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Making Beautiful Day Three: Capture

My husband and I took our eldest to the fair. Not for the yummy fried food. Not even for the Ferris Wheel. We went to go see Paw Patrol. If you have a preschooler, you know exactly who I’m talking about. In case you don’t check this out: http://www.nickjr.com/paw-patrol/
It was a lot of work to coordinate this trip. Babysitter for the baby, play date for the middle child. Travel in traffic. Parking. Tram ride to the fair. And an insanely long line.
All to meet Chase, hi five his paws, and give and receive a sweet hug. And to capture some precious moments on digital film.

At one point we thought we might not be able to meet the Paw Patrol characters. My 9 month sleep-deprived postpartum emotions just couldn’t take it. I was crushed for my boy. He didn’t know what he tentatively would be missing out on. He got an afternoon with mom and dad and a corn dog and saw the Paw Patrol Mobile! That would have been enough for him.
Thankfully, it all worked out and we got some fabulous pictures but most importantly we captured some beautiful memories.

And that is what making {LIFE} beautiful is all about.






Making Beautiful Day Two: Family


We were getting ready to walk out the door. I had instructed to my eldest to get his shoes on. As I walked past him, I noticed that something was not quite right. His left eye looked swollen. I got closer. I just knew I had to be hallucinating.

No. Definitely some redness and eyelid droop-age.

In that moment I just started sobbing. We were supposed to be going to M.O.P.S. That stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. I had been living for this all week.

Unfortunately, I was pretty sure Dom had an eye infection (read:pink eye. Infection sounds less like you have bad hygiene, although germs are like glitter! Good luck with washing that off your hands).

I told Dom that we couldn’t go to M.O.P.S. and he started crying, too. I just held him and said over and over. “I am so sorry buddy. I really wanted to go as well”.

Fast forward a few hours and an eye infection is confirmed, antibiotic eye drops prescribed and we are on our way home. While waiting in the exam room, we read books and enjoyed time together just the two of us. With three children all vying for mommy’s attention, time with just one is a rarity. Who would have thought pink eye would have given me such a special moment with my child?

I had a professor who said quite often: people are not interruptions they are opportunities.

My little family provides quite a few opportunities.

God used a trip to the doctor (the third one in 2 weeks by the way) to remind me of this. 

Marshall, Dominic, Charlotte Leigh, baby Devin, and 10 fish all named after Octonaut characters and the 9 baby mollies that will be up for Molly Fish adoption soon. We are family. And whether plans go as originally intended or we end up in a puddle of tears in disappointment, we are together and we love each other. 

Life {with my family} is beautiful.

You can read about Day One of Making Beautiful here!

Making Beautiful Day One- Calling

my little blessings

my little blessings

I am a mom. I am one of the many braving this thing called motherhood day in and day out. I believe with all my heart that it is one of the best vocations on the planet, however, I keep running into women who feel the same way: Being a mom can cause you to lose yourself.

What did I like to do before kids? What did I do with all that free time I used to have. All. That. Free. Time.

What was I created to do? To be?

Motherhood. No greater mission than to raise my children to be followers of Christ, kind and loving human beings, and super smart and financially savvy so they can take care of mom and dad in their old age. You think I’m kidding.

But what will I lean into long after the diaper days are over. What will I embrace when the spelling tests are no more? What will I do when the teen drama is over? I’m not looking forward to that one. My 2 year old has enough drama as it is.


Is my calling now and always simply motherhood or is there more that I can lean in to?

Is there something that I can say with complete joy and certainty: “This! This is what I was designed to make beautiful?”

I think so. Join me the next 31 days as I write my thoughts about and explore this concept of  Making Beautiful

Socktober: Neighborhood Style

As cooler weather approaches, thoughts of stockings hung with care may go through your mind. For many children throughout the DFW area, however, hopes and dreams of safety in their own home is the only thing on their Christmas list this year.

As a parent of three small children, the thought of my children living in fear in their own home is unthinkable.

But domestic abuse happens. Every Day.

That is why I am so thankful for organizations like Hope’s Door that help women and children flee domestic violence. Since 1986 Hope’s Door has been welcoming women and children into their loving arms in a most critical time in their life.

Inspired by everyone’s favorite Kid President, our little neighborhood will be collecting socks for this organization during the month of October. Many times leaving with only the clothes on their back, basic necessities like socks, underwear, and toiletries are a constant need.

