“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together there is something you must always remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart I'll always be with you.”

~Winnie the Pooh


you were only with us for 40 days.  your entry into this world was not easy and not at all like i had dreamed it would be.  for 40 days your fought for every minute, we sat by your side, watched you struggle but prayed that you would make it.  then one minute you were just going back for a quick routine surgery and the next our lives were never the same.  lots of things about that time are blurry and hard to remember.  it's been 9 years now.  but that day, i remember every single second as if it just happened. 

i didn't see it then but God played a big part in that whole day.  He knew it was going to be your last here with us and soon you would be in Heaven.  it was supposed to just be a routine surgery to see what was making you not be able to hold down any feeds.  but for some reason i knew i needed to call your dad and tell him to hurry and get to the hospital.  as we sat down to wait i decided to use the pumping room to get some bottles ready for you and your brother, carson.  i spent a peaceful 20 minutes by myself, little did i know just outside the door our whole lives were about to change forever.  and from that moment till 9:27 in the evening we somehow held it together.  and somehow 9 years later we are still.  not a moment goes by that i don't wish for some more time to snuggle you or to tell you how much you are loved, but you know that.  you see us every day and we see you.  in every rainbow, every star and in three little faces here smiling at me every day.  carson, brooks and shelby are the luckiest kids around to have you as their brother waiting for them in Heaven.  as much as i wish you were here with us i know it is so much better where you are.  happy Heaven day, sweet Cooper Phillips!  



mother's day

"i am who i am because you are who you are."  

yes, that quote is from the recent iphone commercial but i just love it.  i am the mom i am because of who my kids are.  each of them is so unique and special and they all just fit with each other so well.  they make my job of being a mom so amazing.  it isn't always easy or picture perfect but who lives life that way anyway?  i couldn't imagine my life without them.  all four of them.  i have learned through motherhood that not everything is in our control but it is all how it is supposed to be.  i may not know why, but one day i will.  for now, i am loving life here with these three little gifts from God.  i am who i am because they are who they are and i am grateful for that every day of my life. 


buddies on a boat

how lucky are we that our new house is less than 10 minutes away from lake lanier?  and how lucky are we that our new neighbors and buddies have a boat on the lake and invited us out for the first boat ride of the season.  we had such a great time cruising the lake and grilling hotdogs for dinner.  two of the boys were brave enough to get in the water but were a little chilly once they got out.  two were brave enough to put their feet in and splash, but that was as far as they were going.  and one was pretty ticked with me that i told her no, she could not go swimming with her bubba.  thank you bothams for making monday night so much fun!

buddies on a boat!
buddies on a boat

no fear for the first jump in
the jump

i think his face says it all
after the jump

trying to decide if he's brave enough to jump
brooks on a boat

captain e!
captain emerson

first mate, carson 
carson on a boat

making waves

and, if looks could kill...she really wanted to jump in with brooks but i wouldn't let her.  can you tell how she feels about that?
shelby on a boat


carson is 9!

i know i say it every single year but how is it possible that this kid is nine years old.  nine!  nine years ago he made his very early entrance.  i remember taking a shower talking to the boys the night before they came.  i think i knew it was going to happen.  i asked that they just stay safe for a little while longer.  twenty-four hours later they came.  fourteen weeks early too early.  i wish i could change the way things happened that night but i wouldn't change one single thing about our carson.  just to see his smile makes my day.  seeing him get older makes me so proud (and a little sad he's not a baby anymore) and amazed at how far he has come.  he's got the biggest heart inside that skinny little body.  he thinks his brother and sister hung the moon, loves to kick back and relax and can put on a costume and transform into that character better than any kid i know.  he is going to make nine years old look good!

keep moving mountains, Carson!  happy 9th!
carson is 9

and please don't tell him but i didn't get a chance to put brooks's birthday questionnaire up till now.  knowing brooks he would have a full on melt down that i posted carson's before his since technically his birthday comes first.  even though carson was born two years before brooks still thinks he is older since his birthday is 5 days before.  he's the one who will knock you down to be first in line but man is he a doll.  it's amazing to see what kind of "grown up" kid he is becoming.  he has a kind heart and is sharp as a tack.  he has a love/not so much love relationship with his baby sister and a very watchful eye over carson as long as it doesn't interfere with minecraft or running around.  he is my mr. observant, argue with you till he gets his way (and darn it if he isn't right most of the time), sweetheart.  and we love him to pieces.  happy 7th birthday (on the 6th, but shhh!) brooks!  you are one amazing kid!

