Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Help Save Red Wolves

For those who follow my blog and do not know, my husband is a wild life biologist and worked specifically with Red Wolves for his Master's Research. This is a species of wolves that exist only in a 5 county radius in our home state of North Carolina. There are only 100 in the wild today. There are serious economical and environmental issues if this species does go extinct and the Fish and Wildlife of NC have been working for nearly 22 years to help recover and preserve these animals.

With this said, there is a new law trying to be passed to allow the legalization of night hunting for coyotes. Most people would question, "Why does that matter?" and "How does this effect red wolves?" Well, these 2 species though very different in temperment and nature, favor significantly physically. Passing this law has a high likelihood of severely hurting the red wolf population due to mistaken kills.

For any of you from NC who care about wildlife please go to this link and vote against the proposal to allow for night time hunting of coyotes. The proposal's intentions are great but they make no concession for the five counties in which red wolves exist. For those of you who don't know red wolves only exist in Dare, Tyrrell, Hyde, Washington, and Beaufort counties and no where else in the world. For a hunter 100 yds away they are impossible to tell apart and thus many are likely to die if this proposal is passed. Only 100 exist in NC, the only place in the world they can be found!

Thank you for your support and please pass this along.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Unto The Lord

March 11th was a huge day for Jude. Not only did we celebrate his 1st birthday, but we also publicly dedicated him to the Lord. This is something that Justin and I had done very soon after we found out we were pregnant, surrendering our child's life into the Lord's hands and acknowledging that we can not raise him alone. However, we wanted this day to be very special with all our family present, so we decided to wait until this date. We had the dedication at my Dad's church near Asheboro, NC and almost everyone was present to celebrate in this time with us.

Before the service began, we let Jude get some energy out by going up and down the stairs. He loves doing this and we thought it would be a great idea to get him good and tired so he would nap during preaching and be ready for his party after the service...see the next post.

Well, this was not a good idea. Once the service got started, all Jude wanted to do was get down and go up and down the stairs. This picture does not do it service...he literally screamed and was red faced the entire time my Dad was admonishing him unto the Lord and giving a beautiful speech about dedicating his first grandchild. Needless to say, we have a strong willed child and we finally gave up and put him down.

Once he got what he wanted, he was delightful! :) Another special thing is this sweet outfit was one Justin wore...tell me my boy isn't precious...sorry, boastful mother stepped in for a moment.

We had a beautiful service praising the Lord for this most precious blessing and asking for guidance, wisdom, and strength as we raise our son.

Birthday Bash

We had a wonderful time celebrating Jude's 1st birthday back home in NC with our family and closest friends. My brother was sweet enough to share his birthday with Jude. All the guys in our family were also sweet enough to watch the ACC Tournament Championship via iphones. Thank you guys!

Jude had a great time visiting everyone. We had an Italian buffet with yummy baked spagetti, lasagna, salad, and bread. He wasn't too sure of his cake at first, but once he realized that it was something sweet, he dug right in. I think we let him eat a little too much of it because about an hour after the party, after much play on his new slide, he threw up...oops.

This is my favorite picture of him "opening" presents. He got LOTS of fun toys and great books to read, including his favorite "The Wheels on The Bus". He is loving cars, trucks, trains, anything with wheels so he got several of these. He also get a new tent/tunnel to climb through/play in. Hopefully now he won't get into Mason's dirty pin.

Family Picture at Jude's first birthday party! The time has gone by so fast. I know it's cliche to say that, but it really does. I remember my grandfather saying he felt like there were 4 Christmases a year and I'm starting to understand this comment more and more.

I have to take a moment to brag on the cake/cup cakes. My brothers girlfriend Brittany owns a bakery (Check it out... Jude's cake was a strawberry cake with chocolate buttercream filling...deliciousness. The cupcakes were a mixture of Cherry Limade (Cherry Cupcakes with Lime buttercream frosting, my personal favorite) and Cherry Cherry Cupcakes (Cherry Cupcakes with Cherry Buttercream with chunks of marachino cherries in it)...y' good!

