Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Christmas Recap & A GIVEAWAY!!

Another Christmas has come and gone and it seems like everything else lately it went by so quickly. In my mind it feels as though we just set up the tree, hung the advent calendar and began talking about the precious gift of the baby Jesus.

2014-12-07 16.00.00

We started out the season by putting up our Christmas tree a bit early this year, on my birthday in November. It was so much fun as Elizabeth was finally old enough to participate and get excited. With our house decorated we began advent with Advent gifts (new Christmas pajamas and a new book to add to our collection.) I also wrapped all of our Christmas books thinking we would unwrap one each day but that only lasted a week tops. Someone in the house was too excited and couldn’t quite comprehend the “one a day” reality. In truth, it was nice to have them all open! Though we have a good collection of our own I followed Jenny Rigney’s advice and checked out quite a few from the library in advance.

2014-12-07 15.57.26

I love that we are starting our own family traditions…things to look forward to as a family. We didn’t do something everyday and I definitely didn’t plan themed activities. We’re still working on getting this two kid thing down. But we did do some. We did the Advent Box, worked through our felt advent calendar, lit advent candles, read Christmas books, had movie nights every Friday night through Advent (more on this in a bit), celebrated the life of St. Nicholas, made Christmas cookies, read through Ann Voscamp’s Advent book (which I’m sad to say I didn’t really enjoy), and had a few fun friend outings.

2014-12-23 23.30.33

This year we spent Christmas in Minnesota and it was our first Christmas Eve at our new church. They have a time during the service when they invite all the kids up front…which is a LOT of kids and I took Elizabeth down. I wish we had it on tape but after she sat for a few minutes she proceeded to take a tour of the stage, weaving through all the kids. There were so many people so I wasn’t able to grab her but she eventually made her way back. It was so stinking cute!

2014-12-23 23.50.22

While all the traditions are fun, I loved how this year Elizabeth really caught on to the meaning of Christmas. She knew who it was about and what happened. Throughout Advent we spent each Friday night watching a Christmas themed movie. We started with Veggietales Legend of St. Nicholas on the eve of St. Nicholas day. We also enjoyed A Charlie Brown Christmas, Winnie the Pooh Christmas, and two Nativity themed movies. In years past Alex and I have watched The Nativity on Christmas Eve so I was on the hunt this year for a good nativity film aimed at kids. We were blessed to receive two to review on the blog from a friend. I actually bought one of them before we were given the ones to review so I have one to give away to one of you!!

The two nativity films we viewed were The Promise and Greatest Heroes and Legends Nativity.

Here’s my review of The Promise:

This came recommended from a dear friend whom I highly respect and it did not disappoint. Elizabeth is only 2.5 so she had a bit of a hard time sitting still for the movie which could have been due to plenty of different things. It should be noted unless she’s watching Super Why, it’s difficult for her to sit through any movie. But this movie, from a mom and dad perspective ,was pretty accurate, very entertaining, and thoroughly enjoyable to watch. It feels a bit like a Pixar film in terms of animation and most of the movie is done in song, similar to Disney. The film follows the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus pretty accurately and starts by showing the oppression of the Israelites by the Romans. It then portrays the budding love story of Mary and Joseph which is so touching. One thing I really appreciated about the film was tender way it portrayed the family relationships. It was very endearing. Everything was really well done and it was hard to remember that we were watching a “Christian” film if you know what I mean:)

One of the reasons I think it failed to hold Elizabeth’s attention is due to the fact that most of the movie is done in song. But I can tell you that next year she’ll probably be all over that and will be catching on to all the songs. It was such a well-made film that I’m glad to have it in our film collection and will be delighted to pull it out year after year on Christmas Eve as a new tradition.

And as far as the Greatest Heroes and Legends Nativity:

Well that one surprisingly kept the attention of our 2.5 year old while not quite capturing the attention of dad. Alex watched this one with her one afternoon and so I’m taking his opinions for the review. The story was somewhat accurate, the nativity included the visit from the Wise men which really didn’t happen until some years later. Also this was more your average “Christian” movie. The animation was far more dated and choppy, the songs and commentary were a bit distracting to adults but Elizabeth didn’t seem to mind them, and there is a longer commentary in the beginning by Charlton Heston which we forwarded through. Overall this was also a great option for viewing the Nativity story and is by no means a bad choice for Christmas. It is fairly accurate, held the attention of our daughter, and told the story of Jesus’ birth which when it comes down to it, is all we were looking for.

So there you have it – two new movies you can try out next year during the Advent season or on Christmas Eve like we do at our house! We really enjoyed The Promise and we’d love for your family to enjoy it next year as well.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment with your favorite Christmas Tradition!

giveaway ends 1/5/15

*This film was bought by me for the giveaway. I did receive two movies from Fish Flix for the review*


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas



the year of small but significant moments as a family

our days were spent shaking our heads in amazement that our family was expanding, cuddling our second daughter Meghan Joy (9/25/14), dancing to the music at the farmer’s market on Saturdays, eating the best bismarks from Sunrise Donuts, enjoying lazy days at the pool, celebrating Elizabeth’s 2nd birthday, building sand castles at the beach, stomping our boots through the rain and the snow, washing mud covered hands from overhauling our yard, wearing ear muffs at mealtimes as Alex renovated our kitchen, teaching Bible verses and singing Jesus Loves You, rocking babies to sleep, reading story upon story, celebrating 8 years of marriage relaxing with friends and family, climbing all over the playground, walking around the block picking up leaves, wiping tears and issuing discipline, being sanctified, playing multiple rounds of golf, laughing with girlfriends, wondering what on earth we were doing…the list could go on.

because for us these little moments throughout our days were creating the life we always longed for…

the life as a family.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

{if you received our card, please excuse the spelling error. the first set of cards had a spelling error and the second set had no errors but was too wide for the card. I’m obviously sleep deprived!}

Friday, December 12, 2014

Life Lately

I have a feeling from now on posts will look a lot like this. To be honest, I’ve started using Tumblr to share highlights of the girls with our families and I love that I can upload pictures from my phone a lot faster than writing a blog post. So as a result this blog is getting a bit neglected. And let’s be honest, it’s the best time of the year and there’s no way I’m missing out on that.

