Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tinsley is FIVE?!?!? Say WHAT?!

My girl is five.  Five years old!  I can't believe it. Here are some pictures of her day....

Sweet Uncle came over in the morning and gave her $10!  She can't wait to go to the store to pick something out.

Blakely Ashton enjoying her morning as well.

Tinsley opened 2 gifts in the morning from her little sisters. 

"Daddy" elephant to add to her collection and a Hello Kitty alarm clock that she can't wait to show Breanna.

Sweet girl

Ila Mae and Adelaide came over to celebrate.  Tinsley wanted to do real makeovers so I packed on the makeup... they loved it!


Angel Ila with her beautiful lipstick she applied herself.

Little Lady in the background haha

Sun kissed cheeks! ha

She loved it

Blakely got in on the action... gotta love the green eyeshadow! 

She loved it...

She really loved it....

A lot....


Waiting on lunch

During little sister's naps Tinsley got to open her presents from MiMi and Poppa.... Merida dress and a bow and arrow.  Tinsley was so excited!

Hair like Merida's

Figuring it out

She got really good!

On her "horse"


David's new favorite picture... mine too. The one eye closed... Oh I die!

Pop Pop and Mawmo came over and brought surprises!

What our family "party" looked like haha

Blakely was thrilled Tinsley was distracted.

Ready to open gifts.

"Kid scissors!"

"Glue!"  She's easy to please :)

This girl trips me out.... enjoying that cupcake!  Love my little Hollipop.

My everythings...


Blakely sneaking when she can..

Arts and crafts

Getting to stay up late to play

Tinsley is such a sweet girl. Last night she slept with me and David (something she wanted to do for her birthday) Many times she would snuggle in close, rub my arm, and squeeze me tight.  She loves us and I appreciate the sweet ways she shows it.  One of my favorite things she said today was, "Tonight I just want to spend time with our family."  She loves spending time with us...  something I hope never changes.  We are beyond blessed to have her in our family. She is smart and a thinker.  The questions she asks and the things she says always get me thinking and remind me of how special she is.
Happy Birthday to my sweet, loving, darling little five year old.  I love her more than I could ever say.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Ben!

Happy Birthday to my oldest brother...

Ben is a great brother.  I have always loved my brother Ben.  He has always made me feel so loved.  When I was little he would often bring in the mat into my room and sleep on my floor.  We would laugh as we quoted movies and played the game where he would “pass out” from my breath.  Ben has always been respectful of me.  I remember going to rent movies with him.  One particular time there was a movie being played in the store where some foul language was used.  Ben went to the front and asked them if they would please turn the movie off while we looked around because he had his little sister with him and did not want me to hear that filth.  I would ride around with Ben in “two toned” (his truck that was half blue and half brown) and we would make up funny raps about the truck and how ghetto it was.  I enjoyed riding around with him, but there was this one time that we were riding past some of my friends.  I immediately ducked down because I did not want to be seen in the ugly truck (I was such a brat!)  Next thing I know, Ben turned that truck around, held me up and laid on the horn while driving past my friends. Haha it was hilarious!
Ben has always been kind and loving to me. I know he would do anything for me.  Ben is a worker and serves a lot.  He has done so many things to help and serve me over the years… and without one complaint! A few years ago, Ben met a guy name Josh in one of his classes.  Josh is blind.  Ben has been such a good friend to him.  He invites him to his family gatherings, takes him grocery shopping, gives him rides, and takes him to do fun things. Ben is such a good friend to him and great example to me.  When Ben finished his 2 year mission in Sacramento, my parents and I went to go pick him up.  We met some of the people he served and shared the gospel with.  The day we left Sacramento to head back to Virginia, the airport was filled with many of those people. It touched my heart to see them sobbing because of the love and appreciation they had for Elder Redfern.  He had done so much for them.  He had so much love for them and they had felt it.
When I think of my brother Ben I think of our mutual love for candy, laughing,  my birthday bubble gum machines, his pearly whites, his good manners, hard work, the service he gives and the friend he is. 

I love you, Ben.  You are a blessing to me, Spencer, and Taylor.  Happy Birthday! 
 Ps. I’m still waiting for every single beanie baby every made and my horse as well…

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Invisible Mom

Today I received a letter from my good friend Morgan.  She is serving a mission for our church in Kennewick, Washington.  I always look forward to getting her letters.  They always inspire and encourage me. She put a story in the letter I received today.  I had never heard of it before.  It is now one of my favorites.

"It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’

Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?? 

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’

Some days I’m a crystal ball; ‘Where’s my other sock? Where’s my phone?, What’s for dinner?’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, and she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. 

