Thursday, September 20, 2012


So about 14 months ago these great people burst into our life! It didn't take long for strong bonds to be formed. It worked out perfectly... a fellow photographer/crafter/baker/homeschooler on my side not to mention the fact that both husbands were named Justin and they had 3 awesome kids that played great with our 2. We were able to have deep conversations followed by terrible puns (thanks to the Justins). There were countless hours spent watching ridiculous tv shows and drinking great cups of coffee (with Almond Joy creamer whenever possible). We had one of those rare relationships that was just easy.
The problem is that no matter how much you want someone to feel like your home is also theirs, you cannot force it. Unfortunately, this is what happened. I so wanted our kids to grow up being best friends and get to watch their boys play music with N and N. But you can't force something like this... you can't make someone love your home.
Kindred spirits are hard to come by. I have only had a few in my life and from very early on in our friendship it was clear to see that Bekah and I were kindred spirits. If people had been a fly on the wall in some of our conversations they would have thought we were crazy!
So we got the news that they were moving back to the great state of Texas. Hearts were broken, tears were cried (my face was splotchy for a day or so). My soul was sad, but at the same time, my soul was at rest.
So to sum things up friends were made, but friends were NOT lost.  And even though some things are just super lame, it's only because we are short sighted and can't see the big picture. People may say things like, "well, they just wasted a year of their life". This is not true, they are different people then when they moved here, they have affected so many lives here. It was NOT a wasted year! They got called here, and then they got called back... end of story. We are just blessed that they were here even if for a short time.

Just a few to show the crazy relationship our family has with one another

A rare moment where it is not Nathan and Matthew together

There is not much to say!

Boys loving each other

Crawdad catching

David dancing to the strobe light fireworks

Monday, August 20, 2012

If you were a bug

I cannot count how many time I have heard betend or beingtend (for some reason Nathan and Natalie are convinced that this is pretend). They have such an active imagination that it becomes a hassle for us when we are trying to get things done. We hear Nathan yell, "be careful when you back up, you are going to hit the house with the trailer hooked to the back of the truck." They are constantly making up stories of things that have happened to them. Sometimes it's cute and sometimes it makes me want to pull my hair out.
Today was a cute day, as I was cleaning the floors Nathan informs me that if I turned into a bug he would make sure that Justin didn't step on me! I could hardly keep myself together. The best part is that he was so relaxed when he told me, and so confident in the fact that he would protect me. When it is not cute is when it's 10:30 in the evening and he is so scared because the bear from Brave is real.
Where do we draw the line between real and pretend? Do we ever fully learn to do this? I have so many irrational fears, I have just learned to keep them in side instead of screaming. We all have so many delusions. We ignore so many major problems in our life and our society. We are 'beingtending' that things aren't real just to make things easier for us.
Walking in truth is one of the hardest things to do. but if we can learn to cast our troubles on someone who cares, things would be a whole lot easier for us. It's something that 7 year olds and 70 year olds need to learn how to do.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Outside looking in

This weekend we had the wedding of the year (my sister's of course)! I must say that it was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever been to. I laughed, cried, and had a great time.

From the outside everything went off without a hitch, but what you don't see looking from the outside is the tears when the wedding had to be moved in doors, the panic when we couldn't find flower girl baskets, the stress when the cake started to lean, and all the nerves that were involved in the whole weekend. Everything came together, and boy are we glad that it did, but I think it shows us an important lesson.

One reason we shouldn't judge a book by its cover is because we don't see all the problems when we look at the outside. I am always telling Natalie and Nathan not to compare themselves to others. If you compare yourselves to others you are comparing yourself to a an idea and not what is really going on within.

Justin and I have such a great relationship (thankfully!!) but don't judge us from the outside. We cry, we get offended and we get mad. It's not perfect but it IS great. You can't chase perfection because it is not attainable (not even any longer in my beloved sport of gymnastics). But why worry so much about never being able to get perfection when you can reach greatness?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tick Tock

I cannot count the number of times that I heard my mom say "take time, have time". If we didn't clean, read a book, have quiet time, exercise, or anything else we wanted to do, Mom's response was always "take time, have time". When I was young this statement drove me crazy, but as I am getting older it is becoming my response as well. There is so much truth in this one statement. Whatever you take the time to do is what you are prioritizing. Sometimes it's intentional and sometimes it is just poor planning, and sometimes it is the choice to place the wrong thing in priority. Prioritizing is tough. The days it seems like prioritizing (or 'taking time') is really difficult, are those days that I am NOT super busy. On those days I usually end up laying around for way too long. I realize I have waisted my day when its almost time to leave and I haven't done anything around the house and I am still in my pajamas. 
Today is not going to be one of those days, today is going to be one of the days where I take the time do what needs to be done. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

