Friday, November 29, 2013

Tis the season for....

Christmas Trees! We aren't usually the family that runs out and gets their tree the day after Thanksgiving. But after looking our calendar over, we realized that if we didn't go today....we might not be able to get one at all!

Thankfully, we had some good helpers....they may not have made it a speedy process, but they sure made it so much more fun!

That little stinker spent more time playing hide n seek, looking for mushrooms, and finding a sword then he did looking for a tree.

Kyle got his workout as both boys decided that they would rather be carried than walk. And apparently he has better arms for carrying then their mama.

And then while in his arms both boys got swept up in what I like to call a "love fest".

And as if that wasn't enough to make me wipe a tear....they had to kill me with this.

All the while I'm about a puddle of mush and Kyle is just trying to hold onto the two sweethearts that are feeling festive and full of brotherly love.

They could not be any more precious, really, they couldn't. And their love for each other just seeps out, sometimes at the most unexpected times, in the middle of a Christmas tree farm.

After the love fest came to a halt, we finally picked a tree....and it never fails, by "picking" a tree I mean we walk around, and around, looking for the perfect tree, find one, and then find something wrong with it....until we reach a point where we just grab the nearest tree and call it good. But we really couldn't haven't gotten a bad one here, they were all gorgeous.

Cole insisted on helping daddy haul out the tree....

That is, until he saw the tractor...and then was offered a ride in it.

Tractors trump everything.

Bennett didn't seem to be the biggest fan, but tolerated it. I mean, he was sitting next to big brother...all was good with his world. Cole on the other hand...well, just look at that face, happy as a clam.

Both boys passed out on the car ride home. I guess that fresh, tree air really did a number.

We let Cole sleep in his car seat while Kyle got the tree ready, we thought it would be a fun treat for when he woke up, then he woke up.....

There will be no pics documenting what happened next. Some one definitely was not feeling the "love" or Christmas cheer. We found ourselves with a flopping and flailing toddler, screaming on the to the tree.

Merry Christmas Cole.

Once he regained his composer, got a little milk in his belly, we were good to go. And we had plenty of help decorating that tree. Two extra sets of eager hands, just what we needed.

Bennett is about as determined as I assumed he would be. And I think he has learned how to say his first phrase. "No Touch!" every time I would say it to him, he would repeat it and then grin at me. Kind of like this....

Oh Bennett, quit being so cute and so stubborn....and put that ornament back.

Now to see how long the tree stays standing!

Can't believe we are actually moving into the Christmas season, so excited to build great memories with these little treasures.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

So it begins...

Put your hand in the air if you have officially decided you are much too mature for crawling.

Ta-da! That would be me

I put on my big boy diapers and grew up over night......

Yes, yes I did--big boy, right here.

I am sooooo proud, and so is my mama. 

Meanwhile, in the background.....this was also happening.....

Boxes. Life savers. Hours of entertainment, even when completely broken down. 

Then there was this earlier the same day....

Just when you thought his box outfit couldn't get any better. 

Mama's rain boots on the wrong foot: check. Mickey Mouse undies: check. Helicopter-24-month-way-too-small-but-still-squeezing-into-it-and not-wanting-to change-it-pajama-top: check.

Mama's delight: double check!

This little snippet into my every day life is what makes me adore my job even more. 

How Thankful I am of these little blessings and the joy, laughs, and love they bring.

May you be reminded of your blessings, big and small on this Thanksgiving day!

A very Happy Thanksgiving from the undie boy and his brother. :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

My big boy at 3

So where do you even begin a post when there are so many things to talk about? I have been absolutely amazed at each one of my boys lately. They are growing, learning, and changing in leaps and bounds. I fear if i don't start recording some of these things I will forget them. Because let's be honest, my brain isn't what it used to be. I think I pushed some of it out along with both babes.

Let's start with this guy.

He is talking up a storm. Every moment of every day he is saying something, repeating what he hears, questioning things he doesn't understand. And this mama LOVES it!

One of my most favorite things he has said thus far....during a conversation where I was praising him for obeying me, I proudly said,  "Cole, that makes me soooo happy that you listened and obeyed!" He then looked at me, and said, " AND DESUS TOO!!!!"

Yes, yes, Jesus too....I'm sure He was beaming down like one very proud Papa at that very moment.

Although, Cole has also tried using this same sentence when trying to convince me that he really wasn't misbehaving, and that "Desus" was truly happy about his not-so-great decisions.

Lately, he has been wanting to pray before dinner. And it usually goes something like this, "Desus, mumble, mumble, squeak, dub-a-dub-duh....and it's barely audible, we usually have to wind it up with an  "AMEN!"

