Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter Pictures (Picture Heavy!)

While we were home for Christmas, we had a family photoshoot by Callie at Achor and Eden. You can see more of her beautiful photography at if you'd like :-) Callie has been photographing my kids for a couple years now. Each year I look forward to seeing how she captures them as they grow. This is what she got this year! I couldn't be happier! THANK YOU, Callie!
My sister is pregnant with her first baby, a BOY, so she did a maternity shoot on the same day. Here are a few of her pictures - they are too beautiful not to share. We are almost 8 weeks apart in our pregnancies. My belly isn't quite as exciting as her belly is at this point, haha. She is perfectly round and gorgeous!

And just for are a few of the pictures Callie has done for us in the past. They are hung all over my house!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Booster Seat Recap

The day arrived and we received C's new Britax Parkway SGL from the UPS man. After getting it assembled, I decided to let her try it out. We headed out to the van for the first install. It sure was pretty, but I was nervous about how well she would fit in it and how "protected" she would look.

It turns out that while it doesn't hug around her quite like the infant/toddler convertible seats do, it still does look pretty protecting - much better than my own front driver seat! Of course, it is side impact tested, so I trust it will do its job if we are ever in a crash. Although, I definitely hope we will never have to test this assumption.

I immediately noticed that when you thread the seat belt through the "slot" above her upper left shoulder and buckle it in below her right hip, the seat belt is unable to retract back if she leans forward to get something or when she simply hops out of the seat. The seat belt just hangs there. It looks as though the slot is too narrow to allow the seatbelt to zip back up into the holder on the side of the vehicle. I checked at Target and it looks like most of the booster seats have this very narrow slot though, so maybe this is a common problem with booster seats. BUT, being the smart innovative mom that I am, I decided to just buckle her in nice and snugly, and then just pull out the remaining seatbelt portion and let it retract back (click, click, click). I don't know if that makes any sense, but essentially, I just made the seatbelt "lock" so she can't bend forward anyway. At least not more than an inch or two. This has solved the issue and makes me comfortable when driving that she is not sitting there with a bunch of seatbelt slack hanging around her torso.

To make sure this was a proper way to use the seat, I did call Britax and they informed me that this was an acceptable way of using the seat and possibly even the preferred method. It really holds the child in place and doesn't allow them to bend all out of proper seatbelt form. It makes sure that they stay protected at all times.

So, here is my big girl in her new big girl booster seat. She loves it. I love the safety. I LOVE the strap between the legs that holds the lab belt down properly over her upper thighs. That is a GREAT feature. I also love the head wings. She fell asleep in it today by simply resting her head back and to the side. She looked cozy and safe. I couldn't ask for anything more. Thanks, Britax!

And just one more time, here is a picture of my little girl a little over a year ago in the seat she has now least my little man is still in his same seat and will be for a very long time!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"O Holy Night"

Do you think you've heard every possible version of A Holy Night? I thought I'd pretty much heard them all. Up until this afternoon, Josh Groban's was the best version I've ever heard. That is until, I flipped on the radio at just the PERFET moment and caught the last 90 seconds of this version...I wish you could see how my heart was jumping for joy!!!! It was like I was hearing it for the first time! If you want to be moved, take the time to watch David Phelps sing. The song starts at 1:30 if you want to skip the talking in the beginning. Let me know what you think!

I ended up downloading the "studio" version from itunes and I actually think its even better than the live version. There is a brief period where the instruments drop out and its just his amazing voice that you hear. Its gives me chills. Praise the Lord!

Also, I should add, I know this is an older version and I really don't know how I made it this long without ever hearing it before. I guess I was too young to care when it actually was released, haha. This is very apparent to me when you see the lady adjusting her shoulder pads :-)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A VERY big day for me

My baby is growing up. I know that. She is now over 4 1/2 years old and is 44lbs and about 44 inches tall. She wears a size 5 or 6 in clothing and will be entering kindergarten in the Fall. She speaks as clearly as you and I and is learning things faster than I can teach them to her.

I knew this day would come. I just kept hoping if I didn't think about it, it just wouldn't ever come. BUT, two days ago, I took the step...I ordered me sweet C a booster seat for my husband's car. This marks the end of toddler days in my mind...and much of the preschool days as well.

