wake wuk baby, a see a side!

I’m loving that Bug is talking up a storm lately, but I often wonder if I need to hire a translator for him. I love to hear his take on phrases and words, and sometimes have to make myself say the words the proper way instead of Bug’s way. I know he needs to hear the words said properly, but dang it – it’s just so darn cute. 

So while I realize this may only be of interest to me and Preacher Man, I present to you many of Bug’s current words and phrases, and their translations: 

– “Wake Wuk!” Wake Up. Usually used in the sentence, “I wake wup?” and followed by me saying, “No, Bug. You can’t wake wuk yet, it’s night night time.”

-“Peeek a steeeker!” I want to pick a sticker! At the moment, we use stickers as a reward for Bug not getting out of bed, but we may do a sticker chart when we begin potty training.

-“A fwend!” A friend! A friend is anyone approximately Bug’s age, whether stranger or not. As I’m typing this, I’m also watching the royal wedding, and as Bug saw the little bridesmaids getting into a car he said, “A fwend a hop in a car!” I had no idea he was friends with royalty…

-“Luff Youuuu” “I love you!” This is usually accompanied by the sign language version, although Bug has his own version of that, too. He rarely puts out his thumb, so it’s really more of a “hook ’em horns” or “rock on” sign.

-“One, fwee, five.” One, three, five. For some reason Bug has decided to count by odd numbers lately. Let’s just assume he’s a mathematical genius, shall we?

-“Pach-ent Pweeese!” Patience, please. When Bug gets demanding or whiny, I’ve always answered with a cheerful, “Patience, please!” After awhile, Bug began to repeat the phrase back to me, almost as if he’s affirming his own patience. The amazing thing is that he actually does practice patience after the affirmation.

“A ra-bar bagel!” A peanut butter bagel! Bug’s favorite breakfast is a whole wheat mini bagel with peanut butter, and he often asks for it first thing in the morning. In fact, after his boisterous demands of a ra-bar bagel I often have to ask for pach-ent pweeese.

-“Fooony Baby!” Funny baby! This phrase is exclaimed after Bear laughs, eats, crawls, or just exists. Bear apparently just cracks Bug up with his very existence.

-“Wake Wuk Baby! A see a side!” One of my favorite sounds in the world is the sound of Bug and Bear making each other laugh in the backseat as I’m driving. Bug loves to make loud, goofy sounds that make Bear giggle. As Bear giggles, Bug giggles more, causing Bear to giggle more, and the cycle continues. It’s pretty much the sweetest sound ever made. As we drive from the church to our house we pass a small water park, and Bug is endlessly fascinated by the slides. When we drove by yesterday, Bug sweetly vocalized his desire for Bear to wake up so he wouldn’t miss the slides with, “Wake up, baby! I see a slide!” Being the adoring little brother that he is, Bear promptly woke up to see the fascinating slides.

I know some day Bug will pronounce his words with clarity and being his translator will be deleted from my job description. Until then, I take a little bit of pride in knowing my sweet son so well that I’m able to decipher what he means to say when others are unable. So fwend, I hope as you wake wuk this morning, you enjoy your ra-bar bagel with pach-ent pweeese and know that I luuffff yoooou.



I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, which isn’t really characteristic of me. The problem with setting a goal to blog about life is that this means sometimes you have to live that life. Things here are good and I have lots of thoughts, stories, photos, and videos to share – I’m just in one of those seasons of life that I can’t do it all. And since I should probably stay on top of changing diapers, cooking dinners, and building a business – blogging sometimes must be put on the back burner.

Rest assured that we’re here, we’re healthy, we’re good. You may also rest assured that I will be blogging again soon. Surely you knew I couldn’t keep my figurative mouth quiet for long.

a letter to bear


Dear Sweet Bear,

Today sweet son, you are eight months old. That’s right, kiddo – you are officially creeping up on one year! It’s really incredible to look at how much you’ve grown in just four short weeks. For starters, you’ve been putting on weight again which makes everyone thrilled. You have your cute little fat rolls and cankles back, and that may mandate lots of pinching and baby talking. After a recent growth spurt, you’re now taking 3 bottles of about 9 ounces each and are all about self-feeding. You tolerate Mommy and Daddy feeding you purees from a spoon, but the real action you love is picking up small pieces of food and putting them into your mouth yourself. Your fine motor skills are actually pretty impressive, Love! At eight months old, you now have exactly 2.5 teeth. You got your bottom two front teeth awhile ago and have been working on your top two front teeth for a while now. One of them has finally broken through the skin, but hasn’t moved down much since. Believe it or not, your teeth make you even cuter.


