day 6 // who i watched.

Today I watched a little boy/toddler named Gabriel.  He was at our house playing, eating, and hanging out with me and Jack.  It was kind of wild to have another Gaby here.  And pretty beautiful, too.  I was concerned it might confuse Jack, but he seemed to understand the difference.  A brief moment that was a gift.


little boys times two littleboy

day 5 // what a day + where our hope is.

So technically this post is going up at 1 am on the 6th; however, I am backdating this post to the 5th because I’m still operating in the 5th mode and today has been crazy so I’m just getting this to post.  Also, I have had computer problems for the last hour and a half and just got my computer turned on.  I’m new to the MacBook Pro world — have always had PCs before.  I’ve had a lot of issues with my Macbook not turning on.  Does anyone know if this is a common problem?  I don’t know much about computers.  And on another note, I want to wish my friend Deanna a very happy birthday today!  She is one of my oldest, best, lifelong friends — and I think we’ve been friends for 25 years now!  Happy birthday, Dee!

Today was a really fun day!  We woke up and decided to do something fun.  So we gave Jack a few options, and he chose to go to Dollywood.  In a random occurrence, both of my siblings were able to come with us!  So Aunt Z, Uncle Baggee, and Becca piled in the van and we all went to Dollywood.  It was the perfect day for it!  Not too crowded and a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  The weather was perfect.  Jack rode his first roller coaster.  I couldn’t believe he was tall enough.  If I could put emoticons in here I would load it up with them.  Ones that express how terrified I was and that I couldn’t believe it.  I even asked a woman working it if it was “really ok [with a little wink]” for him to ride it.  Apparently the standard heights they set up aren’t good enough for me.  But he rode it and had a blast on it!  Such a fun day.  He also requested the water ride, which means the River Rampage.  A classic that Linds, Bud, and I haven’t ridden together in probably close to 15 years.  You know what kind of rides you don’t have to wait in line for in the fall?  Water rides.  I debated the whole way to the ride and I was super nervous because I thought it might be a bad decision to ride it when it’s cooler out.  But Z assured me that it was nearly 70 degrees, the sun was shining, and the water would be warm from the end of summer.  So we rode it.  And Jack loved it and got totally soaked.  Then Tommy paid $5 for a “dryer”, which I put in quotes because I’m pretty sure the only thing it dried was his wallet out of money.  Thankfully I had a change of clothes for Jack so we were able to get him dried off.  The rest of us walked around in soaking wet jeans for the rest of the day.  But it really wasn’t cold in the sun.

We were planning to leave there around 5 because Tommy and I wanted to go see our friends’ new baby — their rainbow baby — this evening.  But we got caught up at Dollywood, and apparently behind the mad rush of everyone leaving when they closed at 6, so it took awhile to get out.  On the way home I checked my phone and saw that our friends’ new baby was being admitted to the hospital.  And my heart sank.  So fast.  I couldn’t believe it.  They had finally gotten their sweet baby and had just brought him home and been able to introduce him to his brother.  And just like that he’s sick and put in the hospital.  I knew it would be especially hard for my friend because last time she had a baby in that hospital, her baby died.  So I went to see her but had some issues getting in there.  Because it was later in the day the front doors were locked.  So I went through the ER and had to check in with a security guard who informed me I could not visit.  Once I told him the name he checked his role but didn’t have their names on there.  So I stood there with big ol’ 32 oz. Cokes in hand telling him to look again and that I had stuff to bring my friend.  He said “nope, I can’t let you up.  and this isn’t exactly a lot of fun for me.”  I was desperate because I had a phone charger for her and her phone was dead.  Very important things.  So when he made another comment about this not being his idea of a good time, I said something along the lines of yes, I understand that.  It’s not my idea of a good time either.  My son is at home and cried because he didn’t want me to leave the house, and the Good Wife is on and I’d rather be sitting on my couch watching it and eating ice cream.  But I’m here because my friend’s 3 day old baby was admitted, and last year she had a baby in this hospital who died.  And last year my baby died.  So this is a big deal.  And I have her phone charger.

