Our Fourth of July – My Favorite Weekend in Years


Sometimes what you need – what your whole family needs – is a three day weekend filled with nothing but being outside, together, playing and making memories doing almost nothing at all. For me, this year’s Fourth of July was exactly that kind of weekend.

It started with a morning swim at my parents’ house (they were in Europe – lucky dogs), as well as a little swinging on their backyard playground set. My parents got all the cool toys after we grew up!

Have I mentioned that Wrenn LOVES the pool? Our fearless girl will jump in, slide off a mat head first into the water… just like in all other areas of her life, she wants to be independent and push the limits and experience EVERYTHING in the water. Thankfully, her little floaties allow her to feel like she’s swimming all by herself.


She had so much fun that she passed out on the way home. That evening we were scheduled to have friends over for dinner, but that fell through, so instead we washed our cars and cleaned the garage and got our bikes ready to ride. It was so good to just be outside, the three of us, and sweat and work and play.

We ended the night by taking a family bike ride and then running through the water hose.


Saturday morning, the fourth, we took it easy because we knew we would have a late night. Mr. Right built Wrenn a blanket fort in the living room and I finished up one of my quilts (stay tuned for proper pictures later… as soon as I take them).


Then we all took naps. I managed to fit in a nap every single day during our three day weekend. Bless.

Then we piled up in our car, along with just about everything we own (man, we stink at packing light), and drove over an hour away to our dear friends‘ house, where we sat out on a patio enjoying a country evening, and then walked to the old baptist church across the street and shot off fireworks for almost two hours.

Fireworks are one of my favorite things in the entire world, and much to my glee, little Wrenn loved them too. She kept saying, “Fireworks! Up High! Mickey Chair!” She’s still talking about it, two weeks later. They were going off right over our heads, and the sound didn’t bother her a bit. In fact, our little morning girl fell asleep in my arms about an hour in, and I relished an opportunity to cuddle with her sleeping against my chest. A rare treat.


Sunday Wrenn was so exhausted that she slept past nine (she’s always up by 6:30, so this was way out of character). We spent the day lounging and doing nothing productive. I so very rarely rest – why is that? It was so good for my soul.

Little Miss took a bit of a tumble head-first into our ottoman and busted her lip, so I treated it with her favorite thing – a purple popsicle. It’s amazing how quickly a popsicle can help heal a minor injury when you’re almost two.

Sunday evening we were back on our bicycles, enjoying a beautiful evening together. Wrenn has finally gotten brave enough to master her balance bike. We also hooked up a trailer to Mr. Right’s bike, as well as let her sit on dad’s bike rail (totally illegal, but childhood is about being dangerous every once in awhile). With the wind blowing her hair she would tilt her head back and scream “Weeeee!” as they rode together.

Oh, how I would love to live this weekend over and over and over.


Life Lately

Life has been hard lately. It’s hard to watch your sister and best friend go through something traumatic, like having a sick baby in the NICU. But you know what? Even during stressful times, kids bring so much joy. I am constantly reminded of what a gift children are. Mine. My nieces and nephews. Other peoples’ kids. It doesn’t matter – each one is a unique blessing given to us from the Lord.


Speaking of blessings… Wrenn is now 23 months and such a JOY. Like, I can’t even describe the joy she brings to Mr. Right and me. Whether it’s hearing her say a new word (like “air conditioner” or “love you”) or learning to say her ABCs (she can repeat all of them after me), or simply saying, “HUG!” and giving me a giant hug over and over and over… this child reminds me every day that I am blessed. She is God’s gift to me.







Mr. Right is also such a gift. Yesterday (a Sunday), after a particularly hard week, he told me to go get into bed for my Sunday afternoon nap and he would bring me lunch in bed. Who brings their wife lunch in BED? My husband, that’s who. There is nobody I would rather do life with, day in and day out. He is so much better than I deserve, and yet I will gladly take him.

wedding wedding2

Life happens in seasons. Last year was a tough season. Up until a few weeks ago, 2015 was such a peaceful season. Nothing lasts forever, but each season seems to point me toward my need for a Savior. Through the peaceful days and the stressful days, I will choose to praise Him for who He is and what He has done for me.

