Ouch

This month has been filled with doctor appointments, co-pays and urgent care visits for my family.  In total, we have seen one nurse practitioner and seven doctors!!! Our ailments have been all over the place. I’m tired of waiting rooms, doctors, and filling prescriptions. Today, I wrapped up a month filled with health issues with an unplanned, painful biopsy. Before you stress, know that I’m going to fully recover but am just tired of feeling like a pin cushion.

Whenever I’m over something and feeling down, I take stock in where I should be grateful. Today, I’m thankful for good insurance, quality healthcare, and supportive friends/family. Life is always going to have ups and downs. I’m trying my best to find some ups even when I’m most down.  

Prayers during difficult times also help lift me up.  Obviously, I’m praying about my situation but also feel the prayers of others.  Even though it can be uncomfortable to share your burdens with others, I’ve learned that true friends don’t mind at all.  They will happily lift you up in prayer and cheer you along in life’s journey.

What helps cheer you up when you are down?

live & love, brooke

It’s Been a Year

I know that many of us spend time being on the water- at the lake, river, beach, or ocean. I love being water side because it is so peaceful and relaxing. I still feel this way but our accident last year forever changed how I view the water. Yes, it is beautiful to look at but it can be incredibly overwhelming and never ending. Waves don’t stop, water gets deep quickly, and even though you may feel in control, you are not with that much water around you. Through this experience, I have gained a healthy amount of respect for the strength and magnitude of water.  

Our boat accident happened a year ago today. It was such a random and freak occurrence that I don’t think it could be duplicated if we tried. I’ve gone over that day in my head hundreds of times and each time realized or learned something new. I am also more sensitive to other’s boating/water stories and photos on social media. I wanted to put together my thoughts on what I have learned and recognized over the last year in hopes of helping prevent a similar accident again.

Life Jackets

  • I know many of you read my Plea for Life Jackets post several weeks ago. So I will just quickly say- all children who are on a dock or boat should be wearing an appropriately sized life jacket.
  • If you are on a commercial boat with your child, do not hesitate to request a life jacket for them. Even if the crew says you don’t need one… the seas are calm… blah blah blah- demand a life jacket. We went on a very rough sightseeing boat tour in Ireland and I am so thankful we demanded a life jacket for our son. The children’s life jackets were stored in the downstairs main cabin, behind a metal door, and inside a wooden cabinet. Once the crewman got that far, he still had to dig through several to find a child sized jacket. Personally, that is not an easily accessible life jacket location. My heart is racing just thinking about him struggling to find one. I can only imagine what would (or wouldn’t happen) if the boat was in some sort of accident. So, let my lesson be yours too- get a life jacket for your kid or get off the boat (which is what we almost did with the initial push back we got from the crew).
  • For adults, always know where the life jackets are kept and know how to access them.
  • If you ever are on a boat and feel uncomfortable, put on a life jacket. It can’t hurt.

Safe Boating

  • I am not really a big fan of boating on major holidays- Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day weekends. There are a lot of people on the water and many of them have no clue what they are doing. If you do want to go boating those days, I prefer to go early in the morning and be back right after lunch. Cracking a cold one or two or seven on the boat is very popular but mixing alcohol, fast boats, and lots of people is a bad equation. Boating early helps prevent this scenario from occurring.
  • If for some reason you are on a boat that flips over, know that there is likely an air pocket under the boat where people may be trapped. Yes, this sounds scary (and it was) but they have air to breathe and can talk to one another there. It is important for rescuers to realize where this air pocket is under the boat so they can zoom in on where to look during the rescue. (Side note: When our boat flipped over, we quickly realized that some people were missing and were trapped underneath the boat. I immediately knew we had to get them out and the clock was ticking (I did not know about the air pocket). Thanks to watching Baywatch as a child, I knew I’d have to dive down under the boat to search for arms/legs. Who knew that Baywatch would be so helpful 25 years later?)
  • If you go out on a boat, know where you get on the boat (i.e., name of marina, boat ramp, house address, etc). If something happens and your original captain can’t drive you home, you will be able to tell someone else where you need to go. You may not know how to get there but will atleast have an idea of the general vicinity.

