I. and. LOVE. and. YOU.

Here's a little walk down memory lane...

{first date}

{dating in Conway, the day we got engaged-06/04/02, and setting up our first apartment}

{engagement photos}

{honeymoon and seminary graduation lunch}

{internship, trip to Kansas City, seminary graduation, and trip to the beach}

{trip to Tulsa and a wedding date}

{so happy to be his wife}

10 Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today Graham and I said, "I do."  We entered into this wonderful covenant relationship that has gotten better and better with the years.  I mean it!  We were young (22 & 24) and basically clueless as to what makes a marriage.  We had our own agendas and plans individually and as a couple.  Boy, were we mistaken in so many ways, but God has sharpened and matured us each step of the way.  Differing from societal views, I really believe in young marriage and Graham and I have truly grown-up together.

I still look back on our wedding day and think it was perfectly suited for us--just what I hoped it would be.


Happy Anniversary, Graham!

I continue to promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.  You are my best friend, my hero, and my love.



another installment of "life-n-pics"...

little sis cutness, first bath, three sisters, biggest pet peeve averted

oldest goofy girl, sweet sleeping babe, freshly bathed cutie booty, second oldest goofy girl


First Time to Church

Sunday, at just a day shy of three weeks old, Joy went to church for the first time.  She was beautiful, sleepy, and practically perfect.  The big girls were so proud to show off their little sister...makes a momma proud!


Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend was fun.  KK came down to meet Joy and we were glad to share the weekend with her!


{The girls love their KK!}

We broke out the kiddie pool and the girls had a ton of fun.  The water was so cold and now they both have the sniffles.   no pain-no gain

Love me some summer!





What's the Fuss All About?

It's no secret that we have been fans of the ever controversial book On Becoming Babywise:  Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep.

Here's how it began for us...
When we were weekend house parents at a home for men with mental disabilities, we became really close with the live-in house parents.  They had just become parents of their own and were using Babywise (BW) methods with their newborn.  We were intrigued and decided to check it out when we had kids.  Fast forward 4 years and we were about to embark on the biggest task of our married life--parenthood.  We picked up our copy of BW and began to read, study, and plan.

This post is not about how wonderful BW is or how we have unlocked the key to perfect parenting--trust me, we haven't.  It's more about what BW is and is not and how the misconceptions, controversies, false-truths, and exaggerations paint parents that practice its principles as lunatics.  For the record, I just wanted to give our side of the story because #1) we have read the book and #2) we aren't crazies for practicing some of the principles found in BW.

What sparked this post...
A few weeks ago, I posted a pic of the cover of BW on Instagram with the hashtag #babywise.  I was instantly judged--instantly!  I received a comment about how BW is a terrible book, how the APA is speaking out against it, and I was given a link to a much better book to aid me in my parenting.   I thought about leaving well enough alone, but instead typed out a response.  I was careful with my words, but instead of turning a blind eye to the comment I decided to speak up about my convictions. Several weeks later I got another comment in the form of a link.  I clicked over and couldn't believe my eyes:  people burning copies of BW and calling parents that practice its principles "sociopaths that shouldn't be allowed to be parents".  This time I typed up my response, but because it was less than kind and pretty much accusatory, I deleted it before I sent it.  Hmm...can't say it didn't help me feel a little better though. 

What is Babywise?:
*It's mostly about giving your child full-feedings when it's time to eat instead of snacking and never having a full belly.  Full-feedings, especially when breastfeeding, are important because the good, fatty milk comes along after the less-filling milk produced at the beginning of each feeding.
*It's about parent-directed parenting--parents calling the shots instead of baby.

What Babywise is not:
*It's not a "cry it out" method.  Typically, I haven't had to let any of my babies "cry it out".  In fact, with full tummies, clean diapers, and adequate wake-time, they are pretty content when it's time for bed.  Are there exceptions?  You betcha
*It's not a strict-scheduling system.  If my baby is hungry, guess what?  I feed her.  I don't have to "watch the clock" to determine the next feeding time.  My babies have generally let me know when it was time to feed; however, with full-feedings at every feed time it does work out that baby is hungry (at least in the beginning) every 3 hours or so.
*It's not and unloving approach.  I would even go as far to say that it's an extremely loving approach. It takes the pressure off of the baby to tell the parent all of her needs and allows the baby to be the baby and the parent to be the parent.

There are so many other arguments for what BW is or isn't--whether the authors are doctors and Christians, etc.  Honestly, though we like books authored by Christians, this wasn't the reason we chose to read and practice BW.  Frankly, we just resonated with the material and wanted to give it a try.

AG began to sleep through the night (6-7 uninterrupted hours of sleep on a consistent basis) at 8 weeks and Edy at 7 weeks.  I do not believe that they would have done this on their own had I not tried so hard to give them full-feedings and adequate wake time. Some have suggested that I have "good babies"  and I'm sure that particular statement isn't meant as an insult; however, it was quite difficult in the beginning to keep baby awake to feed fully and keep awake for short periods without overstimulating.  It was a big chore, but I think it helped in the end.  Currently, we are in the middle of this hard process.  Making sure Joy has full-feedings and is getting a little (not a lot) of wake time has proved difficult once again.  She has fallen (with our help) into a pattern of feeding every three hours, but we have to work to keep her awake for limited periods throughout the day. It's not just that we have "good babies" (although I don't rule out temperament), we've parented them instead of letting them rule us. Although I've practiced BW methods with my first two children and so far with Joy, I know that every child and situation is different.  My expectations are realistic.

