Time.

I am seriously at a total loss for words, and have been since about 9:30 Tuesday night. Well, some what… minus the frustration and tears.

For those that know me well, you are aware that for me to be at a loss for words is pretty out of the ordinary. As some of you know, we discovered that my identity was hacked the week before Thanksgiving. I received an e-mail Tuesday night from a complete stranger warning me that someone had stolen photos of my husband and children and created multiple social media outlets pretending to be me.

They created a Facebook profile.

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Screenshot_2014-12-09-20-36-23They created a Goggle+ account, from which they created a blog on Blogger: whitefamilytwins.blogspot.com

And while they seemed to be so creative with this scheme, they weren’t creative enough to post their own thoughts… they stole mine, every last word… well, except for when they switched out our names. Felicity Paige and Genevieve Claire? I can’t…. I just can’t. Side note: doesn’t this person know that my SAT scores could have never gotten me into UNC? That’s as much a joke as those names she/he picked out! I couldn’t get out of basic statistics for heavens sake!

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Screen shot 2014-12-09 at 9.32.54 PMWhen I began this blog, I knew that we ran the risk of sharing things on the Internet for others to see. In all honesty, I didn’t see this blog growing outside of close friends and family. But, I have grown to absolutely love the community that blogging has introduced me to since last September. I have met many new friends who are traveling the same road of being a wife and mother. While we’ve never met, through reading each others’ words and sharing memories we have become family. Their lessons and support have helped me tremendously in this new chapter of life. This simply divine space has helped me foster my thoughts during one of the scariest times of my life. It gave you… my dear community, family, and friends, the opportunity to stay up to date with the girls progress while we were in the NICU. Today, it gives you the opportunity to see how they are continuing to grow, develop, and learn. This space has been my creative outlet. It’s where I share our story. It’s where I share my voice… even if that does involve stinky fingers, Cheerios, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse sometimes. Therefore, this personal invasion to my life, my family, and my heart has left me feeling vulnerable and violated.

It’s just really sad that one selfish, dishonest person has left me questioning everything regarding my connection to social media. For now, I have made the decision to deactivate my Facebook account and take time to make changes to this blog. I will still be documenting our days on Instagram for those that follow my private account. If you do not follow me, you can request to follow me, @marykate_white. I can’t tell you how long it will be before I reactivate my Facebook, if I reactivate my Facebook, or if I continue blogging. All I know is that this incident has really shaken me, and my number one priority is my family’s safety. Therefore, I need some time to pray through what our social media involvement will look like in the future.
Thank you all so very much for your support during this unfortunate incident. Andrew, the girls, and I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! Hope to see you in the New Year after we get things sorted out!
Mary Kate

May You Find Your “Papa’s Words”

IMG_4311Eleven years ago, I remember standing in an ICU room with my family as we said goodbye to my Papa, “Toots”. While I was only twelve, I vividly remember riding back to Wilmington with Kyle, Steven, and Matt. In the early morning hours on November 28th, the day after Thanksgiving, Papa passed away. Even at a young age, I knew that Thanksgiving would never be the same. Eleven years later, there hasn’t been a Thanksgiving Day that has passed that I don’t think about that November in 2003.

Last year was the first year our family had ever been apart on Thanksgiving Day. Our girls were in the NICU, and we had learned earlier that week of Amelia’s heart complications. As we gathered together as a family this past Thursday, my heart was so full of gratitude. Oddly enough, Thanksgiving was my Papa’s favorite holiday. After our journey this past year, I believe I learned why he always loved this crisp autumn day.

This past week I have been in a strange place. About a week and a half ago, the girls and I IMG_0075took a quick trip to Wallace to grab our Christmas decorations. I decorated our humble abode last weekend, and I was almost done when I remembered one box that was still in the nursery. When I opened the box, I saw it. The tiny Christmas tree I had decorated to stand by the girls’ cribs in the NICU. I pulled out the small stockings we had taken to them on Christmas Day. I unwrapped their First Christmas ornaments. I found their first picture with Santa Claus, amidst the tubes, wires, and machinery. The contents of this one box took me back to a season that is still all too very real. As we celebrated our first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s as a family of four in UNC Children’s Hospital, I knew in my heart that we’d never celebrate these holidays without thinking of our time in Chapel Hill.

