Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Thankful.  That simple little 8-letter word is not near enough to describe the overwhelming gratefulness that is in my heart.  I am beyond thankful for so much in my life.

At the very top of my list is God's love for me.  As a mother, I am able to get a glimpse into what a sacrifice God made by sending his son to die on the cross for ME.  There isn't anyone on this earth that I would give up either of my children to save, but God did just that for me (and for you!).  I am grateful for his unfailing love and grace.  I am grateful that he loves me when I don't deserve it.  I am grateful that he cares about every aspect of my life.

I am thankful for my family.  Our beautiful little family of four.  My healthy babies.  I could not ask for more and could not be happier than where we are right now in life.  Wes, Tucker and Gracie are my world and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I am thankful for the rest of our family.  Our parents and siblings, niecies and nephews.  I am so thankful that Tucker and Gracie have cousins to grow up with and to make many memories with.  I am thankful that they are surrounded by so many family members that love them.

I am thankful for the amazing group of friends that Wes and I have, and their children.  I am thankful for their support and encouragement in our lives.

As the season of Thanksgiving comes to an end, it's nice to just take time to reflect on what all we are blessed with.  Sometimes these are things that we take for granted in our day to day lives.  The small things and the big things.


Help us to be thankful not just in this season of Thanksgiving, but all year round.  Thankful for the small things and the big things.  Help us to not take for granted the blessings you have graciously provided us and place a desire in our hearts to use those blessings to spread the gospel and glorify you.

Father, Thank you for sending your son to die on the cross so that we can spend eternity with you.  Thank you for first loving us, even when we did not deserve it.  Thank you for swiftly forgiving us of our sins, and freeing us from any guilt.

Thank you.


"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever."  1 Chronicles 16:34

Here are a few attempts at a family picture this Thanksgiving.  Getting two little ones to look at the camera simultaneously is near impossible!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Hearts are Forever Stretched

8 weeks old

My Sweet, Sweet Gracie,
Wow how time flies!  You are 9 weeks and a day today!  (Your "updates" are coming soon!)  I cannot believe it has been that long ago that you entered our family, then again, I can't believe it has only been 9 weeks!  You have fit seamlessly into our family and have stretched our hearts beyond imaginable!  (Now, don't let that lead you to believe things have always been smooth sailing!  We have had our ups and downs, but every 'down' has been worth it by far!)  I confess that before you were born I wondered how I would ever love two babies....but when you came, you brought with you an ability to love more than I ever dreamed possible.  And love you we do! 

You have your Daddy wrapped all kinds of ways around that little finger of yours!  It makes me smile and tear up at the same time to picture the way he looks at you.  He would do absolutely anything and everything for you.  He would literally move heaven and earth to make you happy!  Man do I feel bad for your future boyfriends!  They are gonna have it R-O-U-G-H!  You are "Daddy's Little Girl" for sure.  
2 weeks old

However, you and I have a very special bond too.  Gracie, Mommy loves you to the moon and back times infinite!  I can't look at you without feeling an overwhelming love for you that I struggle to put into words.  My heart over flows with love for you.  I thank God a thousand times a day for stretching our family and our hearts by blessing us with you.  
6 weeks old
And that brother of yours has loved you from the day he laid eyes on you.  You are HIS Baby Gracie.  Any time someone besides Mommy or Daddy hold you, he immediately becomes concerned.  "Mommy, get her!" he will direct me.  "That's MY Baby Gracie!"  I have a feeling that protective instinct he holds for you will be with him always.  While your future boyfriends may have a rough way to go when it comes to your Daddy, I'm thinking the one they will really need to watch out for is that big brother of yours!  Every chance he gets, he lays a kiss on you, hugs you, holds you.  He has to watch me change every diaper.  If you start to fuss he'll say, "Where's her paci at, Mommy?" and start to shush you or sing to you.  He loves when your hand touches him.  "Mommy! Baby Gracie touches me!"  He is completely in love with his baby sister.  This makes Mommy's heart smile SO big!  
Tucker 24 1/2 months, Gracie 4 weeks

Tucker 25 months. Gracie 8 weeks
And just look at the way you look that big brother!  You adore him and love him right back.  When he starts talking, you stop and listen then start to look around the room for him.  I'll tell Tucker, "Gracie's looking for you!" and he will come running with a huge grin on his face!  He can always make you smile and when he does, he'll say, "Gracie say I funny!"   
My babies

In one of the letters I wrote Tucker, I remember saying, "Our lives are
forever changed, forever better."  Little did I know then what our life would be like once it was again forever changed.  

