our getaway weekend.

Today I’ve been getting back to reality after a mini-vacation.  Tommy and I had our first getaway weekend since we became parents!  It was a wonderful weekend!  Tommy was still off today, so it was like one foot in vacation mode, one foot in reality – helping me to ease back into the week.  Tomorrow could be rough though.


We started off our fun weekend with a family morning.  The boys got haircuts and then we went out to eat.  Tommy told Jack that we would go to a restaurant to eat, so Jack picked “the old one with macaroni and cheese and lemonade”.  That’s how he thinks of Cracker Barrel.


weekend getaway hair cut for jack  weekend getaway hair everywhereweekend getaway haircut Jack has so much hair!!


weekend getaway boysweekend getaway cracker barrel


After lunch out, we headed home to finish packing up for our fun weekend.  Jack spent the weekend with my parents, Nan and Pops, and I’m pretty sure he had the greatest weekend of his life!  Saturday morning he and Nan had pancakes out, read books at the library, went to Kroger, and Toys-R-Us.  He came back a little spoiled 🙂

I facetimed him while we were gone, and he said “mommy, I want to stay here.  I want to stay here and have another sleep over mommy.  I stay here, mommy!” And then he hung up on me.  He didn’t miss us much.

weekend getaway facetime         This was me kissing him goodbye, and him hanging up on me.


Tommy and I went to Asheville on Friday.  We stayed at the Grove Park Inn and had an amazing trip.  It was so nice to get away.  We woke up Saturday morning to a little snow all around with a sweet view from our awesome room.


weekend getaway jerryweekend getaway pizzaweekend getaway harris teeterweekend getaway selfyweekend getaway restaurantweekend getaway breakfast


Then we headed back to Knoxville and spent the evening at home, childless.  Tommy had arranged for a special dinner for us Saturday night.  I knew he was up to something but was totally surprised by it.  We came home to a beautifully set table with amazing looking food for us, candles lit, and flowers.  It was so sweet of Tommy and my dear friend, Becca, to do all of that for me.  Becca cooked us dinner and brought it over and set it up for us.  Because I’ve been having so many problems eating lately due to my autoimmune disorders, they made sure I had a delicious meal that I could eat that was prepared in a kitchen I trust.  So sweet!  And amazing food.  I have to get the recipe because it was insanely delicious.


Saturday we watched the last 3 episodes of Parenthood and laid on the couch for a long time.  It was glorious.  And then Sunday morning we went to get our little man back.  We got to spend Sunday and Monday with him, just hanging out and enjoying our time together.


It was so nice to get away, even for a short trip.  It really helped to reset my system.  My SD card from my camera is not working properly, so these are just the iPhone pictures I have.  Hopefully I will get my card straightened out and be able to share more pictures.  I hope you had a great weekend!

wedding weekend.

Like I mentioned on Friday, my sister-in-law’s wedding was this weekend.  It was a good weekend.  Everything was very lovely, and she was a beautiful bride! 


We kicked off the weekend on Thursday with a girls’ night for Molly. 

 Nikon D3200 298 Nikon D3200 292


Then Friday was a full day of wedding festivities.  Nails in the morning, luncheon at a sweet tea room, then decorating the church, errand running, rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner. 

  Nikon D3200 301 Nikon D3200 304 Nikon D3200 311 Nikon D3200 315 Nikon D3200 317 Nikon D3200 332 Nikon D3200 334 Nikon D3200 335 

Nikon D3200 338



Saturday was a busy day.  Molly was so excited and looked just beautiful.  Drew was sick – poor guy.  He made it, but I’m sure he won’t forget how sick he felt on his wedding day. 


Jack was the ring bearer, and he took that job very seriously.  He was beyond excited to play that role.  He absolutely  loved walking down the aisle, and he did a pretty good job overall.  He looked so adorable, too!  He refused to take his wedding clothes off last night, so he was sporting the tie and the suspenders until about 11:30 Saturday night.  So cute! 

    Nikon D3200 343 Nikon D3200 359 Nikon D3200 363 Nikon D3200 365 Nikon D3200 367

Nikon D3200 372Nikon D3200 373


We are so happy for Molly and Drew.  Congratulations guys!  We love you! 

healthy and organized 2014.

A few weeks ago my friend Becca and I were talking about eating healthier, exercising, and getting organized.  You know, all those things pretty much everyone feels they need to do in a new year.  I’ve felt it coming for awhile.  I haven’t been taking good care of my family or myself.  Our nutrition, our exercise, all of that flew out the window last year.  We were in survival mode last year, but now I feel ready to do more.  To thrive in 2014. 

Between the lack of healthiness in our lives, and the total disorganization, it’s hard to be efficient and intentional in life these days.  I want to spend my time in the new year taking care of my family, being focused, loving and doing it all efficiently so that I have time to do more. 

