A Special Guest!

Hey y’all

It is my pleasure to introduce you to my precious friend and special guest writer, Laura Barrett!

You will love her and I know she will capture your heart as you read her story. Laura and I have been friends for five years. We both were due in December of 2013 with baby boys and connected in a Facebook group for pregnant mamas. She is an avid runner, an amazing painter, and lives in Florida.

If this blog post speaks to you, please leave lots of love for her! Take it away, Laura…

 

“When will you have another?”
“You have to have another one.”
“Two are just great.”
“Are you sure you want to sell your baby things, what if you have another?”
Things I would hear from random strangers. At first it took all I could to not tear up and say, “We are trying”. Then I would get annoyed and I answered honestly, “Well my body doesn’t want to give me another one” sometimes that shut them up or sometimes I would hear the, “my friend was told … just keep trying.”

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Well last year I was told I had a <5% chance of getting pregnant. I took it basically as a death sentence. What else was I to do when my only options were egg donor or adoption, which we weren’t too keen on either. My body had failed me, I wasn’t producing eggs, and my levels were that of someone in menopause. Something you cannot fix.

How do you not feel like a failure when your body isn’t doing what it is supposed to do? It took me a while to not envy every pregnant woman I saw, and every little bitty baby. The ache in my heart was real and raw.

I pushed past it doing something I love, running. I got faster, I got stronger, and I signed up for the Chicago marathon, my first marathon! I was looking at tattoos, stickers, wall posters, we booked a hotel, and I was so excited and mentally prepared for the training of it all. My 3 goals for the New Year were:
• Work on my abs
• Place in my AG in a Spartan
• Run a marathon

Well, you know what they say!

 

Imagine my surprise when I figured my period was a week late. Of course I ran to some friends and asked them what to do, feeling dumb even thinking I may be pregnant. They all urged me to test. The next day, I went for a run and on the way home stopped at CVS, of course buying some Cheez-it’s also b/c a 36-year-old married woman with a kid at home can’t possibly just buy a pregnancy test. I went home and tried to busy myself while waiting for the stupid lines to stop blinking. It didn’t even take the full 3-5 minutes before the results popped up. I literally started shaking.

It took a while to believe in this pregnancy. To believe this little being would make it. After being given so much doubt it would ever happen, I was scared to be excited for it. But she is in there, moving about, making me happy every time I feel that little flutter. TK is the sweetest and loves to rub my belly and kiss “the baby”. He would also like to name her Rainbow, Gecko or Owlet. We are taking them into consideration.

-Laura Barrett

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Okay, it’s Laine again. Be still my heart. I cried happy tears when she told me her AMAZING news. This baby is a true miracle! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with all of us, Laura and inspiring so many women to just keep swimming.

I am certain that this story will inspire one of my Sweet Tribe of Mine readers, like it inspired me. Please share this and spread the love 💗

I’m giving you my love energy today!

Love,

Lainey

When Life Gives You Lemons

Before I even begin, I have a little PSA for y’all… The best advice I could ever give is to pay attention to your initial gut feeling about someone. It is always right. I can’t think of an instance where mine hasn’t come back to bite me if I chose to downplay my ability to feel people’s vibes towards me. If you had a DANGER warning on day one… they probably will burn you if you don’t listen. Stay alert. You will deal with significantly less unnecessary drama if you steer clear.

“Let’s start at the very beginning

a very good place to start…” -Julie Andrews

We’ve all heard the saying “When life gives you lemons…” 🍋🍋🍋

When life is easy, a lemon may get thrown at you and it will sting because you are human. You carry it for a bit and then drop it because it really doesn’t matter. It’s not complicated.

It is what it is. And it ain’t what it ain’t. 🙌🏼

But #adulting with a full plate makes it REALLY hard to deal with anything extra thrown your way.

When life is stressful, a lemon comes a long and you try to karate chop it away (because you don’t have time for these feels) but it still manages to get you. And before you can let it go, another lemon comes and now you are looking around like “WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING TO ME?!”

Asking yourself this is dangerous because it can trigger a domino effect of WHY ME.

So picture yourself standing there bitter with your sour lemon-holding-self and due to the Law of Attraction… a lemon meteor shower is coming straight for ya. Our energy, our thoughts, our feelings can cultivate our own catastrophes. Let me say that again…

Our energy, our thoughts, our feelings cultivate our own catastrophes.

You go from thinking “I make things happen” to “things are happening to me.” This is a slippery slope to Victim Town. A place no one wants to claim as home.

Last month I stood in a bitter place for too long. I knew I was in a bad spot when I told my best friend over lunch that the next time someone told me something negative, whiney, or attention-seeking over the phone… I was going to pretend we had a bad connection and get off the phone as soon as I could. I just couldn’t take it on.

The second I said it, it made me sad. Laine doesn’t think like that. She wants to help any and everyone. She wants to give you the shirt off of her back. But Laine hasn’t slept in a while and she is currently carrying enough Mom-guilt to sink a battle-ship… so something had to give.

So I retreated and grew quiet. I filled every waking second with life-giving music and podcasts. Lots of Jesus. All love & light. Constant positive vibes.

***I also stopped listening to anyone that I felt was counseling me with ulterior motives.***

All of these positive vibes helped me drop the idea that these situations were created to take me down. If we want grace, we have to give grace. So I was on a mission to shovel out grace and let it go.

I was tired of driving the negative bus.
Something had to give.

And then my husband gave.

JT began to shower me with grace.
I could cry just thinking about it.

