Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Hello, Old Friend.

You know that one piece of clothing?

That one that you put on and it just makes you feel good, no matter what it looks like or how it looks on you?  That one that you've had for ages and brings back so many memories?

For me, this piece of clothing is my purple sweatshirt.

My mom and I found it at either Steinmart or TJ Maxx about ten years ago.  I was in search of warm clothes for my first PK/MK retreat in seventh grade.  I fell in love with it immediately, despite the fact that I never have (and never will) like purple.

It became my constant winter companion for the next few years.  Those of you who knew me in middle school and even high school will probably remember this sweatshirt making its appearance at youth retreats and winter outings.

I pulled out some of my winter clothes today.  My purple sweatshirt was at the bottom.  I smiled when I saw it and pulled it out lovingly.  "There you are, old friend," I thought to myself, realizing that I hadn't even pulled it out last winter because of being pregnant (it probably would have still fit, as it's huuge).

I tried it on, noticing how misshapen it is from all the wear.  I saw the bleach stains on the sleeve from one time when I cleaned the kitchen sink for my mom, unwittingly bleaching my beloved sweatshirt as I worked.

Immediately, I pulled it on, relishing the feel of it.  It's not quite as soft as it once was, but that's okay.  It's faded and out of style, but that's okay, too.  It's my purple sweatshirt, and I will always love it.

I looked for a picture of me wearing this sweatshirt when I was younger, but couldn't find one among my digitals. :( 
I'll have to check my hard copy pictures (yay, early 2000's).

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Isn't it funny how perspective can really change things?  I mean, I know that it can't actually change something, but it certainly alters our perception.

I'm reminded of the 2008 movie, Vantage Point, in which a crime is pieced together by interviewing witnesses who all had a different physical perspective of what happened.  It fascinates me how the whole picture can be seen by compiling perspectives.

There are things in life that also require perspective.  Motherhood is one of them.

As a child, I viewed my mom as a source of protection, comfort, and discipline (lots of discipline--I was not the most well-behaved child).

As a teenager, I perceived her as an obstacle that stood in the way of my independence, an authority figure that I did not need or want.

As an adult, I found that she became more like a mentor/friend--someone I could always count on to provide good advice and a listening ear.

But now that I am myself a mother, I see my mom in a whole new light:  The sacrifices that she made daily for me and my siblings.  Sacrifices like sleep, time, and energy--all things that seem so insignificant when there is plenty to be had, but are so hard to give up.

I am only three months into this whole "being a mom" thing and I have to say that it is extremely hard.  It's hard when my baby wakes me up at 2am after he's been sleeping through the night for over a month.  It's hard when he again wakes me up at 6am when he's been waking up at 8am for two weeks.  It's hard when he decides he only wants to take a 45-minute nap when I have tons of reading to do for school.  It's hard when he is crying for no apparent reason other than wanting to be held when I again have schoolwork to accomplish or dinner to prepare.  It's hard not being able to run errands and/or go out in the evenings because it interferes with his schedule.

But you know what?  I would not trade any of it for the world.  My mom was and is a champion for all of the hard work that she put in to raising ten children (and still does, as most of my siblings are still under sixteen).  I hope I can be half as amazing at being a wife and mother as she is.

So who is my mom?

Put all the perspectives together. ;)
(Except the teen one... teenagers have the most wacked out perspectives ever!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Piper

I have a yellow labrador retriever named Piper.  Drew and I got her last August... and incidentally got pregnant with Gabriel about a week or so later.  After having this adorable puppy (yes, she is still a puppy--labs are considered puppies until they're two) for almost a year now, I have had a chance to observe her at her best... and at her worst.

