Wednesday, August 27, 2014

These are a Few of my Favorite Things...

A text conversation I just had with Jonathan made me laugh.  I was telling him that I lost a receipt that I need to take some clothes back and I realized halfway through my search that I have already looked high and low for this same receipt with no luck.  I proceeded to tell him that not only was I losing receipts, but I'm pretty sure my mind is gone as well.  Thank goodness I know for certain that I'm in good company in feeling this way.  I've learned to laugh (most of the time) at those "mommy brain" moments, but thinking about this prompted me to write about something else I've been thinking about and working on in my own life.  In today's busy, busy world I feel like it really is so easy to lose yourself.  Whether you are in college, working full time, a stay at home mom, or a retired grandparent, I think some, if not most of us have those moments when we lose touch with who we are as an individual.  What really makes us tick.  What makes us happy and content.  I'm not referring to the deep, dark details of our lives.  Jesus of course is number one to me.  Without him I would be nothing.  Without him I would have no joy.  I'm talking about the small things, though.  The simple things that get pushed to the side because we think they just aren't important.  I've recently done some thinking about what can add a little splash of "me" to my the everyday life of cooking, cleaning, laundry and changing diapers?  What can make my home (or for you your workspace) a little brighter and more cheery?  Here are a few of my favorite things.
  • Music playing on the radio!  I'll be honest here, country makes me the happiest, but I don't always like that to be what the little ears hear so my sweetheart made me a "Mixed Tape".  It includes Hanson, Elvis, Mercy Me, Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, Songs from Wicked, and lots more.  Hey, no judging allowed!  
  • Candles being lit and or my Scentsy warmer turned on.  I love any sweet smells like sugar cookies or cupcake.  Right now though I have a coconut lime candle lit and it smells like the beach!  Just heavenly.  It's crazy how a yummy smelling candle can completely change my mood!
  • Iced Soy Hazelnut Lattes (with only 1 pump of hazelnut).  Sometimes it's just worth stopping at the coffee shop and spending a few extra dollars.  
  • Wearing my favorite neon pink shorts, a t-shirt, and my hair pulled up off my neck.  Feeling comfortable, yet "put together" makes me feel like I can conquer the world (or at least the day). 
  • Having all of the blinds open and letting as much natural light in as possible.  My dream house is just full of windows (take notes Dad ;)) 
  • Taking a hot bath in the middle of the day when the girls are napping just because I can.  
  • Fresh (ok maybe almost dead) flowers from my love on the kitchen counter.  I love that he spoils me and he knows they make me happy!
  • Sweet smelling lotion and soap.  As much as I am trying to use more natural products I love Bath and Body Works and I'm ok with that.  It makes me happy.  

I'm sure I could add more to my list, but these are the first things that come to mind.  Each thing is so simple, but can completely change the tone of my day.  Taking time to remember what I like and what I enjoy.  Realizing that each part of me, even the part that loves candles and iced lattes was created perfectly by God.  I would love to hear a few of YOUR favorite things!







Sunday, August 24, 2014

Seasons

If there's anything that I've learned in my short 27 years it's that seasons come and go and change is inevitable.  I used to fight it so hard.  Like the time my youth pastor left us for "some band" and the "new guy" was super hero crazy. Yeah, I fought that pretty hard (I love you Joel and Randy ;)).  I even cried the day I turned 16 and received my long awaited drivers license.  I realized that that particular season of my life, the one in which my mom drove me everywhere, was gone.  All of the sudden in a matter of hours I had so much more responsibility.  I wasn't a kid.  It was all just flying by so fast and I couldn't even fathom how quickly it was passing for my parents.  In the past six and a half years that Jonathan and I have been married there have been more changes, more seasons than we could have ever imagined.  Right now in our life we are in a season of transition as our best friends move to the Northeast.  I know you may be thinking "people move all of the time" and yes they do, but I hesitate to even use the word friend for these people because really, they're family.  So while that is making life right now a little tough, a little bittersweet, I also see another season blooming.  Kadynce is starting her last year at the preschool at our church and Lydia her first.  It is such a sweet, sweet time with these precious girls that call me Mommy.  Knowing that this season will also be so fleeting, makes me stare at their sweet faces harder, and watch them sleep a little longer.  It makes me want to savor the small things just that much more.  I want to enjoy and soak up each season of life because, the truth is, I look back even at the hard ones with fond memories and think "if I had only known then."  Well, I do know now.  I know that God has us right where he wants us right at this moment.  I know that I'm going to soak it up for all its worth because we've been put here for a purpose and I want to live it out to the fullest!    

Monday, August 18, 2014

You're the Best Mommy!

 Did you know that you're the best mommy ever?  Yes you!

-You with the bottle of formula feeding your precious newborn.

-You nursing your two year old before she goes down for her nap.

-You rushing around making lunches for your little one to eat at daycare while you're at work.

-You still in your jammies teaching the ABCs and eating breakfast at 9am.

-You picking up dinner on your way home at 6:00 pm.

-You that has had a full, organic meal in the crock pot since 6:00 am.

- You that spends your Saturdays making fresh, from your garden, homemade baby food.

-You that fills your buggy up with Gerber at Walmart.