A little bit more than amity

Amity is defined as a peaceful relationship, and Justin and I have been blessed with a peaceful relationship. But a successful marriage is about more than a peaceful one. Sometimes you have to call one another out on things, sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do. But if you make sure that you place your relationship above any other earthly relationship there are a lot of things that you never have to deal with.
This week was our anniversary... 4 years! I can honestly say that I am happier now than I was when we first got married (not that I wasn't happy then). Don't get me wrong, marriage is hard and is something that you really must commit to inorder to be happy/successful. But it is also one of the best things you will ever do and can be wonderful. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who has completely committed to the marriage and prioritizes it over lots of things. 
For our anniversary we had a schnazzy dinner at the Tavern followed by a nights stay at the Alpine Motel, for any of you that are familiar with Abingdon you know that the Alpine Motel is nothing special, but for some reason I have always wanted to stay there, So thankfully, the Hus came through. We slept in til 10!!!  And then spent the day roaming through Bristol and Johnson City. It was nothing special but it felt like a vacation. It was so great to be together, just us (except for a lunch date with TR).   

On our way home we had to stop to get a pic of the an awesome rainbow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


My middle name is Joy so I have become some sort of a stickler for using the word joy when you should and not just using it interchangeably with happiness or cheerfulness or some other similar word. I say that happiness is a momentary thing that changes according to the mood but joy is something that sticks with you regardless of your emotional state. When someone has joy it is clear because even when they are in 'the pit of dispair' (insert voice from Princess Bride), they are able to appreciate life. People say that love is not a feeling but a choice, well I think that joy is also a choice. It's the choice to be content no matter what you are dealing with, the choice to recognize that there is more to the world than your little circle, and the choice to be thankful for what you have even if it is not enough.
I pray that I have joy and that I am able to show my joy to others by the way I live.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Independence Day!

July 4th is one of my favorite holidays. It is such a care free day centered around simply celebration. It's like a vacation from summer vacation. There are so many things about the holiday that bring out the kid in me. The sparklers still make me feel giddy with excitement and even flipping down the road in the heat for a parade with my little gymnasts is refreshing.
As new parents we got to experience a whole new side of "America's Birthday" (as we referred to it all day). The Lebanon festivities seemed like they had so much more to offer when you are experiencing them with 2 kids who see it as a huge new adventure, and the $20 spent on fireworks was one of the best investments I have ever made because it allowed me to capture these great moments...
The Composer 

"Mo" (due to the new haircut)


So serious

Not so serious

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


So I married into a crazy horse family. And lets just say the fire has not gotten ahold of me. It's not that I don't like horses, it is just that there are a whole lot of things that excite me more. Right now one of those things is taking pictures, so consequently there are a lot of photos on or around horses. Last week we went down to the horse ring and I discovered some great photo opportunities!!

Nathan's facial expression cracks me up!

Relaxin' all cool

 Thunder (The kids pony)

He even gets bored every once and a while 

Caught this one of her spinning while half way in a backbend

I can't take the giggles

So even though horses are not my thing, it's totally worth it to see them develop confidence in something. I love that they get to spend valuable time with grandparents doing something other than just watching tv.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fusy (what you get when you cross Fun and Busy)

So after a week of being without my man, the weekend began with a bang. We had such a crazy fun-FILLED time.

  • #1 leave the house at 6am for Winchester. We started our day off bright and early on friday morning with a trip to see Winchester to see some great friends. Meredith was the second person I fell head over heels for. Our friendship became close fast and she continues to impress me. One thing I love so much about her is how she treats her husband Ben. We got to her house a few minutes before she got home from her internship and the first thing she did after greeting us is tell us that she needed to go hug Ben. They have the kind of marriage that people should copy. 
  • #2 pile into the car to head to D.C. It started with a trip to a guitar store to buy Justin a new electric. Meredith and I picked out the one before we got through the door. Its great when the prettiest guitar (obviously the reason we picked it out) can be the exact type Justin was looking for. So even though we had picked out the guitar upon walking in, and told the salesmen thats the one we wanted within 5 minutes of walking into the store we were still in their for an hour. This was irritating at the time because I have the attention span of a gnat with ADD, but looking back I realize how great it is to see multiple people so passionate about what they did they couldn't even let some stranger leave without picking their brain.
  • #3 dinner with Eric and Bethany (Justin's college friends). It's so much fun to eat great food with great friends. As we leave the restaurant it starts raining, and gets progressively harder til all 3 of us are huddled underneath an awning waiting for the rain to ease up only to realize that we don't have a choice in the matter of getting soaking wet.
  • #4 Dawes concert! They are so great in concert. The last time we saw them they were playing for a crowd that did not really know who they were. This time they were the headliners and the show was sold out. My favorite part of the concert was the look on his face when the crowd would sing their songs. It was pure joy, you could just feel his heart leap as he watched the crowd.
  • #5 make the 4.5 hour drive from D.C. to Newport (not Newport News), and when I say drive this was justin's contribution, mine consisted of sleeping. We walk in the door at Meredith's parents house at 5 am and set the alarm for 7 am. 2 hours is like a sleep appetizer, just enough to make you want more.
  • #6 Head to a gymnastics meet. This was Natalie's first meet and even though it was super laid back, my nerves were going crazy. But she did great, finishing first on 3 out of 4 events! All my 12 first time competitors and 3 veterans did. I love it when I get to see girls do my sport and it makes me so happy to see my little one do things that I couldn't do at 7! 
  • #7 and by far the most exciting event of the weekend... My sister has her baby!! He was 7.2 lbs and born at 5:15 in the afternoon. Wesley Samuel is perfect, with one exception, he was born in New Mexico.
All in all it was a perfect weekend!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pharmacy school is for the birds

