Friday, April 29, 2011

One Very Sad Day

Can I please show you the saddest picture ever? I mean, talk about breaking my heart.
We were at one of our Easter Egg hunts, and I went inside for a minute. Let's be honest, it was to scope out the food offerings. Hey, I'm pregnant and NOT throwing up so I'm totally allowed right? Anyways, while I was inside, my friend (and roomie) Esther came in and told me I had to look at my daughter. She was sitting in the middle of the egg-hunting-field like this.  I quickly ran out there to see what the problem was (and ok, to snap a quick picture because how cute is she?)

Here's what she told me: "Mommy, I'm so sad cause Nay said I too small to play wif her. But I NOT too small."

And my heart broke into a million pieces. Because all this time, I have been hoping I could shield Jayci somehow from the pain of being left out, of feeling unwanted. And I KNOW that's not reasonable. Or possible. But I was bullied pretty badly when I was in elementary school, and my heart still feels raw when I think of how many lies I believed (and still believe) about who I am and what I'm worth.

That's why, in that moment, I felt the pressure building in my chest: how would I respond? How could I show Jayci her worth and reassure her? But instead, I choked. One of her other little friends arrived right then, and she went to happily play with him.

Now I realize that really this is NOT that big of  a deal. Jayci is not scarred for life thinking she's too little and no one will ever want to play with her. She's two years old, and she is mostly pretty confident in who she is.

But isn't it true that the hardest part of parenting is the way it exposes all our own insecurities? The most beautiful and redemptive parts of parenting are also the most vulnerable and painful ones. Looking at all my shortcomings, flaws, and fears, and praying furiously that somehow Jayci might turn out differently than I did. That she might look at herself through God's eyes and not the world's.

There are so many things I hope for Jayci - I look at her and see this beautiful, wonderful little girl with so much potential. A girl who might be shy, but has a heart of gold. Who is smart, and funny, and silly, and loves to help others . . . And more than anything else I want for her to look in the mirror and see the same thing. For her to be secure in her identity as the child of a King. As a princess who is loved and pursued, regardless of whether or not anyone wants to play with her, or anyone asks her to prom.
I've been reading So Long, Insecurity and in the midst of writing this post, I stumbled onto this passage. And Beth says is so much better than I ever could:
"That, beloved, is our challenge. To let the healthy, utterly whole, and completely secure part of us increasingly overtake our earthen vessels until it drives our every emotion, reaction and relationship. When we allow God's truth to eclipse every false positive and let our eyes spring open to the treasure we have, there in His glorious reflection we'll also see the treasure we are. And the beauty of the Lord our God will be upon us (Psalm 90:17, NKJV)."

So as I parent, and as I stumble again and again, I will be praying this truth over both Jayci and myself - that we will KNOW that we are enough and that we will see the treasure we ARE each and every day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Random

I'm exhausted because I just went to about 12 different antique stores looking for something we can use for a vanity in our bathroom, and then I found one that I loved and Adam vetoed it. How rude. But now I'm officially going to need to stop walking around and rest my swollen ankles for a little while.

Anyways, because of said exhaustion, a list-style post is the best you're going to get out of me today.

1- We've been busily working (and by "we" I definitely mean "Adam") on this project that I hinted at earlier. It involves an old church pew that was basically in pieces. Adam has been diligently rebuilding and painting and sanding and gluing and so on and so forth. I can't wait to show you when it's all done!
 2. We also found these old egg baskets at an antique store (I told you, we're a little antique store-d out these days). And I REALLY can't wait to show you what we'll be doing with them in our new place.
 3. This little trooper has been coming "treasure hunting" with me all over every antique store in the greater Atlanta area. And she hasn't broken a single thing. Which I definitely count as a victory. She mostly just likes walking around with the measuring tape and telling everyone she says, "I just measuring fings."
4. In some news that is NOT related to antique stores and me being tired, I watched The Voice last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the dual competition of judges amongst themselves and contestants . . . plus I clearly enjoy a good singing-competition show since I am also faithfully watching American Idol. Did anyone else see it?

5. I have also concluded that Parks and Recreation is officially my favorite show in the Thursday night lineup. Hilarious I tell you, hilarious.

6. We are moving AGAIN this weekend. This time, back in with my parents because our friends that we're staying with are having a baby of their own and we figured they probably need a little time with just the 2 of them before "just the 2 of them" is pretty much gone forever. But have I mentioned that I'm TIRED of moving and living out of suitcases and moving and ping-ponging all over the place?