-You wearing your sweet baby around the mall while shopping.

-You pushing that stroller around the neighborhood for an evening walk.

-You searching Pinterest for hours for the perfect DIY birthday party.

-You that finds the best deals for party decor online and has it shipped straight to your door.

-You that spends hours washing, drying, and folding your baby's diapers.

-You who are looking for the best Huggies coupons as we speak.

-You whose child has never watched TV.

-You that doesn't know what you would do without Mickey Mouse.

-You that rocks your baby for hours every day.

-You that lets your baby "cry it out"

The list could go on and on, sweet Mommy.  The point is that YOU are the best for your child.  God entrusted him and /or her to you.  If you are doing what you believe is best for them and you are loving them the best you know how that, my friend is enough.  No more hiding your bottle in public because you feel embarrassed or ashamed.  No more justifying what you are or aren't feeding your baby.  No more putting yourself in an "all or none" box.  It's ok to wear your baby one day and use a stroller the next.  It's ok to feed them homemade food at home and jarred when out.  Be confident in the decisions that you and your husband make for your family.  Be confident in the abilities and instincts that  The Lord has given you. Be confident that you are the Best Mommy Ever!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday Isaac!

Isaac Preston,
Happy 3rd Birthday, perfect angel!  It just doesn't seem possible that 3 years have already passed.  Daddy and I celebrated your day yesterday by going to Disneyland, somewhere I have wanted to visit for as long as I can remember.  It truly is one of the happiest places on earth and I can't think of a better way to celebrate you.  I have no doubt in my mind that you would have loved it there.  We bought dolls for your sisters and I sure would have liked to buy a Mickey Mouse baseball or a goofy hat for you.  Although, like I tell your sister I know heaven is way better than Disneyland could ever be.  It was a beautiful day so we headed to the beach to see the sunset.  It was one of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen.  Our God is so creative and his blessings constantly take my breath away and leave me speechless.  I can only imagine the beauty and majesty of heaven.  Isaac, your life was and continues to be such a gift to me.  I am such a different and better person because of the lessons the Lord taught me through you.  You gave me a whole new perspective on life and I will forever be grateful for that.  I feel so blessed that I was chosen to be your Mommy and that the Lord trusted me with such a special little boy.  What an honor it is to call you my son.  
I love you so much!
Mommy
       

Monday, April 7, 2014

Topsie Turvy

I know I've been behind in my blogging the past few weeks, but I have a good excuse, I promise.  Those of you that know Jonathan and I know that we love to create fun and unique things.  Jonathan does a lot of photography and graphic design.  I love to sew, make bows, and pretty much try to replicate anything I see at craft shows.  We are those people that never buy anything because we want to make it ourselves.  Jonathan is always coming up with ideas for different businesses.  He talks about how, as a little boy, he set up a table in their driveway trying to sell rocks.  I'm sure he was the most adorable little entrepreneur ever.  Many of you know that my friend Heather and I have a little boutique, Simply Royalty, but Jonathan and I really wanted to do something together.  Something that would combine both of our talents.  After some very long brainstorming our new venture was born.  Topsie Turvy Coasters and Lids (thanks to my Dad for helping come up with the lid idea).  We have created a line of custom made, personalized coasters and jar lids made from mason jar lids. Either a photo sent to us by the customer or a high quality digital design is placed into the inside or the top of the lid.  It is then covered with resin to give it a beautiful glass-like and waterproof finish.








The possibilities for these products are really endless.  We have come up with some different templates, but are always open to working with the customer to design something special just for them.  We will be adding new designs very frequently so be sure to "like" our Facebook Page to stay up to date.




We are really excited to get this business up and running.  If you love our products as much as we do please share our Etsy Store or Facebook Page with your friends.  Topsie Turvy Coasters and Lids are wonderful gifts for people of all ages!!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

No More Excuses!

Do you want to clear up your skin?  Do you want more energy?  I started to write a long post about this and then deleted it.  It's simple really.  Fruits.  Veggies.  Eat them.  Drink them.  They are good for you.   God made them to be the perfect fuel for our bodies.  They heal you from the inside out.  

In all seriousness we love us some meat, but fresh produce has now become the primary source of what we eat on a daily basis and we have never felt better.  It literally makes to sick to think about what I used to fill my body with every day.  Highly processed "junk" that would just turn to sugar the minute I ate it.  Kadynce actually told us this weekend that she couldn't eat noodles because they would just turn to sugar.  That's right, sweet girl, that's exactly what it does.

I used to make excuse after excuse.  Unless it was covered in ranch or fried I didn't like veggies at all.  Making juice or fresh smoothies?  That took too much time.  No more excuses here y'all. I've learned to eat what I used to despise and we make the time to prepare fresh and healthy food.  God has given me this body and I want to treat it right.  God has given me this life and I want to enjoy it to the fullest.  What about you?!?!?  What are your excuses and are you willing to throw them out the window for a healthier life?



    

Friday, March 14, 2014

Books!

Today's SUYL topic at Kelly's Korner  is what we are currently reading.  I've never really been a big reader.  I'm not really sure why.  I think it's that I just always find something else to do and reading tends to make me sleepy. I do almost always have a book that I'm in the process of reading, it just may take me for-e-ver to get through it.  Right now I'm reading Growing Up Duggar by the four oldest Duggar girls.  


