Friday, September 12, 2014

Recently I’ve Been…


Making: far too many trips to different stores. I feel this urgent need to get everything I may or may not need for the rest of the month RIGHT now. Elizabeth’s newest phrase is “no more stores.” Seriously I feel her pain but I also feel the need to take advantage of every great coupon and sale that has come before me and to get things ready for when baby girl makes her entrance.

Cooking: More variety? I’ve been stuck in a rut for the summer and it seems my brain can only be so creative with dinner. BUT I’m happy cooler weather is upon us because this week some of our cooler weather favorites like Black Bean and Corn stuffed peppers and Chicken and Rice casserole have hit the table with a cheer of thanksgiving from all parties in our family. Elizabeth has eaten more this week than in the past two weeks. Apparently she was not enjoying my cooking rut either.

Drinking: Root Beer, water, homemade decaf lattes and hot water with lemon oil and honey. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather the past couple of days so I have been oiling away in hopes to keep this cold at bay. So far so good. And root beer…non-pregnant Andrea doesn’t really care for it, pregnant Andrea on the other hand loves it.

Reading:  Nurture Shock, my Bible, and plenty of websites regarding preschool. I know not everyone is a preschool fan but as long as things continue to go well, we anticipate Elizabeth heading to preschool next fall and I’m enjoying researching all the amazing options that are available. Kaleidoscope in Hopkins is my favorite so far since I happen to be a HUGE fan of the Emilia Reggio Preschool approach but it might be a bit far.

Wanting: to meet this little girl. I am equally scared of what’s ahead and elated to meet her all in the same breath. I’ve contemplated trying Castor Oil and then I look at our house and our days and I’m ready to let her just cook a bit longer. As much as I want to meet her, I’m not quite sure I’m fully ready. Although I’m sure I never would be FULLY ready!

Looking: forward to fall. It’s hands down my favorite season and I am LOVING this cooler weather. While I do like summer, I’m glad it’s just one of four seasons. I love the spirit of back to school and apple picking and cider donuts and pumpkins. The whole bit gets me excited.

Playing: as far as music, classical and the Sovereign Grace Pandora station. Seriously I wouldn’t make it through the day without that station. Preaching Gospel to this worn out mama’s heart is what I need all.day.long. And tactilely, choo-choos, blocks, and dollhouse with Elizabeth.

Wasting: precious time that I could be napping (who am I kidding, I cannot nap) and sleeping in general, on my phone or on my computer. I selfishly have been taking large amounts of me time throughout the day because I know soon, very soon, I will feel like I don’t have any me time at all. So disregard our cluttered and slightly messy house.

Sewing: Last week I made some little bitty blankets for the baby and matching little and big sister shirts for the girls. I don’t get my sewing machine out that often but I’m always happy when I do.

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Wishing: that housecleaners would magically come and clean our house from top to bottom. It’s not so dirty or even yucky, but just having it clean would be so delightful and life giving.

Enjoying: These last days with Elizabeth although some days it feels like parenting couldn’t get much harder. (I know it will). “mommy watch” are my two favorite words these days when she wants me to cuddle her up on the couch and snuggle down in the blankets and watch any of her favorite shows. Resting and cuddling with my girl…precious indeed.

Waiting: For baby. (the Dr. at my appt today seemed to imply she would be surprised if I made it to my appt next Friday. I’m hoping she’s right.) For a sweater I exchanged for Elizabeth to arrive. For daddy to come home (some days). For a break.

Liking: the crisp cool weather, how the nursery is coming together, the conversations of late with my husband, that our house is FINISHED! (for now), and that all 3 of my eldest nephews and niece are on instagram (hilarious!!).

Wondering: what life will look like in just a few short weeks with a new baby. Will nursing go well, will I heal quickly, will I be able to jump back into life fairly quickly like I did with Elizabeth? (within reason)

Loving: That our daughter, who has gotten a bit more anxious/sensitive in new situations, jumped right into BSF. We called it church school and she had a great time. I have a feeling that this year she is going to grow up right before my eyes and I’m so thankful I get to spend my days watching her learn and grow.

Hoping: that I will be able to try this vest on at the J.Crew Factory outlet because I love it and want to make sure I order the right size.

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Marveling:  at the fact that in a few short weeks we will have 2 daughters. 5 years or so ago, right before we went back to our Reproductive Endocrinologist, I was certain we would be living our lives childless. And I had fully surrendered my desires and felt content moving forward with no children. Then came Elizabeth. And we felt so overwhelmed with gratitude and contentment that we didn’t even really ask for more. And then came this little one. Seriously I couldn’t have imagined this incredible gift of two little ones to pour into and mother.

