See, she has dolls...

Santa brought Emersyn her first "baby doll" for Christmas. Inside this adorable little basket (great discovery by the Hot Mess Momma) is a tiny doll just her size. 

Since she will be 1 in ONE WEEK (bring me the tissues) I figured it was about time to give a real effort to playing with dolls and all things little girl. 

We hugged the doll. 
We kissed the doll (she loved doing this).
We blew kisses to the doll (also loves).
We said, "sweet baby". 

The phone rang so I ran to grab it and when I came back discovered that someone must have gotten bored with the doll. 

The window and fun music toy were much more entertaining. 

And the basket is a much better home to her cars. 
(Yes, these are hers)

Don't worry... we'll keep practicing! 

Favorite weekend project...

My new yellow chandelier above the picnic table in our backyard!
(excuse the horrible photography skills...I need lessons, ehm....Sarah? Spencer?)

Isn't she fabulous?!?

This "find" was actually the light fixture in our kitchen growing up. It's times like this that make me thankful for my mom's hoarding sentimental emphasis on our past possessions. 

Summer is going to be even sweeter enjoying meals outside!


3 days...

We've really enjoyed our 3 day weekend so far....

Ryan and I have been working in the yard while these two had a little water fun...

Oh. My. Gosh. I  could just eat them up!

It's weekends like these that I live for. 

Slow pace. 

Late naps (for the ENTIRE family).

Smiles and sun. 

I just can't bear to cut this hair.

Hope y'all are having fun, too!

Behind enemy lines...

Does this look like the face of a covert operative?

Well, she may not be a spy just yet, but she does have some quick moving skills to get to places where she doesn't belong. Like the laundry room. Where the cat food is. 

Seriously, we can set her down clear across the house and if the cat door is open she somehow knows it and heads straight for this area. 

We can usually catch her in time, but yesterday she was super-sleuthy and got away. I found her having a nice mid afternoon snack. Yum. 

And like any good agent, her reaction to getting caught was not well received. 


Tiny Tales Thursday...

I know it's Friday. 

Because I am a little tardy on this post, I will treat you to three... yes, THREE stories this week. 

Story one. 

We try not to let Radley watch too much tv, but well, he gets to watch a little. The Disney Channel may actually be my BFF on days that I am exhausted or need 20 minutes to finish up something. Radley has a few favorite shows that he likes to watch over. and over. and over. and over. again. 

Imagination Movers is one of those shows (a little too lazy today to link it up, google if you wish). :)

I was getting a little tired of watching said show, so I asked:

Me: Radley, do we have to watch Imagination Movers again?
Radley: Yes, mommy.
Me: Really?
Radley: But I liiiike it. 
Me: Why do you like this show so much?
Radley: Because they problem solving, Mommy. They help people. 
Me: thinking to self  Wow. Problem solving? Really? You sure you're not an adult? 

I mean, who could argue with that?

Story two. 

KK came in town to watch the kids while Ryan and I took care of some things in Sherman last week. So this tale comes from her. 

Radley: You wearing your Aggie ring, KK?
KK: Yes, buddy. I always wear my ring. 
Radley: Why?
KK: Because I'm an Aggie and we always wear our rings.
Radey: I'm an Aggie. I ge an Aggie Ring?

I love this and my Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 2030 boy!

Story Three (my favorite).

Ryan and I were talking about something and I mentioned that he hadn't listened to me. When Radley looks at him and says, "Daddy, you need to ALWAYS listen to Mommy. Every time she talks."

Love. him. 


A view from the top...

Isn't the view from "up here" just great? While many times I see crumbs, scattered toys, random pieces of paper, dust bunnies, and a missing sock or two... my favorite view is looking down and seeing this...

(Radley, July 2008)

(Emersyn, May 2011)

You can have any penthouse in the world... I'll take this scenery any day of the week!


Happy Birthday

Ryan had a birthday last week and I am just awful and didn't post anything! (We did have a lot going on). BUT, I assure you that no matter what life has thrown our way recently we did take time to celebrate his 33rd year! *Whether he liked it or not!*

Ryan drove in from Sherman that day so we called our nearest and dearest and met at local pizza place for some food, family, and fun! (Who says the "f" word is bad?!?) 

I think the best gift that he got this year was two wee ones that love, honor, respect, and idolize him...

Emmy was loving the pizza, but this is what she though about some salad...

And this is what Ryan thinks about her...

I got so caught up in feeding little ones, potty breaks, chasing toddlers, great conversation that I didn't take any pictures of anyone else! BUT, Josh, Cindy, Caro, Anna, Jeremy, Bonnie, Krista, Will and Kayla -- thank you for celebrating with us, thank you for loving us like family, thank you for being an awesome friend to Ryan (and me). We love you tons! 

We did make time for one family photo in our coordinated blues (don't judge). Gosh, these 3 make every day just wonderful. (those pasty legs need some work, though!)

