Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Cade, and a story from Camp!

I cannot believe my little man is 8 years old today!  It was this day, in 2003, that God showed me how to love unconditionally. 

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Cade was our first miracle child.


I will never forget finding out that we were pregnant, after doctors had told me I would never be able to do so.

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We are so proud of you, Cade.


This year, we have seen you grow into a young man, displaying faith and courage greater than ours at times.


You made straight A’s and we couldn’t be happier with all you have accomplished.


We love you!!!



Cade just got back from overnight camp.  He was so excited to get to go.  But I have to tell you, he is growing up so fast!  He has been asking his Daddy about wearing deodorant.  Rob told him he didn’t need it right now, and he was thoroughly disappointed.  However, during the great cleanout, we found some deodorant spray that Rob had been given.  Rob gave it to Cade, and he thought he was big stuff.  This deodorant stinks to high heaven, and Cade proceeded to fumigate our entire house throughout the day.  There is no way there are any remnants of a living creature in his room.  I had the smell in my nose for days. 

When we were packing for camp, he made sure he had his deodorant.  I just knew we would get reports of having to evacuate the bunk room due to dangerous fumes in the form of Axe deodorant spray.  Thankfully everyone survived, even the can of deodorant. 

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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Great Cleanout 2011

I wrote about the Great Cleanout on Friday, and I am happy to report we were very successful this weekend.  Rob was so proud of the pictures of my office, so he knew I had it in me to undo some of my hoarding habits.

Saturday morning started at 8:30 for us.  We started in the bedroom, and were imprisoned in there for 4 hours.  I do not have any pictures of the bedroom because my boss said I was way too easily distracted.  However, we hauled 10 (TEN) garbage bags of stuff out of my bedroom.  One of those bags included at least 75 pair of underwear.  Who has that many pairs of underwear?  Obviously you can’t wear that many, because if you’re like me, you wear the same 10 pair over and over again. 

(***A side story- as I was throwing out the underwear, I came across a pair that was 13 years old.  Rob and I were laughing about it, but then my little-hoarder-in-training piped in.  Cade got all upset about us throwing out our “family memories.”  We had to laugh that our underwear could mean family memories, especially a pair that existed long before our family.)

Once the bedroom was completed, we moved to the hall closet.  This closet contained the multitude of  scrap material I have held onto forever.  Here is a before…


Poor SaraGrace couldn’t get back down the hallway.  This was a fun cleanout.  We found all sorts of treasures.  My favorite was this…


This was my pound puppy, Pumpkin, from 1986.  I forgot I had saved this hound.  SaraGrace was so excited to have a new friend to play with.  He was a little stiff from old age, so I think he may need a “Downy with Febreze” bath.  We sifted through pictures and had tons of good laughs.  When I can get my hands on a scanner, I have some good material for some funny posts.

Here is the after of the closet…


Then we moved to our laundry room.  Let me just say that this room has always been a disaster!  It just overwhelms me, so I have no motivation to clean it out.  But, thankfully Rob helped keep me motivated and here is the before/after…

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It looks so much better.  You would be so proud that my 10 bottles of detergent have withered away to 3, plus one bottle of stain remover.  However, I am certain that the one box of Dreft I kept is from when SaraGrace was born.  That would be 4 years ago!

My favorite feature of the new and improved laundry room are the hooks.  Because there was never anywhere to put anything, all of our purses, bags, etc. ended up in the floor in the kitchen, creating more clutter.  We also had a hard time keeping up with our keys (don’t be so surprised!).  So here is our solution…


Never mind the huge shadow.  Just look at how nice the getup looks.  The key holder is just adorable.  Cade made it for Rob for Father’s Day.  Here is a close up.


The last project of the weekend was the junk drawer.  Y’all they call it a junk drawer for a reason…it always looks like junk!  Ours looked like a bomb had gone off in there. 


Let’s just say that all evidence of my hoarding tendencies were found right here in this drawer. 


If you look closely, you will see 5 (FIVE) pairs of nail clippers.  Then, I found one more after I took the picture.  I threw away 3 of them.  That’s got to be at least step 3 in the recovery process, right?

Then I found 8 (EIGHT) pairs of scissors.  I only threw away 3 pairs (they were the little plastic ones) and kept the other 5.  You can never have too many pairs of scissors!

