It's Been A Year

[if you are viewing this on a mobile device, click the link at the bottom to play "My Hope." it has special meaning to me in regards to our sweet Landon.]

One year ago today, Randy and I sat across from a pediatric neurologist and our world turned upside down in a matter of seconds: "What's concerning is Landon's genetic testing," he told us. "He came back positive for DiGeorge Syndrome..."

I will never forget the feeling that gripped my heart in that moment. I wanted to scream, "No! NO! You're wrong! There's been a horrible mistake! Don't you see him running around the room? He's FINE!" But I couldn't breathe. I felt cold, sick, and so very, very scared.

I wrote a post the next week. It was still all very fresh and it was hard, but I was okay. God was in control and we were going to be fine. And now, a year later, I could tell you I've faithfully held to all those truths I posted about. I've never once doubted God's wise plan in giving us Landon. I've responded to every struggle with perfect trust in the sovereign purposes of God. I'm always patient with Landon's delays (because I'm totally a patient person to begin with, you know). I never worry about his future because I know God is in control of it. There is no place for anxiety and fear in my picture-perfect life. In fact, I'm pretty much full of joy all the time!

But that would be lying.

The truth is, I have been angry. So angry. I have, in essence, shaken my fist at heaven and told God He made a terrible mistake. Sure, okay, every person is "fearfully and wonderfully made," genes missing and all. But my kid shouldn't have to suffer because of that. Not mine. 

He's mine, God. 

I have felt completely incompetent as a "special needs mom" - okay, a mom in general. I've complained to Randy on a weekly basis. I've lain awake countless nights worrying, desperately trying to grasp at things I can control. If I just follow this plan, he will be okay. More flashcards will help, right? Maybe organic food. And no sugar. Like, ever. If I just put him in the most intensive therapy and the best schools, he will catch up. It will all be okay. I have lost patience more times than I care to remember. I've yelled at my kids because I've felt like I was losing control of my life in a big way. I have curled up in a ball on the floor and cried angry, bitter tears, wondering if God left us a long time ago. Or was He ever with us? This must all must be some sort of sick, senseless joke.

You think that's ugly, friends? It is. Sin is ugly.

But I'm not here to talk about my sin. I'm here to tell you about my Jesus. Every time I have run from Him, every time I have shaken my fist at Him, every time I have complained about His plan, every time I have felt myself spiraling out of control - He has not let go of me. In fact, He has pursued me. Instead of leaving me in a puddle of sin, self-pity, and sorrow, He has tenderly, lovingly picked me up and turned my heart back to Truth, back to the Gospel, back to the Cross where Jesus already erased my sin - my anger, my bitterness, my fear, my faithless heart. When you realize Jesus has taken care of everything through His death and resurrection, you realize there really is nothing to fear.

You see, Landon's story isn't about him, or me, or Randy... it's about our God. When we are faithless, He remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:15). My lack of trust in His goodness does not change the fact that He is good (Psalm 107:1). He doesn't love me more on Friday because I did a better job at trusting Him then. His love is perfect, unchanging, never-failing -- because when He looks at me, He sees nothing but the righteousness of Jesus. His wise and kind hands gifted Landon to us three and a half years ago, and it is those same hands that will give us grace in both the good times and the hard times. 

It is these truths about God's character that make Landon's story worth telling. 

And Landon isn't punishment. Oh no, friends. He is the most amazingly beautiful gift God has ever entrusted us with. I told my mom recently I wish everyone could have a little Landon to get a taste of how incredibly sweet it is to be his parents. Randy and I spend so much time laughing at his crazy, hilarious, little self. [I also totally cry at his stubbornness, but that's par for the course with parenting, I think.] Having a special needs child has been hard for our marriage in many ways, but at the same time, it has been so, so good for us - it has drawn us closer than anything else we've experienced. I am so grateful for a husband who reminds me of Truth, even when I know his heart is weary, too. [I am also grateful for a husband who brings me Dunkin Donuts when I've had a rough day. He knows my love language.]

Landon is doing so great. His articulation has improved drastically in the last month, and it is SO fun to to watch. I think the biggest thing I've noticed is that he's actually motivated now - I mean, still totally stubborn, but he actually wants to try versus stubbornly saying "no." I almost wonder if the little stinker could do it all along but refused... Just so much like... his father. ;-) He still has a long way to go, but as my sweet mama reminded me, "Bec, you can't compare Landon to other kids his age... you have to compare him to himself." And he's come so, so far in the last year! I am so very proud of him and thankful for answered prayers. God has great things in store for that boy.

