Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm Thankful

I know that writing out things I am thankful for is late, as it is now actually closer to Christmas than Thanksgiving, but better late than never right?  Also, just like I believe in telling those I love that I love them on days other than Valentine's, it's very important for me to purposely dwell on things I'm thankful for on days other than that marked by turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce.  You see, I don't really understand why, but I can be a bit of a negative person.  I hate it, but I'm always waiting for the other shoe to fall, the bad thing to happen instead of being thankful for what I have.  It's something that drives B crazy and it's something that I constantly fight.   So, here in this precious window of time while both children are napping (I say napping and not sleeping because Els is in her bed talking to her stuffed animals for a while before she sleeps)*, here are things I'm thankful for, in no particular order.

  • a man who loves me for who I am (and sometimes, despite who I am)
  • a little girl who is so full of life sometimes I think she might burst at the seams
  • a baby boy who loves to be swaddled and cuddled and who looks like his mommy
  • a mom who lays down her life every day for the people around her and is the best "juggler" I know
  • a dad who would do anything for his children and is a wonderful example of Christ
  • an older, younger sister who, besides B, is my best friend and probably knows me best
  • an older, younger brother who is witty and smart and going to be a fabulous doctor 
  • a younger, younger sister who reminds me that miracles do happen in front of our eyes and that sometimes God's answer to prayer is a resounding "YES!"
  • a younger, younger brother who lives life to the fullest every second of every day without exception
  • many other people I don't have time to list because children are waking up
  • children waking up
  • the gift of Christ, the gift of a perfect Son come to live and die so that we can know the Father
What are you thankful for?

(*I started this post one day and had to finish it on another.  Thus my life now.)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Miller's Birth

This little guy grows and changes so much every day, yet, 10 days later I still cannot hardly believe that he's here.  Finally here.  So, for potentially inquiring minds out there as well as my own memory, I thought I'd write his birth story before I forget the details.

It actually starts the week before he was born.  I was miserable.  I'm talking MISERABLE.  The way that Miller was positioned kept me from sleeping for more than an hour or so at the time and I was at the end of my rope physically and emotionally.  On the Thursday night, a whole week before his birth, I started having a pretty high fever that left me shaking and achy all over.  On Friday it got a little better, mainly through sheer will power, but reemerged early Saturday morning.  Also, when I tried to roll onto my right side, pain would shoot through my whole hip and leg, making me want to scream.  We had no idea what was going on, so we did something very uncharacteristic of us-we went to the hospital.  Long story short, what I thought would be a short visit followed by antibiotics turned into a day full of tests, including a CT scan, an overnight stay, and an IV of fluids for about 18 hours.  For a while the doctors thought I had appendicitis and I faced the reality of a possible C-section and appendectomy.  God worked wonders, though, and Sunday morning I felt a lot better, my white counts were up, and they sent me home with orders to rest and come back when I was in labor.

Then it was Thanksgiving week.  My whole family showed up and everyone except me was convinced that Miller would be born at any point during the week.  I was still very tired and in a negative frame of mind, so I went around telling everyone that I was sure that he would not come until the middle of December.  I'm pretty sure they all rolled their eyes at me behind my back, but I was beyond getting my hopes up anymore.  We had a very lovely Thanksgiving out at a beach house that my family had rented, complete with fried turkey, the best turnip greens EVER, and a two hour stroll on the beach.  But still no Miller.

That walk on the beach left me more sore than the marathon and all the half-marathons I've ever run put together.  I could hardly walk that night.  At 3:30 am I woke up crying in misery and pacing around our room.  B calmed me down and I slept fitfully until about 7.  When we got up and started to get ready for the day, I began to notice some mild contractions, but I was determined not to make anything of them.  They were all about 15 minutes apart and didn't stop me from doing anything, so told B, but we both thought that maybe he would be born the next day.  Everyone came over to our house for breakfast, and although the contractions continued, they did not get stronger or closer together, so we continued with our plans for the day.  My mom and I went to get pedicures at this fabulous place I've discovered and that relaxed me so much that the contractions nearly stopped.  "Oh well, " I thought, and we continued to a cute little children's store in downtown Beaufort.  After that, my dad and B had picked up lunch for us, so we headed back to the house.  All of the sudden, during lunch, the contractions picked up and started becoming painful.  I actually had to jump up from the table a couple of times.  After lunch I told my mom that I needed everyone except for her and B to leave.  Els went down for a nap and everyone else headed for Wal-Mart.  Around 2:30, I had the worst contraction yet and I let out a little yell.  Mom looked at B and said, "You have to go to the hospital, NOW."  I was so determined not to make something out of nothing, that it was God's grace to us that she was there to insist that we leave.  I don't know when I would have decided to go on my own.

We arrived at the hospital around 3 pm and Miller was born at 4:16 pm.  I had made the mistake of asking for an epidural when we got there, but was already asking to push when the mean spirited anesthesiologist was trying to put it in.  The nurses kept telling me that I couldn't push, the doctor wasn't there yet.  When she finally arrived, she asked me if I wanted to wait for the epidural to kick in or if I wanted to push and go ahead and have the baby.  That was an easy decision despite the epic pain, I wanted to have the baby of course!  In the end, I got no relief from the epidural.  Miller was born within minutes of it going into my back, so they simply took it out.  He had pooped before delivery, so they had to rush him to the side and suck his airways out before I could hold him.  I think I held my breath until I heard that first little cry.  He was fine.  He was covered in nastiness, but he was fine.  We were a little shocked to see that he had a head full of almost black hair and looked very little like Els, but he is a beautiful boy.  Upon examination of my baby pictures, he actually looks a lot like I did as a newborn.  We're looking forward to seeing what he looks like as he grows.

So, whew!  It's hard to believe that all of that happened over 10 days ago now.  I'm not sure when it's going to sink in that I have two children.  Thank the Lord for wonderful friends and family that are being so supportive right now to this emotional mama.

