Monday, November 26, 2012


My Internet is running so slow. I think dial up would be faster at this point. The pictures that I am going to post will be HUGE but there's no way for me to change them from my phone (that I'm aware of). I am aware that I am writing this post twice because I somehow deleted it.

Thanksgiving Day was amazing. The weather was wonderful and I learned to make my hubby's favorite sweet potato casserole . He loves it and next year he will be eating whatever they serve in the desert, I may have to make it again.

My big kids learned to ride a dirt bike. They had amazing confidence in learning. I was worried and proud all at once. My baby girl was just happy to sit when it wasn't cranked up. Great big thanks to my niece for allowing us to use her dirt bike.

We have celebrated Thanksgiving with friends and family all over the country. I am so thankful for all the people that God has brought to our table or allowed us to sit at their table. We would not be who we are without knowing the people we have known and experiencing the life we have lived.

Pictures of the infamous bike experience. You better believe that they want one of these for Christmas. Of course that makes my man excited, so I'm kinda praying he doesn't find one. Not this year anyway.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'm A Helper

I always have thought of myself as a leader. I thought I was pretty good at making decisions and stepping up to the plate when no one else wanted to lead. I'm beginning to think that I am a much better helper. I actually had help all those times when I was "leading."  Someone leading right beside, helping me along whatever path we are on together.  Some of our greatest friendships have come from leading together.

long weekends in the field = crashing in the chair

I think that is why I have handled being a military wife so well. I have moments of weakness, but I have enjoyed moving and setting up home in new areas. We have built our world around the up and downs of military life. My goals have always been to help my husband feel settled so that he can focus on his job.  The kids take a bit longer, making new friends is hard stuff. Mourning lost friends is even harder. 

My helper tendencies extend past my home. I love to help in our church with children's ministries and women's outreach. With the help of my great friend Kaleena, we lead a group of girls in Girl Scouts for 2 years. I've stepped up and helped with PTA/PTO and sports. 

Sometimes I have to say no. That has happened recently with Boy Scouts. I just could not help lead a troop of boys with this upcoming deployment. Especially since the Boy Scout Pack meets at the time that Scarlett needs to be getting ready for bed.  Caroline is getting close to being a babysitter, but not for long periods of time with a cranky toddler.

I hope that I can teach my kids that they can lead, but they can also be a helper. Sometimes the ones that are already leading just need help carrying the load.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Planning For Some (not so) Mundane Days

I am so happy to report that this sports season is winding down. We need a break. We need the mundane, but really it will not be so mundane because Christmas is here.  The kids are out of school for a week at Thanksgiving and the traditional 2 weeks at Christmas. It always goes by way to quickly.

I'm looking forward to doing some projects with the kids. There are plenty of options available, but keep the attention of 3 kids in different ages groups is difficult. 

  • Weekend visits with family

I know that my Scarlett will be full of excitement and curiosity this Christmas. We strolled through Hobby Lobby this evening and looked at the lights on the Christmas trees. Of, course she wanted to touch each one. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day

If it wasn't for my veteran, I would have all these other blessing.

Thank you for your sacrifices Ryan!

We love you!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's OK! Feel Weary

I recently reread Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess and was encouraged all over again.  Stacey and Brooke not only give you a glimpse of what their weariness looks like, but they give us all permission to feel weary.

We can't always be that mom that has it all together. I am so hard on myself when I have to disappoint one of my kids. I cringe when I hear myself yelling at my kids or my husband. My job is mom, I'm not supposed to screw it up for everyone else, but I do (a lot).

Moms, hear me! Give yourself the chance to be weary. Give yourself the opportunity to feel defeated.  When you are at your worse, Jesus will meet and remind you that He loves you and He is here to help you.  We are not doing this by ourselves.

I'm a military spouse that's about to embark on over a year of my husband being deployed. I cannot imagine how weary I will get this time around. As a military spouse, we never ask for help because we are the strong ones that are left behind to hold it all together. I know that the women around me have bad days just like me. When we transitioned from active duty military service to National Guard the weariness seemed to descend on me as a cloud.  We are so busy, my house will become a mess, the kids will bicker, and everything that can go wrong will, but I am not alone.

 God will meet me right in that mess and join me as I pull myself together.

You can get your very own Kindle version of Hope for the Weary Mom on Amazon
You can get a paperback version of Hope for the Weary Mom on Amazon.

