Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lesson Learned.

Well, mamahood has once again slapped me in the face.  
Or pinched me, maybe, since that seems to be Annie Louise’s new favorite thing to do to me. 
We had a way too many things going on Saturday.  
We started off the morning by sleeping in…like super late.  It felt super nice until I realized we had a birthday party to be at in 2 hours – we all needed baths/showers, present needed to be wrapped, clothes needed to be iron…the list goes on and on.
The birthday party was awesome – so much fun.  Except that it was almost too much fun.

Someone (ahem, Annie Louise) didn’t want to leave said awesome birthday party, but I mean who can blame her…did you see that awesome slide?!  Here’s a tip - if you ever need to leave a party quickly, just strip your screaming, arms flailing toddler down to nothing and you’ll be leaving quickly.  
Trust me.

I heard some of the most high-pitched screams I have ever heard for 5 minutes until I turned around and saw this.

Out like a light.
Starting to feel pretty good about myself – toddler is out.  Will transfer her to her bed where she can sleep the rest of the afternoon until our family pictures at 5 p.m.
Get home, get toddler out of car, toddler is wild…and awake.
Daddy takes toddler on a looooooooong car ride.  
Still awake.
Get ready and arrive early to our family session.
Our poor photographer.  That’s all I’ll say.  
Not only did she witness a toddler running wild, she also got to see lots of bribing and pleading, one spanking and hear lots of “NO, MA’AM, ANNIE LOUISE!”
Word to the wise – never have family portraits within a half-mile radius of a massive playground.  Your toddler will run towards it.  Promise.
So embarrassed.
Our precious photographer was so patient and kind.  I hope we got at least one good photo…
We were a tad late to our last-minute dinner with…are you ready for it? KATELYN!!!!!!!

I know many of y’all know Katelyn from my blog/vlogs.  Y’all, I seriously ran to her like a little girl when I saw her.  I have never hugged someone so tightly.  
Everything from the weekend didn’t matter after that moment.  Who cares if my toddler screamed for 10 minutes straight when we left the birthday party?  So what if I was mortified and humiliated when my usually good-natured gal was absolutely wild during family pictures?
This is our life.  And we are so blessed to be living it.
Katelyn has faced cancer and even death with grace and beauty and joy.  To sit at the same table with her and hear her tell her story was absolutely inspiring. 
Our gals sat next to each other and were the happiest gals you have ever seen.  Future ADPi sisters and BFFs for sure.  Can’t you just picture them doing diamonds <> on their bid day?  
So, I learned a lesson (or two) this weekend, but more importantly than that?  I ate dinner with a walking miracle, and I thank God for that.

UPDATE: after I scheduled this to post for today, I received a link from our photographer with our session sneak peek...oh, my word.  We got some good images!  Check them out HERE!

Friday, July 27, 2012

"Me do it."

my sweet little princess in her $6 consignment find!

Our pastor at our church always talks about the infamous toddler phrase, "me do it."

Pre-Annie Louise, I would always laugh at that saying.  I had never heard a toddler say that.

Guess what's been coming out of AL's mouth ALL the time now?

You guessed it....me do it.

Let's put your shoes on.  Me do it.

Time to brush your teeth.  Me do it.

Put the doll in the stroller.  Me do it.

Seriously, the gal wants to "me do it" to everything.

It's frustrating for me to watch her struggle with some of the tasks she's doing.  She doesn't want my help.  She pushes my hands away.  She wants to be independent.  She wants to show me that she's independent.

And I just watch....wanting, yearning to help her.

Sometimes, she'll let out an exasperated "heeeeeelp me."

And I always oblige.

Yesterday, as I was reading my scripture for my daily She Reads Truth devotional, I started thinking about how many times I pull the whole "me do it" on God.

How many times have I done tried and tried to do something on my own?  How often do I act all big and bad like I have everything under control?  Yeah, God...me do it.

Raise your hand if you've been there, done that, raised your arms up to the sky and PLEADED for God to help you! {picture me, jumping up and down, waving my arms}

I have a feeling God feels a lot like I do when I watch my own daughter struggling.  He wants to help us.  He yearns to rescue, love, protect us.

