One Week!!

One week later.....
We just finished celebrating Christmas last night!! It has been wonderful and we have had so much help from our family and friends. They have watched David, cleaned our house, and been making us meals ever since this little angel entered the world!
Mackenzie has melted our hearts completely! She is the best little baby and so girly already! We are so blessed and could really not be any happier. My cousin does newborn photography and came and took some pictures this weekend of her and I can't wait to get them...
This is my first week alone with both of the babies..... so my current goals are to just keep the house sanitary and have everyone showered and fed. Showering may be a stretch, but we will see :)

Merry Christmas!!!

We welcomed our new baby girl, Mackenzie Leigh Willis, into the world on December 18, 2008 at 5:08 pm. She was 7 lbs 11 0z and my labor was a walk in the park!!! ....thanks to David...the second baby was so easy because she was almost a whole pound smaller :) She looks just like Davids baby pictures. Brown hair, blue eyes, but LOTS of hair!!
This was truly an unforgettable Christmas that was so special! Thanks everyone for all the messages and prayers!


Last preggo pic!!

Well, I have 1 day left before this baby comes!!! We are going in Thursday, 18th between 6am-9am to be induced!! Unless this little chick changes her mind...I have been having contractions as close as 10-15 min apart and then they stop!? If you haven't read earlier posts, we are having her tomorrow b/c she is already almost 8 lbs and I want to avoid a c-section. Also, we would like to be home for Christmas since we have David! Anyway, I think the reality of labor has really settled in and I am nervous.....I didn't think I would be since its the second time around, but I now think that's why.....I know what's going to happen!!! Tomorrow I'm going to have a fun day with David, it's weird that its the last day of just us together before he has a baby sister! I don't know how much he understands, but today he told me, "Mommy, I want the baby out now!" and I said "Me too!" After everything we've been through this second time around, it really will be so sweet to see her face :)
I am just praying for a fast, safe, and healthy delivery. I really trust that God is going to give me strength and peace through the whole thing.
So, this is it!!! Please pray for us and the baby and I will post as soon as I can!!
Here is the final pic...
Me at 39 weeks pregnant, weight gain 26 lbs.

Also, I would love for anyone to comment on what they think Mackenzie's weight and length will be....I am really curious. David was 41 weeks, 8 lbs 7 oz, 20 1/4 inches. We'll see!!!!

Please pray for us on Thursday!

Not a Fan

Our neighborhood does really fun parties and Friday night was a Christmas party!! The lodge had Santa, food, a live band, carolers, cookie decorating, craft time, and a horse and carriage ride around the lake!
It was really fun to take David and my mom and sister came up with her boys! David loves Santa and talks about him a lot, but will not get too close! He gave him a high five, but when it was "picture time" he threw his candy cane at him and clung to my neck crying, oh well :( Poor baby.
No Santa picture this year!


38 Weeks

Well, I joyfully went to my last doctors appointment today, Hooray!!! If Miss Mackenzie doesn't decide to come in the next few days....her birthday will be this Thurs, the 18th!
The doctor doesn't think I'll make it until then, but I reminded her I went 41 weeks with David. I am almost dilated to 3 cm and she said I am ready to go into labor. She also said after measuring, the baby hasn't quite hit 8 lbs yet.....geez. We are inducing because of her weight and to be home for Christmas!!! I am very happy just to have a light at the end of the tunnel! Tim still has not packed his hospital bag so I told him today he either packs it this weekend or I do it and pick out whatever I want....I'm thinking I could find some tacky Christmas sweaters! Good grief.


My Moms Group

I don't think my life would be the same without the moms in my life :) We have lived here for 2 1/2 years and I have found the most amazing friendships with these stay at home moms in our neighborhood. We all have kids about the same age and they have seriously grown up together so far. They are so cute and we all have so much in common. We rotate houses every week for a playgroup and we also get together for parks, storytimes, going out to lunch, tumble tots, or any other random thing we come up with to do!! My favorite is our moms night out when we leave the kiddos :) I really thank the Lord for these women because without them and our sometimes daily support system, I would lose sanity!! They are the type of women that would drop anything they were doing if somebody needed something. Ladies, heres to new recipes, meal ideas for kids, discipline strategies, potty training, trying to keep our houses clean, and our husbands outta trouble :) Love yall!!!