Read! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Social Networking; Let's Connect

Instagram - Fast, beautiful photo sharing for your iPhone 

I'm on Instagram. My user name is Aljstephens
Come find me and let's connect. 

You can also find me on Twitter 

And Finally on Facebook

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hope For The Weary Mom

The new "Hope for the Weary Mom" book is available. This book is an extended version of the 2011 e-book by Brooke McGlothin of the MOB Society and Stacy Thacker of the MOD Squad.

These ladies have worked so hard to speak their hearts about a mom's life. They admit that motherhood is not always easy and that we all mess it up. They remind us that our hope in Jesus will bring us through to the other side.

Visit the Hope for the Weary Mom website to learn how you can win prizes and get your own copy. There is a Kindle version and a print version. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Favorite Part of the Day

I used to love nap time. The house got so quiet and I could recharge in the stillness. I certainly would get feisty when that nap time got messed up. I needed it as much as my Scarlett did. 

Now, I am working when she is napping and when I pick her up all recharged. Except, mama is starting to drag.  I am going all day and working part time and I miss that quiet time that was all for me. I have tried getting up at 5:30 and that is not working one bit.

So my new favorite time of the day is after everyone is asleep. Everything can be still and quiet and lovely.  I can recharge and remember all those things that get pushed back during the day.  I can make a list, read a book, or simply sit, but I absolutely cannot clean anymore.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wonderful Weekends

I accidentally just blocked myself from attaching pictures to a blog posts from my phone. I will have to edit this tomorrow when I get to a computer. Somedays, I'm the one that's a mess.

We have a long weekend off school. It's what they are calling Fall Break, but it is not fall here in Florida. I'm ready tomorrow to spend some time with my kids because next week will be so busy.

My favorite part of the weekend was spent with my family at the Pirate of the High Seas Festival. The fireworks display on Saturday night was amazing. We paid a little fee and was granted access to the pier. The fireworks were shot off from the end of the pier. The breeze was wonderful and the entertainment amazing. Scarlett loved it all, she clapped and cheered the whole time. The big kids loved it and claimed it was the best they had ever seen.

edited: We met a Jack Sparrow look-a-like. He was awesome and played the part just right. There was a beach ball drop and all the kids scored a ball. Sorry for the scary looking eyes (night time flash).  I was looking for pictures of the fireworks but they must be on my daughter's iPod.  She's needs to hurry home from her sleepover. 

This is my favorite time of the year to live in such a huge tourist town. There is hardly anyone but locals here. You can get into restaurants without much of a wait an traffic is much more manageable. I love walks on the beach this time of year.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New Normal

Some days I think that I have it all together. We are busier that I ever imagined being. My phone calendar is my life lifeline. We would be totally lost without it. Working, even part time, has made our world a little bit more chaotic.

Caroline has turned another year older and started Middle School. Unbelievable stress getting adjusted. We are having to learn how to prep, study, and organize better than we ever have. Caroline continues to be amazing and she is adjusting to a new school and church. She is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Youth Group at Church, takes a dance class, and is trying out for the basketball team.

Jackson just celebrated a birthday and turned 8 years old. Time! Please slow down.  Jackson is amazing at school. He can give 50% and get great grades. Caroline has to give 1000% and barely gets by.  His downfall is that he likes to talk.
Our goal is to keep Jackson busy. He picks things up quickly and we hope to let him experience everything that he wants.  Jack learned to play hockey this year and enjoyed a short season on the military base hockey league.  Soccer is in full swing and this year Dad gets to help coach. I'll report how that is going later.

My Scarlett has found her vocal cords. She is still limited to just a few words. I have a feeling when she figures out talking we are all in trouble. Scarlett has just started daycare. This was her first week. It was never our goal to have out kids in daycare but financially I need to work now.  Scarlett keeps us running and loves to go "wok" (walk) and feed the "ish" (fish).

As if Ryan and I are not busy enough, we are taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. I am so excited and hope that we can climb over this barrier we are at. New career, new home, new life that we are loving is difficult but doable.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. 
I've never taken much notice of this day because I was living the military wife and surrounded by military wives. Today, I miss them all and I am so happy to see their faces on Facebook.

Oh, it has been a strange path. This wandering, curving, one step forward two steps back kind of life. 