A year later…

I am happy to say that my son happily jumped back on this boat for a ride yesterday. He did not hesitate. I thank God for his resilience in being back on the water in that same boat again.  

We have not yet gone back to the location of the accident. I am not sure when/if I will. I know that time is helping to heal things though. For me, getting back on the boat several times over the last year has been a big deal. I will not let this accident scare me away from the water. But, I will take what I have learned to be even safer when boating. I hope you will all do the same!

love & learn, brooke

How To… Pack for Vacation

A week before the trip
1. Begin taking inventory of things you may need to buy (besides food). Order these items online or figure out when you have time to go to Target and try not to spend an extra $100.

2. Figure out which vehicle you will be taking and see if it needs any maintenance. If so, schedule a trip to the auto repair shop and try not to spend an extra $1000.

Four days before the trip

3. Figure out what food you will need on the trip- snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

4. Check your pantry and fridge to see what you can take with you to use.

Three Days before the trip

5. Go grocery shopping to pick up your food for the weekend. I shop and bring food with me so that when I arrive, I don’t have to get back in the car to shop at a store I don’t know. This drives my husband insane. But not insane enough to offer to plan meals/grocery shop when we arrive.

6. Leave food in grocery bags to refrigerate until time to pack the cooler. Put shelf stable foods in sturdy bag so it’s ready to be loaded.

7. Start making lists. Lists of what you need, your spouse needs, children, dog, etc. All the lists. Don’t forget a list of what needs to go in the cooler. Or a list of sporting/beach equipment. Make a list of all your lists so you don’t forget any important list.


Two days before your trip

8. Wash, dry and fold every dirty item of clothing in your house. Even your sheets. You probably won’t need to bring any sheets on your trip but doing 7 loads of laundry in a row is really fun.   

9. Start packing clothing/shoes into suitcases for everyone. Make a new list of what else needs to be put in each bag that wasn’t ready to be loaded on your first packing session.

One Day before your trip

10. Start second guessing that your car will be able to carry all the stuff plus your family. Do a quick Expedia search to see how much it costs to rent a car. Decide that your husband being uncomfortable on the drive is better than spending $330 on a rental.

11. Take your car to the car wash. Clean all the crap out of it. Snack bowls, sippee cups, straw wrappers, dirty socks/shoes, etc. Spend 30 mins fighting the vacuum hose to successfully suck 18lbs of nastiness out of your car. Fill up with gas on the way home.

The night before your trip

12. FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING, plug the iPad in to charge over night. If you don’t, you will hate yourself even more in the morning.

13. Check all the lists and scratch out what’s been done. Try not to hyperventilate when you see what’s left. Add more things to your list so that your mind doesn’t have to try to remember and you might sleep 5% better.

Day of your trip

14. Finish packing suitcases and toiletry bags once everyone is dressed. 

15. Cook breakfast for your family. Multi task by packing the cooler at the same time. Use the cooler list and pray you can Tetris all in there. Try not to notice your husband glaring at your while you load said cooler.  

16. Start cleaning your house. Because no one wants to come home to a dirty house. Clean up breakfast, make beds, take out trash, and set the AC higher.  

17. Start making trips down to the basement garage with everything you have packed. Line it all up by the car before you start packing so you can pack it well.

18. Carefully carry your full, 50lb cooler down a flight of stairs while your husband walks the dog.

19. Back the car into the driveway so you can load it. Cram all your stuff in the trunk. Strap the massive cooler in the back seat with seat belt. Be thankful the seat belt stretches that far.

