3: {21 Graces}

Posted by casey on January 25, 2013 in Weekly Graces, Writing Nook

Week Three
Friday January 18th – Thursday January 24th

“Cheers to Almost Having the First Month of 2013 Under Our Belt & Surviving”

1. Waking early before the kids -quiet.
(It counts as waking early still when one of your kids is up three times so “sleeps in” until 8:00 after his last 4:30 a.m. waking)
 Music instead of TV
3. The precise moment Colter walks in the door from work.  He gets a welcoming party every day. It is cute and relieving.
4.The excitement of a mother son breakfast date for one-on-one time and the hugs that showed his gratitude for the extra attention.

5. A clean, reorganized garage courtesy of 4 hours of labor.

6. Weather that allows for outdoor play (and garage cleaning) for the first time in over a month!  Cooped up toddlers were grateful as well.

7. Large coffees with extra shots of espresso to jolt us into awareness after being up all night with a coughing, wheezing Everett.

8. Going to the grocery solo.
9. Finishing a long ago started photo project, catching a bargain, and catching up on the boys’ albums!
10. 5 straight hours of sleep. Hallelujah.
11. Disney Junior
12. Husband picking up wine and not laughing at my grocery list of “Wine, Ketchup, Prescription”

13. Living in the edge & trimming my own bangs. Aren’t I so risky and adventurous? :)
14. Pretend play inside and outside with Caden and Everett trying to figure out what the heck is going on and giggling through it.
15. Running away for 40 min of alone time with a cup of tea at a coffee shop before bedtime.
16. Crisp, cool morning walk to get us all in the right mood.

17. Kiddie music.
18. A date night with a longtime friend consisting of sweatpants, take-out Chinese, wine, Pillsbury Cookie Dough, Blue Bell pints, and the Bachelor on DVR.  Does it sound like we just went through a bad breakup or what? Ladies night.
19. Everett holding my hand to the changing area and laying down for all of his diaper changes on his own and willingly.
20. Working on appliqués for Valentine shirts for the boys.

21. Going to bed at 8:15 p.m.

Join the challenge to find grace in your daily life with us!


Oh…So That is the Conversation

Posted by casey on January 24, 2013 in Writing Nook

I ran away two nights ago.

Wait.  Does it still count as running away if you have your husband’s permission.
Does it help if I say I did not have my kids’ permission? In fact, they very much wanted me to stay. Ok, does it still count if you not only had your husband’s permission but it was his suggestion and he pretty much shoved you out the door?

Regardless, it felt like running away.
A whopping two miles down the road to Starbucks.

I sat down with the intention of doing I don’t know what really.  Reading perhaps.  Working on photos perhaps.  Crying perhaps.  Then, thanks to the packed Starbucks and the company I sat myself down next to because it was the only seat open, I found myself using all my muscles to not giggle.

I didn’t even have to look, because when I heard “What multiplies by itself 5 times and goes into 32?  Let’s do a factor tree!”  High-schoolers.

One boy, three girls.
(Enter an immense amount of “subtle” flirting here.)

There was the conversation about wanting to go to church and church retreats and how they make you cry for no reason because they are just like so emotional and how this one time…at church retreat this guy brought weed so that he could flush it in front of everyone to show he didn’t want that in his life and it was just like…woah…so emotional.

Or, the conversation about getting your wisdom teeth out and how when you wake up you are totally mellow but you look like a chipmunk which is why the one lady wanted to wait because she didn’t want a fat face but all you can eat is soup…and slushies…and pudding…

At one point, out of nowhere and I am not entirely sure in reference to what the phrase “you are totally in a midlife crisis” was used and I actually laughed and had to pretend I was on the phone.  No my friends…I am in a midlife crisis and I sure hope it is a quarter life crisis because midlife would mean an awfully short life.

They covered cigarettes, eating fast food, bragging on themselves, songs, friends, the occasional academic mention, school sports, tweeting, texting, music and a whole lot my brain couldn’t keep track of as I tried not to giggle.  I failed.

