Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree

On Christmas Day afternoon we spent time at my aunt's house and we were exposed to Rock Band for the first time.  The girls had so much fun pretending they knew the words to Beatles songs.  And we all had fun watching them.   The grown-ups were pretty entertaining as well, albeit a little better at actually, you know, playing the game. 

As a side note:  Charlotte will likely kill me one day for posting these pictures of her looking rather androgynous (read: like a little boy from the 70's) as a two year old for all of the internets to see.  

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hey Good Lookin'

We had a great Christmas! Sorry for the late post, but I just put the pictures from the past week onto the computer.

Caroline woke up bright and early on Christmas morning and came to Camille's room where I was feeding her to let me know in a whisper-y scream that SANTA CAME AND BROUGHT ME A KITCHEN! We let Charlotte sleep a little longer and woke her up around 6:15 so that Caroline wouldn't have to be tortured anymore by ALL OF THE WAITING.

And Caroline was right, Santa did bring the girls a kitchen, pots and pans, and all kinds of food. Santa definitely went out on a limb getting the girls a joint gift, but it is already proven to be something they will each play with separately and even together with minimal fighting.

They each also got some individual gifts as well, so when the kitchen provides a little too much togetherness, each girl has something of her own to play with. Charlotte's big gift was a tricycle, which she looks adorable on, but I'm sad to report that I haven't taken a picture of her on it yet. Caroline's comparable gift was a baby seat for the back of her bike, so she can take her baby dolls out on bike rides. Again, no picture of that just yet either.  And you'll all be happy to know that the immediate hit of all of the gifts were the $5 zhu zhu pets Santa found at the last minute at CVS.  Those robot hamsters (are they hamsters?) provided some serious entertainment at about 6:45AM on Saturday! 

On to the gift I did manage to take pictures of!

Exhibit A:  Minimal fighting ensues

Chef Charlotte working the wooden knife

Chef Caroline in action

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My Mom, According to Caroline

I promise to get to a Christmas post as quickly as I can, but I got this little question and answer activity via email last week and I finally got a chance to ask Caroline to tell me all about *me*.  So, what follows is a little interview that I gave Caroline this morning.  Enjoy!

1. What is something mom always says to you?
I love you!  

2. What makes mom happy?
When I love you.

3. What makes mom sad?
When I use a whiny voice.  (Yes!)

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
When you joke me. 

5. What was your mom like as a child?
You liked Barbies

6. How old is your mom?
35.  (That would be Papa, but close enough.  I guess.)

7. How tall is your mom?

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Does stuff all by herself.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Being a movie star. 

11. What is your mom really good at?
Typing.  (Um . . . Thanks?)

12. What is your mom not very good at?
You are good at everything!

13. What does your mom do for her job?
Work (Yes indeed!)

14. What is your mom's favorite food?

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
When I do proud things for you. 

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

17. What do you and your mom do together?
We play together. 

18, How are you and your mom the same?
We have the same lips. 

19. How are you and your mom different?
Our hair is different. 

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Because you always love me. 

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
Wal-mart.  (Not even close).  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


This little girl has such a sweet disposition! She is starting to coo quite a bit and laugh a little as she is approaching the four month mark. Her sleeping patterns are all over the place, but honestly with the way she looks at me with those big eyes and snuggles her head close to my neck, I really can't get too bent out of shape about it. I don't have any updates on her stats because we haven't been back to see the pediatrician and I don't own a scale, but she seems to be growing both in length and weight. Her chubby cheeks are deceiving, though, her body is just as long and lean as it was the day she was born.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas show

Here's the video of Caroline singing with her class. She's in the middle row, third from the right. I know it's a little dark, but this is the best I could do with video setting on my old point and shoot. I need to send Santa a letter to see if he'll bring me a flip camera this year.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A little respect

Now that Camille is a little over three months old, I figured it was way past time for the blog to recognize that our family is one with "three sisters' and not just two. So, I finally had Danielle make the formal change of our blog header to give her a little respect.

