October 26, 2013

catch up

so here goes a quick 6 months of catch up:

we're having another sweet baby boy!

we were really hoping to have these first babies about 2 years apart, so we're feeling really blessed that we're due in the middle of february, 2 weeks before covington's second birthday. i'm amazed at how much more excited / less anxious i am this time. instead of worrying about when/where/how everything will happen, all i can imagine is packing up that new tiny baby in the car seat and bringing him home. i can't wait. 

i might have screamed a little when we found out it was a boy because i was so surprised and excited. two little boys running around! i can't wait!!

with cousins' birthdays on the 9th and 14th and covington's on the 27th, we might even get to share a birthday! one thing's for sure - after covington surprised us 2 weeks early, i'll be adequately prepared earlier this time, just in case, because trying to clean our apartment at 4 am while packing a hospital bag and eating cookies left over from a shower because that's the only thing we have to eat in our whole apartment are funny memories now, but i'd rather not repeat them.  

covington is the just the best thing ever. nobody told me just how fun kids are! he's almost 20 months and in to everything. he babbles all the time and sings with a few words thrown in there. from our apartment, we can hear the train go by about 10 times a day and he has the cutest little 'chuggachuggachugga tchoo tchoo.' we love to walk to the playground or the library a couple blocks away and he gets so excited when we get the stroller out that he yells. with the countdown to the new baby, i'm especially cherishing these sweet days.

james has about 18 months of school left at wheaton before we move for his year long internship that could be anywhere. i can't believe how fast these past 2 years have gone by and know these next 2 will do the same, especially with a new baby soon. of course, i'm not the one putting in all the school/work/study hours, so i'm not sure james would agree :) it's been amazing to watch james find his passion here and to see how the Lord has stretched and grown him. now with a super important oral exam right around the same time as the baby is due + dissertation stuff + class + internship, the next 18 months will be the hardest by far, but james is really good about taking things one day at a time and trusting that God will continue to sustain, just like he always has.

some days i look around and am just amazed at how God has blessed us. all i've ever wanted to be is a wife and momma and that's what i'm getting to do. there's also the days that covington has a full blown, 10 minute+ meltdown in kinkos while i'm trying to figure out how to send a fax and everyone in the store avoids eye contact with me, but the truth is, i'm still living my dream. thank you, Jesus 

May 26, 2013

the beginning.

i love hearing people's stories and i really love hearing how people met. maybe it's because i spent too much time in jr high wondering if today would be the day that i would meet my future husband. really it's just fun to see what draws people together and then changes their lives forever.

so in honor of our 6 year anniversary today, here's our little story.
(warning - really long and awkward pictures included)

i guess you could say it started in the womb. my parents were interviewing pediatricians for their soon to be arriving baby and as they walked out of mr. ronnie's office, apparently the cutest little blonde haired boy came toddling down the hall to see his dad. 
and i lept in the womb (maybe :)

james isn't in here, but it's just a gem of a picture with grace and emily, the fickens, koonces, leighs and me - fully decked out in dress up clothes. i'm sure james had is eye on me in the get-up.

so let's fast forward to 6th grade. james was in 8th grade and we went to church together. my mom was teaching his 8th grade sunday school class, so after my class got out, i would race down to her class to then casually wait outside the room and see if i got a head nod. now we're branching from 6th grade - still not youth group at church - to 8th grade - practically considered themselves high schoolers, but james, the gentleman he was, usually gave me a very slight head nod with almost eye contact. 

oh be still my beating heart.  

once their class got out early and i turned the corner in the big hall upstairs and was sandwiched in between the wall and a whole line of 8th grade boys. oh the horror of embarrassment. seriously. do you remember how embarrassing everything is in 6th grade? while i tried to melt into the wall, james looked at me, game me a head nod AND a small wave. oh. my. gosh.

