I lay the little girl down in her crib, my hair hanging over the rails. “Get some rest.” I tell her as I tuck the blankets in around her small body. I shut her door and make my way down the stairs. The dog follows me, then the cat, our ten legs all creaking down the steps. I clear the last of the lunch dishes, clean the cat’s litter, refill the water bowl, make a pot of coffee, check the front door for packages I may have forgotten about only to find a gift left by our realtor. Inside is a balsam fir candle and a Christmas card of her family. The back reads, “Felicity must be enjoying this time of year.” (more…)
Archive of ‘Friendship’ category
I’m not sure where to begin with this story because it’s such an important one and I want to make sure that I voice it correctly this time. The details of the event were simple. Brandon and I were gardening in our new front yard. Samson laid a few feet in front of us hooked up to his tie out. In the distance I saw an older couple walking their two small dogs. I thought for a split second to step on Samson’s leash or voice to Brandon that maybe he should hang on to him while the couple passed. We’d adopted him only a month prior, before that he’d been a stray. We simply didn’t know his true temperament yet nor his strength. (more…)
This isn’t your typical holiday cheery post. I wanted to warn you in case that’s what you were hoping for. I’ve been having a hard time lately. Just being honest. I’ve been refraining from writing about it because that would make it all real. But this is where I’m at right now and my hope is that six months from now I can refer back and say, look at how far I’ve come. Felicity is five months old now and ever changing. I have some great days full of baby snuggles, gift wrapping and Christmas music playing throughout our home. Nights where we’re all giggling over Felicity splashing in the tub, when I can’t believe someone so sweet came from me. She goes to bed without a fight and Brandon and I share a bowl of popcorn while we catch up on a show. (more…)
As a new mom I received both positive and negative comments as per usual during a time like this. Even as a former nanny I simply had no idea just how involved motherhood and postpartum was until I was living it out for the very first time. I wanted to compile a list of positive things to say to your new mom friend for all those who are at a loss of how to help. (more…)
Some days I have it all together and some days I’m not out of my pajamas until a little before noon. Felicity and I have been getting out more which has been great but the more I try to do the more my mom brain gets the best of me. Frankly I always found it ridiculous when people talked about pregnancy brain or mom brain. It always sounded like a sorry excuse for forgetfulness to me. That was until I went to the store recently to buy a vacuum and realized I left my wallet in my purse at home. I forgot to toss it in the diaper bag for this trip. I turned the cart around, put Felicity in the car and cried. Normal.
We ran back home to grab my wallet and back out to get the vacuum. But you didn’t come here to listen to me ramble about my new vacuum. You came here for Felicity updates didn’t you? It’s ok you can be honest. (more…)
Now seems as good a time as any for a recap on the last couple months. I’m writing this at the birth center, where we will be welcoming our little girl, having my blood drawn four times over the course of 3 hours for a more conclusive glucose test. Luckily for me I get to pass this time in a more private lounge space on a comfortable couch surrounded by the sound of midwives clicking their sandals down the hallways.
This is what I’ve hoped for when deciding where we would give birth. A place that feels like home surrounded by encouraging women who’s job is to do nothing more than empower the mother I am becoming and create community amongst all us new parents. We’ve been educated here and had the opportunity to share our hopes and fears with others who are due around the same time that we are. It’s provided such comfort as we near the end of this pregnancy.
My sister called me a city hipster recently. I have no idea what she means.
Our schedule has been all over the place this new year. While I’m ready to slow down and take a break I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed our busy schedule. (more…)
Here’s the thing. You can’t tell me that God doesn’t answer prayers. Because I’m standing next to one.
I’ve been surrounded by answered prayer all year.
A year into moving here I prayed for God to bring true friends into our lives. People we could share our lives with, laugh with, eat with, celebrate with, support and love.
It seemed like a silly plea at the time, but worth asking for because God has come through before with so much more. I confided in an old friend when I was at my lowest through a written letter and as soon as I received her reply I felt completely wrapped in her love. She wrote, You are noticed. Heard. And seen. Although you are in such an uncomfortable season, I can assure you, you fit.
