Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Me: (opening Bennett's backpack after school) Look, Bennett. There's an invitation in your backpack today. You got invited to a birthday party.

Bennett: Yay! Whose birthday party is it?

Me: Ummm.... it's Jordan's.

Bennett: I don't know a Jordan.

Me: Well, the invitation says that it is for Jordan's birthday party.

Bennett: But I really don't know a Jordan.

Me: Isn't there a Jordan in your class?

Bennett: No.

Me: Are you sure, honey?

Bennett: MOM! There's not a Jordan in my class.

Me: Well, it says right here that it is Jordan's party. Is she in another class and you met her on the playground?

Bennett: (getting increasingly frustrated) MOM! I don't know a Jordan. There isn't one at my school.

Me: Well, I guess you're going to Jordan's party. Is Jordan a boy or a girl?


Me: (calling Rob over) Rob, read this invitation. Does it or does it not say Jordan?

Rob: (taking all of 2 seconds to read it) No, it says Jayden.

Bennett: Yeah, Jayden is my friend from school.

Me: Oh, sorry.

Bennett: Mom, I think the baby in your tummy is making you say wrong things.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that September was National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month? Neither did I. I wish I didn't know that still. But every since we lost our beautiful Elliot, my whole family has learned far more than we ever wanted to about Ovarian Cancer. My cousin Erin is still teaching me things every day about this disease and one way to honor Elliot is to make sure others know how truly awful and dreadful this type of cancer is.

My aunt and uncle, my parents, my cousin and her family, my sister and her family have all been out in full force this month "painting the town teal." They have walked in fundraisers, hung posters, hung teal ribbons on their houses, and so much more to remind people to take this disease seriously. I am so proud of all of them and all of their efforts.

Women, get checked! You have to ask for specific tests. Men, make your loved ones get tested. Elliot had no idea that she had ovarian cancer until it was too late. It is called the silent killer for a reason. A normal Pap smear won't catch it. Ask specifically for a pelvic exam. Talk to your OB. Know your body! Don't dismiss any symptoms. Far too many people are losing their mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. Please be aware.

Here is a link to http://www.ovarian.org/ which will give you any information you may need. I urge you to read through the site and see your doctor if you have any questions at all. I know that I plan to.

Here is a picture I found recently of Elliot holding Bennett when she was a baby. Everything we do is to honor her and to prevent other families from going through the same loss.

And here is my family wearing our shirts in honor of Elliot. I love it when people comment on my teal clothing or my teal toenails so I can have a chance to share Elliot's story.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

She's almost here......

8 more days! Are we ready? Absolutely not.

I had hoped to be in our new house in Dothan by the time the baby came. I, like every other pregnant woman, have the major nesting instinct going on and would like a nursery with, oh, maybe a crib set up. We are still in our temporary house and not really having anywhere for the baby to go has been hard. But my super wise husband said to me one day as I was having a hard time, "Our baby girl may not have a house or a room ready for her, but she has a family waiting for her that could not be more ready."

How did I get so lucky? He always puts things into perspective for me. I hope each of my children is blessed with a such a spouse.

Anyway, we have big news! We found a house here and we will be moving in on October 19th! Hooray!! The problem is that I am being induced on October 1st. Oh, well. Moving with a 4, 3, and 2 week old? No biggie.

That does help in the fact that I don't have to set up a nursery for her here at this house. She will sleep in a bassinet by our bed for the first few weeks. And since all of her nursery furniture is in our garage with boxes sitting on top of it, our awesome cousin Chris loaned us his changing table. All we need. And it is set up and ready to go. So, while all my friends are posting on Facebook adorable pictures of their nurseries, may I present mine?

Hey, what else do you need? I think we are pretty set. :)

But we have been getting ready in other ways. We surprised each of our kids at school and checked them out early to take them to a special lunch with just Mommy and Daddy. They were both so surprised to see us and loved one on one time. It was so great for me and Rob to ask them questions, explain what would happen when Mommy was at the hospital, and just enjoy each of them by themselves.

Here is Bennett on her special lunch and then having yogurt afterwards.

And here is Will the very next day having lunch and then yogurt at the exact same spot.

Rob has taken the kids separately to band practice with him so the other can stay home and have special Mommy time. They could do whatever they wanted to do on that night. Will wanted to go to the bookstore and play with trains and I didn't get any pictures of that. But Bennett wanted to read 100 books! So she and I stayed in bed for 2 hours and read as many books as we could. We had the best evening. She talked and talked and talked all about school, her teachers, and her friends. She read along with me, she snuggled with me..... we honestly had the best evening.

