top five tuesdays (baby gear)...

my top five most favorite...
pieces of baby gear

currently, these are my five most favorite pieces of baby gear.
definitely my "must haves" for a new baby!!!

1. baby sling(s) and/or a front carrier: i have two nest slings made by a friend and a baby bjorn.
i love wearing jaelyn in a sling or a carrier!! i will need to take a picture of her in my other nest sling and show you another way i wear her!

2. chicco key fit infant seat
we bought this infant seat brand new right before jaelyn was born. i searched and searched for the perfect seat. it isn't pink, but i love, love this seat. it is the best one we have owned by far!!!

3. peg perego pliko stroller in pink
we bought this stroller off of craig's list and i love it!!! and to my surprise, the infant seat fits in it perfectly!! i had to have a pink stroller this go around!! they didn't make many things in pink when i had my first baby girl!

4. fisher price rainforest jumperoo: jaelyn loves this and so do i, especially since i got it at target on clearance for more than 50% off!!!

5. vera bradley cargo sling in pinwheel pink: the perfect baby bag!!! although, it is hard to fit more than 2 of our cloth diapers in it. i recieved this lovely bag from my friends at my baby shower.


he saved himself...

when i think back to what happened or really what could have happened on saturday i find myself still full of fear, guilt and shame.

we were at a cookout with lots of friends. lots of adults and lots, i mean lots, of kids. we were invited by the hosts' neighbors to use their swimming pool. we got the kids ready and jamil headed over with the three big kids. i was following close behind with the baby, even though she was being held by someone else.

when i got to the pool, i surveyed the scene, i saw the my 4 year old, jesiah, jumping into the "baby pool" and my 8 year old, josh, in the big pool. cool. i realized my 5 year old, jordyn was missing. and so was my hubby. i found out that they were inside using the bathroom. ok then. not only had we invaded our friends' neighbors pool, now we are invading their bathroom. great. i was chatting with our friends and watching jesiah jumping in and out of the pool.

and this is the part that came undone. and still leaves me shaking. and i remember very little leading up to it. jamil had come out with the 5 year old. i started putting swimmies (those inflatable arm things) on her. that is when i remembered that jesiah was fearlessly jumping in and out of the pool. and i think i remember seeing him in the big pool. now, i have to tell you that he just started jumping into the pool and going under this summer. and with a life jacket. as i am putting the swimmie thingys on jordyn, i think to myself, jesiah really should be wearing these. and of course, our second set was not a complete set we could only fine 1 swimmy as we were packing for our outing.

i walk the few feet over to the pool to look for jesiah and that is when i see him. swimming. in the big pool. without swimmies or a life jacket. all by himself. but barely swimming. perhaps even struggling a bit. he is gasping for air. and trying to keep himself above water. jamil was right there and i said "look at jesiah." loudly. my instinct was to grab him or have jamil grab him. but we do neither. jamil said "wait, look, he is doing it himself." but barely.

jesiah reaches the side of the pool, he was only about 3 feet away. and he pulls himself out of the pool. and i am full of fear, i am shaking. i knew he wasn't drowning. but it was close. he pulled himself out. he saved himself. i realize this. but still i think what if...

then he starts vomitting all over the side of the pool. the pool that belongs to the neighbors who we don't even know. nice. after he was done throwing up, he was scared. because of throwing up. he didn't realize what he had just done. he saved himself. and he had swam to the side of the pool. he wasn't really scared about the swimming, just the throwing up part.

i can't tell you how many times i have replayed this situation in my head. i can't even tell you how many times i am so mad at myself for not remembering exactly what happened or if it was his first time in the big pool by himself. or had he jumped several other times? i can't remember exactly the situation. i was full of guilt and full of shame that this happened. i put jesiah in a situation he wasn't ready for. i wasn't careful enough. yes, his swimming skills, allowed him to save himself. but barely. i know he wasn't ready to swim on his own. and there he is in the pool, because of my careless mistake. i let him take on a big situation he was too little for. that i can't forget.

i have tried to let go of the guilt and the shame, but it is so hard. even though it turned out ok in the end, it really, really scared me. i have heard several stories this summer of several kids drowning or nearly drowning. this could have been my little boy. i am so proud of him that he didn't panic and he didn't get scared and he swam without any help, without a life jacket, without an adult nearby. but i am still scared, still shaking because of the what ifs...

i will not allow this to happen again. i feel we were really blessed. i know God was looking out for my little boy. i feel like in a way i was given a warning, a second chance to be more carelfu. the kids outnumber the adults in nearly every situation we are in, so from now on, when we are at a pool, my little kids will wear a life jacket or swimmies. no. matter. what.

