Monday, December 21, 2015

Emotions

Grief comes in waves.

At least for me it does. It's not a pressing weight that's constantly on my heart, it's a sharp stab that comes from behind and catches me off guard. One minute I'm fine, thinking that we've moved past all of this and we're healing and then it hits me. I don't get to feel a baby kicking. I don't get to count down to holding that sweet child in my arms. I don't get to know who he or she is, what they like/dislike, who they look like. And it almost seems like too much to bear.

Sunday was actually a rough day. Reliving this over and over with friends who care about what we've gone through was trying on my emotions. I wanted to be able to make it through each conversation without tears burning my eyes. I wanted to be able to share and encourage without feeling my stomach tighten in knots. The lumps in my throat seemed to choke most of my words and I found myself saying over and over again "It's just weird... but God has been so good to us."

The strange thing was hearing over and over from women "I've been so encouraged by you." Most started by saying "I read your blog" and instantly my chest tightened when I thought back to the words that poured out of my heart onto the keyboard. But that the Lord would use this to encourage others has been one of the good things that has come from this. In fact, even though it's only been a few weeks, I've already seen how good this has been for my own walk with the Lord and for my relationship with Brian.

It helped to talk to women who have been through this. Most had lost their babies early in their pregnancy but I don't think that changes much. Maybe our guards were down because we felt we were past the danger zone of the first trimester but from the moment you see those 2 pink lines on the stick, you are hooked and having that taken away from you is heartbreaking no matter how much time passes.

But hopefully the waves slow down. Hopefully they come few and far between. Not that I will ever forget this child, but that with time, I will be able to make it through my story with a strong voice and words of hope and encouragement that God brought us through this and it is only by His grace that we are the better for it.

...............................................................................................................................................................

On Sunday night we were heading to the Christmas concert at church and I helped Allie zip up her boot. You would've thought that I just snapped her arm in half. She sobbed and sobbed because she wanted to zip the boot up. I calmly told her that she needed to control her emotions and stop crying. 20 minutes and a discipline session later, she was still sobbing and bursting with tears and I was losing my patience -- this approach seemed to be making matters worse. So Brian took her into his arms and whispered to her "What do you need?"

"I just want to cry."

And she did. He held her and stroked her hair while she cried about her boot. It only lasted about a minute before she jumped up excited to go to church. I am so grateful to have a husband who is surrounded by females and knows exactly how to deal with them. How many times have I needed to just sob into his chest and he's there for me? Even though, to me, her problems seemed insignificant, he recognized that she just needed to let out those emotions that were overflowing in her heart.

I think as women we're trained to think that emotions are a bad thing. The world says being emotional shows weakness. But I think that we are uniquely blessed with this gift of emotions. We feel compassion. We feel sadness and pain. We feel deeply because that is who God made us to be.

Do those emotions need to be controlled? Of course! There is a time to weep and a time to laugh and sometimes, you do just need a good cry. We shouldn't drown out those feelings of compassion or pity or sympathy. Hannah wept bitterly. Even Jesus wept. And as she grows, Allie will come to understand that there are heavier things than not being able to zip up her boot and hopefully we'll teach her to control the emotions that spring from not getting her way.

But I hope to be an example to her of someone who isn't afraid of shedding tears for the right reasons. Like when I'm reading a story to her about the 3 trees; one becomes the manger Jesus is laid in, one becomes the boat He calms the storm in, and one becomes the cross. I can't even make it through the end of the book without crying but to me, that evokes the greatest emotions of all. That Christ would die for me brings such overwhelming emotion to my soul that I can't help but well up with tears.

There definitely has to be a balance in how we're dealing with Allie and teaching her to honor God with her emotions. I don't think we've figured it out yet though. There are days when I still cry over my own "boot" scenarios. But this collection of articles from Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters has been a great help in this area and I'm hoping that someday both Allie and I will have learned to honor God with our emotions.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Interviews with Allie - Christmas Edition

We're sitting at dinner, eating pizza obviously, and Allie says to me "Mom, tell me the story about the baby Jesus." "Okay," I say, and start... "A long time ago, there was a woman named Mary..."

Then we get to the part about the shepherds sleeping in the fields and she says "But why were they sleeping in the fields?"

"Well, some people have theorized that Jesus was born close to the Passover celebration. The shepherds were in the fields because they needed to be near the sheep to watch them and protect them to make sure there would be perfect lambs for the sacrifice."

"Pay attention, kiddo" Brian says, "You're getting the deep theological stuff here."

I then go on to tell her about the wise men, who were not there at Jesus' birth, but who followed a star to find him. Then how Joseph had to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod. 

"But Mom," Allie says, "Tell me about the sheep."

"....?"

"The sheep? That was like the most uninteresting part of the whole story."

"But were the sheep sleeping too?"

"..."

"Time for bed."

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Love and loss

It's so hard to deal with loss. It's hard for the person going through it. It's hard for their families and loved ones who have gone through the same thing. It's hard for their families and friends who have never experienced it and don't know what to say.

But what can you say? There's nothing to do except remind yourself of God's truth and promises. The only comfort I've found is the Lord using my family and friends to do exactly that. When maybe they know there's nothing they can do but reverberate God's promises to you so when you wake up in the middle of the night your ears are ringing with the truths you heard that day. 

Monday night wasn't terrible. It was sad but I was scared that I would feel emptier or something after the surgery. But I didn't. I think my mind had already accepted that our baby had long ago been removed from my body.

I was shaking as they wheeled me into the OR and the last thing I remember was the doctor holding my hand and saying comforting words to me, although I couldn't remember just what. The next thing I knew, I woke up crying as they wheeled me to recovery. The anesthesiologist said that I might cry as a side effect of the anesthetic but I don't know. Brian was by my side in a few minutes and I just remember seeing the concern and relief in his face. I didn't think about how hard it would be for him sitting out in the waiting room for an hour just praying and hoping that everything would go well. 

I am slowly trying to return to normal in light of the things God has shown me about Himself in the past few days. Food still needs to be cooked and eaten. Little noses and bottoms still need to be wiped. Life has to keep going. And now I'm armed. I'm ready to help a friend through grief (although it's not something I would ever want to happen to another). I'm ready to teach my daughters about the steadfast love of God and that trials WILL be a part of their lives. And I'm ready for the Lord to continue stretching and molding me.

The response that we've received from family and friends has been overwhelming. From the text messages to someone showing up at our door with arms full of groceries, we have seen the Lord loving us and caring for us through the people He has placed in our lives. That quote by Spurgeon has sunk so deeply into my heart because if I hadn't felt God's love in the beginning of this, I have seen it in abundance as we've continued down this path. Not once have I felt alone or hopeless. To be hand in hand with Brian as we lean on God for strength and grace has made me realize how truly blessed I am to have married him.

It's still weird though. When I think back to what happened just a few days ago, it feels like watching scenes from a movie. Sometimes I still can't believe that this happened to us. When I was pregnant with Allie, other parents would tell us our lives would never be the same. Having gone through this now, I know it has changed us forever.