That’s all I needed to hear. I fit. I didn’t know where yet, but I fit. I signed up to serve in eKidz and Brandon and I joined a couple’s small group, where we found true friends we could go through life with.
At the end of the summer a few of us drove westward to our neighboring mountain town Asheville.
We ate and walked all over town chatting, laughing, and building stronger friendships.
This trip took place right in the middle of the gas shortage in our area. We drove out to Asheville with half a tank and didn’t think much of it. We figured we’d fill up the next morning on our way out. So far we hadn’t seen any gas stations in Charlotte out of commission, so we deemed it something the news most certainly was blowing out of proportion.
That was only until we rode out of Asheville with an empty tank. The first gas station we saw was out of gas. The next two we hit were out as well. By the fourth and fifth gas stations we really started to panic. We were driving further into nothing, with a screaming empty gas light.
The plan was to meet our friends for lunch at Sierra Nevada, just another 10 minutes out from where we were. Nine empty gas stations later we rolled into the parking lot. We walked in to sit at the table an hour late. Brandon hates dissapointing people and I hate being late. We were embarrassed and frustrated. I had chocolate cake for lunch which about sums up our experience.
But this story is all to speak highly of our friends. They were gracious and listened to our woes. I felt safe after such a nerve wracking drive.
After lunch Nate and Pam offered to drive us in one direction to find gas, while Russell and Jamie drove in a different direction to do the same. The first to find gas in this eerily post apocalyptic setting was to grab a tank and get it back to our car.
Jamie called, “I hear you’re looking for gas. We got it.”
We pulled up to the station they were at and saw Russell crouched down filling a tank for us. If that isn’t true friendship, then you tell me what is.
We made it back to our car and filled it with enough gas to get back to the station.
We made it home safely and it’s all thanks to our friends.
At the end of 2015 we were given jars full of water at church. We were to come up with one word as a prayer for our next year. Once we had our word we poured our jars out, believing God would fulfill the desires of our hearts. I’m here to tell you that in my life He has. He always has.
The Lawrence’s made it down for my birthday!! How sweet is that? We did alot of exploring around town and had some tasty Carolina BBQ. What more could you ask for?
Seriously she is a brunette Pebbles Flinstone in the flesh.
The Peters’ came out for a visit, so I could snuggle my little Maceo man. He loves to be entertained. He’ll coo, and smile, but he’ll make you work for it. That provides the best memories after all. He seeks connection, he’s not going to throw his affection out to just anybody willy nilly. This little boy is intentional.
My sister as a mom. It still gets me. Though you could never tell, she’s twelve years older than I am. For years I was her baby and now she has her very own.
Jenny B came for a visit, and we head over to the Needtobreathe, Matt Kearney, and John Mark McMillan concert. We nestled in the lawn, begging Brandon to go grab us some King of Pops.
Not too long ago we house sat Jenny’s home while she was on a missions trip for the summer. When she came home we were housemates for another few months before Brandon and I bought our house in Fredericksburg. Many nights Jenny and I would sit on the couch together talking about our days. Some nights we’d decide we deserved ice cream, and we’d both give Brandon those pleading eyes. “Brandon!” We’d yell. “Whatcha up to? We’re in our jammies, could you pretty please be the best guy ever and get us some hot fudge sundaes?” That Brandon. You know he caved, and totally enabled us.
We love our Jenny. She’s been there for us, before we were us. It’s always special to have that kind of old friend around. Jenny has poured an incredible amount of love into me. She’s prayed over me. Supported me in every stage since I was 16. She is essentially another big sister to look up to, and I love her for it.
Ready to schedule your next visit to see us yet??
Can I be transparent? It was a really hard summer this year. The boys had about three times my energy each. Even with the triple espressos I’d sometimes put in my coffee each morning. One shot of espresso for each boy. That’s how to do it.
I started out with grand plans of fun filled summer activities and games which were quickly thrown out the window in week 3. These boys wanted to tumble, wrestle, swim, climb, hop, yell, slide, and play their way through summer, not color and make construction paper olympic torches. It was a sacrifice for me. I’m good with it.
Sometimes they got along adorably together, and other times the sibling rivalry was unreal.