We love you more than words could ever convey!  You are our "Lil Momma" and you have turned this family of 3 into a family of 4 and we are forever grateful for that!
Mommy loves you!!!

Tucker Meets His Baby Sister for the First Time

First Peek
Saying he was in love is an understatement!  It was so sweet to see how infactuated he was with her!
Of course, it helped that Gracie managed to get Tucker a blue semi-truck as a special "Big Brother" gift ;)

 He even came back for more the 2nd day :).  As soon as he walked in the room, he said, "Where's my Baby Gracie at?"

And what did Gracie think?  Well, she thought meeting her big brother was a a lot of work!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Welcome Baby Gracie!

Way WAY over-due.....

Anna Grace Keene
September 25th, 2011
9:54 pm

9 pounds, 1 ounce
20 1/2 inches

Absolutely perfect!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Tucker has so many friends to grow up with.  I am so thankful for that!  Boys and girls whose Mamas and Daddies Wes and I LOVE.  We feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing friends who have lil ones that are Tucker's age (and Gracie will have the same!). 

I tear up just thinking about what awesome plans God has for these kiddos.  There is no doubt they all will do wonderful things, many hand in hand :)

Here's Tucker with a couple of his BFF's!  These 3, along with several others, will undoubtedly make many memories together!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Welcome Baby Nash!

Michael "Nash" Yates
 September 21, 2011
8:25 am
7 pounds, 15 ounces
20 inches
Perfection :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm Bringing Sexy Back

I am so pregnant.

I mean I am REALLY pregnant.

I could write a book on some of the comments I've heard recently regarding just how pregnant I am. 

Just this morning, while getting a pedicure, the lady asked me what I was having.  After I told her a girl, she responded in her Asian accent with, "A BIG girl!" then her and the guy doing the pedicure next to me starting talking in a language I didn't understand.  I'm 100% positive it had something to do with the size of my stomach.

I am getting ZERO sleep at night.  Okay, maybe 20-30 minutes here and there.  My hands and wrists hurt from the pregnancy carpel tunnel and I'm feeling so much pressure "down there" that it keeps me up at night in pain and I'm surprised every morning that I wake up to find that Gracie hasn't stuck a hand out or something.  (Sorry if that was TMI...)

I have like two tops that fit well enough to cover my ever-growing belly.  My poor husband.  I'm sure the day he said "I do" he had no idea what he would have to put up with from his wife parading around in shirts that allow half her stomach to hang out!  It's a good thing he has a great sense of humor!  Last night, I sent him a picture text after I got out of the shower (he was in the basement) with the caption "I'm bringing SEXY back!"  What was the picture?  Well, it wasn't what you are probably picturing (and shame on you!).  It was something close to this:

Sexy, uh?

I'm pretty sure all the ice cream I've been eating this pregnancy has contributed to Gracie's larger than life size.  My doctor assures me this is not the case.  I think she's just being nice.

I have been praying for labor since last Thursday.  Now, I don't want Gracie to come at least until Friday.  My sister is having her c-section in the morning and my mom is keeping Tatum.  I need my mom to keep Tucker when I go into labor.  It will probably be my luck that I'll go into labor tonight or tomorrow!

Tucker bit a kid at school today.  I know, it's not really related to this post, but I probably won't get a chance to write a post on it.  Every day, his teachers have raved about how good he is, how well he listens, and what a great eater he is.  Today, I pick him up and before his teacher even has a chance to say anything to me, Tucker says, "No bite!  Not nice! [and something about a kid crying]."  My stomach sank.  Then his teacher proceeded to tell me how he bit a kid in the FACE!  I feel awful about it.  I talked to the other parent and made Tucker apologize even though his teacher had said he hugged the kid and said "sorry" right after he did it.  What do you do in that situation?  That's the first real biting incident we've had and I pray it's our last....