Landon loves The Jesus Storybook Bible, and I was reading one of the stories about David's psalms to him the other night. I love the paraphrase of Psalm 23. I never want Landon to doubt our love for him, but more than that, I want him to know that when he entrusts his soul to the Good Shepherd, no matter what struggles he faces, he will never, ever be alone. I am thankful we are never too old to outgrow these truths.

God is my Shepherd
And I am his little lamb.

He feeds me.
He guides me.
He looks after me.
I have everything I need.

Inside my heart is very quiet.
As quiet as lying still in soft green grass.
In a meadow.
By a little stream.

Even when I walk through
the dark, scary, lonely places
I won't be afraid.
Because my Shepherd knows where I am.

He is here with me.
He keeps me safe.
He rescues me.

He makes me strong
and brave.

He is getting wonderful things ready for me
Especially for me
Everything I ever dreamed of.

He fills my heart so full of happiness.
I can't hold it all inside.

Wherever I go I know
God's Never Stopping
Never Giving Up
Always and Forever Love 
Will go, too.

 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17 )


Double Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

If you are here from Goodness Gathering, a special welcome to you! I know you will love Katy's Pineapple Orange Pops. So glad you've joined us for the Essentially Summer recipe series. 

These double chocolate peppermint brownies are TO DIE FOR. My husband, who is not big on sweets (I still haven't figured that out), devoured them. My 1-year-old tried some, too, and frantically asked for "MORE!"

The secret ingredient that makes all the difference? [You know, other than the chocolate.] Young Living Peppermint Oil. And boy, do I love that stuff. I use peppermint oil for headaches, fevers, tummy troubles, allergies, even an appetite suppressant... except not in the case of these brownies...

Now on to the Brownies recipe, capital B. 

[By the way, I know that peppermint and chocolate recipes are typically made around Christmas time, but in my humble opinion, there is never a bad time for chocolate. Or peppermint. Or both.]

Double Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

1 cup butter, melted
2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup milk chocolate chips
10 drops Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil

Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Peppermints, crushed (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. Combine the melted butter, sugars, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat eggs separately, then add to sugar and butter mixture. Mix well.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt, cream of tartar, and chocolate chips in a bowl. Gradually stir flour mixture into the egg mixture until well-blended. Add Young Living Peppermint Oil. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool pan on wire rack.
  5. Mix ingredients for cream cheese frosting together. Spread over cooled brownies, then sprinkle on crushed peppermint.
  6. Chill after eating most of the pan. ;-)
  7. Enjoy!
Printable here.

I know some of you are still skeptical, but c'mon, after seeing these brownies...
Aren't you ready to learn more about essential oils? Click here [I promise you won't be sorry!] or contact the person who introduced you to the “Essentially Summer” blog recipe series!
Next up is Amy at Amy Loves it with an amazing recipe for Coconut Oil Lime Cookies!

Be sure to check out all 35 posts in the "Essentially Summer" blogger recipe series over at My Blessed Life. Your tummy will thank you!


How I Calm My Preschooler

I have a really, really hyperactive 3-year-old. He never, ever stops going until he goes to bed. I'm not ready to call it true ADD because he's only 3, but getting that kid to focus is like trying to get me to stop pinning food to Pinterest. And when he gets bored, he whines. Folks, there are a lot of things I can deal with. Whining is not one of them.

But I have discovered a little secret to getting Landon to calm down, focus better, and for the love of Pete, stop whining.

Ready? Essential oils. Yes, again.

Here's what we use on a daily basis (often twice a day):

Lavender, Cedarwood and Valor on both wrists.

Joy on heart.

Vetiver, Cedarwood, and Lavender layered on big toe.

Problem Hyperactivity solved. He will sometimes even ask to go to bed (he quickly retracts this when he realizes he has to stop playing with his cars). Less whining, more giggling. His focus is typically pretty poor, but this also helps him calm down enough to do tasks without losing interest a few minutes in. I also use it before bedtime to slow him down so he's not jumping off the walls. ;)

He's in a lot of therapy for speech/low tone issues (ready more of his story here!), and his therapists always comment on how well he does the days that I apply the oils. The days I forget, he's more anxious, less focused, and I always want to kick myself that I left my oils at home!

My husband was just commenting this week about how much happier he's been lately. I LOVE that these oils balance our sweet little guy!

Don't bash 'em till you've tried 'em. These oils are the bomb-diggety-dog... hot dog, hot dog... never mind. I watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse too much.