A Quick Update on a Crazy Week


This has been a crazy week or so. Last Thursday, I was woken up at 3:30 in the morning by the sound of my phone ringing. My mom was calling to tell me that my sister’s water had broken and they were on the way to the hospital. It looked like Baby Sawyer was coming six weeks early.

That was a week ago. My precious nephew was born six weeks early at a hefty six pounds. He is absolutely beautiful and perfect, but as with most preemies, he has had to fight his way through the NICU to get strong enough to come home. Which will happen, but never as quickly as the rest of us want. My husband’s side of the family went through something similar when my other nephew was born eight weeks early a few years ago. It’s always heartbreaking to see a mama leave her baby in the NICU. I have been on my knees for a week. As a big sister and fellow mama, it’s really hard to watch your younger sister go through this and not be able to make it better.

The upside was that we got to spend the day with my other nephew, the big brother, while his parents were at the hospital. Little Wrenn LOVES her cousins and had the greatest day of her life. They played, and played, and played and played. Luke told my parents that he liked coming to my house, “Because Aunt B has play-dough. And bubbles.”


And I’ve been working on little Sawyer’s baby quilt, which I was already behind on. I picked a simple pattern with fabric that I adore (wait til you see the fox print I chose for the back… it’s the cutest), and churned away on it last weekend while Miss Wrenn played and Mr. Right worked. Someone on Facebook told me it looks like rows of books.


And in the meantime, little Wrenn has been absolutely delightful. Like, take my breath away delightful. We have had some of our best days of play and talking and adventure-having. She is at the best age and is learning to communicate so well. I love hearing all of her new words (and “Shay!” which is the word she uses for anything she doesn’t know the word for). Tonight as I rocked her before bed I just thanked God for choosing to make me this girl’s mama. She is one of His greatest gifts to me.


Would you join me in praying for sweet Baby Sawyer? God knows exactly what this child needs and what his future holds. Join me in praising God for knitting him together perfectly and pray that his mom and dad have peace during this very stressful time. I know for a fact that God loves this miracle child. And so does his Aunt B.

Wrenn at 22 Months


Oh 22 months… there are so many things I don’t want to forget about Wrenn at this age:

Wrenn thinks anything that’s sweet is PIE. And girlfriend LOVES PIE.

She is obsessed with Elmo and Cookie Monster and everybody on Sesame Street.


She loves the word BUTTERFLY. She says it with such drama in a slight whisper, and then will try to interlock her thumbs to make a butterfly with her hands. But she’s not quite coordinated enough to do it, so she just flaps her fingers as she whispers BUTTERFLY with a sparkle in her eye.

Her other favorite words/phrases right now include:

  • Hi Mayor! (from The Little Blue Truck book)
  • Hooray!
  • Elephant (pronounced epitant)
  • Choo Choo! (girlfriend never misses the sound of a choo choo train)
  • Airplane! (she can spot them from so far away – it’s amazing)
  • Poo Poo!
  • Bug… EEEWWW!
  • Shoes/Boots/Socks
  • It’s a ______. (ex: It’s a mama. It’s a bug. It’s a poo poo. It’s a book.)
  • Snack/eat/water/milk
  • Thank you (she says this anytime I hand her anything, completely unprompted – what manners!)wrenn2

She can actually jump off the ground. She can also throw a ball and do a front roll with just a little assistance from me.

We have been going to our library’s toddler time once a week, where the highlights include the giant train that runs on train tracks attached to the ceiling, blowing bubbles, singing songs, and seeing her friend Elsie.

She’s very affectionate. She loves to hug, give kisses, hold my hand, and pat me on the back. I think her love language is going to be touch.


