Monday, December 3, 2012

25 Days of Christmas

I got an amazing idea from the greatest site out there, Pinterest! I made the 25 days of Christmas basket (bucket on Pinterest)! Each day, JJ will get a small gift or open an envelope that has an activity for the day. I still have a couple days that need to be filled, but I have a while 'til we get there. He's 3, so he hasn't noticed yet! So far, he has gotten a little train, bubble bath and a new Christmas movie! Tomorrow, we will be drinking hot chocolate! We will be looking at Christmas lights, going to Solomon's Island Christmas walk, making tree ornaments, baking cookies for Daddy and decorating for Christmas! I was so excited to do this!
I also wrapped 25 books that are all ones he already had! Each night at bedtime, he gets to pick up, unwrap it, and I read it to him! So far, he has really enjoyed it! He was upset tonight when the book was about Jonah and the whale and not Thomas and Friends of Sodar! He did enjoy the book once it got started though!

I'm hoping this will become one of our traditions! What are some of your family traditions?

Monday, November 19, 2012


I had the chance to spend some time with my fabulous friends, Holly and Ashley, this weekend! We laugh non stop, fit so many fun things into a short weekend and enjoy every second of just being together! God has blessed me with these friends!

We were walking out to my dad's truck, which I decided to take this weekend because it's big, and I was digging through my purse for my keys. You know that feeling? I was getting panicked and I couldn't find them anywhere in my small purse. Ashley then tells me I couldn't find them because they were ON THE DRIVER'S SEAT! What? Holly started trying to flag d own the security car that was circling the parking lot. Finally, she called them and was told they couldn't do much other than bring us some numbers for a locksmith. Great, there's about $50 lost to stupidity...We prayed we would get someone nice who could help us. I even said I wouldn't judge anyone who could help us "break in" our truck!

Then, this man came by to get to his truck parked next to ours. He was saying excuse me when Holly told him we were in no rush since our keys were locked in the truck. He then asked if we needed a wire hanger because he had one in his truck! He had cleaned it out a couple weeks ago and left it inside in case someone  may need one to get into their car. He even helped Holly get the door unlocked. I hadn't closed the door all the way, so it was open enough to slide it in! While we let Holly work her magic with this man's help, Ashley prayed with JJ. Minutes later, the door was unlocked! I seriously did a little happy dance in the lot! We were praising God! The man had a fish sticker on his truck and a cross hanging from his mirror. He kept telling us, "God bless you!"

God really used this what felt like a horrible situation to show me how sovereign He just is! God is still working miracles and using his people to help others! We even talked that maybe he was an angel! I'll admit it, I was watching his truck as we pulled away thinking it would just disappear!

Ever experienced an angel yourself?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What's been going on...

JJ and I packed up once again and headed back up to Maryland to spend some time with family and friends before James finishes AIT and we head to South Carolina. JJ is getting totally spoiled and will need a detox once we get settled in SC!

I have been getting some custom made orders for RASberry Designs and even sold some already  made jewelry at a vendor show this past weekend! It's exciting to me because I love making jewelry! It's my therapy! Check out my facebook page and like it if you haven't yet!!/pages/RASberry-Designs/242572019152647

This past weekend, I got to see my sisters and families! It was really nice catching up! My oldest nephew, Nathanael is very techno savvy. I was asking his advice on how to expand my jewelry customers. He gave me some great tips, and I am currently adding Instagram to my phone and will be starting a vlog soon! Vlog, you ask? I asked as well. This is like a blog, but you do it on youtube. So, he thinks I should start a vlog on my thrift store finds! Well, I think I may just do that!

I am in charge of the Thanksgiving menu this year, which really excites me because I love meal planning and cooking! It's great having people to cook for again!

This is the fun blue scarf I bought in a little shop in Alabama called Jo Jo's! The owner is a retired Army pilot!

 J decked out in pjs and his new hat and mittens!

 New contacts!
 J made this in class (at home) for the color yellow!
I got to sit in the back with J this weekend, and he kept reaching for my hand!
 J's first taste of Nutella went well! He scarfed it down quick!