If you want to sign up to get your own oils, check out my sign up page for more details! And, as always, feel free to email me with any questions. :)


But God... It's Not Fair

We were reading in Landon's bed before his nap this past week. I snuggled him close, smelling the scent of his freshly-washed hair. I couldn't help it; the tears came. For some reason, certain days are harder. "I just want you to be able to talk," I said, trying to smile through my tears. "I just want you to be okay."

He smiled his sweet smile back at me and nodded. "Uh-huh," he said, almost as if he were telling me it would be okay.

There are times when I am watching him play happily, giggling with his brother, being silly with his daddy, or sleeping peacefully, and just like that, the happy thoughts are replaced with accusations and questions.

It's not fair.

It shouldn't be Landon.

Couldn't You have picked someone else?

He doesn't deserve this.

It's just not fair, God.

So easily, I question the working of Providence. I doubt. I fear.  

But God never leaves me there. He gently pushes my mind back to Truth. 

And the truth is, I'm actually right (for once). It isn't fair. 

It isn't fair that God allowed me to have a baby. It isn't fair that he is healthy and beautiful and strong. It isn't fair that I get to stay at home with my babies and watch them grow and learn. It isn't fair that my children have an absolutely amazing daddy. It isn't fair that I have received such sweet, precious gifts.

Then again, Grace isn't fair.

As always, the battle for contentment comes back to thankfulness. I'm a slow learner, but He is a patient Father.


DIY Fabric Softener Crystals & DIY Dryer Sheets

Hello! If you are here from The Skinny Pear, a special welcome to you! I am so excited to be participating in the Detox Your Home series. Make sure you check out all the great posts from this week in the link here!

You know those crazy expensive fabric softener crystals? The ones that you end up using within two weeks? I think I've bought them twice in my five years of marriage. I felt guilty for spending that much money, so I quit.

(I still buy freshly baked doughnuts on occasion, but some addictions are worth it. Anyway.)

We've been using Young Living essential oils since late last year, and I love how they've helped our family. So I decided to experiment making my own fabric softener using Epsom salts and my Young Living essential oils. Epsom salts are great softeners and have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, and specific essential oils like lavender, orange, and peppermint {to name just a few!} are also antibacterial - which means not only are you softening your laundry, but you're also adding in some great disinfectants! Win-win.

{Oh, and one more thing: This batch only cost me a few dollars to make!}

This recipe is SUPER simple.

What you'll need:

2 cups Epsom salts
20-30 drops Young Living essential oils (single or a blend of your favorites!)
1/2 cup baking soda
Glass jar with lid


Pour 2 cups Epsom salts into your container.

Stir in the Young Living essential oils. [Depending on how weak or strong you want your crystals to smell, you may add less or more. I personally LOVE the smell of essential oils, so I kinda just keep adding until I realize that I need to stop or I'll be out of my oil.]

For this particular softener, I used a mixture of lavender and lemon. Smells so good.

Add in your 1/2 cup of baking soda and mix well.

Throw a couple tablespoons in to each load of laundry (add more for larger loads).

That's it!

And after that load of laundry is finished, throw in some Homemade DIY Dryer sheets! 

What you'll need:

an old t-shirt torn into the same size as dryer sheets OR cheap washcloths
1 glass jar with lid
3/4 cup white vinegar
20-30 drops Young Living essential oils


Stack fabric in glass jar. Mix essential oils with vinegar and pour over fabric. Make sure oil mixture is evenly distributed over fabric, then shake for good measure!

Add a cloth or two to your dryer load, then throw them back in the jar. You can retreat these and reuse them up to your discretion. :-)

My husband had been complaining about the static that regular dryer sheets were causing (um, isn't that the opposite of what's supposed to happen?!), but guess what? Since I started using both the fabric softener and the homemade dryer sheets, no more static! Woo-hoo!

So, how about it. Are you ready to jump into this amazing world of taking care of you and your family naturally? Click here to learn more or contact the person who introduced you to the "Detox Your Home" Spring blog series!

As an added bonus, if you sign up through any of us for the premium kit through April 7th, we will send you a FREE Chemical Free Home booklet with some fabulous recipes using Young Living essential oils to help you as you Detox Your Home!

Hop on over to Food Your Body Will Thank You For next to learn how to create some Non-Toxic Bubbles!

To check out all 30 posts in the "Detox Your Home" Spring blogger series, click here.

Have a lovely day!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Essential Oils: A Skeptic's Thoughts

So, for those of you who don't know me very well...

I am a total skeptic.


So when I heard about essential oils over a year ago, what did I say?