Many of my friends celebrate the day their child moves up in the world of car seats. Whether it is "flipping" them forward facing on their first birthday or moving them to a booster seat when they hit 30 lbs and 3 years old, most moms I know, LOVE seeing their kids move on to the next step. I just have a different view on these "milestones." Here's why -

The most protected our children will ever be in a car is when they are an infant riding rear-facing in a bucket style seat or in a convertible car seat. It would be safest for us ALL to be riding rear facing, but clearly, that just isn't feasible in a vehicle these days. In a head on collision, the head is completely "cradled" against the back of the rear facing seat. This fully protects the head and neck. For me, this is BIG. I want my children to be absolutely as protected as possible when we are on the road. I am a very cautious driver, but I realize that there are a lot of bad drivers out there. In fact, where I live, we were rated the nation's WORST drivers. Seriously, the Washington DC metro area was rated number 1 of the worst drivers. This is scary!

The next safest thing for our kids is to keep them in a 5 pt harness forward facing as long as possible. They stay properly positioned when they fall asleep or play with a toy. They can't unbuckle themselves to swat at a sibling or pick up a toy. They are protected on their sides and around their head (in most newer car seats at least). The idea is to keep your child as safe as possible and keep them in one of these seats until they outgrow it - not until they reach the next "minimum" of the next step-up in car seat world...the booster seat.

In most states, the minimum to move your child to a high-back booster seat is 3 years old and 30lbs. Then the minimum for a backless booster is 4 years old and 40lbs. Many parents gladly "bump their child up" to the next seat as soon as they hit those minimums.

To provide optimal safety, my daughter is still riding in a 5 pt harness in a convertible car seat at 4 years 8 months old and 44lbs. She has two car seats since we have 2 vehicles. In my van, she rides in a Graco Nautilus. This seat will hold her in the 5 pt harness until she reaches 65lbs. Then it converts to a high back booster seat and then to a backless booster. For about $150, this is a GREAT seat!!! I LOVE IT!
In my husband's car, she rides in a Britax Marathon. She has had this seat since she was about 14-15 months old. It has been awesome. Its easy to install and provides lots of great protection. She should have been able to use this seat until she reached 65lbs as well. However, she is outgrowing the height limit much faster than the weight limit. She still "technically" fits in the seat height wise, but because she is so big now, it doesn't cradle her sides and head as it did when she was younger. I prefer the way her body is protected when she is in her Graco Nautilus in my van. In fact, each time I see her in this seat in my husband's car, I cringe...she just doesn't look as safe as she could look in a larger seat, a seat designed specifically for kids her age.
Here is the Britax Marathon....a GREAT seat!
Here she is riding in her Marathon at 2 1/2 years old.
So, I began my search for another seat to be used in my husband's car. It just doesn't make sense to buy another convertible 5 pt harness seat. I know that she is well over the minimums for a booster seat. It is time that I realize she is a big girl. A big girl that is ready for a booster seat. So, of course, I did LOTS of research before deciding on a seat. I wanted one that still protected her head and her sides and that would properly align the seatbelt where it is supposed to lay on her shoulder and upper thighs. I decided on the Britax Parkway SGL.

Here is a video describing all the awesome features on the seat. Many of these features are only found on this particular seat. If you are in the market for a booster seat (or will be in the future), I highly suggest you watch the video:

And here is the one C chose.
She is incredibly excited to be getting a big girl seat in this hot pink color. I am nervous about having her ride in it, but I am sure she'll do fine. She will look safer and we will use it properly 100% of the time. So, this is why this is a really BIG day for baby is officially growing up. I think my next post may as well be when she goes off to college. Seriously, I feel like that is just around the corner! I will post pictures of her actually riding in the seat when it arrives....and when I have to guts to let her ride in it :-)

For any of my friends who are in "car seat mode" with their own kids, I should mention that I buy all my carseats from Their prices can't be beat. They offer free shipping and they have a huge selection and are always offering coupon codes and discounts! Much cheaper than Babies R Us or Target in my opinion :-)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Third baby = last chance to use some cool baby stuff!

I have a ton of baby things. I have a lot of clothes - more girl clothes than boy, I have a bouncy seat, a newborn snuggly seat, three Pack n' Plays, a breast pump, a travel swing, a bassinet, about 4 sleep sacks, crib sheets, receiving blankets, a glider, a beautiful crib, a breathable bumper, several great car seats, and lots of loveys and baby toys!

Like most moms-to-be, I am totally excited about this new baby growing inside my belly. I am starting to feel him kick - mostly in the evenings when I sit down and am still. I enjoy every little surprise nudge from within. It is one of God's most awesome gifts to a pregnant mama!