*I'm in no way suggesting that if one chooses not to use the principles laid out in BW that her child will not sleep through the night and will be a riot until turning five.  Pu-leez!  There are countless parents that have never even heard of BW and their children are great sleepers, eaters, etc.  Kudos to them.  I'm totally aware that this isn't the only model for forming healthy eating and sleeping patterns in infants. I'm also not suggesting that Graham and I have it nailed.  We don't!  We are just trying to do the best we can.  Is that so bad?

I'm confident that I'll have judgementors (not a word, but it works here) after this post.  I'm sure that there are many that support the APA's opinions that BW infants "fail to thrive", are "early-weaners", and cause "limited milk supply in mothers", but NONE of those accusations have proven true for our children or me. I'm not convinced.  I'm sticking to my methods and convictions (even apart from BW methods). 

We aren't "by the book" parents.  I repeat, "we aren't 'by the book' parents".  We are parents, though. And we choose to call the shots instead of the baby.  Isn't that how it's intended to work?  That means, we make the ultimate decisions. I can tell you for certain that my babies have never missed a meal, they have never gone hours with empty tummies because the clock says it's not time to eat, and they have never been forced (in early infancy) to "cry it out" because it is bedtime.

There you have it.  I've said my piece. I hope I shed a little light on what BW is and isn't and maybe even clarified a few things for some of those with doubts.


A Year Older

Let's just say that until I got an early birthday wish on FB, I had totally forgotten I had a birthday coming up.  I looked at the calendar and was informed that Saturday was my big day--32!

Graham and the girls didn't forget.  I was surprised with breakfast in bed...

a gorgeous cake...

...a Redbox and some snacks to enjoy.

Thanks for all the wonderful birthday wishes via Facebook, text, card, and phone calls.  I had a wonderful birthday!


I've rarely pulled out my actual camera over these past two weeks, but I've had my phone with me every step of the way.  Here's a look at our first two weeks with Miss Joy...

lovely flowers from our church, a little plate art welcome, Joy and me headed to my Dr.'s appointment, and the sisters enjoying time together...

gorgeous bracelet Graham gave me for Mother's Day, Daddy and babe, little smiles, and more sister time...

ahem...Edy feeding her baby, Joy and me headed to her first Dr.'s appointment, more sister time, and Joy's cutesy ear hair...

absolute perfection...

biggest sis and littlest sis

There you have it!  A very quick break-down of life over the past two weeks! 

*BTW, I can't believe Miss Joyful will be 2 weeks tomorrow!

sneak peek

Last week my friend and photographer, Ashley, came over to take pics of Miss Joy.  I just loved having an in-home photo shoot.  It made life, especially with a newborn, much easier.  Ashley sent me a few photos from our session so I could get started on Joy's baby announcement. 

{love the piano shot}

{perfection at one week old}
I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the photos from our session.  Of course, I'll share as soon as I can!


I'll stand by you...

I have not been a fair-weather fan when it comes to THE OFFICE.  I realize that it peaked years ago, but Graham and I have stuck with them--seen every episode.  There were several episodes over these past two years in which I literally didn't even crack a smile, but I've held on...

The past two episodes have been really good.  In fact, last week's episode was hysterical--old Jim was back and I liked it.  I cried and laughed.

I blame Steve Carell.  Why did he have to leave?  Seriously, what awesome role has he landed since leaving the show?  I draw a blank.

But, alas, it's over.  This Thursday marks the final episode of the series.  I'm sad and happy all at the same time.  I still think it should have ended with Carell's departure.  What's the office without Michael Scott?  I also think he could have at least shown some decency and appeared in the final episode.  But every source I've read says that he didn't.  I've got so many great possible endings running through my head, but they all include Michael Scott's return.

Who's with me? Who'll be watching?  Who's stuck with them?


Sunday Pic

I take a picture every single Sunday of my girls and text it to my family.  This is the first of many "Sunday Pics" with the three sisters! 
(AG and Graham went to church this morning while Edy, Joy and I stayed home.)

Happy Mother's Day

{Graham and his momma}

{my momma and me}

We love you both SO much!  Have a wonderful Mother's Day!


5 days old

Joy is FIVE days old.  Things are moving too fast if you ask me.  I had one-on-one time with each of my girls in their first week so it's really special to have this time with just Joy, Graham, and me.

Although Graham isn't preaching on Sunday, he is going to do the announcements, scripture reading, and something special for Mother's Day. He asked if I would take a picture of our newest addition to show the church. We are torn with which pic he should use to introduce our little one to the church.  What do you think?


Newborns are fun to photograph because they are so bendy and...let's face it...there's just something about a sleeping baby that is so beautiful.  

We are having {professional} newborn pictures taken on Monday.  I can't wait to see what Ashley comes up with--she's so talented and such an artist.