Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

I know I have said this before...but Easter is one of my absolute favorite holidays. It is just such a refreshing weekend spent fellowshipping with family and getting to celebrate our Lord and Savior. I love that it is warmer, things are growing, and summer is just around the bend!

We had an absolutely fantastic week. It was beautiful weather and we couldn't have enjoyed ourselves anymore. We spent the majority of the week outside doing fun things!

Last Saturday, Christian had to work, but we went with my family to our church's Easter egg hunt. It was called "Chicken and Eggs" and it was a lot of fun. Aubrey was in a very clingy/shy mood, so I couldn't get much excitement out of her.

I mean she looks down right miserable in this picture, but I promise she had a great time with her cousins.


 
 
 
 
After the egg hunt, we went to eat lunch at MooYah's which is a new burger place in Baton Rouge. I'm not a big burger person, but my mom had a turkey burger that looked fantastic.
 
Weston decided to blow out not one, but two diapers on our lunch date. Needless to say, I was a little stressed...had to change both his and my outfit! Here he is just moments before his lunch fiasco! So much for cute Easter outfits, huh Buddy?
 
 
On Wednesday, we decided to dye eggs with Bre. She was so excited. Aubrey is very into arts and crafts so anything with paint or stickers is right up her alley. It was storming that night so we had to make it work in the garage...memories don't wait for weather!
 
 
 

On Saturday, we decided to go to another Easter egg hunt put on by a nearby church. We went last year and it was lots of fun. Since Christian didn't get to go to the one at our church, we thought we would go to another so he could experience the fun!  It was absolutely packed. We had to walk about a mile to even get to the event and there was very little shade, so it was direct sun for everyone. The church does an amazing job of putting together such a huge event...it's just overwhelming with all the people!
 
Aubrey didn't mind the crowds, as long as she got her snowcone!
 

 
Weston must have something against Easter egg hunts because right before the big hunt...he straight up blew it out (again). We of course had forgotten the diaper bag (a mile away) so we improvised with napkins and made a bee-line for the car.
 
Lessons learned: 1.) If you want to ensure a poopy...leave the diaper bag in the car.
 2.) Perhaps Weston needs to go up a size on diapers.
3.) Projectile poop is very dangerous.
 
He is just so innocent though...
 
 
After we made it back to the car and changed Weston Hayes, we decided to leave and get some lunch. We went to eat at our favorite Mexican place and enjoyed our little family over some "Chips and Cheese" as Bre likes to say.
 
That evening after naps, we went to church and listened to an amazing message from our pastor. He did a fabulous job preaching on the proof of the resurrection from a secular perspective. It was extremely powerful.
 
On Sunday (Easter morning), we woke up and had breakfast. We gave Bre her basket and let her spend the morning playing with her new goodies. Isn't her basket adorable? My sis made them for the kiddos and I absolutely love them! Bre didn't get much...just a few dollar store finds and some gummy worms. 
 
 
Christian cut the grass and I made a cake during naps and then we packed up and headed out to celebrate Easter with Christian's side of the family.
 
We went to his Nanny's house and it was so much fun. It's a little bit of a drive out to the country but it is so much fun for the little ones. We had an Easter egg hunt, (thankfully Weston spared us a blowout on this particular hunt) dyed eggs, and ate fried fish. We also got to see their horses! It was great to get to relax and spend time with family.
 





 
We are so blessed to have such wonderful families to make special memories with. Each memory we make is one that I cherish and hopefully my babies do too.
 
 
A few posed pictures just for more memories!
 




 
Above all, we are thankful for our Lord and Savior dying on the cross so that we might be free. His resurrection gives us the freedom to live forever in eternity.
 
Happy Easter Everyone!
 

Friday, April 11, 2014

A letter to my girl

Dear my precious Aubrey Lane,

Life is flying by at rapid speeds and my eyes fill with tears at the thought of how quickly your little life is passing me by. I fall apart emotionally just thinking that you will be in school in a little over 2 years. That thought alone is enough to put me in bed for a few days. 

A friend of mine lost her husband a few years ago, leaving behind a precious 19 month old daughter. She later found an email account that her husband had set up for their daughter and was amazed to find that he had been writing and sending her emails all throughout her life. Simple day to day things he wanted to tell her and things he wanted her to know when she was older...having no idea that he would pass in just a few short months. Can you image how much that little girl will cherish those words written from her daddy...just for her.

