#isms, Uncategorized

#isms, Volume 2

Feel free to check out my first volume of things my kids say here.

The Engineer: “I love you.”
Me: “I love you, too—“ (turning…and notice that The Engineer is talking to the dog…)

(in front of an audience at the library’s end-of-the-year reading celebration)
The Artist: (into the microphone): “Hello, my name is The Artist, and this is my sister, The Engineer, and she eats dog food and curtains and we didn’t know what to do, so we had to call the doctor—“
(Me, waving frantically for them to take the mic away…)

(me calling the doctor regarding The Engineer eating my curtains… — yes, it really did happen)
Nurse: Yeah, I don’t even know what to tell you about that.
Doctor: That child…she’s our daring one.

Me: “Y’all know Daddy’s birthday is Monday.”
The Artist: “Is he having a cake?”
Me: “Well, Daddy is a diabetic, so a cake really isn’t good for him.”
The Artist: “Oh. But a cake is good for us…”

(in the pool)
The Engineer: “I am mermaid! I am mermaid!”

(after LITERALLY 30 min at the pet store, staring at the cats)
Me: “Are you done?”
The Engineer: “No. I need look.” (pause) “Hi, cat.” (to me) “Help it get out.”

The Artist: “I wish I could go to a party.”
Me: “We just did at the pool this morning!”
The Artist: “That wasn’t a party.”
Me: “Define what a party is for me.”
The Artist: “It’s with balloons and cake. That’s a party.”

(going to a neighbor’s house to see some baby ducks)
Me: “Okay, let’s remember to be gentle and sweet to these baby ducks.”
The Artist: “Yeah, we don’t need to smack them or pull their feathers or close their beaks or anything like that.”
Me: “Well, that got dark fast.”

Thank you! Come back again for more!

celebrations, marriage


Thirteen years ago, Kyle and I were living in New Orleans. Technically, Metairie. And technically, as we were just days away from our marriage, he was living with his aunt in Luling, and I was living in our to-be-shared 500-square-foot apartment in Metairie, which is right outside New Orleans.

Thirteen years ago, two days from now, we watched as Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and wrecked our plans for our life.

We had planned to attend the seminary in New Orleans. Kyle had a part-time job as an assistant football coach at a high school and I was a barista at a Starbucks. We were apparently going to pay our bills on sunshine and dreams. Because we were young, in love, and filled with optimism.

Then Katrina came, six days before our wedding.

We still got married. The cross necklace, a gift from Kyle I planned to wear on our wedding day, was buried under at least six feet of water. I borrowed my aunt’s necklace, a diamond solitaire. I borrowed clothes to wear on our honeymoon.

See that shirt and shorts? Borrowed. Thanks again, Misti.

And, six days before our wedding, we were scrambling – scrambling to find a home, jobs, and a new plan – a God-given one.

Because we moved to New Orleans without praying for guidance. It sounded pretty awesome to us, and we went for it. We moved down there in August 2005 and we moved back up to north Louisiana a month later.

1923391_512450458508_4490_nWhen Katrina struck, we prayed – we sought wisdom and insight. We asked for mercy, not only for us but for all those in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Because we were safe. We were together. But not all families had that luxury.

Our Katrina story is actually a happy one. With God’s provision and the support of dear friends, within that week, both of us were employed – and jobs using our college degrees as well. We found an apartment within our first month of marriage. I was able to start a master’s degree that fall, and the only thing we actually lost in the hurricane was a cheap entertainment center and the food from our fridge.

We were lucky. So lucky.

Very few individuals had the same story we did. Our story could have gone a complete different way. We could have fought our way back to New Orleans and stayed. Many people did – and many people needed to. Because that was their story.

But it wasn’t ours.

Our story was to come back up to Ruston, where we made a home. Where we are raising our daughters. Where we plugged into a church home.

