Monday, December 9, 2013

For God Loves a Cheerful Giver

"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."  2 Corinthians 9:7

Yesterday I cried.

About ten minutes ago, I cried.

Both occurred because the thought of cold and hungry people overwhelmed me.  Yesterday I saw a picture of a dying, starving child.  This morning I was explaining to my son that some people don't have food to eat.

This should make you cry, too, actually.  You should not be able to see an image of a starving child and just move along.  You should not be explaining hunger to your child without being moved by it. 

We are by no means rich, but we are absolutely not poor.  We have nice things.  We have a lot of things.  We can go to the grocery store and not have to add up everything we put in our carts to make sure we have enough money to pay for it.  

We have so much stuff in fact, we are able to donate it. We are actually able to give away stuff for FREE because we have such an abundance.  I am overwhelmed by how much stuff we have to the point I am anxious about the clutter.

Seeing that image made me pause and say, "What the hell are you doing, Emily?  Why are you so materialistic?" I really need to start giving more, reaching out to those who need true help.  I need to teach my children that you give without one thought of receiving, that if you have it, give it, never boast about what you have, give, give, give.  You'll never regret being kind.

What activities do you do with your kids to show them the spirit of giving?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Do you ever feel as though you're meant to do something big?

I have that feeling right now and I can't really describe it.  I try to be kind and do nice things, hold doors open, help a mom with her kid, smile at a stranger, give up my seat for someone else, send cards to people just because, check in on loved ones; just this morning I paid for someone's Starbucks.  But all these little things aren't filling in the spot that I have...

Not sure if I need to volunteer, get my hands on something and really make a difference??

What do you do to fill that void?  What kind acts or volunteer work do you do?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Back To School

I have only teared up once today, so this will be quick so I can stay strong!

We did our pictures, did the drop off, and I handled it all pretty well.  Then Carter (who is sick and can't go to school yet) and I went to Dunkin Donuts.  Cause, why not?  Things were going great.

Until I listened to "Cups" from the movie Pitch Perfect.  It's so NOT a song to cry to, but one of the lyrics is "you're gonna miss me when I'm gone."  Well gosh darnit if that isn't the truth.

The kids could be driving me batsh!t crazy but as soon as I am away from them, I miss them.


So I was tearing up, told Carter I can't believe they are in school and growing up, and my wise one said, "Mom, it's ok, everyone grows up.  But our voices are the same.  And we'll always be your babies."

Bingo.  Everyone does in fact grow up, their little voices are still sweet and loving, and no matter how old they get, they will ALWAYS be my babies.

Happy first day of school Team P, minus CJ.  You get to be home alone with me today!!

 My birds! GB-3, HR-2, CJ-4

 I love a nice awkward family photo!

 Harpie is on her own, but God is she cute!

 There we go, babycakes!  Join the group.

 CJ insisted on a backpack shot.

And I am selfish and vain and made CJ take a pic of us!  I love Gabo in this pic!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hobo Harp

My wild woman is two!!!  I cannot believe.  We officially have no more babies in our house.  No more gate protecting the stairs, no monitors in bedrooms, no more worrying if she can handle herself around her siblings.  AND she starts school soon.

Time is flying!

Harper is our sunshine.  Her eyes are big and round, her smile even bigger, and her personality is huge. Last week when Marc came home from a business trip she practically tackled him when she saw him.  Even her love is big.

I feel blessed to have this one.  She will be the one that puts our parenting to the test, but I appreciate that about her.  She climbs on to everything, is always getting naked, starting fights, throwing tantrums, being sassy...but she is the one always laughing, always smiling, and always dancing.

Our petite little girl doesn't know she is little.  She's like the opposite of those big dogs that want to be lap dogs.  Nothing intimidates her, nothing gets her down (unless you take nail polish away, she's not too fond of that), there isn't a thing she won't do.  She's never let her size determine her actions, she's right there with Carter and Gabe, doing whatever they are doing.  She doesn't realize she's the baby.  She doesn't realize that maybe she shouldn't try everything they try.

But she goes after it.

Always going.

Always on the move.

Gosh she makes me smile.

And she is wicked smart.  So smart.

