Riding a bike

I don't know why this is so hard for me to believe.  Maybe because I don't think I knew how to ride a bike until I was like 9 or 10?  Or maybe because being able to ride a real bike just seems SO BIG to me!  He just looks so big!  He acts so big!  And he is getting so big!  

Jackson has had a balance bike for a few years, and has loved that thing.  They say that it is a huge help in building the foundation for learning how to ride a bike later on.  And now that I've seen it with my own eyes, I am a full on believer.  We bought Jackson a real bike on his 4 1/2 birthday, and it came with training wheels on it.  The guy at the shop said as soon as he figures out how to pedal, go ahead and take of the training wheels and he'll be riding in no time.  So a week later, Scott pulled them off.  I left for the grocery store as he was removing them, and when I returned 45 minutes later, I came home to this:

YOU ARE SUCH A BIG BOY, JACKSON!  I am so proud of you, buddy!  Keep learning and growing, and achieving your goals.  Even though I may get a little sad at how fast it goes by, I am even more proud and happy to watch you achieve whatever you set your mind to.  I love you, sweet boy!  

Pledge and School Song

The students in Jackson's class take turns saying the pledge of allegience and school song on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Last week it was Jackson's turn, so I stuck around to watch.  :)  He got to say the pledge with Presley, who is my sister's best friend's little girl.  She is so sweet, and it was so fun to watch them together.  (It was also pajama day at school...in case you were wondering if I send my child to school in PJs everyday.  Ha!)

It's a GIRL!!

I thought it would be such a fun idea to have our family over to let them know the gender of our second baby.  Scott and I chose to have a genetic blood test done on the baby, which also meant we were able to find out the gender of our baby sooner!  I was so excited.  I called the doctor on a Monday for my results, and when I heard her say "It's a GIRL", I shed tears of joy!  I was also told that the genetic tests came back completely normal.  Praise God!  I couldn't wait to tell Scott when we got home from work that day, so I called him right away to share the exciting news!  We are sooo excited to have a sweet baby girl join us and make our family complete.  

We had our family over that Friday night, and let the boys take turns hitting the pinata.  The shouts and screams of excitement and joy from our families were priceless.  Such a perfect moment - even better than I could have imagined.

Sweet baby girl, you are such a blessing to us already!  We cannot wait to meet you and love on you!  And you may just have a few aunts and grandmothers who are going to spoil you rotten!!  :)

Baby #2

On August 7, 2013, Scott and I found out that we were pregnant with Baby Echols #2.  I had been out late the night before with girlfriends, and felt gross the entire day.  I wasn't sure if it was from lack of sleep, or something else - but just for the heck of it, I decided to take a test (3 or 4 days before my cycle was due to start).  The first test was the line test, and I thought it was a little faint, so was determined to get a digital one to prove, in fact, there was a baby growing inside of me!  And there was!

This pregnancy has been nothing out of the ordinary from the first - tired. sick.  sick. sick. sick.  And I have also been extremely dumb.  I almost put our lawn bill in the mail just like this...

But it's all worth it, especially when you get to see proof of the reason you feel so horrible.  Here is Baby Echols' first picture.  :)  Just a little peanut in there!

Right around the time I was 12 weeks pregnant, Jackson was asked to do a family collage for his first homework assignment at preschool.  We helped him find pictures of his family, and let him cut, glue, color, and write on his very own family collage.  So precious and such a treasure that I will always keep.



I have only a few minutes to write, but wanted to capture a few of the highlights of preschool thus far.  It's September 13th, and the end of Jacksons first FULL week of school.  His first week was 3 days, and the second was 4.  So in total he will have been there 12 full days after today.

We are still having tears every morning at drop off.  The separation anxiety is still in full force.  I experienced the first morning this week of him saying "my tummy hurts, I can't go to preschool."  I knew that would start sometime in his life, but didn't expect it to be this soon.  We got through it.  :)

Despite the tears and fears, Jackson is growing and learning - and I can see it plain and clear in just 11 days of school.  He comes home and shares snippets of his day throughout the evening.  He won't tell you if you ask, but if you listen...it comes out in little moments throughout the evening.

