Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Today is my  brother Christopher's 27th Birthday. I was going to say he's an amazing kid... but he's not a kid. He's a man. And a great man, at that. I am so thankful I have the privilege to be his sister. I'm so thankful that I get to live in the same house with him, his beautiful wife and adorable daughter.

Christopher, I'm proud of you. You have persevered in the midst of a lot. I know life has been tough this past decade but you have grown into a man worthy of respect. I love you. I trust you. I think you're super cool. I'm proud of the way you've developed your business, Ballahack Airsoft.

I love your imagination and creativity and ingenuity. I wish I was as artistic as you. I love it when you sing and play guitar. I'm crazy about you!

Happy Birthday!
Christopher's the cool guy in the shades
Too Cool...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ian after a long day. Yes, he is sleeping in rain boots

Monday, August 27, 2012

Libby playing with Magformers

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rub-A-Dub Dub... 3 boys in a tub.

Ian, Michael & Samuel
No, we are not advocating nudity. This is how the boys were found. Michael's favorite activity as of late is playing with the garden hose.  He is not allowed to do this. This afternoon he managed to fill up an extra large bin with water and created his own home-made outdoor bath tub. His brothers quickly joined in.

As punishment I washed their hair and bodies and used the cold water of the garden hose to rinse them off!

Friday, August 24, 2012

MacGyver Mom

So, I had take Michael & Samuel to the doctor's early this a.m.  I thought it would be a bit of a wait but I thought we'd spend most of the time in the waiting room... where they happen to have a cool fish tank as well as movies playing.

But they quickly moved us to a private room... I guess the hacking cough freaked them out :)

So we waited close to an hour for the doctor. What's a Mom to do?

Turn into MacGyver Mom of course!
From Left to Right: Poor Kid, Dad, Mom, Daughter, Son, Grandma & Grandpa

What did I have with me?
                   A pen. A yellow highlighter. A tube of lipgloss.

What did a drawer in the room provide?
                    Tongue Depressor Sticks (glorified popsicle sticks), A cotton ball, Petroleum Jelly*

So I started off with creating a boy and a girl. "Blonde" was created with highlighter. Rosy cheeks gained through lip gloss. Black hair made with the pen.

Then Samuel thought the brother and sister should have a Mom and Dad. So I made them next. And then he wanted them to have grandparents.

And then he wanted to make a "poor kid". Don't know what that's all about.

He wanted to also make "Santa". I said no, why don't we use the Grandpa?

"Mom! The Grandpa doesn't have a beard. Santa has a beard. Everyone knows that."

Oh my mistake.

So for an hour I told stories, sang songs, and entertained the boys with my "home-made popsicle people."

Did I mention? A feigned British accent goes along way......

Oh... and about the boys. Doctor concerned it's pertussis (whooping cough). Strong antibiotics, an oral steroid, etc. And a test in which I had to use my full body weight to keep the boys on the table while they stuck a metal "q-tip" up their nostril for 15 seconds, each side. Super fun. We'll find out if it's pertussis next week!

*Petroleum Jelly was used to adhere the Grandparents soft cotton ball hair.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Getting out of my head.

Sometimes i dangerously get trapped inside my head. I don't seem to be able to function and I fall into this hole inside myself that I can't seem to escape. I want to desperately get out of my thoughts, my feelings, my self-centeredness but I find myself moving as though a zombie or robot- stiff, expressionless and emotionless.... and horribly vacant.

I tire of the rut: the dishes, the laundry, the diapers, the potty training, the meal-making, the floor sweeping, the carpet vacuuming, the whining, griping, hitting, puking, peeing, pooping, mess-making, questioning, arguing, long-distance driving, errand running, tear wiping, bed jumping, bedtime sighing, self-denying, blatant lying, logic defying, fiercely crying, horribly trying, crazy defining days.

So here's the thing- that makes me a bad mom. Yep, because I am required to do those things to care for my family. BUT here's the good news. God is alive in me. His Holy Spirit is at work so even though I'm tired and burnt out and don't want to do those things... He will help me. Any good that you see me doing towards my husband and my children is not of me... but of the Lord!

And although I'm tired and headachey I can still tell myself truth. I can preach at myself in the middle of the night. I cling to my Savior from my desperate wretchedness. Faithful Jesus will carry me. He will sustain me. Never leave or forsake me. That is my hope.

So when I find myself about to lose it tomorrow... or actually later today (in a few more hours) I hope that I will turn to my Savior... or sprint towards Him and say, "Help! I can't do this apart from you!" And if I don't. If I end up yelling or feeling sorry for myself or sitting on the floor crying... I will be okay... because there is grace and forgiveness... and I only have to ask.

...."His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me..."

Monday, August 20, 2012

When Life Stinks

I sat in the car last night with nose wrinkled. I smelled something foul. Something akin to a dead animal but was more likely a misplaced sippy cup containing curdled milk. I had no time to deal with the issue at present as I was on my way to the women's meeting at church.

Finally arriving home at 12:30 a.m.  I found myself pulling out empty cups and carting them into the house but the smell remained. No matter what new evidence of old food or discarded beverage I found the smell continued.

What started a day or two ago as a slight unpleasant odor has turned into a full-fledged offensive smell.

And just as I've been unable to determine the source of this disgusting malodor I've been unable to pin-point the spiraling road of depression I've been sliding down.

And then it occurred to me how close I was to the time when Samuel was  diagnosed with cancer... and today, two years ago actually marks the day our lives turned upside down and the news that no parent wants to hear was spoken. Our child had cancer.

And although Samuel's scans have shown no growth of cancer at this time, I still feel raw and wounded and hurting. Like i can't breathe. Like my heart has been wrung out to dry.

