Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Show and Tell Tuesday - Reintroductions

Happy Tuesday, Friends!

I'm not going to lie - yesterday morning was ROUGH.  ROUGH!!!  Mason laid on our bathroom floor crying and saying, "why? whyyyyyyyyyyy" repeatedly and complained repeatedly that his pants weren't stretchy enough.  I feel your pain, sweet boy.

Thankfully everyone was in great spirits when I picked them up and we had some sweet family time last night which was awesome.  

Today for Show and Tell Tuesday the prompt is to "reintroduce" yourself and share any resolutions you have for 2016.

So here's a brief history for y'all...

I was born in North York, Ontario (Canada) and lived there until the summer between 1st and 2nd grade.  My dad worked in the telecom industry and he took a short term assignment in Raleigh, North Carolina that ended up being six years long.  ;)   When I think back on our time in NC I think about LOTS of time spent at church - we were part of an awesome church and were super involved in all kinds of activities there.  Service opportunities, musicals, youth group, festivals, camp, etc.  My brother Mark and I spent our time building forts and exploring outside and I LOVED my school.  I attended a year round magnet school and started playing the trombone.

In between 7th and 8th grades my dad took a new position in Richardson, Texas and, despite my best efforts, we were leaving my beloved Raleigh.  The summer of 1997 was AWFUL! I was moody and lonely and missing all things NC.  Once school started in August I got plugged in with the band program at school, made a great group of friends and things started looking up.

High school plugged along and during Fall of my sophomore year I met a super cute drummer and the rest is history :)  

I attended The University of Texas at Dallas on a full academic scholarship and took a crazy amount of hours (while working close to full time doing marketing and advertising for a local bank) in hopes of getting my undergrad and MBA over the course of 8 semesters (what my scholarship covered). hahaha  My original plan was pre-med, but after an epiphany moment I decided to rethink my path and ended up graduating early with my undergrad in Business Administration and part of my MBA complete.  Dave and I were engaged and I was suffering from some academic burnout (probably from taking 18+ hours of classes for 3 years straight).  I decided to "just" work for a while until I figured out what I felt I was being called to do and continued my job at the bank as well as tutoring middle schoolers in math and working weekends at a sweet shop on our town's square. 

Dave and I got married in December of 2005 and in the Spring of 2006 I was offered a teaching position at McKinney Christian Academy.  Their Algebra teacher was leaving and the Headmaster at the time had heard I was tutoring and told me that he thought I'd be great.  I resigned from my position at the bank, enrolled in an alternative certification program and stepped into my first very own classroom.  That first year I found my passion and couldn't imagine doing anything other than teaching.  I poured myself into my role and spent hours and hours lesson planning, attending school events and took on the position of student government sponsor, planning all middle and high school social events for the entire year.  

In July of 2007 we found out we were pregnant with Luke and our lives were forever changed when he was born in April of 2008.  


My mom retired to watch Luke and I continued teaching.  August of 2010 we were blessed to find out we were having another sweet baby and, after months of crazy swelling, Mason West arrived in April of 2011.  


With two little boys I scaled back on my Student Government role at school, focusing only on Middle School which turned out to be the best decision ever.  In August of 2012 (are you seeing a pattern here???) we received the surprise of lifetime during the first weeks of school when we found out I was pregnant again - on the same day that ALL of our baby items were shoved into my van ready to be dropped off at a local consignment sale.  hahaha  That Fall we were excited to welcome a third baby boy and then, several weeks later, were surprised AGAIN when we found out that Griffin Henry was actually Griffin JOY!  


Our precious girl arrived in April of 2013 and the rest is history.

I started blogging in 2008 right before Luke was born as a way of keeping our extended families informed and involved in our journey into parenthood.  All of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. are in Canada and blogging was my way of sharing pictures, stories and details with them.  Since then I've so enjoyed sharing craft ideas, recipes, mom life, party ideas and everything in between along with anecdotes about our daily lives.

So, on to the second part of the post.  New Years Resolutions. 

I always promise myself I'll be more organized, go to bed earlier and read more - and, despite my best intentions, those rarely happen :)  I read this post on Hands Free Mama a few weeks ago and I wept.  WEPT.  In the article she talks about the best gifts she's ever given, and they're poignant and honest and rang true with me on multiple levels.  I was struggling to write this post and then, yesterday afternoon I pulled out my phone, checked her site and read her  "Vow To Soften" that she just posted.  It was everything that I had been trying to write but couldn't and so I decided I'd share her words in the hope that they speak to you as much as they did to me.  I've put the parts that ring especially true to me in bold.