As I've mentioned before, we're big fans of the Duggar family.  I use the word fan lightly because it's not like they are a sports team or rock band, they are simply a bigger than average family living their lives to bring honor to The Lord.  I was so excited about this book because I just told Jonathan recently that I was hoping they would write something like this. In the book they discuss what it was like growing up in the Duggar household, especially during those tough teenage years.  The girls are far from perfect and they freely admit that, but I have always so admired their passion for purity in all aspects of their lives.  They never seem bitter and never say the way they live is because their parents said to.  They live the way they do because they know it's what brings the most honor to God.  I'm just in the first chapter of this book, but I'm so excited to see what they have to say.  I know my girls are still very little, but they are growing so fast.  Kadynce is so inquisitive and is already asking questions that I thought we wouldn't have to answer for a few more years.  Even though she sometimes takes me off guard, I love watching her soak everything up like a sponge.  I'm just so honored that God chose me to be these precious girls' mommy.  To teach them about His love and what it says in His word.  I have some incredibly Godly women in my life that have been such a wonderful example for me, but I am looking forward to some good insight from the Duggar girls themselves.

Also, I can't forget what I read daily with my littles.  Lydia LOVES to read.  She would sit in my lap and read all day if I let her.  Kadynce is finally to the point where she likes to read too.  If we're having a tough day we just sit on the floor in the playroom and read book after book.  30 minutes later everyone has a better attitude.  Lydia is at the age where she loves board books.  Especially the ones with different textures on the page or flaps to lift.  Kadynce likes to read longer stories now.  There are several books that the girls and I read frequently, but my personal favorite is Audrey Bunny by Angie Smith. 


If you don't know the story of Angie's precious daughter Audrey Caroline, you can read it here.  I could go on and on about how Audrey's story has impacted my life and helped me choose joy while carrying our Isaac, but I'll save that for another day and another time.  Needless to say, Audrey Bunny is the sweetest story and has the most beautiful illustrations.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Glamorous Life

The other day I posted this picture of my green juice, Parenthood on the TV, and a pile of laundry beside me, on Intagram and Facebook with the hashtag #lovemyglamorous life.


Yes, this is my definition of glamorous.  This life that I'm living right now is all I've ever wanted.  Having the privilege to stay home to raise our children.  Using the couple of hours during nap time to catch up on laundry and my favorite shows.  It's really a dream come true and most of the time my heart feels so full that I think it might burst.  If I'm being honest though (and I am) there have been times recently that things haven't felt so glamorous, even by my standards.   Friends moving away, losing jobs, facing infertility, finding out their cancer has relapsed.  Not to mention the extremely fussy 18 month old that has been battling a cold and getting new teeth at the same time for what seems like forever.  It just hasn't been a pretty month.  Yesterday Jonathan came home to music blaring in the kitchen in my efforts to drown out the fit that was being thrown in the playroom.  When he turned it down I went on a rant about how I hate that I'm limited to Christian music because I never know what's going to come on the other stations.  (Sidenote: I love Christian music, but I love other genres too.  Feel free to judge me.)  I asked him if he would put together a playlist that the girls and I can both listen to and enjoy.  My witty husband replied with "so basically you want me to make you a mixed tape?"  I said "exactly! Isn't that supposed to be one of the biggest signs of love?  Making someone a mixed tape."  Then I burst into laughter as well as tears and fell into his arms because I was completely and utterly worn out from the day.  The constant crying.  The emotional roller coaster that our lives have recently become.  Sometimes it seems like too much.  I've lost my temper more than I care to admit.  I haven't consistently been the example of a Godly wife and mother that I want to be for my girls.  I've let fear and worry fill my mind and my heart.  I've even eaten a few too many bowls of popcorn.  All of that being said, I'm not going to beat myself up over any of this.  I'm giving myself grace.  Some seasons are more challenging than others.  We've learned that very well over the past few years.  This season is one in which I often close my eyes and imagine myself in Hawaii.

Don't get me wrong, I'm so thankful for all of my blessings.  The fact that I have babies that cry when they need me.  The pain I feel when a friend is hurting because they are like family.  The heartbreak of saying goodbye since you love them so much.  Someone once said to me that they just didn't want to develop close friendships anymore because people always move.  I told her it's kind of like the saying "it's better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all."  When we become so invested in other's lives we feel their pain.  If their heart is broken so is ours.  If they move away it's like we're losing a piece of ourselves.  That pain though, it's totally worth it for the joy and growth that those relationships bring.  So here I am.  Just going through the day to day hard stuff that many of you are facing as well.  Sometimes wishing I could escape to a tropical paradise, but mostly just relishing in the fact that I really do love my glamorous life!                   

Friday, March 7, 2014

Kickin it Old School

I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner again for a fun topic.  Awkward pictures from your past.  I didn't have a chance to go to my parent's to look through all of our old pictures so I was limited to what we have around here.  Like most people I feel like my most awkward years were during middle school and early high school.  I'm also throwing in a few pictures that I just thought were cute and or funny.

The moment I had waited for my entire life.  Playing the flying angel in our church's Easter Pageant. 