At that point the tears started coming, and he either felt bad for me, thought I was crazy, or just wanted me to stop talking because his demeanor changed and he said he would see what he could do if I would wait.  So I stepped outside because that ER was insane with people and I have a little bit of a compromised immune system.  And I sat down on the pavement outside the ER, and I just cried.  The tears just flowed.  I’m so sad for Ray and Julie.  My heart is heavy for them as they endure this hardship, and I know the uncertainty of their sweet baby’s health is so scary.  Why some people endure so much and others don’t is something I don’t think I will understand.  Julie and I talked about this on Friday.  But I think in those moments outside the ER I just grieved for their Nora and for our Gabriel.  With tears filling my eyes and running down my cheeks I just wept for our babies.  To have to fight my way in to see my friend who I’m so bonded to because both of our babies died was one of those things that caught up with me in the moment.  One of those things that made me overwhelmingly sad.  So I sat on the sidewalk and cried.  And then I knocked over one of the Cokes and it poured out all over the concrete in an instance, and I cried some more.  Then I pulled myself up — like I’ve done so many times in the past year and a half — wiped the running mascara off my face as much as possible, and walked back in.  The security guard let me in, and I gave Julie her phone charger.

As I drove home tonight I cried some more just thinking about things.  Thinking about life.  One of the things I was afraid of after Gabriel died was that I would forget.  Not him — I knew I would never forget him — but that I would forget my desperation at that time.  Because as broken and awful and miserable as losing a loved one is, there’s something beautiful about being so low that every breath you breathe is a desperate need for God.  I knew that as time went on that would go away, and it did.  Tonight reminded me of our desperate need for God every day.  If our hope is in anywhere but Him, we will be crushed.  While things move smoothly in life I tend to forget my state of desperation, where as a little over a year ago I walked in it every day.  Seeing a little tiny, new person laying there completely helpless — totally in the hands of God, reminded me of how He holds us and how we need him every day.

*Please pray for our friends and their sweet baby boy.

day 4 // the beautiful part of sports.

How about sneaking in a late night post just before the end of the day.  I almost forgot I was writing every day — good thing I remembered before it was the 5th.  Today it only seems fitting to talk about some beautiful stuff as it relates to sports, seeing how it’s a huge Saturday for sports in the fall.  At least it is for me.  But based on all of the college football upsets today, I would say it’s been a big Saturday for a lot of people.  I can tell you it wasn’t a big Saturday for Maryland fans.  Yikes.  I always keep up with them because I was, after all, a Terp for awhile.  And the first time I went to a game [actually working nutrition for the game] I was in shock at the stadium because I’m used to Neyland.  Neyland is the best.  And speaking of the best, Neyland was looking extra classy today.  It was awesome seeing everyone wearing their assigned white or orange to checker Neyland.  Tennessee fans are the best!

What was not the best was our loss to Florida.  That one hurt.  I’m pretty sure most of us fans thought we would beat Florida.  The team was pumped up, the fans were pumped up, we nearly beat Georgia last week, and Neyland was checkered.  What could go wrong?  Apparently the whole game could.  If a score of 10-9 sounds brutal to you, then you can only imagine how rough that was to watch.  I watched Coach Jones press conference after the game and had my faith restored in the team.  People can be so harsh, saying he can’t coach and we aren’t going to pick it up.  He doesn’t have a lot to work with, and we’re holding our own.  We will get there.  I hope.  But if every other game in the season is like this, then maybe we won’t.

Speaking of brutal, let’s talk about the Cardinals playing this weekend.  Another reason this is a big weekend, besides the Tenn game vs. Florida, is the Cardinals are playing in the NLDS.  Game 1 started off brutal.  I thought it was a terrible game, and then all of the sudden, an 8 run 7th inning for the Cards.  Amazing.  Brutal game gone.  Winning game on.  The Cards are just starting Game 2 as I type this, so here’s to hoping Lance Lynn can do them well tonight.  And based on my late in the day caffeine, I will likely be up to see what happens.

