Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Welcome to the future.

I have finally joined this century as a proud iPhone owner. The best part about it?? Taking 15million photos of my sweet boy and family. Here are a few from our big week with family for Thanksgiving. 17 people under one roof provided numerous photo opps.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Not once in my life has anyone accused me of being athletic. Even when I played volleyball in high school, I think everyone was just nice to me and let me play. If I hadn't played with one of the most brutal coaches high school volleyball has ever seen, I might have never learned I could run a little, or that when done routinely you can actually start to see a noticeable difference in your body. 
Have you seen this? It cracks me up because it is so ME! I look at pre-baby pictures and think, "What the heck was I complaining about?!" While having a baby and then nursing that baby for a year gives you a whole new appreciation for how amazing your body really is, I would feel more amazing if I could wear some of the pants I did prior to having that baby. :)

I blamed nursing for a while. I was NOT one of those who lost all their baby weight and then some. In fact, my body seemed to lock down on weight. Even when watching calories, my milk supply would dip but the scale would not! I treasured nursing my boy so I decided to eat as healthfully as I could and worry about the weight later. 

I heard a quote the other day that said something along the lines of, "If you run, you are a runner." So, I am embracing that and doing something "athletic" for once. :) I've started a new routine of getting up before Dane and spending time with The Lord, and making time to go for a run a couple days a week. While the scale hasn't budged yet, I feel so much better about myself. Spending time in the word helps me focus throughout the day and running clears my lungs (because I'm breathing really, really hard!) and my head. There's no room for satan to berate me and tell me my body isn't good enough when I've spent time in scripture and can fight back with Psalms that say that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made". 

The best part of running for me is listening to praise and worship music. My neighbors may think I'm nuts running with my hands raised, but sometimes the Spirit moves even while I'm running, so with tears streaming and legs moving, Jesus and I have a moment right there on the pavement. There's something about the imagery of Casting Crowns "Set me Free" that gets me every time-- and the rockin' beat motivates me to run a pretty quick mile (for me!). 

I think im only telling the internet about my running routine so that it's public knowldge and someone will hold me accountable! :) So, here's to hoping this new routine pays off and I'm back in the skinny jeans before long! 

giving up

So, here we are. We made it to the last day of this month of 7. The challenge this month was to give away 7 things a day for 30 days. 210 things. Tevie and I felt that we should each give away 210 things-- 420 total items. I lost count somewhere in the 150's for myself and counted over 100 things for him. I don't doubt we reached or exceeded our 420 goal. 

I knew this month was going to be tough when conviction set in before the month even began. It was easy to glean that first layer of crap off the top. We all have junk drawers full of stuff. Clothes in our closet that are too big, too small or out of style. Making that first run through is refreshing and liberating. Drawers clothes easily. Closets don't scare you any more. Then you realized you're only at 105 things and you better get serious because it's the 15th of the month. 

The hardest part for me was getting rid of stuff I knew I didn't need anymore, but wanted to keep just to say I had it. How ridiculous is that? I will probably never wear that too-small raincoat but it is soo beautiful, it makes the closet prettier... Wow. I need help. In the book, Jen Hatmaker mentions not getting rid of stuff just to make room for more stuff. To be honest, I kind of started out with that mindset. I would put a dress in the giveaway bag and think, "Now I have room for another one!" 

And then reality set in-- this Stay-at-home mom budget doesn't allow for replacing all the stuff I am giving away... and that's when satan tried to defeat the work the Lord was doing in my heart. I wanted to keep things just to have them and because I knew I couldn't afford to buy them again. Gone are the days when I can run into Brooks Brothers and pick up a few new buttondown shirts. But, gone too, are the days when I need things like that. I don't need to wear an $80 shirt while I am playing playdoh or digging in the mud. My days are filled with yoga pants and Target t-shirts-- and they are so much more comfortable, and my days more fulfilling, than the days when I ran around in too-tall high heels and starched shirts. 

It's rewarding to see the boxes and boxes and bags and bags and bags of clothes going away to someone who really needs them. Some stuff I'm sending to my sister or gave to my sister-in-law or friends. And it is sooooo freeing not being weighed down with stuff. Our closets are clean and organized and I am blessing Goodwill with an abundance of plastic clothes hangers.