He came home from work and found me in the bathtub. I told him how hard my day was and that I was exhausted but I had so much more to do. He was so sweet about it and was sorry I felt overwhelmed. Normally, this is where it ends. We vent to each other and move forward. But this time he walked out of the bathroom and sat in the chair in our room and guarded the door. If any little came into our room to ask me to open a snack or fix a problem, he handled it and made sure no one bothered me while I relaxed. Can I get an Amen, Mamas?! Then I told him I needed to take a quick nap to be able to stay up all night reading. He shut our bedroom door and as I napped, he and the boys went to work. He scheduled a cleaning lady to come to our house the next day and he and the boys straightened the entire house to make sure that I did not have to do any prep work for her arrival. He did all of the laundry. He made dinner.

I walked out of our bedroom and just felt surrounded by goodness again. 💙💙💜💙💙

I had slept. I was feeling so blessed that they had taken so much off of my plate. And I had four handsome dinner dates to eat a yummy meal with.

I was back paying attention to the good stuff again. Like I had been stuck on the wrong radio station for two weeks. I knew I was close to my “happy station” after doing my own soul work but there was still static. And my man squad made that static disappear.

I freakin’ love them.

Sometimes I wish our family dinner conversations were recorded with a hidden camera. Of course some days would be boring but most of the time it’s hilarious. We have always joked that if they made a reality show of just our family meals, that they would make Bennett’s “Pit & Peak” the commercial breaks because sometimes he rambles for 10 minutes. They would cut to the commercial and then come back and he would still be talking 🙂

On this particular night after they had helped so much, Griffin had us cracking up…

Me:“Yah I like all of your buddies Griff. Y’all are all so funny together.”

Griff:“Oh, yah we call ourselves the Drunk Four.”

Me:“Um… You’ve never even seen a drunk person.”

Griff:“That’s just what we call ourselves.
(pause)
So, the letter D stands for “Richard”…
(he points his finger at JT and I with a smirk)
You guys know what I’m talking about…”

HAHAHAHAHA

Welcome to our frat house.

We never even made it to the letter R because we were crying from laughing so hard.
After dinner, JT and I layed in bed saying little things about each of our babies that we think makes them the coolest kids we know. I felt a huge wave come over me that this is what matters the most.

What matters is:
-JT showing our sons how to be caring husbands.
-Audrey’s face when she caught that fly ball.
-Griffin’s joy when he handed me his straight A report card.
-Cooper’s surprise of winning his team’s game ball.
-Bennett beaming with pride when I look through his folder.

The life we have built is pretty dang sweet.
Way sweeter than a few sour lemons that won’t matter by the time I sit down to write this post.
Surprise, they don’t matter at all now. But I still thought this post was super important as a reminder to give grace, surround yourself with goodness, & focus on your people.

That Saturday we had a get together with JT’s family for his Aunt Janet’s birthday. It was also super special because some family members from California were in town and would be at the party, too. JT had to work but he met us there as soon as he could.

At one point during the party I remember feeling like the lines had officially blurred. I’m sure that happened a long time ago but I just now realized it. This was no longer HIS family’s function. It was just a fun afternoon spent with OUR people.

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When you get engaged, you choose your spouse to be your person.

But now I feel like it’s such a blessing to be apart of the family I married into and to feel like I fit here just as much as he does. Like we were all meant to be.

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We had such a great time at “The Shack” and you better believe that I was tuned into God’s blessings.

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Before we left, my mother-in-law gave me a little piece of Magnolia Market from her recent trip to Waco. Anything Joanna Gaines makes my heart pitter-patter but this was super special.

After focusing so much on life’s lemons…

I get handed a recipe for Lemon Pie.

The irony is not lost on me.

I’m giving you my love energy today✌🏼💕

And just in case you are dealing with a few lemons of your own, here is this little nugget from The Handmaid’s Tale… 💋

xoxo,

Lainey

Sister Can Do Hard Things

It’s true. This is just a little reminder that you have LIMITLESS potential, sister friend.

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The last time I remember feeling limitless, was when I was 13. I was in 7th grade and so many of my friends were on the dance team at my school. I knew that I had little to no experience compared to my peers that had danced their entire lives… but my heart wanted this to happen. Growing up, if I began to excel at gymnastics or dance and was bumped up by my coach to multiple days per week… we couldn’t afford that. So I had to choose activities that were less days per week but didn’t really spark my interest. My oldest son, Griffin was blown away at mama’s soccer skills the other day when we were playing in the yard. He was like, “Mom! You are a rockstar at this!” But he had no idea that soccer was just a time filler for me. You can be good at things that aren’t meant for you. My heart always belonged in a mirrored room with a barre.

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I remember walking around my best friend’s house in the 4th grade and physically touching each of her old recital pictures that were framed on the wall. “Why don’t you get back into dance again?! (my friend shrugged) You are so lucky that you can!”

So, when the opportunity came to try out for the junior high school’s dance team… I knew this was my shot. I worked my butt off for the two try-out weeks. I wanted this so badly and had YEARS of training to cram into such a short time period! I knew I had a mountain to climb but I gave it my everything. And when I saw my tryout number on the team roster that was taped to the school’s glass door… it was one of the best moments of my entire childhood.

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And I’m still best friends with the girl that I turned around and hugged in this picture. She was there for me then and even more there for me now. How special is it that her mama took this picture for me to always be able to soak up that moment of EMPOWERMENT (I REALLY PULLED THIS OFF) & PURE JOY…

I’m so glad I didn’t let that what if stand in my way of the next 5 years of consistency, hard work, and happiness.