That's a pretty dramatic ending to this post. Maybe I'll be back to funny again and when I am, you guys will be the first to know. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Grief

Disclaimer: This post will probably make you cry so have some tissue nearby and I'm sorry ahead of time for making your eyes puffy and red and your nose run. Also it's really, really long.

Saturday was the day we were supposed to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. Supposed to. Instead, we found out our precious baby had gone to be with the Lord. No one can prepare you for that. When it happens to other people, it's sad but you don't really feel the devastation unless it happens to you.

But I knew. I had known and I think my brain just hadn't accepted what had happened. I noticed that my belly wasn't round and growing, I was just looking fat. I brushed that off as maybe this baby is just smaller. I hadn't felt the baby move at all but I thought, it's just not an active baby. Every fear about the death of one of our children I met with prayers that it wasn't in my control anyway.

How could I have known that the Lord had already taken our precious child home and was preparing me for the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life?

We took the girls to my appointment on Saturday, eager to find out who would be the addition to our little family. When the tech left the room after 15 minutes, was gone for 20 only to return and hand me the phone, I knew that my worst fears were materializing. I shakily answered the phone and all I heard the doctor say was "I have some really bad news." I don't remember my legs giving out but Brian was there in a second pulling me back up. The girls stared as I sobbed for what I knew she was going to say. She said the tech couldn't find a heartbeat and asked if my husband was with me.

I've never cried so much in my life. We both knew that God had already numbered this baby's days and their life was in His control. We knew that He wasn't punishing us or being mean; instead we both deeply felt His sorrow that sin has affected our world in such devastating ways. Not once did I question Him or even felt that I could, I knew exactly what this trial was for. I knew exactly why He was sifting us and allowing us to go through this.

We spent the rest of the day in tears. My heart felt like it was being pressed on from all sides. My head pounded from the tears but I couldn't stop them. I've never seen Brian so torn. And watching him grieve for our baby was heart-wrenching. Each phone call to inform our family and friends brought fresh tears and I couldn't control the sobs that came from my gut. I fell asleep in Brian's arms with tears drenching my pillow.

I woke up that night at 3 in the morning and couldn't fall back asleep. I had questions like why my body hadn't figured out the baby was gone and what we were going to do next. The doctor had given us some options and we thought we would wait it out before making any final choices. And in the darkness, the Lord gave me light. I desperately clung to His Word for hope and reassurance that He was there. That He loved me. That He was going to bring us through this.

"This I recall to mind, Therefore, I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion, says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him." The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth.... For the Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly or grieve the sons of men." Lamentations 3

“Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told you that the night would never end in day?.... Who told you that the winter of your discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow and ice and hail to deeper snow and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Don’t you know that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Be full of hope! Hope forever! For God does not fail you. Do you know that God loves you in the midst of all this?.... You will yet, midst the splendors of eternity, forget the trials of time, or only remember them to bless the God who led you through them and works your lasting good by them. Come, sing in the midst of tribulation. Rejoice even while passing through the furnace. Cause the desert to ring with your exulting joys, for these light afflictions will soon be over, and then forever with the Lord, your bliss shall never wane.
-- Charles Spurgeon

"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed... O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! The righteous cry and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles... The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all." Psalm 34

And then Job. Job who lost so much and yet blessed the Lord. Job's answer to his friends: "Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, 'What are You doing?'"

I cried and prayed to the Lord. For wisdom. For strength. For comfort. And then I just cried. I was so sad that this baby had to feel the effects of a wretched world. I was so sad that our sin grieves the Lord and yet we take it so lightly.

We explained to Allie what had happened. "But I wanted to hold the baby and feed it and help you put it to sleep..." And then she cried. For a sibling she never knew. Isn't that crazy? How much we grieved over someone we had never met? This baby was already so loved and it hadn't even seen our faces.

This weekend has been so long and at the same time a blur. Today we went back to talk to the doctor and discuss our options. The ultrasound showed that the baby was measuring at 15 weeks when it stopped growing. That meant that an induction would have low chances of working because both the baby and my uterus were still very small. And even at the end of laboring for several days, I could still require a surgery. It also meant that we wouldn't be able to know if it was a boy or a girl.

We prayed before going that the Lord would give us wisdom for any decisions we had to make and peace about what would be the best. Because the baby had been gone for so long, the longer I waited, the higher risk I stood of infection and massive bleeding. So we scheduled the surgery for 9 pm and as I write this, I'm trying to ignore dinner being made because I'm not supposed to eat. But writing it has also helped. It's like actually getting to say out loud what has been racing through my mind for days.

We asked the doctor for one last ultrasound to get some pictures. It seemed like a strange request from someone who isn't sentimental about these things. But all we had seen up to that point was a little bean at 10 weeks old. She perfectly captured a picture showing the profile of the baby and all I could do was lay there as tears streamed down my face and Brian shook with tears next to me. 

I've been so blessed to have so many people in my life to encourage us and pray for us. People who had never met me before were bearing our burdens. A friend said "I am abundantly thankful that the Holy Spirit prays for us with groaning to deep to understand. He is praying for you. Your God, the living God, is praying, for YOU. He cares for you and loves you and is rejoicing even now to be with His child (your child) in glory."

And we do believe that. We have to believe that the Lord extended special grace to this baby to save them before they could understand the gospel. Brian and I even chuckled about it that our baby just skipped the hard part of living here on earth and went straight to be with Jesus. And that gives me hope. One day I'll hold that precious baby in my arms.

Maybe after tonight the hardest part will be over. But tomorrow will have new mercies from the Lord. He will provide comfort and peace for those moments of sadness as we move on. He will encompass us with love and encouragement from our friends and family. And I know that He has given us everything we need for life and godliness in His Word so in those moments of darkness when my heart feels like it can't bear the burden of grief, I will cling to His promises and have hope.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Family Pics

It's that time of year again... Christmas Family Picture Outfit Shopping! Or just, you know, inspiration if we were going to take Christmas pictures. Which, if you follow me on Instagram, you can see that our track record of getting everyone to look at the camera and look like a normal human being is not so good so we won't be attempting family pictures this year. Or ever.

But if we were going to get some professional portraits done, this is probably what we'd wear.


Family Pics

Monday, November 23, 2015

Baby Girls and Shopping

You guys, I have a sickness. And it comes in the form of getting overly excited when I get to shop/dress little girls. Turns out it's not just my own girls that gets me excited. A very dear friend of mine just found out she is about to have a baby girl. Her due date is 2 weeks before mine and she already has 2 boys, sort of close to Allie and Maddie's ages. So I did what any good, loyal friend does in this situation.

I put together a blog post for her of all the little baby girl things I want to buy would buy if I were her. And I know it's all winter stuff and her baby will be born in spring so I guess I'll just have to do another baby girl shopping post come spring, now won't I?

Seriously though some of this stuff had me secretly wishing baby #3 would be a girl buuuuuttt I know Brian would be like "SHE'LL HAVE A MILLION CLOTHES, DON'T BUY HER ANYTHING ELSE." And he would be right. So, so close to being right.