Yeah, right... nothing's that good.

But then... my oldest son, Landon, kept getting sick. I was taking him to the pediatrician almost every week. I kept asking, isn't there something we could do to boost his immune system? Wash his hands often, take some vitamin C, but yeah... that's pretty much it. I was so frustrated... I wanted to help him get better, and I couldn't. He wasn't even in daycare, and he just couldn't stay well.

What I didn't know at that time was that Landon has something called DiGeorge Syndrome, a deletion on his 22nd chromosome. One of the biggest issues kiddos with this deletion have is a low immune system. From the time Landon was itty bitty, he got frequent colds. When I stopped nursing him at a year, it just got worse. He had constant ear infections, croup, strep throat, sinus infections, pneumonia, etc... and ugh, the fevers. They just didn't stop. He was on antibiotics non-stop, particularly in the winter. I tried everything - supplements, lots of hand sanitizer, fruits and veggies - nothing made a big difference. I was getting desperate, and I was so tired of my little guy being absolutely miserable.

At the beginning of December of this past year, after Landon dealt with some severe viruses that landed him in the ER, I was so done.

Fine. I, the Skeptic, would try some essential oils. They wouldn't work, but at least I could say I tried. I messaged my friend Myra to order some Young Living Thieves oil, and while I was waiting for the order to come in, my friend Aubrey lent me some YL Thieves and lavender to use since we were getting ready to go on vacation.

Landon was sick when I got the oils (of course). The night I started using them on him, his symptoms improved. Within a couple of days, he was better. And then, miraculously, he stopped getting sick. His fevers stopped. I didn't worry about putting him in church nursery or therapy anymore. We traveled, visited with lots of people, and he stayed well.

Fast forward to the end of March. Landon has gotten a few colds. One low-grade fever (that went completely away when I used peppermint oil!). This past fall, before we started using oils, he was sick for 6-7 weeks without a break. We were at the doctor's too many times to count. And now? There's no rushing to the ER because his fever has spiked, or because his breathing is too shallow, or because his cough has gone to his chest. His symptoms went from severe to barely there.

That's amazing, you guys. When a doctor tells you that there's really nothing you can do to improve your child's immune system, and then you find something that actually works... let me tell you, I was over the moon.

Okay, so, I know some of you are still skeptical. You're like me, and I get you. How am I really so sure that the Thieves oil boosted his immune system?

Welp, here's one reason I know it works. I did the unthinkable. I ran out of Thieves oil. 

And then... my boys got sick, really sick, and it was not pretty. In fact, I think I slept walked for two weeks because those boys were so miserable and sniffly. It was a happy, happy day when our Young Living box came to the door!

My husband looked at me a little strangely when I screamed, but he knows it works [he just doesn't scream about it]. When he feels like he's coming down with something, he takes a drop three times a day (right down his throat), and he feels great within 24 hours. Prettttttty amazing.

Okay, okay... so I just told you about one oil... and I know that's not enough to convince you that these oils are legit. So first, I'm going to tell you a little bit about essential oils, and then, I'm going to share some of my favorites and their uses with you.

I won't go all scientific on you, but here's a textbook definition from Oil Testimonials (which, by the way, has thousands of testimonies about essential oils).
"They are the "life force" of a plant and distributed among its flowers, leaves, bark, stems and roots. These oils protect the plant from insects and other herbivores, from bacteria, molds, fungi and micro-organisms."
Essential oils are anti-bacterial, anti-cancerous, anti-fungal, anti-infectious, anti-septic, anti-parasitic, and anti-viral. That's why my little sickie stopped being such a... sickie! Essential oils have the ability to affect every cell of the body within 20 minutes.*

True story. 

But I didn't just use any old brand of oils. I don't know about you, but I'm not too comfortable giving my kiddos (or me!) oils that aren't tested for purity, among other things. Basically, if you go to the grocery store and buy a bottle for 10 bucks... you're NOT getting a quality-grade oil. So why did I decide to go with Young Living? Here's a handy-dandy graphic that nicely outlays all my reasons!

Below are some of my personal favorites, along with (some of) their uses! [By the way, that's one of my favorite things about essential oils... you can use one oil for so many different things.]

Thieves: Okay, you already know why I love this one. But... you can also use this for cold sores, teething, headaches, dental issues, and strep throat, to name a few. It's my absolute favorite (and there's also a Thieves oil cleaner!).

Lavender: We use this for sleep (blessed, blessed sleep), sinus pain, calming, teething pain, allergy/congestion issues, burns, scrapes, and cuts. It's probably my favorite... maybe because I associate it with sleep!

