Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuppence & Puddin' Up! - Isla is 5 Months Old

Happy 5th month my baby Isla! This month your Nana Betty is visiting from Ireland and she absolutely adores you! She has dubbed you with the new nickname Tuppence which she pronounces "Tup-pins." It is such a cute name and has stuck. Now when you read this as a twenty year old you'll know how in the world we came up with that one!

*Today you weigh ...15, 16 pounds??
You are asleep and to be honest there is no way I am waking you to find out!

*My goodness. You are growing out of six and nine month clothing faster than I can get them on you. I can't believe how big and healthy you are and I am so grateful for it! You seem to be growing much faster than Teagan did at this age.

*You wear a size 3 diapers

I love this picture and playing around with the cool features on Picnick

My favorite thing to do is to hold and just cuddle you. My girlfriends do too and they call you my squishy baby as the baby boys in our group are all lean muscle! You hated rice cereal but do so love baby oatmeal. Today we are trying carrots for the first time and I bet you'll be a fan!

You are Super Happy Baby!!! We went out today and women's hearts just melted as your little face lights up with a toothless grin when anyone talks to you. This month we started playing a game where we make faces and noises and you giggle back at us. Your big sister Teagan loves that and says, "Look at ME Isla!!!"

I have a picture of Teagan in these Kiss Me I'm Irish jammies. Most often I get comments about your super beautiful red hair! Grandpa Gerry was delighted to hear of it as his dad and grandfather both had the Irish red. I think your grandma Dillard did too. Betty says you look so much like your cousin Shauna who lives in Australia. We've talked about how fun it is going to be to get the Irish, Australian and American cousins together someday!

This month you've started putting your pacifier back in your mouth which Daddy thinks is brilliant as it means less work for him! Ha! And you have a few toys that you like to play with including an awesome polka dotted elephant that makes all kinds of fun noises from John, Blair and Lauren.

This picture makes me laugh! Here I am thinking we'll have a great mommy-daughter photo together as I never seem to sit still long enough to get my own pictures with you two. I had no idea you were "puddin' up" as your Nana Betty says it! Oh well, we'll try again.

I love you Sweet Tuppence! And we are off to another great month....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Girl Talk!

Happy weekend everyone! I've been a bit under the weather this week and trying to fall into bed earlier at night so I didn't blog much. But happily the weekend is here, Brian's mom is visiting from Ireland and the weather has turned positively cold - all good things!

It's 4:40 am here and sleep just won't come so I thought I'd make a quick post to link up with Kelly's Korner's Show Us Your Life series. Today's topic is to show our favourite bible study or devotional book. That's an easy pick for me as I have a book I return to often. I can always glean a bit of new enjoyment and knowledge from it in the process. I've even purchased extra copies of this for girlfriends because in my opinion it is just.that.good.

If you've read my blog you know I love me some Lysa Terkeurst! She is funnnnnnnny! Oh! But that woman can make me laugh. She is so open and honest about life and I gotta say that I see so much of myself in her comedy of errors. Do read about the floating mattress incident or the not-so-perfect mommy moment where 100 wonderfully displayed brownies never made it to their intended recipients. I have never laughed so much while reading a non-fiction book. I've said it before that her writing feels like a good, therapeutic visit with a great girlfriend.

But she is also wise and powerful with her words. This book covers how to get beyond a routine bible study or Sunday-morning-church-service-life filled with checklists of what we think we ought to say and do. Lysa replaces that with the goal of getting us to all the joy and reward that comes from an authentic and dedicated life as a Christian.

One of the best things I learned here is how to set up my quiet time and personal devotionals with God. I mean, I suppose by my age I should know how to crack the Bible and just "get" what I need from it, right? But I've never felt really comfortable with that and instead rely heavily on someone else to guide me to a verse, give me an anecdote and then tell me what it is I need to know when I walk away from the study. This book teaches you how to analyze, dissect and digest what God is trying to say through those precious words. As a busy mom I want to make the most of these minutes of my day while gaining an in depth knowledge and relationship with Christ. It's something I am admittedly still working on but I am so thankful that I now have the know how through Lysa's book.

Check out some of these awesome chapter titles:
1. Trying to Be Good Enough
3. When I Feel Like I Don't Measure Up
4. Beyond Sunday Morning
5. Devotion Time Blues
10. When My Ugly Comes Out
11. How Jesus Helps Me Get My Groove Back
15. A Glorious Sense of Possibility

Oh man! Don't those titles just get you excited? I wanna read the book all over again! And do get the study guide and DVD that go with the book HERE! I studied this series with a mom's group where about 15 of us met at a friend's house. We paid someone a few dollars each to watch the kids upstairs. That let us have precious time to ourselves and the kids had a blast! We'd read a chapter or two in advance, watche the short DVD section and went through the discussion questions. But it is a great study on your own as well! Happy reading and leave me a post if you have a book to recommend as well or if you've read this one!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Will Never Forget

In Memory of Kevin M. McCarthy

My Darlings Teagan & Isla,
Today is the tenth anniversary of September 11th. One day you will know the full story of what happened on this fateful day that changed not only The United States of America but the entire world. Everyone remembers what they were doing that day. We all have our Story. Here is mine.

