Friday, April 28, 2017

Fun Friday: 33 things about me

I just turned 33 a couple weeks ago.  Kind of crazy to think that I am now not just in my 30s but in my mid-thirties.  But age is just a number anyway, right?  I thought I'd share some random facts about me for this Fun Friday!

33.  I am not as young as I once was, but I’m also not as old as I will be tomorrow.  Live each day to the fullest.  So I slide down double slides with my son and I have nightly dance parties with my guys, because life is too short to not be silly!

32.  Grief really does only exist where love lived first.  This was a life changing quote for me.  It's ok to grieve, in fact, I'm thankful for grief because it means there was someone to grieve.  

31.  Never trust a quiet toddler (or child), even if they *may* be sleeping.  (There's a good chance they are only quiet because they are getting into something.)

30.  I love the outdoors.  The sunshine just makes me happy!  One of the many reasons I love this sunshiny state of Colorado!

29.  Lularoe leggings are the most comfy pants I own, even if they aren't really even considered pants...but I mostly only wear them around my house.

28.  I feel better when I wake up at a regular time, but most of the time I still don't do it now that I don't work outside the home.  

27.  I love coffee.  And I drink entirely too much most days.  Although I have been drinking some form of ‘coffee’ for 17 years, it wasn’t until I became a Mom that I started drinking it black.  (Granted, I still love sweet lattes but prefer to grab those with a friend over a convo.)

26.  Murphy's Law always prevails.  (See #31)

25.  There is something about cuddling up with a soft blanket, cup of tea, bowl of popcorn and my hubs that just melts all the problems of the world, well at least the day, away.

24.  I can't go to bed before 10, otherwise I wake up at about 3 and can't get back to sleep.  It can be 10 or 10:05 just not 9:50 for some reason.

23.  I love music.  I can't go a day without humming, singing, drumming, whistling and listening to music.  A lot of times it's most of those happening at the same time.

22.  I hate shorts, but I love skirts and dresses in the summer.  (Part self conscious and huge part comfort.)  Ironically I wear shorts under my dresses/skirts due to my toddler and the wind. haha

21.  I am either very opinionated or completely indecisive.   I’m opinionated about 95% of the time though.  I often used to joke that being critical (or having a critical eye) was my spiritual gift.  There is some truth to it too….

20.  I am a planner, who has recently embraced some spontaneity.  Motherhood and living closer to family (again) has done that to me. (spontaneity part)

19.  I am smarter than I think.  You are too!

18.  I have a photographic memory most of the time.  It came in especially handy when memorizing all my songs I sang in High School and then College.  And there were a lot….believe me! 

17.   Amazon Prime is pretty sweet.  2-day shipping and streaming lots of great movies and some shows for free, well the membership price.  We haven’t had cable for over 7 years!
16.  I’ve lived in my current city half of the amount of time that I lived in my hometown and we lived in NC half as long as I’ve lived in my current city. 

15.  I always thought I’d be a young mom, but now that I became a Mom later in life, I can’t imagine my life any different or raising a different kiddo.  Even if it’s not the way I “planned” it.  (Read: God’s timing is always perfect and never an accident.)

14.  I am a dog person who has owned a cat for half of the time that I ever had dogs.  Life is funny that way.  I still contend she’s a bit of a dog though.

13.  I love sweets, especially and almost exclusively chocolate treats.

12.  Even though I now seldom dream, or at least if I do I sure don’t remember them, when I was a child I had a very vivid recurring dream of my wedding.  I would walk down the aisle of my Church (in the dream dress that I ended up wearing in my own wedding years later) and just as I got to the end to see who I was marrying I would wake up.  So frustrating at the time. (LOL) When I got married I never had that dream again—probably because I figured out who it was! J

11.  Financial Peace University changed my life.  I highly recommend it to anyone in pretty much an phase of life!  I may a bigger post about how life changing the course was but a huge part was having a plan to get out of debt and a plan for where all of our money is going. is what we use for budget, and it’s great!  It’s free software online, and if you want your bank account added to it you just pay a small fee. (Not a paid advertisement, just sharing what has helped us!)