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The work did NOT stop with that try out. Hah! I had to push myself to make each dance. Then push myself to be in that front line. A spot that I fought for and deserved. It didn’t matter to anyone else that I struggled to keep up and had to work twice as hard to be there. But to me, it mattered so much. I knew that little 8 year old Laine that was crushed she couldn’t advance to a higher level would be shocked to see me at 17 and 18, beaming that I had secured a spot in the front row… next to the girls that had passed me up.

Oh, and remember that friend that I encouraged to get back into dance? Here we are on our first day of Varsity camp… It’s so crazy how things work out!

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A huge pet peeve of mine is when people say they will pray about something… but then don’t turn their prayers into action. God gave us hands and feet and voices and free will to make things happen while we are here on this earth! He can assist in a way that only the Divine can… but He wants us to always be eager to DO. He created us to be brave. Not only for the betterment of ourselves, but for others.

Somewhere along the way, we begin to create invisible limits for ourselves. We place ourselves on restrictions that we conjure up based upon how we feel. Feelings are the ultimate trap because they are never solid.We lay out blue painter’s tape around our feet to separate Self from More Than Self.

You don’t need to make more friends because you can barely keep up with the ones you do have. Play it safe.
You don’t need to go back to school because you are already spinning too many plates. Play it safe.
You don’t need to leave that bad relationship/friendship because thats too scary. Play it safe.
You don’t need to ask your boss for that raise because he might get mad. Play it safe.
You don’t need to switch careers because what if you fail? Play it safe.

Wait. Maybe that’s behind it all. What if we fail? And then there is only ME to blame. I don’t want to choose to sit in that feeling. I don’t mind raising my hand and owning up to my mistakes… but if I go out on a limb that I chose to, and then fail?! Ugh. Nope. I’ll stay right here. Thank you very much.

If only we didn’t talk to ourselves this way…

We turn down opportunity after opportunity (especially women) due to a perimeter that we can just step over… if we only decided to be brave for a second.

With friendships, I have been super blessed. I love a LOT of great women!!!! And I’m pretty sure they love me back 🙂 I’ve known some since I was a baby, from school, from church, from work, etc. My friend love tank has always felt full and I know that is one area that God has had his hand in. I didn’t yearn for more Sista Friends and had kind of boxed myself in to a Tribe I loved. But this Fall, I made some truly incredible new friends that I didn’t see coming. What if I had kept up my walls and said, “Nope. I’ve got enough going on!” Some of these new friendships have really softened me. One of my new friends, Sarah gave me a little scripture book this past week for no reason other than to be sweet and encouraging. I was watching my kid’s play at Chick-fil-A and reading this book when I became overwhelmed with GRATITUDE for this friendship that I didn’t see coming. I didn’t plan this or control this. I didn’t know I needed her but here we are, talking everyday and always cheering the other girl on. God always brings in the right people to teach you the lessons you need for that time period. And sometimes, he brings in the right people so that you can teach them. We can’t turn our backs on His blessings when He calls us. When you start to feel like a new friendship is blossoming, don’t limit yourself and just see where God takes things. He might surprise you! Expand your Tribe.

When I was 14, I was forever mentally changed by a trauma that affected every area of my life. Hence why my last decision as a 13 year old was when I felt truly limitless for the last time. I suddenly knew raw pain and questioned my worth. I felt very, very small. I felt like I had no voice and I was now just an object. From that point forward I remember questioning each new person and experience… “Do they make me feel safe or unsafe?” And if I got a hint of feeling unsure? I ran like the wind. I’ve become quite the runner and still to this day, have to fight those urges to flee BEFORE someone hurts me. I have to tell myself that not everyone is planning their exit strategy. You don’t always have to beat them to the punch, Laine. I’ve said this before in my He Lingers post, but I broke up with every single boyfriend before they had a chance to take off their rose colored glasses. I boxed myself in to believing that if they saw the true me, they wouldn’t want me anymore so peace out girl scout. Boxing yourself in does zero good for you or anyone else. Expand your heart.

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I hope all of you take big chances this year. Aim higher. Expand your tribe, your heart, your spirit, and your minds.

I hope you invite that new friend out for coffee or go see a movie together (GO SEE I, TONYA BECAUSE IT’S EVERYTHING)

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I hope you sign up for that class or switch your career because you just might knock it out of the park… I’m so glad I stepped out of my box last year on this one. I had NO idea what I was capable of or just how big my dreams were. I am no longer scared to announce that my goal is to become a lawyer. I know I just have to keep setting my mind to the little goals that will get me there, praying for strength, and DOING THE WORK. Expand your mind.

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Don’t let the hard stuff thats happened to you in the past continue to ricochet through your present and future life. It happened. It sucked. But you made it out alive and breathing because you have PURPOSE. Don’t let that pain box you in and keep you from who you are meant to become. Now let’s do something better, bigger, and brave!

And remember, “self love looks like effort.” -Katie Summers 🙌🏻

Ain’t that the truth. It will take effort to love yourself. It always will take effort. To go workout, to search for a higher paying job, to crack that joke with that new acquaintance because she just might share your humor, to grow your business, to read a book everyday that benefits your soul, to make time for your favorite hobbies… Effort. For your personal growth. Not just for your kids. Not your parents. Not your spouse. Don’t be afraid to work hard for YOU this year. And to pray for God’s blessing on your goals!!

Say it with me, sister…

WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.

I’m sending you my love energy today

Love,

Laine

Dear 2018,

Hey girl hey…
This past year has been 12 months of progress & growth. At first, I was so loud and proud of my #growthgains because I was still riding the high of living through a health scare and wanted to experience all life had to offer. I felt on fire and wanted to live. it. up.
When summer hit, I had a soul shift. I grew quiet as my spirit strengthened and went inward as I worked through hard memories, feelings, relationships, and my own personal BS that weighed me down. I began to slowly sort through my life experiences like Peggy Olson flipping through her Rolodex searching for a contact for Mr Draper.
 
