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Monday, May 9, 2011

oh my word(s)

Words have meaning. They can cut like a knife or make your heart all a-flutter. They have purpose and explain a lot about people. But like toothpaste, once it's out of the tube you can't put it back. Not easily, anyway.

Two years ago when I was going through very troublesome times at work, I found out just how much power certain words carry. Discrimination. Harrassment. Disgusting.

I make a point to teach my children good communication skills. Don't call something stupid - tell me what the problem is. There are many, many words that just aren't allowed in our house, mainly because I want my kids to choose the right words. Not the easy-to-reach words.

Just as I have worked with my children on their communication skills, I have also worked on the communication skills between my husband and I. We learned a lot though couple's counseling, but it has been over two years since we last went and it takes practice to keep up those good skills.

Saturday I watched my husband receive the fruit of his on-again-off-again-collegiate-schooling that started over twenty-three years ago. He received his BLS in History and it was a moment I will never forget in all my life. My children couldn't have been prouder. And neither could I. Upon finding us after graduation my man rolled me up into a tight squeeze and whispered the following: "I love you. Thank you. I will never forget this - never. Thank you so much."

It was perfect and spoke volumes. Never over these past two and a half years did I feel I needed acknowledgment for my support, however when he said those words to me, it felt unbelievable. He loves me.
He appreciates me. We did this together. It was an unbelievable realization that we met our goal. We made it to not just A goal, but a MAJOR goal in our entire family's life. God, it felt good. And I turned into a puddle. The emotions overcame me and I broke into tears. I love this man. I am proud of this man. I am so blessed to share a life with him.

University of Mary Washington
Class of 2011
100th Graduation Commencement

See that little Flip in Ethan's hand?
You should see the video on it.
It is apparent that my little man was cheering on his daddy.
{The video was all over the place!} 

My sister was able to hand him his diploma.
This was the first time I started to lose my ability to stay calm.
Her co-worker was gracious enough to take pics from this vantage point.
I love it.

Now this is where I really lost it.
And where my sister lost it.
And where my mother-in-law lost it....

... and where Ethan lost it.
He was so proud of his dad.
I couldn't recover from this.
My son is sensitive, but he not only cries from joy, he can communicate his joy in words.
I was doubley-proud.

Five hours in the sun later, and about five minutes of hard crying, I looked like this.
Not the best, but I couldn't care less.
It was a great day.
A proud day.
And I'm so glad to have a picture of all of us together.

I tell my kids that they need to live a proud life. 
My husband is living by example.
Lead by leading.

This is just the end of the beginning.
We still have another nine months of working through the next phase.
Regardless of that, this was a monumental day.
It was the day my husband felt he had completed something.

He taught my children more than he realizes by getting his degree.  I am so grateful they are old enough to understand the pomp and circumstance of what they witnessed that day.

I just hope it sticks for another ten or so years!

Friday, May 6, 2011

in the name of love....

two and a half years ago my husband lost his job.  two and a half years ago we thought our marriage was on the brink of self-destruction.  two and a half years ago we made the choice to make our life better.  together.

through a bit of couple's counseling and a lot of faith, we have landed ourselves two and a half years from that horrible time in our lives.  together.

it was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but two and a half years ago we were far from happy, far from focused, and far from communicative.

today we are strong.
today we are communicative.
today we are hopeful.

when chris lost his job my world felt vacant.  i felt like we were going down this spiral to nothingness.  i was scared, angry, and at times, complacent.  complacency is a dangerous place to be.  it often lead to hopelessness.  we had to refocus ourselves on the positive.  it felt nearly impossible, but as soon as we swung that pendulum the other direction, we really liked it there better.  it never felt like we were fooling ourselves, nor did it feel like we were alone.  having emotional support from your friends and family makes an entire world of difference.  but because it felt so awesome staying positive, we chose to start living that way full-time.

