Wednesday, December 04, 2013


As soon as I wrote the title for this post I immediately thought of this:

Does that just not crack you up? Anyway, hello. 

It's beginning to look at lot like Christmas around our house. Am I the only one, or does it seem like December just completely snuck up on us? The last couple of months have just flown by. We haven't had anything particularly interesting going on but still, the day to day has kept us moving forward. On that note, I hate it when people ask me what I've been up to. I feel like I am a deer in the headlights. Well, should I tell them about the four hundredth load of laundry I did? Or that I woke up early to exercise and spend time with God before the day got away from me? Or perhaps I should share about the new recipe I tried? Ugh. It seems so small to say that I've just been being a mama and wife. Like maybe I should have some amazing side project going on?!? Anyone else feel that way? 

Elfie made his appearance this morning in our home. I had planned to write a sweet note from Santa but that didn't happen last night. Good thing Elfie travels to the North Pole each night to check in with Santa wink, wink. I am going to be better about taking pics and recording our December here. :) 

I'm working on Christmas presents right now. I've got a few ideas for the kids that I am excited about. Mostly learning based toys, because I know they will get lots of the fun stuff from their awesome extended family. They are so loved and spoiled. :) 

(Hi, Papa and Meme! Thanks for being my loyal blog readers. :) Look at the moon....)

Even though I haven't posted pics in a solid forever, I've been diligently pressing on with Project Life. I am one week behind and I still cannot believe I've kept up with this project for almost a whole year. Y'all that is humongous. I love it SO much but I need some help figuring out where to store the huge 12x12 albums so that we can see and look through them. Looks like I might be needing (ha) a deeper bookshelf. If you are wondering, I am totally going to do Project Life again next year. 

Lauren will start Kindergarten in 37 weeks. Yes, I'm counting. I heard about this app called Legacy. It lets you put in an age or date or whatever and it tracks how much time until then. It helps me be more consistent and purposeful because I know I only have 37 more weeks until our lives change. :) Yes, we are planning on sending her to public school. 

Easton is so big. I still see him as a baby, but he isn't. I hit a deer with my car this week and he was so worried (the kids weren't with me, thank goodness!) He kept asking if I broke the deer in half! Hahah!

Is that enough randomness for you today? Much love!!!!!

Also, I love my new blog design! It is SO me! Thank you, Miranda!!!!!!

Friday, August 09, 2013

Five on Friday!

Hey there! Thank you to so many of you who had nice things to say about this post yesterday. It was a kind of bare-all post, but I am so glad to know it resonated with so many of you fellow moms in the trenches with me!

Instead of my normal (well, can you even call it that considering how sporadic it usually is) Five on Friday post about the highlights of my week, I thought I would instead share my favorite five resources for us moms in the trenches!!! Are you ready?

1. The Bible. Okay, not to be all cliché here, but it really is the BEST resource for us mamas. God's word is FULL of encouragement and conviction and I know that when I am IN His word, I am a better mama. His word has a way of healing my broken pieces and giving me strength to do this mama job day after day after day. If you are looking for a new study Bible, I recommend the ESV Study Bible.  I use my NIV thinline for BSF and to take with me to Church, but the ESV Study Bible is great for personal in depth study. :)

2. 52 Things Kids Need From a Mom by Angela Thomas. My sweet friend, Bethany, posted about this book on Instagram and I immediately ran to Amazon to purchase it. It is AMAZING! Short, doable chapters that are so encouraging! I honestly love this book so much and can see myself revisiting it over and over in the years to come!

3.  Desperate by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae. I wish I'd had this book back when I struggled with depression...even though it STILL speaks to my heart every single time I read it. Its real and shares the ugly parts us mamas sometimes don't want to talk about, but gives hope and wisdom from the perspective of an older mama who's been there and done that.

4. Loving the Little Years & Fit to Burst, both by Rachel Jankovic. These little gems are tiny but hard hitting. Rachel doesn't baby you...she tells it like it is, and sometimes that is just what I need.


5. Trendbreakers, by my very own real life friend Kelly! Okay, so this book isn't necessarily all about motherhood, but it is about friendship and how important nurturing those relationships is to our mental health. It's a great book full of practical advice and ideas.

