Letters to my Sons

My whole life I said I wanted to be a mother. I traveled four years of the rockiest fertility road I couldv’e ever imagined and then on my birthday last year I conceived the two most beautiful baby boys in the world. Tomorrow marks my birthday, a day that now holds incredibly different value to me. It’s no longer the day of my birth; it’s the day I was given my sons.


Dearest Cash,

You are such an old soul. From the moment we met I felt like you knew more about me than I did you. Even while you were in the NICU there was this peace about you like you knew you were safe, loved, and ok. In fact, when I look back on that I remember how stressed I was that I couldn’t be with you but everyone kept telling me, “Cash is ok, he’s happy”. And you were. We all started describing you as “chill”, but it’s more than that. You’re secure and trusting.

I’m falling in love with you more each day. Your bottom lip quivers with empathy when Cannon is upset or has tummy pain. I’ve noticed it quiver during sad songs too; which touches my heart. You feel so deeply and are so sensitive to the world around you. I hope that you use that quality to serve others and always demonstrate compassion and kindness. Each night I pray that when it comes time for you to love that you will be loved back and that the women you love will not break your heart (although I know it will happen a few times). That heart is one with mine now and I want to preserve it.


You are a mamas boy and I wouldn’t change that for anything in the universe! You love holding onto my hair while you’re nursing. You clasp my fingers when I’m rocking you and you bury into my neck. Sometimes at night I think you’ve woken up just so you can have some alone time with me and when I pull you into bed next to me you snuggle so close that our skin melts together. I look down sometimes to check on you and every now and then you’re not even sleeping; you’re watching me too. Your bright blue eyes stare right back into mine.

I adore your smile! You waited to start smiling a bit longer than your brother and the smiles were reserved for me, dad, and grandma. It made me cherish each one that much more because it felt like each smile you gave me belonged to me and only me. I pray that smile shows people that Jesus lives in your heart and that you’ll always be a leader, never a follower.

The way you kick and march like a little monkey during playtime or bathtime makes my heart explode with laughter. You’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, too. I’ve seen you laugh each time you catch air as you try to jump out of your baby tub. There’s so much energy and life inside you. I hope you’re always adventurous, thrill seeking, and approach challenges with gusto!

Love, Mom


Dearest Cannon,

You are the epitome of the nickname “Cannonball”! Not only have you taken the shape of a ball with your stout, muscular frame (well, rolls of baby fat now, but I see potential), but you’re also a ball of energy, a ball of laughter, a ball of fun! I try so hard not to interact too much at night because I’d like you to go back to sleep, but even in the dark I can see your mouth opened wide into a big Cannonball smile. I hear you cooing over the white noise machine to get my attention and if I hear a giggle I’m a gonner. I immediately get suckered into kissing your sweet chubby cheeks and nibbling your neck.


You found your voice early! Since it’s been on it’s never turned off. You have so much to say and so many feelings to express. Anyone and everyone gets to hear what’s on your mind and you are skilled at grabbing, and keeping, people’s attention. My hope for you is that you use your voice to spread the word since the name “Cannon” means “protector of the Word”. Use your voice to stand up for what’s right since your middle name, “Wright”, means “righter of wrongs”. Be the voice for those that don’t have one or are too scared to use it.

I love the way you look at your dad. It’s as if you know that you’re curious spirit will get you into some trouble down the road, but this is the guy that will always have your back (even after busting your backside from time to time). You look at him like he’s your protector, and he is. He and I both will love you no matter what ind of pickle you get yourself into.

When you put your chunky cheek against your shoulder and peer up at me with those baby blues I just know you have the potential to be a heartbreaker, but I hope you’ll always treat women with respect. I hope you’ll be a gentlemen and you’ll use your charm to set an example for other boys around you on how to win a girl’s affection by being chivalrous and trustworthy.

You can be so silly sometimes. I look forward to seeing how far your sense of humor and confidence takes you in this world. I hope you never shy from a challenge and approach each new day with zest and excitement. Always take advantage of opportunities and never back down from something that scares you. I see so much bravery and gumption in you.