 I laughed.
A belly laugh.
I remember those days and I wanted to tell that boy he might as well tell which one of the three girls painfully hanging on his every word pretending to care about things they don’t and pretending not to care about things that are driving them nuts he is actually interested in because I guarantee they all think they are in the running.

All I could think was, huh, it turns out that I’m not hip and with an almost three year old and a fifteen month old I am about as relevant to them as they think their parents are. I thought to tell them that today, I went to the store and came home with Tums, Icy Hot back patches and a bottle of bubbles. Go ahead re-read that purchase list, I dare you. I’m 28 going on 85 with that kind of shopping.

There is the laugh for you, my treat.
So I laughed because the realization could have brought tears, but why waste them on teenage nonsense that isn’t missed but wasn’t fully cherished either.  Eavesdropping in was so sad at the importance in their brains, yet so hilarious.  So, instead of crying, I laughed.
I mean laughing has the potential for an ab workout.
Think about that my friends.

Mama Kat’s Losing It – Writer’s Workshop


2: {21 Graces}

Posted by casey on January 21, 2013 in Weekly Graces, Writing Nook

Week Two – January 11th – January 17th
(One day I will be on time and post these on Fridays like I am “supposed to”.)

Cheers to focusing small and thinking big!

 1. The comfort of Prayer and the power behind it.
2. The timing of “Desperate” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.
3. Soundtrack to “The Holiday” filling our hospital room via my phone.
4. Soothing Everett in a bath.
5. In -laws who are able and willing to step in and step up in our time of need.
6. Headphones to stifle the sound of crying as you comfort.
7. Being listened to.
8. Washer and dryers. May they keep on trucking through our nonstop loads.
9. The feeling of laying down flat on a bed as soon as you crawl in, especially after not getting to do so for a week.
10. My chiropractor.
13. Reading to my boys and their giggles as we turn each page.
14. A touch of Valentine’s decor set out to start the day, and brighten the entry.
15. Snow! (And the quiet that comes with it)
16. Slow cooking dinners started early in the day.
17. Little boy mittens and gloves with touch screen adaptable fingers.
18. Adult conversation & goals set post kid bedtimes.
19. 8:00 am wake up call (after being up 4 times…but its better than a 6:00 am start)
20. Time for a properly set table.
21. Scotch and a German chocolate cupcake to end the night.

Join the 21 Graces Challenge  with us at www.jordylizblogs.com


The Perfect Picture

Posted by casey on January 17, 2013 in Snapshots

I know it is January 17th, which means it is well past Christmas time, which means that I should in no way shape or form still be sharing holiday photos but I can’t help it.  I just got the perfect picture off of my camera.

The tree…the PJs…that grin.  It is just too much.


1: {21 Graces}

Posted by casey on January 17, 2013 in Writing Nook

As I set upon looking forward to 2013. and re-establishing a sense of grace in my life, home and self (which has already been greatly challenged) an opportunity came to my inbox.  My dear friend and college roommate Jordy, sent out a challenge that would hold be a bit more accountable and public to retaining this outlook and molding my mind to the sunnier side of things.  The assignment – Reflect on each day throughout the day or at the end and choosing three graces you experienced, were given, or desperately grasped onto as the day passed and share one week at a time.  Already one week behind on posting, I didn’t want to just skip sharing last week’s graces before week two’s tomorrow as it would be a disservice to my purpose.