I had to hurry up and right this today during naptime because tomorrow begins Media Month. 30 days without 7 media items. For us it is the following:

1. TV
2. iPad and apps
3. internet
4. facebook
5. Netflix
6. radio
7. texting (can be used only when you can't make a phone call)

I'm dreading the radio most because I spend ALL NOVEMBER listening to Christmas music. :( I am really looking forward to the peace and quiet. I thought about "signing off" of facebook and letting people know what we were doing. But I want to see if people even notice. I think that will prove something too. While we think we can't live without facebook, most people are so caught up in themselves they won't notice you're "missing". And just so the grandparents know, no iPad/apps does not apply to Dane's ability to facetime or for you receiving pictures of him. :)

Again, I challenge you to get your hands on this book. The Lord is using it rock our world!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

milk memories

Making the decision to have a child is one of the biggest ones you'll ever make. It's stressful. It's exciting. It's exhausting (The italics does not stress enough just how tired you will be). It's months of waiting to get pregnant. It's months of agonizing over everything that could possibly go wrong with the pregnancy. It's praying over their safety and asking for mercy when you screw up as a parent. It's making decisions and saying "I'll nevers" and then eating a lot of words. :)

There are things I thought I would sail through. Take delivery... mine ended in c-section. Ok, then. Hmmm, that's not how that was supposed to go!

Take nursing. It's natural. Everyone can do it! You'll take right to it! 

Fast forward to a fragile postpartum momma rocking her baby while her momma holds her hand and tells her she's gonna make it! "You can do this!" "Your milk will come in!" "I know it hurts but just count to 10!"

Nursing sucked at the beginning. Ha. I guess that pun was intended. It was so. very. hard. And the hospital didn't help any sending me home with that little can of crack formula. When my baby is crying because he's hungry and I just nursed him 45 minutes ago, that little devil can whispered my name from the pantry. Thankfully my husband told me I was a "trooper" and that I could "do this" and we would cry through another night of non-stop nursing. 

And then. I had made it two weeks. TWO WEEKS!!! 

And then one morning I woke up and it had been a month. ONE WHOLE MONTH!!!

And by the time Dane was four months old we were on total cruise control. It was the easiest thing ever! I could nurse in a restaurant. In the pew at church. I even managed to nurse him while he remained buckled in his carseat driving down the road. Desperate times call for desperate measures! 

And then my baby turned one. One year old? I nursed a baby for a whole year. I NURSED A BABY FOR A WHOLE YEAR!!! The girl who wanted to quit when her 4 day old baby was screaming in hunger because her milk had yet to come in had nursed her baby for 365 consecutive days. I can't explain to you how victorious I felt! 

I love nursing. Love it. There is something so very special about snuggling your newborn baby and realizing that you are sustaining him. The milk you make is giving him life. To look at those droopy cheeks and rolly thighs and understand that your milk put that weight on those sweet little bones. And the specialness that is a nursing baby wanting his momma so he can nurse. I ate it up. This is not meant at all to discount the special relationship a momma who formula feeds has with her baby. Even if you only nursed a day, you know the "wow factor" of seeing that baby latch on and relax as he melted against you, feeling perfectly content and safe. 

Dane will fall asleep for anyone but me. ANYONE. Daddy puts him to bed every night. It's become their special time together. Tevie loves getting to snuggle up with him and I love getting to relax and unwind--or finish the dinner dishes (usually)-- while they settle in for the night. If he's with momma though, he wants his milk. So much so that if he had fallen asleep in the carseat or something, Tevie would have to move him to his bed because I got close enough for him to even smell milk, he would wake up and beg to nurse. Sometimes he would be so tired he would barely latch on before falling asleep. I treasured that when he was tiny but as he grew and grew, I began to worry that I wasn't doing him any favors. I tried timing our sessions and stopping at 10 minutes and rocking him. He didn't stand for that and would be fighting mad when I put him in crib to sleep. After going to facebook to ask friends what I should do and getting a resounding "ENJOY IT!", I decided that's what we'd do. His pediatrician said that she would pleased if he nursed until his 2nd birthday and as long as he was weaned before kindergarten she had no concerns. Love that lady! :) So, enjoy it I did. 

We've had a busy couple of weeks around here. We spent one Saturday playing on Tevie's parents' farm. Dane didn't get a morning nap and while we road around the farm he fell sound asleep in his Gran's arms. That night Tevie put him to bed. 

One whole day without nursing. 

The next day, Sunday, we went to late service at church. Dane must have played hard in children's church because he fell asleep in the car on the way home. Again, Daddy put him to sleep that night. 

Two whole days without nursing.

Monday he drank some whole milk from his cup and I rocked him to sleep at naptime. He fell the next day ( a pretty bad one that left a nasty bruise on his cheek) and in an effort to soothe him I tried to get him to nurse. He latched on for about ten seconds-- long enough stop crying-- and that was all he wanted. 