So as Becca and I talked about this, we decided to hold each other to it.  And because Becca is awesome, she hashtagged it – healthyandorganized2014.  So that’s what we’re doing! 

I know I can’t do it all at once.  I know that’s not healthy either.  So I’m doing it bit by bit.  Small steps in healthy eating, exercising, and organization.  And I’m pretty excited to get things back in order. 


The first day of 2014, I started off by eating a healthier breakfast than I have been eating lately.  I had a turkey and cheese omelet, with fruit.  And just to keep it real, I had 4 slices of bacon with it.  Thin bacon – so that’s more like 1 slice, right?? 🙂 

Starting the day off on the right foot helped to set the tone for the rest of the day.  So I am glad I made the decision to do that.  It’s just the beginning.  Excited to see what all is in store this year.  

#healthyandorganized2014 … here we go! 


Nikon D3200 269 Nikon D3200 265

a year in review.

I’ve seen everyone doing Instagram summaries of their year.  There are blog posts out there on every blog wrapping up the year.  I had planned to skip that one this year.  But this was a very important year for our family – one we won’t ever forget.  So my 2013 summary isn’t going to look as happy and glowy as many of them out there – but it’s real and it’s ours and it’s the year that changed us, shaped us, and taught us all about life, love, and God.  So here we go!


Started the year out excited to add a new baby to our family.  January 7th our lives changed forever when we found out Gabriel was sick.

After looking at our baby’s DNA, we were informed a couple of weeks later on a snow day that he did, indeed, have Trisomy 18.

We started walking this hard walk that has become our life – choosing to love, hope, and celebrate his life EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of it!

Pictures 135

Pictures 156

Jack [and Gabriel’s] first snow!

Pictures 186

Videos of our sweet boy.

Pictures 202

Spending lots of time praying, trusting, listening.

Pictures 272

A snowy, dark drive home from another bad doctor’s appointment.

Pictures 275

I’m sorry and I love you pie from my sweet Granny.

Pictures 172Pictures 292

Pictures 309

Perinatal cardiologist appointment.

Pictures 435  Pictures 462


We celebrated our baby’s first Valentine’s Day.

Pictures 390

Pictures 401

And Tommy got to work on Gabriel’s nursery – making it a perfect room for him.  It turned out beautifully when he was done!

Pictures 179


We continued living our days learning to walk in trust and to celebrate every single day of Gabriel’s life.

pictures 2206

pictures 2239

We had a photo shoot gifted to us by our friend and photographer, Erin Rodgers, so that we could always have pictures of our time with Gabriel.

733931_10151552350536357_1014447250_n  734011_10151552351176357_814473100_n 484084_10151552351461357_863556740_n


We celebrated Tommy’s birthday!

Pictures 856

Tommy’s sister took some pictures for us  before our sweet G was born.

Gabriel's pictures 002

Pictures 861

Last family photo before Gabriel was born.

May – Our big month!

May 5th – Gabriel’s born alive!!

Pictures 870

pictures 2417

Gabriel's pictures 316

pictures 2251

pictures 2240

Gabriel lived for 2 hours and is now in Heaven with our Father.
We had the sweetest graveside service to bury our baby boy.

Gabriel's pictures 327Gabriel's pictures 337

Gabriel's pictures 334Gabriel's pictures 350

I had my first Mother’s Day as a mom to 2 one week after Gabriel was born.

Anni-Jack-a-birthday week came and we celebrated our anniversary, Jack’s 2nd birthday, and my birthday.

Pictures 953

June — 

We celebrated Father’s Day

pictures 2433

Celebrated Gabriel  Pictures 910

Celebrated Granny’s 82nd birthday  Pictures 969

And lived life with a lot of help from family and friends.  pictures 1489


I wore a heart monitor trying to find answers to health problems.

Pictures 1020

One of our nightly readings of “We Were Gonna Have A Baby But We Had An Angel Instead”

pictures 2265

Pictures 476  Pictures 483

pictures 2275  Beach trip 2013 with my family


Beauty from ashes

Pictures 391

Pictures 428

A picnic lunch with Granny.  A beautiful, sunny day with some of my favorite companions.  And our last special moment with Granny.

pictures 1380

Pictures 442


Jack starts preschool!

pictures 1456

I got diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

Tommy and I snuck in some fun time.

pictures 1497

pictures 1226

pictures 1507  Be still my heart.

Football game with friends.

pictures 1221 pictures 1292


Gabriel’s marker came in.

pictures 1512

I wrote about hope for 31 days throughout October.


fall pics

October was a busy and hard month.  I had surgery – a cholecystectomy.  Then several days later, my Granny died very suddenly and unexpectedly.  After her burial, a whole bunch of family came to our Gabriel’s grave.

pictures 2427

pictures 2432 Matching baseball players.

November  —

Erin Rodgers took our fall family pictures for us.  A sweet reminder of this season of our lives.

