What Every Mother Longs to Tell Her Son

I sent him off to camp for 4 days with his big sister and a bunch of friends from church. He packed his own duffle bag and I double checked it, adding socks and a toothbrush, not necessities to an 11 year old boy. When I arrived at the camp to get my kids, I spotted him in a group of boys who needed to brush down cowlicks and change shirts. He smiled when he saw me and hugged me–with his eyes. We both know our limitations in front of his peers.

Once we were home, stories and adventures spilled out from my weary kids coming down from a camp high. For the rest of the day, everywhere I turned, my son was my shadow. He sat next to me while I paid bills. He followed me into the kitchen and asked me where I was going every time I stood up. I gave him a questioning look (after I answered the bathroom at one point). “Mom, I just want to be with you.”


When nurses handed me that blue bundle of baby boy, I fell in love with his dark eyes and curly black locks.  It didn’t take me long to understood the other moms who said, “Oh, a boy? There’s nothing like the mother-son relationship.”  As he grew into a toddler, he bedazzled the world with his friendly waves and honest (often embarrassing) questions and comments. He tried to take everything apart with a hammer and put it back together with a screwdriver. He let his sister dress him like a princess and his dad dress him like a future athlete. I birthed the most easy-going, kind son a mother has ever known.

We sat next to each other in church the other day. He stands shoulder to shoulder to me now, knee to knee, constantly measuring to see if he’s taller (any day now). As he sang, I watched his adam’s apple bob, his handsome profile looking more tween than boy. I thought of his constant, sometimes annoying, noises and sounds, the way he still is the first to ask me how my day was and how he notices every time I wear something new. I thought about how he tenderly held babies in Kenya, how he can’t walk by the piano in the living room without playing the Star Wars theme song and how much I loved watching him fall in love with archery this year.

I felt the bubble of emotion well up, sitting there, taking in my son and I felt sad that more than half his time at home is over. I leaned over and whispered in his Daddy’s ear, “I wish we had more sons” and the words caught and I had to blink away tears.

My son looked at me then, not hearing what I’d said or seeing how my heart was swelling with love. I patted his hand. He didn’t look around to see who might see. He didn’t push my hand away. He held on. We sat the rest of the service hand-in-hand.

In those moments, without words, this is what I said to my only son:

I am the first girl you hugged.

I am the first girl you kissed.

I am the first girl you made laugh.

I am the first girl you made cry.

I am the first girl you hurt.

I am the first girl you held.

I am the first girl you tried to impress.

I am the first girl you flirted with.

I am the first girl you called pretty.

I am your mother.

No matter where you go in this life–how far you fly away from me–nothing will change that I was your first love.

WFMW: Family Chore Chart


I’m a work-at-home mom. I admitted a long time ago, I need help with household chores. Everyone usually pitches in to clean, but in our effort to stop some of the entitlement that has crept into our home, momma made a family chore chart.

And all the kids groaned. Parents high-fived.

My kids have been doing their own laundry since they turned eight years old. My son can (almost) mow the law himself, my daughter is a great babysitter and my youngest feeds the pets. We handle their rooms differently than we used to. It’s always been a battle. (In other words, I have heart palpatations in messy rooms). More than six months ago, I decided not to make my kids rooms a battleground any longer. Once a week, we expect it to be cleaned, clothes off the floor, beds made clean. It works for us.

photo copy

I really didn’t add much to their “workload” on the chore chart. I mainly created it because I felt like we needed more structure to cut out the debate of who did what last. I also decided it’s time my kids help prepare our meals. It’s great one-on-one time and it teaches them something they need to learn. Here’s where I insert a picture of my youngest covered in pancake batter “helping” me, but I was too busy cleaning it up to take a picture.

photo copy 2

Getting kids to actually do the chores is often half the battle. We have found the AB plan to work well for us (usually.) B (something fun–free time, screen time, treat, etc) doesn’t happen until A happens (chore or whatever you’ve asked them to do). The key is not repeating yourself a million times (I’m still working on that).

There’s just something special about men doing dishes.


For our chore chart, I wanted something that could be easily filled in. Here are some great printable ideas:

It’s working for us, so far!

What I Love About Stitch Fix {Giveaway}

*Updated with Winner* Congrats to random commenter #32, Tara (check your email)!

By now, y’all have all heard of Stitch Fix, right? It might be my favorite mail ever. I wrote about my first fix here. Since, I’ve received 3 more. I thought I’d share an update. I usually keep a little something from my box and it’s generally a piece of clothing I WOULD NEVER CHOOSE. And that’s exactly why I love it: the clothes are Stylist approved….the only thing in my life which falls into that category.

Here’s what I’ve kept:

1. This airy red flutter blouse is something I would never have tried on. I love the ruffles on the sleeves. It has tiny blue anchors on the print.

2. Again, I would have never chosen this peacock print top, but it’s one of my favorites. I love the tie at the front.

red  photo copy

3. I love how tall this dress makes me look (feel). At 5’2, I don’t even try on maxi dresses. I’m glad Stitch Fix didn’t know that! I can’t wait to wear it to the beach with my hubby in a couple of weeks.

4. Chevron is the latest rage and this is my first time to wear it. I like the asymmetrical hem and it looks awesome with Mercy House beads.

