i miss my son.

I miss him.  As Gabriel’s first birthday approaches.  As new life is all around.  As our most joyous month is just over a week away.  As I plan Jack’s 3rd birthday party and realize I will never get that for my second born.  All of these are just little things that are part of life and make me miss him so much.  Last night I sat.  I just sat and listened to this song, after reading my friend’s blog about how that song made her feel about her baby in Heaven.  And as I listened to it and imagined what it must be like for Gabriel in Heaven — which I can’t even imagine — but knowing that he is there, I felt so far away from him.  Some times it does feel like we are only separated for a brief moment.  Our lives here are short in the grand scheme of things and having the hope of knowing that we will see him again one day is an amazing comfort.  And sometimes it feels as if we are only briefly separated.


But some days, like today, it seems so far away.  And I feel so far away from my baby.  How I’ll never know so many things about him.  I don’t get to watch his personality develop or see if he is like Jack or so very different.  I won’t have the opportunity to worry about him  — in good and bad ways because that’s what moms do.  I won’t know if he would have been a good or bad eater.  A good sleeper or up all night.  Many of the things moms complain about, I would happily take if it meant time with my son.  I wonder if his very dark brown, very curly newborn hair would have fallen out.  Would his hair be curly at one year?


If life went how I planned it, I would have two boys sleeping upstairs in side by side rooms.  I would walk upstairs each night and look in one room, cover Jack back up and kiss his squishy cheeks, then quietly close the door and go to Gabriel’s room.  I would pull the blanket back over him, scoot his pacis back beside him so he could reach them if he needed them, lean far down over that crib rail and kiss his squishy cheeks, then quietly close the door behind me.  I would walk back downstairs to our room and lay down knowing I had a perfect life and a perfect family of 4.


But my nights don’t look like that, my life doesn’t look like that, and I don’t have 2 boys sleeping upstairs.  We have the side by side rooms, but one of them is empty.


I walk upstairs each night and see the empty room at the top of the stairs that is Gabriel’s room.  I walk past it to go check on Jack every night.  And as I quietly close Jack’s door, I walk back past G’s empty room.  Sometimes I stop in the doorway and just look.  Occasionally I will imagine what life would be like with G in that room.  But most of the time I just accept it for how it is because all I’ve ever known is that room being empty.


If my plans had worked out, I would have boys about to turn 3 and 1 next month.  I would have a big boy running, wild, always playing with cars, trucks, and tractors, and I would have a no-longer baby toddling around right after him, I imagine.



My house feels empty, my arms feel empty, and my heart feels heavy.  Sometimes the pain of loss is so great that it physically hurts.  I know I am being healed, I know God is completing a work in me, and I know He is going to take these ashes that are my life and make them beautiful, but I am still broken.  I still have a broken heart.  And I miss my son.


Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!  
Psalm 126:5  

getting organized.

I’ve been working on lots of organizing around my house.  As part of #healthyandorganized2014 I’ve been on a huge organizing kick.  I don’t know about you, but in our house things have a way of coming unorganized and out of sorts over time.  And of course there are plenty of areas that I never organized in the first place, or organized “just good enough” because I didn’t want to put the time and effort into it before.


So far this year I’ve been trying to focus on some of those areas, and I’m excited to share them.  Today I’m sharing a few of them over on the Knoxville Moms Blog.  Head over there and check out my post.




Happy Tuesday friends!

frozen {not the movie}.

Do you ever feel like you have so much to do or feel so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start.  So you just don’t start?  I do this.  It’s kind of classic in my book.  I spent so much time in college stressing about tests, papers, projects and thinking about how I was going to do them and how I needed to do them, but I would be so overwhelmed that I wouldn’t just start.  I do this in my life now, too.  It definitely doesn’t look the same now.  But it’s the same thing.


My Granny used to tell me that I was like my dad.  She said when he was in pharmacy school he would spend more time worrying about his tests than studying for them.  She told me I was the same and to stop worrying and just get to studying.  I miss her.  She could tell you straight up how it was and you’d just want to hug her and tell her thanks for the advice.


So I was kind of frozen last week.  And not because we were busy watching the movie.  By the end of the week I really felt like I lacked direction and focus.  It was nice to have a week that was more restful, especially after the buildup of the first Project Gabriel support meeting, but by the end of the week I was just frustrated.


So this week I am going to get up and do something, instead of sitting frozen and overwhelmed.  There were many things I wanted to blog about last week, but I just didn’t get to it.  So this week I want to share with you several things including all about our first Project Gabriel support group meeting, and my weight loss journey, which has been full of ups and downs but mostly ups.  And I don’t mean emotional ups, I mean poundage ups.  Yeah, it’s not been awesome.  But the exercise has.  Excited to talk about it.  I also have some organizing stuff to share.  Y’all, I have been crazy organizing.  I love having a place in my home for everything.  Tommy’s either got to love it or he’s either driven completely crazy by this point.  Probably the latter.  But who doesn’t love a more organized home.