So, between the discovery of one box and Thanksgiving Day I was in a bit of a slump. I thought about the families that are grabbing Tuesday night dinners on the 7th floor. I thought about our nurses and doctors who would be sacrificing their time with family to help babies and mothers. I thought about the parents who would be spending Thanksgiving Day by their child’s bedside. I thought about the mother who has to take a call from a pediatric cardiologist about the details of her child’s heart surgery. I thought about the father who is working long hours to provide. I reflected. I cried. But, I also rejoiced.

A year ago today, I posted this blog sharing that Amelia would be having heart surgery the next day. As I reread my own words tonight, I was in awe of how far God has brought our family… even from the moment I met Andrew, three years ago today. Every step in our journey has brought us to where we are in this moment, and each memory is indeed a blessing.

The month prior to Papa’s passing, he sent a clipped devotional with a message at the bottom to all eight grandchildren. In his handwriting are the words, “You are going too fast when you don’t take time to enjoy each day God has given you. Love you. Papa.” This simple, yet profound advice came straight from the heart of a simple, yet faithfully devoted man of God. I have this devotional framed, and it sits on the countertop in our kitchen. I pass it countless times a day, but I took a moment to read that devotional and his words last Wednesday night. Enjoy each day. You would think that after the lessons learned we learned during our time in Chapel Hill this would come easy, enjoying each day and cherishing every moment. I listened to the heart-wrenching stories of other mothers. I hugged the neck of a mother who had to say goodbye to her baby boy two days before Christmas. I now look at what my life used to be like and realize how blind I was to what truly matters. Why was Thanksgiving Papa’s favorite holiday? Because it was the one day out of the year that everyone seemed to slow down, give thanks for life’s many blessings, and enjoy the day.

As we enter the spirit of the Christmas season, let’s hold one another accountable for enjoying the day and cherishing the moments. Andrew and I are so excited to share the spirit of this season with our girls. The next twenty-five days have fervently been prayed for since last Christmas. We are excited to ride around the City of Oaks, look at Christmas lights, and listen to Christmas music. We are excited to share the Christmas story with the girls through our Advent Calendar. We can’t wait to take them to see Santa Claus, minus the tubes, wires, and machinery this year. We are giddy with excitement for Christmas morning. We are looking forward to going as a family of four to our family and social Christmas gatherings.  We pray no one catches on fire when we sing Silent Night by candlelight at the church Christmas Eve service, that would be our luck. We are ready to enjoy the day, and cherish the moments of this special season.

But, in our excitement, we are remembering those suffering this season. Our hearts are with the mother and father that have to leave their baby on Christmas Eve. Our hearts are with them on Christmas morning when they walk into their nursery, and it’s empty. Our hearts are with the parents that no longer associate this season to be the happiest of all, but rather a season of grief and pain. Our hearts are with the widow who is wondering how he/she will make it through Christmas without their spouse. Our hearts are with the sons and daughters who wish to have one more Christmas morning with their mom or dad. Our hearts are with the service men and women who are miles away from their families on Christmas Day.

For those of you in a “slump”, I pray for you. I pray you find your own Papa Word’s. Words that will breathe life, hope, joy, and reassurance back into your days. There is hope in this season. There is peace. There is joy. And, there is love.

Enjoy your day. Cherish the moments. Lift your voice and rejoice in the coming of the Christ Child, the Savior who breathes life into us everyday.

Happy December, friends.

Mary Kate

 

 

Unexpected Joy

My precious daughters,

I have had these thoughts on my heart for quite some time. I haven’t been able to put them into actual words, until tonight.

Tonight, your Daddy and I went back to the special place that was ‘your home’ for the first three months of your life. The Newborn Critical Care Center. We sat around a table with other parents who share similar stories, and we discussed how we could help other families who are writing their stories now. As we walked the halls that felt all to familiar, I reflected on your story. I thought about our first year together. I dreamed about the day we’d be able to share with you your story, and when you could understand that you truly are living, breathing miracles of God’s grace, mercy, and love.

The other day, I shared a post about our adventure for World Prematurity Day. In this post, I shared a verse that I would like to share with you. “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” Mark 5:34

It is over, baby girls. It is over.

