Sunday, December 15, 2013


Two years ago today I realized how much I could love when I saw the face of this little angel. Two years later, I still literally stand in awe every day at how much love I have for him, of his innocence and tender heart, and how much I adore and need him. I tell him every day how perfect he is and that is he my little angel. He is truly my angel. I adore every little thing about him and I am so grateful to be his mother. He has the most special, tender little Spirit, yet he is all boy and always up for an adventure.'

Trains- "choo choo!"
His new "bike"
His stuffed animals "roo roo" and "george"
"Side!" (anything outside)
Walks- "WALK!!" (always said in the most high-pitched, excited voice)
His favorite foods as of earlier today: "sausage, ice, &blue-blues"
His favorite color: "blue!"
And any questions that asks "how many..." the answer is always "TWO!!!" and he holds up both pointer fingers with enthusiasm
He is still a big mama's boy. He always has to check up on where I am and gives me lots of kisses throughout the day.
He loves to play and rough house with his Daddy.
He loves to read books and we usually read the same one every night in a row for a few days.
He goes to sleep happily and willingly for every nap and bedtime.
He loves to be nuzzled in with about eight stuffed animals every time he goes to bed and sometimes he will giggle as we tuck him in.
He is not a big fan of teeth brushing. It's always a fight.
He loves his "boots" and wears them almost every day.
Every time I have him pick his outfit he picks the same old school, adorable, rockin' sweater we got at Goodwill. It makes my heart happy. :)
Any football or ESPN website or really ball game of any kind, Jude will say "TIDE!!!"

He's started saying "happy" over and over again, but only when his heart is really full. He first said in the other night when my parents were in town and we were driving home from the Alamo Cafe. Out of nowhere he just starts saying "appy! happy! happy!" We didn't even know he knew that word! Last night after a really fun night downtown he was getting to bed late. After laying with him for a minute, I asked him if he was ready to go to bed. He said yes so I picked him up and as we were walking over to his crib he started saying "happy! happy! happy..." I couldn't understand him at first and thought he was trying to tell me he needed a certain stuffed animal or needed something, but then I realized he was just trying to tell me he was happy. I nuzzled him close and we talked about how happy he was and that "mama, daddy, mimi, papa" all make him happy. He is my absolute love.

He is just as tender-hearted and wonderful as can be. We absolutely adore him and are grateful every day to be his parents. Another post to come about his birthday party and all his birthday adventures, but for now, I just had to write a tribute to my precious child!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

the Riverwalk at Christmas

The Riverwalk of San Antonio is pretty impressive. And it is taken to a whole new level at Christmastime! They are not afraid to celebrate "Christmas" here, as opposed to the vague and ever-so politically correct "holidays." We made it downtown and saw some real live reindeer, passed by Santa and a concert with real-live fake snow falling from above, and then walked down the Riverwalk. It was packed with festive festivity-goers. There were merchants all up and down the Riverwalk, which left a dangerously small amount of pathway for people to walk by. It amazes me that there is no fence or guardrail of any kind along the Riverwalk! It is literally just a short drop off directly into the water. I wonder how many people fall in every year... 

We chose a good night to go. There was a magical little concert going on with children singing songs about Jesus and boats going by full of people singing Christmas carols. The lights in themselves are a sight to see.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

that day we found out...

... we were going to have another baby!!

Life is so surreal. It just happens. I sometimes forget I'm not twelve anymore when I see the two most precious toddler little eyes staring up at me, saying "mamaaa..." and then I realize another pair of precious eyes will soon be saying the same. It is surreal in a beautiful, magical, unbelievable kind of way.

Jude was obviously pretty skeptical about all the hype over this little white stick with two lines on it... I just had a feeling and took it two weeks early so we knew when I was like, three weeks pregnant. These were taken on May 27... Memorial Day!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pregnancy update PS...

The other day a lady at orientation told me I looked like I was going to "drop that baby any day now..." or something just as awkwardly impolite as that. I stuttered back some ill-prepared response about how I still had THREE more months. What do you say to comments like that?! I'm getting plenty big around here, but don't worry, I can still hang by my feet and legs at the jungle gym as we found out today (not a frequent occurrence).