And thank the Lord for coffee.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Miller Ashton Magee
Born November 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm
7 pounds, 6 ounces

He's a snuggler!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Food Glorious Food!

Well, folks, the season is upon us!  A week from today is Thanksgiving and a month from that day is Christmas.  And while both holidays mean so much more than filling our bellies, I have to admit that the food that graces us at this time of year is some of my favorite.  Since little is going on in my corner of the world besides waiting and waiting and waiting for Miller, I thought I'd wax poetic on one of my favorite topics, pregnancy and non-pregnancy, holiday and non-holiday, alike, food.

First of all, pregnancy foods.  I don't really have random, crazy pregnancy cravings.  The only weird food thing that has happened to me both times is that I hate coffee from about week 6 to week 12 or 13.  It has happened both times and it's awful.  I hate the taste, smell, even thought of coffee for most of the first trimester.  During my pregnancy with Els, I wanted anything spicy.  B often accused me of sneaking crushed red pepper flakes into anything I could.  (Which was admittedly pretty true.)  Similarly, this pregnancy, I have wanted curry any time I could get my chopsticks on it.  Thai curry, Indian curry, Indonesian curry, you name it, I want it.  There was one week about a month ago that B politely asked me to maybe not make anything curried for a while.  Fortunately for both of us, our little town is inexplicably home to quite possibly the best Thai restaurant I've ever been to and I can talk him into dinner there more often than not.    (We're having it tonight!  Woohoo!)

And, oh, holiday foods.  To me, there are few flavor combinations in the world that can match the near perfection that is the marriage of chocolate and mint.  While showcased year round in the form of peppermint patties, it's this time of year that the chocolate mint love affair is given top billing everywhere from coffee creamers to dipped pretzels.  (Be still, my beating heart!)  Seriously, I can't get enough.  I don't really care a whole lot about turkey and ham, I mean, I eat whatever's there, but, it is the side dishes that get me.  Pumpkin pie, pretty much any kind of vegetable casserole, dressing (which I realize most people call stuffing), and, here comes the southern girl, collard greens - these are why I really look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.  Besides spending time with friends and family of course.

So, there you go.  A 38+ weeks pregnant lady talking for paragraphs about food.  Shocking.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


This past weekend, we went to the annual ball for B's battalion.  Here is a rare picture of just the two of us (well, three actually) all dressed up!  I'm 36.5 weeks pregnant here.  Hopefully there's not much more time before this little guy joins us on the outside!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A Different Kind of Trick-or-Treat

This is Els the cowgirl "trick-or-treating."  AKA Els chasing neighborhood cats.

The trick was on the ones she caught up to.  The treat was all hers!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Scripture memory.  It's all over my radar right now.  I'm really not sure that the Lord could make it any more clear to me that I NEED it.  (Although, I have no doubt that he could if he wanted to, so that's not a challenge or anything.)  Thanks Mom, John Piper, and Seeds Family Worship.  A friend of mine and I recently went in together and bought the Seeds CDs.  If you haven't heard of them, they're great.  They're verses of scripture set to music that is aimed towards kids, but, as a parent, I like them too.  Best of all, the verses songs get stuck in my head.  Not a bad problem to have.

Especially when the song is "Phillipians 4:6-7".  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Yeah.  Totally what I need to hear.  Over and over and over again in my head.  I am so ready for this little boy to be born.  I don't remember being this big or tired or unable to wear even most maternity clothes with Els.  But this is not my show and it's not about me.  So, I've been laying these worries over and over again at the feet of Jesus and asking for faith to trust that my discomfort is what's best for Miller.  Despite what I'm feeling, I know that he will be born precisely when he's supposed to.

Also, I'm nothing if not impatient, so waiting is always a good yet hard lesson for me.  There's much joy and excitement to be found in it.  Joy in the laughter, ever-growing vocabulary, and non-stop energy of my precious girl and excitement as I imagine how much more full life will be when there are two using the living room furniture as a jungle gym.  Or sitting in little boxes watching tv.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall, Where Are You?

I had the strangest dream last night.  We lived in the Southern United States and while we didn't get drastic season changes, it tended to turn cooler in September/October for autumn and then cold around the turn of the year.

Then I woke up to my reality.  That we live on the equator where it's still a blazing 90 degrees on October 27th.  Good thing Els' Halloween costume doesn't involve anything warm.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Go Dawgs!

Just in case you were wondering, getting a toddler and a bulldog to look at the camera at the same time may actually be impossible.  Aren't they cute, though?

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Look Forward To

Fall (Yes, I know it's October 22, but I live in the swamp and it's still in the high 70s and low 80s here.  No sweaters yet.)

Non-smelly newborn diapers (Even though I know that there will be MANY of them.)

Christmas music (T-8 days until we start playing it around here.)

Running (Don't even get me started.)

The occasional peppermint mocha (The closest 'bucks is 45 minutes away.)

Els' "I'm awake" chatter when nap is over

Hearing his key turn the lock at the end of the day

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More Than I Deserve

So, I have to be real honest and tell you guys that I've been throwing a big pity party for myself around here lately.  You see, this week I'm 33 weeks pregnant with Miller and I kind of thought that most people in my life hadn't really noticed.  I've given myself little pep talks about how he's a second child and a lot of people don't have showers for second children, I just had a baby 19 months ago, we have most of what we need anyway, etc., etc.  The last thing I want to be is needy.  I guess it's the raging American in me that wants to pull myself up by my own bootstraps, thank-you-very-much.  But this is not how God intended for us to live together as believers, a point that He wanted to make very clear to me.

Everything changed yesterday when I walked into my good friend's house for our weekly lunch Bible study.  I hadn't noticed the extra cars parked around as I tried to carry the food I had made, Els' booster seat and bag, while also trying to corral her into the yard and out of the road.  And then it happened.  Everyone yelled "Surprise!"  It was not Bible study, it was a baby shower for Miller.  I cried.  Hard.  Automatically, I felt so foolish and selfish for having spent the time feeling left out and overlooked.  And I felt so blessed.  They had made all sorts of delicious food and invited some wonderful ladies that I haven't seen in a while.  It was wonderful to catch up with everyone and have all of our kids there together.  As I opened gifts, I threw out the tissue paper to all the toddlers and preschoolers and they had a ball throwing it around and ripping it to shreds.  What a perfect shower for a little boy!