Cannon, take life like a bull by the horns and show us what you got!

Love, Mom


Dear heavenly father, please continue to hold both my boys in your hands as you have and keep them safe from harm. I pray that any hurt they do experience only makes them stronger, kinder, and more brave. I pray that you will live inside their hearts and shine through them. Give me patience as a mother Lord and give me the words and actions I need to raise them to be men of character, men of integrity, and most importantly, men of faith. I pray they will be leaders in school, leaders in church, leaders among their peers, and leaders for each other. Protect the women they will marry, Lord, and ready them to give and receive love from my boys when the time is right. I pray all these things in your son’s name, amen. 


Raising Boys as Knights: A Letter to my Husband

Dear husband,

I married you because I fell in love with your heart. I recognized that you were a good man; something that is VERY hard to find. I knew you’d love me the way my father loves my mother and I saw the definition of manhood in you. I wanted to marry a man. I hope together we can raise our boys to be men.


“A real man accepts responsibility, rejects passivity, leads courageously, and expects the greater reward,” Robert Lewis. Lewis used the Bible as the guidebook for raising boys into men when he wrote the book, Raising a Modern Day Knight. A knight was a man of integrity, virtue, respect, courage, and strength. I want to raise my boys with these traits in mind and choose my words and actions carefully as a parent knowing that raising boys into men is no small feat.

During WWII, when the men were off fighting the war, women stepped in to fill vacant positions. For the first time in history they had moved out of the home and into the “field”. When the men returned, many of the women decided they didn’t want to go back to the kitchen, so to speak. At this time, we saw a shift in power from men to women and it didn’t stop there. Have you taken a good look around lately? Pay attention to sitcoms, commercials, magazines…where have all the men gone? Men today are so often portrayed as idiots, worthless blobs, or neanderthals. What role models to little boys have today other than power hungry politicians, pot-smoking youtube phenomenons, rappers that belittle others…

Our belief systems about men are faulty as well. A man who expresses his feelings is considered weak. A man who is well mannered, enjoys art, culture, or fashion is automatically thought to be gay. Men drink whiskey, not wine. Ugh! I want more for our sons.


As a father, it will never matter what you say; it will always matter what you do. I can tell them how a good man lives his life and try my best to raise them to be that way, but they will ALWAYS look to you as their example.

The way you talk to me is the way they will talk to me. If you talk back to me, argue with me, or belittle me (even joking around), they will think this is acceptable. And, not only towards me, but to other women.

They will only keep their rooms clean, their laundry done, and the toilet seat down if this is the way you live as well.

If you make jokes or comments that are demeaning to others, they will grow up without respect for those different, or less fortunate than they. 

The foods you choose to eat will be what they think men eat. They will want to grow up tall and strong like you and will nurture their bodies the same way you do.

When you work hard to reach a goal, share the feelings of that success with them. How else will they learn that it takes working hard to achieve success?

I hope you’ll model for them how to control your temper, express your feelings, and cope effectively with life’s disappointments so that they too will behave that way.

If they expect you to pick them up on time and you don’t, they will learn it’s okay to be late as long as you have a good excuse.

Issuing a consequence without following through sends the message that a man’s word means nothing.

If you demonstrate the way you accept responsibility, reject passivity, lead courageously, and expect the greater reward, they too will become those kind of men. 


          Husband, I believe in my heart that God gave us two sons trusting that we could raise them to be good men. If we keep God at the center of our marriage and raise our sons to live like Christ, I know we will experience so much joy raising them and such pride in who they become.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” – Romans 12: 2 (reject passivity)

“Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be men of courage, be strong” -I Corinthians 16:13 (accept responsibility)

“But as for me and my family we will serve the Lord” -Joshua 24:15 (lead courageously)

“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” -Revelation 22:12 (expects the greater reward)

I think our boys will be born some time this week, if not tomorrow, so I’m feeling very reflective and sentimental, but I hope as parents we will always take time to reflect on who they are becoming and how our actions may be affecting them.