And then just yesterday I took Bennett for her very first pedicure. She picked a sparkly pink color in honor of her baby sister. 

So, we may have half of our lives in boxes. There may not be a nursery ready. But this baby girl could not have a family more ready to meet her. And that's all that matters.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

3 and 4

I have to brag on my kids for a minute. As much as I miss them being babies, I am loving watching them learn more and grow into these awesome little.... people. I know that sounds weird, but it is so neat seeing their personalities really form and emerge. I am all too aware that they will both change a lot and I hesitate to point out anything because I don't want them to be labeled or put into a box, but I do want to share what I am noticing at ages 3 and 4 so we can look back one day and see if they stayed the same or changed completely.

Bennett: She is just so dang smart. On her 2nd day of school her teacher pulled us aside and said that she was going to start working with Bennett on extra curriculum. She loves to learn. She is really starting to read and can now read billboards and labels and words on shopping bags. We can give her words and she can sound them out and write them down without us helping her at all. Every day she is reading more and more and pages in books are starting to really come together for her.

She will randomly say things like, "Did you know that the words quickly and quietly both begin with a qu and end with an ly? That's pretty cool, right?" Things like that come out of her mouth all the time and I love hearing her work things out in her mind. She picks up anything instantly... sign language, Spanish, anything... she just absolutely loves to learn. And she is good at anything she puts her mind to. Whether it is gymnastics, soccer, or even playing a game on the Wii, she is going to figure it out until she gets it right.

She is also becoming very introverted which I never would have predicted a year ago. She loves being with her family and is not shy at all around us, but around strangers, she gets really quiet. She would rather play with one friend at a time than a crowd.  

She is extremely artistic and her drawings are really good. She loves to color and draw pictures on her magna-doodle. She would paint and read all day if she could and her favorite thing is just being with her family.

Will: Oh my goodness. Will Webster is the life of the party. And he is just as smart as his sister. Nobody can believe how much he talks and though he the youngest in his class, he is keeping right up with the older 3 year olds. He can write all of his letters and is starting to sound them out as well. He basically learns everything from Bennett. I really think his desire to keep up with her is the best education in the world. When we work with her on her reading and writing, he wants to be right there with us. He can write all the names of his family members and a few other words such as Dog, Go, and Hat. 

He is a ham! He goes up to strangers and asks them their name and what their favorite color is or who they pull for. Alabama or Auburn? He will perform for anyone and everyone. He has made up shows and plays and will put them on anytime you ask. At our baby shower the other day, Will performed his "butterfly show" for the entire church staff. I hope in 10 years I still remember that. He will sing for the doctor, checkout clerk at the grocery store, and anyone who will listen. When he starts performing, Bennett usually sits shyly and watches him with a smile on her face. She is very content to let him have the stage.

When Bennett is drawing, Will is asking to put on a play. He just starting saying he wants to direct a movie and he will assign us all parts. Even as I was typing that sentence Will said to Rob, "How about we make a show?" He isn't as careful or cautious as his sister when it comes to trying new things. He just dives in head first and lets the chips fall where they may.

Will is more compassionate. He hates it when people cry or are hurt. It bothers him deeply. Bennett is not as empathetic. She tends to want people not to show emotions and just get over it. :-) They both went with me to my check up at the doctors office today and Will got so upset when I had to lay down on the table and kept asking the doctor if I was okay. Bennett didn't seem fazed at all. Will seems to be a lot more nurturing and Bennett is leaning more to the practical side of things.

I know they will change. In a few years years Will may be into circus acrobatics and Bennett may be completely over her shyness and may hate to draw. Who knows? That really is why I hesitate to say anything because I hate when kids are put into boxes at young ages. I don't want Bennett to be "the smart and shy one" and Will to be the "loud extroverted" one. But that's what they are at 3 and 4 and I want to remember these stages.

And I am so proud of the way they are getting ready for their baby sister. Both sing to her and talk to her and genuinely seem so excited for her arrival. I know I am focusing on the positives here. Of course they fight, annoy each other, get sent to time out, disobey, throw tantrums, refuse to obey me, and that's usually all before 9:00 in the morning. But overall, they are turning out to be these fantastic little people that I somehow got lucky enough to be given the honor of raising. I am so grateful to God for these gifts. And I pray every single day that He gives me the wisdom and the patience to do the best job that I possibly can.

My heart and my soul


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Final Chapter

Tomorrow we close on our house in Kansas City. While we are so incredibly excited and thankful, it is bittersweet. We loved our Kansas City home. I don't know if we will ever have a home that we loved so much. We brought Will home from the hospital to that house. We celebrated 1st birthdays, first Christmases, and other holidays there.

