Texas Aggies...

I don't remember quite what made me want to go to A&M - it had to have been the fact that my brother went to basketball camp with his friends when I was in maybe the 4th or 5th grade. We checked him and got him set up in the dorms and my friend, Katy, and I refused to leave. (Me more because Jeremy had really cute friends, her because she was a really talented athlete and probably wanted to learn and improve some basketball skills.) The campus was about half the size it is now and was still huge - I loved everything about it. I think it must have been from that trip that I knew I wanted to be a Fightin' Texas Aggie. 

We have a saying that from the outside looking in you can't understand it and from the inside looking out you can't explain it. Never has a crazy cliche of a phrase been more true. You can't explain it and you certainly can't understand it until you've lived it. I loved the first 4.5 years so much that I decided to stay for grad school. I knew the next two years would teach me more about the profession that I was going to pursue but I never in a million years thought that those years would bring women into my life that would teach me so much more.

They teach me how to raise kids with intention...

they teach me how to support husbands with crazy jobs. How to speak up. How to find joy. How to love deeply. And although some of us are spread by thousands of miles, we still find the time to laugh and cry and connect. 

This past weekend I got to show my girls the power of women friendship through the love of our Texas Aggies. 

Game days are the best days to be on campus - the energy and excitement can not be matched and the girls were so excited for their first Aggie game. 

Right up until they walked up three ramps and sat out in the sun. Landry was clearly not into any of that nonsense. 

Emmy was TOTALLY into the nonsense and provided some amazing entertainment to everyone around us with her "come ons" and "what are you doings" and "GET THE BALL"!

Landry was forcing smiles. 

But they kept asking me about the new people they met, the stories we were sharing and why I loved being a Texas Aggie. I pointed to all the people sitting in those stands, sticking out the heat to watch the Aggies play a PITIFUL first half of football and just said, "Aggies are our people. We bleed maroon. We stand up for each other. We fight for each other and even when we disagree, we are all bonded by being Aggies." 

They whooped and gig'ed and "AAAAAed" right along the other 80K people in the stands. They swayed and saw'ed 'em off and fell a little bit more in love with the place that went from being my school to becoming my home. 


Tiny Tales Thursday...

And every single person sitting around us wanted to know the same thing. I'd say that Emmy has entered the life of an Aggie right on cue.



The kids' school celebrated Grandparents' Day by inviting all grandparents to enjoy lunch with the kids. (Because nothing says "I love my grandparents" like eating cafeteria food.) Gigi never misses a chance to come visit and even though I told her to get all the kids the same lunch... she clearly didn't listen. Emmy's teacher sent me this sweet picture - she wore "little piggies" because they are Gigi's favorite. 

The kids have decided that they are going to save to buy a lake house (yay for me!) so they are always looking for ways to earn some money. They were selling some shiny rocks crystals in the front yard and this darling delivery man stopped and purchased some with his freshly earned tip money. Let's get this kid a raise. 

I'm not even going to deny that I tried this jacket on in the largest size so that I can be as awesome as these girls are. 


For the first time ever, Cindy and I got to hold newborn babies at the same time! Luckily, they aren't ours! ;) We got to bring dinner to a friend that had twin girls and they are the sweetest little things. 

Our babies holding babies - aren't they going to be the sweetest babysitters someday? 

Speaking of babies... the one with long hair in glasses is the first baby of the bunch. Now he's a junior at A&M, singing and writing songs and making us so proud. In typical fashion, Michael kept right on singing as the kids were playing, we were talking and he just kept his focus. One of life's greatest gifts and one of my greatest privileges is to raise babies with my besties. To be part of the big and small moments of the every day.

On Thursday we decided to share some sunshine with everyone that walks and runs up and down the sidewalk. They were so proud  of their work so I think we may just need to make this a little weekly tradition. 

As we were heading in for the night, a neighbor that we hadn't met was walking by and the girls got so excited. They got to share about their drawings and she asked who Landry had drawn under a bible verse, assuming it was a drawing of the girls. 

Landry replied, "Oh no... that's Jesus and Mary."

This girl is kindergarten tired. She falls asleep pretty much every day in the car and sometimes extends that nap into the house. I finally got her to wake up to remind her that it was gymnastics day. 

We had a pretty awesome movie night last week and while we were enjoying Ratatouille ... 

she was living her best life with some pizza and drinks with some gal pals from school. When her mom texted me this picture I instantly thought of this same group during the next 10 years of celebrations - homecomings, proms, graduation... it's just all too much for me to take. 