I threw this together this morning and love how it turned out!

That's what's been going on in our lives! 17 more days of AIT for James!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Color for God

James had a huge test this morning, so there were many prayers in our house! JJ and I prayed for Daddy before we even got out of bed this morning. So sweet to look across and see his eyes closed and hands folded first thing in the morning!

After we finished breakfast, we were still sitting at the table, I knew James was taking his test right at that moment, so I began to write my prayer in my journal. JJ got out of his seat, walked over to me and asked what I was doing. (I usually do this while he is napping.) I told him I was writing my prayer to God for Daddy to pass his test. He told me he wanted to color for God! (teary eyed as I'm writing here) I handed him the pen, and he began his coloring. I asked him what his coloring was saying. He simply said, "God, help my Daddy pass him test."

I cannot describe the joy I felt in my heart this morning! I know children learn by example, and these past couple weeks I have not been the best example. I have been stressed out and just a down right Debbie Downer. You know the type. Nothing has been going the way I thought it should go. Yeah, that's been me... So, needless to say, I'm glad that he picked up on something good today!

He even told me while we were running errand today that he colored to God to help Daddy pass his test! Well, guess what, my friends?! Daddy passed his test! We thanked God, and I know that He will use this as a fabulous lesson for my Jman!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


My RASberry Designs facebook page has reached 100 likes, so to celebrate I'm doing a giveaway! Please click on the link, like my page, then like the status about the giveaway! You can always order anything you see on the page, or you can tell me what you want me to make you!!/pages/RASberry-Designs/242572019152647

3 Year Old Zoo Trip

Since we were not near family for JJ's birthday this year, I decided to take him to the zoo! A friend that I met here asked if she and her little boy, (J's new bff!) could go with us! Of course, J and I were super excited to go to the zoo and to be with friends! In one of JJ's books about Elmo, Elmo says that his favorite zoo animal is the giraffe, so that is now JJ's favorite zoo animal too. Go figure! He loved seeing the elephant too because he is really into the book "Horton Hears a Who". We even have the movie, which he has seen a million times now!

We were thrilled and shocked to see Batman at the zoo! They were setting up for Halloween. J was showing off his Batman muscles!

Here we are feeding his favorite zoo animal. I do not do well with feeding animals, but thankfully, we had a cup!

JJ and Maddox, whom he calls Mammox!

Train ride!

I love how this looks like he's right in there with those tigers!

I am not going to lie, this sky lift scared me! It was really neat to see everything from above, but yikes was it high!

We ended the day with a cupcake from a local cupcake shop called "Cupcakes Ya'll"! We called Daddy so he could join in on singing "Happy Birthday"!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Good Golly Miss Molly!

Ha ha! I love the title! I have actually been saying that quite a bit lately! Because we got ourselves a puppy 7 weeks ago! We have been wanting one for a while and talked about it quite a bit. We considered waiting until we were settled and maybe even do it as a Christmas gift to JJ, but Miss Molly Mae, as I like to call her captured our hearts!

She is a poochon, which is a mix of poodle and bichon. No, we are not big into getting a well known breed at all. In fact, I still feel funny when people say how cute she is and ask what she is. Then, they begin to ask all the questions about poochons, and I feel like a fake! I know some people are all about a certain breed, but we were just trying to get a cute family dog!

JJ has gotten very attached, which was our main reason for getting her. He hugs her and tells her he loves her too much! He tells me that too, but I hope he means it more when he says it to me! :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

3 year old

I don't even know where to start or how to say it, I guess I'll just start from the beginning.

My dream was always to be a mom! I was the typical baby doll and Barbie playing girl. I always played I had a baby! James and I married in 2006 and talked of having children from the beginning. We prayed about it and both had a desire for a child. After finding out I have PCOS, we knew it would be a little harder to have a baby, but we were trusting God. After a year, I remember taking a walk and talking to God. I told him I would be content with adopting if I couldn't have a child on my own. That very Saturday, we found out we were pregnant! God is so good!

