Monday, December 27, 2010

All is Merry & Bright

in one of her Christmas dresses
she's gonna "get you!"
We had a wonderful Christmas. Now that I'm a mom I'm constantly thinking about traditions and how we might spend our holidays as a family. I love traditions and honestly don't have much so I really want some for our own family. I love being in our home and waking up here to a yummy breakfast. I wasn't sure how Charis would respond and honestly she wasn't totally into it. But she did look pretty darn cute in her holiday flannel pjs. So cute.

so cute in her flannel pjs!

checking out her stocking

yay! monkey mittens!

our Christmas breakfast...yummy

We started our celebration on Christmas Eve at my dad's then went to our church's Christmas Eve service. This was my first time back to church since my surgery and it was a good time to ease back into it. Christmas day we had breakfast then opened presents. Then we spent the day together just hanging out and being lazy. It was great. One thing we like to do in the days around Christmas is watch Christmas movies and movies that take place around the holidays. Some of our favorites are When Harry Met Sally, A Christmas Carol, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Scrooged. It was really great just being together. I am so thankful for this season and getting to celebrate and be lazy with my sweet family.

the best way to open a present..with your middle finger

playing with her new "green" toy stacker

but the ribbon is most fun.

One of other favorite traditions is doing our annual GMO Cookie & CD Party with some girls from Country Day. These ladies actually graduated in May and just finished their first semester at college. I love them. We get together every Christmas to swap cookies and CDs. It's so fun to see them and catch up on their lives.

all the GMO girls!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Joyful Joyful

I absolutely love this time of year and celebrating the birth of Jesus. I am especially thankful for this first Christmas as a cancer survivor. That isn't my new identity, but it is a pretty big part of our lives right now. Two weeks before my surgery we took some family pictures with Lindsey Lee who is a sweet friend and old Young Life girl of mine from my YL days in college. We had lots of options for Christmas card photos and Sarah Pay designed my favorite card. May you not be busy or flustered, but instead be restful and soak up the love of Christ this holiday season. I know I am.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mountains & Ministry

I love the mountains. Everything about being in the mountains reveals God to me. His beauty, love, detail, power, divinity, all of it is evident to me by the mountains and it's scenery. One day I hope we'll live in some mountain town. We would go on hikes and camp all the time. I might even have dreads. Last Saturday night we had a mini family vacay to the mountains. A friend had encouraged us to get away, so we did. A friend let us go to their beautiful mountain house in Blowing Rock for the night. There is a lot that goes into getting away with a kid, but we felt it was important so we did it. And it was the BEST time ever. It snowed and we got to cozy up to the fire. There wasn't laundry or dishes that I "needed" to do. I left my computer at home. Charis slept more than normal, which is already a lot. And Adam and I had a yummy dinner with wonderful conversation. It's hard to always connect with everything we are going through. Oftentimes we miss each other, so this was an opportunity for us to talk and share our hearts. It was so life giving to both of us.

Just a day after this we got to go up to Windy Gap for Young Life. It was our annual Winter Staff Conference and Christmas party. My boss had an incredible treat in store for the staff, which means lots of preparation. Although it's work for me, it is so good to be with the rest of the Young Life staff. It's also great to be with my family at Windy Gap, one of my favorite places. Since it is work for me it's often hard for me to go to the meetings, but I made an effort to go to a couple of them. Our boss' boss shared about Zechariah and Elizabeth from Luke 1. I'm not going to go into everything he said because it wouldn't be so eloquent. One thing that stuck out to me was that together Zechariah & Elizabeth's names mean "God remembers His promise." He also said something about praying for God to disrupt our lives and all I could think about was how it feels like our life has been in disruption. Yet God remembers His promise. Adam and I have been talking about what this means for us. What is His promise for us?
The other times I made an effort to attend was worship, which was so sweet for me. Another gift from this time came from a couple conversations I had with two of the guys on staff. Both are dads who pray with their daughters every day. Both talked about how this time has been sweet for them and a learning experience about kids and praying. Both told me how their daughters always ask about me, especially when they are coming to a YL event and will see me. I was so touched by this in many ways. I know there are many people praying for us which I'm incredibly humbled by, and there was something about these two little girls whose hearts care about me enough to pray for me and ask about me. I love being a part of Young Life for many reasons...loving on high school kids, being a part of the community, caring for staff, and getting to go to Windy Gap.