No, this isn’t something I did daily or weekly but it was just going on in the back of my mind. I couldn’t help but sit in the emotions certain “cards” would bring me back to. I knew I needed clarity and didn’t have the time/energy to wallow in anything that’s knocked me down in my past. So I became eager to really decide if each relationship or memory needed to be brought to the forefront and prioritized or placed at the back of the deck to collect dust. This can be super hard to do when you have held on to ambivalent relationships for too long that no longer bring you joy (but used to be wonderful) or if you have experienced traumatic events that you don’t want to believe were as bad as they were. I knew from being sick that life was too short to hold grudges or burn bridges but I also knew I would be a fool to prioritize someone/something that didn’t prioritize me back. It was a powerful feeling to decide for myself what would be my focus from now on. I needed that space available for the things I would be accomplishing when going back to school and to surround myself in a bubble of positivity and support. It’s amazing what a little spiritual work can do for you. #soulgains 
Cute little Peggy from the first season of Mad Men also started with big dreams and found herself apologizing way too often… She had no idea how strong her ideas were and what all she was capable of.

Yet.

The symbolism of where her character began to who she became is just too parallel to where I started and what I see for my future. God made me a creative & critical thinker for a reason. Just like Peggy.
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The woman I am today is leaps and bounds more powerful (but also more private) than who I was on last New Years Day. I wish I could have coffee with her. That girl couldn’t grasp her worth. She carried too many hurtful memories and uneasy emotions. I wish I could tell her how damn proud of herself she will be very soon and that she has no idea how strong she is.

Yet.

But since I can’t go in any direction but forward, I have so many hopes for another incredible year!

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(Art above is by Summer Ortiz)
With my friendships, I hope to be more intimate. I tend to clump groups of friends together and try to kill five birds with one stone while I have a babysitter on duty. Having fun group outings or parties is always a good time! But towards the end of 2017, I realized I wanted more depth and more time to soak up a certain friend or couple. I have so many friends that I love and a friend is just way less likely to share their heart with a group. I plan on making a shift towards more intimate scenarios and becoming closer with new and old friends this way.

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In regards to my marriage, I hope to be more intentional. With our time already allotted to so many things for our children, jobs, home, and school… I pray to be more intentional in showing my gratitude towards all he does on a regular basis for me and not letting my daily stresses get in the way of our sacred alone time. Our TEN YEAR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY IS NEXT MONTH! How did that happen?
With my children, I pray I can be more gentle. I want to be the softest place they can fall and encourage them to be more vocal with their feelings and struggles. I pray they always feel safe in my presence.

With my school work, I pray that I can continue to surprise myself with what I am capable of and continue to make straight A’s. I know now that I can do hard things with three (sometimes four) little monkeys on my back. I am capable of whatever hard things that I set my mind to and I am giddy about what all I will accomplish in 2018 and beyond.

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In general, I want to be more direct without being harsh. I often dance around what I want or what I need from others. Lately, I’ve been quicker to call someone out or ask for help and it has really been liberating. If you struggle with this like I do, I HIGHLY recommend you find Jaime Primak Sullivan on Facebook and watch her daily videos! She always knows exactly what to say and how to deliver it in a way that will matter. She’s the bomb.com, y’all.  Check her out here!

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Last night we went around the dinner table and said what we hope for ourselves for the new year. It was amazing to see our babies dream big! And heartwarming to hear my tough husband say his goal for himself that was so far from what I thought he would say. Ten years later and he still surprises me and melts my heart! A little throwback to our 2nd year of marriage…

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So here’s to a great year full of #soulgains & happy memories to place at the front of that rolodex!
I’m eager for whatever fabulousness the universe has in store…

I’m giving you my love energy and praying that each of my Sweet Tribe readers feels God’s love this year…
Love,
Laine

Heart of a Boy Mom

I have this super vivid memory from high school that always puts a smile on my face when I think about it… 


I was on my high school’s dance team (shameless Highstepper plug because I still shout red and green) and one time we were at a SUPER hot Saturday away game against Klein High School. It was so hot that we were allowed to camp out under the bleachers for a while before we had to perform. So we were under there in our little cliques as we stretched and talked. How this topic came up? I have no idea. But we decided to “label” each other for what kind of moms we would be one day. 

My friends all said I would have three little GIRLS because DUH that’s what a girl like me would have,  my husband would work in the oil & gas business and travel, I would rock leggings with stirrups to their dance competitions because they were comfy and practical, I would wear obnoxious buttons with their cute faces on them with big bows in their long hair, I would tease my hair way too much (because Texas), andddd I would be making it through their dance competition days while getting three girls ready for each dance performance with a flask that was engraved with “GO EMMA!” (my first fictional daughter) on it. First of all, I was not a party girl so the flask part was just for funzies but they still saw a little bit of wild down deep in me. 

But y’all… the only thing that came true out of that prophecy was that I do love me some leggings. But sadly I can’t find ones with those practical stir-ups anymore😉 

I swore with each pregnancy that THIS Baby was a girl. Griffin was Madeline, Cooper was Harper Grace, and Bennett was for SURE Chandler Elizabeth. Go ahead and laugh with me 😉 

But starting with Griffin at the gender ultrasound… the second the tech said “It’s a boy!”… I looked at the screen and said “Hi, Baby Griffin!” Immediately, I was a smitten kitten. I fell IN LOVE with him at that very second. That moment was so profound for me because I went from believing that I had a best gal pal coming to wow… a little man! I felt innocent “puppy love” times a million for a boy I hadn’t even met! 


