dear drew {one year}

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Dear Drew,

I just put you down to sleep for the last time before you are officially a one year old. But I am seriously considering just snuggling you all night and soaking the moments before tomorrow as much as possible. I know everyone always says it, but it’s so true…this year has absolutely flown by. I don’t know if I am ready for you to be one, but all at the same time, I love seeing you grow and learn.  I honestly thought it would be easier with the second child…the first birthday…but it is so much harder.  I think because I know first hand exactly how fast the time will go and that before we know it you will be running all over, talking up a storm, and not needing us quite as much.

You are learning something new every day! Some days it’s a new word or sound, and others it’s a skill. Today? You learned to climb into the little chair in our living room, and then proceeded to stand up on it…my little daredevil. We all know you are sweet as can be, but you are also quite the wild man!

Drew Bear, Pudge, Bruiser, Bubba, Love Bug, Bubs, Smoochie, or just simply, Brother. We have so many names for you. And it just goes to show how loved you are by so many people.  You have grabbed the hearts of everyone you’ve met this first year! Max prefers to call you Drew Bear, and we hear him saying it all the day long.

You are his buddy. His best friend. He knocks you down several times a day, and sometimes he makes you cry, but most of the time he is trying his best to play with you, persuading you to be where he is with toys and cookies if he has to.  The cool part is that you love him back, with or without the toys and cookies. Most of the time, you’d choose to be with Max over just about anybody else. He’s YOUR best friend too. And that? It makes my momma heart so happy. I love to hear you guys talking to each other. We went on a drive across town a few days ago, and when I turned the music down, I could hear you babbling, and Max saying, “yeah, Drew! I know! We are going to see Daddy! Are you happy, brother?” I know you two will have your moments of fussing and arguing, and I’m sure even a fist fight (or ten…or twenty), but I know that you will always be buds. I can’t wait to see how you boys will grow up together, (but let’s not do it too fast, okay?)

Pudge boy, you are always making us laugh, keeping a smile on our faces. You bounce, kick your feet, and grin when you get excited about something. It is the best thing. You also seem to have a sense of humor already. You constantly put things in your mouth that are funny there, like Mr. Potato Head’s eyes or mustache, then you come show us and giggle. And let’s not forget the dancing. Music is one of your favorite things, almost any kind, and you can’t stop dancing when a song is on that you like.  You have also started to imitate us, but especially Daddy.  He makes a weird sound or face, and you do it right back to him, and then you usually have a good laugh about it.

Your next favorite person besides your big brother is probably Daddy. You guys are buddies. I have never seen you more excited than you are every day when Daddy comes home from work. You love vanilla wafers, fruit, and pretty much anything that Mommy eats. I don’t think you have any plans of being done nursing yet, and I am completely okay with that. I love having quiet minutes with you while you nurse throughout the day. Lately, it seems like you really love to play ball, and when we throw a ball and catch it you will giggle and giggle!  You also love your stuffed animals and anything that belongs to Max. We have spent quite a bit of time snuggled up together in the sling lately and you love it so much.  I ask you if you want “ups” (our code for getting into the sling) and you will grin and nod or lay your head shyly over on my shoulder. When you aren’t in the sling you are walking around everywhere exploring and getting into everything.  I kind of love that about the age you are at…you love to snuggle up with us, but you have also found this sense of adventure that I hope we can never tame.

This year was hard in a lot of ways for our family. We moved to our home town just a few days after you were born, but Daddy’s job was still in our old town, so he wasn’t home much until he got a new job. It made me so sad, and it was really hard on all of us to be apart so much. But, see, you brought so much happiness to us- to Daddy, Max and I- that it made everything seem pretty good. You have been so sweet and happy all the time, giving me joy when I was otherwise having to fight for it. You, my love bug, have been an answer to an infinite number of prayers, and you can’t even drink out of a straw yet. Funny how God works that way. There is no doubt in my mind that you and the timing of our move and every little detail of it was part of God’s plan. He gave you to us as a light in a bit of a dark time, I’m sure of it, and I’m so thankful for that.

