Friday, June 28, 2013


6 years ago today, we opened our CFA restaurant here in Little Rock, which seems unreal.  Time marches on at such an alarming pace.  Last year, I chronicled our CFA story, which you can read here :  Part 1 and Part 2.  This year, I thought I would share a few interesting stats that John figured out yesterday.

For example - in the six years that we have been open, we have had 3,193,745 transactions at our restaurant alone!  Over 3 million - which means the number of people we have served is far beyond that, which is seriously amazing.  I am always so thankful and grateful that God put us in an industry where we get to interact with so many people from so many different walks of life.  I can say for certain that there are rarely dull moments in our life.

We have served 1,070,308 Original Chick-fil-A Sandwiches since we have been open.  I love spreading chicken cheer.  If those were all laid side by side, it would stretch over 67 miles, and if they were stacked straight up - it would be over 33 miles tall.  So much delicious chicken.

Speaking of hero products - have you ever tried our freshly squeezed Lemonade.  We regularly squeeze between 6 and 10 cases of lemons a day just for our store, depending on the season.  We have served over 104,895 gallons of lemonade since we've been open.  If we were to fill bath tubs with all of that (perish the thought of a lemonade bath - how sticky would that be?), it would fill 2,622 bathtubs full.  

Today, they celebrated with cake for the team.


The cow ended up with a little cake in the face.  It's a tough gig to be the CFA cow on Birthday Day.


We are so thankful for our fantastic team who helps make all of this possible every single day, and we are so thankful to our amazing guests who allow us the pleasure of serving them meals.  Ultimately, we are so thankful to our heavenly Father who makes all good things possible and gives us what we need to accomplish his work.

Happy 6 years to our CFA - it's been a great run, and we look forward to many more years.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Well, friends - people keep asking how the adjustment to four kids is going, and I keep telling them that it is going pretty well.  You know, we have hard moments, but overall, it is going well.  We are starting to get more sleep.  The babies are healthy and growing, and the big girls love them.  We have nothing to complain about, and life is good.


Oh - except one thing.  I have one tiny little complaint that is currently plaguing my life.  I am losing my mind.  Seriously - I have always been a fairly organized person able to function in society, and right now, I would question all of those assumptions I normally make about myself.  Here's a rundown of things I have forgotten just this week alone.

-  When I went grocery shopping this week, this time with twins in tow but not the big girls, I realized that I had forgotten my wallet.  AGAIN.  Thankfully, I knew where it was this time (in the car), and I could go and get it quickly (while the Kroger staff watched the sleeping babies in the cart with all the groceries).

-  When I went to the pool with friends, I apparently had forgotten how careful you must not be to spill Baba Ganoush.  I managed to spill it AGAIN.  Thankfully, this time it was in a chair at the pool, and though this meant that I was actually sitting in it after the spill occurred (I will spare you a picture of that that I didn't take), it also meant the clean up was dramatically better.  Especially since a friend did it for me - thanks, Nicole.


-  Yesterday, I cooked a meal for the first time since we brought home babies.  Seriously - we had the great blessing of having meals delivered until just this week, which was incredibly gracious and amazing of our kind friends.  And yesterday, while I was cooking, I realized I had forgotten how challenging it is to prepare a full blown meal (we were hosting community group), when you keep having to stop and feed babies in the middle of it.  You have to add a lot of time to it, because sadly, Bella will only do this for a few moments - not a whole bottle's worth of time.


-  Today, I left my phone at home.  I came back for it and did a few other things.  Upon leaving the house and driving about 5 minutes, I realized that I had left the diaper bag that I had just packed at home.  Back to the house I went.  AGAIN.

-  I had forgotten how sore you actually get when you do a real workout.  I am reaping the consequences of yesterday's workout today, and I especially dread going downstairs.

-  Today, I had packed the girls' bags for Mother's Day Out, only to forget those in the car.

-  When I headed in to Target on Tuesday to do a return, I realized that I had left the item I was there to return in my car.  Are you sensing a theme here?  I think I must feel victory to just get the kids all out of the car and thought of anything else goes completely out of my head.

-  I am sure that there are a host of things that I am forgetting that I have forgotten.  Since that is the name of the game these days, no one should be that surprised by this.