And another sports thing this weekend — Tommy played in the alumni game for the Tennessee hockey team last night.  He didn’t play hockey at all last season and had decided he wouldn’t play again this season, so I was glad he was able to get out on the ice last night and play with some old teammates.  I know Jack would have loved to see him play, so I wish I could have taken him, but I think Tommy had a good time.  And it may just make him want to play this season after all.

So what’s beautiful about all of this?  The Cardinals win last night was — clearly.  The Vols loss today was not anything close to beautiful.  But beyond the actual games or how many times I said “that’s a beautiful hit!” there is a lot more to sports and the athletes, the people there.

Take for example Albert Pujols.  He used to rank up high in my opinion, and he has dropped lower because of how he left the Cards, however, that is a story for another day.  And not the point.  The point is that Albert has started something really great.  He uses his talent, his position, and his resources to make a difference in the lives of other people.  The Pujols Family Foundation is a blessing to the community.  According to their website, their purpose is::

“To promote awareness, provide hope and meet tangible needs for families and children who live with Down syndrome. To provide extraordinary experiences for children with disabilities and/or life threatening illnesses. To improve the standard of living and quality of life for impoverished children in the Dominican Republic through education, medical relief and tangible goods.”  


What a beautiful thing to use what you are given to bless others!

Michael Oher.  ‘Nough said.  If you don’t know his story then you need to go watch The Blind Side right now.  Tonight.  While the biggest part of the story is God using the people he did to change lives, sports played a large role in his story.  His talent, drive, discipline, and commitment to football was life changing for him.  It’s a beautiful thing to hear a story like that, to see a story like that.

And I think the most amazing and beyond beautiful story is this one ::  Team Hoyt.  Dick Hoyt is the active body for his son, Rick, as they have completed over 1000 races.  Their story is amazing, and what this dad has done and gone through for his son is beyond incredible.  All to help his son not feel handicapped.  Take some time to read their story.  You won’t regret it.

[sorry for the lack of pictures… technical difficulties on my part]

What is your favorite beautiful thing in sports?  I’d love to hear!

day 3 // just beautiful.

Sometimes the material just comes and the posts just write themselves.  Here I am talking about beautiful for 31 days, and yesterday — well, it was just beautiful for some of our friends.  Our sweet friends who also lost a baby last year had their rainbow baby yesterday.  A rainbow baby — because I didn’t know before our G — is the healthy + living baby you have after you’ve lost a baby.  Their precious baby boy was born yesterday afternoon and is healthy and doing great.  Tommy and I are really excited to go meet him.  It’s always amazing when a baby is born — every baby is truly a miracle — but man is it even more so for a rainbow baby.  God is good, and I know there will be parts of having this baby that intensify the grief but I also believe God will use him to continue to bring healing to their whole family.

Then my other friend got her first foster placement last night!  They have a sweet little boy and wouldn’t you know what his name is.  It’s the same as one of my boy’s and not the one who’s living.  We are really thrilled for them and are excited to get to watch these new relationships form.  I was a hot mess with the new arrivals and watching God redeeming lives around us last night.  My goodness.  It was purely beautiful.  Just beautiful.

And because nothing I can say can top those stories from yesterday, I am going to leave it at that for today.  The most beautiful things!  Oh, and Go Vols!!  {Florida game tomorrow + the excitement around here is so awesome}

day 2 // beautiful in pictures.

I have a hard time seeing beauty in life a lot of the time.  I think there are people who are naturally good at seeing the beauty in life.  They see beauty in every day things like an acorn or a pattern in saw dust.  I am not one of those people.  I am the person who not only misses the beauty in every day things but also misses obviously beautiful things right in front of me.  I used to think I just wasn’t built to see beauty and that it wasn’t one of my gifts, but I’m learning to think differently about it.  I’m learning to see beauty.  I’m learning to explore beautiful.  I’m learning that you don’t just have to be a natural beauty see-er but that you can train to see beautiful things all around.  So throughout this month that’s what I want to do.  Just like how I’ve practiced being thankful  and I’ve lived hope, this month is going to be my diving board into all things beautiful.