One year later, it took me one more walk to the hospital parking garage holding your Daddy’s hand for me to realize, you are okay. Instead of leaving without you, we were heading home to you. Our suffering is over.

I remember the day I found out I was going to be a mother. I remember my doctor saying, “Mary Kate, you are having a baby”, only to find out forty minutes later that I was indeed carrying two babies. Girls, I will not be dishonest with you. It was the scariest moment of my life. This very moment blew into a whirlwind of a lot of other scary moments, but these “scary moments” blew into a whirlwind of abundant mercy, incredible beauty, and amazing grace.

This year has certainly presented its challenges in many ways, but it has also been the best year of my life. One lesson you will learn as you grow up is that life doesn’t always happen the way that you plan. Thankfully, there is a Redeemer who saves us from our own plans. When we fail to control the lives He gave to us, He showers us with His endless grace and mercy. Through this lesson, you will discover that His plans are far better than your own. Trust Mama… He gave me the two of you when I least expected it. And, to be a wife to your Daddy and your Mama… it is my greatest joy, and biggest accomplishment on this earth.

While you were in your home away from home, the two of you received a lot of “fan mail” from family, friends, and even people Mama and Daddy have yet to meet. There was one card in particular that I keep pinned on our board in the kitchen. Pinned right beside your very first diaper, the words are printed there in red and blue. May your life be crowded with unexpected joys.” Leah Katherine and Amelia Grace, you have certainly crowded our lives with unexpected joys since day one. Your lives are a powerful testimony to God’s grace and mercy. A testimony to God’s love. And, a testimony to God’s healing power and provision.

We have seen you adapt. We have seen you overcome. We have seen you fight. We have seen you be strong. We have seen you home. We have seen you discover. We have seen you learn. We have seen you play. We have seen you love.

I wouldn’t trade one day of your first year. Each day has made us all stronger and led us to where we are today. I feel so incredibly blessed to do something that I love every single day… and that’s take care of you.

A year ago today, I was able to hold you both at the same time. You were ten days old, and weighed close to three pounds each. To see the two of you today absolutely takes my breath away. Your toothy grins (two top, two bottom!) light up the whole room. To watch you grasp hold of your crib railing, jump up and down out of excitement for blueberry pancakes in the mornings…it melts my heart. Watching you learn and grow. Listen to your “twin talk” chatter. Playing with you. Teaching you to wave and say “ba-ba” at the right time…not to get confused with “ma-ma”, I am staying right here little ones! Scooping you into my arms when you fall. Feeding you. Rocking you. Reading you books. Doing laundry with you, or the dishes… you love both. Making faces with you in the mirror. Singing and dancing along to Baby Genius– Tempo, Oboe, and Lola are your favorites. Soaking in your adorable giggles… all of these moments I know are so very precious. These are the moments that make motherhood an unexpected joy and the biggest blessing.

I am so very thankful God chose to give us the two of you. Your Daddy and I love you to the moon and back.

Happy first year my loves. Here’s to another year of unexpected joys~

All my love,

Mama

Just a quick look back at how these girls have grown from 2 lbs. 13 oz. and 3 lbs. 3 oz. to 20 POUNDS!

November 2013

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December 2013

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January 2014

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February 2014

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March 2014

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April 2014

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May 2014

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June 2014

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July 2014

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August 2014

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September 2014

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October 2014

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November 2014

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Here’s To You, Preemie Mama

If you had told me two years ago that I would be blogging about my twin daughters and World Prematurity Day, I would have told you that you were out of your mind. But, that is often how life goes!

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A year ago, Andrew and I were on our way to Chapel Hill to see our sweet girls in the NICU. They had been moved the night before to bed spots right beside each other, and we were so excited to see our babies close together rather than across the room. Prior to being a mother of two preemies, I didn’t know there was a World Prematurity Day. I didn’t know November was Premature Awareness Month. November 17th was just another day in the life. According to the iPhone app, TimeHop, I bombed a statistics exam four years ago today…tell me something I don’t know little TimeHop dinosaur! Today, November 17th takes on a whole new meaning. It’s a day to celebrate how far our miracles have come. It’s a day to celebrate the success stories of other preemie babies. It’s a day to celebrate the moms, dads, doctors, nurses, and medical staff who care for these tiny bundles of joy each and every day. It’s also a day to remember the families who see this day as another reminder of their unimaginable pain in the early loss of their child.

