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.)

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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?)


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Croup and Thankfulness


Poor sweet Wrenn had croup all last week. Like, seven days in a row of fever, a few days of that horrible seal cough (if you’ve been around croup, you know what I mean), lots of asthma, SEVERE FUSSINESS, and more snot than I knew could possibly come out of such a tiny girl.


It was a rough week, and yet, all I could feel was thankfulness that her asthma continued to stay under control. After last fall, when every round of asthma attacks got scarier and scarier… I have a different perspective on having a sick baby. All I could do was thank God that my little girl could breathe.

Now, excuse me while I go wash all the snot out of both of our clothes. And take a nap… or 12.

PS – Today is the LAST DAY to enter my giveaway for the free Adopting Dallas t-shirt. Details and enter here. Contest ends Monday, Feb. 2 at 6:00 p.m. Central.


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Wrenn at 18 Months

1800455_10106013956469904_7264506211568886624_n I know I say this every month, but 18 months is the BEST age. Wrenn’s little personality has really started to come through – I can tell she’s going to be a joker and a leader and strong-willed and outgoing. I don’t keep a baby book, so this post is mostly for me, so I can take a snapshot in time and remember this wonderful stage.


Wrenn loves to talk (which was a given, if you’ve ever met her dad and me). She will TRY to mimic just about any word we say, and sometimes it sounds like our word, and sometimes, well, it’s nothing like what we just said, which is extremely entertaining. Some of the words she uses include: mama, dadda, papa (grandpa), momo (grandma), more, happy, cracker, dough, tree, NO! (her current favorite), yeah, wow, woah, bath, baby, shoe, Jay (for Mama J, her grandma), ho ho (like Santa) and okay. She also knows the following animal sounds: meow, woof woof, and MOOOO!!! When I ask her “What does the cow say?” this girl will tip her head back, and with great delight say “MOOOOO!” She basically thinks every animal is either a dog or a cow, so anytime an animal comes on TV, I hear “MOOOO!”

Now, she understands SO MUCH more than she can say. She also does a lot of babbling to herself in another language. I love to silently watch her as she walks around her playroom, talking to herself so seriously in words that I don’t understand.


Sign Language
Sign language has been a life saver for us – it has allowed her to communicate her desires with confidence, which eliminates a lot of frustration. Her current signs include: hungry, more, water, milk, change my diaper, sad. We’re also working on: tired, angry, happy. I encourage all parents to give sign language a try – it takes weeks, sometimes months of me using it before she starts using the sign, but it’s like one day she just adopts it. I always sign and speak the word at the same time, and it’s really no extra work for me. I use this website for quick video tutorials anytime I need to learn a new sign.10882271_10152519750186120_4488115642910489474_n

Some days, Wrenn is such an adventurous eater, and her dad and I swell with pride. She loves (cooked) sushi, Indian food, prosciutto, brie, sweet potatoes, and scrambled eggs with mild salsa. Other days she wants nothing but crackers and grapes and blueberries. I hear this is pretty normal, and so we try really hard to not make food a battle, but to just start with small options and if she doesn’t look interested, try something else. She’s much more interested in breakfast and lunch than in dinner (I think she gets less hungry as the day goes on), and her go-to favorites include: pears, apples, shredded cheese, ham or turkey, grilled chicken, apple sauce, any sort of bread or cracker, and of course, anything sweet. Also – I have noticed that Mr. Right and I don’t eat many vegetables… oops. We’re trying to do better since little eyes are watching!


Wrenn has (almost) dropped her morning nap, and we haven’t quite gotten into a good rhythm for her afternoon nap. Lately she seems to be napping for me around 12:30ish and lays down anywhere from 1.5-3 hours, although some days, there’s no nap at all. And on those days… well, they’re not pretty. Wrenn seems to need a lot of sleep, just like me. At night, she typically goes to bed around 7:30 and wakes up around 7:00 a.m.


Wrenn’s favorite things include going to the park, riding in her red wagon, taking baths (she’ll yell “BATH!” and then run to the bathroom door), and dancing. OH, THE DANCING. This girl dances anytime she hears music – I wish I could live my life with such reckless abandon, not worrying about what anybody else thinks of me. She also seems to need lots of hugs/cuddles – she’s not the type of child to want to cuddle for long periods of time, but on certain days she’ll come up to me, give me a hug and a kiss, climb in my lap to be held, and then go back to playing… and repeat that over and over. I love it so much.