Check out the Hanson shirt.  I was pretty obsessed, I'm not going to lie.
Gotta love those overalls.  I actually hear they're making a comeback.  That should be interesting... 

The time I highlighted my boyfriend's hair.

Going to a Stardusters dance.  What you can't see very clearly is my furry leopard choker and bracelet.  

80's day!


Wasn't I a beautiful bride?


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

All you need is....


Last week I asked a simple question on Facebook.  "What is love?"  These are some of the responses I received:  
 "Love is simple, given freely, contagious, full of grace and open armed! Fully God and shown to each of us!" 
 "Love is meeting needs"
Love..is God-given...it motivates and drives us to action--to fight, to put needs of others before one's own, causing us to put aside our own desires and preferences for the sake of someone else. When I think of love I also think of how it encompasses truth, justice and "grace...it treasures, cherishes deeply, and goes to great lengths to protect.
"True love is a choice, a choice to be selfless and put the needs of others in front of your own, and we all have unique needs which creates unique love."
For the past several years people, especially the younger generations have adopted somewhat of a "hippie" attitude.  Now don't get me wrong, I have been referred to as a hippie myself recently and I'm not planning on abandoning my essential oils or juicer anytime soon.  But, I'm referring to the "all you need is love" attitude.  The idea that loving someone means you stand by their every choice and every move no matter what it may be.  Even if that means going against what you know to be true.  It's all in the name of love and that seems to make it ok.  Or not... Let's look at a few verses and see what the bible has to say.

Philippians 4:8-9 says 

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."  
 Then in Ephesians 6:10-18 when talking about putting on the armor of God 
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but againstthe rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 
In looking at these verses (among others) I believe that standing up for the truth is a very important part of being a believer, even if it means disagreeing with what others are saying.  Just because you don't agree with what someone is doing or how someone lives their life doesn't mean that you can't and don't love them.  I have seen so many people either stand up for what they believe to be wrong or not stand up for what is right in the name of love.  This truly saddens my heart.  It makes me sad because we live in a society that believes you can't disagree with someone and still love them.  It makes me sad because so many are missing the fact that we can truly share Christ's love and stand up for the truth at the same time.  In fact, many times the best way to love someone is by sharing the truth with them.  I'm not talking about getting in their face and being rude or judgmental.  The bible says in Matthew 7:1-5
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."
We must deal with our own sins and be careful not to be judgmental, but that doesn't mean that we can't or shouldn't address the sins of others.  If you take a stand for what you believe the bible says to be true, but don't reject or shun those that don't listen, that is loving them well.  That is loving how Christ loved.  Jesus spoke the truth.  He didn't sugar coat it.  He didn't change his message depending on who was listening.  He didn't worry about who he was going to offend.  He knew that people weren't going to listen or follow everything he said, but he still loved them the same.  He loves me, even though I go against what he says on a daily basis.  Even though I know what he says is true, and right, and good, I still mess up.  He loves me anyway.  This is the type of love our world needs more of.  The type of love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.   
If we look back at the responses I received to the question "what is love" I see a very common trend.  People see love as meeting other's needs and doing this freely without expecting anything in return.  They believe it's a reflection of God's love for them.  I think this fits perfectly with where my heart has been for a while now.  People need the truth.  If they don't hear it from you, someone that loves them,  how do you know they ever will.  Speak the truth in love.  That's what Jesus did.

Just a little something I have to add at the end of this.  Notice that I didn't mention any specific "truths" in this post.  That is not what this was about.  I don't what to debate certain sins. My prayer is that if you have not already you will take time to dig into the bible and see what it has to say for yourself.  Also, as a believer remember that you have the Holy Spirit inside you to help you discern right from wrong.  Allow Him to guide you through those difficult conversations.  Ask the Lord to give you a spirit of love.  A Love like what He so freely gives to us.        

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lunchtime

A few weeks ago I promised a series of posts discussing what we eat throughout the week.  Once again we are not experts, but since you've been asking I decided to answer.  I've already covered breakfast so let's move onto lunch.  I've heard so many people say that lunch is one of the hardest meals to plan and I agree.  A lot of times it ends up being a hodge podge of whatever is in the fridge or pantry, a sandwich, or maybe even nothing at all.  I know moms are so guilty of the later.  By the time we get all of the tiny mouths fed we really don't want to make anything for ourselves.  We end up eating a hand full of nuts and calling it a meal.  Those of you that work outside of the home have a whole other set of challenges.  I'm sure packing a healthy, but yet tasty meal can seem daunting.  Not to mention those times your coworkers want to go grab a burger.  All of these reasons and more is why lunch is such a struggle for so many of us.  