Needing: this verse plastered in front of me at all times since the end of Pregnancy and just being done makes mommy a little less kind and a bit more temperamental. Also I need to finish my “homemade curriculum” for Elizabeth. I have all of our months of Biblical character traits laid out but I need to match up verses and stories for each month. It’s the only way I know we will be intentional to work on them. I’ll post them soon.

“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Proverbs 29:11

Wearing: Sweaters! Hurray…And my wedding ring. Which still shocks me that it still fits even at almost 38 weeks.

Following: the news and trying not to be too skeptical, cynical, disheartened, saddened, or angry all at once.

Smelling: The cinnamon scent of Thieves because we’ve been applying it liberally to keep colds away. I just diluted a few of our favorite oils into roller dispensers and it has made oil application SO much easier.

Noticing:  That we have a LOT of clutter. I cannot even wrap my mind around what to do with all the random stuff. We need a dumpster:)

Opening: the last art print for the nursery. This Michelle Armas print came in the mail and I love it.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An end to summer

 

This past weekend we said our goodbye’s to summer.

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We spent the weekend soaking in the gorgeous weather and by spending some great quality time as a family of three. I’m not sure how much longer it will be that way but at least for our weekend it was. And we had a great time.

This week my new BSF class starts a (which I am incredibly excited for), weekly doctor’s appointments continue, and we head full swing into our fall activities.

But as far as summer goes, we had a great one. I loved watching Elizabeth’s personality emerge and her courage soar. Over the course of 3 months she gathered the courage to do everything at the pool (slides, waterfalls, jumping in, putting her head under, falling into deeper water and getting herself up alone) and became a monkey at the park. In fact just last weekend we were at Chutes and Ladders and I, and my 9 month pregnant belly, had to climb the ropes just to make sure she wasn’t going to fall and break a limb. Thankfully I only had to do it once:)

I was just looking back at our summer bucket list and I’m happy to say we made it through most of them!

1. Edina Pool days

2. Farmer’s Market Saturdays

3. Minnesota Zoo

4. Como Zoo

5. Red Barn Pizza Farm in Northfield.

6. Picnic at the park

7. Gale Woods Farm Saturdays (didn’t do this exact one but did a Farm tour instead)

8. Beach day at Bryant Lake Beach

9. Brainerd vacation (scheduled for early June)

10. Alexandria vacation in August with family

11. State Fair

12. Sprinkler

13. Playgrounds

14. Izzy’s for ice cream

15. Twins Game

16. Raspberry & Strawberry picking

17. Homemade popsicles and ice cream

18. Outdoor barbecues

19. Splash pad

20. Hiking down by the river

Being pregnant and having major house projects going on all summer, I’d say 15/20 is pretty good. After adding a few things to our project list we had to choose between an anniversary date or the fair and we selfishly chose to celebrate our anniversary.

We chose to head to a Twins game and had the night off as my MIL graciously and joyfully took our daughter for the day/night. It’s always a treat to just be with my husband so we definitely enjoyed the time childless. We even won a Twingo prize:)

And then this weekend we did the one activity that has been on my summer bucket list for the past 2 summers. Saturday we randomly mid-day decided to head down to the Red Barn Pizza Farm in Northfield and it was so delightful. The setting is gorgeous, the pizza was delicious, we could relax and Elizabeth loves animals so she had a grand old time chasing the chickens and feeding the horses.

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Here’s to a new baby, apples, cider, orchards, pumpkins, and the smell of fall. We’re ready!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cheers to us…8 years in

All that we’ve accomplished You have done for us
And any fruit we harvest is a gift from Your hand

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We are only jars of clay that hold a priceless treasure
And we exist to bring You pleasure, O God

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Only by Your mercy can we come to You
Though we deserved Your judgment You have called us by name

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So we glory in the cross of Christ that made us Yours forever
That joined our lives together to sing

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Not to us, but to Your name alone
Be all the glory, the glory, forever

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For Your faithfulness and steadfast love 
Receive the glory, the glory belongs to You.

Eight years married. Almost 10 years together. And so much has happened. Distinctly I remember this song playing as we lit our unity candle and began this journey together. And every word of the song we chose rings true.

All given by Him. All taken by Him. All joined by Him. All called by Him.

God has brought us low, held us up, sanctified and purified us.

He has lavishly poured out HIs grace and love and good gifts and we have not deserved any of it. All is an incredible gift.

I am certain we would have never written our story the way it has unraveled and yet I am equally certain there is  not a thing we would change, because we have made each other so much better.

to us, on our 8th anniversary

(lyrics from Receive the Glory by Sovereign Grace Music)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Skincare Update

It’s been a few months since I posted about skincare and it’s continued to be a well-read post!