I have begun "nesting" rather early with this little baby. I have started gathering all of my baby items in one location - his room of course! I don't have the crib in there yet because my older son is still sleeping in it in his room, but the changing table and glider are all set up. I also opened up the Pack n' Play that will be staying at our house (the other 2 will stay at grandparents' houses) and set it up in the corner of his room. The floor of his room is crowded with the infant car seat, the bouncy seat as well as the travel swing and the "snuggle nest" to go in our bed those first few nights. The blankets and sleep sacks are all hanging in his closet :-)

I can't wait to paint his room and get the room decorations/bedding purchased when we have some extra funds (hopefully with some Christmas money if I do indeed receive some, haha). Every time I walk in the room, I can just picture the blue walls with letters of his name hanging
above the white crib. I will probably make the letters with scrapbook paper, chipboard, and some ink just as I did for our last nursery. The ocean theme I am imagining is going to look so cute!

With all that being said, there are a few baby products that I have discovered since having my last son that I am so excited about trying with this next one! The first one that I am anticipating trying is the Miracle Blanket. I am a huge fan of swaddling babies. I believe they all like to be swaddled even if they pop their arms out and fight could they not? They just CAME from a "swaddled" environment for the last 9 months! In the past I have used a regular velcro closure swaddle wrap (which D used for a very long time), but I have always had a hard time getting it snug enough on a tiny baby. The last thing I would want is it to be too big and to slip up over their faces! So, with this baby, I can't wait to try a Miracle Blanket which doesn't have an official closure but just wraps and wraps around that tiny squirmy body :-) It works like a charm in all the testimonials I have read.

The next thing that I hope to be able to get for this sweet blessing is an Ergo baby carrier. This is a rather expensive purchase, but I really think I will get lots of use from it. I am hoping I will find a way to acquire one of these...I've been checking on craigslist and for a used one. I can only imagine how much I will need a "hands-free" way to hold my baby with 3 kids in the house! I had a Baby Bjorn carrier with D, but by the time he hit 17-18 pounds, it began to hurt my back and become rather useless. He hit this weight very quickly, haha.
Also, I will be needing a new high chair. Oddly enough the only thing that didn't correctly make its way from NC to VA was the tray to our high chair. It got lost. This makes our high chair rather useless. If you have a high chair that you love, I'd love to hear your suggestions on good ones! Our last one, though beautiful, had so many nooks and crannies that I am not all THAT sad that we need a new one. Cleaning it was a huge pain!

Lastly, I will be adding a few size small diaper covers and prefolds to my diaper stash. I have already ordered a handful of goodies for this babe, but newborns sure do go through a ton of diapers - one time I counted 11 diapers in a day with one of my other babies! I will be using prefolds (the old school flat ones that you fold around your baby) and covers because its the cheapest method. And super easy to wash! By the time the baby reaches about 12 pounds or so, he will most likely fit in all of D's old "one size" cloth diapers. With the exception of the few new ones I may get, D's old "stash" will still work great for his little baby brother! Perfect!
If you have used any other great baby products that I probably haven't tried, please let me know! I'd love to hear about things that worked great for you and your baby. I am willing to try anything to make my life easier!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Baby Progress....

Just wanted to share an update on the growth and progress of our newest blessing...

To date, I am 18 weeks and 6 days pregnant and we found out earlier in the week that our third baby is definitely ALL BOY!!
The most exciting part of finding out that he is a boy is that for the first time in my life, I feel like I truly know what our "complete family" looks like! I've always wondered how many boys or girls I would have - and today I can proudly say that I will have one daughter and two sons. I couldn't be happier with this God-given-family. Truly, its just perfect!

I am very much a planner, so knowing that he is a boy just thrills me to no end. I just HAD to know what our family would look like! Even though we just found out a few days ago that our little addition is a boy, we already have his name chosen and I am currently planning how his room will be decorated. I feel pretty sentimental about this baby most likely being our last, so I want his nursery to be perfect and special :-) I am thinking a soothing ocean theme will work best for me and him. I know from experience how much time is spent in the baby's nursery, nursing, rocking, soothing, diaper changing, playing, I want this one to be just perfect -and different from D's nursery which was beautifully done up in yellow, red, brown, and dark blue. This is what I have in mind...What do you think?

And here is a picture of D's nursery. I want to do something very different from this, not because I didn't love it, but because I am ready for a change.
And because no blog post would be complete without a picture of my other two rascals, here is a picture of them on a little indoor train. I am pretty sure it was the best $4 we've spent in a long time to let them ride this thing!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Christmas time!

