Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In The Small Stuff

I have posting upon posting to do (like I know that you're ecstatic over hearing about Daniel's first Christmas and how many teeth he has and how Baby #2 is doing with its perfectly beating heart and all about how this second pregnancy and an 8-month-old are treating me), but in this quiet moment, when Daniel is tucked peacefully into bed and will, without a doubt, sleep at least four hours, as he has become prone to do, I find myself in awe of how good God has been to me.

There was a time when all I wanted was to be married.  After that, all I really wanted was to be pregnant.  Then, when the Lord answered that request and suddenly took it away, all I really needed was love.  It took four long, devastating months for me to find that God had given me that too...  oh, you know, in the eyes of my husband who longed for me to live again and then in the simple statement of a purple plus sign on a pregnancy test.  After that surprise, all I really wanted was a healthy baby girl, and the Lord gave me that as well in the form of a beautiful, blue-eyed, energetic little BOY.  And to be completely honest, I haven't expected or asked for much else.  What seriously could be better than all of that?!

Well, it's in those moments when you know there's nowhere else you'd rather be...  

When you're busy working on the house, and your baby comes crawling up to you with his hands lifted high.

When you're exhausted, and at 8-months-old, your little one decides to sleep at least four hours a night.

When you're ill as a hornet, and your husband attempts to make you laugh by playing the Grinch.

When you're fearing there is no heartbeat, and the nurse proudly states, "138 bpm."

When you're dealing with nightly morning sickness, and it's more than enough.

When you're unsure of yourself, and you walk a mile and a half carrying two babies - that is, the one in the womb and the one in the carrier.

When you're afraid He doesn't hear you, He, without your noticing, answers all of your small, unspoken prayers...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

This Simple, Christmas Truth

It ends...  quicker than it even started.

Only days after putting up the decorations, wrapping gifts, and baking those winter goodies, December 26th rolls around, and for me, it isn't sad.  The day AFTER Christmas is actually a beautiful reminder, even though we can get wrapped up in this glorious holiday, that the truth is the real reason we celebrate never will leave us.  We have every reason to be joyous TODAY (and next Wednesday and every day that follows) because our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is not about presents and gatherings and shopping.  He came so that we may have life...

And that gift from Him, my dear friends, never ends.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Daniel Has an Announcement to Make...

I bet you've been wondering what's kept my mom so busy the past few months.  It's because I am going to be a...


My little baby brother or sister is due to arrive on June 2, and we are all feeling very blessed!  Most people are shocked that my parents are going to have another baby so soon, but they always tell everyone that God knows best.  My mom and dad bought this shirt for me to wear on Thanksgiving to share the news with our family.  So now that they all know, my mom decided it would be perfect for me to tell you.  Please pray for my mom; she's been a bit sick and awfully busy having to keep up with me and the new baby.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

blue eyes
toothless grins
button nose
strong legs
sleepless nights
reaching arms
messy bibs
stinky diapers
bare feet
bruised knees
deafening squeals
unmatched energy
slobbery kisses
whiny cries

holding hands
staying up late
sharing quick kisses
sheer goodness
brutal honesty
true love
genuine friendship
deep thoughts
sweet secrets
argyle sweaters

all of which come from these two guys...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Seven, I'm Not Even Believing It.

Actually written on December 8, 2009
I cannot believe that Daniel has turned seven months old.  It came and went so quickly that I failed to take a picture or even post about it on the day he did (November 20, 2009).  Nevertheless, I have kept up with his amazing accomplishments and wanted to share them.

In his 26th week:
He took his first step actually crawling on October 23rd at his Uncle and Aunt's house.
He dressed up as a cow for his church's Western Family Feud night.
He started pulling up on the recliner, then the couch, and finally the coffee table.
Spoons became his favorite toy.
His buddy, Pierce, came to visit, and Daniel loved to touch him.

In his 27th week:
He gave himself his first busted lip - blood and all - by falling down from pulling up on the coffee table.
He crawled and crawled and crawled some more.
He was everywhere and into everything.
He helped his Mom with laundry.
He dressed up as a lion for Halloween;
He visited his Pop and Gran-Ju, then went to see his Mimi, Grandpa, and Aunt Jessica and Uncle Andrew.
He didn't get any candy, just his very own remote control from his Mimi.
His Grandpa gave him his first taste of a honey BBQ chicken wing, and he LOVED it.


In his 28th week:
His Mom found out that his favorite spot to play was the bathtub...  clothes ON with NO water.
Due to his curiosity and crawling, he needed a superyard to keep him contained.
However, he realized he was contained while in it.
He threw a few thousand fits every time he was in it.
He was extremely ticklish.  Daddy really had fun with him!
He would bounce up and down anytime Daddy said, "Jump, Jump, Jump!"
He said, "Da-da," all the time.

In his 29th week:
He found the trashcans around the house and wanted to play in every one of them.
His hairbrush was his new-found favorite thing.
He announced to his Daddy's family that he was going to be a BIG BROTHER!
He visited his cousins and family.
He met his friends, Jeremy and Erin, who came to visit him while they were in town from Oklahoma!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

At a Loss for Words...

