Brendalina Ballerina

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The title speaks for itself…Taylor isn’t the only ballerina in this house! Daddy put Brendan in Taylor’s tutu and he was in love! He ran around, well, shuffled as fast as those big feet can go, and smiled from ear to ear. He was so excited!

Too much fun being a ballerina

Too much fun being a ballerina

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He was having so much fun he didn't want to stop for a photo!

He was having so much fun he didn’t want to stop for a photo!

Lest you worry that he is any less mannish, here is proof that he is in boyhood: climbing!

DSC00450DSC00359This last one was an unsupervised climb. I heard him grunting like he needed help and I couldn’t find him on the floor. I saw our first trip to the ER flash before my eyes as I ran to grab him. Way to go, mom!

If he’s a dancer and a climber, we’ll be happy, as long as he keeps that smile!

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In Taylor’s Words: Where’s his privacy?

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As the days go on, Taylor’s vocabulary continues to grow. She will be two and a half in late January and sometimes it sounds like she’s going on twelve. Her grammar cracks me up. She’s at the stage where the me’s and my’s and I’s and she’s and her’s get switched around. “He’s taking a nap” is “him napping” and so on. I quite like it, although I try not to snicker too loud. My favorite pronoun swap is when she says, “Leave my ayone (alone)! I in trouble!”

On Thanksgiving at my parent’s house, I found Taylor in their pantry looking up and down. She was clearly not finding what she had set out for so I asked her what she was looking for. She said, “I tan’t (can’t) find Sam’s privacy!” Turns out her cousin needed to go to the bathroom and had asked for privacy and Taylor had gone looking for it. She looked everywhere for “him’s privacy.”

She is also working on manners. She very nicely tilts her head and sweetly says, “I need a tookie (cookie)?……..Please?” She says the words turkey and cookie exactly the same and she gets excited about both so it’s hard to know which one she’s talking about sometimes. If it’s not time for a cookie, say immediately after she wakes up, and we tell her “no”, her go-to response is, “daddy, don’t say that. Don’t say no.”

She has also started to deny things that are clearly true. Last week she ran out her room completely naked after nap. After she stated that she wanted to go to Hobby Wobby, we asked her why she was naked. She said, “I’m not nakey.” We said, “Yes, you are, Taylor. You don’t have clothes on.” She says, “No, I’m not. I’m not nudey pants.”

She still says “yittle dip” instead of “little bit.” She only needs a “yittle dip” of a nap or a “yittle dip” of ice cream or her Tipsmas (Christmas) music a “yittle dip” louder.

And finally, Taylor can still turn your cheeks cherry red in an instant. Just this morning she lifted her shirt and shrieked “Tay tay’s boobies!” She’s just like my older brothers; she knows how to get a reaction out of me!

Taking a picture of herself

Taking a picture of herself

Her favorite place in the world: Outside

Her favorite place in the world: Outside

Watching her cookies grow

Watching her cookies grow

Taylor, I hope you always say “yittle dip” and I hope you love Tipsmas music just as much next year.

Four Years, And Counting

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November 29, 2008

Today marks our 4 year wedding anniversary. It feels like it was just yesterday, yet in so many ways it feels much longer than four years. Someday I would love to put a post together of how we met, how he wooed me and pursued me, how he proposed and more. For now, we’ll suffice it to say that I was not on the look out for a boyfriend and was hoping expecting to be single for many more years. Wes stepped into my life at just the right time and blew me away. I just kept waiting for something to go awfully awry, but it didn’t.

Fast forward to this date and I’m still blown away. I don’t have words to describe how “looked out for” I feel from both God and Wes in our marriage. Wes stealing my heart was one of the biggest events that renewed my vision of God’s faithfulness at a time when I was weak. And Wes, he gives me more than I could ever have asked for as a man, a husband and a father.

We have not achieved a perfect marriage, but I plan on having many more years to perfect what we have. This year we have worked harder on our relationship than I imagined possible in the first four years. I guess that’s what happens when you pile multiple life events into 4 short years at the ripe age of 24. I like to think we’ve tackled some big stuff and that we have a free pass for a conflict free fifth year!! (Kidding, kidding).

Here’s to years and years of staying up way too late just hanging out, house projects that never end, watching our babies grow up right before our eyes. Here’s to thousands of more days making big decisions and wondering if we chose well, baking sugar cookies galore and having fun with our hobbies. Let’s hope there’s only a few years left of you smirking at me when I cry and me keeping you up at night talking when you clearly would like to be sleeping.

Love you forever, babe!

Photos by Michael Bankston

Brendan’s First Birthday

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Somehow it has been a whole year and Brendan boy is one!

12 Months!

He started walking right around 12 months and stopped using his gorilla crawl to get around. I love getting to see a more consistent personality as he gets older. His separation anxiety seems to have kicked in and he is much more sensitive when I am away. He is known for his contagious smile for all, even strangers, but especially females.

