Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mother is Always My Dreams.


I had two conversations with Lucy LuLu in the past two days.

"Oh, MOM! It's California! I LOOVVEE California" we were driving to a friends house.
"It's not California Lucy, it's Portland."
About 10 minutes later..."Mom, YOU are wrong. It's California. 
I just know it."

Admitting defeat and wanting to avoid an argument.....
"OK Lucy. If you say so."
"Thanks Mom. I knew I was right."

This morning.....

After Lucy smacked her arm on my desk.....

"Did you hit your funny bone Lucy?"
A look of heartbreaking sadness mixed with dismay.....
"MOM! It's not funny!! And it makes me sad you said that!!"

"Lucy, sometimes we call that our funny bone."

Said loudly, with even greater dismay - and with big tears.....

You win Lucy LuLu.
Mommy isn't always right.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Be Happy...and Grateful.

There is a lady in the small charming town I live in, who has recently taught me a great lesson.

I see her walking around town all the time.

But, it isn't that she's just walking, it's that she can hardly walk. I'm not sure what the story is with her, but she walks with an extreme limp. I have watched on many occasions as she has struggled to move a body that is twisted and bent. Literally every step seems to take all the energy and strength she has. 

I have stopped and given her rides before, to which she has expressed immense gratitude.

During these rides, we have had some nice conversations. Nothing serious or deep, but I have enjoyed getting to know little things about her. She seems rough and worn by life's challenges, but has always been so grateful for the help when given.

The other day, I stopped again to offer a ride.

And on that day, this sweet lady taught me something great.

After I offered to take her where she needed to go, she looked at me with a smile and said, 
"Thank you! But, it's so beautiful out today, so I'm ok walking."

I was shocked.

Here was someone who struggled so much with just the simple act of walking, and yet, on that beautiful day, she was completely content to deal with the challenges of the life that was hers.

We smiled and parted ways.

As I drove away, I found myself counting the blessings that are mine.

I have a wonderful life.
It is a happy life.

And on that day, I was reminded of that.

As I watched her walk away, I didn't see a smile on her face. I saw a face that showed every ounce of effort it took to move her twisted body down the road. But, I knew that at that moment, she was managing to be happy with the life that was hers. She had passed up an opportunity to make her challenges easier, and seemed content to deal with them. 

What a great lesson.

I love those moments that teach us and help us to be grateful for what we have. 

Is my life perfect? No.
But, I know the world is full of people who have managed to be happy with far less than what I have.

I have been humbled and have been reminded to be grateful for all that is mine.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Keep Laughing

A little while ago I had a dear friend give me a gift.

I have thought a lot about this gift since receiving it.
She knows me well, and I think she knew that I would use it.
But, I also believe that she knew the quote on the front would be something that I would find great meaning in.

And she was right. 

There are so many reasons that I love this. 

But, mainly because it was a reminder that even when life gets challenging, we need to laugh.

Laughter works magic in my crazy little world. 

And there really are moments in each day that can make us laugh.

The choice is ours.

I never want to be so serious about life that I forget to laugh.
And I don't ever want to let the struggles, pressures and day to day responsibilities get so overwhelming where I don't laugh.

Thank you, my dear friend.....for reminding me to keep laughing.
Thank you for reminding me to keep finding joyful moments.

Thank you for my gift.

I'm laughing.
I really am. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Happy Family

Recently, I had the blessing of spending time with my family. 

I have always loved my family, but it wasn't until I moved far away from my family that I realized how much.
Being in a family of grown siblings is a funny thing.
I grew up in a home with nine siblings and loved the life I shared with them.
But, when everyone grows up and moves on with life, I've realized that it takes a lot of work to stay close.

We are spread around the country, but in our own ways, we made decisions early on to remain close.
And I'm so very grateful for that.

We've all grown up, we all have been shaped by different experiences in our lives and yet we all still share a common thread.


And we always will be.

The more time that goes by, I feel like our family just keeps getting better.
And I love that.

I love my siblings. 
I love who they have become.
I really do love that they've chosen to marry some really awesome people.
There are no "in-laws"...they are my FAMILY.
And I'm grateful for those brave souls who made a decision to join our crazy bunch.
I also love each of my sweet nieces and nephews.

They are all growing up as well and are becoming great people. 
And so the circle keeps growing.


I love the saying, 
"A happy family is but an earlier heaven."
Do I believe that?


I have enjoyed a small glimpse of what heaven will be.

So, thank you to my awesome family.
Life truly is richer because of you.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cooking 101: Blaylock Style

After graduating, Israel has decided to serve a 2 year mission for our church.