We just have to let Him.

Thank you, Lord, for being there with me through it all.  Thanks for being the only constant when I've asked for help, and when I've been determined to "me do it."   Today, I give you praise and thanks for sticking with me, always listening, no matter my attitude.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Hebrews 4:16 NLT

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A letter to myself...from a good day.

Someone told me to use my writing as a way to deal with the many emotions I feel as a wife and mother.  I carry around a composition notebook to record thoughts, prayers, ramblings and letters to myself.  
Yes, letters to myself.  
I highly recommend you do this exercise, too.  On a good day, write a letter to yourself - something you can read when you're having a not-so-great day.  You'll feel better, promise.
Here's my letter I wrote to myself recently:

Dear tired, defeated & worn out Lena – 
I’m writing you today from a good day.  A day when things make sense and all seems right in the world.  A day when you have more smiles than tears.  A day where you have a little pep in your step.
I know that I all days aren’t like this day.  I know you have lots of days when you feel exhausted and guilty.  But I’m here to tell you something…are you listening?
You’re doing a good job.
Yes, you heard me.  You’re doing a good job.  You don't believe me, do you?
You're doing better than good…you’re doing a great job.  
“How?” you ask…let me just tell you:
  1. You have a daughter that lights up when you enter the room and loves you to the moon and back.
  2. You have a husband who adores you and says you are the best thing that ever happened to him.
Not to mention you have an extended family that rocks your socks off, a beautiful home, a fridge full of food and a job that provides for your family in more ways than one.
I know you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders right now, but I’m here to tell you – you’re not alone in this journey.  
The Lord is your strength and your song; He has given you victory.  - psalm 118:14
Remember this today – cling to it.  What more do you need?
Each day is a gift, mama, even the hard ones.  
You'll get through this - the good days always outnumber the bad ones.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Girl Behind the Blog link


Hey, y'all!  Welcome - I'm linking up again this month with 5ohwifey for the Girl Behind the Blog series!  This month was a little more serious...so, of course I completely lost it at the beginning.  

Please don't judge me on my extremely southern/country accent.  
You'll know it when you hear it.

Here were the questions for this month...join in the fun!

1. What is something you hope to begin, accomplish or change?
2. Why is this goal important to you?
3. What are your plans to achieve this goal?

I hope y'all have a wonderful day - come back and read along!  And make sure I'm getting through that stack!  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blackberry House in Murfreesboro

So, if you have read this blog for more than a week, you know that I am a lover of all things antique and vintage.  And I'm ALWAYS looking for places to visit in or near middle Tennessee to "hunt" for new goodies.

Well, friends...I have a new spot.  

And it's in my hometown.  

Please don't tell my hubby.  I'm sure he would lock my wallet up!

Blackberry House is a great little store located on Walnut Street near downtown Murfreesboro.  It's in an old house, and it's full of goodies.  Some of their goodies include re-painted and re-purposed furniture, antiques, jewelry, home decor, and pillows from my favorite gals at Bella Vista (who by-the-way are finishing up some things or me...can't wait to show you all)!

I could have invested in some awesome furniture pieces, but hubby would kill my if I asked him to put one more thing in the garage "for our next house."  

I did come home with 2 great vintage pieces for my porch re-do. Yes, I'm working on a porch re-do...talk to me next summer when I'll probably be finished with it all.

galvanized watering can & large metal basket
If you're ever in the Murfreesboro area, you should definitely check out Blackberry House, and tell them Lena sent you! Here's all their info:

Blackberry House
423 N. Walnut Street
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
open: Thursday and Friday: 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday: 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blackberryhousemurfreesboro

Monday, July 23, 2012

My thoughts...on blogging.

It's Monday evening.  Almost 9 p.m. - my bedtime.  I haven't blogged in almost 2 weeks, and I like to call myself an avid blogger?  Nah, I don't think so.