I enjoyed being pregnant! I remember before I was showing how I wish I would show because I wanted everyone to know I was carrying a miracle! I only had a little stomach ache in the beginning, but it was nothing to complain about. I got tired, but I enjoyed napping during the day knowing I was taking care of my baby! I remember wanting Checkers fries, but I think it was more James wanting Checkers! We even laughed about that this weekend! I also loved cucumbers sliced and dipped in ranch dressing!

A month before JJ was due, I had a false alarm. James rushed home, we packed bags and headed to my dr. only to be seen by a nurse practitioner who told us it was a false alarm. I had gotten my hopes up! James had off the rest of the day, so we went to Olive Garden for lunch, walked around the mall, played lunar golf and enjoyed a day together! The next morning, my water had broken, but I thought it was another false alarm. I went into school to substitute and had bad cramping. Finally, a teacher told me she thought my water had broken, and I better go see my doctor. When I called, the nurse said, "Mrs. Stevenson, either your water has broken or something crazy is going on, so you need to come in right away." I drove myself to the dr.! My sister, Sarah, met me there. Sure enough my water had broken! At 7:50 p.m. on Friday, October 2, 2009, sweet James Allen Stevenson Jr., JJ was born! I will never forget the moment he was placed in my arms, and he looked up at me! It was like he was telling me it was nice to finally meet this person he'd been so close to! He was a month early and tiny, 5 lb. 14 oz. Thankfully, the dr. didn't think the NICU was needed!

Since then I have had many sleepless nights, crying from colic (better known as your baby just won't stop crying, and there's nothing you can do to fix it), jaundice, boo boos that have made Mommy cry, first steps, first words, first sentences, rolling over, trying to hit the woman who does everything for him, hearing my sweet child tell me no, tell me I'm mean and so on. Parenthood isn't always beautiful. There are moments where you wonder how you got to be a mom and how you will make it through the day. But those moments are overcome by the love you have for your child. JJ has brought us more joy than I could have ever asked for! James and I love him so much! JJ even told me today that he loves me too much! I don't think too much is even possible!

As I put him to bed tonight, I was teary eyed. I told him while we did most things today that it was the last time he would do it as a two year old. I was getting all sad and sappy while he's excited for his happy day and being 3! How does time go by so quickly? I remember parents telling me to enjoy him because they grow so fast and thinking yeah, yeah, yeah. Now, looking back, they were so right! He has grown up too fast! I even tried shrinking him tonight and giving him little pills. He said, "No, Mommy, me get big and strong and tall." Why is it I want to grow, but I still want him to be my little baby?

JJ, you are my pride and joy! Mommy and Daddy love you "too" much! I pray that God will help us as we try to train you to be a Godly man. May you come to know Him and be a great leader some day!



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Batman's first day of preschool

Being a teacher for four years prior to JJ still has me getting giddy over classroom decorations every August! I love to browse the teacher store! I even get excited when I see school supplies! I was watching "You've Got Mail", and I love the part where he writes about sending a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils! Not that I enjoyed going back to school and summer break ending, but there is something about setting up a classroom and having a fresh start with new students.

Because of our very short stay here in Alabama, I thought it would be best to do preschool with JJ at home while we are here. We will decide when we get to our FDS whether or not I will continue the school year or let him start late. The last few weeks, I have been on the hunt for everything preschool! This has totally filled my void of teacher supplies! (I even sent a small package with goodies to my teacher friend!) I got workbooks, a lesson plan book (my favorite thing), art supplies, charts, a calendar that does the weather as well. I'm showing him what month, day and date it is! I have been pumped for weeks! I have also been nervous. I have done 4th grade, but I have never actually taught preschool. Fun, fun, fun! (As JJ says!)