Once again the solution is somewhat simple... plan, plan, plan!  I usually plan my meals for the next week on Saturday and we do our grocery shopping on Sundays.  I don't plan our lunches as strictly as I do dinner, but I basically make sure I have healthy and easy options to choose from.  Here are my go to meals for lunch.  Keep in mind that this is what Jonathan and I eat.  The girls eat your more typical "kid foods" for lunch such as peanut butter and honey (natural peanut butter, local honey, and whole wheat bread), homemade mac and cheese (not as hard as it sounds), and nitrate free, organic hot dogs with raw milk cheese.  They love to eat any type of fruit as a dessert after lunch.  Back to what Jonathan and I eat... 
  • Chicken Sausage with Sautéed veggies.  HEB has several different varieties of natural chicken sausage that we really like are they are very low calorie.  Our current favorite is Feta and Spinach.  We like to eat this with sautéed onions and peppers.  It is so yummy it's hard to believe it's healthy!  
  • Egg Salad - I like to boil eggs and make egg salad by just mashing up the eggs with some mustard, chopped dill pickles, natural ham or bacon that's been chopped up, and fresh cracked pepper.  I just eat it out of a bowl with a fork.  You could also eat it with pieces of bell pepper. That would be delicious and a good way to get your veggies in.
  • Guacamole and turkey/ham roll ups - We make our own guac when we want it by mashing up an avocado with some lime juice and spices, but you could easily buy some freshly made from your produce section.  Just look at those ingredients and make sure it's all natural.  We like to put this on a piece of ham or turkey with a slice of bell pepper and sometimes some bacon.  4 of these with a side or raw fruits and veggies is an easy and very fresh tasting lunch packed with great nutrients.  
  • Sandwiches - Every now and then we'll make a sandwich on whole wheat bread, but we really try to stay away from a lot of breads, pastas, etc especially at lunch.  Not that they're all bad we both just notice our bodies react better when we stay away from them.  Weight loss is so much easier without those things.  
  • Leftovers - I've never been a huge fan of leftovers, but this really is a good one.  If you're cooking healthy dinners then eating that for lunch the next day is a wonderful option.  There are many options for meals that make wonderful leftover lunches such as soup and chili.  When we grill a lot in the summer we like to grill more meat than we need and use it the next day for salads or a simple meat and veggie stir fry. 
I feel like this is such a simple list, but we really do try to keep it simple around here.  I'm more likely to follow through with my plan if it's quick and easy.  I know I didn't address the eating out issue because I'm planning on doing that in a whole post of it's own.  Another thing I need to mention is that most of these meals seem fairly small or incomplete.  There are several reasons for that.  We live in a culture where lunch is not complete without chips or fries on the side.  This is such a dangerous thought process.  We should be thinking a meal is not complete without enough veggies.  With all of our meals we either mix our veggies in like with the sausage or on a sandwich, or we eat them on the side (sometimes with hummus) like with the roll ups or the egg salad.  The nutrients found in fruits and vegetables is essential to our health.  It is what allows our bodies to heal themselves on the inside.  Also, these meals are all quite a bit smaller and lower calorie than a typical American lunch, even more so than the ones that would be considered healthy.  We have been trying to space out our calories throughout the day, meaning lunch and dinner are a little smaller, but our snacks are bigger and more nutrient filled.  This is what is best for your metabolism, but once again it may not fit with all lifestyles and schedules so you really have to figure out what works for you and your family.  

I hope you all find this at least somewhat helpful.  Like I said before, the key really is in the planning.  Figure out some quick and healthy go to meals that your family enjoys.  Keep those ingredients on hand and you're one step closer to reaching your goal of a healthy lifestyle!   

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Disney, My Favorite!!!!

Today I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner favorite vacation spots.  Last year I linked up with that same topic and was giddy about our upcoming Disney vacation.  I've always loved Disney World, even before I ever went.  I watched a Disney sing a long video that was filmed in Disneyland over and over as a little girl and dreamed on the day that I would walk down Main Street USA.  It's so funny because Kadynce has watched that same (VHS) about a thousand times and we have on video the first thing she said as we entered the gates was "It's main street USA Daddy!"  It was too sweet.  Anyway... I've taken multiple trips to Disneyworld and it's always magical.  They made fun of me on senior trip because the whole 18 hour trip all I could talk about was how it was the happiest place on earth.  I just so happen to have a picture of those good 'ol days.  


I seriously can't remember ever wanting to go anywhere other than Disneyworld on my honeymoon.  Disney at Christmas,as a newlywed, once again.... magical.


Now on to our most recent trip.  I wanted to share a few tips that I believe would be helpful if your planning a Disney vacation with little ones.  I'm sharing a few pics too.  You know, just for fun ;)

  • Try to find a balance between planning and going with the flow.  Have a general plan, get fast passes, make reservations, but also leave room for the unexpected.  You never know what random parade is going to begin that you just can't pull your star-struck 4 year old away from.  I mean seriously when you look over and their smile is literally from ear to ear, you might think your heart is about to burst right out of your chest.  Savor those moments.  Those are the ones you can't plan, the ones you can't capture with a camera, the ones you'll hold in your heart forever.  It may mean waiting a little longer in the next line, or perhaps ever missing a whole show, but it's worth it.  That's the magic of Disney.


  • Know that you won't get to do everything.  This is somewhat along the same lines as my first point, but just keep in mind that there is more to do at Disney than there are hours in a day.  Prioritize what your family wants to do most and try to do those things first, but even some of those may be missed for one reason or another and that's ok.  For example, I had in my mind we would be watching fireworks every night.  That did not happen for several reasons, one of which was that Kadynce was terrified of them and (GASP) our trip was not ruined.