Here is a list of random things I've done in the past week that either mean I'm nesting hard core and this baby is about to come or I officially have O.C.D..... All of this being the wee hours in the middle of the night
1. I did mention the last post about steam cleaning the carpet
2. Re-organizing photo albums and putting loose pictures in new albums
3. Cleaning and organizing all my make-up and its bag
4. Finding and pairing every last sock thats missing its mate
5. Washing the dog and all her dog toys, bedding, and blankets
6. Re-arranging and sweeping the garage
7. unloading my hallway closet and filing cabinet to sort through it all
8. Packing and re-packing my hospital bag about 4 times
9. The Kitchen.....oh geez...keeping it spotless because a big fear of mine is going into labor with dirty dishes in the sink for a few days, eww.
10. Waking up about 6 times a night to make sure I am not sleeping on my back.

Yeah, poor Tim is right. What's funny is at the time these things seem very important and I cannot be distracted from them. I am running on so much adrenaline that I don't feel tired anymore. I go to the doctor Thursday so more to follow...


37 weeks

Whew....is all I can say!! Did I mention being pregnant around the holidays is chaos?!
Well, its great because I am just running on adrenaline!
I had my doctors appt. yesterday...and here's the verdict!!
Baby Mackenzie is a little over 7 lbs, I have gained 25. She's still packing on the weight! I am dilated to 2 cm and 50% effaced. Basically, the doctor said I could go into labor anytime. However, if not, we are going to induce her next Thursday the 18th. Mainly because of her weight...I don't want to end up having a c section because she was too big! Why do we have such large children??!! I don't know...Tim and I were both small babies and kinda small people, its so funny!! David has been in the 95 percentile every doctors appointment since he was born, it really blows my mind.
Anyway, I don't know what's going to happen, but I am excited!! David spent the night with Tim's parents last night to do a "trial run" for when we have to go to the hospital. He did so well over there...it could have something to do with the fact that they gave him some of his Christmas presents early!!! Love grandparents! It was nice because they watched him while I went to the doctor and then Tim took me out on a date!!! We went to dinner and a movie and saw "Four Christmas's" It was a pretty funny movie! It was a nice break to wake up and get some things done around here this morning, I was supposed to be "resting", but instead I steam cleaned our carpets!! Hey, I blame nesting instincts that make pregnant women crazy right before labor....at least we have really clean carpet now!


O Christmas Tree

One thing that can always put you in a good mood is seeing Christmas lights!!! We finished decorating the inside and outside so we will have more pictures soon....here is our tree ;)

Coming Unglued

Lets just say after our Thanksgiving that we are thankful that it is over....
It started with me waking up Thanksgiving morning with pink eye, my eyes were pretty much swollen shut!! I caught it from my nephews at the baby shower on Sunday, they had caught it from the church nursury, wahoo. So, being Thanksgiving day, there were lots of options for me....NOT!
It took 3 hours for me to get some stupid eye drops.....apparently its a big deal if you are pregnant to take ANY medications. So, I had to buy this really expensive stuff because every other kind could make the baby be born jaundice, what?! I was pretty miserable the whole day and few days after......and then, to my worst nightmare, David caught it. Its one thing for an emotionally unstable 9 month pregnant woman to have pink eye and not see, but a 2 year old?? I'm sure you can imagine how fun this is!! The best part is trying to put eye drops in his eyes 3 times a day.
Okay, enough negativity, its over and done with. During the middle of all of this last week, I go to the doctor for my weekly visits now! When I showed up, the baby is already weighing in at "well over 6 lbs!" quote from the doctor.... I felt very frantic and asked him what we were going to do!! David was almost 9 lbs and I really don't want to go through all that again! (FYI, the baby gains a pound a week now) So, he left it as though we will repeat everything this Thurs and start making decisions. The last couple of days I've been having contractions every 20 minutes and then they stop. So, we'll see. And also, David was not so great at the last doctors appt, so he is hanging out with Tim's mom during this one. He got a doctors kit for his birthday and so this week he was insistent on wanting to use all the equipment in the doctors office and touching everything!!
Thankful, yes we are still thankful. I just am trying to hold it together on the home stretch here and it doesn't seem to be working!!!