Brian, Gere and I watched our television in disbelief initially thinking a small, private plane had flown into one of the towers. Until the second plane hit.

Just months before I'd worked in the building next to the towers on a Goldman Sacs project. 1 Liberty Plaza was so damaged that day that it was torn down. And the World Trade Center Marriott was my home for a month until I got moved to corporate housing. It too is gone. I used to walk through the towers daily and we met for drinks in the bar on the top floor thinking it had the very best views of NYC. My eye doctor and hair stylest were in the basement. Even though we had all the perks with this project I asked to be released after nine months because I missed Brian. I felt I was missing out on the life I was trying to build there. I questioned that decision when I got laid off because I was not on a project just a few months later. But God is so good. I am so thankful I was not in NY that day.

I burst into tears when the first tower fell. I didn't need anyone to tell me there were casualties. I knew there just wasn't enough time for everyone to get out. Fighter jets buzzed over us throughout the day a reminder that our guys (like your fighter jet pilot uncle that we are so proud of) were up there doing their best to protect us. Later that day I went to a church. It just felt like the most comforting place to be. I sat with strangers. In a daze.

As events unfolded that morning it was Nana Mo's calm amidst the storm that helped me. We didn't know if the entire country was under attack. We didn't know if we would be able to see each other again. But her faith was so strong and secure that we were absolutely certain that as a family we loved each other and would meet in Heaven.

We are still in that daze, watching old coverage tonight. It doesn't seem real. The pain becomes fresh and raw again. But we started a new, happy tradition today of taking you two along with neighbor Madeline to take milk and cookies to our fire department.

I was soooooooooo proud of your two year old self Teagan! You walked right up to the Chief and thanked him, handing him the "card" you made. And when another fireman thanked you for the milk you said, "MY milk is goooooooooooooooooood!!!"

You screamed with delight when they took you back to see the fire trucks. Here you are looking proud as punch!

I love you girls. I hope you grow up with a heart of gratitude for the freedoms and protection we have. I pray you will love to serve others with a glad and happy heart!
- Mommy

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Like to Dance!

One of Teagan's favorite things to do is dancing! We were super excited when we stumbled across the Best of the Laurie Berkner Band CD in our Target recently! You might have caught them on Nick Jr. Laurie may be the coolest mom ever! We love putting this CD on and running through the upstairs singing and acting out the motions before falling into a silly fit of the giggles. Teagan's favorite tracks are I’m Gonna Catch You, Five Days Old and The Goldfish! Here's the video for The Goldfish below. Happy swimming everyone!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

One Photo

Sometimes a photo can break a heart.
I've seen some pictures out of Africa recently.
Harsh realities. Incomprehensible conditions. I thought we would do what we could do to help.
Another day.
When the kids were in bed. When we had more time.

But today. Today was the day when I saw The Photo. I wasn't looking for it. And if I'm honest...I wish I hadn't seen it. I wish my mind didn't have to process this reality. That I wouldn't be compelled to do whatever I can to make what I hope is a difference. For one little boy. Or girl. For a desperate mother or father.

But my heart won't stop whispering a simple message: They need us.

Picture posted by Natalia Jimenez/The Star-Ledger

Sure, there are many more graphic photos out there. But this one. This one speaks to me as a mother. I see the desperation. Wouldn't you do anything, anything, anything to save your baby? What if there was no help? No hope?

Maybe my Photo isn't the one that moves you? Maybe your Photo is still out there, waiting to be discovered? Please take time to look for it. It won't take long to find, I promise.

In the meantime please consider a life-changing donation to UNICEF or another relief organization. And ask your employer to match the funds if that is a benefit you receive. Don't wait friends. The timing is critical and our international community has to act NOW. Consider these facts as published by UNICEF.

*This is a children’s famine. Children are dying every day. We need to bring this to the world’s attention before it is too late.

*Over 2 million children in East Africa are acutely malnourished, with more than half a million children at risk of imminent death without urgent assistance. These children are living on the brink and their situation becomes more critical every day.

*With the right therapeutic feeding, a child can recover in 6 weeks. We can save lives if we act now.

*This crisis is set to deepen over the next 6 months, with the whole of southern Somalia likely to fall into famine unless there is a massive increase in the humanitarian response.

*UNICEF is the largest supplier of life-saving therapeutic food in Somalia. They have been working for children in Somalia for over 30 years.

*UNICEF works with local Somali administrations where they exist, Somali communities, local and international NGOs and other UN agencies to help deliver services to Somali children and women.

*UNICEF urgently needs more than £190 million (US$314 million) to expand rapidly their efforts to save children’s lives across East Africa.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Teagan is 28 Months Old!

Happy 28th month my sweet baby girl! We are having so much fun together despite full entry into the phenomenon known as the Terrible Two's! It was a great summer around here as we settled into the life of a family of four. Here you are checking out an American Girl catalogue we got in the mail. I took the picture because most days you are more in to trains, play tools and such. Sigh. I think my days of having you in girly-girl bows and tutus are numbered!