But once I got through with the drawer, it was so nice and neat.


Rob kept getting on to me for keeping all of these baskets and containers, but see, you really might find a use for them someday.

The kids found ways to entertain themselves while the house was torn apart.


SG rode her bike around the garage with her helmet on backwards, and a wardrobe that would make any princess jealous.  Cade entertained himself by following us around to make sure we weren’t throwing out all of our “family memories”.


This picture cracks me up.  Cade held onto that football to ensure it would not find it’s way into one of the black bags taking a ride in Daddy’s truck.

Along the way, we found many little treasures as incentive to keep on cleaning.  I found $85 in spa gift certificates, a $100 savings bond that has matured, a $50 savings bond that will mature next year, a collection of coins we forgot we had, and a handful of change. 

We were able to find a home for all of the clothes, as well as pots and pans and lots of other things.  Rob only had to make 3 trips to the dump.


I would say that the Great Cleanout 2011 proved to be extremely successful, and has inspired us to start a few new projects.  I can’t wait to see what else we come up with.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Have you ever seen this show?


I have never seen it, but I have heard of it.  Rob, on the other hand has never even heard of it….until last night.  We went to dinner with CJ and Kerri, and CJ was telling him all about it.  While the guys were talking, I could see Rob’s wheels turning.  Since the conversation, Rob is convinced I am in the beginning stages of becoming a hoarder:)

I don’t know if it’s because we have at least 10 bottles of laundry detergent sitting beside the dryer; none of which have more than 2 loads of detergent left in them.  Or it may be the end closet, that stores EVERY scrap of material I have ever used to make ANYTHING.  Hey, I might need it one day!  But the dead giveaway, was when he offered to get rid of his ROTC uniform that’s been hanging in the closet the past 9 years.  When he proudly suggested this,  my reply was simply “Someone could use it as a costume some day.”

He has decided to stage an intervention that starts tomorrow.  We are cleaning out!!!  I think we better call and get a dumpster delivered to our yard, and I know exactly where we can get a bulldozer. 

In an effort to get motivated for the “Great Cleanout”, I decided to clean out my office today.  I WISH I would have taken a picture before I started.  Let’s just say I now have a garbage bag full of trash.  I even took 17 (seventeen) yellow legal pads downstairs.  I threw away at least half a dozen more.

But, after nearly 4 hours of blood, sweat and tears, here is the final product…

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Now, this may not look like much, but trust me, it looks AMAZING!  I’m well on my way to recovery:)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SaraGrace’s Daddy

I am so thankful for all of the cute crafts and projects that our children do for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  They are always so cute, and because I am a packrat, I think I have kept them all.  SaraGrace made Rob a card at school, and this was enclosed…

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Forgive the terrible picture.  I took it with my phone.  But this was just hilarious to me.  First, the fact that she thinks Rob is 4 is just the cutest.  His favorite foods these days are veggies because he diets like it’s going out of style.  But I do have to tell you that my dear husband does not work at Nate’s.  Although my daughter may believe it because he is there everyday, he “works out” at Nate’s.  I think it might be high time that Nate puts Rob on his payroll:)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Good Laugh

Since we no longer have cable tv, we make quite a few trips to the Redb@x.  Sometimes we hit the movie jackpot, and others….not so much.  But last night was a HIT!

We needed a good laugh, so once the kids went to bed, Rob and I snuggled up in the chair and watched our movie.  The choice for the evening was…


Y’all, this is hilarious!  We laughed the ENTIRE movie.  Once it was over, we went to bed, and spent the next 30 minutes laughing and repeating all of the funny lines.  So…if you’re looking for something funny to watch, this is a good one.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It All Came Crashing Down

Yesterday was Father’s Day, and we had a lot to celebrate. I have a wonderful dad, and I am married to a man who is an amazing father to our children. But it was also the day that my baby girl would have been one month old. It would have probably been her first day at church. As I sat through church, and a baby dedication, I couldn’t help but wonder how different that day could have been. I thought about what she would have worn, and how beautiful she would have looked in a little smocked dress with a big ole’ bow. All of the “shoulda-woulda-coulda’s” swarmed in my mind all day.

