Photo Obsession 

I fully admit it. I have an obsession with taking photos and videos of Madeline. We’ve taken at least one (haha) photo of Madeline everyday since she was born. Usually they are just quick, cute, little candid shots of her playing. Sometimes they are posed and more thought out, but to say we have an excessive amount of photos is a bit of an understatement. 

This week my phone as started giving me the dreaded “out of storage” message. 


I can’t imagine why…

So I’ve been working on making sure that all of our photos and videos are backed up and then backed up again because my biggest worry is losing these all too precious memories. 

Right now I’m using Google Photo to make them up, which seems to be working really well. Plus the bonus is that the built in Google Assistant created these really fun animations with the photos. They are beyond adorable. 


Does anyone else have a good solution for photo and video (especially video) storage and backup? We have photos on our phones and then also on our laptop from our cameras. I’d like to get everything backed up together, but I’d also like it saved in more than one place “just in case.” 

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Dancing with Cinderella 


Tonight, Madeline dressed in an Ariel tshirt and a crazy dress up skirt, asked her dad to play Beauty and the Beast and dance with her. He had a long day at work, and was tired, but he held her hands and he danced. She spun around in circle after circle and was thrilled that daddy was dancing with her. 

These are the moments that I want to always remember. The quiet Friday nights at home. Our family. 

As I watch them dance I couldn’t help but think of the Steven Curtis Chapman song, Cinderella, and think about how it won’t be but a blink of an eye before I’m watching them dance at her wedding someday. Time is moving too fast with this little girl. Three years has flown by, I’m afraid think how quickly the next 20 will go. 

She spins and she sways

To whatever song plays

Without a care in the world

And I’m sitting here wearing

The weight of the world on my shoulders
It’s been a long day

And there’s still work to do

She’s pulling at me saying
“Dad, I need you

There’s a ball at the castle

And I’ve been invited

And I need to practice my dancing

Oh, please, Daddy, please”
So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

‘Cause I know something the prince never knew

Oh, I will dance with Cinderella

I don’t wanna miss even one song

‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight

And she’ll be gone
She says he’s a nice guy and I’d be impressed

She wants to know if I approve of her dress

She says, 

“Dad, the prom is just one week away

And I need to practice my dancing

Oh, please, Daddy, please?”
So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

‘Cause I know something the prince never knew

Oh, I will dance with Cinderella

I don’t wanna miss even one song

Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight

And she’ll be gone
She will be gone
Well, she came home today with a ring on her hand

Just glowing and telling us all they had planned

She says, 

“Dad, the wedding’s still six months away

But I need to practice my dancing

Oh, please, Daddy, please?”
So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

‘Cause I know something the prince never knew

Oh, I will dance with Cinderella

I don’t wanna miss even one song

‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight

And she’ll be gone

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Portrait of a Dad

To most this is just a photo of a dad holding his newborn daughter, but let me tell you, it is so much more. This is a photo of a dad who less than 14 months earlier had held his first born, his son, for the first and last time all at once. It’s a photo of a dad who has been through a tremendous tragedy and yet been an unwavering rock of support for his wife through the loss, another pregnancy, and now the birth of their new daughter. It’s a photo of a dad who is already so in love with and filled with wonder and amazement at this tiny little girl in his arms. It’s a photo of a dad who has just felt his broken heart heal a little bit while looking into his daughter’s big beautiful eyes. Today, that little girl is 3 years old and says daddy is her best friend. I’m pretty sure that feeling is mutual.  There is a reason this is forever my favorite photo of you two.


Patrick,

I’m not sure I can put into words how grateful I am to have you not just as my husband, but as the father of my children (but you know me, I will try). I remember the day we got married. I thought I loved you such an incredible amount then, but then that day I saw you holding Madeline, our sweet, beautiful, daughter in your arms for the first time it was like falling in love with you all over again. Watching you become a dad has been the most incredible thing to witness. From your willingness to change cloth diapers (thank goodness we are past that!), to watching you patiently let our little Princess try to “make you pretty” with her tiaras and beads. You have become such an amazing dad, and Madeline and I simply adore you. The days where Madeline has gone into full threenager status and is driving me crazy, you know how to talk us both down off of the ledge. We love our family adventures with you, our movie nights, our game nights, and our just be silly nights. You make everyday and everything a little more fun. I am convinced you are the world’s greatest husband, and Madeline knows you are the world’s greatest dad! We just know we are lucky to have the best! We love you bunches!!!