Last night we were reading the book "Wild Little Horse," (thanks, Dolly Parton!) and there was a part about how the horse was flaring his nostrils. I showed Jude how I could flare my nostrils then told him to try. He first opened and closed his lips several times, then realizing that wasn't it, he opened and closed his eyes several times, then realizing that wasn't it either, he just grinned and giggled and got bashful.

Might have been the cutest thing yet. Tied with like, a thousand other things he does every day.

one of the many daily adventures of Jude...

Playing with guns just comes innately to little boys... or maybe it was Dan putting his cowboy hat on him and teaching him...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pregnancy update &lots of bump pics!

I have to check my "Mobile Mom Due Date Calculator" every few days to see how far along I am because I forget... I'm already 28 weeks! Goodness! I have left a lot to the imagination when it comes to documenting this pregnancy... I think it's time for an update! The pregnancy has been wonderful. I am blessed with good pregnancies and I can't complain! During the first trimester, however, I was a complete...



In our backyard in Boiling Springs after our first ultrasound!
Maybe it was moving and the uncertainty we were having with Jude's EoE at the time, but goodness. It was over-the-top with the crying and tears and breakdowns and lash outs. (Sorry, Dan!) It took me a while to get used to the fact that we were going to have another baby because I was so busy been stressed with moving and everything else. It really wasn't until we had our big ultrasound and found out what we were having until I got excited and the reality of it sunk in. Now, I get all squishy-hearted when I see a newborn and ask to hold them and I start to imagine how much I will love and be obsessed with my own. My love for Jude is so incredibly out-of-control; I know I have more to give and I know it will be bursting at the seams when my next little boy officially joins the fam. I have heard from other friends that they weren't sure it hey could love their second as much. I've had time to ponder and get used to his idea. Although that thought has entered my brain time and again, I'm not worried. I still whisper to Jude that he'll always be my favorite but I know that's silly. I think about how much my parents love Jared and I... so deeply, yet differently. I know mine will be the same.

Nineteen weeks with my precious sidekick always by my side :)
I have had a little acid reflux (nothing a few Tums can't fix) and I have all the usual issues of being really big, but that's all. I huff and puff and grunt when I bend over and have gained several pounds every time I weigh myself. I'm sure I will leave Dan's measly 163 pounds in the dust this pregnancy!!

My mama &daddy were in town! :)
Right now I'm most looking forward to seeing Jude as an older brother. A friend of mine watched him the other day and she said he was so very tender with her little baby girl, bringing her toys and gently and carefully touching her. Since then I have really noticed how tender Jude is. He is always wanting to help and ever-so-interested in "the baby," or any baby for that matter. We went camping with these same friends, the McLemores, a few weeks ago and Jude was so incredibly precious and tender with her. He would go up to her and hug her, try to get her out of her car seat ("out!"), and gently touch her arm or leg or wherever he was given permission. He would just stand by her and gasp and point when she made a noise. And she is enamored by him! It is precious. We once had her sit on his lap while in the umbrella stroller and he ever-so-calmly held her and kept his arms wrapped tightly around her as if he knew that was his responsibility.

About 22 weeks, on my way to the Relief Society Broadcast with my mama :)
At least once a day he comes over, lifts up my shirt, and visits with the "baby," giving kisses, saying "hello?!" as he rests his head on my tummy, and bringing the baby toys, pass along cards, etc. He once got the pump for the raft and tried to put it in my belly button. (trying to inflate or deflate my tummy maybe?) He knows to be very gentle and careful and for the most part he really is. Every few days he'll wrap his arms around my belly and while squeezing, say "out!! out!!" So cute. He is excited to have a little play mate!

Every once in a while he'll get in his little swing and pretend to be a baby and I'll say "Shh... baby's sleeping!" and he'll lay there quietly. He climbed in the swing today so I laid his little kangaroo stuffed animal by him and covered them both up with a blanket. I said... "Shh, baby's sleeping..." and left the room to clean the bathroom. I would come back in every few minutes and check on them and Jude was laying there so quietly holding Roo. He laid with her for a good ten minutes! He is soo tenderhearted and sweet.

the "selfies" are getting out of control over here. good thing it's totally acceptable since i'm taking a pic of someone else, too...
If he ever wants me to get up or get down on the floor with him or whatever it is, he will grab my hand and pull me and try everything until I come. But if I need to rest or just physically unable to do what he asks, I just explain that I can't because the baby won't fit over there or I need to rest for the baby and he immediately understands and moves on. He is just the greatest!!!