so jr high / high school came and i would hear things he said about me and i'm sure he heard how much  of a cutie i thought he was. once he told a friend who told my friend who told me that he said i was pretty cute for my age (you know, the vast 18 months we're apart). there's also the time that he totally crashed our pcs 10th grade new years eve party with one of his oghs friends and then dissed on my boyfriend with something like, "wait, you're jessica walley's boyfriend? huh." oh the nerve. in 11th grade, us pcs-ers ventured over to an og soccer game and guess who was visiting from college (he might have brought a girl with him, but i block that part). so i look over in the stands and see him looking up at me and we totally make eye contact for like an eternity (5 seconds). it was all very movie like (in my head). after the magical moment is over, i tell my bff jills and she says, 

"ya'll are totally going to get married one day."

and then things started getting serious. 

the summer after 11th grade, i told God (like most girls in youth group at some point) that i wouldn't date anyone until they were serious about God and were actually willing to talk about it, but i was pretty sure i would never ever date anyone else because of this pledge. a couple sundays later, i was walking out of church and james was just standing there at the end of the isle. he had been off at college and had, thankfully, passed the phase of bleaching his hair because that was not my favorite. so i have no idea what to do because we haven't actually talked in a whole lot of actual conversations but there's no one else around and i have to pass him and then he turns around and says

...wait for it...

hey walley.

my first thought - great. he doesn't know my name. 

so we actually talked and he told me he was working at a church camp this summer and God was teaching him so much and changing his heart and - remember that pledge about waiting for a guy who wasn't afraid to talk about what God was doing in his life? - i was done for. the crazy thing is, he was really seriously struggling and yet God still used that to bring us together.

a few weeks later, rumors started going around the youth group that james was moving back home for the next year and - thank the good Lord - they were true. he started hanging out with our group of friends and i had no idea what to talk to him about. thankfully, jills kept the conversation going. she was obviously quite instrumental in this. one sunday night a group of us were going to eat after church at a well-known place but james, very smoothly said, "hey, maybe we should exchange numbers just in case you get lost or something." whatever makes you feel cool, honey. 

at the end of september, my dad was driving me and jills home from visiting State for the weekend and guess who called. we screamed and then got really quiet so i could casually answer the phone. we made small talk for a little bit and then he finally asked - 

"i was wondering if you would want to go get lunch this week."

and then the call dropped. 

seriously. like a movie.
should i call him back? will he try again? did he just ask me out???

so we went to mccalisters for lunch that week (i got out half day as a senior). he got a loaded potato but told me he doesn't usually eat so many carbs (ha). i got the nachos thinking that they would be easy to eat, but the bell sleeves on my awesome crocheted shirt kept sticking to the chips and dragging them into my lap. so embarrassing. good think my leather tassel belt kept me looking awesome. that night, he called and asked me to go to the movies - sweet home alabama -  that friday. 

and that was the beginning of the end.  

 do ya'll remember those wind up disposable cameras? do you remember trying to use up the last few pictures on the roll so you could go get them developed? well, after a couple weeks of hanging out, i wanted a picture of james to show my friends at school, so i got my mom to nonchalantly come in one night and say, "hey, i need to finish up this roll. why don't i just take a picture of you guys!" i'm sure he had nooo idea that i was behind it at all. and no, i didn't plan my outfit to match the couch. 

four and half years later, after 3 years at state together and 1 year long distance, after lots of football games and sorority parties and movies and fun and a few serious talks thrown in there, the day i'd been dreaming about actually happened.

 james had graduated and was living in hattiesburg while i was student teaching and still living in starkville. it was valentine's day and james completely surprised my by walking into my apartment that afternoon after teaching. 

of course, the first thing i thought was "he's going to propose!!!"

then he informed me that we were going to grab some food at bulldog deli and then go to the state basketball game with grace. ummm.... pair that with the fact that he had just changed jobs and never mind, he'd definitely not proposing. so then we had this conversation:

james - hey, i'm going to walk down to grace's apartment to say hey. why don't you take a shower and get dressed while i'm gone and then we'll leave for the game.
me - (dressed in some sweet teacher clothes and seriously poofy, slept on hair) if we're just going to a basketball game, then i don't need to shower. 
james - well, why don't you just get dressed and i'll be back.
me - im not fixing my hair if we're just going to a basketball game!
james - well i'll go see grace and you can shower.
me - ummm, no.
which left me with some awesomely poofy hair for engagement pictures. sweet.  

