Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sweet Bethany

Man, Bethany puts up with a lot. I can’t even go into the things that I’ve put her through since we’ve known each other. One of our first ‘bonding’ experiences was right after we first started dating I got really sick one night – throwing up sick – and she came over the next day prepared to heal me. She brought Gatorade, crackers, movies, and Oust. Oust? Yeah – that’s how I knew she was different. Who thinks to bring Oust to a sick person? Bethany – that’s who. You know how nasty it is when you get sick and you’re going all kinds of ways in the bathroom? And then to have to smell it? Well that only makes you more sick. That Oust was thoughtful. But that’s just Bethany.

A few weeks later I had plans to spend part of my spring break camping with my friend David. Instead of being mad that I was going to spend part of our week off in the woods away from her she brought me a care package before we left. Guess what was in it? Oust – no. But that might have been useful. No, she brought a box of graham crackers, a bag of marsh mellows, and a giant Hershey’s bar. SMORE components. Awesome.

I've put her through some crazy stuff. Sometimes, I make the stupidest comments. Comments that really hurt her feelings – stuff I never mean, but guys just do that. We engage mouth without brain. Back in those first months, honest to goodness, she had every right to leave me to my big stupid self, but she never gave up on me. Bethany is amazing. Plain and simple – you already know if you’re reading this blog – I don’t think any people come to this blog just because they know me. I’m pretty sure that about 99.99% our readers are here, for one reason or another, because of Bethany. 17 different states, two different countries, all reading about whatever she decides to write. That’s pretty awesome to me – a writer (by degree only).

I remember January of this year – we left South Carolina and pointed the car toward Arkansas. We were flat broke with a new baby and I was out of work with only a hint of a job interview back in Russellville. On a wing and a prayer is putting it mildly. In the rear-view mirror I watched Bethany in the back seat with Jackson, her face showed no trace of fear. Any woman in her right mind would be wondering what in the world she was doing with this crazy, jobless man. I believed that God was leading us so I followed. She believed in me so she followed. I am so blessed to have her as my wife. My heart is and always will be hers.

Now, I dutifully drive into the city each morning to sit at my quiet cubicle and work. Bethany is greeted at 7:15 a.m. by a one year old who knows no boundaries. Then she's off to her job of full time mom, housekeeper, budget balancer, meal planner, laundry service, free counseling, and in her free time she works at a hospital for crazies the mentally ill. WHEW. All I can give her is love and a great big "thank you!" because I certainly can't pay her what she's worth.

I read an old email that I sent Bethany when we were dating. I tacked it on here because I love to read old stuff and think about how time has changed the meaning.

Thank you for taking a chance with your heart. For taking a chance on me- yes, it seems like a gamble, but I promise you that I’ll pay off. Years and years and years from now, you'll look back and say with a satisfied smile, “he was worth it”. He was worth a few more years in Arkansas. He was worth some late night phone calls. He was worth every ounce of energy I’ve put into him.
~ 4/21/2004, 12:09 a.m.

I hope it has been.

self concept

As therapists, we hope that our clients will become increasingly self aware - at least more so than when they came in...we aren't miracle workers after all. I always said I'd do my best to not be a therapist or analyst at home but it may have leaked over...a little. Maybe I'm a little proud of it too:

These days if you say "where's Jackson?", Jackson will immediately point to himself. It is SO cute. He is becoming more and more independent every day. He wants to do everything himself...even at meal time. It has become SO messy but we're slowly mastering the art of self feeding.

Jackson is equally enthralled with praise. If you get excited about something he does and clap for him, he does it a million times more...to the point where now he'll do one of his "old tricks" and clap for himself after doing it. Again - super cute. He's recently most proud of the fact that he can sign "please" and say "gus" which is one of our cats names.