A girl can never have too many clothes.... can she?
Winter baby

Friday, November 20, 2015

Mom Life

Moms. We really do have the hardest job. The hardest, most important job. I'm sitting here in a clean house while both kids sleep and just for a moment, it doesn't feel hard. It feels easy, simple, almost relaxing. But to get here? I missed out on 3 hours of sleep last night. I have to force myself to clean up every night because I know that if I let the mess sit, it will somehow triple in size while we sleep. 

And it wasn't always peace and quiet. Last night, I'm pretty sure the girls were screaming and/or crying simultaneously for 2 hours straight. They didn't want to eat dinner. They didn't want to clean up their toys. They didn't want to share. They didn't want Brian and I to have a conversation. They didn't want to put away their clothes. No pajamas. No bedtime. Need water. Need that one stuffed animal that I can't find anywhere. We didn't sing the right song. On and on. Sometimes I want to escape outside just to be able to hear. Silence. Nothing. My own thoughts. If there are any. 

I don't know that what I've eaten today counts as meals, except for dinner. Is it just me or does everyone buy a roasted chicken for dinner and then somehow snack on half of it throughout the day? Sometimes I feel like this...


... aka, the Mom Diet. 
I've heard that the transition to 3 kids is the hardest. Like maybe because they outnumber you? I'm outnumbered at home during the day as it is but then at least I can tag team Brian when he gets home. But to be outnumbered all the time. And they're so young. And needy. I've never even been able to keep a plant alive but somehow I've managed to keep 2 children alive and thriving. But what happens when you add a third? I mean, someone's gonna get left out. I'll be making food and I'm pretty sure one of us is not gonna get to eat. Most of the time it'll probably be me. 

Is this encouraging you? Probably not. But at least I know I'm exactly where God wants me to be. I fail. I screw up. I'm not perfect. I don't have it all together. But at least I'm trying. I'm pretty sure that's what counts the most. The Lord knows I will fail but He gives me grace and strength to try again. He forgives me when I fall, when I'm angry, impatient, lazy. His mercies are new each morning and that's exactly what I need. 

That and lots of cookie dough. I kid, I kid. *blank stare*

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lest Thou Perish

So there's a story. Once upon a time, my husband launched a clothing brand. It was geared towards people in the action sports industry and has actually been popular among kids like 8-12 years old. Not that it's bad, that's just the direction it took. I helped him with all of the background stuff like getting a permit and a fictitious business name, but other than that, I didn't feel like a part of the company. It was definitely his thing.

Fast forward to January of this year. Back when he started Moby Sick, he had this idea for a clothing brand called Lest Thou Perish, based on Luke 13:5. You can read more about the bio on the website, but the point is that this idea stuck around for 5 years. The more we talked about it, the more we felt like we were onto something. So he designed, we researched, I filed more stuff. And here we are almost a year later and it's finally done.

Part of why it took so long was that we felt like Moby Sick was missing something in its purpose. Sure we wanted to design and sell clothes but it felt like we needed to be doing more. With LTP, we decided to support Children's Hunger Fund. It felt like a good choice to support a company that not only provides children with physical needs but also their spiritual needs. It was well worth the time and effort to be able to support something with so worthy a cause.

Buuut that's not it. I've actually designed a few things myself. Granted, none are up on the site (yet!), but we have some stuff in the works for the next few months. And I promise as soon as I have a shirt in my hands, you guys will know about it. Probably because I'll be like way too giddy to keep it to myself anyway.

So all that to say... I don't often use this blog as a way to promote anything or anyone, but he's my husband so obviously I'll make the exception.

Go look. And when we have more women's clothes in the shop, I'll be back with another post and probably some pics on Instagram. And if you don't like anything, keep it to yourself. Juuust kidding, BUT I would totally like input on all of this if you guys feel so inclined.

So I'll just sit here wringing my hands in nervousness. I mean it's no big deal, just months of our lives and chunks of savings and hours of prayers and stress and designs and planning and oh my gosh, I think I need to go lie down and breathe into a paper bag.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Winter in Nor Cal

We're back. I'm always so excited to visit family but there really is no place like home. Nothing like sleeping in your own bed, having your own comforts, drinking straight out of the milk carton...

I'll have to do a recap post once I get all the pictures together because there's like a hundred. Disneyland was a blast and Allie definitely enjoyed it much more this time around. She got to ride everything she wanted to except Peter Pan (which was crazy long wait every time I checked) and Cars (which she was just about half an inch too short for). I think the highlight was for sure the parade and the fireworks and I'm so glad we braved the cold and the crowds to see both.

I don't know for sure but I swear our house smelled like Christmas when we came home. It could've been that I was burning a Christmas candle right before we left when I was doing all my last minute packing and cleaning but I can't believe the smell lingered for a week! We came home to a Christmas house and COLD weather.

Probably one of the things that shocked me the most when I first came to Northern California was the bitter cold. I grew up in Southern California where the coldest it ever gets is maybe 50 degrees in the middle of the night in January. We just visited last week and it was in the 80-90's half the time. Obviously I'm used to warm winters.

The first time I visited Nor Cal, I was not prepared for being cold. I brought a snow jacket and wore it the entire time. I would never survive in a place like Michigan (where my dad was born, actually). I suppose I would adapt but I would sure be miserable those first few winters. I don't know if I've actually adapted here, but there is something nice about being able to pull out all my thick, cozy sweaters and scarves, and warm boots.

Speaking of sweaters... guess what I bought with my birthday money? Yeah. Sweaters. Because I obviously don't have enough. But it was all I could find that I really wanted from H&M and Target. I got this one from Target which is super similar to the one on my list that was 10 times the price from Free People and this one from H&M in tan/brown because I don't have a tan/brown sweater but now I do. I guess my addiction to sweaters hasn't ended. And just like that... POOF... my birthday money was gone before you could say Bob's your uncle.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Interviews with Allie

(I'm reading my bible at the table while the girls eat breakfast)
Allie: "Mom, I want you to talk to your bible."
Me: "Umm... What? Wait, you mean read out loud?"
Allie: "Yeah."

(Allie wakes up at 5 am and sees Brian walking around without a shirt before he leaves for work, he puts her back in bed to sleep and goes to work -- after getting dressed obviously) 
Allie: "Where did dad go?"
Me: "He went to work."
Allie: "Ugh!! He forgot to put his clothes on!!!"

(I'm walking on the treadmill and start doing my 1.5 minute sprint) 
Allie: "Mom!!! Be CAREful!! Don't trip and die!!"

(Allie just woke up from a nap but still looks really tired)
Me: "You still look tired..."
Allie: "My face is tired."

(I sneezed)
Allie: "Nice. Cover your mouth, mom."

(Singing 'You've got a friend in me' from Toy Story)
Allie: "You're gonna see it's our guest are neat!" (That's supposed to be 'destiny')

Interviews with Maddie coming soon! She learned a new word yesterday. "boop" which means poop. The good news is now she can warn me what's in her diaper. 

When did these girls grow up so fast?!?!




