Laresa Watkins

19/31 Days

Oct 19, 2017

It has been 4 years since we ventured to the NC State Fair.  I was pushing our gigantic double jogging stroller and the kids could hardly ride any of the rides.  Here we are at the giant pumpkins:

We finally went back today, and had a fantastic time.  I tried to recreate the above photo.

Wow, the kids have grown! It was so much easier to take them to the fair now that they are a few years older.  Just a word of encouragement to those with toddlers: it gets easier!

We all got to do our favorite things: Jason and I got to see some of the animals and eat some different foods (I had cheese fries and fried pickle chips), Jason wasted $1,000,000 dollars on impossible-to-win games, and the kids rode every ride they could fit on, some more than once.

We did find that Charlie was too big for some of the littlest rides.

And Maddie was too little for some of the bigger rides, which posed a little problem for Miss Thang.

Jason and I rode just a few rides with the kids.

But for the most part just enjoyed our time together.

We had a great day, and maybe even got our Christmas card picture.  But you’ll have to wait until December to see that.

18/31 Days

Oct 18, 2017

This week’s photo challenge from The Daily Post is “Glow.”

I just happened to take this picture of the kids and some of their friends at the zoo yesterday, and Charlie’s neon orange sweatshirt (which is his current favorite and he wears every day that the temperature is below 80 degrees and it is clean).  My phone somehow created this glow from his sweatshirt as he was attempting to photobomb this picture of the girls.

Charlie thinks this is the coolest picture ever, and that he now has some strange power to glow.

Oh, I love his imagination and personality!



17/31 Days

Oct 17, 2017

I was just looking back through drafts of things I have written over the years that never quite made it onto the blog.  I’m not sure why I didn’t push the button on this one, because it is pretty funny.  🙂  I wrote it about a year and a half ago.

The Stages of Adulting

Before we had children, and even when the kids were babies, Jason and I had friends to our house quite often.  We loved inviting our friends over and grilling out. It was something we really enjoyed, but stopped doing as time passed.  You know, everyone was busy with their kids and jobs and just doing adult-stuff.

Plus, we start yawning around 8:00 now.

A few weeks ago we celebrated Jason’s 40th birthday.  We had lots of people over, and we had a great time celebrating him.

After most people had left, two of my friends and I were sitting in the kitchen.  These girls and I have spent many, many hours sitting in that same spot talking about who-knows-what (Because what did we talk about before we had kids, anyway?) while our husbands (or boyfriends at the time) did whatever men do in the garage. I mentioned how much our lives have changed since those days and how much we used to get together before we all had kids. Of course we all agreed that we should do this more often, because we really should do this more often.

This made me think that maybe we would start seeing each other more, because we’re now in the third stage of grown-up get-togethers: 40th birthday parties!

You are probably familiar with the other stages:

1-Weddings- Jason and I were pretty young when we got married so we were the first of our group of friends to host this get-together, and I will humbly admit that we (well, mostly my mom) set the bar pretty high.  🙂 We aren’t ones to turn down a wedding invite, so for awhile we went to a lot of weddings and those were great opportunities to see everyone.  We even got to travel for a few weddings, which was great!

2-Baby showers & kids bday parties- We’re still in this stage, and will probably be here for awhile! It’s a lot different from the wedding stage, but there is still cake involved, so it gets a thumbs-up from me.

3-40th birthday parties- This is the third circle of celebrations in adulthood, and it’s fairly new to us.  We’ve been invited to a couple, and, as I mentioned before, hosted Jason’s recently.  There’s an eclectic mix of darkness (you know, the teasing that death is looming) and celebration of life.  I’m looking forward to going to more of these, but not looking so forward to my own…..

4. You know the last round of get-togethers. I must have heard my grandma say it a million times: “The only time I ever get to see my friends anymore is at funerals.” Unfortunately, I can totally understand how this could happen! We get so tied up with life and kids and eventually grandkids, and just taking care of so much, that the only time we will see our friends anymore is when we are forced to see them at funerals.


So, I stopped writing there.  I made it a goal of mine over the summer to try to do more with my friends, but I was pretty much a failure at that.  I’m going to need some people to turn 40 this year so I can see you guys (but let’s avoid the 4th option if we can…).


16/31 Days

Oct 16, 2017

My MOMS group is a small, fabulous group of women. We come from diverse backgrounds, have varying goals and dreams, and run our households differently, but we are bonded together by the great equalizer of motherhood.