Cheers to Enjoying the Simple Things
Week One – January 4th – January 10th

  1. A new frame of mind for a new year.
  2. A peaceful cup of coffee alone at Starbucks while journaling.
  3. Laying with Caden and singing “You are My Sunshine” with him while tucking him in…and being asked to sing it two more times.
  4. Relaxed discussions about the future and checking in.
  5. An afternoon nap. Refreshing.
  6. At home movie date night post kids’ bedtime.
  7. A Mommy Son Date to Starbucks and hearing “Mommy this is a good start to the day.”
  8. Locking in overnight date nights on the calendar thanks to in laws who are generous with their time.
  9. An affectionate and affirming husband.
  10. Getting the bed made and a load of laundry started before needing to bring the boys downstairs.
  11. A doctor who takes calls, listens and answers questions thoughtfully, without rushing the conversation.
  12.  Soothing cup of afternoon tea to get me to dinner time.
  13.  Having a spouse who is just as involved all night during the start of your child’s stomach bug.
  14.  Spending an entire day on the couch snuggling Everett…even if it was because of the stomach bug.
  15.  Trying and loving the new Vanilla Spice Latte at Starbucks.
  16. Texting. While it has its annoyances it lets me make medical decisions for our family during work meetings etc.
  17.  The playroom I designed upstairs being put to good use all day.
  18. DVR
  19. Watching the brotherly bond grow as Caden patted and “took care of” his sick brother.
  20. Taylor Swift to sing to on a drive to the ER.
  21. Patient, kind nurses among a jam packed hospital.



Posted by casey on January 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

Yesterday we awoke to the surprise of another snowy day so it seems like a good time to share some pictures from our romp in the “white stuff” from Christmas time that I hadn’t gotten to yet.  We bundled the boys after breakfast and ventured into the yard to let them get a little snow experience under their belt.

Does anyone have an ice scraper? My tool box is lacking one so I can’t fix my car.

It’s crunchy…

yet falling from the sky…

but soft! What is this stuff?

Wait for me!

Cold, cold, cold.

Getting a glimpse…

a smooch…

and almost a taste. Yuck! (Really just feeling how cold it was)

Bundled Boys

While this was a day after the “big snowfall” on Christmas and had already been trounced all over by the dogs it was still a nice transformation for the boys to see.  Everett was all about being outside in it.  He could have stayed forever and did not care at all how cold his face and little hands were.  Caden on the other hand, wanted to go out, asked to go out, and after a whopping 4 minutes decided that it was just too cold.  We had to get our serious little man to lighten up a little and get him playing, but he ended up going inside to sit by the fire while we entertained Everett for a short while longer.  Two covering snowfalls and more to come is letting my kids actually know what snow is…now we just need to build a snowman for them.

One Day



Posted by casey on January 7, 2013 in Writing Nook

December brought on reflection, and I have been quite hesitant to write about that and the new year because truthfully, reflecting upon 2012 quickens my heartbeat and constricts my breath.

I lose my words and eloquence and jump around and well…lose it.

Most times when I think about 2012, I have no idea where to start.  I always work on trying to focus on the positive – the blessings, the fortune, and the love we received and gave in the year but overall it gets diminished by the harshness, the loss of friendship, and the staggering challenges that came to our family with Everett’s constant health battle since he was two weeks old.  (Disclaimer: Do I have a “healthy child” yes?  Am I thankful for that? Of course.  Does that make his  struggles any less difficult. No.)

2012 was a rough year.  It was a long year.  It was a year of great change.  It was a year we were very ready to wave au revoir to as January 1st approached.  There is a lot of heartache that I held onto this year over friends, family and life that I finally had to let go of and move on from.  It was too much to carry and let weigh me down any further because other factors were adding to that.   It was a year in my life where you expect those you hold dear to turn and offer you a shoulder, a tissue, a latte,a note of encouragement or shit…some Vodka as you battled the worry of your child’s health and the despair of postpartum depression from the worry and lack of nourishment brought on by this cycle.  What was not expected was the shoulder turning instead of the shoulder leaning.  It got tough and most of my support system got going.  I was heartbroken and I grieved as I wondered what else I could have done to make those want to support me in a time I so needed someone to show some compassion and understanding in what we were taking on, adjusting to and dealing with each day. It felt like give….give….give…give…and never recieve in return during your time of need. Was some of this magnified in my mind because of the despair I was feeling?  I am sure of it.  But not being able to be wholely oneself doesn’t allow much rationalization and only builds the sadness.  It was a year of lost friends.

2012 was a rough year.  It was a year of selfishness due to survival.  It was a year where house arrest was an understatement because an attempt to go anywhere with the impending unpredictability of our continuous pain filled crying would surely be the last thread to unravel and on top of at least one doctor’s appointment a week was all that could be handled by each member of this family.  So we stayed home. It was a year of making us first.


