The Boys Milestones

Lane started Kindergarten last week, and is very much a little boy with only a small trace of preschooler left. Little things like not having a morning snack in kindergarten, dropping his daily nap (he still does maybe three times a week), and his expanded vocabulary show his maturing. He stays on task much longer and is a big helper with Luke. He completed six months of speech therapy last spring, and the improvement was awesome! My friend Kalee is a wonderful speech therapist, and Lane looked forward to seeing her weekly. The highlight of Lane's summer was fishing. He gets this passion honestly--both of his grandfathers and his father love it as well. He would spend all day on the wharf with his fishing pole if he could.

He caught his first red snapper off the Fishers of Men with Pal, Pie, Holden, James, and Bryant Traylor

intense concentration

Holden is four, and is right there in the "middle" of everything. He likes to know who is doing what when. I can mention any plans for the next week or month, and he reminds me of them constantly. (I can't imagine where he gets this from, ha!) He also loved fishing, playing at the beach, and being in the action of whatever activity was happening. I am so thankful for Holden's love to snuggle and chill with me. He also loves to help me in the kitchen, and proudly makes the best rice krispy treats (of course that is the first thing I taught him!).

that face!! FOUR years old

love his enthusiasm

He wanted a Batman cake with Superman plates, always very specific!

Slip and Slide fun!
(side note--those balloons lasted about five minutes, so if you ever get them, have realistic expectations about their longevity around kids

thanks Kate! He is a candy corn lover like his momma

more fishing fun

Luke is a perfect caboose--full of spunk, fearless, and the ability to go with the flow (as long as he is not being left out!). He turns two in a little over a week. He has gotten very verbal, with his favorite phrases being "Oh Man!" at the appropriate destructive moments, "Come on Boys!" to his older brothers when he wants them to follow him, and "I eat!" as he has quite the appetite. He loves all things Daddy--riding around in the safari car, helping him outside, and watching cartoons in his lap. 
He is the first child that didn't cry when I dropped him off for the first day of 2k, didn't miss a beat. 
I want to freeze this stage as toddlerhood is one that is so easy to wish away--the being in diapers, stubborn fits, and nap schedules. But this go round, I am enjoying it all as I know it passes so quickly.
He does what I call the "chicken wing". He gets a little hop in his step and throws out his arms resemble a chicken. He does it on command :)

sand and water--perfect combination! 

this is blurry but depicts his "pouty lip" so well

First day of school--I told him to go get ready and this was what he came back with

swimming with his buddy Aimee

end of summer at Fishers

Luke playing with Emi and Ellie

be still my heart

three amigos

All right, I am sure only grandmothers are still tuned in, but I have missed so much so had to get it all in!!


Reading Review

I love to read, always have. This summer has been a great summer of reading and audibles. Has anyone else discovered the wonderful world of audible? I am a monthly subscriber via amazon, so for a small fee (seven dollars), I have one credit waiting every month for free. This is a big save as most audible books are from (fifteen-twenty) dollars. I have really enjoyed listening to books while running, on road trips (drowning out "how much longer??"), and before bed. I still use my kindle, my phone kindle app, and library checkouts. Some people wonder, "How do you have time to read?" For me, reading is the best way to wind down. I read before bed and on every vacation, especially tropical.

Cabo 2013

Bahamas 2016

Here are some that I have enjoyed this past year, in no particular order:

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes, Jo Piazza (audible)

Hope Heals: By Katherine and Jay Wolf (audible)

The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger (audible)

The Collapse of Parenting by Leonard Sax

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

Costa Rica 2012

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Bronner: A Journey to Understand by Sherri Burgess

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

These is My Words by Nancy Turner

The Lake House  by Kate Morton

After You by Jojo Moyes

Exumas 2013

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Water From My Heart by Charles Martin

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

Defending Jacob by William Landry

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

my absolute favorite place to read and relax is this view of Cotton Bayou

I am currently reading Emily Giffin's newest, First Comes Love and Liane Mortiary's newest Truly Madly Guilty. James and I are also reading Shawn Bolz's Translating God and the Book of Acts.

I get book ideas from random sources--my good friend Julie is a fellow book nerd (a true term of endearment), so we share recommendations back and forth. I also love Shay's book reviews from Mix and Match Mama. Modern Mrs. Darcy's blog is also a great source.
my book loving friend Julie 

If you were to ask me my favorite three of the above list, I would say: Water from my Heart, The Nightingale, and For the Love.

Are you a reader? I would love to hear your favorites!!


Hard Heart things

I have wanted to get back to blogging, but I have not been ready to be transparent, to really share my heart. Since my last post, my friend Molly went to heaven. She is battled melanoma for six months before going to be with Jesus. It has been Eight months and most days it still doesn't still seem real. I shared on Facebook a post about Molly and her ability to LOVE like Christ.
the day I got engaged 

Holden's baptism
(Holden and Rayne are so chunky!!)