BUT we have been up to some fun things.

1. Elizabeth is potty-trained. Hallelujah! It was a very painless and easy transition. We realized she could hold it right when she turned two and we were visiting a splash pad. So she’s been ready for awhile but we held off due to the new sibling piece. Happy to say less than a handful of accidents later, we’re in the clear. Cue the happy dance that we only have one in diapers (sans nap/bedtime for E)

2. We are on the hunt for a mini-van. Cue the happy dance as well. I’m sure I will feel like I’ve really arrived into motherhood when I sit in the front seat and drive my happy crew around. That last part was sarcastic because if you drove along with us at certain times (thank goodness it’s not that often) you’d hear Elizabeth screaming “Be Quiet” to her sister who’s screaming her head off. The other day at a stop sign I got it on camera and it is the FUNNIEST thing ever. We’ve had to be careful though because that big sister picked up on its hilarity and loves to communicate like that. So now you hear all sorts of “That’s not a loving or kind way to speak to your sister” even though our minds are crying…yes, I wish I could yell that out! HA!

But mini-van. We’re stuck between going for the Town and Country because they’re nice and less $$ and a Toyota Sienna. Alex is certain it’s an “Apple vs. PC-drinking the Kool Aid” type of thing…saying people have been brainwashed by marketing to believe one is really better than the other. I don’t really care what we get as long as it has leather seats. I’m so over cloth with kids. I already told him I didn’t need to be there to test drive, hoping he begins to believe that as he would like to test drive with all 4 of us present. Um, you crazy? Did you not watch the screaming children video I just took. Ha!

3. I’m excited for Christmas and yes, I’m excited for all the gifts my children will receive. Obviously I’m fully aware that’s not what it’s about, but if they’re going to get things I’m glad they’re getting what they are. I rarely buy a toy. In fact I’m having a hard time thinking of toys I’ve bought this year, so I’m ready for some fresh new things for them to play with. Myself included. We do the whole 4 gift thing (want/need/wear/read) and even then she’s getting art supplies and puzzles. Because our kids are so young and our family sticks to our Amazon wish list, they get things we “need.” Most of the toys they are getting expand imaginative play and re-stock our art cabinet. I’m sure when they get a bit older I’ll be all over the experience/membership thing, but for right now we’re good stocking our playroom.

4. This season is going by so FAST. I just dressed our little peanut into 3-6 month clothing. Little Megs is so teeny. She weighed in at a hefty 11 pounds and just hit the 18% for height. I love how different kids can be! She’s been the greatest. Seriously. I’m sure it partially has to do with the fact that I’ve been here, done this before. I can actually figure her out. I can read her signs. It all seems so obvious this time around. She’s such a mellow kid unless she’s tired…both my kids were that way so we’re protecting sleep as much as possible, which isn’t really all that possible but somehow it’s working out. I’m dreading the day we transition to the crib. The rock n play is amazing.

5. We planned our vacation for the winter and I am so excited. I know there may be pangs of jealousy but winter hasn’t been that bad yet, has it? Probably has. Alex says he suffers from SAD and who am I to argue:) Orlando because it’s a direct flight and there’s golf and a resort with a pool. That’s all we need…and my mother to join us of course. Looking forward to doing life somewhere other than home for a week because let’s be honest, that’s all vacation looks like with little ones along.

6. We’ve had our Christmas tree up for some time now and I’m loving this season of Advent and Christmas with our littles. Elizabeth is totally into the tree and the songs and the baby Jesus. We’ve managed to read most of the days in Anne Voscamp’s new book and although they may be a bit over E’s head they’ve been great for my heart. And we’ve made some cookies and declared Friday nights as Christmas movie nights. On tonight is Frosty or Charlie Brown. Haven’t decided yet! It really is the best time of the year. But now we need some snow!

So there you have it a little peek into our life as of late.

How’s your advent/Christmas/Holiday season going thus far? Favorite traditions?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Monthly Meals…An Update

We are into our third month of monthly meal planning and I’m back with an update. I’ve had a few people ask how it’s been going and so I thought I would check back in. To be honest, I think this “spur of the moment, cook by the seat of my pants” girl is fully converted. I LOVE it.
That last little phrase is one I really, honestly never thought I would utter. But as we’ve gone on I’ve realized a few things that happen as a result of my monthly meal plan.
-making dinner is less stressful (note I didn’t say NOT stressful. It’s witching hour, y’all)
-we save money (because I’m not buying things haphazardly and then wasting them)
-we waste less food (our refrigerator is SO empty at the end of the month…it’s great!)
-it still allows for flexibility (we keep at least two days/week open)
-you grocery shop less (this one actually makes me sad because I adore grocery shopping but with two littles in the cold winter, it’s actually a bonus)
The first month we planned our menu for the month was the month following Meghan’s birth. We were blessed by so many incredible people and were brought so many delicious meals that I only had to make a handful of things. The bonus was that many of the meals could be postponed until November. So we’ve now successfully finished our first month and I just did the shopping for December. Yesterday the girls and I hit up Costco and Target for our staples and monthly needs. After this one big shop of the month I tend to run to the store once a week to replenish things like milk and get other things that may have been missed.
I’ve found that by spending a couple of hours before the month begins to plan the menu and walk through our kitchen with my master grocery list, circling what we need, has been so helpful. I have a list of 45 or so of our favorite meals documented that I pull our menu from. That way we  start each month with a stocked kitchen, meaning any meal on the menu for the month can for the most part be swapped for another (unless some random ingredient is needed). Plus it allows for me to plan our menu with grouped items. For example, if I have the menu planned out I am far more likely to reuse a leftover or ingredient and remake it into something else because I’ve purposefully planned a meal that sounds good. Also we have a leftover night planned into our week…usually Wednesday or Thursday. We are not huge leftover fans in general so whatever I make Monday/Tuesday is usually what is up for grabs later. I plan for this. Tonight I made this amazing Potato Leek Soup paired with a salad. Wednesday it will get paired with paninis and then be gone. Makes me feel better especially if I don’t want to or can’t eat it for lunch the next day. And the menu is posted in one of our cabinet doors so I can always reference it.
Since I’m usually an impromptu cook and we like to randomly go out as a family I worried that we would waste food. But I’ve found the opposite to be true. Because there are so many options for the month and we have two nights that I don’t plan meals for we can easily move and rotate depending on our moods. I’ve already swapped things because we had the ingredients or didn’t have them. It’s super flexible.
Also did I mention I’m less stressed during the most stressful part of the day. Seriously. I used to try and menu plan by the week but to be honest, it was just more of a headache because we’d miss meals, waste food, etc. Not too mention that every week I had to sit down and plan things out. Now I only have to do it once, I have most of the ingredients in the house for almost all of the meals, and the recipes I’ve been using are our favorites and are pretty tame in terms of prep/execution. I’m pretty certain Alex has enjoyed knowing that dinner is on the table, usually hot, and I’m not calling him to pick something up on the way home.
So there you have it. I’m a monthly meal planner convert.
And I LOVE it!