The truth is, I get frustrated with blogging sometimes.  I have so many things to say, but I don't know where to start.  And blogging has changed so much since I first started blogging back in 2007, and I had no idea what I was doing.

Sometimes I feel lost in a big sea of advertisements and sponsored posts and stats and tags and tweets...it's so overwhelming!  And when I get overwhelmed, I tend to scale back...like WAY back.

So, I took a break.  Some time to think about where I belong.

During my "time off," I read the ebook "be quiet and say something."  If you are a blogger or a writer, you need to read this.  It's an easy read...slap-your-knee-funny and grab-the-kleenex-I'm-crying all at the same time.

Basically, from this ebook, I learned that I have influence.  No matter my following on twitter or Facebook or on my blog, I have listeners each and every day.  Their names are B and Annie Louise.  They are my family that when I see them at baby showers or weddings say "I read your blog!"  They are my Facebook friends who click a link to see how our sweet girl is growing.

I have an audience.  I have influence.

And now, I just need to draw near to my Lord and be quiet and let HIM speak through me.  Let Him use my blog, my voice, my writing.

Oh, and another thing...are you joining in with #SheReadsTruth?  If you aren't, you are seriously missing out.  I have made it my goal to post my pictures on instagram after I complete each day's study. And let me tell you, it is absolutely amazing to see the community that is developing from this study.  I am in awe every day how many different women are posting their thoughts, their prayers, their hopes, their dreams...it's really inspiring.  Visit the She Reads Truth website HERE to see where to start, what study we're on, etc.  You won't regret it!

Also, if you are on the fence about going to the Influence Conference, let me just go ahead and push you right off that thing.  GO.  I'm nervous.  I'm scared.  But more than anything, I'm pumped and ready.  I have 3 AMAZING roommates (did I mention I don't know these gals at all): Melody, Julie &  Shannon - go visit their blogs and see how lucky I am!  I just know that God is going to be doing some pretty awesome things at this event.  Seriously, check out the website HERE!  And if you're going, let me know so I can hug your neck!

So, things may start to look a little different around here. But, it's the same ole LeeLee.

Happy Monday night, y'all!  Have a blessed week!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

a growing girl - Annie Louise is 22 months old!

Annie Louise - 

You are 22 months old today.  I feel like every morning that you wake up, you've changed.  Your hair looks longer.  You look like you've grown 3 inches.  Or you just look like a big girl.

We are definitely out of the baby phase.  You are a full-blown toddler.  For the most part, when you get upset, I know what you want.  You're able to communicate with me on most occasions, and we're working every single day on you understanding us.  
I know we tell you all the time, but you are SO smart.  The world is your classroom, and you are taking LOTS of notes.  ABCs, 123s, twinkle twinkle little star, head-shoulders-knees-toes....the list goes on and on.  You love to learn.  Most nights you want to take a book to bed with you...I hope you'll be a lover of books like your mama.

You are in an abbreviated summer program at Wee School, and you love it.  You love to go to school and see your friends.

I picked up some beginner French books (I minored in French in college), and I'm teaching you a few basic things.  You LOVE your French picture book.  Not sure if anything is sticking, but you sure do love it!

We took our first trip to the beach this past month, and you LOVED it.  We'll definitely be back.

You're loving all things water, too - the kiddie pool at SheShe & PopPop's is your favorite, and you love to do BIG JUMPS and make big splashes.  Summer is definitely fun with you, doodlebug!

You are getting so big - I know you're on your way to being over 30 pounds, and you are going to be a tall gal for sure!  You are a pretty picky eater, but I know that won't always be the case.  You like to snack, so I always have to be prepared.  Sleep is really never a problem, I know that you don't like to go to bed because you have so much fun, and you don't want the fun to stop.

Overall, you are a growing gal, and we are just enjoying every single day with you.  

We love you lots and lots and can't wait to see what the next month will bring!  Can't believe how close to 2 we are getting!  

Love you,

Monday, July 9, 2012

a day trip to Nolensville!