3 Baby Showers in 5 Days!!

Over the top doesn't even begin to describe our family and friends.....they have done so much for us and are so excited for Mackenzie to enter the world!! (Not to mention she is the first girl on both sides!) The moms in my neighborhood, my sister, and my sister in laws all threw a shower for me in the past week! I have pretty much been doing laundry ever since!!! There is not one thing we need for this little girl, everyone has seriously blessed us so much and we cannot thank them enough!
Being pregnant/having a baby around the holidays has been so exciting/crazy!!! As if there is not enough going on with making meals for the holidays and shopping, its been a little crazy trying to prepare for a new family member! With the nursury done and having everything we need, the only things left to do are finish Christmas shopping (3 people left to buy for!), decorate for Christmas this weekend, and finish packing our hospital bags and get the carseat in!! Whew!!! This little turkey might pop out early because of all the running around thats going on!! Here are a few pics from the past week...

Mackenzie's Nursury

I am happy to post that the nursury is finally done!!! It has truly taken me the full 9 months to paint, sew, recover a chair, and learn to wall stencil!!! It has been so fun making a pink room in the house.... and an adjustment....I have been so used to blue and sailboats! I now feel a little more at ease knowing her room is ready for her when we come home from the hospital!


Sweet Tim

My friend Ashley had this picture on her blog and it makes me laugh all the time! This is pretty much how I currently look and feel.... I emailed the picture to tim and then he emailed me back with the picture on the right. He made it in photoshop and told me he loves it when I'm pregnant....geez. Isn't it funny that every girl can't wait until her stomach is huge....and then when it is you feel like you are going to die?!! I'm grateful for a husband who doesn't mind the roller coaster ride of pregnancy! ;)
Cheers to the last few weeks of pregnancy, 35 weeks and counting...


My Addiction

I know several of my blogging buds are obsessed with this......but, I am addicted to coupon grocery shopping also!!!! (Shout out to Jamie and Amber....I know yall are all over this!)
My sister and I tag team sale ads, coupons in the paper, and buy one get one frees. We have been doing it for so long....its come down to a science for us! It's also a problem because I refuse to buy any grocery at full price. The goal is at least half off.... the most fun challenge is to actually make money off an item....
For example...
Betty Crocker Frosting....normally $1.79
however, this week at Publix, Buy one get one Free.....if you buy one...its half off.
So, that brings it to $0.90. Then, I had a $0.50 coupon that Publix will double so I made $0.10 off the frosting, so fun huh?
Well, it really is fun and today was one of my better shopping days..... I spent $79.70 this week and saved $59.27 in deals and coupons.....
I know this may all sound lame and Tim thinks I'm crazy, but its really fun and fast to get a system. Best of all, I've saved our family thousands of dollars every year...which he likes!!
It's hard to see, but here are a few of the items : pampers diapers, soup, salad, vegetables, cheese, ice cream, fruit, bagels, olive oil, milk, apple juice, rolls, ham, crackers, pizza, yogurt, and a cake!
Pick up a weekly sale ad and sunday paper and get started!!



