I meant to get this posted before Thanksgiving... but in the midst of holiday insanity, I didn't. Obviously. However, I think that any time of year is a great time to praise God for His continual goodness!

Where do I start? God has blessed me in so many ways this past year. Some unexpected surprises, some blessings in disguise, some painful lessons -- but blessings nonetheless. So I thought I would recount some of them. Not all of them... pretty sure that would be the never-ending blog post and I would end up boring everyone to death because I would probably try to find a blessing in Randy's X-box being stolen... but that's another story. When I'm ready to throw in the towel (or the diaper), I'm going to go back and read this. I am!

Healing.  Right after my junior year at college, I got really sick with some stomach issues. College? Stress? Probably will never know. Without going into too much detail, I was basically nauseated all day every day. It was like permanent morning sickness, except worse -- it didn't pass after 12 weeks and it most certainly didn't come with a sweet newborn. The word miserable pretty much covers it. The first year of our marriage, Randy and I prayed and sought the Lord daily for healing, yet I continued to feel worse. But I'm not here to tell you about all the aches and pains because there are a ton of people out there that have way more issues than I ever had. What I do want to say is, in the past year, God has touched my body and given me healing. I still have occasional moments where I feel sick, but it is nothing compared to what I had. I don't know if having a baby contributed to it, but this I do know: God has graciously given me healing!

Friends. This one could take a while, so I'm not going to say a lot. But I am especially thankful for those who have prayed for me, encouraged me, and been true friends in the midst of my crazy life. It's rare to have those few friends that you can connect with and talk to about anything in the world... but God has been good to give them to me. You know who you are! :)

My mom. Hard to believe it's been over five years since she was diagnosed with her brain tumor. After her most recent gamma knife radiation treatment, she had an MRI and found that the tumor has shrunk. Not a lot, but it's gotten smaller! Earlier this year, I was thinking, Why would God choose her? She's amazing. Why couldn't He choose someone else? And then it hit me. God chose her because He knew it would glorify Him most. Through all of this, my mom has had the grace to trust the Lord and His purpose. Yes, I know there have been times where that hasn't been easy, but she has shown others how truly sweet it is to trust in Jesus! I am so thankful for her friendship... outside of Randy, she's my best friend. Love her so much.

My family. Couldn't make it without six incredible siblings and two wonderful parents. They've seen me at my worst... and loved me. I think, anyway. I hope. Right, guys? In all seriousness... they are some of my greatest earthly blessings!

Direction. Randy and I prayed for a year and a half for the door to open if God wanted us to be in the military. We asked for specific things, and He answered very specifically. For a year and a half, at least, the answer was "not yet." And then He opened the door in a clear, gracious way. It's been a crazy journey, but we're so thankful. Praise His name alone!

Provision. Ever have those days where you really don't think you're going to make it to the next paycheck? No, you really don't think it's going to happen. Ha. When I quit work after having Landon, I had several of them. I never cease to be amazed at how God always provides. He has never, ever failed us. He said he wouldn't, and He has been true to His word.

Landon. Wow. I still can't believe I'm a mom. It's been almost a year since the doctor placed that darling little baby in my arms. Ever since I was young, I knew that's ultimately what I wanted to be: a mommy. Never thought it would happen as soon as it did, but God saw fit to bless me in that way, and I am forever grateful. I don't think a day goes by where he doesn't make me laugh (and lately, he's been laughing back at me -- I pretend it's because I'm funny). God has given me a sweet, precious, healthy baby boy to cherish and disciple, and I am so, so grateful for that privilege.

Randy. God gave me Randy at the most unexpected of times. To say I am thankful for him would be an understatement. I absolutely love marriage. What girl doesn't want to be with their best friend every day? Do we have ups and downs? Well... I could pretend we're both perfect and say no... but that wouldn't be true. My stubbornness always throws perfection out. ;) Something I am incredibly thankful for is Randy's devotion to our family. Yes, God has called him to the Marine Corps, and that is his job, but before that comes his family. I have never for one second felt that he values the Marines more than us, and I am so thankful to the Lord for that. He's given me a man who loves God with all his heart and desires to put His desires above his own, an incredibly sweet husband, and an amazing daddy.