We hope to collect a lot of brand new snug cozy socks for the women and children that will come through the door’s of this phenomenal organization but even if we only inspire one family beyond our own, and clothe the precious feet of just a few, we’ve made a difference.

You can do something similar in your neighborhood. Find an organization in your area. Talk to them. Find out what they need and do a sock drive, blanket drive, toiletries drive, {insert their need} drive. Make a difference! And if this blog doesn’t convince you, check out this adorable pep talk by Kid President and Sesame Street’s very own Grover.

Every. Life. Matters.





*Photo credit: Sould Pancake

A Writing Project

photo credit splitshire

Occasionally I have participated in a movement called Five Minute Fridays. It is as simple as the name implies: take a word prompt and spend five minutes blogging based off that word.

For example if the word prompt was vision, I could write about getting my first pair of eyeglasses as a child or perhaps dig a little deeper and write about having a vision for my children’s future. The only requisites are that you spend no more than five minutes on your writing and resist the urge to edit your work. Sometimes I break this rule when I get inspired and just can’t stop writing. I will also edit bad grammar but the content doesn’t change.

Last year I participated in my first 31 days of Five Minute Fridays. During the entire month of October I took five minutes each day to write based off a prompt I was given. So same concept but all month long! It was so much fun. I chose a topic to center all my writing pieces around. I chose the topic The Mom Life.  I missed a few days and had to make up for them on other days but I wrote 31 blog posts all based on the daily word prompts and using my chosen theme. It was so much fun!!!

Here’s a link with all the specific details. I didn’t link up last year. I may try to do so this year. But I WILL write for 31 days using the prompts. I haven’t decided what my theme will be. Here’s a few I’m contemplating:

Adventures in Parenting

Finding Mommy

Zone Defense Momma

Conspiracy of Words

I’d love to invite you to join me on this adventure. If you’ve been considering writing or blogging more regularly or maybe you would like to try your hand at blogging this is a good way to dive right on in. It starts October 1st which gives you a few days to make a decision. Don’t be afraid to try. 5 minutes is not as long as you think and I have been blown away by some of the creativity that has come out this sleep deprived heart of mine when I took the time to write. You’ll be surprised too!


Life Is Beautiful!

Patty Parker


Our Tiny House Experience or How I Flooded the House {Part Two}


Its been nearly 2 months since we had our lovely bathtub flooding mistake. The renovations and repairs are complete but a home that feels like home is still in the making. As I look at the picture below I am thankful the crazy sleeping arrangements are behind us. We’ve all returned to our beds and are sleeping much more peacefully. Even Devin seems to get the idea that sleeping through the night is a good idea.



Although we have lots more to do to get to a place where I am happy with our home. {Wait a minute I think I felt that way before everything happened} I am so pleased with the improvements that came as a result of the water damage!

For starters, check out these beautiful floors! They are in Marshall’s office and the foyer. I hope one of these days to have this flooring in the living room as well. floors


Insurance companies are interesting entities. As a result of the bathtub overflowing, we were approved to make a lot of repairs but other than drying out the cabinets in the bathroom, there were no other repairs approved IN the bathroom. Ironic, right?! We did, however get to touch up the paint , replace carpet padding and clean carpets in the kids rooms, completely paint the hallway, our foyer, and Marshall’s office in addition to replacing the flooring in the foyer/office area. I’ll take it!

Below is the color palette we chose.

color choices

Marshall’s office was already that pretty green but painting the foyer walls blue was a bold step for me. Anyone who knows me well knows that I love blue but I was still nervous about putting this color up. And…I love it!
new colors

Here’s the kid’s rooms paint touched up. And the carpets freshly cleaned.

This is Dom’s room (I totally flaked on taking pictures with my camera so all I have are phone pics)
boy room

Here’s Charlotte’s room. girl room

Last night we finally started putting pictures up on the walls. Here’s a few in Marshall’s office.
mars office

Here’s some decor we put up in the foyer area.


My thoughts right now:

The process of getting the house in order sure is taking longer than I could have expected. There are pockets of our home that still feel in huge disarray. It is not all because of the flooding but that definitely compounded things. We still have so much stuff. How do we have so much? Kids is the short answer. The amount of stuff they require and accumulate is insane.

Although it is taking a long time to get back to where I’d like to be, I am so thankful for the places of beauty we do have.

And I am even more thankful for my family. This process brought us closer together (both literally and figuratively). I’m still not laughing about it but many of the memories made, as a result, were great blessings that we’d never have experienced otherwise.