Since my blog is so dear to me...it is a written, solid piece of our past and our journey in life...I decided to post my letters here to you. I think of my blog as a tiny gift that I can give to you and Weston...a chance to look back and see where we have walked and where we are headed as a family. There is comfort and security in knowing your story. It's a story that we are writing together on a daily basis. A story of trials, tests, times of joy and lots and lots of laughter.

There are so many thing I want to say to you, Aubrey. So many things I want to instill in your little heart. Lessons I want you to carry with you along your journey of life...even if I'm not always by your side.  I want you to always, always remember a few foundational truths from your momma and I intend to write to you periodically so you can look back and cherish my words. I write these to you today, knowing you won't read them until later, but I vow to talk with you about these on a daily basis and hope that they are planted deep in your tiny soul...so that one day you will flourish and grow into a mighty young woman.

Today you are at the precious age of 2.5. A very fun age that is best described by curiosity, challenging moments and cuteness. You are so full of life...you radiate zest and passion. Everything is a new adventure and nothing is boring or dull with you. May you always feel that way about life, Aubrey. May life never become mundane or boring to you. Continue to seek out fun adventures and be curious about things that you've never seen.  I believe with all my heart that your passion for life is going to take you to amazing places.. Okay...enough chit chat...here is this letters nuggets of truth that I want to share.

Lesson #1: You are absolutely beautiful just the way you are. You will grow to become critical of your looks, your body, your flaws...but girlfriend I am telling you...you are gorgeous. Now don't misunderstand me...your inside is way more important than the way you look on the outside, but for today I want you to know that when I look at you...I see pure beauty. You have beautiful blue eyes that hold wisdom and knowledge far beyond your years. You have the most precious little freckles that speak of your individuality and uniqueness. You have full, pouty red lips that will one day speak the word of the Lord to listening hearts. You have the most feminine little hands and feet that will one day allow you to fulfill the works of your destiny. Everything about you, Aubrey, is beautiful. Know that God made you and He did not mess up. Never doubt your beauty, Aubrey...never doubt for a moment that you are the most gorgeous thing God has created. You are valuable, treasured and enough.

Lesson #2: Your daddy and I are not perfect. We argue and fuss and make mistakes. And then we will make some more mistakes. Never once will we claim to be exactly what you need... all the time. We are selfish and sometimes will let you down. We will mess up as parents and fall flat on our faces at times...but know this...our love for each other is strong and we will weather every storm together. Know that your mommy and daddy's marriage is one that will not be torn apart. We stand on a rock solid foundation that is Jesus Christ and He alone cannot be shaken. We will without a doubt have fights amongst ourselves...but more importantly we will always fight to stay together.

Lesson #3: Your kindness is contagious. Just this morning, I sat back and watched you "baby" talk your little brother. You continued to sweet talk him, comforting his little cries and then proceeded to put his noonie gently (this is rare for you) back into his mouth. I sat back, almost quick to rush us on and out the door, but instead savored this little moment. A moment of tender kindness and love. It warmed my heart, but even more so it spurred me to want to show kindness to someone else.  Mommy is in need of constant reminders to be tender and kind...it's just not something that is instilled deep in me. I tend to be tough and sometimes harsh. However, seeing your kindness did something to me...it urged me to slow down and think of how I could be a blessing to someone else. Never for a moment think that kindness isn't noticed or spread. You can be a light in a dark world. Your kindness for others is what will point them to Jesus. Your simple acts of kindness are what will leave a lasting impression on the hearts of those who are hurting. I hope in the days ahead, you and I can practice doing kind things for others. Remember sweet girl...kindness is contagious and will change hearts.

Aubrey Lane, may you know you are my sunshine. You make me laugh more than anyone else on the planet. Your potential is so great and I can't wait to continue to watch you grow and blossom into an amazing young girl. Keep these simple nuggets with you as you go...you are beautiful, your mommy and daddy are in this together and your kindness is contagious.

I love you, Bre...

Mommy

 
 


Monday, April 7, 2014

Weston Hayes----Three Months Old

Weston Hayes you are three months old! Stop it little dude...just stay my baby forever please?
 
 
I'm gonna make this short and sweet cause I am on borrowed time...both babies are sleeping and I know at any minute I will hear one or both!
 
Weston you are stealing my heart more and more each day. Just when I think I can't love you anymore, you give me a huge, cheesy grin or coo this precious sound when you see my face. You know how to milk it, buddy!
 