let me take you back to a blog entry from 2008.... this was emma's last day of pre-school.  it was the day i broke down in front of all her friends and teachers in sobs because i felt so helpless.  i was scared.  i was sad.  i ran to the back of the school and curled into a ball sobbing.  with chris loosing his job three weeks prior, this was not just her 5th birthday celebration, it was also her last day of school.  i was so devastated to take her away from all of her friends.  this was the child i was so afraid to leave behind at school, yet, at school she absolutely thrived.  she was confident.  she was a new emma.  i had such guilt and that day stands out as the clinching moment when i honestly felt my world was falling apart.

but it didn't.  i'm here.  we're here.  stronger, happier, and smarter.


yes, smarter.

over these two and a half years chris has gone to University of Mary Washington to get his degree in History.  and tomorrow..... he will walk across that stage to receive his degree from my sister {dre anthes}.  i can't tell you how proud i am of this accomplishment.  it feels like we are closing the chapter on this adventure.  while we aren't {since he still has to go through his teaching certification}, i am at peace knowing this time away from work has made him stronger -- knowledge wise, emotionally wise, confidence wise.  we chose to do something and, i feel, made lemonade from those lemons.  that has been a goal of this blog since day 1.  well, almost day 1. 

i have so many different emotions running through me tonight, pride and love at the top of them.  it hasn't always been easy, but it has been worth it.  when he walks across that stage tomorrow i fully anticipate being in tears.  i just love him so much and am prouder of this moment for him than when it was my own in 2002.  so think of me tomorrow around 10:45am and hope i remembered to bring my tissues. 

also hope my three kids don't burn out and steal this moment from me -  
you know how they roll.

my mr. wonderful

Monday, May 2, 2011

*gasp* *tear* *gulp*

so picture this... your youngest child, the last baby you'll ever have, the one that calls you Old Ladypants wakes up one day and by the grace of God has turned five years old.  that is hard to swallow.  not because you're mad-sad, but you are shocked-sad.

how did this happen so quickly?  just yesterday i nursed her to sleep.  just yesterday i had to change that poo-tanky diaper.  or remember all those cute lil sophie videos?  be still my heart.

{it is breaking.}

i found my inspiration for her birthday party over at One Charming Party {i so love that site} - full of inspiration, motivation, and perfection.  sophie's fifth birthday felt like it was off the chain.

here's the proof:

  • balloons from
one suggestion though...
rent a helium tank and bring it to YOU.
we {my sister} had quite the snafu getting these suckers home.
there are still two giant blown up blue ones at Party City if anyone has a box truck to bring them home.  tell 'em i sent ya.

 cupcakes courtesy of...
oh yeah.  i created magic this day.

  • adorable pedestal frames to feature the birthday girl from

  • i bought this bead kit from AC Moore on sale for $8.
it took me eight hours to make fourteen bracelets.
and because i'm nice like this, i totally put a knot in between each and every bead.
you know you hate it when a bracelet explodes on you.

 these are my finished products.
  • i got the ice-cream/Popsicle charms from this awesome lady over on etsy.

  • scented ice-cream bubbles found at AC Moore.
but, after several trips to different places i also landed upon smaller versions of these at the Dollar Tree -- a pack of 4 for a $1, vice the above version which cost $1 per piece.

  •  i also landed upon these fabulous ice-cream marshmallows at the Dollar Tree.
super cute and uber popular with the wee ones.

 this is the moment when i choked up just a bit.
that smile will own my ass forever.

 the only thing i can suggest to you, should you ever attempt this, is to enlist the help of several others in a WAY more organized fashion to hand out the ice cream to 14 children.
not only do you feel a bit suffocated, they rush the pants off of you.
i'm not going to lie... i was sweating from all the pressure.
you would too.

here's the birthday oldladypants.
it just ain't right.
not only is she huge, she's in love with justin bieber.
she is way beyond her years.

and i can hear you all now...
"just you wait!"

happy birthday, sophers!  you are so sophilicious, it kills me.