This morning, I talked it up to J before we even got out of bed! I asked him who his teacher was going to be. He told me he didn't know. Then, I told him it's the one who takes care of him, feeds him, blah, blah, blah! His delightful answer was, "Mommy, Mama, Papa!" Can you tell he's been around the grandparents A LOT? We had eggs for breakfast. At this point, he was telling me no class, no food, class no fun, food no fun and so on.  I tried to distract him by telling him how we have to eat, go potty, get dressed, maybe you could wear your Batman shirt! That was all it took! He garbled down his eggs and even had two small powdered donuts so he could be strong like Batman and smart for school! We then got ready, put his backpack on and went outside, so he could walk into class. He got upset that we weren't actually going bye bye. Major fail for mom at that moment. Totally felt like a loser, but I put it aside and told him I would go in first so I could greet him at his class! He came in, I asked if he was JJ and told him I was Mommy! He was so serious about it all. He put his backpack on the coffee table and got onto his block's box, which is his chair for school.

I started with prayer, then we did the calendar. He was soaking it all in and even saying okay to everything I told him and showed him! He can say the days! Amazing! We then did our charts of days of the week, months of the year (I pointed out his birthday month, mine and Daddy's), colors, shapes, numbers and letters! So fun!

Then, we did music and dance time! This was one of my favorites! He loves music and dancing! I have no coordination, so it was really funny watching him copy my sorry moves! Poor child needs to see his Daddy  dance, so he doesn't get ruined for life!

We had an apple and orange juice for snack. This is where he discovered dipping apple slices in orange juice is "nummy"! He also dipped most everything else the rest of the day in orange juice. Gross, but he says it makes everything taste better.

Then, we read a story about Noah and the Ark. He also learned his first Bible verse. "All have sinned." He sounds really cute saying it! We sang the "B-i-b-l-e"! He loves that song now! He even told me a few times only he could sing certain parts.

Then we worked on our letter of the week "A"! (If you hadn't caught that yet!) He has fridge phonics, so we jammed to the letter "A" song! We worked on a cool picture of things that start with "A". I had a hard time finding things to cut out, so I was pretty creative with Allegra and Activia. This is one I will be saving, so he can remember how crazy his Mommy is!

Next, we did some pages in his numbers, colors and shapes books! We did an apple song that sounds like the "Itsy Bitsy Spider". He was trying to sit in my lap and copy my moves. Hopefully, we'll do better tomorrow! One of my favorite things we did was the "circle hunt". I hid circles around the living room while he closed his eyes in the kitchen. I gave him a basket and had him find all the blue circles. It was like an Easter egg hunt, only they were paper circles and didn't have anything exciting inside them, but you get the gist of it!

One of our last things was going outside and blowing blue bubbles. Well, they are in a blue container, so that counts. We ended up on the sofa reading a couple books!

This was one of those days I hope I always remember and cherish. I have never considered home schooling my children, but today made me thankful that I have the chance to do it! Even if it's just for a short while. I have dirty dishes in the sink, clean dishes in the dishwasher, laundry in the hamper waiting to be washed and clean clothes in the dryer waiting to be folded and put away, but I didn't care today. Today was about teaching my boy and enjoying watching him learn! I wish I could do that everyday, but I would have a really messy house, nothing to eat with and nothing to wear! Ha! I'll get caught up.... Maybe tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Alabama 101

I've been living in Alabama just shy of a month now. It has been a culture shock to me for sure. I was born and raised in Maryland. It was quite a rural area, but it was Maryland. I have also lived in Virginia, North Carolina and spent some time in Georgia. Alabama is so different. Here are a few things that I have learned about Alabama since I've been here. I haven't ventured too far from the Fort Rucker area, so there may be some much nicer areas.