 
You are FINALLY letting me get some sleep at night. I wouldn't say it is anything we've done differently or anything, I think you are just older and able to sleep longer stretches. I still don't have you on any type of schedule and we just make each day work. You are so easy going so it's nice to not have to sit at home and work around timed naps. You just sleep a little here...a little there and for the most part you are good to go!
 
 
 
I feed you around 8:30 each night and then you have been going until 3:30 or 4:00 am. Then back to sleep until your sissy wakes you up at 7:00. Praise the Lord, because this momma was struggling without her sleep.
 
You eat every 3-3.5 hours and are a champion nurser. We have nursed in the car, the playground, dressing rooms, bathrooms (YUCK) and even at Pretend and Play...we just make it work.
 
 
You are wearing a size 2 diaper and 3-6 month clothes. You love bath time, your swing, your boppy, and a moving car. You dislike being wet after bath, still cars, being in one place for too long and unfortunately your sissy...but I know that will change soon.
 
 
We simply adore you Weston Hayes. You are just the cherry on top of our little family.
We love you little man!!


Friday, March 28, 2014

A Day in the Life Of...

I like to do these posts periodically because I love to look back and see what our typical routine looked like.

Life right now is full of nursing, spit up, diapers (and more diapers), crying and fits but I wouldn't have it any other way and I know that in just a blink...my life and season will change. I'm trying my hardest to savor these moments with my babies because they will be gone and grown before I know it.
 
Note: These are random pictures throughout the week and not just one particular day!


Most days begin promptly at the awakening of Aubrey Lane. That ALWAYS happens at 7:15. Homegirl is like a human alarm clock. She will begin yelling for me to come get her out of her room, or she will knock on the door until someone opens it for her. Doesn't matter if she goes to bed at 7:45 pm or 10:45 pm...she will be awake at 7:15.

Weston Hayes on the other hand is a bit more unpredictable. He has by no means mastered the art of sleeping through the night and on most nights he is content to be up numerous times just to hang out. I'm not real fond of us hanging out at night and I've told him so, but he has yet to get the memo.

 
So depending on his night, some mornings he is up with Aubrey and sometimes he chooses to sleep in. Again...totally unpredictable, that boy.

I'll put a Curious George on for Aubrey and fix her a bowl of Oatmeal. She will sit in her high chair and drink her milk and eat while I attempt to eat breakfast myself, fix her lunch for school, load dishes in the dishwasher or what I've been doing lately...pleading with Weston to stop making mornings so miserable!

I'll usually let Bre keep watching tv while I sneak off and nurse Weston. Right now Weston is terrified of Aubrey and refuses to nurse if she is around. He fears for his life and rightly so because Aubrey is a terror! HAHA!

After feeding Weston, I'll lay both kiddos on the floor in the den and change diapers (yes...Bre is still embracing the diapers) and get them dressed for the day. I'll usually send Aubrey to her playroom to play and put Weston in his swing while I attempt to take a shower and make myself look presentable as well.


 
At 8:45 we are out the door to bring Aubrey to school. She goes two days a week from 9-3. Aubrey absolutely loves her school and asks to go everyday!


 
After I drop Bre off at carpool, I usually either run errands or head home to start work. I'm doing some marketing/accounting work for my brother's construction company and it is keeping me very busy. 

I feed Weston again at about 11 and without fail he blows out his diaper at that time. Thanks buddy!
 
After I feed him I usually grab a bite to eat and finish up any work that I might need to get done before it's time to get Bre. I'll also attempt to clean up the house from the morning. I always leave the house in the mornings looking like a tornado came through so I at least try to make it look presentable. I did break down and hire someone to come help me deep clean once a month. I just can't do it all and I just think I need a little help for the next few months in getting my house where it needs to be. Plus I don't want to waste my weekends that I could be spending with my family...on toilets and floors.
 
 
I feed Weston one more time around 2/2:30 and then pack up to go get Aubrey from school. I love picking Aubrey up and seeing what she is working on or peek in while she is playing. It's so fun to see her so independent and grown up!
 
On Fridays after school, I try and get a special treat for Bre. We stop and get an ice cream cone (not sure I thought that one through) or some candy...just something to start the weekend off right. I'm trying my hardest to make traditions with Aubrey and I think "Friday Treats" are something she will remember.
 
 
Once we get home, we try and do something fun together...either go for a walk, play outside, do an art project or playdough. Aubrey is always up for anything and embraces playtime full force!