I will always have a soft spot for New Orleans. I will always feel like it’s a second home to me, because, for a very brief spell, it was. When I cross Lake Pontchartrain, I feel energized. I feel like I have arrived somewhere beautiful, because it is.149798_622430273078_4763511_n

We are embarking on the 13th anniversary of Katrina, and while the date always reminds me of the hurricane, it also reminds me of the beauty of south Louisiana. The people, the food, the culture. There’s something special about Magazine Street, about Jackson Square, about Metairie and Kenner and the surrounding areas. There’s something about it that always calls to me.

We remember Katrina – but we also remember that New Orleans survived. It rose. It thrived.

And it always will.

Parenting, Sweet girls


The Artist started kindergarten this week.

I cannot believe it. I cannot believe this baby, this little darling who cooed in my arms just hours after she was born, this dress-up loving child, this girl who I still rock every night – how is she old enough for kindergarten?

But she is. Every day she gets a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and a little bit more independent.

It happened quicker than we could have imagined. One day I was stroking her baby fuzz, feeding her a bottle. I blinked, and she was dancing to “Frozen” songs and wearing costumes in public. I turned my back and she was wearing a school uniform for the first time in her life.

It happened – my baby became a big girl. And even though I can remember endless nights of feeding her and comforting her and days that seemed to last forever because, really, how many times could we watch “Hercules” – but before my two eyes, she grew and thrived.

For her part, she LOVED her first day. LOVED it. It was actually better than Christmas. We picked her up, and she wanted to know how quickly she could go back. And after we put her to bed that first night, she came back in our room and wanted to know exactly how long she would be in kindergarten – she wanted to make sure it was long enough.

She made new friends, explored the computer lab, played on the monkey bars, and enjoyed lunch. She met the “real” Pete the Cat (she says) and colored and told me, “My teacher is impressed with my art.” (There’s a reason we call her The Artist, ha!) She told me names of kids she played with and how much she liked her teacher.

We started this school blind. I didn’t think I knew anyone, but, over time, and closer to the first day, we learned more and more of her classmates and the school. A former coworker is head of the PTC. Two of our neighbors’ children are in her class. And when we were walking her in yesterday, we spotted two college friends who just moved back and whose little girl was also in The Artist’s class.

In other words – this new home feels like an old home.

I am so excited to dive into her school, to learn about her classmates and her beautiful teacher and what she learns. I’m so excited to hear about her day, about eating in a cafeteria for the first time, about having recess, and about learning math and social studies (!!!). I am so thankful for our community with its awesome public schools and teachers and staff who care so much about our kids.

It’s so much fun. It’s so exciting and new, but it’s a bit unnerving, too – we haven’t EVER had to take her to school at a certain time (especially before 8 a.m.), and we haven’t ever attended such a big school, but she’s a big girl now. And big girls go to big schools.




Jesus, Parenting


Our culture has a problem with nostalgia.

I like to say “our culture,” because, to be honest, I don’t want to just say it’s myself. So maybe it isn’t “our culture” as much as it is me. I have a nostalgia problem.

Have you ever heard of nostalgia as being a problem? I hadn’t. I mean, I had heard of people living in the past, and that’s not me. I am loving this stage of life. I love being in my mid-30s. I love having a husband, a house, two kids, and a job. High school sucked, my college years were grand (but I was an idiot), and while being a newlywed is fun and all, being married for a long time to your best friend is AMAZING. So living in the past is not my problem.

It’s the things that come from my past that’s the problem.

Pictures – I love pictures. I have boxes of pictures in my house. Seriously. Professional pictures, pictures I’ve taken, drawings that my kids have made (but my 5-year-old will be a world famous artist one day, so I’m really just saving up for my retirement).

I’m sentimental about things people give to me. My children will forever have loads of stuffed animals from important people in their life. I have friends who have given me coffee mugs that I will use until they shatter into a million pieces because I love those people.

I recently was cleaning out the girls’ rooms and getting clothes ready to sell at a consignment event I town, and I remembered how hard it was to get rid of certain clothes – clothes that my dad had bought for The Artist before he was to sick to do so. A gown Kyle and I bought The Artist on her first journalism work trip with us. A boutique outfit my aunt had bought The Artist. (Sorry, The Engineer usually ends up with hand-me-downs.)