10.  I love to cook and bake but HATE doing dishes.  Alas, it all still happens though!

9.  I love free things as much as the next person, but if it means long lines and huge crowds then you can count me out.  (Think Ben and Jerry’s and DQ free ice cream days….maybe I’ll go if friends or family are going and we can chat in the line, otherwise I will pick up a half gallon (or whatever size it is they come in anymore) on my way home and enjoy it all week for much less stress.)

8.  I am an introvert.  I am sometimes extroverted, but I need my alone time.  People drain me.  Now, my son and hubs can usually be in my “alone” time but sometimes I even need a break from them. 

7.  I like fake sushi, like with cooked/smoked fish.  I can’t even process or begin to think of raw fish…in my mouth…or stomach.

6.  I love spicy food.  I think being married to a spice lover has helped me tolerate hotter things too.  Bring on all the green chile (I even make my own now)!

5.  I love birthdays, especially mine.  (As completely selfish as that sounds…now that I wrote it down. :/)

4.  I had 5 cousins growing up.  My little man already has 14!!  So fun!

3.  Being a Mom has truly been the best (and at times also the most trying) experience that I’ve ever had and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to raise our little guy.  (and hopefully more, one day!) 

2.  I married my best friend, and although I thought I loved him then, I do so much more now it’s kind of crazy!  Seeing him be so sweet and gentle as a father has increased my affection for him too.  So sweet, those two.

1.  I am so incredibly thankful for my relationship with Jesus and that God loved us SO much that He executed His perfect rescue plan to heal our relationship.  It was a completely free gift too.  There’s nothing I could do to earn it and nothing I could do to remove it.   

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Get in the Pic! (Let's stop using the four letter U word too!)

Follow up to I stopped using the F-word, and why you should too.

A couple months ago while my little family was in Estes my hubby snapped a pic of my son and I walking out of a building at the Y.  When he sent it to me later that night, my first thought was that I didn't like the way I looked in it.  (See pic below)  My pants were not too flattering (so light), awkward stance, and the list goes on....but then I realized that's SO silly!  My hubs loves me, thinks I'm beautiful and snapped this pic of his son and wifey.  I'm usually the one behind the camera and it's SO nice to have a pic with me in it (that's not a selfie)!

So let’s get in the picture.  Let’s get out from behind the camera.  Who cares what you weigh?  Who cares if your hair is a mess?  Or if you are in leggings or light colored jeans?  Or if you didn’t put makeup on?  Who cares if you have wrinkles from a life lived?  Or if your clothes have food smeared on them?  

Do you know what people do care about?  You.  All of you.  Who are you.  Your kids want to be able to remember what those memories in the pictures were about and WHO was with them.  They won’t care if you thought you looked like a hot mess.   They don't care if you're bigger than you'd like to be, or have more wrinkles than you've ever had.  They want to remember you.  They want to remember what you looked like when you welcomed them into the family.  They want to see what you looked like 9 months pregnant.  They want to show their kids and grand kids pictures of the mama they loved so much.  (or grandma, or great grandma, or aunt, or cousin, or whoever you are reading this right now.) They want to remember what you looked like.

So let’s get in those photos.  Let’s hand over the cameras (or phones) and get someone else (even if it has to be a stranger) to take a photo of the whole family.  Or at least give the camera to your spouse/friend so they can take a few with you and the kids too.  Let people take photos of all of us so we'll have something to remember, and our kids and grand kids will too!

I talked about why we don't use the3-letter F word in our house, but I also think we all should stop using the 4-letter U word.  It's also destructive and just plain mean.  It won't necessarily get you in trouble with a teacher or the law, but it still isn't a good thing at all.  When we think that we look ‘Ugly’ or someone is ‘Ugly’, here again we're insulting God.  What's on the inside is what matters, and we all come in different shapes, shades and sizes.  Our features are all different and we are all uniquely created beautiful people!  

Let’s get over ourselves and get in the pics.  

Also, let's get over ourselves and get in the bathing suit and go to the pool.  

Get over ourselves and live, life, loud or quietly if you prefer! 

If we wait until we are the perfect weight, have the perfect makeup or tan or perfectly toned or don’t have any cellulite left it may be too late.  We don’t know the future, but I do know that not one of us is making it out of here alive.  Let’s get in the picture!  Let's live life!  Let's love well!!  And stop putting ourselves down while we are at it!!  I doubt that people are paying attention to what you are wearing, half as much as you think they are.  And if they are?  Who cares? You know who you are, they don’t.  You know you are just who God created you to be.  You are someone’s loved one, mama, grandma, aunt or sister.  You are beautiful.    

