Tag Archives: growing up

dear cruz,

16 Nov

You are three. And I can’t even hardly believe it. It’s going so fast.

Part of me is grateful that you are three. Even in the past couple days, you have gotten SO fun. Even the sentences you’ve been putting together seem more adult. And it’s really amazingly fun to watch you grow and do new things.

But then I could bawl almost instantly at the thought of you growing up. Because I swear, you JUST looked like this:

But now you are three. And heaven forbid I blink again. Because if I do, you’ll be moving out, getting married and starting your own family. So for now, I am learning to embrace every little thing and every little day. I’m learning to celebrate every day. Not JUST your birthdays. I’m learning that work is important, but that it will always be there. And while I am so passionate about being a photographer, there is nothing I am more passionate about than being a good mamma to you and to Rider. Although I lose my way sometimes, I think. But you remind me every day that these days are not promised. And that these days will quickly pass us by.

And that they already have.

I’d give anything to go back and snuggle you in your rocking chair one more time. And I’m sure that I will feel that way, every single birthday you have.

You are an amazing kiddo. With talents already that far surpass anything that your daddy and I have in our bloodstream. You love the drums. We are working on getting you a drum set, but we have to find the right one. Because you will know the difference. And you already know how to play it. And it blows us away, all the time.

You are learning to share. And not doing THAT well with it, I’ll be honest. HA. But you are learning. And I pray every single day that you will grow to have a very generous, giving heart. Because you DO have a very compassionate spirit.

You are one of the best things that has ever happened to us.

Your third birthday was SUCH a fun day. At lunch time you even said, “Today’s a fun day mamma! I love you!”. And it was totally unprompted and melted my heart. We had blueberry ‘cupcakes’ for breakfast, which were actually muffins and that you DIDN’t eat. But you had fun blowing out the candle. You got a new car- the Cozy Coupe! And I actually used to play with a version of this car when I was a kid. You love it SO much and haven’t stopped playing with it since. We went to the train park and had more cupcakes with friends. But you only licked the frosting. And we went to Chickfila for lunch because it’s your favorite and you ask for it every day. Even though we don’t eat it every day. You didn’t really nap. And then we went to the church to watch Daddy play guitar for the high school group. We came home and I let you stay up late to watch Cars 2. It was a simple day, full of celebrating and lots of love. And you were so happy.

I am so blessed by you Cruz. Daddy and I wish you the best 3rd year of life here with us. And we pray every day that God will guide us to take better care of you this year than we did the last. And that He will continue to teach us about you so we can cherish you as He does. And so that you can grow up to become the man He’s created you to be.

But until then, please don’t hurry up to be anything other than three. Because this mamma’s heart can’t handle watching you grow up too quickly. Because once you do, you will leave us as you should. But I’m not ready to even think about that. Please slow down the growing up. And enjoy your red and yellow car for as long as you want.

I love you forever,


dear rider,

28 Oct

I am a total jerk.

I never posted, nor did I even acknowledge, your birthday on this blog little man. You are not loved any less because of this, let me assure you. And while being too busy should never be an excuse when it comes to the people you love, I AM going to go ahead and say, WE HAVE BEEN SO BUSY. Busy with YOU, your brother, work, being sick, LIFE. Life has gotten away from me these past couple months and we are just trying to stay on top of it all!

Regardless, I didn’t mean to not write to you on your birthday. Or post pictures of your awesome birthday party. Everyone had so much fun celebrating you.

You are such a little character. At one year old, you already have more strength than you know what to do with. You are fast. You are strong. And you are quiet, all at the same time. A quiet strength which I can only hope and pray that will carry you through your life. You are happy and so easy to make smile. Our little positive go-getter. I don’t really think you understand what being cautious is.

So different from me.

It’s amazing to watch you learn and grow and explore new things. My new favorite thing these days is watching you walk. It’s so darn cute. You have so much that you want to check out and get into. There’s so much to explore.  Chasing you around IS quite a bit of work. But I wouldn’t change it or you for anything.

The truth is, you add so many special things to this family. And a year ago I had no idea the joy I would feel by the time you were one. Celebrating your first birthday with all of our close friends and family was exactly what it should have been. And we can’t wait to share many more birthdays with you.

You are a special, special boy to us, Rider-man. And we love you more than you will ever know.

Happy First Birthday, (a month late on this blog),


rider walks!

18 Oct

He started walking last week but I couldn’t grab a camera at the beginning of it all because Cruz was so sick. And any chance I thought about it was spent doing tepid baths, administering more medication or cleaning. Or trying to sleep.