Just like that, we were done nursing. Have you ever had that moment when you realized you really should have been careful what you wished for? I did want my boy to just let me rock him to sleep. I did not want us to stop nursing. And it happened, really without us even trying. Life got busy, and my baby began growing up on me.

I knew there was a possibility it could happen like that. But my baby LOVED nursing so much, I was relieved when our doctor referenced kindergarten-- I thought it might take that long! To be honest, I wanted it to last longer than 14 months. Eighteen months was my goal (after we reached the year mark). I can't help but feeling like a little bit of a failure because we didn't quite make the mark. I know, I know, that 14 months is really good- great even. I will now admit that I was one of the few who was not weirded out by the lady nursing her toddler on the cover of Time Magazine a couple months ago. When you're nursing a baby, and plan on extended nursing, I could easily see how one day you look at the calendar and three years have past. At least in our situation, at the end Dane was only nursing 2-3 times a day. And it wasn't a weird thing. It's a very special connection, an amazing thing, really, that God gives us. He creates life in us and then allows us to carry it and, then, to sustain it for months (or years). Plus, there are numerous benefits to nursing for momma and toddler

So, to the momma who's struggling with a newborn marathon feeder, or the momma of a toddler who feels a little like a worn out old cow-- HANG IN THERE! I think Trace Adkins said it best when he sang, "You're gonna miss this. You're gonna want this back. You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast." You will really will miss it because when it's gone, it's gone. Maybe when you least expect it. Soak it up. Memorize the look of his sweet grin when he smiles at you mid-latch and milk dribbles down his cheek. Treasure the smell of his sweet post-bath skin, soaked in lotion and snuggled up against yours as he settles in to sleep. Nibble those chubby little fingers as they pinch and scratch your chest. :) (HA! Isn't that the worst?!). "It won't be like this for long." (Thank you, Darius Rucker, for making me weep like a baby every.single.time that song comes on-- even if it's the middle of the bread aisle at the grocery!)

Thanks for the milk memories, Baby Dane. Here's to a new stage and watching you grow into a big boy. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Uncle Bruce

As young college students you make a lot of friends in those four formative years on campus. Some are for a season, and some friendships you know are going to last a lifetime. Bruce is that kind of friend. The kind that's worth driving all the way to Birmingham to watch him receive his white coat for pharmacy school. The kind who comes up for the weekend just to take care of your dogs. 

A few weeks ago, Uncle Bruce came to visit. He's developed a soft spot for our little guy. Dane is has been kind of weary of people lately, but he took right to Uncle Bruce and made him sit for an hour and read every book and play every iPad game he has. ;)

Poor Elphie, Uncle Bruce used to be her man. Looks like she's going to have share. :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

goodbye, september

Dane is 14 months old! I can't believe how quickly time passes. It's been a busy month 'round here!

One of his favorite "toys" is the swiffer. I am not opposed to him learning to use it-- since I'm usually cleaning up after him and the trillion cheerios he leaves on the floor. :)

 He enjoyed his first try at corn on the cob this month. Apparently, it was delicious!

One thing I have grown to LOVE about Kentucky is having all four seasons. This Arizona girl loves the heat, but a definite break from it (and a gentle ease into freezing temps) is so wonderful. We've enjoyed lots of time outside. I've tried to capture his sweet little features while they still look like they belong to a baby. He becomes more and more of a toddler every day. :(

 Boys.are.dangerous! He will find the dirtiest, germiest, death-defying way to do anything. Doing the stairs by himself is a new trick he's trying to master.

 I should note that after those photos were taken, he missed a step and took a corner to the cheek... it's still green and purple. :(

We tried getting a few family photos while we enjoyed the beautiful weather on a blanket in the yard....our youngest family member wanted nothing to do with it.

 The driveway is his favorite place to play right now because he can run around and around. He loves to "kick" balls-- tennis balls, baseballs, volleyballs. :) He even throws them for Elphie. Elph also loves this time outside because she gets to run free. While she does wander a little too far sometimes, she usually spends her time shepherding her little lamb in the driveway.

watching out for danger. :)
 She's a good shepherd, but a shameless beggar. This is aided by the fact that the baby loves feeding her. :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

little blue dress

My baby is taking an amazing nap. Oops, I better not say that lest I jinx myself. My husband is gone so the house is quiet. I ate lunch. by. my. self. It's the little things, people, that make a good day for a momma.