Monday, November 24, 2014

thoughts on my birthday

Today I spent the beginning of my 34th year putting up our Christmas tree. I think this is a first for me on my birthday…a head start due to Thanksgiving travel and Advent starting the day after we return.

And it was quite possibly one of the better birthday’s I’ve had of late. My amazing mother in law had taken care of Elizabeth a few times over the course of the past week including yesterday afternoon so Alex and I could do just what I wanted. Run errands. Seriously. I chose in good conscience to run errands with my husband coffee in hand. And to be honest, I can’t recall the last time we did that. Window shopped, sipped coffee, did a few returns and bought a few fun things. It was fantastic.

I’m tempted to write “that’s what life has become…running errands as a birthday wish” all full of fun sarcasm and yet I wrote it and deleted because it’s not true. I was reminded this morning as I awoke to silence and the heard the littles awake, how much I’ve wanted this life. This life where on your birthday you run errands because the days are so full loving on littles.

I’ll be honest…the almost full day break, the sleepover, and the afternoon alone with my husband gave me plenty of time away from those girls but my heart ached for them to return. That’s the way it is as a mommy.

And so, on the eve of my birthday I sat on the counter with Elizabeth sharing a bowl of pasta because I hadn’t eaten dinner far later than she should have been awake. And we spent today making a royal holiday mess in our house because we had to examine and talk about every thing we brought out of the boxes. And I’m so glad I chose to slow down today.

To enjoy all those little stops and starts without any agenda for the day other than getting Chipotle for lunch because we have no food in our house. And God showered grace upon me because Meghan slept the entire time at the restaurant, our newly potty trained 2 year old told me she had to use the bathroom and we made it in time, and our lunch was delicious, not too mention the company in which it was eaten was fantastic. I mean how can you not love a 2 year old that looks at her half of the burrito bowl and says, “chipotle, get in my belly.” (side note…a burrito bowl with a tortilla on the side is the best bang for your buck. I love burritos but the bowls are easier for e to eat so it’s a win, win.)

A good friend reminded me today about how grand this life I’m living is. Just four short years ago I truly believed I’d never be a mommy. And now this. Mess and chaos and chocolate ice cream dripping down chins. Discipline mixed in when things don’t go quite right.

This was a random array of thoughts, but I don’t want to forget today. Because it was one of the best birthday weeks, not to mention actual birthday, I’ve ever had.

I’m going to blink and before I know it more years will pass…just as I was reminded when I posted a picture from my 21st birthday 13 years ago on my sisters facebook page. 13 years ago. So much has changed and yet it feels just like yesterday.

blink and life passes by.

andrea, don’t let the minor things get in the way of embracing those littles and loving them fully. you’re going to blink and life is going to pass you by. put your phone down. don’t worry about capturing the perfect shot. just take it all in. observe and treasure. and join right in.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why Meghan?

Evelyn.  Catherine.  Isla.  Adelaide.  Meghan. 

Names leading the way throughout the process of naming our girl. This time around choosing a name for our second daughter proved far more difficult than we imagined. Almost everything we liked the first time around, wasn’t a great option this time.

We did a similar post on Elizabeth’s name and I thought it would be nice to have a similar post for Meghan.

We are very aware that once upon a time, not so long ago, Megan was a VERY poplar name. Thankfully the number of women Alex and I know with the name is not that many. So when we began paging through the name books, Meghan was an early contender that caught our attention. We had some criteria that we used for Elizabeth and most of them hold true for Meghan as well. Here they are:

1. Traditional & easy to pronounce & spell (our last name dictated this point)
2. Has nickname potential but we like the given, full name
3. Can stand the test of time…not childish or juvenile
4. Has meaning
5. Not a family name

Meghan actually has been around for quite awhile as a pet name for Margaret but only has become popular in the mid-20th century. We loved that it was traditional, easy to pronounce and spell (although she’ll probably always have to say Megan with an “h”!) and is NOT at all common for babies right now. When we named Elizabeth her name was around 40 or 50 on the top 100, the year she was born her name moved to the top 15:/ Meghan is so far down the list that I’m sure it won’t make a come back any time soon.

Like Elizabeth, Meghan has some British ties. While this was not a prerequisite since we love Great Britain, we love that our kids hold some tie to that love as well. Meghan is a popular welsh name.

