1.12.2019

mommy and me birthday {a video}

We spent the whole day doing her favorite things.
Just me and my girl.


I still can't believe she's four. Like, not a toddler anymore.
Straight up KID.
Can't.

1.09.2019

emmerson is 4!



She's fierce.
She's stubborn.
She's goofy.
She's brilliant.
She's passionate and hilarious.

My biggest challenge and my greatest reward.

Emmerson Marie, you are a light in this world.


"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
2 Timothy 1:7
(Emmerson means "brave." This is the verse I've prayed over her before she was born.)











12.13.2018

this is 30...


(The only recent pictures of just me that I barely tolerate.)


I made a list of "30 before 30" when I turned 28.
I thought 2 years would be plenty of time to check off each adorable goal I'd set for myself.

Ha.
Ha.
Ha.

I honestly can't even find the journal I wrote the list in to see if I did ANYTHING at all.
I know "have baby #2" was on there, soooo...check!

You guys.
Y'all.
THIS, this is 30...

1. I recently got a nose ring. I didn't even tell Husband (we had talked briefly about it a while back, so no worries.) It was the most painful 3 seconds of.my.life. I mean, ooooouch. I was worried how it'd look with my so-called "Cindy Lou Who Nose," but I've never felt more like "me" than I do now with it. It apparently looked so normal, nobody, I mean nobody, said anything about it. For a bit I thought it looked SO bad, people were just being kind. When I finally brought it up, everyone thought I'd always had it. I was clearly born to have a nose ring.

2. I'm obsessed with personality quizzes and getting to know myself better. I'm an INFJ. Enneagram number 4w3. A big part of those persons is the need to be known and understood. I'm constantly reading and sharing articles with Husband for him to better understand this hot mess.

3. I crave community. Which is hard for an introverted, always moving, pastor's wife. Making friends has become both easier AND harder as I've aged. Add small children in the mix and geeze...this season can be lonely.

4. I've had the same head of thick, half curly/half wavy/half straight hair my whole life and I STILL don't confidently know how to style it. Hence the messy buns, braids, and hats. I did, however, successfully grow my bangs out and train my hair to go from a deep side part to an almost middle part. I call that winning.

5. I'm so terribly bad about printing pictures. There was a time, when Emmerson was around 10 months, that I printed probably 20 8x10s and filled the house with cuteness. That time, was the last time. Poor Hutch can't find his red-haired self anywhere.

6. I wish I was as fat as the first time I thought I was fat. I've tried almost every diet and "life change" out there. Paid $$$$ in meals and gym memberships. But I lack serious willpower. It's the worst combination to have extreme desire and limited motivation (and severe asthma. Man, I wish I was a runner.) But it can't NOT be mentioned that I did, in fact, lose 40 pounds this year.

7. I am painfully naive when it comes to politics. I've begun to educate myself, but the political jargon is SO hard for me to understand. I'm for sure Team "Let's just all be friends and eat queso!"

8. I'm unable to properly defrost my cars windows. It drives me crazy and takes me an extra 5 minutes in the car during the winter months. When does the "adulting" begin? 30, yes?

9. I desire to live the farm life. I'm talking chickens, goats, and a donkey or two. But, with the ever changing ministry life, "settling down" doesn't seem to be in our future.

10. At the end of 2015, I began the darkest season of my life. Depression, anxiety, marriage counseling, antidepressants, the whole shebang. We're still picking up those pieces, but God has (you listening, Lauren...He HAS) been faithful. Even when I don't see it, feel it, like it, etc.

11. I have a stack of fantastic books I started to read, with every intention of finishing, that still sit in my office. A constant reminder of my fails. It's not you guys, it's me.

12. I hate filling up my car with gas. It's a mixture between having a fantastic Daddy that always filled up for me before I knew I was running low and a certain incident when I was 16 and ran my car into a gas pump.

13. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I've tried it all. Teaching, camp counselor, secretary, retail, Disney World, stay-at-home mom, preschool, small business owner, etc. Nothing gives me that spark. That lack of "spark" of course, makes me feel as though I bring no worth to the world, my home, my family, etc. I listened to Husband one day (actually let his words fall over me) as he spoke truth over my life and all of a sudden, something clicked. In this season, I don't have to do anything but love my man and care for our babies. No one expects or loves me less if this is all I can offer.

14. I still watch "Beauty and the Beast" and "White Christmas" on repeat like they're about to be outlawed.

15. I so want to be a letter writer. The one who always has a card or thank-you on hand. I have the fullest of intentions, but alas, I'm left with a drawer of still-in-the-package thank-you and blank inside cards.

16. I thought my insecurities in high school would dissipate as I got older. Wrong. They escalated. And multiplied. But God gave me a tiny mirror in Emmerson and it causes me to mentally change the way I talk and see myself. I see her so perfectly. I know God sees me that way too.

17. I've never seen a single LOTR movie or a Star Wars movie completely through. At this point, I think I'll pass.

18. I can count on 2 hands and maybe 1 foot the amount of fully home cooked meals I've made. Please know this is a shame and not something I'm proud of. But I DID conquer the ever-intimidating Instant Pot and I'm.in.love. About to need BOTH hands and BOTH feet to count!

19. I haven't yet decided if I can pull of the baseball hat style, but I'm totally committed. Sometimes I catch my reflection and I'm feeling super fashion-blogger worthy, other times I look like a ragged homeless person.

20. Sometimes I act like I can't hear Emmerson when she's on Level 27 of the "Ask Why" game.

21. I just started caring about my skin. I mean, besides the whole acne scene in my teens. Under eye creams, daily washing my face and makeup off, all of it. (Disclaimer: Please don't take advantage of my naivety and try to sell me your stuff.) I'm slowly but surely adding and taking away things in my repertoire.