Wednesday, October 21, 2015

So Cal Packing List

We have less than 2 weeks until our trip to So Cal so I've been making a packing list and planning outfits. I settled on a few outfits and thought I'd share with you guys (actually, it's more to help me decide what to pack). The weather will be typical fall in Southern California which means warm and slightly cooler at night (like 50-60° which is not really that cold but bear with me). I'm bringing a green lightweight parka that can pretty easily go with each outfit.

*Please note: Obviously I'm in mourning for my pre-childbearing body which is why you see so much black. Actually, it's really because black is slimming and versatile so I can mix and match. Also stuff is wrinkled because ain't nobody got time for that. Just kidding I'll have time (and hopefully an iron) there.


Sunday outfit: skirt (Old Navy), shirt (Gap), sandals (Target)

Tank (Target), sweater (H&M similar), shorts (Old Navy), Converse

Shirt (Anthropologie), leggings (Gap), Converse 

Dress (Old Navy), Converse 

Shirt (Target), jeans (H&M), Converse 




Monday, October 19, 2015

Fatty Fall Foods

I wouldn't call myself a whiz in the kitchen - I pretty much stick to the same 5 meals every week. Being surrounded by picky people is one of the big reasons. I've branched out before and tried other recipes only to have them blow up in my face. I mean, not literally, but maybe that would've been better for everyone involved.

With that being said, there are a few things I know how to do well. Creamy mashed potatoes, for one. (I add cream cheese as my not-so-secret ingredient.) Cheesecake with Oreo crust is another. And I've been told that I make a good lasagna (but you never really know if people are just being nice.)

But the real way you know a recipe was a hit is when you get asked for the recipe. Cases in point:

Case #1: I was asked to participate in a pie-baking contest for a wedding. I've never baked a pie in my life (probably because I'm not a huge fan of pie crust. Or pie.) but I said yes. Mind you, I was feeling nauseous and sick and dizzy with growing baby #3 so I think I was having a psychotic moment where I deliriously/hastily agreed to something that I probably shouldn't have. I figured an October wedding, I should make pumpkin pie. Except I don't like pumpkin pie. But I LOVE cheesecake, so I decided to experiment with a pumpkin cheesecake pie with graham cracker crust and caramel pecan topping.

Yes, like I said, I was probably delirious from all the nausea and dizzy spells because I decided to EXPERIMENT for a WEDDING. As in, hey this could totally bomb and I would be screwed. But it actually turned out really well, in fact, I won second in the contest! Color me surprised. I got asked for the recipe twice so I knew that the bride and groom didn't just feel bad for a crazy pregnant lady who made a weird pie.

Case #2: For the first time in weeks, I felt really good on Friday. I was supposed to bring an appetizer for bible study and after raiding my pantry, I discovered that I actually had all the ingredients on hand to make spinach artichoke dip so I didn't have to go buy chips and salsa which is my go-to. Except the only other time I made spinach artichoke dip, I used a different recipe that was actually kind of greasy and not very flavorful so I decided to try a new recipe. I made the whole thing and set aside a small bowlful so Brian could try it. It got the husband thumbs up so I took it to bible study and was asked for the recipe, twice!

So here are the recipes for both. And because this is OBVIOUSLY not a cooking blog, I took a picture of the dish I used to cook both in. Nice and clean. With my phone. In horrible lighting. You're welcome.

Also, you could try to convince yourself that these wouldn't be so unhealthy to eat, but let's face it: fall is for leggings and extra fat to keep you warm anyway so don't even bother feeling guilty about it. Go ahead and make these for Thanksgiving and let the compliments roll in. You're welcome. Again.


Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Pecan Topping
Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (from about 12 whole cinnamon graham crackers)
  • 6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) melted, unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
Filling
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks slightly beaten
  • 1 cup half and half (I forgot to add this but I think it just made it more dense, so if you add it, it should be fluffier)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
Topping
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-1.5 cups pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the crust ingredients together and press into a pie pan (and up the sides). Bake in the oven for 8 minutes and let cool. (I baked the crust but I think you can skip this step because it bakes while the filling is baking too.)

For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer (make sure you beat it first otherwise you'll have lumps of cream cheese in the pie). Add the pumpkin VERY slowly and beat until combined (otherwise you'll end up with cream cheese lumps). Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, beat until incorporated.

Pour the pie filling into the room temp crust and bake 50 minutes or until center is set (in my oven it took 1 hour and 15 minutes). Once the pie is done, remove from the oven and let cool for about 30 minutes.

For the topping, combine brown sugar, butter, cream, vanilla, and salt in a small pan. Cook while whisking on medium high heat until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in pecans. Pour topping over pie and top with a few extra chopped pecans.

Spinach Artichoke Dip 
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Garlic, Minced
  • 1 bag Spinach
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 2 cans Artichoke Hearts, Rinsed And Drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter (additional)
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1-1/2 cup Whole Milk (more If Needed)
  • 1 package (8 Ounce) Softened Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Crumbled Feta
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn up the heat a bit and throw in the spinach. Stir around and cook for a couple of minutes until the spinach wilts. Remove the spinach and garlic from the skillet and put it in a small strainer. Squeeze the excess juice back into the skillet. Chop spinach and set aside. Add the artichokes to the pan and cook over medium high heat for several minutes, until liquid is cooked off and artichokes start to get a little color. Remove the artichokes and chop.

In the same skillet, melt 3 additional tablespoons of butter and whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour until it makes a paste. Cook over medium-low heat for a minute or two, then pour in milk. Stir and cook until slightly thickened; splash in more milk if needed. Add cream cheese, feta, Parmesan, pepper jack*, and stir until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth. Add artichokes and spinach. Stir to combine. Pour into baking dish. Top with extra grated pepper jack* and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

*The original recipe called for pepper jack cheese but since I didn't have any, I didn't add it. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Life and mdjzkizzzzzzzzzzzz...

I know I like to drop these pregnancy bombs on you guys, like I did with Maddie. But you should feel special. You guys know before Facebook and Instagram, which in this day and age puts you right up there with family!

I've been so off on my social media though. I keep forgetting to post pictures and that could be because the last few weeks have been kind of rough. This pregnancy is turning out way harder than the previous 2 and the nausea has been full force. If only it wasn't nausea, you know? Why not just like muscle spasms or something? Sure it would drive you crazy but at least it wouldn't completely cripple you for hours at a time. Or uncontrollable burping! Might be embarrassing but again, much better than spending the day with your head over a toilet positive that you'll see what little food you were able to force down in reverse. Plus Brian has been working for 3 weeks straight (some nights in addition to days) so I'm basically running this joint alone.

Before the craziness, we celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary and I didn't even post how thankful I am for him on social media. *Gasp!!! Right??? Isn't that funny? That's the world we live in. I mean it basically means I don't love him or appreciate him. Obviously I'm still doing Instagram wrong. We celebrated with a relaxing day, a dinner date (accompanied by the girls) and that was pretty much it. In fact I'm pretty certain we were both asleep by 9 pm. Ohh the life we lead. Whatever. Brian works like 50-60 hours a week and I'm growing a human while trying to keep up with two other tiny humans so I'll take all the sleep we can get.