I also believe that I can officially say you’re now crawling! Well, not as much crawling as flop-scooting, but I think it counts. You like to get up on your hands and knees, and rock back and forth with gusto. It looks like you’re thinking, “If I could just get enough momentum, I’m sure I could rocket myself over there!” After lots of rocking, you then flatten out and just kind of flop your way to your desired object. It’s adorable, and we love that you’re able to start moving! Along with flop/scooting, you’ve developed an intense love of jumping. Whether it’s the jumparoo, the Johnny Jump Up, or just jumping in Mommy’s arms – you’re kind of a jumping machine lately.


As you get older, Daddy and I are really enjoying seeing your personality grow. You still just love eye contact and are typically happy as long as you have someone to watch you. I love when you’re jumping in your Jumperoo and look over to see Daddy or I looking at you. You usually start belly laughing at us – not because of a face or sound we’ve made – just because we’re making eye contact with you. You also like to make strangers smile, but after you scrunch up your shoulders in glee, you bury your head in my shoulder almost as if you’re being shy.


I can hardly believe that it’s been eight months since I gave birth to you, Bear, and I have to say that I’ve loved every single day of your life. Your smile and your giggles fill my day, and I can’t imagine a more lovely way for it to be filled. As each month passes, I find that I love you so much more than I thought possible. You have such a joyful spirit and your life is such a blessing to us, Bear. We love you so much and pray you know that God loves you even more. Bear, He has a plan for you and I pray every night that you would feel and know Him even now. We love you so much Bear.


Love you always,

Mommy & Daddy



Preacher Man: Though still staying busy, Preacher Man has enjoyed a little bit of a break from trips and being out of town. I think he’s starting to feel like he has his bearings in the new ministry a little better, although I know he’s learning new things every day. The student ministry (Jr. & Sr. High) is moving to a new building sometime in July, and with that will come the launch of new programming, so that’s exciting and is keeping him busy.

Jen: Now that Bear has been consistently sleeping through the night for about a month, I feel like I’m finally catching up on sleep and am waking up rested. It seemed like I experienced a hormone shift when I stopped nursing that knocked me back a bit, but I think I’m coming out of that and am feeling like myself again. I’m still running and ran 5 miles this past Saturday! I mean, I ran at a 13 min/mile pace which is some people’s speed walking pace, but whatever. 5 miles is 5 miles. I’ve also lost 20 lbs, so I only have 20 more lbs until I’m back at my pre-Bug pregnancy weight. 20 lbs is still a long way to go, but it’s nice to not be wearing maternity clothes any longer and feel a little better about how I look.

Bug: Bug is adorable and is doing great. He’s still loving preschool, and I think might have a little bit of sadness at the end of the school year. It seems like he’s picking up new words and phrases every day and has even been communicating more complex thoughts lately. He’s started pretend playing (he pretended he was in the bath tub the other day), and is still doing great at enthusiastically learning about the world around him. He’s also just about the best big brother in the world. He loves finding toys for Bear to play with, and he often gets close to Bear’s face while they both just laugh and make each other giggle.

Bear: Sweet Bear is doing awesome and seems to be gaining weight terrifically. He has a weight check later this week, so I’m interested to see how he’s doing. I think he just finished a growth spurt and is working on his top two front teeth coming through. Bear is saying, “Mama,” “Dadda,” and I think even, “Baby.”

