Wednesday, September 28, 2011

dot Mom

Early, early on Friday morning I made the six hour drive to Birmingham to meet my friend Allison and her friends from church for a weekend conference for moms.  And of course Jeff took on taking care of the three girls at home while I was gone, which was a gift.  In turn, my Mom gave him a little gift by keeping Caroline and Charlotte on Friday night until after nap-time on Saturday, so it was one big circle of giving so that Ashley could get out of town for a few days.

There is no way I could do justice to all I heard in those two days, but there were a few major take homes for me.  None of it is earth-shatteirng; and honestly a lot of the lessons were things I knew, things I had probably told others even, but they impressed something new on me.

First was the truth that God has given this life to me at this time, the husband, the children, the friends, the church, the work, and all else.  He's promised that the light He's placed in me will "light up the house." (Matthew 5:15).  And the emphasis there that's so important for me, is that He is the light - the light isn't because of some work I've done or some righteousness I've achieved. (John 8:12).  It's His light, for his ultimate glory. (Matthew 5:18).  For the glory of His Name.  (Numbers 6:27).

All of that segues into letting His light shine in and through me as the person He has made me to be. Not the person I want to be, not the person I think I should be, but the person I am.  And as I walk in that truth, recognizing that my highest calling is not as a wife or mother, but as a child of God to bring glory to Him.  The good things He's given me can easily become counterfeit gods when I lose that focus.  As I live that out with my girls, the shape life takes as we do it together will teach them what no Sunday School class ever will.

There is a situation in my life right now that is teaching me a very different lesson from the one I expected.  I am starting to see (being forced to see?) that the earthly places I put my trust and my hope will never fulfill in the deep places.  The things I expect to make me happy or to make things in my life right, are truly peripheral.  Though they may be good things, things to be thankful for, things to love and cherish, they will only fulfill my needs to a point.  Placing my focus and maintaining that focus on the One who is central.

Those places that I've walked away from, the places that have held disappointment and yielded results other than the ones I dreamed of, are often the precise places God will use most to speak Truth and Life.  In my life and the lives of others.  That can sometimes be very humbling and even embarrassing, but the gain more than makes up for losing face in the eyes of those close enough to see.

Basic?  Yes.

Truth?  Yes.

Especially lately I find that I am re-learing lessons I thought I learned a long time ago, lessons I have since taught to youth kids in different churches, lessons I've talked with friends about.

(Almost none of the words or ideas in this post are my own, and though I can't attribute each line, the bulk of it comes from Angela Thomas, Angie Smith, Vicki Courtney, & Priscilla Shirer)

Beyond those amazing lessons I'm still trying to sift through, I had fun!  It was great to be Allison and her friends.  As always, I end up leaving saying that I have to figure out a way to spend more face to face time with Allison, she's a phenomenal friend, encourager, and speaker of truth.  I need as much of that in my life as I can get!

Oh, and on a completely unspiritual level:  the Duggars showed up unexpectedly!  They were all in Birmingham for some other reason and were staying at the hotel where the conference was being held.  They were minus Michele and the baby, who were in Israel.  
I had a chance to run into a group of the kids and the dad in the lobby of our hotel early on Sunday morning.  I don't watch the show, but the genuineness and truly kind nature of all of the kids and their father really struck me.  Jim Bob was so gracious as lots of people came up to say hello and only excused himself to go talk to Michele on  the phone when she called him.  I was also struck by the "normalness" of the kids that I interacted with; had I not known who they were, I would have just thought they were four brothers hanging out at a hotel together.  Joking, laughing, picking on, and helping one another.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My little songwriter

At some point in the great history of this blog of mine I wrote about how Caroline often makes up words to songs when she doesn't know the actual lyrics.  Lately she's brought that musical philosophy to a new level.  She is officially writing her own songs now.

And by writing, I mean singing songs that she makes up as she goes.  It is often really telling about what she thinks and observes.

Tonight she was helping me put Camille to sleep and as she was holding Camille, rocking her in the chair in Camille's room, she came up with a little ditty that went like this:

Mookie-moo, you are sweet
You are fine
You are a sugar boo
You are sweet like sugar
But not too much sugar
Because that would make you sick
And you'd feel bad
But you love Caroline and Charlotte
And we are your sisters
And we take care of you
And we will kill anyone who tries to take you
'Cause we don't want anyone to take you.
Rock a bye baby
You are sweet.

First of all -- for background -- "Mookie" is Camille's nickname.  And, well, I'm not quite sure what to do with the line about Caroline and Charlotte killing someone.  Protective sister anyone?

In all seriousness, Caroline has taken a special interest in Camille lately.  It is truly so sweet to see Caroline really want to play with Camille, to hold her, to rock her, to bathe her, and generally just make sure her needs are met.  Caroline has always been really gentle with Camille and very protective of her, but until recently her interest in Camille has been pretty attenuated.  She might have played with her for a few moments here or there, but if I would let her, Caroline would want to take care of her all afternoon.

It does my mama-heart good to see my girls loving one another and seeing how their relationships are already growing and evolving.  And of course it will be nice to share with Caroline her first song written about her youngest sister (even though it did contain a reference to a potential homicide).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


A good friend posted a link to this article on facebook last night.  Juggling work and family inevitably brings to me all of the emotions she uses in the title for this piece:  guilt, anxiety, exhaustion, and guilt.  There It rang so true for how I feel so much of the time.

Guilt about work.

Guilt about family.

Anxiety about whether I've neglected something at work.