In other news, Jeff and I joined Caroline at school for lunch yesterday. Her class did a little mini-performance of a couple of Christmas songs before we ate, and it was absolutely precious. They did a great job and we both really enjoyed staying for lunch getting to spend time in her world at school and talking to some of her friends. I've got some pictorial and video evidence of the event that I'll do my best to get uploaded at some point later today.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A different view

I pulled out the exersaucer today for Camille and apparently, she loved it! She was well cushioned by a couple of blankets wrapped around her skinny little body, but I think it must have been a nice change of pace for her. She tends to do a lot of laying on her back or laying on my shoulder, so the whole "sitting upright" position was a new world.

And importantly, I was able to get a few shots of her little smile. Where she is actually in the picture this time. Thanks for your patience.

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Three years, part 2

And three years ago today, I delivered a baby boy who wouldn't ever open his eyes to this world. So many thoughts and feelings, but so few words do them justice.

These pictures of a beautiful relief sculpture that my mom gave me say more than my fumbling mind can produce.

Grace and peace.
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Friday, December 03, 2010

Three years, part 1

On this day three years ago Jeff and I walked in to my doctor's office a 20 week ultrasound, hoping to see some images of our growing baby and maybe even find out whether we were having a boy or girl. All of the hope and anticipation that we walked in with were crushed in that dark room when the ultrasound tech laid her hand gently on my arm and looked at me with pain in her eyes. "I'm sorry, I can't find a heartbeat." Though the rest of the conversation is a blur today, I recall vividly walking back into the waiting room of the office, with tear-filled eyes and thinking for the first of many times, "how can all of these women sit out here looking at magazines as if life is normal?" That thought was the beginning an indescribable alteration in me. As I wrote about then, my life, beliefs, and faith were put out on the lawn and I was in the midst of a slow and tedious process of deciding what to take back inside. Even still, I find myself using that day as a point of reference when I hear others' pain. And joy.

I can't imagine what life would be like had December 3, 2007 gone differently. In ways good and bad, that day changed me and our family to the core. As Rachel said so beautifully yesterday, "grief has you carving out paths you never would have taken otherwise." This loss has brought me more compassion, a hope for the future, a true realization of how little control I have, a faith I feel like I truly own, and a profound appreciation for life, particularly my own children. And though I wouldn't have had the foresight to choose the paths I've been on, I am thankful for them.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Getting in the Spirit

I love Christmas music and we've been listening to it at our house and in my car since Thanksgiving Day. I got an email yesterday with a link to this compilation of some classic Christmas Carols by Indelible Grace. You can buy the digital version and download it right away, or you can order the CD. There are some really beautiful versions of some of my favorite carols.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A Birthday Breakfast

On Monday, we began Charlotte's birthday celebration by waking her up to the birthday song. Not the best sound at 6:50AM. Or to be totally frank, the time of day doesn't matter when it comes to me and singing. It's never nice.

After we pulled the groggy birthday girl out of bed, she opened her cards and a present and then we serenaded her again in her high chair with a blueberry muffin. It was a good way to start a joyful day.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Three months already?

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Two years

Two years ago our Charlotte girl entered the world and changed our lives forever. I remember hearing that cry and seeing her for the first time; I felt so relieved that she was here. And safe. And healthy. I was so happy to finally meet her and to let her meet her family.

From her very first days, I could tell that God wrapped up a lot of personality and determination in a little bundle when He made Charlotte.

Charlotte has a smile that can light up a room. The way she scrunches up her little face and shows all of those tiny white teeth gets me every single day. Her laugh brings out so much joy in everyone around her; when I hear that sweet sound from another room I can't help but laugh a little myself.

Charlotte loves life. She knows what she wants, and when and how she wants it. She is determined and focused. She is sassy and spunky. She loves to give hugs and kisses. When she hugs my neck and her chubby little hands pat my back, I want to hold on forever. She has the softest squishiest cheeks I've ever kissed. She adores her big sister and wants to do everything (EVERYTHING!) that Caroline does. Despite the inevitable jealousy, Charlotte is sweet and gentle with her baby sister and makes sure I know when Camille is crying.