2012 was a rough year.  It was an ungraceful year.  I was without grace.  I was not fun to come home to.  The house was not relaxing to come home to.  Thank God my husband still came home.  I was not my best self I lost sixty pounds quickly after Everett’s birth due to his allergies restricting my diet and nursing ability – not healthy.  We slept in 30-45 increments passing off an infant screaming in pain the whole time for months and months and months – not healthy. I wept and wept and wept unable to understand and process all that was coming at me and us – not healthy.  It was a year of learning.

2012 was a rough year.  It was the year I missed my mother most since her death almost six years ago.  It was the year I missed my aunt since her passing just months prior to Everett’s birth.  It was the year I wanted them and needed them here for me, for the boys, for my family.  And so, it was a year of grieving.

2012 was a rough year
It was a year that only my husband gets.
A year that shut us in and forced us to grow, adapt and love harder.
The year that turned us inward to what is most important and taught us to take the road less traveled and hope for the best.  When the best didn’t come, hope again.

Were their blessings?
Of course.
Each other, our boys, our home, great neighbors, job opportunities, our extended families, friends afar and visits to them.

Were their celebrations?
Yes, our five year anniversary and Brianne’s wonderful April wedding.  It was fun to look back on all we have accomplished in the past five years of marriage, ten years of dating and fourteen years of friendship.

Were their good things in 2012.
Yes. I just have to think to let them come to light among the darkness that was predominantly felt by me.  A mental adjustment needed there for sure.

So, to 2013.  The year of positive attitudes, opening oneself to new opportunities waiting around any corner and being strong enough to stay strong no matter the situation, decision or news in hand.   A year for newly recovered grace.  A year for enjoying.  A year for love in all forms.  A year for continuing to being present in daily life.  A year for disposing of negativity and its sources. A year for getting it all together again. A year for appreciation shown and received.

 A year for being teachable.

Relieved for a new year, a new start, and new days to say “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice in it.”

 Happy New Year – 2013 we are sure glad to see you.


A Nonna & Pa Pa Holiday

Posted by casey on January 4, 2013 in Family

The house my in laws built and moved into the Christmas before Caden was born is pure magic.  Every detail in the design and each piece of decor is so beautiful and something I get to see and experience not only through my eyes, but through my children’s as well. There are laundry shoots that will be magical tunnels for stuffed animals and stained glass window accents in the guest bathrooms that surely take you to away to a magical land. Pa Pa’s study is lined with tall, deeply stained dark wooden bookshelves adorned with readings, textbooks and tributes to family in pictures.  Nonna’s living room case is stocked with her favorite minerals and pieces that without a doubt are dreamy gems to the boys.  The kitchen is expansive so we all can be in it cooking, eating and chatting without getting in one another’s way.  Caden already has “his spot” that he

Showing Pa Pa how to work his new tablet at his spot.

immediately climbs up into in the kitchen perched waiting for crackers, hummus, fresh guacamole or any number of other treats Carolyn might have in store for us.  Her vacuum is Caden’s robot, their coffee machine his bouncing dance starter and their backyard his paradise to roam.  The home a place they built obviously for themselves but for the family so we would all be able to and want to come and stay while is our home away from home, fifteen minutes away.  The best part?  Nonna and Pa Pa are inside.

Loving on Nonna after nap and dinner.

Listening to Pa Pa’s soothing voice and stories.

It is an amazing home for all of us, and at the holidays with all the twinkling touches

A stocking for each grandchild – nine in total!

it is a truly magical place for them to be forming such early, special memories.  We love watching the boys’ reactions as we drive to Nonna and Pa Pa’s.  It started early with Caden being younger and squealing or giggling when he knew we were going and getting closer.  Everett has reached that stage and he will bounce with glee in his carseat as he hears Caden declare “We are almost there! We are almost to Nonna & Pa Pa’s.
Are you excited Mommy?  I’m so excited.”