The weather here is Texas is definitely warming up – we’ve hit 90 degrees a couple of times this past week. So far it’s tolerable, but I don’t think words can express how much I’m NOT looking forward to this summer. We still find ourselves missing family and friends, but we’re transitioning here well and are feeling so very blessed. I mean, I could do without having to kill a couple of cockroaches a week, but I like to think it’s just my contribution to our new state. You’re welcome, Texas. You’re welcome.

a letter from mee-hee

Dear Bug,

I just want you to know that you’re my best friend. My favorite time of the day is nap time and bed time, because that’s when I get to cuddle with you. It makes me happy to know that you will ask for little old me if your Mommy and Daddy try to put you to sleep without me. I like that you lay your head directly on me when you’re falling asleep, and that you take me with you when you wake up your Mommy and Daddy in the mornings. It fills my sock monkey heart up when you fall and want to cuddle with me for comfort. Your Mommy tells me that you’ve never been attached to anything before. She told me one time that she used to try and get you to have a favorite stuffed animal, because she thought it would help you sleep better. I’m not sure why your Mommy was talking to a sock money, but I guess that’s probably the least of her issues. One day a friend got me for you, your Mommy took me home to you, and you’ve loved me ever since. I’m so happy to know that you waited for and chose me – a simple sock monkey.

I know that someday you’ll be all big and grown up, and won’t need me to keep you company at night anymore, but that’s okay. I’m happy to be your best pal right now. I’m honored that you drag me around, spill your sippy cup on me, and try to feed me your bagel. I love you for who you are – crazy, hyper, sweet, active, cuddly, and giggly – and maybe that’s why we’re such good friends. Bug, you’re my favorite and my best, and I’ll be glad to cuddle with you as long as you’ll let me.



coffee and sunrises: revisited

Confused already? Check out I Never Wanted to be a Minister’s Wife,Walks Around Campus, Lois, I Think This is the Beginning, and finally, Maybe It’s Maybelline.

It was pitch black, and I was exhausted – but I couldn’t stop my heart from sounding like it was playing a drum solo. I walked quickly up the hill, behind the cafeteria, and around the side to Snodgrass building (yeah, that’s the real name). I would’ve claimed that my speed was to keep my body warm in the hour before the sun came up, but had you seen me carefully slow down to catch my breath and smooth down my hair before I rounded the corner, you would’ve known otherwise. His back was to me, but when he heard my footsteps he quickly turned around and smiled. That smile – oh, that smile. I didn’t know it at the time, but that smile would see me through some of my highest highs and my lowest lows. Seven years later from that day, that smile has the capacity to make my heart feel like it’s stopped cold.

Once the spell of his smile cleared, I heard him say, “I made you some coffee,” and hand me a tumbler. So we started on our journey together, walking side by side, coffee in hand. We walked up a steep hill amidst a graveyard, through a handful of trees, to our destination. From that spot we could overlook the highway and had a perfect, uncluttered view of the impending sunrise. I took a sip of the coffee, so thoughtfully brewed at the crack of dawn, and immediately realized that this man does not joke around about his coffee! The brew was so strong, it was like drinking liquid cocaine, and I choked my sip down with a grimace. Thankfully, it didn’t take him too long after that to realize that I like a bit of coffee with my cream and sugar.

He sat down next to me, and it was either the liquid cocaine I’d just sipped or the fact that our shoulders were suddenly touching, but I found myself unable to do the simple act of taking in a breath of air. We chatted for a bit – talking about the day ahead of us, about our classes, making each other smile, and pretending we weren’t both nervous enough to pee our pants. And then he turned to face me, and took a deep breath. “Jen,” he said with a quiet seriousness I’d never heard from him. “Will you be my girlfriend?”

Five words. Underneath those five words were five thousand other words, giving it a meaning beyond the simple question that it was.

Even though only about two months had passed since Preacher Man noticed my sky blue eyes, our lives had been caught up in a crazy tornado. Just days after we sat next to each other in that church service, I realized the depth of my respect for Preacher Man. I realized that he was everything I wanted my current boyfriend to be – a leader, a man of gentle strength, a man of integrity, and most importantly – my best friend.

The fact that we suddenly had feelings for one another came as an equal shock to both of us, and truthfully, we kind of freaked out. I gently told him that I needed some space from him to sort through my head and my heart, and he respectfully complied. In that time, my heart realized that my feelings weren’t going away, and my head realized that- though flawed and imperfect – for me, Preacher Man was perfect. We balanced and supported each other well, and I knew I could trust him with my heart, my dreams, my fears, and my life. We had both been in recent relationships that we felt sure were “It.” We’d both felt the heartache of being wrong and realizing we’d invested ourselves into someone we would never see again. We realized we had a rare friendship, and neither of us felt like running the risk of ruining a perfectly great friendship unless we could enjoy that friendship forever – for better or for worse.