I wish I had pictures of both of these trips, but the first one we forgot our camera and the second we brought it but were apparently too busy to take any. boo.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thirteen Months is Magical

We have passed the one year mark yet we still speak in months for age. 13 months. Not, just over a year or one, but 13 months. We definitely turned a bit of a corner at 1. Her wonderful personality is coming out more and more. I mean, she continues to be so fun and scrumptious. It is just so fun to see that she is a legit person. Of course, right!? Let's be honest, I can't describe what I'm trying to because clearly she's always been a person. It's just that she does more than eat, sleep and potty. She's communicating, she has preferences, she responds and reacts to her world. This month has been fun!

our family photo shoot
- She ate her first Thanksgiving meal and I know she loved it all...the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli casserole and even pie. It's one of my favorite meals too.

- She got to hang out with her aunts, uncles and cousins over Thanksgiving. They all loved on her and she had so much fun.

Charis and her cousin, Andre
- She has two little teeth (teefers is what I like to call them) breaking through her bottom gums.

- She is more comfortable walking with assistance. She loves to walk behind her little radio flyer walker. She walks around furniture and anything else she can pull up on. Today at Staples she walked along the counter sideways like she was on a ledge. I'm not really in a hurry for her to walk b/c then she'll really be all over the place.

- She got her picture taken with Santa again this year. It was so fun to compare this year's picture to last year's. So much has changed in a year.

here she is in her little Christmas dress
- She's a little problem solver. When she's using her little walker thing she will back up and do a 3 point turn when she runs into something. The other day she was crawling with a book (it's amazing what she is able to crawl with) and she got to the doorway that she couldn't slide the book over so she stopped and lifted the book over then began crawling with it again. I guess it's kind of hard to describe, but it's really fun to watch her figure things out.

helping daddy cook
- She is babbling more and more. She mimics a ton. Sometimes she makes the same sounds as we do. So, what words is she saying? This part is always tricky to me. I can only tell a few words because she points to the object and says it even though it doesn't totally sound like it. "ba" for ball and "do" for dollie. All the other sounds she is making could totally be words and I'm just not paying close attention.

- We decorated our Christmas Tree and she helped by carrying around the felt garland. She loves putting things over her head.

wearing holiday garland
- She's such a big girl and is growing fast. Since we don't go to the doctor I don't know her official weight, but it's probably around 23 pounds. She's wearing 12-18 months clothes and my favorite outfit on her is leggings because I can squeeze her yummy legs.

having potty time
- She's doing a little sign language..."more" and "all gone" mostly. I'm trying to teach her "please", "thank you", "ball", and "book."

- She loves to read. She loves to turn the pages of the book too. Some of our favorite books to read are "I love you Stinky Face", "The Going to Bed Book", "Red Shirt Green Shirt" and any touch & feel books.

reading with daddy!
I love me some baby girl. She is such a blast. We are realizing that we have start with the whole discipline thing. She can be feisty and is definitely determined. She sometimes seems to know what "no" means but that doesn't mean she stops the behavior. Oh, I'm so not looking forward to discipline, but I'm aware of the need to be consistent starting now. I continue to be so blown away by her. She is seriously the funnest little girl ever. Sometimes I just want to squeeze her. Today I wanted to crawl into her crib with her and cuddle with her. I'm crazy about her. And I'm incredibly thankful that she is our daughter. There are days I still can't believe it...she is our little girl.

she loves her dollie and her thumb. Who doesn't want to cuddle with this sweetness?!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


During our last stay in the hospital we caught up on a little Real Housewives of ATL. And by "caught up" I mean watched for the first time since we don't have cable. I think Adam was pretty disgusted. But it's like a train wreck, you can't help but look. Then there is this other show called watch what happens live that had one of the "housewives" on. We were fortunate enough to catch a live debut of Kim's song "Google Me." It's ridiculous. Each time I watch it I crack up and I hope it does the same for you. I've never uploaded a video, but I think if you click on the link it will take you to your destination.

Watch What Happens Live Season 3 - Kim Performs "Google Me" - Video - Bravo TV Official Site

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's BACK!

For those of you who mourned the closing of Sir Ed's quite suddenly and randomly sometime this summer, our mourning has turned into dancing as Sir Ed's has RE-OPENED this week. I know, it's crazy. And, yes, very exciting. This is hands down our favorite place. Adam and I went there last night for a yummy draft beer, some quaintness, and to see it for ourselves. I'm not sure of the drama that took place for it to close, and honestly I don't care. I'm just so glad they are opened again. I'm not sure when we'll go back to eat, but I'm already thinking about what I want to eat...maybe the nachos, or the potato cakes, or the fish n chips, or the tomato soup or one of everything!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about thankfulness lately. Maybe it's because it's November or because I'm just feeling pretty thankful. I figured it's worth sharing my thoughts here. That seems to be part of the point of having this blog. As I've been thinking about it all I can't figure out how to really define thankfulness. Part of it feels like comfort, peace and joy even in the midst of hard things. It feels like making an effort to see the good, even when it's covered up with so much bad. Or even still being thankful in the midst of bad even if you can't see the good or there isn't any. It might feel a little like comfy pants, a hoodie and fuzzy slippers on a cold fall day. I'm not really sure, but I do know I've had glimpses of it lately.