1. The hot cars are Camaros and Jeep Wranglers. I'm not sure if that's more of a military thing, but I see them everywhere.
2. People who are actually from around here either talk so slow, you have a hard time focusing because you've thought of a million things you could be doing while they are taking their sweet time talking. Or, their accent is so thick, you're lucky to catch every other word.
3. There is a church on every corner and in between the corners!
4. Family Dollar and Dollar General are almost as numerous as churches.
5. There's a few Fred's Dollar Stores around here. I don't know why, but the name just cracks me up.
6. This is a typical house in this area.
*Not really typical, but I promise I took this picture! Well, my dad did using my phone. My mom and I were driving back from the biggest town around and both saw it. We both got quiet and later discovered we were both deciding if this was real, or we were just seeing things! Please, if this is your house or a family member's house, don't be offended. I've never seen anything like it!
7. Everyone that I've talked to so far who is stationed here for the military is bored out of their minds. I even overheard two woman talking at the library last week about it. One said this was her second time coming here. The other lady asked if she was happy to be back. Her reply was a simple no! It was quite funny!
8. The only grocery stores in the town where I live are called Pic-N-Save and Grocery Outlet. Can I get a Kroger, please? There is a Publix in the next town, but they do not double coupons. If you know me at all, it's killing me!
9. When asking where the closest "insert any type of store here" is even after saying you're new to the area, everyone gives me directions as if I've lived here my whole life. I am directionally challenged, I know, but a newcomer will not know where that is, people!
10. I'm thankful to be so close to my husband and see him on the weekends! I can deal with all this knowing I get to see him Saturday morning!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Holy Bible

When JJ was a tiny baby, I used to read straight from the Bible to him. He would listen intently, and it made me feel like such a spiritual mom leading my child in the right way.
Fast forward 2, 2 & 1/2 years later, LIFE IS BUSY! I'm constantly trying to find something to do to entertain JJ. I'm getting him educational things to do preschool with him. We're doing great at potty training. We're getting involved in things on post that have childcare/class for JJ. Side note, he loves going to class. This is what he calls church.
As I've been trying to be a great mom and provide the needs for my growing boy, I forgot to read the Bible to him or even tell him Bible stories. I honestly thought he would think the Bible was boring. I know that sounds awful, but I need to be honest with myself. Sometimes I look through children's Bibles, and I wish the artist has made the pictures more interesting.
Just a couple weeks ago, I was looking through his little Bible to prepare for preschool. I am planning a verse for each week and a Bible lesson to go with the theme. He came up to me and wanted to read his Bible. Guilt flooded me as I realized I have been depriving my son of God's Word. I seriously cried and cried. I read him one story thinking that was all he would want. No, he wanted to read and read and read. He took his Bible with him everywhere he went for days. I'm glad he's still young, and I can make sure to give him extra Bible time from now on!
We've also been listening to a Little People Sunday School songs cd in the car nonstop. It is his music. Whenever I turn on the radio to something else, he says, "my please". "Deep and Wide" is  his favorite song for right now. He has learned so many of the songs in a short amount of time. I even hear him singing some of them while he's playing!
It is never too late to read God's Word!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Thank You

I love hearing JJ say thank you! We have tried very hard to teach him good manners, and when he uses them, it thrills me!
A couple months back, I stopped and got him an ice cream cone on the way home. He tore that thing up! As we were walking toward the front door, he turned around, looked at me and said, "Mommy, thank you (with hands to his lips as if licking an ice cream cone) slurp, slurp." I don't know exactly how to write how he says ice cream, but it's really cute. That was one of those moments that made being his mom even more special.
We recently moved to be close to James and did not pack a pillow for him. I didn't think a pillow was a big deal to him, so I didn't really think about it. When I got his bed set up, he was very upset that he didn't have a "pippo". I let him use Daddy's, but it was too "bish". So, yesterday, we went to the store and got him a cheap pillow! He even helped me carry it in the store. When we got home, I showed it to him again. He ran to me, gave me a hug and told me, "Thank you for my pippo, Mommy!" He was squealing with delight over a $3 pillow!

It amazes me  how the small things are the things he really appreciates! As a mom, I want the best for JJ. I want him to have the toys that will give him hours of fun, the shows that will provide educational helps, nice clothes, and the list goes on... I'm pretty sure JJ will be thankful to be loved and taken care of!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