My emotions are keeping me from writing much.  My brain is all over the place today.  When I see her, I see this:

But she is really all of this:

Our nickname for her is "Hobo Harp" because as she comes across articles of clothing and shoes, she puts them on.  Sometimes it's Gabe's shirt with Carter's pants, and mismatched shoes.  Other times it's Marc's socks and my sandals.  You just never know what she'll come out wearing.

Harper baby, keep that sunshine personality, you make people smile, and I love that about you.

You're awesome.

When you were just a wee babe, I would swaddle you up, hold you in my arms, and dance to The Beatles' "I Am the Walrus".  I miss those days.  Now you're wiggly and not as interested in me swaddling you.  But at least you are willing to dance beside me.  May we always dance together!

I love you!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Four Babies

After my first two birdies were born I immediately wanted another.  I knew in my soul I wanted more children.

After my third, nope, nothing, nada.  I didn't have that feeling for awhile.  It was sort of always in the back of my mind, but not this URGE to procreate right away.

It took awhile to show up, but it did.  And then it went away.  Much like the ocean, the waves would come and go.

Whenever I'd get the really, really strong desire, my kids would lose their minds and turn in to hooligans.  Locked up inmates. Monkeys at the zoo.  I mean, terrible little beings.  It was as if they knew I wanted another baby and they were going to act so awful I would never want another one.

It worked every time.

But something interesting happened this last go round of me wanting a fourth baby, they turned in to angels! Harper has been sleeping better than she has ever in her life (I'm sure I just jinxed that), Gabriel is A+ awesome these days (thanks Kim B.), and Carter is her usual saintly self.  School is about to start which means I'll have some alone time....whatever that might be.

So, yeah, those of you with four (I can actually only think of one sorority sister that has that many), how did you decide to have the fourth?  Did you just feel it and went with it or did it take you awhile while you thought through the pros and cons?

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Day Team P Began

Five years ago, today, I took the most important walk of my life.  I walked right toward my future.

I walked to my future of three babies, a few jobs, MANY cars, a couple of moves, a back surgery, a broken toe, a million laughs, some tears, lots of singing and dancing, and a whole lot of love.  A future of doctor appointments, OT appointments, school meetings, and late night sicknesses.  Worry, confusion, heartache and bliss, joy, and love love love.

I walked toward a future filled with unconditional love and support.  I never feel pressure to be anything but me, kookiness and all.  I never feel that I need or want anything else, because he's given me everything I could have ever asked for...and more.

I could never count the number of times he has taken my hand and led me through pain.  He held my hand during one very long labor, three c-sections, a number of colds, countless crying fits, and he's even held my hand when I've been the worst version of myself.  He's never made me feel bad about that last one.

He has made me better.  He graciously gave me his name and hopefully I've graciously lived up to it.

He's the guy that works hard all day long and comes home to a mad house.  He never complains about changing diapers, giving baths, fixing dinner, hunting down woobies, blankies, and binkies.  He has never made any of us feel like a burden.

The man I married five years ago was energetic, enthusiastic, goofy, loving, and a really good person.  That man stands by my side today and I am grateful.

I know I don't deserve his love, he is a far better human being than me, but I'm glad he's stuck with me this long.  I am not a touchy feely kind of gal but I am a talkative, wordy person, so hopefully he knows how much I love and adore him by the things I write and say.  If not, we are screwed. ;-)

Marc P, my boo, I love you!

So a guy walks in to a bar...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


School starts in a month.


The older kids will go five days a week while my little lady will go for two days. I just know I am going to cry that first week. They are growing up so fast.  They are doing so many new things. They are getting smarter and braver. Making friends. Living and breathing without me!!!!!


Don't they have to be touching me at all times during the day, don't they need me to get everything for them, how will they do anything without me?

Of course they will be fine, they were last year, and they are always great without me around.  It's my perspective I need to change.

I need to be ok with this.  I need to be excited for them.  This is part of life.  You raise your kids to be strong and independent.  Granted, they are 2, 3, and 4, so they are not truly independent yet.  But this is the start.  The little baby steps in to adulthood.  I might time travel pretty fast when I start thinking about my kids.  For real though, I have a lot of time left with them.  But EVERYONE keeps telling me how fast it goes.  How you are bringing them home from the hospital one day and the next you are driving them to college.