In my mind it is now officially my FAVORITE time of year! I was eagerly waiting for Halloween to pass so that I could pop in a Christmas CD and not feel too weird.

Some of you may think that it is still too early. "What about Thanksgiving?" you may ask...

I say that Thanksgiving is all a part of the Christmas season! Its all the same too me. Its about celebrating with family and friends. Its about decorating and enjoying the magic of it all. Its about extended holiday shopping hours. Christmas trees and garland up at every store. Words like "Wish, Wonder, and Magic" dangling from the ceiling at Target :-)

I love it all!

Please don't think that I forget the true meaning of Christmas in it all though. I remember my precious Savior! Its the Christmas songs that I have already started listening too that bring me back to Him so frequently. The one I heard today (and then played over and over...and over again) is Faith Hill's "A Baby Changes Everything" which talks about how Mary's life was changed when she discovered she was pregnant and then how when she delivered her sweet perfect baby, the whole world changed. I cry every time I hear the powerful "Hallelujahs" after she sings about the "choirs of angels" singing at Jesus's birth. Oh the chills it gives me! Praise Him!!

Every Christmas is special and magical, but this year is even more so because for the first time in 3 years, MY HUSBAND WILL BE HOME!

Three years ago B was in AIT (Army school) in Maryland and missed Thanksgiving but was able to fly home just a couple days before Christmas. We were so lucky that he was able to be with us on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but he missed the entire "season" of celebrating with me and our 20 month-old daughter.

Two years ago, he deployed early in November when our newborn baby was just 15 days old. I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in Atlanta with our families.

Last year, he deployed again in November and missed Thanksgiving and Christmas. The kids were a little bigger so we decorated a small tree at our home in North Carolina but once again spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at home in Atlanta with our families.

But, THIS year B will be home with us for Thanksgiving (here at our house) and then for Christmas (in Atlanta). We have lots of plans for the season. My parents are coming up this way for Thanksgiving. We will be heading to Johnson City, TN to visit our good friends in early December and then we'll be spending two weeks in Atlanta for Christmas. I can't wait for B to go to Stone Mountain Park with us and see the wonder and amazment in the faces of our children as they see the seemingly millions of lights and decorations. I have taken C with me and my sisters for the past couple years, but this will be the first year B will be able to join us. I can't wait!

I can't help but be overjoyed that our whole family will be together this Christmas season, but I also can't help but to think of those families who have a deployed Mommy or Daddy. Some of my facebook friends' husbands are deployed and I know that they'll be facing Christmas alone with their kids. It makes me feel sad for the thousands of men and women serving around the world and their families back here and abroad that are without them. Thus is the life of a military family! Please keep them in your prayers as you celebrate with those that you love!

I'm off to stop my daughter from going through our ENTIRE roll of masking tape as she makes "crafts" all around the house. I just stopped her from stringing up tape across a doorway...

Merry Christmas and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bloggity Blog

Hello Friends.
I do apologize for not blogging frequently anymore. I am not making any promises to start blogging more often. The truth is that I just have other things on my mind right now.

I have SO many wonderful things that I'd love to share with you. I have pictures of the kids at pumpkin patches, stories of going to the zoo and touring Washington DC. Of course, my kids continue to do and say funny things daily. I could probably keep a blog of just the funny things they say and do!

I have been so stressed lately - that is the honest to goodness problem. Even though I am usually comfortable talking candidly about my life and its ups and downs, I have had to draw a line at airing my "dirty laundry" here on the blog. I have been struggling lately with even the simplest of tasks because of my stress level. My poor mom has heard me break down on the phone almost daily because I can't seem to keep up with the laundry or because my son is throwing yet another fit. Its as if I just can't "get it together" right now.

Maybe it has something do to with this pregnancy.

Maybe it has something to do with my health.

I know it has everything to do with my stress level.

So, I am making no promises to blog more often. I'd love to write in the evening and post pictures of the kids, but right now, I pretty much collapse in the tub and then onto the couch every evening just trying to renew as much energy as possible to face another day.

I am trying to turn more and more things over to the Lord. I know He can bear my troubles better than I ever can handle them on my own. I am even doing a bible study entitled, "The Frazzled Female" with hopes that I will find some guidance and answers. I am making friends at my different women's groups, and that does seem to be helping. Being around my sisters in Christ seems to lift my spirit and leave me feeling more capable of tackling the world - or just the dishes and the dirty bathroom.

