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

Drew: turned one this week, and is suddenly a different child. Climbing on and into everything, figuring out all sorts of things that he couldn’t do a week ago! Keeping this momma on her toes!

Max: has been loving that his brother has been into everything and thinks it’s quite hilarious. He has also been getting so dirty every day that we have had to change his bath schedule from every other day to every day, no matter what. He leaves me wondering “how?” most days!

cupcakes and candles

We had a tiny little party for our Drew Bear this weekend. The boys are having a bigger, joint cookout birthday party later this month, including more people and food, but we opted to keep it super simple for Drew’s first birthday. We didn’t want to wait a whole month for his cake smash! I made tasty cupcakes with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting and topped one with the same “1” candle that we used for Max’s first birthday (I’m all about traditions and the sentimental stuff over here). His grandparents and some of his aunts joined us, and we all sang “Happy Birthday” to him for the first time. Nick and I blew out the candle, and I fought back tears as he smashed up his first ever cupcake and loved it.

He smelled like sugar for the rest of the day, and I cried when I put that little “1” candle back in the kitchen drawer.

>>>sorry in advance for the excess of photos…I tried to weed some out, but it was hard! He only hast his first birthday once!

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^he figured out how to climb onto that stool all on his own! Trouble? Oh yes!^

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^Max loved having our families there^
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^Toby Ann showing off her birthday drawing!^
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^Drew adores his Pop (my Daddy)^DSC_0151-2

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^Nick and his dad, or “Pawpaw”^DSC_0176 DSC_0179

^Sweet Daisy^DSC_0189 DSC_0198-2

^Our moms were such a big help, as always!^DSC_0199

^Max and Pawpaw were probably chatting it up about bulldozers^DSC_0202 DSC_0203 DSC_0204-2

^The cupcakes were a hit!^

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Thank you so much, everyone, for making our little bear’s birthday so special! We missed you Tucker, Chelsea and Gretta!

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)

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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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