Peppermint: I wish I could tell you how much I loved this oil. Let's just say I haven't had to pop ibuprofen in months for my tension headaches. I put some peppermint on my forehead and temples... gone within minutes. Works for my husband's flight school headaches, too. ;) It's also great for appetite control (*cough*), energy levels, heartburn/nausea, and fevers.

Lemon: Great for detox, cleansing, weight loss (woot woot) and again, allergies! I also use it to soothe a sore throat. Lavender, lemon, and peppermint are a fabulous combo for sinus issues. I diffuse them when I'm feeling foggy... which is quite often, actually.

Frankincense: I mix this with my face cream at night... my skin feels SO soft in the morning. It also helps with wrinkles, for those of you who are worried about that (*raises hand*). This is also another great oil for coughs, as well as emotional balance.

Vetiver: This is a calming, balancing oil that smells really woodsy. It's typically used on kids diagnosed with ADHD, but I think every mom with a hyperactive kid should own it, to be honest. It literally calms Landon within seconds... he'll stop what he's doing, put his head down, and say "night-night." I find that even after I apply it on him, it balances me, too. (Stop looking at me all weird.)

Valor: This one smells SO good. Again, calms Landon, calms ME (because I totally need this, believe it or not), helps with my muscle pain and tension, and helps with anxiety. If you think I might be high-strung, you might be right.

All these oils besides Vetiver, by the way, are included in the Premium Starter Kit, which I personally think is the best way to give these a try. See the details on my Young Living Page! I have yet to see someone be disappointed with that kit. A diffuser, eleven oils, so much info... ahhh. Okay. I'll stop now.

So there you have it. That's why this girl is a believer! This stuff works!

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me. I would LOVE to talk to you about these oils that have literally changed our world!

*from Quick Reference Guide for Essential Oils

The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. 


When I Complain about Good Things

Last week, Landon started therapy. I was sitting in the waiting room waiting for his therapist to come out, and a mama walked by with her daughter. Something was very obviously wrong; she was probably 11 or 12, her speech was unintelligible, and she couldn't walk without support or help. The therapist came out to take her back to therapy. As they walked in to the rehab center, I heard the girl's mom talking proudly about the progress her daughter was making - she'd been trying to take a few steps unassisted.

WOW. Just... wow.

I complain about Landon's progress being slow. I complain a lot

[If you don't believe me, ask my sweet, incredibly patient husband.]

Yes, this is hard, especially because I'm his mama. No, I am not downplaying it.

But when I heard that mom's excitement and pride over her daughter's progress, progress that certainly puts her far, far behind any other child her age, I realized something.

I do not take joy like I should in how Landon is growing, changing, thriving.

I complain that he's not articulating well...
                        ...instead of rejoicing that he's able to communicate with us at all.

I complain that he's too hyper...
                       ...instead of rejoicing that he's active, alert, and full of so. much. happiness.

I complain that he's too clumsy...
                       ...instead of rejoicing that he can walk and run and move.

I complain that he's not caught up to his peers...
                      ...instead of rejoicing that he is just who God created him to be.

I have so much to be thankful for.

So, so much.
{Stay tuned... later this week, I'm going to be sharing more about essential oils and how a skeptic (that's me) turned into a believer!}


Peanut Butter M&M Caramel Chex Mix

I have a confession. I have eaten an entire bag of peanut butter M&M's over the past week. I don't know how many calories that is, nor do I care to know. When it comes to peanut butter and chocolate, the numbers on the scale cease to exist.

Well, sort of.

[This picture was taken on my beautiful table. Notice the marks on said table. My three-year-old took a fork to it. That was really nice.]

I keep meaning to post this recipe. It has changed my life. Possibly also my hips.

It is chewy, buttery, sweet, a little bit salty, addicting, and it will not last long in your house.

You will need:

7-8 cups Rice Chex cereal
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Peanut butter M&M's

In a large bowl, measure out Rice Chex; set aside. The amount of Rice Chex will depend on how chewy you want it - if you want it more on the chewy side, use 7 cups; if you want it a little crunchier, use 8 cups.

Line cookie sheet with waxed paper or grease with cooking spray.

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add brown sugar and corn syrup until fully blended. DO NOT LET IT BURN (trust me on this).

Add baking soda until combined and bubbly.

Add Rice Chex and remove from heat. Mix well until cereal is coated.

Pour cereal on to cookie sheet to cool and try not to eat it all while you wait.

Pour into large bowl and add peanut butter M&M's (or your favorite flavor).