As your Aunt Chelsea said, we didn’t know what to expect with you. You are so perfect, Bubs. God made you just the way you are supposed to be, and that is a glorious thing. Don’t ever forget that, buddy. The little person you are now is pretty incredible, and the big person you will grow to be is going to do some amazing things, too, I know it.

I’m excited to see where this next year takes us, sweet boy. But let’s just take it slow and enjoy every little minute, okay? Don’t grow up too too fast.

I love you to the moon and back!

Love,

Momma

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our God is faithful

I was writing Drew’s first birthday letter (coming soon), and so many things were brought to my attention about the last year. Just to catch you up, we closed on our house February 23, 2013, and Drew was born a short five days later. We moved from Greensboro to North Wilkesboro on March 11th, and spent more than six months trying to get Nick’s job moved to Wilkes as well.

We KNEW this house, our move, and all things involved in it, including Nick basically living in Greensboro for months, was part of the master plan. And we knew that being in Wilkes was the right thing for us. We didn’t know how hard it was going to be, for all of us.

We serve a faithful God. One that provides. You hear that so often when it comes to monetary things, when someone is suffering financially. And it’s true. I find that our needs are always met, sometimes in the craziest of ways when we need something that we just simply cannot afford, there always ends up being a way, and that is incredible. But I’m not sure he gets enough credit for the other things. What about our emotional needs and our spiritual needs? He provides for those things too!

When we decided to move right after Drew was born, knowing that Nick would still be working in Greensboro, knowing he would have to stay with his sister in Greensboro several nights a week to be able to afford the commute, I did. not. know. how I would do it. A new baby, a two year old, a new house that needed unpacking. Moving back to our home town, but somehow away from a lot that we were used to and knew. We had been wanting to move back to Wilkes for years, but couldn’t find a way. Then this house came along, and we saw that God was providing a way. He ended up providing much more than just a house and a job for Nick, he provided much more than we could imagine.

The house we bought was two doors down from my parents. He provided easy access to help with the boys and the house, love, support, and hot meals from my family.

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^my family, minus my parents, at the beach in September 2013^

He provided friends, too. Almost immediately upon arriving back in Wilkes, my friend from a long while back, Nicole, reached out to me. She simply asked if we wanted to go for a walk with her and her sweet kids, and it meant the world to me. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I have and will continue to value my friendship with Nicole.

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Max became quite the little comic over the past year, and keeps us laughing constantly. The gift of laughter is not a small one, and I don’t know what I’d do without that little spunk.

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^one of my favorites of Max from the summer…catching fireflies for the first time^

 And Drew? He has been a light to all of us in a little bit of a dark time, something I never dreamed of, but of course our providing, faithful Father saw that need, too. Drew is a blessing, plain and simple. He has a way of bringing a smile to anyone who sees him’s face. He rarely cries, and even when he wasn’t feeling his best, it was simple to fix by just putting him in the sling or Ergo carrier and going about your day. He has had this way of bringing us all joy, when we were otherwise fighting for it. I am so thankful for him and what he has meant to our family this year.

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We should never sell God short. He provides for everything. And He can do anything. He is great, mighty, and good.

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” 

(Matthew 6:30-33, The Message)

8/52

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“A portrait of my children. Once a week. Every week. In 2014″

Drew: face planted on the driveway this week and busted his lip, but he hasn’t slowed down a bit.

Max: has loved helping his Daddy build a sandbox this week.

 

spring is on its way

We had some fun hanging out in the sunshine a few evenings ago. I love living in the south. You really get all four seasons, but towards the end of February, when you start craving the warm light and fresh air, (even if you love winter like I do), just when you need it most, the cold days become less, and we get a few t-shirt worthy days thrown in there. Yes, we will have some frigid days to come before spring officially makes it’s way here, but we will bask in the sunshine on these warm days until then!

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PS. Max and Nick were building a sandbox! Max loved helping Daddy “work” and “fix somping” as he says!

we love mail.