during the game, james hardly talked to me at all. he was leaning forward and seriously focused on the game. i mean, he's not a huge sports guy and i've never seen him concentrate so hard on a basketball game! drive all the way to starkville and don't talk to me at all! my dad was in town for business and after the game, we met up with him for all of 30 seconds but then he had to "go see somebody" and left me too. sheesh!  when we left, james was driving like he had never been on campus before. i don't know how many times he turned around before finally parking and suggesting a walk on the drill field - my favorite place on campus. 

 he had a poem waiting for me and the whole time he read it i kept thinking "he's going to propose, he's not going to propose, he is, he isn't, he is, don't be disappointed if he doesn't, don't be disappointed."

and then he did.
and i said yes.

grace and my dad were hiding in the bushes taking pictures and we had a sweet night calling friends and family and celebrating.

three months later on May 26, 2007 we were married.
outside. in mississippi.
james sweat through 3 shirts and the knot on his tie was soaked through, but it was absolutely beautiful and everything i had ever dreamed of.

if you had told us 6 years ago where we would be today and what we'd be doing, i wouldn't believe you. this has been one crazy adventure and it makes me so excited to see what's next.
i'm so glad to be on this adventure with him.

April 19, 2013

my love for cheap toy organization

i love organizing - like really, really love it. the container store isn't far from us, but i've never been because i'm just not sure i can trust myself in there :) after christmas, i had to figure out something to do with all covington's new toys. i looked everywhere for baskets the right size for the bottom of our shelves but couldn't find anything. i'd finally settled on some that were too small for the space and way overpriced when i realized that my trusty file boxes were almost the right size! i love using file boxes either covered in scrapbook paper or painted to organize. some of the ones in our closet are 5 years old, have been through 3 moves in 3 states, and are holding up great. when i was organizing covington's closet, office depot was having a sale so i got 3 packages of 10 boxes for $30. a dollar a box isn't a bad deal :)

so i drew a line where they were sticking out, cut it with a box cutter, stuck the back inside the front, making the bottoms overlap, and hot glued the mess out of them. i did all 7 boxes in less than a 2 hour nap time, so i'd say it wasn't a bad project! that night, i put 2 coats of white craft paint on the fronts while watching a movie and made labels out of scrapbook paper covered in masking tape. not bad for a completely free project.

see the rough edge on that second box? in hindsight i should have used that one as the back piece (not that i'm ever going to fix it or anything...)


now i'm not expecting these to last forever but covington has pulled them out and crawled on them daily for 4+ months, and they're still looking great. they hold a ton - all the cars and trucks and  instruments and balls and trains and puzzles and movies. i do so love a free project.

April 10, 2013


two of his favorite things - hanging things around his neck and the bathroom

we loove sliding

playing with the farm

his favorite place to crawl - between the bikes, guitars, and wall

checking himself out in the mirror

chewing on the camera strap and the look i can whenever i pull out the big camera

playing in his easter basket

a boy and his blanket

April 7, 2013

i like a little color

hey, remember when i used to blog more than once a month and about more things that covington?  no?? either way, i did a couple projects last spring i thought i'd show all 2 of you that still read this :)

so before we even moved to wheaton, i was on craigslist looking for a great dresser that i could paint with big drawers for storage in our... dining room? eating area? the place next to our table? we don't get real fancy around here :)

i found this awesome dresser in an old yellow color that was perfect for painting. we got there and james was all excited because it's apparently hand made with handwritten markings on the drawers and "dovetailed somethings or anothers" so apparently we stubbled across a great dresser for a great price.