Bear with me as I go through this valley. I know my road will turn up soon. I can see my friends up there on the hill telling me that things get better. I can see them waving at me! For now, I will just put one foot in front of the other and try and to enjoy my children each day. And kiss my hubby each day when he walks in the door.

Then Jesus said to his disciples: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than the birds!
Luke 12:22-24

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Missing Piece

Do you like to do puzzles? My mother-in-law does. My husband does. Personally, I hate them. Sure I think the end result is always very cool, but the patience and diligence it requires to build them piece by piece is so agonizingly slow and boring.

With that being said, I feel like my adult life has been a puzzle. When I was younger, I always wondered what my own family would be like.

Who would I marry?
How many kids would I have?
Would they be boys or girls?
Where would we live?
What will we do?

I think that since the day I got married, I have been slowly (sometimes agonizingly slowly) putting together the puzzle of my life. The Lord has revealed to me who I would marry. Then 2 and a half years later, he showed me my first child, a girl. The sweetest most beautiful baby girl in the world.

I continued to put together the puzzle as we moved houses and cities and then eventually made room in our family for another child. This time it was a boy. He was the spitting image of my handsome husband. His dimples still melt my heart.

Knowing that our "puzzle" still wasn't complete, I often wondered who and what would come next. Each day that I spent with my family, I longed to know what it would look like when it was a "complete picture." I dream of the day that we take a family picture, blow it up big and hang it on the wall. But who is in that? What does "complete" look like? Who is in that picture?

Well, friends...we've found the missing piece (or rather, the Lord showed it to us last week) -

I realize that this entry may seem odd coming after the last blog entry describing our lack-of-success with Dave Ramsey. But you know what?

I trust the Lord.
I trust His timing.
I trust His perfect plan.

Plus, I have just about every baby product known to man. Sure there are a few "new" things I'd love to add, but nothing is essential. I know I will breast-feed and I will probably continue cloth diapering. I trust that the Lord will provide for us. I trust that He has a plan for our sweet little baby :-)

I can't WAIT to meet him or her at the end of April! Praise the Lord for our little "puzzle piece."

Its finally Fall!

Happy Fall Ya'll!
(Truthfully, this picture is being posted because my sister requested it...hope you enjoy it too!)

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Dave Journey

I thought I'd give you an update on our Dave Ramsey success in these last couple weeks. We joyfully set out to stop using our credit card, save $1000, and then begin aggressively paying off our debt. We decided to have a yard sale to finish up our savings and then use the rest to go towards debt. The excitement, however, dwindled there.

Here is what we realized...when we stopped using our credit card and began spending only what we had, we realized that we BARELY have enough to get us through month to month. It's been a huge wake up call to us to learn that we have been living so far beyond our means for so long. (Although I will praise the Lord that we DO make enough to cover our monthly expenses! Even if its just squeaking by.)

Well, let me step back and say that when B was deployed, we made more, so I guess we got used to spending more. But now that he has been home for 3 months, we are settling into "real life" with real E-4 pay - in one of the most expensive areas in the country. Truly I have thought very seriously about going back to work full-time. Its the thought of putting both my kids in full-time daycare that makes me stop every time. I just feel that there has GOT to be a way to make this work!

For us, Dave Ramsey is going to have to be put on hold. Paying off our debt and building our savings is going to have to take a backseat to paying our bills and putting food on the table for the next 4 months. We have a huge blessing come to us each February in the form of our tax rebate. We have already planned that this year, our rebate will go to paying of B's car and paying the next 6 months of our car insurance. Thankfully, that will free up about $300 a month that we can finally begin to put towards some debt.

In the meantime, I am cutting coupons and using them at every store. I no longer buy what I want as I walk up and down the grocery store isle. I buy what is on sale and what is cheaper. My beloved Chocolate Frosted Mini-wheats will have to stay on the shelf. At over $3 a box (and a SMALL box it is), the $1.99 Honey Nut Cheerios seem to be winning out every time. It just makes more sense.

I've come to learn that using coupons is actually pretty fun and that seeing how much I saved at the bottom of my receipt makes it all worth while. I am not one of the "super couponers" that saves more than she spends, but I am very happy with every dollar I can save in the meantime.

I was able to go to a large consignment sale last week and get the kids a few long sleeved shirts for the Fall/Winter. I can't wait to consign some of my own things in the Spring and make some money too!