Happy Father’s Day from your two favorite girls!

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Cinnamon French Toast Casserole 

Every year since Patrick and I have been married I have made French Toast Casserole for breakfast on Christmas morning. It is our little family tradition. It is one of Patrick’s favorites and so every time there is a special occasion, his birthday, or in this case, Father’s Day, this is his special request.
It is fairly simple. I usually make it up the night before and then just put it in the oven when we get up the following morning and then it is ready without too much trouble. Patrick likes it best served with bacon.

Ingredients:
French Toast:
1 loaf of French bread, but into cubes

8 whole eggs

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
Directions:
Grease a baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Places the cubes of bread evenly in the pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour evenly over bread. Cover well and store in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 2-3 hours).  

To make the topping: mix together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork until crumbly. Store in fridge until needed.

When ready to bake, sprinkle topping over casserole, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

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Madeline’s First Recital 

We survived! 

She made it through her first recital, and she danced, and she looked adorable, and she didn’t cry even though I think she wanted to a couple of times, and Patrick and I are just so proud of her. 

Madeline and mommy backstage before her performance.
Madeline and Daddy after her performance. He had flowers for her.


It was a long day for Madeline with needing to be at dress rehearsal at 8:30 am and the actual show not starting until 7:00 pm at night. By the time the finale came around Madeline was ready to to crash. She was tired, but she hung in there and didn’t meltdown, and I was so proud of her. 


It was a little chaotic and crazy at time, but overall it was a good experience, and Madeline seemed to have fun and that really all that matters. 


It was so fun to finally see the culmination of all her and her little friends’ hard work come together. The whole class did amazing. For a class with 16 two – five year olds the fact that none of them cried and ran off stage seemed like a major win. 


At the end of the night Madeline was asleep before we even left the parking garage. She was wiped out. We were too, but we still had to drive home in a crazy lightening storm that made our drive home a little scary with street lights out most of the way, a downed tree in the road, and several wrecks along the side of the road. Thankfully we made it home safely and also thankfully we had power once we it home since about half the town was out. Crazy day. 

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Dress for Success

Madeline is going through a phase where she will only wear dresses. 


Pretty typical three year old behavior, but holy terror if you try and put her anything other than a dress. There will be tears and sometimes they aren’t just hers. 


Her favorite are dresses that twirl when she spins in circle after circle until she makes herself dizzy. My little dancing girl is always spinning, and twirling herself around in circles. She never stops moving. 

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Sick Day Sidekick

Tuesday night a stomach bug or food poisoning or possibly the plague hit me hard and I was down and out. I can usually push through. I get migraines frequently, so I’ve learned how to parent even while feeling less than 100%, but this was something else. Surely I was dying because I had never felt such an awful combination of nausea and just severe stomach pain before in my life and this is coming from someone who threw up for almost the entire nine months of her pregnancy. 

Wednesday reinforcements were called in and Grandma (my mom) came over to babysit Madeline while I slept most of the day unable to move for fear of the pain. After my mom left, but before Patrick came home from work, Madeline curled up next to me on the sofa, stroked my leg, and said, “I’ll take care of you, momma.” 

I told her, “thanks, baby. You do such a good job taking care of mom. You are such a good doctor.” (Doc McStuffins is a bit of a hero to her.) She curled up next to me and quickly fell asleep, obviously tired after playing with Grandma all day. 

It is in moments like this, laying there on the sofa, even while feeling sicker than I’ve ever felt before, that I realize just how lucky I am to have this sweet empathetic little girl. 