Last night I stayed up until midnight cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer.  I'll end on that.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Potty Days

This is not an unusual siting thing around these parts:

Fortunately, the owner of the abandoned diaper can usually be found here:

Tucker is doing really well with peeing and pooping on the potty!  Right now, we're just making it fun, not really pressing the issue.  We ask him throughout the day if he wants to go potty.  Sometimes we get a "No thank you" and other times we get, "Yes!"  Then there are times he initiates it himself by either telling us he has to go potty or tearing his diaper off and running to the bathroom.  If I have the patience and attention span to let him keep his diaper off, he will actually go potty several times. 

When he does go, he gets stickers (1 sticker for going pee pee, and 3 stickers for going poopy) for his Potty Chart.  After 6 stickers, he gets a prize (a small match car, his favorite thing!).  He has really taken to the Potty Chart and is quite proud of it! 
 *Please don't make fun of my lack of creativity regarding the Potty Chart!  I really do not have a hidden teacher inside of me and the only creativity bone in my body is probably found in my pinky finger...  Hey, it works lol!
He goes back and forth on how frequently he wants to use the potty.  Three days ago, he earned 8 stickers in one day!  Then, yesterday and Saturday he didn't want to use the potty at all. 

We're still proud of our almost-two-year-old (gulp!)!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

38 Weeks and 2 days

That's where we are. 

I found this representation of how big Gracie should be now at that gestational age:

The What to Expect App on my phone says she should weigh about 7 pounds.

Well, Gracie has been measuring big recently.  At my 37 week appointment (which was the day before I actually turned 37 weeks), my doctor scheduled an ultra sound to get a better gauge on her size.  At that point, she was estimated by the U/S tech to weigh approximately 8 pounds, 14 ounces (though she pointed out this could vary by a pound in either direction)! 

At my 38 week appointment, my uterus was measuring 44 centimeters!  What the big deal about that?  Well, the number of centimeters you measure should be consistent with the number of weeks you are.  That means I'm measuring 6 centimeters bigger than I should be....   (And, yes, I passed the glucose test with flying colors.)

At that appointment, my doctor offered to induce me.  I declined.  I'm barely dilated at 1 cm.  My body and my baby are just not ready yet (even if she's the size of a 3 month old right now!).  I was induced with Tucker due to high blood pressure at 38 weeks.  It was a very difficult labor, on both of us.  My goal this time has been to avoid induction if at all possible.  My doctor shared risks associated with having a big baby.  Though she also expressed that she didn't feel I was at the point where I HAD to go in that direction just yet.  She said it was up to me.

I hear about women giving birth to 10+ pounders all the time, without complication.  I also hear lots of stories of women who were told they were having 10 pound babies and birth 7-pounders. 

I have prayed about it and feel peace with my decision to not be induced last week.  I'm really hoping that Gracie makes her debut soon because at my 39 week appointment, if she has continued to grow at the same rate, induction may be the best route to go....

On another note, what's your thoughts on whether Gracie's going to look like her big brother or not?

Here is a glimpse of Gracie at 34 weeks:

And Tucker at 35 weeks:

Monday, September 12, 2011

22 Months

Tucker will be 23 months in a few days (WHAT?!).... 

But I have his 22 month "fun fact list" saved in the Notes App of my phone, where it has been since a few days before he turned 22 months....  As I read back over it today, I realized that I cannot just skip it, there are too many cute things that make me smile and that I want to remember about my Tucker Bug at 22 months.