For his birthday all of our families came over. We were so excited to get to have my brother and sister-in-law from Dallas and my sister-in-law and her husband (and baby-to-be) from Kansas City come. Wes smoked a brisket and chicken for everyone and it was so delicious. He should write a post about smoking meats because he has it down! Here are some action shots:

He loved ripping wrapping paper and making sounds with his new toys.

On his new truck with his new bow tie and his special cousin.

A big smash cupcake and a Dairy Queen ice cream cake from Nana.

Sugar cookies from mommy and daddy. Can you tell Wes is artistic?

Messy babe

Scrub-a-dub Bubba

We are in love with our baby boy. We are so thankful for everyone who invests in his life  and ours to make us better fit as parents.

Happy birthday sweet boy!

Giving Thanks

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This year I have a lot to be thankful for. Every year at our Thanksgiving meal we go around the table and everyone says something to be thankful for. This year it was hard to decide what to say. There are lots of “things”, lots of experiences, lots of people…lots of good all around. But this year I am thankful for a feeling. That after all is said and done, from last Thanksgiving to the present, I am still alive and well and have some portion of my sanity. The older I get, the more I finally realize that the details of life rarely go how I imagine they would. We’re headed from point A to point B and eventually we’ll get there after all the stops in between. This year I tried to relish every stage and transition instead of wish the harder times away. I am thankful for the “full” feeling I have at the end of this year. Almost like a full belly after Thanksgiving dinner when you lay back and breathe a sigh of satisfaction. “That was so good.” All of it.

I love this holiday because it draws me to think about what is most important to me and to us. It brings a sense of perspective and priority before heading into the Christmas season.

Wes took this picture overseas before we met and I love the story it can tell. Perspective and priority no matter the circumstances. The cross to me is my hope and my safety even though I can’t deserve it. It doesn’t make sense, but this year it made my world make sense.

Here’s to another year of blessings, one after another, that come in all shapes, sizes and disguises.

 

 

Halloween 2012

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This year for Halloween the kids were Beauty and the Beast. After looking at multiple options, Taylor joyfully decided she wanted to be Belle…or Elmo, or a giraffe, or Cinderella. So we narrowed it down to Belle for her. She was so excited that she wore it to shreds before Halloween came. Because of the type of material, we had to tape it with shipping tape up all of the seams inside. She had the brilliant idea of making Brendan be the Beast to go along with her costume. Her imagination turned her lion suit from last year into a beast, a sweet beast of course.

My mom had major surgery on Halloween so she brought my dad over a few days before to surprise the grandkids. They were a prince and princess. My niece was a princess too and was anxious to make sure her sparkles were staying on her dress the whole evening. It was precious. My nephew was Lighting from Cars. He is Lighting’s biggest fan. My newest nephew was only 2 weeks old and he was a (sleeping) skeleton.

 

Squinty Smile Belle and her handsome Poppy

On the actual holiday we went to visit my mom in recovery and Wes’s awesome parents joined us to pray over her. Then we went with them to Red Robin. I wish I would have gotten some pictures with them! We went trick-or-treating in our neighborhood and ended up running into some friends. Taylor totally walked into 2 different houses uninvited. She was so excited about all her candy by the end of the night. I was pretty excited about her Reese’s peanut butter cups.

My Beast

 

My Princess

Here’s a confession: this was the second time I’ve ever trick-or treated! It was so fun, I’m already excited for next year!

Problem of Pain

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A few weeks ago, on a rare day that I remembered that I have a blog, I almost wrote a post entitled One After Another. When I started keeping track of our lives via this blog, my purpose was to catalog the stories of blessings in our lives. I don’t want to forget how God has orchestrated our lives and used divine timing to get us where we are today. I named the blog forgetting that God uses trials and hardships to bless us in the end and that sometimes the “one after another” might not be things deemed to be good.

We have had good things happen but I didn’t have my eyes open for them and missed opportunities to bask in the goodness those blessings brought at the time they came. I didn’t write because what is on my mind is how the trials keep flowing one after the other and a happy-go-lucky post would hide the current truth. So I thought I would just wait until it all passed and I had uplifting things to report. Well, that was silly because ups and downs are a realistic part of life and since you’ve joined me on this blog, maybe you know downs too.

You may remember when I wrote this post about being so full of questions and emotions about the pain and suffering that goes on in this world that I was becoming brain-dead. C.S. Lewis wrote about this in the Problem of Pain. Why do some people lose so much in this world? Why do some people do such awful things to others. How does someone heal from these traumas? How does someone move past deep grief and live a full life? I thought to myself that our hardships haven’t been life altering like some of those I’ve seen around me. I don’t want to trivialize others’ great losses with my seemingly more slight problems.

