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.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014


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!