Family Pictures Fall 2013 006

Family Pictures Fall 2013 004


Christmas as a family of 4, with only 3 of us here.  We celebrated the hope that is Christmas.

Nikon D3200 135Nikon D3200 150

And just a few of the many blessings from others…

pictures 1492Pictures 143Pictures 285Pictures 316Pictures 393Pictures 727

And plenty of fun and two year old business…

pictures 1529  Pictures 382Pictures 1004  Pictures 360 pictures 2277pictures 1302  pictures 1532

This was our worst yet richest year.  It has been so hard, but we have been so blessed.  Although we wouldn’t have asked for the bad in this year, God has certainly used it in our lives.  We have clung to hope this year, and hope continues to be given to us.  We have hope that we will see our son again one day.  We are so thankful for all of you.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you for loving us.  Thank you for prayers, for support, for cards, and gifts.  For everything.  I don’t say it nearly enough.  But we have been so immensely blessed this year, and when I look back over our year, I see hard, but behind it I see so much love.  Thank you for loving us and carrying us through such a rough year.  We love you all!

Happy New Year to you!


See last years wrap up here.

the tree.

Is it just me or did this Christmas season just explode?  Maybe I’ve just missed it in the past, but this year seems to have gone from Thanksgiving, to full Christmas swing in a fast second.  Whew, it’s wearing me out. 


But before I got stressed out about the craziness of it all, we had a great weekend after Thanksgiving kicking the Christmas season off on the right foot.  On Saturday we went on a five hour adventure looking for our Christmas tree.  We found a beauty – making it all worth it. 


A little about our tradition —  I grew up with artificial Christmas trees thanks to a lot of allergies in our house and my childhood asthma.  Once Tommy and I got married I knew that I wanted our family to start a tradition of getting a real tree every year.  I LOVE this.  I love having something so fresh and alive.  I love the smell.  I love the process of picking it out and bring it home.  Man, it’s the best. 


We’ve always had pretty small trees, but we have really tall ceilings in this house, and last year our little tree looked pretty sad in this large-ceilinged room.  So this year we went bigger.  Turns out it looks smaller in the field next to other trees than it does in our living room.  We have a big tree.  But I LOVE it!  It’s magnificent. 


tree collage  



Jack and Lauren Jack and Tommy 



 Jack picks his tree



Our tree isn’t decorated yet, but I love the look of just the lights on it for a short while.  Here’s a little look at it and Jack playing with his nativity set. 

lights on tree



Are you a real tree or a fake tree person?  Got tree traditions?  I want to hear them! 

girls’ night.

This week I was able to get out for a much needed girls’ night.  Between busyness in life, a sick kid, and a million thoughts running through my head, I needed a fun night.  So thankful for good friends! 


We headed downtown for a good dinner and then followed it up with some gelato.  There’s nothing like a night of great conversation with women who love me, challenge me, love my kid, make me laugh, make me think, and provide the best company. 


girls night


Last week Jack got another big boy haircut.  I can’t stand to cut his hair too often, so I wait until it gets really long and then have them cut a bunch off.  I was hoping if I let it grow out some this summer it would curl up again.  And it didn’t – at least not much.  I miss those baby curls!  But he does look like an adorable little boy with his new haircut. 




He did great!  A friend suggested we go to this barber shop, and I’m so glad we did!  We have been there twice now.  They have a special race car seat for the little kids, and Jack loves having his own special seat.  They have toys, candy, suckers, animal crackers, and turned the TV to cartoons for him.  He loves it there.  And as long as he gets his purple, or “poo poo” sucker, as he calls it, he’s a happy camper. 




My handsome boy. 

saturday fun.

We had a busy weekend that was full of fun and a few firsts for Jack. One of my favorite new areas in town is a new town center just a few miles down the road from our house.  Saturday morning they held a town center block party, and we had so much fun there with friends.  There was a small carousel, which Jack loved.  Bounce houses, which Jack loved.  And a helicopter that was really cool to see in person.  Jack loved most everything about it! 






Then we went home for his nap and went back out for more fun with friends.  We went to eat some really unhealthy food and then headed downtown for the UT open practice.  It was a lot of fun and Jack’s first time going to a football game [we’ve been calling it that because he was so excited about it].  It was his first time at Neyland Stadium, too.  He was very curious about the music, all the people, and all the noise they made.  He loved when people cheered, when they played music, and most of all he loved Smokey, the mascot.  Once he found Smokey, he calmed down and enjoyed the practice. 



Big boys eating dinner.  No high chairs needed here. 




His first walk to Neyland. 








2 year old boys playing around. 







The boys watching football. 









Sweet little boys. 



It was such a fun day.  And then Jack woke up Sunday morning covered in throw up.  Poor little guy.  So we spent Sunday recovering at home after an active Saturday.  It was a good weekend.