Life is Beautiful!


Our “Tiny House” Experience or How I Flooded Our Home {Part One}

Once upon a time, in a town called Plano, there lived a mommy, a daddy, three kids and a few fish. On one particular day, the mommy was trying to get some things taken care of while the baby slept, the daddy was at work and the two older children were in summer care. In her haste to clean, she left the bathtub running. While multi-tasking as most mothers do, the baby cried, laundry was changed over and the mommy decided to listen to the sermon from Sunday that she had missed. 45 minutes later, this mommy headed towards the door to go pick up her two older children only to see a slosh of water coming from the bathroom flowing into the main foyer, her husbands office, the children’s bedrooms and, as she found out later, generously watering the front of the house.

This once upon a time was our reality a month ago. As a result, our house was a disaster zone.

After 5 days of fans and dehydrators and pulling up damaged floors and tearing out ruined drywall. We were able to return to our home…that now looked like this. I put a rug down both for safety and to make it feel at least a little like a home.
carpet covering ruined floors


Thankfully my mistake was covered sans deductible by our house insurance but we had to live through a heck of a renovation process. Below is what we had to remove from two bedroom closets, a linen closet and a game closet.IMG_1282




The kids having fun in our crazy.


We moved the kids beds to the playroom during the renovation. Oh. My. Word. Was that tough. Every one slept wherever seemed to work in that moment. Devin slept in Charlee’s bed some. Both the older kids slept in our bed either for naps or as a result of rogue bed time behavior. I slept next to Devin on his crib mattress on the floor in our bedroom a few times. Even Marshall slept for a bit on Charlee’s bed!IMG_1257

Here’s more of the crazy. IMG_1270


In the midst of all the insanity we tried really hard to find some new normal. Here’s our attempt at making the living room functional despite the decrease in space due to stuff everywhere.


And our Nursery that I likened to Wendy’s in Peter Pan.


We went from a nearly 2,000 square foot home to less than half of that in usable, livable space. Granted I know people live in less on a regular basis but when you’ve been used to a larger amount of space and your children are USED TO a routine and their own room….well, it was rough on us Parkers!

Here is what I learned from this part of the experience:
The night this all happened our Community Group (from our church) dropped what they were doing and helped us. It’s hard to make a mistake, especially when it is a silly expensive mistake but our friends that are like family embraced the opportunity to love us in our literal mess. And it felt good. It was lesson worth learning.


Stay tuned for more pics of the renovation process and how the house looks now and all the lessons we’ve learned along the way. 

Dom’s Superhero Half Birthday Party

Devin was born 13 days before Dominic turned 4 years old. On top of that, Dominic came down with pneumonia, Charlotte had an ear infection and sweet Devin tested positive for RSV! Oh those were some bleak days for the Parkers.

Despite the fact that having a baby is a pretty good excuse to pass on a party I just could not let Dom turn 4 without a party.

Cue the half birthday idea. We could celebrate his birthday in July!

Dom is a huge fan of superheroes (as are most kids his age) so we went with a Superhero Theme. I made most of the decorations

I started by making some fun buildings. I used empty diaper and amazon boxes for the larger props and waffle boxes for the smaller ones.

boxes and black paper


I think they turned out pretty well!
cardboard buildings


Next I used a mask template to make foam superhero masks. I already had the foam. Pretty sure I bought the package from Walmart once upon a time. I found the foam stickers in the Target Dollar Aisle and the plastic string I purchased as a 4 pack from the Dollar Tree. It was a lot of tracing and cutting but worth it for Dom. Charlee helped make my example. I eventually had to cut her off. Her affinity for stickers can be a bit over the top.superhero mask template


mask supplies

What’s a Superhero without a sidekick? I got the popsicle sticks, googly eyes and even the glue from the Dollar Tree. I had tons of felt that I cut to size for the capes. We ended up using glue dots for adhesive though.

sidekick supplies


In addition to looking the part of superhero our trainee’s had to do some shield throwing Captain America Style. This was easy. We already had the red frisbee. A little construction paper to finish the shield and some plastic cups from the Dollar Tree. Done.
shield throwing practice


Here is where the little buildings made from waffle boxes came in handy. Grab a building and practice jumping!

building jumping practice


Picking a superhero name.
signing in


Friends arriving,guests arriving

Working on their superhero masks.working on the masks


Creating their sidekicks!sidekicks

Getting in their shield throwing practice.

