Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I have a nephew!

I am over the moon in love with this little baby.  

Marianne and Dave welcomed their perfect little baby boy, Arlo Leo Nall, into this world on October 15.  He came with big deep eyes, curly light hair, and a sweet sweet soul.  What a gift this baby is.

Marianne had invited me to be at Arlo's birth and I had been been praying that things would work out for me to be there.  I wanted to support Mar and be an advocate for her peaceful birth, and also because I just think birth is a beautiful miracle.

Marianne let me know she was having contractions Wednesday night and I hopped in the car.  I found babysitters for my kids the next day and it all worked out.  I got to the hospital about 1 am and Marianne and Dave were peacefully and wonderfully managing her contractions.  I was overcome with love and admiration for my strong sister.

Mar continued to manage her labor without any pain medications and it was difficult to be on the other side (not the one giving birth) and not able to take her pain away.  But she kept going, so bravely, and Arlo was born about 8 am.  They were able to announce that he is a boy (!) and I took as many pictures as I could.  

Arlo's entire birth was a spiritual, intensely precious time that I will always feel immensely blessed to have witnessed.  He has brought such peace and love and joy to our whole family, after feeling the most loss and sadness as we said goodbye to our dear mother.  I look at Arlo and my heart overflows with gratitude that love heals and life continues to bloom and make way for new hope and relationships.  And he helps me feel close to my mama because she is a part of him, and my own sweet kids.  I'm so happy to be Arlo's aunt and I can't wait to snuggle him again!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

6 more days!!

Having 3 kids 4 and under means I don't do a lot of things I used to do.  Like blog.  It makes me sad because I want to remember all these little things and stay in touch with family, but an occasional update will have to do for now.  So here it is!

Ethan spent this school-year, 4th grade, in Ohio with his dad and stepmom.  It was an agonizing decision for us to make, since he'd been with me the majority of the time (besides holidays and summers) since he was little.  He's always had a hard time in school with behavior and we've tried lots of different things to try to help him.  It broke my heart when his teachers would tell me that he didn't have any friends because kids thought he was kind of a bully.  He fought with the kids on our street and couldn't ride the bus because of it.  It was interfering with his schoolwork because he would be trying to talk to someone and not know what he was supposed to be doing.  And it was just getting worse, despite everything we were trying at home and with his teachers.  I know what a sweet heart he has and I just don't know to help him let others see that side of him.

Since Ethie's a lot like his dad, we decided it might be time to try letting him live there in Ohio.  Plus his stepmom Aubrey is wonderful and I trusted that they would both help him as much as they possibly could.  And he's had a great year!  His teachers have said that they don't see all the problems that were on his OK and GA school records.  He has made some friends and is doing well with his schoolwork.  I think it helps that he switches classrooms for every class, so he is constantly moving and changing.  He also has some good medicine for ADHD that has been a blessing for him (after avoiding it for a long time).  He still struggles at times, but I think the change was what he needed for right now.  

Jared and Aubrey have been so good about keeping me updated and sending pictures and letting him facetime with us a lot, so the other kids get to see him.  We all miss him a lot and it's so different without him here, but he will be here in 6 more days for the entire summer and we are so excited!!!
1st day of 4th grade

Haha love his face
Hiking and exploring with friends

School musical

He loves dogs and they love him!  His doggie in Ohio had puppies!

So excited to see this cute face again!!!

Friday, March 7, 2014


The days and moments keep passing and I can't make them stop!  I feel like I'm getting old and it's harder to remember everything and it makes me sad.  I want to remember every little cute expression on my kids' faces or funny things they say.  I want to remember how it feels to be our little family right now.  Since time will inevitably keep marching on, I'm trying to enjoy and memorize all the moments I can.

Our tiny, precious Juliet is crawling and babbling and eating food and pulling herself up.  I love the stage she is in so much and I want to just pause it!  She brings me so much joy... sometimes I can hardly believe I get to be her mother.  Now that she can crawl (a real crawl!), she follows me around and then sits on my feet, looks up at me, and laughs.  She smiles so easily and is so content with such simple things.  My favorite is after the other 2 kiddos are in bed and she has us all to herself for a while.  We lie on the floor with her and she belly-laughs when we tickle her and talk to her.  I can't imagine anything better.

I know this is fuzzy, but I love it!

Our spunky sweetheart, Lilah girl... she is 3!  I can't say 3 is my favorite age, since it comes with tantrums when things don't go her way (because she knows Exactly how she wants everything).  But regardless, she is sensitive, tender, loving, perceptive, and so enthusiastic about Everything she does.  Yesterday, we were waiting in a long line at the grocery store.  Lilah was completely happy entertaining herself singing "Frozen" songs very loudly in the cart.  The woman in front of us thanked Lilah afterward for making her wait much more enjoyable.  I am always so proud of her, especially when she notices someone's feelings and tries to help.  She is our sweetheart.
Before her first ballet class!  Soooo excited!

Lilah said, "Mommy, she's doing the splits!"

And oh, Ethie... Our boy is so complicated and so full of life that sometimes it's hard for me to understand him and keep up with him.  James and he have developed a special relationship and I love watching them working together.  He has spent the last couple of Saturdays working up a sweat helping James expand the garden and do home-repairs.  When he is motivated, he can do amazing things!  He is also THE gentlest big brother to Juliet.  He hates to hear her cry and will make her laugh or bring her to me.  He and Lilah fight and tease, but they adore each other and can't stay apart.  There have been many times lately when I am filled with affection and appreciation for the person Ethan is.  He has so many gifts and I hope he knows how much I love him, even as we struggle together.
He got her to sleep when she was teething and sad... LOVE

I love these moments.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Feeling thanks

Wow, having 3 kids has changed things.  I feel like they are each wanting/needing something different at the same time, at all times!  How do people do it?  And with more kids??  We are happy and well, just busy and tired (well, the parents are tired, not the kids.)  We miss our family and friends that are far away from us.  And I miss keeping in touch with all of you, so this is my attempt to catch up a little bit so I can stay in touch better.  Plus, Nate asked for pictures of Thanksgiving of 2013, so here they are!

Since this was our first Thanksgiving in our new house, people were kind enough to come to us.  It was so fun to be able to host my family (most of them... we missed Dad and Jeanette)!  As I get older and see my siblings less, I appreciate and love them even more.  They are all such good, remarkable people and it makes me so happy to be around them.  Plus, Mar's husband Dave is wonderful, and he and James make it perfect!  
Sharing their love for books


This is what I'm talking about.  Love these people.

Haha, and this!

Sweetness.  I have an abundance of Juliet-with-people pictures.

I feel like I was super lucky that Mom was able to visit 3 times after Juliet was born and I definitely appreciated all of her help and love and yummy food at Thanksgiving-time.  I love her!
Making pies!

Singing together.  Melt my heart.

Uncle Dave and Aunt Pat were able to join us from Okla City for Thanksgiving dinner!  It was such a gift to have them with us, especially since the last time we were with them was in the NICU when Juliet was born.
Sweet Uncle Pete

Plates almost empty, happy crowd

I think Mar got it??

We also got to go look at some early Christmas lights and these pictures are my favorite...
Scotty's eyes.




This year especially, we recognized that there was a lot to be thankful for.  We had a thankful tree in our hallway, that we could add to whenever we wanted.   It is full.