Hide from your husband and children. Eat it all in one sitting.

Then go for a very, very long run.


(printable recipe here)


Colton Is One!

I truly cannot believe that it's been a year since I had our little Colton Blake. And I know everyone says that. But really, how does it happen in the blink of an eye? I thought time went by fast with Landon, but wow! I feel like I was in labor just yesterday. (Sort of. I totally don't remember the pain... purposefully.) I can only imagine what number three will feel like. Not that I'm planning to figure that out anytime soon.

Less than 24 hours old. Read Colton's birth story here.

I love every stage for different reasons, but this age is one of my favorites. I adore watching their little personalities develop. Colton is curious, into everything, a little ham, oh-so-snuggly, and my, oh my, so very stubborn. I have NO idea where he got that from. (My family might.) He loves trucks and balls and I always finding him stashing stuff in containers. He is loud when he wants attention, sleeps wonderfully, grins at everyone, eats all day (no, really), loves to climb, and is constantly giggling. I love it! 

We had a little party with some friends here in Texas. I didn't really plan anything - I threw stuff together a couple hours before the party (Colton will never know!). But we had fun and ended up playing multiple games of Monopoly Deal. I mean, what else do you do at a one-year-old's birthday party when he's already in bed? 

We had pizza, M&M Chex Mix (I will post the recipe later this week because it's to die for), veggies, chips, and of course, cake. I made Colton a mini smash cake and Landon got into it at least four times. What can I say? Buttercream icing is a life-changer.

He was so frustrated that Randy wouldn't let him have it immediately. What did I tell you, impatient!

He sure smashed his smash cake. I think he enjoyed smashing more than eating.

Mmm... maybe not.

"Dat ish guuuuud. Berry guuuud."

Finally my mother is being kind and letting me eat my brother's cake and OD on sugar.

Love that smile - he was so proud!

Right before we took the cake away, he decided he hadn't had quite enough.

What can I say? He also inherited my love of sugar.

We are so thankful for this sweet, stubborn, giggly, messy, loud, independent, silly, chubby, blue-eyed, blond-haired, absolutely lovable little guy. Can't imagine our lives without him.

Happy birthday, Colton Blake. You are a gift from a kind God, and we are so grateful He chose us to be your parents.


If Only I Had Known

Since finding out about Landon's genetic deletion, I have often gone back through his baby pictures and cried. "If only I had known," I've thought. "Maybe things would be different. Maybe I could have helped him." I have felt that I've failed him, and in a sense, I've felt that I lost the baby I thought was perfect and perfectly normal.

If I had known about his syndrome, I could have had him in therapy from a few months old. We would have seen all those specialists we're just now seeing way back in those early days and taken care of any issues then. It would have explained all his breastfeeding problems and why it took him longer to walk. And holy cow, the speech issues! 

But there are two sides to every coin, and Landon's story is no exception. If I had known he had all those palate/low tone issues, perhaps Landon and I wouldn't have fought so hard for him to breastfeed. But we did, and after several weeks, that fighter of a baby got it. Hospital stays and visits to specialists would have taken away his time with me, probably stressed both of us out, and perhaps even delayed his development. And I never even expected him to develop differently. Truth is, other than his speech, he developed pretty normally. [By the way, I've gotten the whole "Is Colton any different than Landon was?" question a lot. Colton is actually less vocal and a whole lot more feisty. Goes to show you that there are hyperactive children without a syndrome. Shocker. ;)] If I'd known there was something wrong, I probably would have expected less from Landon. But I didn't. And guess what? He has thrived - even without therapy! And although I don't know every one of God's reasons, I do think a big reason He kept us from knowing about Landon's syndrome for so long was so that we had that time to bond and fall in love with a joy-filled, giggly, crazy, hilarious, darlin' little boy who has rocked our world in the best way possible.

And then there's me. God knew where He needed to take me, how he needed to grow me, stretch me, and push me before He sent this testing of my faith. This does not mean I've arrived. Oh boy, does it NOT.

You see how a little perspective changes everything?

I had over two years with Landon before I even realized something was wrong. And now that I know about his diagnosis, I don't love him any less or see him differently. In fact, I love him more. To me, he's just a crazy 3-year-old with an incredible amount of energy and a sweetness that melts my heart every day. [This does not mean he is sweet all day every day, and I most definitely do not walk around melting all day every day. Trust me on this one.] I rejoice in every milestone, whether that's saying "hippo" correctly (don't ask), knowing his alphabet and colors (I'm excited about those, not gonna lie), or learning how to put his shoes on (patiently, without attitude... ahem). Landon has a different timetable than what is considered "normal," and that's okay. It's his timetable. His daddy and I will cheer him on every step of the way.

