Raising Our Boys in the Queen City

One day, one prayer at a time!

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Charlotte UltraSwim 2013

Zach and Evan started swim lessons last summer with an amazing swim club here in Charlotte. When we started, I had no idea just how “huge” they were in the world of swimming. Let’s be really honest – I had no idea how big the world of swimming really was. Short of Michael Phelps, I couldn’t tell you many names unless we were around Olympic times and hearing them on the news. After 10 months of swimming, our family has fallen in love with the sport! We started seeing posters for UltraSwim about 2 months ago and Evan was begging to go. Again, I really didn’t think it would be a big deal. Local swimmers, right? Well, wrong. Call me sheltered, but this was my first “celebrity” experience. Cullen Jones, Ryan Lochte, Dana Vollmer, Ricky Berens, Allison Schmitt, Amanda Weir, Megan Romano… all in the same room! And we were in it!! Ha! The boys had a blast getting their autographs, cheering them on, … and getting their faces painted like Iron Man and Spiderman. 😉 Highlight for Evan was definitely Megan Romano handing him her gold medal from the 100 free. Love the hearts of these swimmers for the fans! Here are a few pictures from our fun!


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Is this thing on?

You would think that someone who loves to talk as much as I do wouldn’t have trouble blogging. I definitely don’t feel like I should ramble on and on about myself, or my children. Vanity, much? I do love to share, and think, and read – so here are my thoughts today.

We, as parents, tend to “preach” to our children as they are growing up that faith and family are #1 in life. Nothing else matters at the end of the day. Yet, we throw them gifts every time they turn around. Our toy rooms are filled with “stuff”. Our schedules are so full we can’t make time for friends on the weekends. We are plugged in to a phone, or computer, or iPad, or TV every second of every day. Don’t think I’m only talking to you. Definitely calling myself out as well! We spend so much time making ourselves busy that we truly ARE missing out. As a photographer, I use my camera a LOT. But what I realized when trying to compile images over the last year of my family? Very, very few. I was really bummed that I had spent so much money on this camera and lenses, and spent so much time learning how to USE them, but I was missing out on capturing my own memories. My family. My boys.

As the school year is winding down, I am determined to re-prioritize life. Listing the things I’ve said “yes” to this year makes me shake my head. I’ve spent so much time DOING, that when my 2nd grader or Kindergartener would ask if I could come have lunch with them, I had to say no. Gulp. Why was it God lead me to stay home? To volunteer my time away? Or to spend it raising and spending time with my children? Gulp again. Guilty as charged. Remember why we HAVE life, friends. It’s not to spend all our money making sure our child can play the best baseball around. How many of us played a sport or activity our whole childhood? How many of us are making a living doing that sport? Again. Guilty as charged.

Love your babies, mommas! Time is passing quickly!

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Brought to you by the letter ‘F’

As in Flu. As in, a week and a half before Christmas, Evan and I got struck with the FLU. This is a wretched little virus, friends. It feels odd to say I had never had a visit from this virus until adulthood. Of course, I had to make the same statement in 2010 when another little booger visited me. You’ve likely heard of him. His name is Strep Throat. Is it just me, or do these things hit harder as adults? Thankfully, my new BEST friend, Tamiflu, kicked in quickly for me. tamiflu

By day 2, the achiness had calmed way down. Day 3, aches and fever were totally gone. Just left with some fun congestion and cough. Evan, on the other hand, has not been as lucky. Tamiflu did not seem to affect him at all (unless you count the joyous tummy troubles she carried). He is still battling a fever, though not quite as high as yesterday’s.

He IS finally rested enough to start getting a bit stir-crazy, so I headed to Pinterest to see what fun, easy things we could do to keep ourselves occupied. Enter Leon:


The boys l-o-v-e-d doing this, and it killed almost a full hour (we had to make up an entire story, of course, for how Leon possibly got stuck on our door. Naming him was an entire other ordeal! 🙂 ).