Overall, we had a wonderful day. What a great time celebrating in the life of our sweet little boy the Lord has blessed us with.


Please bless Jude with many more birthdays filled with laughter, joy, and hope that You hold his tomorrow. Thank you for this beautiful blessing. May You alone receive the honor and glory through our son's life.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

1 Year Ago

Dear Jude,

One year ago today, you made your quick and grand entrance into this world at 2:35 am. Your Momma and Daddy instantly loved you more than we ever imagined we could. The last 12 months have left us wondering where the time went and praising the Lord for every moment we've been blessed to spend with you.

From the very beginning, you were an excellent eater, as you still are today. You nursed well and those early weeks we had wonderful bonding time, just you and me. You have always enjoyed being outside and going on your daily walks. When you were only a few days old, you wanted to be outside and that was the quickest way to get you to calm down if you were upset. Now, at a year, you crawl to the door and start asking to go play outside. You are your father's don't want to be held. You want to crawl/walk with your walker on the rocks, on the pavement, any want to adventure.

You have a funny personality. You'll try and tickle me or even nibble (literally) on my toes and shrug your shoulders and laugh. You are very giving. (I hope you keep this trait as you move toward age 2.) You want to share your toys, food, cup, lamby, even your paci. You are a snuggler. Just last night we were playing on the floor and you climbed in my arms, nuzzled your head under my chin, and wrapped your arms around me. A Mommy could not ask for much more than that!

You are already showing some of Mommy's OCD tendancies. You want things in their place. You love to put toys in and out of those places, but you want to stay organized. You are close to walking, standing alone for several seconds at a time, but no steps yet. You love your buddy Mason. You pull his hears and tail and loves to lick your head and play ball with you. Y'all are definitely a funny team.

You have 9 teeth...3 which have come in just this past week. You have 4 on top, 4 on bottom, and 1 molar just popping through. You enjoy playing blocks and ball and you especially love playing with your "beep beeps" (aka cars/trucks). Your favorite songs are still the "Wheels on the Bus" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider". You also like it when Mommy sings hymns to you at night or when you're upset. You still despise having your diaper changed on most occasions, but you are showing improvement in this area.

Every day you seem to teach us something different. Your Daddy and I adore you. We have made the comment that you have set the bar high for your future brothers and sisters. We are so thankful to have you sweet son. We pray that the Lord will keep His mighty hand over you, draw you to Himself, and that you would live a life worthy of the Gospel.

We love you and hope you have a very Happy 1st won't remember it, but we'll never forget it!

Love Always,


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Leaning On the Everlasting Arms

We have been really busy the last few weeks, travelling all over the state of AZ and then to Seattle. I thought I would take a few moments and share what God has been teaching me. The last year has been a very difficult one for me, but also one of the most rewarding. Since last March, Justin completed his Master's Thesis and accepted a new PhD position relocating us all the way in AZ. Jude was born, and to call that a blessing beyond words is an understatement. But, in the midst of that joyous arrival and learning to become a new Mommy, I left a town, a church, a group of friends, the SOUTH, a job, the list goes on and on, of things I love and found it difficult to part with.

I have mentioned before different "nuggets of truths" God has been teaching me along this journey, but today, I need to recap for myself:
-Sometimes, God teaches us the most when all we have is Him (for a social butterfly, the lack of Christian girlfriends has been very difficult for me.)
-Aside from my relationship with Christ, my relationship with Justin MUST come first. I can't be a good mother, a good teacher, sister, daughter, friend, etc, if I'm not in a right relationship with my husband. God has really strengthened our marriage through this adventure.
-To enjoy every moment...this sounds easy when Jude is giggling, laughing, playing, but I have learned to really love him waking up around 6 on Saturdays to nurse and snuggle in bed. When he screams while getting his diaper change or throws a tantrum from not getting his toy of choice, I won't go and say that I love these moments, but I can honestly say that I am embracing them. Many years from now, I know I will miss the cries of an infant. Though I hope to enjoy that stage of life when the time comes, knowing how much I love babies, I know I will miss it.
-The importance of time with Him. A dear friend of mine sent me "Jesus Calling" soon after we moved to AZ and man has it been a blessing to my heart. Many days Justin and I go through it together. When working full time, trying to exercise at least 3-4 times a week, keeping a tidy house, and making my little man a high priority, even a few minutes with my Savior every day is powerful. I've also learned the importance of my continuous communication with him. Jude and I pray every morning on the way to the sitter's, we pray on the way back (if we're not talking to MoMo), I pray in the shower, while cooking, etc. Thank you Lord for being a God who cares about the details!