I love you, 

Baby Mama

Fighting the Good Fight: Raising Kids on Faith

“That’s my brother. My Mom calls him Captain Crazy.” Oops. Guilty mom alert and pretty sure I didn’t mean for the oldest to repeat that. But sometimes it’s not just one kid that’s crazy, it’s all three…and therefore I am crazy too.  Every now and then it is truly insane around here. And by insane I mean the most unpredictable, unthinkable, and what-on-earth-are-we-doing kinds of days.

But we’re fighting a good fight here. A really, really good one. It’s a fight to raise men of faith with character, ambition, courage, and (one of my favs) a healthy sense of humor.

Have you ever just watched a little boy play? Maybe a three year old captivated in his own little world of dragons and swords (squirrels and sticks) with an uncontainable zeal for life and enough energy to run a marathon. Always on the move; jumping, spinning, and throwing himself on the ground. On multiple occasions I’ve questioned my children’s hearing because I literally must shout their names 3 times before they snap out of dragon world with a, “me?” Yes sweet child, you. I am trying so terribly hard to help you tame that wild little spirit.

It feels like a lost cause to correct every single thing that my children do in the course of a day. Why? Because it is a lost cause.  In my mind, constant correction doesn’t tame the spirit, it crushes it. I love, love, love the wild little side of my boys so in these young years! The day to day is tough (understatement of my life) but my husband and I try to focus our efforts on a few broad categories and expect to focus more on specifics as the boys get older (check back in about 7 years for that post). And before friends and family laugh at these, remember that I said we’re working on these; we certainly have not mastered them.

LISTENING: My sweet boys have the biggest and brownest eyes you have literally ever seen. 

Big eyes

I’ve learned that they have a certain stare that can be translated, “Mommy, I see your mouth moving but I’m not hearing any of your words.” My new approach is to make eye contact, give short and concise instructions, then have them repeat what I said. It works a solid 60% of the time. In my mind, listening and following through will be appreciated by future teachers, will get us closer to being out the door on time (I once heard myself say “put on your shoes” 12 times), and will certainly save my sanity.

RESPECT FOR STUFF: Literally everything falls into this category…toys, utensils, cups, papers, books, trees, flowers, chairs, shoes, floors, cars, etc… Little boys must touch everything…EVERYTHING!! I tell myself that it’s part of learning, which is true. However, breaking things is not ok. One of my pet peeves is things being ruined or broken just because “he breaks everything.” Don’t get me wrong here, my kids have broken, spilled, torn, and squished plenty of things but I try to stay a step ahead of them or at least use teachable moments to constantly encourage respect for ‘stuff.’

ADVENTURE: One look at kid entertainment and you’ll see superheroes, explorers, discoveries, and a whole host of action packed adventure. My sweet boys seem to be “adventurous” in quite scary ways; jumping off couches, scaling high furniture, climbing the door frames like monkeys, or sword fighting using any and every object that is remotely long or skinny. 

Standing on Couch

It is truly a case by case basis to figure out what we will and will not approve of for the boys. Some of their suggestions are an immediate ‘no.’ But other suggestions have me coming back to a couple of thoughts; we are raising men and men love adventure and adventure is ideally both fun and safe. Will they possibly get hurt? Yep. Will they possibly build confidence? Yep. Will I possibly regret this? Yep. Will I possibly be overcome with pride? Yep. Is parenting a whole host of difficult questions? Yep.

CAMARADERIE: I am not competitive; never have been, and never will be. But these boys? I can’t even count how many meltdowns per day we have over who is the ‘winner,’ the first, best, fastest, tallest, loudest (my middle child always win this one), and the list goes on. The only real loser of these conversations is me! So we started to focus on brotherhood, teamwork, camaraderie, and we made a shift to encouragement over competition. 


And let me tell you, it has been GLORIOUS. Good attitudes make winners and bad sports make losers. Talk about a good fight! Fingers crossed that this one pays off when high school sports begin.