Oh, and I even got my haircut at Cartoon Cuts with C because they offered a "mommy and me" haircut for $29 - and then gave us a military discount! Is it one of my best haircuts? No. But, she did cut my hair and now it's not driving me nuts :-) I hope to be able to find a grown-up salon that doesn't have outrageous prices for the next one though, haha.

I am finding it difficult to not just run to the store and buy what I want to like I used to be able to do when B was gone. But, as promised, the Lord is providing what I need. My mom graciously mailed me Halloween costumes for each child and just today put another package in the mail full of long sleeved items for them. (She is a super good shopper and saves things as she find them throughout the year....she always has a "stash" of things for Christmas and Birthdays - and I guess now, for clothing emergencies! I have learned that Jesus can use anyone to provide.)

On another note, I have begun feverishly praying for B's promotion in the Army. He has been "promotable" for over a year, but for whatever reason, the Army has chosen to promote no one of his job title in at least 12 months. I keep thinking, "maybe this will be the month!!!" but each month comes and goes and we see that they are promoting nobody. HOWEVER, I know that at some point, they will!! I am praying that day is sooner rather than later :-) They can't keep them all at E-4s forever!

I wanted to write this post to be honest. I feel that I have always been honest with the folks that read my blog, and our finances are no different. If I hide behind a false pretense, I do myself no good. I would still greatly appreciate any money savings tricks and any words of wisdom. I am fully aware that we are not the only American family struggling month to month. I am sure lots of you have advice and success stories to share. :-)

We are already eating as cheaply as possible and trying to sell anything that we can sell for a profit. My biggest concerns are how to deal with times of abnormal gas for going home at Christmas, the Thanksgiving dinner I am hosting here at my house, getting the dog her shots, and of course, Christmas in general. I try not to be stressed about these things since I am doing the best that I can. I have also done my best to turn these "worries" over to the Lord.

He is great and my finances are no surprise to Him. I know that He will show us the way - this month and each month from here on forward. Praise Him for His love and wisdom!

I will keep you updated as we make progress with our debt pay-off and minimal spending plan! Thanks for reading :-) Hope you don't mind the honesty.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Strawberry Snuggle Bug

There are so many things that are the same day-in and day-out. Things that get boring and mundane. Unload and re-load the dishwasher. Change a diaper. Brush my teeth. Get the kids cups of juice and breakfast. Get C an afternoon snack....two packs of fruit snacks in a bowl. You know what I mean, right?

There is one daily ritual I do that I sometimes dread but never mind once I'm doing it. Each night I tuck in our little man. He always wants his mommy to rock him and be his final face before he heads to the land of nod. It's because of this that my husband always tucks in our 4 year old. He gets her snuggled into her big queen size bed (we had no place to put our old mattress set when we got a new one last month - just in case you were wondering why she has a queen size bed) with all her dolls and animals. He and I both head downstairs for a few minutes alone before we have to head to bed ourselves.

But then the inevitable happens....we hear the gate at the bottom of the stairs unlatch and C comes out from around the corner.

"I need mommy to sleep with me."

Sometimes we tell her just to head back to bed. But this rarely ever works. She is persistant and will hang out at the bottom of the stairs until I follow her back up to her bed.

So there I go. Up the stairs behind her. I usher her into her big bed and although she has two pillows and plenty of room, she and I snuggle on one pillow. Her hair is always in my face. I think she just loves to be as close as possible to me. Tonight she smelled like her shampoo - like strawberries. She was so fresh and clean. And so sweet and innocent. Within a minute or two she quickly flips around and faces away from me.

"Mama, can you scratch my back?"

She ALWAYS asks this as she is lifting up her shirt preparing for the scratching. This is near and dear to me since I used to always ask my grandma to scratch my back. She would always do it. She never said "no." I try and remember this as I scratch C's back every time she asks. Her back is so little that I can't do much moving of my hand before it runs right off her back, haha. She's still so tiny.

After this she flips back around for a few more snuggles before I kiss her and tell her that I'm heading back downstairs. She always asks me what we're going to do tomorrow. She's such a planner :-)

Truthfully, I do get tired of rocking and snuggling with D before laying him down (and then often having to redo it when he fusses) and then heading back upstairs to snuggle with C. So, I try and take in the sweetness of it all. It really is wonderful and awesome. I love to be able to soothe and comfort my children. I love that they need me and want me above all else. I do love the way they smell and the way their skin is still so soft and pure.

Here is a picture of my Strawberry Snuggle Bug from this morning in her new church dress. (from an awesome consignment sale yesterday!) She is still so little and sweet :-)