I’ve had enough of my hard edges.
I’m tired of straining my voice.
I’d like to loosen up and laugh a little more,
Be a positive rather than a negative.
I’d like to feel the upward curve of my lips.
I’d like to surrender control of things in which I have no control.
I’d like to let things unfold in their own time, in their own way.
I’d like to participate joyfully in this fleeting life.
I’d like to be softer
towards him,
towards her,
towards me.
Thus, 2016 shall be the year of my softening.
And this is my vow:
I vow to listen to opinions – I don’t always have to be right.
I don’t always have to agree or have the last word.
I vow to hand over the hairbrush, the pile of laundry, the school project,
the task before us. “How would you do it?” I will ask.
I vow to step aside and respect a new approach.
Success might be difficult to see at first; I vow to keep looking.
I vow to be more accepting of quirks and mannerisms.
I vow to be more accepting of tastes and styles unlike my own.
I vow to remember he is in the process of becoming; she is in the process of finding her way.
And they are more apt to do it if I stop telling them how.
I vow to regard “weaknesses” as hidden strengths.
Inner gifts can be nurtured when I stop plotting ways to alter, change, and “improve”.
I vow to greet my family and myself with a loving smile, no matter what happened yesterday.
Grudge holding only hurts us all.
I vow to pause before correcting.
I shall take a moment to consider if the mistake even needs to mentioned at all.
I vow to stop nitpicking until it bleeds.
I vow to demand less and inquire more.
I vow to listen
and expand my thinking.
I vow to be a voice of encouragement in a demeaning world.
I vow to be a silver lining spotter in my family’s little world.
I vow to be softer today than I was yesterday—a softer voice, a softer posture, a softer touch, a softer thought, a softer timetable.
I vow to be softer towards the imperfect human being inside me and beside me.
By being softer, I can hear more, learn more, feel more, and love more.
At last I will fully see.
I will see his colors.
I will see her colors.
I will see my colors
Perhaps for the very first time.
The colors might take my breath away
Bring me to tears
and offer long-awaited peace.
I shall soften in order to illuminate the colors of the soul.
I shall soften so the human being within me and beside me can shine.
Happy 2016, Friends!!!  Here's to being softer this year!

Link up below and reintroduce yourselves ;)



  1. What sweet sweet words! Loved that, Andrea!! And every time I hear your story-I learn something new! :)

  2. Well that made me tear up! Oh my goodness Andrea...this post spoke to my heart this morning. xo

  3. Thanks for sharing that post. I probably need to read it every morning.

  4. Ahhhh....so bummed, I totally missed the start of my FAVORITE blogging series....but LOVE it. Thanks for hosting - love reading about your beautiful family!!

    1. Hi Leigh - I missed it too but just posted it anyways today even though it's Wednesday! Go ahead and share in the belated Tuesdayness :)

  5. This has just become my New Year's resolution. Thank you.

  6. Crying over my coffee! Thanks for this post Andrea. I am potty training a late learner and was so full of guilt last night at how frustrated I am becoming and some of the things I found myself saying. I am beyond hard on myself too, as so many of us are. I think I will print this and read this every morning this month. I wish you and your family the best year!

  7. what a great post! thanks so much for your blog. Just curious, I live in Raleigh. Which school (and church) did you attend?

  8. I just started a blog over Christmas and haven't gotten it ready enough to post with all of you lovely ladies today. But I too read "Vow to Soften" yesterday and I felt as though it was my own voice speaking. It was exactly what I would say if I could find those words. I printed it off and told myself to read it every morning as a constant reminder. And so my kids can read it on my mirror as well. And I just wanted to say thank you for being real and honest and also such an inspiration to myself. I read your blog every morning and find it uplifting and relatable. :) hope you have a great week.

  9. Thank you so much for this post!! I don't usually make resolutions, but after reading this, this is my resolution. I vow to soften!!

  10. Awesome! Awesome!! Awesome!! Better words could not have been spoken. We all struggle with this, don't we? Best New Years resolution ever!! Thanks for posting 😀

  11. Wow! I really needed to read those words. I am also printing it off and will read it every day to remind myself to be softer!!