What I didn’t know in that moment was how close of a bond sons can have with their mamas. And how special that would feel to both our hearts. 


When you love someone… you try to soak up every little thing about them. 

Que the song: Every Little Thing by Carly Pearce just cause it’s the bomb.com 😍 🎤 “The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting… Every. Little. Thing.”  ❤️

Sorry, back to the mom part of my brain. So as my boys have fallen in love with things… I have too. Including the sports that I never cared about or the super hero movies that I thought I would never watch.


I was that girl that believed people came to our high school football games to watch us perform and the game was a bonus 🙄 And yes, our moms totally felt that way! But our dads and the rest of the stadium… they were there for the boys giving it their all on the football field and halftime was the bonus (or a nacho break because let’s be real). 

Last night when the Houston Astros won the World Series… my heart exploded for: 

  • My city that has been through too dang much
  • My husband who has been a die-hard Astros fan his entire life and was wearing a white and green Astros hat on the night we met
  • My sweet little boys that were snug in their beds and will be so inspired by this win in the morning (especially Cooper)
  • Of course the stud muffin players that MADE IT ALL HAPPEN!!!! 
  • And drumroll please…. for the player’s mamas! 

The mamas (and in certain cases daddies or grandparents but I will be talking from my perspective today) that drove them to every single practice, have filled up their thermos nine millions times, who cut those oranges and made snack bags for the team at midnight because that’s the only time she had to do it, who encouraged them after every game win or lose, who quizzed their spelling words and listened to them read on the way to practice, who sacrificed to pay for his gear or private lessons, and who pushed them academically because moms worry too much and know better than to put all their eggs in one basket. 

I can’t imagine how proud those mamas felt last night! That was their baby boys out their kicking booty! 

I’m sure they had tiny t-ball players just yesterday and remember being in the thick of motherhood very clearly.

That’s where I am currently and I’m sure many of you reading this are right here with me. This is a hard season but raising a son with strong character is all I’m after.

Right now I’m typing this from my car with a pile of papers that I’m supposed to be sorting through to finish my research paper but my heart can’t get over what’s happening on the field before me.

This weekend is the SuperBowl for Griffin’s football league. Right now I can see a tiny little league freshman team working hard with their coaches, Griffin’s sophomore team tackling each other right behind the little ones, and to my right is a group of senior players that look SO BIG compared to Griff! All three teams working their highneys off because they want that title on Saturday with all of their hearts! This is their season of life’s World Series and a win on Saturday will feel just as exciting to them as what the Astros just experienced. But this time is so fleeting… I feel like I could blink and see Griffin standing under those Friday night lights in high school and I so wish that I could press pause. 

Seeing your child blossom on the field or in a class… it fills your Mom Cup right up! Boy or girl. 

I’m saying a prayer that I can cherish these days while they are happening. Even when it’s hard to fit in that homework or family time. Even when your life revolves around a field you always thought had a 45 yard line on it so that you could easily find your starting position for a dance… 

I know I will miss these days. And I know every mom who simultaneously sits at their son’s practices every night with me is praying that their little boy grows up to be a good man. And she is juggling a thousand balls right now so that he has the chance to be whoever he wants to be. 

Last night’s MVP at The World Series has always struggled with speaking in front of others because of a communication disorder. Lord knows his mom probably worried laying in bed at night, like we all do, if he would be alright or accepted. I would say he turned out just fine 😉 and is an amazing inspiration to any mother currently worrying about the mountain before their child and looking for ways to help them climb it!💙🚂🔥

Sending you my love energy straight from the field this evening.

Love,

Lainey 💗

Farmhouse Tour

I know many of y’all have requested a tour of our new home and I am so excited to share it with you today! All of these pictures were taken before we moved in so there is no furniture but you will be able to see it as a blank canvas.

Welcome to our little haven! Walk with me, talk with me… 

My favorite part about the exterior  is the vertical paneling that gives it a more modern feel. I also LOVE how large the coach lights are! 

I swoon daily over the front door that just fits in perfectly with the charm of the home. Even while I wipe the finger prints off the lowest windows… 

I need to buy a rocking chair soon for the right side of the porch but can’t decide on a color! I would love your suggestions. I also plan on hanging pretty plants from the porch ceiling starting next spring.  

As you walk into the home, you are greeted by a color palette that makes my heart melt. I love the greys, white, and browns together. If you walk straight forward you will run into the living room. We will come back to the dining in a second.

So, so proud of that fireplace being exactly the way I drew it on notebook paper for our builder! And also I just love the cabinet hardware that begins in here and is featured throughout the home. I was very brave and picked a 9 inch pull but the end result is EVERYTHING.

The original design of this room had no cathedral ceiling, was open to the game room upstairs, had a stone fireplace, and two niches way up high and flanking the fireplace that are SO hard to decorate. And of course no shiplap. I can’t believe the difference between the original floorplan and what we created! 


This area is just the perfect spot to entertain! I laugh now at all of my mini heart attacks over my mint backsplash and wood stain selections… but it all came together perfectly. 

Again, I just love that hardware!! 😍

I can’t recommend enough the seal that we chose for our butcher block! The “boat finish” has been awesome at protecting the island from water marks or stains and it doesn’t look glossy or fake. 

Our granite is called “Delicatus White” and it reminds me of CookiesNCream ice cream.

Still pinching myself that this is where I get to cook… 

Back at the front of the house, this is the dining room and backpack station. Right now this has become my storage facility but I’m trying to fix that and put things where they go!