I have had this post in the works for a few weeks. I changed it a bit to fit a timeline of posting today but that should tell you a little of what life is like over here. Tomorrow is supposed to be a day off for Brian and I'm kind of excited to just have a helping hand again. You know, someone to give puppy eyes to when Allie is screaming from the bathroom that she's done peeing and someone needs to help her wipe. I'm getting reeeeeeeaallly good at those puppy eyes. Then we can have family nap time where everyone will sleep in the middle of the day because we have nothing else to do.

This is my life now, people. Naps are glorious and bedtime should always be at 8 and basically my life revolves around sleep or wanting to sleep. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Friday List

  1. I can't stand strong flowery smells. Which is why I can't jump on the essential oil bandwagon. My mom once gave me something to rub on my forehead to help with a cold and the smell gave me such a bad headache, I had to wash it off. Which is also why you will never smell any perfume or scented anything on me. I accidentally bought scented deodorant once and the smell drove me crazy. 
  2. I'll run to catch the microwave before it ends and starts beeping. I wasn't always like this though. I think the addition to my life of noisy toddlers all day long has made me overly sensitive to other sounds.
  3. Allie is really into wearing a Cinderella dress that my mom got her. It's probably the ooh's and ahh's she got from wearing it the first time that keeps her coming back for more, but she is constantly asking to wear it. I let her because she's a kid and I know how fun it can be to play dress up and I don't want to be that mom. But sometimes I have to take it away because oh my word, glitter EVERYWHERE. 
  4. Speaking of princesses, Maddie is trying soooo hard to talk. She already says a few words but sometimes she'll come up to me and say "Mom!" and when I ask her what she needs, she babbles out this whole sentence that doesn't make any sense at all but it's like in her head, she's telling me exactly what she needs. It's really the cutest thing ever. 
  5. I have this thing with cardigans. I sort of had a thing before I moved to Nor Cal, but after one cold winter (and obviously I use that term relatively because it was cold compared to what this So Cal girl is used to) I stocked up on layers that I could wear over all my tank tops. To the point that I think at one time I had a cardigan in every color and 2 in gray and black. Which leads me to my next point. 
  6. I did a major purge of my closet this summer. Most of what I got rid of was stuff that I was convinced I could fit into after pregnancies. After 2 pregnancies and realizing my chest/rear were never going to be the same, I decided to face reality and get rid of a ton of stuff. Everything left is very loose and flowy and maternity. I have one box in the garage of "skinny clothes" because a small part of me thinks that someday I might go back to wearing pants that don't have an elastic waist and bras that aren't bigger than my 3 year old's head but we'll see if that ever happens. 
  7. It's fall again which means it's time for me to start a bunch of crochet projects that will sit half finished for 3 years. I mean I could finish projects I already have instead of starting new ones but that sounds way too easy... and by fall, I mean it's the end of September because here in Cali, it still feels like summer. That's fine by me though. I know it'll be cold soon enough and then I'll be longing for warm days again...
  8. We have about a month left before our trip to So Cal. I'm so excited, not just to see family who I miss like CRAZY but to give us a little break from the craziness that is Brian's job, a home remodel, life with 2 toddlers, the usual. I mean, the girls will have a set of grandparents, 2 auntie's and an uncle who's sole job will be to make sure I have a relaxing time, right?
  9. I got a text from a friend asking advice about possible home remodel and it was like early Christmas or something. I seriously love this stage of planning and picking stuff out and I think we have a sickness because both Brian and I were drooling at a house they passed up that would need a total gut job. At least we're crazy together, right?
  10. I'm pregnant.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Fall Fashion

We're having another week in the hundreds here but next weeks forecast is 70-80 degrees which has me gearing up for fall in a major way. I definitely cannot add more clothes to my closet (considering I gave away 8 trash bags full over the summer. 8 tiny trash bags but still.) but if I were going to add to it, these are a few things I'd make sure to scoop up. Fall is all about layers and I love it because the more layers, the more accessories you have to work with. I'm a big fan of keeping the under layers simple but changing it up with just about a million different scarf options.

Note: I know most of my stuff is from my normal haunts (H&M, Old Navy, Target) but you guys should check out Winsome Jones. She runs a small little boutique dedicated to clothing that is modest. That is definitely a store motto I can get behind and I most likely definitely already own that mauve lace skirt because it's gorgeous and how could I not?

Fall

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Maddie's Birth Story

I just realized over a year later that I never wrote down how Maddie came into this world so here goes. Probably because when Allie was born I had nothing to do for the many hours she would sleep during the day. With Maddie though, hahahahaha..... Yeah. Imagine the next few kids. They'll be lucky to get a post on Instagram amiright?

My due date was June 16th but it came and went without any sign of her being born on time. A week went by and still nothing. Everyone was anxious for this baby to come except me. I felt like I was just enjoying those last few days of pregnancy. Surprisingly my dad was the most antsy and I got multiple texts and phone calls from him every day asking if she was here yet. 

Almost 2 weeks had gone by and my doctor had requested that I get a full ultrasound and have her heart monitored for awhile to make sure she was doing ok in there. Of course I had to take Allie with me to the ER, and we spent 6 hours waiting for all the tests and work to be done. She was such a champ. All the nurses commented on how well behaved she was and kept her loaded up on graham crackers and water. She got to play on my phone until it died and then an intern gave her her phone to play on. The only problem was not being able to reach Brian to update him and since my phone had died, he said his mind was running wild not knowing what had happened to us. 

On Friday, June 27th they said if I didn't have the baby by Sunday, they were going to induce. My sister had planned to come in after Maddie was born to visit and help but it turned out that she arrived a few days before and was able to stay with Allie when we went to the hospital. On Saturday at 1 am, I started having contractions. Everything about Maddie's birth was similar to Allie's except accelerated. My labor with Maddie was only 4 hours from start to finish. The contractions started on so quickly and intensely that I was throwing up until I had nothing left and then it was dry heaves. I couldn't stand, let alone walk. This was around 4 am and I was only 4 cm dilated. They did an epidural and within an hour I had gone to 9 cm. I remember still feeling the contractions pretty intensely even with the epidural.

The nurse said I would probably be about 20 minutes away from pushing but as soon as she walked out I told Brian I needed to push. My water never broke but in 3 pushes, she was out. The doctor showed up just in time to catch her and sew me up. I'll spare you the knitty gritty details but at that point I was very happy to have the epidural. They put her on my chest and I couldn't believe how much love I had for her. 

It's crazy that you don't think you can love another child as much as your first but that completely changes with the second. I can't describe a mothers love. It's this fierce, protective, overwhelming desire to nurture and care for this tiny little helpless human being.