Meghan definitely has nickname potential…we call Elizabeth “lizzie mae” from time to time and we have definitely started calling Meghan “meggie joy.” Liz and Meg seem like great names for sisters to have:)

As far as meaning, well Meghan for the most part means “pearl.” And she is our pearl of joy. I take it one step further and think about what comes to mind when I think of pearl. For me a pearl is something rare, precious and unexpected because not every oyster has a pearl. For us, Meghan is our rare, precious, and unexpected joy because she came as a very much desired surprise.

And of course, for us Meghan is not a family name.

I love hearing how others go about naming their kids. It’s fascinating and I’m incredibly curious.

So, how do you go about naming your kids?

I love hearing how parents come to name their kiddos…any criteria you have in naming babies?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Recently I’ve Been…


Making: Cotton ball snowmen and lots of warm apple cider. I love apple cider and Costco has some of the best for just $3.99. Elizabeth is really into crafts so we’ve had lots of fun creating and coloring. Yesterday we spent part of the afternoon gluing cotton balls to paper…always amazes me how the simplest crafts can make the littles so happy. Between play-doh and paint our new little art space gets quite a work out. I can’t wait for her to open her arts and crafts box for Christmas!

Cooking: Scrambled eggs? That’s Elizabeth’s favorite breakfast and if we don’t offer it she’ll barely eat anything. But as for our family, well…the amazing kindness of new and old friends was incredible. We had meals a couple of times a week for the past month or so, so I’m just getting back in the groove. Last night we roasted a chicken and today Elizabeth is at a Nana sleepover so I’m thinking we won’t be cooking much.

Drinking:  Apple cider and Lime La Croix. And the occasional glass of red wine.

Reading:  Mountains of library books and the Read-Aloud Bible Stories by Lindvall. In my attempt to make Bible reading an everyday occurrence these books are great. Wishing I had time to read fiction or anything that wasn’t mail or child-oriented, but it will come.

Wanting: To not wish these days away. I’m not a “baby” person so this time has been a bit stressful for me but I don’t want them gone. Trying my darndest to breathe in every moment as I know she’s our last.

Looking: so forward to seeing my family for Thanksgiving and enjoying the holidays as a family. I love this time of year and it always brings me a lot of joy.

Playing: Tea party with Elizabeth (the girl could pour coffee and bring me tea for hours!) and Motown on Pandora. Seriously Motown always puts a smile on my face and I love dancing along with Elizabeth.

Sewing: Ha…no time for that:)

Contemplating: This new season of life. I knew when we moved churches last Winter that it would impact my friendships. But honestly the change that accompanies moving churches and meeting new people has been one of the hardest things of these early days with two. I really have missed my friends, my good friends, because we all have new schedules and the times we had cemented in to see each other (Bible study and Small group) just are not a part of our routine anymore. It’s life and seasons change, but oh how I miss them. All that said, the new friends I’ve met have been so loving and gracious so that has been a blessing.

Enjoying: the silence when it happens and solo time with each of our girls. Snuggling with Elizabeth when Meghan is sleeping and vice versa are life giving to me. It’s been a bit harder for me honestly to bond with Meghan but I know the days are still early and it will come, especially as she continues to grow.

Liking: the change of seasons and the fact that Christmas is on the horizon. I’m also loving watching both girls grow. With the arrival of Meghan it seems Elizabeth just totally grew up. And most days I like the rhythm of our life. Oh and how great my back feels after an adjustment at the Chiropractor…nursing and carrying babies and all that goes along with it is no joke.

Wondering: How moms with more kids do it. Some days I look around at our mess of a house and wonder when I’ll get back into a groove and get my act together. And then I remember just to keep giving myself grace…it’ll come.

Hoping: That one day all the clothes in my closet will fit again and I will be able to wear more than one pair of pants that I just bought in an entirely different size. Slow and steady…just being honest.

Marveling:  still at the fact that we have two girls. This is our life and we’ve said it to each other so often that our family now feels entirely complete. God definitely has a way of working all things for good.

Needing: the sermons our Pastor has been preaching on relational intelligence. Seriously…I’ve got so much work to do on being a better friend, not putting my foot in my mouth, etc.  A good season of being refined.

Wearing: Whatever I can find that fits and looks semi-decent. And loving scarves…perfect for nursing and make me look semi-presentable.

Following: my niece and nephews on Instagram and daily laugh out loud at what they are posting. Makes me feel so near them even though they are 5 hours away.

Smelling: The cinnamon scent of Thieves because we’ve been applying it liberally to keep colds away. Still loving our oils and hoping they continue to help ward of the sickies.

Noticing:  The amount of time I spend on my phone and am trying to desperately remedy that.

There you have it, a glimpse into our day and our life. Here’s the best of the best pictures from Meghan's dedication this past weekend. Seriously…one day we’ll all look at the camera!

(and yes, I purposefully dressed us all to coordinate. It’s a sickness I tell you!)

2014-11-08 16.31.44

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It’s on Sunday’s I remember…

“You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand…”

Those years past I didn’t know what He was doing. He called us out, asked us to walk in faith, our infertility and loss a mystery. And yet, even as He called us out and walked with us, He allowed our faith to stand.

And it’s on Sunday’s I remember you most often. As I stand in worship at church, thinking and heart swelling, that we are singing in unison. You and me. Though I never touched you, never smelled your newborn scent, never sang to you…it doesn’t really matter, because when I open my mouth in praise I know I join you in the heavenly chorus.

“…Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now…”

The Lord created you both with purpose and He took you both home with a purpose. That I am sure of. And I know had you come, your sisters would not have. And had you not first made me a mother, I may have never mustered up enough hope to think He could create life again. His grace abounded when He gave you to us, even just for mere days. His hand overflowed with blessing and though my feet began to slip and I feared it would never happen again, the Lord you stand before and worship never failed your mother when He took you home.

He was faithful. I look at those pregnancy tests that told me I was a mother when the lines intersected and I think of you and who you would look like and my heart overflows with thankfulness that He showed His goodness when He gave us you. To think, I am the mother of four children; two in front of me and two I can only hope to meet.