And he is very excited about this.

So, as we wait for his paperwork that tells us where he's going, I thought it was time to get this darling boy ready to leave home. And since Noah is only a year behind him, I thought he should join us as well.

So, last night we began cooking lessons.

Cooking Lessons.


Unless you have had the rare opportunity of being in the kitchen with these two, it's hard to explain what that means.

I figured a safe first lesson was baked chicken and mashed potatoes.
Safe? Yes!
Boring? NO!

These two are so different. Noah is EXACT and PRECISE in all that he does, and Israel is just determined to be done. 

In the end, we had yummy chicken.

And the potatoes? Well...they were yummy.

Interesting.....but yummy.
Of course Noah had to put his stamp on it!

Needless to say, it was the most fun I've had in the kitchen for a long time.
As I watched these two and listened to them, I got a bit emotional.
They truly love each other. 
And they ENJOY each other.

I'm realizing that our moments with the two of them will be changing soon and it feels like a REALLY big pill to swallow. 
They are not the same without the other. 

So although these coming changes are tough,
I'm excited for what the future brings for both of them.

I sure love these boys.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I'll Catch Up One Day

I have some amazing friends.

You know the ones.....
the ones who are on top of EVERYTHING.

They are organized and somehow they manage to accomplish literally one million things in one day.

And then there's me.

I really don't think I will catch up with life.
Mainly because I don't think it's possible.

So, instead I have to just keep truckin' along.

Well, remember her?

 (Read my post on her) 

She sent me something in the mail today that put it all in perspective.

I laughed so hard.

And I've been laughing ever since.

So, here's to all those who also love the 
that fill their crazy lives.

Thank you "K".
You understand me so well.

We truly are kindred spirits.
Kindred spirits whose lives are full of 
WOOSHING sounds!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Oh The Places He'll Go...

This has been a big week for our family. Another milestone, another change.

Israel Blaylock graduated.
And our life has once again changed.

This is how I remember Israel from when I first met him. 

He was charming, witty and full of life.

I would sit up at night and look through his "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" books and we would laugh as we looked at all the crazy stuff in that book. 

That will always be one of my favorite memories 
of my time with him.

There are many memories with Israel that are priceless.
He has been my buddy, my friend, my quiet cheerleader and someone I have always admired.
He is good, through and through.

I have had the incredible blessing of sharing his life and watching him grow over the years. Although he has changed over the years, in many things he has never wavered.

He is a loyal friend to all.
He is compassionate and cares deeply about others.
He quietly observes the world around him, but boldly 
goes about doing good.
He doesn't need the limelight, he doesn't need attention or praise.
He just quietly goes about his business and does his very best.

Just like every parent who had a child graduate this year, 
I am excited about his future.

I am excited about his potential.

And I know he will become something great.

So, Israel, thank you.

Thank you for making the choice to love me.
Thank you for always knowing exactly when I needed your support and help, and for quietly giving it in powerful ways.
Thank you for the example you are to your siblings, and for the strength you are to your parents.

We all love you.
We are all proud of you.

And we will all be behind you, cheering you along the whole way.

I love you.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Simply Sunday: A Happy Life

Wow! It's been a long time since I've been on here.

This morning, I was sitting here in my peaceful, quiet home and I started thinking about my crazy life over the past months. I feel like I have had to fight to find those peaceful moments to just pause, think and regroup. No one said having a big family was simple and easy, but it is so worth it.

Just a bit ago, Lucy was snuggling on my lap and she looked up at me and said, "You make me happy." She then squeezed my neck tight and said, "We have a happy life, right mom?"

Such a simple question, yet it has made me think of so many things. 

And the one thing that stands out the most is that, 
YES.....we have a happy life.

We have a crazy and chaotic life.
We have a life filled with challenges that can be tricky.
We lots of people who live in this house, who all have their own individual trials.

But, yes.
I do believe we have a happy life.

And I believe we have a happy life because we have each other.
We have a home full of cute little people who make decisions every day to find happiness.
They choose to be happy.

As I watch them do this, it makes me very proud of them.

Am I happy?

I am.

I have a happy life because of them.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Simply Sunday: Love One Another

download and print

This weekend we had beautiful weather. 
It was perfect.

And in spite of having strep throat, my little cuties
just HAD to play outside. 
I'm sure the fresh air was good for them.

They had the most fun riding an electric motorcycle. 
They actually have two different ones, but today they decided they wanted to be together on the same one.
They were so fun to watch.