Most days I am able to tolerate the terrible schedule of the pharmacy, the lack of a summer, the fact that Grundy is no where near where I want to go, and even the fact that Justin is in possession of approximately 10 trees in the form of notes. But the worst thing of all is that they have sent Justin 2 hours away to do a 3-week rotation when there are plenty of options within normal commute times from our house. I say the "worst thing of all" simple because it is issue at hand, a month ago the worst thing of all was 4 finals in one week.
I don't like putting the kids to bed by myself. I don't like them asking me if their dad is going to be back in the morning, I don't like sleeping in an empty bed. I don't like the lack of bass solos playing in the house. And believe it or not I don't like pity parties, but sometimes they can't be avoided (in case you were wondering, this is one of those times).
I don't notice how lonely I am for him until the kids are in the bed and I realize just how quiet it is in the house. The only advantage is that I can let Nathan or Natalie sleep in the bed with me, I loved it when one of my parents were out of town so that I could sleep in the bed with the other. I know its odd but somehow sleeping in the bed with one of my parents made me feel strangely independent. As much fun as it is to cuddle with a 7 year old, it’s not the same as laying my head on my hub's shoulder.
I keep forgetting to drink coffee. I love coffee but it never seems to enter my mind until I am about to lose my temper because my head is splitting from the lack of caffeine.  I am enough of a caffeine addict to need it, but just barely so that I don't think about it until its 4 o'clock in the afternoon and I am super cranky.
I don't really feel like I am one of those people whose world revolves around their spouse, but since he is gone I have had absolutely no motivation to do anything. I have an enormous pile of clean clothes that need to be folded and an equally large pile of dirty ones and the couch is covered with slightly smaller versions of normal instruments. I have emails that need to be sent and phone calls that need to be made but I don't want to do anything. You don't think about how influential you spouse is until they aren't around. All I can think of is that song by Colbie Caillet, "I miss everything about you".
So to sum everything up, pharmacy school ruins EVERYTHING!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The episode of the chipmunk