Unless she always brings home a strawberry tart and then I'll do my best.

We ended an awesome week with some awesome friends at an awesome Aggie tailgate. Texas A&M brought me the most amazing friends and anytime I can get together with them makes for the best day. 

And anytime one of them gets to love on my kids makes my heart so dang happy that I can't even take it. Three days of Auntie Sooze needs to happen more than every two years.... Emmy agrees!

And that's us in an instant!


Being brave...

About two weeks before school started, Landry started to get worried about kindergarten. Really worried. Crying during prayers worried. We honestly weren't prepared because Radley and Emersyn couldn't wait for kindergarten. Turns out that each kid really is different.

We talked lots about being brave those nights and how the best way for her to be brave is to lean on God and know that He is always here for us. I could tell that she was still nervous so one night Ryan and I went old school and made some friendship bracelets for the kids. We made them from the same colors but in different patterns and the next morning gave them to Landry and let her know that this was her "bravery bracelet"... she could wear it and know that she has two of her biggest fans with her at school and that God has weaved us together as a family to support each other just like we weaved those bracelets. All of us are different, but we are connected through our faith.

She heard, "here's a fun new bracelet... wear it and it will make you brave."

Flash forward to our weekend hunkering down from Harvey. I kept giving updates on friends of mine impacted by Harvey which helped the kids understand just how bad the storm was. I showed her videos and pictures of two of my friends that had to evacuate because of flooding. Emmy decided that they needed to make "bravery bracelets" for them so that they would keep being brave even after the storm.

We set up a little assembly line so they could get to work. They worked for two days and by the end had created 10 bracelets.

Emmy wrote notes to include and then I added a little explanation so they would get the whole message of what a bravery bracelet means. 

And guess what - they LOVED them and the girls were so excited to see them wearing the bracelets they made. We sent extra bracelets to Chrissy to give to her friends that rescued her and helped demo her house once the water had receded. Both made a point to say that these came in the mail at the exact right moment. 

Watching Harvey unfold was surreal and I felt so helpless watching the devastation that my friends endured. I wish I could have done more, but the Lord shows up mightily in even the smallest of gestures. Praying that my girls always live with such compassion - let us know if you need help feeling brave. They want to keep making them for anyone that needs one!


Living her dream...

I can remember the day Emmy started dance - her entire face lit up. She had waited her whole life (which was only 3.5 years) for that day and when Landry was old enough, she wanted to dance just like her sister. But she never had that spark - sure she had fun, liked her teachers and loved those fancy costumes, but I never really saw that fire inside of her. 

Half-way through dance she started talking about gymnastics - she asked me 10148 times when she could start gymnastics and 10148 times I had to tell her "next year". Until... 

She could not have had a bigger smile on her face or more excitement in her heart. 

When I think about my favorite moments as a mom, they all include watching my kids do something they love. Even more than that is watching their siblings get so much joy watching them do something they love! Emmy was just as excited to be up on that balcony looking down at her sister do her thing.  

If I ever looked away she'd be quick to say, "Watch, Momma." 

So I did... I'll keep watching her find her way  offer all my love and attention that I can offer. I'll watch her discover new things that she loves and things that she doesn't. I'll watch her try and succeed and try and fail, too. I'll watch her win and lose and want to quit. I'll remind her that we are her biggest fans. I'll watch her light up when she figures out what makes her heart shine. 

I'll relish the moments where she is living her dream, because that will always be mine. 


One more...

If you didn't notice by now, we like to celebrate around here. Sometimes obnoxiously. Since Radley's birthday fell on a Wednesday we didn't really get to celebrate with friends and family. And since he got a pretty big gift, we definitely were throwing a party. Instead, we kept it small and intimate with our nearest and dearest on a Sunday afternoon. 

My momma wore the shirt the day he was born - go ahead and grab some tissues. 

He was surrounded by the people that have been celebrating him since day one... 

the same people that came to hold him in that hospital... 

are the same ones that are holding him now. 

And have kept loving, laughing and holding us, too!

My momma made me laugh when I was setting up the fancy HEB cupcakes - "Thank God you got over that need to do crazy stuff like bake cakes in mason jars!"


These $7 gems were just as big of a hit as any of the fancy things we've done over the past 10 years!

And create colorful smiles just as easily!