Later in the afternoon, while Els napped, I sat on my bed and thanked God for His ever over-abundant provision for me.  I am overwhelmed at how marvelous His grace is to poor, petty me.  The shower yesterday was a not-so-subtle reminder that He does see me, listen to me, and pour blessings out on me even when I don't deserve them.  To the praise of His glorious Name!

Thank you, thank you sweet ladies for yesterday if you read this.  You can have no idea what an impact on my life you have made.

"There was life before my life.  There was provision before my need.  There was redemption before my sin.  For the sake of the world, I thank the Lord that the truth's not contingent on me."
-Derek Webb

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Isn't It Love?

She may look like the spitting image of her father, but this girl is also 100% mine, declaring her love of cats on her clothing proudly.

Monday, October 04, 2010

How Can it Be?

Where has the time gone?  When did it change from June (the month it still currently is in my head) to OCTOBER?  While I'm quite excited that the temperature has dropped below the 90s (and even 80s!) here for a couple of days, it means that a precious little boy will be joining our family on the outside very soon.   This is partially due to the fact that I went to the doctor last week at 31 weeks and they don't want to see me back for 5 weeks.  5 weeks.  Oh government healthcare.  It's free, but sometimes you get just what you pay for.  Somedays, his arrival couldn't came soon enough and, at the same time, there are some moments where I feel like freaking out a bit.

My parents came this weekend and Dad helped B rearrange a bunch of furniture in the kids' (kids'!) rooms to get ready for Miller's arrival.  Now I have two rooms of the house that are in complete and utter disarray.  My task for the week:  create order from said chaos.  I know that I don't have to have Miller's nursery ready for him when he arrives, that he won't use it much for the first several weeks, but it will make me feel a lot better about things.  Especially with his due date smack dab in the middle of our two biggest holidays.  My sister is positive that I won't make it that long and while she was right about Els coming early, I am not getting my hopes up.  All I hope for is that he be born healthy and naturally.

So that's about it for now.  Things are entirely insane for B at work which means a lot of evening walks for Els and me while we wait for him to come home.  Our new double stroller is supposed to come today, so maybe we can give it a spin before it officially has two occupants.

Thank you all so much for your kind words and encouragement after my last post.  We don't live in a vacuum and it's so good to be reminded of that.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I have the opening line of the theme song for "The Wonder Years" stuck in my head this afternoon.  "What would you think if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me?"  Would you think less of me if I told you that I'm a bit overwhelmed right now?  The very last thing in the world that I want to do is complain about my life.  I have a wonderful life, I just feel like I constantly and consistently fail at it.  My days are filled with a very vivacious 19-month-old (today!) who is exploding with words and new things she can do.  As her mommy, I feel like I am always struggling with how to channel this never ending energy into positive things and teach her well about the world around us.

My nights are filled with an extremely active little boy who is sitting pretty low at this point which means lots of trips to the bathroom and middle of the night stretching.  As his mommy, I feel like I do a bad job remembering that he's even there until he kicks me in the ribs because my mind is so occupied by his big sister.  I am always putting off what needs to be done and bought for him because his birth is still so far in the future in my mind.  It is hard to believe that he could be with us on the outside in as little as six or seven weeks!

In short, God has been so gracious and generous with me and I want to do what He's given me to do well and I just flat out don't know how to.  But I want to.  I pray for my children all the time, I just don't know what else to do to put them in the right paths.  So, if there are any seasoned moms out there reading this, what do you do in the day to day?  Activities for a toddler?  Advice for handling the day with more than one?  I know that it's a broad question, but any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks for (once again) listening.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

This Guy

He has a birthday today.  He's not very psyched about his new age, but I rather think he keeps getting better, so I say, bring on those big(ger) numbers.  It's all relative anyway, right?

Eight years ago today, my family was right smack dab in the middle of Grace's adoption.  On that day, September 14, 2002, the social worker who was writing our home study was coming to have family dinner with us.  It was a rainy Saturday.  For my part, I made a chocolate chip cookie and whipped cream dessert.  She came, we had dinner and she went. But there was dessert left over.  Later on that evening, my little brother and some of his friends came over along with a couple of the youth workers from the church where he went to youth group.  I was excited because one of said youth workers was Brian, a guy I had met a couple of times and I thought he was really good looking and interesting.  And low and behold, it was his birthday!  The guys put candles in the rest of the chocolate chip cookie dessert I had made and we all sang "Happy Birthday" to him.

Two weeks later we went on our first date.

And I've made him birthday cakes ever since then.

Happy Birthday Babe!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Ever Exciting Life of Els

Learning to love on babies
I may be a bit biased, but do they come any cuter than this?
The final voyage of Wanda the Honda
This girl loves to wear my shoes
"Don't even think about touching this spoon, Mommy.  I can feed myself!"
She loves muffins.  Especially when they have chocolate chips in them.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Sometimes I need a gentle reminder of what's important.  Today has been a very "Martha" day for me.  We had Bible Study at our house at lunchtime and I spent the morning in a semi-frenzy getting ready for it.  (I am nothing if not a procrastinator.)  Els ends up with the short end of the stick on these days because I do things to keep her occupied and out of my way mostly which leaves us both frazzled.  She had a mini breakdown about 15 minutes before people were supposed to arrive and I stuck her in her bed to cool off while I finished preparations for lunch.

Then it hit me.