How do you get to the point where you are standing out by the truck in the middle of the night playing hawk cries on the phone hoping to scare a rodent out of your vehicle? Allow me to enlighten you. It begins when you combine a girl from irrational/impractical family, with a boy from a family that plans everything to a T. You get a massive clash that can lead to crazy thing.
While visiting Merritt (my sister), I went to look at her kittens that are just beginning to stir and venture out of the box. Bethany (my other sister) goes to put the kittens back in the box and realizes that Jasmine (the mommy cat) has got something... a chipmunk. When we finally get the chipmunk free we realize that it is in shock. There are no obvious signs of injury but it is nearly frozen and is alternating between extremely rapid breathing and long gaps with no respiration.
Let me back up to say that I am not one of those crazy people who places the livelihood of animals above that of human beings. I love animals but I also recognize their importance as being below people. With that being said my heart lept within me!! I have always wanted a pet chipmunk. I think it is because they remind me of what I would be like if I were an animal. You never see them sit still and they look like they have so much fun jumping down the road at a pace that seems nearly impossible for their 3in long body. Their tails are always pointing straight up (as a gymnastics coach I like things to be tight) and their ears are almost perfectly round... they are way too cute.
So here I was determined to save this chipmunks life and keep it as my pet. I made a bed for it in a basket my mom brought back from somewhere over seas. And gather things that I think a chipmunk would eat, this included a dried apricot, pecan and frosted mini wheat. I decide to keep it in the truck while we went to eat, hoping that the calmness would help it to come of shock. And boy did it work.
We come back out to the truck only to find the basket empty and the chipmunk hiding under the seat. This chipmunk was smart, not only did it realize how difficult it would be to catch it under the seat, it figured out that it could climb INTO the seat and never be caught, and that is exactly what happened. When I got home I spent 30 minutes trying to get it to come out, trying to figure out a way to stick my hand into the seat and hoping that I did not get some strange infection from a tiny rodent. It did not work.  I could not find it. I decide to leave the doors open knowing that Justin will not like the idea that I brought a chipmunk home to be my pet. I went inside for about 2 hours and assumed that the chipmunk has escaped to freedom. And for 2 days I go on with this assumption, but then Justin sees the chipmunk and I see the foam that is now falling out from under the seat.
It took us leaving the door open for hours in time spread out throughout the next 2 days before it would come out. But then I think it got used to living indoors and not having to worry about any actual predators. It was back in the wild for about 5 hours before Fluzy (my part coyote dog) killed it and left it for us to find in the garage.
So the moral of this story is if you want a pet chipmunk make sure you have a cage not a basket and keep all wild (and domestic) animals away from it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Gymnastics... what can I say? Most people don't let a sport effect their life so much. Gymnastics has truly shaped who I am. For me it is more than a sport (cheesy right?), it was and is one of my biggest passions. I literally packed up and left my home for gymnastics. I have a hard time not relating everything to gymnastics. Justin and I start out talking about music, or some other completely unrelated subject and almost inevitably I make some comment like "that is exactly like how in gymnastics...". It has changed the way I think about so many things. I still can't watch it on tv without getting in the floor to hold my splits or going and working out as soon as the competition is over (sometimes I have to pause it and come back after my workout).

I still remember the first time I saw Natalie do a cartwheel, my heart leapt a little inside. I could tell it was easy for her. I could see the potential in a kindergardener. Since that day, I have been devising ways to push her without pushing her away. Its a very fine line since she is already at the gym almost everyday with me. I don't want her to begrudge the sport. I don't know when I should make her practice as opposed to letting her play. I don't know how to give her that drive that came so easily for me.

Lately I have been trying a new technique, I have been showing her videos of girls her age who are awesome at gymnastics. Basically, I have been manipulating her into wanting to practice (why yes, I am an evil genius), but I have found that if it is her idea, or if she thinks it is her idea, she does much better.

In a world that is becoming more apathetic by the generation, it is really exciting to see passion. Even if that passion is for something that does not stir my heart. I rejoice when I see a young person that is passionate about something that can add to their life. Furthermore, when it is something that I am passionate about, it is hard to contain the excitement that is inside me. I hope that she will develop passion in gymnastics for two reasons; gymnastics is an excellent thing to get passionate about, but also having passion in one area can affect every other aspect of your life.

Here is an example of what she can do when she gets just a little passion:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Most families follow norm in the way they transition from husband and wife to parents. The traditional path is to get married, then wait an appropriate amount of time (generally at least 9 months), and then have a baby. But not us, we don't like to do things the easy/normal way. We laughed at tradition when we said "what the heck, lets adopt twin 7 year olds who have experienced more cruelty in their life than we can even imagine. Lets skip all the steps and jump straight into the role of parenting elementary school students." By far the craziest thing we have ever done... but also the best.
Its amazing how quickly your motherly instincts kick in. I was always one of those people that could sleep through nearly anything, but it is astonishing how quickly you wake up to a cry,  a door slamming, or a 7 year old standing 2 inches from your face in pitch black darkness. I had no idea how easy it would become to distinguish the sound of someone jumping verses falling out of bed.
I never knew how much fun it was to go Christmas shopping or sneak in at night as the "Tooth Hippo" (as you are probably learning, we don't like to follow tradition). I understand how so many people lose their mind, but cannot wrap my brain around the fact that someone would allow their children to be taken away from them.
Time does not hold the same value it did before I was a mom. 10 minutes used to be enough time to run into the grocery store, pick up the necessities for a meal, and be on my way. Now, this looks more like (at least) a 30 minute stop requiring enough patience to turn around 15 times and say "keep up" or "no we cannot get a 3 liter of orange soda ". Loads of laundry and grocery bills did not double because the size of our family did, they increased exponentially.
These days, I am getting a little more acquainted with waking at 7 am every day of the week and being home by 8:30 to prepare for bedtime. I frequently summit laundry mountains, yet never conquer it. I have cleaned toothpaste from the sink more times than I understand. I only hope I can develop tolerance to the smell of throw up or the fact that the toilets never get flushed. All in all, parenting has given me a completely new set a challenges,  but a kiss goodnight from a couple of 7 year olds make it all worth while.