Monday, April 24, 2017

I stopped using the F word (and why you should too!)

It seems no matter where you look someone or something is telling us what beautiful looks like.  You don’t have to go farther than magazines, movies, book covers, TV shows, marketing and the list goes on... 

-Eat this way and you’ll look younger. 
-Work out like this and you’ll get your “pre-baby” belly back. 
-Lose 10 pounds fast.
-Contour your face in three easy steps to look photo-shopped…
-Get bikini body ready....

What if, instead of getting hung up on the number on the scale, or the makeup we try to cover up all our imperfections with, we took a closer look at what's on the inside?  

What if we spent as much time working on us, the real us like what's on the inside, as we do to make ourselves look more:  attractive, perfect, younger, skinnier, etc?  

What if we read God’s word and believed it for what it is?

What if stopped comparing ourselves with others?

What if we believed our parents and husbands? (This is assuming they are telling us that we are beautiful and perfect just the way we are.)

What if we believed the truth about us?  That we were created in God’s image.  We are unique.  We were fearfully and wonderfully made.  We were made for a purpose.  We were intentional.  That not one of us was an accident.  There is no one else like each of us.  What if?

What if we raised this next generation with better body image and self talk?

What if we showed others what beautiful looks like, in different shades, shapes and sizes?  With imperfections and all?

What if we were so comfortable in our own skin that our kids would be too?

What if we loved ourselves, so we could truly love others?

What if we all took the word "fat" out of our vocabulary, unless we are talking about meat?  

What if everyone became less focused on getting back to "pre-baby" weight?  or "pre-freshman 15"?  or the size you were in high school? 

What if we were happy with who we are now?  What if we helped encourage others in who they are now too?

The 30 year old, 40 year old, 60 year old version of us?  We aren't in high school anymore.  We’re older and wiser.  We have babies.  (Even if some of us didn't birth them.)  Those scars and stretch marks are part of our stories.  They are part of us.  We have life experience.  We are so much more than the number on the scale.  We are so much more than that makeup on our face.  We are loved.  We are known.  We are beautiful.  We are unique.

I just feel so passionate about getting this “F” word out of our culture and vocabulary I think it can really be life-changing.  Hopefully, this will also be life-giving!

You see, words hurt.  I have never been the skinniest girl, but there were several years growing up when I was quite thin.  During the midst of those years when I was in eighth grade, a boy named Cody called me "big boned" and when I asked him what that meant he said it meant that I was fat.  And just like that, this boy I thought was my friend, crushed me.

Me in 8th grade, and my cute mom in the background!

Yes, that happened 20 years ago, and no I haven't forgotten.  Should I forget?  Yes.  
Should I forgive him?  Yes!  Did I think I already had?  Yep.  But as I write this, it’s apparent I haven’t, completely at least.

I don't know why it bothered me then, but like many, I have always feared being fat, people thinking I was fat or at least being called fat.  I’m not sure why I’ve been so aware and concerned about it.  In this world with so many other things going on and wrong, one wouldn’t think that this would be such a big deal.  But the reality it is for a lot of girls/women at least.

I went on to be rather obsessed with weight for a...lot...of years.  (I can’t say that I have actually really grown out of it completely either. Work in progress...)  In high school I got so into exercise that I had amenorrhea for a whole year.  (Sorry if that was TMI.)  But that's not healthy friends.  I actually was working out SO much (over exercising) that my body couldn’t function properly.  Our bodies are meant to be nourished and exercised both in moderation.  Even good things in excess are bad.

By the grace of God, I stopped over-exercising after a year or so and never developed any real eating disorder. Although, I feel like in this American culture at least, it’s hard to not develop some sort of poor body-image/eating disorder.  Not that I’m downplaying how serious eating disorders are, but they manifest in many different ways.  Here again, if we were more focused on the whole person, like what’s on the inside and not the outside, this would solve a lot of this problem!

Theodore Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” 

You see, nothing good comes from comparing ourselves to others. 