As I watched them, I realized something that kept happening over and over again.
Luke kept making sure that Lucy LuLu was holding on tight. 

EVERY TIME before he would start to go, he would reach down and gently pull her hands together and make sure she was hanging on tight.

He did this

I watched my young little son show his sister such great love.
And I don't think he was even aware he was doing it.
He was doing it without even thinking about it. 

I am so thankful to be the mother of such great little people. 

I'm grateful for Luke.

I'm grateful that he loves his Lucy.

Loving one another really is everything.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Happy Heart: Be Happy

From day one of my blog, I promised myself that I would try to be as real as possible.
I would try to capture my 'real' life.
Life in a 'real' home, with a 'real' family, and a home full of people who deal with 'real' things.


 We all have those days.
You know the ones.

The ones where you have grand intentions of feeling joyful about everything, skipping through your day, laughing at the fun of life.....

and then you realize that your new plan is to just be as happy as possible.

Well, today has been that day. 

I am extremely grateful for many things.

But, there are just some days that feel a bit tough.

You know 'those' days.


Well, today was one of mine.

At one point I was discouraged that I couldn't shake my funk.

And then I decided that I needed to do the best I could.
I needed to be as happy as I possibly could.

And that would be enough.

And it worked.

My day hasn't been perfect.

And I still find myself venturing toward the 'funk'.


I DO feel like I have honestly tried to be as happy as I possibly could.

And today, it makes my heart happy that my decision to TRY made the difference.

We can't all have perfect days.

But we CAN decide to try to make the best of them.

download and print

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Happy Heart: Kindness

Something that is very dear to my heart is kindness.
And today is the end of "Random Acts of Kindness" week.

We've had a few little hiccups this week, so all my grand plans for this week fell apart.
And I have been so bummed.
I had so many fun ideas of things I was going to do.

Then this morning,  I realized something I COULD do.

So, I grabbed some caramels and off I went.
I handed them all out at church and came home feeling pretty good about the day.

But I was still kind of bummed that I had missed my favorite week!

Then I started to realize how ridiculous that was.
Why not still do my ideas?
Why was I thinking I could only do them because it
was "Random Acts of Kindness Week"?


Kindness isn't shown on some timetable.
Kindness should be at the very core of who we are.
We should always be looking for moments where we can show kindness.

It really IS possible to find moments when we can be kind.

They are always there. 
We just have to look for them.

Today, it makes my heart happy to know that I can ALWAYS find those moments.
I can ALWAYS try to be kind.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Happy Heart: Ordinary Moments

Today, my heart is very full and happy 
when I think about the life I have.

And I am thankful for all the ordinary moments that make 
it such an amazing life.

This morning, I had one of those moments.

I sat there today and listened to four little ones giggling as they were watching Saturday morning cartoons. 
I realized that at that moment, something that is so ordinary in our home, seemed EXTRAORDINARY. 

I sat and listened to them talk and laugh. 
I looked at their sleepy little faces. 
I saw them snuggled up together under cozy little blankets.

And I found myself feeling very grateful for that ordinary moment.

Then later, I was cleaning through some photos and realized how many made me think of "ordinary moments" in our home.

I loved thinking about those moments.

These truly are the moments when you realize how EXTRAORDINARY your life is.

I'm grateful for the reminder of today.
I'm grateful to remember so many of those moments.
And I'm grateful for a life full of such moments.

So, if you think your life is ordinary,
take a minute and think of your own "moments".

I promise that we all have them.

And when we can find joy in them, 
life really is


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Simply Sunday: A Happy Heart: Friends

Very few things make my heart happier than my friends.

They make me laugh.
They teach me.
They make me a better person.

As I was looking through my pictures of my friends, I realized that I have a very unique relationship with each of them. 

I love them all, but I love them all for different reasons.

I remember specific moments in my childhood when my mother taught me the importance of loving everyone. She taught me to always make sure I had room in my heart for everyone, especially those who really needed a friend.

And I remember so clearly feeling that I really wanted to be that person.

When I consider the things that make my heart happy and bring me joy, I really do have to talk about my friends.

I feel like I have been richly blessed to have the friends that I do.

And they come from all walks of life.

They have each found their way into my heart, into a spot that is theirs and theirs alone.
And once they find that spot, they will ALWAYS be there.

It doesn't matter how much time goes by, it doesn't matter the distance, they will always be my friend.


As I was looking through pictures, I wished I had a picture with each of my friends. 
So, this is me - giving you fair warning.