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Last night, I walked out of our bedroom to find Andrew reading to the girls. I was reminded of the first day he got out a book to read to Amelia. In the NICU, we were highly encouraged to participate in care time, read to our girls, and do everything that made us feel like their parents in such a strange setting. As we have celebrated the girls’ first birthday this week, so many memories have flooded back to those early, critical days. I remember the morning after when our nurse, Angie, wheeled me up to the NICU for the first time to see our babies. I remember seeing past all the many tubes and wires, and trying to ignore all the beeps, alarms, and machinery as I saw my precious little ones for the very first time. I remember being so happy, yet scared and terrified of what was to come. I remember what it was like to hold my tiny babies skin to skin, adjusting all the wires and being able to hold their bodies with one hand as I used the other to wipe away tears of joy, sadness, and all the in between. I remember having to sanitize my hands every time I went to touch them. That’s a hard habit to break! I remember saying good bye to them, and each time having to ride home with two empty car seats in the backseat. I remember learning how to change their diapers… holding their tiny legs together and being so gentle not to mess up the tubes and wires that adorned their bodies. I remember learning how to change their preemie outfits in an incubator. I remember trying to juggle life outside of the NICU… their first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, and New Year’s without them home. I remember walking behind Amelia, our doctors, and nurses, as we wheeled her down to the operating room for surgery. I remember calling our nurses to check on the girls, and I remember their calls to me to tell me of what had happened while I wasn’t there… like when the girls went on room air and moved into open air cribs. I remember the process of learning how to feed, and having to accept that I had done all I could for them myself… that bottle feeding was our best option. I remember the anxiousness in those last few weeks before bringing them home. I remember every lunch I had in the cafeteria by myself, and all the other mothers I met and the stories we shared. I remember the wonderful feeling when I was changing Leah into her homecoming outfit, and unplugging all the monitors. No more beeps. No more sounds. What had felt so familiar for three months was coming to an end… and we were finally going home. I remember.

This is all to say that I know I am not the only one today. I know there are other mothers reminiscing on their days in the NICU with their babies. I know there are mothers in the NICU today doing all the same things, learning about World Prematurity Day, and wondering if life will ever be normal again. I know there are mothers today that are still grieving. And, I want all these mothers to know my heart is with you today. Although our stories may be different, we have one thing in common. We are mothers to the strongest babies in the world: preemies. They endure so much in the first few days, months, years, of their life that some people never have to endure in their lifetime. So today, I applaud you, my preemie Mama. You are stronger than you know, and braver than you realize.

On the girls’ birthday, my sweet friend, Holly, sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. We were connected through my mother-in-law who goes to church with a few of Holly’s friends. Holly and I were both going through the NICU at the same time with our daughters. Her daughter, Scarlett Grace, was born at 26 weeks in Texas. While we had never met, Holly called me one night and we talked on the phone for two hours! The very next day, Scarlett Grace, was having the same surgery that our Amelia had the month before. I remember praying with Holly on the phone, and being moms to our precious preemies created this special bond unlike any other. You and me, preemie mama… we get each other. So, when I received Holly’s flowers and saw the passage of scripture she had written on the card I cried tears of joy for our girls. “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” Mark 5:34

One year later, our suffering is over. Our 2 lbs. 13 oz. and 3 lbs. 3 oz. baby girls are crawling, blabbering, and oh so full of life. On World Prematurity Day 2013, I couldn’t think past the walls of Pod D. Today, my heart goes to the mother who is rocking her babies in bed spots 27 and 28. You will find joy and normalcy one day, Mama. And on World Prematurity Day 2015, you’ll look at your miracles and think… how blessed I am to be your mother.

IMG_4461Happy World Prematurity Day y’all,

Mary Kate

Three Colds, Two Day Get-A-Way, and ONE Year

When I started this blog I discovered my passion for writing. I discovered my passion for sharing our story. And, I discovered my passion for glorifying God through my words. For those that have followed along in our journey since last September, you may be wondering where I have been. It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost three weeks since I have written. Needless to say, life happened. We got out the heck out of dodge. Got sick. And, we had two babies turn one.