Susie may have birthed 5 babies and been able to lose all the weight within two months and still be in better shape than when she was in high school.  So what?  Molly may have been thin in high school and college but now can’t seem to lose the 50 pounds she gained after she got married.  So what?

For every woman who wishes she didn’t have a stretch mark is one who wished they did.  -Unknown Author

The grass is never greener on the other side of the fence.  It may look like it from where you are standing but you don’t have the whole picture.

Those neighbors you think have the perfect marriage may be struggling with finances or infidelity.  That woman you think has it altogether may be a mess inside her head.  (Think Randall from This Is Us.)  That single person you think has all the freedom in the world, may long to be married.  That cute couple from Church who seems so “free” and “fun” may be dealing with their own battle with infertility or illness.

If we are so desperate to make ourselves feel better (or worse) by comparing ourselves with others, there is definitely a deeper issue going on.  (I'd love a chance to chat about that if you're interested.)

So, why am I so passionate about getting rid of the F word?

It may not be the worst f word that comes up in your mind.  But this f word is the three letter one that is just as bad in my book.  It tears down.  It destroys.  It does not build up at all.

I don't want my children growing up thinking I'm not happy in my own skin.

I don't want them to think they need to diet or do this or that in order to be beautiful or accepted. 

I don't want them calling each other "f**", whether they mean it or not.  Been there, done that, have the postcard and it’s not fun for either party—believe me.

Would I like for my kids to have a healthy self-image? Yes!  
A self-image based on much more than outward appearance?  Yes!  
A self-image that is based on who they are as wonderfully, purposefully, beautifully created children of God?!? Yes!!  Yes!!  Yes!!  

We want them to be known.  We want them to be loved.  We want them to know that they were wonderfully and beautifully created by God.  We want them to be healthy.  And of course, we want them to know they are loved by us.

I want my son to know what a real woman looks like.  That it’s ok if she has curves, or cellulite, or is skin and bones, or is a little extra round.  I want him to recognize beauty based on much more than outward appearances.

So what do I do when I am tempted to use the forbidden F word, I insert fabulous

“I feel so fabulous today.” 
“Do you think this shirt makes me look fabulous?”
“Does this dress fit or does it make me look fabulous?”

The more you change the way you think, the more you believe it.  Or so I’ve realized.  God made us beautiful and different.  We don’t have to look the same or like models to be beautiful.  We also don’t have to look or feel beautiful to be beautiful.  

Other tips:
  1.     Let's wear (and/or buy) clothes that fit, are comfortable and make us feel good!
  2.     Let's get rid of clothes that we don't like, don’t fit in or don't feel good in.
  3.     Let's stop calling ourselves fat, feeling fat, or calling others fat.
  4.     Let's stop the self-loathing.  You are a daughter of the King!  You are beautiful inside and out.  You were fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the Universe!  (Need I go on?!?!)
5.    Let’s stop comparing!  This is your life not anyone elses!  Rock your body!!  Whatever shape or size you come in!

If you'd like to get healthier and maybe lose some weight--great!!
If you'd like to gain weight to get healthier--great!!
If you'd like to stay where you are--great!!
Let's raise up the next generation as people who care more about what's on the inside than the outside.  Let’s raise up this generation as people who don’t say the F word, but instead call each other as they are:  beautiful.  Let's raise up a generation who values the whole person.  

Remember who we are, and how God sees us.  We are known.  We are loved.  We were no accident.  Let's build ourselves, our babies and our friends up!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bouncy Beach Wave or Curls Tutorial

I've gotten quite a few questions lately about how I curl my hair so I made a little video tutorial of it. It takes me about five minutes to do this on my already washed/dried hair, which is pretty quick!
(You may even hear my little assistant in the background more than once. LOL, should've done it during naptime but I did it when I was getting ready...)


Friday, April 14, 2017

The Greatest Love Story Ever Written

We are about to celebrate the most pivotal weekend of the Christian faith. Good Friday, which is the day Jesus Christ was crucified and bore the sins of the world starts the weekend off.  Then it joyfully concludes with His resurrection on Easter Sunday!

Today is the day 2000 years ago that the greatest injustice happened in history. Jesus, who was fully God and fully man and completely perfect in every way, suffered and died on the cross. He gave up his spirit and it was done. But the good news is that wasn't the end. It was the beginning of the most beautiful love story every written. Jesus was buried and then three days later He was alive again!