Annie Louise and I took a day trip this past Saturday morning to Nolensville.  I had planned this trip earlier in the week, and I seriously couldn't wait until the weekend rolled around so we could go!  It has been a few years since I've been to Nolensville, so I was excited to see the changes from my first visit.

Nolensville is about a 35 minute drive from our house, so we packed up on Saturday morning to head that way.  Mama tip: make sure you pack lots of snacks and LOTS of water.  It's hot, y'all!

What a cute and historic town!  All the shops were right there together, so we were able to walk to all of the places...which is always a plus for me!  

Our first stop was Roses and Rustics - oh my word.  This store is my Heaven, y'all.  So many things I wanted...I will definitely be back!  They had great, unique pieces that would totally fit any style!
I need this light fixture - no idea where I would put it, but c'mon, it's amazing!
and this pillow?  I NEED IT!  I have been lusting over it ever since I left it at the store...
look at all the goodies!  So many neat finds!
this is what I came home with - embroidery hoops and a small quilt!
don't you just LOVE their packaging?
Make sure you make a quick stop at The Feed Mill - lots of great goodies including jellies, jams, pickles, breads!  They were also serving breakfast, which smelled amazing!
I picked up a Pear Jam for my daily PB & J sandwiches!  Yum!
Three French Hens was a great stop, too!  Just look at all the great things OUTSIDE!  And the inside is full of great items as well.  I saw tons of beautiful pieces of furniture, and although I don't need any furniture at this time, I'll definitely be back when the time comes!

a "digger's" dream....TONS of potential things out here!
this is what came home with me...a GIANT quilted kitty cat, a piece of old wood siding (about 5' tall) and a beautiful children's book.  I plan to paint a verse on the wood siding and hang it in our den!
Peacock Lane was our last stop for the day.  And what a great place!  I mean, hello...look at this beautiful swing made from a daybed.  I could totally make a bed on there and waste the days away!
seriously...can someone makes this for me?!?  Isn't it amazing?
this is what came home with me...a quilted vanity stool for Annie Louise's bedroom and a GORGEOUS roll of vintage wallpaper.
Even if I can't actually use it for wallpaper, it will make beautiful wrapping paper!
 Nolensville was a great place for a mama-daughter date...I can't wait to visit again!  If you visit any of these places, let me know - would LOVE to know what you think!

Happy Antiquing!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Follow Along Friday!

Hey, y'all - something different is going on today on the blog - I'm co-hosting with Aimee for Follow Along Friday!  I hope y'all will join in the fun and meet some new bloggers!  See all the info below...can't wait to meet some new readers!

we want to connect with YOU!

every other Friday i host a Follow Along that last until Tuesday. enough time to link. connect. share & enjoy meeting new twitter friends. connecting to each other helps to build community, your blog, your business & your network.



1: "follow" MY Twitter Page AND THE FIVE lovely hosts by clicking on the first 6 linked buttons below!

2: Link up by following two EASY steps! Step #1: Fill out the "submission" form below & enter your TWITTER PROFILE URL into the "URL" section. // Step #2: On the next screen, select "Upload from Computer" and choose your image to upload.

3: follow along with others that you find interesting

4. IF you want to share our little get together, please tweet: “follow along with @byAimeeSki today at http://wp.me/p1yWH4-ha" or you can always tell your lovely Facebook followers too!

thanks for stopping by today. we look forward to following along with everyone that links up!

{don't want to miss another one of our fancy dancy Follow Along parties? email me and getting added to our MailChimp Newsletter!}

please note, by linking up your email will be added to future link parties here at Aimee & Co. using the MailChimp application. you can unsubscribe at anytime, although we hope you don't.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Annie Louise's NEW song!

Happy Independence Day, y'all!  We are so thankful to live in a country where we have many freedoms, and we would like to all the men and women who fight everyday to protect each and every one of them!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your family!

And just because it's too cute not to share, I would like to share my new favorite video of Annie Louise.  

Here's the story behind the video - whenever it rains, we always sing "it's raining, it's pouring, the old man was snoring..."  We were coming back from my grandparents' last weekend, and PopPop sprayed his windshield with cleaner.  AL thought it was raining and immediately started singing our song!  