I did tell Marc that on the last day of school I'll be wishing they still had more days of school left. HA!  My free days will be missed next summer I am sure.

It's the most excitingly awful time of year. The excitement of school supplies, new outfits and backpacks, the thrill of finding out who your teacher is and who is in your class! I love it. And then thoughts drift in that the house will be so empty.  It will be so quiet.  Creepy quiet.  Most Saturdays Marc takes the kids to his parents.  I last until about 10 before I start looking for them to return.  I like waking up on my own time, drinking HOT coffee at my own pace, but boy do I start missing them.  As much as it annoys me that they are constantly touching me and hitting me and I am running all over the house doing a million different things, I love to hear their laughter.  I love to witness those moments when they don't know I am watching.  Them all playing together, making up games, dancing, singing, bringing toys to the one that is crying.

They are my heartbeat.  They are my white noise that I need in the background.

College, here we come.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Big Things That Make Me Weepy

Big weekend.

I'm still trying to process some of it.

So AAP is opening a new store in Charlottesville.  It happens to be within walking distance to my parents' house.  Since Marc had to go up, we decided to make a one night stop to see my parents.  As part of the tour I decided to take the kids to my old work, where my dad still works.

It was great seeing my old co-workers.  I didn't get to see all of them, but I guess on a Friday during the summer you're bound to have a lot of employees out!  It's always a bit weird coming back.  I worked in the same place for seven years, it was during my "growing up" years, so it's sort of like coming home.  The people that worked in HR and at UVa were always what I loved most about my job.  They are the reason it took awhile for me to finally leave.  I miss them. BUT I don't miss the work.  Not even a little.  It was nice to go back and see my people, in my street clothes, relaxed, and with my birds.  No stress, no deadlines, no pressure.  Love it!

The last time I was there I was pregnant with HR, GB was 1 1/2 years old, and Carter would have been 2 1/2 or 3, I guess.  So this was the first time everyone got to see Harpie, in all her wild glory.  I can imagine it was quite odd to see me with three walking and talking kids.  When I stopped working Gabo was only 4 months old!  An entirely different life I have now.

It was a good visit and I'm glad we went.

After grandpa's office CJ wanted to see grammy's office, so off we went.  I am not sure my mom's co-workers have ever really met the kids before, definitely not Harps.  Of course Team P acted as though they owned the place, walking in to people's offices, grabbing the bagels off the table, making friends. It was all very cute.  Luckily my mom's boss let her leave for the day, which meant she got to join us and my sister-in-law at the pool!!  WOO HOO!

So we went home, ate lunch, and headed to the pool.  I was not sure how the two little ones would react but I knew Carter would love it.  I didn't know just how much they would all blow me away.  Carter insisted on going down the slide by herself.  It made me happy and crushed me all at the same time.  Harper wore the little puddle jumper thing and did awesome and my Gabey hung out in the kids pool making friends with the little ladies.  He did SO well!!  Very proud of all of them.

But it just proved that my kids are not babies.  They are toddlers/kids.  Independent, adventurous, and don't need me hovering right over them all the time. WAHHH!  I will say though, thank God my mom and Gretchen came along, there is NO way I could have done it on my own. Thanks ladies!!!  A big surprise to the day was Marc showing up.  We were all so excited to see him!

That night Marc took me out for a belated birthday dinner to The Melting Pot! OMG delicious!  We then got to walk one the Downtown Mall.  It was just like old times.

It was a quick trip, but a quality trip.  Traveling is getting so much easier with the kids.  They are better in the car, sleep better in someone else's bed, and overall handle themselves better.

I guess I just have to face the facts that Carter will always want to travel outside of the nest on her own, Harper will be like a fireball through the sky doing anything, and my sweet Gabe will always find ladies to take care of him.  No more babies in our house.  Makes me weepy.

Proof that she went down alone!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

GBP Turns Three

I've already cried once today.  I have no idea if I will get out of this without tears.