20. Check your lists. Go back inside and get the 6 things you forgot and throw them in your purse.  

21. Load the breathing cargo into car. Make sure everyone has a well charged device.  
After a 4.5 hour ride with three stops, hauling everything in, unloading it all, and having a cold beverage… vacation can now begin.

laugh, brooke

What She Wore… Fishing

 

FullSizeRender (5)The essentials:

  1.  Pearls.  These are only mandatory when fishing in the south.  They make your teeth look whiter in fishing photos.  I’d recommend a pair that you bought at Target as part of a 3 pack… you know, the fancy ones.
  2. A shirt.  On this trip, I am sporting a Magnolia tank top that I bought in Waco while visiting the Silos.  On it’s second wash, it got two holes in it.  I hope their renovations are higher quality than their shirts.
  3. A Hat.  I prefer to wear a ten year old Masters hat that is showing its age via fading and fraying on the brim.  At this point, I am not sure I could give it away.
  4. Sunglasses.  Many people go the expensive route when buying fishing sunglasses… something with UV protection and polarization.  I, however, go the complete opposite route and buy my sunglasses from the Dollar Tree.  Yes, they cost $1 per pair.  Don’t be jealous.  They are probably going to end up at the bottom of the river/lake/ocean anyway… no matter how much you spend.
  5. Croakies.  My croakies are a free set from Southern Tide that I received at a tailgate party 8 years ago.  They are old, ratty and tattered but this prevents others from stealing them.
  6. Shorts.  These (non) fancy shorts are a pair that I found at the C Shack that someone abandoned and never reclaimed.
  7. Waterproof shoes.  My chacos have helped catch plenty of fish.  Bonus point is they don’t fall off if your boat flips over.  Not that I would know anything about this, though.

FullSizeRender (6)As my husband always reminds me, the most important part of any sport or activity is how you look.  Thankfully, this outfit actually helped me catch something (*I do not guarantee it will work for you though).  So, the next time you go fishing… head to the Dollar Tree, pull out your hole-iest clothes, find a free t-shirt and be ready to rock an awesome fishing style too!

laugh, brooke

Ode to Mother’s Day

As a child, Mother’s Day was always a special day with family.  We’d spend time celebrating my mom and Myma, my grandmother.  The men would take as all out to a nice lunch after church.  We’d present mom and Myma with “precious” home made gifts ranging from a card to a craft or some “gem” we had bought on our own.

After lunch, my mom would come home for a nap and my dad would take over as “mom” the rest of the day.  Mom would place a sign on her door that says “Do not touch this door unless you are bleeding or throwing up”.  I never really understood this sign until I became a mom.

For a while in my married life, I never wanted to become a mom.  Married life was so good- filled with sleep, travels, and lots of time together.  I couldn’t imagine upsetting this beautiful life with the responsibility of a child!

IMG_2055Just after our third wedding anniversary, I felt my heart starting to change.  It was quiet at first but slowly got louder and louder.  I didn’t want to tell Peck about my new found sentiment because I was worried he might not be on board.  It took me a few months to finally fess up to my feelings.  It was June 2011 and we were wrapping up a trip in Europe.  Holding hands, we walked down a beautiful old street in Vienna.  I told him that God had been changing my heart and I thought I might want to be a mommy one day- in the not so near future.  It was an emotional moment that my sweet husband embraced so well.  He hugged me and told me what a wonderful mom I’d be and that he’d love to see me become one.  I don’t know why I was afraid to tell him.  That man is a saint!

IMG_2056To our surprise, several months later, we found out that I was pregnant.  I remember taking the home test and being convinced there was no way I was pregnant as the timer ticked down.  This was just a necessary routine before leaving for a bachelorette party weekend while Peck went to San Fran.  If I was pregnant, I wanted to know before I subjected myself to a weekend of margaritas, Jell-O shots, and other bad decisions.

When I first read the test, I thought the result instructions were wrong.  It said I was pregnant- so I had to call Peck in for a second opinion to make sense of this little sheet.