We spend several evenings a week and much of our Saturdays working in our garden. Last Saturday she spent a half day outside with us and had a blast playing/digging/helping us while we worked. I don’t have to keep her entertained; she finds plenty to do on her own.

She loves bubbles. Especially the bubbles in the sink when I wash dishes. She will drag her little stool across the kitchen over to the sink and stand there and “wash dishes” (aka – play with the bubbles). She also loves bubble baths and knows exactly which container the bubble bath comes in.


Her favorite song is Skidamarink, something we learned at the library. She likes me to do the hand motions with her arms. When we finish, she’ll squeal, AGAIN! AGAIN!

She’s taller than most of her friends and wears a 2T in clothes (sometimes I can squeeze her into an 18-24 month size, but just barely). She’s wearing a size 6 in shoes, and I think she’ll soon outgrow those as well.

She insists on only wearing boots. Either her rain boots or her pink, light-up cowgirl boots. She has so many other pairs of shoes, but she wears her boots 90% of the time.


We have a running joke that she has stinky feet. Anytime she takes off her shoes I’ll say, “Stinky feet! P-U!” and then she’ll start giggling uncontrollably and say, “P-U! Eeewww!”

She loves to do grown-up things and mimic what Mr. Right and I are doing. She pretends to put on makeup and I’ve watched her mime putting on deodorant. She wants to cook like daddy, and she loves to “help” by putting her clothes in the dirty clothes hamper or putting her used cups in the sink. Such a sweet little helper!


Precious child – you have brought me new joys with every new month. Bless you, and may God continue to grow your little spirit to do BIG things for Him!

Our Train Adventure

Train AdventureMy favorite thing about kids is their sense of wonder. ANYTHING can be an adventure, even something that seems so mundane to us adults. Like the train.


Don’t be confused by Wrenn’s solemn expression. She was SO overwhelmed about the train that she got super serious at first. But she was really SO EXCITED.

Wrenn is obsessed with the CHOO CHOO. It’s all she talks about (well, that and airplanes… and cows… and butterflies). Cousin Cutie was staying with us last weekend and he’s also obsessed with trains, so I figured I would take them for a fun little outing on the TRE.


We picked up the train to Fort Worth at the station near our house and rode it to the furthest spot in Fort Worth, then rode it back home. The whole trip took about an hour, including a 30-minute wait at the T&P Station. The thought of corralling two toddlers near train tracks was a bit overwhelming, and once we got there, I realized that we had a perfect view of dozens of FREIGHT TRAINS from our window that provided the greatest entertainment ever for my little riders. So, no need to even get off during our wait!


During our 30 minute wait at the last train stop, we ate snacks and watched the freight trains go by and waved to EVERYBODY.

Every time the train whistle blew, both would squeal with delight and laugh and smile. Over and over, every time like it was the first time they heard it. I’m pretty sure it was the greatest adventure yet of their little lives, and seeing it not only brought joy to me, but also to the other people riding along.  Kids remind us that normal life can be an adventure, too. It was such a thrill to get to experience it with them. We will definitely be putting this on the repeat list!


A post-adventure lunch together, followed by a nap. They were exhausted!

My Mother’s Day Recap (Hint – I spent most of it in bed)

MothersDay2Here’s how Mother’s Day went down this year:

BFP (Before Food Poisoning): Mr. Right took me to an amazing dinner on Friday night at my favorite restaurant, Chef Point Cafe. They have the best patio in all of Fort Worth, and Wrenn and her cousin ran around in the outside garden area (which is fully fenced in) and were able to yell and chase each other while Mr. Right and I ate a leisurely dinner. There was a live band. The weather was gorgeous. It was the best night ever.


AFP (After Food Poisoning): Saturday I started feeling crummy, and by that afternoon I had what I think was food poisoning. So I spent Saturday afternoon/evening on my couch, binge-watching The West Wing and trying not to die while Wrenn played nearby (so much for no toddler screen time). After trying to go to Sunday School the next morning, I came home and went straight to bed, missing all of the Mother’s Day festivities we had planned with Mr. Right’s side of the family. I was so sad to miss out on the fun, but on the upside, I did manage to sneak in two good naps in one day, and I felt better by early evening and was able to hang out with Mr. Right for the first time since Friday. And eat a biscuit. Fun times.