1.  You are a little under 26 pounds and wear a 7 1/2 - 8 size shoe.
2.  When it's time to clean up, you sing the Clean Up Song. 
3.  You ask where something is ALL THE TIME.  You will say, "At?" over and over and over again.  No answer is ever good enough.
4.  You saw your first movie, Winnie the Pooh. 
5.  You are sleeping in your big boy bed and have been since day one.  Knock on wood, we have not had any issues (though you have fallen out twice...ooops!).  You have also not yet gotten out of your bed on your own from a nap or night-night.  Through the day, you get in and out while playing, but you know when your sound machine is on that you are to not get out.  When Daddy or I come in your room after you wake up, you will tell us, "Turn it off" indicating for us to turn your sound machine off so you can climb out of bed.
6.  You typically pee in the potty once a day.
7.  You always ask for a treat afterwards.
8.  You usually pick out cereal for your night-night snack.
9.  You will ask if something is "ours" so you can touch it.  This comes from times when we are out and you want something or want to touch something and we tell you that you can't because it's not ours.  For example, when we go on walks, you will say, "I wanna touch it" about every truck we walk pass.  I will tell you, "We can't touch that truck, it's not ours."  So, when we walk pass another truck, you will say, "Mommy, red truck ours?" 
10.  You refer to yourself as "Tucker Bug". 
11.  You always want the orange stars from your night-night turtle.
12.  You will always ask someone if they want what you want.  For example, if I say, "Tucker, do you want some pretzel sticks (or whatever)?"  You will ask Daddy, "Daddy, want pretzel sticks?" And you will have your head cocked to the side when you do.  It's so cute and shows how much you care about others :)
13.  We hear "do myself!" ALL THE TIME!  You are so independent!
14.  You have started to say "thanks" instead of "thank you".  It makes you sound so grown up!
15.  When you're going to do something mischievous, you will smile and say, "I stinker butt!"
16.  You always pick out a purple vitamin.
17.  You are into Big vs. Little.  If you have more than one of something that is two different sizes, you will always point out which is the big one and which is the little one. 
18.  You cut your top two 2-year old molars.
19.  If you hear someone pass gas, you ask them if they have to poop.
20.  If you hear someone say, "Owe!" you always ask if they are okay in a very concerned voice.  You are so caring :)
21.  Daddy taught you to say "Blue and White!" if you are asked what your favorite color is.  (But you leave out "and" and just say "Blue White!" :))
22.  You are truly Daddy and I's world!  (A spot that for only a short time longer you can claim as all your own....)  We love you to the moon and back times infinity, Tucker Bug!  Our hearts are overwhelmed with love for you!  Everything about you is absolutely perfect!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lots of Love has been Going into Gracie's Nursery :)

Memaw has spent HOURS sewing basket liners and the crib skirt!

Papa & Daddy hung the chandelier

Even Big Brother Tucker has gotten in on the action!

Helping Daddy!

Or maybe just being mischievous!

All that and loads more in preparation for our sweet baby girl! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tucker's First Day of School!

Today is Tucker's first day of school! 
(Actually, it's "Parent's Day Out" every Tuesday and Friday morning from 8:30-12:30.)
I'm so excited for Tucker because I know he is going to love it! 
Fun crafts and songs and games and lots of new friends! 

If all the fun he had at orientation is any indicator, he is in for a great time!

Checking out all the toys!

Tucker & Charlie
Tucker and Makenly

 Yup, he was definitely excited to be starting school this morning!

Sportin' his big boy backpack

All ready to go to school, Mommy!

Now, Mommy just needs to figure out how to be at home without my Tucker Bug and not feel weird lol! 

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Smelly Milestone!

Tucker poopied in the potty for the first time last weekend!

No, we are still not "officially" potty training, but that's because Mommy is being L-A-Z-Y.  I'm thinking Tucker's definitely ready (which means Mommy needs to get on the ball...).  Anyway, about once or twice a day, I'll let him go around without a diaper on.  We usually hang out around the bathroom, just in case he doesn't get that "gotta go" feeling until the last minute.  This typically consists of him sitting on the potty reading book after book, running to his room to grab a new one, and then returning to the potty.  Mommy hangs out in the hallway because, well, Tucker tells me to.  Yup, he wants to do his business in private.  He'll tell me, "Shut door Mommy" or "Do myself."  The funny thing is, he will read his books for about 20 minutes, decide he's done in the bathroom, run to the kitchen and then stop after a few seconds only to dart back to the bathroom and pee in the potty.  (What is it about the kitchen that makes him have to pee??) 