True story, she sang the same song for about 30 minutes.  

This is her country girl version...I definitely think we have a future in country music!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tips for Riding in the Car with a Toddler!

When we went to the beach, I wasn't worried about what to do when we got down there or where we would be staying.  

I was honestly worried most about the car ride.  More than worry, I almost dreaded the almost 8 hour car ride.

This car ride was the longest car ride that Miss Annie Louise would ever take as a toddler, and I knew I need to plan early to be prepared.
Nearly a month before our trip, I would pick up a new couple toys and books to put away.  Then, I got the idea to search pinterest for toddler ideas for car rides.  I made a list of items to pick up and off to Target and Dollar Tree I went.  That's my biggest tip - search for the CHEAP stuff.  Don't spend a ton of money trying to entertain your little ones!
Here are the Toddler Travel Bags we took with us for the car ride - I put each activity into a large freezer bag to keep all the pieces together and organized.  I then used a big tote bag to hold all the activity bags, as well as snacks (goldfish, animal crackers, teddy grahams, veggie sticks), as well as sippy cups, travel bowls and water.
drawing away (and don't worry, we were at a rest stop and not strapped in)....
Coloring & Drawing Bag – the girl loves to color.  In this bag, I included:
Extra chubby crayons and lots of NEW coloring books
Small dry erase white board with marker (this one required some supervision)

discovering the fun that is play dough!
Play Dough Bag – we had NEVER played with play dough before this trip - she really liked it! In this bag, I included:
Small Containers of play dough
Beach themed cutters (I bought a bucket for $6 with the playdough and cutters included)
Muffin tin for extra fun
magnet fun & peek-a-boo with blankets!
Magnet Bag – let’s face it, all toddlers love magnets.  Am I right?  In this bag, I included:
TONS of magnets – I scoured the Dollar Tree & Target $1 aisle for tons of magnets
Cookie sheet – great to hold the magnets
another rest stop + loving NEW stickers!
Sticker Bag – along with coloring, stickers are probably our next favorite thing.  In this bag, I included:
Small notebook 
TONS of stickers – again, search those $1 aisles!
Lacing Shapes Bag – I’ve been trying to work with AL on fine-tuning some motor skills.  I modified an idea I found on pinterest to make my own shapes.  In this bag, you will find:
Foam shapes (I just cut these out in various shapes from large pieces of foam – I used a single hole-punch to punch holes around the edges)
Shoe strings to practice lacing (or just to play with)
princess busy book...something NEW and exciting!
*I also purchased a princess-themed "busy book", as well as some little plastic princesses, which were LOVED, of course!  We also have a car dvd player, so we made sure we had plenty of our beloved princess movies!
*For this trip, we also purchased a “Snack & Play Travel Tray” – this gave her a hard surface to be able to play on, as well as put snacks on, too.  I think we snagged it off Amazon for less than $25, and we’ll for sure get lots of use out of it.
A few quick tips for your trip: 
-Break up the trip.  If possible, try to drive half-way and then stop for the night.  We left around 4 p.m. (after a good nap), stopped for dinner, then stopped for the night around 11 p.m.  We woke up early the next day and made the rest of the trip.  It wasn't so horrible to be in the car for just a few hours versus the entire trip at once.
biscuit break...stop to eat!
-Stop for meals.  This was crucial for us.  It gave an opportunity for Annie Louise to stretch her legs and not be so cramped for a bit.  Plus, it's just nice to get out of the car to eat (and it keeps your car clean).
-Dress in comfortable clothes.  Don't put your little ones in clothes that are going to get all bunched up or uncomfortable.  And if you do plan on stopping for the night, put them in the pajamas after you eat so you won't have to try and change them when you arrive at your stop.  Bring that favorite blankie or lovie to make the car ride feel more like "home", too!
-Take your time and don't stress.  Driving is tiring anyways, so plan for stops and potty breaks!
Let me know if you have any successful tips for car trips...it's definitely a learning experience as a parent!