You see, God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son to earth to pay the price of all the sins of the world. When mankind sinned in the garden of Eden we separated ourselves from God. The only way back to Him was through a great payment, an ultimate sacrifice. Jesus came to earth to be constrained to a human body, live a perfect life and die. He didn't do anything wrong. He didn't deserve the horrendous, painful death He endured but He was obedient to His Father, even to the point of death on the cross.

On Good Friday Jesus died and the wrath of God was satisfied. The curtain was torn and we gained access to God. No longer were burnt offerings needed or high priests. If we believe God and what Jesus did on the cross, we have direct access to God through prayer. And when we die, we will be with Him for eternity. Then on Easter Sunday, Jesus arose from the grave and the tomb was found empty. Prophesy was fulfilled and Jesus was who He claimed to be. Now, that is what a I call good news! Happy Good News Friday and Resurrection Day! Here are a couple of fitting songs for this Holy weekend friends!

This is one of my favorite songs and so fitting for Good Friday. (Isaiah 53 is where most of the lyrics are from)

This is one of my favorite Easter songs.

(Romans 3:23, John 3:16, Matthew 27, Mark 16, John 20, 1 Corinthians 15 and Isaiah 53 are references as well as the rest of the whole Bible.)

Monday, April 10, 2017

5 Tips to Help Manage Your Time (for Moms of littles)

Managing time is such a fitting topic for this Mommy Style Monday because one of my goals for this year was being more intentional with my time!  I have been evaluating how I am doing with that for the last week or so.  While there is always room for improvement, I'm doing better than this time last year which is pretty cool!  There are a few things that I have realized are really helpful for managing my time and also keeping my sanity in general!  I hope you find them helpful too!

(As you probably know, I stay home with my 2 year old son.   Little J is the best (well, of course I think so!) and so much fun.  He is very high energy and also still a good napper which is awesome.)

1.  Make a Schedule: (and try to stick to it most days!)  We still have a pretty set schedule because I find that works best for both of us!  I realize not everyone is like us, but most kids do better with schedules and I seriously have found that I do too!  There are times when I am not super strict with nap time, like when we are hanging out with cousins during their Spring Break or something or on the weekends, but during the week we are home by at least 2pm for J's nap!

2.  Utilize Nap time:  I realize not every still naps, but if yours (or any of yours do) take advantage!  Drink a cup of hot coffee and sit down for 5 minutes.  It's amazing how refreshing that can be.  Then what I do is try to pick up the house, do laundry (or other chores), write, craft or sew while J sleeps.

3.  Consolidate Errands:  Obvious I know, but unless you live in the middle of a large city (or small town) where everything is super close, it helps save time by combining errands.  I do this one of two ways most of the time:  by type of errand or location.  So with the type of errand, like grocery shopping where I get all of our groceries in one morning regardless of whether I have to stop at three stores to get everything (like trader Joes for staples, Whole Foods for meat and King Soopers/Farmers Market for produce or something).  Or if I am doing it by location, I will go to Super Target and Toys R Them the day J has gymnastics because it's on that side of town, and I will also take my ring to get checked while over there.

4.  Outings:  I found out after I was home bound in a walking cast for a few weeks last November, that my son and I both get a little stir crazy if we are at home too much.  It also adds a nice variety to your schedule and week to get out to different places too.  So we try to go somewhere everyday!  Sometimes it's structured and paid activities like the toddler gymnastics class, but most of the time it's something like going to the park, meeting up with friends for a play date, my walking group, story time or the library.  This is also a great time to hang out with other adults (and kids)!  My mom and I try to get together once a week and it's so nice to be able to talk, catch up and just live life together.

5.  Notepad:  I always have a notepad with me.  There's one on my nightstand, kitchen counter, car and purse.  If an idea for a post or item that's needed on the shopping list comes up I (try to) write it down immediately.  Getting it written down quickly helps you to be able to focus on the task at hand instead of trying to remember that great idea you just thought of.  Then I transfer that to my phone when I have a chance later.  (My husband and I also use an app called ToDoist that we love and can share shopping lists, etc.. on it.)