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Andrew and I had the best time on our trip to the mountains. We stayed at the neatest place in Banner Elk, hiked around Grandfather Mountain, had a picnic on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and watched the water fall at Linville Falls. It was a much needed getaway for the both of us, and we came home refreshed and ready for a new week. But, that week in particular was a really hard week for me. This was the week we had been admitted to Chapel Hill last year, and our journey began. I kept the girls and I busy that week with visits with friends, and somewhere I found the strength to go back to Chapel Hill to share our story. On October 30th, a year ago to the date that the girls gave us a scary “false alarm”, I shared our story with a team of new NICU nurses. In an odd way, this visit to Chapel Hill was good for me. Taking steps down the hallways that felt so familiar, and hug the necks of our nurses that became family is what I needed to let go of some raw emotions that had been holding me captive from moving forward. My little strawberries and I did our trick-or-treating inside this year.

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On Halloween morning, we all woke up with the sniffles. Unfortunately, the sniffles decided to haunt us, and made a mess in our house the rest of the week. Last week was rough. I believe that the girls now have nightmares about their nasal aspirator and humidifier. We went through approximately 47 boxes of tissues, and I have learned that an empty box of any sort is the best entertainment for a one year old. There were a lot of tears. There were many sleepless nights. There were a lot of coughs. There were a lot of 2.5 mL drops of Infant’s Tylenol. I was popping Sudafed and Airborne like it was my job. There was a point in the middle of our week that I contemplated not having the girls’ birthday parties. I wasn’t sleeping, I was wearing the same pair of yoga pants for three days straight, there was no way I could be able to pull off two birthday parties. Well, by the grace of God, we had two parties this weekend to celebrate our girls. I am still wondering how it all came together. Oh, I know! FAMILY. Without them this past week, you’d still find me in my dry shampoo glory, yoga pants, and probably a day old t-shirt. Despite our rough past couple of weeks, we survived and we are here. We are on the other side of the big day and I can’t believe my babies are ONE! Here’s a quick look into how we celebrated!

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The picture above of my Daddy and Amelia… oh my goodness. My sweet aunts brought the girls and Papa G a surprise from Scotland. The girls got Christmas tam-tams, and well… Papa G got new hair. Red hair to be exact. On a Papa G sized tam-tam. I can’t.  What made this scene better was when my Daddy got my red wagon out of the garage from when I was little and rode the girls around, all of them sporting their tam tams. It was one of those “you had to be there moments” for sure!

Mom is here for the next couple of days, and we took the girls to their one-year check up this morning. Amelia is 19 lbs. 6 oz. and Leah is 19 lbs. 15 oz. WOW! These girls have come a long way from 2 lbs. 13 oz. and 3 lbs. 3 oz. They certainly are our little miracles! Both girls were 30 inches in length, and you know what that means? Yes. We have graduated to big girl car seats!

I have been putting my thoughts together for a one-year posting, get your tissues ready. Every time I sit down to write and capture all the thoughts that are whirling in my head happy tears just flow. I am simply overwhelmed with so many emotions. I am sure the guy that was watching Family Guy on his computer beside me at Starbucks yesterday thought I was hormonal nut case. Oh well! As soon as I can get it wrapped around my head that I am the mom to two one-year old toddlers I will post it… therefore, you’ll see it…well, never.

Here’s to hoping! Be back soon…

Mary Kate

Just Be

The other day, I briefly reflected on our new stage in parenthood. Two mobile babies have changed a lot of things in our 968 sq. ft. of space. The bathroom is their favorite place to venture. Therefore, the safety lock was installed on the potty and now makes a wonderful conversation piece with our guests!

I was going to bypass doing another post until Five on Friday seeing that I am typing beside a pile of clothes that have yet to be folded, the dishwasher needs to be unloaded, and there is a floor full of toys beneath my feet. Also, another addition to my long to-do list is writing a letter to our apartment complex about our lovely neighbors stringing blue lights around the perimeter of their door. We have a blue light special going on at 4360 apparently, y’all.