The other resource I use every day is Pandora. Music is powerful for me and can change my state of mind and attitude immediately. Some of my favorite stations to have playing (that I don't mind my kiddos listening to) while we are going about our day are:

Indelible Grace
Enter the Worship Circle
Sara Groves (my favorite EVER)
Kari Jobe
All Sons & Daughters

Of course, don't for a second think I don't have a John Mayer, Luke Bryan, or Pistol Annies station going while I'm making dinner! :)

Hope these were helpful! Press on Mama Warriors!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Dear Older Me

Dear Older Me,

Hey you with the highlighted hair and the quiet house. I see you looking at the scrapbooks and crying and wishing you were right here where I am. You see the cute smiles and the funny things those kids of yours said and you are wanting it back. I get it. I do! But, can I just jog your memory for a moment? Then you can go pick up your book or take a bath and stop all the crying and just enjoy your time.

This taking care of kids gig is hard work. Hard. Work. The laundry never ends. In fact, I believe it multiplies in the washing machine. It has to because otherwise the massive amount we have just defies logic.

And let's talk about the kitchen, shall we? Clean floors? Hah! An empty sink? Hah! Oh, hi there little one, you want another snack? Another meal? Another cup of water or milk? You wash dishes and prepare meals and clean it all up just to mess it up again. It's maddening.

Your kids need disciplined. They aren't perfect. They sin and you've got to come up with consequences that mean something and that will help them change their hearts. You have to be on it and ready. Even when your kid does something incredibly weird and unexpected and you just shake your head and wonder why they even thought that was a good idea. You're on. Always.

You have no quiet time, no personal space, no choice on how you are going to spend your day. You are with the kids. The kids are with you. And on you. And in your face. And some days you just don't want to be touched one more moment. Your poor husband.

Some days you feel like you are the biggest failure ever. I mean surely the monkey at the zoo would do a better job mothering these hooligans than you. There is too much TV and not enough reading. There is too much yelling and not enough leading. There are days when you are too tired to even put the effort forth to mother well and then you lay your head on your pillow at night and feel the guilt (oh, the guilt) creep up and suffocate you. You pray for God's new mercies the next morning and then you wake up and fail again. It's hard on you, the failing. You question yourself and spend too much time in the pit.

These are the trenches of motherhood. These are the poopy diapers and snotty noses and whining and time outs and these are the days of locking yourself in the bathroom. Its day in and day out and its real and its hard and I'm praying it's worth it.

Because you there, older me, I hope you have few regrets. I really hope you can look back on these years with great joy. I hope you can remember the hard times and know you gave your all. You fought when it would have been easier to give in. You gave when you were totally spent. You cleaned that dang kitchen one more time and folded that hundredth load of laundry for the week. You read to your babies and listened to them even when you felt like zoning out and you made a million memories and only a few mistakes.

I hope you can look back and cry because it was so good and laugh because it was such a mess. I pray you get to see the bigger picture and that all your years of sowing and planting and watering and  praying reaps a good harvest.

So go ahead, remember the good times. Just do me a favor, remember the hard times too. And send some young mama a card of encouragement, okay? Oh, and don't cut your hair super short.

The Younger You

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

A Big Change & PL Week 31

So, this past week was pretty much UGH to the max. We had been praying for over a month about whether or not Shawn should accept a position with another engineering firm in town. It was a tough (to say the very least) decision, but ultimately we decided and felt peace about him leaving the job he'd worked at for eight years. Monday, he told his employer he would be leaving and after 24 hours of back and forth offers, Tuesday morning it was a done deal. I won't share all the details here, but by Tuesday at 8:00 am he was home. By noon that same day he was at his new employer and I had the sickest tummy the entire week. We trust that this was the right step for our family and we are humbled and blessed by this huge opportunity for Shawn. And each day further into this new chapter we get a little more excited. Because of the nature of the situation, my PL for week 31 is a little more private than I'd like to share here so I've blocked out some of the journaling. ;)

Week 31: I went with the Midnight edition this week. The colors just seemed to fit the mood of the week. The insert is from when we went to STL to see Matt, Desiré, and Caleb. That was definitely a huge highlight to the week!

I wanted to include this card from our sermon on was like God was saying, "Listen!"