I really haven't stopped writing on purpose.  It isn't because anything has happened or that something has gone wrong.  It's simply because I have this amazing, almost-seven-month-old little boy who I have been insanely busy trying to keep up with. 

Being a mom isn't as easy as I expected it to be.  I actually have days where I feel I completely fail at it.  Days like today when I was so frustrated that he wouldn't stop pressing the buttons on my computer or putting his precious hands in the VCR slot or finding a way to be ill in every place I wanted him to play.  And, I'll admit that I lost my cool.  A lot.  I fussed at him and used my "stern" voice a little too much, actually expecting him to understand, "NO, Daniel.  Stop it, Daniel.  Be still.  Don't spit.  Do NOT touch the computer, Daniel."  Yes, a child who only says da-da will understand those phrases perfectly clear.

The truth is that now that I'm a parent myself I find myself more and more in awe with God.  I'm floored by the love He has for me.  I'm amazed that He would give me such awesome gifts like my husband or my beautiful child.  I'm shocked that He'd listen to my prayers and care for someone that has nothing worth loving.  He loves me when I won't stop pressing buttons long enough to HEAR HIM.  He loves me when I put my hands and myself in places they should not be.  He loves me when I cannot find joy in the spectacular life He's created for me.  AND... though at 26 years of age, when His voice is calling me, I don't listen, and He decides to love me even still.  Is that not mind-boggling?!

It isn't because I have decided to stop writing.  It isn't even that I'm tired or lazy.  It certainly isn't because I have a lack of things (or a little-amazing-blue-eyed boy) to blog about.  It is simply because it's okay to be still sometimes.  It's okay to be silent at others.  Most importantly, it's because I have somehow failed at realizing how good God truly is, and that, my friends, will put any girl at a loss for words.

Seeing Six...

Right before our eyes, Daniel turned six months old on October 20, 2009.  So many things happened during and following his sixth month "birthday" that it has honestly been hard to keep up with him.  Hopefully, that explains my very LATE update.

In his 22nd week:
He found his toes, and they always ended up in his mouth.
He really started recognizing his family. 
Smiled immediately upon seeing any of us.
He began doing the "thinking" pose.
It seemed he would concentrate incredibly hard on particular things.

Guess these work just like a pacifier

Laughing with Mimi
Daniel's "thinker" pose

In his 23rd week:
He attempted to crawl...  often. 
He'd scoot toward things that were in front of him on the floor.
He sat up...  ON HIS OWN.  We couldn't believe it!
He was happiest in the bathtub. 
He loved his light-up rubber duckies!

Trying to crawl to Pop's keys

So, sitting up isn't that tough.

Enjoying the empty bathtub

Trying to get away from Mommy

In his 24th week: 
He had his first "lunch-date" with some very special friends.
He wasn't too impressed with McDonald's.
He continued attempting to crawl, and sat up all of the time.
He teethed, but no teeth.  Just lots of drool.  LOTS.
He outgrew ALL of his 6 month clothes.
Still wore size 3 diapers, but needed ALL 6 to 9 month clothes.
He hated his pack n' play.
He loved playing on his toy drum (thanks to our friends in Georgia)!
Mom's hairdryer and plastic grocery bags were his favorite things to play with.

Making a new friend in Tucker

 Greyson wasn't so sure of Daniel at first...

Outgrowing his clothes before he ever wears them

Beating on his drum

 His newest toys...

In his 25th week:
He sat up in a high chair by himself...  with no assistance.
He went on his first vacation (to Gatlinburg).
He walked rode down the strip with his mom and dad. He spent a lot of his time with daddy - riding in the carrier and sleeping there too!
He found out that remote controls are extremely interesting.
He got his first taste of country music at the Dixie Stampede.
He loved the live band!
He moved out of the infant car seat into the big convertible car seat!
He tried Puffs for the first time!

 Riding in the carrier

Finding out about the remote control

Turning 6 months old in Gatlinburg

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Yes, Daniel is spending a lot of time on his...  behind, that is.  He now can sit up all by himself for LONG periods of time.  He also can sit up in a high chair (praise the Lord), yet he highly dislikes sitting in his new convertible car seat.  Nevertheless, he can sit, and it's an awesome thing!

That's really NOT the point of this post.  I have a million things to update on - turning 6 months old, going on vacation, learning to sit up, taking his first real step crawling step, learning to pull up to standing - I mean, we are WAY BEHIND on keeping you all updated. 

Hopefully, we've given you a SLIGHT glimpse into what is happening here, but alas, it's a busy but blessed weekend with a million places to be from game night to cows and farmers to church and homecoming to visiting with our Jamaican missionary.  I realize that was extremely vague, but I promise to let you in on it all very soon.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Daniel is Tired of Being Sick and Tired

Well, it has been the month of all things LONG. Long sickness, long baby, and long time since our last post.