Here it is:

We have shared that Molly loved others well and when she loved someone, she loved them in a big way. Her dear friend and roommate, Rayne Osborn, whom Molly loved so very much, has opened her heart to share about Molly. Molly and Rich named their daughter, Rayne after this very special friend. Rayne could always talk Molly into trying new things (like hunting days at the Roost) and they loved to celebrate with one another (especially births). Rayne, thank you for sharing your heart.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, and seeing red hearts around, I think of Molly. I specifically am reminded of Molly’s ability to love others so well. She showed her love by being present; never missing an opportunity to encourage or celebrate loved ones. I am also reminded of a conversation we had in August, one month after her diagnosis. I asked Molly how she was doing, really doing—beyond treatment and physical aspects of her new day to day. She shared that God was pouring out his love for her more than she had ever experienced. She said that even though the past month had been hard, she knew now more than ever how much Jesus loved her, Rich, and the girls. She sent me a text with the picture of her Catholic monthly devotional, The Word Among Us. On the cover it said, “Coming to Know the God Who Loves Us.” She said God was revealing this to her daily. Molly also talked about how God was using others during such a difficult time to manifest his love for her and her family.
The last week of Molly’s life here on earth, I was struggling. It was hard to see her in so much pain. I was praying for healing, and for her pain to cease. That Sunday night, I went to the Chris Tomlin concert. David Crowder opened, and sang, “How He Loves Us”. During the song, I knew Jesus was speaking of his infinite love for Molly. I knew he was allowing me a glimpse of his overwhelming love for her. You see, Molly and her Heavenly Father had a LOVE relationship, one that transcended earthly circumstances. Molly didn’t live in fear because she knew His perfect love.
1 John 4:18: There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts our fear.
I hope you are reminded today how much you are loved by your Heavenly Father, and allow His love to pour out to others. 
Molly and I always ended our phone conversations with, talk to you soon, love you. So I'm looking forward to our talking soon and experiencing His love together.
With love, Rayne
AGD Tailgate

Senior year at Bodega

Tacky Jacks
The pain of losing someone you love is so real, so hard. I have a new perspective, and lots of questions bubble up. What is really important? What do you cling to in a crisis? What are you doing to impact His Kingdom on earth? Am I loving others well? Am I putting my trust and faith in Jesus daily--with my children, my job, my marriage? It also has given me a more freeing attitude is some aspects. ENJOY your kids, your husband. Live in the moment--do that "thing" you have always wanted to do, take that bucket list trip, try something new, FORGIVE and forget, CELEBRATE small things, big things or find reasons too (Molly was great at this!!) 
Baby Luke's birth

celebrating birthdays at Hot and Hot Fish Club

at Holden's birth--Rayne is 3 weeks old
(Molly was smuggling in my push present she picked up for James!)
I really believed Molly would be healed here on earth, and even commanded it through Jesus's blood in her palliative care room.  I do know she has been ultimately healed. Bess, Molly's sister said she focuses on where Molly IS and not where she is not. 
Emi and Ellie's gender reveal

relaxing by the Bay in College
(we were great relaxers!!)

I know all of you have gone through the heartache of losing loved ones. It teaches us humility, the power of prayer, and most of all the power of Jesus's love to get us through it. 

Rich and Mols
dancing at our wedding
Her bachelorette weekend
(These are some of the most amazing strong women I know!)

I miss her every day. I reach to call or text her all of the time. But I rejoice as I know she is fully restored  with Jesus in heaven. No more pain, no more suffering, no more cancer. I struggled with not picturing her as she was the last week, and asked God to help me see her as she is now. I had a dream not long after. In the dream she said Hello, and I looked up at her. She was beautiful, face shining and smiling, and one of the things that struck me the most was her beautiful long hair. I said "Molly, your HAIR, it is Gorgeous! " She laughed and said "I know, it all came back so full and so shiny!". I woke up with a start, and cried knowing God was showing me her beauty is fully restored. He even confirmed this dream through another friend of mine weeks later, that also saw her with beautiful long hair. 
Thanks for reading, and I hope to continue to share. I have a few less heavy topics to post soon (my babies are not babies anymore!!)


We are still here

I think the wise thing to do is not to explain the lack of blogging and just jump into in when I can, so here goes....
This sweet boy turned one in September. He is the funniest little nugget. He is way more active than his big brothers were at this age. He is a climber and not afraid of much. As feisty and active as he is, he is also the best sleeper. He sleeps 12 plus hours at night and two naps a day- My kind of schedule!
He is talking a good bit-Momma, Dada, Dog, Out, More, Eat etc.

I don't even remember what this is from, but it made me laugh. Kristen, James, and I out and about. 

We have enjoyed a few fires on the porch this fall, but not many. It has been hot here in central Al. 

We had dinner at Ovenbird, Chris Hastings new restaurant in Birmingham, very good

The big boys attended several Auburn games, and of course loved it. 

He is a good daddy

This picture is circa 2005, nice pink beads huh?!
My friend Molly is battling Melanoma--please be praying for her. She started immunotherapy a few weeks ago, and it is rough. She is the most genuine, patient and loving person I know. She is a momma to three precious baby girls-Rayne (3), Brooks (2), and Bess (5 months)

Read this book if you haven't, good stuff

One year check up

I could eat him up

The boys are big into hunting right now, mainly because they get to hang out with their friends while doing so. Social dove hunting is my favorite too :)

We ran a half marathon in Chicago. It was harder than I thought, but awesome! We signed up for another in Seaside in Feb. Running with these friends has been such a God thing this season of my life. Hitting the pavement, discussing life, praying, and praising with these ladies is therapy at its best. 

We celebrated birthdays, including Foster Jones, Lane's best buddy. As you can tell from this picture, he feels quite a part of the Jones's fam. So sweet

 In October we took a mini vaca to celebrate James's birthday.
lots of fruity drinks

and fun with Maggie and Mitchell

selfie stick on our balcony

He celebrated Miami Vice style
If anyone is looking for a nice, easy to get to spot for a long weekend, I recommend Nizuc. It is ten minutes outside the hotel corridor in Cancun. Amazing service! It is also only an 1.5 hr flight from Atlanta. 

Fairchild turned 8 so we celebrated fiesta style. 

Wow that wasn't so hard, maybe I'll try it again soon.