Both my Grandma's took all of us girls and our kids out to lunch at the Olive Garden the other day. Cole got his first taste of bread sticks and decided that they were quite the thing. In the middle of lunch, he started yelling "BREAD STICK!" (only stick did not come out as 'stick'). I quickly tried to quietly correct him and really enunciate the 'st' part....only to which he repeatedly enunciated his version over and over again. We have got to get those S's figured out!

And while we are talking about things that Cole shouldn't say.....let me share with you his favorite phrase to say, he gets in trouble every time for saying he has changed his tactic of being able to make sure he gets in his two cents.

"Whadda Heck" (what the heck).

I didn't think I used this phrase, but apparently I do. And apparently he homed in on it right away. And apparently he thinks it sounds pretty cool to say. The first time he said it, I got down and looked him straight in the eye and said, "Cole we don't say what the heck". To which he now will sit down next to me, scoot in real close, and whisper "Wha-da---heck...heck, heck, heck....." I look at him (trying not to laugh) tell him not to say that, and in between every word I say, he whispers "heck".

Seriously, you try and keep a straight face.

Awhile ago we were over at my parent's house with my sister and nieces. All of a sudden Cole leaned forward with big eyes staring right at my niece. In a very serious and deep voice he goes, "Na (Jenna) NOOOOOO, WHADDA HECK!" He is now the "what the heck" monitor and takes it very seriously.

My other favorite word that he says currently is finger...or "binger" as he calls it. And he is obsessed with them! Or I should say he is obsessed with hang nails. He examines his fingers all the time, and if he see's the slightest resemblance of a hang nail that is all I hear about. Until finally he will announce, "Mama I got da hang nail on my binger, and it aaaaaall better!"

He has picked up biting his nails, drives me up the wall.....

Cole loves to help Bennett walk, which usually consists of him holding both Bennett's hands and dragging him around the house. Poor Bennett's little legs spin like wheels trying to keep up and stay upright at the same time. Usually there is a face plant involved, but Bennett either gets up, smile on his face, ready to be helped by his hero of a brother all over again. Or he squawks really loud, letting everyone know that he is incredibly displeased.

He loves to sing, and I often here him humming different tunes or singing his own versions of songs.

He loves to count, and count with his fingers.

He just learned to sign "I love you" I always know when he is trying to sign it because it takes him a good five minutes to get his fingers in order, and a couple tries to get the correct fingers in the right position.

He loves to give kisses that end with a nice little pop of the lips. And has taken up talking with his hands, he uses them to emphasize important words, or to make me really understand what he is trying to get across.

While out shopping he came across the jewelry section at Banana Republic. He was so enamored at all the sparkly stuff and immediately started loading up his arms with great big bling-bling bracelets. All the time saying, "oooooh, dat barkley!" He was so proud of his "barkley" arms that he had to run and show daddy. Kyle's face was priceless.

He loves puzzles....and of course trains, I'm sure he will always love trains. I have realized that Kyle and I have a weak spot in our hearts for Cole and his trains. while at Ikea he spotted the newest drawbridge addition to the Ikea train set, he stared at it for a long time, carefully picked it off the shelf, looking at it from every angle, and then asked his dadda if he could have it. I watched as Kyle tried to make him put it back but then melted when Cole hugged it close to his chest. Saying "no" wasn't an option, plus he walked all the way through Ikea without even one little fit. And obeyed practically every word we said. This same scenario replayed the other day in Home Goods when Cole spotted a Chugginton train.....we have a problem.

He is such a sweet blessing in our lives. He makes us laugh, and sit amazed at the big boy he is becoming. He has a heart of gold. While out shopping a lady accidentally knocked some toys off of a shelf....Cole went right over to help her pick them up. Seriously, made my heart swell. He loves presents, to both receive and give them. The presents he gives usually end up being a bunch of miscellaneous things he finds around the house, trash, and bobbi pins....and sometimes even his beloved trains.  Such a giving spirit. He dotes on his baby brother and often showers him with hugs an loves. Such a tender soul. He is amazing, made me want to have 10 babies after having him (Bennett helped me scale that number back.....) I just love him so so much, and I feel incredibly blessed to be called his mama, even when I don't deserve it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Red Lentils


New week, new perspective, new smiles, new heart, thought I would be able to add good sleep to the list, but my darling little Bennett boogered that one up last night.

"Who me?!" Look at that cheese ball grin. Cracks me up every time I look at it!

I decided since I am trying my hardest to start this week off on a good foot, I would start it off by sharing a super cozy recipe with you.

It's a twist on an old fave. Lentil Soup...Coconut style.