We then headed home for some cake (thanks, KK) specially decorated by Radley with gumballs and birthday candles! 

I know it's traditional that the birthday boy make a wish, but well, this is my wish for Ryan... 

to always know that you are loved by me
to pause to breathe ... inhale each moment that life has to offer
to work hard, play hard, and celebrate
to see how much our kids love you -- I see it every day
to continue to lead our family to be great
to be happy
to remember the words that Father Michael told us (just us) on our wedding day
and, well... I wish that Mitch and Merv would quit pooping outside the litter box because that just sucks! :)


May these and all your wishes come true, babe... each and every day! 


We're having a party...

And it is going to be so much fun
celebrating this little one! 

Can't believe it's been a year already! 


Finding north...

Ever wonder what it feels like to be trapped in a "perfect storm" struggling to find north and relying on your compass to show you the way?

That is exactly how I would describe the past week.

Fely quietly passed away last Friday morning at her home in her sleep. She couldn't take one more day of pain and I think she was ready to be home. As sad and heartbreaking as this is for Ryan and our family, we are at peace knowing that she is with Him.

As soon as we got the call we went into "go" mode and with the help of dear friends and family managed to have everything in order to get on the road. Ryan and I are so lucky to have family and friends that are family to give us this support and comfort.

The entire weekend was one storm after another, not in a negative way, just in a "we've lost our way" feeling, an out of body experience. No matter how "prepared" we were for this to happen, you can never prepare enough. I am so proud of Ryan. The respect and honor that he has for his mom is evident in everything that he does. In finding his north, he made sure that the events honoring her life were just that: an honor to her. From the service to the food, to how he spoke to every "guest", he honored her by serving as the "perfect host"... just as she would have wanted.

The death of a parent is hard for anyone, but this week was especially difficult for Ryan. He has no grandparents, his dad died when he was 8 and now his mom had passed away. His birthday was May 19 and she was laid to rest on May 16, which was his dad's birthday. And while I could very easily focus on the cruelty of this situation, in searching for my North, I see the blessings that we were given.

A part of me believes in dying, Fely gave Ryan his last gift. An end to her suffering. She was no longer in pain. She was at home, peaceful, rested. She had a wonderful visit with all of us on Mother's Day. Fely gave him the gift of peace.

And the significance of having her service on his dad's birthday is beautiful to me. Bill was her true love. She has missed him every single day since the day that he died. He was the love of her life and she went to meet him on his birthday... giving life to their love once again.

In the week that has now passed, Ryan and I have found ourselves creating that "new normal" that people talk about. Searching for north, working through the storm and coming out changed, cleaned, renewed and at peace with our lives. While we could focus on so many what ifs, regrets, and what will never be's, we choose to see the light, we choose to be thankful for what was given to us and what we will now gain with the strength and courage that was created by all of this.

Our compass allowing us to find true north is Him, His guidance, His love, His comfort, and the peace that we have knowing that she is with Him now.

Thank you for the prayers. We feel them and are forever grateful for each of you.

Smells like summer...

Giant beach towels... 

And toes in the water... 

Each new day a little bit hotter... 

Skin full of suntan lotion... 

And hair with chlorine... 

That's what summertime means to me! 


Cool rider...

Someone decided they could ride a bike this week...

And we are so proud of him!

We have been working on his bike riding skills since Santa brought him this cool ride at Christmas. Up and down the driveway with Daddy and Pete and Pops. Stop. Go. Pedal. Brake. Fits. Tears. 

All worth it for the beautiful walk we went on as a family! Made me so thankful to live in a great neighborhood with sidewalks and wide streets! 

Love this picture of them... Radley so proud and Emmy just mesmerized by her brother... her sweet hand on his. And what's that in the background... 

A UPS truck! Thanks for saying hello "Mr. Jay!"

Emmy loves her bike, too... especially being able to just lounge out... 

And Radley just took off... Mom and Dad following behind... 

Man, that happened all too soon... 


Tiny Tales Thursday...

This one is sweet.

At the suggestion of a friend, we have been reading Radley the book, "I'll Love You Forever" at night. The book is about a mom that rocks her "baby" to sleep reciting the phrase:

I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be

As the boy grows into a man she continues to do this "if he is really asleep". Time passes and the mom grows weak and sick to which the now man reacts by holding his mom and rocking her reciting:

I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living
My mommy you'll be

Radley has the book practically memorized by now (his favorite part is when the mom tells the 2 year old "you're driving me crazy"... apparently I say that a lot). Last night he asked me why the mommy got sick. I just told him sometimes when we grow up and get older, we just weak and tired and get sick. Sometimes Mommies have to be taken care of, too.

Radley: Like Lola?
Me: Yes. Like Lola.
Radley: Lola is Daddy's Mommy?
Me: Yes.
Radley: She sick and Daddy take care of her?
Me: Yes, buddy.
Radley: Oh.