On top of our hesitancy to give our hearts away again unless we were sure of a future, there was the little problem that we’d both committed to ministering somewhere other than the college we attended. Preacher Man had just committed to a 14 month student ministry internship at a church in North Carolina, and I had been preparing to take a semester long mission trip to England. We found ourselves weighing the reality of a (very) long-distance relationship, and wondering if we could make it.Was it worth it? What if he, or I, or both of us found someone else while we were away? What if we had nothing in common after not living on the same campus?

In my usual list-making, OCD, entirely too planned way, I made a pro/con list. That’s right. I based my entire future on a pro/con list. To be honest, there were more things listed in the “con” category, but none of those things could outweigh one of my “pros.”

“He’s Preacher Man (except of course, I used his real name).” He’s strong, he’s committed, he’s faithful, he’s sweet, he’s forgiving, he’s hard working, and he’s sarcastic. He’s Preacher Man. He’s worth it.

So the question, “Will you be my girlfriend?” was much more than him asking me to go on dates with him, listen to his problems, and keep him company occasionally. He was asking me to spend the next two years away from him – loving him, committed to him, faithful to him, investing in him, supporting him, praying for him, advising him, and then….marrying him and continuing the same. Knowing (but at the same time not having a clue) that we were preparing to attempt the near impossible, I answered a simple, “Yes.”

And we stood up, walked back through the trees, and started down the hill. One hand clinging tightly to each other’s, and the other holding our coffee, we began our journey. Side by side, a little scared, a lot in love…and together.

dear jen, i want a divorce

One of the biggest blessings to me in the past few months has been the relationships between the minister’s wives at our church. In fact, every other month the women hold a gathering specifically for minister’s wives at someone’s home. We have dinner, catch up with other women we don’t often get to see, and are working through a book together. Being the spouse of someone who works at a church can be a very lonely place, and I’m always so encouraged to see other women who are striving to maintain balance in their lives, encourage their husbands well, and figure out their role in ministry. I come home challenged to be a better wife and inspired by the women around me.

Last Monday I rode to “Pastor’s Wives” (as it’s called) with two friends, and on the way back we were talking about some of the challenges we face specific to minister’s wifery. Wifery? Yeah, I said it.

The three of us were having a grand time talking about how stressful ministry can be, and about how when our husbands are stressed even the question of, “What do you want for dinner?” becomes apparently too much to handle. But then one of the women had to go and get all logical.

“Yeah,” she said, “But I was thinking the other day…what would it be like to be married to me? What would I do if I had to be married to myself?”

Well, sweet potato pie and I shut my mouth right up (I’m working on being more southern. Am I convincing?). As I let the reality of what it must be like to be married to me sink in, I was literally speechless. Not because, as you may assume, I am fantastically wonderful to be married to. I mean, I can understand easily how you may get that impression. After several minutes of silence, I said my conclusion out loud.

“I would’ve left my butt a looooong time ago.”

For real. I am stubborn, defensive, argumentative, condemning, and discontent. And that’s on a good day.

So…I’m divorcing myself now. I’m divorcing the Jen who wants to win an argument more than she wants to compromise. I’m leaving the Jen who sees our differences as points of contention rather than the perfect complement. I’m packing up the bags of the Jen who lets her insecurities dictate her marriage. Moving into her place will (Lord willingly) be a Jen who finds her identity, strength, courage, and compassion through Christ and is therefore able to pour those things out to her family. A Jen who knows that many of her weaknesses are her husband’s strengths and her strengths are her husband’s weakness, and that is why we are perfect for each other. A Jen who communicates without being passive-aggressive, and whose general heart is one of gratitude and joy as opposed to bitterness.

I’m not saying that Preacher Man will instantly become the luckiest man alive to be married to me, but I hope to at least make his work as my husband a little less challenging. Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes and all that. So has that thought ever crossed your mind? What it would it be like to be married to you?