Grace. I guess that pretty much sums everything up. Free and unmerited favor of God. I don't deserve health, amazing friends and family, a sweet baby, a best friend for a husband. What I do deserve is hell. But Jesus, in His infinite love and kindness, has given me the greatest blessing of all time: He rescued me from my sin and Satan's grasp and covered me in His righteousness. And then He blessed me with all these "other things"! I think Psalm 103:1-5 is the best summary of praise I could give to God for what He's done in my life this past year.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name,
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,

who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.


This & That

Well, it’s about time I posted. I’ve had a lot of stuff running through my head, but finding the time to get that on to my blog has been a bit trickier. But a couple of updates on life for now:


  • is almost ten months! How did that happen?! This definitely is the most fun stage we’ve experienced. He has so much personality -- which actually kinda scares me! 
  • is completely obsessed with his pacifier. As a toy. He talks to it, blows raspberries at it, and carries it around as long as possible. Quite ridiculous.
  • is into absolutely everything. The higher he gets, the worse it gets. He broke the head off one of Randy’s soccer trophies. Thankfully, it was from highschool. Randy forgave him. 
  • is beginning to realize what “no” means. He used to giggle when I told him no, but in the last month or two, he has begun to look at me very seriously and contemplate whether or not to go back to the outlet. Of course, he still does at times, but he’s getting better at moving away from things when I tell him no. 
  • loves all kinds of food, but especially bread, cheese, and yogurt. We’re doing lots of experimenting. I’m not a by-the-book kind of mom, so I won’t tell you all the things he’s tried. I will just say this: do NOT EVER start feeding your child the whipped cream off a Starbucks frap in public and expect him to be sidetracked by water in his sippy cup. Fail. 
  • LOVES books. In the last month or so, he’s really started to enjoy reading and actually sit still for it (and that’s about the only thing he will sit still for!). 
  • is crazy about bathtime. He’d sit in there for hours if I let him. However, it’s getting a bit tricky because he’s now crawling all over the bath tub and trying to put his fingers down the drain and “catch” the water and all kinds of stuff.

                                          Love this sweet little face

Reminded daily how blessed I am to be a mom. I remember people telling me that kids get in the way of things and slow you down. Sure they do. But how can I complain? He is a precious, precious gift from God.

 Randy is doing well at The Basic School. He’s definitely ready to move on and start flight training next spring, but TBS is a rite of passage! He graduates at the beginning of March, and hopefully we’ll be moving to Pensacola around then. We went to the Marine Ball on Saturday, and it was fabulous. Met lots of people and so excited to meet another Marine wife who is a mom AND a believer! God is so good. The filet mignon was quite delish. Randy and I actually went dancing and loved every minute of it -- although, I will say, Randy is definitely far more a natural than I am! Glad none of my (lack of) dancing skills were on camera. At least, I hope they weren’t. We didn't get a lot of pictures overall, but below is one of my favorites.

I’ve been busy with work and the little guy, but definitely have had time for fun. I went down south last weekend to spend some time with family and friends. Got to surprise my mom and little brothers, which was SO much fun. Landon warmed right up and was spoiled to death (including lots of Fudgesicle licks, courtesy of Pop-Pop). Now we’re back to the daily grind. Until Thanksgiving. Can I just say that I love this time of year?!

                        Mom and me the day I left - love her so much!

Randy and I have been talking lately about how easy it is to miss out on the present because we’re so focused on what’s next. The military lifestyle naturally means change -- and soon. But if we are constantly thinking about the next big step, we’ll miss out on the “everyday” moments we have. We sang “The Pow’r of the Cross” at church on Sunday, and words from the last stanza really stuck out to me: “Life is mine to live, won by your selfless love.”

The power of the gospel means that I can live fully right now. Forget the possibility of moving across the United States or the world in the next few years. Instead, because of all Jesus has done for me, I can focus on giving, loving, enjoying, and growing -- today.