See, the truth is, if I could go back in time and change things, I wouldn't. God, in His goodness, gave me a gift, let me enjoy it, appreciate it, learn from it - and then He did something really great. He made that gift even more precious to me. If only I had known from the beginning, perhaps I wouldn't treasure Landon the way that I do.

Most of the days after I had Landon are a sleepless blur, but there is a moment that keeps coming back to me. I can't help but wonder if it's God's sweet reminder that Landon is the same person he was three years ago. After I had Landon, I called my mom to tell her the happy news. She was so excited. "What's he like?" she asked. I looked at his tiny button nose, sweet little lips, and dark head of hair (oh, that hair!). "Perfect," I said. "Absolutely perfect."


Sleep Props (for the win)

My children are crazy. They whine, they destroy, they conquer (things they shouldn't), they cry, they drive me completely nuts (which I think is already apparent), but there is one thing my children do right. They SLEEP. (Well, they are also really cute and sweet, but that's not my point.) So if we have a day where everything goes wrong, I can count on the fact that they will go to bed and sleep for a long time. I have two secrets. Well, okay, they're not really secrets. They're things that work for us. And I will be the first to say that what works for me does not work for everyone else. I hate when a book title reads "How To Get Your Child to Sleep in Six Weeks and How I Did it in Five," and if your baby fails to do that, you also think you've failed as a parent. Dumb.

I did read a couple books, took the helpful information, and threw out the rest. But here, my friends, is how I get my children to sleep and stay asleep.

Sound machine. Rain. As loud as possible. In a mini metal red wagon so it sounds even louder.
(Note: I've tried a couple different brands, but so far, this one is my favorite. It's Homedics brand and I have invested in three).

No, we are not trying to hide drugs. That is a blanket over blinds, an actual blackout curtain, towels hanging over the top to cover the light coming in through there, AND a black comforter to get even more light out. And wait, in case you missed it, have a closer look...

Yep, you saw that correctly. His blackout curtains are pinned to the wall

Now, before you tell me I'm ghetto, yo... remember, I don't care. My children sleep for 12-14 hours every night. And they nap (well, Landon is getting around to losing his nap, but he still rests if he doesn't sleep - aka whines). 

[I did find Colton dying giggling in his crib around 8:30 this morning because he'd torn down the blankets and window coverings. LOL I'M SO FUNNY MOM.]

Do they sleep when we're out of town? Nope. We're not really big fans of those things they call "vacations." But since that's approximately .00005 percent of my year, that's okay. Sleep props, baby. All the way!

One more thing. My kiddos started sleeping through the night at around 2 months, but they had regressions. I promise that there will always and forever and ever be regressions (and usually there's this awesome one right before you have your second kid). You will feel like you are dying, you will wonder if you will ever sleep again, you will Google every possible reason as to why "my 6 month old is not sleeping," you will finally figure out it's teething, but then it's not, you will cry, and then, suddenly, they'll go back to sleeping normally. Usually, there is no rhyme or reason to it. Isn't that all of motherhood?

So... there you have it. My name is Becca, and I'm a sleep prop parent!


It Takes Two

So, I just want to be the first person to say that it did not snow here in Florida. It iced. A lot. In fact, there was so much ice that it actually looked like it snowed. Grocery stores closed, Firehouse Subs closed (and I'm pretty bitter about that), schools closed.  I really, really, really hate cold. But the ice was kind of pretty.

See? Dead grass, ugly bush, pretty ice. But this post isn't about the weather. I've been meaning to (my famous four words in blogging) write about having two kiddos for while. Just a little snapshot in our lives for the fun of it.

After I had Colton, my midwife said, All right! Now you've done the hardest work of parenting! I'm sorry, what? Although my memory of the pain is a bit (a lot) hazy, I do know this: I would take my 7 hours of contractions with Landon and my 3.5 hours of contractions with Colton instead of taking both of them to Walmart. True story.

[I mean, Walmart is bad enough without children. Truly, I'm convinced they only make broken carts. And no matter how well I wipe them down with Wet Ones, I get the heebie-jeebies when my boys put their hands on the bars. Gross.]