Worst-- peeing a river on the floor every time she is greeted
Best-- only having three accidents in the house (excited pee not included)
Worst-- pulling my arm out of its socket on walks
Best-- helping me get out of the house to walk while pregnant
Worst-- eating everything we put in her crate (this includes beds and towels)
Best-- not minding being in her crate for hours while we go to church/small group
Worst-- chewing the shag rug in our living room
Best-- I don't like the shag rug :)
Worst-- being completely unruly whenever we see dogs/people on our walks
Best-- absolutely loving children

This last aspect of Piper's disposition is the one I love the most.  When my brother, Anderson, came to stay with us, Piper fell in love.  Anderson was a little skittish around her at first (understandable, considering her size and playfulness... not to mention her whip of a tail), but after a day or so, he warmed up to her completely.  They played tag together and Piper let Anderson boss her around, although she didn't listen to any of his commands, probably because she couldn't understand him.  He called her "Hopper" and repeated "Hopper, hit!" incessantly.  (Translation, "Piper, sit!")  Piper also let Anderson poke her eyes, pull her ears, and touch her teeth.  I was very impressed.

A few days ago, Gabriel started to notice Piper.  He follows her with his eyes, completely fascinated.  Then, two days ago, I was changing Gabriel's diaper and Piper was laying very close to us as she usually does (labs have no concept of personal space, in case you didn't know).  Gabriel started flailing his hands and touched her, grabbing a handful of her neck in his little grasp.  It was accidental, but Piper didn't know that.  She got all excited and started sniffing his face while Gabriel tried to suck on her nose.  Then, Piper found his hand and proceeded to lick it for about 10 seconds.  Gabriel laid there, completely still, with a look of awe on his face.  It was priceless.  I wish I'd gotten it on video.

Needless to say, I have the best dog in the world... despite her "worsts." :)
Anderson + Piper = BFFs.
Piper on the shag rug.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Family Vacations

Family vacations are beautiful things.  As long as I can remember, I have loved the time away with my parents and siblings.  The road trip to our destination was always a highlight, despite the many fights and arguments and tears that occurred -- a natural result of eleven people being cramped together in one vehicle for hours on end.

Searching for license plates from every state with my sisters.
Watching the scenery of America pass by out the window.
Attempting to make sandwiches while my dad barreled down the interstate well above the speed limit.
My dad refusing to stop for potty breaks except at meals.
Arguing about who would sit in the dreaded back seat.
Reading too many books to count.
Blasting music from the terrible car speakers.
Harmonizing with my sisters to every song.
Complaining when my parents turned the music down (apparently it was always louder in the front seats, even when faded to the back).
Staying at sketchy motels with weird slogans, like "Stay Where the Stars Stay" in Nashville.

These are only a few of the things that consisted of a typical Morrow road trip.  I must say, in spite of the stress, cramped quarters, and inevitable conflict, I miss those times.

This year, Gabriel and I met my family in Colorado Springs, where we are staying with my aunt and uncle.  Unable to miss a lot of work, Drew joined us just yesterday evening.  In listening to my siblings and parents recount the fun (and horror) of the four-day road trip they took to get here, I cannot help but feel a little sad.

My solace lies in the hope that, one day, I will be able to recreate the road trips that will forever live fondly in my memories for my own children.  Yes, even the tears and creepy lodgings.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I have a confession.

I am pretty much addicted to Smallville.

Drew and I finished all eight seasons in probably less than a year.  We then took a break while we waited for the ninth season to finish up.

That idea was a really good one, considering I was being visited by Clark and Lois in my dreams.  I even dreamed that I was Lois and Drew was Clark a few times.  Those were pretty awesome dreams!

We just started the ninth season and, holy cow, I think it's going to be the best one yet.  I'm already getting re-addicted.

I think I'm going to get my hair cut like Chloe next time I'm in Virginia.  Her cowlick gives me hope.

I think she might have a double crown, as well, so you know it's destiny. ;) There are only so many ways we cowlick-cursed people can wear our hair and it actually look good.

Okay, I must go now and be productive while I anticipate the possibility of watching another episode with Drew tonight...

♥ TL

Life Moves Quickly

As a very experienced mother of four weeks (haha), I have come to the conclusion that life goes by too fast.