Anxiety about giving my kids enough of myself.

Exhaustion from it all.

And then throw in a little more guilt for good measure.

The sentiment that is the undercurrent of it all for me is that I never feel like I'm quite enough for any of it.  I'm not as good of a lawyer as the next person who can devote more time and energy to practicing law; I'm not as good of a mom as my friends who stay home; I don't have enough patience; I don't give my job enough of my attention.  You get the idea.  When you're pulled in a dozen different directions, everyone just gets a piece of you.  And more often than not, it's not enough.

And while these thoughts might make it seem like I am wallowing in the doldrums of life - rest assured that I'm not.  I value my blessings more than I can say.  Each moment is a gift and I am well aware of that fact.  I love Jeff and my girls and cherish all of our time together.  I am so thankful for a good job with good people who are very understanding of all that my life requires of me.  I thank God daily for where He has me.  But all of that doesn't erase the feelings that lurk in quiet --and sometimes very loud -- moments.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Flying solo

Camille got on this little airplane riding toy for the first time the other day, and for whatever reason, it completely cracked me up.  She was precious on it, so I had to share.

Also, pay no attention to the smudgy glass in the background.  Three girls who love to press their hands and faces on that door make trying to keep it clean it a futile practice.  :-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

weekends are for chasing

This weekend we took the girls out to the levee for a little bit where Caroline learned the hard way that rolling down a hill through freshly cut grass is only fun for a short time and then it becomes a decision you really wish you hadn't made.  I think she said, "I'm so itchy! Oh this itches!" about 361 times on the drive home.
It was fun to watch them play though, and I promise that each day that passes, Charlotte works just a little bit harder to be like Caroline.  She is like her shadow when we do stuff like this.  If Caroline goes down the hill, Charlotte is chasing after her.  If Caroline needs some water, Charlotte is right behind her.  It is so sweet.  Here are the pictures from our little outing.

The fateful roll down the hill

My sweet girls.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Twirl and whirl

So far in her not quite three years of life, Charlotte has broken all molds of the classic "middle child."  She knows what she wants, how she wants it, when she wants it, how you are going make it happen.  As a result, she's known a fair amount of disappointment!  Charlotte revels in attention and thrives on the time and affection of those she loves.  She is truly a joy.  A joy who sometimes teaches me a lot about patience and restraint.

And though Caroline is a girlie-girl in so many ways so we've been prepared for Charlotte to follow suit, Charlotte is really becoming a girlie-girl in her own unique, Charlotte way.  

She really can't stand to wear anything other than a dress.  She might possibly entertain the thought of a skirt, but only if absolutely necessary.  Not just any dress will do, Charlotte's dresses must have sufficient twirl, or "spin" as she would say, in order to be worth wearing for the day.  Often sitting in her room in the morning coaxing her into some school-appropriate clothing, you'll find me trying to convince her that the dress from Target does indeed spin and the Snow White gown really isn't practical for a day of finger painting and playing on the playground.  

And for shoes?  If she could wear these Barbie heels daily she absolutely would.  I've had to take them forcibly off of her feet before she runs into the backyard to play.  The are a broken ankle waiting to happen; I can't chance those shoes in the great outdoors.  

Monday, September 12, 2011


**I'm sorry this has taken me so long to post this.  One of my cameras wasn't speaking to my computer.  Apparently they've made up; here you go**

We celebrated Caroline's birthday with her friends from school at our house this past weekend.  She has been asking for a "Tangled" theme party for a while, so we obliged.  The girls did lots of just "playing", eating snacks, singing Happy Birthday, eating cupcakes, cake, and ice cream, opening gifts, and eating more cake.

I shamelessly borrowed lots of ideas from Supermom for the party and it all turned out great.  Caroline was happy with it all, which is the most important ruler to measure success for her party.

Starting with her invitations, I followed this post for a Rapunzel Tower invitation.

I also made the braid for the door.  Caroline was pretty impressed with this touch; in fact it's hanging on her bedroom door now.

The food was pretty simple; snacks that 6 year old girls would enjoy: goldfish, grapes, oranges, bread and cheese.  For a little subtle touch of Tangled, I used a couple of cast iron frying pans to serve some of the food.  I also made the jello boats and for decoration, the Tangled banner and added Caroline's choices of some store-bought Tangled decor.

The girls colored some Tangled coloring pages and ate snacks as everyone arrived.  Our first big activity was climbing Rapunzel's tower (using the "climbing wall" Jeff made for the girls on one of our trees in the backyard).  Caroline climbed first to show everyone how it was done with Jeff belaying of course.  Then all of the girls who wanted to try took turns making the big climb up.  Several of them did it more than once; it was a hit!

After that, the girls honestly had a lot of fun just playing in the back yard:  jumping on the trampoline, sliding, swinging, and driving the Barbie Jeep Powerwheels.  We had a few other inside activities for the kids who wanted a break from the heat, but it took having ice cream, cake, and cupcakes (the BEST cupcakes ever actually) and then opening presents to get everyone back inside.

Caroline had a great time, had some wonderful friends over, received fantastic gifts, and all in all, hopefully had a memorable 6th birthday party at our house.  We love our Caroline!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


We headed over to LSU for the first home game so that the girls could enjoy a little tailgating and see the band and Golden Girls.  It was beautiful weather spending a little time walking around outside.

It was a great way to spend a couple of hours with my family.  And it didn't hurt that all of that walking made for two tired "big girls" and one tired baby.