when Hudson and Hayes met James Walker

A few weeks before James Walker was born, I was on Facebook and noticed that one of Hudson’s former preschool teachers was going to start a new business taking every day photos of children. One of the specific events she said she wanted to photograph was siblings meeting for the first time. I immediately messaged her to see if she would be willing to come to the hospital the day of the c-section to take photos of Hudson and Hayes meeting James Walker.

I knew that I’d be stuck in the bed for a few hours and wouldn’t be able to take pictures, and I wanted Todd to be able to enjoy the moment. And Logan agreed to come take pictures! I am so glad we did this because the emotion on the boys’ faces is just the best! I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

If you are local to Columbia, definitely reach out to Logan Fowles for children’s photography. These pictures are just priceless to me! (Email Logan at LoganFowles@yahoo.com)













The Night Before We Meet James Walker

We’re heading to the hospital tomorrow morning to meet our precious baby boy. Our third baby boy. Most likely our last baby.

As I sit here thinking about what that means, I’m overwhelmed with peace. Almost six years ago, we were getting ready to go meet our first baby boy and I was anxious and afraid and excited and had no idea what to expect.

This time I know what to expect when I get to the hospital. I know what’s going to happen in pre-op and a general idea of how it will feel in the operating room. I am praying that things go smoothly and that James Walker and I both stay healthy and that other than a precious baby entering this world, the procedure is uneventful.

A couple of days ago I sat down and watched the videos of Hudson and Hayes’s birth. I cried and cried as I relived those experiences and it made me so excited to get to experience it one more time with a baby that we have prayed so hard for.

The nursery is ready. We’ve pulled out the baby gear- though we’re using a whole lot less gear this time. We’ve washed bottles and washed sweet baby clothes. And there’s just a feeling of peace.

We’re so excited for the boys. Hudson has asked me if he can put his Ninja Turtles in James Walker’s room as a welcome home gift. Hayes scrunches up his little nose and talks about how cute the baby is going to be. They can’t wait to meet their baby brother. And I can’t wait to see them when they meet their baby brother.

The instant that Hudson was born my heart grew in ways I never imagined. And when Hayes was born, I was even more surprised at how much I could love another baby. And I just know that James Walker is going to grow and soften us all even more.

I imagine a house full of wild boys who love fiercely and wrestle with the best of them. I imagine a 4-year-old James Walker playing outside and learning how to throw a baseball from his 10 and 8-year-old big brothers.

My sweet daddy told me yesterday that I was such a girly girl and never liked any “boy things.” I didn’t like sports and I wasn’t a tom boy in any sense of the word. Yet here I am. A mom to three sweet blessings and it’s my responsibility and Todd’s responsibility to grow them into men of God. And there is no responsibility that I take more seriously than that one. I may have been a girly girl, but I am a boy’s mama through and through.

I see their hearts and their vulnerabilities and their need for toughness and need for sweetness. And as we get ready to welcome this little book end to our family, I’m just overwhelmed with complete gratitude for the weight of this responsibility. To raise a little person that will one day become a man.

And on the days that I’m frazzled and overwhelmed and don’t know what to do with all the noise and chaos mixed with all the love and gratitude, I’m just going to pray that I always remember how I feel in this very moment.

I’ve carried James Walker for 40 precious weeks. My body is a wreck. My heartburn is out of control. I’ve gained a lot of weight and will no doubt be welcoming a very large boy into this world. I’ve rubbed my belly and prayed for him in the night when I can’t sleep. I prayed for the time to pass quickly in those first 15 weeks of total sickness. I prayed for his little body to grow stronger each day and thanked God so much for the promise that He knows James Walker through and through. He knows every single little thing about him and He has always known him. And I’ve found profound comfort in that.

And as this time comes to a close and I get ready to see my baby’s sweet face and to see my precious husband hold him for the first time, I can’t think of much else to say other than “thank you.” This time has truly been a privilege. To be this boy’s mama will be one of the greatest joys of my life. And the introduction that awaits us tomorrow is something that is completely miraculous and truly God-breathed.

Thank you for praying for our family and for all of your sweet words over the past few months. Please continue to pray as we gear up for tomorrow’s surgery and James Walker’s arrival.


just one more rock

Hudson and Hayes moved into a room together just after Christmas. It was Hudson’s room, but now it has two matching twin beds and houses the often wild, excited, sweet, sometimes restless nights of two brothers sharing a room.