I think the numbness of losing our daughter has worn off. I am finally grieving the loss of Faith, and it hurts terribly. This past week has been, at times, harder than the 9 months leading up to Faith’s birthday. It’s as if 10 months of emotions have come crashing down in a matter of a few days. I know this is normal, but it’s overwhelming.

We went to the cemetery yesterday. I really felt bad for Rob, as it seems a little unfair to celebrate being a Father at the site where your child is buried. But we both really wanted to go. I wanted to check on her flowers and her pinwheel that Cade wanted to put there, and see the new solar daisies her Aunt Amy had left.IMG_2725


These days are hard. I can’t lie about it. There are days that I cry uncontrollably, that I’m extremely irritable. I get so frustrated at not being able to see the big picture, but then this comes to mind…

Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

God will be faithful to complete the work He has started in me, in my family, and through Faith’s life.

And though there will be days that I cry over losing her, I know that God hears my heart, He sees my tears. He keeps track of me and what I am doing, because He never leaves me. He is always there.

Psalms 56:8 “You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?”

Hebrews 13:5“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

While I may always have a piece of my heart in Heaven, joy WILL come in the morning.

Psalms 30:5 “Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Heaven is For Real

I have had several people recommend the book “Heaven is For Real” to me. The girls at the “beauty shop” gave me this book as a gift, and it is the gift that keeps on giving. I am not one to sit around and read, but over Memorial Weekend, I pulled up a lounge chair out by the pool and read the entire book in 4 hours. It was AMAZING! Not only did it give me some comfort to reflect on the AWESOMENESS of Heaven, it also gave me some much needed rest and relaxation. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

But it also helped me put something in perspective…

We have shared with our children about Heaven. They know it’s where we go when we die, if we have Jesus in our hearts. But for them, Heaven became all too real when their baby sister left this earth to meet Jesus there.

The day before the funeral, we went to the funeral home to see Faith one more time. We had a closed casket at her memorial service, so we wanted to see her again. As a family, this was one of the hardest moments. Trying to explain to SaraGrace that her baby was in Heaven, even though she could see her proved to be a task much greater than I could handle. I have never seen her break down like she did. It was one of those moments I just had to pray and ask God to fill in the gaps, and give me the words to say.

Since Faith has been gone, SaraGrace has mentioned SEVERAL times, “I hate Jesus.” “I hate Heaven.” “I don’t want to go to Heaven.” “Jesus stole my baby sister.” Last Thursday, on the way home from school was no exception. As I turned to ask her why she didn’t want to go to Heaven, this was her reply:

SaraGrace: “I don’t want to be dead in Heaven.”

Me: “You won’t be dead in Heaven, honey. You are alive in Heaven. Baby Faith is alive in Heaven.”

SaraGrace: (with a look of excitement on her face as her eyes lit up) “She opened her eyes in Heaven?”

(You see, Baby Faith never opened her eyes while she was here on earth. )

Me: “Yes, baby. She opened her eyes. She’s alive in Heaven. She is probably singing songs and playing with Jesus.”

SaraGrace: “So she’s alive in Heaven? I’ll be okay if I go to Heaven?”

Me: “Of course you will be okay.”

We kept telling SaraGrace that her baby had gone to Heaven, but she was associating Heaven with having to close your eyes, get in a box, and be buried in the ground. I can honestly say that if I thought that was Heaven, I wouldn’t want to go either.

She has since talked about Faith continually, but has only mentioned good things about Heaven, and Jesus taking care of her. She has a much better understanding of what Heaven is.

I’m so thankful for the promise God has given us in Heaven. I’m so thankful that He cares so much for us that He has gone and prepared a place for us. If we would just receive His gift of Salvation, it’s ours for the taking. I pray that each of you will know that Heaven is for real!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lunch at the Office

Working in a family business can have it’s struggles, that is for sure.  But it also comes with many blessings.  One of those blessings for us is that Granny and Wimmy come once a week (most weeks) and cook lunch for us. 

Fortunately for us, it was today.  We had a spread of venison cubed steak, fresh butter beans, fresh corn, fresh okra, tomatoes and cucumbers, rice and gravy, corn bread, and banana pudding.  Needless to say, we all need a nap!

But one of the other blessings it brings, is time spent as a family.  This is what we got to do today…

SaraGrace got to skip school today and come help cook.  Her job was to flour the cubed steak.  I’m not sure which got the flour-the steak or her.