Wrenn is having some problems with hitting… other children, me, the dog, herself. It’s not a malicious act, but more caused by a lack of being able to control her emotions. I was told by a friend who is smarter than me that if I taught her words for her emotions, it would help her be able to express herself and might cut back on the hitting (which is akin to a tantrum). And so, we are diligently practicing our happy, sad, and angry signs. So far it hasn’t clicked, but again, it seems to take awhile for the signs to take hold, but once they do, she uses them effortlessly. In the meantime, I’m just thankful she isn’t biting anybody.


Little Wrenn
Dear child, you bring me such unspeakable joy. More than I knew was possible. You have caused me to love children – all children – in a way I never knew was possible. Being your mother is one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me, and I tell you every single night that you are an answer to many, many years of prayer.

And then THAT happened…

Well, there was vomit. A lot of vomit, but thankfully, just once. I had had the bright idea of taking Wrenn to hang out with my parents on Sunday night while Mr. Right had a board meeting. Just us girls, you know. We loaded up in the car, Wrenn in her brand-new car seat, so brand-new that it still had that new car smell.

Well, it doesn’t have that new car smell anymore, because as I exited the highway for my parents’ house, Wrenn started coughing, and then making a choking sound, and then vomiting. And vomiting. And vomiting. I pulled over because I couldn’t tell if she was still choking, and the vomit kept coming. Poor baby girl, covered. Car seat, covered. Everything, covered. We were just a few minutes from my parents’ house so I grabbed a quilt and covered her up, rolled down the windows, and sped to their house, where my mom met me in the driveway with wet towels and a plastic trash bag.

Sometimes, as a grown-up, do you have those moments when you wish you weren’t a grown-up, so someone else could do the unwanted grown-up task at hand? At that moment, I wished for someone else to clean up ALL THE VOMIT for me, but, well, now I’m the mama and it was my job to save the day, to comfort my poor child and figure out what to do next.

I stripped Wrenn down in the driveway, got as much vomit as I could out of the car seat, and then, because I wasn’t sure if this was a one-time thing or the beginnings of a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad stomach bug, I loaded her back up in that car seat and headed back home. Thirty minutes in the vomit-filled car, with the windows rolled down, praying that Little Miss wouldn’t vomit again. From the look on her face, I wasn’t sure, but I did know that it would be better if we were back in our own home instead of in someone else’s home. It’s always better to be sick in your own home, am I right?

We made it to the house without any more vomit, and I pulled my poor little girl out of that nasty car seat and took her straight to the bathtub. As I was running her bath, filled with pity as I looked at my poor child… she started dancing. Lots of dancing (it’s her favorite thing these days) and then I knew that she was going to be okay. I still had a lot of vomit to clean up (ugh) but my baby doll was going to be okay. So in this instance, I won. Praise Jesus for a healthy child. And that a five-minute bath can leave her smelling like fresh baby again.

It took me all day to take apart the brand-new car seat, wash some parts and scrub others down with bleach wipes, then wash all of the loads of vomit-touched laundry. I was worried there might be a lingering smell in my car, so I left my windows open all night. And it rained. So the smell of mildew masks any other smells I had worried about. So, there’s that.

I want to remember this, not because I want to complain, but because I’m pretty darn proud of myself. I’m the girl who has been terrified of vomit her whole life. Blood, throw up, bodily fluids of any sort turn my legs to jell-o. I can’t handle it. But now I’m a mama and somehow I’ve become brave, able to handle any nastiness you throw my way. And besides, my baby felt like dancing. And so I’m happy.



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Whatever you do mama, don’t forget…

Y’all, I woke up and my baby girl became a toddler! I swear a week ago she was giving me these adorable coos in her tiny baby voice, and now she’s singing in the back of my car in her “big girl” car seat. Woah. I love it.

There’s so much cuteness that I don’t want to forget, and yet life seems to be flying by, so this post is for me, so that when she’s a teenager I can go back and relive these precious baby moments.