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’ 

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.
No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. 

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he’d say, ‘You’re gonna love it there…’ 

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers."

Powerful, right?  I want to build the best cathedral I can build... and not mind being invisible while doing it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Deuces Facebook

Tinsley was at school and Hollins was napping.  I thought I would be cleaning the house and having "special Mommy and Blakely time."  I found myself at the computer when Blakely came up to me and asked if she could go jump on the trampoline.  "Sure you can!" Oh this was perfect... the trampoline would entertain her for a "few" minutes while I finished wasting my time looking at time wasting things.  Then it hit me.  She didn't even ask me if I would jump with her.  She saw me at the computer and figured it wasn't going to happen.  My heart hurt and I blurted out, "Do you want me to jump with you?"  "YES!!! YAAAAAY!!!!!"  She was jumping up and down and smiling from ear to ear. We started walking to the back door.  Before going outside she turned around and said, "Hey mommy?  Don't bring your phone."  Guilt set in.  They do notice.  They notice when I am on my phone and the computer.  I left my phone on the computer table.  We went outside and she jumped her little heart out while I was right beside her. I wasn't just hearing her laugh this time but SEEING the smile that came with that darling little laugh.  As we jumped I realized what I had really known all along... I need to be present when I'm with my children.

I decided to deactivated my facebook. Let me start off by saying that I don't think facebook is bad and I won't be gone forever. I actually think facebook is great!  I have loved keeping in contact with old friends, new friends, and family.  It's been a wonderful way for me to share my thoughts, my testimony of the church, cute pictures of my kids, and to talk about how wonderful (and hott) my State Farm agent is ;) But I became addicted to it.  Yes, the rumors are true... my name is Catie and I am addicted to facebook.  I had thought about getting rid of my facebook for about... I don't know.... a year?  But when it came down to it, I felt like I could not give it up.  "What about all of my cousins that I keep in contact with through facebook? What if it snows?  I will need to get on to see if school is canceled. What about when I need parenting advice?" Yup, I could never get rid of it.  But deep down I knew I needed to.  Again, I'm not saying that facebook is bad... I'm just saying that for me personally I knew I needed to get off for awhile.  I wish I had the discipline to get on and off real quick, but I don't.  It's just too easy to click on that little blue square app and start scrolling.... next thing I know I am looking at pictures of puppies that belong to the cousin of the girl I had 9th grade gym with.(haha Oh my goodness I am just now realizing how embarrassing and ridiculous this sounds...)
So last week when I found myself scrolling down on my newsfeed and clicking on pictures while my kids played around me I thought, "I hate this. I am so sick of this. Such a waste of my time..." More importantly... such a waste of the time that should be spent being fully present when I'm with my children. It's time that shouldn't be spent checking my facebook to see if anyone responded to that controversial post someone put on their wall while playing the Ladybug game with Tinsley. Or telling my girls, "just one second" so I comment on the picture my friend posted of the cute snacks she made for her son's tee-ball team.   I know that there are going to be days where my mind will be preoccupied because that's life... but I don't ever want it to be because of time spent on facebook. I was done. I deactivate my facebook.  FREEDOM! It felt so good!  It feels so good!  I haven't missed it at all... not. at. all! I would miss sharing my thoughts and feelings so that's why I'm going to be writing on my blog.  I find blogging every few days to be a lot less time consuming and a great way to still share my thoughts. I can't even tell you the difference not having my facebook has made! I am happier.  I know it's only been a week, but I'm so happy I did it!  
So here's to being more present when I'm with my sweet little girls! Who knew life without facebook could be so wonderful?  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

I heard Tinsley coming up the stairs as she asked David if she could please bring me my card.  I knew David would tell her not to until I was awake but I know that eager feeling of wanting to give a present or card to someone so I quickly shouted, "I'm awake!" 
"Dad, she's awake!"
Love the sound of her little feet running... she busts open the door.  "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, MOMMY!  I made you this beautiful card.... and this picture of a birthday cake!" Then I hear another pair of feet coming... "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!"  Soon all five of us were on the bed.  Tinsley says, "Mom, I hope you have the best Mother's Day today.  We are going to do everything we can to make it special.  Whooooooo loves Mother's Day?!" We all shouted, "I DO!!!!"  Tinsley then tells us all to put our hands in for a cheer.  "Ready?  GooooooOOOOOOOO Mother's Day!"  I love this girl's enthusiasm! Love all my girls.  Love being a mother.
I had a great mother's day. 

Like most mothers... I thought a lot about motherhood as mother's day was approaching.  I thought about being a mother.  I thought about all the mothers in my life.  I thought about my mother....