My Gift: You know you’re a grown-up when you ask your husband for a screen door for Mother’s Day. We’re super practical gift givers (he installed a high-powered shower head for my birthday and I was ELATED), typically just telling the other exactly what we want, and this year the screen door will be our Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and every other holiday gift for the next few months. I’m so excited to be able to leave the back door open and let some fresh air into the house on pretty days. Our backyard has become my happy place.

It wasn’t the Mother’s Day weekend I was planning on, but one thing motherhood has taught me is to be flexible. No plans are set in stone these days, and I am thankful for the extra rest I got after a really tiring week last week (Wrenn had lots of nighttime asthma attacks, so I was way behind on sleep). And, I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be Wrenn’s mama – it’s one of the greatest joys of my life. Motherhood is such a gift.

Put your nose in the corner

Corner 1

Disclaimer: Before reading this article, please note the following things:

1. I have no idea what the heck I’m doing.
2. Most parents have no idea what they heck they’re doing either.
3. What works for my child may work for your child. Or it may not work at all. All of these crazy kids are so different with their own unique minds and personalities. It’s the reason none of us know what they heck we’re doing!
4. This is what’s working for us this week… this month… in this season. In my 20 short months of parenting, I’ve quickly learned that works for this child in this season may not work for this child in a different season.

Okay… now that all of these disclaimers are out of the way… Can we all agree that disciplining children is hard? I had this idea in my mind that my adorable, big-hearted child would simply be well behaved… most of the time. And if she wasn’t, I would be a spanking parent (to each their own… no judgment either way). It worked for me growing up, so why wouldn’t it work for this daughter of mine?

And then we tried it. And spanking did two things: (1) it didn’t phase her in the least and she looked at me like I was insane or (2) it royally ticked her off and sent her into a fit of hysterics. The one thing it didn’t do? Change her behavior.

Other things I wanted to do: Give lots of grace. We gave lots of second chances. We tried to substitute bad behavior for good behavior. I probably said 100 times, “Baby girl, we don’t hit our friends… we hug our friends,” and then hugged her. And my child kept hitting.

And hitting. And hitting.

It got to the point that every single teacher she encountered (Sunday nursery, Mother’s Day Out, nursery teacher while we teach ESL) pulled me aside and quietly said, “I don’t know how to tell you this… but Wrenn has a hitting problem.” Technically, she had a hitting and and also taking her shoes off and throwing them at other kids problem. Which was crazy, because she LOVES kids and LOVES people and doesn’t have a malicious bone in her body.

But she’s also a toddler and not exactly able to control her emotions just yet. Or verbalize them. And I suspect at times, she simply did it because she thought it was funny.

corner 2

Not only did the teachers warn me about the hitting, but I witnessed it. One day I watched her hit another child as I picked her up from school. And then she started hitting me, and my husband, and Harley the Wonder Schnoodle.

Finally, we got fed up and decided to go with a zero tolerance policy. Baby girl was done with her second chances. From now on, hitting equals time out. Every. Single. Time.

We started out by putting her little chair in the hallway near her bedroom, facing a wall. It gave her a defined place to be. We made her sit there for 90 seconds (I’ve heard the recommendation of one minute for every year… so that’s what we went with). After she had put in her “time,” we would hug her, tell her we loved her and forgave her and that her slate was wiped clean. (Much like the fact that when we ask God for forgiveness, He wipes our slate clean.)