Guys, we LOVE getting and sending mail. Not bills and junk mail, but the good stuff. Letters, post cards, packages.

The good news? My sister (in law), Chelsea? She loves mail, too. Sending it, receiving it, all of it.

She loves it so much that she started The Parcel Exchange, and I get to be a part of that! This is the part where you should go read about it and probably start a parcel exchange of your own, okay? But, long story short, The Parcel Exchange is a group of 12 girls who live all over the country. We send and receive one parcel a month, and every month it is to someone different! It’s all kind of like secret santa, except it happens all year and comes in the mail. It’s the best.

Chelsea and my brother, Tucker, just sent us over the sweetest Valentine’s Day box! It was full of movie candy, popcorn, a DVD, and some other little things that they knew we’d love. Max also loves getting mail, so he was pretty excited that his “Chelsea and Tuck” sent him some candy in the mail!

We can’t wait to have a little in-home movie date night after the boys go to bed sometime soon!

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count it all joy

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There is a verse from James that has been playing in my head over and over lately…

“Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds”

Count it all joy. Consider everything, all of it, joy. Can you imagine the effect that would have on our lives? If we actually did count it all joy? All the happy moments, and those of sorrow, the good, the bad and the ugly? All of it, joy.

I’ve been trying, for several months now, to write nightly in my gratitude journal (Chelsea and I started this in August). Counting the gifts, the joys. I could write in it for hours, pages, every single night. And it always surprises me that even after the worst, most trying days, I have an infinite number of things to be thankful for.  The neat thing about it is that when I am diligent about this journal of mine, it changes the way I view my life. I am more optimistic, happier, more thankful of course. I pay much less attention to the negative things throughout each day, and smile a lot more about the little things. It gives me something to look back at and see…gosh, I have so much to be thankful for. I also find that when I’m feeling “off” and particularly icky, it is almost always on the same days (or sometimes weeks) when I don’t write in my gratitude journal.

I wanted to share with you some of the things that I have written that I am thankful for lately. These are direct quotes from one of my most recent days:

  • quiet moments with Max when he wakes up in the middle of the night and needs me.
  • a baby who still wants to nurse, even almost a year in
  • Drew still wants to be “worn” constantly so he can be close to me, and its the best thing
  • Sunday breakfast with my family
  • discovering fajita nachos at the Mexican restaurant and having a good time eating with in-laws, husband and babes
  • taking photos I can be proud of and editing them myself
  • good friends coming to church with us
  • Max and Drew are both FINALLY going into the nursery at church willingly with no crying!
  • Valentines from my parents
  • a new beautiful ring sling is on its way to me! My dream sling. Can’t even believe it.
  • Drew is saying “uh-oh” constantly and it is hilarious
  • the boys playing together…I love hearing Max talk to Drew, telling him he is bringing him a toy or something
  • sweet tea in mason jars (hence the photo above!)
  • Nick- he listens, he understands, and he makes me laugh.
  • text conversations with Chelsea
  • encouragement via instagram…who would have thought a social media outlet could do such wonders for my soul?!
  • Max went to sleep at 8pm tonight and it was glorious. Love that boy, but I love it when he gets a good night of sleep (and I get some time for myself), too.
  • feeling good about being creative lately and confident enough to share it…such a new feeling for me.
  • I can call my mom 5 times a day and she is always happy to talk to me
  • My Daddy…we always say he’s a man of habit, and it’s true. But it is such a good thing. He is a constant in my life, someone I can count on.
  • husband got off work a little early today!

Some of these things are little things, seemingly insignificant, but they are all joys.

If you haven’t tried gratitude journaling, I would highly recommend that you start. You have nothing to loose, but you won’t regret it, promise.

7/52

DSC_0134 DSC_0224“A portrait of my children. Once a week. Every week. In 2014”

Drew: is two weeks away from being a one year old and is making his momma sad. Also, he really wanted to take that shirt off.

Max: spent a lot of time this week watching it snow and tromping around, knee deep in it.