Career outlooks at this point are leaning toward professional dancer and some sort of ball player. I can't imagine which one Ben would prefer. We have to watch the "yee-yee's" or wiggles every day and he dances through the entire tape...and makes you dance too. He has also become a whiz at throwing and kicking a ball. Nikki sent Jackson this super cute helicopter that came with 4 balls and although he loves the helicopter, he carries one of those balls with him wherever he goes. He and his dad throw the ball back and forth until Ben just can't handle it anymore...because Jackson never tires. I'm working on siphoning some of his energy and hording it all for myself. And no I will not share.

We're headed to the SC on Wednesday for some super duper fun...I can't wait!

Monday, October 27, 2008

let the fun begin

Can I just share how great my life is this very moment?

I'm snuggled up with my little man watching pooh's halloween movie ( I love holiday movies) while having a cup of coffee and a handful of mini oreos for breakfast... It really doesn't get much better than this :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008



This was one rough weekend. Jackson had surgery on Friday and is doing well. We are SO PROUD of how strong he has been. Even the nurses commented on how impressed they were with him. We are just praying that his recovery continues to go as well as it has these past few days. Thank you to everyone who checked on him and prayed for him. It means so much to me and Ben that you did.

I have been inspired by a few people these past few days and I'm just going to try my best to live by the scriptures they have posted.

How difficult is it to forgive? I mean, seriously. When we are wronged we feel that we are justified by our actions, our anger, our hurt...but are we? Maybe in our own opinions... maybe to the world nobody would blame us for being angry for how people have wronged us, our children and our families. Anne Pressley was brutally murdered this week - how do you forgive that? What happened to her makes the things I was upset about in my life seem so pointless, so little and minute.

I'm doing my best to live by 1st Corinthians. God commands us to love one another and love keeps NO record of wrongs. I want to be a loving, christian woman for my husband and for Jackson and that means that I have no place for bitterness or resentment. It is so difficult for me, especially when it comes to Jackson, but I just give it to God. Any other options just aren't worth it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

zoo much fun

We went to the zoo again on Tuesday. We had the best time. I tell you what - if you want to go to the zoo, go during the week in the off season. We saw so many things that I didn't see before and the animals were out and about like I had never seen! We had the best time. We tried to really live it up this week - I think we did a pretty good job.


I worked my first "shift" last night. I'd like to say that it was fabulous and I loved it and everything is wonderful but that wouldn't be completely true. I love what I do...I love helping people...I love conversations with adults - it's just different now. Everything is so different when you have a child at home.

Last night was the first night of Jackson's life that I wasn't there to kiss him goodnight and help put him to bed. It was so difficult. I called to say goodnight and Jackson started crying when he heard my voice. I cried too. After I hung up the phone I prayed that God would give me the strength to make it through my shift because I missed my boys and I wanted to go home - I haven't felt that way since I was 10 years old. It took everything I had not to just grab my purse and leave but I put on my big girl pants and went back to my desk. Later that night I was making rounds on the units and came across this canvas:

It was then that I was reminded that God feels about me the way I feel about Jackson - only a million times stronger. I got through my shift and will work a few more hours tonight. I know that I will adjust to the change, so will Ben and Jackson but it will just take some time. Ben did such an amazing job last night. He did everything by himself. He and Jackson ate dinner together, played, showered and got to bed without a hitch. I'm so proud of both of them. I got home pretty late and Jackson was fast asleep. Safe and sound. I'm so thankful that Ben is such a wonderful dad - that eases all worries I have when I'm not home with them. Let me clarify, this is not a blog about me being worried when I'm away. I know that Ben is doing an amazing job with Jackson and that they are having a big time. I just love being at home with them and I missed them. I'm thankful to feel that way - some people can't wait to get out of the house. Not this girl.

I'm going to paint this message on Jackson's wall. I want him to know that even though mom and dad may not be there, God always will.