As I was lamenting this at lunch today with friends, my dear friend who also has four young kids encouraged me that it will get better.  I will not forget something big everyday.  I will learn the new drill and not always be leaving things in the car or at the house.  I am learning a new skill set, and it will get better.  I certainly need it to, because at this rate, my trips to and from the car and the house are going to eat up every last bit of time that I never had to start with.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Remember Hootie and the Blowfish?  How many of you realize that Hootie went all country on us as Darius Rucker and has made a smashing success of himself in a whole new music genre?  Well, he did.  We are Darius Rucker fans.  In fact, he was in Little Rock a while back, and we were not able to go, due to the fact that the twins came home that weekend.  Twins had the trump card - they usually do.

One of his hits right now is "It Won't Be Like This For Long."  If you are a fellow country music lover, then I am not giving out new info.  The song, if I really stop and think about it, could make me tear up every. single. time.  John feels like Hootie wrote it just for us - thanks, Hootie.  It talks about each phase of our children's lives and how they all fly by.  It doesn't stay the same for any length of time.


Which is truth as far as truth can be.  William and Violet are already gaining head control.  They are awake slightly more often, which has obvious pros and cons.  They have both doubled in size since birth, and they are just beginning to space out their feedings.  They are constantly evolving.  As I sat and dwelt on this, it hit me in the face that Lily and then Bella did all of these things as well.  And now look at them!  They are the biggest girls of all time - at least in comparison to babies.  How did it happen that Lily asks questions about life that make sense?  When did Bella start talking in complete sentences?  Each of these things crept up on me slowly, until all of the sudden - WHAM, BOOM, BANG - they are grown up.

Well, not exactly.  Bella is still in diapers, and Lily wavers from day to day on whether or not her car seat is too difficult to buckle, so I guess there is still some room for growth and development.


I feel like as a mom, I am constantly being told to enjoy every moment.  This is not a new refrain for me to mention, but it does seem to underline my life.  People tell me this in the grocery store and on Facebook and when I am getting my hair done.  I have struggled with knowing how to balance the "Enjoy Every Moment" camp with the "Just Have To Get Through It" camp.

But - it won't be like this for long.  There is a season for everything in turn, and while we are in a rather taxing season presently, the season will wane, before we even realize it.  It will fade softly into a different season that will offer new opportunities and challenges.  I will look back and wonder how my snuggly newborns were replaced by babies that can sit up, eat and giggle.  I have one more year with Lily still at home before she heads off to kindergarten, and that thought can send me into a tail-spin.  Which totally took me off guard, because I thought I would be ready for the change.  And maybe by next year, I will be, but I doubt it.  Sending our first child off to school will signal the end of an era - one that I have really enjoyed.


The best way that John and I have found to combat the simultaneous grief of knowing something sweet will not be forever and the tedium of a draining stage like feeding every three hours is gratitude.  John is particularly good at pointing out the positives and not wishing things away, and I am so thankful to have someone that is helping me to be more thankful in life.  I also want to hear from God what he wants for us out of each stage.  As I mentioned, each one brings new opportunities and challenges, and God does not waste any of those, ever.  I am sure I miss out on them regularly, but I am thankful above all else for his grace and mercy that have me covered when I fail at things.  All the time.


And here's the scoop on the pictures - it took a jumbo marshmallow bribe to get the older girls to participate.  These shirts were made by a sweet friend - we traded cookies that I made for the girls' shirts, and she gifted the babies shirts.  I love having them all matching, and the older girls would wear the shirts every single day if I let them.  There were tears during this photo-shoot from three out of the four and a bad attitude from 50% of the children, but I got some keepers after all.  It won't be like this for long.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Last year, for the first year ever, there was a hot air balloon festival right here in Little Rock - in fact, it was very close to our CFA.  (Here's last year's post about it.)  And, it came back this year, which was thrilling for us.  I really do find balloons to be magical, and our children definitely agree.

As we headed out for the little adventure, the rain was pouring  down.  I wasn't super hopeful that we would get to see balloons, but we needed to get out of the house, so out we went.  John and I picked up subs that we had ordered online, and we had dinner on the go.  Actually, on the way to the balloon festival, we stopped in and saw some people that we have gotten to know because they eat at our restaurant all. the. time.  They are really into Ham radio, and it was the North American Ham radio festival day.  They had been mostly rained out, but we got to stop in and learn a bit about Ham radio where you can talk to people all over the world.  It was fascinating.