Samuel's smile is beautiful. His hair is grown back thick and brown as before. He has a horrible hacking cough but other than that seems fine.

But I find myself wrestling. Will this "curse" come back? What about next month when we have the next scan? What about the 3 months after that? Or the six months?

How do you live between the world of what's been and what will be? How do you love and cherish your children as if it's their last but not give into any and every whim they possess? How do you speak lovingly when you're tired, exhausted, depressed and emotional?

These things have been tugging at my heart. Yesterday afternoon I was writing my brief testimony to share at ladies meeting and then baking cookies with the kids. I want to savor every bit of life. Every bit of joy. But to do so at all times leaves one utterly depleted. I can't look at life like "this could be his last...._________" (first day of school, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.) It doesn't help.

One of my favorite quotes was "Live every day as if it were your last because one day it will be." And although I still believe this is true it doesn't offer the comfort that it used to. Or the courage to live that way. It sounds absolutely exhausting.

My ducts have an open valve today. The tears I shed seem to trickle down my face. Remembering the intensity and trauma of August 20, 2010 and all the days that would follow are like a sucker punch to my gut. I ask God to go with me in these dark, painful places. I ask him to heal me and to show me how he sustained me in the midst. How he cared for us and protected us and provided for us.

The kids have been enjoying playing with each other today. The rain is falling against the widow pane. Pancakes have been consumed and hands still remain sticky even after scrubbing them in the sink. The bark of Samuel's cough can be heard over the movie that is playing.

Today is just another day. Another day to enjoy the life of my children. Another day to breathe deep the grace of God. Another day to trust God that come what may He won't leave or forsake me. And even if God forbid there is another day where this dreaded horror comes back I won't be abandoned. God will still be there. He loves Samuel more than I do. And somehow all of that has happened and all that will be is a part of his plan.

So time to set aside the sorrow and push through. To make hot chocolate with large marshmallows. To watch movies and snuggle with blankets and stuffed animals. To take long naps and to breathe. to settle the disputes of the day. The arguments between siblings. To kiss the bumped bruises and owies from running and falling. To drink in the smell of freshly bathed kids and to accept sloppy wet kisses from a toddler who doesn't know he's supposed to close his mouth when he gives kisses.

We have come so far. We have a long way to go. But we're not on this road alone. Thanks for coming along with us on this ride. Through ups and downs. Through the mountain peaks and valleys of the shadow of death.

Surrendering myself to God again. Surrendering my precious Samuel to God. Acknowledging God's authority over my life and the life of my family. And asking Him for peace that surpasses my understanding.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My beautiful stepping stones.

Peter, Michael, Ian, Samuel, and Libby

Stepping Stones

The Fabulous Five & Gramma

Regal Cinemas has a fun kid $1 movie time on Tuesdays/Wednesdays at 10 in the summer. We went and saw Rio. I can't believe how big the kids are getting. My mom met us this time before she went out of town.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Remembering (2)...

This was the kit Mike used to carry everywhere with him. He doesn't anymore. Just remembering how much stuff we needed all the time for Samuel. So thankful he doesn't need a CV anymore. Thankful to God!

Friday, August 10, 2012


When Michael was much younger he had to wear a special cranial shaping helmet. His head was somewhat mishapen (PLAGIOCEPHALY) and needed some adjusting. So he was fitted at orthotics with his helmet. He also used to wear these special inserts in his shoes. Just marveling at how far we've come. The Lord has done amazing things among us!
He still has glasses... and slight shoe inserts... but no more helmet or wheelchair. Those are long gone! That boy walks, runs, and can even jump now!!!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Article: Selling My Soul for Shoes

My friend and editor Ashleigh of recently took one of my blog posts and converted into an article. You can read it here.

Thanks Ashleigh!


My friend Jessica had her precious #3 on August 4th. Her name is Mary Adeline. She's a little dollie. So perfect. Libby and I got to be there just a short 5 hours after jessica gave birth. So much fun to meet a new little one. Libby was in her glory, marveling over the "tiny baby".  We love you Adeline! Welcome to this crazy yet wonderful world. So excited that you are apart of it!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Yeah, We Dig It!

One of the highlights of the summer is our Wratten Family Reunion. Family from out of town comes and stays at a beach house in SandBridge. We commute and visit. It's always a lot of fun seeing my cousins playing with my children. Here is one of Michael's new BFF's. Pierce is so kind and gracious to play with Michael.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

We all Scream for Ice-Cream...

Our Date at Chick-fil-A

Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

Evangeline "Doodle"

Libby gets a kiss from Doodle

Giving Doodle kisses

Got Milk? Ad

Create "Moustache", Lick it off... repeat

Quite a pair

"Milk" Moustache gone wild...

The Sweet Maniacal Laugh...

I had the pleasure of spending time with one of my dear friend's children. Evangeline and Elliot are so special to me. Before Madison was born it was Evangeline that made me feel like an "aunt".

On Thursday, Libby and I got to take Evangeline out on a "mini-date" of sorts. First we went to Chick-fil-A where the girls played, ate lunch, played, had ice-cream and then played. We went to dollar tree and they had fun picking out some prizes: a princess puzzle, candy necklace, bracelet and ring, and a spinning top. Not to forget the fabulous pink basket to carry it all in.

Libby has been fascinated by milk ads recently. So she thought she would create her own "milk moustache" of sorts. And of course Evangeline, aka Doodle thought she would follow suit. Whatever "Yibby" did, Doodle had to do too!

They were hilarious.

Friday, August 03, 2012

The fabulous 5.
I love my kids.

Sometimes they can make me feel crazy.
Sometimes I just don't know what I'm going to do with them.
But I know that without them I would go crazy...