My little Rider man has started walking!! Ahhh it’s so stinking cute! He hobbles all over the place and is actually surprisingly fast!  He hasn’t figured out how to stand up without holding onto something, so he’ll crawl over to a table, wall or the couch, pull himself up and take off! Too cute.

I love the walking stage. It’s all just going so fast. Check him out. It’s pretty dang cute, if you ask me.

i kid you not

2 Sep

I almost had to perform the Heimlich on Cruz yesterday. Talk about one of the scariest moments of my entire life!

I was getting ready to leave the house and one of my friends was over to watch the boys. She brought her little boy, who is two weeks younger than Rider. We were talking about toys that were choking hazards because lately Rider wants to put EVERYTHING in his mouth. I found him chomping on a rock that I had to fish out the other day. So this is new territory for me! Cruz never (and still doesn’t!) put ANYTHING into his mouth. He was just never curious like that.


So I was warning her and telling her about how it’s hard to have a 3 year old and a 1 year old when it comes to this issue because they both play with very different toys.

No sooner had I said this to her, I heard muffled choking in the living room. So I started walking toward the room to make sure everything was ok, to find Cruz walking towards me, completely red, obviously choking and not making any noise. So I run to him, bang hard on his back, and I did a finger sweep inside his mouth.

What did I find?


I’m able to grab it’s little leg and the rest of it came back out. Talk about the freaking scariest moment EVER. I am TERRIFIED of choking. Had I not been able to get that dino out any faster, I would have been performing the Heimlich. On my sweet three year old. Something I don’t EVER want to have to do again.

So I stood there, holding the dinosaur, trying to hold back the tears while I explained to him why we DON’T put toys into our mouths. And then I threw ALL the little dinosaurs away. If he could almost choke on them, Rider certainly could and it’s a GUARANTEE that he’ll put them into his mouth.

Praise God my mothering instinct kicked in. Because I always thought I’d be a pile of mush in an emergency. But oddly, my brain knew exactly what to do. And I wasn’t panicking. Until afterwards when I was a shaking quivering mess.

Man I love those kids. And I hate every second that something like that could go very wrong.

If you have small toys, THROW THEM AWAY. My almost three year old almost choked and he was the LAST kid I would ever have worried about. I’m still not sure what prompted him to do that.

Thank the Lord he’s ok! He’s my little man and I’d just die if anything were to happen to him.

don’t miss it

27 Jul

Do you fear you’re missing it? That you’ll blink and your sweet children will be grown, moving out, and moving on? Do you fear that the things that make you impatient today, you’ll wish and long for someday? Do you feel exhausted and tired and ready for some rest? Is it at the expense of your kids? Do you find yourself trying to get to the end of the day, just so you can lay down? But you know all the moments you are missing by having this attitude?

This is how I feel tonight. And I feel really, really emotional about it. It doesn’t help that I found THIS picture today:

And it sort of took my breath away. This is my sweet little man Cruz, right after he turned 1. He was such a baby here. And he’s so big now. And I’m reminded that I am so not ready for him to grow up. He’s been so frustrating these past couple weeks. Today was another very hard day for my stubborn little guy. This mamma is tired. And through my weariness of raising children, I find myself MISSING IT. But trying OH SO HARD to be present. It’s so hard to be present. It’s so easy to wish for the next stage. The stage that ‘HAS to be better than this’, you tell yourself.

But we aren’t even promised tomorrow. How precious today seems when I remember that.

I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want him to grow up. While all my friends with almost three year olds are talking about where their kids are going to go to preschool, my heart just aches. I’m so not ready for him to go to school. I’m not ready for him to not be home with me. As frustrating as he’s been, I’m not ready to hand him over to someone else- even for two days a week! Even with as much work as I have to do, and how I could really use a few free mornings. I’m not ready.

I love these kids. And I feel like it’s SO hard for me to truly embrace every moment because I am SO TIRED. But I’m going to miss it. I don’t want to look back on these small years with them, as truly hard as they are, and remember how EXHAUSTED I was. I’m praying for more patience every day. So I can continue to make these days fun for them. And so I won’t be cranky and yelling and wishing for another day.

Another day we aren’t even promised.

I just don’t want to miss this because of weariness. Because of impatience. Because of my short fuze.

It all goes so fast. This life is going so fast. And while there are some days that I can’t wait for Jesus to come back so we can all go and be with Him, I also don’t want to miss this life He’s graciously given us. These boys He’s entrusted us with. Missing it, missing THEM all because I am tired, annoyed and frustrated at times. Just trying to get through another day.