 brooks is 7



spring is here and so is the whirlwind of easter, spring break and birthdays.  by the time mid-april comes i am exhausted and ready for a week long nap.  we kicked off spring with easter at our house and had a fabulous time.  the kids loved their easter baskets (which keep getting bigger each year, not sure how that happens) and searched for eggs inside since it was raining.  well, really brooks searched for eggs.  carson was too fascinated with his mario and luigi stuffed animals (or plushes as he calls them) and shelby was setting up all her new princesses and could care less about finding eggs. 

easter princess

once we finally got dressed i tried to get a shot of all 3 together.  it's not that easy to get them all looking and smiling at the same time but i did my best. 

 silly babies

look at that smile on her face when her big brother gives her a kiss.  
 am grateful every day for these 3.  i spent my first easter as a soon to be mom in a hospital room on bed rest.  little did i know that i was learning that becoming a parent was all about making sacrifices for the ones you love.  i'm grateful for the greatest sacrifice made so that i may enjoy life with these three little angels and one watching from above.





if you didn't already know, st. patrick's day isn't really my favorite holiday.  it was the day that i first went into labor when i was pregnant with carson and cooper.  it was the last day that they were safe.  from that point on i no longer had a "normal" pregnancy and everything changed that day.  so, as much as i like the color green or a reason to celebrate i just can't.  but...that doesn't mean i would make my kids miss out on the fun.  we have a little leprechaun who likes to visit us, pee in our toilets to make them green and leaves us treats.  to see the boys faces and hear their giggles when they see the green toilet water makes up for any bad feelings i have about the day.  that's the amazing thing about kids.  a single smile can just wipe it all away.  thank goodness for that.

and i know they are mine, but i'm pretty sure these are the 3 sweetest faces on the planet.  my two lucky leprechauns and their little treasure ;-)
st. pattys8

obviously i'm not very good at getting miss shelby to look at me.  she is way too concerned with the birds at the park to take a picture.
st. pattys5

he found what he thought was a four leaf clover.  i'm pretty sure it was a weed but i played along.
st. pattys2

st. pattys4

st. pattys3

and someone else had to find some flowers for herself.  she looks like a little pot of gold in all that green.
st. pattys1

goofball.  drives me bat s*it crazy sometimes but then flashes this smile and i forget why i'm so frustrated.  
st. pattys6

and this kid.  it has now been 9 years since he tried to come early on that st. patrick's day.  nine years!  i'm not sure i can handle this.
st. pattys7


i had the dreaded IEP meeting last week for carson.  but this year something was different.  i didn't dread it at all.  this year i knew going in that no matter what, he was staying at his school.  he would be with his same friends, see the same teachers and staff, and ride the same bus with his brother and all the other kids in our neighborhood.  it wouldn't take him 6 weeks to get adjusted and have everyone get adjusted to him.  they all know him and they all love him.  when i think back to all the other IEP meetings that took place in march and all the anxiety and tears it makes me appreciate where we are even more.  it's amazing how much different it is, and by different i mean better.  we left an enormous county with endless resources and lots of money who couldn't find a way to make my child's education consistent.  a child who has special learning and physical needs.  wouldn't it make sense to keep things as consistent as possible for kids like him?  it's not rocket science, it's common sense.  but, sometimes bigger isn't always better.  we are now in a place that is smaller, much more "family" like.  they take care of their own.  and for that we are extremely grateful.  grateful that i was nudged one day last february to look into buford city schools one more time.  grateful for a husband who listened to me when i told him we had to make a change because it was not getting any better for carson to stay in the system he was in.  grateful that there are teachers and staff who love my sweet boy and see such potential in him and realize that consistency is a good thing in developing a well rounded child.  both boys are doing so well we couldn't be happier.  so i guess i should say thank you to our old system.  if you hadn't done such a poor job in making us feel like our child was just as important as every other then we would have never had the fire lit in us to make a change.  thank you for making us feel like our concerns were insignificant and pointless.  thank you for helping us see the light and what you think is important, which wasn't our child's well being and learning.  thank you for pushing us in the direction of green and gold and the buford wolves family.  we couldn't thank you more.