Where was the love in this situation?  All that my 18-month old wanted was my attention.  Me.  Not what I can do.  I could have my house looking spotless and lunch tasting delicious, but if it's at the expense of love, it means nothing.  Well, then Bible Study came and went and was wonderful, but I forgot the little lesson God began in my heart beforehand.  Els and I walked out to get the mail before nap time and as we were walking back through the yard I heard her behind me say, "Sit."  And she did.  Right in the dirt in her pretty dress.  It was a not so subtle reminder to me that she wanted to spend time with her Mommy.  (Also, it was quite possibly the cutest thing I've seen in a while.)  My heart was melted.  I sat for 15 minutes or so and she ran around picking up various treasures (dead flowers, leaves, shells, hand-fulls of dirt) and bringing them back to me.  We had the best time.

She is priceless and I have this one life to live with her.  I am immensely blessed indeed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What's in a Name

For some reason, though most of you know it, I've never written Els' actual name on this blog.  I felt like it was some small measure of internet security, but I put so much other stuff about us on here, I don't know why it mattered.  And now I'm faced with a dilemma because baby #2 doesn't have a name that so easily lends itself to a blog nick-name.  So here goes with the names.

She is Eliana (the Lord has answered).

He is Miller (my maiden name).

There you go.

Labor of Love

It's been a long time coming, but B made us a bed!  He has always joked with me about how he can make me anything I need, and in this case, he did.

Please note the little head popping up on the far side.  She loves that the side rails also double as footholds that she can now use to successfully climb up on our bed by herself.

Language of the Soul

Since May, I have had the pleasure of being in a book club with some of the most encouraging ladies I've ever known.  We meet every two weeks to talk about classical literature but I leave every time encouraged as a believer, as a mother, and just as a person in general.  Right now we are right smack dab in the middle of John Milton's Paradise Lost.  It's Milton's fleshed out version of the fall of Satan and subsequent fall of man written in epic poem version.  And it's gorgeous.  We spent some time tonight talking about how sometimes poetry can say things in such ways as to make them make more sense than prose.

The same is true for all of the arts, I think.  Whether a painting, a poem, a song, or other art form, I believe that they reach different parts of us than mere words.  They speak a language of their own and differently to each one of us.  They are the languages of the soul.  It was actually happy coincidence that we talked a bit of this tonight because I was thinking about it in regard to music last night.  B and I watched the movie, "The Soloist", and it was incredible.  It is the true story of a LA Times reporter who befriends a homeless man who is a musical prodigy.  There is this one beautiful scene in the movie where Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, the homeless musician, is presented by the reporter with a cello for the first time in many years.  Mr. Ayers sits down on a makeshift stool on the side of the road and begins to play.  And the look on his face as his bow glides across the strings!  He's hearing the language of his soul for the first time in years.  And I knew that look because I know that language too.  I was almost in tears.  Jamie Foxx should have won an Oscar for that scene alone.  

Maybe everyone's like this and I just don't know it, but songs speak to me in ways that nothing else can.  Music makes me feel alive.  What an incredible gift!

What makes you feel alive?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Love Songs

I don't know why, but today, as I was making chocolate chip cookies, I was thinking about my favorite love songs.  Maybe because making any kind of "dessert" makes me think of my dessert-loving Marine, or maybe it's because I'm a total sap and I love love songs.  Either way, I thought that I'd share with you my short list of favorite love songs.  In no particular order, here they are:

Forever by Ben Harper
Kingdom Come by Coldplay
Springtime Indiana by Sandra McCracken
One by U2
You Are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne

Not exhaustive, but it's a start.  And, random, I know, especially with all else going on in our lives right now.

What are some of your favorites?

"Never been good with my thoughts and even worse with my words, but you read like familiar poetry that I have never heard..." -Sandra McCracken

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Girl and Me

We look alike, right?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Boy Oh Boy!

So, as you may have guessed from the title, baby #2 is a boy!  We found out yesterday morning.  To be really honest, before we found out, I was nervous about the possibility that it was a boy because, well, I have no idea what to do with a boy and my mom says that they'll break your heart one day.  However, since we found out, I have been absolutely thrilled about this new little man.  He's so active and, even though it's an ultrasound picture, he looks like his big sister already.

Also, we found out that he's due 9 days earlier than we thought.  November 30 here we come!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Milton's Blindness

I've never much for poetry.  I mean, I love it, but I don't always get it and I cannot write it as much as I wish that I could.  Recently, a friend shared this poem with me and the last line speaks to me as much as a whole book of poetry could.

On His Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent
E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide,
Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, least he returning chide,
Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd,
I fondly ask But patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts, who best
Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State
Is Kingly.  Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o're Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and waite.

-John Milton (emphasis mine)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sometimes the Legends are True

We live on an island amidst a myriad of other islands, marshlands, tidal creeks and very near the Atlantic Ocean.  While our town is not the home of a Target, Starbucks, or even a reputable Italian restaurant, it   does lay claim to much beauty.  And where there is beauty there is always mystery.

This is where my story begins.

Cruising through the tidal "creeks" (read: rivers) many of the islands look the same.  Some are large and usually lined by enormous houses with lush green lawns and long docks to house their boats, while some are small and hold only a grove of palmettos raised a few feet above the marsh grass.  There is the occasional marina and the occasional sandbar where you can see the, well, uh, South Carolina "natives" in all of their lawn chairs and beer in the middle of the water glory.  Then, there is Monkey Island.  Yes, you read that right - MONKEY Island.  As it would seem just down the road (well, if you consider a tidal river a road and your boat a car) from our house lies the only free range monkey colony in the United States.  There, about 5000 monkeys live on a beautiful, lush 400 acre island accessible only by boat and ringed with "No Trespassing" signs.  The story goes that they are "grown" for research and that about 500 a year are harvested for these purposes.