Don’t misunderstand me here, we do a whole lot more parenting than these four things. But life with boys can quickly become a crazy house full of little minions that don’t listen, break everything they touch (which is going to be everything), run wild in dangerous ways, and allow natural competition to break one another down. We certainly don’t get it right every time but we’re trying and we’re fighting the good fights.

From the battlefield,

Mommy Pigg




The Best Daddys Make the Best Grampys

Growing up, I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl. Mom and I would butt heads and I would run to my dad, bat my eyelashes, and get what I wanted. Every. Time. This could be because my dad wasn’t around a whole lot. He worked long hours and when he came home he was usually too tired to play; however, his opinion was the one that mattered the most to me. He was the one I always wanted to impress and never disappoint. We always shared a very special bond and I would NEVER have it any other way.


My dad is a quiet soul. He observes a lot and doesn’t talk much. When we were younger, many of my friends would make it a challenge to get him to talk more; however, over the last several months I’ve seen a huge change in him. He’s developed a deeper relationship with Christ, doesn’t work nearly as much as he used to, is more present than ever before, and has never smiled so much or so big in all my 31 years! He has been the most amazing Grandpa Geoff to Malcolm and Addison and the best Grampy to Bruce.


Before Bruce was born, my dad wrote him a letter that I want to share with y’all. I was given this letter at our shower only 2 weeks before Bruce made his surprise appearance. I refused to read it in front of our guests, because I knew it would make me ugly cry! My dad has always had a way with written words, but this letter took my admiration for him to a whole ‘nother level. This letter encompasses who my dad is and why we are so very blessed to call him ours!

“Hey there grandson, Bruce Geoffrey, this is your Grampy here, counting the days until your arrival. Not quite six weeks more until we get to see you in person, to hold you, to love on you, and to welcome you into this world. I’ll be there when you open your eyes, the gray haired one… Your Grandma and I are so excited in anticipation of your arrival. We talk about you everyday!

I have a couple of areas where I can provide you guidance as I am a very seasoned veteran of this world and have had my share of life experiences.

1. Always follow the rules, even the little one as they are typically there for a good reason. You might not always agree with them, but rest assured that someone before you has already chosen not to follow them and suffered the consequences.  When you follow the rules, life usually works out okay…

2. Choices you make will create your successes as well as your failures.  The point being is that you need to consider the territory ahead and decide which pathway to follow.

3. Follow your conscience in determining what is right from wrong.  You may not understand now, but you will quickly learn to be mindful of your inner voice.

4. Be advised that if a situation arises where your Mother calls you by your first and middle names, that you have probably done something wrong and will be held accountable.

5. Seek the advice of your parents and grandparents, too. They have been around a lot longer than you have and are more than willing to share their journeys. Whether you believe it or not, they ARE smarter than you for many, many years to come.

6. Pay attention to what is going on around you and in your heart to create opportunities for good things to happen in your life.

7. Respect your parents as they love you and only want what is best for you.

8. Remember, Grandson, that Grandma and Grampy with always LOVE YOU too, because that’s what grandparents are made to do, just as your parents will.  We will always love you unconditionally, through the good times and the, let’s just say, the more challenging times.

There is no doubt in my mind that you will have the opportunity to teach me a thing or two as well.

One last thing for now little fella, I want to thank the Good Lord for blessing us with the opportunity to do one of the most fun jobs in life’s mature years; being a grandparent. I can’t wait to meet you, hold you in my arms, and rock you!”


Crying ALL the tears… How did we get so lucky?! This year on Father’s Day, I can not wait to celebrate the man who has been the BEST Daddy to me and has become the BEST Grampy to my son! I love you all the way to my back, DADDY!


Getting YOU Back After Baby- 6 Must Do’s

They say the first 6 weeks are the toughest after having a baby. Somewhere around then, you begin to feel “normal” again and have gained a little more confidence with your new role as mom. For me it was more like 8-10….maybe 12 weeks of healing and learning that my baby and me weren’t so breakable when it came to taking trips out of the house.

View More: http://breannamariephotography.pass.us/lillibridgelifestyle

So here are some ideas to help you get through those first 6 weeks after having a baby. I know each of these things in their own way helped me to feel somewhat normal again, and recognize that my body wasn’t totally destroyed; that there was still something left to pour into and take care of. Hopefully they are helpful for you new mamas too!