I am thankful for a God who loves and pursues, remains and comforts, guides and protects, is constant and good at all times.

I am thankful for a husband who loves me and puts up with me, who is willing to listen and walk this crazy journey with me, who teaches me so much and is a safe place for me to cuddle up to when I'm feeling mostly sad and alone.

I am thankful for this sweet little lady, Charis Root, who brings such joy and delight to my heart, who has the biggest chocolate brown eyes and yummiest cheeks and most unique personality, who wakes up joyful every day and reminds me of a love that is real and deep.

I am thankful for the fire red and golden trees that linger in these late fall days, especially when the sun streams through.

I am thankful for the yummy meals being brought to us by friends, busy moms, and even strangers.

I am thankful for my friend, Jen, for loving us and throwing Charis the best 1st birthday ever. ever.

I am thankful for my friend, Hannah, who calls to wake me up every morning to "help" me get out of bed so I can go swimming.

I am thankful for my church and community who loves us and isn't afraid of sadness or awkwardness.

I am thankful for miracles.

I am thankful for itty bitty twin baby girls and for their mommy.

I am thankful for my ugg boots and not ashamed to have them even though I've made fun of them for so long.

I am thankful for getting to spend some time with my friend and cancer survivor sister, Sarah, who told me that surgery "wasn't as bad as she thought." (hope that is true for me too)

I am thankful for my mom who does all my laundry when she's in town.

I am thankful for high school girls who call and text me on my birthday, who text me at 10 at night to tell me she prays for me whenever she hears taylor swift (which I know is a lot), and who are willing to let me share life with them.

I am thankful for the many friends who watch Charis for us and love her too.

I am thankful for swimming.

I am thankful for the many friends who love and care for me. I have some pretty amazing friends...some I've know a really long time and some not so long, but who all are really pretty incredible

I am thankful that chemo worked and that when it comes down to it, I'm doing good.

I feel like if I sit here and continue to think about things to be thankful for, I could have a really long post. Even though I would say I'm a "glass half full" kind of person, I'm not a happy-go-lucky-life-is-good type of person. I think God has taught me a lot about really feeling and allowing myself to go through the hard as well as the easy. The point is that in the midst of one of the hardest years of my life I am still able to be thankful without ignoring the things that make me mad or sad or grieve. I can actually do both. Tis the season to be thankful and eat a lot of yummy food.

Monday, November 8, 2010

This is what ONE looks like

A part of me cannot believe Charis is one. But part of me can. We have definitely had a full year. And in a lot of places and moments Charis has made it more joyful and more delightful. God is using her to change us. She is the best surprise I've ever had and I'm so thankful for her. Here is a look back at how she has grown.

on her "birth" day

1 was a cold december

2 months...already those big chocolate soup eyes

3 months...yummy & cuddly

4 months...coming to work with mommy in pink camo

5 months...chillin

6 months...gummy bear for sure!!

7 months...became more active

8 months...peace & love

9 months...seriously?!

10 months...the signs became pointless

11 months...already reading

12 months=1 year!! happy monkey

Her birthday party was a blast and amazingly wonderful thanks to my super sweet and incredible friend, Jen. I picked "Giving Tree" to be the theme and Jen ran with it. Every detail was thought out and special from the "giving tree" cake & party favor cookies to the kiddie snacks and fun parachute game. We had a blast celebrating our little lady this past weekend. (i will post pics/video soon)

I feel like her personality has been bursting out in the past few months. So it isn't like all of a sudden she's a different child. She does seem to change daily in the slightest ways. She is still sweet, curious, determined, serious, playful, and so much more. I notice some independence too which I'm trying to learn how to nurture without it defining her (part of my own story). It's been fun to watch her as she discovers her voice, like she playing around with sounds. She LOVES to dance, whether it's to her daddy's voice, a commercial jingle, or the radio. She will either shake her little booty or move her whole body to the "music." She's at about 22 pounds of pure cuddliness and we are still waiting for teeth. But we all know that has not kept her from eating just about anything...birthday cake, squash casserole, tomato soup, carrots, and even her poo. (another post all together)

Happy Birthday to our sweet little lady...we are forever thankful and changed by your life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It is Kind of Weird when you think about it

I didn't celebrate Halloween growing up. Maybe my radical parents thought it was too evil of a holiday. (they weren't radical or crazy, FYI) All I know is I wanted candy. When we were allowed to dress up for school they wouldn't buy us a costume, so we were usually doctors because my mom was a nurse and could get us all the gear. The first year they let us go trick-or-treating I was in the 5th grade and I was a "bum." Oh, and I do remember getting dressed up as a young kid for Noah's Ark at church. Oh, to each his own.