We saw Bennett take her first steps there, watched Will eat his first solid foods, and found out we were pregnant with our final baby. We went from cribs to big girl beds. We cheered on first bicycle rides and comforted many boo boos and scrapes.

We watched their first friends come over to play and grew in our own friendships as we invited folks over for dinner and game nights. We discovered Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Elmo, and Ariel in that house. We watched nervously as we sent them out the door to pre-school for the first time, and then sighed in relief when they came home safe and sound.

We read thousands of bedtime stories, sprayed monster spray at night to keep the bad guys out, and stumbled in their rooms blindly at midnight to give bottles or dry tears caused from bad dreams.

This was our home during such special and formative years. It is where we said good-bye to Kirby the Wonder Dog and where we decorated gingerbread houses and dyed their first Easter eggs. And while we haven't lived there in nearly three months, it was our last permanent link to Kansas City and the life we had there.

We are so extremely happy that it has sold. What an answer to prayer. We feel so blessed, but I will always have a special place in my heart for the house where I watched my children grow from babies to toddlers to inquisitive big kids.

This is what the house looked like when we bought it.

And this is what it looked like when we moved. We planted the roses in front for Bennett's birthday and we planted blue hydrangeas on the side for Will's 1st birthday. You can't see them in this shot, but they are there. We added the daylilies and azaleas because they reminded me of the South. Adding to our little yard each year was so fun and all of the touches remind me of specific times in our lives. And as you can tell, we had the roof replaced. It desperately needed it when we moved in and a nice little hailstorm helped us in that effort.

This was our kitchen before we moved in. It was nice, but very cold and impersonal.
We had all the tile taken out and put down the hardwood. We added a built in pantry and painted the island a beautiful green that shows up a lot better in person. We painted the walls an ivory/yellow and hopefully made it a whole lot warmer and more inviting.

This was our living room when we moved in. Look at 15 month old Bennett hanging out in her pack and play.

This room was my favorite transformation. We pulled up the carpet and extended the hardwood to the living room. We painted the walls the same ivory/yellow color so it would flow from the kitchen to the living room. We added the built in bookshelves that you see on either side of the fireplace and we had all of the dated brown wood work painted a beautiful cream color. I loved the finish result!

We didn't change much at all in the basement. This was before.

And this is after. No changes in terms of paint or flooring, but I just want to have this on here to remember our favorite hangout in the house. We loved having the separate area where Rob and I could chill out and where the kids could have their space. I drank many cups of coffee with my friends on those couches while we watched our little ones roam about. One of the best parts about the houses in Kansas are their basements. We loved ours!

And here are some shots of the kids through the years in our Kansas home......

Our first family picture at our home.

And our final one a few days before we moved.

I'm excited to get into our new home in Dothan. Ready to bring our baby girl home to her first house. Ready to send big kids off to Kindergarten, watch as the training wheels come off, cheer for new experiences, and start the next phase of our life. Here's to final chapters and new beginnings.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Put them in Soccer and Gymnastics and watch the differences come out.

Having my children 16 months apart has been hard in many ways, but the older they get, the more I love it. One of the best parts about it is they get to go to pre-school together, they love the same movies, and most activities allow them to be in the same class. That means they get to do stuff together and I don't have to keep one waiting while the other takes a class. Bonus.

I signed them up for soccer and gymnastics this Fall. It was a great way for me to meet people, get them involved, and plug us all into our community. Little did I know that differences in their personalities would emerge from these activities. I believe the results were captured in film this past weekend. I'll start with soccer.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present my daughter at her first soccer game.

Excited to participate.


Her eyes never left the ball.

Athletic and ready to go!

Staying with the ball even when her opponents fell by the wayside.

Job well done.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present my son at his first soccer game.

Overly excited

Thinks he can pick up the ball with his hands whenever he wants

Content to use the ball as a lawn chair

More interested in cooling off than playing

Happy just to hang out with friends instead of kick the ball into the net

But at least they both had fun. In their own ways. And they loved playing together.

Okay, actually I am exaggerating a tiny bit. They both got hot, melted down, refused to play for awhile, wanted a snack, and generally looked like this.

But it was their first game and it was really hot outside. I was so proud of them for trying.

They seem to like gymnastics a little bit more. I am so impressed with the facilities here in Dothan and their instructors are really taking their time with them and teaching them the basics. It is the highlight of their weeks and they ask to go every day.

Look at that form! So proud of both of them. They are both growing up into such awesome kids and I love watching them learn and experience new things. Even if they go about it a little differently. :-)