SG flour

Then she convinced Granny to borrow her earrings.  She just had to try them on.


But the highlight was SaraGrace convincing Papa to try on the earrings.  I think they look marvelous with his hair:)


This is just a glimpse of the fun times we get to experience together.  Some days are more fun than others, but today was one of those days!

Monday, June 13, 2011


There are times in your life, when it becomes evident how important your friends are to you.  I am so blessed to have so many friends, but I have to tell you about one very special friend.

I met Amy 13 years ago when we worked together.  If there was ever an instance of “separated at birth”, this would be it.  Our mothers swear we are just alike.

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In our 13 years of being best friends, we have walked together through many fires. We may not agree on everything (which is rare, but it has happened), our friendship has always remained unscathed. 

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These last 9 months, Amy has been my ROCK!  She has gone to doctors appointments, ultrasounds, sent out prayer requests to all of her prayer warriors on my behalf, sat in a hospital waiting room, held my precious daughter, comforted Cade and SaraGrace, helped take care of me, and most of all she has been my FRIEND!  But Amy is more than a friend, she is my sister.  The older sister I never had and my sister-in-Christ.  She has encouraged me every step along this journey. 

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Amy, thank you for being the best friend a girl could ask for!  God has richly blessed me by putting you in my life.  I know we have seen and lived through some crazy, hard times, but I can’t imagine going through any of them without you.  Thank you for standing by my side, and walking this road with me.  You will never know what you mean to me!  I am so thankful for the blessing of calling you my friend!  I love you!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Songs that Inspire Me

I LOVE music! I love to sing, and play the piano. I just wish I did it more often. There have been several songs that have meant so much to me over the past several months and I wanted to share them with you. These songs were sung at Faith’s service, and they will forever hold a special place in my heart. I have posted the links to the original artists singing the songs on YouTube.

The first one is “I Will Carry You.” It was written by Angie and Todd Smith after the loss of their daughter. I wore out the Selah CD listening to it so much. Kelly did a beautiful job singing this song.

The next one is “Lord I Run to You” by Tommy Walker. Our choir got this song to sing and it spoke to me in such an amazing way. I have sung it over and over. So Michael sang it for us at Faith’s service.

This last one I had never heard until I had asked Brad for some suggestions for songs. Steven Curtis Chapman sings this song, “With Hope.” Brad sang this at the end of Faith’s service. What a message! We can cry and and say goodbye with hope! We know it’s not the end:)

I hope they encourage you as they have me. Do you have any songs that inspire you?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Day at Disney

Yesterday we did this…


These lovelies….


..and these lovelies….


bought our tickets and sent each of our children with some spending money.  What an awesome gift they blessed us with! 

We spent the day with these folks (for the second time in 2 weeks)…

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and had us a good ol’ time.

It only took us 1/2 day to get through the ticket process and on the ferry boat, but the kids were soooo……


(Note the princess sitting so princess like.)

Speaking of princesses, that was the first thing on the agenda.  SaraGrace got to see all of her favorites; most importantly….


But for all of the money that was spent to send her to the “Happiest place on earth,” the thing that entertained her the most was this…


She could not keep her hands (nor her mouth) off of the chains and snaps.  I am thinking Aunt Kiss and Aunt Beas could invest in a trip to the hardware store for her birthday.

The boys split off and rode the race cars.  Meanwhile, the girls (and Ryker) ventured through the long line to ride….


We met back up with our handsome men, and got in a pirate boat.


Then I took this awful (meaning I am not one who has mastered the skill of taking a picture of myself or any other passenger who may be riding with me) picture inside the Haunted Mansion.


We never get a family picture anywhere, so I made sure we got one.  Rob is actually smiling, which is amazing considering this was at the end of our second lap around the Kingdom.


It was almost time to go, so we decided to catch a short line and ride one more ride.  So we made it through to Pooh.  Though the ride is a little slow, we soooooo appreciated the fact that our children had something to entertain them through the 10 minute-that-turned-into-30-minute line. 


Daddy rode with his little “hunny”…


while Mommy rode with hers.  (See those picture taking skills again.)


Since the kids had money to spend we ended our day in the shops, and here is what they bought…



We had a really good time spending some much needed time as a family, along with some dear friends.  Thank you Beas, Jah, Kiss and Jacob for sending us to Disney for the day!