What do I mean? Daniel's been sick his whole fifth month, and he's been to the doctor three times. He's getting so long; he was a whopping 26 inches at one of the three appointments (seriously, they all are running together now). It's been so hectic around here that I've failed to post all of his major accomplishments like his first time sitting on his own, first time to crawl, first of two ear infections (in two weeks), first time taking two rounds of antibiotics, first time missing two weeks of church, first millionth time to NOT sleep through the night... But, he's as cute, feisty, and active as ever!

Only the bath makes him happy these days!

He found his toes...

Mimi came to play with Daniel.

The "thinker" pose

When he's in deep thought (or confusion), this is what he does!

Crawling towards Pop's keys...

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I never would have imagined that I would come to this point, but I have.


I guess after four years of blabbing and being emotional and completely sharing my heart that I have found that it is time.  I love writing, and although my heart adores letting loose and exposing my mistakes, insecurities, and hard-earned lessons, I believe it has had enough.  

I look across the room this very second and see the sweetest blue-eyed boy looking back at me.  I have an amazing husband, and more than that, he truly has become my best friend.  Most importantly, I have God who loves me more than anyone should be allowed.  Those reasons alone are why I have decided to stop writing here on To Heaven and Back.  

God has blessed me with so many gifts, and I want to focus on them.  I want to spend more time on living, studying God's word, being a mother, loving on Daniel, learning life as a wife, showing my feelings to Brian, learning to cook, painting gifts for others, and just enjoying the life I've been given.  You can still read about my life as a mother here and what I'll be painting here.  That's not to say I won't post here from time to time, but enough is enough. 

And life, well, it's good.  It's really, unbelievably good.  

All my love,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fabulously Five

In his 18th week:
He weighed 16 lbs and 1 1/2 ounces.
He was in the 75th percentile in weight, length, and head circumference.
Size 3 diapers...  Good-N-E-S-S!
He was introduced to Applesauce baby food.
He L-O-V-E-D to eat from the spoon.
He learned how to spit... On his own.
Teething was a monster.
He went to his first football game.
He played with his buddy, Pierce.
He enjoyed touching the face of whoever was holding him.
He was SO close to sitting on his own... with his hands holding him up.
He discovered the monitor in his crib.
He was beginning to crawl...
He would get on his knees, rear in the air, head on the floor, and just push.
He never really crawled... yet.

In his 19th week:
He started Banana baby food again.
Except this time it WAS NOT organic.
Organic gave him a rash. So strange.
He would only take a pacifier if he could put it all the way in his mouth.
He was big enough to wear 9 month clothes.
He really attempted to hold his own bottle.
He would reach for anything in his sight.
He could sit up IF his hands were on the floor.
But later in the week, he could sit up without hands.
For all of 10 seconds...
He rolled everywhere.
The television continued to amaze him.
His signature face was when his mouth was wide open, drool was running down his chin, and he was wide-eyed.
He chewed on everything.

In his 20th week:
He became more aware of his hands.
He ate peaches like you wouldn't believe!
He smiled more than any kid I know!
He got a lot of visit from his family - because Mommy had to paint and was sick.
He started this weird habit of hitting himself in the stomach.
Changing his diaper was impossible UNLESS you handed him an empty bag of wipes...
He loved to hear the sound it made!
He rolled all over everywhere.  He would not stay put.
He enjoyed his umbrella stroller more than anything else he had.
TEETHING - He drooled.  He slobbered.  He was always chewing on something.
Oh, and he ate the fire out of some baby food prunes!
He watched slept through his daddy playing in his alumni basketball game.

In his 21st week:
He began eating vegetables...  Squash that is.  Baby food version.
Oh, and 1st food jars were not enough for him!
It's official.  6 month clothes were too small.
He sat up leaned mostly.
Well, he would sit up by leaning on his hands, but that counts as sitting up to his parents.
He tried his Johnny Jump Up for the first time!
He shopped 'til he dropped with his momma.
Everybody he knows was having birthdays and weddings!
He started loving his daddy...
He would follow daddy's every, single move.
He'd grin when daddy got home or when he walked into the room.
He took a crawling step...  just one though.  He's working hard on it.
Oh, and he FINALLY took a pacifier to help with bedtime.
But, of course, it's only a certain kind.  Playtex Binky's.
He also ate sweet potatoes, and ate them UP.

Oh, and here are some other events in Daniel's fifth month...

Eating was always a funny and messy occasion.

He was busy learning how to sit up on his own.

Teaching Daniel that the new car seat wasn't so bad.  It's also his new recliner.  Here he was in front of the television.

Visiting his cousins in West TN for his daddy's Alumni basketball game

Playing in his Johnny Jump Up

He surprised us when he took his first step...  crawling, that is.

Getting dressed up for the UT/Florida game...  SOMEONE, please, buy this kid some Black and Gold gear.

At his friend, Addy's 1st birthday party

Kissing Mommy at the party

Playing with some of his FAVORITE girls...

Oh, and I forgot to show this when Daniel FIRST had baby food...

Bananas, Baby! from Jenna Johnson on Vimeo.