I have been watching my infant son grow right before my eyes.  Sometimes I wish I could just stop the clock and freeze him right as he is now:  before his poop smells and while just looking at random things like ceiling fans can make him grin from ear to ear.

However, I can't stop time from moving, no matter how much I would like to!

I realized this truth more fully when Gabriel decided that it was time to roll over.

At four weeks old.


I have a video as proof.  This was the third time he rolled over fully, but the first time I could catch it on video.  He's also rolled from his tummy to his side a few times.

Needless to say, he is growing up WAY too fast for my liking. :(

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

To Nap or Not to Nap

As I sit here writing this, I am listening to my little guy cry in the other room. :( He does not like to go to sleep.  Of course, once he does, he doesn't want to wake up for the world.  Sounds a lot like me when I was younger.  Since becoming a mom, however, I actually relish bedtime!

I've been reading that 15-20 minutes of crying is not bad for a baby; that some babies cannot fall asleep without expending energy crying; that babies need to learn to fall asleep on their own without a sleep aid (such as nursing, rocking, or swinging).

But I still hate to hear my baby cry!  It's a heart-wrenching sound.  In the long-run, I know it's better to just let him cry, but it's so hard knowing that I can do something about his distress and shouldn't.

There... he's stopped.  It wasn't that long of a cry this time.  Of course, he cried off and on through his first morning nap, and then I gave in half-way through his second one and put him in his swing.  I have no doubt that he is exhausted... and maybe he's already started to learn...

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Miracle of Life

It's amazing to me that one of God's greatest miracles happens every day and that average people like myself get the privilege to participate in it.

On Friday afternoon, my son came into the world.  It was a miracle and that's really the only way I know how to describe it.  It was both the hardest day of my life and the most beautiful.  Yes, I believe it was an even more beautiful day than the day Drew and I got married.  The amount of work that went into giving birth to Gabriel made the reward of holding him in my arms for the first time the most amazing moment of my life.  Drew and I both feel that the day was more special than our wedding, because it was the culmination of what happened that day as we covenanted together to become a family under God.

In any case... the last couple of days have been amazing, as well.  Although they have been rough at times (like when Gabriel slept only three hours one night and cried inconsolably the rest of the time), overall, it has been absolutely incredible.

Holding the precious bundle of joy that God gave us to raise...
feeling inexplicable love for a little person I have only just met...
staring into his beautiful face as he sleeps in my arms...
having him study my face with interest...
snuggling him close as I nurse him...
hearing him breathe and make baby noises...
seeing him calm down from crying as I swaddle him...
knowing that I am his main source of food, love, and care.

Motherhood is turning out to be so much more beautiful that I could ever have dreamed.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Things don't always turn out how you plan them.  However, often the best surprises are born when you least expect them. :)

On Tuesday afternoon of this week, I visited my chiropractor whom I have been seeing weekly during the last two months of my pregnancy.  After adjusting me and taking a "look" at Gabriel, he informed me that, while my body was ready for delivery, the baby was nice and happy where he was and probably wouldn't be born until Monday, maybe Tuesday.  On Thursday, my midwife told me the same thing at my weekly appointment.

With that in mind, and with a four-day weekend stretching in front of us, Drew booked two nights at the Gaylord Texan for us to have a little getaway before Gabriel's arrival.  Before checking in, we ate dinner at Saltgrass Steakhouse, one of my favorite restaurants.  We got to the hotel and checked in around 8:30 and watched the end of the Office before turning in around 9:30.  It usually takes me a while to go to sleep, and being at the end of my pregnancy was not helping matters.  It was around 10:45 before I started drifting off.  Just then, my water broke!

I woke Drew up after making use of the toilet and we made the decision to make the drive home.  Fortunately, the hotel gave us a refund, since we'd only been checked in for like 3 hours.  We made it home at around 12:15 and went to bed.  By this time, I was tired and had no trouble falling asleep.  About two hours later, I woke up with my first contractions.