It's Tim's birthday today and it's going to be a pretty fun weekend! I'm taking him out tonight, thanks mom for babysitting, he's also going to a poker night, golfing with his brothers, and we're having a family party for him...... geez. His birthday is as big of a deal as Davids! He deserves it, he is such a great husband and father...I love you tim!
I just came home from my doctors appt. This was the first time I've taken David in a while. 2 suckers, 3 rolos, and 1 pack of sweet tarts and he was an angel!!! I am all about bribing. He watched intensely as they just measured and listened to the baby! I was very proud and feel like I'll be able to take him to the rest of these appts. They begin weekly next Wed so everyone will know him by name :) Mackenzie is great.... 5lbs and 18 inches. I've now gained 21 lbs.
Leaving the doctors today, I had an overwhelming sense of joy! Last Sept, a week after David turned 1, we miscarried identical twins. I found out at 12 weeks that the babies just didn't separate and grow correctly...just wasn't meant to be. We had to wait 6 months before trying again so my health could be monitored. We amazingly got pregnant again in March with Mackenzie! However, there was a fraternal twin this time that was lost at 6 weeks. The baby just didn't develop. Luckily, Mackenzie made it! So, our journey for our second child has been overwhelming to say the least. We have lost 3 babies essentially in the past year. Twins run in my family so that is why its happened twice. Our faith has been stretched and strengthened, but God continues to remind us he is more than enough for us. I say all this to because there is not a day that goes by that I don't realize how precious this baby is, and life in general. A verse that has kept me going is Psalm 126:5, Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. There has been many tears this past year. My heart goes out to those who have suffered miscarriage, infertility, or the loss of a child. Raising a family is a hard road, but one I am so blessed to be traveling.


Chattanooga and a little over a month to go!

We went with my family this weekend to take the boys to the Chattanooga Choo Choo!! It was also the peak of fall leaves this weekend and we didn't even know!! It was gorgeous and not to mention the boys had the time of their life being around all the trains! It was literally a breath of fresh air and it was so hard to leave. Here are a few pics of the train, our drive through the mountains, david and jonathan, and oh yeah....me about to pop!!!



32 Weeks

I had my 32 week appt. today and had great news!!! The baby is head down and will be here in less than 7 weeks. I had an earlier ultrasound that showed I might need a c section because of the position of some things, but everything is perfectly in place and now I will just be able to wait and go into labor!!! She weighs 4 lbs and has lots of hair already....amazing what ultrasounds can show!! I am up to 18.5 lbs of weight I've put on and now I start going to the doctor every 2 weeks...
We are so excited to meet little Mackenzie and that she'll be here so soon!


Christ, My Savior

I am finishing up the book, Blue Like Jazz. We are reading it in our small group at church and I have LOVED it! I definitely recommend reading it if you have not. Its such a relevant book about Christianity for our culture. What I love most is the simplicity it brings in having a relationship with God. I like to keep it simple and especially when telling others what you believe, the author Donald Miller says this:

The message is that man sinned against God and God gave the world over to man, and that if somebody wanted to be rescued out of that, if somebody for instance finds it all very empty, that Christ will rescue them if they want; that if they ask forgiveness for being a part of that rebellion then God will forgive them.

This encouraged me.... Christ is relevant because he wants to not just be with you for eternity, but to give your life purpose and peace every day. I have hope because He is in control of my life....and thank goodness I'm not!!


Can you tell we have a 2 year old boy?

Here is our pumpkin carving for this year!!! We asked David what we should carve on it..... he was very insistent that a choo choo train was to be our pumpkin design!!! We had so much fun with him and he LOVES the pumpkin!!


Yahoo Farm and 31 weeks pregnant

Our playgroup took the kids to Yahoo Farm on Friday. We went through a pumpkin patch, on hayrides, pony rides, and a petting zoo! David had so much fun, he was a little unsure about the hayride at first, but then did not want to get off! Tractors became his new favorite thing that day.
I now start going to the doctor every 2 weeks!My appt. is next Thurs. where I will go and get a more exact date of when the baby will be here! Somewhere between 5 to 8 weeks... The baby is about 3.5 lbs and almost 17 inches long! Apparently, she starts her growth spurt and gains 1/2 lb a week! I am proud to say the nursery is almost done and look forward to posting some pics!!
Tim is back in town and we are in full mode to get our holiday shopping and baby stuff done. We just have 3 more people to get gifts for. I think I will start shopping early every year, it has been so enjoyable and we've found such great deals since we've had time to shop around! It's also been better with David because he is not quite the "shopper." We have to make short, planned trips to stores.
His tumble tots class has one more month and we are going to take a month off... It has turned into more of a tumble class for me trying to keep up with him!!


Apple Picking and Surviving this week...