Andrew and I are getting away for the weekend, and my parents are coming to stay with the girls. So, you can see that I have a to-do list as long as the Mile-High swinging bridge that we will be crossing this weekend at Grandfather Mountain. Here’s the thing: it’s been approximately the same to-do list since Monday.

There have been a few things that I have crossed off here and there, but I have yet to accomplish the majority of set tasks. And, I have one day. It wasn’t that long ago when I could write a to-do list and could cross everything off in one quick afternoon. Again. I have been working on this list for three days. I think the solution is pretty simple for a mom of twins, I need a nanny or a housekeeper. Just kidding! But seriously. I wouldn’t send a housekeeper hiking if they showed up on my front doorstep. I would give them a huge hug and lead them straight to our bathroom that seems to have been rejected for the past month.

Needless to say, this month has been a struggle. In five days, it will be one year from the day I was admitted to Chapel Hill and our journey began. I would be misleading to tell you that I am not scared for the days ahead. The emotions I will face as we celebrate the girls’ 1st birthday, and this year being able to see them on their actual birthday. The overwhelming joy of being able to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas at home with them this year. On December 2nd, being able to hold my sweet Amelia as we rejoice in a healthy heart. On December 14th, being able to drop Leah off in the church nursery instead of hearing a doctor tell us they are running tests for bacterial meningitis. On December 23rd, being able to take the girls to see Santa Claus instead of untangling their wires so he could gently hold them in the NICU. There are many days ahead of us that are going to be hard, but we are so incredibly blessed because they are going to be here with us.

In our NICU journey, there are two families we became friends with that have to live life without their babies today. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about those two mothers. I remind myself how blessed I am to have a to-do list I fail everyday to complete. In the time I should be spending folding clothes, unloading dishes, cleaning, or dusting, I am singing songs. I am playing peek-a-boo. I am changing diapers. I am reading books. I am constantly hiding things and keeping their paths clear. I am watching my step. I am making bottles. I am fixing them something to eat. I am kissing boo boos when they fall down. I am snuggling. I am strolling. I am capturing the moments. I am being a mother.

Subconsciously, I have wondered if I am enough for the past year. If I did enough to care for my babies in the womb. If I did enough to care for my babies in the NICU. If I did enough, even when I wasn’t able to supply the nutrition they needed myself. If I am doing enough now. And then, I think about my dear friends and the other mothers whose babies have been taken from them too early. They ache for even the opportunity to be enough.

So, today we are enough. Our babies don’t need an immaculate house to learn, grow, and live. They only need a home. They only need nourishment, comfort, and lots of love. They don’t need every toy that Fisher-Price manufactures, or every children’s book that Barnes and Nobles has on sale. They don’t have to have the Perfect Pinterest birthday bash. It’s okay to have a messy house. It’s okay.

This week, I have taken away one important lesson from the in-between of our day to day “routine”. Our babies only want us. They desire to be noticed, and yearn for our attention. Mommas– it’s time to forget the distractions and the to-do lists and just be with our babies. We owe it to all the mothers who can’t do that today.

Cross of one thing: just be.

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Mary Kate

Girl Talk

I think it is safe to assume that we have all wondered at one point or the other where the time goes in our days. One minute you are groggy turning on the coffee pot and pulling out the ironing board, the next you are picking up toys at 11pm and wondering what you did during the in between. I can not even tell you how many days go by that I fail at crossing every single thing off of my to-do list.

Life happens. Babies have blowouts [and I mean blow outslike the crib exploded…seriously. Cars run out of gas in the middle of Wade Avenue. We lose our cell phones [sometimes that’s not always a bad thing…] Drinks spill. Lamps break.Your apartment complex has to call the plumbing company to come to your building at 10pm on a Saturday night. You step on a wooden block. [OUCH!] Go to drink a glass of milk, only to find out it expired three days ago. A lizard comes in through the front door. Life happens.

With two little ones on the move, we are finding our new normal. Long gone are the days I could blog during nap time or while the girls “quietly” played in the mornings. The girls have learned how to “talk” to each other from their cribs [i.e. stand, peek over each other, and just laugh] Therefore, nap time is a little different than it used to be. We are busy playing and learning when they are awake, or out and about going to Kindermusik, story time, or running errands. Toddler-hood is quickly approaching, and I am not sure that I am all that ready.