 
4:30-5:30 is a hard time. Aubrey usually doesn't nap well at school and is somewhat cranky and I'm trying to get dinner together while entertaining her as well. Christian's schedule changes, so sometimes he is home at 3 and sometimes he is home at 8. If he gets home early, we are MUCH happier! On nights he gets home at 8:00, I usually rely on MeMe and Papa D to help. My parents are so amazing about picking up dinner for us or bringing left overs to our house when they know Christian is working. They will sometimes eat with us or invite us over to their house. They are true GODSENDS!! I'd never make it without their help.

We usually eat dinner around 5:30, after dinner I will feed Weston again and then I will throw Bre in the tub. Aubrey loves to play in the tub and I can get a good 30-45 minutes worth of things done while she plays in the bathtub. I get Aubrey out of the tub, dressed and then put Weston in the tub. Sweet boy loves to take baths and I love the smiles I get during his soak.

Around 7, I put a movie on for Bre in my room and we all sit on the bed and just relax. Lately we have been watching Frozen with Aubrey and she is in love with the music and dancing. She cracks us up as she sings "Let it Go" and tries to imitate Elsa.
 
Look at that face...she is in princess fantasy land! (so is Christian!)
 
 
I begin the bedtime process with Aubrey around 8:15 and that includes teeth brushed, stories, and she insists on chatting in bed for at least 10-15 minutes. She will say, "Let's talk about..." and then proceed to say something that she did that day or want to talk about who she saw. I sometimes will look at Aubrey and realize that she talks NON-STOP. I laugh because I really notice it at night when I'm exhausted... but my girl never shuts up!!! She is constantly giving me a rundown of what is going on or what she is about to do. Don't get me wrong...I adore our bedtime conversations more than anything but sometimes I wonder if she would even notice if I dozed off during one of our nightly talks.  I really think she would just keep talking.

After I put my chatterbox to bed, I feed Weston again and usually by then Christian is home. We will watch a show or just crash depending on the time and night. I try to be asleep by 9 at the latest because I know my son will be calling in just a few short hours for my attention!

Life with a newborn and a toddler is soooo crazy but I love every minute of it.
 
 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

One year ago...

I recently made a "special dates" artwork piece for our mantle and on it contained numerous special dates that were dear to my heart...the day I met my husband, the day we got married, the day Aubrey and Weston were born, etc. Days that forever altered the course of my life. Special days filled with wonderful memories and moments that I will take with me for the rest of my life.

But there are other days in life that also define us. Days that are filled with grief and tears. Days that we swear we would never want to live again. Days that we look upon with heavy hearts and plead with the Lord never to make us walk down or re-live. I'm slowly realizing that those days are just as defining as the most beautiful days...those days are just as significant and memorable and destined to change us in one way or another.

March 8, 2013. The day I lost my baby and had to endure the pain of never holding that precious soul this side of glory. It was one of the hardest days of my life. I don't recall that kind of pain ever being present in my life before. I look back at my response to my trial and I honestly feel like I failed at my test.

I was angry, bitter and resentful towards God. I outwardly presented a brave front, but on the inside I was broken and felt betrayed. I cringed at the common verses about "God not giving us more than we can handle" or "in this world we will have trouble, but take heart". Those words just cut deeper and made me feel as my pain was insignificant and minor. I was full of disappointment and I lashed out at God instead of accepting His will for my life. To be honest...I inwardly acted like a spoiled brat and was convinced I would only be happy when He gave me the desires of my heart for another baby.

Ultimately, in God's goodness and ability to see past my heart, He did give me another baby and my hope was restored. However, I look back at my thoughts and heart and feel as though my faith didn't withstand the test. It has taken almost a year for me to see the error of my ways and fall on my knees in repentance. I feel as though I've let Him down and only talked the talk...instead of letting my life walk the walk.

I know God forgives me and He has brought beauty from the depths of my despair. He has taught me truths through my miscarriage and my response and I believe He is still working on strengthening my heart. I am such a work in progress it isn't even funny, but the truths I'm discovering are worth the moments of pain and correction.   I don't believe for a second that this will be the last test that I will endure. I believe God will send many more dark days my way because the fact of the matter is we live in a broken world. I've been blessed to not have to endure heartache and pain very often and for that I am very thankful. However, I hope that in the future my days of pain will be more of a testament of my faith. I hope that I will withstand the pressure better than before.