It’s not so much that I love those things – I love the memories attached to them.

And that’s okay – to a point. It’s good to have good memories and to have a few things in our house that remind us of good times. When Kyle and I moved into our current house, I framed the keys from our previous two houses and put what address those houses were and how long we lived at each place. Because those houses held such good memories.

But I get so caught up in those things – things that I can’t take with me once I die. I love the idea of minimalism, but I am awful at adhering to it. I don’t want to let go of things. I can love things, but things can’t love me.

I got to thinking about these things reading about Lot’s wife – yeah, the one who was turned into a pillar of salt because she turned around. She just turned around.

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? When we turn around, we reminisce. And while that can be good to a certain point, getting overly attached to things isn’t. No matter who got them for us. No matter what memories are attached.

I have a friend who lost her wedding pictures in Hurricane Katrina. She got married so many years ago that she wasn’t able to procure a copy. She was devastated, of course, but she realized those things were just that – things. The marriage and child she had with her husband – that mattered. The pictures, while they were very, very special, really did not.

I don’t want to spend my time looking back at pictures or clothes or belongings and miss my kids growing up – sliding down on the slide, running down our backyard hill, or jumping on the bed. I don’t want to hold so much attachment to what they wore or their favorite doll that I lose sight of their imagination, their laughter, or their hugs.

Because, as cliché as it sounds, every moment – present, past, and future – is a gift.




Beginning with breakfast

My babies are starting school next week.

I have a mixture of excitement and nervousness, especially as The Artist is starting kindergarten. She’s going to a new school, wearing a uniform – gah, all the mama emotions are coming out. She’s got her pencil bag, her crayons, and her composition notebook – and she’s got a very early school start time.

And, being the planner that I am, I have some quick and easy breakfasts that I wanted to share in case you, like me, will be tossing breakfast to kids in the backseat and eating in the car.

1) Breakfast sandwiches
I do food prep on Sunday afternoons, getting The Engineer’s lunches for the week together and, if need, planning breakfasts. Breakfast sandwiches can be made in advance, made to certain likes and dislikes, and eaten on the run. Plus, if I make them, they’re generally healthier than store-bought. I like using ciabatta bread and stuffing with scrambled eggs, deli ham or turkey, and cheese. And everyone gets a personalized breakfast. The Engineer doesn’t eat eggs in any form, so she gets meat and cheese. Kyle and The Artist don’t like any white cheese on their breakfast sandwiches (The Artist refers to it as “wedding cheese” for some reason), so they get cheddar, eggs, and ham. And I want veggies on mine, so I get that. Wrap in wax paper and plastic wrap and stick in the fridge. Microwave or put in the oven for a few minutes, and breakfast is ready. Side note – you can also make these as breakfast burritos if you have kids who are less messy than mine.

2) Smoothies
Kyle and I love smoothies, but the kids will not eat them. I have no idea why. This summer they lived on spinach popsicles (literally yogurt, spinach, and milk – that was it), but make it in a drink form, and they won’t touch it. However, it’s nice that Kyle and I can get some green veggies in our breakfast, even if the kids may not. And I make a variety of smoothies – with coconut milk, almond milk, frozen fruit, fresh fruit – but I generally always add spinach. We don’t eat too many veggies, so I try to sneak them in whenever I can.

3) The really-on-the-run
This is when you toss back a fruit, a squeeze-type food (Gogurt or GoGoSqueez, for example), and some type of carb – waffles, toast, nutriagrain bar, etc. Listen. Some days, it’s survival mode. As long as everyone gets fed, you win.

4) PB English muffins
I don’t get to send peanut butter with The Engineer at MDO, and as she is not a big protein eater, I like to give her peanut butter whenever I can. She also likes to dip things, so PB and apple, PB on toast, PB on a raisin bagel – whatever.

5) Some type of homemade bar
There are several options for this on Pinterest. We’ve used the energy bites and the oatmeal bars, but there’s also blueberry quinoa bars if you have any leftover blueberries from this summer.

Now that school is upon us – what are you fixing your kids in the morning? Give me some ideas!