“…Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.”

When your daddy and I began trying for babies we asked the Lord for children because we knew we needed sanctifying and because we wanted to raise up children for the Lord. Little did we know that in praying and asking those things, we would walk a road neither of us could have imagined. Years of treatment and uncertainty, two babies lost too soon, and then two babies given to life here on earth. When He called us to walk the road of parenthood, He took us deeper and our faith was made ever stronger.

And though I would love to stroke your cheek and kiss your soft head and tuck you in and give you a name, I wouldn’t take back the years the Lord gave us in knowing Him more. Because I know that where you are is where you were created to be.

And it’s on Sunday’s I am with you again. As I sing out in praise I know my voice is joining yours as we worship our Savior together. You and me. He has not left me without a chance to be with you, for in worship our hearts are knit together. The only difference is that you are standing face to face with Him who has given and has taken away.

So it’s on Sunday’s I remember you.

{in remembrance of the two babies the Lord gave us for a short time in honor of October 15th…Infant Loss Awareness Day.}

**lyrics from Hillsong’s Oceans**

Monday, October 13, 2014

2.5 Weeks In

She’s 2.5 weeks old already. We weighed her yesterday on our scale at home and it said 8 pounds even. It’s already beginning…the number of times I’ll say this time is going too fast. And I feel even more it’s good to make note of the days before they pass too quickly and my sleep deprived mind forgets. I made notes in Elizabeth’s early days and they are still some of my favorite to look back on.


A Look Back at your First Week

9/25/14 – You were born at 5:55 pm

9/26/14 – after just 36 or so hours after checking in to the hospital we brought you home.

9/27/14 – we took our very first, very short walk around the block.

9/28/14 – your first time to the park that is literally less than 1/4 mile from our house

9/29/14 – first trip to the pediatrician’s office

9/30/14 – first trip to Target as a family of 4

10/1/14 – first trip to storytime at the library

10/2/14 – first time to BSF (One week old!)


Meghan at 2.5 weeks

Your first week home was a bit of a blur. Grandma came to help the day that we all came home from the hospital and just 24 hours after arriving she slipped on a step and broke her ankle. Mommy took her to the ER while daddy stayed home with you girls. After all that crazy she stayed for a couple more days and snuggled you up.

At 2.5 weeks old, you are just starting to wake up a bit. Up until now, you would eat and then fall right back asleep and now we are able to see your beautiful eyes a bit more often, thankfully not that often at night! You continue to be a textbook baby…Elizabeth was textbook with a bit of grumpy and we have yet to see the grumpy come out in you. Although it’s still early and I KNOW this will all change probably daily or weekly until you are older, but as of now you are a sweet and content baby. Especially with a sister who loves to cuddle you and squeeze you up. You rarely cry unless you have a gassy tummy or need help going back to sleep. At night you are sleeping longer stretches, longest was almost 5 hours. Usually you wake 3 times in the night, 3-4 hours from your last feeding so mommy is actually getting some good stretches of sleep.


Mommy at 2.5 weeks

This time around Mommy was a bit smarter. We all learned a valuable lesson the first time around with your sister and so I have been really diligent about making sure I am not over-doing it. It may seem given the list of firsts during your first week that we did a lot but I can assure you that we did not.

After Elizabeth was born, I didn’t know how to just sit and relax. Because she slept so much and I felt pretty good, I jumped right back into life full force and as a result ended up struggling with PPD and being really frustrated towards Alex. I kept our house, went about errands, and resented the fact that he didn’t help more. Before Meghan came we talked a lot about how things would look. We enlisted my mother to come and stay for a bit (although that looked much different than expected) and we worked far more as a team. After a couple of days home it became evident that my day would go much easier if we did something that was regular and consistent for Elizabeth. She was acting up a bit and as soon as we started to go out a bit more it ended. I really think she was just bored.

This time around I should also mention that recovery was far easier. I didn’t tear and didn’t need any stitches and so my soreness was quite decreased. Nursing came easily to Meghan and I and so that didn’t take a lot of learning either. Other than our short walks or short trips out for an hour or two in the mornings, I’ve been laying low at home. And that means for the most part our house is a mess (for us). It’s a phase but we’re giving each other grace this time around and both pitching in because we know the payoff of me taking it a bit easy is worth it.

We still head out most mornings to do an activity or we just stay home and play downstairs. I shower every other day it seems so far and take naps most afternoons. Thankfully I’ve been getting some good stretches of sleep at night and rest in during the day. I’ve realized it takes a bit more planning and prep at night to get out for activities, but it seems having done this once before definitely helps. I know what to expect (for the most part), I know when to rest (for the most part) and I know when to let things go.

As far as postpartum depression goes, I’m really trying to only do what I can and let things go which is really hard for this German girl. I want to do everything myself…obviously help is appreciated! Alex has been amazing again this time around and so helpful. It has really helped that his schedule has been a bit flexible allowing for us to have man to man coverage for outings and just extra hands for cuddling and hugs. We’ve been trying very intentionally to have special time for Elizabeth…which is easier right now while the baby still sleeps quite a bit.

One day we will climb out of this mess but right now it’s a mess I’m delighted to make.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Makes my heart swell

Today, as a family of four, we ventured out to our local apple orchard for apple picking, cider donuts, and a breath of fresh air. The experience did not disappoint.

And as we made our way out to pluck our peck of apples off the tree, my husband teased me about trying to get the perfect "Midwest Living" shot. It wasn't a jest at my need to document everything with a photo, because that's not my thing. Instead it was a jest at how full my heart feels when our family is making memories.

He knows that moments like today and the everyday moments of reading stories or cuddling in bed, make my heart want to burst.

This. This family. These four people all doing life together are what my heart yearned for so many years ago. 

When we brought Meghan home, we chatted if having another baby was making us want more children. It hasn't, but my husband turned to me and said "remember when we were dating and we said we wanted they are."