7. On the subject of babies and television (oh what a fabulous transition), my pregnant roommate and I have been thoroughly enjoying "Pregnant in Heels' on Bravo. It's all sorts of hormonal-rich-spoiled-crazy, always entertaining. Plus it makes me feel better about my own bouts of crazy-pregnant-lady (which are obviously few and far between. Ha).

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011

So earlier I wrote a post for work and mistakenly put "2010" as the year. I'm so stuck in the past sometimes. But it is, indeed, 2011 - the "year of new beginnings."

Our Easter weekend was laid-back, and full of family - just the way we like it. Adam's grandparents were visiting from North Carolina, and so Jayci spent the night with Adam's parents on Friday night, allowing Adam and I a date night, and the grandparents some time with Jayci. Win-win is what I like to call that. And because we are wild and crazy, we got an early dinner at Chili's, just beating the dinner rush by getting there right before 6pm. We kept commenting how glad we were we got there so early since the line was getting longer and longer. We were planning on going to see a movie after dinner, but ended up opting to rent a movie since we had the house (our friend's house where we're staying, not our own house) to ourselves, and besides, we were tired. Because apparently we are 25 going on 70. On the plus side, soon we will be able to take full advantage of the early bird and senior discounts.

Saturday we spent the day rummaging around antique markets and such, trying to find hidden gems for our house. We probably would have been a lot more successful if our budget wasn't approximately zero dollars. However, we did find a few things that I'll share with y'all soon. Someday I promise I'll post all these cool DIY projects we're working on. I wouldn't hold your breath though because it will require me putting my thoughts together in more coherent posts than this one.

Sunday morning, we got Jayci all gussied up and took her to Renovation Church - we also brought all our parents, siblings, and grandparents. We were hoping to receive some sort of recognition for bringing the most guests, but alas that is apparently NOT the point of Easter. But seriously, it was a beautiful service and they even had a killer Easter Egg hunt and bounce houses for the kids afterward. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of Jayci BEFORE church in her pretty Easter dress (which she only had because my sweet mother-in-law bought it for her), and she managed to spill red Kool-Aid and smear Cheetos on it at the church cookout. Because what church cookout in the hood would be complete without Koolaid and Cheetos?

We then went back to Adam's parents house for a delicious meal (and my family came too). And we were also able to focus on the real meaning of Easter - like excessive amounts of Easter candy and eggs filled with goodies. And honey baked ham.

It's really too bad she's so camera shy.



 Look! A picture of me with my TWO kiddos :-) Y'all have been asking for my baby bump, so here it is!
 Jayci is pouting because Adam said he was going to eat her chocolate bunny. He loves pestering her.
 Excited about whatever was in this egg. Probably candy. Lots and lots of candy.

And all that talk about the REAL meaning of Easter? I am so glad for the opportunity to celebrate the fact that we serve a Lord who has conquered death!

“Why do you seek the living One among the dead? “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”  -Luke 24:5-7

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hunting Eggs

So far this week, Jayci has had 3 play dates and 2 Easter egg hunts to attend. She has such a busy social calendar. Now if only I was as popular as she is.

The first Easter Egg hunt was with some sweet friends from downtown near our new house. We can't wait to be closer to them so we can hang out more. Especially Jayci can't wait, because she is slightly obsessed with her friend Ava. 

Painting crosses with Ava. Because somehow we need to get them to remember the REAL reason for Easter. And hint: it's not collecting brightly colored, candy filled eggs.
 So focused on the painting - I love that little tongue.

 By the way, getting a group shot with so many little ones is no easy feat.
 Examining her loot.
 Isn't she the prettiest little girl ever? Seriously.
This morning, we headed to her second egg hunt, which she was even more excited about than the first - now that she knew what it meant (umm, she likes candy).

Jayci has the prettiest friends, for realz.

Feeding the goats. Yes, they have goats - cool right? Oh and Jayci might or might not have been obsessed with feeding the goats. She gave them an entire bag of bread crusts - that's good for them right?
She's a little excited about all her eggs. But mostly she was excited to share them  - we only went home with like five eggs because she went around and put an egg from her basket into every other kids' basket. Proud mommy moment? Yup.
Eating with Wyatt, who she is also slightly obsessed with.
 Enjoying a candy ring - because what's not to love?