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I am learning that each stage of motherhood is so different. As soon as we find a routine or what works for our family, a new stage comes along and we have to go back to square one: being clueless in the chaos. All this to say, I apologize for my lack of attention to my little blogging space lately. We’ve been a little crazy, but we are slowly finding our way back to normal… well, as close as we can get to at least. You are reading the words of a girl who burnt her eye ball with a curling iron…we are far from normal.

We’ve had a busy two weeks since my last posting! The girls celebrated ELEVEN MONTHS! We are only three weeks away from celebrating their FIRST birthday. I have yet to slow down from planning, imagining, pinning, and adding things to my cart on Etsy. I can pin away all day long, but I can’t talk about it. However, I refuse to be one of those moms that says, “My baby is 48 months old!” No, she is four. So, I have approximately 22 days, 15 hours, and 34 minutes to accept that my babies are going to be ONE. The babes visited PNC Arena for the very first time due to a lightening delay at Carter-Finley. I believe it was The Lord’s way of politely telling us to go home before sitting in the rain to watch the Wolfpack play, or lack there-of… bless our team’s little wolfie hearts. It’s just not our year. This week, the girls made their first trip to the North Carolina State Fair and to Kindermusik class! After Kindermusik, we waited for Daddy to get home from work to go to Green Acres Farm. Yes, it is the place to be. The girls enjoyed the hayride, swinging, picking out pumpkins, and seeing Mama and Daddy struggle through the corn maze. Darn that left turn and going in circles! Despite passing checkpoint #5 five times, we had the best time together as a family!

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I did have five fun things to share with you this past Friday, but as you read earlier… life happens. I can’t recall if that was the blow out morning or the morning the maintenance man was here trying to fix our sliding door that has been broken for two weeks…they all seem to run together.

1. Simplified Planner by Emily Ley.

I have yet to join the 21st Century and use my iPhone or Google calendars. Are they the same calendar? I don’t even know. I love a good planner. I have been obsessed with my Erin Condren planner the past few years, but as a SAHM I don’t use it nearly as much as I did when I was a student. So, I have been on the market for a new planner. Yes, I know. Target has perfectly good and capable planners for a SAHM, but I have a relationship with my planners like no other. It’s weird, I know. I take notes. I jot down thoughts and to-dos. I circle dates. I make notes of scriptures for particular days. I plan. I organize. My planner is my go-to…I told you, weird. Emily Ley has measured up to the planner of my SAHM dreams! You have your monthly layout, and each day is broken down 7am to 7pm, a to-do section, notes section, and what you have planned for dinner. Or in our case lately, where to go for dinner. I have been captured by the simplicity of Emily Ley, and the fact she is expecting twins? We’re meant to be friends.

2. The Hair Bow Company.

Need accessories for your little one? Check out this online boutique that offers amazing deals on accessories from head to toe!

3. Miracle Baby Tees, Tink and Key.

I just ordered these for the big birthday! Perfect to celebrate our miracle babies!

4. Wishing Bracelet: Elephant, Stella and Dot.

I LOVE these bracelets! There is an also an arrow and wishbone. At only $19, these are a fashion steal!! Perfect stocking stuffer or holiday gift for your friends. And, did you know elephant is a symbol for strength? Yes. Mine is already on its way! You can shop online for them here.

5. Living Well Spending Less.

This is an awesome blog with great tips from living a clutter free life to cutting your grocery bill in half. Ruth shares great tips, and this month is doing a 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life challenge. She is taking a section of her home everyday and is sharing her tips on how to clean out the clutter your own home. Now I just need to implement her tips and cleaning schedule rather than just reading and admiring her work! [I personally like her post on her master bathroom. Andrew and I share a sink, and have no drawers. It is common that the sink becomes our ‘drawer’ space because everything piles up in the mornings. I long for the day to have drawers in my bathroom. I am woman for crying out loud! It is a necessity.]

And, since it’s Monday and who doesn’t need cheering up when the weekend is over… for your enjoyment, and my pleasure I wanted to share with you some girl talk.

Happy Monday!

Mary Kate