After a week or two of that, we started making her stand up in the same area, with her nose in the corner. And it just kind of worked. And this crazy thing started to happen. She got used to the routine of it. Every time she would hit me out of frustration, I would calmly say, “Wrenn, go put your nose in the corner,” and this child would walk across the house and go to her corner and stand there until I came to get her. Most of the time (not all of the time, mind you, but most of the time) she calmed down while standing in the corner, and by the time I went to give her a hug and tell her I loved her, she was happy and ready to start over. Occasionally the corner brought tears, but most of the time, it provided a break from whatever was causing her to act out.

The separation did her a lot of good.

corner 3

So then we started enforcing time out for all disobeying, as well as throwing tantrums. Now, anytime she does any of those things, we calmly say, “Go put your nose in the corner,” and off she goes. Most of the time, the corner calms her tantrums. Most of the time, it works. And the best thing it has done… her teachers have happily been reporting back to me that Wrenn is hitting “a lot less than before.”

Trust me… I count this as a victory! And occasionally, the teacher even reports NO HITTING.

So, in this season, with this child, we’re going to keep doing the zero tolerance time out, until it stops working for her. While I want to give her extra doses of grace and mercy and many second chances, she seems to thrive on the consistency, and so I’m adjusting to what works for her. This time.

And in the meantime, if you need me, I will probably be standing near the corner, waiting to give my child her hug and tell her she’s loved and forgiven and her slate is wiped clean. It’s the very best part of time out.


photo 1 (31)Don’t forget, I have a custom quilt available in my shop: Texas Lovely on Etsy.

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Tea Party

Tea Party 1

I’ve been waiting all my life to have a tea party with my daughter. Last night while Mr. Right was heading home from the office, she and I “cooked” dinner in her play kitchen, then set up a large picnic tea party for Wrenn’s “friends.”
Tea Party 2

This precious child probably played like this for an hour. I taught her how to cradle her teddy bear like a baby and give her a bottle (which was actually a play bottle of cinnamon, but that’s what imaginations are for). We made carrot soup. She wore a bow (which never happens, but this was a fancy occasion) and her Santa pajamas. Which, by the way, she points at the Santa on her pajamas and then says “Ho! Ho! Ho!” with such conviction. It’s Christmas every day in this house.Tea Party 3

I am so thankful for little girls with giant imaginations, and for opportunities to stop everything else and get on the floor and play with my child in the midst of the chaos of life. She is such a joy.


photo 1 (31)Don’t forget, I have a custom quilt available in my shop: Texas Lovely on Etsy.

Other places you can find Texas Lovely:

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/texaslovelyshop
On Instagram: texas_lovely

Can we be real for a minute?


As women, we need permission to be real. Because until we get permission, we tend to walk around displaying a best version of ourselves. And then as soon as one person in the group decides to tear down her walls and share her insecurities, her fears, her imperfections… the rest of the group follows.

So I want to be the first to stand up and be real. To be transparent, to tell you about my imperfections and my insecurities and weaknesses. There are so many. And every time I share them, women come up to me and whisper, “Me too!”

Me too are some of the most comforting words in the English language, aren’t they?

So ladies, will you be real with me? I’ll share a story with you, and then you can share a story with me (or your Facebook friends, or your neighbor, or your Sunday School class or a coworker).


Mr. Right and I are never EVER bringing our child to another restaurant. Ever. At least, not until she’s 20, and even then, only maybe. Twice in two weeks we took her to eat (both times for someone’s birthday, with a big group) and she refused to even sit in her high chair. Or on our laps. Or in a chair. And when I tried to make her, she rolled around on the floor and threw a giant tantrum.

It was so frustrating. And embarrassing. I felt like I was being judged, like people were analyzing my response, or simply assuming that we have a bad kid.

I feel like I’m good with discipline at home, where I can control her surroundings. Where I can put her in her usual time-out corner, or if necessary, give her a spanking without the watchful eyes of strangers. But in a busy restaurant it seems impossible. And I just want to avoid making a scene. And I’m tired of taking turns scarfing down my meal while Mr. Right walks around with her, only to trade and take my turn. It’s so stressful. I come home so tired. I just don’t want to anymore.