(funny side-story - the week before we moved up here, i found a dresser that i loooved and the couple said they would hold it for me until we got there and then they totally sold it out from under me. well, we go to pick this one up and it was from the same people! i didn't realize it because the email addresses are all encrypted but they recognized mine and so they were all embarrassed and kept telling me how much better this one was than the other - how funny and totally random is that!)

so we got the dresser in and loaded it up with stuff and it sat there, not matching anything else in our entire apartment, for over a year. i was totally terrified of completely ruining it. on top of that, the handles had to be replaced because one was broken and they were an odd size, so i spent 6 months looking for odd sized handles that would fit and 6 months contemplating how hard it would be to fill in the holes and make new ones. when i'm nervous, i read articles on how to do things, so i read a ton of articles on spray painting, but we live in an apartment, so i kept trying to figure out if we could do it in one day in the  parking lot of take it to a friend's house or should i just use a roller inside or a brush but it could smell and now we have a baby because i've waited so long but if i wait any longer than that baby is going to be crawling and i'm going to have a whole lot more trouble trying to paint it and what color should i paint it - red but reds are so hard to pick out but blues are real hard because i don't want another navy dresser but i don't want teal but... and so on and so forth.

SO one weekend i just did it. i had the paint guy pick out his brightest best-selling red and i filled the holes in with toothpicks and wood glue, per a woodworking magazine's direction, and just went for it. after priming and 2 coats of red, i was pretty sure i'd ruined it and we'd be tossing it in the dumpster, but the 3rd coat plus some poly did it and it's my favorite project i've ever done. it's not perfect - there are some brush strokes and such, but the red is fun and did i mention it holds a ton. plus, i'm just glad it's done and i don't have to tell everyone that comes over that i'm planning on painting it soon :)

p.s. james made that awesome lamp with the bark still on it and the little wooden bowl. i like him.

March 30, 2013


first flights and surprise birthday celebrations 
new houses and water fun
great grandmothers and green grass and lots of sliding
warm weather and swinging
lots of cousin time
and snuggling with new babies
and grandparents
we love mississippi

March 25, 2013

saving memories {perpetual calendar update}

ya'll, last week was one of those weeks
not bad, just looong

covington had a little virus that turned into a strange rash - nothing too bad but we haven't been ANYWHERE except the doctor in a week. the day we went to the doctor, i was all like 'covington! get excited! we'll get dressed to go to the doctor in 90 minutes!!'

of course, it was also the week that james got crazy busy with school midterms and a million reports due at work so we got to see him in 30 minute increments

and then on top of that, i decided to give up diet coke because...well i can't remember because i haven't had any diet coke in 5 days (that's huge)

and did i mention the high on the first day of spring was 26 degrees?

it wasn't a bad week at all and i'm so, so, SO thankful to be able to be here and stay home through all the rashiness, but the truth is the days were starting to run together.
thing are getting just a bit monotonous. 

it's these kinds of weeks that im glad that i do this little perpetual calendar every night

i got the idea from {under the sycamore} and started it a couple years ago. each night i write down a little thing that happened that day. somedays they're big, somedays they're small. the first year, it was totally boring to do because there was nothing to look back on, but now it is so fun to look back on all the nights we ate with joy and jason in chattanooga and the many $3 movies we went to pre-covington and how we were so excited that covington was staying awake a little bit longer last year at this time.

so next year, i'll remember the long week home with the rash (because i'm not trying to erase the longer days), but i'll also remember that covington started giving real hugs this week and that he's walking like a champ and that my parents surprised us with a huge order from Omaha Steaks (yay for meat!!) and that james was matched at wheaton's counseling center for his practicum next year (yay for working super close and getting college holidays!).


besides all that, it's actually good just to keep track of things - when was your interview? when did covington roll over? we've gone to look up things more than once 

so the sick days at home might be long but so much good happened last week that might have just gotten lost in the monotony if i hadn't written it down.

 i've seen some really pretty journals they're making now so you don't have to make anything. so go start one now! it's really fun

and if you get a late night text from me reminiscing about the time we went out to eat 2 years ago, now you know why :)

avandia recall