5. This super cute, new favorite soft white top is so feminine. I love the lace on the back. I’m a jeans kind of girl and this is something I would have picked out! I love this top.


What I love about Stitch Fix:

  • While the clothes cost more than I would normally spend, even after choosing the cheapest option they have (most of the above items were around $38), it’s all I’m buying these days. I typically grab clothes on the Target clearance rack and when I get home I realize my clearance top doesn’t match anything or it doesn’t hold up well. And now, I have no desire to shop for clothes because I know Stitch Fix is coming!
  • Even though you have to make a quick stitch decision (3 days to return the box), there’s free shipping and you don’t have to go to the store with your three kids to try on clothes.
  • I love that I can try on the items in the box (5 things come in every box, sometimes one item is jewelry) with clothes from my closet.
  • It’s so easy and time-saving! I don’t ever have to go to the mall again (!!), but don’t tell my teen daughter that. It cost $20 a month to get your fix on, but that amount is deducted from your box.
  • Stitch Fix has an amazing referral program. They give you $25 credit for every person you tell! I’ll keep getting a stitch fix (at least until I run out of credit). They also offer gift cards. What a great, fun gift to give!
  • Each piece of clothing comes with a picture card on various ways to wear the shirt or dress, etc. I need all the help I can get.

Today, I’m giving away a $50 gift card for one lucky person. Leave a comment and tell me if you’ve ever tried it. You can sign up here (my referral link) and start getting your own referral credits by sharing it with your friends! P.S. Stitch Fix accommodates sizes 0-14. I hope they have plans for more sizes soon. Also, if you end up on the waiting list, don’t be discouraged. It’s usually a quick wait!

The Ends of the Earth and Other Places I Cannot Find


  • I am dropping my kids at their grandparent’s farm in 10 days and flying to HAWAII with my man!!
  • [Related] My husband and I updated our will in case the plane crashes and I might have lay awake at night WITH ALL THE THOUGHTS. Am I the only mom who  can actually put a damper on going to Maui (for free)? Yes, I think I am.
  • I’ve spent the summer getting caught up on personal health maintenance. I’ve had a mole check, eye exam, (I still flinch at the dreaded eye puff), blood work, dental visit, B12 injections and a mammogram later this week. You know that saying, “It’s hell getting old?” I get that now.
  • I’ve said this 44 times this summer to my kids:  “You are in trouble” (and we both know I have no idea what the punishment is going to be). Ah, summer…
  • I walked into a music store to ask what my son needed for 6th grade band (percussion) the other day and ended up with a large bill and a rented marimba. Giving birth to musical kids is expensive. And noisy.

photo copy

  • My six year old went to an afternoon DIVA sing-a-long camp at the YMCA last week and came home singing every song from the 80’s I wasn’t allowed to listen to. “Mom, why didn’t you tell me about Madonna and material girl?” Um.

photo copy 2

  • I snuck off to an early morning breakfast with my former neighbor, Bridget and she brought me cookies. When I got home, I hid them in the kitchen and ate them one by one without even telling my family.


  • She dressed herself for church yesterday. She was totally serious about the “shoes” (which are actually gloves from a favorite. Tickle Monster Laughter Kit).

photo copy 3

  • Things come out of my mouth and I have no idea what they mean: What really happens after counting to 3 anyway? The other day I grounded my oldest two to ‘the ends of the earth.’ I have no idea what that means. My mom used to say it. But it did make me feel better. My son replied, “The earth is round, Mom.” He had a point.
  • I handed my son his lost hair comb (he’d been borrowing my brush for two days) and he returned to my bedroom with wet spiked hair. “Mom, you can lend a boy a comb and give him good hair for a day. But give him a comb and he will have it for a lifetime.” I don’t know where my kids get their sarcasm.
  • I think this is the 3rd time I’ve mentioned  this book  in the last two weeks, but it is rocking our world. We read 3 chapters just last night! We still have a few to go, but I cannot recommend it enough for family reading (ages 6+)


DIY: Pallet Headboard



She saw a pallet headboard at a flea market and had to have it.

I saw the price tag and said keep walking.

But my 13 year old daughter didn’t forget the bed and she showed a picture to her Dad and batted her long lashes for months. She didn’t know if he could make it, but she knew he would try.

Because he’s that kind of a Dad.

Supplies for our $50 Pallet Headboard:

2-3 weathered pallets

2 2×4’s

light kit (optional)

Old barn wood would have worked well, but we couldn’t find any. So my husband asked a local store for a couple of pallets and got them for free (score!) Prying off the pieces of weathered wood was the hardest part of this project. But Terrell had plenty of helpers.

photo 2 copy

photo 1

Once the wood was off the pallet, it was nailed to the 2×4’s.

photo 3

My hubby found a cool vintage-looking lamp kit at Home Depot and cut a hole to attach it. It plugs into the wall.

We lightly white-washed the wood for a funky feel and moved it upstairs to my daughter’s room.

photo 2

She is thrilled with it! And she’s pretty impressed with her Dad. “Mom, I’m going to marry someone just like him someday. A man who can do anything!”

2013-06-25 22.45.22

I think she likes it.

And I like him even more.