  • In the last two weeks, Wrenn has started using sign language! Y’all, this is a game changer, because my little one can now communicate what she wants. Think about how liberating that must be to be able to clearly communicate what you want for the first time. Right now she knows “more please,” “hungry,” “all done,” and “milk.” I’m also trying to teach her “water” and “diaper change.” Since most of her signs revolve around food, she is quite passionate when she uses them. I’m so proud.
  • She does know a few words, which she uses when it’s just us, but rarely performs on command. Her current words include mama, daddy, papa, puppy, hi, bye, and ball.
  • When we put her to bed for naps or overnight, we tuck her in tightly with the quilt I made her, and then hand her a stuffed bunny, which she snuggles up next to her face. She tends to go to sleep at night almost immediately, but her nap schedule is totally in flux. I think she’s in the process of dropping her morning nap, but she still lays down for about an hour every morning for “quiet time” (which usually involves laying down and singing), and then takes a decent nap in the afternoon.
  • We bought her a new “big girl” car seat about a week ago. I pulled it out in our front entryway to try to figure out how to put it together, and Wrenn immediately came over and climbed in. I wish you could have seen the pride on her face – it was such a big moment for her. She practiced climbing in and out over and over. When we got it installed and she got to ride in it for the first time, she felt SO BIG. Moments like that make me so happy as a mama.
  •  My baby girl loves to dance. ALL THE TIME. If music comes on, even if it’s just a commercial, she will start wiggling her bootie, shaking her shoulders, and stomping her little foot. It’s hysterical. We went to dinner and sat on a patio and let her walk around (it wasn’t crowded), and she went from table to table dancing as the patrons cheered for her. A few days ago I taught her how to twirl in circles, and now she twirls and twirls and twirls until she gets so dizzy she falls down in a fit of giggles. IT IS THE BEST THING EVER.
  • She gives hugs. And kisses. Over and over. To me, to her daddy, to almost everybody she encounters. Especially to other children. And furniture, her books, her toys. Did I mention I caught her kissing an oscillating fan? And sometimes when she gives me a hug, she pats me on the back as she hugs me. I melt every time.
  • Now that our hot Texas summer is over and we’re enjoying some slightly cooler temperatures, we’ve been taking Wrenn to the park almost every day. I let her lead me around and decide what she wants to do. At first she didn’t understand, but now she proudly walks around the playground, going from the swing to climbing the jungle gym to walking to the fence to look at the ducks (have I mentioned she is obsessed with animals?). She’ll point at what she wants to go on and I lift her up and help her on.  She has always loved being outside, and you combine that with the freedom to do whatever she wants to do and ALL THE OTHER KIDS that she can watch… and well, it’s her little version of heaven.

Having a 14-month-old is the greatest thing ever. I thank God every single day that he made me her mama, because it’s the greatest privilege I have ever had. That child brings me so much joy.

My life is like a Whac-a-Mole


Does it ever feel like your life is like this old arcade game I used to play as a child? A problem pops up, you give it a whack, then as soon as you finish, a new one pops up?

This is what my life feels like. Just when I give a good WHACK to one problem, another pops up.

It all came to a head last Thursday. I had a baby who was very sick with asthma. We hadn’t slept in a week because she had been up every night with asthma attacks. Mr. Right had just found out through a blood test that he didn’t have shingles after all (he’s in the midst of what we thought was his second bout since June… four months of pain on his left eye/cheek). His pain was escalating. The docs recommended an MRI to rule out all manner of scary things that might be going on.


I left for work with our only carseat in the back of my car, so when the doctor called to say he needed to see her today, Mr. Right couldn’t take Wrenn to her doctor appointment. And of course, I had a day full of important meetings at work. WHACK. I scrambled to get to her doctor appointment, and while there we got a call that Mr. Right could be squeezed in for an MRI, but only if he could be there within the hour. Of course, we were at the other doctor’s office and in one car. WHACK. We rushed through Wrenn’s appointment, rushed Mr. Right home so he could rush to get his MRI done. WHACK.

Then we had to wait all night to get the test results. The waiting was the worst part. WHACK.

But we were distracted by Wrenn vomiting her medicine all over herself. And me. And our floor. And more asthma problems. WHACK.

We were all three so tired. So very tired. Everything seems worse when you haven’t been sleeping. I took a long bubble bath and then cried myself to sleep. It was the worst day I’ve had in a long time.

But God is so full of grace, isn’t he? I woke up the next morning with this sense of peace that can only come from him. I heard him say, “My mercies are new every morning.”

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”
-Lamentations 3:22-24 (ESV)

This week has been better. Life is still hard, but things are a little better. Miss Wrenn is feeling much better. We’re all sleeping. Mr. Right got a clear report on his MRI. We’re still dealing with his illness and the frustration of having to wait a month to see a specialist. It’s hard to watch your loved one hurt.

Friend, do you feel like you’re the only one out there juggling, and finding it impossible to keep all the balls in the air? You’re not alone. In fact, you’re in good company. In the meantime, someone hand me another mallet while I go run myself another bubble bath.

His mercies are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness.