For some reason I can't resist a recipe that has coconut milk in it. It adds a nice creaminess with a touch of sweetness. This soup, oh, this soup just tasted warm and special. Nothing was overpowering, and everything seemed to work together in just the right ways. I did omit the jalapeno only because I wanted both boys to be able to enjoy it with us, and they did. Even Cole, my new picky eater...apparently everything I make these days is "sick" only sub out the 's' with a 'd' and that's the word that often follows his first bite.

Not with this soup, there were no "sicks" being thrown around. And Bennett....well, he just sat happy as a clam stuffing garbanzo bean after garbanzo bean down his little beak. A winner and repeater in my book!

Hope you enjoy this soup as much as we did!

Red Lentil Coconut Soup 
(Source: Scaling Back Blog)

  • 2 cups red split lentils
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into 1/2 inch dice ( I didn't have this, and didn't feel like spending 4 dollars on an organic one, so I left it out and added chopped up carrots instead)
  • 1 fresh jalapeno or serrano chili, finely chopped, including seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh peeled and minced ginger ( I used about a 1/4 tsp of ground ginger)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon ( I didn't add, as I usually don't like cinnamon in my soups)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 can unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • fresh cilantro and lime wedges for serving

Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pan and add the onions, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables have softened and start to take on some color. Add the garlic, ginger, spices and tomato paste and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the mixture is toasty and fragrant.  Add the water, coconut milk, lentils and chickpeas and cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes adding the lime juice at the end of cooking.  Taste and adjust with more salt or more lime juice if desired.  Serve the soup topped with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and some extra limes on the side.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


So here is a little story.

Several weeks ago I took my boys to meet up with a couple other moms at the zoo. Both boys were on there very best behavior, despite the missed naps. It was a breath of fresh air to get out of the house, have some grown up conversation, while watching the wonder of my little boys take in the animals around them.

Did I mention how well behaved both boys were. They made me look like super mom. In fact, I nearly choked when my friend turned to me and said, "You handle parenting two kids with such grace".

Grace. I cringe.

There hasn't been a lot of that around here this week. In fact, I would be pretty embarrassed had you peeked into the curtains of my windows, watching as I handled my job as a mama about as ungracefully as a hippo in ballet.

I lost it on many levels, I blamed it on me being sick, on both boys being sick, on being up all hours of the night, on my husband not being "sensitive enough", "romantic enough", or meeting my every need at every moment.

It was everyone's fault but my own. Not exactly the definition of grace now is it?

I need to get this out there, because I want to be held accountable for my actions. I don't want to be quick to anger, I want to be quick in love. I want to be able to hear the word "grace" and not feel like a fake and failure. I want my grace with my family to be authentic, real, and second-nature.

They deserve it.

Especially when no one is feeling well. It's easy to be graceful when everything is going smoothly, and when your 3 year old doesn't have hour long tantrums, when he isn't yelling, "I need sumpin to eat!" every 5 minutes. When your one year old isn't fighting going down for his naps, waking up every hour and not wanting to sleep in his crib, but rather stay in your bed.....and not sleeping.

Grace can run short and very thin, real quickly.

But it shouldn't, it is something I have to remind myself daily....and possibly hundreds of times throughout the day. Those that warned me being mom would be the hardest job I would ever do...well, they weren't lying. It's hard, it can test the very core of your maturity, your patience, your gracefulness. It also can teach you a great deal about the good and the bad of who you are.

Unfortunately this week has pinpointed more of the bad than the good. I actually had myself a good cry in the car, asking God how I would ever be able to add another sweet little bean to the family without fully losing it. Would I ever be able to find grace, I mean, I have already failed miserably just handling two. And two boys that I love from the depths of my soul. (and no, I'm not pregnant) I question my capabilities of being a mom practically daily, but that moment, in the car I felt completely raw at who I had become and who I was capable of being.

And do you know what was whispered gently to me during my little sob fest in the car?  

Less of you, more of ME.


I have gotten way off track this week. I have been pity partying it up about me, how I was feeling, how no one was responding how I wanted them to. Pretty hard to find grace in your heart when your heart is filled up with, me, me, me.

This week has been perfect evidence of the horrible wreck I become when I lose sight of Christ, when I try to lean my own strength, when I stop allowing Him to flow through my heart. I snap, I yell, I squelch little hearts with my anger. I forget to give grace. I forget to model grace. I forget to fill myself up with the grace of my Heavenly Father.

Grace. I welcome you back into my home, please come stay awhile....forever, even. My family deserves it. They need it, I need it. Praise Jesus that He gives it freely and without exceptions.

Less of me, and more of Him. That will be the song of my heart this week. And with that song may grace flow in abundance through our home.

Bare with me my little boys, this mama is a constant work in progress......