By that time, the rain had stopped, and we made our way to the festival location.  They decided to do it after all, which was so exciting.  It was worth staying out late for.  We watched as the balloons were inflated.  (while feeding babies, of course.)


The babies enjoyed the white noise of the fans and fire.  They really are beginning to be awake more often, which is fun to see.  William gave us a little smile for the picture!


Bella decided to photo bomb Violet and I.


I tried for a picture of all four and got some results that I really like.  Sweet children.  Most of the time.


The "glow," where they all fire at once after dark, was really neat to see.  I especially liked when they "twinkled" and glowed at different times.


We try to leave activities while they are still fun, and we did pretty good on this one.  However, on the way to the car, it was clear that the girls were up past bed time as the whining began.  We were parked near a giant, sort of lit up, inflatable triceratops.  Naturally.  The girls wanted to go play with it, but it was more for looks.  Once we were in the car, Lily didn't feel like she could see it well enough and kept wailing, "I can't see the triceratops!"  On that strange note, we were glad to be headed home and headed for bed.


The babies slept from 12:30-7:30 last night, and have been doing similar long stretches for many nights in a row.  It makes us feel like new people to be getting more consistent sleep.  Hooray and Happy Monday.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Today I have a set of two month olds!  Having twins is everything fun that I thought it might be with most of the parts that I thought would be hard.  I would say it is not twice as hard, but about 1.5 times as difficult as having one baby.  I think that will change when they are mobile, and I must say that I am apprehensive about having two crawlers.  Perish the thought.

I looked back at the one month post, and as usual, I am amazed at how they have grown.  They have filled out, which makes sense, since they do a lot of eating in the day.  They are starting to space their feedings just a bit, and at night, they are doing 5 to almost 6 hours stretches.  Amazing!  And much needed!  Just this week, they started each taking four ounces in most bottles.


Here's Violet.


She is just starting to smile a tiny bit, which is always a welcome milestone.  She continues to be a sweet, mostly easy-going baby.  Until she is hungry, and then she is starving and crying her eyes and everything else out.  But, that is something easy to address, so I am thankful.  I am so curious to see their personalities develop.  I love getting to know my children.  Violet is wearing newborn clothes almost entirely.

Here's William.


He was, surprisingly, more "cooperative" in this little photo shoot.  He also is starting to smile a bit, and he can still do a mean forehead wrinkle and serious face.  He tends to be slightly more fussy than Violet, but nothing to write home about (or apparently to blog about).  He is still the bigger baby and is now wearing 0-3 month clothing.  I don't really know how much they weigh, because it has been several weeks since their last check-up.

They still sleep much of the time, though they are waking up a bit.  They enjoy being on the go - or at least, they have adjusted well to the fact that our family is often on the go.  Lily and Bella continue to adore them and are helpful to put their pacis in and comfort them when they are crying.  It is very sweet and earnest and heart-melting.


These last two pictures make me laugh.  I like the look on William's face in the first one, and Violet's face seems to be saying, "Really, Mom?  More pictures?  I'm over it."  The second one is simultaneous falling.  They do coordinate a lot of what they do, which has pros and cons.  Sometimes it seems as if they are literally taking turns on which one should cry.  Thankfully, this is not all the time and does not last long.

Speaking of coordinating, many people who know my love of matching clothes have asked if I plan on matching the twins.  Most days, it is something like what they are wearing here.  I look for matching colors or patterns, and that is probably what will have to work most of the time, since they are not the same gender.

We LOVE William and Violet and are so very blessed and thankful to have them in our lives!  Happy Two Months on Earth!

Thursday, June 20, 2013


We headed out to the blueberry field today for our annual blueberry picking tradition.  (Here's 2012 and 2011.)  We definitely felt the fact that Arkansas has a humidity that makes 85 degrees feel like 200 degrees, especially when you have a baby strapped to you.  So, for all of our sakes, the berry picking was a little quicker this year.

As usual, the girls really loved it, and this year they could both pick blueberries that were actually blue. Way to go, ladies!  Also, they are starting to smile for the camera.  Sometimes.  When they feel like it.  But, I will still take it.