We went up to the mountains this weekend to go apple picking, which is not very far since we're pretty much in the mountains!! The apple orchards are the perfect size for kids to reach the apples and pick them! David had a blast and probably ate about 4 apples alone just while in the orchard. It is definitely a tradition we are starting and was absolutely gorgeous.
Tim had to go out of town this week, and boy am I glad its his last trip until after the baby comes. Being nearly 8 months pregnant, I don't realize what a long day it can be when Tim isn't here to help me in the evenings. It takes me twice as long to just give David a bath just trying to bend over the tub and try to clean him! Also, David has become very aware now when Tim doesn't come home. The first night he was gone, David decided to rebel..... after a few loud noises over the baby monitor, I ran upstairs to check on him. Only to find him on top of his dresser. He had pulled out his drawers, climbed it, and wiped everything off the top of his dresser. Did I mention he was naked? He decided to pull his clothes off, diaper and all. On the verge of tears, I quietly cleaned up his room, dressed him, and put him to bed again. I think my silent approach scared him more and he went to bed quickly. My goal was to finish the nursery completely this week, but now my goal has changed to just not go into labor and make it until Tim comes home! Tonight before bed, David dumped a bunch of Halloween candy on my belly. I said, whats this? He said, "Baby Kenzie candy....share" (thats what he calls Mackenzie). It was so sweet since we've been working on sharing that he wanted to baby to have candy. Then he tried to feed it to the dog and still doesn't understand why she can't have candy too! Oh well...


Date Night and 29 weeks Pregnant

My mom called this week and wanted David to come spend the night with her Saturday! She wanted to give us a break and some time to go on a date and try to finish the nursury! We ended up having such a great weekend. Tim took me out Sat. night and we went out for dinner, ice cream, and shopping. Sunday, we worked on trying to finish the nursury and just relaxed until David came back home that afternoon! He had so much fun with her....who wouldn't?? She gives him everything he wants when he goes over there, not to mention they go to dinner and she takes him to toy stores! I feel rested for the week for the first time.....which will probably only last a few days! This is also me at 29 weeks pregnant and have packed on 13 lbs. The baby will be here anywhere from 7 to 10 weeks!! We can't wait!


Complete Chaos

This is my day that hopefully I will one day look back and laugh about....
It started out under control... me and david met my dad for lunch for his birthday! I came home to put david down for his nap and make 3 desserts for a down syndrome walkathon, a friends baby's christening, and for a dinner party all this weekend. I started to bake, when I got a phone call. FYI, my sister and I run a small business where we make and sell diaper cakes in stores and online, not a big deal. However, the phone call was from a customer today that needed to talk about her order. So, I step into the other room for only 3 minutes to not have a baby or dog in the background. It got really quiet and as I walked back out into the living room, Holly, our dog was running around the house with a bag of bagels and also one hanging out of her mouth. A second later, David was running after her with a handful of kitchen utensils that I cannot specifically name due to calls people might make to DEFACS. I hurriedly grabbed the utensils and all the food the dog was hoarding down her throat. David got really mad at me and ran to the table where I had a full cup of hot chocolate that I never got to drink this morning and threw it down the hallway. Hot chocolate soaked my hardwood floors. As I tried to hold this phone conversation together, David and Holly then began laying and playing in the hot chocolate as if it were a small pond. I ended the conversation quickly and cleaned everyone up. I started having labor contractions because of all the drama and had to sit down until we all calmed down. I get them frequently when I am on my feet all day. I then headed off to our dinner bringing all the baking stuff to finish my projects. The night ended with my mother in law dropping the finished platter of these on the floor shattering the cookies and glass. Needless to say, Publix made my desserts for the weekend and David fell asleep tonight saying, "uh oh, cookies..." I am going to bed so that nothing else can go wrong today.


Tim's New Job!