Hudson is 5 and Hayes is 3, and they’re both so excited about meeting their new baby brother. But Hudson is my big boy and rule follower. He knows that when lights are out, it’s time to get serious and go to sleep.

Hayes is still so excited to be in the room with Hudson that he giggles and tries to get Hudson to laugh while Hudson stays as still as possible and ignores Hayes. Todd and I typically have to go into their room about three times to remind Hayes to go to sleep and be quiet.

Last night at bedtime, Hayes was extra tired and extra emotional. Hudson had won the “race” to see who could get pajamas on and get in bed first. He cried for me to come hug him. So I hugged him, but he continued to cry. I put him in my lap and swayed back and forth, but he continued to cry.

I asked him, “Do you want to go rock in James Walker’s room?”

The nursery is almost set up. Nothing is hung on the walls, but the furniture is all in place just waiting on our newest baby boy.

But last night, I carried my 45 pound 3.5 year old into the nursery and sat in the rocking chair. He nestled himself right above my large baby bump and squeezed his legs up into the chair. He rested his head on my shoulder as his hot tears continued to fall. He asked me to sing to him.

And at first I was thinking that I needed to make sure Hudson was okay. That I needed to get downstairs to finish folding that laundry.  That I needed to finished my grocery list so I would be ready to get to the store in the morning.

But as I held my big preschooler, and looked out the window at the stars in the clear sky, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d ever rock him again. He hasn’t asked to be rocked in years. A baby is about to be here and will be occupying my arms as we sit in that chair that has rocked all of my babies.

And I decided that I’d sit there and rock him until he decided he was done. So I smelled his hair and rubbed his back and said a little prayer over him, and after about five minutes, he was ready to go back to his room and go to sleep.

We can’t wait to meet James Walker, but it is heavy and humbling on my mama heart as I think about how much I’ll be needed by all three of my babies. Needed in three very different ways. And I know that God will equip me and cover me with His grace as I sort through how to be the mama they each need me to be.

So if I’m rocking a 3 year old and a newborn at the same time, I’ll just have to celebrate the fullness of blessings in my arms. Because I’ll never know when it will be the very last time that one of them wants to be rocked.

Happy 5th Birthday, Hudson!

Dearest Hudson,

Five years ago, at 4:38 a.m., you made your grand entrance in this world. We really thought you were going to be born on June 4 because that was the day of my induction, but you had other plans. You arrived sunny side up with the biggest cheeks any of us had ever seen. All 9 lbs 6 oz of you were sweet baby boy perfection.


Now, you are fifty pounds, fifty inches tall, and a vocal, smart, energetic little boy. You’re heading off to kindergarten in August and, yet, there are times when I look at you that I can still see that sweet baby that was first placed in my arms five years ago.

You are such a fun-loving boy. You always want to dance and sing and you want everyone to do it with you. We’ve always had music playing throughout the house during the day, and I love that you love music as much as I do.


You have the most tender heart of anyone I know. You feel things deeply and are such a joy to be around. I’m still trying to figure out your love language, but I think you show love with words of affirmation. You’re constantly telling everyone that you love them and how you feel about them. It’s such an encouragement, and you will meet many people in your life who love this about you.

You have grown and matured so much in this last year. You are reading everything and you love to write. You love your friends so much. We sometimes have to take a little break from too much time with friends because we’ve already entered the season of “friend spats” but you do love your friends.

Your favorite color is blue. You love Frozen. You love “Life is a Highway” and the song “Carry On” by Fun.  You love being outside to play with sidewalk chalk and ride your bike. Your best friends are John, Dolan, Heyward, Brennan, and Witt. You really love Mommy and Daddy’s friends, too. You love being around babies and trying to make babies smile. It’s pretty sweet.

You want to read and color all the time and you are obsessed with The Octonauts an Ninja Turtles, even though you’ve never seen an episode of Ninja Turtles.


Hudson, this day is my favorite day, too, because it’s the day I became a mommy. It’s the day that I first looked in your big brown eyes and realized for the first time how special our relationship would be. It’s the day that we looked at each other and I knew that you were going to teach me so much about love and grace. It’s because of you that I know what grace looks like and feels like. Thank you, sweet boy.

My life completely changed the day that you were born, and I can’t imagine my life without you in it. Everything is exciting because you’re a part of it. Everything is new to me when it’s new to you.

I’m so excited for you to turn five. You’ve looked forward to this day for a long time. You’re going to kindergarten and you’ll be away from us more. We’re just so excited for you and this next year.

We love you so much, buddy. Happy birthday, Hudson!



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