My husband and I married after he finished "A" school for the US Navy. He had already completed Army Basic Training and AIT for the National Guard and was in college when we met. At the time, the Navy was offering him something a little more than what the Army was offering and so he choose to beginning active duty service in the Navy. 

Then we got married.


And we moved (a lot)
Bethesda, MD
Cherry Point, NC
Panama City Beach, FL
Bay St Louis, MS
San Diego, CA
Camp Pendleton, CA

And we had these amazing kids along the way.


Today, my husband is in the National Guard. That transition is less than a year old and still very raw. My kids feel it, I feel it, and he feels it. There are still moments to enjoy, but just as many moments that would be easier within the confines of our old military life.adjusting to this new normal has been harder but we really enjoyed this time with Daddy.

Don't get me wrong. I have complained and gotten so mad at my husband and his military job, but it was our life. We ate, slept, and lived around the military lifestyle. We went to ball games, dance, gymnastics, and church if Daddy was there or not. I learned to rely on myself for everything very quickly. I also learned to love when chores were done for me (garbage day anyone?).

Pretty soon we will embark on a deployment from the National Guard point of view. I have no idea what to expect. We don't live very close to the Guard unit and so my neighbors and real-life family will be my support system. That will be so weird. 

If you are here and not a military spouse, please find a spouse in your area to thank. You may not understand her life, but she will be so grateful for you noticing her.

Linking up with Household 6 Diva and Riding the Roller Coaster
Go read more!


My kids have scratched their names on window sills, park benches, in concrete, and other places I may not know about from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
I quit fussing at them about destructing property ages ago. 

They are military brats.
And they are leaving their mark on the world around them.
So many military brats say they are not from anywhere and I just have a hard time accepting that. My kids can't say that they always lived in the same house or in the same town, but they can say that they have roots. 

They learned some much in all the places we have lived. We are spoiled from learning what real Mexican food taste like and we cannot find that here on the Gulf coast. Then again, there is nothing like Gulf Coast shrimp. And please don't even start us on the yumminess that is New Orleans. 

My kids, I don't care how many times they move I want them to know and understand that they are from home and home isn't defined by the house you are in or the town you reside in. Home is your family and they carve who you will be.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cleaning House

I am supposed to be packing for our move to FL in one month. I have maybe 6 boxes packed. This is not looking good. I have a hard enough time just day-to-day cleaning and get a little anxious when it all gets to messy. We are gonna be in big trouble in a few weeks when its time to load all of this and move. 

 The clean pictures are on the left and the messy is obviously the right.  Its dark in here and we get all of the afternoon sunlight in the back doors, heating up the whole house.

This is what my house looked like after a few days with my sweet niece Lillie here.  I tried to vacuum and get most things put away daily, but the piles grew larger and the mess was taking over. This house is not that big, basically what you see is it besides the bedrooms. If one area is overly messy you can tell right away.

None of this was the contribution of one child, but all of them together. Scarlett is 14 months old and Lillie is 2 years old. Together with the help of my big kids we made completely messes and got it all cleaned up each day.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Recently ....

Scarlett slept through the night for the very first time a couple of nights ago. She did not have a repeat performance last night, but she is sleeping for longer stretches of time. 
She will get there eventually, we are just not a "let em cry it out" family.
Although, "crying it out" may have happened a few times because we were all sick of each other. For naps and bedtimes, she will fuss long enough for me to get out of the room and she is done. Maybe she's just making a show of missing me.

Scarlett has also learned to climb up the ladder and slide down the slide right by herself.
Good Grief! 
Next week will be college. 

In other fantastic news, Jack has lost another tooth.
He is so excited to look like a snaggletooth since he has been so slow to loose any teeth.
This is number 4 and he is 7 years old.
I see an orthodontist in my future. I can see how the bottom of his mouth is shaped like my husband's. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

My New Job - LexiWynn

I have the amazing privilege to work for LexiWynn. They make custom order purses, wallets, beach nags, diaper bags, and more and I get to be a design consultant.


Matching up fabrics is something that I love. LexiWynn will send me sample purses and fabric swatches. Customers will get to design their purse, bag, wallet, exactly like they want. I get so excited just thinking about all the possibilities.

There are leather and laminate samples to choose from, as well as all the regular fabric samples. You can add pockets and different purse straps. 
So amazingly fun! 