Since last month, we have been on "Monkey Quest 2010" just about every weekend, trying to catch a glimpse of said monkeys.  On Father's Day weekend, we saw several but they were too far back in the trees to get a good picture of them.  While my lawyer husband assures everyone aboard that trespassing is only a misdemeanor and that he's not even sure what statute they could prosecute us under, none of us has yet to set foot on the island.  I'm fine not even having a misdemeanor, much less not being attacked by wild monkeys.  This past weekend, we had a little better luck.  While trying to crank the boat back up, (I'll spare the details of potentially being stuck in the middle of nowhere on a boat with two tired and hungry toddlers.  That's a whole other post in and of itself.) we noticed that a curious little fellow had climbed to the edge to observe our potential demise.  Behold:

Although we were tempted to see if the little guy could work our a tow for us, we did eventually get the boat cranked thanks to the mad McGuyver-like skills of the men with us, but we got a good picture of a monkey at last.  I am nearly positive that we'll be back.  Finding monkeys has become a minor hobby/obsession for B these days.  

So, there are monkeys in South Carolina.  Who knew?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Our Little Family

Thanks to the super-talented Mr. Jeremy Patat for this little gem of a family photo!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's Been Way Too Long

Since I've posted pictures of my girl!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Even Me

Oh, I'm quickly becoming one of "those" bloggers.  You know, the ones who just post about once a month, but to tell you the absolute truth, I'd blog a whole lot more often if I could hold a coherent thought in my head for more than 20 seconds.  My mom says that you lose brain cells with each child, but I think this baby growing inside me is taking more than his/her fair share.  Maybe I'm growing some sort of child prodigy!

Anyway, I listen to a lot of John Piper these days.  If you don't know who he is, he is the pastor of a church in Minnesota who is without a doubt the most passionate person I've ever heard speak the Word of God.  You can find all of his sermons here for free.  I can't overstate how much this man loves the Word or how strongly God has used him in my life to get into the Word and love it.  So, long story short, here is the only thing I can think of to write today.

I am the worst sort of person.  Now, real quick, before you start thinking "Oh, no you're not" or, "she's just fishing for complements, hear me out.  I carry guilt about a whole host of things.  Mainly the fact that I have a master's degree that we're still paying off, I've never used it.  I am secretly proud about so much and I have a growing fear that I've walked around for most of my life like the emperor with my nose stuck in the air and no clue that I'm actually naked.  If you talk to me about faith, I will tell you about how the free grace of God has utterly changed my life, yet, I'm still so judgmental. Every Sunday during the corporate silent confession of sin, I confess the same sins over and over again.

But this is not the end of the story.  You see, the God of the universe sent his only son to live a perfect life, die, and rise again so that I can know Him.  Me.  The judgmental, prideful, slothful, guilty, scared of everything woman who walks around trying so hard to look put together.  Even me.  Don't let my futile attempts of cleaning my house and dressing myself and my family well fool you, I need Christ so desperately.  He alone is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  He did all of the work, not so I wouldn't have to, but because I can't.  Christ covers my sin which allows me to enter into relationship with the God of the universe.  He is the only source of love that there is and it is only because of His massive love that I can love Him.  Or anyone else for the matter.

The really good news?  He's for you too.

"Why should I gain from His reward?  I cannot give an answer.  But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom."-Stuart Townsend

Friday, May 21, 2010

What I Need to Hear Today

Sovereign grace o’er sin abounding!
Ransomed souls, the tidings swell;
’Tis a deep that knows no sounding;
Who its breadth or length can tell?
On its glories,
Let my soul for ever dwell.

What from Christ that soul can sever,
Bound by everlasting bands?
Once in Him, in Him for ever;
Thus the eternal covenant stands.
None shall take Thee
From the Strength of Israel’s hands.

Heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus,
Long ere time its race begun;
To His name eternal praises;
O what wonders love has done!
One with Jesus,
By eternal union one.

On such love, my soul, still ponder,
Love so great, so rich, so free;
Say, while lost in holy wonder,
Why, O Lord, such love to me?
Grace shall reign

-Sovereign Grace O'er Sin Abounding by John Kent

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mothering: What I've Learned So Far

Wow.  That title kind of sounds like I'm writing a memoir or something, but it's the best I could come up with.  But, I digress.  First of all, I want to say that I am by no means an expert, nor do I make that claim.  If anything, parenting makes me feel dumber by the day.  I've only done this blessed of all jobs for almost 15 months now, but as I scrambled to get chores done during Els' morning nap today, I began thinking about advice people gave me at one of the showers before she was born.  One woman's advice in particular is the piece that I come back to over and over in my mind.  She said, "Stop reading parenting books now.  I decided when my first child was born to mother just like my mother did.  To just love my children and rock them to sleep."  (My paraphrase.)

The first major thing I've learned is to stop comparing myself and my child to others.  While that sounds like the high road, it's mainly so that I don't go crazy.  Which I did for a long time, reading other mom's facebook statuses about how their child slept 14 hours straight at 6 weeks or how they had lost all of the baby weight by that time too.  Neither were true for us and I spent a long time feeling like a terrible mother and a terrible person because of those facts.  So, I decided to stop comparing and start enjoying my little girl for who she is and come to grips with myself as a mother.  (Which meant, among other things, carrying around extra weight for months. And months.)  Since I have decided this, I have been so much happier.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned about bringing up a baby so far is to not get too comfortable in any stage because, as soon as I do, it's going to change.  In the first year, Els would sleep through the night for two weeks and then stop for a month.  She would nap well for a month and then scream through naps for three weeks.  Now, it tends to be food that we cycle through stages with.  She loves bananas at breakfast and hates them at lunch time.  She gobbles down what we have for dinner one night and won't touch it for lunch the next day.  You get the point.  B reminds me all the time that she's just a little person.  He says, "You don't always sleep good do you?  We don't always want to eat the same thing for every meal.  Why should we expect Els to be a little robot and do the same things all the time?"  He's so great at common sense.  

Last, (for now because this is getting long) is never say never.  It's something my mom has always told us.  Right now, that mainly refers to feeding Els as well.  I never wanted to be the parent that fed her children hot dogs and mac-n-cheese.  Oh boy, but if that's the only thing I can get this crazy girl to eat, that's what I feed her.  One day, she'll like "good" food.  And at some meals now, she does.