Her heart is so big and she genuinely cares about not just me, but everyone she meets. I only pray that she holds on to that with every fiber of her being. This world can be cruel and cold and it is so easy to stop caring so much. But baby girl, never stop. Keep loving, keeping caring, keep being you. You will make a difference in this world. You will be a change. 

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Oh Baby, Look How Far You’ve Come

Madeline’s first dance class. – July 2016

Madeline’s last dance class before her first recital. – June 2017

Looking back now, she likes her looked so tiny when she started dance class nearly a year ago. It amazing to see how far she has come and how much she has grown in this last year. 

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Working It Out

I’ve spent the last year working out. Really in more ways than one. I started using the My Fitness Pal app and a FitBit, and tracking what I was eating and how much I was working out each day. It actually became fun. I enjoy getting up and working out. Mainly because I’m not doing just a more series of sit-ups and squats, but instead I found Refit. It’s basically Zumba, but they incorporate positive music (Christian a lot of times) and they are just super encouraging. So instead of a boring workout routine, I just basically dance for 30-60 minutes everyday depending on how crazy my day is. Madeline usually even joins in. It’s been fun and honestly I’m wearing a size I haven’t worn in years and I feel so much healthier. 
Last night while Madeline and I were doing our dancing. We started the routine to Mandisa’s Unfinished. 

Not scared to say it, I used to be the one

Preaching it to you, that you could overcome

I still believe it, but it ain’t easy

‘Cause that world I painted, where things just all work out

It started changing and I started having doubts

And it got me so down
But I picked myself back up

And I started telling me

No, my God’s not done

Making me a masterpiece

He’s still working on me

As I stood there following the choreography on the screen, my daughter by my side, tears started to form in my eyes. These last few years have been hard. Very hard for me. I’ve always been the one who has believed, who has had faith and trust that God will just take care of things, and then when things fell apart, when we lost Joshua, when Patrick was laid off while we were pregnant with Madeline, when I was laid off the following year… year after year…blow after blow. I started to wonder each time where was He? Where was the God that I believed in since I was a little girl? The one that I prayed to and trusted and had faith would make all things good?

I don’t deny the blessings I’ve received. I have a beautiful and amazing daughter and a supportive and wonderful husband. We have a lovely home and we both (now) have jobs that we truly enjoy and where we feel respected. That said, you lose a child and it’s hard not to question everything you’ve ever believed in. Every bit of faith you’ve ever had goes out the window and no matter how firm you thought your foundation once was, it cracks. 

So those words… I understood them. 

They resonated somewhere deep within my heart and the tears came as I continued move to the rhythm of the song. 

See I’ve been working out lately, but not just my physical self. I’ve been working out my emotions and my feelings towards my spiritual self. I’m not quite sure I have it figured out yet. I still believe. I do. My faith and my belief has just taken a much different shape than what it once was. 

I have struggled because church and me don’t really get along anymore. Where my faith shakes out and what I often hear preached from a pulpit don’t mesh, so I don’t go. I can’t listen to a lot of what I hear peached without rolling my eyes, because  when I’m told just to pray more and that will make everything work out. Or that if I just have enough faith, or if we are good enough Christians then good things will happen… it’s hard to reconcile those kinds of false and ridiculous statements against your newborn child dying in your arms while you cried out to God for a miracle. So forgive me if I don’t believe if I just pray harder good things will happen. I’ve never prayed harder than I did that February morning and I’ve never felt as abandoned as I did that February morning, so… 

See me and God still have some things to work out 4+ years later. 

But that’s okay. It’s just unfinished business. 

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Recital Ready…Almost


Madeline is almost ready for her first recital (only one more class). Now whether or not I am ready is another story. lol 

She does so well in class and when she performs the dance for us. She has all the moves down, but it will interesting to see if she freezes on stage with so many people in the audience or if she shines like the little star we think she is. I really hope she doesn’t freeze up. 

She has one dance and then she gets to dance in the finale too. It will be a long day for her (and is too), but I think she’s excited.  She goes around the house practicing. It’s just about the cutest thing ever. 

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