1. Schedule a Mani/Pedi for yourself, or with your best friend.

There is something so refreshing about getting your nails shaped, your feet scrubbed and your toes painted a pretty new color. You’ve put a lot of pressure of those feet for the last 9 months, give them a day off and pamper them and yourself.

2. Book a massage.

Our bodies have gone through something truly extraordinary. Getting a post pregnancy massage can help relieve sore spots, relax tense muscles, improve blood circulation and rejuvenate you. Heck, you can catch up on a few Z’s in there too!

3. Get your hair done.

Maybe you already got your hair cut and colored before baby. If so, then go in and get a blow out done. I mean, who has time these days to really blow dry and style their hair with a newborn? Getting a fresh cut, color and style can do wonders for your mood! Most of us know and acknowledge that our bodies change a lot with pregnancy. The reality is that it can be much harder for some than others. Looking in the mirror can feel, lets be honest, depressing. The only thing in your wardrobe these days is yoga pants and a loose top. THIS WAS ME, for a very long time. I knew my worth and value didn’t come from my appearance and I certainly was proud of what my body just accomplished, but I still didn’t feel very pretty. Every girl desires to feel beautiful. Getting your hair done can be just the key to feeling like the beautiful YOU again.

4. Take a relaxing bath, or 2 or 3.

Buy some scented candles, get some lavender bubble bath, turn on your favorite music and just soak. Not only are baths super helpful and cleansing for the region down below, but this is an easy 20-30 minute in home spa treatment available to you!

5. Buy yourself something nice.

Yes, treat yourself! You’ve had your body taken over by baby for the last year and it has been all about them. Rightfully so. If you can, save some money before baby comes to splurge on something for YOU during these first few weeks. It probably won’t be on clothes, but buy something that makes you giddy and excited. Maybe it’s a pair of new shoes, a handbag or sunglasses…whatever season you are in, splurge a little. You deserve it.


6. Find a happy place.

By that, I mean a place where you can quiet your mind, your body and feed your soul again. Maybe start a journal or devotional. Or maybe you like to meditate and practice light yoga. Whatever it is, find something that will give back to YOU, that will inspire you, that will give you wisdom and truth. It is easy to believe our negative thoughts, and get stuck in a low place. I struggled with postpartum depression and I know how hard it can be to feel joy when it should be one of the happiest moments of your life. For me, I enjoyed reading a short devotional, the one I chose is called Savor by Shauna Niequist. I also enjoyed a more in-depth bible study that fed my soul and mind. If you are looking for something like this, I’d recommend Breaking Free by Beth Moore.

Congratulations mama on your newest addition, I hope these tips help you through those first couple months to feel like the beautiful, strong, and brave YOU again.

My Bad, God

Whoops! On my jog this morning I realized that my current state of, “Boo hoo, poor me…without the injectables I can’t get pregnant this month,” is entirely unfair to my God. So sorry, Lord, my bad!


Yes it’s true that with the injectables my chances of a pregnancy this month would be 50% and without the injectables I only have a 15% chance, but in January I did ZERO treatment and got pregnant when my chances were 0.00005% of “no chance ever” so…what does that tell ya? It tells me that my God is WAY more powerful than science and if he wants me to have a baby and, more importantly, when he wants me to have a baby, he will make it happen.

My God has no awareness of femara, clomid, FSH injections, IUIs, or IVF. In fact, I imagine him up there on his throne laughing hysterically at me going, “Chelsea! Chill out, girl! It ain’t time yet! Gimme a chance!”

Chelsea Vail with tummy time nephew

So, whether you’re current state of suckage involves the death of a loved one, job loss, sucky medical diagnosis, or a house fire…sit back, get your head outta your ass and give God a chance to show you what he’s capable of. His plan is SO much better than yours!

Again, so sorry God that I threw myself a pity party doubting you!

What’s your God capable of?

Chelsea Vail with nephew