Words can't express how I feel about my daughters. My heart feels like it explodes when I see them together. They fight, sure. But they also have fun. They have their own language that they'll babble and scream back and forth when they're supposed to be going to sleep. Allie takes such good care of her little sister (most of the time). Sometimes she just aggravates her. Maddie is a little fireball though. She screams her head off to get her way with Allie (which is something I'm definitely trying to put an end to). But even at this young age, she mimics nearly everything that Allie does. If Allie climbs on the coffee table and jumps, Maddie does. If Allie is eating goldfish crackers, Maddie is. If Allie is running in circles around the kitchen screaming and laughing, Maddie is doing her best to keep up. 
I hope that they continue this relationship and someday see that sisters are built in best friends. I hope that they cheer each other on, share with, encourage, support, and comfort each other. I hope they both come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and that their bond of sisterhood will be strengthened by the bond they have as sisters in Christ. I hope they see that to be a woman of God means to be humble, submissive, gracious, kind, loving. 

I can't imagine life without Maddie now; it feels like she's been with us forever. But to be blessed with 2 girls has been amazing and incredible and terrifying. I'm the example they see everyday and I've had several meltdowns over the feeling of inadequacy. How can I teach them to be godly when I don't even have it figured out? Thank God for His grace in my life. If nothing else, they'll see a sinner who is in constant need of a Savior. And thank God for putting godly women in my life that can be examples to my girls. 

I've thought about starting a journal for my daughters. But then I realized, I already have. This blog holds my memories, my thoughts, my struggles and someday, they can read this and see what a weirdo their mom was. Thanks, internet, for letting me leave this legacy to my daughters.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Birthday Wishes

We are 2 months away from our annual family Disneyland trip which means I am also 2 months away from turning 31. I think as I get older, my taste is getting more refined. That's fancy talk for "everything on my birthday list costs more than $100." But hear me out! I have a good reason. I promise. Mostly. And if it sounds like I'm presenting a case to you for each one, it's because I am. If I'm persuasive enough, then I won't have to sell any limbs to get these.

Birthday wishes


1. Madewell Mini Transport Crossbody Tote 

I've had my eye on this purse for a very long time. Let's just say last year around my birthday I was already scheming how I could sell some furniture to buy it. It seems versatile enough and to be frank, I'm tired of carrying around a diaper bag as a purse (as cute as my diaper bags are). The thing is, I don't go anywhere without needing to bring diapers and at least snacks for the runts but I'm pretty certain that would all fit in here.

2. The Horse The Classic Watch in Gray Leather/Rose Gold 

I'm a watch person lately, probably because I'm constantly checking to see how much time I have left until nap time/moments of silence. This watch makes my neutral loving heart sing. It's so classic and the kind of thing that will look good with a t-shirt and jeans but also with a fancy dress. Brian pointed out there are no numbers but you know what, fashion is about sacrifice and if I have to sit there counting with my fingers to guess the time, then that is what I'll do!

3. Free People Lounge All Day Cardigan

If I actually lounge around all day in it, is that a good enough excuse to buy it? I mean I'll definitely be getting my money's worth if you ask me. Plus a cream cardi in the winter would go with eeeeeeverything even sweats and a pajama top so really the question is why AREN'T you buying it?

4. Humble Hilo Backpack in Blanca

I recently discovered this company and really like what they do, not to mention the bags they make. Sure they're a bit more pricey but when you think about the fact that you're feeding a child for a month or providing a month of education to a woman, it makes the bag seem like icing on the cake. This is actually the one thing that, if I had to pick from my extensive birthday list, I might actually spend money on. Mostly because they care for children and I have always had a huge soft spot in my heart when it comes to caring for kids who are in need. Okay so before I start weeping all over the keyboard, go check them out.

As for the usefulness of the backpack, imagine flying on a plane or going to a park and you have to sling your diaper bag over your shoulder but it keeps coming off and you can't adjust it because you have your two kids' hands in a death lock grip so they don't go running into the street and you're just hoping it doesn't come swinging down and dump its contents and heaven forbid you should have to bend over because that means it will have to balance precariously on your bum so it doesn't take out your toddler. Now imagine you have a backpack. Ahhhh. Isn't that so much easier?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Instaguilt

Hopefully by now you guys know how imperfect I am. I've mentioned several times that my life isn't all rainbows and sunshine, my house isn't perfectly curated, my kids aren't perfectly behaved, yadda yadda.

I've been seeing this trend on Instagram lately where women (and only women < -- there's something there) are feeling anxiety, worry, guilt (tons of that, actually) that their lives don't compare to someone else's perfect little Instagram squares. They are feeling like they're just not enough.

Let's be honest here. EVERYONE does it. Everyone stages pictures or shares the beautifully captured moments. Maybe your lighting isn't great or the kids are a little blurry but we all do it. Once in awhile we might throw in a "real" picture of our messy lives but for the most part, we like to filter what we show of our lives to the world.

Why?

Because when your child is in the middle of a temper tantrum, it is monumentally bad parenting to whip out your phone and share a picture of them screaming on social media instead of dealing with it.

Because when your sink is full of dirty dishes, you know you should be getting off your phone (and your butt) and doing them but you don't feel like it.

Because when you actually clean the entire house, it's 8 pm and there's not enough daylight to get a good picture and by the time there is daylight, there will also be tiny people undoing everything you just did.

Because sometimes when your kids are reading quietly and your home is clean and you have a minute to rest, you want to be in the moment and enjoy it instead of running to your phone to snap a picture.

Are you seeing my point here?

Don't feel pressure to be fake. There's a reason we only share the beautiful, inspiring pictures and it's okay. The problem is using Instagram as a ruler to measure your own worth. Yes I went back and bolded and underlined that because it IS a problem. We should be able to look at these pictures and see the beauty in other people's lives and be happy for them.

Imagine that. Be happy for a complete stranger who looks like she has it all together. Who knows? Maybe she does. Maybe her life really is that perfect. Good for her! Seriously! Not like in a sarcastic way.

Because, guess what? I pretty much guarantee NO ONE in your home is judging the mother/wife you are by looking at Instagram pictures. They are seeing who you are day to day. Let it be messy. Let it be beautiful. Let your kids and husband see someone who is real, who relies on the Lord for strength, who faces each day (sometimes each moment) with grace.

Let them see how much work it takes to clean up after them, to cook for them, to care for them. Let them see how peaceful and relaxing a clean home can be. Let them see how fun and spontaneous playtime can be. Let them see real life.

Gosh that was so inspiring, I feel like I need to needlepoint it on a pillow or something.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Is pregnancy for you?

I am definitely not pregnant (as far as I know anyway). But it really seems like practically everyone I know is either pregnant or just had a baby. I actually feel left out that I'm not also growing a human so I thought I'd compile a list. 

Is pregnancy for you?

Do you hate sleeping all the way through the night uninterrupted? Would you rather be able to shift your sleeping position all night long?

Do you feel like you just don't get to empty your bladder enough? Miss spending quality time with the porcelain throne?

Do you think your stomach/butt/thighs look too boring? Would you rather see cool stripes/claw marks stretched across them?

Are you tired of losing weight? Do you wish you could gain and gain and gain weight for almost a year and never get rid of it?

Are you tired of your clothes fitting too well? Wish you could wear leggings and mumus more often?

Do you ever wish you could laugh so hard that you start crying and then that turns into a full on emotional sob fest?