As part of a meeting that we had a couple of years ago, we were challenged to list five things that only we could do. Just five things. Doesn’t seem too hard, huh? But when I brought up the question that had been asked of us (What are five things only you can do?), I was met with silence and blank stares. No one started furiously writing as I had expected, no intense conversations began between this group of deep, thoughtful women.

I tried to give them ideas, but they were shot down one after another.

“Could anyone mother your children like you do?” I asked.

“Sure,” one woman answered. “My mom could do it.”

“What about being a partner to your husband?” I suggested, “I’m sure no one else could do that.”

Another woman said, “He could find another wife.”

I said to a friend known for her fabulous pound cake, “No one else could make a pound cake like you.”

“Actually,” she responded with a laugh, “I put the recipe on Facebook yesterday. Anyone could make that pound cake.”

I had nothing to say. My mind was blank, because I myself couldn’t answer the question. Is there anything I uniquely do that no one else could ever do?

“We don’t think highly enough of ourselves, ya’ll,” I half-joked, moving on in defeat to the next question.

When I got home that day, I started an experiment. Every single thing I did, from common chores to playing with my children to talking on the phone with a friend who had a problem, I asked myself, could anyone else do this?

Sometimes the answer was yes. I laughed to myself as I balled up my husband’s underwear and shoved them in his drawer, thinking that he wouldn’t have any trouble finding a woman who could do this chore better than me. As I heated up bowls of instant oatmeal in the microwave, I knew that my kids would gladly welcome someone who made better breakfasts than me.

But I also found things I do that I knew could never be replicated by anyone else. Like the time Maddie and I spend together in the mornings, curled up on the couch under a blanket, me doing my devotion while she watches Scooby Doo. Or fixing the perfect cup of coffee for my husband every morning (It has taken me 15 years to do it right, so I seriously doubt anyone else could ever replicate it!). Or sharing Charlie’s excitement over a silly joke that no one else finds funny.       

As moms, I think we tend to downplay what we do every day, thinking that anyone could perform the mundane tasks we perform, but realizing that every one of us is unique is very important.

No one else could ever love our children like we do. Sure, other people could provide for their physical needs, but we were specifically created to raise those little people.

No one else could be the partner that we are to our husbands. We were made for them. No one else could ever team with them the way we do to live the lives we have created together.

No one else could do our mission work the way we do it. Whether it’s homeschooling, sharing the love of Jesus with someone at our job, helping an elderly person grocery shop, baking pound cakes for our sick neighbors, or leading a Sunday School class, no one else could do it like we do, and there is a possibility that it wouldn’t happen at all if we didn’t do it.

Ladies, what if we realize our worth? What if we acknowledge our importance? That there are some things that only we could ever do?

Would we perhaps be braver? Would we go about our mornings with a different attitude, knowing that the cup of coffee we pour is important in how our husbands start the day and that no one else could do it right? Would we consider the time spent cuddling on the couch imperative for our children, and understand that no other woman could take our place? Would we do our mission work with a different attitude knowing that without us, this work of God would not get done in the same way?

Knowing that we’re the only one is scary, but empowering. Let’s be brave, own our worth, and see what happens. What if….

15/31 Days

Oct 15, 2017

I have written on mom guilt before:

Letting Go of Mommy Guilt

This was 3 1/2 years ago, and I while my mom-guilt is so much better (a result, I am sure, of better sleep and generally improved sanity) it still pops up sometimes.

Yesterday I felt guilty because we didn’t go to a festival in a nearby town.  We went to a dairy farm last week, spent several days either at friend’s houses or with friends here, and this week we’re going to the fair one day, zoo another, and pumpkin farm another.  WHY, then, do I feel guilty that I am not providing my children with this fall festival experience?

Is it because I have friends who took their kids and posted the pictures all over Facebook and Instagram? Or because I made the kids stay home and clean their rooms instead? Or because the real reason we didn’t go is because I just didn’t want to leave the house? I really don’t know.  I just know that I felt it.

I have to go back to the verse that I used in my first mom-guilt blog post:

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and

kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich

and satisfying life.”

John 10:10 (NLT)

Such a relief to remind myself that every day I have is a blessing, and God means for every day to be rich and satisfying.  Maddie and I thanked God tonight in our prayers for all of our blessings, that we have each other and that we get to do so many great things.

I’m just going to hang onto that.

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