Taking pictures of Mommy from his lunch spot with his new camera. “Cheese Mommy!”

Since it is important to us to have Christmas morning at our home so that the boys

Nonna’s Santa gazing at the snowfall.

can relax and open their Santa loot while being with just us we traditionally go over to BIll & Carolyn’s {aka Pa Pa & Nonna} in the afternoon for an evening dinner and gifts and spend the day with them and Colter’s brothers who drive up from Houston and Austin with their combined five kids (five and under).  However, this year a change in plans ended up with us having Nonna & Pa Pa to ourselves and I am pretty sure that while they missed their aunties, uncles & cousins, those boys did not mind not having to share their grandparents.  We arrived around lunchtime so that we could nap Caden there and have more time to visit and relax throughout the day/evening.

Picturesque does not even do the day justice.  Right as we were pulling up the snowfall began.  In true Texan fashion we all (me mostly) couldn’t stop commenting on the snow and believed it would stop at any moment without much stickage or evidence it was even here.  Hours…and hours…and hours passed and the snow was still coming down, blanketing the yard, house, golf course and gustily blowing about.  Being someone who grew up with those initial childhood years and Christmases typically having snow in Ohio having a true white Christmas was wonderful.  Caden joined me outside for a moment before deciding that it was just too cold and he needed to get out of the snow.  He was mainly concerned that so much snow was covering his “playground”.  I mean really.

Watching and pointing to the snow.

It was beautiful and I went our several times bundled up to update my “documentation” of the snow as it continued to gather and pile on to every nook and cranny of the nieghborhood.  Since if we get snow here, we typically don’t get it until February or even March I wanted to show it with our decor and the special memories of the day itself.  Their first real Santa experience and a White Christmas!

Santa watching the snow beginning out front.

Caden’s “poor” playground.

The timing of the day was exceptional.  We got the boys there still in their PJs since Caden couldn’t take them off because they were “Just soooo soft and cozy Mommy. I love my new PJs”, gave Caden a light lunch while we snacked had a bit of play and discovery time and got him off to sleepytown pretty quickly.  Knowing we then had a few hours we took advantage of it being four adults and one lab vs. one kid and all got to relax, talk and enjoy the afternoon and a cozy capuccino to keep warm.  Everett went down for another snooze just in time for us to actually sit and eat without either kid. Yes, we ate Christmas dinner without them and it was glorious. :)

They both woke up about 3/4 through the meal which was fine because their plates were already ready to go and they were occupied eating and snuggling instead of being mischievous while we finished up dinner and conversations before gifts!

I’ll just climb the outside if you don’t mind.

Having time for the boys to play, rest, eat and giggle all without being rushed really allowed them to experience a full Christmas day without being overwhelmed or too exhausted.  The fact that it ended up being just the six of us probably helped since

it wasn’t that different than a normal Sunday dinner for us as far as environment goes!  Caden had been eyeing the presents under Nonna’s tree for weeks telling us “We can’t open them yet Mommy, just look.” So, he knew just where to go once he heard it was present time and even took to being the official gift giver outer which we will get to in due time.  A very, Merry Christmas Day was had by us all blessed with love, winter weather, finished conversations, thoughtful treats and time.





That’s A Great One

Posted by casey on January 3, 2013 in Caden, Everett, Snapshots

Santa got Caden a camera for Christmas and not too far from the family tree he fell wanting to tote it everywhere snapping pictures all the way.  As he sits in his car seat he takes pictures saying “I take a picture of you Mommy, you look boo-tee-full.” and other more traditional picture mantras such as “Say cheese Daddy!” He will be eating nicely or playing and see something important enough that “I need my camera, please get me my camera please?” comes out to capture the moment.

One morning just after Christmas while Caden was giving Everett a turn with his lawnmower {favorite present ever} he said “Daddy, go stand over there by brother. I take your picture. Cheese!”  Then, upon reviewing his work on his little screen he said it…

“Now that’s a great one.”
Life, imitating…life.
Made possible by Santa.

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