So, there are my three cents for now.  Most of all, I've learned to cling to my Heavenly Father through all of this.  He's the only way to make it through any day and parenting makes that highly evident.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What to Say?

First of all, I'm up entirely too late.  B is doing work and it's always been very hard for me to make myself go to bed, even if I'm sleepy.  I will absolutely do anything in order to keep myself up.  Ridiculous, I know.  Also, I still have to take a shower because I haven't had one since yesterday morning.  Yuck.  But, I am guessing it's about that time.  What time, you ask?  Oh, about time to tell you that our family of 3 will become a family of 4 in late November/early December!

While not totally unplanned, this little one was certainly a surprise to us all.  I'm feeling alright mostly.  I don't think I'm as nauseated as I was with Els, but I have my theories for that.  Mostly I'm incredibly tired all the time (hence why I need to be going to bed instead of writing) and working out is about ten times harder than it was even a month ago.  I am, however, sticking with it.  That is my goal with this pregnancy.  To work out as hard as I am able for as long as possible.  It just makes me feel better.  So far, so good, but there are still 30ish weeks to go.

I am trying very hard not to assume that this baby will be two weeks early like Els.  It's not working though.  Although my technical due date is December 8th, my personal wager is that the baby will come the week of Thanksgiving.  We shall see.

So, there you go!  We feel beyond blessed about the addition to our family.  We keep trying to ask Els whether she wants a brother or sister, but she has yet to weigh in on the matter.  She is too busy walking everywhere and getting into everything and pretty much being the joy of our life.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Buh-bye Blackberry

When Blackberries first came out, I remember thinking that I never ever wanted one.  I already felt like I was on a short leash with both a cell phone and email, but when you combine the two, I thought, you would always have to be available.  There would be no excuses.  However, the thing about me is that I'm not an early adopter.  I like to hear someone say that it's worked for them and they love it over and over again before I'm ready to jump in.

So this happened.  Over and over again I heard about the amazing wonders of the Blackberry and then, last June, I became an owner.  A user.  There's a reason people call them "Crackberries."  All of the sudden, I was checking it all the time.  Do I have an email?  A facebook comment?  Not to mention that B downloaded a ridiculously addictive game called "Ka-Glom" onto it which I played all the time.  I have not ever been one to play video games of any kind.  But none of these are the reasons that we finally parted two weeks ago today.  It was the price tag.

Let's face it, I'm a stay at home mom and spending $30 on my data plan a month just didn't make sense anymore.  (Or ever, really.)  I can check my email at home anytime I want on the computer, so all I really need is a reliable cell phone with good service.  So, kicking and screaming, I gave up the ole' BB last month when my plan was up.

We're experimenting with a no-contract cell phone right now that I'm not entirely sold on, but it works.  I do feel like I've set myself back about 5 years cell phone wise, but oh well.  I'm curious about how others of you handle the whole cell phone thing now.  Am I the only one [back] in the dark ages again?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Never Thought

That I would marry a Marine (or a lawyer for that matter.)
That I would live in South Carolina
That I would love South Carolina (well, at least parts of it)
That I would drink black coffee (weird, weird development in my life of late)
That I would enjoy weightlifting
That I would be a stay at home mom (and love it!)
That I could love a little girlfriend so much
That my heart is so black
That there is so much Hope.

Monday, April 12, 2010

This is 6 Days Late

April 6, 2002 was such a life changing day for me, I've already blogged about it before.  Since that post was mainly about Grace, I thought I'd expound upon something I merely touched on there.  On that fateful Saturday, I wore an off-white dress suit thing that I loved at the time but now can't believe I would ever wear.  I sang in the wedding of two dear friends and spent most of the reception trying to avoid a boy that I had broken up with several months before.  Most importantly, though, I was finally introduced to the friend of a close friend that I had heard a lot about.  Brian Magee, I finally met the famous Brian Magee and the name had a face.  A face that, at that time, was framed by shaggy hair and a goatee, the combination of which made me think that he was a lot older than me.  Too old for me, so, on that day, I never gave him a second thought.

Skip a month, to late May, when in the frenzy of getting ready to go out with my best friend from high school, I met this guy again.  In my parent's basement, watching a movie with my brother.  This time, his head was shaved, but the goatee still remained.  I remember thinking that he was good looking and maybe not as old as I had previously thought.

Fast forward a wonderful trip-filled summer to my first semester at UGA.  Oh, there were new guys everywhere, but I kept running into one in particular that seemed different to me.  Brian Magee.  And, as it turned out, we are the same age.  (Well, 7 months apart, but same "grade.")  He was handsome, intriguing, interesting, and pretty much unlike anyone I'd ever met.

We started dating that fall and the rest, as they say, is history.

"You turned me into somebody loved..."  -The Weepies

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

People I Know

Today my heart just aches for people I know.  People I REALLY know.  The people I don't have to explain myself to or wonder if they like me.

Suprise! You're Still a Runner

That's what I found out at the race on Saturday.  I wasn't sure.  I've only dabbled in running since Els was born.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Since I found out I was pregnant with her, just short of two years ago.  I certainly have not trained for anything.  But, lo and behold, I ran a pretty respectable (to me-I was still just 10th in my age group) time at the Beaufort Twilight Run and, afterwards, fun was had by all.  I'm pretty sure I owe if all to Uncle Tony, as my sister and I refer to him.  Still, I don't do P90X everyday, just 3 or 4 days a week with 1 or 2 runs mixed in there.