Just six days left in this month of 7. I have decided that I have pretty much zero follow-through on anything. That's probably why I've started two masters programs and keep starting over at week 1 day 1 of the Couchto5K program. I really made a good effort this month. When I failed to put on one of my seven approved items, it is not out of vanity because "so and so" might have seen me in that outfit twice already this week (though those moments have occurred when I see someone out and about). Nope. I failed because my seven things were dirty-- ok, six of them were dirty and I didn't want to lay around the house in a dress. :)

The entire book convicted me. While I am realizing that actually living out this fast is really hard, it doesn't mean I am any less convicted. I have too much junk. I think it's quite intentional that this month you wear only seven things and next month you give away seven things a day for 30 days-- because I have already had the urge to purge! When you realize that you really CAN get by without fifteen blazers, 20 dresses and 30 pairs of shoes it makes it easier to part with them the next month. So, call me a cheater if you will, but I've already started in on my 210 items for next month. 

I am a clothes horse. I LOVE fashion. I love cute things with ruffles, a tailored blouse, riding boots-- and don't even get me started on accessories. I love to be feminine and girly. I love the way a dress with the perfect cut can make me feel. And there's this one. I have it a few years. Given, it was a TJ Maxx purchase, but it's still Maggie London. It's the perfect length and the most beautiful shade of blue. It looks great with leggings and riding boots, or absolutely precious with a cardigan and strappy sandals. But alas... it is a size that fit me one baby ago... :( 

I had no problem purging most of the stuff in my closet. My (BRAND NEW!) sister-in-law, I knew, would make a good home for a few things. But most of the things, in the spirit of not blessing the blessed, but instead giving away my things to someone who really needs them, went to a local clothing ministry. While I don't need a blazer in every color anymore, there are women in this community who can't afford a nice jacket to wear to job interview. It felt good to fold up some of those things and give them away. I knew they had made me feel beautiful and made me look sharp at meetings with clients, now another woman could put on that crisp white blouse and feel beautiful. I pray she feels God's peace and trusts that everything will work out. I pray it fits her perfectly when nothing else in her world seems to fit. But that blue dress... it would fit me again. I mean, really, it will. I won't keep this marriage baby weight forever. So, feeling fully justified, I left in hanging in my closet. It's so pretty. I can surely camouflage the fact that it won't zip by wearing a chunky sweater with it. It will be perfect for fall- chunky sweater and riding boots. Yep. 

I got an email last week about being a part of a scripture collective in which you send a passage of scripture to ten people and, ideally, they respond to you. I got one response from my round. But, it was the only response I needed. Man-- isn't the Lord so convicting good like that?!

Matt. 6:25-34
 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn't there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you more valuable than they are? And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed in the fire to heat the oven, won't he clothe you even more, you people of little faith? So then, don't worry saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But above all pursue His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given unto you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own."
Oh. Do you hear that? That's the sound of my toes being stepped on. Ouch. "It's a freakin' dress, Allysa!" That's what Jesus was saying. "You have ten others you AREN'T giving away and you're going to get wrapped around the axle about one."

"But, Maggie London isn't exactly on the SAHM budget anymore". 
"Give it away."
"But I will be grateful every time I wear it."
"Give it away."
"Well, there is that friend..."
"Give it away."

And, so, thanks to Holy Spirit using my friend Mike to send EXACTLY the right scripture, I gave it away. I took it from it's precious little spot in the back of the closet (you know, where all the "maybe next year" stuff hangs), folded it carefully and placed it on top of a bag of clothes I was giving to a friend who also lives on a frugal SAHM budget and gives tirelessly to her girls but not as much to herself (any mommas who can relate?). I knew her delicate little frame- that you would never believe carried two babies!- would look gorgeous in that satin-trimmed number I loved so much.  

She texted me to say the clothes were a "perfect fit". I knew they would be. The Lord's pretty good like that. 

So, Month #3 hasn't even begun and the Lord is chipping away at my closet and the need for approval I store in there. I'm excited--and a little scared-- to see what else comes from this. If you're in the market for new clothes, probably wouldn't hurt to stop on by. My prices are unbeatable. :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

7: month 2

Sooooo, month #1 of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess was a colossal failure. We made it three days...okay, Tevie made it three days, I had to have a cup of coffee by the afternoon of the first day. Obviously, I have weaknesses I need to work on! 

This month is clothes month.  Seven items of clothes for 30 days. A difficult task for September since the weather can vary pretty drastically in Kentucky as fall tempts us with cooler temps only to be overtaken by summer's blazing heat and oppressive humidity for a few more days.