22. I have to Google how to boil an egg every single time I want to boil one. I'm THAT domestically challenged.

23. I have zero clue how to dress my body shape. Since my wonderful, beautiful, precious children ruined whatever figure I had before, I'm totally lost. I used to watch "What Not to Wear" and think those people were crazy. Now I walk out of my house and look for a hidden camera because I'm definitely one of "those people" now. How do you dress a potato?

24. We're averaging Christmas cards every OTHER year. So, don't hold your breath by the mailbox this year.

25. As I've aged, I've become increasing minimalistic. I also recently discovered hygge and I'm here.for.it. Less stuff= easier clean up. Every day, once in the morning and once before bed, I take 20 minutes to tidy up the house. My brain has become increasingly anxious and my anxiety is directly linked to the state of my house. Emmerson can't clean her room by herself in 2 minutes? She's got too much. Purge. I haven't worn 3 shirts in my closet in months? Purge. Just had a baby? Purge. Get.all.the.stuffs.out.of.my.house. (I did accidentally donate a box that had my high school and college diplomas in it. Oops.)

26. I still giggle like a school girl every time someone passes gas in the most inopportune moments.

27. I have tooooo many dreams and expectations. I'm learning to do an Elsa and let it go. Simplify my dreams and speak out my expectations. (Did y'all know men can't read minds? Go figure.) Husband encouraged me to focus on one thing I desire and take all the steps until it is complete. And guess what? I am! And I'm loving it.

28. I'm writing a children's book! It's a dream I've always had. One that grew with Emmerson's birth and again with Hutch's. I have a very rough first draft written out, with illustration ideas. I'm excited to see what the next year brings for my little book!

29. I can't clean my ears with a Q-Tip without hurting myself. 30 years and I'm still digging too far.

30. I've never been more excited to see the overall trend coming back. Second Grade Lauren has always been inside of me, secretly hoping they'd return. Just bought some "fancy" cotton ones and Husband has already had to put me in my place. ("You know you can't wear those every single day, right?") Pssshhh. Sounds like a challenge I'm ready to accept.


A (big) part of me looks at this list and sees all the failures I'm taking with me to year 30.

I thought I'd be more settled in who I am by now.
I thought I'd be close to 10 years in my profession.
I thought Husband and I wouldn't have near as many heated fellowships and my house would be exactly how I like it.
I thought I'd have more kids, definitely twins.
I thought I'd have a perfectly laid out, daily quiet time.

All these things I don't have... make turning 30 daunting. I'm no where near where I thought I'd be, even just 2 years ago. But in God's way, I'm beginning to see that's okay. He was probably laughing to Himself as I wrote out my cute list 2 years ago, knowing maybe 5 were in His plan for my life.

As I've talked to older, wiser women about turning 30, about half of them felt the same way. The others felt 40 or 50 were harder, but each decade came with their time of pause to reflect.

I have to look at what I have. And once I get started on THAT list...I can't help but welcome 30 with open arms.

So, world, this is 30.
She's a mess.
She's a bit too much to handle.
She doesn't have any idea what she's doing.
But she's learning every day to be content in following Christ and the handsome Husband He gave her.


(Disclaimer: I'm not actually 30 until December 24, but you know where I'll be that night...as a good minister's wife in a Baptist church...yep, candlelight service.)

10.26.2018

emmerson says...(part 3)


"My teeth are messing up. My teeth are not good singers." 
Having a bit of trouble singing "Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart."


"I don't want to smell your hiccups."


"The puppy fell asleep on my LEG! It was SO tired."
Told with drama flair hands and the most hilarious hand to mouth, head back, fake laugh.


"ALL my friends have E's."
Huge emphasis on the "ALL," very matter of fact.


"I'm so proud for him, for he's ONE!"
Proud sister all week leading up to Hutch's birthday.


"Daddy, you scared me. You're silly. You have to stop that tomorrow."


"Boys have peanuts."
Yep. Exactly what it sounds like she's trying to say...


"Daddy, make sure we don't fall in the water!"
As we cross over the bridge to her dance class.


"Hey, Daddy! Did you know words come out of your MOUTH?!"
Love those lightbulb moments.

"Your words are kind of tricky."

10.19.2018

hutch steven {a video}


 (These two are blurry every time I upload them and I have no clue why. I'm giving it to Jesus and letting go of my perfectionism. He's cute, even blurry.)




Here we are, a year later, and I still can't put into words what his presence means in our lives.
I planned on writing his birth story, (because I'm always a sucker for a good birth story) but alas, no words.

(Maybe, anxiousexhaustingextremelyhardbutohmylantasoworthit?)


Where did this precious, sweet, chunk of love come from?
Red hair?
Blue eyes?

Swooning. Always swooning.

The three of us have been obsessed from day one.

His shy, crooked, toothy grin...
We can each get a smile and maybe even a laugh every now and then, but the genuine, full, hearty, belly laughs are reserved for Sister.
It is my very favorite thing on the face of this earth to see their relationship grow.

His sweet, sensitive, heart...
He loves to play independently, but always, always crawls back to Mama and Dada for a quick snuggle every 5 minutes.
Can we please keep that forever?

His droopy cheeks touching his chest.
His 4 gappy-toothed grin.
His sausage fingers and the way they grab everything.
His chunky thighs and waist that make buttoning pants impossible.
His puffy, bread loaf feet and the way they slap the hardwood.

All of it.
All of it and more.
I never want to forget.

We love you so, so much Hutch Steven.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy.

{Click to watch Hutch's video.}