How lucky we are to be given this sweet, perceptive, caring little boy. How I love the privilege of calling him mine.


Happy Blogiversary...

One year ago today "The Queen of the Kings" began!!

In that time I have...

208 blog posts
23 followers (come on people, follow me!!) :)
24,677 page hits
Readers from the UK, Japan, 
South Korea, Russia, Germany and Spain

    But, the most important thing that I have is a 
    wonderful journal of our lives over the past year!

    I have loved having this as a way to capture what 
    we do and would only wish that I had more
    pics of the whole family.
    (So that will be a goal for next year!)

    Thanks for reading! :) 


    Mother's Day...

    This weekend we drove to Sherman to celebrate Mother's Day with Fely. 

    As I mentioned before, Fely was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December. The disease is rapidly causing her more pain and preventing her from doing the things that she loves and enjoys to do. We knew that there was no other place that we should be to celebrate this Mother's Day than with her. 

    In reality, we were celebrating her life, as a Mom and a Dad to Ryan. Ryan's dad passed away when he was eight years old. Since then Fely has been a mother and a father; at times lacking that disciplinarian role (which Ryan took full advantage of) but always offering her love to him.

    I am so proud of Ryan. His strength. His tenderness. His faith. His respect and honor for his mom. I always prayed that I would be blessed with a good man. A hard working, honorable human to share my life with and in these moments of our life, every second of doubt and moment of frustration, he has lead with an example for me to follow. Ryan carries on with the knowledge that no matter what comes next, He is the ultimate provider, the navigator, the One in which our destiny lies. Ryan has been kind, patient and supportive of his mom... everything a parent could hope to have in a child, a child could want in a parent and I could need in a husband. 

    These images capture her so beautifully, for even in her time of weakness and vulnerability, she is still poised, polished and perfectly beautiful in her skin. (In true Fely fashion, she had final approval of all pictures that were taken...with a "oh, that looks good" I knew the spark she has in her is still shining).

    She was eager to visit and talk and so happy to share time with all of us. Especially Ryan. 

    I have known Fely for 12 years now and never in that time had I been given the pleasure of cooking or cleaning in her house. Always the gracious hostess and not wanting anyone to go out of their way for her, I was honored to be able to serve her this weekend. To bring her dinner in bed, to clean the dishes and to pick up around the house. As I sat at the sink washing the dishes, I found myself crying, thinking about the simple act of putting soap on a sponge, knowing that the only reason I was doing this was because she couldn't anymore. 

    How did that happen?

    She was elated to see Emmy and Radley and just be in their presence. You could see the joy in her face watching them but recognize the remorse of knowing that she wouldn't be here to see their lives unfold. But I challenge that thought... knowing that she will be with them, beside them and in them for every grand moment of their lives. She is part of them and we will make sure that she is part of our lives and their heritage today and always. 

    In visiting her for this day, she gave us a gift. A wonderful visit. The ability to see her strong while allowing us to know that she is weak. Doesn't every child need to know that about their parent? That while we hope to carry our kids through their darkest days, that sometimes it is them that will carry us?

    I am thankful that we were given this weekend with her. That she was able to talk to us, to tell Radley she loved him as many times as she could. To read to him and Emmy, to laugh and to cry. 
    That she showed us her fear as much as her courage. 

    I am thankful for my own Momma, teaching me and showing me that life goes on; we persevere, we conquer and we look to Him and His guiding light even in the darkest hours. 

    And while this Mother's Day wasn't at all anything that I would have ever planned... it was more than I could have ever hoped for. 

    Hope you all had a beautiful day celebrating the Moms in your life, too. 

    Momma's boy...

    So where do you take a 3 year old little boy that is OBSESSED with this guy... 

     to the Texas Speedway of course!! 

    The Brazos Valley Children's Museum sponsored a Mommy/Son Speedway event at the Texas Speedway last Friday. So, some friends and I grabbed our precious boys and headed to the races... 

    They were so excited about their "event passes". 

    The event was jam packed with all things "boy"... car races on the track, remote control cars, jump houses, hot dogs, horses and firetrucks. 

    The complete opposite of the "Daddy/Daughter Dance". We giggled that once again the Moms get the noisy, messy, loud, chaotic events to deal with... but quickly agreed that we wouldn't have it any other way. 

    Radley literally smiled from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. I had so much fun watching him, laughing with him and being included in his world. I think that in an instant the days of him holding my hand will be gone. The kisses in public (or even at all) will be a thing of the past, so I savor every ounce of our time when I can get it. 

    This mop top boy just has my whole heart!!

    He has gotten SO big! In September he wouldn't go near a horse and now he just jumped right on like he has ridden 1000 horses. (this was just a baby or maybe a pony... I know nothing about horses).

    We just had a wonderful time... me and my boy! The perfect start to a weekend all about Moms...