To be honest I don't remember that...but I'm sure it was true. This family, the traditions and memory making and all the small moments in between, are what my heart desired. 

To think The Lord heard our pleas and after so much waiting, gave just as we desired. It's just too much for me.

And so these moments, and the not so pretty ones, and the hard, trying ones, and the sit on the couch and cuddles ones...they all echo my hearts longing. For family. For our family.

And as I sat in a chair and nursed the baby and watched my husband slide down the slides with Elizabeth, tears formed. Because this life, was all my heart longed for so many years ago and it's hard for me even to believe we are living it out today.

It's not quintessential or picture perfect or perfectly coiffed. It's real life, in the trenches, holding on to every little moment, making the most of the everyday, with these three other people I can only pray I get to do life with for many, many more years to come.

It's our family. 

Our family of four.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

To Meghan…the Story of your Birth

Dear Meghan Joy,

It all started weeks before your birth. Momma went in for her 36 week appointment and of course, after being checked got really excited that your arrival would be near. Your sister came at 37w6d and I was sure you would follow in her footsteps. Except you didn’t. And I don’t ever want to expect that again. Because this wouldn’t be your story if I did.

Instead you were all snuggled up inside of me, burrowing in and had no thoughts of coming out anytime soon. And so the weeks trickled by, us always awaiting something to happen. And then at my 38 week appointment, because I was progressed enough, our doctor asked if we had any desire to meet you in your 39th week, to have momma induced.

And my first thought was of uncertainty. We hadn’t thought induction was an option and yet it sounded like a great one for our situation. Daddy had some time off of work before things were about to get crazy, mommy could have the ease of mind that your sister would have consistent and loving care while we were gone, and well, we could meet you soon, which was the best part of all.

The induction was scheduled for September 25th, 2014 the day of your Nana’s birth, a special added touch to the occasion. And on the eve of that day, your daddy and I could not sleep. Mommy woke at 4:30 am and Daddy at 5 and there we sat, early morning sun and coffee in our hands preparing our hearts to meet you later that day. There wasn’t the grand fanfare of water breaking or laboring, but there was the quiet and the silence and the simplicity of going in together, knowing your day had arrived.

And as a bonus, your sister awoke early and snuggled in momma’s arms for 30 minutes before we left. It eased my heart and helped me let go…for I knew that when I returned our lives would never be the same. In a good way. And before we left the house we let Nana and Papa in on our name for you, for Papa had guessed it the night before. We were off to meet our Meghan Joy.2014-09-24 12.07.07

And that’s how the entire event kind of played out. Daddy and I were able to take everything in. Absent were cameras (for the most part), and video, and texts and distractions, and instead we were breathing everything in. Letting the whole event etch into our minds. From check in and IV insertion to the start of Pitocin and mild cramping. Everything about it was different from your sister and just the way it was meant to be. Even though it seems we took things into our own hands, momma has no doubt that this was just the way the Lord for saw your coming before time began.

By 9:30 am my water was broken and things were just getting started. The doctor and nurses were joking with momma because I refused to put on a hospital gown opting instead for my own comfortable clothing. I made Daddy rush out and buy me breakfast whlie we were waiting because I knew once they got started they were not going to let me eat anything. Good thing the nurse didn’t yell at me;)

Daddy and I watched tv and talked and laughed and enjoyed the experience together as things progressed. From the frantic nurse who drove momma crazy trying to help throughout contractions to the intern shadowing momma’s doctor, things were quite comical which helped the time fly by.

By around 3:00, after hours of intensifying contractions I was checked and had progressed to a 6. By this time the contractions had been coming every 2 minutes and lasting a minute for almost an hour. I stood at the end of my bed and just swayed back and forth and around this time I turned to your daddy and just flat out asked “I don’t really want to do this do I?” And he looked me straight in the eye and said “No.” And out daddy walked to the nurses station and asked for an epidural. We had the nicest anesthesiologist, who chatted with Daddy about golf and within 60 minutes my epidural was in and working. Although the nurse anesthetist said I shouldn’t be completely numb, I was from the waist down. Could not move a muscle with was equally comical as well.

Then we just waited. After 60 minutes the nurse and Dr. came back in to check me again and I was already a 10. It must be a fact that I cannot calm myself enough to allow labor to progress because both times I’ve had an epidural I’ve progressed rapidly once it was in. And the doctor got ready and before I knew it, it was time to push. During the pushing your heart rate was dropping a bit and the doctor would tickle your scalp…it’s the same tip momma uses when you fall asleep nursing. From beginning of pushing to the end totaled only 20 minutes. It was crazy fast for this momma who pushed for an hour with your sister.

And the whole time it just became clearer and clearer that you were coming soon. That you would join our family and life would never be the same again…in a good way. Before I knew it the Doctor looked at me and said, “Pull her up!” And I looked down grabbed you right under your armpits and pulled your tiny body up. You were so incredibly precious and so incredibly tiny.

And I looked up at your daddy with tears in my eyes and they met his eyes, glassy with tears. We were so grateful that God gave us you and that you were healthy and here. It was incredibly surreal. And we drank the whole experience in. Daddy cut your cord and then we just both snuggled in the bed taking turns holding you and momma nursed you. The whole experience was different than your sisters, not necessarily better or worse, just different. Which seems so right to me. For you are both unique.2014-09-24 20.47.59

And after just 45 minutes we looked up when we heard a knock and there was your big sister ready to meet you. And the way she loves you is so precious…she loves to hold you and snuggle you and show you toys and teach you about Jesus. I can only pray your friendship and sisterhood will continue to grow in a positive and enriching way for you both. Siblings so close in age is something your daddy and I have never experienced and we can’t wait to watch it all unfold.

2014-09-24 20.50.53

And that my dear, is the story of your birth. So straightforward and without drama and yet so perfectly planned from before time began. For God knew just how you would come and it was incredibly joy filled and perfect.