For my second child's birth I created a playlist titled "Deuce Day".  Deuce was the baby's nickname while in womb, since we didn't know the gender.  One of the songs on the playlist is Michael Buble's "Haven't Met You Yet".  That's the song that got me today.

This part in particular, "And I know that we can be so amazing, and, baby, your love is gonna change me, and now I can see every possibility.  And somehow I know that it'll turn out, you'll make me work so we can work to work it out.  And I promise you, kid, I give so much more than I get.  I just haven't met you yet."

I was OBSESSED with that song when I was pregnant with Gabe.  I just didn't know how much it was telling me about our relationship.  That boy has changed me.  He's made me work, I tell you what!  And I have given him so much.  This year has been something else, but you know what? I wouldn't change it for anything.  I now know just how strong my love is for that boy.

I would do anything for him.  He's my mush.  My soft spot.  My weakness.  The hardest part of everything that's happened is having to be so concrete with him.  I always want to give in, kiss him, hug him, let him get away with stuff just so he is happy.  I adore him.  It's probably borderline psychotic.  But I am ok with that.

Gabriel, I love you.  The fact you are three is blowing my mind.  I really cannot wrap my head around it.  I will always see you as that wee little baby.

Boy, you were big in my belly!

How could I not instantly fall in love with you?!

 I was actually yelled at for letting you sleep so close to me.  Oh well!  We do this every night before you go to bed!

Sucker for didn't want to ride, only wanted to be held.  I love the look you are giving your dad.

 Luckily, I am not the only one.  You suckered Becky in to holding you a little longer!

 Here you are saying, "She is mine."  I sent this photo to your dad at work.

 You were constantly on me for a good 4-6 months.

My boy, my middle child, you are wonderful.  Your smile is so big and so awesome.  Your cheeks are kissable, your big boy frame huggable.  Compassionate, funny, goofy, caring, smart, cute, loving are adjectives often used to describe you.  Everyone that meets you, loves you. Especially the ladies!! I am always amazed at how women just gush over you.  I always hear, "He's so handsome!"  And you eat it up every time.  Blondes, especially, you love blondes.

I don't know what I would do without you in my life.  You bring me great joy.  I really hope that I am raising you to be a great man.  Because I know that some lady is going to be really lucky to get you.  Sort of like your dad.  You remind me so much of him.  Which is probably why I love you oh so much, you are a Mini Marcy Mushface.  

This year you have grown so much.  Started sleeping in a big boy bed, went to school, took little adventures with Mom and Pop, and Lor.  You are talking up a storm, running, kicking a soccer ball, learning a lot, you are polite, kind, and cute.  I think at this point I am repeating a lot of stuff, but it's because you really are all those things.  You are a little lump o'love.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Gabriel Benjamin!!!! I love you with every fiber of my being.

I am including some pics that I love from the past year.  SO HANDSOME!

Our Valentine's Day date, you ate a lot of bacon!

 Someone got in to the markers!


 Our first trip to the beach with Grammy and Grandpop!

 GAH! This picture gets me.  First day of school.

Life is draining sometimes.  Only bananas and Goldfish can help.

You and Grandpop at the Thanksgiving Parade.

 You and Pop Pop with your matching shirts!

My boys!

 This is just to show you how much you look like your dad.  It's a bit crazy.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Awesome is the one word I would use to describe this weekend!  Gabe's birthday party, my 33rd birthday, beautiful weather, friends and family, can it get better?!

My heart is overflowing with love.  You know, the ooey gooey, sappy, kind of love.

It all started when my brother and his wife came down Friday night to hang out with the kids and us.  I didn't know then just how much help they'd be to us.  You see, on Saturday morning guys cutting trees in our neighbor's yard dropped a tree on the power line, knocked out our electricity. To say I was annoyed would be putting it mildly.  But apparently very-soon-to-be 33 year old Emily is much calmer than her younger self.  I managed to only boil on the inside and not the outside. This is where Scott and Gretchen came in to play.  They could sense I was bubbling so they did a great job of watching the girls (Gabe went to the zoo with his Aunt/Godmother Lor) and helped clean up the place.  They even went to FedEx Office and Kroger with me for last minute preparations.  I am pretty sure I would have had a full-on meltdown if there weren't there.  I also called my mother-in-law for some reassuring everything would be ok.  When she said, "OH MY GOD" I did get a bit worried.