This is why one should celebrate the holiday...

And the candy. I am nervous about the whole knocking on a stranger's door to get candy since I didn't grow up doing it. And really it is weird. But totally worth it. And dressing up overwhelms me because I'm not creative and I feel such pressure. Hence the "bum" costume in 5th grade. But now that we have Charis I get to invest in fun costumes for her and share her candy. Who wouldn't want to do that!?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I totally love and enjoy having a sister. We are night & day different but in good ways. She is one of my best friends. Having a sister is great for many reasons. If it works, you can share clothes, make-up, and boyfriends. Not so much for us. It's always great because she understands things that others don't. You know...about the family. I love to see the ways we are different and the same. We are both pretty strong personalities, independent and okay, even a bit prideful. I do think she's louder than me though. She's gorgeous. I wish she could see how pretty she is. With or without make up. Talking to her is fun, especially when she gets loud. She often resorts to an argumentative tone, even when she is agreeing with you. It's actually a gift she got naturally as a DiBias. I remember we shared a room up until our move to Charlotte the summer before 6th grade. I liked to cuddle with her when we were kids. Having her is having an instant friend and ally. We don't talk every day, but most. I am just really thankful for her. She's one of the most giving, sacrificial people I know. Her mantra is "family is family." And let me tell you, homegirl will do ANYthing for her family. She is also an incredible mom. She became a mom at a young age and has done an amazing job on her own for 13 years. Now she's not alone and I'm so thankful for that.

A week ago today my sister gave birth to sisters. And I just think that is so fun and exciting. We were all shocked when she and her boyfriend told us that they were a) pregnant and b) with identical twin girls. Wow. I was so excited to hear the news. And it became even more exciting after I was diagnosed b/c it's just been a fun thing to look forward to in the midst of this. The date was set for Tuesday the 19th to be induced. She really didn't want a c-section and wanted to go as natural as possible. And I was going to be there helping as much as I could. She came to the hospital looking beautiful. Both she and Rashad were nervous, but they did amazing. She was started at 7:30am and we just hung out. Contractions began slowly then became more intense after they broke her water. I was doing my best to help her stay in tune to her body and relax as best she could. She was handling it with such grace. I, reluctantly, had to leave at noon, hoping the girls would wait for their auntie Amy. No such luck. Things progressed fast and those sweet things could not wait any longer to meet their mommy & daddy. Jocelyn Ivory was born at 12:38pm and Jada Bryce (my middle name) was born at 12:42pm. There was some last minute twin-to-twin-transfusion which can happen when they share a placenta, so Jocelyn was taken immediately to the NICU b/c she was struggling a bit. They nursed her (literally & figuratively) her back to health and everyone went home on Thursday.

i love the way she's looking at rashad here...beautiful in the midst of contractions
It's exciting that Julie got to have a daughter with a sister. I know that I hope Charis will have a sister one day. Jada & Jocelyn are probably going to play a lot, laugh a lot, and fight some too. But they will always have each other...someone who loves them, gets them, knows them, understands them. And they are identical twins!! How fun is that?! This is going to be a fun and scary journey for Julie & Rashad.
(unfortunately i don't have a ton of pictures yet)

me and the girls!! Jada & Jocelyn

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I heart them

I really heart the Indigo Girls. Hands down, they are my favorite musicians. Whether I'm running errands or in the car for hours, I could have their CD in the whole time, often on repeat. But, live they are absolutely incredible. In fact, they are best live. They each have a very unique and distinct voice that sounds amazing on it's own. Then when you put the two together, it's just ridiculous.

I was counting up the times I've seen them and I think it's 5 or 6. Lately, it's been once a year. And I'm hoping they'll still be playing in 7 or 8 years so I can take Charis. This last show was on Sunday at the McGlohen Theater in Charlotte. A friend from church sent us the tickets, which was a sweet and super fun surprise. The venue was intimate and every seat was a good seat. It was Adam's first time seeing them live, which was fun. Every time I see them I have this idea that they are going to call me out and want to hang out. I'd venture to say most of their fans think that. Silly, I know. But it could happen. One thing fun that did happen on Sunday after the show was as we were walking down Tryon Street Emily, their keyboardist and some guy came out of the alley right in front of us. Like no big deal. It took me about a minute, but I mustered the courage to yell something out. "Great show tonight y'all!" Uh, they turned around and thanked me. I was glad I took the opportunity to just say something. Now, if it was Amy Ray, I probably would have reacted less composed and asked for an autograph.