This month we're wearing seven things. 
  1. blue 5millionminus1 tshirt
  2. grey fitted, v-neck shirt
  3. black knit capri pants
  4. jeans
  5. striped cardigan
  6. versatile cotton dress
  7. silver/white sandals and tennis shoes (two pair= one item)
We had one big, beautiful wrench thrown into this month: Tevie's brother got married this weekend! So, our council (comprised of us and Linz & Gord) gave us a reprieve for the wedding festivities because the bride and groom-- as precious as they are-- might have thrown a huge fit had a bridesmaid and the best man stood up there in jeans and tennis shoes. ;)

This month has been much easier than I thought, given that I am a clothes horse and ache to be fashionable, even if I'm just wearing yoga pants and t-shirt. It's so freeing to not have to think about what you're putting on! It's already picked out for me! The Lord has really been convicting me as of late thought to not be concerned with what people think about me. Not to dress to be cute and to be noticed, but to bring glory to Him in everything-- even my accessories. 1Sam 16:7 has been on my mind-- reminding me that God looks at my heart, not my outward appearance. I have also been meditating on 1Peter3 and the instructions to not be concerned with the stuff I put on, but to remember that true beauty comes from my "inner self" and that "the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit" is of great worth to God. Of course, there are days when I want to throw all of that out the window, but keeping those verse in mind and writing them on my heart gives me ammunition to fire back at satan when he tells me I'm not pretty enough, not thin enough and that everyone is judging me based on how I look.

I have been doing more laundry (downside!) in an effort to keep our seven things clean. Because obviously after you've worn something all day, worked out in it and then slept in it (which is gross enough!) you don't want to wear it again the next day. This weekend ended up being a break from the whole thing as we sweated through everything we had brought and with the wedding rush didn't have time to wash. So we borrowed clothes from Tevie's parents for sleeping and wearing to church on Sunday. However today everything is clean and we are back on track!

Baby Dane is NOT participating in this month as it would be cruel and unusual punishment for me to have wash a baby's clothes every.single.day and I can't exactly take him everywhere in a diaper. :)

Stay tuned for the wrap up of this month! There's more to come on this little experiment.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


My sweet angel is napping-- and for now the second day in a row he is napping well! He's eating us out of house and home and taking some serious naps so I'm calling it a growth spurt and trying to enjoy every minute. :)

This morning as I watched his sweet chubby fingers dig blueberries out of a bowl and devour them, I was overwhelmed at how freakin' awesome my kid is. He is so smart, so beautiful and so precious. He loves to be loved and give love. He loves to learn. He loves to read. He loves to play and is somehow, innately it seems, becoming a boy.

What a blessing to be his mom. What a burden, though, to teach this perfect little being the ways of the Lord. To be a godly wife to his father. To be the embodiment of Christ's love to others and an example for him. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

over the river...

And through the woods to Granna's (and Papa's) house we go!

We spent the weekend visiting my family in NC and Dane was spoiled to no end. In fact, we've been doing a little grandparent detox the last few days!

Dane's Papa arrived Thursday and was shocked when Tevie and I headed out to do things we needed to do and left HIM to bathe the boy and put him to bed! Dane was in very capable hands!

Friday it was off to NC where we met Aunt Brynnie and Uncle Ryan for dinner and watched Uncle Chase play in the pep band at Dane's first high school football game. Dane was soooo tired he screamed and cried every time the band played or the crowd cheered, so we left before the first quarter ended. :)

I love spending time at my parents' home. I think no matter how big you get, you always feel at home at your momma and daddy's. Dane has so much fun playing with special toys (that were his mom's!-- I think they call it "vintage" now!) and taking baths in Granna's giant tub. He is covered in kisses and tickles and showered with love. It's always hard to come home!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

wild man

This kid has a head full of the softest curls. When he sleeps, he wraps himself up in a little cocoon... and the result is this crazy bedhead. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

trouble with a capital T

Now that this child can walk I can't turn my back for ONE SECOND without finding my little tornado ripping through something. If he weren't do darn cute it might be kind of annoying. :)

After months of playing in the spice rack he's finally figured out how to open the spices. His first attempt at sous chef was an effort to add chili powder to everything in the kitchen. Thankfully he didn't rub any in his eyes, though he did do a good job of rubbing it in everywhere else-- his bath was tinged red!

This stage is so exciting-- and tiring! But it's so fun to see him learning something new every day and becoming more and more independent... And,ok, maybe a little ornery too!

A gamer already?!

This boy really loves his daddy. He also really loves that daddy will let him carry around a Wii remote and act like he's playing too. :)