Ok, back to the poopy.  Last Saturday morning, we were going through the whole routine.  I was sitting in the hallway waiting to hear his potty sing indicating he had peed when I heard, "Uh oh....  Mommy??"  The way he said, "Mommy" made me think to myself, "Wonder what this is about..."  I knew I hadn't heard his potty sing.  I opened the door to find that Tucker had pooped in the potty!  I think he wasn't quite sure what had happened.  He seemed kinda confused until I became all excited and said, "Tucker!  You poopied in the potty!"  and yelled for Wes to come see.  And it wasn't just a little bit of poop, it was A LOT of poop lol!  (Don't worry, you're not about to see a picture of my son's poop below!) 

I'll be honest with y'all, the whole potty-training thing is not something I'm looking forward to.  For one thing, I learned today that cleaning poop out of a potty is a lot more yucky than changing a dirty diaper, why is that?  Secondly, it means that accidents are inevitable.  Having pee (or poop!) on my carpet is not something that sounds appealing.  Thirdly, it probably means a good 3+ days of house arrest until some kind of consistency is established.  Fourthly, anything that requires even the slightest bit of mental and/or physical effort is way too much right now for this 36 week and 4 day pregnant woman!  Maybe we'll hold off until after Christmas..... 

On another note, Daddy and I are so proud of you, Tucker!!! :)

*The above picture is a couple months old and from Daddy's phone, so please excuse the quality.  I realized I haven't taken a picture of Tucker on the potty in quite some time and posts are much more fun with at least some relevant picture, so this was the winner ;)  Also, I have had this post in draft form since last Saturday, waiting on an appropriate picture.  I've learned that hundreds of my posts go unpublished because of that very reason, waiting on a picture.  Therefore, in an effort to keep this virtual baby book up to date and document my babies regularly, I can't wait on the perfect picture ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Happy Birthday (a lil late) to My First Love

Happy Birthday Wes!!!!

To celebrate Wes's 32nd Birthday, here are 33 random things (because you need one to grow on!) about the man who still makes my heart skip a beat:

1.  He is the best father ever.  Tucker and Gracie are so blessed to call him Daddy!
2.  Also, the best husband ever.  Seriously, there is not anything else that I could ask for or from him.  He is amazing!
3.  He is one of the most selfless people I know.  He would do anything for anybody.
4.  He is a man of God. Truly. He lives his life to follow Jesus and is the godly leader of our family. I don't know what I did to deserve him and I don't deserve him, but I am so thankful to have been given such a gift from God.
5.  He used to never miss an episode of The Young & the Restless.  Yup, he started watching it when he was younger.  We watched it together when we started dating, and he got me a little hooked.  We haven't watched it in a long time now though.  However, I'm willing to bet he still looks things up on line about Y&R just to see what's going on.
6.  He is funny.  No, hilarious! 
7.  He is a remote hog.
8.  He has this 'move' or imitation that he does of a dinosaur from Jurassic Park.  It's pretty good too.  (lol!)
9.  He has every line of every old movie memorized.
10.  He is a true romantic at heart.  Seriously, the gifts he gives me and the letters he writes, so sweet.  He's way better at that stuff than I am.
11.  He would have liked to have joined the Airforce and been a fighter pilot.  (I'm very thankful that is NOT our lifestyle!)
12.  He loves pumpkin seeds.
13.  And Sea Salt Carmel Ice Cream, Kroger brand.
14.  He eats a bowl pretty much nightly, and always in bed.
15.  He is an amazing cook and grill-master.
16.  He was in the marching band and can still get busy on the snare drum.
17.  He pitched on the baseball team in high school and threw a really mean curve ball.
18.  He is always calm, cool and collected.
19.  He always knows the right thing to do.
20.  Has nick names that include 'Wuz', 'Lucky Dog', 'Wheels', & 'Collaliah'.
21.  His first car was a 1982 Oldsmobile '98.
22.  He sings in the shower, really loud.
23.  He used to be a teacher's pet in high school.
24.  He enjoys video games.
25.  He likes his stake medium-rare.
26.  He loves a good nap, especially on Sundays!
27.  He is really good at his job, which allows me to be a stay-at-home-most-of-the-time mom.
28.  He is a great spider killer.
29.  He has two younger sisters who look up to and admire him.
30.  All of his sisters' friends think he's super hot (of course I couldn't agree more!)!
31.  He scored almost a perfect score on his driver's test.
32.  He has a pair of aviator sunglasses that make him look like Usher.
33.  He used to sing me "Yeah-Yeah" songs (and I kinda miss them!).