Dream BIG, Little Girl


I can’t tell you the amount of joy this little girl of mine brings me. Her giggles, her sloppy kisses and generous hugs, the way she climbs into my lap when she wants to be held, and then climbs right back out again to go back to playing. The way she kisses each page of her book, or gets SO EXCITED about ice cream (like her mama).


One of the greatest joys in my life is watching little Wrenn discover the world, one tiny piece of it at a time. Whether it’s discovering that if she rubs her hands over our chalkboard, she can make pictures from the smudge marks, or learning how to stir water in a bowl, or getting up the courage to take her first steps (her record is five in a row).

I want my little girl to DREAM BIG. I want to show her what that looks like by DREAMING BIG myself. After all, I have these little eyes watching my every move.

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A BIRD-day Party: Wrenn Turns One!

We hosted Wrenn’s first birthday party about a week ago. We decided to keep things simple by only inviting our immediate family and hosting it off-site so we didn’t have to do any major decorating (or cleaning) of our house. It was such a wonderful time celebrating our baby girl and the way she has blessed us during her first year.

bird day party - blog

Since her name means bird, we opted for a simple bird theme. We rented the same house we stayed at for our anniversary a few months ago (which I just realized I never blogged about), and we matched our simple decorations with the house’s color scheme. It was so low-stress and easy (well, as far as parties are concerned) – we brought everything over to the house around noon, set things up, and then took naps before our guests arrived. A nap on a party day is a rare (and wonderful) treat.

I designed all of the paper goods myself, we used fresh flowers from our garden, and catered barbecue from our favorite local hole-in-the-wall. (Is it weird that we throw so many parties that we own our own chafing dishes?)



I realized that other than the professional photos we’ve taken, I hadn’t printed a SINGLE photo of Wrenn or our family from last year, so this party was a great excuse to do a little catching up. (Am I the only one who never gets around to printing all of the photos on their phone?)


For party favors I ordered magnets from here (the same place I printed my Instagram photos from – I loved the quality!). I also asked people to fill out a notecard with their favorite memory from Wrenn’s first year. I would love to do this every year on her birthday so that someday she can look back on all of these notes written by her favorite people.


And of course, I sewed Wrenn a special BIRD-day dress to wear. Be watching for a tutorial on that later – I even learned how to use the button-hole attachment on my machine. Thank goodness for YouTube tutorials.


Wrenn did some hard-core playing with her cousins and her new toys.

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I love this series of pictures of Wrenn and my sister, Sarah. She’s such a good sport!

4She LOVED her cupcake. That should be a surprise to no one. And confession: this is most definitely NOT Wrenn’s first taste of sugar. Life is too short not to share bites of whatever you’re eating with your baby. After all, we’re raising a future foodie.

After everybody left, Mr. Right, Wrenn, and I enjoyed our little rental and spent the night. There was an old-fashioned clawfoot bathtub. I may have taken a bath before AND after the party. Just maybe.

7I will have such wonderful memories from this day. Thanks to all of our family members who helped make this day special for little Wrenn, and for Mr. Right and me. Happy first birthday, little Wrenn!


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Our summer… in pictures


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Date nights. Hiking in the mountains. Indoor skydiving. Lots of pool time. Spending time with family. Playing outside. Can it be summer every day?


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Happy Birthday Wrenn


Baby Girl, today is your birthday. One whole year. That’s how long you’ve been on this planet – how long our world has been a better place because of my big-eyed beauty. You have gotten so BIG and FUN and CURIOUS. You’re adventurous and funny and every day is brighter because you’re here.


One whole year. That’s how long I’ve been a mama. Man, I had a lot to learn this first year, but next to being a wife, it’s my very favorite role in the world. I feel like I was created to be your mother. It’s the biggest privilege of my life, to be the one God trusted to care for you and to point you toward Him. To love you on His behalf.


One whole year. That’s how long we’ve been a family of three. Mr. Right and I prayed and prayed and PRAYED that God would give us a baby, and YOU are that answer to our prayers. It is such a blessing to me to watch the way you light up when you see your daddy, the way you search for him when you hear his voice. And to watch your daddy when he’s with you… well, it’s the best thing. He is such a good dad… with his weekly “daddy-daughter day” where it’s just the two of you, seeking out new adventures (usually involving barbecue or an outdoor project of some sort). You are blessed, Baby Girl, more than you will be able to understand for many, many years.

Wrenn Olivia, on your birthday, I want you to know that I love you more than I ever knew my heart could love. You are a blessing, and an answer to prayer, and you will always have a home in my arms.

Happy birthday, Baby Girl.


Friends – feel free to wish Wrenn a happy birthday in the comments below!