2014-09-25 17.19.27

Praising Jesus for you Meghan Joy…our unexpected miracle.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Notes from the second time around

Now that baby Meghan is here (update to come) I'm wanting to get down as many of the thoughts running through my mind before they are forgotten.

Today is our first day home, as a family of four, and so far things are going far better than I could have imagined.

I owe much of it to my amazing husband. I can remember when we brought Elizabeth home and everything was so new for both of us. I was the more experienced one with babies and so I took much of it in stride. Alex was a bit more in the "this is all out of my comfort zone" stage.

This time around you can tell we have a two year old. We are both much more seasoned and things that seemed strange or different are now so normal. The experience that comes with the first has allowed this birth and first day home to be more of a joint effort. Seriously my heart swells with love and pride when I watch Alex with his girls. The guy that seemed so tentative the first time is incredibly confident this time around. 

And since I treat the blog as a bit of a family journal, this is more for my recollection:)


Elizabeth: with her it was longer (14 hrs), I progressed differently, and her entrance into the world was met with a bit more uncertainty. I pushed for an hour and needed stitches. After her birth she was whisked away pretty quickly and did skin to skin first with Alex. I didn't nurse her until an hour and a half postpartum.

Meghan: I was induced (electively), progressed to a 6 within 6 hours, got my epidural, within 90 minutes was at a 10, pushed for 15-20 min. and didn't need any stitches. I was able to pull her up and they allowed us so much time with her, which we loved! Nursing began soon after.

Similarities: Epidurals with both which progressed my dilation rapidly. Both were incredibly positive experiences.


Elizabeth: I gained 35-37 pounds, lost 10 by day 3 postpartum. I had a linea negra, I swelled up like a balloon, and has some darkened facial spots. 

Meghan: I gained 33 pounds and lost 11 by day 2 postpartum. I had swelling again, but not nearly as bad. No line or facial spots but instead a herniated belly button. 


Elizabeth: Since I had stitches things were a bit more sore but I was up and moving as soon as I switched rooms. We stayed for 3 days in the hospital because she failed her first hearing test and had some slight jaundice. First night home was a bit of a challenge. Also Elizabeth by day 4 was down 10 ounces.

Meghan: Since things were a bit less intense I was able to be discharged just 24 hours after she was born. I was also up and moving by 2 hours postpartum and we didn't need to stay any longer because jaundice and hearing tests were passed with flying colors. It is SO good to be at home...first night was similar but I did get some good chunks of sleep. Meghan at discharge on day 2 was only down an ounce from her birth weight. 

Seriously, I can hardly believe these two miracles that are in front of our eyes. As we drove home last night for both Alex and I it was a bit of a surreal moment. Incredibly blessed. We are so happy to be home and are taking things easy...just being lazy as our new family of four. 

And Elizabeth, well she's ecstatic and loves helping and watching and holding her baby sister!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Meal PLanning for a month

I’d always read, seen, or heard about women who meal plan by the month and I’d always written that idea off. Around our house, since I like to cook, enjoy meal planning and grocery shopping, our menu is based almost entirely upon what my stomach wants. Thankfully my stomach usually craves things that are GOOD for us and not just junk.

But throughout this pregnancy I’ve gotten a bit, well, let’s just say lax. I think for the first time in all our 8 years together I’ve heard my husband really request more options for dinner. I’ve been stuck in a rut. And it hasn’t been all that great for anyone.

And so last night I broke out all my cookbooks (Ina Garten, Pioneer Woman, family recipes, and Cooks Illustrated) and I made a huge list of all the meals I knew we enjoyed. These are meals that for the most part I can make on auto-pilot because I’ve made them enough. Shockingly this list was 65 recipes long. Some are a little more involved and some are as easy as pasta and jar sauce with everything in between. I know there are even more that we really like but I need Alex to go over the list and add in what is missing.


I should also mention that because I like to cook, enjoy meal planning, and grocery shopping that I can’t make a monthly menu that repeats every week. Again, after 8 years, we just can’t and don’t want to eat the same 5-7 meals on rotation. That works for so many but I know it will not work for us with the exception of pasta night and pizza night. Pizza and pasta in all their varieties never get old at this house. One other thing that just has never worked for us are lots of crockpot meals and make ahead meals. Neither ever get enjoyed or eaten so though we have a handful we like, it’s not a concept we are utilizing.

So when I sat down with a monthly printout ready to pencil in our meals I did so with great gusto. First off, I planned out October with the VERY realistic expectation that I will be sleep deprived and will need the easy recipes. I also knew that if I didn’t shop now I probably never would. I wanted our pantry, fridge, and freezer stocked with MOST of the ingredients we needed. I will need to go to the store weekly/bi-weekly for perishables but knowing that we have the ingredients we need for the meals I planned was freeing when I left the store today.


I also created a bit of a system to start out with that can be tweaked. Twice a month on Tuesdays we have MOPS so easy dinners are required. Thursdays we have BSF so those nights are for leftovers/miscellaneous. Because we eat out randomly I know our menu can be tweaked as we go. Nothing is concrete. And to keep the ease going, Friday nights are pizza nights, Saturday/Sunday are soup days, Monday’s are a beef meal, and Wednesday’s are a chicken meal. Right now I’m too flexible with our meals and rely on my ability to throw something together which I know will not work with a new baby on the scene.

I’m hoping this will work for us. I set out today after filling out my grocery list with Elizabeth and we conquered our shopping in record time. I already know that those who plan in advance by the month probably do save quite a bit on groceries. I came home after a Costco/Target run and basically couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Elizabeth and I bought a LOT of food and some how the price just didn’t seem that bad at the end of the day knowing we’d use it. I was actually shocked at how low our bill seemed at Costco for the size of our cart. Knowing that I just need to fill in weekly with produce, lunch meat, and some dairy makes me feel like grocery shopping with two will be even more manageable.