I keep finding myself getting to the end of another day and really praying hard for more patience. Praying hard for a more positive attitude. Praying hard for a refreshing spirit when my days are a battlefield with a headstrong two year old. It’s the things they don’t tell you when you’re wanting kids. That you’ll spend more hours crying at your kitchen sink than you ever thought you would because you are so COMPLETELY FREAKED OUT that you are screwing this up.

And that you’re missing it.

I don’t want to miss it. I’m trying not to. It’s going too fast. I’ll blink and he’ll be going to kindergarten. And I’m really not ready for that yet. And yes, I have a few years. But it’s going to go fast.

There’s only a few short years that they will be all mine. These days are precious. Don’t wish them away, Jessica. Don’t wish for tomorrow just yet. It will come soon enough.


14 Jul

It’s kind of hard to believe that today I am twenty-nine. I’ve officially begun the last year of my twenties. Weird, right? Next year I’ll be THRITY!!


Actually, I am thrilled to be twenty-nine. No, honestly. I am! I think being in your twenties is such a mix of amazement, growth, fun, and horrible learning experiences that you could not PAY ME to go through again. Am I right?? When I think back to when I was twenty-one, or twenty-seven even, I am a COMPLETELY different person than I am today. It’s kind of crazy to think about all the growth that happens in your twenties.

But don’t get me wrong! There’s so many amazing things that happen besides learning hard lessons while you’re in your twenties. I got married, I had two of my children, I started a career that I’m wildly passionate about. All of those things have contributed greatly to the growth of my twenties, but they have been amazing things! Each challenging at times, but fun, exciting, and life changing. I wouldn’t change anything about my twenties. Not one. single. thing.

Would I do it all over again? NOT IN A MILLION YEARS.

I am grateful to be at the end of this chapter in my life and entering the last year of this decade. I finally feel like I know myself. I finally feel like I know what I want out of life, friends, family, and my future. I have the best friends I am ever going to have and I’m clinging tight to them. Not that there’s not room for new friends. But now there’s only room for GOOD friends. People that I can invest back into and who I truly know have my back when things suck. I have several of these in my life and I’m not letting go. But you go through funny stuff with your friendships during your twenties too. And I think part of it is due to insecurities and not really, truly knowing and understanding what you need and want from them. And most importantly, what you can give back. I feel like when you’re in your twenties you’re sort of searching for this identity. You’re trying to find your place in this world and hoping (fingers crossed tight!) that people LIKE YOU BACK. I can honestly remember the moment about six months ago when I realized that I truly don’t care if people don’t like me back.

I mean, you always want people to like who you are. DUH.

But I seriously don’t worry about it anymore. Some people like me. Some people don’t. Whatev. I’ve got the people close to me who count. People who’ve NEVER walked away when stuff got hard for us. People who I know love me. So I’m good.

What I’m trying to say is, I finally feel like I know who I am. I feel a new level of confidence that I’ve discovered within the past six months and it seriously doesn’t scare me to turn thirty next year. I feel excited about the future and ready to move on from the chapter that is my twenties. I’ve learned some great things. Experienced some awesome stuff. Had some heartache. But I’ve had a lot of fun too. I’m exhilarated to see what my thirties holds. I hear that each new decade only gets better.

Gosh I sure hope that’s true.

So here’s to living the last year of my twenties well! And to experiencing life with a new found confidence, zeal and love for life like I’ve never known before.

And yep. Here come the baby pictures. I’m not ashamed.

dear rider,

7 Jul

First of all, look at how stinkin’ cute you are. I mean, honestly.

You started crawling this week!! Your first time crawling was on the 4th of July and we were at Grammy’s house. I was sitting with you on the floor, feeding you, when you noticed all the toys Grammy has for you at her house and you took off crawling. It was such a great moment! You were a little wobbly but definitely on a mission to get to those toys. And you made it! As soon as you did, you grabbed the toy you were after and rolled over onto your back to play with it.

Very you.

Ever since then, you’ve been on the go! It’s such a fun stage you’re in and I’m honestly loving every minute of it. I can’t believe you’ll be 10 months old in three days. Which means in two months you’ll be a year old. And that is wild. It’s going so fast!

You also said your first word this week!! And let it be announced to the world that, your very first word EVER was ‘MAMMA!’. You always look right at me and say, “Mamma!” and it melts my heart every time. I can’t wait to hear all the funny jokes and things you are going to say. I can’t wait to hear the conversations between you and your brother as you play and make up games. I can’t wait to watch you grow together. Well, I guess I’m doing that now! Ha!