It has become a new goal.
Be ready. :)

To all my friends today.

Thank you.

Thank you for making room for me.

Thank you for a life filled with so many moments of joy.

Today, you each make my heart VERY happy.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Happy Heart: My Friend "K"

I'm so excited about today's post.

This month I've been thinking about all the things that make my heart happy.

And trust me, there are MANY.

Before I go any further, I should probably explain today's post.

I have a friend who makes my heart happy in ways that are hard to describe.

And this sweet friend has threatened me within an inch of my life if I ever did a post on her.

(ohhhh.....I feel the gut giggle coming)


In an effort to be a good friend, I've decided to 'disguise' her, so she can't be mad at me.

(yep. the giggle is coming)

And to be extra safe, I will just call her "K".
(those of you who know her will know why this is making my gut giggle REALLY LOUD right now)


Introducing my friend "K"

No eyes. 
Great disguise.
But, maybe someone will still be able to tell.
Let's try something different.

That might be better.
Her smile IS pretty fantastic.
But, then again, maybe I should try something else.
I don't want her to be upset with me.

I don't know.
What do you think?
Is that good enough?



That's a great disguise.



On to my friend "K"

The first time I flew out to Tennessee to meet Big Daddy was the first time I met "K".

He picked me up from the hotel the first morning and gave me some lame excuse about having to go somewhere.....and do something.....blah, blah, blah.....and THEN he said, 

"Sooo, I'm going to have you spend some time with my friend 'K'."

It was my first 'interview'.

And my life with "K" began.

I still remember those first moments of meeting her. 
They are locked into my brain and into my heart.
I instantly knew that I had found not just a friend, 
but a kindred spirit.
I knew that our lives would be connected from that point on.

And they have been.

I spent the day with her and her darling girls, and loved every single minute. 
That time with them is also locked into my heart.

She made a decision from the very beginning to find 
a place in her heart for me and she has very tenderly kept me in that spot.

She has loved me.
She has listened.
She has calmed my fears.
She has seen me shed many tears and has cheered me on as I've dealt with the challenges of this life.

She has been not only a friend, but a sister, a confidant, a healer, and my lifesaver on many occasions.

I talk to "K" on the phone just about every day. 
And when I don't, my day is not the same.

She always has stories for me and she ALWAYS makes me laugh.
She gets me.

On every level.

And I love her for that.

So, "K"
Thank you.

Thank you for a friendship that is uniquely ours.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for putting up with me.
Thank you for your example.

You are beautiful in every possible way
and you make me a better person.

You truly are a kindred spirit.

And today, you make my heart very happy.

(And no one can be mad at someone with a happy heart. Just remember that.)

hee hee hee

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Happy Heart: Big Daddy Time

I think it's safe to say that anyone who knows me, knows how much I love Big Daddy.

He is my whole world.

And he makes me incredibly happy.

Don't get me wrong, there are times I want to poke him in the eye.
I don't want to cause permanent damage.....
just a little pain.

hee hee hee.

Oh, come on!
You wives know what I'm talking about!
Let's keep it REAL.


When you have kids, you HAVE to make time for each other.

My favorite time of day with Big Daddy is at night.

We have our little routine that I love and it's something that I look forward to every night.
It's nothing exciting, but it's ours.

After kids are in bed, we get comfy.
This consists of Big Daddy putting on his "meggings" as he calls them, his white long john shirt and his orange Tennessee hat.

I, of course, look glamorous in my combination of yoga pants and Big Daddy's sweatshirt.


Then, if I wasn't beautiful enough, I grab my makeup remover and go to work.
I love that Big Daddy tolerates my raccoon eyes, but also love him for the fact that he still thinks I'm beautiful when the makeup is gone.

Then we watch tv.
Just like everyone else.
We have our favorite shows.
We have our favorite treats we sometimes eat.

We push pause on the dvr and talk.

And I love it.

I love my time with him at night.
I love touching base and reconnecting.
I love watching the stress of his day melt away.
I love that he is interested in my day and that he asks a million questions.
I love that he cares.

And then, at the end of our talks, it always ends like this.


I've realized that I love so many details of this routine with Big Daddy.

I love watching him fall asleep. 

I love how peaceful he looks.

I love that his arm always goes up and behind his head.

I laugh when he's going into that deep sleep and 
his whole body jerks....
and then he opens his eyes in a dazed look - trying to figure out what just happened.
And then he's out again.

I love when he sits and giggles in his sleep.

And I love the conversations he has with someone in dreamland.

I love my time with him.

Today, he makes my heart happy.