This gorgeous laundry room has sadly become my husband’s domain since I started school. It’s way bigger than any other utility room that we have ever had and it is wonderful for the amount of laundry we accumulate with six people! 

Skipping the master because it’s boring without furniture… We LOVE our bathroom! We have never had so much storage before! I might have beauty products in all six drawers though 😳 But hey, JT’s clothes fill up the majority of the closet so it’s fair 🤓

Not pictured is the kid bedrooms, guest bedroom, other bathrooms, and game room but I will post pictures of those as they become complete! 

But this back porch y’all… 

To me this is what years of wishing I had a space to host “Parenthood” style dinners manifested itself into! I can’t wait to have our first meal out here and say Pit and Peak together in a space I never thought we’d own! 
Thank you so much for following me around the place that is most precious to us! Have a great night y’all! 

I’m sending you my love energy💗✌🏻

Love, 

Lainey

Mama On A Mission

Fall has totally started off with a bang for our family and I don’t think it will be slowing down anytime soon! I am back in college after a nine year break and also started a new job as a preschool teacher. I did not have any intentions of getting a new job but an opportunity came knocking that I couldn’t refuse. A wee bit stressful to add at the end of a move but everything is slowly coming together for all of us. 

The boys have adjusted super well to their new school and have made lots of new friends. Watching them find their passions in life in sports and school has filled my Mom Cup right up! Griffin is in football, Cooper is taking tennis lessons, and Bennett is playing soccer. I’m so proud of them for being active and pushing themselves to get better and stronger with each practice! 

They have blessed me so much over the past eight years of motherhood but it is starting to hit me that they will be grown before I know it. Each day seems quicker than the one before. I keep trying to look in their pretty little eyes and just love on them while they still let me 🙂 They have been a little shocked at Mama doing her own school work and needing quiet time. But they are adjusting quickly and learning that asking Daddy might give them a faster response time to needing a cup refilled 🙂 

 I was so scared to go back to school because it had been so long but I’m so glad I took that leap of faith.  I don’t know if I love school so much right now because it’s 100% for me and I’m allowed to be selfish for the first time in years, or if it’s because I’m remembering how smart I am and I can actually succeed at this, or if it’s just me remembering the Laine before she had babies. No matter the reason… I’m so happy to be back at it. 

At least twice a week I think, how can I handle this all? Cleaning this bigger house, grocery shopping, dishes, laundry, teaching, my homework and papers, my kids homework, making time for my marriage, laughing with friends, giving our dog attention, extended family time, etc… I’ve had to prioritize every little thing in order of importance. At the top is spending quality time on my relationships instead of quantity, making good grades, and my job. The rest is truly fluff and I get to it when I can. Luckily I have a spouse that picks up the balls that I’ve been dropping as I drop them 🙂 
   
JT has stepped up in a huge way with doing all of the laundry, the dishes, and getting the boys ready in the morning for school. He also has been spending his Sundays at his parents house with the boys so that I can have time to focus on whatever I need to. He’s been a huge blessing and I know he will be so proud of his girl when I walk across that stage.

It’s been an adjustment period but I can tell you one thing… with every new “A” that gets posted to my school’s online portal, it’s a reminder that I am capable of whatever I set my mind to.

 

 Even though I was usually a straight A student growing up, I was smart enough to just wing it. Well when I got to college, I could no longer wing it and I struggled to learn how to study for the first time. I chose to quit instead of pushing myself to learn in a new way. 

This go around, I knew I had to be organized and focused. And it’s paying off. I’m so thankful for second chances💗 I want to encourage anyone who is toying with the idea of going back to school next semester, to make the jump.

 

  I normally become like the Tin Man with my emotions when I have a lot going on. I just survive through it. But this time my armor has fallen to the floor. And it’s kind of been a good thing. Instead of hardening, I’ve been leaning in to these changes with my heart open to transition. I’ve been vulnerable with those I trust most that today feels impossible or that I’m proud of the grade that was just posted. I’ve not had the energy to be anything else but authentic. 

 The other day we had plans for friends to come over for dinner and I wrestled ALL DAY LONG with cancelling on them because I hadn’t hung pictures on the walls yet, my laundry wasn’t done, and I needed to mop my floors. These thoughts were swarming me while I was at the football fields for hours and couldn’t get anything done at the house. But I didn’t cancel because I knew I needed to have some fun and my tribe was looking forward to it! So I greeted them at the door in a huge white t-shirt, hadn’t cleaned a bit, took no pictures of the festivities (shocking for me), and loved every second I had with them. We played beer pong, ate yummy pot roast, made cookies at 1 a.m., and laughed all night long together. My soul needed that recharge so badly and I’m so glad I didn’t let my fear of imperfection keep us from making those memories. 

 

People keep asking me if I’m loving our new house… and I am! But I haven’t had a second to truly enjoy it just yet 🙂 My house project for the week is to put together my new dining room chairs but we shall see if that actually happens! Here are some living room pictures of what we have gotten done so far: 

This pic of just the pillows gives you a better idea of the colors in the fabrics…


 I am sooo in love with the couches we ordered from Barholet Home Furnishings (ask for Nathan or Nicole because they are both fabulous) and that we decided to NOT put a tv in our living room. The rug is from RugsUSA and was a steal! I love how it all turned out! I was studying last night on the couch and my husband said, “You look so fancy sitting on those couches and reading that huge book!” He made me laugh because I felt anything but fancy right then but seriously this room makes me feel like we are officially #adulting up in the Cauthen house.

Thanks for listening to my heart and putting up with my rambles💗

Sending you my love energy today! 