  • If you are staying at a disney resort and have your own car (or a rental) drive it to the park (unless at a resort with the monorail.)  This may save a little time, but I also believe it saves your sanity with little ones.  Letting them stay in their car seat and not having to load them, all their life belongings, and their stroller(s) on and off is buses is really nice, especially when leaving the park absolutely exhausted at the end of the day.
  • Bring water bottles and snacks!!!  This is pretty self explanatory, but food and drinks are expensive in the park so you'll save a lot of money by bringing some sustenance along with you.
  • I could go on and on about specific places to go and things to do, but I'm going to leave you with the most important tip I believe there is.  HAVE FUN!!! A little cliché, but one I think this is too often forgotten especially by the mommy.  So much thought and preparation goes into planning for such a big trip that sometimes we lose sight of what it's all about.  If your little princess sleeps through the Beauty and the Beast show when you just knew that would be her favorite and you thought you planned it around her nap, don't stress.  She'll find her own favorite part of the trip and will talk about it for months (even if it's swimming in the resort pool).  Smile so much your cheeks hurt, laugh until you cry, loose track of time and eat ice cream for dinner at 8 pm.  Enjoy your sweet little blessing that are having the time of their lives.  Embrace the "happiest place on Earth" with every ounce of the child inside of you.   That's what a disney vacation is all about.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Jesus Loves Me

I think one of the best things about having children is getting to experience the world through their eyes.  I wrote about that a little bit just a few years ago.  As Kadynce is getting older and she is beginning to really learn the basic truths of The Bible it has been such a good reminder for me.  The preschoolers at church are told over and over the God made them, He loves them, and Jesus wants to be their friend forever.  They don't question these truths.  They just believe them, even though they may not fully understand them.  Oh to have that childlike faith.  To truly rest in the fact the we are so very loved by God, the very one that created us.



Kadynce absolutely loves to sing.  Anything from Frozen, to the Sound of Music, to songs she's learned on Barney, but she REALLY loves to sing about God and his love for her.  It won't come as a surprise to most of you, but in this house we believe in the power of music.  The music you listen to really permeates every part of who you are.  We see this so vividly with Kadynce.  What goes into her head is what comes out and since she believes she's living in a musical, it always comes out in song.  Below I've posted a video of Kadynce singing "Jesus Loves Me."  I may be showing off my sweet little song bird just a little.  I can't help it.  But I truly hope you will be blessed by it.  May it serve as a reminder that you are loved and yes, some things really are that simple.


Friday, February 21, 2014

She Calls Him Isaacs

A couple of weeks ago I posted a picture of the cover of a book my mom made for us and specifically Kadynce.  It's Isaac's story told in the most perfect way.  Mom thought out every detail and every page and it is such a priceless gift to us.  It displays the joy that our precious boy brought into our lives.  It shows his life in which he truly knew nothing but love, especially from his big sister.  Words will never be enough to express how thankful we are for this gift.  I've had several people ask to see it so I've posted it below.  As always we love sharing Isaac's story with anyone that will listen.

Click here to view this photo book larger
Turn your favorite photos into a photo book at Shutterfly.com.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hats

Do you ever feel like your head's just not big enough to wear all of your hats?  Haha no silly, not that kind of hat.  I'm referring to when the term "hat" is used to described the various roles you play in life. I'm wife, mommy, daughter, friend, granddaughter, niece, cousin, daughter in law, pastor's wife, nursery volunteer and others that I'm sure forgot to name.  Add in all of the "small hats" so to speak under each one such as chef, housekeeper, counselor, teacher, nurse, etc and that's a lot of hats. Sometimes it just feels so overwhelming.  This morning my mind was racing.  Thinking about what I needed to say to who, how to be the best friend I could, how I have failed as a mommy and wife over the past few days.  Honestly at times I feel like all of these hats, all of these responsibilities are smothering me.  I know Im not alone in feeling this way.  Then in the midst of my head spinning I was reminded of something.  The words I wrote in my last post.  Grace.  I should try giving myself some.  I can't be everything to everybody all the time.  There are times when one or more hats may need to be hung up for a while so I can focus on what's right in front of me at that moment.  There are times that my different roles are going to clash.  For example, being the wife I need to be may mean being not such a good friend.  There are also those times that all of the hats work together in perfect harmony although this may seem rare.  In all of it, I know my intentions.  I am being the best I know how.  If I am remaining in prayer, asking God for guidance and discernment to balance and prioritize my life it won't seem so overwhelming.  I can't expect myself to be perfect because I'm a sinner.  Saved by grace, yes, but still a sinner for sure.    

As I was thinking through this post I was reminded how truly blessed I am have to all of these hats to wear. Although sometimes overwhelming I don't consider them burdens.  I see the people behind each one and I am so thankful and proud of them.  I have the most amazing husband, children, parents, friends, grandparents, in-laws, and the list goes on.  I thought for fun I would share some of these incredible blessing with you.
