Since I’ve finally gotten a bit of a system together I thought I’d do a little update to share what has come to work for me. In my last post, I mentioned that I ordered some products from Paula’s Choice…an online beauty store. I ended up LOVING what came in the mail.

So right now, here’s how I have progressed and I have to say I think my face is loving the new routine.

 

Untitled11 – Paula’s choice / 2 – Argan oil / 3 - Norwex / 4 – Tarte BB Cream

 

First things first, let’s talk about the Norwex Body Pack. I just received these last month and they are truly amazing. We really like Norwex products for cleaning, in fact I’m running some specials this month if you need anything, but I had never used any of their body cloths. Everyone recommended them and spoke highly of them and now I know why. The first night I used these on my face, I almost didn’t believe my makeup came off. It was super gentle, only used water, and left my face clean and so fresh feeling. I even threw a cloth to Alex for him to try. There are two different types: Body pack and Make-up Removing cloths and here is a good description of each.  Since my face is more normal/dry I definitely need a moisturizer after scrubbing my face.

Which brings me to my next step. From Paula’s Choice I ordered the Resist Anti-Aging Toner, Serum, and a sample of the Retinol Moisturizer. Since I’m pregnant I’m steering clear of the Retinol Moisturizer but I’ve been using the other two and LOVE them. I haven’t used a toner since my mom bought me the Clinique 3 pack back in high school so this was a new step for me. It’s not like the old alcohol/tingly toners of my past but instead a gentle toner that leaves my face super hydrated. I use this right after washing my face at night followed by the Serum.

This serum is amazing! It leaves your face feeling all fresh and soft. I usually use this at night following the toner and in the morning I use the Argan Oil.  Sometimes I use it on my entire face and other times just around my eyes. While I haven't noticed any life changing results, I would say since adapting a system, my face has felt and looked a bit more refreshed.

And this Argan oil from Apple Valley Natural Soap, well you know I love their products and this one did not disappoint. It has a faint vanilla scent and it is SO hydrating. I’m not sure I will give it up because it works so great as a moisturizer. It doesn’t leave your face oily and I can apply my bb cream right afterwards without feeling  like I have a ton of makeup/oil on my face which is a bonus for me.

And lastly, the Tarte brand BB Cream. Oh my. I’m not sure which is my favorite but this would be high on the list. While not cheap the difference between the drugstore one I was using and this one is ridiculous. This goes on soft and smooth and leaves my face with even coverage. In fact there’s enough coverage with this for me that I often do not have to use anything else to clear up any imperfections on my face. This summer I’ve topped it with my Bare Minerals bronzer for a bit more color but that’s it.

So there you have it. I may have even made my beauty routine easier with these products, if that was even possible. But so far I’ve loved them all and would definitely recommend them.

 

Anyone else find some amazing beauty products over the summer?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

life lately

Life lately has been a whirlwind. When we decided to take on our house to-do list, I don’t think we were thinking clearly. I think we had a strange haze about us that thought we were invincible and I clearly forgot what it was like to be 8-9 months pregnant. Not to mention this toddler we have underfoot this time around.


We’re in rush mode trying to finish the last items on our list before baby comes: spraying all the interior trim, the baby’s closet, and getting everything put away and put together again. Clearly, again we were not thinking straight because we need to leave our house for the paint spraying. For entire days of entire weeks. Oops!

Not to mention that we are nearing the end. If this baby decides to take after her sister she will be here in 3 weeks 3 days. 3 weeks. That cannot happen this time around and yet I’m not sure what I want anymore.

Nobody is functioning with all guns at our house. Out of the past 11 days Alex has been in and out of our lives due to golf and guys weekends, we’ve been traveling, we started spraying our trim and two year molars are rearing their ugly head.

2 year molars. Oh my goodness. A couple of weeks ago she was out of sorts and I after I exhausted every other option I had her open her mouth. And my finger felt the edge of every single 2 year molar. The madness never ends. Four molars at once and our normally very strong and courageous daughter is throwing in the towel. Can’t say I blame her. Motrin is our best friend.

Not to sound to whiney but it’s been hard and I know others have so been there and been through worse. And the news, oh man, I know things are ugly all around us.

But there are times when it’s good and right to admit life lately has been hard. I just told Alex the other day that all I want is a day away to be pampered. And I want this baby out. Until I remember what the first few months are like with a newborn. Then I get all flummoxed because I don’t know what I’d rather have. Sleeplessness and my body somewhat back, because fatigue is getting the best of me right now, or sleeping through the night and wanting to nap all day. Seems about a horse a piece. If I were my husband right now, I would be desperately trying to figure out how to tack on a few more hours of boys weekend before coming home.