  As I was driving around today, I started thinking of how proud I am of James right now. Then, I began to think of all the things I have felt proud about. It was really one of those thoughts that continued throughout the day...
  Like when I taught 4th grade, and the students would catch on to something new or use a saying I use out of the blue. When I found out I was pregnant with JJ. When we found out he was going to be a boy. The moment the dr. placed him in my arms, and he looked right up in my face as if to tell me he loved me. When James asked me to marry him, and I looked at my ring non stop! When James graduated from LU! When my sister stood up for herself. When my brother moved up in his job. Every little baby step J has made, first roll, crawl, steps... When JJ calls me Mommy. When I hear my dad preach. When my mom reached her goal! When I swipe out my military id to get a discount! When my sister pulls up in her new car! Helping James pick out clothes for his first day at a new job! Watching my man march across a field to graduate basic training for the Army! Seeing my friends and knowing they love me!
  These are the things in my life that make me swell with pride inside! I know too much pride can be a bad thing, but I think these are the things we should be proud of! I am so proud of my family! Our lives are not perfect by any means, but we are the family that God has put together! And I wouldn't trade it for the world!
 Marching across the field.
 Our little family
 JJ checking out Daddy's pin!
 JJ is so proud of his Daddy!
 Mimi (James' mom)
 Sister Sarah (what I call her) and my mom
Brother Scott (Sarah's hubs)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Little Sponge

  JJ does not miss a beat! He remembers EVERYTHING! He likes to copy what I say and do! He keeps me on my toes and laughing! Here's a few of the funny things he's done lately!

  At dinner the other night, he grabbed his bum bum and very seriously said, "My poo there. Why my poo there?" This had my mother in law and me balling! When he noticed we were laughing, he continued to talk about his poo in his bum bum!  Yes, he calls it his bum bum! I love using that word, so I taught him to say that! Don't judge, you know you think it's adorable!

  As I was walking him to his class at church this morning, we saw a woman pushing a crying baby in a stroller down the hallway. He said, "Aw baby." I asked him why the baby was crying. His response was, "Her mommy spanked her on the bum bum," while he patted his own bum bum! Ha! I doubt she got spanked as she was under a year, but the face that he thought that's why she was crying was priceless!

  As he was concentrating oh so very hard while coloring today he told me to watch him, grabbed my face and brought it right up to his paper! Then, he wanted me to help him color. As soon as my marker would near the paper, he would push it away and say, "No, help me, Mommy!" He also told me, "Me Daddy be happy me coloring!" So sweet!

  His newest thing is asking "why" to every little thing. When he was a tiny baby, it was my personal goal to never say no to him, so he would not use it against me. Now, why didn't I think to never mention why? Ha!

  At Arby's, he says to me, "Mommy, me poo poo, go with me." I asked him where we were going. He said, "Wash my poop."

  As I was sitting at the kitchen table, he rolled in the room with this! That's a hand grenade I got for him! His shades are from Arby's today!

  Frequently used phrases: no way, you coo coo crazy, you poop, I love you too, me no nap, my Daddy in the Army, why my Daddy go bye bye in the Army, I want to go my house, me play, papa juice (orange juice)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Army Friends

Before James left for basic training, he met another man who would be in his company on a facebook page. They were texting before they left and made quite a connection! Because of their connection, I was able to meet a new, sweet friend! (We haven't met in real life just yet!)

It's funny how you can feel so close to a person without ever meeting them face to face, let alone hear their voice! Jen has honestly been my rock through this whole thing! Who else would understand what it's like to have a little boy missing his Daddy, freaking out about what to wear on Family Day and graduation, miss your husband so much it brings you to tears? The list could really go on.

Next Tuesday, I get to meet my new friend, and I cannot wait! I think it will start out as a crying fest as our emotions are way out of whack right now! I hope she doesn't mind a big hug because I love giving hugs!

She has three boys, so I think they will enjoy meeting and playing with JJ!

She read my post about Batman, and her son, Charlie, said JJ needed a Batman shirt! Charlie calls his daddy, Superman and has a Superman shirt! So, they mailed JJ a Batman shirt complete with cape! He loves to wear it! He didn't know who Batman was since he has never seen it, but now he loves it! The cape makes him fly high! When he saw a Batman sign at the mall for the new movie coming out next week he said, "That my big guy!"

This is a shirt I got for me and Jen to wear! We will be twins with matching white pants!

I just happened to find this on clearance! I will be wearing it! It's just perfect! Jen will be wearing a Superman shirt. I also made us necklaces to spruce up our shirts!
Here's the first sign we made for James!