* i wasn't sure if i was going to share this post or not, for fear of what people would think, but i decided that it was worth putting myself out there.


two years and counting..

today, is my two year blog anniversary! i have been blogging for two years now. a few weeks ago when i realized that that this day was coming soon, i thought of doing something fun on my blog to celebrate. but i just didn't get that creative. so, for now it is just a simple post stating that i have been blogging for two years.

if you have been reading my blog for any length of time and have never left a comment, please do so today! i would love to know who you are!!


make me over...

so, in just a few days, my blog will be two years old! how fun! i've been doing the blogging thing for two years! in celebration of my blog's birthday, i thought it would be fun to get a blog makeover. but i am lost. i don't know where to begin. i am thinking of "hiring" out the job to someone else. i have done some research and found a few people here and there that do this. but before i go with anyone, i would love to have some recommendations. so, can you you help make over my blog with some suggestions or recommendations???? please...


menu plan monday...

although it is tuesday, here is our menu plan for the next two weeks for dinners.

note: over the last few weeks, especially with having all the kids with me, i have begun planning and shopping for two weeks worth of meals, it is helping our budget and my sanity!!! this week i shopped at costco and the harris teeter express lane (online ordering). i took all four kids to costco on friday. and couldn't bring myself to do aldi's with all four today, so i shopped the vic specials at harris teeter and combined with what i had in the refrigerator - i manage to stay in budget!!!! woo hooo!!!!!

our dinners should get us through about 2 weeks - we will be having leftovers probably two nights as well, i can not let food go to waste!!!!

here are our simple summer meals:

spaghetti and meatballs (will make the sauce in the crockpot!) w/ garlic bread

chicken caesar wraps w/ sun chips & fruit

shrimp & grits with bacon and chives

chicken fettucini alfredo w/ salad

bratwursts w/ mac n cheese & sliced cantaloupe

lasagna in the crockpot w/ garlic bread & salad

chicken crescent squares w/ creamy spinach tortellini

sausage & pepperoni party pizzas - {simple, cheap & easy}

ground beef tacos w/ chips n salsa & refried beans

philly cheese steaks w/ chips

crispy chicken wraps w/ fruit salad

** if anything sounds yummy to you, feel free to ask for a recipe, i will be glad to share!!!

top five tuesdays...

the other day, i was reading my friend, kelly's blog and she listed her girls' top five toys. it was so fun to read and she asked what other readers' kids top five toys are. so i wanted to share what our top five toys that our kids play with the most.

before i do, i thought it would be fun to do a somewhat regular post, {hmmm dare i say or commit to weekly} on tuesdays that will list the top five favorites of all kinds of things. it will be called top five tuesdays. i have a few ideas up my sleeve that will get me started on the next two months or so. i would love to read about your top five favorites too. so you can leave me a comment or write your own post. if you do your own post, leave me a comment and let me know.

since i have two boys and two girls of all different ages, i am going to focus on the three older kids and just do a combo list of girls and boy toys!

ok. so. here are the top five toys that my three older kids play with...

1. dress up clothes: at one point in time all the kids loved to dress up, josh is "too old" for that now. so at any given time of day you can find jesiah or jordyn dressed up in all different costumes. they love it!! jordyn especially likes to put on makeup and jewelry!

2. barbies & action figures: jordyn will play with her barbies every once in awhile. jesiah loves his action figures especially spiderman!!!

3. playstation & nintendo ds/gameboy: this would be joshua's favorite toy! he loves electronics and playing games on them!!

4. art stuff & playdough: this is one thing that will keep all three of my big kids really busy! they all love to sit and draw, color, or create things. we do this pretty much every single day!!!