Charlotte has grown up so much over the past three months since Camille arrived, but in so many ways, she's still my baby. When she wakes up from a nap, she loves to be held and buries her head in my shoulder while she takes her time waking up. She loves her giraffe lovey (all 4 of them), "fraffe" and has been a thumb-sucker since she was three months old. She loves to snuggle up to read books at night before bed and savors those quiet moments before she goes to sleep while one of us rubs her back and sings to her for a few minutes.

Charlotte is joyful. She has brought us more laughter and smiles, and yes, more tears too. She brings light to my life every single day.

I am so thankful for the gift that Charlotte is and that God chose to give her to us. We love you Charlotte girl!

Here's a little peek into an afternoon with Charlotte:

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Thursday, November 25, 2010


We have much to be thankful for today and every day. These glimpses of the beauty of our world are just some of the things I'm thankful for:

Speaking of being thankful

At two o'clock today it will be exactly ten years ago that I walked down the aisle in the Dunham Chapel at First Presbyterian Church as Ashley Walton and back down as Mrs. Jeffrey Beck. I look back on it as one of the happiest days of my life. We were surrounded by family and friends, it was a beautiful day, and we truly loved every minute of the wedding and reception. We were certainly in love and looking forward to our life together as one. I know now what we couldn't have know then; we were definitely young and had no idea what we were saying "yes" to. But thankfully by God's grace we stand here ten years, so many memories, laughs, smiles, tears, moves, three kids, and one loss later.

I love you Jeffrey James and I'm so happy I've been walking down this road with you since November 25, 2000. You love me and our girls well.

I am thankful!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


As the oldest of three kids (and the wife of the second to youngest of seven kids), I've read with some interest different theories of child birth order. Staring in college, we talked about it my developmental psychology class at LSU and I've read popular news stories about it since. Now, as the mom of three girls, I'm intrigued by it in an new way. And when I heard this story online, it especially piqued my interest, as so many people will be heading "home" to be with family for Thanksgiving.

For what it's worth, I think all of the theories they talk about in this story are right. Each kid essentially grows up in a different family, parents treat their children differently, and a certain brand of survival of the fittest figures somewhere into that as kids need to excel in different areas.

As the oldest and the only girl in my family, I know my experience growing up was vastly different from my brother Drew's, as the middle child and first boy, and Neal's, as the youngest born almost seven years after me. And as a parent, I know no matter how hard I try to be consistent, I parent my children differently. Partly, it is because they require different things, different ways of connecting, different levels of attention and different ways of receiving love and affirmation and discipline. And then it is partly because I'm different. I wasn't the same person I was when Caroline was born, nor when Charlotte was born.

As I listened to the NPR story about the polar opposite brothers, something reminded me of a piece of advice I heard a few years ago about relationships: Assume good intentions. Though that can be hard to do much of the time, it does work. It helps to remember that all people are functions of who God created them to be and all that they've encountered since that creation. My brothers, my children, the rest of my family, my friends are all shaped by their world in so many different ways and loving them often means stepping out of my own shoes and into theirs.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dancing Queen

We had the chance to watch Caroline's dance class last week. They've definitely stepped it up a little bit this year in terms of what they expect of them. I was really impressed with how all of them followed directions and how quickly the teachers move the girls from one skill to the next really seamlessly.

Caroline has aspirations of being Clara in the Nutcracker one day and if she keeps that dream alive, we'll have many more years of watching our little ballerina hard at work.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

mirror, mirror on the wall

I saw a commercial the other day for an episode of the Dr. Phil show featuring a mother who was apparently a little out of control in the disciplining her children department. I couldn't watch the whole commercial because honestly it appeared borderline abusive to me. But the thing that struck me was the look on the mother's face when they showed her watching herself interact with her kids. She looked taken aback.

As I changed the channel, the thought occurred to me that though I hope I never slip into the same pattern of behavior as that mother, I don't often step away from myself to look at how others see me. Especially my girls. I have a picture of the mother I want to be, and man, she looks good! Always composed, patient, kind, never raises her voice, unflappable. She wouldn't serve cereal for dinner and has the laundry and ironing done the night before at the very latest. She doesn't lose her cool with her children on the way to church. When I'm "on" I can be some of those things, but most of the time I fall woefully short. And that bothers me.