Check out their website and let me know what you would love to have! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Surviving (non) Deployments

This is from last May. I'm not sure why it didn't post. I thought I wanted it on here so I would go ahead and post it. We are all moved now and the car is fixed. At least that problem is fixed.

Ryan was not all the way to back to Florida on Sunday when I noticed a leak under my car. This is not at all what we need. Seriously, gas prices are gonna bury us.


My neighbor, who owns a hair salon with his wife, came to look at it. In his professional-hair-salon opinion, he had no clue. HA! Bless his heart!
 We did figure out that it was not oil or power steering, very happy. 
I am completely at a loss at this point and missing my military world a bit more.  It's beginning to feel like a deployment without the hazardous duty pay.

Ryan and I finally figured out that it is coolant leaking from a hose under the car. It is dripping and running down the oil pan and onto a support bracket and then dripping from the car. I had the camera under the car with me and was text messaging him pictures. God love us!
 Easy fix if Ryan was here. Hopefully, Ryan will have some time when he is here in a couple of weeks. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sleeping Through The Night

 It's not for everyone! Scarlett does not sleep through the night. 
Tomorrow she turns 14 months old and has NEVER slept through the night.
She regularly wakes 2 times every night. Occasionally, we will only wake once. 
I'm not sure that I can adequately explain what a full night of sleep would mean to me. 

 The picture is dark, but I have to have some proof that she does sleep. 
I know that I will look back one day and this will be a very so very unimportant.

Now that she is drinking cold old-fashioned milk, she's about to go spend a weekend with Grammie.
No one will be allowed to wake me up!

She does wear herself out with appliance climbing and other shenanigans.

Scarlett also likes to lock herself in other rooms. Not really locking herself in because she can't reach the doorknobs, but she closes the door and then yells at me from the other side. We are having a ball.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fire Ants

My poor baby got into a fire ant bed. I was checking the mail, turned around, and they were all over her feet because she was standing right in the middle of their bed. I scooped her up and dashed for the house. She cried and cried. I felt terrible.  I took some pictures from the last few days and she is doing so good.

About 5 hours after the ant attack of 2012. She had been napping in the car and we had just sat down during Jackson's soccer practice. I found out later I could give her Benadryl, but she had some Tylenol to help with the pain.  Miserable!

This was the next morning. Her ankles had disappeared :)

This was 30 hours later. You can see the blisters forming. She had some Benadryl in her a couple of times by the time this picture was taken.  Daddy was home by then and those ants were on their way to the grave. 
 Her feet started bleeding after this. She would rub against something and the blister would pop and bleed. It
  was pitiful, but she never scratched at them.

This is today. 6 days later. All the blisters have popped. She has a few scabs and is healing so well. The picture is blurry, but that just goes to show that she's on the move.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Fun

Our Easter turned into a low key event. Scarlett got into a fire ant bed a few days before Easter. Her feet were still bleeding and tender on Easter, so we stayed home. I will post some pictures soon. 

Here is our neighbor's dog, PJ, with Scarlett. She loves that little dog and tries to call it over to our house by patting the grass. PJ is still a puppy and jumps in Scarlett's face, but Scarlett just pushes him away.

We went to the fastest Easter egg hunt ever. The kids were divided into sections and at 2:00 they were set free to load up on plastic eggs. At 2:09 we were back in the car and we even stopped to get a cupcake.  Jackson got several eggs. I don't have a picture of Scarlett, she was in another section and it was not very well patrolled. The teenage kids that were supposed to be helping the 0-3 age group decided to pick up eggs for themselves. Ryan was a little outdone with them.


We decorated Easter eggs with the sweet girls that live a couple of houses over from us. This was Caroline's very cool creation.

And finally at the end of the day, pool time. This was Scarlett's first time at the pool. She went when she was a couple of months old, but that doesn't count.  I just knew that she was going to love it. I was so very wrong! The water is still a little cold, but Scarlett freaked out. I think part of the problem was that she was not touching the bottom, it is very unlike the bathtub.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Boys & Soccer

 Jackson loves soccer. It was the first sport that he every played and he is hooked. He did chose to give t-ball and chance last Spring and had a great time.  We were all set to play baseball here in our new city, but then heard that they would be offering Spring Soccer. Here in the Deep South soccer is still somewhat of a new phenomenon. This is the first year that our small town has offered Spring Soccer.