Until next time (which may be a while -- you never know with me)...


Pancakes & Transcription

This past week has been a long week. I had breakfast four nights in a row.

Yes, four.

I wish I could say breakfast consisted of egg whites, fresh fruit, and flax seed. But I would be lying. Nope, I whipped myself up a big old batch of pancakes (half the salt, double the sugar, and triple the vanilla because one can never add too much vanilla) and carbed out. For the record, I don't bother putting syrup on my pancakes (which, by the way, have the same exact ingredients as my mom's cream puffs). Nope, not syrup. Pure, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth brown sugar. Landon stared at me in silence and chewed on a Gund bean bag pumpkin. I think he figured he'd better let Mommy eat her pancakes so he wasn't dealing with a madwoman.

Enough about breakfast. Ever had one of those days that feels like it will never end? It usually starts with a mascara disaster and ends with tripping over the mascara tube that fell on the floor that morning. Well, that was my week. I will not go into excessive detail, but it's 10:30 and my husband's still not home... so, you never know.

Randy's been in what they call Range Week this week, which basically means they're training to be qualified to shoot... guns. I'm not really going to elaborate because, frankly, I'm not sure how. But what I do know that means is early mornings and super late nights. I think I saw him about 5 hours total this week. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I'm glad they're training the men protecting our country how to shoot. I just miss my husband.

In other news, I started a job from home. Transcription. Long story, but I don't have to actually get a transcriptionist "degree" to do this job. I can sit in my pajamas [remove Landon from eating laptop cord], listen to the lawyers and their mumbo jumbo [check to see where Landon crawled to and remove him from playing in the toilet], type leisurely [remove Landon from laptop cord again], start typing frantically because the darn lawyers are talking too fast [take pencil out of Landon's mouth], and, 5 hours later, I will have a transcription typed [and a gnawed-on laptop cord]. Okay, it's not that bad. I'm just still learning a lot of the terminology. It's bad enough when Randy starts talking about politics. I lose him at the word... well.... "politics." But I'm thankful I have a way to make a little extra fun money and to keep myself occupied when Landon's napping and Randy's off shooting.

The aforementioned toilet discoverer also had a weight check followup with his new pediatrician this past week. Since he was sick for so long this summer, he didn't gain a lot of weight. So... the pediatrician told me to stuff him up with lots of pureed meats and oatmeal cereal and for goodness' sake, go back to nursing him every three hours! Doctors frustrate me sometimes. Don't get me wrong. I am not at all opposed to doctors or healthcare in general. I adored Landon's pediatrician in South Carolina. (The poor man. He tried to reassure me that yes, in fact, there were babies with tummy issues just as bad as my baby's, but I insisted that no, Landon, in fact, definitely did have it worse off than any other child out there and there had to be something he could do to fix it. Bless his heart, he tried.) Anyway, back to why doctors frustrate me. If the child is happy, content, and simply doesn't eat what a "typical" 8-month-old should eat, I am not going to stuff pureed chicken down his tummy. I will not go into further detail. That is all. Oh, and by the way, Landon had gained weight at his checkup. 3 ounces. And now he has hit a growth spurt and eats two jars of meat and veggies at dinner. We are visiting another pediatrician for his 9-month checkup. End of story.

It's Friday and I did not cook breakfast for dinner. I decided it was time to go a bit... healthier, shall we say. Meat, dairy, veggies... yes, yes. Pizza seems like the perfect way to eat the Food Pyramid.

And tomorrow I will go running. Good night.


This Privilege Called Motherhood

Randy asked me the other day if I ever regretted not being able to really start a career. Mini backdrop: I'd been thinking about starting nursing school in the fall of 2010. But that spring, we found out about our little surprise package coming in January. Scratch the nursing school idea. On to researching baby names. What Randy didn't know when he asked me that question is that I'd been thinking a lot about the answer already.