The thought of just suddenly seeing beautiful is overwhelming to me.  And since I don’t know where to start, I am going to take baby steps today.  Here are some things I find beautiful through recent pictures.


beautiful butterfly

Jack sees beautiful all around him.  He really loves butterflies and when one landed on his hand this summer at the splash pad, his day was made.  He teaches me to see beautiful and to slow down to have a chance to hold it.




beautiful celebrations

On this day Tommy came home from work and said we were having a picnic at Gabriel’s grave for dinner.  I love his heart for our family and it’s a beautiful thing.  I also think it’s beautiful that we are able to celebrate G’s life and continue to teach Jack how we remember and love.



beautiful family

This family.  So fun.  Always there for us.  It’s beautiful.



beautiful generations

We are blessed to get to spend time with Grandfather.  It’s fun to see Jack and his great-grandfather enjoying some Icedream together.  I am thankful for the time they get to spend together.



beautiful rainbow

A double rainbow on our street.




These people.  They make my life beautiful.



So I want to know what’s beautiful around you and how do you see beauty??



This post is day 2 in Write 31 Days in October.  You can find all posts here.

31 days of beautiful.

Happy October, friends!  It’s Fall.  It’s going to feel like it soon, and before we know it this month will have flown by just as quickly as all of the others have in this year.  This time of year is certainly crazy, isn’t it?  I feel like it’s our busiest season yet.  We are doing more, reaching further, and finding ourselves busier than ever.  Some of that is good and maybe some not so much.  So before this month just slips away in the chaos, I want to be intentional about it.  I want to remember something significant from this month.  I want to have challenged myself to reach beyond the day to day and really be.  Be present.  Be intentional.  Be challenged.

And so it’s for these reasons that I love this challenge and am joining in with the Nester as she writes for 31 days in the month of October.  I joined in last year for the first time, knowing exactly what my topic needed to be.  You can find my 31 days of hope from last year here.  This year I am excited for my second go at 31 days of writing as I write every day this month on the topic of ::


Why beautiful?  

This year’s topic wasn’t as obvious to me.  And truthfully, I’ve not been brainstorming it for all that long!  Because the fact that it is October is completely blowing me away.  Before I knew it, it was the very end of September, and I had to kick it in to gear to get this going.  Ever since I took the summer off from blogging, I’ve been out of my regular rhythm.  And while I certainly enjoy posting, I also found so many other things to fill my time.  I am hoping that this October challenge will help me to get back on track and back in this space.  I miss you all!

So while I was pondering my topic ideas, this one came to me.  It’s not perfect, it’s not definitive, and it’s so broad that I’m not sure where I’ll go.  But you can certainly expect to see a home project or two, a recipe or two, a beautiful picture, a beautiful story, and all of the random things that pour out of my heart, mind, and mouth.

My real goal in this topic to look and see what is beautiful in this life all around me.  And I look forward to having the month of October to do that.

Thanks for joining me here!  I hope you will follow along on these 31 days of beautiful.

Day 1//  31 days of beautiful

Day 2//  beautiful in pictures

Day 3//  just beautiful

Day 4//  the beautiful part of sports

Day 5//  what a day + where our hope is [aka: the story of how I cry to a security guard]  

Day 6//  who I watched

Day 7//  beautiful to you

Day 8//

Day 9//

Day 10//

Day 11//

Day 12//

Day 13//

Day 14//

Day 15//

Day 16//

Day 17//

Day 18//

Day 19//

Day 20//

Day 21//

Day 22//

Day 23//

Day 24//

Day 25//

Day 26//

Day 27//

Day 28//

Day 29//

Day 30//

Day 31//


so long september.