Now I’ve come to the conclusion that our problems and sufferings are, in fact, life altering. They may not be what I would deem to be “huge” but they provide us with different choices to make in each of the situations that in the end will alter the course of our lives. Deployments and re-integration after deployments have tested our young marriage. Physical pain and sickness that lead to question whether or not we can have any more bio kids caused us to be truly thankful for the 2 we have and be content to stay at 2. Wes’s battle with multiple bulging discs in his neck and major headaches drained his energy before he even wakes up in the morning. We’ve never had such constant physical pain. Yet we’ve never been more aware of the miracle of our human bodies. Our brains let us know that we’re in pain so that we can attune ourselves to the problem. Our hearts let us know when we have an emotional or spiritual imbalance and challenge us to redirect our actions and thoughts.

Pain, great or small, is a sign that our hearts are still beating. It’s a sign that there is life for one more day. It reveals that we are all human and each encounter the problem of pain. It can direct us to the problem; physically, emotionally and spiritually which can lead to the discovery of a solution. There is hope. There is hope for our bodies, our hearts and our minds.

Thank you Lord for another day. We are fearfully and wonderfully made and take comfort in Your hands. Bring beauty from our pain and solace in our time of need. Thank you for everything that is good, because everything perfect is from above.

Amen

 

 

Ballerina

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I’m not sure what happened, but one day Taylor woke up and suddenly wanted to play dress up and be a ballerina. It is a victory if I can get her to wear normal clothes in public. Actually, it’s a win if we can get her to wear any clothes at all at home. She’s a 2 year old to the bone! She loves her hand-me-down princess dresses and her ballerina tutus from friends and family. After the summer olympics she became especially interested in dancing and gymnastics and I think that sparked her desire to wear costumes.

Nana gave her this full outfit with the cutest slippers.

Then I caught her trying to put on makeup. So I decided to go all out.

I came home from work and Brendan was still napping so it turned in to girl time. She’s like the little sister I never had! Dressing my little brother up like a princess just wasn’t as satisfying.

She danced with daddy to music

And dragged him back on the dance floor when his nasty migraine became too much.

She’s such a mix between girly-girl and tomboy. It’s half-way through the day and she’s still wearing clothes, the same set since this morning! It’s the small things.

 

Belated Birthday

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Once again, it has been awhile since I’ve updated! I am jealous of those who remember their blogs and prioritize them. Over the next few days I will catch up on some important holidays and birthdays and special moments. I have a few kid-free, event-free posts that I have saved in my drafts that I just haven’t published…maybe I’ll even finish those! I’ll start my blog-fest off with a post for Taylor.

In July she turned 2! She got to have 2 celebrations because daddy was out of town on her real birthday. On her actual birthday her grandparents on both sides and youngest uncles came to have ice cream cake and open a few presents. She also happened to receive a box from one of my best friends, Risa, who lives in Hawaii. It was full of goodies for both kids and a hula outfit for Taylor.

Birthday celebration #1

When Wes got home we had all the family that could come over for a party.

The Lewis side with miss Taylor

My mom and brother David

This stroller from my brother’s family has been on many walks outside. She was so excited!

More presents!

Her funky smile.

Push-up cake. One was strawberry shortcake with whipped cream and one was brownie with cookie dough.

She loved having her family and playing with her cousins.

Then about a week later some of our friends stopped by to celebrate her birthday. Cindy and I met at work a few years ago and then ended up in the same class for our master’s program. We became close and have remained so since. Wes has gotten to spend some time with her husband, Grant, too. They are expecting so our kids can be friends too! Anway…they stopped by and Taylor was so happy to see “Sinny and Dant.” She found her hula dress and dressed up for them.

She loves her sit-n-spin, although it has become her go-to stool for her to stand on and reach stuff.

She is one blessed little girl! We are so blessed by her. Happy late birthday baby girl!

Brendan ~ 11 Months

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Our little Bubba is 11 months! Actually, he is almost a year in a week, but for one more week he’s 11 months! He is still a cuddler if he’s not on the move. His favorite way to move is his gorilla/bear crawl. Someday I’ll show you a video so you can see it. Almost everywhere we go people say, “Is that normal? Does he always crawl like that?” He has taken a few steps by himself (his longest strides have been toward smiling girls or food…) but he must like his gorilla glide better. He repeats different noises and has started dancing to music. He has begun to notice when we leave or when we head toward the garage door as if we were going to leave.

It is so fun and sometimes difficult to embrace the differences between Taylor and Brendan. Taylor would thrive in a room by herself whereas Brendan would prefer to bring the whole contents of the other room in to where you are to play within vision of you. Taylor liked to be rocked with her arms and legs sprawled out and Brendan loves to put his head on you and cuddle up. Taylor likes food as energy so she can run at 100% until she sleeps and Brendan likes food as a past time because it tastes so good. Taylor takes a few minutes to warm up to new people while Brendan reaches out with a smile and wants anyone to hold him. They are so precious and we feel completely blessed and unworthy to have them.

11 Months – September 15, 2012

He has been sick for a few weeks now with a cold that just won’t go away. He’s had it so long that we’ve each had it once at separate times the whole duration of his cold. I don’t like it! I’m hoping it will clear up by his birthday!

Thanks for stopping by! Here’s some baby lovin’ from Brendan!