I'll be honest. Landon was not the easiest newborn. The first four months of his life he writhed and fussed and grimaced with constant tummy pain. I thought I was doomed to a life of simethicone drops and leg bicycling (you moms with gassy babies know what I'm talking about). Tears were the norm... which I guess I can also blame on hormones. I never thought that stage would pass, but it did. Now Landon is a crazy little guy who constantly needs to move, explore, and see everything that's going on. All at once. He's at a super fun age right now, and he thinks so too. He can actually get where he wants to get... Like the fireplace. And the stairs. And the outlets. So okay... He still needs constant attention. At times, I've been tempted to think, "Some days would be so much easier without him!" (Ok, admission: I have not only been tempted, I have actually thought those words - shocking, I know.)

But when I answered Randy, I'd already thought through all of this. And no, I did not answer him in a blog post. :) But I decided to write out my thoughts... that way I can go back and read them when I'm ready to tear my hair out!

The truth of it is, being a mom is the greatest privilege I could ever have. Yes, I have sleepless nights. I am still spit up on - constantly. Randy and I miss out on certain events because he goes to bed early. Trips can't be last-minute anymore. Grocery shopping takes double the time. But it is worth it all. Because we get to train up Landon in the ways of our great God. We get to live out the gospel on a daily basis. We get to talk to Landon about Jesus and all He has done and is still doing - for him. We get to love and disciple this little person God has so graciously gifted us with. In my book, that's pretty awesome.

My calling to be a mommy is not an obligation, a burden, or a hindrance to a career. It is a privilege that counts for eternity. And I would not trade one second of my time with Landon for extra sleep, cleaner clothes, or more frequent vacations.

Because I'm writing this does not mean I've got the hang of it. At all. I still have days when I'm fighting to shovel three more spoonfuls of food into Landon's mouth, and instead, it's traveling into his upturned nose and staining his eyelashes carrot orange. That's when I think to myself, "How in the world am I supposed to do this?" (Guess that's because I'm not supposed to be able to do it on my own... what a novel thought.)

I don't know if I'll ever go to nursing school -- maybe, maybe not. But this much I do know: Landon was not a "mistake." He is a precious gift given to me by a Friend who is all-powerful, all-gracious, and all-wise -- and He loves to give me good things.

And that's why I'm thankful for the blessing of being a mommy!


A Tiny Update

It's been a while since I've blogged, mainly because I've been insanely busy. The other reason is a sad one - I've had no internet access. I'm using my phone for this post, actually, so if any words are funky, blame it on auto-correct, not Mommy brain. Although I have a lot of that going on, too (for instance, I've forgotten to feed Landon his solids on multiple occasions since we've moved.).

I've managed to get a lot unpacked, mainly because my little guy has been taking good naps or playing happily with random objects like spatulas or laptop cords (which I deliver him from). The child doesn't like toys. We've had a few rough days, and those have been a bit crazier. But God continues to give grace! I got the kitchen and living room unpacked in two days, which I was pretty happy about.

We are living in a cool community called Montclair in the city of Dumfries (pronounced like Dum-freeze, not like a slow version of McDonald's shoestring fatness). I wouldn't call it a neighborhood because it's much bigger than one... it's almost like a mini town. We are renting a townhome, and we love it. When things are unpacked, I'll try to remember to post pictures. It's funny... although we aren't painting or decorating, our colors have ended up matching or coordinating the landlord's. I love how God works out those tiny details!

Randy had a four day weekend for Labor Day, which was fabulous. He started his next phase of training called The Basic School (TBS) on Tuesday. It lasts for six months and after that we'll be moving to Pensacola for his flight training. Of course, it's the military, so the timeline could change at any point! But we get to be together, and that's what's important. :)

Some things I've learned since being here in Northern Virginia:

- Traffic. Everywhere! I-95 is a nightmare, so I try to avoid it at all costs. But even when you're on other major roads, it's like Christmas frenzy. I will be online shopping this year. 

- It is impossible to walk into any store without encountering multitudes of Mexicans... and Indians... and Muslims. I feel like I'm going to break out in a different language at any given moment. I just might. Don't get me wrong... I'm not prejudiced... I've just never been anywhere in the States that felt so... foreign.

- Every road leads to a road that will take you home. Makes it hard to get lost.