All that to say, I've caught the bug now.  I want to do more races.  The thing that I really love about racing is the people.  Just like any other big event, races bring out all sorts of folks.  There are the seriously trained, you-know-before-the-race-starts-that-they're-gonna-be-first-or-second people.  They're usually on mile two of their warm-ups as I cruise into the parking lot, finishing my last gummy worm.  There's the dress ups.  You know, the people wearing Batman costumes, or American flag spandex shorts.  At this race there was a whole group of dudes wearing button up tiger print shirts.  (Side note; one time, the picture company got my race number mixed up with the guy dressed up like Batman's and I got his race pictures in the mail.)  There are the women in full make-up and jewelry, the growing number of people with iPods, and the pre-pubescent boys who sprint for 400 meters and then walk over and over again but still end up averaging 6:30 miles.  The most disturbing (to me) people are the race t-shirt wearers.  No, not previous race t-shirts, the race they're currently running's t-shirt.  There is no bigger race party foul.  You don't wear the shirt 'til you've crossed the finish line, people.  It's a badge of honor. 

Anyway, I wrote and meant to post this a whole week ago, but I've been away from the computer.  I got my race pictures by email two days ago and will not be ordering any.  Running pictures of me have always been disgusting.  But I still want to keep running and getting better.  Pictures or not.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rambling Thoughts

Two years ago, I remember thinking about how I was loving "spring forward" for the first time ever.  I was working at the Classic Center in Athens and it was a beautiful morning.  Never have I had an appreciation for this phenomenon like I do now.  That is because spring forward equals it's 8:30am and Els is still snoozing.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love that girl more than anything, but making and drinking my first cup of coffee without her begging for puffs and bananas ('nanas') is something I could get used to. Something tells me that she'll adjust sooner or later and this blissful hour will end.  (Or, I'll have to get up earlier to have it, and if you know me, you're not holding your breath for that one. ha.)

Onto other things.  We are mildly settled back into life again.  B is in the job that he'll hopefully do for a year before he is moved again.  The wedding shower that my sister, mom, and I hosted this past weekend was a success.  Not the kind of success where there are a lot of people there, but the kind where there are people that love each other together and everyone has a great time.  We had a blast with the bride and groom for the whole weekend.  I just wish I was better with taking pictures.

And speaking of, Els had her one year photo shoot with the very talented Cindy Streams.  I can't wait to see the finished product.  She was her little stoic self at the beginning, but then warmed up and gave us some priceless faces.  That girl has a mind of her own.  Heaven help me.  

Tomorrow, I will begin my second Bible Study of the year and I'm way too excited about it.  Also, on a total whim, I'm running an 8K this weekend.  It's in the evening and is followed by an oyster roast, so it should be a good time even if I'm not close to prepared to race 4.9 miles.

Whew!  Well, enough about me.  How about you?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

This and That

Ours is a bit of a revolving door these days.  Whether it's us leaving or others coming, we haven't had a "regular" weekend since January.  This leaves me either cleaning furiously or packing hurriedly on all but a  few days of the week.  And the events, oh the events, they are wonderful, but my mother and I are planning several of them this spring.  There was Els' birthday last weekend, a wedding shower next weekend, and an upcoming family reunion in April.  Also in the mix are several weddings which we are happily not planning.  (This year at least.)

Don't get me wrong.  I love planning, I love cooking, and, well, I don't really mind cleaning.  I relish being in a house full of people that I love, but it all goes by so fast, like flashes before my eyes.  Life at this pace doesn't leave a lot of time for reflection and certainly less time for blogging.  So, I guess I'm writing about it today because I want to enjoy all of this "together" time.  I want to be able to hit the pause button and have meaningful conversations with everyone I see.  I want to be able to write for you what I'm learning through it all, I'm just not sure what that is right now.

In addition, B is going through some crazy changes at work.  He jokes that he feels like a ping pong ball, hit back and forth by the whims and purposes of the powers that be.  I tend to think of his work situation as a roulette wheel where he's the ball.  Where will he land when the wheel stops turning? (4? 8? 15? 16? 23? 42?, but I digress...)

As I pondered all of this before going to sleep last night, the thought occurred to me, "What if I really believed that a loving God was in control of all this?  I mean REALLY in control.  How would I live?"  A lot more confidently, I think.  So, that's my prayer for our little family right now.  That we would learn to live confidently because of a loving God that has us hemmed in, behind and before.
P.S.  I love this shot of my girl on her birthday.  At one you're still unafraid to show how you feel.  Even at your birthday party!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Girl is One

She had a blast yesterday, eating cake, opening presents (and playing with boxes), and generally being the center of attention.  It was great.

I just can't believe that I have a toddler!

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Children

Because they're so darn cute! Also, it's snowing here! It's dark, so I hope that there's still enough around for pictures in the morning!

Monday, February 08, 2010

In My Head Today

No day in my life has past
That hasn't proved me guilty;
Prayers are uttered too fast
From a heart that's cold and empty.

Oh blessed Jesus,
May we find a covert in Thy wounds;
Though our sins, they rise to meet us,
How they fall next to the merits of you.

Oh, all in me calls for this,
It calls for my rejection;
This heavy unrighteousness,
Oh, is there no protection?

My best services are rags;
My best deeds are filthy.

Grant me hear Thy shoring voice,
That in Thy wounds is pardon;
Grant me see Thy willing choice
To make my hard heart softened.

Keep the broken-hearted sure,
Clinging to Thy cross, our cure.

Oh blessed Jesus,
May we find a covert in Thy wounds;
Though our sins, they rise to meet us,
How they fall next to the merits of you.

-"A Prayer for the Broken Hearted"

Saturday, February 06, 2010

New Favorites

It's been a while since I've done a "favorites" post, so here goes. Flavors of the month include:

*Lost-It's back. I can hardly contain my excitement, even if I'm more than a little confused at this point. Locke is such a good villain, I kind of wish that he had been a bad guy earlier.
*Saltine crackers-I had really forgotten how much I liked these until I got sick a couple of weeks ago and B brought some of these babies home to me. Els likes them too!
*Patty Griffin's Downtown Church-Amen, sister! I've been waiting a while for this one.
*The silver hoops that B and Els gave me for Christmas. Sorry, no pictures yet. I'm always behind the camera these days. But, they're from Aurum, so you can rest assured that they're awesome.

*Els' toy box-I have no idea what we did with all of this stuff before.