As he looked at the test and smiled, every possible emotion set in.  😳😍😯😭😬🤞🏼🙈😩😊😆😁😐😱😑😏😝🤑🙏🏼😭 … were just a few of them.  We were laying on the couch together and I was full on sobbing.  I’ve never been so surprised by something with that many emotions at one time.  He hugged me through it all and was so happy.  Just pure happiness.  My stable and loving husband was just the rock I needed.

20120829_Peck_130On my first Mother’s Day as a mom, 2013, my husband knocked it out of the park with best gift he has ever given me.  A framed photo of the street in Vienna where I first told him that I wanted to be a mom.  That, accompanied with a sweet card, made me cry so much.  It had come full circle.  Receiving that gift from my generous husband while celebrating the day with my mom and my sweet little boy, is my favorite Mother’s Day memory so far.

IMG_4415As I think about Mother’s Day today, I also think of my mom friends.  The women who I get to share the ups and downs of being a mom with each week.  The amount of respect I have for them is ginormous.  They care for their families, working hard and sacrificing frequently- but still have enough love to share with me and my son.  I’m grateful for their friendship, encouragement, and love today… and every day.

JB, thank you for making me a mommy.  I had no idea how much love my heart was capable of until you came in to our lives!

Mom, thank you for teaching me how to love so freely.  And for your good genes.

IMG_3298Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms, step moms, foster moms, fur baby moms, mom friends, and grandmas!

love, brooke

Heavy Burdens

Today, I have felt weighed down by the concerns of close friends. Two friends have loved ones in the hospital and are unsure of when/if they will get to come home. Other close confidants are traveling for major work projects that will have long, impacting decisions to be made during them.

I have been carrying these concerns with me since last night. I tossed and turned all night and found myself praying all night as a result. My body wishes it could do more… perhaps something physical to help my close friends. But, all I can do is pray. That makes it sound so minuscule when I know it’s not. Lifting these situations up in prayer is helping take the burden off my loved ones.

At one point today, I felt it was all too much for me to emotionally carry… so I asked for help. I asked my close friends to also be in prayer for these situations. And do you know what happened? My load felt lighter. Sharing concerns with believers helps unite us all and understand how we can all help make one another’s burdens less heavy.

So friends, when you feel you can’t carry anymore- ask for help, ask for prayers or ask for encouragement. True friends will consider it an honor to help you carry your burdens. They will feel honored that you trust them enough to cover you in prayer. In return, you will feel less cumbersome and more at peace.

learn and love, brooke

Ode to the Summer of Love: 2005

When I first laid eyes on him, he was laying on a porch swing reading a book about personality types.  He was tall, pudgy and lounging in a free t-shirt with mesh shorts.  Yes, the pure image of sexiness.

It was the summer of 2005 and I was moving into his fraternity house at Georgia Tech.  I had secured an internship working at the Governor’s Office making a whooping 12 bucks per hour!!  I would later find out that he had worked hard to rally the fraternity brothers into allowing girls to live on the top floor of the house for the summer.  I am guessing he was hoping for someone like me to show up which is why he was perched on the front porch on move in day.

One of the first conversations I had with him made me think he was a pompous jerk.  He told me that he had a job interview the next day and I asked what he was wearing.  He sort of scoffed at my idea of wearing a suit and tie to interview.  Instead, he insisted on a button down and khaki pants.  At least I realized he was a bad dresser from the first moment I saw him.

IMG_1997A few days later, Georgia Tech was doing a massive paving project and had my main route home closed down.  I got detoured to the west part of campus and after a few attempts, finally figured out how to get back to the fraternity house.  (This was pre-GPS-on-your-phone days).  When I arrived, I complained to the group gathered in the front room that I had no idea how to get around this “big city”.  He insisted on giving me his number as a “just in case it happens again”.  Ok, he may not know how to dress but he at least has some smooth moves.