After finishing our 2 year commitment on staff with campus outreach, Tim got a job with a building construction company. He LOVED it, we moved out of Athens into Holly Springs, built a house here, closer to family, yay. Even though he loved this job, with the real estate market, the company started not doing well. New construction slowed down tremendously. He had to make a quick move and started doing sales for a company out of Norcross. A few months later the building construction job filed bankruptcy. The Lord really saved us there and we were glad Tim got out quick. Ever since then he has loved doing sales, but wanted to find something closer back over this way and a heavier commission base. He has been doing sales for 3 years and now feels confident that he can do it well and close a lot of sales! So, he accepted a job Friday and started today! His old employer was so awesome and told him to go ahead and they would still pay him out for 2 weeks. It is 15 miles from our house and he is so excited! He will be doing sales for an internet payroll company called Paycom. They sell payroll, accounting, and human resources services. We are so excited that the Lord provided this job for him! It worked out perfect with insurance and his training before the baby comes! God continues to provide for me to stay home, and with 2 babies, daycare would never be affordable!


David's Big Weekend!

Turns out little Dave is the party animal! Friday I took him to Wills Park in Alpharetta for the afternoon. All of his playgroup friends came and we ate pizza and enjoyed the amazing weather! Saturday, we had a big bash for him at Tim's parents with both our families. And then, Sunday we went to the circus with some friends that invited us!! He loved every minute of his birthday "weekend"! He is worn out from all the fun and sleeping longer this week! I am thankful for that so I can catch my breath!


My brother in law, Cancer Free!

Above is my sister Brandi, her husband Paul, and their two boys, Jonathan and Michael. Paul was diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago and they went through a lot. Today has been 5 years and he is cancer free. Here is an encouraging letter from him to all our family and friends. We love you Paul!

September 11, 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

We never thought this day would come. Today marks five years ago that I was diagnosed with cancer when a lump was found in one of my salivary glands during a routine physical. God led us to a wonderful surgeon who removed it and broke the news to us that it was cancerous. God also led us to a wonderful oncologist where I under went 8 weeks of daily radiation. The doctor and her staff were so incredibly warm and kind during this scary time. We know that God led us to these wonderful doctors. While it was not easy during this time dealing with all the emotions, weight loss, voice loss, and being out of work; God sent many angels to take care of us—all of you guys. You guys were amazing during this time with all your cards, meals, visits, and most of all prayers. I received so many cards Brandi made a scrapbook with all of them. You all were there for me when I was asked to carry the survivor torch at the Relay for Life walk a few months after completing treatment. You all have been here for us so much during these past five years and you do not know how much we appreciate it. You all have prayed for us every 6 months as I have had my continuous scans these past five years and when I had surgery again 2 years ago due to a suspicious spot that thankfully came back benign.

We are so grateful to God for what he has done in our lives. Our lives could have been completely different if it had not been for God’s mighty healing hand. We are forever grateful to Him for healing me and keeping me cancer free. We consider our 2 precious boys true gifts from Him because without God’s grace we could have possibly never had the opportunity to have kids. This trial in our life has forever changed so many things in both of our lives.

We thank God for you all. You have no idea what you all have meant to us during this time. The chances of my cancer coming back have considerably dropped, but I am sure Brandi will continue to have me routinely go for scans!!!

We love you all!!!

In Christ,

Paul, Brandi, Jonathan, and Michael Bradley

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble.

Jeremiah 32:27 Behold I am the Lord the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me?

Isaiah 41:13 For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, fear not, I will help thee.

Birthday Boy

Well, David is turning 2 on Friday!!! And boy, has he entered the twos.....the tantrums and personality are in full force. He is quite the dancer, hides car keys and cell phones, cannot be left unattended with crayons due to graffiti, tells everyone he is 2, and has learned what moles are and points them out on people.
His birthday party is going to be the Disney Cars movie. He is a total boy and in love with cars, trucks, and anything with big wheels. We are throwing him a little friend party on Friday and Tim's dad, who is a chef, is throwing a huge family bash Saturday for him. Us and the grandparents all went in and got him a bedroom suite for his birthday so that will lessen the appearance of our house looking like Toys R Us. It's amazing how such a small person can be so much fun, but also exhaust everything in you!