[twenty-three weeks]
Dan is so excited to have two boys. He dreams about fishing trips and camping trips and going to Priesthood Session together and everything else. It is so cute. We both could not be more thrilled and excited to be having another boy. It will be so fun to see how different their personalities are and watch them together.

twenty-four... ish.

Well, you are officially updated! More pictures to come... :)

a working mama

There is so much to be said about being a working mother! I deeply respect those mothers who work with little ones at home. Granted, we all do it for different reasons and I respect some reasons more than others, but in most cases it is a sacrifice they make in order to provide a better life for their family. It is literally painful to leave that precious little one at home. And single working mothers?! I have more respect for you than I could ever say. I can not imagine how hard that is day in and day out. Bless you for your never-ending sacrifices!

I grew up with the joy of having my dear mother in the home, there to care for us and always just be there. I always knew this was a priority of mine. I knew that circumstances would have to be pretty grim for me to leave my children and work full-time. I would much rather go without many things and be home with my children than work just to be able to afford a second car or cable or other things we don't need. I went into nursing knowing it would give me flexibility and the ability to raise my children while still working a little bit if I so desired.

While I greatly respect working mothers, I also think it takes great courage to be a stay-at-home mother. It is not the easy way out. It is a difficult, never-ending job. Sometimes leaving for work would be a much easier option and a nice break compared to staying at home. We have to be confident in our worth as stay-at-home moms when many of the women and mothers in the world are out working full-time and pursuing their careers. We must remember our worth and be sure of ourselves and our decisions to stay home. I truly believe the most important role we could ever have as women is that of a mother.

Elder Christofferson said in the most recent General Conference address, "The Moral Force of Women,"

"A woman’s moral influence is nowhere more powerfully felt or more beneficially employed than in the home.

In all events, a mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship. By the power of her example and teaching, her sons learn to respect womanhood and to incorporate discipline and high moral standards in their own lives. Her daughters learn to cultivate their own virtue and to stand up for what is right, again and again, however unpopular. A mother’s love and high expectations lead her children to act responsibly without excuses, to be serious about education and personal development, and to make ongoing contributions to the well-being of all around them.

What I mean to say is that whether you are single or married, whether you have borne children or not, whether you are old, young, or in between, your moral authority is vital, and perhaps we have begun to take it and you for granted. Certainly there are trends and forces at work that would weaken and even eliminate your influence, to the great detriment of individuals, families, and society at large.

A pernicious philosophy that undermines women’s moral influence is the devaluation of marriage and of motherhood and homemaking as a career. Some view homemaking with outright contempt, arguing it demeans women and that the relentless demands of raising children are a form of exploitation.8 They ridicule what they call “the mommy track” as a career. This is not fair or right. We do not diminish the value of what women or men achieve in any worthy endeavor or career—we all benefit from those achievements—but we still recognize there is not a higher good than motherhood and fatherhood in marriage. There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority, or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family. Whatever else a woman may accomplish, her moral influence is no more optimally employed than here...

And do not be afraid to apply that influence without fear or apology. “Be ready always to give an answer to every [man, woman, and child] that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.”12 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”13 “Bring up your children in light and truth.”14“Teach [them] to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.”15

Read, watch, or listen to full talk here.