*sorry the right page is blurry*

I really love journaling on the lines of these striped makes me happy. Also - I am obsessed with these two iphone photo apps: A Beautiful Mess & Rhonna Designs.  

This week finished out my first album for 2013. I'm excited to start on the next one and still can't believe I've finished this much and that I STILL love it....even on the weeks that are hard to journal.

*Linking up to The Mom Creative*

Wishing For Wednesday

Here are a few things I've been crushing on lately....

1. Missouri Show Me baseball Tee from Creator Designs. I stinking love this company and their quality tees. You can get yours for ONLY $15 here.

2. This amazing crock pot from Target.  Isn't it darling? I absolutely love my crock pot, but it is narrow at the bottom (just the style I have) so I would love this one that is more oblong shaped! Plus it's only $34!

3. This Americana scarf from Old Navy. Vintage looking and precious. In love!

4. The new Sunshine kit from Project Life. I know, I know, like I need any more PL kits. :) Of course I do!

5. Sunnies case from The Pleated Poppy. Just darling. And practical. And darling.

6. John Mayer chalkboard quote for the master bedroom. We are in the process of pulling inspiration for our remodel of that room. This has to be in there somewhere!

7. A blog re-design by my friend, Miranda! We are working behind the scenes to revitalize this blogging space of mine! I can't wait!

8. This is more of an, "Oh my goodness I love this how did I not know it was around before now and I drank all mine and now am out" kind of wish. Have you tried the Hiland Iced Coffee? It's amazing. Like life changing. I might even love it more (in the summer) than my regular Kcup coffee with lots of cream. So. Good. Wish my fridge had some in it right now.

I think that's it for today. Hope you have a great Wednesday!!! It's nice and rainy here so we will be cuddled up watching movies and playing tractors and dolls I'm sure! No plans to go anywhere or do anything feels just about right!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Project Life: Wks 28-30

Okay, so I have to admit that around the 4th of July I got a little overwhelmed with Project Life. Mainly it was because I had SO many pictures I wanted to include and that meant a lot of editing and decisions to make. And me and decisions? Well, let's just say we aren't the greatest of friends.

Once I got through that MASSIVE week of pictures and inserts I felt a bit better but still needed to take some time away. But then the Dear Lizzy, 5th & Frolic kit came to Michaels and I got all excited again! :)

Week 28:

I used the new Dear Lizzy kit and I really like it. I can't believe I am going to say this, but it is almost a bit too muted for my liking. Don't get me wrong I am ALL about the florals and vintage elements, but some of the cards just seem too washed out. I still love it but I think the cards will have to go with certain themes or weeks.

I used two inserts in this week's layout.

Week 29 brought me back to my all time favorite kit: Honey. Oh my goodness the colors are JUST PERFECT for summer and it just makes me so uber happy! I ended up using two inserts this week as well. One shares some fun summer instagram pics while the next one is dedicated to our 9th wedding anniversary! Woot Woot baby!

I added in some stickers this week too...they are pretty tall though so I should have attached them to the outside of the page protector.

I LOVE including iphone screen shots in my layouts. It's something that just makes each week even more personal. This week I got to include the text I got from my friend Desiré that Caleb was going to get a heart!!!! (I just print these off at home on photo paper)

So, Lauren's birthday technically fell in week 29, but I had SO many pictures I decided to do a whole special insert for her!!! You can see how I did this for Easton's bday here) This week I got pretty crazy with my new Elle's Studio goodies. I seriously LOVE their embellishments. Too darn cute!

I printed off the birthday interview I did with Lauren and slipped it in an 8 x10 page protector from Becky Higgins. On the back, I included her bday invitation and guest list (only the little kids). You can also see a letter peeking out...that's Lauren's 5th birthday letter I wrote and shared on the blog. I just printed it out and put it in a regular page protector.

This insert includes what we did on her actual birthday (since her friend party was held the night before her real birthday) and I used a card from the childhood kit as well. 

***Edited to add: I caught the misuse of the word our in the top 2x3 card and have since re-written it! ;) The world is right again. :)***

There was some white space in this pic so I journaled a bit about how sweet Lauren was when she opened all her presents!

Week 30:

I went back to the Dear Lizzy kit because a lot of my pictures were more subdued and muted this week. I think it worked out really well in this case!