shield throwing

Building jumping skills are a necessity for Superheroes!building jumping


Time for the final Superhero certification test. Climbing up a building, retrieving a bomb, going down a slide and running the bomb to the bomb diffusing station!obstacle course

bomb diffusing

more bombs

Dom had a pretty amazing group of Superheroes who came to celebrate his 4 1/2 birthday and they all passed their Superhero Training test!superheroes

We celebrated with ice cream. icecream

And before everyone left we gave them a Superhero Goody Bag.goody bags

We also had a photo opportunity using clouds we made for Dom’s room and a table cloth from…you guessed it: Dollar Tree!


super devThanks to a library Superhero day and multiple blog posts from which I snagged all my ideas, I think Dom and his superhero friends had a pretty fabulous party!


Our Summer Staycation!


This July both due to lots of doctor bills (we had a baby this year after all) and unexpected home repairs we decided  to do a StayCation in lieu of a traditional vacation.

Here’s a glimpse into our week at home.

We played in our pool. Not big but the kids loved it. At one point we put the hose on the slide and the kids LOVED going down the ‘water slide’!

Pool time

We also tackled a DIY night stand project. Here’s Dom assisting by sorting the wood by size.Building project

Charlee helped too. Sorting the wood

Devin just looked cute and smiled a lot. baby

baby smiling


Of course you need the proper protection for these extensive DIY projects!

wear your goggles


Dom helped hold the wood in place as Marshall put the screws in.helping build the shelf

One of the night stands complete. Marshall built and stained two for our bedroom. They are gorgeous and getting a lot of good use!finished product


We went to a local pool. Never mind that we were in the pool 45 minutes and took 45 minutes to get everyone dressed and back to the car. We made it to the pool! Afterwards, we went to the park for a picnic lunch. picnic

Devin really enjoyed it.sleepy baby


Then we flew kites. Dom had an Ironman kite.kite flying

kite flying 2

kite flying 3

Charlee had a Hello Kitty Kite.hello kitty kite

During our staycation we had fun doing playdough, crafts and watching movies.playdough

playdough 2

Here’s our 4th of July Fireworks crafts in process. 4th of july crafts

july crafts

It was a wonderful blessing to be with family. little dev

little mozart dev

Hotels and amusement parks are great but getting rest and surrounding yourself with family…that’s what matters no matter the location. life is beautiful


The Nights Are Long but the Sleeps Are Short

My husband and I are not getting much rest these days. The reason is a five letter word: D-E-V-I-N.

Devin is our six month old little baby boy who, although he is our third child, is breaking the mold on everything we thought we knew about parenting.

From his choice of entry into the world to the way he sleeps or rather does not sleep through the night, this sweet precious baby boy keeps us on our toes and continually scratching our heads. Nothing we did with our first two works and we feel like brand new parents all over again.  All the tricks we thought we’d mastered, all the experience we thought we had gained, and all the baby whispering superpowers we thought we had acquired…nope. Nothing works.
Come to find out…
We just had a firstborn who thrives off routine and a middle child who likes her sleep. And now, we have a baby who wants to make sure he stays the baby. Don’t worry, kid, you’ve convinced us!

Parenting is just not what I ever expected. I mean that in a good way. And I also mean it in a “whoa! this wasn’t what I was expecting when I said I wanted to have kids” way.

But then my son says to me tonight: “Mommy one day when I’m big like you I can pray prayers like you”. Yes, son. You already do and God loves to hear you talk to Him. {Please never stop!}

And then my daughter climbs up into my lap and snuggles me as we watch “Fia!” (Sofia). {Lord, may we always be close!}

And when my sweet mold breaking baby boy who laughs when others laugh and cries when others cry, it reminds me to do the same for others. {may his heart always be so tender}

No. Parenting is not easy. It’s tiring. It’s thankless. It is a constant sowing of seeds that may or may not yield the crop for which we hope.

It is, however, a beautiful journey. Our greatest mission field. And perhaps one of God’s greatest manifestations of His unconditional love for His Bride.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!…” 1 John 3:1

So although I’m not getting the sleep  I want, I’m thankful for the gift that is parenting and the three little blessings that call me “mommy”. This journey has taught me so much about the gentle beckoning of the Spirit, the persistent grace of the Father and the sacrificial love of the Savior for me.
And that is worth losing sleep over.

sleeping devin