Hope your week is off to a great start today and that your Easter was beautiful.

happy Easter.

Easter has felt very different to me last year and this year.  It is more personal and I’m so much more thankful for what it means now more than ever before.  Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection not only have saved us from our sin, for which I am so in need and so grateful, but it also means that Christ defeated death.  And because of that, this isn’t where it ends with our baby.


Gabriels grave Easter 2014


Because of God’s love for us, because of Christ’s victory over the grave, we will see our son again.  Grieving parents, or anyone in this world, could not ask for more hope than that!



Happy Easter!  I pray you know how loved you are by God’s deep love for us and by Jesus’ death on the cross for us.  He is not dead, but He is risen!



project Gabriel support group meeting.

adventures of jack and me-2


Monday is the first peer support group meeting as a part of Project Gabriel.  It is for mamas who have lost a baby through miscarriage, perinatal, or infant loss.  And any woman who has experienced this is welcome!  This is our first meeting, and I’m hoping for a time of community and for women to just gather and not feel alone.  If you are thinking about coming, please do.  I would love to meet you and know you.  And if you know someone who should come, please pass this on and encourage them to.  It doesn’t matter if it happened last week or 10 years ago.


We are meeting on Monday, April 14th at 7 pm at the Chick-fil-A at Homberg Place in Knoxville.  I am so excited for this.  And just really hopeful of what the evening will be.  Thank you for your support and kinds words.  This wouldn’t be happening without all of the support and love from you all.



let’s talk about weight loss.

Weight loss is a subject that I am very familiar with.  As a Registered Dietitian I have counseled many patients and clients about weight loss.  However, I have never really been in a position where I need to lose weight before, so I don’t know what it’s like first hand.  I think sometimes you can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you haven’t experienced something first hand you just aren’t going to fully get it.  Weight loss may fall in to that category, too.


weight loss


For the first time in my life, really, I am in a position where I need to lose weight.  Like I’ve shared, my body has been through a lot in the last year and a half.  My pregnancy with Gabriel was physically challenging, and I had the opposite problem — I had a really hard time gaining weight.  I weight almost as much right now as I did when Gabriel was born.  I lost all of the baby weight right away — within the first 2 weeks.  Then I lost another 10 pounds between June and October because I was so sick with a gallbladder that wasn’t functioning.  Before I had my gall bladder removed in October, I weighed the lowest I had weighed since middle school or maybe freshman year of high school.  Then I gained 17 pounds between October and February.  Talk about weight fluctuation.  Up and down and up and down.  That put me just a few pounds above my usual body weight.  And then I started steroids.  Which I now believe is a miracle drug — because of how much better I feel — but it doesn’t come without side effects.  Including weight gain.  I put on 10 pounds in the first month on steroids.  Hello significant weight gain.  And hello reality check.


During that month there were a lot of times that I felt really bad about myself because of my nutrition — mainly my poor food choices.  I knew I was making bad decisions, I knew I was gaining weight, I could see changes happening, but I just kept sitting in that.  Gaining 27 pounds over the course of 6 months is crazy and hard on the body, and I could feel that resonating in my body physically and also emotionally.


I reached my breaking point.  I stepped on the scale, saw the number, and realized I had to make changes.  And I know I’m not  alone.  So I’m going to share my weight loss journey here on this blog.  Because I apparently enjoy doing scary things.  But I am hoping that it will be an encouragement to anyone else who is working through this or feels that tug to get going on it.  Maybe we can do it together?  Maybe you can keep me accountable?


I will go more in depth on different aspects of weight gain, weight loss, nutrition, exercise, the emotions behind it, and whatever other random stuff you know I will throw in.  But today I just wanted to share with you that this is where I am.  In a new territory, learning things, trying to apply the book stuff and the head knowledge to my own real life.  I’m excited to share what I learn.  I am also humbled to admit there’s some ugliness in all this, too.  And I’m really hoping that I can get back on track to a healthy state.  One where I’m not concerned with numbers but with overall health.  Where I eat a really well-balanced diet and I live a healthy lifestyle.  It’s always been my passion, and I want to get back to it.


Also, I want to address this — I know that I will hear from many of you that I am so little, I couldn’t have gained that much weight, it doesn’t show, etc.  And I appreciate your kind words.  I am a petite person.  I always have been.  My Mamaw, my mom’s mom, was a short and very petite woman as was her family.  I seem to have those genes.  I have a petite frame and look like a little person, but over the past little while I have added weight on to my small frame that shouldn’t be there.  But even more than the pounds, it’s about the food choices I’m making and not living a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle.  That’s what I want to get back to.  I notice differences in the way my body feels.  There is extra skin, and fat??, that didn’t used to be there.  And the tell tale sign — when you rip through 3 pairs of jeans in 2 days you can’t help but slump your shoulders and throw in the towel.