Happy Birthday, Baby! 

Mommy, Tucker & Gracie 

Funny Thursday

Yesterday, Wes was changing Tucker's dirty diaper.  For Wes, this takes some concentrating.  So, he wasn't as attentive to Tucker as Tucker would have liked.  Here's what Tucker did about it:

Tucker:  "Daddy.  Daddy.  Daddy!  Daaaaaaddddddyyyyy!  [Wes still doesn't answer because he's focused on the 'dirty' task at hand.]  Wes!  Weeessss!!!"

Daddy:  "What did you call me?!"

Tucker, with a smile on his face:  "Daddy!"

I guess maybe it's time for Mommy to only refer to Daddy as Daddy! 

I thought that was funny and thought I would share. 

Happy Thursday!  :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

And She Shall Be Called....

Anna Grace

But around these parts, she's known as   Gracie  :) 

Or, as   Gracie Bear   by Daddy and I.

"Anna" is the name that Wes and I have had picked out for our future daughter for quite some time now.  Somewhat of a family name since my Mom's middle name is "Anne".  It's close enough to claim being named after Memaw, right?

My Sweet Gracie Bear,
Right now you are kicking and punching the heck outta Momma!  And I love every one of those jabs and drop kicks!  I am so excited to meet you, to hold you so close and kiss those sweet cheeks!  (But, no rush, you still have several weeks of growing to do yet!) 
There are so many things that I look forward to about having a daughter!  I hope that we will be best friends.  I hope that you will always know that you can come to me about anything and everything.  I hope that I'm the first person you want to come to about everything, good or bad. 
I look forward to the special bond we will have.  I can't wait to watch you and Tucker together, to see the look on his face when he meets you for the first time.  To watch you try to follow your big brother around.  And I am especially excited about the special bond that you and Daddy will have.  Daddy loves you so much, he lights up every time you're name is mentioned! 
Gracie, it's like you've always been a part of our family, like you've been in Mommy's belly forever (lol! thank goodness that's not the case!).  When Tucker says his night-night prayers, he always says, "Thank you Gracie Mommy's belly."  And, of course, Daddy and I always thank God for our sweet Gracie Bear!
We all love you SO, SO, SO, SO much, way more than words!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Baby Nash is on His Way!

Y'all remember that my sister's due date is only 2 days ahead of mine?  Well, did I tell y'all that she's having a boy!?  She already has the most beautiful 2 1/2 year old little girl, Tatum (her and Tucker are 8 months apart), and now, Baby Nash is on the way!  I know, isn't the name "Nash" so cute!  It's Holli's husband's great grandmother's maiden name.  There's just something I LOVE about family names like that!  "Michael Nash" is scheduled to be here on September 21st.

To celebrate his upcoming arrival, I had Holli and Nash a small baby shower at my house this past weekend.  Here's a few pics :)

Holli & Shelby
Isn't Holli absolutely beautiful?!  She's glowing!

Some silly shower games :)

Me & Holli (Baby Boy Yates & Baby Girl Keene :))
And can y'all PLEASE tell me what is wrong with this picture?!?!
 Why am I like ten times bigger than Holli?!  Remember, she's due 2 days  before me!  Now maybe I know why people look at me with pity when I tell them I have 7 1/2 weeks left....

Congratulations Holli!  I am SO excited to meet Baby Nash!!!  I love you so much!!!!  (And hurry up and grow a big belly already!  You're really making a sista look bad lol!)