Love, 

Lainey 

I’m In It❤️

My husband and I have been deciding all day where we will put each piece of furniture inside the farmhouse. It’s so fun to sit and be creative together and imagine this new house being filled with our old treasures. It is getting so real as we get closer to the finish line! And a little emotional for me.

We had our final walk through with our builder on Friday and I got really quiet about halfway through when it hit me and just let JT talk. I was definitely “in it” as they say in the movie Garden State. Which just so happens to be my favorite movie of all time. 


I may have seen it a thousand times, listened to the commentary a dozen more, made every friend listen to the soundtrack on repeat in my old Scion tC, and overanalyzed each character and their lines in each scene. Watch this clip to see what I mean about how I currently feel…

I have used this phrase ever since I saw this movie for the first time in 2004. I am currently “in it” because how is this is all even happening to us?! I was just suddenly awestruck during the walk through that this house was about to be our home. Not just this project we have been working on and discussing for months and not twelve of my Pinterest boards coming to life… but our actual home. Where we will cook, study, clean, argue, laugh, veg, play, snuggle, cry, entertain, and love. Our home. My home. 

I walked around quietly thinking that I didn’t deserve this house. I never thought we would ever live in a custom home or in a neighborhood like this. It wasn’t in my plan but I am starting to realize that it was 100% by God’s design. 

All of the little twists of fate that brought us here have been fluttering in my mind for a few weeks now and it continues to bring me comfort that God wants us on this path. 

One day last summer, we were on our way to pick up our puppy Jasper from the breeder in the backwoods of Old Magnolia. Where I had never driven before. We were early for our meeting so we decided to drive around and waste time. We found a random neighborhood and I remember pointing out this one house with a swing garage that I loved. On the way out of the neighborhood, I had to use the restroom but where? We were lucky to come across a model home for RVision Homes and I jumped out of the car hoping it was open. It was! I remember turning around and giving JT a thumbs up before I walked in.  

I walked around this model home and just loved every little detail. I think I was alone in this model home that day so that I could hear God whisper. I grabbed a packet on my way out and told jt as we drove away that we should call that builder when we are ready to move! He said, and I quote, “Okay. When we build another house we will contact RVision and use them.” And the universe heard him loud and clear. Ask. Believe. And be ready to Receive. 🙏🏻💕

Jt and I never had to contact RVision because they came straight to us. One week later, by God’s power and favor, the owner of RVision walked inside my husband’s office. It was too much of a weird coincidence for us both. We knew it was a sign. I remember JT calling me on his way home saying, “You will not believe who walked in to the office today!” 😳

And so our journey  began that felt divinely orchestrated from the start. Each step has had some sort of sign to keep us moving forward even as I drug my feet for MONTHS not wanting to make such a big decision. Then one night in our living room as we discussed the pros and cons yet again… I read this bible verse above JT’s head and decided to let go of my need to control everything and let God handle this. 

And he has worked out every single detail along the way. Even with the buyers of our current home walking through our door four days after I prayed and buried the Statue of Joseph in my backyard. It was all timed perfectly. 

Please pray for us this week! Tomorrow we sell our current house and will sign for the new house in a few days! I might be “in it” right now and super busy but I am so grateful. I still don’t know why he wants us on that particular street but KNOWING that he has directed our steps this far has made it easy to trust in His plan. Not just with our living arrangements but with the future of our family in general. Your need or want  or idea is never too big or too small. He can make anything happen if you give Him the power.  

He really does have the whole world in His hands💙

I’m sending you my love energy today!✌🏻💗

Love, 

Lainey 

Too Blessed To Be Stressed 

Let me set the scene… It was Saturday night. My husband comes home from work and everyone is so glad to have him home for the beginning of his weekend! JT says why don’t we order pizza instead of me having to cook. We hadn’t had pizza in months so that sounded great and I was excited to be able to relax and just enjoy each other! We were having such a good time laughing and hanging out as a fam when we heard the scream that stopped our world from turning. JT jumped up and immediately knew something was super wrong with Cooper… I quickly followed behind.

Fast forward two hours and we have a confirmed spiral fracture in Coop’s tibia. Poor thing was just playing, turned just right, fell just right, and then that scream that we will never forget. 😭

I had driven Coop to the ER and JT got to meet me there after my sister Grace showed up to watch our other two boys. It’s amazing how much we need our spouses in moments like that. I felt like I could breathe again when he walked into that hospital room. “There’s my person.” Thank God for heavy duty medicine that made the X-rays and this picture below possible. This picture is not an accurate representation of his pain level and that narcotic quickly wore off.  

We were sent home with a prescription for Tylenol 3 that JT went to go pick up at the nearest 24 hour pharmacy and I took Cooper straight home in his splint. My sister helped me get Cooper all settled in and he did NOT want to lower his leg so we started with propping it up high and slowly lowering it. I know in this pic it’s ridiculously high but this was the first stage 🙂 

JT came back from the pharmacy with the entire store just in time for his next dose of Tylenol 3. He got everything his baby boy could possibly ask for and more. 
We quickly figured out that Cooper was not responding well to the codeine. It made him cry and scream and super fidgety. To say that first night was hard is a huge understatement. We did not sleep one single minute during that night. Cooper kept crying “I can’t even sleep! Why can’t I sleep?” 💔 And because I was so tired, I could barely decipher if it was the codeine or actual pain. I seriously questioned if he needed to be admitted. My childhood friend, Brittany is a nurse and suggested trying regular Tylenol at the next appropriate time and everything got better from that moment on! So no more codeine for Cooper… like ever. 