Around 7am, we headed in to the birthing center and Gabriel made his entrance into the world ten hours later at 5:16pm... one day before his due date.

Drew's four-day weekend is proving to be most valuable now!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Past Two Months

This is terrible.  I can't believe I haven't updated about Baby in over two months.  Actually, I can.  March and April were absolutely crazy with school.  I could hardly focus on my last assignments, as I was looking forward to being finished and being able to devote all my time to preparing for Gabriel to arrive.  It was hard to care about Romeo and Juliet and Huckleberry Finn (the subjects of my final papers for two of my classes) knowing that in a few short weeks, I would be a mommy. :)

In any case, I finished up (and managed to pull all A's) and began working on projects around the house.  Some may call it nesting, but I'm not sure if I'm to that point yet.  With everything I've heard about nesting, I feel like it's random inspiration to do random projects around the house -- like organizing spices that you haven't touched in a year.  These projects have been on my plate for a looong time; I'm just forcing myself to do it before Baby's arrival, as I know my time afterwards will be... better spent. ;) But maybe I am nesting.  I don't know.

So far, I have cleaned out our closet and the guest closet (making room for all of Gabriel's stuff; that room will eventually be the nursery).  Both Drew and I had tons of clothes and shoes that we just didn't wear any more.  It was kind of unreal.  So, about four boxes and five large bags later, I made a couple runs to the good will.  It felt good to get all that stuff off of my hands!  I still have a box in my car and one in the closet... just in case I find anything else that needs to go.  I also finished all of the thank you cards from both of my baby showers and washed all of the new baby clothes/blankets and put them away in a nice, orderly fashion.  Five loads of baby laundry was a project in itself, needless to say.

My next project is either to reorganize the kitchen or the master bathroom, depending on my level of energy and commitment.  The kitchen is a huuge project, as I never really organized it when I got married.  I just kind of stuck stuff wherever it would fit and moved it around as I got more things.  It's a mess.  The bathroom cabinets are semi-organized... just junked out.  What I really need is to get shelves put in them (for some reason the builder didn't think to put those in?), but I doubt that'll happen before Baby.

So, that's been my life for the past two months.  Meanwhile, I'm getting bigger and more uncomfortable. I am also trying to take a 30 minute walk every day; apparently it helps to build the muscles that I'll need for labor/delivery.  It's incredibly hard, especially now that I'm starting to have PMS-like cramps nearly every day, but I know it'll be worth it.

One week and five days until my due date!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Be Her Freedom

This weekend, we had an amazing guest speaker at church--Christine Caine, from Hillsong Church in Australia.  She is staying this week to speak at the women's conference that I will be attending Thursday through Saturday and I am SO excited.  She shared a powerful message at the weekend services... prefaced by a video for a ministry that she supports:  The A21 Campaign.  I was in tears by the end of the video, which shares about sex trafficking.  The statistics were overwhelming.

The story struck home for me because it was about a young Bulgarian girl who was trapped in this world.  My fifteen-year-old cousin lives in Bulgaria.  All I could think about through the video was "What if that was her?"  But for the grace of God, protecting my family serving as missionaries in that country, it very well could be.

I plan to support this ministry first and foremost through prayer and fasting.  I also aim to raise awareness and to support this incredible ministry financially when I can.

The average age of victims is 14.
99% of victims are NOT rescued.
Be Her Freedom.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Easy Roast Beef

Last night, I made Drew’s favorite meal:  roast beef with mashed potatoes and baked asparagus.  It was pretty bangin’, if I do say so myself. ;) Anyway, the roast turned out so well that I thought I’d share my “secret family recipe.”  It’s apparently not as secret as my chocolate chip cookies.

In any case, this roast was originally perfected by Drew’s grandmother, who passed it down to her daughter-in-law (Drew’s mom, in case you weren’t following), who passed it down to me.  It’s incredibly simple and almost impossible to overcook; although admittedly, it does taste better when it’s tender (I would know—I left it in too long the first few times).