Anyways, back to the subject... I recently got a job as a prn (per diem/as needed, which means I only have to work once every two weeks, but can work pretty much as often as I'd like) nurse at the Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital on the surgical floor (pretty much Med-Surg/lots of post-ops). I had orientation all day for a week and a half and as I was talking to my mom one day and was trying to figure out would be best to do with Jude, she immediately offered to come out and help. I resisted at first as they already do so much for us, but I quickly accepted and am so, so grateful she came! What would have been a highly stressful week and a half that would have been a strain on all of us and especially hard on Jude was a pleasant, enjoyable, fun-filled, and even relaxing week and a half! She took care of all our meals, did lots of laundry (no small feat with an apartment laundromat across the way &a little one in tow), took out the trash many times, cleaned, cooked, took us out to dinner, grocery-shopped, fixed Jude's blackout shade, helped me get started on a few projects and even bought all the supplies, taught me how to crochet, kept us on our toes with a few wild games of Clue, enjoyed a few episodes of Dick Van Dyke and Andy Griffith with us, and cared for Jude like the little Lord Fauntlaroy that he is!

My dear friend Maddie watched him the first day and I am so forever grateful to her for her kindness and for going above and beyond to take care of Jude. In the good hands of Maddie and Mimi, he ate great meals, took good long naps, and continued in his happy, carefree ways!

It was so difficult leaving Jude but bearable knowing he was home and happy as can be playing blocks with Mimi and running her toothbrush charger all around the house. Her and Jude visited me at lunch some days and that just took me to the moon and back! One day we Facetimed during my lunch break. I would call Jude every day at lunch and that helped, too. He would sleep for 2-4 hours (good sleeper!) after lunch and then pick me up soon after so I really was only missing a few hours with him.

Granted, I had a lot less stress and responsibility since my mom was here and she took care of everything, but I noticed myself so much happier about life when I was home. I would run to Jude every day after work like a wife to her returning soldier and hug him and kiss him until the sun went down. I would catch myself just grinning at him like a fool as he played and went about his business. I enjoyed the little moments with him more. I savored my time with him whether we were laughing under the comforter for a few precious minutes in the morning before I left or if we were sight-seeing at the grocery store right after work.

My time has been more precious. I just want to spend it with my loves. I realize how very blessed I am. There are plenty of things to stress about and a long to-do list, but I couldn't care less about any of those things after a week and a half of working full-time and missing my family so much. I have remembered what really matters. I remember how blessed I am and how precious every moment I have with them is. I remember that reading books and playing Mr Potato head with Jude is infinitely more important than making sure the floor is swept and swiffed.

I met some adorable friends at orientation and am excited about my new job. It is a huge blessing and a perfect solution for us. I think I will enjoy getting out and using my skills and learning, yet it is infrequent enough that I won't miss Jude too terribly and I can still dedicate myself in full to being a mother and wife. I am grateful to be done with the seven-hour days of sitting on my tush watching PowerPoints, listening to speakers, and endless Meditech training and happy to be home for a few days, but we sure do miss Mimi already!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Camping in Cherokee

We had a little time after our Hawaii trip last May before Dan started his job again, so we decided to venture up to the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina before we'd be moving. We went up to Cherokee, North Carolina. We stopped in the famous Asheville, NC on the way up and enjoyed walking through downtown and giving Jude a little break from the car. 

And here begins our camping adventures... which of course started out with some fishing, which became our dinner!

We stayed at the KOA, quite an experience. It had a lot of fun "amenities" but we decided it's aimed more for families with older children or young couples without children. It's not the most baby-friendly spot. Our neighbors (2 inches from us) were a big group of guys drinking and playing music on their boom box and they blasted a Disney movie on a projector screen until late. Not really our cup of tea while camping. But the big blob, the jumbo chess, and the playgrounds were fun! ;) We swam in the stream the first day and it was the best, even though it was freezing. We had a ton of fun swimming once I showed Dan how it was done and jumped in first!!

We found a great spot with the local Native Americans and a fantabulous rope swing. At first I said I didn't want to do it and I would just watch since the water was... freezing. But it didn't take long for me to change my mind and swim across that freezing cold river and jump in! It was the most invigorating little swim. Nothing feels better! Jude found a little lagoon tucked in the rocks and logs and he played in there for hours. As happy as a clam.

We found a trout pond on the way home where they had a pond stocked with twenty-inch, 4-5 pound trout so people who didn't fish great could have the experience to catch a fish without fail! It was hilarious to watch this adorable black man catch his first fish. He was ecstatic. So was I until the back woods designated fish-killer smacked the fish in the head full-force with a mallet. Jude was pretty entertained during the whole thing.