We are all set with brand new gear. We have met our coach and team mates. Hoping that we have an excellent season.  The first game is not for a couple of weeks and so we will have to get some updated pictures then. 

Jackson does say the funniest things and this was a conversation yesterday!
Jackson: Let's get this weekend started (in his best rock n roll impersonation).
Me: It's only Tuesday buddy.
Jackson: Wake me when its Thursday.
Me: Why? So you can go skating on Thursday (the whole school has skate day on Thursday).
Jackson: Nope, so I can show off my mad soccer skills!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Food Blog is Born!

We started a food blog. 
I guess I needed another project. 

You can find us here.
Please be patient while we are under construction. 

Consider following this blog and our food blog. It would make me so happy!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Update on Valentine's Challenge

 Our Valentine's Challenge was a success and SO MUCH FUN! We will be doing this again. 
Jackson was so funny trying to hide my present behind his back as he walked into the room.  I love seeing my kids do for others. They have a tendency (like all kids) to think only of themselves, but this provided an opportunity to think of someone else.

As you can see, Jackson got M&M's, he also got a camouflage t-shirt and it fit in the jar. Scarlett loves the M&M's, she walks over to where the jar is and holds her hand out. She can also hear that jar being opened from anywhere in the house and she comes running. We have been giving her yellow M&M's so that when she drools it doesn't mess up her clothes.

I forgot to take pictures of the rest of our jars when they were full.  Caroline got a watch and so that was easy to fit in the jar.  Ryan got a t-shirt and tootsie rolls. I received pajama pants that were super soft. Scarlett got a bath toy and baby snacks.

It is so easy to get just a little something to make someone else feel special.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our Valentine's Dinner

Valentine's has always been hit or miss at our house. Some years we do something and some years we don't.  Since the past 6 months have been a rough transition on our family, I decided to do something fun just for them. 

They know I love them, right?


This is how the table looked when we came home from school. Ryan comes home from work 15 minutes after we get home and so we had an after school snack of lemon pie at the table together. 

 We had a great time enjoying each other. Everyone was on their best behavior. 

Our dinner was crock-pot Italian chicken, peas, and rice. 
Very wholesome and heartwarming, don't you think? 


Our Valentine's dinner was just what a girl loves. next year I may have to come up with something that speaks to the souls of the boys in my life. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Everybody Loves You

Look at the cute worksheet that Jackson's teacher did with her class. What a sweet reminder this will be one day for him and me.This has been a very rough transition for us. We are almost to the point of pulling him out.  Jackson is a homebody and leaving the house everyday for school that he is not enjoying is a stretch for him.

Moving stinks!

I especially like the one that says "I like your hair." Jackson has always had great hair. 

In other Jackson news.  Last week my sweet boy came home and gathered some school supplies and said he needed to take them to school. Knowing that the school's budget is depleted, I assumed that he needed the supplies for himself.

I was wrong!

Jackson was gathering supplies for himself, because he had given all of his current supplies (including the pencil box) to a new kid at school. He said that the new kid was having to borrow from the other kids and he felt bad.

Oh, how sweet. 

He constantly teaches me about compassion for others.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy1st Birthday!

We did not know that you were a missing link from our family. Sweet Scarlett, you are just what we needed to make us bigger and better. We love your smiles and your hugs and your stubborn streak.  We occasionally love your midnight happy hour playtime.

 Caroline and Jackson were very surprised to wake up on a Sunday morning one year ago and find out that they had a sister. They had no clue that we had left the house and Mrs Kaleena had been sleeping on their couch. You came quickly into this world. You are a force to be reckoned with. 

Can you see how much that they loved you? They had been waiting for this exact moment for 9 months. They dealt with a cranky mommy and  their space being taken over by baby gear. Today you take comfort in your "big kids" and you laugh at their attempts to amuse you.  I could not do each day without them.

You have a do-it-yourself attitude. There is nothing that you cannot do. You walked at 9 months, climbed on the couch at 10 months, and climbed out of your crib at 11 months. Thankfully, you have not repeated the climbing out of your crib thing. Scarlett, you are an eater and will try anything we put in front of you.

Your sweet brother called from Disney World today to wish you a Happy Birthday.  You had a smash cake that you wouldn't touch, but your Memaw and Grammie were here to laugh at you anyway.

Happy Birthday Scarlett!