Sunday, September 16, 2012

Millstone Orchard

Craig and I are trying to cram a lot of Fall fun in the Triad in over the next week and a half or so before we move to the coast.  This past Friday was great for apple picking and the weather was fantastic.  We enjoyed this trip as much as the last one!

Apple Cider slushies are delicious!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Swing time

Little T was pretty fussy this morning, which is all new for him, but the swing did the trick! He enjoyed his ride and calmed right down.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


One Thousand Gifts by Voskamp is beckoning me to live in the present.  God himself is beckoning me to be present.  

When T was born, I really thought I might lose my mind. T didn't come out punching the world in the face, it's just that now there were THREE. I really didn't know how to balance it all (side note:I still don't). But in an effort to keep my cool and keep up, I was coming undone. As a home manager I wasn't managing anything at all.  My time in the Word was sporadic at best. I wasn't enjoying my family- I was merely getting by.  I just wanted to be done with having a newborn and have three obedient, squeaky clean young men.  Then the day came that I told S to "stop acting like a 3 year old".  Hello Reality. Hello B. He is 3 years old. I will not get these days back- what a break through mothering moment.  

It is no accident that I am reading this book at a poignant time of being a wife and mother.  I can chose to see today as a gift.  It sounds so cliche' but it's a truth bomb if ever there was one.  Perhaps, saving computer time for nap time is best, reading that book for the ump-teenth time is precious time, and the questions....OOOOH the questions.... are just worth answering.... possibly....maybe...:)

Remember these faces?

It's a good thing I'm writing these things down, because in about 30 minutes to an hour and everyday for the rest of my life I will have to remind myself of them:)

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I wonder why T always looks scared in pictures with his brothers?

Smiles & Laughter

Papa D always finds gems like this for the boys! 

Riding a Teeter Totter leads to

Smiles, Laughter &

Pure Joy.

Look who rolled over today!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Penning Gratitude

1. the crisp morning and reminder that Fall is coming
2. the sweet sounds of our infant sleeping

I am thankful.  I am not always thankful- but I am learning. I am learning to live with appreciation for the days and all that comes with it.  I am told, quite often, to enjoy my children because it goes by so fast and that I will miss the craziness.  I get it.  It does go by fast. The days are long and the years are short. My oldest turns 4 this year.  My infant is no longer a newborn-I know this because the fog of sleep deprivation has lifted.  And then they are walking and talking, running, biking, sassing, pretending, and joking- all gentle reminders that my boys are getting older and so am I. 

But this can't be, right? I'm the one who was just starting kindergarten, at my first soccer practice, learning to ride a bike, being read to by my daddy, playing house with Bridget and Brandie, walking through the woods (ummm did someone forget to tell me there were snakes out there?), riding in grandma's little red car, singing to the Judd's with my momma (knowing both of us can't carry a tune:)), trying to be my brother, watching baseball with my grandpa. I get it. It goes by fast.  

So what do we do with these days? These days that are going at a pace that matches the fast forward button on a VCR (a whaaat?). I can hear the tape in the cassette revving up now, moving at a steady clip and then stopping, like the video didn't realize there was an end with a loud, jolting snap.  

What do we do?

Be thankful to our Redeemer. 

Experience Joy.


Sometimes my days seem mundane and difficult and fast- but I'm learning thankfulness.  Ann Voskamp writes in her book One Thousand Gifts, 

"Because that habit of discontentment can only be driven out by hammering in one iron sharper.  The sleek pin of gratitude."

She began a journey of writing down the gifts (1,000 to be exact)- gifts that are often overlooked, everyday graces from God.  I still have chapters in the book to go, but I am inspired.  Here are my first two snippets of gratitude to God; to seeing the joy in the, sometimes, mundane days; reveling in joy in this short life that we live; cultivating a heart of gratefulness; penning gratitude.  

1. the crisp morning and reminder that Fall is coming
2. the sweet sounds of our Titus, sleeping


Friday, September 7, 2012

The Nomadic Life

Craig and I celebrated five years of marriage this May and while that doesn't seem like a really long time, we have experienced quite a bit together.  

We have lived in four different homes.

We have celebrated the birth of three handsome boys.

We have had too many jobs to count...okay, I will count....10...I think. One lay-off. Juggling three jobs...

And for full disclosure, we have lived below the US poverty line for a season during those five years....although because of the gospel community we were placed in and for family-we never ever suffered or wanted.  God is good. 