We started talking on AIM (that’s short for AOL Instant Messenger, for those of you under the age of 30) late at night and early into the mornings.  I have no clue what we talked about that long but for some reason I was intrigued by this Tech guy and he was intrigued by me, a UGA girl.

My daily schedule that summer looked like this… Wake up at 7:55AM to the first whistle, be at work by 9AM, work til 5PM, nap from 5:30-7PM and then hang out, go out or AIM it up til 2AM.  Man, those were the days.  By this point, he had moved out of the fraternity house and was subleasing a room for the rest of the summer across from Grant Park.  This was probably good for my sleep regiment and made it possible for him to get some studying in for his last semester of college.

One evening, a few guys were getting together at his new place and I was invited to come hang out for a movie night.  They let me pick the movie and I chose “Out Cold“.  I had not seen it in recent years but remembered it being very funny.  Well, it was funny but I forgot about all the inappropriate parts including a hot tub scene.  Definitely not the best movie choice for a bunch of Christian guys to watch with me.

IMG_1988As the summer progressed, I became the social event planner; planning picnics, Braves outings, movie nights, dinners out, tubing trips, and overall just making sure it was a fun summer.  I had recruited my college roommate and her friends to come down and start hanging out with me/the guys.  On one outing, several of us went to Centennial Olympic Park to picnic, throw frisbees/footballs and genuinely just hang out.  I remember everyone tossing a ball or frisbee around and me telling my friend, Coker, that I thought something was going on with me and him.  She seemed surprised, and at that exact moment we both looked his way in time to see him almost fall down while trying to catch a frisbee.  Not his smoothest moment.

Our friend groups really meshed well including several new couples forming.  The weekends were a blast- everyone hung out together and there were some epic parties. One party really stood out in my mind.  It was mid June and a good bit of beer pong had been played.  Someone came up with a “great” idea to head across the street to the park for some golfing.  But not with golf balls, but instead with rotting limes left over from a cinco de mayo party.  Yes, you read that right, golfing with old limes.  This epic night is now simply referred to as Lime Golf.

In mid July, I planned a tubing trip to Blue Ridge, GA.  We spent the afternoon floating down the Toccoa River and enjoying the warm day.  Afterwards, my family friends graciously hosted us for dinner at their mountain cabin.  As we walked into the house, my dad’s friend shook his hand and said, “So you are the one I have been hearing about.”  I was totally mortified and embarrassed.

FullSizeRender (3)At the end of July my family was throwing a big birthday party for three family members in Augusta.  For some reason, I thought this was the best time to introduce him to my big, loud family.  Except, I never realized I had a big and loud family until this weekend.  My parents welcomed him to their home and had managed to shove a twin bed in the office so he’d have a place to sleep.  Both of my sisters were still in middle/high school so their big sis bringing home a boy for the weekend was a big deal.  Plus, it took a village to help raise me so all of that village couldn’t wait to meet him too.

The party is somewhat of a blur because there were so many people that I had to introduce to him.  He got asked so many times who we met that he finally started telling people that we met in DUI school.  Only a few didn’t realize it was a joke.  He also managed to drink about fourteen beers.  Thankfully, this is not frowned upon among that crew.  There was a DJ and we did some dancing on the back porch.  My baby sister saw us sneaking a quick kiss in the front foyer of my grandmother’s home and nearly peed her pants.  We went back to Atlanta the next day and he didn’t break up with me.  Success.

FullSizeRender (2)A few weekends later, I took him to Athens as my guest for a friend’s wedding.  It was the first time I realized how much he REALLY hated UGA.  For some reason, I kept him around anyway.  On the way back to Atlanta, we were in my mom’s LEAKING convertible and it started pouring rain, so he was soaked… even with the top up.

As the summer was winding down, he managed to graduate from Georgia Tech.  It was a big day and I don’t think he really knew for sure that he was getting out on the day of the graduation since grades weren’t in yet.  But, thankfully it happened.