Does my son always take a nap? Nope.  When he does is it always for 2-3 hours? Nope.  Do I always consolidate errands and outings? Nope.  Nobody and nothing is perfect, so this doesn't happen all the time but I find that if I do these things everything just runs more smoothly and I can manage my time so much better!

What helps you manage your time?  Are you a hardcore scheduler or just a wing it type of person?

Be sure to check out how everyone else manages their time at the links below.  If you'd like to sign up for the next Mommy Style Monday go to Kiana or Madeline's blogs!

Kiana at Glitter&Donuts | Madeline at CaseyLand
Erica at Good Job Momma | Cayli at Nightchayde | Alexis at Witt Family Happenings
Rachel at Tutus and Heels | Monica at It's All About

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Our family's growth update and the jealousy monster

So it's been quite an eventful end of winter and beginning of Spring around here.  We've gotten to see a lot of our family, spend time with my grandmas (J's great grandmas), visit the zoo, ice skate, finish Financial Peace University, change the timeline of when we may buy a house and attend an info meeting that I shared about a few weeks ago.

As you likely already know, we have always wanted children, which is obvious I suppose, but I also specifically mean that as the plural.  We'd love little J to get the chance and challenge (ha!) of growing up with a sibling(s).  Big J and I prayed, talked  and looked into ways to make that happen.  I was SO excited to announce the direction we were going to go and perhaps got a bit ahead of myself in announcing it.

My sweet and supportive (so thankful for him) husband reassured me that I didn't overshare, and that sometimes things just don't turn out the way we planned and that's ok.  So, here I am. . .kind of backpedaling or so it seems.  We had a great meeting, and actually had a great experience with our first babysitter (who wasn't part of our family).  We met some great people, even someone we already knew, at the meeting and left with two definite things.  Before the meeting I was praying that this meeting would be something that God would help give us clarity and that He did.

1.  We both definitely want to pursue foster care and adoption through foster care.  There are no ifs now, but rather when.

2.  Now is not the right time for us to enter foster care/Foster adopt.

I could get into all the reasons as to why it isn't going to work for us now, but I don't think that actually matters.  If you are interested send me a PM, email or talk to me in person.  We both still have such a heart for kids and specifically hurting kids without families or who can't be with their families right now, and while it's sad that it isn't going to work out for the near future I'm excited to see how God uses this and also for the other peeps in our class that do move forward with it now.

Don't get me wrong, we are thrilled that we had the opportunity to have been chosen to raise our sweet boy.  We are parents (!!!!), and it's been the most amazing, and at times challenging, thing we've ever done!  So I don't mean to sound ungrateful (if it came across that way) in anyway!  We'd still love to J to get to be a brother though. I don't know about you but things like this have the tendency to let jealousy creep into my thoughts.  Sometimes I even end of thinking these things and repeating them.  Destructive things like "If we were normal we could just have more babies whenever we wanted." or "Too bad I'm not a fertile myrtle." or "If we hadn't lost that baby, little J wouldn't be the only child."  Or I think of the friend's cousin who found out she was pregnant only when her bloodwork before surgery came back oddly.  She was 36 weeks along and had about 3 weeks to prepare for their first babe.  Then there is the childhood friend who is pregnant (!!!) after their 4th round of IVF and 3 failed rounds.  Then there is my other childhood friend who I just found out had two miscarriages between her first and second children (she has three kids now).  But there is no point in thinking those negative thoughts, or looking at other people or their families for the answer.  There is always going to be someone who had it easier (or so it appears) and someone who has had it harder.

Let's stop comparing.  Each person is different.  Each family is different.  We don't know what hurdles they had to jump over or mountains they climbed to get to where they are now.  We can trust that God working together ALL THINGS for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose though.  (Romans 8:28)  So, in all things I will trust God and His plans.   Even when I don't understand.  

So, as for adding another "J" or other letter to the family....we still 'plan to'...just possibly in a much longer, more round about way.  But then again, we never know....

Pray with us about:

-For all the children in the foster system currently.
-For the birth/bio families of these kids.
-For all the families fostering and those pursuing fostering.
-For those who are thinking about fostering, there is definitely a need, especially for older kids (10+).
-For the kids aging out of foster care, that they will have support to get into the world even if they don't have a permanent family.
-For our hearts and our little family.  We were so excited to pursue this now, and are saddened that it's not the right timing.