But anyway. I think my midwife must have kind of forgotten how crazy these young years are. Either that, or she was trying to make me feel awesome after giving birth. And the only awesome part about giving birth is holding that baby. End of story. Now, truth be told, I am one of those strange mamas who found the transition from one to two ridiculously easy. It actually kind of scared me. Now that Colton is older and mobile, however, things are getting trickier. Like, for instance, I totally forgot how awesome a 10-month-old finds the toilet. And how they eat everything they see - flip-flops, dirt, plastic wrap......scissors. When they're infants, you stick them in the swing and they don't move. It's awesome. And then they grow up and start crawling at 6 months (really, kid?) and then your life is basically over. In a good, crazy, non-stop sort of way. Also, there's this whole new "possessive" thing Landon has going on. He's never acted jealous of Colton, but holy cow, if Colton gets near a toy that he's playing with - He asks me to put Colton in his room so they can play together, but then a few minutes later I hear a scream and a "bye baby, bye baby, BYEEEE BABYYYYYYY!!!!" It gets louder and louder and more and more desperate. I find it hilarious in a non-funny way. However, Landon has this innate desire to please. So we're working on sharing, and it's getting better. For the time being.

There's also this scenario that happens before we walk out the door. Without fail. Which is why, in part, I'm not a fan of going to Walmart with them. "Landon, go get your shoes so I can put them on." Okay, cool. Shoes on. "Wait. Did you seriously POOP AGAIN??" Shoes off. Diaper change. Shoes back on. Now let's get Colton up from his nap since he just fell asleep 7.3 minutes ago. Now Colton is mad. And then he also remembers that he's hungry for yogurt. Then he starts crying louder and is hyperventilating while I change his now-poopy diaper. Oh wait, no, it's a blow-out. Okay. New outfit. LANDON WHY ARE YOU EATING CANDY? Colton is now screaming. Can't find the paci because it's somewhere under his crib with all the other pacis that he's thrown under there. LANDON PUT YOUR SHOES BACK ON. (even though he hasn't mastered that skill yet, I feel like saying it will somehow teach him to perfect it.) Sorry, Colton, no time to eat. Landon asks for a drink. Can't find his sippy cup. Run around the house and finally find it in the bathtub. Also find five pacis along the way. Landon, which toy do you want to take with you? Okay, your car? Cool. Oh, look, yay, Colton spit up on his outfit. Oh well. Finally make it in the car. Two minutes down the road, "Mee Mow?" (Mickey) "You chose the car, baby, though... remember?" "MeeeeeeeMowwwwww!" "Mickey is taking a nap. Do you want to take a nap?" Yeah... that one works exceptionally well. And don't worry, I do eventually feed Colton. I have to say, I think the hardest part about having two, hands down, is taking them out places. Thank goodness for baby carriers.

The last couple weeks, I have felt like I was going a bit cray cray. I mean, why do these children even need to eat? Can't they find food on the floor? I mean, like, nutritious food? Randy was insanely busy with flight school, Colton had the sickies, and I was exhausted. You know, like so tired that when you go to do the dishes, you start crying. However, I feel like a tiny bit of sanity is returning because Randy has finally finished intermediate training (woohoo!). It's supposed to take six-ish months, but it took him nearly two years. And this, my friends is the way of the military. Hurry up and wait. But that's for another post. Anyway, now that he's not studying/flying around the clock, I feel a bit more relaxed. And we actually got to go on a date for the first time since before Christmas. We went to see a movie and ate dinner without refereeing. That felt... weird. But nice weird.

this is how we feel when we're out by ourselves.

I know, I know - those of you who aren't mothers are probably thinking, and why on earth would I ever want to be a mom? But in reality, all those crazy mama moments don't mean a hill of beans when I go in to kiss those sweet boys good night, or when I watch them playing peekaboo and dissolving into a puddle of giggles together, or when I get sweet, spontaneous hugs from Landon, or when he says a new word (clearly!), or when I see them playing with their daddy, or when I'm rocking Colton before he goes to sleep and he gently pats me on the back (I guess I need soothing too), or when I get to see them do all their "firsts," or when I get to hear "mama" for the first time.

Yes, of course this thing called mommyhood is hard. It is exhausting, it is overwhelming, and there are days I call my mom and say, "How on earth did you do this with seven?" [She's totally my hero.] But it is absolutely worth it, and I have no doubt that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. And honestly? I wouldn't have it any other way. I am so thankful for sticky, chubby fingers, for little voices calling, "Mama!", and for babies who need me. (I'm not so super thankful for the diaper changes. Is that okay?) These moments will be gone all too soon, and I'm going to cherish them while I can.

[Okay, so I might not cherish the moments in Walmart, but that's why we avoid it at all costs.]

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