This insanity isn’t going away…not when a new baby comes. All I know as of right now is that I am definitely not self sufficient and my thoughts that I am are truly delirious. Thank the Lord that He helps me through each day because I need it.

Our daughters will probably say when their older…”remember when mom sang ‘I need thee every hour…’ all.day.long.” Yup, I do.

Because I need the reminder, minute after minute.

Thank goodness for distractions and family visiting and daddy coming home tomorrow. He doesn’t even know…

There you have it, our crazy life in a nutshell. And did you grasp what I said above. We have 3-5 weeks until this baby comes.

3-5 weeks.

Yikes!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fall Wardrobe Toddler Style

We’re at that point in time that I've recently begun the hunt for fall and winter clothing for Elizabeth. I don’t know if it’s the push for back to school or if it’s the nesting (probably both) but the poor girl needs some clothing for fall.

While I keep holding out hope for their to be fall clothing at garage sales, it never seems to be the case. And with the types of winters we’ve been having summer clothing can only be mixed and matched so much.

With that in mind, here are some of my favorites for fall/winter for Elizabeth. I tend to shop at a mixture of places for her and try really hard to buy things on sale. That being said, because we are having another girl I’m a little less concerned as I know someone else will be able to wear these things at some point.

Our favorite stores include: Old Navy, Gap, H&M, Mini Boden, and Carters/Oshkosh B’Gosh. I love the quality of Carter’s/OBG, Gap, and Mini Boden and the prices of H&M and Old Navy. You may have noticed that I left out Target…that’s because I don’t necessarily love it. I like the Genuine Kids and Cherokee brands but everything else just hasn’t held up that well for us given the price.

I tend to buy just a couple of each item type, so quality matters, with a few more t-shirts/tops thrown in the mix. We have the Hemnes 3 drawer dresser and it’s always my goal to keep almost all of her clothing contained within two drawers. So far I’ve mastered that as we only have 1 1/2 drawers being used for clothing. That way I keep myself in check, even at garage sales!

My style for Elizabeth, and myself for that matter, leans classic and sporty. This fall, since Elizabeth loves them as well, I’m honing in on dresses. She loves twirling! And seriously I cannot get enough of gingham! As far as shoes, I shoot for an everday pair, tennies, and usually some sort of boot. I picked up some Uggs at a garage sale for $2 so we are set on boots. The other two were purchased when Amazon was having a super sale (tennies) and on the Livie and Luca Resale page on Facebook.

Keeping up with growing toddlers is every mom’s dilemma and that’s true for us too. Elizabeth skipped 2T entirely and is solidly in a 3T. For shoes she jumped sizes this summer and is now in an 8/9 depending on the brand. I keep thinking she’ll plateau for a bit but it doesn’t seem that way!

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Mix and match pieces are great…not shown are the couple of sweaters and jeans I picked up on super sale this summer. While I’m still awaiting big sales to purchase any of these, I know I’ll have to start looking soon. Before we know it cooler weather will be here.

Until then, let’s soak in the sun!

Monday, August 11, 2014

When Life Happens

It’s been awhile since I’ve even opened up this page to blog. Life has been happening all around us and to be honest, it’s been exhausting. Everything just coming together all at once.

The past two weeks we’ve found ourselves knee deep in dirt and plants, siding and construction, chaos and mess. But that’s life right and now our yard for the first time since we moved in two years ago finally looks like someone lives here and cares!

In the midst of all the dirt, my computer officially died. As in, I walked into Best Buy with it for the Geek Squad to look over and walked out with my hard drive in a little plastic bag with the admission that they *should* be able to recover everything.

All of that and a diaper study and a toddler and an 8 month pregnant swelling body and tragedy in the news all around us. I’ve made it through the days by grace. When Elizabeth’s blankets caught a hot coffee cup on the table this morning sending the contents flying all over our neutral linen upholstery it was grace that our mouths responded quietly and with grace.

Grace. It’s what’s needed these days.

Our house, is just a thing. We love making it feel like home, but it’s just a thing. Our couch, just a thing. The spilled coffee, just a roadblock. The computer dying, just a glitch in the day by day.

The little girl in front of us with the big eyes staring. Just waiting for what is to come. She’s important.

The beheading of children. The wars going on. The poverty, the starving, the injustice. They’re important.

And they bring us right where we needed to go in the first place. To grace. To Jesus.

To the one who knows the outcome.

And is working in this moment to bring justice and grace and nourishment and protection.

We’re never going to get it right. We’re never going to feel enough for the tragedy around us and we’re never going to be able to dismiss the chaos that may not seem so important around us. We cannot do justice to all the injustice. Life happening here and life happening there.

There’s just grace.

And on our knees kind of praying.

Come Lord Jesus.