Monday, October 20, 2008


We've had a lot going on lately. I recently decided to "go back to work" and I put it like that because I'm not really going back to work. I mean, I am but not in the sense that most would think. I recently got hired as a counselor for a PRN position at a local hospital. Because it is a hospital, they are open 24/7 and I have the ability to work hours that would not be possible with a private office or clinic. I am very anti-daycare for my family. I understand that other families don't have options and do the very best they can to provide the very best for their families and sometimes that includes a babysitter or daycare...I just prefer for Jackson to be with either me or Ben. Especially since we don't know many people in our new area yet. With this job, I can work opposite hours from Ben or an overnight position so that Jackson will be with his Dad while I'm at work. Also, I can work as many or as few hours as I want so my schedule can change week to week so that we don't have to sacrifice family time or family gatherings. I'm really excited about it - I love what I do and if I can still be involved in the professional world without it affecting Jackson or Ben then that will be such a blessing.

In other news, we are loving our new home and the area. Jackson is growing bigger and stronger every day. He is so intense and full of life. I wish I could have just an ounce of his energy - maybe then I could keep up with him! We are going to Nonni's for Halloween and are making a stop in Georgia for Jackson's one year pictures...we are lucky enough to have the best photographer in all of Georgia taking them! I'm so excited about being at my mom's for Hallowee...she knows how to rock it out! Aunt Mary will be joining us as well - it's gonna be so much fun.

We are so ready for the holiday season coming up...it's going to be a blast!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

not so sweet

For those of you splenda lovers...you should probably read this article. I know they come out with something new every day that changes the new "it" product but this is something I don't really want to take my chances with!


Friday, October 17, 2008

little loves

When Ben and I got married I was so excited to have so many new kiddos to love on. When we first met, there were only Karleigh and Hannah...and they were both still BABIES... they each just started Kindergarten.

How crazy is that?!? His Dad had just gotten remarried and Glennis' girls, Catherine and Olivia, were only 5 and 8...they are about to be 10 and 13...double digits and a teenager!

Catherine and Olivia
Since we've been together, Cael, Jackson and Kole have been added to the family and now there are more babies on the way!

Diana (Hannah and Cael's mom) could have her baby any time now and it's going to be a surprise to everyone because they did not find out the gender..Wow - I am not that patient. I could not WAIT to find out with Jackson!

Karleigh and Kole

I know I mostly post about Jackson, but there are other loves in my life that we don't get to see very often. We miss seeing them and love the little people they are growing up to be...I just can't believe how big they get between times that we get to see them. I dont even want to think about how fast Jackson is growing up - it makes my head spin...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

break it down...


I have not had as much time to blog these past few days because I have been in training BUT I wanted to pass this along and let those of you who have suffered a loss know that I am thinking of you and praying for you.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Jesus loves a sharer

Do you remember people telling you that in church when you were little?

These days, Jackson lets me know that he wants something to eat by saying "Mama, mmmmmm." I'll be real honest...it's so cute that I just can't resist it! He is usually saying this when I'm eating so, I rarely finish any meal without him eating almost half of it. This morning he ate most of my cheerios for me and the other day I got maybe one bite out of my cereal bar. It's paying off though in more ways than one. It's sorta like a diet because I don't eat as much and I'm teaching my child to share...only he doesn't 'ask' if you want any of his half eaten, soggy piece of toast - he just shoves it in your mouth...mmm indeed.

Have you shared today? ;)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

photo shoot

I took Jackson to the park to play the other day and he was just too cute. I took a million pictures of him. He was too busy peeling off bark, watching the planes fly by and playing in the leaves to care what I was doing with the camera :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

blow me some kisses

It's so true that kids do everything in their own timing. I "teach" Jackson stuff all the time but he doesn't do it back until he's good and ready. Every now and again though, you'll ask him something like "where are your eyes?" and he'll point right to them. The other night we were reading his "Ears, Nose and Toes" book and he pointed out ALL of them. Cutest part was when we said "where are your teeth?" and he chomped down on them.
Tonight, out of the blue, he started blowing us kisses...I, of course, captured with pictures. Cutie Patootie.

before and after

Dining Area before:
After (table is getting painted this weekend):
Kitchen before:
View from Kitchen Before:
View from Front door before:
After:Bathroom Before:


Another view before:After:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

onesie chancey

Visit this blog and leave a comment for a chance to win a free onesie:



My sweet friend Hannah tagged me to list seven random facts about myself. I know Hannah from grad school. She is one of the funniest people I have ever met and she and her husband just had their first baby in September...sweet baby Pratt. I've been trying to think of things that might be "new" information so here goes.