Do you ever wish you could just cry for no reason at all?

Do you wish you could have the craziest dreams of your life that will terrify you to your very core?

Are you tired of loving all food? Do you wish that some things would just make you sick at the very smell?

Speaking of smells, do you want random smells to consume your being so much that if you don't get away from them, they'll cause you to see your breakfast again in reverse?

Do you sometimes feel that your muscles aren't cramping enough?

Do you hate the sight of your feet and wish there would be something to block them from your view?

Are you comfortable with waddling? 

Do you think that sometimes standing and sitting are tasks that are just too simple? Do you need something to complicate these small tasks and make them a challenge?

Are you ready to have your life consumed by the sweetest little soul that will melt your heart?



If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then pregnancy is the answer for you! 


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Secret to Weightloss

Guys. I've discovered the secret of weight loss. I know, right? Somebody cue the fireworks and hip-hip hooray because this is big.

Except it's not big. It's so simple.

A few weeks ago I was talking to another mom from church who has 5 kids. She looks great so, of course, I asked her what she does. She got her tip from another mom who has 6 kids and looks even better than she does (according to her). So here it is...

Every time you go to the bathroom, you do 15 lunges.

That's it.

Takes a few minutes and since most people use the toilet a few times a day, you're actually getting more of a workout in than you think.

After the first few times on the first day, I was like NO MORE WATER. My thighs were burning and I was holding it because I dreaded having to do the lunges. But after the first few days, it got a bit easier (even though it still burned).

It's been 3 weeks now and I can definitely feel things firming up from the waist down (which is the part that was the most *ahem* soft to begin with). I wasn't super consistent the second week but started again the third week and it's crazy how this little thing can actually be doing something for you!

So there's my tip. You'll probably be cursing me the first few days but in a few weeks when your buns are steel, you'll thank me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Life choices and sanity

Guys. Tell me I'm not crazy.

I got white covers for our Karlstad love seat. 

(Here's where you tell me I'm not crazy, it's the best decision I've ever made.)

We scored the love seat plus a matching footstool on Craigslist for $100. I know, right? The guy felt bad because he had posted it was a sofa when it was in fact the smaller love seat. He dropped the price and threw in the footstool and I was sold. I figured I'd just buy a new set of covers since they were only $40 at IKEA. Well, correction, the white covers were only $40. 
I texted my college roommate who has the same white sofa (and 2 boys) to see how they hold up. I got the thumbs up and decided to take the plunge. Brian rolled his eyes but he knew I wanted to replace the covers and when I told him it was a $100 price difference to match our dark gray sofa, he acquiesced. And yes, before I even finished putting the white covers on, Maddie threw up on it. It scrubbed right off with a wipe so I'm not crazy, right?

Here's the pic I would post on Instagram if I knew how to do Instagram right

P.S. I made that dark gray pillow cover by folding the pillow case that came with our duvet and stuffing a pillow inside. The easiest, laziest DIY I've ever done.

And here's real life. Welcome to the uglier side of Instagram. 


Friday, July 24, 2015

A Friday Rambling List

Is it just me or does everyone else spend every day of summer with their hair up in a bun? I've tried different hair styles, but this hot weather makes me not want to have hot, thick hair on my sweaty neck so it always ends up in a bun.

So much to the point that I think my babies wouldn't recognize me if I wore my hair down. I did Heidi braids yesterday (which you would know if you followed me on Instagram) and by the end of the day, my hair ended up in a top bun.

Thankfully, top buns are so in style right now.

Right?

Anyone?

Okay, so it's just me then?

Let's forget I said anything... and have a Friday list!
  • It was a rough week. I remember thinking "This is the longest week of my life." on Tuesday. Tuesday. Morning to be exact. Wednesday rolled around and things started to look up and then it was Thursday which I basically treat as a pre-Friday and good gracious, I'm so glad the weekend is finally here. 
  • It could be that I'm counting down the days until Brian's stay-cation. He's taking a few weeks off for family visiting and to work on the house. I'm super excited to say the least. The girls are so excited too. They've been celebrating all week by not taking naps. It's great. So much fun.
  • I've been in the mood to crochet. Not sure why 100 degree weather makes me want to have a lapful of yarn, but it did. The girls wanted to crochet too. Allie unrolled a whole ball of yarn while Maddie grabbed handfuls and stuffed it into her mouth. Again, so much fun. 
  • Do you ever feel like you're the only mom who has kids that are constantly trying to sabotage her? I mean, I LOVE my girls. They are the BEST, they make me laugh and they are so fun. But it's like they plot to not sleep at the same time. They plan to have meltdowns at the same time. Like "Hey, Allie is screaming and crying. That looks like a good idea. I better do it too, even though I have no idea what I'm screaming and crying about. Oh look! Mom is crying too! SO. MUCH. FUN."
  • I think I might be delirious from the lack of sleep/overload of toddlers. 
  • It's been a long week. Somebody get me a bowl of ice cream, stat.
  • T.G.I.F. am I right?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

10 reasons why I'm using Instagram wrong

Since I've decided to not be a lurker anymore, (yes I'm still on this) I've started discovering new Instagram accounts. The more I see, the more I realize I'm using it totally wrong.

10 reasons why I'm using Instagram wrong 
1. I use it to document pictures of my kids. Except they're not dressed like models wearing the latest European simplistic line of vintage clothing. They're basically walking Old Navy ads. Seriously ON, where is my check?
2. I don't take pictures of my food in all stages. Not prepping it. Not cooking it. Not eating it. Also our dinner prep doesn't really look pretty. Ever. I mean, how pretty can refried beans be?
3. I don't show people my house. Granted, I use it to update my friends and family with our renovation happenings but the lighting is always terrible and since we're barely in what can be called the beginning stages of decorating, it just looks sad and bleak.
4. I don't have a green thumb. Bonus points if you have a fiddle leaf fig. Pretty sure that's a requirement, actually.
5. I don't take pictures of coffee. Not at home or at a coffee house. And Starbucks doesn't count, you uncultured swine! It must be a hipster coffee place that no one has ever heard of except anyone who is anyone! Bonus points if you get a fancy drink where they make designs in the foam or whatever it is that's at the top. 
6. I don't take selfies. I did once and made this weird puckering face and that is exactly why I don't take selfies. Bonus points if you're looking to the side or down at your feet in the pic. Super artsy. 
7. I don't take enough pictures of my bed or my kids sleeping. This is kind of the same as #3 but to be fair, my kids usually sleep in a dark cave so it's rare to get a picture of them sleeping that doesn't look like a gray, grainy square. Also, my kids don't sleep. {Insert maniacal laugh that turns into a sob here}
8. I don't use it to take pictures of what I'm wearing or have other people take pictures of me. But the only ones around to take pictures are Allie and Maddie and I'm laughing to myself now just thinking about how non-artsy those pictures would be. 
9. I don't use it to take cool pictures of architecture. Sorry, Target is pretty much the extent of my outings and they're not really known for their fancy architecture. 
10. I don't show my DIY projects. I'm assuming you have to actually be doing a project for the results to be shown and since I have a bunch of half finished projects.... Do you see where I'm going here?