 Is he not the cutest thing you've ever seen?
 Look mom! I'm holding a baby!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Day with Jayci

As much as I complain  mention casually that the "terrible two's" are in full-swing around here, I actually (for the most part) am really enjoying this stage of life with Jayci. She's basically hilarious. And talks to me all day long. I mean, sure, sometimes I wish the noise-and-talking-and-incessant-chatter would just stop for 5 seconds for pete's sake. But usually, I am just giggling away at her, and trying to hide my giggles because any time I laugh she looks at me and asks "WHAT?" Especially if we're watching a movie and I laugh at something, she doesn't like being left out of the jokes apparently. She might get that from me.

She also sings all day long. My favorite is when she sings "The farmer in the dell" because for her, it goes like this: "the cheese stands awone, I am the dairy-o, the cheese stands awone."
When we are sitting down to dinner, or really anytime we are in a big group of people, she is insistent that everyone listen to her talk. She says: "eerbody, eerbody, I need to talk to you." And then once she has everyone's attention, she gestures wildly with her hands in an effort to explain whatever she deems important at the time. The whole center of attention thing? That one does NOT come from me.
Her favorite book to read these days is the Jesus Storybook Bible (which I HIGHLY recommend). She constantly requests to read "the Bible-book." And she brings it along in the car, and even sleeps with it. Of course I do everything I can to encourage this love for the Word. When she reads it to her animals and babies, she just says "SAID THE GOD" for every page. And then usually mixes in a little bit of "Are you my mother?" since she knows that book off by heart.
There are few things she loves more than helping. Whether it's with cleaning up, sweeping, vacuuming, laundry, cooking, or baking . . . She just has a servant's heart. Which is a trait she definitely gets from her daddy.
At this point she was telling me "no more pitures!"

I know that I really do tend to point out the difficulties of raising a two year old on here. But I want to state right now, for the record, that I LOVE being a momma. And I especially love being Jayci's mom. Because she is a delight and a joy, and she cracks me up, and makes me smile, and I am beyond privileged to spend every day with her!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Reminding

Sometimes I just need to remind myself . . .

Friday, April 15, 2011

Behind the Curtain, aka Plywood

We are slowly, but surely, plugging along on our house renovation. I mentioned in this post that we had some more setbacks. None of that was anyone's fault, just circumstances beyond our control - which makes everything all that much more frustrating. Regardless of set-backs, however, the house is still looking more and more like an actual home every day.

All of the windows are still boarded up, and we wont remedy that until we're about ready to move in. Why? Because all of the windows (except one glass-block window in the master bathroom) had already been busted and boarded over. And in the course of working on the house, we had rocks thrown through the one in-tact window, which means it is also now boarded up. Yipee. It's kind of a bummer not having windows to see what colors and things will look like eventually; but it's the price we have to pay for working safely and securely on our house.

Behind the plywood, however, there are lots of changes taking play. All the walls are up (wohoo!), the floors have been leveled (hey it's almost 100 years old after all), the walls are even primed and ready to paint, and as I type this, the tile is being laid in the bathrooms. I know y'all are DYING to see some sneak peeks of the progress (ok, so I might be overestimating your enthusiasm for our long, drawn-out process), so I thought I'd share a few snippets of the progress being made. Just so you actually believe that we are, in fact, working on an actual house and it's not all a figment of our imagination or something.

Here's one of the bathrooms with the tile all laid (sans grout). There's subway tile to the ceiling around the tub, and small octagon tile in white on the ground.
 This is the dining room. Allow me to explain a few things: 1-There is no ceiling because the ceiling in the kitchen and dining room are going to be beadboard, which hasn't come in yet. The rest of the house has completed ceilings. 2-We used tinted primer on the walls, which means they are basically the color they will end up. And yes, that is a bright aqua color on the walls. Adam encouraged me to stray from my neutral (or boring as he puts it) palette.
 This is looking into the master bathroom. You can see the previously-not-busted-out glass block window, along with the half-wall for the shower, and the light blue color on the walls.
Please note that due to the lack of light (because, well, plywood over the windows), these pictures are taken with phone-cameras, so I apologize for their lack of quality.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Winner: even though you're all winners in my book

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the Shabby Apple giveaway for this cute, cute dress. If the winner decides they dont want it and just need to give it to me instead, I wouldn't complain. Oh I kid.