And here we are on the cusp of a new journey, one that brings us into the realities of the service and sacrifices of those who serve and have served our country in the Armed forces. It's the Army National Guard for us. There are nine and a half weeks of Basic Training, 12 weeks of Officers Candidate School and weeks of another Officers School after that. The sacrifice of time a way from family is becoming very real- Basic begins Oct 10th.

My husband has something deep within his soul that longs to serve and defend the weak.  He is a protector. A man's man. A sheep dog, while most of us are sheep.  God has knit that within him- I know this. There is no doubt in our decision as a family to provide this service for our country.    I trust that God is good.  He has good for our family. And our family, TEAM WEST, will ultimately serve the purpose that He has for us, even if that means we will be separated for a time. 

So we are packing up and getting ready for 6 months to a year of training and the nomadic life.  The boys and I are trading life in the Triad for one on the Coast (sounds glamorous until you find out it will be Fall, Winter, and early Spring while we are there), while Craig will be shaped and molded into a US Soldier. 

Nervous. Excited. Trusting. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Our Wyatt

Post Nap time uniform.


Sweet Melissa...this is what asking him to put on his own pants and underwear leads to...

This is where he typically watches movies....not in the living room

"Das Scarwy"

This is the official West male sleeping position
i like books

and ice cream
Our two year old is growing.  I'm not sure what happened but we blinked and he became quite a big kid and his personality is absolutely hilarious.  Wyatt is scared of everything, cries at everything (this is mildly annoying), loves to be read to, loves ice cream, loves running around in his underwear, insists on putting on rain boots only to cry about them a few minutes later, his feet resemble Shrek's, he is articulating quite well these days, is uber serious, watches movies in the theatre...from the floor (see my first descriptor), loves to sit in my lap (for 15 seconds), loves his bike, and running, and trucks, can tell me the alphabet letters and their sounds, falls constantly, has a little kid lisp and is becoming more independent, and seems to be enjoying his new little brother and annoying the oldest! If you haven't had a conversation with this kid-you should. He's a pretty funny character.

Friday, June 29, 2012

NC Zoo Dino Exhibit

Before Titus was born, to celebrate our five year anniversary, and to get out of the house, we went to the Zoo (isn't that what you do for anniversaries...take your kids some place fun?:)).  They had a dinosaur exhibit that I knew the boys would love, so we packed a cooler and left early one Saturday morning.

Typically, since the NC Zoo is so big and spread out, to prevent any major breakdowns from our boys, we only tackle one continent and that's usually Africa- lions beat polar bears any day.  Plus I was 39 weeks pregnant, all the more reason to walk less.
 Family photo.

 paleontologist speirs
 he was so excited he decided to dance in front of each dinosaur.
 what's that you ask? a triceratops of course.

 who doesn't want to ride a t-rex?
 checking out the directions.
talking with daddy about all the animals

Preparing for Change

There is a change a comin'.

Our best friends you see....are moving....15 hours the end of this month. I am both thrilled for them and the opportunities that this move will mean, but also really sad.  Craig and I have learned with certainty, since we have been married, what a friend is and what a friend is not, and there is no doubt in my mind that this couple has been the best for some time now.

They have celebrated with us each time we welcomed another son into our tribe, we've been on vacations together, attended the theatre, festivals, and baseball games, we've rung in new years, had Christmas morning breakfast, broke bread at Thanksgiving, celebrated birthdays, Easter, played Rock Band and Mario Kart, sung songs loud and ridiculously together and  have walked through trials together. We had the opportunity to walk with them through the crazy, long, up and down adoption process, and then with such sweetness welcome them home from Uganda, a family of four. I could expand on this list for some time, but most of all we have shared the Word of God and prayer on a regular basis at our dining room table over coffee and breakfast.

Community has truly happened between our two families.  Confessing sin to one another, praying for each other and holding each other accountable.  There is such sweetness, growth, and an ever increasing dependence on the Gospel that comes when you can do life together with another family or families.  We are incredibly thankful for the past four years with Gene and Loren and the past few months with Joan and Angel.  Schlesinger's, you will be missed by Greensboro and the West's but Milwaukee is getting a gem of a family.  We love you guys!

 good times.
 one of my favorites.
 the women and children
 just the ladies
 ring around the rosie
 our trip to the mountains
 they are home!
 athletic prowess in Boston
 Boston Pizza
MIT. hilarious.