Start out with a good cut of round rump roast.  You will know it’s a good cut if there is a thick layer of fat on one side—the thicker the better!  (Mine is only mediocre in fat thickness, but meh.)  In order to prepare it for the oven, all you have to do is put salt and pepper on each side of the roast.  It helps to pat it into the meat.  It's kind of impossible to put too much pepper.  I always pepper conservatively because I don't like it, but Drew's mom puts a TON, and it always tastes amazing. :)

After you're done salting and peppering, stick the roast in a 9x13 and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about an hour per pound.  This roast was two pounds, so I cooked it for a little under two hours.  Just so you know, a two pound roast for two people will result in LOTS of leftovers.  I would recommend getting a one to one-and-a-half pounder.  Honestly, I asked for one of those at Tom Thumb, but they gave me a two-pound rump.  Oh, well.  We like leftovers.

After it's done cooking, the roast needs to sit and "rest" for about twenty-thirty minutes, so I don't usually start making the side items until it's already out.  After it has rested, carve away and enjoy!

(As you can see from the picture, my roast flopped over and refused to cook fat-side up.  If this happens, don't panic.  I just flipped it to the other side half-way through cooking and everything turned out fine.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Wiggles

There really is something surreal about having life inside of you.  Sometimes, when I'm busy doing other things, I forget that I'm expecting.  That is, until Gabriel decides to remind me of his presence with a wiggle or two.  Sometimes it's just enough to remind me that he's there; other times, it's enough movement to make me pause in whatever I'm doing and just feel him.  It's incredible.  Pregnancy is incredible.  Sure, it's often uncomfortable and tiring, but that feeling that a little person is growing inside of me makes all of the hardship so worth it.

I feel so blessed that God has honored me with the gift of giving life to another.  There is such a joy and contentment that comes with knowing that I am fulfilling the purpose to which God has called me:  being a wife and mother.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I realize that this is almost one week late, however, there is good reason. :) Because of Drew's crazy studying schedule, we were unable to celebrate on Sunday (although he was a great husband and still got me candy and a card).  Instead, we planned to celebrate on Thursday, our weekly "date night."

He woke me up yesterday morning by cuddling close (my favorite way to wake) and whispering "Happy Louis Valentine's Day" in my ear before kissing me.  It was very sweet.  On his way out the door to work, I asked him what we were doing that evening and he said, quite cryptically, "I don't know... or maybe I do, and I'm surprising you."  This statement was accompanied by a wink before he left, leaving me to curiously wonder what he had up his sleeve.

At about two, he called me and told me to be ready by five-thirty and to have our puppy fed and taken out because we'd be out late.  No more details were given and I didn't ask.  Surprises aren't my favorite things in the world, but I like them four days out of the year:  Valentine's, birthday, anniversary, and Christmas. :)

As soon as I hopped (figuratively, I am six months pregnant, after all) into the car, Drew handed me an envelope and wished me a happy Valentine's day again.  Upon opening the envelope, I found two tickets to go see Phantom of the Opera the National Tour.  It had just come to Dallas the previous night and we had talked about maybe going to see it.  I was SO excited.  One of my life's dreams is to see that musical on a London stage... but seeing it in Dallas with my husband (and Gabriel wiggling throughout the whole performance) was so very, very special.

We had just enough time to go eat at Cheesecake Factory before the musical started!  I didn't get cheesecake, because I have issues with acid reflux (and I still have leftover chocolate from Sunday), but it was still a wonderful dinner.

We upgraded our seats after we got there to the twelfth row.  We weren't center stage, but they were still amazing seats.  I could not believe that I was sitting there, so close to the stage, about to see Broadway's longest running musical.  When the music started, I nearly cried (I blame the hormones).

In any case, it was seriously the best Valentine's day and the best date night that I have ever experienced.  If anyone doubts that my husband is the best husband in the world, those doubts should be laid to rest. :)

♥ TL


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