FullSizeRender (4)It was a magical summer spent making new friends, falling in love with this great city, and building a relationship with him.  We all have such fond memories of that summer and it is a bond that many of us will never want to forget.

Sadly, (or maybe thankfully) I couldn’t find my scrapbook from this amazing summer, so these few pics will have to do for now.

On the day of our 9th wedding anniversary, I think about how much I loved being with him then and how much more I love being with him now.  One thing that is always true in our relationship is that we have always been surrounded by great people who are cheering us on.  Today, I am thankful for them as well.

love, brooke

 

A Plea for Life Jackets

This is a very difficult post to write but I think it is VERY important to share especially as summer vacations are quickly approaching.

I grew up on water… the Savannah River to be exact and have been swimming and boating as long as I can remember.  In the summers, we’d go to a sandbar to swim 2-3 nights a week and would spend several hours there on Sunday afternoons.  I love being on the water, it is so calm, beautiful and peaceful.lifejacket

Growing up on the river meant that my parents had strict rules about life jackets.  We always had to wear them.  The boat would not turn start until everyone had on their life jacket.  Even if we were strong swimmers, we always wore our life jacket jumping into the water.  We wore them on pontoon boats, jet boats, and fishing boats… discrimination on the kind of boat did not matter.  If you were leaving the dock, you had on a life jacket.  Thankfully, we never had any issues with following this rule and had plenty of fun, safe boating.

Fast forward to last Memorial Day weekend, my family was on a boat leaving the beach off the Georgia coast.  I’m still unsure of what really happened, but a wave knocked our boat over and we were all tossed into the ocean a few hundred feet from shore.  Thankfully, all of the children had on life jackets, including my 3 year old son.  He did not know how to swim and the water was deep.  His second-hand, $10 life jacket SAVED HIS LIFE and for that, I will always be SO grateful.

I had been boating EVERY single summer for 31 years of my life and never had a boat flip.  It was totally a fluke but I am so thankful we were prepared.

Please do yourself and your children a favor… make them wear a life jacket.  Obviously, it is so important to wear while on a boat or while tubing but also on a dock too.  Things can happen so quickly.

It is also valuable to remember that you cannot control all situations.  Yes, you may be a safe boat driver but you can’t control how others are driving their boat.  Or yes, your children may know not to go near the edge of a dock, but what happens if a raccoon runs down the dock towards them?  (No joke, this has happened to me.)  So many things are not in our control but putting your child in a well fitted life jacket is.

And finally, every time I mention this story to friends, I want to make one final point.  As an adult, if you are ever in a situation where you feel uncomfortable on a boat or body of water, just put on a life jacket.  There is no harm or foul in just being prepared.  Yes, the water is beautiful, calm and relaxing but we have to also remember how deep, strong, and overpowering it can be.

If you want more info on life jackets, I’d encourage you to check out the US Coast Guard website.

I wish you all a safe, wonderful and happy summer at the lake, river or ocean!

learn & love, brooke

Ode to Stinky

alredrockjump

When I was 9 years old, my parents were blessed (and surprised!) by another little pink bundle of joy.  She joined my parents, me, and Jackie as our baby sister… the youngest of three girls… and was named Alexandria Jennings Cadle.  I remember Jackie and I (dressed in matching cat t-shirts that said “Big Sisters”) coming to the hospital to meet Alex.  I was immediately in love.

We used to sing her baptism song to her on repeat.
“Alexandria, Alexandria, sent from Heaven above.
Alexandria, Alexandria, sent for us to love.
Alexandria, Alexandria, we love you.  
Alexandria, Alexandria, we love you!”
babyalex
I felt like she was my baby.  I changed her diapers, put her down for naps, put her in her car seat, got her dressed, and helped feed her.  To this day, I still feel like she is partly mine.