In the end, the power came back on in time to finish up last minute details and even shower and get ready.

 The AEP guys that fixed our power situation!

 Gabe riding the train at the zoo with Lor!

Everyone started showing up, we were all clean and dressed, with power going!  Inside I was high fiving and patting myself on the back for staying so positive!   Seriously, it's a big deal when I don't flip out.  It was a bit warm outside but the kids still got to play and run, have some fun.  For me a good party is all based on how good the food is, our food was GOOD!  

 Here is my mom with her grandkids (minus Jack and soon-to-be born baby Brace).  CRAZY that my mom had five kids; seeing this makes me anxious.  Not sure how she did it.

 MommaKoz and Harpie Ri.  She will be the baby of the entire family for only one more month! (My brother and his wife are having a baby, NOT me!)

 I usually help the kids open presents, but I made Marc do it this time.

 Proof that Michael was present.

 Someone settle this crowd down.  They are OUT OF CONTROL!!!!!!


 For some reason Carter makes everything a hat: baskets, underwear, gift bags!

 The kids love Uncle Mike because he's a big kid himself (in the best possible way!).  Here he is blowing air at Harp's head.

 Scott and Gretchen's presents were a huge hit with Gabe, PUZZLES!

 Awesome dino shirt from the Richmond Kozuchs. 

 Here I am holding back tears.  When Gabe saw his cake and realized it was "grandpa's house" from Disney's "Up" he got the biggest smile on his face.  And he even let us sing him the birthday song; which he usually doesn't let happen.  The boy has come a long way in a year!!

Can you see his big cheek popping out?  That's how big he is smiling. 

It was such a great party and I am so thankful for everyone that came.  I know we have a lot of kids which means a lot of parties, so I am always grateful when people make the trip to our house.  It's great spending time with people you truly love. 

Here's his cake.  I may not be an expert, but I can hold my own...for now! 

Sunday was MY birthday.  The big 33!  In high school 33 was my volleyball number, so I've been looking forward to this one.  Marc even used red and blue icing to mimic my high school colors! He's the best.

The one thing I ALWAYS ask for is to sleep in! So Marc took the kids to Walmart and then his parents' house.  That way I can truly sleep in without feeling the need to get out and help with the kids.

Marc P is the fun parent that lines them up to race! 

I ended up meeting the Team at Marc's parents'.  Carter wanted to take a picture with me on my birthday.  I heart that girl big time. 

I got to drive, alone, down the Blue Ridge Parkway, in the Jeep, listening to DMB.  AWESOME!  I then walked around a store, at my own pace!!! 

Bought myself new sunglasses.  Think I look ok for being 33!  (Yes, this a brag, thank you very much for any and all compliments.) 

 My Gabo loving his grandpa cane (present from Pop Pop, Marc's dad) and his sword and dino recliner chair from  Grammy and Grandpop.

All my birds and me!!!  I managed to cry only a handful of times during the day.  They just make me so dang emotional!

Crazy to think that 10 years ago I was 23 and about to move in to my very own house that I bought with my very own money.  All I had was a dog and a new full-time job.  Five years ago I was 28 and about to marry the love of my life.  Here I am married, three kids, a wonderful job and house, great family and awesome friends.  Lucky lucky lucky!

The songs lyrics that made me cry on my birthday, all from DMB's album "Away From the World":

"I got to say that love is not a whisper or a weakness, no, love is strong."

Pretty much all of Drunken Soldier but in particular:
"Keep your head up and try to listen to your heart, be kind always no matter.  We all grow up, someday we'll say goodbye, so shine your light while you got one."

Belly Full:
"Under the sun or pouring rain, all of the sky for you, my love."

"Try to swim, keep your head up.  Kick your legs, never give up, boy.  And if I could I'd turn it around. Let me out, I wanna get out now."


"I'm too old to wanna be younger now."

In a nut shell, awesome weekend! Tune in tomorrow when I try to capture my love and adoration for my son on his birthday.