We had SUCH a busy week and I wanted to remember every detail so I used this calendar card from 5th & Frolic to record it all!

Okay so I know I have one more week to finish (the week we are in right now) but I went ahead and worked on my last page. I've busted the seams on this binder so I am going to have to face the fact that I'll be using more than one binder this year! It's all those inserts I tell you! :) Anyway, here is the last page of my project life volume one! (I got the idea for the stats cards here)

So - I still love it. And I am just beyond proud that I've kept up with it for 30 weeks (I'll finish week 31 this week!)

Linking up to The Mom Creative!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

On Your Fifth Birthday

Dear Lauren,

I've felt the words to this letter burn in my heart for over a week and yet I haven't been able to make myself sit and write them out. They are painful for this mama because I feel this fifth birthday like the growing pains of growing up. I look at you and feel the lump in my throat, the tightening in my chest, and the overwhelming feeling of wanting to hold on tighter to you as you want to express your independence from me. I am face to face with the reality that I am raising you, training you, and loving you to leave me. I want nothing more than for you to be a remarkable woman, but I want nothing more than for you to stay my baby. It's a delicate balance.

Oh I know you are only five. Many will say I am being over-emotional. Maybe I am. But, for some reason, this birthday feels like a huge milestone in our lives. Five! A whole hand! You are no longer the infant who never slept, (I'm just now forgiving you for that, wink) the toddler who taught us true joy, or even the pre-schooler who welcomed a baby brother into her life with open and oh so tender arms. You are a little lady. A beauty, inside and out.

You made me a mama. You came into my life like a tornado, re-arranging all my ideas and plans and opening my heart in ways I never thought were possible. Those first months were hard. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I will look back on those days forever with a bittersweet feeling. You never slept at night but you sure loved to sleep curled up on my chest on the couch or next to me in the early morning hours on my bed. It was just the two of us navigating this new world we found ourselves in. I think we did a pretty good job for the newbies we were. And somehow we survived and grew and thrived in our new roles.

You welcomed your baby brother into your life with no hesitation, no reservation, only love. I was so scared that bringing him home would hurt you or my relationship with you. Little did I know it was the absolute best thing we could have ever done. I've heard it said that a sibling is the best gift a parent can give a child and I believe it. I've watched the two of you from the very first moment you laid eyes on him until now and you guys have a special bond. It's one I will never understand as an insider but will always watch and thank God for as a bystander. Easton adores you, Lauren. He pretty much assumes you hung the moon and whatever his sissy is doing is what he wants to be doing. Thank you for loving him so wholly. Thank you for believing the best in him and sticking up for him and making him feel so special. You've got a built in best friend for life in him.

One of my favorite things about you is your love for other people. You truly have such a tender heart. I love seeing you with other kids, especially little babies. You'll stop what you are doing to make them smile or laugh. When we are out shopping you see things and think of friends of yours and how much they would like that particular item. I pray fervently that God uses your heart for others mightily for His kingdom.

You love to learn! Almost every day you ask what we are, "gonna learn 'bout today." You are much better about keeping me accountable in your learning than I am. Most of the time it is totally initiated by you. Although you love doing school at home you aren't sure at all about real Kindergarten. Thankfully (for you and for mama) we aren't sending you to the big school this year. That gives us a whole year to work on getting you ready for that huge step! You are so smart. I really am not too biased on this one. ;) You have an amazing memory. You remember things that your daddy and I have to search our memory banks for! We can be driving, see something on tv, or you can even just hear something in a conversation and remember the most amazing things!

You are WAY into princesses and dressing up and being long as it is play clothes. Your favorite princess is Aurora even though you've never even seen Sleeping Beauty. We think you like her best because of her pink dress. :) You hate having your hair done and have refused to wear bows for at least two years now. I can still sneak in a cute hair accessory in the way of headbands as of now. Most days you want to wear comfy clothes or your pajamas and only want to get ready if we are going somewhere. You truly have your own perception of style! :)

You are the most darling little girl and I am so proud of you. It's an honor to be your mama. It is my greatest joy. I'm thankful (and oftentimes scared and overwhelmed) that God entrusted me with raising you. I will love you forever and no matter what.

I love you to the moon and back fourteen million times.


PS: For fun here is your 5 year birthday interview....