I'm sure that there's more, but that's a little sampling of life in these parts right now. While all of my friends north of here are experiencing cold and snow like never before, it's balmy and rainy here in Beaufort. Meanwhile, we're getting ready for someone special's first birthday. Can't believe it, but it will be here soon!

Friday, February 05, 2010


This girl is getting them this week. All the better to eat corn with!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Home at Last

On December 4, 2003, we finally met Grace. It was a really cold day in Georgia, one of the first we had that season. I remember this because Sarah and I had made "I'm a big sister" T-shirts to wear that day and I had to totally re-think my outfit the day of. (We also made Andy a "I'm a big brother" shirt. It was his first time being so.) Anyway, since it was Sarah and my job to coordinate, we had everyone (grandparents, aunts, siblings, future brother in laws, etc.) at the airport to meet Mom, Dad, and Grace a whopping 2 hours early. We stood at the top of the escalators at the Atlanta airport and watched people meet up after their travels. We ate Wendy's Frostys. We cried. If you've ever been at the top of said stairs at the ATL, you know what I mean.

Every time a new group of passengers started appearing, my stomach would drop a little and my heart rate would increase. Would they be in this group? We waited the full two hours and their plane was on time. Finally, we recognized Dad's face as he slowly appeared. And there she was. Grace was facing Mom, who was riding behind them, so the first thing we saw was the back of her glossy black haired head. She was wearing a beautiful red coat and black pants. I don't really remember the rest clearly. We all rushed forward and hugged and cried and took pictures. Grace was timid at first, but soon warmed up to us. (Andy had hidden a cookie in his pocket in order to bribe her in to coming to him-ha!) We got their luggage and headed home.

What a joyous and tiring night that was. I remember friends stopping by and Grace eating in her high chair (that Els eats in now at their house) in the kitchen. We were so happy to be at home together. Grace's forever family!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


A self haircut (just the bangs) and
some more coffee and
a chat with my sister and
an evening with my family and
a little of this
i'm feeling better.


it's because we haven't seen the sun in days or
my mom left today or
my almost 11 month old won't nap lately or
it's Sunday afternoon or
it's January or
all of the above


i'm in a funk today.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Journey to Grace

I can't remember the day Mom and Dad left for China to get Grace (sorry Mom). I know that it was towards the end of November 2003, because they were gone over Thanksgiving. They flew from Atlanta to LA and then LA to Beijing. They spent a few days in Beijing sightseeing and adjusting to the time zone (12 hours different) before traveling to Hefei where they would meet Grace for the first time. Hefei is in the Anhui Province of China, almost due west from Shanghai. The Chinese consider it to be a small town, but it is home to a couple of million people. Grace is actually from a smaller town outside of Hefei called Bengbu City. For whatever reason, the government did not allow my parents or any other adoptive parents to visit the orphanage where their children were from

They say that they hardly slept the night before they met Grace. Everyone from their travel group was supposed to meet up in the lobby of the hotel at a specific time the next morning, and everyone was there early. Nannies from the orphanage accompanied the director to the hotel from Bengbu City, bringing the babies to their new forever families. It's beautiful to watch the video of that morning because the nannies filed in the room, each carrying a child, while the army of new parents waited on the other side, half holding video cameras. Everyone immediately recognized their child from pictures, but had to endure waiting for their name to be called out by the director to step up and meet her. Dad video taped their meeting with Grace. The nanny gave Grace to Mom and Grace looked down as Mom held her close, beaming from ear to ear. After a few moments, Grace began to cry and the nanny gave Mom a cookie to give her. This quieted her down and then Dad got to hold her too, but she still had a far off look in her eyes. It is amazing to see her a mere two hours later in the next video. Mom had taken her up to their room while Dad finished up some paperwork. During that short time, she transformed into a happy, energetic baby eyes all aglow as she played with her Mommy.

They spent the next two weeks in China sightseeing, filling out paperwork, and getting to know Grace before they all came home to us. In the meantime, Sarah, Andy, B, and I had Thanksgiving with our family and ran the Atlanta Half Marathon. We lived for the phone calls from Mom, Dad, and Grace, listening to her coo and laugh over the line. These were the first pictures we got from them:

We could not wait to meet her ourselves.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Lots in Review

I'm going to interrupt the blogs about Grace's adoption to review the year, decade, etc. 2009 brought us one big bundle of change. Since we moved to Beaufort in December of 2008, I'm going to lump that into 2009 as well. Living in Beaufort has been hard. That's no secret to you all. We still struggle with friendships and where we belong a year later, but I am praying fervently that this year will be different. I mean, even if we still struggle, I am going to try and make a better effort with people and not let it get to me as much when they let me down. (After all, I let people down all the time, I'm sure of it.) The best thing that has come from this loneliness is that God has used it to (once again) turn my heart to Him alone for companionship and belonging. I don't think I'd trade a room full of good friends for that.

By far the biggest change of them all came in the form of a beautiful baby girl last February. I could gush for pages and pages about her, but I'll just say this: That girl has changed my life for the better in so many ways that I never thought possible. Parents are not lying when we say that we never imagined loving someone so much before our children were born. I had no idea that there was this much love in me. And, oh man, God loves us perfectly (e.g. never gets tired of our whining, etc.) as His children? I learn new things through and from Els every hour of every day.

As I sat at the breakfast table this morning, drinking coffee and feeding Els her banana cereal, I thought about this past decade. 10 years ago, I was about to graduate from high school and thought I would marry a guy who is not B. I didn't even know B at the time. So, in the span of a decade, not only has the world changed by way of planes flying into buildings, iphones, Lost, etc., I have met, fallen in love with, married, and had children with a man whose face I had never seen 10 years ago. A lot can happen. I don't even pretend to understand what will happen in the next decade.

I'll leave you with the cheesy, albeit true, text that my (not 7 year old) sister sent me on New Year's Eve: "I don't know what tomorrow brings, but I know Who holds tomorrow."