I'm not mocking people who take pictures like this. In fact, I wish I could! But let's just say I can add "photographer" to the list of things I cannot do coupled with the fact that I'm not as cool as you might think. I know. Shocker. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dinosaurs and toddlers

I've been having some weird nightmares about dinosaurs lately. I think it's because we watched a trailer for Jurassic World and suddenly I'm dreaming that I'm on an island in Costa Rica having to run from Supertricloceratops Rex. I mean, I always survive because I'm the main character in my dream and you can't just die in dreams. Haven't you seen Inception? If you haven't, DO IT NOW. Seriously though you'll get to the end and then MIND BLOWN.

What I'm saying is, do you think there's some meaning to this dream? Do the dinosaurs represent my old age and that I'm subconsciously terrified of it? Or does it signify that I'm going to be faced with a life or death situation soon that I'm going to have to survive with only a Swiss Army knife and some cargo shorts? (That is actually what happened in my dream by the way. I mean, I've never been one to read into dreams but these have occurred twice in the past week so I'm thinking there's gotta be something there.

Oh wait. There is.

See, I've been woken up at 5 am every morning by a bunch of toddlers. Ok, so then the dinosaurs must represent the toddlers and this must be my life or death situation. Got it. Thanks for the heads up, brain.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Disney Nerds Offspring

One of the accounts I'm no longer a lurker on is MagicKingdomMamas. It's 2 sisters and their littles and all the tips and tricks for taking kids to Disneyland. (They also have a younger sister with no kids so literally, it's exactly like my sisters and I minus the Instagram account and 1 kid.) I instantly fell in love with everything about them because, hello, Disneyland!! I went from lurker to overloader but whatever.

Anyway, I noticed their kids were wearing the new Disney Vans. This line is super adorable so I thought I'd do another Disney Nerd Outfit post for my kiddos and my nephews. I normally wouldn't buy patterned shoes because they don't go with everything and it hurts my OCD but the Ariel and Minnie ones were so subtle and darling. I could at least dream, right? 

Disney Offspring

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lurkers and creepers... Closer than you think

Before you think this is some Dateline special on peeping toms, I'm talking about online lurkers. And to find one, sometimes you just have to look in a mirror.

That's right. I'm talking to you. I know I've posted on this topic before, but the funny thing is that I caught myself being a lurker all over again!

Granted sometimes I don't have time to post a comment, especially on a blog. But I'm totally an Instagram lurker. I follow these women whom I've never met in real life and I don't interact with them and all they know is that a StephReiner is following them. Never likes the pics. Never leaves comments. Just lurks. And stalks. And pins the picture of their homes to have as inspiration for the day I actually decorate our home instead of just talking about it. (A whole new development on that front, but that's for a future post.)

Anyway, I would tell Brian these stories of women I don't really know and he would just get weirded out. He said I was basically a stalker. I balked at that title, but you know what, he's right! So I decided to start liking. And commenting. And emailing. 

And you know what? I'm loving it. I'm loving the whole community of social media. I love connecting with people who have similar tastes even if they live halfway across the world. And it's not like they're the President of the United States who is too busy to respond to your comment. I've gotten responses from most of the people I've reached out to and it's just super cool!

Anyway, there's s lot going on in our lives right now. Some things in the mix that might mean big changes for us. I hate to leave you hanging but I don't want to share info prematurely until we know for sure what the Lord is leading us to. We're praying a lot about Brian's job and our home and a new business venture that I'm sort of heading up myself. It's scary and risky and exciting and all these emotions that overwhelm me.

But I'm thankful that I can write my thoughts and feelings and all you lovely lurkers will read and either agree, pray for us, or whatever. And with that final thought, I hear a toddler scooting her way down the hallway which means my 10 min break is over.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Clothes and first world problems

It's no secret that I like clothes. I like wearing them. I like buying them. I like styling them on other people (especially my daughters).

I do NOT like putting them away. 

Ever since I moved into a college dorm room where I had 3 drawers and a 3 ft wide closet, I've struggled with storing all my lovely things. In fact, I broke all 3 drawers trying to shove all my stuff into them. 

My first apartment out of college had a walk-in closet and it was glorious (my gracious roomie let me have the bigger room/closet but it's ok, she definitely benefited from my love of clothes). The second and third places I lived were a little skimpier and it seemed that each time I moved, the amount of clothes increased and my closet size shrunk. 

Now I'm married. Which means not only do I have a small closet, but I have to share it with someone.  And even though I've purged my closet several times, I still have way more clothes than fit in my closet and dresser. 

I thought I could find inspiration on Pinterest, since it's never let me down before. But turns out people of the world who love clothes have huge walk-in closets to store them. Or people who have small closets are the people who have "a few staple pieces" and that's it. 

You know what I want to know? Where are you storing your underwear? That shelf\side table looks really cool but seriously, where do you keep your bras? Your West Elm styled bedroom looks fantastic but how are you fitting all your clothes into that 6-drawer dresser? 

In college I had to buy several Rubbermaid drawers to store my unmentionables but plastic seems a bit too unsophisticated for a bunch of 30 year olds. But I've also realized that I'd need several full size dressers to store all of our clothes. 

I'm determined to make it work. And I refuse to accept that the problem would be solved if I got rid of more clothes. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Modern(ish) style

Now that I'm into decorating mode, we're slowly acquiring things for the house. And slowly because sheeeeesh house stuff is expensive! No wonder DIY is all the rage these days. That said, I think the style I'm going for is clean lines and simple designs, sort of like mid-century furniture but not totally that. The trick is getting Brian on board with everything. Which is why no matter what I chose, it better be comfortable.

Remember when I blogged about being indecisive? Yeah I changed my mind about the area rug for the living room again. The one I think I want (but let's face it,that could change) is out of stock so I have no idea what to do now. Hope that they restock it soon? Or figure out how to make it myself? Weaving a rug can't be too complicated right?

We already have the dark gray Karlstad sofa and loveseat that I'm going to add tapered modern legs to (similar to these). We also have a free coffee table and side table, both of which are more old fashioned in design. I'm thinking of replacing them with (or making) something similar to the IKEA ones shown below. I'm still going to keep everything else neutral. And here's hoping my snake plant lives long enough to see the day that the room will be finished. But I wouldn't bet on it.

Living Room

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Shopping for Clara

I got a text today from a friend, we'll call her Clara*. She admitted that she had only just spent a store credit gift card that she had had for at least 6 years. SIX YEARS.

If you know me at all, you know that gift cards burn holes in my pockets. When she told me it had been so long, my palms started itching and sweating like it was my own gift card that needed to be spent. It nearly drove me crazy when Brian hung on to his Home Depot gift cards for 3 years before finally spending them on a table saw. 

So she asked for help in spending her remaining gift cards. And immediately a blog post was born. If I were the one with a gift card, these are some things that I would have a hard time choosing between. But you better believe I'd have those gift cards spent before you could say "Bob's your uncle".
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of those persons involved.