Today you weigh 30.4 lbs!

Your Favorite Food Is: Birthday cake (just the frosting part) followed closely by popsicles!

Your Favorite Color Is: Green. Yes. As much as I have set you up to lurve pink.

Favorite Expression: Oopsy-doozy (instead of oopsy-daisy)!

Your Favorite TV Show: Yo Gabba Gabba, hands down. And as a sweet surprise Daddy and I are going to take you to see them LIVE! Soon, very soon my little Teagan! I can't wait to see your face when they come out on stage!

You wear a size 2T-3T

You wear a size 9 shoe that we simply must locate this week!

Potty Training Update
I am so very proud of you! You have had several successes and I think we'll be ditching the diapers pretty soon! You are super independent in everything you do and tell ME when you have to head to the potty.

This month we were in the car and I was listening to Lissie's When I'm Alone. You said, "Don't scare my ears Mommy! I just want the monkey song." Man am I tired of that song. But you could listen to it over. And over. And over again.

We had a great time at a family picnic with our church Sunday school class. I love your little curls in this picture. One night this month while I was washing your hair you said, "Don't water my hair Mommy!" You are kinda bossy. I often wonder where you get that from. Don't ask Daddy.

I love this dress from The Dillons on you. This is the way you pose when I ask you to say cheese for a photo!

Also new this month is that you've taken to saying you will do something because "it's too hard for you Mommy." And you asked me how old I was. Two years old? Four years old, Mommy?? Bless your little heart. Did I mention I love you?

You are such a great big sister and only walloped Isla a few times this month! But I think there is still a teensy bit of jealousy hanging on. One day when I hurt myself I explained I was fine. I told you I just hurt myself but you were super adamant that it was in fact ISLA who had caused the pain.

But mostly you love her and love on her. And she gets a true kick out of you too and smiles when you talk to her. I can't wait until you two can play together! Here's to the end of a super fun summer Teagan! We are off to more fall adventures and I can't wait to see what "Tea-isms" you have for us this month!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blogtastic! A Few of My Favorite Blogs

Happy Friday everyone! Today I am linking up again with Kelly's Korner's blog. Kelly has the best ideas and today it is a SUYL day which stands for Show Us Your Life! She's asked fellow bloggers to write about their favorite blogs and I can't wait to get turned on to new sites as there is so much to explore! My absolute favorite mommy blogs are listed on my sidebar so take a mintue to check them out for sure! In addition to those I seem to gravitate toward a few topics and I've added links to the ones that make my heart happy below. Thanks for checking them out and I hope you'll leave a comment!

Home Decorating/Crafts/DIY

My absolute favorite in this category has got to be Thrifty Decor Chick! One look at her site and I promise you'll be hooked. Aside from stunning, awe-inspiring ideas I love that TDC lives by the Dave Ramsey principle to Live Like No One Else now so you can LIVE like no one else later. That means without debt and while building a financial future for your family. These projects are showroom worthy but don't break the bank. And oh! What that woman can do with crown molding!

While I am at it I want to include one non-blog link. The Save-on-Crafts website is the bomb and I've wanted to share it on my blog since last spring but keep getting sidetracked! You can find everything from romantic apothecary jars to Sassafras Zebra Cupcakes Kits! The best part? A whopping 20-50% regular store prices will make you whoop for joy!


As a mom to a toddler and a five month old it is easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of "gotta dos." Some load of laundry always waits, a floor needs to be mopped, an errand run...and speaking of, what about the jog I put off until 8:00 at night because there just isn't time anywhere else in my day? I try to always include learning opportunities for the little ones but I admit some days I am just plain tired and uninspired. At the same time I envision a future where my house is perfect, my children take naptimes and I am twenty pounds lighter! Within that vision is the goal of homeschooling, at least for a portion of Teagan and Isla's education. Lucky for me there are amazing educational resources available on the web albeit fewer specifically geared toward moms of toddlers and preschoolers.

In steps Life in 5-D! Mom Meg homeschools preschoolers and provides a detailed schedule and list of activities they are doing this fall! Hers is a super cute and inspiring site that links to Prayer of Hannah which is another blogtastic site written by five friends who taught school together. It is a collection of stories, ideas, and encouragement about trying to raise children up in a godly manner. What do I say about that? Super score!!!


There are lots of ways to find inspiration online but my favorite Christian author is Lysa TerKeurst, hands down! Reading this southern mom of five's blog is like sitting down for a nice cup of coffee with a girlfriend. A super funny girlfriend. I've learned through her that life as a Christian doesn't have to be perfect. Sticky tables, goofy mishaps I can ever so relate to, bad days and what we learn from them make her a Jesus girl after my own heart! While we are talking about Lysa check out her Proverbs 31 Ministries site which she co-founded. I especially love their Encouragement for Today which is a daily devotional written by several amazing and inspiring women on a rotation basis. This is the way I start my day, a little applicable nugget that hopefully prepares me for a better day. I am grateful to these amazing writers!

I hope you enjoy these sites as much as I do. So share with me now! What sites can you just not do without???