So to you dear mommy, wife, daughter, coworker, friend, grandmother, and whoever else may be reading this. Give yourself some grace and wear those hats with pride and thankfulness!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

His Grace is Enough

I've gotten a little behind and off track this week.  I will continue to write about what we eat soon, but first I had to share what's been on my mind.  This week was one of the hardest I have had in a long time.  An absolute roller coaster of emotions.  One minute I was on cloud nine being romanced by and swooning over my husband.  Then in the next breath I was bawling my eyes out over the heartache that surrounds me that I have zero control over.  This time this up and down, back and forth was not caused by me just being an overly emotional, crazy woman.  It really was that hard of a week and there really is that much going on right now.  As I was thinking back over the past few years this post came to mind.  One in which I wrote about Sovereignty vs. Responsibility.  I still agree 100% with what I wrote that day, but I would like to add something.  You see, over the past three years I feel like we have grown up by ten.  Some of this growth happened because of trials and heartache.  Some was the continual mentoring and investing in our lives by friends and family.  But in reality the primary source of our growth came from The Lord and the way he faithfully shows us grace each day.  Grace, this was the piece I was missing before.  I knew it was there.  I knew we were saved by it.  I didn't really comprehend that daily grace, though.  The grace that God gives each time we snap at our kids or husband.  The grace for those days when we really just want to ignore the dirty dishes and laundry.  The grace that covers us in those moment when less than kind words are said to our friends.  Grace that is extended to us when sinful thoughts fill our heads.  It's that grace that I have learned to appreciate and somewhat rely on the past few years.  It's that grace that allows me to "restart" my day at any moment I choose.  It's that grace that I now try to extend to others no matter how bad they don't "deserve" it.

When I wrote that post 3 years ago I was angry.  My family had been hurt so badly and I didn't feel like my heart would ever be the same.  But as time went on I realized that I couldn't live in bitterness and anger forever.  After all, if I was given what I "deserved" God would've  just wiped me out right then and there years ago.  But he didn't.  He covered me with his grace and I am so thankful for that.  We are to live our lives striving each day to be more like Jesus and that means showing grace to others.  No matter what.  No questions asked.  This is so much easier said than done.  Jesus is perfect, we are not.  Our sinful natures want to hold grudges.  We want to get revenge.  We want them to get what's coming to them.  Think for a moment though about the tables being turned.  You're having a bad day and say something or do something you shouldn't.  Wouldn't you want to be forgiven?  By showing someone that wrongs you, whether intentional or not, God's love and grace you are doing exactly what we are called to do.  You are being the hands and feet of Christ.  You are showing them that there is more to this life than just the daily grind.  You are making a difference and possibly a bigger one than you realize.

As I said in my previous post three years ago I believe that we are held accountable for our actions and there are consequences, but most importantly if we are believers our sins are covered by the blood of Christ.  Isaiah 1:18 says "Come now, and let us reason together,” saith the Lord. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."  Isn't that wonderful news, to know your sins are completely forgiven, wiped clean.  Instead of spending all of eternity suffering and in misery (which is definitely what we deserve) we get to spend it in Paradise worshipping our Savior forever! Praise the Lord and Hallelujah!!!!
         

Thursday, February 6, 2014

For the love of Bacon!

I asked Jonathan last night what I should write about next.  He jokingly said "ME!"  Then when he realized that wasn't the answer I was looking for he said I should write about Bacon.  Little does he know that's exactly what I'm going to do.  Write about my sweet hubby... and bacon.

Knowing that we have made changes in our diet and lifestyle in general, so many people have been asking me lately about what we eat.  Some are looking for ideas for their own family, some are just curious, and some want a magic cure all diet (I know that's what I always hoped for.)  I can't even tell you how many people have said "I want to know your secret!"  Well, I've got some possibly disappointing news.  There is no secret.  We really do just eat healthy and exercise.  I do know though, that switching from the all american diet of highly processed foods to fresh, whole foods can seem way too overwhelming.  So much so that it's easy to just give up before you even begin.  Like I said in my previous post we took things in baby steps and in a way still are.  As I would learn something new, we would change that part of our diet.  Before I go any further in this post I have to reiterate that we ARE NOT experts.  I am a nurse, but not your doctor.  We don't follow any specific diet.  We don't always eat Paleo, or gluten free, or dairy free.  I do, however use some recipes that fit into these categories. We "cheat" fairly often depending on what's available, if we're eating out or at someone's house, or if we just have a craving that has to be satisfied.  I know if some real fitness people read this there's a possibility that they would be mortified and tell me we're doing everything wrong.  Needless to say, I feel way under qualified to tell any of you about eating healthy.  You've been asking though and I can honestly say that we're putting in every effort to be as healthy as possible.

So that brings me to the question "what do you eat?"  In my last post I did a broad overview of changes that we have made, but I think a lot of you are wanting more specifics.  I'm going to break this into a few different post and today's going to be about breakfast.  You always hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but really how many of us act like this is true?  I am still working on that myself because like it or not, it really is so very important.  I'm going to make a list of what we most frequently eat for breakfast.  I'm also going to add in things that I would like to start doing.