You are such a fun, sweet and special boy. You have the sweetest spirit and you go with the flow every day. We love you more than anything and are so proud of your milestones that you’ve reached this week. You are growing so fast and getting so big.

I love you and all the joy that you bring to our lives. I can’t imagine our life without you in it.

I will love you forever,




newest explorer

16 Jun

I better post this quick! Rider is ALMOST about to crawl. Praise God. The time has come and I am SO excited for him as his adventure in this life is about to begin!! Every kid becomes an explorer as soon as they learn to crawl and I just really eat it all up. I think it’s SUCH a fun phase! Most people see it as a nuisance. You have to watch/chase them more. There is A LOT of dirt that they might try to eat. And there are a lot of things that are dangerous for them to get into. I love it.

Not the dangerous things. Ha. The FREEDOM they gain!

Yes, it’s more work for me, but I think it’s so much fun!! I don’t mind the chasing and dirt eating. It just means that they will wear themselves out and will take a good nap come the afternoon. So I thought I’d post these pictures quick. I took these pictures yesterday, at which point he hadn’t figured out how to get up on his knees. Although he was close.

TODAY. He got up on his knees and figured out two things. One: that he could rock back and forth. And Two: that he could crawl backwards. Forwards is next, obviously, and I don’t anticipate it being long before he figures that one out!

Watching them grow is the best. I wish I could keep them at age 1 forever. I’m about to have two boys within my most favorite age range ever. And I know I’m going to blink and it’s going to be over and they’ll be older. Savor it all mammas. As busy as I am and as much as I AM anxious for them to be older for certain things, I do know that this season will be over so quickly and I’ll be fondly remembering all the fun and not so fun things wishing they were small again.

They get big fast.

For now, I’ve had a new ‘wind’ of appreciation/inspiration in remembering and learning to actually be present. So today, I’m glad in the fact that my littlest man is learning how to become the world’s next explorer.

like dadda

18 Apr

Cruz loves trying on all of our shoes. He can’t get enough. Usually, he slips on my shoes because I have a million and they are easy to slip on and off. Today he got a hold of dadda’s shoe and walked around in them for SO LONG. Ha! Too cute. I love pictures of kids wearing their mom and dad’s shoes! And I think it’s even funnier when they are on the wrong feet. See below.

don’t rush

19 Feb

I always find myself wanting the boys, especially Rider, to hurry up and grow up. Not really grow up to be adults quickly or anything. But I often catch myself wishing for some aspects of the baby phase to be over. Am I normal for wanting it to breeze by sometimes? Am I a horrible mom for thinking that? Sometimes I feel like it. The truth is, I don’t really want them to grow up quickly. Not even one little bit. BUT, there are some aspects of the baby phase that I’m impatient about.

Rider will be 6 months old next week and he has YET to roll over. Well, he rolled over once. He can roll to his side and I KNOW he’s capable of rolling, he just has yet to do it. I definitely do not have a little rollie pollie on my hands. He hates tummy time. I mean, loathes it with a passion. Anytime I put him there, unless it’s first thing in the morning, he screams and fusses and cries until I move him. He’s rather be sitting in his bumbo seat or standing up in his saucer. He hasn’t figured out how to hold his bottle yet or sit up on his own either. He’s only belly laughed like, twice in his entire life while all other babies I know that are his age are laughing up a storm. I find myself comparing all Cruz’s milestones to where Rider is at and wondering, ‘What is going on?’. I find myself growing impatient and ready for him to gain a little more independence from me.

Yesterday, this thought process stopped me dead in my tracks. Someday- SOMEDAY- I am going to miss this phase so deeply. And I’m going to remember that all I wanted was for him to GROW UP ALREADY. How sad will that moment be? So, instead of worrying about why he isn’t hitting these milestones when the books say he should, I am choosing to RELAX about it already. Something that is very hard for me to do. But the truth is, I don’t want him to rush really. I want him to be his unique self and reach these milestones in his time and when he’s ready. No more rushing or pushing or comparing from me. I don’t want to look back and remember how I really did just wish the baby phase away. Yes, it’s hard. But it’s only here once. And then you blink, and it’s over. And he WILL gain his independence soon enough. And I’ll be wishing I could still swaddle him, cuddle him and that he couldn’t escape my embrace.

So, sweet boy. Don’t rush. Take your time. And when you roll or sit up or crawl or walk, I’ll be your cheerleader. And I’ll try to stop wishing this phase away and enjoy YOU right where you are at. For you are special, right in this very moment.