Two and ambitious

Well, as much as I try and have a plan for parenthood... it always throws me a surprise!! A couple of months ago, David jumped out of his crib. I found him halfway down the stairwell and he had a huge smile on his face. After recovering from the shock that he was okay and didn't land on his head, I went back to his room with him to see him climb back inside the crib. It had now become a toy. So, within a few hours I moved him into the other room upstairs in a full size bed and we made a big boy room. Much to my surprise he loved in and transitioned immediately to sleeping there now. It was perfect timing because with the baby here in a few months it opened up the nursury! I wasn't going to try and put him in a big bed yet, but he decided he was ready.
Along the same note, two days ago, he told me "pee pee, potty".....so I put him on it and he went!!! This was also another task I was going to accomplish later, not while I am almost 7 months pregnant. But, his interest and ability to do it has come now. So, thus begins potty training for me. I have been peed on and been cleaning up pee ever since. He will sit on the potty and then go in the floor. We are having to work on the timing of it all. My sweet friend Tanya told me last night that its the hardest on the mom....to hold it together and keep patience. I just have to consistently practice everyday until he catches on.....which could unfortunately take a long time. So, here we go!
With all of this going on, I have a much needed moms night out tonight. Tim wanted this neighborhood for us because of the community and families that live here. I am so thankful because I have six other moms that stay at home that we are all in the same boat (age, age of kids, ect) We have playgroups, story times, tumble tots (gymnastics), the pool, and parks we take the kids to all the time. Every month we go out on friday night (no husbands or kids :). For a few hours I eat a meal without cleaning up a mess, wiping a face, and actually have a conversation. It is so fun to have close girlfriends in my same lifestage. I have to still have a social life, friends, and interests to keep my sanity. My decision to stay at home mostly came from my mom doing that with me. Tim also has always wanted me to stay at home with our kids. I count it a blessing we are on the same page and he is so supportive of what I do. I read a quote this week that describes the emotions of it all....
Motherhood...nothing else ever will make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop his own individuality, especially while you struggle to keep your own." – Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons.


An Attempt to Remember...

I am so excited to start a blog so I can keep an ongoing collection of memories, pictures, and stories that happen in our life!!! It is true for me in my life that the days are long, but the years go by fast! Our lives seem to be so eventful that I cannot even keep track of what is going on. After 9 years of being together we have seen God do so much in our lives and marriage. Our years of raising a family has been one of the biggest blessings. We have also had hard times of moving, jobs, family, miscarriage, and sickness. So, I want this blog to keep track of the better and the worst of our lives. Here goes figuring out how to do a blog!!


Our Town Bio

This was written for Our Town Magazine in March 2016:

"Attempt something so great for God that it is doomed to fail, lest He be in it," quoted by Randy Pope, pastor of Perimeter Church, where Tim and Jennifer started their journey on staff with Campus Outreach at The University of Georgia 12 years ago. This opportunity shaped their faith, relationships, and finances early on. The couple met on the first day of college in 2000 through this college ministry. They were married in 2004 and became full time missionaries to go back and serve the ministry they were apart of. Little did they know, this strong foundation would lay the framework to endure the loss that was to come down the road.

 Tim and Jennifer reside in downtown Marietta with their three children, Mackenzie, Zach, and David who are in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade at West Side Elementary. The family attends Stonebridge Church on the square and it is there that they have found a community that they live, work, and raise their kids together. Tim is an Alpharetta native, and has 2 brothers that reside in the Atlanta area. He became a small business owner last January, opening his own HVAC company, Summit Heating and Air servicing North Atlanta. Summit supports Young Life Marietta and when Tim isn't working, he can be found renovating their 1950's home.  Jennifer is a Marietta native and has one sister who lives in Savannah. Her grandfather was a graduate of Marietta High School and she is happy to be back here raising her own family. She helps run the business as well as working for IEM Events as a Corporate Meeting and Event planner. When she isn't working, she volunteers as a Young Lives leader to the teen moms at Marietta High School. The couples parents both have been married close to 40 years and they are grateful for the support and values they were raised with. As a family, they enjoy rock climbing at Stone Summit, kayaking, hiking at Kennesaw Mountain, and anything outdoors. They view their company as a vehicle to fund local missions and support where God is working.