I keep reminding myself of Solomon’s words “There’s nothing new under the sun…” He was right. Mothers have been doing this for centuries and in so many ways we have it so much easier. Women have been keeping house, having babies, making meals, and grocery shopping for years. And they all survived and most had more children than I ever will. So I’m basically a bit optomistic while remaining incredibly realistic.

Have you menu planned by the month or do you? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

38 weeks + 1 day

This is the longest I’ve ever been pregnant.

Some of you may want to slap me for even saying that but for me, we have entered uncharted territory. I’ve been trying to ready myself for labor again and *trying* to read anything that was remotely helpful the first go around, but to be honest I’m just exhausted.

The kind of exhausted where you get 8 hours of semi-uninterrupted sleep, an hour nap, and you still want to fall asleep before your toddler at night. It takes all my energy just to keep up with her, to be honest…it is pathetic how tired I am.

In trying to prepare for labor the second time, I found my old phone and had a reminiscent trip down memory lane. In week 37 day 6 at 11pm my water broke at home. The previous Monday my cervix was super high and tightly closed. I checked into the hospital at 12pm and I was 4cm. Two weeks ago my OB called my first delivery a special case after she asked me if I knew when to call in. The look on my face must have been enough because she began explaining things plainly.

With Elizabeth I had no contractions or braxton hicks until a hour after I arrived at the hospital. None. Somehow, unless I didn’t feel it, I went from high and closed to 4cm. And then from 1 am to 4am I went from a 4 to a 7/8. And then I sat. I was a 7/8 from 4am until 12pm. 8 hours in semi transition. It’s no wonder I got an epidural. I remember telling Alex that things were really not that bad until Pitocin hit the scene. And then everything hit the fan. Going through labor at a 7 without pitocin seemed more like a piece of cake but since I was at a 7 so long with my water broken, the show had to go on. This time I’m not going to try and be a martyr. If pitocin enters the scene I’m signing up for my epidural immediately not 4 or so hours later. I was CRAZY!

So basically at 38 weeks 1 day this time around I have no idea how labor really starts other than what I’ve read/heard. And so far I’ve had some braxton hicks, enough one night that I called my sister the RN and asked her what contractions felt like. Somehow in HIs kindness the Lord has erased any memory of what real contractions feel like.

And here I sit, 38 weeks, 2 cm, 50% effaced, –1 station, with my membranes stripped this morning. Here’s to hoping that works. I know lots of people are the just wait, they’ll come when they are ready, but we’re ready. And I don’t have any lofty aspirations for the world’s most amazing birth experience. I’m happy as a clam to go as long as I can and then sit in pure bliss chatting it up with the doctor and nurses with an epidural and clear mind as my baby enters the world.

To each their own.

But 38 weeks, 1 day.

I can’t wait to see when she’ll make her debut!

And for posterity sake, here I am at 36 weeks…I look relatively the same even now.

2014-08-30 15.47.57

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An end to summer


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

2014-09-06 17.43.42

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.

2014-09-06 17.15.37-1 2014-09-06 17.28.04 2014-09-06 17.38.082014-09-06 18.06.25

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


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


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


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

DSC_0089 (2) 
Not to us, but to Your name alone
Be all the glory, the glory, forever

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…’” 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.


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!


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.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Baby #2 : The Final Countdown

I’m 31 weeks.


That means I have 10 weeks to go if baby is a week late, 9 weeks until full term, and just 6 if baby comes when Elizabeth did.

Shwew! That’s not that far away.

I entered the third trimester a few weeks ago and I have to say things are looking up so far. I definitely don’t feel quite as big as I did the first time around at this point but I’ve gained the same amount of weight it seems. Up 21 pounds although I’m just starting to swell so we shall see what that number does in the remaining weeks.

We have a few names we are mulling over and one that seems like a front runner so hopefully we will get it figured out before she’s here. At my last appointment they said she’s head down although that could change but at least we are moving in the right direction. I’m very excited for Elizabeth to be a big sister. She’s obsessed with her babies and any babies that we see out and around. I know she will be a great helper and to be honest, my biggest worry is for myself. If I’m honest, I don’t love the baby stage…I’m thankful for it and delight in it but it’s not my favorite. And we have already begun preparing our minds and hearts that life is about to get a bit crazier. Hopefully we will all stay as sane as possible.

How far along: 31 weeks

Gender: GIRL!!!

Weight gain: 21 pounds

Maternity clothes: Bottoms but for the most part things are still a bit big this time around. I’m wearing a lot of non-maternity just a couple of sizes bigger than normal.

Stretch marks: No…relying on Palmer’s Cocoa Butter in the jar

Belly button in or out: all the way out…and I was just told by my OB that it is for sure herniated. She has very low hope that it will go back to normal and I will probably be looking at belly button surgery postpartum. Anyone had it done?

Sleep: Still going great…I haven’t even pulled out my body pillow. Maybe it’s time to sell it?

Best moment this week: Getting all of my stuff out of the nursery and into our guest room/craft room in the basement. We are making huge progress in the nursery which makes me feel a bit more ready. The crib is up and bedding is on, closet is cleared out…just a few projects that I hope to tackle in August when my mom is here.

Miss anything: Alcohol. I’m almost embarrassed to write that but summer is the season of the best drinks in my opinion. For the most part I eat/drink everything else in moderation so I’m sure by the time the baby comes and it is fall my desire for a cold margarita will have passed:) And crazy about the stone fruit listeria scare. I’m certain I’ve eaten 9 pounds of stone fruit from those retailers since June 1st. No listeria here…phew!

Movement: A little bit but definitely not as much as I did at this point with Elizabeth. Elizabeth used to move the most during the day and the least at night. When she arrived her days and nights were right on. This little girl likes to get all crazy at night. I can only hope she will arrive knowing that night time means sleep. Probably a lost cause.

Cravings: Nothing really. My appetite has really shrunk.

Looking forward to: Finishing the nursery, having plants in our yard and a newly sided house, meeting this little peanut.