His gifts clearly had a theme this year...  

I did something I'd never usually do and emailed the people that usually purchase him gifts and asked that instead of buying him more legos, books, toys, etc... to consider giving him money so he could buy souvenirs on our trip. (Because the trip does not include merchandise from us!! ;))

Y'all... his people showed up and he could not wipe the smile off his face package, after package, after package... 

I also have to give Gigi and extra shout out because this is the first birthday that she hasn't purchased gifts for siblings..AND THEY SURVIVED! (I was more worried about Gigi than the girls.) 

We had a great big day celebrating our amazing big boy!

Ten years of loving him has been one of the greatest joys of my life!


Church of the Small Things...

Whenever I get the "if you could choose any career, what would you want to do with your life" question - my answer is always the same.


I would love to be able to write words that have meaning for others. I have found so much joy in the seven years that I have started this little blog and from time to time I find encouragement in the comments others have left when posts have moved them, made them think and most importantly made them feel.

And while this dream of writing all the words and saying all the things waits to become a reality, I will do the next best thing which is read all the words, especially the words of my friend, Melanie.

(So what if my definition of friend means that she has commented on my instagram posts, not put a restraining order on me and does not run the other way when she sees me in public.)

Melanie is my writer muse. She hits the three h's with ease.... I love her humor. I adore her heart. And we can all agree that she has the perfect Texas hair. (That may not actually make the list of "things that make an amazing author" but you can't deny that a good "about the author" picture is priceless.)

She has written three NY Best-Sellers that have made me laugh and cry so much that I almost wet my pants, so I was ecstatic when she announced her newest book would debut in October. But THEN she announced she was opening space on her official launch team and I was lucky enough to snag a spot (clearly there were no real selection guidelines) and was given an advanced copy of the book. And y'all... I know we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but...

Don't worry - you can preorder your book at churchofthesmallthings.com and snag tons of goodies!

Church of the Small Things is the letter you forgot to write to yourself about every in between moment of growing up. Those insignificant moments we didn't  write down in our diary because those pages were reserved for two things: when you are in love and when you are mad at your momma. Lord Jesus, the irony that the cover of my diary was "Precious Moments" because many of those passages and words are anything but.

Melanie tells her personal stories in such a way that they feel like your own. Maybe it's because our grandparents all taught us deep lessons about simple lives. Maybe it's because our best-friends help us do hard things. Maybe it's because the lives that we lead are anything but glamorous, but they are every bit a dream come true. Maybe it's simply because no one in their right mind is a "white couch" kind of person...

Or maybe it's because she welcomes you in like an old friend does and isn't afraid to be a little bit vulnerable, a lot of bit funny and always filled with the truth. His truth that promises us an entire life of carpool lines and packing lunches mixed in with meetings at work and Netflix binges are no less significant than the glitz and glamor of one filled with faraway vacations, spa days and more money than you can count. While there may not be any sand through the hourglass... these really are the days of our lives. The big and the small filled with imperfect moments that make up His perfect plan for us.

So much of this book made me feel like I had hopped in my DeLorean and travelled back to my childhood. Her experiences growing up in the church sounded exactly like growing up Catholic with a bestie that was Assembly of God. I went from Hail Mary's and signs of the cross to alter calls and praise hands. Let me just tell you, there is nothing like watching your best-friend die and get drug to the depths of hell during an-ever-so-convincing rendition of Heavens Gates Hells Flames to get you to an alter call. And I loved it - every single solitary moment of it. The hardest part was not getting confused about where I was ... I started clapping once during mass and my dear momma had to put a stop to that.

But you know what? She and my dad never put a stop to me learning about and loving Jesus. No matter what church I attended that week - it didn't matter - because I wasn't just learning about Him, I was living a life surrounded by people that loved Him. And that is no small thing.

This book is going to remind you that small moments matter in a big way. Taking food to a friend, understanding your spouse, missing your loved ones... the beauty of the patchwork that we weave is in every thing we do. At the end, we have a giant tapestry filled with the message He sent us through the church of the small things.


Church of the Small Things doesn't release until October 3 but if you preorder you get some AMAZING goodies...

Once you've placed your order, complete this form and you will get an email access code for tons of bonus fun!


Melanie, thanks for welcoming your congregation in to your church. We are blessed by your words, changed by your influence, and grateful for your voice.

Linking up with AndreaErika, and Narci....Go check out other people's favs!