Anyways, y'all left a grand total of 86 comments and I used the "random integer generator" to pick the winning comment, which turned out to be #24. And comment #24 belongs to "macnchut" :-) Who I just happen to know is my friend Courtney. So congrats Court! :-) Your beautiful new dress will be in the mail for you soon. Now you just need to move back to Atlanta so I can borrow it, ok?

Mommy-ing by the Books

The other day, I had about an hour to kill before picking Jayci up from school, so I paid a visit to Borders. Feeling slightly desperate about the constant battles I fight with Jayci on a daily basis, I headed to the parenting section and browsed through a few different books on toddler-hood and discipline. I looked for one titled "how to avoid public humiliation by tantrum" . . . but I couldn't find that one.

Isn't it true that the parenting books are super-confusing? Because you can read two different books by two different "experts" and they will 100% contradict each other. And anytime I read them, I always start feeling panicky and uneducated and filled with a sneaking suspicion that everyone else somehow has the inside mommy-knowledge that I am clearly lacking.

However, if I've learned anything in the past two and a half years of parenting Jayci, it's this: there is no easy answer. Parenting is a tough gig on the best days. And my only solution or suggestion is that you have to do whatever works. Because every kid is different, and every mom is different, and even every day can be different. I think that's why it's so hard for me to say that there's one book or one solution to any of the parenting problems we might face (be it sleep schedules or temper tantrums or anything in between).  Because really it all depends on your priorities, your kid's temperament, your own life-style and needs . . . And I have to believe that's true, because what we have to do for Jayci in this season of our lives (read: living with other people), is not necessarily exactly what we would do if we were happily settled into our own house with a more predictable routine.

Parenting is such a learning experience. I learn so much every single day: about myself, my insecurities, my strengths, my shortcomings, my heart; about Jayci, her personality, who she is, how she 'ticks', what she loves, what she hates, how stubborn she can really be. Even more exciting, I learn through parenting more and more about God and His heart. From the way I genuinely delight in Jayci, I learn how our Father delights in us and loves to lavish us with His love and good gifts. I understand His discipline when I have to correct Jayci, because I genuinely want what is best for her and for her to become the person I know she has the ability to become. I encounter His grace every single day when I inevitably fall short as a parent. And I'm reminded that it is that very grace that Jayci will run into when she realizes that her parents aren't perfect, but her Heavenly Father is. And He alone will never disappoint, never lose His patience, never fail her.

So today, I'm choosing to extend grace to Jayci, even when she's yelling NO at me and running away, or smacking me in frustration. And I'm also choosing to give myself some grace too. Instead of fretting over what this book says or that book says, instead of worrying about what other moms would do in this situation, instead of guilting myself for letting her watch too much television, instead of despairing over her behavior  . . . Instead, I'm going to rest in the grace that is sufficient for both of us. 

**The Shabby Apple giveaway is now closed, and I will announce the winner later today! :-)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Heart Faces: Shadows

The theme this week at I Heart Faces is shadows and I couldn't resist entering this quick shot from a wedding a few weeks ago. The weather was so perfect - I'm thoroughly enjoying it finally getting warmer! (ps - you can see more pictures from the wedding on my photography blog)
For more pretty shadows and creative shots, be sure to visit I Heart Faces this week!
And don't forget you have until Wednesday to enter the Shabby Apple Giveaway!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Down for the Count

We should just go ahead and rename this blog "the place where becca complains about lots of stuff." Kinda catchy right? And who doesn't like to hear people whine about things? Oh, no one does? That's right.

But seriously y'all, Jayci and I both have some sort of nasty cold thing and it's pretty much gotten me down for the count. Between her being miserable and not sleeping at all, and me being miserable and unable to breath or talk, our attitudes are slightly less-than-stellar lately.

On top of that, our house stuff keeps getting delayed and delayed. It feels like if anything CAN go wrong, it does. Which is discouraging since we feel like we're doing our best to be faithful and follow what God wants us to do, but it's just so HARD. At this point, we've been bouncing from place to place for almost a year. And I'm just plumb sick and tired of it. I want a house. I want my own space. I like to be messy. And I hate feeling like I'm imposing my messiness on other people. At this point, I'm pretty sure we've worn out our welcome all over the place.

Wah wah. Sorry I'm such a downer these days. I know you guys don't stop by here to read about all my woes. You stop by for my wit and charm and funny stories (ha). Sorry, I got nothing for you today.