  12. I didn't do any new years resolutions because every year I fail and when I was thinking about them this year God so clearly spoke to me that relationships are greater than resolutions so that is what I am going with this year. Investing in those around me. Thanks so much for hosting the link up! I am looking forward to getting to know a few new friends this way! P.S. I hope Mason found his stretchy pants this morning and all is well in your world.

  13. While I have been a reader for years, I always love hearing the story of you, Dave, and the family :)
    Great word for the year! Maybe I need to add that one to my year as well!

  14. Love this series!! I've always wondered, what is Luke's middle name? All 3 of those kiddos are so precious!

  15. Beautiful and inspirational! Love your story, and your "resolution" is spot on! Thank you for sharing.

  16. wow. this is exactly exactly what i needed to hear. SOFTEN is my word. I'm a control freak and it gives me anxiety and overwhelming stress. Sunday i wept during "good, good father" and the sermon titled NO PERFECT PEOPLE ALLOWED. God told me LET GO! LET ME! Come and rest. and i surrendered. My word was going to be ATTITUDE. A patient and more soft attitude, but what you posted encompasses what i want to be this year, SOFT. Thank you so so much for sharing!

  17. Oh my goodness Andrea. That was beautiful and spoke to my heart so much. I needed that. Thank you.

  18. Thank you so much for sharing this Andrea! It spoke right to my mommy heart & made me think about my own life. Happy Tuesday <3

  19. That was profound! I am now going to print it out and and hang it up somewhere where it can be seen every morning!!

  20. Thank you for sharing Andrea...it was something my heart needed :).

  21. Soften sounds like a great word of the year! We've been so stern with Elle lately, and it doesn't help anyone when we all get agitated and yell. I've been dwelling a lot on how to guide her without yelling. Last night, she absolutely REFUSED to get in her bed. There were tears... and screaming... and I'm sorries. And yes, she has to go to bed. But sometimes I find myself yelling over things that really don't matter. I want to be a Yes mom, not a Yell Mom. SOFTEN.

  22. So many thanks for sharing such amazing, poignant words. You always seem to say/post the exact thing I didn't know I needed to hear. Thanks for sharing yourself, and touching many hearts. Here's to a much softer 2016!

  23. "Soften" I absolutely love this & so timely! Thank you!

  24. Awesome post Andrea! That passage is perfect.
    I am hoping to be more consistent with linking up to Show & Tell Tuesdays this year!

  25. I love the thought of softening this year! I need to do this too! Great post!

  26. This spoke straight to my heart! Thank you for sharing that poem, Andrea!

  27. I love your blog! I was born in Aurora, Ontario and moved to Oklahoma in the middle of second grade. Small world!!

  28. You are by far, my favorite blogger and I can relate to you on so many levels. You inspire me. I loved the passage you wrote and I appreciate that you are real. Real life and not just all things pretty, perfect and tidy! I have three children of varying ages and I forget sometimes to sit back and let them be them and develop and do it their way and not mine. Once again, thanks for being you and sharing your life!

  29. Hi Andrea...I was born (and live!) in Canada, too. Do you ever get back to Canada? Where is the 2016 Show and Tell Button/subjects? Just so I can pin it. Love your blog.

  30. Love your blog and your family is just the sweetest! I've linked up for the first time (I just started blogging)and can't wait to read everyone's introductions. Long time reader but first time commenting! Have a great week!

  31. I have a business degree from Texas Tech. I worked at IBM for 8 years. Then my husband got into UT Medical in Galveston and I needed a job there. Only by the grace of God, I got a kindergarten job and did my alternative certification. I loooooved teaching those sweet 5 year olds. Best job ever, but I was so drained at the end of the day!

  32. Totally relate to this. My boyfriend is the dreamer and I am the realist. And it's all fine and dandy to be realistic and watch out for potential downfalls, but boy can it crush a dreamer's dream and enthusiasm in 2 seconds flat!! Soften up is the answer to a happy medium.

  33. Loved the vow to soften - what a great way to articulate something I try to keep in mind and on my heart (and sometimes impatient, sharp tongue) Happy 2016!
    ~ LOTL

  34. That spoke to my heart....thank you...I needed those words this week...wish I had stopped to read them earlier...Happy New Year to you & your sweet, precious family...may it bring with it much happiness & joy😘


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