But I've noticed lately that God is nudging me to be look at why that might bother me so much. And every once in a while, a lesson that I need to learn become clear when I hear the same words from many different places. It's kind of hard to ignore a truth God is trying to impart when he keeps putting it your path, right?

In past few days, there have been a combination of things revealing this to me: perhaps I need to be less concerned with the image I'd like to see in the proverbial mirror and more concerned with the kind of mother I'm being moment to moment with my kids. In addition to the thoughts in my own head spurned by the Dr. Phil show, a sentence out of an article I read online (while looking for something completely different, I might add) rose up off of the page:

"Becoming someone's mother meant that my role in the world had changed -- I wasn't just the same old me trying to be a new, improved version. I was a mother, really and truly and forever, and the question was, what kind of person, what kind of mother, would be reflected in my child's eyes?" from this article

And then on Friday, the always serenely insightful Ann Voskamp shared this message. The part that hit this already reverberating chord in me was a quotation from Anna Quindlen:

"I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."

So, that enticing lie that beckons me to abandon the most important for the least is hopefully working its way out of me. In the meantime, I'm so grateful for these and other places that quietly implant little seeds of truth in my journey.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It was a long weekend

In a good way . . .

As evidenced by this picture taken around 4:30 Sunday afternoon.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

A tribute?

I'm not a Harry Potter fan, but I understand that last night was a big one for those who are. Apparently part one of the two part final episode in the Harry Potter series came out at midnight. With all of the hype, I have considered jumping on the bandwagon. After seeing a tribute to Harry Potter on Cake Wrecks, I'm not so sure. I have to hope that the creators of these cakes are not Harry Potter fans.

My favorite is a rendition of the young Master Potter that looks like strikingly like an elderly woman who lived in my neighborhood growing up. The similarity is really kind of eerie.

I mean, if this is seriously your best you can do . . . well I'll just let you fill in the rest of that sentence after you see it for yourself.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Celebrity Encounter

Caroline and Charlotte were at my Mom's house Friday afternoon (and for those of you who don't know, my Mom is a sorority house mother at LSU). While they were on the porch, which fronts the LSU lakes, Caroline noticed a woman who had stopped walking to look at the house. Caroline asked Mom why the woman was standing in front of the house and Mom told her that the woman was probably an alum in town for Homecoming. The woman walked up the steps to talk to Mom and the girls and said that she had been a Kappa (not at LSU) before she left school to pursue an acting career and introduced herself as Shelly Long!

Cheers, The Money Pit, The Brady Bunch Movie, Outrageous Fortune. And my all-time favorite: Troop Beverly Hills.

Shelly (I'm sure she wouldn't mind me calling her by her first name) went in the house and took pictures with a group of Kappas and then with Mom, Caroline, and Charlotte. She was in town filming a movie and was just enjoying a walk around the lakes that evening. I wish I had been there to sing "Cookie Time" to her. I'm sure she would have loved that blast from the past. Or maybe not. Honestly, I've probably seen Troop Beverly Hills 100 times. I love that my girls had their first encounter with a famous person with the star of one of my favorite movies from childhood.

Have a good evening y'all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ask and you shall receive

Allison was so kind to remind me that Camille hasn't shown her face on the blog in a little while. She is changing by the day and I'm trying to document that as much as possible, but getting those pictures from the camera onto the computer and then from the computer to the blog - well, there's a breakdown somewhere in that process more often than not.

Camille is doing great; she turned 12 weeks old yesterday. She is such a sweet and gentle baby. That might sound weird, but she just has a way about her that seems quiet, but inquisitive. She is slowly showing a shy little smile and here's my attempt at catching it on camera:

Here's that sweet, shy look that is so characteristic of Camille.

Starting to crack a smile . . .

Alright Mom, I'll give you one more shot at this . . .

Success! If only the picture was actually of Camille instead of the side of her swing.

In my attempts to make her smile, I wasn't looking through the viewfinder, hence the way off center photo! If at first you don't succeed, right?