Sometimes we’d have really sweet moments, and the next they were destructive, loud, rule breaking little wild things.
The amount of boundaries that were tested this summer was no joke. We all had to have alot of patience with each other and take alot of deep breaths.
Once every other week this summer we’d meet up with Brandon and take the munchkins to Chick-fil-a together for lunch. We’d park at Brandon’s work and wait for him to come out. Caleb would shout from the back seat, “I see him, I see him, it’s Bandon! Yay!” And I could take a solid sigh of relief for an hour.
Brandon had a great reserve of energy to wrangle up the boys when my energy levels were depleting.
We went to the pool a ton which was just fine because they’re total water babies.
Nannying can only be as great as the parents that you nanny for. They’ll make or break your experience.
Two years ago I sat on the Coggins couch. Caleb was kicking a soccer ball around the house. Ryder was hiding behind the coffee table, and Grant was a tiny little 3 month old laying in Mandy’s arms. They asked me questions about my experience. They were in search of a nanny, and I was in search of a job. First impression, I had a good feeling about them. I thought they were such a cool family and I totally desired to be a part. I had one more interview with another family and told them I would get back to them. They respected that, but as I left Jacob still threw out there, “I’m pretty certain you’ll want to choose us.”
Look at that. He was right.
I met up with Brandon on his lunch break the next day. We parked on the street in front of a sandwich shop, and ran inside from the autumn rain. I told him how eager I was to work for the Coggins. I frantically checked my email, and lit up when I saw something from Mandy saying they’d love to have me as their nanny if I was able. That night I accepted and have been unable to tear myself away from the family that has so graciously let me in.
Jacob is most like the big brother I never had. From helping us move to poking fun at me when he came home one day to find me knitting at naptime.
When Mandy gets home she takes the time to meet my eyes, and ask how I am. All in the midst of the boys begging for that much needed mommy attention. That, and the snacks in her bag, definitely the snacks in her bag. She always catches me off guard, as I’m watching their interaction and usually in a daze, having only spoken to children all day.
I once burned my gums with a hot dinner and told her about it a couple days later when a painful sore began to develop and kept me from chewing on that side. She gave me a numbing gel and later asked how I felt. “This area is actually starting to feel tender,” I said, pointing under my jaw, “do you think that’s related?”
She looked to where I was pointing and said, “that’s your lymph node baby. It may be your body fighting an infection.”
She calls the boys baby. Surprisingly that was all the comfort I needed. One affectionate word that made me feel taken care of. Like a family member. Like one of my big sisters was standing there concerned for me.
One day Mandy even texted me that I seemed defeated the day before. She offered to have me drop the boys off during her lunch break, so I could get away for an hour. I went home and slept. The second I walked in and hit the couch my mind shut off. My ears rung with silence and my eyes quickly saw the backs of my eyelids.
Consistency with kids is ridiculously important.
If you care for kids all day and their parents are not consistent with the same rewards and consequences, your work is all for nothing. When consistency is lacking kids learn to make it through the day just until their parents come home and they can have their way. I’m so thankful that Jacob and Mandy are not that way. It benefits everyone involved when all parties are consistent.
While the boys may grow anxious toward the end of the day for Mommy and Daddy to come home it’s only because they legitimately miss them and are ready for their evening routine. The kiddos understand that I’m the one in charge and they’re good with it. They know that if Mommy and Daddy get a good report from me they’ll be praised. It makes our days smoother.
Caleb is totally aware of these end of the day reports. When he gets off the bus each day and gets inside he’ll point to Grant and say “Matalie, how was he today? Where’d you take him? Has he eaten a snack yet? Did he nap good?”
It’s pretty sweet what kids pick up on.
The ends of my days this summer left me sweaty, bruised from flailing legs not patient enough for shoe tying. I had chlorine filled frizzy hair and I was exhausted beyond words. When people would hear that they’d ask me how, and why I still did it. Why I didn’t find a new job. But this isn’t just a job to me anymore. This is family. The only answer I’d have for them was that the boys had amazing parents and if I seemed to have my hands full, my heart was even fuller.
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