How is it possible that the last day of September is wrapping up?  The sun has gone down, and the last little bit of light is hanging on to the day.  September is almost over and with it comes the arrival of October.  I do not know how September, or really this whole year, has gone by so fast.  Also, it shocked me when I got on here and saw that it had been a couple of weeks since I posted.  Wow.  Time is flying by!

I wanted to share that I am going to be joining in with the Nester for her 31 days challenge again this year.  Tomorrow I will start my first post as an introduction + share my topic.  I’m excited!  This will be fun and certainly challenging for me to write every day of the month, especially since my blogging has been scarce since my summer break.

Here are a few pictures of what we’ve been up to lately //

lately.babyjack lately.gocards

lately.jackanddkdk lately.jackatTJs

Jack is such a good helper!  He helps me so much!  Grocery shopping, errands, stuff around the house.  He has been extra helpful lately, and I’m so thankful for him.  I sold a bunch of stuff in a big consignment sale around here this week, so going through all of the baby stuff was fun for Jack.  He liked pretending he was a baby.  He also was a super awesome amazing helper dropping stuff off which took us over 3 hours.  Misery.  I complained way more than Jack.  Plus he had a sweet ride.  Last week my parents went to Chicago and got to see the whole Cubs/Cards series.  Jack and I wore our Cards gear to support, and we are so happy the Cards won their division.  Whew, it was close.

So let’s catch up back here tomorrow for day 1!

it’s monday again + non-toy gifts.

This is going to get old, but wow, last week was crazy!  It just keeps happening.  Some how, the older Jack gets, the more we’re involved in, the busier we get.  And fall makes it that much worse!  Fall is my very favorite season — and yesterday felt like fall!  It was cool.  It was 59 degrees when we got dressed for church.  Jack wore a light sweater with elbow patches — ahhh!!  I wore boots and light sweater.  LOVELY.  I love fall!  All of that to say, we have been running around like crazy it feels like.  Last week was a blur, but we are good and had many good things happen.

Friday evening Jack and Tommy spent some time together — it was sweet!  Tommy has started taking Jack golfing.  Jack loves it!  It’s fun for them to spend time together, and I think Tommy has been waiting for this for awhile.  Saturday morning we woke up early to head downtown for a 5K.  It was the Sprint for the Prints 5K for Precious Prints.  A really great cause — they help provide comfort to families like ours who lose a child, so we were happy to support them.  It definitely is something that we would have loved to have for Gabriel.  Our friends the Parrishes, who we met last year after they lost their baby, did a video for Precious Prints [I shared on my facebook page a couple of weeks ago] and are a family who has a charm of their daughter’s thumbprint.  Jack rode in his stroller and then ran through the finish line with us.  He loved the 5K!  It’s right up his alley.  Afterwards, he checked out the food and had a bag of Cheetos, an orange, 2 donuts, and a water bottle.  Gotta refuel.

weekend 5k

Then we headed home to set up for Tommy’s sister and brother in law’s going away party that we hosted.  They move to Nebraska today, so we had a fun time Saturday afternoon celebrating them with all their people.  Then we went to mom and dad’s for burgers and came home, put Jack to bed and watched the Tennessee game.  It was a full day!  And so fun.  We will really miss Molly and Drew but are so happy for them and this big move in their lives.

weekend going away weekend molly and drew weekend party

So we had a great weekend, lots of fun celebrating and hanging out, and resting and playing on Sunday.  A great weekend!  Now on to a new week.  Today I’m over at the Knoxville Moms Blog sharing one of my very favorite list posts to date — 25 non-toy gifts for kids.  I’m ALL about this.  Head on over there and check it out!

non-toy gifts for kids

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!  Did it feel like fall where you are??

good reads for your monday.

I had this post 3/4 of the way written and it got deleted.  So this is version 2.0 and I can basically guarantee you it won’t be as good.  Fair warning.


cardinals fan happy Monday from the cutest Cardinals fan!