He and I slept most of the next day. He would wake up and smile sweetly at me, squeeze my hand three times for our secret code of “I love you”, and then nod off. Thank goodness it was JT’s day off so that he could take care of the other two boys and keep the house straight. 
I was SO happy to wake up to Taco Soup, cupcakes, and goodies from our friends, The Walkers! Not having to make dinner after all of that was just amazing. And Cooper LOVED the Ninja Turtle coloring book they gave him. Anything to put a smile on his face right then was just a huge blessing! Josh & Tiffany have always been his second set of parents and I’m so thankful for how they love my baby boy! 


We had to wait until Monday to call around to different surgeons. Another childhood friend, Sara called me and helped me get things in order for our visit with the surgeon. She set my mind at ease and told me I was on the right path 🙂 We got him in with an awesome doctor on Tuesday afternooon. We were praying for no surgery! Again, I don’t know what I would do without my husband. He got off work early to drive us and I was so appreciative to have him with us! And also a huge thank you to my mother-in-law, Suzanne for taking care of our other boys and making us dinner for when we got back! Coop got a pretty, baby blue cast, no surgery needed, took some more x-rays, and we were on our way! He got a special milkshake on the way home of course. And was so happy to see a new Lego set from Grandma, too! 
As you can see in the pics below, he was scared but Daddy made the appointment fun and silly!  





We go back in two weeks for possibly a shorter cast so that he can move around a bit more on his own. 

The next day Cooper had a ton of special visitors! Great grandparents, grandparents, and we even had dinner delivered again from The Johnsons! 
My best friend Lindsey’s husband Matt made the most amazing spaghetti sauce! He made it with four pounds of meat because he didn’t know how much our little army of men would eat 🙂 There was so much that I froze some to make lasagna later this week. To have your girlfriends cook for you is one thing, but for their husbands to get in on the sweetness made my heart melt! “Aunt” Linsey also brought Kindergarten prep books for Cooper to keep busy with. He was so happy to see their faces! And Griffin and Bennett were both thrilled to throw the ball with Matt because they have both been so, so bored. Poor Griffin missed football tryouts that day but Lindsey really perked him up by telling him that he could still be placed on a team! The joy in Griffin’s eyes was truly precious. You never know when you are walking down the hall in high school, who will end up becoming more than friends and be just like family! “Uncle” Matt can truly make some sauce and I am so thankful for him!! 💙



Seeing Lindsey check on Coop reminds me so much of when she first met him in the NICU and took care of me after my csection and drove me to and from the NICU each day. Their little bond is so special to me. It makes me tear up every time I think of these long days she endured with me. 

And then yesterday, Cooper had a sweet package in the mail from his “Aunt” Sam in Kentucky who is also his Godmother! He loves getting mail so this was a special treat! How cute is this little bear with a broken leg to match Coop? 😍 His face says it all! I know Sam would be here in a heartbeat if she could! Cooper hasn’t stopped snuggling this little guy! I wish she was here right NOW! I’m missing her so much my heart aches.

Sam is always the best at care packages!! I need to learn a thing from her!! 💗💋


We also received countless prayers, texts, and calls from friends and family that were in Cooper’s corner. He is one loved and lucky little boy! I still haven’t had a chance to call everyone back but I will! Thank you all so, so much! 💕💕💕

My tribe stretches from super close to super far… but they are the best! All of our prep for moving came to a screeching hault and what is most important was the only thing that mattered this week. Our littles. 

And to think, the OBGYN told me a month after getting married that I would never have a child…

He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD. -Psalm 113:9 


I have never been more thankful to slither between these two little boys at night. I can’t believe God blessed me with these awesome spiritual beings to care for and raise. And though our physical bodies may fail from time to time, God is always present and here for us to lean on. And sometimes God shifts into the form of friendship and makes sure a hug or plate of food shows up at your door at the exact second you need it. 

Today I am feeling too blessed to be stressed. And I hope when life becomes busy again, I can look back on this post and remember what truly matters. I used to love this quote when I was in high school but now I understand it in a new way…

“Love God. Love Others. NOTHING else matters.”

That’s it. I have been soaking up my amazing community and feeling so grateful for my relationships this week! 

I’m sending you my love energy today! 💕

Love, 

Laine 

Casa Update

So they have been super busy working on our little farmhouse! I check on it daily and have kind of become an annoying helicopter client 😬 But I live so close and if I can catch a mistake before it costs money to fix, I have to say something. Sorry to my builder but it’s going to be so beautiful in the long run 🤓 Here is what’s been happening… 

We have a pretty driveway!! My husband’s one request with this house was for the driveway to be 16 feet across. So the other day when the frame of the driveway was up and he was measuring it, I panicked because I had forgotten his freaking ONE request. He started laughing because he knows that his little contribution might have gotten overlooked. But luckily, it was right! Whew.

The kitchen is obviously far from finished but you can get the idea! The pendant lights are in the wrong spot but that will be fixed soon! (Helicopter Client) And the crown molding will he added soon to cabinets and walls. I can’t wait to see my countertops and venthood!

And I know they are simple but I love these banister ends 🙂
Let there be light!! I couldn’t be happier with my light fixture choices. There was SO many to choose from, y’all! 
And I can’t believe that this shower is for Griffin & Bennett 😳 Little kings actually got a bigger shower than Daddy! 
And yay for two ceiling fans!! I can’t wait to put a long table out here for Parenthood style dinners with our favorite people! Of course the ceiling will be painted blue in true southern fashion💗

I’m sure I will have more updates soon! Everything is so fun and exciting at this stage with the pretty details 🙂 My vision is coming to life!! 

I’m sending you my love energy today! 

Love,

Laine

PS… I’m going on a flight today to California and I HATE flying. Please say a little prayer for me 🙏🏻😊