I totally want to be friends with them and hang out. At least grab coffee after a show. Is that too much to ask?

Friday, October 8, 2010

T minus one month

"reading" her 11 months sign

That means she's 11 months old! I cannot believe our baby girl is less than a month from being a whole one year old. She is an absolute blast. We are crazy about her. I love being her mama. And I love watching Adam being her papa. We are incredibly thankful for her...her joy and the delight she brings to our lives. We are definitely having fun with her. She trips me out. One of my favorite things she does that I can't capture on film is she'll raise her eyebrows and say "oh!" It's pretty darn cute. Here are some highlights

this is the closest I could get of the "OH!"

- She is constantly flipping the bird. Maybe this shouldn't be a highlight, but it's pretty funny. She points with it, touches with it and seems to always have it in the air. Don't take it personal.

- We visited an Apple Orchard for the first time. It was so much fun. We weren't really sure what Charis would think of it, but she seemed to love it. She sat in the wagon as we walked around the orchard and gummed lots of apples on our tour. We loved being out in the country and she loved crawling around their barn. Adam was feeling so country that he even gave Charis her first boiled peanut. She seemed to like it and had no reaction.

- She is still eating amazingly. I'm always impressed with what she eats...anything. Recently she's had homemade chili and sauteed spinach. Once she gets some teeth I'm sure she'll be able to eat even more. So, yeah, still no teeth.

ate some yummy watermelon ice

- Charis loves to dance. Whether it's a commercial jingle or the radio, she shakes her hips. Well, let's say it's a whole body thing, but it's so stinkin' cute.

- She waves bye-bye and all done. It's the same motion, but she does it at all appropriate times. When she's done with her bottle, when we are leaving daycare, when she's finished eating, when we say "bye bye" or "all done." It's pretty cute. (okay, so anything she does is pretty cute)

you can see the blur of her hand going "all done"

- She makes all sorts of sounds and noises and I'd like to think it's "mama" and "dada" but I'm not really sure what she's saying.

- We got a great visit from my friend, Laura. She came all the way from Cali to spend a week with us and Charis loved her.

- She's not walking and I'm hoping she'll be a late walker. She walks around the coffee table and other furniture. I'm not sure our house will ever be baby proof.

- She's discovered the kitchen cabinets. I finally got a safety thing for the dangerous one. But today she found some fun things to play with in the other one.

I can't believe my next Charis post will be for her ONE year. We, well let's say a really great friend more than me, have a great shindig planned for celebrating her one year. It is going to be such a gift in the midst of what is going on...I'll probably have surgery the week after. I'm thankful for my friend throwing the party for us.
I feel like a broken record but Charis is truly a joy. She is super easy. I mean, she has her cranky days. But, overall, she is one amazing little lady. I love watching her explore and discover her world. Every new thing she does is so fascinating.

"I can't believe I'm going to be ONE!"

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Team Patwa

Today was the Komen Race for the Cure AND marks 4 months since my Breast Cancer diagnosis. I didn't realize that until later in the day. Which made today even cooler. I got to be surrounded by my closest, bestest, and dearest friends and family today as I walked 3.1 miles to celebrate the women who have gone before me and will come after me in this fight against breast cancer. We set up a tailgate and got to hang out. I got my picture taken with DeAngelo Williams because he asked me. I felt kinda famous and special today. I thought I'd feel sad, but I didn't. I was distracted by the joy of being with others who love me. I was able to see hundreds and thousands of other groups just like us. There was this sweet connection I had with other survivors which was pretty cool. It was also amazing to hear how things have changed for women diagnosed with breast cancer today...the chances of survival are much higher. So, these things work and it's worth supporting organizations like Komen.

I felt very thankful and loved today. My heart was full. I didn't feel afraid of this disease. I still don't know what lies ahead. But what I do know is that God is good. He doesn't change. He has surrounded me with amazing people who love me so well. He has given me a husband willing to be in this with the good and bad. He has given me a sweet little girl that brings utter delight to my life. He gives me hope. He comforts me. He gives me peace. I am thankful.

Here are some pictures from the day. Enjoy

the fam...charis is exhausted

my friend Jac came from Memphis to be with me

my new friend, DeAngelo

my friends from high school...kristen is having her baby Monday!

my sweet friend and team captain, Courtney

my other high school friends! hotness!

2 of my sweet YL girls came! laura from UNC and her sis lindsay