1) All of the hangers in my closet have to match. I have all white hangers...the plastic kind and I can't handle it if there is a wire one or a different colored hanger mixed in. Jackson's closet is the same way...his are all blue baby hangers. Ben's closet - well that's a different story...it has 432949 different types of hangers in it because he likes a different type of hanger depending on the article of clothing. I can't even look at it.

2) I make up words and use them in regular conversation... sometimes I forget that they aren't real words. For example I once argued with Ben that bulgeoning was a word. Like, "he has bulgeoning biceps" No, it's not a real word but you can totally get a picture in your head from that word! Conjongulated is another one. There are too many to list. I just feel the english language could use a few more descriptive words lol.

3) I was on a plane, in the air when the twin towers were being flown into. My mom doesn't know this one. I'll be getting a phone call shortly.

4) I peed my pants when I was in the 6th grade. I was in the middle of the dollar store in the mall and I had to go to the bathroom really bad. Next thing you know I'm peeing all over myself and couldn't stop it. Afterward my mom asked me why I didnt just tell her I had to go to the bathroom. I have no idea. I got some really cute tommy hilfiger boxers out of the deal though. I've still got them. I can't believe I'm sharing that.

5) The thought of living forever freaks me out. Don't get me wrong - I'm super excited about Heaven and love the Lord with all my heart but I just can't wrap my mind around eternity. I can't think about it or I get sick to my stomach.

6) I love the holiday season...so much that I can't WAIT to start decorating for fall. At midnight every September 21st I put my decorations out...because then it's officially fall.

7) When I was little I had a friend over playing and asked if she could spend the night. My parent said no but I really wanted her to stay so I told her she could stay anyway. Whenever my parents would come upstairs I would throw a blanket and some dirty clothes on top of her so they wouldnt see her. After about 3 times they figured it out. Moral of the story is I'm sneaky. I could blog for days about sneaky stuff I've done.

I tag...

Mary Ramsey
Katherine Maxey
Laura Shachmut
Lindsay Oliver
Lauren McKnight
Courtney Ortega
Amber Weaver

Monday, October 6, 2008

still spinning

This has been one crazy week! We started the week with my birthday and ended it with Jackson's first birthday party at the zoo! Ben and I got sick at the very beginning of the week with some sinus stuff, luckily Jackson didn't get it. This helped delay our projects around the house as well as my blogging. I was feeling much better by wednesday and other than a few fever blister battle scars, I was back to normal by the party of Saturday. On Jackson's actual birthday we just did stuff as a family. Ben came home for lunch and as soon as he got home we headed out to build a bear and Cheeburger Cheeburger for his big birthday dinner. We had the best time. When we got home we opened presents and Jackson had his first "cake" experience. I searched the internet for a healthier option for his first cake since the only sugar he has had has come from fruit or a gerber graduates cereal bar. I feel as a parent it is your responsibility to teach your kids to be healthy at all times and birthday's are no exception. I found a recipe for a Pumpkin Apple Harvest cake and sugar free cream cheese icing. Jackson absolutely loves cream cheese so I knew this would be a hit...turns out I was right. He ate the entire cupcake with only a few crumbs behind as evidence.Thursday we went in for Jackson's one year check up. He is 24 lbs 5 oz and 31 inches long. One more inch and he'll have grown a foot since birth! Everything checked out perfectly and we're so thankful. The dr said "I'm not even gonna ask about delevopmental milestones...I can tell he's hitting all of them." Jackson is so funny these days. He has this new game where I'll say "say mama" and he'll say "dada" and laugh. He'll see my coffee and say "that's hot" and hold his hand back and my new favorite thing he does is squeal when Ben gets home from work. So funny. His vocabulary is growing every day. He surprises me with how much he knows. It's amazing how fast they become little people with big personalities. He has a newly found obsession with shoes and will bring them to you and say "ssshhhhss" and put his feet up for you. So cute.
He absolutely LOVES music and loves to dance. Loves. to. dance. I can hum a beat and he'll start breaking it down. We bought him a Wiggles dvd for his birthday ( i know...the wiggles) and he loves it. Who knew?
Friday night my mom and brother flew in for the big "one" celebration - we were so excited for them to make it out here! On Saturday we were all off to the zoo where I was late to my own kids birthday party because I went left when I should have taken a right...needless to say THIRTY MINUTES later I made it to the zoo. Unbelievable. Jackson didn't notice or care so that was good. We had lots of fun snacks for everyone to eat and I made some devils food mini cupcakes for the adults and other kids to enjoy. I made them with applesauce instead of oil so at least that helped out the "health" factor with those. Ben's family drove out and Jackson got to spend some time with everyone in the Jungle room before we all ventured out to enjoy the zoo. My grandfather stopped by on his way to see my aunt to wish Jackson a Happy Birthday and the Walkers had to cancel at the last minute due to a stomach bug. Yuck. We missed seeing them there but understand! There were a few glitches, but all in all it was a GREAT first birthday for Jackson. We appreciate those of you that thought of Jackson and made an effort to be a part of his birthday this year. I know it meant so much to him. Here are some pictures of the big birthday extravaganza:

information worth knowing

For those people that are so quick to blame the current economy on President Bush and his administration, please read the following NY Times article for September of 1999. The article can also be found here : http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0DE7DB153EF933A0575AC0A96F958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2

September 1999

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.
The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.
Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.
In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.
''Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990's by reducing down payment requirements,'' said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer. ''Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.''
Demographic information on these borrowers is sketchy. But at least one study indicates that 18 percent of the loans in the subprime market went to black borrowers, compared to 5 per cent of loans in the conventional loan market.
In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.
''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''
Under Fannie Mae's pilot program, consumers who qualify can secure a mortgage with an interest rate one percentage point above that of a conventional, 30-year fixed rate mortgage of less than $240,000 -- a rate that currently averages about 7.76 per cent. If the borrower makes his or her monthly payments on time for two years, the one percentage point premium is dropped.
Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, does not lend money directly to consumers. Instead, it purchases loans that banks make on what is called the secondary market. By expanding the type of loans that it will buy, Fannie Mae is hoping to spur banks to make more loans to people with less-than-stellar credit ratings.
Fannie Mae officials stress that the new mortgages will be extended to all potential borrowers who can qualify for a mortgage. But they add that the move is intended in part to increase the number of minority and low income home owners who tend to have worse credit ratings than non-Hispanic whites.
Home ownership has, in fact, exploded among minorities during the economic boom of the 1990's. The number of mortgages extended to Hispanic applicants jumped by 87.2 per cent from 1993 to 1998, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. During that same period the number of African Americans who got mortgages to buy a home increased by 71.9 per cent and the number of Asian Americans by 46.3 per cent.

In contrast, the number of non-Hispanic whites who received loans for homes increased by 31.2 per cent.
Despite these gains, home ownership rates for minorities continue to lag behind non-Hispanic whites, in part because blacks and Hispanics in particular tend to have on average worse credit ratings.
In July, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed that by the year 2001, 50 percent of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's portfolio be made up of loans to low and moderate-income borrowers. Last year, 44 percent of the loans Fannie Mae purchased were from these groups.
The change in policy also comes at the same time that HUD is investigating allegations of racial discrimination in the automated underwriting systems used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to determine the credit-worthiness of credit applicants.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Yay I found my charger and not a moment too soon! First of all...


Tonight we are going to build-a-bear and dinner followed by presents and cake here at home...I made homemade pumpkin apple harvest cupcakes with cream cheese icing for the little man...not nearly the fat and sugar as a regular birthday cake and still super yummy!

Here is a picture of the new armoire...we're loving it!

More pictures to come of the birthday extravaganza when I have a few minutes to get the post together!