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Today has been tough. Cole came down with a temperature yesterday out of no where. He seemed a little tired all day, but I thought it was due to him waking up several times ALL night and then taking a shorter nap. But when he turned down his milk, and didn't want to eat dinner I knew we were in for it. I took his temp at it was teetering around 100.0 degrees. Then he got those sick eyes (you know the ones that rip your heart out because they are just so sad and glazed over). So I had him lie on the couch while I fed him some Motrin....

So here's the deal. Fevers. Scare. Me.

I have been dreading the next fever episode ever since Bennett's febrile seizure 2 months ago. I thought I had moved past it, finally.

I had reached a point where it wasn't consuming my mind every moment of every day. And then one day out of the blue an ambulance went racing past me while I was driving. Within seconds my cheeks were drenched with tears and all I could see were my baby's eyes rolling back as he convulsed. I gripped the wheel telling my heart over and over that Bennett was fine, he was sitting happily in the seat behind me. My eyes darted to the mirror, and I loosened my grip as I saw his sweet face.

Deep breath.

I was not over it. And honestly, probably never will be. You just don't forget that kind of fear. That kind of  heart-stricken grief that leaches onto your heart when you think the worst.

It's unbearable.

The days following that terrible day, I poured myself into reading all about seizures, what causes them, how to prevent them, what to do, etc. I read blog post after blog post of other mom's who went through identical circumstances, the fear, the desperation, the pleas, all the same.  Every single one of them stated they thought they were losing their baby right before their eyes.

Yet, we didn't (one came close, but thankfully received the appropriate medical attention). It also seemed we all asked the same question, why aren't more parents prepared for something that is supposedly "so common"? Probably because nothing can prepare you for what you think you are seeing.

But still. I wish I had known more. I wish I hadn't felt that I needed to plead for my baby's life, I wish I had known to roll him on his side, to pay attention to what side his eyes rolled, to make sure the tremors weren't focused on one side, to time how long it lasted, or the main isn't how high the temp but how quickly it gets there. Because of that, I have to be on top of each and every fever Bennett has from here on out.  There were so many things I wish I had known or had been warned to watch out for.

Now I know more, and would like to encourage every mother, father, grandparent to read about febrile seizures, be prepared, know what to expect. Because while most of them are completely harmless there are still some that are very dangerous...especially if they exceed longer than 15 minutes. I'm pretty sure Bennett's came close to 10.

Will I remain calm? Probably not. But at least I can try. At least I know more.

I still pray that Bennett doesn't catch this fever that Cole has, and maybe he won't. And maybe some day they won't be as scary as they are right now. I'm sure at some point I will have to come to grips with the fact that fevers happen, and not all of them are going to send my baby into an epileptic state.

Until then, I will be the over protective mom that tries to keep her kids in a bubble and avoid every germ like the plague. Because I just love those two little boys more than anything.

More than anything. Especially when I catch them in moments like this.

They couldn't be any more precious.

Love, love, love.

Monday, November 4, 2013

One Word


Sums up this past week.

Both boys have rewired their sweet little bodies into thinking that they need to wake up all hours of the night....again.

Thank you daylight savings for making this new found nightly ritual even more pronounced in the part of my brain that says, "I can't do this."

And thank you sweet babes for reminding me that this is exactly what I should be thankful for. For these moments when my earthly body cries out for rest. The moments when I realize being a mom shouldn't rest on my shoulders alone, that I need to allow God to step in, pick me up and keep teaching how far HE can take me, and that together "we can do this!"

I know we can. And for that I am so grateful.

And then I look around and these little boys scurrying around, tackling each other, laughing together, and loving one another and I let out a long breath, clutching coffee in hand.

These moments are a mere mist.

Soak it up Caley. (I keep trying to tell myself)

Live it, breathe it, and enjoy it......even the days when it hurts to hold my eyelids open. Because one day they will be grown and on their own...and I know I will cry for it back.

I will miss this. Even with the lack of rest, there were many sweet memories I never want to forget

Lots of helping daddy "pick up leaves".

Stinks to be so little sometimes!

Trick or treating with the cutest little cow and bee on this side of Heaven. And the memory of a sweet big brother bee who made sure to get an extra piece of candy to give to his brother....he took the duty very seriously. And it made my heart melt over and over again.

If only I could train him to like hats....

Even with little to no sleep they still seemed to muster enough energy for this.....

Typical. And so is this.....

While loving on his brother, Cole looked at me and goes, "picture mama!"

Makes the exhaustion melt away for a brief moment.  And I think to myself, no place I would rather be...soaking up these two little sweethearts, playing play dough, wiping snot out of my hair, and going on safari hunts.

I'm going to run with this motto, and try to engrave it deeply into my tired tired brain, an exhausted life is a rich and full life, with much to be thankful for.

At least that was what this sweet face was telling me all morning!