 As a little girl I remember my answer was always the same, 
“I want to be a mom when I grow up.”
I wanted to do just what my mom did.  I wanted to send my husband off to work with a kiss and a peeled orange in a piece of Tupperware and a napkin.  I wanted to make breakfast for my kids, pack their lunches, kneel and pray with them before they caught the bus.  When they accidently left their lunches at home I wanted to drop off it at school for them with a little note inside saying how much I loved them. I wanted to make grasshopper pie for family night. I wanted to have a hug and kiss waiting for them when they got home from school as well as a special snack.  I wanted to make “sick beds” on the couch when they got sick and give them as many popsicles as they wanted. I wanted to do laundry. I wanted to wear an apron. I wanted to comfort when my kids had been hurt. I wanted to give my kids rides.  I wanted to make dinner. I wanted to make chore charts. I wanted to help with homework.  I wanted to help with projects. I wanted to volunteer at the school. I wanted to pay bills.  I wanted to clean once white shoes until they were white again (she was the best at that!) I wanted to iron my husband’s shirts. I wanted to have vacuumed floors and cozy lamps turned on when my husband came home. I wanted to organize. I wanted to grocery shop.  I wanted to tuck my kids in. I wanted to wake my kids up by kisses all over their faces.  I wanted to quote scriptures and inspirational quotes to my family.  I wanted my children to not feel like a burden but a pleasure to serve.  I wanted to have family scripture study and prayer before bed.  I wanted to French braid hair.  I wanted to put fresh sheets on the beds. I wanted to tie shoes and kiss skinned knees.  I wanted to go to the post office.  I wanted to lay in the bed talking about anything and everything with my kids. I wanted a baby…. To rock, feed, change, sing to, snuggle, teach, love. I wanted to make my home smell good and feel good the way she did. I wanted to be to my kids what my mom was to me.  I appreciate how she always told me how much she loved being a wife and mother.  I love that she felt blessed to be a stay at home mom. 
Because of the kind of mother my mom was…. I wanted to be a mother.  I want my children to love and cherish me and way I do her.  I want to make life as wonderful for them as she did for me. I love my mom and I love being a mom!  It is hard but there is nothing else in the world I would rather do!  I only wish I found doing laundry and ironing as exciting as I did when I was a child… ;)


Monday, May 6, 2013


Have you ever had a crazy, busy and exhausting day of traveling home?  You know that feeling of opening your front door? (minus the thought of all the unpacking and laundry you have to do.)  That's how I feel when I'm with David.  It's a familiar, comfortable, safe, and happy feeling.
I love David with all that I have. I often tell him how sad I would be if he wasn’t mine.  It’s true… I would be so very sad.  And not only because I know that he is the one I am supposed to be with for eternity but because I love and like him too.  A lot. There is so much good in David.  He has so many qualities that I hope to one day have.  I love and appreciate who he is.  We are in love and I am grateful for it!  But don’t think for one second that is always hugs and kisses, “no, I love you more!”, romantic dinners, and love notes. Nope... our marriage does not always look like some of the pictures I post of us...


This may come as a shock to you (ha) but I can be snotty, sarcastic, and down right rude sometimes. There are times that I slam the cabinets and doors (why does that feel so good?) and lay so close to the opposite edge of the bed that if I so much as sneeze I’m going to fall right off.  David can drive me crazy sometimes. And there’s no doubt I can drive that boy up the wall. Our marriage isn’t perfect. Marriage is hard. Marriage is work.  And we constantly have to work at it. There will always be up’s and down’s. But I find that some of the "down" times are when I am being selfish.  Putting my wants and my desires before his. But I can honestly say that when I put aside my selfish thoughts and put him first that we are both happier.  It’s about being humble.  Being humble can be hard.  There are times that I pray, "please, please, PLEASE help me to be humble!!" and there are times where I have to pray just to have the desire to want to be humble! 

I love what my cousin recently wrote on her blog about her marriage… 
“We aren't bound to each other only by a marriage certificate or even the sealing that was so very sacred and special. We're bound to each other because we love, forgive and respect each other.”

Love that. Especially the word forgive.  There will be many opportunities to do that in marriages.  Actually, in all of our relationships. 

Side note: I am reading The Peacegiver.  Have you ever read it?  If you haven’t, you HAVE to read this book and if you have read it, you have to read it again…. It is so good! The things you come to understand about forgiveness through the atonement and the Savior’s love for others is absolutely incredible.  (It is a great read for those who are married, single, divorced, teenagers... anyone and everyone! PLEASE read this book!)