2 nights ago, I was laying with him in bed before he went to sleep.  Here are some of the questions he was asking me:

"Mommy, is there one God or lots of Gods?"
After explaining that there is only one God..."Then how can he live in my heart AND Ms. Kirsten's heart at the same time?"
After explaining that one..."Ms. Kirsten says that we need to ask him to come into our heart.  How can I ask him, momma?  Can you help me ask him?"
Holding back a tear or two....we pray together.
"Momma, when I move my head and my arms, is that God moving them?"  More explaining...

I LOVE THIS SCHOOL!!!  He is really soaking up what he is learning.  He is curious about it.  He wants to know the truth.  He came home singing his memory verse of the week 2 days ago, and I melted again.  He is counting in Spanish.  He is writing his name, and getting better at it everyday.  He is doing so great, and I am so PROUD.  I know that he is still having a hard time with the anxiety, but I am so grateful that he is learning and growing.

Thank you, Lord, for answered prayers!  Thank you for all of the teachers at CCDC, especially Ms. Kirsten.  And thank you for preparing Jackson's heart to receive your truth and your love!


Recent photos

Tball season has come to an end.  Jackson played his last game on Saturday morning.  We SO enjoyed this season.  The weather was awesome most games, the kiddos were precious and sooo super sweet, and Coach Rodney did a great job of leading the team.  The kids were batting SO well toward the second half of the season.  It was so fun to watch!

Jackson had quite a fan club throughout the season.  Mimi and Grand-dad (not pictured - bummer!) came several times...

Nanna and PaPa came to most of the games...

and of course Jackson got to play with his 2 cousins all season long!  My sister got the team shirts, and assigned the 3 boys #1 (Preston), #2 (Parker), and #3 (Jackson) in birth order.  Too cute.

Mary & Todd got a new puppy, and brought her over to our house for movie night a few weeks ago.  She is the cutest, and Jackson keeps asking when we're going to get one.  Ha!

J-Man was sick with an ear infection a week ago, and I worked from home to be with him.  I was letting him listen to my work headset, and watch a video I had received via email.  He was amazed.  "Momma, is the sound coming through this wire?!"  Adorable.


encourage one another

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..."  1 Thessalonians 5:11

I feel like there are a lot of moms working against other moms out there.  Whether intentional, or not, some people can say the most hurtful and downright RUDEST things.  Isn't our job in life to build one another up?  Aren't we suppose to be the voice of God's love and encouragement?  What is going on?????

I feel like the moment you become pregnant, some type of bulletin is put out that says "please say the most awful and rude comments to me that you possibly can."  Are you sure there aren't twins in there?  You're huge!...You're only halfway along?!  Are you sure you aren't going to have that baby today!?!? Or how about after the baby is already here.  You aren't breastfeeding?!?!?  You must be the most horrible mother ever!  You let your baby cry it out?!  You're baby is never ever going to trust you again.  In fact, he is going to hate you.  You are damaging his brain.  You don't love him.  You are a horrible parent.  I even read a comment on Facebook the other day where someone was congratulating another person on her second pregnancy.  The comment actually said "...Two is a real mom."  I'm sorry..what?!  Huh?!  If you only have one child, you must be a fake mom.

It may seem like I am exaggerating, but I promise that I have heard these things, and have even had some of them said to me before.  The thing is, you don't have a clue why people are doing the things they are doing, or aren't doing.  I personally tried to breastfeed with all my might.  I did it for the first month, and our pediatrician discovered that I wasn't making enough milk.  I tried all of the supplements and tricks, and Jackson was still starving and not gaining weight.  So I pumped for 6 months, just to get 2 or 3 ounces of milk after each 20 minute session, and then had to supplement the rest with formula.  I WANTED to breastfeed so badly, but I couldn't.  And nobody would know that but me.  Or what about the mother of one, who has miscarriage after miscarriage and finds out later that she cannot get pregnant again.  Is she never going to make it to real mom status?  So sad for her...she has to live the rest of her life as a pretend mother.  (nonsense!)  She also gets to live the rest of her life being judged for having an only child, and dealing with all of those hurtful and unsolicited comments.