5. imaginext toy sets: this is jesiah's thing! he loves his batcave, pirate ship and jungle safari. he plays with these a lot!!!

ok, those are my kids' top five favorite toys. what about yours?? what are your kids top five favorite toys? leave a comment or let me know if you are posting on your blog!

next tuesday...top five favorite pieces of baby gear!!


he doesn't ask for much..

so the other day in the midst of me trying to plan a special father's day weekend for jamil, he told me that he wanted to paint our front porch. neither one of us are really outdoorsy type people. we are not really good at doing projects outside either. we live on almost two acres of farm land that requires a lot of upkeep and we fall behind really easy. that is something we would like to get better at doing.

our porch was in desperate need to be repainted. our house was built nine years ago and we hadn't done anything to keep up the appearance of the white porch. jamil told me that the only thing he wanted for father's day was to get the porch back into shape. so we spent all day on saturday sanding and repainting the porch. our kids (the older ones) came out and helped. the baby was as good as gold, she spent many hours sitting on the porch watching us paint.

i wish i would have taken a "before" picture. but i did not. but this is an "after" picture.

jamil got his father's day wish...a newly painted front porch.

our next project is to work on the area beneath the porch and get those flower beds cleaned up and looking better. maybe plant some more things. then i would like to decorate the porch with potted flowers, a new doormat, and something for the door. i also am going to try to find some inexpensive rocking chairs, a little table and chairs and perhaps a porch swing. craig's list will be my first spot to look!

so, happy father's day to jamil!!!
he really doesn't ask for much!!!


father's day is coming....

and i would love to know...
how are you planning to celebrate the daddy in your family??
i need some new ideas,
please share !


all j's...

all four of my kid's have names that start with the letter "j". that wasn't something i planned from the beginning, it just kinda happened.

when i was pregnant with our first baby. we did not find out if the baby would be a boy or a girl. so we had both names ready. when our beautiful son was born, we named him joshua brendan. we just loved the name joshua, such a strong biblical name, meaning "God is my salvation".

when i was pregnant with baby #2, i had to know if it would be a girl or a boy. i did everything gender neutral for the first baby. and if our second was a girl, i wanted to go all out in pink everything. at 18 weeks prego, we found out that baby #2 would be a girl. when we started talking about names, we immediately went back to the girl name we had chosen for our first baby if it were to be a girl. jordyn. jamil's father's side of the family's last name is jordan, so we wanted to use that name but make it feminine with the "y". when our beautiful baby girl was born she was named jordyn alexis.

of course when i was pregnant with baby #3, everyone began to ask, will you use another "j" name? something we really hadn't thought of. but we decided to keep up the tradition. jamil really wanted to stick with the j's more than i. he doesn't request much, so i was on board. it would be weird to have two j's and a different letter. (oh, yes, my hubby has a "j" name too!)

back to baby #3, i just knew was going to be another baby girl and had a name all planned out, until the ultrasound showed us clearly "she" was a boy!! so we had two names picked out: jackson and jesiah. we went round and round and round on both names, we took a poll of our friends and families opinions. even up to the day he was born we were still not sure. really it was me, jamil was ok with either name!! when it came time to do the birth certificate, i had to ask for a little more time. in the hospital, jamil brought me a charm for my family necklace and it was the third charm to my pair and it was engraved with the name jesiah. so, i said that would be our sweet baby boy's name. jesiah bennett. i just love the name bennett. if we would have not used another "j" , bennett would be his name. i call him, bennett or jesiah bennett a lot.

and that brings us to baby #4, who we decided of course had to be another "j". when it was confirmed that baby was a girl. we explored a few different names and decided to use the girl's name we had picked for baby #3. jaelyn. we explored lots of different spellings and liked this the best. so when sweet baby girl was born she was named jaelyn aliyah. i couldn't imagine her name being anything else!

i just love my kid's names!! i just love baby naming!!!

oh yeah, not only do my kids all start with letter "j". but the girls have the same initials (j.a.m.) and the boys have the same initials (j.b.m.) i love that they have these similarities. but i will say when it comes to labeling anything that is their own, it is hard b/c i can't use initials or first letters, i have to write out their names. oh well. although as for hand me downs it works great!!

so that is the story of our children's names! and IF there were ever to be a fifth baby massey, yes, we would use another j,

i have a few up my sleeve.



let summer begin...

last weekend we went to the ymca waterpark.
we have been members at the ymca for many years
and our favorite part of the y is spending days at the waterpark and pool.

this was jaelyn's first visit!!!

joshua decided to take the swim test on the first day we went, passing the test allows him to swim and slide anywhere at the waterpark. he passed on his first try. last year he waited until the last week of summer to take the test, because he was nervous.
this year he did it right away!
we were so proud of him!!!

little buddy loves to be in the water! he doesn't really have any fear.

this year the ymca has life jackets to use while you are there.
that is so reassuring to me.