After doing college ministry, Tim went into the construction sales industry in 2006. When the housing boom ended, the company he was working for filed bankruptcy. Tim struggled many years with trying to find another sales job and all of them kept hitting a dead end. He decided to completely start over in 2010 and go back to school to learn a trade. Tim's dad was a corporate chef and his advice on learning a trade was a pivotal turning point for them. Tim and Jennifer sold their home at the time with 2 small children and hit the reset button. They had followed Dave Ramseys financial plan and made the huge leap to live like no one else. It was at this time Tim and Jennifer bought an investment property at a deal to fix up, later becoming their first rental home. They lived there for 2 years while Tim finished his degree from Chattahoochee Technical College in Heating and Air. It was a physically and emotionally exhausting period of time. With toddlers, living in a renovation, Tim going to school and working, Jennifer cleaning houses on the weekends to make extra money and getting her foot in the door with events, they prayed their seeds being sown would pay off.  Tim started out making $10 an hour crawling underneath houses and ripping duct work out of attics. He then worked his way to the top of his industry, 5 years later launching his own business.  "It was a refining time when couples around us were buying new cars, bigger houses, and going on nice trips. We spent years living in a $40,000 house, saving every penny, and realizing through this we were gaining freedom that we never had before." The renovated house down the road became one of their most profitable investments.

The couple struggled not just in their careers, but having a family as well. Jennifer lost 5 babies through miscarriage over the course of a few years, but was able to have 2 biological children of their own. The hardest loss for her was her daughters fraternal twin. "It was the most I've ever trusted God. I miscarried her twin while remaining pregnant with her. I never knew each morning if I was still pregnant or not. It changed me, the way I view each day, and also how grateful and what a privilege it is to be a mother." They had always wanted 3 children and after taking a few year off, they decided to adopt an older child through the Department of Family and Children Services. They saw Zach on Fox 5's Wednesdays Child and knew he was supposed to be theirs. "Zach is amazing, a testimony and picture of how God heals and restores. He has been our fighter. When we met Zach when he was 7 and in a state funded orphanage. While he was an energetic 7 year old, the rest of his peers at the orphanage were medically fragile. Zach's medical records gave him a list of diagnosis and special needs. It didn't seem fair to say what a child is or isn't if they have never been given a chance at a normal life." They took another huge leap of faith and decided to adopt him and never look back. "After we saw where he was living and his circumstances, we never questioned leaving without him. Its what we had to do."

Life was very difficult transitioning their new child into a family. Not only had Zach never been in a family, but he had never done pretty much anything. Never experienced family holidays, every food was new to him, gone on trips, and didn't know he had a birthday to name a few. The couple then had to enroll him into school, since he had never been in general education. It caught the couple off guard that they received such backlash from the school and even some parents after sending him there. "People seemed to be afraid of him, there weren't resources in his home school to accommodate his transition, and we had to make the choice to fight for him". And fight for him they did. "We decided enough was enough. Zach had been the product of the system his whole life and no one to advocate for him. We were convinced we needed to make a way for our new special needs son at his home school."  Not only did Zach stay, but Tim and Jennifer fought for full time inclusion teachers in their home school and had the Georgia Department of Education come in to enforce policy that children be serviced in their home school. Zach has not only made a turnaround, but is thriving, doing better every day, and now been called "exemplary" by his teachers. "We knew he just needed a chance. Every child deserves a chance and with supportive parents that are doing their part, there is no reason why a child can't overcome any obstacle. We push all three of our kids to be the best they can. Some just need more help than others." Zach's story makes a full circle because his name, Zachariah, means "The Lord has Remembered". "Zach is healing to us in many ways, not only did God restore and redeem his life, but he heard every prayer and was with me in every loss and remembered we wanted another child. We never thought we would adopt a 7 year old with special needs, but we now know our losses led us and equipped us to welcome this child into our family. God definitely remembers and hears the cries of our hearts."

If you would like to read more about their family, they have kept a blog for a little over 7 years at www.timandjenwillis.blogpsot.com. You can read more community reviews about Summit Heating and Air on its Facebook page. "We hope we continue to take risks and ask God to give us the strength to always say yes. We hope, in turn, our kids will follow the example and never question the path that God may call them to. We love sharing our story because it gives hope and life to the darkest situations we may enter, knowing that God really is Emmanuel, who promises to be with us."

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