I could go on and on with more examples, but I won't.  I'm sure that everyone in life has examples of their own, which is why it just baffles my mind.  Why are we doing this to each other?  Why are we not just encouraging each other in whatever we choose for our families.  Everyone is doing what is best for them, their babies, and their families.  I truly believe that what works for me, might not work for everyone.  And I whole-heartedly support what everyone else chooses to do for their family.  But please don't try to project that on me or anyone else, or make them feel like they are making wrong choices for their family.

I've wanted to write something like this for awhile now.  But I held off, because I just didn't feel like it was worth discussing.  People are going to be who they are.  Some of the things people say aren't intended to be hurtful, and I understand that.  I just feel like there is an unnecessary amount of tearing one another down instead of building one another up.  And I just pray that we can all think twice before something comes out of our mouth (myself included), in order to avoid hurting someone else or discouraging them in their (already difficult) journey as a parent.


the anchor of your soul

"Come to me continually.  I am meant to be the Center of your consciousness, the Anchor of your soul.  Your mind will wander from Me, but the question is how far you allow it to wander.  An anchor on a short rope lets a boat drift only slightly before the taut line tugs the boat back toward the center.  Similarly, as you drift away from Me, My Spirit within you gives a tug, prompting you to return to Me. As you become increasingly attuned to My Presence, the length of the rope on your soul's Anchor is shortened.  You wander only a short distance before feeling that inner tug - telling you to return to your true Center in Me."

Jesus Calling, Sara Young

Oh goodness, I loved today's devotional!  The imagery of the anchor and the short rope was a very vivid visual for me.  I have a ways to go.  Thank God for His mercy and His grace!  
And thank God for the anchor that pulls us back to center, no matter the length of our rope.


New York City

Our hotel - cute and quaint boutique hotel.  I loved it.

Lunch at Eataly - prime rib sandwiches (YUM!) with roasted potatoes (YUM!)

LOVE this place!  Great market with amazing food, and lots of fun people watching!

random shirtless chess players - people were sunbathing all over the city, and playing chess in all of the parks, too
and it was HOT!

Shake Shack - DELICIOUS!
Max Brenner - yummmmm-o! 

I wouldn't go back here again...my least favorite place we ate at.
The Waldorf Astoria

Rockefeller Center on 4th of July - very patriotic!

Pardon the 1,000 pictures of the Empire State Building...
but it was so neat to see the way it looked as it got darker

Watched the Empire State Bldg light show & Macy's fireworks show from our hotel's rooftop bar

Chrysler Building

A little entertainment in Central Park

We frequented this Subway station...
also, miracles happen here.

GO HERE.  And order Chicken Scarapiello (or however you spell it).
Best chicken ever.  Delicious food and great atmosphere.

The Theater District.

and tears...it also brings tears.

ferris wheel ride inside Toys R Us


just beautiful

we found the Rangers apple...
NYC is hosting the allstar game, so there are teams all over the city

Scott's company is working on this building

awesome bar.  go here.  you won't be disappointed.

anybody recognize the building?  Friends!

We had dinner @ The Little Owl our last night.
Great location (bottom of the Friends bldg).
Great service.  Great food.  Loved it.

Really wanted to try Waffles & Dinges food truck!
I read about it on one of the food blogs I follow, but wasn't hungry when we passed.
:(  Guess we need to go back!
Ate lunch at Shake Shack our last day there.  YUUUUM!

Tried one of the mini macarons.  DELICIOUS!