John picked the most berries by far, as usual.  He had William who was less than happy for much of the time due to the fact that he was hot.  Or that he likes fussing.  It is hard to know.  Neither baby is terribly fussy all the time, but they both definitely have their moments, and William seems to have more of them.


I do love that we live in such a naturally beautiful area where there are activities like this a short drive away.  It really enriches our lives, and I am so thankful.


We finished out with our requisite family picture at the event.  John has said over and over again that family pictures are my love language, so he stands and smiles even we he is hot and ready to get the baby in the car.  Thanks, honey.  I really do appreciate it, and maybe you will too in 10 years.  Even if you don't, I still will - so thanks.


As usual, the fam pic cracks me up.  Bella was not actually acting as her face portrays - she was quite sweet through the whole outing and so was Lily.  When we got home, they both told me what a fun time they had with the blueberries.  That makes it worth it.  Even when it is blazing hot outside.  Plus, I am looking forward to fresh blueberry pie!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Decorating a nursery for my babies has got to be one of my favorite things.  When the possibility of adopting twins domestically surfaced, we knew it could happen quickly and that there were a lot of unknowns.  So, I did nothing on the nursery front, which drove me a little crazy.  One of my friends remarked on this subject by saying, "God just stretches us all in different ways."  Ha!

But, now they are here and are forever part of our family.  Hooray!  So, the nursery decorating has begun.  After the twins were born, we had Bella move out of her nursery (which looked like this) and move into Lily's room, which they now share (it looks like this).  When I do a nursery, I have a hard time not going too themey.  I think it is a fine line.  For William and Violet, I am doing a very loose travel theme.  I don't want to get too mappy or globey, so we shall see how this goes.

Here is what the nursery looks like right now.  We need to take down Bella's toddler bed, though she does still "nap" in this room.  However, if she does fall asleep, she is usually on the floor.

While Ellen was here, she painted it "Cool Jazz" by Behr, which is a light blue/green color that I love.  Thanks, Ellen!  We ordered these mini-cribs from Amazon.  I know that they will only be in them a couple of years, so I was looking mostly for functionality that came at a reasonable price with good reviews.  These fit the bill, except that several people complained that they were too small.  I wanted to say, "It's a MINI-crib, people.  What did you expect?"  Anyway, we ordered them and haven't put them together yet, but I think they will work really well for us.

The dresser that serves as a changing table in the room now has been mutilated by Bella.  See pictures below.


So, we need to shop for an all wood replacement.  We cheaped out a bit with the dresser, and we definitely learned that with kids, it can sometimes be worth spending a bit more to get something that will withstand the wear, tear and abuse, especially if any of your kids are named Bella.

With Ellen's inspiration from all that she sewed for True's nursery and because I can be a bit picky, especially when trying to do something for both genders, I have decided to sew most of the fabric stuff in the room.  I used this diaper changing pad cover tutorial, and it was easy to follow with results that I love!

My model was pretty cute as well.


I made two covers, using green for the other one.


Ellen is making quilts for each baby, and since she is an expert in that department, I am so glad.  I picked out 8 beautiful fabrics for each quilt, with Violet's being coral and red and William's being green and teal.  I hope it doesn't look too Christmasy when it is all said and done, but I think it will turn out nicely.  At least, I hope so.  Here's a run down of some of the fabrics being used.

I am using this on the crib bumpers and for the back of the quilts.  It is such unusual colors that I felt like could work for both genders.  (It's called Spare Change in Vintage 37043.11, Odds and Ends by Julie Comstock of Cosmo Cricket for Moda)


I don't know the names of the rest of the fabrics, but I got them all at a local place called The Stitch N Post.  I love it there.  They have a closet for my kids to play in with toys.  These are the fabrics I am using to cover the white mini-crib bumpers that I ordered.


These are the sheet fabrics, and I used this tutorial with measurements.


Since the room looks like this craziness right now -


I am looking forward to it getting transformed.  Also - I am looking forward to not having a pack n play at the end of my bed.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


If I were a little less conscientious, this post could also be titled "Re-Entry is a Bee-Otch."  We had a great time on our trip, and today was the day that we got back to reality.  It started off pretty well.  I slept til almost 8, got up and got myself and all kids ready.  We headed to a play date with good friends, which was a definite win for the day.  (Side note - a little boy that I didn't know was looking at William and said, "That is a brown baby."  Then, he realized there was another one and said with great excitement, "There are two brown babies!"  He seemed genuinely thrilled, which was really sweet.)   I had a good friend that had offered to come over and help with the kiddos this afternoon so that I could get some stuff done and get our lives back together after the trip.  What a gracious offer.