When I was twelve, my parents would leave me home to babysit her and Jackie each Friday night.  I’d make us all a frozen 99cent Totino’s pizza for dinner and we’d watch TGIF together on ABC.  We’d wear Alex out for bedtime by getting her to run up and down our bedroom hallway.  She would run around in just a diaper with so much glee. Jackie and I would spin her around and then get her to run back again.
babycadlegals
As Alex got older, she was a bit of a wild child.  I remember one time- in the span of just a few weeks- she managed to cut her own hair (at the top of her crown) and cut the straps off her bathing suit because she wanted a strapless suit.  She also told our mom that she had put a button in her nose one afternoon.  My mom couldn’t figure out if Alex was telling the truth or not.  So after some prodding and investigation, mom decided that she was telling a lie and gave up on the button search.  About three hours later, we were at a neighborhood cook out, Alex sneezed and the button popped out in front of everyone in attendance.  My parents were just grateful it came out on it’s own without involving a doctor.

As she got older, my first nickname came out for her… “Stinky”.  You may be wondering why.  Well, it’s because she was very active, sweaty and smelly most days.  So, “Stinky” fit the bill.  Eventually, she began showering more regularly and using deodorant.  But, I also felt she was very spoiled- so I kept calling her Stinky… as in spoiled rotten.  Now, it’s a very affectionate name that I still use without even flinching.  The altered version, “Stinks”, also easily rolls off my tongue.

Eventually, I went off to college and left home.  I wasn’t very close to Stinky during this time but I’m glad she came to stay with me in the dorms some and go to a few football games.
Wedding077I got married at 23 and Alex was only 14.  Still a baby.  She was a wonderful bridesmaid in my wedding.  It took some time, but she and Peck became good buds.  Thankfully, she
decided to move to Decatur for college and we reunited.  We were together 2-3 times a week with lots of shared meals.  I enjoyed spending time with her friends and roommates too.

She would come over and sit on my bed while I cleaned out my closet to donate what I no longer needed.  We’d have long talks and I enjoyed the company while doing such a boring task.  Somehow, she’d end up taking all of my clothing donations with her in a giant black trash bag for her own personal use.

When I got pregnant with JB, Alex was extra helpful in “ladysitting” me.  This is a term my husband uses to describe my need of having someone around while completing a task.  Alex helped with the nursery, registering, and documenting my ever growing belly through unflattering, candid photos.  She came to all of my showers and even a sonogram.  AlexandJBhosp2She along with Jackie and my mom, were at the hospital when JB was born and immediately began loving on him too.

That’s when the newest nickname started.  I called her AA for Aunt Alex.  As JB got older, he couldn’t say AA so he called her YayYay.  This eventually morphed into RaRa.  Not exactly sure how, but it has stuck.  The amount of love that JB has for RaRa is super special and they are great buds.  I am thankful to still have her so close and such an important part of our Atlanta family.

When Alex got married, I cried like a baby when she walked down the aisle.  One reason 12238294_10153725404214814_1356554656216976054_owas because my dad was walking her down the aisle and I love my dad so much and appreciate him working so hard to raise three daughters.  The other reason was because I felt like my baby was getting married.

In the last year, I’ve been able to witness Alex’s take on life and faith in action.  We supported each other emotionally after our candidate lost the Presidential Election.  I had the pleasure of marching with her in Atlanta with 60.000 others at the Women’s March.  I began witnessing her passion for art and being a creative maker each week.  She has turned into a beautiful adult and I’m so proud of her.
alexmemarch
This morning, Alex and I played our first competitive tennis match together (and won!).  It’s crazy that it’s taken this long in life for us to play on the same side of the net together (thanks 9 year age difference!).  I’ve never been more proud to have her as a partner and look forward to more matches together.

As I think about the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday, I think of Alex who I jokingly call my first born.  She helped me prepare to be a real mommy much later in life and is now one of my best friends.
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So, I raise my glass to you, Alexandria: Alex, Al, Ali, Stinky, Stinks and RaRa…

I love you so much and am glad you were sent from Heaven above and sent for us to love!

love, brooke