Happy Monday morning!  I already know this is going to be a better week because our little guy went to bed at a normal time last night.  His sleep has been very off between summer, turning 3 and dropping naps, and then starting back to school.  His little body can’t tell if he’s exhausted or rested, which I can tell his little body that he’s exhausted but that doesn’t seem to help.  So his scattered sleep habits have left us all walking around like sleep zombies for the better part of 3 weeks.  After being up from 11 pm to 3 am on Saturday night and realizing that that was not unusual, we decided things had to change.  I googled my little heart out looking for sleep tips and ways to help him.  Tommy and I sat down yesterday and hashed out a plan and then later shared it with Jack.  He thought it sounded like a good plan for Tommy and me, but wasn’t 100% on board with it himself.  We think he’ll come around 😉   The little man went down at 7:30 and it was celebration worthy!  Sure I had to go back up a bunch to settle him when he woke but progress is progress.


My first draft of this lovely Monday post had a whole bunch of other stuff about reading and how I’m not awesome at it.  It was long and drawn out, so I will eliminate it from version 2.  The summary is that I’m not awesome at reading but wish I was.  Which segued quite nicely into this section of stuff I read over the weekend that I hope you enjoy on this lovely Monday …



There’s been a lot of talk about extroverts and introverts lately.  All of this talk led to my discovery of my own vert.  I never know whether I was an extrovert or introvert because I wasn’t shy but I also wasn’t really social.  I have always liked being around people and doing things with my friends but have also needed time at home, alone.  Low and behold twenty something years later I learned I’m a bit of a mix with but with a little more introvert.  I was kind of surprised but not when I learned that it’s where you get your energy from.  If I’ve been super social [for me], it wears me out and I just have to be home to recover.  I used to think that was so silly, but I’m glad to know it’s just introvercy [?? not a real word].  This post is good.  I can relate to several things — specifically the phone, the down time, and avoiding shows that call for audience participation — I mean really, is there anything worse than that??


The Vols are back!  Watch out.  Will it be a perfect season?  No.  Of course not.  But it’s so fun to have exciting football Saturdays again.  Our team is exciting, we have a great coach, and he is a genius with the whole “brick by brick” stuff.  Go Vols!!


Whenever I start to feel like I’m a stuff manager, I immediately get rid of all the stuff.  We don’t need stuff.  We have plenty of it.  I don’t want to spend my life managing stuff.  I want to live and be in relationships and grow with others.  Not manage stuff.  Love this post.  **If you only have time to read one thing today, read this.  It makes me feel like taking a deep breath, looking around and saying it’s ok.  And now I’m going to go get rid of more stuff.


Check out my post from last Monday over on Knoxville Moms Blog.  I shared about UT game day traditions — it’s football time in Tennessee!


Thanks so much for sharing about your summers.  I really enjoyed reading what you were up to and some of the high points.  What I want to know today is — are you an introvert or an extrovert??

blog post needs to be a blog post baby.

I couldn’t think of a post title today, so I asked Jack.  Today’s post title is brought to you by my favorite little 3 year old.  He should probably start doing marketing for Project Gabriel — cause he is good.  


Today has been a long day.  Yesterday was a long day.  We are in a more challenging season.  Three is hard, but not in an attitude defiant way, but more in a sleep challenges, and earlier fears recurring way.  Not sure if that’s a three year old thing or other things, but I’m learning a lot about our little kiddo and us and parenting.  


The holiday on Monday really threw me off course.  I don’t know what day of the week it is and between that and the sleep deprivation, I’m lucky I’ve showed up anywhere I’m supposed to be this week.  This will be one of those weeks when I’m happy it’s over.  Come on weekend!  Two more days this week and then we get another weekend.  We are doing lots of work around our house right now, so our weekends are looking more like working on the house time and less like hanging out doing what we want time.  But since we enjoy working on our house, that works out OK!  


Before I ramble on anymore tonight, I’m going to wrap this post up.  I hope you are having a good week and don’t feel as disoriented as I do.  And for some awesomeness today, here’s what my Timehop picture from 3 years ago was the other day.  I love this little guy and his adorableness so much!