She also threw a GIANT tantrum at GAP last week. Granted, she was on the tail end of croup, but she was so bad and threw so many tantrums (SO MANY TANTRUMS) during our 20-minute visit that she even broke a display sign. I was so embarrassed. And of course there was a long line which gave her a LOT of time to throw her tantrum. And of course I had a coupon that expired that day, so I needed to stand in that long line.

So there it is… our real life. I’m not asking for discipline tips. In fact, please don’t leave them. We have regrouped and know that this is a marathon and not a sprint. That this is an age-appropriate issue  And most of the time sweet Wrenn is the most delightful child, who loves people and has a big heart and wants to please. And I realize that these past two weeks she has been sick, which means she has contributed to extra tantrums from feeling so crummy.


I know that this is a phase and someday it will end. And in the meantime there are so many wonderful moments to cherish. SO MANY.

But I’m still tired. Being a mom is hard.

Friends… if you’re feeling brave, share something REAL going on with you in the comments below so that the rest of us can have a ME TOO moment.


be strong and courageousFor prints and other lovelies, visit Texas Lovely on Etsy.

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Lately: Real Life


1. Wrenn is on day 15 of fever. First it was croup (which Mr. Right and I also caught a milder version of), then we think she was teething, then the doc said the croup fever may linger for awhile, and then over the weekend she had some weird allergic reaction to something on her feet that’s making them blister and itch horribly (it’s not hand foot mouth, because we’ve both had that before and the blisters are different). And yesterday, on day 14, her fever was 101 (today she was fever free for a few hours before it crept back up to 100). Poor child has had a rough go of it and has been on quarantine for half the month. She’s getting a little stir crazy, as are her parents. (But again… praise Jesus for her asthma, which is still being controlled well by her meds.)

rodeo1 rodeo2

2. Last weekend we took ourselves temporarily off quarantine to go to the rodeo with Mr. Right’s family. The rodeo for them is kind of like the Super Bowl – my father-in-law is a team roper and my husband grew up showing livestock for 4-H. So, the family starts planning for the rodeo about five months early. Little Wrenn, of course, had the perfect outfit and considering it was 75 degrees in February, it was a glorious day. Wrenn LOVED it and sat through almost the entire two hours… it was such a joy to watch her experience it, wide-eyed.

3. Our new ESL semester started back last week and it was SO GOOD. We had been praying for new teachers and God provided three new ones, plus some new students. Not to mention that seeing our students after a two month break is SO SWEET. We love our students so much, we’ve had one stay at our house recently, we’ve been to graduation parties and family gatherings and shared many meals with them and been to their homes. They’re some of our dearest friends. So, after a two month break, you can imagine how happy I was to see them again.


4. My dishwasher broke. I joked that I feel like Little House on the Prairie, but I must admit, of all the appliances to bite the dust, I’m glad it was this one, as I’m kind of a hand-washing pro. That’s what happens when your husband is a great cook (you do dishes) and when you’ve got a baby (you do lots and lots and lots of hand washing). It’s actually a little bit therapeutic. Now, if I still don’t have a new dishwasher by next month, I probably won’t speak of it quite as fondly.

5. Our dog ran away. Harley the Wonder Schnoodle, the dog I’ve had since college, snuck out when we were loading the car and we didn’t know it. He was gone almost an hour, and thankfully we discovered through our neighborhood website that a kind neighbor had taken him in. God bless technology. So glad he’s home.


6. With all of this quarantine business, I’ve had plenty of time to catch up on some quilting. Stay tuned for a Work in Progress post on my scrappy quilt. She’s pretty.


7. I’ve been blogging for the Fort Worth Moms Blog since last summer, and I’ve got a post up this week that features a fabric bunting tutorial and also a free Valentine’s print download. I hope you’ll go check it out. (And leave a comment on that post so the editors feel warm fuzzies toward me… cool?)


il_570xN.665559259_8u9tHave you downloaded my quick and easy budget? It’s available at Texas Lovely on Etsy.

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