both! I wanted to wait until 6 months but he was showing all the signs of "Is your child ready to start whole foods?" so we thought we would try it and he LOVES it!
-Sleeps well...he'll eat his last bottle around 8 or 8:30 pm, go to sleep by 9:30 and will sleep from 5:30-6:30 am every morning. (I nurse him and put him back to sleep and he'll stay asleep for at least another hour or 2 before starting the day.) He does well with this naps and is getting easier to put down. He typically likes to fight sleep, but he's now learning to self soothe more. He also does not get swaddled for naps any more, but I'm still too nervous to try not swaddling at night time yet.
-As far as "wake time" goes, he loves being outside, looking at books, and playing with stuffed animals. He's super cute. He doesn't love being on his back at all, so his play mat is hit or miss. He likes his exersaucer pretty well and we have attempted his Jumpy seat a few times. He's really beginning to get his own little personality, including squealing at the top of his lungs when he doesn't get what he wants. :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

There Is a Time For Every Season...

...and our season of life in Auburn, AL is coming to a close (at least for now). I hope this post will serve as a good bye to any special people we do not have a chance to say good bye to, as well as a journal of sorts for me to keep as we end this season and begin our new season in Arizona.

For those who don't know, Justin graduated with his Masters from Auburn in May and is now pursuing his PhD from Clemson University. Though Clemson is in SC, his research is in Arizona and New Mexico, so we're headed west for at least the next 3 years.

In August of 2008, the day we got back from our honeymoon, Justin and I headed south on I-85 to begin our new life in Auburn. We were both 22 years old, starting news careers, and leaving our family and friends in NC. We knew NO ONE in Auburn and I personally was scared to death. But let me tell you, when God promises He'll provide, provide He does. I have had the honor to teach at Auburn High School for the last 3 years with some of the most wonderful people. I have LOVED being a part of the faculty there and have learned many nuggets of wisdom to keep in my teaching bag for years to come. We also found a wonderful church right away and were able to get plugged in immediately. We have shared so many wonderful memories here: starting our marriage, our "firsts" of everything...all holidays, our dog Mason, a home, and most importantly, our son.

We have also had some tough times while living here, but God has used those times to refine us and use those times to grow us in Him. Justin's travels (over 8 months total in the last 3 years) did not make it easy for us as newlyweds, but man what the Lord has taught us. We also experienced pain through loss. In January of 2010, the Lord called our first baby home when I was only 8 weeks pregnant. Our marriage and faith were tested immensely during that time, but again, God is so faithful. Finances were not easy either at times, but we have learned to really appreciate the small things.

As I finish this post, I want write about my favorites/things I will miss most about Auburn...
1. Community: When I say community, I don't mean the town, I mean people we have lived life with. The friends God has placed in our lives here are ones that I hope to stay in touch with forever. We have truly had relationships that have changed our lives...people who have prayed us through hard times, and spurred us on in our walk with the Lord. We are immensely blessed!

2. Atmosphere: I feel like I live in Mayberry and I love it! Everyone knows everyone...when you walk around town, people smile and wave (and often say "War Eagle") I feel safe and comfortable and love the unity that this town has!

3. Convenience: For the past 2 years, Justin and I have lived .5 miles from my work and .3 miles from his work. Needless to say, we're spoiled. Just about anything we need in any way is less than 10 minutes away from our house, which leaves more time to get ready and just be at home. I will definitely miss this.

4. Eats: I saved this for last because it's really not that important, but just like in Wilmington, there are certain places that are only in this area that I will really miss. First, Bizilia's mango peach smoothie. Second, Big Blue Bagel's bagel chips with honey mustard. Third, anything from Chappy's Deli. This is definitely my favorite restaurant here and it will be missed!

I have to say, God is good and I have a peace about our move. (This does not mean that tears have not been shed, nor will stop being shed.) Justin's grandmother told us that she feels that God is taking us there to be missionaries and I couldn't be more honored. If moving to Arizona makes a difference in His kingdom, how selfish of me to consider otherwise. Please pray for us during our move and may God bless you all still in Auburn...we love you!

Friday, July 1, 2011

New Family Picture

Justin's Mom took this picture of us at Jillian's wedding (obviously) andI thought it turned out really well. We have really enjoyed our time with family...words truly can not express how blessed we are to have so many people who love, support, and encourage us.