Either way, sick or not, we are spending the last 8 days before Christmas preparing our minds and our hearts. After the tragedies in Connecticut, and all the many, many evils we face in our every day lives, I found myself in the Psalms. There really is a Psalm for everything. Always amazing when one speaks straight to my heart. Hope it speaks to yours as well:

Psalm 46

 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

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Shopping for the kiddos.

One thing we *love* about Rusty’s job is that he gets every other Friday off. With both boys in school, this left the perfect time to finish up our Christmas shopping! We are not a family that does a large Christmas. We like to keep our focus on the Reason the best we can. (Hoping to implement the “something to wear, something to read, something you want, something you need” policy next year!)

Anyway. For some reason, Zach has been beyond difficult to shop for this year. He is now 7, but not quite into “stuff”. No Avengers, has gotten tired of Star Wars, no Power Rangers or Transformers. He has a ridiculous amount of Nerf “stuff”, and there is no shortage of books. After inquiring on Facebook yesterday, a friend recommended the Skylanders series/video games. I casually asked Z yesterday if he had heard of it and he FLIPPED out with excitement. Bingo!! Of course, Rusty had to spend a solid 20 minutes in Toys ‘R Us checking it out. Bonus? All video games AND accessories were B1/G1 50% off!


Are your kiddos asking for anything unique this year? The only thing my sweet Evan has asked for is Monopoly. Love it. 🙂

Christmas Cards

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I think I may be the only person left hand addressing our Christmas cards. I just can’t get into the labels. There is something about the “personal” aspect that still grabs me. It was hard enough to break away from handwritten cards. Lets be honest, though. I know our family would rather have pictures of my kiddos than my signature!

Is there any aspect of tradition you just can’t let go of?

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Long time, no blog!

It has been a while since I even contemplated blogging. We tend to stay on the busy side, so sitting down and typing about life just wasn’t at the top of my list. BUT. I’m ready to try again!

I know our family tends to stay “on the go”, so here is a brief recap for those who have missed out on the details…

We moved from Knoxville to Chattanooga in 2010 when Rusty accepted a new job. We adored Chattanooga. We lived here:


Ahh, I adored that little house. That was our first ever white Christmas. Definitely a highlight of our time there! Unfortunately, God had different plans. It was the week prior to Christmas that we found out Rusty was being promoted/transferred to the Charlotte area. Don’t get me wrong – we were excited – but we so loved Chattanooga. Zach loved his school, we loved his teacher, and we were only an hour or so from family. Chattanooga felt like “home” to us. We had met at UTC, gotten married and Rusty started his first job there, we bought our first house there. After much prayer (and anxiety, I assure you), we embraced the  move and all it would have to offer!

We settled just south of Charlotte in South Carolina for a little over a year. While we loved the house we lived in and the neighbors around us, we knew it was just not where we were meant to be. I took on the task of homeschooling Zach from February – May of 1st grade and knew we would have to make a change. Thankfully, God is faithful! We were able to sell our house in 12 days and move to a more rural area of North Carolina in July of this year. This is home:


And the main reason it is home:


We totally fell in love with that back yard. Rusty and his stepdad built the boys their treehouse at the end of July (no, it wasn’t hot at all!! 😉 ).

Still, moving to NC has had its challenges. It took us 17 months and 8 tries to find a church. We weren’t just looking for any church. We were looking for a church who stands on the word of God and preaches it every Sunday. Who hits the hard issues, even when they aren’t popular. Whose members have the same worldview as we do. We did finally find it, and I can’t tell you what a difference it has made. We still miss our family, of course. We still miss those Tennessee mountains. We miss the lakes. We (okay, I) miss all the orange. But we finally feel “home” and couldn’t be more grateful.

God has blessed us in amazing ways since we moved. We stressed, and worried, and wondered, and planned… and He never let go. He is our Rock.

“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.” Psalm 146:5