I hope to look back in years to come and think, "Thank you Lord for that season of teaching me to lean on You. To trust You when it was so hard, when I didn't even really want to. Thank you for being my Everlasting Arms."

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Our Seattle Visit

A view of the market....Seattle has many public libraries, including the main campus in the heart of downtown which happens to have an amazing children's wing. We visited and stayed for over an hour. Jude LOVED all the games, puzzles, and books and even met a new friend.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we really enjoyed our trip to Seattle. I honestly had no association or idea what Seattle was like other than my views of it from Grey's Anatomy, sadly enough. However, it was a really neat city. It was very diverse, with tons of Mom and Pop places to eat and shop. The scenery was amazing and there were many neat museums, architecture, and places to visit. One really neat place was Pike's Place Market, which is where we were when we saw this fresh fish, literally caught that morning in the bay about 200 yards behind where we were standing. The Market stretched for blocks and blocks of all kinds of different shops.
I'm not sure if Seattle is somewhere I would want to live, considering I prefer much rural settings, but I would encourage anyone who wants to visit a neat, American city, Seattle would be on the top of my list.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Grand Canyon

The weekend after Valentine's Day, Daddy (aka Pop) and Jillian (aka Auntie JJ) came to visit for a whole week! They flew into Pheonix REALLY late and we stayed in a hotel there. We woke up the next morning to travel to the Grand Canyon. Y'all, it was awesome. We enjoyed a picnic lunch before Justin began his 19 mile round trip hike down the canyon and back, while Daddy, Jude, Jillian, and me enjoyed the scenic drive and breath taking views. (Unfortunately, I find no thrill in hiking 19 miles in less than 24 hours, nor does sleeping outside where bears, mountain lions, and other critters roam thrill me, but it does my husband and I graciously support his wild endeavors.)We stayed there over night, enjoying good food and the amazing beauty of God's creation. The mere vastness of the Grand Canyon was thrilling. We saw elk at one view point and there were literally only 5 feet away from us...these make our little while tail look puny. Jude LOVED being spoiled by Pop and Auntie JJ. He even rode with Pop to McDonald's in the morning all by himself and was a big help in bringing in the food, haha.
The weather was wonderful there too. It was cool, but not nearly as bad as I was afraid it would be. We did see a lot of snow on the trip up but there was very little once we got there.
On the way back home, since Justin and I loved Sedona so much, we wanted Daddy and Jillian to see it too and it was only 30 minutes out of the way. We enjoyed same amazing food there as well, the beautiful rockscapes, and the shops. As you can see, they had some really neat things there and we really enjoyed having a good time being silly.
My Dad is a mess. He wanted to carry Jude the whole time and did not want to use the stroller or carrier. He literally kept him in his arms pretty much the whole time he was here, haha. Once we got home, we were able to get to church on time for the Sunday evening service and use the next few days to show Daddy and Jillian our town. They enjoyed the beautiful mountains and the authentic Mexican food. More than anything, just having a piece of home means so much. We shared some really special memories that week, including Jude actually saying "Mama" for the first time...not Baba. He didn't know what to do once his buddies left!
When we dropped Daddy and Jillian off at the airport, Justin, Jude, and I also travelled to Seattle, WA. We went for some things for Justin's job, but we got to enjoy the amazing sights of the city. The harbor was beautiful and has so many interesting and cultural sights. I really enjoyed the opportunity to visit a place I never thought I would.
In other news, Jude's 1st birthday is creeping up in a few short weeks and we'll be making a visit home to NC for his baby dedication and big birthday bash soon. We are so excited to be with almost ALL of our family on both sides to celebrate in this special time with us! :)