  • Eggs - This is the number one thing our whole family eats for breakfast.  We usually just eat them scrambled.  Jonathan and I both really like them with diced veggies (onions, peppers, spinach) cooked in with them, but honestly don't do this as much as we should.  Eggs have gotten a bad rap for so long because of cholesterol, but recent studies are saying that eggs are actually really good for you and one of the best sources of protein.  I usually try to shoot for 20 grams of protein at breakfast.  Another note, this is something that we always buy organic.  Just compare an organic egg to conventional and you'll know why.
  • Smoothies - This is Kadynce's absolute favorite and she's really not very picky about flavor.  We try to have frozen bananas on hand because they make the smoothies super creamy and sweet. One of my personal favorites is frozen banana, plain greek yogurt, a little milk of choice, peanut butter, and cocoa powder.  I use different ratios every time and it's always delicious.  There are so many yummy recipes out there.  Just remember fruit is already sweet so there's usually no reason for added sugar, even honey.  We are trying to also start adding more greens such as spinach and kale to our smoothies.  
  • BACON - I promised you bacon and here it is.  This is another food that is somewhat tabooed in the diet world.  Unless its Turkey bacon.  Not in our house.  We buy uncured, no nitrate bacon.  This is something that I really would like to buy organic or even straight from the farm someday.  Bacon is another great source of protein and let's be honest, everybody loves bacon.  Now, we don't go crazy and eat the whole pack, but we do eat it.  We just count the calories and enjoy every bite ;)
  • Yogurt, Granola, and Berries - Lately this has been something I like to eat in the mornings.  Plain greek yogurt, organic granola, fresh berries, and a little local honey drizzled on top.  Yes, I know I said earlier that fruit is sweet enough without honey, but when it's not blended into the yogurt it's just a little tart for me.  Be careful with the granola.  Make sure that it's not highly processed.  If you have time to make it yourself that's even better.  Also watch portions because it is usually really high calorie.  Jonathan was actually joking last night that his bowl of granola at one time was probably 1200 calories, and he wasn't joking.  
  • There are a few other things we make on occasion, such as banana pancakes that are just egg and banana and Paleo waffles (google eat like a dinosaur waffles), but these are our breakfast staples.
Last, but not least I want to touch on food and lifestyle.  A dear friend brought this up the other day as we were discussing what we feed our families.  We have to be sure our food choices fit within our budget and our schedule.  As a mommy and a wife I can't spend all day everyday in the kitchen making everything from scratch.  We need to make sure we aren't worshipping food by letting it consume all of our time.  Also, our budget just doesn't allow us to buy certain items every single week.  I would love to buy everything organic and from the local dairy, but I just can't at this time. This is where my darling husband comes into play... big time!  We have been able to make a lot of the changes we have because of his help.  He helps with grocery shopping, meal planning, and even cooking the meals.  This has been a 100% team effort.  I am so blessed that he is able to do this and it has therefore made this transition for our family much smoother.  The key really is figuring out what works for you personally.  I hope this answers some questions and I will update again soon with some lunch ideas.    

Monday, February 3, 2014

I Am a "Boy Mom"

First and foremost I want to say I have the best friends and family.  It's not even noon on my 27th birthday and I feel overwhelmed with love.  Thank you all so much for being a part of my life and loving me so well.  I know this is a strange post to publish on my birthday, but it's been on my mind and actually got typed out last night.  So here it is.

*disclaimer: if any of you have said any of these things to me, please don't feel bad at all.  That's not what this post is about and my feelings have NOT been hurt by any of you :)

It starts off with a simple question.  "Are y'all going to try for a boy?"  Or sometimes even the statement "if you had a boy you would understand."  These words never hurt my feelings or make me angry with the person saying them.  After all, it's usually just the nature of small talk amongst young mommies.  Chat about our children, it's what we do.  The feelings that come about from the seemingly simple questions or statements are anything but simple for me.  I want to yell "I AM A BOY MOM" or "I DO HAVE A LITTLE BOY!"  Not out of anger with the poor unsuspecting person on the other end of the conversation.  Honestly though, a little out of anger about the situation in general.  Anger that my little boy isn't here showing me what being a "boy mom" is all about.  Sadness that his sisters don't have him here bugging them to pieces.  And simply because I'm proud to be Isaac's mommy and I want the world to know he's my son, my little boy.  I carried him in my womb for eight months.  We bought tiny blue clothes and soft blue blankets.  We named him.  I gave birth to him.  We held him in our arms for nine precious hours and in our hearts forever.  We bathed him with the help of his big sister.  We might not have had the honor to parent him like we would have hoped, but we do have a son.  I miss him, a lot.  Some days more than others, but not a day passes that my heart doesn't ache for just one more moment with him.  I don't dwell on the sadness and heartache, because even in those hard moments (that still come more frequently than most probably realize), I choose joy.  Yes, as I was discussing with some friends yesterday, joy is a choice and I choose it. I really do!  (Sometimes after a good cry ;))

I know this post isn't very deep and may even seem a little pointless, but it has been on my mind for a lot of reasons. As always I'm just trying to be transparent and let others in similar situations know they're not alone.  Losing a baby or child is hard.  It leaves a hole in your heart and in your family.  I wish my Isaac hadn't been sick and that he was here being a stinky two year old boy.  I wouldn't trade him for the world, though.  I would go back and do it all over again, pain and all.  He was and is my precious gift from God and I am so thankful for him.  I'm so incredibly blessed to be mommy to two beautiful girls and one handsome little BOY!