So if you think about it, lift up a little prayer for strength for us and our family, because it turns out that being homeless and sick and working on a house is flat-tiring and hard on us as a family unit.

On a decidedly more cheerful note, don't forget to enter the Shabby Apple giveaway. Because free dresses are way more fun than whiny blogs. And that's the truth.

Jay's been helping daddy with a special project . . . don't worry, we'll share the whole thing on here soon!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Shabby Apple Giveaway

It's no secret that I think y'all are just the BEST BLOG READERS EVER. And I'm not even prone to exaggeration in the least. I mean just look at all your sweet encouragement and advice on this post. It totally made my day week. Seriously, thank you. And because actions speak louder than words, I want to thank everyone who reads this little bloggy with a super-awesome giveaway from the fabulous folks over at Shabby Apple.

Have y'all heard of Shabby Apple? If you haven't you are certainly in for a treat. They have a huge range of beautiful woman's dresses. Not only that, but they also offer Maternity dresses (wohoo), accessories, and the cutest little girls' dresses around. I mean, can't you just see Jayci giving me her sassy face in this dress? Cause I can.
 
I spent a large quantity of time perusing their site, trying to figure out my favorite dress. It's impossible I tell you, there are just so many to love. And they have this really cool feature on their website too called "fit to flatter." Basically you just answer a few questions about your body type and then they point you in the direction of dresses that will be most flattering to your particular shape. Brilliant, right?


Anyways, because I love y'all, I'm giving away one of their North Shore dresses. Which, hello, is just beautiful. A perfect springy color with pretty embellishments and a flattering fit . . . I might be tempted to make up another user name and enter myself. Just kidding, I would never do that. Well, probably not. But seriously, see how cute it is?

Here's how to Enter:
1 entry: Follow my blog and let me know that you do
1 entry: visit Shabby Apple and tell me which dress is your favorite.
1 entry: Spread the word about the giveaway via your blog, twitter, or facebook.
1 entry: "Like" Shabby Apple on Facebook
 (be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry so I know you did it!)

(ps - sorry to all my Canadian friends and family, this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only)
*This contest will remain open for one week and I'll pick a winner next Thursday!
**If you're reading this on facebook or google reader, be sure to click over and leave a comment on the actual blog post to enter!
*** The fabulous folks at Shabby Apple haven't just given me a dress to giveaway, they've also generously offered 10% off for all my blog readers! Simply enter the code: thestanleyclan10off at checkout.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'll Get Her, Crew

I fully realize that is now Tuesday and not Monday, but I've never claimed to be on the ball with the whole blogging thing and recapping weekends in a timely fashion.

Not to mention the fact that our days just tend to start all blurring together since Adam has been working most weekends on the house.

And also the fact that I cant even hardly remember what we did this weekend, which is a sure sign that it was probably pretty boring and uneventful. As per usual.

I did want to share, however, my very favorite memory for the whole weekend. Because 1-I want to remember it forever, and 2- I enjoy sharing funny stories about Adam.

For the past few weeks, we've enjoyed Jayci's much more consistent and lengthy sleeping patterns. She's even (knock on wood) been sleeping in until 7:45am every day. Hallelujah. However, just the past few days she has started the whole waking-up-all-night-long-thing all over again. Which is not only a bummer, but results in a much more grouchy momma.

Let me preface the rest of this story by saying that our friends who we're staying with have a fancy-schmancy baby video monitor that they received for their new baby.  But we decided we would like to use it for Jayci while we're here for one reason: there's a "talk" button, and you can not only hear and see your child, but can talk to her. And say things like "Jayci, lay back down. You're fine." Which normally has proven quite ineffective at anything except convincing her that she has a new phone in her room. It does work sometimes though, especially during nap times.

Anyways, Saturday night was a long night of getting up with her every few hours. Finally when she woke up at 5:30 or so, I nudged Adam and asked if wouldn't mind getting up with her this once.

His response?

He reached over to the monitor, pressed the talk button, and said: "I'll get her, crew."

I just stared at him with confusion. And I think Jayci was also confused, because she stopped crying and went back to sleep.

We decided he must have been dreaming about captaining a ship or something.

When I asked him about it the next morning, he had absolutely no recollection of the whole incident. And I would randomly bust out laughing all day on Sunday every time I thought about it.

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