My prayer is that I will put my faith in God...not God's response to my situation. Faith is not about God's response, it is about God Himself. Our pastor spoke on this on the anniversary date of my miscarriage which totally rocked my world. I knew without a doubt God was speaking directly to me. He was reconfirming to me, "Ashlee...believing in Me is not about what I do but rather Who I AM!"

I praise God for allowing me to walk through that valley. I can now stand on this side of the pain, a year later and truly praise God for that storm. He has taught my heart more in that valley than all the days of sunshine and joy. I believe my unborn baby was a true gift to me. A gift of strengthening my faith and learning what my God is really about. I will forever cherish the lessons I learned from my miscarriage.

My hope for you...whether walking through, coming out of, or entering into a trial is that you will remember that God is who He is no matter what. He is GOOD and He knows best. His will doesn't always match what we have in mind, but it is so much better than we could ever wish for ourselves. It may take weeks or even years to see the good in our tough situations, but I believe ultimately we can rest assured in knowing that it is for our good and ultimately His glory.

I'll leave you with one more thing our pastor shared on my anniversary date...another truth that brought tears to my eyes...sometimes God sends trials and test to those in whom He is most proud of. Sometimes like Job, He says..."that one there...that one will be faithful". Maybe I didn't walk through my pain without faltering or failing...but I find peace in knowing the next time trouble comes my way, I can look at it as an opportunity to say, "yes Lord...I will stand and you can count on me".

May my life be filled with many more chances to prove myself to My God. May I be filled with a supernatural ability to stand the trials that this life will throw my way. Let my life be a witness to those around me that can only point to my God.

So to my sweet baby on this anniversary date...may you know that this momma loves you and misses you dearly. May you know that I still await the day I will look into your eyes and embrace your touch. But until that day, know that I am stronger because of you. I am a better person because of your precious little life. Thank you for the lessons I've learned from you. You taught me so much and I am continuing to discover truths from your legacy. Above all...thank you for being mine...I love you.







Thursday, March 6, 2014

Weston Hayes-2 months old

 
Weston Hayes you are two months old! My oh my how the time is flying! I can honestly say it has been nothing but wonderfulness (I know that is not a word) with your sweet self. You are the easiest baby ever and have completely stolen my heart. I think you are just the sweetest little guy around and nothing melts my heart more than your sweet smile and precious noises...except those grunts at 3:00 am.

You are just like your daddy...laid back and easy going. All I have to do is make sure you are fed and your butt is clean and you are one happy camper. You are very predictable and I find myself learning your cues and I can easily figure out what you want or need.

You don't like your swing, to have a dirty diaper, or being in the car if it is not moving. You are a little nervous with your sister but that is understandable with the amount of times she has stepped on your head or screamed in your face! You don't like changing your clothes or being too hot...but other than those few things, you are an easy going dude!

Now for things you love...mommy and daddy, your wub-a-nub, eating, sleeping on your belly, looking around/people watching, bath time, and I'd say your absolute favorite thing right now is the Boppy. You absolutely LOVE sleeping on the boppy and will nap better on this pillow than in my arms, the carseat, your crib or the pack and play. The Boppy is by far your best buddy right now. I usually lay you on it and you are out in minutes...for hours! You are just the cutest thing all snuggled up on the pillow!

I give you my evidence...






 
 Oops! This is how I find you sometimes! HAHA!
 
And sometimes you just like to stare at Mommy while she works!


Please do not judge me for my lack of bed making. There is just not enough time in the day for everything!

Weston, I do not have you on much of a schedule...it's just too hard with Aubrey, work and all the other responsibilities of our family. You pretty much nap when you feel like it and honestly we just make each day work. You are like clockwork when it comes to night time though. I feed you at 8:00 pm and then I hit the sack immediately. You wake up at 12:30 and then again at 3:30. Most of the time you will sleep til 7:30 but lately you have decided you need a 6:00 am feeding as well...I honestly hope that is something you change your mind about in the very, very near future.

Weston you weigh 11 pounds 5 ounces! WOW! You are in the 25th percentile for your weight and height. I'm shocked at how big you are...you are a good 2 pounds bigger than Aubrey at this same age!
 
You are a great nurser and eat every three hours. I cherish our time together at feedings because I get quiet, one on one time with you and that is so rare and special!
 
We love you Weston Hayes...we can't believe how perfect you are for us and we thank the Lord everyday for blessing us with your presence. You are our joy!




Happy 2 months baby boy! We love you!