So I hope you will join me.  Maybe if you’ve walked this before and have some tips for me, you will share with me.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  And I will definitely share how it’s going and what I’ve learned.  So far my favorite thing I’ve learned about — barre classes.  I am obsessed.  I’ve been able to do them at home, which works really well with my schedule since I can’t get away to work out.  I also have some other forms of exercise to try out and am looking forward to seeing what is fun and works great!

spinach chicken crockpot spaghetti.

I have been slacking on cooking lately.  Tommy isn’t home for dinner, so I’m completely unmotivated to cook.  Jack and I can make do with whatever.  But the problem is that Tommy comes home later and needs to eat, and I seemed to forget about that.  Poor man has walked in more times that not since he started working these hours to me saying eat what you can find.  In an effort to avoid this again one night last week, I scrambled through my kitchen looking for what I could fix using only ingredients I had on hand.  I needed to go to the grocery store, too, so there really weren’t a lot of options.  It also had to be a crockpot meal because I was busy that day and didn’t have time to cook around the 5-6 o’clock hour.


Using frozen chicken, spaghetti sauce, spinach, canned tomatoes, and spaghetti noodles I fixed up this dish.  It took less than 5 minutes of hands on time to get this together.  That alone will make me eat pretty much anything!


I will say that this is not my favorite dish.  It was okay but definitely not great or anything special.  It was easy, and it’s pretty healthy so I like those things about it and I will make it again because of that.  But it lacked flavor.  I would add some italian seasoning to it next time and maybe even one of those spice packets just to give it good flavor.  Another thing I did was to add the noodles to cook in the crockpot because I only wanted to clean up one thing.  This worked well, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if the noodles were separate and you put the sauce, chicken, and spinach on top of it.




frozen chicken breasts or tenderloins [I used 6]

1 pound spaghetti noodles

2 cans Hunts spaghetti sauce

2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 package frozen spinach


crock pot sauce ingredients



1.  Place chicken, spaghetti sauce, and tomatoes in crockpot.  Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

2.  About 2 hours before serving if on high, or 4 hours before serving if on low, add uncooked spaghetti noodles (if you want them mixed in)  If you don’t want the noodles mixed in, then cook them according to the directions on the package.

3.  Cook spinach according to directions on package then stir into pasta mixture.


crock pot sauce


Top with cheese if you want and serve!




spinach chicken spaghetti

the weekend and some poor computer skills on my part plus G’s 11 month mark.

This weekend was one of sleep deprivation.  Thursday night Jack fell out of his bed in the  middle of the night, Friday night he woke up at 3:30 crying because he had wet the bed, and Saturday night he woke up screaming at 3:30 having a nightmare.  He has some weird night terrors sometimes but this was his first nightmare.  He was convinced there was a bee in his bed and could not get past it.  So we stayed up for the night.  I felt so bad for him.  Jack woke up right as Tommy did [because he gets up that early for the outage] so Tommy got ready and left for work and Jack and I laid in my bed watching a movie.

I guess I fell asleep and Jack did not because next thing I knew Jack had a pen in my face with the cap off and Jack asking me to help him.  He had pen mark on his face and he had done some journaling.  Yesterday evening I picked up my computer [my new Macbook] to do some work and it wasn’t working right.  Nothing was saved, it looked like a totally different computer, and I spent about an hour working on it last night trying to get it fixed.  Then I spent 2 hours on it today trying to get it fixed, reset settings, and download new stuff.  None of it worked.  It was so frustrating.  Finally it dawned on me that I had left it sitting out the other night and Jack must have messed with it while he had the house to himself Saturday night/Sunday morning.  I asked him if he played with my computer, and he told me he did and that it turned colors.


So I finally called Apple hoping my brand new computer wasn’t broken and it took all of 1 minute for the very kind man to very kindly tell me it sounded like I was in a guest profile and not my normal one.  To which I said yes it did seem like that.  He asked if I was, and I said I wouldn’t even know how to know that.  He told me how to log out of it and log back in mine and what do you know, it was all fixed.  He was very nice to me and didn’t make me feel totally dumb, which was nice of him because I already felt that way.

jack is a studPlayiing outside Sunday!


I spent all of my computer time trying to fix something that wasn’t broken.  So unfortunately all I had time left to write today was this post.  I hope you had a great weekend and your Monday is off to a good start.  Tomorrow I will be back with a healthy crockpot recipe.


And Saturday was the 5th which makes 11 months since Gabriel was born.  It’s hard to believe it’s been so long.  I spent some time Saturday thinking about what it was like a year ago when I was still pregnant with G.  It’s crazy that it’s been nearly a year.  I’m very thankful for my sweet friends Amy and Becca who continue to remember and celebrate our precious boy each month with us.  I am so blessed to have friends like that.  Their actions remind me of how I need to serve others.


G's grave 11 months