- Life is extremely fast-paced. People simply don't take the time to get to know each other. Although we ended up in a really great neighborhood... sweet older ladies surround us!

- Living near two military bases means that most people around here have a deep respect for their country and its servicemen. I love that.

- Don't go to Walmart around these parts unless it's before 8am or it's an extreme emergency.

- There is a 7-11 on every corner, but don't count on it having gas - especially when you're four miles away from empty.

- There is so much to do here! Being 30 minutes from DC is pretty awesome. I plan on visiting everything we can while we're here.

All that being said... Being a family again has done my heart good. I love that I get to see Randy at the end of the day, and I especially love seeing Landon's face light up when he sees his daddy. God has stretched us and grown us in ways we never would have guessed and probably wouldn't have chosen, but it's a good thing. Our love has only grown and we have known God's sustaining hand of grace in the hard times. I'm thankful for that.

We are supposed to get internet in about a week, so hopefully I'll be able to post some more then. But there is a chance I might be in Walmart, talking in Spanish and unable to leave because the traffic is so bad.

(Regarding the picture... Landon found a mirror in the midst of unpacking. Clearly brought him great joy.)



Ok, I'll admit it. I'm not the most patient person I know. And mommyhood is a constant lesson in patience. I think so, anyway.

Yesterday, I was reminded of that. Not to reiiterate my last post, but Landon is still sick. Yesterday, I thought I was going to go absolutely crazy. And I mean crazy. He was sniffly, grumpy, and wanted to be held nonstop... oh, throw some teething into the mix, too.... well, cranky doesn't begin to describe it. I'm spoiled -- I normally have a pretty happy baby. But yesterday, not so much. So I got frustrated, impatient, and basically wanted to give up motherhood altogether. Not really. But you get my point.

And then I was reminded of something.

How incredibly patient is my God with me! I sin over and over again -- willingly at times -- and still He tenderly loves me, forgives me, and takes me back gladly -- and never for one second is He impatient with me.

Ouch. That hit home.

(Oh, and pretty sure I was a sick baby once, too, and my mom had to wipe my nose and get up with me all hours of the night and take care of three other kids all at the same time.)

So very thankful for the "little" lessons God continues to teach me and for His loving patience toward me. And I'm especially thankful for the sweet miracle He gave me in Landon.

"The LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin." Exodus 34:6-7


The Summer of the Cold

No, I'm not talking about the weather. A heat index of 108 degrees tells me otherwise.

What I am speaking of is the ridiculous virus Landon and I have shared this summer. We got it from Randy in June (yes, he was sick, and I still kissed him!). Typical symptoms... cough, cold, sore throat, etc. What is not normal is that it lasted for a month. Finally, this past Monday, my little guy was pretty much back to normal. But guess what he woke up with on Thursday morning? Yup. Another cold. Courtesy of my sweet family this time. ;)

He's normally a great sleeper - goes down between 7/7:30 and gets up between 7/7:30 the next morning... but not when he's sick. Any of you mommies find anything that particularly helps? Other than the typical remedies.. saline drops, humidifier, etc.

I've gotta say, though, for the most part, he's still pretty happy. Definitely not my temperament when I'm feeling icky. Kudos to you, son!


Blogging... Again

I started the whole blogging process a long time ago, but then, well... life happened. Randy got a new job, we moved into a new house, had a baby (a life-changing event, in case you were wondering), and then, just as we were finally getting the hang of being parents (yeah, right), Randy got the phone call that he'd been selected for a pilot in the Marine Corps. I'll write more about that later. Anyway, since we are going to be moving here, there, and everywhere, I thought I would (re)start a blog to keep our distant friends and family in the loop. (Especially my mom, who refuses to get on Facebook even though someone mysteriously created an account for her - and no, it wasn't me!). I'm not sure how diligent I will be... but I'll try.

Forgive me in advance for my lack of blog etiquette and graphic design knowledge. I'm learning.

But for now, I must tend to a little stuffy-nosed baby who has discovered that flip-flops make good teethers.

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