so jesiah wore one while in the pool with his daddy.
it gave him the confidence to swim all by himself.

jordyn loves the water too. she also loves to play on the side of the pool.
here she is using a paint brush and "painting" with water. this keeps her so busy.
she loves to paint!!!

and this little bathing beauty, she did really well in the water. she spent a lot of time on my hip. she did love to splash in the water. and then she fell asleep in her stroller!!
that is so great that she will sleep like this. we will spend many days at the pool and this will help keep her on a nap schedule!

both days last weekend, we went to the pool with my sister and i had jamil too. i wasn't so sure how i would do with all four by myself. this week, i met up with four of my friends and their kiddso and we had a blast. i was constantly counting and keeping up with kids. but it went pretty well. i will not be able to sit on the side of the pool and read a book but that is ok, that will come one day.



the last couple of weeks have been a blur. they have gone by at lightning speed and i barely remember much about them. i do know some big things have taken place and i didn't really have any time to write a post about any one of them. so i will do my best to write a little about what is going on here.

the big kids had their last day of school last friday. the last week of school is always a busy one with field day and other fun things. i didn't really get to enjoy any of them. because during that same week, we had the safe journey graduation ceremony. i was really busy shopping and preparing for the big day. and then the day of the event was spent setting up and putting everything into place. it was a success and the girls were honored and celebrated! as much as i love serving in that capacity, i was really really glad when the day was over.

on the last day of school, jamil turned in our form to say that we are not intending to have the kids attend union academy. that was a hard moment. i was sick in my stomach. i knew it needed to be done. but it was hard to sign that paper and turn it in. so we are officially done with school and will be homeschooling them.

i have had second thoughts, but they have all been fear based, so i have to dismiss each one of them as they cross my mind. now it is time to move forward and start planning for what homeschooling is really going to look like for us. i have some ideas on curriculum and such but need to make some decisions.

this past week, has been interesting to say the least. i barely had time to do anything. and at the end of the day, i am exhausted. having all four kids at home with me all day is crazy wild. this week we have been kind of relaxed on our schedule, it is summer. but we have also put a lot of things in place. the kids have been given chores and responsibilities. they have been told if they want to go out and do fun things, they are going to have to help out a lot. and they really have been helpful. i spent a lot of the week trying to figure out what our days look like. i didn't have any time to blog and i barely did facebook, email or twitter. i really missed those things, i am just going to have to figure out how to work it in.

the first two days we stayed at home. and wednesday, i took all four of them grocery shopping. it went pretty well. on thursday, we met up with a group of friends (5 mommies & 13 kids!!) for a pool playdate at the waterpark. it was really a lot of fun!! on friday we met up with a group of friends (9 mommies & 23 kids) at the park. we (the adults) spent the time planning fun events for us to do with our kids this summer. i realized early in the week, i was going to have to be intentional about planning things with other people so that we would actually get out and do them. so my friend, marybeth and i came up with the idea to invite a {large} group of other moms and set some things into motion. we all agreed we are more likely to go places and do things if friends were there with us.

hopefully, i will be getting into a groove soon and be able to balance everything going on in our life these days! and then things will be less of a blur and i can blog about them.

8 months (plus one week) old!!

jaelyn turned eight months old last saturday!
it is so hard to believe that she is eight months old already.
i know, i know, i say it every. single. month.

we spent part of the day at the pool last week
and my sister took some cute pictures,
that i am working on uploading and will post soon.

her big sis had fun dressing her up this past week!!!
she looks so cute with a crown and a purse!!!

i will also be posting some updates on jaelyn on her blog soon too!!!


dear blog...

i am so sorry that it has been days since i have written a post on you, i seem to have forgotten all about you lately. with the kids' last week of school, {oooppsss. just remembered i never told their school about my big decision to homeschool.} and with the safe journey graduation tomorrow, my mind has been completely engulfed in those things.

one day, i will get back to you and publish some posts. i promis. but i can guarantee it won't be in the next few days. i hope you will entertain my faithful readers {all three of them :)}, by letting them read my twitter updates on the left hand side {just linked to my phone!}. and maybe check out a few of my bloggy friends who haven't forgotten about their blogs {links, also located on the left side}.

until i return, i apologize for being so absent! please take care of yourself and don't seek revenge by deleting my posts, it is the only record of my family's photos and stories right now.

i shall return to you soon.