What an afternoon it turned out to be.

After my friend Harriet arrived, I left to do a quick round of grocery shopping.  We needed the basics, and that is what I got.  As I was checking out with my full-ish cart, I had that awful moment of realization.  Where is my wallet?  I thought I put it back after I had it in the diaper bag.  Where could it be?  The guy bagging my groceries noticed my empty hands and grimaced sadly at me.  I begged the cashier to use my memorized credit card number to no avail.  No, they said - you must go home and get your real credit card and ID.

Home I went.  I walked in and told Harriet what was going on.  We laughed and commiserated at how annoying that is, and I began looking for the missing wallet.  I did eventually find it.

In my purse.

That I had with me all along.  Because I am losing my ever-loving mind.  Truly.  I drove back to the grocery store to pay for my cart of bagged goods that was waiting at Guest Services.  Then, I drove to the post office to mail our tax check that was two months late (a major whoopsie we figured out yesterday that had happened in the midst of babies coming into our family).  I didn't want it to be two months and one more day late, and our post man comes in the morning.  When I arrived at the post office, I could not find the envelope containing said late tax check.  Nowhere.  I assumed that I left it at home, even though I had just seen it in the car.  I did buy stamps for birth announcements, so it wasn't a totally wasted journey.

When I pulled into the garage, Bella ran out to greet me wearing only a diaper with Harriet trailing behind her trying to get her clothes on.  Her diaper had been so dirty and crazy that Harriet needed to give her an impromptu bath.  Bella had also managed to pull out most of the baby clothes in the dresser, though she knows she is not supposed to do this.  Which is great, because I really wanted to organize those clothes again.


Harriet and I brought in the groceries.  What would I have done without her?  Then I discovered that my precious Baba Ganoush (a delicious mediterranean dip made of roasted eggplant) had spilled.  I mean all of it spilled.  I had gone for the big container, because I usually eat this stuff every day for lunch.  And, it managed to spill in the most awful spot ever - the place where the seat attaches to the floor and can be moved up or down.


It was in and under the carpet.  So, Harriet and I did our darnedest to clean it up.  We used almost a whole roll of paper towels, because I am so green.  Ha.  I was on my stomach hanging out the side door after having removed a car seat to be able to move the bench up and down.  We were sweating a lot.  We were overpowered by the smell of garlic.  We were amazed at how it had gotten everywhere.  It was bad.


It took forever.  (John had to remove a piece of the car later to get the rest of it, because the car still reeked of it later.)  Harriet is the true hero of the afternoon, because instead of thinking and/or saying a stream of curses at the Baba Ganoush, I was able to (mostly) laugh through it.  I had someone to help with all the kiddos who were in full effect.  Thanks so much, Harriet for your kindness and willingness to serve our family - it was such a rich blessing.

And like all things good or bad, the afternoon came to an end.  Though I did not accomplish half or even a quarter of what I thought I might (i.e., my bag is still not unpacked, mail was piled on the coffee table and the kitchen was a mess), the afternoon that went downhill had come and gone.  John came home and we changed into our swimsuits and headed to a swim birthday party with lots of friends - it was the spoonful of sugar that helped the afternoon medicine go down.

I am left realizing that having four little peeps is a lot of work, and it is mentally taxing.  Obviously it is taxing enough on me that I can't find the wallet I have, I can't find the tax check that is already late, and I spill things everywhere.  I read this blog post this evening by a fellow adoptive mom who has gone from two kids to four in the last year.  It was a breath of fresh air, and a great reminder that my strength comes from the Lord.  I am nothing without Him.  I cannot do this in my own strength.  Clearly.

I'm so thankful that tomorrow is a new day and that God's mercies are new every morning.  I probably won't feel fresh in the morning after feeding babies in the night, but God has fresh grace for me that I can choose to lean in to.  I'm hoping and praying and begging to be able to depend on Him more tomorrow than I did today.