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?


On Saturday it was Homecoming for LSU, so we took advantage of the sunny day to get over to campus. It was a great day to walk up sorority row to see the decorations and to hang out outside while we waited for the parade. Like good Louisiana girls, Caroline and Charlotte love a good parade! They enjoyed the music and getting inundated with beads and candy from all of the floats, all of which is still in my car awaiting its eventual fate in the trash - but it was fun while it lasted! I'm not trying to be grinch by getting rid of all of it, but they haven't eaten all of their Halloween candy yet, and I'm not sure where they come from, but it seems like we have Mardi Gras beads in every room in our house.

I have some really vivid memories of visiting campus as a kid to see the Homecoming decorations, so getting my girls out there reminds me yet again how much I enjoy the simple things making memories with them. Here are the pics of our cheerleader "Super Fan" Caroline (and by the way, she got more compliments on that cape, she was so proud) and the tiny LSU cheerleader, Charlotte. Camille was along for the ride in the stroller and she was great, just taking in all of the people and music going on.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Field trip!

Caroline had her first field trip of the kindergarten year on Thursday and since I had the day off for Veteran's Day, it was a great opportunity for me to chaperon the zoo outing. The trip was great, it was a beautiful day, and most importantly the kids had fun. Caroline and Camille and I were on an exploration team together; Caroline was our leader and she took us around the zoo on a scavenger hunt for the animals. Camille was an angel; she loves being outside, so this was a perfect trip for her and Caroline liked having her sister there for the big day.

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Charlotte in the evening

I know this week with the time change has been a week of adjustment for everyone, but it's especially hard on my two girls who love to be outside in the evenings. Now they (and their parents) are faced with the horrors of playing inside for an extra hour every day. I suppose I took for granted how much time we spent outside lately, even if it was just drawing with sidewalk chalk on the driveway or chasing each other around the yard. Long days, return soon!

I was outside with Charlotte yesterday lamenting that it was quickly approaching the time when we'd have to get inside and took a few shots of her getting her hands dirty in the yard.

Have a good weekend everyone!
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Friday, November 05, 2010

Pajamas and pine straw

Early on the morning of Halloween the girls went out to play in the yard before Jeff raked up all of our pine straw. It is definitely the small, simple things that make great childhood memories.
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So I'm a little late

How has it been almost a week since Halloween? CVS is decked out in Christmas regalia and even playing the occasional instrumental Christmas song, so I realize that these pictures are so last holiday by now. And since we're on the topic, Thanksgiving is officially getting shafted these past few years. Everywhere now it seems that Halloween runs straight into Christmas. I'm not happy about that either. I like Thanksgiving. I like Fall. It's still hot in Baton Rouge in October most years, so I really appreciate a good November holiday. We are finally getting some nice weather and I don't want to be distracted from enjoying it by seeing Santa everywhere. Annnnnyway.

These pictures are from our trip to Slidell to visit Jeff's parents last weekend. The girls had a great time seeing Grandma and Grandpa and visiting an awesome park. We spent the morning hanging out at their house and after lunch caravanned over to Heritage Park. The not so cool weather got the better of all of us after about an hour and a half or so and we went back to their house to watch a little football and play some more. Before long it was time get back in the cars and get back to Baton Rouge. The girls had a great time and I know the grandparents enjoyed getting lots of hugs and watching the girls play.

More updates on last season's holiday soon to come!

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