I loved Elder Clayton’s talk during General Conference. He said some really good things.  Here is one of my favorite things he said…

“Humility is the essence of repentance. Humility is selfless, not selfish. It doesn’t demand its own way or speak with moral superiority. Instead, humility answers softly and listens kindly for understanding, not vindication. Humility recognizes that no one can change someone else, but with faith, effort, and the help of God, we can undergo our own mighty change of heart. Experiencing the mighty change of heart causes us to treat others, especially our spouses, with meekness. Humility means that both husbands and wives seek to bless, help, and lift each other, putting the other first in every decision. Watch and learn: repentance and humility build happy marriages.”
Selfless, answers softly, listens kindly, faithful, meek.  How wonderful would it be for someone (especially your spouse) to describe you with those words?  Humility is key. 
Sometimes there are things going on in our marriages and lives and we may feel like there’s no hope.  Elder Clayton says,

“There are those whose marriages are not as happy as they would wish, as well as those who have never married, are divorced, are single parents, or for various reasons are not in a position to marry. These circumstances can be full of challenge and heartbreak, but they need not be eternal. To those of you in such situations who nevertheless “cheerfully do all things that lie in [your] power” to persevere, may heaven bless you richly…. Keep the commandments, and trust the Lord and His perfect love for you. One day every promised blessing concerning marriage will be yours.”

 No matter what your situation is if you bring it back to yourself (the only one you have true control over) you will find peace as the Lord will bless you.  I am really trying to work on this in all of my relationships.  Want to try with me?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lovers getaway

A few weeks ago David and I flew down to Florida to lay in the sun, relax, and enjoy each other's company with no distractions. We stayed at Orange Lake resort. All I wanted to do was sleep in, float down the mile long "lazy river" pool, eat, and nap. So that's what we did... every day. We also went to 3 movies while we were down there. I couldn't remember the last time just David and I went to the movies. Some may think that isn't much of a vacation but there was nothing else I would have wanted to do. It was wonderful. My mom watched the girls for us. She is the best. I can fully relax and enjoy myself when I know they are with my mom. But I did miss them a lot so we skyped and talked on the phone a few times throughout the trip. :)
I am grateful for my husband for taking me on this little getaway. We had a great time staying up late, chatting and laughing. I just love being with him. I know it is important to take time to be alone with your spouse and really connect. I am big on date nights... it's hard with kiddos but there are always ways to improvise. This past weekend we had our date night on the drive way after the girls were in bed. We brought out lots of blankets and pillows and snuggled up in the chilly weather. We don't have street lights in our neighborhood so it was extremely dark.... the sky was clear and the stars were very bright. The date was free and one of the best. Win/win situation- I highly recommend it :)

Virginia State Fair

I have always loved the state fair. I love the smell of delicious, fried food the second you walk in. I love WATCHING the risky rides in action. I used to love riding them until my brother and I almost fell out of one. True story. So scary. Never again. This was the first year that we took the girls. There are a ton of kid rides. Tinsley has no fear. She would ride every ride there if they let her. We stayed about 7 hours. There were no lines so the girls (mostly Tinsley) rode and rode and rode. We had two exhausted little ladies when we got home that night but it was well worth it.

Pure happiness in that cute little face right there. They rode that slide at least 10 times.

I wish this picture showed Blakely's face better- she loved that ride. Blakely didn't ride too many rides... she preferred dancing to the music while big sister and daddy rode them.

This ride would whip around so fast. Tinsley was in heaven.

David and Tinsley on the dragon roller coaster. Hands up the whole time!

Super fast ride that T-Bo loved.

Dumbo ride

I love my family!

This baby was born just an hour before we took this picture. We saw it stand up and walk around for the first time.

Fried snickers. Need I say more? It was beyond delicious. We did not hold back. We also had fried mac-n-cheese, rib tips with mashed potatoes, and homemade ice cream. We also enjoyed multiple drinks of orangeade and lemonade. The first guy who made our lemonade had a conversation with me that went like this....

Lemonade guy: Looks like you're about pop!
Me: Oh I know but I actually have a few months left.
Lemonade guy: Really? Wow, you're going to be big as a house!

Haha oh it was so funny! I can't blame the guy for thinking I am about to pop... I get that a lot. But to say I am going to be as big as house? I probably should have been offended but I seriously wasn't. My weight gain during my pregnancies amaze me as well. My doctor has told me that people normally gain 25-30 pounds. I have 13 weeks left and I have already gained 30! I gained 60 pounds with Blakely and a LITTLE less with Tinsley. I'm hoping not to pass 60 pounds this pregnancy but with the holiday's coming up it just may happen. Oh well. I'll worry about that after the baby gets here. Until then... mama wants it all! :)